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With Florida State's loss to NC State, the ACC is officially out of the national title race. The Seminoles were the conference's best hope at finishing No. 1 or No. 2 in the BCS, but the championship dreams will have to wait another year. Clemson kept its ACC title hopes alive with a victory over Georgia Tech, while Duke improved to 5-1 with a win over Virginia. 

Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard missed two games with a knee injury but has been nearly unstoppable this season. The sophomore has 475 yards and five scores on 52 attempts and has 15 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd threw two picks in the win over Georgia Tech but completed 26 of 41 throws for 397 yards and two scores.

3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – There’s not much separating the three names in this category, and Hopkins could make a case for the No. 1 spot. He has 49 catches for 777 yards and eight touchdowns this year.
 

Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – A patchwork NC State line held Werner in check, but the junior leads the ACC with 10 tackles for a loss and ranks second with 6.5 sacks this year.

2. Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke – Cockrell is flying under the radar on a national level but is having quite the season. The junior leads the ACC with 13 passes defended and has four interceptions.

3. Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State – Carradine led all Florida State defensive linemen with eight tackles against NC State. The senior leads the ACC with seven sacks this season.
 

Coach of the Year Standings

1. David Cutcliffe, Duke - The Blue Devils are just one win away from being eligible to play in a bowl. Duke doesn’t have a win over a FBS team with a winning record, but this team is poised to breakthrough in 2012.

2. Larry Fedora, North Carolina – Even with no bowl game or conference championship to play for in 2012, Fedora has kept this team on track. The Tar Heels handled Virginia Tech 48-34 in Week 6.

3. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – A disappointing loss to NC State ends the Seminoles’ national title hopes.

Post-Week 6 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (5-1, 2-1 ACC)
Last Week:
1
Week 6 Result: Lost 17-16 to NC State
Despite the surprising loss to NC State, the Seminoles maintain the No. 1 spot in the power rankings. Although the Wolfpack are a dangerous team at home, this is a game Florida State should not lose, especially after it jumps out to a 16-0 lead. Even though the Seminoles are out of the national title picture, this team still has to be the favorite to win the ACC crown. Florida State plays three of its next five games on the road but hosts Boston College this Saturday.
Next Game: Boston College

2. Clemson (5-1, 2-1 ACC)
Last Week:
2
Week 6 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 47-31
As expected, the Yellow Jackets gave Clemson all it could handle early on, but the Tigers scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Quarterback Tajh Boyd had two interceptions but finished with 397 passing yards and two touchdowns. The defense allowed 339 rushing yards but forced one turnover and recorded a safety early in the fourth quarter. With Florida State’s loss to NC State, the ACC Atlantic division is up for grabs again. Clemson needs another loss by the Seminoles, but the Tigers head into a bye week with momentum and an opportunity to get back into the conference title race.
Next Game: Virginia Tech (Oct. 20)

3. NC State (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week:
5
Week 6 Result: Beat Florida State 17-16
The Wolfpack pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 college football season, beating Florida State 17-16 to knock the Seminoles out of the national title picture. NC State trailed 16-0 but rallied behind quarterback Mike Glennon. The senior finished with 259 yards and two touchdowns and made crucial plays on third and fourth downs late in the game to lead the Wolfpack to the upset. The win over the Seminoles was not only huge for momentum purposes, but NC State controls its destiny in the ACC Atlantic. If the Wolfpack can win out and beat Clemson on Nov. 17, they will play for the conference championship in early December.
Next Game: at Maryland (Oct. 20)

4. Miami (4-2, 3-0 ACC)
Last Week:
3
Week 6 Result: Lost to Notre Dame 41-3
After posting 86 combined points in wins over Georgia Tech and NC State, the Hurricanes’ offense stalled with only three points in a 41-3 loss to Notre Dame. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 201 yards on 18 completions but didn’t have much help from his receiving corps. True freshman running back Duke Johnson was also held in check by the Irish defense, managing just 22 yards on eight attempts. Although the offensive showing was a disappointment, Miami’s defense continues to be an issue. The Hurricanes have allowed 30 or more points in five contests and average just one sack a game.
Next Game: North Carolina

5. North Carolina (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week:
7
Week 6 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 48-34
The Tar Heels are ineligible to play for the ACC Championship, but this team isn’t letting that slow them down this year. North Carolina scored an impressive 48-34 win over Virginia Tech in Week 6, led by 261 rushing yards from running back Giovani Bernard and a defense that never allowed the Hokies’ ground attack to get on track. With a sound victory over Virginia Tech, North Carolina now sets its sights on claiming control of the division with a trip to Miami next week.
Next Game: at Miami

6. Duke (5-1, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week:
8
Week 6 Result: Beat Virginia 42-17
If there was any doubt the Blue Devils are a much-improved team this season, Saturday’s victory over Virginia should erase those thoughts. Sure, the Cavaliers aren’t a top-10 team but this is a game Duke has struggled to win in the past. With Sean Renfree sidelined with an elbow injury, Anthony Boone filled in admirably, throwing for 204 yards and four touchdowns on 30 attempts. Although Boone played well, the defense stepped up with two turnovers and did not allow a score in the second half. The Blue Devils have a difficult schedule in the second half of the season but need just one win to get bowl eligible.
Next Game: at Virginia Tech

7. Virginia Tech (3-3, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week:
4
Week 6 Result: Lost to North Carolina 48-34
After six games, it’s pretty clear: Virginia Tech is in real danger of finishing 6-6 or 7-5. Considering most expected this team would be one of the best 10-15 in the nation, the Hokies are one of the ACC’s biggest disappointments. A defense that returned one of the top backfields and lines in the nation was pushed around for 532 yards against North Carolina, while the offense continues to struggle on the ground. Virginia Tech still controls its destiny in the Coastal Division but the schedule doesn’t get any easier over the next few weeks, starting with a 5-1 Duke team on Saturday.
Next Game: Duke

8. Georgia Tech (2-4, 1-3 ACC)
Last Week:
6
Week 6 Result: Lost to Clemson 47-31
The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the Yellow Jackets. After three consecutive losses, it’s time for Georgia Tech to regroup for the second half of the season. The defense has allowed 40 points in three consecutive games, and this team needs to find some answers if it wants to finish with a winning record and play in a bowl game. The Yellow Jackets gave Clemson all it could handle for a half but was unable to keep up with the Tigers offense in the final two quarters. The Yellow Jackets return to action on Oct. 20 against Boston College.
Next Game: Boston College

9. Maryland (3-2, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week:
12
Week 6 Result: Beat Wake Forest 19-14
It wasn’t pretty, but Maryland opened ACC play with a 19-14 win over Wake Forest. The Terrapins fell behind early but allowed only seven points to the Demon Deacons over the final three quarters. Freshman quarterback Perry Hills threw for 191 yards, with fellow freshman Stefon Diggs his favorite target (5 receptions for 105 yards). Maryland’s defense played a key role in the victory, holding Wake Forest to 71 rushing yards and forcing two turnovers. With the victory on Saturday, the Terrapins have surpassed their win total from last season.
Next Game: at Virginia

10. Virginia (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
Last Week:
10
Week 6 Result: Lost to Duke 42-17
A quarterback change wasn’t enough to spark the offense, and Virginia dropped its fourth consecutive game with a 42-17 loss to Duke. The Cavaliers recorded 461 yards but committed two turnovers, and a defense that struggled to get stops in the second half was simply too much to overcome. Phillip Sims completed 21 of 42 throws in his first start, but his two second half interceptions were costly. If Virginia wants to return to the postseason, winning the next two games (Maryland, Wake Forest) is a must.
Next Game: Lost to Duke 42-17

11. Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3 ACC)
Last Week:
9
Week 6 Result: Lost to Maryland 19-14
With receiver Michael Campanaro sidelined with a hand injury, the Demon Deacons offense sputtered in a 19-14 loss to Maryland. Wake Forest got off to a good start with a 73-yard touchdown pass on the first drive, but the Terrapins held quarterback Tanner Price to less than 100 passing yards the rest of the day. The Demon Deacons have lost three out of their last four games and have a bye this Saturday. The off week comes at a good time, especially as the team hopes to get Campanaro back as soon as possible.
Next Game: at Virginia (Oct. 20)

12. Boston College (1-4, 0-2 ACC)
Last Week:
11
Week 6 Result: Lost to Army 34-31
Embarrassing. That’s really the only way to describe the Eagles loss to Army on Saturday. Although the Black Knights are a difficult opponent to prepare for, this is a game Boston College should not lose. A big part of the struggles was the rush defense, which gave up 519 yards to Army’s option attack. The Eagles’ bowl hopes are hanging by a thread with road trips to Florida State and Georgia Tech coming up in the next two weeks. Barring a complete change of events for Frank Spaziani in the second half of the season, Boston College will have a new head coach next year.
Next Game: at Florida State


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Related College Football Content

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Big Ten Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

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Visit the online store for Michigan 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. 6 Michigan.

Don’t try to convince John Beilein, an eternal optimist, that last year’s NCAA Tournament thud against Ohio was a bad thing for his program. To the sixth-year Michigan coach, the loss was a case of not playing “well in one particular game” and not an indication that the team’s share of the Big Ten championship was sullied.

Since a program’s ultimate success is measured in terms of NCAA wins, it’s time for Michigan to make a move into the Tournament’s second weekend. The good news is for the first time in Beilein’s tenure, the Wolverines may be in a good position to do that. A highly regarded recruiting class, the decision by guard Trey Burke to return for his sophomore season and a level of depth Michigan hasn’t enjoyed in a long time should combine to make Michigan quite dangerous — both during the regular season and postseason.

“The Block M has never been stronger across the board,” Beilein says. “We have momentum.”

FRONTCOURT
Beilein teams haven’t exactly been known for their rough-and-tumble front lines, but this year’s Wolverines have plenty of options in the paint. If they want to play big and nasty, redshirt freshman Max Bielfeldt (6-7, 240), sophomore Jon Horford (6-10, 250) and junior Jordan Morgan (6-8, 250) can bring the beef. Bielfeldt and Horford were both sidelined with injuries last season.

If they want to play a little more of a finesse game, then 6-10 freshman Mitch McGary, a fine passer and shooter from the high and low post, can team with fellow newcomer Glenn Robinson III to form a dynamic offensive combination. A pair of high-level recruits who have helped lift Michigan’s national profile, Robinson and McGary give the Wolverines potential star power. Robinson was relatively highly regarded when he signed last fall, but his stock soared even greater since. He could be one of the nation’s top scoring freshmen. McGary is the kind of skilled big man Beilein craves. Some have compared McGary to former West Virginia star Kevin Pittsnogle, who thrived under Beilein.

“Some big men have a natural ability to pass, while others have to learn it,” Beilein says. “Mitch sees the floor well from the high post and low post positions.”

BACKCOURT
Last summer, the Wolverines lost Darius Morris to an ill-advised jump to the NBA Draft. This year, Burke stuck around after his great debut (14.8 ppg, 4.6 apg), giving the Michigan attack a high-energy floor leader who will be extremely productive and able to help the rest of the team deliver, too.

“Trey gets it, and that’s what’s going to help him become a better player,” Beilein says. “He understands he will get a lot of attention, and if the young men around him can shoot and score, his assists will go up, and his turnovers will go down. He saw a lot of minutes last year, and he can be better this year with more people around him.”

One person who will help Burke is freshman point guard Spike Albrecht, a 6-1 dynamo whom Beilein believes will be an instant fan favorite and who should allow Burke to rest some after he averaged 36.1 minutes per game last year.

The other big backcourt holdover is junior Tim Hardaway Jr., who has great skill but must learn to moderate his approach. He shot just 28.3 from 3-point range last year and didn’t always play great defense. Hardaway has plenty of talent, and the addition of Robinson, McGary and Albrecht mean he doesn’t have to do as much.

“He has gained trust with his teammates, and he should have enough people around him so that he can shoot less and score more points,” Beilein says.

Two other freshmen, tough shooter Nik Stauskas and athletic wing Caris LeVert, will also vie for time.

FINAL ANALYSIS
Michigan isn’t ready for a run at the Final Four, but the Wolverines should be an improved team that can certainly reach the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend. And, if everybody comes back for ’13-14, some real fun can be had.

