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All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-9-0

With another lopsided victory against a ranked opponent, Kansas State received enough votes to edge Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the Legends Poll.

Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein continued his phenomenal play, leading Kansas State to a 55-24 win over Texas Tech.

“I think (coach and former Legends Poll voter) Bill Snyder is doing a great job,” Legends Poll voter John Cooper said. “Kansas State is a very, very well coached football team.  Those good teams, Alabama and Kansas State, teams like that, you’ve got to beat them.  They’re not going to beat themselves.”

Top-ranked Alabama continued to roll against Mississippi State and remained the unanimous No. 1 team.

Notre Dame proved its worth on Saturday, going on the road and stifling Oklahoma, 23-13. With the victory, the Irish moved up two spots to No. 4 in the Legends Poll.

Idle LSU remained the highest ranked one-loss team and rounded out the top five.

No. 7 Georgia moved up five spots in the rankings and back into the top 10 after knocking off Florida. The Gators dropped six spots to No. 8.

No. 9 Clemson moved up two spots, followed by unbeaten Louisville, which made its first top 10 appearance of the season.

No. 12 Oregon State suffered its first loss of the season at Washington and dropped three spots. However, no team fell more in the rankings than USC. The Trojans dropped eight spots to No. 18 in the Legends Poll after suffering an upset at Arizona.

No. 19 Nebraska, No. 23 Northwestern and No. 25 Louisiana Tech returned to the top 25 this week.

Michigan, TCU and Wisconsin dropped out of the rankings.

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll.



1 AlabamaAlabama (17) 8-0 425 1
2 Kansas StateKansas State 8-0 398 4
3 OregonOregon 8-0 397 2
4 Notre DameNotre Dame 8-0 375 6
5 LSULSU 7-1 356 5
6 Florida StateFlorida State 8-1 336 8
7 GeorgiaGeorgia 7-1 327 12
8 FloridaFlorida 7-1 294 3
9 ClemsonClemson 7-1 284 11
10 LouisvilleLouisville 8-0 257 14
11 South CarolinaSouth Carolina 7-2 248 15
12 Oregon StateOregon State 6-1 225 9
13 StanfordStanford 6-2 209 18
14 Texas A&MTexas A&M 6-2 202 19
15 OklahomaOklahoma 5-2 185 7
16 Mississippi StateMississippi State 7-1 170 13
17 Boise StateBoise State 7-1 166 21
18 USCUSC 6-2 135 10
19 NebraskaNebraska 6-2 95 -
20 Texas TechTexas Tech 6-2 94 16
21 Oklahoma StateOklahoma State 5-2 84 25
22 West VirginiaWest Virginia 5-2 51 23
23 NorthwesternNorthwestern 7-2 46 -
24 RutgersRutgers 7-1 45 17
25 Louisiana TechLouisiana Tech 7-1 38 -

Others Receiving Votes

Texas 16, Kent State 13, Arizona 10, UCLA 8, Cincinnati 8, Utah State 7, North Carolina 5, Arizona State 5, TCU 4, Wisconsin 3, Iowa State 2, Toledo 1, Northern Illinois 1

Teams Dropped Out from Last Week's Poll

Michigan, TCU, Wisconsin


* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at

<p> The Legends Poll Top 25: College Football Week 9</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 20:27
All taxonomy terms: Halloween, NFL, MLB, Overtime
Path: /nfl/15-things-scare-athletes-field

Many professional stars seem fearless on their respective fields of play. But away from the game, many of them have the same fears that all of us share. With Halloween approaching, Athlon Sports asked hundreds of athletes, "What scares you off the field?" Here are our favorite responses.


"Passing a police car.”
—Sam Hornish Jr., NASCAR


“Bats, I don’t like bats. I used to do siding and painting in high school and college. I was up on a ladder and a bat came and slapped my face. Fangs were flying. I’ve just never been comfortable with them. They don’t know where they’re going. They’re blind. They just come by and get in your hair. They’re nasty.”
—Hal Gill, Nashville Predators


“The only thing is when I was a kid I hated roller coasters and heights. That was the only thing I was intimidated by. The rest of my family would be like, 'Come on. Let's go.' I'd say, 'I'm cool. I'll just chill over here.' I think the biggest thing is just not being in control. I haven't been back to an amusement park in a long time.”
—Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals


“That would be my mom. Oh yeah. I was an only child, grew up with my mom. I don’t know if I can say this, but she beat me a few days when I was a bad little kid. I deserved it, obviously. Yeah, mine would be my mom.”
—Michael Huff, Oakland Raiders


As a kid, I was always scared of getting lost. Not knowing where your parents were was pretty scary. We didn't have a GPS when I was little.
—Craig Robertson, Cleveland Browns


“I’d say the potholes in New York City. I feel like they search my rims out just to do damage. I’ve got one I have to fix right now. Honestly, that’s what scares me. I have to remind myself not to swerve the car when my daughter’s in there because I’m so used to jerking the wheel at the last second.”
—Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants


“Elevators. I was terrified of being stuck in an elevator. Actually, it happened after I had the fear. My older sister got stuck in an elevator and then I was always scared of it and then one time at the dentist I got stuck. It was only like five minutes, but it felt like forever. Yeah, the elevator is horrible.”
—Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


“Probably sleeping, and it's dark and you hear stuff at night and you don't know where it's coming from. You just keep your eyes closed and wake up in the morning.”
—Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs



“Scary movies. Still to this day, I don’t really watch many of them. That’s probably the only thing I’d own up to. I don’t care for those too much. The last one I saw was Friday the 13th maybe. It left me scarred.”
—Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys


“I've been afraid of heights as long as I can remember. I'm the guy who always puts the shade down as the plane taking off. I jumped off the balcony from the second floor when I was small, and broke my leg. But that's not really why I'm afraid of heights. My cousin told me if I jumped first, he'd do it after me. But then he didn't jump.”
—Udonis Haslem, Miami Heat

—Khalif Barnes, Oakland Raiders


“I don't like roller coasters. I don't ride anything that's not on the ground, except airplanes.”
—Tarell Brown, San Francisco 49ers

<p> 15 Things That Scare Athletes Off the Field</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 17:54
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-9-power-rankings

There was a big shakeup in the SEC East with Georgia seizing control of the division race after beating rival Florida in Jacksonville. The Dawgs have jumped up to No. 3 in the weekly power rankings. Ole Miss made a big move, as well, from No. 11 to No. 8 after beating Arkansas in Fayetteville on a last-second field goal.

Post-Week 9 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. AJ McCarron, Alabama — McCarron continues to lead the nation in passing efficiency after completing 16-of-23 for 208 yards with two touchdowns and no picks in the Crimson Tide’s 38–7 win over Mississippi State.

2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M — Manziel was back to his old play-making self in the Aggies’ 63–21 win at Auburn. Johnny Football threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 90 yards and three scores to lead an offense that rolled up over 300 yards rushing and passing.

3. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama — The true freshman is emerging as Alabama’s top rushing threat. Yeldon ran for 84 yards on only 10 carries in the win over Mississippi State and now has 357 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games. He is averaging 7.0 yards per carry, the most by an SEC back with more than 40 carries.

Post-Week 9 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina — Clowney delivered the play of the game in South Carolina’s 38–35 win over Tennessee. The Vols drove to the South Carolina 19-yard line trailing by only three points, but Clowney forced a fumble at the 1:08 mark that basically ended the game. In nine games, Clowney has 50 tackles (15.0 for a loss) and 8.5 sacks.

2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia — Jones made plays all over the field in the Bulldogs’ upset over Florida. The junior linebacker recorded 13 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. He helped secure the win by knocking the ball out of Jordan Reed’s hands at the 5-yard line with 2:05 remaining and Georgia holding an eight-point lead. Sanders Cummings recovered the ball in the end zone to secure the win.

3. Kevin Minter, LSU — The junior middle linebacker has 75 tackles and three sacks for the season. LSU was off last season.

Post-Week 9 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama — Alabama is 8–0 overall and 5–0 in the SEC after its 38–7 win over Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide have won every game by at least 19 points and have not led by less than 13 points at any point in the second half.

2. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss — After going winless in the SEC last season, Ole Miss is now 2–2 in the league after winning at Arkansas 30–27 on Saturday. The Rebels are one of the most improved teams in the nation.

3. Will Muschamp, Florida — The Gators suffered their first loss of the season last weekend, but this is still a much-improved team. The Gators have been outstanding on defense and efficient (until Saturday) on offense. Muschamp has quieted the critics who questioned whether he was the right man for the job.

Post-Week 9 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (8–0, 5–0 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 8 result: Beat Mississippi State 38–7
Alabama handed Mississippi State its first loss of the season — and did so in convincing fashion. The Tide relied on a balanced attack (as usual) and won the turnover battle (as usual) en route to its 12th straight win. AJ McCarron completed 16-of-23 passes for 208 yards with two touchdowns, and has now thrown 177 passes this season without an interception. T.J. Yeldon was the leading rusher for Bama, averaging 8.4 yards on his 10 attempts. Alabama still has not given up more than 14 points in any game this season.
Next week: at LSU

2. LSU (7–1, 3–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 8 result: Bye
LSU has a chance to play its way back into the national title race with No. 1 Alabama coming to town on Saturday night. The Tigers, who have won their three SEC games by a total of nine points, will need to make plays in the passing game to beat Alabama. You can’t beat the Tide simply by running the ball.
Next week: Alabama

3. Georgia (7–1, 5–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Beat Florida 17–9
Georgia seized control of the SEC East with a surprising 17–9 win over Florida in Jacksonville. It wasn’t always aesthetically pleasing — the two teams combined for nine turnovers and 24 penalties — but it was a huge win for a Georgia team that has failed to play up to its potential for most of the 2012 season. Freshman Todd Gurley was the only offensive standout for either team, rushing for 118 yards on 27 carries. Quarterback Aaron Murray, who was so sharp in the win at Kentucky, completed only 50 percent of his passes and was intercepted three times. It was his first game with more than one pick this season.
Next week: Ole Miss

4. Florida (7–1, 6–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Lost to Georgia 17–9
The Gators’ SEC East title hopes took a huge hit with a 17-9 loss to Georgia. Florida needs to beat Missouri next week and hope Georgia loses to either Ole Miss or Auburn. The Gators had committed a total of four turnovers in their first seven games but lost four fumbles and threw two interceptions on Saturday. Florida entered the game averaging 212.7 yards rushing but netted only 81 on 41 attempts. Jeff Driskel threw for more than 100 yards for the first time in four games, but he completed only 53.8 percent of his passes and was picked off twice. More important, he was not much a threat running the ball — something that has been a huge part of the Florida attack.
Next week: Missouri

5. South Carolina (7–2, 5–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Beat Tennessee 38–35
South Carolina has its first-ever three-game winning streak against Tennessee, but the story in Columbia was the horrific injury to tailback Marcus Lattimore. The junior, who tore his ACL last season, suffered a devastating knee injury while planting his right leg in the second quarter. Both teams were visibly shaken by the injury, but play resumed and South Carolina held on for the three-point win in what turned out to be a highly entertaining second half. The Gamecock defense gave up a season-high 472 yards but made the key plays down the stretch to preserve the victory. Connor Shaw threw for a career-high 356 yards and a season-high three touchdowns to lead the Carolina offense.
Next week: Bye

6. Mississippi State (7–1, 3–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Lost to Alabama 38–7
Mississippi State hoped to be the first team to make Alabama sweat in the second half. Didn’t happen. The Bulldogs fell behind 14–0 after one quarter and 24–0 at the half on their way to their first loss of the season. MSU netted only 47 yards rushing against the ferocious Alabama defense. LaDarius Perkins, who had three straight 100-yard games prior to Saturday, netted only 38 yards on 15 carries. The highly touted State secondary had trouble slowing down the Alabama passing attack. Tide quarterback AJ McCarron threw for 208 yards (and averaged 9.0 yards per attempt) with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Next week: Texas A&M

7. Texas A&M (6–2, 3–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Beat Auburn 63–21
The Aggies’ offense got back on track against the struggling Auburn Tigers. Texas A&M rolled up 671 yards of offense — including over 300 on the ground and through the air — while picking up its fourth road win of the season. Johnny Manziel, as usual, led the way with 260 yards passing and two touchdowns and added 90 yards rushing and three scores on the ground. Texas A&M is now averaging 522.4 yards in its five SEC games, the most in the league vs. conference opponents.
Next week: at Mississippi State

8. Ole Miss (5–3, 2–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Beat Arkansas 30–27
We knew Ole Miss was vastly improved. Now the Rebels have a quality win to prove it. Bryson Rose drilled a 31-yard field goal as time expired to give the Rebels their first SEC road win since 2009. Ole Miss is now one win away from bowl-eligibility under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, who now has to be in the discussion for SEC Coach of the Year honors. Bo Wallace completed 29-of-37 for 278 yards and one touchdown. Wallace, a junior college transfer, led Ole Miss on an eight-play, 61-yard drive in two minutes to set up the game-winning field goal.
Next week: at Georgia

9. Tennessee (3–5, 0–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Lost to South Carolina 38–35
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley summed it up best after his team dropped 0–5 in the SEC for the third straight season. “It’s the same old song and dance at the SEC level,” said Dooley, who has yet to beat a ranked team in his two-plus years at Tennessee. There were plenty of positives for the Vols — Tyler Bray threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns, and Zach Rogers had 107 yards receiving and three scores — but in the end they simply couldn’t make the big play when it mattered most. Trailing by three points, UT drove deep into South Carolina territory in the final minutes, but Bray lost a fumble after being hit by Jadeveon Clowney. “We had a chance to win, and they made a great play,” Dooley said.
Next week: Troy

10. Vanderbilt (4–4, 2–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Beat UMass 49–7
The Commodores overcame a slow start — they led only 7–0 late in the second quarter — but dominated winless UMass in the second half to even their record at 4–4. Vanderbilt broke the game open with four touchdowns in a six-minute span in the third quarter. Quarterback Jordan Rodgers was sharp, completing 17-of-21 for 217 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Dores were forced to go most of the game without Zac Stacy, who went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Stacy is expected to return next week vs. Kentucky.
Next week: at Kentucky

11. Arkansas (3–5, 2–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Lost to Ole Miss 30–27
Was Arkansas turning the corner after winning two straight? Or did the Hogs just take advantage of a soft spot in the schedule with wins over Auburn and Kentucky? I think it’s safe to say it was the latter. The Hogs’ modest winning streak was snapped with a 30–27 loss at home to surging Ole Miss. Arkansas outgained the Rebs 464 to 355 but was unable to get key stops late in the game. After the Razorbacks tied the game on a Dennis Johnson 5-yard run with 2:44 remaining, Ole Miss drove 61 yards for the game-winning field goal. Arkansas, now 3–5, must win three of its final four games to become bowl-eligible.
Next week: Tulsa

12. Missouri (4–4, 1–4 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Beat Kentucky 33–10
It took longer than most Missouri fans would have liked, but the Tigers picked up their first SEC win on Saturday. Mizzou scored 33 points despite gaining only 273 yard thanks in part to an opportunistic offense that converted all three of Kentucky’s lost fumbles into touchdowns. James Franklin, who missed most of the Vanderbilt game and all of the Alabama game with a knee injury, was forced into action in the second half after redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser was intercepted on consecutive possessions. Franklin threw for only 16 yards and did not have a rushing attempt in his five possessions. Kendial Lawrence had his first 100-yard game vs. an SEC foe, gaining 108 yards on 23 carries.
Next week: at Florida

13. Auburn (1–7, 0–6 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Lost to Texas A&M 63–21
The Tigers hit a new low on Saturday night, losing by 42 points at home to SEC newcomer Texas A&M. The Aggies rolled up 671 yards of offense — the most ever given up any Auburn team — and scored seven touchdowns on the eight possessions played by starting quarterback Johnny Manziel. Clint Moseley got the start at quarterback for the third straight week but only attempted one pass. Kiehl Frazier and Jonthan Wallace both saw significant action in relief. Wallace, a true freshman who has been used almost exclusively as a Wildcat quarterback, completed 6-of-9 for 122 yards and two touchdowns and added 71 yards rushing.
Next week: New Mexico State

14. Kentucky (1–8, 0–6 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 8 result: Lost to Missouri 33–10
Kentucky’s offense took a step back on Saturday after a relatively strong showing in a 29–24 loss to Georgia two weeks ago. The Wildcats gained only 179 total yards — their fifth SEC game with under 250 — and were shut out in the second half in a 33–10 loss at Missouri. Kentucky had three drives in the first quarter that went for 50 yards or more but were completely shut down in the second half. The Cats’ longest drive in the final two quarters went for 20 yards; their other six possessions either ended with a punt after three plays or a turnover. True freshman quarterback Patrick Towles returned after missing two games with an ankle injury. He completed 1-of-4 for two yards.
Next week: Vanderbilt


<p>  </p> <p> There was a big shakeup in the SEC East with Georgia seizing control of the division race after beating rival Florida in Jacksonville. The Dawgs have jumped up to No. 3 in the weekly power rankings. Ole Miss made a big move, as well, from No. 11 to No. 8 after beating Arkansas in Fayetteville on a last-second field goal.</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-9-power-rankings

Kansas State continues to separate itself from the rest of the teams in the Big 12. The Wildcats cruised to a 55-24 victory over Texas Tech in Week 9, improving Bill Snyder's team to 8-0 this year. Oklahoma suffered its second loss of the season, dropping a 30-13 game to Notre Dame in Norman. The defeat to the Irish knocks the Sooners out of the national title picture once again, but Oklahoma still has a chance to win the Big 12 crown. Iowa State moved within one game of bowl eligibility with a victory over Baylor, while Oklahoma State defeated TCU to improve to 5-2 overall.

