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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.

After three seasons of looking like a mid-major basketball conference rather than one that produces Final Four teams on a regular basis, the Pac-12 is ready to bounce back.

A year ago, even Pac-12 regular season champion Washington was not among the NCAA field with Cal going as an at-large bid and Colorado winning the Pac-12 Tournament. The Pac-12 has garnered only eight NCAA bids the last three seasons, compared to 18 in the three seasons prior.

That looks to change this season. The Pac-12’s best two programs, Arizona and UCLA, have experienced an influx of talent due to transfers and elite freshmen.

Those two programs are securely at the top of the Pac-12, but others will benefit from some coaching stability and the return of key stars. Cal returns Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, both Athlon All-Pac-12 performers, to go with perhaps the best coach in the league in Mike Montgomery. Colorado returns Andre Roberson along with Tad Boyle, a proven program builder who appears to be doing more of the same in Boulder. Then there’s Stanford, who is poised for its best season under coach Johnny Dawkins after the Cardinal won the NIT a year ago.

PAC-12 FACTS AND FIGURES PAC-12 SUPERLATIVES
2011-12 Regular season champion: Washington Player of the year: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Cal, Colorado* Best defensive player: Aziz N'Diaye, Washington
New coaches: None Most underrated player: Aaron Bright, Stanford
Realignment: None Newcomer of the year: Muhammad, UCLA
*Won conference tournament  
ATHLON ALL-PAC-12 FIRST TEAM ALL-PAC-12 SECOND TEAM ALL-PAC-12 THIRD TEAM
G Allen Crabbe, Cal G Mark Lyons, Arizona G Chasson Randle, Stanford
G/F Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA G Jio Fontan, USC G Justin Cobbs, Cal
F Brandon Ashley, Arizona G Kyle Anderson, UCLA G C.J. Wilcox, Washington
F Andre Roberson, Colorado F E.J. Singler, Oregon F Devon Collier, Oregon State
F Brock Motum, Washington State F Solomon Hill, Arizona C Joshua Smith, UCLA

2012-13 PAC-12 PREVIEW
1. Arizona (23-12, 12-6)
The Wildcats are ranked No. 7 in our preseason rankings: Full Preview

The basketball environment in Tucson is such that expectations have returned to Lute Olson-era levels. The acquisition of Mark Lyons from Xavier turned Arizona from a possible top-25 team to one that believes it can win a national championship. Meanwhile, the development of four inside players — sophomore Angelo Chol, 7-foot freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski and McDonald’s All-Americans Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett — will determine if this team is good enough for the long haul. But they won’t have to be game-changers with Solomon Hill and Lyons running the show.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight

Related: Mark Lyons, Larry Drew II among key transfers this season

2. UCLA (19-14, 11-7)
The Bruins are ranked No. 12 in our preseason rankings: Full preview

The pieces are in place for a UCLA revival in 2012-13. After escaping the miserable digs of the Los Angeles Sports Arena, they return home to an impatient fan base, frothing at the mouth in anticipation. The talent is in place, recruiting clicking on all cylinders and a pair of freshmen are expected to propel the Bruins back into title contention. They are no longer staring down at the abyss, afraid to make one wrong move. No, they are looking up.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Related: Muhammad, Anderson among top freshmen for 2012-13

3. Cal (24-10, 14-5)
The Golden Bears return plenty of talent and experience. And their depth is even better than a year ago when they finished in a tie for second in the Pac-12. What coach Mike Montgomery isn’t sure about — now that Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp have graduated — are qualities like leadership, toughness and character. Junior wing Allen Crabbe improved his game and will be one of the league’s top scorers, but he’s not a natural born leader. That responsibility could fall to junior point guard Justin Cobbs, a pleasant surprise last season as a first-year transfer from Minnesota. Crabbe, bothered over the summer by a lower abdominal strain, needs to show he can create his own scoring opportunities. He is a strong perimeter shooter, but he doesn’t get to the foul line enough. Cobbs, on the other hand, is an excellent penetrator and gets to the foul line often. He’ll need to prove he can create shots for his teammates. There will be significant pressure on junior post Richard Solomon, who has great potential but was a disappointment in 2011-12. Solomon was suspended early in the season for a violation of team rules then was declared academically ineligible for the second semester. David Kravish, however, exceeded expectations as a true freshman last season after being forced into a bigger role when Solomon was sidelined. Kravish was physically overmatched at times, but he showed a nice shooting touch. These are challenges Montgomery embraces. He doesn’t always have the best players, but his gift is the ability to coax them to play the game he envisions. If the Bears can achieve that, they should find a spot in the Pac-12’s upper division.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

4. Stanford (26-11, 10-8)
The Cardinal hopes to build on the momentum of an unexpected run to the postseason NIT title and establish itself as a Pac-12 contender this season. Juniors Aaron Bright, Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown, despite battling injuries, combined to average 37 points during the NIT run. All should be healthier going forward. Bright underwent offseason surgery to repair his shoulder, Powell is better after laboring all year with heel and Achilles issues, and Brown, who also played on a broken foot, had hip surgery in the spring. The team’s best player may be guard Chasson Randle, who averaged 17.5 points over the final 10 games of his freshman season and seems unafraid of the big moment. Those four form a nucleus that boasts experience under fire, and should be ready to lead the Cardinal back into the NCAA Tournament. Johnny Dawkins’ squad is athletic and long and features excellent guards and good depth. The one lingering question is how well the Cardinal will fare in physical matchups without the likes of departed seniors Josh Owens and Andrew Zimmerman. Dawkins believes his team’s ability to survive the midseason slide and finish with a flourish will provide momentum heading into this season. He expects the Cardinal to compete near the top of the league.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament First Four

5. Colorado (24-12, 11-7)
Tad Boyle has an opportunity to do something this season no other coach has done at Colorado. The Buffaloes have never been to the postseason in three consecutive seasons. They have a chance to make history in Boyle’s third year after advancing to the NIT semifinals in ’10-11 and earning a win in the NCAA Tournament last season. Andre Roberson has been a rebounding machine in his first two years. He finished third nationally in rebounding last season (11.1 rpg) and set a single-season school record with 401 boards. He also averaged 11.6 points, but much of his offense comes in transition. Roberson spent the offseason trying to add more perimeter shooting and ball-handling skills to his game in an attempt to make himself into a first-round NBA Draft pick. He could be the second player in three years to leave the program early to turn pro if he continues to progress. Last season’s freshman guards, Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, are this season’s leaders. Dinwiddie started every game and averaged 10.0 points per game. Booker developed into one of the better sixth men in college basketball providing energy and instant offense off the bench. Dinwiddie might need to look to score more in the early going as the freshmen find their way, but he’s most comfortable when he can be a distributor and pick his spots. That should be his role as the season progresses. Booker will likely be in the starting lineup early. It remains to be seen if it suits him or if coaches will miss the energy he brings off the bench. He’s a solid perimeter shooter and can be a pesky defender.
Postseason prediction: NIT

6. USC (6-26, 1-17)
The basketball gods owe Kevin O’Neill. His USC team was hit so hard by injuries last season that he had only six scholarship players at his disposal at the end of the year. Yet O’Neill somehow coaxed the few athletes he had left to play hard and managed to keep the Trojans in almost every game. Needless to say, he expects both the health and the quality of his team to improve dramatically this season. The backcourt should be the team’s strength. Jio Fontan, who played only half a season two years ago and then missed all of last season, should finally take over as the face of the program. He is a true point guard who can both score and distribute. His best quality, however, is his leadership, which might have been missed most of all a year ago. Mo Jones, a 5-7 combo guard who averaged 13.0 points per game last season, is an option to start alongside Fontan, but the coaches are quietly hoping that J.T. Terrell, a Wake Forest transfer, will win the job. The two starters on the frontline figure to be Dewayne Dedmon and Aaron Fuller, who were the team’s second- and third-leading scorers until injuries shut both of them down at midseason. Dedmon, at 7-0, is still a bit raw, but he has the kind of agility and quickness to be effective in spurts. Fuller, a 6-6 forward who began his career at Iowa, is more fundamentally sound.
Postseason prediction: NIT

Related: USC’s Fontan among key players returning from injury

7. Washington (24-11, 14-4)
The Huskies had plenty of talent last season, enough to win 24 games and the Pac-12 regular-season title and provide two NBA first-round picks. But they had no discernible chemistry, and it cost them an NCAA Tournament berth. A trip to the NIT semifinals satisfied no one. As always, the strength of the Huskies in 2012-13 lies in their guards, and there is plenty of offense firepower and size to go around. C.J. Wilcox, a 6-5 junior and one of the league’s better marksmen, was the team’s third-leading scorer (14.2 ppg) despite starting only 12 games. Transfer Mark McLaughlin, a 6-6 junior with previous stops at Baylor and the Seattle University, led the nation’s junior college scorers (27.5 ppg) last season at Tacoma (Wash.) Community College. Scott Suggs, a 6-6 senior who sat out last season with a broken foot, was the league’s third-best 3-point shooter in 2010-11 (45.0 percent). It has been suggested that Suggs, who was a team captain when he went down, was the missing component for last year’s maddeningly disjointed team. Everything seems to hinge on the play of 7-0 senior center and returning starter Aziz N’Diaye, a formidable rebounder (7.3 rpg game) and shot-blocker (33) but not much of an offensive threat (7.8 ppg). The Huskies will do what they usually do, which is get out and run, put the ball in the basket in bunches and be practically unbeatable at home. Whether they can be any better than a middle-of-the-pack finisher in the Pac-12 and an NIT team is far from clear.
Postseason prediction: NIT

8. Oregon State (21-15, 7-11)
With all but one starter back and sixth man Roberto Nelson ready to slide into Jared Cunningham’s spot in the lineup, Oregon State could stir up some trouble in the Pac-12 race. Two full-time starters (Angus Brandt and Devon Collier) and two part-timers (Joe Burton Eric Moreland) return up front for the Beavers. Throw redshirt freshman Daniel Gomis and incoming freshmen Victor Robbins and Jarmal Reid into the mix and the Beavers almost look imposing inside. Starting point guard Ahmad Starks returns, which is a good thing for a team that may struggle initially to replace NBA first-round draftee Cunningham and his vast skill set. Starks averaged 12.1 points last season though he shot under 40 percent from the field. He does, however, have a knack for hitting clutch shots — often from long range — late in games. The key to this season could be winning close games. The Beavers were 2–6 in the Pac-12 last year in games that were decided by either five points or fewer or in overtime. Winning a few more tight games could put Oregon State in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Postseason prediction: NIT

9. Oregon (24-10, 13-5)
Dana Altman enters his third season at Oregon again looking to build off an encouraging postseason run while dealing with significant roster turnover. Altman will rebuild around junior guard Johnathan Loyd and a senior front line of Carlos Emory, Tony Woods and E.J. Singler. Like Sims a year ago and Joevan Catron before that, they’ll be charged with helping the Ducks remain relevant while breaking in another new-look roster for Altman. Oregon is also waiting on word from the NCAA on the immediate eligibility of Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi, who was one of the best players in Conference USA and is  a possible All-Pac-12 performer now that he’s at Oregon. The heir apparent to Catron and Sims as senior leader will be Singler, once known more for his famous older brother (Kyle) and willingness to take a charge. Now, averaging 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds as a junior, he’s known for being one of the better frontcourt players in the league. At point guard, Loyd led Oregon with 100 assists in 2011-12 but averaged only 17.3 minutes per game. He figures to have the ball in his hands even more this season, at least as long as he can hold off Artis. Altman won’t call this a rebuilding season, but he’s not naive. “You’ve got six freshmen — any way to put that together quick is probably not going to happen,” Altman says. “It’s just going to take some time.”

10. Washington State (19-18, 7-11)
Washington State has one of the Pac-12’s elite players in Brock Motum, but that may be it. Senior point guard Reggie Moore was dismissed in late September, giving the Cougars major issues in its supporting cast. Moore had an inconsistent career, but he led Wazzu in assists and steals last season and looked like an NBA prospect back in his freshman year. The Cougars also hope to get a lift from Royce Woolridge, a transfer from Kansas and the son of former NBA star Orlando Wooldridge. A better shooter than Moore, Woolridge is also a good ball-handler who can play both guard spots. He was expected to run the point in relief of Moore before his departure. DaVonte Lacy averaged 8.5 points as a freshman last year and should be a double-digit scorer this year. Lacy gives the Cougs another 3-point threat — he shot 34.7 percent from beyond the arc — which will be critical because Washington State, aside from Motum, lacks inside scorers. The 6-10 Motum figures to be an All-Pac-12 first-team candidate this year after averaging 18.0 points and 6.4 rebounds last year. Offensively, the lefty from Australia typically has his way with other big men in the conference, taking them inside and out. His emergence has been a surprise: No one on the Palouse thought he would be a star when he first came to Pullman, and now Motum has a realistic chance at being chosen in the NBA Draft next year.

11. Arizona State (10-21, 6-12)
Not too long ago, coach Herb Sendek was beloved by Arizona State basketball fans. It’s fair to say their ardor has cooled. The Sun Devils have had two straight losing seasons. For various reasons, 12 scholarship players have left the program over the past four years. First-year athletic director Steve Patterson has made it abundantly clear the Sun Devils have to win more games, become more relevant in the community — and do so quickly. That won’t be easy, given ASU is trying to integrate six new scholarship players. It’s not an exaggeration to say that point guard Jahii Carson, who has yet to play in a college game, will be responsible for what happens on the court this season — and off the court after the season, when Sendek will be evaluated by the ASU administration. Carson, a Mesa (Ariz.) graduate who was a non-qualifier last year, is the explosive point guard Sendek never has had in his six seasons at ASU. Carson can shoot, can beat people off the dribble, and he’s a terrific passer. Most important, he makes his teammates better. Carson’s talent isn’t debatable. The question is whether he can quickly adjust to college ball after sitting out a season. There is some promise among ASU’s big men — but just as many questions. The biggest one, both literally and figuratively: Can 7-2 junior Jordan Bachynski build on the second half of his sophomore season, when he turned into one of the Pac-12’s better centers. Bachynski has good hands, he can block shots, and he’s a decent shooter — he shot 57.8 percent from the field last year. But he was a non-factor last year until he started to play more aggressively.

