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Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-8-ohio-state-preview
Visit the online store for Ohio State and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

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

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

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 8 Ohio State.

A reporter asked Thad Matta a simple question about the health of Aaron Craft after the point guard underwent a minor surgery on his ankle — and Matta decided to have a little fun.

“We’re not going to talk redshirting until we know for sure,” the coach said while trying to look solemn. “No, he’s fine, he’s fine. He’ll be good to go.”

It’s the kind of joke that can halt the heartbeats of Buckeye fans. Craft wasn’t projected to be such a key performer, but the feisty junior is now the catalyst of Matta’s ninth Ohio State team, especially with the departure of All-America post player Jared Sullinger and wing William Buford.

Sullinger’s inside force helped the Buckeyes to a share of another Big Ten title and trip to the Final Four, while Buford left campus with as many points (1,990) as the great Jerry Lucas, good for third all-time at Ohio State.

Craft can’t replace their production, but he’s proved himself to be perhaps the best on-ball defender in the country and knows how to get the ball to the right spots on offense. The Buckeyes once again are young but believe in their heady on-court leader.

That’s important, because Matta will have to reshape his team after not employing a particularly deep rotation last season.

Sullinger’s reliability in the paint will be greatly missed, as the Buckeyes no longer have a go-to player in the post or a top-notch defensive rebounder. However, power forward Deshaun Thomas is a matchup headache who is ready to explode this season. A uniquely talented 6-7 lefty, Thomas was a point-producing machine as an Indiana prepster and still has a knack for scoring the ball. But he’s beginning to flourish in all areas of his game.

“I think the biggest thing with Deshaun is just continuing to make him a well-rounded basketball player,” Matta says. “Deshaun knows there are things he has to do to help our basketball team and things he has to get better at to help us win.”

Thomas displayed his takeover ability sporadically last season and during the Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament run. It’s not out of the question for him to average 20 points per game this season.

Amir Williams was too raw to provide regular help last season, but he’s made enough strides for the coaches to believe he can take over at center. That would be ideal and allow functional big man Evan Ravenel to sub in at the 4 and 5 spots as needed.

The top small forward could be LaQuinton Ross, a smooth outside shooter with good length (6-8) and notable ball skills — although he has to display defensive improvement.

Whether Ross is a starter or not, the highly athletic Sam Thompson should see lots of playing time on the wing. Meanwhile, classmate Trey McDonald still searches for a niche.

It all begins with Craft, who sets the tone at both ends of the floor. He’ll battle Penn State’s Tim Frazier once again for Big Ten supremacy in assists and steals. Craft will receive help from Shannon Scott, who struggled mightily with his shooting as a freshman last season.

Lenzelle Smith Jr., who was heroic in Ohio State’s Final Four-clinching win over Syracuse, continues to show impressive development. He beat out Jordan Sibert (who has since transferred) for the 2-guard spot last year on his hustle and board work, and he eventually turned into a reliable outside threat.

The coaching staff also hopes to benefit from firepower off the bench from freshman Amedeo Della Valle, an Italian sharpshooter. The Buckeyes need to be better from 3-point range without a proven scorer in the paint.

Matta wasn’t able to secure an immediate replacement for Sullinger while on the recruiting trail and is back to operating with a limited roster and just one senior.

However, Ohio State has a horse to ride in Thomas, and one of the best leaders and defenders in the nation in Craft. The Buckeyes are a high-effort, athletic outfit, which means they should defend well yet again.

But how far they go will depend upon the willingness of young players to properly fill in the cracks.

“Anytime you lose great players you’ve got to redefine roles and you’ve got to get guys to have an appreciation for their role,” Matta says.


Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 8 Ohio State Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:37
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-5

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

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Note: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:16
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-5

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

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB at IND Had best game yet (319-4-1) vs. Saints last week.
2 Drew Brees NO vs. SD Leading league in yards (1,350), 24th in accuracy (57.6).
3 Matt Ryan ATL at WAS No. 1 fantasy QB gets No. 31 passing defense.
4 Tom Brady NE vs. DEN Put up 340 yards passing vs. Bills, 4 TDs (3 pass/1 rush).
5 Eli Manning NYG at CLE Second to Brees in yards, Browns gave up 356 last week.
6 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. ATL Rookie has same number of passing and rushing TDs (4).
7 Peyton Manning DEN at NE No. 18 is 6-10 in regular season vs. Patriots, 36 TDs, 23 INTs.
8 Joe Flacco BAL at KC Ravens throwing more than running, will it continue?
9 Cam Newton CAR vs. SEA Rebounded vs. Falcons, but 'Hawks another tough test.
10 Philip Rivers SD at NO Averaging less than 225 yards per game, breakout vs. NO?
11 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. PHI Career vs. Eagles: 1-1, 314 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT total.
12 Matt Schaub HOU at NYJ (Mon.) Revis-less Jets D not nearly as fearsome.
13 Andy Dalton CIN vs. MIA Has 9 total TDs, only 3 INTs in last three games.
14 Michael Vick PHI at PIT Steelers have had extra week to get healthy, ready for Eagles.
15 Jay Cutler CHI at JAC Can he do it two games in a row?
16 Andrew Luck IND vs. GB Had extra week to prepare for Packers.
17 Alex Smith SF vs. BUF 49ers should feast on second straight AFC East opponent.
18 Christian Ponder MIN vs. TEN Will Vikes let Ponder air it out against Titans (27th vs. pass)?
19 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at SF First in league in passing TDs (12), tied for second in INTs (7).
20 Kevin Kolb ARI at STL (Thurs.) Had first 300-3 game since Oct. 2010 last week.
21 Matt Hasselbeck TEN at MIN Veteran gets start in place of Locker (shoulder).
22 Sam Bradford STL vs. ARI Shaky O-line holding Rams' passing attack back.
23 Russell Wilson SEA at CAR Rams bring rookie back to earth: 160 yards, 3 INT, 0 TDs.
24 Matt Cassel KC vs. BAL Ravens not what Cassel needs to maintain hold on job.
25 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. NYG Has 3:3 TD:INT ratio since tossing 4 picks in Week 1.
26 Ryan Tannehill MIA at CIN Coming off of 432-yard effort (1 TD 2, INTs) at Arizona.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-5

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

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 A.J. Green CIN vs. MIA No. 1 fantasy WR right now.
2 Victor Cruz NYG vs. CLE Capable of carrying load if Nicks is out again.
3 Roddy White ATL at WAS Had most yards (169) since Week 7 of 2010 last week.
4 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at STL (Thurs.) Finally finding chemistry with Kolb.
5 Andre Johnson HOU at NYJ (Mon.) Jets won't have Revis to slow down big Texan.
6 Brandon Marshall CHI at JAC Looks to be back on same page with Cutler.
7 Percy Harvin MIN vs. TEN Should have bigger impact on offense vs. Titans.
8 Jordy Nelson GB at IND Finally found end zone last week.
9 Mike Wallace PIT vs. PHI  
10 Julio Jones ATL at WAS Hand issue holding him back.
11 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. DEN Looking for big game against former team.
12 Demaryius Thomas DEN at NE Big target could cause Pats' DBs problems.
13 Steve Smith CAR vs. SEA Smith vs. SEA secondary will be fun to watch.
14 Reggie Wayne IND vs. GB  
15 Marques Colston NO vs. SD Big game against Packers, foot issue behind him?
16 Wes Welker NE vs. DEN Been big part of offense since Hernandez went down.
17 Torrey Smith BAL at KC One of top vertical threats in NFL.
18 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. BAL  
19 DeSean Jackson PHI at PIT  
20 Stevie Johnson BUF at SF  
21 Malcom Floyd SD at NO Saints allowing fourth-most fantasy points to WRs.
22 Eric Decker DEN at NE  
23 Antonio Brown PIT vs. PHI  
24 Domenik Hixon NYG vs. CLE Big opportunity with Hakeem Nicks out again.
25 James Jones GB at IND No Jennings, means more snaps for Jones.
26 Danny Amendola STL vs. ARI (Thurs.) TD last week came on fake field goal.
27 Lance Moore NO vs. SD  
28 Brian Hartline MIA at CIN Leading league in receiving yards, but relies on rookie QB.
29 Jeremy Maclin PHI at PIT  
30 Michael Crabtree SF vs. BUF Will 49ers throw enough to take advantage of Bills?
31 Anquan Boldin BAL at KC After slow start, had 9 rec., 131 yds. vs. Cleveland
32 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. ATL Had only one catch last week, but foot appears OK.
33 Nate Washington TEN at MIN  
34 Kenny Britt TEN at MIN Hoping to at least practice (ankle), monitor status.
35 Andre Roberts ARI at STL (Thurs.) Top fantasy WR (No. 12) on Cardinals.
36 Andrew Hawkins CIN vs. MIA Big-play or bust option right now.
37 Donnie Avery IND vs. GB  
38 Randall Cobb GB at IND  
39 Greg Little CLE at NYG If only he could hold onto ball better.
40 Jerome Simpson MIN vs. TEN Led team in catches, yards in first game back.
41 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. SEA  
42 Davone Bess MIA at CIN Had strong game (7, 123) in support of Hartline last week.
43 Sidney Rice SEA at CAR  
44 Leonard Hankerson WAS vs. ATL Used Garcon's absence to carve out role in passing game.
45 Kendall Wright TEN at MIN Rookie could see more opportunities if Britt's out.
46 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. CHI Six catches, 48 yards a start for rookie.
47 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.) Holmes done for year, so could Jets' passing attack.
48 Donald Jones BUF at SF  
49 Alshon Jeffery CHI at JAC  
50 T.Y. Hilton IND vs. GB  
51 Brandon Stokely DEN at NE  
52 Mario Manningham SF vs. BUF  
53 Jon Baldwin KC at KC Starting to show more consistency, TD next?
54 Randy Moss SF vs. BUF  
55 Travis Benjamin CLE at NYG Injuries have given him a chance to produce.
56 Devin Hester CHI at JAC Caught TD vs. Dallas, more looks coming?
57 Kevin Walter HOU at NYJ (Mon.)  
58 Golden Tate SEA at CAR  
59 Eddie Royal SD at NO  
60 Chaz Schilens NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.)  
61 Santana Moss WAS vs. ATL  
62 Brandon Gibson STL vs. ARI (Thurs.) Second on team in receptions, targets.
63 Robert Meachem SD at NO Will facing former team finally get him going?
64 Harry Douglas ATL at WAS  

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:13
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-5

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

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. SD  
2 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. DEN  
3 Tony Gonzalez ATL at WAS  
4 Vernon Davis SF vs. BUF  
5 Jermichael Finley GB at IND  
6 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. TEN Titans have been awful against TEs.
7 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. CLE Just one catch vs. Eagles, but don't worry.
8 Antonio Gates SD at NO Still in search of first TD.
9 Dennis Pitta BAL at KC Not needed (0 rec.) against Browns.
10 Brent Celek PHI at PIT Clearly one of Vick's favorite targets right now.
11 Owen Daniels HOU at NYJ (Mon.)  
12 Greg Olsen CAR vs. SEA Leads Panthers in receptions.
13 Scott Chandler BUF at SF Two TDs vs. Patriots, No. 5 fantasy TE right now.
14 Fred Davis WAS vs. ATL Has had back-to-back solid games, still no TDs.
15 Heath Miller PIT vs. PHI Caught two TD passes in Week 3.
16 Coby Fleener IND vs. GB  
17 Jared Cook TEN at MIN First shoulder, now dealing with hand issue too.
18 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. MIA  
19 Jacob Tamme DEN at NE More targets and catches than Dreessen, but no TDs either.
20 Joel Dreessen DEN at NE Tamme had more catches, but he had TD vs. Raiders.
21 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. CHI Best game (3, 32, 1) since Week 1 against Bengals.
22 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.) May finally return since injuring hamstring in Week 1.
23 Anthony Fasano MIA at CIN  
24 Ed Dickson BAL at KC  
25 Rob Housler ARI at STL (Thurs.)  
26 Craig Stevens TEN at MIN Made most of opportunities while Cook's been limited.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:11
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-5

