Articles By All

Path: /college-football/tennessee-football%E2%80%99s-coaching-search-continues-top-remaining-candidates

With Mike Gundy, Larry Fedora and Charlie Strong saying no to Tennessee, the Volunteers' coaching search is wide open. The top names on athletic director Dave Hart's list have passed on the job, which leaves the school scrambling to find a new coach. There are still plenty of good coaches available for Tennessee, but it's important for the school that the coaching search doesn't drag deep into next week. 

15 Names to Watch in Tennessee's Coaching Search

Butch Davis, former North Carolina head coach – Davis is reportedly in the mix at FIU, but he would likely listen if Tennessee came calling. The Oklahoma native went 51-20 in six years with Miami from 1995-2000 and recorded three consecutive eight-win seasons with North Carolina in 2008-2010. Davis had a messy end to his tenure with the Tar Heels but has a 79-43 overall mark as a college head coach.

Bob Diaco, defensive coordinator, Notre Dame – If Tennessee chooses to look in the assistant ranks, Diaco should be in the mix to replace Dooley. Diaco has spent time as an assistant at Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan, Virginia, Cincinnati and for the last three years at Notre Dame. Diaco has no head coaching experience but has helped to lead the Fighting Irish to a rank of No. 1 overall in points allowed (10.3 ppg).


Al Golden, head coach, Miami – Considering the NCAA hammer is about to drop on Miami, Golden could be tempted to look at another job this offseason. The New Jersey native has spent most of his career on the East Coast, playing for Penn State from 1987-91 and coaching as an assistant at Virginia, Boston College and Penn State. Golden resurrected Temple and led the Owls to a 17-8 record during his final two years in Philadelphia. Miami is just 13-11 in his two years, but the program did not have an abundance of talent when he arrived. Golden has maintained he does not want to leave Miami, but considering the situation in Coral Gables, he could be enticed to bolt for the SEC.


Butch Jones, head coach, Cincinnati – Jones has been a hot name in coaching searches this offseason, interviewing at Colorado and Purdue for openings at those schools. He has six years of head coaching experience, spending three years at Central Michigan and recording a 27-13 mark. During his time in Mount Pleasant, the Chippewas made three bowl appearances and claimed two MAC Championships. Jones moved to Cincinnati in 2010 and guided the Bearcats to a 23-14 mark over the last three seasons. Cincinnati has claimed a share of the Big East title in each of the last two years after going 4-8 in Jones’ first season in 2010. Although Jones isn’t a big-name hire, he’s a proven coach with experience and victories at two different stops.


Pete Lembo, Ball State – Lembo is a proven winner at three different stops during his coaching career and is ready to move up the ladder after two years at Ball State. He recorded a 44-14 mark in five years at Lehigh and a 35-22 record in five seasons with Elon, which included an appearance in the FCS playoffs. Lembo is 15-9 in two years with the Cardinals and improved his win total by three games from 2011 to 2012.


Mike MacIntyre, head coach, San Jose State – MacIntyre has turned San Jose State into one of the WAC’s worst teams into a bowl team in just three years. The Spartans went 1-12 in 2010, improved to 5-7 in 2011 and recorded a 10-2 mark and an appearance in the Military Bowl in 2012. MacIntyre has stops as an assistant at Temple, Ole Miss, Duke and in the NFL with the Cowboys and Jets. MacIntyre isn’t a flashy or a big name, but as the results have shown at San Jose State, he’s capable of leading a BCS program.


Doug Marrone, head coach, Syracuse – Marrone is a Syracuse alum, so it’s a longshot that he would be interested in leaving for Tennessee. However, he served as an assistant with the Volunteers in 2001 and was believed to be in the mix for this job after Phillip Fulmer was let go in 2008. Marrone has led the Orange to a 24-25 mark over the last four years, which includes two bowl appearances. It’s hard to envision Marrone leaving Syracuse, but it’s much easier to win big at Tennessee.


Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson - Morris has surprisingly not engaged in many coaching searches this offseason. He emerged as one of the top offensive minds in college football, leading Clemson's offense to an average of 42.3 points a game this season. Morris has no head coaching experience and already has a salary of $1.3 million, so it would take a significant raise to leave Clemson. Considering the Tigers return a chunk of talent on offense next year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him stick around in Death Valley for one more season.


Dan Mullen, head coach, Mississippi State – Although Mullen hasn’t expressed much interest in leaving Mississippi State, it’s worth a phone call for Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart to Starkville. Even though Mullen has yet to beat Alabama or LSU during his tenure in Starkville, there’s no doubt Mississippi State is an improved team. The Bulldogs will be making their third consecutive bowl appearance in 2012 and has a 13-19 mark in SEC play over the last four years. Mullen also has assistant experience from stops at Bowling Green, Notre Dame, Utah and Florida. Considering what Mullen has done in four years at Mississippi State, he could thrive at a program with more resources.


Bo Pelini, head coach, Nebraska – Just as we mentioned with Doug Marrone and Dan Mullen, it’s a longshot that Pelini would be interested in leaving his current job. However, with the top options falling through, Tennessee has to look at the next available candidates. Pelini has a good job at Nebraska and has a 49-19 overall record. He has led the Cornhuskers to six bowl games and claimed the Big Ten Legends Division title in 2012. Although Pelini has one of college football’s top 25 jobs, he does have previous experience in the SEC and is not working under the same athletic director that brought him to Lincoln.


Bobby Petrino, former Arkansas head coach – Why not? Since Tennessee tried and failed to land Mike Gundy and Charlie Strong, the top options are running thin for Dave Hart. Yes, Petrino’s divorce from Arkansas was a mess, but it’s doubtful those issues pop up at his next school. Also, he’s ready work and would probably take less money in an effort to prove himself for the next few years. There’s a lot of baggage hanging around Petrino, but if Tennessee wants to compete for SEC titles, it needs to consider the former Arkansas head coach.


Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers – Considering the success of David Shaw at Stanford and Willie Taggart at Western Kentucky, Roman is the next Jim Harbaugh assistant to land a head coaching gig. The New Jersey native has no head coaching experience but has stops as an NFL assistant with the Panthers, Ravens and Texans. Roman also worked with Harbaugh at Stanford and helped to coordinate one of the nation’s best offenses. One downside to Roman’s candidacy has to be the 49ers’ playoff chances. With San Francisco likely to make a deep run into the NFL playoffs, Roman may not be available on a full-time basis until mid-January.


Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama – Tennessee’s last attempt at hiring a Nick Saban assistant didn’t go so well. And considering Derek Dooley’s tenure was a failure, the school probably has some concern about going back to that well in 2012. Smart doesn’t have head coaching experience, but he is regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation. Considering Saban plays a large role in Alabama’s defense, there’s a lot of concerns for athletic directors when considering Smart for any open vacancy.  


Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – Taggart is one of the rising stars in the non-BCS ranks and is ready for a promotion to a bigger program. He is 16-20 in three years with Western Kentucky, including back-to-back seven-win seasons in 2011-12. In addition to his time as a head coach at Western Kentucky, Taggart worked as an assistant under Jim Harbaugh for three seasons at Stanford. Taggart reportedly interviewed with South Florida and is believed to be a target for the opening at Wisconsin.


Tommy Tuberville, head coach, Texas Tech – Tuberville already has two tours of duty through the SEC, coaching at Ole Miss from 1995-98 and at Auburn in 1999-2008. In four seasons with the Rebels, he recorded a 25-20 mark and went 85-40 at Auburn. Tuberville is 20-17 in three seasons at Texas Tech and has the Red Raiders back on track after a 5-7 mark in 2011. Tuberville isn’t flashy, but he’s a proven winner and a steady option for Tennessee.

<p> Tennessee's Coaching Search Continues: Who are the best available candidates?</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 09:01
Path: /nfl/10-greatest-quarterback-classes-all-time

The Quarterback Class of 2012 is off to a fast start. Led by Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, Washington’s Robert Griffin III and Seattle’s Russell Wilson, the Class of 2012 has a solid base to build on. But they have a long way to go to catch up with the greatest quarterback classes in NFL history.

Most drafts have one or two serviceable passers, the majority of these 10 had multiple Super Bowl caliber signal-callers:

1. Class of 1983
Still the standard by which all quarterback classes are measured. Of the 16 signal-callers selected — including six in the first round — 12 started in the NFL, four led their teams to the Super Bowl and three were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

To get the party started, Stanford two-sport star and No. 1 overall pick John Elway demanded a trade from the Baltimore Colts to the Denver Broncos, while Pitt gunslinger Dan Marino nearly fell out of the first round before landing with the Miami Dolphins.

Notable Names:
John Elway (Colts, No. 1) *
Dan Marino (Dolphins, No. 27) *
Jim Kelly (Bills, No. 14) *
Tony Eason (Patriots, No. 15)
Ken O’Brien (Jets, No. 24)
Todd Blackledge (Chiefs, No. 7)
Gary Kubiak (Broncos, No. 197)

Vital Stats:
3 Hall of Famers *
2 NFL MVP awards
2 Super Bowl wins
11 Super Bowl trips
499 career wins
196,787 passing yards
1,212 passing TDs

2. Class of 2004
Another blockbuster trade involving a “can’t miss” No. 1 overall pick shifted the balance of power in recent NFL history. Archie Manning’s son, Peyton Manning’s little brother and Ole Miss royalty Eli Manning forced a trade from the San Diego Chargers to the New York Giants — a deal that shipped NC State’s Philip Rivers from coast-to-coast.

Miami (Ohio) tough guy Big Ben Roethlisberger got off to the fastest start, going 13–0 as a rookie with six game-winning drives. Eli and Big Ben have combined to play in five of the last seven Super Bowls, winning four. Virginia product Matt Schaub went from Michael Vick’s backup in Atlanta to the starter for the Houston Texans and is poised to make his playoff debut this season.

Notable Names:
Eli Manning (Chargers, No. 1)
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers, No. 11)
Philip Rivers (Giants, No. 4)
Matt Schaub (Falcons, No. 90)

Vital Stats:
4 Super Bowl wins
5 Super Bowl trips
21–11 playoff record

3. Class of 1949
Although three eventual Hall of Fame quarterbacks were selected in 1949, five passers were drafted before any of the Canton bust trio — including four of the top nine picks. George Blanda became the oldest player in NFL history (48 years, 109 days), Norm Van Brocklin still holds the single-game record for passing yards and Jim Finks was the architect of the four-time Super Bowl runner-up Minnesota Vikings after his playing days were over.

Notable Names:
George Blanda (Bears, No. 119) *
Norm Van Brocklin (Rams, No. 37) *
Jim Finks (Steelers, No. 116) *
Frank Tripucka (Eagles, No. 9)
Bobby Thomason (Rams, No. 7)
John Rauch (Lions, No. 2)
Stan Heath (Packers, No. 5)

Vital Stats:
3 Hall of Famers *
3 AFL championships
2 NFL championships
2 MVP awards (AFL, NFL)
554 passing yards (single-game record, Van Brocklin)
7 passing TDs (single-game record, Blanda)

4. Class of 1971
As accomplished as this class was, there is still a lingering feeling of what might have been. Stanford Heisman winner Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls with the Raiders after washing out with both the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. Ole Miss patriarch Archie Manning was beat down before siring a pair of No. 1 overall pick, Super Bowl winning quarterbacks.

Notre Dame golden boy Joe Theismann never played a down for the Miami Dolphins, opting instead to play for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts before leading the Washington Redskins to a pair of Super Bowl trips and one win. Augustana (Ill.) underdog Ken Anderson remains one of the underrated passers of his generation.

Notable Names:
Jim Plunkett (Patriots, No. 1)
Joe Theismann (Dolphins, No. 99)
Ken Anderson (Bengals, No. 67)
Archie Manning (Saints, No. 2)
Lynn Dickey (Oilers, No. 56)
Dan Pastorini (Oilers, No. 3)

Vital Stats:
3 Super Bowl wins
5 Super Bowl trips
2 NFL MVP awards
160,089 passing yards
946 passing TDs
102 rushing TDs

5. Class of 1984
Steve Young was the top prospect in the 1984 USFL and CFL Supplemental Draft — which also included future Hall of Famers Reggie White and Gary Zimmerman as well as Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier. The dual-threat lefty Young went on to become one of the greatest playmakers of all-time after serving as the most overqualified backup in the game to Joe Montana.

Maryland’s Boomer Esiason was the first QB taken in the amateur draft. Both Esiason and West Virginia’s Jeff Hostetler played on Super Sunday, with Hostetler winning it all for Bill Parcells’ New York Giants after taking over for an injured Phil Simms.

