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Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-12-power-rankings
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The Ohio State Buckeyes will finish the regular season with the best overall record in the Big Ten after an exciting overtime win in Madison. But what really mattered most was a 24-point home romp by the Nebraska Cornhuskers over Minnesota. The win moves Nebraska into a commanding position in the Legends Division, needing only a win over Iowa on the road or a Michigan loss to Ohio State in the Horseshoe to ensure a trip to Indianapolis and the Big Ten title game where they would face Wisconsin. There could be a lot of red in Indy in two weekends.

Post-Week 12 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Miller wasn't his usual electric self, but he made big plays and got his team into the end zone in overtime. A great game plan by UW limited his numbers, but Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is all but his now.

2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He is making a serious Heisman push late in the season. He threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to go with 22 yards rushing in the key win over the Gophers. He is leading the Big Ten in passing efficiency and total offense.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin - The record isn't his yet, but he is awfully close. Ball rushed for 191 yards on 39 carries and scored his NCAA record-tying 78th career TD.


Post-Week 12 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - The senior defensive end was at his best in a huge road win over Wisconsin. He posted six total tackles, four tackles for a loss and four sacks. He was all over the field and now leads the Big Ten in sacks and TFLs.

2. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - He was carted off of the field in the first quarter of the easy win over Indiana. One has to wonder if missing essentially the final two games while Ohio State goes undefeated could cost Mauti the D.P.O.Y. award. He will, and should, get plenty of feel-good votes.

3. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - Taylor leads the league's No. 1 rushing defense and No. 2 overall defense in tackles and tackles for loss. He is fourth in the Big Ten in tackles and helped contain Braxton Miller to his lowest offensive output of the year (145 total yards).


Post-Week 12 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - Ohio State has clinched the best overall record in the league but has eyes on an undefeated season. This team would likely be No. 2 in the BCS standings after seven losses a year ago.

2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - After an easy win over Indiana, Penn State fans are staring directly at an eight-win season. Considering what this community has been through, it's a remarkable performance from the new coaching staff. 

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern/Bo Pelini, Nebraska - Finally, his Wildcats broke through with a big win over Michigan State, giving him a shot at nine wins this season. Bo Pelini doesn't feel like a Coach of the Year candidate, but winning the championship game has to count for something, right?


Post-Week 12 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (11-0, 7-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 12 result: Beat Wisconsin 21-14 (OT)

Two of the better programs in the Big Ten played a thriller in Madison. Eventually, Ohio State got a key fourth-down stop in overtime and moved to within one win of a perfect season. Michigan will come to town next weekend and the Buckeyes are not only shooting for an unbeaten season but a win would officially eliminate the Maize and Blue from Big Ten title contention. Braxton Miller didn't post huge numbers, but he has won every game he has started this season and is just as electric as any player in the nation. How much the postseason ban hurts his Heisman chances remains to be seen.
This week: Michigan (8-3)

2. Nebraska (9-2, 6-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 12 result: Beat Minnesota 38-14 
Taylor Martinez played another excellent day as the Big Red rolled over Minnesota on Senior Day in Lincoln. Unfortunately, fan favorite and senior Rex Burkhead missed his fourth game in a row and the sixth of the season. But having him healthy for a potential Big Ten championship game would justify not seeing No. 22 in red out there in the 24-point win. T-Mart totaled 330 yards of offense and two touchdowns without an interception. A win over Iowa next weekend sends embattled and temperamental coach Bo Pelini to Indianapolis with a very good shot at the Rose Bowl.
This week: at Iowa (4-7)

3. Michigan (8-3, 6-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 12 result: Beat Iowa 42-17
Devin Gardner is making a serious case as a force to be reckoned with next fall as Michigan's quarterback. He completed 18-of-23 passes for 314 yards, rushed for 39 yards on eight carries and accounted for all six Michigan touchdowns. Denard Robinson played, but was lined up as running back, rushing 13 times for 98 yards and catching two passes. Look for an interesting game plan from Brady Hoke with his athletic quarterback duo as he faces Urban Meyer for the first time as a part of the storied Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. Should Nebraska lose, the Wolverines could still win their way to Pasadena.
This week: at Ohio State (11-0)

4. Penn State (7-4, 5-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 12 result: Beat Indiana 45-22
Matt McGloin threw for a career-high 395 yards and four first-half touchdown passes. It was his third 300-yard effort in four games, his fourth of the season and sixth of his career. The running game and defense did the rest of the damage, out-rushing Indiana 151 to 24. The defense lost emotional leader Mike Mauti early in the game and it appears that his Penn State career is over. An eighth win next weekend would be an a tremendous way to cap what has been an extremely emotional season in Happy Valley.

This week: Wisconsin (7-4)

5. Wisconsin (7-4, 4-3)
Previous rank: 4
Week 12 result: Lost to Ohio State 21-14 (OT)
It would have been an unbelievable feel-good story for Curt Phillips and his three ACL tears had his final drive in regulation (5-for-5, TD) not just tied the score, but won the game for the Badgers. However, the fairy-tale ending wasn't meant to be for the star-struck quarterback from Kingsport, Tenn. After Ohio State scored on its first overtime possession, Phillips failed to answer as the Badgers were unable to pick up a first down and his pass on fourth-down was knocked down, handing UW its fourth loss of the season. All four losses have come within one touchdown and this was the first loss by more than three points all season. This weekend's trip to Happy Valley could give Wisconsin a shot at 10 wins — or a shot at seven losses. 
This week: at Penn State (7-4)

6. Northwestern (8-3, 4-3)
Previous rank: 6
Week 12 result: Beat Michigan State 23-20
This was a big win for Pat Fitzgerald. With a win over Illinois next week and a bowl win, Coach Fitz could lead Northwestern to its first 10-win season since he played on the Wildcats' magical 1995 Rose Bowl team. This was a hard-fought road win over a well-coached team with more raw talent. Give Coach Fitz a lot of credit for what he has accomplished this season. Unfortunately, star tailback Venric Mark left the game very early on with an "upper extremity" injury and his status for next week's game is up in the air. 
This week: Illinois (2-9)

7. Michigan State (5-6, 2-5)
Previous rank: 7
Week 12 result: Lost to Northwestern 23-20
The Spartans have failed to finish drives all season and the result was yet another crippling loss. Mark Dantonio's bunch lost for the fourth time in five games and lost by three points or less for the fourth time in Big Ten play. So after back-to-back 11-win seasons, the Spartans have to go on the road and defeat Minnesota next weekend in order to reach the postseason this winter. Kirk Cousins really was that good.
This week: at Minnesota (6-5)

8. Minnesota (6-5, 2-5)
Previous rank: 8
Week 12 result: Lost to Nebraska 38-14 
The Golden Gophers are still a good ways from competing for a division title. Minnesota trailed 38-0 before two late fourth quarter touchdowns got Jerry Kill's bunch on the board. They finished with 177 total yards of offense. Minny beats the bad teams it faces and has lost to the good ones. A win over Michigan State at home not only guarantees a winning record but redefines the perception of this team. It would be the best win of the year for a team whose current best win is against Syracuse.
This week: Michigan State (5-6)

9. Indiana (4-7, 2-5)
Previous rank: 9
Week 12 result: Lost to Penn State 45-22
After an unheard of two-game Big Ten winning streak, Wisconsin and then Penn State established some normalcy in the Leaders Division with physical, easy wins over the Hoosiers. Indiana couldn't stop Matt McGloin and couldn't run the football, and is now assured its fifth losing season in a row and its 16th in 17 seasons. Still, this team is much more competitive than last year's squad and a win over Purdue gives Kevin Wilson a solid five-win showing in a make or break season.
This week: at Purdue (5-6)

10. Purdue (5-6, 2-5)
Previous rank: 10
Week 12 result: Beat Illinois 20-17

Robert Marve was just good enough and the running game was effective in yet another big win for Danny Hope. After starting the year 0-5 in Big Ten play, Purdue rushed to its second straight win and is still eyeing a bowl game. The team gained 207 yards on 37 carries for a robust 5.6 yards per carry clip. The Boilermakers will face Indiana at home in a very winnable finale with a shot at the postseason within their reach. Hope has to thankful that his final three games of the year have come against the three worst teams in the Big Ten.
This week: Indiana (4-7)

11. Iowa (4-7, 2-5)
Previous rank: 11
Week 12 result: Lost to Michigan 42-17
The 2-0 start to Big Ten play has to feel like years ago for those in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes lost their fifth consecutive game in embarrassing fashion. It allowed three passing and three rushing touchdowns to wide receiver turned backup quarterback Devin Gardner. This unimaginative and uncompetitive group has no chance to battle with Nebraska next weekend and that leaves Black and Gold fans staring at a 4-8 season. That's more than $1 million per win for Kirk Ferentz.  
This week: Nebraska (9-2)

12. Illinois (2-9, 0-7)
Previous rank: 12
Week 12 result: Lost to Purdue 20-17
That was the Illini's last chance at a Big Ten win. If this team can't beat Purdue and wasn't really competitive against Indiana or Minnesota, what makes anyone think it will defeat a quality Northwestern team on the road? In just one season, obviously Tim Beckman can't really do anything on the field to lose his job. However, he will enter his second season after losing 10 games in his debut and will be under a powerful microscope from now on.
This week: at Northwestern (7-3)

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 12 Recap

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

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Post-Week 12 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/georgia-southern-db-suffers-nasty-finger-injury
Body:

Georgia Southern defensive back Valdon Cooper had a rough Saturday. Not only was he supposed to matchup against Georgia's receivers, Cooper suffered a nasty finger injury - and the picture isn't pretty.

Needless to say, fingers aren't supposed to bend like this:

Teaser:
<p> Georgia Southern DB Suffers Nasty Finger Injury</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 22:41
All taxonomy terms: LSU Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /news/les-miles-has-crazy-postgame-rant-after-beating-ole-miss
Body:

Saturday's 41-35 win over Ole Miss was a huge victory for LSU. The Tigers kept their slim SEC title hopes alive but most importantly, remain in the mix for a spot in a BCS bowl.

The LSU-Ole Miss game was a crazy back and forth affair, so it was no surprise Les Miles was quite animated after the game. 

In other words...it's vintage Les Miles.

Teaser:
<p> Les Miles Has a Crazy Postgame Rant After Beating Ole Miss</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 22:23
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Maryland Terrapins, News
Path: /news/marylands-stefon-diggs-makes-crazy-one-handed-catch-against-fsu
Body:

Lost in the struggles of Maryland's offense and quarterback injuries this year has been the play of receiver Stefon Diggs. The true freshman has been a dynamic playmaker and could be a first-team All-ACC selection by the end of 2013.

Diggs continued his solid freshman campaign with a ridiculous one-handed catch against Florida State. The true freshman knew a big hit was coming from the Florida State defender, yet hung on for the reception.

Teaser:
<p> Maryland's Stefon Diggs Makes Crazy One-Handed Catch Against FSU</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 22:18
All taxonomy terms: Utah Utes, Pac 12, News
Path: /news/utah-uses-creative-fake-field-goal-score-against-arizona
Body:

Utah came up short in its Saturday night matchup against Arizona, losing 34-24 to drop to 4-7 on the season. However, the Utes left it all on the field, as they used a creative trick play to score an early touchdown.

The Utes lined up for an easy field goal early in the second quarter. But the holder pitched it between his legs to kicker Coleman Petersen, who ran it in for the touchdown.

Teaser:
<p> Utah Uses Creative Fake Field Goal To Score Against Arizona</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 22:04
All taxonomy terms: West Virginia Mountaineers, Big 12, News
Path: /news/west-virginia-coach-drops-f-bomb-live-television
Body:

West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen can be one of the most animated coaches in college football. Of course, this is also the coach who drinks Red Bull like it's water during the week too.

And Holgorsen didn't disappoint during Saturday's game against Oklahoma, as the cameras and audio caught him dropping a f-bomb right before the end of the first half. 

