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Interception. Interception. Interception. Three-and-out. Fumble. Three-and-out. Touchdown.

If you feel manic reading it, try watching it.

Those were the first six drives for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Monday night in Atlanta. It was a dysfunctional night for Manning in his first road start as a Bronco, which resulted in a 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons

The dysfunction came from how the Denver offense played for a majority of the game, how the Atlanta defense lined up a majority of the game and how the replacement officials administered a majority of the game. 

Frankly, the arm strength did not look like it was there early in the contest. 

The first interception Manning threw was tipped 26 yards down field but looked like it was dying on the way to the receiver. 

The second interception was a 21-yard pass that would’ve short-hopped to tight end Jacob Tamme had Thomas DeCoud not stepped in front of it and picked it off. 

The third interception Manning threw was a 25-yard pass intended for receiver Brandon Stokley that the Falcons’ fifth cornerback, Robert McClain, made a good play on, but a pass that also did not appear to have much zip on it.

Through three series, Manning was 4-of-8 for 34 yards with three picks. He followed with 3-for-3 for 15 yards over the next three drives before finally putting a scoring drive together with 4:39 remaining in the opening half. 

It was the Eric Decker Show — the only time in this game Decker produced — as he caught three of the next four balls thrown for 35 yards. They were all short passes that moved the chains into Atlanta territory. 

A couple more short passes, a holding, a sack and a great Demaryius Thomas toe drag into the end zone for a 17-yard catch later and the Broncos were on the board. 

And the manic half came to a close. Manning’s line: 19-13-of-19 for 120 yards, the TD and the three interceptions.

He had almost an identical second half — 11-of-18 for 121 yards — sans the score and the turnovers to finish 24-of-37 for 241 yards. His longest pass of the game was the 18-yarder to Decker on the second play of the first scoring drive.

It is hard to say what to take away from the game in regards to fantasy. 

The positives: Willis McGahee was the best player on the field Monday night for the Broncos. He had 11 carries for 77 yards in the first half and finished with 22 for 113 and a score on the ground to go with two catches for 11 yards.

Thomas is the go-to receiver for Manning right now. His ability to take a pass from just around the line of scrimmage and make something out of nothing is the best on the team. He finished with the score, 11 targets and eight catches for 78 yards. 

Those two are solid fantasy starters each week.

The negatives: It may be hard to depend on the rest of the lineup.

Decker had eight targets for four catches and 53 yards — most coming on the closing drive of the first half. The target he got to start that drive was the first he had seen in over 25 minutes of action.

Brandon Stokely is the problem for Decker right now. Manning’s familiar receiver was targeted six times. And the tight ends Tamme and Joel Dreessen all but canceled each other out with four and two targets and both grabbing two balls for 13 and 16 yards. 

Once Manning gets settled in with the no-huddle in Denver, he should be fine. He might look a little frantic again next week against Houston, but his schedule becomes very fantasy friendly, until at least the start of December, with games against the Raiders, Patriots, Chargers twice, Saints, Bengals, Panthers and Chiefs.

It was not a fun performance to watch from Manning and the Broncos’ offense as a whole, but just knowing that he is healthy and has come through two games having been sacked five times and bounced back is a plus. He has a capable backfield, one stud receiver, a couple of dependable possession guys and two move-the-chains tight ends. He has thrown for at least 240 yards and a score in both games against two pretty good defenses. And after next week the schedule lightens up.

You would like to know the arm strength will get there, but if Thomas continues to be the YAC king, that certainly helps as Manning’s arm does start to strengthen.

Feel good about Manning. Feel good about knowing you probably got him as a steal. And feel good that he still has plenty of fantasy production left in him this season. 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 07:08
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-3-rankings-2
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Week 3 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips easily ranks as the No. 1 coach on the hot seat after a disappointing loss to Western Kentucky. SEC foe Tennessee lost to Florida on Saturday, which only adds to the pressure under coach Derek Dooley. Colorado was blown out by Fresno State, allowing Jon Embree to jump into the top five of our hot seat rankings after three weeks.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 3 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Record at Kentucky: 12-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Phillips’ seat has officially gone from hot to scalding hot. Kentucky rallied from a 17-0 deficit to Western Kentucky to force overtime, but it wasn’t enough, as the Hilltoppers matched the Wildcats’ score in overtime and won on a two-point conversion on the final play of the game. It’s hard to fault Phillips for all of Kentucky’s woes, but the schedule is only going to get more difficult the rest of the way. The Wildcats have only more guaranteed win (Samford) and open SEC play at Florida this Saturday. Kentucky needs to show progress the rest of the way for Phillips to return, but that’s no guarantee considering the upcoming schedule.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 21-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
A week after breaking into the win column against Maine, Boston College failed to build on that momentum and lost 22-13 to Northwestern. Despite the 1-2 record, there have been a few positives for the Eagles. New offensive coordinator Doug Martin has been able to spark the passing attack, but the Eagles rank a disappointing 109th nationally in rushing. The next stretch of games could decide Spaziani’s future in Chestnut Hill. Boston College hosts Clemson on Sept. 29, before traveling to Army on Oct. 6. The schedule doesn’t get any easier following those two games, as the Eagles have road dates at Florida State and Georgia Tech. Spaziani faces an uphill battle to return next season but could save his job if the Eagles pull off an upset or two in the next few weeks.

3. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Record at Colorado: 3-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-3
Considering this is Embree’s second season with Colorado, he deserves a chance to turn things around in 2013. However, it’s hard to ignore how bad the Buffaloes have been under his watch. Colorado closed out last season by winning two out of its final three games but has opened 0-3 in disastrous fashion. The Buffaloes lost to in-state rival Colorado State in the opener, followed up by a loss to FCS opponent Sacramento State and a blowout defeat to Fresno State. Colorado is playing a lot of young players, so some growing pains can be expected. However, the Buffaloes haven’t shown much progress through three games and could finish 0-12.

4. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at Central Michigan: 7-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Chippewas had a bye week in Week 3 and head into Saturday’s game at Iowa with a 1-1 record. Under Enos’ watch, Central Michigan has yet to beat a team with a BCS record and is 0-3 against teams from the Big Ten. Needless to say, the Chippewas will need to play their best game of the season if they want to have any shot at beating the Hawkeyes.

5. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Record at Idaho: 19-46 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-3
It’s hard to place any blame on Akey after Saturday’s 63-14 loss to LSU. After all, the Vandals were heavy underdogs and didn’t have much of a shot to win. While Akey has a tough job, Idaho has won only one game against FBS competition in its last 13 contests and is off to a 0-3 start. One promising sign for Akey has to be the play of quarterback Dominique Blackman, who threw for 352 yards and one touchdown against Bowling Green in Week 2. The Vandals host Wyoming this Saturday.

6. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at UNLV: 4-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-3
The weekly hot seat watch has been harsh on Hauck the first two weeks, so it’s time to give him a little credit after Friday’s game against Washington State. After a disappointing loss to Northern Arizona in Week 2, the Rebels played the Cougars tough and lost 35-27. Of course, Hauck needs wins to keep his job, but this team has a few pieces to build around, including quarterback Nick Sherry and running back Tim Cornett. UNLV opens Mountain West play this Saturday against Air Force and a win against the Falcons would be a huge boost after opening the season 0-3.

7. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at MTSU: 37-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
After opening up the 2012 season with a loss to McNeese State, the Blue Raiders have won back-to-back games, allowing Stockstill’s seat to cool going into Week 4. MTSU has a bye in Week 4 and returns to action against Georgia Tech in Week 5. Stockstill doesn’t necessarily need a winning season to save his job, but the Blue Raiders can’t afford to go 3-9 and struggle to compete against Sun Belt competition. 

8. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Rice: 24-40 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
A week after upsetting Kansas on the road, the Owls failed to build upon that momentum and lost 56-37 at Louisiana Tech. There have been positive signs for Rice through the first three weeks, as quarterback Taylor McHargue ranks 36th nationally with 273 total yards per game. Although Rice upset the Jayhawks and the offense has been solid, this team still has a long ways to go. The Owls rank 118th nationally in scoring defense and are allowing 531.3 yards per game. Rice opens C-USA play this week against Marshall and hosts rival Houston in Week 5.

9. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Record at Houston: 1-3
2012 Record: 0-3
Houston continued to slide under Levine, losing 37-6 at UCLA on Saturday. While the Cougars weren’t expected to win, the defense was gashed for over 500 yards, and the offense had six turnovers and failed to generate much of a passing attack. After firing offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt, Houston’s offense showed signs of life in a 56-49 loss to Louisiana Tech but looked out of sync against the Bruins. Levine’s tenure is off to a disastrous start, but the Cougars still have a chance to win Conference USA’s West Division, starting next Saturday against Rice.

10. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Record at California: 80-50 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Thanks to California’s solid performance at Ohio State, Tedford slides down the hot seat watch by a few spots. Despite hanging tough against the Buckeyes, the Golden Bears own a 1-2 record, and the schedule won’t get easier with a road trip to USC this Saturday and a home date against Arizona State in Week 5. California has a tough schedule, and considering the personnel in place, getting to 7-5 or 8-4 would be a good season for this team. However, would 7-5 or even 6-6 be enough for Tedford to return in 2013?

11. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Record at Maryland: 4-11 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Edsall was the center of attention this week, as he took on his former team (Connecticut). The Terrapins had a chance to win late but lost 24-21, which snapped their two-game winning streak. Edsall seems to have this team on the right track, but Maryland still has a long way to go in order to be a bowl team this season. The Terrapins face an uphill battle to win this Saturday, as they play at West Virginia. The matchup against the Mountaineers is the final non-conference game for Maryland, and it will be interesting to see how far this team has come once ACC play arrives on Oct. 6 against Wake Forest.

12. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
20
Record at Tennessee: 13-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Dooley nearly fell out of our top 20 coaches on the hot seat, but Saturday’s loss to Florida is enough to jump into the top 15 of the rankings. Tennessee jumped out to a 14-10 lead at halftime but was outscored 27-6 in the second half. Both sides of the ball struggled in the final two quarters, including a defense that allowed two scores of over 75 yards. Tennessee should get back into the win column with Akron visiting Knoxville this Saturday. However, the schedule only gets tougher with SEC games against Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina coming up.

13. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
13
Record at Auburn: 31-12 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Tigers managed to avoid at upset at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday but that’s not enough to move Chizik down the hot seat rankings. Auburn was largely unimpressive and anytime a SEC team needs overtime to beat a Sun Belt team, it’s never good news for the head coach. Chizik has recruited as well as anyone in the country over the last few years, but the results on the field aren’t adding up.

14. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at Syracuse: 18-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
After losing close games to Northwestern and USC to open the season, Saturday’s 28-17 victory over Stony Brook was a much-needed win for Marrone. The victory was not only crucial to get into the win column for 2012 but snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Orange. Barring a complete collapse this season, Marrone will probably return for 2013. However, getting to a bowl game and winning more than one contest in Big East play would certainly help earn more job security.

15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
15
Record at Iowa: 98-67 (14th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
It wasn’t the most glamorous victory, but Iowa eased the disappointment over the loss to Iowa State with a 27-16 win over Northern Iowa in Week 3. The Hawkeyes had more injuries at running back, as Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon were banged up and did not return. Quarterback James Vandenberg was steady, completing 18 of 28 passes for 228 yards, but he is still looking for his first touchdown pass of the season. Ferentz and the Hawkeyes should move to 3-1 with a matchup against Central Michigan this Saturday.

16. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
16
Record at Buffalo: 6-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Bulls had a bye in Week 3 and return to action on Wednesday night against Kent State. Buffalo has some momentum after beating Morgan State in Week 2 but needs to show some progress in MAC games for Quinn to feel secure about keeping his job in 2013. Oddly enough, even though Kent State and Buffalo are in the same division (MAC East), this will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2009.

17. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
18
Record at New Mexico State: 10-31 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
As we have mentioned in the hot seat column in previous weeks, it’s hard to fault Walker for what’s going on at New Mexico State. The Aggies have only one winning season since 2002 and have failed to record a season of more than four wins since 2004. The Aggies dropped to 1-2 thanks to a 41-28 loss to UTEP. Up next for New Mexico State is rival New Mexico, a team the Aggies have beat for three consecutive seasons.

18. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 19
Record at Western Michigan: 48-41 (8th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Broncos were close but not good enough to beat to Minnesota in Week 3. Western Michigan has another shot to beat a BCS team in Week 4, as Connecticut visits Kalamazoo this Saturday. The Broncos were picked by many as the favorites to win the MAC West crown, so it’s hard to judge how hot Cubit’s seat can get until conference play arrives on Sept. 29 against Toledo.

19. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Texas Tech: 16-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-0
So far, so good for Texas Tech this season. The Red Raiders seem to have a much-improved defense, while the offense will be one of the best in the Big 12. The competition hasn’t been great, but Tuberville has to be pleased with his team so far. Thanks to Texas Tech’s 3-0 start to begin the season, Tuberville has fallen from a spot in the top 10 of the hot seat rankings to nearly out of the list.

20. George O’Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
17
Record at UCF: 52-52 (9th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
The Knights jumped out to a 23-0 lead against FIU and cruised to a 33-20 victory on Saturday night. UCF’s only loss came against Ohio State, and the Knights appear to be Conference USA’s No. 1 team after three games. The biggest news out of UCF wasn’t on the field this week, as it has officially decided to appeal its postseason ban for 2012. The appeal may not be heard before the end of 2012, which would allow the Knights to play in a bowl game this year. However, if UCF loses the appeal after the season, it would have to miss out on the postseason in its first Big East campaign in 2013. 

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas: 1-2
2012 Record: 1-2
As we mentioned last week with Smith, he's essentially on a one-year deal and the odds of him returning to Fayetteville were slim for 2013. However, Smith's tenure in Arkansas has not gone well, and the Razorbacks are a disappointing 1-2 after three games. Smith can't be blamed for everything, especially since quarterback Tyler Wilson did not play against Alabama.


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 18, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 3 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:05
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-3
Body:

It’s not often you can find the NFL leader in touchdowns on the waiver wire, but that’s the case as we get ready for Week 3. Who is it you ask? His name is Dante Rosario and he’s a tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers' starting tight end is, of course, Antonio Gates, but he sat out the 38-10 win over Tennessee with a rib injury and Rosario (four receptions, three TDs) took full advantage of the opportunity.

Rosario, who's sure to receive a fair amount of attention on the waiver wire this week, is just one of the options available that may be able to help your fantasy team, whether that be for this coming week only or beyond. Here are some other names worth considering.

Dante’s Inferno

As surprising as it may have been that Antonio Gates didn’t play Sunday against Tennessee, no one could have predicted that Dante Rosario would make his absence a non-issue. Rosario, who saw just one ball thrown his way in Week 1, connected with Philip Rivers four times against the Titans for 48 yards and, most importantly, three touchdowns.

In just one game, Rosario put himself into a tie for first in the league in touchdowns and tripled his scoring output from the last two seasons combined. Prior to Sunday’s game, he had caught a total of five touchdowns in 77 career games. He went from an afterthought to the fifth highest-scoring tight end in all of fantasy football.

Moving forward, Rosario’s potential value is obviously directly tied to Gates’ health. As soon as Gates returns to the field, Rosario more than likely returns to irrelevance. However, considering Gates’ rib injury was serious enough to keep him out in Week 2, Rosario is certainly worth keeping an eye on until more news comes out on Gates’ status for Week 3.

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
It’s only two games, but Bradford is showing signs of the type of production that was regularly expected of him after he was taken No. 1 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and followed that up by earning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Bradford has completed more than 70 percent of his passes so far and is coming off of a 310-yard, three-touchdown effort in the Rams' win over Washington. Next up is a Chicago Bears defense that will serve as a good litmus test of how far Bradford and the Rams’ offense have come.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are 0-2, but it’s certainly not all Cassel’s fault. Because the Chiefs have yet to take the lead in their first two games, Cassel has had the opportunity to throw the ball a lot and, for the most part, he’s been fairly productive. Cassel has averaged nearly 280 yards per passing in the first two games and up next is New Orleans, the worst defense in the NFL in terms of both yards and points allowed. If Cassel can find a way to cut down on the turnovers (3 TDs, 3 INTs, 2 lost fumbles so far), he could become a more appealing fantasy option as the season progresses.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton bounced back nicely from a rough opening week performance by throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns against Cleveland. Dalton’s next four games — at WAS, at JAC, MIA, at CLE — could result in similar numbers. He’s definitely someone worth keeping an eye on as bye weeks start in Week 4.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
Smith’s game totals through the first two weeks are pretty much mirror images of each other as he’s completed 20 passes with two touchdown passes in each game. The most important number, however, is zero, as in the number of times he has turned the ball over. Smith hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 284 passes, including postseason games, which is a 49ers record. While his numbers may never be spectacular, Smith is quickly becoming a dependable and productive fantasy option.