Related: Sendek a coach on the hot seat in 2012-13

12. Utah (6-25, 3-15)
Second-year coach Larry Krystkowiak pretty much managed to dismiss his 6–25 record, the worst season in the Utes’ modern history, as a symptom of the program he inherited. The bad news for his second season, however, is another year without 7-foot-3 center David Foster, who re-injured his foot and will be out for the year again. In Foster’s absence last season, Jason Washburn developed into a solid player, becoming Utah’s only double-figure scorer with an 11.4-point average. He played well down the stretch, averaging 15.6 points in the final seven games, highlighted by a 26-point outing vs. Oregon. Glen Dean and Aaron Dotson likely were the best players in Utah’s program last season, but they were forced to watch loss after loss while in street clothes on the Utes’ bench.  Dean, a point guard, was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2009-10 and again led Eastern Washington in scoring as a sophomore with a 13.3-point average. He shot over 40 percent from 3-point range in both seasons with EWU. Krystkowiak plans to increase the tempo of the offense with Dean running the show. Dean underwent emergency brain surgery in December to repair a congenital blood vessel malformation, but he made a quick recovery.  Dotson, a former top recruit out of Seattle, averaged 6.8 points as a sophomore at LSU. He is a shooting guard who struggled with his outside shot in two seasons in Baton Rouge.

@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
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

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-betting-against-spread-week-10
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Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.

2012 Record Against The Spread: 40-27
Last Week: 5-2

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Penn State (-3.5) at Purdue
The Nittany Lions have to get off of the mat this weekend after Ohio State played its best game of the season at Beaver Stadium. Yet, Penn State is still 6-2 against the spread this fall and Purdue has been downright atrocious of late. The Boilermakers have allowed nearly 300 yards rushing per game over the last four — all Big Ten losses. They have also allowed at least 38 points in four of the last five games and at least 29 in five straight. Penn State is simply the better team and this game could get ugly very quickly. Prediction: Penn State -3.5

Washington (+4.5) at Cal
Huskies ace recruiter and stellar defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi returns to his alma mater after defecting this offseason. His addition, along with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, has helped the Washington defense make dramatic improvement. On the other side, Cal, who just lost its best player when wide receiver Keenan Allen injured his knee, is coming off its worst showing of the season against Utah. Washington should win outright so take the points and run. Prediction: Washington +4.5

Stanford (-28) at Colorado
Colorado is bad. I mean, really bad. The Buffaloes have been outscored 171-37 in the last three games and is ranked dead last in the nation in scoring defense (46.0 points allowed per game). That means Colorado, who is 1-7 against the spread this season, didn't cover the 41-point spread against USC or the 46-point spread against Oregon the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the offense has been nearly as bad, posting 290 yards of total offense per game over the last four. Stanford claims the league's most physical, most talented defensive front and the league's most physical rushing attack. Look for Stepfan Taylor to get at least 25 carries as Stanford should cruise past the reeling Buffs. Prediction: Stanford -28

Virginia (+10) at NC State
I will keep going back to this well. The Cavs are the only team without a win against the spread this fall and have lost six straight games overall. This includes consecutive losses to Wake Forest, Maryland, Duke and Louisiana Tech. NC State can score points in bunches and quarterback Mike Glennon has been on a roll of late. He has thrown 13 touchdowns in the last four games, including a 467-yard, 5-TD performance last weekend. He also led the Wolfpack to a 28-14 road win over the Wahoos last fall. Look for a big win from Tom O'Brien's bunch. Prediction: NC State -10

Texas State (+26) at Utah State
Utah State is the only team left in the nation unbeaten against the spread. So even though the spreads keep creeping upwards on the Aggies, I will keep picking them to cover. This team has scored at least 41 points in three straight and shouldn't be slowed by a team that hasn't been competitive against New Mexico, Nevada and San Jose State of late. Look for Chuckie Keeton and company to roll up another big number this weekend. Prediction: Utah State -26

Arizona State (+4) at Oregon State
I am all over the West coast this weekend. Arizona State has given up over 600 yards rushing and 88 points in two straight losses to Oregon and UCLA. And those came at home in the desert. A visit to Corvallis to face the angry Beavers, who should be refocused after a tough, turnover-filled loss to Washington, isn't what the doctor ordered. Cody Vaz has been more than capable at quarterback and will start in place of Sean Mannion. Look for Mike Riley, whose team is 5-2 against the spread this fall, to exploit the hurting rush defense of ASU this weekend. Prediction: Oregon State -4

Picking some of the big games:

Oregon (-8.5) at USC
The Trojans have a lot to play for and should keep it close. Take the points.

Alabama (-9.5) at LSU
The Tigers' will could be crushed early if the passing game can't create balance. Roll Tide.

Ole Miss (+14) at Georgia
LETDOWN ALERT! I'll take the Dawgs to win but Ole Miss can score and should keep it close.

Oklahoma State (+7.5) at Kansas State
Collin Klein will not be denied, especially the way this one ended last fall. KSU rolls big.

Clemson (-12.5) at Duke
The Noles abused the Blue Devils last week and the Tigers will do the same this week.

Pitt (+16.5) at Notre Dame
Another Letdown Alert as the Irish return home against a sneaky Panthers team. 

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

2012 Trends Against the Spread:

Undefeated ATS: Utah St (9-0)

Winless ATS: Virginia (0-7-1)

  Teams
One Loss ATS Fresno St (8-1), Kansas St (6-1-1), Kent St (7-1), Ole Miss (7-1), Northwestern (8-1), Western Kentucky (7-1)
Two Losses ATS Arizona St (5-2-1), Ball St (7-2), Clemson (6-2), Florida Atlantic (6-2), Florida (6-2), UL Monroe (6-2), Northern Illinois (7-2), Oregon St (5-2), Penn St (6-2), San Jose St (6-2), Texas St (5-2), Texas Tech (6-2), UNLV (7-2)
One Win ATS Colorado (1-7), Idaho (1-7)
Two Wins ATS Arkansas (2-6), Army (2-6), Auburn (2-6), Boston College (2-6), Central Michigan (2-6), Colorado St (2-6), UConn (2-5-1), Hawaii (2-5), Illinois (2-6), Iowa (2-6), Kentucky (2-7), UMass (2-6), Miami-OH (2-6), Nevada (2-7), NC State (2-5-1), USC (2-6), Southern Miss (2-6), Virginia Tech (2-6), West Virginia (2-5)

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Teaser:
<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 10</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-cornerbacks
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It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best cornerback prospects:

1. Dee Milliner, Alabama (6-1, 199, Jr.)
The only lock to be taken in the first round should be this Crimson Tider. The former five-star prospect has developed into one of the most complete prospects in the nation. He can cover, has excellent overall athleticism, can tackle, play physical football and has been extremely well-coached. He has the size and speed to be an elite player. Is he as good as Morris Claiborne? Probably not, but he is close.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (6-1, 185, Sr.)
Banks, who has a great length to his frame, is just a great all-around football player. He could remind scouts of a poor-man’s Antoine Winfield in his ability to make open field tackles and fill against the run. He has a nose for the football and makes big plays for a defense that puts him on an island. He needs to add some bulk and toughness, but he has the frame to be an NFL regular. Otherwise, he has little to no weaknesses to his game.

3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (6-2, 215, Jr.)
When it comes to size and experience, few players top Rhodes’ resume. He has elite size for a corner. In fact, his frame may prompt a move to safety much like an Antrel Rolle or Patrick Peterson. But scouts know what coaches do: You can’t throw at him. He is a leader for Florida State and has outlasted names that fans expected to be better, like a Greg Reid. His eventual upside may be tied to his ability to stick at corner.

4. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (6-0, 190, Sr.)
The Beavers' star defender is a great competitor – on defense and special teams. He has created turnovers, led a defensive renaissance in Corvallis in 2012, and has been a big-play machine in the return game. He may not be an elite talent at any one thing, but he is really solid at everything. He is a tremendous member of any locker room and will be a contributor on the next level in a variety of ways. Poyer is the front-runner for 2012 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

5. David Amerson, NC State (6-3, 185, Jr.)
The Wolfpacker began the year as the nation’s top coverman after leading the nation and setting an ACC record for interceptions last fall. After a few poor performances in big games against elite wideouts, Amerson has dropped down the big board a few slots. He has a long, rangy frame that NFL scouts will crave and his agility and speed will test fine. Yet, the performance straight up against names like Justin Hunter have hurt his stock. He can help himself and his draft stock a lot during the combine season.

6. Terry Hawthorne, Illinois (6-0, 190, Sr.)
The speedster is a converted wide receiver so he should have excellent ball skills. He has outstanding overall athletic ability, speed, agility and quickness. He has progressed nicely at the position over time and should only continue to get better as he continues to learn the nuances of playing cornerback at the next level. Overcoming a serious head injury sustained in 2012 will be key.

7. Nickell Robey, USC (5-8, 170, Jr.)
This smallish Trojan is similar to dismissed defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. The biggest differences between the two? Robey can cover wide receivers and he hasn’t been kicked off his team for repeatedly breaking team rules. The Trojan is much smaller than typical NFL covermen, but he plays bigger, consistently is around the football and can make an impact on special teams as a return man. Look for Robey, who is one of the best pure covermen in the nation, to sneak up draft boards based on his effort and toughness despite his overall lack of size.

8. Tharold Simon, LSU (6-2, 190, Jr.)
One guy that isn’t lacking for elite NFL size is Simon. He was used in 2011 as a coverman as Mathieu was pushed into a nickel role on passing downs. He has a huge frame that is long and extremely athletic. He will need plenty of polish before he can start on the next level, but make no mistake about the Bayou Bengal's tremendous raw upside. Few players have more athleticism and size than LSU’s top coverman.

9. Carrington Byndom, Texas (6-0, 180, Jr.)
The Texas defensive backfield was supposedly loaded with elite talent like Kenny Vacarro and Quandre Diggs. But many believe that Byndom is the top coverman of the group. He is charged with stopping the top targets of the Big 12 — which are elite in their own respects. And no, the defense in Austin hasn’t played well in 2012. However, Byndom has the size, speed and overall athleticism to be a quality pro prospect.

10. Sanders Commings, Georgia (6-2, 215, Sr.)
Brandon Smith was the name getting all the preseason buzz this summer, but in a league with massive down the field wide receivers, Commings' rangy frame will undoubtedbly appeal to scouts. He is one of the biggest corners in the nation and will need to prove he has the quickness, burst and speed to hang with NFL pass catchers.

11. Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma (6-0, 181, Jr.)
12. Leon McFadden, San Diego State (5-10, 190, Sr.)
13. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, UConn (6-2, 190, Sr.)
14. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (6-0, 190, Jr.)
15. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 195, Jr.)
16. Johnny Adams, Michigan State (5-11, 180, Sr.)
17. Desmond Trufant, Washington (6-0, 185, Sr.)
18. Logan Ryan, Rutgers (6-0, 190, Jr.)
19. Micah Hyde, Iowa (6-1, 185, Sr.)
20. Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech (6-0, 190, Sr.)

Best of the Rest:

Darius Slay, Mississippi State (6-1, 190, Sr.)
Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma (5-10, 185, Sr.)
Nigel Malone, Kansas State (5-10, 185, Sr.)
EJ Gaines, Missouri (5-10, 195, Jr.)
Travis Howard, Ohio State (6-1, 195, Sr.)
Branden Smith, Georgia (5-11, 185, Sr.)
Melvin White, UL-Lafayette (6-3, 190, Sr.)
Adrian Buchell, Louisville (5-11, 185, Sr.)
BW Webb, William & Mary (5-11, 180, Sr.)
Marc Anthony, Cal (6-0, 200, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Cornerbacks</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/12-statistical-highlights-lsu-vs-alabama-series
Body:

LSU and Alabama will meet for the 77th time on Saturday night, when the Crimson Tide travels to Death Valley to battle the Tigers. Bama leads the all-time series 46-25-5, with the first game being played in 1895 and the last meeting in the BCS Championship Game at the conclusion of last season. Les Miles’ crew has the longest home-winning streak in the nation at 22, but Nick Saban’s bunch is ranked No. 1 and has dominated its eight opponents. These two schools have been a popular regional rivalry for decades, but the recent success of both Alabama and LSU has made this game a national event. Here are 12 statistical highlights on both the history and current matchup of these two SEC stalwarts.

5-3: LSU’s record against its former head coaches. The Tigers beat Paul Dietzel’s South Carolina bunch in 1966 and 1973, and they have gone 3-3 versus Nick Saban over the last five years.

20-5-1: Bear Bryant’s career record versus LSU. The legendary coach went 16-4 against the Tigers while he was leading Alabama, 2-1-1 at Kentucky and 2-0 as the Texas A&M head man.

2-14: LSU’s record against Alabama under Charlie McClendon.

36-1: LSU’s record in Saturday Night games in Tiger Stadium under Les Miles. The lone loss was a 13-3 decision against Tim Tebow and No. 1 Florida in 2009.

5: Wins in the last 10 meetings for the team trailing at halftime. Two of the games (2011 and 2008) were tied at the break, so only three times in the last 10 games has the squad with the halftime advantage (Alabama, 2011 BCS game; LSU, 2003 and 2006) gone on to victory.

7.4: First-half points average allowed by the LSU defense in 48 games under defensive coordinator John Chavis.

26: Points scored average for Alabama in the first half this season. The Tide has scored 21 or more in the first half of all eight games.

14: National titles that Alabama claims to have won.

6-7-8: Much closer to the actual number of national titles that the Crimson Tide should claim. Five are no doubters (1961, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011), while four others (1926, 1930, 1934 and especially 1941) are laughed at outside of the Yellowhammer State. There are solid debates to be had on the five others (1925, 1964, 1965, 1973 and 1978), but most college football historians would not see the Tide having more than two or three of those at the most. Here are a couple of examples (A, B) of the many articles on this subject, and of course, a well-produced video by an Auburn fan would only be fitting.

4-1: Nick Saban’s record against Alabama when he was LSU’s head coach from 2000-04.

34: Times Alabama has scored points in 35 red zone trips this season. That 97-percent mark is tied for first in the country.

1: Touchdown scored in the last eight quarters (and an overtime period) of this series.
 

Teaser:
<p> 12 Statistical Highlights from the LSU vs. Alabama Series</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, NFL
Path: /college-football/alabama-crimson-tide-could-never-beat-nfl-team
Body:

The Alabama Crimson Tide is the best team in college football.

In fact, this Alabama team might be Nick Saban’s best since arriving in Tuscaloosa. Considering he has two BCS National Championships in the last three seasons, that is quite a statement. Yet, this is his first team constructed entirely of players he has recruited. This roster is his and his alone — and they are clearly the best team in the nation. Some believe this is one of the deepest college football rosters ever assembled.

And Alabama would still get crushed by any team in the NFL.

So when Steve Spurrier said on "The Dan Patrick Show" that Alabama might be favored over a couple of NFL teams this week, he was sorely mistaken — or talking with an agenda, as is the case most of the time with the Ol’ Ball Coach.

