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Once a kingmaker in the Big 12, Texas-Oklahoma this week almost seems to be an undercard for other matchups in the league in the coming weeks. While the Red River Rivalry is the top game in the Big 12 this week, Kansas State-West Virginia next week may do more to determine the conference champion.

In Dallas on Saturday, one team will remain in the Big 12 race while the loser will endure its second conference loss. Either Oklahoma or Texas won the Big 12 every season from 2004-10, but neither controls its own destiny as of the second week of October.

Kansas State and West Virginia, though, aren’t assured of getting to next week’s game unscathed. Both teams head on road trips (Iowa State and Texas Tech) against teams who have been known to play the role of spoiler.

Other Week 7 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 7:

What are the stakes in the Red River Rivalry?
Oklahoma and Texas started the season ranked first and second, respectively, in Athlon’s Big 12 preseason rankings, but one could be in danger of falling out of the Big 12 race with a loss in Dallas. For now, they’re both chasing West Virginia and Kansas State, who will face each other in Morgantown next week. Without the benefit of a conference championship game, two losses could be devastating. Even the winner of Texas-Oklahoma does not control its own destiny as long as West Virginia and K-State remain undefeated.

Did the Texas defense find something on which to build from last week’s loss?
No Kheeston Randall, Keenan Allen and Emmanuel Acho has made the Texas defense a shell of its former self, but the Longhorns insist there was progress last week against West Virginia. It certainly wasn’t against the run (192 rushing yards allowed) or on fourth down (5 of 5 converted). But Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said the Longhorns missed only seven tackles -- which says something about Texas being in position to make tackles against the Mountaineers. On the other side, Texas sacked Geno Smith five times. But the run defense must be better than the one that has allowed at least 170 yards in the last four games. A big help could be the potential return of starting linebacker Jordan Hicks.

Is the old Landry Jones back?
Oklahoma’s veteran starting quarterback started to look more like the  veteran signal caller we saw up until the Ryan Broyles injury last season. Jones was 25 of 40 for 259 yards with two touchdowns against Texas Tech in the 41-20 rout. Against the Red Raiders, Jones spread the ball around to seven different pass catchers and settled into a groove with shorter and intermediate passes. Jones already has a good track record against the Longhorns (55 of 89, 603 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the last two wins), and the Texas defense has looked nothing like the dominant unit we saw a year ago.

Will there be another track meet for West Virginia?
This may be the toughest stretch of West Virginia’s season. The Mountaineers answered their first Big 12 road trip to Texas, but will have to make the quick turnaround for another road trip to Lubbock, Texas, against the Red Raiders. Beyond that, a home date with Kansas State -- which could be the de facto Big 12 championship game -- is a week away. Lubbock’s not an easy place to play, even if Texas Tech’s last win as a home underdog was over Oklahoma at the end of 2009. With Seth Doege, a one-time recruit of West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, Texas Tech can put up points, and the Mountaineers have been happy to oblige opposing offenses the last two weeks.

What’s next for TCU and Casey Pachall?
After a driving while intoxicated arrest and a positive drug test in February, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall voluntarily withdrew from school to seek treatment for substance abuse. With Pachall gone, TCU likely will turn to freshman Trevone Boykin, who started last week in the loss to Iowa state. Boykin was 23 of 40 for 270 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. This week, he’ll be able to prepare as the primary quarterback, but he’s also making his first road start when the Horned Frogs visit Baylor. Sophomore Matt Brown, who backed up Pachall last season, remains in the mix as well.

Why isn’t anyone talking about John Hubert?
Bill Snyder is a great coach, and Collin Klein is a Heisman contender. Both are true, but let’s take a minute to appreciate someone else at Kansas State: Running back John Hubert is having a career year. With four touchdowns last week against Kansas alone, he matched his entire total from last season. In addition to doubling his touchdowns from last season to eight, Hubert has topped 100 yards in four of five games this year after only hitting the triple digits three times last season. This week, he’ll have an opportunity for a key matchup against Iowa State’s standout linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein.

Will Wes Lunt make his return?
It’s been nearly a month since Oklahoma State freshman quarterback Wes Lunt, named the starter in spring practice, was knocked out of the Louisiana-Lafayette game with an injury. His return could come as early as this week against Kansas, but coach Mike Gundy is playing it safe. It doesn’t hurt that backup J.W. Walsh has played well (39 of 57, 648 yards, six touchdowns, one interception, 130 rushing yards) the last two weeks.

Week 7 Big 12 Predictions

Week 7 Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Kansas St. (-7) at Iowa St. Kansas St. 28-14 Kansas St. 42-17 Kansas St. 31-24 Kansas St. 27-17
Texas vs. Oklahoma (-3) Oklahoma 35-28 Oklahoma 45-20 Texas 31-27 Oklahoma 35-31
Oklahoma St. (-24) at Kansas Oklahoma St. 48-14 Oklahoma St. 45-20 Oklahoma St. 52-17 Oklahoma St. 41-10
West Virginia (-4) at Texas Tech West Virginia 35-31 West Virginia 38-24 West Virginia 41-38 West Virginia 44-24
TCU at Baylor (-8) Baylor 28-14 Baylor 31-20 Baylor 41-31 Baylor 27-18
Last week 33-5 2-2 2-2 2-2
Overall 30-4 31-7 31-7 32-6

by David Fox


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<p> Big 12 Week 7 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News, Big East
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-7-upset-predictions

College football's week 7 slate features a handful of games with upset potential. Athlon's editors predict Boise State will fall to Fresno State, while Wisconsin will score a key victory on the road against Purdue. It's never easy predicting which upsets will happen each week, but keep an eye on these games this Saturday:

College Football's Week 7 Upset Picks

Dave Bartoo (@CFBMatrix), CFBMatrix.comOregon State Beavers +6 at BYU
When I picked this game in March in favor of the Beavers I saw this as a very clear pick as they have a significant talent and coaching advantage in the Matrix charts.  In my opinion, the Beavers should be the favorites. For those that want more details keep the following in mind: BYU has not played anyone this year near the OSU talent levels.  BYU is struggling to score against inferior teams.  Their #1 and #2 QBs are hurt or out.  Oregon State is a run first, defensive minded team.  While the loss of their starting QB takes away a dimension, it is my opinion that is the third most important one for Beaver team.  Better coaching, better talent = Week 7 Upset Alert

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Temple (+5.5) over Connecticut
I didn’t think Temple could be all that competitive in the Big East in its first season in its second stint in the league. The win over USF didn’t totally change that outlook, but I still like this matchup with Connecticut. The Huskies’ defense hasn’t been the same in the last three games since defensive end Jesse Joseph was lost for the season. UConn’s run defense has been vulnerable the last two weeks, which creates an interesting matchup against Montel Harris, who had his breakout game of the season last week. And with UConn’s sputtering offense, Temple won’t need much on offense to score the upset.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Wisconsin (+3) at Purdue
The de facto Leaders Division championship game will take place in West Lafayette this weekend (Get excited!). And a field goal point spread doesn't exactly scream upset, but Wisconsin feels like the better team. Joel Stave has stabilized the quarterback position and the ground game is starting to show signs of life behind Montee Ball. After the Boilermakers got torched on the ground by Denard Robinson last week (235 yards rushing), Danny Hope's squad faces another physical test this weekend against the thick and burly Badger warriors. I'll take UW to outscore the Steamers with a trip to Indianapolis on the line in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Fresno State (+7) at Boise State
Winning at Boise State has been nearly impossible for the visiting team. The Broncos are 76-3 at home since 2000 and have defeated Fresno State by a combined score of 108-7 in the last two meetings. The Bulldogs’ last victory in Boise came in 1984, but I think that streak ends on Saturday. Boise State had a ton of talent to replace coming into this season and has been unimpressive in wins over New Mexico and BYU. The Broncos demolished Southern Miss last week, but the Golden Eagles are a disaster right now. New coach Tim DeRuyter has brought some much-needed energy to Fresno State, and the defense has shown significant improvement since last season. The Bulldogs have two of the nation’s most underrated offensive players in quarterback Derek Carr and running back Robbie Rouse. Boise State’s defense is allowing 182.4 rushing yards per game and even though it’s a new season, this secondary was vulnerable to big plays last year. The Broncos will get better as the season goes along, but this is a very winnable game for Fresno State. I never doubt Boise State on the blue turf, but the Bulldogs are the better team right now. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Oregon State (+4) at BYU
Oregon State received a dose of bad news early this week when starting quarterback Sean Mannion was ruled out indefinitely after hurting his knee in the Beavers’ win over Washington State last week. The next man up is junior Cody Vaz, who hasn’t thrown a pass since his redshirt freshman season in 2010. With the inexperienced Vaz taking snaps, expect to see the Beavers lean on tailbacks Storm Woods and Marcus Agnew. That sounds like a solid plan … until you realize that BYU is ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run. The schedule hasn’t been too difficult, but the Cougars are only allowing 59.6 yards per game and 1.93 yards per rush through six games. Boise State (116 yards) and Weber State (115 yards) are the only two teams that have rushed for more than 100 yards on Bronco Mendenhall’s team. That won’t be the case after the Beavers take care of business in Provo this weekend. Oregon State 24, BYU 14

Mark Ross: UTSA (+3) over Rice
Pop quiz — what do Ohio State and UTSA (Texas-San Antonio) have in common? The answer is both teams are undefeated and won't be playing in a bowl game this season. Actually, the Roadrunners have a chance, albeit very slim, at going to the postseason, although they will need a lot of help to get there. Regardless, the same can't be said for the banned Buckeyes. However, there's no debate regarding which team is getting more attention, as very few college football observers are paying attention to Larry Coker's squad, which has won its first five games and has out-scored opponents 189-78. Even though they won't be a full-fledged FBS member until 2014, the Roadrunners have already beaten two FBS schools (South Alabama and New Mexico State) and still have four WAC games remaining. Before that, however, is Saturday's trip to Houston to take on Rice, a C-USA school whose only victory so far is a one-point win over a Kansas team that also has only one victory (and that came against a FCS school). The Owls are ranked 117th in the nation in total defense, 114th in scoring defense and they are coming off of a deflating 14-10 loss to Memphis last week. UTSA has done a much better job on defense (allowing less than 270 yards, 16 points per game) and has a balanced offensive attack that's averaging more than 400 yards per game. UTSA may be the new kids on the block in the FBS, but they are going to treat Rice just like Wile E. Coyote from "Looney Tunes." Meep Meep!

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Iowa State (+6.5) over Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s club has played excellent football this season, with Heisman contender Collin Klein leading the Wildcats to a perfect 5-0 start. However the Cyclones are known for upsets at Jack Trice Stadium, and KSU may be ripe for a surprise with next week’s showdown at West Virginia looming. ISU has played solid defense this season, but the challenge of stopping Klein and the K-State running attack will be a tough one. The Cyclones offense got a lift from quarterback Jared Barnett against TCU, as the sophomore threw three touchdown passes in the 37-23 victory. I’ll take Iowa State to rally around the home crowd and shock the undefeated Wildcats, 27-24.

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 7 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 7 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 7 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 7 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 7 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 7 Preview and Predictions

<p> College Football Week 7 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:58
Path: /college-football/big-east-week-7-preview-and-predictions

The Big East favorites are well established with Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers are vying for the top spot.

The middle of the league is a different story. Syracuse’s 14-13 upset of Pittsburgh last week and Temple’s 37-28 upset of USF shook up the Big East’s second tier. This week may establish more clarity.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse take on two of the league favorites in Louisville and Rutgers, respectively. Meanwhile, Temple, picked to finish last in the preseason, will try to open its conference schedule at 2-0 when it faces struggling Connecticut.

Other Week 7 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big East’s top Storylines to Watch in Week 7:

Will Louisville’s struggling pass rush thrive against Pittsburgh

Facing Pittsburgh the last two seasons has proven to be a boon for opposing pass rushers, most recently Syracuse with five sacks last week. The Cardinals have the same amount all season, and no one on Louisville’s defense has multiple sacks. Defensive end Marcus Smith, who led the team with 5.5 sacks last season, has yet to get to the quarterback so far this season. Beyond the pass rush, the Cardinals haven’t been spectacular in the “big play” department. Louisville has intercepted only two passes all season, second-fewest in the Big East. As teams like Rutgers and Cincinnati continue to show improvement, Louisville will look to prove it can keep pace.

Which Pittsburgh will show up against Louisville?
Pittsburgh’s defense held up on its end of the field in the loss to Syracuse last week, shutting out the Orange after the final three quarters. Pitt also held Syracuse to 305 total yards and 4.8 yards per play, both season lows for Pitt against FBS competition. The offense, though, regressed, giving up five sacks and allowing a fumble to be returned to a touchdown. Most mystifying was a lack of production from the run game against Syracuse. In short, Pitt looked nothing like the team that picked up back-to-back wins entering the Syracuse game. Which Panthers team will face Louisville, a team the Panthers have defeated in each of the last four years?

Can Syracuse muster anything against the Rutgers defense?
The Rutgers defense enters its game against Syracuse allowing only 303 rushing yards all season. The Orange rushing game has been nothing special this season, putting more on the shoulders of quarterback Ryan Nassib. That could be problematic against Rutgers. Against the pass, the Scarlet Knights has been just as stifling, with nine interceptions in the last three games. After topping 450 yards in the first three games, Syracuse has had 350 yards or fewer in the last two against Minnesota and Pitt.

How long will Rutgers’ turnover fortune last?
The answer is possibly for quite a while. Rutgers is plus-nine in turnover margin the last three games against USF, Arkansas and Connecticut to lead the Big East in that category. The Scarlet Knights’ 11 takeaways in just the last three weeks is more than six Big East teams all season. This week’s opponent, Syracuse, has forced only five turnovers all year.

