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Athlon Sports continues its countdown to the start of the 2012-13 basketball season, which begins with the first games on Nov. 9, with a countdown of the nation’s top conferences. We will release one conference preview each day, counting down to the top conference. For profiles of every team in each conference, check out the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store.

By reaching the Sweet 16, Ohio gave the MAC its most high-profile basketball moment perhaps since Kent State reached the Elite Eight in 2002. The Bobcats wins over Michigan and USF, followed by a hard-fought 73-65 loss in overtime to North Carolina in the regional semifinals, were reasons for the MAC to brag.

Unfortunately, it also all but rendered the regular season moot. Ohio was third in its division before winning the MAC tournament, but at least the Bobcats had a winning record (11-5 in conference) before defeating Akron (with a MAC-best 13-3 conference record) in the league tournament final. Two years ago, Ohio went 7-9 in the MAC before it won the conference tournament and upset Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite a coaching change with former TCU coach Jim Christian replacing John Groce, who took the job at Illinois, Ohio has high expectations for a follow up and perhaps an elusive division title. Point guard D.J. Cooper, the architect of Ohio’s NCAA upsets the last three seasons, returns for a senior year.

Ironically, the last MAC division champion to reach the NCAA Tournament was Kent State in 2008 -- a team coached by Christian.

ATHLON ALL-MAC TEAM MAC FACTS AND FIGURES
G D.J. Cooper, Ohio* 2011-12 regular season champion: Akron (East), Eastern Michigan (West)
G Rian Peterson, Toledo 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Ohio#
F Javon McCrea, Buffalo New coaches: Jim Christian (Ohio), John Cooper (Miami)
F A'uston Calhoun, Bowling Green Realignment: None
C Zeke Marshall, Akron  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion



 

 

 

2012-13 MAC PREVIEW
EAST

1. Ohio (29-8, 11-5)
The Bobcats’ two runs to the NCAA Tournament — and three wins once they’ve gotten there — over the last three years have come without distinguished regular seasons. In fact, Ohio has finished above third place in its own division only once — a tie for second place in 2000-01 — since the Mid-American Conference split into East and West 15 years ago, let alone since point guard D.J. Cooper arrived in Athens. In many ways, Ohio is an example of what’s become an irrelevant regular season in a league that hasn’t had a second NCAA Tournament bid since 1999. The key is to play well for one weekend in Cleveland in March. The Bobcats replaced coach John Groce (who left for Illinois) with MAC coaching icon Jim Christian. Christian guided Kent State to the postseason five times, including a pair of NCAA Tournament bids, before leaving for TCU in 2008. The Golden Flashes under Christian were different than the MAC’s developing dynasty at Ohio; they finished first or second in the East Division in each of Christian’s six seasons. Now, Christian is at a place that has an invested administration and one of the more dynamic (albeit diminutive) point guards in the country in Cooper. The Bobcats have plenty of talent beyond Cooper (14.7 ppg, 5.7 apg), as well. All nine regular members of the playing rotation return from a team that took North Carolina to overtime in the Sweet 16 — most notably starters Walter Offutt (12.4 ppg), Nick Kellogg (85 3-pointers), Ivo Baltic and Jon Smith.
NCAA Tournament Prediction: One and Done.

2. Akron (22–12, 13–3)
If there’s a team capable of challenging Ohio in terms of talent, pedigree and MAC Tournament grit, it’s the Zips. Coach Keith Dambrot (with a freshly signed 10-year contract extension) has taken Akron to six straight MAC Tournament championship games. They lost in the ’11 title game to Ohio by a point. Dambrot should have one of his better squads this winter. Seven players from the Zips’ nine-man rotation are back, led by 7-foot senior Zeke Marshall (10.4 ppg, 95 blocks) and entertaining junior point guard Alex Abreu (9.6 ppg, 4.8 apg). But the player to watch might be 6-foot-7 junior forward Demetrius “Tree” Treadwell (7.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg), who’s beefed up to 245 pounds. Treadwell, once on the verge of becoming a high school drop out, came on late in his sophomore season after sitting out 2010-11 as a non-qualifier. He and Marshall could give the Zips the top frontcourt in the league.

3. Kent State (21–12, 10–6)
The Golden Flashes are more difficult to read entering this season than perhaps any team in the MAC. So much talent is gone from last season, players such as former league MVP Justin Greene and guard Michael Porrini, one of the most valuable players in the MAC. In all, Kent State must replace 42.2 points per game. The departures of Greene, Porrini and classmate Carton Guyton were expected. It’s the unexpected offseason happenings that may push the Flashes toward their first sub-.500 season in 15 years. Would-be junior defensive force Eric Gaines didn’t have his scholarship renewed and, in late June, senior guard Randal Holt (12.7 ppg) underwent surgery for a torn meniscus, his fourth knee surgery dating back to high school. Kent State is hoping Holt, the Flashes’ only four-year player, will be back in time for the start of the season. If Holt is healthy, Kent State should still have two of the MAC’s better players, with former junior college All-American Chris Evans, a 6’7" forward who averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in his first season, perhaps pushing for all-league status. This year’s big junior college addition is another reason the Flashes might survive a large exodus — as they have in other years over the last decade. Melvin Tabb, a 6-9, 240-pound forward out of Midland (Texas) College (by way of Wake Forest), chose Kent State over Temple, Wichita State and Seton Hall.

4. Bowling Green (16–16, 9–7)
The Falcons’ stunning home loss to Central Michigan in the first round of the MAC Tournament last March ruined a solid conference season and, again, left Bowling Green a bit off the radar heading into 2012-13. Seniors A’uston Calhoun (13.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Jordon Crawford (11.3 ppg, 4.8 apg) give the Falcons a terrific tandem, both in playmaking ability and with the sweat equity that comes with years battling for separation in this league. Calhoun, a versatile and strong 6’7" 4-man is a MAC Player of the Year candidate. The issue for BG might be outside shooting, minus Scott Thomas and Dee Brown, who combined to make 93 of the Falcons’ 156 3-pointers last season.

5. Buffalo (20–11, 12–4)
The Bulls lost more than half of their minutes played from last year, with MAC Player of the Year Mitchell Watt (16.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Zach Filzen (12.1 ppg, 97 3-pointers) the most notable departures. Buffalo, however, does have two more seasons with power forward Javon McCrea. The 6’7", 245-pound All-MAC first-teamer averaged 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. He’ll likely need to play 30 this season, while guards Jarod Oldham (4.7 ppg, 5.9 apg) and Tony Watson (6.1 ppg) take a considerable step. Coach Reggie Witherspoon has appeared to win with less during his 13-year tenure, including two years ago, when the Bulls won 20 games after losing their top five scorers. At least this group has McCrea to anchor it.

6. Miami (9–21, 5–11)
MAC basketball without Miami’s Charlie Coles is a strange world. It’ll seem even more weird when the RedHawks take the floor with new coach John Cooper’s more up-tempo style of basketball. It’s hard to question the job Cooper did in three seasons at Tennessee State, which came within a smidge of knocking off Murray State — a second time — for an NCAA Tournament berth last March. The question is, can Cooper’s RedHawks overcome the loss of big man Julian Mavunga (16.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and sharpshooting All-MAC freshman Brian Sullivan (10.3 ppg, 79 3-pointers), who transferred to Davdison? This year, in this division, it’s unlikely. Junior point guard Quinten Rollins (7.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) and 6-8 junior forward Jon Harris (8.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg) are critical to make Cooper’s first season competitive, as is guard Allen Roberts, who returns after missing last season with a knee injury.

WEST
1. Toledo (19–17, 7–9)

Lost in the hubbub over Connecticut’s Academic Progress Rate-induced postseason ban was the story of Toledo. The Rockets, already hit with scholarship reductions a year earlier, were one of 10 programs penalized by the NCAA for poor classroom performance, mostly brought on by issues with player retention prior to coach Tod Kowalczyk’s hiring in 2010. The shame for Toledo is that it had a legitimate shot at an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 1980. Now it can’t even play in the MAC Tournament. Junior wing Rian Pearson (16.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg) might be the MAC Player of the Year, leading a rotation that returns five of its six high scorers. Julius Brown, the MAC’s top freshman last year, is back to run the point. Toledo will try to find solace in winning a weak West Division and competing for the regular-season MAC title. The good news for the Rockets: They should be among the league favorites again in 2014, and the university extended Kowalczyk’s contract this offseason through 2017, a reward for the former Wisconsin-Green Bay coach, who’s quickly brought Toledo back to relevancy after inheriting a mess.

2. Eastern Michigan (14–18, 9–7)
The Eagles were the most compelling story of the West Division last winter. They perhaps are again. In his first season, Rob Murphy coached Eastern Michigan to a division title, and did so amazingly with a roster worthy of its last-place preseason billing. The former Syracuse assistant will have better talent this time around, as his 2011-12 scout team of transfers Da’Shonte Riley (Syracuse), Daylen Harrison (Wyoming) and Glenn Bryant (Arkansas) become eligible. Murphy also lured touted junior college big man James Still and heralded prep point guard Ray Lee. Riley, a 7-foot sophomore, and Still, a 6’10" junior, immediately give the Eagles considerable size and athleticism inside, more so than they’ll see anywhere else in the West.

3. Western Michigan (14–20, 6–10)
This was always going to be a rebuilding year to some extent, with around a half-dozen new faces. But it wasn’t supposed to come on the heels of such a flop. The Broncos followed a surprisingly strong 2010-11 season with a dud in ’11-12 — the result of over-scheduling, a bevy of injuries and a senior class that appeared to lose its hunger. While the roster turnover is somewhat welcomed, the Broncos are replacing their top four scorers. That includes would-be junior center Matt Stainbrook (11.4 ppg. 6.8 rpg), who transferred to Xavier after his scholarship wasn’t renewed. Among the replacements are seven freshmen — an intriguing class headlined by big man Darius Paul, the brother of Illinois’ Brandon Paul, and Connor Tava, a 6’5" forward who might be the most physically ready to contribute. WMU isn’t entirely reliant on newcomers. Senior Nate Hutcheson (9.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg) has developed into one of the MAC’s premier perimeter defenders, but the 6’7" forward will be asked to do more offensively. Sophomore Austin Richie (5.6 ppg) is likely to occupy one of the guard spots, while talented, but enigmatic 6-10 junior Shayne Whittington (4.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg) takes Stainbrook’s place full-time at center.

4. Ball State (15–15, 6–10)
Like Western Michigan, big things were expected from the Cardinals’ senior-laden roster last season. And even more so than the Broncos, Ball State collapsed epically, losing nine straight league games. Coach Billy Taylor received a shaky vote of confidence and returns for a sixth year, but three of the team’s top scorers depart, including all-conference big man Jarrod Jones and, unexpectedly, would-be junior point guard Tyrae Robinson. That leaves the lead guard duties to true freshmen Marcus Posley and Chase Brogna, with Posley the more likely starter. The strength of this Cardinals’ squad should be at the other guard position and on the wing, with senior Jauwan Scaife and juniors Chris Bond (7.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Jesse Berry (9.7 ppg) all returning. Bond, the team’s best perimeter defender, broke two bones in his left (non-shooting) forearm in July, though he is expected back before the start of the season. Scaife (5.9 ppg) was at the heart of the underachievement last season, but he averaged double figures as a freshman and sophomore.

5. Northern Illinois (5–26, 3–13)
The Huskies fell to their first 13 Division I opponents last season, suffered eight losses by 23 or more points and defeats to the likes of Utah Valley, Nebraska-Omaha and SIU-Edwardsville. If it sounds breathtakingly grim, consider this: Northern Illinois’ basketball program left its first season under coach Mark Montgomery with reason for hope. Much of that has to do with the makeup of the roster and how the Huskies finished — winning two of their final three regular-season games, even with six freshmen playing at least 14 minutes per game. The most promising of last year’s newcomers is leading scorer Abdel Nader (10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg), a touted 6-7 Chicagoan. The Huskies return their next top five scorers, as well, meaning the six freshmen joining the program this season shouldn’t face a similar baptism.

6. Central Michigan (11–21, 5–11)
This much is known: By the time basketball season starts, the Chippewas plan to field a team. As for who’s on the roster for first-year coach Keno Davis, well, it’s more clear who isn’t. Trey Zeigler (15.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) transferred to Pittsburgh after his father, coach Ernie Zeigler, was fired. And last year’s next two leading scorers are gone, as well — point guard Austin McBroom (10.9 ppg, 3.7 apg) transferred to Saint Louis and Derek Jackson (11.5 ppg) was booted for academic reasons. In all, only four players appear likely to return, with 6’7" senior forward Olivier Mbaigoto (7.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) the only one to average better than 14 minutes and three points an outing last season. Senior Finis Craddock, junior Luke Wiest and sophomore Austin Keel are the other Ernie Zeigler players remaining, meaning 22 of Zeigler’s recruits left the program during or immediately after his six seasons. And Craddock is on thin ice, having been suspended indefinitely after an April DWI arrest. Freshman forward John Simons and junior college transfer DeAndray Buckley, a shooting guard, headline a fairly unheralded group of newcomers.

@AthlonSports

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

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings:
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

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

20. Florida

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Countdown: MAC Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 05:53
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-wide-receivers
Body:

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

Today, we rank college football's best wide receivers prospects:

1. Keenan Allen, Cal (6-3, 210, Jr.)
The Greensboro, N.C., native is a freak athlete. He has elite size, elite speed, elite jumping ability and elite after-the-catch skills. He is good on the outside stretching the field vertically. He is good over the middle in traffic. And he can be used in the return game as well as in the running game. He is a complete player who has produced big numbers at Cal despite the wildly inconsistent and sub-par quarterback play. He is a superior athlete in a conference loaded with big-time playmakers at wide receiver. Comparison: Andre Johnson

2. Justin Hunter, Tennessee (6-4, 200, Jr.)
The bio on Hunter is well known. He was a big-time recruit out of the talent-rich Virginia Beach area. He posted a big freshman year and was dominating opponents until a torn ACL in Week 3 against Florida ruined his sophomore year. He has an NFL-ready frame (think A.J. Green) that is long and rangy. He has tremendous straight line speed but scouts will wonder if his explosiveness in the short spaces has returned after the injury. Look for Hunter to post a big second half to the season and supplant himself as a lock first-round pick in 2013. Comparison: A.J. Green

3. Robert Woods, USC (6-1, 190, Jr.)
Woods was the Athlon Sports High School Senior of the Year at Junipero Serra High School in SoCal. All he did in his first two seasons was set the single-season Pac-12 record for receptions with 111 in 2011. Since then, he has passed Dwayne Jarrett as the all-time leader in catches at USC and set a school record with four TD catches against Colorado this fall. He is an electric athlete with elite speed who can be used in all phases of the passing game and could be a major contributor on special teams as well (1,364 kick return yards in 2010-2011). He has tremendous hands, fluid route-running skills and is dynamic with the ball in his hands after the catch. The only knock on Woods is his lack of elite size. Comparison: Greg Jennings

4. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee (6-3, 205, Jr.)
The fast riser has proven in short order at Tennessee that he is a freakish athlete with loads of big play potential. He has been used in the rushing game with great effectiveness and has been a special teams dynamo as well. He has prototypical size and speed for the next level and will wow scouts with his raw athleticism. However, he had to go the junior college route for a reason and still has a long ways to go to refine his overall skills as a wide receiver. He has one major season of college football under his belt, but his athletic ability is painfully obvious on Saturdays. He is a project but will pay dividends quick enough. Comparison: Demaryius Thomas

5. Tavon Austin, West Virginia (5-9, 180, Sr.)
Speedy, fluid, explosive, versatile, agile. These are the things a team will get in the massively productive WVU wideout. He is very undersized but makes up for it with toughness and the ability to contribute to all aspects of an offense. He can run the ball, is right at home in the slot, will return kicks and punts and does it as one of the better leaders in the huddle. He will get knocked for his size come draft day, but in the modern NFL era where speed in space kills, Austin is the best in this class. Comparison: Percy Harvin

6. Terrance Williams, Baylor (6-2, 205, Sr.)
This Waco product has had the benefit of playing with elite quarterbacks and fellow wide receivers, but has been productive on his own as well. He has a great frame with excellent size and strength. He has the awesome straight line speed that makes him a tremendous deep threat. When it comes to short space agility or burst, however, he will not be as rated as highly as some of the more dynamic players in this class. He is a well-rounded, quality football player who will be a factor on Sundays. Comparison: Hakeem Nicks

7. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (6-1, 200, Jr.)
Teammate Sammy Watkins is the better overall player but Hopkins has been remarkable while Watkins has been out the last two seasons. He has broken multiple Clemson and ACC receiving records in 2012 and has the overall size and talent to be a big-time producer on Sundays. He may not be elite at any one thing, but he does everything an NFL wideout needs to do well. Comparison: Torrey Smith

8. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (6-1, 195, Sr.)
Potential first-round pick Johnathan Banks from Mississippi State had to cover Patton in 2011 and has stated he was the best receiver he ever faced. The former junior college transfer has had two massive seasons for the Bulldogs. He has adequate size, tremendous heart and excellent speed and agility. Certainly, his level of competition isn’t ideal in the WAC, but Patton has proven he belongs on the next level with huge games — try 21 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Texas A&M in October. Comparison: Mike Wallace

9. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas (6-2, 210, Sr.)
The Hogs wideout has prototypical NFL size and strength. He was overshadowed by a trio of NFL wideouts who got drafted in the 2012 draft but a 303-yard performance against Rutgers this fall proved he is deserving of his lofty draft stock. He has all the tools needed to be a solid No. 2 wideout on the next level. Comparison: Miles Austin

10. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (6-3, 200, Jr.)
Matthews will fly under the radar because of the program he plays at and because his quarterback has struggled at times. Yet, Vandy is building quite the reputation for producing dependable athletes and Matthews is the next in line. He has a long frame and will need to add strength and speed to get down the field. He isn’t a freakish athlete but has been facing the best defenses in the nation and has posted big numbers. Comparison: Malcolm Floyd

11. Marquess Wilson, Washington State (6-3, 190, Jr.)
Great size and huge production. Needs to prove he can stay focused and committed.

12. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (5-11, 195, Jr.)
Extremely productive, slightly bigger version of Austin. Not elite size or speed.

13. Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech (6-3, 210, Jr.)
Tremendous physical tools that scream first round. Total head case that screams Charles Rogers.

14. Aaron Dobson, Marshall (6-2, 205, Sr.)
Brings excellent size and red zone ability. Overall production, level of competition aren’t elite.

15. Aaron Mellette, Elon (6-4, 215, Sr.)
Tremendous size and speed with elite levels of production (39 TDs to date).

16. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (6-0, 190, Jr.)
Loads of ability but never seems to deliver on potential. NFL legacy should be solid on Sundays.

17. Denard Robinson, Michigan (5-11, 195, Sr.)
Dynamic converted QB with elite speed, agility and versatility.

18. Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech (6-4, 230, Sr.)
Freakish size and speed combination, but never really delivered on potential in Blacksburg.

19. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (6-0, 205, Sr.)
Not overly talented, but gritty, tough, productive and dependable.

20. Chad Bumphis, Mississippi State (5-10, 200, Sr.)
Harvin-type speedster who is best around the line of scrimmage and on special teams.

Other names to watch:

Josh Boyce, TCU (5-11, 205, Jr.)
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State (6-0, 185, Sr.)
Rodney Smith, Florida State (6-5, 215, Sr.)
Dan Buckner, Arizona (6-4, 215, Sr.)
Chris Harper, Kansas State (6-1, 230, Sr.)
Emory Blake, Auburn (6-1, 195, Sr.)
DeVonte Christopher, Utah (6-1, 200, Sr.)
Marquise Goodwin, Texas (5-10, 180, Sr.)
Tavarres King, Georgia (6-1, 200, Sr.)
Conner Vernon, Duke (6-2, 195, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

2013 NFL Draft: Running Backs

2013 NFL Draft: Tight Ends
2013 NFL Draft: Safeties

2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Wide Receivers

2013 NFL Draft: Offensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Inside Linebackers

Teaser:
<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Wide Receivers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /nfl/detroit-lions-vs-chicago-bears-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two divisional foes with drastically different 2012 results will meet on Monday Night Football, when the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Lovie Smith’s Chicago crew has jumped out to a 4-1 start, outscoring its opponents by 78 points. Meanwhile, the last-place Lions are 2-3 and have looked nothing like the playoff team of a year ago.

When the Detroit Lions have the ball:
Quarterback Matthew Stafford had an amazing season in 2011, throwing for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns. However the 2012 campaign has been somewhat of a struggle for the Lions signal caller, as he has more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4). The Detroit offense did show some positive signs last week in Philadelphia, as Stafford had a fourth-quarter touchdown run and pass to the lead the Lions back from a double-digit deficit to an overtime victory. All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson (35 catches for 558 yards and one score) is always the top Detroit threat, and the Lions will lean on running back Mikel Leshoure to balance out the offense.

The Bears defense has simply been stellar through five games, ranking No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed (14.2 ppg). Chicago has excelled against the run and in creating turnovers, topping the league in those categories as well. The Bears have also turned the takeaways into points, already scoring an amazing five times this season. The focus on Monday night will be to limit Johnson’s impact, whiles also pressuring Stafford into more mistakes and interceptions.

When the Chicago Bears have the ball:
The Chicago attack has not been overwhelming this season, but it has not had to be with a dominant defense. With the exception of the Green Bay loss when they could not control the Packers pass rush, the Bears have been fairly solid under quarterback Jay Cutler. He has thrown for two touchdowns in three of the four Chicago wins, with Brandon Marshall (35 catches for 496 yards and three scores) getting the most targets by far. The Bears also got a lift from running back Matt Forte in their last game, as he compiled the team’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the year.

Detroit ranks ninth in the league in total defense, allowing 324 yards per game. However, the team is giving up over 27 points per contest. One of the Lions biggest problems this year has been special teams, with opponents scoring four times on return touchdowns. Another issue has been a lack of takeaways, as Detroit defenders have only caused six turnovers in five games. To beat the Bears, the Lions will need to stop Forte on the ground and pressure Cutler into giving the ball away.

Key Factor:
This NFC North battle should come down to turnovers, which favors Chicago. If the Bears protect the ball, they will be tough to beat in front of a raucous Soldier Field crowd. The Lions will need to force Cutler into mistakes, while also getting a big-time performance from Stafford. Look for the Bears to continue their excellent MNF play under Smith, and stay atop the division.

Prediction:
Bears 27 Lions 20


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

Teaser:
<p> Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:40
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/eight-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-7
Body:

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 7 of NFL play:

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

0:19: Seconds the Redskins led in the second half against the Giants
Robert Griffin III put together a truly remarkable drive to give the Redskins the lead with 1:32 left against the Giants. He converted on a fourth down deep in his own territory with PlaySstation-like moves that made Jason Pierre-Paul look foolish. Then he ripped-off a 24-yard run and tossed a 30-yard lob wedge to Santana Moss. It was a beautiful 7-play, 77-yard compilation that appeared to have flipped the entire NFC East on its head, putting Washington in first place. But Eli Manning needed only two plays and 14 seconds to go 77 of his own yards to retake the lead and put a stranglehold on the division. The 77-yard scoring strike was the longest game-winning touchdown pass in the final two minutes of a game in Giants history. The building was electric as Victor Cruz caught his seventh touchdown of the season and the Giants moved to 5-2.

3: Total TDs scored by the Cardinals since starting 4-0
Arizona wasn't scorching the earth on offense during its four-game winning streak to start the year. But it scored at least 20 points in each game and was one of only three unbeatens left in the league. Since Week 4, the Cards have lost three straight to three teams that combined to go 11-37 last season by scoring three total touchdowns — two of which came in the loss to Minnesota this weekend. This team has scored 33 total points in the three losses as quarterback play, be it Kevin Kolb or John Skelton, has been a major question mark. What is worse for Arizona? Its next three opponents are San Francisco, Green Bay and Atlanta. A 4-6 record would be an absolute failure for a team that started with four straight wins. By comparison, the guy they will face in two weeks, Aaron Rodgers, has accounted for 12 touchdowns all by himself over that same span. Speaking of Mr. Discount Double Check...

76: Games it took Aaron Rodgers to reach 150 passing TDs
With three more scoring strikes this weekend in an impressive win over St. Louis, Rodgers' career passing touchdown total now sits at 151. It took him only 76 games to reach the plateau — the second-fewest games ever needed to reach 150 touchdowns. Dan Marino is the only quarterback to reach this milestone quicker than Rodgers (62 games). However, Rodgers only threw one touchdown pass in seven games played in his three seasons as the backup for Brett Favre, so he technically has 150 touchdowns in his first 69 games as the starter. That is an average of 2.2 touchdown passes per game and makes Marino's record look all the more impressive.

71%: Percent the Cowboys ran the ball on its final two drives
Dallas ran the ball 31 times and threw 34 passes in the tough road win over Carolina on Sunday. On the final two drives of the game that both ended in field goals, however, Dallas ran the ball 10 times in 14 plays (71.2 percent), including the final six plays. Not only did the two methodical drives win the game by ending in points each time, but it also meant Dallas held the ball for 5:22 of the final 7:32. Yes, the rushing statistics against Baltimore might have been a bit inflated due to major injuries. And yes, this team will have to improve on the 2.7 yards per carry it posted against the Panthers. But fans in Big D have to be comforted by the renewed commitment to the running game — DeMarco Murray or not.

52-51-1: The all-time series mark between the Jets and Patriots
The 29-26 overtime win for New England over New York on Sunday gave the Pats the all-time series lead in the long-standing AFC East rivalry. Not only did the win untie the all-time mark but it also broke the current tie atop the AFC standings. The Jets fell to 3-4, tied with Buffalo for last in the division, while the Patriots are now in sole possession of first place. Additionally, Bill Belichick now boasts a 5-3 overall record against Rex Ryan.

83: Chris Johnson's NFL record fourth TD run of at least 80 yards
CJ2K has looked reinvigorated of late and his 195 yards rushing on Sunday helped the Titans pull off an improbable road win. It was his third-highest single-game rushing total and it pushed the Titans to 7-1 in games in which he tops the 150 yards mark. He scored two touchdowns in Buffalo, one from 16 yards away and the other from 83 yards out. It was his NFL record fourth touchdown run of at least 80 yards, passing Barry Sanders, OJ Simpson, Ahman Green and Hugh McElhenny (all tied with 3) for first place. It was his 29th career 100-yard rushing effort, and after 45 combined yards through his first three games, Johnson has averaged 112.8 yards per game in his last four. And the Titans have won two in a row.

1988: Last time a Colts QB scored two rushing TDs in one game
My unabashed, unadulterated love affair with Andrew Luck is no secret. He has all sorts of rookie passing records, starting his career in extraordinary fashion. He has led his team, without its head coach for the last three weeks, to a 3-3 mark — or one more win than they had last fall. He is the first QB in NFL history to throw for at least 1,500 yards (1,674) and post three wins in his first six games. He is also leading the AFC in rushing yards by a quarterback and he got into the end zone on the ground twice against Cleveland. He has 115 yards and three scores on the ground. The win over Cleveland also featured the first meeting of the five rookie quarterbacks to date as Brandon Weeden threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Robert Griffin III has been electrifying and efficient for the Redskins, but I will take Luck to have the better career.

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Eight Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 6</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:29
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-8-power-rankings
Body:

Alabama and Florida cemented their status as the top two teams in the league. The Crimson Tide cruised past Tennessee in Knoxville, while the Gators rolled past South Carolina with ease in Gainesville. On the other end of the SEC food chain, Auburn dropped to 0–5 in the league with a 17-13 loss at Vanderbilt.

Post-Week 8 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. A.J. McCarron, Alabama — The nation is now starting to realize that McCarron is more than the “game-manager” of the powerful Alabama offense. The junior leads the nation in passing efficiency thanks to his 68.9 completion percentage and 16-to-0 TD-to-INT ratio.

2. Eddie Lacy/T.J. Yeldon, Alabama Yes, it’s a cop out to have two guys listed for the No. 2 spot for Offensive Player of the Year honors, but Lacy and Yeldon have both been terrific sharing the role of featured back in the Alabama attack. Lacy leads the team in rushing (570 yards) and rushing touchdowns (seven); Yeldon isn’t far behind (565 yards and six TDs) and has a better yards-per-carry average (6.8 to 5.8).

3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&MManziel struggled a bit in A&M’s loss to LSU last weekend, but his body of work is still outstanding. He is second in the SEC in rushing (100.4 ypg) and has thrown for 1,956 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. Manziel will have to put up some big numbers against a quality SEC defense to remain in the hunt for Player of the Year honors.

Post-Week 8 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina South Carolina lost at Florida 44–11, but the Gamecocks’ defense only gave up 183 total yards. Clowney had five tackles, including two for a loss, and now has a team-high 14 tackles for a loss (including 7.5 sacks).

2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia Jones did not play in Georgia’s win vs. Kentucky due to an injured ankle. In five games, the outside linebacker has 36 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss (with 5.5 sacks).

3. Kevin Minter, LSU Minter continued his outstanding season with 12 tackles, two quarterback hurries and an interception in the Tigers’ 24¬–19 win at Texas A&M. Minter, a junior middle linebacker, has 75 tackles and three sacks for the season.

Post-Week 8 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Will Muschamp, Florida The Gators improved to 7–0 overall and 6–0 in the SEC with a 44–11 win over South Carolina. Last year, Florida won seven games for the entire season.

2. Nick Saban, Alabama Alabama is a team without a weakness. The defense, which had to replace several key contributors from last season, is ranked No. 1 in the nation in rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense.

3. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State Much has been made about the Bulldogs’ relatively soft schedule (and rightfully so), but credit Mullen and Mississippi State for taking care of business — and doing so in impressive fashion. State is 7–0 and heads to Tuscaloosa this weekend for an enormous showdown with the top-ranked Crimson Tide.

Post-Week 8 SEC Power Rankings 

1. Alabama (7–0, 4-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 7 result: Beat Tennessee 44-13
Oregon, Florida and Kansas State have all looked very good this season, but Alabama is still the nation’s finest team. The Crimson Tide pounded Tennessee 44–13 in Knoxville with a balanced offensive attack (307 yards passing, 231 rushing) and a dominating defense that held the Vols to a season-low 281 total yards. AJ McCarron was nearly flawless at quarterback, completing 17-of-22 for 307 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, and T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy combined to run for 209 yards on 33 carries. Alabama’s seven wins have come by an average of 32.7 points, and each victory has been by at least 19 points.
Next week: Mississippi State

2. Florida (7–0, 6–0, SEC)
Last week’s rank:
2
Week 7 result: Beat South Carolina 44–11
Who needs yards? Not Florida. The Gators put up 44 points despite gaining only 183 total yards in a statement win over SEC East rival South Carolina in Gainesville. Florida took advantage of four Gamecock turnovers to improve to 6–0 in the SEC for the first time since 2009. The Gators had two scoring drives of two yards or less in the first half— one set up by a Connor Shaw fumble (on the first play of the game) and the other by a fumble by Ace Sanders on a kick-off return. The Florida defense, which has given up 20 points or less in every game, surrendered only 191 yards and did not allow a touchdown. Next week, Florida can wrap up the SEC East with a win over Georgia in Jacksonville.
Next week: vs. Georgia

3. LSU (7–1, 3–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
3
Week 7 result: Beat Texas A&M 24–19
LSU proved that an elite defense can stop one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. Texas A&M did pick up 410 total yards — the most by any team vs. LSU this season — but the Aggies committed five turnovers and were held to 19 points, their lowest total since a 20–17 season-opening loss to Florida. The Tigers trailed 12–0 midway through the second quarter but scored the next 24 points to seize control. LSU ran the ball well — Jeremy Hill led the way with 127 yards on 18 carries — but Zach Mettenberger continues to struggle at quarterback. The junior completed 11-of-29 passes for 97 yards, which equates to a dismal 3.3 yards per attempt.
Next week: Bye

4. South Carolina (6–2, 4–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank
: 4
Week 7 result: Lost to Florida 44–11
Two weeks ago, South Carolina fans were dreaming of a national title. Now, after losses at LSU and Florida, the Gamecocks are all but eliminated from the SEC East title chase. Carolina quickly fell behind 7–0 thanks to a Connor Shaw fumble on the first play of the game. It didn’t get any better. The Gamecocks committed three more turnovers, two of which led to Florida TD drives of 11 yards or fewer. Shaw was ineffective at quarterback — he completed 9-of-20 for 72 yards — and was benched in the second half in favor of Dylan Thompson. “It was embarrassing for us — very embarrassing to lose,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said after the game. “We’ve got to reevaluate a lot of our personnel and get players out there who really want to play for South Carolina. Two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have thought this. We had a bad one today. LSU was bad (last week). This one was worse. We’ve got to regroup somehow.”
Next week: Tennessee

