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Path: /college-football/sec-week-13-preview-and-predictions

There isn’t a ton of drama remaining in the regular season. Assuming Alabama beats Auburn — and Nick Saban’s team is favored by over four touchdowns — the SEC Championship Game is set: Georgia vs. Bama. Two teams are fighting for bowl-eligibility; Ole Miss must defeat Mississippi State and Missouri needs a win at Texas A&M to reach the six-win mark. Four league teams will play an opponent from the ACC this weekend — Georgia (Georgia Tech), South Carolina (Clemson), Florida (Florida State) and Vanderbilt (Wake Forest)

Other Week 13 Previews and Predictions

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

SEC’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 13:

1. Will this be Gene Chizik’s final Iron Bowl?
Two years after winning a national title, Auburn is on the verge of the program’s first winless SEC season since 1950. Nothing has been announced, but there is speculation that Gene Chizik will be fired shortly after Auburn concludes its season, which most assume will end with a lopsided loss to rival Alabama. The Tigers are a 31.5-point underdog. While it seems a bit rash to fire a coach who delivered the school its second-ever national championship, there is ample evidence to suggest Chizik is not the long-term solution. Auburn has had one winning SEC record in Chizik’s four seasons; his predecessor, Tommy Tuberville, had eight winning records in nine seasons. Not only will Auburn likely fail to a win a game in the league this season, but the Tigers have been alarmingly uncompetitive. Through seven SEC games, they have been outgained by an average of 199.2 yards and outscored by an average of 20.3 points. And, the stat that everyone loves to point to: Chizik is 24–37 overall and 9–30 in conference play as a head coach when Cam Newton is not his quarterback.

2. Will Alabama’s defense pitch a shutout?
There won’t be much drama at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. It’s pretty much a given that Alabama will beat rival Auburn — and do so with ease. But Nick Saban will keep a close eye (as usual) on his defense. With a date with Georgia looming in the SEC Championship Game, it’s important that Alabama plays well on the defensive end after giving up 435 yards and 418 yards to LSU and Texas A&M, respectively, in its last two SEC games. Prior to that, the Tide had not allowed any team to gain more than 282 yards this season. Auburn’s issues have been well-documented (see above). It will not be a good sign if Alabama struggles on defense this weekend.

3. Can Ole Miss reach bowl-eligibility?
Ole Miss is 0-for-3 in its quest to become bowl-eligible under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels’ last two losses have been especially painful —a 27–26 defeat at home to Vanderbilt in a game in which Ole Miss led 23¬–6 and then last week’s 41–35 heartbreaker at LSU. “We are coming off of another disappointing loss,” Freeze said earlier this week. “I don’t know that in my years of coaching high school, NAIA or Division I football if I’ve ever had three [Ole Miss also lost by three to Texas A&M this season] more difficult ones in one year. I’m extremely proud of our kids and coaches and the way that they bounce back from those.” Motivation should not be a problem this week against hated rival Mississippi State. The Rebels have lost three straight and five of the past seven in the series. Freeze would like nothing more than to snap the streak in his first Egg Bowl as the head coach. “There’s a lot riding on this game for us,” he said. “Obviously the Egg Bowl is enough, but I sure would like to send these seniors out going to play in a postseason game and our fans to get to experience that.”

4. Can Florida get its offense going?
We thought Florida had figured some things out on offense after scoring 31 points or more four times in a five-game stretch from late September through late October. We were wrong. The Gators have averaged only 18.3 points in their last four, and that includes games against Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. Overall, Florida ranks 12th in the SEC in total offense (332.9 ypg) and 10th in scoring offense (25.8 ppg). Those are troubling stats that become even scarier when you have a trip to Tallahassee looming. Florida State ranks first nationally in total defense (236.3 ypg) and has given up more than 22 points only once this season. It’s strange to say this about a team ranked fourth in the BCS standings, but it’s tough to envision a scenario in which Florida musters enough offense to win this game.

5. Can Georgia control Georgia Tech’s option attack?
Georgia is 3–1 against Georgia Tech since Paul Johnson and his option attack arrived in Atlanta. After losing 45–42 in Athens in the first meeting, the Dawgs have won three straight. But even in the victories, Georgia has had trouble with Tech’s option offense; the Jackets have averaged 317 rushing yards and 30 points in the four games. Last week, Georgia prepped for Tech by playing Georgia Southern, an FCS team that has been running the option for years. The results couldn’t have thrilled Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: Georgia Southern rushed for 302 yards on 58 attempts, with three different players averaging over 4.5 yards per carry. Stopping Tech’s attack this week will be a challenge.

6. Can Johnny Manziel finish strong?
Johnny Manziel, now considered the Heisman frontrunner, has one more opportunity to impress the voters. The redshirt freshman from Texas A&M closes what has been a magical regular season against Missouri on Saturday. Manziel leads the SEC in rushing (144.1 ypg), ranks fourth in the league in passing efficiency and ranks second nationally in total offense (378.3 ypg). He had one bad game — three picks and no touchdowns in a loss against LSU — but shined on the biggest of stages in the Aggies’ win at Alabama two weeks ago. He completed 24-of-31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and added 92 yards rushing against arguably the nation’s finest defense.
The Heisman is Manziel’s to lose.

7. Can Carolina make it four straight against Clemson?
South Carolina is in the midst of its most successful run in school history. The Gamecocks are 17–7 in the SEC over the last three seasons and have won three straight against their rivals from Clemson. It will be a significant challenge to increase that streak to four games. The Tigers, 10–1 overall, have been on a tremendous roll offensively for the majority of the 2012 season. They rank fourth nationally in scoring (44.6 ppg) and are fresh off of a 62-point, 754-yard performance last week against NC State. It was the sixth time in the last seven games that Clemson has scored at least 40 points. South Carolina was one of the top defensive teams in college football through the first half of the season but has not been as stout in the past month. Sophomore end Jadeveon Clowney, arguably the best defensive player in the nation, has been slowed by a foot injury. Carolina will need Clowney to be back to his disruptive self on Saturday to slow down the potent Tigers’ attack.

8. Can Vanderbilt handle prosperity?
James Franklin has done a great job keeping his team focused on the task at hand — the next game — throughout the 2012 season. But that will more difficult than ever this weekend. The Commodores are riding high after beating Tennessee 41–18 on Saturday night in Nashville. It was their fifth straight win overall and their first win over Tennessee at home since 1982. This week, the Commodores head to Wake Forest to play a struggling Demon Deacon team that has lost its last two games (at NC State and at Notre Dame) by a combined score of 75–6. Last year, Vanderbilt closed its regular season with a 41–7 win at Wake Forest. Franklin is no doubt guarding against overconfidence this week.

9. Can the LSU offense take its show on the road?
LSU has played well offensively in recent weeks, scoring 41 against Ole Miss, 37 against Mississippi State and gaining 435 yards in a 21–17 loss to Alabama. But all three of those games were at home. The Tigers have not played well offensively in their three previous road trips — and yes, they have only played three road games. LSU has averaged 14 points and 289 yards on the road this year, and only one of those opponents (Florida) is ranked in the top half of the SEC in total defense. The Tigers scored 12 points in a way-too-close win over Auburn, six in a loss at Florida and 24 in a win at Texas A&M. Zach Mettenberger has shown tremendous improvement at quarterback in the latter half of the season. Now it’s time for the junior to prove he can perform at a high level on the road.

10. Will Tennessee actually go winless in the SEC?
Tennessee dropped to 0–7 in the SEC with its 41–18 loss at Vanderbilt last week. The Volunteers need to beat Kentucky on Saturday to avoid their first winless conference season in school history. On two occasions Tennessee has only won one game (1–5–1 in 1964 and 1–5 in 1977), but never have the Vols done the unthinkable — fail to win an SEC game. And it probably won’t happen. As much as Tennessee is struggling, it is still a much more talented team than Kentucky, which is also winless in the SEC. The Vols would have to play really poorly not to win this game.


  David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light

LSU at Arkansas

LSU 28-14 LSU 24-13

LSU 30-20

LSU 30-17

Georgia Tech at Georgia

Georgia 35-17

Georgia 30-17

Georgia 34-24

Georgia 34-23

Kentucky at Tennessee

Tennessee 28-21

Tennessee 30-20

Tennessee 38-17

Tennessee 33-17

Vanderbilt at Wake Forest

Vanderbilt 31-21

Vanderbilt 34-13

Vanderbilt 31-17

Vanderbilt 30-20

Florida at Florida State

Florida State 28-10

Florida St. 24-20

Florida St. 24-17

Florida St. 27-17

Auburn at Alabama

Alabama 49-7

Alabama 38-14

Alabama 38-7

Alabama 41-10

Miss. State at Ole Miss

Ole Miss 28-24

Ole Miss 34-30

Miss. State 31-30

Ole Miss 31-27

South Carolina at Clemson

Clemson 35-21

Clemson 27-20

Clemson 30-27

Clemson 30-20

Missouri at Texas A&M

Texas A&M 35-14

Texas A&M 30-21

Texas A&M 41-24

Texas A&M 33-20
Last week 11-0 10-1 10-1 10-1
Season 83-20 88-15 89-14 87-16

<p> There isn’t a ton of drama remaining in the regular season. Assuming Alabama beats Auburn — and Nick Saban’s team is favored by over four touchdowns — the SEC Championship Game is set: Georgia vs. Bama. Two teams are fighting for bowl-eligibility; Ole Miss must defeat Mississippi State and Missouri needs a win at Texas A&amp;M to reach the six-win mark. Four league teams will play an opponent from the ACC this weekend — Georgia (Georgia Tech), South Carolina (Clemson), Florida (Florida State) and Vanderbilt (Wake Forest)</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:46
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-best-thanksgiving-weekend-rivalries

Thanksgiving weekend college football rivalry games are as much of a tradition as eating leftover turkey and falling into a tryptophan-induced coma on the couch.

The best games of the year are crammed into a holiday weekend like an extra slice of pie on an already overflowing plate. Naturally, the oldest and most bitter rivals have produced some of the most memorable moments in the sport’s history.

Chomp vs. Chop
The Gators’ chomp and Seminoles’ tomahawk chop are two of the most recognizable celebrations in all of sports — especially when done by UF Gator girls and FSU cowgirls.

Free Shoes University 
The Ol’ Ball Coach has a yap trap full of razor sharp one-liners. When he coached at Florida in the 1990s, Steve Spurrier gave the FSU acronym new meaning — referring to "Free Shoe University" after a Foot Locker scandal rocked Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles.

First Ladies
The rivalry between Notre Dame and USC would not even exist if not for a train conversation that sparked a fast friendship between Irish coach Knute Rockne’s wife, Bonnie, and USC de facto athletic director Gwynn Wilson’s wife, Marion. Returning from Nebraska, Mrs. Rockne thought a trip to Los Angeles would be more to her liking. The rest is history.

Punt, Bama, Punt
The Auburn Tigers rallied from a 16–0 deficit with less than 10 minutes to play to take down Bear Bryant’s undefeated No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the 1972 Iron Bowl. Bill Newton blocked two punts, which were both returned for TDs by David Langner....Forty years later, Alabama loon Harvey Updyke Jr. became the poster boy for sociopathic football fans when he poisoned the historic trees at Toomer’s Corner on Auburn’s campus.

Jeweled Shillelagh
“From the Emerald Isle,” the Irish club goes to the winner of the Notre Dame and USC intersectional rivalry. It is currently adorned with 43 Fighting Irish shamrocks and 35 Trojan heads and five combined medallions, representing ND’s 43–35–5 all-time edge since 1926 — although USC has won nine of the last 10 in the series.

Dead Schembechlers
The Ohio State loving “best damn punk band in the land” had a cult following in the early 2000s, bashing Michigan with songs like “We Don’t Give a Damn For the Whole State of Michigan,” “Chad Henne is a Mother F****** Joke” and “I Hate Michigan.”

Platypus Trophy
What do you get when you cross an Oregon Duck with an Oregon State Beaver? A duck-billed, beaver-tailed Platypus Trophy awarded the winner of the Civil War.

Beat the Farmers
Ole Miss students dress old money preppy, donning buttons and biting their thumbs at their “Cow College” rivals from Mississippi State. The problem is that the Bulldogs are riding a three-game win streak and have beaten the Rebels five of the last seven meetings.

Bedlam “Bets, Drugs, and Rock & Roll”
In his 2007 book, offshore gambling maven Steve Budin claimed that in 1954 the Bedlam Series between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (then Oklahoma A&M) had been fixed by mobsters who had paid a cook to poison Bud Wilkinson’s undefeated Sooners with horse laxatives. The Cowboys (then Aggies) covered the spread but ultimately lost the game.

Palmetto Imposters
In 1961, the South Carolina chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity pulled an epic prank on its arch-rival Clemson. Roughly 50 frat boys dressed in orange and purple football uniforms and ran out onto the field prior to kickoff, as 47,000 confused Tigers fans cheered on the Gamecock imposters.

R.I.P. Rivalries
Conference realignment put an end to several of Thanksgiving weekend’s greatest historical rivalries.

Texas A&M vs. Texas
The Aggies headed to the SEC and will not play the Longhorns this year.

Missouri vs. Kansas
The Border War dates back to 1891. But sadly, it is no more.

West Virginia vs. Pitt
The Backyard Brawl dates back to 1895. But after WVU’s move to the Big 12, it’s over.

<p> College Football's Best Thanksgiving Weekend Rivalries, including the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles, Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and USC Trojans, Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines, Ole Miss Rebels and Mississippi State Bulldogs, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers, South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:45
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-13-preview-and-predictions

Wisconsin is in and waiting for either Nebraska or Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game. Senior day will take place all across the Midwest, including what should be a very emotional day in Happy Valley. Michigan and Ohio State renew arguably the greatest rivalry in all of college football. And, oh by the way, the Big Ten is no longer at 12 teams as Maryland and Rutgers have officially been added to the league. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 13:

1. Brady Hoke vs. Urban Meyer, Part 1
There are many who believe that this rivalry has a chance to reach a new level now that both programs apparently have long-term stability at the head coaching position. These are two old-school coaches with old-school philosophies and old-school personalities who understand the old-school tradition inherent in this matchup. Urban Meyer is completely obsessed with beating Michigan, while Brady Hoke has never lost to That School from Down South in his short stint as coach at That School from Up North. The 10-Year War has a chance to be revived with these two leaders in place — and this Saturday at noon in Columbus, Ohio, they will face each other for the first time. Here's hoping the ghosts of Woody and Bo enjoy what they see.

