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If Louisville is playing with a chip on its shoulder, Cardinals coach Charlie Strong has to be pleased with the results.

Louisville is the lowest ranked undefeated team at No. 11 in the Associated Press top 25, two spots behind a two-loss LSU. The other five undefeated teams -- Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Ohio State -- are all in the top five.

Even an undefeated Big East champion may have difficulty cracking the top five, especially one whose best non-conference win is by 5 over North Carolina at home. For now, Louisville will just have to settle for dominating performances against its conference opponents, such as this week’s 45-17 win over Temple.

While Louisville keeps winning, other Big East teams had an eventful weekend, at least at the quarterback position. USF four-year starter B.J. Daniels will miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle, and Cincinnati coach Butch Jones may be mulling a change of his own at quarterback.

Teddy Bridgewater

Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville --
A week after setting a career high with 416 passing yards against Cincinnati, Bridgewater set a career-best with five touchdown passes against Temple. The sophomore is averaging 325 passing yards per game in Big East play while throwing 10 touchdowns and one interception in four conference games.

2. George Winn, Cincinnati -- Winn rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries against Syracuse on Saturday, adding a 37-yard touchdown pass to boot. Winn is averaging 128.3 rushing yards in Big East games, leading the conference by nearly 20 yards per game.

3. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers -- Jamison’s workload has eased a bit in the last two games, partially because Rutgers trailed at halftime in the win over Temple and loss to Kent State. Although Jamison failed to hit the 100-yard mark in two of the last three games, he has topped 80 yards rushing in each of the last two contests.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers --
Greene will have a chance to shine against Army’s option offense this week. Greene leads Rutgers in tackles (74) and sacks (5.5) and leads the Big East in forced fumbles (five).

2. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut -- Connecticut rebounded from allowing 40 points to Syracuse two weeks ago to hold USF to 13 on the road. Smallwood leads the Big East in tackles for a loss (13) and is second in tackles (91).

3. Greg Blair, Cincinnati -- The senior leads the Big East in tackles (83) to go with 4.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions and four pass breakups. His 10 tackles Saturday against Syracuse gave him double-digit tackles for the third consecutive game.

Coach of the Year Standings
1. Charlie Strong, Louisville --
Strong has the Cardinals off to a 9-0 start, the best in school history. The win over Temple on Saturday topped Louisville’s 8-0 start in 2008 under Bobby Petrino. The Cardinals are 9-1 in their last 10 Big East games and 14-2 since starting the 2011 season 2-4.

2. Kyle Flood, Rutgers -- Here’s where Flood will be challenged most. Not only is his team bruised from a turnover-laden loss to Kent State, Rutgers will go three weeks between conference games before facing Cincinnati on Nov. 17. The undefeated record is gone, but the program’s first Big East title remains in reach.

3. Butch Jones, Cincinnati -- The Bearcats snapped out of a two-game losing streak to defeat Syracuse 35-24, but Jones now has a quarterback quandary on his hands after benching Munchie Legaux in the third quarter against Syracuse.

Big East Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Louisville (9-0, 4-0)
Last week’s rank:
1
Week 10 result: Beat Temple 45-17
Temple returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but that was one of the few momentum swings in the Owls' favor. The game was tied at 17 early in the second quarter, but once Louisville got going, Temple had no chance. The Cardinals scored on seven of 10 possessions (six touchdowns, one field goal) through the first three quarters to put the Owls away. The Cardinals have topped 500 yards in the last two games and average 7.2 yards per play in Big East games. The next best is Cincinnati at 6.2.
This week: at Syracuse

2. Rutgers (7-1, 4-0)
Last week’s rank:
2
Week 10 result: Off
The Scarlet Knights have had a week to simmer over the 35-23 loss to Kent State, but on the bright side for Rutgers, the defense has had an extra week to prepare for Army’s option offense. Not that Rutgers may need much help -- the Scarlet Knights have won eight in a row against Army by an average score of 32-11. After not allowing a team to rush for 100 yards in the first six games, Rutgers has allowed 343 rushing yards the last two games.
This week: Army

3. Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1)
Last week’s rank:
3
Week 10 result:Beat Syracuse 35-24
After saying earlier last week he wouldn’t flinch when it came to sticking with starting quarterback Munchie Legaux, Coach Butch Jones “went with the gut” in replacing Legaux with senior Brendon Kay in the third quarter. Jones’ gut was right as Kay led two scoring drives and completed 3 of 3 passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback change contributed win Saturday, but it will lead to questions this week leading up to a road trip to Temple. Legaux’s ability has been apparent all season, but he’s been inconsistent. He’s struggled to complete half his passes (he went 11 of 22 against Syracuse), and he’s been turnover prone (he threw an interception and a near-pick six Saturday, which caused him to be benched). Aside from the quarterback situation, running back George Winn had a career day with 165 yards on 30 carries and four total touchdowns.
This week: at Temple

4. Pittsburgh (4-5, 1-3)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 10 result: Lost to Notre Dame 29-26 in triple overtime
Although Pittsburgh failed to pull off the upset of the season with a 29-26 loss in triple overtime to Notre Dame, the Panthers aren’t the same team that lost to Youngstown State and Cincinnati in the first two games. The Panthers have put more on the shoulders of veteran running back Ray Graham, who rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown against the Irish. On his own, Graham rushed for more yards on the Notre Dame defense than any team this season. It was also his highest rushing total since rushing for 226 yards against USF on Sept. 29, 2011. A bowl game remains a possibility, but Pitt is going to need to win at least one game on the road with its final three games at Connecticut, vs. Rutgers at home and at USF.
This week: at Connecticut (Friday)

5. Syracuse (4-4, 1-3)
Last week’s rank:
4
Week 10 result: Lost 35-24 to Cincinnati
The maddening season for Syracuse continued as the Orange couldn’t get out of its own way against Cincinnati. The Bearcats had their execution issues, but the Orange had more: Syracuse lost two fumbles, had a 25-yard field goal blocked, missed a 42-yarder and dropped a potential pick six. This has been a trend for a team that leads the Big East in total offense but ranks only fourth in scoring. The difference is more stark on a national level: Syracuse averages 463.8 yards per game (26th nationally), but averages only 26.4 points per game (74th).
This week: Louisville

6. USF (3-6, 1-4)
Last week’s rank:
7
Week 10 result: Beat Connecticut 13-6
This is the kind of two-year stretch it’s been for USF: The Bulls ended a six-game losing streak, finally closed out a game in the fourth quarter and picked up their first two interceptions of the season. But a dose of bad news followed the game with the announcement four-year starting quarterback B.J. Daniels will miss the remainder of the season with broken ankle. In an odd bit of symmetry, Daniels ascended to the starting quarterback job after a season-ending to senior Matt Grothe, making his first career start on the road against Florida State. Redshirt freshman Matt Floyd will make his first career start against another of the Sunshine State’s major programs in Miami in two weeks.
This week: Off

7. Temple
Last week’s rank:
6
Week 10 result: Lost to Louisville 45-17
After a 2-0 start, Temple is starting to look more like a team struggling to find its footing at the Big East level. In the Owls’ last three loses, they’ve been outscored 127-44. With four turnovers against Louisville (including two fumbles from quarterback Chris Coyer), Temple is minus-8 in turnover margin the last four games. Unless Temple can follow through on aspirations to schedule a December game at Hawaii, the Owls must sweep Cincinnati, Army and Syracuse to become bowl eligible.
This week: Cincinnati

8. Connecticut (3-6, 0-4)
Last week’s rank:
8
Week 10 result: Lost to USF 13-6
After losing 13-6 to USF, Connecticut is going to have an uphill climb to win even one Big East game this season with Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati on the remaining schedule. The offense emerged from an off week as ineffective as it had all season. The Huskies failed to score a touchdown, were sacked three times and turned the ball over on each of its final three possessions to end a comeback bid. During this four-game losing streak, UConn has accounted for three offensive touchdowns (three passing, none rushing) and 11 turnovers (seven interceptions, four fumbles).
This week: Pittsburgh (Friday)

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

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The Coastal Division has been one of college football’s most difficult races to figure out this season but there could be some clarity after Miami’s win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. The Hurricanes own a 4-2 record in ACC play and finish with matchups against Duke and Virginia. Florida State remains the conference’s No. 1 team, with Clemson a close second at 8-1 overall.

ACC Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard and North Carolina were off in Week 10, but the sophomore continues to maintain a commanding lead for the No. 1 spot. Bernard needs 70 rushing yards to reach 1,000 and has 15 total scores this year.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd has tossed 10 touchdowns over the last two weeks and ranks fourth nationally in pass efficiency.

3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins is having an outstanding season so far, catching 62 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 scores through nine contests.
 

ACC Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner had an off date in Week 10 but remains tied for the ACC lead in sacks and ranks second in tackles for a loss (12.5).

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano recorded only one tackle in Saturday’s loss to Georgia Tech.

3. Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke – Cockrell and Duke’s defensive backs have struggled the last two weeks, allowing 48 points to Florida State and 56 to Clemson.
 

ACC Coach of the Year Standings

1. David Cutcliffe, Duke – The Blue Devils have lost back-to-back games but remains on track to make their first bowl appearance since 1994.

2. Al Golden, Miami – Even though Miami’s overall record (5-4) isn’t particularly impressive, the Hurricanes are in position to win their first Coastal title.

3. Larry Fedora, North Carolina – Despite a bowl ban hanging over this team, Fedora has been able to keep the Tar Heels on track and should have the best record in the Coastal Division at the end of the year.
 

Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (8-1, 5-1 ACC)
Last Week: 1
Week 10 Result: Bye Week
The Seminoles were off in Week 10 and return to action on Thursday night against Virginia Tech. Florida State still controls its destiny in the Atlantic Division but cannot afford another loss with Clemson also 5-1 in conference play. The Seminoles have to travel to Blacksburg this Thursday, a place they have not won at since 1989. Even though Virginia Tech is struggling, this is still a dangerous game for Florida State.
Next Game: at Virginia Tech (Thursday)

2. Clemson (8-1, 5-1 ACC)
Last Week: 2
Week 10 Result: Beat Duke 56-20
With 98 points in the last two weeks, it’s pretty clear the Tigers' offense is hitting on all cylinders. Clemson’s offense had its way against Duke, leading the team to a 56-20 win and improving its overall record to 8-1. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw three picks but tossed five touchdown passes. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins was Boyd’s favorite target, catching four passes for 129 yards and three scores. Clemson has scored at least 40 points four times in ACC play this season and has a shot to make a BCS bowl if it wins its final three games.
Next Game: Maryland

3. North Carolina (6-3, 3-2 ACC)
Last Week:
3
Week 10 Result: Bye Week
The Tar Heels were off in Week 10, allowing them a little more time to celebrate last week’s 43-35 win over rival NC State. North Carolina should be favored to win its last three games – Georgia Tech, at Virginia and Maryland. However, the Tar Heels are ineligible to play in a bowl game, which has put a damper on a promising first season by new coach Larry Fedora.
Next Game: Georgia Tech

4. Miami (5-4, 4-2 ACC)
Last Week: 7
Week 10 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 30-12
The Hurricanes moved one step closer to an ACC Coastal title with a 30-12 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. Miami struggled to move the ball at times, but the defense forced three turnovers and blocked a punt to setup a scoring drive. Freshman running back Duke Johnson had a huge performance, rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown, while adding an 81-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. The Hurricanes have two more conference games remaining – at Virginia and at Duke – and wins in both contests would send this team to its first appearance in the ACC Championship game.
Next Game: at Virginia

5. Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week: 5
Week 10 Result: Lost to Miami 30-12
A season that began with a lot of promise has quickly eroded into a battle just to get bowl eligible. The Hokies came off the bye week with a chance to gain control of the Coastal Division but lost 30-12 to Miami on Thursday night. Quarterback Logan Thomas had a few bright moments (a 73-yard touchdown run), but the junior also tossed two picks and completed only 19 of 37 throws. In addition to Thomas’ inconsistency, the Hokies didn’t get much production from their running backs. Virginia Tech needs two wins to get bowl eligible and should be able to beat Boston College and Virginia in the last two weeks of the season. However, a 6-6 record would be a major disappointment in Blacksburg.
Next Game: Florida State (Thursday)

6. Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week:
6
Week 10 Result: Lost to Clemson 56-20
The last two weeks have taken a toll on Duke’s defense. The Blue Devils gave up 48 points in a loss to Florida State and was gashed for 56 points by Clemson in Week 10. Duke’s offense was able to hang with the Tigers early on, but the Blue Devils simply didn’t have enough firepower to close the gap in the second half. Although Duke dropped to 3-3 in ACC play, the next two matchups – at Georgia Tech and Miami – will decide if this team can win the Coastal Division.
Next Game: Bye Week

7. NC State (5-4, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week:
4
Week 10 Result: Lost to Virginia 33-6
The Wolfpack’s 33-6 loss to Virginia has to be one of the year’s most puzzling scores. NC State was a double-digit favorite to the Cavaliers, yet suffered an embarrassing loss. The Wolfpack managed only 216 yards on offense and surrendered 446 on defense. The loss to Virginia essentially knocks NC State out of the mix for the ACC Atlantic title and casts doubt on the future of coach Tom O’Brien. Although the Wolfpack are 22-13 over the last three years, there’s plenty of unrest in the fanbase. NC State will likely finish 7-5 but Saturday’s loss to Virginia won’t sit well at the end of the season.
Next Game: Wake Forest

8. Georgia Tech (4-5, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week:
8
Week 10 Result: Beat Maryland 33-13
After an awful showing in last week’s 41-17 loss to BYU, the Yellow Jackets bounced back into the win column with a 33-13 victory over Maryland. Georgia Tech’s defense has struggled all year and the Terrapins’ 13 points was the fewest allowed against a FBS opponent. Of course, Maryland’s quarterback issues had something to do with the defensive performance but this should help the Yellow Jackets build some momentum for the next few games. Georgia Tech could make a bowl game but needs to win two out of its last three contests – at North Carolina, Duke and at Georgia.
Next Game: at North Carolina

9. Maryland (4-5, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week: 9
Week 10 Result: Lost to Georgia Tech 33-13
The Terrapins dropped their third game in a row, losing 33-13 to Maryland on Saturday. With the injuries mounting at quarterback, converted linebacker Shawn Petty made his first start. The freshman completed 9 of 18 attempts for 115 yards and two touchdowns but struggled to get into a rhythm in the first half. Maryland’s defense has had a good season but allowed nearly 400 rushing yards to Georgia Tech. The Terrapins’ bowl hopes are slipping away, as this team needs two wins in matchups against Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina to get eligible for the postseason.
Next Game: at Clemson

10. Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4 ACC)
Last Week: 10
Week 10 Result: Beat Boston College 28-14
The Demon Deacons moved one step closer to bowl eligibility with a 28-14 win over Boston College. Wake Forest’s passing attack was the difference in the game, with quarterback Tanner Price completing 39 of 57 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Michael Campanaro tied an ACC record with 16 receptions, with three catches going for scores. Wake Forest’s defense had a solid effort against the Eagles’ offense, recording three sacks and four turnovers. The Demon Deacons conclude ACC play with a game at NC State next Saturday.
Next Game: at NC State

11. Virginia (3-6, 1-4 ACC)
Last Week:
12
Week 10 Result: Beat NC State 33-6
The Cavaliers have been one of the ACC’s most disappointing teams so far this season but got a little redemption in Week 10. Virginia manhandled NC State 33-6 to snap a six-game losing streak and claim its first win in ACC play this year. The Cavaliers’ offense has struggled to find their rhythm all year but recorded over 400 yards and finally found a spark on the ground. Kevin Parks rushed for 115 yards and Perry Jones chipped in 67 on 11 carries. The defense also did its part on Saturday, forcing five turnovers and picking up five sacks. Virginia still has slim bowl hopes and needs to win its final three games to get to six victories.
Next Game: Miami

12. Boston College (2-7, 1-5 ACC)
Last Week:
11
Week 10 Result: Lost to Wake Forest 28-14
With Saturday’s 28-14 loss to Wake Forest, Boston College clinched back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1997-98. The Eagles trailed 21-7 at halftime but pulled within seven in the third quarter. However, Boston College could never get closer, largely due to four turnovers and an inability to find an answer for Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro. The Eagles could be looking at a 2-10 final record, especially with matchups against Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State remaining.
Next Game: Notre Dame
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
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Athlon Sports continues its countdown to the start of the 2012-13 basketball season, which begins with the first games on Nov. 9, with a countdown of the nation’s top conferences. We will release one conference preview each day, counting down to the top conference. For profiles of every team in each conference, check out the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store.

