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Path: /college-football/west-virginia-vs-oklahoma-2013-preview-and-prediction
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50-49. That was the score of last year's shootout in Morgantown that saw the Sooners escape with a win. The game featured 1,440 yards of total offense, 62 first downs and 14 total touchdowns.

This year will look significantly different, as the returning players from last season's game accounted for just 16 percent of those 1,400 yards. Both programs, not used to uncertainty at the quarterback, are in a period of transition. The Sooners have had either Sam Bradford or Landry Jones under center since 2007, while the Mountaineers are in the process of trying to replace the school's all-time leading passer in Geno Smith.

Bob Stoops has decided to put the Sooners fate in the arm of Trevor Knight, and Dana Holgorsen has chosen Paul Millard as his starter. Each quarterback decision comes as a surprise as junior Blake "Belldozer" Bell, who has 24 rushing touchdowns the past two seasons, was expected to take the reins in Norman. Mountaineers' fans were excited at the news of the transfer of Florida State quarterback Clint Trickett as he appeared to be their best option for replacing Smith; however, Millard's two years of experience in Holgorsen's system helped win him the job.

These two teams have met eight times, with Oklahoma owning a 3-2 series edge. The Sooners and Mountaineers have only played three times since 1983.

These two teams have met eight times, with LSU owning a 5-2-1 series edge. The Horned Frogs and Tigers have not played since 1968.
- See more at: http://beta.athlonsports.com/college-football/lsu-tigers-vs-tcu-horned-frogs-2013-preview-and-prediction#sthash.3plCMn9r.dpuf

Three Things to Watch

West Virginia's rushing attack

With inexperience at quarterback, the Mountaineers will rely on Houston transfer RB Charles Sims. Sims was impressive in his debut, rushing for 120 yards on 23 carries. The Mountaineers offensive line could be in trouble as they looked overmatched at times against William & Mary. The Sooners defense looks stellar, especially against the run as they allowed just 38 rushing yards to Louisiana-Monroe. If Sims finds running room, it will give West Virginia a chance to control the clock and dictate the tempo. 

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight

It will be important for the Sooners to get the freshman in rhythm early.  He went 7-of-21 passing in the first half for 42 yards. Three of his throws were batted down at the line and another was nearly intercepted in the end zone. While he threw three touchdown passes, he finished 11 of 28 for 86 yards, a total not seen since the Barry Switzer days. Knight does add a threat with his legs, becoming the first Sooners quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Jason White in 2001. Expect lots of short, quick-hitting routes early to get Knight comfortable and confident.

Dana Holgorsen's handling of his quarterbacks

Regardless of how much playing time Holgorsen gives Millard versus Trickett, the Mountaineers coach has seemingly altered his offensive approach - at least for now. Last week, Holgorsen used an usually heavy reliance on the running game, which took pressure off of Millard to win the game with his arm. In fact, his 25 pass attempts were the fewest for a Holgorsen starter since he became a Division I coach in 2000. Holgorsen said he'd like to pass the ball more, but will the offensive guru trust Millard's arm against a much stiffer Oklahoma defense?

Key Player: Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma

Nelson didn't play much in last year's matchup as Bob Stoops decided to play with seven defensive backs against spread teams like West Virginia. The Sooners defense gave up a school record 778 yards. Nelson and the linebackers are back as a major focus of the Oklahoma defense. Nelson serves as the leader and anchor of a defense that allowed just 166 total yards last week in a shutout victory over Louisiana-Monroe. He led the Sooners with eight tackles and a sack. Expect more of the same against a weak Mountaineers offensive line.

Final Analysis

West Virginia barely escaped catastrophe against William & Mary, while the Sooners rolled over Louisiana-Monroe. Both offenses struggled with consistency in the passing game. Shockingly, two of the most pass-happy programs of the last few years, now find their strength in the running game. I think it will be the Sooners defense, and their stingy play against the run that gives them the edge in this game. This year will be a relatively low-scoring affair, coming nowhere close to the shootout from a season ago.

Prediction:

Oklahoma 27, West Virginia, 10


Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

These two teams have met eight times, with LSU owning a 5-2-1 series edge. The Horned Frogs and Tigers have not played since 1968.
- See more at: http://beta.athlonsports.com/college-football/lsu-tigers-vs-tcu-horned-frogs-2013-preview-and-prediction#sthash.3plCMn9r.dpuf
Teaser:
West Virginia vs. Oklahoma 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/texas-longhorns-vs-byu-cougars-2013-preview-and-prediction
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The No. 15 Longhorns come into Provo off a 56-7 romp over New Mexico State. Despite the victory, Texas didn't look as impressive as the score would indicate. In fact, Texas trailed 7-0 late in the second half before rallying for a 14-7 lead at halftime. On the other hand, BYU had to withstand nightmarish circumstances in its trip to the east coast to face Virginia. The rain-drenched affair in Charlottesville, was delayed for over 2 hours due to severe weather.

Texas made some noise this week as Mack Brown implemented the use of masks to prepare for the altitude at BYU. Will Brown's preparations pay off or can the Cougars put a gut-wrenching 19-16 loss behind them and upset the Longhorns?

Three Things to Watch

The health of Cougars' WR Cody Hoffman

The leader among all FBS players with 28 career touchdown catches was a late scratch from last week's game due to a nagging hamstring injury. He sat out of practice on Monday and Tuesday, but

coach Bronco Mendenhall has indicated Hoffman's health is around 80-85 percent. BYU is a radically more explosive offensive with Hoffman on the field, as Taysom Hill struggled without his top playmaker, completing just 13 of his 40 passing attempts for just 125 yards against Virginia. Hoffman's status for the game could well decide if BYU has a chance to pull the upset.

Texas QB David Ash

Ash struggled early, throwing two first half interceptions; however, he showed unusual resiliency in coming back to lead Texas to a school record in offensive yards of 715. He was a big-play extraordinaire, throwing touchdown passes of 54, 66, 74 and 25 yards, while rushing for a 55-yard touchdown. Ash proved he has a big arm, now he just needs to work on his decision-making. BYU does have a very stout defense as they held Virginia just 226 total yards and 14 first downs, so David Ash will have to be in top form.

Longhorns' pass rush

The BYU offensive line showed several holes against Virginia. Look for standout ends Cedric Reed and Jackson Jeffcoat to cause them even more issues and register big games. Manny Diaz will have his defensive fronts active and aggressive throughout, so expect Taysom Hill to be on his back early and often. 

Key Player: Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU

The best individual player in this game and perhaps the most talented linebacker in the entire country, Van Noy is a near lock to be a first-round pick. Van Noy is at his best rushing the passer on blitzes from the second level. The senior has a knack for getting to the quarterback off the edge and a habit for knocking the ball out when he arrives, as evidenced by his 11 forced fumbles in his BYU career. He's one of the rare players that can be a true playmaker from the linebacker position. The Cougars will need him to step up in a big way if the Longhorns offense is to be slowed.

Final Analysis:

Both teams were hard to judge based on last week's performance. Texas played a low quality squad, while BYU battled the weather and were without their top offensive weapon. In any case, Provo is a dangerous place for opposing teams to play. Texas and BYU will both try to keep a quick tempo on offense, but I think the Longhorns' defense and quarterback play is better than BYU's and should win out.

Prediction:

Texas 35, BYU 27

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

Teaser:
Texas Longhorns vs. BYU Cougars 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 08:12
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-against-spread-week-1
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Locks of the Week
These are as good as gold — the San Francisco 1849 kind, not the two-tone Jacksonville helmet shade.

49ers (-4.5) vs. Packers
Remember Colin Kaepernick’s last game against the Packers D? He passed for 263 yards, rushed for 181 yards and accounted for four TDs in a 14-point victory.

Chiefs (-4) at Jaguars
Bet against J-Ville every week until the Jags prove they are not the worst team in the league — which they clearly are.

Blowout Bargains
Early in the season, some spreads aren’t nearly as high as they should be. Get in before the lines are adjusted.

Colts (-10) vs. Raiders
The Silver-and-Bleak are starting Terrelle Pryor. The Indy 500 offense is run by Andrew Luck. Do the math and make some math.

Patriots (-9) at Bills
Tom Terrific has a 20–2 record against Buffalo, tossing 52 TDs and 17 INTs against the AFC East division rival.

Straight Up Upsets
Two division games are a good place to start when looking for outright upsets in the season opener.

Vikings (+5.5) at Lions
Adrian Peterson rushed for “only” 273 yards and one TD in two games against the Lions last year. He might do that in one game this week.

Giants (+3.5) at Cowboys
Big Blue has a 7–3 record against Big D over the last five seasons, expect Jason Garrett’s seat to get as hot as his hair after this home loss.

Sucker Bets
Stay away from these games unless you’re a degenerate or a hometown homer who always has to have action.

Steelers (-7) vs. Titans
Pittsburgh is 3–2 against Tennessee since 2008, losing in Music City 26–23 last year.

Rams (-4.5) vs. Cardinals
It’s trendy to be bullish about St. Louis, but Sam Bradford is 3–3 against Arizona and 0–3 in season openers.

Seahawks (-3.5) at Panthers
Always smart to stay away from Pacific Coast Time Zone teams playing a nooner on the East Coast.

Saints (-3) vs. Falcons
Have you seen these teams play against each other? Flip a coin. That’s also the method Mike Smith uses to decide whether to go for it or kick on fourth downs.

Bears (-3) vs. Bengals
Chicago is coached by a former CFL czar. Cincy has HBO star Marvin Lewis.

Buccaneers (-3) at Jets
Revis Island returns to New Jersey and Greg Schiano is back on his old Rutgers recruiting turf.

Dolphins (PK) at Browns
The expansion Browns are 1–13 in season openers, having lost eight straight.

Monday Night Moolah
A double-header is a good time to double-down the weekend’s winnings or double-back to make up for losses.

Eagles (-3.5) at Redskins
RG3’s return will be overshadowed by Chip Kelly’s unveiling of an offense so diabolical even Shanahanigans won’t be able to stop it.

Texans (-3.5) at Chargers
Get ready to fall asleep to Philip Rivers throwing pick-sixes and making his new coach Mike McCoy look like Norv Turner.
 

Teaser:
A betting preview of every game (against the spread) on Sunday and Monday night in Week 1.
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 14:14
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-september-6-2013
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This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Sept. 6.

 

South Carolina's hottest fan, the lovely Nicole, is no doubt hotly anticipating tomorrow's clash with Georgia. We're now hotly anticipating a trip to Columbia.

 

• ICYMI, the most memorable play of last night's Broncos-Ravens game wasn't a Peyton Manning TD pass (after a while, those all kind of ran together). It was Danny Trevathan's drop-six. Don't worry, Danny: You weren't the only premature celebrator of the week. This idiot cyclist started his victory party with one lap to go.

 

Some sad headline writer in Columbus, Ohio, is stuck in the past. Although I'm sure Elway would be happy to take credit for Peyton's success.

 

• In honor of Malcolm Mitchell's season-ending TD celebration, here are the most painful celebrations in sports.

 

• From a Johnny Football signature to a beer-spilling Red Sox oaf, It was a banner week in GIFs.

 

Speaking of celebrations, this Lingerie Football League team came up with a doozy by popping a figurative squat in the end zone. Wonder if Joe Buck would call it a "disgusting act."

 

• The SEC East has the league's best slate this week, even when you count Vanderbilt-Austin Peay. Here's what you can expect.

 

Floyd Mayweather only wears boxers once, and he color-codes his cars by mansion. Dude's nickname is "Money" after all.

 

• Pop culture souffle: The Rock is going to star in a remake of "The Fall Guy."

 

• Good Lord: A brawl left a rugby player with a claw hammer sticking out of his head. Rugby players are tougher than actual humans.

 

• Watch this 11-year-old kid hurdle a defender on his way to a touchdown.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 11:06
Path: /nascar/drivers-look-transfer-nascars-chase-richmond
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1. NASCAR's regular season ends at Richmond
Twenty-five races ago, Danica Patrick was the story across the sport. She won the pole for the Daytona 500 and was kicking off a season bundled with optimism and overhype of NASCAR's new Gen-6 platform. Naturally, Jimmie Johnson won the first race.

Since then, we've seen the kindling of feud between old teammates in Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. We've seen Hamlin get hurt thanks to an inexcusably designed wall at Auto Club Speedway. Kevin Harvick has shredded predictions that a season in which he was the lame duck — tired of that term yet? — would only be doomed for poor finishes and failure.

NASCAR's iron fist lorded over teams like Penske Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing when technical violations were found, though that strength was neutered considerably when nearly all of the potentially title-wrecking penalties levied against JGR and Matt Kenseth after a Kansas Speedway engine violation were dropped by an appeal process.

Kenseth won several races, as did Kyle Busch, Johnson and more. Silly season began in earnest, the stands were again empty at the Brickyard and Tony Stewart suffered a gruesome season-ending leg injury in a sprint car crash.

And so now here we are. After 25 of the first 26 events that comprise the "regular season" of the NASCAR schedule, it's still that Johnson character in front of everyone else — and he’ll start in the back on Saturday, having missed Friday’s festivities due to the birth of his second daughter. Richmond International Raceway, in its second date of 2013, hosts the final scheduled 300 miles before the postseason field is set. It begs to be regular season finale of teeth-grinding and cardiac pressure for many, including three former series champions.

Who gets in? Who stays out? Soon, we'll find out.


