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All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2013-running-back-rankings-week-10

Zac Stacy isn't No. 1 on Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 10 running back rankings, but the rookie is a top-10 option following back-to-back impressive performances. After posting 134 yards rushing on "Monday Night Football" against Seattle in Week 8, Stacy followed that up with 127 yards on the ground this past Sunday against Tennessee. Next up for Stacy is a road trip to Indianapolis to play the Colts, who are allowing 125 yards rushing per game.

Another running back who went for more than 100 yards last week was Adrian Peterson. After gaining 150 yards rushing in his previous three games combined, the reigning MVP busted out against Dallas for 140 yards, including an impressive 11-yard touchdown in which he carried several would-be Cowboy tacklers into the end zone. So while Stacy has recorded back-to-back 100-yard games, the first of his career, Peterson has three this season and a total of 40 since making his NFL debut in 2007. He could add to that total on Thursday when the Vikings host the Redskins. Washington is giving up 117 yards rushing per game, one of the reasons why "All Day" is our No. 1 running back in Week 10.

The other storyline involving running backs this week is, once again, injuries. Arian Foster (back), Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Darren Sproles (concussion) all left their games early last week because of an injury. All three are very questionable to play in Week 10, which could mean more opportunities for Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings and Pierre Thomas, respectively. It also means if you own any of these backs you need to pay close attention to the injury reports before setting your lineup.

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

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

1Adrian PetersonMINvs. WAS (Thurs.)Broke out (140, TD) vs. Cowboys last week.
2Matt ForteCHIvs. DETCame up big on MNF (179 total yds., TD) vs. GB.
3Marshawn LynchSEAat ATLBack to Beast Mode (125 yds.) vs. Bucs.
4Eddie LacyGBvs. PHIWill be leaned on even more w/ Rodgers out.
5Reggie BushDETat CHIBears gave up 199 yards rushing to GB on MNF.
6Knowshon MorenoDENat SDChargers allowing nearly five yards per carry.
7LeSean McCoyPHIat GBJust 44 yds. rushing, but caught 1st TD vs. Raiders.
8Alfred MorrisWASat MIN (Thurs.)Season-high 25 carries, 121 yards vs. Chargers.
9Chris JohnsonTENvs. JACCJ finally broke through (150, 2 TD) vs. Rams.
10Zac StacySTLat INDRookie has 261 yards rushing over last 2 games.
11C.J. SpillerBUFat PITBroke off 61-yard run last week vs. Chiefs.
12Frank GoreSFvs. CARPanthers are No. 2 in NFL vs. rush.
13Le'Veon BellPITvs. BUFPosted season-best 65 yards receiving vs. NE.
14DeMarco MurrayDALat NOReturned from knee injury, had just 31 yds. rushing.
15Fred JacksonBUFat PITSteelers allowing 131.3 yards rushing per game.
16Mike JamesTBvs. MIA (Mon.)Rookie gashed Seahawks for 158 yards rushing.
17Giovani BernardCINat BALAveraged 8.8 ypc w/ 2 TDs vs. Dolphins last week.
18Maurice Jones-DrewJACat TENTitans are 26th against the run.
19Danny WoodheadSDvs. DENLate rushing TD overturned by replay last week.
20Pierre ThomasNOvs. DALIn line for more work if Sproles (concussion) out.
21Lamar MillerMIAat TB (Mon.)Season-high 105 yards on 16 carries vs. Bengals.
22Andre EllingtonARIvs. HOURushed for 154 (incl. 80-yard TD) in last game.
23Ray RiceBALvs. CINOn pace for only 555 yards rushing.
24Ryan MathewsSDvs. DENRan for only 34 yards, after 212 in previous 2 games.
25Steven JacksonATLvs. SEACan SJax gash struggling 'Hawks rush D?
26Ben TateHOUat ARIRushed for 81 yards w/ four broken ribs vs. Colts.
27Trent RichardsonINDvs. STLJust 20 yards rushing on eight carries vs. Texans.
28Andre BrownNYGvs. OAKExpected to make season debut this week.
29Darren SprolesNOvs. DALSustained concussion vs. Jets, monitor status.
30Rashad JenningsOAKat NYGWent for 102 yards after McFadden got hurt.
31BenJarvus Green-EllisCINat BALLed team with 21 carries (72 yds.) vs. Dolphins.
32James StarksGBvs. PHISecond straight game w/ TD backing up Lacy.
33DeAngelo WilliamsCARat SFStewart's return meant less work for Williams.
34Mike TolbertCARat SFPicked up 4th rushing TD of season vs. Falcons.
35Donald BrownINDvs. STLLed Colts with 49 yards rushing on just six carries.
36Shonn GreeneTENvs. JACPicked up rushing TD despite CJ's big day.
37Rashard MendenhallARIvs. HOUHow many touches will he take from Ellington?
38Joique BellDETat CHI 
39Jonathan StewartCARat SFLed team with 43 yards rushing in first game of '13.
40Daniel ThomasMIAat TB (Mon.)Got 12 carries, but only 38 yards vs. Bengals.
41Jacquizz RodgersATLvs. SEASJax' struggles keeping 'Quizz a factor.
42Roy HeluWASat MIN (Thurs.)Inconsistent use makes him hard to trust.
43Dennis JohnsonHOUat ARIHis role dependent on health of Foster/Tate.
44Mark IngramNOvs. DALMay get another chance if Sproles (concussion) is out.
45Montee BallDENat SDWill rookie have bigger role coming off of bye?
46Peyton HillisNYGvs. OAKMay be odd man out with Jacobs and Brown back.
47Kendall HunterSFvs. CAR 
48Brandon JacobsNYGvs. OAKDid bye allow enough time for hamstring to heal?

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams


Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Peyton Manning is coming off of his bye, so order has been restored to Athlon Sports' fantasy football Week 10 quarterback rankings. While Manning is the clear-cut No. 1 this week, it was a different signal-caller who made all the Week 9 headlines while No. 18 was taking a break.

Nick Foles joined Manning in the elite seven touchdown passes club last Sunday by torching an overmatched Raiders pass defense despite playing just one series in the fourth quarter. Foles has another somewhat appealing matchup this Sunday against Green Bay's 20th-ranked passing defense, but it is the Packers' QB situation that is the main storyline for this game. Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone on a sack in the Monday night game against Chicago, sidelining him for at least three weeks. For now, Seneca Wallace appears to be the one who will get the call for the Packers. Wallace's fantasy outlook is uncertain at best, but he didn't necessarily inspire a lot of confidence with his efforts (11-of-19, 114 yards, INT) against the Bears.

Speaking of Chicago, another quarterback injury situation to watch is whether Jay Cutler returns to lead the Bears offense this week against Detroit. Cutler sustained a groin injury in the Week 7 loss to Washington, but there's a chance he may just miss one game. If Cutler can't go, Josh McCown will get his second straight start and it may not be the worst thing for the Bears. McCown looked pretty good in the Monday night win over Green Bay at Lamebeau Field, passing for 272 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers along with a key, 20-yard rush. For now, McCown is the one ranked below and he's a possible bye-week fill-in or 2-QB option this week. If Cutler does get cleared to play, he would be ranked at No. 15, ahead of Terrelle Pryor. Cutler also could be a replacement option for those owners who have Rodgers on their roster.

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

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

1Peyton ManningDENat SDThrew 6 TDs, 2 INTs in 2 wins over Chargers last year.
2Drew BreesNOvs. DALCowboys giving up most fantasy points to QBs.
3Matthew StaffordDETat CHIPut up 242-1-1 w/ rushing TD in Week 4 win over Bears.
4Russell WilsonSEAat ATLQuietly sitting at No. 5 in fantasy points for QBs.
5Cam NewtonCARat SFConfident Cam faces rested 49ers D coming off of bye.
6Andrew LuckINDvs. STLProduced more second-half magic vs. Texans.
7Tony RomoDALat NOSaints have been tough on QBs in fantasy.
8Philip RiversSDvs. DENBroncos allowed season-low 266 yards in last game.
9Robert Griffin IIIWASat MIN (Thurs.)Only one QB has less than 242 yards passing vs. Vikes.
10Colin KaepernickSFvs. CARPanthers have surrendered fewest fantasy pts. to QBs.
11Jake LockerTENvs. JACJags are giving up second-most fantasy pts. to QBs.
12Nick FolesPHIat GBHow will he follow up record-tying 7 TDs vs. Raiders?
13Eli ManningNYGvs. OAKCan Eli take advantage of black hole in Raiders' D?
14Ben RoethlisbergerPITvs. BUFSixth in the NFL in passing yards, but only 12 TDs.
15Terrelle PryorOAKat NYG"Day-to-day" with knee sprain, monitor status.
16Andy DaltonCINat BALFour straight games w/ 300+ yards, but 3 INTs last week.
17Matt RyanATLvs. SEASeahawks ranked second in NFL vs. pass.
18Joe FlaccoBALvs. CINHas 5 TD passes, just 1 INT over his last three games.
19Josh McCownCHIvs. DETLed Bears (272-2-0) to rare Lambeau win on MNF.
20Case KeenumHOUat ARIHas posted 621-4-0 (one fumble) in first two starts.
21Ryan TannehillMIAat TB (Mon.)Thrown for 208 yards or fewer in each of past 3 games.
22Mike GlennonTBvs. MIA (Mon.)Hung in there (168-2-0) on road vs. Seahawks.
23Seneca WallaceGBvs. PHIWallace has some awfully big shoes to fill.
24Christian PonderMINvs. WAS (Thurs.)Kept Vikings in game (236-1-1, rush TD) vs. Cowboys.
25EJ ManuelBUFat PITCould see first action in more than a month (LCL sprain).
26Carson PalmerARIvs. HOUDid bye fix accuracy issues (10 TDs, 14 INTs)?
27Chad HenneJACat TENNo Justin Blackmon rest of this season for Henne/Jags.
28Kellen ClemensSTLat INDBarely completing half of passes, just 1 TD w/ 4 TOs.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams


Week 10 Waiver Wire

Fantasy Football 2013 Quarterback Rankings: Week 10
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouri-qb-james-franklin-likely-return-against-kentucky

James Franklin, a senior, has missed three starts since injuring his shoulder early in the fourth quarter of a victory at Georgia. Since he went down, freshman Maty Mauk has compiled a 2-1 record as the starting quarterback, including a 31-3 victory of Tennessee last week. Pinkel told reporters he was optimistic Franklin would be back next week. "I think he's going to be very close next week," Pinkel said. "We think it's very possible he'll be ready." It looks as if an official decision on Franklin's status for the Kentucky game will come later in the week.

Missouri QB James Franklin likely to return against Kentucky
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 12:02
Path: /college-football/taylor-martinez-likely-out-michigan-game

Taylor Martinez has been battered and bruised this year. After being riddled with turf toe and sidelined for two games, the senior quarterback is now battling a hip pointer and a shoulder injury. He suffered the hip pointer on Oct. 26th and did not play on Nov. 2nd against Northwestern. He is questionable for Saturday's game against Michigan. Freshman Tommy Armstrong will make his second straight start. Last week he was 15 of 29 for 173 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. He rushed 17 times for 69 yards and a score. Backup Ron Kellogg III will also see time.

Taylor Martinez likely out for Michigan game
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 11:36
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-6-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Nov. 6.


Today is Rebecca Romijn's 41st birthday. Join us in celebrating this all-time great.


We have a winner for Worst Call of the Year. Nominations are closed. No more submissions.


