Articles By All

Path: /college-basketball/acc-2012-13-college-basketball-preview
Body:

After a long wait, NC State’s hopes for ACC supremacy may be realized. The Wolfpack have not won an ACC regular season title since 1989 and haven’t won the ACC tournament since 1987.

But after two decades of wandering through mediocre seasons, NC State may be ready to contend with Duke and North Carolina this season. As usual, the Blue Devils and Tar Heels will be stocked with talent, but their hold on the top of the league may be more fragile than it has been in recent years thanks to the departures of a combined six first-round NBA draft picks since last season.

A year after reaching the Sweet 16, NC State adds a highly touted freshman class to a talented veteran core. And even the Florida schools -- Miami and defending ACC tournament champion Florida State -- have reason to believe they can contend in the league.

ACC FACTS AND FIGURES 2012-13 ACC SUPERLATIVES
2011-12 regular season champion: North Carolina Player of the Year: C.J. Leslie, NC State
2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Duke, Florida State*, Best Defensive Player: Michael Snaer, Florida St.
NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Most Underrated Player: Kenny Kadji, Miami
New coaches: James Johnson (Virginia Tech) Newcomer of the Year: Rodney Purvis, NC State
Realignment: None  
*won conference tournament  
ATHLON ALL-ACC FIRST TEAM ALL-ACC SECOND TEAM ALL-ACC THIRD TEAM
G Lorenzo Brown, NC State G Erick Green, Virginia Tech G Ian Miller, Florida State
G Michael Snaer, Florida State G Seth Curry, Duke G Durand Scott, Miami
F James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina F Kenny Kadji, Miami F Scott Wood, NC State
F C.J. Leslie, NC State F Ryan Kelly, Duke F Richard Howell, NC State
F Mason Plumlee, Duke C Reggie Johnson, Miami F Okaro White, Florida State

1. Duke (27-7, 13-3)
The Blue Devils are ranked No. 9 in our preseason rankings: Full Preview

Duke possesses all the pieces necessary to challenge for the ACC championship. The Blue Devils have three experienced senior starters returning in Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee who will provide scoring from the perimeter to the post. Kelly and Plumlee are strong team defenders and rebounders. To reach maximum potential, which at Duke means competing for a NCAA championship, the Blue Devils must find a competent, consistent point guard. They’ll also need scoring and defensive contributions from newcomers Alex Murphy and Amile Jefferson, and Rasheed Sulaimon must prove he can score and defend at college basketball’s highest level.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

2. NC State (24-13, 9-7)
The Wolfpack is ranked No. 11 in our preseason rankings: Full Preview

The door’s wide open for NC State to win the ACC’s regular season for the first time since 1989. North Carolina and Duke lost six first-round picks to the NBA between them and are both vulnerable to a veteran team, with new talent, like State’s. But Mark Gottfried’s right. The Wolfpack went 9–7 in the ACC and will  have to make a leap to the 12- or 13-win range . With elite talent like C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, Gottfried and the Wolfpack will have a chance “to do more” during the 2013 season. Just how much more will depend on if the Pack can pick up where it left off after a surprising NCAA Tournament run.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Related: McAdoo, Leslie make appearances on Athlon preseason All-America Team

3. North Carolina (32-6, 14-2)
The Tar Heels are ranked No. 14 in our preseason rankings: Full Preview

The ACC isn’t as strong at the top — or from top to bottom — as it used to be. So this North Carolina team, even with the talent it lost, can contend for the conference championship. A trip to the Final Four, where no player on the current roster has been before, seems less likely. But if the Tar Heels get strong play at point guard, improve their outside shooting and avoid the serious injuries that have short-circuited recent seasons, they’ll find themselves in the mix just as the 2005-06 North Carolina team did. If they come up short in those areas, they could produce a result closer to what the 2009-10 team did.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Related: North Carolina’s Paige one of top 10 freshmen for 2012-13

4. Florida State (25-10, 12-4)
Losing four starters at Florida State used to guarantee a rebuilding year. Four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament — the school’s longest streak ever — has changed that. FSU has turned into a perennial ACC power, a program that is expected to win big regardless of how much its roster changes. Hamilton has four veterans to build around, including last season’s leading guard Michael Snaer, and will be counting on seven newcomers — two junior college transfers and five freshmen — to create depth. Long a shutdown defender, Snaer had a breakout year offensively last season, posting career highs in scoring (14.0 ppg), 3-point shooting (.404) and free throw shooting (.846). The intangibles he brings also add plenty of value. Junior Ian Miller, who emerged as one of the ACC’s top sixth men by averaging 10.3 points last season, will likely take over most of the point guard duties, though Hamilton plans to still use him on the wing some. The intimidating presence of departed big men Bernard James and Xavier Gibson (combined for 126 blocks last season) won’t be replaced, but Okaro White and Terrance Shannon give the Seminoles a pair of experienced 6-8 junior forwards capable of playing bigger roles. The Seminoles will play great defense. That is a constant under Hamilton. It might take some time for the young players to adapt to the Seminoles’ style, but Hamilton can lean on a solid group of veterans who have played and contributed in big games.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

Related: Florida State’s Shannon a key player returning from injury

5. Miami (20-13, 9-7)
With the core of last year’s team back and North Carolina, Duke and Florida State losing its top players, Miami should be in the thick of the ACC race. The extent of Miami’s success could well rest on 284-pound center Reggie Johnson, who missed part of last season with a knee injury then under-performed after an impressive sophomore campaign in which he nearly averaged a double-double. At times, Johnson can look like one of the best big men in the ACC, but in several other games, Johnson was a complete non-factor. Kenny Kadji was one of the ACC’s biggest surprises last season after transferring from Florida. The 6-11 Kadji is only average with his back to the basket, but he’s deadly from long range and is a presence defensively as a shot-blocker. Durand Scott is tough, physical and the heart and guts of Miami’s team. Best when he’s attacking the basket and drawing contact, Scott has also grown into a much better ball-handler and distributor, cutting his turnovers in half between his sophomore and junior seasons. This could well be Miami’s best and deepest team since it jumped from the Big East to the ACC in 2004 and it shouldn’t be a shock if the Hurricanes, who have never finished higher than a tie for fourth in the league standings, make a strong run at the ACC title.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament First Four

6. Maryland (17-15, 6-10)
Mark Turgeon duct-taped a team together last season, somehow won 17 game and gave mercurial sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin — who has since departed — a green light to gun it and lead the ACC in scoring (21.6 ppg) in an offense that simply didn’t have much bite on the block. Point guard/glue-guy Pe’Shawn Howard will be back and youngsters like Nick Faust and Alex Len are a year older and wiser in the ways of the ACC. Moreover, Maryland has had a major influx of talent with a ballyhooed recruiting class that has Turgeon’s Terps ready to rejoin the upper echelon of the ACC. Faust may fill Stoglin’s role of go-to scorer, slashing to the basket to create for himself and teammates. He averaged 8.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists while playing three different positions as a freshman. He has stardom written all over his game at both ends. The muscular Howard, who only played in 14 games last year due to injury, is at the point. Senior James Padgett, who averaged 8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and shot 52 percent from the field, is back, and he’ll be even better. His gangly post moves will be more refined, and he will be more of a factor on defense.
Postseason prediction: NIT

7. Virginia (22-10, 9-7)
Tony Bennett plans to stick around. The Virginia coach, who led the Cavaliers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2007, signed a five-year extension following the season. Now, if he can just get his players to stick around with him. After the midseason transfers of K.T. Harrell and James Johnson last year, Bennett is left with just two of the six members of his first recruiting class, which was to be the foundation of his program. Bennett has brought in another five-man class, and at least a couple will have to contribute immediately. That could bode well for the long term. Virginia is loaded with wings — the roster contains six guards listed between 6-3 and 6-6. The standout in the crowd is junior Joe Harris, a career 40 percent 3-point shooter who is the team’s top returning scorer. The steady Harris will need to be more assertive, now that he’ll no longer have the luxury of playing off of Mike Scott, who drew defensive attention that led to open looks on the perimeter. Directing traffic will be senior point guard Jontel Evans, a defensive pest and steady ball-handler who has 94 games and 70 starts under his belt. Like Harris, he’ll be asked to provide veteran ballast to a young team. At first glance, it’s hard to envision Virginia getting major production up front. With Scott gone, the Cavaliers don’t have an obvious go-to player inside, and offense doesn’t appear to be the strength of the group.
Postseason prediction: NIT

8. Clemson (16-15, 8-8)
Asking for patience is justifiable given that second-year coach Brad Brownell is losing his top two scorers from last season in Andre Young and Tanner Smith, and relying on a roster that features a whopping 10 freshmen and sophomores. Brownell has shown in his first two seasons that he was an excellent choice when Clemson found itself looking for a new coach after Oliver Purnell’s abrupt departure for DePaul. He’s done an impressive job of developing players and cultivating substantial improvement as the two years have worn on. But he has no juniors, largely the result of unexpected attrition during and after his first season (three players elected to transfer). And seniors Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, while talented, haven’t inspired abundant confidence that they are the building blocks for rousing success in 2012-13. Booker and Jennings shouldered more of the burden last season and produced so-so results. Now, with Young and Smith gone, these two must take their games to a higher and more consistent level if the Tigers are going to make substantive improvement. There’s a major void at point guard with Young gone. Sophomore Rod Hall will get competition from freshmen Adonis Filer and Jordan Roper — probably more Filer than Roper — for the starting point guard spot. Hall will need to make significant improvement as a shooter to keep defenders from backing off and playing the drive.
Postseason prediction: NIT

Related: Former Clemson assistants among key hires for 2012-13

9. Virginia Tech (16-17, 4-12)
James Johnson has his work cut out for him. Johnson, 40, was finally awarded a head coaching job after 19 years as an assistant, but he inherits a program surrounded by uncertainty after an unexpected regime change in the spring. In the aftermath of the coaching change, Johnson, the youngest head coach in the ACC, is left with only eight scholarship players and the expectations of a fan base hungry for an NCAA Tournament appearance after some agonizingly close calls in the past five years. Guard is one of the Hokies’ strengths, and Johnson hopes to take advantage of that by employing an up-tempo style of offense. Senior point guard Erick Green has improved every season in college and made a substantial jump last year, averaging 15.6 points and 2.8 assists en route to earning second-team All-ACC honors. Lack of front line depth could be an issue for the Hokies this season. After Greenberg’s dismissal, Tech lost two forwards who were both expected to play prominent roles in 2012-13. Dorian Finney-Smith, one of the most heralded recruits in school history and the team’s leading rebounder as a freshman last season, decided to transfer to Florida. And Montrezl Harrell, a 2012 recruit who saw his stock rise during his final high school season, elected to back out of his commitment and sign with Louisville.

10. Wake Forest (13-18, 4-12)
No coach may need wins this season more than Jeff Bzdelik. After two years at Wake Forest, Bzdelik hasn’t won a lot of games (five total in the ACC), and he’s lost a lot of fans. The former Air Force and Colorado coach hopes a seven-player recruiting class will provide the spark. The youngsters will combine with the league’s top two returning scorers, guard C.J. Harris and forward Travis McKie. With the two primary point guards from last year no longer on the roster — Tony Chennault and Anthony Fields transferred out — freshman Codi Miller-McIntyre will be handed the reins of the offense. He will give the Deacons their first legitimate threat to get to the rim and create shots since Ish Smith graduated in 2010. Wake Forest finished second to last in the ACC in rebounding margin, and it lost both of its centers. To say the frontcourt is an issue is an understatement. McKie put together solid numbers but found it difficult to carry the team. Although only 6-7 and able to play either forward spot, he did his best offensive work in the lane. When forced to try to create from the wing, he struggled. Bzdelik is running out of time and excuses. To re-energize the fan base, he needs a team that is competitive, both in spirit and in the ACC race. He’ll have to do it with a squad that is thin at key positions and has only two scholarship upperclassmen.

Related: Wake’s Bzdelik among coaches on hot seat

11. Georgia Tech (11-20, 4-12)
Few will be surprised — perhaps not even Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory — if the Yellow Jackets finish near the bottom of the ACC standings again. Georgia Tech could make considerable progress in Gregory’s second season without a corresponding improvement in the standings. The Yellow Jackets do bring back the core of the roster with the exception of guard Glen Rice Jr. The team’s leading scorer and rebounder continually bumped heads with Gregory, leading to his dismissal from the team. As much as anyone, point guard Mfon Udofia responded to the coaching change from Paul Hewitt to Gregory. Going into his senior season, his jump shot needs to improve, but he should have a much firmer grasp on what Gregory wants out of the position. Udofia had a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in Georgia Tech’s final nine games after a 0.8 rate in the first 21. In center Daniel Miller and power forward Kammeon Holsey, Georgia Tech has a pair of bangers who’ve become a respectable post duo. Holsey needs to take better care of the ball and stay out of foul trouble, but he’s an active defender who is willing to take charges, and he shot 59.0 percent from the field. Miller ranked second in the ACC in blocked shots and finished the season by scoring in double figures in eight of the last 10 games. The Yellow Jackets will also get a boost from the opening of the $45 million McCamish Pavilion, a complete renovation of the old Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Still, Georgia Tech is probably a year or two from breaking through.

12. Boston College (9-22, 4-12)
When Steve Donahue took over at Boston College in 2010, he embarked on a rebuilding plan. The first phase was the demolition, which was swift and thorough. Within a year, there were no holdovers from the Al Skinner era. Such a drastic overhaul was predictably bumpy. The Eagles had seven freshmen in the rotation last season. Despite the lack of a scholarship upperclassman, the large crop of sophomores will be expected to make considerable strides in their development. Ryan Anderson and Dennis Clifford were thrown into the fire with bigger, stronger, more athletic frontcourts on a nightly basis last season and held up reasonably well. With an offseason to improve their skills and bodies, Donahue is expecting big things from his sophomore big men. The Eagles are going to rely heavily on their two recruits to step into major roles in the backcourt. Olivier Hanlan, a 6-4 native of Quebec, should be the starting point guard from the outset. He’ll be joined in the backcourt by fellow freshman Joe Rahon, a physical 6-2 combo guard. It’s unrealistic to expect the Eagles to transform from an ACC doormat into a contender in one year. Donahue has maintained the view that it will take about 50 games together for this group to start to show major strides. If this sophomore-laden group learns from last year and develops mentally and physically, Donahue expects to see noticeable improvements by the end of the season.

@AthlonSports

More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
4. Big 12
5. SEC
6.
Pac-12

7. Mountain West
8. Atlantic 10

9. West Coast

10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

Teaser:
<p> ACC 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/who-should-kentucky-hire-replace-joker-phillips
Body:

The first major domino in college football's coaching carousel fell on Sunday, as Kentucky's Joker Phillips was fired after a 12-23 mark through three seasons. Phillips led the Wildcats to a bowl game in his first year, but the team never showed major progress in his tenure. Athletic director Mitch Barnhart has a difficult coaching search to lead, especially with the pressure to get it right. 

Who Should Kentucky Hire to Replace Joker Phillips?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
Kentucky’s first calls should be to Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes and Western Kentucky’s Willie Taggart. Dykes is a former Kentucky assistant with direct connections to a successful era for the Wildcats under coach Hal Mumme and offensive coordinator Mike Leach. Between Kentucky’s success with Mumme and Tim Couch -- and now Texas A&M’s success with Johnny Manziel -- we can say this sort of spread offense can succeed in the SEC. And Taggart is simply a program builder, whose Western Kentucky program had had more success than the Wildcats the last two years. If I’m Kentucky, I’m glad to take a branch off the Jim Harbaugh coaching tree as well. If those routes fail because Dykes and Taggart are candidates for better jobs, Kentucky might look at the Vanderbilt route -- hiring a young energetic assistant like Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown or Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
If there is any coaching opening in any conference at any level for any amount of money, my answer will be Bobby Petrino. He is the only proven winner out there who is guaranteed to win the second he steps onto campus. He can be had for dirt cheap and with so many clauses in his contract, he won't be allowed out of the house after dark. I am not hiring someone to grow the leaders of tomorrow or compete in graduation rates. I am hiring someone to score more points than the other team and no one is better at that than Petrino. Tennessee, Cal, Purdue, Auburn and especially Kentucky would be foolish not to entertain the idea. Otherwise, I call one of the quality head coaches already doing good things in the Commonwealth and see what they say.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I think Kentucky made the right decision by pulling the plug on the Joker Phillips era after Saturday’s game. Even though the Wildcats were playing a lot of young players, the program wasn’t moving in the right direction and was just 4-19 in his three seasons in SEC play. Considering the SEC’s expansion to 14 teams, as well as Vanderbilt’s improvement under James Franklin, this is a crucial hire for Kentucky. The Wildcats cannot afford to fall further behind in the SEC pecking order and need to regain some of the fanbase after lagging attendance in Phillips’ last season. Kentucky needs to be targeting a young coach, especially with a background on offense. Bobby Petrino would be a home-run hire, but he’s not coming to Lexington. After Petrino, the next name on my list would be Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes. In three seasons with the Bulldogs, Dykes has a 21-13 record, and has helped to coordinate one of the top offenses in college football. He also has experience at Kentucky, working as an assistant under Hal Mumme in 1997 and 1999. If Dykes doesn’t want to come to Lexington, the Wildcats need to give a good look at Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
My first call would be to Sonny Dykes, a former Kentucky assistant (1997, ’99) who is currently the head coach at Louisiana Tech. In two-plus seasons at Tech, Dykes has an overall record of 21–13 and a 13–5 mark in the WAC. The Bulldogs have made steady improvement since Dykes took over for Derek Dooley — they went 5–7 overall (4–4 WAC) in 2010, 8–5 (6–1) in ’11 and are currently 8–1 overall with a 3–0 mark in league play. They are ranked No. 20 in the latest BCS standings and have wins over Houston, Illinois and Virginia, along with a two-point loss to Texas A&M. Dykes’ teams not only win, they play an exciting brand of football; Tech ranks third in the nation in total offense and second in scoring offense. Dykes would be an ideal fit at a school that has enjoyed pockets of success but has failed to remain consistently competitive. 