Teaser:
<p> West Virginia Coach Drops F-Bomb on Live Television</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 22:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Virginia Tech Hokies, News
Path: /news/virginia-tech-defender-bounces-interception-teammates-hands
Body:

Bad officiating has been a problem in the ACC this year, and it appears the refs might have missed another call in Week 12. 

Virginia Tech defensive back Kyle Fuller deflected a poorly thrown pass by Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig and appeared to bounce it off his hands just before it hit the ground. Linebacker Alonzo Tweedy caught the deflection for the interception. 

However, the refs did not give the interception to Virginia Tech, which took away a prime opportunity around midfield for its offense.

Teaser:
<p> Virginia Tech Defender Bounces Interception Into Teammate's Hands</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 21:56
All taxonomy terms: Kent State Golden Flashes, MAC, News
Path: /news/kent-states-dri-archer-escapes-bgsus-defense-ridiculous-moves
Body:

Kent State running back Dri Archer has been one of the nation's top all-purpose players this season and is a key piece in the Golden Flashes' run to the MAC East title.

Archer has showcased his speed and ridiculous moves all season but might have had his best performance on Saturday against Bowling Green. 

With the game tied at 17 early in the fourth quarter, Archer took a handoff and darted to the left side and appeared to be tackled around midfield. However, Archer bounced out of the pile and cut it back to the opposite side of the field. After the midfield escape, Archer dodged a few defenders and scored to give Kent State a 24-17 lead.

Teaser:
<p> Kent State's Dri Archer Escapes BGSU's Defense With Ridiculous Moves</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 21:47
Path: /college-football/bcs-post-week-12-analysis-notre-dame-sec-big-winners-after-upsets
Body:

The BCS endured its biggest shakeup at this stage of the season in five years, but the championship scenario ended up back where it always does: The SEC championship game.

The Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the BCS standings lost Saturday night, leading a restructuring of the race for the national championship. Only a week ago, Notre Dame appeared to be stuck on the outside of the title game unless either of the top teams lost. The Irish caught that break and more, finishing the week as the only BCS-eligible undefeated team (ineligible Ohio State is the only other unbeaten in the country).

Provided Notre Dame can defeat USC in the final game of the season -- a possibility that depends greatly on the play of the Trojans' backup quarterback -- the Irish will face the SEC champion in the BCS title game.

But as we’ve learned repeatedly, nothing is certain.

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

MOVING UP

BCS Standings
Nov. 18

Coaches' Poll Harris Poll Comp. Avg. Last Wk.
1. Notre Dame 1 1 1 3
2. Alabama 2 2 3 4
3. Georgia 3 3 6 5
4. Florida 6 5 2 6
5. Oregon 4 4 7 2
6. Kansas St. 8 7 4 1
7. LSU 7 8 8 7
8. Stanford 11 11 5 13
9. Texas A&M 10 10 10 8
10. Florida St. 5 6 17 10
11. Clemson 9 9 15 11
12. S. Carolina 12 12 11 9
13. Oklahoma 13 13 9 12
14. Nebraska 14 14 T-12 14
15. Oregon St. 17 15 T-12 16
16. Texas 15 17 14 15

The SEC champion. Notre Dame moved from No. 3 to No. 1, but it’s tough to see any bigger winner this week than the eventual champion of the SEC. Just a week ago, Notre Dame needed either Kansas State or Oregon to lose. The SEC champion needed both to lose to turn the conference championship game into a national title semifinal. Notre Dame caught one lucky break, the SEC caught two. Suddenly, Alabama is back in the mix to repeat (provided the Crimson Tide can defeat Auburn to clinch the SEC West). The most improbable development, however, is the appearance of No. 3 Georgia in a national title scenario. The Bulldogs lost 35-7 to South Carolina on Oct. 6 but claimed the SEC east by defeating Florida in a turnover-filled 17-9 victory. After Florida, Georgia’s best win is over 7-4 Vanderbilt.

MOVING DOWN
No. 6 Kansas State. The Wildcats tumbled from No. 1 to No. 6 in the BCS and even further in the coaches’ poll to No. 8 and Harris poll to No. 7. Although Oregon dropped in the rankings as well, the No. 5 Ducks still have the most potential to move up in the standings thanks to a regular season finale against Oregon State and a potential Pac-12 title game should Stanford lose this week to UCLA. Kansas State is all but eliminated from the national title with the worst loss of any title contender (Baylor) and no conference championship game to make up the difference. All that remains for K-State is No. 16 Texas, which will be essential if the Wildcats are to hang onto the Big 12’s BCS bid.

KEY GAMES THIS WEEK
No. 4 Florida at No. 10 Florida State. The Florida-Florida State game is back to having national championship implications ... in a roundabout way. Although Florida hasn’t looked sharp, the Gators remain a one-loss team ranked second in the computer average. A number of scenarios involving losses by Notre Dame, Georgia or Alabama could vault Florida to the BCS title game, provided the Gators defeat Florida State. Meanwhile, the Seminoles remain tied to their lackluster average in the computer rankings. The ACC hasn’t given Florida State the means to overcome its loss to NC State, so Florida will be the ‘Noles best opportunity to make up ground in the title race.

No. 1 Notre Dame at USC Notre Dame’s final opponent is also the one most capable of upsetting the Irish’s first trip to the BCS title game. However, that prospect is significantly diminished with the absence of quarterback Matt Barkley. After Barkley sustained a shoulder injury against UCLA, backup Max Wittek will start against Notre Dame. With the Irish’s ability to take away the run, USC’s hopes rest on Wittek being able to get the ball to Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.

No. 8 Stanford at No. 17 UCLA. This game will impact the title race in a marginal way. Oregon needs UCLA to defeat Stanford for the Ducks to reach the Pac-12 title game. Even if that happens, Oregon needs other dominoes to fall (USC over Notre Dame, chiefly) to reach the BCS title game. A Stanford win means the Cardinal will face UCLA in back-to-back games, the latter matchup for a Pac-12 title and the Rose Bowl.

OTHER NOTES
The ACC has done nothing for Florida State.The Seminoles have only themselves to blame for a 17-16 loss to NC State (6-5, 3-4 ACC) on Oct. 6. If not for that upset, Florida State likely would be in the top two of the BCS rankings. But the Seminoles’ schedule hasn’t provided the means for Florida State to move up the rankings. Florida State has been stuck at No. 10 in the rankings for three consecutive weeks. In fact, Florida State dropped one spot from No. 9 on Oct. 28. Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher can complain about the computer rankings, which have had his team ranked outside of the top 15. But the coaches’ and Harris polls have only moved his team up incrementally from No. 7 to No. 5/6 in the last four weeks. Now that Florida State escapes ACC play this week, the Seminoles have a chance to deliver their first statement win since late September against Clemson.

No BCS buster this season. For the second consecutive season, no team from a non-automatic qualifying conference will reach the BCS. Louisiana Tech had an outside shot prior to last week, provided the Bulldogs could finish in the top 16 and finish ranked ahead of the ACC, Big East or Big Ten champion. With Louisiana Tech losing to Utah State last week, the Bulldogs’ BCS hopes -- not to mention WAC title hopes -- are finished. No. 22 Boise State is the highest ranked team from outside the AQ conferences.

The SEC at-large picture narrows. Although an SEC team may have gained a spot in the national title game due to Kansas State and Oregon upsets -- the SEC owns Nos. 2-4 -- the pool for potential SEC teams for at-large bids narrowed. South Carolina dropped out of the top 10 from No. 9 to No. 12 thanks to Stanford moving to No. 8 and Florida State and Clemson staying put. And Texas A&M dropped from eighth to ninth. Both rankings are good enough for a BCS at-large, but the most likely landing spot for an SEC at-large team at this point is the Sugar Bowl. The home draw for LSU might be tough for the Sugar Bowl to resist.

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content
Week 12 Recap: Upsets shift BCS race
Who votes in the Harris Poll?

Teaser:
<p> BCS Post-Week 12 Analysis: Notre Dame, SEC big winners after upsets</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 19:47
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-12-bowl-projections
Body:

College football's bowl season is inching closer, and it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With 12 weeks of results in the books, it's beginning to get easier to make projections about which teams will be eligible for the postseason.

The post-Week 12 bowl projections are a mixture between how things would look if the season ended today, future schedules, and a dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next two weeks. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 12 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Nevada
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. San Diego State
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA UCF** vs. UL Lafayette*
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Monroe vs. East Carolina
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 USC vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SJSU*
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC W. Kentucky* vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Ball State* vs. Arizona State*
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Duke vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 West Virginia vs. UCLA
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Ohio* vs. La. Tech*
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East Virginia Tech vs. Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Iowa State vs. Minnesota
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Rice vs. Air Force
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. Washington
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Syracuse vs. TCU
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Okla. State
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Mich. State vs. Texas Tech
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas State*
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Oregon State vs. NC State
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Ole Miss
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC South Carolina vs. Ga. Tech
Heart of Dallas Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Baylor vs. Purdue
TaxSlayer.com Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Northwestern vs. Miss. State
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Michigan vs. Georgia
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Florida vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC Texas vs. Texas A&M
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Troy* vs. Bowling Green*
GoDaddy.com Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt MTSU vs. Kent State
       
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Nebraska vs. Oregon
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Kansas State vs. Clemson
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS Notre Dame vs. Alabama


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

** UCF is appealing a postseason ban and for now, is eligible to compete in the 2012 postseason.

Bold indicates a team has accepted bowl bid.

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

(published Nov. 18, 2012)

Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 12 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 18:02
All taxonomy terms: Monthly
Path: /monthly/was-there-nfl-game-1980s-had-no-play-play-commentary
Body:
It seems to me that in the 1980s the NFL televised a game where the only audio came from the sidelines and PA system. There were no play-by-play commentators. Did this game ever take place or was I dreaming? 
— Wilbert Dill, Warwick, Md.
 
Wilbert, you weren’t dreaming. But for the guys over at AwfulAnnouncing.com, who track the follies and flubs of the talking heads of sports, this had to be a dream game. No blathering from Dan Dierdorf about his playing days; no nonsensical pontificating from Matt Millen. NBC’s Don Ohlmeyer tried the bold experiment for a matchup between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins on Dec. 20, 1980. Bryant Gumbel set up the stunt with a brief intro, and then, the sounds of the stadium took over, punctuated only by on-screen graphics. The Jets won 24–17 in front of a larger audience than normal for a meaningless matchup, but while there was some positive reaction from fans, it proved to be a one-time experiment. 
Teaser:
<p> Was there an NFL game in the 1980s that had no play-by-play commentary?</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 14:51
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-12-recap-upsets-kansas-state-oregon-shifts-bcs-race
Body:

The best and worst of college football was on display Saturday from thrilling upsets (Stanford over Oregon, Baylor over Kansas State), newfound hope in the national title race (Notre Dame, Alabama and Georgia) and unexpected results (Baylor has a defense?).

A thrilling day of college football shook up the national title race, perhaps paved the way for a freshman to win the Heisman and left uncertainty in Eugene and Manhattan. Only a week ago, Kansas State and Oregon were favorites to win the national title, and now neither may win their own conference. Meanwhile, Notre Dame moved from the outside looking in to the clear No. 1 team in the BCS standings. And the SEC, left out a week ago, suddenly has a de facto national championship semifinal in Atlanta once again.

But reports of another conference shift, this time with Maryland and Rutgers in negotiations with the Big Ten, signaled that the off-field machinations never seem to stop.

