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All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-best-players-mountain-west
Body:

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for Mountain West in terms of fantasy options for 2012:

2012 Preseason Mountain West All-Fantasy Team

Using a starting roster of 2-QB, 3-RB, 3-WR, FLEX, TE, K, Def/ST, All-Conference Fantasy Teams are projected using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)

Starters

QB—Brett Smith, So. (Wyoming)

Last season:  Passed for 2,622 yards and 20 TDs, rushed for 710 yards and 10 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; Toledo, Cal Poly, @ Idaho

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ New Mexico, @ UNLV, San Diego St

 

QB—Cody Fajardo, So. (Nevada)

Last season:  Passed for 1,707 yards and 6 TDs, rushed for 694 yards and 11 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; Northwestern St, @ Hawaii, @ Texas St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Fresno St, @ New Mexico, Bye

 

RB—D.J. Harper, Sr. (Boise State)

Last season:  Rushed for 568 yards and 9 TDs as the primary backup to Doug Martin.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; San Diego St, @ Hawaii, Colorado St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Hawaii, Colorado St, Bye

 

RB—Robbie Rouse, Sr. (Fresno State)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,607 yards and 13 TDs, 32 receptions for 228 yards and TD.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 8-9-10; Wyoming, @ New Mexico, Hawaii

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Nevada, Bye, Air Force

 

RB—Stefphon Jefferson, Jr. (Nevada)

Last season:  Rushed for 442 yards and 5 TDs as a backup to Lampford Mark and Mike Ball.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; Northwestern St, @ Hawaii, @ Texas St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Fresno St, @ New Mexico, Bye

 

WR—Matt Miller, So. (Boise State)

Last season:  62 receptions for 679 yards and 9 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; @ New Mexico, @ Southern Miss, Fresno St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Hawaii, Colorado St, Bye

 

WR—Chris McNeill, Sr. (Wyoming)

Last season:  42 receptions for 504 yards and 4 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; Toledo, Cal Poly, @ Idaho

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ New Mexico, @ UNLV, San Diego St

 

WR— Brandon Wimberly, Sr. (Nevada)

Last season:  Missed 2011 season due to injury (gunshot wound).

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; Wyoming, @ UNLV, San Diego St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Fresno St, @ New Mexico, Bye

 

TE—Gavin Escobar, Jr. (San Diego State)

Last season:  51eceptions for 780 yards and 7 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 4-5-6; San Jose St, @ Fresno St, Hawaii

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Air Force, Bye, @ Wyoming

 

FLEX—Chris Nwoke, Jr. (Colorado State)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,176 yards and 9 TDs, 23 receptions for 143 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; North Dakota St, @ San Jose St, Utah St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  UNLV, @ Boise St, New Mexico

 

K—Parker Herrington, Sr. (Air Force)

Last season: 15-for-18 on FG attempts, 45-for-48 on extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 4-5-6; @ UNLV, Colorado St, Navy

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ San Diego St, Hawaii, @ Fresno St

 

DEF/ST—Boise State Broncos

Last season:  No. 12 scoring defense, No. 16 total defense, only two starters return.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; San Diego St, @ Hawaii, Colorado St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Hawaii, Colorado St, Bye

 

Top 5 Reserves

QB—Derek Carr, Jr. (Fresno State)

QB—Joe Southwick, Jr. (Boise State)

RB—Mike DeWitt, Sr. (Air Force)

WR—Rashad Evans, Sr. (Fresno State)

WR—Colin Lockett, Jr. (San Diego State)

 

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining the Best Players in the Mountain West</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 23:32
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, Overtime, News
Path: /college-basketball/purdue-basketball-players-awesome-trick-shot-video
Body:

Purdue basketball players have put out a new video showing that they're keeping their skills sharp during the off season. Players Dru Anthrop and D.J. Byrd are joined by former player and now student assistant coach Ryne Smith at Mackey Arena, where they're showing off their best trick shots. The shots range from far-off bombs behind the basket to one hoppers from the stands.

Teaser:
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Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 23:30
Path: /mlb/baseballs-players-week-cabrera-hughes-zimmerman-latos
Body:

Each week Athlon Sports looks back at the previous week's best baseball players in the American and National Leagues and recaps the most outstanding pitching performances. Here are last week's — June 25-July 1 — standouts.

AL Player of the Week

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit

The first baseman-turned-third baseman did his best work in bunches last week. He had three games with three or more hits, including 3-for-4, 4-for-5 and 3-for-3 games. He batted .462 and tied for the AL lead with six RBIs. Cabrera scored five times.

 

AL Pitcher of the Week

Phil Hughes, New York

With both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte injured, the Yankees were desperate for quality starting pitching. Hughes responded in a big way, tossing eight shutout innings against the Indians, and followed that with eight strong innings vs. the White Sox, allowing just a couple of runs. He totaled 12 strikeouts in his 16 innings of work for the week.

 

NL Player of the Week

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington

Mired in a season-long funk, Zimmerman emerged with the best week in the National League. He hit .364 with a 1.158 OPS. He enjoyed four multi-hit games and three multi-RBI games. Zimmerman, who plays exceptional defense, had seven extra-base hits and reached base in every game via a hit or walk.

 

NL Pitcher of the Week

Mat Latos, Cincinnati

Latos entered the week with a 5.20 ERA, tossed a pair of complete games last week, allowing just one run in each contest. He set down the Brewers on four hits, including a solo homer, then won at San Francisco, 2-1, by giving up just two hits. His weekly ledger reads: 2-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 18 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks and 20 Ks.

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports looks back at the previous week's best baseball players</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 17:36
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-july-2
Body:

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings for July 2, 2012.

 

 1. Rangers—First team to win 50 games.

 2. Yankees—Can they withstand injuries to CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte?

 3. Nationals—Best team in the National League? No one is arguing.

 4. Angels—Terrific June, but gained no ground on Rangers.

 5. Giants—Run of four shutouts propelled Giants into first place.

 6. Reds—Brandon Phillips not an All-Star? He would start on our team.

 7. Dodgers—Should have Matt Kemp back in lineup after All-Star break.

 8. Orioles—Traded for Jim Thome to boost offense.

 9. Rays—Team is batting just .232; desperately need Evan Longoria back.

10. Blue Jays—Best last-place team in baseball.

11. Braves—Mike Minor over Stephen Strasburg in only win of series.

12. White Sox—Pitching staff led by rookies.

13. Mets—Fans really blew the third base voting. #DavidWright

14. Pirates—Bullpen is tied with Reds for NL’s best ERA at 2.73.

15. Cardinals—No bridge between starters and late-inning relievers.

16. Red Sox—Best they could do was a split at Seattle?

17. Diamondbacks—Wade Miley pitching like an ace.

18. Indians—Hosting Angels and Rays in key series to finish first half.

19. Tigers—Should make some hay vs. Twins and Royals before break.

20. A’s—Closer Ryan Cook is well-kept secret.

21. Marlins—No team happier to see calendar turn from June than Marlins.

22. Brewers—Potential Zack Greinke trade in the making?

23. Twins—At .324, Joe Mauer is chasing another batting title.

24. Mariners—Scored nine runs in their last eight games.

25. Phillies—Sweep at Miami was painful.

26. Royals—Testing six-man rotation.

27. Astros—Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie impressive middle infield.

28. Padres—Yasmani Grandal switch-hits bombs for first two hits of career.

29. Rockies—Pitching staff performing at “worst ever” levels.

30. Cubs—Youngster Brett Jackson may be on way to join Anthony Rizzo.

Teaser:
<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 17:15
All taxonomy terms: News, Olympics
Path: /olympics/golden-girl-dara-torres
Body:

She's 50 meters — a single lap — away from history. 

Dara Torres, swimming's elder stateswoman at age 45, is more than just one of the hottest 40-somethings on the planet. She remains a threat to win an Olympic medal in a physically demanding sport at an age when most of us are struggling to get off the couch to let the pizza guy in.

Torres is 28 years removed from her first Olympiad — Los Angeles, 1984. She's 18 years removed from an appearance in Sports Illustrated's 1994 swimsuit issue, when she became the first athlete to be featured among the supermodels — a development that I think we can all support. 

Tonight, she aims to become the first American swimmer to compete in six Olympic Games when she swims in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle, a chaotic 24-second sprint to the finish that is swimming's version of the 100-meter dash. 

Age hasn't caught up with Torres yet, but it's chasing her. "It's much tougher this time around," Torres said. 

But after posting the third-fastest time in the semis, Torres is more than a sentimental choice. She's a legitimate threat. "It wasn't all I've got," she said of her performance in the semis. 

Tonight, look for all she's got, and a little bit more. It might be enough to put America's hottest 45-year-old mom on a flight to London later this month. 

Coverage of the swimming trials begins tonight on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 11:09
All taxonomy terms: MLB, Fantasy
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-july-2
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire every Monday and a Weekend Rundown every Thursday.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (6/25-7/01):

  Name Pos. Team R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Alex Rios OF CHW 7 2 6 3 .467 1.234
2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B WAS 7 3 12 0 .364 1.158
3. Robinson Cano 2B NYY 5 4 10 0 .414 1.311
4. Michael Morse 1B/OF WAS 9 2 6 0 .484 1.210
5. Daniel Murphy* 1/2/3B NYM 5 3 10 0 .409 1.346
6. Ian Kinsler 2B TEX 8 2 5 2 .355 1.000
7. Hunter Pence OF PHI 6 3 7 0 .414 1.280
8. Ike Davis* 1B NYM 7 3 9 0 .320 1.188
9. Giancarlo Stanton OF MIA 6 3 6 1 .381 1.337
10. Carlos Ruiz C PHI 8 2 4 1 .234 1.175
11. Michael McKenry* C PIT 3 3 9 0 .455 1.435
12. Ian Desmond SS WAS 7 2 7 0 .414 1.383
13. Alexi Amarista* 2B SD 5 3 8 0 .412 1.412
14. Shin-Soo Choo OF CLE 7 2 6 0 .458 1.331
15. Andrew McCutchen OF PIT 8 2 6 0 .407 1.170
16. David Ortiz 1B BOS 9 3 5 0 .320 1.219
17. Edwin Encarnacion 1B/3B TOR 7 1 5 2 .391 1.113
18. Austin Jackson OF DET 10 1 5 0 .387 1.022
19. Mike Trout OF LAA 8 2 4 1 .345 .988
20. Jose Bautista 3B/OF TOR 7 3 8 0 .250 .966
21. Josh Hamilton OF TEX 5 3 9 0 .269 1.002
22. Freddie Freeman 1B ATL 6 1 6 0 .476 1.282
23. Miguel Cabrera 1B DET 5 1 6 0 .462 1.255
24. Elvis Andrus SS TEX 7 0 3 3 .357 .848
25. Tyler Moore* OF WAS 4 2 7 0 .381 1.172

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

The Waiver Wire

The Mets have been beaten and battered all season long but are starting to show signs of fantasy life. Only four players in the majors have more RBI over the last month than Ike Davis' 24. He has raised his average from .158 (June 8) to a still paltry .203 today. Yet, he has been moved to clean-up and David Wright is hitting in front of him. He should be in for a big second half. His teammate and position guru, Daniel Murphy (1B/2B/3B) is third in MLB in RBI over the last week. He finally connected on his first three dingers and can provide solid production across the board at weak positions (2B and 3B). Keep an eye on the Mets offense.

MLB Debuts

Anthony Rizzo appears to be the real deal in Chicago. He has five hits in his first 19 at-bats thus far in 2012, including four RBI and one huge home run. He may not help your team batting average much, but it looks like he can add some pop in the power cats. Trevor Bauer pitched four innings while allowing two runs with three whiffs and three walks. He gets a nice start this week against the Padres on Tuesday. Wil Myers connected on his 27th homer of the year and will be a busy man during the All-Star break. Can the Royals get this kid into the line-up please?

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. R.A. Dickey NYM 23.0 2 26 1.96 0.65
2. Travis Wood* CHC 20.2 3 15 0.44 0.82
3. Felix Hernandez SEA 16.0 2 23 0.56 0.81
4. Tommy Milone* OAK 21.0 2 13 0.86 0.81
5. Michael Fiers* MIL 14.1 1 19 0.00 0.77
6. Hirok Kuroda NYY 21.0 2 24 2.14 0.95
7. Justin Masterson* CLE 22.0 2 18 2.05 0.82
8. David Price TB 21.0 3 19 2.57 0.95
9. Johan Santana NYM 20.0 2 14 0.90 0.95
10. Mat Latos CIN 22.0 2 24 3.68 0.73
11. Yu Darvish TEX 22.0 2 29 3.68 0.95
12. Zack Greinke MIL 15.0 2 7 1.20 0.67
13. Lucas Harrell* HOU 16.0 1 16 0.56 0.94
14. Travis Blackley* OAK 22.0 1 12 1.64 0.73
15. Matt Harrison TEX 19.0 3 14 1.42 1.26
16. Jered Weaver LAA 12.2 2 9 0.71 0.87
17. Clayton Kershaw LAD 21.1 1 24 1.71 1.10
18. Aaron Cook* BOS 14.0 2 2 1.29 0.57
19. Mike Leake* CIN 24.0 1 13 1.50 0.92
20. Chris Sale CHW 15.0 1 12 1.20 0.80

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Top 5 Spot Starts for the Week (Tues. - Sun.):

1. Max Scherzer, DET: Minnesota (Tues.)
He has won two of his last three starts with 26 Ks and only 3 BBs over that span.

2. Jarrod Parker, OAK: Seattle (Sun.)
The youngster has been stellar with two earned runs and 19 Ks over last three starts.

3. Trevor Bauer, ARI: San Diego (Tues.)
He was about as good as can be expected in a shorten MLB debut. Look for more on Tuesday.

4. Tommy Milone, OAK: Seattle (Fri.)
The soft-tosser has been the No. 4-rated pitcher in the league over last two weeks.

5. Edwin Jackson, WAS: San Francisco (Wed.)
Got shelled last time out (3.0, 8 ER), but posted nine straight quality starts before that.