2. Winless Bowyer thinks Richmond is his best shot
Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer had a pretty perfect summation of his 2013 season last Sunday night after he lost an engine while leading the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I'm getting a beer," he declared to end his television interview, all at once showing the not-too-heavy-but-still-there frustration of suffering yet another problem that kept him winless in 2013.

It's certainly not been a tough season for the raw-edged Kansas driver — as it stands, his No. 15 lines up second in the point standings behind that five-time series champion on the success of eight top-5 finishes and 22 lead lap finishes — but Bowyer still hasn't won a race this season after taking three a year ago. Perhaps it will prove fitting, then, that Bowyer can rally for a victory in the regular season finale race in which he's the defending champion.

"If I had one track to pick to try and get bonus points before the Chase this would be it," Bowyer said of Richmond. "I’ve won here before, including at this race last year, so we are pretty confident going in and we are going to throw everything we have at it so we can get some bonus points."

His confidence should be brimming at Richmond. Bowyer's 2012 win was his second trip to Victory Lane at the track, and he has a total of three top 5 and nine top 10s at the Virginia venue. Making things better? Bowyer's primary car on Saturday night is MWR's No. 743 that started fifth and finished second at Richmond in the spring.


3. Slumping Hamlin: “We can win when we go to Richmond”  Denny Hamlin
It's gut-wrenching for any driver to miss races due to injury. For Denny Hamlin, that feeling had to excruciating as he sat sidelined from Sprint Cup Series racing at the hometown track where domination had at times seemed easy.

Now Hamlin, on perhaps the worst slide of his career and knocked from the Chase by the early-season injury, will finally get back behind the wheel in a Richmond race bent on salvaging something from a season that opened so many months ago with the No. 11 being considered a title favorite.

"We can win when we go to Richmond, and this weekend is no different," Hamlin said. "It’s been a difficult year, for sure, so Richmond will be a good time to go out there with nothing to lose and try for the win. I am ready to get there and on track since it’s one of my favorites and I wasn’t able to compete in the spring race.”

Hamlin has led nearly 25 percent of every lap he's turned at Richmond in 14 starts. That's contributed to many moments of heartbreak, though — in three specific races in 2008, 2009 and 2012 Hamlin led 731 of 1,210 laps and didn't win — and his final tally shows two wins and seven top-5 finishes.


4. Richmond may be brick wall for Truex's Chase ambitions  Martin Truex Jr.
Gritty may not be a strong enough word to explain the impressive nature of Martin Truex Jr.'s third-place finish last Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. With a broken right wrist, Truex managed a third-place finish after 500 miles of sawing on a steering wheel with a cast that kept softening as the race wore on.

The finish kept him solidly in Chase for the Sprint Cup contention just a week after suffering the injury. Unfortunately for Truex, Richmond may be the spot where the No. 56 team loses what they've gained.

Truex has simply been unreliable at best and poor at worst in locating good finishes at the three-quarter mile track. In 15 starts, Truex has a lone top-5 finish (2008) and just a pair of top-10 finishes. Since the 2009 fall Richmond race, Truex has led a total of 13 laps at RIR en route to a career average finish of 23.7. He's finished on the lead lap in just six of his 15 Richmond starts.

That average finish ranks Richmond as his worst track overall. More than likely, a 23rd-place finish Saturday night would mean Truex would drop outside of the Chase.

"We need to get all we can. We cannot make a mistake," Truex said this week. "No matter what kind of night we are having, we will keep our heads down and focus on where we are heading towards lap 400. Depending on cautions, Richmond has a tendency to swap the field around at times. We just have to do the best job we can do at getting track position and keeping it. The goal for us is to be ready for the end."


5. Trends to look for at Richmond
Plenty has been written about the oh-so-wonky nature of NASCAR's Chase clinch scenarios — Paul Menard is in with a win, a last-place finish by Truex and about four other factors! — but I'll admit that trying to keep that tangled mess of "what-ifs" straight is nearing the complexity of Kurt Busch's many personalities.

Fortunately for those watching at home, Saturday night's race broadcast will again feature the luxury that is "points as they run" so that we can, in fact, know the point standings as they run. Inevitably, however, those points will be wildly skewed after a varying dose of track position strategy during the race and will show some wild result that likely won't stand up as yellow flags fall and leaders pit.

Because of that, it'll be important to know a few trends in recent Richmond races — and whether or not we can expect a green-white-checker finish as the ultimate potential Chase-mangling wrench. Here they are:

Going back six seasons of fall Richmond races — the track has played host to the regular season finale since the Chase inception in 2004 — Richmond has averaged a total of 15.1 lead changes per race. It's an average not too far outside of the range either. The lowest was 11 lead changes in the 2011 race while the 2008 race featured 22.

The range is much more pronounced when looking at the count of caution flags at Richmond's fall race. Since 2007, the track has averaged 10 caution flags per race, but had just three in 2010. The 2011 fall race watched the yellow flag fly 15 times. Such a difference could be a huge factor in terms of drivers recovering from being lapped or having ample opportunities to fix handling issues.

Just as huge in race-changing elements of the past six seasons is when the final caution flag will fly. Surprisingly for a short track, the latest a caution flag has waved at Richmond in the last six fall races was Lap 385 of 400. The average lap of the final caution flag is Lap 331, with the earliest final caution flag waving on Lap 227 in 2010.

In fact, two of the last three races at Richmond haven't gone yellow for the final time due to on-track incident. Instead, it was rain that precipitated the pace car moving on the track. As for G-W-C finishes, the April race was just the second time in the history of RIR that a race was extended beyond the scheduled 400 laps.


Follow Geoffrey Miller on Twitter: @GeoffreyMiller

Teaser:
Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits Richmond International Raceway and the final regular-date on the schedule.
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 11:05
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-2-picks
Body:

Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. Whether you condone gambling or not, think of it as becoming a more informed fan.

My big underdogs to watch — Ohio, UL Monroe, UL Lafayette and Toledo — went 1-3 against the spread last week. But my Top Picks of the Weeks delivered in a big way, winning on four of the five. Week 2 of the college football season will always offer some over-corrections as some opening weekend performances were flukes. The key is knowing which ones, like say, Virginia, were flukes and which ones were legitimate.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 4-1 (4-1 last week)

Week 2 Picks of the Week:

Western Kentucky (+14) at Tennessee
The Hilltoppers were up 35-20 on Kentucky with less than 10 minutes to go last weekend. A couple of late scores made the score look closer than the game actually was because Western Kentucky was simply the better team by a wide margin. Tennessee crushed a bad OVC team in Austin Peay but played its starters barely more than a quarter. The Vols will likely win a close one by leaning on the ground game but Bobby Petrino is simply THAT good on game day. If Big Orange nation isn’t careful, the Toppers could win this game outright. Pick: Western Kentucky +14 

Arizona (-10) at UNLV
Arizona won 35-0 without star tailback Ka’Deem Carey last weekend while UNLV allowed 51 points to Minnesota. Carey returns to the lineup this weekend and forms a nasty tailback duo with Daniel Jenkins, who rushed for 139 yards on a 11.6-yard clip. Rich Rodriguez is still ironing out his quarterback situation but this offensive scheme is too strong for the Rebels to stop. UNLV allowed 5.8 yards per carry to the Gophers last weekend, whose backfield has been hit hard with injuries. Something seems off with this line. Pick: Arizona -10

Oregon (-21.5) at Virginia
This might be a classic Week 1 over-correction. Virginia unexpectedly beat BYU in Week 1 and that seems to have skewed this point-spread in a big way. The Cavaliers totaled 223 yards of offense, ranking dead last among BCS teams with 3.0 yards per play. The game was played in a monsoon, delayed for two hours and Virginia needed a blocked punt and turnover to even possess the ball in BYU's red zone. Conversely, Oregon scored 66 points (covering the 59-point spread) on 772 yards of offense despite having the ball on offense for less than 20 minutes. This is going to be ugly. Pick: Oregon -21.5

Florida (-3) at Miami
There are a lot of reasons to jump on the Miami bandwagon in 2013. Stephen Morris is a great quarterback, Al Golden is a rising coaching star and the defense showed improvement in Week 1 against FAU. Yet, Florida is still the big dog on the Sunshine State block after a dominating defensive performance last week. Toledo is a solid offense that averaged over 6.0 yards per play last year. The Gators totally shutdown the Rockets in the opener: Six points, 50 plays, 205 yards of offense and 3.8 yards per play. The Gators will control the line of scrimmage and impose their physical will upon Miami’s defense — that was ranked 120th nationally at 486.4 yards allowed per game last season. Pick: Florida -3

Texas (-7) at BYU
With two minutes to go in the second quarter, New Mexico State was up 7-0 on Texas last weekend. Over the next 8:37 of game time, the Longhorns scored five touchdowns to take a 35-7 lead. The new-look Horns offense finished with a school-record 715 yards and covered the 42-point spread. BYU lost in a bit of an aforementioned fluky performance against Virginia, deflating this game’s balloon to some degree. The Cougars are much better on defense than New Mexico State but the slow start last week should have the Horns on edge this weekend. Pick: Texas -7

Cincinnati (-7.5) at Illinois
The Bearcats are a far superior team in all aspects and they proved that by drubbing Purdue 42-7 last week. Illinois needed a goal-line stand in the waning moments of their opener with Southern Illinois. Cincy brings a balanced attack while Illinois struggled to move the ball whatsoever on the ground last week. Look for Cincinnati to go 2-0 against the Big Ten Leaders division out of the gate. Pick: Cincinnati -7.5

Week 2 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

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

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
No. 2 Oregon (-21.5) at Virginia
San Diego State (+27.5) at No. 3 Ohio State
San Jose State (+26.5) at No. 5 Stanford
No. 6 South Carolina (+3) at No. 11 Georgia
UAB (+35) at No. 9 LSU
No. 10 Florida (-3) at Miami
No. 13 Oklahoma St (-26.5) at UTSA
No. 14 Notre Dame (+4.5) at No. 17 Michigan
No. 15 Texas (-7) at BYU
West Virginia (+20.5) at No. 16 Oklahoma
Syracuse (+12) at No. 19 Northwestern
Southern Miss (+28.5) at No. 22 Nebraska
Buffalo (+27) at No. 23 Baylor
Washington St (+15) at No. 25 USC
Last Week:11-77-1110-811-7
Year-To-Date:11-77-1110-811-7

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 2 Picks
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-1-award-watch
Body:

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

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

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

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

Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd
The Tigers quarterback led the nation’s top win in the first week of the season, earning frontrunner status in our weekly Heisman poll and national player of the week honors. Boyd was especially crisp in the second half of the 38-35 win over Georgia, completing 12 of 17 passes for 130 yards with two touchdowns after the break.
Others: Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller

Doak Walker (Top running back)
Our leader: Georgia’s Todd Gurley
Gurley spent a good portion of the first half on the bench against Clemson after three carries and an 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Gurley still finished with 154 yards.
Others: Miami’s Duke Johnson, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)
Our leader:
Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews
A gutty effort saw Matthews get hit in the stomach and get sick on the field in the fourth quarter only to return to catch a key fourth down pass in the Commodores’ go-ahead scoring drive. Matthews finished with 10 catches for 178 yards with a touchdown.
Others: USC’s Marqise Lee, Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins

Mackey (Top tight end)
Our leader: Indiana’s Ted Bolser
This was a quiet week at the tight end position as Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Arizona State’s Chris Coyle didn’t play. But it’s a good time to highlight the under rated Ted Bolser from Indiana. Bolser caught six passes for 78 yards with two touchdowns.

Outland (Top interior lineman)
Our leader:
Arkansas’ Travis Swanson
At first, we thought it might be tough for Swanson to gain notoriety if Arkansas struggled. That was not the case in Week 1, at least, as the Razorbacks ran the ball like Bret Bielema’s Wisconsin teams behind Swanson at center. The Hogs rushed for 292 yards on 51 carries against UL-Lafayette.
Others: Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)
Our leader:
South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney
Let’s not overreact to Clowney sitting for a few plays against North Carolina in the late-August South Carolina humidity. He’s still the best defensive player in the country. If Clowney’s not at full speed this week against Georgia, though, he may have company for that distinction.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)
Our leader: Clowney
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier

Butkus (Top linebacker)
Our leader: Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr is still our preseason favorite and did little to disappoint against Nevada with five tackles and two tackles for a loss against the Wolf Pack.
Others: Northwestern’s Collin Ellis, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier

Thorpe (Top defensive back)
Our leader: Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller
This may be another long year for Virginia Tech, but Kyle Fuller gave Alabama’s passing game trouble with an interception and two pass breakups in an otherwise undistinguished
Others: Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner

Lou Groza (Top kicker)
Our leader: Penn State’s Sam Ficken
Maligned for his early season struggles in 2012, Ficken extended his streak of made field goals to 13 in a row with kicks of 36, 35 and 46 yards against Syracuse.
Others: Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien, Tulane’s Cairo Santos

Ray Guy (Top punter)
Our leader: West Virginia’s Nick O’Toole
This probably isn’t a category that Dana Holgorsen wants to be the highlight of his season, but the Mountaineers averaged net 50 yards per punt off O’Toole’s leg in the opener.
Others: Alabama’s Cody Mandell, Wyoming’s Ethan Wood

Freshman of the year
Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Throughout his redshirt year, we’ve been hearing Winston is the real deal. Even then, his 25-of-27 debut against Pittsburgh on the road defied all expectations.
Others: Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell

Coach of the year
Our leader: Washington’s Steve Sarkisian
After demolishing a Boise State team that’s rarely demolished, Washington may finally have all the pieces together for a special season in Sarkisian’s fifth year in Seattle.
Others: Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney

Broyles Award (Top assistant)
Our leader: Oklahoma State’s Glenn Spencer
For at least one week, Oklahoma State’s defense was the story as the Cowboys held Mississippi State to a field goal and recorded 10 tackles for a loss.
Others: Maryland’s Mike Locksley, Clemson’s Chad Morris, Oklahoma’s Mike Stoops

Teaser:
Roundup contenders for best defensive players, linemen and more
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After three marquee games, Sept. 7 may end up being a slow week in college football. The schedule is littered with FCS games and off weeks before a mammoth Sept. 14.