We’ll save conference realignment for another time, here’s a look at what happened on the field this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 12 RECAP: THREE AND OUT

THREE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM STANFORD 17, OREGON 14 (OT)

Shayne Skov

Stanford’s run defense was undervalued. Stanford entered the game leading the nation in run defense, but that didn’t seem to be a major talking point before the game at Autzen Stadium. Granted, Oregon didn’t have much trouble running on Stanford in the past two seasons. But Stanford responded by holding Oregon to 195 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry, both the second lowest totals for the Ducks since their 2011 opener against LSU. Led by linebacker Shayne Skov, Stanford made Kenjon Barner (66 yards, 3.1 yards per carry) and Marcus Mariota (21 of 37, INT) look mortal. Oregon’s 14 points were the fewest for the Ducks since a 19-8 loss to Boise State in Chip Kelly’s first game as head coach in 2009.

Taylor/Hogan was the top backfield. The best duo of veteran running back and redshirt freshman quarterback turned out not to be Barner/Mariota, but Stepfan Taylor and Kevin Hogan. Taylor continued to do yeoman’s work by grinding out yards (161 on 33 carries), but the move to Hogan at quarterback sparked Stanford’s season. Hogan had two turnovers, but his poise in his first road start and mobility (37 rushing yards) turned out to be a major asset. With its only losses by 4 to Washington and in overtime to Notre Dame, Stanford has to wonder how the season would have gone if its quarterback played like this all season.

Oregon’s defensive playmakers kept it close. Injuries have cut into the Ducks’ secondary, and their defensive line is young. But defensive plays kept Oregon in the game while the offense sputtered. If not for three Stanford turnovers, including two in Oregon territory, the Ducks may not have even had the game in reach to force overtime. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu forced two fumbles recovered by Oregon, but in the end, Stanford recovering its own bouncing fumble in overtime helped seal the win.

THREE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM BAYLOR 52, KANSAS STATE 24

Bill Snyder

Collin Klein’s not the same, is his shot at the Heisman gone? In one game, Klein doubled his interception total on the season with three against Baylor. The national championship is gone for Kansas State, the Big 12 could be gone, and so could a Heisman for Klein. Since leaving the Oklahoma State game with a possible concussion, Klein is 38 of 71 for 431 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also rushed for three touchdowns in that span.

Baylor has a defense. In the most shocking development Saturday, Baylor found a defense to match its prolific offense. Entering the game, the Bears ranked 120th of 124 in total defense, 118th in pass defense and 96th in rush defense, yet Baylor’s defense was the best unit on the field in Waco. Kansas State rushed for merely 76 yards. Every other Baylor opponent in the Big 12 had rushed for at least 151.

Lache Seastrunk was a factor in the title race. The five-star recruit who couldn’t crack the running back rotation at Oregon and was a key figure of the Willie Lyles controversy ended up impacting the national title race, just not in the way anyone imagined. The Baylor running back rushed for 185 yards against Kansas State, including an 80-yard touchdown that put Kansas State away for good.

MOVING THE CHAINS
UCLA’s future.
UCLA has been in the Pac-12 title game before, and the Bruins have upset USC in recent years. That much is true, but the Bruins’ 38-28 win over USC to clinch the Pac-12 South is a signature win for Jim L. Mora and the program. UCLA’s last win over USC, a 13-9 victory in 2006, was a fluke. UCLA’s second win over its rival since 1999 signals a shift in momentum for both Los Angeles schools. As rare as a rainy day at the Rose Bowl -- which occurred Saturday, by the way -- UCLA is L.A.’s top team. The Bruins took a 24-0 lead on USC, and only a fumble of a slippery ball into the end zone for a USC touchdown kept the the Trojans in striking distance late. And redshirt freshman Brett Hundley didn’t wait until Matt Barkley left town to become the city’s top quarterback. Against USC on Saturday, he was 22 of 30 for 234 yards with three total touchdowns (two rushing, three passing).

Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had a handful of reasons this year could have gone the wrong way -- a rebuilding year without Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, a struggling defense early in the season, injuries to two starting quarterbacks. But Oklahoma State showed staying power this season with a 59-21 win over Texas Tech for a 7-3 record and 5-2 in the Big 12. Clint Chelf, the third starting quarterback of the season, got the call against Texas Tech despite a healthy J.W. Walsh. Chelf was 11 of 21 for 229 yards with three touchdowns, and Walsh entered the game on a handful of plays to account for a passing score and rushing TD. Keep in mind neither of these two quarterbacks began the season as the starter. Quarterback depth is in strong supply in Stillwater.

Oklahoma. Fourth-quarter wins have been rare for Oklahoma recently. Before Saturday, the Sooners hadn’t had a fourth-quarter comeback since 2007. On Saturday, Oklahoma waited until the final minutes to defeat West Virginia and keep the Sooners’ BCS hopes alive. That’s no thanks to the Oklahoma defense, which allowed 458 rushing yards and 320 passing to West Virginia. Landry Jones passed for 554 yards and six touchdowns including a six-yard TD to Kenny Stills with 24 seconds remaining for a 50-49 win.

FALSE STARTS
Lane Kiffin, USC.
How disastrous was USC’s loss to UCLA? Reports asked both Kiffin and his athletic director, Pat Haden, if the could would return next season (the answer from both was yes). The Trojans fell behind by 24 points in the first quarter, turned the ball over three times and had a field goal and a punt blocked. It’s been a fall of historic proportions for the preseason No. 1 (by Athlon and Associated Press). Since the first AP poll in 1936, only four other teams have started No. 1 and lost four games. Before USC dropped to 7-4, the last team to do so was Auburn in 1984. With a game against undefeated USC and a bowl game looming, USC could be the second preseason No. 1 team to lose five games or the first to lose six.

Louisiana Tech. Even with a 59-57 loss to Texas A&M, Louisiana Tech could still cling to a slim hope of a BCS bid if it finished in the top 16 and and ahead of an BCS automatic-qualifying conference champion in the rankings. Now, Louisiana Tech doesn’t seem likely to win the WAC. The Bulldogs battled back from a 41-17 deficit late in the fourth quarter to take Utah State to overtime, but the Bulldogs couldn’t finish the job with a 48-41 loss. Utah State, which entered the season with little fanfare, is a win over lowly Idaho away from an undefeated conference season.

Ole Miss’ fourth quarters.. The Rebels are among the most improved teams in the country under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, but the last two weeks have been excruciating anyway. Ole Miss let a 17-point fourth quarter lead evaporate to a 27-26 loss to Vanderbilt last week. In Baton Rouge, Ole Miss led for the entire third quarter and then with 11:11 remaining before Odell Beckham returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown to tie. In a classic case of whether or not to allow the other team to score, Ole Miss elected to play defense in the final seconds in the red zone against LSU in a tie game. The Rebels stopped Jeremy Hill at the 2-yard line, which allowed LSU to run down the clock and then score the game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds left. At least the LSU win brought another classic moment from Les Miles:

HEISMAN MOVERS
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.
By virtue of Collin Klein throwing throwing three interceptions in Kansas State’s loss to Baylor, Manziel may be in position to be the first freshman to win the Heisman. Even though Texas A&M faced Sam Houston State, Manziel managed to add to his resume. With 267 passing yards and 100 rushing yards, he became the fifth quarterback and first freshman to top 3,000 passing and 1,000 rushing in a season. And with 1,029 rushing yards this season, Manziel also set a record for most rushing yards by a freshman quarterback. .

Marqise Lee, USC. Few are better playmakers than Lee, but the odds of a receiver on a four-loss team finishing high on the list seem slim. Lee caught nine passes for 158 yards with a touchdown in the loss to UCLA, but he also lost a fumble when lined up a tailback.

Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois. The Huskies quarterback isn’t going to be a Heisman finalist, but he may show up in the No. 6-10 range in the balloting. On Wednesday night, Lynch didn’t disappoint with 407 passing yards and 162 rushing yards to clinch the MAC West and a 10-win season in a 31-24 win over Toledo.

CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES CLINCHED
Kent State/Northern Illinois (MAC)
Tulsa (Conference USA)
UCLA (Pac-12)
NAMES YOU’LL SEE IN COACHING RUMORS
Gary Andersen, Utah State
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois
Darrell Hazell, Kent State
CRAZY FINAL SCORES
South Carolina 24, Wofford 7
Vanderbilt 41, Tennessee 18
Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 23 (OT)

STAT WATCH
8.
Touchdowns for Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. In a 62-48 win over NC State, Boyd passed for five touchdowns and ran for three to account for an ACC-record eight. The Wolfpack took a seven-point lead in the second quarter when Boyd accounted for Clemson’s next six unanswered TDs.

351. Rushing yards for Temple running back Montel Harris. The Boston College transfer was in position to set the ACC’s career rushing record, but he’ll have to settle for the Big East single-game record with 351 and seven touchdowns against Army. Harris was held out of practice for most of the week after leaving last week’s loss to Cincinnati with a knee injury.


21, 45. Two records that seem out of place in this high-flying era of college football: Alabama’s A.J. McCarron set a school record with 21 touchdown passes this season. And Penn State’s Matt McGloin set a career record for the Nittany Lions with 45 touchdown passes.

BURIED ON THE DEPTH CHART
Sean Mannion’s return. The return of Oregon State starting quarterback Sean Mannion was easy to overlook late Saturday night, but certainly not for Cal. Mannion was 24 of 34 for 325 yards with four touchdowns in the 62-14 rout of the Bears. Mannion was at full strength for the first time since Oregon State’ fourth game of the season, an interesting development for the Oregon-Oregon State game this week.

Kent State clinches division. Kent State’s best season since Don James was the coach could end with a conference championship. The Golden Flashes clinched a MAC title game appearance thanks to two late defensive stands and 241 rushing yards from Dri Archer in a 31-24 win over Bowling Green. At 10-1 Kent State has to wonder what might have been if not for a 47-17 loss to Kentucky in September. The same could be said for MAC West champion Northern Illinois, whose only loss was by one point to Iowa.

Houston, Southern Miss futility. It’s been apparent for several weeks that Houston and Southern Miss wouldn’t sniff the postseason, but things got worse for last year’s Conference USA division winners. Houston was eliminated from bowl contention in a wild 44-41 loss to Marshall. And defending C-USA champion Southern Miss continued a bid for a winless season by losing 34-33 at home to 3-8 UTEP.

THREE DEFENSIVE STANDS
Ohio State.
At the time, it seemed like Ohio State’s stop of Montee Ball at the goal line merely denied Ball a chance to set the FBS career touchdown record. It may have cost Wisconsin the game and legitimacy in the Big Ten Leaders race. Ohio State remained undefeated and won the division (at least as far as the actual standings are concerned) when linebacker Ryan Shazier forced a Montee Ball fumble on a fourth-and-1 at the goal line. Wisconsin wouldn’t denied the second time the Badgers attempted to tie from the goal line, but Ohio State won the game 21-14 in overtime.


Northwestern. Finally, the Wildcats didn’t fold. Northwestern flopped in the second half against Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State this season but not against Michigan State. Northwestern held against Michigan State, including a third-quarter interception to clinch the 23-20 win for an 8-3 season.

Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights offense played with fire with red zone turnovers, but the defense held to keep Rutgers’ Big East title hopes intact in a 10-3 win over Cincinnati. Rutgers had two interceptions and held Cincinnati’s George Winn to a 35 rushing yards, 40 fewer yards than Winn had in any game this season. If Rutgers defeats Louisville in the final game of the season, the Scarlet Knights will win their first Big East title.

BOWL ELIGIBLE
Arizona State
Georgia Tech
Syracuse
BOWL INELIGIBLE
Arkansas
Indiana
Iowa
BEST GAMES NEXT WEEK
Michigan at Ohio State
Florida at Florida State
Notre Dame at USC

THREE ODDITIES
Tavon Austin’s record day -- rushing.
West Virginia has had trouble running the ball under Dana Holgorsen, so the coach turned to his best offensive threat to take over. Austin, a Biletnikoff Award-contending receiver, rushed for 344 yards on 21 carries in the 50-49 loss to Oklahoma. Austin’s 572 all-purpose yards (including 82 receiving and 146 on kickoff returns) was only six yards short of an FBS record.


