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All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-11-picks

Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. It took me a few weeks but I finally gained some ground last week thanks to Georgia, Minnesota and Auburn. I am going back to the SEC for my top pick this week.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 31-23-1 (3-1 last week)

Week 11 Picks of the Week:

Missouri (-14) at Kentucky
The Tigers have been consistently underrated throughout the season. Mizzou’s 7-1-1 record against the spread demonstrates this pretty clearly. Kentucky has yet to win in the SEC under Mark Stoops and simply doesn’t have enough good players to stay competitive with the Tigers. Could Gary Pinkel’s bunch be looking ahead to Ole Miss next week? Possibly. But Pinkel’s team also knows it controls its own destiny in the SEC East and won’t overlook anyone from here on out. Prediction: Missouri -14

BYU (+8) at Wisconsin
The Badgers consistently struggle with dual-threat quarterbacks and BYU’s Taysom Hill is one of the most explosive and talented in the nation. Additionally, this defense is physical and designed to stop a power rushing attack like Wisconsin's. BYU is extremely well coached, battled tested and head coach Bronco Mendenhall knows UW head coach Gary Andersen very well. He is 3-1 against Andersen in his career. The Badgers should still win but there is no reason to think this game won’t be close between two evenly matched teams. Prediction: BYU +8

Texas (-6.5) at West Virginia
The Longhorns lost to WVU last season at home but both teams are wildly different this year. Texas is staring at a 6-0 start in the Big 12 and has put itself into BCS bowl contention. But a win over the Mountaineers is a must. Defensively, this team is much improved under Greg Robinson, allowing just 40 total points in the last three games combined. West Virginia has won once since September and will struggle against a considerably more talented team. Prediction: Texas -6.5

Arizona State (-7) at Utah
The Sun Devils are cruising on offense, having scored at least 53 points in four straight Pac-12 games. Utah is much better at home than on the road but won’t have the offensive firepower to match Arizona State. Todd Graham knows this a must-win situation if he wants to keep his lead in the Pac-12 South so he will allow Taylor Kelly to air it out. Look for another 40-plus points from Sparky. Prediction: Arizona State -7

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
No. 13 LSU (+12.5) at No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Florida St (-35.5) at Wake Forest
No. 8 Missouri (-14) at Kentucky
No. 9 Auburn (-7.5) at Tennessee
Virginia Tech (+7) at No. 11 Miami
Kansas (+31) at No. 14 Oklahoma St
Mississippi St (+19.5) at No. 15 Texas A&M
No. 16 Fresno St (-10) at Wyoming
No. 19 UCLA (-2) at Arizona
Houston (+10.5) at No. 21 UCF
No. 22 Arizona St (-7) at Utah
No. 23 Notre Dame (-5) at Pitt
BYU (+8) at Wisconsin
Kansas St (+3) at No. 25 Texas Tech
Last Week:11-38-69-59-5


Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 11 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/wisconsin-or-michigan-state-who-no-2-team-big-ten-behind-ohio-state

Ohio State was a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten in the preseason, and the Buckeyes are the only team from the conference ranked among the top 15 in the nation. The Big Ten is struggling nationally with only three ranked teams, and Michigan did not take the step forward some expected this year, while Northwestern has been a disappointment at 4-5 overall.

Michigan State and Wisconsin are vying to be the No. 2 team in the Big Ten this year, and there’s little separating the Badgers and Spartans.

Michigan State is 8-1, with its only loss coming at Notre Dame. Wisconsin has two setbacks, “losing” by two points to Arizona State and a seven-point defeat at Ohio State.

If both teams continue to win out, there’s a good chance the Big Ten will get a second team into the BCS bowls.

Ohio State is clearly the top team in the Big Ten. But after the Buckeyes, are the Spartans or the Badgers at No. 2?

Wisconsin or Michigan State: Who is the No. 2 team in the Big Ten Behind Ohio State?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Close call, but I will take Michigan State over Wisconsin for the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten. The Badgers have played a tougher schedule and impressed in a seven-point loss to Ohio State. But the Spartans own the Big Ten’s No. 1 defense, holding opponents to just 3.4 yards per play. Michigan State has allowed just 12 touchdowns all season, with Wisconsin one behind at 13. The Spartans have the edge on defense, while the Badgers get a slight nod on offense. Running backs Melvin Gordon and James White form an effective one-two punch, and quarterback Joel Stave is efficient (150.4 quarterback rating). After struggling early in the year, Michigan State’s offense is starting to find its rhythm, scoring at least 26 points in four out of the last five games. Quarterback Connor Cook only has three interceptions on 230 passes, and he’s surrounded by a solid supporting cast, including running back Jeremy Langford and receiver Bennie Fowler. Even though Wisconsin has a statistical edge on Michigan State’s offense, the Spartans have improved as the season progressed and significantly narrowed the gap in recent weeks. There’s not much separating these two teams, but I would give Michigan State a slight advantage.

Mark Ross
While it's actually closer than I initially thought, I am still siding with Michigan State on this one. Wisconsin hung tough with Ohio State in The Shoe in late September and is getting it done on both sides of the ball, but I like Michigan State's defense just a little better. The Spartans are No. 1 in the nation in yards allowed at 210.2 per game. The Badgers aren't too far behind at sixth, but they are giving up 285.5 yards per contest, that's a difference of more than 75 yards per game. MSU has been next-to-impossible to run on, surrendering a paltry 43.4 yards rushing per game and just 1.6 yards per carry. When it comes to beating Ohio State, one of the keys will be slowing down the Buckeyes on the ground, both the running backs and dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller. I think Michigan State's defense is more than capable of doing just that. Even with their offensive issues and lack of explosive playmakers, I think the Spartans' defense will allow Mark Dantonio's squad to hang with pretty much any team in the country. To be honest, it's a shame we probably won't get to see Michigan State and Wisconsin play each other this season. Hopefully that won't be the case for a Spartans-Buckeyes matchup, which is what it looks like we are headed towards for the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.

Coach Bill Mallory, former head coach of Miami (Ohio), Colorado, Northern Illinois, Indiana and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I think Michigan State is a better team than Wisconsin at this point in the season.  Michigan State has made tremendous strides offensively since the season began. Their defense has been dominant the entire season. I think that is where they are better than Wisconsin, and now that their offense is playing well, I would have to choose Michigan State over Wisconsin to be the No. 2 team behind Ohio State.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Michigan State. Wisconsin has played a slightly tougher schedule with Arizona State and Ohio State, but the Badgers lost both of those games. The Spartans boast the nation's best defense — one that is achieving at historic levels. But it's the development of the Spartans' offense that makes this team the second-best in the Big Ten. Sparty is averaging over 30 points per game in the Big Ten because of the play of quarterback Connor Cook, and the emergence of tailback Jeremy Langford. Wisconsin is an excellent team with excellent balance on both sides of the ball, but on a neutral field in a cornfield, I am taking the Spartans to win.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Easy call on that one: Michigan State. And the only reason Michigan State is No. 2 to Ohio State is because the offense isn’t quite as dynamic as others in the league. That said, Michigan State is greatly improved on that side of the ball since the start of conference play. The Spartans are averaging 5.6 yards per play in conference games, a yard more than in the non-conference season. That’s mainly due to improvement in the passing game, but the defense is so good Michigan State can afford to have the seventh-best offense in Big Ten games. You want some perspective on Michigan State’s defense? The Spartans allow 210.3 total yards per game. Most teams allow more than that in just one phase of the game: 98 teams allow more passing yards per game alone; 19 teams, including three in the Big Ten, allow more than 210 yards per game rushing. Because of the defense, Michigan State is the clear No. 2 right now and the only team with a shot of knocking off Ohio State.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), and Crystal Ball Run
Michigan State seems to have found their offensive identity in recent weeks, which may put them over the edge right now in the battle for number two in the Big Ten. There is a lot to like about Wisconsin with their running game and their underrated defense, but right now the Spartans are the more complete package. No team in the Big Ten plays as good a defense as the Spartans. Michigan State has allowed just 12 touchdowns this season and they have forced 16 turnovers. When you have more turnovers than touchdowns allowed, that sort of speaks for itself at this point in the season, although the Badgers are not that far off (13 TDs allowed, 12 turnovers forced). Michigan State struggled on offense early on but now that they seem to be playing better on that side of the football, with Jeremy Langford leading the ground game and Connor Cook stabilizing the passing game recently, the Spartans are now the biggest threat to Ohio State’s undefeated championship plans.

Wisconsin or Michigan State: Who is the No. 2 team in the Big Ten Behind Ohio State?
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-10-award-watch-0

The Heisman is but one award, and one award isn’t enough to contain the best of college football.

 While we love prognosticating who will win college football’s most coveted individual trophy, we also love the glut of postseason awards that go to each position, each with a nod to the game’s history from Davey O’Brien and Doak Walker to Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe to Ray Guy and Lou Groza.

Everyone tracks the progress in the Heisman race, but Athlon Sports will try to keep an eye on who will take home college football’s positional awards.

Here’s our look at the “other” trophies through the ninth week of the season.

Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Oregon’s Marcus Mariota was ailing against Stanford, but Stanford’s pass rush was suffocating. Winston may finish the week as the Heisman and Davey O’Brien frontrunner after the out-of-character game by the Oregon quarterback. Of course, Winston is plenty deserving. He’s second in the nation to Bryce Petty passing efficiency and yards per attempt.
Others: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Florida State’s Marcus Mariota, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey
Carey has rushed for 1,072 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games as Arizona is a surprise at 6-2. Carey is the only player in the country averaging better than 150 rushing yards per game.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, South Carolina’s Mike Davis, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans
Both Evans and Brandin Cooks have had two sub-100-yard games in the last two weeks. Evans did so in two lopsided games (and still had five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns against Vanderbilt) while Cooks and the Oregon State passing game has struggled. Evans has 1,147 yards and 12 touchdowns on 52 catches.
Others: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

The Mackey Award still hasn’t acknowledged Amaro due to his 2012 classification as a receiver. However, Amaro is third in the nation with 79 receptions along with 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Stanford’s David Yankey
The Cardinal’s grinding run game took control against Oregon on Thursday as Stanford rushed for 274 yards on 66 carries behind Yankey and the Stanford line.
Others: Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Baylor’s Cyril Richardson

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Stanford’s Shayne Skov

Skov is the leader of one of the nation’s best defenses (other than the one at Michigan State). In a Thursday night game against Oregon’s prolific offense, Skov took control, pressuring Marcus Mariota and forcing a fumble at Stanford’s 3 to end an Oregon scoring opportunity.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Skov

Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: Skov
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard

Dennard had an interception and a forced fumble in Michigan State’s dominant defensive performance against Michigan.
Others: Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, TCU’s Jason Verrett

Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Niklas Sade, NC State
Sade is 17 of 19 on field goals this season, including 5 of 6 between 40 of 49 yards.
Others: Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt

Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 48 yards per kick on 6.6 punts per game.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Tennessee’s Michael Palardy, Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp

Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston had two bad throws for interceptions against Miami, but the Seminoles still won 41-14. Winston completed 21 of 29 passes for 325 with a touchdown on a long screen pass.
Others: Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

Coach of the year
Our leader: Baylor’s Art Briles

Baylor has only won one of its toughest four games down the stretch, but defeating Oklahoma, especially in a game where the offense started slow, signaled Baylor is as much of a national championship contender as Ohio State. Yes, that Baylor.

Others: Boston College’s Steve Addazio, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, North Texas’ Dan McCarney, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel

Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi may have one of the best defenses of the BCS era with numbers that stack up with 2011 Alabama, 2008 TCU and 2008 USC. Michigan State pushed Michigan back for minus-48 yards rushing to improve its rush defense to 43.4 per game. No one else averages less than 80.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Texas’ Greg Robinson, Alabama’s Kirby Smart

College Football Post-Week 10 Award Watch
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-college-basketball-comparing-top-25-and-picks

Like most hardcore college basketball fans, those of us around the Athlon Sports office like to contrast and compare.

Sure, we have strong feelings about our top 25 and league picks — and we hope we’re right — but we like picking up the other magazines and checking how other publications evaluated the same information.

Here’s how Athlon compared with other major college basketball publications including Lindy's, The Sporting News (TSN), USA Today (USA Today), Sports Illustrated, and the coaches' and Associated Press polls. Of course, Kentucky’s a popular pick, but there are plenty of places we have differences of opinion.

1. Kentucky211211 
2. Louisville733133 
3. Duke344444 
4. Michigan State122322 
5. Kansas465565 
6. Arizona1157956 
7. Florida81267810 
8. Oklahoma State910101012t8 
9. Syracuse1289137t8 
10. North Carolina5--11111112 
11. Ohio State6111281011 
12. Michigan1078697 
13. Marquette--2022201717 
14. New Mexico----18172023 
15. Notre Dame1921--242221 
16. Creighton23--1721---- 
17. Tennessee--192125---- 
18. VCU211814231514 
19. UNLV------------ 
20. Memphis131613151313 
21. Connecticut162215141918 
22. Wisconsin--14--162120 
23. UCLA2515--182322 
24. Baylor22--------25 
25. Wichita State15--16--1616 
-- Boise State------22---- 
-- Colorado24--19------ 
-- Gonzaga181720191415 
-- Indiana202523--24-- 
-- Iowa17--24------ 
-- Oregon--13------19 
-- Virginia142425122524 

Comparing all conference championship picks

 AthlonLindy'sTSNUSA Today
America EastVermontVermontVermontVermont
Atlantic SunFla. Gulf CoastFla. Gulf CoastFla. Gulf CoastMercer
Big 12KansasKansasKansasKansas
Big EastMarquetteCreightonMarquetteMarquette
Big SkyMontanaWeber StateWeber StateMontana
Big SouthHigh PointHigh PointHPU/CSUCharleston So.
Big TenMichigan StateMichigan StateMichigan StateMichigan State
Big WestUC IrvineUC IrvineLong Beach St.UC Irvine
Conference USALa. TechSouthern MissLa. TechLa. Tech
HorizonGreen BayWright StateWright StateWright State
MEACNorfolk StateNorfolk StateNorfolk StateNorfolk State
Missouri ValleyWichita StateWichita StateWichita StateWichita State
Mountain WestNew MexicoNew MexicoNew MexicoNew Mexico
NortheastLIU BrooklynLIU BrooklynMount St. Mary'sLIU Brooklyn
Ohio ValleyEastern Ky.Eastern Ky.EKU/SEMOEastern Ky.
PatriotBoston U.Boston U.BucknellLafayette
SouthlandNorthwestern St.Northwestern St.Northwestern St.Northwestern St.
SummitNorth Dakota St.North Dakota St.North Dakota St.North Dakota St.
Sun BeltWestern Ky.UL LafayetteWestern Ky.Georgia St.
SWACSouthernAlabama A&MTexas SouthernJackson St.
WACNew Mexico St.New Mexico St.New Mexico St.New Mexico St.
West CoastGonzagaGonzagaGonzagaGonzaga


2013-14 College Basketball: Comparing Top 25 and Picks
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-top-15-early-season-games

Let’s get this out of the way: College basketball’s opening day is a dud. It doesn’t have the pageantry of baseball or the pent-up anticipation for football. For the most part, the matchups are lackluster. Not even every team starts on the same day.

That said, college basketball may have the most interesting first two months. Showcase games on neutral courts. Non-conference games in opposing gyms. And preseason tournaments that give us unexpected matchups.

The best part is that they all mean something. These are the games that will show up in NCAA Tournament resumes come March.

These are the best games of the early portion of the season or at least through December when the conference challenges begin.