2. Ohio State, Braxton Miller's 2012 legacy
The Buckeyes would be no lower than third in the BCS standings — and more likely second — if they weren't ineligible. Braxton Miller should end up in New York but won't win the Heisman Trophy due to NCAA sanctions. However, a win over hated Michigan would give Meyer his first unbeaten season as a BCS head coach and would send the Heisman hype around Miller soaring into the offseason (which might be a terrible thing if you are a Buckeye, considering the preseason favorite never seems to win). Should Nebraska somehow lose to Iowa, the Wolverines would be playing for a spot in the Big Ten game. Knocking the Maize and Blue out of the Big Ten Championship game would completely out-weigh the what-ifs that would swirl in Bucknuts' heads for eternity about what this 12-0 team could have done had it been eligible to compete for a national championship.

3. Better yet, what is Denard Robinson's legacy?
Shoelace was used almost exclusively as a runner last weekend, rushing 13 times for 98 yards, catching a few passes and attempting no passes. Devin Gardner, meanwhile, dissected the Hawkeyes with six touchdowns with his arm (3 TD) and his legs (3 TD). Robinson deserves kudos for taking his role in stride, especially considering what he was able to do last fall in this rivalry. He got the Wolverines into the win column against their bitter rival for the first time since 2003 and has weeks of highlight reel performances over three years of starting games with that famed winged helmet on. He is one of the most productive players in the history of college football, but he never won a championship and it will feel weird watching him take hand-offs and catch passes from someone else in what could be his final Big Ten football game. Just imagine what a big play or two in an upset win over unbeaten Ohio State would mean to his legacy as a Wolverine?

4. Conduct business in Iowa City
Kirk Ferentz has major issues at Iowa. His team is going to have its first losing season since 2001 — which is simultaneously both a credit and debit on his resume — and these Hawkeyes should pose little threat to the Nebraska Cornhuskers title run. With a win, Bo Pelini will have led the Big Red to the Big Ten championship game in only its second season in the league. Taylor Martinez, who could push Braxton Miller for Player of the Year honors should Ohio State lose to Michigan, should have no issue carving up a Hawks defense that has looked anything but what a Ferentz-coached defense normally looks like. SEE: Devin Gardner's stat line from last week. This should be a corn-onation of sorts for Pelini and Martinez.

5. Michigan State's bowl eligibility
The question this summer about Michigan State was whether Mark Dantonio built the Spartans into a "reload" program or would they have to "rebuild" after losing so many key players. After the school's greatest quarterback and all-time leading receiver moved on, it certainly appeared as though Sparty was rebuilding this season. The defense has been stout, even without Jerel Worthy, but the offense has struggled to find balance all season. And now, after back-to-back 11-win seasons, Dantonio is faced with a must-win situation against Minnesota just to keep from having a losing campaign. Look for Le'Veon Bell to get upwards of 40 carries if that is what it takes to demoralize the underrated Minnesota defensive line and get Michigan State to the postseason.

6. Montee Ball's TD records
The Wisconsin tailback is tied with Travis Prentice for the NCAA's all-time lead in total touchdowns with 78. With one more score, he will have reached paydirt more than anyone else in the history of the game. It's quite a statement for a player who really has only started for two-and-a-half seasons. Additionally, Ball is one rushing touchdown behind Prentice's all-time NCAA mark for rushing scores with 73.

7. Emotional senior day in Beaver Stadium
No matter which side of the Wisconsin-Penn State rivalry you may land on, everyone will be cheering for Nittany Lions' senior linebacker Michael Mauti on Saturday. His career in Happy Valley came to an end last weekend when he was carted off the field with a knee injury. This is the same knee that needed ACL surgery in 2011 and, right or wrong, his draft stock is undoubtedly slipping. This was supposed to be his final home game in front of a fanbase that understands and appreciates first-hand what Mauti and the rest of the seniors sacrificed the last 12 months. Mauti, Matt McGloin and the rest of this class have set a tremendous example of how to overcome adversity and what it means to commit to something larger than the individual. Win or lose, both teams should applaud how a collection of young people performed in the face of unthinkable atrocities.

8. Can Danny Hope save his job with a win?
The rumblings from West Lafayette are getting louder by the day. Even on a two-game winning streak that has Danny Hope poised to make his second-straight bowl game, there are those that feel a change is needed atop the Boilermakers program. A loss for Hope in the in-state Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket would effectively end his head coaching career at Purdue. Unfortunately, a win might not help much either. 

Week 13 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 13 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Nebraska at Iowa Nebraska, 34-10 Nebraska, 30-10 Nebraska, 31-14 Nebraska, 35-10
Illinois at Northwestern Northwestern, 35-17 Northwestern, 31-17 Northwestern, 38-13 Northwestern, 28-14
Indiana at Purdue Purdue, 34-31 Indiana, 34-17  Indiana, 34-31 Purdue, 17-10
Michigan at Ohio St Ohio St, 41-31 Ohio St, 30-17 Ohio St, 31-28 Ohio St, 28-14
Michigan St at Minnesota Michigan St, 28-7 Michigan St, 20-17 Michigan St, 27-17 Michigan St, 14-7
Wisconsin at Penn St Penn St, 24-20 Penn St, 24-17 Wisconsin, 27-24 Penn St, 21-14
Last Week: 5-1 6-0 5-1 6-0
Yearly Totals: 74-16 71-19 75-15 71-19

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<p> Big Ten Week 13 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:40
Path: /college-football/big-east-week-13-preview-and-predictions

Rutgers and Pittsburgh will play this week in what’s an important Big East game ... for now. The Scarlet Knights are seeking their first Big East title, and Pittsburgh is looking for a bowl game.

After that, it’s off to the ACC for Pittsburgh next season, and then Rutgers to the Big Ten in two years. Elsewhere, UConn and Louisville will face each other this week in a game between teams hoping to get called up to the ACC.

For another year, the Big East season has been marred by realignment. Last season it was Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, West Virginia and never-was Big East member TCU to the Big 12. Conference movement chaos continues to loom over the league even with the Big East title up for grabs in the final two weeks.

Other Week 13 Previews and Predictions

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

Big East’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 13:

How does Rutgers manage its new running back tandem?

Hobbled with an ankle injury, Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison carried the ball only four times for 37 yards in the 10-3 win over Cincinnati last week. Jamison had been the focal point of the Scarlet Knights’ offense, but Rutgers learned it may have a formidable duo as Savon Huggins rushed for 179 yards on 41 carries. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood could use both this week against Cincinnati. Jamison’s elusiveness and Huggins’ physical style creates an intriguing complement. Splitting the carries may not be a bad idea, either, since both now have a 40-carry game under their belts this season.

Is a Pitt upset of Rutgers crazy enough to happen?
If we’ve learned anything this season, it’s that no one in the Big East can take anything for granted. In that sense, a Pittsburgh upset of Rutgers makes perfect sense. Regardless of what happens against Pitt, Rutgers’ hopes of a BCS bid and Big East title depend on next week’s finale against Louisville. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights’ offense remains prone to slow starts and turnovers. Ten of quarterback Gary Nova’s 12 interceptions this season have come in the last four games. One the other sideline, Pitt running back Ray Graham will face is half-brother Khaseem Greene, the likely Big East defensive player of the year. Graham rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown in the 34-10 loss to Rutgers and Greene last season.

Can UConn follow Syracuse in exposing the Louisville defense?
In short, not likely. The drop-off from Ryan Nassib and the Syracuse run game to what Connecticut has to offer is fairly steep. Even after rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown against Pitt, UConn still ranks last in the Big East in rushing and scoring offense. The Huskies had rushed for 178 yards total in Big East play prior to the Pitt game. Worth watching for Louisville will be the role of Jeremy Wright as the Cardinals’ primary running back with Senorise Perry out for the remainder of the season. Louisville rushed for only 48 yards against Syracuse. Connecticut, meanwhile, ranks 11th nationally in rush defense (107.6 yards per game).

What does Montel Harris have in store for his final game?
The twisting and turning career for Montel Harris comes to an end this week against Syracuse, just a week after he had the best game of his career. The lightly recruited running back out of Jacksonville, Fla., wasn’t even the top running to sign with Boston College in 2008 (that would have been Josh Haden). Yet Harris ended up the program’s all-time leading rusher before he was dismissed for violations of team rules. He landed at Temple and rushed for a Big East-record 351 yards and seven touchdowns last week. What he finds against Syracuse is a mystery. In Big East play, the Orange allowed 154 rushing yards to Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Connecticut and Louisville combined. Yet Syracuse also allowed 369 rushing yards to USF and 286 to Cincinnati.

How dire could Syracuse’s injury situation be?
In a conference call with reporters, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said half of his offensive and defensive starters are on the injured list. However, he also said all are expected to play against Temple. Running backs Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith both left last week’s win over Missouri with injuries, and wide receiver Marcus Sales and defensive tackle Jay Bromley are also hobbled. Marrone will find out Friday if these bumps and bruises are enough to even the score between the hottest team in the Big East against one of the coldest.

What’s the latest question for Cincinnati’s quarterback?
It seems every week is a new question for the Cincinnati quarterbacks from Munchie Legaux’s early inconsistency to the switch to Brendon Kay and now to the health of Kay. The fifth-year senior is questionable agains USF with an injury to his non-throwing elbow. Kay sustained the injury last week, but he never left the game against Rutgers. Legaux would return to the starting role if Kay is unable to play. The Bulls have their own quarterback quandary with redshirt Matt Floyd making his first career start. Floyd went 20 of 35 for 175 yards with two interceptions in relief of Bobby Eveld last week.

Week 13 Big East Predictions:

Week 13 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Syracuse at Temple (Fri.) Syracuse 35-10 Syracuse 30-17 Syracuse 34-20 Syracuse 34-13
USF at Cincinnati (Fri.) Cincinnati 28-7 Cincinnati 24-20 Cincinnati 31-17 Cincinnati 21-17
UConn at Louisville Louisville 31-13 Louisville 34-14 Louisville 34-17 Louisville 27-11
Rutgers at Pittsburgh Rutgers 24-10 Rutgers 27-20 Pittsburgh 24-20 Rutgers 21-17
Last week 2-2 3-1 3-1 2-2
Overall 40-20 42-18 41-19 40-20

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<p> Big East Week 13 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:30
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-13-preview-and-predictions

This could be one of the truly great season finales in Pac-12 history. And this comes from a league that consistently plays its best rivalries on the final weekend of the year. The Civil War. The Apple Cup. The Duel in the Desert. Notre Dame and USC. And, oh by the way, Stanford visits UCLA with a trip to the Pac-12 championship game on the line.

Additionally, it's worth nothing that Colorado will play Utah.

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 13:

1. Will USC upset the national landscape?
Max Wittek has already gone on radio in Los Angeles and all but guaranteed victory. That's a pretty bold statement for someone making their first career start against the first No. 1-rated Notre Dame Fighting Irish team in the history of the BCS. The funny thing is? The Trojans have the weapons on the edge and in the vertical passing game to attack an area of vulnerability. If the 6-foot-4, 235-pound four-star prep All-American can simply get the football out of his hands quickly, USC has a chance to keep it close. Considering how No. 1 teams have fared in big games thus far in 2012, a win would allow Oregon, Florida State, Georgia, Florida or even Kansas State back into the National Championship mix. If the USC offensive line fails to hold up and Wittek cannot get rid of the football, then Notre Dame will play for its first BCS title. Either way, history will likely be made in The Coliseum.

2. This is the most important Civil War showdown since...
Ever? These two teams enter the regular season finale both ranked in the top 15 of the BCS and have a combined three losses (two of which came against Stanford, I might add). Oregon has to win to keep its Pac-12 and national title chances alive. Oregon State still has its sights set on a 10- or 11-win season. The Beavers have played great defense this fall and are coming off a dominating performance against Cal. Sean Mannion finally looked 100-percent healthy, and the ground game was effective. But it will be the Beavers defense that will have to play well at home if it expects to get a win in the Civil War for the first time in five years.

3. The rushing defense will be on display in Corvallis
The Beavers used to own the Civil War at home, winning five straight from 1998-2006. Oregon, obviously, has since dominated the rivalry no matter where the game has been played. This is due in large part to Chip Kelly's vaunted rushing attack. After topping the 400-yard mark rushing in three straight games, the Ducks have failed to reach the 200-yard plateau in each of the last two games leading into this weekend. It didn't matter against Cal, but against Stanford, and more importantly Oregon State, it most certainly will. The Beavers have faced elite runners all season and won't be phased by Kenjon Barner. Montee Ball (61 yards), Johnathan Franklin (45), Ka'Deem Carey (115), John White (68), Bishop Sankey (92) and Stepfan Taylor (114) have all been held in (relative) check for Mike Riley's 14th-rated rushing defense. Fans on both sides are expecting this one to live up to the hype.

4. Should UCLA intentionally lose?
The Bruins essentially get to pick who they want to play in the Pac-12 championship. UCLA clinched the South with its win over USC last weekend and now plays a meaningless game — as it pertains to the standings in the South — against the Cardinal. So Jim Mora has to ask his coaching staff: Do we want to face Stanford for the second time in six days or try to stop Oregon? While David Shaw's bunch defeated Oregon last weekend, the conventional wisdom would lean away from having to face Oregon. But can a coach actually ask their players to lay down against a top 10 team at home? Hardly. Momentum is fleeting in college football and there is no way Mora can NOT try to win this game. Even if it means the Ducks hang 50 on them in the title game.

5. The not-so-much Duel in the Desert
Arizona has won four out of five games, has its star quarterback back under center healthy, the nation's leading rusher behind him in the backfield and is playing at home. Arizona State, prior to last week's win over lowly Washington State, had lost four straight games with little-to-no defense to speak of. Ka'Deem Carey might be the nation's most underrated player and has been on an absolute tear of late, rushing for 570 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games — yes, that is 285 yards and 3 TD per game. There is nothing on paper that indicates the Sun Devils will be able to slow an offense that averages over 520 yards and 37 points per game. It's a good thing for Todd Graham that games aren't played on paper, so should ASU pull the upset, it will be because of coaching.

6. Statement time for the Washington Huskies
Mike Leach isn't this bad of a coach. His team won't always be this bad. But if Steve Sarkisian wants to continue feeding his budding Pacific Northwestern powerhouse, he needs to keep his foot on his arch-rival's neck. Coach Sark completely renovated his defense, has re-established the running game in a big way and has his team poised for a shot at nine wins. But a loss to a team with locker room turmoil and nine losses would be absolutely devastating to the overall growth of his program. The weather could be bad and strange things happen in rivalry games on the road, so Washington must take nothing for granted and dominate Leach's first Apple Cup.

7. There is one reason to watch the Utes and Buffs
And his name is Travis Wilson. The young freshman quarterback played poorly against Washington on the road two weeks ago — a place where most have struggled, admittedly. However, he rebounded last weekend against Arizona with the best performance of his young career. The touted passer set career highs in completions (28), attempts (40), yards (311) and touchdowns (2) despite the loss to the Wildcats. If he is the future of the Utah's quarterback position, then No. 7 in red will be unstoppable against the dreadful Colorado Buffaloes. 