Teams may not want to look ahead, but Athlon Sports does.

With the Week 1 madness out of the way, the season will start to take shape in the next four Saturdays. Here’s what we might learn before these huge games and why each of these 10 September games will be important into October and November.

TOP 10 GAMES FOR THE REST OF SEPTEMBER

1. Sept. 14: Alabama at Texas A&M
What we might learn before this game: With Alabama’s off week on Sept. 7, the Tide won’t have a chance to show if their offensive line struggles against Virginia Tech were an aberration or a sign of things to come. Alabama gave up four sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. Texas A&M’s defense got pushed around by Rice in the opener and faces a quality FCS team this week in Sam Houston State. Was the Aggies’ defensive performance due to first-game jitters and a handful of suspensions or is it a real reason for concern? Johnny Manziel’s on-field play is not in question, but will his combustibility become a liability?
Why this game will be important: This is Alabama’s toughest road game by a long shot. The Tide leave the state only two more times (Kentucky and Mississippi State) for the rest of the regular season. For the Aggies, there’s just the SEC West, the national title race and a Heisman on the line. The biggest game in College Station in quite some time.

2. Sept. 7: South Carolina at Georgia
What we know about this game: All the pressure is on Georgia as the Bulldogs try to avoid an 0-2 start. South Carolina has won three in a row. Aaron Murray is 1-10 against top-15 teams. As we said, a lot of pressure on the Dawgs to reverse field.
Why this game will be important: Sure, the Bulldogs can lose this game and still win the East, but a shot at any national prestige fades after a loss. The Gamecocks can establish themselves as the SEC East frontrunner and a potential national title contender with a win.

Related: Week 2 SEC Preview

3. Sept. 28: LSU at Georgia
What we might learn before this game: A kickoff return for a touchdown and an LSU fumble kept TCU in striking distance in the opener, but otherwise this looked an awful lot like a team that can challenge for the West. Only a home date with Auburn poses a threat against LSU between now and the trip to Athens.
Why this game will be important: Georgia cut loose Zach Mettenberger, and the now second-year LSU starter could spoil the Bulldogs’ season. If Georgia loses to South Carolina, the Bulldogs are staring down a 1-3 start. If LSU’s young defense and Cam Cameron’s new offense are clicking enough to defeat TCU and Georgia before October, they’ll be good enough to beat Alabama and Texas A&M in November.

4. Sept. 7: Notre Dame at Michigan
What we know about this game: Both teams handled their Week 1 opponents with ease. Strangely enough, Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees came out of the weekend looking better than Michigan’s Devin Gardner.
Why this game will be important: In the last two games, the winner has gone on to a combined 23-3 record while the losers have gone a combined 16-10.

Related: Week 2 Big Ten preview

5. Sept. 28: Oklahoma at Notre Dame
What we might learn before this game: Can Notre Dame trust Rees to lead the Irish to another top-10 season? Turnover-free against Temple is one thing. Turnover-free against Michigan and Oklahoma is another. The Sooners meanwhile were full of surprises early with their new athletic quarterback Trevor Knight and a stifling defense against ULM.
Why this game will be important: This is Oklahoma’s first road test before facing TCU in Norman and Texas in Dallas. While Notre Dame won’t impact OU in the Big 12 standings, the Sooners should have a good idea what kind of league contender they’ll be by the end of the month. With this game and the Michigan matchup, Notre Dame could be back in the title race or out of the BCS picture by the end of September.

6. Sept. 7: Florida at Miami
What we know about this game: Florida was impressive despite absences of tailback Matt Jones and cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy among others in the opener against Toledo. Miami was explosive as ever against FAU. It’s the Hurricanes’ big-play threats against Florida’s punishing D.
Why this game will be important: The last game between Florida and Miami in a while, the winner of this game will look the part of a conference contender when league play starts.

7. Sept. 21: Arizona State at Stanford
What we might learn before this game: Arizona State and Stanford are two of six FBS teams that didn’t play in Week 1, so anything will tell us something. Arizona State will show part of its hand by facing Wisconsin before Sept. 21, but Stanford catches San Jose State and Army before hosting the Sun Devils. Advantage: Cardinal.
Why this game will be important: For starters, this will be a competition between the two best defenses in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils, Athlon’s pick to win the Pac-12 South, will be in the midst of a four-game stretch against the Badgers, Cardinal, USC and Notre Dame.

8. Sept. 28: Wisconsin at Ohio State
What we might learn before this game: How much did Wisconsin miss quarterback Joel Stave last season, who was the Badgers’ top quarterback before missing all of November with an injury?
Why this game will be important: In Ohio State’s soft schedule, this game could be the key matchup in the Leaders Division.

9. Sept. 14: UCLA at Nebraska
What we might learn before this game: UCLA has an off week, and Nebraska catches a Southern Miss team that has lost 13 in a row. Not much, save for a disaster in Lincoln against Southern Miss.
Why this game will be important: Nebraska will learn if it needs to hit the panic button on defense after getting gouged by Wyoming in the opener. The Cornhuskers haven’t had an above average defensive performance since Nov. 23 against Iowa. That’s not a good trend against the Bruins’ Brett Hundley.

10. Sept. 14: Wisconsin at Arizona State
What we might learn before this game: Not a whole lot, probably: The Badgers and Sun Devils will have played Tennessee Tech, Sacramento State and UMass before this meeting.
Why this game will be important: Can Wisconsin’s normally stout offensive line hold up against the Sun Devils’ Will Sutton, the top lineman in the Pac-12.

Teaser:
Arizona State and Will Sutton have a wild month ahead of them
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Week 2 in college football is highlighted by Notre Dame’s trip to Michigan, the South Carolina-Georgia clash in Athens and Florida’s visit to South Florida to play Miami.

Friday

No. 52 UCF at No. 120 FIU
FIU’s decision to hire Ron Turner, who had not coached in college since 2004, was very curious. His return to the collegiate sidelines did not go well; the Panthers lost at Maryland 43–10 in Week 1. Expect a similar result this week, even at home.
UCF 38-8

No. 68 Wake Forest at No. 83 Boston College
Wake Forest was dominant defensively in its opener, holding Presbyterian to 151 total yards in a 31-7 win. Boston College was trailing FCS foe Villanova 14-7 at the half but controlled the final two quarters and won in Steve Addazio’s debut, 24-14. These teams are evenly matched.
Boston College 20-17

Saturday

No. 88 San Diego State at No. 2 Ohio State
Ohio State fans might not have been thrilled with the play of their team in Week 1, but at least the Buckeyes won the game. San Diego State, on the other hand, lost at home to Eastern Illinois, 40-19. Aztec quarterback Adam Dingwell threw 36 incomplete passes in the game. That’s a lot.
Ohio State 41-10

No. 3 Oregon at No. 50 Virginia
It’s been three full years since the Ducks last played a game east of the Mississippi River. That day went well: Oregon blasted Tennessee 48–13 in Neyland Stadium, and it would be a significant surprise if the result was much different this weekend in Charlottesville.
Oregon 28-6

South Carolina State at No. 4 Clemson
Clemson is fresh off one of its biggest wins in the past three decades. Even if the Tigers are a bit sluggish, they will have no problem with South Carolina State. The Bulldogs lost to Coastal Carolina 27-20 last week.
Clemson 48-0

No. 5 South Carolina at No. 6 Georgia
Georgia missed a great opportunity last week in Clemson, but there is no shame in losing by three points on the road to a top-five team. Georgia is still explosive on offense — the Dawgs averaged 7.8 yards per play last week — and should be able to score enough to win this game.
Georgia 31-21

No. 60 San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford
Stanford lost three straight in this series from 1998-2000 but has since won nine of the past 10. Last year, however, the Cardinal had to sweat, holding on for a 20-17 win. San Jose State’s David Fales is a top-flight quarterback, but the Spartans don’t match up well at any other position.
Stanford 31-14

No. 108 UAB at No. 8 LSU
LSU was one of the most impressive teams, both in the SEC and nationally, in Week 1. The Tigers looked more dynamic on offense, and the new-look defense limited TCU to 259 total yards. Picked by many (including Athlon Sports) to finish third in the SEC West, LSU has the look of a team that can compete for the national title. UAB, on the other hand, lost in overtime to Troy in Week 1. This will not go well for the Blazers. 
LSU 41-0

Sam Houston State at No. 9 Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel gets the start for the first time this season. That’s about the only intrigue in this game. Sam Houston State is a pretty good team — the Bearkats played for the 2012 FCS national title and opened the ’13 season with a 78-0 win over Houston Baptist — but this shouldn’t be close.
Texas A&M 55-10

Eastern Kentucky at No. 10 Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater was brilliant in the Cards’ win over Ohio on Sunday. Bridgewater likely will be brilliant in every game this season. Partly because he’s a very, very good quarterback and partly because he won’t face too many quality defenses.
Louisville 41-13

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 13 Michigan
Notre Dame and Michigan meet for the last time for the foreseeable future. These two Midwest rivals have played in all but six seasons dating back to 1978, but due to Big Ten expansion (Michigan will begin playing nine conference games in 2014) and Notre Dame’s commitment to playing five ACC teams each season, this game no longer fits into either team’s schedule. Each of the last four meetings between these teams has been decided by seven points or less. This game should be no different.
Michigan 24-20

No. 12 Florida at No. 29 Miami (Fla.)
Miami plays host to the Gators for the first time since 2003, when Larry Coker and Ron Zook were roaming the sidelines for their respective schools. The Hurricanes won that game 38-33, and have won six of the past seven in the series. Florida, however, is the more talented team this season.
Florida 24-20

No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 105 UTSA 
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will be facing his offensive coordinator during his playing days. Larry Coker, now the head coach at UTSA, was the O.C. at Oklahoma State from 1983-89. The pupil will beat the teacher. Badly.
Oklahoma State 51-14

No. 57 West Virginia at No. 16 Oklahoma
Credit Dana Holgorsen for being honest. Earlier this week, West Virginia’s coach said: “I’ve been asked a lot if I’m excited about playing Oklahoma Week 2 or if I’d rather play them Week 12. The truth is I’d rather play them never because they’re pretty good.” Holgorsen’s team, on the other hand, wasn’t very good last week. The Mountaineers beat William & Mary 24-17 in Morgantown — and it was as much of a struggle as the final score indicates.
Oklahoma 33-10

No. 17 Texas at No. 51 BYU
You like balance on offense? How about this: Texas had over 350 yards rushing and passing in its 56–7 win over New Mexico State. The Longhorns averaged 9.9 yards per snap en route to a school-record 715 total yards. Things won’t be quite as easy this week. BYU gave up only 223 yards in a 19–16 loss at Virginia.
Texas 24-7

Tennessee Tech at No. 18 Wisconsin
Three Badgers rushed for 100-plus yards in Wisconsin’s 45-0 win over UMass last week. The same three — Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement — should top the century mark once again.
Wisconsin 47-0

SE Louisiana at No. 20 TCU
TCU gets a breather after taking on LSU, one of the most talented teams in the nation, last week. The Frogs put up a good fight, but LSU was simply the better team. This time, TCU will be the better team — by a very wide margin.
TCU 40-13

No. 74 Syracuse at No. 21 Northwestern
Northwestern gave up nearly 600 yards in last year’s opener at the Carrier Dome but somehow found a way to beat the Orange, 42–41. The Wildcats are capable of scoring a bunch of points — they beat Cal 44–30 in the ’13 opener — but this rematch figures to feature fewer fireworks. Syracuse played well in its opener but lost to Penn State, 23–17, at the Meadowlands.
Northwestern 33-24

SE Missouri State at No. 22 Ole Miss
Hugh Freeze will remind his team that eight FCS teams beat FBS teams in Week 1. What he probably won’t tell the Rebels is that SE Missouri State lost to SE Louisiana 45–7 last week. This will not be difficult for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss 44-7

Cal Poly at No. 23 Fresno State
Fresno State gave up 51 points in Week 1 — and won. Quarterback Derek Carr set school and Mountain West records with 52 completions and 73 attempts while throwing for 456 yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers.
Fresno State 47-10

Tennessee-Martin at No. 25 Boise State
Boise State was humbled in a shocking 38-6 loss at Washington last week — the most lopsided defeat of the Chris Petersen era. We don’t know yet if the Broncos are down or if Washington is that good.
Boise State 30-13

No. 113 Southern Miss at No. 27 Nebraska
Nebraska gave up a staggering 602 yards (and 8.1 per play) in last week’s 37–34 win over Wyoming — a team that ranked 70th nationally in total offense. The Huskers have now allowed a total of 1,831 yards in their last three games.
Nebraska 37-20

No. 61 Washington State at No. 28 USC
It’s still early, but Washington State appears to be vastly improved. The Cougars had a chance to tie Auburn in the final five minutes, but Connor Halliday’s pass was intercepted in the end zone. The most positive sign? Washington State rushed for 120 yards on a healthy 5.2-yard clip. Not bad for a team that ranked last in the nation in rushing last year.
USC 27-13

Austin Peay at No. 30 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt needs a get-well game after the agonizing last-minute loss to Ole Miss last Thursday night. Austin Peay, which trailed Tennessee 42–0 at the half last week, should provide plenty of comfort. The Governors will be at a huge talent disadvantage at every spot on the field.
Vanderbilt 51-7

Western Carolina at No. 31 Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas will be able to pad his stats after completing 5-of-26 for 59 yards in the loss to Alabama. Western Carolina gave up 495 yards last week to Middle Tennessee in a 45-24 loss.