Top 20 fantasy Relief Pitchers of last month:

  Name Team IP W SV K HLD ERA WHIP
1. Tom Wilhelmsen* SEA 16.2 2 6 21 0 0.00 0.72
2. Craig Kimbrel ATL 11.0 0 8 20 0 0.82 0.27
3. Tyler Clippard WAS 12.2 0 10 12 0 0.00 0.63
4. Huston Street SD 11.1 1 8 15 0 1.59 0.79
5. Joel Hanrahan PIT 11.0 1 7 11 0 1.64 0.91
6. Brayan Villarreal* DET 16.0 2 0 23 2 1.69 0.75
7. Ronald Belisario* LAD 14.0 3 0 7 2 0.64 0.64
8. Ernesto Frieri LAA 11.1 0 7 15 3 0.00 1.06
9. Jason Motte STL 15.0 0 9 16 0 3.00 0.93
10. Jim Johnson BAL 12.2 1 7 8 0 2.13 0.79
11. Rafael Soriano NYY 11.1 0 11 10 0 1.59 1.32
12. Kenley Jansen LAD 10.2 0 6 18 0 2.53 0.56
13. Joe Nathan TEX 12.0 0 7 16 0 1.50 0.92
14. Ryan Cook* OAK 11.0 1 7 16 1 3.27 1.18
15. Rex Brothers* COL 14.2 1 0 22 4 1.23 0.75
16. Casey Janssen* TOR 10.0 0 4 12 0 0.90 0.60
17. Sean Marshall* CIN 12.2 1 1 12 4 0.71 0.71
18. David Hernandez* ARI 10.2 1 1 20 1 1.69 0.75
19. Fernando Rodney TB 10.0 0 5 10 0 0.90 0.80
20. Jared Burton* MIN 13.1 1 2 13 5 0.68 0.98

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Keep up to date all season long with Athlon Sports' Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: July 2</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 10:08
All taxonomy terms: NBA, News
Path: /news/charles-barkley-hoped-recruit-dirk-nowitzki-auburn
Body:

Dirk Nowitzki is one of the NBA's top players, but he switched in his sneakers for cleats and a bat for the 2012 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game in Frisco, Texas. The event featured a handful of noteable athletes outside of Nowitzki, including Vince Carter, Terrell Owens, Mike Modano and Daryl Johnston.

While the game was a good way to pass the offseason time for the NBA players, the highlight has to be Charles Barkley's account of playing Nowitzki in Germany. 

In addition to dropping some memorable quotes about playing Nowitzki ("Dude who the hell are you?"), Barkley recounted his "pitch" to steer him to Auburn.

Barkley also jokes about the reported $200,000 that was offered to former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as a "good d@mn investment." 

Needless to say, this video of Barkley dishing on Nowitzki in Germany, and hoping he would play for Auburn is another good one in Sir Charles' quotable library. 

Teaser:
<p> Charles Barkley Hoped to Recruit Dirk Nowitzki to Auburn</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 09:18
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-football-al-golden-has-hurricanes-back-track
Body:

Recruiting is a contact sport not meant for the weak-hearted. Al Golden knows this. But even with that in mind, Golden was startled by the level of malice he and his Miami Hurricanes staff encountered from fellow coaches last winter on the recruiting trail.

With the Hurricanes facing an NCAA investigation into impermissible benefits provided to athletes by rogue booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, opposing recruiters went after Miami like a piñata at a kids’ party.

Golden says his coaching counterparts “absolutely crushed” Miami with attacks that “entered the realm of vicious.”

Players pursued by Miami were warned, not only of imminent NCAA-imposed scholarship cuts and bowl bans, but also of a potential death penalty ruling, a possibility few take seriously.

“There was a lot of negative recruiting,” Golden says. “We don’t have a lot of Achilles’ heels. They saw a soft spot and they took it.”

Golden reacted to the low blows — not by complaining, but by getting even.

Despite looming NCAA sanctions, a 6–6 record in 2011 and the cut-throat tactics applied by competitors, Golden pulled in a recruiting class listed in virtually everyone’s top 10 and one that includes six players ranked among ESPN’s Top 150.

Golden responded to Miami’s talent haul by taking a victory lap while warning his program’s detractors “to get your licks in now.”

“What has everybody else worried is that we did this despite everything that was being used against us,” Golden says. “Basically we told everybody, ‘Here’s the tee and here’s the ball,’ and we still were able to get a top-10 recruiting class.”

Those who have followed Golden’s coaching career are not surprised at what the 43-year-old coach was able to accomplish despite the circumstances. Long-time recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBSSports/MaxPreps says Golden built a reputation as “one of the top four or five recruiters in the country” while serving as Al Groh’s defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2001-05.

That rep was further bolstered during six seasons as Temple’s head coach, as Golden turned what was arguably the nation’s most decrepit program into one of college football’s unlikeliest success stories.

Golden brought Temple back from the dead by attracting prospects who prior to his arrival would never have considered the Philadelphia school and by finding unheralded players like Muhammad Wilkerson, a 2-star defensive tackle who developed into a 2011 first-round draft pick of the New York Jets.

But Golden says that what faced him at Miami last winter made the situation at Temple look easy. The NCAA investigation that resulted in the suspension of eight key players and a self-imposed bowl ban had nothing to do with Golden, but he was left to put out the fire while school administrators hid behind carefully crafted statements.

The Shapiro story had more than its share of lurid elements — prostitutes, abortion and strip clubs, to name a few — and provided chum for Miami’s competitors in the shark-infested waters of recruiting. Golden’s approach was to attack the NCAA issues proactively.

“We went after guys that understood we weren’t responsible for it, but understand that we’re responsible enough to clean it up,” Golden says.

The message resonated with recruits. Not only did Golden keep most of his oral commitments after the scandal broke in August, but he also closed like Mariano Rivera, guaranteeing a top-10 class on Signing Day by getting Miramar cornerback Tracy Howard, ranked as the No. 18 prospect nationally by Athlon Sports, to change direction and sign with the Hurricanes instead of Florida.

“There aren’t many guys that can pull that off,” Lemming says. “Golden is a younger version of Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as a coach and a recruiter. Like Saban and Meyer, Golden never stops working. He has an uncanny knack for knowing what kids are looking for, which requires a lot of time and effort. That, combined with a work ethic that is second to none and a great personality, makes Golden unique. There’s only a few of them like him.”

The Hurricanes signed 33 players, but Brennan Carroll, Miami’s national recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, says the key pair were running back Randy “Duke” Johnson and defensive back Deon Bush, a couple of local area products.

Johnson, Florida’s 5A Player of the Year after leading Miami Norland to an undefeated season and state championship, committed to the Hurricanes as a junior in high school and didn’t budge despite the firing of coach Randy Shannon, two lackluster seasons, the NCAA investigation or the best attempts by other schools to sway him.

Bush, a consensus top-5 safety, committed to Miami a month before Signing Day, then worked hard to get Howard, his buddy and former teammate on a 7-on-7 all-star team, to ditch the Gators and stay in South Florida.

“Those were really two guys that were turning points for us — Duke Johnson, who was such a rock, and Deon Bush,” says Carroll, the son of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “They were the story. They got some other guys to say, ‘Let’s do it right here.’”

Of Miami’s 33 signees — nine enrolled in January and technically count toward the 2011 scholarship limit — more than half are from the South Florida area. Golden has made it a point to re-connect with local coaches, some of whom felt like their schools and players were ignored during Shannon’s four seasons in charge of the Canes program. Whether that’s a legitimate beef or not, Golden has doubled down in South Florida by assigning his entire nine-man staff to recruit the area and personally communicating to his high school counterparts that “interaction, trust and communication with the local coaches has got to be elite. It can’t be good.”

Whatever the formula, it seems to have worked with the 2011 class, which includes most of South Florida’s best talent.

“We’re going to be tough to beat down here,” Golden says. “And we should be.”

Golden, who signed an extension in November that runs through the 2019 season, has gotten off to a fast start toward building next year’s freshman class. As of early May, Miami had received commitments from five players, including two ranked in ESPN’s Top 150 and Ray Lewis III, son of the NFL great and Hurricanes legend.

With recruiting going very well, Golden sees sunny days ahead despite an impending date with the NCAA Committee on Infractions and an expected rebuilding season.

“We just need to weather the storm,” Golden says. “Don’t flinch and just have a stick-to-it-iveness and determination that’s going to be able to overcome it.

“We are undaunted by this. At the end of the day, it’s still one of the most special places in college football.”

This article appeared in Athlon's 2012 ACC Preview Annual

Related ACC Content

Athlon's 2012 ACC Predictions
Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team

Miami Hurricanes 2012 Team Preview

College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 48 Miami

Teaser:
<p> Al Golden has the Miami Hurricanes back on track</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:58
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2012-big-east-wide-receivers
Body:

Kickoff for the 2012 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2012 - not how the team played in 2011.

Ranking the Big East's Receiving Corps for 2012

1. South Florida – The Bulls ranked second in the Big East in passing offense last season and could push for the conference lead in 2012. Quarterback B.J. Daniels threw for a career-high 2,604 yards last season, while tossing 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Daniels should eclipse those numbers in 2012, as South Florida returns nearly all of its pass catchers from last year. Despite missing four games due to injury, Sterling Griffin led the team with 43 catches for 530 yards. Griffin should push for All-Big East honors in 2012, and has plenty of help with the return of Victor Marc, Deonte Welch and Andre Davis. The wildcard to watch in the receiving corps will be Florida transfer Chris Dunkley. Tight end Evan Landi caught 29 passes last year and will be a dependable threat over the middle in 2012.

2. Rutgers – There’s really not a clear No. 1 receiving corps in the Big East, and a case could be made the Scarlet Knights should rank at the top. Mohamed Sanu departs after catching 115 passes last season, but the cupboard is far from bare for new coach Kyle Flood. Brandon Coleman finished 2011 on a tear, catching six passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Connecticut, while taking his only reception against Iowa State for 86 yards and a score. Joining Coleman as key contributors will be Mark Harrison, Quron Pratt and Tim Wright. Harrison caught only 14 passes last season after nabbing 44 receptions in 2010. If he returns to form and Coleman continues to emerge, Rutgers should be in great shape at receiver. Tight end D.C. Jefferson is another weapon to watch, and he has 22 receptions over the last two years.

3. Louisville – If there’s a group that could take a big step forward in 2012, look no further than Louisville. The Cardinals lose receiver Josh Bellamy and tight end Josh Chichester, but return a handful of talented youngsters. DeVante Parker only caught 18 passes as a freshman last year, but took six of those for scores and averaged 16.2 yards per reception. Eli Rogers also made a big impact as a freshman last season, leading the team with 41 receptions. Rogers and Parker will join fellow sophomore Michaelee Harris as the likely starters, while Jarrett Davis, Andrell Smith and Scott Radcliff will provide depth.

4. Syracuse – The Orange must replace running back Antwon Bailey, but the offense returns quarterback Ryan Nassib and All-Big East tackle Justin Pugh. Syracuse ranked fifth in the conference in total offense last year, so getting improvement from this unit will be crucial if the Orange want to return to a bowl game. Departing as key weapons in the receiving corps are receivers Van Chew and Dorian Graham and All-Big East tight end Nick Provo. Alec Lemon was the No. 1 target for Nassib last season and earned second-team All-Big East honors. He is once again expected to be the go-to target, while the receiving corps should receive a boost with the return of Marcus Sales, who missed all of 2011 due to a suspension. There’s not a ton of depth, but Syracuse should have one of the conference’s top duos with Sales and Lemon returning.

5. Pittsburgh – The Panthers didn’t suffer any huge losses from this group and with the arrival of offensive-minded head coach Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh could have one of the Big East’s most-improved offenses in 2012. Devin Street and Mike Shanahan are the headliners for this group and both players should be in the mix for All-Big East honors. Street led the team with 53 receptions and 754 yards last year. Cameron Saddler caught 19 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown in 2011 and is back in the mix as a No. 3 returner and weapon on special teams. Ronald Jones turned in a solid freshman campaign last year, catching 17 passes for 143 yards. Jones and Saddler will backup Street and Shanahan, but sophomore Darius Patton could work his way into playing time. Tight end Hubie Graham should have a breakout year in Chryst’s offense. 

6. Cincinnati – With quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead departing, 2012 figures to be a rebuilding year on offense for the Bearcats. Cincinnati also loses receiver DJ Woods, but returns Anthony McClung (49 catches in 2011) and Kenbrell Thompkins (44 catches). In addition to leading the team in catches, McClung paced Cincinnati receivers with 683 yards and six receiving scores. Sophomores Alex Chsium and Dyjuan Lewis are intriguing talents, while tight end Travis Kelce is back after catching 13 passes last year. Another option to watch will be converted quarterback Jordan Luallen, who made the switch to receiver in spring practice. Coach Butch Jones would like to see more consistency and fewer dropped passes from this group in 2012, but there’s plenty of options to keep this unit ranked among the best receiving corps in the Big East.

7. Connecticut – Quarterback play was a huge issue for the Huskies last year, but the receiving corps didn’t give the passers much help either. Connecticut loses Isiah and Kashif Moore (the top two receivers from last season), but this group could be improved in 2012. Michael Smith led the Huskies with 615 receiving yards and 46 catches in 2010 but missed 2011 due to academic suspension. Smith is back in the mix, and is joined by transfers Shakim Phillips (Boston College) and Bryce McNeal (Connecticut). Senior Nick Williams caught only 11 passes last season but averaged 21.5 yards per catch. Tight end Ryan Griffin caught 33 passes last year and is a steady performer for whichever quarterback wins the job.

8. Temple – With the departure of running back Bernard Pierce, Temple will have to lean a little more on its passing attack in 2012. Matt Brown is a capable rusher, but the Owls need more from quarterback Chris Coyer and the receivers. No Temple player caught more than 35 passes last season, and the top two statistical leaders (tight end Evan Rodriguez and receiver Joe Jones) from 2011 have departed. Deon Miller averaged 14.1 yards per reception on 18 catches and needs to play a bigger role in the offense. Seniors Malcolm Eugene and C.J. Hammond are expected to have prominent roles in 2012, but keep an eye on Jalen Fitzpatrick. The sophomore had a good spring and should provide some big-play ability to the offense. 

 

Athlon's 2012 Big East Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Big East Predictions

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut South Florida
Louisville Syracuse
Pittsburgh Temple

Related Big East Content

Athlon's 2012 All-Big East Team
College Football Realignment Winners and Losers for 2012
College Basketball Realignment Winners and Losers for 2012

Ranking the Big East's Running Backs for 2012

Teaser:
<p> Big East 2012 Wide Receiver Unit Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:38
Path: /college-football/college-football-history-acc-realignment
Body:

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.

The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment

The History of Big 12 Realignment

The History of Big Ten Conference Realignment

The History of Pac-12 Conference Realignment

The History of ACC Realignment

The ACC Commissioners:

James Weaver, 1954-70
Robert James 1971-87
Eugene Corrigan, 1987-97
John Swofford, 1997-present

The ACC Timeline:

1953: After losing a multitude of members to the SEC in 1932, the once massive (23 member) Southern Conference loses eight key members to the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The SoCon had a league-wide ban on postseason play and this is why many believe the ACC got started to begin with. Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and, a few months later, Virginia became the charter members.