5. Georgia (6–1, 4–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
5
Week 7 result: Beat Kentucky 29–24
A win is a win — especially on the road in the SEC — but Mark Richt can’t be too pleased with his team’s play in the 29–24 victory in Lexington. Quarterback Aaron Murray was outstanding, completing 30-of-38 for 427 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Not much else went well for the Bulldogs. Georgia’s three top tailbacks combined for only 93 yards on 25 carries against a Kentucky team that entered the game ranked 12th in the SEC in rushing defense. And the Georgia defense gave up 206 yards rushing to a UK offense that combined to run for 150 yards in its previous two games. Now for the positives: Georgia can move into the driver’s seat in the SEC East with a win next week vs. Florida in Jacksonville.
Next week: vs. Florida

6. Mississippi State (7–0, 3–0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
6
Week 7 result: Beat Middle Tennessee State 45–3
It was a struggle for a half, but Mississippi State scored 35 unanswered points in the final two quarters to beat a solid Middle Tennessee team 45–3 in Starkville. Quarterback Tyler Russell continues to shine for the Bulldogs. He completed 17-of-21 passes for 191 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. In the last three games, Russell has completed 65 percent of his attempts with seven touchdowns and no picks. Junior tailback LaDarius Perkins chipped in with 125 yards rushing on 20 carries; he has topped the 100-yard mark four times in the last five games. Now, the 7–0 Bulldogs head to Tuscaloosa in one of the biggest games in school history.
Next week: at Alabama

7. Texas A&M (5–2, 2–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
7
Week 7 result: Lost to LSU 24–19
The Aggies did a lot of good things against an elite opponent, but you can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win. Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel threw for 276 yards — that was the good news. The bad news? He threw three interceptions and was held to a season low 27 yards rushing. Manziel did not throw a pick in his first four games but has been intercepted six times in the last three games. The Texas A&M defense, which had allowed an average of 531.3 yards in its previous three games, held LSU to 316 yards, including less than 100 through the air.
Next week: at Auburn

8. Tennessee (3–4, 0–4 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
8
Week 7 result: Lost to Alabama 44–13
Tennessee needed its best players to play well to make No. 1 Alabama sweat. It didn’t happen. Quarterback Tyler Bray completed only 13-of-27 passes for 184 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson had only 25 yards from scrimmage on three offensive touches. Justin Hunter had a nice game (four catches for 70 yards), but it wasn’t nearly enough. Tennessee was outgained 539 to 282 en route to its 11th loss in the past 12 SEC games. The Vols’ schedule eases up considerably after next week’s trip to South Carolina, but will a run of victories against non-top-25 teams be enough to save Derek Dooley’s job?
Next week: at South Carolina

9. Vanderbilt (3–4, 2–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
10
Week 7 result: Beat Auburn 17–14
Vanderbilt outgained Auburn 376 to 224 yet needed a late defensive stand to secure the 17–14 win in Nashville. Tailback Zac Stacy led the Commodores’ offense with 163 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries. Stacy, a senior from Birmingham who was not recruited by Auburn, is now Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher with 2,670 career yards. The Commodores’ defense, now ranked No. 27 in the nation, did not allow a drive longer than 52 yards and only gave up one touchdown. Vanderbilt has scored 19 points or less in all five SEC games but is 2–3 in league play.
Next week: UMass

10. Arkansas (3–4, 2–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
9
Week 7 Result: Bye
The Razorbacks appear to be playing better of late, but their two recent SEC wins have come against the two worst teams in the league — Auburn and Kentucky. The Hogs host improved Ole Miss and Tulsa (currently 7–1) in the next weeks before a tough three-game stretch that includes road trips to South Carolina and Mississippi State and a home date with LSU.
Next week: Ole Miss

11. Ole Miss (4–3, 1–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
11
Week 7 result: Bye
Ole Miss needs only two wins to become bowl-eligible, but the Rebels’ remaining schedule is very difficult — road games at Arkansas, Georgia and LSU and home games vs. Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Not sure there are two wins in that group.
Next week: at Arkansas

12. Missouri (3–4, 0–4 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
12
Week 7 result: Bye
The Tigers have a great opportunity to pick up their first SEC win with Kentucky coming to town next week. Missouri expects to have quarterback James Franklin back in the lineup.
Next week: Kentucky

13. Auburn (1–6, 0–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
13
Week 7 result: Lost to Vanderbilt 17–13
Auburn’s nightmare season took another bad turn Saturday afternoon. The Tigers dropped to 0–5 in the SEC with a four-point loss at Vanderbilt. Auburn managed only 212 yards of offense and now has 216 yards or fewer in four of its five league games. Clint Moseley got his second start of the season at quarterback and completed 14-of-20 for 98 yards. Jonathan Wallace also saw time, but the Wildcat specialist had a net of minus-5 yards rushing on three carries. Auburn announced before the game that tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen is out for the season with a hip injury.
Next week: Texas A&M

14. Kentucky (1–7, 0–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
14
Week 7 result: Lost to Georgia 29–24
It was still a loss, but the Wildcats played arguably their finest game of the 2012 season. Leaning on a surprisingly effective running game, Kentucky jumped on Georgia early and hung with the Bulldogs until the final minutes of the game. The Cats’ top two tailbacks, Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders, combined to rush for 159 yards on 30 carries to lead a UK ground attack that netted 206 yards. Georgia, meanwhile, managed only 77 yards on the ground, but was bailed out by an outstanding performance from quarterback Aaron Murray (427 yards, four TDs). Kentucky’s 24 points were a season-high vs. an AQ conference opponent.
Next week: at Missouri
 

@AthlonMitch

Teaser:
<p>  </p> <p> Alabama and Florida cemented their status as the top two teams in the league. The Crimson Tide cruised past Tennessee in Knoxville, while the Gators rolled past South Carolina with ease in Gainesville. On the other end of the SEC food chain, Auburn dropped to 0–5 in the league with a 17-13 loss at Vanderbilt.</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-8-power-rankings
Body:

This fall is becoming one of the most entertaining seasons of football in the Pac-12 in years. Three top ten teams, two unbeatens, a dozen Player of the Year candidates, one National Coach of the Year front-runner and arguably the biggest game left in college football about to kickoff in two weeks. This league is stacked with great coaches, great quarterbacks and great athletes. And most importantly, a lot of really good football teams.

Post-Week 8 Offensive Player of the Year Standings


1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - The longtime star for USC threw six touchdown passes for the second time this year and for the fourth time in his last 11 games. He is second in the league in passing efficiency and fourth in total offense while leading with 22 touchdown passes.

2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - It has been a slow build for Mariota, but the numbers are there for the leader of the best team in the league. He is No. 3 in passing efficiency, is rushing for 50 yards per game, is fifth in total offense and just rushed for 135 yards while scoring twice in the huge road win over Arizona State. 

3. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona 
- With so many worthy running backs and wide receivers canceling each other out, the league's most productive player deserves some love after a huge home win. Scott is leading the league in total offense at 374.3 yards per game — nearly 70 yards more than No. 2 Brett Hundley.
 

Post-Week 8 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The do-everything star for the Beavers totaled seven tackles in the easy win over Utah. Oregon State stayed unbeaten by holding Utah to seven points and 307 yards of offense. 

2. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - The exploits of the Beavers' defense have been well documented and Crichton is leading the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss for the league's No. 1 scoring defense.

3. TJ McDonald, S, USC - Names like Sutton, Breslin, Long, Barr or Clay could be here, but the defensive captain and leading tackler for USC gets the nod. He is fifth in the league in tackles, has three tackles for loss, one interception and a blocked kick as the leader of the best team in the South.


Post-Week 8 Coach of the Year Standings

1a. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks passes their first major road test — their first of four in the second half — and are clearly the league's top team thus far. Kelly's resume will only get better nationally if the Ducks continue to win. This team will play in the national title game if it wins its last six games. 

1b. Mike Riley, Oregon State - It is the age-old Coach of the Year debate: Do you give the award to the guy who wins it all and accomplishes exactly what we expected of him (Kelly) or the guy who vastly overachieves but doesn't claim the championship? 

3. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona  - How about some love for a team that is likely much better than its 4-3 record indicates. The Cats just crushed Washington, lead the league in passing and total offense and its three losses are to teams with a combined record of 19-2 (Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford). 

Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (7-0, 4-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 8 result: Beat Arizona State 43-21
The Ducks turned what was supposed to be a showcase game in primetime on Thursday night into a definitive statement about the location of the Arizona State Sun Devils program. They are not ready to compete for the conference crown. The Ducks won their 25th Pac-12 game in their last 26 tries after blitzing the overmatched opponent in the desert. After falling behind 7-0 on an early turnover, Oregon scored six straight touchdowns before ASU could even get into halftime to make adjustments. The Ducks shouldn't be challenged by lowly Colorado next weekend as the Ducks will head to Los Angeles unbeaten at 8-0. 
This week: Colorado (1-6)

2. USC (6-1, 4-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 8 result: Beat Colorado 50-6
There aren't many 41-point underdogs in BCS intraconference tilts these days but the USC Trojans justified their lofty point spread by crushing the Buffaloes by 44 points. Matt Barkley was outstanding, throwing only one incompletion (19-of-20), along with 298 yards and six touchdowns in the easy win. Wide receiver Robert Woods continues to rewrite the records books as he caught eight passes for 123 yards and a USC record four touchdown passes. He also passed Dwayne Jarrett as the Trojan's all-time leader in receptions (220). He now has 30 touchdown receptions in two-and-a-half seasons of football. A sneaky trip out to the desert takes place this weekend and if the Men of Troy aren't careful, they will get caught looking ahead to Oregon in two weeks.
This week: at Arizona (4-3)

3. Oregon State (6-0, 5-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 8 result: Beat Utah 21-7
Another weekend and another workmanlike team effort keeps the Beavers undefeated. One of the nation's best stories continues to roll along without starting quarterback Sean Mannion. Cody Vaz was superb in the win over BYU two weeks ago while MIke Riley leaned on his offensive line and ground game this weekend. Storm Woods rushed for three touchdowns and Vaz wasn't sacked against the solid Utah defensive line as the Beavers jumped out to a 14-0 early lead. The defense did the rest, forcing four turnovers and allowing only 307 yards of total offense. Now, things get interesting for the Beavers as Riley will face Washington (road), Arizona State (home) and Stanford (road) in the next three weeks — all potentially without Mannion.
This week: at Washington (3-4)

4. Stanford (5-2, 3-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 8 result: Beat Cal 21-3
So it appears the Cardinal can win a road game after all, provided it's just across town. The Big Game lacked much suspense as the Cardinal took a commanding 21-3 lead with eight minutes still left in the second quarter. Neither team scored a point the rest of the way as Stanford suffocated the Golden Bears. Cal had only five second-half possessions. Three ended in punts, one was a turnover on downs and the final drive of the game ended on an interception. Stepfan Taylor was the star of the show, rushing for 189 yards and a touchdown in Stanford's first road win of the season. With Wazzu and Colorado up next, David Shaw's bunch should be 5-1 in the league before having to face both Oregon schools.
This week: Washington State (2-4)

5. UCLA (5-2, 2-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 8 result: Off
Hopefully this team got plenty of rest in the off week. UCLA will play both Arizona schools in the next two weeks with major bowl implications on the line before finishing the year with USC and Stanford. It will be a challenging last month of the season for the Bruins.
This week: at Arizona State (5-2) 

6. Arizona (4-3, 1-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 8 result: Beat Washington 52-17
The Wildcats have lost three games this season to Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford. One could argue that Rich Rodriguez' team should have won two of those games. It means that Arizona is probably the best 4-3 team in the nation... and that they have a tough time winning close games. This weekend against Washington, Matt Scott and company had no such trouble. The offense rolled-up 533 total yards behind Ka'Deem Carey's 172 yards and Scott's five touchdowns. The biggest difference this weekend, however, was the defense. After allowing nearly 33 points per game, the Cats sacked Keith Price four times, forced three turnovers and allowed only 17 points. RichRod will have his guys thinking upset in the desert this weekend against Southern Cal.
This week: USC (6-1)

7. Arizona State (5-2, 3-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 8 result: Lost to Oregon 43-21
There was a good chance Arizona State was going to have an eye-opening experience on Thursday night one way or the other. After taking a quick lead, Todd Graham found out real quick why Chip Kelly has won three straight Pac-12 titles. The offense turned the ball over four times. The defense allowed 454 yards of offense and 43 first-half points. And the Sun Devils were sent back down to Earth in embarrassing fashion on national television. Graham and his squad have a huge pecking order game this weekend against the Bruins.
This week: UCLA (5-2)

8. Washington (3-4, 1-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 8 result: 
Lost Arizona 52-17

That Thursday night upset win over Stanford in which the students rushed the field in Seattle is a distant memory today. Washington is not quite done with one of the toughest months in the nation having lost to Oregon, USC and Arizona in consecutive weeks. The offensive line still has major holes and will struggle mightily against the stout Oregon State defense this weekend, but at least the schedule gets easier over the final month. The Huskies could win their final four games: at Cal, Utah, at Colorado and at Washington State. Somehow pull the upset this weekend and things will finally be looking up for U-Dub.
This week: Oregon State (6-0)

9. California (3-5, 2-3)
Previous rank: 9
Week 8 result: Lost to Stanford 21-3
After two huge wins, Jeff Tedford suffered a brutal home defeat in The Big Game. His tenure as the head coach at Cal is a weekly roller coaster of emotions for fans in Berkeley. He is arguably the most successful headman in program history but clearly this program has gotten stale under the former Fresno State quarterback. His team wasn't even competitive against its rival, turning the ball over three times, didn't reach the end zone and rushed for an abysmal three yards on 28 carries. This will be one of the more interesting teams to follow from here on out.
This week: at  Utah (2-5)

10. Utah (2-5, 0-4)
Previous rank: 
9
Week 8 result: Lost Oregon State 21-7
The Beavers scored to make it 14-0 just one minute into the second quarter and that was all she wrote in Corvallis. The unbeaten Beavers totally controlled the game against the overmatched Utes. Kyle Whittingham's team couldn't pressure backup quarterback Cody Vaz (no sacks) and lost the turnover battle 0-4. They were 3-of-16 on third downs and mustered only 3.0 yards per carry on 45 attempts. Utah has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the nation to this point.

This week: Cal (3-5)

11. Colorado (1-6, 1-3)
Previous rank: 11
Week 8 result: Lost to USC 50-6
Certainly, no one believed that the Buffs would challenge the mighty Trojans on the road. But if the fans cannot even expect their team to cover a 41-point spread, they might have a right to cry for Jon Embree's job. The Buffaloes are dead last in the Pac-12 in nine of the 17 measured team stats by the NCAA: scoring offense, passing efficiency, total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks allowed, turnover margin and punt returns. Something needs to be done in Boulder.
This week: at Oregon (7-0)

12. Washington State (2-4, 0-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 8 result: Off
The Cougars will play three of their next four on the road coming out of the bye week.

This week: at Stanford  (5-2)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

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ACC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 8 Power
Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Legends Poll
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-8
Body:
After a second straight win over a ranked SEC opponent, LSU moved past Notre Dame to take over the No. 5 spot in the Legends Poll.
 
Following a victory over South Carolina, Les Miles’ Tigers took care of Texas A&M in Baton Rouge as well, 24-19.
 
“LSU’s defense has got some great speed and they’re always tough to score on,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye said. “And the fact that they played at home helped their quarterback (Zach Mettenberger). I’d say LSU probably has got the best chance of beating Alabama of anybody in the conference because they play them at home in Baton Rouge.”
 
LSU has two weeks to prepare before top-ranked Alabama comes to town.
 
But the biggest question amongst the college football pollsters is, who's No. 2? In the Legends Poll, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Kansas State made up some ground on Oregon, but did not receive enough votes to overtake the Ducks for the No. 2 spot behind Alabama.
 
No. 6 Notre Dame dropped a spot and fell out of the top five just one week after making its first ever appearance. The Fighting Irish struggled with BYU but hung on for a 17-14 win in South Bend.
 
No. 7 Oklahoma jumped a spot over No. 8 Florida State after a second straight blowout victory. The Sooners welcome No. 6 Notre Dame and College Gameday to Norman, Okla. next weekend.
 
Unbeaten Oregon State finally cracked the Legends Poll top 10 this week at No. 9. USC stayed put and rounded out the top 10.
 