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

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Houston Texans at NYJ (Mon.) Just like 49ers, Texans should feast on Jets' O in disarray.
2 Chicago Bears at JAC Bears abused Romo (5 INTs) on MNF, greener Gabbert next.
3 Arizona Cardinals at STL (Thurs.) No. 2 DEF in fantasy, second in league in sacks (16).
4 Seattle Seahawks at CAR Hawks D vs. Cam Newton will be fun to watch.
5 Baltimore Ravens at KC Chiefs have turned ball over NFL-worst 15 times.
6 San Francisco 49ers vs. BUF Looking to feast on AFC East for second week in a row.
7 St. Louis Rams vs. ARI (Thurs.) Rams been strong against pass (8 INTs) so far.
8 Minnesota Vikings vs. TEN Vikings can get to QB, make big special teams plays.
9 New York Giants vs. CLE Will T-Rich run on G-Men like McCoy (123 yds.)?
10 Atlanta Falcons at WAS Last week it was Cam, this week it's RGIII.
11 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. PHI Should get Polamalu, Harrison back.
12 Green Bay Packers at IND Packers looking to pressure rookie Luck into mistakes.
13 Philadelphia Eagles at PIT Will need to get pressure on Big Ben to slow down passing attack.
14 Miami Dolphins at CIN Fins better against run than pass, could be issue with Green.
15 Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIA Leading league in sacks with 17.
16 New England Patriots vs. DEN Pats rely on turnovers, Manning has just 3 INTs so far.
17 New York Jets vs. HOU (Mon.) Offensive issues starting to bring down D.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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


Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:10
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-5

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

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF vs. BUF
2 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. DEN
3 Mason Crosby GB at IND
4 Greg Zuerlein STL vs. ARI (Thurs.)
5 Matt Bryant ATL at WAS
6 Justin Tucker BAL at KC
7 Garrett Hartley NO vs. SD
8 Blair Walsh MIN vs. TEN
9 Robbie Gould CHI at JAC
10 Nick Novak SD at NO
11 Alex Henery PHI at PIT
12 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. CLE
13 Shayne Graham HOU at NYJ (Mon.)
14 Matt Prater DEN at NE
15 Mike Nugent CIN vs. MIA
16 Phil Dawson CLE at NYG

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:05
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-6-sit-or-start

We’ve reached the midway point of most fantasy league regular-season schedules.  Gone are the non-conference mismatches, as the weekly schedule shifts into conference play overload.  No more Oregon versus Tennessee Tech.  No more Florida State versus Savannah State.  No more SEC versus Sun Belt Conference……bad example.  No more Big Ten versus MAC…….another bad example.  For those of you who loaded your rosters with non-BCS players, your time is finally here.


Chase Rettig, QB-Boston College vs Army

Rettig should shred an Army defense giving up 38.8 points and nearly 475 yards per game this season.

Tyler Van Tubbergen, QB-Western Michigan vs Massachusetts

Van Tubbergen’s first start of the season did not go as planned last week, but look for the junior to bounce back against a Minutemen defense allowing 41.8 points and 494 yards per game.

Tevin Washington, QB-Georgia Tech at Clemson

Clemson is giving up more than 175 yards per game on the ground and that number figures to climb after the Yellow Jackets leave town.

Cody Green, QB-Tulsa at Marshall

Expect Cody Green to fill up the stat sheet through the air and on the ground against a Marshall defense allowing 44.4 points per game, worst in the FBS.

Terrance Broadway, QB-Louisiana vs Tulane

Terrance Broadway has taken over for starting quarterback Blaine Gautier, who may miss the rest of the regular season with a hand injury.  Broadway’s confidence should continue to grow as he faces a Tulane defense allowing 42.8 points per game.

Zac Stacy, RB-Vanderbilt at Missouri

Stacy’s only 100-yard game of the season came against Presbyterian three weeks ago, but we’re expecting the Vandy offense to rely heavily on its senior tailback this week at Missouri

Trayion Durham and Dri Archer, RBs-Kent St at Eastern Michigan

This thunder and lightning combination has scored nine of the Golden Flashes’ thirteen offensive touchdowns.  Expect another 2-3 scores this week against an Eastern Michigan defense that gives up 36.3 points per game.

John White, RB-Utah vs USC

This decision was not an easy one, but White should be well rested and healthy when the Trojans come to Rice-Eccles Stadium for a nationally televised Thursday night contest.

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia at South Carolina

Gurley’s touches have increased over the past two weeks and the freshman should get another heavy workload on the road at South Carolina.

Jared Abbrederis, WR vs Illinois

Since his return from injury two weeks ago, Abbrederis has gone for 6-147-1 and 7-142-1 in back-to-back weeks.  We believe he will reach the century mark for the third week in a row.

Keyarris Garrett, WR-Tulsa at Marshall

Last week, Garrett was posted on our Emergency Starters list and caught six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.  In an up-tempo game against Marshall, Garrett has the potential to post bigger numbers this week.


Shane Carden, QB-East Carolina at Central Florida

The Pirates defeated UTEP by ten points last week, despite three interceptions by the sophomore quarterback Shane Carden.  Expect a lot pressure from a Central Florida defense that held Missouri to 21 point last week.

James Franklin, QB-Missouri vs Vanderbilt

You can’t convince us that Franklin is the same quarterback since his shoulder injury.  For the season, he has rushed for 52 yards and zero touchdowns in 50 attempts.

James Sims, RB-Kansas at Kansas St

Sims was impressive two weeks ago in his debut against Northern Illinois, but this week he faces a Kansas State defense ranked 15th ranked in the country against the run.

Lyle McCombs, RB-UConn at Rutgers

McCombs has only eclipsed the 100-yard mark once in 2012 and this week he faces the nation’s No. 1 ranked rush defense.

Mike Gillislee, RB-Florida vs LSU

You can make worse roster moves than starting Gillislee against an LSU defense that is only giving up 86 yards rushing per game, but a roster with solid depth may have more favorable options. 

Dominique Whaley, RB-Oklahoma at Texas Tech

Whaley has only rushed for 168 yards and one touchdown this season, so we’re going to take a wait-and-see approach with a player on the verge of being dropped, if he hasn’t already been thrown back into your league waiver pool.

Orleans Darkwa, RB-Tulane at Louisiana

Darkwa made his return last week and rushed for seven yards on seven carries against LA-Monroe.  In four games this season, Tulane has run the ball for a total of 20 yards, averaging 5 yards per game.  Five!

Phillip Dorsett, WR-Miami at Notre Dame

Dorsett was listed in our Waiver Wire on Monday, but we’re not sure he’s a solid play against the Irish’s 19th ranked pass defense.


For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 6 Sit or Start</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 04:56
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-29

Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council take a wider look at the sport this week, judging who they think the best crew chief in the Chase is and if the length of the Chase should remain 10 races. Here’s a look at what they had to say:

Who is the best crew chief in the Chase?

42.4 percent said Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson)
25.2 percent said Paul Wolfe (Brad Keselowski)
18.3 percent said Darian Grubb (Denny Hamlin
5.0 percent said Steve Letarte (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)
2.7 percent said Alan Gustafson (Jeff Gordon)
1.5 percent said Kenny Francis (Kasey Kahne)
1.1 percent said Steve Addington (Tony Stewart)
1.1 percent said Jimmy Fennig (Matt Kenseth)
1.1 percent said Chad Johnston (Martin Truex Jr.)
0.8 percent said Gil Martin (Kevin Harvick)
0.8 percent said Brian Pattie (Clint Bowyer)
0.0 percent said Matt Puccia (Greg Biffle)

What Fan Council members said:
• Five championships, well in contention for six. Chad has been and continues to be the best.

• Chad, and then everyone else. Chad Knaus has revolutionized the crew chief position and forced every other one to step up. If it wasn't for him, I'm not sure J.J. has even one title under his belt.

• Paul Wolfe is not afraid of taking a chance and he and Brad sure make a good pair.

• I gotta give it to Paul for this year. So far they have not faltered, in fact they've shown the way to others by giving his driver all the adjustments necessary to excel at the end, when it counts. And he can count fuel mileage unlike others.

• Darian Grubb has shown that he has what it takes to be a great crew chief. He took Tony Stewart to a championship last year and then was dumped. He bounced back and has given Denny Hamlin his best year yet. No matter if he wins the championship or not, Denny is having a great year. And if he does win the championship, it will be with the help of a great crew chief.

• I think that Darian is the best in the garage. Look at his record the last two years and you can't say any other crew chief has won more races. He's the top dog.

• I chose Steve Letarte because he is responsible for the unbelievable transformation of Dale Jr. I rode with Junior during driver's introduction in 2010. What I saw was a very unhappy and depressed man with no confidence. Interviews were done with his head down. Now he appears to be a happy, confident driver who has an awesome relationship with his crew chief and is appreciative of what he has. One of the biggest changes is what you hear on the scanner.

• So far it's hard to bet against Alan Gustafson. Not only has he made the right calls, the obvious respect he and Jeff have for each other along with the trust Jeff has in Alan's decisions make them a team worth noting.

• Mr. Fennig has forgotten more about technical matters than the other crew chiefs can ever hope to learn.

• Gil is an outstanding crew chief and gets very little credit for having to put up with Harvick on a daily basis.

How long should the Chase be?

80.8 percent said 10 races
10.8 percent said 5 races
4.2 percent said 8 races
4.2 percent said 6 races

What Fan Council members said:
• 10 weeks is good, that way if you blow it one week it does not mean game over.

• I think 10 is perfect. It has most every type of track there is other than a road course. Put one of those in and take one of the 1.5-milers out and you have a perfect collection.

• I like the number of races just the way it is. With 10 races it gives the fans a chance to see who will be the cream of the crop — who really deserves to be in the Chase. The champion won't be fluke, but a team who has shown to have consistency and can win some races.

• Five races. Richmond to get in, Bristol to start, then Watkins Glen, Talladega, Martinsville, Homestead. 10 races is too long. We got spoiled last year with the epic battle to the last lap of the season. I have a feeling we wont see that ever again.

• The Chase is perfect the way it is. If the number of races is shortened there will be no suspense at all. The driver who wins the first race will most likely win the championship. Right now it is fun to watch Jeff Gordon try to redeem himself. He wouldn't have a chance with a shortened Chase.

• One race each at a short track, road course, plate, 2-mile, 1.5-mile and a 1-mile track. Change the 1.5-mile track each year for the finale or have it at Las Vegas permanently.

• I picked 10, but believe 12 drivers and 12 races (with the current 36-race schedule) works best. Makes sense: a greater spread of races and possibility to make moves to the current bland schedule. Richmond could move back to the Chase decider or become a late-season race (a la Rockingham back in the day). I like the thought of a 500-mile race at Atlanta opening the Chase more than Chicago or New Hampshire.

• I don't like the Chase, but 10 is a good number. Attrition/elimination are about to enter into the picture. Fewer races would just make it about luck and who's hot at the moment.

Grade Sunday’s race at Dover

45.2 percent called it Fair
33.3 percent called it Good
18.8 percent called it Poor
2.7 percent called it Great

What Fan Council members said:
• One word for Sunday's race: STRANGE.

• We attended the race and came up with three exciting moments: The one instance of three-wide racing in Turn 2, Kyle Busch gaining on Jimmie Johnson toward the end and the breath-holding laps of Jeff Gordon fans hoping Alan Gustafson was right about having enough fuel (thanks Alan & Jeff for a very nice birthday gift! lol) 400 miles of racing & three moments of excitement (unless you're also a big fan of Brad Keselowski, then add his win). No wonder the stands were barely half full and emptied out by another quarter by the time the race ended. We used to love going to Dover. It's a shame the racing has gone downhill there too.

• What is going on in this Chase? No exciting races yet! This is another “Poor” rating for me for watching another high-speed parade of cars go around the track.

• I was there and any race at Dover is a great “in-person” race.

• Boring race till the last 50 laps.

• Boring race from start to finish. Didn't seem to be much hard racing, excitement or drama. Strategy and fuel mileage races will always be a part of the sport but it really doesn't make for a very exciting finish when drivers can't race each other because they have to slow down so they don't run out of fuel.

• It certainly was not a great race at all but not the worst. Only having six cars on the lead lap shook it up, which was fun to see. Otherwise, it seemed there was only a few passes and the finish wasn't too bad.