1971: South Carolina decided to leave for independence and would later join the SEC in 1991.

1978: After only containing seven teams for most of the 70s, Georgia Tech left the Metro Conference for the greener pastures of the ACC.

1991: Also from the Metro Conference, Florida State’s decision to join the ACC might have been the most important maneuver in ACC history. The Noles went on to dominate the league for the first decade and it played in the first three BCS National Championship games (1998-2000). The 1999 title is the league’s only BCS National Championship.

2004: Miami and Virginia Tech both officially joined in the summer of 2004. Adding the two football powers gave the ACC two more viable national championship football programs to package with FSU.

2005: Boston College comes aboard the next year, giving the ACC 12 teams and the opportunity to split the conference into two divisions and host a title game. After taking the Canes, Hokies and Eagles, the Big East countered with expansion of its own and is still on life support to this day.

2011: In an effort to get out in front of the curve, John Swofford continued to stabilize his league by adding two more Big East powers, Syracuse and Pitt, to the group. The ACC technically expanded to 14 before any other major BCS league.

2014: The Panthers and Orange are slated to join the league in 2014 — the same year that the new football playoff will go into effect.

ACC BCS Bowl History

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Fiesta (NCG): (1) Tennessee 23, (2) Florida State 16
1999 Sugar (NCG): (1) Florida State 46, (2) Virginia Tech 29
2000 Orange (NCG): (1) Oklahoma 13, (2) Florida State 2
2001 Orange: (5) Florida 56, (10) Maryland 23
2002 Sugar: (3) Georgia 26, (14) Florida State 13
2003 Orange: (9) Miami 16, (7) Florida State 14
2004 Sugar: (3) Auburn 16, (8) Virginia Tech 13
2005 Orange: (3) Penn State 26, (22) Florida State 23 (3 OT)
2006 Orange: (6) Louisville 24, (14) Wake Forest 13
2007 Orange: (8) Kansas 24, (3) Virginia Tech 21
2008 Orange: (19) Virginia Tech 20, (12) Cincinnati 7
2009 Orange: (10) Iowa 24, (9) Georgia Tech 14
2010 Orange: (4) Stanford 40, (13) Virginia Tech 14
2011 Sugar: (13) Michigan 23, (11) Virginia Tech 20 (OT) 
2011 Orange: (23) West Virginia 70, (15) Clemson 33 

Overall Record: 2-13
National Championships: 1-2

The History of the ACC:

Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:

College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?

Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?

Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?

Teaser:
<p> College Football: The History of ACC Realignment</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:03
Path: /college-football/history-big-ten-conference-realignment
Body:

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.

The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment

The History of Big 12 Realignment

The History of Big Ten Conference Realignment

The History of Pac-12 Conference Realignment

The History of ACC Realignment

The Big Ten Conference Commissioners:

John Griffith, 1922-44 (died in office)
Kenneth “Tug” Wilson, 1945-61
William Reed, 1961-71 (died in office)
Wayne Duke, 1971-89
Jim Delany, 1989-present

The Big Ten Conference Timeline:

1896: The Big Ten is formed as the first major collegiate conference of universities. Purdue president James Smart is credited with spearheading the decision to regulate and control intercollegiate athletics. The seven founding members were the Univeristy of Chicago, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Lake Forest College attended the 1895 meeting that eventually spawned what was then referred to as the Western Conference, but it did not join the league.

1899: Iowa and Indiana both join the Big Ten Conference three years after it’s inception. It was then commonly called the Big Nine.

1900: Both Iowa and Indiana would begin athletic competition the following year. Interestingly enough, Nebraska petitioned to join the league the same year (and would again request an invitation in 1911 to no avail).

1908: Michigan was voted out of the conference due to rules issues. The Wolverines failed to adhere to league-wide regulations and were subsequently ruled inactive.

1912: Ohio State joins the league.

1917: When Michigan was finally allowed back into the conference after the decade-long hiatus, the term Big Ten became an instantly popular way to refer to the conference.

1946: Due to the on-going World War in Europe, the University of Chicago had de-emphasized athletics in 1939 in a severe manner by discontinuing its football program. By 1946, Chicago withdrew from the league. The Big Ten went back to being referred to as the Big Nine.

1950: Michigan State is invited to join the Big Nine and does so to return the total number of league institutions to ten. The term Big Ten was re-adopted at this point. It would begin athletic competition in 1953.

1982: Penn State, currently an independent institution, asked to join the Big East but was denied inclusion in what was considered a basketball-centric league at the time.

1987: Technically, the league had been named the “Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives.” But since ICFR doesn’t roll off the tongue, the league officially changed its name to The Big Ten when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit business entity.

1990: After remaining unchanged for nearly exactly four decades of success, the Big Ten voted to expand to 11 schools and asked Penn State to join. The Nittany Lions were happy to oblige. It would begin Big Ten athletic competition in 1993.

2010: Nebraska applies for Big Ten membership and is unanimously approved as the league’s 12th institution.

2011: Nebraska played its first Big Ten conference schedule and the league splits into two divisions to accommodate the Cornhuskers. The Big Ten plays its first league championship game in Indianapolis.
 
Big Ten Conference BCS Bowl History

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Sugar: (4) Ohio State 24, (6) Texas A&M 14
1998 Rose: (9) Wisconsin 38, (5) UCLA 31
1999 Orange: (8) Michigan 35, (4) Alabama 34
1999 Rose: (7) Wisconsin 17, (ur) Stanford 9
2000 Rose: (4) Washington 34, (ur) Purdue 24
2001 Sugar: (13) LSU 47, (8) Illinois 34
2002 Fiesta (NCG): (2) Ohio State 31, (1) Miami 24 (2 OT)
2002 Orange: (4) USC 38, (5) Iowa 17
2003 Fiesta: (5) Ohio State 35, (10) Kansas State 28
2003 Rose: (3) USC 28, (4) Michigan 14
2004 Rose: (4) Texas 38, (13) Michigan 37
2005 Fiesta: (4) Ohio State 34, (6) Notre Dame 20
2005 Orange: (3) Penn State 26,* (22) Florida State 23
2006 NCG: (2) Florida 41, (1) Ohio State 14
2006 Rose: (5) USC 32, (3) Michigan 18
2007 NCG: (2) LSU 38, (1) Ohio State 24
2007 Rose: (7) USC 49, (13) Illinois 17
2008 Fiesta: (3) Texas 24, (10) Ohio State 21
2008 Rose: (5) USC 38, (8) Penn State 24
2009 Rose: (8) Ohio State 26, (7) Oregon 16
2009 Orange: (10) Iowa 24, (9) Georgia Tech 14
2010 Sugar: (6) Ohio State 31,* (8) Arkansas 26
2010 Rose: (3) TCU 21, (5) Wisconsin 19
2011 Sugar: (13) Michigan 23, (11) Virginia Tech 20 (OT)
2011 Rose: (5) Oregon 45, (10) Wisconsin 38

* - later vacated

Overall Record: 12-13
National Championships: 1-2

The History of the Big Ten:

Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:

College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?

Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?

Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?

Teaser:
<p> The History of Big Ten Conference Realignment</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:02
Path: /college-football/history-pac-12-conference-realignment
Body:

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.

The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment
The History of Big 12 Realignment
The History of Big Ten Conference Realignment

The History of Pac-12 Conference Realignment
The History of ACC Realignment 

The Pac-12 Conference Commissioners:

Edwin Atherton, 1940-44
Victor Schmidt, 1944-59
Thomas Hamilton, 1959-71
Wiles Hallock, 1971-83
Thomas Hansen, 1983-2009
Larry Scott, 2009-present

The Pac-12 Conference Timeline:

1916: After a meeting at the Imperial Hotel in Portland, Ore., the previous year, the Pacific Coast Conference was founded. Cal, Washington, Oregon and Oregon Agricultural College, more commonly known as Oregon State University, were the founding members.

1917: Washington State quickly followed its in-state brethren into the PCC.

1918: Stanford then quickly followed its cross-town rival into the PCC as well.

1922: A third round of expansion took place when USC and Idaho joined the league, expanding the PCC to eight teams.

1924: Montana was added to grow the PCC to nine teams.

1928: The addition of UCLA makes the PCC a 10-member conference.

1950: Montana decided to join the Mountain States Conference and the PCC continued for nearly a decade as a nine-team league.

1959: After years of stability, the PCC was disbanded due to a massive pay-for-play scandal that involved Cal, USC, UCLA and Washington. Retired Admiral Thomas Hamilton stepped in and saved the league and the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) was formed the same year with Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington acting as charter institutions. It was commonly referred to as the Big Five. Idaho was essentially left out of the entire process.

1962: Washington State again followed its Evergreen counterpart into the new conference. The Cougars turned the Big Five into the Big Six.

1964: Two years later, Oregon and Oregon State joined the party and the league unofficially became known as the Pacific-8.

1968: The official name of the AAWU was changed to Pacific-8, or Pac-8 for short.

1978: The Pac-8 officially adds two WAC programs, Arizona and Arizona State, to return the league to 10 member institutions. The league renames itself the Pac-10.

2011: Utah and Colorado are invited formally and officially change the Pac-10 into the Pac-12. The league splits into obvious Northern and Southern Divisions and creates its first-ever Pac-12 Championship game. Unlike other leagues, however, the west coast conference decides to play the game at home sites. In fact, the Utes and Buffaloes played on the final weekend of the regular season with Utah having the chance to win the South Division in its first year. Colorado pulled-off the upset and the UCLA Bruins claimed the first-ever Pac-12 South title.

Pac-12 Conference BCS Bowl History

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Rose: (9) Wisconsin 38, (5) UCLA 31
1999 Rose: (7) Wisconsin 17, (ur) Stanford 9
2000 Fiesta: (6) Oregon State 41, (11) Notre Dame 9
2000 Rose: (4) Washington 34, (ur) Purdue 24
2001 Fiesta: (4) Oregon 38, (3) Colorado 16
2002 Orange: (4) USC 38, (5) Iowa 17
2003 Rose: (3) USC 28, (4) Michigan 14*
2004 Orange (NCG): (1) USC 55, (2) Oklahoma 19
2005 Rose (NCG): (2) Texas 41, (1) USC 38
2006 Rose: (5) USC 32, (3) Michigan 18
2007 Rose: (7) USC 49, (13) Illinois 17
2008 Rose: (5) USC 38, (8) Penn State 24
2009 Rose: (8) Ohio State 26, (7) Oregon 16
2010 NCG: (1) Auburn 22, (2) Oregon 19
2010 Orange: (4) Stanford 40, (13) Virginia Tech 14
2011 Rose: (5) Oregon 45, (10) Wisconsin 38
2011 Fiesta: (3) Oklahoma State 41, (4) Stanford 38 (OT)

Overall Record: 11-6
National Championships: 1-2*

* - USC earned a share of the 2003 National Championship

The History of the Pac-12:

Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:

College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?

Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?

Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?

Teaser:
<p> The History of Pac-12 Conference Realignment</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-footballs-conferences-2012
Body:

Once again, the SEC ranks as college football's best conference. LSU and Alabama are expected to be national title contenders, while Georgia and South Carolina should finish the year ranked as top-10 teams. While the SEC is college football's No. 1 conference, the Big 12 isn't too far behind. Oklahoma is the favorite to win the conference title, but Texas is on the rise, and the league welcomes West Virginia and TCU as new members in 2012. 

1. SEC
Favorite: LSU

The league has produced the national champion in each of the past six seasons. And while USC out of the Pac-12 is our preseason No. 1 team, there are four SEC schools in the top 10, so don’t be surprised if the league extends the streak to seven next January in Miami Gardens. The West will be a battle once again, with LSU and Alabama both well-positioned to make a title run. A favorable schedule — plus a talented roster — makes Georgia the favorite in the East, but don’t count out South Carolina, which welcomes back Marcus Lattimore. 

2. Big 12
Favorite: Oklahoma

The Big 12 isn’t as formidable as the SEC at the top — Oklahoma appears to be the only legit national title contender — but the league has great depth. Including OU, six league teams can be found in Athlon Sports’ preseason top 25, including newcomers West Virginia (No. 12) and TCU (No. 22).

3. Big Ten
Favorite: Michigan

If Michigan and Ohio State continue to recruit at their current rate, another ‘Ten Year War’ could soon be in store between these two traditional powers. Ohio State is ranked higher in the preseason top 25, but the Buckeyes aren’t eligible for postseason play and thus can’t play in the Big Ten title game. Nebraska and Michigan State figure to give Michigan a battle in the Legends Division, while Wisconsin poses the biggest threat to Ohio State in the Leaders.

4. Pac-12
Favorite: USC

The Pac-12 boasts two of the elite teams in the nation in USC and Oregon, but there is a significant drop-off after those two. Stanford figures to take a step back with Andrew Luck now with the Colts, but the Cardinal will still be strong. It should be a tight race for second place in the South. Utah is our pick, though UCLA should be improved under first-year coach Jim Mora.

5. ACC
Favorite: Florida State

Florida State once again looks rock-solid on paper, but we’ve been through this drill before. Is this the year the Seminoles finally break through? Clemson, the defending ACC champ, has the talent to return to a BCS bowl. Virginia Tech is once again the favorite in the Coastal Division.

6. Big East
Favorite: Louisville

West Virginia’s departure to the Big 12 makes Louisville the favorite in the Big East. Charlie Strong has done a masterful job in two short years and has his program well-positioned for the future. Rutgers and South Florida figure to be in the hunt as well, and don’t count out Pitt under new boss Paul Chryst.

7. Mountain West
Favorite: Boise State

Star quarterback Kellen Moore is gone, but Boise State remains the class of the Mountain West. The loss of TCU to the Big 12 will hurt, but the addition of Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State should add some beef to the middle of the league. This year, watch out for Wyoming, which returns 13 starters from a team that won eight games in 2011.

8. Conference USA
Favorite: UCF

Watch out for the usual suspects in the final year of Conference USA football as it’s currently configured. Houston and Tulsa are the favorites in the West, while UCF and East Carolina appear to be the teams to beat in the East.

9. MAC
Favorite: Ohio

Ohio is the easy pick to the win the MAC East, thanks to a talented roster and a schedule that does not include the top teams in the West. Western Michigan loses elite wideout Jordan White, but the Broncos’ attack should still be explosive with quarterback Alex Carder running the show. Toledo will also score a ton of points.