Burke has great potential, and Hardaway can be a big factor if he plays within himself. The freshman class is talented, and Michigan should be deeper all over the floor. The loss to Ohio was tough, but the future is bright.

@AthlonSports

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

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

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<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 6 Michigan Preview</p>
Post date: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 06:00
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Even though the waiver wire isn’t loaded with talent this week, there is still plenty of value available.  This is the time of the season where players are easier to acquire because league cellar dwellers start to become disconnected from their teams, which means less competition for late-season gems.

Shane Carden, QB-East Carolina

We suggested benching Shane Carden last week on the road at Central Florida, but he responded with a solid outing.  Carden should provide value down the stretch playing in C-USA.

Tyler Van Tubbergen, QB-Western Michigan

Tyler Van Tubbergen struggled in his first start of the season two games ago against Tulsa, but he bounced back by tossing five scoring passes against UMass.

Sean Mannion, QB-Oregon State

Mannion didn’t exactly light it up against Washington State this past weekend, but with Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton on the outside, the Beavers offense has some big-play potential.

Dennis Johnson, RB-Arkansas

Dennis Johnson has taken over at running back for the Hogs and Knile Davis’ productive days on the field may have come to an end this season.

Montel Harris, RB-Temple

Harris was impressive against South Florida this past weekend, running for 133 yards and two touchdowns.  Even though Temple has some tough matchups on the horizon, Harris offers workhorse potential.

Alex Singleton, RB-Tulsa

Even though Singleton has only topped the 100-yard mark once this season, he has scored multiple touchdowns in four of Tulsa’s last five games.

Kasey Carrier, RB-New Mexico

In the Lobos’ last three games, Carrier has run for 406 yards and six touchdowns.  Next week, Carrier faces Hawaii’s 110th rated rush defense.

Andrew Buie, RB-West Virginia

After Saturday’s impressive performance at Texas, Buie jumped onto everyone’s radar and could be a major fantasy factor down the stretch.

Terence Davis, WR-Wake Forest

Since Michael Campanaro’s hand injury, Davis has emerged as quarterback Tanner Price’s go-to receiver and has posted back-to-back 100-yard games.

Jamill Smith, WR-Ball St

Smith has caught at least six passes in five of six games this season and is fresh off a 14-catch game against Northern Illinois.
 

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email:  joe@thecffsite.com

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Eugene, OR (Sports Network) - Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes on Saturday and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks dominated No. 23 Washington, 52-21, at Autzen Stadium. Mariota went 15-of-24 passing for 198 yards and an interception, while Kenjon Barner added 122 yards on 20 carries and De'Anthony Thomas chipped in 75 yards and a score on 10 rushes for the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12), who have scored 30- plus points in 19 straight games. Keith Price finished 19-of-31 for 145 yards and two interceptions for Washington (3-2, 1-1), which has lost nine straight meetings with the Ducks, which is the longest streak for either side in the 111-year history of the rivalry. Bishop Sankey rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a losing effort.

Final Score: North Carolina State 17, (3) Florida State 16

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Mike Glennon's 2-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Underwood with 16 seconds remaining capped a furious second-half rally that propelled North Carolina State to a stunning 17-16 victory over third-ranked Florida State in Atlantic Coast Conference action from Carter-Finley Stadium. Glennon completed 30-of-55 passes for 259 yards -- all but 41 of which came after halftime -- and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns as North Carolina State (4-2, 1-1 ACC) overcame a 16-0 deficit at intermission and knocked off a nationally-ranked Seminoles squad for the fourth time in the last nine years. Florida State (5-1, 2-1) was also upset in Raleigh by a 28-24 count in 2010, when the program was ranked 16th at the time, and was also dealt defeats by the Wolfpack while in the national polls during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Final Score: (10) Florida 14, (4) LSU 6

Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Mike Gillislee ran for a pair of second- half touchdowns to lead No. 10 Florida past fourth-ranked LSU, 14-6. Gillislee finished with 146 yards on 34 carries for the Gators (5-0, 4-0 SEC), who racked up 176 yards on the ground to remain undefeated. Jeff Driskel completed 8-of-12 passes for 61 yards and was backed by a stifling defense that held LSU to 1-for-13 on third-down conversions. Zach Mettenberger went 11-for-25 through the air for 161 yards and an interception for the Tigers (5-1, 1-1), who had their 18-game regular season win streak snapped. LSU had not dropped a game in the regular season since a 31-23 decision to Arkansas in the 2010 finale. The Tigers' Odell Beckham paced all receivers with 81 yards on four receptions in defeat.

Final Score: (6) South Carolina 35, (5) Georgia 7

Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Connor Shaw threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for another as sixth-ranked South Carolina rolled over No. 5 Georgia, 35-7, on Saturday. Ace Sanders added a 70-yard punt return for a score for the Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 SEC), who set a new school record with their 10th straight win dating back to last season. Shaw completed 6-of-10 passes for 162 yards and added 78 yards on 14 carries. Marcus Lattimore totaled 109 yards and a touchdown on 24 rushes as South Carolina improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1988. Aaron Murray went 11-for-31 through the air for 109 yards and an interception for Georgia (5-1, 3-1), which had its streak of 15 straight regular season wins snapped.

Final Score: (7) Kansas State 56, Kansas 16

Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - John Hubert carried the ball 10 times for 101 yards and four touchdowns, lifting the seventh-ranked Kansas State Wildcats over the Kansas Jayhawks, 56-16. Collin Klein completed 7-of-14 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Big 12), who are unbeaten after five games for the second straight season. Klein also carried the ball 10 times for 116 yards and two scores. Tyler Lockett and Travis Tannahill caught TD passes for Kansas State, which scored 35 points in the second half. Dayne Crist connected on 16-of-27 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for the Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2), who have lost four in a row since starting the season with a win over South Dakota State. James Sims rushed for 115 yards and a score on 28 carries.

Final Score: (8) West Virginia 48, (11) Texas 45

Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Geno Smith threw four touchdown passes and Andrew Buie ran for 207 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-sealing TD with under two minutes left, as eighth-ranked West Virginia earned a wild 48-45 win over No. 11 Texas. Smith finished 25-of-35 for 268 yards for the Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 Big 12), who got three TD receptions from Stedman Bailey. Tavon Austin caught 10 passes for 102 yards and a score. It was a far cry from a record-setting performance like last week, when Smith set school marks with eye-popping totals of 656 passing yards and eight touchdown throws in a 70-63 win over Baylor. Smith has 24 TD passes this season without an interception. David Ash connected on 22-of-29 throws for 269 yards, including an 8-yard TD pass to Marquise Goodwin with 15 seconds remaining. West Virginia recovered the ensuing onsides kick and sent the Longhorns (4-1, 1-1) to their eighth straight loss when facing a team ranked in the top 25.

Final Score: (9) Notre Dame 41, Miami-Florida 3

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III ran all over a shaky Hurricanes defense on Saturday as No. 9 Notre Dame dominated Miami-Florida, 41-3, at Soldier Field. Wood ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, while Atkinson ended his night with 123 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries for the Fighting Irish (5-0), who have won the first five games of the season for the first time since beginning the 2002 campaign 8-0. Cam McDaniel and Theo Riddick each added a rushing touchdown in the victory as the Irish racked up 376 yards on the ground. Everett Golson was benched to start the game due to a violation of team rules, but entered on the team's second offensive series. He threw for 186 yards on 17-of-22 passing and ran for 51 yards on six carries as Notre Dame remained perfect at Soldier Field in program history with a 10-0-2 record. Stephen Morris threw for 201 yards on 18-of-35 passing for the Hurricanes (4-2), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Jake Wieclaw accounted for the only Miami points with a 28-yard field goal.

Final Score: (12) Ohio State 63, (21) Nebraska 38

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Braxton Miller rushed for a career-high 185 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and Carlos Hyde added four rushing scores as No. 12 Ohio State downed No. 21 Nebraska, 63-38, on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Miller added 127 yards and a touchdown pass on 7-of-14 passing and Hyde finished with 138 yards on 28 carries for the Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who slipped past Michigan State on the road last weekend to open conference play. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez threw for 214 yards and one touchdown on 15-of-25 efficiency, but tossed a career-high tying three interceptions in the setback, which snapped Nebraska's (4-2, 1-1) three-game winning streak. Rex Burkhead rushed for 119 yards on 14 carries, while Kenny Bell hauled in five passes for 133 yards in a losing effort.

Final Score: (14) Oregon State 19, Washington State 6

Corvallis, OR (Sports Network) - Jordan Poyer came up with three interceptions, and Sean Mannion threw for 270 yards and a touchdown, as 14th- ranked Oregon State downed Washington State, 19-6, at Reser Stadium. Markus Wheaton had 95 yards receiving and a touchdown for the Beavers (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12), who also got a pair of field goals from Trevor Romaine. Brandin Cooks contributed five catches for 82 yards. With the victory, Oregon State surpasses their three-win total from last season and improves to 4-0 for the first time since the 2002 season. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday had a rough game, going just 9- of-20 passing for 81 yards and three interceptions. His replacement, Jeff Tuel, went 11-of-17 for 126 yards and an interception, and also was sacked three times. Gino Simone caught three balls for 83 yards and Andrew Furney connected on two field goals for the Cougars (2-4, 0-3).

Final Score: Iowa State 37, (15) TCU 23

Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Jared Barnett threw for 183 yards and three touchdowns, Josh Lenz hauled in three TD passes and threw for another score, as the Iowa State Cyclones upset the No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs, 37-23, at Amon G. Carter Stadium. For TCU (4-1, 1-1 Big 12), the loss puts an end to the nation's longest active win streak, as the Horned Frogs had won 12 straight dating back to last season. It also marks their first loss to a conference opponent as a new member of the Big 12. The Horned Frogs were forced to face Iowa State (4-1, 1-1) without one of their biggest weapons. Junior starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of DWI and suspended by head coach Gary Patterson for at least a game, possibly more. Without Pachall, the Horned Frogs turned to redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin, who responded with a tough performance, going 23-of-40 for 270 yards and a touchdown. Boykin also threw three interceptions, with two in the fourth quarter, taking TCU out of contention.

Final Score: (15) Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31

Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - Tajh Boyd threw for 397 yards and two touchdowns, adding 63 yards and a rushing score, as the 15th-ranked Clemson Tigers turned up the heat with a 47-31 decision over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an ACC shootout at Memorial Stadium. DeAndre Hopkins totaled 173 yards and a pair of TDs on seven catches for the Tigers (5-1, 2-1 ACC), who have won two in a row and have two weeks to enjoy the victory before returning to action on Oct. 20 against Virginia Tech. Roderick McDowell posted two rushing scores, while Andre Ellington ended with 82 yards on 24 carries for Clemson. Tevin Washington passed for 144 yards and one score, adding 104 yards and two rushing touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets (2-4, 1-3), who have dropped three straight and also have a week off before a clash with Boston College. Orwin Smith rolled up 117 yards and two end-zone entries on just seven totes and Jeff Greene registered a TD reception in the loss.

Final Score: (17) Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 20

Lubbock, TX (Sports Network) - Landry Jones threw for two touchdowns and Blake Bell added two scores on the ground as the 17th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners steamrolled the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 41-20, to earn their first Big 12 victory of the season. Jones completed 25-of-40 passes for 259 yards and connected with Justin Brown and Kenny Stills for scores. Bell took two 1-yard carries into the end zone for touchdowns as Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1 Big 12) rebounded nicely off its bye week following a 24-19 loss to Kansas State on Sept. 22. Seth Doege led Texas Tech to a victory over Oklahoma last season, but struggled on Saturday and was unable to replicate the same result. Doege finished 22-of-36 for 203 yards and was intercepted three times, with his third returned by Javon Harris for a score that put the game out of reach for the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1), who were denied a 5-0 start for the second consecutive season.