An exuberant female fan tore Ryan Lochte's MCL. Jeah.


Toronto's circus clown of a mayor wore a 1995 NFL tie to the press conference where he admitted smoking crack in a drunken stupor. That might be the most bizarre sentence I've ever written.


Coach Philbin, did you order the Code Red? "You're G-d- right I did!"


ESPN's ride-along with Les Miles was pretty much what you'd hope it would be.


This news item doesn't bode well for Mack Brown's future at Texas.


Speaking of the Longhorns, Nick Saban's agent isn't exactly diffusing those Saban-to-Texas rumors.


An East Coast Hockey League team is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in style. I'd have gone with stovepipe hats.


• Here's a depressing way to spend a Wednesday: Scan these sports facts that will make you feel incredibly old. Here's a sample: The NHL glowing puck experiment was 15 years ago.


A Hump Day preview of the SEC game of the week: Bama-LSU.


• Tiger Woods hit a drive that spanned two continents.




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

Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 10:59
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Video, videos, MAC, Overtime, News
Path: /college-football/worst-officiating-moments-sports-history

Officiating in any sport is a difficult assignment. Mistakes are going to be made each week, but some errors are bigger than others.

There have been numerous bad calls in sports history, but we rounded up 16 of the worst in recent memory, including Tuesday night’s “safety” recorded by Buffalo against Ohio.

Worst Officiating Moments in Sports History

2013: Buffalo Awarded Safety on Intentional Grounding 

Midweek MAC games are one of the more entertaining parts of college football’s November schedule. However, the Buffalo-Ohio game from Tuesday night won’t be remembered for a quality game between two potential bowl teams. Instead, awful officiating will overshadow Buffalo’s 30-3 win.

Early in the second half, Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton was pressured out of the pocket and threw a pass to avoid a sack, which resulted in an intentional grounding call. However, the referees ruled Tettleton was in the endzone, and Buffalo was awarded a safety.

But there’s only one problem: Tettleton wasn’t in the endzone – he was on the four-yard line.



2012: Green Bay vs. Seattle: Golden Tate’s Hail Mary "Catch"
Replacement officials made plenty of glaring errors through the first three weeks of the 2012 NFL season but none bigger than the one that occurred between the Seattle-Green Bay matchup on Monday night. With the Seahawks trailing 12-7 with seconds remaining, quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a pass to the corner of the endzone, which appeared to be intercepted by Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings. However, the officials ruled Seattle receiver Golden Tate wrestled away control and award the catch to the Seahawks. Making matters worse for Green Bay, Tate clearly pushed off on a defensive back, which allowed him to get into position for the catch. 


Tuck Rule – Oakland vs. New England in 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs
It’s not unusual for the rules to be changed, tweaked or adjusted from season to season, depending upon the circumstances. For the most part, the changes go largely unnoticed unless something happens to bring them into the spotlight. That was certainly the case in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs as the entire world was introduced to what would become known simply as the “Tuck Rule.” Playing in a driving snowstorm at home, New England trailed Oakland 13-10 in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes remaining. Still out of field goal range, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropped back to pass and dropped the football after being hit. The Raiders recovered and seemingly put an end to the Patriots’ hopes. However, upon further review, referee Walt Coleman reversed the call on the field of a fumble, according to the “Tuck Rule,” which was introduced in 1999. Coleman explained on national TV that Brady had started to throw a forward pass and then lost possession of the ball as he was trying to bring it back, tuck it, into his body. The overturned call made it an incomplete pass and Brady was able to put Adam Vinatieri into position to make a game-tying 45-yard field goal with 27 seconds left on the clock. The Patriots would go on to win in overtime and eventually capture the first of their three Super Bowl titles during the 2000s.

1972 Russia vs. United States Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Game
The United States Olympic basketball team entered the 1972 Games in Munich having never suffered a loss in the history of the Games, and it looked as if their streak would continue with a 50-49 win over the Soviets in the gold medal game. The officials had other ideas. In perhaps the most controversial sports ending ever, the Soviets got three attempts to score. After two questionable clock resettings, a length-of the floor pass was thrown to Alexander Belov, who made a layup at the buzzer for what remains in the record books a 51-50 win — even if the members of the U.S. team refuse to acknowledge it.

1999 Pittsburgh vs. Detroit: Thanksgiving Day Coin Toss
Normally, the refs’ eyesight is called into question, but on Thanksgiving Day 1999, an official’s hearing was the issue. As the Steelers-Lions game headed into overtime, Luckett conducted the coin toss. Steelers captain Jerome Bettis called “tails,” but somehow Luckett heard “heads,” awarding possession to the Lions, who took advantage and won the game. The blunder caused the league to change its coin toss procedure — too little, too late for the Steelers.

Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga’s Near-Perfect Game
Detroit starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game on June 2, 2010 in Comerica Park against Cleveland when the Indians Jason Donald stepped up to the plate. Donald hit an easy grounder to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera who flipped the ball to Galaragga covering first, only to watch helplessly as first base umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe. Galaragga would retire the next batter for the one-hit shutout, but in the minds of the Tigers team and fans in attendance, the damage had already been done. After the game, Joyce willingly and profusely admitted his mistake and took it upon himself to personally apologize to Galaragga. Both men deserve credit for how each of them handled the situation, as they will be forever linked because of it.

Jerry Meals’ Bad Call at Home Ends 19-inning marathon between Braves and Pirates
No one wants to see any baseball game end on a bad call at home, let alone one that lasted 19 innings, but that’s what happened in Atlanta on July 26, 2011. Actually, the game didn’t officially end until July 27 as the Braves and Pirates started on Tuesday night and played into the early hours of Wednesday morning to settle this one. And in the end, the only reason it ended in the bottom of the 19th was because home plate umpire Jerry Meals egregiously called Julio Lugo safe at home although Pirates catcher Michael McKenry clearly applied the tag before Lugo’s foot crossed the plate. What exactly Meals saw only he can answer, but all you need to do is listen to the contrasting calls by the teams’ respective broadcasts and realize that there’s little doubt he missed this one.

The Fifth Down Game – 1990 – Colorado at Missouri
The Buffaloes claimed a share of the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech, but the season was overshadowed by a controversial finish against Missouri. Colorado was awarded a fifth down late in the game, which allowed it to score the game-winning touchdown. Quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball on first down, while running back Eric Bieniemy was stopped at the one-yard line on second down. On third down, Bieniemy was stopped at the goal-line, which forced Johnson to spike the ball on “fourth down”. However, Johnson’s spike on first down apparently went unnoticed, as the Buffaloes scored on a touchdown run on "fifth down" to seal the victory. The Buffaloes went on to finish the year with an 11-1 record and a 10-9 victory over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.

Mike Renfro Ruled out of Bounds in 1979 AFC Championship Game
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the NFL’s team of the 1970s winning four Super Bowls in a span of six seasons (1974-79). The team they defeated to get to the last two during this run was the Houston Oilers. While the Oilers put up little resistance in the 1978 AFC Championship Game, losing 34-5, it’s the one that took place the following season that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Oilers fans. Leading 17-10 in the third quarter, Houston wide receiver Mike Renfro appeared to put the Oilers in a position to tie the game, when he made an incredible catch in the back corner of the end zone. Television replays confirmed the catch, but the officials, who did not have the benefit of instant replay back then, ruled it an incompletion. The Oilers had to settle for a field goal and the Steelers would go on to a 27-13 victory.

Kent Hrbek’s “Hard Tag” on Ron Gant in 1991 World Series
Who says baseball is not a contact sport? In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series Minnesota first baseman Kent Hrbek and Atlanta outfielder Ron Gant were involved in a play that not only would have made a wreslter proud, but turned out to a be a pivotal play when all was said and done. Trailing by one run in the top of the third, Gant singled to left off of Twins starter Kevin Tapani to seemingly put runners on first and third with two outs and David Justice on deck. The throw from the outfield rolled away from the fielder briefly, however, resulting in Gant taking a fairly wide turn around first. After retrieving the ball, Tapani threw to Hrbek at first in hopes of catching Gant off base. Even though Gant made it safely back to the bag before Hrbek could apply the tag; the burly first baseman lifted Gant off of the first all the while keeping his glove on Gant. Umpire Drew Coble called Gant out, ending the Braves’ threat, and the Twins would go on to win Game 2 by one run, 3-2, and the World Series in seven. Tapani made the out possible by throwing back to first, with Hrbek receiving two points for a textbook takedown.

1998 – Seahawks vs. Jets – Vinny Testaverde’s "touchdown"
Although the Seahawks benefitted from a blown call on Monday night, they were the victim of poor officiating in 1998. In an early December matchup in New York, Seattle lost 32-31 on a phantom touchdown run by Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde. With no instant reply, the Seahawks were unable to challenge the call, even though it was clear Testaverde never crossed the goal-line.

1986 World Cup: Argentina vs. England
The 1986 World Cup Finals between Argentina and England was one of the most incredible soccer matches in the history of the sport, due in no small part to Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal. Maradona punched the ball with his left hand past the English keeper and into the goal during Argentina’s 2-1 win, and referee Ali Bin Nasser failed to see the infraction. Afterward, Maradona famously commented that his goal came “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” and the phrase entered the sports lexicon. 

Cardinals-Royals: 1985 World Series
The Cardinals were three outs away from winning the 1985 World Series, when umpire Don Denkinger infamously intervened. The Cardinals led the Royals three games to two and took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning of Game 6. The inning's leadoff batter, Jorge Orta, sent a chopper to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed the ball to pitcher Todd Worrell at first base, clearly beating Orta by a half-step. Clearly, that is, to everyone but Denkinger, who called Orta safe, leading to a two-run rally. The Royals went on to win Game 7 over the deflated Cards 11-0.

2006 Oregon vs. Oklahoma: Onside Kick Error
The Sooners suffered a huge blow to their national title hopes in 2006, as bad officiating cost Oklahoma a win in Eugene. The Sooners led 33-20 with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but Oregon scored on a 16-yard touchdown run by Dennis Dixon with just over a minute to go. The Ducks recovered the onside kick, but replay clearly showed the kick hit one of their players before going 10 yards. Although instant replay was used, Oregon kept the ball, and Dennis Dixon hit Brian Paysinger for a 23-yard touchdown pass to win the game. The officials from the Oklahoma-Oregon matchup were suspended one game due to the missed calls late in the fourth quarter.


1979 Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan: Charles White’s "touchdown"
The 1979 Rose Bowl matchup was a much-anticipated game between two top-five teams. USC entered the 1979 Rose Bowl at 11-1, while Michigan was 10-1. In the second quarter, Charles White appeared to score, which would give USC a 14-3 lead. However, a closer look revealed White fumbled before he reached the endzone and was incorrectly ruled a touchdown by the officiating crew. Considering the final score was 17-10, the “touchdown” proved to be the difference and propelled USC to a finish of No. 1 in the UPI poll.

Dallas vs. Buffalo Stanley Cup: Goal or No Goal?
Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars scored the Stanley Cup series-clinching goal in triple overtime of game six against the Buffalo Sabres. Too bad it was apparently illegal, even if the officials allowed it to stand. When Hull scored, his foot was in the crease, but the puck was not — a no-no, even though the NHL tried a semantics tap-dance around the issue by claiming they had issued a memo allowing goals when the scorer had control of the puck prior to his skate entering the crease. The Sabres' reply? "No goal," which became the franchise rallying cry. 