10. Sun Belt
Favorite: Arkansas State

Arkansas State, the defending Sun Belt champ, made big news in the offseason by hiring Gus Malzahn to replace Hugh Freeze. FIU should bounce back into contention after going 5–3 in the Sun Belt last year. And UL-Lafayette, which won nine games in ’11, will be strong again.

11. WAC
Favorite: Louisiana Tech

The WAC has been gutted in recent years, losing Boise State after the 2010 season and Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada after the ’11 campaign. Louisiana Tech is the best of the leftovers, followed by Utah State. 

Related College Football Content

Athlon's 2012 ACC Predictions
Athlon's 2012 Big East Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Big Ten Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Big 12 Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Pac-12 Predictions

Athlon's 2012 SEC Predictions

Athlon's 2012 MAC Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Mountain West Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Conference USA Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Sun Belt Predictions
Athlon's 2012 WAC Predictions

Teaser:
<p> Ranking College Football's Conferences for 2012</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 04:58
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-top-players-c-usa
Body:

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for Conference USA in terms of fantasy options for 2012:

2012 Preseason Conference USA All-Fantasy Team

Using a starting roster of 2-QB, 3-RB, 3-WR, FLEX, TE, K, Def/ST, All-Conference Fantasy Teams are projected using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)

Starters

QB—David Piland, So. (Houston)

Last season:  Redshirted.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Rice, North Texas, UAB

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

QB—Rio Johnson, Jr. (East Carolina)

Last season:  Only 157 yards passing as QB #2 behind Dominique Davis.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; Memphis, @ UAB, Navy

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Tulane, Marshall

 

RB—Zach Line, Sr. (SMU)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,224 yards and 17 TDs, 15 receptions for 139 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; @ Tulane, Houston, Memphis.

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  So. Miss, @ Rice, Tulsa

 

RB—Charles Sims, Jr. (Houston)

Last season:  Rushed for 821 yards and 9 TDs, 51 receptions for 575 yards and 4 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 8-9-10; @ SMU, UTEP, @ ECU

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

RB—Orleans Darkwa, Jr. (Tulane)

Last season:  Rushed for 924 yards and 13 TDs, 37 receptions for 305 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 9-10-11; UAB, Rice, @ Memphis

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Memphis, ECU, @ Houston

 

WR—Darius Johnson, Sr. (SMU)

Last season:  79 receptions for a team-high 1,118 yards and 8 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; @ UTEP, @ Tulane, Houston

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  So. Miss, @ Rice, Tulsa

 

WR—Justin Hardy, So. (East Carolina)

Last season:  Led the team in receptions and receiving yards (64-658), 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; Memphis, @ UAB, Navy

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Tulane, Marshall

 

WR—Daniel Spencer, So. (Houston)

Last season:  12 receptions for 171 yards and 2 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Rice, North Texas, UAB

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

TE—Luke Willson, Sr. (Rice)

Last season:  29 receptions for 313 yards and 3 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Houston, @ Memphis, UTSA

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, SMU, @ UTEP

 

FLEX—Aaron Dobson, Sr. (Marshall)

Last season:  Led the team in receptions, yards, and TDs (49-668-12)

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; Memphis, @ UAB, Houston

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ UAB, Houston, @ ECU

 

K—Matt Hogan, Sr. (Houston)

Last season: 13 of 17 on FG attempts, 91 of 92 on extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Rice, North Texas, UAB

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

DEF/ST—Central Florida Knights

Last season:  No. 9 scoring defense and total defense, No. 16 rushing defense.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; ECU, So. Miss, @ Memphis

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ UTEP, @ Tulsa, UAB

 

Top 5 Reserves

QB—Cody Green, Jr. (Tulsa)

QB—Jonathan Perry, Jr. (UAB)

RB—Latavius Murray, Sr. (UCF)

WR—Deontay Greenberry, Fr. (Houston)

WR—Dewayne Peace, Jr. (Houston)


 

 

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

 

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining The Top Players in C-USA</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 02:41
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /college-football/2012-college-football-fcs-top-25-and-predictions
Body:

College football isn't just about the FBS division and the BCS. The FCS division settles its national champion with a playoff and a familiar name tops the rankings for 2012.

1. Sam Houston State (14–1, 7–0 Southland)
After their perfect season was derailed in the national championship game, the Bearkats have one goal this year: Win it all. They return the Southland Player of the Year (running back Tim Flanders), Offensive Player of the Year (wide receiver Richard Sincere) and Defensive Player of the Year (safety Darnell Taylor). Quarterback Brian Bell is another of the 18 returning starters. Coach Willie Fritz’s squad will play Texas A&M and Baylor.

 2. Georgia Southern (11–3, 7–1 SoCon)
The only team more frustrated than Sam Houston State is Georgia Southern, which has been stopped in each of the last two national semifinals. To take the next step, the Eagles need a new quarterback — perhaps Jerick McKinnon — to be precise running the triple option. He will be sure  that backs Robert Brown and Dominique Swope get plenty of touches. Opposing offenses want no part of nose tackle Brent Russell. 

3. North Dakota State (14–1, 7–1 Missouri Valley)
Coach Craig Bohl is confident that the loss of 11 starters won’t prevent the reigning national champs from challenging for back-to-back titles. Junior cornerback Marcus Williams was electrifying for last year’s stingiest defense in the FCS (12.7 ppg). Third-year quarterback Brock Jensen keeps improving for an offense that will be run-heavy behind 1,000-yard back Sam Ojuri.

4. Montana State (10–3, 7–1 Big Sky)
The Bobcats have some flash with junior quarterback DeNarius McGhee, but their program is more about flexing its muscles. Cody Kirk (1,351 rushing yards and 14 TDs) is the key cog offensively, and defensive linemen Brad Daly, Zach Minter and Caleb Schreibeis and linebacker Jody Owens form the nucleus of a dominant stop-unit.

5. James Madison (8–5, 5–3 CAA)
The Dukes believe they have solved recent inconsistency. Quarterback Justin Thorpe, who came back strong after a university suspension last season, will team with versatile running back Dae’Quan Scott (1,304 rushing yards, 13 total TDs) on an improved offense. The defense has a star in middle linebacker Stephon Robertson and an emerging standout in safety Dean Marlowe.

6. Old Dominion (10–3, 6–2 CAA)
Year 2 in the CAA should be as good as last year’s debut for the Monarchs. Taylor Heinicke fired 25 touchdown passes with only one interception over the final nine games of his true freshman season, and he has plenty back in the skill positions. Craig Wilkins flies around at linebacker, and the special teams are always outstanding.

7. Towson (9–3, 7–1 CAA)
Coach Rob Ambrose led the Tigers to a stunning CAA title after going a combined 3–29 in conference in the previous four seasons. There won’t be a letdown with the return of running back Terrance West, who scored an FCS-high 29 touchdowns as a freshman, and fellow All-CAA standouts Frank Beltre (defensive end) and Jordan Dangerfield (safety).

8. Appalachian State (8–4, 6–2 SoCon)
A senior-laden defense, featuring linebackers Brandon Grier and Jeremy Kimbrough and defensive backs Demetrius McCray (five interceptions) and Troy Sanders, will get to the ball in waves. Veteran coach Jerry Moore will need some new playmakers to develop for quarterback Jamal Jackson.

9. Youngstown State (6–5, 4–4 Missouri Valley)
The only team to beat FCS champion North Dakota State last season, the Penguins are primed for their first playoff appearance since 2006. All-MVC selections Kurt Hess (quarterback) and Jamaine Cook (running back), along with big-play receiver Christian Bryan, return from the most prolific offense in school history.

10. New Hampshire (8–4, 6–2 CAA)
The Wildcats seek to extend the longest active streak of playoff appearances (eight) in the FCS, behind senior linebacker Matt Evans, the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award recipient. The transition of new quarterback — Andy Vailas or James Brady — will be eased by wide receivers R.J. Harris and Joey Orlando.

11. Delaware (7–4, 5–3 CAA)
The FCS version of Quarterback U is looking for better production at the position this season. No matter what, coach K.C. Keeler will put the ball in the hands of junior running back Andrew Pierce (2,934 yards in two seasons). Linebacker Paul Worrilow leads the defense.

12. Eastern Washington (6–5, 5–3 Big Sky)
Decimated by injuries last season, the 2010 FCS champions seek significant improvement. SMU transfer quarterback Kyle Padron will replace another former SMU Mustang, Bo Levi Mitchell, the 2011 Walter Payton Award recipient. Padron will have three different 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal — Nicholas Edwards, Greg Herd and Brandon Kaufman.

13. Jacksonville State (7–4, 6–2 OVC)
Having underachieved in recent seasons, the talented Gamecocks hope to put it all together. Coach Jack Crowe is patching up the defense, but his offense will be outstanding with 1,000-yard back Washaun Ealey and quarterback Marques Ivory, who will share time with Coty Blanchard.

14. Indiana State (6–5, 4–4 Missouri Valley)
Catch him if you can: Junior tailback Shakir Bell averaged 7.3 yards per carry while amassing 1,670 yards. The Sycamores’ defense will be led by end Ben Obaseki and linebackers Aaron Archie and Jacolby Washington.

15. Illinois State (7–4, 5–3 Missouri Valley)
Snubbed out of a playoff berth last season, the Redbirds plan to leave no doubt this year. They have a superb passing combo in Matt Brown-to-Tyrone Walker and get after opposing quarterbacks with defensive end Nate Palmer and linebacker Evan Frierson.

16. Stony Brook (9–4, 6–0 Big South)
Two running backs are better than one. Miguel Maysonet (1,633 yards, 15 TDs) has a new tag-team partner in Iowa transfer Marcus Coker, the Big Ten’s second-leading rusher in 2011. The Seawolves may lead the FCS in scoring once again.

17. Montana (11–3, 7–1 Big Sky)
The offseason firing of coach Robin Pflugrad rocked a national semifinalist squad that had lost nine defensive starters already. The running game remains strong with the undersized duo of Peter Nguyen and Jordan Canada.

18. Eastern Kentucky (7–5, 6–2 OVC)
A dominant offensive line, featuring 6'6" tackles Aaron Adams and Patrick Ford, will pave the way for fourth-year quarterback T.J. Pryor and running back Matt Denham, who averaged 184.5 rushing yards over the final eight games of last season.

19. Wofford (8–4, 6–2 SoCon)
Fullbacks Eric Breitenstein (3,695 career rushing yards) and Donovan Johnson get into opponents’ defensive backfields, and linebacker Alvin Scioneaux (16 tackles for a loss) gets into opponents’ offensive backfields. The Terriers have led the FCS in rushing for two straight seasons.

20. Northern Iowa (10–3, 7–1 Missouri Valley)
This perennial FCS power must work in 11 new starters against a brutally tough September schedule that includes Wisconsin and Iowa. Running backs David Johnson and Carlos Anderson fuel a strong ground attack.

21. Murray State (7–4, 5–3 OVC)
The Racers believe they have the FCS’ best quarterback in Casey Brockman, who threw for 3,276 yards and 25 touchdowns last year. Linebacker and leading tackler Sam Small leads a defense that must replace several key pieces.

22. Harvard (9–1, 7–0 Ivy)
Each of the Crimson’s Ivy League wins was by double digits last season. Quarterback Colton Chapple and running back Treavor Scales work behind a veteran offensive line. Harvard’s 37.4 points per game set a school record.

23. Stephen F. Austin (6–5, 5–2 Southland)
Opponents probably can’t believe that veteran wide receivers Gralyn Crawford and Cordell Roberson haven’t graduated yet. Sack specialist Willie Jefferson leads the defense of a team that won its final five games.

24. Chattanooga (5–6, 3–5 SoCon)
The Mocs need to start winning the close games behind quarterback Terrell Robinson, the 2011 SoCon Freshman of the Year. The defense is stocked with end Josh Williams, linebacker Wes Dothard and cornerback Kadeem Wise.

25. Lehigh (11–2, 6–0 Patriot)
Senior quarterback Mike Colvin hopes to run the Mountain Hawks’ high-flying passing attack and will target All-America wide receiver Ryan Spadola (96 receptions for 1,614 yards). They haven’t lost a league game since 2009.
 

2012 Projected FCS Playoff Qualifiers

Appalachian State (at-large)

Bethune-Cookman (MEAC champ)

Bryant (Northeast champ)

Delaware (at-large)

Eastern Washington (at-large)

Georgia Southern (Southern champ)

Illinois State (at-large)

Indiana State (at-large)

Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley champ)

James Madison (CAA champ)

Lehigh (Patriot champ)

Montana State (Big Sky champ)

Montana (at-large)

New Hampshire (at-large)

North Dakota State (Missouri Valley champ)

Old Dominion (at-large)

Sam Houston State (Southland champ)

Stony Brook (Big South champ)

Towson (at-large)

Youngstown State (at-large)

Teaser:
<p> Sam Houston State ranks as Athlon's No. 1 team in the FCS poll for 2012</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 01:43
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlon%E2%80%99s-essential-eleven-links-day-5
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for June 29:

• Probably the best story of draft day. Hard not to root for this guy.

• So, David Stern. Job's not so easy without Michael Jordan, is it?

• All lovers of college football — in other words, everyone reading this — should add this link to their bookmarks.

• Not sure what a pimp cup is. Guess we'll have to ask Fred Davis.

• Turning internet memes into charity — nice work, bro.

• Reliving bite night

• Speaking of Iron Mike, this might be the greatest tweet in history.

• This clip has a little bit of everything you love about the NBA Draft — Adam Silver, Knicks fans going nuts after a pick and a chubby kid doing the Mutombo. 

• Hey, Elton Brand — stick to your day job.

• Mike Holmgren dodged the truth for as long as he could.

• Apparently, Danny Sheridan gambled and lost that he could buy Twitter followers without detection. 


June 28

 The NBA Draft, Nintendo version. This one really got us when Stephen A. Smith showed up. Even better than the real thing.

• You think we've got lingering racial issues in the U.S.? This cartoon actually ran in an Italian newspaper. 

• Ever wonder what Anthony Davis would look like with other people's eyebrows? You're in luck.

• Bob, we love ya, but...no. Just no.

• You may be tired of cautionary tales in sports, but here's another one, and it's pretty sad. 

• This is just what you want to read about your franchise on draft day. 

• Potato, po-tah-to

• Can't wait for the new Spider-Man movie? These guys are here for you. 

• Is Drew Brees considering a career change?

• Fat guys launching home runs is what softball is all about — up to a point.

• Aaron Rodgers' peers voted him the best player for 2012. This was his reaction. 