Manziel’s extra point attempt. In a game where the outcome was never in doubt, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin shuffled things up by sending his star quarterback out for an extra point attempt in the 47-28 win over Sam Houston State. Manziel can set SEC and freshman offense records, but he’s not going to play special teams -- the attempt sailed wide right.

Michigan starts Gardner and Robinson. Denard Robinson made his return to the starting lineup against Iowa, but as a tailback to Devin Gardner. Nerve damage in his elbow rendered the former quarterback a non-factor in the passing game, but he could still run, leading the Wolverines with 98 rushing yards. However, Gardner was the star of the day by completing 18 of 23 passes for 314 yards with three touchdowns. Robinson lined up at running back, receiver and quarterback, but his rushing yards will still add to his Big Ten record for rushing yards as a quarterback, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 12 Recap: Upsets of Kansas State, Oregon shifts BCS race</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 10:25
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-michael-vick-nick-foles-demarco-murray-felix-jones-owen-daniels
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Owen DanielsOwen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ther Texans have made Owen Daniels active for today's game. So you have plenty of time to make adjustments — unless you're in a Yahoo league. After missing last week with his hip injury, Daniels was limited in practice this week. You really have to wonder if one of this season's top-five tight ends will be needed much against a Jacksonville team that has lost its last six and has only scored in double digits once in those six losses. Maybe look for someone like Oakland's Brandon Myers, fantasy's ninth-best TE who is owned in just 38 percent of Yahoo leagues, going against a Saints defense that is ranked 21st against the position. Myers was listed on the injury report with a concussion and shoulder, but is active as well and practiced in full on Thursday and Friday.

 

DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, RBs, Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns
DeMarco Murray teased us early in the week when he said "this week is the best I've felt." He was listed as doubtful with the foot injury that continues to bother him and is now inactive today. The Cowboys turn around and play on Thanksgiving later this week, so perhaps we will see him back on the field then. Felix Jones finally had a decent fantasy week for those in all scoring formats, hitting 18.3 in PPR and 15.3 in standard scoring. That was Jones' highest output of the season against an Eagles defense ranked 29th against fantasy backs the last five weeks. Now Jones draws a Browns defense that is ranked 25th against his position the last five weeks. Jones doubled the carries of his two backups combined and is at least a high RB2/flex play today.

 

Michael Vick out, Nick Foles inMichael Vick, Nick Foles, QBs, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
The concussion that knocked Michael Vick out of last week's game against Dallas will keep him out of today's game against Washington. Rookie Nick Foles will get his first start. Foles was 22-of-32 for 219 yards with one TD, one interception and a fumble against Dallas, and now he draws a Redskins defense that is ranked 31st against fantasy QBs (25.4 PPG). No quarterback has thrown for under 200 yards (the first eight hit at least 299), no quarterback has left without a TD and the Redskins are 0-8 against the rookie QBs they've faced since 2006, to boot. Foles has LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, with a back strain, at his disposal. You can't assume that Andy Reid is going to lean on the run game to take pressure off of the rookie QB; he hasn't leaned on the run game in the past. If there was ever a time to take a flier on a QB with high upside, this is the week.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy updates for Michael Vick, Nick Foles, DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Owen Daniels &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-darren-mcfadden-donald-brown-julio-jones
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints
Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are out again this week with their high ankle sprains, and while Marcel Reece (hamstring) is on the injury report, he did practice this week and is expected to start. And there are a lot of factors that point toward Reece being a very, very solid start this week. First and foremost, he is all but last-man standing in the Raiders' backfield. Starting WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is highly questionable (hamstring) and TE Brandon Myers is dealing with a concussion. Add to all of those factors that the Saints are the second-worst team in the league against fantasy running backs and this should be a stars align kind of matchup. Reece can run and catch and will need to do both for Oakland to keep pace with the Saints.

 

Donald BrownDonald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Donald Brown returned last week from his knee injury to split carries with Vick Ballard in the team's 27-10 win at Jacksonville. Two things disconcerting about the timeshare is that neither backs reached 50 yards with the 12 and 14 carries they got, and they won by 17. It is unlikely the Colts are winning by 17 today against New England. Yes, they might run the ball more to try and control the clock against the Patriots, but will one back emerge if that's the route the Colts go? This, of course, is the state of fantasy football with RBBC, but there is nothing dynamic about Brown that makes him a worthy start today. Add in that he is still dealing with the knee and I'd rather take my chances with Marcel Reece or Jacquizz Rodgers.

 

Julio JonesJulio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals
The every other week philosophy is in place with Julio Jones and Roddy White this season. Almost every other week one of the two has gotten theirs and the other simply has not. Only once this season have the two scored above 14 points each in the same game in PPR scoring. Jones started the trend in Week 1 and it turned out to be road games were his forte as the schedule fell. Last week was supposed to be his week in New Orleans and for the first time on the road he failed to reach at least 17.7 points in PPR scoring. Trends say this should not be his week as it is White's turn and the Falcons are at home. Add in the ankle injury for Jones and perhaps the fantasy football gods are telling us something. He did not practice at all this week due to the injury but is active. Arizona is 15th against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring and eighth over the last five weeks. The Cardinals have not surrendered over 80 yards to a receiver since Week 6 but they have allowed seven TDs to the position since then. Tough to sit Jones, but the Falcons do have other weapons to get the job done against an Arizona team which is 1-3 on the road and has not scored more than 17 points away from its house since the 20 it had in Week 2.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Darren McFadden, Donald Brown, Julio Jones &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:31
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-jordy-nelson-wes-welker-michael-turner
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Jordy Nelson Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
A hamstring shelved Jordy Nelson in Week 8 and as soon as he comes back he goes out early with an ankle injury in Week 9, receiving just one target and no catches. Coming off of the bye, Nelson waslisted as probable with the hamstring and not the ankle, but is active. Today he draws a Lions secondary that has been depleted all season long. Despite their injuries, the Lions are still middle of the road against fantasy receivers. Only Percy Harvin (Week 6) and Nate Washington (Week 3 thanks to a circus grab) have gone over 100 yards. Brandon Marshall's 6-for-81 and a TD in Week 7 is the third-best day against Detroit. The numbers might be a bit skewed over the last three weeks having faced Seattle, Jacksonville and Minnesota, but no receiver has gone over 65 yards. The Lions have allowed four TDs to four different receivers over that time, however. Bottom line: Coming off a bye, if Nelson is active, he's active in your lineup. The aforementioned numbers are just fair warning. But, speaking of numbers, Nelson was 14-for-253 with four scores in two games against Detroit last season.

 

Wes WelkerWes Welker, WR, New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
Wes Welker practiced for the first time this week on Friday and is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Welker, along with fellow receiver Brandon Lloyd and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, are all listed as questionable. Is this just the typical Patriots injury report or are we looking at an offensive epidemic? For Gronk and Lloyd, they are much better bets to go in today's late game. For Hernandez, he is likely out, and Welker will be a game-time decision. Welker's injury seems a little more concerning than usual. He's had his three lowest scoring outputs the last three weeks since the 2.9 he opened the season with against Tennessee. There's no guarantee whether it will be Julian Edelman or Deion Branch that would see increased targets were Welker and Hernandez not to play. It's looking like the Pats' receiving corps might be like its RB corps — you don't know which one to count on.

 

Michael TurnerMichael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals
There has been a lot of talk lately about how Michael Turner fits, or doesn't fit, in the up-tempo offense the Falcons are running these days. A lot is still dependent upon the in-game situation. For example, the Falcons trailed the Saints last week and Turner had just 13 carries for 15 yards. It is the seventh time in nine games Turner has been at 18 or less carries this season, however. It is not so much that the role is shifting to the speedy Jacquizz Rodgers as it is just simply Turner will not be the 300-plus carry, 1,200-yard back anymore. He is listed on the injury report this week as questionable with a groin injury. And the Falcons, coming off their first loss, draw a Cardinals team that was gashed by Adrian Peterson (153-1) and C.J. Spiller (110 total yards and a TD) in Weeks 6 and 7 but followed by slowing down San Francisco and Green Bay's running games in losses by 18 and 14 points. Today's Falcons-Cards game is an early start; so monitor Turner's status. If he is out, Rodgers is a must-start.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 11 for Jordy Nelson, Wes Welker, Michael Turner</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-pierre-garcon-brandon-myers-brandon-lloyd
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Pierre GarconPierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Well, Pierre Garcon is back apparently. A season that began with an 88-yard screen pass for a TD from Robert Griffin III in Week 1 was also cut short because of that TD. Garcon injured his foot on the play and has seen just two more games of action since — garnering eight targets for four catches and 44 yards. Garcon is listed as questionable for today's game against the Eagles and their 13th ranked fantasy defense against receivers in PPR scoring. But all signs point to him returning to action today. Then the question becomes: how much action will he see? It is not likely it will be enough to make a fantasy dent, but keep in mind the only dent he has made thus far in 2012 is one screen pass taken 88 yards for a score. If you are super desperate, give it a shot against an Eagles defense that has given up five TDs to receivers in the last four games.

 

Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints
Brandon Myers is dealing with a shoulder and a concussion that have him listed as probable on the injury report. But the game's ninth-best tight end was back at practice on Thursday and Friday in full. There is no Darren McFadden or Mike Goodson in the backfield. There might not be a Darrius Heyward-Bey in the receiving corps, but there is a Saints defense susceptible to giving up yards and points. Enter Myers. A week ago, New Orleans allowed Tony Gonzalez to catch 11 balls on 15 targets for 122 yards and two TDs. Now that is a Hall of Famer, but even half that day is 18 points in a PPR. I'd even take the 9.5 Myers is averaging.

 

Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
Brandon Lloyd has been limited all week at practice with his knee injury and joins Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez as Patriots that have a legitimate chance of being inactive for today's late game. Of course Lloyd has been low boom or bust this season already. He was likely providing a good value early on with four straight double-digit PPR days to start the season, but he has had three games under 10 points in his last five outings; the other two have been 14- and 16.8-point games. But he has played with this lingering knee injury and the Pats draw a Colts defense today that is fourth-worst in the league against receivers in PPR scoring.  
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Pierre Garcon, Brandon Myers, Brandon Lloyd</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:20
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-jay-cutler-ryan-mathews-antonio-brown-emmanuel-sanders
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Jay Cutler out, Jason Campbell inJay Cutler, Jason Campbell, QBs, Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers (Monday night)
Jay Cutler has been ruled out of Monday night's game at San Francisco after the concussion he received in the first half of last week's game. Jason Campbell, who stepped under center in the second half last week, will get the starting nod. And the team he draws is fourth-best against fantasy QBs. Granted, here is who the 49ers have faced since Matthew Stafford in Week 2: Christian Ponder, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, John Skelton and Sam Bradford. However, three of the last four starters have had double-digit days. Now Campbell steps in and takes over for a Bears' offense that was already ranked 24th amongst fantasy QBs with three games above 24 fantasy points at the position, and four games below 15 points. If Cutler couldn't do it, why would Campbell, whose had plenty of chances bouncing around the league, be any better for the Bears? Go grab Nick Foles off the wire if he's still out there (in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues he is) and take your chances with him vs. a Redskins defense ranked 31st against fantasy QBs instead of relying on Campbell.

 

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
A neck injury suffered last week vs. Tampa Bay kept Ryan Mathews off the practice field until he returned in a limited capacity on Friday. Injuries are making this quite an interesting matchup on both sides. If Mathews plays he will likely not have left tackle Jared Gaither (groin) helping block for him. On the other side of the line is injured defensive end Elvis Dumervil (shoulder), who will be a game-time decision and cornerback Tracy Porter (illness), who is out. Denver currently ranked 14th against fantasy RBs and have not allowed a back to reach 20 points in fantasy since Week 5. Mathews had 13.3 points in PPR scoring in their Week 6 matchup. Mathews has only eclipsed 20 points once this season (Week 5 - 25.9). It is unlikely you have a better back out there and have been dealing with the Mathews situation all season. But I would take a chance with guys like Alfred Morris and Marcel Reece over Mathews this week; as a matter of fact, I am.