Honorable Mention

2005 – Florida vs. Vanderbilt – Earl Bennett’s “celebration penalty”
Winning at Florida is never easy for any team in the SEC, but Vanderbilt’s last win in Gainesville occurred in 1945. The Commodores were on the verge of an upset victory in 2005, as Jay Cutler hit receiver Earl Bennett on a six-yard touchdown pass with less than one minute to go to bring Vanderbilt within one point. The Commodores were prepared to go for two, however, the officials flagged Bennett for excessive celebration, which forced the Commodores to kick the extra point and play for overtime. Bennett’s penalty is one of the most egregious celebration flags in recent memory and prevented Vanderbilt from a two-point conversion that could have won and allowed the Commodores to get bowl eligible. 

Chuck Knoblauch’s Phantom Tag in 1999 ALCS
The Red Sox were trailing the Yankees by one when they batted in the bottom of the eighth in Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS. With one out, Jose Offerman singled off of Andy Pettitte to seemingly start a rally. It was quickly snuffed out, however, when John Valentin grounded into an inning-ending double play, one that was made possible by Knoblauch’s now-infamous “Phantom Tag” of Offerman at second, with an assist from second base umpire Tim Tschida. The Yankees would go on to score six more runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away and then put the Red Sox away in with a series-clinching win the next night in Fenway Park. The hated Yankees would break the hearts or Red Sox nation yet again in the 2003 ALCS, this time in seven games, before exacting some revenge the next year in a season that would finally put an end to the “Curse of the Bambino” after 86 years.

Worst Officiating Moments in Sports History
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 10:30
Path: /nascar/fantasy-nascar-picks-phoenix-international-raceway-0

To help guide you through the 2013 Fantasy NASCAR season, Athlon Sports contributor Geoffrey Miller will be offering his best predictions for each race. And because Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing game is arguably the most popular, he’ll break down the picks according to its Sprint Cup Series driver classes — A-List, B-List, C-List. The main picks are designed to make optimal use of Yahoo!’s nine-start maximum rule over the course of the season. The “also consider” section ranks unmentioned drivers strictly by expected result without consideration of start limitations.

Next: Advocare 500k
Race: 312 miles (500k)/312 laps (1-mile D-shaped oval)
February 2013 winner: Carl Edwards

A-List (Pick two, start one)
Brad Keselowski

There’s little doubt that Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth will venture to the front this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. But there’s also little doubt that many fantasy players are cashed out of starts for the two title contenders. That’s why you should look toward Brad Keselowski for Sunday’s 500-kilometer race.

Keselowski hasn’t won at Phoenix, but he does have a pair of top-5 finishes (including one a year ago that propelled him toward the championship when Johnson suffered trouble) and average finish of 8.2 since the repave. More telling? Keselowski has been incredibly consistent in the four races since the track’s 2011 overhaul. He’s run 90.6 percent of the four races (1,140 laps) inside the top 15. That’s the best in the series by nearly seven percent.

Denny Hamlin  Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth
Denny Hamlin probably doesn’t have fond recent memories of Phoenix. Back in February, Hamlin was fined by NASCAR for innocuous comments he made about the Gen-6 car after a follow-the-leader affair. But Hamlin has otherwise been very good at Phoenix — especially since the repave. In those four races, he’s finished 12th, first, second and third.

That gives Hamlin an average finish of 4.5 at Phoenix since the reconfiguration, easily good enough for the best in the series. He’s also the only driver to have three top-5 finishes since the 2011 repave and one of two to have three top-10 runs.

Also consider: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick

B-List (Pick four, start two)
Carl Edwards  Carl Edwards

It was his pit crew that gave Carl Edwards the big assist to land a win in the season’s second event at Phoenix earlier this year, but the Missouri native has long been good at the track. Edwards trails only Hamlin among drivers who have scored the most points at the track since the repave in 2011 (151 points) and he’s led 149 laps along the way. He joins Hamlin as one of two drivers to score lead-lap finishes in all four of those races, too. Edwards may start a bit further back — he’s averaging a start around 15th in the last four races — but expect him to nab positions as the race wears on.

Joey Logano
Joey Logano left Texas Motor Speedway with an impressive yet silent third-place finish. He could easily roll that in to another good finish as his first season as a Chase contender comes to a close. Logano has the second-best percentage of laps raced inside the top 15 among B-List drivers (76.5 percent) in the last four Phoenix races. Logano would have a better average finish at Phoenix in that span (it’s currently 18.5) but he was a victim of the Jeff Gordon vs. Clint Bowyer mess at the track last fall.

Kyle Busch
After leading 237 laps last fall at Phoenix and finishing third, Kyle Busch looked like a good pick for the spring race after he qualified fourth. But then he started at the back thanks to an engine change and was scrambling to the front when he lost it on Lap 48 and slapped the wall. Busch was able to continue, but the damage hurt the car’s handling and he was only able to salvage a 23rd-place finish. Without the pressure of coming through the field, Busch figures to be pretty good Sunday. He has two top-10 finishes on the new Phoenix layout.

Kurt Busch
We’ve been waiting all season for Kurt Busch to finally take the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 to victory lane. Among the two chances he has left, Phoenix strikes as the best opportunity. Busch finished an unremarkable 27th in the spring race, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the team had to bring out a backup car after a leaking radiator put him in the wall during qualifying. Busch drove the car all the way to sixth by Lap 140 before he had some handling trouble later in the race, smacked the wall and finished a lap down. A year ago, in one his first starts with FRR, Busch drove to an eighth-place finish here.

Also consider: Mark Martin, Jeff Burton

C-List (Pick two, start one)
Bobby Labonte

As of now, the 2000 Sprint Cup Series champion has no ride lined up for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and has nothing secured for the 2014 season. In other words, Sunday’s race at Phoenix has the chance of being Labonte’s last in a Sprint Cup car. He’s a good sentimental pick for that reason, but also a decent choice for the C-List. In the four races in the current configuration, Labonte has an average finish of 19th.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has one start at Phoenix in his Sprint Cup career — the one he made in February at the one-mile track. He finished a very respectable 16th that day, following up on success he’s found in the desert during Nationwide Series races. In six of those starts, Stenhouse has nothing but top-10 finishes. In the races since the 2011 repave, he was fifth, third and third. Obviously, Phoenix isn’t a track that has mystified the Roush-Fenway Racing driver.

Also consider: David Reutimann, J.J. Yeley

Follow Geoffrey Miller on Twitter: @GeoffreyMiller
Photos by Action Sports, Inc.

Geoffrey Miller breaks down the best Fantasy NASCAR picks for the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 10:08
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-10-heisman-trophy-voting

Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's best college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, so on and so forth. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.

With five of the top 10 teams and seven and of the top 20 in the rankings off last weekend, nothing really changed in the Heisman standings. In fact, the top six didn't change at all in any way. The top two still stand above the rest as Marcus Mariota didn’t play and Jameis Winston was human (325 yards, TD, 2 INT) instead of superhuman against previously unbeaten Miami. Johnny Manziel posted huge numbers… against UTEP. And some small school stars continued to post huge numbers for their unbeaten teams.

Something tells me, however, that the Athlon Sports Heisman balloting could shift dramatically after Week 11.

Post-Week 10 Voting Results:

1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon6312-1--
2.(2)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St49-103--
3.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M4113711
4.(4)Bryce PettyQBBaylor17--162
5.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama9--122
6.(6)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois4----4
7t.(ur)Connor ShawQBS. Carolina2---1-
7t.(ur)Ka'Deem CareyRBArizona2---1-
7t.(ur)Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville2---1-
7t.(8)Brandin CooksWROregon St2---1-
7t.(ur)Derek CarrQBFresno St2----2
7t.(7)Sean MannionQBOregon St2----2

Heisman Headlines:

All. Bets. Are. Off. To quote one of the greatest movies ever made, all bets are off this weekend. Week 11 is where the Heisman Trophy should be won and lost. Oregon and Marcus Mariota visit No. 5 Stanford. AJ McCarron and Alabama host No. 13 LSU. Bryce Petty and the Bears get No. 10 Oklahoma at home. Mariota is 20-1 as a starter and hasn’t thrown an interception since losing to Stanford at home last November. McCarron has had two career-defining and BCS title-winning moments against the Tigers. Petty has played one tough game in his entire career and the battle with the Sooners is just the first in a month of brutal tests for the Bears' signal-caller. Sit back and enjoy Week 11, folks, it should be fun.

Tough as Nails. South Carolina’s Connor Shaw is an absolute pleasure to watch play. He is a leader, hard-nosed, fights through injury and is a winner. He is 23-5 as a starter and is coming off yet another stellar performance against Mississippi State. He threw four touchdowns in the blowout win over the Bulldogs and didn’t turn the ball over. It gives him 21 total touchdowns and only one interception on the season. He also has a signature Heisman moment by leading Carolina from behind on the road on one leg against Mizzou. The Carolina signal-caller deserves more Heisman mention if MAC and Mountain West players are getting votes.

Small School Stars. Derek Carr and Jordan Lynch are the prized gems of “mid-major” football this season as both Fresno State and Northern Illinois are unbeaten. Lynch threw for 160 yards, rushed for 119 yards and scored five total touchdowns in the blowout win over UMass. Carr threw for 487 yards and three touchdowns over Nevada. Lynch is fourth in the nation with 1,150 yards rushing and Carr is third in passing with 3,061 yards. Both have big showdowns looming against Ball State (Nov. 13) and Wyoming (Nov. 9) in the next 10 days. Lynch has been getting votes for most of the 2013 season but Carr appeared this week on two ballots.

New Faces. In addition to Connor Shaw and Derek Carr showing up, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey shows up this week. The Wildcats running back is leading the nation in rushing (153.1 ypg) and posted his 11th consecutive 100-yard game. Rich Rodriguez’ team has won three straight in the Pac-12 and two straight on the road. With UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State on the slate in November, Carey — and possibly quarterback B.J. Denker — could gain some Heisman notoriety.

Dropped Out. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon carried just 17 times for 62 yards while James White (130 yards, 2 TD) was the star of UW’s win over Iowa. Mike Evans caught just four passes for 46 yards and a TD against lowly UTEP. Washington’s Bishop Sankey was off and fell completely out of sight and mind.

The Voting Panel:

NameOrganizationWebsiteNo. 1
Tom DienhartBig Ten NetworkBigTenNetwork.comMarcus Mariota
Bryan FischerPac-12 NetworkPac-12.comMarcus Mariota
David FoxAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Braden GallAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Steven GodfreySB NationSBNation.comMarcus Mariota
Chris HustonHeisman PunditHeismanPundit.comMarcus Mariota
Steven LassanAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Chris LevelRed Raider SportsRedRaiderSports.comMarcus Mariota
Mitch LightAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Billy LiucciTexAgsTexAgs.comJohnny Manziel
Dan RubensteinSB Nation/Solid VerbalSolidVerbal.comMarcus Mariota
Josh WardMr. SEC/WNMLMrSEC.comMarcus Mariota
Jim YoungACC Sports JournalACCSports.comMarcus Mariota


College Football: Post-Week 10 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/will-baylor-finish-2013-regular-season-unbeaten

Baylor enters the final month of the season on the verge of a special year. The Bears won 18 games from 2011-12, but coach Art Briles has positioned this team for a run at the national championship.

Baylor has rolled to a 7-0 start, winning five games by 40 points or more. The offense has led the way, averaging 63.9 points and 717.3 yards per game.

But the defense has made improvement under coordinator Phil Bennett, which could hold the key to winning a Big 12 title.