Week 13 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 13 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Utah at Colorado Utah, 35-7 Utah, 41-7 Utah, 34-10 Utah, 35-10
Washington at Washington St Washington, 31-10 Washington, 37-10 Washington, 34-17 Washington, 38-14
Arizona St at Arizona Arizona, 41-28 Arizona, 41-27 Arizona, 38-34 Arizona, 38-31
Oregon at Oregon St Oregon, 31-24 Oregon, 44-37 Oregon, 34-31 Oregon, 35-17
Stanford at UCLA UCLA, 23-20 UCLA, 28-20 UCLA, 27-24 Stanford, 24-20
Notre Dame at USC Notre Dame, 30-17 Notre Dame, 24-17 Notre Dame, 31-13 Notre Dame, 28-14
Last Week: 4-2 4-2 4-2 6-0
Yearly Totals: 61-17 61-17 60-18 56-22

Bye Week: Cal

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Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

<p> Pac-12 Week 13 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/acc-week-13-preview-and-predictions

With Florida State and Georgia Tech set to meet in the ACC Championship next Saturday, Week 13 is all about bowl positioning and getting a few marquee non-conference wins. Florida State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech take on SEC opponents, which is a chance for the ACC to get some much-needed national respect. Duke-Miami, Boston College-NC State, Virginia-Virginia Tech and Maryland-North Carolina are the final conference games for 2012. 

Other Week 13 Previews and Predictions

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

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 13

Will Florida State’s offense struggle to move the ball against Florida?
The Seminoles’ 21-7 win over Florida last season wasn’t exactly an offensive clinic for either team. Florida State managed only 95 yards, while the Gators posted 184 in a loss. With both defenses ranked in the top five nationally in yards allowed, don’t be surprised if this season’s matchup is another low scoring game. However, if there’s one offense that’s capable of producing big plays, it has to be Florida State. The Seminoles have scored at least 40 points in two out of their last three games and rank 14th nationally in total offense. Although the schedule hasn’t been as challenging as playing in the SEC, Florida State has the better quarterback and playmakers on the outside. Don’t expect the Seminoles to match their average yards per game (493.6) but they should be able to generate enough offense to win.

Can Duke get its first ACC win over Miami?
The Blue Devils and Hurricanes have met only nine times and most of the matchups have been a one-sided affair. Duke’s only win in this series came in 1976, but the Blue Devils have yet to beat Miami as a member of the ACC. With NCAA sanctions looming from the Nevin Shapiro scandal, the Hurricanes self-imposed a bowl ban earlier this week. If last year was any evidence, motivation is a concern for Miami. After announcing the bowl ban in 2011, the Hurricanes lost 24-17 to Boston College in their next game. Duke has been trending in the wrong direction over the last few weeks, winning just one game out of its last four matchups. The Blue Devils’ rush defense is a huge concern, especially against Miami freshman running back Duke Johnson. Duke is already locked into a bowl game but with wins over the Hurricanes and in the postseason, the Blue Devils will have a chance to match the program’s eight-win mark from 1994. 

Can Georgia Tech’s offense keep it going?
Since a 41-17 loss to BYU, the Yellow Jackets are averaging 47.7 points a game and are riding a three-game winning streak. The late-season surge propelled Georgia Tech into a spot in the ACC Championship against Florida State. However, there’s a little business to take care of first. The Yellow Jackets take on rival Georgia this week and hope to reverse the recent trend in this series. Georgia Tech has lost 10 out of its last 11 games to Bulldogs and was defeated by 14 points last year. Georgia’s defense already had some practice for the Yellow Jackets’ option attack, as it played Georgia Southern last week. These two teams have been involved in a few shootouts in recent years, including a 45-42 matchup in 2008. Although Georgia’s defense had a chance to tune its gameplan last week, the Yellow Jackets should be able to keep this one much closer than some may expect.

Clemson’s offensive line vs. South Carolina’s defensive line
There’s a lot on the line when Clemson and South Carolina meet this Saturday. With a win, the Tigers would finish 11-1 and have a realistic shot at an at-large BCS bid. Clemson has lost its last three games against the Gamecocks, with each of those matchups decided by at least 17 points. For the Tigers to snap the three-game losing streak, protecting quarterback Tajh Boyd is the No. 1 priority. The junior has been on fire the last four weeks, recording 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Clemson has done a good job when it comes to pass protection this year, allowing just 1.8 sacks per game. However, South Carolina’s defensive line registered five sacks in last season’s matchup and sophomore end Jadeveon Clowney is only getting better with more snaps. If Boyd has time to throw, he should have opportunities to make plays against the Gamecocks’ secondary. The junior’s increased mobility in 2012 should make a difference with the pass rush but this will be his toughest test since taking on Virginia Tech in mid-October. 

Tom O’Brien’s Future?
Even though NC State coach Tom O’Brien is 23-14 in his last three seasons, there is plenty of discontent from the fanbase about the direction of the program. The Wolfpack were a trendy preseason pick to surprise in the ACC Atlantic but a loss to Boston College on Saturday would drop them to a 6-6 overall mark. Although there are plenty of grumblings about O’Brien, NC State is on the verge of making its third consecutive bowl appearance. Needless to say, Saturday’s game against Boston College is a big one for O’Brien. Get to 7-5 and a victory in the bowl means the veteran coach should probably return for 2013. However, a 6-6 finish could force NC State to consider a change.

Bowl Eligibility for Wake Forest
With Miami and North Carolina ineligible for the postseason, the ACC is going to struggle to fill out its bowl allotment. The situation could get even worse if Wake Forest fails to knock off Vanderbilt this Saturday. The Demon Deacons are a double-digit underdog to the Commodores, a team they lost 41-7 to last season. Vanderbilt is coming off a 41-18 victory over in-state rival Tennessee, so there’s the slight possibility of a letdown. However, for Wake Forest to get its sixth victory, it must generate something on offense. Injuries on the offensive line have taken a toll in pass protection and have prevented the rushing attack from finding many open lanes. Receiver Michael Campanaro was held in check in last week’s loss to Notre Dame, but he will need a big performance for the Demon Deacons to get to 6-6.

Maryland or North Carolina…all about building momentum for 2013?
All things considered, Maryland and North Carolina can’t be disappointed after the final whistle in Saturday’s game. Sure, the Terrapins had bowl aspirations after a 4-2 start but injuries wrecked havoc on their offense, especially at the quarterback position. For the Tar Heels, a postseason ban had to be a concern for Larry Fedora when it came to the motivation of his team. However, North Carolina had a solid season in Fedora’s debut year and is on the cusp of its second season of eight wins over the last three years. This series has been dominated by Maryland recently, as the Terrapins have won five out of the last six meetings. Although Maryland ranks second in the ACC in total defense, it will be hard to slow down North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard and quarterback Bryn Renner. And this could be the final game for Bernard in Chapel Hill, as he is projected to be one of the first running backs off the board in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Will Virginia Tech get bowl eligible or will Virginia play spoiler?
In addition to Wake Forest, there’s a lot of interest in the ACC and from its bowl partners on what happens in Blacksburg this Saturday. Surprisingly, the Hokies are 5-6 and still need one victory to get bowl eligible. Virginia Tech avoided a bad loss to Boston College last week, but the road to six wins doesn’t get easier this Saturday. The Hokies have won the last eight in this series and Virginia would like nothing more than to snap that streak, as well as end Virginia Tech’s quest to get bowl eligible. For the Cavaliers to pull off their first win in Blacksburg since 1998, they need to find a spark on offense once again. After scoring 33 points against NC State and 41 in a win over Miami, Virginia’s offense went dark against North Carolina (13 points). For the Hokies, it’s all about getting quarterback Logan Thomas on track. If the junior has around 275-300 yards of total offense, that should be good enough for Virginia Tech to get win No. 6.

Week 13 ACC Predictions

Week 13 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Virginia at Virginia Tech Va. Tech 24-10 Va. Tech 34-20 Va. Tech 30-20 Va. Tech 24-20
Georgia Tech at Georgia Georgia 35-17 Georgia 30-17 Georgia 34-24 Georgia 34-23
Miami at Duke Miami 31-24 Miami 41-30 Miami 38-34 Miami 38-20
Boston College at NC State NC State 24-13 NC State 34-20 NC State 38-13 NC State 34-13
Maryland at North Carolina UNC 28-17 UNC 42-14 UNC 38-17 UNC 31-10
Vanderbilt at Wake Forest Vanderbilt 31-21 Vanderbilt 34-13 Vanderbilt 31-17 Vanderbilt 30-20
Florida at Florida State FSU 28-10 FSU 24-20 FSU 24-17 FSU 27-17
South Carolina at Clemson Clemson 35-21 Clemson 27-20 Clemson 30-27 Clemson 30-20
Last Week: 7-0 7-0 7-0 7-0
Season Record: 70-18 68-20 65-23 73-15

by Steven Lassan



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<p> ACC Week 13 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-13-preview-and-predictions

Rivalry week still has the Bedlam Game at least.

Thanksgiving used to be the traditional home Texas-Texas A&M, but the Aggies’ move to the SEC put a stop to that. Texas will play host to TCU this week, and A&M will face Missouri, another Big 12 defector who won't play its top rival (Kansas) this week.

The Bedlam Game should be enough to carry the banner for the Big 12 this week, however. Kansas State’s loss to Baylor last week reinvigorated Oklahoma’s chances to win the Big 12. Even if the Sooners defeat their in-state rival, they’ll have to root for a Kansas State loss -- a prospect that requires Oklahoma fans to pull for Texas next week.

In that case, maybe the absence of Texas-Texas A&M isn’t the strangest thing going on in the Big 12 during these final two weeks.

Other Week 13 Previews and Predictions

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

Big 12’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 13:

How does Oklahoma’s run defense rebound?

West Virginia dealt Oklahoma a curve last week by using Tavon Austin at tailback. The Sooners’ defense never caught up to Austin, who rushed for 344 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. That’s a little more than being caught off guard by an unexpected wrinkle in the opponent’s offense. Oklahoma has allowed at least 200 rushing yards in three of the last four games (215 to Notre Dame, 252 to Baylor, 462 to West Virginia) in addition to giving up at least two rushing touchdowns in each of the last four. Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle has tailed off in his production in the last three games, but perhaps the Oklahoma defense is the cure.

Can Oklahoma State solve its road woes?
Oklahoma State is 1-2 on the road this season, with the only win against Kansas 20-14. The Cowboys’ ability to win on the road will be key if the they’re going to finish the regular season on a positive note. Oklahoma State wraps up with Oklahoma in Norman, where the Pokes have won just once since 1998, and Baylor, who upset then-No. 1 Kansas State last week in Waco. With Oklahoma State’s quarterback injuries and inexperience, the road difficulties shouldn’t be too much of a shock. Each road loss has had its own storyline: Oklahoma State outgained Arizona by more than 200 yards in Tucson, but freshman quarterback Wes Lunt through three interceptions in his first road start. Against Kansas, Oklahoma State struggled to run the ball in quarterback J.W. Walsh’s first road start. And the Cowboys ran into undefeated Kansas State and yet another quarterback injury in a loss in Manhattan. Now, Chris Chelf becomes Oklahoma State’s third quarterback to make his first career road start this season. Chelf will have to hope it works out better than the last three road games for Oklahoma State.

Can the Texas run game keep its momentum against the TCU defense?
Texas’ run game has been much more effective in the four games since the loss to Oklahoma as freshman Johnathan Gray has emerged. The Longhorns have averaged 201.5 yards per game and five yards per carry in the last four games, opening up the play action pass for David Ash. This week’s opponent, TCU, ranks seventh in the nation in rush defense (98.4 yards allowed per game). Perhaps the numbers are skewed a bit as TCU has faced pass-oriented teams from Texas Tech and West Virginia but not Kansas State. Still, the Horned Frogs are allowing a Big 12-low 3.1 yards per carry.

Was the Baylor defense last week for real?
In one of the most unlikely turns of the season Baylor’s defense -- the main culprit in the Bears’ five losses this season -- shut down Kansas State in a shocking burst of competence. Baylor held Kansas State to 76 rushing yards Saturday. All but two of Baylor’s FBS opponents this season amassed twice that this year. Can Baylor do it against on the road against Texas Tech and Seth Doege? Perhaps confidence can go a long way for Baylor, which intercepted Collin Klein three times and threw in a goal line stand for good measure. But unlike Kansas State, Texas Tech is built to win through the air. Baylor ranks 98th nationally and eighth in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense.

West Virginia is painfully close to ending its five-game losing streak. Can the Mountaineers finally get over the hump?
No, the defense isn’t any better. The Mountaineers have allowed 50 points in three of the past four games. To put that in perspective, Notre Dame and Alabama have allowed 111 points this season each. But TCU needed a couple of gambles to defeat the Mountaineers in double overtime, and Oklahoma needed a late drive by Landry Jones to win in Morgantown. Though he threw two more interceptions last week, quarterback Geno Smith has put his season back on the right track. Meanwhile, West Virginia finally had a game-breaking running threat. The trouble is that it came from receiver Tavon Austin. Coach Dana Holgorsen appeared to be reluctant to put Austin in a position where he needs to provide 21 carries and 344 yards again. “If Tavon was an every down running back and could carry the ball 40 times a game, he would have been doing that for the last four games,” Holgorsen said. Iowa State will provide West Virginia its best chance to end its five-game losing streak. The Cyclones’ best defensive player, linebacker Jake Knott, is out for the remainder of the season, and Paul Rhoads is on to his third starting quarterback of the season.