Post-Week 9 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Kansas State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Beat Texas Tech 55-24
The Wildcats solidified their place atop the Big 12 power rankings with a 55-24 win over Texas Tech. Collin Klein led the way with 233 yards through the air and 83 on the ground, while recording four overall scores. Although the defense gave up some yards, it forced three turnovers, including one that was returned for a score in the fourth quarter. Kansas State is the clear favorite to win the Big 12 and is in the mix to play for the national title.
Next Game: Oklahoma State

2. Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Lost to Notre Dame 30-13
With Texas Tech losing and West Virginia on bye, Oklahoma retains the No. 2 spot in the Big 12 power ranks by default. The Sooners lost 30-13 to Notre Dame on Saturday night, which was their second home loss of the season. Quarterback Landry Jones threw for 356 yards but never managed to hit any big plays. The Irish defense also kept running back Damien Williams in check and forced a key interception. Although the loss officially knocks Oklahoma out of the mix for the national title, the Sooners still have a chance to win the Big 12 – provided Kansas State loses twice.
Next Game: at Iowa State

3. Texas Tech (6-2, 3-2 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Lost to Kansas State 55-24
A week after scoring a key road win at TCU, the Red Raiders fell 55-24 to the Big 12’s No. 1 team – Kansas State. Texas Tech took an early 7-3 lead but three turnovers and an inability to stop the Wildcats’ offense didn’t allow any chance to stick around in the game. Quarterback Seth Doege had thrown 13 touchdowns in the two previous games, but Kansas State’s defense held him to two scores on 35 completions. Texas Tech plays its next two games at home, starting with a date with Texas this Saturday.
Next Game: Texas

4. West Virginia (5-2, 2-2 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Bye Week
After back-to-back losses, West Virginia’s bye week came at the right time. The Mountaineers need to regain their rhythm on offense, along with finding some answers for a defense that is allowing 39.8 points per game. West Virginia has a difficult three-game stretch upcoming, starting with a home date against TCU this Saturday, followed by a road trip at Oklahoma State and then a home game against Oklahoma.
Next Game: TCU

5. Texas (6-2, 3-2 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Beat Kansas 21-17
Ugly. That’s about the only way to describe the Longhorns’ victory over Kansas on Saturday. Texas trailed 17-14 with just over two minutes to play but used a nine-play drive to score the game-winning touchdown. Quarterback David Ash was benched after a slow start, and Case McCoy rallied the team with 68 passing yards and one touchdown. The offense wasn’t the only issue, as Texas didn’t have an answer for Kansas’ ground game. The Longhorns’ struggling secondary will be under fire this week against Texas Tech's potent passing attack.
Next Game: at Texas Tech

6. Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Beat TCU 36-14
Wes Lunt started slow in his return to the lineup, but the true freshman quarterback found his rhythm in time to lead Oklahoma State to a 36-14 victory. Lunt finished with 324 passing yards, while running back Joseph Randle recorded 126 yards and one touchdown on 32 attempts. The Cowboys’ defense stepped up in the second half and held TCU without a point. Oklahoma State has won three consecutive games and has a chance to stamp its place in the Big 12 title picture with a matchup over Kansas State this Saturday.
Next Game: at Kansas State

7. Iowa State (5-3, 2-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 8
Week 9 Result: Beat Baylor 35-21
The Cyclones moved one game closer to bowl eligibility with a 35-21 win over Baylor. Iowa State’s offense gashed the Bears for 557 yards, while the defense forced four turnovers and made enough timely plays to limit Baylor to 21 points. A big reason for the success of Iowa State’s offense was the play of quarterback Steele Jantz, who threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns on 36 completions. The Cyclones host Oklahoma this Saturday, before playing at Texas on Nov. 10.
Next Game: Oklahoma

8. TCU (5-3, 2-3 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Lost to Oklahoma State 36-14
The Horned Frogs dropped their second consecutive Big 12 game with a 36-14 loss at Oklahoma State. And an even bigger storyline from the game is quarterback Trevone Boykin, who suffered a knee injury against the Cowboys. If Boykin has to miss any snaps, Matt Brown will become TCU’s third starting quarterback of 2012. The Horned Frogs don’t catch any breaks on the upcoming schedule, hosting Kansas State and Oklahoma, while taking on West Virginia and Texas on the road. Considering the final four opponents, TCU will have trouble just getting to .500.
Next Game: at West Virginia

9. Baylor (3-4, 0-4 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Lost to Iowa State 35-21
The Bears dropped their fourth consecutive game with a 35-21 defeat to Iowa State. With an offense averaging 395.7 yards per game, Baylor’s defense needs to step up and make a few stops if this team wants to make a bowl game in 2012. The Bears allowed Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz to throw for a season-high of 381 yards and five touchdowns, while giving up 176 yards on the ground. The only good news for Baylor? The Bears should get a win over Kansas this Saturday. However, the schedule is very difficult over the final four weeks, as Baylor takes on Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
Next Game: Kansas

10. Kansas (1-7, 0-5 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Lost to Texas 21-17
For the most part, Charlie Weis’ first season in Lawrence has been miserable. The Jayhawks are 1-7 and lost to Rice in Week 2. However, let’s give Kansas a little credit this week. The Jayhawks gave Texas all it could handle and just fell short of a victory. Weis and his staff did a good job of exploiting the Longhorns’ defensive weaknesses, while the defense forced two turnovers and held Texas to just 131 yards through the air. The Jayhawks may not win a game the rest of the year, but Saturday’s loss should give this team some much-needed confidence for the final four contests.
Next Game: at Texas Tech

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

Big East Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

<p> Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:04
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-9-power-rankings

Just two weeks ago, the Big East was basking in the glow of three teams undefeated in October.

That number is down to one. Barely.

Louisville edged Cincinnati 34-31 in overtime Friday to keep its record unblemished. Rutgers wasn’t so lucky against the Big East’s 2012 nemesis, the MAC. The Big East is 4-4 against the MAC this season, but two of the losses handed Rutgers and Cincinnati their first defeats of the season in a two-week span.

Ryan Nassib

Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville --
If the debate needed to be settled, Bridgewater sealed his spot as the Big East’s top quarterback over Cincinnati’s Munchie Legaux. Bridgewater was 24 of 41 for 416 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Bearcats on Friday. Bridgewater is completing 67.4 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and a pick in three conference wins this season.

2. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- Nassib completed the eighth fourth-quarter comeback of his career thanks to four second-half touchdown passes against USF. In the second half and overtime this season, Nassib is completing 70.7 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.

3. Jawan Jamison, Rutgers -- The game was all but taken out of Jamison’s capable hands when the Scarlet Knights turned to the pass to catch up against Kent State. Jamison rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown and caught eight passes for a career-high 88 yards.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers --
The collapse against Kent State notwithstanding, Greene remains the top defensive player in the Big East. He finished seven tackles and a forced fumble against the Golden Flashes.

2. Jason Hendricks, Pittsburgh -- Pitt’s opponent last week, Temple, isn’t built to test many secondaries, but Hendricks finished with six tackles against the Owls.

3. Calvin Pryor, Louisville -- This spot was held last week by Pryor’s teammate, defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin, who left the Cincinnati win with an injury. While the Cardinals await word on their newfound pass rusher, let’s take a look at Pryor, who has four forced fumbles and two interceptions this season, including one in the win over the Bearcats.

Coach of the Year Standings
1. Charlie Strong, Louisville --
Louisville doesn’t always make it look easy, but the Cardinals remain the class of the Big East. Five of Louisville’s last six wins were by a touchdown or less. Despite the close calls, Louisville is finding ways to close out games, which is something Strong couldn’t say a year ago.

2. Kyle Flood, Rutgers -- Rutgers surprise story came crashing down as the Scarlet Knights lost 35-23 to Kent State (7-1). Rutgers still has a chance to win the Big East, but they’ll have to find more consistency on offense before resume conference play on Nov. 17 against Cincinnati.

3. Butch Jones, Cincinnati -- Sure, it’s odd to have the coach of a team that lost back-to-back games on this list, but who else should be considered? The Bearcats bounced back from the loss to Toledo to take Louisville to overtime on the road. A major test will be this week against a Syracuse team that suddenly has momentum.

Big East Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Louisville (8-0, 3-0)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Beat Cincinnati 34-31 in overtime
Cincinnati tested Louisville on both sides of the ball, but the Cardinals eventually adjusted, even if it took overtime to do so. Louisville caught the final break of the game when John Wallace got a second chance at a game-winning a field goal after the first attempt -- and a bad snap -- was erased on a Cincinnati time out. Teddy Bridgewater struggled early in the game but bounced back to to lead the Cardinals to their fourth fourth-quarter comeback of the season. If there’s any concern, it’s the Louisville defense giving up 197 rushing yards to USF and 196 rushing yards and three touchdowns to Cincinnati in the last two weeks. That trend will be worth watching as the Cardinals face run-heavy Temple this week.
This week: Temple

2. Rutgers (7-1, 4-0)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Lost to Kent State 35-25
Rutgers’ slow starts and good fortune caught up to them in a spectacular way against Kent State. Trailing 21-10 to Kent State, the Scarlet Knights struggled in the first half against the Golden Flashes the same as they had against Syracuse and Temple. Unlike the other two games, turnovers sabotaged the comeback bid against Kent State as quarterback Gary Nova threw six interceptions when the Scarlet Knights had to put the game on his shoulders to pull out of a two-score deficit. Nova will remain the starting quarterback as Rutgers has two weeks (an off week and a non-conference game against Army) to find out what went wrong before returning to Big East play.
This week: Off

3. Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Lost to Louisville 34-31 in overtime
Cincinnati emerged from its two-game road swing with two losses by a combined nine points and may have trouble getting back into the Big East race, barring a collapse by Louisville. Even without defensive end Walter Stewart, the Bearcats were able to get pressure on Teddy Bridgewater at times (three sacks), but they were burned for three pass plays of 50 yards or more, including a 64-yard touchdown catch by DeVante Parker. Munchie Legaux threw three interceptions, giving him five interceptions in the last two games. He also failed to complete half of his passes for the second consecutive week.
This week: Syracuse

4. Syracuse (4-4, 3-1)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 9 result: Beat USF 37-36
Syracuse won consecutive Big East games for the first time since Oct. 23-30, 2010 with a back-and-forth game against USF. Syracuse spotted the Bulls a 20-point halftime lead before crawling back in the second half, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown pass to win the game in the final six seconds. With back-to-back games coming up against Cincinnati and Louisville, Syracuse has a chance to stay in the Big East title hunt. Although the Orange completed the comeback, coach Doug Marrone has to be concerned with a run defense that allowed 369 yards to USF, the highest total of the season by 111 yards. Syracuse had been holding Big East opponents to 1.2 yards per carry. USF averaged 8.2 yards.
This week: at Cincinnati

5. Pittsburgh (4-4, 1-3)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Beat Temple 47-17
The good version of Pittsburgh showed up for the second consecutive week, something that’s been a rarity for the Panthers over the last few years. Wins over Buffalo and Temple marked the first time Pitt had defeated consecutive FBS teams since defeating Cincinnati and Kentucky to end the 2010 season. The Panthers’ running back tandem of Ray Graham and Rushel Shell was once again productive (259 yards from scrimmage, four touchdowns), but the play of quarterback Tino Sunseri has been excellent. Sunseri has completed 70 percent of his passes in four of the last five games and hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 3 against Virginia Tech. More of this will be needed in South Bend this week.
This week: at Notre Dame

6. Temple (3-4, 2-2)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Lost 47-17 to Pittsburgh
After starting 2-0 in the Big East, Temple has fallen back to Earth over the last six quarters of conference play. Since leading Rutgers 10-0 at halftime two weeks ago, Temple has been outscored 82-17 in the last game and half. Along the way, Pittsburgh gashed Temple for 528 yards. The lack of a passing game (ranked 118th nationally) has cut into the production of the run game as the Owls averaged 2.8 yards per carry against Rutgers and 3.2 yards per carry against Pitt, two of their three lowest averages of the season.
This week: at Louisville

7. USF (2-6, 0-4)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Lost to Syracuse 37-36
USF looked as good as it has all season when it took a 23-3 lead on Syracuse. Alas, there was still the second half to play. Syracuse answered with three consecutive scoring drives to open the third quarter, but USF answered, too. Still, the final seconds of the fourth quarter brought the same ending as Ryan Nassib completed the game-winning 1-yard touchdown pass with six seconds remaining. Since October last season, the Bulls have lost eight games in which they led in the fourth quarter, plus two others when they started the fourth quarter tied. USF’s best chance to pick up its second Big East win since the start of 2011 will be this week against Connecticut in Tampa.
This week: Connecticut

8. Connecticut (3-5, 0-3)
Last week’s rank:
Week 9 result: Off
Connecticut will hope the off week helped the Huskies fix their ailing run game, which has become the worst in the Big East by a wide margin. UConn is averaging a conference-low 1.55 yards per carry in league games. The next worst (Pitt, 3.11 yards per carry) is averaging twice that. The Huskies have not rushed for a touchdown in three Big East games, the next worst is Rutgers (two). If there’s a cure to the UConn run game, it might be USF, which is last in the league in run defense.
This week: at USF

By David Fox


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ACC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
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<p> Big East Post-Week 9 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:02
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-9-power-rankings

Week 9 of ACC action was highlighted by North Carolina’s 43-35 win over NC State and Florida State’s 48-7 blowout victory over Duke. Clemson defeated Wake Forest 42-13, while Boston College earned its first win over a FBS team by knocking off Maryland 20-17.

Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard recorded his fourth consecutive game of at least 100 rushing yards on Saturday, while taking a punt back with less than a minute to go to give North Carolina the victory over NC State.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd was sharp in Clemson’s easy 42-13 win over Wake Forest on Thursday night. He completed 27 of 38 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns.

3. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – Manuel had an off game against Duke but leads the ACC in passing efficiency (174) and is completing 70 percent of his throws.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner recorded only three tackles and one tackle for a loss against Duke but still claims the No. 1 spot in the defensive player of the year rankings.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano dominated the line of scrimmage in Saturday’s game against Boston College, recording five tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

3. Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke – Cockrell and Duke’s defense struggled against Florida State, but he ranked third on the team with seven tackles and forced one fumble.

Coach of the Year Standings

1. David Cutcliffe, Duke – Even though the Blue Devils lost to Florida State, this team still has a chance to win the Coastal Division title. Cutcliffe is a heavy favorite to take home ACC Coach of the Year honors.

2. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles continue to rank as the ACC’s No. 1 team in the power rankings. Florida State crushed Duke 48-7 in Week 9.