Although Baylor is off to a 7-0 start, the schedule is about to get tougher. The Bears host Oklahoma on Thursday night, followed by a neutral site game against Texas Tech. Baylor will spend its next two games on the road, including a trip to Oklahoma State on Nov. 23. The Bears also close with Texas, which could be a defacto Big 12 title game. 

Will Baylor Finish the 2013 Regular Season Unbeaten?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
While some of the conference title races are starting to wind down, the Big 12 is about to heat up. Baylor has to be considered the favorite to win the Big 12, but Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas – yes Texas – still have a chance to win the conference title. The Bears’ offense is simply lethal and the numbers are staggering through seven games. Baylor leads the nation with an average of 718.4 yards per game, averages 9.1 yards per play and ranks first nationally in passing and scoring offense. The defense has been overlooked, but this unit has made strides after allowing six opponents to score at least 40 points in 2012. The schedule hasn’t been overwhelmingly taxing, but Baylor leads the Big 12 in conference-only games by holding opponents to 330.3 yards per game. The Bears are one of only two teams in the Big 12 allowing less than five yards per play. Although Baylor’s offense is among the nation’s best, and the defense is making progress, I think the Bears will stumble once. Oklahoma State is the game that stands out on the schedule, especially since the Cowboys have started to find their rushing attack over the last few weeks. Baylor’s smallest margin of victory came at Kansas State – 35 to 25 – as the Wildcats rushed for 327 yards in that matchup. If Oklahoma State’s offense matches its performances from Iowa State and Texas Tech against Baylor, the Cowboys could end the Bears’ perfect record. While I think Baylor stumbles once, the Bears are still my pick to win the Big 12 title. 

Mark Ross
Can the Bears run the table in the Big 12? Put me in the "it's possible, but not likely" camp. Yes, Baylor has been pretty much unstoppable on offense, currently leading the nation in total yards, points and passing, and only one game has been decided by fewer than 31 points. However, the Bears also have taken advantage of a fairly easy schedule. Of the six FBS teams Baylor has defeated, only two of them have a winning record and those two are mid-majors Buffalo (6-2) and Louisiana-Monroe (5-4). The four Big 12 teams the Bears have destroyed - Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia - are a combined 11-22 overall and 4-17 in conference play. Needless to say, Baylor has done an excellent job of beating up the bottom of the Big 12. Now it's time to see how it matches up against the upper tier, starting with Thursday's home date with Oklahoma. If anything, we should find out in this game which defense is more legitimate in terms of its national ranking - No. 10 Oklahoma or No. 11 Baylor. Even if the Bears beat the Sooners there are still four tough games left to close out their conference slate. So one thing's for certain, should Art Briles' bunch finish the regular season undefeated, these Bears will have earned that automatic BCS bid.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
All of Baylor's work is still ahead of it and the run at a Big 12 title and unbeaten season begins Thursday night with a visit from Oklahoma. The Bears will be on their toes, rested and focused against a team that it has only beaten once in school history — the last time the Sooners came to town in 2011. Art Briles' bunch will top Oklahoma and then Texas Tech the following week at home, but will slip up once in the final three weeks. A trip to Stillwater is looking tougher and tougher as Oklahoma State continues to improve and a visit from the Longhorns in the season finale could be a de facto Big 12 championship game. Baylor is a really, really good team, but Briles knows all too well that strange things happen to unbeaten teams in November — in particular, on the road. An 11-1 season could still give Baylor its first Big 12 title and first BCS bowl bid but would knock them out of the national championship race. I think Bears fans would take that to the bank.

Coach Fisher DeBerry, former head coach of Air Force and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Baylor has played well but they have only played one tough game. Against Kansas State they scored only 35 points, which is about half the amount of the points they have been averaging in all their other games. The meat of their schedule starts with their next game on Thursday night against Oklahoma. I don't think they will be able to stay undefeated with all the tougher teams left on their schedule from the Big 12.  Baylor could easily lose two games out of the next five games left on their schedule.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Baylor has done great things this season and may be the top team in the Big 12, but I’d expect the Bears to drop a game in the final five games. The question is where. Baylor’s offense has proven it can score even 35 points on a bad day. No offense in the league, except maybe Texas Tech, can really match that. My bigger question is the defense. Baylor’s numbers are impressive, but the Bears have played only one team ranked higher than 77th nationally in total offense. And that team was Kansas State, a team that didn’t start to round into form offensively until recent weeks. Meanwhile, we’re seeing teams like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas start to find a groove on offense. While it would be fun to see Baylor go undefeated and contend for a national title, I’d expect the Bears to get tripped up somewhere. Still, winning the Big 12 and going to the Fiesta Bowl would be a banner season for Art Briles and the Bears.

Will Baylor Finish the 2013 Regular Season Unbeaten?
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-11

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 11.

Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.

Oregon will be the No. 1 team in the nation
The Ducks and Florida State Seminoles have been flip-flopping for No. 2 nationally ever since the first release of the BCS. However, after Oregon visits No. 5 Stanford on Thursday night, the Ducks will not only put the Noles in the rearview but No. 1 Alabama as well. The Ducks are better on both sides of the ball this year and Stanford has been wildly inconsistent on offense. It will be a great game but Oregon will pull away in the second half. Meanwhile, the Tide could struggle against LSU — a team that is 6-1 in its last seven trips to Tuscaloosa. Should Alabama struggle, or even lose to the Bayou Bengals, then Oregon has a chance to be the No. 1 team in the nation come Sunday evening.

Auburn will rush for 400 yards in Knoxville
The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing offense at 306.2 yards per game this season. The Volunteers are dead last in the SEC in rushing defense at 201.7 yards allowed per game. Put those two together and add a freshman quarterback for Tennessee and odds are Auburn rolls up a big number on the ground. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has been dinged up but tailback Tre Mason has picked up the slack. He carried a career-high 32 times for a career-high four touchdowns and posted his second-best career rushing total of 168 yards last week against Arkansas. Mason is leading the SEC in rushing TDs (13) and is No. 3 in rushing (921 yards). 

Oklahoma will hold Baylor to half its scoring average… and still lose
The Bears lead the nation in scoring and total offense with 63.9 points and 717.3 yards per game. Oklahoma is a top 10 team and has lost only once to Baylor in school history. That, of course, came in 2011 when Robert Griffin III won the Heisman by leading Baylor past the Sooners in dramatic fashion. Bryce Petty has a similar opportunity this Thursday night. Baylor will score no more than 31 points against the best defense it has faced all season but will still win as OU struggles to score once again. It won’t be enough to win Petty a stiff-armed trophy but it keeps Baylor in the national title hunt.

Arizona and UCLA will combine for 10 rushing TDs
Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker is fifth in the Pac-12 with 11 rushing touchdowns after scoring five times on the ground during Arizona’s three-game winning streak. His backfield mate Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher, is sixth in the league with 10 rushing scores. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is 11th in the Pac-12 with six rushing touchdowns and Bruins tailback Jordan James, who returned last week, is 13th in the league with five rushing scores. Don’t be shocked in a high-scoring game if these two teams don’t combine for double-digit rushing touchdowns.

Logan Thomas and Stephen Morris will throw eight INTs
Virginia Tech and Miami square off in Coral Gables this Saturday in a Coastal Division elimination game. Both have extremely talented signal-callers who have fallen on hard times. Thomas has turned the ball over eight times in the last two games — both Tech losses — including six interceptions. Morris has thrown eight interceptions in the last three games. Thomas leads the ACC with 12 INTs and Morris is tied for second with Virginia’s David Watford with 10 on the year. Together, they average 2.5 interceptions per game, but with two solid defenses, don’t be surprised if the duo combines for seven or eight turnovers.

Minnesota will be 8-2 this year
Seriously, read that again. With a win at home against a three-loss Penn State team this weekend, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will move to 8-2. Four of those wins will have come without the services of head coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers haven’t won eight games in a season since 2003 and haven’t posted a winning record since '08. This after starting Big Ten play with two losses to Iowa and Michigan by a combined score of 65-20. Read that headline again: Minnesota will be 8-2. Bill O’Brien must be asking himself: "In order to conquer him, I have to think like an animal, and whenever possible, to look like one. I got inside this dude’s pelt and crawl around for a few days. Who is the gopher’s eye?”

Houston will be the only unbeaten in AAC play
This would easily be one of the most outrageous predictions had it been made in the summer. Louisville has already been upset by UCF, leaving the Knights and the Cougars as the lone unbeatens in AAC play left this fall. And Houston will face the Knights this weekend in Florida. Houston has scored a point in all 32 quarters it has played this season and has scored at least 35 points in three consecutive games. Houston and star freshman quarterback John O’Korn will top Central Florida and Georgia O’Leary to remain as the league’s last unbeaten team in league play. The Cougars also will score in each quarter, pushing their miraculous streak to 36 quarters with at least one point.

Arizona State will score 50 points for the fifth straight Pac-12 game
The Sun Devils have been cruising on offense of late. Arizona State scored 62 against USC and got Lane Kiffin fired. It followed that up with 54 against Colorado, 53 against Washington and 55 against Washington State. In it’s last two home games, however, Utah has gone toe-to-toe with two of the best teams in the Pac-12 in UCLA and Stanford, including a win over the then-No. 5 Cardinal the last time the Utes played at home. Utah allowed just 260 yards of offense last weekend but won’t be able to stop ASU. Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly has been on a tear of late, scoring seven times last weekend, and torched the Utes for 326 yards and three touchdowns last season in Tempe. Look for ASU to impress on the road in a tough place to play against a solid defense.

Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 11
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/who-no-2-team-sec-behind-alabama

The SEC still reigns as college football’s premier conference in 2013. Alabama ranks as the No. 1 team in the BCS standings, and five other teams from the SEC are among the top 15 in the latest release.

While Alabama is clearly the No. 1 team in the SEC, there’s plenty of debate at No. 2.

Missouri, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina each have a legitimate argument for the No. 2 spot. And if healthy, Georgia deserves to be a part of the discussion.

LSU will have a chance to stake its claim to the No. 2 spot against Alabama this Saturday and in a late-season matchup against Texas A&M.

Auburn also has two huge opportunities in the coming weeks, as the Tigers still have to play Georgia and Alabama.

Who is the No. 2 Team in the SEC Behind Alabama?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s definitely no obvious answer to this question. I like the way Auburn is playing, but this team lost to LSU earlier this year. If these two teams played tomorrow, would the outcome be different? Perhaps. Texas A&M’s defense is too much of a liability to pick the Aggies at No. 2 – even with two of the best offensive players in the nation in quarterback Johnny Manziel and receiver Mike Evans. If the choice isn’t Auburn and Texas A&M, then the selection has to be LSU, Missouri or South Carolina. Considering the Gamecocks beat Missouri, LSU and South Carolina are the only two teams left to choose from. It’s essentially a tossup in this battle, but I give a slight edge to the Gamecocks. Even if Steve Spurrier’s team isn’t overwhelming on the stat sheet, there's still plenty to like about this squad. Running back Mike Davis is one of the best in the SEC, and quarterback Connor Shaw just finds a way to win. The defense, which is led by one of the nation's best defensive lines, ranks third in SEC only games in fewest yards allowed, and only one opponent has managed more than 30 points (Georgia) on this unit in 2013. And with three home games to finish the year, South Carolina should finish 10-2 and will have a chance to edge Missouri for the SEC East title. If Georgia was at full strength, I would take the Bulldogs over the Gamecocks. But South Carolina is healthier, and the combination of Davis and Shaw is tough to beat. 

