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Two unbeatens still remain out West and one will face a major road test this weekend. But a former Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate will return to help the Beavers attempt to stay unblemished against Washington. The Ducks-Buffaloes showdown, however, shouldn't be nearly as competitive. 

Down in the South Division, both Los Angeles teams head into the desert where weird things tend to happen late in the season. Both USC and UCLA have major road tests this weekend. There is much to be determined before next weekend's Oregon-USC showdown.

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

1. The return of Sean Mannion in Seattle
It is amazing what an undefeated record can do for a busted up meniscus. Oregon State’s starting quarterback underwent knee surgery to repair his left meniscus less than three weeks ago and is now slated to start on the road against Washington. He was supposed to be miss nearly a month but will miss only two games. Cody Vaz was more than capable in his stead (506 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT), but Mannion was on track for Pac-12 Player of the Year honors before getting banged-up. And he will be needed this weekend in Seattle. The Huskies are allowing only 160.8 yards passing per game and three total touchdown passes at home in four games — which included games against San Diego State, Stanford and Matt Barkley.

2. Will the Washington offense ever wake up?
Steve Sarkisian’s offense averaged 409.8 yards and 33.4 points per game in 2011. Quarterback Keith Price was one of the best in the nation by accounting for 36 total touchdowns. One year later, this offense is 103rd in the nation in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and total offense (326.4 ypg). Certainly, U of W is one game away from wrapping up arguably the toughest five-game stretch in the nation (Stanford, at Oregon, USC, at Arizona, Oregon St). But other than 52 points against Portland State, the Huskies have scored 11 offensive touchdowns in six games against FBS opponents. Washington scored 55 offensive touchdowns last season. Good luck against the Pac-12’s No. 1 scoring defense.

3. What will Monte Kiffin do to stop Matt Scott?
USC allowed 23.6 points per game, including 41 to Arizona, and 374.8 yards per game on defense last year, ranking them 45th and 54th nationally respectively. To date, Kiffin’s defense is allowing only 16.7 points per game and 334.3 yards per game behind improved defensive line play (thanks to Morgan Breslin) and a young linebacking corps that continues to develop. And his defense may be peaking at just the right time as Arizona and Oregon are USC’s next two opponents. The Trojans have allowed two total touchdowns and have intercepted five passes in the last two games. Against Matt Scott, the league’s top offensive force at over 400 yards of offense per game, Kiffin’s bunch will have to play disciplined football to win. USC better not be looking ahead to Oregon because strange things happen in the desert this time of year.

4. Arizona must limit USC's big plays in the passing game
Matt Barkley threw for a career-high 468 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-41 win over Arizona last fall. Last week, the senior signal caller chucked six touchdowns and 298 yards with one incompletion. Arizona’s ability to limit Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Barkley in the passing game will largely determine if the Wildcats can hang around in this one. Its close losses this season (Stanford, Oregon St) have come because the secondary and pass rush couldn’t contain opposing quarterbacks. My unwanted advice? Let Silas Redd and the backfield do whatever they want but make sure you have coverage over the top on Woods and Lee.

5. How does the league's No. 1-rated defense bounce back?
Arizona State is still the league’s No. 1-rated total defense, despite allowing 406 yards rushing and 43 points to Oregon last week. So how does Will Sutton (who apparently is Superman after a knee injury last Thursday) and Brandon Magee bounce back in what could be the biggest game of the year? (Especially considering UCLA should be well rested after the bye week and won this game last fall.) They bring to Tempe one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the nation as one of only two teams in the Pac-12 to average more than 200 yards rushing and passing. Stopping the UCLA backfield, which functions similarly to that of Oregon’s, will be another tall order for Todd Graham’s bunch.

6. A must-win situation for Jeff Tedford
Utah has lost four straight games and has struggled to score points of late. Jeff Tedford has his back up against the wall in Berkeley and likely has to win three of his last four to keep his job and get to bowl eligibility. The Golden Bears thrashed the Utes last fall 34-10 and the offensive talent is far too rich on this roster for them to lose this weekend — far too rich to total three yards rushing and 217 total yards like it did last weekend in the loss to Stanford. If Cal returns home at 3-6, Tedford is staring at a potential nine-loss season. Returning home at 4-5 give his team a shot at the postseason.

7. Will Colorado cover the spread in Eugene?
Colorado was a 41-point underdog last week against USC on the road and it didn’t cover the spread in a 50-6 loss. As the Buffaloes continue to take their medicine, Colorado enters this weekend as a 46-point underdog to Oregon. How many points are enough to start placing bets on Jon Embree’s squad? The bottom line in Boulder, if fans cannot even expect their team to cover six- and seven-touchdown spreads, is don’t they have a right to scream for a change?

8. Travis Long vs. Stepfan Taylor
There may not be much to watch in the Washington State-Stanford showdown in Palo Alto. The Cardinal front seven will terrorize the Cougars' offensive line and this game could get ugly quickly as Wazzu will find the sledding extremely tough. However, there could be one great individual match-up to watch: Cougars linebacker-defensive end Travis Long and Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor. Long has been a lone bright spot for Wazzu, ranking third in the league in sacks, while Taylor is coming off of his third straight game with at least 28 carries. Keep an eye how many times No. 89 in gray and No. 33 in red get together.

Week 9 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 9 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
UCLA (+6.5) at Arizona St Arizona St, 31-30 UCLA, 27-24 UCLA, 34-31 UCLA, 21-14
Colorado (+46) at Oregon Oregon, 50-10 Oregon, 58-6 Oregon, 62-7 Oregon, 72-7
USC (-6.5) at Arizona USC, 42-35 USC, 28-24 USC, 34-27 Arizona, 35-28
Washington St (+25) at Stanford Stanford, 35-17 Stanford, 44-10 Stanford, 40-14 Stanford, 42-17
Cal (+1) at Utah Cal, 24-21 Cal, 28-17 Cal, 24-20 Utah, 17-13
Oregon St (-4.5) at Washington Oregon St, 27-17 Oregon St, 37-21 Oregon St, 27-24 Oregon St, 28-21
Last Week: 5-0 5-0 4-1 5-0
Yearly Totals: 45-15 46-14 44-16 41-19

Bye: None

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 9 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Big Ten Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 9 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-9-preview-and-predictions
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The Big Ten championship could be on the line when Michigan visits Nebraska this weekend. Wisconsin has the Leaders Division all but locked up, but will likely be an underdog to their Legends Division counterpart. Therefore, the winner of this weekend's game in Lincoln will be the favorite to end the year in Pasadena. 

Big Blue and Big Red headline what appears to be a sneaky good weekend of action as Madison, Happy Valley, Evanston and Minneapolis all host games that should be close. No Big Ten game this weekend features a point spread bigger than six points.

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

1. Legends Division Championship Game
The Wolverines enter this weekend's showdown with the Cornhuskers unbeaten in league play after three straight wins, including a final-minute home victory over Michigan State. Brady Hoke's only two losses are to the No. 1 and No. 5 teams in the BCS. Nebraska is 2-1 in the league with quality wins over Northwestern and Wisconsin and one embarrassing fourth quarter against Ohio State. However, the Huskers are already a game behind with that loss — with road trips to Iowa and Michigan State still left to go — so this game has become the Legends Division Championship Game. Should the Maize and Blue get past the Cornhuskers, only a road trip to Columbus at season's end could derail Michigan's train to Pasadena. Should Big Red topple Big Blue, all bets are off and the Huskers then control their own destiny.

2. Taylor Martinez vs. Denard Robinson
It is cliché for a reason. Quarterback play can win or lose games and the position will easily be the focal point of both defenses in Lincoln on Saturday. Taylor Martinez is leading the league in passing efficiency and Hoke has praised his growth and development this fall. He is coming off of his best performance of the year on the road in the win against Northwestern (407 total yards, 4 TD) last weekend, but played horribly against Michigan last fall in the 45-17 loss (171 total yards, 1 TD). Denard Robinson is now the Big Ten’s leading rusher and tops the total offense charts as well. Both defenses will look to keep both scramblers in the pocket, so the winner will be the quarterback who can stand in the pocket and deliver third-down conversions down the field.

3. The Ineligible Bowl in Happy Valley
Penn State and Ohio State are two of the remaining three unbeaten teams in Big Ten play and neither will be playing in a bowl game. So while there is no Big Ten title game or bowl implications associated with what should be one of the best games of the weekend nationally, there could be a variety of other items hanging in the balance. Big Ten Coach of the Year has two clear-cut candidates and they will be standing opposite of each other in Happy Valley. Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is also a two-horse race and both will be (hopefully) playing quarterback in this game. And Mike Mauti could slam the door on Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors with a big performance against the Buckeyes. The atmosphere in Beaver Stadium should be electric and should feel like a Big Ten title bout. Even if the only thing on the line is bragging rights.

4. Should Braxton Miller play this weekend?
The Heisman Trophy candidate for Ohio State has to play if the Buckeyes want to stay unbeaten in Happy Valley this weekend. He has practiced, but Urban Meyer has admitted his star quarterback isn’t close to 100 percent. This leaves Meyer an extremely difficult decision to make concerning the long-term future of his program. With head and neck injuries, it is impossible to be too careful, so running Miller out there against one of the Big Ten’s most physical defenses has to raise concerns about his long-term health. Miller could easily find himself in New York as just a sophomore if he continues at this pace for four more games. But Meyer and the Buckeyes’ primary concern should be a potential national championship run in 2013. Give Miller a chance at history and an unbeaten season with no real reward at season’s end? Or protect your investment and live to fight another day? This is why Meyer makes $5 million per year.

5. Sparty-Bucky Part III lacks national appeal
Michigan State and Wisconsin has developed into one of the Big Ten’s best rivalries — in both football and basketball. These two played two epic games last fall, one of which ended on a successful Hail Mary and the other was a championship bout that sent one team to Pasadena and the other to the Outback Bowl. However, with six combined losses between them, this year's game lacks the cachet of last fall's meeting. Wisconsin feels like the better team once again this year as Sparty is struggling to find balance on offense. Montee Ball has been on a tear of late, scoring 10 times and rushing for 155.5 yards per game in Big Ten play. The Badgers are starting to catch their stride and are at home where they never lose. Mark Dantonio could go from back-to-back 11-win seasons to 2-6 in the league.

6. Will this be a special season in Evanston or not?
Northwestern is 6-2 overall but 0-2 in marquee statement games. This season still has a chance to be special in Evanston, and two more wins the rest of the way gives Pat Fitzgerald a chance at nine wins — something that has only happened once at Northwestern since 1996 (2006). However, with back-to-back road trips to the state of Michigan looming, wins over Illinois in the season finale and Iowa this weekend become must wins. Iowa, without Mark Weisman, was pushed around and abused on both sides of the ball by Penn State last weekend but the big fella is going to try to play this Saturday. This is a huge swing game for both sides and the running game will be the deciding factor.

7. The battle for last place
Indiana and Illinois are a combined 4-10 overall this year, a combined 0-6 in Big Ten play and have lost a combined nine straight games. This is the best, and possibly only, chance for either team to get a conference win in 2012. The Hoosiers own the league’s top passing offense and could triple its win total from last fall with a victory this weekend. Meanwhile, a loss for the Illini would be their tenth straight in Big Ten play. Tune in if you dare.

8. Youngsters can kick start Gophers' future this weekend
A freshman quarterback, underclassman skill players and young offensive lineman. Certainly, this Gophers offense is extremely young, but it has lots of upside and, it appears, has entered the Philip Nelson era. The gunslinger from Mankato, Minn., set prep records, won Mr. Football honors in 2011and did enough in practice to earn the start against Wisconsin. He had his good moments (67 yards rushing, two scoring strikes) and his bad moments (13 total points, two interceptions), but most importantly, seem to have the poise and leadership the position requires to be successful. Yet, Minnesota can take a major step towards a bowl game with a starting 22 littered with freshmen and sophomores if it can defeat Purdue this weekend. The training wheels have been officially removed in the Twin Cities and a reeling Boilermakers team is ripe for the picking.

Week 9 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 9 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Iowa (+6) at Northwestern N'Western, 27-24 N'Western, 24-17 N'Western, 27-20 N'Western, 28-10
Indiana (+2) at Illinois Illinois, 30-27 Indiana, 31-20 Indiana, 31-27 Indiana, 45-38
Purdue (-3) at Minnesota Minnesota, 27-24 Minnesota, 24-20 Minnesota, 27-24 Minnesota, 21-14
Michigan St (+6) at Wisconsin Wisconsin, 24-14 Wisconsin, 24-14 Wisconsin, 24-20 Wisconsin, 38-14
Ohio St (pk) at Penn St Ohio St, 27-21 Penn St, 33-28 Ohio St, 27-24 Penn St, 31-28
Michigan (+2.5) at Nebraska Michigan, 31-27 Michigan, 34-28 Michigan, 31-27 Michigan, 27-24
Last Week: 5-1 5-1 5-1 3-2
Yearly Totals: 56-12 52-16 57-11 52-16

Bye Week: None

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 9 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 9 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 9 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 9 Upset Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

After a slow start to the season with only a handful of marquee games in September, the Big 12 has been the conference of October. The final Saturday of the month should continue to deliver.

The major game of the weekend is in Norman, where undefeated Notre Dame will face Oklahoma for the first time since 1999. The Sooners are 1-8 against the Irish with Oklahoma’s only win in 1956.

That’s a game of national significance, but conference frontrunner and BCS title contender Kansas State will have another major test when it faces surprising Texas Tech.

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

Big 12’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

Is this Landry Jones’ time to shine?
Landry Jones is starting to look more and more like the quarterback we thought he’d be this season. In his last three games, Jones has completed 65 of 105 passes for 871 yards with seven touchdowns and an interception. Notre Dame’s forte is against the run, but the Irish have intercepted four passes the last two weeks. Granted, however, Stanford’s Josh Nunes and BYU’s Riley Nelson are not nearly as established as Jones. As Oklahoma starts to creep back into the BCS picture, a win over Notre Dame will be necessary, and Jones is the Sooners’ best hope to hand Notre Dame its first loss.

Belldozer v. Notre Dame, who wins?
Notre Dame last week allowed its first offensive touchdowns since Sept. 8 against Purdue, but both were in the passing game. The Irish have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, thanks to a fourth-down stop against Stanford on the goal line two weeks ago. If Oklahoma gets into a goal-line situation, the Sooners almost certainly will turn to backup quarterback Blake Bell, who has 21 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons. It will be strength v. strength if Bell lines up against Heisman-contending linebacker Manti Te’o.