3. Larry Fedora, North Carolina – With no postseason possibilities, Fedora has done a good job of keeping the Tar Heels motivated to play. North Carolina improved its record to 6-3 with a huge win over rival NC State in Week 9.

Post-Week 9 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (8-1, 5-1 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Beat Duke 48-7
Thanks to NC State’s loss to North Carolina and a convincing 48-7 win over Duke, Florida State moved back into the driver’s seat for the ACC Atlantic title. The Seminoles lost four turnovers but held Duke to just 232 yards of total offense. Quarterback EJ Manuel was off for most of the game but connected with Rashad Greene on a 71-yard bomb to opening the scoring and a 35-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin in the third quarter. The Seminoles have an off date in Week 10 and are back in action on Nov. 8 at Virginia Tech.
Next Game: at Virginia Tech (Nov. 8)

2. Clemson (7-1, 4-1 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Beat Wake Forest 42-13
The Tigers’ offense led the way for this team throughout the first half of the season, but the defense has come on strong over the last two weeks. After holding Virginia Tech to 17 points last week, Clemson limited Wake Forest to 13 points and under 300 yards of total offense. Quarterback Tajh Boyd found Sammy Watkins eight times for 202 yards and one touchdown, while DeAndre Hopkins caught six balls for 64 yards and one score. If the Tigers can win their final four games, they should have a good shot at making a BCS bowl.
Next Game: at Duke

3. North Carolina (6-3, 3-2 ACC)
Last Week: 6
Week 9 Result: Beat NC State 43-35
With North Carolina ineligible to play in the postseason, Saturday’s game against NC State was essentially this team’s Super Bowl. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 25-14 lead, but the Wolfpack led 35-25 going into the fourth quarter. However, North Carolina roared back and tied the game at 35 deep in the fourth quarter. After NC State failed to run out the clock with just over a minute to go, running back Giovani Bernard returned a punt 74 yards for the game winning score. The win snapped a five-game losing streak to NC State and gives the Tar Heels some in-state bragging rights until next season.
Next Game: Georgia Tech (Nov. 10)

4. NC State (5-3, 2-2 ACC)
Last Week: 3
Week 9 Result: Lost to North Carolina 43-35
The Wolfpack’s recent run of domination against North Carolina ended with a 43-35 loss. NC State rallied from a 25-14 deficit at the end of the first to hold a 35-25 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, the Wolfpack allowed the Tar Heels to score 10 unanswered to tie the game with just over two minutes to go. After NC State tried to run out the clock, Giovani Bernard returned a punt 74 yards for the game winning score. Not only was this a huge loss for bragging rights in the state, but the Wolfpack no longer control their destiny in the ACC Atlantic title race.
Next Game: Virginia

5. Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2 ACC)
Last Week: 5
Week 9 Result: Bye Week
The Hokies had a bye in Week 9 and return to action against Miami this Thursday. The off date came at a good time for Frank Beamer’s team, especially after losing to Clemson 38-17 on Oct. 20. Virginia Tech still has a good chance to win the Coastal title but can’t afford to have two more losses. The Hokies play at Miami and Boston College, while hosting Florida State and Virginia. Virginia Tech will be an underdog against the Seminoles, which makes Thursday night’s game against Miami even more important for Coastal positioning.
Next Game: at Miami (Thursday)

6. Duke (6-3, 3-2 ACC)
Last Week: 4
Week 9 Result: Lost to Florida State 48-7
Although the Blue Devils are an improved team, they are still a long ways away from winning at Florida State. Duke was easily handled 48-7 by the Seminoles, managing only 232 offensive yards in the process. Quarterback Sean Renfree left early due to a head injury, and his status for this Saturday’s game against Clemson is uncertain. Despite the loss, the Blue Devils are still in the mix for the ACC Coastal title.
Next Game: Clemson

7. Miami (4-4, 3-2 ACC)
Last Week: 7
Week 9 Result: Bye Week
With a Thursday night showdown against Virginia Tech up next, Miami had an off date in Week 9. The bye week came at a good time for the Hurricanes, especially with quarterback Stephen Morris looking to recover from an ankle injury suffered in the 18-14 loss to North Carolina. And after playing eight consecutive weeks, there’s plenty of bumps and bruises that a bye can help to heal. Miami can still win the Coastal Division but Thursday night’s game will be critical to those title hopes.
Next Game: Virginia Tech (Thursday)

8. Georgia Tech (3-5, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week: 8
Week 9 Result: Lost to BYU 41-17
After showing some improvement on defense in the win over Boston College last Saturday, the Yellow Jackets reverted back to their porous ways. Georgia Tech gave up over 400 yards to BYU and allowed over 40 points for the fourth time this season. The defense wasn’t the only culprit, as the offense never got on track and was held without a touchdown. The loss to the Cougars dropped the Yellow Jackets to 3-5 and in serious jeopardy of missing out on a bowl game. Maryland and Duke would seem to be the most winnable matchups, but Georgia Tech would need to beat North Carolina or Georgia to get to six wins. Needless to say, the Yellow Jackets have to quickly find some answers on both sides of the ball to reach the postseason.
Next Game: at Maryland

9. Maryland (4-4, 2-2 ACC)
Last Week: 9
Week 9 Result: Lost to Boston College 20-17
After beginning ACC play 2-0, the Terrapins have lost back-to-back games and received even more bad news about their quarterback position on Sunday night. Maryland fell 20-17 to Boston College on Saturday, which dropped Randy Edsall’s squad to 4-4 overall. True freshman Caleb Rowe made his first start on Saturday and threw for 241 yards but also tossed three picks. Although Rowe performed admirably in his first start, he suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. With Rowe out, Maryland has lost its top four quarterbacks to injuries. True freshman (and converted linebacker) Shawn Petty will start against Georgia Tech.
Next Game: Georgia Tech

10. Wake Forest (4-4, 2-4 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Lost to Clemson 42-13
Even though receiver Michael Campanaro returned to the lineup, it wasn’t enough for the Demon Deacons to knock off Clemson. Wake Forest trailed only 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, but the Tigers opened up a 35-7 lead by halftime. Quarterback Tanner Price threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns but was under duress from the Clemson defense for most of the night. The Demon Deacons’ defense struggled to keep up with the Tigers’ speedy receivers, allowing Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd to set a school record with 428 passing yards.
Next Game: Boston College

11. Boston College (2-6, 1-4 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Beat Maryland 20-17
The 2012 season has been a disappointment for Boston College, but Saturday provided at least one bright spot. The Eagles defeated Maryland 20-17 to claim their first victory against a FBS team this year. Trailing by four points with just over five minutes to go, Boston College drove from its own 15-yard line to score the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes to go. Quarterback Chase Rettig completed only 55 percent of his throws but tossed two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The win over Maryland keeps Boston College’s slim bowl hopes alive.
Next Game: at Wake Forest

12. Virginia (2-6, 0-4 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 9 Result: Bye Week
The Cavaliers had a bye in Week 9 and return to action against NC State this Saturday. Virginia is riding a six-game losing streak and has yet to win in ACC play this season. Considering how much this team improved last year, the Cavaliers are one of the ACC’s biggest disappointments so far. Mike London’s team has struggled to find a spark on the ground, while the defense has yet to find its pass rush. Getting back to a bowl won’t be easy, but Virginia needs to find something to build on for 2013.
Next Game: at NC State

by Steven Lassan


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Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-9-power-rankings

Michigan and Wisconsin entered the weekend as the odd-on favorites to play in the Big Ten title game at season's end. After two huge injuries to both programs' starting quarterbacks, each left Week 9 with a loss. The Badgers would have to lose out (including to Indiana) in order to miss the trip to Indianapolis from the Leaders Division. However, the Wolverines' loss to Nebraska has thrown the Legends Division into complete upheaval. It should make for a fun final month in the Midwest.

Post-Week 9 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Just seven days after visiting the hospital for a scary head and neck injury against Purdue, Miller was up to his old tricks in Happy Valley. He threw for 143 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 134 yards and two more scores while keeping Ohio State unbeaten. He is now leading the Big Ten in rushing and total offense.

2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State - The Nittany Lions were outmatched against unbeaten Ohio State, but McGloin posted some big numbers. He threw for a personal best 327 yards and two touchdowns in PSU's first Big Ten loss of the year.  

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He wasn't elite — 166 yards, TD, INT passing and 58 yards rushing on 14 attempts — but he was good enough to beat the Wolverines on a bad wheel. This might have gone from a two-horse race to a one-horse race. It's Miller's award to lose at this point.

Post-Week 9 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - Mauti posted 13 total tackles against the most dynamic player in the league. Even though Penn State lost and couldn't really keep up with the Buckeyes, Mauti will be tough to beat here. He is No. 3 in the league in tackling to go with three interceptions and 2.5 sacks.

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - Taylor led a defense that kept Michigan State to three points for nearly 60 minutes. He had eight tackles (1 TFL) and is No. 2 in the Big Ten in tackling and tackles for a loss.

3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon got one of the Buckeyes' four sacks this weekend, he also posted a tackle for loss and defelected a pass. Ryan Shazier might make bigger plays, but Simon is the leader of the defense. Most importantly, his team hasn't lost yet.

Post-Week 9 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - There is only one team in the nation with a 9-0 record and it's Meyer's Buckeyes. His squad played arguably their best game of the year in the whitewashing of Penn State on the road. An unbeaten season gives Meyer the Big Ten Coach of the Year award.

2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - The relatively easy win for Ohio State doesn't eliminate BoB from Coach of the Year consideration by any means. It doesn't diminish his overall accomplishments in Happy Valley. A 3-1 mark to finish at 6-2 in league play might give O'Brien the COY award.

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - His Wildcats blitzed the over-matched Hawkeyes in impressive fashion this weekend. He has his best rushing attack since arriving in Evanston and has an outside shot at nine wins.

Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 9 result: Beat Penn State 35-23

The talk around Columbus this week was the health of Heisman candidate Braxton Miller. Well, it turns out he is just fine. The Buckeyes' star quarterback got his Heisman candidacy back on track with another big day on the ground. Ohio State out-gained Penn State 234 yards to 32 on the ground, led by Miller's two touchdowns. Two late touchdowns made this game look closer than it really was as the Buckeyes defense played arguably its best game of the year, sacking Matt McGloin four times and forcing two turnovers on the road. The Bucknuts are the only 9-0 team in the nation.
This week: Illinois (2-6)

2. Nebraska (6-2, 3-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 9 result: Beat Michigan 25-9
Obviously, there is a rather large asterisk next to Nebraska's win over Michigan. The Huskers easily handled the Maize and Blue once Denard Robinson left the game. The Huskers defense hasn't looked like the Black Shirts much this fall, but once Shoelace left the game, Nebraska dominated on that side of the ball. They held Michigan to a season low 188 yards of offense for the game and only three points once Robinson departed (and those came with lots of help from NU penalties). The Huskers now control their own destiny in the Legends Division after back-to-back wins over Northwestern and Michigan. However, Nebraska could face four "bowl-eligible" teams to finish the year: Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa.
This week: at Michigan State (5-4)

3. Michigan (5-3, 3-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 9 result: Lost to Nebraska 25-9
Big Ten fans got robbed of what could have been a truly great match-up in Lincoln. Michigan fans likely feel worse. Denard Robinson left the game in the second quarter when Bake Steinkuhler awkwardly hit his throwing arm as Michigan was going in to score. Dealing with re-aggravated nerve damage in his throwing arm, Shoelace was unable to return and replacement Russell Bellomy was left to deal with the Black Shirts. He was like a deer in headlights, starting 0-for-10 passing and leading the offense to only three points in the final 33 minutes of play. Michigan was held to a season low 188 total yards, 38 of which came from Bellomy (on 16 passes and five rushes). Brady Hoke has stated he isn't concerned with his star quarterback's availability for next Saturday's Battle for the Little Brown Jug.
This week: at Minnesota (5-3)

4. Penn State (5-3, 3-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 9 result: Lost to Ohio State 35-23
Matt McGloin threw for a career-best 327 yards and a couple of late scores to make the outcome much closer than it should have been. The Penn State ground game had averaged 180.5 yards per game with no fewer than 161 yards in each of the previous four games. Against Ohio State, it mustered only 32 yards on 28 carries as the Nits trailed 28-10 with 10 minutes to go in the game. The schedule isn't that difficult — Purdue, Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin — and a 3-1 finish would give Penn State an eight-win season. In Happy Valley this fall, eight wins has to be considered a modern miracle.

This week: at Purdue (3-5)

5. Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2)
Previous rank: 3
Week 9 result: Lost to Michigan State 16-13 (OT)
Much like Michigan, Badgers fans have to feel robbed this fall. Both league losses have come without starting quarterback Joel Stave and now Bret Bielema will be without his signal caller for the rest of the year. The redshirt freshman walk-on was 9-of-11 for 127 yards and a touchdown when he left the game with a broken collarbone. Former Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien led the offense to 43 total yards in the second half and overtime. The defense played excellent football, but finally broke down in the final minutes of play when the Spartans drove the length of the field to tie the game with 1:25 left to play. This team is still very much in the driver's seat for the Leaders Division default crown, but without Stave, an upset win in Indy is highly unlikely. 
This week: Off

6. Northwestern (7-2, 3-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 9 result: Beat Iowa 28-17
This was a huge game for a team that believes it is ready to compete for a Big Ten title. While finishing 6-2 in the league is highly unlikely (at Michigan, at Michigan State and Illinois after the bye), a shot at nine wins was realized with the win this weekend. A game Northwestern dominated. Opening up a 28-3 lead behind the best rushing attack Pat Fitzgerald has ever had in Evanston (237.6 ypg, 15th nationally), the Wildcats held on for the easy home win over reeling Iowa. Kain Colter and Venric Mark both topped 160 yards on the ground as Northwestern finished with 349 yards on the ground.  
This week: Off

7. Michigan State (5-4, 2-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 9 result: Beat Wisconsin 16-13 (OT)
The Spartans were teetering after a brutal last-second loss to rival Michigan last weekend. But the most maligned member of the Spartans' football program answered the bell when he had to this weekend and Sparty got off the schneid. Andrew Maxwell completed 8-of-9 passes and even rushed for a first down on MSU's final drive of the game that ended in the game-tying touchdown pass to Le'Veon Bell. He then tossed the game-winner in overtime on third-and-eight from the Wisconsin 12-yard line. It was easily Maxwell's best clutch performance of his brief and challenged career. The Spartans now return home for two tough games against Nebraska and Northwestern.
This week: Nebraska (6-2)

8. Iowa (4-4, 2-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 9 result: Lost to Northwestern 28-17
It was too little too late for Kirk Ferentz. For the second straight week, the Hawkeyes appeared to be completely unprepared to play a football game. After falling behind 38-0 to Penn State last weekend, Iowa fell behind Northwestern 28-3 before scoring a couple of second half touchdowns. This type of overall erosion is unacceptable in Iowa City. Certainly, Northwestern is as talented as it has been in over a decade, but there is no excuse for Iowa to fall behind 66-3. It is up to the head coach to have his team better prepared to compete.
This week: at Indiana (3-5)

9. Minnesota (5-3, 1-3)
Previous rank: 10
Week 9 result: Beat Purdue 44-28
This was a huge statement win for Jerry Kill and the Gophers. No, a win over Purdue isn't something you normally put in your trophy case, but it keeps Minnesota on pace for a potential bowl bid and gives an extremely young offense loads of confidence. Freshman Philip Nelson played flawless football in leading his team to a 44-7 lead halfway through the third quarter. He finished with 246 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing and no interceptions. He also added 37 yards rushing as Gophers fans have to be excited about the future of the quarterback position in Minneapolis. Kill's bunch has three brutal games left (Michigan, at Nebraska and Michigan State) and one game that should give them a trip to a bowl game (Illinois). Any upsets along the way would guarantee a winning season for the first time since 2008.
This week: Michigan (5-3)

10. Purdue (3-5, 0-4)
Previous rank: 8
Week 9 result: Lost to Minnesota 44-28
After a strong non-conference showing, Danny Hope's bunch was poised to compete in the depleted Leaders Division. That is, until Big Ten play started.
With just over eight minutes to go in the third quarter, Purdue had scored seven points and was trailing by 37 to Minnesota. Purdue has lost four straight games and has allowed nearly 40 points per game since Big Ten play started. The offense hasn't helped much either, averaging less than 300 yards per game during the four-game losing streak. Hope needs to win down the stretch to keep his job — probably three times, which isn't all that far-fetched with one of the easiest final months in the league: Penn State, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana.
This week: Penn State (5-3)

11. Indiana (3-5, 1-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 9 result: Beat Illinois 31-17
A win over a 2-6 team that has looked completely inept wouldn't normally be a signature victory, but for Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers, that is exactly what this weekend's win was for the fans in Bloomington. The two-touchdown road win was the first Big Ten win for the Wilson regime, and frankly, they made it look easy. After falling behind 14-7 early in the second quarter, Indiana out-scored Illinois 24-3 the rest of the way. Wilson's bunch is just a couple plays away from being 5-3 after heart-breaking losses to Ball State and Navy. It was the first league victory for IU since Nov. 2010.
This week: Iowa (4-4)

12. Illinois (2-6, 0-4)
Previous rank: 11
Week 9 result: Beat Lost to Indiana 31-17
The Illini finally won something this weekend. However, of course, no one wants to be called the "Worst Team in the League." But that is what Tim Beckman's bunch has earned in his first season at Illinois after losing at home by two touchdowns to a team that hasn't won a Big Ten game since November 2010. This team is horrendous in all three phases. It's ranked last in the Big Ten in total offense, scoring offense and sacks allowed. It is last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. And it's even last in punt returns and 11th in kick returns. 