The SEC did away with its East-West Division structure in basketball before last season, but don’t be fooled: This is a league divided.

Just compare the top of the league (Kentucky) with the No. 14 team (South Carolina). Kentucky is the defending national champion where attrition doesn’t seem to matter. The Wildcats lost four first-round NBA draft picks and two second-round picks but reloaded with another elite recruiting class with aspirations of returning to the Final Four.

At South Carolina, new coach Frank Martin immediately lost two of best players to transfers from a team that went 2-14 in the SEC last season. He’ll have an undersized team that may need a few years to rebuild. Unlike Kentucky, there will be no quick fixes with superstar freshmen.

The gulf between haves and have nots in the SEC is more than just the top and bottom teams. Kentucky, Missouri, Florida and Tennessee all ranked in the Athlon preseason top 25, and teams like Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M are looking for the right breaks to reach the NCAA Tournament.

After that, the remainder of the league is in a stage of rebuilding. At LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina, that process begins with new coaches, and and Vanderbilt, that begins with a wholly new cast of characters on last season’s SEC Tournament champions.

SEC FACTS AND FIGURES SEC SUPERLATIVES
2011-12 regular season champion: Kentucky Player of the Year: Phil Pressey, Missouri
2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Best Defensive Player: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Missouri#, Vanderbilt Most Underrated: Ray Turner, Texas A&M
New coaches: Johnny Jones (LSU), Frank Martin (South Carolina), Newcomer of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Rick Ray (Mississippi State)  
Realignment: Added Missouri, Texas A&M (Big 12)  
*won SEC tournament #won Big 12 tournament  
ATHLON ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM ATHLON ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM ATHLON ALL-SEC THIRD TEAM
G Phil Pressey, Missouri G Kenny Boynton, Florida G Trae Golden, Tennessee
G BJ Young, Arkansas G Michael Dixon, Missouri G Ryan Harrow, Kentucky
F Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia F Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss
F Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee F Alex Poythress, Kentucky F Alex Oriakhi, Missouri
C Nerlens Noel, Kentucky F Marshawn Powell, Arkansas F Patric Young, Florida

2012-13 SEC PREVIEW
1. Kentucky (38-2, 16-0)
The Wildcats are ranked No. 3 in our preseason rankings: Full preview

Kentucky, with three straight Elite Eights, back-to-back Final Fours and a national title, is enjoying its finest stretch since reaching three consecutive NCAA title games — winning twice — from 1996-98. John Calipari is the king of reloading, but is repeating a fair expectation? Since UCLA won seven in a row from 1967-73, only Duke (1991-92) and Florida (2006-07) have won back-to-back championships. But Calipari says: “I can tell you I like my team,” which he’s said at the start of the last three seasons, and those turned out pretty well. The guys who just helped UK win it all and have been back to watch the Cats work out this summer seem to think the next group will make another run.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Final Four

Related: Noel leads top freshmen for 2012-13

2. Missouri (30-5, 14-4 Big 12)
The Tigers are ranked No. 16 in our preseason rankings: Full preview

Missouri players believe they won’t just have more bodies this season but also more talent than they did a year ago. But to have a chance to meet or exceed last season’s accomplishments, they will also have to match the chemistry so integral to that success. The additional options could make it harder for players to fit into defined roles, but if Coach Frank Haith can get them to play together, the Tigers should be a more well-rounded team. The tandem of Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi figures to make them better at protecting the rim, and their improved depth should help them extend their defense on the perimeter. With Phil Pressey, one of the nation’s top playmakers, directing the offense, Missouri should also generate enough points to contend in a league race led by reigning national champion Kentucky.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Related: Tigers among teams relying on transfers

3. Florida (26-11, 10-6)
The Gators are ranked No. 20 in our preseason rankings: Full preview

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

4. Tennessee (19-15, 10-6)
The experts told Cuonzo Martin his first Tennessee team would finish near the bottom of the SEC last season. The new Vols coach merely shrugged. “Maybe they’re right,” he said with a wicked smile. “We’ll see.” Fast forward to Year 2, and some say Martin’s second Tennessee team is among those to beat for the SEC crown and won’t sneak up on anyone. Indeed, one of the bigger blue chips in recent Tennessee prep history fell to Martin in the form of mid-term enrollee Jarnell Stokes last January. Martin and the Vols have been rolling ever since. More than 80 percent of last season’s scoring is back in the form of four returning starters. Stokes has grown into his size 20 sneakers, polishing up low-post moves and footwork that make his 6-8, 250-pound frame all the more difficult for foes to handle. When 6-7, 265-pound senior power forward Jeronne Maymon stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Stokes, the two form an imposing wall. The backcourt starts with junior point guard Trae Golden, who ranked second in the SEC in free throw shooting percentage (82.7) last season. Martin’s system utilizes two wings, and the Vols are well-stocked at the position. Battles for playing time abound, with junior Jordan McRae, incoming junior college transfer D’Montre Edwards, senior Skylar McBee and sophomore Josh Richardson fighting for time. If some scorers on the perimeter emerge, Tennessee could be in the hunt for an SEC title.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

Related: Tennessee, Arkansas poised for return to NCAA Tourney

5. Arkansas (18-15, 6-10)

The key to Mike Anderson’s “fastest 40 minutes in college basketball” is having enough capable athletes ready to rotate in and out of the lineup to keep the pressure on. In Year 2 of his return to Arkansas, Anderson believes his roster is more equipped to thrive in his system. The Razorbacks retained the SEC’s top-scoring freshman from last season when guard BJ Young elected to return to school. He’ll team with forward Marshawn Powell, who is returning from knee surgery that cost him all but two games, to give Arkansas two of the most talented players in the league. Arkansas’ improved numbers should be evident on the perimeter. Young, one of the SEC’s best scorers, is primed for a big sophomore season. The 6-3 shooting guard ranked third in the SEC in scoring in league games with a 16.4-point average while shooting better than 50 percent from the field. Junior Mardracus Wade led the SEC with 47.6 percent 3-point shooting and should get plenty of looks again this season with Powell back in the lineup in the frontcourt. Powell’s return will help on multiple levels. The junior from Virginia can score with his back to the basket but also has the ability to step out and hit the 17-foot jump shot. He has solid ball skills, as well, which enables him to take the ball the basket from different spots on the floor. Powell averaged 14.9 points and shot 50.0 percent from the field two years ago as a freshman, his only completely healthy season at Arkansas. His work on the boards — he’s averaged 5.7 per game in his career — will be a big boost for an Arkansas team that ranked last in the SEC and 291st in the nation with a minus-3.8 rebounding margin. The pieces are in place for Arkansas to make a significant jump in the SEC standings. Anderson has a nice mix of veterans and young players who should thrive in his up-tempo game. The Hogs, however, must improve on defense and at least hold their own on the glass. If that happens, Arkansas can expect to hear its name called on Selection Sunday for the first time since 2008.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament First Four

6. Alabama (21-12, 9-7)
Anthony Grant’s tenure at Alabama hasn’t resulted in the immediate success most fans crave, but it’s represented steady progress through his first three seasons. Junior Trevor Releford will bring something to the table that has become elusive in this era of one-and-done college basketball — all-conference talent and experience. He’ll be the captain of an Alabama backcourt that still lacks a go-to shooter but includes a number of experienced options. Releford, who has started 66 games over the past two seasons, saw a slight increase in scoring last season (11 to 12 points per game), but his assist totals dropped (125 to 88). Though they provided plenty of headaches because of their off-the-court behavior, JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell will be missed. The two players, when they weren’t suspended for various dustups with Grant last season, combined to average more than 27 points and 14 rebounds per game. Now, they’re both gone, and Grant will try to replace their production from a four-man pool that features only one player, sophomore Nick Jacobs, who has logged significant minutes in an Alabama uniform. Five-star freshman Devonta Pollard certainly has the talent to start right away as Alabama’s swingman. Grant’s lone signee for 2012, the 6-8, 200-pound Pollard promises to be on the court in a number of different ways. All things equal, Alabama, which has been one of the SEC’s best defensive teams under Grant, needs Pollard to, at least, replicate the kind of production Green provided during his four-year career. Without that, Alabama’s lack of depth and proven talent in the paint and its lack of go-to shooters on the perimeter will be exposed regularly by the SEC’s elite.


Postseason prediction: NIT

7. Ole Miss (20-14, 8-8)
Ole Miss hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2002, the longest drought among the 14 teams in the SEC. The Rebels might have made the Field of 68 in 2012 had they been able to find a reliable 3-point shooter in their first season in the post-Chris Warren era. Instead they finished 20–14 with a first-round NIT loss after reaching the SEC Tournament semifinals. If all goes as planned, junior college transfer Marshall Henderson, will solve the Rebels’ problem of poor 3-point shooting that sabotaged their season. A former starter at Utah, Henderson was the NJCAA National Player of the Year in ‘11-12 after averaging 19.6 points at South Plains (Texas) College. Holloway, an athletic combo forward, and Reginald Buckner, a rugged post player, flirted with leaving school early to explore professional basketball, but both opted to return to Ole Miss. They formed the top one-two rebounding punch in the SEC last season, with Holloway ranking third (9.0 rpg) in the league and Buckner fourth (8.1 rpg). Murphy Holloway also averaged 11.2 points per game in his first season back from Ole Miss after a brief stop at South Carolina. On paper, the pieces are in place keep Ole Miss in the NCAA Tournament conversation, but relying so heavily on newcomers, as the Rebels are with Henderson and fellow junior college transfer Jason Carter, is a dicey proposition.
Postseason prediction: NIT

Related: Ole Miss' Kennedy one of 10 coaches on the hot seat

8. Texas A&M (14-18, 4-14 Big 12)

Considering all of the adversity he encountered last season, second-year coach Billy Kennedy isn’t particularly worried about transitioning into a new conference. Or breaking in a new point guard. Or anything else, for that matter. He feels good physically. He likes the personnel changes he and his staff have made to the roster. And he believes his program is ready for a fresh start in the SEC. Indeed, if the Aggies receive solid play at the point, they should be tough enough to make its first season in the SEC much more enjoyable than their last in the Big 12. With all the uncertainties last season, Elston Turner was practically the rock of stability for A&M, starting 31 games and playing multiple positions. Turner is a good ball-handler and capable point guard, but he is most dangerous as a scorer. Turner could be a better pure scorer if first-year point guards Fabyon Harris and J’Mychal Reese can run the offense effectively. Kennedy says perhaps no player on the roster has improved more than Ray Turner, a 6-9 forward with tremendous athletic ability. Turner can alter games with monstrous dunks or blocked shots, but he must prove to be a more consistent scorer — especially with his back to the basket — for the Aggies to finish in the upper half of the SEC. The return of Roberson from an ankle injury last year should greatly improve A&M’s toughness. Roberson has proven to be a strong rebounder, and he brings a much-needed tenacity to A&M’s interior efforts. But if Fabyon Harris and Reese can handle the point guard duties effectively, Ray Turner and Elston Turner could have strong enough seasons to put the Aggies back into contention for a return to the NCAA Tournament.
Postseason prediction: NIT

Related: A&M, Missouri and Arkansas relying on players returning from injury

9. Georgia (15-17, 5-11)

Georgia has settled into an era of relative stability. Mark Fox is entering his fourth season as coach, with no turnover on his staff since he arrived, and he enjoys the confidence of his bosses. There has been little in the way of off-court trouble. And yet, the Bulldogs are still in a state of moving toward something — namely, consistent NCAA Tournament contention — rather than already being there. It has been two seasons since Fox guided the team to the NCAAs, where it went out in the first round. Georgia fans are waiting for Fox to show that he can recruit the caliber of players that can consistently contend in the SEC. Fox thinks his 2012-13 edition will show that. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came to campus last year with as much hype as any recent Georgia player — and he largely lived up to it. Now, after Caldwell-Pope finished second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding, the team will basically belong to him. The bigger unknown for Georgia is what to expect in the rest of the backcourt. The point guard will be new. Senior Vincent Williams, who has barely been a member of the rotation, will get a shot to start. But he will have to beat out freshman Charles Mann, who at 6-4 is four inches taller. Georgia was one of the weakest rebounding teams in the SEC last season. Its frontcourt starters struggled to score, and other teams were able to score in the lane with near impunity. The problem was mainly that the team lacked a true center, and that problem hasn’t been remedied yet. This doesn’t appear to be a make-or-break year for Fox. But the next one is setting up that way, so at a minimum the Bulldogs need to show progress, and also show that they have the players in the program to eventually make a run.
Postseason prediction: NIT

10. Auburn (15-16, 5-11)
Tony Barbee hasn’t backed down from ambitious expectations for his third year at Auburn, even after losing one of his top players to a point-shaving investigation, enduring an offseason of massive turnover and welcoming as many as six new faces into the program. The changes were largely positive, Barbee says, and the team’s talent has been upgraded. Barbee is convinced the Tigers can move into the upper half of the league in 2013. But Auburn’s recent basketball track record — including just a 9–23 record in SEC play since Barbee arrived — will leave many skeptical until the Tigers validate their coach’s confidence by their play on the court. Varez Ward’s suspension amid a point-shaving investigation last March ended the season on a sour note and also created a vacancy at point guard. Barbee quickly offered a scholarship to Brian Greene Jr., who had been playing a post-grad year at IMG Academy in Florida. Barbee says Greene has unusual maturity for his age and that he impressed the coaching staff during summer practices. Rob Chubb was once a gangly freshman whose SEC future seemed dubious at best. Today, he’s a sturdy, 6-10, 245-pound senior who Barbee believes could be among the league’s best big men. Auburn needs Chubb to be more consistent and stay out of foul trouble, something that plagued him at times last season. While few expected Auburn’s attractive new arena to be an immediate solution to the Tigers’ decade-long basketball slump, the last two seasons have been especially grim. Auburn hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2003, and a return this year seems unlikely. But any trip to the postseason — even the NIT — would be a monumental step forward. The real measure of this year will come in the progress and development of the large and talented freshman class, on which much of Auburn’s hope for the future is staked.