June 22

• Joe Posnanski looks at LeBron James’ journey to a title with the Miami Heat.

• Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman does not believe a playoff is best for college football.

• SmartCar USA has a funny Twitter response to a critic.

• Mark Ennis of Big East Coast Bias looks at the implications for the conference with college football’s new postseason format.

• Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is tired of hearing about a team in turmoil.

• How big of an impact will rookie runner David Wilson make with the New York Giants?

• Would Maryland really play on gray turf?

• SportsGrid gives us some funny video of drunken Irish soccer fans just trying to find the Porta-Potty at the Euro2012.

• It sounds like Mets closer Frank Francisco is not a Yankees fans.

• A recent Mississippi State football billboard violated an NCAA rule.

• You knew LeBron James winning a title would not play well in Cleveland. Local
weatherman Mark Johnson cannot get through the forecast without showing his frustration with the Heat beating the Thunder.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


June 21

• The BCS commissioners have decided to recommend a seeded, four-team playoff to college football’s Presidential Oversight Committee. A playoff should be in place for the 2014 season, although there are many details still to be decided.

• CBS’ Tony Barnhart looks at the details of a college football playoff that still need to be worked out, including a selection committee for determining the four top teams.

• Rob Zombie’s next project will be writing, directing and producing a film about the mid-70s Philadelphia Flyers, known as the Broad Street Bullies. The idea has been described as “Rocky meets Boogie Nights on ice.”

• Just one win away from a title, LeBron James and the Heat are taking nothing for granted.

• Will Ohio State play its 2013 spring game in Cincinnati? ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson looks at the Buckeyes “encroaching right into the heart of Bearcats territory.”

• Make sure to check if your “LinkedIn” password has been breached.

• Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch reflects on former Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, who passed away 10 years ago. His death still affects many in the baseball world and in St. Louis.

• It sounds like free agent receiver Plaxico Burress is not a fan of either Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow of the Jets.

• FanSided.com tells Yankees fans not to sweat Phil Hughes’ clunker against the Braves.

• The next time you’re doing handstands, be careful out there.

• Many of you are not LeBron James fans, but the Heat superstar is on the verge of finally winning a ring. For those who do not like this fact, we recommend that you remember him as Alexander — the Solid Gold dancer.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


June 20

• Get ready America; the polarizing LeBron James is one win away from a championship ring.

• Lisa Horne looks at 11 college football teams that are difficult to figure out, including Texas, Florida, Notre Dame and Georgia.

• With Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter debuting this week, Mandatory.com takes a funny look at what some other Presidential movies would look like.

• Is Brett Favre (you know, that former Vikings QB) the best Packer of all-time?

• Speaking of Minnesota, receiver Percy Harvin sounds less than enthused about the team.

• Would NBA teams spread bad health information on Jared Sullinger as a pre-draft smokescreen?

• Ryan Leaf admits being “lazy and dishonest and selfish” in court.

• Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee believes that LSU’s Les Milles needs to forget Notre Dame quarterback Gunner Kiel, a former Tigers verbal commitment.

• Check out the new Nokia HD trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.

• Will the Padres move in the fences at Petco Park like the Mets did this season?

Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old phenom of the Washington Nationals, has been very likeable for baseball fans this season. But then last night, he changed his walk-up song to Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” Ouch. Hopefully, it was just a rookie prank or a lost bet.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


June 19

R.A. Dickey of the Mets continued his stellar season last night with a second-straight 1-hitter. He’s probably the best story in baseball right now and should be the NL starter in the All-Star Game.

• ESPN SEC blogger Edward Aschoff is not sure that the powerful league will get its preferred selection criteria for a college football playoff.

• We had to get a couple of sports links in before this one. There is a distinct possibility that Kate Upton’s new Fourth of July photo shoot with GQ could crush the internet for a while.

• I’ll admit that our profession is guilty of some overkill when it comes to the polarizing Tim Tebow. But a story that includes a 28-year-old New Jersey man, a pillow fort in his Mom’s closet, 911 calls where he wanted to speak to the new Jets backup QB, and throwing a summons complaint on the ground at police in front of Dunkin Donuts? Now you’ve got us.

• Chadd Scott of ChuckOliver.net questions the NCAA’s stance on supplements and protein.

• The former Blockbuster, Carquest, MicronPC, Tangerine and Champs Sports Bowl is now the Russell Athletic Bowl.

• Mike Tyson…. On Broadway?

• NHL legend Wayne Gretzky won four Stanley Cups as a player, and it looks like his daughter is a fan of the famed trophy as well.

• Be careful Massachusetts residents. There’s nothing quite like an early bike ride where a stranger pelts you with sausage. Seriously.

• The Lakers were taken out by the Thunder in the NBA playoffs, but the scary Metta World Peace still has it out for James Harden.

• I’m still not exactly sure why parents film their children watching games instead of enjoying the experience with them, but it does make for some entertaining video. This little man, a big Oklahoma City fan, just loses it about a minute in and states “I hate Miami!!”

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 


June 18

• The great LaDainian Tomlinson, after 11 NFL seasons and 145 rushing touchdowns, will retire as a San Diego Charger today.

• The wait is over Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his fans, as the popular driver broke a 143-race winless streak at Michigan.

• Webb Simpson became the third straight American to win a major with his victory in the U.S. Open.

• So apparently actress/model Jenny McCarthy, girlfriend of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, likes to send nude pics. Accidently, her son’s dentist ended up with an exciting text.

• How sick are the Thunder after letting Game 3 against the Heat slip away?

• ESPN Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg breaks down Urban Meyer’s first big disciplinary action at Ohio State.

• Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at the similar stories of Texans Roger Clemens and Lance Armstrong.

• Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News details what it will take for the Missouri and Texas A&M programs to compete in the SEC.

• The Nationals have released reliever Brad Lidge.

• Gizmodo has some images of the new iPhone 2012.

• The bonehead of the weekend has to go to tennis player David Nalbandian, who inexplicably did this while leading at the Queen's Club final in London.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 12:30
Path: /nba/2012-nba-draft-pick-pick-recap-0
Body:

As always, the NBA Draft started at breakneck speed. Commissioner David Stern came out from behind his almighty Oz curtain and was greeted as he has been for years — with aggressive booing from the Prudential Center crowd.

“Thank you for the warm reception,” Stern said, in a tone normally reserved for Jim Rome.

From there, the parade of bad suits, embarrassing family and awkward TV could not be stopped.

1. New Orleans Hornets
Anthony Davis, F/C, Kentucky
John Calipari’s best recruiting tool is the NBA Draft. The man has produced three of the past five No. 1 overall picks. Kids putting on caps is old hat for Coach Cal, who had one last huddle with the “Uni-blocker” and MKG.

“You hug mom, you hug dad, then you hug me, and I spin you around for the camera,” Calipari told the duo, who became the first teammates to go 1-2 in draft history.

2. Charlotte Bobcats
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
The new-look, Bob-less Cats take a Gerald Wallace-type hustle guy just one year after trading away the original Gerald Wallace.

3. Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
The BB gun celebrates his 19th birthday in the green room. Meanwhile, the SEC becomes the first conference to boast the top three picks in the NBA Draft since 1986 — a cursed draft that saw Len Bias die almost immediately after being picked No. 2 overall by the Celtics.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
The first shocker of the night. The “most NBA ready guard” Jim Boeheim has ever coached becomes the highest drafted Orange-person since Carmelo Anthony went third overall — behind LeBron and Darko, but ahead of D-Waiters most-comped pro, D-Wade — in 2003.

5. Sacramento Kings
Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
Heather Cox sets female sideline interviewers back several decades during a butchered conversation with T-Rob’s nine-year-old little sister — asking her if she’s ever seen her brother cry (“No”) and what she thinks about moving from D.C. to California (“It's far away from home”).

She saved the train wreck by telling the little girl that Sacramento is close to Disneyland. That’s right, it’s an easy seven-hour drive, just around the corner from Sac-town. Are we there yet?

6. Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Introducing the next Antonio Daniels.

7. Golden State Warriors
Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Former No. 1 high school recruit joins Bay Area 3-point shooting contestants Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. “Moneyball” has a different meaning for this ABA crew neighboring Billy Beane.

8. Toronto Raptors
Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
One of many players wearing checkered dress shirts that look like picnic tablecloths. Ross also rocks the lime green bow tie to cap his geek chic disaster.

9. Detroit Pistons
Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
The Drummond family is in tears. Soon, the Pistons fan base will weep over the next Kwame Brown.

10. New Orleans Hornets
Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
Doc’s son has Coach K’s blessing and now Anthony Davis’ protection. The charmed life continues.

11. Portland Trail Blazers
Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Listen close and you can already hear Bill Walton yelling “Throw it down, big man!”

12. Houston Rockets
Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
Lots of guys cry after they get drafted. Lamb is the only one that looks like he’s near tears during his college highlights.

13. Phoenix Suns
Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Steve Nash’s heir apparent will take over immediately or learn from the two-time MVP for a few seasons, depending on the Canadian icon’s free agent decision.

14. Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson, PF, North Carolina
The last pick of the lottery needs to immediately go on a Wisconsin diet of beer, brats and cheese.

15. Philadelphia 76ers
Maurice Harkless, SF, St. John’s
Went by “Mo” until yesterday, when “his people” let it be known that Harkless is now to be referred to as “Maurice.” Sure, whatever Mo.

16. Houston Rockets
Royce White, SF, Iowa State
Afraid of flying, struggles with anxiety issues, lacks a clearly defined position; Houston may have a problem.

17. Dallas Mavericks
Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
Traded to Cavaliers. “Your older brother won the D-League championship,” Tyler is told after becoming the fourth Tar Heel taken in the first round. Would have been better off leading with, “Your little brother Cody is better than you, right?”

18. Houston Rockets
Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
The Rockets complete their trifecta of head cases. The law firm of Lamb, White and Jones specialize in malcontent malpractice.

19. Orlando Magic
Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Canadian is a softer version of Ryan Anderson — just the type of pick that should convince Dwight to stay.

20. Denver Nuggets
Evan Fournier, SG, France
The lone international prospect selected in the first round is a French slasher who may or may not have been part of Tony Parker's entourage at the Drake-Chris Brown Rihanna glass fight.

21. Boston Celtics
Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Big Sully brings his below-the-rim, old man’s game to the graybeard gang in Boston. Could be a rich man’s version of Big Baby if his red-flagged bad back holds up.

22. Boston Celtics
Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Brazilian big replaces the hotheaded unpredictability and “Flagrant 2” potential the C’s lost after the terrible Kendrick Perkins trade.

23. Atlanta Hawks
John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
J3’s shooting range already extended from Nashville to Atlanta; now it’s official.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State
Traded to Mavericks.

25. Memphis Grizzlies
Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington

26. Indiana Pacers
Miles Plumlee, PF, Duke
Larry Bird goes out with his hand raised like he just won a 3-point contest. The Pacers’ strategy of “best available stiff white guy” continues to dominate on draft day.

27. Miami Heat
Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
Traded to 76ers.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder
Perry Jones III, SF, Baylor
The player everyone was afraid to take and afraid not to take goes to the team that never seems to make a mistake in scouting. If learning from Kevin Durant doesn't maximize PJ3's potential, nothing will.

29. Chicago Bulls
Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
With Derrick Rose recovering from knee surgery, Jeff’s little brother could see major minutes in Chi-town.

30. Golden State Warriors
Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
The Nigerian nightmare locks down the last guaranteed contract of the night as the final pick of the first round. Stern is booed one last time, then steps aside as Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver is greeted with a standing ovation. 

31. Charlotte Bobcats
Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
Somewhere, Cats owner Michael Jordan told everyone at the poker table to shut up so he could watch the draft and see who Charlotte took.

32. Washington Wizards
Tomas Satoransky, SG, Czech Republic
Last year, Jan Vesley made out with girlfriend in the green room after being drafted by the Wiz. This year probably got just as hot when JV’s Czech mate Satoransky was picked.

33. Cleveland Cavaliers
Bernard James, C, Florida State
Traded to Mavericks.

34. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jae Crowder, SF, Marquette
Traded to Mavericks.

35. Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State
Chris Broussard tells the world that Magic Johnson “loves” the pick of his fellow Spartan. Clyde Drexler is just waiting for Green to die.

36. Sacramento Kings
Orlando Johnson, SG, UC Santa Barbara
Traded to Pacers.

37. Toronto Raptors
Quincy Acy, PF, Baylor

38. Denver Nuggets
Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Back-to-back Quincys from Baylor are taken; too bad neither wore neon suits like the highlighter yellow Baylor uniforms from the highlight-er reel.

39. Detroit Pistons
Khris Middleton, PF, Texas A&M

40. Portland Trail Blazers
Will Barton, SG, Memphis

41. Portland Trail Blazers
Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas
Traded to Nets.

42. Milwaukee Bucks
Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

43. Atlanta Hawks
Mike Scott, PF, Virginia

44. Detroit Pistons
Kim English, SG, Missouri

45. Philadelphia 76ers
Justin Hamilton, C, LSU
Traded to Heat.

46. New Orleans Hornets
Darius Miller, SF, Kentucky
The fifth-year senior Wildcat makes history as the sixth Kentucky player selected in the first two rounds — the most ever for one school.

47. Utah Jazz
Kevin Murphy, SG, Tennessee Tech

48. New York Knicks
Kostas Papanikolaou, SF, Greece

49. Orlando Magic
Kyle O’Quinn, C, Norfolk State

50. Denver Nuggets
Izzet Turkyilmaz, PF, Turkey
The Turkish spelling bee begins now.

51. Boston Celtics
Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse

52. Golden State Warriors
Ognjen Kuzmic, C, Bosnia

53. Los Angeles Clippers
Furkan Aldemir, PF, Turkey
Could you use the word in a sentence?

54. Philadelphia 76ers
Tornike Shengelia, SF, Georgia
Traded to Nets.

55. Dallas Mavericks
Darius Johnson-Odom, SG, Marquette
Traded to Lakers. Mark Cuban probably wouldn't have yelled at this Odom from the stands. After the trade to L.A., Odom is in the market for a Kardashian reality show.