1. Michigan State vs. Kentucky (Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
*in Chicago (Champions Classic)
The talk of Kentucky becoming the first undefeated team in college basketball since 1975-76 Indiana will be ramped up if the Wildcats can defeat Michigan State. The Wildcats’ freshmen are supremely talented, but this will still be their fifth game together against a veteran Michigan State team with national title ambitions of their own.

2. Duke vs. Kansas (Nov. 12, 9:30 p.m.m ESPN)
*in Chicago (Champions Classic)
Gobs of talent for both teams, but a ton of newcomers who haven’t played together before. For most, this will be the first time we see the Jayhawks’ Andrew Wiggins in a college uniform (Kansas opens with Louisiana-Monroe today). Wiggins have is work cut out for him on both ends of the court against Duke’s versatile small forwards — Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood and freshman Jabari Parker — who will be making their first big splashes, too.

3. Ohio State at Marquette (Nov. 16, 1 p.m., Fox)
How good would this game be if Deshaun Thomas and Vander Blue — both of whom left school early and didn’t make NBA rosters — stayed in school. Even so, Ohio State and Marquette have plans to win their respective conferences. Marquette’s Davante Gardner will face a team still finding its way on the glass while Ohio State’s Aaron Craft will be up against a freshman point guard.

4. Florida at Wisconsin (Nov. 12, 9 p.m., ESPN2)
Wisconsin never played at full strength last season as Josh Gasser missed all year with an injury. Meanwhile, the Gators have major roster concerns. Dorian Finney-Smith, Damontre Harris and Scottie Wilbekin are suspended. Will Yeguete and Eli Carter are hurt. Michael Frazier is sick with mono. That leaves perhaps only four scholarship players visiting the Kohl Center.

Best potential games
• Michigan vs. VCU (Puerto Rico Tipoff semifinal, Nov. 22)

• Connecticut vs. Indiana (2K Sports Classic final, Nov. 22)

• Oklahoma State vs. Michigan State (Coaches vs. Cancer final, Nov. 23)

• North Carolina vs. Louisville (Hall of Fame Tipoff final, Nov. 24)

• Baylor vs. Gonzaga (Maui Invitational semifinal, Nov. 26)

• Baylor vs. Syracuse (Maui Invitational final, Nov. 27)

• Arizona vs. Duke (NIT final, Nov. 29)

• Kansas vs. Tennessee (Battle 4 Atlantis final, Nov. 30)

• Creighton vs. Marquette (Wooden Legacy final, Dec. 1)
5. Arizona at San Diego State (Nov. 14, 10 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Arizona has a young team, led by freshman Aaron Gordon, but the Wildcats believe they can contend for the Final Four. San Diego State is rebuilding without do-it-all guard Jamaal Franklin, but the Aztecs bring in a big-time transfer in Josh Davis from Tulane who should keep San Diego State in Mountain West contention.

6. Colorado vs. Baylor (Nov. 8, 10 p.m. Fox Sports Net)
*in Dallas
Two non-traditional teams meet for the real gem of college basketball’s opening night. Colorado has hopes for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance even without rebounding machine Andre Roberson. The absence of Roberson will be an intriguing storyline against 7-foot-1 Baylor sophomore Isaiah Austin and senior Cory Jefferson.

7. Marquette at Arizona State (Nov. 25, 9 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Arizona State may be a bubble team this season, but the Sun Devils will have one of the Pac-12’s most dynamic players in Jahii Carson. This continues an interesting first month for Marquette before it tries to win the reconfigured Big East. Buzz Williams has been able to replace key players with great success before, but he’ll have a good idea of where he stands this season before Thanksgiving.

8. Georgetown vs. Oregon (Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
*in Pyeongtaek, South Korea
It’s a shame both teams won’t be close to full strength when the Hoyas and Ducks face each other in the Armed Forces Classic in South Korea. Oregon point guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter will miss nine games due to NCAA violations. Georgetown lost Greg Whittington to a torn ACL in July. Still, Oregon recently learned Houston transfer Joseph Young will be able to play immediately along with UNLV transfer Mike Moser.

9. St. John’s vs. Wisconsin (Nov. 8, 7 p.m., Big Ten Network)
*in Sioux Falls, S.D.
St. John’s returns nearly its entire roster from last season while adding five-star freshman Rysheed Jordan and getting God’sgift Achiuwa back from a redshirt. The Red Storm are considered a dark horse in the Big East, but they won’t be under the radar if they can defeat Wisconsin on the first day of the season.

10. Arizona State at UNLV (Nov. 19, 10 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
UNLV is rebuilding without No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett plus mainstay Anthony Marshall and transfer Mike Moser. There’s still plenty of talent for Dave Rice to make a run in a depleted Mountain West. Keep an eye on two quick point guards: Carson for Arizona State and junior college transfer Deville Smith for UNLV.

11. Iowa State at BYU (Nov. 20, 9:30 p.m., ESPNU)
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has another team that could be led by a transfer with the arrival of Marshall statsheet-stuffer DeAndre Kane. BYU’s Tyler Haws will be one of the nation’s leading scorers (and lip-synchers).

12. Purdue vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 28, noon, ESPN2)
*Old Spice Classic
The Old Spice Classic starts with a matchup between and Oklahoma State team with Final Four potential against a Purdue team trying to work its way up the Big Ten standings.

13. Tennessee at Xavier (Nov. 12, 9 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
A lack of quality non-conference wins hurt Tennessee’s bid to be in the NCAA Tournament under Cuonzo Martin. Xavier might not be a major trophy, but it’s not a game the Volunteers would like to have on the NCAA resume.

14. Xavier vs. Iowa (Nov. 28, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network)
*Battle 4 Atlantis
Xavier and Iowa missed the NCAA Tournament last season, but both expect to be in the field in 2014. Semaj Christon (Xavier) and Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa) are names you need to know.

15. VCU at Virginia (Nov. 12, 7 p.m., ESPN2)
VCU’s havoc faces Virginia’s plodding offense and Joe Harris. A nice clash of styles early in the season.

College Basketball's Top 15 Early Season Games
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/thursday-night-recap-baylor-title-chase-stanford-impresses

Thursday night drama never really occurred until Oregon blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter agains Stanford. Before that, the drama was a sloppy first half in Waco.

The biggest drama Thursday night offered was an upending the 2013 landscape.

A national championship contender was born.

Another championship contender fell out of contention.

The Heisman favorite stumbled.

And one team still is kicking itself for losing to Utah.

Three Things We Learned from Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12

Baylor is in the BCS title mix. Baylor won its first test against a ranked team this season and did so with ease after the first 22 minutes or so. No question, the Bears’ schedule right now pales in comparison to Alabama, Ohio State or even Stanford. But on Thursday Baylor proved opportunistic on offense, solid on defense and grinding in the run game when it was necessary. No, it wasn’t pretty early. Bryce Petty was out of sorts in the first quarter, and Baylor trailed 5-3 at one point. But after Oklahoma mismanaged the end of the first half, Baylor rolled, even with with backup personnel. The Sooners’ attempt to throw Baylor off guard with a quarterback platoon of Blake Bell and Trevor Knight was a disaster, helped by the Baylor defense. The Bears held Oklahoma to 3.4 yards per play and picked up two turnovers. With Oregon’s loss and Ohio State’s lackluster competition this season, Baylor deserves to be in the BCS championships discussion as long as the Bears are undefeated.

End-of-half management doomed the Sooners. Aggressive playcalling may have spelled the end for Oklahoma. Trailing 10-5, Oklahoma got the ball with 7:02 left in the first half and starting running an up-tempo offense. Two minutes of game time later, Oklahoma moved the ball only 34 yards and punted. Baylor scored in less than two minutes. On the ensuing drive, Blake Bell was intercepted on the first play from scrimmage. Baylor scored again to take a 24-5 halftime lead. Between that and the decision to rotate Bell and Knight, expect Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel to face questions for the remainder of the season.

The Baylor offense is a thing of beauty. Boy, this was ugly early. Once it got going, though, Baylor proved it could obtain and hold a lead in a variety of ways even with secondary personnel. Petty completed only half of his passes, but he rushed for 49 yards with two touchdowns on top of three passing touchdowns, and this was with Tevin Reese out for much of the game with a wrist injury. With Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin sidelined, third-string running back Shock Linwood ran out the clock with ease, rushing for 180 yards and 23 carries and showing the moves of a top-flight running back.

Three Things We Learned from Stanford 26, Oregon 20.

Stanford is cursing Pac-12 expansion. After the first quarter one thing was clear: Utah’s 27-21 win over Stanford on Oct 12 is the most puzzling score of the season. If Stanford doesn’t lose for the remainder of the regular season it will be as out-of-left-field a loss as Oklahoma State’s loss to Iowa State in 2011 or West Virginia’s loss to Pittsburgh in 2007. Oregon made things interesting with a blocked field goal and a recovered fumble on the ensuing kickoff in the fourth quarter, but otherwise this was as impressive a win over a quality team as we’ve seen this season. Simply put, Stanford is Oregon Kryptonite now. Even with the late flurry, Oregon has scored 34 points on Stanford in two seasons. Only LSU in 2011 has held the Ducks to fewer in a single game in the last three seasons.

Marcus Mariota wasn’t himself, and Stanford’s defense helped. Oregon’s offense has had its setbacks. Tight end Colt Lyerla left the team. Wide receiver Josh Huff was hurt through the course of the loss to Stanford. And Marcus Mariota with a knee injury never looked comfortable. He ran the ball only six times, including three sacks, and fumbled twice. Playing without defensive end Ben Gardner, though, Stanford’s front seven was furious. Linebackers Shayne Skov and A.J. Tarpley kept Mariota in the pocket and off balance all night as the rest of the defense didn’t let Oregon’s offense get free in the open field. Oregon didn’t have a play longer than 26 yards Thursday after having 35 plays of 30 or more yards this season.

Stanford’s identity is its offensive line. Stanford had one of the best offensive lines in the country when Andrew Luck was there, and replenished that with outstanding recruits. This season, the experience showed. Stanford has four seniors on its line, plus one of those star recruits in left tackle Andrus Peat. Kevin Hogan made plays when he needed, completing 7 of 13 passes for 103 yards, but the run game was the star of Thursday night. Tyler Gaffney kept the Oregon offense off the field late by rushing for 157 yards on a school-record 45 carries. Behind Outland contender David Yankey, Stanford converted 14 of 21 third downs.

Thursday Night Recap: Baylor in title chase, Stanford impresses
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 00:30
Path: /nfl/10-biggest-midseason-disappointments-nfl
Halfway through the NFL season and some things are exactly as they’re supposed to be. The Broncos and Patriots are in first place. The 49ers and Seahawks are locked in a battle in the NFC West. Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson are still among the best at their positions.
Yes, there are some surprises – like the still undefeated Kansas City Chiefs – but there are also some major disappointments. There are plenty of players and teams that were supposed to be at the top of their positions and divisions, but instead suffered an unexpected fall.
At just about the halfway point of the NFL season, here’s a look at 10 of the biggest disappointments. And none of these would’ve been easy for anyone to project back before the season began:
Atlanta Falcons – A year ago they came within inches of reaching the Super Bowl and they had just about everybody coming back. They even lured Hall of Fame-bound tight end Tony Gonzalez out of his very brief retirement for one last Super Bowl run. But that all collapsed in an injury-plagued first half that saw them lose receiver Julio Jones and deal with health issues with receiver Roddy White and running back Steven Jackson. Their playoff chase just about over and the only thing keeping them out of last is the 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Matt SchaubMatt Schaub – The Houston Texans have been a disappointment for years, never quite fulfilling their potential. But despite his detractors, their quarterback had been a relatively consistent performer when healthy. But this year, coming off a 4,000-yard season in which he had a 22-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio, he's struggled with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. The poor performance led him to lose his job after he suffered a leg injury. And with the Texans season over and his replacement, Case Keenum, showing promise, he might not get it back.
Mike Wallace – The Dolphins raised a few eyebrows in the offseason when they signed Wallace to a five-year, $60 million contract, even though he was coming off a 64-catch, 836-yard season in Pittsburgh. But his speed and potential and the way he was expected to transform the Miami offense seemed to justify it. Now? He’s got 36 catches for 480 yards and one lousy touchdown for an offense that ranks 28th in the NFL. That does not seem at all like money well spent.
New York Giants – The season began with GM Jerry Reese putting everyone “on notice” and putting up a Super Bowl clock in the locker room. The clock, though, would’ve worked better as a countdown to their first win. It took until Week 7 and an 0-6 start stunned the Giants and would’ve doomed them completely if they didn’t play in the worst division in football. But even now, just 2.5 games back in the NFC East, they’ll need a miracle to still have a chance in December.
Joe Philbin – Aside from the fact that he was supposed to be an offensive whiz that would turn Ryan Tannehill into a star (and figure out how to use Wallace), the recent bullying scandal shows him to be a man not in control of his own locker room. Even if you dismiss allegations that he – or his staff – ordered Richie Incognito to “toughen up” the since departed Jonathan Martin, how can something get as far and as ugly as it did under his watch? He’ll likely soon pay for this with his own job.
Chip Kelly’s offense – Remember when Kelly’s offense was going to shock the NFL and transform the way teams play in the future. Well, that lasted until the second half of Week 1. They do put up a lot of yards (they rank fourth in the NFL) and they did just rip through the Oakland Raiders in a 49-20 victory. But turnovers and inconsistent quarterback play has Kelly’s offense looking slow and weak at times. Eventually his offense might be scary, especially when he finds a quarterback. But it’s not there yet.
Julius Peppers – In four of the last five seasons, Peppers had double-digit sacks and the one year he didn’t he still had eight. He may not have been one of the most feared defenders in football anymore, but he was still a premiere pass rusher. Now? Not so much. He’s got just two sacks and after restructuring his contract a year ago he’s looking like a cap casualty next year when he’ll be an old 34.
RG3Washington Redskins – The NFC East stinks and is there for the taking, which should really bother the defending division champs. As Robert Griffin III struggled to find his early form, and the once-strong defense completely collapsed, the Redskins are off to a 3-6 start. With the Cowboys ahead of them at 5-4 their season is hardly over. But this is a division they probably should’ve been running away with by now.
Leslie Frazier/Vikings – The Vikings were a playoff team a year ago and still have Adrian Peterson, the best running back in football, and that alone should be good enough for them to be better than 2-7. Yeah, they have a mess at quarterback where Christian Ponder has never been the answer, but Frazier can take the blame for some of that lack of development. It’s his switch to Josh Freeman and handling of that situation that has raised the most eyebrows, though, especially his decision to let Freeman throw 53 times in a loss to the Giants just days after he was signed, rather than put the game in the capable Peterson’s hands.
Greg Schiano – He was going to be the man who saved the Bucs and after a 7-9 season last year it looked like the program was headed in the right direction. But the collapse to 0-8 has been overshadowed by the controversies that have gone on under his watch, from the way his team handled their MRSA health scare to the way he handled Freeman before he was released. Somehow Schiano managed to enable, alienate and eventually lose his starting quarterback. It seems only a matter of time before he loses the entire team.
By Ralph Vacchiano, @RVacchianoNYDN
At just about the halfway point of the NFL season, here’s a look at 10 of the biggest disappointments.
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 18:01
Path: /college-football/lsu-alabama-10-stats-you-need-know

No. 13 LSU visits No. 1 Alabama in yet another installment of the “Game of the Century.” It marks the fourth meeting between the two SEC powerhouses in two calendar years to the week. This rivalry has elite national championship coaches, stacked rosters of future NFL stars and a rich history.