11. Vanderbilt (25-11, 10-6)
Kevin Stallings’ biggest concern at this point last year was how his team, ranked by most in the top 10 in the preseason, would deal with high expectations. That, clearly, is not an issue this time around. With all five starters and the top reserve either lost to graduation or, in John Jenkins’ case, early departure to the NBA, Vanderbilt will field one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation in ’12-13. How inexperienced? Consider the following stat: Kedren Johnson, Vanderbilt’s leading returning scorer, averaged 2.3 points per game in SEC play. Johnson delivered the most memorable play of the 2011-12 season, converting a 3-point play in transition that gave Vanderbilt the lead for good in the final two minutes of the SEC Tournament title game. Now a sophomore, Johnson will be asked to emerge as a primary scoring threat on the perimeter. He has good size for a point guard and is an excellent passer, but his defense needs to improve and his 3-point shot is inconsistent. Johnson’s running mate will be fellow sophomore Dai-Jon Parker, a tremendous athlete who arrived last season as a ready-made defender. Josh Henderson, a 6-11 center, sat out the ’10-11 season as a redshirt then missed the bulk of last season with a stress fracture in his left foot. He was sidelined during the offseason as well after undergoing a second surgery to repair his foot, but Stallings expects his big man to be ready to practice. After averaging nearly 10 SEC wins over the past six seasons, Vanderbilt likely will take a significant dip in ’12-13. There is some solid talent on the roster — specifically on the perimeter — but there are no proven scorers and an alarming lack of size on the interior. Anything approaching .500 in the SEC should be considered a successful season.

12. LSU (18-15, 7-9)
To launch a new era in LSU basketball, the Tigers reached back to the most glorious part of their past. New coach Johnny Jones, hired in Baton Rouge after 11 season at North Texas, was a point guard at LSU in the early 1980s and an assistant coach after that when the Tigers twice advanced to the Final Four under Dale Brown and climbed into a spot among the national elite. That history fuels Jones’ optimism as he takes over a program with two key cornerstones back from last season’s NIT team — point guard Anthony Hickey and forward Johnny O’Bryant — along with three other veterans, including one who has started most of his first two years (Andre Stringer). That crew was fortified by a promising, under-the-radar recruiting class, anchored by junior college frontcourt teammates Shavon Coleman and Calvin Godfrey from Howard (Texas) College. Even with a five-man class on the way, though, the Tigers are poised to enter the season with only 10 scholarship players.  For LSU to be a real factor in the SEC this season, O’Bryant needs to take a major step forward. Jones would love to see the former McDonald’s All-American average 16 points and 10 boards. Hickey and Stringer are nice building blocks and have shown the ability to operate at both guard spots. But neither cracks six feet, and that becomes a problem on the defensive end.  With only one senior scholarship player on the roster, this is a team built with an eye on the future. The present could be a little rocky unless Hickey and particularly O’Bryant blossom into All-SEC-caliber players.


Related: Frank Martin, Johnny Jones among top hires for 2012-13

13. Mississippi State (21-12, 8-8)
Rick Ray shies away from the term “rebuilding,” but these are the parts he has to work with — two role players, a sophomore who averaged 3.5 minutes per game last year, an oft-injured junior, a foreign transfer still serving an NCAA suspension, and seven signees. This is clearly a rebuild. A former assistant at Clemson, Ray took over for Rick Stansbury, who retired after 14 years, and the roster took a big hit with four early departures. The only player with significant starting experience on the roster is junior Jalen Steele, a sharpshooter who has played his best coming off the bench. Steele made 39.3 percent of his 3-point shots last season and had some notable outbursts, in particular at Vanderbilt, when he knocked down four in a row during a second-half rally. Steele averaged 8.7 points per game on the season, and he’s working on becoming a more well-rounded scorer. The backcourt will be heavily populated by newcomers. Junior college transfer Trivante Bloodman and freshman Jacoby Davis will vie for the point guard spot vacated by four-year starter Dee Bost. Mississippi State’s post scoring will likely come from other sources, like junior college transfer Colin Borchert, a 6-foot-8, 225-pounder with a nice outside stroke.

14. South Carolina (10-21, 2-14)
Even by South Carolina’s modest standards, last season was an unmitigated disaster for the Gamecocks. They had their worst overall record since 1998-99, their third consecutive losing season and their fewest ever victories in the SEC, which they joined in 1991-92. Hired from Kansas State, new coach Frank Martin wants to make South Carolina matter again, but it might take a while for them to reach that point. South Carolina has two returning starters in the backcourt — point guard Bruce Ellington and shooting guard Damien Leonard — but Ellington is playing football again and won’t rejoin the basketball team until after the bowl game, Martin says. Ellington led the team in scoring two years ago and ranked second last season. The transfers of freshman Anthony Gill to Virginia and Damontre Harris to Florida and an injury to Carlton Geathers leaves South Carolina with only one true post player to start the season, seven-foot freshman Laimonas Chatkevicius from Lithuania. This is a foundation year for Martin, as he tries to get his players to embrace his pressure defense, which involves guarding opponents to the halfcourt line and being “mean as a pit bull,” Martin says.@AthlonSports

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

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
6. Pac-12
7. Mountain West
8. Atlantic 10

9. West Coast

10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

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

20. Florida

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Bo Pelini and Nebraska might have turned a corner this weekend. After beating Michigan at home, the Cornhuskers went into East Lansing and snatched a victory from Michigan State to keep control of their Big Ten title hopes. With Michigan nipping at their heels, the Huskers' margin for error is slim, but Taylor Martinez overcame some miscues to lead his team down the field and potentially into the Big Ten championship game.

And what did I tell you about the Indiana Hoosiers? A win over Wisconsin next weekend at home could send Kevin Wilson to the title game as well.

Post-Week 10 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Miller completed 12 of his 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns to go with 73 rushing yards on 18 attempts and his 13th rushing touchdown of the season in the easy win over Illinois.

2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State - McGloin is playing the best football of his career after throwing for his fifth career 300-yard game (316, 2 TD) in the dominating road win over Purdue. His team's only Big Ten loss was to Miller and the Buckeyes. 

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He made some big mistakes (three interceptions) but also has moments of electricity that can be jaw-dropping. He rushed for 205 yards, threw for 160 yards and scored four times, including the game winner, in the huge road win over Michigan State.


Post-Week 10 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - He posted five total tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in the dominating road performance against Purdue — who was held to three points until the final play of the game.

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - Taylor was off this weekend

3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon registered one tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one pass deflected in the easy win over Illinois.


Post-Week 10 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - Meyer is now two wins away from his first undefeated season as a BCS head coach. He was unbeaten with Utah in the Mountain West and never went unblemished at Florida. With a sophomore QB and bowl ban, the job he has done in Columbus has been remarkable. 

2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - A sign of a well-coached team is learning from adversity. Penn State faced that last week in the bad home loss to Ohio State, but Coach BoB had his team ready to rebound this weekend against Purdue.

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - His Wildcats were off this weekend and will face two road trips to Michigan over the next two weeks, giving Coach Fitz a chance to contend with O'Brien and Meyer for this award. That is, if Kevin Wilson doesn't win the Leaders Division.


Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 10 result: Beat Illinois 52-22

Ohio State had 306 yards of offense, 16 first downs and 31 points at halftime against the overmatched Illini. Braxton Miller continues to make his case for a Heisman Trophy as he totaled 299 (226 passing, 73 rushing) yards of offense and three more touchdowns in the easy 30-point win — a win that gives Ohio State the only 10-0 record in the nation. Carlos Hyde also starred in the Ohio State backfield, rushing for 137 yards and three touchdowns on 18 attempts. A much-needed bye week, obviously OSU's first of the season, sets up Urban Meyer's run at a perfect record. The Buckeyes will face a tough two-game finale to the season: at Wisconsin and that team from up North at home on Nov. 24 so the bye comes at just the right time.
This week: Bye Week

2. Nebraska (7-2, 4-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 10 result: Beat Michigan State 28-24 
Taylor Martinez threw three interceptions, including one in the red zone in the fourth quarter. Yet, the dynamic play maker rallied his team with his legs (205 yards rushing, 2 TD) and his arm (160 yards, 2 TD) as he connected with Jamal Turner with six seconds left to win a huge road test in the Legends Division. Even without Rex Burkhead, Nebraska's top-rated rushing attack rolled up an impressive 313 yards against the league's stingiest run defense. Martinez was brilliant on the final drive of the game, converting on fourth and long and throwing the game winner. The weight of this road win as the frontrunner in the division cannot be overstated. This was a season-defining signature win for the junior quarterback. 
This week: Penn State (6-3)

3. Michigan (6-3, 4-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 10 result: Beat Minnesota 35-13
Brady Hoke kept his Big Ten title hopes alive with a road win and The Little Brown Jug will remain in Ann Arbor. And he did all of that without Denard Robinson. Converted wide receiver Devin Gardner, a former four-star quarterback prospect, moved back under center this weekend and he delivered an efficient performance in the Twin Cities. He completed 12-of-18 passes and ran the ball 10 times, accounting for three total touchdowns and 251 total yards of offense. Despite constantly dealing with nagging injuries, Robinson had never missed a game in his Michigan career until this weekend. His "undisclosed injury" is presumed ulnar nerve issue he has dealt with multiple times in his career. He should be back next weekend against Northwestern.
This week: Northwestern (7-2)

4. Penn State (6-3, 4-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 10 result: Beat Purdue 34-9
After arguably the worst showing of the season, Penn State put together one of its most complete efforts on the road against Purdue. Quarterback Matt McGloin was excellent, throwing for 316 yards and 2 TDs. It was his second consecutive 300-yard passing game (5 career) and his third in the last five games. He has topped the 280-yard mark in four straight games after topping that benchmark only three times in his entire career prior. The Nits showed excellent balance on offense as well, rushing for 191 yards on 39 attempts. The defense pitched a shutout over the final 58 minutes (until Purdue scored on the game's final play) in what was a tune-up for what should be an exciting road trip to Lincoln to face the league's best offense next weekend.

This week: at Nebraska (7-2)

5. Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 10 result: Off
Fans in Madison better hope the bye week has helped new-old quarterback Danny O'Brien. This offense has been totally one-dimensional and uninspiring whenever Joel Stave is on the sideline. And Stave is now gone for the year with a broken collarbone. The Leaders Division champion is likely to come from the winner of the Wisconsin-Indiana game next Saturday. 
This week: at Indiana (4-5)

6. Northwestern (7-2, 3-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 10 result: Off
The Wildcats were off this weekend and now face back-to-back road trips into the state of Michigan.  
This week: at Michigan (6-3)

7. Michigan State (5-5, 2-4)
Previous rank: 7
Week 10 result: Lost to Nebraska 28-24
Mark Dantonio has had a rough season in East Lansing. Heart-stopping endings have been a regular part of the Sparty diet this season and the loss to Nebraska in the final seconds will go down as the toughest to swallow. A long fourth-down conversion and questionable pass interference call set up the game-winning touchdown for the Huskers and left Dantonio scratching his head. Le'Veon Bell had a solid game, rushing for 188 yards and two scores on 36 carries, but the struggles once again on offense stem from quarterback play. Andrew Maxwell completed just nine of his 27 attempts. His play has been the overriding problem for the Spartans all season, however, the Big Ten's No. 1-rated rushing defense needs to take its share of blame this weekend. They allowed 313 yards to the Huskers — more than 220 yards above its season average. The bye week will be a long two weeks in East Lansing.
This week: Bye week

8. Indiana (4-5, 2-3)
Previous rank: 11
Week 10 result: Beat Iowa 24-21
The Indiana Hoosiers are now in complete control of their destiny in the Big Ten Leaders Division with three to play. Quarterbacks Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld completed 31-of-48 passes with Cameron providing most of the production through the air. The sophomore threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and led three huge drives in the final period. Coffman threw the game winner with just over 12 minutes to play and then chewed up the clock with two long, eight-play drives — one that went for 58 yards and the other that used up 4:25 of the final 4:43 left on the clock. Wisconsin comes to town next weekend well rested after the bye week, however, starting quarterback Joel Stave won't be playing due to a broken collarbone. With Purdue still on the schedule and Wisconsin having to face Ohio State and Penn State still, there is a legitimate chance Indiana will play in the Big Ten Championship Game.
This week: Wisconsin (6-3)

9. Iowa (4-5, 2-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 10 result: Lost to Indiana 24-21
Iowa couldn't get its defense off of the field in the fourth quarter and it cost the Hawkeyes the win. After taking the lead early in the final frame, Indiana possessed the ball and converted on third downs  — something Iowa couldn't do all game (5-of-14). Indiana easily out-gained the Hawks 473 to 347, giving Kirk Ferentz his third straight loss. The good news for the people of Iowa City is Purdue visits Kinnick Stadium next weekend. The bad news is Iowa will have to beat either Michigan on the road or Nebraska at home to get to bowl eligibility. Both seem like tall orders for this team.
This week: Purdue (3-6)

10. Minnesota (5-4, 1-4)
Previous rank: 9
Week 10 result: Lost to Michigan 35-13
Golden Gophers fans will need to wait one more week to get bowl eligible after losing at home to a Denard Robinson-less Michigan squad. Minnesota heads to Illinois next weekend in what is likely its final shot to get to the postseason as Jerry Kill's team will face Nebraska on the road and Michigan State at home to finish the year. Philip Nelson failed to accomplish much of anything on offense after the game's first touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The offense finished with just 275 total yards and was outscored 35-6 after the scoring strike. The Gophers lost The Little Brown Jug for the 15th consecutive time at home and the 21st time in the last 22 meetings against the Maize and Blue overall.
This week: at Illinois (2-7)

11. Purdue (3-6, 0-5)
Previous rank: 10
Week 10 result: Lost to Penn State 34-9

The Boilermakers kicked a field goal with two minutes into the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead on Penn State. Danny Hope's team then watched the Nittany Lions rattle off 34 unanswered points to give Purdue a fifth straight loss. Neither quarterback was very effective on offense and the defense allowed at least 29 points for the sixth straight game. A road trip to Iowa will likely keep the losing streak alive, however, an upset win over the Hawkeyes keeps the bowl hopes alive in West Lafayette as Purdue finishes the year at Illinois and hosting Indiana.
This week: at Iowa (4-5)

12. Illinois (2-7, 0-5)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to Ohio State 52-22
Urban Meyer may think Tim Beckman will have a great career at Illinois, but his first season atop the Illini program will be one to forget. His team was abused by the Buckeyes, allowing 570 yards rushing and 32 first downs to Braxton Miller and company. It was the fifth straight game in which the not-so-Orange Crush defense allowed at least 31 points and was the fourth time this year the opposition scored at least 45 points. On offense, Nathan Scheelhaase threw for only 96 yards on 34 pass attempts as the Illini totaled just 170 yards of offense. 