Notable Names:
Steve Young (Buccaneers, No. 1 – Supplemental Draft) *
Boomer Esiason (Bengals, No. 38)
Jeff Hostetler (Giants, No. 59)
Jay Schroeder (Redskins, No. 83)
Randy Wright (Packers, No. 153)

Vital Stats:
1 Hall of Famer *
2 Super Bowl wins
3 Super Bowl trips
2 NFL MVP awards

6. Class of 1998
Other than hothead flameout Ryan Leaf, this class is notable for its slow burn. Despite being in their 15th season, Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Batch have all been starting quarterbacks at times during 2012 — combining for a 12–7 record, 35 TDs and 16 INTs through Week 13. Clearly, Manning carries the statistical load, but Hasselbeck led the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl appearance, Batch has proven serviceable and Brian Griese was a solid starter during his prime.

Notable Names:
Peyton Manning (Colts, No. 1)
Matt Hasselbeck (Packers, No. 187)
Charlie Batch (Lions, No. 60)
Brian Griese (Broncos, No. 91)
Ryan Leaf (Chargers, No. 2)

Vital Stats:
4 NFL MVP awards
1 Super Bowl win
3 Super Bowl trips
128,408 passing yards
827 passing TDs

7. Class of 1979
Washington State’s “Throwin’ Samoan” went No. 3 overall but it was Notre Dame’s “Joe Cool” who went on to become arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time despite falling all the way to No. 82 in the draft.

Notable Names:
Joe Montana (49ers, No. 82) *
Phil Simms (Giants, No. 7)
Jack Thompson (Bengals, No. 3)

Vital Stats:
1 Hall of Famer *
5 Super Bowl wins
2 NFL MVP awards

8. Class of 1956
Coached by Bear Bryant at Alabama and Vince Lombardi with the Green Bay Packers, Bart Starr was the MVP of Super Bowls I and II after falling all the way to No. 200 overall in the draft. Picked 198 spots ahead was Michigan State’s Earl Morrall, who was Don Shula’s go-to guy — losing Super Bowl III for the Baltimore Colts before going 9–0 in place of Bob Griese for the champagne perfect 17–0 Super Bowl VII champion 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Notable Names:
Bart Starr (Packers, No. 200) *
Earl Morrall (49ers, No. 2)
Gary Glick (Steelers, No. 1)

Vital Stats:
1 Hall of Famer *
2 Super Bowl wins
3 Super Bowl trips
2 NFL MVP awards

9. Class of 1948
Drafted by the Chicago Bears but immortalized as a Detroit Lion, Bobby Layne was a larger than life character who regularly drank beer and smoked cigarettes at halftime. The "Bald Eagle," Y.A. Tittle was a pioneer who did everything but win an NFL championship during his brilliant career.

Notable Names:
Bobby Layne (Bears, No. 3) *
Y.A. Tittle (Lions, No. 6) *
Harry Gilmer (Redskins, No. 1)
George Ratterman (Bills, No. 139)

Vital Stats:
2 Hall of Famers *
2 NFL MVP awards

T-10. Class of 1985
After some shady wheeling and dealing, Miami’s Bernie Kosar landed with his hometown Cleveland Browns via the Supplemental Draft. UNLV’s Randall Cunningham fell just short of the Super Bowl with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. Boston College’s Doug Flutie and Maryland’s Frank Reich both had brief shining moments with the Buffalo Bills.

Notable Names:
Bernie Kosar (Browns, No. 1 – Supplemental Draft)
Randall Cunningham (Eagles, No. 37)
Doug Flutie (Rams, No. 285)
Frank Reich (Bills, No. 57)
Steve Bono (Vikings, No. 142)

Vital Stats:
2 Comeback Player of the Year awards

T-10. Class of 1995
The late Alcorn State great Steve “Air” McNair shared co-MVP honors with Peyton Manning and led the Tennessee Titans on one of the most memorable drives in Super Bowl history — falling one yard short against the St. Louis Rams. Penn State’s Kerry Collins threw for 38,709 yards and 196 TDs. Colorado miracle maker Kordell Stewart took the league by storm as “Slash” with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Notable Names:
Steve McNair (Oilers, No. 3)
Kerry Collins (Panthers, No. 5)
Kordell Stewart (Steelers, No. 60)
Todd Collins (Bills, No. 45)
Rob Johnson (Jaguars, No. 99)

Vital Stats:
1 NFL MVP award
2 Super Bowl trips

<p> The 10 Greatest Quarterback Classes of All-Time, including John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly in the Quarterback Class of 1983; Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers in the Quarterback Class of 2004; and Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Batch in the Quarterback Class of 1998.</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:30
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-john-caliparis-top-20-freshmen

Even since his first season as a college head coach at UMass, John Calipari has thrived with freshmen. That season in 1988-89, Calipari had a rookie Jim McCoy, who averaged 19.8 points per game.

That freshman and that team didn’t resemble the recruiting empire Calipari built at Memphis and Kentucky where a glut of talented freshmen sign with Cal, win a ton of college games in one year and then go on to be NBA Draft picks.

No, McCoy put up big numbers but went 10-18 at UMass as a freshman. He’s certainly one of Calipari’s best freshmen, but he’ll have trouble landing in the top 10 from recent years.

Sorting through Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, John Wall and more is a tall task, but we tried to tackle it here with Calipari’s top 20 freshmen.

We included three freshmen from this season’s team, but this early in the season, their grade is incomplete. We anticipate one or all three to make a move up this list, but for now, this elite group of rookies is tough one to crack.


Anthony Davis

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Season: 2011-12
Davis didn’t simply have one of the best freshman seasons in college basketball history -- he had one of the best seasons of any player. If there was an award to be won or honor to receive, Davis earned it. He was the consensus national player of the year, a unanimous All-American, the national defensive player of the year and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. After leading Kentucky to its eighth national title and first championship since 1998, Davis was the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. The only other players to win the Naismith Award, the Final Four MOP and then be selected first overall in the draft all the in the same season were Kansas’ Danny Manning and. UCLA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With a 7-foot-four wingspan, Davis was a defensive force, setting an NCAA freshman record and Kentucky record with 186 blocks.

2. Derrick Rose, Memphis
Season: 2007-08
Hard to believe as it is, Rose wasn’t the most decorated player on his own team as a freshman. That distinction went to All-American and Conference USA player of the year Chris Douglas-Roberts. Rose belongs on this list, though, as the point guard of a team that played for a national title before falling 75-68 in overtime to Kansas. Rose averaged 20.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6 assists per game in the NCAA tournament, but his missed free throws late in regulation of the title game sealed Memphis’ fate. Months later, Rose was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
Season: 2011-12
It’s never bad when the team’s most competitive player and glue guy happens to also be the No. 2 player in the NBA Draft (behind only teammate Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall pick). Kidd-Gilchrist’s intangibles were second-to-none, a trait that was absent on some of Calipari’s most talented teams. Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, earning Most Outstanding Player honors for the East regional as the Wildcats reached the Final Four and eventually won the national title.

John Wall

4. John Wall, Kentucky
Calipari started at Kentucky the same way he finished his time at Memphis – with an elite one-and-done point guard. Wall followed in the footsteps of Rose and Tyreke Evans at Memphis and preceded Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague at Kentucky. In leading Kentucky to a 35-3 season, Wall was the National Freshman of the Year and the Associated Press and coaches’ pick for SEC Player of the Year (Oddly enough, teammate DeMarcus Cousins was the coaches’ pick for SEC freshman of the year). Wall was blocked for most national player of the year awards by Ohio State’s Evan Turner, but Wall did earn the Adolph Rupp Trophy. Go figure.

5. Brandon Knight, Kentucky
Knight was a McDonald’s All-American, but his arrival wasn’t as heralded as John Wall’s to Kentucky or Derrick Rose’s to Memphis. Still, he brought similar results. Knight wasn’t a collegiate All-American like Wall, but he took Kentucky deeper into the NCAA Tournament for the Wildcats first Final Four appearance since 1998.

6. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Season: 2012-13
Before his devastating knee injury against Florida, Noel was having an award-worthy season even if his team paled in comparison to recent Calipari squads. When he did play, Noel was offensively limited but few were better on the defensive end of the floor. He could have challenged Davis’ blocked shots numbers and was a leading candidate for national defensive player and freshman of the year honors. The flat-topped center finished his season averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals per game.

7. Tyreke Evans, Memphis
Season: 2008-09
After Calipari moved him to point guard, Evans had the unenviable task of stepping in for Rose, who had just led Memphis to the national championship game. Evans was a stat-sheet stuffer from the start with 17.1 points per game, 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his single season at Memphis.

8. Dajuan Wagner, Memphis
Before the deluge of one-and-dones followed Calipari to Memphis and Kentucky, he had Wagner with the Tigers. He averaged 42 points per game in high school before landing in Memphis, where he averaged 21.2 points for the Tigers. Calipari revoked Wagner’s sophomore scholarship to persuade him to enter the NBA Draft, where he became the No. 6 pick. However, health and injury issues derailed his promising career.

9. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky
What could Cousins’ ceiling be if he were able to tackle his maturity issues? Kentucky fans may ask the same thing. He was dominant in his single season alongside Wall in 2009-10, averaging 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. His talent was undeniable, but so was his tendency to sulk on the sideline. Cousins and Wall went 35-3 in during the regular season before falling in the Elite Eight to West Virginia.

10. Marcus Camby, UMass
Season: 1993-94
Camby would go on to bigger things as a junior when UMass reached the Final Four and earning National Player of the Year honors, but his rookie season in Amherst wasn’t too shabby. Despite starting only 12 games, Camby was the Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year after averaging 10.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game.

Terrence Jones

Others of note:
11. Terrence Jones, Kentucky (2010-11)
12. Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky (2009-10)
13. Sean Banks, Memphis (2003-04)
14. Jim McCoy, UMass (1988-89)
15. Marquis Teague, Kentucky (2011-12)
16. Darius Washington Jr., Memphis (2004-05)
17. Will Herndon, UMass (1989-90)
18. Doron Lamb, Kentucky (2010-11)
19. Alex Poythress, Kentucky (2012-13)
20. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky (2012-13)

<p> College basketball: John Calipari's top 20 freshmen</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:25
Path: /news/what-if-heisman-was-awarded-after-national-championship

The Heisman Trophy is an inherently flawed award. That’s the bad news.

The great news is we the fans have the power to change it. Just six years ago, underclassmen weren’t really considered viable options, but Tim Tebow ended that discussion and now another second-year player could win the trophy this year. Charles Woodson is the only true defensive player to ever win the award back in 1997, but a linebacker could walk away a winner this Saturday. In fact, Manti Te’o is the third defensive Heisman finalist in the last four years (Tyrann Mathieu, Ndamukong Suh).

The voting for the Heisman is utterly counterintuitive as well. Hell, even CBS analyst Gary Danielson gave up his vote years ago because he can’t stand the voting structure. With only three names on each ballot, regional and personal agendas become over-amplified. If you have a bias against Manziel or Te’o it would be easy to leave them off of your ballot to have more of an impact on the voting.

Most importantly, however, the timing of the vote makes no sense.

The NFL awards its MVP for regular season play, but a team could play four games in the postseason. College football features a maximum of one postseason game (for now) per team. It makes no sense for the Heisman Trophy voting to take place before the BCS National Championship Game.

In just 15 seasons under the BCS system, there are a handful of Heisman winners who might not be winners had voting taken place after the national title game. This theory might be no more obvious than this season with Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Johnny Manziel, Collin Klein and the Irish linebacker are all extremely deserving Heisman finalists. And Te’o could easily win the award this Saturday. But let’s say Manziel or Klein takes home the stiff-armed trophy and then Te’o dominates Alabama to win Notre Dame’s first national title in 25 years? If he posts 10 tackles and a sack, for example, against Bama’s other-worldly offensive line in a win over the Crimson Tide in the national title game, there would be no legitimate argument against Te’o as college football’s most outstanding player. Sorry, Aggies (either one), you would have no legs to stand on. There would be no hole on Te’o's Heisman resume — not even statistically.

And if the Irish get beaten into submission by Alabama, either Manziel or Klein would be the more deserving candidate.

Related: Athlon Sports 2012 Final Heisman voting: The Winner is...

But Te’o wouldn’t be the first player who lost the award because voters didn’t get to see them in the brightest and only spotlight that matters.