Those in Vegas have reported that Alabama would be a 24-point underdog to both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs if they played on a neutral field today.

I would lay the points.

Both NFL teams would win by more than five touchdowns. Or worse.

The talent differential is simply too vast. Take into consideration the Crimson Tide’s remarkable performance in the NFL Draft the last three seasons. Saban has had 19 players drafted off of his team over the last three seasons, 10 of which were taken in the first round. So on what many consider to be the best defense ever assembled in college football — the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide — six are now playing in the NFL.

What about the other 40 defensive players on that team who will never sniff an NFL roster?

So while Alabama might be the most talented team in the nation with the most NFL players of any team in the nation, they still pale in comparison to an ACTUAL NFL team. One is full of teenage children going to ECON 201 classes learning about Supply and Demand for the first time. And the other is grown adult men paying their mortgages with a six- or seven-figure paycheck.

It’s simple math. If he’s lucky, 20 percent of Saban’s roster would be constructed of NFL players. The Chiefs, who have yet to hold a lead in regulation in any game this season, are constructed of 100 percent NFL players.

So even if the Chiefs are the worst team in the league with the worst roster in the league, most every player on the team would start for Alabama.

With the possible exception of Matt Cassel.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Alabama Crimson Tide Could Never Beat an NFL Team</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 12:41
Path: /nfl/kansas-city-chiefs-vs-san-diego-chargers-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two divisional foes who have not won since September will clash on Thursday Night Football, when the San Diego Chargers host the Kansas City Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. EST on the NFL Network. The Chargers started the season 3-1 before blowing double-digit, second-half leads against New Orleans and Denver, and then losing 7-6 in Cleveland last Sunday. The Chiefs have struggled all season on the way to a 1-6 start, which includes a 37-20 home loss to the Lightning Bolts in Week 4. Amazingly, Kansas City has not led in regulation this year.

When the San Diego Chargers have the ball:
What has happened here? San Diego had played pretty well on offense with the exception of its Atlanta loss, but the Chargers have only scored six points in their last six quarters of football. A turnover-laden second half against the Broncos was followed up by a completely flat performance versus the Browns. Quarterback Philip Rivers obviously must play much better, and he should be able to get back on track against a Chiefs defense that has given up a ton points. Running back Ryan Mathews also needs to pick it up, as he does not have a carry over 20 yards on the season or a 100-yard rushing effort.

The Kansas City defense has some very talented players but has been very inconsistent this season. The Chiefs rank 18th in the NFL in total defense (giving up 348.7 yards per game), but they are 29th in the league in scoring (allowing 29.9 points per contest). A major issue for K.C. defenders has been getting pressure on opposing signal callers. The Chiefs have produced only 13 sacks and seven takeaways in seven games, and that will need to change against a San Diego club that has a penchant for turnovers.

When the Kansas City Chiefs have the ball:
The quarterback tandem of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn has produced very meager results this season. Quinn suffered a blow to the head against the Raiders last week, so Cassel will be back as the starter tonight. He will look to favorite target Dwayne Bowe for a spark, while also trying to protect the ball. The Chiefs lead the league in turnovers, and that must improve quickly. Kansas City has had success running the ball at times, but Jamaal Charles has totaled only 44 rushing yards on 17 carries over the last two games.

The San Diego defense has been excellent against the run this year, ranking second in the league at 80 yards per game. However the Chargers are 21st in the NFL versus the pass, and those second-half lapses in the Saints and Broncos losses were killers. San Diego has struggled to generate a pass rush, totaling only 12 sacks this season. Charles and the K.C. running game will be the focal point tonight, as the Chargers look to make the Chiefs one-dimensional and create turnovers.

Key Factor:
Both AFC West teams are in desperate need of a victory, and each coach — San Diego’s Norv Turner and Kansas City’s Romeo Crennel — is under major scrutiny in his respective city. The Chargers have struggled lately, but a strong run defense and Rivers should be able to turn things around at home against a flawed Chiefs squad. San Diego has dominated Kansas City at Qualcomm Stadium recently, and look for that to continue tonight.
 
Prediction:
Chargers 23 Chiefs 13


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
 

Teaser:
<p> Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/sec-week-10-preview-and-predictions
Body:

LSU hasn’t quite been as formidable as we originally thought, but Alabama’s trip to Baton Rouge to battle the Tigers is still the biggest game in the SEC this season. There’s also an intriguing battle in Starkville, as Mississippi State hosts Texas A&M in a game featuring teams jockeying for position in the SEC West. Georgia is two wins away from wrapping up the SEC East title. This week, the Bulldogs host the improved Ole Miss Rebels.

Other Week 10 Previews and Predictions

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

SEC’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 10:

1. Does LSU have enough on offense to beat Alabama?
At first glance, LSU’s offensive numbers are just fine. The Tigers are averaging 385.8 yards and 31.0 points per game — not great, but good enough for a team with an elite defense. Those numbers however, have been padded by a soft non-conference schedule. Against SEC competition, LSU is averaging only 16.3 points (11th in the league) and 318.3 yards (11th) per game. The biggest problem has been an anemic passing attack that has struggled to throw the ball down the field. In SEC games, LSU is last in the league in completions of 10 yards or more (18), 20 yards or more (eight), 30 yards or more (two) … you get the point. Junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger ranks 12th in the SEC in passer rating in league games and is averaging only 5.4 yards per attempt. This production (or lack thereof) has been sufficient to win all but one game this season, but it’s hard to envision LSU beating Alabama without the threat of the forward pass. Last year, the Tigers won the regular-season game vs. the Tide 9–6 despite throwing for only 91 yards, but that LSU team had a quarterback (Jordan Jefferson) who was a threat to run. Jeferson’s mobility added a different dimension to the LSU offense — something that the ’12 Tigers don’t have with Mettenberger under center.

2. Can Alabama continue its dominance away from home?
Alabama has emerged as the premier program in the nation over the last few years due in large part to its ability to win on the road. Nick Saban’s club has won 11 straight games away from home, dating back to a 24–21 setback at LSU in November 2010. And the Crimson Tide aren’t just winning — they are dominating. The average margin of victory in these games — three of which have been on a neutral site — is a staggering 29.9 points per game. The closest victory was by 16 points over Penn State in September 2011; the most decisive was a 52–0 shutout vs. Arkansas this season. Keep these stats in mind when you are sitting down to watch Alabama take on LSU in vaunted Death Valley on Saturday night.

3. Can Georgia handle prosperity?
It’s amazing what one win can do for the morale of a football team and its fan base. Georgia opened the month of October with a disheartening 35–7 loss at South Carolina. After a week off, the Bulldogs struggled through a surprisingly close 29–24 win at Kentucky. A season that began with such promise was on the verge of implosion. That all changed, however, with a 17–9 victory in Jacksonville against the previously unbeaten Gators. Georgia suddenly finds itself in control of the SEC East, needing only wins vs. Ole Miss this weekend and at Auburn on Nov. 10 to return to Atlanta for the second straight season. And if the Dawgs somehow find a way to win the SEC title game, a trip to the BCS National Championship Game likely would be next on the docket. But first things first: Georgia must take care of business this week against a very capable Ole Miss team that has won consecutive SEC games for the first time since 2009.

4. Is Hugh Freeze the SEC Coach of the Year?
Ole Miss is only one win away from becoming bowl-eligible. Not bad for a team that went 0–8 in the SEC last season and was outgained by an average of 174.2 yards in league games. Last weekend, the Rebels knocked off Arkansas 30–27 in Fayetteville for their first SEC road win since 2009. The man responsible for the turnaround is Hugh Freeze, who last season led Arkansas State to its only Sun Belt title in school history. Freeze has instilled confidence in a team that had no reason to be confident heading into the 2012 season. “Hugh Freeze has got them going there at Ole Miss,” said Georgia’s Mark Richt, whose Bulldogs host Ole Miss on Saturday. “He’s doing a great job. They’re really excited right now, and they’re winning. They’ve already scored more points, had more first downs, had more touchdowns, more passing yards and just about every stat that you could have. They’ve had more of that now in eight games than they had all of last season, so it’s very impressive.” I realize it’s not too hard to find a coach praising another coach. But this time it’s all true.

5. Is James Franklin healthy enough to give Missouri a chance in Gainesville?
Missouri has struggled in its first season in the SEC. But we haven’t seen the Tigers at their best for much of the 2012 season. Injuries at quarterback (James Franklin), running back (Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy) and on the offensive line have limited Missouri on offense. Last week, the Tigers broke threw with their first SEC win, pulling away from Kentucky in the second half en route to a 33–10 win. Franklin wasn’t expected to play but was forced into action after Corbin Berkstresser through interceptions on MU’s first two possessions of the third quarter. Franklin clearly wasn’t 100 percent — he attempted only nine passes and did not have any carries — but his presence in the lineup made a difference. The question this week is whether or not his knee is healthy enough to give the Tigers a chance to score some points against an outstanding Florida defense. With Franklin at his best — serving as a threat with both his arm and his legs — the Tigers have a chance to keep it close in Gainesville. If not, it could be another long day for Mizzou, which lost its only previous SEC road games by 21 points (at South Carolina).

6. How alarmed should Florida be about its passing game?
Florida’s passing attack has been among the least productive in the league all season. When the Gators were winning — which they did in their first seven games — it wasn’t too much of an issue. But now, after they were held to 266 yards in a 17–9 loss to Georgia, it’s fair to ask: Why is Florida’s passing game so anemic? The Gators rank last in the SEC and 114th in the nation in passing offense, averaging only 143.6 yards per game. From an efficiency standpoint, they aren’t awful — the Gators rank ninth in the SEC in passing efficiency and have only thrown three interceptions — but a team with as much talent as Florida should be more adept at throwing the ball down the field. It’s unfathomable that a program like Florida only has 15 pass plays for 20 yards or more eight games into the season.

7. Can Tennessee and Auburn avoid disaster?
These are not good times at Tennessee and Auburn. In Knoxville, Volunteer fans are dealing with an 0–5 start in the SEC for the third straight season. At Auburn, the Tiger faithful are trying to understand how their team can be so bad just two years after winning the national championship. As bad as things seem now, imagine the scene at these two SEC strongholds if either team loses this week. Tennessee hosts Troy, which is 4–4 overall and 3–3 in the Sun Belt. The Trojans have had their moments this season — they rolled up 572 yards in a 30–24 defeat at home to Mississippi State in September — but they are coming off a horrible loss to FAU last weekend. Tennessee is favored by 18.5 points. Risk of loss for the Vols: Low. New Mexico State, which has losses to Idaho and Texas-San Antonio on its résumé, is arguably one of the worst five teams in the nation. Auburn is favored by 22.5 points. Risk of loss: Very low.

8. Can Jordan & Jordan keep it going for Vanderbilt?
The level of competition was no doubt a factor, but Jordan Rodgers had his most efficient game at Vanderbilt last week, completing 17-of-21 passes for 217 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Dores’ 49–7 win over UMass. The senior quarterback is now completing 58.9 percent of his passes and has only thrown one pick in the last six games. The recipient of many of Rodgers’ targets has been junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Last week, Matthews caught 10 passes for 112 yards. It was the seventh 100-yard game of Matthews’ career, but the first that did not come vs. an SEC opponent. A junior from Madison, Ala., Matthews has 775 yards receiving with at least four games remaining. Barring an injury, he figures to be Vanderbilt’s first 1,000-yard receiver since Earl Bennett had 1,146 yards in 2006.

9. Can Mississippi State get back on track?
Mississippi State’s undefeated run came to an end with a resounding 38–7 loss at Alabama on Saturday night. No great surprise. Even the most optimistic MSU fan could not have expected the Bulldogs to win in Tuscaloosa. Now, with that loss behind them, the Dogs must focus on a difficult stretch run. There’s a decent chance State might only be favored one more time this season — at home vs. Arkansas on Nov. 17. This week, Texas A&M comes to town with the league’s most explosive offense. The Aggies opened as a slight 2.5-point favorite but the line quickly jumped to six points. A loss on Saturday would send MSU to Baton Rouge on Nov. 10 riding a two-game losing streak. State coach Dan Mullen is well aware that his team faces a challenging final month of the season. “You always define yourself in November,” he said earlier this week. “To me, it is a thing of how you are going to close out the season. We put ourselves in a great position for the month of November right now. Now, you have to see what separates a good season from a great season to a championship season.”

10. Will Texas A&M run the table on the road?
The wins haven’t exactly come against marquee opponents, but give credit to Texas A&M: The Aggies are 4–0 on the road this season with a redshirt freshman starting at quarterback. Kevin Sumlin’s team beat SMU 48–3 in Week 3; rallied to beat Ole Miss in Oxford 30–27; held on for dear life to edge Louisiana Tech 59–57; and then rolled past Auburn with shocking ease, 63–21, last Saturday. This week, the Aggies take their traveling road show to Starkville to face Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are 7–1 overall and 3–1 in the SEC, yet A&M is a 6.5-point favorite. If the Aggies survive Starkville, then the fun really starts: On Nov. 10, they head to Tuscaloosa to take on the mighty Crimson Tide. Good luck.
 

@AthlonMitch

  David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light

Missouri (+16) at Florida

Florida 35-10 Florida 27-14

Florida 34-13

Florida 24–13

Texas A&M (-6.5) at Miss. State

Texas A&M 28-21 Texas A&M 31-24

Texas A&M 34-31

Texas A&M 30–24

Vanderbilt (-7) at Kentucky

Vanderbilt 28-14 Vanderbilt 30-13

Vanderbilt 34-13

Vanderbilt 21–17

Troy (+18.5) at Tennessee

Tennessee 42-21 Tennessee 38-14

Tennessee 45-20

Tennessee 41–17

Tulsa (+7.5) at Arkansas Tulsa 38-35 Arkansas 34-27

Arkansas 34-30

Arkansas 31–30

N.M. State (+22.5) at Auburn         

Auburn 17-7 Auburn 24-21

Auburn 41-13

Auburn 38–10

Ole Miss (+14) at Georgia Ole Miss 35-31 Georgia 34-21

Georgia 34-20

Georgia 30–20

Alabama (-9.5) at LSU Alabama 35-14 Alabama 20-10

Alabama 24-13

Alabama 20–7

Last week 5-2 6-1 6-1 6-1
Season 61-16 66-11 66-11 64-13

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 9
Post-Week 9 Bowl Projections

Top Heisman Trophy Contenders After Week 9

Teaser:
<p>  </p> <p> LSU hasn’t quite been as formidable as we originally thought, but Alabama’s trip to Baton Rouge to battle the Tigers is still the biggest game in the SEC this season. There’s also an intriguing battle in Starkville, as Mississippi State hosts Texas A&amp;M in a game featuring teams jockeying for position in the SEC West. Georgia is two wins away from wrapping up the SEC East title. This week, the Bulldogs host the improved Ole Miss Rebels.</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:10
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-10-preview-and-predictions
Body:

After last week, we know the Big 12 has one team chasing the national championship. Oklahoma likely played itself out of contention with a 30-13 loss at home to Notre Dame, leaving undefeated Kansas State as the only Big 12 team in the BCS top 10.