Other undefeated teams, No. 13 Mississippi State and No. 14 Louisville continued their climb up the rankings. They were followed by No. 15 South Carolina, which continued its tumble in the top 25, dropping 12 spots in two weeks after suffering two straight losses.
 
West Virginia also continued its slide in the rankings, dropping eight more spots to No. 23. The Mountaineers have fallen 19 spots in just two weeks.
 
No. 24 Wisconsin and No. 25 Oklahoma State moved back into the top 25 this week, replacing Cincinnati and Arizona State, which both dropped out of the rankings.
 

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll.

THE LEGENDS POLL TOP 25

RK TEAM RECORD POINTS PV RK
1 AlabamaAlabama (17) 7-0 425 1
2 OregonOregon 7-0 404 2
3 FloridaFlorida 7-0 389 3
4 Kansas StateKansas State 7-0 380 4
5 LSULSU 7-1 347 6
6 Notre DameNotre Dame 7-0 343 5
7 OklahomaOklahoma 5-1 311 8
8 Florida StateFlorida State 7-1 304 7
9 Oregon StateOregon State 6-0 292 11
10 USCUSC 6-1 279 10
11 ClemsonClemson 6-1 240 12
12 GeorgiaGeorgia 6-1 231 13
13 Mississippi StateMississippi State 7-0 229 14
14 LouisvilleLouisville 7-0 188 16
15 South CarolinaSouth Carolina 6-2 184 9
16 Texas TechTexas Tech 6-1 178 21
17 RutgersRutgers 7-0 147 19
18 StanfordStanford 5-2 139 18
19 Texas A&MTexas A&M 5-2 99 17
20 MichiganMichigan 5-2 97 24
21 Boise StateBoise State 6-1 87 23
22 TCUTCU 5-2 43 22
23 West VirginiaWest Virginia 5-2 39 15
24 WisconsinWisconsin 6-2 26 -
25 Oklahoma StateOklahoma State 4-2 22 -
 
Others Receiving Votes: Nebraska 21, Ohio 17, Arizona State 14, Louisiana Tech 13, Cincinnati 12, Duke 11, Texas 10, Utah State 2, North Carolina State 1, Northern Illinois 1
 
Teams Dropped Out from Last Week's Poll: Cincinnati, Arizona State

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at www.legendschannel.com.

Teaser:
<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-8-power-rankings
Body:

Penn State continues to be a national story with another easy road conference win. Montee Ball's record-setting pace is creeping in on two huge all-time milestones as Wisconsin continues to improve. Michigan exercised some demons with a final-minute drive to beat the Spartans. Nebraska won a must-win division game on the road. There was a lot to like about Week 8 in the Big Ten, however, a Heisman Trophy front-runner and odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten Player of the Year had to be taken to the hospital on Saturday. Everyone in the league is even more focused on Braxton Miller now.

Post-Week 8 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Miller is still on top... for now. He struggled against Purdue but still compiled 160 total yards of offense and a touchdown before getting hurt in the third quarter. He was taken to the hospital and cleared all concussion, head, neck and shoulder tests. If he doesn't miss any time, he is still the frontrunner for Player of the Year.  

2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State - This award will likely be decided next weekend in Happy Valley when (and if) Miller can play against the Nittany Lions. McGloin closed the gap dramatically with 289 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the easy road win over Iowa this weekend.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin - It is a two-horse race for Big Ten POY but names like Ball, Venric Mark and Taylor Martinez deserve some mention. Ball has 10 rushing touchdowns in four Big Ten games and is averaging 124.4 yards rushing per game in those four.


Post-Week 8 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - Mauti might have clinched the award this weekend with eight tackles, an interception, a sack and a tackle for loss in the dominating road win over Iowa. Ohio State, Wisconsin and Nebraska still loom. 

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - After 12 total tackles against rival Minnesota, the leader of the Badgers defense is now No. 2 in the Big Ten in tackles. His defense has allowed no more than 14 points during the three-game winning streak.

3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon had nine total tackles in the come-from-behind win over Purdue. He is the leader of the only unbeaten team in the league and helped hold the Boilermakers scoreless for the final 35 minutes of play and overtime.


Post-Week 8 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - The only coach who could earn Coach of the Year honors over an unbeaten Urban Meyer would be the guy taking over Penn State following this particular offseason. Penn State has won four straight and is a few plays from being 6-0. Coach BOB has done a remarkable job.

2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - His team continues to survive and advance. If Miller is out for any extended period of time, the odds of going unbeaten shrivel up and die. However, there is only one 8-0 team in the entire nation. 

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - His team is just a few points from being unbeaten after a second tough loss in the league to a superior team. He was one point away from turning the entire Legends Division on its head this weekend against Nebraska. 


Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (8-0, 4-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 8 result: Beat Purdue 29-22 (OT)

This was a valiant win by the Buckeyes to stay unbeaten and become the only 8-0 team in the nation. Yet, the only storyline that matters is the health of Braxton Miller. An undefeated season, a win over archrival Michigan and his Heisman candidacy are what Ohio State fans are focused on this fall without the chance for a Big Ten title or bowl game. So after Miller was released from the hospital and cleared all major medical hurdles, all eyes will be focused on what Urban Meyer has to say this week in his press conference about his star quarterback's availability. The Bucknuts travel to Happy Valley this weekend with Offensive and Head Coach of the Year honors potentially hanging in the balance. 
This week: at Penn State (5-2)

2. Michigan (5-2, 3-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 8 result: Beat Michigan State 12-10
The Wolverines cleared their first big hurdle in the Legends Division round robin with their first win over in-state rival Michigan State in five years. Denard Robinson drove his team 41 yards on eight plays in 1:55 to set-up the game-winning field goal with five seconds left on the clock. It wasn't pretty — Robinson didn't account for a touchdown for only the fourth time in the last three seasons — but the Maize and Blue are now in clear control of the division. The biggest test left on the schedule en route to Indianapolis will come next week in Lincoln, Neb. A win next weekend and this team should be 7-0 in the Big Ten heading into Columbus on the final weekend.
This week: at Nebraska (5-2)

3. Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 8 result: Beat Minnesota 38-13
This Badgers team is quietly improving each and every weekend. The defense was more than adequate for the third week in a row while Montee Ball and the offensive line is beginning to look more and more like 2011. Ball scored twice and rushed for 166 yards while James White added multiple big plays en route to 175 yards and three scores of his own. Ball is now five total touchdowns from passing Travis Prentice's all-time record of 78 and eight rushing scores away from Prentice's all-time rushing touchdown mark of 73. This team has all but wrapped up a trip to the Big Ten title game and should only continue to improve.
This week: Michigan State (4-4)

4. Penn State (5-2, 3-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 8 result: Beat Iowa 38-14
This Nittany Lions team continues to impress after another dominant showing on the road against a team that had yet to lose in Big Ten play. Penn State is one of the great stories in college football this fall as this team is averaging over 400 yards on offense while allowing just 15.7 points per game on defense. Bill O'Brien's team is leading the league in turnover margin and could sweep the big three awards (Coach, Offensive, Defensive Player of the Year) should Braxton Miller miss significant time for Ohio State. The Ineligible Bowl should be fun to watch this weekend. 

This week: Ohio State (8-0)

5. Nebraska (5-2, 2-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 8 result: Beat Northwestern 29-28
The road win in Evanston was a statement performance for Nebraska. The winner was going to be the top challenger to Michigan in the division and the loser was going to have two conference losses already. It took 407 yards of total offense and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from star quarterback Taylor Martinez to do it, but Nebraska returns home poised to battle Michigan for the Legends Division championship. The Huskers quarterback now leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency and is third in total offense.
This week: Michigan (5-2)

6. Northwestern (6-2, 2-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 8 result: Lost Nebraska 29-28
Pat Fitzgerald has to wondering what-if right now. The Wildcats once again gave up a late lead to a superior football team and it cost them their second league loss of the year. Coach Fitz has one of his most talented offenses ever assembled in Chicago, and a potential eight-win season would be nothing to sneeze at, but the outside Big Ten title chance slipped through his grasp during the fourth-quarter this weekend. With Iowa, both Michigan schools and Illinois left, an 8-4 season looks like the best-case scenario.
This week: Iowa (4-3)

7. Michigan State (4-4, 1-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 8 result: Lost to Michigan 12-10
The Spartans lost for the third time in four weeks and have for intents and purposes been eliminated from Big Ten title contention. The defense once again played well, holding Denard Robinson in check all game long. Yet, one short last minute drive and very little offensive balance allowed Michigan to escape with a win over Sparty for the first time in five years. Andrew Maxwell threw for just 192 yards on 34 attempts and Le'Veon Bell was shut down (68 yards on 26 carries). Until this offense can develop an efficient passing attack, teams will continue to stack the box. And beat Michigan State.
This week: at Wisconsin (6-2)

8. Purdue (3-4, 0-3)
Previous rank: 9
Week 8 result: Lost to Ohio State 29-22 (OT)
Danny Hope likes to face the Buckeyes. After getting destroyed by Michigan and Wisconsin at home in back-to-back weeks, the Boilermakers nearly upset Ohio State in the Horseshoe this Saturday. They held Braxton Miller in check before knocking him out of the game with a vicious tackle on a long run in the third quarter. Yet, the offense failed to score a point in the last 36 minutes of play and overtime. And the defense couldn't keep backup Kenny Guiton from leading the Buckeyes to victory. It's been a tough start to Big Ten play for Hope's bunch.
This week: at Minnesota (4-3)

9. Iowa (4-3, 2-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 8 result: Lost to Penn State 38-14
Without walk-on fullback turned star tailback Mark Weisman, the Hawkeyes' offense looked downright atrocious. Yes, Penn State's salty defense deserves plenty of credit but Iowa wasn't even competitive. They fell behind 38-0, totaled 209 yards of offense (20 of which was rushing) and turned the ball over three times. James Vandenberg has made fans completely forget about his efficient and productive 2011 breakout season. That said, there are winnable games left on the schedule and a 4-4 season in the league isn't out of the question.
This week: at Northwestern (6-2)

10. Minnesota (4-3, 0-3)
Previous rank: 10
Week 8 result: Lost to Wisconsin 38-13
The longest running rivalry in college football has been decidedly one-sided of late. Wisconsin rushed past the Gophers for the ninth straight time in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. After another health scare this week, Jerry Kill was on the sidelines for his team's third straight loss since beginning the season 4-0. Despite the struggles and rough final month of the season that features one or two winnable games, there is some good news for Minnesota. Record-setting prep quarterback Phillip Nelson appears to be the long-term future at quarterback and the extremely youthful roster has a lot of upside. 
This week: Purdue (3-4)

11. Illinois (2-5, 0-3)
Previous rank: 11
Week 8 result: Off
Fans in Illinois are hoping that the off week will help erase the memory of a hideous first half of the 2012 season. This weekend will determine who finishes last in the Leaders Division this fall. 

This week: Indiana (2-5)

12. Indiana (2-5, 0-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 8 result: Lost to Navy 31-30
The Big Ten's brutal non-conference season came to a fitting end this weekend when the Hoosiers lost by a single point to a struggling Navy team. Indiana allowed 10 straight fourth-quarter points despite outgaining the Midshipmen to lose in painful fashion. Indiana will be hard-pressed to win another game this season, however, their best chance at a conference win will come this weekend against the teetering Ilini.
This week: at Illinois (2-5)


by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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SEC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings 

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The Big East race may still be between three teams, but the race lost its luster less than a week before one of the marquee games of the season for the league.

Thank Cincinnati for that.

The Big East is down to two undefeated teams as Cincinnati lost 29-23 to Toledo on Saturday night. Cincinnati’s record in the Big East remains unblemished, but the hopes of a three-team round robin among ranked teams -- similar to Louisville, Rutgers and West Virginia in 2006 -- are gone.

Teddy Bridgewater

Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville --
In his first game in front of the home crowd since Sept. 15, Bridgewater turned in his signature performance of the year. The sophomore was 21 of 25 for 256 yards with two touchdowns, and as the run game stalled, Bridgewater led the team in rushing with 74 yards.

2. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers -- Jamison had his best game of the season against Temple, spearheading the second-half comeback. Jamison rushed for 114 yards and caught five passes for 81 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown on a 32-yard screen pass.

3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- After throwing five interceptions in three games, Nassib returned to form against a stout Connecticut defense by completing 14 of 29 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns against the Huskies.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers --
Greene had a hand in a turnover for the third consecutive game, returning a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown against Temple.

2. Jason Hendricks, Pittsburgh -- With 11 stops against Buffalo, the Pittsburgh safety had double-digit tackles for the third consecutive game to go with his fourth interception of the season.

3. Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville -- Mauldin has led the resurgent Cardinals pass rush the last two weeks with 1.5 sacks against Pittsburgh and two against USF (worth noting the Bulls lost guard Mark Popek in the second quarter). The moment of truth will come in containing Munchie Legaux on Friday.

Coach of the Year Standings
1. Kyle Flood, Rutgers --
Trailing at halftime? No problem for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are outscoring Big East opponents 84-15 in the second half this season. Rutgers may rank seventh in the Big East in passing and rushing, but the Scarlet Knights make the most of their opportunities. Thank a Big East-best plus-14 in turnover margin.

2. Charlie Strong, Louisville -- The Cardinals have been far from perfect this season, letting every team since the third week of the season hang around. Yet Louisville keeps gutting out wins, the latest on its final possession of the game.

3. Steve Addazio, Temple -- The loss to Rutgers notwithstanding, Temple exceeded all expectations in its first season back in the Big East.

Big East Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Louisville (6-0, 2-0)
Last week’s rank:
1
Week 8 result: Beat USF 27-25
Louisville is a statistical anomaly in the Big East. Although the Cardinals are one of two undefeated teams left in the conference, they rank in the top two in the Big East in only two major categories - scoring offense and pass efficiency. Louisville ranks in the bottom half of the Big East in run defense, pass efficiency defense and sacks, but that’s showing signs of turning around. The Cardinals have nine sacks in the last two games against Pittsburgh and USF after recording only five in the first five games of the season.
This week: Cincinnati (Friday)

2. Rutgers (6-0, 4-0)
Last week’s rank:
2
Week 8 result: Beat Temple 35-10
For the third week in a row, Rutgers’ undefeated start appeared to be in jeopardy at halftime. Up 10-0, Temple had more control than Syracuse and Connecticut -- or so the Owls thought. Rutgers scored touchdowns on its first four offensive possessions of the second half and then tacked on a fumble recovery for a TD for good measure. After two turnovers in the first half, Gary Nova rebounded with four touchdown passes in the second.
This week: Kent State

3. Cincinnati (5-1, 1-0)
Last week’s rank:
3
Week 8 result: Lost to Toledo 29-23
Cincinnati missed injured defensive end Walter Stewart against Toledo, but the Bearcats inconsistency finally caught up with them in a road loss to the Rockets. Cincinnati briefly took a lead in the third quarter, but Toledo returned then ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. And late in the fourth quarter, the defense couldn’t get a stop on a 15-play, 6-minute, 53-second drive for Toledo. On offense, quarterback Munchie Legaux was 15 of 36 for 227 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
This week: at Louisville (Friday)

4. Syracuse (3-4, 2-1)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 8 result: Beat Connecticut 40-10
For the first time this season, Syracuse stopped playing to the level of its opponent and played a complete game on all sides of the ball. The Orange scored on five consecutive possessions in the second and third quarter, excluding one-play kneel-down to end the first half. The defense held Connecticut to minus-6 yards thanks to eight tackles for a loss. And Ross Krautman was 4 of 4 on field goals. Quietly, Syracuse has held opponents to a Big East-best 1.2 yards per carry in conference games. Next up, Syracuse will seek its first back-to-back wins in more than a year.
This week: at USF

5. Pittsburgh (3-4, 0-3)
Last week’s rank:
6
Week 8 result: Beat Buffalo 20-6
Pitt is undefeated against the MAC. That should be expected, but it is more than three Big East teams can say. The win wasn’t pretty as Pitt was outgained 334-254 in sloppy weather. After the way this season has gone, Pitt will take the win, which will be critical if the Panthers are going to reach the postseason.
This week: Temple

6. Temple (3-3, 2-1)
Last week’s rank:
4
Week 8 result: Lost to 35-10 to Rutgers
Temple had few answers in the second half against Rutgers, giving up five unanswered touchdowns, but the Owls were the first team this season to rush for at least 100 yards against the Scarlet Knights. Quarterback Chris Coyer struggled mightily, completing only 7 of 14 passes for 65 yards with three turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown. If Temple is going to reach a bowl game, the Owls will have to win a road game with three of hte last five games coming away from Philadelphia.
This week: at Pittsburgh

7. USF (2-5, 0-3)
Last week’s rank:
8
Week 8 result: Lost to Louisville 27-25
Another week meant another heartbreaking loss for USF, this one with historical significance. The Bulls’ fifth consecutive loss sealed the longest losing streak in program history. The defeat, though, came in the same manner as so many others over the last two seasons -- by losing a fourth quarter lead. Despite trailing 14-3 at halftime, USF took a 25-21 lead in the final 3:09 before Teddy Bridgewater led the game-winning drive. The difference this week was USF advancing all the way to the 2-yard line before the Bulls were stuffed on three consecutive plays near the end of the third quarter.
This week: Syracuse

8. Connecticut (2-5, 0-3)
Last week’s rank:
7
Week 8 result: Lost to Syracuse 40-10
The Huskies finally got a standout game out of the passing attack with Chandler Whitmer going 23 of 41 for 296 yards with a touchdown. Nearly everything else flopped. Syracuse, which hadn’t rushed for more than 133 yards against an FBS opponent, ran for 251 yards against Connecticut. Suddenly, the UConn defense has allowed 453 rushing yards the last two weeks after holding its first four opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground. On offense, the story is getting worse as UConn’s best and most versatile lineman, Adam Masters, was lost for the season with an ankle injury. UConn’s minus-6 rushing yards against Syracuse was its worst since moving up to the FBS.
This week: Off

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

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SEC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

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Week 8 featured a full slate of action in the ACC. Florida State got a big win over rival Miami, while Clemson knocked off Virginia Tech. NC State escaped College Park with a close win, and Duke got bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 with an upset victory over North Carolina.

Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – The sophomore has been on fire over the last three weeks and has 795 rushing yards and 24 receptions this season.

2. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – Although Manuel’s performance against NC State was shaky, he has thrown for 2,033 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The senior leads the ACC in passing efficiency and is completing 71.5 percent of his throws.

3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd did not play well against Virginia Tech but leads the ACC in 308.4 yards of total offense per game.
 

Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner abused Miami’s offensive line for three tackles, two sacks and 1.5 tackles for a loss. The junior has eight sacks and 11.5 tackles this season.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano is a big reason why Maryland ranks 11th nationally in total defense and sixth against the run. The senior recorded 10 tackles and one sack against NC State in Week 8.

3. Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke – Cockrell continued his strong season with two tackles for a loss and one pass breakup against North Carolina. The junior has 14 passes defended and four interceptions this year.
 

Coach of the Year Standings

1. David Cutcliffe, Duke – Even if Duke loses its final four games this year, Cutcliffe will be tough to unseat as the winner of this award. The Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 and have legitimate Coastal Division title hopes.

2. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – Since losing to NC State on Oct. 6, the Seminoles have outscored their last two opponents 84-27.

3. Randy Edsall, Maryland – The Terrapins are no longer unbeaten in ACC play but this is a much-improved team in Edsall’s second season.

Post-Week 8 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (7-1, 4-1 ACC)
Last Week:
1
Week 8 Result: Beat Miami 33-20
It wasn’t a perfect effort, but the Seminoles did just enough to leave Miami with a 33-20 victory. Florida State committed 12 penalties (some very questionable calls by the officials) and had two turnovers, but used a stellar defensive effort and 229 passing yards from quarterback EJ Manuel to cruise in the second half to the win. Florida State still needs a loss by NC State to take control of the ACC Atlantic, but the Seminoles are clearly the best team in the conference after eight weeks of the season.
Next Game: Duke

2. Clemson (6-1, 3-1 ACC)
Last Week:
2
Week 8 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 38-17
With the offense struggling to get on track, the Tigers needed a big effort from their much-maligned defense to beat Virginia Tech. After allowing at least 30 points in its three previous games, the defense stepped up and created four turnovers, while taking an interception back for a touchdown in the second quarter. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for a season-low of 160 yards, but the defensive effort and 96 rushing yards from running back Andre Ellington was enough to knock off Virginia Tech 38-17. The Tigers have a short turnaround this week, as they travel to Wake Forest on Thursday night.
Next Game: at Wake Forest

3. NC State (5-2, 2-1 ACC)
Last Week:
3
Week 8 Result: Beat Maryland 20-18
Even though the Wolfpack had a bye week after beating Florida State, coach Tom O’Brien still had to be worried about a letdown against Maryland. It wasn’t easy, but NC State squeaked out a 20-18 win in College Park. Quarterback Mike Glennon led the way with 307 passing yards, while NC State’s defense forced two turnovers. However, the biggest moment in the game came in the final seconds, as Maryland missed a game-winning field goal, which gave the Wolfpack the win and kept their ACC Atlantic title hopes alive.
Next Game: at North Carolina

4. Duke (6-2, 3-1 ACC)
Last Week:
 8
Week 8 Result: Beat North Carolina 33-30
Finally. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and his staff have to be breathing a little easier this week, as a 33-30 victory over North Carolina in Week 8 has the Blue Devils bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. The Tar Heels took the lead with just over three minutes to go, but Duke quarterback Sean Renfree led a clutch drive to get the Blue Devils in position for the score. On fourth and goal from the five, Renfree hit Jamison Crowder for the winning touchdown, which was just enough for Duke to edge rival North Carolina 33-30. While the Blue Devils have to be happy getting to six wins, they have a legitimate chance to win the Coastal Division. The path isn’t easy, beginning with a road trip on Saturday at Florida State.
Next Game: at Florida State

5. Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2 ACC)
Last Week:
6
Week 8 Result: Lost to Duke 38-17
The Hokies had no answer for Clemson last season and fell 38-17 in Death Valley on Saturday afternoon. The defense has struggled to live up to its preseason hype but held its own against the Tigers. Clemson managed only 160 passing yards, while running back Andre Ellington managed 96 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Although the defensive effort was solid, the offense struggled to get production from running back J.C. Coleman and committed four turnovers. As disappointing as this season has been for Virginia Tech, it can still get to the ACC title game. The Hokies are off this Saturday and play Miami in a crucial conference game on Nov. 1.
Next Game: at Miami (Nov. 1)

6. North Carolina (5-3, 2-2 ACC)
Last Week:
4
Week 8 Result: Lost to Duke 33-30
The Tar Heels had their eight-game winning streak against Duke snapped on Saturday night, losing 33-30 to the Blue Devils. Running back Giovani Bernard recorded his third 100-yard effort of the season, gashing Duke for 143 yards and one touchdown. Despite Bernard’s success, it wasn’t enough for North Carolina’s offense. Quarterback Bryn Renner threw for only 198 yards and the offense had two turnovers. The Tar Heels struggled to find answers on defense, as Duke recorded 276 yards through the air and 234 on the ground. After losing to the Blue Devils, North Carolina can salvage some in-state bragging rights with a win over NC State next week.
Next Game: NC State

7. Miami (4-4, 3-2 ACC)
Last Week:
5
Week 8 Result: Florida State 33-20
It’s pretty clear the Hurricanes aren’t as talented as Florida State, but Al Golden’s team found a way to make things interesting for a half on Saturday night. However, Miami’s porous defense eventually caved, and the offense struggled to get on track behind an injured quarterback. The loss to the Seminoles was the third consecutive defeat for the Hurricanes, which evened their record at 4-4 for the season. Miami has a bye this Saturday and has a crucial Coastal Division game against Virginia Tech on Nov. 1.
Next Game: Virginia Tech (Nov. 1)

8. Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week:
7
Week 8 Result: Beat Boston College 37-17
The Yellow Jackets got a much-needed 37-17 victory over Boston College in Week 8, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Although the Eagles aren’t the ACC’s most explosive offense, the change in defensive coordinators seems to have paid off for coach Paul Johnson. Georgia Tech gave up just 296 yards – the second fewest this season – and forced two turnovers and two sacks. The Yellow Jackets step out of conference for a matchup against BYU this Saturday.
Next Game: BYU

9. Maryland (4-3, 2-1 ACC)
Last Week:
9
Week 8 Result: Lost to NC State 20-18
With a freshman quarterback and revamped schemes on both sides of the ball, the Terrapins were one of the ACC’s biggest surprises in the first half of the season. Maryland nearly continued its surprise start with an upset victory over NC State, but the Wolfpack rallied to a 20-18 win. Despite losing quarterback Perry Hills to a knee injury, the offense moved the ball behind Devin Burns and Caleb Rowe. Burns threw for 47 yards, while adding 50 on the ground. Rowe led the team into field goal position with seconds remaining, but kicker Brad Craddock missed a 33-yard attempt for the win.
Next Game: at Boston College

10. Wake Forest (4-3, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week:
11
Week 8 Result: Beat Virginia 16-10
In what could be an elimination game for bowl eligibility, the Demon Deacons knocked off Virginia 16-10 to improve their record to 4-3 this season. Quarterback Tanner Price completed just 7 of 19 passes for 102 yards, while Josh Harris and Deandre Martin combined for 75 yards and one touchdown. Wake Forest’s defense played well, allowing only 48 rushing yards to Virginia and forcing three turnovers. The Demon Deacons have a short week to prepare for Clemson on Thursday night and aren’t expected to get receiver Michael Campanaro back from a hand injury.
Next Game: Clemson

11. Virginia (2-6, 0-4 ACC)
Last Week:
10
Week 8 Result: Lost to Wake Forest 16-10
After starting 2-0, the Cavaliers have slumped to six consecutive losses, including four in ACC play. Virginia lost 16-10 to Wake Forest on Saturday, which put Mike London’s team in danger of missing a bowl game. The Cavaliers have yet to find their rushing attack, while turnovers have plagued this team through the first eight weeks of the season. Virginia has a bye this Saturday and needs to win its final four games – at NC State, Miami, North Carolina, at Virginia Tech – to get bowl eligible. It’s unlikely the Cavaliers can win their final four games, but this team needs to close with some momentum to build for 2013.
Next Game: at NC State (Nov. 3)

12. Boston College (1-6, 0-4 ACC)
Last Week:
12
Week 8 Result: Lost to Georgia Tech 37-17
With five consecutive losses, the Eagles are firmly entrenched as the No. 12 team in the power rankings. Boston College trailed Georgia Tech 28-3 at halftime but cut the lead to 31-17 early in the fourth quarter. However, the Eagles couldn’t get any closer, and the Yellow Jackets finished with a 37-17 victory. With games against Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State remaining, Boston College has only two legitimate chances for a victory – Maryland (Oct. 27) and at Wake Forest (Nov. 3).
Next Game: Maryland


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:01
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If there was any doubt Kansas State was the No. 1 team in the Big 12, those questions were erased with a convincing 55-14 win over West Virginia in Week 8. The Wildcats improved to 7-0 and have a commanding lead in the conference, especially with a win over Oklahoma earlier this year. The Mountaineers have faded over the last two weeks, but the Sooners are on the rise. Oklahoma has won three Big 12 games in a row and is back in the national title mix. Texas Tech is one of the conference's most-improved teams this year and will have a shot at Kansas State this Saturday. 

Big 12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
1
Week 8 Result: Beat West Virginia 55-14
There’s no debate for the No. 1 team in the Big 12 standings. With the Wildcats' 55-14 win over West Virginia, they clearly own the top spot in the power rankings and are squarely in the mix for a national title appearance. Quarterback Collin Klein bolstered his Heisman campaign with seven touchdowns against the Mountaineers, while the defense held West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to 143 passing yards. The Wildcats play their next two games at home, before finishing the season with three matchups against teams from Texas.
Next Game: Texas Tech

2. Oklahoma (5-1, 3-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
2
Week 8 Result: Beat Kansas 52-7
Coming off a win over Texas and a huge contest next Saturday against Notre Dame, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had to be wary of a letdown against Kansas. However, the Sooners came out firing on all cylinders, opening a 38-0 lead at halftime and cruising to a 52-7 victory. Quarterback Landry Jones threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns, while Oklahoma scored twice on special teams to easily dispatch of the Jayhawks. Since scoring only 19 points in a loss to Kansas State, the Sooners have scored at least 41 in each of their last three contests.
Next Game: Notre Dame

3. Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
4
Week 8 Result: Beat TCU 56-53
Letdown. That was the dreaded word tossed around Lubbock this week, as the Red Raiders hoped to avoid a road loss after beating West Virginia 49-14 last Saturday. However, Texas Tech quickly forgot about the win over the Mountaineers and outlasted TCU for a 56-53 win in three overtimes. The defense allowed over 500 yards, but quarterback Seth Doege threw for 318 yards and seven touchdowns, including an eight-yard score to Alex Torres to win the game. The victory over the Horned Frogs gave the Red Raiders back-to-back wins in Big 12 play for the first time since 2009.
Next Game: at Kansas State

4. West Virginia (5-2, 2-2 Big 12)
Last Week:
3
Week 8 Result: Lost to Kansas State 55-14
A promising season has gone by the wayside for West Virginia. The Mountaineers were one of the nation’s top title contenders through the first six weeks but have lost back-to-back games in blowout fashion. Quarterback Geno Smith’s Heisman hopes have taken a huge hit, as he has only two touchdown passes over the last two contests. While the offense isn’t playing well, the biggest culprit for West Virginia’s struggles is the defense. The Mountaineers rank 113th nationally in yards allowed, 115th in scoring defense and 120th passing defense. Even though West Virginia’s national title hopes are finished, it can still salvage a 10-win season and maybe a BCS bowl. However, the rest of the schedule isn’t easy, as TCU and Oklahoma visit Morgantown, with a road trip to Oklahoma State coming up on Nov. 10.
Next Game: TCU

5. Texas (5-2, 2-2 Big 12)
Last Week:
6
Week 8 Result: Beat Baylor 56-50
The Longhorns snapped a two-game losing streak with a 56-50 win over Baylor. The defense was shredded for 607 yards, but Texas’ offense used five touchdowns from running back Joe Bergeron to hold off a late charge by the Bears. The victory was crucial to get the Longhorns back on track after a rough two-game patch. Barring a surprise collapse by Kansas State, Texas is out of the mix for a Big 12 title. However, this team can finish with 10 wins and can play spoiler with a matchup against the Wildcats on Dec. 1.
Next Game: at Kansas

6. Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
7
Week 8 Result: Beat Iowa State 31-10
A week after a sluggish performance against Kansas, the Cowboys got back on track with a 31-10 win over Iowa State. Oklahoma State recorded over 600 yards of offense, including 153 on the ground from running back Joseph Randle. Quarterback J.W. Walsh was sharp, completing 32 of 47 passes for 413 yards and one touchdown. The Cowboys were short-handed at receiver with Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson out, but Charlie Moore, Josh Stewart and Blake Jackson stepped up in their absence. The news from Saturday's game wasn't all positive, as coach Mike Gundy announced on Sunday Walsh was done for the year with a knee injury.
Next Game: TCU

7. TCU (5-2, 2-2 Big 12)
Last Week:
5
Week 8 Result: Lost to Texas Tech 56-53
The Horned Frogs found themselves on the losing end of one of Week 8’s most entertaining games. TCU trailed 36-26 with five minutes to go but rallied behind quarterback Trevone Boykin. The redshirt freshman connected with LaDarius Brown on a 60-yard touchdown and later led the team into scoring position for a field goal to send the game into overtime. The Horned Frogs pushed the Red Raiders into the third overtime but lost when Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege found receiver Alex Torres for an eight-yard touchdown.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State

8. Iowa State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12)
Last Week:
8
Week 8 Result: Lost to Oklahoma State 31-10
The Cyclones jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter but failed to score a point the rest of the game and lost 31-10 to Oklahoma State. Both sides of the ball share blame, but the offense failed to find a rhythm after the first 15 minutes. Quarterback Jared Barnett completed only 19 of 39 throws and led the team with 49 rushing yards. Iowa State’s defense has been solid all season, but Oklahoma State simply had too much firepower to hold in check. The Cyclones have lost three out of their last four games.
Next Game: Baylor

9. Baylor (3-3, 0-3 Big 12)
Last Week:
9
Week 8 Result: Lost to Texas 56-50
Once again, the Bears had enough offense to win, but the defense failed to make key stops in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Nick Florence recorded four total touchdowns and had 352 passing yards, but his effort was overshadowed by a Baylor defense that gave up 525 yards. The Bears have allowed at least 500 yards in five out of their six games this season. Baylor has yet to win a conference game this year and the road won’t get any easier with a trip to Iowa State next week. Considering the Bears close with Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, beating Iowa State and Kansas the next two weeks is a must.
Next Game: at Iowa State

10. Kansas (1-6, 0-4 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 8 Result: Lost to Oklahoma 52-7
The Jayhawks continued their downward spiral with a 52-7 defeat to Oklahoma. Kansas has played well in the first half og games throughout the year, but the Sooners jumped out to a 38-0 lead after two quarters. Michael Cummings replaced Dayne Crist at quarterback, but he threw for only 116 yards and tossed two picks. The lone bright spot for Kansas’ offense has been the play of running back James Sims, who recorded 102 yards on 28 attempts on Saturday. The Jayhawks play their next three games against opponents from Texas, before finishing the year with Iowa State and West Virginia.
Next Game: Texas
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content


Big East Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-college-basketball-countdown-horizon-league-preview
Body:

Athlon Sports continues its countdown to the start of the 2012-13 basketball season, which begins with the first games on Nov. 9, with a countdown of the nation’s top conferences. We will release one conference preview each day, counting down to the top conference. For profiles of every team in each conference, check out the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store.