Can the hot streak continue for Montel Harris or will the Connecticut run defense reassert itself?
Montel Harris, who was injured for most of the first two games of the season, enjoyed his best game in a Temple uniform last week against USF. The Boston College transfer rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns as Matt Brown was sidelined for part of the game with an injury (he’s still day-to-day). Harris will try to build off that performance against UConn to give Temple a 2-0 start in its return to the Big East. The Huskies started the season as one of the best against the run, but the last two weeks broke a streak of teams rushing for fewer than 100 yards. Buffalo rushed for 141, and Rutgers rushed for 123. For the second consecutive week, the UConn front seven will be in a matchup of strength vs. strength.

Week 7 Big East Predictions:

Week 7 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Louisville at Pittsburgh Pitt 24-21 Lousville 30-24 Louisville 27-20 Louisville 27-23
Syracuse at Rutgers Rutgers 27-14 Rutgers 27-13 Rutgers 30-17 Rutgers 24-10
Temple at UConn Temple 14-10 UConn 20-17 UConn 24-20 UConn 17-10
Fordham at Cincinnati Cincinnati 56-10 Cincinnati 41-17 Cincinnati 41-6 Cincinnati 47-7
Last week 3-1 2-2 2-2 2-2
Overall 25-10 24-11 22-13 23-12

by David Fox


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 6
Post-Week 6 Bowl Projections

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<p> Big East Week 7 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:58
Path: /college-football/sec-week-7-preview-and-predictions

The South Carolina-LSU showdown in Baton Rouge might be the biggest game in the SEC in Week 7, but Tennessee's visit to Starkville to battle Mississippi State might be the most intriguing game of the weekend. The Vols desperately need a big win to take heat off of head coach Derek Dooley, while the undefeated Bulldogs are looking to prove themselves against a qaulity opponent. 

Other Week 7 Previews and Predictions

ACC Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 

Week 7 SEC Storylines and Predictions

1. Can Tennessee take some pressure off its coach and win a big game?
It’s not an overstatement to say this is the most important game in Derek Dooley’s tenure at Tennessee. With Alabama and South Carolina looming, the Vols, who have lost nine of their last 10 SEC games, simply cannot afford to lose in Starkville. Tennessee showed signs of being balanced offensively in its loss at Georgia two weeks ago. The Volunteers rushed for 197 yards vs. Georgia, their best effort in an SEC game since running for 226 yards vs. Kentucky in November 2009. If the Vols can complement their potent passing attack with an adequate running game, they should be in position to win in Starkville. Mississippi State is playing well and deserves its national ranking, but the Bulldogs have not played a difficult schedule. They have faced Jackson State, Troy and South Alabama in non-conference action, and Kentucky and Auburn — two of the worst teams in the SEC — in league play. Tennessee will be by far the best offensive team Mississippi State has faced.

2. Can Texas A&M pass another road test?
The Aggies made a big statement last week by rallying from 10 points down midway through the fourth quarter to beat Ole Miss 30–27. Beating the Rebels, even in Oxford, isn’t necessarily cause for celebration, but Texas A&M showed the type of resolve and mental toughness that this program has lacked in recent years. Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel bounced back from his first two interceptions of the season to lead A&M on two fourth quarter touchdown drives. Now, the Aggies step out of conference, but the quality of opponent will be better. Louisiana Tech, nationally ranked in both polls after a 5–0 start, has scored 44 points or more in every game and is averaging 523.4 yards. The Bulldogs, however, have struggled on the defensive end. Texas A&M has the weapons to outscore Louisiana Tech. The Aggies also have the leadership both at quarterback and with the head coach — something that wasn’t always the case in recent years. 

3. Can Auburn generate some offense in Oxford?
After scoring a total of 20 points in its first two SEC games — losses to Mississippi State and LSU — Auburn’s offense was hoping to flex its muscles against an Arkansas defense that had given up 34 points or more in each of its last four games. Didn’t happen. The Tigers scored seven points, had 321 total yards and were sacked eight times in a demoralizing 24–7 loss at home. Starting quarterback Kiehl Frazier was benched at halftime in favor of Clint Moselely. Auburn coach Gene Chizik had not named a starter of Wednesday but did say earlier in the week that his team needs to make a concerted effort to run the ball better. In the loss to Arkansas, no Auburn tailback had more than seven carries. This week, the Tigers head to Oxford to face an Ole Miss defense that is vastly improved statistically from a year ago but is still a unit that will give up some yards. In three games vs. AQ conference opponents, the Rebels are allowing 43.0 points and 487.3 yards.

4. Will Missouri hit the 200-yard mark vs. Alabama?
Missouri picked up 395 yards in a loss at home to Vanderbilt last week, but the Tigers struggled to move the ball after James Franklin was sidelined by a knee injury (that will keep him out for at least one more week). Mizzou averaged 9.5 yards per play in the two drives with Franklin in the game and 4.2 yards for the final three-plus quarters after Corbin Berkstresser took over. This week, the Tigers will face an Alabama defense loaded with future pros at every level. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in total defense, only allowing 191.6 yards per game and 3.3 yards per play. Good luck, Mizzou.

5. Is there something that Alabama doesn’t do well?
Alabama is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, and it’s easy to see why by looking at the stats. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in total defense and scoring defense; they’ve scored 33 points in every game and allowed 14 points or fewer in every game; they lead the nation in turnover margin (plus-2.40 per game); and they’re solid in all special teams categories. Offensively, their yardage numbers don’t jump out initially — they rank 68th in the nation in total offense with 401.0 yards per game — but keep in mind that it’s often difficult to post up big yardage totals when you force so many turnovers (and work with short fields). They rank 79th nationally in passing offense (212.8 ypg), but they don’t have to pass much because they are so often nursing a big lead, and when they do pass, they do so efficiently (fourth in the nation in passing efficiency). This is a team that is clearly capable of winning another national title.

6. Can Florida keep its focus?
Florida’s trip to Nashville is sandwiched between two of the Gators’ biggest games of the season — last week vs. LSU (a win) and next week’s home date with South Carolina. Will Muschamp’s task this week is simple: Keep his team focused on Vanderbilt. The Gators are clearly the more talented team, but Vanderbilt is good enough to make Florida sweat. Last year, the Commodores rallied from 17–0 in the first half to cut the lead to 20–14 (with the ball) in the fourth quarter before losing 26–21 in the Swamp. Expect Florida to lean on tailback Mike Gillislee. Vanderbilt ranks 33rd nationally in total defense but has struggled to stop the run against the better teams on its schedule.

7. Can Ole Miss break through with an SEC victory?
They are still looking for their first SEC win of the season, but the Ole Miss Rebels are clearly an improved team under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. Through six games, Ole Miss ranks 42nd in the nation in total offense and 56th in total defense; last year, through six games, the Rebs ranked 117th and 106th. Rebel fans are no doubt pleased with their team’s statistical improvement, but they also would like to see some SEC wins — or at least one win. It could happen this week with struggling Auburn in town. The Tigers are 1–4 overall with the lone win coming in overtime against ULM. They rank 12th in the SEC in total defense and last in total offense and are last in the nation in turnover ratio at minus-2.20 per game.

8. Can South Carolina run on LSU?
LSU’s defense has been among the finest in the nation statistically through the first half of the 2012 season. The Tigers rank third nationally in total defense (221.0 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (33.5 ppg). But LSU has struggled to stop the run the last two weeks, giving up 188 yards on 40 carries to Towson and 176 on 58 carries to Florida. That brings us to South Carolina and its star tailback Marcus Lattimore. The junior leads the SEC in conference games in both rushing (106.0 ypg) and rushing touchdowns (seven). The Gamecocks will need Lattimore to be at his best to win in Baton Rouge — something that has happened only once (in 1994) in South Carolina’s 11 trips to Tiger Stadium.

9. Can the LSU offense score more than a touchdown vs. an SEC foe?
Only one team nationally that has played more than one conference game has only scored one TD in league play. That team is LSU. The Tigers have scored a total of 18 points in two SEC games, 12 in a win at Auburn and six in a loss at Florida. Zach Mettenberger was expected to upgrade the passing attack in his first season as the starter, but LSU ranks 98th in the nation in passing offense and has had trouble throwing the ball down the field with consistency. The bigger concern, however, was the Tigers’ struggles in the running game in the loss at Florida. In the past few years, Les Miles could always count on his cadre of tailback to produce, even when his team’s quarterbacks were struggling. But on Saturday, LSU’s three top running backs combined to rush for 51 yards on 17 carries. The Tigers cannot compete for an SEC title with that type of production in the running game.

10. Can Arkansas win two games in a row?
Arkansas finally broke through with its first win vs. an FBS opponent, rolling past Auburn 24–7 with surprising ease. The Arkansas defense, which had been atrocious through its first five games, limited Auburn to 321 total yards and sacked the two Tiger quarterbacks a combined eight times. Now, the Hogs have a great opportunity to win their second straight game with a wounded (both physically and mentally) Kentucky team visiting Fayetteville. The Wildcats dropped to 1–5 with a 27–14 loss at home to Mississippi State last week. Kentucky’s best two quarterbacks, Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles, are out with injuries, leaving true freshman Jalen Whitlow and senior Morgan Newton as the only two options for Joker Phillips. Arkansas is favored by 17 points — a big number for a team with only two wins — but don’t be surprised if the Hogs cover with ease.

  David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light

Auburn (+6) at Ole Miss

Ole Miss 21-17 Ole Miss 31-24

Ole Miss 27-24

Ole Miss 27-20

Alabama (-21.5) at Missouri         

Alabama 48-10 Alabama 34-14 Alabama 45-7 Alabama 30-10

Florida (-8) at Vanderbilt         

Florida 28-10 Florida 27-21 Florida 27-13 Florida 24-14

Kentucky (+16) at Arkansas         

Arkansas 24-14 Arkansas 30-20

Arkansas 41-17

Arkansas 38-17

South Carolina (+2.5) at LSU         

South Carolina 17-14 LSU 20-17

South Carolina 20-17

South Carolina 17-13

Tennessee (+3) at Mississippi St.         

Mississippi State 24-21 Tennessee 30-24

Mississippi State 27-24

Tennessee 30-24

Texas A&M (-8) at Louisiana Tech

Texas A&M 35-28 Texas A&M 38-34

Texas A&M 38-34

Texas A&M 44-37
Last week: 3-3 2-4 2-4 2-4
Season:  46-11 48-9 48-9 27-10

<p> The South Carolina-LSU showdown in Baton Rouge might be the biggest game in the SEC in Week 7, but Tennessee's visit to Starkville to battle Mississippi State might be the most intriguing game of the weekend. The Vols desperately need a big win to take heat off of head coach Derek Dooley, while the Bulldogs are looking to prove themselves against a qaulity opponent.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-6

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

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Start or Sit

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Note: Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-6

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Matt Ryan ATL vs. OAK Ryan: 13 TDs, 3 INTs; Oakland pass D: 9 TDs, 0 INTs.
2 Aaron Rodgers GB at HOU Texans No. 6 vs. pass (6 TD passes, 7 INTs).
3 Eli Manning NYG at SF Put up 316-2-0 vs. 49ers in last season's NFC title game.
4 Peyton Manning DEN at SD (Mon.) Averaging 338 yds (8 TDs, 0 INTs) over last three games.
5 Tom Brady NE at SEA Hawks have already held Rodgers and Romo in check. Brady next?
6 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Titans have allowed 12 TD passes, have just 3 INTs.
7 Matthew Stafford DET at PHI Has 3 TDs, 4 INTs so far, compared to 11, 3 in 2011.
8 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. MIN Cleared to practice (concussion), but monitor status closely.
9 Philip Rivers SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Put up first 300-yard game (354-2-1) last week vs. Saints.
10 Michael Vick PHI vs. DET Turnovers hurting team, his fantasy production.
11 Tony Romo DAL at BAL Had bye week to put 5-INT Week 4 debacle behind him, hopefully.
12 Andrew Luck IND at NYJ Rookie came up big (362-2-1, rush TD) in comeback win vs. Packers.
13 Joe Flacco BAL vs. DAL Owners hope last week (187-0-1) vs. Chiefs is just a fluke.
14 Matt Schaub HOU vs. GB Not very sharp (14-of-28, 209-1-1) vs. Jets on MNF.
15 Andy Dalton CIN at CLE Went for 318-3-1 in Week 2 vs. Browns.
16 Christian Ponder MIN at WAS Threw first two picks of season vs. Titans, 'Skins last in pass D.
17 Carson Palmer OAK at ATL Falcons have been stronger against pass than run so far.
18 Alex Smith SF vs. NYG Leads NFL in passer rating (108.7), put up 303-3 vs. Bills.
19 Kevin Kolb ARI vs. BUF Bills allowing 29.0 fantasy points per game to QBs.
20 Josh Freeman TB vs. KC Looking to get off to strong start coming off of bye.
21 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at ARI Struggled (126-0-1) vs. 49ers, Cardinals shouldn't be as tough.
22 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. CIN Had best game so far (322-2-0) vs. Bengals in Week 2.
23 Sam Bradford STL at MIA Looking for new top target with Amendola sidelined for a while.
24 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Hasn't been very sharp (393 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) since taking over.
25 Ryan Tannehill MIA vs. STL Has 2 TDs, 6 INTs so far. Rams have allowed 2 TDs w/ 8 INTs.
26 Russell Wilson SEA vs. NE Could be in for another long afternoon against Pats pressure.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:29
All taxonomy terms: Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, College Basketball
Path: /college-football/college-basketball-countdown-no-3-kentucky-preview
Visit the online store for Kentucky and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

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

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

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 3 Kentucky.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: John Calipari’s Kentucky team will be among the most talented in the country, but the big question is whether the Wildcats are too young to go all the way. That storyline is recycling for a fourth straight season — with one twist. Last year’s team closed the deal, bringing Calipari his first NCAA title.