Mark Ross: 
Baggage aside, I think Bobby Petrino would be the type of hire that could not only re-energize the fan base, but also give a boost to recruiting efforts. Everyone who follows the SEC knows what Petrino did at Arkansas, especially in terms of the type of offense he ran and how productive and exciting it was. Likewise, everyone knows how things ended with the Hogs, and because of that and other factors, I'm just not sure Kentucky will pull the trigger or be able to pay enough to lure Petrino to Lexington in the first place. That said, I think Willie Taggart would be the next best option. He's done a remarkable job of rebuilding Western Kentucky's program, which includes this season's win over the Wildcats in Lexington. His existing ties in the state should only aid in recruiting, particularly in keeping the top prospects home. Taggart may not have the name recognition that Petrino does, and the SEC and the Sun Belt are two entirely different playing fields, but he's already shown what he can do at one Kentucky state school, so why not give him a shot at turning around the program at THE Kentucky state school?

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I see the No. 1 candidate being Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. The former Kentucky assistant under Hal Mumme (a very underrated coaching tree) has proven he can cut it as a head coach with the Bulldogs, and Dykes’ high-octane offense is currently second in the nation with an average of 52.4 points per game. And for any Wildcats fan worried those are just WAC numbers, La. Tech scored 57 points against Texas A&M, 52 on Illinois and 44 versus Virginia. In 2011, the Bulldogs won by 20 at Ole Miss and lost in overtime at Mississippi State. Dykes will have several options this offseason, as multiple SEC schools should show some interest. Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart and Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown are also solid candidates, but UK should pursue Dykes as its next head coach.

Related College Football Content

25 Coaching Candidates to Replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Ranks

Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 10 BCS Analysis

Teaser:
<p> Who Should Replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:10
Path: /nfl/seven-bold-second-half-nfl-predictions-2012
Body:

The second half is here and that means things are about to get interesting in the NFL. So I thought, in true Athlon Sports prognostication fashion, I would put on my predicting hat for the second half. Here are outlandish, outstanding and potentially out of touch bold predictions for the rest of the NFL season:

A rookie running back will lead the NFL in rushing
Doug Martin sits at No. 3 in the NFL in rushing with 794 yards after two huge games against Minnesota and Oakland. Alfred Morris is No. 4 in the league with 793 yards but hasn’t had a bye week yet. Trent Richardson has been solid and sits just outside the top ten in rushing with 575 yards. All three could finish in the top ten and Martin or Morris have a good shot at leading the league in rushing — Martin's 99.3 yards per game is No. 2 in the league. There is certainly a youth movement at the position this season as not just rookies but new starters (Stevan Ridley, C.J. Spiller) have been successful. At the midway point of the year, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner and Matt Forte are all outside of the top 15 in rushing. What would be more shocking: A rookie leads the NFL in rushing or Chris Johnson leads the NFL in rushing?

The New Orleans Saints will have a winning record
The schedule is daunting, but the Saints (3-5) are playing their best football at the right time. Winners of three out of the last four, Who Dat nation is feeling cautiously optimistic about the second half. Yes, the Falcons (twice), 49ers and Giants are on the schedule, but two of those come at home. The coaching staff and defense are beginning to finally settle in after Bounty Gate and Replacement-a-palooza and Drew Brees is back carving up defenses. He leads the NFL in passing yards and should keep his team in every game. Every game is a must-win for New Orleans from here on out, but they should be favored against Oakland, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Dallas. A 2-2 mark against the big boys — SF, NYG and ATL — could give the Saints a 9-7 record and a potential Wild Card bid.

A team will win the Super Bowl without a 4,000-yard passer
Last fall, 10 players threw for at least 4,000 yards and 14 threw for at least 3,500 yards. Seven of the top nine passers made the playoffs while five of the six NFC playoff quarterbacks threw for at least 4,000 yards. This fall, 14 players are on pace for more than 4,000 yards and an astonishing 24 are slated to top 3,500 yards. The last time a team won the Super Bowl without a 4,000-yard passer was the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XLIII. The last time a team won the Super Bowl without a 3,000-yard passer was also Big Ben (XL). So with passing records getting smashed every week, it would come as a shock if the Super Bowl champions didn’t feature a high-flying passing attack, right? However, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Alex Smith and Joe Flacco are all ranked 15th or worse in yards per game and none are on pace for 4,000 yards. In case you didn’t notice, other than the Atlanta Falcons, those are the best four records in football.

Andy Reid will be coaching in 2013…in San Diego
The Eagles failed to score a touchdown in five trips inside the Saints' red zone on Monday night and Michael Vick was sacked seven times. Philadelphia moved to 3-5 after the team’s fourth straight loss — Reid’s longest such streak as the head coach of the Eagles. Vick is a huge part of the problem and it will likely cost Reid his job unless he can figure out a way to win games. Which will be hard to do with five games left in the division (Dallas twice, Washington twice, Giants). Unless this team wins at least six of its final eight, heads will roll in The City of Brotherly Love. And since Norv Turner has no business being an NFL head coach, there should be an opening in San Diego as well. With an established roster of veterans, Reid’s 129 wins and nine playoff appearances would fit nicely in SoCal.

A rookie quarterback will win a playoff game
Andrew Luck is special. He has set all types of rookie quarterback records and is already establishing himself as one of the NFL’s best passers — he is fourth in yards — and has his team leading the AFC Wild Card hunt right now. With a very favorable second-half schedule, it will be hard for the Colts not to finish with a winning record. And in the atrocious AFC, where only six teams have a winning record, Luck and the Colts have as good a shot as any to reach the postseason. In the NFC, Russell Wilson has the 5-4 Seahawks positioned to snag a Wild Card berth as well. Both have been much better at home, and although it is unlikely either will get to host a playoff game, both are clearly capable of an upset come January. They are both unflappable leaders who care only about winning.

Randy Moss will catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl
The 14-year veteran wide receiver sat out the 2011 season only to return to the field with the 49ers this fall. Many didn’t know what to expect when the future Hall of Famer took the field this season. While he hasn’t been the explosive weapon fans were accustomed to seeing throughout his career, he has been a meaningful part of the San Francisco offense. He has only caught 13 passes for 235 yards but has scored twice and has been used as a decoy on countless plays. On a team that looks like it could be the odds-on favorite to the win the NFC, Moss has a good chance to reach the big game for just the second time in his career. He caught five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown as a Patriot in Super Bowl XLII. He may not stuff the stat sheet, but Jim Harbaugh would figure out a way to get Moss involved in the offense should the 49ers make it to New Orleans.

Neither the Bears nor the Ravens will win their division
The Bears (7-1) and Ravens (6-2) have a combined record of 13-3 and are both sitting at least one game ahead in the NFC and AFC North Divisions. Yet, there is a good chance that neither will finish atop the standings. The Bears' second-half schedule is daunting and it begins with Houston and San Francisco before tests with Seattle, Green Bay, Minnesota (twice), Detroit and Arizona. Three of the final four are on the road, including the final two against teams that could be fighting for playoff bids (Cardinals, Lions). The visit from the Packers in Week 15 will likely determine the Monsters of the Midway’s fate in 2012. So if it comes down to Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler, that’s an easy one. In the AFC, the Ravens' defense is simply too depleted and still has to face the Steelers twice, face both Mannings as well as road trips to Washington, San Diego and Cincinnati.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related NFL Content:

Athlon Sports NFL 2012 Mid-season Preview and Predictions
The Most Amazing Mid-Season NFL Stats of 2012

Eight Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 9
2013 NFL Draft: Running Backs

2013 NFL Draft: Tight Ends
2013 NFL Draft: Safeties

2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Wide Receivers

2013 NFL Draft: Offensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Inside Linebackers

2013 NFL Draft: Cornerbacks

Teaser:
<p> Seven Bold Second Half NFL Predictions for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/should-miami-self-impose-bowl-ban-2012
Body:

With last week's win over Virginia Tech, Miami is now the frontrunner to win the ACC Coastal Division title. The Hurricanes were picked by many to finish fifth in the division in the preseason but have recorded a 4-2 record in ACC play so far and have two very winnable games remaining - at Virginia and at Duke. Although Miami has a chance to win a BCS bowl this year, the looming sanctions from the Nevin Shapiro investigation are hanging over this program. 

Should Miami Self-Impose a Bowl Ban for 2012?

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
Miami imposed a bowl ban on themselves last season, and there is absolutely no way they should do that to their players and coaches again this year. It had to be devastating for the players to sit out the postseason after getting to six wins in 2011, and the team promptly dropped their season finale to Boston College after the decision was announced.

This year, they are two conference wins away from clinching a berth in the school’s first ACC Championship game, and they are also on the verge of their first postseason trip under coach Al Golden. An appearance in the ACC Championship game and a big-time bowl, even if it eventually costs a postseason trip in the future — which is no guarantee — can be a boost for the entire program; nothing good can come from a second-straight year of watching the postseason from home.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
If there’s no deadline, Miami should let the season play out before making a decision. If the Hurricanes are eliminated from their first ACC championship game, go ahead and take the bowl ban, which would likely result in a second- or third-tier bowl anyway. That’s hollow and obvious and a public relations problem, but that’s not a horrible course of action. Impose the bowl ban now, and Miami may cost itself a trip to the Orange Bowl and critical momentum for Al Golden’s program. Don’t impose it at all, and Miami’s just prolonging the inevitable. Do you think Ohio State would have preferred to take a bowl ban last season if there was a chance the Buckeyes would be eligible for this postseason?

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
I am torn on this one. No, the kids out there fighting each and every Saturday to win the ACC Coastal had nothing to do with paying players to go to Miami over the last 10 years (or any of the other atrocities reported by Charles Robinson and Nevin Shapiro). However, the outlandish and garish style with which The U directly violated NCAA rules reeks of something much bigger than one diminutive hanger-on. How could powers that be inside and out of the University not have known about Shapiro? In that sense, watching Miami potentially play in a BCS bowl feels wrong. There isn't a good answer to this one and should the Hurricanes finish with the right to play in the ACC title game, the bowl ban punishment would fit the crime in my opinion.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With Miami on the doorstep of its first ACC Coastal title, the athletic department and administration have a huge decision to make. There’s no question the Hurricanes are going to get hit hard by NCAA sanctions. The penalties are expected to be announced sometime in the spring of 2013 and a bowl ban is likely to be included. Miami self-imposed a bowl ban last season and it has to be on the table for consideration at the end of this year. Although taking a bowl ban isn’t a bad idea to soften the blow from the NCAA, the Hurricanes should play in the postseason in 2012. If Miami does win its first Coastal title, the players and coaching staff deserve to reap the benefits and play for the ACC Championship in Charlotte. Also, even though most expect the sanctions will be harsh, what if they aren’t? Predicting the future with the NCAA is always difficult, which makes this a tricky situation for Miami. The Hurricanes have to be worried about what happens in the future, but there’s a little momentum building behind coach Al Golden and this year’s team. However, taking a bowl ban would only be another setback for a program that is just 18-16 over the last three years.

Mark Ross: 
If Miami beats Virginia and Duke, the Hurricanes will represent the Coastal in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., and they just need one more win over their last three games to become bowl eligible. Considering any bowl ban for this season would come from the university itself, and not the NCAA, I think the powers that be at "The U" would best be served by deciding against such a strategy. The chances are highly likely that the 'Canes will receive a number of NCAA sanctions and penalties, including some form of a postseason ban, stemming from the investigation into the alleged recruiting violations related to Nevin Shapiro. Even though a self-imposed bowl ban would be an attempt to mitigate the NCAA's pending punishment, I think in this case it would do more harm than good to the program and its fan and alumni base, considering the position the Hurricanes find themselves in. If Miami wins the Coastal, not only would it play in the ACC Championship Game, it would then have a chance to earn a spot in a BCS bowl, and the other benefits associated with that. Even should the 'Canes lose in the ACC title game, they will undoubtedly receive an invitation to one of the conference's better bowls based on their second-place finish. Look, at some point the hammer is going to fall on the football program once more. There's really no reason I see for the school to be the one to swing it first, especially considering how this season could play out.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I do not think so; unless the administration at Miami has a very solid indication from the NCAA (good luck getting a clear picture from them) of how much a self-imposed ban in 2012 would lessen sanctions in the future. The Hurricanes may have an uncertain future with the ongoing investigation, but their current standing is atop the Coastal Division with Virginia and Duke left on the league schedule. Miami has a chance to play in its first-ever ACC Championship Game, and an upset over Florida State or Clemson would equal a BCS/Orange Bowl berth. The Hurricanes imposed a bowl ban last year, and the administration should let Al Golden and his players have a shot at a big-time bowl this season.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings

Who Should Replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky?

Post-Week 10 BCS Analysis

Teaser:
<p> Should Miami Self-Impose a Bowl Ban in 2012?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /college-football/nebraska-or-michigan-which-team-wins-legends-division-2012
Body:

It has been a difficult year for the Big Ten, especially with only two teams ranked after Week 10. The conference's best team (Ohio State) is ineligible to win the championship, while Penn State is also banned from postseason play. The battle to win the Leaders Division appears to be down to Wisconsin and Indiana, while the Legends Division is a tight race between Michigan and Nebraska. 

Nebraska or Michigan: Which Team Wins the Legends Division in 2012?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Nebraska already defeated Michigan, and the Cornhuskers finish up with Penn State and Minnesota at home and Iowa on the road. Michigan has Ohio State on the road and two other games. The schedule is immensely favorable to Nebraska, and even if the Cornhuskers get into trouble, they’ve shown they can respond with two Big Ten wins in which they’ve trailed in the fourth quarter and a third in which they’ve trailed in the third. Barring misstep, I’m taking Nebraska.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Each has one game that I feel is a loss. Michigan's is a sure thing at Ohio State as the Buckeyes will be playing their Super Bowl with a chance to completely ruin the Wolverines trip to Pasadena. Therefore, Nebraska would have to loss two games the rest of the way to miss out on the Big Ten championship game. So even if the Huskers slip-up against a very good Penn State team, it would have to lose again to either Minnesota (at home) or Iowa (road) in one of the final two games. Give me Big Red to match-up with...Big Red (either Wisconsin or, gasp, Indiana) in the Big Ten Championship game. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With essentially a one-game lead (thanks to a head-to-head win), Nebraska will win the Legends Division. The Cornhuskers and Wolverines are tied with one Big Ten loss, but Michigan lost 23-9 in Lincoln in late October. For the Wolverines to win the division, they need two losses by Nebraska. Finding two defeats on the schedule for the Cornhuskers isn’t easy, especially since they play Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa. Nebraska could easily lose to Iowa on the road or this Saturday against Penn State, but one loss really doesn’t help Michigan. The Wolverines still have to play at Ohio State in the season finale, which the Buckeyes figure to be favored to win. It’s not impossible, but I don’t see a scenario where Michigan is able to win the Legends Division title. Barring a complete collapse, Nebraska will play for the Big Ten title in December.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Nebraska basically clinched the Legends Division by beating Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State in the last three weeks. The Cornhuskers are tied with Michigan at 4–1 but have the tie-breaker due to their win in Lincoln on Oct. 27. The Huskers’ closing schedule is relatively soft, with home games against Penn State and Minnesota and a game at struggling Iowa. Michigan still has to play Northwestern and at Ohio State. This race is over!

Mark Ross: 
I give the edge to Nebraska because the Cornhuskers hold the tie-breaker over the Wolverines in the first place, and the uncertainty surrounding the health of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Both teams sit 4-1 in the Legends Division, but again Nebraska has a game in hand on Michigan thanks to its 23-9 head-to-head win on Oct. 27. Both teams could end up losing this week as the Cornhuskers host Penn State and the Wolverines take on Northwestern, potentially without Robinson. After Nebraska plays Penn State, it has Minnesota and Iowa left on its schedule, while Michigan still has a date in Columbus on Thanksgiving weekend to play Ohio State. Since the Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason, this will be their bowl game, and an undefeated season may also be on the line for Urban Meyer's team. Michigan already had a tougher road to the Big Ten title game than Nebraska to begin with, and now the questions about Robinson's playing status only increase the degree of difficulty. By virtue of that victory in Lincoln in late October, Nebraska will spend the first Saturday of December in Indianapolis playing for the Big Ten championship and a spot in a BCS bowl. 