This week: Minnesota (5-4)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

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Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
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SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings 

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The Oregon Ducks cleared their first big hurdle with style and grace. Defensively, USC was able to move the football plenty, but simply couldn't stop what could be the best offense in the nation. However, due to a monster performance across town from UCLA over Arizona, USC sits back in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South Division championship. And a trip to Eugene could be just as entertaining as this weekend's offensive showcase in Los Angeles.

Post-Week 10 Offensive Player of the Year Standings


1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - He scored more touchdowns (4) than he threw incompletions in the big win over USC. He accounted for exactly 400 yards of offense and was extremely poised under pressure in L.A. 

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC isn't out of the mix in the South and Barkley is still posting huge numbers. He threw for 484 yards and five touchdowns and scored 51 points on the No. 2 team in the nation. He is No. 2 in the league in passing efficiency and yards and is first with 30 total touchdowns.

3. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon 
- There are lots of deserving candidates for this award but Barner had a huge game and is settling as the best back in the league. He carried 38 times for 321 yards and 5 scores — giving him the Pac-12 league in both categories (1,295 and 19).
 

Post-Week 10 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The star corner didn't play this weekend but doesn't get knocked off the top slot.

2. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - He didn't stuff the stat sheet this weekend but his team held Colorado to minus-1 yard rushing and zero points as Stanford now claims the No. 1 rushing defense in the nation.

3. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - Posted five tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a pass broken up in the huge win over Arizona State. He is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and sacks.

Post-Week 10 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - His offense is operating on a different level than anyone else in the nation. The fast tempo, the unique design, the elite talent and the power running game makes this the best team in the nation not named Alabama.

2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - There were some anxious first-half moments, but Oregon State won again coming from behind against a solid opponent. A massive showdown with Stanford looms this weekend. 

3. Jim Mora, UCLA  - The Bruins made a large statement this weekend, getting to seven wins with a dominating performance against Arizona. It gives Mora complete control of his own destiny in the South. 

Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (9-0, 6-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 10 result: Beat Colorado 62-51
Who was better? A quarterback who completed 20 of his 23 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 96 yards on 15 carries. Or the running back who rushed for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns? I tend to lean towards the QB actually, but either way, the Ducks offense was unstoppable in the statement win over USC in The Coliseum. Marcus Mariota was calm and poised while Kenjon Barner ran hard — he touched the ball 40 times — and picked up key first downs all night. This was the first of four big hurdles Oregon must clear to return to the BCS National Championship game. Stanford, Oregon State and the potential Pac-12 title game (and technically a road trip to reeling Cal) are all that is left between Oregon and Miami Gardens. 
This week: at Cal (3-7)

2. Oregon State (7-1, 5-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 10 result: Lost Beat Arizona State 36-26
The Beavers fell behind 19-10 with 13 minutes to go in the second quarter. But Cody Vaz, who gifted the Sun Devils with a touchdown on a turnover early in the game, led Oregon State on a 26-0 run until Arizona State mustered a final touchdown with 22 seconds left in the game. After the miscue, Vaz, who is filling in for starter Sean Mannion, rebounded to finish with 267 yards and three touchdowns as Oregon State got back into the win column. Mike Riley will have a huge decision on his hands this weekend in what might be OSU's toughest test to date. Mannion or Vaz on the road trip to Stanford?
This week: at Stanford (7-2)

3. Stanford (7-2, 5-1)
Previous rank:
3


Week 10 result:
 Beat Colorado 48-0
This was ugly from the first whistle. And it's exactly how David Shaw wanted to see his team play this weekend. His defense once again proved it claims the best, most physical front seven west of the Mississippi. Stanford created three turnovers, forced nine punts, allowed just six first downs and sacked the quarterback five times while allowing a ridiculous 76 total yards of offense (minus-21 rushing). After the offense, led by back up Kevin Hogan (18-of-24, 184 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime league and then allowed the defense to suffocate what little life the Buffaloes had left in the final 30 minutes. 


This week: Oregon State (7-1)

 


4. UCLA (7-2, 4-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 10 result: Beat Arizona 66-10
The Bruins raced to a 28-0 lead to begin the game and went into halftime up 42-3 — and that was that in the Pac-12 South elimination game. Johnathan Franklin needed 21 yards to become UCLA's all-time leading rusher, so his 167 yards (and 2 TD) pushed him well past Gaston Green as the top rusher in Bruins history. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley continued his stellar play, throwing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. He added 10 carries and another touchdown on the ground. While the record-setting offensive performances might steal the headlines, the defense gets tons of credit for the huge divisional win. Holding Arizona to 10 points, 257 total yards, four sacks and four forced fumbles is no easy task. UCLA now controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South.
This week: at Washington State (2-7) 

5. USC (6-3, 4-3)
Previous rank: 4
Week 10 result: Lost to Oregon 62-51
It is hard to win football games when you allow 730 yards of offense and 37 first downs to the opponent. Matt Barkley once again posted huge numbers through the air — 484 yards and five touchdowns — but his defense couldn't get stops against the high-powered Ducks when it mattered most (a bad call on an onside kick didn't help either). All is not lost, however, as games against UCLA and Arizona State still carry enough weight to keep the Trojans in the division title race.
This week: Oregon (8-0)

6. Arizona (5-4, 2-4)
Previous rank: 6
Week 10 result: Lost to UCLA 66-10 
A letdown might have been expected but this was downright ugly. Matt Scott and the Wildcats offense had by far their worst day of the season against UCLA. Their 257 total yards of offense were easily a season low, marked the first time they failed to reach 300 yards and marked only the second time they didn't reach at least 500 yards. Scott set personal season lows in rushing attempts (3), passing yards (125), in addition to completing just 15 passes (second-fewest this season) and not accounting for a single touchdown. The loss gives RichRod four in the league and pretty much eliminates Arizona from the Pac-12 championship.
This week: Colorado (1-8)

7. Washington (5-4, 3-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 10 result: 
Beat Cal 21-13

Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed the nation why some believe he is the most talented tight end in college football. He caught eight passes for 152 yards and what proved to be the game-winning touchdown from 29 yards out with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. Running back Bishop Sankey put the finishing touches on the road win by scoring his 11th rushing touchdown of the season late in the game. He finished with 189 yards and two scores on 28 carries giving defensive line coach and Cal grad Tosh Lupoi a happy homecoming. Star freshman Shaq Thompson, who signed with Washington instead of Cal once Lupoi was hired away from Berkeley shortly before National Signing Day, intercepted a key Zach Maynard pass late in the game to give the Huskies their first road in more than a year.
This week: Utah (4-5)

8. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 10 result: Lost to Oregon State 36-26
Arizona State got off to a hot start courtesy of nine gift points from Oregon State, but the Sun Devils' offense was shut down for the final 40 minutes of the game. Todd Graham's offense was inefficient, converting on 4-of-17 third downs and completing only 22-of-41 passes. It was the third consecutive loss to a Pac-12 contender for ASU, reminding fans this team has a ways to go before it is considered a contender on its own merits. The Devils, which were ranked No. 1 in the league three weeks ago, allowed 124 points in the those three losses. Things don't get any easier this weekend.
This week: at USC (6-3)

9. Utah (4-5, 2-4)
Previous rank: 
9
Week 10 result: Beat Washington State 49-6
Behind a rejuvenated John White, the Utes have inched closer to a postseason bowl bid for the second straight week. The star tailback finished with 101 yards rushing and 2 TDs and has back-to-back 100-yard efforts and four rushing scores in the two-game winning streak. The switch to the young and talented Travis Wilson is beginning to pay off as well. He was 17-of-21 passing for 171 yards and 2 TDs. This team has two tough games against Washington in Seattle and Arizona in Salt Lake City before the season wraps up with Colorado. Utah will crush the Buffaloes, so one upset over the next two weeks puts Utah into a bowl for the 10th consecutive season. 

This week: at Washington (5-4)

10. California (3-7, 2-5)
Previous rank: 10
Week 10 result: Lost to Washington 21-13
Star wideout Keenan Allen is likely lost for the season and didn't play in the sloppy loss to Washington. Things only got worse for Cal when quarterback Zach Maynard left the game in the fourth quarter. The offense moved the football (450 yards, 23 first downs) but four turnovers and the injuries cost Jeff Tedford a trip to the postseason for the second time in three years. Since 2009, Tedford is 23-25 and is staring at a nine-loss season. New facilities or not, it may be time for a changing of the guard in the Bay Area. Certainly watching Cal alum Tosh Lupoi roam the visitor's sideline coaching for a team that features former Cal commit Shaq Thompson has to drive the knife in even deeper.
This week: Oregon (9-0)

11. Colorado (1-8, 1-5)
Previous rank: 11
Week 10 result: Lost to Stanford 48-0
This is getting out of hand. Stanford raced to a 35-0 halftime lead as the fans in Boulder had little to root for as their team gained 28 yards in the first half. In fact, in the last 14 quarters, Colorado has been outscored 199-20. The Las Vegas odds makers have allotted Jon Embree's team roughly 115 points in the last three games against USC (+41), Oregon (+46) and Stanford (+28) and Colorado failed to cover in all three instances. Normally, I side with the conservative stance on making head coaching changes but this team isn't even close to being competitive. It's unfortunate, but there isn't anything else to be learned about the current regime. Six first downs and minus-21 yards rushing is completely unacceptable.
This week: at Arizona (5-4)

12. Washington State (2-7, 0-6)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to Utah 49-6
For the sixth time in six games, Mike Leach failed to get his first Pac-12 win as the Cougars' head coach. And it seems like things are getting worse as his team was pushed around by a team that has five losses of its own. After keeping the score close with Stanford and Oregon State, Washington State failed to show up against Utah. Leach's team trailed 39-0, converted only one third down in 11 tries and had minus-13 yards rushing at the end of the third quarter. Wazzu finished the game 2-of-15 on third down and posted a negative rushing total for a staggering fourth time this season (minus-4). With Arizona State, UCLA and Washington left on the slate, the chances Washington State wins a single Pac-12 game are starting to look more unlikely. 

This week: UCLA (7-2)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 10 Recap

ACC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power
Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
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NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 9 of NFL play:

0: Interceptions thrown by Russell Wilson at home
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown eight interceptions in his first nine games as a pro quarterback. None of them have come at CenturyLink  Field in Seattle. Not surprisingly, the Seahawks are 4-0 at home in 2012. And his opponents were no joke, beating New England, Green Bay (sort of), Dallas and Minnesota. He has nine touchdown passes to go with those zero interceptions at home while only tossing four touchdowns against eight picks in his five road games. The Hawks have a 1-4 road record this fall.

433: NFL single-game rookie passing record set by Andrew Luck
Any excuse to get the No. 1 overall pick into the article is a good one. By throwing for 433 yards in the win over Miami on Sunday, Andrew Luck locked up another rookie record by breaking Cam Newton's 422 from a year ago. He is 5-3 as a rookie starter who wins on big fourth-quarter drives and poised pocket play. He is one of the single-most, game-ready, first-year players this writer has ever seen. Luck has now toppled two of his fellow four rookie starters (Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden), the only two such meetings of first-year signal callers to date.

15-to-1: Aaron Rodgers TD:INT ratio over the last four games
The Packers are on a four-game winning streak and much of it can be attributed to a rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers. He threw four touchdown passes in the win over Arizona this Sunday, which is topped only the six he threw in the primetime win over the previously undefeated Houston Texans in Week 6. Even more impressive, Rodgers has been doing it without Greg Jennings for the last month and Jordy Nelson for the second straight game. Additionally, the Packers registered two sacks, giving them an NFL-best 28.0 sacks on the season. Bears fans are certainly feeling good after a 7-1 start, but that one loss came courtesy of Green Bay, 23-10. The NFC North should be fun to watch in the second half.

306: Combined rushing yards by Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch
The league's top two rushers were on the field in Seattle this weekend and neither disappointed. Peterson entered the weekend as the NFL's leading rusher and after 182 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries — yes, that is over 10 yards per carry against Seattle — All-Day maintains his hold upon the rushing crown with 957 yards. Lynch is still No. 2 in the rushing standings with 881 yards thus far. Peterson is the planet's most physically gifted running back and his recovery from ACL surgery to lead the NFL in rushing is nothing short of miraculous. As a public service announcement, his given nickname for his entire life — All-Day Peterson — is why he should be called "A.D" not "A.P." So national talking heads, stop calling him A.P.

39-5: Gary Kubiak's record when Houston runs at least 30 times in a game
The Texans ran the ball 32 times for 118 yards in the not quite as easy as expected win over Buffalo and the NFL's worst rushing defense. When Houston runs the ball at least 30 times under Coach Kubiak, the Texans win 88.9 percent of the time (39-5). Arian Foster scored for the fifth straight game and carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards. It was Foster's 20th career 100-yard effort in 43 career games and his fourth trip over the century mark this season. 