 

Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, WRs, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday night)
Antonio Brown (ankle) will miss his second straight game with the injury that knocked him out two weeks ago. Emmanuel Sanders will get his second start in place of Brown. The good news: the Steelers face a Ravens team that is ranked 22nd against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring and the secondary, already besieged by injuries earlier in the season, has corner Jimmy Smith out with a groin and safety Ed Reed dealing with a stinger in his shoulder. The bad news: Byron Leftwich is at quarterback for the Steelers and Pittsburgh has a full stable of running backs now that might make depending on a particular receiver a little troublesome. Sanders drew seven targets and caught two of them for 30 yards last week with Brown out. That was with both Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich at QB. I think I'd pass on Sanders tonight as the Steelers run on the Ravens.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 11: Jay Cutler, Ryan Mathews, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:10
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-dwayne-bowe-darren-sproles-darrius-heyward-bey
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Dwayne BoweDwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Dwayne Bowe is listed as probable on the injury report with a thigh. He is coming off of a 4-for-55 performance on nine targets vs. Pittsburgh. He had a 22-yard TD called back by a ho-hum holding call against the Steelers. Bowe has Matt Cassel at QB again. Cassel has targeted Bowe 19 times in the last two games, but 12-for-134 (12.7 PPG in PPR 6.7 in standard scoring) and no scores is all Bowe has to show for it. Cassel has just one TD to three interceptions in the last three games. Bowe will likely draw coverage from Leon Hall, Pro Football Focus' 38th-ranked cornerback currently. Hall has been targeted 16 times, allowing 13 catches for 126 yards and no scores the last three games. So Bowe should be par for the course average this week.

 

Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders
Darren Sproles is listed as questionable with the hand injury he has. The good news: He could be active today and if active should handle a full workload if the swelling in his hand is not a problem. The bad news: He will likely be part of four active running backs against the Raiders, and counting on a back with a swollen hand in a crowded backfield his first time back from the injury is a pretty scary fantasy prospect. Call me conservative, but I will use this as an exploratory game with Sproles to see how he fares when the game is over. If anyone was silly enough to drop him in your league, then by all means go and grab him now. In eight percent of the Yahoo leagues that is the case.

 

Darrius Heyward-BeyDarrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints
Isn't this just always the way? Coming off of his best game of the season, Darrius Heyward-Bey is questionable for today's game with a hamstring injury. DHB caught five balls for 82 yards and a score against Baltimore last week and was primed for back-to-back weeks with the Saints on tap today. He strained his hamstring in practice Wednesday and did not practice on Thursday or Friday. No practice. Bad hamstring. Late start. No thanks. The Raiders have other options and are certainly used to playing without Heyward-Bey over his career. If you're a DHB owner, hope he doesn't play so he comes back 100 percent against the Bengals in Week 12.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Dwayne Bowe, Darren Sproles, Darrius Heyward-Bey: Injury Updates Week 11&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-ben-roethlisberger-byron-leftwich-aaron-hernandez-torrey-smith
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, QBs, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday night)
Ben Roethlisberger is on the shelf with a scary rib injury and when fantasy's ninth-best quarterback will returns no one knows. We do know that there is no way you can go to his backup, Byron Leftwich, for your fantasy lineup. He never threw more than 15 TD passes in a season, never threw for more than 2,900 yards in a season and might not even be a good fit for the Steelers under Todd Haley. An article from ESPN AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley certainly caught my attention early in the week, and it did not spell good news for either Leftwich or Charlie Batch as positive replacements. Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery for Big Ben and that no fantasy owner has to rely on either of his backups.

 

Aaron HernandezAaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
He's in. He's out. His ankle injury from earlier in the year continues to be a problem and it seems likely Aaron Hernandez will be out for today's late start against the Colts. Hernandez missed Weeks 2-5 with the injury, returned in Weeks 6 (6-30-1) and 7 (5-54-0) but missed the last two games with a bye week sandwiched in between. Surely you've moved on and have been filling your roster with either or more reliable replacement or are living week to week with a new guy, hoping Hernandez comes back, Well, hope for one more week. And it's a short week at that as the Patriots travel to the Jets for a Thanksgiving night game. That is the last team Hernandez faced, catching the five balls for 54 yards in Week 7.

 

Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday night)
A chest injury has Torrey Smith listed as probable on the injury report. He practiced in a limited capacity on Friday and is expected to get the start tonight against the Steelers. Pittsburgh, banged up defense and all, has allowed just one TD to a receiver in the last three weeks, three the last five weeks and seven all season. Outside of Demaryius Thomas' 110 yards in Week 1, no receiver has gone over Titans rookie Kendall Wright's 71 in Week 6. Smith enters the game on the heels of just his second set of consecutive double-digit weeks in PPR scoring; Smith had 5-for-71 and a score on nine targets when the teams last met in Week 9 last season. But with Joe Flacco's struggles on the road — his four lowest outputs are away from home this season — and Smith having just one double-digit fantasy day away from Baltimore this season, you better have no other options.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Injury Updates Week 11: Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Aaron Hernandez, Torrey Smith</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /fantasy/week-11-injury-updates-alex-smith-rashard-mendenhall-jeremy-maclin
Body:

This is the last of the bye weeks. It’s all up to health and strategy from here on out to get you to a fantasy football championship. Here are some updates on injured players, their status for the Week 11 games or the outlook for their replacements.

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears (Monday night)
Limited in practice all week and questionable on the injury report with a concussion, Alex Smith is still expected to start at quarterback on Monday night. Great. Now go face the Chicago Bears, ranked third in fantasy against the QB position, Mr. Smith. The Bears have allowed just seven TD passes this season — no more than one per game, picked off 19 passes and six QBs have thrown for less than 219 yards. Even if this game was Sunday at 1 p.m. and Smith was healthy, I would look for another option.

 

Rashard MendenhallRashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday night)
Rashard Mendenhall is expected to get the start tonight against the Ravens and the Steelers sure could use him. They are without their starting QB. They are without their No. 2 receiver and their defense is banged up. Enter Mendenhall and ball control. The running back is listed as probable with the Achilles injury that he suffered early in Week 6. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer will still be in the mix, making it tough to depend on just Mendenhall. But the stars do seem to be aligning for him to be called on to help a Pittsburgh offense without Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Mendenhall had 25 carries for 97 yards and one TD in two games against the Ravens last year. But these are not the same Ravens and Sunday night will not be the same Steelers.

 

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
A 44-yard TD pass from rookie Nick Foles to Jeremy Maclin in the third quarter last week certainly did nothing to dampen our hopes of what these two could possibly do today against a terrible Redskins pass defense. A back strain has Maclin listed as probable on the injury report, but the receiver said he expects to start. He practiced in full on Friday and his health should not be a concern in Week 11. Washington is ranked 31st against fantasy receivers this season. Seven receivers have eclipsed 100 yards; three more have had at least 71 and 11 have caught a TD.


— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Alex Smith, Rashard Mendenhall, Jeremy Maclin: Injury Updates Week 11</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-against-spread-week-11
Body:

A betting preview of every game (against the spread) on Sunday and Monday in Week 11.


Locks of the Week
Some fans in Kansas City plan on wearing funeral black to Arrowhead on Sunday, while Detroit fans may be close to breaking out their brown paper bags from the early 2000s.

Bengals (-3.5) at Chiefs
“The fans are frustrated,” said Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. “Hopefully… we can change the atmosphere and environment around here.” Not this week.

Packers (-4) at Lions
Green Bay is fresh off its bye week and Aaron Rodgers carries a 7–1 record against Detroit, with five of those wins by five or more points.


Injury Investments
The Keystone State’s quarterbacks — Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick — are banged up, making teams from the Beltway a better bet this weekend.

Ravens (-3.5) at Steelers
Byron Leftwich will start in place of Big Ben (right shoulder). Baltimore will look to make it three straight in Pittsburgh, after a pair of three-point wins in 2010 and ’11.

Redskins (-4) vs. Eagles
Rookie Nick Foles makes his first career start in place of Vick (concussion). Skins coach Mike Shanahan puts his 10–6 record after a bye on the line.


Blowout Bargains
Big numbers were a big letdown last week, but these three high-powered home teams should be able to take care of business against traditional losers this week.

Cowboys (-8) vs. Browns
If Big D can’t put the smack down on Cleveland, heads will roll. Expect to see Jerry Jones on the sidelines celebrating late in this blowout win.

Falcons (-10) vs. Cardinals
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has an 8–0 record in games immediately after a loss over the last two years and a 14–3 career mark after being defeated.

Texans (-15.5) vs. Jaguars
Houston beat J-Ville 27–7 in Week 2. Five of the Jags’ eight losses have been by 16 or more points, with a pair of 17-point losses to the Lions and Colts the past two weeks.


Backdoor Covers
These may not be straight up upsets, but keeping it close is not out of the question.

Raiders (+6) vs. Saints
New Orleans needs to march to victory, no doubt. But the West Coast bias at the Black Hole might not lend itself to a Big Easy blowout.

Chargers (+8) at Broncos
The Bolts were blitzed 35–24 by the Broncs in Week 6. But that week, Philip Rivers threw four INTs and coughed up two fumbles.


Sucker Bets
Steer clear of these bad boys, unless you’re a degenerate or a hometown homer who has to have action.

Buccaneers (-2) at Panthers
Cam Newton may have lost every press conference and all but two games this year, but this smells like a divisional upset for the Cats.

Rams (-3.5) vs. Jets
Jeff Fisher will play for the tie, unless you consider near-60-yard FG attempts as playing for the win. But it’s hard to push on a 3.5-point line.

Patriots (-9) vs. Colts
New England failed to cover against lowly Buffalo last week. But the stats show that Indy either wins or gets blown out — with three losses of 24, 20 and five points.


Off the Board
The big board in Vegas has a headache with the Monday night party between San Fran and Chi-town.

49ers (n/a) vs. Bears
Both Alex Smith and Jay Cutler suffered concussions last week. Let’s wager on what the line will be — take the Niners (-2.5) to cover.


 

Teaser:
<p> NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 11, including Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 12:41
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/nfls-10-greatest-rivalries
Body:

Bitter rivalries are typically associated with the college game. But if you've ever sat in a pro stadium and wondered where all those Terrible Towels came from, then you realize that NFL rivalries and allegiances can run just as deep. Here are the 10 bitterest and best.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers - Baltimore Ravens
Physical, intense and filled with old-fashioned hatred, this rivalry stands at the apex of NFL grudge matches. It's not for the faint-of-heart, nor is it for alligator-armed receivers afraid to go over the middle.

The rivalry, which began in 1997, had a slightly unfair advantage from the start, in that it was a natural successor to the longstanding Steelers-Browns blood feud. Plus, when the Colts moved to Indianapolis, many fans in Baltimore turned their affections to the Steelers, adding local flavor when pro football returned to Maryland.

Whatever the source, the mutual disregard gives this game between bitter AFC North rivals extra spice, as if it needed any.

"The coaches hate each other, the players hate each other," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2006. "There's no calling each other after the game and inviting each other out to dinner. But the feeling's mutual: They don't like us, and we don't like them. There's no need to hide it, they know it, and we know it. It's going to be one of those black and blue games."

Greatest Moment
AFC Championship Game
Jan. 18, 2009
Steelers 23, Ravens 14

In their third meeting of the season, the two teams continued their regular-season tradition of trading haymakers until one team was left standing. In this one, the Steelers held the Ravens to 184 total yards and forced five turnovers, the most important a Troy Polamalu pick-six that gave the Steelers their final 9-point margin. Two more forced turnovers followed, clinching the Steelers' spot in Super Bowl XLIII.