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I’ll take LSU. The Tigers are flawed and don’t appear to be playing at the same level we’ve seen the last three seasons, but which team should be ranked higher than LSU? Georgia has dropped off since it beat LSU at home on Sept. 28. Auburn is playing at a high level, but LSU won the head-to-head matchup without too much trouble. Texas A&M will have a chance to show its better than LSU when the two teams square off in Baton Rouge later this month, but right now Texas A&M’s defense and two home losses hurt the Aggies’ resume. Missouri? Not yet. LSU still has elite talent on both sides of the ball and has the ability to score with anyone in the country if quarterback Zach Mettenberger takes care of the football. Alabama has looked like it’s clearly the No. 1 team in the SEC. LSU has spent the last two weeks hoping to prove otherwise. We’ll see on Saturday how wide that gap is between No. 1 and 2.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The best team in the SEC other than Alabama is South Carolina, and I don’t know if there’s much doubt. The funny thing about South Carolina is they’re not the best in the SEC in anything. They’re not even in the top two or three of most categories. South Carolina doesn’t have the offense of Texas A&M, the defense of Alabama or even the pass rush of Missouri. But Carolina is solid around the board. Steve Spurrier can count on Mike Davis to give him 150 yards from scrimmage in every game. He can count on Connor Shaw to play sound quarterback and grind out yards on the ground. And, though, Jadeveon Clowney had his question marks early in the year, Spurrier can count on his defense to give his team a chance to win. In this SEC this season, where injuries and bad defenses abound, that’s enough to be No. 2 behind Alabama.

Mark Ross
LSU may have two losses in conference play already, but I think the Tigers are the second-best team in the SEC. Both of LSU's losses have come by three points and were on the road. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has thrived in first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's offense and even though the defense lost a lot of talent to the NFL, it's still a borderline top-20 unit nationally. As well as Missouri has played, I'm not sold on its defense and think those Tigers have benefited from an easier schedule and gotten some significant breaks along the way. South Carolina is in the conversation, but the Gamecocks have been too inconsistent for my tastes, while Auburn drops out by virtue of its earlier loss to LSU. That leaves the Bayou Bengals, who to me are the most talented SEC team on both sides of the ball not named Alabama, and I think that balance is what gives them the edge here. We'll see on Saturday how well these Tigers match up with the two-time defending BCS champs on their own home turf. No better way to prove you're No. 2 then by going toe-to-toe with No. 1, right?

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
None of the above? This is a great debate with literally half of a dozen answers. Auburn is playing the best football of any other team in the West right now but was defeated on the road early in the year in fairly convincing fashion by LSU. This isn't a vintage Auburn roster, either. The Bayou Bengals have the second-best roster in the West but aren't playing very well and have defensive issues. Texas A&M has the best player in the league but little else to support him. That leaves, in my opinion, Missouri and South Carolina battling for second best. Both are playing excellent football right now with the exception of the Tigers’ final 15 minutes against the Gamecocks two weeks ago. Both have storied coaches, great defenses and confident leaders under center. Frankly, all of these teams are about the same: Missouri, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M. In fact, a slightly healthier Georgia belongs in that conversation too. The good news is the answer will fall into our laps. Should Missouri go unbeaten the rest of the way by beating Ole Miss and Texas A&M, then Mizzou would be the clear-cut No. 2 team. If the Tigers lose and the Gamecocks get to Atlanta, then the answer is clearly South Carolina. And because Alabama will put both LSU and Auburn in their rightful places, the winner of the East would be my final answer. And for now, that is the Gamecocks due to a head-to-head victory on the road.

Who is the No. 2 Team in the SEC Behind Alabama?
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-qa-louisvilles-russ-smith

This Q&A and more on Louisville and the American Athletic Conference are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.
Louisville’s Russ Smith was one of the most improved players in the country last season, leading the Cardinals in scoring on the way to the national title. His style of play on both ends of the court — sometimes brilliant and sometimes out of control — earned him the nickname “Russdiculous” from U of L coach Rick Pitino.

Smith was second in the Big East at 18.7 points per game and fourth with 2.1 steals per game. The shooting guard improved dramatically offensively, shooting 41.4 percent from the field, up from 35.6 percent a year earlier. Meanwhile, he drew the most difficult defensive assignments. He struggled in the national title game against Michigan and elected to return to Louisville after feedback from the NBA projected him as a second-round draft pick.

In a one-on-one interview with Athlon Sports, Smith reflects on the end of last season, his relationship with Pitino and what’s in store for the Cardinals in 2013-14.

Smith’s Louisville team checked in at No. 2 in our countdown.

You spent part of your offseason in Estonia as a member of the East Coast All-Stars in a tournament called the Four Nations Cup. What was that experience like?

It was an experience I felt like I needed, get some chances to play on an international level with more space on the court. I don’t want to say it was easy, but it was very comfortable. The lane was bigger but they also play three seconds, so it was really different.

A lot of times these international all-star team trips have a big-name coach and All-America-type players. You guys had a Division III coach in Guy Rancourt from Lycoming College and Williamsport, Pa., and you were the only real household name on your team. How was this experience than the typical all-star trip for someone in your position?

Unfortunately I didn’t get invited to any of those other world games stuff, but what’s important is that I had an opportunity to play against international competition and get better. I got put in contact with the person running it, and I wanted to participate. It had nothing to do with the players on the team or who the coach was going to be. Any experience I could get with international professional basketball, I knew it was going to help me. I think I performed pretty good out there.

While you were gone, your teammates took the trip to the White House and got their championship rings. Did you know that was going to happen, that you wouldn’t be able to go?

Yeah. It’s obviously nothing against any of the people who participated in the White House event, but I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to get better and compete playing basketball. I think I got a lot better from it.

Last season your efficiency numbers really improved even though you were taking more shots. To what do you credit that improvement?

I feel like it was Coach (Pitino). He had a lot of confidence in me to perform at the highest level I can. He gives me, I don’t want to say the green light, but he puts confidence in me that I’m able to make mistakes and make some shots. I hit the gym a lot with my best friend, my boy, Michael Baffour (a walk-on for Louisville’s 2012-13 team). We got a lot of work in through the whole season, just staying with it, and during the season staying in, not going out much during the year and keeping low profile socially.

You mentioned the confidence Coach Pitino had in you. Sometimes a coach will back off a player who makes mistakes or plays out of control sometimes. How much has his confidence in you helped your development?

I remember a point of the season where there was a three-game stretch where I was 9 for 40 or something like that. Coach kept sticking with me, saying it’s going to go down and to keep shooting. He saw my confidence was low. It means a lot for a guy like him to tell me to keep playing. There was a time in the season where I was hitting 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line, but I hit a slump and it shot everything back down. Coach was there when I needed him to be.

You and Coach Pitino have a unique player-coach relationship. There’s a lot of banter back and forth. He named one of his horses after you, Russdiculous. How would you describe your relationship with him?

I would describe it as a friend-to-friend relationship. We’re great friends. As friends, you’re honest with each other, you tell each other what you feel like you need. You don’t leave anything out, any variables. Coach does that with me as a friend who needs some coaching and guidance. He does a great job coaching me. As a player, he teaches me to do everything I can do with my abilities. I feel like every time we step out on the court together, I feel like we have the same goal and the goal is to win the game.

What is your biggest goal for personal improvement for this upcoming season?

The biggest goal for me is to not try to do too much. Sometimes I feel like I have to make a play every time I have the ball, and that’s when I force stuff. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s like a magic trick. The important thing to realize is that I don’t have to make a play every play and sometimes I can take it easy and take the foot off the gas and let it all come to me now. I forced a lot of action last year, and now I can let it come to me. I think that’s going to be a big step for me. That’s going to be the hardest part because I don’t like taking the foot off the gas.

Chris Jones looks like he’ll play a lot of point guard for you this season. How well do you know him and how is that chemistry coming together?

I got a chance to get to know him for the month I was here (after the end of last season), and I feel like the chemistry is what’s going to keep the team moving. If you have bad chemistry in your backcourt, your team isn’t going to go very far. Regardless of anything that happens, we’re going to always put it together. We may go through some adversity, but we’re going to have to come together as one and put things behind us. But I think me and him are doing a real good job of coming together and wanting to play competitive basketball.

You struggled a bit in the Final Four (9-of-33 from the field), but you guys won the title. How much does your personal performance gnaw at you or does the championship erase any bad feelings?

The championship always helps, but you always want to perform at the best of your ability. I had a great first five game stretch. The sixth game I couldn’t get it done (3-of-16). As a scorer, you always hear of folktales of another guy stepping up when things are going bad. That’s why I was so happy for Luke (Hancock, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player) and Chane (Behanan). They filled the scoring column when it counted, and they stepped up when we needed them to. That’s why I’m grateful to have these guys. When things are going bad, somebody’s going to step up. When Wayne (Blackshear)’s not having his night, Kevin (Ware)’s going to step up. When I’m not having my night, Montrezl (Harrell) will step up. That’s the glorious part of playing with guys like this.

At one point, it looked like you were going to go to the NBA Draft after last season. You and your father had said so to the media. Was your mind 100 percent made up?

It was never really made up. I didn’t know. Normally you watch the NCAA Tournament or watch the season, and most of the outside guys or guys on the street would or people would say he’d go first round — he had a great year, team won the championship, leading scorer, in the NCAA Tournament scored over 20 five or six times. You would think he’d probably leave, but that wasn’t the case. I had to sit down and look at all the variables. It was almost frustrating to me because I didn’t understand why, Coach didn’t understand why. As a friend, Coach helped me with an executive decision and that was the decision to come back. It didn’t make sense to leave early if they were going to take me early second round. I can come back next year and get better and get an education and hopefully play my way into a first-round pick or go in the same second round where I was going to go last year. Or if not, at least I’ll have my education and I’ll make my way as a man.

Does it help or does it bother you that part of this upcoming season is that everyone is going to be watching Kentucky, too? Even in your own state, the spotlight is going to be spread pretty evenly.

I have nothing toward that school. I like that school and what they do up the road and their players and stuff. That’s the way it is. I’m from New York and my second home is Louisville, Kentucky. The last two years, the championship was in the state. Hopefully we can keep it in the state. The last thing I’m worrying about is what’s going on up the road. We have things to worry about here.

What’s your favorite place to play other than your gym?

Since the numbers don’t lie, I’d say Rupp Arena. But for the Big East, the places I actually liked were Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and West Virginia. Those were like zoos in there.

Other than Coach Pitino, who would be a coach you’d want to play for?

If I could play for Coach Curran one more time, I’d do that. (Smith’s high school coach, Jack Curran of Archbishop Molloy in Queens, N.Y., died in March 2013. Curran won 972 basketball games and 1,708 baseball games since beginning his career in 1958.)

Who is the toughest player you’ve guarded?

It might have been the guy from Providence, Bryce Cotton. Chasing him on screens was very frustrating. Providence has about 30 sets and they came down in a different set each time. I had to chase him through a maze of screens as well as press and play offense. Those may have been the most frustrating games of my life.

Who is the toughest player who has guarded you?

I’d probably give it to the St. John’s boys. The guy (Sir’Dominic) Pointer, he’s a really good defender. And the guys from Memphis, they play hard out there — (Geron) Johnson, (Chris) Crawford and (Joe) Jackson.