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I think it’s clearly the Cornhuskers. Nebraska has the tiebreaker with its 23-9 victory over Michigan, and I believe the Wolverines still have a Big Ten loss awaiting them against Ohio State in the season finale. Additionally, NU should be favored by a touchdown or more in its three remaining games versus Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa. The Huskers have won three in a row, and it’s no coincidence that Ameer Abdullah has three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. The sophomore back has been solid during Rex Burkhead’s absence, and quarterback Taylor Martinez had an excellent rushing game in last week’s win over Michigan State. The defense still has some issues, but nothing that would prevent Nebraska from winning the Big Ten and playing in the Rose Bowl.

Related College Football Content

25 Coaching Candidates to Replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Ranks

Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 10 BCS Analysis

Teaser:
<p> Nebraska or Michigan: Which team wins the Legends Division in 2012?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-guards-and-centers
Body:

It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best interior lineman prospects:

Guards:

1. Chance Warmack, Alabama (6-3, 320, Sr.)
War-Daddy is the phrase most used when dealing with Warmack. He isn’t the biggest blocker in the nation, but he might be the most physical and most consistent in all of the nation. Like teammate Barrett Jones (see below), he plays for the best coach in the land and has multiple National Championships. He has paved the way for a host of elite running offenses and will likely be a top ten NFL pick come next spring. There are no weaknesses in his game.

2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6-3, 310, Sr.)
The big Tar Heel blocker has long been considered one of the top players in the nation at his position. He is an extraordinary run blocker and has the size and make up to contribute at an early stage of his NFL career. He is the only other guard prospect with a shot at landing in the first round along with Warmack and his “luxury” of facing elite NFL prospects every day in practice has to have helped his stock. He is a complete player who is developing nicely as a pass blocker.

3. Larry Warford, Kentucky (6-3, 330, Sr.)
Kentucky has not been good in 2012 but it hasn’t been Warford’s fault. He has elite size and has long been considered one of the top blockers in the SEC. He faces elite defenses each and every weekend, including a few potential first rounders like Sheldon Richardson and Sharrif Floyd, and more than holds his own. His teams are generally overmatched, making his efforts even more impressive due to work ethic and toughness.

4. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (6-4, 320, Jr.)
One thing scouts will love about Jackson is his competition. LSU, Alabama and the rest of the SEC, along with his own elite defensive line in practice, have given Jackson plenty of barometer tests throughout his career. He is a mauler in the running game, consistently gets to the second level and has the size and toughness to play right away.

5. Cyril Richardson, Baylor (6-5, 330, Jr.)
He was listed as the No. 13 offensive tackle prospect in Athlon Sports’ rankings, but should see his stock rise if he lands as a guard. He is a massive prospect with a huge NFL frame that will be most effective in the ground game. He may not be athletic or quick enough to stick at tackle, but his shift to guard has proven to be a productive one for Baylor. He has shown improvement all season long with his new position and could be only scratching the surface on his upside at guard.

6. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee (6-5, 305, Sr.)
7. Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (6-3, 300, Sr.)
8. Blaize Foltz, TCU (6-4, 310, Sr.)
9. Alvin Bailey, Arkansas (6-5, 319, Jr.)
10. Trey Hopkins, Texas (6-4, 300, Jr.)
11. Braden Hansen, BYU (6-5, 310, Sr.)
12. Travis Bond, North Carolina (6-6, 340, Sr.)
13. Jeff Baca, UCLA (6-3, 300, Sr.)
14. Marcus Hall, Ohio State (6-5, 317, Jr.)
15. Hugh Thornton, Illinois (6-4, 310, Sr.) 

Centers:

1. Khaled Holmes, USC (6-3, 305, Sr.)
If nothing else, scouts should realize how important and talented Holmes is when he didn’t play against Stanford. The Cardinal abused the interior of the USC line while Holmes sat on the sideline and watched. He returned and battled with early NFL pick Star Lotulelei with a bum ankle — winning some and losing some against the Utes' powerhouse. Overall, Holmes has tremendous athletic ability, is a natural fit at center and has a large frame that could carry additional weight. He is a complete player who has started since he was a sophomore and his absence was noticeable along the line in 2012.

2. Barrett Jones, Alabama (6-5, 310, Sr.)
Jones' resume is remarkable. He entered his final season as a two-time National Champion as well as the reigning Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top offensive lineman. And he is playing his third position, earning All-SEC honors as both a guard and tackle. He still could end up at either guard or center, but his skills will play on the next level regardless. He is extremely intelligent, hard working, versatile and physical. He will need to prove he can handle the massive nose guards to stick at center, but no matter where he ends up, Jones should make an early impact on Sundays.

3. Mario Benavides, Louisville (6-4, 290, Sr.)
Other than a short three-game absence at the start of 2011, Benavides has been a stalwart at the center position for the Cardinals. He is a four-year starter and has watched the team develop from Big East also-ran to a potential BCS bowl team. He has adequate size, tremendous experience and has proven his mettle against NFL-laden defensive lines like North Carolina's. He isn’t a first-round selection, but at a position that normally falls to the middle rounds, he is as safe a bet as there is in 2013.

4. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin (6-4, 330, Jr.)
The burly Badger blocker may also end up at guard like Jones, but has shifted to center for the 2012 season. He has a huge frame, great power and strength and has been productive against top-notch competition. He may not have the overt quickness and athleticism the NFL demands at center. He is an excellent run-blocker who has upside at the position because he is still learning how to play at the pivot.

5. Braxton Cave, Notre Dame (6-3, 305, Sr.)
When it comes to experience against elite level competition, few have the resume that Cave boasts. He was a big-time recruit and has proven himself against the likes of Kawann Short, Mike Martin, Jerel Worthy, Stanford’s front seven, USC and many more. Notre Dame’s schedule is one of the toughest each season and has given scouts loads of film on the slightly undersized center.

6. Graham Pocic, Illinois (6-5, 310, Sr.)
7. Travis Swanson, Arkansas (6-5, 305, Jr.)
8. Dalton Freeman, Clemson (6-4, 290, Sr.)
9. Weston Richburg, Colorado State (6-4, 300, Jr.)
10. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma (6-3, 290, Jr.)
11. T.J. Johnson, South Carolina (6-5, 318, Sr.)
12. Dillon Ferrell, New Mexico (6-5, 290, Jr.)
13. Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (6-3, 300, Jr.)
14. Joe Madsen, West Virginia (6-4, 305, Sr.)
15. Ryan Turnley, Pitt (6-5, 320, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

2013 NFL Draft: Running Backs

2013 NFL Draft: Tight Ends
2013 NFL Draft: Safeties

2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Wide Receivers

2013 NFL Draft: Offensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Inside Linebackers

2013 NFL Draft: Cornerbacks

2013 NFL Draft: Guards and Centers

Teaser:
<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Guards and Centers</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-10
Body:

Each week, the Athlon editors and others who closely follow college football vote on the most prestigious award in the sport. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports and other publications cast their votes for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

Barrett Sallee: Bleacher Report SEC Lead Writer (@BarrettSallee)
Jim Young: ACCSports.com (@ACCSports)
Blair Kerkhoff: Kansas City Star (@BlairKerkhoff)
Chris Level: RedRaiderSports.com (@ChrisLevel)

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (12 first place votes)
Stats:
 133-187, 1,875 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT, 139 att., 698 yards, 17 TD
The numbers weren't eye-popping, but CK7 was still extremely efficient and led his team to a big revenge win over a solid Oklahoma State team. He completed 16-of-22 passes for 245 yards and rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries and one total touchdown. He is now leading the nation in passing efficiency (174.39). Next Game: at TCU

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 129/130 12 1 - - - 13/13
2. (3) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 98/130 - 5 2 3 1 13/13
3. (2) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 91/130 1 1 4 2 3 13/13
4. (6) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 90/130 - 5 3 2 1 12/13
5t. (7) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 63/130 - - - 2 3 13/13
5t. (4) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 63/130 - 1 2 2 1 12/13
7. (9) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 48/130 - - 2 - 2 9/13
8. (9) Marqise Lee WR USC 39/130 - - - 2 1 10/13
9. (11) Giovani Bernard RB N. Carolina 16/130 - - - - - 6/13
10t. (8) Matt Barkley QB USC 15/130 - - - - - 4/13
10t. (5) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 15/130 - - - - - 7/13
12. (ur) Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville 11/130 - - - - - 6/13
13. (ur) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 10/130 - - - - - 3/13
14. (12) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 6/130 - - - - 1 1/13
15. (16) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 4/130 - - - - - 1/13
16t. (20) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
16t. (20) DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (13) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (14) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (ur) Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
21. (ur) Seth Doege QB Texas Tech 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
 
2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Stats: 
124-218, 1,753 yards, 14 TD, 6 INT, 184 att., 1,166 yards, 13 TD
Miller saw little resistance against Illinois this weekend. He scored three total touchdowns with 226 yards passing and 73 yards rushing. He is leading the Big Ten in total offense at 291.9 yards per game, is fourth in rushing (116.6 ypg) and has two tough games left between himself and an undefeated season: at Wisconsin and Michigan at home. Next Game: Bye Week

 
3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (1 first place vote)
Stats: 87 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 5 INT, 1.5 sack, FR, 4 PBU
It was close and it took some lucky "bounces" but Notre Dame stayed unbeaten with the overtime win over Pitt. Te'o posted seven total tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and broke up a pass. The defense didn't play its best game, allowing 20 points in the first three quarters. Yet, the Irish defense bowed up and shutout the Panthers in the fourth quarter while the offense rallied. It also only allowed two field goals in three overtime possessions, which helped the Irish come away with a 9-0 record. Next Game: at Boston College
 
4. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Stats: 179 att., 1,295 yards, 19 TD, 15 rec., 184 yards, TD
Barner certainly put on a show in the high profile win over USC on the road, rushing for 321 yards and five touchdowns. He is now leading the nation in scoring (13.3 ppg) and the Pac-12 in rushing (143.9 ypg). Most argue it is the system that provides the numbers — as well as Chip Kelly's best quarterback and offensive line since arriving in Eugene in 2007 — but it is hard to argue with 40 touches, 347 yards from scrimmage and five scores in the season's biggest game. He has three more major hurdles to clear to get to New York, and possibly, Miami Gardens. Next Game: at Cal

5t. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Stats: 173-269, 2,216 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT, 117 att., 793 yards, 13 TD
The record-setting redshirt freshman is leading the SEC in rushing (102.4 ypg) and total offense (383.2 ypg) while leading his team to back-to-back SEC West road wins over Auburn and Mississippi State. He threw for his third 300-yard effort in nine career games while rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in the 38-14 win in Starkville. His showdown with fellow Heisman Trophy hopeful AJ McCarron and the No. 1 team in the nation will eliminate one of the two SEC West passers. 
Next Week: at Alabama

5t. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Stats: 136-204, 1,849 yards, 19 TD, 0 INT, 34 att., minus-44 yards, TD
McCarron struggled for the first time all season during his team's toughest test in Baton Rouge. But when a potential shot at a second straight national championship was on the line, as well as his Heisman Trophy candidacy, he delivered in a big way. He led the Tide down the field with less than two minutes to play and won the game on a brilliant five-play, 72-yard drive spanning 43 seconds. He finished with 165 yards passing and two total touchdowns with nary an interception. Next Game: Texas A&M
 

7. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Stats: 
153-217, 1,787 yards, 22 TD, 5 INT, 72 att., 474 yards, 3 TD
Next Game: at Cal

8. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Stats: 88 rec., 1,286 yards, 12 TD, 23 KR, 677 yards, TD, 44 yards rushing 
Next Game: Arizona State

9. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Stats: 126 att., 930 yards, 10 TD, 32 rec., 319 yards, 3 TD, 12 PR, 249 yards, 2 TD 
Next Game: Georgia Tech

10. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Stats: 206-316, 2,750 yards, 30 TD, 10 INT, 21 att., minus-62 yards
Next game: Arizona State

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 10 Recap

ACC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 10</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-basketball/top-college-basketball-storylines-november-and-beyond
Body:

Football is still in the heart of its season. The NBA is just getting started. And the election was only yesterday.

In other words, it may be easy for college basketball to fly under the radar for the start of its season this weekend.

If it’s tough to pull away from football or other responsibilities in November, we’d like to help steer you the key games, teams, players and trends to watch as the college basketball season gets started Friday.

Early season tournaments and key non-conference games could shape the season to come and perhaps some NCAA Tournament resumes come March. Here’s what we’re watching through the season’s first month:

TOP 10 COLLEGE BASKETBALL STORYLINES IN NOVEMBER
1. Kentucky’s title defense
The Kentucky-Indiana series is on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean either team will hurt for major matchups early in the year. By Dec. 1, Kentucky will have faced Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame and Baylor with only the game against the Bears taking place in Lexington. With those kinds of matchups, John Calipari should have a pretty good idea of how freshmen Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress, NC State transfer Ryan Harrow and holdover Kyle Wiltjer mesh with enough time before the Wildcats visit Louisville at the end of December. Kentucky is 38-3 in November and December under Calipari, with all three losses coming to NCAA Tournament-bound teams on the road or at a neutral site.
Related: Kentucky team preview

2. Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility
The NCAA already cleared freshman Ryan Anderson, but the Bruins are still awaiting word on the status for their other star rookie. Even with the investigation into Muhammad’s amateur status crawling along, it may be unlikely he starts the season anyway after sustaining a shoulder injury. UCLA’s first major test is Nov. 19 in the Legends Classic with a possible game against No. 1 Indiana the following day.
Related: UCLA team preview

3. A loaded Battle 4 Atlantis field (Nov. 22-24)
The top early-season tournament will be on an island, but not in Maui. The Battle 4 Atlantis boasts a field deep enough that even the consolation games could feature would-be NCAA Tournament teams. Second-round games between Louisville and Missouri, which would bring a matchup All-American point guards Peyton Siva and Phil Pressey, and Memphis and Duke would be mandatory viewing on the day after Thanksgiving. Minnesota and Stanford, two teams optimistic after runs in the NIT last season, are also in the bracket.
Related: Louisville team preview

4. Aircraft carrier/military base games
Last season opened with North Carolina defeating Michigan State 67-55 on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson. The idea spread for the start of this season with Syracuse-San Diego State in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic aboard the USS Midway in San Diego, Florida-Georgetown aboard the USS Midway in Jacksonville, Fla., and Connecticut-Michigan State at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Whether these outdoor games are losing their luster or if they remain a special event, each game this year is a compelling early season matchup.
Related: Michigan State team preview

5. A potential matchup between UCLA and Indiana
Both teams would need to win their opening round games in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Indiana against Georgia and UCLA against Georgia -- to advance to a final. (Both could lose their opening round games and face each other in a consolation game, but that wouldn’t be quite as interesting.) If Muhammad is eligible, the nation’s top freshman class will face the nation’s No. 1 team and potential national player of the year in Cody Zeller.
Related: Indiana team preview

6. Kevin Ollie’s first test against Michigan State (Nov. 9)
For the first time since 1985-86 Connecticut will open a season without Jim Calhoun calling the shots. Calhoun’s predecessor, Dom Perno, started 8-0 that season with the first loss coming to a Calhoun-coached Northeastern team. Ollie’s first game as head coach will be tough against Michigan State in Germany. By Dec. 4, Ollie’s first team will have played in Europe, the Virgin Islands and Madison Square Garden.

7. Duke’s early season schedule
Duke is part of the loaded field in the Battle 4 Atlantis, but the Blue Devils also will be tested beyond the tournament. Nov. 13 will bring a machup between the defending national champion Kentucky and a team that exited the NCAA Tournament with a loss to 15th-seeded Lehigh. Mason Plumlee’s inside game will be tested against Nerlens Noel and MInnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe while freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon will draw an early matchup against Ohio State’s ace defender Aaron Craft.
Related: Duke team preview

8. Tony Mitchell vs. Doug McDermott (Nov. 9)
Creighton’s Doug McDermott and North Texas’ Tony Mitchell both showed up on Athlon’s preseason All-America teams. In the Missouri Valley and Sun Belt conferences, neither will encounter players of their caliber too often. Here’s a key matchup on the first day of the season between two of the best players from outside of the major conferences.
Related: Q&A with Doug McDermott

9. Barometer games in the Puerto Rico Tipoff (Nov. 15-18)
Tennessee and Oklahoma State both have aspirations of reaching the NCAA Tournament after missing the field a year ago. The Volunteers are looking forward to having Jarnell Stokes for a full season, but his frontcourt bash brother Jeronne Maymon is injured. Meanwhile, the Cowboys hope they can build around freshman point guard Marcus Smart for a return to the NCAA Tournament field. Atop the bracket is ACC contender NC State, which adds its own key freshman in Rodney Purvis.
Related: NC State team preview

10. Long Beach State’s brutal early season schedule
Like it did a year ago, Big West favorite Long Beach State isn’t taking shortcuts with its early season schedule. The 49ers start with North Alabama but then the schedule is as follows: at USC, North Carolina, at Arizona, at Fresno State, at Loyola Marymount, Fresno State (again), at Syracuse, at Ohio State, BYU-Hawaii, at UCLA -- all before Christmas. Meanwhile, Long Beach State will have to play part of that without transfers Keala King (Arizona State) and Tony Freeland (DePaul), who won’t be eligible until December. In a similar strech to start last season, Long Beach State only defeated Pittsburgh, which seemed to say as much about the Panthers as the 49ers. Long Beach State still went on to finish 15-1 in conference and win a Tournament berth.