The road to the BCS title game is not guaranteed, no matter the resume or record, as Kansas State’s opponent this week can confirm.

Other Week 10 Previews and Predictions

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

Big 12’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 10:

Will the Kansas State defense start to get its due?
Collin Klein may have a historic season, delivering Kansas State its first Heisman trophy. And the columns applauding the career achievements of Bill Snyder made their rounds several weeks ago. What shouldn’t be lost in the play of the K-State defense. That until will be tested this week by an Oklahoma State team that leads the nation in total offense despite injuries to quarterbacks Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh this season. In Big 12 games, Kansas State: 1.) Is one of two teams holding opponents to fewer than five yards per play at 4.9 (Oklahoma leads at 4.7), 2.) Is tied with Iowa State for the most takeaways (14), 3.) Is tied with Texas for the most sacks (2.4 per game).

Oklahoma State’s defense has been solid lately. Can the momentum continue against Kansas State?
Oklahoma State’s defense has enjoyed a rebound since the loss to Texas. The Cowboys will find out in the coming weeks if the October defense has been a fluke or a product of facing Kansas, Iowa State and TCU, starting this week against Kansas State. The Cowboys allowed only 38 total points in three games in October -- not bad for a defense that allowed 59 to Arizona and 41 to Texas. The reasons for the turnaround are pretty clear: Oklahoma State can defend in clutch situations. The last three opponents converted only a quarter of third downs (12 of 47) and a third of red zone attempts (2 of 6). Oklahoma State State has allowed the last three opponents to complete only 50 percent of their passes and rush for one rushing touchdown total. Those are impressive numbers, but chances are they look less so against Collin Klein.

Will West Virginia return to form after a disastrous two losses and an off week?
It seems like ages ago Geno Smith was the Heisman frontrunner and the West Virginia offense was unstoppable. That was before Texas Tech, Kansas State and an off week. It’s been out of sight, out of mind for West Virginia. Smith has completed 51 of 88 passes for 421 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his last two games, but more shocking has been the play of the defense, which has given up 1,155 total yards and 13 offensive touchdowns in the two-game losing streak. Coach Dana Holgorsen said he’d like to see his team return to the tempo of earlier in the season. That seems possible, but the defense is a bigger question. The Mountaineers have transitioned from former coordinator Jeff Casteel’s 3-3-5 to a more traditional 4-3/3-4 defense. The transition has been less than smooth. Perhaps an off week and playing at home against TCU instead of Kansas State or Texas Tech will put the defense back on a better path.

Could injuries and depth issues cost TCU a bowl game?
The list of key players who have missed time this season for TCU has been staggering: Quarterback Casey Pachall (last four games), defensive end Stansly Maponga (last two games), running back Waymon James (six games). And that doesn’t count possible starters Tanner Brock, Devin Johnson and D.J Yendrey, dismissed after a campus drug bust. Pachall’s replacement, Trevone Boykin, is expected to start against West Virginia, but he left last week’s loss to Oklahoma State early with an injury. What started as a promising 5-1 season with a 2-1 start in the Big 12 has suddenly become questionable one for the Horned Frogs after back-to-back losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. TCU will finish the season with four teams ranked in the BCS top 25: No. 21 West Virginia, No. 2 Kansas State, No. 23 Texas and No. 12 Oklahoma. A bowl bid is not guaranteed.

Mack Brown is spending more time with his defense. What’s that supposed to mean?
Embattled Texas coach Mack Brown is spending more time in defensive meetings in Austin. This might not be a big deal if this were, say, Bob Stoops, but Brown’s background is on offense. And past Texas defensive coordinators -- Will Muschamp, Gene Chizik and Greg Robinson -- have used the position to build names for themselves. Current Longhorns coordinator Manny Diaz was in that category just a year ago. But Diaz probably hasn’t forgotten how to coach. After all, he got the Texas job after a successful stint at Mississippi State. However, Brown’s involvement in the defense is another sign of the dire situation down in Austin, especially as the Longhorns face Texas Tech’s Seth Doege in Lubbock this week.

Will the Oklahoma run game return to form?
The Sooners rushed for a mere 15 yards against Notre Dame. Part of that was the Irish defense, but coach Bob Stoops said, in hindsight, he would have put more focus on the run game. Oklahoma faces Iowa State this week, which ranks sixth in the Big 12 in run defense. Damien Williams has run for only 63 yards on 21 carries the last two games. Some of the focus will be on Williams, but also on Dominique Whaley. Last year’s breakout runner hasn’t appeared in the last two games, but Stoops says he is ready to go.

Can Kansas finish the job against Baylor?
Kansas put a scare into Texas last week before losing 21-17 in the final 12 seconds. That may have said more about the state of the Texas program than Kansas, but it wasn’t the first close call the Jayhawks have caused. Kansas lost 20-14 to Oklahoma State in a rainy game in Lawrence and gave Kansas State trouble for a half. Kansas isn’t a good team, but the Jayhawks may have a Big 12 win in them. This week against Baylor might be a good opportunity. James Sims has topped 100 rushing yards in four consecutive games, including 176 yards against Texas. Meanwhile, the Baylor defense hasn’t been able to stop anyone. If Kansas can play defense like it did a week ago, the Jayhawks might be able to pull an upset in Waco.

Week 10 Big 12 Predictions

Week 10 Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Oklahoma at Iowa State Oklahoma 38-21 Oklahoma 35-21 Oklahoma 34-17 Oklahoma 30-20
TCU at West Virginia West Virginia 35-28 West Virginia 34-24 West Virginia 38-31 West Virginia 37-33
Kansas at Baylor Kansas 24-21 Baylor 42-24 Baylor 41-31 Baylor 44-16
Texas at Texas Tech Texas Tech 38-28 Texas Tech 30-24 Texas Tech 38-24 Texas Tech 30-27
Oklahoma St. at Kansas St. Kansas St. 35-21 Kansas St. 55-24 Kansas St. 34-30 Kansas St. 34-30
Last week 3-2 4-1 3-2 4-1
Overall 43-11 41-12 40-13 43-10

by David Fox

@davidfox615

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 9
Post-Week 9 Bowl Projections

Top Heisman Trophy Contenders After Week 9

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:04
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-10-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The Little Brown Jug. A battle of bests in East Lansing with a championship on the line. Ohio State's continued pursuit of perfection. And the Indiana Hoosiers are favored at home over Iowa? Yes, those Hoosiers could actually be a factor in the Big Ten title race. No, I am not kidding around.

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 10:

1. Can Nebraska handle the driver’s seat?
Whether Denard Robinson played the entire game or not, Nebraska emerged from last weekend’s tilt with Michigan as the frontrunner in the Legends Division. There is no rest for the weary, however, as the Huskers travel to East Lansing this weekend to take on Michigan State. The Spartans are an enigmatic team that went on the road and beat Wisconsin last weekend with little to no offensive production from the quarterback position. Bo Pelini can work himself into a frenzy on the sidelines at times and he will need to portray an image of calm, cool and collected this weekend. A potential return trip to Pasadena is in the cards if they can handle the pressure of being the hunted on the road this weekend.

2. The league’s best offense vs. the league’s best defense
Taylor Martinez and the Huskers are leading the Big Ten in scoring offense (39.3 ppg), total offense (489.1 ypg) and rushing (264.1 ypg). Michigan State and William Gholston are leading the Big Ten in total defense (267.4 ypg), scoring defense (15.0 ppg) and rushing defense (91.2 ypg). Talk about strength on strength. Something will have to give on Saturday night and if Nebraska wants to be taken seriously as a Big Ten title contender under Bo Pelini, this is a game it has to win.

3. The Battle for the Little Brown Jug
The earthenware jug originally used by Michigan’s Fielding Yost is what is up for grabs each time Minnesota and Michigan get together on the football field. The Wolverines hold a commanding 67-22-3 record in the series, including winning 20 of the last 21 meetings. Strangely enough, the Gophers' last two wins over Michigan have come in Ann Arbor with their last home win in the series coming in 1977. This Michigan team is still very much alive for the conference championship and a win over Minnesota is a must for a team with Ohio State still looming on the schedule. Of course, that would be much easier if…

4. Denard Robinson plays the entire game
The re-aggravation of the nerve injury in his throwing elbow cost Robinson and Michigan any chance of competing with Nebraska last weekend. Shoelace is expected to play and start this weekend for Brady Hoke but how long will he last? Devin Gardner — a former elite high school quarterback prospect turned wide receiver — has been taking most of the reps in practice. This is a change from what took place last weekend when Russell Bellomy was called into duty when Robinson got hurt. Needless to say, the Bellomy experiment didn’t work. Gardner gives this team the best chance to win should Robinson miss any time. Ideally, however, Gardner will just be catching passes this weekend and not throwing them.

5. Could Indiana actually be a Division contender?
No, I can’t believe I just wrote that. And no, I am not kidding (on either statement, really). Indiana has Iowa and Wisconsin at home over the next two weekends before road trips to Penn State and Purdue to finish the year. A win over Iowa this weekend gets the Hoosiers to two wins with destiny firmly in hand. Wisconsin lost its starting quarterback Joel Stave for the season and still must face Ohio State and Penn State as well. Is it all that crazy to think Indiana wins two of the next four to get to 3-5? And should one of those wins come over the depleted Badgers at home, they would own the tiebreaker. Am I picking Indiana to win the division at this point? Of course not. But in the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, I'm just saying there’s a chance.

6. Division road test for Penn State
After rattling off five straight wins, Penn State was put in its place last weekend by Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes. To rebound, Bill O’Brien must take his team on the road within the division. Normally, that would be a scary task but with the way Purdue is playing, a loss to the Boilermakers would be a tremendous disappointment. Look for the running game, which was completely dormant against Ohio State (32 yards on 28 carries), to bounce back nicely this weekend. Purdue has lost four straight games and has allowed 283.8 yards rushing per game over that span. Another performance like that this weekend from Purdue and…

7. Danny Hope could be looking for employment after this weekend
No, Hope won’t get fired this weekend, even if Purdue gets crushed by Penn State. But this team has completely crumbled under Hope’s leadership and despite a bowl appearance last fall, things appear headed in the wrong direction. The good news is the schedule lightens up for the Boilers with Illinois and Indiana to finish the year. But irreparable damage could be already be done by then as the Nittany Lions come to town this weekend before Purdue heads to Iowa on Nov. 10. 

8. Braxton and the Buckeyes pursuit of perfection
Illinois is the worst team in the league and Ohio State is the best. There is a reason the Buckeyes are favored by four touchdowns. But there is still plenty to watch in Columbus as Braxton Miller continues to build his Heisman resume and Urban Meyer is pursuing an unblemished record — something he failed to accomplish at Florida despite two national championships. His only unbeaten season as a head coach took place in 2004 when an Alex Smith-led Utah squad finished 12-0.  

Week 10 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 10 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Michigan (-12) at Minnesota Michigan, 34-21 Michigan, 31-20 Michigan, 34-20 Michigan, 28-17
Iowa (+1.5) at Indiana Indiana, 30-27 Indiana, 27-24 Iowa, 27-24 Indiana, 28-21
Illinois (+27.5) at Ohio State Ohio St, 42-14 Ohio St, 44-7 Ohio St, 45-10 Ohio St, 52-14
Penn St (-3.5) at Purdue Penn St, 31-14 Penn St, 31-24 Penn St, 31-17 Penn St, 35-14
Nebraska (-2) at Michigan St Nebraska, 24-21 Nebraska, 20-13 Nebraska, 24-20 Nebraska, 21-17
Last Week: 4-2 4-2 5-1 4-2
Yearly Totals: 60-14 56-18 62-12 56-18

Bye Week: Wisconsin, Northwestern

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 10 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 10 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 10 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 10 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 10 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 10 Upset Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:04
Path: /college-football/acc-week-10-preview-and-predictions
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With only a couple of weeks of conference play remaining, it's crunch time for several teams in the ACC. Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and Duke are fighting it out for the Coastal Division title, while Florida State holds a one-game advantage over Clemson. Maryland and Wake Forest are trying to get bowl eligible, while NC State is trying to win eight games for the third consecutive season.

Other Week 10 Previews and Predictions

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

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 10

Will the winner of Virginia Tech-Miami represent the Coastal in the ACC title game?
With North Carolina ineligible to win the Coastal Division, it’s essentially a three-team race between Duke, Virginia Tech and Miami. Georgia Tech can’t be counted out, but the Yellow Jackets have lost to the Hokies and Hurricanes and still have a trip to Chapel Hill in mid-November. Although the Blue Devils have been the best story in the ACC this year, they have to play Clemson this Saturday and close out the year with a home game against Miami. Considering the upcoming schedules for each team, it’s not out of the question the winner of Thursday night’s game will play for the Coastal title. Virginia Tech already has a win over Duke and even though it has to play Florida State next week, would be favored to beat Boston College and Virginia. If Miami wins on Thursday, it should be in good shape to win its last two ACC games – at Virginia and at Duke – while playing South Florida on Nov. 17. The balance of power clearly resides in the Atlantic with Florida State and Clemson. However, getting to the ACC Championship gives Miami or Virginia Tech at least a shot to make a BCS bowl, as well as erasing some of the memories from an average season.

Can Miami’s Stephen Morris exploit the Hokies’ secondary?
Virginia Tech’s defense has been a slight disappointment this season, ranking 48th nationally in points allowed and 49th with 370.5 yards allowed per game. While the defense hasn’t quite played up to preseason expectations, the secondary held North Carolina to only 194 passing and Clemson to 160. This unit will be tested on Thursday night, as Miami quarterback Stephen Morris ranks third in the ACC with an average of 276.8 passing yards per game. The Hurricanes don’t have a true No. 1 receiver, but there’s plenty of depth with Phillip Dorsett, Rashawn Scott, Davon Johnson and Allen Hurns all catching at least 20 passes this year. Morris suffered an ankle injury against North Carolina and had limited mobility against Florida State. However, all signs point to the junior being at full strength on Thursday night. With Miami’s defense struggling, the Hurricanes need to jump on Virginia Tech early, and Morris has to find ways to exploit the Hokies’ secondary. If Miami struggles to get its passing game on track, Virginia Tech will win this game and take command of the ACC Coastal.