• I was there. This was without a doubt the most boring race I've ever been to (or seen on TV)! I left with about 70 laps to go. I've never seen so many folks leave so early en mass. I used buses provided by local law enforcement and encouraged by the track. Six full buses left before I was able to get on one (before race was over)!

• I really hated to give it a rating of “Poor” because that first caution put a lot of cars a lap or more down. NASCAR can't do anything about that — just dumb luck.

• It was my first NASCAR race and I enjoyed every moment of it. Great strategy towards the end and a surprise winner.

The Backseat Drivers Fan Council was founded and is administered by Dustin Long. Fans can join by sending Dustin an email at

Please include the following information:
Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.

<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council shares its thoughts on the best crew chiefs, whether the Chase length is too long or just right and grades the racing at Dover.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 19:39
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-picks-every-game-week-5

NFL Week 5 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Cardinals (4-0) at Rams (2-2)
The Cardinals return to St. Louis, the city where the Birds played from 1960-87 before heading to the Valley of the Sun. The Cards are flying high, off to their best start in 38 years. In fact, Arizona has won 11 of its last 13 games dating back to last November.
Rams by 1

Eagles (3-1) at Steelers (1-2)
Although Pittsburgh has the historic edge over Philadelphia in Super Bowls — at six-to-zero — the City of Brotherly Love has the bragging rights head-to-head against the Steel City, with a 47–27–3 record. Eagles quarterback Mike Vick has a banged up knee and a bruised touchdown-to-turnover ratio, at five-to-nine. The dynamic lefty will have his work cut out for him against the Steelers, who return a healthy safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison following their bye week.
Steelers by 3

Packers (2-2) at Colts (1-2)
Indy is in an impossible position following the sudden news that first-year coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia and is out indefinitely. That puts even more of the burden on rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been solid but not RG3-spectacular.
Packers by 10

Browns (0-4) at Giants (2-2)
The road doesn’t get any easier for winless Cleveland. After a tough Thursday night loss at Baltimore, the Browns take on the defending Super Bowl champion Giants in New Jersey. That’s a tough task for even the league’s best — but especially for arguably the NFL’s worst.
Giants by 11

Falcons (4-0) at Redskins (2-2)
Hot-lanta has been on fire so far this season. But so has Robert Griffin III, who has completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,070 yards, four TDs and one INT for a 103.2 passer rating, while rushing for 252 yards and four more TDs.
Falcons by 3

Dolphins (1-3) at Bengals (3-1)
Miami enters with the league’s top rushing defense (56.8 ypg) but the 30th-ranked passing defense (297.8 ypg). That could be a problem, as Cincy has the eighth-best passing offense (279.2 ypg) and one of the top young receivers in the game in A.J. Green.
Bengals by 5

Ravens (3-1) at Chiefs (1-3)
Baltimore has had 10 days to prep for K.C., a team whose running back, Jamaal Charles, said that he “sucked” last week.
Ravens by 9

Seahawks (2-2) at Panthers (1-3)
Imagine if the emotional Cam Newton had lost a game to a Golden Tate non-catch?
Panthers by 4

Bears (3-1) at Jaguars (1-3)
New owner, new coach, new quarterback, but same results for Jacksonville. On the bright side, the Jags are at home, playing a team coming off a short week, with a bipolar QB.
Bears by 7

Broncos (2-2) at Patriots (2-2)
Ali-Frazier. Russell-Chamberlain. Magic-Bird. Federer-Nadal. Brady-Manning. While Eli has redefined the meaning of Brady-Manning — by beating Tom Terrific in two Super Bowls — there’s nothing quite like Tommy Boy’s original rivalry with Peyton. The two best quarterbacks of the generation have met 12 times, with Brady carrying an 8–4 edge, with a 6–3 mark in the regular season and 2–1 playoff record.
Patriots by 6

Bills (2-2) at 49ers (3-1)
San Fran’s travel schedule has been hectic — going from the Bay to the Twin Cities to the Big Apple and back to the Bay for a contest with Canada’s favorite team.
49ers by 10

Titans (1-3) at Vikings (3-1)
The Jake Locker vs. Christian Ponder showdown of second-year signal-callers is off, following a blindside blitz from the Texans that knocked Locker’s left shoulder out of socket for the second time in a month. But the Chris Johnson vs. Adrian Peterson track meet is still on — that is, if Johnson plays like he did in Week 4 (141 yards) and not Weeks 1-3 (35).
Vikings by 4

Chargers (3-1) at Saints (0-4)
Drew Brees’ Sunday night showcase coincides with New Orleans hitting the panic button following an 0–4 start. Brees was drafted by the Chargers in 2001 — in a pick received as part of the Michael Vick draft day trade — and played in San Diego through 2005, when the Bolts decided to hand the keys to young gun Philip Rivers — who was acquired as part of the Eli Manning draft day trade of 2004. This week, the former mentor-protege duo of Brees and Rivers will go toe-to-toe in prime time.
Saints by 3

Texans (4-0) at Jets (2-2)
The stage is set on Monday night and there are countless drama-filled potential storylines. Will this be the week that the Jets crash and burn? Will Tim Tebow get a chance to steal the show? Will Jon Gruden’s head explode? Who knows?
Texans by 10

Last week: 11–4 // Season: 37–26

<p> NFL Week 5 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule, including Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, Houston Texans at New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 11:27
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /mlb/braves-sheets-retire-after-wednesdays-start

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Atlanta Braves pitcher Ben Sheets will make the final start of an injury-plagued 10-year major league career when he takes the mound in Wednesday's regular-season finale at Pittsburgh.

Sheets, who returned to the big leagues in July after sitting out the entire 2011 season recovering from elbow surgery, told the Braves' official site of his decision on Tuesday.

"I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I'm not playing again," he said. "No matter what, there is not enough help or money to pull me out of this one."

The veteran right-hander has not pitched since Aug. 24 due to a sore shoulder, but is expected to throw two innings to begin Wednesday's contest. Sheets will be taking the place of orginally scheduled starter Tim Hudson, who is slated to pitch Game 1 of a potential appearance in the National League Division Series if the Braves win Friday's wild card game at Turner Field.

Atlanta was eliminated from NL East title consideration following Monday's 2-1 loss to the Pirates.

Sheets is not expected to be included on Atlanta's postseason roster.

The 34-year-old has compiled a 94-96 record and a 3.54 earned run average over 249 career starts with Milwaukee, Oakland and the Braves and was named to the NL All-Star team four times (2001, 2004, 2007, 2008) during an eight-year stint with the Brewers from 2001-08. He missed all of 2009 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow.

Sheets has gone 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA in eight starts with Atlanta this season.

<p> Atlanta Braves pitcher Ben Sheets will make the final start of an injury-plagued 10-year major league career when he takes the mound in Wednesday's regular-season finale at Pittsburgh.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 09:47
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nfl/report-jets-holmes-miss-rest-season

New York, NY (Sports Network) - New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes will miss the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

Holmes suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers after making a catch. He immediately fell to the ground without being contacted and let go of the ball, which 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers promptly returned for a 51-yard touchdown

The seven-year veteran was unable to put any weight on his left leg and was carted off the field.

X-rays of the foot were negative, but the Daily News reported an MRI on the injury by foot specialist Robert Anderson in North Carolina discovered the extent of the injury.

Holmes recorded four catches for 29 yards before exiting Sunday, and has 20 receptions for 272 yards and a touchdown this season.

This would be the second significant injury for the Jets this season as the team already lost superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis for the season due to an ACL injury.

<p> New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes will miss the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, according to a report in the New York Daily News.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 07:26
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-15-freshmen-after-week-5

With the halfway point of the 2012 college football season approaching, it's time to take a look at some of the top freshmen performers so far this season. For the purpose of this article, Athlon included true and redshirt freshman, with an emphasis on the offensive and defensive performers. Quarterbacks grabbed three of the top five spots, as UCLA's Brett Hundley barely edges Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel for No. 1.

College Football's Top 15 Freshmen After Week 5

1. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
The Bruins are off to their best start since 2005, largely due to the play of running back Johnathan Franklin and the emergence of Hundley. The redshirt freshman has been the perfect triggerman for coordinator Noel Mazzone’s spread attack, throwing for 1,470 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hundley has recorded 165 yards and four scores on the ground, including 53 in a 36-30 upset win over Nebraska. With a favorable schedule that features home games against Arizona, Stanford and USC, the Bruins could push the Trojans for the Pac-12 South crown. It's a tossup between Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Hundley for the No. 1 spot. Although Manziel has the edge in completion percentage and has yet to throw an interception, Hundley has less of a supporting cast, which is the tiebreaker in this vote for No. 1.

2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Aggie fans had high hopes for Manziel, and he hasn’t disappointed through the first four games of the season. “Johnny Football” has thrown for 1,094 yards and 10 touchdowns, while rushing for 366 yards and six scores. While those stats are impressive, Manziel has yet to throw an interception and is completing an impressive 70.2 percent of his throws. The competition will get tougher in the second half of the season, but Manziel is clearly a player Texas A&M will be able to build around over the next couple of seasons, and he could be one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks going into 2013.

3. Todd Gurley/Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
For the purposes of this article, we will count the Marshall-Gurley duo as one player. This freshman duo has been dynamic for Georgia this season, with Gurley leading the team with 536 yards and nine touchdowns. Marshall ranks just behind Gurley with 428 yards and five touchdowns but leads the team with an 8.2 yards per carry average. Both players contribute in the passing game, while Gurley is averaging 34.7 yards per kickoff return and took one for a score in the season opener against Buffalo. Gurley and Marshall's numbers are even more impressive when you consider Georgia had a couple of holes to fill up front, and helping to lead the way for the rushing attack is true freshman right tackle John Theus.

4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Thanks to Oregon putting most of their opponents away by halftime, Mariota hasn’t been called upon to do much in the second half. However, the redshirt freshman has shown flashes of ability when called upon, throwing for 1,103 yards and 11 touchdowns, while adding 181 yards and one score on the ground. Oregon has played in only one road game this year (Washington State), and even though he tossed two picks, Mariota showed poise and never seemed to get rattled. Expect the redshirt freshman to get more comfortable over the second half of the season, and his solid play could be crucial to helping Oregon reach a spot in the national title game. 

5. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
With Lamar Miller leaving early for the NFL, Johnson was expected to immediately contribute and so far, he’s been one of the ACC’s top playmakers. The true freshman has recorded 359 rushing yards and five scores, while catching 15 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown. Johnson has been a factor on special teams as well, averaging 29.6 yards per kickoff return on 14 attempts. Through five games, he leads the ACC with 184 total yards per game. Johnson will continue to share carries with Mike James, but he should be a lock for ACC Rookie of the Year honors.

6. Devonte Fields, DE, TCU
All of the preseason hype on TCU’s defense centered on defensive end Stansly Maponga, but Fields has quickly emerged as one of the Horned Frogs’ top defenders. Fields leads the team with five sacks and ranks fourth with 17 tackles. The true freshman has also started all four games and leads the Big 12 with 8.5 tackles for a loss. Fields is a big reason why TCU ranks as one of the top defenses in the nation and could be in the mix for first-team All-Big 12 honors at the end of the season. 

7. Wes Lunt/J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State
No Brandon Weeden, no problem for Oklahoma State. Wes Lunt started the first three games of the year for the Cowboys, but he suffered a knee injury in the first quarter against Louisiana-Lafayette. With Lunt sidelined, J.W. Walsh stepped up and threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns against the Ragin’ Cajuns and played well in the 41-36 loss to Texas. Oklahoma State may not repeat as Big 12 champions but the future looks bright with Lunt and Walsh competing for the starting job for the next couple of seasons.

8. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia
Baylor gashed the Mountaineers’ defense for 700 yards and 63 points in Week 5, but it’s hard to overlook Bruce’s performance so far this season. The redshirt freshman leads the team with 43 tackles and has one fumble recovery. In the season opener against Marshall, Bruce recorded 16 stops and earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Bruce has good speed and athleticism, which allows him to be one of West Virginia’s most active playmakers on defense.