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

Teaser:
<p> Top College Basketball Storylines for November and beyond</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 04:38
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-10
Body:

A Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway could provide a clue as to how racy NASCAR’s 2013 Sprint Cup car can be.

While the focus will be on tires at the test, NASCAR also will experiment with the car in hopes of making it easier for drivers to run closer together. One of the reasons mentioned this year for the relative lack of cautions was that it was so hard to race close together for a stretch, although Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski showed it can be done late in last weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said Monday that “there are some things that we are working on that show promise” and could create tighter racing when the cars debut next season.

He noted that officials are experimenting with the car’s underbody, along with the front of it and the rear spoiler.

Andy Graves, Toyota’s Cup manager, notes that when a car is alone in clean air, it has maximum downforce, thus is compressed and as close to the ground as possible. When two cars are running near each other, the trailing car loses some of that air pressure and the car rises.

 “If the car is very pitch-sensitive and very ride-height sensitive, then, unfortunately, you lose more downforce when you’re behind someone,” Graves says.

 “We’re trying to develop from the splitter, the spoiler, studying the data, looking at wind tunnel information that is more advanced than it’s ever been; we’re trying to understand and come up with some characteristics that performance stays the same whether you’re all by yourself or in traffic. That is going to help the racing.”

Pemberton said he’s confident that the new car will be better than when the current car debuted as the Car of Tomorrow in 2007.

“It goes back to us spending more time getting the car closer developed when we hand the car off,” he says. “It will be a far, far, better racing car to start off with and then the teams will take it to the next level.”

Brad Keselowski suggests not judging the car’s performance too early next season, though.

“The odds are that this car is not going to come out of the gate perfect,” he says. “It’s going to take time. But much like if you unveiled a new iPhone and rolled it out and said, ‘In a year we’ll have it working right,’ your customers probably aren’t going to be happy about that. I think we all know that and are braced for it, but we know long-term that this car is going to be part of the solution for getting NASCAR as strong as it possibly can be.”

If everything goes as NASCAR hopes, Graves says the cars should be easier to drive than the current cars but says the driver ability will still matter.

“Making cars hard to drive, that’s not what separates talent on the race track,” he says. “It’s all the other intangibles. It’s operating in traffic from setting someone up for the pass, it’s managing your tires, managing the race, understanding fuel mileage. There’s a lot of different aspects, in my opinion, rather than making the cars hard to drive and say the best driver is going to be the guy that best manages that.”


NEW FAVORITE  At one point during last weekend’s race at Texas, the crowd roared when Brad Keselowski took the lead. He missed that.

“I would have liked to have heard that,” Keselowski said. “That’s one of my biggest regrets of being a race car driver is missing out on those moments. In other sports, like football or basketball or baseball when they do something and the crowd cheers, you really feel it, (but) racing, you’ve got none of that. It’s really a big bummer because I would have loved to have heard that.”

Keselowski knows that he’s gained fans during this Chase as he battles five-time champion Jimmie Johnson for the championship.

“I think I have a lot of Jimmie-hater fans,” said Keselowski, who trails Johnson by seven points with two races to go.

“I’m not sure how I feel about it. I try really hard to engage a very informed and positive fan base. That might not be necessarily along those lines, but I’ll take every fan I can get.”

Keselowski understands why some fans feel the way they do toward Johnson.

“It’s American culture, build somebody up just so you can tear them down, whether it’s the president or sports star,” he said. “It’s just American culture. Maybe one day I’ll be so fortunate as to be torn down.”


CHARGING  Although not a title contender, Kyle Busch has scored 274 points in the Chase, fifth-most among all drivers. Busch is coming off a third-place finish at Texas last weekend, his fifth top-5 finish in the Chase.

“I wish we were in the deal,” Busch said after last weekend’s race at Texas, “but that’s what next year is for.”


TITLE RACES  With two races to go, Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse are tied for the points lead in the Nationwide Series. Austin Dillon is third, 21 points behind them.

In the Camping World Truck Series, James Buescher has a 15-point lead on Ty Dillon with Timothy Peters 25 points back and Parker Kligerman 27 points out with two races to go.


PIT STOPS  NASCAR announced Tuesday that comedian Howie Mandel will host the Sprint Cup Series Awards program on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas. ... Donny Schatz won the World of Outlaws championship driving for Tony Stewart’s team. ... Kyle Larson, a development driver for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, won the K&N Pro Series East championship last weekend with a sixth-place finish in the season finale at Rockingham Speedway. ... Sunday’s Cup race marks Danica Patrick’s 10th and final one of the season. She is coming off her career-best Cup finish of 24th last weekend at Texas. ... Jimmie Johnson, victorious last weekend at Texas, has won 22 races in the Chase. Next on the list is Tony Stewart with 11 Chase victories.


by Dustin Long
Follow Dustin on Twitter:
@DustinLong
 

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long updates on the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup car, Bradk Keselowski's popularity in the Chase and Kyle Busch's bot streak.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 18:54
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-every-game-week-10-0
Body:

NFL Week 10 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:



Colts (5-3) at Jaguars (1-7)
Indianapolis has been playing “Chuck Strong” — in honor of coach Chuck Pagano’s ongoing fight with leukemia — en route to a 4–1 record since its Week 4 bye. And while rookie Andrew Luck only gives his performance a “C” grade, everyone else thinks he’s acing his first year. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is a Thursday night loss away from the worst start in team history, lowering the bar for futility set by the 2003 squad. The Jags have been outscored 126–34 at EverBank Field this year, so there is no homefield advantage to speak of in this one.
Colts by 4


Chargers (4-4) at Buccaneers (4-4)
It has been a tale of two quarters for Tampa Bay — going 1–3 before its Week 5 bye and 3–1 since regrouping under first-year coach Greg Schiano. The split stats for rookie running back Doug Martin tell the story. The Boise State back had 247 yards and one TD over his first four games and has tallied 547 yards and six TDs in his last four contests, a stretch in which the Buccaneers’ offense has averaged 477 yards and 36 points per game.
Buccaneers by 3


Titans (3-6) at Dolphins (4-4)
“If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship caliber football team,” said owner Bud Adams, following Tennessee’s terrible 51–20 defeat to Chicago. Running back Chris Johnson has not been the problem of late — with 526 yards and three TDs, two of which were 80-plus-yard sprints, the last four games.
Dolphins by 3


Bills (3-5) at Patriots (5-3)
Tom Brady loves playing the Bills. Tom Terrific has a 19–2 career record against the AFC East division rival, with 49 TD passes. Tommy Boy isn’t the only one in New England who likes to beat up on Buffalo, however. The Pats have a 17–1 record in their last 18 games vs. the Bills.
Patriots by 14


Raiders (3-5) at Ravens (6-2)
Baltimore’s record is more impressive than its resume. The Ravens have been getting by with smoke and mirrors — which will likely continue this week against the Silver-and-Bleak.
Ravens by 7


Broncos (5-3) at Panthers (2-6)
While the Cats have seemingly grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat at every turn, the Broncs have been bucking strong down the stretch all season long. Denver has outscored its opponents 103–23 in the fourth quarter, which is the best points differential in the league over the final stanza this year.
Broncos by 3


Giants (6-3) at Bengals (3-5)
Cincy looks to end its four-game losing streak against the defending Super Bowl champions, who are 3–1 on the road this season.
Giants by 5


Lions (4-4) at Vikings (5-4)
Minnesota took a 20–13 victory at Detroit in Week 4 on the strength of a 105-yard opening kickoff return TD by Percy Harvin and a punt return TD by Marcus Sherels — making the Lions the first team to give up both a kick and punt return TD in consecutive weeks.
Vikings by 1


Falcons (8-0) at Saints (3-5)
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan carries a 2–6 career record against NFC South rival New Orleans, including a 1–3 mark in the Big un-Easy. Last year, the Dirty Birds went 0–2 vs. the Saints, losing  26–23 at home on a controversial fourth-down call in Week 10 and then in a 45–16 blowout on the road in Week 16.
Falcons by 3


Jets (3-5) at Seahawks (5-4)
The sputtering J-E-T-S fly cross-country to take on the Hawks, who have a 4–0 record at CenturyLink Field this season.
Seahawks by 5


Cowboys (3-5) at Eagles (3-5)
Marcus Vick doesn’t want to see Michael Vick “with brain problems by the time he 45,” he said in a Twitter rant while watching his older brother get sacked seven times and knocked to the turf countless more times against the Saints on Monday night.
Cowboys by 1


Rams (3-5) at 49ers (6-2)
San Francisco is 9–2 at home under coach Jim Harbaugh, including a 26–0 win over St. Louis at Candlestick Park in Week 13 last year.
49ers by 11


Texans (7-1) at Bears (7-1)
A Sunday night fight featuring the league’s two one-loss clubs. Both quarterbacks have been red hot. Houston’s Matt Schaub has a 10–1 record over his last 11 starts, while Chicago’s Jay Cutler is 12–1 dating back to before his season-ending thumb injury last season.
Bears by 1


Chiefs (1-7) at Steelers (5-3)
Kansas City has coughed up a league-leading 29 turnovers, which have led to 104 points for its opponents. Blitz-burgh will likely take advantage of that trend on Monday night.
Steelers by 13


Last week: 11–3 // Season: 88–44
 

Teaser:
<p> NFL Picks, Every Game: Week 10, including Houston Texans at Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 17:48
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-going-week-10
Body:

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams — from the best, the lone remaining undefeated Atlanta Falcons, to the worst, the staggering one-win Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 9 of the season:



1. Falcons (8-0) Lone unbeaten remaining at season’s halfway point.

2. Texans (7-1) Despite flu, Arian Foster posts 20th 100-yard game.

3. Bears (7-1) Defense forces five turnovers, scores TD in win.

4. 49ers (6-2) Aldon Smith denies being attacked during bye week.

5. Packers (6-3) Perfect time for bye with Matthews, Nelson injured.

6. Steelers (5-3) Antonio Brown sprains ankle in victory over Giants.

7. Giants (6-3) Take 20–10 lead, outscored 14–0 in fourth quarter.

8. Broncos (5-3) Peyton Manning improves to 8–0 all-time vs. Cincy.

9. Ravens (6-2) John Harbaugh 5–0 after bye, 10–0 against Browns.

10. Patriots (5-3) Acquire troubled cornerback Aqib Talib during bye.

11. Seahawks (5-4) “Beast Mode” loses RB battle, wins war vs. “All Day.”

12. Vikings (5-4) Adrian Peterson posts best rushing total since 2008.

13. Colts (5-3) Chuck Pagano inspires Indy with emotional speech.

14. Saints (3-5) Drew Brees extends record TD streak to 51 games.

15. Eagles (3-5) Mike Vick, Andy Reid saga an ongoing soap opera.



16. Chargers (4-4) Fans hang “Mr. Spanos, please fire A.J. & Norv” sign.

17. Dolphins (4-4) Bradshaw apologizes for Bush “chicken” comments.

18. Lions (4-4) Matt Stafford fourth youngest QB to 10,000 yards.

19. Buccaneers (4-4) Doug Martin first RB with three 45-plus-yard TDs.

20. Cowboys (3-5) Jerry Jones is “extremely, extremely” disappointed.

21. Jets (3-5) Rex Ryan voted most overrated coach by players.

22. Titans (3-6) Bud Adams says team “outcoached and outplayed.”

23. Cardinals (4-5) Have an 0–5 record since starting the season 4–0.

24. Bengals (3-5) Have an 0–4 record since starting the season 3–1.

25. Rams (3-5) Danny Amendola set to return from shoulder injury.

26. Panthers (2-6) Snap five-game slide, spoil Skins’ “homecoming.”

27. Redskins (3-6) Throwback 1937 jerseys bad luck against Carolina.

28. Bills (3-5) Mario Williams has sack but loses return to Houston.

29. Raiders (3-5) Darren McFadden injures ankle in loss to Tampa Bay.

30. Browns (2-7) Fail to score a TD despite five trips to the red zone.

31. Chiefs (1-7) K.C. still has not led a single second in regulation.

32. Jaguars (1-7) Trailed 24–0 before face-saving scores vs. Lions.
 

Teaser:
<p> NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 10, including the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 17:28
Path: /nfl/nfl-midseason-awards-0
Body:

NFL midseason awards at halftime of the 2012 NFL season:



Most Valuable Player
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

“Matty Ice” has been as cool as they come this season. The fifth-year signal-caller out of Boston College has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 2,360 yards, 17 TDs and six INTs for a 103.0 passer rating, while leading the Falcons to a franchise-record 8–0 start to the season. Up next: Securing home field advantage for Atlanta and winning the first playoff game of his career.


Offensive Player of the Year
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings

Knee surgery? What knee surgery? “All Day” has been trucking defenders since Day 1 this season. In fact, Peterson is on pace for a career year, with a league-leading 957 yards, on 5.7 yards per carry, and six trips to the end zone thus far. And he’s averaging a staggering 106.3 yards per game while carrying the load for the Vikes.


Defensive Player of the Year
J.J. Watt, DE, Texans

In only his second season in the NFL, Watt has established himself as the premier 3-4 end in the league. A pass-rushing, football-batting beast in the trenches, Watt has recorded 10.5 sacks and 10 pass deflections in just eight games this season, leading a Houston stop-unit ranked third in total defense and fourth in scoring defense.

 


Offensive Rookie of the Year
Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins
The most competitive category on the ballot, RG3 barely leads Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Bucs running back Doug Martin. The Skins’ dual-threat has 2,522 total yards, 14 total TDs and five turnovers, with a 93.9 passer rating in nine games.


Defensive Rookie of the Year
Chandler Jones, DE, Patriots

The little brother of MMA fighter “Bones” Jones has been making opposing offensive linemen tap out in his first season, tallying 6.0 sacks and three forced fumbles as New England’s top splash-playmaker.


Comeback Player of the Year
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos

Manning is back in the saddle after missing the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. And the 15th-year vet is as good as ever, completing 69.5 percent of his passes for 2,404 yards, 20 TDs and six INTs for a 108.6 passer rating through eight games.


Coach of the Year
Lovie Smith, Bears

The 2005 Coach of the Year has Chicago sitting in first place in the NFC North — the NFL’s only division with no sub-.500 teams. The Bears boast a league-best plus-116-point differential this season.

Teaser:
<p> NFL midseason awards at halftime of the 2012 NFL season, including Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for MVP, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for Offensive Player of the Year, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt for Defensive Player of the Year, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones for Defensive Rookie of the Year, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for Comeback Player of the Year and Bears coach Lovie Smith for Coach of the Year.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 12:40
All taxonomy terms: Politicians, Monthly
Path: /monthly/15-athletes-turned-politicians
Body:

Many athletes hit the campaign trail once their playing days are over. And on the other side of the aisle, quite a few politicians were once on-field leaders. Here are 15 former players who became important leaders in the field of politics.

Gerald Ford
38th President of the United States (R)
Linebacker/Center, University of Michigan
An iron man on the Wolverines’ 1932 and 1933 undefeated national title teams, Ford’s No. 48 has since been retired.

Dwight Eisenhower
34th President of the United States (R)
Linebacker/Running back, U.S.M.A. at West Point
Ike tackled the legendary Jim Thorpe in 1912, but suffered a career-ending knee injury in the same game.

Ronald Reagan
40th President of the United States (R)
Offensive guard, Eureka College
Before he played “The Gipper” in the movie Knute Rockne, All American, Reagan played football.

George H.W. Bush
41st President of the United States (R)
First baseman, Yale University
H.W. played in the first two College World Series. His son, George W. Bush, co-owned the Texas Rangers before becoming the 43rd President of the United States.

Kevin Johnson
Mayor (D-Sacramento, Calif.)
Point guard, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers
K.J. averaged 17.9 points and 9.1 assists over 12 seasons before becoming the first African-American mayor in Sacramento history.

Bill Bradley
Senator (D-New Jersey)
Small forward, New York Knicks
The Rhodes Scholar was the Final Four MOP at Princeton in 1965 before winning two NBA championships with the Knicks.

Jim Bunning
Senator (R-Kentucky)
Starting pitcher, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, L.A. Dodgers
The righty threw a no-hitter in 1958, a perfect game in 1964 and was a Veterans Committee selection in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor (R-California)
Bodybuilder, Austria
Mr. Universe became the Terminator and then the Governator. Schwarzenegger was also married to Maria Shriver, the niece of JFK.