Can Duke’s secondary slow down Clemson’s passing offense?
In last week’s win over Wake Forest, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had the best outing of his career, throwing for 428 yards and five scores. The Tigers have recorded at least 37 points in seven consecutive games and take on a Duke defense that allowed 48 points to Florida State last Saturday. The Blue Devils rank 81st nationally against the pass and has allowed each of their last three opponents to throw for two touchdown passes. After struggling to stop Florida State last week, Duke will have its hands full with Clemson’s offense, especially with receiver Sammy Watkins starting to find his rhythm after a slow start. Matching up against the Tigers’ receiving corps is no easy task but winning the battle in the secondary has to start in the trenches. Duke is averaging 2.1 sacks per game, while Clemson is surrendering 1.8 each contest. The Blue Devils need to disrupt Boyd’s timing, as well as win the turnover battle. Duke ranks second in the ACC with 19 forced turnovers, but the Tigers have lost just eight this season. It’s a tall task to keep Boyd, Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins in check. And the statistics suggest Duke will need a lot of breaks on Saturday night to knock off Clemson.

Is Tom O’Brien coaching for his job in the last four weeks of the season?
Last week’s 43-35 loss to North Carolina isn’t sitting well with the Wolfpack fanbase, and there are plenty of fans ready to send O’Brien packing at the end of the year. However, with a schedule that features Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College and Clemson, NC State should be able to finish 8-4. If the Wolfpack can get to that record, it will mark the third consecutive year they have finished with at least eight victories. O’Brien’s overall mark at NC State is 38-33 and has made three bowl appearances in his six years. Is it overly impressive? No. However, after going 16-21 through his first three years with the Wolfpack, this team has gone 22-12 from 2010 through the first eight games of the year. While O’Brien deserves heat for not elevating this program into ACC title contention, he shouldn’t be in any danger of losing his job if NC State finishes 8-4. The real test will come next season, as Mike Glennon departs and cornerback David Amerson is likely headed to the NFL Draft. An unexpected loss Boston College, Virginia or Wake Forest the rest of the way could change the direction of O’Brien’s future. But for now, it looks like he should be in no danger of losing his job after this year.

Is it time for Georgia Tech to switch quarterbacks?
Tevin Washington has made 25 consecutive starts for Georgia Tech but could be in danger of losing his job this week. Redshirt freshman Vad Lee has played well in limited action this season and led the Yellow Jackets to their only offensive points in last week’s game against BYU. Georgia Tech’s offense hasn’t been awful this season, as it ranks fourth nationally in rushing, 30th in total yardage and 28th in scoring offense. However, the Yellow Jackets are looking for a spark and giving Lee a chance to play more isn’t a bad idea. Washington hasn’t been awful throughout his career but has struggled to find consistency as a passer. The quarterback spot isn’t completely to blame for this offense, as the receiving corps doesn’t have any playmakers, and the defense has put a lot of pressure on the Yellow Jackets to score nearly every time they touch the ball. Georgia Tech needs three wins to get bowl eligible but will likely need to upset North Carolina or Georgia to get to 6-6. Considering all of the issues on the roster, inserting Lee into the lineup may not make a huge difference. However, the Yellow Jackets need a spark and giving the redshirt freshman a chance to play makes a lot of sense.

Can Maryland generate any offense with a new quarterback?
It seems like a broken record, but once again, Maryland will have a new starting quarterback this week. With Caleb Rowe suffering a torn ACL against Boston College, the Terrapins are down to converted linebacker Shawn Petty and former tight end Brian McMahon. This will be the third consecutive week Maryland will have a new quarterback under center, and it’s starting to take a toll on the offense. Considering Petty ran an option scheme in high school and has yet to throw a pass in live action this year, the Terrapins need to allow him to have a healthy dose of designed runs early and often in this game. Additionally, coordinator Mike Locksley has to find a way to get the ball in the hands of receiver Stefon Diggs. The true freshman is the team’s best playmaker and caught 11 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown in last week’s game. Although coach Randy Edsall doesn’t want to use Diggs at quarterback, he needs to touch the ball at least 20 times to give the Terrapins a chance to win. In addition to getting the ball to Diggs, the offense has to establish the run (115th nationally), as well as win the turnover battle. With a solid defense, being conservative in third-and-long situations and punting the ball away is not a bad formula for Maryland to use this week.

Must-win for Wake Forest?
The Demon Deacons are on the verge of making their sixth bowl game under coach Jim Grobe. However, if Wake Forest wants to return to the postseason, beating Boston College on Saturday is a must. The Demon Deacons don’t have much margin for error with NC State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt in the final three games of the year. With injuries taking its toll on the Wake Forest offensive line, a matchup against Boston College’s defense should be a relief. The Eagles are allowing 248 rushing yards per game and rank 11th in the ACC in scoring and total defense. Receiver Michael Campanaro returned to the lineup in last week’s loss against Clemson and caught six passes for 52 yards. The junior isn’t 100 percent in his recovery from a hand injury, but his presence will help open up the Wake Forest passing game. After struggling to matchup against Clemson’s receiving corps last week, the Demon Deacons should find Boston College’s offense easier to defend.

Can Virginia’s offense get on track?
A bye week late in the season is usually not a coach’s favorite decision, but it could pay dividends for Virginia. The Cavaliers have struggled to find the right mix on offense all season, averaging just 21.5 points a game. Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco have shared the quarterback duties, while the rushing attack has yet to get on track. With an off week to sort through some of the problems, the Cavaliers hope they have found some answers for the last four games of the season. Virginia still has bowl aspirations, but going 4-0 with a schedule that features games against NC State, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech is unlikely. While the Cavaliers will struggle to get to six wins, it’s more important for this team to find the right pieces on offense and build some momentum for 2013.

Can Boston College build off last week’s victory?
Last week’s 20-17 win over Maryland was a small glimmer of hope for a Boston College team that has struggled mightily this year. The Eagles are 2-6 and have just one win over a FBS team. With a schedule that features Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State, getting to six wins and a bowl is very unlikely. However, this team has a chance to build some momentum over the final few weeks, starting with a matchup against Wake Forest this Saturday. Boston College lost 27-19 to the Demon Deacons last season but won 23-13 in 2010. Wake Forest needs to win this game to keep its bowl hopes alive, making this matchup will be a crucial game for both teams in terms of positioning within the conference. Both teams rank near the bottom of the ACC in scoring offense, so points will be at a premium on Saturday afternoon.

Week 10 ACC Predictions

Week 10 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Virginia Tech at Miami Miami 35-28 Va. Tech31-24 Va. Tech 31-27 Miami 24-21
Georgia Tech at Maryland Ga. Tech 38-14 Ga. Tech 27-24 Ga. Tech 27-17 GT 20-10
Virginia at NC State NC State 21-10 NC State 30-14 NC State 31-17 NC State 35-14
Boston College at Wake Forest Wake 24-17 Wake 24-20 Wake 24-20 Wake 21-20
Clemson at Duke Clemson 42-31 Clemson 42-20 Clemson 45-24 Clemson 34-21
Last Week: 4-1 3-2 2-3 4-1
Season Record: 56-14 54-16 51-19 58-12


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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Teaser:
<p> ACC Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:03
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It's here! November 3 has been a day circled by many West coast football fans since the season ended last January. And had Arizona not gone and screwed everything up, this Oregon-USC showdown would still carry national title implications for both teams. Instead, there's a national title hanging in the balance for just one team. The Oregon Ducks. All eyes will be focused on The Coliseum, but Pac-12 fans have a full holiday menu this Saturday. There will be plenty of tricks and treats for some (Utah? Washington? Oregon State?) and freakish ghouls for others (Cal? Arizona State? Colorado?).

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 10:

1. Oregon’s National Championship is on the line
The SEC has its own Game of the Year in Baton Rouge, but the West Coast's version has just as much intrigue. And plenty more fireworks. While Alabama and LSU play for the right to represent the SEC West in Atlanta with what should be little to no offensive production, Chip Kelly and Lane Kiffin will duke it out in Los Angeles armed with two of the most explosive offenses in the nation. And a chance to host the Pac-12 title game is on the line for USC (or just play in the title game). The stakes are slightly higher for the Ducks as they sit (disrespectfully) at No. 4 in the polls. A road win over USC, as well as three more, should push Oregon to No. 2 regardless of what happens in Manhattan, Kan., or South Bend, Ind., from here on out. I wonder who Larry Scott is rooting for?

2. Matt Barkley could still play in the Rose Bowl
USC still has to be considered the favorite to win the South — but by a much slimmer margin now than last week. That said, three wins to end the year over Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA and the Trojans would land in the Pac-12 title game. In fact, even with a loss to Oregon this weekend, USC could still play for the league crown. All Barkley needs is a chance. If he can get to the Pac-12 Championship Game, his team will have a chance to play in the ever-elusive Rose Bowl. Barkley has played in one bowl game during his tenure at Heritage Hall — an Emerald Bowl win over Boston College — but a trip to Pasadena would likely justify his decision to return to college for his senior year.

3. Will Arizona-UCLA decide the Pac-12 South?
The Trojans likely hold a slight edge in the current race for the South Division title, but Arizona’s visit to UCLA could determine who USC’s chief rival will be down the stretch. Assume a USC loss to Oregon this weekend, Arizona then controls its own destiny. But a loss to UCLA gives the Wildcats a fourth conference loss and likely knocks them out of the race. A win and Rich Rodriguez could be playing for a championship in year one. Jim Mora could say the same thing this weekend with a win — and UCLA doesn’t need any help. A win over Arizona at home puts the Bruins in control of the South with a home date with USC still looming on Nov. 17. Should UCLA defeat Arizona this weekend, the crosstown City of Lights winner will claim the South. 

4. Backfield duos will win the day in L.A.
Matt Scott and Ka’Deem Carey have been electric all season for RichRod. But so has Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin for Jim Mora. The UCLA combo is slightly more traditional but has been no less effective. Scott and Hundley are first and second in the league in total offense while Franklin and Carey are first and third in rushing. Both defenses will have their hands full with these two backfields come Saturday afternoon. Arizona must put an end to its road woes this weekend if it wants to stay in the South race. The Cats are 0-2 on the road this fall and have allowed at least 49 points in both games. The defense must step up this weekend or the Wildcats will limp home to the desert with a fourth conference loss.

5. Cody Vaz is back under center for Oregon State
The junior from Lodi, Calif., hadn’t started a game since high school when he took over for the injured Sean Mannion three weeks ago. He was more than effective, throwing for 332 yards in the relatively easy road win over BYU and 174 yards in the equally easy home win over Utah. However, Mike Riley went back to Mannion for last week’s visit to Washington and the sophomore might have been rushed back into action. Mannion threw four interceptions and the Beavers lost their first game of the year. With Arizona State coming to town this weekend, Riley has gone back to Vaz. The junior will get his third collegiate start as Mannion will watch from the sidelines. The best thing for Vaz? If Oregon State can turn to the ground game against an Arizona State defense that has allowed 618 yards rushing over the last two weekends. Speaking of…

6. Arizona State’s hot start will come crashing down
The ASU defense was ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 two weeks ago, but 88 points allowed and two losses later, the Sun Devils are staring at a second-half collapse. Okay, so “collapse” might be a bit harsh for a team that dramatically overachieved during the first half. But there is a good chance Arizona State finishes the year on a 1-5 losing streak as three of the four will be on the road against Oregon State, USC and Arizona. Washington State at home should be a win, but otherwise, there could be little to like about this squad over the final month.

7. Homecoming highlights Washington's road trip
The Huskies played arguably the toughest five-week stretch of any team in the nation. Road trips to Eugene and Tucson sandwiched between home games with Stanford, USC and Oregon State made Washington’s first-half slate virtually impossible (not to mention a visit to Death Valley). But the Huskies emerged with home wins over the Cardinal and Beavers. The next step for Steve Sarkisian’s improved defense is to take that tenacity on the road. To Berkeley, more specifically. There should be plenty of motivation on both sides as prized recruiter and defensive line dynamo Tosh Lupoi returns to his alma mater. He was lured from Cal to Seattle by Coach Sark this offseason and the move paid instant dividends on the recruiting trail and along the defensive front. The egos on both sides haven’t forgotten.

8. Does a loss end Jeff Tedford’s tenure at Cal
A loss to Washington at home would be painful enough. But the loss would come at the hands of a former assistant and would push the Bears’ record to 3-7. Needless to say, an amicable divorce is pending should the Bears fall at home to U of W. 

9. Wait, Utah can still make it to a bowl game?
Yes, it is true. Somehow the Utes can still go bowling this fall. With a very favorable schedule left — Washington State, at Washington, Arizona at Colorado — Utah needs to finish 3-1 in its final four to get to bowl eligibility for the 10th consecutive season. That makes a win over Wazzu at home this weekend imperative. Take care of the Cougars and people around Salt Lake City will begin to believe. 

Week 10 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 10 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Washington (+4.5) at Cal Washington, 20-17 Cal, 24-20 Washington, 31-24 Washington, 24-17
Stanford (-28) at Colorado Stanford, 38-10 Stanford, 38-10 Stanford, 41-10 Stanford, 42-10
Washington St (+11.5) at Utah Utah, 30-24 Utah, 24-17 Utah, 31-17 Wazzu, 24-21
Oregon (-7.5) at USC Oregon, 40-34 Oregon, 44-30 Oregon, 41-34 Oregon, 42-21
Arizona (+3.5) at UCLA UCLA, 35-31 UCLA, 41-37 UCLA, 38-35 Arizona, 38-31
Arizona St (+4) at Oregon St Oregon St, 30-20 Oregon St, 27-21 Oregon St, 30-27 Oregon St, 24-7
Last Week: 5-0 5-0 4-1 5-0
Yearly Totals: 45-15 46-14 44-16 41-19

Bye: None

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 10 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 10 Previews and Predictions

Big Ten Week 10 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 10 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 10 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 10 Upset Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:03
Path: /college-football/big-east-week-10-preview-and-predictions
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Momentum for previously undefeated Cincinnati and Rutgers has been sapped the last two weeks, but the Big East has other teams starting to get hot in recent weeks.

Syracuse has won back-to-back games for the first time this season, but a game at Cincinnati will give the Orange a chance to win three consecutive Big East games for the first time since 2001. And Pittsburgh has scored a rare win streak against FBS opponents. Extending it to three will be a tough task against undefeated Notre Dame.

Other Week 10 Previews and Predictions

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

Big East’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 10:

Should Louisville be concerned about its run defense against Temple?