The Horizon League opens the 2012-13 without its marquee program, Butler, which departed during the offseason for the Atlantic 10.

Try telling the remaining teams Butler’s absence cuts into the intrigue around the Horizon League. Butler finished last season in a three-way tie for third place at 11-7. The Bulldogs weren’t even the Horizon’s best team in Indiana. That title belonged to Vaparaiso, which won the regular season title in Bryce Drew’s first season as head coach. Drew is ready for another run at a title and perhaps Valpo’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2004.

That said, the league’s best player resides in Detroit, where Ray McCallum Jr. averaged 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists.

ATHLON ALL-HORIZON TEAM HORIZON FACTS AND FIGURES
G Ray McCallum, Detroit* 2011-12 regular season champion: Valparaiso
G Kendrick Perry, Youngstown State 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Detroit#
F Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso New coaches: None
F Kevin Van Wijk, Valparaiso Realignment: Lost Butler to Atlantic 10
C Alec Brown, Green Bay  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion




 

 

 

2012-13 HORIZON LEAGUE PREVIEW
1. Valparaiso (22–12, 14–4)

Valpo legend Bryce Drew was a year ahead of schedule in winning the regular-season Horizon title in his first year as coach, and he'll enter 2012-13 as the heavy favorite with five senior starters returning. First among those starters is reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff, who averaged 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in his first season as the team’s primary scorer after Brandon Wood departed for Michigan State. The 6-7 forward was one of the last cuts from Australia's Olympic team. Kevin Van Wijk accompanied Broekhoff in the frontcourt and on the All-Horizon first team as Valpo’s second-leading scorer with 14.1 points per game while shooting a league-best 61.7 percent. The first man off the bench after the five returning starters should be former Indiana transfer Bobby Capobianco, a 6-9 junior who sat out last season after averaging almost nine minutes per game over two seasons with IU.
NCAA Tournament prediction: One and done

2. Detroit (22–14, 11–7)
The Titans took half a season to gel last year before rolling to a 13–3 finish that included the Horizon Tournament title and a 65–50 loss to Final Four participant Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Ray McCallum Jr., the catalyst of last season’s team and son of coach Ray McCallum Sr., is back for a junior season that could propel him into the NBA Draft. The former McDonald’s All-American averaged 15.4 points, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals, which were all in the top four in the league last year. Two other starters — seniors Doug Anderson (9.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Jason Calliste (10.2 ppg) — give McCallum plenty of support, and forward Nick Minnerath is back after starting the first five games and then tearing his ACL. Three junior college transfers are expected to rotate at center unless one seizes the position, and Western Michigan transfer Juwan Howard Jr. becomes eligible and is expected to be in the rotation for a team that should challenge for the league title.

3. Green Bay (15–15, 10–8)
Green Bay looks to carry forward its momentum from a strong second half of 2011-12 with four starters returning to a team that went a league-best 12–2 at home. The Phoenix boast one of the league’s top frontcourts in Alec Brown and Brennan Cougill. Brown, a 7-1 junior, averaged 13.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks en route to first-team All-Horizon honors, while Cougill averaged 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds. Big things are expected from point guard Keifer Sykes, an All-Newcomer selection who averaged 13.8 points and 4.5 assists in conference games as a freshman.

4. Cleveland State (22–11, 12–6)
Cleveland State is in a bit of a rebuilding mode after an impressive two-year run that featured 49 wins and a 25-11 Horizon record. Big man Tim Kamczyc, a fifth-year senior, returns for his third season in the starting lineup, but the other four Vikings starters from last season are gone. Sophomore Anton Grady was a member of the Horizon All-Newcomer team after averaging 8.5 points and 6.4 rebounds off the bench and gives CSU a solid frontcourt to build around. In the backcourt, the Vikings had three freshmen who averaged double-digit minutes, and all three are back for 2012-13. Charles Lee is expected to take over at point, while Marlin Mason and Sebastian Douglas return as the only wings with significant experience. Incoming 6-4 freshman Junior Lomomba from Montreal is expected to be a big part of the rotation.

5. Milwaukee (20–14, 11–7)
The big story coming from Milwaukee is not necessarily on the court, but the court itself. The Panthers are moving into the renovated, on-campus 3,400-seat Klotsche Center after years of playing at the 12,700-seat U.S. Cellular Arena in downtown Milwaukee. The team received a waiver from the Horizon League to play in an arena with less than 5,000 seats, and the cramped quarters should prove difficult for visitors. Milwaukee returns three starters, including James Haarsma (10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg), who thrived in his first season of eligibility after transferring from Evansville. The Panthers must improve on its 61.2 percent free throw shooting, which ranked 324th in the nation.

6. Youngstown State (16–15, 10–8)
The Penguins made a nice jump last season, earning 10 Horizon League wins after winning just two the season before. Youngstown State returns three starters from a team that basically had a five-man rotation last season (the Penguins’ sixth-leading scorer averaged 2.1 ppg). Center Damian Eargle is the nation’s leading returning shot-blocker (3.7 bpg), and he averaged 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds as a junior. Leading scorer Kendrick Perry, a first-team All-Horizon selection, is also back after pumping in 16.8 points per game. Blake Allen hopes to increase his league-best 91 3-pointers in his senior season.

7. Wright State (13–19, 7–11)
Coach Billy Donlon prefers a long bench, and he will return seven of the 11 players that averaged double-digit minutes for the Raiders. Unfortunately, the team’s best player — Julius Mays — is not among them after Mays transferred to Kentucky. Still, a trio of juniors in Cole Darling, A.J. Pacher and Matt Vest, along with point guard Reggie Arceneaux, give Wright State reason to think it is a chance to exceed last season’s win total even with the loss of Mays.

8. UIC (8–22, 3–15)
Things should be better in coach Howard Moore’s third season in Chicago. Four starters are back, including emerging forward Hayden Humes (11.8 ppg in his final nine games) and ’11-12 Horizon All-Newcomer Gary Talton, a junior college transfer who averaged 11.6 points from his guard slot. Two other starting guards return — Daniel Barnes and Marc Brown — and Eastern Illinois transfer Joey Miller becomes eligible and will join the backcourt rotation for a team that must raise its 39.5 percent field goal shooting (320th in the nation) to move up in the league.

9. Loyola (7–23, 1–17)
Coach Porter Moser will try to bounce back from a disappointing debut season at Loyola, and he will lean on three returning starters and eight newcomers to do so. Ben Averkamp averaged 15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds as a second-team All-Horizon selection and he has a shot to be a first-teamer this year if the Ramblers can improve in the win-loss department. Guard Joe Crisman (8.5 ppg) and forward Jordan Hicks (8.4 ppg) also return. Point guard Cully Payne, an Iowa transfer who sat out last year after starting five games before getting hurt as a sophomore in ’10-11 for the Hawkeyes, is expected to start.

@AthlonSports

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

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky

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

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Countdown: Horizon League Preview</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-8-waiver-wire-report
Body:

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?  That theme seems to play out in our waiver report this week as a few listed names below, if available in your league, were probably on rosters at some point earlier this season. 

Chuckie Keeton, QB-Utah State

Statistically, Keeton had been rather average from a fantasy point of view throughout the non-conference portion of Utah State’s schedule.  However, the sophomore quarterback has thrown for 530 yards, rushed for another 128 yards, and has accounted for eight total touchdowns in two WAC games.

Ameer Abdullah, RB-Nebraska

We’re no longer confident that Rex Burkhead will shake the injury bug that has plagued him for most of this season.  If Abdullah is still floating around on the waiver wire, pick him up because he has potential to serve as a solid RB#2 as long as Burkhead stays on the sideline.

Latavius Murray, RB-Central Florida

Murray seems to have reassumed the starting running back spot after his 23-carry performance against Memphis this past weekend.  It is very likely that Murray was tossed backed into the waiver pool after his injury earlier in the season.  Given UCF’s upcoming schedule, Murray could be a tremendous asset for owners looking to make a late-season surge.

Jordan Parker, RB-Middle Tennessee

We were wondering who would shoulder the load at running back for the Blue Raiders after Ben Cunningham was lost for the season with a knee injury.  Jordan Parker rushed for a team-high 66 yards on 13 carries at Mississippi State on Saturday.  His modest numbers did not draw any attention and fantasy owners may not even have to put in a waiver claim for the freshman running back.

Antavious Wilson, WR-Marshall

Wilson’s value continues to rise in deep PPR leagues as the senior receiver has caught at least six passes in five-of-seven games this season and has a touchdown reception in each of Marshall’s previous three games.

Josh Schaffer, WR-Western Michigan

Since Tyler Van Tubbergen took over at quarterback for the injured Alex Carder, Schaffer has emerged as the Broncos’ leading receiver, catching 15 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns the past two weeks.

Charlie Moore, WR-Oklahoma St

Moore was a player we had high hopes for before the season began, but he managed only six receptions in the Cowboys’ first four games.  The junior receiver should be back on everyone’s radar after hauling in 13 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks.


by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email:  joe@thecffsite.com

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 8 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 04:48
Path: /news/streaker-runs-field-during-stanford-california-game
Body:

2012 has been a rough season for California and it only got worse with a 21-3 loss to rival Stanford. The Golden Bears are 3-5, and coach Jeff Tedford is squarely on the hot seat after the team's disappointing performance. 

While the action on the field was dull, a streaker ran onto the field during halftime. The streaker was chased off the field by one of the California players and was quickly caught by security after he reached midfield. 

Teaser:
<p> Streaker Runs Onto Field During Stanford-California Game</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 23:01
Path: /news/fan-runs-field-during-florida-state-miami-game
Body:

The Miami-Florida State rivalry has produced plenty of instant classics over the years and while Saturday night's game wasn't the best in the series, it provided one of the most bizarre moments in recent memory.

The game was interrupted in the first quarter when a fan somehow made his way onto the field during a Florida State drive. The play was largely over when the fan ran onto the field but it was an interesting moment to say the least.

The best part of the video? The security guys at the end making a pretty solid tackle in the endzone. Considering how bad Miami's defense has been this year, maybe Al Golden should see if the security guard has any eligibility left. 

Teaser:
<p> Fan Runs Onto Field During Florida State-Miami Game</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 22:53
Path: /news/wyoming-coach-dave-christensen-goes-air-force-coach-troy-calhoun
Body:

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was not a happy man after losing to Air Force on Oct. 13. Christensen believed the Falcons faked an injury and used the timeout to setup their next play, which just happened to be a touchdown. 

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun approached Christensen for the post-game handshake, and the Wyoming coach exploded with a tirade against the Falcons' head man. 

Christensen questioned Calhoun's integrity and ethics, along with calling him "Mr. Howdy Doody."

Christensen later apologized for the incident, but let's just say these two won't exchange Christmas cards later this year.

Caution: The video contains explicit language

Teaser:
<p> Wyoming Coach Dave Christensen Goes Off At Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 22:43
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-analysis-post-week-8
Body:

Shades of 2008 and 2009 continue to play out in the BCS standings as Alabama and Florida remain on top in the second release of the rankings.

The two teams met in the SEC championship game in those two seasons for a winner-take-all trip to the national championship game and may again if both teams remain undefeated.

However, the action in the second week of the BCS rankings was outside of the top two where Kansas State and Oregon are jockeying for position. Oregon, ranked second in the coaches’ and Harris polls, pass the eye test, but Kansas State, with two major road wins, has the more impressive resume thus far.

Beyond Alabama and Florida, the rankings remain SEC-heavy. Six teams from the conference -- Alabama, Florida, LSU, Georgia, Mississippi State and South Carolina -- are among the top 14 teams, the threshold for a BCS at-large bid.

The Big 12 (three) and the Pac-12 (two) are the only other leagues with more than two teams in the BCS top 14.

Here are a few observations from the latest release of the BCS standings.

MOVING UP

BCS Standings
Oct. 21

Coaches' Poll Harris Poll Comp. Avg. Last Wk.
1. Alabama 1 1 4 1
2. Florida 3 3 1 2
3. Kansas St. 4 4 2 3
4. Oregon 2 2 6 4
5. Notre Dame 5 5 3 5
6. LSU 6 6 7 6
7. Oregon St. 9 8 5 8
8. Oklahoma 7 7 8 9
9. USC 8 9 16 10
10. Georgia 11 11 T-13 11
11. Miss. St. 12 12 T-13 12
12. Florida St. 10 10 21 14
13. S. Carolina 16 16 10 7
14. Texas Tech 17 17 9 17
15. Rutgers 15 15 11 15
16. Louisville 14 14 18 16

No. 3 Kansas State. The Wildcats’ 55-14 win over West Virginia in Morgantown flip-flopped Kansas State with Oregon to the third spot in the standings. Oddly enough, Kansas State dropped a spot in the coaches’ poll, switching spots with Florida, who defeated South Carolina 44-11. The computer rankings, however, favor Kansas State, thanks to road victories over the Mountaineers and Oklahoma. Kansas State is second to Florida in the computer rankings, moving up from fourth last week. Kansas State is ranked first in two of the six individual computer rankings.

MOVING DOWN
No. 4 Oregon. With Kansas State moving up a spot, Oregon moved down to fourth, despite placing second in the coaches’ and Harris polls. Despite a 43-21 win over Arizona State on the road, Oregon remains sixth in the average computer rankings. Reasons not to worry for the Ducks: The margin between the two teams (0.0145 in the BCS average) is closer than any team within the top 10, and Oregon still has No. 7 Oregon State, No. 9 USC and No. 17 Stanford on the schedule. Kansas State has No. 14 Texas Tech and No. 23 Texas, both at home. In other words, Oregon, facing lowly Colorado on Saturday, will have to wait at least two weeks to leapfrog Kansas State, assuming both remain undefeated.

KEY GAMES THIS WEEK
No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma. The Sooners are still rooting for a Kansas State loss for their Big 12 title hopes, but facing Notre Dame is a critical game for OU’s hopes to get back into the national title race. A loss would all but eliminate the Sooners and hamper their chances of being an at-large BCS bid. For Notre Dame, defeating Oklahoma in Norman would close a gap between the Irish and the top four in the standings.

No. 14 Texas Tech at No. 3 Kansas State. The computer rankings love both teams, but the Red Raiders, with a 21-point loss to Oklahoma on the resume, are simply trying to climb up the rankings. For both teams, this week’s opponent may be the highest ranked team they face for the season.

No. 11 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama. The Bulldogs are undefeated, but they’re outside of the power structure of Alabama, Florida, LSU and South Carolina. That changes with a good showing at Tuscaloosa. An upset would disrupt the BCS standings and make Mississippi State an SEC West favorite, and thus, a national title contender.

OTHER NOTES
The gap is closing for Alabama. Again, the SEC champion may control its own destiny as far as the national title race is concerned, so the field catching up to the Tide may be irrelevant. Alabama’s BCS average dropped from 0.9761 to 0.9625 while the BCS average for Florida, Kansas State and Oregon all went up. To save you the math: The gap between Alabama and Nos. 2-4 is smaller than it was last week between the No. 1 Tide and No. 2 Florida.

Notre Dame is on the outside, for now. Notre Dame’s BCS average dropped despite a 17-14 win over BYU, creating a sizable gap between the Irish and the top four. Of course, this could change in a hurry with a road game against Oklahoma this week.

Welcome back, Big Ten. After the Big Ten was shut out in the first BCS standings two teams -- No. 22 Michigan and No. 25 Wisconsin -- entered the rankings. This means little for the national title race, but it is important for the postseason. Michigan is one spot behind No. 21 Boise State and two ahead of No. 24 Ohio, damaging those two teams’ chances of reaching a BCS game. Those teams either need to be among the top 14 or the top 16 if Boise State or Ohio is ranked ahead of an automatic qualifying conference champion.