2005: Vince Young, QB, Texas
Reggie Bush won the 2005 Heisman Trophy, end of story. I don’t care what has happened since; Bush will always be ’05’s “Most Outstanding Player.” So the investigation and stripped award has nothing to do with the fact Vince Young deserved the trophy. His performance in the Rose Bowl — a game many believe is the greatest ever played on a college gridiron — was the most dominant performance the college game has ever seen. Young in 2005 was the most unstoppable force I’ve ever seen in college football. He finished third in the nation in passing efficiency, rushed for over 1,000 yards and led an offense that was the highest scoring (652 points) in the history of the sport. Bush was magical that year, but Young was better and should have his name on the great bronze statue.

2000: Josh Heupel, QB, Oklahoma
Chris Weinke was coming off of a national championship and led the No. 1 team to an unbeaten record and a third-straight trip to the BCS title game. His performance earned him the Heisman in 2000. Heupel finished No. 2 in the voting on his own unbeaten Oklahoma team. These two squared off in the BCS championship game and Weinke was completely shutdown. He threw 26 incompletions, was 1-of-15 on third down, threw two interceptions and the 'Noles' offense scored zero points in the loss to the Sooners. Heupel wasn’t dominant, but he completed 25-of-39 passes for 214 yards and finished as an undefeated national champion.

2008: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
A trio of quarterbacks finished 1-2-3 in the Heisman voting in 2008. Sam Bradford was the winner on an unbeaten Oklahoma team destined for the national title game. Colt McCoy actually finished second, but it was reigning Heisman winner Tim Tebow who got the most first-place votes (309 to 300). Bradford and Tebow squared off in Miami for the BCS national championship and the Gators passer was the better player. He finished with 231 yards passing, 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the 24-14 win. Bradford finished with 256 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

2001: Ken Dorsey, QB, Miami
Dorsey was a fairly non-descript player on a loaded roster, but he finished third in the Heisman voting to Eric Crouch and Rex Grossman. The voting was extremely tight and the BCS MVP performance from Dorsey in a crushing win over Crouch means he likely would have won the trophy had voting taken place after the game. Dorsey was 22-of-35 passing for 362 yards with three first-half touchdowns and improved to 26-1 as the starter. Meanwhile, Crouch rushed for 114 yards on 22 carries and completed just 5-of-15 passes for 62 yards with no touchdowns and three sacks in the 37-14 loss. In fact, a case could be made that Grossman, who threw for 248 yards and four touchdowns in the Orange Bowl win over Maryland, was also more deserving following the title game.

1999: Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech
Ron Dayne was a run-away Heisman winner with 2,042 points to Joe Hamilton’s 994 and Michael Vick’s 319. Dayne had just become the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher on a team that eventually won the Rose Bowl behind his record-setting MVP performance against Stanford. But when it came to electricity on the field, few players matched Vick’s talents. He led Virginia Tech to its lone title game appearance that year in a matchup with the powerful Florida State Seminoles. After trailing 28-7 late in the second quarter, his dynamic play-making ability led four consecutive scoring drives to take a 29-28 lead as the game headed to the fourth quarter. The Noles scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth to put the game away, but Vick’s greatness was cemented in the Superdome that night. He rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 225 yards, no interceptions and another score in the air. Dayne was extremely deserving and proved it in Pasadena as the Big Ten's only back-to-back Rose Bowl MVP, but a strong case could be made for the Hokies' quarterback after his showcase in New Orleans.

<p> What if the Heisman was awarded after the National Championship?</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:15
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-oakland-raiders-preview-and-prediction

The Denver Broncos aim for their 10th win of the season when they take on the Oakland Raiders tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. The Broncos (9-3) have won seven games overall and have already clinched the AFC West division title. The Raiders (3-9) have lost five in a row and would love nothing more than to get a win over the division champs and take some pressure off of first-year head coach Dennis Allen in the process.

When the Denver Broncos have the ball:
Denver is fifth overall in total offense (386.9 ypg) and third in scoring at 29.1 points per game. The offense has been led by quarterback Peyton Manning, who has put together a MVP-worthy first season with the Broncos despite missing all of last season. Manning is the NFL’s second-rated passer (104.6) and is averaging 292 yards passing per game with 29 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have benefitted from having No. 18 pulling the trigger. This is especially the case for Thomas, who is tied for fourth in the league with 1,114 yards receiving, is averaging 16.1 yards per catch and has eight touchdown receptions. The Broncos are only 22nd in the league in rushing (103.3 ypg) and will be without running back Willis McGahee (torn MCL) until late in the playoffs. Knowshon Moreno has grabbed hold of the starting job in McGahee’s absence, and he should find success against a Raiders’ defense that’s ranked No. 28 (130.4 ypg) when it comes to stopping the run. The Broncos have been a little sloppy with ball security this season, as they have lost 13 fumbles.

Oakland’s defense is ranked No. 28 in total defense, allowing 387 yards per game, and is dead last in scoring defense, surrendering 31.3 points per contest. They are allowing more than 130 yards rushing per game, and have allowed 129 yards or more to three different running backs, including 251 to Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin in Week 9. The Raiders haven’t fared much better against the pass, as they have given up 256.5 yards per game through the air. They have allowed 24 touchdown passes compared to eight interceptions, and have forced a total of 15 turnovers. The pass rush has been non-existent as well, with only 14 sacks, the second-fewest in the entire league.

When the Oakland Raiders have the ball:
Oakland’s offense has been largely one-dimensional this season, as injuries in the backfield and a lack of production in the running game have placed much of the burden on quarterback Carson Palmer’s arm. The Raiders are 13th in the league in total offense, but 77 percent of their total yards have come via the pass. Palmer is seventh in the league in passing yards with 3,532, and tied for second in pass attempts with 503. However, he has thrown 13 interceptions with his 20 touchdown passes, which is part of the reason why he’s No. 20 in terms of passer rating and the Raiders are 23rd in the league in scoring (19.6 ppg). Oakland is near the bottom (29th) in rushing offense, as injuries have once again caused running back Darren McFadden to miss a significant amount of time. It’s possible McFadden will be able to play tonight, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Raiders as a team are averaging less than 83 yards on the ground per game and have scored a total of three rushing touchdowns this season. The leading receiver for the Raiders is tight end Brandon Myers, as wide receivers Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey have been hampered by injuries and inconsistent production.

As good as Denver’s offense has been, the defense has more than done its part this season. The Broncos are third in total defense, giving up 308.2 yards per game, and tied for ninth in points allowed at 20.3 per contest. They are sixth against the pass and seventh against the rush, and have yielded only five rushing touchdowns all season. The Broncos have the second-most sacks in the league (38), led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Von Miller’s 15 quarterback takedowns. This unit has also picked off 14 passes and tallied four defensive touchdowns on the season.

Key Factor:
Even though the Broncos have clinched the AFC West title, there’s still seeding and home-field advantage to play for. With Houston (11-1) and New England (9-3) facing off on Monday night, the Broncos will either gain ground on the Texans or pass the Patriots for the No. 2 seed in the AFC, provided they take care of business in Oakland. Peyton Manning and Co. had no problems with the Raiders the first time they played, a 37-6 whitewashing in Week 4, and with the problems Oakland has had running the ball, scoring points, along with its defensive issues, there’s little reason to expect a different outcome. The Raiders have allowed 34 or more points in a game seven times this season. Don’t be surprised if it’s eight after tonight.

Broncos 34, Raiders 17

<p> Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:10
Path: /college-football/college-football-2012-awards-roundtable

The Heisman remains college football’s biggest prize, but players from every position will walk away with hardware Thursday night as part of the college football awards show (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Eastern).

Athlon has chimed in all year with our picks for frontrunners for each award, and now the time has come for our staff to pick our winners.

Athlon Sports Heisman poll
| Postseason All-America team | Season recap

Awards and finalists David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light Winner
Player of the year

Collin Klein, Kansas State
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Klein Klein Te'o Manziel Te'o
Player of the year

Kenjon Barner, Oregon
Collin Klein, Kansas State
Marqise Lee, USC
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Klein Klein Te'o Manziel Te'o

Collin Klein, Kansas State
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Klein Klein Manziel Manziel Manziel
Running back

Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Kenjon Barner, Oregon
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Ball Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona Ball Franklin Ball
Wide receiver

Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
Marqise Lee, USC
Terrance Williams, Baylor
Lee Lee Lee Lee Lee
Tight end

Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Zach Ertz, Stanford
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Seferian-Jenkins Seferian-Jenkins Ertz Eifert Eifert
Interior lineman

Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Barrett Jones, Alabama
Luke Joeckel, North Carolina
Jones Joeckel Jones Jones Joeckel

Mario Benavides, Louisville
Braxston Cave, Notre Dame
Dalton Freeman, Clemson
Khaled Holmes, USC
Barrett Jones, Alabama
Matt Stankiewitch, Penn State
Jones Jones Jones Jones Jones
Defensive player

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Te'o Te'o Te'o Te'o Te'o
Defensive back

Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Dee Milliner, Alabama
Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
Thomas Banks Milliner Milliner Banks

Dustin Hopkins, Florida State
Cairo Santos, Tulane
Caleb Sturgis, Florida
Santos Hopkins Hopkins Hopkins Santos

Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
Kyle Christy, Florida
Scott Kovanda, Ball State
Allen Christy Allen Allen Allen
Coach of the year

Gary Andersen, Utah State
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Will Muschamp, Florida
Bill O’Brien, Penn State
David Shaw, Stanford
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly  

Other honors already awarded:
Nagurski (defensive player): Te’o, Notre Dame
Lombardi (lineman or linebacker): Te'o, Notre Dame
Butkus (linebacker): Te’o, Notre Dame
Broyles (assistant coach): Bob Diaco, Notre Dame defensive coordinator

<p> Award season is upon us with a the Davey O'Brien, Bednarik, Doak Walker, Outland and Biletnkoff awards being handed out tonight. The Athlon college football staff makes its picks.</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:02
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. DET Career vs. Lions: 7-1, 264 ypg, 18 TDs, 5 INTs.
2 Peyton Manning DEN at OAK (Thurs.) Raiders allowing second-most fantasy pts. to QBs.
3 Tom Brady NE vs. HOU (Mon.) Texans have allowed 300+ yards in each of last 3.
4 Drew Brees NO at NYG Has just 3 TD passes and 7 INTs in last two games.
5 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. BAL Has completed nearly 70% of passes over last 4 G.
6 Cam Newton CAR vs. ATL Has 8 total TDs (6 pass, 2 rush), 0 TOs in last 3 G.
7 Andrew Luck IND vs. TEN Since Week 8 vs. TEN: 325 ypg, 11 total TDs, 8 INTs.
8 Matthew Stafford DET at GB Put up 520-5-2 last game at Lambeau (Week 17, '11).
9 Eli Manning NYG vs. NO Saints have given up most fantasy points to QBs.
10 Matt Ryan ATL at CAR Put up 369-3-1 in Week 4 win vs. Panthers.
11 Josh Freeman TB vs. PHI Eagles have allowed 11 total TDs to QBs in last 3.
12 Colin Kaepernick SF vs. MIA Dolphins are 27th against the pass (257.7 ypg).
13 Tony Romo DAL at CIN Has 10:3 TD:INT ratio on road vs. 9:12 at home.
14 Andy Dalton CIN vs. DAL Has tossed 7 TDs, 0 INTs in last two home games.
15 Matt Schaub HOU at NE (Mon.) Patriots ranked 29th against pass (279.9 ypg).
16 Joe Flacco BAL at WAS Has multiple TD passes in only 3 games so far.
17 Jay Cutler CHI at MIN Career vs. Vikes: 6-1, 16 TDs, 7 INTs, 98.8 rating.
18 Russell Wilson SEA vs. ARI Went for 153-1-1 w/ a fumble in Week 1 vs. Cards.
19 Carson Palmer OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.) Has thrown at least 1 INT in all but 2 games.
20 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF vs. STL Rams 12th against pass, 13 TD passes, 12 INTs.
21 Jake Locker TEN at IND Had 309 yds. passing, but also 5 TOs last week.
22 Sam Bradford STL at BUF Bills have given up 3 TD passes w/ 4 INTs over last 3.
23 Philip Rivers SD at PIT Has 18 TD passes, 20 total turnovers on season.
24 Chad Henne JAC vs. NYJ Jets ranked No. 4 against pass.
25 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. KC Chiefs have given up league-high 25 TD passes.
26 Ryan Tannehill MIA at SF Has posted 3:7 TD:INT ratio in 6 road games.