Virginia Tech 37-10

No. 94 South Florida at No. 32 Michigan State
Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Western Michigan 41-yard line on the opening possession of the season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio elected to punt rather than see if his offense could pick up one yard against a MAC team. On the next possession, MSU punted on 4th-and-3 from the Western 48-yard line. That is mind-boggling.
Michigan State 31-14

No. 34 Cincinnati at No. 85 Illinois
Cincinnati was very impressive in the first game of the Tommy Tuberville era as the Bearcats recorded a surprisingly easy 42-7 victory over Purdue. With Munchie Legaux at quarterback, UC outgained the Boilermakers 425 to 226 and had four scoring drives of at least 75 yards en route to the decisive win. Illinois scored 42 points and had 464 total yards in the debut of Bill Cubit as the offensive coordinator. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Illini gave up 407 yards and had to sweat through a 42-34 win over Southern Illinois.
Cincinnati 20-10

No. 100 Buffalo at No. 35 Baylor
Baylor averaged 9.6 yards on its 72 plays in a 69-3 win over Wofford. The Bears will score a ton of points this year. Stopping Big 12 teams will be an issue. Stopping Buffalo, however, might not be too difficult.
Baylor 41-20

No. 118 Eastern Michigan at No. 36 Penn State
It looks as though Bill O’Brien made the right call at quarterback: True freshman Christian Hackenberg completed 22-of-31 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Nittany Lions’ 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Penn State 28-6

No. 37 Arizona at No. 104 UNLV
Arizona is only favored by 10.5 points — a line that seems a bit low considering that UNLV ranked 95th in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense last year. Arizona might struggle a bit on defense, but the Wildcats know how to score points.
Arizona 41-17

No. 97 Middle Tennessee at No. 38 North Carolina
Middle Tennessee quarterback Logan Kilgore is expected to play despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the Blue Raiders’ win over Western Carolina last week. He will need to be at close to full strength to give Middle Tennessee a chance to win.
North Carolina 38-20

Samford at No. 39 Arkansas
It didn’t get much attention nationally, but Arkansas was quite impressive in its 34–14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Brandon Allen was efficient throwing the ball (15-of-22 for 230 yards with three TDs and no picks) and two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for at least 130 yards. This was a very good win over a solid team. The test in Week 2 will not be as great — though Samford did beat Georgia State in Week 1.
Arkansas 31-0

Stephen F. Austin at No. 41 Texas Tech
It’s the home debut for the rookie head coach (Kliff Kingsbury) and the walk-on freshman quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in his first game. Expect more gaudy stats from Mayfield and the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech 51-17

Alcorn State at No. 42 Mississippi State
Mississippi State needs to build some confidence after struggling through a 21–3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The Bulldogs managed only 333 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. Alcorn State beat Edward Waters 63–12 last week.
Mississippi State 41-10

No. 59 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 43 Kansas State
Both teams were disappointing in Week 1. Louisiana-Lafayette lost at Arkansas 34–14, and Kansas State was shocked at home, 24-21, by North Dakota State. These teams last met in Lafayette in 2009, a game won by the Ragin’ Cajuns 17–15.
Kansas State 28-14

No. 103 Arkansas State at No. 44 Auburn
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I smell upset.
Arkansas State 27-21

No. 67 Western Kentucky at No. 45 Tennessee
There was nothing fluky about Western Kentucky’s 35–26 win against Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, who rolled up 216 yards rushing and 271 yards passing, were the better team. Now, however, the challenge becomes greater for Bobby Petrino’s club. Tennessee is rebuilding but is still far more talented than Kentucky — on both sides of the ball. The Vols feature an NFL-caliber offensive line and have some nice parts on what should be an improved defense. Expect to see heavy doses of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who combined for 179 yards on 22 carries against an overmatched Austin Peay team. Western Kentucky struggled to slow Kentucky’s rushing attack, especially in the first half (174 yards on 18 attempts). Tennessee will take advantage of this mismatch and run for 250-plus yards.
Tennessee 31-21

No. 77 Toledo at No. 46 Missouri
Missouri struggled in the first quarter but dominated Murray State the rest of the way en route to a 58–14 win. It’s dangerous to read too much into a game against an FCS opponent, but Gary Pinkel had to be pleased that his offense had over 300 yards rushing and passing. Despite struggling last week at Florida (against an elite defense), the Toledo offense figures to put some pressure on the Missouri defense. The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the SEC in most defensive categories last season, and it will not be a good sign if they give up a bunch of points to Toledo — a team that failed to score a touchdown against Florida.
Missouri 28-20

Old Dominion at No. 47 Maryland
The Terps are showing signs of significant life early in Year 3 of the Randy Edsall era. C.J. Brown, who missed last season with a torn ACL, completed 20-of-23 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns and added 105 yards and two scores on the ground in Maryland’s 43-10 win over FIU.
Maryland 41-24

Richmond at No. 48 NC State
Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell, who won the preseason quarterback derby at NC State, is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. Another transfer, Pete Thomas (Colorado State), will get the start this week when Richmond rolls into town.
NC State 30-13

Norfolk State at No. 49 Rutgers
This is the third meeting in the last seven years between these two schools. The first two did not go well for Norfolk State — the Spartans lost 59-0 in 2007 and 31-0 in 2010. The goal this season: Score a point.
Rutgers 41-3

Portland State at No. 53 California
There was some good and some bad in the Golden Bears’ 44-30 loss at home to Northwestern. Obviously, losing the game was not the desirable result. But true freshman Jared Goff showed some promise, completing 38-of-63 passes for 445 yards with two touchdowns and three INTs. The offense rolled up 548 yards, but that was on 99 offensive plays, and that translates to only 5.5 yards per play. That number needs to improve.
California 38-11

Weber State at No. 55 Utah
It got lost in some of the other games last Thursday — Ole Miss over Vanderbilt and Fresno State over Rutgers — but Utah picked up a quality win in Week 1, beating Utah State 30-26. Sophomore Travis Wilson threw for 302 yards and two TDs and did not throw an INT.
Utah 31-13

No. 66 Navy at No. 56 Indiana
Navy rallied from nine down midway through the fourth quarter to beat Indiana 31-30 in Annapolis last season. This year, the Hoosiers get the Middies at home — the first of five straight games in Bloomington for IU. Last week, Kevin Wilson’s club exploded for 632 yards in a 73-35 win over Indiana State. This is a very, very good offensive team.
Indiana 38-24

No. 58 Minnesota at No. 121 New Mexico State
Two years ago, in Jerry Kill’s home debut, Minnesota lost to New Mexico State 28-21 in one of the low points for Golden Gopher football in recent memory. It’s time for revenge!
Minnesota 33-17

No. 59 Utah State at No. 79 Air Force
This is a sneaky good game between two solid teams in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. Utah State lost its opener, by four points at Utah, but this is a very good team that has a seasoned quarterback in junior Chuckie Keeton.
Utah State 28-21

No. 119 Hawaii at No. 62 Oregon State
Surely, Oregon State can’t be as bad defensively as the Week 1 numbers indicate: The Beavers gave up 625 yards (448 through the air) in a stunning 49-46 loss at home to Eastern Washington. Expect Mike Riley’s team to play much better this weekend.
Oregon State 33-14

No. 63 Bowling Green at No. 101 Kent State
Bowling Green was the pick by Athlon Sports to win the MAC East, and the Falcons looked very good in a surprisingly easy 34-7 win over Tulsa last week. The defense was especially impressive, holding Tulsa to 273 total yards and only one score.
Bowling Green 28-7

No. 92 Colorado State at No. 64 Tulsa
Tulsa really struggled offensively in its loss to Bowling Green, with only 51 yards on the ground and 222 yards in the air. The Golden Hurricane should find yards easier to come by this week against Colorado State. The Rams were torched for 509 yards in the 41-27 loss to rival Colorado.
Tulsa 30-14

Gardner-Webb at No. 70 Marshall
Not many college fans realize that Marshall led the nation in both total offense (534.3 ypg) and scoring offense (40.9 ppg) last season. The Herd picked up where they left off, rolling to a 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio) that featured 591 total yards of offense.
Marshall 53-17

No. 71 Duke at No. 96 Memphis
This is an off-the-radar yet intriguing Week 2 game. Duke broke through and reached a bowl game in 2012 for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils need to keep the momentum going. Memphis was vastly improved in the first year of the Justin Fuente era. The Tigers can make a statement with a win over an ACC team.
Memphis 21-20

No. 112 Army at No. 72 Ball State
This is the fourth meeting between these two schools in the past five years. Ball State has won the past two, 48-21 in 2011 in Muncie and 30-22 last year in West Point. The Cardinals, under third-year coach Pete Lembo, should contend in the MAC West. Army, under fifth-year coach Rich Ellerson, will struggle to win more than three games.
Ball State 37-21

Missouri State at No. 76 Iowa
There’s no shame in losing to Northern Illinois, even at home, but Kirk Ferentz really, really needed to get off to a good start. Didn’t happen. The Hawkeyes should have little trouble breaking into the win column this week, but there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Ferentz & Co. next week when they visit Iowa State.
Iowa 27-10

No. 115 Miami (Ohio) at No. 78 Kentucky 
The Mark Stoops era was going about as well as possible — until the games started. Kentucky was humbled by in-state rival Western Kentucky in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. The Cats’ defense had no answer for Western Kentucky’s balanced attack, allowing 215 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. UK went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback, but he was pulled after throwing for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, his replacement, was named the starter for Week 2. There was one bright spot: UK rushed for 216 yards on 32 carries, led by 98 yards on 14 attempts from tailback Raymond Sanders.
Kentucky 33-17

Central Arkansas at No. 80 Colorado
Mike McIntyre won his first game as the coach at Colorado — and did so in impressive fashion. The Buffs rolled up 509 yards of offense in a 41-27 win over rival Colorado State in Denver. Former Texas Longhorn Connor Wood played well at quarterback, and wideout Paul Richardson, who missed last season with a torn ACL, caught 10 passes for 208 yards.
Colorado 41-20

UC Davis at No. 81 Nevada
Cody Fajardo did his thing (106 yards rushing and 164 yards passing), but the Nevada defense had no answer for the UCLA offense (647 yards) in a 58-20 loss last week. The Wolf Pack should give new coach Brian Polian his first win this week.
Nevada 37-10

Grambling at No. 82 ULM
ULM managed only 166 yards of offense in its 34-0 loss at Oklahoma. Kolton Browning, the Warhawks’ outstanding quarterback, was limited to an average of 3.3 yards on his 39 attempts. Things should be a bit easier this weekend.
ULM 41-10

Indiana State at No. 84 Purdue
It’s tough to find many positives from the Boilermakers’ 42-7 loss at Cincinnati last Saturday. Purdue was outplayed in every phase of the game. The season is still young, but Darrell Hazell’s team needs to show significant improvement — and soon — if it hopes to reach bowl-eligibility.
Purdue 34-10

No. 123 Idaho at No. 86 Wyoming
Wyoming had 602 yards of total offense last week at Nebraska but fell just a bit short, losing 37-34. Brett Smith was sensational for the Cowboys, completing 29-of-43 passes for 383 yards with four touchdowns and one INT. The Pokes figure to have a relatively easy time with a pretty bad Idaho team.
Wyoming 37-10

South Dakota at No. 87 Kansas
We had to wait an extra week to watch Charlie Weis and the junior college-laden Jayhawks in action. Weis’ starting quarterback is Jake Heaps, who once was the No. 1 QB recruit in the nation. If Heaps plays well and some of the junior college transfers on the defensive side of the ball live up to the hype, KU should be significantly improved in 2013.
Kansas 17-10

No. 89 Houston at No. 93 Temple
Houston and Temple are in the same conference — as strange as that might seem. Houston pounded Southern with ease in Week 1 led by a rushing attack that picked up 372 yards on 50 carries. Temple faced a more difficult test and lost 28-6 at Notre Dame. This is a big barometer game for both programs.
Houston 27-20

No. 110 North Texas at No. 90 Ohio
Ohio won at Penn State in Week 1 of the 2012 season. In their ’13 debut, however, the Bobcats had no answer for Louisville and were never in the game. They return home to face a North Texas team that is feeling pretty good about itself after beating Idaho 40-6 last week. A lot of teams, however, will be feeling good about themselves after playing Idaho.
Ohio 30, North Texas 24

Montana State at No. 91 SMU
SMU outgained Texas Tech 490-to-461 last week but lost the game 41-23 due in part to struggles in the red zone. Texas Tech scored on all five trips inside the 20 (three TDs, two FGs); SMU scored on only three of five trips with only one touchdown.
SMU 41-20