Week 13 Big 12 Predictions:

Week 13 Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
TCU at Texas (Fri.) Texas 35-21 Texas 27-20 Texas 31-24 Texas 27-24
W. Virginia at Iowa St. (Fri.) West Virginia 31-27 West Virginia 31-20 West Virginia 38-34 Iowa State 31-30
Baylor at Texas Tech Texas Tech 35-31 Baylor 30-28 Baylor 41-38 Texas Tech 41-33
Oklahoma St. at Oklahoma Oklahoma 35-24 Oklahoma 34-33 Oklahoma 38-35 Oklahoma St. 41-37
Last week 2-2 3-1 3-1 2-2
Overall 51-16 53-14 51-16 53-13

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<p> Big 12 Week 13 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-12

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 for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results 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. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (7 first-place votes)
Stats: 241-356, 3,047 yards, 21 TD, 7 INT, 172 att., 1,114 yards, 17 TD
Sam Houston State is far from a Heisman barometer, but Manziel kept his stat-train rolling. He rushed for his sixth 100-yard game and two touchdowns to go with 267 yards passing and three scores in the air. He is leading the SEC in rushing and total offense and has the Aggies poised to go 10-2 in their first season in the country's most powerful league.
Next Week: Missouri

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (2) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 117/130 7 2 1 3 - 13/13
2. (1) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 111/130 2 5 5 - 1 13/13
3. (3) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 110/130 2 5 3 3 - 13/13
4. (4) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 95/130 2 1 3 3 1 13/13
5. (5) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 59/130 - - - 2 3 12/13
6. (6) Marqise Lee WR USC 57/130 - - - - 5 13/13
7. (10) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 37/130 - - - - 1 10/13
8. (7) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 28/130 - - 1 - 1 6/13
9. (11) Ka'Deem Carey RB Arizona 23/130 - - - - - 7/13
10. (13) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 14/130 - - - 1 1 3/13
11. (15) Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 13/130 - - - - - 6/13
12. (9) Giovani Bernard RB N. Carolina 9/130 - - - - - 3/13
13. (ur) Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 9/130 - - - 1 - 2/13
14. (8) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 8/130 - - - - - 4/13
15. (14) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 7/130 - - - - - 3/13
16. (ur) Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford 6/130 - - - - - 2/13
17. (11) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 5/130 - - - - - 2/13
18. (15) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
19. (18) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (20) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (ur) Tavon Austin WR W. Virginia 1/130 - - - - - 1/13

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (2 first-place votes)
 145-208, 2,020 yards, 12 TD, 3 INT, 154 att., 748 yards, 19 TD
Klein has thrown six interceptions all season and three of them took place in the shocking loss to Baylor (52-24) this weekend. He finished with 286 yards passing and 39 yards rushing and three total touchdowns in the loss. He is still very much in the mix and could easily lead his team to a Big 12 title (or more if craziness ensues). CK7 had this award locked up with an undefeated regular season and his team couldn't get it done in Waco. Next Game: Texas (Dec. 1)

3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (2 first-place votes)
Stats: 98 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 6 INT, 1.5 sack, FR, 4 PBU
Te'o and the Notre Dame defense shutout Wake Forest in the easy win and the game marked the fifth time the Irish allowed less than a touchdown this fall. Te'o made six total tackles in the game and now leads the No. 1 team in the nation and the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation. With a win over USC, Te'o likely books a trip to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Next Game: at USC

4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (2 first-place votes)
134-236, 1,850 yards, 14 TD, 6 INT, 207 att., 1,214 yards, 13 TD
Miller didn't post huge numbers against Wisconsin, but he led his team to yet another victory. This one coming against arguably the best defense in the Big Ten on the road. He rushed 23 times and completed 10-of-18 passes as Ohio State stayed unbeaten with the overtime win. Next Game: Michigan
5. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
201-288, 2,371 yards, 29 TD, 6 INT, 90 att., 605 yards, 3 TD
Mariota threw for 207 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 89 yards on 12 carries against what is turning out to be one of the best defenses in the nation. However, he couldn't keep his team unbeaten as the Cardinal gave Oregon their first loss of the year in overtime. He is still leading the Pac-12 in passing efficiency. Next Game: at Oregon State

6. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Stats: 107 rec., 1,605 yards, 14 TD, 24 KR, 704 yards, TD, 107 yards rushing 
Next Game: Notre Dame
7. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Stats: 210-309, 2,941 yards, 28 TD, 9 INT, 122 att., 363 yards, 5 TD
Next game: South Carolina

8. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Stats: 220 att., 1,426 yards, 19 TD, 19 rec., 232 yards, TD
Next Game: at Oregon State
9. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Stats: 250 att., 1,585 yards, 19 TD, 32 rec., 289 yards, TD
Next Game: Arizona State

10. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Stats: 187-294, 2,582 yards, 22 TD, 4 INT, 215 att., 1,504 yards, 16 TD
Next Game: at Eastern Michigan

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<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-12

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.

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB at NYG Has 2+ TD passes in seven straight games.
2 Peyton Manning DEN at KC Chiefs have allowed 20 TD passes.
3 Tom Brady NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Has 11 TDs, 0 INTs in last four games.
4 Drew Brees NO vs. SF 49ers are second in league against pass.
5 Robert Griffin III WAS at DAL (Thurs.) RGIII gets Thanksgiving spotlight in Dallas.
6 Matt Ryan ATL at TB Ryan looking to shake off 5 INTs last week.
7 Andrew Luck IND vs. BUF Tied season-high w/ 3 INTs last week vs. Pats.
8 Matthew Stafford DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Texans gave up 372 yards, 4 TDs to Jags.
9 Cam Newton CAR at PHI (Mon.) Only two 300-yard games on season.
10 Eli Manning NYG vs. GB No touchdown passes in last three games.
11 Carson Palmer OAK at CIN Has 40+ pass attempts in 3 straight games.
12 Matt Schaub HOU at DET (Thurs.) Completed franchise-record 43 passes.
13 Andy Dalton CIN vs. OAK Raiders allowing second-most fantasy pts. to QBs.
14 Tony Romo DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Needs more help from o-line, running game.
15 Josh Freeman TB vs. ATL Threw first INTs (2) in five games last week.
16 Colin Kaepernick SF at NO "Hot hand" could get second straight start.
17 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at IND Colts have given up 18 TD passes, only 4 INTs.
18 Joe Flacco BAL at SD No TDs, but no TOs in win vs. Steelers.
19 Philip Rivers SD vs. BAL Can't catch a break - Ed Reed's suspension overturned.
20 Jay Cutler CHI vs. MIN May be able to return (concussion), watch status.
21 Jake Locker TEN at JAC Jaguars ranked 28th against pass.
22 Russell Wilson SEA at MIA Looking to improve 4:8 road TD:INT ratio.
23 Chad Henne JAC vs. TEN Put up 354-4-0 after Gabbert got hurt.
24 Christian Ponder MIN at CHI Bears lead league with 19 INTs.
25 Sam Bradford STL at ARI Went 7-of 21, 141-2-1 in Week 5 vs. Cards.
26 Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. NE Only two games with multiple TD passes.

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 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:59
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-12

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.

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU at DET (Thurs.) Held to just 2.8 ypc last week vs. Jaguars.
2 Ray Rice BAL at SD Only 2 100-yard games, 7 TDs on season.
3 Adrian Peterson MIN at CHI Leading rusher vs. Bears D should be fun.
4 Marshawn Lynch SEA at MIA Miami: 132.2 rushing ypg allowed over last 5.
5 Chris Johnson TEN at JAC Has 90+ rushing yds in 6 of last 7 games.
6 Doug Martin TB vs. ATL Falcons 26th against run.
7 C.J. Spiller BUF at IND Had 130 total yards vs. Dolphins last week.
8 Stevan Ridley NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Only 65 yards rushing vs. Jets in Week 7.
9 Jamaal Charles KC vs. DEN Broncos are No. 7 against run.
10 Frank Gore SF at NO Saints allowing third-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
11 Matt Forte CHI vs. MIN Only 3 TDs on season.
12 Alfred Morris WAS at DAL (Thurs.) No touchdowns in last four games.
13 Trent Richardson CLE vs. PIT T-Rich faces Steel Curtain for first time.
14 Ryan Mathews SD vs. BAL Played through neck injury vs. Broncos.
15 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. GB Hoping for better health off of bye.
16 Ronnie Hillman DEN at KC Should get start with McGahee (torn MCL) out.
17 Steven Jackson STL at ARI Has 182 yards rushing in last two games.
18 Reggie Bush MIA vs. SEA Only 20 yards on 10 carries vs. Bills.
19 Michael Turner ATL at TB Bucs are No. 1 against run.
20 Mikel Leshoure DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Texans have not allowed a rushing TD.
21 Marcel Reece OAK at CIN Piled up 193 total yards vs. Saints.
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. OAK Raiders gave up 153 yards rushing to Saints.
23 Jonathan Dwyer PIT at CLE Led Steelers in carries and yards last week.
24 Felix Jones DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Reaggravated knee injury last week, watch status.
25 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. NE (Thurs.) Greene could cede more carries to Powell.
26 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI vs. STL Had season-high 127 yards vs. Falcons.
27 Jalen Parmele JAC vs. TEN Earns start after gaining 80 yards vs. Texans.
28 James Starks GB at NYG Picked up 74 yards as lead back last week.
29 Vick Ballard IND vs. BUF Bills are second-worst against run.
30 Bryce Brown PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) In line to start if McCoy (concussion) can't go.
31 Jonathan Stewart CAR at PHI (Mon.) Scored first rushing TD of season last week.
32 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Sustained concussion, watch status closely.
33 Darren Sproles NO vs. SF Deactivated (hand) late last week, monitor.
34 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at CLE Rushes for 33 yards in return from injury.
35 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. SEA Out-gained (33 to 20) Bush last week.
36 Mark Ingram NO vs. SF Has back-to-back 67-yard efforts.
37 Fred Jackson BUF at IND Status (concussion) uncertain for this week.
38 Beanie Wells ARI vs. STL Set to return from IR (toe) this week.
39 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at TB Bucs have allowed 60 catches by RBs.
40 Kendall Hunter SF at NO Scored second TD of season vs. Bears.
41 Andre Brown NYG vs. GB Has 7 TDs in nine games.
42 Danny Woodhead NE at NYJ (Thurs.) No carries or receptions against Colts.
43 Pierre Thomas NO vs. SF Seeing fewer carries with Ingram's emergence.
44 Lance Dunbar DAL vs. WAS Could be starter if Jones (knee) can't go.
45 Lance Ball DEN at KC Will either backup or share carries with Hillman.
46 Chris Ivory NO vs. SF Role will be reduced once Sproles returns.
47 DeAngelo Williams CAR at PHI (Mon.) Only 18 yards on 7 carries last week.
48 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Considered doubtful for Thanksgiving game.

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 12 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:58
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-12

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.

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Has 129+ yards in 3 straight games, TDs in 2.
2 A.J. Green CIN vs. OAK Has scored a TD in 9 straight games.
3 Reggie Wayne IND vs. BUF Bills have yielded 19 TD catches to WRs.
4 Victor Cruz NYG vs. GB No TDs in past three games.
5 Roddy White ATL at TB Three straight 100-yard games.
6 Demaryius Thomas DEN at KC Chiefs giving up 13.7 yards per catch.
7 Vincent Jackson TB vs. ATL Leads league with 20.5 ypc.
8 Wes Welker NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Has no TDs and 80 yards or less in last four.
9 Andre Johnson HOU at DET (Thurs.) Exploded for 14-273-1 vs. Jaguars.
10 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. MIN His TD only bright spot vs. 49ers.
11 Percy Harvin MIN at CHI Hoping to play (ankle), watch status.
12 Marques Colston NO vs. SF 49ers ranked second in league against pass.
13 Eric Decker DEN at KC Chiefs have yielded fewest rec. (83) to WRs.
14 Randall Cobb GB at NYG Has caught a TD pass in four straight.
15 Jordy Nelson GB at NYG Giants have given up 15 TD rec. to WRs.
16 Steve Smith CAR at PHI (Mon.) Still only 1 TD catch on season.
17 Julio Jones ATL at TB Left game last week w/ ankle injury, watch status.
18 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. STL Cardinals' QB issues hurting Fitz's production.
19 Dez Bryant DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Season-high 145 yards vs. Browns.
20 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. GB Should be rested, ready to go off of bye.
21 Miles Austin DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Redskins allowing fourth-most pts. to WRs.
22 Denarius Moore OAK at CIN Held to one catch for 9 yds. vs. Saints
23 Stevie Johnson BUF at IND Has yet to post 100-yard game.
24 Danny Amendola STL at ARI Injured his foot, but returned vs. Jets.
25 Torrey Smith BAL at SD Only one catch on seven targets vs. Steelers.
26 Mike Wallace PIT at CLE Has only one 100-yard game so far.
27 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. DEN Suffered neck injury last week, watch status.
28 Kenny Britt TEN at JAC Jags gave up 500+ passing yards to Texans.
29 Michael Crabtree SF at NO Has four TD catches over last three games.
30 Malcom Floyd SD vs. BAL Leads Chargers with 43 catches, but just 3 TDs.
31 Brandon Lloyd NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Has caught a TD pass in only 2 of 10 games.
32 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Caught just 2 passes from Foles last week.
33 James Jones GB at NYG Leads Packers with 8 TD catches.
34 Sidney Rice SEA at MIA Has four TD receptions in last three games.
35 Brian Hartline MIA at CHI Seahawks allowing second-fewest pts. to WRs.
36 Mike Williams TB vs. ATL Falcons have only given up 6 TD catches to WRs.
37 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at CIN Played through hamstring issue last week.
38 Cecil Shorts JAC vs. TEN Averaged 27 ypc with a TD vs. Texans.
39 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Didn't catch a single pass from Foles last week.
40 Lance Moore NO vs. SF Made most of 2 catches (2 TDs) vs. Raiders.
41 Danario Alexander SD vs. BAL Posted 7-96-2 last week against Broncos.
42 Nate Washington TEN at JAC Has only one game with more than 69 yds.
43 Brandon LaFell CAR at PHI (Mon.) Had season-high 93 yards last week vs. Bucs.
44 T.Y. Hilton IND vs. BUF Stepped up big (6-100-2) in Avery's absence.
45 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. TEN Showed up big (7-236-1) against Texans.
46 Ryan Broyles DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Should have bigger role with Young suspended.
47 Donnie Avery IND vs. BUF Left game last week w/ concussion, watch status.
48 Kendall Wright TEN at JAC Leads all rookies with 43 receptions.
49 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. NE (Thurs.) Averaging 15.2 yards per reception.
50 Anquan Boldin BAL at SD His only TD catch came in Week 1.
51 Davone Bess MIA vs. SEA Caught first TD pass of season last week vs. Bills.
52 Andre Roberts ARI vs. STL Has one TD catch in last six games.
53 Pierre Garcon WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Finally returned from injury, had 3 receptions.
54 Golden Tate SEA at MIA Only 26 receptions, but 6 TDs.
55 Santana Moss WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Caught one pass, but it was 61-yard TD.
56 Emmanuel Sanders PIT at CLE Led Steelers with 82 yards receiving last week.
57 Laurent Robinson JAC vs. TEN No catches last week as Blackmon, Shorts took over.
58 Chris Givens STL at ARI Cardinals are 6th against the pass.
59 Leonard Hankerson WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Has 2 or fewer receptions in 6 of 10 games.
60 Josh Gordon CLE vs. PIT Steelers surrendering fewest fantasy points to WRs.
61 Brandon Stokley DEN at KC Has four catches and a TD in each of past 2 games.
62 Greg Little CLE vs. PIT Just two TD catches on the season.
63 Harry Douglas ATL at TB Has shown he can produce when called on.
64 Donald Jones BUF at IND Colts have yielded 14 TD receptions to WRs.

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 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:57
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-12

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.