College Basketball: Q&A with Louisville's Russ Smith
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-kentucky-preview

This preview and more on Kentucky and the SEC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 1 Kentucky Facts & Figures
Last season: 21-12 (12-6 SEC)
Postseason: NIT first round
Coach: John Calipari (123-26 at Kentucky)
SEC projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA runner up
It’s not often — likely never before, in fact — that a team coming off a first-round NIT exit is dreaming, talking even, about the possibility of going 40–0 and winning an NCAA championship the next season. Only at Kentucky. Only under John Calipari, the pied piper of college basketball.

“When we won the national title, we did that tour” around the state with the trophy two years ago, Calipari said, “and after that it was over. Rear-view mirror was taken out. Moving forward. I would tell you the same with this season. There were things that I wish had been different, (but) part of last season was the beginning of success for the coming year.”

The veterans, sophomore forward Alex Poythress and center Willie Cauley-Stein, who passed up first-round NBA money to return to UK, learned some valuable lessons about leaning on hype over hard work. Calipari hopes they’ll be a steadying influence on his latest bumper crop of incoming freshmen.

It was a particularly healthy harvest, eight scholarship newcomers, an unprecedented six of them McDonald’s All-Americans. On paper, it is the best of Calipari’s five straight national-best recruiting classes. In theory, it is the greatest haul of all-time.

This is as impressive a collection of talent as you’ll see: seven players who were rated 4-star recruits or higher, five McDonald’s All-Americans. Just in the frontcourt.
Poythress is a freak athlete, an inside-outside threat who Calipari said learned last season “where he’s going to have to take everything to be the player that he wants to be.” Cauley-Stein is a legit 7-footer with skills, an effective shot-blocker and eager rebounder.

They’re joined by four incoming burger boys — James Young, a 6-7 sharpshooter; Julius Randle, a 6-9 power forward (emphasis on power); Marcus Lee, a 6-9 shot-blocking prodigy; and 6-11 Dakari Johnson, who will be one of the few true centers in the SEC.

Randle has already drawn rave reviews this summer from Calipari and several former Cats who are now in the NBA who played against the 5-star freshman in pickup games. Some think he’ll challenge Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins for the top spot in next summer’s draft.

“He’s a beast,” Calipari says. “He’s an alpha beast who will drive the team. Has a little bit of Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) in him."

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


The Ryan Harrow experiment failed miserably last season, and Calipari failed to have a one-and-done, first-round NBA Draft pick at point guard for the first time in six years. Harrow, who transferred to Georgia State after the season, couldn’t handle the pressure at UK.

“With what I just went through, I wanted a tough point guard,” Calipari says.

Enter freshman Andrew Harrison, who is (you guessed it) another McDonald’s All-American, rated the top point guard prospect in the Class of 2013. He’s joined by twin Aaron, the nation’s top-rated shooting guard.

The latter is an adept scorer, but at 6-5, 210 pounds, also “should be and will be and is expected to be and will be demanded to be a lock-down defender,” Calipari says. As for Andrew: “My hope is by the end of the year, he’s just like some of the other point guards we’ve had. You look at him and say, ‘Hey, he can do things that other point guards can’t do at his size.’”

The Harrisons will get help from senior Jarrod Polson, a former walk-on who earned a significant role last season, and fellow freshman Dominique Hawkins, a bulldog who willed his team to the state championship en route to winning Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball.


Nine newcomers join the roster, including a record six McDonald’s All-Americans — guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, forwards James Young, Marcus Lee and Julius Randle, and center Dakari Johnson. Guard Dominique Hawkins and forward Derek Willis were finalists for Mr. Basketball in Kentucky. Preferred walk-on E.J. Floreal is the son of UK’s track coach and a freaky leaper who had Division I offers.
Final Analysis
Factoid: 15. John Calipari has lost a total of 15 conference games in his last eight seasons as a head coach. Six of those losses came last season.

Last season’s roster had elite talent, but not enough of it. The roster was so thin, practices suffered and Calipari couldn’t afford to bench slackers.

“Two years ago, we did not have one bad practice. Not one. Last year, we had about five good practices,” he says. This year: “The bench will be my friend.”

If competition fuels a team that is, on paper, among the most talented the sport has ever seen, who knows what might happen? Calipari isn’t shying away from 40–0 talk.

“We’re chasing perfection. We’re chasing greatness. We’re chasing things that have never been done in the history of our game,” he says.

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Louisville
3. Duke
4. Michigan State
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State

College Basketball: 2013-14 Kentucky Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-louisville-preview

This preview and more on Louisville and the AAC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 2 Louisville Facts & Figures
Last season: 35-5 (14-4 Big East)
Postseason: NCAA champion
Coach: Rick Pitino (310-111 at Louisville)
American projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA runner up
The leading scorer, Russ Smith, is back. The Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four, Luke Hancock, is back. The breakout player of the postseason, Montrezl Harrell, is back. The Hall of Fame coach, Rick Pitino, is back.

No wonder then that the expectations are back at the University of Louisville. Most teams that win the national championship start leaking players to the NBA before they schedule their victory parade — the way Kentucky did in 2012. Not so at Louisville.

“It’s kind of unusual to see back-to-back championships won in any state; it doesn’t happen throughout history very often,” Pitino says. “We’re looking for one of us to try and make it three in a row. We’ll be more excited if it’s Louisville rather than Kentucky, but we’ll see how it plays out.”

Related: Q&A with Louisville's Russ Smith


The biggest question for Louisville is the status of Chane Behanan. The starting power forward played his best basketball in the Final Four, scoring 15 points with 12 rebounds in the title game against Michigan. Behanan was suspended indefinitely in mid-October, and Pitino all but closed the door on his season. However, last week, Pitino said he was pleased with Behanan’s progress.

Can a team contend for a national title with a 6-8 center? Pitino believes that it’s possible. That’s one reason why Montrezl Harrell is expected to move from forward to center after having a solid summer leading the USA Basketball U19 team to a gold medal in Prague. The other reason is that center Gorgui Dieng was a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

If Harrell can’t handle the move, Pitino has two other options. Stephan Van Treese has added 15 pounds of upper-body weight and has four years of experience in the Pitino system. Mangok Mathiang was not eligible last season but is a lean, dynamic shot-blocker who needs offensive polish.

In December, Louisville fans groaned every time Hancock missed a shot. He did not listen. He kept shooting. People stopped groaning and started wondering if there was a better shooter in college basketball. There wasn’t, at least down the stretch. Hancock made 15-of-26 3-pointers during the Cardinals’ last eight games.

Now that he’s proven he can stay healthy, Wayne Blackshear is the veteran Louisville player most likely to show the most improvement because he can shoot.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC

Pitino loved Peyton Siva as much as any player he has coached at Louisville. Loved his leadership, grit and lack of ego. Siva is gone, but Pitino believes that the Cardinals’ guard play could be even better this season.

Smith is the primary reason. At least one statistical analytics formula ranked Smith as the best college player last winter, because he reduced his turnovers while increasing his assists and shooting percentage. Smith averaged 18.7 points per game and is the perfect option to create something out of nothing at the end of the shot clock. Smith strongly considered skipping his senior season for the NBA but decided to return and work on becoming a more complete player.

Not that Smith has to play point guard. Pitino signed Chris Jones, a junior college All-America from Northwest Florida State College. Jones committed to Tennessee in high school.

“This is a very, very strong backcourt,” Pitino says. “Our practices are going to be outstanding. They both bring their own brand of toughness — New York toughness for Russ and Memphis toughness for Chris.”

The scramble for playing time will be intense. Newcomers Terry Rozier and Anton Gill arrive with the advantage that they played together last season at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy. The unknown is Kevin Ware, who suffered the horrific compound fracture to his right leg in Louisville’s Midwest Regional win over Duke. All the medical reports on Ware have been good, and he should be cleared to play by October.

Chris Jones is an unrelenting defender whom Rick Pitino asked to dial it down during summer workouts. Anton Gill arrives with a solid 3-point shooting stroke. Terry Rozier is considered a more fearsome scorer because he is relentless attacking the rim. Akoy Agau needs to reshape his body and is probably a year way. Mangok Mathiang is raw offensively but demonstrated superb shot-blocking skills in practice while sitting out last season.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 27. Louisville forced a turnover on 27 percent of its opponents’ possessions last year. Only VCU (28.5 percent) was better.

The repeat thing is not easy. Ask Kentucky. Or Connecticut. Or North Carolina. Florida and Duke are the only teams that have succeeded since 1973. But like those Gators and Blue Devils teams, Louisville has many of its most important players back. Smith is a prime National Player of the Year candidate. Hancock is a mature fifth-year guy who understands winning. Behanan and Blackshear were McDonald’s All-Americans who must convince skeptics they belong in the NBA. Chemistry will be critical. Siva and Dieng made certain the 2013 champs were ego-free. The newcomers will have to embrace that philosophy.

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Louisville
3. Duke
4. Michigan State
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State


College Basketball: 2013-14 Louisville Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Duke Blue Devils, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-duke-preview

This preview and more on Duke and the ACC are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 3 Duke Facts & Figures
Last season: 30-6 (14-4 ACC)
Postseason: NCAA Elite Eight
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (884-238 at Duke)
ACC projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Final Four
Saying goodbye to a trio of accomplished seniors — each a double-figure scorer and all-conference performer — would tend to cause panic at most programs. That, however, is not the case at Duke, where coach Mike Krzyzewski will use a more athletic lineup to keep the Blue Devils among the elite in college basketball.

“Our team is going to be built around versatility — guys in multiple positions, probably more pressing and up and down,” Krzyzewski says. “Not that we haven’t gone up and down, but we haven’t created action with our defense. Although we were a very good defensive team (last season), we will try to create action defensively (this season).”

Don’t expect Krzyzewski to talk about small forwards, power forwards and centers — or their accompanying numbers (3, 4, 5).

“It’s just going to be the next player,” Krzyzewski said. “Versatility will be the key phrase.”


Last year, Duke’s front line featured a true center (Mason Plumlee) and a stretch-4 (Ryan Kelly). This year, the key pieces will be a pair of 6-8 small forwards — Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker — who will be asked to do a little bit of everything.  

Hood, a transfer from Mississippi State, averaged 10.3 points two years ago for the Bulldogs. The former 5-star recruit was one of 16 finalists for Team USA over the summer, but an Achilles injury prevented him from making the trip to Russia for the World University Games.  

Parker arrives in Durham as one of the most celebrated recruits in the nation. The Chicago native is a matchup nightmare due to his versatility, and he is known for his unselfish play and high basketball IQ. At 235 pounds, Parker is about 20 pounds heavier than Hood, but that doesn’t mean he will be playing the role of a traditional power forward. Parker and Hood will be used as interchangeable parts.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Hood says. “We are going to have mismatch problems all over the court. We are going to pressure the ball more. We have a lot more weapons.”

Sophomore Amile Jefferson spent the offseason adding bulk to his 6-9 frame. His 7-1 wingspan is a weapon he uses to get in the passing lanes and rebound outside of his area.

Josh Hairston, a rugged 6-8 forward, is a savvy senior who averaged a career-high 12.7 minutes per game last season. A pair of redshirt sophomores — athletic 6-9 Alex Murphy and 7-foot center Marshall Plumlee – will be counted on for quality minutes off the bench.

Freshman small forward Semi Ojeleye is a solid rebounder who can shoot the ball from 3-point range.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Duke is blessed with a group of experienced ball-handlers to run its up-tempo attack.