Final Score: (18) Stanford 54, Arizona 48 (OT)

Stanford, CA (Sports Network) - Stepfan Taylor's 21-yard touchdown run in the first overtime period lifted the 18th-ranked Stanford Cardinal over the Arizona Wildcats, 54-48. Stanford's defense came up big in overtime. On Arizona's fifth offensive play, Matt Scott had his pass deflected at the line of scrimmage and Chase Thomas came up with the interception. Taylor then found a hole up the middle and sprinted 21 yards into the end zone for the come- from-behind victory. Taylor carried the ball 31 times for 142 yards and two scores for the Cardinal (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12), who have won nine straight games in the month of October dating back to Oct. 9, 2010. Josh Nunes completed 21- of-34 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Stanford, which bounced back from a 17-13 loss to Washington on Sept. 27. Nunes also carried the ball seven times for 33 yards and three scores.

Final Score: (20) Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 14

Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Tyler Russell threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, leading No. 20 Mississippi State past Kentucky, 27-14, and helping the Bulldogs to their best start since 1999. Russell completed 23-of-39 passes to keep the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC) undefeated. Adrian Marcus caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and Chad Bumphis paced all receivers with nine catches for 104 yards and a score. Bumphis' touchdown catch was the 18th of his career, passing Eric Moulds and Justin Jenkins for the most in school history. Jalen Whitlow returned as the Kentucky quarterback after Patrick Towles suffered an ankle injury at the end of the second quarter. Whitlow finished 10-of-21 for 73 yards and rushed for 26 yards and a score, but the Wildcats (1-5, 0-3) dropped their fourth consecutive game. La'Rod King hauled in two passes, both from Towles, for 46 yards and a touchdown in the defeat.

Final Score: (22) Rutgers 19, Connecticut 3

Piscataway, NJ (Sports Network) - Gary Nova threw a touchdown pass and the Rutgers defense forced five turnovers, as the 22nd-ranked Scarlet Knights earned a 19-3 victory over Connecticut. Nova completed 18-of-27 passes for 157 yards, including a 14-yard TD strike to Mark Harrison for the game's lone offensive touchdown in the third quarter of the struggle between the Big East's top two defensive squads. Wayne Warren returned an interceptions 25 yards for a late touchdown for Rutgers (5-0, 2-0 Big East), which played as a ranked team for the first time since 2009 and won a game while ranked for the first time since 2007. Jawan Jamison ran for 110 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in as many games this season for the Scarlet Knights, who are unbeaten after five games for only the third time since 1976 and are 2-0 in Big East play for second straight year and third time overall. UConn running back Lyle McCombs sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and finished with just 32 yards on 12 carries. The Huskies (3-3, 0-1) were playing their conference opener and coming off a win last week against Buffalo.

Final Score: Penn State 39, (24) Northwestern 28

University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Matt McGloin's five-yard touchdown run was the go-ahead score late in regulation, as Penn State rallied from an 11- point fourth-quarter deficit to upend No. 24 Northwestern, 39-28, in front of a delirious crowd at Beaver Stadium. McGloin finished with 282 yards passing and a pair of scores through the air for the Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten), who won their fourth straight game. Allen Robinson and Michael Zordich added touchdowns in a 22-point final stanza for Penn State, which has won six in a row over its suburban Chicago foes. Trevor Siemian was 21-of-36 for 135 yards and one TD for the Wildcats (5-1, 1-1), who failed in their bid to start 6-0 for the first time in 50 years. Venric Mark totaled 72 yards and a score on 13 carries and contributed a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown which sent Northwestern up 28-17. Kain Colter picked up a score on the ground in defeat.

Final Score: California 43, (25) UCLA 17

Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Zach Maynard threw four touchdown passes as California knocked off the 25th-ranked UCLA Bruins, 43-17. at Memorial Stadium. Maynard completed 25-of-30 passes for 295 yards with an interception and also ran for a touchdown for the Golden Bears (2-4, 1-1 Pac-12), who snapped a three-game losing streak. C.J. Anderson had a huge day on the ground for the Golden Bears, running for 151 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also caught a touchdown pass. Richard Rodgers led the receiving corps with seven catches for 129 yards and Keenan Allen caught eight balls for 79 yards and a pair of TDs. Brett Hundley threw for 253 yards on 31-of-47 passing and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. Cassius Marsh and Joseph Fauria caught touchdown passes for the Bruins (4-2, 1-2), who have dropped two of their last three. Johnathan Franklin ran for 103 yards on 15 carries in a losing cause.

Teaser:
Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes on Saturday and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks dominated No. 23 Washington, 52-21, at Autzen Stadium. Mariota went 15-of-24 passing for 198 yards and an interception, while Kenjon Barner added 122 yards on 20 carries and De'Anthony Thomas chipped in 75 yards and a score on 10 rushes for the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12), who have scored 30- plus points in 19 straight games. Keith Price finished 19-of-31 for 145 yards and two interceptions for Washington (3-2, 1-1), which has lost nine straight meetings with the Ducks, which is the longest streak for either side in the 111-year history of the rivalry. Bishop Sankey rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a losing effort.
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 23:00
All taxonomy terms: Michigan State Spartans, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/michigan-states-leveon-bell-hurdles-indiana-player
Body:

Michigan State had to work a little harder than expected to beat Indiana. The Spartans needed a huge second half comeback to knock off the Hoosiers, which included a big game from running back Le'Veon Bell.

Bell provided one of the game's best highlights, hurdling an Indiana defender in the fourth quarter to move Michigan State a little closer to the goal line.

The junior has been one of the Big Ten's top performers this season and has provided plenty of highlight moments by jumping over players against Indiana, Boise State and Notre Dame.

Teaser:
<p> Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell Hurdles Indiana Player</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 21:31
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-6-recap-south-carolina-dominant-florida-state-flops
Body:

Statement games littered the Saturday football lineup. For South Carolina, a statement of dominance. For Florida, a statement of a return to the national scene. For Ohio State, a statement the Buckeyes are the Big Ten’s best, postseason or no postseason.

Elsewhere, other statements were less positive, but still loud and clear. Florida State isn’t back among the national title contenders, but back to the status quo of disappointing in ACC play with another loss to a conference underdog on the road. And suddenly, LSU looks like it may be in trouble after its offense could muster only two field goals against Florida before the Tigers face South Carolina, Texas A&M on the road, Alabama and Mississippi State.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 6 RECAP: THREE AND OUT

MOVING THE CHAINS
South Carolina’s dominance.
What was billed as the biggest game in South Carolina history may hold that title for a few weeks or months. A matchup against a fellow top-six team was all but over in the first quarter when South Carolina took a three-touchdown lead in a 35-7 win. The Gamecocks defense was dominant up front, limiting Georgia’s freshman tailbacks, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, to 76 yards. The duo averaged nine yards per carry in SEC games entering Saturday but averaged three yards per carry against South Carolina. Another highlight-reel punt return from Ace Sanders and a brutally efficient effort from quarterback Connor Shaw and running back Marcus Lattimore completed a dominant effort in all three phases of the game. And suddenly the schedule that seemed to be tilted against South Carolina in the SEC East doesn’t look quite as bad. Florida, not LSU, may be the tougher away game in South Carolina’s upcoming two-week road swing.

Florida in the second half. Most of the credit to the Gators’ turnaround goes to Florida’s resilience in the second half. On Saturday, Florida broke open a defensive stalemate in the second half with a few key second-half adjustments. The absence of LSU linebacker Kevin Minter (20 tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble) for parts of two series didn’t hurt, either.  LSU’s defensive line dominated the first half, but the Gators’ unbalanced line look caused the Tigers problems, starting when Mike Gillislee went untouched in a 12-yard touchdown run to give the Gators the lead. Against LSU, Will Muschamp doubled down on the power run game in the second half to earn the signature win of his career. After trailing at halftime against Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU, Florida outscored those three opponents 51-6 in the second half on the way to a 4-0 start in the SEC.

Landry Jones in Lubbock. Oklahoma’s veteran quarterback had been off to an unspectacular start, but the Sooners may have vanquished some demons with a dominant win on the road against Texas Tech. With a 41-20 win, Jones became the first Sooners quarterback to win in Lubbock since Jason White in 2003. The Sooners’ offense wasn’t explosive, but it was effective. Jones finished 25 of 40 for 259 yards with two touchdowns against the national leader in pass efficiency defense.

FALSE STARTS
Florida State.
Like clockwork, Florida State raised expectations only to lose to a nondescript ACC team on the road. This season, the the Seminoles reached the top three in the AP poll for the first time since 2003 yet lost to NC State 17-16. Florida State was shut out in the second half, but handed the Wolfpack chance after chance late in the fourth quarter, first on a blocked punt and then on a personal foul penalty to move NC State into the red zone. And, somehow, NC State’s offensive line held Florida State to one sack despite the Wolfpack missing three starters. This was as mystifying as any of Florida State’s ACC upsets.

Texas defense. West Virginia’s going to score on anyone, but it’s past time to be suspicious of the Texas defense, a unit that was expected to the best in the Big 12. The Longhorns held Geno Smith to a season-low 268 passing yards and four touchdowns, but Texas’ run defense allowed an opposing back to thrive for the second consecutive week. Andrew Buie rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns only a week after Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns in Stillwater.

Nebraska. The Cornhuskers failed to build on the momentum from a second-half comeback against Wisconsin and collapsed in a 63-38 loss to Ohio State in what was supposed to be a game between the Big Ten’s two best teams. If that was the case, the Buckeyes erased any doubt. The Cornhuskers defense gave up 300 rushing yards for the second time this season (UCLA was the other team to do so). The Huskers gave up a touchdown in all three phases of the game (one interception return, one punt return, seven on offense). For Nebraska’s sake, at least every team in the Big Ten Legends Division is vulnerable.

HEISMAN MOVERS
Aaron Murray, Georgia.
The Bulldogs quarterback entered the game against South Carolina ranked third nationally in pass efficiency. He left with one of the worst games of his career, going 11 of 31 for 109 yards with an interception.  His 35.5 completion percentage against the Gamecocks was the lowest of his career.

EJ Manuel, Florida State. Two weeks after his second-half heroics against Clemson, Manuel had trouble putting NC State away as the Seminoles were shut out in the second half. Manuel was 17 of 29 for 218 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State. Matt Barkley had trouble overcoming USC’s bowl ban to reach New York as a Heisman finalist. Will Miller face the same fate even if his play merits inclusion. Miller was 7 of 14 passing for 127 yards with a touchdown against Nebraska, but as usual did most of his damage in the ground game. He rushed for 186 yards, including a 72-yard rush and a 31-yard touchdown run. Miller has topped 100 rushing yards in seven of his last 11 games.

STAT WATCH
182:12.
Notre Dame has not allowed a touchdown in more than 12 quarters, dating back to a Purdue touchdown in the final 2:12 on Sept. 8. A first-quarter field goal was the only scoring from Miami in Notre Dame’s 41-3 win.

3,905. Poor performances against Alabama and Notre Dame probably cost Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson some national recognition, but he’s still rewriting record books. With 234 rushing yards against Purdue, Robinson passed Indiana’s Antwaan Randle El for the Big Ten’s rushing career rushing record for quarterbacks with 3,905 career yards. Robinson is 575 yards short of the national record held by West Virginia’s Pat White.

36. Geno Smith can win a Big 12 road game, we learned that much Saturday. The West Virginia quarterback threw four touchdown passes against Texas to give him 36 touchdown passes since his last interception, including 30 this season. Smith did have his first turnovers of the season, however, with two lost fumbles. West Virginia’s only other turnover this season was an interception by backup quarterback Paul Millard.

SCORES THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘HUH?’
Syracuse 14, Pittsburgh 13
Vanderbilt 19, Missouri 15
Cal 43, UCLA 17
FIRST THREE BOWL ELIGIBLE TEAMS
Ohio
Oregon
South Carolina
LAST THREE TEMPLE WINS IN THE BIG EAST
Oct. 6, 2012: USF 37-28
Nov. 13, 2004: Syracuse 34-24
Nov. 16, 2002: Rutgers 20-13

BURIED ON THE DEPTH CHART
UCLA.
The Bruins’ late-night 43-17 loss to Cal was one of the most surprising scores of the day with the Bruins enjoying a rebound year under Jim L. Mora and Cal starting the season 1-4. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley finally looked like a freshman with four interceptions and five sacks. Cal quarterback Zach Maynard’s performance was just unexpected as he finished 25 of 30 for 295 yards with four touchdowns.