How does Kansas State handle frontrunner status?
In less than a year, Kansas State has gone from a plucky underdog to a national title contender. At the same time, Collin Klein has become a Heisman contender. The Wildcats no longer have to fight for respect or headlines -- they’ve become one of the top stories of the season. That’s not a position Bill Snyder or Kansas State has faced in more than a decade. In an odd turn of events, the sudden Big 12 favorite and BCS contender will host another underdog story featuring a productive quarterback and stifling defense in Texas Tech, perhaps the best opponent K-State will face the remainder of the regular season. By reaching the No. 3 spot in this week’s BCS standings, the Wildcats are no longer in the business of proving themselves. They’re in the business of building style points.

Can Seth Doege navigate the ballhawking Kansas State defense?
Since throwing three interceptions against Oklahoma, Seth Doege has throw 13 touchdown passes and one interception against West Virginia and TCU. Meanwhile, the Kansas State defense has made offenses at Oklahoma and West Virginia look pedestrian. Can Doege do what Landry Jones and Geno Smith couldn’t? Kansas State, meanwhile, has intercepted seven passes the last two weeks.

Are we starting to see the cracks in Texas Tech’s defense?
Texas Tech continues to lead the Big 12 in defense, but the Red Raiders are coming off a game in which they allowed 516 yards and 53 points against TCU, albeit in triple overtime. Beyond that, Tech allowed 5.8 yards per play, its highest average of the season. Was that a one-week lapse or a sign of things to come? The numbers may point to the latter. Texas Tech’s three highest yards allowed per play have come in the last three weeks, including 5.5 against Oklahoma and 4.9 against West Virginia in addition to TCU. Kansas State and Klein will bring a new test, with the most run-oriented team the Red Raiders have seen since the third week of the season against New Mexico, who like Kansas State, utilizes the option.

Will the Oklahoma State offense keep rolling behind another hobbled quarterback?
Oklahoma State remains among the national top 10 in the four major offensive categories, including No. 1 in total offense. The Cowboys’ offense, though, is scrambling for the second time this season due to an injury to the starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh sustained the knee injury that would eventually end his season in the first quarter against Iowa State, but he remained in the game to pass for 415 yards. When the severity of the injury was discovered after the game, Walsh was shut down for the remainder of the season. That likely returns the job to Wes Lunt, who began the season as the starter before a series of knee and ankle problems. If Lunt’s return is further delayed, the job will go to junior Clint Chelf. The questions at quarterback come at a critical part of the schedule as Oklahoma State faces TCU this week followed by Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

How will Nick Florence fare against an above average defense?
When Baylor has the ball, this should be one of the most interesting matchups in the Big 12. Baylor quarterback Nick Florence has flourished in road games against porous defenses from West Virginia and Texas, though both games resulted in losses. Against TCU, however, Florence threw four interceptions. His chance at redemption comes in a key game for Baylor’s postseason hopes. Winless in the Big 12, Baylor needs three more wins to get to bowl eligibility, something that’s going to be tough with Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State remaining on the schedule. Iowa State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) is in a similar situation, but if the Cyclones can’t move the ball against the Baylor defense do they really deserve to go to a bowl game?

How bad can the Texas defense get?
A matchup against Kansas should be a confidence builder for the Texas defense. In theory. The Jayhawks handed the quarterback job to redshirt freshman Michael Cummings. We could mention the 600-plus yards Texas has allowed the last two weeks, but it may say more about the Texas defense that Kansas coach Charlie Weis doesn’t mind benching his veteran starter for a redshirt freshman against the Longhorns. The situation is bad in Austin on defense, but it could get worse if the Jayhawks rookie starts putting up numbers.

Week 9 Big 12 Predictions

Week 9 Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Texas at Kansas Texas 38-21 Texas 31-17 Texas 45-10 Texas 40-10
TCU at Oklahoma State TCU 28-21 Oklahoma St. 33-27 Oklahoma St. 31-27 Oklahoma St. 34-27
Texas Tech at Kansas State Kansas State 35-21 Kansas State 35-24 Kansas State 34-31 Kansas State 35-27
Baylor at Iowa State Baylor 34-31 Iowa State 27-24 Baylor 34-30 Iowa State 38-34
Notre Dame at Oklahoma Notre Dame 21-14 Oklahoma 21-20 Oklahoma 27-20 Oklahoma 20-17
Last week 3-2 3-2 3-2 4-1
Overall 39-9 37-11 37-11 39-9

by David Fox

@davidfox615

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Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Week 9 Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:56
Path: /college-football/acc-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

With the final month of the season almost here, every week is a crucial one to sort out the pecking order in the ACC. The Coastal Division is wide open, with Duke currently leading the standings with a 3-1 record. Miami and Virginia Tech have a bye week, which makes Saturday's game for the Blue Devils against Florida State even more important. Duke is a heavy underdog and a loss to the Seminoles would leave the top three contenders with two losses in conference play. The game of the week has to be the battle for bragging rights in North Carolina, as the Tar Heels and Wolfpack meet on Saturday. NC State has won five in a row in this series, but North Carolina is hungry to end that losing streak this season.

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 9

How will Florida State replace Chris Thompson?
Chris Thompson was one of the ACC’s best stories through the first half of the season, as he returned from a serious back injury last year to rank as one of the conference’s leading rushers. Unfortunately for Thompson and Florida State, he suffered an ACL tear against Miami and is out for the rest of the year. While losing Thompson is a blow to the rushing attack, the Seminoles have depth in the backfield. Sophomore Devonta Freeman has rushed for 70 yards in back-to-back games, while James Wilder Jr. has 369 yards and seven touchdowns this year. There’s no doubt Florida State will miss Thompson’s all-around ability and leadership. However, with Freeman, Wilder and quarterback EJ Manuel picking up the slack on the ground, the Seminoles’ rushing attack shouldn’t miss a beat.

Can North Carolina end a five-game losing streak to NC State?
With the Tar Heels banned from postseason play, there’s no doubt this matchup against their in-state rival is one of the games they circled on the calendar at the beginning of the season. North Carolina has lost five straight matchups to the Wolfpack, including a 13-0 defeat in Raleigh last season. New coach Larry Fedora knows the importance of this game and decorated the player’s locker room in NC State colors to add extra emphasis to Saturday’s matchup. In order for the Tar Heels to snap the losing streak, they have to find a way to slow down Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon. North Carolina ranks 11th in conference play in pass defense and has generated only four sacks against ACC opponents. That type of defensive effort won’t be enough to win on Saturday, especially with Glennon averaging 335.3 passing yards a game in his last three contests. There’s no shortage of firepower on North Carolina’s offense, but the only way North Carolina snaps the losing streak to NC State has to come in the form of better defense.

Is this the year Duke beats Florida State?
Considering the Blue Devils have already ended a streak of 16 seasons with a losing record, why not break another mark? Even though it’s clear Duke is a much-improved team under David Cutcliffe, winning in Tallahassee is a difficult assignment. The Blue Devils have lost all 17 meetings against Florida State and only one game has been decided by less than 20 points. One of the key reasons for Duke’s success this year has been an improved rushing attack and a defense that is generating 2.4 sacks a game. Establishing a ground game against Florida State won’t be easy, as the Seminoles rank No. 2 nationally in rush defense. If the Blue Devils can’t establish any balance on offense, they will have no shot at winning this game. When Duke’s defense is on the field, it has to find a way slow down a Florida State offense averaging 520.1 yards per game. Although the Blue Devils are on the right track, winning in Tallahassee is simply too much to ask in 2012.

Will Georgia Tech struggle to establish its rushing attack?
The Yellow Jackets step out of conference play for an intriguing matchup against BYU this Saturday. The Cougars have been stingy on defense all season, as only one opponent has managed to score more than 24 points. BYU also ranks eighth nationally against the run and is allowing just 2.9 yards per carry. One of the key reasons for the Cougars’ success against the run is an active group of linebackers, led by standout Kyle Van Noy. While the Cougars have been tough to run against all season, they have not played an option team since playing Air Force on Sept. 11, 2010. Preparing for an option offense late in the season is no easy task, which should allow Georgia Tech to have a slight advantage on Saturday. However, BYU’s defensive front has 60 tackles for a loss this season and needs to force the Yellow Jackets into third-and-long situations. While there’s no question Georgia Tech has to run the ball well to win, quarterbacks Tevin Washington and Vad Lee also have to make timely throws to keep the defense off balance. Considering BYU has struggled with turnovers this year, it’s also important for the Yellow Jackets to not make any mistakes and give the Cougars’ offense a short field to work with.

NC State’s run defense vs. Giovani Bernard
Even though North Carolina and NC State rank in the top 30 nationally of scoring defense, there should be no shortage of points on Saturday. NC State has won the last five matchups in this series, but with North Carolina banned from postseason play, the players likely consider this matchup their bowl game for 2012. If the Wolfpack expect to extend their winning streak over the Tar Heels, they have to slow down Giovani Bernard. The sophomore is averaging 194 yards per game in his last three contests but managed only 47 yards on 18 attempts against NC State last year. The Wolfpack has allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers in its last two ACC games but has held conference opponents to only three rushing scores in 2012. Not only is Bernard one of the nation’s best backs, but he will be running behind one of college football’s top offensive lines. The battle in the trenches will be crucial to the outcome of this game. If North Carolina establishes Bernard, it should open up more passing opportunities for quarterback Bryn Renner. If the Wolfpack shut down Bernard, the Tar Heels will have an uphill battle to knock off their in-state rival.

What is Maryland’s plan at quarterback?
The Terrapins suffered another blow to their quarterback depth last week, as true freshman Perry Hills was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Losing Hills is a significant setback to a team that already lost No. 1 quarterback C.J. Brown in the preseason due to a knee injury. With Hills sidelined for the year, sophomore Devin Burns and true freshman Caleb Rowe were expected to share snaps. Burns – a converted wide receiver – threw for 47 yards and rushed for 50 yards and one score last week. However, Burns was ruled out for the year on Thursday night, leaving Rowe as Maryland's only scholarship quarterback. Rowe completed both of his passes for 50 yards last Saturday and nearly led the Terrapins to a game-winning field goal. Considering Maryland has struggled to establish its ground attack all year, Burns’ presence should help spark the rushing game. However, the offense also needs more help from running backs Wes Brown, Albert Reid and Justus Pickett. With Rowe taking over, it’s also important for the defense to continue playing at its current pace and limit opposing teams to around 300 yards a game.

Last chance at a win for Boston College this year?
With a schedule that features games at Wake Forest and NC State, along with home dates against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, Saturday’s matchup against Maryland is probably Boston College’s best shot at a win the rest of the season. The Eagles are riding a five-game losing streak and have lost their last three ACC games by at least 14 points. A major culprit of the struggles has been the play of the defense. Boston College ranks 119th nationally against the run and 117th in total defense. Considering Maryland has struggled on offense most of the season and lost its starting quarterback last week, the Eagles need to jump out to an early lead and put pressure on two inexperienced passers. Coach Frank Spaziani has little chance to retain his job next year, but this team needs to find something over the last five games to build on for 2013.


Week 9 ACC Predictions

Week 9 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Clemson at Wake Forest Clemson 42-27 Clemson 45-17 Clemson 34-17 Clemson 31-10
NC State at North Carolina UNC 35-21 UNC 28-24 NC State 31-27 UNC 28-27
Maryland at Boston College BC 10-7 Maryland 31-20 Maryland 24-20 BC 21-20
BYU at Georgia Tech Ga. Tech 35-10 Ga. Tech 31-28 Ga. Tech 27-24 Ga. Tech 28-20
Duke at Florida State Florida State 28-17 Florida State 34-20 Florida State 38-17 Florida State 38-20
Last Week: 4-2 4-2 4-2 5-1
Season Record: 52-13 51-14 49-16 54-11


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 8
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College Football's Heisman Contenders After Week 8

Teaser:
<p> ACC Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:55
Path: /college-football/big-east-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The three-game round robin between Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers may still determine the Big East championship, but some of the luster is gone after the MAC bit the Big East again this season as Toledo upset previously undefeated Cincinnati last week.

The Bearcats will try to rebound this week with they face undefeated Louisville for the Keg of Nails, but the prospect of a Friday night marquee matchup between undefeated teams is long gone. Louisville and Rutgers remain unbeaten, but while the Cardinals face the Bearcats, the Scarlet Knights -- like Cincinnati a week ago -- catch another MAC team with only one loss.

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

Big East’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

Where does the Cincinnati defense go without Walter Stewart?

Last week, Cincinnati missed defensive end Walter Stewart, a contender for Big East defensive player of the year, in the loss to Toledo, although the Bearcats’ offensive inconsistency may have been more to blame for the 29-23 loss. Either way, Cincinnati will have to put the pressure on Teddy Bridgewater this week without their star pass rusher. Stewart will miss this week’s game against Louisville as he gets a second opinion on what’s been described as an “upper body injury.” Dan Giordano, the starter on the other side of the line, is a veteran, but he has only 2.5 sacks this season, tied for the team lead. Fellow end Elijah Shuler, Stewart’s replacement, is a junior college transfer.

Will Louisville’s newfound pass rush continue against he mobile Munchie Legaux?
Led by end Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville had five sacks two weeks ago against Pittsburgh and four last week against USF. Against Pitt and sack-prone Tino Sunseri, that wasn’t a huge surprise, even though Louisville managed only five sacks in the first five games. However, last week, the Cardinals limited USF quarterback B.J. Daniels to zero rushing yards (he gained 34 and lost the same on sacks). Cincinnati’s Munchie Legaux can move a little bit, but he’s also liable to make a mistake while on the run.

Where did Louisville’s run game go?
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater led Louisville in rushing last week with 74 yards on 10 carries, the best day of his career in the ground game. That’s great, but it’s probably not what the Cardinals want their star quarterback to be doing on a regular basis. Senorise Perry (11 carries, 27 yards) and Jeremy Wright (11 carries, 29 yards) had trouble breaking the big play against USF, though each contributed a rushing touchdown. Perry, especially, had been a key player for the Cardinals with back-to-back 100-yard games with six touchdowns against Southern Miss and Pittsburgh. Charlie Strong may want to get back to that balance and take some of the pressure off Bridgewater.