Lamar at No. 95 Louisiana Tech
Skip Holtz lost to NC State 40-14 in his debut as the coach at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs, who lost a ton of weapons from last year’s nine-win team, could struggle in their first season in C-USA.
Louisiana Tech 41-17

No. 106 New Mexico at No. 99 UTEP
New Mexico showed signs of progress last season under Bob Davie, but the Lobos’ 2013 season got off to a rough start with a 21-13 loss at home to UTSA. New Mexico’s struggles in the passing game continued (6-of-17 for 84 yards), something that must be fixed if this team is going to take a step forward this fall. UTEP will be playing its first game under new coach Sean Kugler.
UTEP 20-13

Nicholls State at No. 102 Western Michigan
Western Michigan hosts a Nicholls State team that gave up 772 yards and 66 points last week to Oregon. The Broncos should have little trouble evening their record to 1-1.
Western Michigan 41-7

Savannah State at No. 107 Troy
Troy rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter to beat UAB last week. Corey Robinson had an efficient day, completing 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards with one TD and no interceptions.
Troy 30-10

No. 122 South Alabama at No. 109 Tulane
South Alabama lost at home last week 22-21 to Southern Utah. Tulane beat Jackson State 34-7 in the first start for Nick Montana (son of Joe) at quarterback. Montana only completed 6-of-14 passes, but he threw for 144 yards and two scores.
Tulane 27-20

Prairie View A&M at No. 111 Texas State
Texas State continued Southern Miss’ misery (12th straight loss) by beating the Golden Eagles 22-15 on the road last week.
Texas State 34-7

New Hampshire at No. 114 Central Michigan
Central Michigan was dominated on both sides of the ball last week at Michigan. The Chippewas will be tested by a New Hampshire team that won eight games last season.
Central Michigan 31-27

James Madison at No. 116 Akron
Akron returns home after losing badly at UCF last week. The Zips fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter en route to a 38-7 loss. James Madison beat Central Connecticut State 38-14 last Saturday.
James Madison 24-20

Maine at No. 124 UMass
Not a good sign for UMass: The Minutemen are a 3.5-point underdog at home to an FCS school. The 2013 season will not feature many wins for Charley Molnar’s team.
Maine 30-20

Chattanooga at No. 125 Georgia State
Georgia State hired a very good coach in Trent Miles, but the Panthers are a long way away from being competitive in the FBS ranks. Last week, they lost at home, 31-21, to Samford.
Georgia State 22, Chattanooga 20

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-mountain-wests-coaches-2013-14
Body:

For much of the last four seasons, the Mountain West could argue it belongs in the same breath as the power conferences.

Indeed, the MWC has produced 16 NCAA Tournament teams in the last four seasons, including five last year, to mach the SEC in that span. The Pac-10/12 has produced only 13 in that time.

The work to improve the Mountain West to major league status is thanks in part to rebuilding jobs by coaches like Steve Alford, Lon Kruger, Tim Miles and Dave Rose, coaches (and teams) that are no longer in the league.

But some of the coaches who built the league’s current prestige are still here, chief among them San Diego State’s Steve Fisher, who has led the Aztecs to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Leon Rice at Boise State and Larry Shyatt at Wyoming are trying to replicate Fisher’s success by turning dormant programs into contenders.

*A few things to note as we are ranking coaches: We are attempting to look at the whole package of gameday acumen, recruiting, player development, and regular-season and postseason success. We are also keeping in mind a coach’s career trajectory.

And now, on to the debate. Feel free to chime in at @AthlonSports on Twitter or Athlon Sports on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Ernie Anderson.


Other conference coach rankings
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten


1. Steve Fisher, San Diego State
Record: 466-252
Record at San Diego State: 281-171 overall (.622), 113-97 MWC (.538)
NCAA Tournament: 23-12, three Final Fours, one national championship
Fisher’s San Diego State tenure alone would give him top honors in the Mountain West. He took over a program that had never won an NCAA Tournament game and turned it into a regular conference contender and top-25 team. The last two seasons ended in disappointment as the Aztecs lost in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament to double-digit seeds, but Fisher has led San Diego State to a 55-23 league record in the last five seasons while improving the program’s recruiting profile significantly.

2. Larry Eustachy, Colorado State
Record: 428-267
Record at Colorado State: 26-9 overall (.743), 11-5 MWC (.688)
NCAA Tournament: 4-5
Eustachy took over a veteran team in Fort Collins and did what everyone expected by taking his fourth program to the NCAA Tournament. Now that the seniors are gone, there’s little doubt he can maintain the momentum here. Eustachy revived a dormant Southern Miss program and led Iowa State to national prominence before landing in the Mountain West.

3. Stew Morrill, Utah State
Record: 584-267
Record at Utah State: 366-129 overall (.739), 186-62 Big West/WAC (.750)
NCAA Tournament: 1-9
Before the last two seasons, Utah State was about as automatic as any program in the WAC. The Aggies won four consecutive regular season titles from 2008-11. He’s essentially college basketball’s Bill Snyder, recruiting junior college prospects at a high level and avoiding tough non-conference competition. Morrill’s peers rate him as one of the best Xs and Os coaches, according to a poll by ESPN, but his program will be tested in a tougher Mountain West.

4. Leon Rice, Boise State
Record (all at Boise State): 56-41 overall (.577), 22-24 MWC/WAC (.478)
NCAA Tournament: 0-1
The former Mark Few assistant has led Boise State to two 20-win seasons in three years and the program’s second NCAA Tournament berth since 1994. More could be on the way as the Broncos return the core of last season’s team that went 9-4 in the MWC.

5. Dave Rice, UNLV
Record (all at UNLV): 51-19 overall (.729), 19-11 MWC (.633)
NCAA Tournament: 0-2
Rice returned to his alma mater with the promise of returning to the Runnin’ Rebels style of old. The players are here (No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett), but the Rebs have yet to find a mix that works consistently in Rice’s two seasons.

6. Larry Shyatt, Wyoming
Record: 130-119
Record at Wyoming (second stint only): 41-26 overall (.611), 10-20 MWC (.333)
NCAA Tournament: None
Winning 20 games at Wyoming is tough. Shyatt has done it in back-to-back seasons, the first time it’s happened in Laramie in a decade. The Cowboys were one of the last undefeated teams standing last season at 13-0, but the season was derailed after Luke Martinez’s suspension following a bar fight. Wyoming went 8-14 without him.

7. Craig Neal, New Mexico
Record: First season
Neal has tried to get head coaching jobs in the past, but one hasn’t opened up for him until Steve Alford left for UCLA. He’s never been a head coach, but he was Alford’s right-hand man through the rebuilding process in Albuquerque.

8. Dave Pilopovich, Air Force
Record (all at Air Force): 20-20 overall (.500), 10-13 MWC (.435)
NCAA Tournament: None
Elevated to head coach late in the 2011-12 season, Pilopovich at least made Air Force a tough out in the MWC last season. The Falcons defeated NCAA Tournament teams Boise State, San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico en route to 18 wins, the most for the Academy since 2006-07.

9. David Carter, Nevada
Record (all at Nevada): 74-58 overall (.561), MWC/WAC (.565)
NCAA Tournament: None
Nevada had a 13-1 season in the WAC spoiled by Louisiana Tech in the conference tournament in 2012. It’s been downhill from there with a 3-13 in the MWC last season. One of the most consistent mid-majors out West has been anything but.

10. Rodney Terry, Fresno State
Record (all at Fresno State): 24-39 overall (.381), 8-22 MWC/WAC (.267)
The longtime Texas assistant has an uphill climb at Fresno State, but players will come to Fresno (Paul George, Greg Smith).

11. Dave Wojcik, San Jose State
Record: First season
Wojcik helped Leon Rice rebuild Boise State. He’ll try to replicate that with the Spartans, who have won fewer than 10 games in seven of the last 11 seasons.

Teaser:
Steve Fisher rebuild the Aztecs to take the top spot
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/arizona-state-has-awesome-pat-tillman-entrance
Body:

Arizona State recently made some renovations to Sun Devil Stadium, and the Tillman Tunnel is now one of the best entrances in college football.

Here’s a full album of the Tillman Tunnel from Arizona State’s official site, but the image below is a glimpse into what the Sun Devils will see before they take the field each week.

Simply, there’s not a better way for Arizona State to honor Pat Tillman or for the team to remember his legacy than have No. 42 lead the way to the field.

 

Teaser:
Arizona State Has Awesome Pat Tillman Entrance
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 16:53
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-picks-every-game-week-1
Body:

A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1, along with the consensus pick of Athlon Sports’ editors.

Ravens (0-0) at Broncos (0-0)
Peyton Manning threw two INTs and lost one of his two fumbles in a 38–35 overtime playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens last year. Manning’s ready for Mile High redemption in the Thursday night season-opener. Broncos by 5

Patriots (0-0) at Bills (0-0)
The Pats are 4–4 in openers vs. the Bills — with a defeat in 2009, the last time they met Week 1. Patriots by 16

Titans (0-0) at Steelers (0-0)
Tennessee has not made the playoffs since stomping on the Terrible Towels in 2008. Steelers by 4

Falcons (0-0) at Saints (0-0)
Coach Sean Payton returns from his year-long “BountyGate” suspension to play New Orleans’ chief rivals for NFC South supremacy. Saints by 1

Buccaneers (0-0) at Jets (0-0)
Darrelle Revis makes his Bucs debut by bringing “Revis Island” back to New Jersey. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith will be making his first career start. Get ready to hear booing. Buccaneers by 6

Chiefs (0-0) at Jaguars (0-0)
The two worst teams from last season square off for a guaranteed 1–0 start for one team. Chiefs by 6

Seahawks (0-0) at Panthers (0-0)
This marks the first of four Eastern Time Zone contests for the Pacific Northwest Seahawks. Seahawks by 7

Bengals (0-0) at Bears (0-0)
Former CFL coach Marc Trestman makes his NFL debut. Remember, there are four downs. Bears by 1

Dolphins (0-0) at Browns (0-0)
Cleveland has lost 13 of its 14 season-openers since returning to the NFL in 1999. Dolphins by 1

Vikings (0-0) at Lions (0-0)
Adrian Peterson “only” rushed for a combined 273 yards and one TD vs. Detroit last season. Lions by 1

Raiders (0-0) at Colts (0-0)
Silver-and-Bleak to start Terrelle Pryor at QB, while lucky horseshoes still have Andrew Luck. Colts by 11

Packers (0-0) at 49ers (0-0)
The last time Colin Kaepernick played against Green Bay, he passed for 263 yards, rushed for 181 yards and accounted for four TDs in a 45–31 win over the Packers in the NFC playoffs. 49ers by 4

Cardinals (0-0) at Rams (0-0)
The Cards return to St. Louis, where the team played 1960-87 before flying the coop to Zona. Rams by 6

Giants (0-0) at Cowboys (0-0)
Big Blue has a 7–3 record against Big D over the past five seasons, but did lose last year’s opener. Giants by 1

Eagles (0-0) at Redskins (0-0)
The start of the Chip Kelly era and the return of RG3 collide on Monday Night Football. These NFC East division rivals could combine for a high-scoring shootout in prime time. Redskins by 5

Texans (0-0) at Chargers (0-0)
The Week 1 nightcap pits volatile Philip Rivers against sleep-inducing Matt Schaub. Texans by 8
 

Teaser:
Predictions for every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1 of the 2013 season.
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 16:03
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-and-predictions-week-1
Body:

A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1, along with the consensus pick of Athlon Sports’ editors.

Ravens (0-0) at Broncos (0-0)
Peyton Manning threw two INTs and lost one of his two fumbles in a 38–35 overtime playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens last year. Manning’s ready for Mile High redemption in the Thursday night season-opener. Broncos by 5

Patriots (0-0) at Bills (0-0)
The Pats are 4–4 in openers vs. the Bills — with a defeat in 2009, the last time they met Week 1. Patriots by 16

Titans (0-0) at Steelers (0-0)
Tennessee has not made the playoffs since stomping on the Terrible Towels in 2008. Steelers by 4

Falcons (0-0) at Saints (0-0)
Coach Sean Payton returns from his year-long “BountyGate” suspension to play New Orleans’ chief rivals for NFC South supremacy. Saints by 1

Buccaneers (0-0) at Jets (0-0)
Darrelle Revis makes his Bucs debut by bringing “Revis Island” back to New Jersey. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith will be making his first career start. Get ready to hear booing. Buccaneers by 6

Chiefs (0-0) at Jaguars (0-0)
The two worst teams from last season square off for a guaranteed 1–0 start for one team. Chiefs by 6

Seahawks (0-0) at Panthers (0-0)
This marks the first of four Eastern Time Zone contests for the Pacific Northwest Seahawks. Seahawks by 7

Bengals (0-0) at Bears (0-0)
Former CFL coach Marc Trestman makes his NFL debut. Remember, there are four downs. Bears by 1

Dolphins (0-0) at Browns (0-0)
Cleveland has lost 13 of its 14 season-openers since returning to the NFL in 1999. Dolphins by 1

Vikings (0-0) at Lions (0-0)
Adrian Peterson “only” rushed for a combined 273 yards and one TD vs. Detroit last season. Lions by 1

Raiders (0-0) at Colts (0-0)
Silver-and-Bleak to start Terrelle Pryor at QB, while lucky horseshoes still have Andrew Luck. Colts by 11

Packers (0-0) at 49ers (0-0)
The last time Colin Kaepernick played against Green Bay, he passed for 263 yards, rushed for 181 yards and accounted for four TDs in a 45–31 win over the Packers in the NFC playoffs. 49ers by 4

Cardinals (0-0) at Rams (0-0)
The Cards return to St. Louis, where the team played 1960-87 before flying the coop to Zona. Rams by 6

Giants (0-0) at Cowboys (0-0)
Big Blue has a 7–3 record against Big D over the past five seasons, but did lose last year’s opener. Giants by 1

Eagles (0-0) at Redskins (0-0)
The start of the Chip Kelly era and the return of RG3 collide on Monday Night Football. These NFC East division rivals could combine for a high-scoring shootout in prime time. Redskins by 5

Texans (0-0) at Chargers (0-0)
The Week 1 nightcap pits volatile Philip Rivers against sleep-inducing Matt Schaub. Texans by 8
 

Teaser:
Predictions for every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1 of the 2013 season.
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 15:52
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-every-game-week-1
Body:

A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1, along with the consensus pick of Athlon Sports’ editors.