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. SF Has caught a TD pass in four straight games.
2 Jason Witten DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Redskins giving up second-most fantasy pts. to TEs.
3 Tony Gonzalez ATL at TB Tied a season-low with 3 catches vs. Cardinals.
4 Aaron Hernandez NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Needed more now that Gronk (forearm) is out.
5 Owen Daniels HOU at DET (Thurs.) Has at least 3 receptions in every game he's played.
6 Antonio Gates SD vs. BAL Ravens have surrendered just one TD catch to TEs.
7 Vernon Davis SF at NO Posted best numbers (6-83-1) in 5 games last week.
8 Greg Olsen CAR at PHI (Mon.) Averaging 13.1 yards per catch over last 2 games.
9 Heath Miller PIT at CLE Browns allowing fewest fantasy points to TEs.
10 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. OAK Averaging 12.0 ypc on the season.
11 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Has 46 catches, but only 2 TDs.
12 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. GB Hasn't caught a TD since Week 3.
13 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. NE (Thurs.) Patriots allowing third-most fantasy points to TEs.
14 Brent Celek PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Tied for team lead in targets (8) last week.
15 Brandon Myers OAK at CIN Has three TD receptions in over last three games.
16 Jermichael Finley GB at NYG Caught second TD pass of season last week.
17 Scott Chandler BUF at IND Has only 2 TD catches against teams other than NE.
18 Jared Cook TEN at JAC Jaguars have only given up 2 TD receptions to TEs.
19 Dwayne Allen IND vs. BUF Fleener (shoulder) could return this week.
20 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. TEN Hauled in 2 TDs vs. Texans, Titans have given up 7.
21 Jacob Tamme DEN at KC His only TD catch came back in Week 1.
22 Dennis Pitta BAL at SD Sustained possible concussion last week, monitor.
23 Dallas Clark TB vs. ATL Had best game (7-58-1) of season last week.
24 Joel Dreessen DEN at KC Has just one TD reception in last 5 games.
25 Logan Paulsen WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Only reception last week went for TD.
26 Anthony Fasano MIA vs. SEA Has just one catch in each of last 4 games.

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 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-12

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.

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Matt Bryant ATL at TB
2 Stephen Gostkowski NE at NYJ (Thurs.)
3 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at CIN
4 Justin Tucker BAL at SD
5 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. GB
6 Blair Walsh MIN at CHI
7 David Akers SF at NO
8 Greg Zuerlein STL at ARI
9 Jason Hanson DET vs. HOU (Thurs.)
10 Connor Barth TB vs. ATL
11 Adam Vinatieri IND vs. BUF
12 Mike Nugent CIN vs. OAK
13 Rob Bironas TEN at JAC
14 Robbie Gould CHI vs. MIN
15 Shayne Graham HOU at DET (Thurs.)
16 Matt Prater DEN at KC

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 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-12

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.

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Denver Broncos at KC No. 2 scoring DST gets vs. team w/ most turnovers (31).
2 St. Louis Rams at ARI Held Cardinals to 3 points w/ 9 sacks in Week 5 win.
3 San Francisco 49ers at NO 49ers dominant (7 PA, 6 sacks, 2 INTs, safety) vs. Bears.
4 Seattle Seahawks at MIA Seahawks are No. 3 in total, pass defense, No. 2 in scoring.
5 Chicago Bears vs. MIN Season-worst 32 points, only 2 sacks in loss to 49ers.
6 Houston Texans at DET (Thurs.) Allowed season-high 458 yards against Jaguars.
7 Pittsburgh Steelers at CLE No. 1 in total defense, No. 26 in fantasy scoring.
8 Baltimore Ravens at SD Chargers have 14 turnovers in last five games.
9 Arizona Cardinals vs. STL Picked off Matt Ryan five times last week.
10 Minnesota Vikings at CHI Bears offense hopes to get Cutler (concussion) back.
11 New England Patriots at NYJ (Thurs.) Three INTs, three defensive/special teams TDs vs. Colts.
12 Cleveland Browns vs. PIT Charlie Batch starting at QB for Steelers.
13 Cincinnati Bengals vs. OAK Bengals have allowed 19 points, have 7 sacks in last 2 G.
14 Green Bay Packers at NYG Packers put up 5 sacks, 4 takeaways, TD vs. Lions.
15 Atlanta Falcons at TB Falcons held Cardinals to 41 yards passing last week.
16 New York Giants vs. GB No. 25 passing defense gets shot at Rodgers, Packers.

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 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-13-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 13

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

Texas Tech vs Baylor

Line:  Baylor -2.5(O/U-78)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 41-38

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, WR-Terrance Williams)

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

Also consider:

Baylor (RBs-Lache Seastrunk, Glasco Martin, WR-Tevin Reese)

Texas Tech (RB-Kenny Williams, K-Ryan Bustin)

theCFFsite projects:  Baylor 48-42


Oklahoma St at Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -7.5(O/U-72.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 40-33

Best plays:

Oklahoma (QB-Landry Jones, RB-Damien Williams, WR-Kenny Stills)

Oklahoma St (QB-Clint Chelf, RB-Joseph Randle, WR-Josh Stewart)

Also consider:

Oklahoma (WRs-Justin Brown, Jalen Saunders)

Oklahoma St (WRs-Isaiah Anderson, Charlie Moore, K-Quinn Sharp)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 31-28


Marshall at East Carolina

Line:  Marshall -3.5(O/U-76)

Projected score based on point spread:  Marshall 40-37

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Tommy Shuler, Antavious Wilson)

East Carolina (QB-Shane Carden, WR-Justin Hardy)

Also consider:

Marshall (RB-Kevin Grooms, TE-Gator Hoskins)

East Carolina (RB-Vintavious Cooper)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 38-34


Louisiana Tech at San Jose State

Line:  Louisiana Tech -5(O/U-75)

Projected score based on point spread:  LA Tech 40-35

Best plays:

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

San Jose St (QB-David Fales, WRs-Noel Grigsby, TE-Ryan Otten)

Also consider:

Louisiana Tech (RB-Ray Holley, WR-Myles White, K-Matt Nelson)

San Jose St (DeLeon Eskridge, WR-Chandler Jones)

theCFFsite projects:  Louisiana Tech 45-31


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

Auburn at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -31(O/U-46)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 39-8

Stay away from:

Auburn (RB-Tre Mason, WR-Emory Blake)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 38-10


Idaho at Utah St

Line:  Utah St -39(O/U-57.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Utah St 49-9

Stay away from:

Idaho (WR-Mike Scott)

theCFFsite projects:  Utah St 49-10


BYU at New Mexico St

Line:  BYU -29(O/U-48.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  BYU 39-10

Stay away from:

New Mexico St (WR-Kemonte Bateman)

theCFFsite projects:  BYU 45-14


Utah at Colorado

Line:  Utah -23(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Utah 38-15

Stay away from:

Colorado (RB-Christian Powell)

theCFFsite projects:  Utah 31-10


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Michigan at Ohio St

Line:  Ohio St -4(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio St 29-25

What’s at stake:   The Buckeyes are playing for an undefeated season, while the Wolverines need a win and a Nebraska loss to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio St 27-21


Stanford at UCLA

Line:  Stanford -2(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Stanford 28-26

What’s at stake:   If UCLA wins, they get Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game, but a Bruins loss will result in a rematch next week in the conference title game.

theCFFsite projects:  Stanford 31-17


Florida at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -6(O/U-NA)

Projected score based on point spread:  N/A

What’s at stake:   An outside shot to play in the BCS Championship Game.

theCFFsite projects:  Florida 24-20


Notre Dame at USC

Line:  Notre Dame -6(O/U-NA)

Projected score based on point spread:  N/A

What’s at stake:   A win by the Irish lands them in the BCS Championship Game.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 31-14


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (22-17)  ATS: (18-21)

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


by Joe DiSalvo

Find us on facebook

Follow us on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email us:   [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 13 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:52
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-every-game-week-12-0

NFL Week 12 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Redskins (4-6) at Cowboys (5-5)
DeMarco Murray (foot) and Tyron Smith (ankle) are both expected to miss this traditional rivalry game between the Skins and Boys, while RG3 is making his first Thanksgiving Day appearance.
Cowboys by 1

Texans (9-1) at Lions (4-6)
Detroit is 3–10 on Thanksgiving Day since Barry Sanders retired prior to the 1999 season.
Texans by 5

Patriots (7-3) at Jets (4-6)
New England has a perfect 18–0 regular-season record in the second half of the season since 2010. New York is 9–9 over that same stretch.
Patriots by 9

Titans (4-6) at Jaguars (1-9)
Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert were selected Nos. 8 and 10 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. But Gabbert has been benched for Chad Henne.
Titans by 4

Bills (4-6) at Colts (6-4)
Andrew Luck looks to bounce back against a Buffalo team coming off a win and 10-day break.
Colts by 4

Steelers (6-4) at Browns (2-8)
Cleveland is 1–9 against Pittsburgh over its last 10 meetings with the AFC North heavyweight.
Steelers by 5

Raiders (3-7) at Bengals (5-5)
Cincy’s roller-coaster season started 3–1, went into an 0–4 slump and is now on a 2–0 run.
Bengals by 6

Broncos (7-3) at Chiefs (1-9)
Von Miller enters Derrick Thomas country having just joined Reggie White, Jevon Kearse and Dwight Freeney as the only players with 11 or more sacks in each of their first two seasons.
Broncos by 12

Seahawks (6-4) at Dolphins (4-6)
Miami a miserable 9-for-34 on third downs over current three-game losing streak.
Dolphins by 2

Falcons (9-1) at Buccaneers (6-4)
Matt Ryan has a 6–2 record against the Bucs, but just a 2–2 mark on the road in Tampa Bay.
Falcons by 6

Vikings (6-4) at Bears (7-3)
Jay Cutler (concussion) “feels good” but “felt bad” for Jason Campbell on Monday night.
Bears by 1

Ravens (8-2) at Chargers (4-6)
Baltimore ball-hawk Ed Reed had his one game suspension overturned and will be playing center field against Bolts knuckleballer Philip Rivers.
Ravens by 2

Rams (3-6-1) at Cardinals (4-6)
Arizona’s six-game winless drought started with a 17–3 loss at St. Louis on Thursday in Week 5.
Cardinals by 2

49ers (7-2-1) at Saints (5-5)
San Fran’s Aldon Smith notched 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on Monday night. N’awlins’ Drew Brees won’t be so easy to take down.
49ers by 2

Packers (7-3) at Giants (6-4)
The last time these two powers met, New York shocked No. 1-seed Green Bay, 37–20, at Lambeau Field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Giants by 1

Panthers (2-8) at Eagles (3-7)
Carolina has held a fourth-quarter lead in five of its last six losses. Meanwhile, Philly has lost six straight in a variety of embarrassing ways.
Eagles by 1

Last week: 12–2 // Season: 110–50

<p> NFL Picks, Every Game: Week 12, including Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots at New York Jets, Green Bay Packers at New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 18:11
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-going-week-12

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams — from the best, the one-loss Houston Texans, to the worst, the miserable one-win Kansas City Chiefs.

Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 11 of the season:

1. Texans (9-1) Matt Schaub flirts with Norm Van Brocklin record.

2. Falcons (9-1) Ryan first QB to win with five INTs, no TDs since ’67.

3. 49ers (7-2-1) Colin Kaepernick definitely ready for prime time.

4. Packers (7-3) Aaron Rodgers improves to 8–1 against Detroit.

5. Ravens (8-2) Earn third straight win over Steelers at Heinz Field.

6. Patriots (7-3) Rob Gronkowski out 4-to-6 weeks with broken arm.

7. Broncos (7-3) Von Miller a dancing sack-machine vs. Bolts.

8. Bears (7-3) Jason Campbell ambushed by Niners in MNF loss.

9. Giants (6-4) Big Blue Wrecking Crew well-rested for Green Bay.

10. Steelers (6-4) Re-sign former Steeler (2000-04) Plaxico Burress.

11. Vikings (6-4) Adrian Peterson “can still get stronger” after bye.

12. Seahawks (6-4) Pete Carroll uses bye to solve third-down issues.

13. Colts (6-4) Andrew Luck loses career-worst four turnovers.

14. Buccaneers (6-4) Now 5–1 since bye after comeback at Carolina.

15. Saints (5-5) Marching back, with 5–1 record since 0–4 start.

16. Bengals (5-5) A.J. Green has scored a TD in nine straight games.

17. Cowboys (5-5) Tony Romo takes career-high seven sacks in win.

18. Redskins (4-6) RG3 completes 93.3 percent of passes vs. Philly.

19. Titans (4-6) Jake Locker returns from bye ready for stretch run.

20. Lions (4-6) Coaches have heated sideline argument in defeat.

21. Chargers (4-6) Power outage could mean end of Norv Turner era.

22. Bills (4-6) Score four FGs in four red zone trips but still win.

23. Dolphins (4-6) Just 50 yards, two first downs in first half of loss.

24. Jets (4-6) End three-game losing streak with win at St. Louis.

25. Rams (3-6-1) Defense on longest turnover-less streak since ’50.

26. Cardinals (4-6) Have lost six consecutive games after 4–0 start.

27. Eagles (3-7) First two series of Nick Foles’ first start end in INTs.

28. Raiders (3-7) Have allowed 135 points over three straight losses.

29. Browns (2-8) On a 12-game slide on the road after Big D defeat.

30. Panthers (2-8) Loss to Bucs “as bad as it gets,” says Ron Rivera.

31. Jaguars (1-9) Chad Henne taking over for Blaine Gabbert at QB.

32. Chiefs (1-9) Fans dressed in black, saw ugly ending vs. Cincy.

<p> NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 12, including the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 17:55
Path: /nfl/49ers-starting-qb-colin-kaepernick-or-alex-smith

There’s an age-old football saying: “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one.” That may be the case most of the time, but San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh seems pretty confident in both eighth-year veteran Alex Smith and second-year young gun Colin Kaepernick.

“We really have two quarterbacks with a hot hand,” said Harbaugh, a QB guru who played the position in the NFL from 1987-2000 and also coached Andrew Luck at Stanford.

Before suffering a concussion against the Rams in Week 10, Smith was completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,731 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs for a 104.1 passer rating over his first nine games. Smith’s job seemed pretty safe. He was playing well, had led the 49ers to a 13–3 record and trip to the NFC title game last season, and inked a contract extension worth $16.5 million guaranteed this offseason.

But despite Smith’s recent success and impressive resumé — he was, after all, the No. 1 overall pick (ahead of Aaron Rodgers) in the 2005 draft, had led Utah to an undefeated season under coach Urban Meyer and was a Helix (Calif.) High School teammate of Reggie Bush — he has always been labeled a “game manager” and remains hounded by doubters.

Just when it seemed as if the crowd calling for his exit had quieted down, Smith could only watch as his backup, Kaepernick, shredded the vaunted Chicago Bears defense in a 32–7 win on Monday Night Football.