Why should Rutgers be on upset alert against the Big East’s new nemesis, the MAC?
The Big East has gone 4-3 against the MAC this season with Cincinnati losing to Toledo, Connecticut losing to Western Michigan and USF losing to Ball State. All of those losses occurred on the road, but this is not a trend the Big East can afford to continue as it tries to rebuild its image. Rutgers faces Kent State at home, but this is not the typical Golden Flashes team. Under former Scarlet Knights and Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell, Kent State is 6-1 and 4-0 in the MAC. Rutgers will need to be alert in all phases of the game. Dri Archer leads the nation in all-purpose yards (687 rushing, 278 receiving, 11 touchdowns from scrimmage, one touchdown pass and three kickoff returns for TDs). His game isn’t all that different from FIU’s T.Y. Hilton, who torched Rutgers in 2009 and Louisville a year ago. On defense, Kent State has an undersized but disruptive defensive tackle in Roosevelt Nix (18 career sacks, nine forced fumbles). Kent State lost 47-14 to Kentucky in the second week of the season, so the record might not be as good as it looks, but there’s plenty here to concern even an undefeated Rutgers.

Which run defense will show up for Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is getting healthier in some spots (linebackers Todd Thomas and Dan Mason) and getting banged up in others (linebacker Manny Williams). That means plenty of questions against Temple’s run-oriented offense led by Montel Harris and quarterback Chris Coyer. As up-and-down as Pitt has been on offense, it’s been the same against the run. Pitt allowed Louisville to rush for five touchdowns two weeks ago but held Virginia Tech to 59 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Pitt’s run defense has been something of a barometer for the Panthers season -- Pitt is 0-3 when allowing a rushing touchdown and 3-0 when keeping runners out of the end zone. That’s going to be tough against Temple.

Has Syracuse turned a corner or is Connecticut just that bad?
Syracuse hasn’t won consecutive games in a year and hasn’t won consecutive Big East games in two. There’s a chance to change that this week when the Orange face struggling USF. Syracuse was dominant against Connecticut at home last week, putting up 500 yards for the third time this season. It was the most complete game of a season that’s included a 42-41 shootout with Northwestern, a sloppy 17-10 loss to Minnesota and a 14-13 defensive struggle with Pitt. Did a 30-point win at home help Syracuse build some confidence? The numbers should point to quarterback Ryan Nassib, the Big East leader in total offense, feasting on the worst defense in the conference, but these two teams have not been predictable through the first two months this season.

Week 9 Big East Predictions:

Week 9 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Cincinnati at Louisville Louisville 31-24 Louisville 31-17 Louisville 31-24 Louisville 30-20
Temple at Pittsburgh Temple 21-20 Pitt 27-20 Pitt 27-17 Pitt 21-17
Kent State at Rutgers Rutgers 35-13 Rutgers 31-20 Rutgers 31-13 Rutgers 21-10
Syracuse at USF Syracuse 35-14 USF 27-24 Syracuse 30-27 USF 24-20
Last week 4-1 4-1 4-1 4-1
Overall 32-12 31-13 29-15 30-14

by David Fox

@DavidFox615

Related College Football Content

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Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections

Top Heisman Trophy Contenders After Week 8

Teaser:
<p> Big East Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings

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

Week 8 Start or Sit

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Note: Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:50
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. JAC Reigning MVP has 16 TDs, 2 INTs last 4 games.
2 Drew Brees NO at DEN Four straight games w/ at least 3 TD passes.
3 Peyton Manning DEN vs. NO Has three straight 300-3 performances.
4 Tom Brady NE vs. STL (London) Only one game w/ 3+ TD passes so far.
5 Robert Griffin III WAS at PIT Steelers No. 1 in passing defense.
6 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. WAS Redskins worst in NFL against pass.
7 Matt Ryan ATL at PHI Looking to put Week 6 (1 TD, 3 INTs) behind him.
8 Eli Manning NYG at DAL Only had 213 yards, 1 TD vs. Cowboys in Week 1.
9 Andrew Luck IND at TEN Titans have allowed 16 TD passes vs. 5 INTs.
10 Michael Vick PHI vs. ATL Is his job on the line against Falcons?
11 Tony Romo DAL vs. NYG Put up 307-3-1 against Giants in Week 1.
12 Cam Newton CAR at CHI Has just one 300-yard game to this point.
13 Philip Rivers SD at CLE Extra week to stew on 6 TOs vs. Broncos.
14 Carson Palmer OAK at KC Averaging 40+ pass attempts per game.
15 Matthew Stafford DET vs. SEA Has more INTs (6) than TDs (5).
16 Jay Cutler CHI vs. CAR Will his ribs be an issue against Panthers?
17 Josh Freeman TB at MIN (Thurs.) Has thrown for 728 yds., 6 TDs in last two games.
18 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. IND Gets 4th straight start, looking for 3 Ws in a row.
19 Alex Smith SF at ARI (Mon.) Has thrown 1 TD pass vs. 4 INTs in last two games.
20 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. SD Has posted 6:3 TD:INT ratio over last three games.
21 Sam Bradford STL vs. NE (London) Rams' passing attack been inconsistent all season.
22 Christian Ponder MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Only 58 yds. (1 TD, 2 INTs) last week vs. Cardinals.
23 Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. MIA Threw for season-high 328 yds. last week vs. Pats.
24 Russell Wilson SEA at DET Has 2:7 TD:INT ratio on road vs. 6:1 at home.
25 Ryan Tannehill MIA at NYJ Rookie has just 4 TD passes (6 INTs) thus far.
26 John Skelton ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Cardinal QBs have been sacked 35 times already.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:49
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. ATL Falcons allowing 143.8 rushing yards per game.
2 Jamaal Charles KC vs. OAK Had just 40 yards rushing vs. Bucs in last game.
3 Matt Forte CHI vs. CAR Has 203 yards rushing in past two games combined.
4 Ryan Mathews SD at CLE Browns are 27th against run.
5 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Bucs have allowed only one 100-yard rusher so far.
6 Marshawn Lynch SEA at DET Ran for 103 on the road vs. 49ers last week.
7 Darren McFadden OAK at KC Has only one game with more than 70 yards rushing.
8 Chris Johnson TEN vs. IND After slow start, CJ averaging 112.8 ypg over last four.
9 Willis McGahee DEN vs. NO Saints allowing most fantasy points to RBs.
10 Frank Gore SF at ARI (Mon.) Ran roughshod (131 yds.) vs. Seahawks, ribs OK?
11 Alfred Morris WAS at PIT No. 2 rusher vs. No. 5 rush defense.
12 Reggie Bush MIA at NYJ Only had 61 yds. last game vs. Jets (injured knee).
13 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at DAL Producing on Sundays, but foot remains an issue.
14 Doug Martin TB at MIN (Thurs.) Averaging 125+ total yards over last two games.
15 Michael Turner ATL at PHI Eagles have allowed only 2 rushing TDs.
16 Stevan Ridley NE vs. STL (London) Still lead back, but getting fewer carries.
17 Darren Sproles NO at DEN Still looking for first rushing TD of season.
18 Rashad Jennings JAC at GB His time to shine with MJD sidelined (sprained foot).
19 Steven Jackson STL vs. NE (London) Patriots are ninth against the run.
20 Trent Richardson CLE vs. SD Rib injury clearly worse than he let on, timeshare coming?
21 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. MIA Held to just 40 yards vs. Dolphins in Week 3.
22 Vick Ballard IND at TEN Titans are 28th against run.
23 Mikel Leshoure DET vs. SEA Last week Bears (No. 2 vs. run), this week 'Hawks (No. 7).
24 Felix Jones DAL vs. NYG Expected to start despite bruised knee.
25 Jonathan Dwyer PIT vs. WAS May keep starting job even after others are healthy.
26 Alex Green GB vs. JAC Packers just not running the ball a lot right now.
27 Jonathan Stewart CAR at CHI Reports are he could become Panthers' lead back.
28 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Busted out (159 total yds.) last week, but 49ers on tap.
29 Pierre Thomas NO at DEN  
30 Montario Hardesty CLE vs. SD Keep eye on Richardson's status/rib injury.
31 Michael Bush CHI vs. CAR Not getting as many opportunities with Forte back.
32 Daryl Richardson STL vs. NE (London) Averaging nearly 10 carries per over last three games.
33 Rashard Mendenhall PIT vs. WAS Has chance (Achilles) to play this week.
34 Kendall Hunter SF at ARI (Mon.)  
35 Danny Woodhead NE vs. STL (London)  
36 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at PHI Hasn't seen many opportunities last two games.
37 Phillip Tanner DAL vs. NYG Should get his carries even with Jones expected to start.
38 Andre Brown NYG at DAL Resumed backup role to Bradshaw in first game back.
39 Shane Vereen NE vs. STL (London) Got start last week vs. Jets, Patriots like to use all RBs.
40 DeAngelo Williams CAR at CHI Only eight carries in last two games combined.
41 Jamie Harper TEN vs. IND Been used in goal-line situations recently.
42 Mark Ingram NO at DEN  
43 William Powell ARI vs. SF (Mon.) LSH appears to have taken control of Cards' No. 1 job.
44 Joique Bell DET vs. SEA  
45 Ronnie Hillman DEN vs. NO  
46 Daniel Thomas MIA at NYJ  
47 LeGarrette Blount TB at MIN (Thurs.)  
48 Isaac Redman PIT vs. WAS Chance he (ankle) could play. Monitor status.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:48
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. SEA From one physical secondary (CHI) to another (SEA).
2 Percy Harvin MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Vikings getting ball to Harvin any way they can.
3 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. CAR Has seen 27 targets (16 rec.) in last 2 games combined.
4 Victor Cruz NYG at DAL Leads all wide receivers in fantasy scoring.
5 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. NO Big target could be big problem for Saints' secondary.
6 Jordy Nelson GB vs. JAC Has 17 catches, 243 yards and 4 TDs in last two games.
7 Marques Colston NO at DEN Has five touchdowns in past three games.
8 Reggie Wayne IND at TEN Career vs. Titans: 90 rec., 1,208 yds. 8 TDs (20 games).
9 Mike Wallace PIT vs. WAS Redskins allowing most fantasy points to WRs.
10 Roddy White ATL at PHI Sixth in league in with 92.2 ypg.
11 Vincent Jackson TB at MIN (Thurs.) Posted 7-216-1 in loss to Saints last week.
12 Julio Jones ATL at PHI Tied for team lead with 4 TD catches.
13 Wes Welker NE vs. STL (London) Averaging 11.5 targets per game since Week 1.
14 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Poor pass protection hampering Cards' aerial production.
15 Miles Austin DAL vs. NYG His 4 career TDs vs. Giants are most against any team.
16 Eric Decker DEN vs. NO Saints allowing third-most fantasy points to WRs.
17 Randall Cobb GB vs. JAC Averaging 91 ypg and has 3 TDs over last three games.
18 Antonio Brown PIT vs. WAS Leads Steelers in targets (57) and receptions (36).
19 Hakeem Nicks NYG at DAL Just six catches for 28 yards in Week 1 loss to Cowboys.
20 Dez Bryant DAL vs. NYG Groin injury seemed to hinder him against Panthers.
21 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. ATL Just one TD catch and six receptions of 20+ yards so far.
22 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. OAK Can he and new starter Quinn get on the same page?
23 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. ATL Says he is completely over hip pointer injury.
24 Steve Smith CAR at CHI Bears' secondary figures to be tough task.
25 Denarius Moore OAK at KC Just one game with more than 71 yards receiving.
26 James Jones GB vs. JAC Held out of end zone for first time in four games last week.
27 Malcom Floyd SD at CLE Browns allowing second-most fantasy points to WRs.
28 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. STL (London) Pats' recent game plans not been kind to Lloyd.
29 Kenny Britt TEN vs. IND Appears to be healthy, breakout coming?
30 Lance Moore NO at DEN Had season-high nine catches, 121 yards last week.
31 Josh Gordon CLE vs. SD Weeden's top target for the time being.
32 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. MIA Establishing himself as viable deep threat.
33 Mike Williams TB at MIN (Thurs.) Saw streak of 100-yard games end at two last week.
34 Michael Crabtree SF at ARI (Mon.) Only 57 yards receiving combined last two games.
35 Brandon Gibson STL vs. NE (London) Patriots have allowed 10 TD passes to WRs.
36 Nate Washington TEN vs. IND Caught game-winning TD vs. Bills last week.
37 Santana Moss WAS at PIT Had first 2-TD game since Dec. 2010 last week.
38 Brian Hartline MIA at NYJ Didn't catch a single pass in last game vs. Rams.
39 Titus Young DET vs. SEA Huge opportunity with Burleson (leg) done for year.
40 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at KC Seems to be getting back into the flow.
41 Andre Roberts ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Caught fifth TD pass last week.
42 Chris Givens STL vs. NE (London) Vertical threat could be a factor against Patriots.
43 Donnie Avery IND at TEN Titans are 30th against the pass.
44 Sidney Rice SEA at DET  
45 Stephen Hill NYJ vs. MIA Three touchdowns in as many games played.
46 Kendall Wright TEN vs. IND  
47 Cecil Shorts JAC at GB Probably better option with Gabbert rather than Henne.
48 Brandon LaFell CAR at CHI  
49 Greg Little CLE vs. SD Plagued by drops, but has caught last nine thrown to him.
50 Leonard Hankerson WAS at PIT Led team in receptions (6 for 70 yds.) last week.
51 Robert Meachem SD at CLE  
52 Davone Bess MIA at NYJ  
53 Devery Henderson NO at DEN Has 11 receptions, 198 yards, TD in last two games.
54 Mario Manningham SF at ARI (Mon.)  
55 T.Y. Hilton IND at TEN  
56 Brandon Stokley DEN vs. NO Crafty vet has three TDs in last four games.
57 Devin Hester CHI vs. JAC  
58 Justin Blackmon JAC at CHI Jags still looking for first-round pick to make an impact.
59 Emmanuel Sanders PIT vs. WAS  
60 Randy Moss SF at ARI (Mon.) Has a total of four catches in last four games.
61 Kevin Ogletree DAL vs. NYG Could be in danger of losing No. 3 job to Dwayne Harris.
62 Michael Jenkins MIN vs. TB (Thurs.)  
63 Ryan Broyles DET vs. SEA Should see more playing time w/ Burleson sidelined.
64 Jon Baldwin KC vs. OAK

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:37
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. STL (London) Hauled in two TDs vs. Jets last week.
2 Tony Gonzalez ATL at PHI Still leads all TEs in receptions with 43.
3 Jimmy Graham NO at DEN Surprise scratch last week, back this week?
4 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. STL (London)  
5 Antonio Gates SD at CLE Caught 2 TD passes in last game (Week 6).
6 Vernon Davis SF at ARI (Mon.) First game with no catches since 2008.
7 Jason Witten DAL vs. NYG Had 3 rec. for 10 yds. in Week 1 vs. Giants.
8 Heath Miller PIT vs. WAS No. 4 in fantasy scoring among TEs.
9 Martellus Bennett NYG at DAL Put up 6-40-1 vs. Cowboys in Week 1.
10 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Four targets, 0 receptions last week.
11 Brent Celek PHI vs. ATL  
12 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. MIA Had best game (7-93-1) last week.
13 Greg Olsen CAR at CHI  
14 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. SEA  
15 Jared Cook TEN vs. IND Colts allowing fewest fantasy pts. to TEs.
16 Brandon Myers OAK at KC Led Raiders in receptions with 7 last week.
17 Jacob Tamme DEN vs. NO  
18 Jermichael Finley GB vs. JAC Shoulder continues to hamper production.
19 Coby Fleener IND at TEN Titans allowing most fantasy pts. to TEs.
20 Joel Dreessen DEN vs. NO  
21 Dwayne Allen IND at TEN  
22 Anthony Fasano MIA at NYJ  
23 Marcedes Lewis JAC at GB  
24 Dallas Clark TB at MIN (Thurs.) Put up 5-51-1 last week vs. Saints.
25 Logan Paulsen WAS at PIT Takes Fred Davis' (Achilles - IR) starting spot.
26 Lance Kendricks STL vs. NE (London)

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:36
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-college-basketball-countdown-colonial-athletic-association-preview
Body:

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

With the Colonial Athletic Association in flux, new blood could represent the league in the NCAA Tournament.