Ravens (0-0) at Broncos (0-0)
Peyton Manning threw two INTs and lost one of his two fumbles in a 38–35 overtime playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens last year. Manning’s ready for Mile High redemption in the Thursday night season-opener. Broncos by 5

Patriots (0-0) at Bills (0-0)
The Pats are 4–4 in openers vs. the Bills — with a defeat in 2009, the last time they met Week 1. Patriots by 16

Titans (0-0) at Steelers (0-0)
Tennessee has not made the playoffs since stomping on the Terrible Towels in 2008. Steelers by 4

Falcons (0-0) at Saints (0-0)
Coach Sean Payton returns from his year-long “BountyGate” suspension to play New Orleans’ chief rivals for NFC South supremacy. Saints by 1

Buccaneers (0-0) at Jets (0-0)
Darrelle Revis makes his Bucs debut by bringing “Revis Island” back to New Jersey. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith will be making his first career start. Get ready to hear booing. Buccaneers by 6

Chiefs (0-0) at Jaguars (0-0)
The two worst teams from last season square off for a guaranteed 1–0 start for one team. Chiefs by 6

Seahawks (0-0) at Panthers (0-0)
This marks the first of four Eastern Time Zone contests for the Pacific Northwest Seahawks. Seahawks by 7

Bengals (0-0) at Bears (0-0)
Former CFL coach Marc Trestman makes his NFL debut. Remember, there are four downs. Bears by 1

Dolphins (0-0) at Browns (0-0)
Cleveland has lost 13 of its 14 season-openers since returning to the NFL in 1999. Dolphins by 1

Vikings (0-0) at Lions (0-0)
Adrian Peterson “only” rushed for a combined 273 yards and one TD vs. Detroit last season. Lions by 1

Raiders (0-0) at Colts (0-0)
Silver-and-Bleak to start Terrelle Pryor at QB, while lucky horseshoes still have Andrew Luck. Colts by 11

Packers (0-0) at 49ers (0-0)
The last time Colin Kaepernick played against Green Bay, he passed for 263 yards, rushed for 181 yards and accounted for four TDs in a 45–31 win over the Packers in the NFC playoffs. 49ers by 4

Cardinals (0-0) at Rams (0-0)
The Cards return to St. Louis, where the team played 1960-87 before flying the coop to Zona. Rams by 6

Giants (0-0) at Cowboys (0-0)
Big Blue has a 7–3 record against Big D over the past five seasons, but did lose last year’s opener. Giants by 1

Eagles (0-0) at Redskins (0-0)
The start of the Chip Kelly era and the return of RG3 collide on Monday Night Football. These NFC East division rivals could combine for a high-scoring shootout in prime time. Redskins by 5

Texans (0-0) at Chargers (0-0)
The Week 1 nightcap pits volatile Philip Rivers against sleep-inducing Matt Schaub. Texans by 8

 

Teaser:
Predictions for every game on the NFL schedule for Week 1 of the 2013 season.
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 15:44
All taxonomy terms: Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/jordan-spieth-best-rookie-season-tiger-woods
Body:

Comparing anyone to Tiger Woods is typically a fool's errand and will do nothing but humiliate the individual being compared. Woods' numbers — 14 majors, 79 wins, a career winning percentage of .257 — dwarf anything any other active player (or two or three) can muster. Aside from Jack Nicklaus, there's no other real contender for the title of History's Greatest Golfer.

But a certain rookie, who just turned 20 years old, is doing things that a 20-year-old Tiger once did. Earlier this year, Texan Jordan Spieth became the first teenager to win on Tour since 1931 and the fourth-youngest winner in PGA Tour history. He became the first player since Tiger to start a season with no Tour status whatsoever and still qualify for the Tour Championship. There hasn't been a rise this meteoric since erstwhile grocery stocker Kurt Warner won the MVP and the Super Bowl.

Here's some of what Spieth has accomplished:

• He began the year at No. 810 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He currently stands at No. 28.

• He parlayed early sponsor's exemptions into Special Temporary Member status, then full status, then FedExCup contention.

• His win at the John Deere Classic in July, which gave him full Tour status, improved his World ranking by 61 spots.

• He had one of the shots of the year at the John Deere, holing out from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole to earn a spot in a playoff with defending champion Zach Johnson and David Hearn.

• Spieth was an obvious Captain's Pick for U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples — after starting the season outside the top 800 golfers in the world.

In other words, Spieth has earned has earned his Tiger comparison. So we're happy to oblige.

Here's a look at Spieth's rookie year (with two tournaments yet to play) compared with Woods' explosion onto the scene as a 20-year-old rookie in 1996.

                                     Spieth               Woods

Tournaments entered     21                    11*

Tournaments won           1                      2

Runner-ups                     2                      0

Top 5s                             4                      5

Top 10s                           8                      5

Top 10 pct.                  .380                   .455

Top 25s                         11                      8

Low round                     62                     63

Scoring average          69.79               69.44

*Woods played The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open as an amateur in 1996.

We give a slight edge here to Tiger, but keep in mind: He turned professional in September, after the tournaments on the toughest courses with the toughest fields had already been played. Spieth has amassed his accomplishments in the teeth of the Tour schedule. Also, keep in mind that Spieth shot his 62 at the Deutsche Bank, a pressure-charged FedExCup playoff event, while Tiger's rookie low round of 63 came in Las Vegas, notorious for a relaxed atmosphere and low scores.

No pressure, Jordan, but the title of "Next Tiger" is out there for the taking. All you need to do is win the 2014 Masters by 12 or more shots.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 12:52
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-2-2013-upset-predictions
Body:

The Week 2 college football slate is relatively light with elite matchups. Florida-Miami, Notre Dame-Michigan and Georgia-South Carolina are the must-see games, but there’s not much else to get excited about. Of course, college football is on television, so at least there’s something to watch. 

With a chunk of FBS teams playing opponents from FCS or BCS versus non-BCS conference matchups, the pool for upsets appears to be small this week. BYU hosts Texas in an intriguing non-conference game, and receiver Cody Hoffman is expected to return after missing last week due to a hamstring injury. Hoffman's return is huge for an offense that struggled to move the ball through the air last week.

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

Other Week 2 Previews and Predictions
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC


College Football Week 2 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Wake Forest (+3) over Boston College
I realize this isn’t much of an upset in terms of point spread, but just as I mentioned in Week 1, there’s not much to like with the odds early in the year. Western Kentucky over Tennessee is very tempting, but I’m giving the Volunteers a slight edge in that one. Wake Forest and Boston College both played FCS opponents in Week 1, so this will be a better test of where both teams stack up in the ACC. Both squads have plenty of kinks to work out over the next few weeks. The Demon Deacons have a shaky offensive line, and the Eagles are adjusting to new schemes on both sides of the ball. Boston College also needs to find another receiver or two to pair with potential All-ACC target Alex Amidon. This game is a tossup, but I like Wake Forest to leave Chestnut Hill with a three-point win. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Notre Dame (+4.5) over Michigan
These two have split the last two meetings since both Brady Hoke and Brian Kelly entered the series with the home team taking each of the last two meetings. Last season was the lowest scoring meeting between the two since 1909 and the Irish defense will once again take center stage. If Tommy Rees is even half of the player he was in Week 1, he should be able to move the ball effectively against a Michigan defense that is still a recruiting class or two away from being championship caliber. Look for the ND defensive line to pressure Devin Gardner into a few mistakes and that will lead to an upset in one of the most "historic, traditional" rivalry games in college football.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): BYU (+7) over Texas
A home underdog raises eyebrows, for sure. I also wonder if we’ve overcompensated for Week 1. After stalling early, Texas throttled New Mexico State as it should, but BYU had a bizarre game against Virginia, delay for more than two and a half hours by lightning. A Western team going East, a rain delay and two Virginia drives starting in the red zone due to a turnover and a blocked punt leads me to believe we might see the real BYU team this week. I like the Cougars pass rush against David Ash, who threw two first-half picks against New Mexico State.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Arkansas State (+11.5) over Auburn
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I smell upset.

Mark Ross: James Madison (+3) over Akron
As this season has already shown us, FCS teams are more than capable of not only hanging with big brother, but also beating them on occasion. While the mighty Zips of Akron, who got manhandled 38-7 by UCF in their opener, aren't exactly on the same level as Oregon State or Kansas State, they are still an FBS team. Akron struggled in all facets of the game last week, but was particularly bad against the pass, giving up nearly 17 yards per completion to the Knights.

JMU isn't known for throwing the ball all over the field, but what the Dukes do have is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in Michael Birdsong and the confidence that comes with the success the program has enjoyed under coach Mickey Matthews. JMU also has experience as a giant-killer, as the Dukes defeated in-state powerhouse Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2010. Three years later, lightning strikes again for JMU, but this time in Ohio, as the Dukes produce just enough offense and make a key play on defense late to add another W to the FCS' win total against FBS teams this season.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Washington State (-15.5) over USC
Lane Kiffin is a mess. The USC quarterback situation is a mess. And the Trojans looked spotty in their victory over a very mediocre Hawaii squad last week. Washington State almost stole a game at Auburn with quarterback Connor Halliday throwing for over 300 yards. Mike Leach is still one of the best offensive minds in the game. Expect the Cougars to spread USC out and pass upwards of 60 times. While Marqise Lee is an unquestionable talent, the Trojans still don’t know who will be throwing him the ball. If Washington State can protect Halliday and he can protect the football, Washington State will get its first win in LA since 2000.

Teaser:
College Football Week 2 2013 Upset Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 11:22
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/biggest-nfl-injuries-will-affect-2013-season
Body:

The preseason was littered with bodies throughout the NFL. In a string of meaningless games to get players ready for the ones that matter, the scene left behind was mostly carnage. Every week, it seemed, another player was hurt. Often the injury was significant, if not season ending.

It’s a casualty of war in the NFL that everyone accepts, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Teams enter the summer optimistic, dreaming Super Bowl dreams, and then – just when they think they’re ready – a key player is stolen by an act of fate. It’s not fair, but it happens every preseason. And this summer it seemed to happen a lot.

In fact, several key players for teams with postseason aspirations didn’t even make it to training camp healthy. So what are the biggest injuries that have already happened before the regular season even kicks off? Here’s a look at six that could have catastrophic effects on the injured player’s team:

Seattle Seahawks WR Percy Harvin (hip)
He is the prime example of a key, if not catastrophic, injury that happened before training camp even started. Yes, the Seahawks were outstanding without him last season and still have the same powerful defense and dominant rushing attack. But the addition of Harvin was going to not only help the development of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson, it was going to give them another dimension that would make them impossible to stop.

Now, maybe they get him back midseason for a stretch run that could include a Super Bowl chase. That’s a heck of a midseason acquisition. But with Harvin the Seahawks could’ve threatened to be a powerhouse, 14-win type of team. Now they’re back to where they were – neck and neck with the 49ers in what promises to be a tight NFC West race.

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
The loss of Pitta may not be devastating on the surface, and it’s likely the Ravens will find a way to replace his 61 catches, 669 yards and seven touchdowns. This one is more about piling on to a Super Bowl championship team that has seemed to be hemorrhaging players since the end of their parade. Ray Lewis retired. Ed Reed wasn’t re-signed. Neither were Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, and Anquan Boldin was traded away.

Then came the injury to Pitta who seemed to be a nice security blanket for Joe Flacco. Now it’s up to Ed Dickson, assuming he can stay healthy.

Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin (torn ACL)
Welcome to the NFL, Chip Kelly, and good luck installing your revolutionary, hyper-speed, spread-option offense without your team’s No. 1 receiver. Considering all that goes into Kelly’s high-octane offense, about the only bigger blow would’ve been the loss of his quarterback. Yes, they still have DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper could be a sleeper as Maclin’s replacement. But Cooper doesn’t have the speed or resume of Maclin, so there’s no guarantee he can pick up the slack.

Green Bay Packers T Bryan Bulaga (torn ACL)
The Green Bay Packers are all about Aaron Rodgers, so protecting him has to be one of the most important jobs in the organization. Bulaga, a former first-round pick, was being installed as the left tackle before he tore his ACL. So now the blind side of one of the leading candidates for NFL MVP is being protected by David Bakhtiari, a rookie fourth-round pick from Colorado. The Packers like him, but that sure isn’t the way they drew it up for what was already a shaky offensive line.