Only one contributor from that team returns, but the Cats have reloaded with yet another top-ranked recruiting class. Calipari’s had four of those and 15 NBA Draft picks since coming to Lexington in 2009. Rinse, repeat. But repeat?

“I wish it was the ‘70s and ‘80s where I had guys for four years, because it would get kind of scary,” Calipari says. Still, “to start over every year, I’m going to be honest, it’s exciting.”

The Wildcats must replace Anthony Davis, who just polished off one of the most impressive runs in history — National Player of the Year, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, national champion, No. 1 NBA pick and Olympic champion — as well as first-round pick Terrence Jones. That’s a tall task, but Calipari took his best shot.

In comes the nation’s No. 1 recruit, 6-10 Nerlens Noel, said to be a better shot-blocker than Davis, who set an NCAA freshman record for swats. Calipari also landed 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who is athletic enough that he played wide receiver in high school.

“I’m just blown away by him,” Calipari says. “I knew he was good when I (recruited) him, but he … just blossoms and blossoms.”

So much so that Calipari is already talking about using some “Twin Towers” looks with both Cauley-Stein and Noel on the floor together. Other times, he’ll use his top returning player, 6-9 sophomore power forward Kyle Wiltjer, who also happens to be the team’s sharpest 3-point shooter.

Oh, and then there’s small forward Alex Poythress, merely a McDonald’s All-American who Calipari calls “a beast” and is already a projected top-10 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went No. 2 overall in the draft, point guard Marquis Teague was a late first-rounder and shooting guards Darius Miller and Doron Lamb were both second-round selections. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Replacing four pros in the backcourt is a tall …

Calipari brought in McDonald’s All-American Archie Goodwin for scoring, Wright State transfer Julius Mays for depth, and finally has a non-freshman point guard in Ryan Harrow. The last five guys to run Calipari’s offense were one-and-dones. Harrow, a transfer from NC State who sat out last season at UK and has three years of eligibility left, will be an interesting change.

“I’m happy because I have a feel for Ryan,” Calipari says. “He’s different than all the other point guards I had. How does he compare? Well how did Marquis compare to those guys? They were really good; he’s really good.”

While slight of stature, Harrow is quick, can jump out of the gym and “may be a little bit more of a shooter like Brandon (Knight) was,” Calipari says.

Goodwin impressed all summer and will start from Day 1, while Mays, a senior who began his career at NC State and led Wright State in scoring, assists and steals last season, offers not only a versatile backup but also a veteran presence. Other possible contributors are Twany Beckham and 6-7 Jon Hood.

Kentucky, with three straight Elite Eights, back-to-back Final Fours and a national title, is enjoying its finest stretch since reaching three consecutive NCAA title games — winning twice — from 1996-98. Calipari is the king of reloading, but is repeating a fair expectation?

Since UCLA won seven in a row from 1967-73, only Duke (1991-92) and Florida (2006-07) have won back-to-back championships. But Calipari says: “I can tell you I like my team,” which he’s said at the start of the last three seasons, and those turned out pretty well.

The guys who just helped UK win it all and have been back to watch the Cats work out this summer seem to think the next group will make another run.

“I’m really impressed,” Miller says. “They’re going to have a really good team and everybody’s going to enjoy watching them.”

Says Lamb: “I think they’re going to have a great team to win it all this year.”

Rinse, repeat.


Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

4. Kansas

<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 3 Kentucky Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:28
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-6

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU vs. GB No. 2 rusher coming off of 152-yard effort at Jets on MNF.
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. DAL Dallas No. 4 defense overall, but No. 15 against rush.
3 Jamaal Charles KC at TB League's leading rusher faces off against No. 4 rush defense.
4 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. DET No. 6 in yards from scrimmage, only 2 total TDs so far.
5 Adrian Peterson MIN at WAS Said he tweaked ankle on first carry last week, still had 84 yds.
6 Trent Richardson CLE vs. CIN Rookie had best game (109 yds) vs. Bengals in Week 2.
7 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. NE Will need to carry load against Patriots.
8 Ryan Mathews SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Last week (139 total yds, TD) sign of things to come?
9 Darren McFadden OAK at ATL Coming off of bye gets No. 27-ranked rush defense.
10 Frank Gore SF vs. NYG Averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
11 Reggie Bush MIA vs. STL Averaging less than 60 ypg since 172-yard effort in Week 2.
12 Alfred Morris WAS vs. MIN Rookie currently No. 4 rusher in league.
13 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Looked good in season debut last week.
14 DeMarco Murray DAL at BAL Did Cowboys fix run game issues during bye week?
15 Michael Turner ATL vs. OAK Averaging 14.6 rush attempts per game.
16 Willis McGahee DEN at SD (Mon.) Chargers No. 5 against run (74 ypg).
17 Doug Martin TB vs. KC Breakout game coming vs. Chiefs?
18 Stevan Ridley NE at SEA Leads all RBs with 37 first downs.
19 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at SF Don't expect another 200 yards vs. 49ers.
20 Mikel Leshoure DET at PHI  
21 Steven Jackson STL at MIA Dolphins No. 1 against rush (61.4 ypg).
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at CLE Had 26 carries in Week 4, only 9 last week.
23 Chris Johnson TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Past time for Titans' highest-paid player to provide spark.
24 C.J. Spiller BUF at ARI Only 24 yards last week, should get more touches this week.
25 Fred Jackson BUF at ARI Timeshare, Spiller's versatility impact FJax' touches/impact.
26 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. IND Still getting bulk of carries, but for how long?
27 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI vs. BUF Missed last two games b/c of hip, expected to play Sunday.
28 Alex Green GB at HOU Starks expected to play, but Green will get chances too.
29 Vick Ballard IND at NYJ Colts' starter with D. Brown out 2-3 weeks (knee surgery).
30 Jackie Battle SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Took backseat (4 att.) to Mathews last week vs. Saints.
31 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL vs. OAK  
32 William Powell ARI vs. BUF Will share load with Stephens-Howling in new Cards' backfield.
33 Kendall Hunter SF vs. NYG  
34 James Starks GB at HOU Expected to make season debut after missing first 5 games.
35 Isaac Redman PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Mendenhall's the starter, but he should get some carries too.
36 Brandon Bolden NE at SEA His role will depend on Ridley's production/ball security.
37 Ben Tate HOU vs. GB Missed MNF b/c of toe, should be back this week.
38 David Wilson NYG at SF Scored on 40-yard burst last week = more carries this week?
39 Shaun Draughn KC at TB  
40 Danny Woodhead NE at SEA Pats preferred back when they go no-huddle.
41 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. STL Suffered possible 2nd concussion last week, monitor status.
42 Daryl Richardson STL at MIA His role depends solely on SJax' health.
43 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. IND Has gotten some chances, yet to capitalize on them.
44 Ronnie Hillman DEN at SD (Mon.)  
45 Toby Gerhart MIN at WAS  
46 LeGarrette Blount TB vs. KC Got goal line-work in Week 4.
47 Robert Turbin SEA vs. NE  
48 Delone Carter IND at NYJ Expected to spell Ballard in Colts' backfield.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:20
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-6

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET at PHI Has 29 catches, but only 1 TD in first four games.
2 A.J. Green CIN at CLE Browns allowing second-most fantasy points to WRs.
3 Percy Harvin MIN at WAS Harvin getting opportunities as WR, RB and KR.
4 Roddy White ATL vs. OAK Trails only teammate Gonzalez in first downs (27).
5 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. BUF Bills have given up 1,201 yds and 97 pts in last two games.
6 Victor Cruz NYG at SF Only 5 catches last week, but 3 went for TDs.
7 Mike Wallace PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Titans are 25th against pass.
8 Julio Jones ATL vs. OAK Shook off hand injury, put up 10-94-1 vs. Skins.
9 Demaryius Thomas DEN at SD (Mon.) Second only to Harvin in YAC with 214 yards.
10 Reggie Wayne IND at NYJ Coming off of career-best 212-yard game vs. Packers.
11 Dwayne Bowe KC at TB Bucs are last in NFL in pass defense (345 ypg).
12 Miles Austin DAL at BAL Ravens have only allowed 2 TD catches to WRs.
13 Andre Johnson HOU vs. GB Eight catches in Week 1, only 9 since.
14 Wes Welker NE at SEA Had career-best nine receptions in first half vs. Broncos.
15 Antonio Brown PIT at TEN (Thurs.)  
16 Jordy Nelson GB at HOU Has 23 catches, but only 1 TD so far.
17 Vincent Jackson TB vs. KC  
18 Dez Bryant DAL at BAL Still looking for first TD of season.
19 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. DET  
20 Stevie Johnson BUF at ARI  
21 Brandon Lloyd NE at SEA Had quiet game (3, 34) vs. Broncos.
22 Torrey Smith BAL vs. DAL Cowboys have allowed fewest catches, yards to WRs.
23 Malcom Floyd SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Averaging nearly 18 yards per catch.
24 Eric Decker DEN at SD (Mon.)  
25 Brian Hartline MIA vs. STL Still leading league in receiving yards with 514.
26 Michael Crabtree SF vs. NYG Big game (6-113-1) vs. Bills.
27 Denarius Moore OAK at ATL  
28 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. MIN Hasn't been same since injuring foot in Week 1.
29 James Jones GB at HOU Caught 2 TDs vs. Colts.
30 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. DAL Led team in receiving past two games.
31 Andre Roberts ARI vs. BUF  
32 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. DET  
33 Hakeem Nicks NYG at SF Will be (finally) be able to go?
34 Andrew Hawkins CIN at CLE  
35 Kenny Britt TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Played last week, but severely limited by ankle.
36 Brandon Gibson STL at MIA Needs to step up with Amendola sidelined.
37 Nate Washington TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Has disappeared since Hasselbeck replaced Locker.
38 Greg Jennings GB at HOU Still not practicing, very questionable for Sunday.
39 Randall Cobb GB at HOU  
40 Kendall Wright TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Quickly becoming Titans' top target.
41 Nate Burleson DET at PHI  
42 Domenik Hixon NYG at SF Impact dependent upon Nicks' status.
43 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. IND Was Jets' top receiver last week.
44 Titus Young DET at PHI  
45 Robert Meachem SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Finally showed signs of life (3-67-2) last week.
46 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at ATL Expected to return (concussion) this week.
47 Rueben Randle NYG at SF Had his best game (6-82) last week vs. Browns.
48 Davone Bess MIA vs. STL Rams tied w/ Ravens for fewest TD catches (2) allowed.
49 Sidney Rice SEA vs. NE  
50 Mario Manningham SF vs. NYG Big game coming against former team?
51 Donnie Avery IND at NYJ  
52 Golden Tate SEA vs. NE  
53 Jerome Simpson MIN at WAS Dealing with back issue, but expected to play Sunday.
54 Josh Gordon CLE vs. CIN Caught first two career TDs last week.
55 Leonard Hankerson WAS vs. MIN  
56 Kevin Ogletree DAL at BAL  
57 Mike Williams TB vs. KC Averaging nearly 20 yards per catch.
58 Greg Little CLE vs. CIN Still having problems with dropped passes.
59 Donald Jones BUF at ARI  
60 T.Y. Hilton IND at NYJ  
61 Kevin Walter HOU vs. GB  
62 Santana Moss WAS vs. MIN Caught 77-yard TD pass from Cousins last week.
63 Brandon Stokley DEN at SD (Mon.)  
64 Chaz Schilens NYJ vs. IND

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:17
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-6

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. OAK Has 14 more receptions than any other TE.
2 Vernon Davis SF vs. NYG Posted 8th career 100-yard game (5-106) last week.
3 Rob Gronkowski NE at SEA Has better stats compared to first 5 G of '11, except for TDs (3 vs. 5).
4 Kyle Rudolph MIN at WAS Tied for first among TEs with 4 TDs.
5 Owen Daniels HOU vs. GB Leading Texans in rec., yards and TD catches.
6 Brent Celek PHI vs. DET Leads TEs with 15.4 ypc.
7 Heath Miller PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Titans have allowed 7 TDs to opposing TEs.
8 Jason Witten DAL at BAL Is he back? 13-112-1 vs. Bears in Week 4.
9 Fred Davis WAS vs. MIN Vikings allowing sixth-most fantasy points to TEs.
10 Brandon Pettigrew DET at PHI Tied with Gronk for third-most catches by TE.
11 Antonio Gates SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Looking to shake slow start (13-143-0) vs. familiar foe.
12 Jared Cook TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Team says they want to involve Cook more in the offense.
13 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. DAL Had 18 catches in first three games, only three total since.
14 Aaron Hernandez NE at SEA Returned to practice, could play on Sunday.
15 Martellus Bennett NYG at SF Injured left knee last week, but stayed in game.
16 Jermichael Finley GB at HOU Injured shoulder last week, monitor status.
17 Scott Chandler BUF at ARI  
18 Jacob Tamme DEN at SD (Mon.) Had 10 catches in first three games, 11 in last two.
19 Jermaine Gresham CIN at CLE  
20 Coby Fleener IND at NYJ  
21 Brandon Myers OAK at ATL  
22 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. IND Expected to be on field for first time since Week 1.
23 Joel Dreessen DEN at SD (Mon.)  
24 Lance Kendricks STL at MIA Caught first career TD pass last week.
25 Anthony Fasano MIA vs. STL  
26 Zach Miller SEA vs. NE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:16
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-6