Losing streaks end. Three eight-game losing streaks ended Saturday with Army defeating Boston College 34-31, Idaho defeating New Mexico State 26-18 and Memphis defeating Rice 14-10. The nation’s longest losing streak still belongs to Tulane, which has lost 15 in a row with a 41-13 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.

Another crazy finish in Navy-Air Force. Navy offensive guard Jake Zuzek fell on a fumbled snap in the end zone in overtime to give the Midshipmen a 28-21 victory for another unorthodox finish in this series. A year ago, Air Force won 35-34 in overtime when officials flagged Navy unsportsmanlike conduct on an OT touchdown. Th extra point from 35 yards out was blocked, and Air Force won on the second frame of OT.

THREE WILD FOURTH QUARTERS
Stanford 54, Arizona 48.
The Wildcats ran their offense at a breakneck pace, including 69 pass attempts from Matt Scott and 103 total plays. But Stanford’s more traditional offense got the last laugh. After an Arizona fumble, Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes led two scoring drives to erase a two-touchdown deficit in the final 6:34. An interception followed by a 21-yard Stepfan Taylor touchdown in overtime sealed a 54-48 win.

NC State 17, Florida State 16. The Wolfpack narrowed the deficit to 6 points early in the fourth quarter, but the game took its turn on NC State’s blocked punt in the final 2:30. Mike Glennon then converted three fourth-down plays on the final possession including the game-winning touchdown pass to end FSU’s national title hopes.

Texas A&M 30, Ole Miss 27. Yet another page in the legend of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Early in the fourth quarter, the Aggies had turned the ball over six times and trailed by 10 in Oxford. Manziel led two scoring drives, capping them with a 29-yard touchdown run and 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Aggies their first SEC road win.

THREE COACHES WORKING MIRACLES
Bill O’Brien, Penn State.
Say this for O’Brien’s first team at Penn State: It doesn’t give up easily. The same group that fell apart in the second half against Ohio and endured a kicking debacle against Virginia, overcame an 11-point deficit in the final 10 minutes against Northwestern to win comfortably 39-28. Quarterback Matt McGloin may be the most improved quarterback in the nation with 10 touchdown passes and two interceptions this season. He had eight touchdowns and five interceptions all of last season. The Penn State offense topped 30 points for the third time in the last four games, a feat the Nittany Lions accomplished only three times all of last season.

David Cutcliffe, Duke. What kind of hex does Cutcliffe have on Virginia? The Duke coach is 4-1 against the Cavaliers at Duke, but no win was bigger than Saturday’s. After defeating Virginia 42-17, the Blue Devils are a win a way from bowl eligibility for the first time since 1994. Even more remarkable than a rout in an ACC game, is that Duke did it without three-year starting quarterback Sean Renfree. Backup Anthony Boone replaced the injured Renfree to complete 18 of 31 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns.

Kyle Flood, Rutgers. The signature win came last week against Arkansas, but there was no hiccup the Scarlet Knights’ 19-3 win over Connecticut. Jawan Jamison rushed for at least 100 yards for the fifth time this season, and the defense forced five turnovers, including four interceptions, to extend Rutgers’ 5-0 record in Flood’s first season.

THREE COACHES UPDATING RESUMES
Gene Chizik, Auburn.
Can a coach who won a national title two seasons ago really be under this much pressure? It sure looks that way. Auburn’s offense was listless against Arkansas despite a halftime change at quarterback. The Tigers were sacked eight times and committed five turnovers -- against a team that had seven sacks and two takeaways all season. Auburn is 4-7 in the SEC since Cam Newton’s last game. Meanwhile, Auburn has scored three offensive touchdowns in its last five SEC games, including two in three games this season.

Skip Holtz, USF. The Bulls may be among the two or three most talented teams in the Big East. Yet despite a veteran quarterback and a speedy defense, USF has the worst record in the league the two seasons. A 37-28 loss to Temple gave the Bulls a 1-8 mark in the Big East since the start of last season and a 3-11 mark overall since starting the 2011 season 4-0. Riding a four-game losing streak, the Bulls are minus-12 in turnover margin this season.

Frank Spaziani, Boston College. The Spaziani tenure at Boston College hit its lowest point with a 34-31 loss to Army. Quarterback Trent Steelman ran for a 29-yard touchdown with 45 seconds left to end an eight-game losing streak for the Black Knights. With an option offense, Army will get its rushing yards, but 516 against Boston College is a little much, to put it mildly. A week before defeating Boston College, Army lost 23-3 to Stony Brook. Not a good sign for Spaziani and Boston College, which is 5-12 since the start of 2011.

DANG, THEY’RE GOOD
Kansas State
Ohio State
South Carolina
DANG THEY’RE BAD
Virginia
Auburn
Kansas
BEST GAMES NEXT WEEK
Texas vs. Oklahoma
Stanford at Notre Dame
South Carolina at LSU

THREE TEAMS BREATHING SIGHS OF RELIEF
Michigan State. The Spartans had seven penalties in the first half against Indiana, all of the personal foul or 15-yard variety. The Hoosiers took a 27-14 lead that took Michigan State the entire second half to overcome. The Spartans won 31-27, but it was another close call for a team that also struggled to put away Eastern Michigan two weeks ago.

Clemson. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has Clemson’s number, a trend that continued into the fourth quarter Saturday. The Yellow Jackets led 31-30, but Clemson scored 17 unanswered points for a key ACC win, especially when Florida State lost to NC State. Sammy Watkins didn’t have a play from scrimmage longer than nine yards, but Tajh Boyd passed for a career-high 397 yards in the win.

Oregon State. The Beavers had their worst game of the season on offense since the opener against Wisconsin. Sean Mannion threw three interceptions, and the Beavers rushed for 100 yards on 40 carries. Good thing Oregon State was playing Washington State. The Cougars threw four interceptions, including three to Jordan Poyer, in the 19-6 loss.

 

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 6 Recap: South Carolina dominant, Florida State flops</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 10:55
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-aaron-hernandez-pierre-garcon-lance-moore
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Aaron Hernandez (ankle) returned to practice on Thursday, practiced again on Friday and is listed as questionable for today’s late game against visiting Denver. He practiced on a limited basis, per the Patriots’ always forthcoming injury news. If it was gamesmanship to get the Broncos thinking about Hernandez it also has fantasy owners thinking about the standout tight end as well. Denver gave up one touchdown to the tight end position each of the first three weeks and then saw Oakland lay an egg offensively last week.  The Broncos are 19th against fantasy receivers and 10th against fantasy running backs and were allowing 25,6 points per game before the Raiders put up just six. Late game, earlier-than-expected recovery from the injury for Hernandez — if he is recovered — and whether the Pats really need him to win this home game would have me a little leery of inserting Hernandez today.

 

Pierre GarconPierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Pierre Garcon said earlier this week it’s “going to take some time” for his foot to completely heal, but he should be on the field today against Atlanta — his second game back since missing two games with the injury suffered in Week 1. It might take a fully healthy Garcon, however, to get solid production against a stingy Atlanta pass defense. Outside of Demaryius Thomas’s great toe-drag catch in Week 2 and Kealoah Pilares 36-yard wide-open score on his only offensive play of the game last week, the Falcons have not surrendered any other TDs to receivers. On Wednesday, Garcon had his first full day of practice since the injury. Washington’s pass defense should be no match for Atlanta’s pass offense. You would hope Garcon could get something going early. If the Falcons jump out to a lead and there is garbage-time production to be had, the question is: Will Garcon still be out there to get it? In this offense, if Garcon’s playing, you start him and hope for the best.

 

Lance MooreLance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers (Sunday night)
Lance Moore (hamstring), the indoor phenomenon, is out for tonight’s game. He will not get a chance to showcase his skills on turf against a Chargers team that is 11th against fantasy receivers but has allowed production to opposing team’s other non-No. 1 receivers. Rod Streater, Kendall Wright and Julio Jones all caught touchdowns against San Diego and Jonathan Baldwin was 4-for-50. So who steps in for Moore Sunday night?  That’s hard to tell. Being that it is a Sunday night game, there is probably no one on the Saints not named Marques Colston that I would insert in my WR spot today. It’s too much of a gamble when there are better plays out there.

 
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Doug Baldwin, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-jared-cook-kenny-britt-doug-baldwin
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Kenny BrittJared Cook, TE and Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings
Jared Cook had the 61-yard touchdown in Week 3 against Detroit and later suffered ligament damage and an AC joint sprain in that game. He was limited to three catches for 36 yards on four targets in the loss to Houston last week. Cook has been targeted no more than six times this season and now draws a Vikings team that has been kind to opposing No. 1 tight ends in three of the first four weeks. Marcedes Lewis (5-for-52 and a score on five targets), Vernon Davis (5-for-53 and a score on eight targets) and Brandon Pettigrew (7-for-67 on nine targets and dropped a TD pass in the end zone) all had double-digit fantasy days in PPR, and had Pettigrew caught the ball, all would have had double-digit days in non-PPR. Cook said he feels better and should play today. As for receiver Kenny Britt, it is not looking so good. He has returned from the ACL/MCL injuries suffered a year ago only to be bothered by a left ankle sprain. He tweaked the ankle this week while doing running on the side. Britt did not practice on Saturday and it would seem highly unlikely you will see him on the field in Minnesota today. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck takes over for the injured Jake Locker (shoulder) this week. Hasselbeck and Cook really connected at the end of last season, as the tight end was targeted 26 times for 21 catches, 335 yards and one score in the last three weeks of the 2011 season.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina
Doug Baldwin (shoulder) is only drawing a mention because he was likely drafted late — likely dropped since — and it’s a bye week. It’s been a rough go in year 2 for the undrafted free agent out of Stanford. He led the team in receptions last season (51) but has dealt with hamstring that sidelined him in August, broken teeth in Week 1 and a shoulder injury forced him to miss Week 3. He returned last week against St. Louis and drew three targets for one catch and 10 yards. He has little rapport with QB Russell Wilson since they have not worked together much due to the injuries. Today, the Seahawks draw a Carolina team that is last against fantasy running backs — good news for Marshawn Lynch — and sixth against fantasy receivers — likely because of the previous stat. Sure, you could find better, but don’t be surprised if Wilson is showcased in this game as he returns to North Carolina where he played football for N.C. State and minor league baseball for Gastonia and Asheville. Perhaps Baldwin could be the benefit of that showcase, and Pete Carrol said this week “we’ve got to get Doug back into things.” Start today.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> To help you decide who to start and who to sit.</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 06:55
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-reggie-bush-christian-ponder-rashard-mendenhall
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Reggie BushReggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
First the knee, now the hip but neither should keep Reggie Bush from playing against the Bengals. He practiced Friday and it’s a decent matchup for the Miami running game as they go against the eighth-worst fantasy defense against running backs. There might be some fear in the fact theBengals just held Maurice Jones-Drew to 38 yards on 13 carries and he only sniffed a double-digit day in PPR thanks to five catches for 42 yards. At least we know Bush can both run and catch  — 369 ground, 72 air this season, on pace to best his No. 11 ranking as a fantasy RB last year. Prior to MJD, Cincinnati had allowed Alfred Morris 78 yards rushing and a score, Trent Richardson 109 yards rushing, 36 yards receiving and two scores and Ray Rice 68 yards rushing and two scores.

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans
Christian Ponder is listed on the injury report as probable with a knee but his availability should not be a concern. After what the Titans have displayed on defense thus far — or lack thereof — Ponder cannot take to the field fast enough. They have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, third-most to running backs and most to tight ends. Ponder-Adrian Peterson-Kyle Rudolph all sound pretty good to me this week. And that’s not even mentioning what Percy Harvin might do. No starting QB has thrown for under 200 yards, no team has collected less than two touchdowns and only Philip Rivers has been intercepted (once) by the Titans this season. Start Ponder with confidence.