56. Toronto Raptors
Tomislav Zubcic, C, Croatia

57. New Jersey Nets
Ilkan Karaman, PF, Turkey
Are there any alternate definitions of the word?

58. Minnesota Timberwolves
Robbie Hummel, SF, Purdue
After two ACL injuries, Hummel celebrated gingerly on draft night.

59. San Antonio Spurs
Marcus Denmon, PG, Missouri

60. Los Angeles Lakers
Robert Sacre, C, Gonzaga
Mr. Irrelevant hopes to have an Isaiah Thomas-type impact with the Lake Show. Or at least learn the art of neck-beard from Pau Gasol.

by Nathan Rush
 

Teaser:
<p> The madness of the 2012 NBA Draft, from Dion Waiters' rise to Kentucky's historic six-man draft class.</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 12:27
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/kid-makes-awesome-foul-ball-catch-popcorn-bucket
Body:

Who needs a glove? During last night's game between San Diego and Houston, a young fan made an awesome foul ball grab using his tub of popcorn. It was a sweet catch. Check out his excitement in the video below.
 

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 09:17
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-conference-realignment-winners-and-losers
Body:

One of the unfortunate truths of the latest wave of conference realignment is the overwhelming focus on football.

As a result, basketball and other sports have been of secondary concern in some circles. In others, such as at Butler and VCU and in the Horizon, Colonial and Ohio Valley, basketball is the primary engine of revenue. Almost every league in some way has been impacted by the dominoes of realignment.

In 2012-13, we’ll see a handful of moves such as Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12, and Butler and VCU to the Atlantic 10. By 2013-14, more major dominoes fall in the ACC, Big East and Conference USA.

If you can keep up, we’ll try to assess the major college basketball realignment winners and losers for the next two seasons.

We're fans: Conference realignment winners
ACC. The addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh in 2013-14 might not bring much sizzle to the football product, but the Orange and Panthers give the ACC the nation’s best basketball league (a distinction that probably stays with the Big East had Syracuse and Pitt stayed put). Since 2004-05, the last time the ACC expanded, Syracuse and Pitt have reached the Tournament a combined 13 times while Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech have done so a combined five times since joining the ACC. With Syracuse and the possibility of playing the ACC Tournament at Madison Square Garden, the ACC gains a foothold into Northeastern markets and recruiting territory, which could be a boon for programs for Maryland, NC State and others.

Memphis and Temple. Let’s face it: Memphis and Temple won’t adequately replace Syracuse and Pitt, but when the Big East called, the Tigers and Owls had little choice but to accept the invitation for 2013-14. Memphis had hoped for Big East inclusion for years. Temple is a great geographic fit, but the Owls had little trouble reaching the NCAA Tournament from a quality conference in the A-10. It’s a jump in prestige for Temple but also a jump in competition level.

Mountain West. The football side has lost BYU, TCU and Utah and will lose Boise State and San Diego State in 2013-14. Other than BYU and San Diego State, none of those programs have been consistent on the basketball court since 2006. In 2012-13, the Mountain West adds Nevada, which won 28 games last season and made four consecutive Tournament appearances from 2004-07, and Fresno State. In 2013-14, the league adds Utah State, which has won at least 20 games in 13 consecutive seasons. Perhaps this is an even trade, which considering what’s going on in other conferences, that’s a victory.

Ohio Valley Conference. The OVC added just one team for 2012-13, Belmont, but the Bruins are a logical addition. Located a few miles from OVC headquarters outside of Nashville, Belmont is perfect fit in the league’s regional footprint. And with the Bruins’ recent record of success (164-68 in the last seven seasons), they’ll bring the OVC more quality league games against Murray State, Austin Peay and Morehead State.

Charlotte. The 49ers never really fit in the Atlantic 10, where they went 48-64 in the conference in seven seasons. Conversely, Charlotte reached the NCAA Tournament in seven of its last nine seasons in Conference USA, including five times as an at-large bid -- and that was when Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and Memphis were in the league. Charlotte returns to C-USA in 2013-14 to a weakened league.

Give us time: Conference realignment incomplete grades
Syracuse.
Jim Boeheim was lukewarm to the idea of Syracuse basketball in the ACC, and so are we. With Syracuse on board, the ACC should be the nation’s top basketball league, but at what cost? Games against Duke and North Carolina will be must-see, but so were matchups with Georgetown, UConn and others. Unlike Pittsburgh and West Virginia, Syracuse shouldn’t suffer much of a recruiting drop off in moving from the Northeastern base. The most obvious drawback is playing conference tournament games in North Carolina (or other Southern locales) rather than Madison Square Garden.

SEC/Missouri/Texas A&M. This move could take some time to evaluate. The SEC added two good, but not great, programs for 2012-13. The Tigers and Aggies have made a combined 10 NCAA Tournament appearances since 2006, but they each advanced to the second weekend only once in that span. The SEC adds two programs that should boost the league’s depth, but Missouri loses rival Kansas and A&M loses matchups with Texas for the time being. For fans, this might be a loss.

We’re not sold: Conference realignment losers
Pittsburgh.
What’s good for the ACC might not be good for Pittsburgh. The Panthers could lose recruiting avenues into the Northeast, which provided Pitt with Ashton Gibbs, Travon Woodall, Brad Wanamaker, Levance Fields, Aaron Gray and Carl Krauser. The Panthers will have to hope the prospect of competing against Duke and North Carolina helps to overcome fewer trips to New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.

Big East. Any basketball conference can’t lose West Virginia (in 2012-13), Syracuse and Pittsburgh (in 2013-14) and be better for it, especially when taking on basketball dead weight like Houston, SMU and UCF. Memphis and Temple, who arrive in 2013-14, should compete instantly and give the league rivalry games with Louisville and Villanova, but replacing Syracuse’s games with Georgetown and Connecticut with games in Texas and Florida won’t help the basketball product.

Villanova. The Big East’s standing drops as whole, but Villanova probably has the most to lose as an individual program. The Wildcats can’t be excited that Philly rival Temple will be in the same conference. Could Temple make up ground on the recruiting trail as a result?

Big 12. The Big 12 isn’t struggling in realignment quite like the Big East is but trading Missouri and Texas A&M for West Virginia and TCU is a downgrade, thanks to the Horned Frogs’ eight losing seasons in the last 10. Now detached from the Big East, West Virginia may have trouble recruiting the New York area, which provided the core of the Mountaineers’ Final Four team in 2010.

San Diego State. Just when the Aztecs’ basketball program was just starting to get interesting, San Diego State downgrades conferences from the Mountain West to the Big West in 2013-14. Other than providing the distinction of placing teams both in the Big West and the Big East, San Diego State has little to brag about in this move. The Aztecs trade UNLV and New Mexico for Long Beach State and UCSB. At the same time, Steve Fisher just starting to bring in top recruits such as Kawhi Leonard and Winston Shepard. Will recruits sign on to play in what’s likely a one-bid league?

State of Texas. The Longhorns’ situation won’t change. Texas A&M’s move to the SEC is probably a wash, basketball-wise. And Texas Tech probably won’t be the worst team in the Big 12 anymore (thanks, TCU!). Other than that, basketball in the Lone Star State is going to struggle. TCU, Houston and SMU all look to be buried in their new leagues. UTSA (Conference USA), UT Arlington and Texas State (Sun Belt) take their nondescript teams to tougher leagues. Meanwhile, the Southland, which has sent six consecutive Texas teams to the Tournament, will have a new top program -- from the state of Oklahoma when Oral Roberts joins in 2012-13.

Conference USA. In 2005, this league boasted Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and Memphis in a strong basketball lineup. Memphis was the last to get the call from the Big East, leaving C-USA without a dominant program starting in 2013-14. The league will cobble together Charlotte from the A-10, FIU and North Texas from the Sun Belt and Old Dominion from the CAA to replace Memphis, Houston, SMU and UCF in 2013-14. While the conference should be more balanced, all the headliners are gone.

Colonial Athletic Association. In losing VCU to the Atlantic 10 in 2012-13 and Old Dominion to Conference USA in 2013-14, the Colonial loses two programs that made seven of the conference’s 11 NCAA Tournament appearances since 2006. And it could have been worse. George Mason (three Tournament appearances and a Final Four since 2006) flirted with the A-10 before electing to stay. The CAA also loses Georgia State, which improved from 12 wins to 22 in the first season under Ron Hunter last year, to the Sun Belt in 2013-14. After sending three teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and two teams in in 2007 and 2006, this consistent mid-major will be a one-bid league hoping to stay in the top half of conference RPI.

Horizon League. Perhaps the situation isn’t as bad as you’d think for a conference that just lost Butler. Unlike other leagues, the Horizon didn’t deal with mass defections. Cleveland State, Milwaukee, Valparaiso and now Detroit under Ray McCallum will keep the top of the league interesting. That said, Butler accounted for 15 of the Horizon’s 19 NCAA Tournament wins over the last decade.

Belmont. If the goal is to reach the NCAA Tournament as often as possible, Belmont trades one single-bid conference (the Atlantic Sun) for a tougher single-bid conference (the OVC) in 2012-13. Belmont has won five of the last seven A-Sun Tournaments but will have trouble doing the same in the OVC. No OVC team has reached even consecutive conference tournament titles since Murray State won three in a row from 1997-99. The regular season and conference tournament will be more interesting and the travel costs will be lower in the OVC, but Belmont has a tougher road to the Tournament.

WAC. The basketball situation isn’t as dire as the one on the football side, where only two teams remain members. As it stands, the WAC’s basketball membership in 2013-14 will consist of Boise State, Denver, Idaho, New Mexico State and Seattle.

-David Fox 

@DavidFox615
Teaser:
<p> College basketball conference realignment: Winners and Losers</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:33
Path: /college-football/college-football-realignment-winners-and-losers
Body:

It has been another busy year in college football realignment. The SEC and Big 12 made significant moves, while the Big East was one of the biggest losers in the latest round of realignment.

Which teams and conferences were the big winner or loser from the last year of realignment?

College Football 2012 Realignment Winners and Losers

Winners

Big 12 – At one point last year, it seemed appropriate to write an obituary for the Big 12. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State appeared to be on the verge of joining the Pac-12, while Texas A&M and Missouri decided to jump to the SEC. Fast forward to 2012 and the Big 12 has emerged from its deathbed to rank as college football’s No. 2 conference. The members have granted their television rights to the Big 12, which should ensure for some stability for the next 10 years. Although the conference lost two solid programs in Missouri and Texas A&M, West Virginia and TCU offer plenty in terms of football value. The Big 12 cashed in on a rich television contract and has positioned itself with the new “Champions Bowl” with the SEC. New commissioner Bob Bowlsby was a solid hire to keep the conference on stable footing, while deciding if it needs to expand to 12 teams, or stick with 10 for the immediate future.

Boise State – The Big East is not what it once was, but it’s still an upgrade for Boise State and its football program. The Broncos should see an increase in television revenue, and the Big East will help bring more exposure, especially with games against Louisville, South Florida and Rutgers. Automatic BCS bids are gone, but if Boise State can continue to reel off double-digit win seasons and claim the Big East title, this program will continue to find itself ranked among the top 10 teams in college football. And who knows, in 10-15 years, maybe the Pac-12 will come calling. The Big East is not a huge improvement, but this is another step up the ladder for the Broncos.

Conference USA defectors – SMU, UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis – Sure, it’s not a huge leap in terms of conference realignment, but the Big East is an upgrade for these five teams. Each school brings a solid television market, while Memphis is a boost for the basketball side with Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving. Although the BCS access is changing with the new championship format, SMU, UCF, Houston, SMU and Memphis will have a better shot at qualifying for the playoffs in the Big East than Conference USA. Although the Big East is losing West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, playing Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Connecticut is an upgrade over UTEP, Tulane, Rice and UAB.

Missouri – It will be a challenge to win the SEC title, but the positives outweigh the negatives in this move for Missouri. The Tigers left behind a league with stability question marks for one that is the most prestigious college football conference. While the concerns about Missouri winning the SEC title are legitimate, the last time the school won an outright conference crown was in 1960s, so it's not like the Tigers were winning championships in its former home (Big 12). 

New Conference USA Members - Louisiana Tech, FIU, North Texas, Charlotte, Old Dominion – Louisiana Tech has been a geographic misfit in the WAC for years and will be a much better fit with the teams in Conference USA. North Texas and FIU are making the jump from the Sun Belt Conference and are located near two key television markets – Dallas and Miami. Charlotte is starting its football program in 2013, while Old Dominion recently restarted its program in 2009.

Notre Dame – Another round of realignment and once again Notre Dame remains Independent. The Irish have no desire to join a conference, although rumors have persisted for months they may explore moving their non-football programs to another league. Notre Dame’s access to the best bowls and playoffs will remain the same, but challenging schedules could prevent the Irish from getting into the top four or five.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse – The decision to bolt from the Big East to the ACC was an easy one for both schools. With the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, joining a conference with more stability and a solid long-term television deal was a no-brainer. Syracuse has only 43 wins over the last 10 years, while the Panthers have won at least eight games in three out of the last four seasons. Neither team provides much of a boost for the football product, but landing in a stable conference and reigniting Big East rivalries with Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College is a victory for both Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

San Diego State – The Aztecs have played in back-to-back bowl games, and the program is poised to move from the Mountain West to the Big East. While San Diego State is a geographic misfit in the conference, they will see an increase in television revenue and exposure by leaving the Mountain West. Contending in the Big East will be more difficult, but this should end up being a good move for the Aztecs.

TCU – It’s been a long road for TCU since being left out of the initial Big 12 setup in 1995. The Horned Frogs played in the WAC, Conference USA and Mountain West but still emerged as an annual top-25 team under Gary Patterson. TCU has recorded at least 11 wins in six out of the last seven seasons. The competition is going to be tougher in the Big 12, so double-digit win totals won’t be easy to come by. However, TCU is a clear winner in realignment, as it has upgraded to one of the premier conferences in college football and can go head-to-head against former Southwest Conference rivals Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech.

Temple – After getting kicked out of the Big East in 2004, no one could have predicted the turnaround the Owls have experienced. After winning seven games from 2002-05, Temple has won at least eight contests in each of the last three years. Moving to the MAC and playing weaker competition certainly helped, but the Owls have emerged from college football’s deathbed to a spot in a BCS conference. It will be tough for Temple to compete for a bowl game in the Big East in 2012, but this program won’t slip back into the abyss that it fell in the 1990s.

Texas A&M – Moving to the SEC is a huge plus for Texas A&M. Although the Aggies will never be the top program in the state, playing in college football’s most prestigious conference should help Texas A&M move slightly out of Texas’ shadow. The Big 12 doesn’t appear to be in danger of breaking up as some anticipated last summer, but the SEC has more long-term stability. Competing for the SEC title won’t be easy, but the Aggies have only won outright conference championship since 1994, so just like Missouri, it's not like Texas A&M was dominating conference titles in the Big 12.