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Arizona Cardinals vs. BUF Bills had just 204 yards, 3 pts last week vs. 49ers.
2 Pittsburgh Steelers at TEN (Thurs.) Quick turnaround, but Titans struggling on offense.
3 Baltimore Ravens vs. DAL Ravens ranked 26th on D, but Cowboys are 24th on O.
4 San Francisco 49ers vs. NYG 49ers looking to slow down Eli, Bradshaw.
5 Houston Texans vs. GB Tough test for Texans' first game w/o Cushing at MLB.
6 Miami Dolphins vs. STL Dolphins No. 1 against run, Rams' passing attack is 30th.
7 Atlanta Falcons vs. OAK Key will be 27th-ranked rush D vs. McFadden
8 Minnesota Vikings at WAS Looking like RGIII will play, can Vikes get to him?
9 Seattle Seahawks vs. NE Already held GB and Dallas in check at home, NE next?
10 St. Louis Rams at MIA Rams rush D will be tested against Reggie and co.
11 Philadelphia Eagles vs. DET Eagles looking to slow down Stafford, CJ.
12 New England Patriots at SEA Pats need to contain Lynch, make Wilson beat them.
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. KC No. 4 rush defense vs. No. 1 rusher (Jamaal Charles).
14 Dallas Cowboys at BAL Cowboys No. 4 in total defense, No. 1 vs. pass.
15 Cincinnati Bengals at CLE Gave up 375 yards, 27 pts to Browns in Week 2 win.
16 Green Bay Packers at HOU Packers need to slow down Texans' running game.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:14
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-6

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF vs. NYG
2 Matt Bryant ATL vs. OAK
3 Greg Zuerlein STL at MIA
4 Stephen Gostkowski NE at SEA
5 Blair Walsh MIN at WAS
6 Lawrence Tynes NYG at SF
7 Justin Tucker BAL vs. DAL
8 Jason Hanson DET at PHI
9 Shayne Graham HOU vs. GB
10 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at ATL
11 Mason Crosby GB at HOU
12 Alex Henery PHI vs. DET
13 Matt Prater DEN at SD (Mon.)
14 Phil Dawson CLE vs. CIN
15 Nick Novak SD vs. DEN (Mon.)
16 Mike Nugent CIN at CLE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:11
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-7-emergency-starters

This list was originally designed to assist fantasy owners with injury-riddled rosters, bye-week dilemmas, and unfavorable matchups, but the Emergency Starters has evolved into our Waiver Wire 2.0.  Over the past six weeks, many players listed in our Emergency Starters earned spots in our Waiver Wire report the following week, so don’t underestimate their long-term value. 

We appreciate the commitment that Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports has made to contribute to this valuable piece.

Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)


Trevone Boykin, TCU at Baylor

Devin Combs, Nevada vs UNLV

Shane Carden, ECU vs Memphis

Munchie Legaux, CIN vs Fordham

Ryan Katz, San Diego St vs Colorado St


Running Backs

Ben Malena, Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Montel Harris, Temple at UConn

Jeff Scott, Ole Miss vs Auburn

Carlos Hyde, Ohio St at Indiana

Evans Okatcha, UTSA vs Rice

Dennis Johnson, Arkansas vs Kentucky


Josh Stewart, Oklahoma St at Kansas

Jeremy Johnson, SMU at Tulane

Corey Fuller, Virginia Tech vs Duke

Jordan Leslie, UTEP at Tulsa

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

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)


Munchie Legaux, Cincinnati vs Fordham

Eric Soza, UTSA at Rice

JW Walsh, Oklahoma St at Kansas

Running Backs

Kasey Carrier, New Mexico at Hawaii

Carlos Hyde, Ohio St at Indiana

Jeff Scott, Ole Miss vs Auburn


Quinshad Davis, North Carolina at Miami

Mike Evans, Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Brent Leonard, UL-Monroe vs FAU

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 7 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 04:18
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-7-sit-or-start-report

As the season starts to make the turn towards the home stretch, many fantasy owners are facing a crucial Week 7 with fantasy studs Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Todd Gurley occupying bench spots.  Truth be told, this is why we love the college fantasy game.  Utilizing the waiver wire and analyzing weekly matchups is critical to your success.  We just try to help you eliminate some of the guess work.  Good luck!


Bryn Renner, QB-North Carolina at Miami

The Vegas total in the game between the ‘Heels and the ‘Canes is set at 69.  If that total holds true, Renner should reward fantasy owners for starting him in Week 7.

Seth Doege, QB-Texas Tech vs West Virginia

Doege is a must-start this week as the Red Raiders will have to keep pace with the high-powered West Virginia offense in Lubbock.

Adam Muema, RB-San Diego St vs Colorado St

Muema has scored a touchdown in every game this season and should perform well against a Colorado State defense that gives up over 215 rushing yards per game.

Dennis Johnson, RB-Arkansas vs Kentucky

Johnson rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns last week against Auburn and may have taken over the lead role at running back in the Hogs’ offense. 

Jyruss Edwards, RB-UL-Monroe vs Florida Atlantic

Edwards has scored at least one touchdown in four of the Warhawks’ five games this season and faces a Florida Atlantic defense ranked 109th against the run.

Zurlon Tipton, RB-Central Michigan vs Navy

Tipton has scored a touchdown in four of his five starts this season, but hasn’t run for 100 yards since the opening week of the season.  Look for the junior running back to top the 100-yard mark against a Navy defense that gives up over 190 yards rushing per game.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington vs USC

Sankey surprised us two weeks ago when he ran for 144 yards against Stanford in a nationally televised Thursday night game.  The sophomore from Spokane has topped 100 yards in three consecutive games and has scored five touchdowns in that span.

Brandon Carter and Josh Boyce, WRs-TCU at Baylor

Quarterback Trevone Boykin has had a full week to prepare for this game and the Horned Frogs will face the nation’s worst pass defense.

JD McKissic, WR-Arkansas St vs South Alabama

McKissic has passed Josh Jarboe as Ryan Aplin’s favorite target and leads the Red Wolves in receptions (39) and receiving yards (460).

Mike Evans and Ryan Swope, WRs-Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

The Vegas total in the game between the Aggies and Bulldogs has reached 80, so start Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s top two receivers against the nation’s second-worst pass defense.

Phillip Dorsett, WR-Miami vs North Carolina

Dorsett had some critical drops last week when the Hurricanes visited South Bend.  Look for the sophomore receiver to bounce back in a contest that should produce a ton of points.


Landry Jones, QB-Oklahoma vs Texas

Jones has not thrown for more than 300 yards in any game this year, a feat he achieved eight times last season.  Additionally, he has not thrown more than two touchdown passes in a single game since the Sooners’ eighth game of the 2011 season.

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri vs Alabama

Lawrence has been the best fantasy option on the Tigers’ roster this season, but starting him against Alabama is like giving points to your opponent. 

Zac Stacy, RB-Vanderbilt vs Florida

Stacy failed to reach the 100-yard mark last week against Missouri (72 rushing yards), but he was able to cross the goal line a couple of times.  We’re not so sure that fantasy owners will get that much out of the senior tailback this Saturday against a stingy Florida defense.

Andre Williams, RB-Boston College at Florida St

If the Eagles weren’t playing at Florida State this week, Williams would have made our Waiver Wire list (;).  Owners must sit Williams against the ‘Noles, but if you have room on your roster, he could be valuable next week against Georgia Tech.

Knile Davis, RB-Arkansas vs Kentucky

We had lofty expectations in the preseason for Davis, but it seems he has taken a backseat to Dennis Johnson and his playing time will be significantly reduced.

Chris Nwoke, RB-Colorado St at San Diego St

Nwoke turned in his best performance of the season last week against Fresno State, rushing for 68 yards on 16 carries.  However, fantasy owners must temper their expectations for the junior running back this week because the Rams are ranked 118th in the nation in rushing yards and 117th in points scored.

Rashad Greene, WR-Florida St vs Boston College

Last week, Green caught a season-high six passes for 60 yards against North Carolina State.  However, the sophomore receiver has been too inconsistent for fantasy owners this year, averaging three receptions and 40 yards per game.

by Joe DiSalvo,

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

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 7 Sit or Start Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 03:41
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-30

Do NASCAR fans want to see wrecks? Were they thrilled by the wild action on the last lap at Talladega or was it the 25-car pileup that made the finish more exciting?

Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated what they thought about the final lap at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s comments about the racing and the big wreck and much more. Here’s what they said:

How would you describe the final lap of Sunday’s race at Talladega?

71.6 percent said Terrible
28.4 percent said Fantastic

What Fan Council members said:
• Fantastically terrible. Everyone walked away OK, so yeah, if I'm being honest: Fantastic.

• NASCAR should be held liable for the next death during a restrictor-plate race.

• There's no excuse in this day and age and with the technology available to us that such an all-encompassing wreck would still occur. It's a minor miracle no one was hurt. And a major miracle that no one was killed. It is shameful that something so idiotic is considered desirable by some “race fans.” I call B.S. on that because any true fan of racing wants to see racing, not crashing. Take Talladega out of the Chase. It is too unpredictable and too costly, both in points and money.

• I love it as long as NO ONE gets hurt.

• I will admit, I do enjoy a multi-car wreck, but what happened at Talladega is ridiculous. There is no reason that the cars should be that bunched up. NASCAR has hurt themselves by putting too many restrictions, like the restrictor plates.

• Where to start? The destruction of millions of dollars of equipment, so many drivers could have been seriously injured or killed and the end result of the race was ultimately unsatisfying for viewers and for drivers with respect to the Chase standings. There has got to be a way to address this, to keep the excitement about Talladega without this kind of carnage. These are real people in these cars and I am really horrified that it is being portrayed almost like an action movie where everybody gets up and dusts themselves off after the shoot. I don't know why this is tolerated in the sport. They don't replay illegal head hits over and over again to promote future NFL games. This is far worse.

• Even though my driver wrecked, watching those cars four-wide with cars bouncing off each other and the wall while bump drafting through the corners was awesome. The wreck was cool, but without Tony's mistake, I think they were gonna pull off a four-wide pack coming across the finish line for an awesome finish.

• Everybody seemed to be doing their best to win — except Denny Hamlin. I want my Chase champion to be the best, to be a winner, to be smart, but have guts and talent in equal parts. Smoke did everything he could think of to win. It resulted in a less-than-great finish for my driver BUT I prefer an all-out assault on the win to taking it easy, being careful and finishing with a whimper.

• Probably would have thought it was awesome if my driver had made it through the carnage and passed a few guys in the championship race.

• Worse than terrible. Horrendous. Awful. Abhorrent. Repulsive. Dreadful. Disastrous. Revolting. Unpleasant. I just cannot understand what morbid excitement anyone can get from wrecked cars and the possibility that a driver will get hurt or killed. It's eventually going to happen and that's sad.

Was Dale Earnhardt Jr. right in complaining about the racing and calling fans that like the big multi-car wrecks bloodthirsty?

77.1 percent agreed with Dale Jr.
22.9 percent disagreed with Dale Jr.

What Fan Council members said:
• Amen, Junior! What a huge waste! Look at all the steps NASCAR has taken to save the teams money and then they throw it all away in one lap of one race. I've never understood fans that like wrecking. And the media feeds it by repeating every wreck over and over and over again. Races are usually advertised using the wrecks from previous years. “Bloodthirsty” is a good way to put it, and I'm glad Dale Jr. said it. I get really sick of reports that “fans want to see” wrecks. Sometimes I wonder just who those fans are and why everyone is so eager to have those kinds of people as fans.

• This is what fans want to see. It is bloodthirsty but that is what fans are expecting to see. When you see a commercial for race tickets, what do you see? Wrecking, beating and banging. This is what fans want. Look at Bristol: Burton Smith changed the track so fans could get the wrecks back.

• Amen! Dale Jr. is right, it is bloodthirsty and for someone to want that is crazy. Bring on the Gladiators and Lions!!

• Boring as things have been lately, they needed a good wreck.

• Loving a track because it provides massive wrecks like this race at Talladega is no different than being a Roman and enjoying a trip to the Colosseum to watch lions eat Christians. Same level of barbarianism.

• I used to like these big wrecks, but that carnage is scary. I don't care how safe the car is, it feels like playing with fire when we see the Big One.

• No, I don't agree with Dale Jr., but in all fairness what do you expect to come out of a driver's mouth when he was just wrecked on the last lap and is speaking with emotions? Was he supposed to say, "Oh well, that was just racin’ and we will get them the next week." I thought fans wanted to hear emotions out of the drivers.

• Give me a break Dale. Junior had a very different tune when he was winning a bunch of these races. He complained about the tandem racing a couple years ago, saying you can't see anything but the bumper ahead of you. He doesn't like the pack racing either, apparently. Maybe as he gets older he likes it less — I can understand that. But the last lap crash was like every other "Talladega Big One." It is what it is.

• No one who is a true fan would want to see a wreck like that.

Grading Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega

49.3 percent called it Good
19.9 percent called it Great
19.3 percent called it Fair
11.5 percent called it Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• Call me bloodthirsty or a non-purist, but the wreck at the end (and knowing the drivers are well protected) was the best part.

• That was the most fun, exciting race at Talladega for the past few years ... I didn't have a problem with the wreck occurring and I prefer to see the drivers go all out for the win and end up wrecked rather than carefully making their way across the start/finish line and being awarded the victory for their cautious behavior.

• Absolutely the best race of the year. The action was unbelievable and the last two laps were jaw-dropping. Nothing in sports even comes close to the excitement that Talladega delivers!

• This is complete B.S. racing. No wonder the attendance is at its lowest in 15 years. What we saw was a monumental waste of time.