1980: The last year the Bears scored at least 51 points
There were many different amazing stats that led to the Bears starting 7-1 this fall after the 51-20 win over the Titans. The Bears scored a franchise record 28 points in the first quarter. Charles Tillman forced four fumbles — no, that isn't a typo. Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown, giving the Bears seven INT return touchdowns on the season. The Bears scored 61 points on Dec. 7, 1980 in a win over Green Bay.

41.7%: Eli Manning's completion percentage against the Steelers
In 129 career games, only nine times has Manning thrown for a lower completion percentage than his 10-of-24 performance in the home loss to Pittsburgh. Only one of those nine outings has taken place since 2007 — he was 9-of-27 in 2011 against the Jets. He is completing 62.6 percent of his passes this season and hasn't completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes in a season since 2007. He is a career 58.7 percent passer. Needless to say, it was a rough night for Manning and it cost them a key game against Pittsburgh.

251: Tampa Bay single-game franchise rushing record set by rookie Doug Martin
After gaining just 31 yards in the first half against Oakland, Martin exploded for 220 and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters of the Buccaneers' 42-32 road win over the Raiders. Martin finished with 251 yards on 25 carries (10 ypc), the most in a single game in Tampa Bay franchise history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history. Only Adrian Peterson (296, 2007) and DeMarco Murray (253, 2011) have had more rushing yards as a rookie in a game. Martin, who scored on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards, joined Denver's Mike Anderson as the only backs in NFL history with at least 250 yards rushing and four scores in a single game. This record-setting performance comes on the heels of last week's game in Minnesota, in which Martin compiled 214 total yards of offense (135 rush, 79 receiving) and two touchdowns in the Bucs' win over the Vikings. For those keeping score at home, that's 486 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in two games for Martin, who was taken by Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in April's draft.

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> 8 Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 9</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-10-power-rankings
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Kansas State’s march to an undefeated season continued with a 44-30 win over Oklahoma State. The Wildcats climbed to 9-0 with the victory and remain squarely in the hunt for the national championship. Quarterback Collin Klein continued his Heisman run but suffered an injury against the Cowboys. Oklahoma bounced back after last week’s loss to Notre Dame, while TCU upset West Virginia in overtime. Baylor recorded its first win in Big 12 play, and Texas knocked off Texas Tech 31-22. 

Post-Week 10 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Kansas State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
1
Week 10 Result: Beat Oklahoma State 44-30
The Wildcats inched closer to an undefeated season with a 44-30 victory over Oklahoma State. The Cowboys managed to record 504 yards, but Kansas State’s defense forced five turnovers and held Oklahoma State to just three third-down conversions on 12 attempts. Although the Wildcats moved to 9-0, the win came at a price with quarterback Collin Klein suffering an undisclosed injury. Klein’s availability for next week’s game against TCU is uncertain.
Next Game: at TCU

2. Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1 Big 12)
Last Week: 2
Week 10 Result: Beat Iowa State 35-20
The Sooners erased the bad feelings from last week’s loss to Notre Dame with a 35-20 win over Iowa State. Quarterback Landry Jones tossed two picks but threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma’s defense also did its part in the victory, holding the Cyclones to 99 rushing yards and only 191 yards through the air. The Sooners remain in the hunt for the Big 12 title but need two losses by Kansas State to claim an outright championship.
Next Game: Baylor

3. Texas (7-2, 4-2 Big 12)
Last Week: 5
Week 10 Result: Beat Texas Tech 31-22
After struggling to beat Kansas, the 31-22 victory over Texas Tech was a much-needed result for Mack Brown and the Longhorns. Quarterback David Ash bounced back after an awful performance against the Jayhawks, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to Ash’s solid performance, the offense had plenty of help on the ground, led by true freshman Johnathan Gray (106 yards, 20 carries). Texas’ defense has struggled in recent weeks but held the Red Raiders to 441 yards – the second-lowest total allowed by the Longhorns in Big 12 play this year.
Next Game: Iowa State

4. Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 3
Week 10 Result: Lost to Texas 31-22
The Red Raiders dropped their second consecutive game, losing 31-22 to Texas on Saturday. Since scoring 49 points against West Virginia and 56 against TCU, Texas Tech has managed only 46 over its last two contests. Quarterback Seth Doege has at least 300 passing yards in four consecutive Big 12 games, but the defense has tailed off during the two-game losing streak. Injuries have played a part in the defensive struggles, but the Red Raiders are also only generating 1.2 sacks per game. Texas Tech hosts Kansas this Saturday.
Next Game: Kansas

5. TCU (6-3, 3-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 8
Week 10 Result: Beat West Virginia 39-38
Thanks to the play of freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin late in the fourth quarter, and a well-timed trick play, the Horned Frogs evened their Big 12 record to 3-3 this season. Boykin hit Josh Boyce for a 94-yard score with less than two minutes remaining to tie the game, while receiver Brandon Carter hit Corey Fuller on a 25-yard scoring pass in the second overtime to setup the game-winning two-point conversion. The win over the Mountaineers was crucial for TCU’s bowl hopes, especially with an upcoming schedule that features games against Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma.
Next Game: Kansas State

6. Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12)
Last Week: 6
Week 10 Result: Lost to Kansas State 44-30
The Cowboys had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 44-30 loss at Kansas State. Oklahoma State outgained the Wildcats but committed five turnovers and was just 3 of 12 on third downs. Quarterback Wes Lunt left due to a concussion, which forced Clint Chelf into his first major action of the season. The Cowboys had a chance to climb into Big 12 title discussion with a win over the Wildcats but are tied for third after eight games. Oklahoma State hosts former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia this week, before closing out the year with Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Next Game: West Virginia

7. West Virginia (5-3, 2-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 4
Week 10 Result: Lost to TCU 39-38
Even though West Virginia’s defense showed some small signs of improvement, it wasn’t enough for the Mountaineers to get back into the win column. West Virginia dropped its third consecutive game with a 39-38 defeat to TCU in double overtime. Quarterback Geno Smith threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns, but the offense hasn’t been the same since Stedman Bailey injured an ankle against Texas Tech. The Mountaineers take on Oklahoma State and Oklahoma the next two weeks, before finishing the year with Iowa State and Kansas.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State

8. Iowa State (5-4, 2-4 Big 12)
Last Week: 7
Week 10 Result: Lost to Oklahoma 35-20
The Cyclones hung tough against Oklahoma but it wasn’t enough to earn the victory. Iowa State’s offense stalled out after recording 557 yards against Baylor, and the defense struggled to contain the Sooners’ passing attack. Cyclones’ quarterback Steele Jantz threw for only 191 yards, and the rushing attack had only 99 overall yards. Iowa State needs one more win to get bowl eligible and plays Texas, Kansas and West Virginia to close out the 2012 season.
Next Game: at Texas

9. Baylor (4-4, 1-4 Big 12)
Last Week: 9
Week 10 Result: Beat Kansas 41-14
The Bears earned their first victory in Big 12 play with a 41-14 win over Kansas on Saturday. Quarterback Nick Florence leads the nation in total offense per game and gashed the Jayhawks for 367 passing yards and three scores. Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk had his best performance at Baylor, rushing for 103 yards and adding 91 yards and one touchdown on five receptions. The Bears need two more wins to get bowl eligible, which won’t be easy with remaining games against Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
Next Game: at Oklahoma

10. Kansas (1-8, 0-6 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 10 Result: Lost to Baylor 41-14
The Jayhawks remained winless in Big 12 play with a 41-14 loss to Baylor on Saturday. The lone bright spot for this team has been the play of running back James Sims, as he recorded his fifth consecutive 100-yard game. Although Sims has been able to find plenty of room on the ground, the passing attack has been stuck in neutral. With upcoming matchups against Texas Tech, Iowa State and West Virginia, the possibility of a winless Big 12 season for the second year in a row is very likely.
Next Game: at Texas Tech


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content


Big East Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 04:57
Path: /college-football/bcs-post-week-10-analysis-oregon-makes-move
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The four undefeated teams on top of the BCS standings remained so after Week 10, despite scares for each .

In the world of the BCS standings, however, the rankings don’t always stay congruent with the results on the field. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Kansas State remained the championship scenario if the season ended today, but the title game and BCS game scenarios remain in flux beyond the top two.

Oregon and Notre Dame switched spots in the BCS standings, and Alabama strengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot with a 21-17 win over LSU on the road.

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

MOVING UP

BCS Standings
Nov. 4

Coaches' Poll Harris Poll Comp. Avg. Last Wk.
1. Alabama 1 1 1 1
2. Kansas St. 3 3 3 2
3. Oregon 2 2 5 4
4. Notre Dame 4 4 2 3
5. Georgia 5 5 6 6
6. Florida 7 7 4 7
7. LSU 9 8 7 5
8. S. Carolina 11 11 8 8
9. Louisville 10 10 13 10
10. Florida St. 6 6 19 9
11. Oregon St. 12 12 8 11
12. Oklahoma 13 13 10 12
13. Clemson 8 9 16 13
14. Stanford 15 14 12 14
15. Texas A&M 14 15 15 16
16. Nebraska 16 16 14 20

No. 3 Oregon. The long-awaited move up the BCS rankings from Oregon finally took place this week as Oregon leapfrogged Notre Dame to the No. 3 spot in the standings after a 62-51 win at USC. Oregon remained a strong No. 2 in the coaches’ and Harris polls and No. 5 in the average computer rankings. The only change in the three components of the BCS was Alabama taking the No. 1 spot in the computer rankings. Notre Dame and Kansas State were tied for the top spot in the computer rankings a week ago, but they dropped to Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.

MOVING DOWN
No. 4 Notre Dame. A 29-26 scare in triple overtime against Pittsburgh did not help Notre Dame’s case to move up in the coaches’ or Harris polls. The Irish remained ranked fourth in the human polls, but moved out of a tie for first in the average computer rankings to second behind Alabama. A season-finale game against USC will be a make-or-break contest for Notre Dame, provided the Irish aren’t upset by Boston College or Wake Forest.

KEY GAMES THIS WEEK
No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama. Alabama has a commanding leading in the BCS. The Tide is a unanimous No. 1 in the coaches’ poll, has 108 of 115 No. 1 votes in the Harris poll and overtook Kansas State and Notre Dame for the No. 1 ranking in the computers. The rankings, though, don’t always reflect the developments on the field. After an emotional 21-17 win at LSU, Alabama will face the SEC’s top offense in Texas A&M this week.

No. 2 Kansas State at TCU. Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein left this week’s game with an injury, putting his status in question against TCU. Despite a depleted roster, the Horned Frogs have been a tough out in the Big 12 this season. Nothing is guaranteed for the title-contending Wildcats.

No. 11 Oregon State at No. 14 Stanford. Both are still in the race for the Pac-12 North, but a consolation prize would be the Rose Bowl. Should Oregon reach the BCS title game (presumably by defeating Oregon State and Stanford in the process), the Rose Bowl would have the Pac-12’s automatic bid to fill. The winner of this game wouldn’t be guaranteed a slot in that scenario, but the loser would be all but eliminated.

OTHER NOTES
Who in the SEC East the leader of an at-large spot? An interesting scenario is shaping up among SEC East teams and a BCS bid. Only Georgia controls its own destiny, needing a win over Auburn to clinch the East and a win in the SEC title game to clinch the Sugar Bowl or better. However, Florida, South Carolina and LSU remain in play for a BCS game. Florida and South Carolina’s games against ACC rivals Florida State and Clemson could be critical matchups for BCS bids for both leagues.

Florida State slips. The most intriguing tug of war in the BCS standings is between the human polls and the computers with Florida State. The Seminoles didn’t play this week, but they dropped from No. 9 to No. 10, in part because NC State -- the only team to defeat FSU this season -- lost 33-6 to Virginia. The Seminoles are ranked sixth in the coaches’ and Harris polls and 19th by the computers.

Louisville on the outside looking in. Undefeated Ohio State is ineligible for the BCS title game, but one other unbeaten is on the outside looking in. Louisville remains outside of the title game power structure at No. 9. The polls both have the Cardinals ranked 10th and none of the six computers has Louisville ranked higher than eighth.

Louisiana Tech has a slim shot in the BCS. Boise State’s loss to San Diego State seemed to close the door for a non-Big Six team to reach the BCS. Perhaps that was premature. Louisiana Tech is ranked 20th in the BCS. For an automatic bid to a BCS bowl, the Bulldogs still need to get into the top 16 and be ranked ahead of a champion of an automatic qualifying-conference. No. 16 Nebraska is the lowest-ranked team of an AQ conference, and No. 24 Northwestern is the only other ranked Big Ten team in the BCS.

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

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

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

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

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

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

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Teaser:
<p> BCS Post-Week 10 Analysis: Oregon makes move</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 20:07
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Trailing 10-7 early in the second quarter, Cincinnati reached into its bag of tricks to score the go-ahead touchdown against Syracuse. 

Running back George Winn took the handoff and appeared as if he was ready to run for the first down. However, Winn stopped and threw a short jump pass to tight end Travis Kelce, which caught the Syracuse defense off guard. Kelce rumbled for a 37-yard score, giving Cincinnati a 14-10 lead. The Bearcats held on for a 35-24 victory.

Teaser:
<p> Cincinnati Uses Nifty Trick Play to Beat Syracuse</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 19:10
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, SEC, News
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Auburn hasn't had much to cheer about this season. The Tigers are having a miserable year, and coach Gene Chizik is likely to be fired after the Iron Bowl matchup against Alabama.

Saturday's victory over New Mexico State was one of the few highlights from this year, as Auburn claimed a 42-7 victory. The Tigers' defense had a few big plays, including linebacker Daren Bates' 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The runback was impressive but check out the stiff arm Bates puts on New Mexico State's defender around the 20-yard line.

Teaser:
<p> Auburn's Daren Bates Uses Stiff Arm to Destroy New Mexico State Defender</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 19:00
All taxonomy terms: Michigan State Spartans, Big Ten, News
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Saturday's Michigan State-Nebraska matchup was a huge contest to establish the pecking order in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers - with a little help from a generous pass interference call - pulled out a 28-24 victory against the Spartans.

While the refs may have helped Nebraska with a generous call for the game-winning touchdown, Michigan State's Johnny Adams attempted to get a little help from the officials late in the first half. Adams was battling with receiver Kenny Bell and had an epic flop to try and draw a 15-yard penalty. The refs didn't fall for Adams' flop but it's quite a humorous moment from Saturday's game.