Before LSU and Alabama gets kicked off on 8 p.m. ET Saturday night (CBS), here is a tasty pregame meal in the form of important, bizarre and historic statistics:

6-1: LSU’s record in the last seven visits to Tuscaloosa
Alabama leads the overall series 47-25-5, has won two straight and four of the last six. However, LSU has won six of the last seven in Tuscaloosa in a series that has seen the road team achieve a bizarre level of success. In fact, the road team has won 11 of the last 17 meetings overall between these two SEC West powerhouses. LSU outlasted Alabama 9-6 in overtime the last time these two got together in Tuscaloosa (2011). Nick Saban is 4-3 against Les Miles since coming to Alabama.

78 and 115: Total TDs allowed by Alabama and LSU since 2009
Since the start of the championship era at Alabama under Nick Saban (2009), Alabama is leading the nation with 78 total touchdowns allowed on defense (62 games). LSU is No. 2 in the nation with 115 total touchdowns allowed on defense (62 games) over that same span. Over the last five seasons, that makes these the toughest two defenses to score on in the nation.

207.3: Odell Beckham Jr.’s SEC-leading all-purpose yards per game
Beckham has been a big-play machine for the Tigers all season and will be a pivotal player come Saturday night. He is second in the nation only to Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky (227.2 ypg) in all-purpose yards per game. Beckham averages 21.2 yards every time he touches the ball and he gets his hands on it 9.8 times per game. Against an Alabama secondary that has some holes, Beckham and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry will have to come up big in the vertical passing game. Beckham has caught 48 passes for 1,009 yards and eight touchdowns on 21.0 yards per catch and has over 700 yards in the return game — including this ridiculous play:

495.7: Yards allowed per game by LSU in road SEC games this year
LSU is No. 3 in the SEC and No. 22 nationally in total defense, allowing 351.7 yards per game in 2013. The Tigers are No. 5 in the SEC and 31st nationally in scoring defense at 21.9 points allowed per game. But in road SEC contests, this unit has been suspect to big plays and big yards. In three conference road games this year, the Bayou Bengals defense is allowing 495.7 yards per game and 32.3 points per game. Georgia and Ole Miss are solid offensive teams but LSU shouldn’t give up 468 yards to Mississippi State no matter where they play.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12SEC

26: Points allowed by Alabama in six games since playing Texas A&M
The Crimson Tide has yet to allow more than 10 points in a game since giving up 42 to Johnny Manziel in College Station in Week 3. Nick Saban’s club shutout both Ole Miss and Arkansas while allowing 10 points to Tennessee, seven to Kentucky and six to Colorado State. Alabama has allowed two touchdowns in six games and is allowing 4.3 points per game since facing the Aggies.

57.8%: LSU’s SEC-leading third-down offense
Third downs will be critical for both teams, as usual, and the Tigers’ offense has been excellent on the important down all season. LSU is leading the SEC and is second nationally only to Louisville (63.4%) by converting 57.8 percent of its third down chances (57-of-99). It won’t be that easy for LSU, however, as Alabama is leading the SEC in third-down defense. It allows opposing teams to convert on third down just 29.5 percent of the time (seventh nationally). Meanwhile, Bama is No. 2 in the SEC in third-down offense (50.4%) while LSU is 61st nationally in third-down defense (38.4%).

33-2: AJ McCarron’s record as a starter
Alabama’s quarterback may never get the Heisman consideration he likely deserves but his ability to win games is unquestioned. He has won 12 straight games, including his second BCS national title last year. His .943 winning percentage is fourth all-time in NCAA history for quarterbacks with a minimum of 30 starts behind only Oklahoma’s Steve Davis (.956), Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949). Having said that, both of McCarron’s losses have come at home and one came at the hands of the LSU Tigers the last time they visited The Capstone. Overall in three games against the Tigers, the Bama signal-caller has thrown for 598 yards on 59.5 percent passing (53-of-89) with one game-winning touchdown pass and one interception.

177.07: Zach Mettenberger’s QB rating
Only Johnny Manziel (185.01) has been more efficient throwing the football this season in the SEC than Mettenberger. His 177.07 passer efficiency is a marked improvement from a year ago when he ranked 11th in the SEC at 128.34. His 276.9 yards passing per game are No. 2 to Manziel as well. However, he has struggled of late. Mettenberger has just one touchdown pass in his last two SEC games and has five interceptions in his last two games overall. With an advantage over Alabama on the outside with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Mettenberger becomes the most pivotal player on the LSU offense this weekend. He must play like he did against Georgia (372 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) not Ole Miss (274 yards, TD, 3 INTs).

0: Alabama and LSU players ranked in the top 10 in sacks in the SEC
Freshman A’Shawn Robinson is leading Alabama with 4.0 sacks on the season and is 11th in the SEC. Star nose tackle Anthony Johnson and cornerback Jalen Mills are tied for the LSU team lead with 3.0 sacks this season. It is almost shocking that neither team has a player ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in QB sacks. The Tigers, as a team, have been better at pressuring the quarterback, ranking fifth in the SEC with 20.0 sacks this year. Alabama, however, is 12th in the SEC with just 11.0 sacks on the season. This means Mettenberger may have some time to make big plays with his powerful right arm.

Minus-0.22: LSU’s turnover margin
The Tigers are 12th in the SEC, ahead of only Georgia and Arkansas, in turnover margin in 2013 at minus-0.22 per game. LSU is 88th nationally with just 12 forced turnovers (6 INT, 6 FR) and is 57th nationally with 14 giveaways on the season. Meanwhile, Alabama is No. 2 in the SEC with a plus-0.63 margin per game and No. 3 nationally with just seven turnovers all season. Bama has one turnover in its last two games while the Tigers have given the ball up six times in their last two games.

LSU at Alabama: The 10 Stats You Need To Know
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-2013-week-11-upset-predictions

Week 11 of the 2013 college football season should play a huge role in shaping the national title picture. With Oregon-Stanford and Oklahoma-Baylor on Thursday, and LSU-Alabama on Saturday, the top 10 could look quite a bit different on Sunday morning.

Even if there are no upsets in the big games this weekend, expect plenty of surprise outcomes from around the nation on Saturday.

Athlon’s editors are back with another edition of the upset picks, and there are plenty of teams on alert this week.

The favorites can't win every game each week, so it's no surprise one of the most popular discussion points every Saturday is upset picks. Each week on, the editors will give an upset pick for the upcoming week of action.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

College Football Week 11 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Nevada (+9.5) over Colorado State
There are few upset picks that I like this week, but the 9.5 spread caught my attention in this game. Nevada is struggling in the first year under coach Brian Polian, but is Colorado State really 10 points better? The Rams rank last in the Mountain West in pass defense, allowing 309.6 yards per game. Nevada should be able to take advantage of Colorado State’s secondary, especially with quarterback Cody Fajardo and a receiving corps that has three players over 39 catches. Nevada’s defense isn’t much better than Colorado State, as the Wolf Pack rank last in the Mountain West in total yards allowed. The Rams’ rushing offense will test Nevada’s front seven, which has been gashed for 6.4 yards per carry this year. Nevada has never won in Fort Collins, but with both teams averaging over 30 points a game in Mountain West play, this one should be much closer than the spread indicates. And I’ll give the Wolf Pack a slight edge, as Fajardo scores late for the victory.

Mark Ross: Oklahoma (+15) over Baylor
Baylor fans certainly can't say their team isn't getting any respect. A 15-point favorite over the No. 10 team in the nation? If anything, I am taking this one somewhat on principle, as I just don't see the Bears beating the Sooners by more than two touchdowns. While that doesn't mean I don't think Baylor can't beat OU, especially at home, I am going to take the Sooners here because of their defense. Oklahoma is 10th in the country in total defense and has had just one really bad game, the loss to Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Yes, Baylor is putting up ridiculous numbers on offense (first in the nation in yards, points and passing) and doing a very good job on defense (15.9 ppg), but the Bears haven't really played anyone either.

Baylor's toughest game so far was at Kansas State, which the Bears won by just 10 points. Including the Wildcats, Baylor's schedule has featured six FBS teams that have a collective average of 64.2 in terms of total offense national rankings. Contrast that to Oklahoma, who has played eight FBS teams that have a collective national offensive ranking of 39.9. Both teams have played and beaten Kansas, Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia. Baylor's other wins are against Buffalo, Iowa State and Kansas State, while Oklahoma claims victories over Tulsa, Notre Dame (on the road), TCU and Texas Tech. Baylor has yet to play the toughest part of its schedule and by the end of Thursday night, I think there will be one fewer undefeated team in college football.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): BYU (+7.5) over Wisconsin
Wow, this is an odd game. A big-time nonconference opponent heading into Big Ten territory in early November. In many ways, this is a game the Badgers don’t need right now. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and linebacker Chris Borland are banged up. Running back Melvin Gordon is coming off a season-low 62 yards against Iowa, a game the Badgers didn’t really pull away to win until Hawkeyes starting quarterback Jake Rudock was hurt. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is plenty familiar with BYU, but only to a degree (also, he’s 1-3 against Bronco Mendenhall). BYU has installed one of the fastest offenses in the country this season that’s just hitting its stride. The Cougars amassed 681 yards on 115 plays against Houston and 568 yards on 91 plays against Houston. Throw-in Kyle Van Noy on defense, and this is an awfully tough matchup on both sides of the ball for Wisconsin, possibly the toughest matchup since a loss to Ohio State.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Virginia Tech (+6.5) over Miami
The Hurricanes just lost their best offensive weapon in RB Duke Johnson for the season last week against Florida State. That will be disastrous for an offense that revolves around the No. 2 rusher in the ACC. Johnson has racked up 920 yards and six touchdowns on the season. While Dallas Crawford is a good replacement, he lacks the electric explosiveness of Johnson. The Hokies have lost two straight, but still boast a very good defense that is ninth in the country in points allowed at 16.9. Miami really doesn't enjoy a standard college homefield advantage, thus I don't expect the crowd noise to be a factor. Logan Thomas has been inconsistent this year, but he has played well against the Hurricanes in his career as he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the Hokies' 2011 win and rushed for over 100 yards last year. This is a huge game in the Coastal Division of the ACC and will likely determine who will play Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. I like Beamer Ball to come out on top in this one.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): BYU (+7.5) at Wisconsin
The Badgers consistently struggled with talented and dual-threat quarterbacks. And BYU's Taysom Hill is right next to Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel in terms of raw physical ability. Wisconsin is welcoming back star linebacker Chris Borland but his nagging hamstring injury will be challenged by Hill's ability to run and throw. Additionally, coaches Bronco Mendenhall and Gary Andersen know each very well having coached against each other four times. BYU and Mendenhall won three of those. The Cougars have been challenged all season while the Badgers have played only a couple of tough games — both losses. And the crowd in Madison won't respect BYU like it should and could arrive late and find itself a non-factor.

College Football 2013 Week 11 Upset Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 11:27
Path: /college-football/oregon-ducks-vs-stanford-cardinal-2013-game-preview-and-prediction

It’s rare to see a Thursday night game with national title implications, but that’s the case this week, as Oregon travels to Stanford for a Pac-12 North showdown. The Ducks rank No. 3 in the latest BCS standings, and a win over the Cardinal could be enough to push Oregon back to No. 2. With Florida State looking more and more impressive, there’s some pressure on the Ducks to win impressively.

However, Stanford certainly isn’t going to go quietly, as the Cardinal is still trying to keep their faint BCS title hopes alive. With one loss, Stanford has no room for error the rest of the way.

Although the national title is the No. 1 goal for both teams, the winner of this game should lock up a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

These two teams met last season, with Stanford winning 17-14 in Eugene. The loss knocked the Ducks out of the national title picture and allowed the Cardinal to play (and win) the Pac-12 Championship in late November.

Stanford owns a 45-30-1 series edge over Oregon. The Ducks and Cardinal have each claimed two out of the last four meetings. However, Oregon has won nine out of the last 11 matchups, including two by a combined score of 105-61 from 2010-11.

Oregon vs. Stanford

Kickoff: 9 ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Oregon -10

Three Things to Watch

Controlling the tempo
The Ducks want to play fast, while the Cardinal want to slow things down. Which tempo will win out on Thursday night? In last year’s meeting, Stanford dominated the time of possession (37:05 to 22:55). Controlling the clock isn’t a necessity, but the Cardinal gained at least 30 yards in each of their final three possessions last season. Did Stanford wear down a defense that was depleted by injuries in the trenches? Oregon is in better shape in the injury department this season, and through five conference games is holding opponents to 131.6 yards per game. The Ducks are limiting rushers to just 3.4 yards per carry in Pac-12 action, and opponents have managed just four rushing scores. In order to Stanford to win, it has to establish the run and keep Oregon’s offense off the field. Running back Tyler Gaffney has three consecutive 100-yard efforts and averaged 7.8 yards per carry against the Ducks in 2011. Gaffney isn’t the only capable rusher for Stanford, as Anthony Wilkerson has 207 yards this year, and quarterback Kevin Hogan is a dual-threat option. Shortening the game by establishing the run is a huge key to Stanford’s win chances on Thursday night.

Oregon’s passing attack vs. Stanford’s secondary
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has been nearly flawless in 2013. The sophomore is considered by most to be the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy and has thrown for 2,281 yards and 20 touchdowns in eight games. Mariota has fumbled twice this year but has yet to throw an interception. The sophomore’s last interception came 293 attempts ago against Stanford last season. The Cardinal rank ninth in the Pac-12 (conference-only games) against the pass, but this unit has picked off eight passes and will present a challenge for Mariota and his receivers. Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards form one of the nation’s best safety duos, while cornerback Alex Carter is a budding star. The Ducks have six players with at least 11 receptions, with Josh Huff and Bralon Addison each averaging at least 16 yards per catch. And those totals don’t include running back De’Anthony Thomas, who has only six catches due to injury. Mariota is one of the nation’s most efficient passers, but this matchup will be his toughest test of the year. Stanford’s pass rush (27 sacks) will be disruptive, and top-notch secondary won’t allow Addison and Huff to run free.

Stanford’s defensive line
Disrupting Oregon’s offense starts at the line of scrimmage. The Cardinal are allowing only 85.3 rushing yards per game in Pac-12 action this season, but the Ducks’ bring an experienced (and talented) offensive line to the Farm on Thursday night. Stanford’s line depth took a hit with a season-ending arm injury to end Ben Gardner, but this unit should get senior Henry Anderson back in the mix. With Anderson, Josh Mauro and David Parry in the starting lineup, Stanford has more than enough talent to win the battle up front. However, depth is a concern here, and Oregon’s up-tempo attack can take a toll on opposing defenses. The Ducks average 317.2 rushing yards per game, and three running backs – De’Anthony Thomas, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall – will see time on Thursday night. Will Stanford’s defensive line win the line of scrimmage battle? Or will the Ducks’ rushing attack get on track after running backs Kenjon Barner and Thomas recorded only 109 yards in last year’s matchup?

Key Player: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
It’s easy to list the quarterback as a key player, but Stanford needs Hogan to be at his best on Saturday night. In last year’s matchup, he threw for 211 yards on 25 completions and ran for 37 yards. The Cardinal doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards, but Hogan has to eliminate any mistakes and needs to make a few plays with his legs. The sophomore didn’t play particularly well against Oregon State (88 yards), and a similar performance could spell trouble for Stanford. Receiver Ty Montgomery is a gamebreaker, but the Cardinal should regain the services of Devon Cajuste, who did not play against Oregon State due to injury. Having Cajuste back in the lineup will only help Hogan in the passing game.

Final Analysis

Top-10 matchups (see Florida State-Miami) don’t always live up to the hype. But this showdown between Oregon and Stanford should be a good one. The Ducks have revenge on their mind from last season and have to win to keep pace with Florida State in the national title picture. Stanford’s offense will control the tempo early on, but Mariota makes a couple of key plays in the fourth quarter that propels the Ducks to a huge road victory.