The 6'4", 230-pound Kaepernick — a local kid from Turlock, Calif. — completed 16-of-23 passes for 243 yards, two TDs and zero INTs, taking only one sack while posting a 133.1 passer rating in his first career start.

Five of his 16 completions went for over 20 yards, and the 25-year-old showed the type of rare athleticism that made him the only quarterback in Division I FBS history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards during his stat-stuffing career at Nevada.

Kaepernick was anything but a “game manager.” He was the definition of a “playmaker.”

“Everything he did was exemplary,” said Harbaugh, who traded the Nos. 45, 108 and 141 picks to the Denver Broncos in order to move up to No. 36 overall to draft Kaepernick last year.

Now the question isn’t whether or not Kaepernick is the quarterback of the future. The question is whether he has supplanted Smith as the starter.

“Kaepernick is a baller,” said 49ers  receiver Michael Crabtree. “That boy can play football. I’m not worried about Colin. We’ve got quarterbacks, man.”

But do the 49ers have one too many quarterbacks?

<p> With Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith both playing well, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is planning on riding the "hot hand" at quarterback.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 17:12
Path: /college-football/15-coaches-replace-fired-jeff-tedford-california

Even though Jeff Tedford had the most wins in California school history, it was clearly time for a change. Tedford was fired on Tuesday, ending a tenure that spanned 11 seasons and compiled 82 victories. Although Tedford had a successful run, the program had dipped in recent years and culminated in a disappointing 3-9 finish this season. 

15 Coaching Candidates to Replace Jeff Tedford at California

Gary Andersen, head coach, Utah State – Andersen is the perfect example of why records can be misleading when judging a head coach. In four seasons at Utah State, his record is just 24-24 overall. However, he inherited a program that won just six games in the three years prior to his arrival. The Aggies went to a bowl game last season and will win the WAC title with a win over Idaho this Saturday.

Mike Bellotti, former Oregon head coach – Bellotti has been out of coaching since 2008 but that shouldn’t stop California from calling if interested. In 14 years at Oregon, the California native went 116-55 and led the Ducks to one BCS bowl appearance. Bellotti will be 62 years old in December, so this isn’t a long-term hire for the program. However, Bellotti is a capable coach and would be a good fit at California.

Ron Caragher, head coach, San Diego – Caragher is a longshot but is a name that’s starting to generate some interest in open jobs. In six seasons with San Diego, he has a solid 43-22 record. Caragher also has experience on the FBS level, spending time as an assistant with UCLA and Kentucky.

Tim DeRuyter, head coach, Fresno State – DeRuyter has been a successful hire at Fresno State, recording an 8-3 mark and having a shot at the Mountain West title in his first season with the Bulldogs. Although he has done a good job in a short amount of time, DeRuyter has only one year of head coaching experience.

Sonny Dykes, head coach, Louisiana Tech – Along with Gary Andersen and Mike MacIntyre, Dykes is one of the top non-BCS coaches that will be in the mix for some of the open vacancies around college football this offseason. Dykes is 22-14 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech and should lead the Bulldogs to a bowl game in 2012. He also has a solid resume as an assistant, making stops at Texas Tech, Arizona and Kentucky. 

Mark Helfrich, offensive coordinator Oregon – Helfrich doesn’t have any head coaching experience but is a rising star in the assistant ranks. The Oregon native has spent time as an assistant at Oregon, Boise State, Arizona State and Colorado, so he is familiar with what it takes to win in the Pac-12. Helfrich doesn’t call the plays with Chip Kelly on the sidelines, but he is certainly involved with the Ducks’ offense. Assuming Helfrich wants to be a head coach, he would be wise to hold off on leaving Oregon, especially with Kelly rumored to be in the mix for NFL jobs.

Hue Jackson, assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals – Jackson has a wealth of experience as an assistant in college and in the NFL but went 8-8 in his only season as the Oakland Raiders’ head coach in 2011. He also has previous experience at California, working as Steve Mariucci’s offensive coordinator in 1996. Jackson also served as USC’s offensive coordinator from 1997-2000. Although Jackson was fired from the Raiders’ job, he is an intriguing candidate to watch in this coaching search. 

Bryan Harsin, offensive coordinator, Texas – Much like Mark Helfrich or Justin Wilcox, Harsin is due for his shot to run a BCS program. The former Boise State quarterback has quickly climbed the ladder in the coaching ranks, working at Eastern Oregon in 2000 and at Boise State from 2001-2010. Harsin oversaw some of the nation’s top offenses at Boise State and has brought improvement to Texas’ offenses over the last two years.

Kliff Kingsbury, offensive coordinator, Texas A&M – Kingsbury’s stock has been on a steady rise since the start of the 2012 season. The former Texas Tech quarterback has helped to engineer one of the nation’s top offenses at Texas A&M, which comes one year after leading Houston the No. 1 overall rank in scoring last year. Kingsbury could use a little more seasoning as an assistant, but his high-scoring offense would certainly spark some interest in the fanbase.

Mike MacIntyre, head coach, San Jose State – Considering MacIntyre’s work less than 60 miles away from Berkeley at San Jose State, he has to be the early favorite to be California’s next coach. After spending time as an assistant at Temple, Ole Miss, Duke and in the NFL with the Jets and Cowboys, MacIntyre has transformed the Spartans into a potential 10-win team in 2012. After going 1-12 in 2010, San Jose State showed big improvement in a 5-7 season in 2011 and has carried that momentum into 2012.

Chris Petersen, head coach, Boise State – Petersen’s name seems to pop up with every opening, and it’s very unlikely he leaves Boise State. However, with the uncertainty surrounding Boise State’s conference future, California at least has to inquire to see if he has any interest in leaving. Petersen is 82-8 in seven seasons at Boise State and led the Broncos to two BCS bowls.

Bobby Petrino, former Arkansas head coach – Although this may be a strange fit for Petrino to land at California, this is a good landing spot for the embattled coach. Petrino was born in Montana and coached at Arizona State for two seasons, so he’s certainly familiar with life in the Pac-12. Considering what transpired at Arkansas, landing at a job away from the SEC and out of the spotlight may not be a bad idea. Also, even though Petrino has a tremendous track record at Arkansas and Louisville, he may be available at a discount price. And that’s certainly of interest to a program that doesn’t have a huge budget to hire a coach.

Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers – Along with Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw, Roman helped to spark Stanford’s turnaround from 2007-2010. Although he has no head coaching experience, Roman has a well-rounded resume with stops in the NFL with the Panthers, Ravens, Texans and the 49ers. He is also a bright offensive mind, which is needed in California with some promising receivers and a young quarterback waiting in the wings.

Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – With three consecutive losses by Western Kentucky, Taggart’s stock has dropped some over the last couple of weeks. However, he still remains one of college football’s rising stars on the non-BCS level. Taggart is 15-20 in three seasons at Western Kentucky and worked for three seasons under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.

Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator, Washington – Wilcox has been a successful defensive coordinator at three different stops – Boise State, Tennessee and Washington. Under his watch in Seattle, the Huskies have improved from one of the worst defenses in college football to one that ranks 29th nationally in yards allowed. The only downside? Wilcox has never been a head coach. However, Wilcox’s experience on the West Coast certainly has to be attractive.

by Steven Lassan


Other Names to Watch

Beau Baldwin, head coach, Eastern Washington – Baldwin has thrived on the FCS level, leading Eastern Washington to a 33-16 record from 2008-2011. The California native also led the program to a FCS title in 2010.

Herm Edwards, former NFL coach – Edwards played at California for two seasons but was just 54-74 during his NFL coaching career. A real longshot.

June Jones, head coach, SMU – Jones nearly landed the Arizona State job last season, so there’s no question he would be interested in leaving SMU. However, after going 76-41 at Hawaii, a 29-34 mark at SMU and a potential 5-7 record this season has not helped his stock in 2012.

Mike Norvell, offensive coordinator, Arizona State – Norvell is a rising star but has no head coaching experience and probably needs a little more seasoning as an assistant.

Brent Pease, offensive coordinator, Florida – Pease is a well-traveled assistant and has worked as an offensive coordinator at Boise State, Florida, Baylor and Kentucky. However, he has never been a head coach.

Related College Football Content

Pac-12 Post-Week 12 Power Rankings
15 Coaches to Replace Derek Dooley at Tennessee

Top 25 Rivalries in College Football

<p> 15 Coaches to Replace Fired Jeff Tedford at California</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 13:31
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-11

Until last week, crew chief Jimmy Fennig admits he had “very seldom’’ talked to Carl Edwards in their years together at Roush Fenway Racing.

“I’m the type of crew chief that I focus in on the job at hand and the driver I have and don’t really pay too much attention to other drivers,” said Fennig, who most recently was Matt Kenseth’s crew chief.

Next season, Fennig and his crew will partner with Edwards as Kenseth drives for Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s part of a series of changes taking place at Roush Fenway Racing. Two-time defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. replaces Kenseth in the No. 17 Cup car. Trevor Bayne takes Stenhouse’s Nationwide ride. The Cup team of Greg Biffle and crew chief Matt Puccia will remain intact.

Fennig, who became a crew chief in 1986 and won the 2004 championship with Kurt Busch, admits he doesn’t know Edwards too well but doesn’t see that as a hinderance in their pairing.

“My goal has always been to win races,” said Fennig, the winning crew chief in the 1988 Daytona 500 with Bobby Allison and this year’s Daytona 500 with Kenseth. “No matter who drives the car, that’s what I try to do every week and that’s something I know we already have in common.”

Fennig will be Edwards’ third crew chief since the start of the 2012 season. Bob Osborne started with Edwards. Osborne, citing health issues, stepped down as crew chief in July and was replaced by Chad Norris.

Edwards was winless this season and finished 15th in the points a year after losing the championship on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart. Edwards scored only four top-10 finishes in the 17 races with Norris as crew chief, thus a change wasn’t surprising.

“We all just sat down and looked at it and Chad and I talked at length about it,” Edwards said of the change. “Everyone agrees the opportunity to have the experience of Jimmy Fennig on the box to get ... back to Victory Lane is what we should do. It wasn’t something that I single-handedly requested or just that Jack (Roush) wanted to do it. As a team we thought this was the best thing to do. The biggest thing at Roush is that he has so many good people that we can move people around and do things like this and it is good for the whole company.”

Along with that move, Roush will pair Stenhouse Jr. with crew chief Scott Graves. Both will be rookies in Cup.

“I would normally not be an advocate for bringing a crew chief who hadn’t been established with a rookie driver into the Cup Series, but Scott Graves – in my words – he’s been a prodigy for the small amount of experience he’s had making the final decisions,” Roush said.

“He made great decisions for Carl at Watkins Glen and he’s made great decisions for Ricky when he’s been with him this year. So I think given the fact he’s a mechanical engineer as well as an experienced team engineer, he’s going to bring enthusiasm and creativity to Ricky that we might not otherwise be able to achieve with somebody that had more experience.”

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long highlights the NASCAR news and notes of the week. Carl Edwards and Regan Smith get new crew chiefs, Kyle Busch searches for sponsorship and Elliot Sadler has a new home at Joe Gibbs Racing.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 11:21
Path: /college-football/rutgers-joins-big-ten-whats-next-big-east

College football has been on a wave of non-stop realignment over the last two years, and the dominoes continued to fall with the Big Ten’s addition of Rutgers. Maryland was announced as the Big Ten’s 13th team on Monday, while the Scarlet Knights will join as team No. 14 in 2014.

Just as the Big Ten did with Maryland, picking up Rutgers adds another team in a valuable television market. The Scarlet Knights won’t completely bring in the New York City television market but it certainly helps to have a team within 100 miles of the city.

In addition to a prime location, another reason Rutgers was an attractive candidate for Big Ten expansion has the improvement on the gridiron. The Scarlet Knights went 15-63 from 1996-2002 but are 65-34 in their last eight seasons. Former coach Greg Schiano did a good job of rebuilding the program, while new coach Kyle Flood has done a good job of maintaining that success in 2012.

What’s Next for the Big East?

Rutgers’ decision to leave is another blow for the Big East. The conference is losing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC in 2013, while West Virginia left for the Big 12 for the 2012 season.

To offset the losses of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, the Big East added UCF, Memphis, SMU, Houston, Boise State, San Diego State and Temple as its new football members. Temple joined in time for 2012, while all of the others were scheduled to join for 2013. Navy is expected to join the Big East in 2015.

The conference was planning on going with a 12-team alignment in 2013, with UCF, South Florida, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville in the East Division and Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and Temple headlining the West Division.

However, all of those plans are on hold after Rutgers’ departure.

Not only is the Big East losing another member, the departure of Rutgers will be felt in the pocketbook. Although the Scarlet Knights may not completely capture the New York City market, it’s an important bargaining chip in television contract negotiations. 

Before jumping into realignment scenarios, this is an important question to consider: Can the Big East stick together?

It’s no secret the ACC is going to expand to a 14th team. Is that Louisville or Connecticut? Could the ACC take both and Cincinnati to get to 16 teams? Nothing is off the table at this point.

If the Big East loses Louisville or Connecticut, the conference isn’t finished but it could force Boise State and San Diego State to rethink its future. The Broncos and Aztecs could head back to the Mountain West, which would be a huge blow to the Big East.

Here’s a few possible replacements for Rutgers in the Big East, as well as any team that leaves for the ACC:

Army: The Big East has expressed some interest in the past in getting the three service academies into the conference. However, the Black Knights would likely struggle to be consistently competitive in the conference.

East Carolina: The location is a negative, but the Pirates have good fan support and has five winning seasons out of the last seven years. Although the Big East needs to add to its Western footprint, the Pirates would be an addition to replace Rutgers in the East Division, provided the conference doesn’t want to move Temple.

UMass: The Minutemen are just in their first season of FBS play but would help to replace some of the Northeast presence lost by Rutgers. UMass would need some time to be competitive in football and plays its games at Gillette Stadium.

Or…More Western Expansion?

If the Big East wants to keep Boise State and San Diego State in the conference, adding more teams out west is probably a must.  

How about UNLV or Fresno State? Both programs would probably have to find somewhere to park its non-football sports but would help to add to the Western footprint of the conference. Outside of UNLV and Fresno State, Air Force and Tulsa might be the only two other viable candidates to pickup from another conference.

There’s no question the biggest prize is BYU. However, the Cougars seem to be happy with their independence, and the instability of the Big East has to be a concern for BYU. Although the money and access to bowls would be better in a conference, it’s hard to see the Cougars giving up their independence anytime soon.

Needless to say, the Big East has to be concerned about the departure of Rutgers and the potential loss of Connecticut or Louisville to the ACC. The conference can survive if it loses two teams. However, losing San Diego State and Boise State back to the Mountain West would be a significant setback.

Needless to say, college football realignment isn't going away anytime soon.