9. Isaac Seumalo, C, Oregon State
It’s not often a true freshman cracks the starting lineup at center, but that’s exactly what Seumalo has done this season. The Corvallis native was one of the nation’s top 150 recruits coming out of high school and is a big reason why Oregon State’s offensive line is improved from last season. The Beavers rank 97th nationally in rushing offense but that’s an improvement from finishing 118th last season. Seumalo is the first true freshman to start at center for Oregon State since Roger Levasa in 1978.

10. Leonard Williams, DL, USC
The defensive line was considered USC’s biggest weakness in the preseason, but thanks to Williams and the play of junior college recruit Morgan Breslin, the Trojans’ front four has emerged a strength. Williams has nine tackles and three sacks through the first four games and made his first career start against Stanford. With another offseason in the weight room, Williams could make a run at preseason All-American honors in 2013.

11. Jalen Mills, CB, LSU
Mills was thrown into the fire this season, as LSU’s secondary suffered a setback with the dismissal of Tyrann Mathieu before spring practice. The true freshman has passed every test so far, ranking fourth on the team with 25 tackles and tying for the team lead with two interceptions. Mills has started all five of LSU’s games so far and will be a key cog in the Tigers’ run to repeat as SEC champs. The true freshman will take his lumps every now and then, but Mills looks like another star at cornerback for LSU.

12. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
With a true freshman directing Maryland’s offense, it’s easy to see why Diggs has only 12 catches for 259 yards and three touchdowns. However, the numbers don’t really indicate how well Diggs has play, as he has 20 yards on rushing attempts and is averaging 11.8 yards per punt return and 26.6 on kickoffs. The true freshman also leads the team in scoring and all-purpose yardage this season. Expect Diggs to be a bigger factor in the offense in the second half of the year, especially as freshman quarterback Perry Hills gets more snaps under his belt.  

13. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama
The Crimson Tide has one of the deepest backfields in the nation, so the stat sheet doesn’t show just how effective Yeldon has been this season. The true freshman has one 100-yard effort, rushing for 111 yards and one touchdown against Michigan in the season opener. Yeldon has at least 10 carries in four out of the five games this year and ranks just behind Eddie Lacy in rushing yards (314 to 292).

14. Shaq Thompson, S, Washington
Thompson was practically handed a starting job when he committed to Washington and has played a key role in turning the Huskies’ defense around in 2012. The true freshman ranks third on the team with 20 tackles through four games and also has three tackles for a loss and one blocked kick. Thompson has started every game this year and ranked second on the team with seven stops in Washington’s upset victory over Stanford in Week 5.

15. Jaime Wilson, WR, Western Michigan
With the departure of All-MAC receiver Jordan White and two other key pass catchers, the Broncos were searching for new playmakers for quarterback Alex Carder this season. Wilson was a three-star recruit coming out of Glades Central and has been one of the conference’s top performers through the first five weeks. The true freshman has 47 receptions for 533 yards and five touchdowns and has four consecutive 100-yard efforts heading into Saturday’s game against Massachusetts.

Other Notable Freshmen

QB Perry Hills, Maryland
RB Storm Woods, Oregon State
WR Quinshad Davis, North Carolina
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
OL Evan Boehm, Missouri
OL Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
OL John Theus, Georgia
DE Deion Barnes, Penn State
LB Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech
LB Sir Thomas Jackson, Arizona
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
LB Eddie Johnson, Miami
LB Darryl Monroe, Washington State
LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
LB Nate D. Smith, Temple
CB Jalen Collins, LSU
CB De’Vante Harris, Texas A&M
CB Nick VanHoose, Northwestern
SS Micah Eugene, LSU
K Ross Martin, Duke
P Will Monday, Duke


by Steven Lassan



Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 5
College Football's Top 15 Freshmen After Week 5

College Football Bowl Projections After Week 5

ACC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
EC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

<p> College Football's Top 15 Freshmen After Week 5&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:26
Path: /college-football/arkansas-or-auburn-which-team-can-turn-it-around-2012

Arkansas and Auburn are the SEC's most disappointing teams through the first five weeks of the season. The Razorbacks had SEC title hopes in the preseason but have struggled to overcome the loss of head coach Bobby Petrino. Auburn wasn't expected to challenge LSU or Alabama in the SEC but this team was expected to show some improvement off of last season's 8-5 record. The Tigers head into Week 6 with a 1-3 record and could miss out on a bowl appearance if they don't turn things around.

Arkansas or Auburn: Which Team Can Turn Things Around in 2012?

Coach Pat Dye, former head coach of Auburn and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I don't know how you can say you're going to turn it around against Auburn or turn it around against Arkansas. One of them is going to win this weekend ... but I don't know if that is going to turn it around for either team. You go back and take the Clemson game and the LSU game and just one play made by Auburn would've made a difference in the outcome of the ball game. That is not the case in the Arkansas play this year. Based on how both teams have played so far this year, I am not sure either team will turn it around.

Barrett Sallee, Lead SEC Blogger for Bleacher Report (@BarrettSallee):
Auburn is more likely to get things turned around this season primarily due to the small bit of momentum that the Tigers were able to generate vs. LSU two weeks ago. LSU was criticized mightily for it's sluggish performance vs. a "bad Auburn defense," but it wasn't a bad defense on that particular night. Auburn's strength—its pass rush—plays right into one of Arkansas' primary weaknesses, which is an inability to pass block. Plus, if Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier is ever going to get things headed in the right direction, it will be against the Arkansas pass defense which is ranked 121st out of 124 teams in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Plus, with games against Ole Miss and Vanderbilt following this weekend's matchup, there's a real opportunity for Auburn to build some momentum for the stretch run.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):  
I look at both teams and think the chances are slim either can rebound and make a bowl game, but if one of the two is going to pull itself together and win six games, I’m going to pick Auburn. It’s really tough to bet against a team quarterbacked by Tyler Wilson for one quarterbacked by Kiehl Frazier, but the Tigers have at least been close to eking out an extra win or two this season. Meanwhile, Arkansas has been a mess since Day One this season. Auburn lost by seven to Clemson in a game Clemson took over late, and Auburn played LSU close in a 12-10 loss last week. We’re talking about two games where a break or two could have led to improbable Auburn wins. You can’t say the same of Arkansas against Alabama or Texas A&M. Although Arkansas has the new head coach, Auburn has the two new coordinators. I could see the Tigers executing game plans from Scot Loeffler and Brian Van Gorder a little better as the season goes along. A team that plays within one score of Clemson and LSU could certainly play well enough to defeat Ole Miss and Vanderbilt on the road, as Auburn will after this week.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Neither. Arkansas players and coaches have completely packed it in so there is little chance the Hogs can turn around this season — even with Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tulsa coming up after Auburn. Optimistically, Arkansas will be 5-7 (with a win over Auburn). Auburn has a better chance to salvage the year after, if they can play the way they did against LSU and not like they have in every other game. Optimistically, Auburn will be 6-6 (with wins over Arkansas and Vanderbilt), so if six wins and a bowl game is saving the season, then I would guess the Tigers. But make no mistake, 2012 will be viewed as a failure by both programs.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I have very low expectations for both teams the rest of the season, but I think Auburn ends up with a better record and maybe squeaks out a bowl appearance. Arkansas just has too many issues to address, starting with a defense that is allowing 40.6 points a game. The offense isn’t playing at a high level either, but there’s some potential as long as Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis remain in the lineup. Auburn’s offense ranks as the worst in the SEC, but the offensive line is young and should improve over the second half of the season. The defense has some nice pieces but has to tackle better and force a few more turnovers. The Tigers are no better than a 5-7 or 6-6 team this season. However, there’s more talent and potential for Auburn to turn things around in the second half of 2012. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Neither. Arkansas has been the nation’s most disappointing team to date. The Razorbacks have yet to defeat an FBS opponent thanks in large part to a defense that is incapable of stopping the forward pass. Throw in the off-the-field issues — i.e. the John L. Smith sideshow — and it’s hard to envision this team winning more than three more games. There’s not as much drama at Auburn — though Gene Chizik isn’t on the firmest of ground — but this edition of the Tigers simply isn’t good enough to be much of a factor in the SEC West. Auburn might scratch and claw to get to six wins and reach bowl-eligibility, but that’s hardly a reason to celebrate for a program that won the national title two years ago.

Mark Ross: 
Whichever team wins on Saturday would certainly get off to the right start towards that goal, but I'm not sure either team can truly salvage its season at this point. That's not to say that neither won't earn a postseason invitation, mind you. I just think it's fair to say that unless one is able to completely turn things around, neither team will be able to match preseason expectations, especially as far as Arkansas is concerned. Both teams have several winnable games on their remaining schedules, but both teams also have obvious question marks and weaknesses, so I think it's a stretch to call many of these, especially when it comes to SEC plays, "guaranteed" victories. Arkansas gets Kentucky and Ole Miss at home following Saturday's visit to Auburn, but faces a November slate of Tulsa and LSU along with road games at South Carolina and Mississippi State. The defense has to start playing better, and soon, and the offense needs to find a rhythm both passing and running the ball or I'm afraid it's going to be a long and dreary fall for Hog fans. On the other side, Auburn has to travel to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt following Saturday's game with Arkansas and still has Texas A&M, Georgia and the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa left on its conference slate. The Tigers also have home games against New Mexico State and Alabama A&M to break up the SEC dates. As good as the Tigers' defense has been at times, they will have to find a way to score more than 18 points a game if they want to win many of these. Preseason expectations have obviously been thrown out the window, but I am still very leery of either team being able to finish with any more than six wins. Using that as the new measuring stick, I give Auburn a slightly better chance to get there because of those two remaining non-conference games, But again even these so-called "cupcake" opponents are guaranteed walkovers, at least not based on how this Tigers team has played so far.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
The Tigers showed signs of life in the close LSU loss and could still make a bowl game, while I see the Arkansas season as a dumpster fire that will only be extinguished with new leadership. Auburn will probably continue to struggle at quarterback throughout the season, but the solid running tandem of Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb and a talented defense should allow the Tigers to win close games. If Gene Chizik’s crew plays well over the next month, there is a good possibility of Auburn winning four of its next five contests. As far as the Razorbacks, it’s difficult to see any positives when your defense allows over 40 points per game. That’s just scary bad. And how do you rank 111th nationally in rushing with Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson in the backfield? Maybe Tyler Wilson and company will find a way to turn it around, but I do not see the Arkansas program moving forward until a new coach is hired.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 5
College Football's Top 15 Freshmen After Week 5

College Football Bowl Projections After Week 5

ACC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
EC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

<p> <strong>Arkansas or Auburn: Which Team Can Turn Things Around in 2012?</strong></p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:20
Path: /nfl/top-10-nfl-coaches-hot-seat-week-5

Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season will kick off on Thursday night, which means we’ve reached the quarter-mark of the regular season. Teams across the league are evaluating where things stand right now, and that starts with the head coaches. Speaking of which, while no coach seems in imminent danger of losing his job, there are certainly a few who are starting to feel the heat.

Top 10 NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat: Week 5

1. Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 2-2

Yes, the Jets are currently tied for first in the AFC East, and technically hold the advantage thanks to a 2-0 divisional record. However, the overall picture and in many ways, the immediate outlook, does not paint nearly as rosy a picture. Following Sunday’s 34-0 shutout loss to San Francisco at home, the Jets have scored just 33 points in their past three games after scoring 48 in a Week 1 win over Buffalo. In that game, the Jets had 384 yards of total offense. Since then, they are averaging a little more than 250 per game, and had just 145 total yards against the 49ers.

Before the season started, Ryan expressed a desire to return to the team’s “Ground N Pound” ways. Well it’s the Jets’ whose run game, which is averaging 3.2 yards per carry, has been grounded, while their rush defense has been pounded. The defense is giving up nearly five yards a carry as the 49ers ran roughshod for 245 yards on 44 carries (5.6 ypc) on Sunday. That’s the most allowed by the team in 52 games under Ryan. Obviously the defense has been impacted by the season-ending loss of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, but the Jets’ problems, on both sides of the ball right now, run much deeper than that. These are now Ryan’s problems to try and address as he gets his team ready for a visit from the undefeated Houston Texans this coming Monday night.

2. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 2-2

Dallas is just one game behind current NFC East leader Philadelphia and has won its only divisional game (Week 1 against the Giants) so far, so there’s no reason to panic in Big D. However, there is certainly plenty to be concerned about following the Cowboys’ disappointing 34-18 home loss to Chicago on Monday night. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, as Tony Romo was picked off five times and the Bears returned two of those for touchdowns. The good news is the coaching staff and team have an extra week to work on things before travelling to Baltimore in Week 6. The bad news is that there is a lot to address, starting with a running game that has all but disappeared since Week 1, and Garrett and the coaching staff know that expectations are always high when it comes the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones. The team has missed the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s entirely possible that Jones, who is not known for his patience, will decide to make a change should that streak continue this season.

3. Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 1-3

Injuries derailed the Chiefs’ 2011 season and have been an issue for the defense at the start of this season. The team is getting healthier, now it’s just a matter of producing on the field. Running back Jamaal Charles has returned from a torn ACL to power the offense, which needs better play from quarterback Matt Cassel (6 total TDs, 10 total turnovers). The defense is having its problems stopping anyone, as they have allowed an average of 34 points per game. Only the Tennessee Titans (37.8 ppg) are giving up more. Crennel took over the team late last season, and is now 3-4 with the Chiefs in his second stint as a head coach. He went 24-40 in four seasons as the Browns’ head coach from 2005-08.

4. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 1-3

Much was expected of the Lions after finally putting an end to the franchise’s 12-year playoff drought last season. However, after scratching out a win over St. Louis in Week 1, the Lions have lost three in a row, including Sunday’s 20-13 divisional defeat at home to Minnesota. The Lions will have a week to reassess and address any issues that need to be fixed before starting a difficult three-week stretch – at Philadelphia, at Chicago and home to Seattle. The pressure is on Schwartz and his team to show that last year’s breakthrough wasn’t a fluke.

5. Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 0-4

The Browns and the Saints are the only winless teams left in the NFL, but there’s no “interim” in front of Pat Shurmur’s title. Shurmur’s young charges are playing better, three of the four losses have been by seven points or less, but the easiest way to measure progress is with wins. After giving divisional foe Baltimore all it could handle last Thursday, the Browns will have another chance to make a statement when they go to New York to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. The reality for Shurmur is he’s now 4-16 as the Browns’ head coach. Even with a rookie quarterback and running back leading his offense, he needs to find a way to get at least five victories or else the team may decide to bring someone else to oversee the rebuilding process.

6. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 3-1

For Turner, and general manager A.J. Smith for that matter, it’s pretty simple. At the minimum, the Chargers have to make the playoffs to have any shot at keeping their jobs. So far, so good as the Chargers have gotten off to an uncharacteristic 3-1 start. The offense hasn’t been as explosive as it has been in the past, but the defense is playing well, especially against the run (80.3 yards rushing per game, 6th in the NFL), and Philip Rivers and the rest of the offense have done a much better job of holding onto the ball (+3 turnover ratio). The Chargers go to New Orleans and then host Denver before their Week 7 bye, so we should know more about this team at that point.

7. Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 2-2

Buffalo rebounded from a rough opening week loss to the Jets to win their next two over Kansas City and Cleveland. That modest winning streak came to a screeching halt on Sunday as New England scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to erase a 21-7 Bills lead. The Patriots won the game 52-28, gashing a revamped Bills’ defense that was expected to be one of the team’s strengths after the offseason additions, for 580 yards. The Bills’ offense (387.8 ypg, 11th in the NFL) has more than held its own, but the defense must play better as they already face a 0-2 hole in the AFC East divisional race.

8. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 3-1

The Eagles are 3-1 and currently in first place in the NFC East, but that doesn’t mean the pressure is off for Reid and the coaching staff. First, owner Jeffrey Lurie has basically made it pretty clear that the Eagles need to do more than just into the playoffs this season. Second, the Eagles have been winning, but it hasn’t exactly been pretty. They’ve won their three games by a combined five points, while their one loss was by 21 on the road at Arizona. Also, the Eagles have turned the ball over 12 times already, with quarterback Michael Vick being responsible for nine (6 INT, 3 fumbles) of those. Vick and the team, however, did play turnover-free football in Sunday night’s big win over the Giants. So for now, everything seems copacetic in The City of Brotherly Love, but will only remain that way as long as Reid’s team keeps on winning.

9. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 1-3

The Panthers lost a tough one in Atlanta on Sunday as the Falcons forced the Panthers to punt with a little more than a minute left in the game. Matt Ryan then drove the team into position for Matt Bryant to kick the game-winning 40-yard field goal with just five seconds left. The good news for Rivera and the Panthers is that quarterback Cam Newton rebounded nicely after a rough Week 3 outing, accounting for more than 300 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in a win and the Panthers will try again next week at home against Seattle.

10. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears
Preseason Rank:
2012 Record: 3-1

Smith and the Bears have bounced back with two straight victories following an ugly 23-10 loss at Green Bay in Week 2. The Bears were at their best on Monday night, thoroughly beating Dallas in all aspects in a convincing 34-18 victory in the palace that Jerry Jones built. Besides the defense intercepting Tony Romo five times (returning two of those for touchdowns), the offense did its part as Jay Cutler threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He did have one fumble, but he was only sacked twice and the Bears also got Matt Forte back in the lineup. There’s still a long ways to go and the Bears are already down a game to the Packers in the NFC North race, but there’s still plenty of reasons to be optimistic regarding the team’s outlook this season.

New Orleans is 0-4, but remember they are being led by an interim to the interim right now, so it doesn’t matter how many games Joe Vitt/Aaron Kromer win or lose. They both know they are merely keeping the seat warm for Sean Payton. Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier (No. 5) and Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt (No. 10) both made the preseason Hot Seat list, but have since poured a big ‘ol bucket of ice cold water on any such talk as their teams are a combined 7-1 to start the season. In fact, right now you have to say these two are the current leaders for Coach of the Year honors.

Of the six first-year head coaches, Jeff Fisher in St. Louis is the only one with two wins. The rest – Dennis Allen (Oakland), Mike Mularkey (Jacksonville), Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis), Joe Philbin (Miami) and Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay) – are either 1-3 or 1-2 as Pagano’s Colts were on bye in Week 4. There’s no reason to think any of these coaches are in jeopardy of losing their job just four games into it. That is especially the case with Pagano, who now has something far more important to deal with as he’s been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia.

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 3, 2012

<p> Top 10 NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat: Week 5</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-5

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports voted this week for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

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

Since the college football season is five weeks old, we figured we would expand our Heisman voting to include some of the best college sports analysts and writers from around the nation. So instead of just nine Athlon editors, our Heisman voting panel is made up of a total of 13 respected members of the college sports media, including:

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

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (13 first-place votes)
Season Stats: 
141-169, 1,728 yards, 20 TD, 0 INT, 20 att., 99 yards, TD
This was a showcase moment for the WVU signal caller. He threw for a school-record 656 yards and tied the Big 12 record with eight touchdown passes on an ridiculous 35-of-41 passing rate. He now leads the NCAA in passing efficiency and total offense and has yet to turn the ball over for West Virginia. No rest for the weary, however, as Smith leads his team into Austin, Texas for a huge game against the Longhorns. Next game: at Texas

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 130/130 13 - - - - 13/13
2. (5) E.J. Manuel QB Florida St 90/130 - 2 2 5 2 13/13
3. (4) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 88/130 - 2 4 3 2 12/13
4. (3) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 87/130 - 4 2 - 5 13/13
5. (11) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 62/130 - 1 1 2 2 12/13
6. (2) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 55/130 - 2 3 - - 9/13
7. (6) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 37/130 - 1 1 - - 8/13
8. (7) Matt Barkley QB USC 34/130 - - - 2 1 7/13
9. (9) Marcus Lattimore RB S. Carolina 29/130 - - - - 1 8/13
10. (12) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 23/130 - - - 1 - 6/13
11. (10) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 19/130 - 1 - - - 5/13
12. (15) Marqise Lee WR USC 11/130 - - - - - 4/13
13. (UR) Sean Mannion QB Oregon St 8/130 - - - - - 3/13
14. (16) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 7/130 - - - - - 2/13
15. (17) Kolton Browning QB UL Monroe 6/130 - - - - - 2/13
16. (UR) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 5/130 - - - - - 1/13
17. (UR) Stedman Bailey WR W.Virginia 5/130 - - - - - 2/13
18. (14) Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 4/130 - - - - - 2/13
19. (UR) David Ash QB Texas 4/130 - - - - - 2/13
20. (18) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
21. (UR) Kain Colter QB N'Western 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
22. (UR) Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma St 2/130 - - - - - 2/13
23. (UR) Stefphon Jefferson RB Nevada 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
24. (UR) Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 1/130 - - - - - 1/13

2. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
Season Stats: 69-94, 905 yards, 8 TD, 1 INT, 24 att., 188 yards, TD
It wasn't the same type of performance that earned him national notoriety two weeks ago, but Manuel led his team to a relatively easy road win over an in-state BCS conference rival. He threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in the 30-17 win. The top challenger to Geno Smith gets another tricky test this weekend on the road at NC State. He missed the last trip to Raleigh two seasons ago when FSU lost. Don't expect the same outcome this time around.
Next Game: at NC State

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
 56-80, 758 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 63 att., 289 yards, 5 TD
CK7 got to rest his bloody elbows this weekend after the huge road win over Oklahoma. Kansas State now gets rival Kansas and Iowa State in the next two, making a 6-0 start for the Wildcats extremely likely.
Next Game: Kansas

4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
76-121, 933 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT, 90 att., 577 yards, 7 TD
Miller's toughness was on full display in the gritty road win over Michigan State this weekend. He carried the ball 23 times for 136 yards and threw the game-winning scoring strike late in the second half. He battled injury and willed his team to a 5-0 mark. He is the clearcut Big Ten POY and is the Big Ten's No. 2 rusher. He received the most second-place votes with four. Next Game: Nebraska

5. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Season Stats: 89-130, 1,378 yards, 12 TD, 3 INT, 21 att., minus-8 yards, 3 TD
Murray had to battle with SEC East counterpart Tyler Bray more than he anticipated. But when the game was over, the Dawgs were unbeaten and their quarterback had another 286 yards and two touchdowns on his resume. He is leading the SEC passing efficiency and is second to only Bray in yards and touchdown passes.
Next Game: at South Carolina

6. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 25 att., 276 yards, 4 TD, 13 rec., 165 yards, 3 TD, 8 PR, 131 PR yards
Next Game: Washington

7. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Season Stats: 38 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 3 INT, FR, 2 PBU
Next Game: Miami (Chicago)

8. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 88-143, 1,005 yards, 12 TD, 5 INT, 11 att., minus-61 yards
Next game: at Utah

9. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats: 92 att., 440 yards, 8 TD, 16 rec., 109 yards
Next game: Georgia

10. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 73-111, 999 yards, 12 TD, 0 INT, 19 att., minus-41 yards
Next Game: Bye Week

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 5 Recap

ACC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings 

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 5</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Duke Blue Devils, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-9-duke-preview
Visit the online store for Duke and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

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

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

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 9 Duke.

The stunning ending to last season, when unheralded Lehigh knocked Duke out of the NCAA Tournament, jolted the Blue Devil program to its core last spring. For only the second time since 1996, the Blue Devils failed to win at least one game in the NCAAs.

While admitting Lehigh was the better team that night, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski nevertheless set out to ensure such a defeat doesn’t become normal for the Blue Devils.

“(We) just need to be tougher in what we’re doing, how we’re practicing, how we condition, how we bond as a group,” Krzyzewski says. “I take a look at all those things. I think you’d look at it closer no matter who we got beat by. … When you leave the tournament that early, that’s not what you want to do.”

While a foot injury to forward Ryan Kelly slowed Duke in March, it was an overall lack of size on the perimeter that hampered the team all season. This season, Krzyzewski believes that won’t be a problem with the arrival of 6-4 freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon to go along with a pair of 6-8 freshman small forwards, Alex Murphy (redshirt) and Amile Jefferson.