New Orleans Saints LB Will Smith (knee)
Rob Ryan had his hands full already switching the Saints – the NFL’s worst defensive team last season – from the 4-3 to a 3-4, but his task may be impossible without one of his best defensive players. Smith, who was switching from a 4-3 end to a 3-4 linebacker, was probably the Saints’ best bet to provide a consistent pass rush. He certainly would’ve provided more pressure on the pocket than Martez Wilson will provide. It’s particularly devastating for a Saints team that has already lost linebacker Victor Butler to a torn ACL in the spring and may be without Jonathan Vilma for quite a while, too. It leaves the Saints looking like an all-offense, no-defense team once again.

San Diego Chargers LB Melvin Ingram (torn ACL)
The Chargers had high hopes for their 2012 first-round pick, who was going to be a key part of their attack along with newly signed Dwight Freeney. There hasn’t been a lot of optimism in San Diego, where they’ve suffered free-agent losses and a string of injuries, but they seemed to really believe Ingram was ready for a step forward after a lackluster rookie season. Now with him gone – at least for half the season – the Chargers are extremely thin at his position and Freeney, at age 33, might have to play a lot more than the Chargers expected him to play.

— By Ralph Vacchiano, @RVacchianoNYDN

Ralph
Vacchiano
Teaser:
Biggest NFL Injuries That Will Affect the 2013 Season
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-september-5-2013
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Sept. 5.

 

• Kate Upton is on the cover of Vanity Fair. Katherine Webb congratulated her by suggesting they have a pajama party. I happen to think that's an excellent idea. Just tell me when and where.

 

This headline asserts that the five best months of the year start tonight. I don't disagree. Welcome back, football.

 

This idiot chowdah-head Red Sox fan should no longer be taken out in public after nearly ruining the evening for two different women.

 

This Las Vegas billboard is under the impression that Lon Kruger is the UNLV basketball coach. Kruger's been at Oklahoma since 2011.

 

• We may have reached the Johnny Football saturation point: He's on the cover of this week's Time Magazine under the provocative headline: It's Time to Pay College Athletes.

 

This ESPN profile of Floyd Mayweather reveals that he has $123 million in one bank account. I prefer to spread my money around.

 

Check in with SDS' Bo Jackson Award tracker (best SEC player regardless of position) after Week 1.

 

• "You're my boy, Blue." 20 classic comedy quotes you probably say in your sleep.

 

• Not to be Mr. Wet Blanket while we all gorge on football, but actually going to a game can kinda suck. Here are 20 reasons why.

 

The Indians let a live chicken run around during warm-ups. Hope they didn't tell Pedro Cerrano. (Sorry for the dated "Major League" reference.)

 

One PGA Tour player thinks that Ian Poulter's logo looks like a part of the male anatomy. Don't really see it, but I guess if you're looking for it...

 

• In today's video, Alex Galchenyuk of the Canadiens shows us that the hockey swing doesn't translate to the golf course.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 10:44
Path: /nfl/baltimore-ravens-vs-denver-broncos-preview-and-prediction
Body:

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens kick off defense of their title and the 2013 NFL regular season by renewing acquaintances with the Denver Broncos at 8:30 p.m. ET tonight on NBC. A scheduling conflict with the Orioles forced the Ravens to open their season on the road, but it’s only fitting that their first game takes place at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

After all, Baltimore’s improbable 38-35 double overtime victory over Denver in the AFC Divisional Round was the game that simultaneously sparked the Ravens’ magical playoff run and shockingly ended the Broncos’ promising season. Baltimore may be the current holder of the Lombardi Trophy, but this Ravens team looks a lot different than the one that won Super Bowl XLVII in February. Denver has made some personnel changes as well, but it’s the Bronco who won’t be on the field tonight that could have the biggest impact on the outcome.

Five Things to Watch

Baltimore debuts “new” defense
Ray Lewis. Ed Reed. Bernard Pollard. Cary Williams. Dannell Ellerbe. Ma’ake Kemoeatu. They are the answers to the question – “How many defensive starters from the Ravens’ Super Bowl win are no longer with the team?” Baltimore will field six new starters on defense and while the likes of linebacker and former Bronco Elvis Dumervil, free safety Michael Huff and defensive end Chris Canty aren’t exactly no-names, the fact remains this unit lost a lot of talent and, perhaps more importantly, experience. Drawing Peyton Manning and company for an opening assignment certainly doesn’t help the transition either.

The Von Miller effect
Denver’s defense will have to make do without the services of Miller, the Broncos’ All-Pro linebacker who was second in Defensive Player of the Year voting to J.J. Watt last season. Miller is suspended for the first six games and his presence on the field will be sorely missed. This is especially the case for Denver’s pass rush, as Miller finished third in the NFL with 18.5 sacks last season. The Broncos upgraded their defensive line and secondary through free agency and the draft, and these two units will both need to step up right out of the gate to help offset Miller’s absence.

The Broncos’ Three Horsemen
At first glance this might refer to Peyton Manning’s new three-headed monster at wide receiver — Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and new Bronco Wes Welker. But in this case, the reference is for the Broncos’ trio at running back. First-round pick Montee Ball has generated most of the headlines and attention during training camp, but veterans Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno certainly can’t be ignored. Whether one of these guys takes the lead or new offensive coordinator Adam Gase goes with the committee approach, the Broncos need to establish some sort of running game. Denver averaged a meager three yards per carry on 41 attempts in the playoff loss to Baltimore, which makes it harder for Manning to utilize the play-action game. This also was one of the reasons why the Broncos were just 7-for-16 in third-down conversions in that heart-breaking defeat.

Ravens take flight?
Besides the changes on defense, Joe Flacco will be without two familiar targets to throw to in 2013. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco in March and tight end Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip during training camp and most likely won’t play this season. These two combined for 126 receptions for 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns last season or 38 percent of the Ravens’ receptions, 40 percent of their passing yards and half of Flacco’s touchdown passes in 2012. Not only do wide receiver Jacoby Jones and tight end Ed Dickson have some big shoes to fill, but fellow wideout Torrey Smith also needs to step up and establish himself as more than just a deep threat. Smith averaged an impressive 17.4 yards per reception last season, but he was fourth on the team with only 49 catches.

Championship hangover vs. revenge factor
It’s a shame that some sort of compromise couldn’t be worked out between the Orioles and Ravens so the defending Super Bowl champions could open their season at home. Now Baltimore not only has to hit the road, it has to break in all of its new pieces in one of the NFL’s loudest home environments. Then there are the Broncos, who would like nothing more than to hang an L on the champs, especially given what took place in January.

Baltimore Key Player: Elvis Dumervil, LB
If there’s any Raven who has been chomping at the bit for this game it is Dumervil. The former Bronco was released by the team in March following a bizarre set of occurrences and ended up signing with the Ravens as a free agent. The plan is for Dumervil to team with Terrell Suggs to provide consistent pressure from both edges. One way to slow down Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ passing attack is to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. You know Dumervil would love to get Manning down on the turf a time or two.

Denver Key Player: Manny Ramirez, C
An offensive lineman may not be considered a critical piece by many, but it is when it’s the guy tasked with getting the ball into the hands of Peyton Manning. Ramirez isn’t a rookie as he has already played in 35 games in five seasons including 11 starts at right guard for Denver last season. However, he will be making his NFL debut at center tonight because the Broncos have already lost two centers to injuries. Projected starter Dan Koppen tore his ACL and is out for the season and backup J.D. Walton was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after undergoing multiple ankle surgeries in the offseason. The Broncos have turned the job over to Ramirez and it will be up to him to get the offense off on the right foot by not only making sure Manning gets the football in his hands, but when No. 18 wants it too.

Final Analysis

Give the NFL credit for this much: it sure knows how to kick off a season. The rematch between Baltimore and Denver is a fitting season opener as the defending world champs return to the scene of last season’s signature playoff victory. Much has changed for both teams since that Jan. 12 AFC Divisional Round matchup, however, as the Ravens have rebuilt their defense and the Broncos gave Peyton Manning more offensive weapons.

The Ravens are still good enough to compete with pretty much any other team, but the Broncos have too much firepower for John Harbaugh’s new-look defense to contain. While Denver’s defense will miss Von Miller’s pass-rushing presence, the unit makes enough stops to allow Manning and company to take care of the rest. Don’t worry Rahim Moore, this game won’t come down to a last-minute, “Hail Mary” pass.

Denver 31, Baltimore 20

Teaser:
Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-quarterback-rankings-week-1
Body:

Week 1 of the 2013 fantasy football season is here and it's only fitting that the quarterback who finished 2012 with the most fantasy points comes in at No. 1 in the first installment of Athlon Sports' weekly Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings. Drew Brees tallied the most fantasy points of any signal-caller last season and the Saints' field general should get off to another strong start with his head coach (Sean Payton) back on the sidelines and a home game against NFC South division rival Atlanta on tap.

Likewise, Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan is a strong play for Week 1 considering the Saints set an NFL record for most yards allowed last season. Tom Brady has a brand-new receiving corps in 2013, but expect little drop-off, especially with Buffalo the opponent in Week 1. The Bills will send our first-round pick EJ Manuel to make his NFL debut. For now, Manuel and fellow rookie Geno Smith of the New York Jets (who is not ranked) are probably wait-and-see options at best.

That is not the case, however, for Aaron Rodgers, who is a must-start every week. Those who are fortunate enough to own Rodgers, however, may want to temper expectations a little bit since the Packers have the tough opening assignment of facing the 49ers on their own turf. Cam Newton is another top fantasy option who could get out of the gate slowly as the Panthers host Seattle. And of course, all eyes will be on the games that will open and close the first week of the regular season as Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco will square off in Denver tonight for the second time in eight months, while Robert Griffin III will mark his return from a serious knee injury suffered in January and Michael Vick will help usher in the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia when they share the stage on "Monday Night Football."

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

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Drew BreesNOvs. ATLNo. 1 fantasy QB last season.
2Tom BradyNEat BUFBrady set to break in new weapons.
3Matt RyanATLat NOSaints awful on D last season.
4Peyton ManningDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)Manning gets chance at some payback.
5Aaron RodgersGBat SFTough opening draw for A-Rodg.
6Colin KaepernickSFvs. GBCK feasted on Pack last time.
7Andrew LuckINDvs. OAKLuck should get off to strong start.
8Matthew StaffordDETvs. MIN 
9Tony RomoDALvs. NYGGiants' D already banged up.
10Cam NewtonCARvs. SEASeahawks figure to be tough on Cam.
11Robert Griffin IIIWASvs. PHI (Mon.)Everyone will be watching RG3's knee.
12Russell WilsonSEAat CAR 
13Michael VickPHIat WAS (Mon.)Can he make Kelly's offense hum?
14Eli ManningNYGat DAL 
15Ben RoethlisbergerPITvs. TEN 
16Sam BradfordSTLvs. ARIReady to break out?
17Joe FlaccoBALat DEN (Thurs.)Needs to find new targets.
18Jay CutlerCHIvs. CINCan he and Trestman thrive?
19Matt SchaubHOUat SD (Mon.) 
20Carson PalmerARIat STLIs he the QB Cards have been missing?
21Andy DaltonCINat CHI 
22Alex SmithKCat JACJaguars should ease transition.
23Josh FreemanTBat NYJ 
24Ryan TannehillMIAat CLEIs he ready to take the next step?
25Brandon WeedenCLEvs. MIA 
26Philip RiversSDvs. HOU (Mon.)Can he find his old form?
27EJ ManuelBUFvs. NERookie's time to shine.
28Terrelle PryorOAKat INDRaiders' offense has yet to impress.

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 1 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Quarterback Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-running-back-rankings-week-1
Body:

The 2013 fantasy football season is upon us and Athlon Sports' Week 1 running back rankings starts with the league's reigning MVP. Adrian Peterson came nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record in 2012, and he's already stated that 2,500 yards is the goal in '13. Peterson's quest begins on the road as Minnesota will be in Detroit to face the Lions.

Jamaal Charles could post some big Week 1 numbers as the Andy Reid era in Kansas City will commence in Jacksonville. The Jaguars were 30th in the NFL against the run last season. Other head coaches who will be making their pro debuts include Cleveland's Rob Chudzinski and Philadelphia's Chip Kelly. These two have reputations as offensive masterminds and each has the luxury of a top-flight running back at their disposal in Trent Richardson and LeSean McCoy, respectively.

Steven Jackson will play his first game in a Falcons' uniform against a Saints' defense that was the worst in the league in stopping the run in 2012. Maurice Jones-Drew will try to flash his old form after being limited to just six games last season, while Arian Foster will more than likely be brought along slowly by the Texans following his injury-shortened training camp.