Dave Bing
Mayor (D-Detroit, Mich.)
Shooting guard, Detroit Pistons, Washington Bullets, Boston Celtics
Named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996, Bing was a steel magnate before taking the top office in the Motor City.

Jesse Ventura
Governor (I-Minnesota)
Pro wrestler, WWF
The Body fought in the Vietnam War and alongside “Macho Man” Randy Savage before becoming the Governing Body.

Steve Largent
Congressman (R-Oklahoma)
Wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks
An eight-time All-Pro and 1988 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Largent finished with 819 catches and 100 TDs.

Heath Shuler
Congressman (D-North Carolina)
Quarterback, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints
The Blue Dog Democrat was a Heisman Trophy runner-up at the University of Tennessee and No. 3 overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft.

Tom Osborne
Congressman (R-Nebraska)
Wide receiver, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers
A quarterback at Hastings College and a wideout in the NFL, Osborne won three national championships as the head coach at Nebraska.

Jack Kemp
Congressman (R-New York)
Quarterback, Buffalo Bills, L.A. Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bob Dole’s running mate in the 1996 Presidential election, Kemp carried a 122–105 record as a starting quarterback.

J.C. Watts
Congressman (R-Oklahoma)
Quarterback, University of Oklahoma
Julius Caesar Watts led the Sooners to back-to-back Orange Bowl wins and was MVP of the 1981 Grey Cup for the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders.

Teaser:
<p> 15 Athletes Turned Politicians</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 10:22
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-10-bowl-projections
Body:

College football's bowl season is inching closer, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With nine weeks of results in the books, it's beginning to get easier to make long-term projections about teams. 

The post-Week 10 bowl projections are a mixture between how things would look if the season ended today, future schedules, and a dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 10 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Arizona State vs. Nevada
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. San Diego State
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA East Carolina vs. Bowling Green*
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Monroe vs. Tulsa
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC W. Kentucky* vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Kent State* vs. Marshall*
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Duke vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Oklahoma State
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. La. Tech*
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East Miami vs. Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Baylor vs. Minnesota
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Houston vs. Air Force
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. Washington
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Pittsburgh vs. TCU
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. Texas Tech
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Michigan State vs. West Virginia
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Ole Miss vs. NC State
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 USC vs. Virginia Tech
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Tennessee vs. UCF**
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Clemson vs. Miss. State
Heart of Dallas Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. Big 12 San Jose State* vs. Iowa State
TaxSlayer.com Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten South Carolina vs. Northwestern
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Florida vs. Michigan
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Wisconsin vs. Georgia
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC Texas vs. Texas A&M
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas State*
GoDaddy.com Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt MTSU vs. Ohio
       
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Nebraska vs. Oregon State
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Kansas State vs. Notre Dame
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS Oregon vs. Alabama


* Indicates an at-large team due to a conference unable to fill bowl slots according to Athlon's projections.

** UCF is appealing a postseason ban and for now, is eligible to compete in the 2012 postseason.

Bold indicates a team has accepted bowl bid.

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Nov. 4, 2012)

Related College Football Content

Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 10
Post-Week 10 ACC Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Big East Power Rankings
Post-Week 10 Big 12 Power Rankings
Post-Week 10 Big Ten Power Rankings
Post-Week 10 Pac-12 Power Rankings
Post-Week 10 SEC Power Rankings
College Football Week 10 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:11
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-10-rankings
Body:

Week 10 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips was fired after losing 40-0 to Vanderbilt on Saturday. Phillips became the first BCS coach fired this season and the second after Idaho parted ways with Robb Akey. Boston College's Frank Spaziani now claims the top spot in the hot seat ranks. Auburn's Gene Chizik, Tennessee's Derek Dooley and California's Jeff Tedford remain in the top five, while Iowa's Kirk Ferentz rejoins the rankings after a loss to Indiana.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings

1. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 22-26 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-7
If there was really any doubt about Spaziani’s future at Boston College, those questions were answered on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles lost 28-14 at Wake Forest, ending any hopes they had of getting bowl eligible this season. Since leading Boston College to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2009-10, Spaziani is just 6-15 and will likely finish 2012 with a 2-10 record.

2. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at Auburn: 32-17 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-7
Chizik got a much-needed victory on Saturday, as Auburn easily dispatched New Mexico State 42-7. Even though the Tigers were heavily favored, this team needed a confidence boost before the final three games of the season. Auburn has a chance to play spoiler this week, as rival Georgia comes to town with a chance to clinch the SEC East title with a victory. Barring a win in either of the Tigers’ last two conference games, it’s hard to envision Chizik getting another year in Auburn. Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace is someone the Tigers can build their offense around, but it’s probably too late for Chizik and this coaching staff to save their jobs.

3. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Record at Tennessee: 15-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-5
Just like Gene Chizik, Dooley got a much-needed victory on Saturday. Of course, a 55-48 last-minute win over Troy didn’t exactly quiet the restlessness surrounding the program. Tennessee’s defense has been awful under new coordinator Sal Sunseri, ranking 112th nationally in yards allowed and 107th in scoring defense. With winnable games against Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, a 7-5 finish could be enough for Dooley to return for 2013. However, even if Dooley is brought back, the road to a winning season won’t be any easier. The defensive issues won’t be an easy fix, and quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson could leave early for the NFL.

4. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at California: 82-55 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-7
A bad season got even worse for Tedford last week. Star receiver Keenan Allen suffered a knee injury on an onside kick against Utah and will likely miss the rest of the season. Not having Allen in the lineup against Washington hurt the Golden Bears’ offense, as well as an injury to starting quarterback Zach Maynard. With Friday night’s loss to Washington, California dropped to 3-7 and will miss out on a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. There’s no question Tedford is in serious jeopardy of not returning for 2013 and there’s a good chance the Golden Bears finish 3-9 with Oregon and Oregon State remaining on the schedule.

5. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at Southern Miss: 0-9
2012 Record: 0-9
Johnson is the only first-year coach to crack the top five of the hot seat watch over the last two years. Southern Miss jumped out to a 16-0 lead against UAB, but the Blazers rallied for a 27-19 victory. The Golden Eagles are 0-9 and have already set the record for the most losses in school history. It’s rare to see a first-year coach in danger of losing his job, but Johnson has done very little to suggest he deserves a second season in Hattiesburg.

6. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at New Mexico State: 10-37 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-7
As expected, New Mexico State’s trip to Auburn wasn’t pretty. The Aggies were demolished 42-7 by the Tigers, which was the eighth consecutive defeat for New Mexico State. Walker has never won more than four games in his tenure in Las Cruces and could finish with a 1-11 record this year. Considering New Mexico State’s uncertain conference situation, it will be very difficult to attract coaching candidates. However, it’s clear Walker is struggling to make any progress after four years.

7. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Central Michigan: 9-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The 2012 season has been one of missed opportunities for Enos and Central Michigan. The Chippewas beat Iowa on the road and had a chance to make a run at a bowl game if they could have won the final four contests. However, Central Michigan was defeated 42-31 by rival Western Michigan on Saturday, dropping the Chippewas' record to 3-6. The remaining schedule is favorable – Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and UMass – but it’s hard to count on any consistency from this team. Enos has recorded only three wins in each of his three years in Mount Pleasant and that’s simply not enough to keep his job for 2013.

8. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Purdue: 19-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 3-6
Barring a three-game winning streak to close out the 2012 season, Hope is unlikely to return to West Lafayette for 2013. The Boilermakers have failed to build on the momentum from the end of 2011 and have lost five consecutive games. Hope is just 10-19 in four years in Big Ten play and there are no guaranteed wins with Iowa, Illinois and Indiana remaining on the schedule. Hope recorded a 35-22 mark during his tenure at Eastern Kentucky, but has never been able to build a consistent winner at Purdue.

9. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at UTEP: 47-59 (8 years)
2012 Record: 2-7
The Miners were off in Week 10 and return to action against UCF this Saturday. UTEP has managed only two victories this season (New Mexico State and Tulane) and has lost four conference games by at least 10 points. Price started off his tenure in El Paso with an 8-4 record in 2005 but has not won more than six games in season over the last seven. UTEP could be favored to beat Southern Miss and Rice at the end of the year but that's probably not enough for Price to return in 2013.

10. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Buffalo: 7-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-7
Quinn drops three spots in the hot seat watch after a 27-24 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. The win over the RedHawks was Buffalo’s first conference victory this season and snapped a six-game losing streak. A key reason in the upset win was the play of running back Branden Oliver, who has returned from an early season knee injury to rush for 300 yards over the last two weeks. With winnable games against Western Michigan and UMass the next two weeks, Buffalo has a chance to surpass last season’s win total (3).

11. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Rice: 27-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
After a 1-5 start, Bailiff is making a late run to save his job for 2013. Rice has won three out of its last four games, including a 49-47 shootout victory at Tulane on Saturday. Although wins against UTSA, Southern Miss and Tulane are nothing special, the Owls have a chance to get bowl eligible if they can beat SMU and UTEP in their final two games. If Bailiff can go 5-7 or 6-6, he should be back for another year. However, if Rice loses both games, a new coach will likely be on the sidelines next season.

12. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at UNLV: 6-29 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-8
As the hot seat watch has mentioned throughout this year, UNLV is showing signs of improvement in Hauck’s third season. The Rebels took Minnesota to overtime in the opener and lost to Washington State by eight points. UNLV has conference wins over Air Force and New Mexico, along with a five-point loss to Nevada. The Rebels have never won more than two games under Hauck, so the next three games of the season are more opportunities to show the program is headed in the right direction. Matchups against Colorado State, Wyoming and Hawaii are winnable, which should be enough for Hauck to return for 2013.

13. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank: 14
Record at Connecticut: 8-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
A promising start has quickly eroded into a disaster for Connecticut. The Huskies opened 2-1 with a solid road victory over Maryland. However, it’s been all downhill since. Connecticut has only one win in its last five games – a 24-17 victory over 2-7 Buffalo. Dating back to last season, the Huskies have lost five consecutive Big East games and still have to play Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati this season. Connecticut will probably give Pasqualoni one more season to turn things around. However, there’s very little to suggest the veteran coach deserves another year in Storrs.

14. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Colorado: 4-18 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-8
The season finale against Utah can’t get here soon enough for Colorado. The Buffaloes were soundly defeated by Stanford 48-0 on Saturday. The loss dropped Embree to 4-18 overall and the last three Pac-12 losses have come by at least 40 points. Although Colorado is committed to giving Embree more help next season, the second-year coach hasn’t shown much to suggest he deserves more time. The Buffaloes have been largely uncompetitive for two seasons and rank statistically as one of the worst teams in the nation.

15. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at South Florida: 16-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The Bulls snapped a six-game losing streak in Big East play with a 13-6 win over Connecticut on Saturday. However, the victory was costly, as quarterback B.J. Daniels was lost for the year with a leg injury. Although the Bulls are just 3-6 and played a bad Connecticut team, beating the Huskies was a much-needed confidence-booster for this team. With Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule, South Florida will need to play its best game to have a shot to win any of those three contests. Holtz’s huge contract extension may keep him around another year but finishing with a 3-9 record would only increase the calls for his job at the end of the season.

16. Tom O'Brien, NC State
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at NC State: 38-34 (6 years)
2012 Record: 5-4
Thanks to an inexplicable 33-6 loss to Virginia on Saturday, O’Brien makes his first appearance in the hot seat watch. Considering the talent O’Brien had coming back to Raleigh this year, there’s really no excuse for this team to lose to Virginia at home. And the grumblings within the fan base have only gotten louder over the last two weeks, especially after a loss to North Carolina on a late punt return for a touchdown. With Wake Forest, Clemson and Boston College the final three games on the NC State schedule, the Wolfpack should finish 7-5. If O’Brien can lead this team to that record, it would be the first time since 2000-02 that NC State had at least seven wins in three consecutive seasons. Although O’Brien’s record isn’t bad (38-34), there is plenty of doubt about his future.

17. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Western Michigan: 51-45 (8th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Broncos haven’t had much luck this season, but they scored a key win on Saturday, defeating rival Central Michigan 42-31. The victory over the Chippewas gave Western Michigan a two-game winning streak in the series, which is its first since 2002-03. The Broncos finish the year with Buffalo and Eastern Michigan, two games that are very winnable and could be enough to land another bowl appearance. Cubit’s teams at Western Michigan have underachieved but losing quarterback Alex Carder in late September was a difficult setback for this team.

18. Mack Brown, Texas
Last Week’s Rank: 18
Record at Texas: 148-41 (15th season)
2012 Record: 7-2
After a disappointing performance against Kansas, Saturday’s 31-22 victory over Texas Tech was a critical win for Brown. Although he’s not really in any danger of losing his job, Brown needed a solid victory to help bolster this team's hopes for a late run at 10 wins. The Longhorns take on Iowa State and TCU in Austin for their next two games, before finishing the season at Kansas State. Although Brown is taking a lot of heat for this team not contending for a Big 12 title, finishing with a 9-3 or 10-2 record is a step in the right direction.

19. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank: 20
Record at SMU: 28-33 (5th season)
2012 Record: 4-5
The Mustangs had their two-game winning streak snapped with a 42-17 loss against UCF in Week 10. SMU’s three wins in Conference USA play have come against UTEP, Houston and Memphis – not exactly the most difficult of opponents. However, the Mustangs could still get bowl eligible, especially with Southern Miss visiting Dallas this Saturday and a trip to Rice on Nov. 17. Jones has led SMU to three consecutive bowl games but he hasn’t improved the program to the level some expected. Don’t be surprised if the veteran coach takes a look at potential openings around the nation this offseason.

20. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Iowa: 100-72 (14 seasons)
2012 Record: 4-5
Ferentz has done a lot of good things at Iowa, but the program seems to be trending in the wrong direction. The Hawkeyes have watched their win total decline since posting 11 victories in 2009 and could miss out on a bowl game this year. Iowa lost 24-21 to Indiana on Saturday, its first defeat to the Hoosiers since 2007. Ferentz received a huge contract extension after the 2009 season, which won’t make it easy for Iowa to make a coaching change. Even if the Hawkeyes lose their final three games of the season, Ferentz won’t be fired. However, 19-16 record over the last three years isn’t sitting well with the fan base.
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

Post-Week 10 ACC Power Rankings
Post-Week 10 Big East Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Big 12 Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Big Ten Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Pac-12 Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 SEC Power Rankings

College Football Week 10 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:10
Path: /college-football/8-college-football-coaches-who-could-run-president
Body:

Election Day always brings out strong opinions across the United States, especially when it comes to choosing a president. College football coaches aren't going to run for the Oval Office anytime soon but what if they did? Athlon examined the coaching ranks in college football and found a handful of candidates that could make a run at the White House. And just like when it comes to choosing a president or any other representative, it's perfectly fine to disagree with our choices.

8 College Football Coaches Who Could Run for President

Al Golden, Miami
Age:
43

When it comes to appearing "presidential", no other college football coach can match Golden. The 43-year-old Miami coach was also born on July 4 – doesn’t that count for something?

Golden’s overall record at Miami isn’t great (11-10), but he didn’t exactly inherit a full cupboard in Coral Gables. The New Jersey native seems to have the Hurricanes going in the right direction, especially since the program could make its first appearance in the ACC title game this year. Also, Golden’s previous body of work at Temple is strong, resurrecting one of the worst college football programs into a winner during his last two years.  

And it’s never a bad idea to have a candidate from a swing state (Florida) on the board.


Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Age:
41

Any coach that downs Red Bull and coffee like its water automatically has our interest. Holgorsen’s penchant for chugging on a Red Bull before a game makes us confident he would have no trouble burning the midnight oil required in the Oval Office.

The Iowa native spent most of his time in the Midwest, but his stop at West Virginia has added some East Coast experience to his resume. Holgorsen’s high-scoring offense is innovative and exciting, which leads us to believe he can help deliver some fresh ideas on how to jumpstart the economy.

Holgorsen is a bit of a wild card and was reportedly escorted from a casino in May of 2011. However, it’s hard to ignore one of the top offensive minds in the nation. And let's be honest - there would probably never be a dull day with Holgorsen in charge.
 

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Age:
51

Kelly has some political experience in his background, so making a run at the White House is a logical move. The Massachusetts native has gathered experience as a head coach at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame, with a solid record of 196-66-2.

In addition to his excellent overall record, Kelly has the personality to work with boosters or students, which would translate well to working with both sides of the political spectrum.

Kelly’s teams at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati thrived on offense. However, Notre Dame’s defense ranks as one of the best in college football this season. This clearly shows Kelly is willing to adapt to whatever is necessary to succeed.


Nick Saban, Alabama
Age:
61

College football’s No. 1 coach is really a no-brainer when it comes to this opportunity. Saban is 64-12 in six seasons with Alabama and has won two national championships during his time in Tuscaloosa. The West Virginia native’s success isn’t just limited to Alabama, as Saban went 48-16 in five years at LSU and was 34-24-1 during his time at Michigan State.