“I thought we were just a very fair defensive team last year, and I think we can be much better defensively next season, much more versatile,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re going to be bigger and more athletic.”

While a 27–7 overall record would be welcomed at many college basketball programs, losing to a No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament caused some serious introspection at Duke.
“I don’t think we had the internal leadership to be an outstanding team,” Krzyzewski says. “I mean 27–7 is good, but we wanted to win championships.”
The Blue Devils hope to create a balanced attack this season after being too reliant on jump-shooting last season. Mason Plumlee passed on the chance to be a first-round NBA Draft pick to return for his senior year. His work over the summer at Amare Stoudemire’s Skills Camp are an indication he intends to be a force in the middle as a senior.

Kelly, who also stands 6-11, is more a roving big man. He has 3-point shooting skills (40.8 percent last season) but can help with rebounding and defense inside. He scored 15 points or more 12 times last season.

 Marshall Plumlee, the youngest of the three brothers, will add depth in the middle after redshirting last season. Unlike his older brothers, Marshall is a true on-the-blocks post player. Junior Josh Hairston, at 6-7, needs to become more polished on both ends if he is to contribute more.

Jefferson and Murphy give the frontcourt much-needed athleticism. Murphy, in particular, should be able to step out and guard away from the basket while also providing some rebounding help.
Seth Curry should be Duke’s most consistent perimeter scorer. An accomplished 3-point shooter, Curry has become better at driving and dishing as his career has progressed. His scoring will be needed even more with Andre Dawkins sitting out the 2012-13 season as a redshirt.

Sulaimon, a top-20 national recruit, arrives at Duke with the reputation as a scorer who also can create scoring opportunities for his teammates. His ability to defend will be a welcome addition as well.

Point guard will be an area of intense focus. Junior Tyler Thornton and sophomore Quinn Cook both started last season but neither was consistently effective. Thornton is a respected team leader who is adept on the defensive end. But he shot only 37.9 percent last season and lacks scoring punch to keep opponents honest. Cook struggled early last season with a lingering knee issue that carried over from high school. He’s healthy now and possesses the playmaking skills to make a big difference for the Blue Devils.
Duke possesses all the pieces necessary to challenge for the ACC championship. The Blue Devils have three experienced senior starters returning in Curry, 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 Murphy and Jefferson, and Sulaimon must prove he can score and defend at college basketball’s highest level.


Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State

<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 9 Duke Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:05
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/ranking-nfls-starting-quarterbacks-week-5-update

After four weeks of play, the preseason NFL starting quarterback rankings have changed dramatically. It is a difficult undertaking and the criterion are endless. Toughness, efficiency, physical ability, injury history, leadership, statistical production and, of course, winning are all taken into account.

But taking all aspects of playing the position into account, I ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL prior to the start of the season. So after reaching the quarter pole of the 2012 season, has anything changed?

I put my general manager's hat on and asked this question:

If my goal is to win the Lombardi Trophy in 2012, who do I want under center?

Note: Age is at time of start of 2012 season

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (Age: 28, Record: 43-23)
2012 Stats: 1,064 yards, 69.9%, 7 TD, 3 INT, 15 att., 51 yards
The Packers' offense struggled by their lofty standards through the first three weeks — albeit against three of the top defenses in the NFC. But against the Saints, Rodgers looked like the reigning MVP, throwing for 319 yards and four touchdowns on 75.6% passing. Preseason Rank: 1

2. Tom Brady, New England (Age: 35, Record: 128-39)
2012 Stats: 1,227 yards, 65.6%, 7 TD, INT, 6 att., 11 yards, TD
Brady is currently fourth in passing yards this season and has tied Brett Favre for the third longest streak in NFL history of at least one touchdown pass in a game. His resume speaks for itself. Preseason Rank: 2

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans (Age: 33, Record: 92-65)
2012 Stats: 1,350 yards, 10 TD, 5 INT, 3 att., rush TD
The Saints have started 0-4 but the NFL's leader in passing yards can't be blamed too much. Yes, he has five picks, but this team has no head coach and no defensive identity. Brees played his best last weekend against Green Bay, nearly pulling off the upset, and is still one of the elite passers in the NFL. Preseason Rank: 3

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants (Age: 31, Record: 71-52)
2012 Stats: 1,320 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT
The younger Manning already has had some insane second halves of play (did you see what he did to Tampa?). And he still throws a few too many interceptions. But his talent and track record makes him one of the game's most dependable signal callers. He is the defending Super Bowl champion. Preseason Rank: 4

5. Peyton Manning, Denver (Age: 36, Record: 143-69)
2012 Stats: 1,162 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT
Manning clearly doesn't have the same arm strength as he used to, but he has the same everything else. His mental preparation and commitment to winning is unmatched. And his three interceptions all came in one quarter against the 4-0 Falcons. Neck surgeries and diminishing physical skills keeps him from the top four. Preseason Rank: 5

6. Matt Ryan, Atlanta (Age: 27, Record: 47-19)
2012 Stats: 1,162 yards, 11 TD, 2 INT, 10 att., 48 yards, TD
No quarterback has played better in 2012 than Matty-Ice (No. 1 in QB rating 112.1). He leads the NFC in touchdown passes and owns the best record in the league at 4-0. The only thing keeping him from the top five, however, is his lack of production in the playoffs. His career winning percentage is remarkable but the 0-3 mark in the playoffs needs to be rectified. Preseason Rank: 10

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (Age: 30, Record: 81-36)
2012 Stats: 904 yards, 8 TD, INT
Big Ben has been lights out in 2012 and is off to one of the best starts of his career. The 109.2 QB rating is tops in the AFC for qualifed passers and he is fifth in yards per game (301.3). His playoff mark alone makes him one of the best options in the league. Preseason Rank: 7

8. Joe Flacco, Baltimore (Age: 27, Record: 47-21)
2012 Stats: 1,269 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT, 6 att., 6 yards, TD
The Ravens quarterback is consistently one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league. He has improved his numbers each of his three seasons and appears to be headed for his best year yet. No QB benefited more from a change in offensive scheme than Flacco in the Ravens' shift to their up-tempo, no-huddle attack. Preseason Rank: 11

9. Matt Schaub, Houston (Age: 32, Record: 36-34)
2012 Stats: 953 yards, 7 TD, INT
The quarterback for the best team in the AFC has proven to be a tough customer this season. And his 105.3 QB rating is No. 3 in the NFL and No. 2 in the AFC. His history of serious injuries keeps him from being much higher, however — he has missed at least five games in three of the last five years. Preseason Rank: 12

10. Tony Romo, Dallas (Age: 32, Record: 49-32)
2012 Stats: 1,148 yards, 5 TD, 8 INT
Cowboys fans certainly don't feel like they have a top 10 quarterback after his 5-INT game on Monday night. However, the loss wasn't just Romo's fault. The offensive couldn't block. The running game was non-existent. And No. 88 continues to waste his remarkable raw talent. The front office hasn't helped much either with few quality high draft picks. Romo is better than his 2012 numbers indicate. Preseason Rank: 8

11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit (Age: 24, Record: 14-19)
2012 Stats: 1,182 3 TD, 4 INT, 8 att., 36 yards, TD
He snapped his 21-game streak of throwing at least one TD when his Lions lost to the Vikings. He has regressed from last year as he is currently on pace for just 12 TDs after 41 last fall. Preseason Rank: 7

12. Philip Rivers, San Diego (Age: 30, Record: 66-34)
2012 Stats: 897 yards, 6 TD, 4 INT
His abrasive attitude and penchant for turnovers — as well as his inability to win big games — drops him outside of the top ten. Preseason Rank: 9

13. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (Age: 24, Record: 12-8)
2012 Stats: 1,111 yards, 8 TD, 4 INT, 14 att., 36 yards, TD
Dalton has been outstanding during the Bengals' quiet three-game winning streak. His 103.0 QB rating is No. 5 in the NFL as the redhead continues to grow into a star. Preseason Rank: 18

14. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (Age: 22, Record: 1-2)
2012 Stats: 846 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT, 10 att., 80 yards
It didn't take long for fans to see how good this kid is going to be. He already has two 300-yard games and a fourth-quarter game-winning drive in his first three games. He is 11th at 282.0 ypg. Preseason Rank: 17

15. Michael Vick, Philadelphia (Age: 32, Record: 56-38-1)
2012 Stats: 1,146 yards, 4 TD, 6 INT, 27 att., 130 yards, TD
Vick has led the Eagles to three close wins, but continues to turn the ball over like crazy (nine TO lost) and he takes more hits than anyone else in the NFL. Will he survive? Preseason Rank: 14

16. Cam Newton, Carolina (Age: 23, Record: 7-13)
2012 Stats: 1,013 yards, 4 TD, 5 INT, 33 at., 167 yards, 3 TD
Defenses are starting to catch up with Newton, who can still out-athlete most teams. But he needs to stay focused and start winning games to be considered elite. Preseason Rank: 16

17. Robert Griffin III, Washington (Age: 22, Record: 2-2)
2012 Stats: 1,070 yards, 4 TD, INT, 39 att., 252 yards 4 TD
This kid will set plenty of Washington team records this fall. He has a game-winning drive and is No. 4 in QB rating (103.2). But how long can he play the game the way he does and stay healthy? Preseason Rank: 21

18. Carson Palmer, Oakland (Age: 32, Record: 51-59)
2012 Stats: 1,081 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
Palmer continues to find yards in Oakland, but needs some support from the defense and pass-catchers. He protects the football and moves the offense, but one man can only do so much. Preseason Rank: 15

19. Jay Cutler, Chicago (Age: 29, Record: 44-38)
2012 Stats: 917 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT
Cutler played well on MNF against Dallas, but has had a terrible start to the year. His toughness, dedication and maturity will continue to be major question marks for a guy who has obvious talent. Preseason Rank: 13

20. Alex Smith, San Francisco (Age: 28, Record: 35-35)
2012 Stats: 784 yards, 5 TD, INT, 15 att., 58 yards
He continues to be one of the most efficient QBs in the league — his 98.1 rating is No. 7. He leads arguably the best team in the NFL and rarely turns the ball over (two total in 2012). Preseason Rank: 25

21. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo (Age: 29, Record: 19-33)
2012 Stats: 931 yards, 12 TD, 7 INT, 15 att., 66 yards
Fitz continues to cause tantrums on the sidelines. He is a solid player who is leading the NFL in TDs. But is also leading the NFL in INTs as well. Preseason Rank: 19

22. Sam Bradford, St. Louis (Age: 24, Record: 10-20)
2012 Stats: 881 yards, 4 TD, 4 INT
Bradford has loads of ability but has struggled to stay upright behind a porous offensive line. He has led the Rams to two wins six weeks earlier than this team's second win last fall. Preseason Rank: 20

23. Jake Locker, Tennessee (Age: 24, Record: 1-3)
2012 Stats: 781 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 8 att., 67 yards
The second-year player is dripping with talent. He was coming off of a 400-yard offensive performance and was the Titans leading rusher before being knocked out after two pass attempts last week. Health is an issue, but his ability is not. Preseaon Rank: Unranked

24. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (Age: 25, Record: 29-22)
2012 Stats: 813 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
Right there with Romo and Cutler, Sanchez is the most scrutinized QB in the league. His team is tied for the division lead with two AFC East wins after getting little to no help from his defense and running game last weekend. Stop the Tebow talk right now. Preseason Rank: 22

25. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay (Age: 24, Record: 18-26)
2012 Stats: 790 yards, 5 TD, 4 INT
Freeman has a big frame and a big arm. But he also has 50 career interceptions and 27 fumbles (10 lost) in 45 career games. Will the light bulb ever click on again or was 2010 a complete fluke? Preseason Rank: 24

26. Kevin Kolb, Arizona (Age: 28, Record: 9-10)
2012 Stats: 752 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 10 att., 32 yards, TD
The former Eagle is slowing rebuilding his credibility. He is 3-0 as the starter this season and stepped in late in Week 1 to lead the Cards to a win over Seattle. He did the same against Miami last weekend. Kolb has a positive trajectory once again. Preseason Rank: 30