Running Backs

Andre Brown, New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw went out with a neck injury and it was Brown, not first-round pick David Wilson, who got the carries. Brown finished with 71 yards rushing on 13 attempts; good for a more than respectable 5.5 yards per carry average. He also scored the game-winning touchdown with 31 seconds left in the game. The severity of Bradshaw’s injury is not yet known, but given his track record, Brown may be worth a pick up as the Giants get Carolina’s 28th-ranked rushing defense next.

Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
It’s been nearly 17 months since he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but Mikel Leshoure should finally make his much-anticipated pro debut this Sunday. Leshoure missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles tendon in August 2011 and  missed the first two games of this season due to suspension. Just how involved he will be in Sunday’s game against Tennessee remains to be seen, but the opportunity is certainly there as current starter Kevin Smith is only averaging four yards per carry.

Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
Reggie Bush (172 yards on 26 carries) did most of the damage, but Miller’s 65 yards on 10 carries (6.5 ypc) and a touchdown cannot be ignored. It seems likely that the Dolphins will continue to rely heavily on the running game as they look to ease rookie starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill into the offense. At this point, it looks like fellow rookie Miller has supplanted Daniel Thomas, who did not play Sunday because of a concussion, as the ‘Fins’ No. 2 back.

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
Richardson got more carries (15 to 9) than Steven Jackson did on Sunday and for the season is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. Jackson missed the majority of the Rams’ win over Washington with what has been called a groin injury. Couple that with Richardson putting up similar numbers (103 yards rushing to Jackson’s 111) with far fewer carries (17 to 30) and Richardson could be a wise add, especially for Jackson owners.

Ben Tate, Houston Texans
As Sunday’s win over Jacksonville showed, the Texans are capable of supporting two legitimate fantasy options at running back. Arian Foster is the undisputed lead horse for the Texans, but Tate got 12 carries against the Jaguars for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Tate also finished third on the team with four receptions for 23 yards. The obvious handcuff for Foster owners, the argument also could be made for Tate as a weekly flex option.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram got more carries (16 to 9), but Thomas got more yards as he posted 110 against Carolina. While his 12.2 yards per carry average from Sunday's game will be impossible to sustain, Thomas leads the Saints in rushing so far and is fifth on the team in receptions, meaning he’s a significant part of New Orleans’ offensive attack. Ingram and Darren Sproles may get more of the attention and are more widely owned, but Thomas has proven thus far to be just as productive.

Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams
It took him a week longer than I anticipated, but Amendola clearly showed his fantasy potential this past Sunday with his 15-catch, 160-yard and a touchdown performance against Washington. Amendola tied an NFL record with 12 first-half receptions and ended the game with a franchise-record tying 15. With 20 receptions on 25 targets through the first two games, Amendola is clearly Sam Bradford’s No. 1 option and is a legitimate WR3, if not WR2, moving forward.

Donnie Avery, Indianapolis Colts
It was Avery and not Reggie Wayne who got the most targets from Andrew Luck in Week 2. Avery and Luck connected on nine of 10 total targets for 111 yards in the Colts’ win over Minnesota. As long as Austin Collie is sidelined, Avery is worth a pick up considering Luck is averaging nearly 40 pass attempts through the first two games.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams
Amendola is the undisputed No. 1 target in St. Louis, but to this point, Gibson has been No. 2. Gibson is second to Amendola in receptions and receiving yards, but his two touchdown catches are first on the team. Gibson is more of a deep threat (17.3 ypc) than Amendola, which helps his potential fantasy value.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill picked up his first career NFL win by posting a solid passing (18-30, 200 yards, TD) performance and Hartline was the prime beneficiary. Tannehill looked Hartline’s way 12 times and the two connected on nine of those targets for 111 yards. It’s reasonable to assume that Tannehill will continue to target Hartline as he acclimates himself to life in the NFL.

Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Entering the season, Cincinnati knew they had A.J. Green and a bunch of other young guys at wide receiver. Two games into the season, Hawkins, the smallest of the group at 5-7, has made strides to establish himself as Andy Dalton’s second option. The diminutive Hawkins currently leads the team in receiving yards with 142 and has the same number of touchdown catches as Green after his 50-yard scoring play against Cleveland on Sunday.

Greg Little, Cleveland Browns
Brandon Weeden had his first 300-yard passing game on Sunday, albeit in a losing effort, but perhaps the better news for Browns fans is that Little was a significant part of it. After not posting a single reception in Week 1, Little caught five balls for 57 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati. Little’s 61 receptions in 2011 were the second-most among rookies, so the potential is clearly there. It’s now just a matter of the wideout and the quarterback establishing consistent chemistry, and Little hanging onto the balls thrown his way.

Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland Browns
Little’s output notwithstanding, Massaquoi has been Weeden’s favorite target thus far this season. The fourth-year pro from Georgia currently leads the team in targets (15), receptions (8) and yards (131). Given his early rapport with Weeden, Massaquoi's numbers could continue to increase as the Browns’ rookie signal callers gets more and more comfortable in the pocket.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
Eli Manning threw the ball 51 times and piled up 510 yards through the air on Sunday in the win against Tampa Bay. Although wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz did the majority of the damage, Bennett joined in on the fun as he was targeted 10 times. Bennett already has nine receptions and two touchdowns through two games and is currently sixth among his position in terms of fantasy scoring. This will probably be the last time you see his name on this list as the argument can be made he’s a legitimate fantasy starter for the rest of the season.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
The Bills haven’t exactly aired it out this season so far, but Chandler is second only to wide receiver Stevie Johnson in targets (11) and is averaging more than 15 yards per reception. Chandler’s true value, however, comes in the red zone as evidenced by his two touchdown catches that have come inside the opponents’ 20.

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Half of Ben Roethlisberger’s four touchdown passes have gone to his reliable tight end as Miller has made the most of his seven catches. Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders may be the Steelers’ primary vertical threats, but there’s no one Big Ben trusts more in the red zone or over the middle than Miller.

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
Carson Palmer has already attempted 94 passes in two games and he’s a perfect 11-for-11 when looking Myers’ way. Now in his fourth season with the Raiders, Myers has been a pleasant surprise and dependable target for Palmer, as evidenced by a team-high six receptions for 86 yards against Miami. Whether he keeps this up moving forward remains to be seen, but if Palmer is going to continue to throw upwards of 40 or more times a game, it does appear Myers will get his share of opportunities.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

— By Mark Ross, published on Sept. 18, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:04
All taxonomy terms: Florida Gators, SEC, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-20-florida
Body:
Visit the online store for Florida and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

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

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

We begin our countdown with No. 20 Florida.

Losing 11-point leads in the second half in the Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons stings. But so does playing in the NIT, where Florida found itself in both 2008 and ’09.

Clearly, the Gators have returned to elite status. But can they take the next step? Can this program, which won back-to-back national titles in the mid-2000s, emerge as a legitimate threat to return to the Final Four?

“We’ll have to create an identity in the backcourt,” veteran coach Billy Donovan says. “We have experience in the frontcourt, but when you lose a top-three pick (Bradley Beal) and starting point guard (Erving Walker) it changes the complexion of your team.”

Two years ago, Florida was a force inside, led by the frontline of Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus. Last year, the Gators lived by the 3-pointer. Might this year be a combination of both? “We’ve got some experienced pieces coming back,” Donovan says. “I like this team.”


FRONTCOURT
There was speculation that Patric Young might leave for the NBA. But Young, one of the most imposing players in college basketball, is aware that he has to work on his offensive game and believes another season at Florida will serve him well. He was solid as a sophomore — he averaged 10.2 points and shot 61.8 percent from the field — but sometimes struggled with his conditioning as he took on a larger role.

Erik Murphy, a 6-10 face-up power forward, is back for his second season as a starter. Murphy has always been able to shoot 3s (41.7 percent in his career), but he improved his inside game last year and led the team with 37 blocked shots.

Florida needs to keep Will Yeguete, a 6-7 junior, healthy. He isn’t much of a threat on the offensive end of the floor — he scored six points or fewer in 11 of his 12 SEC games — but Yeguete makes a huge difference defensively as the point man on the Gators’ press. He missed the final nine games last season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

One player to watch is Casey Prather, a 6-6 swingman who played his best basketball of the season in the NCAA Tournament. Prather, perhaps the team’s best athlete, scored a career-high 14 points in the 71–45 win over Virginia. His emergence would give the Gators a valuable weapon off the bench.
Cody Larson, a 6-9, 231-pound third-year sophomore, has played sparingly in his time in Gainesville.

Related: SEC coach rankings

BACKCOURT
Kenny Boynton struggled a bit down the stretch, but his junior season was his most productive as a Gator. His scoring average jumped from 14.2 points per game as a sophomore to 15.9 even though he attempted fewer shots. His 3-point shooting has improved from 29.4 percent as a freshman to 33.1 as a sophomore to 40.7 last season.

Florida expects better overall play from Mike Rosario, a transfer from Rutgers who struggled in his first season in the SEC. Rosario averaged more than 16 points in each of his two seasons at Rutgers but shot less than 40.0 percent from the field. In a limited role last season, he averaged 6.6 points with the Gators. He needs to limit his turnovers and improve his defense.

Scottie Wilbekin, who skipped his final season of high school to enroll at UF two years ago, likely will take over for Walker as the starting point guard. Wilbekin has a great handle and is the best perimeter defender on the team, but he will have to be more assertive on the offensive end of the court as his role increases.

The depth will have to come from a freshman class that includes three guards. Braxton Ogbueze, a 4-star point guard from Charlotte, is the best bet to play major minutes.

Related: College basketball's Great 68 Questions: 17 for the South Region

FINAL ANALYSIS
Florida has the pieces in place to contend with Kentucky for the top spot in the SEC. The Gators, however, must stay healthy and will need more productivity from two key juniors — Young up front and Wilbekin at the point — and for Boynton to score as efficiently as he did in ’11-12. A lack of size will still be an issue, but Donovan has proven that he can win with a perimeter-oriented attack. Anything short of a return to the Sweet 16 — or beyond — will be a disappointment.

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

Teaser:
<p> College basketball countdown: No. 20 Florida</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:02
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-3-bowl-projections
Body:

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only three weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

With very little data to work with, the post-Week 3 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 3 College Football Bowl Projections

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


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


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Sept. 18, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 3 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-3-waiver-wire-report
Body:

The beginning of every fantasy week is the time to rebuild or reload.  If you need to rebuild your roster, you’re in luck.  In this week’s Waiver Wire edition you will notice some familiar names that may have been recycled through your league’s waiver system since draft day, particularly Jawan Jamison, Antonio Andrews, and Josh Stewart. 

Post-Week 3 College Fantasy Waiver Wire Report

J.W. Walsh, QB-Oklahoma St
After starting quarterback Wes Lunt left last week’s game with a leg injury, Walsh stepped in and accounted for 420 yards and five touchdowns.  As long as Lunt’s status is unknown, Walsh should be near the top of many fantasy owners’ waiver list.

Kolton Browning, QB-UL-Monroe
Browning has passed for 649 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 127 yards and two scores in the Warhawks’ first two games on the road against SEC schools.

Rakeem Cato, QB-Marshall
Cato leads the nation in passing yards (1,222) and passing yards per game (407.3).

Terrance Owens, QB-Toledo
The Rockets are 2-0 since Owens became the full-time starter and the offense should continue to roll this week against Coastal Carolina.

Jawan Jamison, RB-Rutgers
Not only did Jamison make a statement Thursday night on national television by carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards at South Florida, but the Scarlet Knights proved that they are contenders in the Big East.

Dareyon Chance, RB-Western Michigan
The diminutive five-foot-five, 169-pound back shined in his first start of the season, running for 144 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against Minnesota.

Antonio Andrews, RB-Western Kentucky
We were a big fan of Andrews on draft day, but he started the season splitting carries with Keshawn Simpson and some owners may have released him.  After carrying the ball 34 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-31 win over Kentucky on Saturday, Andrews showed why we ranked him #34 in our preseason running back rankings.

Jordan Hall, RB-Ohio St
Fantasy owners may have passed on drafting Hall because of a preseason injury, but he returned last week and ran for 87 yards on 17 carries.

Tevin King, RB-Louisiana Tech
After two games, the freshman running back leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 316 yards and has added three touchdowns.

Andre Davis, WR-South Florida
Davis has emerged as quarterback B.J. Daniels’ favorite target and has hauled in 20 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Devin Smith, WR-Ohio St
Now with two straight games with at least five catches, Smith is emerging as the play-making receiver that the Buckeyes need.

Josh Stewart, Oklahoma St
Since a quiet Week One against Savannah State, Stewart has caught 18 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Antavian Edison, WR-Purdue
Edison has recorded at least five catches, 50 yards, and a touchdown in every game this season.

Marquelo Suel, WR-Akron
Suel has at least six receptions in every game this season and has two 99-yard receiving games and three touchdowns.

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M
Evans followed up his seven-catch, 60-yards performance against Florida in the Aggies’ opener with a six-catch, 123-yard day against SMU this past weekend.

Chris Coyle, TE-Arizona St
Coyle leads the nation in receiving yards for tight ends and has led the Sun Devils in receiving yards or receptions in every game this season.
 

Last Week’s Waiver Wire Suggestions

Connor Halliday, QB-Wash St (378 pass yards, 4 TDs @ UNLV)

Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA (320 pass yards, 2 TDs vs Houston)

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern (18 carries for 77 yards, 7 receptions for 42 yards vs BC)

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia (10 carries for 111 yards, TD vs FAU)

Isaiah Burse, WR-Fresno St (3 receptions for 107 yards, TD vs Colorado)

Austin Franklin, WR-New Mexico St (7 receptions for 107 yards, 2 TDs at UTEP)

Jamison Crowder, WR-Duke (7 receptions for 84 yards, TD vs NC Central)

Rolandan Finch, RB-Boston College (19 yards rushing, 16 yards receiving @ NWestern)

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force (Bye)

Damien Williams, RB-Oklahoma (Bye)

Leighton Settle, RB-NIU (5 carries for 19 yards at Army)

Alex Neutz, WR-Buffalo (Bye)
 


by Joe DiSalvo

Find us on facebook

Follow us on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email us:   theCFFsite@thecollegefantasyfootballsite.com

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 3 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 22:20
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-sept-17
Body:

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week for September 17, 2012.

 1. Nationals — Every game remaining is against a team in the race.

 2. Reds — Huge offensive slump in September.

 3. Rangers — Lost just one series at home in the second half.

 4. Braves — Took the fight to the Nats over the weekend.

 5. Giants — Will have advantage in most postseason pitching matchups.

 6. A’s — Seven games left with division-leading Rangers.

 7. Yankees — Bronx Bombers hanging on for dear life.

 8. Orioles — Face losing teams for the next 13 games.

 9. Angels — Streaky Angels hot once again, but may be too late.

10. Rays — Tampa Bay’s offense doesn’t scare anyone.

11. White Sox — Lost 11 of 16 before sweeping Twins in Minnesota.

12. Cardinals — Chris Carpenter set to pitch on Friday.

13. Dodgers — Couldn’t overtake Redbirds in four-game set.

14. Tigers — Max Scherzer leads AL with eight wins in second half.

15. Brewers — Brew Crew creeping into the wild card discussion.

16. Phillies — Wishing they had Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino back?

17. Pirates — Struggling to finish the season at .500.

18. Padres — Won 19 of their last 25.

19. Diamondbacks — Young pitching staff gaining valuable experience.

20. Mariners — Have 18 chances left to play spoiler.

21. Blue Jays — 11 games remaing with Yankees and Orioles combined.

22. Royals — Youngsters have scored the most runs in AL in September.

23. Mets — Trying to get R.A. Dickey to 20 wins, Cy Young award.

24. Marlins — Jose Reyes leads team in singles, doubles, triples since break.

25. Red Sox — Only team in either league without a shutout since the break.

26. Indians — 5.24 second half ERA is worst in majors.

27. Cubs — Alfonso Soriano earns third 100-RBI season of his career.

28. Twins — Samuel Deduno best pitcher over last two months.

29. Rockies — Rookie Wilin Rosario leads team with 24 homers.

30. Astros — Haven’t lost 100 games — yet.

 

AL Player of the Week

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit—In his pursuit of the triple crown, Cabrera bashed Chicago and Cleveland pitching last week with a .407 average and 1.243 OPS. He had at least one run and one RBI in six of the seven games, finishing with seven of each. The triple crown is possible, but it will take a power surge from Cabrera. He’s one point ahead of Mike Trout in batting average, tied with Josh Hamilton with 123 RBIs, and trails Hamilton by four home runs with three players in between.