Prediction: Oregon 31, Stanford 24

Oregon Ducks vs. Stanford Cardinal 2013 Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 10:57
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-7-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Nov. 7.


• I didn't watch the CMA Awards, but Carrie Underwood's legs make me sorta wish I had.


• The Martin-Incognito story is in the process of flipping toward Incognito, partly because of this essay. My hot sports take: There's blame on all sides. Including the Dolphins, given Jeff Ireland's suggested solution.


According to this slideshow, there are 21 flavors of athlete Instagram pictures.


• Speaking of Instagram, photo-posting star Paulina Gretzky apparently caught on fire last night. Keep an eye on your fiancee, Dustin.


There's video proof that Seneca Wallace throws like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.


The NBA bureaucrats require forms for everything, like the birth of Z-Bo's child.


A Blackhawks fan grabbed a unique souvenir. Lesson: Always be alert when a player's head busts through the glass.


Blockbuster is shutting the rest of its stores. The big news here is that Blockbuster still had stores open.


• I usually don't get political here at Essential 11, but this is funny: Old 1990s websites that work better than the Obamacare website. My favorite on the list: the Heaven's Gate cult site, apparently still live and working better than the ACA site.


Three entire classic movies — The Shining, Top Gun and Aliens — in seizure-inducing GIF form.


• Today's video is pretty touching: Aaron Rodgers delights then duets with a girl with spina bifida.




-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 10:53
Path: /college-football/top-college-football-player-matchups-watch-week-11

Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the best one-on-one matchups to watch in college football. Here are the most important games within the game to watch this weekend:

Marcus Mariota, QB vs. Shayne Skov, LB (Oregon at Stanford, Thurs.)
There is no doubt the best player in the nation will be on full display against Stanford. Mariota’s Heisman hopes and BCS national title hopes hang in the balance as he seeks revenge for the only loss in his career. His offense was held to regular-season lows in yards (405) and points (14) in the 2012 home loss while he was held to a career-low one total touchdown. He must be better than 21-of-37 passing (207 yards, TD, INT) to win on The Farm. Charged with stopping the Ducks' complex and diverse offense is the leader of the Cardinal defense. The team’s leading tackler (7.8 per game) posted 10 tackles and 1.0 TFL in the upset win in Eugene last year but Skov means so much more to this team than just stats. His recognition skills will be tested the most by the zone-read-pass-run option Mariota brings to the table. One bad read and Oregon will make you pay in a big way. The pressure is on the Cardinal linebackers and Skov in particular this week.

Avery Patterson, CB vs. Ty Montgomery, WR (Oregon at Stanford, Thurs.)
Offensively, David Shaw wants to run the football and keep Oregon’s offense off the field. Everyone including Mark Helfrich knows this. Fans can bet that Nick Aliotti will scheme to stop Tyler Gaffney and the Cardinal O-line, forcing Kevin Hogan to make plays down the field. It falls to star wideout and big-play specialist Montgomery to stretch the defense. He has posted at least one catch of 30 yards in six of eight games and has two kickoff return touchdowns of at least 99 yards.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

LSU's "other" WR vs. Alabama’s “other” CB (LSU at Alabama)
Senior Deion Belue is an established veteran at one cornerback spot in the Alabama secondary. The other starter will be either sophomore Bradley Sylve or true freshman Eddie Jackson. These young corners will be facing an LSU offense that features two elite wide receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. There will be times when Sylve and/or Jackson will be matched up with an All-America-caliber receiver — no matter which wide receiver Belue is charged with checking. 

Anthony Johnson, DT vs. Ryan Kelly, C (LSU at Alabama)
LSU’s great players will have to play great on Saturday night. Johnson is the best player on a defense that has given up 400-plus yards in four of its last five SEC games. The Tigers need their big man to be disruptive on the interior of the defensive line. Kelly has missed time this season due to injury but is back in the lineup. He has never taken a snap against LSU in his career, so how he performs early against Johnson will be key for Alabama.

Frank Shannon, LB vs. Lache Seastrunk, RB (Oklahoma at Baylor, Thurs.)
Kansas State held Seastrunk to 59 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry, both season lows. Not coincidentally, Baylor was held to nearly 20 points off its scoring average for the year. Oklahoma’s run defense has been gouged at times this season, most notably against Texas. Seastrunk isn’t Baylor’s only weapon in the Bears’ prolific offense, but he does set the tone. Shannon has been banged up the last few weeks but the Sooners' leading tackler is back to full strength to face the explosive running back. This is a critical matchup for Oklahoma as only Kansas State has slowed the Bears' running game — and it nearly led to an upset.

Aaron Colvin, CB vs. Tevin Reese, WR (Oklahoma at Baylor, Thurs.)
Even if Oklahoma contains running back Lache Seastrunk, Baylor can still sneak its speedy receivers behind opposing defensive backs. Reese and Antwan Goodley both average better than 23 yards per catch with eight touchdowns apiece. Colvin is the savvy veteran while redshirt freshman Zack Sanchez has been a revelation this season as an intimidating hitter in the secondary.

Kyle Fuller, CB vs. Stephen Morris, QB (Virginia Tech at Miami)
With running back Duke Johnson sidelined for the rest of the year due to an ankle injury, the Hurricanes will probably ask Morris to shoulder more of the offensive workload. The senior completed 16 of 28 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State last week but also threw two interceptions. After struggling with an ankle injury earlier in the year, Morris looked closer to 100 percent in last week’s game. However, Morris has another tough assignment ahead this week, as Virginia Tech’s secondary ranks as one of the best in the nation. The Hokies are led by seniors Fuller and Antone Exum at cornerback, but freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller have combined for nine picks this year. With wide receiver Phillip Dorsett sidelined, Morris and Allen Hurns should be the go-to combination against Virginia Tech’s suffocating secondary.

Taysom Hill, QB vs. Chris Borland, LB (BYU at Wisconsin)
Marcus Trotter played very well in place of Borland last weekend in Iowa City, but there is no replacement for one of the best players in school history. And with an explosive, dual-threat quarterback coming to town, Badgers fans better hope Borland’s hamstring is fully healthy. BYU’s Taysom Hill is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, has 953 yards of total offense in his last two games and is coming off a bye week. This will be a difficult challenge for the stingy Badgers defense.


Top College Football Player Matchups to Watch in Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 10:22
Path: /nfl/washington-redskins-vs-minnesota-vikings-game-preview-and-prediction

Robert Griffin III and the 3-5 Washington Redskins will travel to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to take on Adrian Peterson and the 1-7 Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football on NFL Network at 8:25 pm ET. These two organizations were 2012 playoff teams, but have combined for a 4-12 record so far in 2013. The Vikings can't find a quarterback, while Robert Griffin III is trying to rediscover the quarterback he was a season ago.

Griffin III is still surrounded by talent with Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon and Alfred Morris at his disposal. Christian Ponder, however, will struggle to find someone to pass to with last week's injury to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Leslie Frazier needs to start winning to save his job, while the Redskins need this win to continue to see their season get back on the right track. This is the 23rd all-time meeting between the two franchises and the 18th time they've met in the regular season. The Redskins own a 9-8 advantage in the head-to-head series.

3 Things to Watch

Vikings Quarterback Carousel

The Vikings' problems on offense can be traced to their revolving door at quarterback. Minnesota has started three different signal-callers without much success. Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman have all been turned to in hope that they could be the answer. None of them have been. Still, Ponder has probably looked the most impressive thanks to his ability to extend plays with his legs. In fact, Ponder has four rushing touchdowns this season and three touchdown scrambles, both of which lead all NFL quarterbacks. His scrambling ability is especially important considering the Vikings' shaky offensive line. Vikings quarterbacks have been sacked 20 times, with the left side of Charlie Johnson and Matt Kalil being most troubling. Kalil has given up a sack, nine quarterback hits and 18 hurries after allowing one sack, four hits and 20 hurries all of last year. After getting the start last week, in which Ponder completed 68 percent of his passes for 236 yards and a touchdown, Leslie Frazier will turn to him once again tonight. This may be the perfect week to solidify the quarterback position as the Redskins defense is giving up 30 points per game.

Premier RBs

This matchup pits two of the NFL's most talented running backs and the top two rushers from a season ago. Adrian Peterson hasn't been the same dominant runner he was during his MVP season, but he still is fourth in the NFL in rushing yards, has seven touchdowns and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Peterson leads the NFL in rushing yards per game with 88.9. Peterson could be in for a big game as the Redskins own the NFL's 30th-ranked total defense and allow over 115 yards per game on the ground. Alfred Morris actually looks like he has improved from his impressive rookie campaign. He appears quicker and more decisive with his cuts and in choosing a hole. However, Morris really hasn't been given a large enough amount of carries this season. Of all running backs in the top five in rushing this year, Morris has the lowest number of carries with just 133. No one else in that group has fewer than 153 carries and the other four in the top five combine to average 165 carries on the year. Morris leads all running backs with 5.3 yards per carry.

Poor Secondaries

These are two of the NFL's worst secondaries. The Vikings are 29th in the NFL in passing defense, while the Redskins are 28th. Both allow nearly 300 yards per game through the air. Minnesota has an extremely inexperienced group that has been absolutely devastated by injuries. Chris Cook has battled injury issues all year, while rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes is still trying to get caught up with the more complex schemes of an NFL defense. Josh Robinson, though he has improved is without a doubt the man opposing quarterbacks choose to pick on for big plays. Look for Robert Griffin III to search out tight end Jordan Reed and wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who had a career game last week with seven catches for 172 yards. For the Redskins, the cornerback position is improved from last year. Second-round pick David Amerson has been a pleasant surprise and DeAngelo Hall is having the type of year he hasn't seen in a long time. Still, the Redskins have struggled immensely at the safety position. Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty have combined for just one pass defended and no interceptions. Six of the team's top 10 tacklers are in the secondary, which means that this is a defense that allows a large amount of receptions.

Key Player for Minnesota: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/KR
This is the Vikings' x-factor. Patterson has been Minnesota's most explosive weapon, outside of Adrian Peterson, contributing both on offense and on special teams. His 808 kick return yards lead the NFL and he has returned two for touchdowns. A big play by Patterson could swing this game.

Key Player for Washington: Robert Griffin III, QB
The Redskins go as Griffin goes. While his knee injury clearly limited him in the season's first half, it appears RG3 is getting back some of the quickness and agility he displayed in his rookie campaign. Though he has the offense ranked in the top 10, he has struggled with consistent play this year as he has thrown at least one interception in four straight games. He is 11th in the NFL with 2,169 passing yards. Griffin III has thrown for nine touchdowns and nine interceptions a season after having the best TD-to-interception ratio of any rookie quarterback, throwing 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. If there's any team and secondary for RG3 to get things going against, it's the Vikings.

Final Analysis

Poor Adrian Peterson continues to produce like the reigning MVP only to be surrounded by poor quarterback play and a dismal record. To me, this is a Vikings team that will likely fire Leslie Frazier and reboot their quarterback search after the season. The Redskins did have a poor start to the season, but played perhaps their most complete game of the season last week in their overtime win over the Chargers. I think this game will be a ground battle between Peterson and Alfred Morris against porous defenses. The Redskins' weapons will put them over the top and keep Washington within striking distance in the NFC East.

Washington 27, Minnesota 17

Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/baylor-bears-vs-oklahoma-sooners-2013-game-preview-and-prediction

Some conference title races are almost decided, but the battle to claim the Big 12 championship is just getting started. Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Thursday night in a crucial conference matchup, with the Bears also needing to impress to have any shot at playing for the national title. Baylor ranks No. 6 in the latest release of the BCS standings, so style points and winning big certainly wouldn’t hurt as coach Art Briles’ team attempts to close the gap on the top five.

Baylor has been on a steady climb under Briles, while Oklahoma has been one of the more consistent teams in the nation. The Sooners have at least 10 wins in six out of the last seven seasons and are 32-8 over the last three years.

This game doesn’t necessarily represent a changing of the guard in the Big 12, but Oklahoma has a 21-1 series edge against Baylor. The Bears have never won in Norman but claimed the 2011 matchup between these two teams. For the most part, the Sooners easily handled Baylor in the early 2000s. However, the last two meetings have been decided by eight points or less. Again, it’s unfair to say there’s a changing of the guard in the Big 12, but it’s clear Baylor is closing the gap on Oklahoma and Texas, and a win on Thursday night would be another huge moment in Briles’ tenure in Waco.

Just how excited are the fans in Waco? The tarp in the south endzone of Floyd Casey Stadium is gone, allowing around 3,500 more fans to attend Thursday night’s matchup. Considering Baylor had some of the worst teams of the BCS era under former coach Kevin Steele, a sold out stadium on a Thursday night with national title implications is a good indicator of how far this program has developed under Briles.

Oklahoma vs. Baylor

Kickoff: 7:30 ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
Spread: Baylor -15

Three Things to Watch

Baylor’s rushing attack vs. Oklahoma’s rush defense
Injuries hit Oklahoma’s defense hard earlier this season, as defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson were lost for the year. Losing Nelson and Phillips hurt Oklahoma’s ability to stop the run in Big 12 games, as Texas recorded 255 yards on Oct. 12 and Kansas rushed for 185 yards on Oct. 19. After having their share of struggles on the ground in Big 12 play, the Sooners will have their toughest assignment of the season against Baylor. The Bears average 6.0 yards per carry in conference-only games and lead the Big 12 with an average of 294.8 yards per game on the ground. Running back Lache Seastrunk is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball (9.1 ypc, 11 TDs), but the Bears can also use Shock Linwood (8.1 ypc) and 230-pound battering ram Glasco Martin. Expect Baylor to attack the interior of Oklahoma’s rush defense, especially with an offensive line that averages 314 pounds per play. Guard Cyril Richardson is one of the best in the nation, and he will be clearing the way for Seastrunk and Martin to attack Oklahoma’s suspect run defense.

Oklahoma’s offense and controlling the clock
The Sooners are in transition on offense this season. Although former quarterback Landry Jones had his share of ups and downs, the passing attack just isn’t the same with Blake Bell at the helm. Bell seems to be getting more comfortable in Oklahoma’s offense with each start, but the junior has thrown just four touchdowns to three interceptions in Big 12 games. Baylor wants to get Oklahoma into a shootout, which clearly favors the high-scoring Bears’ offense. The Sooners will try to counter with a ball control approach that dominates the time of possession. In Big 12 games, Oklahoma ranks third in the conference in time of possession by averaging 31 minutes a game. Running backs Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch will test Baylor’s defense, which is allowing 160 yards per game on the ground. The Bears struggled to stop Kansas State earlier this year, which used a similar blueprint on offense. 

Oklahoma’s secondary vs. Baylor’s receiving corps
While the Sooners have displayed a few leaks against the run, the secondary ranks No. 10 nationally against the pass. Oklahoma is allowing only 179.5 yards per game through the air, and Big 12 opponents have managed only six passing scores. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have played TCU, Texas and Kansas so far, but Oklahoma’s secondary gave Baylor fits last season. The Bears were held to 172 yards through the air, and quarterback Nick Florence completed only 12 of his 33 passes. New starter Bryce Petty doesn’t have Florence’s experience but is an upgrade in terms of talent. The junior is completing 69.3 percent of his throws and has only one interception on 176 attempts. Petty leads all FBS quarterbacks with 10 passing plays of 50 yards or more in 2013. And Baylor isn’t just Petty’s show, as receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese are each averaging over 20 yards per catch. This matchup will be the toughest one-on-one battle for Oklahoma’s secondary all year, with cornerbacks Zack Sanchez and Aaron Colvin under the microscope on Thursday night.