Considering Saban’s ability to coordinate some of the nation’s best defenses, there’s no question national defense would be a strength under his watch. Saban is demanding, but he’s also the best of the best.

Even if some people may have SEC fatigue, Saban is capable of producing instant results. That’s all that really matters right?
 

Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Age:
73

Considering everything Snyder touches seems to turn to gold, why not make a run at Washington, D.C.? In 21 seasons at Kansas State, Snyder has recorded an impressive 168-83-1 record. His winning mark is even more impressive when you consider how difficult it was for a coach to win at Kansas State before his arrival.

The only thing that works against Snyder? His age. At 73 years old, Snyder is the oldest candidate on this list. However, the Missouri native is known as a relentless worker and has a clear plan for how to govern: 16 goals for success. And that plan just happens to be more than most politicians propose throughout their career.
 

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Age:
48

Sumlin is a rising star in the coaching ranks and could rank among the nation's best by 2016. The Alabama native has working experience in all parts of the country, making stops as an assistant at Washington State, Wyoming, Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Sumlin has worked for five years as a head coach (Houston, Texas A&M) and has compiled a 42-19 record.

If you are looking for something new and exciting, Sumlin is your man. He’s got experience from all parts of the nation and his offense would be entertaining, leading to a boost in the stands, which will only help the local economy. 
 

Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Age:
48

When it comes to producing results, it’s hard to find a coach with the track record of Urban Meyer. The Ohio native went 17-6 in two years at Bowling Green, 22-2 in two years at Utah, 65-15 in six years at Florida an 10-0 in his only season at Ohio State. Meyer also won a national title during his time with the Gators and has experience as an assistant at Notre Dame, Bowling Green and Illinois State.

Meyer’s offenses have been some of the best in college football, so if you are looking for a candidate with innovation and creativity, the Buckeyes’ coach is the right choice.

Considering Meyer got burned out during his time at Florida, he would need to surround himself with the best possible staff to help manage his tenure in the Oval Office.
 

Mack Brown, Texas
Age: 61

Is there really any doubt Brown is the perfect candidate to run for political office? The Tennessee native is the ultimate CEO of a college football program, knows how to lobby and never has a problem recruiting top-notch talent.

Brown has experience from all across the nation, as he has spent time as an assistant at Florida State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, LSU and Appalachian State.

Although Brown has had a few down years at Texas, he’s still capable of building a winner and would have no trouble winning the press conference or working the room with fellow politicians.

Others to Consider:

Bill O’Brien, head coach, Penn State – O’Brien inherited a difficult situation at Penn State and has quickly resurrected the Nittany Lions’ passing offense into one of the best in the Big Ten.

Pat Fitzgerald, head coach, Northwestern – Just like Bill O’Brien, Fitzgerald inherited a difficult situation at Northwestern. The Illinois native is 47-38 in his seven years with the Wildcats and has led Northwestern to four consecutive bowl games. Considering what Fitzgerald has done at Northwestern, he’s well-prepared for any opportunity on a bigger stage.

Chip Kelly, Oregon - Kelly's up-tempo offense is definitely innovative, so expect the former New Hampshire native to bring some fresh ideas to the nation.

Chris Petersen, head coach, Boise State – Considering his success at Boise State, imagine what Petersen could do on a larger scale with more resources.
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

Post-Week 10 ACC Power Rankings
Post-Week 10 Big East Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Big 12 Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Big Ten Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 Pac-12 Power Rankings

Post-Week 10 SEC Power Rankings

College Football Week 10 Recap

Teaser:
<p> 8 College Football Coaches Who Could Run for President</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:09
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-10
Body:

And then there were two, bye weeks that is. Week 10 is the second-to-last bye week on the NFL schedule, but this is one that Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III owners have possibly been dreading. No Packers, Redskins, Browns and Cardinals this week mean no reigning MVP or RGIII, also known as the top two scorers in all of fantasy football, along with several other reliable fantasy producers.

Whether you are looking for a fill-in quarterback or have a need at another position because of a bye or injury issue, here are some options worth considering as you prepare your team for Week 10.

Week 10 Positional Rankings

Week 10 Start or Sit

Bye week teams: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington

Quarterbacks
Week 9 Recap: Matt Cassel added to his league-leading turnover total with two more in Kansas City’s 31-13 loss to San Diego. If Brady Quinn is cleared to practice, he may get the start on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Matt Moore didn’t even see the field on Sunday as Ryan Tannehill played through his injuries and performed pretty well (290-1-0) in the Dolphins’ 23-20 loss in Indianapolis.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Fitzpatrick had his best game of the season the last time he faced New England, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-28 loss to the Patriots in Week 4. He did have four interceptions in that game, but still managed to score 32.4 fantasy points. The Bills and Patriots hook up again in Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday and as good as the Pats have been against the run, they are 28th against the pass and are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson has thrown nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in four home games, compared to four scores and eight picks in five road contests. He is averaging 29 fantasy points over his last two contests played at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks are home to the Jets this Sunday, and while the Jets are No. 6 against the pass, keep in mind that Wilson’s flawless home performances have come against the Packers, Cowboys, Patriots and Vikings.

Running Backs
Week 9 Recap: Joique Bell had a nice day for Detroit, leading the team in rushing with 73 yards on 13 carries and a score and adding three receptions for 36 yards. Even though Mikel Leshoure had three rushing touchdowns in the Lions’ win in Jacksonville, he and Bell tied in terms of total of number of touches (16 each), meaning Bell is someone definitely worth keeping an eye on moving forward. Donald Brown was listed as Questionable heading into Sunday’s game with Miami. He did play, but managed only one catch for seven yards and didn’t receive a single carry in the Colts’ win over the Dolphins. Justin Forsett got just six carries as Houston struggled somewhat to put away Buffalo. Peyton Hillis got seven carries, second most on the team, against San Diego, but finished with just 14 yards on the ground.

Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray will resume his role as the Cowboys’ lead back once he returns from his foot injury. There’s a chance Murray could be back in there this Sunday in Philadelphia. Until he’s back, however, the team continues to look for ways to jumpstart a sluggish running attack, which is why Dunbar got one less carry (9 to 8) than Felix Jones in Sunday’s loss in Atlanta. Dunbar finished with only 26 yards rushing (3.3 ypc), but with Jones’ well-documented injury history and the fact that Phillip Tanner got just one attempt against the Falcons, don’t be surprised if Dunbar gets a fair amount of touches against the Eagles should Murray miss a fourth straight game.

Mike Goodson, Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden left Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay with a leg injury that is now being reported as the dreaded high ankle sprain. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, but at this point, he has to be considered very questionable for this week. The Raiders abandoned the running game after McFadden left, but that’s also partially due to the fact they were trailing the Buccaneers 28-10 headed into the fourth quarter. Goodson figures to be first in line to take McFadden’s place in the backfield and he’s averaging 6.5 yards per carry in limited action. He also has been hampered by injuries, including an ankle injury on Sunday, so Marcel Reece and Taiwan Jones are two other names to watch. Reece is extremely valuable as a receiver, as he led the Raiders in receptions (8) and yards (95) and caught a touchdown pass from Carson Palmer. The team also likes Jones, but he has missed a lot of time with a knee injury and got his first carry of the season on Sunday.

Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have certainly had their share of injuries when it comes to running backs, but it also seems like whoever they hand the ball to lately is getting the job done. Sunday was Redman’s turn as he rushed for a career-high 147 yards on 26 carries (5.7 ypc) and a touchdown in the win over the Giants. The Steelers don’t lack for backfield options with Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall all taking their turn as lead horse, but right now it’s Redman who is the healthiest and he played a huge role in Sunday’s victory. If Mike Tomlin chooses to stay with the hot hand, Redman could have another big game with Kansas City on tap for Monday night.

Wide Receivers
Week 9 Recap: T.Y. Hilton had a hand in Andrew Luck’s record-setting performance against Miami as the rookie hauled in five passes for 108 yards (21.6 ypc) and a score. Darrius Heyward-Bey accumulated 74 yards receiving on just five catches against Tampa Bay, while Titus Young managed just two for 20 against Jacksonville. Dexter McCluster got more carries than receptions (4 to 2), but finished with only 34 total yards in the Chiefs’ loss to San Diego.

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
After being with the Rams the past two seasons, Alexander signed on with the Chargers in late October. Injuries to Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal thrust Alexander into action on Thursday night against Kansas City and the San Diego’s newest receiver responded by catching all three targets thrown his way for a team-leading 61 yards. Alexander averaged better than 16 yards per reception when he was with the Rams, and Philip Rivers has been looking for a deep threat to take Vincent Jackson’s place all season. It remains to be seen exactly what Alexander has to offer in terms of fantasy production, but it certainly does look like he will get more chances to prove his worth in the Chargers’ passing attack.

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams
Keep an eye on the practice reports, but Amendola could be back in action this week after missing the Rams’ past three games with a shoulder injury. The match up with San Francisco isn’t great by any means, but Amendola is quarterback Sam Bradford’s undisputed No. 1 option, as evidenced by the 44 targets he saw in his first four games. For the season, Amendola has 32 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns. It’s not often you have the possible opportunity to add a No. 1-caliber wide receiver as late as Week 10.

Davone Bess, Miami Dolphins
Teammate Brian Hartline has better numbers, but one could argue that Bess has been more consistent. He has caught at least two passes in every game and has five games with four or more receptions. He’s seen nine targets in each of the past three games and has reeled in 16 receptions during that span. He’s still in search of his first touchdown on the season, but that could change with Tennessee’s porous pass defense on tap this Sunday. The Titans have allowed 20 touchdown passes, which is tied for the most in the league. Because of his consistency and match up, Bess could be a WR3/Flex option this week, especially in PPR leagues.

Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
It took eight games, but Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, finally found the end zone. Blackmon has struggled getting acclimated in his first pro season, but he’s showing signs of progress. He has nine receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. In his previous six he had 14 catches for 126 yards and no scores. Better still, he has caught 57 percent of his targets (9 of 17) in his last two contests, compared to only 38 percent (14 of 37) in his first six. Cecil Shorts is still the Jaguar receiver to own, but the team has a lot invested in Blackmon, so he should continue to get his opportunities as well.

Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown suffered an apparent high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game against the Giants, and Sanders made the most of his opportunity. He caught both targets thrown to him, including the Steelers’ first touchdown of the game. For the season, Sanders is fourth on the team in both targets and receptions and should see his role increase if Brown misses any games because of the ankle injury. Jerricho Cotchery, who caught four passes for 50 yards on Sunday, also could see more opportunities if Sanders replaces Brown as the starter opposite Mike Wallace.

Tight Ends
Week 9 Recap: Brandon Myers led all tight ends in fantasy scoring with 22.9 points as he caught eight passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. Zach Miller didn’t score, but he did add two more receptions for 47 yards to his recent stretch of solid production.

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
Teammate Coby Fleener is expected to miss a second straight game with a shoulder injury, meaning Allen will get the start once again this Sunday in Jacksonville. This past Sunday, the rookie from Clemson saw seven targets from Andrew Luck, hauling in six of them for 75 yards. He has passed Fleener in receptions and yards on the season and has a two-to-zero advantage on him in touchdowns too. With as well as Luck has been throwing the ball (NFL rookie record 433 yards passing against Miami), Allen is definitely starter-worthy this week against the Jaguars.

Joel Dreessen, Denver Broncos
Dreessen may trail teammate Jacob Tamme in terms of targets, receptions and yards, but he has four touchdown catches compared to just one for Tamme. The opportunities have also been a little more even in recent weeks as both saw four targets on Sunday against Cincinnati. Dreessen, however, is clearly Peyton Manning’s more favored target in the red zone, as evidenced by his four touchdown receptions, and scores from tight ends is what makes all the difference when it comes to fantasy value.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 9 Recap: San Diego’s defense converted two Matt Cassel turnovers into touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the unit scored 27 fantasy points in the win over the Chiefs.

Denver Broncos
The Broncos are seventh among DSTs in fantasy scoring, thanks to an effective pass rush (24 sacks) and the ability to capitalize on turnovers (three defensive touchdowns so far). Denver goes to Carolina this Sunday, and while Cam Newton is not the easiest quarterback to bring down (sacked just 17 times), the Broncos’ pass rush could still prove beneficial in forcing Newton into making a mistake should he choose to throw the ball while being pressured. The Broncos also seem to have found a new special teams weapon in the addition of kick returner Trindon Holliday, who took the opening kick of the second half against Cincinnati back 105 yards for a touchdown.

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.

— By Mark Ross, published on Nov. 6, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 10</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /college-basketball/big-12-2012-13-college-basketball-preview
Body:

The Big 12 may be one of the most interesting leagues from top to bottom in 2012-13, but the smart pick at the top remains, as always, Kansas.

The Jayhawks have won at least a share of the last eight Big 12 regular season titles, including the last four outright. Thomas Robinson is gone from Lawrence, but Bill Self again has stars ready to emerge.

Elsewhere, seven other Big 12 teams have realistic aspirations to reach the NCAA Tournament, with the possible exceptions of Texas Tech and newcomer TCU.

Baylor adds a standout freshman class as does Texas. And teams like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Iowa State are relying on an influx of transfers to bolster their postseason hopes. How each team manages the new faces on its roster may determine the look of the Big 12 in 2012-13.

BIG 12 FACTS AND FIGURES BIG 12 SUPERLATIVES
2011-12 regular season champion: Kansas Player of the Year: Pierre Jackson, Baylor
2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Baylor, Kansas, Best Defensive Player: Jeff Withey, Kansas
Kansas State, Iowa State, Texas, West Virginia Most Underrated Player: Markel Brown, Oklahoma State
New coaches: Trent Johnson (TCU), Newcomer of the Year: Marcus Smart
Chris Walker (Texas Tech), Bruce Weber (Kansas State)  
Realignment: Lost Missouri and Texas A&M (SEC),  
Added TCU (Mountain West) and West Virginia (Big East)  
ATHLON ALL-BIG 12 FIRST TEAM ATHLON ALL-BIG 12 SECOND TEAM ATHLON ALL-BIG 12 THIRD TEAM
G Pierre Jackson, Baylor G Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State G Brady Heslip, Baylor
G Steven Pledger, Oklahoma G Myck Kabongo, Texas G/F Will Clyburn, Iowa State
G Rodney McGruder, Kansas State G Elijah Johnson, Kansas F Romero Osby, Oklahoma
G/F Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State F Jordan Henriquez, Kansas State F Jordan Tolbert, Texas Tech
C Jeff Withey, Kansas C Isaiah Austin, Baylor C Cameron Ridley, Texas

2012-13 BIG 12 PREVIEW
1. Kansas (32-7, 16-2)
The Jayhawks are ranked No. 4 in our preseason rankings: Full preview

Last year’s squad survived and thrived because of heart and will, but this year’s team figures to benefit from different strengths. Chief among them is depth, something the Jayhawks had little of a season ago. While KU’s roster will give coach Bill Self plenty of options, it also figures to provide a few growing pains as nearly half of the rotation could be first-year players. In addition, Self’s bench will feature two new faces — Norm Roberts steps in for his second stint at KU to replace Danny Manning (now the head coach at Tulsa), and Doc Sadler, formerly the head coach at Nebraska, takes over as the director of basketball operations. Self doesn’t seem to be concerned.”I love the makeup of this team, especially the newcomers,” says the veteran coach. “This is going to be a young group that will rely heavily on senior leadership.”
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Final Four

Related: 2012-13 Athlon Preseason All-America teams

2. Baylor (30-8, 12-6)
The Bears are ranked No. 17 in our preseason rankings: Full preview

Proud as they are of their recent success, the Bears are ready to take the next step by winning an outright conference championship for the first time since 1948. It certainly won’t be easy. Kansas has claimed the last eight Big 12 titles — and the Jayhawks will be the favorites to repeat again in 2013. The keys to Baylor ending Kansas’ streak will be another banner season from Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip, breakthrough performances from Deuce Bello and Cory Jefferson and significant contributions from freshmen Isaiah Austin and Ricardo Gathers, both of whom must develop quickly. If those things occur, the Bears’ potential is limitless.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

Related: Isaiah Austin, Marcus Smart among nation’s top freshmen

3. Oklahoma State (15-18, 7-11)
Travis Ford finds himself starting over in some ways. The Cowboys have missed the past two NCAA Tournaments and last year didn’t even warrant a spot in one of the lesser postseason tourneys, as they stumbled to a 15–18 finish, OSU’s first losing season in 24 years. Marcus Smart, although a freshman, projects as the key to the team’s improvement. An unselfish combo guard who prefers distributing to scoring, he brings a leadership and toughness recent Cowboys squads have lacked. Smart emerged as a key cog for the United States gold medal team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Brazil, drawing rave reviews from coaches Billy Donovan and Mark Few. He’ll join another one-time heralded signee in sophomore Le’Bryan Nash, who endured an up-and-down debut season last year after arriving as a touted recruit. He averaged 13.3 points per game but shot less than 40 percent from the field. Nash should enjoy more freedom to roam and create on the fly with the Cowboys likely to run more than ever.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