 

AL Pitcher of the Week

Jarrod Parker, Oakland—The 23-year-old righthander won both starts last week against teams fighting for a playoff spot. He defeated the Angels on the road and the Orioles at home. Parker, drafted No. 9 overall by Arizona in 2007, was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a deal that included Trevor Cahill moving to Arizona. In 14 innings last week, Parker allowed 11 hits, three walks and struck out seven.

 

NL Player of the Week

Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia—Buster Posey continued his assault on the NL MVP award with another strong week at the plate, but Rollins was even better. Doing what a leadoff hitter should, Rollins reached base at a .471 clip and led the majors with nine runs. He stole five bases without being caught and batted .393. He also hit three homers.

 

NL Pitcher of the Week

Wily Peralta, Milwaukee—The Brewers have climbed back into the wild card race, ending the week just 2.5 games out. Peralta, who has made just three major league starts, has given a lift to Milwaukee’s rotation. The Brewers won both of his starts last week, defeating the Braves and Mets. Peralta tossed eight shutout innings in the win over New York on Sunday, allowing just two hits and one walk.

Teaser:
<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 16:52
Path: /nfl/perfect-signal-caller
Body:

What’s your favorite aspect of a quarterback’s game? Some like arm strength, some favor mobility while everyone wants a tough leader. The Athlon editors decided to take the best traits from elite signal callers like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees (sorry, no Tim Tebow) and build the perfect NFL quarterback.

Teaser:
<p> Our editors look to construct the ultimate NFL quarterback.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 16:35
Path: /WorstQB
Body:

Athlon Sports built the NFL’s Ultimate Quarterback in the September issue of our monthly magazine. Now we take a shot at building the NFL’s Worst Quarterback, pulling together the worst attributes from the league's QBs.


Toughness
Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
As a rookie, Gabbert was labeled “scared” by many in the national media, notably NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi. The Jags organization has since declared Gabbert’s toughness to be a “non-issue,” with several teammates declaring that their quarterback is “not scared.”

Size
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Weighing in at 5’11” and 206 pounds, Russell can barely see over his O-line. Russell is a toy poodle compared to big dogs like Ben Roethlisberger (6’5”, 241), Peyton Manning (6’5”, 230), Tom Brady (6’4”, 225) and Eli Manning (6’4”, 218).

Contract
Sam Bradford, Rams
The last No. 1 overall pick to sign prior to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Bradford’s rookie deal is a six-year, $78-million anchor compared to the four-year, $22-million contracts signed by his top pick successors, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.

Mind
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
Although HBO’s “Hard Knocks” showed off Tannehill’s smoking hot wife, Lauren, the reality show also exposed Tannehill’s lack of football knowledge. The rookie had no idea what teams were in which divisions and came across as a clueless meathead.



Temper
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Nobody throws a temper tantrum quite like Rivers, who learned early on from the master, Marty Schottenheimer, before coming to a rolling boil during a ring-less run under coach Norv Turner.

Body Language
Jay Cutler, Bears
Whether he’s sulking while injured on the sideline during a playoff loss against the Packers or barking-slash-blaming teammates during a Thursday night loss to the Packers (and the subsequent press conference), Cutler has proven to be a master of bad body language.

Style
Tony Romo, Cowboys
There’s nothing quite like Romo’s backwards Starter cap, which is a permanent fixture during pregame introductions, on the sideline and probably even at swanky parties thrown by Jerry Jones.

Off-field History
Michael Vick, Eagles
After Vick’s dog-fighting ring was uncovered, he pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and served 21 months in prison in Aug. 2007. Then, the former face of Nike football and $100-million man filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008.



Playoff Record
Matt Ryan, Falcons
“Matty Ice” carries an 0–3 record in the postseason, being outscored 102–47. Ryan has thrown for just 584 yards, three TDs and four INTs, while taking 10 sacks and losing two fumbles.

Age-to-Experience Ratio
Brandon Weeden, Browns
Only a rookie, Weeden will turn 29 years old on Oct. 14. Meanwhile, the 28-year-old Aaron Rodgers already has a Super Bowl ring and MVP award. And Cleveland’s former favorite son, LeBron James, is a three-time MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist and NBA champ at only 27.

Job Security
Mark Sanchez, Jets
It must feel good when Sanchez reads Jets owner Woody Johnson declare, “I think you can never have too much (Tim) Tebow.” And with a cancerous Gang Green locker room already divided, Sanchez is in no man’s land.

Arm
Tim Tebow, Jets
A lefty prone to throwing wounded ducks way off target, Tebow has completed 167-of-353 career pass attempts for a 47.3 completion percentage. While throwing may not be his forte, the jacked up Tebow is probably an All-Pro arm wrestler.

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports built the NFL’s Ultimate Quarterback; now we build the NFL's Worst Quarterback.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 15:07
Path: /nascar/round-one-keselowski
Body:

If Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team are the Muhammad Ali of NASCAR — the heavyweight that wins with both sheer power and poise — Brad Keselowski and his No. 2 Penske Racing bunch are the sport’s Sugar Ray Leonard. Not necessarily graced with the resources enjoyed by Johnson, Keselowski wins with smarts and guile — and a sweeping uppercut that comes, seemingly, from nowhere.

Therefore, it was fitting that Keselowski referred to his win in Sunday’s GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in boxer’s terms.

“It feels like Round 1 of a heavyweight title bout, just it’s a 10-round bout,” he said of the first Chase race in NASCAR’s 10-week playoff. “Week 1 is done and we won the round but we didn’t by any means knock them out. We’ve got a lot of racing left to go. We’re feeling good about today but know that we have a lot of work to do.”

They’ll be no checking of scorecards for this round, though. Johnson started second and was in control of the race, leading a commanding 172 of the first 228 laps. However, Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe managed to maneuver their Dodge to the front, using a quick pit stop — and just a little gamesmanship — to take control of the point.

Trailing Johnson by a second as the final round of pit stops began, Keselowski exited the pits just in front of his rival and made a hasty entrance onto the racing surface. Johnson claimed Keselowski “blended” back onto the track too soon (NASCAR rules state a driver must keep all four wheels below the white line before the backstretch). Keselowski’s car cut in front of Johnson’s, briefly stalling his momentum.

The move drew the ire of Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, who asked NASCAR to review the move.

The sanctioning body’s response? “No harm, no foul.”

And with that, Keselowski used clean air to hold Johnson at bay for the final 26 laps to record his fourth win of the season and claim the top spot in the Chase.

“He did cut up early,” Johnson said. “It did impede my progress, I had to check up and wasn’t sure where things were going. But it didn’t affect the outcome I don’t believe.

“The way he made quick work in (lap) traffic and stretched it out on me, I’m not sure I would have held him off. At the time it messed me up, but I don’t think it played an outcome in the race.”

Keselowski, in turn, feigned ignorance as to why Johnson felt wronged:

“There is no enforced line like you see in other sports, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s just one more thing to monitor during the race. But it’s certainly — I don’t want to say a gentlemen’s agreement — it’s a policy of merging down the backstretch, off of Turn 2, I think it said specifically in the driver’s meeting. And I feel like that’s what we did.”

Chase participants made up nine of the top-15 finishers. The only one that suffered a crippling blow was Jeff?Gordon, who’s throttle stuck in lap 189. The damage resulted in a 35th-place showing. He now sits 12th in the Chase standings, 47 points out of first.

Popular pre-Chase favorite Denny Hamlin, who entered the event with the top spot, ran out of fuel on the final lap, dropping from a solid top-5 finish to 16th.

“This was just us making a big mistake with our fuel again,” said Hamlin. “It’s tough, but we’re strong enough and fast enough this Chase that we can make up 15 points easily.”

As the most recent drive to be anointed as the No. 1 contender, Keselowski knows it’s too early to get comfortable.

“Any time you win, it’s a bit of a mission accomplished for that particular weekend, but the Chase isn’t about one particular weekend, it’s about 10, and there’s a long row to hoe.”


by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter:
@MattTaliaferro

 

Teaser:
<p> Brad Keselowski beat Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 13:47
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction
Body:

An excellent quarterback battle will be the focus on Monday Night Football, when the Atlanta Falcons host the Denver Broncos at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN. Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning led their respective clubs to double-digit victories in Week 1, with the Falcons beating the Chiefs on the road and the Broncos topping the Steelers at home. Both teams have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations this season, and a 2-0 start would go a long way towards having a successful year.

When the Atlanta Falcons have the ball:
Ryan had a stellar opener in Kansas City, going 23-for-31 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a score on the ground. Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez have been favorite targets during Ryan’s career, but second-year receiver Julio Jones led the way versus the Chiefs with six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons passing game looks to be electric, but they will also need to get Michael Turner (32 yards at K.C.) and the running game going against Denver.

The Broncos defense had trouble getting off the field against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, but holding Pittsburgh to 19 points and a late interception return touchdown made for a solid performance. Denver will need pass rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to pressure Ryan in this one, as covering all of Atlanta’s weapons can be quite the task. The Broncos limited big plays against the Steelers, and doing so once again will be critical against a fast-paced Falcons offense.

When the Denver Broncos have the ball:
Everyone around the NFL was anxious to see how Manning would look in his return from multiple neck surgeries, and the four-time MVP responded with 253 passing yards and two touchdowns. In fact, he became the third quarterback in league history to reach the 400-touchdown mark. The Broncos were especially effective when Manning went to the no-huddle attack, so look for more of the same in Atlanta.

The Falcons gave up 17 points to the Chiefs in the first half but were able to shut down Kansas City in the second stanza, with the lone score coming with five seconds to go. Atlanta will face a tougher challenge this week with Manning and company, and the Falcons offense can help the defense greatly by winning the time of possession battle and keeping No. 18 off the field. Atlanta had three takeaways and three sacks versus the Chiefs, but the defense will have to absorb a major loss with Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury.

Key Factor:
Both defenses allowed well over 50-percent on third down conversions last week, and the unit that improves the most in that department will hold a huge advantage tonight. The Atlanta and Denver offenses will both earn plenty of yards, but the defense that can score or hold the opponent to field goals instead of touchdowns will prevail in this exciting matchup. The Falcons are 26-4 in the Georgia Dome with Matt Ryan at quarterback, so we’ll take Atlanta to win at home in a close one.

Prediction:
Falcons 27 Broncos 24


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, nascar tattoos, Overtime, Overtime
Path: /overtime/20-best-and-worst-nascar-tattoos-ever
Body:

NASCAR fans are a very proud group of people. And they're also very into getting tattoos. So when you combine those two, you get a lot of people willing to put some very large and ornate NASCAR-related tattoos on their bodies. And we're the winners of that combination because we get to see the crazy, funny and insane things people have put on their skin (and most of them are about Dale Earnhardt). 

So with that, here are the 21 best and worst photos of NASCAR tattoos. We don't feel the need to tell you which ones fall in the "Best NASCAR tattoo" file and which ones fall in the "Worst NASCAR tattoo" file. You'll know them when you see them.

1. The Triple Decker
This looks like what happens when you ask M.C. Escher to design your NASCAR tattoo. Between the depth, the detail and the back skin rolls, you could get trapped staring for hours, like one of those magic eye paintings.

 

2. She’s Got Leg
Not sure if you can have a daughter after getting a tattoo like that. Also not sure if a woman who exists solely as a tattoo can catch an STD, but if it is possible, this one looks like a good candidate to make it happen.

 

3. The Devil is in the Details
That’s a proper tribute to Dale Earnhardt. Because you can’t really say good-bye to a fallen icon without Looney Tunes characters (and a little ass crack).

 

4 R.I.P. Dale Earnhardt
And on the flipside, it’s probably not the best idea to pay tribute to a man who died in a car crash by showing his trademark car number going up in flames.

 

5. Danica Patrick Arm Candy
Two things are very clear here. 1) This guy likes checking out his arms in the mirror. 2) This guy is left-handed.

 

6. Rev Her Up
What’s more offensive: the Confederate flag or the fact that they didn’t even bother to use an attractive chick in the tattoo-porn?

 

7. Face Off
In a race, the checkered flag means the event is over. In this guy’s case, it means any chance of getting health insurance is over.

 

8. Rock Hard Abs
We wonder how many times he’s gotten laid with the line, “Hey honey, check out my six pack.” Actually, we just wonder how many times he’s gotten laid, period.

 

9. Treasure Fail
No man should ever make that part of his mid-section the focus of anything. He could have the cure for cancer tattooed down there and nobody would be able to look long enough to read it.

 

10. Compact Tat
Nothing against the Chevy Impala, but giving it a shout out in arm ink is probably the best way to destroy the “bad-ass” factor of a tattoo. You’d probably look a little scarier with a PT Cruiser on your arm.

 

11. Gentlemen, Start Your Engines
Remember, it’s called a “tramp stamp” for a reason. Just because you see the checkered flag, doesn’t mean you came in first.

 

12. Ford, Hear Our Prayer
Nothing pleases the big man upstairs like having his message associated with the logo of a struggling car company that has to recall thousands of its products on a regular basis.

 

13. Is That A Muppet?
Guy walks into a tattoo parlor: “Hey, I'm a NASCAR fan, can you just doodle a little on my arm and see what you come up with?”
Tattoo artist: “I’m kinda busy, can my seven-year old son do it?”
Guy: “Sure.”
Tattoo artist: “So you want him to draw it on there with a marker before we start inking you up?”
Guy: “Nah, just give him the needle and we’ll see what we wind up with.”

 

14. He’s Got A Lead Foot
There goes any chance of wearing Tevas to your daughter’s wedding.

 

15. Back It Up
We’re still not sold on the favorite racer lower back tattoo. It’s kind of like Dale Earnhardt Jr. is quietly smirking at you any time you roll around in the sheets with your special lady.

 

16. In Dale We Trust
A real quality shout out to a legend that includes the three most important things for a tattoo tribute: classy art, bible verse and bacne.

 

17. Puttin’ on the Schlitz
You may have laughed when you first looked at this picture, but think about it for a minute. Doesn’t this guy have life figured out way better than the rest of us? He clearly knows what he wants and knows how to get it.

 

18. Bringing Up The Rear
Ladies and gentlemen, one NASCAR tramp stamp to rule them all! That’s none other than Danica Patrick representing both her country and her sport with a half-American flag, half-checkered flag on her lower back. God bless America.

 

19. King Cobra
Admit it: There was nothing cooler when you were eight years old than snakes and cars. Kudos to this guy for making sure he never stops feeling that way.

 

20. Get Your Head in the Game
At least he can grow hair over that now that Earnhardt changed his car number. What’s that? He’s bald? Oh dear, that’s unfortunate. Wait a minute, is that a Bucs logo on his neck? Man, this just keeps getting worse and worse.

 

21. A Touch of Green...
He's waiting until he gets his next paycheck to get the rest of the colors. 

 

By Vito Pugliese

Teaser:
<p> NASCAR fans really like to put NASCAR ink on their bodies</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

If there were any doubts Florida State was ready to make a run into national title contention, those should be erased after Saturday’s win over Wake Forest. The Seminoles beat Wake Forest 52-0, which included impressive performances on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech was a surprise loser in Week 3, dropping a 35-17 game to Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech handled Virginia, while North Carolina’s late rally fell short against Louisville in an ACC-Big East showdown.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington has been used sparingly the last two weeks due to the competition. The senior has 328 yards and four touchdowns through the first three games.

2. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina – Renner has been sharp in the first year under new coach Larry Fedora. Through three weeks, he has thrown for 870 yards and nine touchdowns and completed 62.5 percent of his throws.

3. Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State – Thompson was quiet through the first two weeks of the season but exploded for 197 yards and two scores against Wake Forest.
 

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner and fellow end Tank Carradine dominated the line of scrimmage against Wake Forest. Werner recorded four tackles and two sacks in the win over the Demon Deacons.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano was relatively quiet in the loss to Connecticut, recording four tackles and no sacks.

3. David Amerson, CB, NC State – Amerson has rebounded after a rough start and recorded three tackles and one interception in NC State’s win over South Alabama.


Coach of the Year

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles passed their first big test of the season, dominating Wake Forest for a 52-0 win.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The Tigers notched an easy win over Furman, but Swinney has a chance to jump to the top of this list with a win over Florida State in Week 4.

3. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech – With losses by Wake Forest (Jim Grobe), Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer) and North Carolina (Larry Fedora), there are few options for the third spot. The Yellow Jackets lost a key Week 1 game to Virginia Tech but crushed Virginia in Week 3.

 

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Week 3 result: Beat Wake Forest 52-0
Consider the Seminoles’ first test of 2012 a huge success. After playing Savannah State and Murray State in the first two weeks of the season, Florida State was still somewhat of a mystery. However, the Seminoles erased any doubts surrounding this team, destroying Wake Forest 52-0 to earn their first ACC win. Running back Chris Thompson ran wild against the Demon Deacons, rushing for a career high 197 yards on nine carries. Florida State’s defense also suffocated Wake Forest, allowing just 126 yards and seven first downs.
Next Game: Clemson

2. Clemson (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Week 3 result: Beat Furman 41-7
The Tigers cruised to a 41-7 victory over Furman in the final tune-up before ACC play. Quarterback Tajh Boyd continued his strong start to the season by throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns. And the offense got a boost with the return of receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught four passes for 52 yards and took one rush for a 50-yard score against the Paladins. One area of concern for Dabo Swinney and his staff has to be the defense, especially after allowing 352 yards and generating no sacks.
Next Game: at Florida State

3. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Week 3 result: Beat Virginia 56-20
Even though it was only the second ACC game of the season, beating Virginia was crucial for any shot the Yellow Jackets had of winning the division crown. Quarterback Tevin Washington had a standout performance against the Cavaliers, throwing for 125 yards and one touchdown, while adding 93 yards and three scores on the ground. Georgia Tech’s defense held Virginia’s rushing attack to only 98 yards, while forcing two interceptions. The Yellow Jackets are still a game behind Virginia Tech in the Coastal standings, so every conference game the rest of the year (at least for now) is essentially a must-win situation.
Next Game: Miami

4. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Week 3 result: Lost to Pittsburgh 35-17
One of the most surprising results from Week 3 was Virginia Tech’s 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh. The Panthers lost to Youngstown State and Cincinnati in the first two weeks of the season and were considered a heavy underdog. The problems for the Hokies started on offense, as the rushing attack never found its rhythm, and quarterback Logan Thomas tossed three picks. The defense gave up 254 rushing yards and recorded just one sack against a suspect Pittsburgh offensive line. While this loss knocks Virginia Tech out of the national title discussion, the Hokies are still in control of the Coastal Division.
Next Game: Bowling Green

5. NC State (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Week 3 result: Beat South Alabama 31-7
After playing Tennessee and Connecticut in the first two weeks of the season, South Alabama was the perfect Week 3 get well opponent for the Wolfpack. Quarterback Mike Glennon had his best performance on the season, throwing for 257 yards and three scores. The defense held the Jaguars without a score until the fourth quarter and recorded seven sacks. NC State should have another easy win in Week 4 against FCS opponent Citadel.
Next Game: Citadel

6. Virginia (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Week 3 result: Lost to Georgia Tech 56-20
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Georgia Tech simply dominated the Cavaliers on Saturday. Virginia’s offense never generated much of a rushing attack, and the defense couldn’t stop the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense. Georgia Tech rushed for 461 yards and seven scores, while quarterback Tevin Washington threw for 133 yards and one touchdown. After a sluggish performance by Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco, Alabama transfer Phillip Sims may get extended snaps in the Week 4 matchup against TCU.
Next Game: at TCU

7. Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida State 52-0
Even after losing to Florida State 52-0, it’s hard to penalize the Demon Deacons in the power rankings. Few candidates in the ACC are deserving of a promotion, and Wake Forest simply ran into a buzzsaw in Tallahassee. The Demon Deacons gained only 126 yards, while the defense was gashed for 385 yards and four touchdowns by Florida State’s rushing attack. Wake Forest should bounce back this Saturday against Army and has a favorable matchup in Week 5 against Duke.
Next Game: Army

8. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Week 3 result: Lost to Louisville 39-34
It was a tale of two halves for North Carolina against Louisville on Saturday. The Tar Heels were awful in the first half, trailing 36-7 before the start of the third quarter. However, quarterback Bryn Renner rallied North Carolina in the second half, giving the Tar Heels a chance to win in the final minutes. Renner finished with 363 yards and five touchdowns, but the ground attack stalled without Giovani Bernard. North Carolina’s secondary continued to struggle, allowing 279 yards and three touchdowns to Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
Next Game: East Carolina

9. Miami (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Week 3 result: Beat Bethune-Cookman 38-10
A week after suffering a 52-13 beatdown against Kansas State, the Hurricanes rebounded with a 38-10 win over FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman. It was far from a perfect effort from Miami, but freshman running back Duke Johnson scored four touchdowns, and the defense allowed only three points in the second half. Miami’s defense has been a concern all year and while it allowed only a field goal in the last two quarters, Bethune-Cookman managed 233 rushing yards. Considering the Hurricanes’ next opponent (Georgia Tech), specializes in the ground game, Miami’s defensive staff could have a lot of sleepless nights this week.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech

10. Duke (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Week 3 result: Beat N.C. Central 54-17
The Blue Devils jumped out to 17-7 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in Saturday’s win over N.C. Central. Led by quarterback Sean Renfree’s 274 passing yards, Duke scored at least 10 points in every quarter and improved to 2-1 for the first time under coach David Cutcliffe. The rushing attack remains a concern for Cutcliffe, as the Blue Devils managed only 128 yards and one touchdown in Saturday’s win. Duke has another must-win game next week against Memphis.
Next Game: Memphis

11. Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Week 3 result: Lost to Northwestern 22-13
The Eagles were close, but not good enough to beat Northwestern. Quarterback Chase Rettig had another steady performance, throwing for 291 yards and one touchdown on 24 completions. However, the rushing attack managed only 25 yards, and the defense had no answer for Northwestern’s offense. The Eagles have a bye this Saturday, which comes at a good time with the team searching for answers on both sides of the ball. Boston College returns to play on Sept. 29 against Clemson.
Next Game: Clemson (Sept. 29)

12. Maryland (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank:
12
Week 3 result: Lost to Connecticut 24-21
Just like the Terrapins’ first two games, Saturday’s matchup against Connecticut wasn’t the easiest to watch. Maryland’s offense managed a season-low 205 yards against the Huskies and committed two turnovers. The Terrapins had a shot to win in the final minutes, but Connecticut’s defense held late in the fourth quarter. Through three weeks, Maryland’s offense ranks 119th nationally in total yards per game (258.3) and 105th in turnover margin. The Terrapins have made some progress in Randy Edsall’s second season but beating West Virginia in Week 4 will be a tall task.
Next Game: at West Virginia


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Related College Football Content

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SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:49
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

It was an interesting week in the SEC. Alabama made another huge statement with a convincing win at Arkansas, but the most noteworthy game took place in Knoxville. Florida was sensational in the second half of a 37-20 win over Tennessee. The Gators are already 2-0 in the SEC with both wins coming on the road. 

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Aaron Murray, GeorgiaThe junior quarterback is completing 63.8 percent of his passes for 842 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw for a career-high 342 yards in the Bulldogs’ win over FAU last weekend.

2. Mike Gillislee, Florida The Gators’ rejuvenated offense has leaned on Gillislee in key road wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee. Saturday night in Knoxville, he ran for 115 yards on 18 carries, and he leads the SEC after three games with 346 yards.

3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M The Texas high school legend has been terrific through two games for the Aggies. He has thrown for 467 yards and four touchdowns (with no INTs) and has added 184 yards and three scores on the ground.

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia Jones remains on top of the this list despite sitting out the FAU game with an injury. The junior outside linebacker has emerged as one of the most disruptive forces in the nation.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State Banks is one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks. He has two interceptions and 12 total tackles for the 3–0 Bulldogs.

3. C.J. Mosley, AlabamaThe junior linebacker has been a consistent force on the dominant Alabama defense. He had five tackles in the Tide’s 52–0 win over Arkansas on Saturday.
 

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama He is the coach of the nearly unanimous No. 1 team in the nation. His offense is brutally efficient, and his defense is dominant.

2. Will Muschamp, Florida Two weeks ago, many were wondering if Muschamp was the right fit in Gainesville. Now, after two come-from-behind wins on the road in league play, he is being mentioned as a possible SEC Coach of the Year.

3. Mark Richt, Georgia The Bulldogs survived a Week 2 scare at Missouri and then returned home and pounded Florida Atlantic. This team remains the favorite to win the SEC East.

Post-Week 3 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat Arkansas 52-0
In one of the most impressive performances of the Nick Saban era, Alabama routed the Tyler Wilson-less Razorbacks with surprising ease. Bama outgained Arkansas 438-to-137 with a balanced offense (200-plus yards passing and rushing) and a dominating defense that allowed an average of only 2.2 yards per play. The Crimson Tide has recorded two straight shutouts and has only allowed points in two of 12 quarters this season.
Next Game: FAU

2. LSU (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 3 result: Beat Idaho 63-14
LSU completed its season-opening three-game homestand with its third straight blowout victory. The Tigers blew open a relatively close game — they only led 21–14 late in the second quarter vs. the winless Vandals — by scoring the final six touchdowns of the game. Zach Mettenberger, making his third career start, completed 17-of-22 passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns. LSU has now won an NCAA FBS record 40 straight regular-season non-conference games.
Next Game: Auburn

3. Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat Florida Atlantic 56-20
Georgia averaged a staggering 11.3 yards per play on the way to setting a single-game school record with 713 total yards in the easy win over Florida Atlantic. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 342 yards (on only 19 attempts) and two running backs, true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, topped the 100-yard mark despite each getting only 10 carries. Georgia has scored more than 40 points in its first three games for the first time in school history.
Next Game: Vanderbilt

4. Florida (3-0, 2-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Tennessee 37-20
Since struggling to beat Bowling Green in Week 1, Florida has been one of the most impressive teams in the nation. First the Gators won at Texas A&M in the Aggies’ first-ever SEC game. Then, on Saturday night, Florida dominated Tennessee in the second half on its way to an eighth straight victory over the Volunteers. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was sharp (he threw 219 yards on 20 attempts), but the Gators did most of their work on the ground. Mike Gillislee gained 115 yards on 18 carries to lead a running attack that gained 336 yards on 43 attempts. The Gators are the only team in the nation with two conference wins.
Next Game: Kentucky

5. South Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat UAB 49-6
The Gamecocks cruised to their second straight lopsided win at home, pulling away in the second half to defeat UAB 49-6. After struggling on offense in the season-opening win over Vanderbilt, South Carolina has topped the 500-yard mark in consecutive games. Connor Shaw returned to the starting lineup after sitting out last week’s game vs. East Carolina, but he had to leave the game in the second quarter after taking a big hit to his shoulder. South Carolina has only given up two touchdowns in 12 quarters this season.
Next Game: Missouri

6. Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 3 result: Beat Troy 30-24
Mississippi State is 3–0 for the first time since 1999 after holding on to beat Troy on the road. It was a big night for two Bulldog skill players: Tailback LaDarius Perkins rushed for 179 yards on 23 carries, and wide receiver Chad Bumphis became the first MSU player with three touchdown catches since 1969. Bumphis caught six passes for 180 yards. The Bulldogs gave up 572 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0.
Next Game: South Alabama

7. Missouri (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Arizona State 24-20
Playing with a backup quarterback in front of a patchwork offensive line, Missouri gutted out a four-point win over a solid Arizona State team Saturday night. Corbin Berkstresser made his first career start in place of the injured James Franklin, and the redshirt freshman from Lee’s Summit, Mo., completed 26-of-46 passes for 258 yards and one touchdown. This game, however, was won on defense. The Tigers forced four turnovers and held an Arizona State offense that topped 500 yards in its first two games to 296 yards.
Next Game: at South Carolina

8. Texas A&M (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 3 result: Beat SMU 48-3
The Aggies bounced back from the emotional loss at home to Florida in the school’s SEC debut by rolling past SMU in Dallas with ease. Redshirt freshman Johny Manziel was sensational for Texas A&M, throwing for 294 yards and four touchdowns and adding 124 yards and two scores on the ground. The Aggies struggled a bit in the first quarter, but scored touchdowns on seven of eight drives during one stretch — four of which that went for 70 yards or longer.
Next Game: South Carolina State

9. Tennessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 3 result: Lost to Florida 37-20
The Volunteers weren’t quite ready for the national stage. In the most anticipated game of the Derek Dooley era, Tennessee watched Florida score the game’s final 24 points — including two on touchdowns that covered at least 75 yards — of a disheartening 37–20 loss. Tennessee struggled to run the ball, averaging only 3.0 yards on 28 rushing attempts. Conversely, Florida ran for 336 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per rush.
Next Game: Akron

10. Auburn (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat UL Monroe 31-28 in OT
Auburn averted disaster — and its first 0–3 start since 1950 — by edging giant killer UL Monroe in overtime. The biggest positive for the Tigers was a running game that picked up 255 yards on 42 carries. Onterio McCalebb led the way with 128 yards on 11 carries, and Tre Mason added 90 yards on 22 carries. Kiehl Frazier continued to struggle at quarterback. The sophomore completed 10-of-18 passes for 130 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Those aren’t bad numbers, but the Tigers would like see more production against a Sun Belt foe.
Next Game: at LSU

11. Arkansas (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 3 result: Lost to Alabama 52-0
In one of the low points in Arkansas football history, the Razorbacks put up little fight in a 52–0 loss to Alabama on national television. The Hogs, playing without quarterback Tyler Wilson, managed only 137 yards of offense and averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per snap. Brandon Allen went 10-of-18 for 60 yards and two interceptions, and Brandon Mitchell, last year’s backup quarterback who had moved to receiver, completed 1-of-7 for 19 yards.
Next Game: Rutgers

12. Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 12
Week 3 result: Beat Presbyterian 58-0
The Commodores broke into the win column with an easy victory over FCS foe Presbyterian. The Commodores scored on their first nine possessions and rolled up over 600 yards of offense en route to their most decisive win since blanking The Citadel 58–0 in 1999. In a surprising move, second-year coach James Franklin went with junior Austyn Carta-Samuels at quarterback in favor of senior Jordan Rodgers. Carta-Samuels, a transfer from Wyoming, completed 13-of-20 for 195 yards and one touchdown.
Next Game: at Georgia

13. Ole Miss (2-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 13
Week 3 result: Lost to Texas 66-31
After starting the Hugh Freeze era with two wins over inferior competition, Ole Miss was ambushed at home by a Texas offense that totaled 676 yards. The Rebels had success of their own on offense — they had nearly 400 yards and 31 points against one of the nation’s top defenses — but had no answer for the balanced Longhorn attack. Texas rushed 350 yards and threw for 326 more.
Next Game: at Tulane

14. Kentucky (1-3, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 4 result: Lost to Western Kentucky 32-31 in OT
Joker Phillips' worst fears became a reality: His team lost at home to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers were in control for most of the night — they held leads of 17–0 and 24–10 — but Kentucky forced overtime by scoring on a 22-yard touchdown strike from Maxwell Smith to DeMarcus Sweat in the final minute. That, however, just delayed the agony for UK fans, who watched in horror as WKU converted a 2-point conversion for the win after scoring a touchdown in the first overtime session. Kentucky has now lost to the other two FBS schools in the state. Not good for Joker.
Next Game: at Florida

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Teaser:
<p> Bama still on top, but Florida makes a big move</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

The Big East is three weeks away from its conference season beginning in earnest, but the league is already starting to sort out its contenders. A week after Cincinnati dismantled Pittsburgh in the first Big East game of the season, Rutgers used a second-half burst to defeat USF on the road.

Despite a scare with North Carolina, Louisville still looks like the team to beat in the Big East. Unless, of course, Pitt treats the rest of its opponents the same way it treated Virginia Tech.

Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville -- Louisville scored on its first six possessions against North Carolina (five touchdowns, one field goal) as Bridgewater completed 23 of 28 passes for 279 yards with three touchdowns. Bridgewater is completing 81.8 percent of his passes this season and hasn’t thrown an interception.

2. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights running back set a school record with 41 carries against USF, no rush bigger than a 41-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Jamison has topped 100 yards in each game this season and has run for 731 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in his last six games dating back to last season.

3. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- Nassib heated up in the second half against Stony Brook to complete 22 of 35 passes for 335 yards and three interceptions. Nassib has passed for 300 yards and accounted for at least three passing or rushing touchdowns in every game this season.



Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut --
The sophomore linebacker had 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in a 24-21 win over Maryland. He leads the Big East in tackles and is second in sacks.