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

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Adrian PetersonMINat DETQuest for 2,500 begins in Detroit.
2Jamaal CharlesKCat JACExpect plenty of touches in Reid's system.
3Doug MartinTBat NYJ 
4Marshawn LynchSEAat CARPanthers may be tougher test than many expect.
5C.J. SpillerBUFvs. NEPats pretty good against run last season.
6Ray RiceBALat DEN (Thurs.) 
7Alfred MorrisWASvs. PHI (Mon.)Eagles' D did not look good in preseason.
8LeSean McCoyPHIat WAS (Mon.)What will Kelly do with him?
9Trent RichardsonCLEvs. MIAPoised for big sophomore season?
10Stevan RidleyNEat BUF 
11Steven JacksonATLat NOSJax makes his Falcons' debut.
12Maurice Jones-DrewJACvs. KCIs MJD back?
13Arian FosterHOUat SD (Mon.)Texans have said they will limit him early.
14Matt ForteCHIvs. CINShould be active in new offense.
15David WilsonNYGat DALClear-cut No. 1 following Brown injury.
16Chris JohnsonTENat PITCan he break down Steel Curtain?
17Frank GoreSFvs. GB 
18Reggie BushDETvs. MINBack on turf, should catch plenty passes.
19Lamar MillerMIAat CLECan he produce like a No. 1 back?
20Darren SprolesNOvs. ATL 
21DeMarco MurrayDALvs. NYG 
22Darren McFaddenOAKat INDA strong start would help silence the critics.
23Daryl RichardsonSTLvs. ARI 
24Eddie LacyGBat SFRookie has tough opening draw.
25Ahmad BradshawINDvs. OAK 
26Ben TateHOUat SD (Mon.)Could see plenty of carries on Monday night.
27Montee BallDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)Will he get No. 1 reps?
28Chris IvoryNYJvs. TB 
29Ryan MathewsSDvs. HOU (Mon.) 
30DeAngelo WilliamsCARvs. SEA 
31Rashard MendenhallARIat STLCan his legs/knee hold up?
32BenJarvus Green-EllisCINat CHI 
33Isaac RedmanPITvs. TENStarter in PIT, but won't get all the carries.
34Giovani BernardCINat CHIRookie brings explosiveness to Bengals' O.
35Shane VereenNEat BUFCould be busy against Bills.
36Mark IngramNOvs. ATLFalcons struggled against run last season.
37Vick BallardINDvs. OAK 
38Ronnie HillmanDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)More than 1 DEN RB will see touches.
39Knowshon MorenoDENvs. BAL (Thurs.) 
40Danny WoodheadSDvs. HOU (Mon.)Ready to pounce if Mathews falters.
41Bryce BrownPHIat WAS (Mon.) 
42Bernard PierceBALat DEN (Thurs.) 
43Michael BushCHIvs. CIN 
44Jacquizz RodgersATLat NO 
45Roy HeluWASvs. PHI (Mon.)Looked pretty good in preseason.
46Shonn GreeneTENat PIT 
47Fred JacksonBUFvs. NE 
48Christine MichaelSEAat CARRookie opened many an eye during preseason.

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 1 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Running Back Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-wide-receiver-rankings-week-1
Body:

To the surprise of no one, Calvin Johnson tops Athlon Sports' Week 1 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings. What perhaps is most impressive about Johnson's record-setting 2012 season is that he caught just five touchdown passes, yet still led his position in fantasy scoring. Johnson owners would no doubt love see him reach the end zone a few more times in 2013, starting with his opening game against Minnesota.

One wide receiver that found paydirt quite a bit last season was Dez Bryant. In the last eight games alone, Bryant scored 10 touchdowns. He will look to carry over that strong finish to Sunday night's marquee matchup against the Giants. The Atlanta vs. New Orleans pairing should be good news for any one who has Julio Jones, Roddy White, Marques Colston or Lance Moore on their roster. Also, Denver's trio of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker will put Baltimore's remade secondary to the test right out of the gate as the NFL regular season kicks off with a rematch of January's AFC Divisional Round double-overtime thriller.

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

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

RkPlayerTeamOPPComments
1Calvin JohnsonDETvs. MINNo. 1 fantasy WR had just 5 TDs in '12.
2Dez BryantDALvs. NYGCaught fire late last season.
3Julio JonesATLat NOSaints' D was league's worst in '12.
4A.J. GreenCINat CHIBears' DBs will be good test.
5Demaryius ThomasDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)No Reed or Pollard in Ravens' secondary.
6Brandon MarshallCHIvs. CINWill the hip be an issue?
7Roddy WhiteATLat NOAnkle injury shortened preseason reps.
8Larry FitzgeraldARIat STLCan he and Palmer click?
9Vincent JacksonTBat NYJ 
10Andre JohnsonHOUat SD (Mon.) 
11Reggie WayneINDvs. OAK 
12Marques ColstonNOvs. ATL 
13Victor CruzNYGat DALHeel could limit him against Cowboys.
14Pierre GarconWASvs. PHI (Mon.)Healthy entering season for a change.
15Randall CobbGBat SF 
16Danny AmendolaNEat BUFCan he fill Welker's shoes?
17Wes WelkerDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)From Brady to Peyton = WR's dream.
18Dwayne BoweKCat JACCan he breakout in Reid's system?
19Antonio BrownPITvs.TENBig Ben's new No. 1 target.
20Hakeem NicksNYGat DAL 
21Torrey SmithBALat DEN (Thurs.)Needs to do more than catch deep ball.
22Mike WallaceMIAat CLEDolphins need him to go long.
23Steve SmithCARvs. SEA 
24Cecil ShortsJACvs. KC 
25DeSean JacksonPHIat WAS (Mon.)Can he thrive in Kelly's system?
26Jordy NelsonGBat SFHad knee surgery early in training camp.
27Eric DeckerDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)Enough passes for 3 WRs in DEN?
28Anquan BoldinSFvs. GBNo Crabtree for CK to find.
29T.Y. HiltonINDvs. OAK 
30Stevie JohnsonBUFvs. NE 
31James JonesGBat SF 
32Mike WilliamsTBat NYJ 
33Chris GivensSTLvs. ARIOozes big-play ability.
34Lance MooreNOvs. ATL 
35Greg JenningsMINat DETHow soon until he misses Rodgers?
36Tavon AustinSTLvs. ARIRams aren't saying how they will use rookie.
37Kenbrel ThompkinsNEat BUFEmerged during preseason.
38Sidney RiceSEAat CAR 
39Miles AustinDALvs. NYGSomewhat forgotten man in Big D.
40Golden TateSEAat CARNo Percy Harvin means opportunity.
41Emmanuel SandersPITvs. TEN 
42Vincent BrownSDvs. HOU (Mon.)Someone needs to emerge in SD.
43Kenny BrittTENat PITIn final year of rookie contract.
44Michael FloydARIat STLFitzgerald could use a legit sidekick.
45Greg LittleCLEvs. MIAJosh Gordon will miss first 2 games.
46Alshon JefferyCHIvs. CINMarshall and Cutler could use help.
47Denarius MooreOAKat INDMay be only relevant Raider pass-catcher.
48Rueben RandleNYGat DALAn injury away from starting.
49Brian HartlineMIAat CLEWallace can't do it all by himself.
50Kendall WrightTENat PITKnee issue limited preseason reps.
51Malcom FloydSDvs. HOU (Mon.) 
52Darrius Heyward-BeyINDvs. OAKLuck has the arm, can DHB hold on?
53Jeremy KerleyNYJvs. TBWill he and Geno develop chemistry?
54Ryan BroylesDETvs. MINCJ draws a lot of attention from the D.
55DeAndre HopkinsHOUat SD (Mon.)Texans drafted Hopkins to contribute early.
56Mohamed SanuCINat CHI 
57Andre RobertsARIat STL 
58Jacoby JonesBALat DEN (Thurs.)Ravens' No. 2 with Boldin now in SF.
59Santonio HolmesNYJvs. TB 
60Nate BurlesonDETvs. MINComing back from broken leg.
61Josh MorganWASvs. PHI (Mon.) 
62Riley CooperPHIat WAS (Mon.)No Maclin means Eagles need a No. 2.
63Jason AvantPHIat WAS (Mon.) 
64Robert WoodsBUFvs. NEManuel-to-Woods = rookie magic?

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 1 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-tight-end-rankings-week-1
Body:

With Week 1 of the NFL regular and fantasy season set to kick off tonight, the only tight ends that will soon be making news are the ones that will be on the field. Leading the way in Athlon Sports' Week 1 tight end fantasy rankings is New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham. With Rob Gronkowski still making his way back from offsesaon back surgery, Graham is the clear-cut No. 1 fantasy option at the position and should be targeted early and often by Drew Brees against Atlanta on Sunday.

The Falcons' tight end is no slouch in his own right, as Tony Gonzalez looks to turn back the clock for yet another season. The Dallas' Jason Witten rightfully belongs in the top tier of fantasy tight ends, as he can help Tony Romo and the Cowboys get off to a strong start by doing some damage against the Giants.

Outside of the top five, some younger tight ends will attempt to make a name for themselves, including Zach Sudfeld, the man who will fill Gronkowski's spot for New England. If Sudfeld can make a strong impression during Gronk's absence, there's a chance he could remain fantasy relevant all season long. Remember what Aaron Hernandez did as Gronk's sidekick the past few seasons.

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

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

RkPlayerTeamOPPNotes
1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. ATLThe clear-cut No. 1 w/ no Gronk.
2Tony GonzalezATLat NOCan the old man do it again?
3Jason WittenDALvs. NYGRomo's trust in Witten obvious.
4Vernon DavisSFvs. GBPotential is there, is the effort?
5Owen DanielsHOUat SD (Mon.) 
6Jared CookSTLvs. ARIAppears ready to break out.
7Zach SudfeldNEat BUFTalk about your fast risers.
8Kyle RudolphMINat DET 
9Antonio GatesSDvs. HOU (Mon.)Rivers' most trusted target.
10Greg OlsenCARvs. SEACam likes throwing to his TE.
11Jermichael FinleyGBat SFTeam pleased with early signs.
12Brandon MyersNYGat DALEli should like throwing to him.
13Jordan CameronCLEvs. MIA 
14Martellus BennettCHIvs. CINFirst TE Cutler has had since Olsen.
15Fred DavisWASvs. PHI (Mon.)RG3 to Davis could be special.
16Brandon PettigrewDETvs. MIN 
17Coby FleenerINDvs. OAKReady to cash in on Stanford ties.
18Brent CelekPHIat WAS (Mon.)The top TE in Philly, for now.
19Julius ThomasDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)If Peyton trusts him, watch out.
20Jermaine GreshamCINat CHI 
21Tyler EifertCINat CHICan he overtake Gresham?
22Dwayne AllenINDvs. OAKEnough work for 2 TEs in IND?
23Ed DicksonBALat DEN (Thurs.)Flacco loved throwing to Pitta.
24Zach ErtzPHIat WAS (Mon.)Kelly has high hopes for rookie.
25Zach MillerSEAat CAR 
26Dallas ClarkBALat DEN (Thurs.)Veteran ready if Dickson stumbles.

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 1 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Tight End Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-1
Body:

In Week 1 of the 2013 fantasy football season, opportunity knocks for the New England Patriots' and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defenses. Both of these teams will be facing rookie quarterbacks making their NFL debuts, which is why both DSTs are top-five fantasy options to open the season. Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and Cincinnati all should remain solid weekly starts, but it's the Patriots who appear to have the best matchup in Week 1, which is why they come in at No. 1 in Athlon Sports' defense/special teams rankings.

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

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

RkTeamOPPNotes
1New England Patriotsat BUFPats' opportunistic D vs. rookie QB.
2Seattle Seahawksat CARHawks D vs. Cam will be fun.
3Houston Texansat SD (Mon.)Texans' D gets Cushing back, maybe Reed?
4Tampa Bay Buccaneersat NYJBucs' new secondary could torment Geno.
5Cincinnati Bengalsat CHIBengals 2nd in sacks last season.
6Chicago Bearsvs. CINBears ready to show their not old just yet.
7Pittsburgh Steelersvs. TENIs the Steel Curtain fraying?
8San Francisco 49ersvs. GB49ers will have hands full w/ Rodgers and co.
9Indianapolis Coltsvs. OAKOakland's offense does not scare anyone.
10St. Louis Ramsvs. ARIRams looking to abuse Cards' O-line.
11Cleveland Brownsvs. MIABrowns' D could be sneaky solid.
12Denver Broncosvs. BAL (Thurs.)Broncos will miss Von Miller.
13Green Bay Packersat SFPack couldn't stop CK last time out.
14Kansas City Chiefsat JACCan the Chiefs' D bounce back?
15Arizona Cardinalsat STLCards' D has new coordinator.
16Baltimore Ravensat DEN (Thurs.)Will the Ravens' "new" D hold up in Denver?

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 1 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Kickers

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-kicker-rankings-week-1
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New England's Stephen Gostkowski and Atlanta's Matt Bryant are two of the top options on Athlon Sports' Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings for Week 1. Both the Patriots and Falcons figure to score a fair number of points against their respective opponents, which generally means plenty of chances for the kicker to score as well. The thin air in Denver makes Sports Authority Field at Mile High a welcoming environment for kickers, which is why both the Broncos' Matt Prater and the Ravens' Justin Tucker are among the top five to open the season.

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

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

RkPlayerTeamOPPONENT
1Stephen GostkowskiNEat BUF
2Matt BryantATLat NO
3Blair WalshMINat DET
4Justin TuckerBALat DEN (Thurs.)
5Matt PraterDENvs. BAL (Thurs.)
6Phil DawsonSFvs. GB
7Randy BullockHOUat SD (Mon.)
8Dan BaileyDALvs. NYG
9Greg ZuerleinSTLvs. ARI
10David AkersDETvs. MIN
11Garrett HartleyNOvs. ATL
12Kai ForbathWASvs. PHI (Mon.)
13Josh BrownNYGat DAL
14Sebastian JanikowskiOAKat IND
15Steven HauschkaSEAat CAR
16Robbie GouldCHIvs. CIN

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 1 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Kicker Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 09:00

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