This year, with VCU having departed for the Atlantic 10 and Old Dominion ineligible for the CAA title as it prepares to leave for Conference USA, the door is open for some redemption for Drexel.

Drexel set a school record for wins last season, hit the 20-victory plateau for the second straight year and won the CAA’s regular-season title. But the Dragons didn’t win the conference tournament and missed the NCAA Tournament for the 16th consecutive season.

The path is as clear as its been for Drexel, which has contended for a Tournament slot for several seasons, but it’s not automatic. Delaware has its own Tourney drought (since 1999) it hopes to end thanks to one of the highest-scoring duos in the conference.

Traditional CAA contenders George Mason and Old Dominion, which is still eligible for an NCAA at-large spot, are rebuilding to various degrees, but they can’t be counted out.

ATHLON ALL-COLONIAL TEAM COLONIAL FACTS AND FIGURES
G Frantz Massenat, Drexel* 2011-12 regular season champion: Drexel
G Devon Saddler, Delaware 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: VCU#
F Keith Rendleman, UNC Wilmington New coaches: None
F Jamelle Hagins, Delaware Realignment: Lost VCU to the Atlantic 10
C DeShawn Painter, Old Dominion  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion


 

 

 

 

2012-13 COLONIAL PREVIEW
1. Drexel (29-8, 16-2)
Drexel enters the 2012-13 basketball season as the overwhelming favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons lost only Sammie Givens from last year’s 29–7 squad and return four starters including point guard Frantz Massenat and ’11-12 CAA Rookie of the Year Damion Lee. The Dragons, as usual, got it done on the defensive end last year, leading the CAA in allowing just 56.1 points per game. Offensively, Drexel averaged a modest 65.3 points per game, eighth best total in the league. That’s the most a Flint-coached team has scored in six years, since the 2006-07 version averaged 66.5 points per outing. The jump in offense came, largely, from the continued development of Massenat, who shot well from outside. Forwards Daryl McCoy and Dartaye Ruffin return to give Drexel the size and muscle in the paint. The Dragons can rely on Chris Fouch, one of four players who averaged double-digits in scoring last season, coming off the bench again.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One & Done

2. Delaware (18-14, 12-6)
Coach Monte Ross posted his best record since taking over Delaware’s basketball program before the 2006-07 season. It was also the best mark for any Blue Hens team since winning 20 games in 2000-01, the year before they joined the CAA. Delaware should take the next step by challenging for a league title. The Hens’ talented backcourt of Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt is a big part of the reason why. Saddler, a second-team All-CAA pick last year, was second in the league in scoring, putting up 18.8 points per game. Threatt came on strong as his freshman year went on, added 10.7 points per game. Add to that, Jamelle Hagins, also a second-team all-conference pick, has steadily become more and more of an offensive threat for the Hens. In addition to leading the CAA in rebounding (11.1 rpg) and finishing second in blocked shots (3.0 bpg), Hagins has become a primary scoring option for Delaware in the post.
Postseason prediction: NIT

3. George Mason (24–9, 14–4)
The coaching change from Jim Larranaga to Paul Hewitt didn’t throw the Patriots off track. George Mason won 20 games for the fourth time in the last five years. Now the Patriots are dealing with the loss of three key players — Andre Cornelius, Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson. That group helped Mason lead the CAA in offense, averaging 70.4 points per game. The return of the athletic and talented Johnny Williams and the addition of Seton Hall transfer Anali Okoloji should help. Williams could be an all-conference player a year after missing the season due to shoulder surgery.
 
4. Old Dominion (22–14, 13–5)
The Monarchs lose their top three scorers from last season in Kent Bazemore, Chris Cooper and Trian Illiadis. That trio combined for 34.4 points per game. But if there is one thing that has been a trademark of Blaine Taylor’s program, it’s been consistency. ODU reached 20 wins for the seventh time in the last nine seasons. Expect Nick Wright to help continue that trend. Last year, as always, the Monarchs were one of the CAA’s top teams in the paint. They led the league with 40.2 rebounds per game, beating opponents on the glass by 6.1 boards per night. The addition of DeShawn Painter, a transfer from NC State, should keep ODU near the top of the charts when it comes to rebounding. The Monarchs, however, will not be eligible for the CAA title due to their impending move to Conference USA (’13-14).
 
5. Northeastern (14–7, 9–9)
The Huskies’ lineup boasts a trio of players with all-league talent in Jonathan Lee, Joel Smith and Quincy Ford. That group combined to average nearly 40 points per game. They did lose Kauri Black, Alwayne Bigby and Ryan Pierson, all players who started multiple games last year but transferred in the offseason. Still, with their top four scorers back from last season, Bill Coen’s team should improve on its offensive production. Last season, the Huskies were 10th in the CAA averaging just 62.6 points per game. If Coen can integrate his five newcomers with the returning core, Northeastern could be a contender.
 
6. Hofstra (10–22, 3–15)
No CAA team is harder to get a handle on this offseason than Hofstra. The Pride lost its top players in Mike Moore and Nathaniel Lester and solid contributors in Dwan McMillan and Shamiye McLendon. Moore led the league in scoring, putting up 19.9 points per game. Lester was eighth in the CAA at 14.6 points per game. But Hofstra adds a ton of transfer talent, including UConn’s Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Penn State’s Taran Buie and Fresno State’s Daquan Brown, all of whom sat out last year. If Hawaii’s Shaquille Stokes is ruled eligible for this season, Mo Cassara’s team might have the pieces to challenge the CAA’s upper-echelon squads.
 
7.  James Madison (12–20, 5–13)
This could be Matt Brady’s last chance to turnaround the Dukes’ basketball program. He’ll make a run at it with his most veteran, experienced lineup during his time at JMU, a group led by point guard Devon Moore and athletic wing A.J. Davis. Forward Rayshawn Goins is back from injury and in the best shape of his college career, checking in at under 270 pounds for the first time in his JMU tenure. The Dukes need Enoch Hood to develop into a presence in the post. Brady has high hopes for freshman Ron Curry to contribute this year. Of course, the Dukes will need to avoid the injuries that have plagued the program since Brady took over.
 
8. Georgia State (22–12, 11–7)
The Panthers lose four starters and two of their top bench players. And they get to rebuild with an early-season trip to Duke. Devonta White, who averaged 12.9 points per game, returns. And Georgia State has loaded up on transfers, including Virginia Tech’s Manny Atkins and USC’s Curtis Washington. In all, the Panthers are adding four transfers and five incoming freshmen to rebuild. Georgia State had the second-best scoring defense in the CAA last year, giving up 58.9 points per game. It led the league in blocked shots, ranked second in steals and was stout on the perimeter. Opponents shot just 31.5 percent from 3-point range, third lowest mark in the league.

9. William & Mary (6–26, 4–14)
Guard Marcus Thornton had a strong rookie year. The Tribe will need him to avoid a sophomore slump this season as they try to replace the production of Quinn McDowell. Getting Kyle Gaillard back should help. Gaillard missed all of last season redshirting with an injury. Those two combined with Tim Rusthoven, Brandon Britt and Matt Rum give the Tribe an experienced core that knows how to play in coach Tony Shaver’s system.

10. Towson (1–31, 1–17)
Pat Skerry’s revival effort continues. He’s got a way to go. This season, the Tigers are not eligible for the postseason because of their lack of performance in the APR. And they lost three starters. Leading scorer Robert Nwankwo graduated, Deon Jones transferred, and Erique Gumbs won’t play due to a medical condition. So Skerry and Towson will turn to a trio of Big East transfers (Georgetown’s Jerrelle Benimon, South Florida’s Mike Burwell and Providence’s Bilal Dixon) to try to be competitive while the young coach reshapes his program. Marcus Damas returns after matching Nwankwo’s production of 12.5 points per game last year. Kris Walden will need to take a step forward.
 
11. UNC Wilmington (10–21, 5–13)
The Seahawks are again in a state of flux. They lost three players who transferred out, three of their top four scorers from last season. The defections included promising young scorer Adam Smith (Virginia Tech), who scored 13.7 points per game as a rookie, second on the team. They add a Big East transfer in Rutgers’ Tyree Graham. The biggest news might be that top player Keith Rendleman will play this season. With UNC-W not eligible for the CAA Tournament because of a poor showing under the NCAA’s APR metric, Rendleman had considered redshirting this year. But the all-conference forward told coach Buzz Peterson in June he would play.

@AthlonSports

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

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

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

20. Florida

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

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

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Countdown: Colonial Athletic Association Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:35
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. STL (London)
2 David Akers SF at ARI (Mon.)
3 Blair Walsh MIN vs. TB (Thurs.)
4 Matt Bryant ATL at PHI
5 Lawrence Tynes NYG at DAL
6 Greg Zuerlein STL vs. NE (London)
7 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at KC
8 Jason Hanson DET vs. SEA
9 Robbie Gould CHI vs. CAR
10 Mason Crosby GB vs. JAC
11 Matt Prater DEN vs. NO
12 Phil Dawson CLE vs. SD
13 Garrett Hartley NO at DEN
14 Dan Bailey DAL vs. NYG
15 Alex Henery PHI vs. ATL
16 Rob Bironas TEN vs. IND

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:35
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-8
Body:

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

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Chicago Bears vs. CAR Bears looking to add to Panthers' woes.
2 San Francisco 49ers at ARI (Mon.) 49ers could seize control of NFC West with W.
3 Green Bay Packers vs. JAC Jaguars will be w/o MJD, possibly Gabbert too.
4 Seattle Seahawks at DET Hawks allowing 16 ppg on road.
5 Minnesota Vikings vs. TB (Thurs.) Vikings hoping to slow down Freeman/passing game.
6 Arizona Cardinals vs. SF (Mon.) Cardinals gave up 153 yards to Peterson, Gore up next.
7 New England Patriots vs. STL (London) Patriots gave up 403 total yards vs. Jets last week.
8 Atlanta Falcons at PHI Falcons hoping to capitalize on turnover-prone Eagles.
9 Detroit Lions vs. SEA Defense played well in 13-7 loss to Chicago on MNF.
10 Miami Dolphins at NYJ Dolphins held Jets to 93 yds. rushing in Week 3 loss.
11 San Diego Chargers at CLE Facing Weeden welcome sight after getting Brees/Peyton.
12 New York Giants at DAL Gave up 433 total yards to Cowboys in Week 1 loss.
13 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. WAS Steelers No. 1 in total defense, No. 2 against pass.
14 New York Jets vs. MIA Have allowed only 172 yards rushing last two games.
15 Cleveland Browns vs. SD Chargers' Rivers turned ball over six times in last game.
16 Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG Held Giants to 269 yards of offense in Week 1 win.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:34
Path: /college-football/start-vick-ballard-randall-cobb-rashad-jennings-philip-rivers-week-8
Body:

Only four teams are on bye in Week 8, compared to six last week. While owners will welcome some familiar faces back to their lineups, others will be faced with some difficult decisions. That’s especially the case at running back as Arian Foster, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are all unavailable this week. Here are two ball carriers that may be able to fill in along with two other names worth starting in Week 8.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
Ballard was handed the Colts’ starting job after Donald Brown was sidelined because of knee surgery. Brown’s closer to returning, but if Ballard can build on his performance from last week, the Colts' backfield will be that much deeper. Ballard’s first career start against the Jets was entirely forgettable (8 att., 25 yds.), but he bounced back nicely last week against Cleveland. The rookie out of Mississippi State had 84 yards rushing on 20 carries (4.2 ypc), including a long of 26. He will have the opportunity to take the next step this week against Tennessee. The Titans are 28th in the league in rush defense (134.7 ypg) and are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay vs. Jacksonville
When Greg Jennings initially went down with a groin injury, James Jones was the early beneficiary as he capitalized on his additional playing time and put together a streak of three straight two-touchdown games. However, he’s not the only Packer receiver to emerge while Jennings has been sidelined. Over the past three games, Cobb is averaging 91 yards receiving per contest and caught two scoring strikes last week against the Rams. Considering the Packers have thrown the ball 41 more times compared to rush attempts in their last four games combined, there’s little reason to think Cobb won’t continue to get his chances, even when Jennings finally returns. Not to mention that the Packers, who are on a nice little roll offensively, welcome the lowly Jaguars to Lambeau Field this Sunday.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville at Green Bay
Speaking of the Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew will likely miss several games with a sprained foot. His injury opens the door for backup Jennings, who himself missed two games earlier this season with a knee injury. The Jags also could be without starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who tore the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder last week, leaving Chad Henne under center against Green Bay. Either way, Jennings should get his chance to carry the load and the Packers have been somewhat susceptible to the run (109.9 ypg, 17th overall). This also is a guy who averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2009-10 combined. May as well find out what he can do, right?