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 14 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 04:59
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. CHI Has 100+ yds. rushing in six straight (210 last week).
2 Arian Foster HOU at NE (Mon.) Only 38 yd. rushing (w/ a TD) last week vs. Titans.
3 Doug Martin TB vs. PHI Averaging 53 rushing ypg (2.7 ypc) over last 2 games.
4 Trent Richardson CLE vs. KC Chiefs are 26th against the run (129.3 ypg).
5 Ray Rice BAL at WAS Has only two 100-yard rushing games this season.
6 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. ARI Averaging 102 rushing ypg in 5 home games.
7 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. NO Saints last in league against rush (153.8 ypg).
8 Jamaal Charles KC at CLE Has 100+ rushing yds. in three of last four games.
9 Alfred Morris WAS vs. BAL Has posted back-to-back 100-yard games (2nd time).
10 C.J. Spiller BUF vs. STL Averaging 6.6 ypc, but only 1 TD in last six games.
11 Chris Johnson TEN at IND Needs just 7 yds. for fifth straight 1,000-yard season.
12 Bryce Brown PHI at TB Averaging 8.1 ypc w/ 4 TDs (also 3 fumbles) in last 2.
13 Matt Forte CHI at MIN Averaging just 4.2 ypc w/ 3 rushing TDs this season.
14 Frank Gore SF vs. MIA Averaging nearly 19 carries over last six games.
15 DeMarco Murray DAL at CIN Had 83 yds., TD in first game since Week 6.
16 Steven Jackson STL at BUF Bills are 30th against run (139.2 ypg).
17 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. DAL Has three straight 100-yard games (none before this).
18 Stevan Ridley NE vs. HOU (Mon.) Texans No. 2 against, only 2 rushing TDs allowed.
19 Knowshon Moreno DEN at OAK (Thurs.) Raiders allowing second-most fantasy points to RBs.
20 Michael Turner ATL at CAR Put up 103 yds. on 13 att. (7.9 ypc) in Week 4 vs. CAR.
21 Mikel Leshoure DET at GB Has scored in each of last three games.
22 Shonn Greene NYJ at JAC Posted second 100-yard game (104) last week.
23 Jonathan Dwyer PIT vs. SD Averaging only 44.8 ypg since Week 8 (107 vs. WAS).
24 Darren McFadden OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.) Back at practice, but Thursday game makes him risky.
25 Ryan Mathews SD at PIT Only 26 yds. rushing last week, Steelers No. 5 vs. run.
26 Darren Sproles NO at NYG Has 12 receptions, no carries in last 2 G combined.
27 Fred Jackson BUF vs. STL Put up season-high 109 yds. rushing last week.
28 Vick Ballard IND vs. TEN Titans are giving up third-most fantasy points to RBs.
29 Reggie Bush MIA at SF 49ers No. 3 against run, Bush 48.5 ypg over last 10.
30 Alex Green GB vs. DET Back to lead role due to Starks' knee injury.
31 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. ATL His 67 yds. rushing vs. KC were most since Week 2.
32 Beanie Wells ARI at SEA Only had 14 yds. rushing vs. Seahawks in Week 1.
33 Montell Owens JAC vs. NYJ Next man up for banged up Jags backfield.
34 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at CAR Averaging nine carries over last two games.
35 Marcel Reece OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.) Just seven carries last week after 15 in Week 12.
36 Bilal Powell NYJ at JAC Jaguars are second-worst vs. run (144 ypg).
37 Pierre Thomas NO at NYG Season-high 14 carries (84 yds.) last week.
38 Daniel Thomas MIA at SF Just 10 yards on 5 carries last week vs. Patriots.
39 Mark Ingram NO at NYG Got just six carries (13 yds.) vs. Falcons last week.
40 Isaac Redman PIT vs. SD Averaged 4.8 ypc (9 att.) vs. Ravens last week.
41 Justin Forsett HOU at NE (Mon.) Averaging 70 yds. rushing over last 3 games.
42 Michael Bush CHI at MIN Saw just seven carries last week w/ Forte (ankle) back.
43 Joique Bell DET at GB Posted season-high 81 yds. rushing vs. Colts.
44 Ronnie Hillman DEN at OAK (Thurs.) Got five carries (29 yds.) vs. Bucs last week.
45 Felix Jones DAL at CIN His workload dependent upon Murray's stamina/foot.
46 Peyton Hillis KC at CLE Saw season-high 12 carries, scored 1st TD.
47 Ben Tate HOU at NE (Mon.) Back in action (3-18) for first time since Week 7.
48 David Wilson NYG vs. NO Got as many carries as kick returns (four) last week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 04:58
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET at GB Tied NFL record with 5th straight 125-yard game.
2 Demaryius Thomas DEN at OAK (Thurs.) Put 5-103 (20.6 ypc) vs. Raiders in Week 4.
3 A.J. Green CIN vs. DAL Tied w/ Gronk for league lead with 10 TD catches.
4 Andre Johnson HOU at NE (Mon.) Tied for fourth in yards with 1,114.
5 Brandon Marshall CHI at MIN Second in catches and yards, third w/ 8 TD rec.
6 Dez Bryant DAL at CIN Has six TD catches over last 4 games.
7 Wes Welker NE vs. HOU (Mon.) Posted fifth 100-yard game last week vs. Dolphins.
8 Victor Cruz NYG vs. NO Posted first 100-yard game since Week 7.
9 Vincent Jackson TB vs. PHI Tied for 39th in rec., but 9th in yards and has 7 TDs.
10 Reggie Wayne IND vs. TEN Posted season-low 4 rec., 51 yds. last week.
11 Roddy White ATL at CAR Just one catch for 20 yds. (7 targets) last week.
12 Julio Jones ATL at CAR Had only one reception (30 yds.) in Week 4 vs. CAR.
13 Marques Colston NO at NYG Giants have yielded sixth-most fantasy pts. to WRs.
14 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. NO Saints allowing third-most fantasy points to WRs.
15 Randall Cobb GB vs. DET Only 101 yds. receiving, no TDs in last 2 games.
16 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. BAL Averaging 16 ypc w/ 2 TDs over last two games.
17 Torrey Smith BAL at WAS Redskins giving up second-most fantasy pts. to WRs.
18 Greg Jennings GB vs. DET Put up 4-46 in first game since Sept. 30.
19 Steve Smith CAR vs. ATL Went for 5-120-1 last week against Chiefs.
20 Lance Moore NO at NYG Had season-best 123 yds. last week vs. Falcons.
21 Danario Alexander SD at PIT Steelers allowing fewest fantasy pts. to WRs.
22 Miles Austin DAL at CIN Played through hip injury, had 2 rec. for 46 yds.
23 Mike Williams TB vs. PHI Put up 6-93-1 last week vs. Broncos.
24 T.Y. Hilton IND vs. TEN Has three 100-yard games in last five contests.
25 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at SEA Just one 100-yard game, 4 TDs on season.
26 Stevie Johnson BUF vs. STL Dealing with tight hammy, expected to play.
27 Eric Decker DEN at OAK (Thurs.) Just 10 rec., 119 yds., TD in last 4 games combined.
28 James Jones GB vs. DET Hauled in 9th TD catch last week, Nelson likely out.
29 Mike Wallace PIT vs. SD Dealing w/ knee injury and really missing Big Ben.
30 Michael Crabtree SF vs. MIA Tied season high w/ 7 catches (101 yds.) vs. Rams.
31 Antonio Brown PIT vs. SD Only TD catch came back in Week 3.
32 Sidney Rice SEA vs. ARI Must pass concussion tests before being cleared.
33 Kenny Britt TEN at IND Has a TD in each of last two games.
34 Dwayne Bowe KC at CLE Starting to click more with Quinn.
35 Chris Givens STL at BUF Season-high 11 rec. (14 targets) last week vs. 49ers.
36 Jeremy Maclin PHI at TB Eight catches, 93 yds., 0 TDs in last 3 games.
37 Denarius Moore OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.) Total of four catches last three games.
38 Josh Gordon CLE vs. KC Posted first career 100-yard game last week.
39 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. NYJ Held to just 1 catch (9 yds.) on 6 targets last week.
40 Cecil Shorts JAC vs. NYJ Sustained concussion last week, monitor status.
41 Golden Tate SEA vs. ARI Put up season-high 96 yds. w/ TD last week.
42 Donnie Avery IND vs. TEN Scored two TDs (5 rec, 91 yds.) last week.
43 Malcom Floyd SD at PIT Only one 100-yard game on season.
44 Danny Amendola STL at BUF Listed as Questionable (heel), watch status.
45 Jerome Simpson MIN vs. CHI Needs to step up w/ Harvin done for season.
46 Anquan Boldin BAL at WAS Skins have given up second-most rec., yds. to WRs.
47 Brian Hartline MIA at SF No 100-yard games, only 1 TD since Week 4.
48 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. HOU (Mon.) Had just one catch for 10 yards vs. Dolphins.
49 Nate Washington TEN at IND Colts are giving up fifth-most fantasy pts. to WRs.
50 Jeremy Kerley NYJ at JAC  
51 Mike Thomas DET at GB Lions new No. 2 WR with Broyles, Young on IR.
52 Kendall Wright TEN at in Leads Titans with 88 targets, TD in Week 8 vs. IND.
53 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.) Broncos have allowed only 9 TD receptions to WRs.
54 Davone Bess MIA at SF 49ers have allowed only six TD receptions by WRs.
55 Andre Roberts ARI at SEA Dealing with ankle injury, watch status.
56 Emmanuel Sanders PIT vs. SD Has been more productive w/o Big Ben in there.
57 Andrew Hawkins CIN vs. DAL Posted 5-47 last week after missing two games.
58 Santana Moss WAS vs. BAL One or no catches in three of last four games.
59 Donald Jones BUF vs. STL Missed last week (calf), expected to play Sunday.
60 Jason Avant PHI at TB Went for 4-79 last week against Cowboys.
61 Greg Little CLE vs. KC Chiefs tied for most TD catches by opp. WRs (17).
62 Leonard Hankerson WAS vs. BAL Eight total catches in last five games combined.
63 Brandon Stokley DEN at OAK (Thurs.) DNP last week (hip/wrist), watch status for Thurs.
64 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. ATL Sprained foot last week, watch status.

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 14 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 04:57
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Jimmy Graham NO at NYG Has 121 yards, only 1 TD in last three games.
2 Tony Gonzalez ATL at CAR Caught first TD pass in three games last week.
3 Jason Witten DAL at CIN Has at least six rec. in each of last 9 games.
4 Owen Daniels HOU at NE (Mon.) Pats have allowed third-most fantasy pts. to TEs.
5 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. HOU (Mon.) Season-best 8 catches, 97 yards last week.
6 Brandon Myers OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.) Led all TEs in fantasy scoring last week.
7 Heath Miller PIT vs. SD No. 4 fantasy TE has 7 TD catches.
8 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. DAL Has a TD catch in three of last four games.
9 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. CHI Has a TD in three straight games.
10 Greg Olsen CAR vs. ATL Put up 6-89-1 in Week 4 vs. Falcons
11 Brandon Pettigrew DET at GB Went 3-43-1 last week vs. Colts.
12 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. NO Scored first TD since Week 3 last week.
13 Vernon Davis SF vs. MIA Dolphins have surrendered 2 TD rec. to TEs.
14 Antonio Gates SD at PIT Has posted 10-79 in last 3 games combined.
15 Jacob Tamme DEN at OAK (Thurs.) Put up season-best 9 rec., 89 yds. last week.
16 Jermichael Finley GB vs. DET Lions have surrendered 8 TDs to TEs.
17 Jared Cook TEN at IND Saw season-high 12 targets (4 rec.) last week.
18 Dallas Clark TB vs. PHI Has a TD reception in three of last four games.
19 Dennis Pitta BAL at WAS Redskins have given up most fantasy pts. to TEs.
20 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. NYJ Henne has been looking his way often.
21 Brent Celek PHI at TB Has posted 50 catches, only 1 TD on season.
22 Scott Chandler BUF vs. STL Hauled in his sixth TD last week.
23 Dwayne Allen IND vs. TEN Titans have allowed 7 TD rec. by TEs.
24 Coby Fleener IND vs. TEN Caught 1st NFL TD in first game back (shoulder).
25 Benjamin Watson CLE vs. KC Posted season-best 6 rec., 80 yds. last week.
26 Rob Housler ARI at SEA Will change back to Skelton matter?