Texas State – Just like current WAC foe (and rival) UTSA, the Bobcats will experience a quick rise through the FBS ranks. Texas State is making its FBS debut this year and is ineligible to play in a bowl game. The Bobcats will be on the move again next season, as they will play in the Sun Belt Conference. Texas State will have an upgraded stadium, and with a prime location in Texas (near San Antonio and Austin), this program should emerge in a few seasons as a conference title contender in the Sun Belt.

UTSA – The Roadrunners have been on a meteoric rise over the last few seasons. UTSA just finished its first season of football and is moving to the WAC in 2012. The Roadrunners are making a short stop in the WAC, as they will join Conference USA in time for the 2013 season. UTSA needs some time to build the overall roster depth, but with the tremendous recruiting base, this is one of college football’s top rising programs in a non-BCS conference.

Utah State, San Jose State – With the defections of Boise State, Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State in recent years, the WAC is a sinking ship, and the remaining teams are all shopping for new homes. Utah State and San Jose State landed in a perfect conference in terms of geography, and with both teams on the rise, they can be a factor for the 2013 Mountain West title. Although the Mountain West’s television deal is a concern, finding a stable home is a huge plus for the Aggies and Spartans.

West Virginia – The Mountaineers had a messy departure from the Big East, but landing in the Big 12 is a win for the school. With the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, the Big 12 will provide more stability and more exposure. West Virginia should also see an increase in television revenue with the new Big 12 television contract. The Mountaineers are an odd geographic fit, but will bring a solid brand to the conference and will be a factor for a conference title race in 2012.

Related: The History of SEC Realignment
Related: The History of Big East Realignment
Related: The History of Big 12 Realignment

Losers

ACC - At least for now, commissioner John Swofford has managed to keep his conference intact. However, the rumors will continue to persist about Florida State and Clemson’s long-term future with the ACC, especially if the Big 12 looks to expand in the future. Also, the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse were good for basketball, but doesn’t move the needle on the gridiron. The ACC expected super-conferences to emerge when it added Pittsburgh and Syracuse, but instead of firing the first shot in realignment, the conference was left with two extra teams that aren’t doing much for its football product.

Big East – The departures of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia dealt the Big East a heavy blow to remain one of the power conferences in college football. The conference was reluctant to expand in previous years, but was forced to add six new members for 2013, while asking Temple to rejoin the league for 2012. The Big East picked up four members from Conference USA (Houston, SMU, UCF and Memphis), while adding San Diego State and Boise State from the Mountain West. Navy is scheduled to join the conference in 2015. While the Broncos are a national power, the conference as a whole is not as strong and could be in danger of losing more members as realignment continues across college football.

Conference USA – Realignment had been relatively quiet in Conference USA, as the league managed to keep the same 12-team alignment since 2005. However, Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis will depart for the Big East in 2013, with the conference replacing those four teams with Louisiana Tech, North Texas, UTSA, Charlotte and Old Dominion. While UTSA and North Texas are solid additions to add more value in Texas, Old Dominion (recently started its football program), and Charlotte (will start playing in 2015), don't add much to the league. Louisiana Tech is a program on the rise, but the depth of the league took a hit with the recent departures.

East Carolina – The Pirates desperately wanted to be a part of the Big East, but were passed over by Conference USA foes Houston, SMU, UCF and Memphis. East Carolina averaged over 50,000 fans per game last season, but does not have a major television market like Houston, Orlando or Dallas to bring to the conference. Although the Pirates bring solid fan support and a program that has five bowl games in the last six years, East Carolina is on the outside looking in – at least for now.

Idaho – Unless the WAC can find a handful of new members to make the jump (and fast) from the FCS ranks, Idaho and New Mexico State will likely spend 2013 in the Independent ranks. The Vandals made overtures to the Mountain West, but the conference is not interested in adding anyone other than Boise State or San Diego State into the mix. The Vandals have struggled lately and won’t bring much to the table in terms of television value. Idaho is hoping for a revamped WAC, but it could be forced to drop to the FCS ranks or hold out for an invitation to the Mountain West or Sun Belt.

Louisville – West Virginia was selected over Louisville as the Big 12’s No. 10 team, and the Cardinals were left with no other conference options. In a revamped Big East, Louisville should be one of the premier football programs, but expect the Cardinals to keep looking for a new home. The Big 12 has been rumored as a possible destination, especially as the conference looks to bridge the geographic gap to West Virginia. With Charlie Strong at the helm, Louisville is a program on the rise. However, the Cardinals are struggling to find an escape route from the Big East.

Mountain West – TCU, Utah, BYU and now Boise State. The Mountain West has lost some heavy hitters and while some of the replacements (Nevada, Fresno State, Hawaii Utah State and San Jose State) aren’t bad, the conference won’t have an annual BCS contender. The Mountain West is clearly the best of the conference outside of the BCS, but not having Boise State or TCU in the mix is a huge loss.

New Mexico State – Just like Idaho, the Aggies have been left out of the conference shuffle and now face an uncertain future. New Mexico State has expressed interest in the Mountain West and had in-state rival New Mexico pushing for its inclusion in the conference. However, the Mountain West is content to stick with 10 teams – at least until Boise State or San Diego State express interest in returning. Unless the WAC can quickly find new members, the Aggies will likely spend 2013 as an Independent.

Rivalry Games/Fans – Rivalry games are a huge part of college football, but conference realignment has ended some series for the immediate future. Texas-Texas A&M was among the top 15 rivalries in the nation, but the Longhorns have indicated to the Aggies their non-conference slate is full until 2018. Kansas is not interested in scheduling Missouri with the Tigers moving to the SEC. The Backyard Brawl between West Virginia-Pittsburgh is on hold, but both sides seem interested in continuing the series at a later date. Although new rivalries will pop up, it’s unfortunate to see long rivalries such as these disappear off the schedule.

WAC Conference – It’s fourth-and-long and the WAC needs a Hail Mary to survive. The defections of Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada in recent years, combined with the upcoming departures of Louisiana Tech, Texas State, UTSA, San Jose State and Utah State, has left the WAC with just two football members (Idaho and New Mexico State) for 2013. The conference is exploring potential expansion candidates, but has yet to announce any additions for next season. However, the conference appears to be on the verge of extinction, unless a handful of FCS teams want to make the move to the FBS ranks.
 

Incomplete

BYU – It’s still too early to know whether or not BYU’s move to Independence was a good or bad decision. The Cougars have a solid television deal with ESPN and sit in the driver’s seat for the next round of conference realignment. However, scheduling could get more difficult as more teams switch to a nine-game conference slate. Going Independent was a good move for the immediate future, but the long-term success will rest with how well BYU can schedule and if its access to bowls will improve.

SEC – There’s nothing wrong with adding Missouri and Texas A&M. Both are solid programs and add two new markets to the conference. However, neither addition is expected to provide much of a boost for the football product. Although the SEC will likely be able to reel in a few more dollars on a television contract, did the conference really get a lot better after the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M? 

-By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)

Related College Realignment Content

What's Next for College Football Realignment?
College Basketball Realignment Winners and Losers
Redrafting College Football's Conferences
Will Notre Dame Ever Join a Conference?
Was Independence a Mistake for BYU?
Introducing West Virginia to the Big 12
SEC Football: Getting to Know Missouri
SEC Football: Getting to Know Texas A&M
TCU Football Comes Home to the Big 12

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 Realignment Winners and Losers</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/history-big-east-conference-realignment
Body:

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.

The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment

The History of Big 12 Realignment

The Big East Conference Commissioners:

Dave Gavitt, 1979-1990
Mike Tranghese, 1990-2009
John Marinatto, 2009-2012
Joseph Bailey (interim), Present

The Big East Conference Timeline:

1979: The Big East Conference was originally a league designed as a basketball conglomerate. The northeast was, and still is, a hoops hotbed for talent, fans and NCAA championships. The league started with Boston College, UConn, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Syracuse as its members. Rutgers and Holy Cross were also invited to join but declined.

1980: Villanova accepted an invitation one year later.

1982: Pittsburgh was asked to join the Big East in its third year of existence. That same year, Penn State requested entrance to the league, but the league members voted against accepting the Nittany Lions. What do you think the Big East would look like today had PSU been allowed to join back in 1982? For the record, Penn State won two national championships in football: 1982 and 1986. The entire dynamic of this league’s existence can be traced back to that one decision made in 1982 when Penn State was denied admission.

1991: The Big East (finally) decides to embrace football and adds major football programs Miami, Rutgers, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Temple to the group and takes part in its first Big East football season. One year earlier, Penn State had joined the Big Ten and two years later their athletics programs began Big Ten competition (1993).

1995: Notre Dame’s Olymipic sports join the Big East. Irish football remains Independent.

2001: The Miami Hurricanes win the Big East's first and only BCS-era National Championship with what many believe to be the best college team ever assembled. Miami would go on to lose in the BCS title game the following year and has yet to return to the championship game since.

2004: Miami and Virginia Tech begin the demise of the Big East as a football power conference by bolting for the ACC. Temple is also kicked out of the league as well.

2005: Boston College follows the Hurricanes and the Hokies to the ACC. To combat the major losses, Mike Tranghese counters by adding Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida in all sports and DePaul and Marquette in all sports expect football.

2012: West Virginia, and what would have been TCU, both decide through a very public and ugly divorce to join the Big 12. The Big East scrambles to fill it’s schedule by re-inviting the Owls of Temple — who instantly accept the invitation for football only. TCU had previously accepted an invitation to join the Big East from the Mountain West but changed its mind when the Big 12 extended its own invitation to the Horned Frogs. TCU never played a game of any kind as a Big East institution.

2013: Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, Boise State and San Diego State are scheduled to join the league. Boise State and San Diego State are still waffling and may never play a game in the Big East. Fans of both the Big East and each school are still sitting on pins and needles about their respective futures. The rest of Temple’s athletic programs will also officially join the league as well.

2014: Unless legal recourse allows Pitt and Syracuse to leave earlier, the Panthers and Orange are slated to join the ACC in all sports. They would be the fourth and fifth former Big East members to join the ACC.

2015: Navy will become a football only member of the Big East.

Big East BCS Bowl History

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Orange: (8) Florida 31, (15) Syracuse 10
1999 Sugar (National Championship): (1) Florida State 46, (2) Virginia Tech 29
2000 Sugar: (3) Miami 37, (7) Florida 20
2001 Rose (National Championship): (1) Miami 37, (2) Nebraska 14
2002 Fiesta (National Championship): (2) Ohio State 31, (1) Miami 24 (2OT)
2003 Orange: (9) Miami 16, (7) Florida State 14
2004 Fiesta: (6) Utah 35, (21) Pitt 7
2005 Sugar: (11) West Virginia 38, (7) Georgia 35
2006 Orange: (6) Louisville 24, (14) Wake Forest 13
2007 Fiesta: (9) West Virginia 48, (4) Oklahoma 28
2008 Orange: (19) Virginia Tech 20, (12) Cincinnati 7
2009 Sugar: (5) Florida 51, (3) Cincinnati 24
2010 Fiesta: (7) Oklahoma 48, (UR) UConn 20
2011 Orange: (23) West Virginia 70, (15) Clemson 33

Overall Record: 7-7
National Championships: 1-2

The History of the Big East Conference:

Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:

College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?

Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?

Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?

Teaser:
<p> The History of Big East Conference Realignment</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-history-sec-realignment
Body:

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.

The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment
The History of Big 12 Realignment

The SEC Commissioners:

Martin S. Conner, 1940-46
N.W. Dougherty (acting), 1947-48
Bernie Moore, 1948-66
A.M. “Tonto” Coleman, 1966-72
H. Boyd McWhorter, 1972-86
Harvey W. Schiller, 1986-89
Mark Womack (acting), 1988-89
Roy F. Kramer, 1990-2002
Mike Slive, 2002-Present

The SEC Timeline:

December 8, 1932: Thirteen universities located in and around the Southeastern United States decided to break from the Southern Conference to create the Southeastern Conference. At the time, the SoCon was a 23-team massive conglomerate that included major football powers like North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and NC State as well as the founding members of the SEC. The thirteen founding members of the SEC were Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane, and Vanderbilt.

1940: The University of the South, otherwise known as Sewanee, lost all 37 SEC games it played and the Tigers were shutout in 26 of those contests. Its overall SEC point differential was 1,163 to 84 in eight years of football. Interestingly enough, Sewanee will also change conferences this month when it leaves the D-III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference to form the new D-III Southern Athletic Association.

1964: Georgia Tech departs from the SEC to become a founding member of the Metro Conference, a league that eventually became part of the modern Conference USA. In 1978, Tech became a founding member of the ACC. While in the SEC, the Yellow Jackets won five SEC championships (1939, 1943, 1944, 1951, 1952) and the 1952 National Championship. Tech has two more SEC titles than Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and South Carolina combined. Its next conference title wouldn’t come until 1990.

1966: Tulane decides to leave the SEC to become a member of the Metro Conference along with Georgia Tech. While the Yellow Jackets bounced for the greener pastures of the ACC when it was founded in the late '70s, the Green Wave eventually became a founding member of C-USA when the Metro and Great Midwest Conference merged in 1995. Tulane, too, has as many SEC titles (3) as Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and South Carolina combined.

1991: In an unprecedented move by conference commissioner Roy Kramer and the SEC, a football conference for the first time ever would play a conference championship game pitting the winner of two divisions in a neutral site showdown for supremacy. This, of course, came along with the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina to the league. Both the Razorbacks and Gamecocks instantly became the furthest outliers in the league. Geographically, Arkansas was the westernmost campus while Columbia was the easternmost. The Hogs have played in three SEC title games, losing by a combined score of 102-34. South Carolina took 19 years before it made it to its first SEC title game and it lost 56-17 to the eventual national champion Auburn Tigers in 2010.

1992: The first SEC title game occured following the 1992 season, when No. 2 Alabama defeated Florida and earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face an undefeated No. 1 Miami Hurricanes squad. The Crimson Tide crushed the heavily favored Canes, debunking the theory that the SEC would struggle to compete for national titles in its post-expansion two-division era.