Key Players: Chuka Ndulue/Jordan Wade, DT, Oklahoma
If Oklahoma doesn’t win the battle at the point of attack, this one could get ugly. The Sooners don’t have to get pressure on Petty on every down, but the defense needs to prevent a repeat of what happened against Texas. Once the Longhorns were able to pound the rock, play-action passes opened up on the outside. Ndulue and Wade will have their hands full against a massive and effective Baylor offensive line. This duo has to keep Seastrunk in check, while disrupting Petty’s pocket when he drops back to pass.

Final Analysis

Baylor is off to an easy 7-0 start, but the competition is about to increase. The Bears have yet to play a Big 12 team with a winning record, and Oklahoma had 10 days to prepare for Baylor’s high-powered offense. Will it make a difference? The Bears are better on defense this season, but the Sooners should be able to get their ground game on track. If Oklahoma dominates the line of scrimmage and controls the clock, the Sooners will be in good shape to leave Waco with a win. However, Baylor simply has too much firepower, and the defense – just like it did against Kansas State – makes enough timely plays to pull out the victory.

Prediction: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 34

Baylor Bears vs. Oklahoma Sooners Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 08:47
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-11-preview-and-predictions-2013

Thursday night will set the tone for the remainder of the season in the Big 12 and perhaps the BCS race, but it won’t be the only important action in the Big 12 this week.

Not all of the four teams in Big 12 contention will be challenged this week — Oklahoma State faces Kansas — but Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas State all will be worth keeping an eye on.

Texas, 5-0 in the Big 12, will make its first trip in school history to Morgantown, where West Virginia already defeated Oklahoma State this season. This may be the Longhorns’ toughest test since defeating Oklahoma on Oct. 12 and the last game against an unranked team before facing Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor to finish the season.

In Lubbock, Texas Tech is just hanging on after losing to the Oklahoma schools in back-to-back weeks. The Red Raiders will face a Kansas State team that is only a shadow of the team that lost in Week 1 to North Dakota State.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big TenPac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Week 11 Game Power Rankings
All times Eastern, All games Saturday unless noted.

1. Oklahoma at Baylor (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Baylor is gearing up for perhaps the biggest month in school history or at least the biggest month since the late 1970s. But the rest of November won’t mean nearly as much if the 7-0 Bears don’t defeat Oklahoma for only second time in school history. Baylor’s first seven opponents were a combined 28-31 and 4-17 in the Big 12. The last five are 20-12 overall and 18-9 in the Big 12 with only a 3-6 TCU dragging those numbers down. Oklahoma’s defense has been inconsistent this season, in part because of season-ending injuries to linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. The Sooners, though, expect to have leading tackler Frank Shannon back after the linebacker missed the win over Texas Tech. The key may be to keep the Baylor offense off the field with long drives on offense: In Baylor’s only close game this season, the Bears amassed 58 plays against Kansas State (Baylor averages 79.4 plays per game). Oklahoma’s opponents are averaging a league-low 65.5 plays per game. Of course, if the OU defense can’t guard against the big play, it won’t matter how many drives Blake Bell and the offense sustain.

2. Kansas State at Texas Tech (noon, ABC regional)
The matchup in Lubbock will be an exercise in momentum. Kansas State has it. Texas Tech doesn’t. The Wildcats have won two in a row and played well in two previous losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor. Texas Tech has lost two in a row and didn’t look pretty in its last win at West Virginia. Kansas State’s passing game has rounded into shape in the last two weeks as quarterback Jake Waters and Daniel Sams are averaging 12.5 yards per attempt. The return of receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson helps, but Waters and Sams are also playing turnover-free. The Wildcats are plus-3 in turnover margin in the last two games after being minus-9 in the first six. Meanwhile, Texas Tech’s defense has slipped in recent weeks, against the run, in particular. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both topped 270 yards and five yards per carry against the Red Raiders.

3. Texas at West Virginia (7 p.m., Fox)
West Virginia got perhaps the key win toward bowl eligibility by defeating TCU last week (the Mountaineers have four wins and still have Kansas and Iowa State to play). Defeating Texas would upset the Big 12 race and be a mark of legitimacy for West Virginia’s season. The Longhorns offense under Case McCoy has stabilized in recent weeks thanks to the running back tandem of Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown. West Virginia, who is tied for the Big 12 lead in takeaways, held TCU to 60 rushing yards and 2.1 yards per carry last week.

4. TCU at Iowa State (noon, Fox Sports regional)
The hits keep coming for both teams. Iowa State has been eliminated from bowl contention, and TCU appears to be headed in the same direction after losing four of the last five. The Horned Frogs suspended running back Waymon James this week and lost receiver Brandon Carter to a leave of absence a week earlier. Meanwhile, Iowa State is down a starting linebacker, Luke Knott. Iowa State is continuing to have a issues at quarterback where freshman Grant Rohach may start in place of Sam Richardson.

5. Kansas at Oklahoma State (4 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
During the Big 12 season: Kansas trailed Texas 14-6 at halftime, led Oklahoma 13-0 at one point, tied TCU 10-10 at halftime and led Texas Tech 10-0 after the first quarter. The Jayhawks have lost those four games by a combined score of 150-65. If there’s a way for Kansas to make Big 12 futility a little more painful, maybe that’s it. Oklahoma State, with Clint Chelf at quarterback, is starting to look more and more like a Big 12 contender. Easily dispatching Kansas would further prove that.

Big 12 Week 11 Pivotal Players

Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Oklahoma-Baylor and more in Week 11 this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Kansas State held Seastrunk to 59 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry, both season lows. Not coincidentally, Baylor was held to nearly 20 points off its scoring average for the year. Oklahoma’s run defense has been gouged at times this season, most notably against Texas. Seastrunk isn’t Baylor’s only weapon in the Bears’ prolific offense, but he does set the tone.

Aaron Colvin and Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
Even if Oklahoma contains Seastrunk, Baylor can still sneak its speedy receivers behind opposing defensive backs. Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley both average better than 23 yards per catch with eight touchdowns apiece. Colvin is the savvy veteran while the redshirt freshman Sanchez has been a revelation this season as an intimidating hitter in the secondary.

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Amaro’s ability to catch the ball is not in question. He has 79 receptions in nine games, including 15 last week against Oklahoma State. Maybe it’s just bad luck, but Amaro also has two fumbles the last two weeks. Amaro fumbled a third-and-11 conversion last week, which was converted into an Oklahoma State touchdown. A week earlier, Amaro fumbled a third-and-3 conversion which Oklahoma converted into a 76-yard touchdown pass on the next play.

Charles Sims, West Virginia
The Houston transfer Sims had his best game of the season last week against TCU. Sims rushed for 154 yards and added 35 receiving yards in a two-touchdown day against TCU. Texas’ porous run defense appears to be a thing of the past, but you never know...

Casey Pachall, TCU
Pachall still has plenty of padding wrapped around his non-throwing arm, the one that was broken against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 7. But his other arm is just fine as he completed 40 of 58 passes for 394 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions against West Virginia. Pachall also found some good passer-receiver chemistry with his former backup QB, Trevone Boykin, who caught 11 passes against West Virginia. Pachall may be TCU’s only chance to be a respectable foe for the final months of the season.

Big 12 Week 11 Picks

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Oklahoma (+13) at BaylorBaylor 35-28Baylor 38-31Baylor 41-34Baylor 38-30
Kansas St (+3) at Texas TechKSU 31-27KSU 34-28Tech 34-31Tech 37-30
TCU (-7.5) at Iowa StTCU 14-10TCU 24-21TCU 27-17TCU 21-20
Kansas (+31) at Okla. StOSU 42-7OSU 52-17OSU 48-13OSU 48-3
Texas (-6.5) at West Va.Texas 28-17Texas 34-21Texas 31-24Texas 30-20
Last week3-12-22-23-1
This season45-1047-846-946-9


Big 12 Week 11 Preview and Predictions 2013
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-11-preview-and-predictions

It will be hard to match the dramatics and excitement of last weekend for the Big Ten. A Hail Mary in Lincoln, overtime comeback in Happy Valley, in-state domination in East Lansing and a back-and-forth final minute in Bloomington made the Big Ten the most entertaining conference in the nation in Week 10.

So what can the league do as an encore presentation this week? How about a historic and critical showdown in Ann Arbor? An unusual and physical non-conference game in Madison? And the next chapter of a potentially magic storybook season in Minneapolis?

Ohio State, Northwestern and Michigan State are off this weekend.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 11 Game Power Rankings:

1. Nebraska (+7) at Michigan (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
The luster has worn off what many thought could be the biggest Legends Division game of the season thanks to two losses by Michigan over the last three games. Nebraska still controls its own destiny in the division, however, after a Hail Mary saved the day against Northwestern last weekend. Taylor Martinez is once again unlikely to play and that could spell disaster for the Huskers on the road. The Wolverines are a different team in The Big House, averaging 46.6 points per game in Ann Arbor versus just 23.3 on the road. This includes a running game that averages twice as many yards at home (189.2) than on the road (97.7) — which also spells doom for a Black Shirts defense that has allowed 516 yards rushing the last two weeks. No matter where they play, the Maize and Blue have been excellent against the run, and with either Ron Kellogg III or Tommy Armstrong under center, Nebraska will need its running game this weekend more than ever.

2. BYU (+7.5) at Wisconsin (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
Wisconsin has hosted one non-conference game in November since 2006 (Cal Poly, 2008), so a visit from BYU this late in the year is unusual to say the least. This will be a much tougher test than the upset-minded Mustangs, however, as the Cougars bring a physical defense and play-making quarterback to Madtown. Quarterback Taysom Hill is sixth nationally in total offense, passing for 252.4 yards and rushing for 105.1 per game. Chris Borland is expected back in the lineup and will be charged with chasing down the dual threat. Quarterback Joel Stave will have to provide balance as the Cougars' front seven, led by star linebacker Kyle Van Noy, will be geared up to stop the explosive Badgers running game. This is a fantastic matchup of strengths between two excellent coaches who know a lot about each other. Bronco Mendenhall and Gary Andersen met four times when Andersen was at Utah State, with BYU taking three out of four from the Aggies.

3. Penn State (+2.5) at Minnesota (Noon, ESPN2)
The Golden Gophers haven’t gotten enough attention for what they have accomplished over the last month. After getting crushed by Iowa and Michigan, the Gophers have won three straight as more than a touchdown underdog. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson is coming off the best game of his career and returns home with a chance to stay in the Legends Division race on the back of a potent rushing attack. Penn State also has a young quarterback and powerful running game as Christian Hackenberg came through in the clutch and Bill Belton rushed for over 200 yards last week. The Nittany Lions have yet to win a true road game this year and should be prepared for a physical matchup in the Twin Cities. In a bizarre twist, this 12-game series has featured three four-game winning streaks, the most recent one belonging to PSU, who has won four straight since 2004. A win gives Minnesota eight wins for the first time since 2003.

4. Illinois (+10) at Indiana (3:30 p.m., BTN)
The Hoosiers have been stuck on three wins since Oct. 5 and the Illini have been at three wins since September. The combined seven-game losing streak has to come to an end this weekend as each team has few chances at victory the rest of the season. Both teams played well last weekend but lost in heart-breaking fashion. These are the worst two defenses in the league so both Nathan Scheelhaase and Nate Sudfeld should find success under center. Much like last weekend, whichever team has the ball last will get its long-awaited fourth win of the season.

5. Iowa (-15) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
Kirk Ferentz desperately needs to get to a bowl game and there will be no better chance for Iowa to get bowl eligible than against the Big Ten’s worst team. The Hawkeyes have struggled on offense for the better part of a month, topping 305 yards of offense just once in the last four games and being held to 17 points or fewer three times during that span. Having said that, it shouldn't take much to top the Boilermakers. Purdue has been outscored 114-7 over its last three games, including back-to-back shutouts in the last two.

Big Ten Week 11 Pivotal Players

Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss the exciting Week 10 in the Big Ten and preview the huge slate of action for Week 11 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Frank Clark, DL, Michigan
The team leader in sacks and tackles for a loss needs to come up big against an excellent Nebraska rushing attack and inexperienced quarterback. He could singlehandedly disrupt the Huskers passing attack and will be asked to clog up lanes and take on blockers so his talented linebackers are free to make plays against Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Terrell Newby. Clark didn’t register a single tackle against Nebraska last season.

2. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Marcus Trotter played very well in place of Borland last weekend in Iowa City, but there is no replacement for one of the best players in school history. And with an explosive, dual-threat quarterback coming to town, Badgers fans better hope Borland’s hamstring is fully healthy. BYU’s Taysom Hill is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, has 953 yards of total offense in his last two games and is coming off a bye week. This will be a difficult challenge for the stingy Badgers defense.

3. Joel Stave, QB, Wisconsin
The Cougars boast an excellent front seven designed to play physical ball and stop the run. It should match up fairly well with Wisconsin’s power rushing attack. It has allowed just four rushing scores all season on the ground, so Stave will have to be efficient and productive in the passing game. Stave has at least two touchdown passes in four straight games and will need to find Jared Abbrederis and Jacob Pedersen to stretch the field.

4. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Gophers' nose tackle has had an excellent season thus far. He leads his team in tackles for a loss (9.0) and has clogged up the middle of the offensive line all season. But he is playing his best football over the last few weeks and that has coincided with the Gophers' three-game winning streak. The Nittany Lions are coming off one of their best rushing performances of the season after rushing for 250 yards and two scores against Illinois. Hageman will need to be big in the middle once again for Tracy Claeys and Co.

5. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Certainly, Bill O’Brien will look to run the football against Minnesota, but he must get efficient play from his quarterback as well. Hackenberg has yet to win on the road because he has made some poor decisions against Indiana and Ohio State. Playing within the offense and making the right read will be critical this weekend for this Nittany Lion.

Big Ten Week 11 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Nebraska (+7) at MichiganMichigan, 38-28Nebraska, 34-31Michigan, 34-27Michigan, 35-21
BYU (+7.5) at WisconsinWisconsin, 34-28Wisconsin, 38-28Wisconsin, 27-24 BYU, 28-24
Penn St (+2.5) at MinnesotaMinn., 31-28 Minn., 24-20Minn., 30-27Minn., 27-21
Illinois (+10) at IndianaIndiana, 42-35Indiana, 41-34Indiana, 41-34Indiana, 42-28
Iowa (-15) at PurdueIowa, 38-13Iowa, 30-10Iowa, 34-13Iowa, 31-7
Last Week:6-05-15-16-0


2013 Big Ten Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-11-preview-and-predictions

This is what we have all been waiting for. Oregon at Stanford has been targeted all year as arguably the most important game of the season regardless of conference and now it is upon us with all the fanfare and excitement of two top-five teams. And it’s on primetime TV on a Thursday night. Buckle up, folks.

Certainly, Ducks-Cardinal will be electric, but that isn’t the only game to keep an eye on out West this weekend. Both UCLA and Arizona State have tough road tests while Arizona and USC are looking to toss their hats into the Pac-12 South title ring.