2. Walter Stewart, Cincinnati -- Stewart had a quiet day against Delaware State (two tackles, one pass break up), but he still had one of the best defensive performances in the Big East in the Bearcats’ opener against Pittsburgh a week ago.

3. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights linebacker continues to rack up tackles with 10 against USF. He’s had at least 10 stops in each game this season. Against USF, he added two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.



Coach of the Year Standings
1. Charlie Strong, Louisville --
North Carolina’s late surge against the Cardinals is a bit of a concern. Still, Louisville has topped 32 points in all three games this season matching the Cardinals’ total of 30-point games from all of last season.

2. Butch Jones, Cincinnati -- Pitt made Cincinnati’s win over the Panthers in Week 2 look a little more impressive by upsetting Virginia Tech. The Bearcats can give the Big East two wins over the Hokies themselves in two weeks.

3. Kyle Flood, Rutgers -- Is it safe yet to get on the Rutgers/Kyle Flood bandwagon? While the win over USF was far from perfect, Rutgers should brag about a 10-point conference win on the road thanks to a balanced effort on both sides of the ball.



Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
1. Louisville (3-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat North Carolina 39-34
Louisville rolled over North Carolina for three quarters before having to sweat out the final moments. It was the most vulnerable Louisville looked all season. The Cardinals led 36-7 at halftime, but North Carolina in the second half had scoring drives of 79, 65 and 93 yards plus a blocked punt that led to a five-yard touchdown. The Cardinals defense eventually clamped down with a deflected pass in the end zone, but it was a scare nonetheless.
This week: at FIU

2. Rutgers (3-0, 1-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank:
3
Week 3 result: Beat USF 23-13
After two inconsistent performances to start the season against Tulane and Howard, Rutgers looked like a team that could contend for a Big East title with its road win over USF. Quarterback Gary Nova had a breakthrough game, completed 23 of 42 passes for 277 yards with a touchdown as the Scarlet Knights picked USF apart on third downs (8 of 19). The opportunistic defense picked up four turnovers and held USF to 3.3 yards per carry. One worrisome number: Rutgers has the second-most penalties in the country with 31 in three games.
This week: at Arkansas

3. USF (2-1, 0-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank:
2
Week 3 result: Lost to Rutgers 23-13
Another game close in the fourth quarter and another USF loss. The Bulls were tied at 13 with Rutgers until the Scarlet Knights broke the game open in the final three minutes. In the Bulls’ last six Big East losses, USF led or tied in the fourth quarter of each game. On Thursday, the USF defense surrendered two plays of 30 yards or more in the fourth quarter, and B.J. Daniels went 0-for-7 on his final two possessions. Though two of Daniels’ three interceptions against Rutgers were off deflections, turnovers in conference games continue to be troubling. In his career, Daniels as 17 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in Big East games compared to 27 TDs and 12 INTs in non-conference games.
This week: at Ball State

4. Cincinnati (2-0, 1-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank:
4
Week 3 result: Beat Delaware State 23-7
Good thing Cincinnati was playing Delaware State when the Bearcats decided to become careless. The Bearcats turned the ball over six times with two interceptions and two fumbles from quarterback Munchie Legaux, and a fumble each from wide receiver Anthony McClung and tight end Travis Kelce. The Bearcats still took a 20-0 lead at halftime as George Winn rushed for 147 yards.  The Bearcats’ odd early season schedule continues with a second off week before Cincinnati faces Virginia Tech on Sept. 29.
This week: Off

5. Connecticut (1-2, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat Maryland 24-21
The Huskies’ defense was stifling again in the win over Maryland and former Huskies coach Randy Edsall. UConn held its third consecutive opponent to fewer than 100 yards rushing. The Huskies are second in the nation in yards allowed per play at 2.9 behind only Florida State (1.9). The big difference against Maryland was a sound offense that turned the ball over once after losing seven in the first two games. The Huskies also got a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown from Nick Williams.
This week: at Western Michigan

6. Syracuse (1-2, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Stony Brook 28-17
The win over Stony Brook was probably a little closer than Syracuse would have liked -- the Orange led 17-14 at halftime. Syracuse held Stony Brook, ranked 16th in the FCS coaches poll, to 4 of 19 passing and two interceptions as quarterback Ryan Nassib led two long scoring drives in the second half to break the game open.
This week: at Minnesota

7. Pittsburgh (1-2, 0-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Virginia Tech 35-17
Where was this Pittsburgh team the first two weeks of the season? The Panthers had two productive backs with Ray Graham rushing for 94 yards and two touchdowns and Rushel Shell running for 157 yards. Tino Sunseri was almost mistake-free with three touchdown passes and one pick. The protection was also an encouraging development. He was sacked only once after being sacked six times in the first two games and 63 times all last season. The Pitt defense helped put Virginia Tech away with three interceptions and allowing 59 rushing yards. Was this a fluke or a sign that Pitt is starting to put its season back together?
This week: Gardner-Webb

8. Temple (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 3 result: Off
Temple could emerge from the off week with running back Montel Harris ready to play. The Boston College transfer hasn’t been ruled out for the game against Penn State after sustaining a hamstring injury in the opener. Running back Matt Brown is also trying to recover from an ankle injury. Temple has not defeated Penn State since 1941, giving the Owls an 0-36-1 record against the Nittany Lions since their last win.
This week: at Penn State

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

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Teaser:
<p> Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:36
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

Week 3 featured a pedestrian slate of games in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas was the only conference game, while Texas easily handled Ole Miss on the road and Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma State cruised to victories. The Horned Frogs were victorious in their first Big 12 game, but the Jayhawks showed signs of progress in defeat.

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Smith has been unstoppable through the first two games, tossing just as many touchdowns (9) as incompletions (9).

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein continues to be a one-man wrecking crew, recording nine touchdowns and 819 yards through the first two weeks.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle has three 100-yard efforts to open the season and has caught nine passes for 77 yards.
 

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Brown shook off a leg injury in the win over North Texas to record 13 tackles. Through three weeks, he has 28 tackles and one sack.

2. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat recorded only one tackle but also picked up his second sack of the season against Ole Miss.

3. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia – The competition hasn’t been great, but it’s hard to ignore Bruce’s performance through the first two games. He has 25 tackles, three tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery so far this year.
 

Big 12 Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State - Rhoads has led Iowa State to back-to-back 3-0 starts and won’t be an easy out in Big 12 play.

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State – The Wildcats are 3-0 but largely untested. Kansas State opens Big 12 play against Oklahoma this Saturday.

3. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – Behind quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, the Mountaineers’ offense has been unstoppable through the first two games of 2012.

 

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
1
Week 3 Result: Did not play
The Sooners did not play in Week 2 and will return to action in Week 4 against Kansas State. Oklahoma has a strange schedule over the next couple of weeks, as it hosts the Wildcats, then has another bye week before playing at Texas Tech on Oct. 6.  The Sooners have defeated Kansas State five times in a row, including a 58-17 victory in Manhattan last season.
Next Game: Kansas State

2. Texas (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
2
Week 3 Result: Beat Ole Miss 66-31
While it wasn’t a conference road test, traveling to Oxford to play Ole Miss was a key game for Texas. The Longhorns surprisingly gave up 31 points to the Rebels but were never in any danger of losing. Quarterback David Ash turned in a solid performance, throwing for 326 yards and four touchdowns. The ground attack punished Ole Miss for 350 yards on 54 attempts. Texas has a bye week to prepare for its Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State. The Longhorns will have to take a wait-and-see approach on preparing for the Cowboys offense, as starting quarterback Wes Lunt was injured in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State (Sept. 29)

3. West Virginia (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
3
Week 3 Result: Beat James Madison 42-12
The Mountaineers hold steady in the power rankings after cruising to an easy 42-12 victory over FCS opponent James Madison. Quarterback Geno Smith was nearly flawless, completing 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns. With Matt Barkley’s performance against Stanford, Smith has to be considered the frontrunner to win the Heisman after three weeks. Receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin each went over 100 yards and caught double-digit passes. As expected West Virginia’s defense had a much better performance than it had in Week 1, as the Dukes’ only touchdown came with less than a minute remaining.
Next Game: Maryland

4. TCU (2-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 4
Week 3 Result: Beat Kansas 20-6
The Horned Frogs capped a historic weekend with a 20-6 win over Kansas in their first Big 12 game. TCU easily outgained the Jayhawks (507 to 379) but it was far from a complete performance. The Horned Frogs had four turnovers and went 2 of 9 on third-down conversions. Quarterback Casey Pachall passed for 335 yards, with Brandon Carter his preferred target (eight receptions, 141 yards and two scores). TCU’s defense had question marks about its back seven coming into the year, and Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist threw for 303 yards. Although it wasn’t a perfect effort for Gary Patterson’s team, it’s a good way to start life in the Big 12.
Next Game: Virginia

5. Kansas State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 5
Week 3 Result: Beat North Texas 35-21
Bill Snyder wasn’t particularly pleased with his team after Saturday’s 35-21 win over North Texas. However, the Wildcats are 3-0 and have made it through the first three weeks without a major injury. Kansas State allowed the Mean Green to hang around, largely due to the strong performance of quarterback Derek Thompson (25 of 28, 208 yards). The defense struggled with missed tackles, while the offense had two turnovers and running back John Hubert never got on track (38 yards, 12 attempts). Kansas State opens Big 12 play in Week 4 with a huge test at Oklahoma.
Next Game: at Oklahoma

6. Oklahoma State (2-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
6
Week 3 Result: Beat Louisiana-Lafayette 65-24
Despite losing quarterback Wes Lunt on the first series of the game, the Cowboys rolled to an easy 65-24 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Lunt suffered a knee injury and did not return. His long-term status is uncertain, but Oklahoma State has a bye week before playing Texas on Sept. 29. With Lunt sidelined, J.W. Walsh shined, throwing for 347 yards and adding 73 yards on the ground. Running back Joseph Randle was solid as usual, rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 21 attempts. Oklahoma State’s defense held the Ragin’ Cajuns without a point in the first half, before allowing 24 in the final two quarters. Lunt’s injured knee will be watched closely over the next two weeks, but if he can’t go, Walsh is more than capable of leading the Cowboys to a win over the Longhorns.
Next Game: Texas (Sept. 29)

7. Baylor (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 7
Week 3 Result: Beat Sam Houston State 48-23
One of the biggest surprises from the Big 12's Week 3 action was Sam Houston State leading Baylor 20-10 at halftime. However, the Bears took control in the second half and won 48-23. Quarterback Nick Florence was solid, throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding a 60-yard rush. As expected, Baylor’s offense stepped up in the second half, but the defense held the Bearkats to just three points in the final two quarters. The Bears have a short week to prepare for a trip to Louisiana-Monroe on Friday night, before playing at West Virginia to open Big 12 play.
Next Game: at Louisiana-Monroe (Friday)

8. Iowa State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 8
Week 3 Result: Beat Western Illinois 37-3
The Cyclones are 3-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01. Iowa State dominated Western Illinois on Saturday, jumping out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and cruising to a 37-3 win. The Cyclones got a strong performance from quarterback Steele Jantz (19 of 26 for 209 yards and three touchdowns), while the defense allowed only 178 total yards. Iowa State is halfway to bowl eligibility thanks to its 3-0 start, but the schedule is only going to get tougher the rest of the way with only Big 12 opponents.
Next Game: Texas Tech (Sept. 29)

9. Texas Tech (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week: 9
Week 3 Result: Beat New Mexico 49-14
The Red Raiders haven’t had to sweat much through the first three weeks of the season and cruised to an easy 49-14 win over New Mexico. Quarterback Seth Doege was sharp, throwing for 340 yards and six touchdowns, while the offense had three players rush for at least 60 yards. The defense was a concern going into the year but has played well so far. Texas Tech allowed 30 points through the first three games and ranks second nationally in total defense. The competition is going to get better, but the first three weeks are a good sign for Texas Tech.
Next Game: at Iowa State

10. Kansas (1-2, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 3 Result: Lost to TCU 20-6
A week after a disappointing loss to Rice, the Jayhawks dropped their Big 12 opener to TCU. Although Kansas has not won a Big 12 game since Nov. 6, 2010, it didn’t fade late and had chances to pull closer. The Jayhawks defense forced four turnovers but allowed quarterback Casey Pachall to throw for 335 yards. Quarterback Dayne Crist matched Pachall with a 300-yard effort, but the Jayhawks’ offense was unable to capitalize off TCU’s four turnovers. Kansas’ offense will get an extra weapon back this week, as running back James Sims will return from a three-game suspension.
Next Game: at Northern Illinois


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

Related College Football Content

Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
College Football Week 3 Recap

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:29
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

After two concerning weeks of play in the Big Ten, the league watched many of its teams bounce back with easy wins. It finished 10-2 this week with losses to Notre Dame and Ball State, but what was the top win of Week 3? Ohio State inching past Cal? Wisconsin luckily topping Utah State? Or Nebraska over Arkansas State? The point being, it wasn't exactly a marquee slate and Michigan State failed the one national test the league was facing against the Irish. The truth of the matter is there is no BCS national title contender in the B1G this season. That much is obvious.

However, it doesn't mean there won't be plenty of excitement and drama. Both divisions appear to be wide open with at least legit contenders in each one. And quarterback play looks like it will be the key to success. Indiana has lost Tre Roberson. Illinois has been without Nathan Scheelhaase now for two weeks. Purdue looks to have lost Robert Marve (which could be a blessing). And now, both Minnesota and Wisconsin are makings switches — for two very different reasons.

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Is there anything this kid cannot do? Miller threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns, including two huge fourth-quarter strikes that won the game for the Buckeyes. He added another 75 yards rushing and his fifth touchdown on the ground as well. That's 12 total TDs thus far in three games.

2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan - The competition was pretty weak, but Robinson was up to his old tricks. He threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns while topping the century mark in rushing (106) and scoring again on the ground. These two dual-threats should battle for POY all season.

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - The junior QB bounced back from the loss to UCLA in excellent fashion. He completed 13-of-14 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns to go with 54 yards rushing and another score. He leads the league in passing yards and is No. 2 in efficiency to go with 176 yards rushing and two more scores.

 

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Will Compton, LB, Nebraska -
The Huskers defense got off the mat and played well in a bounce-back performance against a solid Arkansas State offense (286 total yards allowed). Compton posted seven tackles and another tackle for loss. He now leads NU in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. 

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - The Badgers struggled to defeat a solid Utah State team but Taylor was the main reason they held on to win. He was all over the field against the dynamic USU option attack. He is now second in the league in tackles after a 15-stop performance this week.

3. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State - The speedy Buckeye tackler stood out all day in the win over Cal. He made bone-crushing hits, posted 13 total tackles, two tackles for a loss and one of the Bucks' six sacks. He has all the skills needed to be the next great OSU linebacker.

 

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - The Buckeyes' head man gets the nod because A) His team hasn't lost yet B) He has the best team in the league C) And there are no other clear candidates for COY.

2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - Most of the coaches in the Big Ten are dealing with major adversity, so an unbeaten record against three consecutive BCS AQ teams makes Fitz a prime candidate (today, at least) for COY.

3. Pick a Name, State U - Mark Dantonio's team got man-handled (again) by Notre Dame. Jerry Kill is 3-0, but who have they beaten? Brady Hoke's team is going to be good but has some major weaknesses. There is no clearcut No. 3 candidate, but I have a feeling Bo Pelini will be back on this list after recovering from a health scare this weekend.