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 14 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 04:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. NO
2 Matt Bryant ATL at CAR
3 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. HOU (Mon.)
4 Connor Barth TB vs. PHI
5 Justin Tucker BAL at WAS
6 Jason Hanson DET at GB
7 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. DEN (Thurs.)
8 Phil Dawson CLE vs. KC
9 Shayne Graham HOU at NE (Mon.)
10 Blair Walsh MIN vs. CHI
11 Matt Prater DEN at OAK (Thurs.)
12 Robbie Gould CHI at MIN
13 Dan Bailey DAL at CIN
14 Shaun Suisham PIT vs. SD
15 Adam Vinatieri IND vs. TEN
16 David Akers SF vs. MIA

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 04:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-14

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

2012 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 San Francisco 49ers vs. MIA 49ers get rookie Tannehill at home w/ no Jake Long.
2 Seattle Seahawks vs. ARI How will secondary fare w/o Browner?
3 Denver Broncos at OAK (Thurs.) Second in league w/ 38 sacks, 7 D/ST TDs.
4 Chicago Bears at MIN Bears could be w/o several defensive starters.
5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. SD Chargers have turned ball over 24 times.
6 New York Jets at JAC Jaguars have allowed 38 sacks, second-most in NFL.
7 Cleveland Browns vs. KC Chiefs have 32 TOs, Browns have forced 26.
8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. PHI No. 1 vs. the run, which is only thing Eagles can do.
9 San Diego Chargers vs. PIT No. 7 fantasy DST, Steelers' QB situation uncertain.
10 St. Louis Rams at BUF Had 3 sacks, safety, fumble recovery last week.
11 Arizona Cardinals at SEA Cards are No. 8 in fantasy scoring among DSTs.
12 Cincinnati Bengals vs. DAL Has allowed 13 or fewer pts. in each of last 4.
13 Houston Texans at NE (Mon.) Texans need to shore up pass D vs. Patriots.
14 New England Patriots vs. HOU (Mon.) No. 9 rushing defense vs. Arian Foster and Co.
15 Atlanta Falcons at CAR Falcons picked Brees off five times last week.
16 Baltimore Ravens at WAS RGIII on tap, Ray Lewis may be back this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 14 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 14 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 14</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 04:54
Path: /college-football/tennessee%E2%80%99s-next-coach-why-jim-tressel-makes-sense

The Tennessee Volunteers’ search for a football coach continues. Athletic director Dave Hart has already had his wish list decimated. Jon Gruden, Bob Stoops, Jimbo Fisher, Mike Gundy and Charlie Strong have all reportedly turned down the Big Orange, checking the “no” box on the orange and white checkerboard.

As if running through the “T” made by the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, the Volunteers are at a crossroads and must decide in which direction Peyton Manning’s alma mater is headed.

After marking off so many big-time names, now is not the time for the Vols to be indecisive or settle for the first coach who says “yes.” Now is the time to make a bold move to re-establish UT football. Now is the time for Tennessee to hire Jim Tressel.

Jim Tressel is the best coach available

Because of the off-field NCAA baggage Tressel brings from Columbus, Ohio, he is currently on the market. It can be argued that he should remain jobless. His prior on-field coaching résumé and results, however, cannot be denied.

“The Vest” has a 241–79–2 combined record (74.8 winning percentage) over 25 years as a college coach. At Youngstown State, Tressel went 135–57–2, with four Division I-AA national championships and six national championship game appearances in 15 seasons from 1986-2000. At Ohio State, Tressel carried a 106–22 record from 2001-2010, with seven Big Ten titles, eight BCS bowl appearances, three BCS national title game appearances and an undefeated 14–0 BCS national championship campaign in 2002.

But the Buckeyes boss cracked under NCAA pressure, failing to report violations and lying to investigators in the now infamous “Tattoo-Gate” scandal. As a result, Tressel was fired at Ohio State, stripped of 12 wins from the 2010 season and given a five-year show cause by the NCAA — but more on that later.

Tennessee needs to hire a proven coach

For the third time in four years, there is a vacancy at the pinnacle of Rocky Top. The chair where the head football coach sits remains empty. Not the humiliating stool where Derek Dooley squatted to whine his way to a 16–21 record over three seasons or the airline seat in which Lane Kiffin sat to fly across the country after one soap opera season, but the throne where Phillip Fulmer, Johnny Majors and Robert Neyland combined to build an empire — a proud football program that has claimed six national championships and 16 conference titles.

The Vols are not going to a bowl game for the second straight season; they’ve failed to qualify for a bowl in three of the last five seasons and four of the last eight. At this point in program history, UT can’t go out on a limb with a hotshot assistant or an unproven son-of-a big shot. Tennessee needs to ink a real deal coach who has proven himself prior to arriving in Knoxville.

The Volunteers are a sleeping giant…

Despite all their recent struggles, the Vols remain one of the few potential national championship-caliber programs. Only 11 schools have raised the crystal after winning the BCS national championship — Tennessee is one of them, having won the inaugural BCS title game following the 1998 season.

National title aspirations aren’t pie in the sky dreams, they’re a recent reality for a team that finished in the final AP Top 25 in all but four of Fulmer’s 17 years in charge but has failed to do so in the four seasons since.

Tennessee also boasts 102,455-seat Neyland Stadium and top-flight facilities that have pumped full of Manning money. The traditions of the Vol Walk, running through the T, the Vol Navy, checkerboard end zones, Smokey howling and fans singing “Rocky Top” are all attractive selling points. There have been 12 Volunteers drafted in the first round and 63 total since 2000, albeit only three total in the past two draft classes.

…but Tennessee is certainly not a quick fix

The climb back to bowl eligibility, Top 25 rankings, SEC East title contention and, ultimately, BCS bowl invitation status will take time. The stagnant last years of Fulmer, cut-and-run tactics of Kiffin, and arrogant ignorance of Dooley have compounded problems and made the reclamation project an uphill battle.

No doubt, there would be instant results under Tressel, who turned 60 on Dec. 5. But the proven program builder with a reputation for disciplined teams and a conservative style would need time of his own while dealing with the NCAA noose around his neck.

After being given “at least four different opportunities to report” information on players receiving impermissible benefits, Tressel was slapped with a five-year show cause — meaning Tennessee would have to receive permission from the Committee on Infractions and “show cause” for not being penalized as a result of hiring Tressel.

From there, Tressel would be suspended from team meetings, practices and games for the first five weeks of the season. Tennessee would be ineligible for a bowl during Tressel’s first season. The university and its new coach would also have to meet with the NCAA every six months until Dec. 2016. Otherwise, barring additional NCAA action, it would be business as usual after the first five weeks of Tressel's tenure.

The Vest would look great in Big Orange

In the wake of the Bruce Pearl fiasco, Tennessee would catch plenty of heat early on from high-horsed, holier-than-thou media and message board types. But in the long run, if Tressel ran a clean program, the UT-Tressel combination could result in another decade of dominance for the Volunteers.

Or, Tennessee can go with Plan E, F, or G. Hart can hire a middling man he never really wanted for the job in the first place and then do this all over again in three or four years.

<p> The Tennessee Volunteers have been turned down by Jon Gruden, Charlie Strong and a long list of coaches. Now is the time to go after former Ohio State national champion Jim Tressel, whose five-year show cause NCAA punishment has made him a tough sell but the right hire for Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart and the future of UT's football program.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 19:26
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2012-postseason-awards-and-recap

With all of the BCS conferences finished with regular season play, it's time to take a look at the 2012 college football season and hand out some hardware. At the midpoint of 2012, all signs pointed to West Virginia's Geno Smith as the runaway Heisman favorite, while Oregon and Alabama appeared to be on a collision course for the national championship. And what a difference a couple of weeks can make. The Ducks were bounced out of the top five by Stanford, while the Crimson Tide lost to Texas A&M, yet rebounded back into No. 2 in the BCS standings. Before the road to the national championship begins on Dec. 15, Athlon takes a look at the best of the best from the 2012 regular season.

College Football's 2012 Postseason Awards

Offensive Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
It’s a close call between Manziel and Kansas State’s Collin Klein, but the edge goes to the redshirt freshman. Manziel finished with 3,419 passing yards and 24 scores, while adding 1,181 yards and 19 scores on the ground. In Texas A&M’s upset win over Alabama, the redshirt freshman threw for 253 yards and added 92 more on the ground. Manziel owns the single-game SEC mark for total offense (576 against Louisiana Tech) and broke Cam Newton’s record for most total offense in a season with 4,600 yards after 12 regular season games.

Next in Line:
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

Defensive Player of the Year: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Te’o doesn’t have earth-shattering numbers, but the senior is college football’s best defensive player and is a key reason why Notre Dame ranks as the No. 1 team in the BCS. Te’o led the Fighting Irish with 103 tackles, recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, seven interceptions and 11 passes defended. Sometimes, a defensive player’s impact goes beyond the box score and that’s the case with Te’o. In addition to his 103 tackles, the senior’s leadership and presence on the field were critical to the Fighting Irish finishing first nationally in scoring defense and sixth in yards allowed.

Next in Line:
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

Coach of the Year: Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Just like the offensive player of the year honor, there’s not much separating Athlon’s No. 1 and No. 2 pick. A slight edge goes to Brian Kelly over Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, especially since the Fighting Irish are booked for a chance to win the national title in early January. Notre Dame went 8-5 in each of Kelly’s first two seasons but completed a perfect 12-0 mark in 2012.

Next in Line:
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Bill O’Brien, Penn State
David Shaw, Stanford
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

Top Freshman: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Is there really any doubt about the winner of this award? After averaging 373.4 yards of total offense in SEC games this season, Manziel could be the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. The redshirt freshman was a big reason why the Aggies navigated through their first season of SEC play with a 10-2 record and will matchup against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.

Next in Line:
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
Devonte Fields, DE, TCU

Best All-Around: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Although the Mountaineers cooled off after a 5-0 start, their offense was still one of the best in college football this year. West Virginia ranked seventh nationally in scoring and averaged 518.5 yards per game. Austin is arguably the nation’s top all-around weapon, rushing for 598 yards and three touchdown, while catching 110 passes for 1,259 yards and 12 scores. He also added 738 yards and one touchdown on kickoff returns. Most of Austin’s production came at receiver, but he played more snaps at running back late in the season, including a 344-yard performance against Oklahoma in mid-November.

Top JUCO: Morgan Breslin, DE, USC
A strong case could be made for Ole Miss’ quarterback Bo Wallace or Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, but a slight edge goes to Breslin. The California native helped to turn the USC defensive line from a weakness into a strength this year, recording 53 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks. He also broke up four passes and recovered one fumble in 12 games. Breslin recorded second-team All-Pac-12 honors this year and could be in the mix for a spot on the first team in 2013.

Next in Line:
Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss
Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

Rising Star in the Coaching Ranks: Gary Andersen, Utah State
Andersen was courted in coaching searches at Kentucky, Colorado and California but chose to stay another year in Logan. Since his arrival at Utah State, the Aggies are 25-24 and are making back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 1960-61. Utah State is also 17-8 over the last two years and claimed the outright WAC Championship this season. Andersen is one of college football’s rising stars in the non-BCS ranks and should have Utah State contending for the Mountain West title in 2013. 

Next in Line:
Pete Lembo, Ball State
Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State
Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky

Biggest Surprise: Notre Dame
It’s been quite a season for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame was unranked in the first Associated Press poll and jumped to the No. 22 spot after crushing Navy 50-10 in the season opener. The Fighting Irish climbed steadily in the polls, eventually claiming the No. 1 spot after Kansas State lost to Baylor on Nov. 17. Although it wasn’t a surprise Notre Dame managed to win 10 games and get back to a BCS bowl, it’s rare to see a team begin the year unranked and get into the national championship. Also, the Fighting Irish emerged as one of college football’s top defensive teams, a slight change from Brian Kelly’s offense-first mentality at Central Michigan and Cincinnati.

Next in Line:
Kansas State
Oregon State

Biggest Disappointment: USC
Nothing seemed to go right for USC in 2012. The Trojans closed out 2011 as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning seven out of their last eight contests, including a 38-35 victory against Oregon. Considering USC returned 15 starters, most expected it would continue that momentum and make a run at a BCS title. Instead, the Trojans slumped to a 7-5 overall mark and a 5-4 record in Pac-12 play. Quarterback Matt Barkley was supposed to be a Heisman contender, but his campaign never managed to get on track, and he missed the season finale against Notre Dame with a shoulder injury. For a team that had national title aspirations, playing in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech is quite a drop from the preseason.

Best Coaching Hire of 2012: Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Meyer certainly didn’t inherit a bare cupboard, but he managed to lead the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record with no postseason possibility due to NCAA sanctions. Ohio State rebounded from a disappointing 6-7 mark in 2011 to a perfect record in 2012, winning at Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin, while picking up a huge victory over rival Michigan in the season finale. Meyer has Ohio State poised to regain its status as one of college football’s premier programs and could start 2013 ranked among the top three teams in most preseason polls.