Teaser:
<p> Michigan State's Johnny Adams Flops To Draw Penalty Against Nebraska</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 18:52
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-10-recap-alabama-oregon-answer-bcs-title-tests
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A wild Saturday may make no difference in the national championship race, but the week ended with plenty of questions for title contenders.

The BCS top four of Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon remained undefeated, but three of them will spend Sunday mulling Saturday’s outcomes. Alabama needed a miracle drive in the final minutes to defeat LSU. Notre Dame needed three overtimes to defeat a 4-4 Pittsburgh team. And Kansas State finished the game with someone other than Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein at quarterback.

Of the BCS top four, only Oregon could emerge from Saturday with a healthy dose of optimism -- and the Ducks gave up 51 points.

Even if Saturday's unexpected outcomes didn't reshape the BCS standings for this week, they may reverberate through the final month of the season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 10 RECAP: THREE AND OUT

THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM ALABAMA 21, LSU 17

A.J. McCarron

T.J. Yeldon is Alabama’s biggest star. Quarterback A.J. McCarron struggled through most of the second half as four Alabama possessions ended in a three and out and a fifth ended in a fumble. Instead, freshman T.J. Yeldon turned out to be the game’s MVP with 11 carries for 76 yards and then the 28-yard game-winning touchdown on a screen pass. He’ll be in Mark Ingram/Trent Richardson territory soon enough.

Zach Mettenberger is no pushover. This was the Zach Mettenberger LSU thought it had when he arrived last season. Before Saturday, Mettenberger was one of the worst quarterbacks in the SEC. Against Alabama, he looked all-conference worthy. Mettenberger was 24 of 35 for 298 yards and threaded the go-ahead touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry early in the fourth quarter. Now, the trick is for Mettenberger to perform like this against opponents other than Alabama.

Alabama is on upset alert next week. McCarron ended the game in tears, and a handful of Crimson Tide players likely finished the game bruised and beat up against a physical opponent. Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa next week, but Texas A&M presents a different challenge with its spread offense and athletic quarterback. Not to mention a defense that can cause headaches for quarterbacks.

THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM OREGON 62, USC 51

Kenjon Barner

Kenjon Barner is making Heisman case. Late-night starts, lopsided wins against overmatched opponents and the emergence of redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota has cut into chatter about Oregon running back Kenjon Barner for postseason awards. That changes with a record effort against USC. Barner rushed for 321 yards against the Trojans, a school record for Oregon and a record for a USC opponent. The running back from nearby Riverside, Calif., also ran for five touchdowns.

Marqise Lee should take home postseason awards, too. Matt Barkley started the season as the player of the year forerunner, but Lee is USC’s most valuable player. Against USC, he caught 12 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 31.4 yards on kickoff returns. Lee's 469 all-purpose yards last week against Arizona and 408 against Oregon are the two highest totals nationally this season.

USC can’t stop the no-huddle spread, and that’s going to be a problem. Not many teams can stop Oregon, but the Ducks don’t put up 730 yards of offense every week, either. This is a trend going in the wrong direction for the USC defense: The Trojans also gave up 588 yards to Arizona a week ago and 474 yards to Oregon a year ago. With Chip Kelly’s system producing no matter the personnel, and Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach and Todd Graham running the no-huddle spread in the Pac-12, USC and Monte Kiffin need to find answers soon.

MOVING THE CHAINS
Kansas State's supporting cast.
Collin Klein may be the Heisman frontrunner, but the Wildcats didn’t need him to find the end zone in a 44-30 win over Oklahoma State. Kansas State scored 31 points in the first half against the Cowboys, none from Klein. They came on two John Hubert touchdowns, a kickoff return from Tyler Lockett, an interception return from Allen Chapman and two field goals. Klein didn’t account for a touchdown until the third quarter with a rushing score. Klein wasn’t a non-factor, though, as he passed for 245 yards and ran for 64 before leaving in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury.

Texas still has some life to it. The Longhorns were a mess through October. That didn’t carry over into November with a 31-22 win over Texas Tech on the road. Against the Red Raiders, the Longhorns’ maligned defense allowed only two touchdowns and no plays longer than 25 yards. Texas Tech’s 112 rushing yards were the least against the Texas defense since the opener against Wyoming. And quarterback David Ash, benched last week against Kansas, came back to complete 11 of 19 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. At 7-2, Texas faces Iowa State and TCU in the next two games before the finale against Kansas State.

Kevin Hogan in relief. The redshirt freshman didn’t start, but he might finish the season as Stanford’s quarterback. Josh Nunes’ struggles from the last three games spilled into the first quarter against hapless Colorado. Hogan then entered the game in late in the first quarter and immediately looked like Matt Barkley and Marcus Mariota did against the Buffaloes’ defense. Hogan was 18 of 23 for 184 yards with two touchdowns, adding 48 rushing yards in the 48-0 win over Colorado.

FALSE STARTS
Notre Dame.
Where Notre Dame lands in the polls may be the least of the troubles for the Fighting Irish. The Irish already rank fourth in both the coaches’ poll and Harris polls and didn’t pass the eye test despite a 29-26 win over Pittsburgh in triple overtime. The Irish trailed by two touchdowns going into the fourth quarter and needed a number of lucky breaks, including a would-be game-winning field goal by Pitt sailing wide right in the second overtime. Notre Dame threw two interceptions, including one in the red zone, and Everett Golson fumbled on the goal line in the second OT. The Irish were lucky to escape with a win, but the team that faced Pitt is going to have trouble defeating USC on Nov. 24.

Arizona. Not many teams can say they’ve been blown out by coaches in warpaint, but Arizona can. The Wildcats upset USC 39-36 a week ago, but the Wildcats wouldn’t have the same luck against the other Los Angeles team in a 66-10 loss to UCLA. The Wildcats had a chance to reach the Pac-12 title game, but they didn’t look they part when the let UCLA build up a 42-3 halftime lead. The Bruins topped 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing to ensure a balanced rout at the Rose Bowl.

Boise State. The Broncos were essentially the only hope for a team from a non-Big Six conference as long as they were ranked in the top 16 and ahead of a champion of a Big Six conference. That’s not going to happen now as Boise State lost 21-19 to San Diego State. Now, the Broncos will have to fight for a Mountain West title in their rebuilding year. Boise State lost only its fourth home game since 1998 (including the MPC Computers Bowl loss to Boston College in 2005).

HEISMAN MOVERS
Kenjon Barner, Oregon.
Barner averaged 8.4 yards per carry on 38 carries. His 321 yards and five touchdowns in the Ducks’ biggest game of the season is going to be tough for voters to ignore.

Manti Te’o, Notre Dame. The Irish linebacker had seven tackles, but Pittsburgh was able to get the ball into the hands of running back Ray Graham in space. Graham rushed for 172 yards against Notre Dame, more than any opponent as a team against the Irish this season

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M. The Aggies freshman is a more realistic candidate for 2013 and beyond, but he continued to make SEC defenses look pedestrian with 311 passing yards and 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Mississippi State. His 83.3 percent completion rate (30 of 36) was his best of the season.

THREE FINALS FROM EARLIER THIS SEASON THAT SEEM WEIRD NOW
LSU 12, Auburn 10 on Sept. 22
NC State 17, Florida State 16 on Oct. 6
Cal 42, UCLA 17 on Oct. 6
ARBITRARY 2013 HEISMAN RANKINGS
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
SCORES THAT MAKE YOU GO, “HUH?”
Virginia 33, NC State 6
Notre Dame 29, Pittsburgh 26
UNLV 35, New Mexico 7

STAT WATCH
693.
Texas A&M put up 693 yards of offense in a 38-13 win over Mississippi State, giving A&M an average of 550.8 yards per game in SEC contests. The Aggies’ 559.6 yards per game this season would be an SEC record, but a matchup with the Alabama defense looms Saturday.

76. Yes, Colorado football can hit a new low of futility. The Buffaloes’ 76 total yards in the 48-0 loss to Stanford was the fewest for the program since gaining only 46 yards against Oklahoma in the 2004 Big 12 Championship Game. Colorado had only 20 total yards at halftime and finished with minus-21 yards rushing.


2. USF’s interception drought ended with two picks against Connecticut, starting with with a Jon Lejiste pick in the fourth quarter. The Bulls were one of only two teams in NCAA football -- Division I, II and III -- that did not have an interception this season. USF’s second interception of the season, this one from linebacker Elkino Watson, ended a  UConn scoring chance on its final possession in a 13-6 USF win. But it’s been this kind of season for USF: Quarterback B.J. Daniels suffered a broken ankle and will be out for the remainder of the season.

BURIED ON THE DEPTH CHART
Vanderbilt 40, Kentucky 0. Lost in the early chaos in SEC games was the rare Vanderbilt shutout in SEC play, the Commodores’ first since defeating Kentucky 6-0 in 1968. It was the Commodores’ first shutout of an FBS team since defeating Virginia Tech 45-0 in 1982.

Army upsets Air Force. The Black Knights defeated Air Force 41-21 to knock the Falcons out of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy race. By holding Air Force to 103 rushing yards and intercepting three passes, Army (2-7) ended a six-game losing streak to Air Force and defeated the Falcons for just the second time since 1996. This sets up a winner-take-all game for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy when Army faces Navy on Dec. 8.

ULM’s Sun Belt hopes in trouble. September’s darling underdog is in a three-way race for the Sun Belt title, but the Warhawks may have to do it without Kolton Browning. ULM’s dual-threat quarterback left the 40-24 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette with a foot injury, returned on crutches and left the sideline shortly thereafter. The initial reports weren’t optimistic for his return. The loss sets up a three-way tie atop the Sun Belt with ULM, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State at 4-1 in conference play.

THREE TEAMS WITH GUTS
Nebraska.
The comeback Cornhuskers overcame a double-digit deficit to win a Big Ten game for the third time this season. Nebraska trailed Michigan State by 10 points in the fourth quarter but scored two touchdowns in the final 7:02 to win 28-24. The game wasn’t without controversy, though, as a disputed pass interference call on third and 10 from the 20 set the Huskers up with first down at the Michigan State 5. The Spartans were flagged nine times for 100 yards. Huskers QB Taylor Martinez had a rocky game, going 16 of 36 passing with three interceptions and two touchdowns, but he also rushed for 205 yards and two TDs.


TCU. Between the two Big 12 newcomers, TCU has the advantage over West Virginia thanks to Gary Patterson’s risky calls calls in overtime. Capitalizing on the momentum of a second-half comeback and a blocked field goal in the first overtime, Patterson called for a trick play in the second overtime that resulted in a touchdown pass from receiver Brandon Carter off a reverse. TCU wasn’t done as it went for a two-point conversion earlier than necessary to win 39-38. TCU is 3-3 in its first season in the Big 12 as West Virginia drops to 2-3.

San Diego State. If the Aztecs are going to win the Mountain West, they’re not going to do it because coach Rocky Long is playing it safe. Two weeks ago against Nevada, San Diego State went for a two-point conversion in overtime on the road with a backup quarterback to beat the Wolf Pack 39-38. Long rolled the dice again on the road against Boise State by going for it on fourth and 2 on the Broncos’ 35 yard-line in the final two minutes. Adam Muema converted with a 13-yard run to seal the 21-19 win. San Diego State (5-1) is one of four teams with one loss at the top of the Mountain West along with Fresno State (5-1), Boise State and Air Force (4-1 each).

THREE SEC ESCAPE ACTS
Florida 14, Missouri 7.
The Gators had some help -- OK, a ton of help -- from Missouri quarterback James Franklin. With a listless offense and special teams mishaps (a blocked field goal and two shanked punts from potential All-American Kyle Christy), Florida was begging to be upset. Mizzou couldn’t deliver as Franklin threw four interceptions and missed a handful of receivers in a 24-of-51 performance.


Tennessee 55, Troy 48. The Volunteers trailed by a touchdown with 3:15 to go, but that was plenty of time for Tennessee to tack on the final two touchdowns in this defense-optional game. The Volunteers set school records for most yards gained (718) and most yards allowed (721), and quarterback Tyler Bray passed for the second-most yards in SEC history with 530. One of the most remarkable stats was Tennessee’s defensive futility on third down: Troy converted 10 of 19.

Arkansas 19, Tulsa 15. That crooked final score was the product of missed kicks. Tulsa had two extra points blocked and missed a field goal. Arkansas missed a field goal of its own. Tulsa led entering the fourth quarter until Dennis Johnson rushed for his second score of the game and seventh TD in the last four games.

DANG, THEY’RE GOOD
Oregon
Penn State
Texas A&M
DANG THEY’RE BAD
Colorado
Kentucky
Washington State
BEST GAMES NEXT WEEK
Texas A&M at Alabama
Kansas State at TCU
Penn State at Nebraska

THREE REPLACEMENT QUARTERBACKS, THREE DIFFERENT RESULTS
Devin Gardner, Michigan.
Gardner started slow after a surprise announcement that Denard Robinson would miss the game with nerve damage in his throwing elbow, but Gardner eventually broke the Wolverines out of their slump. Michigan hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown in its last two games against Michigan State and Nebraska, but Gardner accounted for three total touchdowns and 242 yards of total offense in the 35-13 win over Minnesota.


Shawn Petty, Maryland. The freshman linebacker-turned-quarterback, well, looked like a freshman who had been playing linebacker. Thrust into duty after the Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to injury this season, Petty was 9 of 18 for 115 yards with two lost fumbles and an interception in the 33-13 loss to Georgia Tech. Petty played quarterback at Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor Roosevelt but signed with the Terps as a linebacker.

Brendon Kay, Cincinnati. Only days after Butch Jones said he would stick with starter Munchie Legaux, the Bearcats coach yanked his mistake-prone quarterback in the third quarter against Syracuse. Kay entered the game in the third quarter to throw the go-ahead touchdown pass in the 35-24 win over Syracuse.

By David Fox

@DavidFox615

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 10 Recap: Alabama, Oregon answer BCS title tests</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 09:12
Path: /news/donald-brown-unlikely-play-expect-vick-ballard-start
Body:

UPDATE: Several sources are now reporting that Donald Brown will sit this week.