 

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (3-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat Cal 35-28

The Buckeyes welcomed back starting tailback Jordan Hall and got six sacks from six different players in a game that was much tighter than expected. After taking a 20-7 commanding lead in the first half on the dynamic play-making ability of star quarterback Braxton Miller, Cal dominated the third period of play. It out-gained Ohio State 190-10 and eventually took the lead 21-20 a few minutes into the fourth quarter. But time after time, the Buckeyes turned to Miller to overcome the big-play punches by the Golden Bears. The star dual-threat QB led two long scoring drives to give OSU the lead twice in the final frame, the last of which ended on a game-winning 72-yard touchdown pass in which Miller scrambled right and found a wide open Devin Smith. After another 324 yards of total offense and five total touchdowns, Miller has placed himself squarely in the Heisman race with key completions and gritty runs. He has seven passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns on the season. Despite the play of Miller, Urban Meyer knows his team still has some issues. The running game got a boost from Hall (17 att., 87 yards), but was still lackluster. While his pass rush was clearly improved, the tackling was an issue all day as the defense allowed big plays in the running game that nearly cost OSU the win. There are plenty of kinks that need ironing out with one cupcake left to go before the Big Ten season begins in East Lansing.
This week: UAB (1-1)

2. Michigan (2-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat UMass 63-13
The Wolverines entered this weekend ranked 113th nationally against the run and Brady Hoke was undoubtedly hoping to rebuild those stats against lowly UMass. And while 112 yards isn't exactly what he was hoping for, it was 139 yards fewer than his team had been allowing. Otherwise, Denard Robinson and company got their reps in against a team that had no chance to win the game. Shoelace finished with four total touchdowns and 397 yards of total offense (291 pass, 106 rush) in a warm-up for what should be a monster game next weekend against Notre Dame. He will need his rushing attack against that Irish front seven and it showed up in Week 3 to the tune of 294 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in the win over the Minutemen. See the Michigan State Spartans to know exactly what the Maize and Blue will be facing next week against the Golden Domers.
This week: at Notre Dame (3-0)

3. Michigan State (2-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 3 result: Lost to Notre Dame 20-3
For the second straight season Michigan State got physically dominated by Notre Dame. Le'Veon Bell found no room to run (19 att., 77 yards), Andrew Maxwell was uninspiring (23-of-45, 187 yards, 0 TD) and the vaunted Spartans defense could not make the key play against a freshman quarterback. A combined score of 51-16 over the last two seasons clearly give the Irish's Brian Kelly an advantage over Mark Dantonio. It was a deflating performance that highlighted the weaknesses of a one-dimensional offense in East Lansing. The great news, however, is that Michigan State lost to ND last fall in ugly fashion and then went on to win the Legends Division. Sparty is still very much a top contender for the wide open Big Ten championship. 
This week: Eastern Michigan (0-3) 

4. Nebraska (2-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat Arkansas State 42-13

Nebraska took a 28-3 lead into halftime at Memorial Stadium, but when it came out to play the second half, Bo Pelini wasn't in the building. The head coach was taken by ambulance to Bryant West Hospital for precautionary reasons after falling ill in the first half. Huskers athletic director Tom Osbourne released a statement that Pelini is "doing fine" and "looks as though he's in pretty good shape." Arkansas State put together its rally in the third, cutting the lead to 28-13 before Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah willed their team to victory for "interim coach" and current DC John Papuchis. Martinez was brilliant, completing 13-of-14 passes and accounting for three touchdowns, while Abdullah was the workhorse Nebraska needed with Rex Burkhead sitting on the sidelines once again. The sophomore runner carried 30 times and caught two passes for 206 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The defense also bounced back from its poor Week 2 showing by holding Ryan Aplin and Arkansas State to only 286 total yards. The four turnovers are concerning for NU, but this was an incredibly efficient performance by the Big Red: 10-of-13 on third down, 13-of-14 passing, 5.9 yards per carry and only four penalties. The head coach and star tailback likely won't be needed to defeat Idaho State next weekend, but a healthy Pelini and Burkhead would be a welcome sight for Nebraska fans.
This week: Idaho State (1-1)

5. Northwestern (3-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Boston College 22-13
It was frustrating at times for Northwestern but a win is a win, and now the Wildcats are the only team in the nation with three wins over BCS AQ teams. Pat Fitzgerald's offense drove into the redzone numerous times throughout this game but simply could not convert, settling for a career-high five field goals from Jeff Budzien. The ground game was the big difference for NW as three different players got at least 15 carries and the team nearly rushed for 300 yards. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian continue to split reps and both were effective this week. Will Coach Fitz have to pick one or can he continue to rotate passers deep into the Big Ten schedule? That remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the once-maligned Wildcats defense continues to show slight improvement, holding BC to 25 yards rushing on 21 carries while keeping them 20 points below their scoring average (33 ppg coming in). With South Dakota and Indiana up next, a 5-0 start is likely for a team that appears to have plenty of mental toughness. 
This week: South Dakota (1-1)

6. Purdue (2-1)
Previous rank: 9
Week 3 result: Beat Eastern Michigan 54-16
With just over nine minutes to go in the second quarter, Eastern Michigan kicked a field goal to cut the lead to four points at 13-9. Purdue then scored five straight touchdowns and outscored EMU 41-7 the rest of the way to win the first of a four-game home stand. Without having to look over his shoulder at Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush spread the wealth all over the field in West Lafayette. Six different Boilermakers scored seven offensive touchdowns and four players rushed for at least 47 yards. In fact, of Purdue's 576 total yards of offense, 392 came on the ground on an absurd per carry average of 9.3 yards. With a bye week coming next Saturday and stability under center, this rushing attack should have the Boilermakers 3-1 when Michigan heads to town on Oct. 6.
This week: Open Date

7. Wisconsin (2-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat Utah State 16-14
The Badger faithful need to head into Week 4 extremely thankful to be 2-1. After making a coaching change along the offensive line, Wisconsin's once-vaunted power rushing attack continues to be a shell of its former self (3.5 yards per carry on 45 attempts). It did show improvement from last week, and when needed, the Badgers drove the ball on the ground giving the football to Montee Ball six straight times for the go-ahead touchdown. That said, it took a huge third-quarter special teams touchdown from Kenzel Doe and a missed 37-yard yard field goal from Utah State as time expired to beat the Aggies. The biggest issue? Play-calling and quarterback play. Matt Canada continues to be lackluster as the architect and Danny O'Brien was so lost in the first half against a WAC team that he was benched at halftime. Joel Stave, a big 6-foot-5, 220-pound youngster, played the entire second half and showed a nice arm. But he wasn't asked to do much of anything (2-of-6 passing, 15 yards) and there are serious doubts about this passing game being able to complete big plays in key spots late in games. This team is nowhere near what it was last fall and games against Purdue, Illinois and Penn State are now complete toss ups in the race for the Leaders Division crown.
This week: UTEP (1-2)

8. Illinois (2-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 3 result: Beat Charleston Southern 44-0
Starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase sat out his second straight game, but this time around Reilly O'Toole was near perfect. And the defense did the rest. The back-up signal caller completed his first 10 passes for 106 yards and two scores to kickstart the Illini offense and he finished 26-of-31 for 333 yards and five touchdowns in the blowout win. The defense whitewashed the overmatched Buccaneers with relative ease as CSU finished 0-of-13 on third downs and totaled 125 yards of offense. It was a much-needed breather after the ugly West Coast trip to Arizona State last week. And in this league, any easy win is welcomed with open arms. Scheelhaase is questionable for the tricky test with the defending WAC champion Bulldogs next weekend.
This week: Louisiana Tech (2-0)

9. Iowa (2-1)
Previous rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Northern Iowa 27-16
The Hawkeyes needed to find offense from somewhere, but I doubt many believe walk-on fullback Mark Weisman would be the guy. He carried the ball 23 times for 113 yards and three short touchdown runs in place of the injured Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon. Weisman's three scores were three time the total number of touchdowns scored all season by the entire Iowa team in its first two games. Quarterback James Vandenberg played his best game as the Hawks battled with in-state upstart Northern Iowa for three quarters before eventually shutting out UNI in the final frame. The offense was better (429 total yards), but this team still does not have a passing touchdown on the season and played a third-straight tight game. Can I? Should I? Okay, why not: Weisman for Heisman!
This week: Central Michigan (1-1)

10. Penn State (1-2)
Previous rank: 10
Week 3 result: Beat Navy 34-7
Finally, Nittany Lion nation can breathe a sigh of relief. Bill O'Brien's team showed marked improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, but simply couldn't close the deal against Virginia in heart-breaking fashion. This Saturday, he made sure his team left no doubt as they rolled through the Naval Academy with relative ease. Without either of his top two tailbacks, quarterback Matt McGloin had the best games of his career (231 yards, 4 TD) in leading his team to a 34-0 lead before the Midshipmen finally got on the board for the first time with 10 minutes to go in the game. Wideout Allen Robinson continues to shine with another great game: 5 rec., 136 yards, 3 TD. There are few wins this weekend that mean as much and feel as good as Penn State's did Saturday as this program was in dire need of something positive to rally behind. And who knows, in this year's Big Ten Leaders Division that appears to be completely wide open, maybe the Nits will be a factor after all.
This week: Temple (0-2)

11. Minnesota (3-0)
Previous rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat Western Michigan 28-23
The Gophers were trailing 10-7 with four minutes to go in the second quarter when Marqueis Gray hurt his left ankle and leg. The Big Ten's most efficient passer after two weeks (yes, you read that right) was carted off the field and never returned. Never fear, however, as back-up Max Shortell reenergized the sputtering passing attack by completing 5-of-6 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half to give the Gophers a 21-10 halftime lead. The Broncos made it interesting in the final few minutes with a late touchdown but Minnesota held on for its first 3-0 start since 2008. Tailback Donnell Kirkwood helped his young quarterback by rushing for a career-high 123 yards on 23 attempts, including one key 26-yard run late in the game that all but sealed the win. Jerry Kill's three wins this year have already matched the win total in each of the previous two seasons in the Twin Cities.
This week: Syracuse (1-2)

12. Indiana (2-1)
Previous rank: 12
Week 3 result: Lost to Ball State 41-39
In what was likely the most entertaining game of the Big Ten Week 3 slate, Indiana lost a heart-breaking affair for the second straight season to Ball State. Without star quarterback Tre Roberson, the Hoosiers saw the lead change hands seven times including twice in the final 49 seconds. Cameron Coffman, in his first career start, threw for 251 yards and two scores before being pulled for true freshman Nate Sudfield. And in one quarter trailing by 13, Sudfield rallied Indiana with one big 70-yard touchdown throw and another 77-yard drive to take the lead with less than a minute left. He finished 13-of-20 for 172 yards and two scores. However, Ball State QB Keith Wenning was masterful in guiding his team on yet another scoring drive in the final 49 seconds to set up the game-winning 42-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Kevin Wilson's bunch might be done winning games in 2012.
This week: Open Date


by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 3 Recap

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:01
Path: /nfl/49ers-defeat-lions-27-19-sunday-night-football
Body:

The San Francisco 49ers dominating defense and methodical offense won for the second straight week, beating the Detroit Lions by the score of 27-19 in Candlestick Park. Jim Harbaugh’s club is looking like the early NFC favorite after defeating fellow NFC playoff clubs, the Packers and Lions, in their two victories. Patrick Willis and San Francisco defense held the high-octane Detroit attack to under 300 total yards and just 15 first downs, with much of those totals coming in the fourth quarter. When the Lions did move the ball, the Niners were able to keep them out of the end zone and force four Jason Hanson field goals.

The 49ers are not just about defense, however, with quarterback Alex Smith racking up another efficient performance in passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Both scoring passes went to tight end Vernon Davis, while receiver Michael Crabtree (six catches for 67 yards) was a valuable target on third down. Veteran tailback Frank Gore added 17 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford had thrown for over 350 yards in four straight games dating back to last season, but he was held to 230 yards and one late touchdown by the stifling Niners defense. Additionally, All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson was held under 100 yards and did not score.

San Francisco will try to go 3-0 in Minnesota next Sunday afternoon, while Detroit will travel to Tennessee.

Teaser:
<p> The 49ers defeat the Lions 27-19 on Sunday Night Football</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-3-power-rankings
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The Pac-12 continues to show its depth as the second-best league in the country. But it might have cost them a national championship contender. And Stanford was the culprit that both illustrates the strength of the league while also potentially knocking USC out of the BCS title game. The run the Cardinal are on against the Trojans is remarkable and will only make the North Division race that much more interesting. Meanwhile, the South Division just got extremely intriguing. UCLA and Arizona are clicking on an unprecedented number of cylinders while Utah won a key non-conference game against a very solid BYU team. Oh, and USC is trailing all of them in the division standings currently.

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - The opponent leaves much to be desired, but Scott has simply been unstoppable. He completed 30-of-36 passes for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing nine times for 61 yards and another score on the ground. His 395.0 yards of total offense per game is fourth nationally and leads the Pac-12.

2. De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon - There is no more dangerous and explosive player in the nation. Thomas carried three times for 62 yards and a TD. He caught three passes for a team-leading 72 yards and a touchdown. And he returned four punts for 87 yards. That is seven total TDs in 24 offensive touches in three games (really, just three first halves).

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA -  Hundley threw for his second-straight 300-yard effort and has eight passing touchdowns in three games. He leads the league's top offense as UCLA trails only Oklahoma State nationally in yards per game (622 ypg). Franklin's 168 yards from scrimmage (110 rushing) and no scores seems so paltry compared to his first two games, but still gives him the lead nationally in rushing (180.3 ypg).

Note: Don't worry, Matt Barkley will be back in the top three shortly, so I thought I would throw a bone to the rest of the loaded Pac-12

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah - The Utes totally shutdown the BYU Cougars for three quarters. He posted seven tackles, one tackle for loss and blocked the game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt with no time left on the clock. He is arguably the best defensive player in the league and was on full display Saturday night in one of the best rivalries in college football.

2. Jake Fischer, LB, Arizona - The Pac-12's leading tackler (11.0 per game) posted another six stops and a tackle for loss as the leader of a defense that pitched its first shutout in four seasons and allowed 154 total yards of offense.

3. Jordan Richards, DB, Stanford - Really the Defensive Human of the Week is Stanford DC Derek Mason, but Richards had a huge game against the best passing attack in the nation. He posted two interceptions, four tackles, a tackle for loss and four passes defensed — which gives him a Pac-12-best nine on the year.

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks have been so dominant that few of Kelly's starters have gotten any playing time in the second half. His offense is arguably the best in the nation and, now, he will be ranked ahead of a one-loss USC in the polls. His defense will get a test this weekend from Rich Rodriguez' Wildcats.

2. David Shaw, Stanford - Shaw's coaching staff deserves loads of credit for the game plan against Matt Barkley, both offensively and defensively. Shaw has never lost to Lane Kiffin and now is doing it without all-universe quarterback Andrew Luck. No doubt, Shaw is the national coach of the week this weekend.

3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA - Few teams in the nation have shown more improvement than UCLA and after another 567 total yards, 98 plays and 37 points, the Bruins are 3-0 and poised to challenge in the South. Is this the same team that lost eight games last fall?

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (3-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 3 result: Beat Tennessee Tech 63-14
Former Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers caught a touchdown pass for Tennessee Tech to make the score 7-0. Oregon then scored seven straight touchdowns and that was that for Chip Kelly. Most of the starters were out of the game by halftime as the high-flying offense continued its mastery of college football. Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes, De'Anthony Thomas touched the ball six times and scored twice and the defense allowed a total of 177 yards. This offense is such a machine that stud recruit Byron Marshall was the most used weapon, carrying 13 times for a game-high 125 yards and the Ducks' final touchdown. Tennessee Tech is obviously no challenge and the schedule only gets tougher for Oregon from here on out, however, Alabama might be the only team that has looked better than Kelly's bunch. This team has scored 162 points in three games with 125 coming in the first half — when the starters have been playing.  
This week: Arizona (3-0)

2. Stanford (3-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat USC 21-14
The numbers are well reported. It is the fourth straight win for Stanford and the fifth in sixth years over USC. But this win, without Andrew Luck or Jim Harbaugh, has to be the most satisfying. Not only were the Trojans ranked No. 2 in the nation, but some of the David Shaw/Josh Nunes doubters have to pipe down for the time being. The defensive game plan from coordinator Derek Mason was brilliant as it shut down one of the nation's premiere offensive attacks. He attacked the Khaled Holmes-less offensive line up the gut and it knocked Matt Barkley completely out of rhythm. Then Nunes delivered on a handful of big passes and the power rushing attack took over the game. The underrated Stepfan Taylor carried the offense, rushing 27 times for 153 yards and a score on the ground to go with five receptions for 60 yards and another score through the air. Fans of other teams from around the Pac-12 can thank the Cardinal and Shaw for executing the precise blueprint for success over USC. Slow the game down and be physical. Stanford gets a well-desreved rest this weekend and it comes at a great time as the upcoming schedule doesn't get much easier: at Washington, Arizona, at Notre Dame and at Cal.
This week: Open Date