Not counting the rain-drenched game against Southern Miss, Louisville has had its two worst games against the run the last two weeks, giving up 197 rushing yards to USF and 196 yards to Pittsburgh. That adds a little intrigue for this matchup with Temple, which is a run-first team with Boston College transfer Montel Harris and running-threat Chris Coyer at quarterback. However, Louisville likely can gang up on the run moreso against Temple than USF and Cincinnati. Both the Bulls and Bearcats have dual-threat quarterbacks and quality receivers capable of testing the Cardinals’ secondary. Temple is still lacking in that regard.

Can Cincinnati stop the big play against Ryan Nassib?
Cincinnati has been without defensive end Walter Stewart for two games and two losses. Now, the Bearcats must find a way to play without their best defensive player and one of their emotional leaders for the remainder of the season. Cincinnati sacked Teddy Bridgewater three times last week, but struggled to get consistent pressure without Stewart. And along the way, the Cincinnati defense was burned by three pass plays for at least 50 yards. Syracuse is among the Big East leaders in pass plays longer than 20 and 30 yards, and quarterback Ryan Nassib’s track record in the fourth quarter (eight career fourth-quarter comebacks for wins) means Cincinnati can’t let up.

Will the vote of confidence from Butch Jones impact Munchie Legaux?
The Cincinnati quarterback continues to have the support of coach Butch Jones despite his struggled the last two weeks. In the losses to Toledo and Louisville, Legaux is 28 of 64 for 384 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Perhaps being at home will be a boost to Legaux. The sophomore is completing 60.8 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and two interceptions at Nippert Stadium -- granted, two of those games were against FCS opponents.

Tino Sunseri has quietly become of the nation’s most improved players. Can it continue against Notre Dame?
Who leads the Big East in passing efficiency? Tino Sunseri. Who leads the Big East in yards per pass attempt? Tino Suneri. Which starting quarterback has thrown the fewest interceptions in the Big East? Tino Sunseri. Pittsburgh has built some nice momentum the last two weeks but Buffalo and Temple aren’t Notre Dame. Pitt will try to use its running combo of Ray Graham and Rushel Shell to crack the Notre Dame defense, but odds are, the best chance of upsetting Notre Dame will be through the air. Has Sunseri improved enough to even threaten Notre Dame with the pass?

Which awful unit looks better in Tampa: UConn’s run game or USF’s run defense?
Thanks to a struggling offensive line, Connecticut’s run game is pitiful. The Huskies are averaging 1.7 yards per carry in Big East games. They’re the only team in the Big East without a rushing touchdown. And if UConn doubled its rushing output in conference games from 45 yards to 90 per game, it would still rank last by 26 yards per game. OK, so we’ve established the futility of UConn’s run game, but USF’s not quite there on run defense, either. The Bulls rank last in the Big East in that category. FBS teams are averaging 187.4 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry against the Bulls, who have allowed a rushing touchdown in each game this season. Something has to give in this game, right?

Will this be the magic week USF gets an interception?
It really is quite remarkable: USF is the only team in the country with out an interception. It has been since Oct. 6 when Wisconsin became the second-to-last team to record an interception. The Bulls are one of only two teams in NCAA -- that’s FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III -- without a pick. The other is Division III Denison in Granville, Ohio. Can the streak end against UConn? Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer has more interceptions (11) than any QB in the Big East.

Week 10 Big East Predictions:

Week 10 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Syracuse at Cincinnati Syracuse 28-14 Cincinnati 30-24 Cincinnati 27-20 Cincinnati 37-27
Temple at Louisville Louisville 28-17 Louisville 38-17 Louisville 38-17 Louisville 34-17
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame Notre Dame 35-14 Notre Dame 20-14 Notre Dame 31-14 Notre Dame 27-10
Connecticut at USF UConn 14-10 USF 20-17 USF 34-20 USF 27-14
Last week 2-2 2-2 3-1 2-2
Overall 34-14 33-15 32-16 32-16

by David Fox

@DavidFox615

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 9
Post-Week 9 Bowl Projections

Top Heisman Trophy Contenders After Week 9

Teaser:
<p> Big East Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:02
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-9
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Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any website can give you.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Start or Sit

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Note: New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-9
Body:

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

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Drew Brees NO vs. PHI (Mon.) Brees looking for home cooking vs. Eagles
2 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. ARI Jags held A-Rodg to 186 yds., 2 TDs.
3 Peyton Manning DEN at CIN Threw 3 INTs in 1st qtr vs. ATL, 1 in other 27.
4 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. CAR Redskins have given up league-high 18 TD passes.
5 Matt Ryan ATL vs. DAL Has four games with 3 TD passes.
6 Matthew Stafford DET at JAC First multi-TD pass game (3) vs. Seahawks.
7 Eli Manning NYG vs. PIT Steelers No. 1 against pass, but 11 TDs vs. 3 INTs.
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at NYG Giants are No. 26 in pass defense, but have 16 INTs.
9 Cam Newton CAR at WAS Redskins: 314 passing ypg, 19 TD passes.
10 Michael Vick PHI at NO (Mon.) Saints' pass defense's TD:INT ratio is 15:3.
11 Andrew Luck IND vs. MIA Dolphins giving up 281 ypg through air.
12 Josh Freeman TB at OAK Freeman has 9 TD passes, 1 INT in last 3 games.
13 Tony Romo DAL at ATL Season-high 437 yds last week, but also 4 INTs.
14 Carson Palmer OAK vs. TB Bucs are yielding 310 passing yards per game.
15 Matt Schaub HOU vs. BUF May not need to pass much vs. Bills run defense.
16 Joe Flacco BAL at CLE Put up season-high 356 yds. in Week 4 vs. Browns.
17 Andy Dalton CIN vs. DEN Broncos held Brees to just 213 yds. last week.
18 Jay Cutler CHI at TEN Vanderbilt alum returns to old stomping grounds.
19 Philip Rivers SD vs. KC (Thurs.) Put up 209-2-1 in Week 4 win at Kansas City.
20 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at HOU Could throw a lot if Bills have to play catch up.
21 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. BAL Threw for 320 yds. against Ravens in Week 4.
22 Russell Wilson SEA vs. MIN Rookie is 3-0 w/ 6 TDs, no INTs at home.
23 Christian Ponder MIN at SEA Four straight games with at least one INT.
24 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. CHI Bears tied for league lead with 16 INTs.
25 Matt Cassel KC at SD (Thurs.) If only he could cut down on turnovers.
26 Blaine Gabbert JAC vs. DET Showed toughness playing w/ broken labrum.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-9
Body:

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

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU vs. BUF Rested Foster gets worst rushing defense.
2 Ray Rice BAL at CLE Rice held to just 43 yards in Week 4 vs. Browns.
3 LeSean McCoy PHI at NO (Mon.) Saints allowing most fantasy pts. to RBs.
4 Matt Forte CHI at TEN Titans are No. 28 against run.
5 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. MIN Posted second straight 100-yard game last week.
6 Adrian Peterson MIN at SEA No. 1 rusher vs. No. 5 rush defense.
7 Alfred Morris WAS vs. CAR Held to just 59 yds. vs. Steelers.
8 Trent Richardson CLE vs. BAL Coming off of season-high 122 yds. vs. Chargers.
9 Willis McGahee DEN at CIN Posted season-high 122 yards vs. Saints.
10 Ryan Mathews SD vs. KC (Thurs.) Had 61 yards on the ground vs. Chiefs in Week 4.
11 Darren McFadden OAK vs. TB Bucs are No. 6 in rush defense.
12 Jamaal Charles KC at SD (Thurs.) Pretty sure he'll get more than 5 carries this week.
13 Doug Martin TB at OAK Rookie exploded for 214 total yds., 2 TDs last week.
14 Reggie Bush MIA at IND Has only one game with 70+ rushing yards.
15 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. PIT Steelers are ninth in rush defense.
16 Rashad Jennings JAC vs. DET Lions have allowed only two rushing TDs.
17 Darren Sproles NO vs. PHI (Mon.) Has three TD catches in last four games.
18 C.J. Spiller BUF at HOU Averaging 7.3 yards per rush attempt.
19 Chris Johnson TEN vs. CHI Bears bring No. 1 rushing defense to Music City.
20 Jonathan Stewart CAR at WAS Second game as Panthers' lead back.
21 Michael Turner ATL vs. DAL Season-high 24 att., but only 58 yds. last week.
22 Mikel Leshoure DET at JAC Left last week's game with leg injury, monitor status.
23 Jonathan Dwyer PIT at NYG Dealing with injured quad, monitor status.
24 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. DEN Had 24 att. Last two games after just 9 in Week 5.
25 Fred Jackson BUF at HOU Texans No. 4 against run.
26 Donald Brown IND vs. MIA Had 80 yards in return from knee surgery.
27 Alex Green GB vs. ARI Averaging 2.4 ypc over last three games.
28 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI at GB Followed up 104-yd game with just 4 yds. vs. 49ers.
29 Felix Jones DAL at ATL TD salvaged otherwise poor game vs. Giants.
30 Pierre Thomas NO vs. PHI (Mon.)  
31 Michael Bush CHI at TEN  
32 Daniel Thomas MIA at IND  
33 Vick Ballard IND vs. MIA Probably get less work with Donald Brown back.
34 Andre Brown NYG vs. PIT Ready to step in if Bradshaw struggles or gets hurt.
35 Joique Bell DET at JAC Could see more work if Leshoure is limited/out.
36 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL vs. DAL Had team- and season-high 60 yards (7.5 ypc) last week.
37 Peyton Hillis KC at SD (Thurs.) Returned from ankle injury last week.
38 Ronnie Hillman DEN at CIN Rookie rushed for 86 yds. last week vs. Saints.
39 Justin Forsett HOU vs. BUF Ben Tate out with hamstring injury.
40 Ronnie Brown SD vs. KC (Thurs.) Led Chargers in receiving last week.
41 Dexter McCluster KC at SD (Thurs.)  
42 DeAngelo Williams CAR at WAS Could be in danger of dropping to No. 3 in depth chart.
43 Phillip Tanner DAL at ATL If Jones struggles, Tanner will get more carries.
44 Montario Hardesty CLE vs. BAL  
45 Robert Turbin SEA vs. MIN  
46 Mark Ingram NO vs. PHI (Mon.) Has almost reached irrelevant status in Saints' offense.
47 Isaac Redman PIT at NYG Could be back on field this week (ankle).
48 DeMarco Murray DAL at ATL Not likely he returns this week, but monitor status.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:58
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-9
Body:

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

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 A.J. Green CIN vs. DEN Tied for league lead with 7 TD catches.
2 Brandon Marshall CHI at TEN Has seen 41 total targets in last 3 games.
3 Demaryius Thomas DEN at CIN Has three 100-yard games in last four.
4 Victor Cruz NYG vs. PIT Only two catches for 23 yards last week.
5 Calvin Johnson DET at JAC Megatron dealing with knee issue.
6 Percy Harvin MIN at SEA Tied for league lead in receptions (60).
7 Marques Colston NO vs. PHI (Mon.) Averaging 13 targets per game over last 4.
8 Reggie Wayne IND vs. MIA Leads NFL in receiving yards (757).
9 Vincent Jackson TB at OAK Saw three-game scoring end last week.
10 Steve Smith CAR at WAS Redskins are last in pass defense.
11 Andre Johnson HOU vs. BUF Bills have allowed 12 TD catches to WRs.
12 Julio Jones ATL vs. DAL Came up big (5-123-1) vs. Eagles.
13 Roddy White ATL vs. DAL Had season-low 3 rec., 38 yds. last week.
14 Mike Wallace PIT at NYG Giants have allowed third-most yards to WRs.
15 Jordy Nelson GB vs. ARI Hopes to return after missing last week (hamstring).
16 Denarius Moore OAK vs. TB Bucs have given up 111 receptions to WRs.
17 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at GB Took hard hit, but stayed in game vs. 49ers.
18 Miles Austin DAL at ATL One of three Cowboys with 100+ rec. yds. last week.
19 Randall Cobb GB vs. ARI Three TDs in last two games.
20 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. PIT Only TD catch came in Week 2.
21 DeSean Jackson PHI at NO (Mon.) Saints are allowing most pts. to WRs.
22 Torrey Smith BAL at CLE Put up 6-97-1 in Week 4 win over Browns.
23 Dez Bryant DAL at ATL Injured hip last week, but should play on Sunday.
24 Dwayne Bowe KC at SD (Thurs.) Posted 7-108-1 against Chargers in Week 4.
25 Stevie Johnson BUF at HOU  
26 Eric Decker DEN at CIN Four straight games with at least one TD catch.
27 Antonio Brown PIT at NYG  
28 Jeremy Maclin PHI at NO (Mon.) Saints have given up 13 TD receptions to WRs.
29 James Jones GB vs. ARI Has 13 catches, but no TDs in last two games.
30 Malcom Floyd SD vs. KC (Thurs.) Averaging 16 ypc, but only one TD so far.
31 Titus Young DET at JAC Stepped up (9-100-2) big in Burleson's absence.
32 Mike Williams TB at OAK Season-high six receptions (68 yds., TD) last week.
33 Josh Gordon CLE vs. BAL Deep threat could be problem for depleted Ravens secondary.
34 Lance Moore NO vs. PHI (Mon.)  
35 Santana Moss WAS vs. CAR Has three TDs in last two games.
36 Anquan Boldin BAL at CLE Best game (9-131) came vs. Browns in Week 4.
37 Andre Roberts ARI at GB  
38 Sidney Rice SEA vs. MIN Caught season-high six passes (one for TD) last week.
39 Brian Hartline MIA at IND  
40 Cecil Shorts JAC vs. DET Looks like Jags' No. 1 option right now.
41 Kenny Britt TEN vs. CHI Has yet to put up huge numbers in a game.
42 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. TB  
43 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. WAS  
44 Kendall Wright TEN vs. CHI  
45 Nate Washington TEN vs. CHI  
46 Greg Little CLE vs. BAL Doing better job holding onto ball lately.
47 Andrew Hawkins CIN vs. DEN  
48 Davone Bess MIA at IND  
49 Donnie Avery IND vs. MIA  
50 Earl Bennett CHI vs. TEN Vanderbilt alums Bennett, Cutler return to Nashville, TN.
51 T.Y. Hilton IND vs. MIA  
52 Brandon Stokley DEN at CIN Steady vet has 2 or more catches in every game.
53 Golden Tate SEA vs. MIN Posted season-high seven receptions last week.
54 Kevin Walter HOU vs. BUF  
55 Donald Jones BUF at HOU  
56 Emmanuel Sanders PIT at NYG  
57 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. DET Went for 4-67 (16.8 ypc) last week against Packers.
58 Leonard Hankerson WAS vs. CAR  
59 Devery Henderson NO vs. PHI (Mon.)  
60 Michael Jenkins MIN at SEA  
61 Robert Meachem SD vs. KC (Thurs.)  
62 Ryan Broyles DET at JAC Has three catches and a TD in each of last 2 games.
63 Kevin Ogletree DAL at ATL  
64 Devin Hester CHI vs. TEN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:57
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-9
Body:

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

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. DAL Had season-low 3 rec., 29 yds. last week.
2 Jimmy Graham NO vs. PHI (Mon.) Put up 5-63-1 in return from ankle injury.
3 Jason Witten DAL at ATL Set NFL TE record with 18 rec. last week.
4 Heath Miller PIT at NYG Six TDs just one away from career high (2007).
5 Antonio Gates SD vs. KC (Thurs.) Only caught two passes last week.
6 Owen Daniels HOU vs. BUF  
7 Brent Celek PHI at NO (Mon.) Saints are No. 30 against pass.
8 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. PIT Hasn’t caught TD pass since Week 3.
9 Greg Olsen CAR at WAS Redskins allowing second-most pts. to TEs.
10 Brandon Pettigrew DET at JAC Posted seven catches last week.
11 Kyle Rudolph MIN at SEA Only two receptions in last 2 games combined.
12 Jared Cook TEN vs. CHI Emphasis on run game has limited his snaps.
13 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. DEN  
14 Scott Chandler BUF at HOU Hasn't caught a TD pass in last three games.
15 Brandon Myers OAK vs. TB Has 3+ catches in three straight games.
16 Dennis Pitta BAL at CLE  
17 Jermichael Finley GB vs. ARI Just hasn’t been big part of passing attack.
18 Jacob Tamme DEN at CIN No TD catches since Week 1.
19 Logan Paulsen WAS vs. CAR Has caught six passes in each of last 2 games.
20 Joel Dreessen DEN at CIN  
21 Dallas Clark TB at OAK Has posted 8-91-1 in last two games.
22 Dwayne Allen IND vs. MIA Teammate Fleener expected to miss next 2 G.
23 Kellen Davis CHI vs. TEN Titans have allowed NFL-high 7 TDs to TEs.
24 Anthony Fasano MIA at IND  
25 Zach Miller SEA vs. MIN Caught first TD pass of season last week.
26 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. DET

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-9
Body:

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

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Matt Bryant ATL vs. DAL
2 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. PIT
3 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. TB
4 Blair Walsh MIN at SEA
5 Jason Hanson DET at JAC
6 Mason Crosby GB vs. ARI
7 Robbie Gould CHI at TEN
8 Shayne Graham HOU vs. BUF
9 Shaun Suisham PIT at NYG
10 Garrett Hartley NO vs. PHI (Mon.)
11 Matt Prater DEN at CIN
12 Connor Barth TB at OAK
13 Kai Forbath WAS vs. CAR
14 Alex Henery PHI at NO (Mon.)
15 Dan Bailey DAL at ATL
16 Phil Dawson CLE vs. BAL

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:55
Path: /college-basketball/mountain-west-conference-2012-13-college-basketball-preview
Body:

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.

For the last three seasons, the best basketball conference out West was not the Pac-12, but the Mountain West. The MWC produced 11 NCAA Tournament teams compared to the Pac-10/12’s eight in the same span.

But that trend might begin to change. First, an influx of talent at Arizona and UCLA may return those two powers to the college basketball elite. And second, the Mountain West’s best incarnation will fall apart after next season. BYU has already gone to the Mountain West, and San Diego State will head to the Big West thereafter.

For now, though, UNLV and San Diego State will continue to compete for Mountain West and perhaps Western supremacy. On paper, UNLV’s season was similar to the previous five, but Dave Rice has injected the program with with energy -- and the talent level -- from the Jerry Tarkanian era. San Diego State, however, is keeping pace with wins and recruiting success.

Those two programs will slug it out one more time before going their separate ways.

2012-13 ALL-MWC TEAM MWC FACTS AND FIGURES
G Deonte Burton, Nevada 2011-12 regular season champion: New Mexico, San Diego State
G Wes Eikmeier, Colorado State 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: New Mexico#, San Diego State,
G Kendall Williams, New Mexico UNLV
G Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State New coach: Larry Eustachy (Colorado State)
F Mike Moser, UNLV* Realignment: Lost TCU (Big 12). Add Fresno State, Nevada (WAC)
*preseason conference player of the year #conference tournament champion

2012-13 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PREVIEW
1. UNLV (26-9, 9-5)

The Rebels are ranked No. 13 in our preseason rankings: Full preview
There is little doubt that big things are on the horizon for the Runnin’ Rebels under coach Dave Rice, who guided UNLV to the NCAA Tournament in his first year and followed that up with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. The big question will be how long it takes for all the new faces to jell. The rebuilt Rebels figure to battle a veteran and talented San Diego State squad for the Mountain West title.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

2. San Diego State (26-8, 10-4)

The Aztecs are ranked No. 15 in our preseason rankings: Full preview
San Diego State has all the necessary ingredients to make a lengthy postseason run. The Aztecs are Tournament tested with three straight appearances and have one of the most talented teams in program history. Mountain West foes UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State will ensure that the Aztecs are battle-tested during the conference slate, and the nonconference schedule includes a rare game against UCLA (in the Wooden Classic) as well as the opener vs. Syracuse. Just reaching the NCAA Tournament is no longer good enough at San Diego State, which is a true testament to the job Coach Steve Fisher has done in building the program to an elite level.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

3. Colorado State (20-12, 8-6)
With four starters back from a 20–12 team and a pair of talented transfers ready to contribute, there’s already talk of conference titles and Sweet 16 appearances in the first season under Larry Eustachy. If the Rams are to compete for their first regular-season Mountain West title and hope to get back to the NCAAs, they will have to learn to win on the road. While they knocked off three top-25 teams at Moby Arena last year, they were a head-scratching 3–9 on the road, including 1–6 in league play. The Rams should be able to address their biggest weakness: lack of size. Last year their tallest starter was 6-6, but Colton Iverson, a 6-10 transfer from Minnesota, brings inside scoring and rugged defense. He averaged 5.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in his final season with the Gophers. The holdovers are led by a trio of senior guards. Wes Eikmeier, an All-MWC pick, had nine 20-plus scoring nights last year and will be one of the top players in the league. Dorian Green, a fourth-year starter, is a tough defender and heady distributor, while Jesse Carr is solid on both ends of the floor.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

4. New Mexico (28-7, 10-4)
With starters Hugh Greenwood, Kendall Williams and Tony Snell back, the Lobos’ backcourt is solidified, but the post will take a hit without forwards Drew Gordon and A.J. Hardeman. Gordon, a first-team All-MWC forward, averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 rebounds while garnering the league’s tournament MVP honors. Hardeman started 35 games and was a glue guy who brought stability. Pegging a replacement for Gordon is the biggest quandary. Alex Kirk, a 7-0 redshirt sophomore, figures a prime candidate, having set a freshman scoring record with 31 points against Cal State Bakersfield two years ago. There’s questions about his durability, however. He underwent back surgery to correct a herniated disc and sat out last year. Look for Williams, a versatile 6-3 guard, to develop into a go-to guy after he averaged 12.1 points in a complementary role last season.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

5. Boise State (13–17, 3–11)
The young Broncos took their lumps in their first season of Mountain West play, and they’ll try to fare better in their final season in the conference. Boise State, which is heading to the Big East in football, must place its basketball programs in another conference, likely the Big West or WAC next season. Coach Leon Rice still has a young team — center Kenny Buckner (8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg) is the only senior — and there are four sophomores and five freshmen on scholarship. But those sophomores gained a ton of experience last season, something that should help the Broncos as they attempt to climb out of the conference cellar. They played most everyone tough and came within seconds of beating UNLV and San Diego State. Australian forward Anthony Drmic (12.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg) had a strong freshman campaign, as did point guard Derrick Marks (9.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.1 apg). That duo, along with Buckner, figures to be the focal points on offense. But they’ll have plenty of help. Juniors Thomas Bropleh, Jeff Elorriaga and Ryan Watkins all have starting experience and have had big games in their careers. Guard Igor Hadziomerovic, who missed much of last season with a broken foot, also should make an impact. If the Broncos learned from a year ago and get contributions from any of the incoming freshmen, don’t be surprised if Boise State cracks the top half of the Mountain West.

6. Air Force (13–16, 3–11)
A midseason coaching change last season gave Dave Pilipovich the chance to make basketball fun again at the Academy. Though the Falcons went only 2–6 under the interim coach, a win over nationally ranked San Diego State and a competitive finish was enough to land Pilipovich the full-time gig. The good news for him is he’ll have five players who started at least 14 games back from last season, including top scorer Michael Lyons (15.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg), who missed a handful of games last season with a high-ankle sprain and wasn’t full strength for much of the first half of Mountain West play. And opponents won’t be able to solely key on Lyons. Mike Fitzgerald (10.4 ppg) Taylor Broekhuis (9.0 ppg) also are options for Air Force, which runs a deliberate offense that relies on execution. Point guard Todd Fletcher is the man who makes the Falcons’ offense work. If Pilipovich can develop some depth and build confidence early in the season, Air Force has a chance to finish in the middle of the pack.

7. Nevada (28–7, 13–1 WAC)
After a few down years, the Wolf Pack returned to their winning ways and put together a 28-win season that culminated with a trip to the NIT quarterfinals. Had the Wolf Pack not played in a one-bid WAC last season, a trip to the NCAA Tournament was within reach as an at-large candidate. Coach David Carter returns three starters from last season, including dynamic point guard Deonte Burton, who averaged 14.8 points and 4.2 assists per game. The lefthander is difficult to guard, and his versatile offensive game makes him one of the top guards in the Mountain West. Joining Burton in the backcourt is senior Malik Story, a streaky shooter who averaged 14.1 points per game. The former Indiana transfer can score in bunches but also has a tendency to take bad shots. When Story makes good decisions, he’s difficult to contain. Swingman Jerry Evans (6.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) should see his production increase as the Wolf Pack did lose its frontcourt starters in Dario Hunt and Olek Czyz. There are seven other letterwinners who are back, but none of them did much to distinguish themselves a year ago. They combined to average fewer than 12 points and nine rebounds a game, production that must increase if Nevada is going to be a factor in its first season in the Mountain West.

8. Wyoming (21–12, 6–8)
Larry Shyatt changed the culture in the program last season, helping the Cowboys to a 21–12 mark that landed them in the College Basketball Invitational. Wyoming did it with a suffocating defense and a deliberate offense that kept grinding and grinding on the opposition. It wasn’t always pretty, but most of the time it was effective. Wyoming has two starters back from a year ago and both are coming off stellar seasons. Senior forward Leonard Washington averaged 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds, while shooting guard Luke Martinez made 81 3-pointers en route to averaging 11.8 points per game. Martinez has made a trey in 29 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the conference. The key for the Cowboys to match last season’s success will be how the rest of the team adjusts to new roles. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. had his moments last season, but now he’ll be expected to be an important factor. Backup point guard Derrious Gilmore must replace starter JayDee Luster, who meant so much for the Cowboys on both ends of the floor. Returning guard Riley Grabau also could see a greater role.

9. Fresno State (13–20, 3–11 WAC)
Coach Rodney Terry started rebuilding the Bulldogs last season, but life just got tougher as the move to the Mountain West will make it more dificult for the second-year coach to see results. With that being said, the Bulldogs have potential to be a surprise team. Guard Kevin Olekaibe is a proven scorer (17.8 ppg), and his presence opens things up for teammates. Guard Tyler Johnson (9.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and forward Jerry Brown (8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) also are returning starters, giving Terry a nice foundation to build around. Former George Mason transfer Kevin Foster and guard Garrett Johnson also have experience. Pacific transfer Allen Huddleston should contribute in the backcourt after sitting out last season, and 6-9 Canadian Braeden Anderson had interest from some higher-profile schools before landing in Fresno. The key to Fresno State’s season might be just how quickly true freshman Robert Upshaw adapts to the Division I game. The 7-foot center is expected to be a difference-maker, and if he lives up to that the billing, don’t expect the Bulldogs to finish in the cellar.

@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
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

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> Mountain West Conference 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:54
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-9
Body:

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

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Chicago Bears at TEN Defense fueled last week's comeback vs. Panthers.
2 Green Bay Packers vs. ARI Defense w/ most sacks vs. offense w/ most sacks allowed.
3 Houston Texans vs. BUF Rested Texans coming off of bye.
4 Seattle Seahawks vs. MIN Allowing only 14 ppg at home.
5 San Diego Chargers vs. KC (Thurs.) Forced 6 turnovers in Week 4 win at Kansas City.
6 Atlanta Falcons vs. DAL Falcons 10th against pass (217 ypg).
7 Detroit Lions at JAC Lions allowing 16.8 ppg over last four.
8 Denver Broncos at CIN Held New Orleans to 252 total yards, 14 pts. last week.
9 Minnesota Vikings at SEA Gave up 135 yards rushing to Doug Martin last week.
10 Baltimore Ravens at CLE Ravens rested for Round 2 against Browns.
11 Miami Dolphins at IND Dolphins are No. 5 in scoring defense (18 ppg).
12 New York Giants vs. PIT Picked off Romo 4x last week, but also gave up 437 yds.
13 Pittsburgh Steelers at NYG No. 1 passing defense will be tested by Eli, Cruz, Nicks.
14 Cleveland Browns vs. BAL Allowed only two field goals to Chargers last week.
15 Arizona Cardinals at GB Been better against pass (No. 4) than run (No. 21).
16 Washington Redskins vs. CAR Can league's worst pass defense slow down Cam and co.?