This week: Ohio State (9-0)

by Braden Gall


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<p> Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-9-power-rankings

And then there was one. Most didn't believe Oregon State or USC could make it to the BCS National Championship game, however, they both just kept winning. No more. After tough road losses this weekend, the Oregon Ducks are flying above the rest of the Pac-12 as the lone remaining national title contender. The depth of the league was once again on full display as programs like Arizona, UCLA and Washington prove that the middle of this league is as strong as any league in the nation.

Post-Week 9 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - As the unquestioned leader of the best team in the league and arguably the best offense in America, Mariota is my vote. After three more touchdowns and another 70 points on offense, Mariota is now leading the league in completion rate (68.8 percent), is leading the league in rushing yards by a QB and has thrown the fewest interceptions of any of the regular starters in the league. Many will vote for Kenjon Barner or De'Anthony Thomas, but Mariota has been the most important piece to the Chip Kelly offensive puzzle.

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC could still win the league and so Barkley could still easily win POY. He threw for 493 yards and three touchdowns — giving him a Pac-12 best 25 total touchdowns — and is No. 2 in passing efficiency out West. A win next week and he is back at No. 1.

3. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona 
- Maybe now Scott will finally get some national consideration for his efforts in the desert. He nearly posted more yards against USC than any player in the long and storied history of the Trojan program. He piled up 469 yards and four scores in the big win over the Men of Troy.

Post-Week 9 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The Beavers lost for the first time but it wasn't the defense's fault. Keith Price failed to throw a touchdown and finished with 194 yards. Poyer had five tackles and returned one punt.

2. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - Fellow LB Shayne Skov deserves some love as well as the team's middle backer and leading tackler. However, Thomas has been a complete player with 50 total tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and an interception.

3. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - He didn't do that much in the loss to Washington (3 total tackles) but it wasn't his side of the ball that cost Oregon State its unblemished season. He is No. 2 in the league in sacks and tackles for a loss. 

Post-Week 9 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - His team had the 46-point spread covered with eight minutes left to go in the second quarter. This team is clearly the best team out West — despite replacing its starting quarterback, Heisman trophy finalist running back and losing its defensive captain in John Boyett. 

2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - He drops from 1b. to 2. with the first loss of the season. He is still having a remarkable year despite the tough road loss to Washington. 

3. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona  - Thanks to the Wildcats for making me look good after placing both Scott and RichRod in the top three for Coach and Offensive Player of the Year standings. His Cats have lost three games to three teams that are a combined 20-3. 

Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (8-0, 5-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 9 result: Beat Colorado 70-14
Oregon continued its first half dominance again this weekend as it won its 26th Pac-12 game in 27 tries. The Ducks had scored two touchdowns before the Buffs even had one offensive snap and eventually held a 56-0 halftime lead. Oregon's starters — on either side of the ball — have rarely played a single down in the second half of the year. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett has scored eight touchdowns in eight games thus far. After taking care of business — and watching five unbeatens go down from around the nation — the Ducks are set up for a huge showdown in Los Angeles next weekend. 
This week: at USC (6-2)

2. Oregon State (6-1, 4-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 9 result: Lost to Washington 20-17
Oregon State spotted Washington a 10-0 halftime lead, but worked itself back into play with a great third quarter. The well-known script of owning the second half and suffocating opposing offenses appeared to be right on schedule until Sean Mannion threw two of his four interceptions on consecutive drives early in the fourth quarter and Washington won the day. The quarterback has tossed seven interceptions in his last two games and fans have to wonder if he was rushed back from knee surgery. With Stanford and Cal remaining before The Civil War, Oregon State still controls its own destiny but has loads of heavy lifting still to go.
This week: Arizona State (5-3)

3. Stanford (6-2, 4-1)
Previous rank: 

Week 9 result:
 Beat Washington State 24-17
Another week, another hard-fought, physical Pac-12 win for David Shaw and the Cardinal. However, this one wasn't supposed to be close or hard-fought. Josh Nunes and his receivers continued to struggle mightily, but were once again bailed out by a dominant defensive performance. The Cardinal posted 10 sacks, allowed minus-16 yards rushing and returned one key interception for a touchdown to hold off the Cougars at home. As a three-touchdown favorite, this was clearly an imperfect performance by the offense. Stanford totaled 256 yards of offense against Wazzu and averaged only 3.2 yards per carry. Nunes' unit will have to be better with Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA still left on the schedule.

This week: at Colorado (1-7)

4. USC (6-2, 4-2)
Previous rank: 2
Week 9 result: Lost to Arizona 39-36
Matt Barkley put up huge numbers and Marqise Lee was on a different planet on Saturday. But it wasn't enough to overcome a tremendous game from Arizona quarterback Matt Scott. The Trojans defense allowed four straight touchdowns on four straight possessions late in the third and early in the fourth quarter. It was enough for the Wildcats to hold on for the huge upset in the desert. USC can still win the league as games against Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State loom over the next three weeks. But a chance at a national title or Heisman trophy likely fell by the wayside this weekend.
This week: Oregon (8-0)

5. UCLA (6-2, 3-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 9 result: Beat Arizona State 45-43
Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give UCLA a second straight key South Division win. Quarterback Brett Hundley played well in his return home, he is from nearby Chandler, Ariz., totaling 301 yards of offense and four total touchdowns in the huge road win. Johnathan Franklin chipped in 164 yards rushing and two scores as the senior tailback is now just 20 yards away from becoming UCLA's all-time leading rusher. Jim Mora's team is still very much in the thick of the South Division race with huge games against Arizona and USC coming up over the next three weeks. The defense needs to play better but Noel Mazzone's dynamic offense continues to impress (I bet they would like that Cal game back, eh?).
This week: Arizona (5-3) 

6. Arizona (5-3, 2-3)
Previous rank: 6
Week 9 result: Beat USC 39-36
Strange things happen out in the desert late in the season and Week 9 was a perfect example. Trailing by 15 points halfway through the third quarter, RichRod and Matt Scott rallied the troops by scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions. The redshirt senior quarterback was incredible, rushing for 100 yards on 15 carries and throwing for 369 yards on 50 attempts. He totaled four touchdowns as the Wildcats finally held on to win a close game. With close losses to Stanford and Oregon State (and a blowout loss to Oregon), Arizona's three losses have come to teams with a combined record 20-3. Is this the best three-loss team in the nation? Zona has to feel good about its chances in the South as games with UCLA, Utah, Colorado and Arizona State are all still ahead of them.
This week: at UCLA (6-2)

7. Washington (4-4, 2-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 9 result: 
Lost Beat Oregon State 20-17

The Huskies finished one of the nastiest month-long stretches of action any team in America will face this fall with a 2-3 record. And Steve Sarkisian's bunch should feel proud of their performance. Losses to Oregon, USC and Arizona don't feel nearly as bad now that the Huskies have wins over Stanford and Oregon State. It was the second win over a top 10 team at home as this Washington defense continues to show marked improvement from a year ago. The offense still has major issues on third down, but it took advantage of four OSU turnovers to score 10 fourth quarter points. Things get much easier for U of W from here on out: Cal, Colorado, Utah, Washington State 
This week: at Cal (3-6)

8. Arizona State (5-3, 3-2)
Previous rank: 7
Week 9 result: Lost to UCLA 45-43
The Sun Devils were unbeaten in conference play just two weeks ago. After allowing 43 and 45 points respectively to Oregon and UCLA, the Devils' Will Sutton-less defense is back on its heels. Arizona State now finishes the year with three of four on the road, with trips to Oregon State, USC and Arizona sandwiched around a home game with Washington State. Anything better than 6-6 would have to be considered a successful season, despite the early optimism in Tempe.
This week: at Oregon State (6-1)

9. Utah (3-5, 1-4)
Previous rank: 
Week 9 result: Beat Cal 49-27
The Utes ended a four-game Pac-12 losing streak by scoring three touchdowns on defense and special teams, including two Reggie Dunn 100-yard kickoff returns. The defense forced three turnovers as Utah raced to a 42-6 lead midway through the third quarter. It keeps hope alive that a 10th straight season of postseason play in Salt Lake City is still possible. Could Kyle Whittingham's bunch win three of its final four and make a bowl game? With Washington, Washington State, Arizona and Colorado left on the schedule, it is entirely possible.

This week: Washington State (2-5)

10. California (3-6, 2-4)
Previous rank: 9
Week 9 result: Lost to Utah 49-27 
Losing to Stanford or USC is one thing. Losing to a winless-in-the-Pac-12 Utah team by 22 points is something else entirely. And it might have cost Jeff Tedford his job in Berkeley. Cal's special teams were terrible and the offense turned the ball over. It was a microcosm of Cal's last few seasons. Score nearly 30 points with over 400 yards of offense and watch a skill player set school records (Keenan Allen became Cal's all-time leading receiver with 205 receptions) but inefficient quarterback play and sloppy special teams cost the Bears again. This time it was an ugly showing against a 2-5 Utah squad. 
This week: Washington (4-4)

11. Colorado (1-7, 1-4)
Previous rank: 11
Week 9 result: Lost to Oregon 70-14
For the second straight week, Colorado was given more than 40 points by the wise guys in Las Vegas and for the second straight week, it wasn't enough help. Jon Embree's team trailed by 56 points at halftime and allowed 425 yards rushing to Oregon. It was the third straight game this team has allowed at least 50 points. Offensively, this team mustered only 95 yards passing. Is enough enough in Boulder?
This week: Stanford (6-2)

12. Washington State (2-6, 0-5)
Previous rank: 12
Week 9 result: Lost to Stanford 24-17
This was Mike Leach's chance to make a statement. Leach watched his defense play its best game of the season by allowing lows in total yards (256) and passing yards (139). Yet, with the game tied at 17 with just more than six minutes to play, he watched his quarterback throw a costly interception that Stanford returned for the game-winning touchdown. The Cougars rushed for minus-16 yards, the third time Wazzu has rushed for a negative total. The rest of college football has five such games. There were some positives Leach can pull from his trip to Palo Alto, but his team is still the lone team winless in Pac-12 play.

This week: at Utah (3-5)

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 9 Recap

ACC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power
Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings 

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /nfl/san-francisco-49ers-vs-arizona-cardinals-preview-and-prediction

Two divisional foes with excellent defenses will meet on Monday Night Football, when the Arizona Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers tonight at 8:30pm EST on ESPN. Arizona got off to an excellent start at 4-0, but Ken Whisenhunt’s club has since dropped three in a row and needs a win at home. San Francisco stands at 5-2 and atop the NFC West, having won three of its last four games.

When the Arizona Cardinals have the ball:
The Arizona offense began the season with John Skelton at quarterback, but an early injury saw the Cardinals turn to Kevin Kolb. After a Kolb injury (ribs) two weeks ago, Skelton is back at signal caller. He has a pair of targets in Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts who have been very productive this season, but the Arizona offensive line must protect is quarterback. The Cardinals have allowed a league-high 35 sacks, and that must change versus the 49ers tonight. The running game received a boost last week from LaRod Stephens-Howling (104 yards and a score), Arizona’s first 100-yard rushing effort since last season.

The San Francisco defense ranks No. 1 in the league, allowing only 272.3 yards per game. The 49ers have been solid against the run (10th in the NFL), but they have been especially stingy versus the pass (giving up a league-best 173.4 yards per contest). That says a lot for the Niners coverage ability, given the fact that they have totaled only 11 sacks on the season. San Francisco will be tested in that area tonight, as the Fitzgerald-Roberts combo has already produced 848 yards and eight touchdowns this year.

When the San Francisco 49ers have the ball:
The 49ers offense is known for its physical running attack, which ranks second in the league with 176.6 rushing yards per game. Top runner Frank Gore compiled a season-high 131 yards on the ground last week against Seattle, as well as totaling a season-best 51 receiving yards. Quarterback Alex Smith played very well in the first five games with eight touchdown passes and only one interception, but he has struggled in the last two contests with one scoring pass and four picks. San Francisco will need him to play better tonight while protecting the ball.

The Arizona defense has been solid as well this season, ranking seventh in the NFL with 312.1 yards allowed per game. The Cardinals have been excellent against the pass, keyed by 22 sacks and 15 takeaways on the year. That will need to continue tonight against the Niners, who do not tend to give the ball away. Arizona has been susceptible to giving up rushing yards, and the defense must play well in that area versus the powerful San Francisco offensive line and Gore.

Key Factor:
The Cardinals have lost eight of their last nine games on Monday Night Football, but they have won three of four contests at home this season. It will be critical for Arizona to keep it close early and not become one-dimensional on offense. The 49ers may not have high sack numbers this season, but their defense could change that fact against a Cards team that allows way too much pressure against its quarterbacks. Look for the Niners to play their usual brand of physical football and stay atop the NFC West.

49ers 23 Cardinals 16

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/8-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-8

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 8 of NFL play:

12-of-16: Detroit's conversion rate on third down
The Seahawks (4-4) couldn't get off the field on third down when it had to and it allowed the Lions (3-4) to save its season. Matthew Stafford and company converted on 75% of its third down attempts, including three such conversions on the game-winning drive. To put into perspective the alarming rate of success on such a key down, only the Steelers are converting on third down more times than not (52%). Stafford finished 34-of-49 for 352 yards while accounting for four touchdowns in the big come-from-behind win. Sunday marked his ninth career fourth-quarter game-winning drive and the third such drive this season. Detroit has three wins this fall.

6: Consecutive drives Atlanta scored to open the game
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (7-0) scored on their first six possessions, giving the NFL's last unbeaten team a commanding 30-10 lead three seconds into the final quarter. With 5:24 left in the fourth, an Atlanta drive ended in something other than points when the Falcons had to punt for the first time. It was Ryan's 50th career win in 69 career starts — tying him with Ben Roethlisberger as the second fastest quarterback in history to win 50 games (Tom Brady, 65). The Falcons are unbeaten when Ryan throws at least three touchdowns (15-0) and the 7-0 mark is the best start in franchise history. Bonus Stat: The Eagles lost following a bye week for the first time in 14 years. The 13-year win-after-a-bye-week streak was the longest in NFL history since the advent of the off week.

6: Interceptions returned for TDs by the Chicago Bears defense
Trailing by five points with less than seven minutes to go in the game, Cam Newton floated one to the left sideline into the waiting arms of Tim Jennings. He ran the short 25 yards into the endzone and gave the Bears (6-1) the lead over the Panthers (1-6). In seven games, the Bears defense has allowed eight total offensive touchdowns, while scoring six of their own. And two of those eight were a fake field goal by Green Bay and an offensive fumble recovery by Carolina. Newton is now 7-16 as a starter in the NFL while the Bears have won five straight. 