Related: Coaches on the hot seat include Travis Ford

4. Kansas State (22-11, 10-8)

Some college basketball teams face a difficult transition when it loses a successful coach. Kansas State is unlikely to be one of them. With a loaded roster coming back, the Wildcats appear poised to continue to win 20-plus games a season under new coach Bruce Weber the same way they did under former coaches Bob Huggins and Frank Martin. Yes, K-State will look — and act — differently on the sideline with a new coaching staff and attitude, but it should look eerily similar when the Wildcats take the floor in their first season under new leadership. Guard Rodney McGruder and forward Jordan Henriquez will return to comprise one of the top inside-outside combinations in the Big 12, and the pair of seniors could also form one of the best veteran duos in the country. But K-State’s experienced roster doesn’t stop there. After losing only one starter, the Wildcats are back in full force. They enter the upcoming season with high expectations, and for good reason. They have played in the last three NCAA Tournaments and appear on their way to a fourth.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

Related: Weber among top coaching hires for 2012-13

5. Texas (20-14, 9-9)

Texas coach Rick Barnes kept his school-record streak of 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances alive in 2011-12. Barely. Texas was one of the last at-large teams selected by the Selection Committee and followed that by losing Big 12 leading scorer J’Covan Brown, who declared prematurely for the NBA Draft. Sophomore shooting guard Sheldon McClellan, a Houston native, will be asked to fill some of the scoring void created by Brown’s departure. McClellan, the only other Texas player to average in double figures last season, lacks Brown’s feel for the game and pure scoring ability, but he’s a solid shooter and defender who appears poised to take the next step. The backcourt’s success will hinge largely on sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo, who has explosive speed with the ball in his hands but struggled through an up-and-down freshman year. Kabongo, however, is under NCAA investigation regarding his relationship with an agent. The frontcourt has a chance to take a huge step forward with the arrival of highly recruited center Cameron Ridley. At 6-9 and 270 pounds, Ridley is incredibly physical and brings a true, back-to-the-basket game to the paint.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

6. West Virginia (19-14, 9-9 Big East)
West Virginia is transferring from the Big East to the Big 12. And it’s the hope of Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins that a few transfers make the move a smooth one. Gone from last season’s 19–14 team that made it to the NCAA Tournament is Kevin Jones, who led the Big East in both scoring (19.9 ppg) and rebounding (10.9 rpg). But Huggins is hoping to offset that loss with the addition of transfers that offer height (6-10 Aaric Murray), speed (guard Juwan Staten) and experience (senior Matt Humphrey). It will be interesting to see how WVU’s main big men — Deniz Kilicli and Murray — coexist. Kilicli is a 6-9, 260-pound senior from Istanbul, Turkey, with a sweeping left-handed hook shot and a penchant for fouling. (He had 94 personal fouls last season.) When on, Kilicli can be effective. He was third on the team in scoring last season, averaging 10.7 points. Odds are, Huggins will go with the experienced Humphrey in the starting lineup, but he very well could start three guards. With his passing ability and leadership, Staten might be the key to the team.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

Related: West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma relying heavily on transfers

7. Oklahoma (15-16, 5-13)

Lon Kruger’s first season at Oklahoma resulted in an extensive learning experience — for both Kruger and his players. For Kruger, a master rebuilder, the season was a time to survey what he had, both good and not so good. For the Sooners, it was an introduction to Kruger’s demands and expectations. Entering Year 2, the stakes have been raised. The Sooners return all five starters, yet jobs are hardly secure. Wyoming transfer Amath M’Baye could start immediately, and a group of four newcomers — one junior college addition and three true freshmen — will be given every opportunity to seize significant roles. All Sooner eyes are on M’Baye, expected to provide a jolt of skill and length in the paint. Of the new faces, he’s the most ready and the most proven, having started 31 games at Wyoming two seasons ago, when he averaged 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds as a sophomore. The year off seemed to serve him well for a transition to the Big 12. Steven Pledger, the team’s leading scorer and top 3-point threat, is the only guard assured of a starting spot. OU’s one reliable shooter and scorer, Pledger should benefit from a boost in surrounding talent and less intense focus from enemy defenses.
Postseason prediction: NIT

8. Iowa State (23-11, 12-6)


Hometown hero Fred Hoiberg returned his alma mater to prominence and the NCAA Tournament after an agonizingly long absence. Hoiberg’s got a roster full of talented players and last season’s experiment of meshing holdovers, high schoolers and high-major transfers yielded 23 wins and an impressive postseason run. The plan and cast is largely the same this year, minus All-America forward Royce White, who left early for the NBA after one incredible season. White led the Cyclones in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks and leaves some big shoes to fill. Utah transfer Will Clyburn and former Michigan State Spartan Korie Lucious are new to the Big 12 and will have a big say in whether this group is dancing again in March. Clyburn will shoulder a lot of the scoring burden, as he should. The 6-7 swingman averaged 17.1 points and 7.8 rebounds and shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range in his one season with the Utes.
Postseason prediction: NIT

9. TCU (18-15, 7-7 Mountain West)
Trent Johnson has his hands full. And that’s fine with him. TCU’s new basketball coach knew exactly what he was getting into when he left LSU to take over for Jim Christian, who bolted for the head job at Ohio. Although the Frogs are coming off their first winning season since 2005, Johnson inherits a program that is still looking for an identity. The move from the Mountain West to the Big 12 Conference should help recruiting, but the deeper league presents a whole new set of challenges. The void left by Hank Thorns’ graduation will fall on sophomore Kyan Anderson, who played well as a freshman. He’ll not only need to score (he averaged 8.3 points last season), but he’ll need to take over for Thorns’ ability to create easy baskets for his teammates. Thorns led the Frogs with 4.6 assists last season. Anderson was second with 2.8. Even when TCU has found scoring in its frontcourt the past few seasons, it was rarely from muscle in the paint. Forwards Amric Fields and Garlon Green have shown bursts of offense but usually relied on their perimeter games.

10. Texas Tech (8-23, 1-17)
A terrible season spilled into a tumultuous offseason for the Red Raiders. Though his hire brought guarded optimism, Billy Gillispie spent only one season in Lubbock as he resigned for health reasons in October. But before that, reports of player mistreatment surface. Now interim coach Chris Walker will pick up the pieces of a program that lost a handful of players during the short-lived Gillispie regime. Tech will return just five lettermen from its 2011-12 roster, but only three — Jaye Crockett, Ty Nurse and Jordan Tolbert — saw considerable playing time. The others either missed most or all of the season with an injury (Toddrick Gotcher, Kader Tapsoba) or sat out due to NCAA transfer rules (Dejan Kravic).
@AthlonSports

More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
5. SEC
6.
Pac-12

7. Mountain West
8. Atlantic 10

9. West Coast

10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/nfl-2012-midseason-preview-and-predictions
Body:

In the 31st annual Athlon Sports NFL preview magazine, the Houston Texans were predicted to defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Green Bay Packers were slated to topple the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. We picked the Packers over the Texans in Super Bowl XLVII.

At the halfway point, we thought we would reshuffle the deck with what we have learned from the first nine weeks of action and predict how the second half will play out complete with projected records (and current records).

Projected AFC East Standings:

1. New England Patriots: 12-4 (5-3)
2. New York Jets: 8-8 (3-5)
3. Miami Dolphins: 7-9 (4-4)
4. Buffalo Bills: 5-11 (3-5)

The Pats are clearly the best team in this division and will be the only one making the postseason. A showdown with Houston on Dec. 10 could decide home field. The Jets finish with five winnable games against the Cards, Jags, Titans, Chargers and Bills. Miami still has to play New England twice as well as the Seahawks and 49ers and likely have to win one of these to get to 9-7. The only bright spot for the Bills and their 31st-rated rushing defense is four of the last five will come at home in frigid Buffalo.

Projected AFC North Standings:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5 (5-3)
2. Baltimore Ravens: 11-5 (6-2)*
3. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9 (3-5)
4. Cleveland Browns: 3-13 (2-7)

The injury-riddled Ravens will have to face the Steelers twice in three weeks (Weeks 11 and 13), along with tests against both Mannings and RGIII. This gives the Steelers, winners of three straight overall and six straight at home, the slight edge — especially with two against the Browns and games with Kansas City, San Diego and Cincinnati left on the schedule. Pittsburgh's running game has been rediscovered and this team will finish with three of four at home in the Steel City. The Bengals have lost four straight and face the Giants this weekend before wrapping up the season with road trips to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh before the season finale with Baltimore. The Browns locker room and front office is in a great state of transition at the moment and has one or two winnable games left on the schedule.

Projected AFC South Standings:

1. Houston Texans: 13-3 (7-1)
2. Indianapolis Colts: 9-7 (5-3)*
3. Tennessee Titans: 5-11 (3-6)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-14 (1-7)

The Texans are the class of the division and likely the NFL  — at least, until they visit the Patriots in Week 14. Trips to Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis could also be tricky, but the Texans should claim the best record in the AFC at season's end. The Colts have been excellent behind the leadership of Andrew Luck but one has to think this team will fade with road trips to New England and Detroit remaining as well as two of their final three coming against Houston. But with a few wins (JAC, BUF, TEN, KC), the Colts could snag a Wild Card berth with a 9-7 record. The Titans and Jags have been competitive at times this fall and have looked downright atrocious at others.

Projected AFC West Standings:

1. Denver Broncos: 12-4 (5-3)
2. San Diego Chargers: 8-8 (4-4)
3. Oakland Raiders: 6-10 (3-5)
4. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-15 (1-7)

Peyton Manning is on a roll and Denver has won three straight because of it. They now won't face a team with a winning record until Baltimore in Week 15. They are a near lock to win the West. The Chargers have a much harder schedule with road trips to Denver, Pittsburgh and the Jets as well as a home date with Baltimore. An upset or two and the Bolts may sneak into the playoffs, but is that really what Chargers fans want? Norv Turner and AJ Smith for another year? Oakland has some talent on offense and could easily play the role of spoiler throughout the second half as they face New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Denver and San Diego. Poor Kansas City may never lead a game all season long.

Projected AFC Playoffs:

Bye Weeks: (1) Houston and (2) New England
Divisional Hosts: (3) Denver and (4) Pittsburgh
Wild Cards: (5) Baltimore and (6) Indianapolis

Projected NFC East Standings:

1. New York Giants: 11-5 (6-3)
2. Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8 (3-5)
3. Dallas Cowboys: 8-8 (3-5)
4. Washington Redskins: 6-10 (3-6)

The Giants normally wait until the second half to turn things on, so a strong start feels a bit out of place for the G-Men. The Steelers gave the league a blueprint on how to defeat the defending champs in Week 9 and it likely means a loss or two over a tough final two months that features four teams that made the playoffs last fall. The Eagles and Cowboys will square off twice over the next month and those two games should iron out the pecking order behind New York. Both have favorable second-half schedules that could get either or both to at least .500. The Redskins, according to Mike Shanahan, are apparently already looking ahead to 2013.

Projected NFC North Standings:

1. Green Bay Packers: 12-4 (6-3)
2. Chicago Bears: 12-4 (7-1)*
3. Detroit Lions: 7-9 (4-4)
4. Minnesota Vikings: 6-10 (5-4)

This division will likely come down to a Week 15 meeting between Green Bay and Chicago in the Windy City. The Packers can only get healthier while the Bears physically can't play any better than they are right now. The Bears have a brutal second-half schedule with Houston and San Francisco up next before games with Seattle, Green Bay and two with Minnesota. The Bears will play three out of their last four on the road including the final two weeks of the season against Arizona and Detroit (both of whom could be fighting for a Wild Card). When push comes to shove, Aaron Rodgers gets the nod over Jay Cutler in that key showdown at Soldier Field. Speaking of the Lions, two games with Green Bay and one each with Chicago, Atlanta and Houston make their playoff chances slim. Toss in road trips to Arizona and Minnesota with the Colts coming to town and the Lions seem unlikely to return to the playoffs. The Vikings are trending downward and finish with this nasty stretch of games: at CHI, at GB, CHI, at STL, at HOU and GB. Wow.

Projected NFC South Standings:

1. Atlanta Falcons: 15-1 (8-0)
2. Tampa Bay Bucs: 8-8 (4-4)
3. New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (3-5)
4. Carolina Panthers: 3-13 (2-6)

So where do the Falcons lose? At New Orleans, Carolina, Tampa Bay or Detroit? Possibly, but the Giants at home in Week 15 appear to be the most likely culprit. Either way, the Falcons should be the top seed in the NFC. The Bucs have been very competitive and have won three of four games. However, their second half has no easy games and could feature upwards of five or six swing games. This is going to be a fun team to watch down the stretch. The Saints have the talent to beat anyone and could easily win five or six games in the second half. A key road trip to Dallas in Week 16 could determine if either the Saints or Cowboys finish above .500. Carolina got a nice road win this weekend, but Cam Newton still has lots of growing up to do with four of the last six games coming on the road. 

Projected NFC West Standings:

1. San Francisco 49ers: 13-3 (6-2)
2. Seattle Seahawks: 9-7 (5-4)*
3. St. Louis Rams: 6-10 (3-5)
4. Arizona Cardinals: 5-11 (4-5)

Three division home games highlight a solid second half slate for Seattle that also features games against AFC East foes New York, Miami and Buffalo. Look for a playoff run from the Hawks. Arizona and St. Louis should battle it out for third place in Week 12 in the desert. After losing five straight, the Cardinals are in danger of losing out — unless they can beat the Rams at home. The Niners are clearly the class of the division and could easily be the best team in the NFC. Jim Harbaugh will have a chance to prove it with games against New England and Chicago as well as road trips to New Orleans and Seattle. 

Projected NFC Playoffs:

Bye Weeks: (1) Atlanta and (2) San Francisco
Divisional Hosts: (3) NY Giants and (4) Green Bay
Wild Cards: (5) Chicago and (6) Seattle

Super Bowl XLVII: Houston over San Francisco

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related NFL Content:

The Most Amazing Mid-Season NFL Stats of 2012
Eight Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 9
2013 NFL Draft: Running Backs

2013 NFL Draft: Tight Ends
2013 NFL Draft: Safeties

2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Wide Receivers

2013 NFL Draft: Offensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Inside Linebackers

2013 NFL Draft: Cornerbacks

Teaser:
<p> NFL 2012 Midseason Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-athlon-college-basketball-preseason-all-america-team
Body:

If the list of All-America contenders is any indication, this will be a fascinating year in college basketball.

Teams like Kentucky and North Carolina are no strangers to the All-America teams. But it’s also a turn-back-the-clock kind of season for Indiana, Michigan and UNLV, who are producing All-America contenders for the first time in more than a decade.

And those aren’t even the most unlikely teams with player of the year candidates: Creighton, Murray State and North Texas all have players counted among the national elite.

Here are our picks for the preseason All-America team, where a veteran forward playing in the Missouri Valley and a guard in the Ohio Valley will compete with star freshmen for Kentucky and UCLA for postseason hardware.

FIRST-TEAM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA


G Pierre Jackson, Baylor
Particulars:
5-10/180, Sr.
As quick as any guard in the country, Jackson is also as clutch as they come. Behind the play of Jackson, a finalist for the Bob Cousy award presented to the nation's best point guard, Baylor reached the Elite Eight. Jackson led the Bears in scoring (13.8 points per game) and was one of 15 players nationally with 200 assists.

G/F Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Particulars:
6-6/225, Fr.
The Bruins are still waiting for their prized freshman to be declared eligible, but once he’s on the court, he’ll be the key to turning UCLA’s fortunes. He’s a strong, athletic wing who will bring toughness to the program -- probably for just one season before leaving for the NBA Draft.

F Doug McDermott, Creighton
Particulars:
6-8/220, Jr.
McDermott is entering rarefied territory. His 801 career points trails only Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird in Missouri Valley history. And beyond the sheer numbers (22.9 points, 8.2 rebounds), he’s tremendously efficient, shooting 60.1 percent from the field and 48.6 percent from 3-point range.
Related: Q&A with Doug McDermott

F Mike Moser, UNLV
Particulars:
6-8/210, Jr.
Moser may be in line to be UNLV’s most decorated player since the Jerry Tarkanian era after earning honorable mention All-America honors after last season. Moser averaged a double-double per game (14 points, 10.5 rebounds) and also led the Mountain West in steals (1.9).