Week 11 might be the most important weekend of action in the Pac-12 all season. Oregon State and Washington State are off this weekend.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 11 Game Power Rankings

1. Oregon (-10.5) at Stanford (Thurs., 9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
This is the rematch the nation has been waiting for all season long and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota likely feels the same way. Mariota is 20-1 as a starter and hasn’t thrown an interception since the loss to Stanford last season. In fact, he has only gotten better with time, scoring 29 total touchdowns without an interception this season — and he’s leading the Heisman Trophy voting because of it. But he isn’t the only weapon the surging Cardinal defense — one that has 12 sacks in the last two games — will have to contend with on Thursday. De’Anthony Thomas appears to be healthy and Byron Marshall has been electric as the primary ball-carrier (8 TD in last three games). On the flip side, the Ducks defense is once again nationally underrated. It ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense (16.9 ppg) and sixth in takeaways (23) — both of which lead the Pac-12. Each team will run the football but will do so in a totally different fashion so it falls to Mariota and Kevin Hogan, who completed 70 percent of his passes in the road upset win last year, to make big plays down the field. This contest features the last four Pac-12 champs and will likely determine the winner again this season — and possibly much more. Oregon has won four of the last five in Palo Alto.

2. UCLA (-1.5) at Arizona (10 p.m., ESPN)
Once Saturday rolls around, the focus will shift from the North Division to the state of Arizona. The Wildcats and Bruins enter this game with identical records and identical expectations, making this a Pac-12 title elimination game. Rich Rodriguez’ team is surging after three straight wins on the legs of its elite backfield duo. B.J. Denker has posted 762 yards of total offense and five scores from under center in the last two games while Ka’Deem Carey is leading the nation in rushing (153.1 ypg) after 11 straight 100-yard games. Brett Hundley got his Bruins back on track against Colorado after two physical losses to the Ducks and Cardinal. He scored four times and racked up 345 yards of total offense last week. This was a 66-10 UCLA rout in L.A. last season but these two are much more evenly matched in Tucson this weekend.

3. Arizona State (-7) at Utah (4 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Utes play well at home and are in desperate need of another Pac-12 victory. But Arizona State is playing at another level on offense in the conference since losing to Stanford in Week 4. The Sun Devils have scored at least 53 points in four straight Pac-12 games and quarterback Taylor Kelly is playing the best football of his career after scoring seven times last week in Pullman. If Todd Graham's team wants to be considered the Pac-12 front-runner, this needs to be a workman-like, thorough victory for ASU. Especially, against a team that hasn’t beaten Sparky since 1976 (nine games).

4. USC (-16.5) at Cal (3 p.m., FOX)
Shockingly, the depleted Trojans are still very much in the Pac-12 South race after an unexpected road win over Oregon State and games with UCLA and Arizona looming. It means that Ed Orgeron’s squad can’t afford to slip up against teams like Cal. The Bears and their 124th-ranked defense (529.8 ypg) are reeling after losing their seventh straight game last week. Despite the injuries and offensive struggles, this should be an easy win for the Men of Troy. So, naturally, expect Sonny Dykes' team to play its best game of the year.

5. Colorado (+28) at Washington (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
After three straight losses, the Huskies bounced back with an easy 41-17 win over Cal at home. Keith Price (271.1 ypg passing) and Bishop Sankey (145.3 ypg rushing) were off last weekend and should have no issue rolling through the porous Buffaloes defense at home. Steve Sarkisian needs to put Colorado away early and get his team prepared for back-to-back road trips to UCLA and Oregon State. Staying healthy this Saturday is critical for a team that needs to win three of its last four to improve on three straight seasons of 7-6 football.

Pac-12 Week 11 Pivotal Players:

Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox preview the showdown between Oregon and Stanford as well as a solid undercard in the Pac-12 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
 Normally, I try to dig deep for more intriguing matchups from across the league. And while there are some interesting players to watch in the UCLA-Arizona (Jordan James, Scooby Wright) and Arizona State-Utah games (Trevor Reilly, Marion Grice), I find it more appropriate to focus on the gigantic Oregon-Stanford matchup in particular this week.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
There is no doubt the best player in the nation will be on full display against Stanford. Mariota’s Heisman and BCS national title hopes hang in the balance as he seeks revenge for the only loss in his career. His offense was held to regular-season lows in yards (405) and points (14) in last season's home loss to Stanford while he was held to a career-low one total touchdown. He must be better than 21-of-37 passing (207 yards, TD, INT) to win on The Farm. The Ducks will go as far as Mariota carries them.

2. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
Charged with stopping the Ducks' complex and diverse offense is the leader of the Cardinal defense. The team’s leading tackler (7.8 per game) posted 10 tackles and 1.0 TFL in the upset win in Eugene last year but means so much more to this team than just stats. His recognition skills will be tested the most by the zone-read-pass-run option Mariota brings to the table. One bad read and Oregon will make you pay in a big way. The pressure is on the Cardinal linebackers and Skov in particular this week.

3. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
Offensively, David Shaw wants to run the football and keep Oregon’s offense off the field. Everyone including Mark Helfrich knows this. Fans can bet that Nick Aliotti will scheme to stop Tyler Gaffney and the Cardinal O-line, forcing Kevin Hogan to make plays down the field. It falls to star wideout and big-play specialist Montgomery to stretch the defense. He has posted at least one catch of 30 yards or more in six of eight games and has two kickoff return touchdowns of at least 99 yards.

4. Ricky Havili-Heimuli and Wade Keliikipi, DT, Oregon
Tony Washington is having an excellent season rushing the passer off the edge, but it’s the heart of the Oregon defensive line that will be under fire this week. Stanford likes to line up with multiple tight ends and multiple fullbacks and run between the tackles, putting pressure on the heart of the defense. This means the 315-pound Havili-Heimuli, who is filling in for the injured Arik Armstead, and the 300-pound Keliikipi will need to play big up front. The duo played excellent football against UCLA, combining for 10.0 tackles in the win two weeks ago.

5. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
If Mariota and the rest of his electric backfield mates can make it past Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov, it falls to Reynolds to act as the last line of defense for Stanford. The All-American safety knows that being one foot out of place against Oregon can mean six points for the Ducks on any play, so his ability to fill against the run while piloting the secondary against an underrated passer like Mariota will be critical. He had six tackles against the Ducks last year.

Pac-12 Week 11 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Oregon (-10.5) at StanfordOregon, 27-21Oregon, 34-21 Oregon, 27-24 Oregon, 35-28 
UCLA (-1.5) at ArizonaUCLA, 38-34UCLA, 34-20 UCLA, 34-30 Arizona, 28-24 
Arizona St (-7) at UtahArizona St, 45-21 Arizona St, 28-10Arizona St, 45-24Arizona St, 38-28
USC (-16.5) at CalUSC, 24-13USC, 38-10USC, 38-17 USC, 31-13 
Colorado (+28) at WashingtonWash., 52-17Wash., 41-7Wash., 48-20Wash., 42-21
Last Week: 3-13-13-13-1


2013 Pac-12 Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-acc-week-11-preview-and-predictions

The ACC dominated the college football spotlight last Saturday, as Florida State-Miami took center stage as a top-10 matchup. The Seminoles handled the Hurricanes with ease, essentially locking up the Atlantic Division.

Miami’s Coastal Division title hopes are still alive, with a key matchup against Virginia Tech ahead this Saturday. The Hurricanes won’t have running back Duke Johnson due to injury, which means the offense needs more from quarterback Stephen Morris. The Hokies have lost back-to-back games, and the offense has struggled to get consistent play from quarterback Logan Thomas.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Pittsburgh hosts Notre Dame in a key game for the Panthers’ bowl hopes. Duke needs a win over NC State to have a shot in the Coastal Division, while Syracuse-Maryland is crucial for both teams to reach the postseason.

Florida State should roll over Wake Forest, and Boston College will have little trouble with New Mexico State.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Week 11 Game Power Rankings

1. Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Miami (7 ET, ESPN)
Despite Miami’s loss to Florida State, and Virginia Tech’s recent setbacks against Boston College and Duke, this matchup is still the game of the year in the Coastal Division. And for the second year in a row, the Hurricanes host the Hokies in Miami, but Virginia Tech has claimed three out of the last four in this series. With the Hurricanes losing running back Duke Johnson to an ankle injury for the rest of the year, and Virginia Tech struggling on offense, points could be at a premium on Saturday night. With Johnson sidelined, Miami will turn to capable backup Dallas Crawford (4.4 ypc) to lead the way on the ground. Quarterback Stephen Morris will also shoulder more of the workload, but the senior will be going against one of the top defensive backfields in the nation. Virginia Tech is holding opponents to just 161.6 yards per game through the air, and the secondary could get a boost with the return of Kyle Fuller from a groin injury. Crawford has played well in limited action, but the Hokies are holding opponents to just 3.4 yards per carry. Virginia Tech’s offense has scored over 20 points in just three out of the last seven games. Quarterback Logan Thomas has six interceptions in his last two starts, but the senior doesn’t have a strong supporting cast. Miami’s defense is allowing 5.9 yards per play against ACC teams, so there will be opportunities to make plays for Thomas. With both teams dealing with concerns on offense, this one could come down to which team wins the turnover battle or makes a key play on special teams.

2. Notre Dame (-4.5) at Pittsburgh (8 ET, ABC)
Close games have defined the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh series, with each of the last five meetings decided by five points or less. A similar result is expected on Saturday night, as the Panthers need a win to stay alive for the postseason, while the Fighting Irish have to win out to keep their BCS bowl hopes intact. Since losing to Oklahoma on Sept. 28, Notre Dame has won four in a row, including games over Michigan State and Oklahoma. The Fighting Irish aren’t as dominant on defense as they were in 2012, and this unit is dealing with a handful of injuries this week. Linebacker Ben Councell is out for the year with a knee injury, while linemen Sheldon Day and Louis Nix III are questionable, and Kona Schwenke is out with an ankle sprain. With a banged up defense, Pittsburgh will try to get its rushing game back on track. The Panthers were held to -5 yards against Georgia Tech, and freshman running back James Conner has only 32 yards in his last three games. The Fighting Irish are allowing 164.9 yards per game on the ground, but those numbers are skewed slightly by playing Air Force and Navy in back-to-back weeks. If Pittsburgh gets its ground game going, it should help take some of the pressure off of quarterback Tom Savage. The senior has been sacked 29 times this year and does not have a completion longer than 28 yards in his last three games. Notre Dame’s offense has scored 37 points or more in three out of the last four games, with balance a key part of the attack. Quarterback Tommy Rees is completing only 55.6 percent of his passes, but the senior has 22 touchdown tosses. The Fighting Irish have four players with at least 193 rushing yards, including freshman Tarean Folston who led the team with 140 yards last week. Considering the series trend, another nail-biter should be expected in the Steel City.

3. NC State (+9.5) at Duke (4 ET, ESPNU)
The Blue Devils are riding a four-game winning streak and have momentum from the Oct. 26 victory at Virginia Tech. With Miami losing to Florida State, Duke actually controls its destiny in the Coastal Division. The Hurricanes and Blue Devils meet in Durham next Saturday, but Duke still has one obstacle to clear before turning its focus to the Hurricanes. NC State is a team desperately looking for a win in ACC play. The Wolfpack are 0-5 in the conference in coach Dave Doeren’s first season. Quarterback Brandon Mitchell missed five games due to a foot injury, and the senior made his return to the lineup against Florida State. Mitchell rushed for 105 yards against North Carolina last week, but he has yet to throw for more than 130 yards in his last two starts and tossed four picks during that span. Junior Pete Thomas replaced Mitchell late in last week’s loss and may split time under center on Saturday. Duke’s defense doesn’t look particularly solid on the stat sheet (12th in the ACC in total defense), but this unit has allowed only 10 points in the second half in the last three games. With NC State’s struggles through the air, the Blue Devils should prepare to be tested on the ground. Duke’s offense has scored at least 30 points in four out of the last five games, and its balanced attack is a tough matchup for a Wolfpack defense allowing 30.8 points a game in ACC play. These two teams haven’t met since 2009, but NC State has won 11 out of the last 12 games in this series.

4. Syracuse (+6) at Maryland (3:30 ET, RSN)
With Syracuse at 4-4 and Maryland at 5-3, Saturday’s game is crucial to both team’s bowl hopes. The Orange scored a key win against Wake Forest last Saturday, while the Terrapins have lost three out of their last four games. Syracuse’s defense rebounded after a bad showing against Georgia Tech (56 points) to shut out the Demon Deacons. But Maryland should present a tougher challenge. The Terrapins should regain the services of quarterback C.J. Brown, who had a bye to heal from injuries that forced the senior to miss the 40-27 loss to Clemson. Brown started the year by throwing seven touchdowns in his first four games but has yet to score in an ACC game this year. With receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long sidelined for the season, Brown will be throwing to an inexperienced group of weapons. But opportunities for plays in the passing game should be available, especially with a Syracuse secondary allowing 233.4 yards per game. When the Orange has the ball, expect a run-first attack. Syracuse averages 235.8 rushing yards per game in conference play and will test a Maryland defense hit hard by injuries. The Terrapins rank 10th in ACC-only games against the run, which should allow running backs Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley plenty of room to maneuver. Quarterback Terrel Hunt is also a threat on the ground, but the sophomore has to avoid mistakes through the air (six interceptions in 131 attempts). These two schools have a connection, as Maryland coach Randy Edsall played at Syracuse and coached there as an assistant. This is also the first meeting between these two teams since 1994.

5. Florida State (-35) at Wake Forest (Noon, ABC)
After handling Miami 41-14 last Saturday, the Seminoles jumped to No. 2 in the BCS standings. But Florida State’s stay there could be brief if Oregon beats Stanford on Thursday night. Regardless of what happens around the nation, the Seminoles need to win impressively the rest of the way. And even though Wake Forest has won four out of the last seven games in this series, Florida State should have little trouble with the Demon Deacons on Saturday. Wake Forest’s offense has struggled throughout 2013, and top receiver Michael Campanaro is likely out for the rest of the year. Just how valuable was Campanaro? The Demon Deacons had 184 completions through nine games, and Campanaro had 67 catches and six of the 13 touchdown receptions. With Campanaro sidelined, quarterback Tanner Price needs more help from receivers Matt James, Tyree Harris Jonathan Williams, Sherman Ragland III and Jared Crump. For Wake Forest to have any shot at the upset, the offense has to play keep away and limit Florida State’s possessions. However, the Seminoles are averaging eight yards a play, and even if the Demon Deacons have any success with their quick, short-yardage passing attack, it’s hard to see quarterback Jameis Winston and one of the nation’s best supporting casts have much trouble scoring points on Wake Forest’s defense. 

6. Virginia (+13.5) at North Carolina (12:30 ET, ACC Network)
The Oldest Rivalry in the South has seen better days. Virginia limps into this game at 2-7 with a six-game losing streak, and North Carolina is fighting to get bowl eligible. The Tar Heels will have to play the rest of the season without quarterback Bryn Renner, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s win against NC State. However, backup Marquise Williams is a good fit for coach Larry Fedora’s spread attack and has one start (Virginia Tech) this year. Williams has led North Carolina’s offense in rushing in the last two games, but freshman back T.J. Logan averaged 8.6 yards per carry last week and should have a bigger role in the offense moving forward. Finding a spark on offense has been a season-long experiment for the Cavaliers. Quarterback David Watford completed just 16 of 35 throws last week and has tossed 10 picks to just seven scores. Watford will have a chance to rebound against North Carolina’s defense, which is allowing 423 yards per game. But the Tar Heels have showed signs of life on defense the last two weeks, holding Boston College to 10 points on Oct. 26 and NC State to 19 last week. North Carolina has claimed the last three meetings in this series by a combined score of 109-40.