Notes on BCS selection:
Automatic BCS bids go to the top two for the title game, the champions of the ACC (Orange Bowl), Big 12 (Fiesta), Big Ten (Rose), Pac-12 (Rose) and SEC (Sugar). The Big East’s automatic bid is not tied to a particular bowl.

Notre Dame receives an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight.

A champion from a non-automatic qualifying league (Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC and non-Notre Dame independents) receive an automatic bid if it finishes in the top 12 of the standings or if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of a champion from a non-AQ conference.

To be eligible for an at-large BCS bid, a team must have nine or more wins and finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings.

Once automatic tie-ins are placed, the selection order for BCS bids goes as follows: 1. The bowl losing the BCS No. 1 team to the championship game, 2. The bowl losing the BCS No. 2 team, 3. The Fiesta Bowl, 4. The Sugar, 5. The Orange.

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

Related College Football Content
Week 8 Recap: Kansas State, Florida solidify BCS contender status
Who votes in the Harris Poll?

Teaser:
<p> College Football: BCS Analysis Post-Week 8</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 20:05
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-8-recap-kansas-state-florida-solidify-bcs-contender-status
Body:

The skeptics are nowhere to be found in Manhattan, Kan., and Gainesville, Fla. Of course, Alabama and Oregon keep rolling in the national title hunt, but two potential usurpers continue to state their resounding cases week after week.

A month after defeating Oklahoma 24-19, Kansas State erased any misgivings about the Wildcats’ clout as a national contender by pounding West Virginia 55-14 in Morgantown. In the process, Collin Klein likely flip-flopped his spot with Geno Smith for the nation’s Heisman frontrunner of the week.

Meanwhile, Florida continues to defy the numbers by defeating South Carolina by 33 points, an astounding feat considering the Gators were outgained 191 yards to 183 and its quarterback passes for fewer than 100 yards in the third consecutive game.

Those weren’t the only statements in Week 8, but they were the loudest.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 8 RECAP: THREE AND OUT

THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM KANSAS STATE 55, WEST VIRGINIA 14

Collin Klein

Kansas State is leaving no doubt. The book on Kansas State last season was an opportunistic team at best, lucky at worst. Indeed, the Wildcats were outgained in every Big 12 game other than Kansas despite a 7-2 conference record. This year’s team is downright dominant, a point reinforced by the win over West Virginia. Kansas State opened up a 24-0 lead before Tavon Austin’s kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter. The Wildcats scored 52 points before West Virginia’s first offensive touchdown. Kansas State also held West Virginia to 243 yards, its lowest total since a loss to LSU on Sept. 25, 2010.

Collin Klein is the Heisman frontrunner. Klein likely wrestled the Heisman lead away from West Virginia’s Geno Smith when the unofficial power rankings come out early this week. Klein played a part on all seven of Kansas State’s touchdowns with four rushing TDs and three passing. Klein easily out-dueled Smith in the passing game with 323 yards (on 19 of 21 attempts) to Smith’s 143 yards with two picks.

Memo to hot quarterbacks: Avoid Arthur Brown. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith threw his first interception since the regular season finale against USF last year, a streak of 327 consecutive passes without a pick. The first interception of the season went to Kansas State’s Arthur Brown, who recorded the first interception of the season against Baylor’s Robert Griffin III a year ago.

THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM FLORIDA 44, SOUTH CAROLINA 11

Will Muschamp

Florida is unstoppable in the second half. Whatever Florida’s coaching staff is doing in the second half, it’s working. The Gators are outscoring SEC opponents 108-18 after halftime, including 23-5 against LSU. Florida has allowed one third-quarter touchdown (to Tennessee on Sept. 15) in conference games, but the offense under coordinator Brent Pease may be even better. The Gators have scored on their first possession of the second half in five of six SEC games, the exception being LSU. Florida scored on its second possession of the third quarter against the Tigers.

Florida has elite special teams. The Gators turned last week’s win over Vanderbilt thanks to a blocked field goal and a fake punt. The trend continued against South Carolina when the offense couldn’t move the ball. Punter Kyle Christy (54.3 yards per kick) won the field position battle, and the do-it-all Trey Burton stripped the ball and recovered a fumble from South Carolina punt returner Ace Sanders -- a player who knows a thing or two about turning games on special teams. Florida also blocked a field goal for the second consecutive week.

Spurrier’s frustrated. Florida found a way to neutralize Jadeveon Clowney’s impact on the game: One- and two-yard touchdown drives. Even though Clowney caused problems for the Gators offensive line in the entire first half, turnovers doomed the Gamecocks from the get-go. Two special teams fumbles and Connor Shaw’s fumble on the first snap of the game set up short fields for Florida. By the second half, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was frustrated enough to yank quarterback Connor Shaw, but it made little difference in the 44-11 rout. “The only thing you can hope is that your guys give it their best shot and not just lay the ball down and basically say, ‘Here, Florida, we don’t want to win. You guys take this fumble and this fumble and this fumble,’” Spurrier said after the game.

MOVING THE CHAINS
LSU winning the LSU way.
Until LSU finds consistent quarterback play, the Tigers are going to have to win games like they have the last two weeks. Texas A&M dominated most of the first half, but LSU capitalized on two turnovers in the final two minutes to take a 14-13 lead at halftime. The Tigers kept the pressure on Manziel in the second half, who threw three total interceptions in the 24-19 loss. As long as Zach Mettenberger continues to struggle (11 of 29 passing, 97 yards), LSU will need to have capitalize on every defensive opportunity and gash opponents with the run game (219 yards, two touchdowns).

Notre Dame’s will to win. A goal line stand against Stanford followed by a grinding ground game against BYU, Notre Dame is pushing the right buttons in its 7-0 start. BYU scored the first offensive touchdowns on the Notre Dame defense since Sept. 8 (both passing, Notre Dame still hasn’t allowed a rushing TD), but the Irish responded with 143 yards from Theo Riddick and 114 yards from Cierre Wood. The run game eased the absence of starting quarterback Everett Golson, who missed the game following a concussion last week. Brian Kelly erased any question marks after the game by noting Golson would start next week against Oklahoma.

Taylor Martinez in the clutch. The Nebraska quarterback saved the Cornhuskers from another upset loss to Northwestern by leading two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Northwestern led by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Martinez capped scoring drives of 80 and 76 yards with touchdown passes. Martinez, who also led a second-half comeback against Wisconsin earlier this season, completed 27 of 39 passes for 342 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns. The game, though, wasn’t sealed until Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien missed his first field goal attempt of the year.

FALSE STARTS
Heartbreakers.
This wasn’t a great week for teams to complete upset bids. Without an injured Braxton Miller, Ohio State backup quarterback Kenny Guiton led a fourth-quarter touchdown drive and and overtime possession to hold off Purdue 29-22. Michigan couldn’t score a touchdown on Michigan State, but won the game 12-10 on a Brendan Gibbons’ field goal with five seconds remaining. Northwestern squandered a 12-point fourth quarter lead to lose 29-28 to Nebraska. TCU scored 10 points in the final 2:25 to force overtime against Texas Tech, but lost 56-53 in the third OT. Despite rallying behind a backup quarterback, Maryland was denied a bid to start 3-0 in the ACC when the Terrapins missed a 33-yard field goal with two seconds left to lose 20-18 to NC State. And poor USF: The Bulls took a brief lead in the fourth quarter at Louisville, but lost their seventh Big East game in the last two seasons in which they’ve held a fourth quarter lead.

Auburn. Another week and another new low at Auburn. The Tigers lost 17-13 to Vanderbilt, despite the Commodores’ fourth-quarter fumble among other miscues daring Auburn to take advantage. At 1-6 overall and 0-5 in the SEC, Auburn is off to its worst start since starting 1-6 in 1952. The Tigers are the first team to start with this poor a record within two years of winning a national title. Auburn has also lost to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the same season for the first time in school history.

Cincinnati. Three undefeated teams at this stage of the season was a source for pride for the Big East. That number is down to two after Cincinnati lost 29-23 at Toledo. The Bearcats led for only 13 seconds in the third quarter thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown by Toledo’s Bernard Reedy erasing a brief Cincinnati lead. The loss takes the shine off a Friday matchup with undefeated Louisville next week.

HEISMAN MOVERS
Kenjon Barner, Oregon.
The Ducks’ all-purpose dynamo De’Anthony Thomas has been pedestrian so far in Pac-12 play. Instead, Kenjon Barner has been Oregon’s offensive MVP. Barner rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard score in Thursday’s 43-21 win over Arizona State.

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M. The possibility of a freshman reaching New York as a Heisman finalist may have to wait. The Aggies quarterback was 29 of 56 for 276 yards and three interceptions against LSU. Meanwhile, the Tigers kept Manziel from breaking off any long runs as he rushed for 27 total yards. The last freshman to be a Heisman finalist was Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson, runner up to Matt Leinart in 2004.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State.Before the sophomore left the game with a head injury, Miller was 9 of 20 for 113 yards and an interception, 47 yards and a touchdown and a Purdue lead. Miller was taken from the stadium to the hospital, but the injury was reported to be not as serious as it seemed when Miller was carted off the field.

SCORES THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘HUH?’
Georgia 29, Kentucky 24
Penn State 31, Iowa 0
SMU 72, Houston 42
THREE BOWL ELIGIBLE TEAMS
Kent State (last bowl: 1972)
Duke (last bowl: 1994)
Utah State (last consecutive bowls: 1960-61)
THREE GREAT QB STAT LINES
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville. 21-25, 256 yards, 2 TDs vs. USF
Seth Doege, Texas Tech. 30-42, 318 yards, 7 TDs vs. TCU
A.J. McCarron, Alabama. 17-22, 306 yards, 4 TDs vs. Tennessee

STAT WATCH
900. Michigan’s 900th win, the most for any FBS team, occurred in odd fashion as the Wolverines failed to score a touchdown in a 12-10 win over Michigan State. All of Michigan’s scoring came from warmer climates -- kicker Brendan Gibbons from West Palm Beach, Fla., and kicker Matt Wile from San Diego -- as does quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla.).

6-0. With a 21-7 win over Utah, Oregon State improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1907. The teams Oregon State defeated that season: Astoria AC, Whitman, Pacific, Oregon, Willamette and Saint Vincent College. After missing bowl games the last two seasons, the Beavers will head to the postseason.


7.Southern Miss fell to 0-7 with a 59-24 loss to Marshall. Not only did Southern Miss end its streak of 18 consecutive seasons with a winning record, the Eagles also claimed the nation’s longest active losing streak at seven games. In defeating Army 48-38, Eastern Michigan ended the active longest streak at eight games. If there’s any silver lining, the five longest active losing streaks have all ended in the last three weeks. Southern Miss faces Rice next week.

BURIED ON THE DEPTH CHART
Jordan Lynch hits the 1,000-yard mark.
He’s a QB. The best season no one’s talking about may belong to the first-year starting quarterback at Northern Illinois. Jordan Lynch passed for 223 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 131 yards and two scores, his fifth game of the season with 200 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. His 1,049 rushing yards ranks second in the nation.

Still a charmed season in Monroe. ULM’s signature win over Arkansas and close calls with Auburn and Baylor are a month in the past, but the Warhawks’ good fortune continued into the Sun Belt season. ULM trailed Western Kentucky 28-7 in the second quarter, but tied the game early in the fourth quarter. ULM pass over the extra point in overtime, allowing Kolton Browning to go for the win with a two-point conversion in the 43-42 win. ULM took the Sun Belt lead by defeating the 5-2 Hilltoppers.

Kasey Carrier’s 300-yard game. The New Mexico running back rushed for 338 yards, the highest total since Navy’s Shun White rushed for 348 yards against Towson on Aug. 30, 2008. Alas, New Mexico lost 28-23 to Air Force.

THREE TEAMS/PLAYERS BACK TO FORM
Matt Barkley, USC.
Nothing like a game against Colorado to cure the passing game. A week after one of his least productive games of his career, Matt Barkley was 19 of 20 for 298 yards with six touchdown passes in a 50-6 rout of Colorado. Four of those touchdown passes went to Robert Woods as Barkley set a Pac-12 record with 100 TD passes. Barkley’s 95 percent completion rate also set a Pac-12 record for completion percentage for a quarterback with at least 20 passes.

Wisconsin’s run game. Nothing like a couple of struggling Big Ten teams to help a run game look good. The Badgers have rushed for 804 yards and nine touchdowns the last two weeks against Purdue and Minnesota. Against the Gophers, James White rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns and Montee Ball rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Wisconsin (3-1) is the only postseason-eligible team in the Big Ten Leaders division with a conference win.

Aaron Murray, Georgia. Nothing like a game against Kentucky to set up a career day. Two weeks after he struggled in the loss to South Carolina, Murray rebounded to complete 30 of 38 passes for 427 yards and four touchdown passes against the Wildcats. His play was one of the few parts of Georgia’s game operating at a high level in a too-close-for-comfort 29-24 win.

THREE TEAMS STARTING TO PUT IT TOGETHER
Arizona.
After back-to-back hard-fought losses to Oregon State and Stanford, Arizona broke out against Washington for a 52-17 win. The Wildcats rolled up 500 yards for the third consecutive game, all against solid defenses. Leading the Pac-12 in total offense and passing, Arizona is not nearly as bad as its 1-3 conference record indicates. The Wildcats face USC at home Saturday.

Clemson. Virginia Tech can make an opposing defense look good, especially in the secondary, but let’s give credit to a Clemson team that has showed marked improvement each week since the 49-37 loss to Florida State in September. Jonathan Meeks had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown to bail out an offense that stumbled to only 295 yards in the 38-17 win over the Hokies.

Kenny Guiton, Ohio State. Quarterback J.W. Walsh wasn’t at 100 percent, and two of his top receivers didn’t even play against Iowa State. Yet the Cowboys eventually got out of their own way to defeat upset-hungry Iowa State 31-10. The Cowboys face TCU before a gauntlet -- at Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, at Oklahoma.

 

DANG, THEY’RE GOOD
Kansas State
Oklahoma
Oregon
DANG THEY’RE BAD
Auburn
Cal
Iowa
BEST GAMES NEXT WEEK
Florida vs. Georgia
Notre Dame at Oklahoma
Mississippi State at Alabama

THREE PRIMETIME BACKUPS
Adam Dingwell, San Diego State.
Dingwell stepped in for injured starter Ryan Katz to complete 14 of 23 passes for 177 yards for three touchdowns in a 39-38 win at Nevada in overtime. Dingwell led three fourth-quarter scoring drives, culminating with the game-tying field goal as time inspired. Coach Rocky Long capitalized on the momentum by going for the game-winning two-point conversion to finish overtime.

Devonta Freeman, Florida State. With starter Chris Thompson out with a knee injury, Freeman delivered the knockout punch to Miami in a 33-20 win. Freeman rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and 70 total yards on 10 carries.

Kenny Guiton, Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ undefeated season was in as much peril as it had been all season when quarterback Braxton Miller was whisked away to the hospital as Ohio State trailed Purdue by 8 in the second half. Guiton, though, found a wide-open Devin Smith to set up a touchdown and then took advantage of perfect protection to complete the two-point conversion to tight end Jeff Heuerman. Ohio State won 29-22 in overtime.

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 8 Recap: Kansas State, Florida solidify BCS contender status</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 11:20
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-7-fantasy-injury-updates-vincent-jackson-hakeem-nicks-ramses-barden-domenik-hixon
Body:

It’s Week 7 and there are six teams with a bye week. The injuries continue to pile up and teams taking a week off are not helping you as lineup decisions are made. Here’s a little info about those that are injured or those replacing the injured that can hopefully help lead you to a fantasy victory this week as you decide who to start.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
Vincent Jackson showed up on the injury report this week with a calf injury and is listed as probable. He is currently the 21st ranked fantasy receiver in PPR leagues and tied for fourth with four touchdowns. He has only disappointed once this season (1-for-29 on seven targets in Week 3 at Dallas) with four games of at least four catches, three games of at least 65 yards, two games over 100 yards and three games with at least one touchdown. Now he draws a Saints team that is ranked 30th against fantasy receivers, having allowed eight touchdowns to the position and at least 60 yards to an opposing No. 1 receiver in every game; four of those No. 1s have gone for at least 90 yards. It is worth noting that Pierre Garcon (on the 88-yard screen in Week 1) and Greg Jennings (a 9-yard TD on his only catch in Week 4) are the only two No. 1 receivers to score on the Saints. It could mean lowered expectations for VJax — even though he's surely exceeded 2012 expectations already for where you drafted him — and raised expectations for Mike Williams, who likely went undrafted. 