Rashard MendenhallRashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Rashard Mendenhall is slated to make his season debut today against the Eagles, returning from a torn ACL suffered late last season. It is unlikely he will take a full workload in his return. But what is a full workload in Pittsburgh this season? No back has eclipsed 12 carries in a game and Jonathan Dywer’s 43 yards in Week 1 is the high point for rushing. Keep in mind that Mendenhall was not that great last season before the injury. He carried over 20 times once and produced 146 yards and a score in that game (Week 6 against Jacksonville). From that point until the Week 17 injury, he averaged 60.9 yards rushing per game with six scores. Philadelphia is ranked seventh against fantasy running backs this season, having allowed just one rushing score to the position and 3.3 yards per carry.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Who's healthy enough to start for your fantasy football team</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 06:52
All taxonomy terms: Ben Tate, Donald Jones, Jon Baldwin, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-ben-tate-jon-baldwin-donald-jones
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Ben TateBen Tate, RB, Houston Texans vs. New York Jets (Monday night)
Texans running back Ben Tate is battling a sprained toe that kept him out of practice until Saturday. It was his first practice this week, albeit limited, and coach Gary Kubiak said he expects Tate to go Monday night. Limited Saturday, Sunday lineup deadline, Monday game, and probably game-time decision at best; not a good trifecta there. These aren’t your older brother’s Jets as they are allowing 4.52 yards per carry with six touchdowns to opposing fantasy running backs. But you have to question how much Tate will be needed after New York took a 34-0 pasting at home against the San Francisco defense and now gets an equally good Texans defense. You might want to find someone else for your flex instead of relying on the ultimate flex/handcuff each week in Tate.

Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
A hamstring injury has Jonathan Baldwin on the injury report and he is listed as probable. However, he practiced on Friday and should be good to go Sunday against Baltimore. The Ravens have been pretty gracious to No. 2 receivers so far this year. It started in Week 1 when Cincinnati’s Andrew Hawkins went 9-for-86, followed in Week 2 when DeSean Jackson went 7-for-114, continued in Week 3 when Wes Welker went 8-for-142 and sputtered when the Ravens faced whatever Cleveland’s receiving corps is supposed to be. Four receivers not named Greg Little combined for nine catches for 109 yards. Baldwin has been second in targets to Dwayne Bowe each of the last three weeks and turned those 15 targets into 10 catches for 148 yards and no scores — or 8.3 fantasy points per week in a PPR. You could do better, but there’s nothing that says the Chiefs should be in this game and everything saying the Ravens are friendly to No. 2s.

Donald JonesDonald Jones, WR, Buffalo Bills vs. San Francisco 49ers
Donald Jones is listed as questionable with a head injury but is likely to play against San Francisco today. He is not a suggested start, however. When David Nelson went down for the season there was hope that Jones would emerge as the second target for Ryan Fitzpatrick outside of the red zone — since Fitz only has eyes for Chandler inside the 20 it seems. But outside of a 68-yard score on one of his three targets last week, Jones produced six catches for 42 yards and no scores on nine targets in the two weeks after Nelson’s season-ending injury. Nine targets in an offense that ran more three-wide receiver sets — and one of the receivers is on IR — is not going to get it done in fantasy. The emergence of rookie T.J. Graham, Steve Johnson being the target leader (36 in four games for 18th most in the NFL) and Chandler being the 25-yards-and-in TD threat means Jones will have to rely more on the one-play production like he had last week. There are more explosive — and healthier — receivers you can find  to try and bank a TD on than Jones, who has four scores in three years.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-torrey-smith-scott-chandler-andre-johnson
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Torrey SmithTorrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs
An ankle injury last Thursday against Cleveland has Smith as probable on the injury report. However, that was 11 days ago and Smith practiced all week. He and the Ravens get the Chiefs this week, who are 14th against fantasy receivers. After allowing Roddy White and Julio Jones to combine for 12 catches, 195 yards and two scores in Week 1, Kansas City has allowed one receiver to score each of the last three weeks. However, only Buffalo’s Steve Johnson was a No. 1 receiver; Lance Moore and Eddie Royal scored the other two. No receiver has gone over Lance Moore’s 70 yards outside of White and Jones. The Chiefs are also 24th against fantasy running backs. This could be a Ray Rice game, but you cannot ignore Baltimore boasting the fourth-best fantasy receivers in the game, including Smith receiving 10 targets each of the last two weeks for 12 catches, 224 yards and three scores.

Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills vs. San Francisco 49ers
A head injury forced the tight end out of the game last week after catching two touchdowns. It’s a bye week and Chandler has already been hanging around the waiver wire as a guy to grab, San Francisco is ranked 23rd against fantasy tight ends. The 49ers gave up four touchdowns over the first two weeks and then faced the offensiveless Jets last week. It’s touchdown-or-bust for Chandler normally as he has just 15 catches for 216 yards but the four touchdowns. The Bills should not be able to run on the 49ers, so Chandler will likely be involved.

Andre JohnsonAndre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans vs. New York Jets (Monday night)
A groin injury has Andre Johnson on the injury report, but something always has Johnson on the injury report it seems. He saw light practice on Friday and it is a Monday night game this week. He looks like he is good to go, and chances are you are not sitting Johnson, particularly with bye weeks in full force. Just some info to know, however: There is no Darrelle Revis on the Jets’ defensive side of the ball anymore. The Jets have allowed plenty of rushing yards and the Texans are ranked 22nd in passing attempts this season. Johnson, since his Week 1 performance of 10 targets, eight catches, 119 yards and one score, has combined for 14 targets, eight catches, 149 yards and one score. Play at your own risk as these are the Texans of a few years ago.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-julio-jones-hakeem-nicks-domenik-hixon-jordan-norwood-josh-gordon
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these players and what you should consider.

Julio JonesJulio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs. Washington Redskins
Julio Jones played in Week 4 with a lacerated hand and it resulted in a one-catch, 30-yard performance on eight targets against Carolina. He said the hand had little to do with the production, or lack thereof last week, and that he’s “ready to go” this week against Washington. And what a matchup it is. The Redskins are the worst in the NFL in points allowed to fantasy receivers. Two Tampa Bay receivers went over 100 yards last week; Two Cincinnati receivers went over 60 and a touchdown and A.J. Green added 183 and a score to weeks ago. The Rams got 160 yards and a touchdown from Danny Amendola and 53 yards and a score from Brandon Gibson in Week 2. And the Saints opened with 191 yards and two scores from Lance Moore and Marques Colston. The Redskins have no pass rush, and Matt Ryan should have time to sling it all across the gridiron with Jones and Roddy White.

Hakeem NicksHakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon, WRs, New York Giants vs. Cleveland Browns
Oh, if Hakeem Nicks could have suited up today against Cleveland, his matchup is just as tasty as the Falcons’ receivers. But a knee injury continues to keep Nicks on the shelf after battling a foot injury. Ramses Barden was the pick up to have a few weeks ago when he stepped in for Nicks and caught nine balls for 138 yards against Carolina. But Domenik Hixon was out with a concussion for that game and he returned last week and supplanted Barden as the No. 2 receiver. Hixon finished with six catches for 114 yards on 11 targets; Barden had two catches for 36 yards on four targets. And Barden is now out with a concussion for today’s game. The job is all Hixon’s and he should not disappoint. The Browns are second-to-last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to receivers, having given up 228 yards and a touchdown to Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin last week and having allowed at least 60 yards and a score to at least one receiver in all four games this season.

Jordan Norwood and Josh Gordon WRs, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants
Seemingly ever Browns receiver that has logged meaningful minutes opposite Greg Little this season is injured and it might be up to Jordan Norwood and rookie Josh Gordon to try and take advantage of a friendly New York pass defense. Norwood had 10 targets and caught four of them for 56 yards last week at Baltimore. Gordon, a project from Baylor, has seven catches for 93 yards in four games thus far. The Browns can have success in the air against the Giants’ 20th-ranked pass defense (254 ypg) but might try to keep it on the ground since their own pass defense is not any better. Cleveland is 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (286.0). New York is 22nd against the run at 118.2 yards per game. It is probably not advised to play either Norwood or Gordon, but it is a bye week, you might be looking for a flier and the Giants, at 8.5-point favorites at home, should mean more passing opportunities. If you take said flier, take it on Gordon, who is slated to start today.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> To help you decide who to start and who to sit.</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 06:32
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/injury-updates-week-5-matt-forte-trent-richardson-greg-jennings
Body:

There are a few key fantasy contributors that have had a number of injury question marks surrounding their playing status leading up to Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Here’s a little bit about these three and what you should consider.

Matt ForteMatt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Forte owners ran the gamut of emotions Monday night as he returned to the lineup quicker than expected, limped off after his first play and then returned to finish the game. Cautious owners, like myself, wish he would have just stayed idle until after next week’s bye but that did not happen. He was not very productive in a 34-18 win over Dallas (13 carries, 52 yards, one catch, minus-three yards). Now he gets a Jacksonville team, on a short week, which has allowed 84.5 yards per game to lead backs — thanks for ruining the average, Donald Brown and your 62 yards. Forte practiced this week. If he’s back, he’s in your lineup.

 

Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants
This is just to tell you that Trent Richardson is on the injury report but it is not injury related. He was welcoming in child No. 3 to the family. Richardson has 183 rushing yards and three scores in the last three games and now gets a friendly New York run defense. The Giants are allowing 4.7 yards per carry to running backs. They have surrendered just one score to the position, but the 4.7 is too big to ignore. Richardson has also become more involved in the passing game, catching 14 balls for 117 yards and a score on 18 targets.

 

Greg JenningsGreg Jennings, WR, Green Bay vs. Indianapolis Colts
Greg Jennings (groin) was declared out before Week 5 officially began Thursday night, so this is just a reminder in case you had not heard. Get Greg Jennings out of your lineup(s). Now the fun begins in regards to who will replace him this week vs. a Colts team that is allowing the sixth-most points to fantasy receivers. When Jennings missed the Week 2 game against Chicago it was Jordy Nelson who got the most production (six catches, 84 yards on nine targets). James Jones and Randall Cob combined for seven targets, three catches and 19 yards receiving. No more or less love went to tight end Jermichael Finley as he has received five targets each of the last three weeks after tying a career-high with 11 in the opener against San Francisco. Jones would be the best bet to plug in as he has at least six targets in three of four games — oddly enough his low mark of five coming when Jennings was out — and has averaged 4.6 catches for 64 yards and one score in those three games.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /mlb/alds-preview-baltimore-orioles-vs-new-york-yankees
Body:

Of course, New York is quite familiar with this Orioles team that is back in the postseason for the first time since 1997. New York split 18 meetings with Baltimore and battled for a division title with it all through September before finally securing the crown on the final day of the regular season.

New York had been in first place since June 11, but thanks to the pesky Orioles, needed all 162 games to nail down its 12th AL East crown in the last 15 years with a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, coupled with Baltimore losing two of three to the Tampa Bay Rays.

It's no secret that New York is driven by its offense, an attack that this year belted a major league-high 245 home runs. Leading the charge is All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who may be the hottest hitter in baseball entering the playoffs.

Over his last nine games Cano is hitting .615 with three HRs, 14 RBI and seven doubles. He ended the year hitting .313 with 33 home runs, 94 RBI and 105 runs scored. His torrid stretch may continue, as he is a .338 hitter against the Orioles with 24 home runs and 89 RBI in 135 games.

Cano isn't the only superstar in the Yankees' lineup, as Derek Jeter led the majors with 216 hits, Curtis Granderson belted 43 home runs and Nick Swisher also had a productive season. Not to mention first baseman Mark Teixeira appears healthy after missing most of September with a calf injury.

Ichiro Suzuki has also fit the Yankees' lineup like a glove since being acquired from Seattle on Aug. 3. In 67 games with the Yankees, Ichiro batted .322 - 61 points higher than he hit in 95 games with the Mariners - with five home runs, 27 RBI, 28 runs scored and stole 14 bases.

Then, there is Alex Rodriguez. The three-time AL MVP missed a few months with a broken wrist, but had one the least productive seasons of his career, hitting .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI.

Plus he hasn't homered since Sept. 14. And of course, the postseason hasn't been kind to A-Rod, who is just 6-for-39 in his last two series with 10 strikeouts.

CC Sabathia will get the call for the Yankees in Game 1 following a down year by his standards, as Sabathia endured two stints on the disabled list and ended the season 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA.