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
A return to practice on Friday gave us optimism that Donald Brown would be good to go for today’s game against the Dolphins. A downgrade to questionable on Saturday after swelling was found in the knee now leaves Brown owners pessimistic as Sunday’s Week 9 games will soon kick off.  It was already expected to be a time-share with Vick Ballard, much like last week’s 14-12-carry advantage for Brown over Ballard. Brown did more with his carries (14-or-80 to 12-for-55) but Ballard got the TD on his lone catch, leaping into the end zone for a 16-yard score. That was against a Titans team now ranked 30th against fantasy backs; today the Colts draw the seventh-ranked defense against fantasy RBs. They haven’t allowed a TD on the ground to a RB since Week 1 and haven’t allowed a TD through the air since Week 2.  Along the way, yardage totals of 79, 76 and 77 are the most allowed. Look elsewhere if you’re counting on a Colts RB as anything more than a deep flex.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 09:02
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-ryan-tannehill-ben-tate-jordy-nelson
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
OK, Ryan Tannehill is probably one of the last QBs you'd be starting, even in two-quarterback leagues. He is currently 30th at the position in fantasy and an inconsistent producer as one would expect from a rookie QB. He has had four games above 200 yards and three games below, and he has only tossed TD passes in three games. A knee injury knocked him out of the Jets game last week, but he will start today. So this is more of a heads up that there are better options than Tannehill. One possible replacement could be his possible replacement in Matt Moore. And that is only because the Dolphins face a Colts team that has allowed five of seven opposing starters to throw for at least 236 yards and at least one score.

 

Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills
Well, the Ben Tate as the ultimate handcuff, regardless if starter Arian Foster is playing or not, has not worked out this season. Tate has 178 yards on the ground with two scores and just nine catches for 48 yards. He is not the cheap flex on a run-based team we thought he would be. A hamstring injury will keep him out against a weak Buffalo run defense (ranked last against fantasy RBs) and that is not good coming off a Texans' bye. Tate has not sniffed double digits in fantasy since Week 2's 16-touch, 97 total yards, two-TD day. Might be time to cut, bait, er, Tate.

 

Jordy NelsonJordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Bad hamstring. Missed game. No practice since missed game. A bye week coming up next week. The stars were not aligning for Jordy Nelson to play today against visiting Arizona. But, alas, he is active. Can you trust him, though? Can you throw a receiver in your lineup that relies on speed and has a bad hammy slowing him down? Ask Miles Austin how that has worked over the years. Randall Cobb and James Jones should be able to feast on a Cardinals team that has allowed four touchdowns to receivers in the last three weeks. 
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 9: Ryan Tannehill, Ben Tate, Jordy Nelson &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-darren-sproles-darren-mcfadden-ahmad-bradshaw
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Darren SprolesDarren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Monday night)
A broken hand has Darren Sproles out indefinitely. If there's any good news, as a selfish fantasy owner writes, is that we don't have to wait until Monday for lineup decisions. The bad news is that we just lost a PPR stud. Yes, it might clear up the Saints' backfield situation a little bit, but I am still not trusting Mark Ingram unless he has regained eligibility at Alabama. Pierre Thomas is clear benefactor here. He has been the team's leading ball carrier each of the last four games, albeit 13 carries is the high watermark in those games. But Sproles had 40 touches in those four games. If Thomas is out there, go get him and at least throw him in as a flex until Sproles' return — if there is a return in time for the fantasy season.

 

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Well, that was nice to see the return of a first-round pick. McFadden ran for a season-high 114 yards and added four catches for 23 yards against the lowly Chiefs. The problem is: Was it a mirage or is this a sign of things to come? McFadden goes from fantasy's 22nd-ranked team against running backs to its 10th this week in the form of the visiting Buccaneers. That said, Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris have had 100-yard, scoring days against Tampa Bay as two of five backs to score double digits in PPR. Tampa Bay's 30th-ranked fantasy defense against receivers could open things up for McFadden. He is not going to be worth the first-round pick this season (unless you make the semis or finals when he gets Kansas City again followed by Carolina), but McFadden should be able to provide a few more low-end double-digit days on the way there.

 

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ahmad Bradshaw missed Friday's practice with his foot injury, his second missed practice this week. He is listed as questionable for today's late game against the visiting Steelers. It looks like limited practices will be the norm for Bradshaw and the Giants, who rank fifth in fantasy at the RB position. He had 78 yards and no scores on 22 carries last week. Love the carries; hate the lack of points. He has had games of 22, 12, 27, 30 and 13 carries in the last five games. Meanwhile, Andre Brown and David Wilson have combined for 14 carries in that time. If this is what Bradshaw has to do during the week to be good on Sunday, fine by me. Very few backs are getting that kind of work, particularly when the two behind him have been productive this season as well. Yes, the Steelers are fifth against fantasy running backs and have allowed just three scores to the position since Week 3, but roll with Bradshaw and be happy with whatever you get.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 9: Darren Sproles, Darren McFadden, Ahmad Bradshaw</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:51
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-cj-spiller-demarco-murray-felix-jones-philip-tanner-maurice-jones-drew
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans
A shoulder injury has C.J. Spiller on the injury report but he practiced in full and should be good to go, if good to go is going against fantasy's third-best defense against fantasy RBs. Outside of Chris Johnson's inexplicable 141-yard day in Week 4, the Texans have not allowed a back to gain over 69 yards (Week 1) and have only allowed one receiving TD (Maurice Jones-Drew Week 2) and no rushing TDs to opposing running backs this season. The defense and the shared carries with Fred Jackson make it tough to start Spiller, particularly in a game the Bills should not be in. But he is Spiller and does have the CJ speed. So, perhaps, like CJ, he can bust one off or get garbage time yards and catches.

 

DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner, RBs, Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons (Sunday night)
The Falcons have been somewhat generous to opposing fantasy running backs (ranked 22nd against them), but Dallas has been as equally bad at the position (ranked 24th for them). The Cowboys are without DeMarco Murray tonight (foot) and Felix Jones (knee) has not been much help, either. Whether it is Jones the last couple of weeks or backups to the backup, Phillip Tanner or Lance Dunbar, no Cowboy back has eclipsed 44 yards since the Murray-Jones duo got 93 and 92 when Murray was injured against Baltimore in Week 6. We all wanted to see Jones make good on the opportunity, but he has held true to history and has not done that. There will be garbage-time in PPR or even in standard leagues throughout the game, but there's too much risk to take to start any of the four in any format.

 

Maurice Jones-DrewMaurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings, RBs, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions
So Jennings has had two cracks at the starting running back role in the last two weeks and performed flex-like, particularly in PPR. The Jaguars can sure make games ugly for themselves and the opposition and have stayed in four of their seven games. Jennings has carried the ball 17 and 21 times the last two weeks for 59 and 44 yards — not good, but it's bulk — and he has really helped in the passing game with 13 catches for 114 yards on 17 targets. Regardless of whether the Jags stay in the game with the Lions or not, there is plenty to be had from starting Jennings — either in the form of a guaranteed bulk carrier or the catches and yards he provides (standard or PPR).
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> &nbsp;C.J. Spiller, DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Philip Tanner, Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-calvin-johnson-hakeem-nicks-jimmy-graham
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Calvin JohnsonCalvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This sore knee has become a pain in the ... But it is one of the lingering issues dogging Calvin Johnson currently. He did not practice on Friday to conclude a week without practice. No, he has not played like the No. 1 receiver taken off the board, but he has played like the 20th, which is where he is currently ranked in PPR formats at the position. And that means he's still a must-start in leagues that start two WRs (all of them, I would assume, well, except my dynasty league but that's for another day). It's the lack of TDs that are obviously the killer as he is seventh in yards (638) and 11th in catches (41) as the eighth-most targeted receiver (75). What are you going to do? The red-zone targets are down, but perhaps other receivers stepping up will open things up for Megatron.

 

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
"One of these days I'll emerge and be back." That was the quote attributed to Hakeem Nicks this week. And that is the scary thing about the talented Giants receiver. He has certainly not been back this season, save for the 10-for-199 performance against Tampa Bay in Week 2. Dealing with foot issues entering the season and adding knee issues on top of it has made Nicks a sit suggestion each week, in hindsight. He says he's now "pushing 90, 95" percent in regards of his health, but we hear all sorts of lip service from players. You would like to sit him until he proves he's back but you don't want to be the one with Nicks on the bench when he does emerge. Since Week 2, with Weeks 3-5 missed, Nicks has 12 catches for 147 yards and no scores on 22 targets (three games). You likely don't have better options, but until I see it he's on my bench. And going against a Steelers team that has allowed just eight of the 28 receivers they've faced this year to reach double digits in PPR is not encouraging, either.

 

Jimmy GrahamJimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Monday night)
This is more of a celebration part of the fantasy forecast just to let you know that Jimmy Graham is not on the injury report this week. After battling an ankle injury that shortened his day in Week 5 and did not allow him to return coming out of the Week 6 bye into the Week 7 game, Graham returned in a big way. He drew 10 targets, caught five of them for 63 yards and a late score. With Darren Sproles (hand) out indefinitely, there should be more targets to go around. Graham is still ranked seventh amongst tight ends despite missing basically two games and already having his bye. The Eagles are fifth-best against fantasy tight ends, allowing just one score and only one TE over 65 yards, but if Graham is healthy then Graham is in the fantasy lineup.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Calvin Johnson, Hakeem Nicks, Jimmy Graham: Injury Updates Week 9&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:30
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-jacob-tamme-dez-bryant-coby-fleener
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Jacob Tamme, TE, Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Jacob Tamme is listed on the injury report as probable with a hip but practiced Friday and is expected to play against the Bengals today. The Bengals are the sixth-best team against the tight end position in fantasy, but they have allowed one touchdown to the position in three of the last four games. Unfortunately, for Tamme he has just one TD this season and it came in Week 1. The week-in, week-out between Tamme and Joel Dreessen makes it impossible to trust either. There Dustin Keller or Jermaine Gresham, who are at least guaranteed all of the targets at the position.

 

Dez BryantDez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons (Sunday night) 
A hip injury has Dez Bryant listed as questionable for tonight's game against Atlanta. He suffered the injury making the touchdown catch called back against the Giants last week. Atlanta is ranked seventh against fantasy receivers this season, having allowed just four scores to the position this season. Jeremy Maclin's six catches for 33 yards was the highest catch total against the Falcons since Demaryius Thomas's eight in Week 2. It looks like it will be a total crapshoot, outside of Jason Witten, for all of the Cowboys you could start tonight — Bryant, Miles Austin or the foursome of lackluster running backs.

 

Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
The Stanford Connection has just not happened this season between QB Andrew Luck and Fleener as we hoped it would. One reason is because Luck has been able to incorporate receivers into the game and the other is Dwayne Allen. Fleener has 21 catches for 222 yards and no scores on 36 targets this year and is now out for today's game against Miami with a shoulder injury. It would be nice to say take a flier on Allen, but chances are he stays in and blocks against a run defense that is ranked seventh against fantasy running backs. Fleener was a nice flier to take late in your draft, but like Tamme and Dreessen in Denver, it is likely time to cut bait on Colts TEs for 2012.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 9: Jacob Tamme, Dez Bryant, Coby Fleener &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-peyton-manning-brandon-weeden-andrew-luck
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report—Andrew Luck, Brandon Weeden, Peyton Manning— or those stepping in for the injured.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Oh, that thumb. We certainly didn't like seeing the best value draft QB in fantasy banging that against a Saints helmet in Week 8. But Peyton Manning practiced and fantasy's sixth-ranked quarterback should be good to go. He gets a defense in the Bengals that is 16th against fantasy QBs but sixth-best against receivers. Only Ryan Tannehill (Week 5) has not thrown a touchdown against Cincinnati and only Blaine Gabbert (Week 4) has not eclipsed 200 yards. Also, the Bengals don't turn QBs over that often, collecting just three interceptions this year to nine TDs allowed.

 

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Groin and thigh problems have Brandon Weeden on this week's injury report, but he has practiced and is listed as probable for today's early game against visiting Baltimore. Weeden could be a decent spot start if you're battling injuries, byes or elected not to start Philip Rivers on Thursday night. Weeden's is fantasy's 21st-ranked QB and gets a Ravens team ranked eighth against the position in fantasy. Opposing QBs have averaged 308.6 yards and 1.2 TDs thrown in the last five games (not counting the awful Chiefs in Week 5). Weeden was part of that mix in Week 4 when he threw for 320 yards, no scores and one interception.


Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
If Peyton Manning was not one of your league's best draft values at the QB spot, then his replacement, Andrew Luck, certainly was. The No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL Draft, is fantasy's ninth-best QB thanks to three scores on the ground to counter the 1:1 TD-interception ratio. He is listed on the injury report as probably with a right knee but practiced this week. And today, Luck and the Colts get a Dolphins defense that is ranked 21st against fantasy QBs, allowing all seven starters they've faced to throw for at least 234 and all but one to throw for a TD.  
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Peyton Manning, Brandon Weeden, Andrew Luck: Injury Updates Week 9</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-trent-richardson-titus-young-brandon-pettigrew
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Trent Richardson, Cleveland BrownsTrent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
Well, the banged up ribs and ineffectiveness did not seem to linger with Trent Richardson in Week 8’s game against San Diego. The rookie, coming off an 8-for-8 performance a week earlier, ran 24 times for 122 yards and one score last week. The ribs/chest injury has limited Richardson in practice but that is to be expected and he will start today against the Ravens. Baltimore is ranked 25th against fantasy RBs and has allowed at least one TD to opposing RBs in six of seven games this season. In his first game against the Ravens (Week 4), Richardson ran for 47 yards and a score and added four catches for 57 yards on six targets — the most a back has been targeted against the Ravens since Cleveland’s Chris Ogbonnaya had six against them in Week 13 last season.

 

Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
A knee injury has limited Titus Young this week, but is it not expected to keep him out of today’s game against Jacksonville and its 15th ranked fantasy defense in a PPR against receivers. Young is coming off a nine-catch, 100-yard, two-TD game on nine targets last week against a stingy Seattle defense. Now he gets a Jaguars defense likely down their top two cornerbacks in Rashean Mathis (groin) and Derek Cox (back). The Jags have allowed a receiver to go for at least 84 yards in six of seven games and have allowed a TD to the position in five of seven games.

 

Brandon PettigrewBrandon Pettigrew, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
A knee injury has Brandon Pettigrew listed as probable, but he practiced Friday and is expected to play. However, the inconsistent tight end draws a Jacksonville team that is ranked fourth against fantasy tight ends as one of just two teams in the NFL (Miami) not to surrender a touchdown to the position this season. No tight end has eclipsed Kyle Rudolph’s 67 yards in Week 1 — 47 yards twice has been the closest — and Brandon Myers’ seven catches on 10 targets in Week 7 are season highs allowed in both categories against the position. Pettigrew has not had double-digit targets since Week 3. He is coming off his best fantasy game of the season (7-for-74 on nine targets) against Seattle, but outside of perhaps more targets coming his way with Calvin Johnson limited (knee), there’s little to suggest he gets going today.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 9: Trent Richardson, Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:01
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-donald-brown-blaine-gabbert-brian-hartline
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report—Donald Brown, Blaine Gabbert, Brian Hartline—or those stepping in for the injured.