7. Boston College (-24) at New Mexico State (3:30 ET, ESPN3)
In one of the strangest road trips of 2013, Boston College has to make a lengthy trek to Las Cruces, N.M. this weekend for a late-season non-conference game. This will be the first meeting between these two schools, which are separated by just over 2,300 miles. However, there is a connection for the two programs, as New Mexico State coach Doug Martin served as Boston College’s offensive coordinator in 2012. Even though this is an extended road trip for the Eagles, the Aggies shouldn’t put up much of a fight. New Mexico State is 1-8, with its only win coming against Abilene Christian. The Aggies are struggling on the stat sheet, ranking 85th nationally in total offense and 123rd nationally in scoring defense. Boston College running back Andre Williams has at least 149 yards in four out of his last five games and should have no trouble finding running room against a New Mexico State defense allowing 312.1 rushing yards per game.

ACC Week 11 Pivotal Players

Kelby Brown, LB, Duke
NC State’s passing attack has struggled the last two weeks, but quarterback Brandon Mitchell is capable of rushing for 100 yards. Mitchell could share time with Pete Thomas on Saturday, but the senior will still be utilized on the ground. In addition to Mitchell, running back Shadrach Thornton has rushed for at least 60 yards in each of NC State’s last three games. Duke’s defense ranks 12th in ACC-only games against the run, allowing 197.8 yards per game, but opponents have managed only five rushing scores. Considering the Wolfpack’s struggles with their passing game, the Blue Devils need to shut down the rushing attack and force Mitchell or Thomas to win this game through the air. Brown and linebacker mate David Helton were outstanding in the win over Virginia Tech and need another standout performance on Saturday.

Trey Edmunds, RB, Virginia Tech
Quarterback Logan Thomas has struggled with turnovers in each of his last two games, and the senior passer needs more help from his supporting cast. Edmunds is the top running back for Virginia Tech but has only 447 yards and five scores through nine games. Miami’s rush defense allowed 192 yards to Florida State last week, and ACC opponents are averaging 4.1 yards per carry against this unit in 2013. Edmunds has not recorded more than 14 carries in an ACC game this year. With Thomas coming off back-to-back sluggish performances, Edmunds needs to step up and give Virginia Tech’s offense a little balance.

Cory King, OG/Artie Rowell, C, Pittsburgh
The Panthers have struggled to get consistent production from their offensive line this year. Quarterback Tom Savage has been sacked 29 times this year, and Notre Dame’s defensive line could have reinforcements back this week, as Louis Nix III could return from a knee injury. Teammate Sheldon Day is questionable with an ankle injury, which makes Nix III and end Stephon Tuitt’s performance even more critical to Notre Dame’s defensive success on Saturday night. Pittsburgh’s line could hold the key to a victory, especially if the front five can get a good push on the Fighting Irish and open rushing lanes for running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett.

Stephen Morris, QB, Miami
With running back Duke Johnson sidelined for the rest of the year due to an ankle injury, the Hurricanes will probably ask Morris to shoulder more of the offensive workload. The senior completed 16 of 28 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State last week but also threw two interceptions. After struggling with an ankle injury earlier in the year, Morris looked closer to 100 percent in last week’s game. However, Morris has another tough assignment ahead this week, as Virginia Tech’s secondary ranks as one of the best in the nation. The Hokies are led by seniors in Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum at cornerback, but freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller have combined for nine picks this year. With Phillip Dorsett sidelined, Morris and receiver Allen Hurns should be the go-to combination against Virginia Tech’s suffocating secondary.

Sherman Ragland III, WR, Wake Forest
With Michael Campanaro out for the season with a collarbone injury, Ragland III and injured freshman receiver Tyree Harris have to pickup the slack in the passing game. Ragland III led the team with 10 receptions for 91 yards in last week’s game against Syracuse and should be the No. 1 option on Saturday. Florida State’s secondary is arguably the best in the nation, so Ragland III and quarterback Tanner Price won’t have much room for error. But if the Demon Deacons have any hope of scoring the upset, the passing attack has to keep the chains moving, especially with a lackluster rushing game.

ACC Week 11 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
FSU (-35) at WakeFSU 38-14FSU 45-17FSU 51-10FSU 41-7
Virginia (+13.5) at UNCUNC 28-21UNC 31-17UNC 31-20UNC 23-10
Boston College (-24) at NMSUBC 35-10BC 31-10BC 41-17BC 41-7
Syracuse (+6) at MarylandMaryland 21-14Maryland 31-28Maryland 27-24Maryland 24-20
NC State (+9.5) at DukeDuke 31-13Duke 34-24Duke 31-24Duke 30-24
Virginia Tech (+6.5) at MiamiVa. Tech 24-17Miami 24-20Miami 24-20Miami 21-10
Notre Dame (-4.5) at PittsburghND 35-14ND 34-24ND 27-24ND 30-21
Season Record64-1765-1664-1766-15


2013 ACC Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-11-preview-and-predictions-2013

The annual Alabama-LSU clash is the main attraction on the SEC slate this weekend, but there are other games of note. Auburn remains in contention in the SEC West, but the Tigers will have to play well to beat Tennessee — a team that has been tough at home. Elsewhere, Florida hopes to stop the bleeding against Vanderbilt; Texas A&M closes out its home schedule with a visit from Mississippi State; Ole Miss, fresh off a bye, hosts struggling Arkansas; and Missouri heads to Lexington to play a Kentucky team searching for its first SEC win of the season.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions: ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 

SEC Week 11 Game Power Rankings

1. LSU (+12.5) at Alabama (8 ET, CBS)
LSU’s two losses have knocked the Tigers out of the national title conversation, but this is still a very good team that is capable of winning in Tuscaloosa. The LSU staff has to be a bit concerned with quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The fifth-year senior has thrown five interceptions in the last two games after throwing a total of two in his first seven games. You have to be nearly perfect to beat Alabama — just ask Johnny Manziel. The Crimson Tide have been on a mission since giving up 42 points (in a win) at Texas A&M. Alabama has outscored its last six opponents 246-46, with the “closest” victories by 25 points, over Colorado State and Ole Miss.

2. Auburn (-7.5) at Tennessee (12 ET, ESPN)
Amazingly, these two traditional powers combined to win one SEC game last season — by Tennessee, over Kentucky (which went winless in the league). Auburn has made a quick turnaround, with an 8-1 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the SEC. The biggest improvement has been on offense, where the Tigers’ production is up by nearly 200 yards per game, from 305.0 in 2012 to 494.9 in ’13. Things are going a bit slower at Tennessee, where Butch Jones is 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the SEC in his first season. The Vols, however, have been good at home in league play, losing in overtime to Georgia and beating South Carolina. Josh Dobbs did some good things in his first start last week at Missouri, but he threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. He will have to limit the mistakes to give his team a chance to win on Saturday.

3. Vanderbilt (+10) at Florida (12 ET, FSN)
These are not good times for Florida football. The Gators have lost three straight games to fall to 3-3 in the SEC — and the three teams they beat have a combined one win in league play. They rank last in the SEC in total offense (334.6 ypg) and are the only team in the league averaging less than 4.0 yards per play. Florida will need to split its final four games (Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, Florida State) to become bowl-eligible. Vanderbilt, like Florida, is 4-4 overall, but the Commodores — against a more difficult schedule — have only one SEC win, at home vs. Georgia. Redshirt freshman Patton Robinette will be making his second start at quarterback. He completed 15-of-28 for 216 yards with one touchdown and two INTs at Texas A&M two weeks ago. Vanderbilt has not defeated Florida since 1988 and has only one win over the Gators in Gainesville, in 1945.

4. Mississippi State (+19.5) at Texas A&M (3:30 ET, CBS)
It’s the final game at Kyle Field before the renovations begin. The Aggies have been brilliant on offense this season, scoring at least 41 points in all nine games and topping the 500-yard mark in all but one game. The defense, however, is an issue. Even after holding Vanderbilt to 329 yards and UTEP to 198 yards, A&M is still last in the league in total defense, allowing 443.1 yards per game. Mississippi State, despite its struggles, has been able to move the ball this season. Last week, the Bulldogs had 385 yards against South Carolina, breaking a streak of six straight games with at least 400 yards. Dak Prescott, who leads State in rushing and passing, is a dual-threat quarterback who should have success against the Aggies’ defense. The key, though, will be Mississippi State’s ability to slow down Johnny Manziel & Co. — something that no team has been able to do this season.

5. Arkansas (+17) at Ole Miss (12:21 PM, SEC TV)
Ole Miss dives back in to SEC play for the first time since beating LSU on Oct. 19. The Rebels, at 5-3 overall, are set up for a strong finish. Beating Missouri at home (on Nov. 23) will be a challenge, but Ole Miss could be favored in each of the last four games. An 8-4 regular season, considering the tough schedule and amount of key injuries, would be a great accomplishment for Hugh Freeze and his staff. Arkansas’ staff, on the other hand, is simply looking to win a game. The Hogs have lost five straight games — all in SEC play. Their “closest” loss was by 12 points at home to Texas A&M in late September. This is a mediocre team that is playing with no confidence.

6. Missouri (-14) at Kentucky (12 ET, ESPNU)
Missouri showed its maturity last week by taking care of Tennessee with ease one week after it’s devastating loss to South Carolina. Quarterback James Franklin is listed as questionable on the Tigers’ depth chart, but Maty Mauk is likely to get the start for the fourth straight game. The best plan of attack would be to rest Franklin for one more game then have him ready for Ole Miss after a bye week. Kentucky is searching for its first SEC win of the season. The Wildcats are battling under first-year coach Mark Stoops, but there just isn’t enough talent on this roster at this point. The defense has really struggled in league play, allowing 492.5 yards per game and 6.94 yards per play. Those numbers might go up after Saturday.

7. Appalachian State (+31.5) at Georgia (12:30 ET)
Georgia’s season hasn’t gone quite as well as expected, but Bulldog fans can’t be too upset with a team that already has wins over South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee and Florida on its résumé. The return of Todd Gurley last week provided a big boost, as expected. The sophomore tailback rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 87 yards, highlighted by a 73-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Appalachian State has fallen on hard times under first-year coach Scott Satterfield. The Mountaineers are 2-7 overall and will have the school’s first losing season since 1993.

SEC Week 11 Pivotal Players

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger was one of the SEC’s best quarterbacks through the first half of the season. He averaged at least 10 yards per attempt in five of his first six games and only threw two interceptions through the first seven games. In his last two SEC games, however, Mettenberger has been rather ordinary, averaging 213 yards with a combined one touchdown and three interceptions. He can’t be ordinary on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. He has to be elite.

Alabama’s “other” cornerbacks
Senior Deion Belue is an established veteran at one cornerback spot in the Alabama secondary. The other starter will be either sophomore Bradley Sylve or true freshman Eddie Jackson. These young corners will be facing an LSU offense that features two elite wide receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. There will be times when Sylve and/or Jackson will be matched up with an All-America-caliber receiver.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
LSU’s great players will have to play great on Saturday night. Johnson is the best player on a defense that has given up 400-plus yards in four of its last five SEC games. The Tigers need their big man to be disruptive on the interior of the defensive line.  

Tennessee’s offensive line
The Vols’ offensive line is loaded with future pros, but the unit has been underwhelming in 2013. Last week, Tennessee was manhandled in the trenches in a 31-3 loss. With a true freshman at quarterback (Josh Dobbs), Tennessee needs its offensive line to play well this week against Auburn. The Tigers are perhaps the most improved team in the nation, but the defense is mediocre. Tennessee should have some success moving the ball — if its offensive line plays up to its ability.

Patton Robinette, QB, Vanderbilt
Florida is vulnerable. The Gators have lost three straight games and have not defeated an SEC team with a winning record. Can Vanderbilt pull off the upset in Gainesville? It’s possible if Robinette, a redshirt freshman making his second career start, plays well and does not turn the ball over. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light  

Auburn (-7.5) at Tennessee 

Auburn 31-24Auburn 37-21Auburn 34-17Auburn 27-24  

Vanderbilt (+10) at Florida 

Florida 17-14Florida 24-17Florida 24-17Florida 28-17  

Missouri (-14) at Kentucky 

Missouri 35-13Missouri 38-13Missouri 38-13Missouri 28-7  

Arkansas (+17) at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 42-17Ole Miss 38-17Ole Miss 41-20Ole Miss 27-17  

App. State (+31.5) at Georgia

Georgia 38-10Georgia 44-13Georgia 52-10Georgia 47-10  

Miss. St. (+19.5) at Texas A&M 

A&M 56-21A&M 44-24A&M 48-24A&M 44-34  

LSU (+12.5) at Alabama 

Alabama 35-21Alabama 34-17Alabama 30-20Alabama 35-24  
Last Week6-06-06-06-0  


SEC Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-ncaa-tournament-projections

It’s difficult enough to build a bracket in mid-March when conference tournaments are starting, the RPI is available and strength of schedule is established.

That won’t stop Athlon from taking an attempt to build the bracket in November as the first games begin at the end of the week. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for the next Florida Gulf Coast or Wichita State.

We’ll be back looking at the bubble and seedings in February, but for now, here’s our first Bracket Breakdown, including team previews for much of the field.

2013-14 NCAA Tournament Projections
*indicates projected conference champion

1Kentucky*Louisville*Duke*Michigan State*
2Oklahoma StateFloridaKansas*Arizona*
3SyracuseNorth CarolinaOhio StateMichigan
4CreightonMarquette*New Mexico*Notre Dame
7Wichita State*Boise StateGonzaga*Harvard*
8IndianaSan Diego StateSaint LouisVirginia
11CincinnatiIowa StateSt. John'sFlorida State
12New Mexico State*Louisiana Tech*PurdueArizona State
13Western Kentucky*Buffalo*Iona*Green Bay*
14North Dakota State*Boston U*Towson*UC Irvine*
15Eastern Kentucky*Florida Gulf CoastElon*Montana*
16Northwestern State*LIU Brooklyn*Southern*High Point*
 Norfolk State*Vermont*  

NCAA Tournament Field by Conference

ACC (7): Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia
America East: Vermont
American (4): Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Memphis
Atlantic 10 (3): Saint Louis, UMass, VCU
Big 12 (4): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State
Big East (6): Creighton, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John’s, Villanova, Xavier
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: High Point
Big Ten (7): Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Big West: UC Irvine
Colonial: Towson
Conference USA: Louisiana Tech
Horizon: Green Bay
Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Iona
MAC: Buffalo
MEAC: Norfolk State
Missouri Valley: Wichita State
Mountain West (4): Boise State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV
Northeast: LIU Brooklyn
Ohio Valley: Eastern Kentucky
Pac-12 (5): Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
Patriot: Boston University
SEC (5): Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Tennessee
Southern: Elon
Southland: Northwestern State
Summit: North Dakota State
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
SWAC: Southern
WAC: New Mexico State
West Coast: Gonzaga


ACC: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, NC State
American: SMU, Temple
Atlantic 10: Dayton, La Salle, Rhode Island
Big 12: Kansas State, Oklahoma
Big East: Providence, Seton Hall
Big Ten: Illinois, Minnesota
Colonial: Drexel
MAC: Akron
Missouri Valley: Bradley, Indiana State, Northern Iowa
Mountain West: Utah State
Pac-12: Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington
SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
West Coast: BYU, Saint Mary’s

2013-14 NCAA Tournament Projections
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-positional-rankings-week-10

Unlike the past two weeks, only four teams are on bye in Week 10. While it will be tough for some fantasy owners to contend without the services of their Browns, Chiefs, Jets and Patriots this week (especially those who have Jamaal Charles, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski or the Chiefs DST on their roster), the toughest break came on Monday night.

Aaron Rodgers hit the Lambeau Field turf hard in the first quarter following a sack by Chicago's Shea McCllelin, causing him to leave the game and not return. We found out later that Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone on that play, which will result in him missing at least three weeks. Not only does this mean a top-10 overall fantasy player is sidelined for several games, but this injury also will impact the fantasy production of all of Green Bay's offensive skill players.