Lefty Andy Pettitte came out of retirement and was pitching well up until a line drive broke his leg back on June 27. Pettitte returned in September and gave up just three runs in three starts and ended the year 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA.

The playoffs are where Pettitte shines, though, as he owns a major league record 19 postseason wins.

Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32) enjoyed a terrific first season in the Bronx and will likely get the nod in Game 3, while right-hander Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.23) will go in Game 4 if needed.

Rafael Soriano gave the Yankees everything they could have hoped for in the wake of Mariano Rivera's season-ending ACL injury in May. Soriano saved 42 games and pitched to a 2.26, but has nowhere near the air of invincibility as Rivera, especially come playoff time, where the all-time saves leader was close to automatic.

Righties David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain will serve as the main bridges to Soriano, while Boone Logan and Clay Rapada will be called upon to get lefties out.

As good as the Yankees bullpen is, it pales in comparison to that of Baltimore's, which is spearheaded by closer Jim Johnson, who led the majors with team-record 51 saves. He actually had 10 less strikeouts than he had saves.

Sidewinding Darren O'Day serves as his main setup guy and gives right-handed hitters fits. Lefty Brian Matusz may have found a home in the bullpen after struggling as a starter, as Buck Showalter doesn't hesitate to use him against a lefty in a big spot.

In all, five Orioles pitched in 50 or more games this year, and all five ended with ERAs between 2.28 and 2.64. Baltimore relievers threw 60 innings from the 10th frame on, and allowed five runs, for a 0.75 ERA.

Quite simply the bullpen is the biggest reason the Orioles posted their first winning season in 15 years.

It's the reason they went 29-9 in one-run games, the best record in one-run affairs since 1900. It's the reason they've captured 16 consecutive extra- inning wins, the longest streak since the 1949 Cleveland Indians won 17 in a row. And the reason they were 74-0 when holding a lead after seven innings.

It all added up to a 93-69 finish, the team's first winning record since 1997.

If you can name three Orioles starting pitchers, you are probably in the minority. Chris Tillman emerged as the team's ace down the stretch and went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA. After a solid first half, Taiwanese product Wei-Yin Chen struggled and closed the year by losing his last four decisions spanning seven starts.

The group could get a lift in this series, though, with the return of right-hander Jason Hammel, who has missed most of the second half with a knee injury. Hammel, though, was the Orioles' top pitcher in the first half of the season and won eight of his first 10 decisions

"I would assume that if you would trust me to start, if I am starting, there wouldn't be a pitch count because it's a 25-man roster and you need those extra guys in the pen so you have to expect a guy to go deep for that important a game," Hammel said."I would think no pitch count until I was told otherwise."

Lefty Joe Saunders could also be a factor after giving up a run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of the O's wild card win over the Texas Rangers.

Offensively, the young O's are led by burgeoning superstars Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Jones hit .287 with 32 home runs, 82 RBI and 103 runs scored, while Wieters swatted 23 homers and knocked in 83 runs.

A player to watch in this series could be 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado, who has drawn comparisons to Rodriguez and really started to come into his own down the stretch.

Chris Davis has also contributed of late and closed the regular season by homering in six of his final seven regular season games.

The Orioles and Yankees are certainly no strangers to one another and in addition to all the regular season meetings, these teams also met in the 1996 ALCS, a series won by New York, but one that was made famous by the Jeffrey Maier catch. New York won that series in six games.

As good as Baltimore's bullpen has been, New York gets the overall edge based on a decided advantage in the starting pitching department. Still, given the way these teams fought tooth and nail down the stretch, this should be a pretty entertaining series.

But, in the end New York's experience should prevail.

PREDICTION: YANKEES in FOUR

Teaser:
The New York Yankees begin their quest for a 28th World Series title on Sunday when they open the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 23:00
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nascar/kahne-tops-talladega-qualifying
Body:

Talladega, AL (Sports Network) - Kasey Kahne claimed the pole for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 -- the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- after posting the quickest lap in Saturday's qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.

Kahne, who is one of the 12 drivers in the Chase field, turned a lap at 191.455 mph for his third pole of the season and the 25th of his Sprint Cup Series career. It will be the first time he starts up front for a race at this 2.66-mile superspeedway.

"It's fun to get my first pole at Talladega," Kahne said. "It's a tough track, and I've never done that. (The car) felt good, and we'll see how it runs tomorrow. It ran great (in practice) yesterday and really well today."

Ryan Newman, who is not in the Chase this year, secured the outside pole with a lap at 191.145 mph.

Title contenders Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon qualified third through sixth, respectively. Bowyer has won the last two fall Sprint Cup races at Talladega.

"I thought we were going to qualify poorly, and we didn't," Bowyer said. "We're in the top-five and certainly up front, and we need to try to stay there and stay out of trouble. Certainly going to race up there as much as I can until something crazy happens."

Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., a Chase driver, and Sam Hornish Jr. completed the top-10.

The remaining Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12th), Matt Kenseth (15th), Jimmie Johnson (17th), Kevin Harvick (21st), Brad Keselowski (22nd) and Denny Hamlin (23rd).

Keselowski currently holds a five-point lead over Johnson and a 16-point advantage over Hamlin. Bowyer is 25 markers out of the lead, while Stewart and Kahne both trail by 32. Keselowski has won two of the first three Chase races. He also won the spring event at Talladega in May.

"The best strategy is to be the guy who doesn't wreck, but you don't know until after the race," Keselowski said. "Things happen so fast late in the race here that even the best strategy can get thrown out the window. I just want to be there with five laps to go."

All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field for Sunday's 500-mile race at Talladega, which is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. (ET).

Teaser:
Kasey Kahne claimed the pole for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 -- the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- after posting the quickest lap in Saturday's qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 22:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, News
Path: /news/virginia-techs-dyrell-roberts-finds-pair-scissors-against-north-carolina
Body:

So far, 2012 has not gone according to plan for Virginia Tech. The Hokies have lost three out of their last four games, including Saturday's 48-34 shootout at North Carolina.

While both teams put up some big numbers in Saturday's game, the strangest part of the matchup might have been Virginia Tech wide receiver Dyrell Roberts' discovery of a pair of scissors on the field in the first quarter.

Needless to say, this might be the most bizarre play of the 2012 college football season.

Teaser:
<p> Virginia Tech's Dyrell Roberts Makes An Interesting Discovery Against North Carolina</p>
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 15:26
Path: /college-football/west-virginia-mountaineers-vs-texas-longhorns-preview-and-prediction
Body:

West Virginia officially christened its new home in the Big 12 with a 70-63 shootout victory over Baylor last Saturday. While last week was the first conference game of the year, playing at Texas is truly a “Welcome to the Big 12” moment. The Mountaineers last met the Longhorns in 1956 and their last game in the state of Texas came in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl.

Just like West Virginia, Texas built some momentum last week, beating Oklahoma State 41-36. The win in Stillwater was huge for the confidence of the Longhorns, especially sophomore quarterback David Ash.

The loser of this game isn’t out of the Big 12 title picture but this matchup will help provide some separation. With both teams ranked among the top 12, a loss would effectively end any hope of contending for a national title.

Storylines to Watch in West Virginia vs. Texas

West Virginia’s offense vs. Texas’ defense
Coming into the season, Texas was pegged as the Big 12’s best defense. So far, the Longhorns have yet to live up to the hype, allowing 390.3 yards per game and ranking 40th nationally in scoring defense. The secondary has been one of the defense’s biggest concerns through four games, as they rank 43rd nationally and have struggled to tackle. Oklahoma State had its way with this secondary last week, which is a concern for Texas against West Virginia. The Mountaineers run a similar offense and have more weapons than the Cowboys do this season. Quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are three of college football’s top performers and won’t be easy to keep in check for all four quarters. Although the Longhorns can’t completely shut down the Mountaineers’ offense, they need to make them earn every yard and not allow any big plays.

Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor vs. West Virginia’s offensive line
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith hasn’t been stopped by anyone on its schedule this year, but Maryland managed to get some pressure on the senior and “held” him to 338 yards and three touchdowns. The Mountaineers’ offensive line was a concern last season and has yet to be tested by a strong defensive line. Texas will be one of the best defensive fronts West Virginia will play all year, with ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor both ranking as potential first-round picks in the NFL Draft. The key to keeping Smith in check starts up front, as the Longhorns need to pressure the quarterback and not allow him to get comfortable in the pocket. West Virginia needs to counter with quick passes but this offense also wants to take shots downfield, which means the line needs to keep Jeffcoat and Okafor out of the backfield.

Can West Virginia’s defense get stops against Texas?
Although Baylor’s offense is one of the best in the Big 12, West Virginia’s defensive effort left a lot to be desired last week. The Mountaineers aren’t going to completely shut down teams like Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech but tackling and getting into better positions on defense would cure a chunk of the errors. West Virginia’s defense will be under fire once again this Saturday, as Texas is one of the most-improved offenses in the nation. Quarterback David Ash ranks second nationally in passing efficiency, while the backfield is one of the deepest in college football. Despite Malcolm Brown’s ankle injury, the Longhorns can lean on Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray to lead the way on the ground. While Baylor’s offense was centered more on the pass, Texas brings more balance and an offensive line that is allowing just one sack per game. Playing a team that doesn’t throw 45 times a game will probably help West Virginia in terms of matchups, but this unit still has a lot of holes and is adapting to new co-coordinators Keith Patterson and Joe DeForest.

Final Analysis

West Virginia’s offense enters Saturday matchup on fire. The Mountaineers lead the nation in passing offense and rank third nationally with an average of 53 points per game. However, Texas’ defense will be the toughest West Virginia has played this year, which will present plenty of challenges for the offense. Can the line keep Jeffcoat and Okafor from pressuring Smith in the pocket? Can the Mountaineers’ receivers get open against a secondary that’s capable of playing better than it has through the first four games?

While Texas is still finding its rhythm on defense, the offense has started to come into its own over the last few weeks. Quarterback David Ash is no longer a question mark, and the rushing attack is pounding opponents for 228 yards per game.

West Virginia will score, and quarterback Geno Smith will top 300 yards once again. However, Texas makes just enough stops on defense to win this game and keeps its national title hopes alive with a close victory over the Mountaineers.

Final Prediction: Texas 34, West Virginia 31
 

by Steven Lassan

 

@athlonsteven

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Big East Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 6 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 5

Teaser:
<p> West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Texas Longhorns Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 08:59
Path: /college-football/georgia-bulldogs-vs-south-carolina-gamecocks-preview-and-prediction
Body:

It’s only Week 6 of the 2012 college football season, but Saturday’s game between South Carolina and Georgia will go a long way in determining the SEC East champion. In fact, it could be an elimination game in the division, especially since the Gamecocks still have road trips to LSU and Florida. Although the Bulldogs have to play Florida, their schedule is much more manageable.

Georgia dominated this series in the early 2000s, but the Gamecocks have won the last two games. Last season’s matchup was a crazy 45-42 battle, with South Carolina using 22 fourth-quarter points to seal the victory. Both offenses are averaging over 35 points a game this year, so it would not be a surprise to see a shootout once again in 2012.

Storylines to Watch in Georgia vs. South Carolina

Will Georgia’s defense continue to struggle?
Considering the Bulldogs returned nearly everyone from last season’s unit, most expected Georgia would have one of the nation’s best defenses. However, the Bulldogs have underachieved so far, allowing 370 yards and 22 points per game. This unit missed linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo through the first four games, but both players returned against Tennessee and the defense allowed a season-high 44 points. Georgia is capable of playing much better than it has shown through the first five games and Saturday would be a good time to find last season’s form.

Can Georgia’s offensive line protect Aaron Murray?
Murray has been one of the top quarterbacks in college football through the first five weeks, ranking third nationally in passing efficiency and throwing at least two touchdowns in every contest. The Bulldogs rebuilt offensive line has performed well this season, but South Carolina will be the toughest challenge this unit has faced all year. End Jadeveon Clowney has been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks this season, recording 5.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. If he continues to perform at his current pace, the sophomore should be a first-team All-American at the end of 2012. Clowney isn’t the only threat on South Carolina’s defensive line, as Devin Taylor has 3.5 tackles for a loss and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles has 2.5 sacks. South Carolina is averaging 4.4 sacks and is allowing just 77.6 rushing yards per game. Georgia’s offensive line has to play well on Saturday to allow Murray time to throw, as well as open up holes for running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. If the Bulldogs can’t block the Gamecocks’ front four, Georgia will have a hard time moving the ball.