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego at Cleveland
I am fully aware that Rivers turned the ball over six times (4 INTs, 2 fumbles) the last time he played. That final turnover cost me a victory in the league I own him, so believe me I felt your pain too. That said, I still believe in Rivers and think the bye came at the best time for him and the Chargers. Norv Turner said he was going to simplify the playbook to try and help his embattled field general, and I think we will see the fruits of this decision starting this Sunday. The Browns are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and only two starters have scored fewer than 24.6 points against them. In fact, Michael Vick put up 19.9 points against the Browns in Week 1 despite throwing four interceptions. The turnovers are certainly frustrating and something that will hopefully be corrected, but if the Browns’ track record is any indication, Rivers should be able to bounce back this week.

Week 8 Positional Rankings

Week 8 Waiver Wire

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 25, 2012

Teaser:
<p> Start Vick Ballard, Randall Cobb, Rashad Jennings, Philip Rivers in Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 04:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-9-start-or-sit-report
Body:

Whether you are stuck at .500 or trying to stay atop your league standings, the next two weeks will likely determine your playoff fate.  We’ve tried to identify as many on-the-fence players as we could to help with some of the tougher roster decisions.  As always, if you have any start/bench questions or need additional insight on roster decisions, please reach out to us via email or twitter.

Start

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice at Southern Miss

McHargue can be hit or miss, but this week he faces a defense giving up 39 points per game and over 200 yards per game on the ground.
 

Ameer Abdullah, RB-Nebraska vs Michigan

Rex Burkhead is not expected to play this weekend against Michigan, so expect Abdullah to receive 20-plus carries and carry the load on the ground for the Cornhuskers.
 

Dennis Johnson, RB-Arkansas vs Ole Miss

Since taking over as the lead back in Arkansas two games ago, Johnson has rushed for 158 yards and scored five touchdowns.
 

Chris Nwoke, RB-Colorado St vs Hawaii

Nwoke has been a fantasy bust in 2012, but we’re expecting him to run for a season-high this week against a Hawaii defense giving up 233.7 rushing yards per game.
 

Jahwan Edwards, RB-Ball St at Army

Army is giving up 235.3 rushing yards per game, so look for Edwards to be the fantasy stud this week for Ball State instead of receivers Willie Snead and Jamill Smith.
 

Charlie Moore, WR-Oklahoma St vs TCU

Moore is on a roll over the past two games, catching 13 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns.  Plus, TCU’s defense is allowing over 31 points and 220 passing yards per game, so the potential is there for another solid fantasy outing.
 

Terence Davis, WR-Wake Forest vs Clemson

Davis was a fantasy dud last week catching only one pass in Wake Forest’s 16-10 win at Virginia.  If the Demon Deacons are to have any chance against Clemson this week, Davis will have to be a factor in the passing game.
 

Allen Robinson, WR-Penn St vs Ohio St

Robinson has only failed to reach the end zone twice in seven games this season and this week he faces an Ohio State defense giving up over 271 passing yards per game.
 

Bench

Tevin Washington, QB-Georgia Tech vs BYU

Washington has been splitting time with freshman Vad Lee and this week the Yellow Jackets face a BYU defense giving up less than 95 rushing yards per game.
 

Aaron Murray, QB-Georgia vs Florida

After leaving Murray out of our Top 30 quarterback rankings last week, he proved us wrong by having his best game of the season.  We’re not getting sucked in this week when the Bulldogs take on the Gators in Jacksonville.
 

Brett Smith, QB-Wyoming vs Boise St

Smith may be able to conjure up some yards against the Boise State defense, but he will be challenged to find the end zone against a defense giving up only 13.6 points per game.
 

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia vs Florida

Three weeks ago Gurley was a must-start, but fantasy owners that are in dire need of a win may want to steer away from starting the freshman against the Florida defense.
 

LaDarius Perkins, RB-Mississippi St at Alabama

Perkins has found the end zone in every game this season, but we’re projecting that he will fail to either score or reach the 100-yard mark on the road against the Crimson Tide this weekend.
 

Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, RBs-Kent St at Rutgers

It’s difficult to suggest sitting two guys that have accounted for 18 of their team’s 25 touchdowns, but facing Rutgers’ defense on the road makes each of them an iffy play.
 

Justin Hunter, WR-Tennessee at South Carolina

We’re benching Hunter for the second consecutive week and holding out on starting him until the Vols face Troy next week at home.
 

Conner Vernon, WR-Duke at Florida St

Vernon is a little banged up and we don’t want owners to take a chance starting Duke’s leading receiver against the nation’s 7th-ranked pass defense.


by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

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

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football Week 9 Start or Sit Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 04:13
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/college-fantasy-football-week-9-emergency-starters
Body:

This list was originally designed to assist fantasy owners with injury-riddled rosters, bye-week dilemmas, and unfavorable matchups, but the Emergency Starters has evolved into our Waiver Wire 2.0.  Over the past six weeks, many players listed in our Emergency Starters earned spots in our Waiver Wire report the following week, so don’t underestimate their long-term value. 

 

Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)

Quarterback

Mike Glennon, North Carolina St at North Carolina

Garrett Gilbert, SMU vs Memphis

Keenan Reynolds, Navy at ECU

Austin Brown, UAB at Tulane

Andrew Manley, New Mexico St vs LA Tech

 

Running Backs

Devonta Freeman, Florida St vs Duke

James Wilder, Florida St vs Duke

Darrin Reaves, UAB at Tulane

Germi Morrison, New Mexico St vs LA Tech

Shontrelle Johnson, Iowa St vs Baylor

                 

Receivers

Aaron Horne, WR Iowa St vs Baylor

Eric Monette, Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois

Ryan Grant, Tulane vs UAB

Bryan Underwood, North Carolina St at North Carolina

Kenny Bell, Nebraska vs Michigan

 

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

 

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)

 

Quarterbacks

David Ash, Texas at Kansas

Trevone Boykin, TCU at Oklahoma State

David Fales, San Jose State vs. Texas State

Ryan Radcliff, Central Michigan vs. Akron
 

Running Backs

Dennis Johnson, Arkansas vs. Ole Miss

Brian Kimbrow, Vanderbilt vs. UMass

Latavius Murray, UCF at Marshall
 

Wide Receivers

Mike Davis, Texas at Kansas

Mike Evans, Texas A&M at Auburn

Jordan Leslie, UTEP at Houston

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 9 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 01:26
All taxonomy terms: Jon Gruden, Overtime, News
Path: /college-football/wikipedia-has-jon-gruden-tennessee-volunteers-head-coach
Body:

Current Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley is definitely on the hot seat in Knoxville, as the Vols have lost 11 of their last 12 SEC games. Rumors are rampant every year about former Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden returning to a college or NFL sideline, and the fact the his wife went to Tennessee has some fans thinking he could be the next coach of the Vols. It turns out that Wikipedia already has Gruden listed as the Tennessee boss, even though there is not a current opening. We're sure some fact-checking do-gooder will fix the error shortly, so we grabbed this screen shot below. 

Teaser:
<p> Wikipedia has Jon Gruden as the Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 17:58
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-32
Body:

Is it time for NASCAR to look in a different direction to run a race? Maybe something old school. You know, some place dirt-y? Of all that happened last weekend in Sunday’s Cup race at Kansas, what was the most impressive feat? Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated those and other questions this week. Here’s what they said:


Should the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on a dirt track?
Tony Stewart admits he'd be “ecstatic” if NASCAR ever ran a truck race on his dirt track, the half-mile Eldora Speedway. Fan Council members were asked if they thought it would be a good idea for NASCAR to run the truck series at that track or another dirt track?

80.4 percent said Yes
19.6 percent said No

What Fan Council members said:
• I would absolutely LOVE to see a truck race at Eldora!!!!! Truck racing is just about the best racing there is in NASCAR now and to put them on dirt would be unbelievable!!!

• It would be AMAZING … A breath of fresh air that this sport desperately needs.

• The fan in me is screaming “YES!” but the realist in me thinks it would be too difficult, too problematic, to stage. There would be no pit stops, special rules and other stuff that would hurt the credibility of the series. Also, it seems a little gimmicky. Love to see it, but I give it less than a two percent chance of happening.

• Absolutely! The Truck Series ran mostly short tracks and are set up for those tracks. If ARCA can run dirt, why can't NASCAR? The trucks shouldn't have a majority of 1.5-mile tracks scheduled in the first place and neither should Nationwide. Run them in a doubleheader at Eldora and they would draw better than most races all year.

• Any time we can add a new track, let alone a short track, to a schedule would be AWESOME!!!! Short track racing always produces that best racing and drivers love it, as do the fans! I say send the Trucks and Nationwide to Eldora (to start with).

• I would really like to see the Truck and Nationwide series return to their roots. Rockingham, South Boston, Myrtle Beach, Hickory, Orange County, the Nashville Fairgrounds … those are the tracks I'd like to see. Eldora would be very cool, too. I think the old complaint of these old tracks not having enough seating is out the window now. When they run at the big Cup speedways, the seats are 80 percent empty anyway. If they are going to run Eldora, they should also run a few other dirt tracks to go along with it.

• Bring it on!! NASCAR bills them as the "Worlds Greatest Drivers” … make them prove it by showcasing them in all disciplines. ARCA cars run on dirt, why not the NASCAR series?

• I'd watch it out of curiosity, but trucks on a dirt track are a mismatched idea. It will not bring down the cost of racing trucks. I think this idea may have been conceived in a bar.

• Tony is just looking at the $$$ aspect. That would be going backwards. Don't do it!

• You can always go home. Go back to your roots, NASCAR. You might be surprised how many people find that impressive.


Grade Sunday’s Cup race at Kansas:

58.4 percent called it Good
25.1 percent called it Great
13.7 percent called it Fair
2.7 percent called it Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• This had to be the best race of the year. There was constant action on the track, there was retaliation, retaliation gone wrong, super-fast cars, lots of great restarts. I wish all races were like Sunday's race!

• I don't care what people say. In the era of follow-the-leader racing, multiple cautions are awesome. That was the only thing that made it possible for teams to make the huge comebacks they did.

• Prior to halfway, I thought the fans in attendance had already gotten their money’s worth. However, the rest of the race was INSANE! Finally we got some excitement from a 1.5-mile track. Drivers slippin' and slidin', drivers mad at one another, and side-by-side racing was back. I enjoyed every second of it.

• There was NO side-by-side racing other than when there was a caution. And if that’s the way you have to have side-by-side racing, well then I would check this track off the list of tracks I want to see a race at.

• The race had drama. That is all I ask.

• I truly didn't expect it to be very interesting but I was glued to the TV the whole race. It was full of surprises, racing side-by-side and strategies. Loved it!

There were too many wrecks and barely any passes for the lead. Only the varying pit strategies made it interesting.

• I don't know how people can say there is “too much green flag racing” when this seems like the alternative. The middle part of this race was fairly unwatchable. At least nobody got hurt that we know.


What was the most impressive performance in Sunday’s Cup race?

53.7 percent said Jimmie Johnson finishing 9th after crashing
23.5 percent said Regan Smith finishing 7th in the 88 car
11.0 percent said Matt Kenseth winning
6.7 percent said Martin Truex Jr. finishing 2nd and giving MWR its fourth top-4 finish in the last five races
5.1 percent said “other”

What Fan Council members said:
• All of the above, really. But for the 48 to fix THAT much damage without losing a lap and finishing top 10?!?! Part horseshoe (nothing major broken), part “The Genius of Chad and the team.”

• I thought when JJ hit the wall it was a 30th-place finish. However, the team had enough caution laps to work on the car and fix the damage and turned the day into something positive. I hate to say it, but that is a championship run.

• Tony Stewart keeping his car off the inside wall after his spin was the best save I've ever seen. Period.

• The 48 CREW deserves an award for the way they fixed that car. Don’t know about it being Jimmie Johnson’s performance. Definitely the over the wall gang.

• Some lame duck, huh? I'm so happy that Matt has been able to get some wins after mechanical issues gave him a bad start to the Chase, and both he and his team were impressive at Kansas. Having run so many races with just his manufacturer's sponsorship, it was nice to have the beautiful Zest car in Victory Lane.

• Without a doubt, it was the performance of Regan Smith in that 88 car. It goes to show that the kid CAN drive a racecar and that leaving Furniture Row Racing and getting this opportunity in the 88 is showcasing what he can truly do for a top-notch team if given the shot.

• Tough choices there—all good performances. Not to mention AJ’s and Almirola's temporary, but otherwise strong, showings.

• Matt winning. Any win is impressive. I'm sick of everyone being obsessive over Jimmie coming back. IT WAS EXPECTED. They are five-time champions. It was also expected for Regan to run good in good equipment.


Did Kansas change your opinion about 1.5-mile tracks?
Sunday's Cup race featured a season-high 14 cautions. Saturday's Nationwide race saw a driver come back from two laps down to win on the last lap. Fan Council members were asked if their opinion of 1.5-mile tracks changed after this weekend:

71.7 percent said no
16.7 percent said they look at them slightly more favorably
11.6 percent said they look at them more favorably

What Fan Council members said:
• It was the exception to the rule. It will continue to go back to the follow-the-leader who has a 4.5-second lead on second place ... Hopefully next season, with the return of testing, the cars won't be so equal and impossible to pass on the cookie-cutter tracks.

• No, the repave was the main cause of this. Fuel mileage races seem to occur more at 1.5-mile tracks, but all of the cautions were primarily from track conditions and teams that either went too far on camber (causing the right front blown tires) or the driver making a mistake on the new asphalt.

• I was very impressed by Ricky's win. I'm not a big fan of 14 cautions in a race. But then again, I never liked road courses until recently ... I just like to watch racing, doesn't matter to me what track they are on. I have season tickets to Daytona and sometimes those races are incredibly boring until the end. But to me, I'm watching NASCAR—that makes me happy enough!

• The ONLY reason these two races were so “exciting” is because of Goodyear bringing an incredibly hard tire with no grip to try to cope with high speeds on a new surface. 1.5-mile racing will continue to be horrid unless the cars are slowed down about 15-20 mph and Goodyear can bring a softer tire that actually wears out.

• Certainly does wonders when a track gets repaved. Wish they all would get repaved so the racing would be so entertaining!

• The only thing wrong with 1.5 mile tracks is... There are too many of them! NASCAR need more short tracks.


The Backseat Drivers Fan Council was founded and is administered by Dustin Long. Fans can join by sending Dustin an email at [email protected]

Please include the following information:
Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.
 

Teaser:
<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council voice their opinions on what a NASCAR Truck Series race at Eldora would be like and talk about Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 13:37
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/2012-world-series-broadcast-schedule
Body:

The 2012 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers begins tonight. Here's a look at the dates, times and TV schedule for the 108th World Series between the American League Champions and the National League Champions. FOX Sports will again provide national coverage of the Fall Classic. ESPN Radio will provide complete coverage of all World Series games. MLB International, MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive World Series coverage.