• I attended the race. I love Talladega, however, I only really get interested in the race the last 50 laps or so unlike other tracks where my attention is held all race long.

• While I'm glad to see pack racing and not the terrible tandem trash, that wasn't a race until the last three laps, it was a parade. Should it be changed? Yes, with bulldozers! (RIP DAVID POOLE.)

• The last lap made up for the rest of the race in my opinion. To see “Mr. Don't Block Me” block and wreck half the field was funny. Good race overall.

• Wish I could say it was great. I will say I always respect those that have the ability to be racecar drivers and the amazing skill it takes to race at anywhere, but especially Talladega. One of the good things that did happen was a PINK car won and as a breast cancer survivor this made me happy.

• It was not enjoyable waiting for disaster to happen. Not racing.

• Outstanding race. I felt most of the field was running much more competitively from the drop of the green flag to the finish. The big teams (88, 18, etc.) who got themselves a lap down put on a tremendous battle lap after lap to get in front of each other for the lucky dog. And the GWC! It was four deep row after row after row coming to the white flag! You had to know it wasn't going to last the whole lap. I do wish the race finished clean because it would have been absolutely nuts to see how it developed down the straightaway.

<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discusses the age-old arguement about whether NASCR fans want to see wrecks, discuss Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s comments about Talladega's plate racing and size up the Chase battle between Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 14:03
Path: /college-football/lsu-vs-south-carolina-numerical-history

LSU and South Carolina will clash Saturday in Baton Rouge in a battle of top 10 SEC teams. The 5-1 Tigers will be hungry for a win after falling 14-6 to Florida in the Swamp last week, while the 6-0 Gamecocks arrive sky-high after their 35-7 beatdown of Georgia. This will be the 20th meeting between LSU and South Carolina, so here are 20 statistical highlights focusing on the history between these two schools.

1 – Common head coach and athletic director between the schools. The legendary Paul Dietzel led the LSU program from 1955–1961, winning a national championship in 1958. He surprisingly left Baton Rouge to become the first non-Army graduate to lead the Cadets on the gridiron. After four seasons at Army, Dietzel would take over at South Carolina as head coach and athletic director in1966. He won the ACC Coach of the Year in 1969 and led the Gamecocks on the gridiron through the 1974 season. Dietzel would later return to Baton Rouge and serve as LSU’s athletic director from 1978–1982.

2 – Wins for South Carolina over LSU, both by one point. USC won the first meeting of the series in 1930, as well as the 1994 contest.

3 – Losses for head coach Steve Spurrier to LSU. He lost once to the Tigers at Florida in 1997, and then twice at South Carolina in 2007 and 2008.

4 – Point differential in the highest scoring game in LSU-South Carolina history, a 33-29 Tigers victory in 1973.

5 – Wins for LSU in its seven games played in Columbia.

6 – The game on Saturday will be the sixth time in South Carolina history where both teams involved were ranked in the top 10. Last week’s victory over Georgia was the fifth.

7 – Times in this series that LSU has scored 30 or more points. South Carolina has never reached the 30-point mark against the Tigers.

8 – This is the eighth season for Les Miles at LSU and for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina.

9 – Wins over LSU in the 1990s for Steve Spurrier, Florida’s head ball coach at the time.

10 – Consecutive wins by South Carolina entering Saturday’s game at Tiger Stadium. That represents the longest current FBS winning streak.

11 – First downs for South Carolina in the 2003 game, a 33-7 win for LSU in Columbia.
Matt Mauck threw two touchdowns for the Tigers, while Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent led a dominant rushing attack. “Right now, I'm sort of numb,” USC coach Lou Holtz said after the blowout.

12 – Passes completed in the 2002 game by Marcus Randall, who was filling in for the injured Mauck. Randall threw for 183 yards and Domanick Davis led the ground game with 113 yards, as LSU scored 25 third-quarter points on the way to a 38-14 victory.

13 – Meetings in this series where South Carolina was a member of the Southern Conference, the ACC or an Independent. The last six games have been SEC battles. LSU was also a member of the Southern Conference during the first three contests from 1930-32.

14 – First-quarter points scored by LSU in the 1987 Gator Bowl, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish. Both touchdowns in the first stanza were passes from Tommy Hodson to Wendell Davis, and the pair would hook up for another score in the second half to lead LSU to a 30-13 bowl victory.

15 – Yards run by LSU kicker Colt David on a fake field goal touchdown in the second quarter of the 2007 game. The Tigers totaled a dominant 290 rushing yards in the 28-16 win over the Gamecocks.

16 – Wins by LSU in 19 games against South Carolina.

17 – Second-quarter points scored by South Carolina in the 2008 game, Stephen Garcia’s first career start. USC led 17-10 at half, but LSU would rally for 14 unanswered points in the second half to win 24-17 in Columbia.

18 – Points scored by the Gamecocks in 1994, the last time they defeated LSU. A stingy USC defense and quarterback Steve Taneyhill led the way in the18-17 victory.

19 – Losses for Les Miles at LSU, against an incredible 80 wins.

20 – Points scored by each team in the series’ only tie in 1995.

By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> LSU vs. South Carolina: A Numerical History</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/rory-and-tiger-tale-tape

On Thursday, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be staging a head-to-head duel at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final with a spot in the final four of this unique medal match play eight-man bracket on the line. Let's hope it's one of many as this budding bromance blossoms into a full-fledged rivalry.

Never mind the fact that Charl Schwartzel beat Woods and McIlroy, the top two players in the world golf ranking, back to back in this Turkish money grab. No, for the good of the game, we need to root for a Tiger-Rory rivalry to take root and take the game to unprecedented heights.

For more than a decade, golf fans were secure in the knowledge that Woods ruled their sport. Sure, Phil Mickelson was a useful foil for Tiger, and every now and then a Vijay Singh or Padraig Harrington would assert himself before slinking back into the woodwork. But Woods was the Man. Even after the Thanksgiving thunderbolt that derailed the Woods train, we all expected Tiger to resume his rule at any time.

But now that we've reached four years and counting with Tiger stuck on 14 majors, I think we're free to reassess. Now that the Woods era seems to be truly on the wane, it's time to anoint a new king. Science tells us that nature hates a vacuum, and after two eight-shot wins in majors in the last 14 months,  McIlroy looks ready to fill the void at the top of golf. And more than that, Rory looks likes he could be the kind of historic force in the game that Woods was. The proof comes when you compare the two at similar points in their careers.

Let's look at the Tiger vs. Rory tale of the tape through their age-23 seasons — Woods through 1999, Rory through the 2012 Ryder Cup. Rory's record is impressive, but Woods was already dominating the PGA Tour at a similar stage, and he reached his apex the following season, giving 2013 extra meaning for Rory in his effort to match Woods' career trajectory.
Edge to Tiger — for now.


                                                      TIGER (age 23)    RORY
Major championships won               2                           2
Combined margin of victory           13                         16
Major top 5s                                     4                           5
Major top 10s                                   7                           6
PGA Tour wins                               11                          4
Worldwide wins                              13                          6
Scoring avg. (PGA Tour)            69.10 (1997)        70.35 (2010)
                                                     69.21 (1998)        69.48 (2011)
                                                     68.43 (1999)        68.73 (2012)
Ryder Cup record                          3-6-1                   4-3-2


Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-offseason-news-and-scandal-roundup

Even after every recruit signed, after players were drafted, and after (nearly) every coaching change was made, college basketball news impacting the 2012-13 season continued to break through the late summer and early fall.

From Jim Calhoun’s retirement, to eligibility issues at UCLA and Kentucky, to NCAA concerns at Duke and North Carolina, we’re here to keep you up to date.

Here’s a rundown of 20 offseason news events impacting the upcoming basketball season:

1. Jim Calhoun retires. In the biggest college basketball news of the offseason, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun retired after 873 carer wins and three national titles. The Huskies program is turned over to assistant and first-time head coach Kevin Ollie, who will try to piece together a season with a handful of challenges including
a postseason ban, a one-year contract for Ollie, and a roster depleted by transfers and NBA Draft early entries. The lack of a long-term commitment to Ollie hasn’t harmed recruiting yet as Jabari Parker, one of the top prospects in the class of 2013, added UConn to his list of prospective schools after a visit with the new Huskies coach.
Related: What’s next for UConn without Calhoun?

2. Duke dodges an NCAA issue again. The possibility of an NCAA violation at Duke was raised when former player Lance Thomas, a starter on the 2010 title-winning team, was sued for not repaying a $68,000 loan to purchase jewelry in 2009-10. Thomas settled the lawsuit, meaning the NCAA will not have access to court records to determine if the loan would have impacted Thomas’ eligibility. The NCAA has begun an inquiry, but Thomas told The Washington Post he will “eventually” speak with the NCAA. As a former athlete, he is not required to do so.
Related: Duke team preview

3. North Carolina’s academic scandal. New details of the academic scandal at North Carolina seem to trickle out every day, though the spotlight has not focused on the basketball program specifically. What started as an investigation into fraud and no-show classes in the African and African-American Studies department also seeped into other academic programs. The Naval Weapons Systems course in the Department of Naval Science was found to have a disproportionate amount of athletes enrolled, including six basketball players in 2007. Although the NCAA initially stated it would not take action on academic issues at North Carolina, NCAA president Mark Emmert told the organization is continuing to monitor the situation in Chapel Hill. Chancellor Holden Thorp already announced he will resign at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Meanwhile, Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former Tar Heels star Tyler Hansbrough, resigned from her role as a fundraiser when an audit revealed she and Matt Kupec, a North Carolina vice chancellor, billed the university for personal trips. Kupec also resigned. Tami Hansbrough was hired as the associate director of development in the dentistry school during her son’s senior year. Her move to a fundraising role and the personal trips occurred after Tyler Hansbrough left school.

4. Texas Southern feels NCAA’s wrath. From one end of the college basketball spectrum (Duke and North Carolina) to the other. The NCAA levied series sanctions on Texas Southern of the SWAC, stepping just short of the death penalty. Texas Southern allowed players across 13 sports over the course of seven years compete and receive financial aid while ineligible. The basketball program, which has played in the NCAA Tournament just once since 1995, was banned from the postseason and vacated all wins across all sports from 2006-10. The basketball coach to clean up the mess left by Tony Harvey, who resigned after he was accused of providing misleading information to investigators? Former UAB and Indiana coach Mike Davis.

5. Notre Dame. Before Jim Calhoun’s retirement, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC in all sports but football was the biggest news of the offseason. This is more of a football development, including four games per year between the Irish and ACC teams and a drift away from the Big Ten, but it has clear basketball implications as well. Mike Brey has rebuilt Notre Dame basketball into a consistent NCAA Tournament team which should contribute to the depth of a 15-team ACC. Without Notre Dame basketball, the Big East will remain a 17-team league when it expands in 2013-14.
Related: Notre Dame team preview

6. Roy Williams’ cancer scare. The North Carolina coach had surgery in late September to remove a tumor from his right kidney but was relieved to find it was not cancerous. Williams was also scheduled to have a biopsy on a tumor on his left kidney, but doctors said in a news release it was unlikely for the other tumor to be cancerous.
Related: North Carolina team preview

7. Rick Majerus' departure. The Saint Louis coach has battled health concerns for much of his career, but the latest caused him to unexpectedly walk away from one of the Atlantic 10’s top teams. The school announced in late August that Majerus would miss the season while undergoing treatment and evaluations for a heart condition. Assistant Jim Crews, a former head coach at Army and Evansville, was promoted to interim coach. With one year left on his contract, this could be the final season for Majerus at Saint Louis and perhaps his career.

8. Billy Gillispie’s resignation. Texas Tech’s season was bad enough on the court in Gillispie’s first season. Turns out things were worse behind the scenes for the former Kentucky and Texas A&M coach. A report from CBS Sports detailed mistreatment of players and support staff in addition to difficulties with current and potential assistants and staffers. The report indicated practices of eight hours in a day and in excess of the NCAA-mandated 20-hour limit in addition to Gillsipie forcing players to practice while injured. On Aug. 31, Gillispie was hospitalized for six days and was later treated for kidney problems and abnormal headaches. He resigned citing health concerns, turning the program over to interim coach Chris Walker.

9. Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, UCLA. Neither of the Bruins’ two freshman centerpieces have been cleared by the NCAA. Muhammad’s delay is due to alleged impermissible benefits from the brother of an assistant coach at his high school and a financial planner related to his AAU team. The investigation forced UCLA to leave Muhammad home during an exhibition trip to China. The NCAA is investigating Anderson’s relationship with an agent though Anderson did participate in the China trip.
Related: Arrival of top freshmen leads UCLA makeover

10. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky. After delaying his enrollment when he reclassified from the class of 2012 to 2013, Noel became the subject of an NCAA inquiry related to how he paid for unofficial visits during the recruiting process, according to Kentucky coach John Calipari recently said he’s confident Noel will be cleared after the inquiry.

11. Rodney Purvis, NC State. The Wolfpack’s star freshman guard was cleared to play after the NCAA examined his high school transcript. Purvis did not join NC State on an exhibition trip to Spain.

Related: NC State team preview

12. Ricky Ledo, Providence. The full Ed Cooley-rebuilding project will be on hold for a year as a his freshman guard sits outs as a partial qualifier. Ledo can practice but cannot play in any games this season. Highly touted point guard Kris Dunn also joined Ledo in Cooley's recruiting class, but Dunn is nursing a shoulder injury to give the Friars a shorthanded roster early in the season.