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 9 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:54
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-10-upset-predictions
Body:

The 2012 college football season is entering its final full month of action. There's plenty of twists and turns still to come in the road to the national championship and there could be a few top-25 teams that fall this Saturday. Check out Athlon's upset picks for Week 10:

College Football's Week 10 Upset Predictions

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Ole Miss (+14) at Georgia
Georgia is a two touchdown favorite against Ole Miss after defeating Florida by 12 on a neutral field. That’s fair. Yet I don’t have much reason to trust Georgia this season. Just look at the the last month or so: Georgia won a shootout with Tennessee, lost by 28 to South Carolina, squeaked by Kentucky, then overcame three Aaron Murray interceptions against Florida only because the Gators coughed up six turnovers of their own. Even after a 30-27 win over Arkansas last week, Ole Miss is going to need to overcome Jarvis Jones but this is a dangerous game for a far-from perfect Georgia team coming off the high of defeating Florida. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Washington (+4) at California
The Huskies and Golden Bears have been two of the hardest teams to figure out in the Pac-12 this season. California deserves some slack for playing a difficult schedule, but this team has been inconsistent, as evidenced by the 49-27 loss to Utah last week. Washington has struggled away from Seattle, losing 41-3 to LSU, 52-21 to Oregon and 52-17 to Arizona. Both teams are fighting for bowl eligibility, with California in worse shape at 3-6. The Huskies could win their final four games, especially considering the schedule features matchups against California, Utah, Colorado and Washington State. Not only is this week’s matchup with the Golden Bears about bowl eligibility, there’s also plenty of familiarity between these two teams. Washington hired defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau away from California in the offseason. Even though the Huskies have struggled to win on the road, I think they get the victory on Friday night. California could be without receiver Keenan Allen, and you have to wonder about this team with the rumor mill churning about Jeff Tedford’s future uncertain. If Allen is out, it’s a huge loss for the Golden Bears and one that could be just enough to swing the balance of power in favor of the Huskies to take home a close victory. 

Mark Ross: UAB (+3) over Southern Miss
Let's not kid ourselves here, neither team is very good as UAB and Southern Miss have combined to win a grand total of one game. That lone victory by UAB came against Southeastern Louisiana, an FCS school. However, that will change this Saturday in Hattiesburg, Miss., as either the Blazers will double their win total or the Golden Eagles will finally get first-year head coach Ellis Johnson into the win column. Unfortunately for coach Johnson and the Eagles, I think the losing streak continues as the Blazers have too much offense for them to overcome. UAB is averaging 422 yards of offense per game, good for 51st in the nation, while Southern Miss comes in at No. 104 with only 322.6 yards per game. That's a difference of nearly 100 yards. Both defenses have struggled to stop opponents on offense, and even though the Golden Eagles have fared better in this category (431.5 ypg compared to 461.1 for UAB), I just don't think they will be able to solve their offensive issues in this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see Southern Miss score considerably more than the 19.3 points per game it is averaging, but likewise I also expect UAB to pile up the points since the Golden Eagles are allowing nearly 40 per contest. If you like offense, this game should feature plenty, just don't expect it to end in a Southern Miss victory.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Mississippi State (+6.5) vs. Texas A&M
The Bulldogs are coming off their first loss of the season, a 38-7 spanking at No. 1 Alabama. The Aggies had a drastically different result in the Yellowhammer State last week, crushing Auburn by a 63-21 mark. So will Johnny Manziel, the SEC’s newest sensation, lead Texas A&M’s offense to big points and a win at Mississippi State? I’m not so sure. Dan Mullen’s crew is pretty tough to beat in Starkville, and the Bulldogs should use a raucous home crowd and an advantage in turnover margin to their favor. MSU does not give the ball away very often, and the Aggies defense does not tend to take it away. And if the Bulldogs can ride LaDarius Perkins (5.4 YPC and eight TDs) and an efficient Tyler Russell (15 TD passes and two INTs) into winning the time of possession, they can keep “Johnny Football” and the high-octane Aggies off the field. In their first matchup since the 2000 Independence Bowl (a 43-41 Bulldogs victory during a rare Louisiana snowstorm), I’ll take the “Bell” over the “Yell” at Davis Wade Stadium.

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 10 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 10 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 10 Preview and Predictions

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 10 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:50
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-10-start-or-sit-report
Body:

Depending on your league format, Week 10 is either the final week or second-to-last week in your regular season.  If you are still fighting for a playoff spot, each roster decision you make could determine your playoff fate.  Once again, we’ve tried to identify as many on-the-fence players as we could to help with some of the tougher roster decisions.  As always, if you have any start/bench questions or need additional insight on roster decisions, please reach out to us via emailor twitter.

Start

James Sims, RB-Kansas at Baylor

Sims has carried the ball at least 27 times and rushed for over 100 yards in each of the past four games.  This week, that streak should continue when he faces a Baylor defense giving up 194.1 rushing yards per game.

 

Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa at Indiana

Fullback Mark Weisman is doubtful to play this week against Indiana, which leaves Bullock to carry the load against a defense giving up 222.5 rushing yards per game.

 

Alex Singleton, RB-Tulsa at Arkansas

The Razorbacks are ranked 31st in the nation against the run, giving up a respectable 123 rushing yards per game.  However, they are giving up 30.9 points per game and have given up more rushing touchdowns than any of the 35-best run defenses in the country.
 

Storm Woods, RB-Oregon St vs Arizona St

Look for Woods to get a lot of work against a defense giving up 173.6 rushing yards per game.  In fact, the Arizona State defense is allowing an average of 43.3 rushing attempts per game, the 16th-highest rate in the FBS.
 

Eric Monette, WR-Western Michigan at Central Michigan

Last week, we identified Josh Schaffer as the favorite target of quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen, but with fellow receiver Jamie Wilson sidelined with a groin injury, Monette has posted two consecutive eight-catch games. 
 

Justin Hunter, WR-Tennessee vs Troy

We’ve suggested benching Hunter the past two weeks against Alabama and South Carolina, but we are inserting him into a starters role this week against Troy, especially since all four of his touchdowns this season have been scored against non-BCS schools.
 

Jalen Saunders, WR-Oklahoma at Iowa St

It is nearly impossible to suggest sitting Saunders after he caught 15 passes last week, especially when his offense may be without its best running back (Damien Williams) against Iowa State.
 

Ryan Grant, WR-Tulane vs Rice

Grant’s success has a lot to do with the return of Ryan Griffin at quarterback.  Over the past two weeks, the junior receiver has caught 12 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
 

Bench

Taylor Martinez, QB-Nebraska at Michigan St

Martinez is having the best passing season of his three-year career in Lincoln, but his fantasy value is minimized if his ability to run the football is neutralized.  The Spartans have the seventh-best rushing defense in the country and we expect they will force Martinez to beat them with his arm instead of his legs.
 

Ray Graham, RB at Notre Dame

We were just about ready to write off Graham until he had his most productive week of the season last Saturday.  Not only does he lose carries to the freshman running back Rushel Shell, but he’ll go up against the nation’s eighth-best rushing defense in Week 10.
 

Adam Muema, RB-San Diego St at Boise St

After scoring a touchdown in each of the first seven weeks of the 2012 season, Muema faces the possibility of going scoreless for a third consecutive game.  The odds are certainly against him this week when he faces a Boise State defense that gives up less than 14 points per game.
 

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri at Florida

In Missouri’s four wins this season, Lawrence has rushed for 395 yards and seven touchdowns.  In four losses, the senior running back has only mustered 237 yards and has been held out of the end zone.  Simple math tells us that we’re looking at a 60-yard day on the road in The Swamp this Saturday.
 

Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon, RBs-Alabama at LSU

Lacy and Yeldon will go up against a LSU defense that is giving up less than 100 yards per game.  Even if the two backs combine for 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns, they will most likely split that production.
 

Taylor Kelly, QB-Arizona St at Oregon St

Besides the game against Oregon a couple of weeks ago, Kelly has thrown for 15 touchdowns in his other four PAC-12 contests.  This week, the Sun Devils travel to Oregon State, a team that is allowing 260.7 passing yards per game.  However, the Beavers have only allowed seven passing touchdowns this season, tied for ninth-best in the FBS.


by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

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

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 10 Start or Sit Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:42
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-10-emergency-starters
Body:

We have identified a few players that may be floating around in your league’s waiver pool that have favorable Week 10 matchups.  If a fantasy league playoff berth is at stake, take a look at a few alternative options in this week’s Emergency Starters.

 

Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)


Quarterback

Ryan Griffin, Tulane vs Rice

Matt McGloin, Penn St @ Purdue

Austin Brown, UAB at at Southern Miss

Trent Steelman, ARMY vs Air Force
 

Running Backs

Dareyon Chance, Western Michigan at Central Michigan

Wes Cobb, Air Force @ Army

Monterrell Washington, ULM vs Louisiana

Vantavious Cooper, ECU vs Houston

Theo Riddick, Notre Dame vs Pitt
                

Receivers

LaDarius Brown, TCU @ West Virginia

William Dukes, FAU @ Navy

Lanear Sampson, BAY vs Kansas

Shaquelle Evans, UCLA vs Arizona

 

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to[email protected]

 

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)

Quarterback

Shane Carden, ECU vs Houston

Ryan Griffin, Tulane vs Rice

Keenan Reynolds, Navy vs FAU
 

Running Backs

Damon Bullock, Iowa at Indiana

Latavius Murray, UCF vs SMU

Darrin Reaves, UAB at USM

 

Receivers

Emory Blake, Auburn vs New Mexico St

Ryan Grant, Tulane vs Rice

Lanear Sampson, Baylor vs Kansas

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 10 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 04:21
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-33
Body:

Times are a-changin’ in NASCAR but will fans see a change in who has been the champion most often in recent years? With starting times for the remaining races pushed back, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council were asked if they liked the move, along with who now is their pick to win the title with three races left and what they thought of the Martinsville race. Here’s what they had to say about those issues and more:


Later start times for the final three races: Good or bad?
Starting with Sunday’s race at Texas, the final three Cup races will begin at 3 p.m. EST, an hour later than the other day races in the Chase. Fan Council members were asked what they thought about the later starting times:

45.7 percent said they were “neutral”
31.7 percent said they hate it
11.9 percent said they love it
10.7 percent said they like it

What Fan Council members said:
• Morning, noon, or night I will watch my NASCAR races.

• I wish NASCAR would stop changing the start times!!!! Real NASCAR fans will watch regardless of the start time, but quit trying to change the start times to fit the network!!!

• Most NFL games will be in the third or fourth quarter, then you have the rest of the 4:00 games. This is bad for NASCAR, especially considering the lack of passing we saw at Texas in the spring. Most people may be tuned out before the green flag ever waves. As a person on the East Coast, I hate the long wait.

• I will record the race and watch it when time permits. The 3 p.m. start time will cause me to turn on a football game and why stop watching something to start watching something else?

• What happened to the standard start times??!! NASCAR has to stop worrying about what other sports are doing and what times they are on. Do your own thing. If you want to compete with the big boy sports then start at 1 p.m. and go up against them!! I feel the fans prefer the 1 p.m. start time. NASCAR, if you believe in your fans start the races at 1 p.m. those that want to watch it will.

• By starting the race at 3 p.m. I am home from church and can see the green flag and also hear some of the pre-race show and comments.

• I'll miss the ending of most of them due to work. The 2 p.m. EST start time worked perfect for me. Oh well. Leave it to NASCAR to make random changes at random portions of the season.

• I love NASCAR and I'll be watching whatever the time. American football season doesn't start until the week after Homestead for me. UEFA football is on early. The NHL is on strike. There's nothing better or more important on television than the final Cup races in my household.

• Perfect time to start the race. Lets our West Coast viewers tune in at a decent hour. Love races that start in the day and end at night.

• Don't care, as I DVR all races. I then watch a condensed version skipping the commercials, and the spread out green flag parading. Usually I can watch the whole race in less than an hour.
 

Teaser:
<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss new start times in the Chase, who the chmapionship favorite is with three races remaining in the season and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 12:09
Path: /nfl/13-athletes-who-scare-other-athletes
Body:

We love to watch the fearless nature that many of our favorite sports stars exude in their respective games. But even professional stars have to feel a little scared of their competition from time to time, right? To celebrate Halloween, Athlon Sports asked hundreds of pro athletes, "Which athlete scares you the most?" Here are our favorite responses.

“I would say probably Jon Runyan (the former Eagles tackle) because I was a rookie and he was a big guy. He had these bear claws and he would grab the s—t out of you. I remember one play he literally just reached out and grabbed me and held me for the entire play. I struggled and I looked over at the ref and he said ‘You’re not going to get that call rookie.’ I said ‘Oh, so I’m playing against both of you?’ So it was Runyan.”
—Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants


“I think my first at-bat against Brian Wilson, it kind of took me a minute to stare back at him with the beard and everything. He looked intimidating, but I think after facing him a couple times, I was like, 'Alright, it ain't anything. Another pitcher.’”
—Eric Young, Rockies


“Dale Earnhardt. It was scary the first time I met him — he really was intimidating on and off the track.”
—Matt Kenseth, NASCAR

“Aroldis Chapman as far as pitching goes. When I first faced him I didn’t know if he knew exactly where it was going. Now, he’s got pretty damn good control. But anytime you’re facing lefty on lefty who throws 100-plus miles per hour, it’s not a comfortable at-bat. That would be mine. And the other one would be … Scott Rolen. Scott Rolen would fit that category of guys barreling in on me (at second base on the double play). I never like to see Rolen at first and a chopper to shortstop. That doesn’t sit with me very well.”
—Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals


I would say DeMarcus Ware, coming off the edge and I’m having to block him. He’s just such a strong presence it’s hard to sit there and take a bull (rush) from him, but at the same time I don’t want to get juked out by him… He totally ran me over. Bad. Embarrassed me. When I was with the Eagles. It was embarrassing. He got me good.”
—Owen Schmitt, Oakland Raiders


“LSU had this guy named Herman Johnson. He was 6-9 or 6-10 [6-7, 360 actually]. He was huge. My coach harped all week on how big he was. It was like the second or third play and they ran an iso to me, and he came up and I wanted to hit him in the mouth, but it went the other way. He hit me in the mouth. That's probably the scariest guy I've ever played against.”
—Craig Robertson, Cleveland Browns


“Mario Lemieux was the scariest in terms of what he could do on the ice. I remember playing against Brian McGrattan when he had a three-foot Mohawk dyed red and his eyes were bulging out of his head and scratching himself at the blue line. What a freak. It’s two different types of scary.”
—Hal Gill, Nashville Predators

“I’m not scared of anybody.”
—Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
 

“Randy Johnson. I guess you got to overcome that fear to hit against him. I loved the challenge; I really did. I got some hits off him. At that time, he was the best pitcher in the game and arguably with what he was doing at that period of time one of the best of all-time. But it was fun. If you wanted to really challenge yourself, step in there being left-on-left was what you wanted to do. Him being 6-10, it looked like the ball was being released right in front of you. And he kind of sidearmed a little bit. He was just wild enough, too, to make you nervous. And he threw hard, that was the thing that made him tough.”
—Jason Giambi, Colorado Rockies


“Dwight Freeney, back when I was in Jacksonville, like if it was a third-down and long situation. He’ll get you on your toes…. He had every move you could do. He had just everything. A lot of guys have two or three moves. He pretty much has seven or eight. So that’s what makes him so good…. He’s strong, too.”
—Khalif Barnes, Oakland Raiders

Teaser:
<p> 13 Athletes who Scare Other Athletes</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:30

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