27. Christian Ponder, Minnesota (Age: 24, Record: 2-8)
2012 Stats: 824 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 12 att., 46 yards, TD
He has been incredibly efficient by not taking sacks and protecting the football. He has wins over the 49ers and Lions, but special teams and the defense won the game last weekend. There is a lot to like here and Ponder has plenty of upward mobility. Preseason Rank: 27

28. Russell Wilson, Seattle (Age: 23, Record: 2-2)
2012 Stats: 594 yards, 4 TD, 4 INT, 22 att., 80 yards
He is a natural leader who competes on every play and is a wonderful face to any franchise. But he also has a lot to learn still about playing QB in the NFL. Preseason Rank: Unranked

29. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (Age: 28, Record: 0-4)
2012 Stats: 997 yards, 3 TD, 7 INT, 4 att., 31 yards
The early production indicates that Weeden has some staying power in the NFL. But he will have to get some support and learn how to protect the ball quickly due to his age. Preseason Rank: 28

30. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville (Age: 22, Record: 5-13)
2012 Stats: 654 yads, 5 TD, INT, 11 att., 41 yards
He has shown drastic improvement from a year ago by not throwing an interception until Week 4 and showing signs of confidence in the pocket. But on a bad team, he has a ways to go before he is a top 25 QB. Preseason Rank: 32

31. Matt Cassel, Kansas City (Age: 30, Record: 29-29)
2012 Stats: 1,058 yards, 5 TD, 7 INT, 7 att., 47 yards, TD
Cassel is leading the NFL in interceptions and fumbles lost by a quarterback through four games. His team is 1-3 and there are signs that he could lose his starting job soon if he can't produce. Preseason Rank: 31

32. Ryan Tannehill, Miami (Age: 24, Record: 1-3)
2012 Stats: 1,046 yards, 2 TD, 6 INT, 9 att., 16 yards, TD
The athletic ability is obvious. The arm strength is obvious. And he just dropped 431 on a solid Cards defense. He could jump Cassel, Gabbert and Weeden quickly, but inexperience and inefficiency keeps him on the bottom for now. Preseason Rank: Unranked

- by Braden Gall


<p> Update: Ranking the NFL's Starting Quarterbacks in 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-hurricanes-football-can-hurricanes-win-acc-2012

Thanks to a 4-1 start and three wins in ACC play, Miami has some momentum entering its Week 6 matchup against Notre Dame. The Hurricanes were picked by many to finish fifth in the Coastal but are in position to make some noise in the division. 

Is Miami a Legitimate ACC Title Contender?

Coach George Welsh, former head coach of Navy and Virginia and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Miami's coach Al Golden has a horseshoe back there in his pocket somewhere.  Those miracle catches at the end of the game have won two for him.  They're liable to win the Coastal Division. The other contender in the Coastal, Virginia Tech, has been very disappointing.  I don't think either of those two teams are very good this year, especially on defense.  At this point in the season, unless Miami improves dramatically on the defensive side of the ball they will not be to win the ACC title against either FSU and Clemson.

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice),
How can Miami not be considered an ACC title contender? In my mind, they’re clearly the favorite in the Coastal Division, especially since Virginia Tech is having such a down year. The Hurricanes are the only squad with a 3-0 record against ACC competition, and quarterback Stephen Morris looks to be the real deal after throwing for 1,002 yards in the past two games. The squad is a young and inconsistent one, which explains how they’ve let Georgia Tech and NC State back in games despite big leads, but their offense is an explosive one that can score from anywhere at anytime. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and since the ACC’s top two teams reside in the Atlantic Division, if Miami takes care of business and gets to the Championship game, I’ll give that offense a chance. We’ll learn a lot this weekend about the Canes when they face Notre Dame — who looks to be back, as well — but as long as they keep winning league contests, there’s always a chance to hoist the trophy in Charlotte.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):  
Miami is a solid team, exceeding all expectations this season, but Miami still has work to do to be an ACC contender. At the start of the season, I wondered where Miami would be without Duke Johnson, the Hurricanes’ playmaking freshman running back. In the last two weeks Mike James, Phillip Dorsett and, most of all, Stephen Morris have emerged on offense. Against Georgia Tech and NC State, Morris put up passing numbers Miami hasn’t seen since the days of Gino Torretta, Bernie Kosar and Craig Erickson. This is a fun offense to watch, for sure. But that defense, wow. Giving up 32 points to Boston College and 37 to NC State, that’s not good, never mind 52 to Kansas State. Take out the win over Bethune-Cookman, and Miami is allowing 530 yards per game. That’s not going to be good enough to win the ACC. With the exception of Florida State, Miami has the ability to beat any ACC team left on the schedule. That’s enough to win a division, but my guess is that the Hurricanes’ leaky defense catches up with them at some point.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Let me ask you this: If Miami wins the Coastal but no one is there to see it, does it really happen? Miami football has been a roller-coaster of emotion this season, and while this team is clearly atop the standings after two huge wins over Georgia Tech and NC State, the tracks are about to hit a pretty nasty spiral. Notre Dame in Chicago, North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech are the next four. If this team finishes 2-2 in that stretch, it would be a major victory for Al Golden. There are way too many questions for me to put this team in the championship mix, but that doesn't mean there is any excuse for the lack of support the pathetic fans in South Florida are showing this hard-working upstart. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I’ve been impressed with Miami this season, but I still think this team has a lot of work to do before we can seriously call it a contender for the ACC crown. The Hurricanes have scored 38 or more points in four games this season but haven’t exactly faced the gauntlet of defenses in the ACC. Boston College, Georgia Tech and NC State are all struggling on defense, so Miami’s numbers are slightly inflated. However, the play of quarterback Stephen Morris and true freshman running back Duke Johnson is impressive and they will only get better with more snaps. The Hurricanes’ defense is filled with youth and inexperience, but this group should not be allowing 494.6 yards and 33.4 points per game. Al Golden is a good coach, but Miami is probably a year or two away from contending for the ACC. However, playing in a weak Coastal Division might allow the Hurricanes to make some noise, but the two best teams in the ACC rest in the Atlantic with Florida State and Clemson. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
The Hurricanes are clearly a contender to win the ACC Coastal Division — they are already 3–0 in the league and Virginia Tech has been a disappointment — but I’m reluctant to call them a true contender to win the ACC title because Florida State and Clemson, the top two teams in the Atlantic Division, would be considerable favorites over Al Golden’s club in a hypothetical ACC Championship Game. Give Miami credit; this team has shown tremendous resolve in recent weeks, but the defense is a major concern and the quarterback (Stephen Morris) is too inconsistent.

Mark Ross: 
Miami could be a contender to win the Coastal division, especially given Virginia Tech's struggles on offense, but there's still a long ways to go and I need to see more from the Hurricanes, particularly on defense, before I am convinced. It's quite impressive that the Hurricanes are 4-1 as the calendar turns to October. However, they got destroyed 52-13 by Kansas State, the only ranked team they have played so far, and the collective record of the other three FBS teams they have defeated, which also happen to be ACC teams, is 6-8. Further, these teams — Boston College, Georgia Tech and NC State — are a combined 1-5 in the conference and are ranked 64th and lower in the nation in total defense. Miami has made most of its noise thus far on offense, ranking 35th in the nation in total offense (472.6 ypg) and scoring 35.6 points per game. However, the defense is giving up nearly 500 yards a game, which ranks them 114th out of 120 FBS teams, and surrendering nearly as many points (33.4 per game) as they are scoring. Given the competition they have played so far, Miami will be hard-pressed to continue to have success if they run into a defense that is capable of slowing the 'Canes offense down. To that end, Miami's next three opponents — Notre Dame (Chicago), North Carolina, Florida State — each rank among the top 16 nationally in total defense. Barring a complete collapse or late ruling by the NCAA, Miami should win enough games to make it back to a bowl this season, but this is not an ACC title contender.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
Al Golden and staff have done a solid job in getting the Hurricanes to a 4-1 record, but I do not see The “U” as a league title contender. Miami’s offense has been impressive with the marked improvement in quarterback Stephen Morris’ game, and running back Duke Johnson is one of the best freshmen in the country. However the Hurricanes defense ranks 114th in the nation and is giving up over 33 points per game, and that fact will keep them from competing for the ACC crown. Despite’s Virginia Tech’s “Big East” troubles this season, I still see the Hokies as the team to beat in the Coastal Division. Frank Beamer’s program has a way of turning early-season problems into solutions by conference play, and the Hokies-Hurricanes Thursday night clash on November 1 should be exciting to watch. Give credit to the Canes for a great start, but the next four games (vs. Notre Dame in Chicago, North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech) will be very difficult for Golden’s crew.

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<p> Miami Hurricanes Football: Can the Hurricanes Win the ACC in 2012?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-6-plays

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

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.

In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 6

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Georgia Tech at Clemson

Line: Clemson -10 (O/U-73.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Clemson 42-32

Best plays:

Georgia Tech (QB-Tevin Washington, RB-Orwin Smith)

Clemson (QB-Tajh Boyd, RB-Andre Ellington, WRs-Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, TE-Brandon Ford)

Also consider:

Georgia Tech (RB-Zach Laskey)

Clemson (K-Chandler Catanzaro)

theCFFsite projects: Clemson 49-28

Tulsa at Marshall

Line: Tulsa -3.5(O/U-67.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Tulsa 36-32

Best plays:

Tulsa (QB-Cody Green, RB-Alex Singleton, WR-Keyarris Garrett)

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Tommy Shuler, TE-Gator Hoskins)

Also consider:

Tulsa (RBs-Trey Watts, K-Daniel Schwarz)

Marshall (RB-Kevin Grooms, WRs-Aaron Dobson, Antavious Wilson)

theCFFsite projects: Tulsa 41-40


Northern Illinois at Ball St

Line: Northern Illinois -2.5(O/U-67.5)

Projected score based on point spread: NIU 35-32

Best plays:

Northern Illinois (QB-Jordan Lynch, RB-Leighton Settle)

Ball St (QB-Keith Wenning, WR-Willie Snead, K-Steven Schott)

Also consider:

Northern Illinois (WR-Martel Moore, K-Mathew Sims)

Ball St (RB-Jahwan Edwards, WR Jamill Smith)

theCFFsite projects: Northern Illinois 45-40


Louisiana-Monroe at Middle Tennessee

Line: LA-Monroe-3(O/U-66.5)

Projected score based on point spread: LA-Monroe 35-32

Best plays:

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

MTSU (QB-Logan Kilgore, RB-Ben Cunningham)

Also consider:

LA-Monroe (WR-Tavarese Maye)

MTSU (WR-Anthony Amos)

theCFFsite projects: LA-Monroe 45-28


Central Michigan at Toledo

Line: Toledo -10.5(O/U-66.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Toledo 39-28

Best plays:

Central Michigan (QB-Ryan Radcliff, RB-Zurlon Tipton, WR-Titus Davis)

Toledo (QB-Terrence Owens, RB-David Fluellen, WR-Bernard Reedy)

Also consider:

Central Michigan (WR-Cody Wilson)

Toledo (WR-Alonzo Russell)

theCFFsite projects: Toledo 42-31


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

Kansas at Kansas St

Line: Kansas St -24(O/U-53.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Kansas St 39-15

Stay away from:

Kansas (RB-James Sims)

theCFFsite projects: Kansas St 31-10


Michigan St at Indiana

Line: Michigan St -15.5(O/U-48)

Projected score based on point spread: Michigan St 32-16

Stay away from:

Indiana (RB-Stephen Houston)

theCFFsite projects: Michigan St 32-16


Tulane at Louisiana

Line: Louisiana -23.5(O/U-56.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Louisiana 40-16

Stay away from:

Tulane (RB-Orleans Darkwa)

theCFFsite projects: Louisiana 41-10


Connecticut at Rutgers

Line: Rutgers -9(O/U-40.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Rutgers 25-16

Stay away from:

Connecticut (RB-Lyle McCombs)

theCFFsite projects: Rutgers 24-13


Must Watch Games (The games with the biggest headlines)

Nebraska at Ohio St

Line: Ohio St -3.5(O/U-57.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Ohio St 31-27

Outlook: If the Nebraska team that showed up in the second half against Wisconsin plays four quarters in Columbus, the Buckeyes are in for a dogfight. However, the Cornhuskers’ inability to take care of the football will lead to too many easy scoring opportunities for Ohio State.

theCFFsite projects: Ohio St 27-24

West Virginia at Texas

Line: Texas -6.5(O/U-74.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Texas 41-34

Outlook: West Virginia’s Geno Smith comes into this contest as the early-season Heisman front-runner. If the senior quarterback can lead the Mountaineers to an impressive victory on the road, he’ll distance himself from the field.

theCFFsite projects: West Virginia 41-37


LSU at Florida

Line: LSU -2.5(O/U-44.5)

Projected score based on point spread: LSU 24-21

Outlook: The Gators have had two weeks to prepare for the Tigers, who have looked anything but impressive in their previous two games. Can Florida keep the LSU offense under wraps and put enough points on the board to upset the nation’s No. 3 ranked team?

theCFFsite projects: LSU 24-21


Georgia at South Carolina

Line: South Carolina -2.5(O/U-57)

Projected score based on point spread: South Carolina 30-27

Outlook: The Georgia offense is finely tuned right now and has enough explosive playmakers to go into Columbia and pull out a victory in a critical SEC East showdown.

theCFFsite projects: Georgia 31-28

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season: Straight Up (10-5) ATS: (8-7)

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



By Joe DiSalvo,

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Find us on facebook

Email us:

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 6 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 04:34
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/mets-dickey-have-surgery

R.A. DickeyMiami, FL (Sports Network) - New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey revealed after his final start of the season he will undergo surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.