Quinn Cook thrived in his first season as the starting point guard, averaging 11.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. Cook improved his 3-point shooting from 25.0 percent as a freshman to 39.3 as a sophomore. He scored 15 points or more 12 times last season but struggled offensively down the stretch, averaging 6.4 points and shooting 26.2 percent from the field over the final five games.

Rasheed Sulaimon was an instant contributor as a freshman, thanks to his ability to get to the basket and shoot from long range. He averaged 11.6 points, a number that could increase significantly as a sophomore.

Tyler Thornton, a hard-nose defender, is considered the team’s vocal leader. He’s shown the ability to hit an open jumper and can be trusted to run the point as well. Andre Dawkins, a key reserve on Duke’s 2010 national championship team, sat out last season as a redshirt. He is a career 40.1 percent 3-point shooter. Freshman Matt Jones might have a tough time finding significant playing time.


The focus will be on 6-8 forward Jabari Parker, whose athleticism and scoring ability already have him projected as a top-five pick in next summer’s NBA Draft. The other freshmen, 6-7 forward Semi Ojeleye and 6-4 guard Matt Jones, also bring athleticism but will have to prove they can score at this level. Forward Rodney Hood, who sat out last year after transferring from Mississippi State, will start  from Day 1 and be a significant contributor. Senior guard Andre Dawkins, known for his perimeter scoring, is back after sitting out last season.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 30. Duke has won at least 30 games in 10 of the last 16 seasons. The Blue Devils won 30 or more “only” three times in Mike Krzyzewski’s first 17 seasons.

On paper, Duke has only one weakness — a lack of a true post presence. Krzyzewski plans to mask that deficiency by playing a more up-tempo game that will start with pressure defense. The roster, deep and athletic, is built to run.

The Blue Devils are the class of a new-look ACC that now includes Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. If Sulaimon, as expected, takes the next step and Parker and Hood play up to their potential in the frontcourt, Duke will be in the mix for the fifth national title of the Krzyzewski era.

College Basketball: 2013-14 Duke Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-michigan-state-preview

This preview and more on Michigan State and the Big Ten are available in the Athlon Sports 2013-14 College Basketball Preseason Annual. The magazine is available online or on newsstands everywhere.

No. 4 Michigan State Facts & Figures
Last season: 27-9 (13-5 Big Ten)
Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16
Coach: Tom Izzo (439-178 at Michigan State)
Big Ten projection: First
Postseason projection: NCAA Final Four
There have been years when Tom Izzo went into a season believing his team was not as good as its preseason hype. This is not one of those years.

“Some years you are maybe not quite as good as the top-10, 12 or 15 that we have been, but the program gets rated that high on perception,” Izzo says. “This year I think the team gets rated on its own merit, and it deserves to be up there. I expect us to be good most years, and this year we have a chance to be real good.”

The Spartans are nicely outfitted to add to Izzo’s collection of banners in the Breslin Center rafters, which includes seven Big Ten titles and six Final Fours.

“We have some depth. We have some shooters. We have some athletes. We have some size, and we have guys who have been there, done that, and played in big games, and that’s critical,” Izzo says. “We have a good team, and whether it will be a great team will depend on injuries and leadership. But with Adreian Payne and Gary Harris coming back, we have put ourselves in a chance to do big things.”

Izzo seems a little more confident than usual. The Big Ten and nation would be wise to take notice.


Payne turned down possible first-round NBA Draft status to return for his senior year and chase championships. He has blossomed into a fine long-range shooter as a pick-and-pop power forward (38 percent from deep) and an explosive finisher. He is the Big Ten’s leading returning rebounder.

Sophomore Matt Costello is ready to prove he can hang as a role-playing Big Ten center. He waited his turn behind Payne and Derrick Nix and will now bring his solid low-post package, good athleticism and a functional frame to the lane. Big junior Alex Gauna offers size and a nice, confident shot release. Freshman Gavin Schilling impressed teammates with his rebounding during the summer.

2013-14 Conference Previews
ACC | American | Big 12 | Big East
Big Ten | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


Harris was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013 but will be a bigger, better all-around player this season. Widely regarded as a probable NBA Lottery pick whenever he opts to turn pro, Harris will be stronger to the hole as a sophomore, having added a noticeable layer of muscle to what was already a mature physique.

Harris was slowed by shoulder issues for the last half of his freshman year but still shot a sparkling 41 percent from long range. The shoulder problems limited him on the glass and on the break. Now, Izzo is expecting Harris to become one of the best rebounding guards he has ever coached, and one of his better defenders.

Senior point guard Keith Appling led Michigan State in scoring a year ago and now needs to be the leader in the locker room. His decision-making improved as a junior. If he can dial in his sporadic perimeter shooting, he might provide the final element needed to make the Spartans a threat to win Izzo’s second national title..

Izzo wants Branden Dawson at the 3 this year. The thick, athletic junior is back to full horsepower for the first time in 18 months, following recovery from a freshman knee injury. Dawson is not much of a shooter, but he can play small forward with physicality.

Valuable sophomore Denzel Valentine is a good rebounder and tremendous passer with nice size at the wing. Fully healthy for the first time as a collegian, quick Travis Trice offers quality shooting range and true combo guard skills off the bench. Junior Russell Byrd hasn’t lived up to his promise as a wing sniper.


After losing to Duke in the Jabari Parker chase, the Spartans signed rugged 6-9 power forward Gavin Schilling and 6-4 wing Alvin Ellis. Ellis, a former Minnesota verbal, may need a redshirt year to gain strength. Skill-wise, he is comparable to outgoing Spartan transfer Brandan Kearney. Schilling is young for his class, improving steadily and could earn a role off the bench.

Final Analysis
Factoid: 0. No player who has signed with Tom Izzo as a four-year recruit and finished his senior season at Michigan State has missed out on the Final Four.

With NBA talent inside and out, a senior point guard, excellent shooting at the 2 and the 4, and solid skill and size off the bench, Michigan State heads into the season nicely equipped. The Spartans should be better and much healthier than last year’s team, which finished a game out of first place in the Big Ten and advanced to its second straight Sweet 16. Meanwhile, you know the Spartans will defend and rebound.

“We had our best summer ever, by far, in terms of getting guys healthy and staying healthy,” Izzo says. “Guys are driven to make amends.”

2013-14 Preseason Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Louisville
3. Duke
4. Michigan State
5. Kansas
6. Arizona
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma State

9. Syracuse
10. North Carolina
11. Ohio State
12. Michigan

13. Marquette
14. New Mexico
15. Notre Dame
16. Creighton
17. Tennessee
18. VCU
19. UNLV
20. Memphis
21. Connecticut
22. Wisconsin
23. UCLA
24. Baylor
25. Wichita State


College Basketball: 2013-14 Michigan State Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/referees-make-horrible-call-buffalo-ohio-game

Midweek MAC games are one of the more entertaining parts of college football’s November schedule. However, the Buffalo-Ohio game from Tuesday night won’t be remembered for a quality game between two potential bowl teams. Instead, awful officiating will overshadow Buffalo’s 30-3 win.

Early in the second half, Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton was pressured out of the pocket and threw a pass to avoid a sack, which resulted in an intentional grounding call. However, the referees ruled Tettleton was in the endzone, and Buffalo was awarded a safety.

But there’s only one problem: Tettleton wasn’t in the endzone – he was on the four-yard line.


Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Golf, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/tiger-woods-just-hit-golf-ball-europe-asia-video
Tiger Woods was positioned on a platform on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul on Tuesday and hit a drive from Europe to Asia. Why? We're guessing it was to promote the Turkish Airlines Open this week. The publicity stunt required shutting down three lanes of traffic on the bridge. We're sure motorists were thrilled. According to reports, Woods' appearance fee for the upcoming tournament is $3 million. 

Tiger Woods was positioned on a platform on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul on Tuesday and hit a drive from Europe to Asia.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 18:50
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-picks-every-game-week-10

A quick look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 10, along with the consensus picks of Athlon Sports' editors.

Redskins (3-5) at Vikings (1-7)
Washington is 1–3 on the road this season. But the losses have come at Green Bay (38–20), at Dallas (31–16) and at Denver (45–21). Redskins by 1

Eagles (4-5) at Packers (5-3)
Philly’s Nick Foles just threw seven TDs; Green Bay’s Seneca Wallace has six career wins. Packers by 3

Jaguars (0-8) at Titans (4-4)
Third-year Tennessee coach Mike Munchak has two black-eye losses — to then-winless Indy in Week 15 of 2011 and to then-one-win J-Ville in Week 12 last season. Titans by 12

Bills (3-6) at Steelers (2-6)
Blitz-burgh’s defense has allowed 34-plus points in three games for the first time since 1989. Steelers by 3

Raiders (3-5) at Giants (2-6)
Terrelle Pryor (knee), Darren McFadden (hamstring) limp from Black Hole to play Big Blue. Giants by 5

Rams (3-6) at Colts (6-2)
Andrew Luck carries a 10–2 record at home in Lucas Oil Stadium against a Rams team that is 4–7–1 on the road under coach Jeff Fisher. Colts by 8

Seahawks (8-1) at Falcons (2-6)
This is a rematch of a 30–28 Atlanta win over Seattle in last year’s NFC Divisional Playoffs. Seahawks by 8

Bengals (6-3) at Ravens (3-5)
Andy Dalton is 1–3 against Baltimore, with his only win coming in a meaningless Week 17 game last season, after the Ravens had already clinched the AFC North division crown. Bengals by 2

Lions (5-3) at Bears (5-3)
Detroit knocked off Chicago, 40–32, in Week 4. The Lions scored 27 second-quarter points — including three TDs in under four minutes — in their first win over the Bears since Oct. 2011. Lions by 4

Panthers (5-3) at 49ers (6-2)
This dual-threat showdown of Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick just might be the most athletic QB matchup in NFL history. There should be a dunk contest as a tiebreaker, not overtime. 49ers by 4

Texans (2-6) at Cardinals (4-4)
After two tough losses at K.C. and to Indy, the legend of Case Keenum continues to grow. Cardinals by 2

Broncos (7-1) at Chargers (4-4)
Peyton Manning had no trouble with the Bolts last season, tossing six TDs and two INTs over the course of two victories. Historically, Manning has had his issues with San Diego — throwing a career-worst six INTs in a 2007 loss and going 0–2 against the Chargers in the playoffs. Broncos by 7

Cowboys (5-4) at Saints (6-2)
Sean Payton was Tony Romo’s QB coach from 2003-05. Will student become teacher in NOLA? Saints by 6

Dolphins (4-4) at Buccaneers (0-8)
There is a dark cloud over the Sunshine State’s NFL franchises. The trio — Fins, Bucs and Jags — are a combined 4–20, with two winless squads and an ongoing bullying investigation. Dolphins by 4

A preview and prediction of every game on the NFL schedule in Week 10.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 18:17
Path: /nfl/aaron-rodgers-injured-collarbone-hurts-packers-playoff-chances

In the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone injury suffered during a 27–20 Green Bay Packers loss to the NFC North rival Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, there are several Vince Lombardi quotes that come to mind and could be used as inspiration for Title Town.

“The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall,” the Packers’ iconic coach famously said. That advice certainly fits. Although, since Rodgers took over for Brett Favre as Green Bay’s starter in 2008, Cheesehead fans have not had to double-check Rodgers’ status. The 2011 league MVP and Super Bowl XLV MVP has missed only two games. After suffering a concussion the game before, Rodgers missed a Week 15 contest at New England in 2010. And in 2011, Rodgers sat out the Week 17 season-finale against Detroit, watching backup Matt Flynn set franchise records with 480 yards and six TDs.