13. Notre Dame Prep. Maryland’s Sam Cassell Jr. and Xavier’s Myles Davis, both freshmen, were ruled ineligible related to coursework at Notre Dame Prep, a program whose classes the NCAA had been monitoring. Adding to the confusion, eight other teammates who took similar classes were cleared, drawing harsh criticism from Cassell's father, former NBA player Sam Cassell.

14. Dez Wells, Xavier to Maryland. Wells did not transfer per se, but he did change schools. The former Xavier starter was expelled after he was accused of sexual assault, but prosecutors declined to pursue the case and publicly disputed the actions of Xavier’s conduct board. After considering Kentucky, Memphis and Oregon, Wells chose Maryland. An NCAA waiver to make him eligible this season has been requested.

15. Arsalan Kazemi, Rice to Oregon. One of the best players in Conference USA but languishing at Rice transferred to Oregon, where a hardship waiver may allow him to play this season.

16. Reggie Moore, Washington State. The Cougars dismissed their senior guard and third-leading scorer for a violation of team rules, putting more pressure on unheralded center Brock Motum.

17. Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, Harvard. The Crimson’s hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament received a major blow when its co-captains were accused of being part of a cheating scandal including both athletes and non-athletes. Both were expected to withdraw from school, leaving Harvard with only one returning starter.

18. Chrishawn Hopkins, Butler. Brad Stevens dismissed his third-leading scorer for the dreaded undisclosed violation of team rules.

19. LIU Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn’s top three scorers, including NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, were among four arrested on third-degree assault charges stemming from a fight at an on-campus party. All four, including Athlon All-NEC forward Jamal Olaswere,  were suspended for the first two games and placed on school probation.

AND FOR 2013-14...
20. Kentucky’s recruiting (t)wins.
Guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, twins from Richmond  (Texas), continued to make John Calipari look unbeatable on the recruiting trail when the two top-five prospects in the 2013 class committed to Kentucky. The decision was considered to be a close one between Kentucky and Maryland. A major factor in Maryland being in the mix was reported to be Under Armour’s sponsorship of the Harrisons’ AAU team, coached by the twins’ father. Under Armour also has a partnership with Maryland. But again, Kentucky walks away a winner.


Athlon College Basketball 2012-13 Preseason Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

<p> 20 Offseason Events Every College Basketball Fan Should Know</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/it-time-auburn-fire-gene-chizik

Auburn is off to a miserable 1-4 start and the pressure is beginning to build on coach Gene Chizik. Since winning the 2010 national championship, the Tigers are just 9-9 and struggled to beat Louisiana-Monroe earlier this year. Is it time for Auburn to make a coaching change?

Is It Time for Auburn to Fire Gene Chizik?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Firing a coach two years removed from a national title would be unprecedented. Even Larry Coker got three subpar (for Miami) years and five after his national title. I could see a case to be made for letting the two new coordinators, Scot Loeffler and Brian Van Gorder, have another year to implement their systems, but Auburn has to ask itself if the national championship year was due more to Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn than any buttons Gene Chizik pushed in 2010. Take away the Newton season from Chizik’s career, and this is a coach who has struggled at Auburn despite strong recruiting classes and at Iowa State, where Paul Rhoads has built a competitive program after Chizik left. Barring an unlikely turnaround this season, 2013 will be an extremely difficult year, both with the Auburn faithful on Chizik’s back and on a recruiting trail that is already dominated by Alabama.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Gene Chizik has done a horrendous job at Auburn the last two seasons. His average national recruiting ranking in the last three classes is 8.0 — meaning, only five teams in the nation have recruited "better" than the Tigers over the last three cycles. So the lack of overall production and development from that level of talent is completely unacceptable. As a comparison, Arkansas, who is having its worst season in years and just stomped Auburn at Jordan-Hare, has an SEC average recruiting ranking (9.7) worse than Auburn's national rank. Auburn ranks last in the SEC in total offense, scoring offense, passing efficiency, rushing defense and turnover margin. But despite my absolute disgust in Chizik — who is 22-33 as a head coach and 7-12 in the SEC without Cam Newton — my conservative roots pertaining to coaching changes say no to making a coaching change immediately. By the end of the season, I will be singing a different tune, but it does this program no good to fire Chizik in Week 7. Dissension in the coaching ranks, turmoil off the field, atrocious play on the field all point to an eventual change on the Plains, but with seven games still left to play, that time isn't now.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
Yes, I think Auburn needs to make a coaching change at the end of the season. Gene Chizik has recruited as well as anyone in the SEC but outside of going 14-0 and winning a national championship, he is a mediocre 17-14 and could easily be 0-5 this year. Let’s not forget a 5-19 record at Iowa State, which looks even worse now after Paul Rhoads went 12-13 in the two seasons after his departure. While winning the BCS title in 2010 should buy him some time, Auburn hasn’t gotten any better over the last two years. The offense has regressed since last season, and the defense – Chizik’s strongsuit – ranks 12th in the SEC in yards allowed, ninth in pass defense and last against the run. When you are bringing in top 10-15 recruiting classes and those players aren’t producing, it’s a clear sign the coaching staff isn’t getting the job done. Giving Chizik another year would only prolong the inevitable and force Auburn to wait until 2014 to start turning the program back in the right direction.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
It’s easy to make an argument that Gene Chizik is not getting it done as the head coach at Auburn. His record in three-plus seasons with the Tigers is 31–14 overall and 15–12 in the SEC. But when you remove the national championship season of 2010, his record isn’t so impressive — 17–14 overall and 7–12 in league play. It might not seem fair to remove that one season, but it’s clearly an outlier when you look at his entire career. In five full seasons as a head coach (three at Auburn and two at Iowa State), Chizik has only lost less five games overall once (in 2010) and lost less than four conference games once (in ’10). While Chizik has a national title on his resume, he hasn’t shown that he can be a championship coach on a consistent basis. He was the head coach of the team that won the crown, but that title was more about Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn than Gene Chizik. That being said, Chizik probably deserves one more season as the boss at Auburn. He has recruited very well in recent years — though there has been quite a bit of attrition — and should have the opportunity to coach this young core for one more season. It’s a tough call for the Auburn administration, which is dealing with a demanding fan base with a short memory.

Mark Ross: 
Things have certainly not gone like any one associated with the program had hoped or even expected, but I don't think it's time to pull the plug on Gene Chizik... yet. There's no doubt this season is a lost cause, as the extremely disappointing showing last Saturday against Arkansas cemented that, but this doesn't mean that the team can't start building for next year now. The quarterback is young, inexperienced and having to learn and adapt to a completely different offensive system, and do his on-the-job training in the toughest conference in college football. That's a tall task in and of itself, but when you ask him to do this behind an equally young and inexperienced offensive line on a team devoid of play makers, I don't think anyone's really surprised the Tigers are 113th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense and 117th in scoring offense. Still I would give Chizik and the staff the rest of this year to continue teaching the players the new offense and also work on fixing the defensive issues. Obviously there's a lot to work on, but there are still seven games to go, five of these being conference ones. If the team can find a way to finish the rest of season with a 4-3 mark, which would mean at minimum two SEC wins, that has to be considered progress. Then you can evaluate the coaching staff after the season. However, if the bottom drops out and the Tigers finish the year winless in the SEC and with only two or three victories overall, then a coaching change is more than likely a matter of when and not if.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I think there may be a change on the Plains after this season, even though Auburn power brokers like Pat Dye seem to swear by Gene Chizik. The biggest issue for me when analyzing the Tigers program is that it seems lost, without an identity. The AU defense should eventually get better under Brian VanGorder, but why has Chizik (a proven coordinator at Auburn and Texas) had trouble on that side of the ball as a head coach? And then there is the Tigers offense, which ranks as the worst in the SEC and 113th in the nation. Scot Loeffler has no answer at quarterback, and his offense only scored seven points against an Arkansas defense that had been torched in four straight Razorback losses.

Many in the media give Chizik and staff credit for quality recruiting rankings, but that potential is not playing out on the field. Too many of Auburn’s “high-star” recruits have left school or have struggled to play up to their potential. The Arkansas debacle makes it very likely that the Tigers miss the postseason, and the AU fan base may not stand for that in year four of the Chizik regime.

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<p> Is It Time for Auburn To Fire Gene Chizik?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/who-best-bowl-eligible-team-big-ten

With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for the postseason, the Big Ten will be missing two of its top teams in bowl games. The conference did not have a team ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll this week, while the Buckeyes are really the only team that merits consideration in the top 10 of any poll they are eligible to be ranked.

Who Is the Big Ten's Best Bowl-Eligible Team in 2012?

Coach John Cooper, former head coach of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Arizona State Sun Devils and Ohio State Buckeyes, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I thought Nebraska would be that team but their defense has been awful. They gave a lot yardage to Ohio State and UCLA earlier this year. I don't know what happened to the black shirt defense. I would have to pick Michigan at this point in the season. They are starting to show the most improvement in the Big Ten.

Kevin McGuire,, (@KevinonCFB)
Picking the best bowl-eligible team out of the Big Ten is difficult because there are huge holes everywhere you look. No bowl eligible team in the conference has come up big in the spotlight this season, and that should be very alarming for the conference moving forward. But now that we are in conference play the question will be which team will rise to the top and that is why I am suggesting Michigan. After getting trounced by Alabama in week one Michigan's defense has been pretty solid, holding their last three opponents under 14 points. In conference play the offense should be able to get by, although a home game against Michigan State could be tough. Even if they slip up against the Spartans, I think they somehow manage to end the regular season as the best bowl-eligible team in the Big Ten.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
What a mess. I guess we’re down to Michigan and Nebraska, whose signature wins this season are over Purdue and Wisconsin, respectively. When Nebraska gets a good game from Taylor Martinez and when the mix of Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead are moving the ball, the Cornhuskers are pretty tough to beat. But I’ve given up on that defense. Not many teams in the Big Ten are as good on offense Ohio State, but two of them -- Michigan and Northwestern -- face Nebraska in the next two games. Where Nebraska had to come back to beat a subpar Wisconsin team, at least we saw Michigan dominate Purdue, a solid team with an elite defensive tackle, Kawann Short. That’s a good sign for the Wolverines. We may have overreacted to Michigan’s two losses as well. Alabama and Notre Dame are two of the nation’s elite defenses, if not the top two. Michigan won’t see teams that good the rest of the season until Ohio State -- and that includes Nebraska.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Bueller? Bueller? Anyone in the Big Ten want to take this one? Michigan and Michigan State have looked really strong at times and really poor at others. Nebraska had a chance to put its stamp on the league last weekend but allowed 63 points to Ohio State. And Wisconsin and Purdue will battle this weekend for what should be the Leaders Division title in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are beginning to look like the best two teams in the league, so that means the eventual champion — and Rose Bowl participant — will be the third best team in the league at best. A two-week round robin between the Wolverines, Cornhuskers and Spartans will start next weekend and a 1-1 finish for all three is likely. I will tentatively take the Maize and Blue after the very impressive showing on the road against the Boilermakers, but road games at Nebraska and Ohio State likely make 6-2 in the Big Ten the high water mark for any bowl eligible team. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
I think the answer to this question boils down to two teams: Nebraska and Michigan. Although Michigan State has to be in the conversation, the Spartans still have road trips to Michigan and Wisconsin, and I still need to see more from quarterback Andrew Maxwell. I’m going to give a slight edge to the Wolverines over the Cornhuskers, but my opinion might change from week-to-week. Michigan has one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers (Denard Robinson) but needs other parts of the offense to step up. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has only 169 yards in four games, while the defense is allowing 156.8 rushing yards per game. Although the Wolverines are allowing some yards, the defense has not given up more than 13 points to an opponent in each of the last three games. Michigan isn’t perfect but I think this team will finish as the Big Ten’s best bowl-eligible squad at the end of the year. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
I’ll stick with Michigan. The Wolverines are 3–2 on the season, but two of the losses have come away from home against teams ranked in the top five in the nation — Alabama (in Arlington, Texas) and at Notre Dame. Michigan played its best game of the season last week, rolling past Purdue 44–13 in West Lafayette. That’s probably the best win for any of the bowl-eligible teams in the Big Ten. Michigan was obviously manhandled in the loss to Alabama in Week 1 and had some trouble with the Air Force option the following week, but the Wolverines have been solid defensively over the last few weeks. They gave up 13 points to both Notre Dame and Purdue, which will be good enough for this team to win on most Saturdays. 

Mark Ross: 
For me, I considered four teams, all of which reside in the Legends division, but in the end it came down to the two from the state of Michigan. The Wolverines have been a little under the radar since getting beat soundly by Alabama in their opener and then losing to Notre Dame 13-6 a couple of weeks ago. However, the Maize and Blue reasserted themselves in convincing fashion in their 44-13 dismantling of Purdue last week. Denard Robinson still makes his share of mistakes and isn't the most polished passer, but there's no denying his ability to make plays. The defense also has been solid as they are currently No. 19 in the nation. Meanwhile Michigan State has been fine defensively (No. 8 overall), it's the offense that has been the issue. That said, the Spartans' two losses have been by one point to Ohio State and a 20-3 defeat to Notre Dame. Between the Wolverines and the Spartans, all three teams they have collectively lost to are currently ranked among the top 8 in the country. But since I have to choose one, I give a slight edge to the Spartans over the Wolverines. The Spartans are a little better on defense, especially against the run, and when these two teams meet next Saturday in Ann Arbor, it will be Sparty's ability to contain Robinson and company that will be the difference in the game. As long as the Spartans continue to play good defense, I think the offense will continue to develop under quarterback Andrew Maxwell with a healthy assist from running back Le'Veon Bell and the Spartans will earn a second straight trip to the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
With Ohio State on sanctions, I would have to go with Michigan State as the league’s best postseason team. The Spartans schedule will be difficult with trips to Michigan and Wisconsin remaining, but Pat Narduzzi’s defense should make the difference in the end. Despite sleepwalking through some of last week’s game at Indiana, the Spartans have the ability to run the ball (Le’Veon Bell) and stop the run (10th nationally) better than anyone else in the Big Ten. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell should improve in the second half of the season, especially if heralded freshman receiver Aaron Burbridge plays like he did versus the Hoosiers.