14-3: Jets record when Mark Sanchez attempts 25 or fewer passes
The Jets' Mark Sanchez attempted the second-most passes of his career with 54 passes thrown on Sunday in the loss to the Dolphins (4-3). New York (3-5) is 7-11 when Sanchez throws at least 35 passes in a game. When he isn't needed to throw much, the Jets win at an startling rate. The J-E-T-S have never lost (6-0) when he throws fewer than 20 passes in a game and are 14-3 — including 3-0 in the playoffs — when throwing 25 or fewer attempts.

17: NFL record consecutive games the Patriots have topped 350 yards
With 473 yards of offense in the 45-7 win over the Rams (3-5) in London, the Patriots (5-3) passed the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams for the all-time record for consecutive games of at least 350 total yards of offense. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win across the pond. It marked the 50th time Brady has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game, good for fourth all-time behind Brett Favre (72), Peyton Manning (67) and Dan Marino (62). Strangely enough, it was also his 50th career 300-yard passing game, good for seventh all-time. 

7.7: Points allowed per game during Pittsburgh's six-game home winning streak
The Steelers (4-3) have won two straight games, three out of four and six straight at home. During the six-game home winning streak the defense has been absolutely stifling for Mike Tomlin, allowing less than eight points per game. Dating back until Week 13 of last fall, Pittsburgh hasn't allowed more than 14 points to any opponent. After holding Robert Griffin III and the Redskins (3-5) to 12 points, one offensive touchdown and 255 yards of offense, Tomlin has his team one game back of the depleted Baltimore Ravens. 

1: Career games missed by Jason Witten
Despite the rough home loss to the division leading New York Giants (6-2), Jason Witten proved once again why he is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. The last time Witten missed a game was Week 14 of his rookie season back in 2003 with a broken jaw. The Cowboys (3-4) tight end has played in 150 of 151 possible career games, starting 140 of those. He caught a career-high 18 passes for a career-high 167 yards in the loss and moved to within three catches of Dallas' all-time record holder Michael Irvin (750). Witten has 747 career receptions. It was his 16th 100-yard receiving effort.

.571: Andrew Luck's record rookie winning percentage
Through eight weeks of the season, no rookie No. 1 overall quarterback has ever posted a higher winning percentage than Andrew Luck's .571 (4-3). My weekly Bro-mance with Mr. Luck isn't diminishing anytime soon. Quite the contrary, it's only getting more ridiculous. Luck led the Colts on an 80-yard, 14-play, seven-minute drive that culminated in the game-tying touchdown with just more than three minutes left on the clock. Then on the first drive of overtime, Luck led another 80-yard drive, this time on nine plays over five minutes, to win the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Vick Ballard. He finished with 325 yards of total offense and the game-winning touchdown. The Titans have lost seven out of eight overall and seven of the last 10 in Nashville against the Colts. 

- by Braden Gall


<p> Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 8</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /college-basketball/missouri-valley-conference-2012-13-college-basketball-preview

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

The return of All-American Doug McDermott to Creighton will be the biggest story in the Missouri Valley in 2012-13. The other nine teams hope the Bluejays forward isn’t the only story.

McDermott became the league’s first All-America selection since Wichita State’s Xavier McDaniel in 1985, and he’s the first to return to make a run at national player of the year since Indiana State’s Larry Bird in 1979.

With nine of the top 10 scorers returning to Creighton, McDermott will have plenty of help in trying to get the Bluejays over the hump from a solid postseason team to a true NCAA Tournament threat.

Beyond the McDermott storyline, the question is if Creighton won’t be alone playing in March. With regular season champion Wichita State and MVC tournament champion Creighton both reaching the Tournament field last season, it marked the first time since 2007 multiple teams from the MVC made the field.

Wichita State lost five seniors from last year’s team but returns the league’s top newcomer from 2011-12 plus a key transfer. Illinois State has a solid nucleus, but a first-time head coach. Northern Iowa has been quiet since its Sweet 16 trip two years ago, but the Panthers have quietly rebuilt themselves into a postseason contender. And Evansville and Indiana State, with veterans Colt Ryan and Jake Odum, respectively, will be tough for any team to face.

G Jake Odum, Indiana State 2011-12 regular season champion: Wichita State
G/F Colt Ryan, Evansville 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Creighton#, Wichita State
F Doug McDermott, Creighton* New coaches: Barry Hinson (Southern Illinois), Dan Muller (Illinois State)
F Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State Realignment: None
F Ben Simons, Drake  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion






1. Creighton (28-5, 14-4)
Doug McDermott is a fabulously efficient scorer. As a sophomore, he averaged 22.9 points and made 60.1 percent from the field overall and 48.6 percent from 3. He also rebounds — he averaged 8.2 per game — and should win his second MVC Player of the Year award. He spent the offseason trying to round out his offensive game, specifically working on his ball-handling. The roster around McDermott returns mostly intact, but Creighton’s lone major loss is significant. Antoine Young ran the team for three seasons, played tough defense and rarely turned the ball over. He could create his own shot, a trait the Bluejays will miss. With nine of its top 10 players back, however, the Bluejays are worthy of national attention. They defeated Alabama in the NCAA Tournament game last season before falling to North Carolina. This season won’t be a success without playing into the second weekend. Creighton should navigate the MVC’s 18-game schedule with its depth and experience overwhelming most rivals. Their offense should set a pace that is tough to match. If defense grows into more of a priority, the Bluejays are capable of their best march through March.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

Related: Q and A with Creighton’s Doug McDermott

2. Wichita State (27-5, 16-2)
Wichita State is back where its passionate fans believe it belongs. The Shockers are the defending MVC champions and played in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 after winning the NIT in 2011. Gregg Marshall needed a few years to get going, but he has now won 20 or more games three straight seasons. The Shockers lost five seniors from the MVC champions, most notably All-MVC picks Garrett Stutz and Joe Ragland and All-Defensive team selection Touré Murry. Carl Hall, the ’11-12 MVC Newcomer of the Year after averaging 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, leads a frontcourt that should matchup favorably with most teams in the league. The backcourt should be in good hands with senior Demetric Williams, a combo guard who is WSU’s best one-on-one defender. Senior Malcolm Armstead, a transfer with one season of eligibility, started 52 games at Oregon in two seasons and averaged 8.6 points as a junior.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

3. Illinois State (20-13, 9-9)
It will be interesting to see which party profits the most — in a basketball sense — from this summer’s upheaval. Coach Tim Jankovich walked out on a loaded team to become Larry Brown’s assistant (and coach-in-waiting) at SMU. He took point guard Nic Moore, one of the MVC’s top freshmen, with him to Dallas and a future in the Big East. The school recovered nicely by hiring former Redbirds star Dan Muller, a long-time assistant at Vanderbilt, although the transition could knock Illinois State down a spot or two in the standings. This is a good year to test the Redbirds, even without Moore. Senior forward Jackie Carmichael (13.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg) is one of the Valley’s best big men. Senior guard Tyler Brown (13.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg) earned a spot on the MVC’s All-Newcomer team.
Postseason prediction: NIT

4. Northern Iowa (19-13, 9-9)
After two seasons atop the MVC, Northern Iowa slipped toward the middle of the pack in 2011 and 2012. The Panthers aren’t interested in quick fixes. They build patiently, with four- and five-year players who are developed in their system. This season, UNI’s patience might pay off. The Panthers return six of their top seven scorers. With four seniors (three in their fifth year at UNI), it’s time for the Panthers to contend for a league title. To make that kind of a run, the Panthers need to diversify their offense. They are one of the Valley’s best 3-point shooting teams. Last season, they made 38.6 percent of their 3s and attempted 691, second-most in the conference. Too often, however, the offense didn’t do damage inside the arc. UNI lacks a low-post scorer, unless sophomore center Seth Tuttle, the 2011-12 MVC Freshman of the Year, grows into that role.
Postseason prediction: NIT

5. Evansville (16-15, 9-9)
Senior swingman Colt Ryan has never had enough help to make the Aces a true title contender in the MVC. Ryan, who averaged 20.5 points and 4.2 rebounds as a junior, is a talented scorer who adds something to his game each season. He passes effectively and is skilled at drawing fouls and making free throws (84.4 percent). He makes the Aces competitive, but he can’t make them an upper-level team without scoring and rebounding help. Evansville will play hard. Coach Marty Simmons excels at getting the most out of his players, and MVC teams hate to face the Aces’ physical defense and motion offense. It is never an easy night when Evansville is on the schedule, and Simmons deserves credit for building that reputation.

6. Drake (18–16, 9–9)
This was supposed to be the big season for the Bulldogs. Then sophomore guard Rayvonte Rice (16.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) transferred to Illinois. Drake will miss his power and speed, and there is no replacement in sight. Almost everybody else is back, starting with senior forward Ben Simons (16.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg), who turned into one of the MVC’s stars. Center Seth VanDeest is back after missing last season with a shoulder injury, and he is a legit MVC big man who averaged 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 2010-11. Sophomore Karl Madison started 29 games at point guard. Forward Jordan Clarke is a tough interior defender. Sophomore guard Jeremy Jeffers made 43.2 percent (32-of-74) of his 3-point shots. Eight newcomers are on hand, including guard Chris Hines, a senior transfer from Utah who averaged 9.6 points per game as a junior. He is eligible immediately. With Rice, Drake likely would have contended for a top-three spot in the Valley. Without him, the Bulldogs are a middle-of-the-pack team. Fifth-year coach Mark Phelps is making progress and raising the level of talent. If Hines can improve his shooting, Rice’s absence might not be so problematic and the Bulldogs could make a move.

7. Indiana State (18–15, 8–10)
If point guard Jake Odum (10.8 ppg, 4.8 apg) is healthy, it might not matter who surrounds him. Odum led the Sycamores to the NCAA Tournament as a freshman, leading an unlikely group with his passing and swagger. As a sophomore, injuries slowed him down, and the Sycamores couldn’t recreate the 2011 magic. Odum, now a junior, is back, and coach Greg Lansing says his star guard is feeling good. “He looks like the old Jake,” Lansing says. Three of the top four scorers are gone, and Odum is the only returner who started more than six games. Lansing is counting on Gonzaga transfer Manny Arop to add athletic ability at forward. He started eight games as a sophomore at Gonzaga, scoring a high of 16 points at Notre Dame. He averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 2010-11. Guard Dawon Cummings averaged 13.8 points at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. The Sycamores need more contributions from junior forward R.J. Mahurin  and sophomore bigs Justin Gant and Jake Kitchell and to make up for the departure of center Myles Walker and forward Carl Richard. Transfer Mike Samuels didn’t put up big numbers in junior college, but the 6-11, 265 pound big man gives the Sycamores some needed size around the basket.
Freshman guard Khristian Smith committed to Cincinnati before attending prep school and eventually signing with the Sycamores.
8. Bradley (7–25, 2–16)
Last season will live on as the worst in Bradley’s proud history. The Braves finished alone in last place in the MVC for the first time, and the 25 losses were a school record. Improvement will be slow. Coach Geno Ford isn’t tearing up his roster. Guard Walt Lemon Jr. (12.6 ppg) needs to move off the ball to really shine. Senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards (11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) stagnated as a junior but has the talent to do more. Junior forward Tyshon Pickett, the lone transfer eligible this season, could join returners Jordan Prosser (7.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Shayok Shayok (3.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and Will Egolf, back after a knee injury, to form an adequate frontcourt. If redshirt freshman Nate Wells, a 7-footer, contributes, it’s a bonus. Ford is counting on Pickett, from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, to rebound and add much-needed toughness. “I don’t know if we were the softest team in the league, but we weren’t the toughest,” Ford says. “We’re doing a lot of competitive stuff and trying to get our guys used to winning again. We need to hate losing a little bit more than we maybe have.”

9. Missouri State (16–16, 9–9)
Second-year coach Paul Lusk’s real work begins now, after the graduation of 2011 MVC Player of the Year Kyle Weems and two other seniors. The Bears may take a step back from a .500 season. The summer brought disaster when senior forward Jarmar Gullley (10.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) suffered a season-ending knee injury. Senior guard Anthony Downing (11.5 ppg) is solid, but needs help. The Bears need a point guard and lack size, factors which should move them toward the bottom of the MVC. Tevin Bracey, who averaged 7.8 assists for Westchester (N.Y.) Community College last season,may be the answer at point guard. Guard Keith Pickens is a defensive stopper plagued by injuries. Forward Christian Kirk is athletic and should improve after starting 14 games as a freshman. Guard Nathan Scheer failed to grab a bigger role after a solid freshman season on an experienced team. An exhibition trip to Costa Rica was a needed step for this program.
10. Southern Illinois (8–23, 5–13)
The Salukis hired the right coach to get them through a bad time. Barry Hinson will stay upbeat and crack jokes all season, in part to deflect pressure from his team. “It’s been an eye-opening experience for about 11 guys,” Hinson said during the summer. “It was for 12 guys, one guy’s eyes were wide-open so much that he decided to quit.” SIU lost its best player (Mamadou Seck) and doesn’t return a player who averaged double-figures. It will take Hinson at least two seasons to restock. He knows how, after spending the past four seasons as the director of basketball operations at Kansas and nine as the head coach at Missouri State. Sophomore forward Dantiel Daniels (8.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg) decided to stay after announcing his departure. Junior guard Desmar Jackson, a transfer, should start. He averaged 14.6 points and 4.2 rebounds for Wyoming as a sophomore. Expect Hinson to play fast and try to get the Salukis to play a style similar to the one coached by Bill Self at Kansas. SIU will need to run up and down because it lacks size. Kendal Brown-Surles (8.0 ppg, 2.4 apg), T.J. Lindsay (7.1 ppg) and Jeff Early (8.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg) are senior guards who can smooth Hinson’s transition.


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

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

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

20. Florida

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

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

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

<p> Missouri Valley Conference 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 05:15
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-college-basketball-preview-1-1-creightons-doug-mcdermott

Greg McDermott wasn’t certain that his son, Doug, could handle it in the Big 12 back when he was handing out scholarships as the head coach at Iowa State. However, after jumping to Creighton and the Missouri Valley, the elder McDermott decided to take his kid — and it’s paid off. Doug McDermott quickly turned into a star, a 6-8 skilled forward who can score from just about everywhere on the court and is a legitimate candidate for National Player of the Year honors this season.

McDermott averaged 22.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc last season. Here, he talks about a range of subjects, including his quick rise, whether he thought about leaving early and about playing for his dad.

McDermott's Creighton team is the preseason favorite in our MVC preview.

What is the toughest place you have played in your career?
Wichita State. It’s crazy. Everyone is on top of you. I was talking to UNLV’s Mike Moser about it, and he agreed. It gets so loud and it’s always sold out and the student section is on top of you. I love it, but it’s nuts.

Who is the guy you have had the most trouble scoring on?
John Henson and James Michael McAdoo. We played North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, and Henson is just so long and athletic. McAdoo is real strong and also athletic, but Henson’s length just makes it so difficult to score.

Which coach, other than your dad of course, would you want to play for?
Bill Self. I’ve always respected what he’s done at Kansas. His teams always play well, no matter who they have. I watched him closely when my dad was coaching in the league at Iowa State, and he seems like a pretty good guy, also.

Your dad didn’t offer you a scholarship when he was coaching in the Big 12 at Iowa State and you were in high school. How often do you remind him of that?
I don’t really think about it anymore, and we really don’t talk about it much. A lot of old boosters joke with him about it, though. He always says that he thought I was good enough, but that he just didn’t want to waste a scholarship on me. We are where we are now, though, so why go back about it? I’ll probably have more fun with him about it after I’m done playing for him.

Is it crazy to think you may start this season as a first-team preseason All-American?
Crazy. I didn’t even start on my high school team in Iowa as a junior. My confidence was a little shaky, then all of the sudden I got a chance to play with Harrison (Barnes), I got to watch how hard he worked and it inspired me to where I am now. It’s nuts, though. I still can’t believe it.

When did the light really go on for you?
Probably my freshman year at Creighton. There were a couple injuries that happened on the team that put me in the mix, but the plan was for me to redshirt. I played fairly well and then my confidence really skyrocketed. Then after the season, I was on the U.S. team, and that helped me out as well. It showed me that I could play with just about anyone in the country.