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have,” Lombardi reminded his players more than once during his Hall of Fame career, which included two Super Bowl wins and six NFL titles with the Packers.

What Green Bay has at quarterback currently is Seneca Wallace, a 5'11", 205-pound, 33-year-old with 31 TDs and 19 INTs over 10 years out of Iowa State. Wallace completed 11-of-19 passes for 114 yards and one INT subbing for Rodgers against the Bears.

The Packers have several other options who are familiar with coach Mike McCarthy’s offense. Flynn, who backed up Rodgers for four seasons from 2008-11, was released by the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Meanwhile, Vince Young, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman all spent time with Green Bay during the preseason.

“I’m focused on Seneca Wallace right now,” said McCarthy, during a postgame press conference following the loss to Chicago.

Regardless of who lines up under center, he won’t be as good as Rodgers — who completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,218 yards, 15 TDs and only four INTs for a 108.0 passer rating prior to landing on his non-throwing left shoulder while being taken to the ground by Bears defensive end Shea McClellin.

“Aaron is a huge part of our offense,” said McCarthy. “This is something that was built over time. Aaron is the centerpiece.”

With a 5–3 record, including a 2–1 mark within the NFC North division, the Packers are still alive in the playoff picture. But with seven games left against NFC opponents, including three divisional contests, the window of opportunity could slam shut unless Green Bay follows its greatest coach’s mantra: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Will Green Bay remain a contender without Aaron Rodgers?
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 17:35
Path: /nascar/nascar-numbers-game-6-amazing-stats-phoenix

Phoenix International Raceway means a lot of things to Denny Hamlin. The facility was the site of the beginning of the end to his ill-fated 2010 Chase run. Following its 2011 repave, Hamlin became the track’s most dominant driver and a winner in 2012. The track also served as an ancillary character in one the most puzzling penalties in recent NASCAR history, which involved Hamlin.

In Hamlin’s season filled with backache (injury) and heartbreak (missing the Chase), Phoenix might again be home to another eventful day in the life of the No. 11’s driver. If there is any place that might ensure a continuation of Hamlin’s one win-per-year streak (going on eight seasons now), it’s the track that pops up in the background of his career’s main plot lines.

7.313  Hamlin ranks first among all Cup drivers in Production in Equal Equipment Ratings (PEER) in the four races on Phoenix’s reinvigorated surface.

Hamlin’s 4.5-place average finish — he is the only driver to score three top-5 finishes — over the four-race span is over three positions better, on average, the next-most productive racer (Carl Edwards, 7.8-place average finish). In a twist of irony, the place that derailed a promising run to the title is now one of his best tracks. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only bit of irony surrounding the Hamlin-Phoenix dynamic.

58.62%  In March’s race at Phoenix, Hamlin accumulated a 58.62 percent passing efficiency — his best single-race passing performance of the season — en route to a third-place finish.

How ironic that Hamlin got fined by NASCAR for criticizing the Gen-6, namely its inability to pass, following his most prolific passing day of 2013.

“Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you,” said Hamlin in the post-race interview. “You would’ve placed me in 20th place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.”

Whether a driver feels that passing is more difficult is a subjective measure, but it should be noted that Hamlin (44.47 percent) ranks 47th out of 51 PEER-eligible drivers in season-long pass efficiency. His opinion might not be universal.

+5  Greg Biffle’s five positions gained from the non-preferred groove was the March race’s most spellbinding number.

At Phoenix, the outside groove is no-man’s land, which made Biffle’s perfect position retention across five restart attempts in that groove pretty spectacular. He led 39 laps in that race before finishing 17th, but overall, he is a top-six producer at Phoenix with an apparent affinity for conquering positions from the track’s nether region. This knack of his didn’t coalesce with his output at other tracks this year; he ranked 18th in restart position retention during the 26-race regular season, defending his spot just 41.3 percent of the time.

85.29% and +9.8%  The No. 17 team of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. retains its position at a race’s 90-percent mark 85.29 percent of the time. It gains positions on top of that 9.8 percent of the time.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica Patrick

Stenhouse, a rookie driver, and Scott Graves, a rookie crew chief, have combined this season to be the best two-way closing team in the Cup Series. Who knew? Their penchant for exemplary defense and offense at the end of races is a foundation on which the No. 17 team can build in the post-Matt Kenseth era. They return to a track this weekend that helped start the reputation; in the March race at Phoenix, Stenhouse moved from 20th to 16th in the final 31 laps.

9th  Jeff Burton and the No. 31 team, with its revolving door of crew chiefs, has a clean average finish of ninth in the three Phoenix races it’s finished dating back to the fall 2011 race.

Deep into the winter of his career, Burton’s overall production is far removed from the halcyon seasons of the late 1990s; however, the mile-long whatsitsshape at Phoenix seems to bring out the best in this current iteration of Burton. He ranks ninth in PEER there over the last four races and his success despite the pit box changes — NASCAR Nationwide Series wrench Ernie Cope filled in for an absent Luke Lambert in March — tells us that he carves out results based on old-fashioned driver know-how. For fans pining for a few more good Burton outings, Sunday’s race might provide one last great opportunity.

11.5  Jamie McMurray’s average finish in this year’s Chase races, prior to last Sunday’s race, was 11.5, the best mark among non-Chase drivers.  Jamie McMurray

His No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team finished 31st at Texas, breaking up an otherwise stout string of races, which included a win at Talladega. Phoenix provides a challenge for him. Going by his 24.8-place average finish there (he is tied for last in track-specific PEER rankings), it’s safe to say he is flummoxed by the place. His best finish on the new version of Phoenix is 17th, which means the job for crew chief Bono Manion, who is reportedly being relieved of his duties after this season, won’t be easy. To continue a swell close to the 2013 season, McMurray and team will need to have a breakthrough race at a place that has provided them massive migraines across the last three seasons.

For PEER and other metrics with which you may be unfamiliar, check out David’s glossary of terms on

David Smith is the founder of Motorsports Analytics LLC and the creator of NASCAR statistics for projections, analysis and scouting. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidSmithMA.

Photos by Action Sports, Inc.

David Smith crunches the numbers for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 17:22
Path: /nfl/prime-time-players-week-9

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Just when it seemed as if Tom Terrific had hit rock bottom — with Halloween photos of him dressed as the Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion circulating the internet — Brady rediscovered the heart he’s had all along. The three-time Super Bowl champion completed 23-of-33 passes (69.7 percent) for 432 yards, four TDs and zero INTs for a 151.8 passer rating during a 55–31 statement victory over the Steelers. New England’s 55 points were the most scored by a team this season as well as the most ever scored against Pittsburgh’s defense.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
Philadelphia’s second-year phenom joined gridiron immortals Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle, Joe Kapp and Peyton Manning, as only the seventh player in league history to throw seven TD passes in a single game. Foles completed 22-of-28 passes (78.6 percent) for 406 yards, seven scoring strikes and zero picks for a 158.3 passer rating during a 49–20 win at Oakland. Wide receivers Riley Cooper (three TDs) and DeSean Jackson, tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, and running back LeSean McCoy all found paydirt in the record-tying blowout victory. Foles, who was a third-round pick out of Arizona, has now thrown for 1,028 yards, 13 TDs and zero INTs for a 127.4 passer rating in limited action.

Dustin Colquitt, P, Chiefs
With Kansas City’s offense struggling to gain just 210 total yards, the Chiefs’ defense and special teams stepped up to help K.C. improve to an unbeaten 9–0 following a 23–13 win on the road at Buffalo. Colquitt kept field position in Kansas City’s favor, with six punts for 317 yards, including a 59-yard boot and four punts downed inside the 20-yard-line. Colquitt’s contribution was less obvious than the Chiefs D, which scored on a 100-yard pick-six by corner Sean Smith and an 11-yard fumble recovery by linebacker Tamba Hali.

Cameron Wake, DE, Dolphins
Days before Miami was rocked with verbal abuse allegations made by Jonathan Martin against fellow O-lineman Richie Incognito, the Dolphins’ D-lineman was physically abusing the Bengals during a 22–20 thrilling Thursday night overtime victory. Wake notched a season-high three sacks for 23 lost yards, along with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Wake’s final sack of Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton sealed the Miami win with a safety with just 6:38 remaining in overtime. The walk-off sack was just the third overtime-ending safety in NFL history.

The best performances in the NFL from Week 9.
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 17:12
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-college-football-podcast-week-11

The Thursday we’ve all be waiting for is here as Oregon visits Stanford and Oklahoma visits Baylor. On this week’s edition of the Cover 2, hosts Braden Gall and David Fox prepare you for Thursday plus action for Saturday.

On this week’s podcast:

• In a a quick review of last week, Braden was impressed with exciting finishes in the Big Ten, but David is still fuming at a decision to put by Iowa.

• We take one quick look at the “Jameis Winston is human” storyline, focusing on Florida State’s outstanding offensive line. FSU’s biggest concerns remains the lack of help the Seminoles will get from Florida, Miami and Virginia Tech and others.

• On to Thursday: David is worried Oregon will run away with this meeting while Braden has more faith in the Stanford defense.

• In Waco, Oklahoma will try to keep Baylor off the field, but both hosts agree it may not matter against Bryce Petty.

• Moving on to LSU-Alabama, will this be the hotly contested matchup we’ve come to expect or is LSU not ready to go to toe-to-toe with the Tide?

• Lastly, Gall and Fox take a quick look off the field at the new athletic hire at Texas and why the job is more than just making decisions around the football coach.

The podcast can be found on, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.


Athlon Sports Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 15:51
Path: /college-football/north-carolina-qb-bryn-renner-out-remainder-2013

North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner suffered a shoulder injury against NC State and will miss the rest of the 2013 season.

Renner threw for 1,765 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and completed 65.8 percent of his throws.

Losing Renner is a setback to North Carolina’s bowl hopes, but the cupboard isn’t bare for coach Larry Fedora. Backup Marquise Williams started against Virginia Tech earlier this year and completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.

Williams may not be as polished of a passer as Renner, but the sophomore is a better runner and is a good fit in Fedora’s spread offense.

With Renner out for the year, it’s up to Williams to get North Carolina to a bowl, which isn’t out of the question with games against Virginia, Pittsburgh, Old Dominion and Duke remaining. 

North Carolina QB Bryn Renner Out for Remainder of 2013
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 13:09
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas Longhorns, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/texas-hires-steve-patterson-its-new-athletic-director

According to several media reports, Texas is set to hire Arizona State’s Steve Patterson as its next athletic director. Patterson graduated from Texas’ Law School in 1984 and edged West Virginia’s Oliver Luck for the job.

Patterson will replace DeLoss Dodds, who is set to retire in August 2014. At Arizona State, Patterson has helped to start a project for renovating Sun Devil Stadium and signed coach Todd Graham to an extension in early September.

Patterson was hired as Arizona State’s athletic director on March 28, 2012. 

Patterson has experience in several different areas, including stints with the Texans (1997-2003) and in the NBA with the Rockets (1989-93) and in Portland (2003-07).

Although he has been successful at each stop, Patterson did not hire Graham at Arizona State and this will be his first experience hiring a collegiate coach. Considering Texas is the top job in the nation, Patterson should not have a shortage of interested candidates - provided Mack Brown does not return in 2013.

Texas Hires Steve Patterson as its New Athletic Director
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 12:56