 
2012 World Series Schedule
 
World Series ScheduleGame 1
Wednesday, 10/24
Tigers @ Giants
AT&T Park, San Francisco
8 p.m. EST on FOX
 
Game 2
Thursday, 10/25
Tigers @ Giants
AT&T Park, San Francisco
8:00 p.m. EST on FOX
 
Game 3
Saturday, Oct. 27
Giants @ Tigers
Comerica Park, Detroit
8:00 p.m. EST on FOX
 
Game 4
Sunday, Oct. 28
Giants @ Tigers
Comerica Park, Detroit
8:00 p.m. EST on FOX
 
Game 5*
Monday, Oct. 29
Giants @ Tigers
Comerica Park, Detroit
8:00 pm. EST on FOX
 
Game 6*
Wednesday, Oct. 31
Tigers @ Giants
AT&T Park, San Francisco
8:00 p.m. EST on FOX
 
Game 7*
Thursday, Nov. 1
Tigers @ Giants
AT&T Park, San Francisco
8:00 p.m. EST on FOX
 
*If Needed
Teaser:
<p> 2012 World Series Schedule</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 10:09
Path: /mlb/2012-world-series-preview-pitching-pitching-pitching
Body:

The San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers—both of these franchises have been in business for more than 100 years, but the two tradition-laden clubs have never met in the World Series. Detroit has won 11 American League pennants, winning the World Series four times. The Tigers last won the Series in 1984 and lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. Since 1900, the Giants have 19 pennants, appearing the World Series 18 times, winning six, the most recent coming just two years ago when they defeated the Texas Rangers in 2010.

2012 World SeriesThis matchup features two of the best pitching staffs in baseball, especially when it comes to starting pitching. The two ballparks play well for pitchers as does cooler weather. So don’t expect any shootouts in this series.

Having said that, the two players expected to take their respective Most Valuable Player awards — Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey — lead their offenses, but pitching will rule the day.

In 2006, the Tigers swept the ALCS and then had a six-day layoff, which could have played a role in the Detroit offense coming out flat against St. Louis. Manager Jim Leyland tried to keep his troops sharp and their timing down by playing a couple of intrasquad games on Sunday and Monday. If the Detroit hitters come out slow this fall, at least the Tigers’ pitchers are well-rested. Ace Justin Verlander is set to pitch Game 1 followed by Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer.

San Francisco has no time to rest having finished off three pressure-packed games. That could work in the Giants’ favor in terms of keeping the hitters locked in. But the starting pitching doesn’t line up exactly how Bruce Bochy would like. Having to use Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain in Games 3 and 4 is not optimal, but Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum should be up to the task. Having Cain available for just one game is not what the Giants had in mind.

The Detroit bullpen has struggled of late, and the Tigers’ defense could let the pitchers down. San Francisco loves close, low-scoring games, and these games should play out just like Giants manager Bochy relishes.

Prediction: San Francisco in 7

Trivia Corner
There are 16 players on the Tigers and Giants World Series rosters who have played for winning teams in a previous World Series. Can you name the only player in this year’s Classic to have played for two World Series champs? (Answer below)

Buster PoseySan Francisco Giants
Lineup
During the regular season, the Giants relied on Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey to carry the offense. However, in the postseason it’s been table-setters Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro who have established the tone. The Cardinals held Posey and fifth-place hitter Hunter Pence in check, but the damage was done at the top. Lest you think that Scutaro has been some kind of postseason wonder, think again. After the Giants acquired him in July, he hit .362 in 61 games, sparking the most potent offense in the league during the second half. Brandon Belt, Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford were solid at the bottom of the order in the NLCS.

Rotation
The Giants’ rotation matches up well with any team in baseball. It starts with Matt Cain — a strong Cy Young candidate — and Ryan Vogelsong. Cain pitched the Giants into the World Series with 5.2 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the NLCS. Vogelsong allowed fewer than one baserunner per inning in his three starts with a 1.42 ERA. Former Cy Young winners Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito earned starts after struggling at times during the season.

Bullpen
Even though the Giants lost eccentric and effective closer Brian Wilson to injury very early in the season, San Francisco has a collection of relievers that manager Bruce Bochy mixes and matches to gain advantages. Sergio Romo gets most of the save opportunities, but Santiago Casilla is called on to get tough outs from the right side. Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder will see lots of lefties Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. The four combined for 12.2 scoreless innings against St. Louis.

Defense
The Giants have Gold Glove caliber defense all over the field. Crawford and Scutaro are smooth up the middle, while Posey behind the plate and Belt at first base are stellar. These guys will not beat themselves and will take pressure off the pitching staff. Third baseman Sandoval is the only sub-par defender on the field.

Path to the World Series
The Giants added Scutaro just prior to the trade deadline. Their NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers added Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and the injured Carl Crawford. After that point, the Giants led the NL in scoring while the Dodgers finished at the bottom of the league. Once in the playoffs, San Francisco seemed to thrive with their backs to the wall. Facing elimination three times against the Reds in Cincinnati, then three more times against St. Louis, the Giants were 6-0 in those games.


Miguel CabreraDetroit Tigers
Lineup
The Prince Fielder-Miguel Cabrera duo provides the Tigers a 1-2 punch among the best in baseball. While Cabrera, who at least one hit in all LCS games he appeared in his career, became the first triple crown winner since 1967, this lineup is much deeper than the two sluggers in the middle. Leadoff hitter Austin Jackson leads the club with five extra-base hits in the postseason. Jhonny Peralta is batting .343 in the playoffs, and ALCS MVP Delmon Young drove in as many runs as the entire Yankees team in the series.

Rotation
Justin Verlander is pitching as well right now as anytime in his career, including a 132-pitch gem in Game 3 of the ALCS. The ace has won all three of his postseason starts this year. Combined, the four starters — Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister — have a 1.02 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 62 innings against the A’s and Yankees.

Bullpen
Closer Jose Valverde, who was perfect in 49 save situations in 2011, has been anything but perfect in the postseason. In only 2.1 innings this postseason, Valverde has given up seven of the 16 earned runs allowed by the Tigers. Phil Coke, who saved Games 2 and 3 of the ALCS, may be called upon to close games in the World Series. Coke was effective as the closer, but that leaves Drew Smyly, who was a starter all season, as the only other lefthander. Octavio Dotel, who was so good last season during the Cardinals’ magical run, will play a pivotal role, especially against the right-handed Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.

Defense
Detroit doesn’t make too many errors, but they don’t do the pitching staff any favors by taking away base hits, especially in the infield. The Tigers’ pitchers are much more effective when they are missing bats because too many balls put in play tend to find holes.

Path to the World Series
Detroit won just 88 games — the seventh-best record in the AL — and took over first place in the AL Central from the White Sox with seven days left in the season. Although they were pushed to a fifth game by Oakland in the ALDS, the Tigers made it look pretty easy in the AL playoffs. The Yankees were a pushover in the ALCS. Detroit outscored New York 19-6 as the Tigers’ pitchers held the Yankees to a .157 batting average. Detroit held the A’s to a .194 average in the ALDS.

Trivia Answer
San Francisco reliever Javier Lopez faced two batters, giving up two hits, for the Boston Red Sox in 2007. He also faced two batters in 2010 for the Giants, retiring both.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

Teaser:
<p> Expect low-scoring, close games from Giants and Tigers</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 09:40
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-worst-coaching-tenures-1984-85
Body:

Sometimes a coach inherits a bad team or steps into a program where the university simply does not invest in basketball. In some cases, through recruiting, Xs and Os and inspiration, that coach can turn a bad team into a good or even great one.

The guys on this list are not those coaches. Here are the 20 worst coaching tenures in the six major conference since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985.

WORST COACHING TENURES IN MAJOR CONFERENCES SINCE 1984-85
1. Dave Bliss, Baylor
Years: 1999-2003
Record: 61-57, 19-45 Big 12
Before his undoing at Baylor, Bliss took three teams to the NCAA Tournament (Oklahoma, SMU and New Mexico), but his downfall at Baylor remains one of college athletics biggest disgraces. One player, Carlton Dotson, pleaded guilty to murdering teammate Patrick Dennehy in 2003, and Bliss' actions in the aftermath did not help an already tragic situation. Bliss was found to have paid part of Dennehy’s tuition and that of another player (both NCAA violations), and then asked an assistant and players to lie to investigators about the payment, saying Dennehy had been dealing drugs. That, among other NCAA and recruiting violations put Baylor under harsh sanctions through 2010. On the court, Baylor had one winning season and never finished better than 6-10 in the Big 12.

2. Bob Wade, Maryland
Years: 1986-89
Record: 36-50, 7-35 ACC
Wade took over after the drug-related death of All-American Len Bias, who had just been drafted second overall by the Boston Celtics. With an academic scandal at the end of coach Lefty Driesell’s tenure as well, Wade did not take over in College Park under ideal circumstance when he was hired from the high school ranks from Baltimore Dunbar. After three seasons, including two where Maryland went 0-16 and 1-14 in the ACC, Wade resigned amid his own allegations of NCAA violations. He was replaced by Gary Williams, who resuscitated the program and won 461 games with the Terps.

3. Bob Staak, Wake Forest
Years: 1985-89
Record: 45-69, 8-48 ACC
Staak took over for Paul Tacy, who had reached the postseason in five consecutive years (three pre-expansion NCAAs, two NITs) before Staak arrived. The former Xavier coach and Connecticut player went 8-21 and winless in the ACC in his first season and never won more than three conference games during his four years at Wake. He resigned amid an NCAA inquiry into recruiting violations and was replaced by Dave Odom, who would lead the Demon Deacons to their most successful era in the 1990s and early 2000s.

4. Bill Foster, Northwestern
Years: 1986-93
Record: 54-141, 13-113 Big Ten
The only program from a major conference not to have reached the NCAA Tournament, Northwestern has had its share of futile coaching tenures. Foster’s, though, was the worst. The Wildcats finished in last place in six of his seven seasons, went 2-16 in the Big Ten five times and winless once. His successor, the late Ricky Byrdsong, reached the NIT in his first season with Northwestern. And interesting footnote: Foster also preceded Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.

5. Paul Graham, Washington State
Years: 1999-2003
Record: 31-79, 9-63 Pac-10
The Cougars aren’t known for their basketball success, but before Graham, Washington State built a solid program under Kelvin Sampson and reached the NIT under Kevin Eastman. After Graham, Dick Bennett and son Tony Bennett built Washington State into an NCAA Tournament team. A rash of play departures also didn’t help Graham’s short-lived tenure at Wazzu.

6. Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest
Years: 2010-present
Record: 34-60, 11-39 ACC
Bzdelik has coached in the NBA and took Air Force to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, so it’s a mystery why Bzdelik has had such meager results at a program that has been a consistent power in the ACC. The Demon Deacons have had their share of player departures, due to transfers and off-court issues, so those are possible reasons. That said, Bzdelik had more ACC wins in his third season (six) than he did in his first two combined (five).

7. Sidney Lowe, NC State
Years: 2006-11
Record: 86-78, 25-55 ACC
Hopes were high that Lowe, a former NC State player and longtime NBA assistant, would help the Wolfpack take the next step after an unspectacular run under Herb Sendek. As NC State learned, things weren’t so bad under Sendek, who reached the NCAA Tournament in each of his last five seasons in Raleigh. Lowe recruited well, but the results didn’t come on the court as NC State never won more than six ACC games in a season and finished ninth or lower each year. Successor Mark Gottfried, however, took advantage of the influx of talent under Lowe with a Sweet 16 appearance in his first season.

8. Melvin Watkins, Texas A&M
Years: 1998-2004
Record: 60-112, 21-75 Big 12
Watkins’ predecessor, Tony Barone, also was a candidate for this list, which says something about the Aggies’ basketball program in the ‘90s. Watkins, though, capped his tenure in College Station with a winless Big 12 season and a 7-21 overall record. The Aggies won 10 or fewer games three times in his six seasons. If there was a silver lining, Watkins did bring Acie Law and Antoine Wright to Texas A&M. Under Law and Gillispie, Texas A&M reached the NIT in 2005 and the Sweet 16 in 2007.

9. Brian Mahoney, St. John’s
Years: 1992-96
Record: 56-58, 29-43 Big East
After the departure of the program’s most successful coach, St. John’s promoted assistant Brian Mahoney to replace Lou Carnesecca, but Mahoney turned out to be the first coach in a line of four who weren’t able to restore St. John’s to the glory days. Mahoney reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season, but  reached only one NIT in the three seasons thereafter. Mahoney went 17-37 in the Big East.

10. Matt Doherty, North Carolina
Years: 2000-03
Record: 53-43, 23-25 ACC
Doherty played for Dean Smith at North Carolina and was a teammate of Michael Jordan’s. Those were better days for the Tar Heels. Doherty went 26-7 and 13-3 in the ACC in his first season taking over for Bill Guthridge, but he went 27-36 and 10-22 in conference the following two seasons. During his short-lived tenure, Doherty clashed with Guthridge and Smith by replacing longtime assistants and ran off players with his abrasive style. In North Carolina’s second attempt to pursue Roy Williams, the Tar Heels landed him to replace Doherty in 2003. With some of Doherty’s recruits, Williams won a national title in 2005.

11. Eddie Payne, Oregon State
Years: 1995-2000
Record: 50-90, 20-70 Pac-10
Since the retirement of Ralph Miller in 1989 until the hire of current coach Craig Robinson, none of the coaches in Corvallis had distinguished tenures. Payne’s best season was 7-11 in the Pac-10, but the Beavers went 3-15 in conference or worse in three of his five seasons.

12. Billy Gillispie, Kentucky
Years: 2007-09
Record: 40-27, 20-12 SEC
Hopes were high for Texas A&M’s Gillispie he took over for Tubby Smith, a national title coach who never wowed the Kentucky fan base. A first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament to Marquette followed by an NIT ended his tenure in Lexington after only two seasons.

13. Larry Shyatt, Clemson
Years: 1998-2003
Record: 70-84, 20-60 ACC
Shyatt took over after a successful run under Rick Barnes and was replaced by Oliver Purnell, who remade the Tigers into a postseason contender. In between, Shyatt had only two winning seasons and never finished better than 5-11 in the ACC.

14. Jerry Wainwright, DePaul
Years: 2005-10
Record: 59-80, 20-51 Big East
DePaul clearly was not ready to be competitive in the Big East and had long since fallen behind in recruiting the Chicago area. An Illinois native, Wainwright couldn’t help matters. He was fired midway through the 2009-10 season amid a stretch in which DePaul went 1-35 in Big East games.