Related College Football Content

Maryland Joins Big Ten - What's Next for the ACC?
History of Big Ten Expansion and Why Maryland Makes Sense

<p> Rutgers Joins Big Ten; What's Next for the Big East?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 10:59
Path: /nascar/keselowski-wins-nascar-sprint-cup-title

Brad Keselowski entered Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 20-point lead in NASCAR’s Chase standings.

Problem was, his competition came in the form of a five-time champion.

Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team enjoyed a reign that lasted from 2006-10, and they won the championship in every way imaginable in that time: Going away, coming from behind, with consistency and utilizing a glut of wins.

So by no means had anyone conceded the 2012 edition of the sport’s playoff to Keselowski’s upstart No. 2 Penske Racing outfit. Yet, as Championship Week in South Florida drew on, it appeared that even in the face of Johnson’s strategically-placed smack talk, the Michigan native remained focused on the task at hand, which was to finish 15th or better in the finale.

That he did — in fact, he finished 15th — in the 400-miler. But not before some mid-race curveballs found Johnson on the brink of overtaking Keselowski.

The architect of Johnson’s five titles, crew chief Chad Knaus, employed a pit scheme that would allow the No. 48 team to make one less stop than the incumbent No. 2 bunch. And if the race were to play out caution-free, Keselowski may have been stuck one lap down — with no guarantee of finishing worse than 15th, but on thin ice, nonetheless.

The story began to play out with 61 laps remaining when Keselowski ran out of fuel on his way to pit road for a scheduled stop. Though all went well once in his pit box, the time lost dropped him to 24th, one lap down to Johnson, who was leading.

However, just 10 laps later Johnson’s regularly-scheduled green flag pit stop threw the favor back in Keselowski’s court. A missing lug nut by the No. 48 crew precipitated a penalty that knocked the Hendrick team one lap down, in 25th.

The coup de grace occurred a handful of laps later, when a rear-gear failure on Johnson’s Chevy relegated it to the garage and, ultimately, a 32nd-place finish.

“I knew it was big,” Johnson said of when his car started leaking fluid. “We were in the cat bird’s seat. We were in position to win the race. We were ahead of the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the 24 won the race.”

From there, Keselowski cruised while Gordon, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer vied for the race win. Gordon came out the victor — outrunning his newly minted rival Bowyer — scoring career Cup win No. 87.

Bowyer’s runner-up finish vaulted him past Johnson in the final championship tally, but a distant 39 points behind Keselowski.

For team owner Roger Penske, the title was a rare first in an illustrious motorsports career. For all the success he has achieved in open-wheel racing (12 IndyCar championships, 15 Indianapolis 500 wins), he had yet to win a title in NASCAR’s premier series.

“I feel amazed that I’ve been able to achieve this in racing,” Penske said. “I’ve lauded the people that have been on that (championship) stage for so many years and to be able to join this elite group and say that I’m a champion in NASCAR means a lot.”

Penske’s Cup program received its catalyst in the form of Keselowski in 2010, when he ran his first full season on the premier level. A natural leader, Keselowski had a vision to take the organization from race-winner to titlist. The team he helped put together persevered through a rough initial season. That’s when Keselowski’s Nationwide Series crew chief, Paul Wolfe, was asked to step up.

Having won the 2010 Nationwide title together, driver and crew chief spearheaded a three-win Cup campaign in 2011 and came out like gangbusters in 2012, winning five races en route to their second NASCAR championship in three years.

Even more challenging for the duo over the course of the Chase was knowing that Penske’s affiliation with manufacturer Dodge ended when the checkered flag fell in Homestead. Making the switch to Ford in the offseason and with Dodge on its way out of the sport altogether, many questioned how the No. 2 team, with no real help in the form of a teammate, would outlast a rival as battle-hardened as Johnson’s No. 48 squad.

The answer, as Keselowski stressed afterward, was through the strength of team and the attitude with which he approached the task.

“Throughout my whole life I’ve been told I’m not big enough, not fast enough, not strong enough and I don’t have what it takes,” Keselowski said. “I’ve used that as a chip on my shoulder to carry me through my whole career. It took until this year for me to realize that that was right, man, they were right: I’m not big enough, fast enough, strong enough.

“No person is. Only a team can do that.”

With a team that is now not only battle-tested, but title-winning, a driver and crew chief in their respective primes, and a new home at Ford Racing awaiting in 2013, the Penske organization can now look forward to many more nights like Sunday’s celebration in South Beach.

by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro

<p> Brad Keselowski beat Jimmie Johnson to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 10:05
Path: /college-football/top-25-rivalries-college-football

Pep bands, cheerleaders, tailgating, student sections, cornhole and especially rivalries. All of which makes college football the greatest sport on the planet. The Athlon Sports editorial staff put its collective heads together and ranked the Top 25 rivalries in college football:

1. Michigan-Ohio State (Michigan leads 58-44-6)
Some think the story is a tall tale, but others swear it’s true. After his Ohio State team scored its final touchdown late in a 50–14 rout of Michigan at the end of the 1968 season, Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes elected to go for two points, instead of kicking the PAT. When asked afterward why he did that, Hayes reportedly said, “Because they ­wouldn’t let me go for three.” Hayes’ hatred for “that team up north,” as he referred to Michigan, was legendary. Rest assured that Wolverine fans harbor no affection for the Buckeyes, either. The schools have met every year but five (1913-17) since 1900 — the teams’ first game was in 1897 — and their contests have become appointment viewing for much of the country, late in November, usually under gun-metal gray skies with a hint of winter in the air. More important, Big Ten primacy is usually at stake, especially since Bo Schembechler took over in Ann Arbor in 1969 to turn the U-M fortunes around and provide an irascible counterbalance to the cantankerous Hayes. Since that point, Michigan-Ohio State has been the nation’s most consistently competitive and heated rivalry. Because the games have so much significance and occur at season’s end, a loss can be doubly haunting. Not only does the vanquished team lose to a hated foe, but its season can be destroyed also. For that reason, Michigan-Ohio State tops the rivalry list. There may be games that match these schools’ animosity for each other, and there may be contests that are as consistently important. But none combines the two into such a volatile package.

2. Alabama-Auburn (Alabama leads 41-34-1)
When Bill Curry was coaching at Alabama, he went to a Birmingham elementary school one day to speak with children about football and life. Upon entering the classroom, he saw a boy standing in the corner, sobbing. Curry wondered what was going on, and a student told him, “Jason is an Auburn fan, and we took care of him.” Curry brought Jason out of the corner and told him it was all right to root for the Tigers, no doubt angering the young Crimson Tide supporters in the room. Truth be told, it isn’t all right to be an Auburn fan — if you follow the Tide. Tiger fans feel the same way about Bama. If you live in the state of Alabama, you have to choose; you either yell “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.” You’re either a fan of the big-brother Crimson Tide, or Auburn, which has its roots in agricultural education and resents the perceived arrogance of its rival. In a state with no major professional sports team, Auburn-Alabama football is a religion. Curry’s minister once told him it was more important. It has been that way from the game’s earliest days, which proved to be so contentious that the schools stopped playing each other for 41 years. Once they resumed hostilities, they did so at a geographically neutral site, in Birmingham, but Auburn fans groused for decades because Legion Field was the Tide’s home away from home. That changed when the game moved to campus, but the vitriol has not abated. Fans of both teams crave victory, and a loss means a full year of misery from friends, co-workers and even family members. It’s enough to make someone want to stand in a corner and cry.

3. Army-Navy (Navy leads 56-49-7)
Go ahead and try to attend this game without experiencing a surge of patriotism. If the Super Hornets’ flyover doesn’t get you, the Army paratroopers will. If you miss the parades of Cadets and Midshipmen, then the non-stop spirit videos on the big board will stir your senses. By game’s end, no matter what the score, America wins. That may seem hokey to some, but they haven’t been there. Trust us, Army-Navy is college football in its purest state. Today, that’s something worth celebrating. Fans of the teams thirst for victory, and so do the players, who are truly playing for their fellow students. Afterward, they rejoin their classmates in preparation for military service, not an NFL career. For 364 days of the year, Army and Navy are on the same team. For three hours on a chilled December afternoon, they represent every soldier or sailor who has ever donned a uniform, walked a post or sailed into the dark of night. The football has been pretty good over the years, too. Five Heisman winners have participated in the rivalry, and dozens of Hall of Famers have taken the field representing the academies. Though Navy has dominated the scoreboard over the past decade, the game remains a huge draw and a still thrills fans across the country. Most important, it pits future military and government leaders against each other as they fight for their Academies and provide the country with an afternoon of prideful competition.

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Texas leads 59-43-5)
One of the most unique characteristics about Dallas’ Cotton Bowl is that the teams’ locker rooms empty into a common corridor, so that players take the field through the same tunnel. On more than one occasion, as Texas and Oklahoma have prepared to charge onto the hallowed stadium’s turf, they have encountered each other in a highly charged, emotional moment that could have ignited an inferno. Instead, they decided to enjoin the fight on the gridiron, in front of 95,000-plus fans divided evenly into crimson and burnt orange enclaves. Rarely has the flame from the ensuing collision failed to heat the passions of all in attendance. While the Texas State Fair rollicks on around them, and vendors offer to fry anything that doesn’t move — and some things that do — the Longhorns and Sooners offer a mid-season football feast that dates back to 1900, when Oklahoma wasn’t even a state and Texas was just beginning to tap into the huge oil reserves deep below its surface. The neighbors harbor a significant dislike for each other, and tempers have boiled over many times on nights before the game. It doesn’t help that many OU grads now live in Texas, lured south by jobs in the petroleum industry. And plenty of Lone Star football talent has headed north to Norman, especially when Barry Switzer was pillaging the state’s top programs for all-stars. The action on the field rarely disappoints. Although there have been several blowouts over the years, including 2011’s 55–17 Sooner wipeout, the action is usually taut and has national implications. Though the game is played in October, several championship runs have been spawned by a victory in Dallas, and several high hopes have been dashed.

5. USC-Notre Dame (Notre Dame leads 43-23-5)
The nation’s top intersectional rivalry owes a debt of gratitude to some unfriendly residents of Lincoln, Neb., and Bonnie Rockne’s love of warm California weather. At a time when traditional gridiron matchups are being torn asunder by the whirling conference kaleidoscope, Notre Dame and USC continue their annual hostilities, treating the nation to a classic matchup of iconic programs. The schools almost didn’t get together. But in 1925, after ND dropped a 17–0 decision at Nebraska, before an inhospitable crowd of Cornhusker fans, coach Knute Rockne and his wife were joined on the train back to Chicago by USC athletic director Gwynn Wilson and his wife, Marion. While Wilson tried to convince Rockne to ditch the burgeoning rivalry with Nebraska for an annual trip west, Marion Wilson and Bonnie Rockne became fast friends in another train compartment. Rockne resisted Wilson’s entreaties, but his wife was enthralled with the idea of Los Angeles in the late fall. She later convinced her husband to play the Trojans. The resulting rivalry has lasted 85 years and has filled the college football history books with dozens of classic tales. More Heisman winners have played in the Notre Dame-USC game than in any other rivalry, and many a national championship hope has been validated with a victory in the game. Though the teams alternate between their home sites, playing in late November in L.A. and mid-October in South Bend, the game retains a glamour that defines it and is a product of two of college football’s most storied programs.

6. Georgia-Florida (Georgia leads 48-40-2)
The party begins at “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” around Tuesday, when the big boats start cruising up the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. By gametime, everybody is in a festive mood – except the players. The Bulldogs and Gators have engaged in some classics over the years, from Georgia’s thrilling comeback in 1980 to Florida’s soggy 1993 triumph. Cheers!

7. Miami-Florida State (Miami leads 31-26)
For a while there during the 1990s, there was more talent on the field when the ‘Canes and ‘Noles met up than in some NFL stadiums. And everybody wanted to put on a show. This matchup lacks the tradition and history of other rivalries, but the hostility is just as high. And there have been some classics. FSU fans still wince when they hear the words “Wide Right,” while Miami backers still cringe at the 34-3 beating their heroes absorbed in ’84.

8. Harvard-Yale (Yale leads 65-56-8)
The Crimson and Bulldogs may not have played the first-ever college football game, but both schools had hands in how the game developed into what we have today. The late-November meeting between the schools is a history lesson wrapped in a high-class tailgate party. Harvard and Yale no longer compete at college football’s highest level, but they remain forever linked to the sport’s earliest days.

9. Florida-Florida State (Florida leads 33-21-2)
For years, this was a big brother/little brother battle, with the establishment Gators looking down on the upstart Seminoles. Then, FSU started to win games – a lot of games – and things changed. This may lack the in-state hate of Auburn-Alabama, but don’t worry; the two sides harbor plenty of dislike for each other. During the past three decades, as both have competed for national laurels, their games have become more than just neighborhood brawls.

10. Cal-Stanford (Stanford leads 58-46-11)
To some, The Big Game is the province of the wine-and-cheese crowd, and the schools’ NoCal addresses reinforce that. But there can be no denying that these schools thirst to defeat each other. It’s a classic battle of private (Stanford) against public (Cal), and bragging rights go well beyond which side brings the best pinot to the pre-game party. Plus, what other rivalry can boast a game with a crazy ending as the 1982 contest: “The band is on the field!”

11. Pittsburgh-West Virginia (Pitt leads 61-40-3)
Only 75 miles separates the two combatants in the Backyard Brawl. This rivalry is on hold after Pittsburgh moved to the ACC and West Virginia relocated to the Big 12.

12. Texas-Texas A&M (Texas leads 76-37-5)
This Thanksgiving weekend tradition is in jeopardy with the Aggies’ move to the SEC.

13. Oregon-Oregon State (Oregon leads 59-46-10)
The Civil War has come a long way since the Ducks and Beavers played to a 0–0 tie in 1983.

14. BYU-Utah (Utah leads 56-34-4)
The Holy War might be the best name for any rivalry in the nation.

15. UCLA-USC (USC leads 44-29-7)
The Southern California showdown was dominated by UCLA from 1991-98, but the Bruins have only won once since, in 2006.

16. Alabama-Tennessee (Alabama leads 49-38-7)
The Third Saturday in October means only one thing to people in the South: Alabama vs. Tennessee.

17. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Oklahoma leads 82-17-7)
T. Boone Pickens’ interest in the Oklahoma State program was piqued after the Pokes, 3–7 at the time, knocked OU out of the 2001 national title game with a 16–13 win.

18. Clemson-South Carolina (Clemson leads 65-40-4)
These two schools were bitter rivals well before they started playing football in the 1890s. South Carolina has won two straight, but Clemson holds a 65–39–4 advantage in the all-time series.

19. Mississippi State-Ole Miss (Ole Miss leads 60-42-6)
The Egg Bowl is often the only way to salvage a season for these two programs that have struggled to win consistently in the SEC.