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis ColtsDonald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
A return to practice on Friday gave us optimism that Donald Brown would be good to go for today’s game against the Dolphins. A downgrade to questionable on Saturday after swelling was found in the knee now left Brown owners pessimistic as Sunday’s Week 9 games soon kick off. However, he is active for today's game, in a situation that was already likely to be a time-share with Vick Ballard, much like last week’s 14-12-carry advantage for Brown over Ballard. Brown did more with his carries (14-or-80 to 12-for-55) but Ballard got the TD on his lone catch, leaping into the end zone for a 16-yard score. That was against a Titans team now ranked 30th against fantasy backs; today the Colts draw the seventh-ranked defense against fantasy RBs. They haven’t allowed a TD on the ground to a RB since Week 1 and haven’t allowed a TD through the air since Week 2.  Along the way, yardage totals of 79, 76 and 77 are the most allowed. Look elsewhere if you’re counting on a Colts RB as anything more than a deep flex.

 

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions
The shoulder injury will likely keep Blaine Gabbert on the injury report for the remainder of the season, but it didn’t seem to bother him last week as he throw for a career-high 303 yards, one TD and no interceptions.  He practiced in full this week in preparation for the Lions and gets a secondary, much like his own, which has been maligned with injuries. Detroit has allowed at least two TD passes in four of seven games, has allowed at least 225 yards in four of seven games and has just three interceptions in seven games. Last week, I said it was crazy to start Gabbert but viable in at least two QB leagues.  This week, I still say viable considering Alex Smith and Russell Wilson each threw for at least 226 and two scores against the Lions this season.

 

Brian HartlineBrian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts
Both starting QB Ryan Tannehill (knee) and starting WR Brian Hartline (groin/hamstring) are active today against the Colts. Both were limited in Friday’s practice, and the hamstring injury joined the groin injury for Hartline after Friday’s practice. The Colts allow 1.5 TDs per game to the wide receiver position but have not been gashed on catches or yards as of late. Nate Washington’s five catches in Week 8 and Greg Little’s 6 in Week 7 are the most surrendered since Week 2. Only one receiver has gone over 80 yards since Week 2. Hartline has produced just two double-digit fantasy days this season — PPR or standard — and cannot be counted on as a consistent enough producer to have in your lineup. The injuries to himself and his QB and a Colts team that just doesn’t give up much in the way of WR fantasy production make Hartline too risky a start today.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 9: Donald Brown, Blaine Gabbert, Brian Hartline</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /fantasy/week-9-injury-updates-brandon-lafell-kenny-britt-percy-harvin
Body:

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 9 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Brandon LaFellBrandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins
Just as Brandon LaFell resurfaced on the fantasy map with seven catches for 141 yards and a score the last two weeks, a concussion will keep him sidelined this week. And of all the weeks to miss, it is the Washington Redskins on the other side of the ball. They are the 31st-ranked team against fantasy receivers. Until last week against the Steelers, Washington had allowed at least one receiver to reach at least 94 yards each of the first seven weeks. It's bad news for LaFell owners, but may be good news for Steve Smith and Greg Olsen owners as the receiving pool is thinned out. Louis Murphy would step in for LaFell, but that trade with the Raiders has netted nine catches for 131 yards on 24 targets this season.

 

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans vs. Chicago Bears
Kenny Britt is listed on the injury report with a knee, which is certainly not something you want to see for a receiver already coming off season-ending knee surgery a year ago. Teammate Nate Washington is also listed as probable with a knee injury. This is not good news for a Titans receiving corps that has to take on fantasy's 12th-best team against receivers and sixth-best against QBs. Steve Smith had seven catches for 118 yards on 16 targets last week against the Bears. Smith is more along the lines of a Washington than he is a Britt. Outside of Smith last week, Dez Bryant in Week 4 (8-for-105 on 13 targets) and Reggie Wayne in Week 1 (9-for-135 on 18 targets), only Miles Austin has eclipsed 15 points in a PPR against the Bears (4-57-1 on six targets). Britt has only received double-digit targets (11) once this season and then it took him the next two weeks to combine for 11. Washington received 10 targets the same week Britt had 11 (Week 6 vs. Pittsburgh) and has combined for 14 the last two weeks. These two are just too inconsistent to rely on and add in the Bears' pass defense and it's going to be a rough day for all Titans.

 

Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks
Percy Harvin was back at practice on Friday after an off-the-field matter and his hamstring does not appear that it will limit his ability to play. Will the Seahawks? That's a different story. Seattle has been gashed by two moveable receivers two of the last three weeks in Wes Welker (10-for-138 and a TD on 14 targets) and Titus Young (9-for-100 and two TDs on nine targets). No receiver had eclipsed 63 yards prior to Welker. On that day Brandon Lloyd added 80 yards on six catches and Ryan Broyles added a TD. That's four TDs in three weeks to receivers. If Harvin is playing then you are starting him and hoping he can emulate Welker and Young.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 9: Brandon LaFell, Kenny Britt, Percy Harvin</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 04:47
Path: /nfl/dallas-cowboys-vs-atlanta-falcons-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two NFC teams with drastically different 2012 results will clash on Sunday Night Football, when the Atlanta Falcons host the Dallas Cowboys at 8:20 p.m. EST on NBC. Mike Smith’s club is the only undefeated team left in the NFL, especially impressive since four of the Falcons’ seven victories have come on the road. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have limped to an inconsistent 3-4 start that has frustrated the rabid Dallas fan base.

When the Atlanta Falcons have the ball:
Quarterback Matt Ryan and his elite targets in the passing game have been excellent this season, leading Atlanta to an average of 28.7 points per game. The Falcons trio of wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones plus tight end Tony Gonzalez may be the best receiving group in the league. All three have at least 450 yards and four touchdowns through just seven games. Atlanta will look for more from veteran runner Michael Turner as the season progresses, as he has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry this year.

The Dallas defense has some very talented players but has performed inconsistently this year. The Cowboys rank fourth in the NFL in total defense (giving up only 292.4 yards per game), but they are 18th in the league in scoring (allowing 23.1 points per contest). The Falcons obviously present a huge challenge in the passing game, but Dallas has the third-best pass defense in the NFL. That’s especially impressive since the Cowboys have totaled just 13 sacks on the season.

When the Dallas Cowboys have the ball:
Perhaps nothing more defines the Dallas frustrations this year than quarterback Tony Romo’s game last week against the Giants. He threw four interceptions that dug an early 23-0 hole, but Romo ended the game with a career-high 437 passing yards and almost led the team back to an improbable win. However Dallas fell short and dropped to 3-4. The Cowboys are also battling injuries right now, and they will still be without leading rusher DeMarco Murray for a third straight game. Additionally, receivers Dez Bryant (hip) and Kevin Ogletree (hamstring) are listed as questionable for this game.

The Atlanta defense has played a bend-but-don’t-break style so far this year, benefiting greatly from an electric offense that provides many leads. The Falcons rank 20th in the league in total defense (353.3 yards per game) but seventh in scoring (18.6 points per contest). Atlanta has struggled against the run, but Dallas does not provide much of a threat in that area without Murray. The Falcons allowed a season-best 270 yards against Philadelphia last week, and they will try to carry that momentum into tonight’s game. However Atlanta will be without second-leading tackler Sean Weatherspoon, who injured an ankle in last week’s victory.

Key Factor:
The Cowboys are desperate for a victory, and their pass defense will be critical tonight. Dallas must limit Atlanta’s big plays by White and Jones and not allow the Georgia Dome crowd to get loud with a Falcons lead. It’s difficult to keep winning every week, but Ryan and company play especially well at home. Look for that to continue tonight and for the Falcons to stay unbeaten in a close one.
 
Prediction:
Falcons 27 Cowboys 23


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

Teaser:
<p> Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 04:38
Path: /college-football/top-5-reasons-lsu-will-beat-alabama
Body:

The Top 5 reasons why Les Miles and the LSU Tigers will beat Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide:

1. Tiger Stadium on Saturday Night

LSU refuses to lose at Tiger Stadium on Saturday night under coach Les Miles. The Tigers are 36–1 after nightfall at Tiger Stadium with the Mad Hatter eating grass and rocking his white hat on the sidelines. The only loss came against Tim Tebow and No. 1-ranked Florida in a 13–3 defeat in 2009. The Tigers have reeled off 22 straight wins at home since then, with a rowdy crowd of 90,000-plus cheering them to routine victory.

Bama coach Nick Saban — who coached at LSU from 2000-04 — knows how hard it is to win under the lights at LSU, even if the Vegas oddsmakers (Alabama –8.5) don’t show the same level of respect to Baton Rouge.


2. Bayou Bengals’ Defensive Line

The Tigers’ defensive front four rotation is loaded with future NFL first-round picks. Defensive ends Sam Montgomery (6’5”, 260), Barkevious Mingo (6’5”, 240) and Lavar Edwards (6’5”, 258) are devastating with their edge rush, while big nasty defensive tackles Anthony Johnson (6’3”, 304), Bennie Logan (6’3”, 295), Josh Downs (6’1”, 287) and Ego Ferguson (6’3”, 308) collapse the pocket and clog running lanes.

Granted, Alabama has the best O-line in the country. But Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron has been spoiled to this point, playing with a clean jersey all season. LSU will need to slam McCarron to the turf a few times, while also maintaining gap responsibilities against the run. The Bayou Bengals’ defensive line is good enough to carry LSU to an upset victory.



3. Les Miles in Mad Hatter Mode

More with Les. Fake field goals, fake punts, fourth-down conversions, end-arounds, halfback passes, two-point conversions… Les Miles is a big game hunter who is unafraid of making outside the box decisions and bold moves other coaches cringe at the thought of. Miles likes to howl at the moon, with a 57–5 record at night — including a 9–6 overtime victory over Alabama under the cover of darkness in Tuscaloosa last season — compared to a 25–14 mark during day.


4. Punter Brad Wing Does It Again

Australian punter Brad Wing was arguably the MVP of last year’s defensive 9–6 LSU overtime win at Alabama. Wing single-handedly controlled field position for the Tigers, allowing the defense to pin its ears back and the offense to play conservative. Wing’s punting exhibition included the following gems:

37-yard punt, out of bounds at Alabama 5-yard-line
35-yard punt, downed at Alabama 4
27-yard punt, fair catch at Alabama 11
73-yard punt, downed at Alabama 18
35-yard punt, fair catch at Alabama 20

If Wing has another night with five punts placed inside the 20, two inside the five and a momentum-changing 73-yard bomb, LSU can beat Alabama.


5. Clock Killing Running Attack

LSU has a fleet of running backs in Kenny Hilliard (420 yards, 6 TDs), Michael Ford (357 yards, 3 TDs), Jeremy Hill (322 yards, 5 TDs) and Spencer Ware (255 yards). The Tigers also have a versatile ex-quarterback slash option in Russell Shepard (106 yards, 78-yard TD) and a sledgehammer fullback in J.C. Copeland (3 TDs). Alabama’s backs are flashier, but LSU’s runners have combined to rush for 1,667 yards, on 4.9 yards per carry, and 20 TDs this season.

If the lathered up Tiger Stadium crowd is Geaux-ing insane all night, the Bayou Bengals’ defensive line is eating like big dogs, Les Miles is pulling rabbits out of his hat and Brad Wing is flipping the field like an Australian toilet swirl, it will be the LSU running game that seals the deal — moving the chains, draining the clock and upsetting No. 1-ranked Alabama.
 

Teaser:
<p> The Top 5 reasons why Les Miles and the LSU Tigers will beat Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, including the home field advantage of Tiger Stadium at night, the LSU defensive line, the Mad Hatter, punter Brad Wing and the Tigers running game.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 15:54
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-against-spread-week-9
Body:

A betting preview of every game (against the spread) on Sunday and Monday in Week 9.


Lock of the Week
It’s put up or shut up time for Detroit. Last year will officially be a fluke if Motor City can’t run over J-Ville.

Lions (-4) at Jaguars
Four of Jacksonville’s six defeats have been by nine or more points, including margins of 38 and 20 points in home losses.


Blowout Bargain
The biggest numbers are not always the biggest risks on the board.

Texans (-10.5) vs. Bills
Four of Houston’s six wins have come by 20 or more points, while three of Buffalo’s four losses have been by 20 or more points.


Straight Up Upsets
Redemption song games for Cam Newton and Mike Vick, who will face two of the worst defenses this week.

Panthers (+3.5) at Redskins
Rather than Cam Newton, RG3 wants to “be compared to Aaron Rodgers, or a guy like that. Someone who’s won Super Bowls.”

Eagles (+3.5) at Saints
New Orleans’ hapless defense is ranked dead last 32nd in the league, allowing 474.7 yards and 30.9 points per game.


Backdoor Covers
These two may or may not be straight up upsets, but they should be close calls decided by a field goal.

Bengals (+4) vs. Broncos
Peyton Manning is 7–0 all-time vs. Cincy, with 1,827 yards, 17 TDs and three INTs. But he can win without covering…

Cowboys (+4.5) at Falcons
The Boys have been losing and the Birds have been winning, but both teams have been doing so by slight margins.


Sucker Bets
Steer clear of these unless you’re a hometown homer with something to prove or a degenerate with an itch to scratch.

Dolphins (-1) at Colts
It’s hard to bet against Andrew Luck, but probably not smart to bet on the Colts.

Raiders (-1) vs. Buccaneers
The Jon Gruden Bowl in the Black Hole could come down to a Sea Bass field goal.

Giants (-3.5) vs. Steelers
Pittsburgh is flying in on Sunday morning before running this New York marathon.

Bears (-4) at Titans
Vanderbilt alum Jay Cutler’s homecoming game in Nashville could be INT party.

Seahawks (-4.5) vs. Vikings
Pete Carroll thinks there’s no way Bama could beat an NFL team. How bout LSU?

Packers (-11) vs. Cardinals
When given respect, Green Bay has failed to cover against supposedly inferior teams.
 

Teaser:
<p> A betting preview of every game (against the spread) on Sunday and Monday in Week 9, including the Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 14:30

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