15. Fred Hill, Rutgers
Years: 2006-10
Record: 47-77, 13-57 Big East
Like Jerry Wainwright and DePaul, Rutgers hoped Hill’s local ties would help revive a moribund Big East program. Hill signed McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario (who later transferred to Florida), but he never won more than five Big East games in four losing seasons at Rutgers. Hill caused further problems for his program when he got into a shouting match with the Pittsburgh baseball coach after a game between the two schools (Hill’s father is the Rutgers baseball coach). Hill disobeyed his athletic director by attending later games in the series, a development that played a role in his ouster.

16. Jeff Bzdelik, Colorado
Years: 2007-10
Record: 36-58, 10-38 Big 12
Bzdelik makes his second appearance on the list. Again, he won at Air Force and coached in the NBA, but he couldn’t manage a winning season at Colorado. Successor Tad Boyle, meanwhile, took over to lead the Buffaloes to back-to-back postseason appearances.

17. Todd Lickliter, Iowa
Years: 2007-10
Record: 38-57, 15-39
Perhaps a cautionary sign for Brad Stevens that the grass isn’t always greener. Lickliter left Butler after a Sweet 16 appearance for a failed tenure with the Hawkeyes. Iowa was a postseason regular under four coaches since the late ‘70s, but the Hawkeyes finished eighth or lower in the Big Ten each season under Lickliter.

18. Ricky Stokes, Virginia Tech
Years: 1999-2003
Record: 29-55, 10-38 Big East
The above record does not include Stokes’ first season when the Hokies were a member of the Atlantic 10, which was also his only winning season (16-15) in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech was already struggling before joining the Big East as a basketball member in 2000, so the Hokies’ first three seasons in the league were no big surprise.

19. Jay John, Oregon State
Years:
2002-08
Record: 72-97, 28-69 Pac-10
Again, Oregon State has never been an easy basketball job since and hasn't been a consistent winner since the '80s. John led Oregon State to its first postseason appearance in 15 years when the Beavers went to the NIT in 2005. But four years later he also laid the groundwork for a 6-25 season in which the Beavers went winless in Pac-10 play. John did not finish that season, however, as he was fired after 18 games.

20. Darrin Horn, South Carolina
Years: 2008-12
Record: 60-63, 23-41 SEC
In his first season, Horn led South Carolina to its first SEC winning record in 11 years, but it was downhill from there. The Gamecocks' overall and conference record declined in each of Horn’s final three seasons, bottoming out at 10-21 overall and 2-14 in the SEC last season.

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball's Worst Coaching Tenures since 1984-85</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/ole-miss-or-missouri-will-either-team-make-bowl-2012
Body:

The SEC has 10 guaranteed slots for both teams but there's a chance the conference has at least 11 or 12 squads eligible for the postseason. Ole Miss and Missouri are two teams on the edge of bowl eligibility, as the Rebels sit at 4-3 and the Tigers are 3-4. 

Ole Miss or Missouri: Will Either Team Make a Bowl In 2012?

Barrett Sallee, Lead SEC Blogger for Bleacher Report (@BarrettSallee):
Ole Miss is the better team, but the stretch run is too tough for the Rebels to make a bowl game. They are getting Arkansas at the wrong time this week, and if they want to go bowling, they'll need to get that win and vs. Vanderbilt to secure a six-win season and a bowl trip. I don't think they can get a win over the resurgent Hogs this weekend.

Missouri, on the other hand, has a better shot at the postseason. The need three wins down the stretch, but games vs. Kentucky, Tennessee and Syracuse could get them there. The season will hinge on the Tennessee game. Missouri doesn't play a lot of defense and the Vols can sling it all over the field. Gary Pinkel's crew will have to play old school, Big 12-style football to have a shot. I don't think they get it done though, and fall just short of making a bowl game in their first season in the SEC.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
The chances look much better for Ole Miss than Missouri. With quarterback James Franklin out against Kentucky -- a team that has been competitive with South Carolina and Georgia -- I’m not sure if Missouri is going to win another game in the SEC. Ole Miss’ schedule shapes up much nicer for a postseason trip, despite the next two road games. Arkansas is getting better, but the Hogs are still vulnerable. And who knows what we’re going to see out of Georgia on a week-to-week basis? When Ole Miss returns home, it should have a good chance against Vanderbilt in Oxford. And while I would not pick Ole Miss to win in Baton Rouge, it’s just been that kind of year at LSU. Then there’s a home finale in the Egg Bowl. I don’t know how Ole Miss is going to do it, but the Rebels are going to win two of those games and reach a bowl. The Rebels have shown they can beat up on bad SEC teams (Auburn) and play with resilience against good ones (Alabama, Texas A&M). Meanwhile, none of the teams left on Ole Miss’ schedule can make me say without a doubt that they’ll be able to defeat the Rebels easily. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
I will go with neither. Ole Miss would likely have to beat both Vanderbilt and Mississippi State at home in order to get to six wins. Otherwise, three road games to Arkansas, Georgia and LSU are almost certain losses. One upset at home is possible, but two feels highly unlikely. Mizzou has a clear path to five wins with Syracuse and Kentucky at home but would also have to win one of three brutal road games at Florida, Texas A&M or Tennessee. If I had to place a bet on one or the other, I would take the Rebels. Is it possible for both to get to bowl eligibility? Yes. Will it happen? I say no. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
Both teams have a good chance to get bowl eligible, but I’m going to say neither will get to six wins. Ole Miss is a much-improved team under new coach Hugh Freeze and has winnable games against Arkansas and Vanderbilt remaining, along with the Egg Bowl showdown against Mississippi State in the finale. Making the Rebels’ quest to get to six wins even more difficult is the Razorbacks have won two in a row, while the Commodores have won two out of their last three games. Although Ole Miss is an improved team, I just don’t think it can muster six wins out of the remaining schedule.

Missouri’s remaining schedule isn’t as difficult as Ole Miss’, especially with home games left against Kentucky and Syracuse. If the Tigers win those two games, they would need to pickup a win at Florida, Tennessee or Texas A&M. Not exactly easy. Missouri’s best bet might be picking up a victory against former Big 12 foe Texas A&M or against a Tennessee team that could be distracted by its coaching situation. The Tigers have a better chance than the Rebels to get to six wins, but I think they fall just short and finish 5-7.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
My guess is no. Ole Miss is vastly improved under first-year coach Hugh Freeze, but the Rebels have a difficult closing schedule. They are 4–3 overall, with wins over Central Arkansas, UTEP, Tulane and Auburn. It’s tough to find two wins on their remaining schedule — at Arkansas, Georgia and LSU and home vs. Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. They will be an underdog in at least four of the five games, and potentially all five if Vanderbilt continues to play well. Missouri has been a bit of a disappointment in its first year in the league. Injuries have hurt — both at quarterback and on the offensive line — but nobody envisioned an 0–4 start in league play. The Tigers should take care of Kentucky on Saturday (even without James Franklin at quarterback) to improve to 4–4 overall, but three of their final four games are on the road — at Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M. My guess is that Mizzou ends the year 5–7 overall and 1–7 in the SEC.   

Mark Ross: 
It's kind of a shame these two don't play each other to end the regular season in what could have been a bowl-elimination game. That said, if I had to choose, I would give Ole Miss a better shot at sneaking into the postseason rather than Missouri. The Tigers have had a rough introduction to the SEC and have suffered too many key injuries, most notably to quarterback James Franklin, to finish with six wins. I think five is the best they can hope for this season. On the other hand, Ole Miss only needs two more victories to get to six and I think can get there, provided they beat Arkansas in Fayetteville this Saturday. If the Rebels can beat the Hogs, who are riding a modest two-game winning streak of their own, then their bowl fate likely comes down to the Nov. 10 home game against Vanderbilt. Wins over the Hogs and Commodores would make the Rebels bowl eligible. However, should they stumble in either of these games, I don't see Hugh Freeze going to the postseason in his first season in Oxford because the Rebels' other three remaining games are against teams ranked in the top 11 of the BCS standings — at Georgia (No. 10), at LSU (No. 6) and against Mississippi State (No. 11). The opportunity is there for the Rebels to get back to a bowl for the first time in three seasons, it's just up to them to capitalize on it.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I think the Rebels (4-3) find a way to get to 6-6, while the Tigers (3-4) first SEC campaign looks destined for a 5-7 finish. Coach Hugh Freeze has done an amazing job in Oxford this season, and he will need a strong finish to chalk up two bowl-clinching wins in five games where Ole Miss will be an underdog. The Rebs’ road is difficult, but I think Freeze and staff will “coach’em up” this weekend at Arkansas and grab a win over either Vanderbilt or Mississippi State. Meanwhile, the Tigers have struggled on offense and with injuries this year. The Kentucky and Syracuse games are the top candidates for wins, but I’m not sure Mizzou can score enough points to keep up in road contests versus Tennessee and Texas A&M. The odds probably favor both teams finishing 5-7, but I’ll take Ole Miss to surprise down the stretch and get back to the postseason.

 

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Post-Week 8 Heisman Contenders

Teaser:
<p> Ole Miss or Missouri: Will Either Team Make A Bowl In 2012?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-college-basketball-countdown-sun-belt-preview
Body:

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

Western Kentucky emerged last season from the rubble to go on an unlikely NCAA Tournament run. This season, the margin may be more slim.

The Hilltoppers started 5-11 and fired coach Ken McDonald midseason. Interim coach Ray Harper went on an 11-8 run that included a Sun Belt tournament title and a win over Mississippi Valley State in the NCAA First Four. Naturally, it earned Harper the full time job in Bowling Green as well.

Western Kentucky, the Sun Belt’s most successful basketball program, will try to continue that momentum into 2012-13, but the conference may be tougher at the top than it was a year ago.

North Texas has one of the nation’s most underrated stars in Tony Mitchell, a potential NBA Draft lottery pick who landed in Denton after he failed to qualify at Missouri. Middle Tennessee, which had the league’s best record at 14-2, returns most of its firepower from a year ago as well.

This will also be the last year for the Sun Belt in its current incarnation. The departure of Denver to the WAC leaves the league with just 11 teams this season before Georgia State, Texas State and UT Arlington replace FIU and North Texas in 2013-14.

ATHLON ALL-SUN BELT TEAM SUN BELT FACTS AND FIGURES
G Marcos Knight, Middle Tennessee 2011-12 regular season champion: Middle Tennessee (East), UALR (West)
G Trey Finn, Arkansas State 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Western Kentucky#
F George Fant, Western Kentucky New coaches: Tony Benford (North Texas), Richard Pitino (FIU)
F Augustine Rubit, South Alabama Realignment: Lost Denver to the WAC
F Tony Mitchell, North Texas*  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion



2012-13 SUN BELT PREVIEW
EAST

1. Middle Tennessee (27–7, 14–2)
Kermit Davis, MTSU’s all-time winningest coach, must replace 2012 Sun Belt Player of the Year LaRon Dendy, but he returns 10 of the top 12 players from last season’s squad, which broke the program’s single-season wins record. Playmaking guard Marcos Knight and steady forward J.T. Sulton are all-league players. Point guard Bruce Massey is a lockdown defender and team leader. Raymond Cintron is a sharpshooting guard (43.2 percent from 3 last year) who plays with toughness, and juniors Shawn Jones and Kerry Hammonds are rising standouts. The roster is loaded, and expectations are soaring.
NCAA Tournament prediction: One and done

2. Western Kentucky (16–19, 7–9)
Coach Ray Harper revitalized the slumping Hilltoppers with a second-half surge, Sun Belt Tournament title and First Four victory in the NCAA Tournament last season following Ken McDonald’s midseason firing. Harper must stretch that momentum to an entire season and do it without leading scorer Derrick Gordon, who transferred to UMass. George Fant, a 6-6 forward, is a rising star after a breakout freshman season, and fellow sophomore T.J. Price also carries a big upside. Point guard Jamal Crook is a steady veteran. Freshman forward Eddie Alcantara could be inserted into the lineup early.

3. South Alabama (17–12, 8–8)
Veteran coach Ronnie Arrow returns nearly his entire roster, highlighted by 6-6 forward Augustine Rubit, one of the Sun Belt’s elite players. Freddie Goldstein is a streaky shooter, and Mychal Ammons showed shades of standout play as a 6-5 freshman swingman. Add shot-blocking post player Javier Carter and returning point guard Trey Anderson, and USA has a core that is ready challenge for a league title. Size and proven depth are still needed. The addition of 6-10 Slovakian center Viktor Juricek could help in both areas.

4. Troy (10–18, 5–11)
Starting point guard and leading scorer Will Weathers left a year early to play professionally, but Troy is accustomed to retooling its lineup every year. Don Maestri, Troy’s coach for 31 years, puts together an up-tempo, streak-shooting squad every season. Justin Wright, Emil Jones and R.J. Scott are each threats from 3-point range, and Maestri is a master at adding junior college transfers who fit his system. Also, former FIU commitment Antoine Myers, a true freshman, will join the Trojans, perhaps as an eventual replacement for Weathers at point guard.

5. Florida International (8–21, 5–11)
Richard Pitino, Louisville associate head coach and son of Rick Pitino, takes over after the failed three-year experiment of Isiah Thomas as head coach (26–65 record). Pitino must rebuild the roster, as no starters return and five signees are added to the mix. Jerome Frink, a 6-6 freshman forward, and junior college guards Malik Smith and Tymell Murphy should find roles immediately. FIU always seems to have the talent to play with any team in the Sun Belt, but the Golden Panthers have lacked the consistency to contend for a full season.

6. Florida Atlantic (11–19, 7–9)
Last season’s squad greatly underachieved, as the Sun Belt East preseason favorite started slowly, lost its final five games and never made a push in the league race. And the offseason has been tumultuous, with the early departures of standout point guard Raymond Taylor (pro ball) and post player Kore White (South Florida) among others. The honeymoon of coach Mike Jarvis is over, and now he must rebuild earlier than planned.

WEST
1. North Texas (18–14, 9–7)
New coach Tony Benford, a former Marquette assistant, inherits a team led by 6-8 sophomore forward Tony Mitchell, who is projected to be an NBA Lottery pick next year. Mitchell was the only freshman in the nation to average a double-double last season (14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg), and he returns as the league’s undisputed star. Plus, the top seven players are back, including guards Chris Jones (14.1 ppg), Jordan Williams (10.9 ppg) and Alzee Williams (10.5 ppg). The Mean Green narrowly lost in the Sun Belt Tournament title game last season, and they will be a prime contenders to return this season.