Rivalry at a Glance
Pittsburgh leads all-time series 21-14 (8-8 in Baltimore, 13-6 in Pittsburgh, 3-0 in the postseason)
Current streak: Baltimore, 2
Longest Baltimore win streak: 3 (2005-06)
Longest Pittsburgh win streak: 5 (1997-99; 2001-03
Most lopsided game: Pittsburgh 37, Baltimore 0, 1997
Postseason results:
2002 - Pittsburgh 27, Baltimore 10
2009 - Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 14
2011 - Pittsburgh 31, Baltimore 24

2. New England Patriots - Indianapolis Colts
The media has personalized this rivalry over the years, focusing a laser-like spotlight on the respective quarterbacks. That's only natural, given that they're possibly the two greatest ever to play the position. But the continuation of the rivalry in the post-Peyton Manning era in Indy indicates that there's always been more to it than Manning vs. Tom Brady.

To be fair, the rivalry's ascension did coincide with the emergence of Brady and Manning as elite NFL face-of-the-franchise types. Brady and Manning have combined for six MVP awards and four Super Bowl crowns, putting their respective teams on their shoulders for a combined record of 271-105, 25-11 in the postseason.

Brady leads Manning 3-1 in Super Bowl wins, and that edge is reflected in their head-to-head results — during the Brady era, New England holds a 9-5 edge over Indy head-to-head. The Patriots have won three of the last four, but the arrival of Andrew Luck in Indy portends continuing relevance for this rivalry.

Greatest Moment
AFC Championship Game
Jan. 21, 2007
Indianapolis 38, New England 34

This one was an all-time classic, as the Colts overcame a 21-3 deficit and a run of futility against Brady and the Patriots by scoring 32 second-half points and taking their final lead on a Joseph Addai touchdown with only a minute remaining. Still, the Colts needed an interception with 17 seconds left to thwart the Patriots' final last-ditch drive, which reached the Indy 45-yard line.

Manning stood tall in orchestrating the biggest comeback in NFL championship game history, leading the Colts to 455 total yards and earning some personal vindication after the Patriots had ended two Indy playoff runs in the previous three seasons. In fact, the game earned the nickname "Peyton's Revenge."

Rivalry at a Glance
New England leads all-time series 46-29 (2-1 in the postseason)
Current streak: New England, 2
Most lopsided game: New England 42, Colts 3, 1974
Postseason results:
2004 - New England 24, Indianapolis 14
2005 - New England 20, Indianapolis 3
2007 - Indianapolis 38, New England 34

 


3. Chicago Bears - Green Bay Packers
The oldest, most tradition-laden rivalry in the NFL is entering a golden phase when both teams are competitive and attempting to win the NFC North at the other's expense. The rivalry began in 1921, and its history features Mt. Rushmore names like Lambeau, Halas, Lombardi and Lovie. Okay, some are better than others, although Lovie Smith has his Bears at a competitive peak this season. The teams have met 185 times, with Chicago holding a 92-87-6 lead.

Dampening the tradition only slightly is the fact that these two teams have made the postseason in the same year only four times, meeting in the playoffs twice in nearly a century of competition.

In a series of ebbs and flows, the Packers have won seven of the last eight between the two teams. The Bears dominated the 1940s and '50s (40-9-2) while not surprisingly, the Pack dominated the Lombardi years, going 15-5 in the 1960s.

Greatest Moment
NFC Championship Game
Jan. 23, 2011
Green Bay 21, Chicago 14

The Pack stung the Bears early, jumping out to a 14-0 lead at Soldier Field and holding on for the win and a spot in Super Bowl XLV. The game is largely remembered for the controversial exit of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who left with a sprained knee and watched as Caleb Hanie attempted to lead a rally. B.J. Raji returned a Hanie interception for the clinching touchdown.

Rivalry at a Glance
Chicago leads all-time series 92-87-6 (1-1 in the postseason)
Current streak: Green Bay, 5
Most lopsided game: Chicago 61, Green Bay 7, 1980
Postseason results:
1941 - Chicago 33, Green Bay 14
2011 - Green Bay 21, Chicago 14

4. Dallas Cowboys - Washington Redskins
Ask average fans on the street to name an NFL rivalry, and this is the one they'll likely come up with. And it goes beyond the natural rivalry contained in the teams' respective nicknames. The two franchises have shared a division since 1961 and have often contested with each other for division supremacy. They've combined for a staggering 31 division titles, eight Super Bowl wins and 14 Super Bowl appearances, in the process boasting some of the greatest players (Staubach, Riggins, et al), coaches (Tom Landry, George Allen, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson) and teams in NFL history. Even when one of the teams is terrible, the matchups have significance; in Dallas' 1-15 season in 1989, the lone win came against the Redskins and cost Washington a playoff spot.

Sadly, the rivalry has taken a dip of late, coinciding with the Dan Snyder regime in D.C., but the tradition can withstand occasional lapses in quality. If both teams find themselves contending simultaneously, the bitterness will come out of hibernation.

Greatest Moment
Thanksgiving Day 1974
Dallas 24, Washington 23

The Cowboys were facing elimination from the playoffs as Thanksgiving Day dawned, and things weren't looking good when the Cowboys fell behind 16-3 with quarterback Roger Staubach sidelined by injury. Their hopes fading, the Cowboys turned to unheralded rookie Clint Longley, who led an unlikely comeback with two touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Drew Pearson with 50 seconds left. Longley ended up getting traded after sucker-punching Staubach in the locker room during the 1976 preseason, and he was out of football soon thereafter. But his legacy as a one-hit (okay, maybe two-hit if you count the punch) wonder is secure.

Rivalry at a Glance
Dallas leads all-time series 62-40-2 (Redskins lead 2-0 in the postseason)
Current streak: Dallas, 3
Most lopsided game: Dallas 38, Washington 3, 1993
Postseason results:
1972 - Washington 26, Dallas 3
1983 - Washington 31, Dallas 17

5. Dallas Cowboys -New York Giants
These two storied franchises are linked by one legendary figure: Tom Landry, who coached Dallas from the franchise's inception in 1960 until 1988 after having been a Pro Bowl player and assistant coach for the Giants. The teams tied 31-31 in Yankee Stadium in their first meeting, and the rivalry was off to the races. Landry dominated the G-men during his tenure in Big D, but the arrival of a brash young coach named Bill Parcells in New York evened things out. Since Parcell's first Super Bowl season in 1986, the franchises have combined for seven Lombardi Trophies.

The bitterness of this NFC East blood feud was on full display during a 1994 Monday Night game, when Cowboys receiver Alvin Harper was on the receiving end of a jackhammer hit from Tito Wooten, unleashing a full-scale brawl that involved players and coaches and included Cowboy James Washington wielding a camera stand like a sword.

Greatest Moment
Regular-season finale, Jan. 2, 1994
Dallas 16, New York 13 (ot)

The Cowboys and Giants entered the final game of the regular season tied at 11-4 with a playoff bye at stake. In one of the most courageous performances in NFL history, Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith shook off a separated right shoulder in the first half to rush for 168 yards, including 41 on the winning drive in overtime, as the Cowboys beat the Giants 16-13. Broadcaster John Madden was so moved by Smith's show of guts that he paid a visit to the winning locker room after the game to offer Smith his congratulations, the only time he ever did so as a broadcaster. The ensuing bye gave the Cowboys and Smith time to nurse their wounds, and they ultimately won Super Bowl XXVIII over the Bills 30-13.

Rivalry at a Glance
Dallas leads all-time series 57-43-2 (Giants lead 1-0 in the postseason)
Current streak: Giants, 1
Most lopsided game: Dallas 52, New York 7, 1966
Postseason results:
2008 - New York 21, Dallas 17

6. Dallas Cowboys - Philadelphia Eagles
Cowboys lead 57-46
This rivalry reached a zenith (or a new low, if you prefer) with Bounty Bowls I and II, when Jimmy Johnson accused the Eagles of placing bounties on Cowboy players, specifically Troy Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas. Years later, when Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending spinal injury, Eagles partisans in Veterans Stadium cheered.

7. New York Giants - New England Patriots
Giants lead 6-5
These teams are not in the same conference and play somewhat infrequent regular-season games. This "rivalry" makes the list for one simple reason: The two franchises have played in two classic Super Bowls, both of them won by the Giants on historic drives featuring improbable catches. Tom Coughlin is riding a personal three-game winning streak over Bill Belichick, with two of those coming on the game's biggest stage.

8. Oakland Raiders - Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs lead 56-49-2
Familiarity has bred contempt in this rivalry. The two have shared a division since the AFL's inception in 1960 (when the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans), and KC is one of two teams with a winning record against the Raiders (minimum of 10 matchups). A shocking stat in this feud: The Chiefs dominated the series during the 1990s, winning 18 of 21.

9. Tennessee Titans - Houston Texans
Titans lead 14-7
This rivalry had its inception when Bud Adams packed up Houston's beloved Oilers and moved them to Tennessee, giving Houstonians a special level of bile directed at their former spiritual brethren in the Volunteer State. One memorable moment came courtesy of Houston native Vince Young during his 2006 rookie season, when he broke off a 39-yard touchdown run in overtime in Reliant Stadium to give the Titans a 26-20 win. The teams have split every season series since 2009.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers - Cleveland Browns
Steelers lead 64-56
The ineptitude of the new-era Browns almost knocked this one off the list, but history and heatedness keep it in the top 10. The teams have combined for 10 NFL championships; of course, the Browns' last title came in 1964. If Cleveland ever climbs back to respectability, look for this rivalry to climb back to its accustomed spot near the top.

Teaser:
<p> The League's Best Grudge Matches and Blood Feuds</p>
Post date: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/oregon-ducks-vs-stanford-cardinal-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Week 12 isn’t the strongest slate in the 2012 college football season, but the Pac-12 features a couple of matchups that could have national title implications. Thanks to Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M, Oregon ascended to the No. 1 spot in the human polls and ranks No. 2 in the BCS behind Kansas State. If the Ducks win out, there’s no question they will play for the national title in early January.

Although Oregon is a heavy favorite in Saturday’s matchup, Stanford is a team built to give the Ducks problems. If the Cardinal can win in Eugene, they will have an opportunity to clinch the Pac-12 North title with a victory over UCLA on Nov. 24. Despite the departure of Andrew Luck to the NFL, Stanford has remained a factor in the Pac-12 title race, with its only two losses coming by four points against Washington and by seven in overtime against Notre Dame.

Oregon has won nine out of the last 10 meetings in this series. Stanford won 51-42 in 2009 but has lost by at least 20 points in each of the last two matchups.

When the Oregon Ducks have the ball:

Speed versus power. That’s the main battle in this game. Oregon is one of college football’s fastest teams, while Stanford is arguably the Pac-12’s most physical team. The Ducks have scored at least 50 points in each of the last two meetings against the Cardinal, and the 2012 version of Chip Kelly’s offense could be even deadlier than the one Stanford played last season.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota has emerged as a Heisman contender this season, throwing for 2,164 yards and 28 touchdowns, while adding 516 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The redshirt freshman has thrown only five interceptions. Mariota was banged up in the win over California but is not expected to be limited in any way against Stanford. Mariota doesn’t have a standout No. 1 receiver, but he’s surrounded by plenty of capable targets, including Josh Huff, Colt Lyerla, Bralon Addison and Keanon Lowe.

Mariota isn’t the only weapon in the backfield for Kelly, as running back Kenjon Barner ranks among the nation’s best with 1,360 yards and 19 touchdowns so far this year. The senior injured his wrist in last week’s win but is not expected to miss any snaps. Sophomore De’Anthony Thomas isn’t going to match Barner’s 20-25 carries a game but is the team’s top breakaway threat on offense.