 

Hakeem NicksHakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle, WRs, New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins
Oh, the Giants' receivers not named Victor Cruz. Hakeem Nicks (knee) returned from a three-game absence last week and admittedly was not at full speed in San Francisco. Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden and rookie Rueben Randle have flashed in his sted. Hixon, who missed the Week 3 Carolina game along with Nicks, returned to garner 25 targets over the last three weeks, catching 15 of them for 247 yards and no scores. Barden shined in the first game without Nicks (nine catches, 138 yards on 11 targets in Week 3 at Carolina), but has battled a concussion since then. Randle, the rookie from LSU, did not play a snap against San Francisco. This came a week after six catches for 82 yards on nine targets. Nicks is listed as probable and is expected to start against the Redskins. It is hard to trust any receiver on the Giants not named Cruz, and if Nicks returns at half speed again it just brings the whole lot of them down. If Nicks goes, he has to start, but Hixon is still a good flex play against a Washington defense that is the worst in the league against fantasy receivers.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Should you start or sit them?</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/week-7-fantasy-injury-updates-darren-mcfadden-jerome-simpson-aaron-rodgers
Body:

It’s Week 7 and there are six teams with a bye week. The injuries continue to pile up and teams taking a week off are not helping you as lineup decisions are made. Here’s a little info about those that are injured or those replacing the injured that can hopefully help lead you to a fantasy victory this week as you decide who to start.

 

Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville
A shoulder injury has Darren McFadden on the injury report as probable, but he is expected to start against the Jaguars and their 31st-ranked defense against fantasy running backs. It would be nice to see Run DmC finally pay off for his high draft pick this week. He has averaged 2.6 yard per carry or less in four of six games and his only solid ground day was an 18-for-113-yard performance against Pittsburgh — which included a 64-yard TD run. There is no time like the present for McFadden as he faces a run defense that has surrendered six rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown to the running back position. All five feature backs that have faced the Jags this season have combined for at least 87 total yards and four of the seven TDs allowed.

 

Jerome Simpson, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals
Remember when we stashed Jerome Simpson on the roster with the hopes that he would return from his suspension and play like gangbusters for the Vikings? That was fun, right? He has eight targets, which have turned into four catches for 50 yards and no scores, including last week’s three targets that produced no catches. A lower back injury has him on the injury report and he is listed as probably for the Cardinals game. He was a full participant in practice this week, and it would be great to say “play him” against Arizona’s 16th-ranked fantasy defense against wide receivers. But we need to see the connection between himself and QB Christian Ponder before you can take a flier on Simpson. Take a flier on a proven flier like Cleveland’s Josh Gordon instead.

 

Aaron RodgersAaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams
Aaron Rodgers showed up on the injury report with a calf injury and is listed as probable. He practiced on Friday and should be ready to continue his torrid pace after a tepid start to the 2012 season. After three games with three touchdowns and two games under 225 yards, Rodgers has thrown for at least 319 yards in two of the last three outings and 13 TDs in those three games. Outside of Matthew Stafford’s 355-yard, one-TD performance in Week 1, the Rams have held opposing QBs to no 206 yards or less in four of the last five games. But this is Rodgers, likely a top-five pick in your fantasy drafts, and if healthy there is no way you are sitting the Packers’ QB.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Should you start or sit them?</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 07:34
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-7-fantasy-injury-updates-jimmy-graham-david-thomas-rashard-mendenhall-jonathan-dwyer-ba
Body:

It’s Week 7 and there are six teams with a bye week. The injuries continue to pile up and teams taking a week off are not helping you as lineup decisions are made. Here’s a little info about those that are injured or those replacing the injured that can hopefully help lead you to a fantasy victory this week as you decide who to start.

Jimmy GrahamJimmy Graham and David Thomas, TEs, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jimmy Graham (ankle) went into the bye week in a walking boot and he returns from the bye listed as out today against Tampa Bay. Graham did some light work in practice on Thursday and Friday but was declared out on Saturday. David Thomas could be a desperation replacement for you as there are six teams on byes and many of the waiver wire tight ends have probably been scooped up. As far as his opponent, Tampa Bay has given up catches and yards to some of the better tight ends but have surrendered just one touchdown all season to the position. Greg Olsen (6-56, Martellus Bennett (5-72) and Fred Davis (4-70) have had the bigger days, with Bennett scoring the lone touchdown.

 

Trent RichardsonTrent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts
Richardson (ribs) saw limited work the last three days of practice this week and it could just be a matter of how much of a pain tolerance the rookie running back has. One thing that should brighten him up is the Colts' defense, or lack thereof, against fantasy RBs. They are third worst at it this season and just let Shonn Greene — yes, that Shonn Greene — rip off 161 yards and three scores on 32 carries. It's the second time in three games the feature back has gone for at least 161; Maurice Jones-Drew went for 177 and a score on 28 carries in Week 3. It's a noon game, and even if he were on a shared amount of carries with Montario Hardesty, the matchup is too good to let go by for Richardson.

 

Rashard MendenhallRashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Baron Batch, RBs, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday night)
The Pittsburgh backfield is a mess with injuries and usage. Just when Mendenhall returned from injury and was the bell cow, an Achilles injury has sidelined him for Sunday night's game against the Bengals. Redman is also out for the game with an ankle injury. That leaves Batch and Dwyer. Dwyer was a healthy scratch last week, so trusting him is a little dicey. But we've seen plenty of players go from zero action to featured player in a week's time. Batch stepped in and carried the ball 10 times for 22 yards against a Tennessee defense that is sixth worst in the league against defending fantasy RBs. It took until Mendenhall returned in Week 5 for the Steelers to get a double-digit fantasy back and they are 31st in the league in rushing. While Cincinnati is ninth worst in the league in points allowed to fantasy backs, it's a tough call to say "go with any Steelers running back tonight." 
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Should you start or sit them?</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 07:29
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-7-fantasy-injury-updates-rob-gronkowski-greg-jennings-james-jones-dustin-keller
Body:

It’s Week 7 and there are six teams with a bye week. The injuries continue to pile up and teams taking a week off are not helping you as lineup decisions are made. Here’s a little info about those that are injured or those replacing the injured that can hopefully help lead you to a fantasy victory this week as you decide who to start.

Rob GronkowskiRob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
A lingering hip injury has limited fantasy’s No. 2 tight end in PPR leagues this week, including in Friday’s practice. But unless you are not required to start a tight end and with the six teams on bye it is unlikely you can afford to sit Gronk on the pine this week. He has received at least five targets in five of six games this season and come through with at least five catches in four of those five games. The Jets are ranked 22nd in PPR leagues against fantasy TEs, although Houston’s Owen Daniels (4-79-1) in Week 5 has been the only one to any major damage. The tight end position may be deep in fantasy over the last couple of seasons. The Jets may have limited a majority of tight ends they have faced. Gronkowski may be dealing with a hip issue. But with six teams on bye weeks and the No. 2 fantasy TE on your roster, you’d be hard pressed to sit him in any situation save for his bye week.

 

Greg JenningsGreg Jennings and James Jones, WRs, Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams
Greg Jennings is out again with the groin injury. Jordy Nelson finally shined in his absence last week against the Texans, catching nine of 12 targets for 121 yards and three touchdowns. And that was against top CB Jonathan Joseph nonetheless. James Jones has been the man stepping in for Jennings the last two weeks. He has seven targets each of the last two games, pulling in seven catches for 79 yards and a score — or 10.45 points in a PPR each of the last two games. Only Larry Fitzgerald (8-92) has over 75 yards against the Rams since Calvin Johnson’s 6-for-111 Week 1 performance. There are a number of targets Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers can choose from, but Jones seems to at least be high on his list in Jennings’ sted. You can’t argue with the seven targets each of the last two weeks, and the Rams have been relatively tough on the run. Start Jennings with whatever is a smidge below confidence.

 

Dustin KellerDustin Keller, TE, New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Dustin Keller returned from injury last week and played in his first game since Week 1 — although you would not have known it. He received one target and caught it for six yards on 49 offensive snaps played. There is no way you are playing Keller this week — six teams on bye or not. Regardless of his injury or lack or production upon his return last week, the Patriots have given up no more than 64 yards at the position and no more than five catches this season. Jets QB Mark Sanchez has other options in the red zone and it is hard to rely on any Jet offensive player right now. If you are looking for a tight end flier look somewhere other than the Jets’ offense; look at a Heath Miller or Jermaine Gresham.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Should you start or sit them?</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 07:10
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-7-fantasy-injury-updates-dez-bryant-lance-moore-alex-green
Body:

It’s Week 7 and there are six teams with a bye week. The injuries continue to pile up and teams taking a week off are not helping you as lineup decisions are made. Here’s a little info about those that are injured or those replacing the injured that can hopefully help lead you to a fantasy victory this week.

Dez BryantDez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers
Dez Bryant joined the injury report on Friday after not practicing due to a groin injury; he is now listed as questionable. This is not what we wanted to hear for a receiver coming off a career fantasy day (13-95-2 on 15 targets) a week ago vs. Baltimore. And perhaps he will be primed for more targets with DeMarco Murray (foot) sidelined in the Cowboys’ backfield. Bryant should be able to play, but with his inconsistency during his three-year career, you would rather see no red flags entering a game. The Panthers have allowed Ramses Barden (9-138) and Roddy White (8-169-2) to go off this year but have been quite respectable against the pass otherwise. Only Golden Tate and Mike Williams have scored against them outside of White and Sidney Rice's 67 yards is the closest anyone has come to Barden's 138. Bryant has led the Cowboys' receivers in targets by double the last two games and had one less than Miles Austin's nine in Week 3. If Bryant goes, you play him. It's an early game, so you should be able to make the call with ease.

 

Lance MooreLance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lance Moore sat out Week 5 and was able to use the bye week to heal up a little bit in regards to his hamstring. He practiced in full this week and with the news that Jimmy Graham is out this week (ankle), Moore is a solid option for the Saints and a decent option for your fantasy lineup. Tampa Bay, while ranked 24th against fantasy receivers, has been rather stubborn over the last three weeks. Miles Austin had 5-for-107 and no scores in Week 3 and no receiver has eclipsed 62 yards since. No receiver has scored on the Bucs since Hakeem Nicks (10-199-1) and Victor Cruz (11-179-1) torched them in Week 2. Moore's history vs. Tampa Bay is not great. He does have three scores in six games, but has not had over 57 yards or more than six catches. He has caught right at two passes against them in four of the six meetings. One bright spot was his last outing in Week 4, at Green Bay. Known for being an indoor threat, Moore caught seven balls for 67 yards on 15 targets. It was his second double-digit target day of the season.

 

Alex Green, RB, Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams
Green joined the injury report with a shoulder, but is listed as probable and should be good to go against the Rams in their early game. It is kind of hard to gauge how Green is going to be used because the Packers lost to Indianapolis two weeks ago and Aaron Rodgers' arm helped them cruise past the Texans last week. In the two games, Green had 31 carries for 120 yards (3.9 YPC). James Starks should not cut into his workload that much, and hopefully the Rams will have their hands full with the Green Bay receiving corps. The receiving threat might be the thing that makes Green viable this week after St. Louis limited Arizona and Miami to 57 yards from running backs the last two weeks. Green should find running room due to his receivers and be a good RB2 for you this week.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Should you start or sit them?</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-7-fantasy-injury-updates-jermichael-finley-wes-welker-pierre-garcon
Body:

It’s Week 7 and there are six teams with a bye week. The injuries continue to pile up and teams taking a week off are not helping you as lineup decisions are made. Here’s a little info about those that are injured or those replacing the injured that can hopefully help lead you to a fantasy victory this week.

Jermichael FinleyJermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams
If you're still trusting Jermichael Finley in your lineup then you are a braver fantasy owner than I. Not only is he listed as probable with a shoulder injury, but he is 20th amongst fantasy tight ends in PPR formats. He opened the season with 11 targets, seven catches, 47 yards and a TD against San Francisco. Since then, he has had no more than five targets in a game, no more than four catches in a game and no touchdowns in a game. The last two weeks, Finley has five catches for 23 yards on nine targets — 7.3 in a PPR, 2.3 in non-PPR. It doesn't really matter what the Rams do or do not allow to tight ends since Finley should be on the waiver wire, but just in case here are the numbers. St. Louis is ranked No. 8 against the position, having allowed the first TD to the position last week (Anthony Fasano). The Rams have not allowed a tight end to catch more than four passes since Detroit had two tight ends catch five in Week 1; Fasano had four last week.

 

Wes WelkerWes Welker, WR, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
An ankle injury has Wes Welker as questionable on the injury report, but he is expected to start against a Jets team that is fourth against fantasy wide receivers. Reggie Wayne's 5-for-87 last week was the most yards and the second-most catches allowed to the position this season by the Jets. They have surrendered three scores to the position, all three coming in the first two weeks. You are not sitting Wes Welker, particularly if Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are limited and the shoulder injury Brandon Lloyd suffered last week carries over into today's late game.  Welker has double-digit target outings in each of the last six games and double-digit receiving days in the last two (he had games of nine and eight catches the two weeks before the last two). He has four straight 100-yard receiving games. Welker has 31 catches for 380 and two TDs in the last five meetings with the Jets.

 

Pierre GarconPierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants
The foot injury suffered in Week 1 continues to hinder the Redskins' key free agent acquisition. And it doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon. Garcon did not practice this week and is not expected to play against the Giants. The Redskins have their bye in Week 10. It'd be a surprise to see Garcon suit up against the Giants, Steelers and Panthers in the three games leading up to that bye. Garcon is already teetering on the brink of release back into the FA pool. If he doesn't play in the Week 11 game against Philadelphia, it'd be time to cut bait. In shallow leagues, he should already be on the waiver wire. In keepers, dynasties and deep leagues, you have to hold out hope.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Should you start or sit them?</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 07:00
Path: /nfl/pittsburgh-steelers-vs-cincinnati-bengals-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two divisional foes coming off disappointing road losses will meet on Sunday Night Football, when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:20 pm EST on NBC. The Bengals dropped to 3-3 on the season last week with a surprising 34-24 defeat in Cleveland to the previously-winless Browns. The Steelers have had 10 days to recover from their 26-23 loss to the Titans that dropped Pittsburgh to an uncomfortable 2-3 on the year.

When the Cincinnati Bengals have the ball:
Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green have become the focal point of the Bengals attack. The second-year signal caller has hooked up with his fellow sophomore pass catcher for six touchdowns this season, but the dynamic duo needs a little help from the running game. Cincinnati needs more from lead runner BenJarvus Green-Ellis (averaging only 3.4 yards per carry) to keep the Pittsburgh pressure off Dalton, who has thrown nine interceptions and been sacked 17 times in six games.

The Steelers defense has been inconsistent this season, especially in the three road losses. Injuries (highlighted by the absence of Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu) have played a big part in that, but Dick LeBeau’s unit must find a way to get late stops when Pittsburgh has the lead. The Steelers rank fourth in the NFL in yardage allowed, but 17th in points per game. Pittsburgh must apply pressure on Dalton and improve on a total of just six takeaways in five games.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers have the ball:
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been solid this season, throwing for 1,487 yards and 10 touchdowns against only two interceptions. However, the Steelers attack has been hampered greatly by injuries on the offensive line and at running back. Pittsburgh ranks 31st in the league in rushing, only compiling 74.8 yards per game on the ground. It won’t get any easier this week with top runners Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) listed as questionable. The good news for the Steelers is that the receiving trio of Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and tight end Heath Miller has been very productive this season.

The Bengals defense will need a solid performance coming off two straight losses. Cincinnati should catch a break with a banged-up Steelers rushing attack, and Mike Zimmer’s crew leads the AFC in sacks with 20. The Bengals will look to continue that type of pressure on Roethlisberger, who can be very crafty in avoiding the pass rush. Cincinnati must improve in creating turnovers, only totaling seven takeaways in six games this year.

Key Factor:
The Steelers had started at least 6-2 in each of coach Mike Tomlin’s five seasons at the helm, so the 2012 campaign is unusual territory for Pittsburgh. Even with the injuries, it is difficult to see Roethlisberger and company falling to 2-4 on the year. The Bengals will benefit from the home crowd, but look for the desperate Steelers to continue their recent dominance over Cincinnati and get back to .500 on the season.

Prediction:
Steelers 27 Bengals 23


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 07:00

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