You had a terrific freshman season at Creighton, but you didn’t always see eye-to-eye with your coach/dad. What was the deal?
We argued a lot that year. When I came in, I felt like I knew everything. We’d argue about what type of defense we were running. He’d say that I knew nothing about defense and that I was always guarding the other team’s worst offensive player. It was tough at times, but we’ve come a long way and we rarely argue now.

Were you surprised that Harrison Barnes fell all the way to Golden State at No. 7 in the NBA Draft?
Actually, I really wasn’t. I thought there was a chance he would go to Cleveland, but I thought Golden State was a great fit for him. I think he’ll be a better pro than a college player. He’s long, has range and will have more space to work with in the pros.

Admittedly, you deferred at times early last season. Leadership has been a difficult area for you, somewhat due to the fact that you were an underclassman and also because you play for your father. Where do you feel you are in the leadership department entering this season?
I think I came a long way from my freshman season to my sophomore season. It’s hard to be vocal sometimes, especially when your dad is the coach. Last season I became more comfortable. Sometimes it’s hard when he’s yelling at the team because he’s my dad and they are my teammates. Watching Grant Gibbs has been great for me. He’s a great leader and isn’t afraid to yell at guys. I know I have to continue to improve in this area next year.

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

A summer ago, you never stopped. You played for the U.S. team in Lithuania, then came back and went with the team to the Bahamas. Did your body wear down towards the end of the season because you never really had a rest in the offseason?
I felt a little tired but tried not to let it get to me mentally. I’m only 20 years old, so it’s not all that bad. But I felt a lot better this summer and was able to work on my game more. Last year I didn’t get a chance to do as much skill development because I was playing so much. This summer’s been more low-key. I went to Indianapolis and worked out with Ed Schilling and some pros — guys like Robbie Hummel and Marquis Teague — and also played with the Butler team.

What happened last year when you guys went through that rough stretch? Creighton was clicking on all cylinders and then the wheels appeared to fall off for a while.
We just got too comfortable. We weren’t doing the same things we were doing earlier in the year. We lost three or four straight, and I honestly believe it was good for us. It humbled us. We hadn’t really hit any adversity before that, and I think our entire team was tested. I know I was. I think that’s where I grew as a leader — with the help of Grant. We finished strong, winning the Missouri Valley Tournament.

You had such a strong season. Was there any thought of trying to leave early for the NBA?
Not really. There were no conversations between me and my family. I felt as though I wasn’t ready. I know I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get there. We have a really good team this season, and for me, it’s so much fun to be in college. I’m playing for my dad and having the best time of my life, so there’s no rush for me to try and leave.

What do you like to do when you aren’t in the gym?
Hang out with friends. I don’t love the class part of things too much, but I just hang out with my friends and do normal college kids stuff. We’ve got a small campus, and the city of Omaha really embraces us. It’s kind of being a pro team in town. We play ping-pong. We play a lot of NBA 2K. I golf. I feel like I’m pretty good at golf. I shoot in the mid or low 80s.

Your dad was a pretty good player back in the day at Northern Iowa and played overseas for a year. When’s the last time you played him one-on-one?
I think it was way back as a freshman or sophomore in high school. I think he’s too scared. I think he got me back then — in the driveway — but I was probably 6-5. He backed me down and I had no answer. But now?  I think I could get him on the wrong. We never talk about it, but our team jokes around whether he can still dunk. He does it once a year and last year he barely got it. He’s definitely getting older.

Your game doesn’t compare to guys that preceded you, because let’s face it, it’s unorthodox. What’s your reaction to that?
I hear it all the time and I take pride in having a different game than anyone else. Some people compare my game to Wally Szczerbiak, but I don’t really remember him and he’s more of a 2-guard and small forward. I can’t really think of anyone else I’ve heard. I can’t come up with anyone, either.

Who do you get excited to watch?
I love watching Dirk (Nowitzki). He’s a 7-footer, but I still try and take some things from his game — leaners and floaters off one foot. I love watching Paul Pierce. He’s not the most athletic guy, but he’s so effective.

What are your goals for this upcoming season?
To get further than we did and to advance further than any Creighton team has in its history. Last year we got to the second round and that’s how far they got in Kyle Korver’s last year. We want to get to the Sweet 16 — at least — and also win the Missouri Valley regular-season title. Wichita State got us last year. We had a good chance, but then we went on that three-game skid and it ruined our chances. We feel like we have the pieces to do it this year.

What area(s) of your game did you concentrate on this summer?
I’m definitely working on moving my feet better and also offensively on my face-up game.

You and your dad like to eat. That’s no secret. What’s your ideal meal?
I’m a huge meatloaf guy. I get it all the time. I’m not afraid to order it for lunch. My mom makes the best meatloaf hands-down.

OK, we need to talk about your vertical. You aren’t exactly a high-flyer, but have you ever had your vertical tested?
We did it right after the season and it wasn’t too good. Off two feet, I think it was a 31. Not horrible.

You changed your Twitter handle a few months back. Any particular reason?
My old handle was @DFresh03 and I just felt like I needed to mature a little so I changed it to @dougmcd3. All my teammates now give me crap and try and act like I’ve changed. They’re all saying that we miss the old "DFresh", but I just felt like it was a little immature sounding so I changed it.

You’ve had your moments with your dad, but overall what’s the experience been playing for him?
It’s as good as it gets. Sure, there are times when we don’t always see eye-to-eye, but it’s been so much fun, especially since we’ve had so much success in the two seasons I’ve played for him. It’s been great to do well, but it’s been even better to watch him and see how happy he is now after struggling at Iowa State.


Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

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

20. Florida

<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Preview: 1 on 1 with Creighton's Doug McDermott</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-9-waiver-wire-report

The fantasy playoffs are right around the corner and owners at the bottom of the standings have just about thrown in the towel.  As a result, there is not as much competition for waiver wire claims with the season drawing to a close.  Take a look at some late-season waiver gems as we head into Week 10.


Ryan Griffin, QB-Tulane

Since his return from injury, Griffin has passed for 1,100 yards and ten touchdowns in three games.  Fantasy owners should get solid production from the senior quarterback as the Green Wave play Rice, Memphis, East Carolina, and Houston to close the season.

Ray Holley, RB-Louisiana Tech

Holley isn’t a bad acquisition if you play in a deep league because the senior running back is averaging over 95 total yards from scrimmage, three receptions, and a touchdown per game 

Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa

Damon Bullock opened the season as the starter, but Mark Weisman took over when Bullock was lost for several weeks due to a head injury.  Now, Weisman is the one that is injured and the running back position in Ames may be Bullock’s once again.

Jalen Saunders, WR-Oklahoma

We are going to use the logic that we did a couple of weeks ago with Bronson Hill of Eastern Michigan when he ran for 283 yards against Toledo.  When a receiver catches 15 passes for 181 yards in a single game at this point of the season, you should claim him off of waivers and keep Saunders away from other owners. 

Eric Monette, WR-Western Michigan

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

Bryan Underwood, WR-North Carolina St

Underwood only has 28 catches, but he has caught at least one touchdown in every game this season and has posted back-to-back 100-yard games. 

Myles White, WR-Louisiana Tech

White is the second-leading receiver for the Bulldogs behind Quinton Patton and has at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in back-to-back games.

Ryan Grant, WR-Tulane

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

Did you miss last week’s waiver report?  See it here.

by Joe DiSalvo,

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email:  [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 9 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 03:57
All taxonomy terms: Ohio State Buckeyes, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/braxton-miller-displays-crazy-moves-one-yard-touchdown-run

Ohio State's Braxton Miller is having a Heisman-caliber season. The sophomore has thrived under new coach Urban Meyer, throwing for 1,527 yards and 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,093 yards and 12 scores. 

Miller has provided plenty of highlights this season but none better than the one in Saturday's win over Penn State. Facing a third and goal from the one-yard line, the sophomore juked a Nittany Lion defender and then hurdled into the endzone for six points. 

Needless to say, this might be the best one-yard touchdown run college football has seen in a long time.

<p> Braxton Miller Displays Crazy Moves on One-Yard Touchdown Run</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 21:57
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-analysis-post-week-9

Even as four BCS top-10 teams lost Saturday, the national championship rankings became no less clear. Except, perhaps, Alabama’s status at No. 1.

With former No. 2 Florida losing to No. 10 Georgia on Saturday, the coveted second spot for the national title was up for grabs. Even if Notre Dame had the more impressive win last week by defeating then-No. 8 Oklahoma 30-13 in Norman, Kansas State moved up one spot to No. 2 after defeating No. 14 Texas Tech 55-24 at home.

Oregon remains stuck at No. 4 despite placing second in both the coaches’ and the Harris polls. With a weaker schedule compared to Kansas State and Notre Dame, Oregon is ranked fifth in the computer average. The Wildcats and Irish, meanwhile, are tied at No. 1 in the average ranking of the six computers used in the BCS rankings.

It’s a mess at the top of the rankings, but if there’s any consolation, the teams ranked Nos. 2-4 have a handful of common opponents: Both Kansas State and Notre Dame have defeated Oklahoma and Miami. Both Notre Dame and Oregon will face USC later in the season. Assuming all remain undefeated, those comparisons may make make a difference.

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


BCS Standings
Oct. 28

Coaches' Poll Harris Poll Comp. Avg. Last Wk.
1. Alabama 1 1 3 1
2. Kansas St. 3 3 T-1 3
3. Notre Dame 4 4 T-1 5
4. Oregon 2 2 5 4
5. LSU 5 5 6 6
6. Georgia 6 6 7 10
7. Florida 8 8 4 2
8. S. Carolina 11 11 9 13
9. Florida St. 7 7 T-21 12
10. Louisville 10 10 13 16
11. Oregon St. 13 13 8 7
12. Oklahoma 12 12 10 8
13. Clemson 9 9 T-12 18
14. Stanford 15 14 11 17
15. Miss. St. 18 15 16 11
16. Texas A&M 16 18 18 20

No. 2 Kansas State. The Wildcats were the big winner in the “if the season ended today” scenario by moving up to No. 2 in the BCS standings. Despite Notre Dame’s signature win over Oklahoma, Kansas State continued to have the edge in the human polls, one spot ahead of Notre Dame in both. Although the Wildcats and Irish are tied in the average computer rankings, Kansas State has more opportunities to build a resume against BCS No. 25 Oklahoma State, No. 23 Texas plus TCU and Baylor. Notre Dame has the best remaining opponent in No. 17 USC. If both remain undefeated, the schedule comparisons and the shared wins over Oklahoma will be under the microscope.

No. 7 Florida. The Gators moving from No. 2 to No. 7 is no surprise after the 17-9 loss to Georgia. To reach the BCS title game would take a handful of fortunate events for the Gators: A Georgia loss to Ole Miss or Auburn to give Florida a chance to play in the SEC title game, plus losses from Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon. And that doesn’t take into consideration Alabama-LSU this week. The Gators, however, have a BCS at-large spot in play. Regardless of what happens in the SEC race, a trip to Florida State to end the season will be critical for that goal.

No. 1 Alabama at No. 5 LSU. Alabama has a substantial hold of the No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings. A win in Baton Rouge would further solidify that. A loss may mean chaos for a BCS championship spot.

No. 4 Oregon at No. 17 USC. Oregon's schedule has been paper thin this season. This week against USC, however, may give Oregon a boost to crack the top three. Worth keeping in mind, though: Oregon defeated Arizona 49-0. USC just lost 39-36 to the Wildcats.

No. 24 Oklahoma State at No. 2 Kansas State. Kansas State faces its third consecutive ranked team after defeating West Virginia and Texas Tech by a combined score of 110-38. Style points are starting to enter the discussion this week against Okie State.

USC may be the most important team in the BCS. The margin between No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Oregon in the BCS average is 0.001, so the comparisons start with USC. Both face the Trojans in November, starting with the Ducks visiting Los Angeles this week. For Oregon, it’s the biggest statement game of the regular season. For Notre Dame, it will be the last. Oregon, however, may have the upper hand with matchups against No. 14 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State looming, in addition to a potential Pac-12 championship game.

The ACC could get two BCS bids By moving from No. 18 to No. 13 Clemson crossed the threshold allowing the Tigers to be a BCS at-large team if the Tigers do not win the ACC. Clemson, whose only loss is to Florida State 49-37, is ranked ninth by both human polls, but remains tied with Florida State at No. 21 in the computer average. If both remain in BCS at-large contention on the final day of the regular season, the game against No. 8 South Carolina could be very interesting.

One BCS bowl could have a SEC conundrum. The top eight of the BCS standings include five SEC teams, which could be an interesting problem for BCS games selecting an at-large team. Under most circumstances, only two teams per conference can play in BCS games. Assuming No. 1 Alabama plays for a BCS title, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Florida and No. 8 South Carolina would all be eligible for an at-large bid if the season ended today. And just outside the top-14 threshold for at-large considerationare No. 15 Mississippi State and No. 16 Texas A&M.

Boise State has a chance at a BCS bid. But it’s close. As a team from a non-automatic qualifying league, Boise State either needs to reach the top 14 for automatic inclusion or the top 16 if it’s ahead of an AQ champion. Boise State sits at No. 19 with the highest-ranked Big Ten team, Nebraska, one spot behind. The Broncos haven’t clinched the Mountain West, but they don’t have a marquee game remaining. The strategy for Boise State: Win out and hope for a lackluster Big Ten champion.

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

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

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

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

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

By David Fox


Related College Football Content
Week 9 Recap: Notre Dame solidfies BCS case
Who votes in the Harris Poll?

<p> College Football: BCS Analysis Post-Week 9</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 21:08
All taxonomy terms: Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /news/deanthony-thomas-shows-ridiculous-moves-punt-return

Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas is one of college football's most exciting players, so Saturday's ridiculous punt return shouldn't have been a surprise. However, this return has to be one of the best in recent memory and maybe one of his most electrifying plays in his short Oregon career.

Thomas had to backtrack and field a punt off a bounce but broke a tackle and patiently followed his blocks down the sideline, before turning on the jets right around midfield. 

This return was just another big play in Thomas' career and a reason why the Ducks are one of the most dangerous teams in the nation.

<p> De'Anthony Thomas Shows Off Ridiculous Moves In Punt Return&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 20:10
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-9-recap-notre-dame-solidifies-bcs-title-case

With the exception of Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and teams not playing Colorado, it was a rough week to be undefeated.

Saturday began with 11 remaining undefeated teams and ended with six as Florida, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Rutgers and Ohio all lost. Only the Bulldogs loss to dominant Alabama did not come as an upset.

For now, the race for the national title is unclear with Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame in contention for the BCS championship game. Having four or more undefeated teams at this stage of the season isn’t uncommon, and although this title race tends to shake itself out, that won’t stop the speculation of who would play who if the status quo remains.


Notre Dame’s bold play call.
Moments after Oklahoma tied Notre Dame at 13 in the fourth quarter with the first rushing touchdown all season against the Irish, Brian Kelly wasn’t willing to play it safe, even with his untested quarterback. On second and 2 from his own 35, Kelly called for a play-action deep pass, which Everett Golson completed for a 50-yard gain into the Oklahoma red zone. The play sapped OU momentum, quieted the crowd in Norman and set up up the go-ahead touchdown. In other words, it’s the kind of play that further cemented Notre Dame’s title-contending status. Golson, meanwhile, looks like the quarterback who can deliver in such spots. He finished 13 of 25 for 177 yards and rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown in the 30-13 win.

Georgia’s SEC hopes. Losing 35-7 to South Carolina, struggling with Kentucky and getting into a shootout with Tennessee isn’t exactly the best way to the SEC championship game, but that’s the route Georgia is taking. If the Bulldogs defeat Ole Miss and Auburn the next two weeks, they’ll seal a trip to the SEC title game. A potential trip to the SEC championship game was put in motion thanks to an unorthodox 17-9 win over Florida in which the Bulldogs committed 14 penalties for 135 yards and got three interceptions out of veteran quarterback Aaron Murray. The reason Georgia is in the driver’s seat? Jarvis Jones.

Kansas State’s dominance. The dream season isn’t ending in Manhattan, Kan. Even after a slow start this week, Kansas State found the cracks in the Texas Tech defense and still found time to play its backups in a 55-24 win. Collin Klein started 4 of 7 for 20 yards and lost five yards on three rushing attempts, but finished as he always does -- passing for 233 yards, running for 83 and accounting for four touchdowns.