Stopping Oregon is no easy task. The Ducks have scored at least 30 points in 23 consecutive games and rank first nationally with an average of 54.8 points per contest so far this season. The Cardinal has to find a way to slow down Barner on early downs, while limiting Mariota’s big plays through the air. Not only is stopping Oregon difficult, but Stanford has to find a way to keep up with the Ducks’ quick pace.

Stanford’s rush defense ranks as the best in college football, allowing just 58.6 points per game. The Cardinal also lead the way in sacks per game, averaging 4.2 each week. Linebackers Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas are two of the best in the nation and have to be active around the line of scrimmage in order for Stanford to slow down Oregon’s rushing attack. If the Ducks struggle to get their running game on track, there should be plays to be made in the passing game, especially since the Cardinal ranks 99th nationally against the pass. Although Stanford’s physical approach works well against most of the teams on its schedule, the speed of Oregon will be very difficult to match up against.

When the Stanford Cardinal have the ball:

Replacing Andrew Luck has been no easy task for coach David Shaw. The Cardinal turned to Josh Nunes for the first nine games, and he threw for 1,643 yards and 10 touchdowns. However, Nunes was benched in the win over Colorado, and Shaw elevated Kevin Hogan to the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. The freshman responded well in his first start, throwing for 254 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 49 yards on the ground against Oregon State. Hogan’s emergence should give Stanford more balance on offense over the final few games.

The biggest problem for the Cardinal offense is a lack of playmakers at receiver. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are two steady options but there’s not much at receiver to help Hogan. Drew Terrell, Jamal-Rashad Patterson and Ty Montgomery are the team’s top three options and this trio needs to step up this week, especially with a banged up Oregon secondary.

When Stanford has the ball, expect to see a lot of Stepfan Taylor. The senior ranks 22nd nationally with 106.1 yards per game and has to have a big game for the Cardinal to have any shot at a victory. The offensive line isn’t as good as last season’s group, but this unit is physical and can clear plenty of lanes for Taylor and Hogan.

The matchup in the trenches favors Stanford, especially considering the injuries to Oregon’s front seven. The Ducks allowed 236 rushing yards to California last week but expect a couple of contributors to return. Linemen Dion Jordan, Isaac Remington, Ricky Heimuli and Taylor Hart are all nursing injuries but all could play on Saturday. If the Ducks are shorthanded, stopping the run will be a real challenge against Stanford’s physical offense.

Final Analysis:

Even though the Ducks have some injuries on defense, it’s going to be a tall task for Stanford to win in Eugene. The Cardinal has to control the tempo and keep Oregon’s on the sidelines. If Taylor and Hogan are able to chew up the clock, expect this game to be decided late in the fourth quarter. However, Stanford manages to keep it close for a half, but the Ducks make the right adjustments at halftime and pull away in the final two quarters.

Prediction: Oregon 45, Stanford 27
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

Pac-12 Week 12 Preview and Predictions
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat

Post-Week 11 Bowl Projections

Teaser:
<p> Oregon Ducks vs. Stanford Cardinal Preview and Prediction&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-every-game-week-11-1
Body:

College football's Week 12 schedule is highlighted by two huge battles in the Pac-12. Stanford visits Oregon in a game that likely will decide the South Division champion, while USC makes the short trip to UCLA for the game of the year in the South.

Friday

No. 109 FIU at No. 17 FAU
FAU is showing signs of life late in Carl Pelini’s first season as the head coach. The Owls have won two of three, highlighted by a 37–28 win at Western Kentucky last weekend. The offense, which scored 20 points or fewer in each of the first six games, has scored 34 or more in three of the past four.
FAU 28–20

No. 121 Hawaii at No. 95 Air Force
Five years ago, Hawaii played in a BCS bowl. Two years ago, the Warriors won 10 games. Now, under first-year coach Norm Chow, this is one of the worst teams in the nation.
Air Force 38–3

Saturday

No. 14 Stanford at No. 1 Oregon
It’s a testament to Oregon’s dominance that the Ducks are favored by nearly three touchdowns against the second-best team in the Pac-12 North — and maybe the second-best team in the entire league.
Oregon 48–28

No. 2 Kansas State at No. 42 Baylor
Kansas State has given up 16 touchdowns in seven Big 12 games. Baylor has given up 38 in six games. Go with the team that allows fewer touchdowns.
Kansas State 44–28

No. 84 Wake Forest at No. 3 Notre Dame
Wake Forest was held to 185 total yards in a 37–6 loss at NC State last week. That same NC State team gave up 446 yards to Virginia the previous week. The Notre Dame defense should dominate.
Notre Dame 24–6

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 25 Wisconsin
Ohio State has a two-game lead on Wisconsin in the Leaders Division but is not eligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions. The Badgers will go in their stead after clinching a spot with an emphatic 62–14 win at Indiana on Saturday.
Ohio State 24–20

Western Carolina at No. 5 Alabama
The biggest mismatch of the weekend has to be Western Carolina vs. Alabama. The Catamounts are 1–9 and are allowing 519.8 yards and 40.0 points per game. It’s a safe bet that Alabama will bounce back from its only loss of the season with a comfortable win.
Alabama 41–0

Georgia Southern at No. 6 Georgia
Georgia true freshman Todd Gurley is closing in on 1,000 yards. He has 973 yards while sharing time with fellow rookie Keith Marshall, and is only 41 yards behind SEC leader Johnny Manziel.
Georgia 44–13

Jacksonville State at No. 7 Florida
Jacksonville State is the last school from the FCS ranks to beat an SEC school. The Gamecocks defeated Ole Miss in Oxford 49–48 on the opening week of the 2010 season.
Florida 31–7

No. 38 Ole Miss at No. 8 LSU
Ole Miss has played well in recent trips to Baton Rouge: The Rebels are 4–4 in their last eight at Tiger Stadium with three of the losses coming by three points or fewer and the other by seven points.
LSU 37–21

Sam Houston State at No. 9 Texas A&M
This should be a fun game. Sam Houston State leads the FCS in scoring offense (46.2 ppg) and ranks sixth in total offense (490.3 ypg).
Texas A&M 48–20

Wofford at No. 10 South Carolina
South Carolina takes on a solid Wofford team that is 8–2 overall and 6–2 in the SoCon. The schools have met twice in the past seven years, with Carolina winning 27–20 in 2006 and 23–13 in ’08.
South Carolina 31–13

No. 11 Florida State at No. 83 Maryland
Maryland’s season has been derailed by injuries, most notably at the quarterback position. The Terps have averaged 14.5 points during their four-game losing streak.
Florida State 41–0

No. 56 NC State at No. 12 Clemson
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Clemson has been on quite a roll. Since losing at Florida State in late September, the Tigers have won six straight by an average margin of 25.2 points.
Clemson 37–21

No. 13 Oklahoma at No. 35 West Virginia
This was expected to be one of the marquee games in the Big 12 this season. But that was before we knew just how bad West Virginia would be at preventing their opponents from gaining yards and scoring points. In league play, the Mountaineers are giving up an average of 517.8 yards and 51.0 points per game.
Oklahoma 55–30

No. 80 California at No. 15 Oregon State
Cal’s season will come to an end this Saturday in Corvallis. The question is: Will this also be the end of the Jeff Tedford era?
Oregon State 31–17

No. 21 USC at No. 16 UCLA
USC has been arguably the most disappointing team in the nation in 2012. UCLA has been one of the biggest surprises. The result: UCLA is one-half game up on its cross-town rival in the Pac-12 South and controls its own destiny to play in the league title game.
USC 41–34

No. 65 Minnesota at No. 17 Nebraska
Here’s an odd stat about Minnesota. The Gophers have scored either 13 points or 17 points in six of their last seven games. The exception was in a 44–28 win over Purdue three weeks ago.
Nebraska 31–17

No. 74 Iowa at No. 19 Michigan
Iowa is trying to avoid its first five-game losing streak since 2000, when Kirk Ferentz’s second Hawkeye team opened the season 0–5 en route to a 3–9 season.
Michigan 30–17

No. 48 Utah State at No. 20 Louisiana Tech
It’s the game of the year in the WAC. Louisiana Tech has received more national pub, but Utah State is having an outstanding season as well. The Aggies are 8–2, with a two-point loss to Wisconsin and a three-point loss to BYU.
Utah State 31–27

No. 22 Texas Tech at No. 27 Oklahoma State
These two teams have something in common: They both struggled to beat Kansas. The Cowboys topped KU 20–14 in Lawrence in mid-October. Last week, Texas Tech needed double-overtime to beat Kansas 41–34 in Lubbock.
Oklahoma State 34–30

No. 23 Arizona at No. 63 Utah
This is a huge game for a Utah program that needs two wins to become bowl-eligible for a 10th-straight season. The Utes are 4–1 at home with the only loss coming by 10 points to USC. Arizona, however, has too much firepower.
Arizona 31–17

No. 26 Rutgers at No. 37 Cincinnati
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has to be a bit concerned about his team’s performance of late. The Knights lost at home to Kent State two weeks ago and then struggled with Army this past weekend. Rutgers was outgained 337-to-252 and didn’t hold its first lead until midway through the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati 27–17

No. 46 Arkansas at No. 28 Mississippi State
There’s one stat that best illustrates Arkansas’ struggles in 2012. And it’s quite simple: The Razorbacks aren’t scoring enough touchdowns. Last year, with Bobby Petrino calling the plays, Arkansas scored 32 touchdowns in eight SEC games. This year, the Hogs have scored 16 touchdowns in six league games.
Mississippi State 31–24

No. 29 Washington at No. 100 Colorado
Colorado’s defense has been unbelievably bad over the past five games. The Buffs have given up 51, 50, 70, 48 and 56 points in consecutive weeks.
Washington 51–7

No. 71 Indiana at No. 31 Penn State
Indiana must bounce back from a sobering 62–14 loss at home to Wisconsin. The Hoosiers can still become bowl-eligible but must beat Penn State and Purdue on the road. That’s not likely to happen.
Penn State 37–27

No. 32 Northwestern at No. 33 Michigan State
Northwestern is 7–3 overall and has had double-digit leads in the second half of all three losses — at Penn State, vs. Nebraska and at Michigan. This team could easily be in the thick of the Legends Division race.
Northwestern 24–16

No. 52 Tennessee at No. 34 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt, 4–3 in the SEC, has won more than two league games for only the third time since the league expanded to 12 teams in 1992. With a win on Saturday, the Commodores will have a winning SEC record for the first time since 1982.
Vanderbilt 30–27

No. 36 Iowa State at No. 87 Kansas
Kansas has yet to beat an FBS team in 2012, but the Jayhawks have been relatively competitive — at least for a bad team. They lost by 14 to TCU, by seven at Northern Illinois, by six to Oklahoma State, by four to Texas and by seven in double-overtime at Texas Tech.
Kansas 24–20

No. 101 Washington State at 39 Arizona State
Arizona State was once 3–0 in the Pac-12. Now, the Sun Devils are 3–4. The problem? Defense. ASU gave up 17 points or fewer in its first three league games but has allowed 36 or more in each of its four losses.
Arizona State 34–17

No. 41 Syracuse at No. 51 Missouri
Missouri won its first SEC road game last week — 51–48 in four overtimes at Tennessee — despite giving up 432 passing yards. That has to be a concern for Gary Pinkel and his staff. Syracuse has been on a roll offensively.
Missouri 30–27

No. 112 Colorado State at No. 43 Boise State
Boise State can secure no worse than a tie for the Mountain West title in its last season in the league by beating Colorado State this week and struggling Nevada in Reno the following week. For the Broncos to win the title outright, San Diego State will have to lose at Wyoming next week.
Boise State 38–10

No. 55 Duke at No. 60 Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets rushed for 380 yards and seven touchdowns and threw for 208 yards and one score (on only seven completions) in a 68–50 win at North Carolina on Saturday. This is not a good matchup for a Duke team that ranks 85th in the nation in rushing defense and has given up an average of 43.8 points in its last four games.
Georgia Tech 44–30