C Cody Zeller, Indiana
Particulars:
7-0/240, Soph.
Zeller delivered on his potential as a transformative player for the Hoosiers’ program, leading Indiana to its first Sweet 16 in a decade. Now, Zeller (15.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) will have a chance to be Indiana’s first National Player of the Year since 1992-93.
Related: Q&A with Cody Zeller

2012-13 SUPERLATIVES

Top Floor Leaders
1. Trey Burke, Michigan
2. Phil Pressey, Missouri
3. Peyton Siva, Louisville
4. Aaron Craft, Ohio State
5. Vincent Council, Providence
6. Lorenzo Brown, NC State
7. D.J. Cooper, Ohio
8. Tim Frazier, Penn State
9. Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s
10. Chaz Williams, UMass
Top Inside-Out Threats
1. Doug McDermott, Creighton
2. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
3. Tony Mitchell, North Texas
4. Chane Behanan, Louisville
5. Andre Roberson, Colorado
6. Solomon Hill, Arizona
7. Otto Porter, Georgetown
8. Alex Poythress, Kentucky
9. Marshawn Powell, Arkansas
10. Elias Harris, Gonzaga
Top Shooters
1. Rotnei Clarke, Butler
2. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
3. Seth Curry, Duke
4. Scott Wood, NC State
5. Jordan Hulls, Indiana
6. Brady Heslip, Baylor
7. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
8. Colt Ryan, Evansville
9. Chase Tapley, San Diego State
10. Steven Pledger, Oklahoma

SECOND-TEAM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA

G Trey Burke, Michigan
Particulars:
6-0/190, Soph.
The return of Burke means Michigan enters 2012-13 with the highest expectations since the late ‘90s. Burke is a high-energy floor leader who averaged 14.8 points and 4.6 assists last season with room to thrive as a sophomore. He’ll have a more balanced supporting cast than he did as a rookie.

G Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
Particulars:
6-1/195, Sr.
Canaan emerged from obscurity last season to lead Murray State to a 23-0 start and a 31-win season. Canaan won’t sneak up on anyone this season after averaging 19 points per game last season.

F Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Particulars:
6-8/235, Soph.
Potential NBA Draft Lottery picks don’t often turn up in the Sun Belt or in Denton, Texas, but that’s what the Mean Green have in Mitchell, who signed with Missouri before being ruled academically ineligible. Mitchell was the only freshman in the country to average a double-double last season (14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg).

F Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
Particulars:
6-8/245, Sr.
Mbakwe believes this season will be better for Minnesota, so much so he vowed to pay back his scholarship if the Gophers don’t reach the NCAA Tournament. His return from a torn ACL is a major reason why Minnesota is a postseason contender. He averaged 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds in his last healthy season.

C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Particulars:
6-10/205, Fr.
Noel is simply stepping into the shoes of Anthony Davis, who had one of the most decorated seasons in college basketball history. Noel is another elite freshman who will probably stick in Lexington for just one season. He may be a better shotblocker than his predecessor, who set the NCAA freshman record for blocks.

2012-13 SUPERLATIVES

Top Slashers
1. Mike Moser, UNLV
2. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
3. Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
4. Kyle Anderson, UCLA
5. Allen Crabbe, Cal
6. Michael Snaer, Florida State
7. Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
8. Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State
9. Adonis Thomas, Memphis
10. Ray McCallum, Detroit
Top Post Men
1. Cody Zeller, Indiana
2. C.J. Leslie, NC State
3. Isaiah Austin, Baylor
4. Mason Plumlee, Duke
5. Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee
6. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
7. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
8. Jack Cooley, Notre Dame
9. Brock Motum, Washington State
10. Jeff Withey, Kansas
Top Scorers
1. Pierre Jackson, Baylor
2. Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
3. Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
4. BJ Young, Arkansas
5. Nate Wolters, North Dakota State
6. Kenny Boynton, Florida
7. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
8. Khalif Wyatt, Temple
9. DeAndre Kane, Marshall
10. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

THIRD TEAM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA

G Phil Pressey, Missouri
Particulars
: 5-11/175, Jr.
Pressey is one of the best players in the country in breaking down a defense off the dribble and finding the open man. After averaging 10.3 points, 6.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds last season, Pressey will make Missouri an instant contender in its first season in the SEC.
Related: Q&A with Phil Pressey

G Peyton Siva, Louisville
Particulars:
5-11/180, Sr.
Siva struggled through part of last season, though he remained of the Big East’s best point guards. Siva rebounded in the postseason, earning MVP honors at the Big East Tournament. Siva went on to average 6.2 assists per game in the run to the Final Four.

G C.J. Leslie, NC State
Particulars:
6-9/200, Jr.
The McDonald’s All-American was more consistent as a sophomore, especially at the end of the season. Leslie averaged 17.1 points per game over the final 16 games as NC State reached the Sweet 16 for only the second time since 1989.

G Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Particulars:
6-5/195, Jr.
Franklin returns to a loaded Aztecs team that should contend for the Mountain West title and a run in the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Franklin averaged 17.4 point and 7.9 rebounds with a knack for clutch shooting.

F James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina
Particulars:
6-9/230, Soph.
The Tar Heels are counting on their talented sophomore to carry his late season momentum into this season. McAdoo could become consistent double-double threat and a potential NBA first-round draft pick.

@AthlonSports

More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
5. SEC
6.
Pac-12

7. Mountain West
8. Atlantic 10

9. West Coast

10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

Teaser:
<p> 2012-13 Athlon College Basketball Preseason All-America Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 04:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-10-waiver-wire-report
Body:

The fantasy playoffs are right around the corner and owners at the bottom of the standings have just about thrown in the towel.  As a result, there is not as much competition for waiver wire claims with the season drawing to a close.  Take a look at some late-season waiver gems as we head into Week 10.

Ryan Griffin, QB-Tulane

Since his return from injury, Griffin has passed for 1,100 yards and ten touchdowns in three games.  Fantasy owners should get solid production from the senior quarterback as the Green Wave play Rice, Memphis, East Carolina, and Houston to close the season.
 

Ray Holley, RB-Louisiana Tech

Holley isn’t a bad acquisition if you play in a deep league because the senior running back is averaging over 95 total yards from scrimmage, three receptions, and a touchdown per game 


Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa

Damon Bullock opened the season as the starter, but Mark Weisman took over when Bullock was lost for several weeks due to a head injury.  Now, Weisman is the one that is injured and the running back position in Ames may be Bullock’s once again.
 

Jalen Saunders, WR-Oklahoma

We are going to use the logic that we did a couple of weeks ago with Bronson Hill of Eastern Michigan when he ran for 283 yards against Toledo.  When a receiver catches 15 passes for 181 yards in a single game at this point of the season, you should claim him off of waivers and keep Saunders away from other owners. 
 

Eric Monette, WR-Western Michigan

Last week, we identified Josh Schaffer as the favorite target of quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen, but with fellow receiver Jamie Wilson sidelined with a groin injury, Monette has posted two consecutive eight-catch games. 
 

Bryan Underwood, WR-North Carolina St

Underwood only has 28 catches, but he has caught at least one touchdown in every game this season and has posted back-to-back 100-yard games. 
 

Myles White, WR-Louisiana Tech

White is the second-leading receiver for the Bulldogs behind Quinton Patton and has at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in back-to-back games.
 

Ryan Grant, WR-Tulane

Grant’s success has a lot to do with the return of Ryan Griffin at quarterback.  Over the past two weeks, the junior receiver has caught 12 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
 

Did you miss last week’s waiver report?  See it here.


By Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email:  joe@thecffsite.com

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 10 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 03:28
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NFL, Monthly
Path: /college-football/ask-athlon-sports-sports-movies
Body:

Q: My son and I love to argue about the best sports movies. But which sports movie is the most successful in history?

— Irene Delores Chervitz, St. Louis, Mo.

A: There have been blockbusters with a sports component — “M*A*S*H,” for example, had that hilarious football game — but I assume you mean movies that are actually about sports. If you adjust for inflation, four of the top five all-time box office champs (among sports films) are Rocky movies. But just looking at total dollars, the winner is “The Blind Side.” The heartwarming biopic of Ravens lineman Michael Oher and his surrogate Memphis family made almost $256 million (according to BoxOfficeMojo.com). It also earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar. Meanwhile, you didn’t ask, but my favorite sports movie is “Kingpin.” It’s the Farrelley brothers at their infantile best. Woody Harrelson is sharp as a one-handed, down-on-his-luck bowler Roy Munson, but Bill Murray, sporting a flyaway combover, steals the movie as Munson’s nemesis, Ernie “Big Ern” ­McCracken. Watch it with your son and tell us what you think.

Rob Doster, Senior Editor

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

Teaser:
<p> Ask Athlon Sports: Sports Movies</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 18:17
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/ask-athlon-sports-players-hair-length-nfl
Body:

Q: Why doesn’t the NFL restrict hair length so it doesn’t cover the player’s name?  It’s gotten way out of hand.

— Bob Rook, Liberty Hill, Texas

A: Bob, I tend to agree — players are starting to let their locks grow and letting their freak flag fly. From Clay Matthews’ flowing blond mane to Chris Johnson's dreadlocks, hair has been steadily creeping down the backs of jerseys for some time now; pretty soon we'll have Cousin It suiting up. There’s no rule against long hair; in fact, the NFL considers hair that extends out of a player’s helmet as part of the uniform and therefore can be used to make a tackle. But there is a safety issue at play here, and in this era of heightened awareness of player health and safety, the league may need to address hair-grabbing like it did with horse-collar tackling.

Rob Doster, Senior Editor

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

Teaser:
<p> Ask Athlon Sports: Players' Hair Length in the NFL</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 18:15
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, NBA
Path: /college-basketball/ask-athlon-sports-basketball-raising-goals
Body:

Q: With today’s basketball players so tall, why don't they raise the goals? Let's get the game back to where it really is a game, and not just a sideshow.

— Leroy Heldman, Knoxville, Tenn.

A: The basketball goal at 10 feet is rather arbitrary, but it’s been that way since Dr. James Naismith hung his first peach basket in Springfield, Mass., in 1891. It’s true that players have gotten taller and more athletic over time, but I don’t believe the baskets will ever be raised — for the same reasons the bases will always be 90 feet apart on a baseball diamond and a football field will be 100 yards long (120 if you count the end zones) and 53 yards, one foot wide. We value tradition and history in our sports, and making such a drastic change would have too big of an impact on the game. Plus, I believe a majority of basketball fans enjoy what you call the "sideshow." It makes the game exciting.

Mitchell Light, Managing Editor

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

Teaser:
<p> Ask Athlon Sports: Basketball Raising the Goals</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 18:12
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/most-amazing-mid-season-nfl-stats-2012
Body:

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from the first half of the 2012 season:

0:00: Time Kansas City has held a lead in 2012 in regulation
Technically, the 1-7 Kansas City Chiefs haven't held a lead for any amount of actual game time because the game-winning overtime field goal against New Orleans stopped the clock the millisecond it went through the uprights. Otherwise, the Chiefs have never held a lead at any point in regulation of eight football games thus far in 2012. Matt Cassel's league-leading 18 turnovers (11 INTs, 7 fumbles in seven games) certainly haven't helped his team in this respect.

547.2: NFL record total points the Titans are on pace to allow
The 1981 Baltimore Colts allowed an NFL record 533 points to set the low water mark for defensive performance in a 16-game schedule over 30 years ago. The Titans are allowing 34.2 points per game and would finish well ahead of the Colts' ignominious record should things continue at this pace in the Music City. 

433: NFL single-game rookie passing record set by Andrew Luck
Any excuse to get the No. 1 overall pick into an article is a good one. By throwing for 433 yards in the win over Miami in Week 9, Andrew Luck locked up another rookie record by topping Cam Newton's previous NFL single-game passing record of 422 yards from a year ago. He is 5-3 as a rookie starter who wins on big fourth-quarter drives and poised pocket play. He is one of the single-most, game-ready, first-year players this writer has ever seen. Luck has now toppled two of his fellow four rookie starters (Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden), the only two such meetings of first-year signal callers to date. His 2,404 passing yards trail only Eli Manning and Tom Brady on the season, his 148 yards rushing leads all AFC quarterbacks and his three rushing touchdowns trail only Robert Griffin III and Newton. Speaking of...

8-8: Consecutive completions for Robert Griffin III to start his career
The No. 2 overall pick in April's draft made his debut in New Orleans by completing his first eight passes for 149 yards and an 88-yard scoring strike. The long touchdown pass was the second-longest scoring strike by any quarterback making their debut, trailing on Charlie Batch's 98-yard scoring throw to Johnnie Morton back in 1998 for the Lions. Griffin III took a 20-14 road lead over New Orleans into halftime with a perfect 158.3 QB rating, something that has never been done (10 att.). By the game's end, Washington had defeated the Saints on the road and scored the most points, 40, of any Mike Shanahan-coached team in D.C. He threw for 320 yards as one of an NFL-record five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday. He and Andrew Luck, who threw for 309 yards in his debut, were only the third and fourth players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in Week 1 of their rookie season (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton).

Related: Second Half Divisional and Playoff Predictions

754: Jason Witten's Dallas Cowboys career record for receptions
Jason Witten has 58 catches for 538 yards and one touchdown in 2012. But his seven-catch performance Sunday evening against the Falcons in Week 9 made him the Dallas Cowboys' all-time leading receiver with 754 career receptions, passing Michael Irvin's 750. His 8,447 career yards rank No. 2 all-time behind Irvin and his 42 touchdown catches rank No. 6 all-time in Cowboys' history. All of this from a tight end who has missed one game in his 151-game NFL career. He is an extraordinary talent who looks to be headed to Canton.

51: Drew Brees' record consecutive games with a TD pass
Not too many records in sports stand for more than 50 years. Hitting streaks and Major championships are the types of things that last more than five decades. That makes what Brees accomplished that much more impressive. He broke Johnny Unitas' NFL record for consecutive games played with a touchdown pass that has stood since 1960 in Week 5 against San Diego. In fact, Brees and Unitas are the only two to top 40 straight while names like Elway, Montana, Young, Aikman and Eli never even got to 20. Tom Brady's active streak is at exactly 40 and the Patriots QB should become No. 3 to top 40 in Week 10. Brett Favre, who went 36 straight from 2002-04 is the fourth longest string of games with a touchdown pass. Congrats to a fellow Westlake Chaparral on a remarkable record.

39-5: Gary Kubiak's record when Houston runs at least 30 times
The Texans ran the ball 32 times for 118 yards in the not quite as easy as expected win over Buffalo and the NFL's worst rushing defense in Week 9. When Houston runs the ball at least 30 times under Coach Kubiak, the Texans win 88.9 percent of the time (39-5). Arian Foster scored for the fifth straight game and carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards. It was Foster's 20th career 100-yard effort in 43 career games and his fourth trip over the century mark this season.

6-1: Houston Texans AFC-best record after Week 7
With the franchise's first-ever win over Baltimore (1-6 all-time) back in Week 7, the Texans claimed the best record in the AFC. Why is it so important to have the best record in the AFC after Week 7? Well, the team with the best record in the AFC after the seventh weekend of action has made it to the Super Bowl in five of the last six seasons. New England (2011, 2007), Pittsburgh (2010) and Indianapolis (2009, 2006) all claimed the top mark in the AFC after seven weeks and each time made it to the Super Bowl. The 2008 Tennessee Titans, who started the season 6-0, are the only team in the last six seasons to have the AFC's best record after seven weeks and not make it to the final contest. That's the good news for the Texans. The bad news for the Texans? The last four have lost the big game.

17: NFL record consecutive games the Patriots have topped 350 yards of offense
With 473 yards of offense in the 45-7 Week 8 win over the Rams (3-5) in London, the Patriots passed the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams for the all-time record for consecutive games of at least 350 total yards of offense. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win across the pond. It marked the 50th time Brady has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game, good for fourth all-time behind Brett Favre (72), Peyton Manning (69) and Dan Marino (62). Strangely enough, it was also his 50th career 300-yard passing game, good for seventh all-time. 

957: NFL-leading rushing yards from Adrian Peterson
Peterson is the planet's most physically gifted running back and his recovery from ACL surgery to lead the NFL in rushing is nothing short of miraculous. He has carried 168 times and has caught 26 passes in nine games — putting him on pace for roughly 300 carries and a career-high 46 receptions. His 106.3 yards per game average is his second-best per-game average to date (110.0 per game, 2008) and would put him on pace for 1,700 yards. Peterson has never rushed for fewer than 10 touchdowns in a season and with four more in 2012, he would keep that streak alive. It's safe to say A.D. is back. As a public service announcement, his given nickname for his entire life — All-Day Peterson — is why he should be called "A.D" not "A.P." So national talking heads, stop calling him A.P.

251: Doug Martin's Bucs single-game rushing record
After gaining just 31 yards in the first half against Oakland, Martin exploded for 220 and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters in Week 9. Martin finished with 251 yards on 25 carries (10 ypc), the most in a single game in Tampa Bay franchise history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history. Only Adrian Peterson (296, 2007) and DeMarco Murray (253, 2011) have had more rushing yards as a rookie in a game. Martin, who scored on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards, joined Denver's Mike Anderson as the only backs in NFL history with at least 250 yards rushing and four scores in a single game. This record-setting performance comes on the heels of last week's game in Minnesota, in which Martin compiled 214 total yards of offense (135 rush, 79 receiving) and two touchdowns in the Bucs' win over the Vikings. For those keeping score at home, that's 486 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in two games for Martin, who was taken by Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in April's draft.

Some Streaks to Consider:

15-0: Falcons record when Matt Ryan throws at least three TD passes.

17-0: Packers record (including playoffs) when Jordy Nelson has at least 75 receiving yards.

10-0: Giants record when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for 100 yards.

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> The Most Amazing Mid-Season NFL Stats of 2012</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 10:00

Pages