A replacement can be found for Rodgers, although some degree of drop-off almost has to be expected, but those who have Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, James Starks and Jarrett Boykin in their lineup can only hope for the best from backup Seneca Wallace or whomever ends up under center for the Packers during his absence. At least Sunday's home date with Philadelphia is against the league's worst defense.

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

2013 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams


Week 10 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Fantasy Football 2013 Positional Rankings: Week 10
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-kicker-rankings-week-10

Denver is back from its bye, which means Matt Prater is back atop Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 10 kicker rankings. But while Prater benefits from kicking for the Broncos' prolific offense, New Orleans' Garrett Hartley gets plenty of his own opportunities to test his leg.

Hartley has a total of 21 field goal attempts so far this season, with more than half (11) of those coming from 40 yards and out. Hartley has made seven of these tries, including a 55-yarder against the Jets last week. The only kickers in the NFL with more attempts from 40 and out are Houston's Randy Bullock with 15 and the Jets' Nick Folk with 12.

Folk is a perfect 12-for-12 from this distance and on bye this week, while Bullock has struggled mightily. The second-year kicker has connected on just 13 of 21 field goal attempts overall (61.9 percent) and Bullock has made just seven of his 15 (46.7) attempts from 40 yards out with a season-long of 48 yards. This is why Hartley is a top-10 option this week, while Bullock has basically fallen off of the fantasy radar.

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

2013 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers
Teams on bye this week: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets

1Matt PraterDENat SD
2Steven HauschkaSEAat ATL
3Mason CrosbyGBvs. PHI
4Dan BaileyDALat NO
5Adam VinatieriINDvs. STL
6Justin TuckerBALvs. CIN
7Garrett HartleyNOvs. DAL
8Robbie GouldCHIvs. DET
9Nick NovakSDvs. DEN
10Shaun SuishamPITvs. BUF
11David AkersDETat CHI
12Phil DawsonSFvs. CAR
13Josh BrownNYGvs. OAK
14Dan CarpenterBUFat PIT
15Graham GanoCARat SF
16Blair WalshMINvs. WAS (Thurs.)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams


Week 10 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings: Week 10
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-defspecial-teams-rankings-week-10

Seattle has not been at its best lately, but the Seahawks maintain their position as No. 1 on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 10 defense/special teams rankings because of their matchup. On paper, the game in Atlanta is a rematch of last season's NFC Divisional playoff contest, but this Falcons team is a far cry from the 2012 edition. The defending NFC South champs have been devastated by injuries on both sides of the ball and find themselves at 2-6 entering the second half of their schedule.

The Falcons haven't been anywhere near as potent on offense this season, thanks in part to the league's worst rushing attack. That is the one area that Seattle's defense has struggled with recently, giving up more than 200 yards rushing in each of its last two games. That doesn't appear to be a problem for the Seahawks' D this week, as the unit will instead focus their ball-hawking efforts on a Falcons offense that has committed eight turnovers in the past two games.

While Seattle hand its hands full at home last week with Tampa Bay, Miami's defense flexed its muscles against Cincinnati last Thursday. The Dolphins gave up 465 yards of offense to the Bengals, but the defense sacked Andy Dalton five times and picked him off three times, including a Brent Grimes 94-yard interception return for a touchdown. Cameron Wake was the star of the game, however, as he had 3.5 of the team's five sacks, the last being a walk-off safety to give the Dolphins the win in overtime. This week, Wake and his defensive mates have their sights set on a Tampa Bay offense that is starting a backup at quarterback and running back and is next to last in the league in both total and scoring offense.

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

2013 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams
Teams on bye this week: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets

1Seattle Seahawksat ATLHave given up 200+ rushing yards in each of past 2 games.
2San Francisco 49ersvs. CARComing off of bye, could get Aldon Smith back this week.
3Arizona Cardinalsvs. HOUCardinals D: 18.5 ppg, 11 TOs forced in four home games.
4Cincinnati Bengalsat BALLoss of All-Pro DT Geno Atkins (ACL) hurts Bengals D.
5Tennessee Titansvs. JACJags last in total offense (286.5 ypg) and scoring (10.8 ppg).
6Carolina Panthersat SFPanthers are 3rd in total defense, 2nd in scoring and vs. rush.
7Indianapolis Coltsvs. STLZac Stacy will test Colts' 27th-ranked rushing defense.
8Miami Dolphinsat TB (Mon.)Cameron Wake (3.5 sacks, safety, FR) a force vs. CIN.
9Baltimore Ravensvs. CINRavens have given up just 1 rushing touchdown in 8 games.
10Pittsburgh Steelersvs. BUFSteelers gave up franchise-worst 55 pts. And 610 yds. to NE.
11Denver Broncosat SDDifferent D with Von Miller in lineup, 266 yards allowed vs. WAS.
12Green Bay Packersvs. PHIDefense needs to step vs. Eagles w/ no Rodgers at QB.
13Houston Texansat ARITexans No. 1 vs. pass, but just 3 INTs (vs. 13 TDs), 20 sacks.
14New Orleans Saintsvs. DALSaints D: 14.5 ppg, 11 total TOs forced in four home games.
15St. Louis Ramsat INDRams tied for 3rd in the NFL with 29 sacks.
16New York Giants G-Men playing better D: 203 ypg, 7 ppg, 6 TOs over last 2 G.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


Week 10 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football 2013 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 10
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-tight-end-rankings-week-10

Is there really any question who is atop Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 10 tight end rankings? If Jimmy Graham can continue to dominate the position while playing with a bad case of plantar fasciitis, we may as well just retire the No. 1 spot to him and be done with it. In "limited" action the past two weeks, all Graham has done is catch 12 passes for 153 yards and four touchdowns. He leads the NFL with 10 touchdown receptions, is fifth in receiving yards (746) and tied for 10th in receptions (49) and he's at less than 100 percent? Unreal.

With Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Cameron both on bye, which tight end will be the one to try and challenge Graham for top scoring honors in Week 10? Against Minnesota, Tony Romo connected with Jason Witten for his second 100-yard game this season, but this week Witten faces a New Orleans defense that is allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Other games on the schedule include San Diego-Denver and Carolina-San Francisco, matchups that feature top-10 fantasy tight end options across the board. However, this does not mean significant fantasy production is a given for any of them.

Denver's Julius Thomas sustained an ankle injury in his last game and it remains to be seen if the bye week provided enough time for him to heal completely. On the other side is San Diego's Antonio Gates, who is facing a very different Denver defense now that All-Pro linebacker Von Miller is back in the lineup. Out in San Francisco, Vernon Davis and the 49ers face a Panthers defense that is third in yards and second in points allowed, while Greg Olsen goes up against a defense that is coming off of a bye and could have All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith back in the lineup.

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

2013 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends
Teams on bye: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets

1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. DALWent for 9-116-2 last week w/ limited snaps, bad foot.
2Vernon DavisSFvs. CARDavis will be needed vs. stingy Panthers D.
3Jason WittenDALat NOPosted second 100-yard game of season last week.
4Julius ThomasDENat SDHope is bye week allowed sprained ankle to heal.
5Antonio GatesSDvs. DENHas 65 rec. for 821 yds. and 6 TDs in 15 G vs. DEN.
6Tony GonzalezATLvs. SEATD catch vs. Panthers Gonzo's first since Week 4.
7Jordan ReedWASat MIN (Thurs.)Minnesota has given up 7 TD catches to TEs.
8Martellus BennettCHIvs. DETHad season-best 8 rec., 90 yds. vs. DET in Week 4.
9Greg OlsenCARat SF49ers have been tough on TEs.
10Coby FleenerINDvs. STLAveraged 21.4 ypc on 3 catches vs. Texans.
11Charles ClayMIAat TB (Mon.)Really needs to score to be valuable.
12Heath MillerPITvs. BUFJust 79 yards receiving in last 3 games combined.
13Timothy WrightTBvs. MIA (Mon.)Quickly becoming No. 2 target for Bucs.
14Garrett GrahamHOUat ARICardinals allowing most fantasy pts. to TEs.
15Jared CookSTLat INDColts have surrendered 1 TD catch to a TE.
16Scott ChandlerBUFat PITOther than Gronk, Steelers have fared well vs. TEs.
17Brandon PettigrewDETat CHIBears have given up 53 catches, but just 2 TDs to TEs.
18Brandon MyersNYGvs. OAKSince Week 1: 16-199-0, incl. 2 games w/ 0 rec.
19Delanie WalkerTENvs. JACJags giving up fourth-most fantasy pts. to TEs.
20John CarlsonMINvs. WAS (Thurs.)In line for more targets with Rudolph out (broken foot).
21Brent CelekPHIat GBJoined in on the TD fun vs. Raiders last week.
22Jermaine GreshamCINat BAL 
23Dallas ClarkBALvs. CIN 
24Tyler EifertCINat BALGresham continues to eat into opportunities.
25Andrew QuarlessGBvs. PHI 
26Joseph FauriaDETat CHI 

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams


Week 10 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football 2013 Tight End Rankings: Week 10
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-wide-receiver-rankings-week-10

Calvin Johnson is the undisputed top choice for Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 10 wide receiver rankings, but he's not the only wideout with the last name of Johnson putting up ridiculous numbers. Houston's Andre Johnson did his best Megatron impression last Sunday night by posting nine catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns against Indianapolis. Even better for owners of the Texans' All-Pro receiver is that he did this with unheralded Case Keenum as his quarterback. The duo will look to replicate their success this Sunday on the road against Arizona.

Johnson isn't the only premier wide receiver thriving with a backup quarterback either. Chicago's Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in the Bears' Monday night win in Green Bay with Josh McCown at quarterback in place of an injured Jay Cutler. Alshon Jeffery also hauled in a TD from McCown, making both relatively safe options this week against Detroit regardless of whether it's Cutler or McCown under center.

The same can't be said for Green Bay's Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin, at least not yet. The Packers will host the Eagles without Aaron Rodgers leading their offensive attack. Rodgers will miss at least three weeks after breaking his collarbone in the Monday night loss to the Bears, which means Seneca Wallace will get his opportunity, at least for the time being. Wallace was less than impressive (114 yards, INT) in relief of Rodgers, although he does get a favorable matchup with the NFL's worst defense coming to Lambeau Field. Can Wallace do enough in the passing game to keep Nelson, Jones and Boykin fantasy relevant? Their owners certainly hope so.

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

2013 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers
Teams on bye: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets

1Calvin JohnsonDETat CHIIn his last game he went for 14-329-1.
2Brandon MarshallCHIvs. DETWent for 107 yards and a TD on MNF vs. Packers.
3A.J. GreenCINat BALHas posted four straight 100-yard games.
4Demaryius ThomasDENat SDChargers allowing fifth-most fantasy points to WRs.
5Wes WelkerDENat SDLeads WRs with nine TD catches.
6Dez BryantDALat NOSaints are fifth in NFL in passing defense.
7Andre JohnsonHOUat ARIHooked up w/ Keenum for huge (9-229-3) night.
8Antonio BrownPITvs. BUFBills have yielded NFL-worst 15 TD catches to WRs.
9DeSean JacksonPHIat GBHappy to have Foles back, 5-150-1 vs. Raiders.
10Victor CruzNYGvs. OAKEagles' WRs ran free all day vs. Raiders last week.
11Jordy NelsonGBvs. PHIWhat does Rodgers' injury mean for his production?
12Eric DeckerDENat SDHe gives Broncos 3 top-15 fantasy WRs.
13Vincent JacksonTBvs. MIA (Mon.)Legion of Boom held VJax to 2 catches for 11 yards.
14Pierre GarconWASat MIN (Thurs.)Posted career-high 172 yards receiving vs. Chargers.
15T.Y. HiltonINDvs. STLHuge second-half (3 TDs) vs. Texans last week.
16Larry FitzgeraldARIvs. HOUShould be close to 100 percent healthy after bye.
17Keenan AllenSDvs. DENRookie has staked claim as Chargers' No. 1 WR.
18Alshon JefferyCHIvs. DETDeveloping into bona fide No. 2 WR.
19Torrey SmithBALvs. CINShould find more room to work this week vs. CIN.
20Cecil ShortsJACat TENBurden falls to him w/ Blackmon suspended indefinitely.
21Hakeem NicksNYGvs. OAKComing off of bye, faces porous Raiders pass D.
22Harry DouglasATLvs. SEAFaces tough test vs. Seahawks' physical secondary.
23Denarius MooreOAKat NYGStill a top-25 fantasy WR despite Pryor's struggles.
24Anquan BoldinSFvs. CARPanthers have allowed 2 TD catches by WRs.
25Steve SmithCARat SFHis season high has been 69 yards receiving.
26Terrance WilliamsDALat NOManaged just 2 catches on 7 targets vs. Vikings.
27Stevie JohnsonBUFat PITWhat will he do once Manuel returns?
28Mike WallaceMIAat TB (Mon.)Has 43 targets over last 4 weeks, but just 1 TD.
29Emmanuel SandersPITvs. BUFLed team in targets (11) and yards (98) last week.
30Golden TateSEAat ATL 
31Kendall WrightTENvs. JACClearly Locker's favorite target. Now where are TDs?
32Marques ColstonNOvs. DALMissed last week b/c of knee injury.
33James JonesGBvs. PHIReturned from injury vs. Bears, caught 1 pass.
34Greg JenningsMINvs. WAS (Thurs.) 
35Riley CooperPHIat GBAnother big game (5-139-3) w/ Foles at QB.
36Marvin JonesCINat BALNo TD last week for first time in 4 games.
37Brian HartlineMIAat TB (Mon.)Has just one game w/ 70+ receiving yards.
38Jarrett BoykinGBvs. PHIPackers' passing game totally different w/o Rodgers.
39Lance MooreNOvs. DALHas been actively involved since his return from injury.
40Kenny StillsNOvs. DALHeld in check (3 rec., 35 yds.) by Jets last week.
41Darrius Heyward-BeyINDvs. STLInjured hamstring against Texans, watch status.
42Michael FloydARIvs. HOUTexans are No. 1 in NFL in passing defense.
43Eddie RoyalSDvs. DENHas a TD catch in back-to-back games.
44Doug BaldwinSEAat ATLLed team with 6 rec. for 75 yds. and a TD last week.
45Rueben RandleNYGvs. OAKRaiders surrendered seven TD passes to Eagles.
46Jerricho CotcheryPITvs. BUFExploded for 3 TDs vs. Patriots last week.
47Roddy WhiteATLvs. SEAWhite's four-game absence may end this week.
48Brandon LaFellCARat SF 
49Marlon BrownBALvs. CINRookie hauled in 2 TD catches last week, 5 in '13.
50Kris DurhamDETat CHIInteresting to see his role when Burleson returns.
51DeAndre HopkinsHOUat ARIAveraging 47.8 ypg w/ just 1 TD in last six games.
52Nate WashingtonTENvs. JAC 
53Rod StreaterOAKat NYGLed team with 98 yards receiving vs. Eagles.
54Mike BrownJACat TENHuge opportunity w/ Blackmon suspended.
55Chris GivensSTLat IND 
56Leonard HankersonWASat MIN (Thurs.) 
57Austin PettisSTLat IND 
58Robert WoodsBUFat PITSustained mild ankle sprain last week.
59Vincent BrownSDvs. DEN 
60Jacoby JonesBALvs. CIN 
61Cordarrelle PattersonMINvs. WAS (Thurs.) 
62Drew DavisATLvs. SEA 
63Jerome SimpsonMINvs. WAS (Thurs.) 
64Percy HarvinSEAat ATLGetting closer, but probably won't play this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams


Week 10 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 10
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 06:30