No. 77 South Florida at No. 45 Miami (Fla.)
South Florida snapped a six-game losing streak by beating UConn 13–6 last week at home. The Bulls need to win their final three games to become bowl eligible. Not going to happen.
Miami 27–14

No. 59 UCF at 47 Tulsa
These two teams likely will meet again in the Conference USA title game in a few weeks, with the winner serving as the host. Neither team has lost to a non-AQ conference opponent in 2012.
UCF 31–27

No. 50 Kent State at No. 76 Bowling Green
It’s a huge game in the MAC East between 6–0 Kent State and 5–1 Bowling Green. Kent will clinch a spot in the league title game with a win; Bowling Green would still need to beat Buffalo next week to secure a trip to Detroit.
Kent State 34–24

No. 54 Virginia Tech at No. 93 Boston College
This figures to be the final home game for Boston College head coach Frank Spaziani, who has been on the Eagles’ staff since 1997. BC is 2¬–8 overall and 1–5 in the ACC.
Virginia Tech 23–13

No. 57 BYU at No. 64 San Jose State
San Jose State is 8–2 overall and ranks second or third in the WAC in every key offensive and defensive statistic. It’s a bit of a surprise that the Spartans are a 3-point underdog at home.
San Jose State 28–21

No. 66 Arkansas State at No. 82 Troy
Things are clicking for Gus Malzahn’s offense in the latter half of the season. The Red Wolves have won five straight and are averaging 40.4 points during that span.
Arkansas State 47–30

No. 105 North Texas at No. 67 ULM
ULM played its way into the national spotlight in September by beating Arkansas and losing by three to Auburn and by five to Baylor. But the Warhawks have fallen on hard times, with consecutive losses to UL Lafayette and Arkansas State. The once-explosive offense has struggled since quarterback Kolton Browning went down with an injury against UL Lafayette.
ULM 27–17

No. 69 Middle Tennessee at No. 122 South Alabama
Middle Tennessee needs to win its next two games — at South Alabama and vs. Troy — to set up a winner-take-all Sun Belt showdown at Arkansas State on Dec. 1.
Middle Tennessee 37–10

No. 111 Texas State at No. 70 Navy
Texas State scored 55 points and rolled up 577 yards of offense last week in a seven-point loss to Louisiana Tech. Not bad for a team in its first season in the FBS ranks.
Navy 30–24

No. 72 Purdue at No. 99 Illinois
Illinois ranks last in the Big Ten in total offense in league play, averaging only 267.0 yards per game and 4.07 yards per play. Last week, the Fighting Illinois lost at home to Minnesota 17–3.
Purdue 28–14

No. 85 Western Kentucky at No. 75 UL-Lafayette
Western Kentucky has played its way out of the Sun Belt race. After opening the conference slate with quality wins at Arkansas State and Troy, the Hilltoppers have lost three of four, including two at home (Middle Tennessee and FAU).
UL-Lafayette 31–23

Alabama A&M at No. 78 Auburn
Alabama A&M is 7–3 overall but plays in one of the weakest FCS leagues (SWAC). Auburn should roll with ease.
Auburn 37–10

No. 81 East Carolina at No. 115 Tulane
East Carolina still has an outside shot at the MAC East title. The Pirates must beat Tulane and Marshall and hope UCF loses at Tulsa (possible) and at home vs. UAB (not likely).
East Carolina 41–24

No. 86 Temple at No. 110 Army
Temple’s offensive woes continued last week at home vs. Cincinnati. The Owls recorded only 267 yards of offense in a 34–10 loss. They have failed to score more than 17 points in each of their last five games.
Army 27–17

No. 88 SMU at No. 96 Rice
Garrett Gilbert, the former Texas Longhorn and one-time prep All-American, has thrown 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions
in his first season at SMU. He ranks 10th in C-USA in passing efficiency.
SMU 31–21

No. 89 Nevada at No. 108 New Mexico
Nevada’s slump continues. The Wolf Pack lost their third-straight game last weekend, dropping a 52–36 decision at home to Fresno State. The offense has done its part, scoring 31 points or more in all three losses. The defense, however, has not cooperated. The Pack rank 91st nationally in total defense and 101st in scoring defense.
Nevada 34–31

No. 118 Eastern Michigan at No. 90 Western Michigan
After breaking through with a 4–4 record last fall, Eastern Michigan is staring at a winless MAC season. The Eagles are 0–6 with a trip to Western Michigan and a home date with Northern Illinois. Ron English could be in trouble.
Western Michigan 31–20

Samford at No. 91 Kentucky
Joker Phillips will coach his last game in Lexington on Saturday against Samford. It will be an emotional day for a man who has spent the majority of his adult life at the University of Kentucky. The Franklin, Ky., native played for the Cats from 1981-84 and served on the UK staff in some capacity for 19 of his 25 years in coaching.
Kentucky 24–10

No. 94 Houston at No. 92 Marshall
It’s safe to say that Tony Levine’s first season as a head coach has not gone well. Houston is 4–6 overall and 3–3 in C-USA — one season after winning 13 games.
Marshall 41–37

No. 114 Memphis at No. 97 UAB
Neither team has won many games this season, but it’s clear that both UAB and Memphis have improved under the direction of their first-year coaches — Garrick McGee (UAB) and Justin Fuente (Memphis).
UAB 27–23

No. 102 Buffalo at No. 119 UMass
UMass broke through with its first victory of the season last week, holding on to beat Akron 22–14 on the road. With home games remaining against Buffalo and Central Michgan, the Minutemen have an opportunity to end the season on a three-game winning streak.
UMass 27–20

No. 98 Miami (Ohio) at No. 106 Central Michigan
Central Michigan tailback Zurlon Tipton has rushed for 100 yards or more in four straight games, highlighted by a 243-yard, three-touchdown effort against Akron three weeks ago.
Central Michigan 34–28

No. 103 Wyoming at No. 113 UNLV
Wyoming is 2–0 since Dave Christensen’s return from his one-game suspension for calling Air Force coach Troy Calhoun a “flyboy” — among (many) other things.
Wyoming 28–20

No. 104 UTEP at No. 117 Southern Miss
Southern Miss has two more opportunities to pick up its first win of the Ellis Johnson era. The Golden Eagles are a 3.5-point dog at home this week and then travel to Memphis for the finale next weekend.
UTEP 27–13

No. 116 UTSA at No. 123 Idaho
Idaho is limping to the finish line under interim head coach Jason Gesser. The Vandals rank last in the nation in scoring offense (15.4 ppg) and 118th in scoring defense (43.0 ppg).
UTSA 21–20

Last week: 41–12
Season: 482–142

@AthlonMitch

Teaser:
<p>  </p> <p> College football's Week 12 schedule is highlighted by two huge battles in the Pac-12. Stanford visits Oregon in a game that likely will decide the South Division champion, while USC makes the short trip to UCLA for the game of the year in the South.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 05:22
Path: /college-football/usc-trojans-vs-ucla-bruins-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Bragging rights in Los Angeles and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship will be on the line when USC and UCLA meet on Saturday afternoon. This season has not gone according to plan for the Trojans, as most expected USC to contend for the national title and for quarterback Matt Barkley to rank among the top Heisman contenders. However, USC has slipped to a 7-3 record and with the Bruins and a date against Notre Dame coming up, a 7-5 final mark isn’t out of the question.

While USC has been a disappointment, UCLA has been one of the top surprises in the Pac-12. Although there was a lot of returning talent, it was uncertain how it would mesh with the new coaching staff. New coach Jim Mora has done a good job of blending the talent with the new schemes on both sides of the ball and has the Bruins poised to make a return trip to the Pac-12 title game.

USC has dominated this series in recent years, as UCLA’s last victory came in 2006 in Pasadena. The Trojans have won 12 out of the last 13 games against the Bruins, including a 50-0 shutout last season.

When the USC Trojans have the ball:

Even though USC quarterback Matt Barkley hasn’t had the year most expected, he has still thrown for 2,972 yards and 33 touchdowns. That’s the positive. The bad news? Barkley has already exceeded his interception total from last year (7) with 13 so far this season. The senior has thrown seven picks over the last three games, which has led some to wonder if he’s pressing too much with the Trojans struggling to reach expectations.

Despite the turnovers and not meeting preseason expectations, the USC passing attack is one of the toughest to stop in college football. Sophomore receiver Marqise Lee has played his way into the Heisman mix over the last few weeks and ranks second nationally with 9.8 receptions per game. Lee has at least 10 receptions in each of his last three games and torched Arizona for 345 yards and two touchdowns. While Lee has thrived, Robert Woods has taken a step back this season. The junior has only 61 receptions and has failed to record at least 100 yards in each of his last three contests. Even though Woods’ numbers have dropped, he remains one of the Pac-12’s top targets. The Trojans also have capable weapons in tight end Xavier Grimble and freshman receiver Nelson Agholor.

UCLA’s secondary has been under fire this year, allowing 266.4 yards per game. Although the Bruins will give up some yards against the pass, this defense can get after the quarterback (averaging 3.7 sacks per game) and has held opponents to just 24.7 points per game.

USC running back Silas Redd did not play in last week’s win over Arizona State but expects to see snaps against UCLA. The junior leads the Trojans with 732 yards and nine touchdowns, while backup Curtis McNeal rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns in Redd’s absence last week. The Bruins are allowing 144.6 yards per game on the ground, but USC has a tendency to rely too much on the pass, which has limited the opportunities for Redd and McNeal this year.

The best way for the Bruins to slow down USC’s offense will be to get pressure on Barkley. Stanford’s 3-4 attack gave the Trojans fits earlier this year, and UCLA should be able to use a similar approach on Saturday.

When the UCLA Bruins have the ball:

The key to UCLA’s improvement on offense in 2012 has been the play of quarterback Brett Hundley. The redshirt freshman is completing 69 percent of his throws and has tossed only nine picks on 329 attempts. In addition to Hundley’s emergence, coordinator Noel Mazzone has been the perfect hire to run the Bruins’ offense. Hundley’s favorite target has been Shaquelle Evans (39 receptions), but Joseph Fauria, Steven Manfro and freshman Jordan Payton have been key players in UCLA’s arsenal.

Although running back Johnathan Franklin has yet to match his back-to-back 100-yard efforts since the first two weeks of the season, the senior has 1,270 yards and eight touchdowns and has 24 receptions for 276 yards and two scores. Franklin has two 100-yard games in his last three contests and ranks sixth nationally with an average of 127 yards per game.

Outside of giving up 426 yards and five touchdowns to Oregon’s rushing attack, USC’s run defense has played well this season. Take out the defensive debacle against the Ducks, and the Trojans have allowed only six rushing scores through nine contests. USC’s defensive line has also been active in getting to the quarterback, recording 37 sacks this year. In UCLA’s two losses this year, Franklin combined to rush for 147 yards. If the Trojans can slow down Franklin and keep him under 100 yards, they should win this game.

Spread offenses have given USC’s defense the most trouble in 2012, and this is another tricky matchup for the Trojans. Hundley isn’t as dynamic of a runner as Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, but he has 272 yards and six touchdowns on 111 carries this season. Combine Hundley’s mobility and Franklin’s big-play ability and USC will have its hands full trying to stop this offense. The Trojans allowed 43 points to Mazzone’s offense last year at Arizona State but should have a better idea of what to expect in 2012. 

Final Analysis

Expect plenty of points in this matchup. With the Pac-12 South title on the line, both teams will get their best shot from the other squad. Even though USC has been a disappointment this year, this is its last chance to rally and erase some of the bad feelings from 2012. UCLA is clearly on the right track under Jim Mora but will fall just short of making a return trip to the Pac-12 title game.

Prediction: USC 38, UCLA 34
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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Teaser:
<p> USC Trojans vs. UCLA Bruins Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 05:15

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