Florida’s “violators.”
In the 44-11 win over South Carolina, Florida’s defenders kept their eyes out for “violators” -- offensive players who didn’t hold the ball high and tight, players who left themselves susceptible to turnovers. Florida had its own laundry list of violators against Georgia. The Gators turned the ball over six times from three players: Jeff Driskel (two interceptions, two fumbles) and Trey Burton and Jordan Reed (one fumble each). The last fumble by Reed was the most costly. As the Gators’ tight end was driving into the Georgia five-yard line, Jarvis Jones took advantage of Reed’s “violator” status to end the Gators’ bid for a potential game-tying touchdown and two point conversion.

Gary Nova. Rutgers’ formula to remain undefeated wasn’t groundbreaking: Play great defense and avoid turnovers. That came crashing down against Kent State, the second MAC team in two weeks to hand a Big East team its first loss of the season. Rutgers entered the game with a plus-14 turnover margin, but finished minus-5 against the Golden Flashes as quarterback Gary Nova threw six interceptions. Meanwhile, the same team that hadn’t allowed an opponent to rush for 100 yards for the first six games surrendered 224 rushing yards to Kent State. Rutgers’ chances to win the Big East haven’t been harmed, but the luster is gone on a standout season.

Ohio’s BCS bid. The undefeated Bobcats have been flirting with disaster since their season-opening win over Penn State. Where Florida and Rutgers saw their undefeated seasons evaporate due to turnovers, Ohio had a different kind of gaffe against Miami (Ohio). Trailing by a field goal, Frank Solich elected to go for the win when the Bobcats took over on first and goal at the 7. Only one problem: Quarterback Tyler Tettleton lost track of timeouts. Believing he still had one timeout remaining, Tettleton took a sack on the game’s final play as time expired as Ohio’s undefeated season and longshot BCS bid ended in a 23-20 loss.

Manti Te’o, Notre Dame.
A case of being at the right place at the right time in the fourth quarter may have sealed Te’o’s trip to New York. With fellow Notre Dame linebacker Dan Fox draped over Oklahoma receiver Jalen Saunders, Landry Jones’ pass deflected into the air into the hands of a diving Te’o for the Sooners’ only turnover of the day. Te’o added 11 tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss. If it’s a foregone conclusion Te’o will be a Heisman finalist, the next question is if he can beat out Ndamukong Suh’s fourth place finish in 2009, the best finish for a defensive player since Charles Woodson won the award in 1997.

A.J. McCarron, Alabama. Eventually, McCarron is going to escape the game manager tag. In the 38-7 win over Mississippi State, McCarron was 16 of 23 for 208 yards with two touchdowns. In a matchup with ballhawking cornerback Johnthan Banks, McCarron still avoided throwing his first interception of the season. Game manager? The perfect 57-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Bell said otherwise.

Giovani Bernard, North Carolina. Bernard rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and caught eight passes for 95 yards against NC State, yet it wasn’t the most impressive part of his day. Bernard ran back a punt for a 73-yard touchdown with 13 seconds remaining to give the Tar Heels a 43-35 win. The TD capped an 18-point fourth quarter and gave North Carolina its first win over NC State since 2006. Bernard has rushed for at least 130 yards in four consecutive games and has accounted for 15 touchdowns in seven games this season.

USC’s Marqise Lee caught 16 passes for 345 yards for a Pac-12 record, but the Trojans still lost 39-36 to Arizona. Lee, who also had two touchdown catches, became the fourth receiver to have 300 yards in a game this season. The others were Arkansas’s Cobi Hamilton, Baylor’s Terrance Williams and West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey.

617. Yes, Auburn can reach new lows this season. The 1-7 Tigers surrendered more yards than in any game in school history with 671 yards allowed to Texas A&M. In the 63-21 loss, the Tigers fell five points short of the most allowed in program history, in a 68-7 loss to Georgia Tech in 1917.

20-3. A sneaky good first season for Rich Rodriguez earned a signature win with the 39-36 upset of USC. The Wildcats are 5-3, but their losses have come against teams with a combined 20-3 record: Oregon (8-0), Oregon State (6-1) and Stanford (6-2). Against USC, Arizona produced two 100-yard rushers (Ka’Deem Carey and Matt Scott), a 300-yard passer (Scott) and a 250-yard receiver (Austin Hill).

Texas 21, Kansas 17
Utah 49, Cal 27
BYU 41, Georgia Tech 17
Alabama’s methodical dominance
Tennessee’s bad luck
USF’s fourth-quarter flops
Oregon 56, Colorado 0
Texas A&M 42, Auburn 7
USF 23, Syracuse 3

Sean Mannion’s ill-fated return. Granted, the No. 7 team on upset alert shouldn’t be overlooked, but a late-night game on Pac-12 Networks with all the other developments of the day seemed to obscure Oregon State’s first loss of the season. Nevertheless, the Beavers followed fellow undefeateds Florida and Rutgers in losing their perfect record on turnovers. Quarterback Sean Mannion returned to face Washington after missing two games with a knee injury, but the return may have been rushed. Mannion threw four interceptions before he was replaced by backup Cody Vaz in the 20-17 loss.

The MAC’s banner year Even in a week in which its last undefeated team and only BCS threat (Ohio) lost, this week signaled a banner season for the MAC. With a win over Rutgers, Kent State was the second MAC team to hand a Big East team its first loss of the season in two weeks, joining Toledo’s upset of Cincinnati. The league has four one-loss teams -- Kent State, Toledo, Northern Illinois and Ohio -- each with a wins over Big Six conference teams. The MAC is 4-4 against the Big East and 3-9 against the Big Ten.

Air Force. The Falcons rushed for 461 yards Friday in a 48-31 win over Nevada, putting Air Force at 4-1 in the Mountain West. Despite returning only six returning starters, Troy Calhoun’s team is right in the thick of the Mountain West race with Boise State (4-0), San Diego State and Fresno State (4-1 each). Air Force does not play Boise State this season, but faces the Aztecs and Bulldogs on the road. A MWC title will be tough, but a bowl game -- which looks probable at this point -- would mark a great coaching job by Calhoun.

The second major injury may be the worst.
Lattimore’s reaction -- his look of panic on the filed and his sobbing into a towel as he was carting off the field -- told the story. The details of the damage to his right knee/leg weren’t released Saturday night, but the gruesome nature of it seems to season-ending at best, career-ending at worst. After his freshman season of 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns, a run at the Heisman and a likely NFL first-round draft pick seemed to be his future before a torn ACL as a sophomore. His second major injury in two years puts a promising career in question.

Tennessee’s response. After the injury, South Carolina’s players circled in support, as usually happens in a serious injury situation. Tennessee’s players joined South Carolina on the field around Lattimore -- a clear demonstration of sportsmanship in a divisive SEC.

Lattimore carries nationwide admiration. Beyond Tennessee on the field, coaches and Lattimore’s peers chimed in for support at a level rare, even when an elite player suffers a major injury. LSU coach Les Miles and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III chimed in on Twitter. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told ESPN after the game: “He’s such a wonderful man. Good things will happen for Marcus Lattimore. I don’t know what field of life, but he’s a wonderful guy.” ESPN’s Travis Haney explained why, in part, Lattimore’s injury struck a chord:

Jarvis Jones, Georgia.
Injuries cost Jones two games this season. otherwise, he might be a Heisman contender. Jones turned in one of the best performances in the history of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party with 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 17-9 win over Florida. The biggest play may have been a strip and fumble recovery against Florida tight end Jordan Reed as the Gators were poised for a fourth quarter touchdown. Elsewhere for Georgia, safety Bacarri Rambo, who had been suspended earlier in the season, had an interception and a sack.

Sammy Watkins, Clemson. Remember when the freshman Watkins was one of the stories of the season during an 8-0 start? That seemed like ages ago as Watkins has been out of sorts to start the season, missing three games with a suspension and later an illness. Watkins returned to his 2011 form with eight catches for 202 yards with three plays longer than 50 yards against Wake Forest on Thursday. He doubled his season receiving output in just one game.

De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon. Thomas has had a quiet season, but facing Colorado cured that in in a hurry. His 22 yards per touch was his best against an FBS team all season. With a game against USC coming up next week, this is a good time for Thomas to heat up. Thomas rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns, but the highlight was this acrobatic 73-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Ohio State can win with defense.
No postseason implications were at stake when Ohio State defeated Penn State 35-23, but there were key developments nonetheless. Penn State’s Matt McGloin passed for 327 yards against a vulnerable Ohio State secondary, but the Buckeyes succeeded in making the game one-dimensional by holding the Nittany Lions to 32 rushing yards.

Wisconsin can’t win without Joel Stave. The Badgers quarterback was an afterthought to start the season with the arrival of Danny O’Brien, but he may be the key to the Badgers offense. Wisconsin struggled to move the ball in the second half after Stave suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter as Wisconsin lost 16-13 in overtime to Michigan State. O’Brien was 5 of 11 for 44 yards in relief of Stave.

Denard Robinson’s even more important than you think. He’s a dazzling playmaker, but inconsistent and not a great fit for what Brady Hoke wants to do. But without Robinson, Michigan’s just bad right now. Robinson left with an elbow injury in the second quarter, and redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy didn’t distinguish himself. Bellomy started 0 for 11 and threw three interceptions in the 23-9 loss to Nebraska.

Case McCoy, Texas
What did McCoy’s comeback mean for Texas? Did he save Mack Brown’s job? Did he regain the starting quarterback job? Or did he just save Texas from embarrassment? The latter he certainly did when he relieved starting quarterback David Ash in the fourth quarter with Texas struggling to beat Kansas. McCoy was 5 of 7 for 68 yards with a critical fourth-down pass and a touchdown on the game-winning drive. McCoy and Ash traded the starting job last season, but McCoy hadn’t played in a contested game until he entered the 21-17 win over Kansas. Unless Texas has someone on the bench who can play a little defense, the Longhorns may continue to struggle.

Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State. The freshman was named starting quarterback in spring practice, but his coronation was short-lived as he was injured in the third game of the season. J.W. Walsh played admirably with Lunt out, but Walsh was lost to a season-ending injury last week to force Lunt back into duty. After Oklahoma State spotted TCU at two-touchdown lead, Lunt finished 18 of 33 for 324 yards with a touchdown for eight unanswered scoring drives (including five Quinn Sharp field goals) in the 36-14 win.

Steele Jantz, Iowa State Benched for the last three games, Jantz returned against Baylor with new life. Perhaps aided by the porous Baylor defense, Jantz was 36 for 52 for 381 yards with five touchdowns and two turnovers in a 35-21 win. Iowa State needs only one more win for bowl eligibility, which makes the final part of the schedule (Oklahoma, at Texas, at Kansas, West Virginia) much more manageable.

Kansas State
Notre Dame
Alabama at LSU
Oregon at USC
Oklahoma State at Kansas State

Indiana’s Big Ten losing streak.
The Hoosiers gave Ohio State and Michigan State fits earlier this season, but they finally found a willing participant to help end their 11-game losing streak. With backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld playing the final three quarters, Indiana defeated Illinois 31-17 for the program’s first Big Ten win since defeating Purdue 34-31 to end the 2010 season. Indiana may have a chance to win consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since 2007 when it faces struggling Iowa in Bloomington next week.

Pittsburgh wins two in a row vs. FBS teams. With a 47-17 win over Temple, Pittsburgh picked up its first back-to-back wins over FBS teams since the final two games of 2010. That was six coaches ago, including Dave Wannstedt, Todd Graham and current coach Paul Chryst, plus two interim coaches (Phil Bennett and Keith Patterson), the short-lived tenure of Mike Haywood. The last Pitt coach to win back-to-back Big East games was Wannstedt in October 2010. Fellow Big East-to-ACC team Syracuse also won its first consecutive Big East games since October 2010 with consecutive wins over Connecticut as USF.

Ole Miss wins an SEC game ... again. A week after ending a 16-game SEC losing streak, Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 30-27 on a 31-yard field goal as time expired for its first back-to-back conference wins since defeating Tennessee on Nov. 17, 2009 and LSU on Nov. 21, 2009. By winning in Little Rock, Ole Miss picked up an SEC road win for the first time since defeating Vanderbilt 23-7 on Oct. 3, 2009. First-year coach Hugh Freeze has Ole Miss one win a way from bowl eligibility.

By David Fox


<p> College Football Week 9 Recap: Notre Dame solidifies BCS title case</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 11:09
Path: /nfl/new-orleans-saints-vs-denver-broncos-preview-and-prediction

Two of the NFL’s best field generals will meet on Sunday Night Football, when the Denver Broncos host the New Orleans Saints at 8:20 pm EST on NBC. Peyton Manning and the 3-3 Broncos come off a bye week that followed the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football history, a 35-24 victory over the Chargers where Denver trailed 24-0 at halftime. The 2-4 Saints have struggled on defense all season, but Drew Brees always gives New Orleans a chance to win.

When the Denver Broncos have the ball:
Manning has returned to his four-time MVP form during the last month, throwing for 1,314 yards and 11 touchdowns against only one interception over the last four Denver games. However, the Broncos are only 2-2 in those contests because of an inconsistent defense. Manning will need to keep up his stellar play to beat the Saints, and receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker should do well against a meek New Orleans secondary. Denver could also use a solid performance by running back Willis McGahee, who could eat away time of possession and keep Brees off the field.

The Saints defense ranks last in the league, giving up an alarming 465.5 yards per game. The offseason turmoil and new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo seems to have a caused a disconnect for New Orleans defenders so far this year, and they will be challenged greatly by Manning and the Broncos attack. The Saints will need to do a better job of stopping the run (31st in the NFL) and try to make the Denver offense one-dimensional.

When the New Orleans Saints have the ball:
Brees has also been excellent lately, leading New Orleans to two wins in a row after starting the season 0-4. During the last four games, Brees has thrown for an outstanding 1,433 yards and 14 touchdowns. However he may be without Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, who is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Receivers Marques Colston and Lance Moore should have plenty of opportunities for a big night, and New Orleans would be helped greatly by any contribution from the NFL’s lowest-rated rushing attack.

The Broncos defense has been very susceptible to bad starts this season, struggling in the first half on multiple occasions. A repeat of those early woes would be a dangerous formula against the intrepid Brees, who can torch any defense when he gets into a rhythm. Denver has been fairly solid with takeaways (10) and sacks (18), and interrupting Brees’ timing will be critical for the Broncos to have success tonight.

Key Factor:
There should be plenty of points scored in Denver tonight, and the defense that gets off to the better start will have a huge advantage in this one. If the Saints can force the Broncos defense into another first-half lapse, then Manning and the offense will have to dig out of another early hole and the crowd will be less of a factor. But if Denver solved some of its defensive issues during the bye, the Saints could be in for an uphill battle. With the raucous home crowd, we’ll take Manning and the Broncos to prevail in a shootout.

Broncos 31 Saints 27

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> New Orleans Saints vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 09:55
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-darren-mcfadden-eddie-royal-jordy-nelson

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Darren McFadden is listed as probable on the injury report with a shoulder but practiced all week and should be good to go in one of the two late-afternoon games on the Week 8 slate today. The injuries, as feared in the preseason with McFadden, have not been the problem this year; it has strictly been a lack of production. He has four double-digit days in PPR leagues but just one game above 20 points (24.8 in Week 1). Run DMc has rushed for under 70 yards in five of six games and scored just twice. He is a slightly poorer man’s Chris Johnson so far. A return to the 24.8 points from Week 1 would be nice today against a Chiefs team that has allowed seven running backs to have double-digit PPR days thus far.


Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns
This is not so much about Eddie Royal, who has been declared out today, as it is to how much worse Philip Rivers could get. There’s not much worse than the performance Rivers went into the bye week with — a second half against the Broncos that had five turnovers. Royal bailing on a couple of routes did not help matters in that game. But I digress. Royal was limited with a hamstring injury and did not practice on Friday. It was in issue going into the bye week, it is an issue coming out of the bye week and it is an issue for Rivers. The Chargers’ QB has little to no weapons to throw to with Malcom Floyd averaging 6.3 catches for 69.6 yards and just one score this season; free-agents Robert Meachem (12-189-2) and Eddie Royal (13-98-1) have made little impact and Vincent Brown (broken ankle) looks nowhere near ready to return. Tight end Antonio Gates has just 19 grabs for 224 yards and two scores; his 35 targets is 18th amongst tight ends. The Chargers are playing a get-well defense today as Cleveland is ranked 28th against fantasy QBs, but is there enough well on the Chargers’ side for Rivers to be able to capitalize? It’s a four-team bye week so you might not have another route to go, but beware.


Jordy NelsonJordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Are you excited about a receiver that depends on his speed and is playing with a bum hamstring? Me either. And that is reinforced even more by two factors today: the Packers have other options and they are playing the Jaguars. Jacksonville is ranked 18th against fantasy receivers and have allowed at least 26 points in five of six games; a number Green Bay has reached in the last four outings. Nelson was held out of Thursday and Friday practices and has been declared out for today's game. This game has James Jones, Randall Cobb and Alex Green written all over it. The Packers’ motto today should be: “Get in, get a win and get out in under 3:10.” It’s what they have done with ease the last two outings.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Week 8 Fantasy and Injury Updates: Darren McFadden, Eddie Royal, Jordy Nelson</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 07:24
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-danny-amendola-blaine-gabbert-hakeem-nicks

Danny Amendola

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots (London)
The PPR machine was back practicing for the Rams this week, including Friday in London. He was listed as questionable for today’s game, but has since been downgraded to out. It would have been Amendola's first game since separating his SC joint Oct. 4. It would have been a pretty big risk for both you as a fantasy owner and the Rams as a team to take in activating Amendola. St. Louis has its bye next week and Amendola should be ready to go by Week 10. If he is on your waiver wire, you might want to go ahead and snatch him back up as he is ahead of his recovery.


Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Green Bay Packers
Let’s be clear, this is only to let you know Blaine Gabbert suffered a torn labrum in his non-throwing arm and will start against the Packers in their early game. Gabbert suffered the injury in the second quarter last week in Oakland. He is only being mentioned for three reasons: He’s starting. Two-quarterback leagues. He’s playing the Packers and their 16th-ranked fantasy defense against QBs. Gabbert was 8-of-12 for 110 yards and a touchdown and on pace for his best game of the season. Yes, it could have been because Maurice Jones-Drew went out on the team’s second offensive play, but production is production. The team will insert Rashad Jennings in place of MJD and Gabbert will get to play a Packers team that has allowed five of the seven starting QBs it has faced to throw for at least 211 yards and only Matt Schaub (232 yards) did not throw a TD against them. Gabbert is fantasy’s 30th ranked QB and you would be crazy to start him in any format, but with Schaub, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick on a bye, he IS viable as the last-ranked QB in 2-QB leagues.


Hakeem NicksHakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Hakeem Nicks was a full participant in practice this week — the first time that has happened this season — and he said he feels “like I finally got over the little hump.” The hump has been foot and knee injuries this season. He was still slowed from the foot injury when the Giants opened with the Cowboys in Week 1 and Nicks had four catches for 38 yards on six targets. He returned the following week to post a 10-for-199 and one-TD game on 15 targets against Tampa Bay. But injuries sidelined him until a return in Week 6. He admitted he was not his normal self in the Week 6 game at San Francisco, receiving five targets and catching three for 44 yards. He garnered 10 targets, catching five for 53 yards in last week’s win against Washington. The Cowboys are the third-best team against fantasy receivers this season, allowing four TDs to the position and only three to eclipse 80 yards. It has been hard to trust Nicks this season, obviously, and Eli Manning has not fared very well either. But if Nicks is healthy it is hard to sit a guy that is fantasy’s 52nd-best receiver despite really only playing as himself in two games (Weeks 2 and 7).
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Danny Amendola, Blaine Gabbert, Hakeem Nicks: Week 8 Injury Updates</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 07:16
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-aaron-hernandez-rob-gronkowski-jimmy-graham

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Rob GronkowskiAaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, TEs, New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams (London)
Well, that was a fun two-week return for Aaron Hernandez. He is now back on the shelf as he did not make the trip to London with the Patriots for their early game against the Rams today. Hernandez' ankle injury that sidelined him earlier this season has slowed him down a bit. Still, a bit for him was 11 catches for 84 yards and a score the last two weeks. He was right back to double-digit status in PPR leagues. He will now get Week 8 off and Week 9 for the bye and hopefully return healthy in Week 10 against a Buffalo team that Rob Gronkowski torched for five catches, 104 yards and a score on 11 target sans Hernandez. Gronkowski is listed on the injury report as questionable with a hip but he is expected to play. Gronk, as mentioned, had the 5-104-1 game with Hernandez out of the lineup in Week 4, and he has caught 12 balls for 139 yards and two scores in the two weeks with Hernandez back. If he's dressed, he's in your lineup. St. Louis has been stingy against tight ends, surrendering their first TD to the position in Week 6 and coming back to hold Jermichael Finley to two catches for 31 yards the next week. Brandon Pettigrew (Week 1) and Anthony Fasano (Week 6) are the only two tight ends to reach double digits against the Rams.

Jimmy GrahamJimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints vs. Denver Broncos (Sunday night)
The trifecta of bad for fantasy: An elite player, a game-time decision, a Sunday night game. The ankle injury that sidelined Jimmy Graham last week has limited him in practice all of this week in preparation for tonight's game at Denver. "If it were up to me, I'd play," Graham said Friday. But it is not up to him and it is up to us as fantasy owners to make the call on what to do with Graham this week. First thing, is go get a back up off the waiver wire. It would be nice if we could just get Graham's backup, David Thomas, but he is just not dependable. He has nine targets all season with four catches and one score. There are better options on the wire that will see the ball more frequently. I have Graham and I cannot afford the gamble of hoping he will go in a night game. If Lance Moore was not there to steal some of Thomas's targets it would be a no-brainer to own both Saints TEs and then make the call. But Moore is back and picked right back up where he left off. Look elsewhere for your Graham replacement.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Week 8 Injury Updates: Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 07:07
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-rashard-mendenhall-isaac-redman-jonathan-dwyer-titus-young-brandon-mye

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Rashard MendenhallRashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, RBs, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins
Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) was ruled out of today's game vs. Washington on Friday. Backup Isaac Redman (ankle) practiced on a limited basis this week. And that leaves Jonathan Dwyer to once again carry the load. A week after rushing for 122 yards on 17 carries against Cincinnati, Dwyer gets a Washington run defense that has allowed six of the 19 running backs they have faced to score double-digit days in PPR, but only Adrian Peterson has sniffed 20 points (19.9). It is unlikely you were counting on a Steelers RB to be an RB1 or 2 this season, and they have only been good plays in any roster slot on four occasions thus far. This should be one of those days for Dwyer.


Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks
The pride was thinned out a bit when Nate Burleson went on IR with a broken leg. That leaves the door open for either Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew or rookie Ryan Broyles to step right in. But for years now, like in Houston, it has been hard, week in and week out, to trust any receiver not listed as the team's top receiver. In the Lions' case that is Calvin Johnson, and he is not living up to fantasy expectations this season. However, Burleson had flashed on multiple occasions this year, scoring double-digit days in PPR formats on four of six outings. Young, who is battling a knee injury and is listed as questionable, has two double-digit days — thanks to a Hail Mary TD to force OT against Tennessee in Week 3 and a 6-for-81 day last week at Chicago. Young has a chance to shine the rest of the season; unfortunately against Seattle might not be where he builds on last week's efforts. The Seahawks have faced 26 receivers and allowed seven double-digit days in PPR scoring. Young could be an OK flex option against a defense the Lions might have trouble running on — especially after the way Frank Gore embarrassed Seattle last week.


Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
You know we're knee-deep in bye weeks and the tight end landscape is not as rosy as once predicted when you are reading about Brandon Myers. But with Aaron Hernandez out, Jimmy Graham a game-time decision and four teams with serviceable tight ends (Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Houston) on byes, it is time to talk Myers. He is listed as probable (knee) this week but should be good to go against the Chiefs. Myers has just one dud in terms of what to expect from fringe tight ends these days. He has caught at least four balls four at least 44 yards in all but one game. He doesn't produced TDs (just one so far) but he receives targets and catches. In the last two weeks, Myers has 17 targets, turning them into 12 catches for 106 yards. Kansas City has not been very forgiving to tight ends as of late. The first three weeks, the position caught 11 balls for 122 yards and three scores. The last three weeks, it has been seven catches for 92 yards and no scores. Perhaps that is because the Chiefs have been bottom eight against fantasy running backs and quarterbacks. Maybe this is the week Darren McFadden finally busts out, but Myers is a decent TE option in a week where the position is weak.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> To help you decide who to start and who to sit.</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 07:05
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-daniel-thomas-maurice-jones-drew-rashad-jennings-jeremy-kerley

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
Daniel Thomas is listed as probable and set to return from his second concussion of the season. The Dolphins’ running game has produced seven double-digit PPR days in six games and Thomas has had two of those despite missing two games. The Jets are ranked 23rd against fantasy running backs, having allowed seven rushing scores to the position — the fifth most. The Jets are the best in the league against fantasy receivers. So there should be plenty of opportunities for Thomas to help Reggie Bush in the Dolphins’ backfield. Thomas is a low-end flex at best, but could be a good bye-week fill in as he works back into the lineup.

Maurice Jones-DrewMaurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings, RBs, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Green Bay Packers
Jacksonville is ranked 28th against fantasy RBs, 19th against fantasy QBs and 18th against fantasy WRs. There is nothing suggesting that the Jaguars will be able to hang with the host Packers today, particularly with the way the Green Bay offense has caught fire as of late. So what will the effectiveness of the Jacksonville running game be? It will be Rashad Jennings who gets the chance to find out as Maurice Jones-Drew is on the shelf for the foreseeable future with a sprained foot. MJD had four double-digit days in PPR leagues and three of those came in defeats. Jennings stepped in for MJD last week and carries 21 times for 44 yards and one score and added seven catches on nine targets for 58 yards. It is those targets and the fact that Jennings is all the Jags have that makes him a decent RB2 start this week.

Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
Stephen Hill is the deep threat and will likely get the scores but it is Jeremy Kerley moving the chains. He collected a season-high 11 targets in last week’s loss to New England. Kerley caught seven of them for 120 yards. Now the Jets take on a Dolphins team that is ranked eighth against fantasy running backs but 26th against fantasy receivers in PPR formats.  Miami’s defense has surrendered just one touchdown to a running back (receiving) and no RB has reached the 80-yard mark on the ground this season. Meanwhile, the Dolphins allow 14.6 catches and 187.3 yards on 26.5 targets per game to the receiver position.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Week 8 Injury Updates: Daniel Thomas, Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings, Jeremy Kerley</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 07:02
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-trent-richardson-donald-brown-demarco-murray-felix-jones-phillip-tanne

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Trent RichardsonTrent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, RBs, Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego Chargers
Eight carries against Indianapolis last week and the first thing we hear regarding Trent Richardson's ribs is "the injury is much bigger than what folks think it is." He will obviously have to play through the pain but as long as Cleveland keeps trotting him out there it seems unlikely he can be started with much confidence in fantasy until there is some marked improvement. He is listed as questionable for the Chargers game and will be a game-time decision. His backup, Montario Hardesty (knee) is listed as probable and is expected to play. San Diego has not allowed a running back to score since Jamaal Charles had two in Week 4 and they have only allowed four scores altogether to the position and four double-digit days in PPR to the position — none since Charles in Week 4.



Vick BallardDonald Brown, Vick Ballard, RBs, Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans
Donald Brown looks to be back in the mix after being on the sidelines since knee surgery around Week 4. He is a game-time decision for today's early tilt at Tennessee. He practiced in full on Thursday and Friday and looks like he might get back on the field after missing two games. Vick Ballard bounced back from a poor outing at the Jets - as did the rest of the Colts — when he ran for 84 yards on 20 carries and caught a pass for 19 yards. Delone Carter had 11 carries for 41 yards. Will Brown be eased back into the 11-carry role or take on the 20-carry role? Brown had games of 16, 18 and 17 carries before the injury. Tennessee allowed Buffalo's Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to account for 120 total yards and a touchdown and 102 total yards last week have been relatively atrocious against the run. Brown did have a breakout game the last time he faced the Titans (16-161-1) and scored in both meetings last season. Ballard could still have a role as either the lead back as Brown's worked in or as a goal line threat against a Tennessee defense that should allow the Colts plenty of opportunities.

DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner, RBs, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
First it was DeMarco Murray going down, then Felix Jones was ineffective in returning to the starting role and could not stay healthy himself. Murray is out for today's late game against the Giants and Jones is questionable. Phillip Tanner is an option, but we are talking about the Cowboys' third back on a team that has been far from effective on the ground consistently this season. Starting center Phil Costa (ankle) being very doubtful is not a help to the run game, either. It is worth noting that Jones totaled 137 yards on 22 touches in the first meeting with the Giants last year and 77 yards on 18 touches in the Week 17 meeting.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Week 8 Injury Updates: Trent Richardson, Donald Brown, DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 07:02
Path: /fantasy/week-8-injury-updates-pierre-garcon-leonard-hankerson-santana-moss-jay-cutler-ahmad-bradshaw

Here we are — the halfway point of the NFL season and six weeks away from the start of the fantasy postseason for many. Injuries are making lineup decisions harder — sometimes easier in the committee world of some positions — and bye weeks leave us scrambling for the best start at some positions. Here are a few updates to hopefully help you make that push toward the fantasy postseason.

Pierre GarconPierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson & Santana Moss, WRs, Washington Redskins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
I told you in this spot last week that Pierre Garcon should sit until after the Redskins’ Week 10 bye and it looks like that is the best-case scenario. It is either surgery or rest for Garcon. One would mean the end of the season the other means no fantasy value for you. It is unlikely that Garcon will have any fantasy value left this season and it will fall to Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss to pick up the slack. Keep in mind that tight end Fred Davis (Achilles) went down for the year last week and Hankerson and Moss should see a marked fantasy improvement. It might be a coin toss as to who’s more productive week in and week out, but after the Week 10 bye, the Redskins face four teams currently ranked 16th or worse against fantasy receivers. Gut says go with experience: Moss; Upside says go with Hankerson.


Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers
The rib injury suffered against the Lions on Monday night was worrisome, but Jay Cutler returned to the game and practiced in full on Thursday and Friday this week. The ribs are a concern with how much time Cutler usually spends on the run — and the 150 yards and one score against a Lions team that is ranked 13th against fantasy QBs was not encouraging, either. Carolina is 17th in the league with 14 sacks while Chicago is ranked 28th with 19 allowed. However, the Panthers have allowed the last five starting QBs they’ve faced to throw for at least 221 yards and at least one TD while collecting five interceptions. It should also be a good day for Bears RB Matt Forte as the Panthers are ranked 28th against fantasy RBs. But Cutler could easily benefit from that as Carolina has surrendered the most receptions (53) and the second-most receiving yards (417) to opposing running backs.


Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, David Wilson, RBs, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is listed as questionable after a week in which he missed Friday’s practice and was limited on Wednesday and Thursday. He told reporter “it’s a bone bruise; it may take a while” in regards to his return to a clean bill of health. But we’re in Week 8 of the NFL season; there is no clean bill of health anymore. Fantasy owners have become accustomed to RBBC’s in the NFL. Sometimes injuries to part of that committee leave you with a great play for a couple of weeks, but upon their return the picture is muddled again. Welcome to New York and a number of other teams across the league. The Giants are the ninth-best team in the league in terms of PPR fantasy scoring from their running backs, and everyone has had their day — Bradshaw with five double-digit days, Andre Brown with three and rookie David Wilson with one. Today, all three face a Cowboys team that has surrendered just three scores to the position and outside of Marshawn Lynch’s 122 yards in Week 2, no back has eclipsed 63 yards since. Bradshaw had 17 carries for 78 yards and a score and two catches for 15 yards in Week 1 against the Cowboys. But that was half a season ago at this point.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Week 8 Injury Updates: Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Jay Cutler, Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, David Wilson</p>
Post date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 06:50