3. USC (2-1)
Previous rank: 1
Week 3 result: Lost to Stanford 21-14
Star center Khaled Holmes didn't play and the void left in the middle of the USC offensive line was likely the difference between an unbeaten season, and now, a vicious battle for the Pac-12 South title. Matt Barkley had little time to throw and the Trojans ground game had little space to run as Stanford consistently attacked the heart of the USC offense. The Heisman frontrunner is now a very Peyton Manning-esque 0-4 against Stanford for his career and won't get another shot unless the two squads rmeet again in the Pac-12 title game. He finished 20-of-41 for 253 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns for the first time since getting hurt against Oregon State two seasons ago. The dynamic wideout tandem of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee posted 37 receptions, 398 yards and eight touchdowns combined through two games. They caught no touchdowns and combined for 138 yards Saturday night. Lane Kiffin is now 0-2 against David Shaw and USC has lost four straight for the first time in the history of this rivalry. A conference crown and national title are still very much within reach and losing early isn't the worst thing that could happen to the Men of Troy. If they win out, there is still a good chance they land in the national title game. But make no mistake, the worst fears of Trojan supporters were realized: USC could have trouble stopping a power rushing attack in big games. Stanford out-rushed the Trojans 200 to 23 yards and Monte Kiffin's defense couldn't get any key stops in the fourth quarter.
This week: Cal (1-2)

4. UCLA (3-0)
Previous rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat Houston 37-6
Houston defeated UCLA 38-34 last season in Houston and what a difference a year makes. Both teams have changed coaches and quarterbacks, and this time around, UCLA completely crushed the C-USA power. The No. 1 offense in the Pac-12 rolled-up 247 yards rushing and 320 yards passing and 37 points in the third straight win for the Bruins under Jim Mora. Eleven different players caught a Brett Hundley pass, including defensive line standout Datone Jones, who caught a touchdown pass to go with his four tackles and three tackles for loss. Led by Jones, the defense also played well, holding the once-stellar Cougar offense to zero points for the first 55 minutes of play. The statistical improvement from last year has been remarkable for UCLA. This team was 72nd in total offense last year nationally and sits at No. 2 nationally in 2012. This team was 88th in scoring at 23.1 points per game and are now scoring 40.7 per game this year. This team was 92nd in scoring defense at 31.4 points per game last fall and are now 40th at 20.0 per game this time around. This week: Oregon State (1-0) 

5. Arizona (3-0)
Previous rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat South Carolina State 59-0
There was little to learn about Arizona against SCSU this weekend, but sandwiched around national games against Oklahoma State in Week 2 and a trip north to Oregon next weekend, the Wildcats had to take of business in Week 3. And take care of business was exactly what RichRod's team did. The defense pitched a shutout and allowed only 154 yards of total offense, stopping SCSU on all but two of its 13 third-down attempts. On offense, Matt Scott continued his brilliance. His offense ran 102 plays for 689 yards and registered 43 first downs in the blowout win. Ka'Deem Carey also scored his sixth touchdown of the season. This team is good, but how good won't be known until it attempts to head north to Eugene this weekend. There should be plenty of points, but is Zona ready for the big time? A 3-1 start is still good, right?
This week: at Oregon (3-0)


6. Washington (2-1)
Previous rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Portland State 52-13
Consider the wounds officially licked. However, the Huskies better rest up during the bye week because their journey only gets worse. After a brutal thrashing at the hands of LSU, and with Stanford, Oregon and USC the next three games, Portland State was exactly what Washington needed. Keith Price was effective and spread the ball around to his big-play receivers on the outside.  The running game was reestablished behind a great afternoon from Bishop Sankey. And the defense got third-down stops and the turned the ball over to its offense. It was a great confidence boost heading into arguably the toughest three-game stretch any team in the Pac-12 will play all season. Ideally, the trip to Baton Rouge was a learning experience because this league appears much deeper than believed.
This week: Open Date


7. Utah (2-1)
Previous rank: 10
Week 3 result: Beat BYU 24-20
The 12-year winning streak over Utah State that was snapped last week, and combined with the retirement of starting quarterback Jordan Wynn, fans in Salt Lake City were very nervous about The Holy War. Well, just because the Utes have issues on offense, doesn't mean the defense isn't still one of the league's best. Led by Star Lotulelei and a game-changing defensive touchdown, Utah won a quirky rivalry game to save its season. Late in the third quarter, BYU had a first down on the Utah 25 trailing 10-7. A bad snap and subsequent fumble was scooped up by Mo Lee and returned for a touchdown, capping a 17-point quarter. BYU came back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns but Lotulelei delivered the final blow, blocking a potential game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt as time expired. Quarterback play will be an issue for this team going foward — and the rushing game struggled against a quality defense — but this defense should keep the Utes in most games they play from here on out. Kyle Whittingham's bunch is still a major factor in the suddenly very interesting Pac-12 South race.
This week: at Arizona State (2-1)

8. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 7
Week 3 result: Bye Week
With two open dates in the first three weeks, intentionally or not, Oregon State now looks at 11 straight weeks of play. At least Mike Riley's bunch should be rested as they will play three of the next four on the road: at UCLA, at Arizona, Washington State and at BYU.
This week: at UCLA (3-0)

9. California (1-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 3 result: Lost to Ohio State 35-28
Coaches will never claim a moral victory but Cal fans have to be very pleased with the way their team played this weekend in the Horseshoe. After falling behind 20-7 at halftime, Cal dominated the third quarter 190-10 in yardage and eventually took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Behind big plays from freshman tailback Brendan Bigelow, Cal battled back into the game and nearly pulled off the upset. The Bears out-gained the Buckeyes by 100 yards (512 to 412) but Ohio State's star quarterback Braxton Miller and angry pass rush was too much to overcome on the road. Miller was unstoppable in the final frame making clutch throws and gritty runs on two huge scoring drives. The key breakdown coming on a 72-yard touchdown pass in which Cal allowed Devin Smith to stroll wide open down the right sideline. Zack Maynard and brother Keenan Allen played valiantly but could not overcome six sacks (Cal had none on defense) and eventually fell to the Big Ten power. Jeff Tedford, who seems to be getting some unfair levels of heat in Berkeley, now faces USC, Arizona State and UCLA in his next three. So while he criticism might be somewhat unwarranted, a 1-5 start to the season would likely be unacceptable.
This week: at USC (2-0)

10. Arizona State (2-1)
Previous rank: 8
Week 3 result: Lost to Missouri 24-20
The Sun Devils put themselves in a big hole, trailing 24-7 entering the fourth quarter. But Todd Graham's guys showed some fight and clawed back to within four and nearly overcame four turnovers on offense to defeat a James Franklin-less Missouri team. Quarterback Taylor Kelly has played well this season and led ASU on two fourth-quarter scoring drives which ended in two Marion Grice touchdown runs. However, a botched extra point attempt on the final score likely cost the Sun Devils a chance to send the game into overtime. Arizona State got the ball back with 1:58 left in the game in field goal range at the Mizzou 21. Three plays later, Kelly tossed his second interception in the endzone to thwart the comeback effort. Had the extra point not been missed, an ASU field goal could have tied the game. A bowl pecking order contest with Utah is not on tap for the Sun Devils.
This week: Utah (2-1)

11. Washington State (2-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat UNLV 35-27
Back-up quarterback Connor Halliday is making a serious case to be the starting quarterback at Washington State. He made his second career start Friday night, throwing for four first-half touchdowns and 378 yards in a key road win for the Cougars. He already has two freshman passing records — 494 yards and four touchdowns coming off the bench to beat Arizona State last year — to his credit and starter Jeff Tuel has been unable to stay on the field for any extended period of time. These two factors alone could make Mike Leach's coming decision on who should start a bit more difficult. In the win over UNLV, the Air Raid offense looked its best thus far this season and receivers Marquess Wilson and Gabe Marks got on track, catching two long scoring strikes as Wilson finally looked like the preseason All-American experts believed him to be. Yet, there is still cause for concern. Wazzu allowed 460 yards of offense, needed a stop in its own territory as time expired to hold on for the win and lost the time of possession battle by more than 11 minutes (35:32 to 24:28). Not being able to run the football (83 yards on Friday) or convert on third down (5-of-14) or keep the flags off the field (12 penalties for 128 yards) against a team as bad as the 0-3 Rebels is a warning sign that this team might not be ready for postseason play just yet.
This week: Colorado (0-3)

12. Colorado (0-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 3 result: Lost to Fresno State 69-14
At this point, there isn't much to say. The Buffs are off to arguably the worst start in school history with losses to two "mid-majors" and an FCS program. But at least the first two were extremely competitive. That was not the case against Fresno State. Derek Carr led his team to a 35-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The first quarter. The Bulldogs out-gained the Buffaloes 665 yards to 278 and forced four Colorado turnovers in the lop-sided victory. An 0-12 season is very much a possibility.
This week: at Washington State (2-1)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 3 Recap

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power
Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /nfl/most-important-stats-nfl-sunday-week-2
Body:

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 2 of NFL play: 

Nov. 18, 2001: The last time the New England Patriots lost at home to an NFC West team
The last time New England lost at home to an NFC West team, the NFL only had six divisions. The St. Louis Rams were the last such team to go into the Pats' home stadium and win. It puts into perspective what the Arizona Cardinals accomplished on Sunday in their 20-18 win in Foxborough. In fact, only once since 2002 has any NFC team gone into Gillette Stadium and won — the 2011 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Green Bay Packers in '02 were the last NFC team before last year's Giants to win in New England. 

75: Total points allowed in two games by the New Orleans Saints
Against two teams that combined for a 11-21 record last fall, Washington and Carolina, the Saints allowed 40 and then 35 points in two bad losses to start 2012. The 75 total points allowed is worst in the NFL as the defense has allowed a league-worst 922 total yards of offense to start the year. Not having the leadership of Sean Payton has clearly had an impact on the Saints' playoff chances. A visit from the equally defensively inept Kansas City Chiefs should help in Week 3, but a trip to Green Bay and a home game against San Diego loom large before the bye week. The Chiefs are tied for last in the league with the Saints in points allowed, so there should be plenty of offense in the Superdome. Having said all of that, have no fear Who Dat? Nation because...

12%: The number of 0-2 teams that will make the playoffs
Since 1990, 12 percent of teams that begin the season 0-2 have gone on to make the playoffs. That is roughly one out of eight. The Saints are actually the only NFC team without a win thus far while the AFC claims the Titans, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders and Chiefs. There is obviously a chance none of those winless teams makes the postseason, but it seems pretty fair to assume that one and only one of those six will land in the promised land. And let's be honest, none of those other five teams appear capable of making any sort of playoff push, so if this year features an 0-2 playoff team, odds are it will be the Saints.

43:17: A Texans franchise record for time of possession
Houston held the ball for a franchise record 43:17 in the dominating 27-7 win over Jacksonville. The Texans also set a team record for total offensive plays with 83 and rushing attempts with 48. The 28 first downs were No. 2 all-time in team history. The defense set a few records for Jacksonville as well, by allowing a Jaguars team only 117 yards of total offense and a pathetic 16:43 minutes time of possession. While New England fell to Arizona, the Texans flexed some serious muscle on both sides of the ball. After two weeks of play, the Texans look like the best team in the AFC.

26-to-5: Alex Smith's TD-to-INT ratio under Jim Harbaugh
Smith has played 20 total games under Jim Harbaugh's leadership in San Francisco including the playoffs. He is 16-4 as the starter, with one of those losses coming in the NFC Championship game against the eventual champions last year. He hasn't throw an interception in a franchise-record 216 consecutive passes and has the 49ers 2-0 against two playoff hopefuls from the NFC North. To put these numbers into perspective, consider his win-loss record and TD:INT ratio prior to Harbaugh's arrival. Smith was 19-31 as a starter with 41 touchdowns and 53 interceptions. Now, under the tutelage of the QB Whisperer, Smith hasn't missed a start and is the leader of the best team in the NFL.

1: Total interceptions thrown by the five rookie quarterbacks
The five rookie quarterbacks making their debut in Week 1 combined to throw 11 interceptions and only four touchdowns in their first taste of NFL football. They went 1-4 as starters with Robert Griffin III and the Redskins getting the only win. This week, the quintet was dramatically improved, throwing only one interception (RG3) and accounting for 10 total touchdowns. The group improved to 3-2 as starters and three of the five now have a career 300-yard passing game as Brandon Weeden joined Griffin III and Andrew Luck with 322 yards against the Bengals.

12: NFL-record first-half receptions by Rams Danny Amendola
The stars of what was likely the best game of the day were certainly Sam Bradford and Robert Griffin III — and possibly the replacement refs, but that is for an entirely different reason. But the little St. Louis wideout tied an NFL record by catching 12 passes in the first half of the huge 31-28 over the Redskins. Bradford finished with 26 completions, 15 of which went to the former Texas Tech receiver, which tied a franchise record for catches in a game with Isaac Bruce and Willie Anderson (who went for a team-record 336 yards on his 15 receptions). Amendola finished with 160 yards and one touchdown after catching five total passes in 2011.

364: C.J. Spiller's total yards from scrimmage in two games
The NFL's leading rusher by a mile (292 yards) is the Bills third-year running back from Clemson. The all-purpose dynamo's 364 yards from scrimmage is the third-best two-game start to a season in Buffalo history (ESPN.com). Thurman Thomas (410, 1991) and O.J. Simpson (405, 1975) are the only other players in franchise history to gain more yards in the team's first two games. That is pretty good company for Spiller. He has topped 100-yards in both games and has scored three times — tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with three others (Arian Foster, Vernon Davis, Nelson Rosario). Most importantly, the Bills got the win in Week 2.

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Most Important Stats From NFL Sunday: Week 2</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Legends Poll
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-week-3
Body:

The first Legends Poll of the season has come out. The top 25 poll, as voted on by 17 retired college football coaching legends, has Alabama and LSU ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

Alabama was the unanimous top-ranked team amongst the voters after starting the season 3-0 and demolishing Arkansas, 52-0, on Saturday.

“Alabama is the most physical football team in the country,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye said. “They just keep bringing in good players and they don’t miss a beat.”

LSU claimed the No. 2 spot, followed by the top team in the Pac-12, Oregon. Fourth-ranked Florida State made its first appearance in the Legends Poll in a long while. And Georgia was ranked fifth, giving the SEC three teams in the top 5.

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

THE LEGENDS POLL TOP 25

Rank Team Record Points Pv Rk  
1 Alabama (17) 3-0 425 -  
2 LSU 3-0 402 -  
3 Oregon 3-0 382 -  
4 Florida State 3-0 374 -  
5 Georgia 3-0 349 -  
6 Oklahoma 2-0 320 -  
7 West Virginia 2-0 291 -  
8 Stanford 3-0 284 -  
9 South Carolina 3-0 279 -  
10 Clemson 3-0 260 -  
11 Notre Dame 3-0 254 -  
12 Texas 3-0 242 -  
13 USC 2-1 220 -  
14 Florida 3-0 197 -  
15 Kansas State 3-0 195 -  
16 Ohio State 3-0 192 -  
17 TCU 2-0 166 -  
18 Michigan 2-1 131 -  
19 UCLA 3-0 122 -  
20 Louisville 3-0 119 -  
21 Arizona 3-0 85 -  
22 Michigan State 2-1 76 -  
23 Boise State 1-1 43 -  
24 Nebraska 2-1 21 -  
25 Missouri 2-1 20 -  
           
Others Receiving Votes

Virginia Tech 19, Oklahoma State 11, Tennessee 10, Mississippi State 10, Texas A&M 9, Wisconsin 6, Texas Tech 4, Northwestern 2, Pittsburgh 2, Georgia Tech 1, Utah 1, Cincinnati 1

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

Teaser:
<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 05:47
All taxonomy terms: Washington Redskins, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/redskins-robert-griffin-iii-victimized-teammates-stupidity
Body:

We have a leader in the clubhouse for bonehead play of the year, and this one may stand up for the whole season.

With the Washington Redskins trailing the St. Louis Rams 31-28, the Skins were driving toward a potential tying field goal, or go-ahead touchdown. The Rams had done what the Rams do — leaving the Skins in the game by fumbling at the Washington 37 with 2:40 left. Seeing a chance to add to his budding legend, Robert Griffin III guided the Skins into scoring territory. Facing 3rd-and-8 at the St. Louis 36, Griffin hit Josh Morgan with a 7-yard pass to the 29, where Morgan decided the moment had come to try to show up Rams pest-in-chief Cortland Finnegan, who probably had it coming, but still. The resulting unsportsmanlike penalty forced the Skins back to the 44-yard line, and from there, Billy Cundiff's 61-yard field goal fell harmlessly short.

The penalty, part of a general late-game meltdown by players who lost their composure and replacement refs who lost control of the proceedings, marred RG3's latest heroics. Griffin finished 20-of-29 passing for 206 yards and a touchdown and added 82 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He's the most electric rookie since, well, 2011, when a guy named Cam Newton was pulling off similar feats, and suffering similarly frustrating losses.

Kudos to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, though, who passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns in giving the 'stache, Jeff Fisher, his first win in St. Louis.

Elsewhere...