How will Georgia replace Michael Bennett?
The Bulldogs suffered a huge loss in practice this week, as receiver Michael Bennett was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Bennett was the team’s leading receiver through five games with 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns. Although he was a huge part of Georgia’s receiving corps, this team isn’t short on options for quarterback Aaron Murray. Seniors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown will have to step up, while the team expects sophomore Malcolm Mitchell to play more on offense after spending most of the first five games on defense. The Bulldogs have plenty of names and proven options but one needs to step up as the clear No. 1 threat for Murray. 

Which team wins the rushing battle?
Georgia clearly owns the edge on the stat sheet, ranking 11th nationally in rushing offense with 248.8 yards per game. Although South Carolina ranks 56th nationally, running back Marcus Lattimore is the best in the SEC and looks nearly 100 percent in his return from a torn ACL. Lattimore hasn’t been needed to shoulder a heavy workload in the first five games but that could change in Week 6. In two games against the Bulldogs, Lattimore has 358 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if Lattimore has 30 carries and pushes for 150 yards. Although Lattimore should shine on Saturday, Georgia’s freshmen duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall shouldn’t be overlooked. Both players are averaging over seven yards per carry and can be a factor on passes out of the backfield.

Final Analysis

This matchup should be one of the best games of Week 6. Both teams are still in the national title mix, and a victory on Saturday would give one squad an early edge in the battle to win the SEC East.

An x-factor to watch will be South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, who is dealing with a shoulder injury and missed one game earlier this season. Playing through the injury isn’t affecting Shaw, but the Gamecocks’ offensive line needs to keep Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones or any other defender from getting any shots on the junior passer.

South Carolina’s home crowd should give the Gamecocks some early momentum. However, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray will hit a few plays in the fourth quarter against a suspect Gamecocks' secondary, which will be the difference in the game.

Final Prediction: Georgia 31, South Carolina 27


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

 

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Big East Week 6 Preview and Predictions

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Teaser:
<p> Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 08:49
Path: /college-football/lsu-tigers-vs-florida-gators-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Every week is a big one in the SEC but there’s a little more intrigue around this league this Saturday. Four of the league’s top five teams meet, as Florida hosts LSU, while Georgia visits South Carolina.

Although LSU is off to a 5-0 start, it has fallen in the polls over the last two weeks. Back-to-back lackluster showings against Auburn and Towson raised question marks about this team, but a win over Florida would certainly show LSU is still one of the top two or three teams in the nation.

Although Florida has scored road wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee, this team is still searching for national respect. The Gators had a bye week last Saturday but blanked Kentucky 38-0 in their last game. Is Florida a threat to win the SEC title? Most think the Gators can, however, beating a team like LSU would erase any doubt and signal Will Muschamp’s team is clearly on the way back to being an annual top 5-10 program.

Storylines to watch in LSU vs. Florida

Jeff Driskel vs. LSU’s secondary
If the Gators are going to knock off LSU, it starts with Driskel’s success against the Tigers’ secondary. LSU has allowed only five passing scores this season and ranks sixth nationally in passing yards allowed per game (134.8). The secondary doesn’t feature a senior in the two-deep, while freshmen Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins hold down the cornerback spot vacated by Tyrann Mathieu. Driskel has shown steady improvement since the season opener, completing 14 of 20 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Tennessee. The sophomore also gives Florida an extra threat on the ground, rushing for 148 yards on 33 attempts this year. While Driskel has been efficient and careful with the football, the Gators don’t have an abundance of playmakers at receiver. Tight end Jordan Reed leads the team with 16 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown, with Quinton Dunbar the top target at receiver with 10 catches. Florida won’t be able to lineup and pound LSU with its rushing attack, which adds an extra emphasis on getting the receiving corps to step up. The Gators don’t need to throw it 50 times to win, but Driskel and his receiving corps has to hit a few big plays against the Tigers.

Can Florida stop LSU’s rushing attack?
Florida’s front seven was supposed to be one of the best in the SEC this year, but this group still has a ways to go to be considered among the nation's elite. The Gators are allowing 119.3 rushing yards per game and rank 98th nationally with an average of 1.3 sacks per contest. The defensive line should get better as the year progresses, especially as end Dominique Easley gets closer to full strength from a torn ACL suffered late last season. The linebacking corps suffered a setback earlier in the year, with Jelani Jenkins suffering a broken hand against Texas A&M. Jenkins is expected to return against LSU, and he figures to be tested immediately on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers have one of the deepest backfields in the nation and rank 18th nationally with an average of 229.6 rushing yards per game. The key to beating LSU starts with stopping the run, and Florida was steamrolled for 238 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in last season’s matchup. Expect the Gators to load the box and force quarterback Zach Mettenberger to win, which brings us to our next storyline…

Time for Zach Mettenberger to step up
The preseason buzz around LSU revolved around Mettenberger and how he was supposed to ignite the passing attack. Five games into the season, the jury is still out on whether or not Mettenberger is ready to carry this team to a victory with his arm. The junior has thrown for six touchdowns and only two interceptions but struggled in LSU’s last two games. The Tigers’ offense feeds off the rushing attack, but opposing defenses will load the box and force Mettenberger to prove he can beat them with his arm. Florida should employ a similar strategy on Saturday afternoon, and it’s up to Mettenberger to hit a few throws and open up rushing lanes for LSU’s talented group of running backs.

The battle in the trenches
The biggest concern for Florida in Saturday’s matchup has to be the battle in the trenches. LSU’s offensive and defensive line are two of the best in the nation and the edge in these two areas could be the deciding factor. The Gators rank 98th nationally with 1.3 sacks generated per game, while the offensive line is allowing three sacks a contest. LSU’s defensive line boasts two potential All-American candidates at end with Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, which figure to be a handful for Florida’s line. Having a mobile quarterback like Driskel will help the Gators’ line, but this group needs to get a push on the ground. Running back Mike Gillislee is averaging 100.5 yards per game but running room could be limited against LSU. Considering LSU’s pass rush, Florida will look to move Driskel around the pocket and create opportunities for him to make plays with his legs.

Final Analysis

Florida has already passed two SEC tests and Saturday’s game against LSU is an even bigger challenge. The Gators have lost their last two games to the Tigers but have won two out of the last three in Gainesville.

Even though LSU has struggled in its last two games, the Tigers have the edge in talent and depth. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has to step up his game in the Swamp, especially as Florida will look to eliminate the rushing attack.

If the Gators can force Mettenberger into a few mistakes, they should win this matchup. However, the Tigers’ defense will keep Florida’s offense in check, especially as the Gators are struggling to find playmakers on the outside.

Florida is a much-improved team in Will Muschamp’s second season, but the Tigers are the better team in 2012.

Final Prediction: LSU 24-20

 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

 

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 6 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 6 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 6 Preview and Predictions

Teaser:
<p> LSU Tigers vs. Florida Gators Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 08:48
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-against-spread-week-5
Body:

A betting preview of every game (against the spread) on Sunday and Monday in Week 5.


Locks of the Week
When the cream of the crop plays the bottom of the barrel, go with the good team over the bad one.

Bengals (-3.5) vs. Dolphins
Miami brings the 30th ranked pass defense (297.8 ypg) to stop Cincy’s man-child wideout A.J. Green. Like bringing a water pistol to Over the Rhine.

Bears (-5) at Jaguars
Smokin’ Jay Cutler will enjoy an afterglow cig after Blaine Gabbert pulls a Tony Romo.

Ravens (-6) at Chiefs
Jamaal Charles said he ìsuckedî last week. He won’t be alone this week against the Ravens.

Packers (-7) at Colts
Chuck Pagano’s leukemia news had to impact this week’s preparation for the Pack.


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

Redskins (+3) vs. Falcons
The pending DeAngelo Hall vs. Mike Smith sideline showdown could put the Birds boss on tilt. Plus, RG3.

Seahawks (+3) at Panthers
Cam Newton will need to watch his back against the ball Hawks from Seattle.


Blowout Bargains
Don’t be afraid of a big number; sometimes those pay out the biggest numbers.

Vikings (-6) vs. Titans
If you had bet against Tennessee every week this season, you’d be 3–1 ATS. Let it ride.

Giants (-9) vs. Browns
Jason Pierre Paul and the Big Blue Wrecking Crew will be back to having fun against Brandon Weeden and the Brown outs.

49ers (-10) vs. Bills
Jim Harbaugh’s blue collar crew will make Buffalo want to move to Toronto.


Sucker Bets
Stay away completely. Just because a game is good doesn’t mean it’s a good bet.

Steelers (-3.5) vs. Eagles
Big Ben vs. Mike Vick is the battle for Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Saints (-4) at Chargers
Feels like a Drew Brees love fest. But Sean Payton has not been a good luck charm lately.

Patriots (-7) vs. Broncos
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are reunited and it feels so good. But don’t bet on it.

Texans (-9) at Jets
Tim-my Te-bow! Tim-my Te-bow!
 

Teaser:
<p> A betting preview of every game on Sunday and Monday in Week 5, including Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, Philadephia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans at New York Jets, Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bils at San Francisco 49ers.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 16:32
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nfl/titans-qb-locker-out-sunday
Body:

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker has been ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Minnesota Vikings with a left shoulder injury.

The club's injury report on Friday confirmed the move, as it revealed Locker did not participate in practice at all this week.

Locker left Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Houston Texans when he was hit by Houston's Glover Quin midway through the first quarter. He stayed on the ground for several minutes before heading back to the locker room with his left arm tucked against his chest. He returned to the sideline in the second quarter in street clothes with his left arm in a sling.

The Titans listed linebackers Patrick Bailey (hand) and Colin McCarthy (ankle), wideout Kenny Britt (ankle), tackle Mike Otto (finger) and defensive end Scott Solomon (hamstring) as questionable.

Tight end Jared Cook was deemed probable after participating fully in practice on Friday after having been limited on Wednesday and Thursday.

Teaser:
<p> Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker has been ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Minnesota Vikings with a left shoulder injury.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 16:06
Path: /nfl/top-10-nfl-rookie-seasons-all-time
Body:

It's rare that a first-year player comes into the NFL and has an immediate impact on the game. But it does happen. Athlon Sports looks back at the best rookie players in NFL history, or at least since Gale Sayers took the field in 1965.


1. Eric Dickerson, RB, Los Angeles Rams, 1983

Sure, Dickerson took a pay cut from his days as an SMU Mustang to be a member of the L.A. Rams. But the No. 2 overall pick didn’t let that stop him. Dickerson put on his goggles, put a helmet over his jheri curl — which was the fashion of the day? — and ran 390 carries for 1,808 yards and 18 TDs, while also hauling in 51 catches for 404 yards and two trips to the end zone.

2. Lawrence Taylor, OLB, New York Giants, 1981

Bill Parcells undoubtedly took all of the credit for the athletic genius that was L.T. But the Giants’ first-year defensive coordinator just happened to hit the good-timing lottery with the No. 2 overall pick out of North Carolina. Taylor terrorized the league and began redefining the outside linebacker position en route to winning Defensive Player of the Year honors as a rookie.

3. Randy Moss, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 1998

After falling all the way to No. 21 overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, Moss made his doubters pay — “straight cash, homey?” — with 69 catches for 1,313 yards and 17 TDs as a rookie. The Dallas Cowboys’ tab was the biggest, however. Randy dropped a three-catch, 163-yard, three-TD turkey at Jerry Jones’ old house in Dallas, during a Thanksgiving Day performance even tryptophan couldn’t slow down.

4. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers, 2011

The self-proclaimed “entertainer and icon” lived up to his ego as a rookie. Cammy Cam Juice powered a video-game-gaudy stat line. Newton completed 60 percent of his passes for 4,051 yards and 21 TDs through the air, while scrambling for 706 yards and 14 TDs on the ground for the Cats.

5. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions, 1989

Barry talked and walked softly, but the decibel level was off the charts whenever he cut, spun and sprinted. A classical composer of highlight-reel footage, Sanders started strong — with 1,470 rush yards and 14 TDs as a rookie — and never missed a beat until his abrupt retirement prior to the 1999 season. In fact, he’s still the Lions’ best option at running back.

6. Gale Sayers, RB-KR-PR, Chicago Bears, 1965

It only took Sayers 14 games to score 22 TDs. The triple-threat runner-receiver-returner hit paydirt with 14 rushing scores, six receiving TDs, one kick return and another punt return. Of the 56 career TDs that Sayers scored, 22 came during his marvelous rookie campaign.

7. Jevon Kearse, DE, Tennessee Titans, 1999

Never was the Freak more freakish than during his 1999 party, when he was a Super Freak capable of stomping on Charlie Murphy’s couch and bringing any girl he wanted home to mama. Or, he was a really disruptive pass rusher. However it’s phrased, Kearse had 14.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, was runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year and carried the Titans to a runner-up finish in Super Bowl XXXIV.

8. Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona Cardinals, 2003

Not only did Boldin have one of the greatest first seasons in NFL history, he had one of the best first games of all-time. His 10-catch, 217-yard, two-TD Week 1 explosion nearly detonated the internet, as fantasy football owners worldwide hit the web looking for a smoking hot waiver wire pickup. For those whose dial-up was fast enough, Boldin was a boon, with 101 catches for 1,377 yards and eight TDs.

9. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004

Before the multiple Super Bowls and rape accusations, Big Ben was just a wide-eyed kid trying to avoid being yelled at (and subsequently spit on) by Bill Cowher’s lispy jaw. And he did a damn fine job, completing 66.4 percent of his passes for a 98.1 passer rating, while going 13–0 as a starter, with six game-winning drives and five fourth-quarter comebacks as a rook.

10. Edgerrin James, RB, Indianapolis Colts, 1999

The Edge may never get the credit he deserves. But prior to mid-prime (sub-prime?) knee injury, James was one of the all-time great runners. Replacing Marshall Faulk should not have been as easy as Edgerrin made it seem, posting 1,553 rush yards, 586 receiving yards and 17 total TDs as the Colts’ top thoroughbred. Turns out, Bill Polian made the right move by drafting James ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.

Teaser:
<p> The best first-year players in NFL history, including Eric Dickerson, Lawrence Taylor, Randy Moss, Cam Newton, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, Jevon Kearse, Anquan Boldin, Ben Roethlisberger and Edgerrin James.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 13:36
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Links, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlons-essential-eleven-links-day
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for October 5.

• The SEC has two great matchups on Saturday involving four undefeated, top-10 teams. Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee looks at the potential BCS logjam between Florida, Georgia and South Carolina from the East.

• MLB’s wild card games make their debut today, with the Braves hosting the Cardinals and Orioles visiting the Rangers. Is the one-game system fair?

• Check out these wild hotel rooms around the world.

• As Mike Klis of the Denver Post points out, the elite rivalry over the past decade plus has really been Peyton Manning versus Bill Belichick. The Patriots host the Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

• Can Texas slow down Geno Smith and the West Virginia offense?

• The Steelers look to avoid a 1-3 start when they host the Eagles on Sunday.

• At the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, Paul Casey was lining up an eagle putt when a dog came on the green and took his golf ball. Always have to account for the dogleg Paul.

• Dwight Howard is ready to go in Los Angeles.

• Texas Tech promoted assistant Chris Walker to interim head coach, replacing Billy Gillispie.

• Heralded Missouri freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been suspended for this Saturday’s Vanderbilt game.

• We all celebrate our teams in different ways, but I’ve never seen victory excitement quite like this Oakland A’s fan. Be careful down there.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


October 4

• Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers finished the job, becoming MLB’s first Triple Crown winner since 1967.

• The Oakland A’s were the other amazing story on baseball’s last day, sweeping the Texas Rangers and clinching the AL West.

• The Red Sox will look for a fresh start after firing manager Bobby Valentine.

• Where is “The Ocho”, along with Cotton and Pepper? We’re still waiting ESPN.

• Suspended Saints coach Sean Payton will be allowed to attend the New Orleans-San Diego game, where quarterback Drew Brees looks to break Johnny Unitas’ NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

• Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will be part of an ownership buying the Memphis Grizzlies

• TCU quarterback Casey Pachall has been indefinitely suspended following a DWI arrest.

• Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst has resigned to take the AD job at Nebraska.

• Is there a formula for slowing down the Oregon offense?

• In a shocker to no one who follows college basketball and John Calipari’s “recruiting”, the highly-touted Harrison twins from Texas committed to Kentucky.

• Clippers star Blake Griffin is known for powerful dunks, but maybe he should try more three-pointers this season.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


October 3

• Just who are these Oakland A’s and what are they doing tied for first in the AL West with one game to go?

• The awful Red Sox blew it in the ninth against the Yankees last night, and the eventual New York victory kept the Orioles a game back in the AL East.

• You have to appreciate an accurate statistic that completely clarifies the situation.

• Yahoo’s Les Carpenter profiles the popular GIF work and art of “LSUFreek.”

• Texas A&M is still adjusting to SEC defenses, and it appears the Aggies need to work on a closer Waffle House as well.

• New York Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden, who has been productive filling in for the injured Hakeem Nicks, has been diagnosed with a concussion.

• How did the upgraded Los Angeles Lakers look in their first practice?

• Georgia has lost its leading receiver, Michael Bennett, to an ACL injury as the Bulldogs prepare for a mammoth SEC East clash at South Carolina.

• The inspiring Adam Greenberg returned to the big leagues last night in Miami.

• Here are some top quotes from athletes and their handlers from last night’s Broke, the latest in ESPN’s 30for30 film series.

• This pro-wrestling wannabe Cowboys fan has become a popular YouTube view as Dallas continues to decline. He does not want to “rant” but still does a pretty good job of it. DEFENSIVE LINE!!

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


October 2

• Tony Romo threw five interceptions in the Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Bears on Monday Night Football, but he might not be the problem in Dallas.

• ESPN resumes its “30 for 30” series tonight with Broke, a film directed by Billy Corben on athletes and their handling of big money.

• Awww...look at the cute little animal.

• With Monday night’s 4-for-5 with a home run performance by Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, it looking more and more like the Tigers slugger will win baseball’s first triple crown since 1967.

• It’s a huge weekend for the SEC East, with Georgia traveling to South Carolina and Florida hosting LSU.

• Bleacher Report’s Ian Casselberry looks at Bryce Harper’s chances for the National League Rookie of the Year. The Washington phenom had a very productive September.

• The Steelers will helped by the return of running back Rashard Mendenhall this weekend against the Eagles, and Pittsburgh will look to avoid a catastrophic 1-3 start.

• The Oakland A’s may have one of the youngest, no-name teams in baseball, but they will be heading to the postseason in what is an amazing story.

• College basketball practice will be starting soon, and here’s a look at the best non-conference games that will highlight that start of the season.

• Is a Russell Wilson-Matt Flynn quarterback controversy looming in Seattle?

• Former Penn State and NFL defensive lineman Anthony Adams has a new sporting goal, being a gymnast at the 2016 Olympics. Check out the big man’s hilarious video as he works through the various gymnastics events.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


October 1

• Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star looks at the total lack of defense being played on the college gridiron this season, especially after the West Virginia-Baylor 70-63 flag football contest.

• While most American golf fans are still stinging from the U.S. team’s choke job on the final day of the Ryder Cup, FOX Sports’ Robert Lusetich believes Sunday was one of the greatest day’s ever for the sport.

• I’m surprised this street does not have more traffic.

• The Philadelphia Eagles keep finding a way to win close ball games, and the defense came through in Sunday night’s 19-17 victory over the Giants.

• Did Urban Meyer and Ohio State edit the game film that they were required to send Michigan State? This story surprises no one around college football.

• The Baltimore Orioles have clinched a spot in the postseason for the first time since 1997.

• ESPN Big 12 blogger David Ubben recaps the league’s wild Week 5.

• There is sad NFL news in Indianapolis, where new Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with a form of leukemia and will miss several games.

• Ray Allen’s signing with the Heat has caused a rift with former Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett.

• Titans offensive lineman Leroy Harris wasn’t that impressed with the Texans J.J. Watt, who leads the NFL in sacks. Delusional much, Leroy?

• Jets coach Rex Ryan gives his “recipe for getting you’re a$$ kicked” after his club was beaten 34-0 at home by the 49ers.



--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 12:40
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/10-players-most-likely-be-named-national-league-mvp
Body:

What a fascinating season 2012 proved to be. A Triple Crown, a division champion having spent just one day in first place and 19- and 20-year-olds taking the league by storm. As postseason baseball begins, it’s time to reflect on the season by showing off what would be my ballot for various awards. Today, I reveal the 10 players most deserving of Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors in the National League.

10 MVP Candidates for the National League

1. Buster Posey, San Francisco
With a batting title and more than 100 RBIs, the Giants’ catcher is the unquestioned leader on the NL West champs.
 
2. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
The Brewers’ left fielder finished in the top three of the three triple crown categories.
 
3. Yadier Molina, St. Louis
He led all catchers with 87 assists, and it takes 30 innings for a successful stolen base to happen, but that’s not surprising. He’s fourth in the NL with a .315 average.
 
4. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
At some point during the season he appeared to be an easy choice. But as the case with the Pirates’ season, the fleet center fielder’s year went down hill too fast.
 
5. Chase Headley, San Diego
He led the NL in homers and RBIs over the second half, finishing with a league-best 115 RBIs. 
 
6. Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee
A-Ram admirably replaced Prince Fielder in the Brewers’ lineup and tied teammate Braun with 80 extra-base hits to lead the circuit.
 
7. David Wright, New York
The Mets’ second half has been so abysmal, Wright’s solid numbers are overlooked. He scored and drove in more than 90 runs for a bad team.
 
8. Allen Craig, St. Louis
The first baseman/outfielder batted .400 in 125 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He has 92 RBIs in just 119 games.
 
9. Martin Prado, Atlanta
He’s made starts at first, second, third, short and left field. He’s been a solid .300 hitter no matter the position or spot in the batting order. He leads the playoff-bound Braves in batting, hits and doubles.
 
10. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
The fine defensive right fielder is third in the NL in home runs and ninth in slugging.
Teaser:
<p> A look at baseball's most valuable players</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /news/10-players-most-likely-be-named-american-league-mvp
Body:

What a fascinating season 2012 proved to be. A Triple Crown, a division champion having spent just one day in first place and 19- and 20-year-olds taking the league by storm. As postseason baseball begins, it’s time to reflect on the season by showing off what would be my ballot for various awards. Today, I reveal the 10 players most deserving of Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors in the American League.

10 MVP Candidates for the American League

1. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
Triple crown or not, Miggy would have been our man. But we certainly can’t deny a triple crown winner.
 
2. Mike Trout, Los Angeles
There have been few sparks like Trout provided the Angels when he was called up in late April. Scoring 129 runs in basically five months is a tremendous accomplishment. But he has 19 fewer extra-base hits than Cabrera.
 
3. Adrian Beltre, Texas
The third baseman has been the most consistent hitter for the Rangers all season. He slugged .661 in August and September. He has been an elite hitter and defender.
 
4. Adam Jones, Baltimore
One reason the Orioles’ record in extra-inning games is so good: Jones’ four homers in the 11th inning or later.
 
5. Josh Hamilton, Texas
The soon-to-be free agent would rank higher if not for the swoon in June and July when he batted just .202.
 
6. Robinson Cano, New York
He’ll win this award one day. He competes defensively and produces runs.
 
7. Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto
The Blue Jays’ DH is all but forgotten in most conversations. But he has 42 dingers, 110 ribbies and a .384 OBP. 
 
8. Prince Fielder, Detroit
The big fella has powered big hits in Motown down the stretch. His .313-30-108 season is overshadowed by Cabrera.
 
9. Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland
With no previous professional experience outside of Cuba, the rookie center fielder has delivered on his promise after signing a four-year deal.
 
10. Derek Jeter, New York
The future Hall of Fame shortstop led the AL with 216 hits and is fifth in the league in batting. 
Teaser:
<p> A look at baseball's most valuable players</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 12:18

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