Next in Line:
Bill O’Brien, Penn State
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Jim Mora, UCLA
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

Worst Coaching Hire of 2012: Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
You have to look deep to find any positives about Johnson’s tenure at Southern Miss. And even an extensive examination doesn’t reveal anything that went right for the Golden Eagles under his watch. Johnson compiled the worst season in school history in 2012, going 0-12 with losses to Rice, UAB, UTEP and Memphis. Southern Miss had a tough schedule in the early part of the season, but this team struggled to be competitive and ranked near the bottom of the nation in scoring offense and defense. Johnson was fired at the end of 2012, which ended one of college football’s worst coaching tenures in recent years.

Next in Line:
Tim Beckman, Illinois

Coach on the Hottest Seat for 2013: Lane Kiffin, USC
Considering the disappointing 2012 season, it’s not out of the question that Kiffin needs to win eight or nine games in 2013 to save his job. The Trojans were picked by many to win the Pac-12 this year but finished a disappointing 7-5 and out of the conference championship game. In addition to the struggles on the field, USC was also involved in the embarrassing deflated football incident against Oregon, as well as a jersey switch controversy against Colorado. Kiffin is 25-12 in his career at USC and is still navigating NCAA sanctions from the Reggie Bush scandal. Recruiting talent isn’t a problem for Kiffin, but it’s time to start winning games. With Matt Barkley off to the NFL, the Trojans may take a small step back on offense, and the Pac-12 South isn’t getting any easier, which only adds more troubles to Kiffin’s plate in 2013.

The Next in Line:
Mack Brown, Texas
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Bobby Hauck, UNLV

Related College Football Content

15 BCS Championship Matchups that should have happened
Ranking the Bowl Games No. 1-35: Must-See to Must-Miss

College Football's 2012 All-America Team

<p> College Football's 2012 Postseason Awards and Recap</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/20-best-college-football-stats-2012

Single-game, single-season and career records. School, conference and national benchmarks. Remarkable performances and embarrassing moments. The good, bad and ugly makes college football the great sport that it is today. Here are the 20 most intriguing, most important and most interesting college football stats of the 2012 season: 

0: First quarter TD allowed by Notre Dame
The Irish led the nation in scoring defense at 10.3 points per game. Five separate times, Notre Dame allowed less than a touchdown in a game — against programs likes Michigan, Michigan State and Miami. The Irish defense allowed nine offensive touchdowns all season, (2 rush, 7 pass) and the rushing defense finished fourth nationally at 92.4 yards per game. Needless to say, there is a reason they finished the season unbeaten.

54.7: Yardage difference in Alabama’s nation’s leading defense from 2011 to 2012
Alabama led the nation once again in total defense, allowing a paltry 246.0 yards per game in 2012. However, it was 54.7 more yards per game than the Crimson Tide’s No. 1-rated defense allowed a year ago. Although the 2012 numbers aren't bad, it puts into perspective just how dominant the 2011 Alabama defense was when it allowed just 191.3 yards and 8.8 points per game.

300: Yards receiving in a single-game by four separate players
Before this year, only 15 times had a wide receiver caught at least 300 yards in a single game and never before had it happened more than twice in a season. In 2012, it happened four times — three times on the same day. West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey (303) and Baylor’s Terrance Williams (314) did it in the same game as Arkansas’ Cobi Hamilton (303) did it in a loss to Rutgers on the same day. USC’s Marqise Lee (345) did it a month later against Arizona.

4: Times Washington State rushed for negative yards in a game
A team rushed for negative yards in a game 14 separate times in 2012 and four of them came from Washington State. Colorado posted the single-game low for rushing yards in a game with minus-21 against Stanford on Nov. 3, but Washington State takes the rushing cake by finishing with less than zero yards rushing against Stanford (-18), Oregon (-8), BYU (-5) and Utah (-4). Needless to say, the Cougars finished last in the nation in rushing (120th) with 29.1 yards per game.

214.3: Yards per game Auburn was outgained in SEC play
The Auburn Tigers averaged only 235.1 yards per game in eight SEC games. They allowed 449.4 yards per game on defense in those eight contests. The winless conference record was the first 0-8 SEC record on the Plains in the history of the storied Southern powerhouse. Mississippi State (216), LSU (183), Vanderbilt (212) and Ole Miss (213) posted SEC lows in yards allowed against Auburn, while Arkansas (321) and Georgia (238) posted their second-best defensive efforts of the year against Auburn. Hence, the hiring of offensive guru Gus Malzahn.

2045: Ka'Deem Carey's nation-best yards from scrimmage 
No player gained more yards from scrimmage than the Arizona running back this season. He led the nation in rushing at 146.4 yards per game, while setting the single-season school record for rushing yards at 1,757. His 366 yards against Colorado were a single-game Pac-12 record as well. He caught 33 passes for 288 yards for a team that went from four wins to seven. His nine 100-yard rushing efforts were second only to…

12: Nation’s best 100-yard rushing games from Jordan Lynch
The Huskies of NIU are the first MAC team to ever land a BCS bowl bid. The play of quarterback Jordan Lynch is the primary reason DeKalb, Ill., was celebrating with Oranges this Christmas. He led the nation by topping the 100-yard mark 12 times and scored 19 rushing touchdowns en route to a nation’s best 1,771 rushing yards and MAC Championship. The dynamic junior also threw for 2,962 yards, 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

82 and 76: NCAA all-time record for total TDs and rushing TD by Montee Ball
Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball took over as the starter in Madison with five games left in his sophomore season. He scored eight total touchdowns in his first 21 games as a Badger. In his final 32 games, Ball scored 74 times for an average of 2.3 touchdowns per game. His 82 total touchdowns and 76 rushing touchdowns are both NCAA all-time records, as his team has played in the Rose Bowl three straight seasons. He is the NCAA’s active leading rusher with 5,040 yards and has one passing touchdown on his resume as well (which doesn’t count towards his totals). However, how long will his record stand? Because…

28: NCAA freshman TD record set by Kenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech tailback Kenneth Dixon broke Marshall Faulk's (1991) freshman scoring record by reaching paydirt 28 times this fall. He led the nation in total touchdowns and is setting himself up for a run at Ball’s all-time records. But that wasn’t the only remarkable accomplishment in the Bulldogs loaded backfield this fall…

444: Colby Cameron’s NCAA record pass attempts without an interception
The Bulldogs quarterback went 444 attempts without throwing an interception, breaking Russell Wilson’s previous mark of 379. Utah State’s Will Davis intercepted a Cameron pass in what turned out to be a de facto WAC championship game win over Louisiana Tech in overtime (48-41). The 9-3 Bulldogs lost twice to end the year, ironically, on the back of five Cameron interceptions. He finished with 4,171 yards and 31 touchdowns to go with those five picks.

3: BCS conference teams to go unbeaten and not play in the BCS championship game
Before this season, Auburn (2004) and Cincinnati (2009) were the only two BCS conference teams to finish a regular season unbeaten and not earn a bid into the national title showdown. The Ohio State Buckeyes became the third this season, as it will sit at home due to NCAA postseason sanctions. However, the Bearcats got hammered by the Gators in the Sugar Bowl, while Auburn edged out Virginia Tech in the same game. That leaves the Tigers and Buckeyes as the only unbeaten BCS conference teams in the final polls, leaving fans in Columbus and on the Plains wondering what-if.

71: Landry Jones career-high pass attempts against Oklahoma State
Jones chucked the football around 71 times in the crazy 51-48 overtime Bedlam Series win over Oklahoma State. He attempted more passes in that one game than the Sooners entire 1976 (63), 1975 (69) and 1953 (61) offenses posted for the entire season. It was a career-high in attempts for the OU passer - topping the 62 he threw in 2010 - also against the Cowboys. In fact, Jones attempted 220 passes in four games against the Pokes during his career, more than any other team he faced. Jones ended his career with 16,368 yards passing, 122 touchdowns, 51 interceptions and minus-368 yards rushing. David Piland of Houston was the only player to attempt more passes in a game this season with 77 against Louisiana Tech.

4.3: Career rushes per touchdown for Blake Bell
The Bell-dozer will be a junior next year and is expected to take over for Jones in Norman under center. However, his resume doesn’t look like that of a traditional quarterback. He scored 11 rushing touchdowns on 58 carries this year and has 24 rushing touchdowns on 102 career attempts. He should become the starter next fall for Oklahoma without a touchdown pass on 19 career passes.

175.94: Marcus Mariota’s nation’s leading road passer rating
The Ducks were 5-0 on the road due in large part to Mariota’s stable play away from Eugene. He completed 75.2-percent of his passes for 1,036 yards, 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his five games away from Autzen Stadium this season. He also rushed for 414 of his 690 yards and three of his four touchdowns on the road as well. And he did all of this as a freshman against the likes of USC, Oregon State, Arizona State, Wazzu and Cal. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (172.87) was the No. 2-rated road passer. Speaking of…

8: Tajh Boyd’s ACC single-game touchdown
Boyd completed 30-of-44 passes for 426 yards, rushing 18 times for 103 yards and scored an ACC record eight total touchdowns in the win over the Wolfpack. The Tigers' offense set a school-record with 102 offensive plays and finished two yards shy (754) of a school record for total offense.

38: Tennessee was first SEC team to allow at least 38 points in seven straight games
When Missouri scored 51 points in a win over Tennessee in Neyland Stadium on Nov. 10, it marked the first time in history an SEC team had allowed at least 38 points in six straight games. Then the Vols allowed 41 points to Vanderbilt in a loss that signaled the end of the Derek Dooley era in Knoxville. Tennessee allowed an SEC-worst 35.7 points and 471.3 yards per game in 2012.

572: Big 12 single-game all-purpose yards record set by Tavon Austin
Austin has done everything for the Mountaineers in his amazing career in Morgantown. He has scored 29 receiving touchdowns, five return touchdowns and six rushing scores. He owns the single-season and career return yards marks and numerous receiving records. But he also set the WVU single-game rushing record with 344 yards on just 21 carries against Oklahoma. His 572 all-purpose yards in the close loss to the Sooners were six shy of the NCAA single-game record set by Emmett White of Utah State (against New Mexico State). It might have been the most dominate single-game performance by any player at any position ever. Additionally, Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky (2,977 yards) needs 274 all-purpose yards in the bowl game to break Barry Sanders’ single-season record set in 1988 (3,251).

80,000: 17 programs averaged at least 80K in attendance this fall
Thirteen of those 17 hail from either the Big Ten or the SEC. In fact, 10 of the top 12, 15 of the top 21 and 17 of the top 24 come from the two most powerful and lucrative leagues in America.

4: SEC wins by at least 23 points in the last two seasons by Vanderbilt
From 1957 to 2010, the Commodores won four SEC games by at least 23 points. In the last two seasons, Vandy has matched the total with four wins over Tennessee, Ole Miss and Kentucky (twice). Tailback Zac Stacy also became the school’s all-time leading rusher at 3,036 yards.

5,000 and 2,000: Career totals topped by Taylor Martinez before his senior year
Only three players have ever passed for at least 5,000 yards and rushed for 2,000 yards prior to entering their senior season. Missouri’s Brad Smith and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick were the only two in the club before Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez crossed those benchmarks this season. T-Mart has 6,387 yards passing (44 TD, 25 INT) and 2,812 yards rushing (31 TD) in just three seasons. 

<p> The 20 Best College Football Stats of 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-final-voting-winner

Each week, the Athlon editors and others who closely follow college football vote on the most prestigious award in the sport. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports and other publications cast their votes for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

Barrett Sallee: Bleacher Report SEC Lead Writer (@BarrettSallee)
Jim Young: (@ACCSports)
Blair Kerkhoff: Kansas City Star (@BlairKerkhoff)
Chris Level: (@ChrisLevel)

And the winner is...

1. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (six first-place votes, 121 points)
Stats: 103 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 7 INT, 1.5 sack, FR, 4 PBU
Te'o tied with Manziel for the most first-place votes and won a razor-thin Athlon Sports Heisman vote due to more second place votes (five to three). Judging by our own exercise, the second- and third-place votes may play as strong a role in the award than the first-place. Notre Dame is unbeaten and playing Alabama for the BCS title after playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, and Te'o was arguably the most consistent performer through the season of the finalists. He has a golden reputation as a leader and in his off-field actions. On the field, he finished second in the nation in interceptions and put on marquee performances against Oklahoma and USC. His defense led the nation in fewest points allowed. Should the Irish defeat the Crimson Tide in Miami, Te'o could make the case he easily deserved the award.

2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (six first-place votes, 119 points)
Stats: 273-400, 3,419 yards, 24 TD, 8 INT, 184 att., 1,181 yards, 19 TD
The arguement for Johnny Manziel is his competition (the best in the nation) and the "wow" factor. He made plays few in the nation can make. His statistical production was record-setting and his signature performance against No. 1 Alabama will go down in college football history as one of the greats. Yet, his team lost two games — including a home game to LSU in which his three interceptions cost Texas A&M an SEC West championship and a shot at a national title.