2012: After a period of astronomical growth, and on the heels of Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC expansion, Mike Slive carefully selected Texas A&M and Missouri to expand the SEC further into the Heartland. As of July 1, 2012, both institutions are fully functioning officially members of the SEC. Both combined for one Big 12 championship in the 16-year history of the league (Texas A&M, 1998)

SEC BCS Bowl History

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Fiesta (National Championship): (1) Tennessee 23, (2) Florida State 16
1998 Orange: (8) Florida 31, (15) Syracuse 10
1999 Fiesta: (3) Nebraska 31, (5) Tennessee 21
1999 Orange: (8) Michigan 35, (4) Alabama 34
2000 Sugar: (3) Miami 37, (7) Florida 20
2001 Sugar: (13) LSU 47, (8) Illinois 34
2001 Orange: (5) Florida 56, (10) Maryland 23
2002 Sugar: (3) Georgia 26, (14) Florida State 13
2003 Sugar (National Championship): (2) LSU 21, (1) Oklahoma 14
2004 Sugar: (3) Auburn 16, (8) Virginia Tech 13
2005 Sugar: (11) West Virginia 28, (7) Georgia 35
2006 Sugar: (4) LSU 41, (11) Notre Dame 14
2006 NCG: (2) Florida 41, (1) Ohio State 14
2007 Sugar: (5) Georgia 41, (10) Hawaii 10
2007 NCG: (2) LSU 38, (1) Ohio State 24
2008 Sugar: (6) Utah 31, (4) Alabama 17
2008 NCG: (2) Florida 24, (1) Oklahoma 14
2009 Sugar: (5) Florida 51, (3) Cincinnati 24
2009 NCG: (1) Alabama 37, (2) Texas 21
2010 Sugar: (6) Ohio State 31, (8) Arkansas 26
2010 NCG: (1) Auburn 22, (2) Oregon 19
2011 NCG: (2) Alabama 21, (1) LSU 0

Overall Record: 16-7
National Championships: 8-1

The History of the SEC:

Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:

College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?

Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?

Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?

Teaser:
<p> The History of SEC Realignment</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-history-big-12-realignment
Body:

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's one-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.

The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment
The History of Big 12 Realignment

The Big 12 Conference Commissioners:

Charles Martin Dobbs, 1994-15 (development)
Steven J. Hatchell, 1995-98
Dave Martin (interim), 1998
Kevin Weiberg, 1998-2007
Dan Beebe, 2007-11
Chuck Neinas, 2011-12
Bob Bowlsby, Present

The Big 12 Conference Timeline:

In order to track the development and creation of the Big 12, one must understand how it was birthed in 1996. The best of the Southwest Conference (SWC) and Big 8 were essentially combined into the Big 12. That is where the story begins (try to keep up):

1907: The Big 8 is originally created using the name Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA). The founding members were Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Washington-St. Louis and Iowa.

1908: Iowa State and Drake were both added to the MVIAA.

1911: Iowa departed as it had been a joint member of both the Big Ten and MVIAA.

1913: Kansas State is invited and accepts an invitation to the MVIAA.

1915: The Southwest Conference is founded by Arkansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma A&M, Texas, Texas A&M, Rice and Southwestern.

1916: Southwestern drops out of the SWC after only one year.

1918: Nebraska departs the MVIAA and plays two seasons as an independent. Meanwhile, SMU joins the SWC.

1919: Oklahoma and Saint Louis University both apply for membership in the league but are denied admission “due to deficient management of their athletic programs.” Instead, Grinnell College is used to replace the Cornhuskers.

1920: After one year, the MVIAA decides that maybe Oklahoma is a good fit and allows the Sooners to join the conference, leaving the Southwest Conference behind. Phillips University decides to join the Southwestern Conference — which lasted only one year.

1921: Nebraska comes back to the league after a two-year hiatus.

1923: TCU joins the SWC.

1925: Oklahoma State, then called Oklahoma A&M, switches from the SWC to the MVIAA

1928: A pivotal break amongst the bigger and smaller schools leads to the origins of the Big 8. Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State and Iowa State depart the MVIAA to form what was then commonly referred to as the Big 6 Conference. Meanwhile, Drake, Grinnell, Oklahoma A&M and Washington (STL) left to form the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).

1947: After 20 years of relative stability (and arguing with the MVC), Colorado is added to the Big 6 Conference — which informally becomes the Big 7 Conference.

1957: Oklahoma A&M, now named the more recognizable Oklahoma State, rejoins its larger brethren and the MVIAA becomes known as the Big Eight.

1958: Texas Technological College, better know today as Texas Tech University, officially starts competing in SWC athletics having been admitted to the league two years earlier.

1964: The Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association officially changes its name to the Big Eight Confernece. Four years later it will enter into an agreement with the Orange Bowl.

1976: The Houston Couagars football team, having being admitted to the league in 1971, begins competition in the Southwestern Conference. It wins the SWC championship in its first year.

1991: Arkansas leaves for the SEC after seeing the writing on the wall concerning the creation of a Texas-centered power conference in which the Razorbacks might have been left out (a la TCU, SMU, Houston, Rice, etc).

1996: The Big 12 is formed when the best of the SWC (Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor) and is joined with the Big 8. The nation’s second power conference championship game is formed four years after the SEC’s experiment was a huge success.

2011: Nebraska leaves for the Big Ten while Colorado leaves for the Pac-12 as all parties in the Big 12 (minus Texas and Oklahoma) are upset with the revenue sharing model.

2012: Missouri and Texas A&M leave for the SEC while TCU and West Virginia leave the Big East for the Big 12.

Big 12 Conference BCS Bowl History

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Sugar: (4) Ohio State 24, (6) Texas A&M 14
1999 Fiesta: (3) Nebraska 31, (5) Tennessee 21
2000 Orange (NCG): (1) Oklahoma 13, (2) Florida State 2
2001 Fiesta: (4) Oregon 38, (3) Colorado 16
2001 Rose (NCG): (1) Miami 37, (2) Nebraska 14
2002 Rose: (7) Oklahoma 34, (6) Washington State 14
2003 Sugar (NCG): (2) LSU 21, (1) Oklahoma 14
2003 Fiesta: (5) Ohio State 35, (10) Kansas State 28
2004 Orange (NCG): (1) USC 55, (2) Oklahoma 19
2004 Rose: (4) Texas 38, (13) Michigan 37
2005 Rose (NCG): (2) Texas 41, (1) USC 38
2006 Fiesta: (8) Boise State 43, (10) Oklahoma 42 (OT)
2007 Fiesta: (9) West Virginia 48, (4) Oklahoma 28
2007 Orange: (8) Kansas 24, (3) Virginia Tech 21
2008 Fiesta: (3) Texas 24, (10) Ohio State 21
2008 NCG: (2) Florida 24, (1) Oklahoma 14
2009 NCG: (1) Alabama 37, (2) Texas 21
2010 Fiesta: (7) Oklahoma 48, (UR) UConn 20
2011 Fiesta: (3) Oklahoma State 41, (4) Stanford 38 (OT)

Overall Record: 9-10
National Championships: 2-5

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:

College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?

Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?

Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?

Teaser:
<p> College Football: The History of Big 12 Realignment</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/whats-next-college-football-realignment
Body:

College football realignment has dominated the headlines throughout parts of the last two years. The biggest move before last season's moving day was Nebraska's decision to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten. On July 1, 2012, it will be a busy moving day across college football, as West Virginia and TCU will join the Big 12 and Missouri and Texas A&M become members of the SEC.

Although realignment may take a back seat for a couple of months, there's no question it will jump back in the headlines in the next few years. 

What’s Next in College Football Realignment?

1. Waiting on the Big 12: 10, 12 or 14? That’s the million-dollar question facing new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Will the Big 12 expand to 12 or 14 teams? Or will it stand pat at 10? Florida State and Clemson have been rumored as possible candidates to leave the ACC for the Big 12, but the No. 1 target is clearly Notre Dame. The Big 12 seems content with 10 teams, but a lot could change in the next couple of years. In addition to Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame, Louisville is also believed to be on the radar for Big 12 expansion. Although it’s not a necessity, the Big 12 should add another team or two to bridge the geographic gap to West Virginia. It may not happen in 2012 or 2013, but expect the Big 12 to explore expansion once again in the near future.

2. The Big East: Much has changed in the Big East over the last year. Pittsburgh and Syracuse decided to bolt the conference for the ACC, while West Virginia sued to leave for the Big 12 in 2012. The departures left the Big East with only five football members for 2013, and the conference restocked by adding Houston, SMU, Memphis, San Diego State, Boise State and UCF. Navy will join the Big East in 2015, and Temple was able to join for 2012, which keeps the conference at eight football members. While the Big East has some stability with these additions, it could be short lived. Boise State is struggling to find a home for its non-football sports and could be forced to return to the Mountain West. Also, the Broncos’ quest to find a home for its non-football sports will also have an impact on San Diego State’s conference alignment for 2013. Even if Boise State and the Aztecs join the Big East, the conference could be under siege once again in the coming years, especially if the ACC decides to expand to 16 teams. Some have already dismissed the Big East as a power conference, but getting Boise State to join and keeping Louisville in the mix will be crucial to its long-term success.

3. ACC Stability?: Rumors about Florida State and Clemson’s future with the ACC persisted throughout this offseason. The Big 12 has commented it is not interested in expanding, but that could change quickly. The ACC added Pittsburgh and Syracuse, giving the conference 14 teams in 2013. The Panthers and Orange won’t add much in terms of football value, but will help the ACC on the hardwood. The ACC may look to expand to 16 teams in the future, with Connecticut and Rutgers frequently mentioned as possible targets. Although Florida State and Clemson have underachieved at times, keeping these two programs in the mix is a must for the ACC. All signs point to both teams staying, but as we have seen with conference realignment, things can change in a hurry.

4. Impact of a Playoff: Could the news of the four-team playoff have an impact on conference realignment? The initial feeling is that the new postseason format won’t ignite a new round of changes. However, who knows what will happen after a couple of years in the new system. Adding more teams to a conference decreases the money for each member, and there has to be a concern about making the road too difficult to reach a national title game. This is one area that can’t be evaluated now, but is worth monitoring over the next five years.

5. Super conferences: Much has been made about super conferences and the future of college football. Could we see a 16-team league in the next few years? It’s certainly possible. However, let’s consider the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Are there really four new members that fit each conference? At this point, both leagues would be adding teams just for the sake of getting to 16 teams. The SEC doesn’t seem to be overly interested in expanding, but could look to add teams in the North Carolina or Virginia markets. Is that anytime soon? Probably not. Maybe the ACC or Big East will expand to 16 teams, but the talk of super conferences seems to be overblown.

Related College Football Realignment Content

College Football Realignment Winners and Losers
A History of Realignment in the Big 12 Conference
A History of Realignment in the SEC
A History of Realignment in the Big East

College Basketball Realignment Winners and Losers
Redrafting College Football's Conferences
Will Notre Dame Ever Join a Conference?
Was Independence a Mistake for BYU?
Introducing West Virginia to the Big 12
SEC Football: Getting to Know Missouri
SEC Football: Getting to Know Texas A&M
TCU Football Comes Home to the Big 12

Teaser:
<p> What's next in college football realignment?</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 05:29
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-football-will-irish-ever-join-conference
Body:

Notre Dame remains committed to Independence, but will that ever change? The BCS will be eliminated when a four-team playoff begins in 2014 and more realignment could happen in several BCS conferences. The Irish are the main target of expansion for the Big 12, ACC and Big Ten, but they do not appear interested in joining a conference - at least for now.

Will Notre Dame Football Ever Join a Conference?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
If college football is going to have a playoff, Notre Dame could certainly give up on independence. To be clear, it’s not going to happen immediately and it may end up being a matter of last resort. If the new playoff format diminishes Notre Dame’s ability to compete, I could see the Irish joining a league -- and of course, they would have no shortage of suitors. For now, Notre Dame still has the clout to be a part of the decision-making process of the playoff even if the Irish haven’t finished in the top four since 1993. At some point, especially if Notre Dame struggles to get over the eight-win mark, Notre Dame may need to move into a conference simply to recruiting -- meaning the Irish may look outside of Big Ten territory in order to gain a foothold in Texas or the South. I would never say Notre Dame will always remain independent, but something seismic, be it more realignment, a conference-champion only playoff system or more losing seasons, to force the hands of the Irish.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Swirling rumors right now are that Notre Dame will switch all of its Olympic sports to the Big 12 — a monumental move that means very little to the immediate layout of college football but will have far-reaching, long-term effects. It sets up Fighting Irish football for a potential move into a stable, lucrative power conference when it does finally need to join a league. This won't take place for years, maybe even decades, but eventually the Golden Domers will need to join a power conference for football and the Big 12 is a much more attractive option than the Big East. Notre Dame football will join a league at some point down the road or it will be left out of the big playoff pie that is coming down the pike. But it looks like the back-from-the-ashes Big 12 is the likely destination, not the Big East or Big Ten.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
In the next 5-10 years? No. At some point? Yes. I know Notre Dame values its Independence, but college football will change. A four-team playoff may morph into an 8 or 16-team tournament and there may be more of an incentive to join a conference. New presidents, athletic directors and other leaders in 25 years may feel differently about Independence. Also, if more leagues decide to go to nine conference games, scheduling could get more difficult. The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 have all been rumored as possible landing spots if Notre Dame wants to join a conference, and there’s no question the Irish are the biggest domino waiting to fall. The rumors will persist about Notre Dame joining a conference, but I think it will be a while before the Irish agree to give up Independence.  

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Ever is a strong word, but my guess is that Notre Dame will not join a conference in the next 10 years. With no barrier to entry into a four-team playoff, there really is no incentive for Notre Dame to join a league at this point. The Fighting Irish consistently play a schedule that is strong enough to warrant a bid into the postseason — assuming of course that they win enough games — so why would a school that has taken so much pride in its status as an Independent decide at this point to join a conference? It just doesn’t make sense. 

Mark Ross
I think Notre Dame will eventually join a conference, but when it does, it will definitely be on its terms. Notre Dame has been an independent since 1978 and while the Fighting Irish may not be the dominant football power they once were, they have been able to maintain their status as one. Look no further than the school's presence in the BCS.

Still, with the way the college football landscape has changed during the past few years and the fact that it will continue to evolve in the future, I believe the day will come when Notre Dame sees its in their best interests football-wise to join one of the so-called super conferences. Given its history, tradition and status, there's little doubt in my mind that any conference looking to make a statement or solidify its standing wouldn't give Notre Dame a serious look and/or roll out the red carpet for the Fighting Irish to come join them.

Not many schools can say they control their own fate when it comes to this game of conference musical chairs. But as the past 34 years have shown us, Notre Dame is in a class of its own when it comes to the college football landscape. 

Related College Football Content

Athlon's 2012 Top 25 Rankings: No. 20 Notre Dame
College Football Countdown to Kickoff

Notre Dame's Top 10 Players for 2012

Athlon's 2012 College Football Rankings

College Football's Top 25 Heisman Contenders for 2012

Teaser:
<p> Will Notre Dame Ever Join a Conference?</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 05:05

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