2. Arkansas State (14–20, 6–10)
Coach John Brady’s squad took its lumps last season, but the Red Wolves could be the sleeper in this year’s Sun Belt race. Four starters return, paced by seniors Marcus Hooten, Trey Finn and Brandon Peterson. Despite a knee injury, Finn averaged 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 46 percent from 3-point range last season. Now at full strength, Finn will help lead a veteran lineup. Houston transfer Kendrick Washington, a 6-7 forward, will add another weapon.

3. Arkansas-Little Rock (15–16, 12–4)
UALR won the West Division title last season, but only two starters return for a team with no scholarship seniors. Will Neighbour, a 6-10 smooth shooting forward, is a key returnee after an all-conference season, but the Trojans need another dynamic scorer. Coach Steve Shields always puts together a scrappy team that is tough on defense, but a rebuilding year looks to be ahead.

4. Louisiana-Lafayette (16–16, 10–6)
An offseason of mass exodus puts the Ragin’ Cajuns in an uncertain position. The departures included four graduating seniors (top scorer Josh Brown among them) and five notable players transferring. That leaves coach Bob Marlin, who has only three of his top 12 scorers back, searching for role players to step forward and newcomers to make an instant impact. Sophomore point guard Elfrid Payton has upside, while Mississippi State transfer Sean Long and Tulane transfer Kevin Brown could provide a boost. This team, however, has a lot of issues.

5. Louisiana-Monroe (3–26, 2–14)
The Warhawks were winless at home and ineligible for the Sun Belt Tournament due to NCAA sanctions last season. It will again be an uphill climb for Keith Richard’s team, which has no seniors. Charles Winborne, a 6-1 junior guard, will be the centerpiece after averaging 11.2 points last season. He is the lone full-time returning starter.

@AthlonSports

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

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

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

20. Florida

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

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

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Countdown: Sun Belt Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 06:14
Path: /college-football/should-jeff-tedford-return-california-2013
Body:

Jeff Tedford is the winningest coach (overall victories) in California football history. However, the program has been in a backslide over the last few seasons, going 5-7 in 2010 and 7-6 in 2011. The Golden Bears have played a difficult schedule in 2012 but another losing season won't sit well in Berkeley. 

Should Jeff Tedford Return to California in 2013?

Kyle Kensing (@Kensing45), SaturdayBlitz.com:
Jeff Tedford is the winningest coach in Cal history, with just a single losing campaign in his tenure. He’s also the highest paid state employee in an economically turbulent California, and last month the university christened Memorial Stadium after its controversial $321 million renovation. Losing that first game in the revamped facility cast an ominous shadow. Cal made Rose Bowl-quality investments for Sun Bowl-level returns.

At 3-5 and with Oregon and Oregon State still to come, Tedford may be a lame duck. But consider this: he’s won 82 games in his 10½ seasons as Cal’s head coach, the same amount the five head coaches prior to him from 1983 through 2001 compiled. Aside from Bruce Snyder and Pappy Waldorf, he’s the only post-War era Golden Bear coach to reach multiple bowl games. Unlike Snyder, Tedford never bolted for green pastures elsewhere in the Pac; unlike Waldorf, Tedford won a postseason game. So the $6.9 million (amount Cal would owe Tedford should it cut ties with him) question is, who can the university brass attract that will be more successful?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
The expectations are higher at Cal than they’ve ever been. But the reason they’re higher is because Tedford has raised them over the past decade. That's quite the conundrum.  But look at it this way: If Tedford left when he was in high demand after the 2006 season, and his replacement went 41-33 overall and 22-27 in conference as Cal has the last six seasons, the replacement probably wouldn’t coach an extra year. Cal was ranked as high as No. 2 in 2007 but hasn’t made an appearance in the polls since 2009. The administration, despite its own struggles with cash, has followed through with facility upgrades, but the Bears are headed to their third consecutive losing season within conference play. Meanwhile, the majority of the Pac-12 seems to be on the upswing. Cal’s going to be hard-pressed to keep up, but right now, its coach is just treading water.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Jeff Tedford’s tenure at Cal is developing into one of the most complex and intriguing in the nation. He has coached more games than any head coach in Cal history (127), he has won more games than any coach in Cal history (79),, has had one losing season in a decade on the job and earned the school’s first conference championship (2006) since 1975. Additionally, he has accounted for eight of the program’s 21 bowl appearances and five of the program’s 10 bowl wins. And the NFL is littered with elite Tedford superstars — Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, Desmond Bishop, DeSean Jackson, Thomas DeCoud and Alex Mack to name a few.
Yet, the program has gotten stale while the rest of the Pac-12 has seemingly improved across the board. His record is 15-17 over the last two-and-a-half seasons and hasn’t had a 10-win season since the league co-championship in 2006. Cal still has to face both Oregon schools, Utah and Washington. A 2-2 mark the rest of the way in 2012 means his second losing season in three years and a parting of the ways in Berkeley. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
How quickly things can change. Jeff Tedford was previously one of the hottest coaching candidates in college football and now heads into the final games of 2012 fighting for his job. After going 25-13 in his first three seasons at California, Tedford appeared poised to move up the coaching ladder. However, his last three full years have resulted in a 20-18 record, and the Golden Bears are off to a disappointing 3-5 start. Although Tedford has an 82-53 overall record during his tenure at California, it’s probably time for a coaching change in Berkeley. The Golden Bears seemed to have peaked and have been passed in the Pac-12 pecking order by Stanford, and Washington is capable of closing the gap with Steve Sarkisian as head coach. There’s not a ton of candidates that make sense for California, but this program could use an infusion of energy. Tedford can win a lot of games at another school, but sometimes a coaching tenure runs its course and it’s time for a change. Barring a four-game winning streak to end the season, I think California will have a new head coach going into 2013. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
I think it’s time for a change. Tedford has no doubt done a tremendous job in Berkeley, but things have gotten a bit stale. The Golden Bears, 3–5 overall in 2012, have now lost at least five games in five of the past six seasons. Tedford built Cal into an upper-echelon Pac-12 program in the mid-2000s, but the Bears have slipped down a few notches on the league’s food chain in recent years. It hasn’t helped that Cal’s chief rival, Stanford, won 12 games in 2010 and 11 games last fall. I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect Cal to contend for the Pac-12 title on an annual basis, but the program should be more relevant, both in the league and nationally. I’d be reluctant to call this a firing — it doesn’t feel right to fire a guy who is 82–53 overall and 50–41 in league play. It just seems like the time is right for a mutual parting of ways.

Mark Ross: 
It's still possible for Tedford to get his team to a bowl game, but it won't be easy. The Golden Bears have four Pac-12 games left, and while the first two (at Utah, home against Washington) appear winnable, ending the regular season with games against the two Oregon schools will be a tough challenge. If Tedford can somehow find a way to lead his team to a 3-1 finish, it will secure a ninth bowl bid in his 11 years at the helm in Berkeley. With that type of sustained success, if you will, I think it would be hard for the powers that be to not bring him back for at least one more season. However, should the Bears finish 2-2 or worse and miss out on the postseason, then the timing could be right for a change of direction and leadership for the Golden Bears program.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
It’s difficult for Cal fans to see a solid era of Golden Bears football fading, but that is the case in Tedford’s 11th season. We all know how the veteran coach rescued a depressed program under Tom Holmoe and went 43-20 during his first five years. The momentum has shifted in Strawberry Canyon, however, as Cal has gone 36-28 over the last five seasons including a missing bowl game in 2010. That declining record precedes a 3-5 start to this season, one where the Bears are in jeopardy of missing another postseason. Tedford is a solid football mind, but his program has regressed recently. Losing top recruiter Tosh Lupoi — someone who defines Cal football — in a lateral move to Washington this offseason was an ominous sign of where the program is headed, and losing to Stanford three years in a row and four out of the last six seasons doesn’t help either. It may be time for a fresh voice at Cal, but it is difficult to see anyone having the impact that Tedford has had on the Golden Bears program.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 8
Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections

Pac-12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

Post-Week 8 Heisman Contenders

Teaser:
<p> Should Jeff Tedford Return to California in 2013?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/north-carolina-duke-virginia-tech-or-miami-who-wins-coastal-division
Body:

After eight weeks of the 2012 college football season, there is very little clarity in the battle to win the ACC Coastal. North Carolina is ineligible to play in the postseason but can finish No. 1 in the standings. Duke currently ranks at the top, but Virginia Tech and Miami aren't far behind.

Which Team Will Win the ACC Coastal Division?

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
Call me crazy, but I’m picking Miami in the Coastal Division, which is kind of funny because during our last ACC Roundtable, I think I was in the minority when declaring the Hurricanes an ACC contender. I expect I’ll be in the minority once again.

6-2 Duke, who is 3-1 so far against conference foes, has the hardest part of their schedule coming up, and I don’t think they can keep the pace that they have set so far. The Blue Devils will have their work cut out for them just to get another win, although you can never say never in the ACC in 2012.

North Carolina is obviously not eligible for the postseason or the Coastal Division title, so once you rule them out, it really comes down to Miami or Virginia Tech. I think it’s smart to say that wins next weekend’s matchup between the two will find themselves in Charlotte. Miami’s defense can’t stop anybody, but I think their offense finds a way to score more than the Hokies in Coral Gables. This isn’t the typical Virginia Tech defense we’re used to seeing.

Miami is clearly not a top-tier team in the country — their recent three game losing streak proves that — but a team doesn’t need to be to win the Coastal Division. If the Hokies find a way to pull out a win on the road this weekend, expect to see Frank Beamer’s squad in Charlotte for the sixth time since the birth of the Championship game in 2005. I suspect Tech will be the popular pick, but if there’s one thing that this ACC season has taught all of us, it is to expect the unexpected, and that’s why I’m picking Al Golden’s Hurricanes to win the Coastal.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Duke sure is tempting. The Blue Devils are the flavor of the moment after digging deep to beat North Carolina, but the toughest game are ahead with Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami. Perhaps if Duke played a little closer in its losses (50-13 to Stanford, 41-20 to Virginia Tech), I’d be more enthusiastic. Miami has lost three in a row, but the Hurricanes may find a way to sneak into the title game. Quarterback Stephen Morris got hurt in a four-point loss to North Carolina and returned for a surprise start against Florida State, a game that was much closer than expected. Miami’s defense is still struggling, but the Hurricanes don’t play any teams (Virginia Tech, Virginia and Duke) who run the ball particularly well. And by the the time Duke faces Miami in the finale, the Blue Devils may already be out of the race.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Duke Polytechnic Institute of Florida? Can I take a three-way tie between Duke, Virginia Tech and Miami? Georgia Tech is still in the mix but would have to win out and then get some help. Duke doesn’t own any key tiebreakers yet as it lost to the Hokies and has a nasty four-game end to the season (at Florida State, Clemson, at Georgia Tech, Miami). Therefore, I think it comes down to Miami or Virginia Tech. The Hokies, who already own tiebreakers over Duke and Georgia Tech, will finish the year with two wins (at Boston College and Virginia at home) and should finish no worse than 4-4. Miami, who has lost three straight games, finishes with two road trips to Virginia and Duke. So it all comes down to Thursday, Nov. 1 when Virginia Tech visits Miami. If the Hokies win at Miami, both will likely finish 5-3 and Frank Beamer will have his sixth Coastal Division title in eight seasons.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
After nine weeks, there’s really no clarity in the race to win the Coastal Division. Surprisingly, Duke sits atop the division with a 3-1 record, but the Blue Devils still have games against Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami remaining. North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech each have two losses in ACC play and there are plenty of landmines on the schedule for all three teams. The Tar Heels are ineligible to win the ACC crown but could finish with a 5-3 record and own victories over Miami and Virginia Tech to claim the Coastal Division crown. With North Carolina unable to play for the title, the race to represent the Coastal in the title game is likely between Miami and Virginia Tech, who meet on Nov. 1 in Sun Life Stadium. Although the Blue Devils could certainly get into the mix, the winner of the Miami-Virginia Tech game should decide who plays the Atlantic champ. The Hokies have been inconsistent this year, but I think their defense steps up, while the offense does just enough to finish 5-3 in conference play and win the division. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Five wins will be enough to win the division — maybe even four. At this point, I’d give the slight edge to Miami. Duke and Miami both have three wins, but Duke’s closing schedule (at FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami) is more difficult. Miami has this week off before hosting Virginia Tech next Thursday in a huge game for both teams. After playing Tech, the Canes have two more league games — at Virginia and at Duke. Virginia Tech can play its way back in to the mix with a win at Miami, but the Hokies still have to play Florida State. One thing to note: Virginia Tech has a win over Duke, so the Hokies have the edge in a two-team tiebreaker. This is a mess.

Mark Ross:
As great a story as Duke has been this season, I see the Blue Devils losing at least two of their remaining four ACC games, if not more. One thing's for sure, we will certainly find out how good David Cutcliffe's team is as the Blue Devils will face Florida State and Clemson the next two Saturdays. So if I have Duke with at least three conference losses, who does that leave atop the Coastal? I think it comes down to Miami and Virginia Tech, with the winner most likely decided when these two get together next Thursday night in south Florida. The Hurricanes have two conference losses already, but end their regular season in Durham. The Hokies also have two ACC losses, but hold the tiebreaker over Duke by virtue of their 41-20 victory two weeks ago, and can do the same to the Hurricanes by beating them on the road next week. As bad as the Hokies have looked, I think they will use the bye this week to straighten some things out and will find a way to finish their conference slate 3-1, which is good enough to get them back to Charlotte for their third straight ACC Championship Game berth. 

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I am going to take North Carolina to beat NC State for the first time since 2006 this weekend, a victory that will propel the Tar Heels to the division’s best record — even though there will be no trip Charlotte in December. UNC may seem like an unusual choice after losing to Duke and Wake Forest this season, but I believe the excellent offense and favorable November schedule of Larry Fedora’s club will leave UNC atop the divisional standings. The Blue Devils lead the Coastal currently, but still have to play conference top dogs Florida State and Clemson. And despite UNC’s earlier defeats, the Tar Heels do have victories over Virginia Tech and Miami in the race for the Coastal’s best record. As far as who makes it to the league title game, I see it coming down to the winner of the Miami-Virginia Tech battle on Thursday November 1 with the Hokies prevailing.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 8
Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 8 Heisman Contenders

Teaser:
<p> North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech or Miami: Who Wins the Coastal Division?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 06:00

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