Michigan obviously has the talented Denard Robinson as a top playmaker, but the Wolverines passing game and run defense are major concerns. Nebraska can scare opponents with Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead on offense, but unfortunately the Huskers defense is scaring the fan base for a second straight season. With the league’s top defense and a physical run game, I’ll take Sparty to top the B1G’s bowl list.

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<p> Best bowl eligible team in Big Ten?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:11
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-one-year-coaching-tenures-good-bad-and-ugly

After Arkansas’ 24-7 dismantling of Auburn on Saturday, coach John L. Smith has a reason to smile. Sure, it’s been a disappointing season for the coach who will likely spent only one season at Fayetteville, but at least a bowl game remains a possibility now

For Arkansas, Smith’s one-year tenure will be one of the most painful single seasons in recent years. For fans outside of Arkansas, it’s at least been one of the more intriguing one-year coaching situations.

Smith isn’t first one-year tenured coach and won’t be the last. Even some of the all-time greats have made short stints at other schools -- Bear Bryant, Bill Parcells, Darrell Royal and Howard Schnellenberger had one-year stints in their careers.

Just last season, four coaches had one year tenures either due to taking other jobs (Hugh Freeze and Todd Graham) or like Smith, had the job on an interim basis (Luke Fickell and Everett Withers).

Here are the good, the bad, the ugly and the interesting for college football’s one-year coaching tenures:

Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State (2011)
10-3, 8-0 Sun Belt
Freeze got the job in unorthodox fashion as he was the offensive coordinator for the head coach the program just fired. But his only season at Arkansas State was the best in team history. The Red Wolves won an outright Sun Belt title for the first time and reached only their second bowl game. Freeze set the table for another high school coach-turned-offensive mastermind in Gus Malzahn.

Todd Graham, Rice (2006)
7-6, 6-2 Conference USA
Before Pittsburgh, Graham left Rice in the lurch after one season. But that single  was one of the best for a moribund program. Graham took over a 1-10 team under Ken Hatfield the year before to lead Rice to its first bowl game in 45 years. When his year was over, he returned to Tulsa, where he was defensive coordinator before landing at Rice.

Steve Mariucci, Cal (1996)
6-6, 3-5 Pac-10
A 6-6 season is enough to put current Cal coach Jeff Tedford on the hot seat watch. Yet in the mid-90s, this was Cal’s best record and only bowl appearance between 1994-2002, the latter being Tedford’s first season. At age 41, Mariucci left to coach the San Francisco 49ers to replace George Seifert, who abruptly resigned after the ’96 season.

Nick Saban, Toledo (1990)
9-2, 7-1 MAC
Saban’s first head coaching gig was short-lived but successful with a share of a MAC title and the Rockets’ best season in seven years. And as a sign of the times, Toledo’s nine wins weren’t enough to earn the Rockets a spot in one of 19 bowl games in 1990. Saban left after his only season in Toledo to be Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns.

Frank Broyles, Missouri (1957)
5-4-1, 3-3 Big 7
Broyles’ stint was sandwiched between two of Missouri’s most accomplished coaches. He preceded Dan Devine and succeeded Don Faurot, who would later be the namesake of Missouri’s field. After one year in Columbia, he embarked on his Hall of Fame career with Arkansas.

Jim Tatum, Oklahoma (1946)
8-3, 4-1 Big 6
Tatum led Oklahoma to a conference title and a Gator Bowl victory, but he’ll be better remembered for who he left behind in Norman before he bolted for Maryland. Tatum paid players out of the athletic department coffers and was notoriously difficult to deal with. That said, he brought nine All-Americans to Oklahoma, including Buddy Burris and eventual Texas coach Darrell Royal, in addition to hiring the legendary Bud Wilkinson as his offensive coordinator.

Bear Bryant, Maryland (1945)
6-2-1, 3-2 ACC
Maryland athletic director Curley Byrd was impressed enough with the 32-year-old career assistant Bryant to give him his first head coaching job. But the Bear and Byrd clashed in his lone season with the Terrapins, and Bryant bolted for Kentucky after one season. Two years later, Maryland would benefit from a one-year stint at another school when it hired Jim Tatum from Oklahoma.

John L. Smith, Arkansas (2012)
2-4, 1-2 SEC
This season has been so bad for Arkansas, the question remains if this team could contend in the SEC West no matter the coach. With one of the worst defenses in the SEC, the Razorbacks are just looking to salvage a bowl game before moving on to the next coach.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State (2011)
6-7, 3-5 Big Ten
With Jim Tressel resigning on Memorial Day before the 2011 seasons, Ohio State had its first losing season since 1988 and lost to Michigan for the first time since 2003. But the season under the interim coach Fickell wasn’t a total loss -- the Buckeyes defeated Big Ten champion Wisconsin and lost only one game by more than a touchdown. Meanwhile, quarterback Braxton Miller made his debut. New coach Urban Meyer retained Fickell as defensive coordinator.

Lane Kiffin, Tennessee (2009)
7-6, 4-4 SEC
Kiffin brought swagger to Knoxville. He got under the skin of Florida’s Urban Meyer and other SEC rivals. And he signed an elite recruiting class. Tennessee loved all that. Then he took the USC job in mid-January, weeks after most coaching changes. Tennessee fans did not like that. Moreover, Kiffin’s top-10 signing class never panned out as a bulk of the class transferred, failed to qualify or ran into legal trouble.

Dennis Erickson, Idaho (2006)
4-8, 3-5 WAC
Erickson was not the most in-demand coach when he returned to the program that gave him his first job, but a year later, Arizona State came calling. Erickson returned to the Pac-10 and left Idaho with a team that went 3-19 the two seasons after he left.

Sam Wyche, Indiana (1983)
3-8, 2-7 Big Ten
Wyche would eventually take the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl, but he couldn’t win more than three games at Indiana. The last coach to leave the Big Ten for and NFL job, Wyche had his Hoosers tenure preceded by eventual ESPN analyst Lee Corso and followed by Bill Mallory.

Todd Graham, Pittsburgh (2011)
6-7, 4-3 Big East
The high-octane offense never delivered at Pittsburgh, where Graham took over for a coach, Mike Haywood, who didn’t even make it into his first season, much less complete a full season. When Graham bolted unexpectedly for Arizona State, he left behind a fractured locker room and an angry team for Paul Chryst to repair.

Howard Schnellenberger, Oklahoma (1995)
5-5-1, 2-5 Big 8
In stints at Miami, Louisville and FAU, Schellenberger’s credentials as a program-builder are impeccable. As a program rebuilder at Oklahoma, he was a disaster. He arrived to clean up a mess left by Barry Switzer but never fit in culturally in Norman. He was forced out amid rumors of off-field issues and was replaced by John Blake.

Lou Saban, Northwestern (1955)
0-8-1, 0-6-1 Big Ten
The well-travelled Saban had many jobs in the college ranks and pro ranks, but few of them were as bad as his lone year at Northwestern. Saban’s 0-fer in 1955 was the first at Northwestern, but not the last. Saban would be succeeded by Ara Parseghian, who had a successful run in Evanston before going to Notre Dame.

Houston Nutt, Boise State (1997)
4-7, 3-2 Big West
Houston Nutt was Boise State’s first hire after the Broncos became a Division I-A program. After a successful run in I-AA at Portland State and Boise State, then-Broncos coach Pokey Allen was poised to guide the Broncos into major college football before he died of cancer shortly after the 1996 season. After one season at Boise State, Nutt left for Arkansas and was replaced by Dirk Koetter, who began a run of three wildly successful Boise State coaches.

Bill Parcells, Air Force (1978)
Parcells’ first head coaching job was not with the New York Giants, instead it came five years earlier at Air Force. Parcells wasn’t thrilled with the recruiting process, so he left after a year to be an assistant with the Giants. Coaching stability, though, was easy to find at Air Force thereafter. The Falcons have had only three head coaches since The Tuna left -- Ken Hatfield, Fisher DeBerry and Troy Calhoun.

Pat Dye, Wyoming (1980)
6-5, 4-4 WAC
Wyoming once had a nice coaching tree with Fred Akers (who would coach at Texas), Dennis Erickson (who won two national titles at Miami), Joe Tiller (who would coach at Purdue), and Pat Dye. A long time assistant to Bear Bryant at Alabama, Dye was a possible successor to Bryant, who was then two years away from retirement. Dye instead took the job at rival Auburn, where he won 142 games in 11 seasons.

Jackie Sherrill, Washington State (1978)
3-8, 2-5 Pac-8
Sherrill’s first head coaching job was also one his least successful. After going 3-8 at Wazzu, Sherrill landed at Pittsburgh where had four top-10 finishes in five seasons with a little help from Dan Marino. Sherrill then went to Texas A&M, but his .273 win percentage in his single season at Washington State was the worst of his career until 1995 at Mississippi State.

Darrell Royal, Washington (1956)
5-5, 4-4 Pacific Coast Conference
After a middling season at Washington, Royal returned to his Midlands roots by taking the Texas job, where he’d become the Longhorns’ most celebrated coach. After Royal’s short stint, Washington had only two coaches (Jim Owens and Don James) from 1957-92.

by David Fox


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<p> College Football's Coaching Tenures: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/south-carolina-or-florida-which-team-best-sec-east

With South Carolina's blowout win over Georgia and Florida's victory over LSU, the Gamecocks and Gators seem to be the top two teams in the SEC East. Georgia may have a chance to get back in the race, but the division title could come down to the Oct. 20 meeting between Florida and South Carolina.  

South Carolina or Florida: Who is the best team in the SEC East?

Coach Vince Dooley, former head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I think South Carolina is really good.  Their defense is terrific and they were ready to play against Georgia.  They shocked them early the other night getting 21 points.  I think they can beat LSU at Baton Rouge this coming weekend. But I don't think they can beat Florida the following weekend.  Florida is about as disruptive a defensive team as I've seen.  It will be too difficult for South Carolina to win those three games in a row away from home. I would say that Florida will be the best team in the SEC East.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
The nod for me still goes to South Carolina, though Florida has been awfully impressive through the first half of the season. The Gamecocks are just too good at too many things. First, there’s the elite defensive line led by Jadeveon Clowney. Then there’s special teams with two big returns in the first two weeks from Ace Sanders. On offense, Connor Shaw isn’t going to confuse anyone for a Steve Spurrier quarterback of old, but he can win with both his arm and his legs. Meanwhile, South Carolina has been this dominant without a true jaw-dropping dominant game from Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina hasn’t needed it. Florida has proven it can look like an elite team for a half. But this is also a team that can be incapable of protecting quarterback Jeff Driskel at times, and this is a team that is prone to stupid, drive-killing penalties. Against a team as balanced as South Carolina, those kinds of errors could cost Florida.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. These two teams are not only evenly matched but virtually identical. They have unreal defensive front sevens stocked with NFL talent. They have hard-nosed running backs who have carried their teams to marquee SEC wins this fall. They have game-manager quarterbacks who are protecting the football and can make things happen with their legs. And they both lack elite offensive play-makers on the outside. The head coaching edge clearly falls on the Gamecocks' side of the ledger, so I will give the slight edge to South Carolina. That said, with a road trip to LSU and having to face the Gators in Gainesville makes Florida the pick to win the East.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With South Carolina’s win over Georgia, the Gamecocks and Gators appear to be the teams to beat in the SEC East. The Bulldogs might be able to work their way back into the mix but need to catch a couple of breaks. It’s a really a tossup between Florida and South Carolina for the No. 1 spot, but I’ll give a slight edge to the Gamecocks. While Jeff Driskel will only get better with more snaps, South Carolina has an edge at quarterback with Connor Shaw. The Gamecocks also have a few more playmakers at receiver, including Ace Sanders, Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd. South Carolina’s defensive line is also one of the best in the nation, which helps to compensate for a secondary that had to break in three new starters this season. Florida’s defense isn’t statistically far behind the Gamecocks, but its pass rush hasn’t quite matched South Carolina’s this year. The matchup between the Gamecocks and Florida should be one of the SEC’s best games this year, and my early lean is that South Carolina is the better team. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Great question, and it’s very tough to answer at this point in the season. If I had to pick one — and I will since the question is being asked — I’d go with South Carolina. Florida is probably a little more battle-tested, with road wins at Texas A&M and Tennessee and a home win vs. LSU, but South Carolina also has some quality victories. Both teams are outstanding on defense. I’d probably give South Carolina the slight edge on offense (due in large part to Connor Shaw’s experience) and you have to give the Gamecocks the edge in coaching. Will Muschamp has done a great job with his second Florida team, but Steve Spurrier is an all-time great.

Mark Ross: 
Right now, I will give the slightest of edges to South Carolina, based on their impressive win over Georgia. Both teams are similar in that they have stout defenses and rely more on running the ball rather than passing it. Their quarterbacks are also similar in that they can make plays with either their arm or legs, but even here, I would give a slight edge to South Carolina because I think Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw is a little more polished as a passer compared to Florida's Jeff Driskel. Bottom line is I think these are two evenly matched teams and provided both take care of business this week (South Carolina at LSU, Florida at Vanderbilt) we should find out who's better next Saturday in Gainesville.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Both of these undefeated teams have a stingy defense and power running game, and I would give a slight edge — very slight — to the Gators based on the head-to-head contest being in the Swamp and their ability to succeed late in games. Florida’s defense has not allowed a single point in the fourth quarter this season, and the Gators have only given up a combined six second-half points in their four SEC wins. Quarterback Jeff Driskel still struggles in the passing game and takes too many sacks, but he is a quality athlete who seems to make just enough of the right plays when UF needs it. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease will find creative ways as the season goes on to complement the physical running attack led by Mike Gillislee.