20. Michigan-Michigan State (Michigan leads 68-32-5)
It pains MSU fans that Michigan’s biggest rival is Ohio State, but the “Little Brothers” from East Lansing have won the last four in the series.

21. Auburn-Georgia (Auburn leads 54-53-8)
It’s the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and it dates back to 1892. Auburn holds the slimmest of margins, with a 54–52–8 edge in the series.

22. Michigan-Notre Dame (Michigan leads 23-16-1)
These two traditional powers have only played regularly for the past three decades, but they produced a ton of memorable moments. Strike a pose, Desmond!

23. Georgia-Georgia Tech (Georgia leads 62-39-5)
You know it’s a good rivalry when the book about the series is called Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

24. Minnesota-Wisconsin (Minnesota leads 59-55-8)
The winner of the Gophers vs. Badgers showdown takes home the prized Paul Bunyan Axe. It’s the most played rivalry in FBS football, dating back to 1890.

25. Lafayette-Lehigh (Lafayette leads 76-67-5)
The Rivalry, as it’s called, pits two small private schools located 17 miles apart in Eastern Pennsylvania. Lafayette and Lehigh have met 146 times, including every year since 1897.

<p> The Top 25 Rivalries in College Football</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:22
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-12-rankings

Week 12 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. And it was a busy week in the coaching carousel, as Tennessee's Derek Dooley and Western Michigan's Bill Cubit were fired after Saturday's games. UTEP's Mike Price also announced his retirement, which means there are five FBS open jobs going into Week 13.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 12 Rankings

1. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Boston College: 22-28 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-9
In what will be the final home game in the Frank Spaziani era, Boston College lost 30-23 in overtime to Virginia Tech. Although the Eagles aren’t packing it in after a tough season, this program is on the verge of having its first year of double-digit losses since 1978. Spaziani guided Boston College to back-to-back winning seasons in his first two years, but the Eagles are just 6-17 after going 15-11 from 2009-10.

2. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Auburn: 33-18 (4th season)
2012 Record: 3-8
Auburn closed out its 2012 home slate with a dominant 51-7 victory over Alabama A&M. The Tigers easily outmatched their FCS opponent, which provided some good news in a season that has been downright awful. If Chizik has any hope of returning to Auburn next season, a good showing in Saturday’s Iron Bowl is a must. The Crimson Tide is a heavy favorite, but rivalry games usually bring out the best in the underdog.

3. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at California: 82-57 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-9
After a 3-9 season, Tedford wasn’t given much of a chance to return to California for 2013. However, signs out of Berkeley seem to indicate he will be back for another year. The Golden Bears were dominated in a 62-14 loss to Oregon State on Saturday, which was their fifth consecutive defeat and seventh overall loss in Pac-12 play. Helping Tedford’s cause to return has to be a lack of appealing replacements for California, as well as a small budget that would make a buyout very difficult. If Tedford is back in 2013, he will likely be the coach at the top of the hot seat rankings.

4. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Record at Southern Miss: 0-11
2012 Record: 0-11
The Golden Eagles came up just short in a 34-33 loss to UTEP on Saturday. The defeat dropped Southern Miss to 0-11, which is the worst season in school history. Johnson is only in his first season in Hattiesburg but there should be doubts about his future at Southern Miss. After winning the Conference USA title last year, the Golden Eagles have struggled to be competitive and are likely to finish the season at 0-12. Even if Johnson returns next season, he’s shown nothing to suggest he can help lead Southern Miss back to a winning record in 2013.

5. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at New Mexico State: 10-38 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-9
The Aggies had a bye in Week 12 and return to action this Saturday against BYU. Since beating Sacramento State in the opener, New Mexico State has lost its last nine games. And with a date against the Cougars this week and a road matchup against Texas State upcoming, there’s no guaranteed victory on the schedule. Walker inherited a difficult situation at New Mexico State, but the program has yet to make much progress under his watch.

6. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at UNLV: 6-31 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-10
With Saturday’s 28-23 loss to Wyoming, the Rebels clinched their third consecutive season of at least 10 or more defeats. Hauck has brought some improvement to UNLV, and it hung tough in losses to Minnesota, Washington State, Nevada and San Diego State. However, the Rebels were blown out by Colorado State and have only six wins over the last three years. A win over Hawaii in the season finale would certainly help Hauck’s case to return for 2013.

7. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Colorado: 4-20 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-10
The 2012 season has been a miserable one for the Buffaloes, and the bad news continued with a 38-3 loss to Washington in Week 12. Colorado has major issues on both sides of the ball but none bigger than finding a quarterback. Jordan Webb, Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood have played but each has struggled to give the passing attack any consistency. Another problem is the defense, which ranks 120th in points allowed and is giving up 502.4 yards per game. Although this season has been a disaster, all signs point to Embree returning for 2013. 

8. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at South Florida: 16-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-7
A 40-9 loss to Miami was bad enough, but there’s been plenty of criticism about Holtz for his poor game management and the ongoing issues at quarterback. With B.J. Daniels sidelined, the Bulls decided to take the redshirt off of Bobby Eveld – in the 10th game of the season. Eveld was knocked out in the first half, which prompted Matt Floyd’s insertion into the lineup. As expected, Floyd’s first extended game action was inconsistent but taking the redshirt off of Eveld this late into the year makes zero sense. With Cincinnati and Pittsburgh up next on the schedule, South Florida is likely looking at a 3-9 finish.

9. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Purdue: 21-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 5-6
With back-to-back wins over Iowa and Illinois, Purdue is making a late case for Hope to return in 2013. The Boilermakers haven’t exactly earned a marquee victory this year but has close losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State. Hope is just 21-27 in his career and does not have a season over .500 in Big Ten play. However, if Purdue beats Indiana to get to 6-6, it might be tough for the Boilermakers to make a change. 

10. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at Buffalo: 9-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-7
Just like Purdue’s Danny Hope, Quinn is making a late-season surge to return in 2013. The Bulls are riding a three-game winning streak headed into the season finale at Bowling Green and has lost by seven points or less to Connecticut, Toledo and Ohio. Even if Buffalo fails to knock off the Falcons, a 4-8 mark would be the best record in Quinn’s three-year tenure.

11. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: 14
Record at Iowa: 100-74 (14th season)
2012 Record: 4-7
With a huge buyout, Ferentz doesn’t appear to be in any danger at Iowa. However, there’s no question the rumblings from the fanbase won’t get any quieter over the next few weeks. Iowa was blown out 42-17 by Michigan on Saturday, which was its fifth consecutive defeat. Losses to Indiana and Purdue certainly didn’t sit well in Iowa City, along with an early season defeat to Central Michigan. Although Ferentz has led Iowa to 10 bowl games during his tenure, the program seems to be headed in the wrong direction, especially after hiring Greg Davis as the team’s offensive coordinator last offseason.

12. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank: 20
Record at SMU: 29-34 (5th season)
2012 Record: 5-6
Barring an upset win over Tulsa this week, SMU will miss out on its first bowl game since 2008. Although Jones has brought some improvement, the Mustangs have struggled to take the next step under his watch. A 5-7 record would be a disappointment, especially with the program making the jump to the Big East in 2013.

13. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Rice: 28-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 5-6
Thanks to three consecutive wins, Bailiff has been sliding down the hot seat rankings over the last few weeks. Considering Rice started 1-5, it’s quite an accomplishment for the Owls to be one victory away for bowl eligibility. A win over UTEP this Saturday should ensure Rice goes to a bowl game, especially with Conference USA struggling to have enough eligible teams for the postseason. Bailiff is just 28-44 in six years but getting to a bowl game would be enough for the Texas native to return in 2013.

14. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at Central Michigan: 11-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 5-6
A soft late-season schedule might be just enough for Central Michigan to get bowl eligible. Wins over Akron, Eastern Michigan and Miami (Ohio) have the Chippewas sitting at 5-6 with one game remaining at UMass. Enos went 6-18 through his first two years and appeared to be in danger of getting fired at the end of 2012 after a 2-5 start. Even though the schedule has been easy, getting to a bowl game would be good news for Enos.

15. Tom O’Brien, NC State
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at NC State: 39-35 (6th season)
2012 Record: 6-5
The Wolfpack were a trendy preseason pick to surprise in the ACC this year but have failed to reach expectations. NC State is just 1-3 in its last four games but is a lock to make a bowl appearance. O’Brien’s future will be an interesting storyline to watch this offseason, especially if the Wolfpack lose in Week 13 to Boston College. Although O’Brien isn’t a flashy coach, he is 23-14 over the last three years. The fanbase is getting a little restless, which could make for an interesting offseason in Raleigh.

16. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Illinois: 2-9 (1st season)
2012 Record: 2-9
Beckman’s miserable first season at Illinois continued with a 20-17 loss to Purdue. The Fighting Illini enter their season finale with an eight-game losing streak and are winless in Big Ten play. Although Beckman’s debut has been a disaster, he deserves another season to get the program pointed in the right direction. Staff changes should be considered, especially on an offense that ranks 118th nationally in scoring.

17. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at Houston: 5-7 (1st season)
2012 Record: 4-7
Despite a solid core coming back for Levine’s debut season, Houston has failed to reach expectations. The Cougars dropped to 4-7 with a loss to Marshall on Saturday, which is just their second losing season in since 2005. Houston opened its season with a loss to Texas State, lost by 30 to SMU, 34 to Tulsa and is riding a three-game losing streak. With a move to the Big East on the horizon next year, this will be an important offseason for Levine to find the right answers to get the program back on track.

18. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 18
Record at Eastern Michigan: 10-37 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-9
Eastern Michigan might be the toughest job in college football, and the program has struggled to establish any consistent success. Although English led the Eagles to a 6-6 mark in 2011, he is just 4-31 during the other three seasons during his tenure. English should be back at Eastern Michigan for 2013 but likely needs to get five or six victories to ensure his return for 2014.

19. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Connecticut: 9-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Huskies had an off date on Saturday and return to action against Louisville in Week 13. Connecticut has some momentum as the season enters its final stretch, especially after beating Pittsburgh 24-17 on Nov. 9. Pasqualoni is just 9-13 in his two years in Storrs and has yet to lead Connecticut to a bowl game. During his tenure, the offense has been awful and has scored more than 24 points only once this season. However, all signs point to the former Syracuse coach returning to the Huskies’ sideline in 2013.

20. Lane Kiffin, USC
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at USC: 25-11 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 7-4
Kiffin has already been assured he is returning to USC in 2013, which is the right move for the program. However, there’s no question he will be under immense pressure next season. And the Trojans will lose quarterback Matt Barkley to the NFL, while still dealing with scholarship reductions from NCAA sanctions. Kiffin has done a good job on the recruiting trail but a 6-6 finish next season would not sit well in Los Angeles.

by Steven Lassan


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<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 12 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:21
Path: /college-football/who-should-tennessee-hire-replace-derek-dooley

The Derek Dooley era at Tennessee is over. Dooley was fired after Saturday's 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt, which dropped his overall record in Knoxville 15-21. Under Dooley's watch, the Volunteers were just 4-19 in SEC play and made only one bowl appearance. Tennessee has fallen behind Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in recent years, so this is an important hire for athletic director Dave Hart.

Who Should Tennessee Hire to Replace Derek Dooley?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
For just about any job in the SEC, I’d say Louisville’s Charlie Strong should get one of the first calls. After Bobby Petrino left Louisville, the Cardinals were a mess for three years under Steve Kragthorpe. Strong rebuilt a disciplined and tough program over the last three seasons, last week’s loss to Syracuse notwithstanding. Simply put, he knows how to build a quality program. The talent base is better (see: Teddy Bridgewater), the off-field problems have been cleaned up, and the program is back where it was at the end of the Petrino era. Strong is a no-nonsense coach whose not afraid to light into his players with fire and brimstone speeches, as he did early in his tenure with the Cardinals. Given the tumult at Tennessee, Strong's demeanor will be a major asset. And I haven’t even mentioned his decade in the SEC at South Carolina and Florida, where he was the architect of two national championship defenses. But competition is going to be crowded if Strong is going to leave U of L. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
There is a benchmark I would have in my mind if I am a Tennessee fan. The phone log for Dave Hart should read as follows: Chip Kelly, Al Golden, Dan Mullen, Chris Petersen, Jon Gruden, Bobby Petrino, Jimbo Fisher, Gary Patterson and Mike Gundy. Any name "below" that list would feel like a failure on Hart's part. Tennessee will force Gruden to say no (who isn't a sure-fire home run) and Gundy, Kelly, Petersen or Patterson won't be leaving their current employers anytime soon. And Hart's "integrity" statement seems to eliminate Petrino. That leaves Golden, Mullen and Fisher as the best and most viable options. If am a Tennessee fan and either Al Golden or Dan Mullen is coaching in Knoxville next fall, I am ecstatic.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
This is a critical hire for Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart. The Volunteers have had too much coaching turnover in recent years, so this hire needs to be one that can bring some stability. Bobby Petrino and Jon Gruden will be tossed around in Knoxville, but I think Tennessee would be wise to go after one of three coaches: San Jose State’s Mike MacIntyre, Miami’s Al Golden or Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen. I'd also throw Charlie Strong into the mix, but I'm not sure he is ready to leave Louisville. MacIntyre has turned San Jose State from one of the worst teams in college football to a potential 10-win squad in 2012. Golden resurrected Temple’s program and has brought improvement to Miami over the last two years. Mullen is 29-20 in four seasons at Mississippi State and could thrive at a program with a bigger budget and more resources. Tennessee would be in good shape with any of those three, but I’d give Mullen a slight edge over MacIntyre or Golden if I were hiring the next coach.  

Mark Ross: 
One of the names you keep hearing to take over in Knoxville is Jon Gruden. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see why Gruden would leave his plush job with ESPN and "Monday Night Football" to return to coaching, unless it's the NFL. It certainly looks like there will be a number of openings on the pro level, so if Gruden has the chance to hand-pick his next pro job, why would he go to the collegiate ranks, where he has a grand total of two seasons of coaching experience, which came as a graduate assistant? No, I think Tennessee is best served by hiring an experienced head coach who has had success at a BCS school. Enter Charlie Strong, who has won at least seven games in all three of his seasons at Louisville and could lead his Cardinals to a Big East title and BCS bowl bid this season. Strong has plenty of experience coaching in the SEC, highlighted by his eight seasons at Florida where he served as defensive coordinator for the Gators' two BCS championship teams, and he has shown that he can recruit and bring in talent like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at a lesser known, if you will, program like Louisville. Strong has a defensive background, and it's pretty apparent that Tennessee needs all the help it can get there, and he's not going to be intimidated by making the jump to the big bad SEC. Hiring Strong may not "win the press conference," as they say, but I think he will win plenty of games, which is what matters most to Volunteer fans and supporters.

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<p> Who Should Tennessee Hire to Replace Derek Dooley?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:20