He received a no decision while allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and eight strikeouts over six innings in the Mets' 4-3 extra-inning victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

The Cy Young candidate said he has been dealing with the injury since April, but it was not significant enough to keep him out of action.

Dickey will have the surgery on Oct. 18 in Philadelphia and expects to be ready for the start of spring training.

The 37-year-old knuckleballer is coming off a career year in which he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts through 233 2/3 innings.

<p> New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey revealed after his final start of the season he will undergo surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 02:06
Path: /nfl/new-orleans-saints-start-season-0-4-record

The way the 2012 season has started for the New Orleans Saints, you would think that Gregg Williams and/or Jonathan Vilma had put a bounty — “allegedly” — on their old teammates from the Crescent City.

Most believed that the Saints would take a step back following the season-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton. But no one predicted the team that has a combined 37–11 record over the last three seasons — including a victory in Super Bowl XLIV — would start the 2012 season so slow.

New Orleans opened the year with a stunning 40–32 loss at home to Washington, whose rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III started the Twitter trend of “Griffining” after throwing an 88-yard scoring strike for his first career touchdown pass.

On the road at Carolina in Week 2, the Saints fell 35–27 to the NFC South rival Panthers. Through two weeks, the Saints defense had allowed a combined 922 yards and 75 points to RG3- and Cam Newton-led teams.

A return trip to New Orleans for a matchup against then-winless Kansas City in Week 3 looked like a can’t miss. But that was not the case, as the Saints took a 24–6 lead in the third quarter before collapsing for a 27–24 overtime loss to the Chiefs — in a game where the Saints defense allowed the longest touchdown run in franchise history (91 yards).

Although, New Orleans did appear to have won for one brief, shining moment when the replacement refs wrongly ruled a Kansas City fumble and Roman Harper return for a touchdown in overtime.

A trip to Lambeau Field in Week 4 was the last thing anyone in black and gold wanted to see on the horizon. But New Orleans went blow-for-blow with Green Bay. The Saints even had a chance to take a late fourth-quarter lead on a 48-yard field goal. Garrett Hartley missed, however, and the Saints lost, 28–27, falling to 0–4 for the first time since 2007.

Now New Orleans heads back home to face San Diego in prime time on Sunday night. The stars appear to have aligned. The Saints have not lost three straight games at home since 1995. And the Chargers franchise provides inspiration, as the only team to make the playoffs after starting 0–4.

To top it off, Brees is poised to break the all-time record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass — a mark he currently shares with Johnny Unitas (47) — against his former team.

Despite a brutal offseason and first quarter of the season, there is hope.

“The fact that we have great guys and the leadership in the locker room is allowing us to improve. I say it again, it’s not good enough; 0–4 is not good enough,” said interim coach Aaron Kromer.

“You can see it coming. You can see we’re on the cusp of breaking out. … This team is all in, and they are on the cusp of becoming a very productive, winning team.”

<p> The New Orleans Saints are 0-4 after losing to the Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers over the first four weeks of the 2012 season.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 18:41
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-power-rankings-going-week-5

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst football teams in the NFL. Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 4 of the season.

1. Texans (4-0) Top-ranked defense makes Houston a problem.

2. Falcons (4-0) Matty Ice leads last-minute comeback over Carolina.

3. Cardinals (4-0) Have won eight straight at home, including five in OT.

4. 49ers (3-1) Kaepernick shows Jets how Wildcat should be run.

5. Eagles (3-1) Improve to 8–1 in last nine games against Giants.

6. Ravens (3-1) Regular officials return to ovation on Thursday night.

7. Giants (2-2) Tynes’ potential game-winning FG wide left at Philly.

8. Patriots (2-2) Score 45 second-half points in blowout at Buffalo.

9. Packers (2-2) Bounce back to win after replacement ref scandal.

10. Bears (3-1) Monsters of the Midway dominate on MNF in Big D.

11. Bengals (3-1) Dalton-to-Green too much for overmatched Jaguars.

12. Chargers (3-1) Rivers tops 25,000 yards passing in 100th NFL start.

13. Broncos (2-2) Outscore Raiders 27–0 in second half of blowout.

14. Steelers (1-2) Polamalu (calf), Harrison (knee) set to play after bye.

15. Vikings (3-1) End 11-game losing streak against NFC North foes.

16. Cowboys (2-2) Romo throws career-high five INTs in loss to Bears.

17. Redskins (2-2) RG3 overcomes headset failure on winning drive.

18. Bills (2-2) Fall to 1–17 in last 18 games vs. AFC East rival Pats.

19. Jets (2-2) Still no Tebow despite worst shutout loss since 1989.

20. Rams (2-2) Rookie Zuerlein hits team record 60-yard FG in win.

21. Seahawks (2-2) Some fans calling for Flynn after Russell struggles.

22. Panthers (1-3) Let victory slip through their claws against Falcons.

23. Saints (0-4) Brees ties Unitas with TD pass in 47 straight games.

24. Titans (1-3) Locker dislocates shoulder; CJ141Y has breakout.

25. Lions (1-3) Victimized by special teams for second straight week.

26. Buccaneers (1-3) Victory Formation would be nice right about now.

27. Dolphins (1-3) Wake records 4.5 sacks in losing effort at Arizona.

28. Raiders (1-3) Worst loss to Broncos since 1962, pre-Al Davis era.

29. Chiefs (1-3) Lose six turnovers in loss to AFC West rival Chargers.

30. Jaguars (1-3) Fred Taylor inducted into ring of honor before loss.

31. Colts (1-3) Pagano diagnosed with leukemia, out indefinitely.

32. Browns (0-4) Weeden air mails last chance pass in loss at Ravens.

<p> Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst football teams in the NFL. Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 4 of the season.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 18:28
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-6

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Brad Keselowski admits he has conflicting emotions heading into this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

“There’s part of me that says no matter how bad Talladega goes I can only be 47 points back or 46 or so, so it can’t be that bad,” he said Tuesday. “Then there’s the other side of me that thinks that if we go to Talladega and have a bad day and end up losing a championship by those points, that would really be a shame.”

Keselowski admits he’s not trying to “overthink” the Chase and just race.

One thing he’s pondered, though, is how much he’ll compete in the Nationwide Series as he goes for his first Cup title. Keselowski said he will not run the Kansas Nationwide race — Ryan Blaney will — and could drop more races depending on how he’s doing in the Chase.

Keselowski enters this weekend’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 with three victories, eight top-five finishes and 12 top 10s in the last 13 races. He’s also won two of the first three Chase events to hold a five-point lead on Jimmie Johnson.

“There isn’t one silver bullet,” Keselowski said of his strong run since late June. “It’s everything. The cars are good. The execution on pit road has been strong. Knock on wood we haven’t had (mechanical) failures, which is a credit to the staff at Penske Racing. With the exception of Bristol, I haven’t driven it in the wall. That’s what it takes. Just having one of those pieces isn’t enough. You have to have them all. Just missing one of those pieces will keep you from having a solid day. Right now as a team we’ve had it all.”

As he did after winning Dover last weekend, Keselowski reiterated that seven races remain in the Chase. Defending series champion Tony Stewart was 24 points out of the lead with five races to go last year.

“There’s a lot of fight left,” Keselowski said.

INSIDE A WRECK  It will likely happen often this weekend at Talladega, cars skidding, sliding and slamming into each other. It’s one thing to see it from the stands or watching on TV, but what’s it like inside a car during a crash at Talladega?

Jimmie Johnson explains:

“When something happens you start evaluating the damage to your car. If there are a couple of small bumps along the way, your mind’s thinking, ‘OK, that’s not too bad. I didn’t get hit in a wheel, maybe just a fender. We can fix that. We can fix that.’ And you’re keeping some hope until there’s always typically a moment when you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s going to hurt, that’s going to require some behind-the-wall time to fix that up.’

“So, you just kind of hang on and go for the ride. I’ve been fortunate to stay on my wheels and not be upside-down, so I don’t necessarily have a good play on that. Although it would be kind of cool to flip if you’re going to out, you may as well go out in style. But you just kind of evaluate what’s going on and hope that you don’t hit anything too hard and you can get to pit lane and get it fixed.”

STRONG START  Joey Logano has recorded a top-10 finish in each of the three Chase races so far. He’s actually scored more points (107) than Chase drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (100), Martin Truex Jr. (100), Kevin Harvick (96), Jeff Gordon (94), Greg Biffle (85) and Matt Kenseth (67).

Logano opened the Chase by finishing seventh at Chicagoland Speedway, was eighth at New Hampshire and placed 10th at Dover last weekend. It’s the first time this season he’s scored three consecutive top-10 finishes.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Highlighting this week's news is Brad Keselowski's points lead heading to Talladega, changes on Ryan Newman's team and Joey Logano's strong run during the Chase.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 18:19
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/presidents-cup-assistants-named

International captain Nick Price named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his assistants for the Presidents Cup on Tuesday, while U.S. captain Fred Couples selected Jay Haas.

Dublin, OH (Sports Network) - International captain Nick Price named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his assistants for the Presidents Cup on Tuesday, while U.S. captain Fred Couples selected Jay Haas.

Couples will name additional assistants in the coming months.

This marks the first time that each captain has the option of naming three official assistants.

Maruyama, who has won three PGA Tour events, has an overall record of 6-2-0 in the Presidents Cup, including a 5-0-0 showing during the International team's lone outright victory in 1998.

McNulty, a Presidents Cup teammate of Price in 1994 and 1996, has a 3-4-2 overall record in the event. He currently competes on the Champions Tour.

Johnstone, who, along with Price and McNulty, hails from Zimbabwe, spent most of his career on the South African Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, where he won the 1992 British PGA Championship.

"Choosing my three captain's assistants was really very easy for me," said Price. "I grew up playing golf back home with Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty. Maruyama-san was an inspiration to all of us in every Presidents Cup team he played on. His enthusiasm, dogged competiveness and incredible team spirit are things I will never forget."

Haas, a 9-time PGA Tour winner and 16-time victor on the Champions Tour, represented the U.S. in the Presidents Cup in 1994 and 2003, where he posted a combined 5-3-1 record. He also served as Couples' captain's assistant in both 2009 and 2011.

"Jay has really been my right-hand man these past two Presidents Cups, and I know I couldn't do my job as captain without him," said Couples. "Jay has been one of my closest friends for many years. I rely on his leadership qualities, organizational skills and ability to help bring the team together to play their best, but also have a great time in the process."

The President Cup returns to the United States at Muirfield Village Golf Club from Oct. 3-6, 2013.

<p> International captain Nick Price named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his assistants for the Presidents Cup on Tuesday, while U.S. captain Fred Couples selected Jay Haas.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 13:58