Obviously South Carolina has the same type of resume with top back Marcus Lattimore on offense and a ferocious pass rush led by Jadeveon Clowney on defense. The Gamecocks, however, have brutal back-to-back road trips to LSU and Florida the next two weeks. Both South Carolina and Florida have the roster and mentality to win the East and challenge Alabama for the SEC crown. For now, I’ll take the physical Gators to be in Atlanta this December.

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<p> South Carolina or Florida: Which Team is the Best In the SEC East?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:05
All taxonomy terms: Big 12, Kansas Jayhawks, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-4-kansas-preview
Visit the online store for Kansas and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

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

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

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 4 Kansas.

It’s hard to imagine a team losing a top-five NBA Draft pick in the paint and a four-year starter at the point and somehow getting better. But that’s the scenario facing the Kansas Jayhawks as they enter the 2012-13 season.

On the heels of their thrilling run to the 2012 national championship game, Bill Self’s squad returns several key pieces from last year’s team and will look to replace leading scorers Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor with one of the deepest and most talented recruiting class of the Self era.

Although the talent is in place — isn’t it always at Kansas? — Self’s biggest challenge will be getting the group to mesh while also relying on new leadership.

Top returners Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey will get the first crack at leading this year’s Jayhawks, who figure to enter the season more motivated than ever.

“I think (that) experience will only make us more hungry for next year,” Withey said of reaching the 2012 title game but falling to Kentucky. “We’ll have a great team, and I’m really excited for the opportunity to be a leader.”

Withey was a force defensively in his first season as a starter at KU. He set a record with 31 blocks in the NCAA Tournament and finished the year with a Big-12-best 140 rejections. This season, he will be asked to contribute more on the offensive end.

“I don’t think I was too much of an offensive threat last year,” Withey says. “A little bit here and there, maybe, but not what I’m capable of. So for next year, offensively, I’m going to try to get better and stronger and try and look like T-Rob. That’s the game plan.”

Is that even possible?

“I could see that happening,” senior forward Travis Releford says. “Because that’s how it’s been in the past. Guys leave, other guys step up. It’s going to continue to be like that at a program like Kansas.”

Joining Withey up front will be impact freshman Perry Ellis, a four-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, along with Kevin Young and redshirt freshman Jamari Traylor. Young, a former transfer from Loyola Marymount, averaged 3.4 points in his first season at KU. Traylor was academically ineligible last season but practiced with the team.

After his breakout NCAA Tournament, Johnson takes the reins at point guard. Like Taylor, his predecessor, Johnson is an athletic guard with good size and toughness. Unlike Taylor, Johnson seems to be a better decision-maker and a more natural shooter. The Las Vegas native played extremely well late last season, averaging 15.1 points in the final eight games and scored in double figures in all six NCAA Tournament games.  

Ben McLemore, a 4-star recruit in the Class of 2011, was forced to sit out last season because of academic issues. Self has said that McLemore, a possible starter at shooting guard, might have emerged as the team’s top pro prospect had he played last season.

Releford, like Johnson, played well in the NCAA Tournament, scoring in double figures against Purdue (10 points), North Carolina (11) and Ohio State (15). Seldom-used early in his career, he emerged as a key cog in his first season as a starter.  

Freshmen Anrio Adams and Milton Doyle and sophomore Naadir Tharpe will push for playing time. Adams, a shooting guard from Seattle, has been compared to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.
“He can certainly score,” Self says. “He’s capable of being an elite guard.” Tharpe arrived as a highly regarded recruit but failed to crack the rotation as a freshman last season.

Last year’s squad survived and thrived because of heart and will, but this year’s team figures to benefit from different strengths. Chief among them is depth, something the Jayhawks had little of a season ago.

While KU’s roster will give Self plenty of options, it also figures to provide a few growing pains as nearly half of the rotation could be first-year players. In addition, Self’s bench will feature two new faces — Norm Roberts steps in for his second stint at KU to replace Danny Manning (now the head coach at Tulsa), and Doc Sadler, formerly the head coach at Nebraska, takes over as the director of basketball operations. Self doesn’t seem to be concerned.

“I love the makeup of this team, especially the newcomers,” says the veteran coach. “This is going to be a young group that will rely heavily on senior leadership.”


Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 4 Kansas Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Heisman Trophy
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-6

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

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

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

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (13 first-place votes)
Season Stats: 
166-204, 1,996 yards, 24 TD, 0 INT, 26 att., 66 yards, TD
His 268 yards and four touchdowns paled in comparison to his monster game against Baylor, but this one came in a road win over Texas. It was a signature performance in a marquee win for the Mountaineers. Smith got all 13 first-place votes and is leading the nation in passing efficiency at 202.38. Next game: at Texas Tech

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 130/130 13 - - - - 13/13
2. (4) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 104/130 - 7 1 4 - 13/13
3. (3) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 102/130 - 3 8 1 - 13/13
4. (7) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 73/130 - 2 2 2 2 12/13
5. (9) Marcus Lattimore RB S. Carolina 48/130 - - 1 2 1 9/13
6. (6) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 46/130 - 1 1 1 3 7/13
7. (8) Matt Barkley QB USC 40/130 - - - 2 2 8/13
8. (10) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 26/130 - - - 1 1 6/13
9. (ur) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 18/130 - - - - 2 4/13
10. (ur) Mike Gillislee RB Florida 17/130 - - - - 1 7/13
11. (2) E.J. Manuel QB Florida St 17/130 - - - - - 6/13
12. (17) Stedman Bailey WR W. Virginia 15/130 - - - - 1 3/13
13. (12) Marqise Lee WR USC 14/130 - - - - - 5/13
14. (ur) Tavon Austin WR W. Virginia 11/130 - - - - - 4/13
15. (16) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 10/130 - - - - - 4/13
16. (ur) Jadeveon Clowney DE S. Carolina 10/130 - - - - - 4/13
17. (ur) DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson 9/130 - - - - - 2/13
18. (14) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 6/130 - - - - - 2/13
19. (13) Sean Mannion QB Oregon St 5/130 - - - - - 1/13
20. (20) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 4/130 - - - - - 1/13
21. (5) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 2/13
22. (11) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
23. (ur) Denard Robinson QB Michigan 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
24. (ur) Venric Mark RB Northwestern 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
25. (ur) Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma St 1/130 - - - - - 1/13

2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
83-135, 1,060 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT, 106 att., 763 yards, 8 TD
The Ohio native continues to make video game-esque runs and clutch throws for the Buckeyes. He rushed for a school-record 186 yards for a quarterback on 16 carries without a turnover in the blitzing of Nebraska last Saturday. He helped drop 63 points on the Black Shirts and is now second in the Heisman voting. Next Game: at Indiana 

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
 63-94, 887 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 73 att., 405 yards, 7 TD
It was a bit of a slow start for CK7, but eventually he finished with 129 yards passing, 116 yards rushing, four total touchdowns and a 40-point win over his in-state rival. Smith, Miller and Klein are the only three players on all 13 ballots and are clearly the top three candidates for the 2012 stiff-armed trophy.
Next Game: at Iowa State

4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Season Stats: 48 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 3 INT, FR, 3 PBU
The heart and soul of the Irish defense continues to lead by example with 10 tackles in the virtual shutout of Miami. Notre Dame is No. 2 nationally in scoring defense at 7.8 points allowed per game and has allowed 12 points in its last three games — against Michigan State, Michigan and Miami.
Next Game: Stanford

5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats: 116 att., 549 yards, 9 TD, 18 rec., 133 yards
Another SEC win and another 100 yards rushing for the best runner in the nation. Lattimore is No. 2 in the SEC in all-purpose yards (Todd Gurley) and is averaging 136.3 yards from scrimmage and has scored seven touchdowns in four SEC wins for the Gamecocks. He has touched the ball 106 times in those games. 
Next game: at LSU

6. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 41 att., 377 yards, 6 TD, 20 rec., 205 yards, 3 TD, 10 PR, 150 PR yards, 6 KR, 88 yards
Next Game: Bye Week

7. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 111-173, 1,308 yards, 15 TD, 5 INT, 12 att., minus-64 yards
Next game: at Washington

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

9. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Season Stats: 116 att., 727 yards, 9 TD, 11 rec., 111 yards, TD
Next Game: Bye Week

10. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Season Stats: 103 att., 548 yards, 7 TD, 2 rec., 14 yards
Next Game: at Vanderbilt

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 6 Recap

ACC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings 

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 6</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-7-plays

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

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 7

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

West Virginia at Texas Tech

Line:  West Virginia -3.5(O/U-78)

Projected score based on point spread:  West Virginia 41-37

Best plays:

West Virginia (QB-Geno Smith, RB-Andrew Buie, WRs-Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey)

Texas Tech (QB-Seth Doege, RB-Eric Stephens, WRs-Darrin Moore, Eric Ward)

Also consider:

West Virginia (K-Tyler Bitancurt)

Texas Tech (TE-Jace Amaro)

theCFFsite projects:  West Virginia 52-35


Oklahoma St at Kansas

Line:  Oklahoma St -23(O/U-74.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma St 49-25

Best plays:

Oklahoma St (QB-JW Walsh, RB-Joseph Randle, WR-Josh Stewart, K-Quinn Sharp)

Kansas (QB-Dayne Crist, RB-James Sims)

Also consider:

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith, WR-Tracy Moore, TE-Blake Jackson)

Kansas (RB-Tony Pierson)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 42-28


Western Michigan at Ball St

Line:  Ball St -3(O/U-66)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ball St 35-32

Best plays:

Western Michigan (QB-Tyler Van Tubbergen, WR-Jaime Wilson)

Ball St (QB-Keith Wenning, WRs-Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, K-Steven Schott)

Also consider:

Western Michigan (RB-Dareyon Chance, WR-Josh Schaffer)

Ball St (RB-Jahwan Edwards)

theCFFsite projects:  Western Michigan 35-31


North Carolina at Miami

Line:  North Carolina -6.5(O/U-69)

Projected score based on point spread:  UNC 38-31

Best plays:

North Carolina (QB-Bryn Renner, RB-Gio Bernard, TE-Eric Ebron, K-Casey Barth)

Miami (QB-Stephen Morris, RBs-Duke Johnson, WR-Philip Dorsett)

Also consider:

North Carolina (WRs-Erik Highsmith, Sean Tapley)

Miami (RB-Mike James)

theCFFsite projects:  UNC 38-30


Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Line:  Texas A&M -7.5(O/U-80)

Projected score based on point spread:  Texas A&M 44-36

Best plays:

Texas A&M (QB-Johnny Manziel, RB-Ben Malena, WRs-Ryan Swope, Mike Evans)

Louisiana Tech (QB-Colby Cameron, RB-Kenneth Dixon, WR-Quinton Patton, K-Matt Nelson)

Also consider:

Texas A&M (WR-Uzoma Nwachukwu)

Louisiana Tech (RB-Ray Holley, WRs-DJ Banks, Myles White)

theCFFsite projects:  Louisiana Tech 45-42


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

Alabama at Missouri

Line:  Alabama -21.5(O/U-43.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 33-11

Stay away from:

Missouri (RB-Kendial Lawrence)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 31-13


Illinois at Michigan

Line:  Michigan -23(O/U-49.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan 36-13

Stay away from:

Illinois (QB-Nathan Scheelhaase)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan 31-14


Boston College at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -28(O/U-54)

Projected score based on point spread:  Florida St 41-13

Stay away from:

Boston College (RB-Andre Williams)

theCFFsite projects:  Florida St 34-21


Florida Atlantic at Louisiana-Monroe

Line:  Louisiana-Monroe -24(O/U-54)

Projected score based on point spread:  ULM 39-15

Stay away from:

Florida Atlantic (RB-Damian Fortner)

theCFFsite projects:  ULM 38-13


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Texas vs Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -3(O/U-61.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 32-29

Outlook:  Both teams will be fighting to stay alive in the Big 12 title chase as they square off in this neutral site rivalry game.  We’re expecting the Longhorns to bounce back from last week’s loss to West Virginia by slowing down the Oklahoma offense with a solid defensive performance.

theCFFsite projects:  Texas 31-20

USC at Washington

Line:  USC -12.5(O/U-55.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  USC 34-22

Outlook:  One week after knocking off an undefeated Stanford team, the Huskies were embarrassed in a 52-21 loss at Oregon.  Washington should keep the game close, but the big-play ability of Marqise Lee will be the difference in this one.

theCFFsite projects:  USC 31-28


Stanford at Notre Dame

Line:  Notre Dame -9(O/U-45.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Notre Dame 27-18

Outlook:  The Irish begin the toughest three-game stretch on their schedule when they host Stanford this weekend.  We don’t think they will win three consecutive games against Stanford, BYU, and Oklahoma, but the Irish should be fresh and healthy enough to squeeze past the Cardinal at home.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 24-21


South Carolina at LSU

Line:  LSU -2.5(O/U-40.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LSU 21-18

Outlook:  South Carolina demolished an undefeated Georgia squad that was clicking on all cylinders heading into last week’s showdown in Columbia.  Expect the Gamecocks to win the time of possession battle and eventually wear down the Tigers defense with a heavy dose of Marcus Lattimore.

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 24-17


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (12-7)  ATS: (9-10)

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

By Joe DiSalvo,

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 7 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 03:47