• Okay, Chris Johnson's lack of production has gone from a concern to a four-alarm crisis. Through two games, Johnson has 19 carries for 23 yards. His Titans were never in their game with the Chargers, who struck early and often in a 38-10 drubbing.

• Sorry, Jets and Cowboys fans — your Week 1 successes were apparently a mirage. The Cowboys' special teams were especially horrendous,  surrendering an early 10-0 lead to the Seahawks on the way to a shocking 27-7 Seattle win, as rookie Russell Wilson outdueled Tony Romo. And the Jets returned to their preseason ways, mustering only 10 points a week after putting 48 on Buffalo. Mark Sanchez was a tidy 10-for-27 in the Steelers' 27-10 win, for a hellish passer rating of 66.6. I thought Tim Tebow was the Jets quarterback who couldn't pass.

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 19:45
Path: /nfl/sunday-stunners-eli-manning-goes-wild-panic-time-drew-brees-saints
Body:

The NFL spent the first part of Sunday proving why it's America's game. Fantastic finishes, epic blunders and logic-defying comebacks were the order of the day. Thoughts after a wild slate of early games on the second NFL Sunday of 2012:

Eli Manning is the Man in Second Half
How good was Eli Manning in the second half of the New York Giants' 41-34 win over Tampa Bay? More to the point, how bad are the Bucs defensive backs?

Overcoming an abysmal three-interception first half, Manning threw for a career-high 510 yards, enhancing his rep as a closer by pitching two fourth-quarter touchdowns and erasing a 27-13 deficit. Hakeem Nicks (10 catches, 199 yards, 1 TD) and Victor Cruz (11 catches, 179 yards, 1 TD) made Bucs DBs Aqib Talib and Brandon McDonald look like Washington Generals trying to guard Globetrotters, flailing and grasping at air. And the Giants escaped an 0-2 hole that, as we all know, spells doom for playoff chances. Under the current playoff format, only 12 percent of teams starting 0-2 have recovered to make the playoffs. Sigh of relief for the defending champs.

Panic Time for Drew Brees, Saints
Speaking of 0-2, that's where the New Orleans Saints find themselves. The Carolina Panthers piled up 463 yards against a Saints defense that is suddenly leakier than a Lake Pontchartrain levee. Cam Newton threw for 253 yards and rushed for a career-high 71 as the Panthers piled up 219 yards on the ground and averaged 5.3 yards per rush. New Orleans has now allowed 924 yards and 75 points in two games. This one was a little bit personal for Carolina, which was still smarting from Drew Brees' five-touchdown game in Week 17 last season, when he was chasing NFL records. Today, Brees threw a single TD and was picked off twice. 

Arizona Cardinals Shock Tom Brady, New England Patriots
It looked like the Arizona Cardinals had Cardinal'ed the bed and Cardinal'ed away the lead when Ryan Williams fumbled at his own 30 with Arizona clinging to a 20-18 lead against the Patriots. But after having a touchdown called back by a penalty, the Patriots saw Steven Gostkowski's 42-yard potential game-winner sail wide. Tom Brady lost to Kevin Kolb. As someone Tweeted, maybe the Mayans were right. The end of the world is nigh.

Elsewhere...

• Philly shocked Baltimore 24-23 with a Michael Vick TD run inside two minutes. The Eagles now have consecutive wins despite four turnovers in both games. They ain't the Dream Team, but they're doing something right, in spite of themselves.

• Statistical stars:
Eli Manning — 31-of-51, 510 yards, 3 TDs (we'll cut him a break and not mention his three interceptions and pick-6)

Buffalo's C.J. Spiller — 15 carries, 123 yards rushing, 47 yards receiving, 2 TDs in the Bills' 35-17 win over the Chiefs

Indianapolis' Andrew Luck — 224 yards passing, 2 TDs and the first game-winning drive of his career in the Colts' 23-20 win over the Vikings

Cincy's Andy Dalton — 318 yards, 3 TDs in the Bengals' 34-27 win over Cleveland. Brandon Weeden also redeemed himself with a 114.9 passer rating and no

Miami's Reggie Bush - 172 rushing yards in Miami's 35-13 win over Oakland

Teaser:
<p> Fantastic Finishes Highlight Week 2</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 17:01
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-3-recap-three-and-out
Body:

The day in college football Saturday began with an upset no one saw coming when Pittsburgh, a team that looked like a mess against Youngstown State and Cincinnati, was dominant on both sides of the ball against Virginia Tech.

The night ended with Utah fans prematurely rushing the field twice against BYU -- first when officials ruled one second remained in the game and again before a blocked kick was called back on a 15-yard penalty. When the 36-yard attempt missed, Utah rushed the field, appropriately this time, for the 24-21 win.

In the middle, Stanford bruised USC’s national championship and Heisman hopes with yet another win over the Trojans, its fourth in a row. Alabama again flexed its muscles with a dismantling of Arkansas. Florida State and Notre Dame hinted Saturday this year might be different from previous seasons.

THREE AND OUT: WEEK 3 RECAP

MOVING THE CHAINS
Notre Dame.
Pick the reason Brian Kelly picked up his signature win of his tenure at Notre Dame: A 3-0 start. A win over a ranked team. Holding a top-10 team to a field goal on the road. The end of a six-game losing streak to ranked teams. In any event, it was a key win for Kelly, whose team was more physical than Michigan State, recording four sacks. Everett Golson was a lackluster 14-of-32, but he passed for a touchdown and rushed for a score in the second half.

Florida State. Against Wake Forest, the Seminoles conquered the thorn in their side in definitive fashion. The Demon Deacons had won four of the last six against the Seminoles before Florida State drilled Wake Forest 52-0. After facing Murray State and Savannah State, it was the first real test of the season, which Florida State answered with 385 rushing yards. The biggest story of the day, however, was Chris Thompson. He suffered a career-threatening broken back against Wake a year ago but returned to rush for 197 yards on nine carries. Thompson ran for touchdowns of 74 and 80 yards.

Jeff Driskel, Florida. Few players have enjoyed a rise in stature since the opener as much as the Gators’ quarterback. He left Gainesville as a questionable starter following a close win over Bowling Green and returns with wins in College Station and Knoxville. Driskel was 27 of 36 for 381 yards in wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee the last two weeks and added 82 rushing yards in the 37-20 win over the Volunteers. Along the way, Florida has outscored opponents 50-13 in the second half this season.

FALSE STARTS
USC.
Stanford exposed the cracks in USC’s national championship bid, taking advantage of the Trojans’ lack of depth in a 21-14 win. With Athlon second-team preseason All-American center Khaled Holmes out, USC’s offensive line was a mess. The Trojans gave up five sacks, including two on USC’s final drive. Combined with USC’s struggles against Syracuse last week, the Trojans road to a Pac-12 title, never mind a BCS championship, looks much tougher.

Virginia Tech. On a day full of shocking final scores and surprising upsets, the Hokies made an early bid for the most inexplicable outcome of the day. Virginia Tech lost 35-17 to Pittsburgh, a team that lost by two touchdowns to Youngstown State and by 24 to Cincinnati. It’s tough to pick the most strange aspect of the game: Pitt rushed for 254 yards against a normally stout Hokies’ defense, and Virginia Tech ran for only 59 yards. Cincinnati ran for nearly as much (58 yards) on its first play from scrimmage against Pitt last week.

SEC hot seat coaches. Arkansas’ John L. Smith made a bid to fail to complete his one-year contract when Arkansas followed up a loss to Louisiana-Monroe with a 52-0 rout against Alabama. In a potential referendum on his tenure at Tennessee, Derek Dooley’s Volunteers blew a 20-13 lead to give up 24 unanswered points in the second half against Florida. The defining moment may have been an errant pass from Tyler Bray, which Dooley caught on the sideline. Dooley caught it with one hand and nonchalantly spiked it to the ground. Meanwhile, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips went 0-for-2 against the state with an overtime loss at home to Western Kentucky.

HEISMAN MOVERS
Matt Barkley, USC. Barkley played most of the 21-14 loss to Stanford under pressure, finishing the game with five sacks and two interceptions. The preseason Heisman favorite completed 20 of 41 passes, the first time he completed fewer than half his passes since going 7-of-22 against Arizona State during his freshman year.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ sophomore quarterback keeps rolling through the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule. Miller started his game against with a 55-yard run for a a touchdown in the first quarter and then capitalized on broken coverage for the game-winning 72-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith. Miller failed to crack 100 rushing yards for the first time this season but attempted a career-high 30 passes in the 35-28 win over Cal.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech. Thomas entered the season with as much fanfare as any Hokies quarterback since Tyrod Taylor, if not Michael Vick. Perhaps it’s time to slow down on the lofty comparisons. Thomas had the worst game of his career against Pittsburgh, throwing three interceptions and completing only 14 of 31 passes in a stunning 35-17 loss.

WEEK 3 BIG EAST WINS OVER THE ACC
Louisville 39, North Carolina 34
Connecticut 24, Maryland 21
Pittsburgh 35, Virginia Tech 17
WEEK 3 SCORES THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘HUH?’
Pittsburgh 35, Virginia Tech 17
Fresno State 69, Colorado 14
Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31 (OT)
THREE MAJOR CONFERENCE TEAMS TO LOSE TO NORTHWESTERN
Boston College, 22-13
Vanderbilt, 23-13
Syracuse, 42-41

STAT WATCH
9. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith completed 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards with five touchdown passes against James Madison. For the second week in a row, Smith has accounted for as many touchdown passes as incompletions, giving him nine of each this season. Throw in the rushing TD against Marshall, and Smith has more touchdowns (10) than incomplete passes (nine) this season.

2. Sun Belt teams had never won two games in a single season against the SEC, but the league did it in back-to-back weeks in overtime. A week after ULM upset Arkansas, Western Kentucky defeated Kentucky 32-31 in overtime when Hilltoppers coach Willie Taggart called for lateral and a pass back to the hands of quarterback Kawaun Jakes on a two-point conversion. Meanwhile, ULM took Auburn to overtime before a 31-28 loss. Meanwhile, Troy played within a touchdown in a 30-24 loss to Mississippi State, and North Texas put a scare into Kansas State in a 35-21 loss.

4. Duke Johnson touchdowns. Where would Miami be without it star freshman? Johnson accounted for four touchdowns against Bethune-Cookman on a 95-yard kickoff return, a 1-yard run, a 50-yard reception and a 38-yard run. Ole Miss’ Jaylen Walton, Northwestern’s Venric Mark, Cal’s Keenan Allen and North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard are the only players with a touchdown run, catch and return this season. Only Bernard and Johnson did them all in the same game.

THREE SUPERSUBS
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska. In his second game subbing for Rex Burkhead, Abdullah rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries in a 42-13 win over Arkansas State. Defensive coordinator John Papuchis also stepped in for an ailing starter when coach Bo Pelini was taken to the hospital during the game for “precautionary tests.”

Max Shortell, Minnesota. The Gophers backup quarterback stepped in for MarQuies Gray to complete 10 of 17 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 win over Western Michigan. Gray was carted off the field with a high ankle sprain.

Corbin Berkstresser, Missouri. Redshirt freshman quarterback Corbin Berkstresser wasn’t perfect, but the Tigers built a 17-0 lead against Arizona State in his first career start. Berkstresser completed 21 of 41 passes for 198 yards with an interception and a rushing touchdowns in Mizzou’s 24-20 win over the Sun Devils.


BURIED ON THE DEPTH CHART
Vanderbilt. A week before facing Georgia, Vanderbilt switched quarterbacks. The Commodores started Wyoming transfer Austyn-Carta Samuels against Presbyterian instead of Jordan Rodgers, who had started nine games in a row. Carta-Samuels completed 13 of 20 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. Commodores coach James Franklin did not announce Carta-Samuels as the starter for the Georgia game.

Ball State. The Cardinals defeated Indiana for the third straight time with a 41-39 win in Bloomington on a 42-yard field goal in the final six seconds. Ball State led by 14 going into the fourth quarter before an Indiana comeback bid.

Northern Illinois. The defending MAC champions survived a scare with a 41-40 win over Army. The Black Knights’ option can give defenses trouble, but Army produced three running backs who topped 100 yards and scored at least one touchdown.

 

DANG, THEY’RE GOOD
Alabama
LSU
Texas
DANG, THEY’RE BAD
Colorado
Indiana
SMU
BEST GAMES NEXT WEEK
Michigan at Notre Dame
Kansas State at Oklahoma
Clemson at Florida State

THREE CRAZY THINGS TO HAPPEN IN LESS THAN FOUR MINUTES
In 3:59, Florida ran a failed fake punt to safety Matt Elam. Then, Tennessee failed to capitalize on field position with a three-and-out. On Florida’s next play, Trey Burton took a direct snap for an 80-yard touchdown. The Vols’ ensuing drive ended on a Tyler Bray interception to Elam. Florida took advantage with a quick 70-drive ending on a Jeff Driskel touchdown pass to Jordan Reed. A 20-13 Tennessee lead evaporated to 27-20 Gator lead, and Tennessee never recovered.

In 3:03, Stanford and USC traded interceptions. Josh Nunes, then Matt Barkley and Nunes again threw picks on three consecutive plays late in the second quarter. Nunes wrapped up the interception-fest five plays later.

In 2:30, Fresno State scored two touchdowns of 90 yards or more against Colorado. The first was a 97-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Isaiah Burse. After a quick Colorado possession and punt, Robbie Rouse rushed for 3 yards on first down and 94-yards on second down to open a 35-0 lead after the first quarter.

THREE OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY THINGS FROM ALABAMA 52, ARKANSAS 0
Arkansas was shutout at home for the first time since a 7-0 loss to Baylor in 1966. The difference between that Razorbacks’ team and this one: The 1966 Arkansas team finished 8-2 and shut out five opponents that season.

Despite not playing, injured quarterback Tyler Wilson asked to speak to the media after the loss to call out his team. “Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Yeah, absolutely,” he said.

Arkansas coach John L. Smith, who has a track record of speaking off the cuff in halftime interviews, continued to do so during the Alabama game. Arkansas trailed 24-0 at the time:

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 3 Recap: Three and Out</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 11:24
Path: /nfl/michael-vick-should-sit-fantasy-bench-week-2
Body:

Michael VickFour interceptions. Cleveland Browns. Michael Vick. Wow!

That was my thought pattern upon seeing how poorly the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback performed against host Cleveland last week.

Then my thoughts quickly shifted to Week 2 and Vick vs. Baltimore.

No sooner do you start thinking, “If Cleveland did that, what’s Baltimore going to do?” before you hear receivers DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip) are iffy for the second game of the season.

Now you are just getting irritated across the fantasy board: Vick stinks it up, his top two receivers had good debuts but are now hurt and a top-three pick in LeSean McCoy is going to be the focus of the Ravens’ defense.

Both Jackson and Maclin practiced in a limited capacity on Friday and are expected to be game-time decisions. The Eagles did not sign a receiver from the practice squad, so perhaps optimism is high that these two will make it through another 60 minutes.

So then we’re back to Vick. 

He threw a career-high 56 passes against Cleveland last week. Repeat — 56 passes against Cleveland last week, the 30th-ranked rush defense from a year ago at 174.7 yards allowed per game. Vick completed 51.7 percent (29) of those passes for 317 yards and two scores.

Now he faces a Ravens defense, whose top two corners were targeted six times, allowed four catches and 40 yards combined in a 44-13 win over Cincinnati. Unless Vick finds a third receiver — i.e. a receiver paired up against Baltimore defensive back Cary Williams, who allowed seven catches for 82 yards on 10 targets, according to Pro Football Focus — then it’s hard to figure where much of his production will come from.

At least McCoy rushed 20 times for 110 yards and caught six balls for 26 yards and gets a Ravens defense that allowed BenJarvus Green-Ellis to collect 95 total yards and a score. Of course, this is also a Ravens rush defense that was No. 2 in the league last season at 92.6 yards per game. However, BJGE had 56 yards and his score in the first half when it was still a 17-10 game.

If Maclin, Jackson and Vick — all sixth-round fantasy picks or better — are not performing, at least the guy taken top four has a chance to do something. And McCoy as a check down or screen receiver could boost Vick’s numbers. 

But that is asking an awful lot of a QB who had such a poor performance in Week 1 against an inferior team and is now expected to correct himself a week later against a much better defense with his top two receivers iffy at best.

Then there’s this notable stat: Baltimore has not allowed multiple touchdown passes from opposing quarterbacks in a regular season game since Drew Brees tossed three in Week 15 of the 2010 season.

It’s hard to walk away from Vick in a week in which his health is not an issue, but this is one of those weeks where I can do it and have no regrets.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 08:56

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