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (one first-place vote, 110 points)
 180-272, 2,490 yards, 15 TD, 7 INT, 194 att., 890 yards, 22 TD
Klein finished his stellar K-State career with a convincing win over Texas to clinch a Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl bid. He was a higher-rated passer than Manziel, both in and out of conference play. He rushed for more touchdowns (especially, in conference) and his team won more games. His heart and toughness is unmatched by anyone (except maybe Te'o) and his off-the-field character is second to none.

Comparing the two quarterbacks in conference play:

  G Comp. Att. % Yards TD INT QB Rat Att. Yards TD Pts/Gm
Johnny Manziel 6-2 200 284 70.4 2,289 11 6 146.67 128 698 10 7.5
Collin Klein 8-1 137 213 64.3 1,886 10 5 149.49 148 685 18 12.0\

How the final voting turned out:
  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (2) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 121/130 6 5 2 - - 13/13
2. (1) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 119/130 6 3 4 - - 13/13
3. (3) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 110/130 1 5 6 1 - 13/13
4. (4) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 89/130 - - 1 9 3 13/13
5. (6) Marqise Lee WR USC 59/130 - - - 1 3 13/13
6. (5) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 51/130 - - - 1 1 11/13
7. (9) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 32/130 - - - 1 1 8/13
8. (7) Ka'Deem Carey RB Arizona 30/130 - - - - 2 8/13
9. (10) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 23/130 - - - - 3 7/13
10. (8) Tavon Austin WR W. Virginia 16/130 - - - - - 4/13
11. (8) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 12/130 - - - - - 6/13
12. (14) Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford 11/130 - - - - - 3/13
13. (20) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 9/130 - - - - - 3/13
14. (13) Jadeveon Clowney DE S. Carolina 8/130 - - - - - 3/13
15t. (ur) Montee Ball RB Wisconsin 5/130 - - - - - 2/13
15t. (14) AJ McCarron QB Alabama 5/130 - - - - - 2/13
17t. (14) Giovani Bernard RB N. Caroliona 3/130 - - - - - 2/13
17t. (17) Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
17t. (17) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
17t. (ur) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
21t. (19) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
21t. (ur) Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
The best of the rest:
4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (12-0)
148-254, 2,039 yards, 15 TD, 6 INT, 227 att., 1,271 yards, 13 TD
5. Marqise Lee, WR, USC (7-5)
Stats: 112 rec., 1,680 yards, 14 TD, 28 KR, 802 yards, TD, 106 yards rushing 
6. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (11-1)
218-312, 2,511 yards, 30 TD, 6 INT, 98 att., 690 yards, 4 TD
7. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon (11-1)
Stats: 248 att., 1,624 yards, 21 TD, 19 rec., 232 yards, TD
8. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (7-5)
Stats: 275 att., 1,757 yards, 20 TD, 33 rec., 288 yards, TD
9. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois (12-1)
Stats: 222-353, 2,962 yards, 24 TD, 5 INT, 271 att., 1,771 yards, 19 TD

10. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Stats: 110 rec., 1,259 yards, 12 TD, 61 att., 598 yards, 3 TD, 28 KR, 738 yards, TD, 15 PR, 165 yards, TD
<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Final Voting: And the winner is...</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 05:40
Path: /college-football/10-coaches-replace-bret-bielema-wisconsin

In one of the biggest surprises of the offseason coaching carousel, Bret Bielema decided to depart Wisconsin for Arkansas. Bielema led the Badgers to three consecutive Rose Bowl appearances and was coming off back-to-back Big Ten titles. However, whether it was the attraction of coaching in the SEC or some friction with athletic director Barry Alvarez, Bielema chose to depart and won't coach Wisconsin in the 2013 Rose Bowl. 

10 Replacement Coaches for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin

Chris Ash, defensive coordinator, Wisconsin – Could the Badgers choose to stay in house for a Bielema replacement? Ash is a rising star in the coaching ranks, coming to Wisconsin in 2010 to coach defensive backs, before a promotion to defensive coordinator in 2011. In addition to his time in Madison, Ash had stops at San Diego State and Iowa State but has no head coaching experience. Bielema was a young defensive coordinator when he was promoted to head coach - could Wisconsin choose to do the same path this year?

Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks – Since all signs point to Paul Chryst staying in Pittsburgh, Wisconsin’s next option might be Bevell. The former Badger quarterback has been an assistant coach since 1996, starting his career at Westmar University. He worked at Iowa State and Connecticut, before jumping to the NFL to serve as an offensive assistant with the Packers, Vikings and Seahawks. Bevell has been Seattle’s offensive coordinator for the last two years and has played a key role in developing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.

Bob Bostad, offensive line coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Bostad is regarded as one of the nation’s best offensive line coaches, developing top units at Wisconsin and in the NFL with the Buccaneers. He also has experience during stops as an assistant at San Jose State and New Mexico from 1997-2005 but has never served as a head coach. Bostad worked under Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, so there’s some natural ties to the program. However, not having head coaching experience has to be a drawback for athletic director Barry Alvarez.

Paul Chryst, head coach, Pittsburgh – Even though Chryst has expressed his commitment to Pittsburgh, Wisconsin still make a run for his services. Chryst played at Wisconsin from 1986-88 and coached in Madison in 2002 and 2005-2011. He also has experience from stops at Oregon State and in the NFL with the Chargers. Chryst is the perfect candidate for Wisconsin but leaving Pittsburgh after one season will be difficult. 

Dave Clawson, head coach, Bowling Green – Clawson took a lot of heat for Tennessee’s struggles on offense in 2008, but he is a proven head coach at three different stops. The New York native went 29-29 in five seasons at Fordham (1999-2003), which also included a trip to the FCS playoffs in 2002. Clawson jumped to Richmond in 2004 and led the Spiders to two playoff appearances, including an 11-3 mark in 2007. After the failed season at Tennessee, Clawson landed at Bowling Green and went 7-6 in his debut year and 8-4 in 2012.


Bob Diaco, defensive coordinator, Notre Dame – If Wisconsin chooses to look in the assistant ranks, Diaco should be in the mix to replace Bielema. The New Jersey native played at Iowa, so he’s certainly familiar with life in the Big Ten. Diaco has spent time as an assistant at Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan, Virginia, Cincinnati and for the last three years at Notre Dame. Diaco has no head coaching experience but has helped to lead the Fighting Irish to a rank of No. 1 overall in points allowed (10.3 ppg).


Butch Jones, head coach, Cincinnati – Jones has been a hot name in coaching searches this offseason, interviewing at Colorado and Purdue for openings at those schools. He has six years of head coaching experience, spending three years at Central Michigan and recording a 27-13 mark. During his time in Mount Pleasant, the Chippewas made three bowl appearances and claimed two MAC Championships. Jones moved to Cincinnati in 2010 and guided the Bearcats to a 23-14 mark over the last three seasons. Cincinnati has claimed a share of the Big East title in each of the last two years after going 4-8 in Jones’ first season in 2010.
[NOTE: Since publishing, Jones has been hired at Tennessee.]

Pete Lembo, Ball State – Lembo is a proven winner at three different stops during his coaching career and is ready to move up the coaching ladder after two years at Ball State. He recorded a 44-14 mark in five years at Lehigh and a 35-22 record in five seasons with Elon, which included an appearance in the FCS playoffs. Lembo is 15-9 in two years with the Cardinals and improved his win total by three games from 2011 to 2012.

Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State – Narduzzi doesn’t have any head coaching experience but is regarded as one of the Big Ten’s top assistant coaches. The Connecticut native started his coaching career at Rhode Island in 1993 and stayed until 2000 when he left to go to Northern Illinois. After three seasons with the Huskies, Narduzzi spent one year at Miami (Ohio) and joined Mark Dantonio’s staff at Cincinnati in 2004. Narduzzi followed Dantonio to Michigan State in 2007 and has helped to build one of the Big Ten’s best defenses over the last few years. The Spartans ranked fourth nationally in total defense this season.

Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – Taggart is one of the rising stars in the non-BCS ranks and is ready for a promotion to a bigger program. He is 16-20 in three years with Western Kentucky, including back-to-back seven-win seasons in 2011-12. Taggart is from Palmetto, Fla., which is just under 50 miles to Raymond James Stadium. In addition to his time as a head coach at Western Kentucky, Taggart worked as an assistant under Jim Harbaugh for three seasons at Stanford.  

Related College Football Content

Ranking College Football's Bowl Games: Must-See to Must-Miss
Ranking College Football's Vacant Jobs

College Football's Postseason 2012 All-American Team

<p> 10 Coaches to Replace Bret Bielema at Wisconsin</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 05:30
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-picks-every-game-week-14

NFL Week 14 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Broncos (9-3) at Raiders (3-9)
Denver MVP candidate Peyton Manning had his best game of the season against Oakland in Week 4, throwing for a season-high 338 yards, three TDs and zero INTs during a 37–6 win that pulled the Broncos back to the .500 mark with a 2–2 record. Manning lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots the following week, but has reeled off seven straight wins since then.
Broncos by 10

Ravens (9-3) at Redskins (6-6)
The hits keep on coming for Robert Griffin III. After making his four-TD Thanksgiving debut, RG3 shined under the lights in his first appearance on Monday Night Football. Up next: The Battle of the Beltway. Since a Week 10 bye, Griffin has thrown for 667 yards, nine TDs and one INT, while rushing for another 185 yards and leading the Skins to a 3–0 record.
Redskins by 2

Cowboys (6-6) at Bengals (7-5)
After throwing nine TDs and 13 INTs with a 3–4 record over his first seven games, Tony Romo has thrown 10 TDs and just two INTs with a 3–2 mark over his last five games.
Bengals by 2

Rams (5-6-1) at Bills (5-7)
St. Louis rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins has scored three TDs — on two pick-sixes and a fumble recovery — over the past two weeks, or as many as Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller has scored over the last 10 weeks this year.
Rams by 1

Eagles (3-9) at Buccaneers (6-6)
Philly puts its eight-game losing streak on the line against a Tampa team that is the definition of mediocre — 3–3 at home, 3–3 on the road.
Buccaneers by 6

Falcons (11-1) at Panthers (3-9)
Atlanta earned a 30–28 win over Carolina in Week 4 thanks to a game-winning FG by Matt Bryant with just five seconds remaining.
Falcons by 8

Chiefs (2-10) at Browns (4-8)
Romeo Crennel returns to Cleveland, where he went 24–40 in four years as the team’s coach. In the four seasons since, the Browns have an 18–42 record (and counting).
Browns by 3

Chargers (4-8) at Steelers (7-5)
With Ben Roethlisberger already sidelined, 2004 draft classmate Philip Rivers will try to avoid a similar fate as he takes on the Steel Curtain without three starting O-linemen.
Steelers by 6

Titans (4-8) at Colts (8-4)
The legend of Andrew Luck grew in Week 8, when Indy pulled off a 19–13 overtime win in Tennessee. But home is where the heart is, as Luck and Co. are 5–1 at Lucas Oil Field.
Colts by 4

Jets (5-7) at Jaguars (2-10)
The Tim Tebow three-ring circus has added a third QB just as Tebow heads back home to Jacksonville. Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy both played while Tebow watched with injured ribs last week. Who knows which QB(s) will play this week. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are running out of winnable games as they look to avoid the worst season in team history — a 4–12 mark in their inaugural season of 1995.
Jaguars by 1

Bears (8-4) at Vikings (6-6)
Chicago’s O-line could be out for justice against Minnesota sack artist Jared Allen, whose illegal block on guard Lance Louis resulted in a torn ACL during a 28–10 Bears win in Week 12.
Bears by 6

Dolphins (5-7) at 49ers (8-3-1)
Don’t expect Marino or Montana-style passing in this Super Bowl XIX rematch.
49ers by 9

Cardinals (4-8) at Seahawks (7-5)
Arizona got the best of Seattle during a 20–16 win in Week 1. But this game will be played at CenturyLink Field, where the Hawks are 5–0.
Seahawks by 9

Saints (5-7) at Giants (7-5)
The roller-coaster ride season continues for New Orleans. After an 0–4 start, the Saints went 5–1. Since then, Drew Brees and Co. are channeling the Aints, with back-to-back 10-point losses to the 49ers and Falcons. In those games, Brees has thrown a combined three TDs and seven INTs, while taking six sacks.
Giants by 4

Lions (4-8) at Packers (8-4)
The wheels have fallen off for Detroit. The Lions have lost four consecutive contests, including three straight when leading in the fourth quarter with 2:00 left in regulation — becoming the first team to match that streak of collapsing futility since 2000. In Week 11, the Packers saw one such meltdown up close in a 24–20 win.
Packers by 8

Texans (11-1) at Patriots (9-3)
The Pats just locked up their 12th straight winning season by clinching their fourth consecutive division title. Meanwhile, the 10-year-old Texans secured just their second-ever playoff berth. Houston is 6–0 on the road this season, but that perfect streak will be put to the ultimate test in prime time on Monday night.
Patriots by 1

Last week: 9–7 // Season: 129–63

<p> 2012 NFL Picks, Every Game: Week 14, including Houston Texans at New England Patriots, Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints at New York Giants, Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 20:09
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-going-week-14

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams. The Houston Texans remain the top team, while the Jacksonville Jaguars moved back to the bottom this week.

Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 13 of the season:

1. Texans (11-1) Punch playoff ticket, set franchise record for wins.

2. Falcons (11-1) Earn NFC South title for second time in three years.

3. Patriots (9-3) Tom Brady becomes first QB to win 10 division titles.

4. Broncos (9-3) Von Miller’s pick-six adds to Defensive POY resumé.

5. Steelers (7-5) James Harrison forced fumble shifts momentum.

6. Ravens (9-3) Fifteen-game winning streak in Baltimore snapped.

7. 49ers (8-3-1) Lose to Rams on Greg Zuerlein 54-yard FG in OT.

8. Packers (8-4) Have won 10 consecutive games vs. NFC North foes.

9. Bears (8-4) Tied with Packers for division lead following defeat.

10. Giants (7-5) Can’t catch RG3, have lost three of last four games.

11. Seahawks (7-5) Third straight win at second home in Soldier Field.

12. Colts (8-4) First game-winning TD with no time left since 1990.

13. Bengals (7-5) Fourth consecutive win ends on Andy Dalton TD run.

14. Redskins (6-6) RG3 breaks Cam Newton’s rookie QB rushing record.

15. Saints (5-7) Drew Brees’ TD streak ends at 54 on five-INT night.

16. Vikings (6-6) Adrian Peterson runs wild for 210 yards in defeat.

17. Cowboys (6-6) Tony Romo breaks Troy Aikman’s TD record in win.

18. Rams (5-6-1) Just 26 ticks away from second tie in four weeks.

19. Buccaneers (6-6) Unable to stop Broncos’ ironman star Mitch Unrein.

20. Jets (5-7) Sanchez benched, Tebow inactive, McElroy cheered.

21. Chargers (4-8) Low voltage Bolts have lost seven of last eight games.

22. Titans (4-8) David Stewart (leg), Steve Hutchinson (knee) injured.

23. Dolphins (5-7) Sloppy execution results in fifth straight loss to Pats.

24. Bills (5-7) Ryan Fitzpatrick answers critics with win over Jags.

25. Lions (4-8) Ndamukong Suh cheap shots, late collapses a trend.

26. Browns (4-8) Earn first victory on the road since Sept. 18, 2011.

27. Cardinals (4-8) Ryan Lindley struggles in Cards’ eighth straight loss.

28. Eagles (3-9) Nick Foles to start at QB for remainder of season.

29. Raiders (3-9) “Can’t stop the run” or “the pass,” says Michael Huff.

30. Chiefs (2-10) Jovan Belcher murder-suicide a Kansas City tragedy.

31. Panthers (3-9) Unable to maintain MNF momentum in loss at K.C.

32. Jaguars (2-10) Mike Mularkey blown out in return trip to Buffalo.

<p> NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 14, including the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 19:56
Path: /nfl/robert-griffin-iii-andrew-luck-russell-wilson-avoid-rookie-wall

Apparently no one told this year’s rookie class of quarterbacks about the proverbial “rookie wall,” which, for years, has stood as an obstacle to stardom for even the best and brightest.

Four-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw threw six TDs and 24 INTs in his first season. Two-time Super Bowl winner John Elway started off by completing just 47.5 percent of his passes, with seven TDs and 14 INTs. Four-time MVP Peyton Manning broke the single-season INT record as a rookie, throwing 28 picks.

Even for future Hall of Famers, the wear and tear of an NFL season can be too much to bear during that first go-round as a professional.

But this season, first-year signal-callers are playing some of their best football down the stretch.

Seven rookie quarterbacks started in Week 13, posting a combined 4–3 record. Three, in particular, stood out — Seattle’s undersized underdog Russell Wilson, Indianapolis’ No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck and Washington’s Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III — en route to close-call victories that kept their respective teams alive in the playoff hunt.

Wilson led a 12-play, 97-yard scoring drive for a go-ahead touchdown in a 23–17 upset at Chicago. The 5'11" dynamo took charge of the huddle and then marched the Seahawks down the field for just their second road win of the season

“I just told the guys, ‘This is what the season comes down to, right here and right now,’” said Wilson, a third-round draft pick at No. 75 overall.

Across the Great Lakes in Detroit, Luck threw a 14-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Donnie Avery as time expired on a 35–33 comeback victory over the Lions. The winning play — a short dump off toss that Avery hustled across the goal line — capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive and secured another “Chuck Strong” win for the Colts, who are 8–4 this season after finishing with a league-worst 2–14 record last season.

“You always hesitate throwing the ball not in the end zone, for fear of the clock running out with a guy in bounds,” said Luck. “Took the calculated risk that Donnie could get there in the end zone, and he did.”

Finally, on Monday night, RG3 outran the Big Blue Wrecking Crew of the defending Super Bowl champs, during a 17–16 win over the Giants. The win moves the Redskins to 6–6 and just one game behind the Giants in the NFC East division race.

The dynamic dual-threat run-pass ability of Griffin was on full display against a New York defense that was gasping for air all night long.

“If he stays healthy,” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, “he’s going to be a havoc on defenses for a long time.”

When it’s all said and done, that could be the case for several members of the quarterback class of 2012.

<p> A trio of rookie quarterbacks — the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck and Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson — led their teams to victory in Week 13 and remain alive in the playoff hunt after avoiding the "rookie wall."</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 19:17
Path: /college-football/15-bcs-championship-match-ups-should-have-happened

Argument reigned supreme last season when one-loss Alabama got the nod to rematch with LSU over Oklahoma State in the BCS Championship game. Had the Cowboys simply beaten Iowa State two weeks earlier, there would have been no room for discussion. Since there is no playoff (yet) and a hodge-podge of very qualified one-loss teams — Oregon, Florida, Kansas State namely — are looking up at Alabama/Georgia in the BCS standings, it got me wondering, what if?

What national championship games could have, would have, should have, almost took place over the last 15 seasons? Some are justified, some are not. But all would have been intriguing and many would have completely rewritten the history books — like last season, for example. It goes to show that one bounce of the ball, one missed tackle, one injury can change the entire perception of a team, coach or player. Imagine how we would view at LSU and Les Miles historically if they had defeated Mike Gundy and the Pokes instead of losing to Alabama?

1. Auburn vs. USC, 2004
There has been no other team in the BCS era more worthy of playing for the national title without being invited to the big game than the 2004 Auburn Tigers. The Cincinnati Bearcats of 2009 are the only other BCS conference team to go undefeated and not play for the BCS National Championship. Jason Campbell, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Marcus McNeil and an athletic alphabet soup at wide receiver (Aromashodu and Obomanu) made this offense as talented as any in War Eagle history. Carlos Rogers and Jay Ratliff led a stacked defense that stifled ranked opponents LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia Tech to a total 38 points. This team would be a heavy underdog to the USC powerhouse that crushed Oklahoma in the BCS title game that year, however, it is clear in hindsight that Auburn at least deserved a shot at the mighty Trojans.

2. USC vs. LSU, 2003
USC ended the 2003 season at No. 1 in both the AP and Coach’s Poll, but was third in the final BCS poll due to an early season overtime road loss to an eight-win Cal team. Oklahoma and LSU both lost as well, the Sooners in embarrassing 35-7 fashion to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game. Yet, they still finished No. 1 in the BCS. The Trojans ended up handling Michigan in the Rose Bowl with relative ease and split the National Championship with LSU. There were 52 NFL players on the ’03 USC roster and it’s fairly obvious they deserved to play in the official BCS national title game. Other than Cal, only one other regular season game was played with 20 points (a 35-18 win over BYU).

3. Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, 2012
Certainly, I would pick Alabama, Georgia or Florida to beat Ohio State if they were to match-up in a National Championship this winter. That doesn’t mean they would win the game and fans seem to have totally forgotten there are actually two unbeaten teams in the nation this season. If it were eligible, Ohio State would deserve to play Notre Dame for the national championship this season. The Buckeyes have a Heisman caliber quarterback, a two-time National Champion (in the SEC, I might add) head coach and a solid defense. Until the playoff is put in place in 2014, the current system is built to award unbeaten teams from power conferences. This year’s title game should be a historic match-up between two of college football blue-blood programs (even if you think Bama or Georgia is the best team).

4. Ohio State vs. Tennessee, 1998
Speaking of Ohio State, the Buckeyes and Vols were the best two teams in the nation back in the inaugural BCS season. After starting the year No. 1 and crushing their first eight opponents, a turnover-filled upset against Michigan State on Nov. 7 cost the Buckeyes a trip to the title game. This was a loaded OSU team that beat five ranked opponents and likely would have been favored over a Florida State team that got beat by 17 points to NC State and didn’t have it’s starting quarterback. But because the Noles loss came in Week 2, they had time to work their way back into the title game. Tennessee-Ohio State would have been a battle for the ages as many Buckeyes fans believe this was the best OSU team of the last 20 years.

5. West Virginia vs. Ohio State, 2007
Major Harris and the 1988 Mountaineers finished the regular season unbeaten and No. 3 in the polls. Had it beaten unblemished No. 1 Notre Dame in the bowl game, it likely would have won the school’s first and only national championship. In eerily similar fashion, WVU lost starting quarterback Pat White to an injury at Pitt on the final weekend of the 2007 regular season. The Panthers won 13-7 and eliminated the No. 2-rated Mounties from the BCS championship game. Had they won that game, Rich Rodriguez, White and Steve Slaton would have faced Ohio State in the title game with as good a shot to upset the Buckeyes as the two-loss LSU Tigers. Those two seasons are the closest WVU has ever come to winning a national title.

6. Oklahoma State vs. LSU, 2011
The debate over Oklahoma State and Alabama getting the right to face LSU was ended in abrupt fashion when the Tide crushed LSU in New Orleans last winter. However, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys didn’t deserve the opportunity to prove itself in the championship setting. One of the most productive (and talented) offenses ever assembled against one of the most productive and talented defenses (either Alabama or LSU) ever assembled would have been a tremendous showdown. Brandon Weeden vs. Eric Reid. Joseph Randle against the lawfirm of Mingo, Montgomery and Logan. How about Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne? And finally, Jordan Jefferson against the defense that forced more turnover (44) than anyone in the nation. Sign me up. Of course, had the Pokes not lost in double ovetime to Iowa State on the road in the penultimate game of the season, this would have been the match-up and the nation would have a new 2011 champion.

7. USC/Texas vs. Florida, 2008
The Trojans lost on a Thursday night on the road to a nine-win Oregon State team 27-21 in Week 3. They were not challenged the rest of the season, pitching three shutouts and holding three other teams to seven points or fewer. USC, which finished 12-1, led the nation in scoring defense (9.0 ppg allowed), passing defense and finished No. 2 in total defense. Oklahoma lost to Texas by 10 in the Red River Shootout but stayed ahead of the Horns and Trojans for the right to play Florida. Texas lost to Texas Tech in the Blake Gideon-Michael Crabtree thriller in Lubbock and finished in a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South. The Sooners got the nod based on BCS ranking. In fact, Utah and Boise State were the only unbeatens left after the regular season as Texas, Alabama, Penn State and Texas Tech all finished the regular season with one loss. Since Penn State lost to USC and Bama lost to Florida, a USC (or Texas) and Florida match-up might have actually been the most compelling.

8. Florida vs. Alabama, 2009
“Rematch” is a taboo word these days, but the 2009 SEC championship game decided the national championship game. Both teams entered the final weekend unbeaten and No. 1 Florida lost convincingly in the Georgia Dome 32-13 (we all remember Tim Tebow on the sidelines). The Gators were the defending national champs and had been No. 1 all season, so the question is who was the better team: Texas or Florida? Obviously, we will never know, but watching a Colt McCoy-less Longhorns teams fail to compete with the Tide while Tebow torched the unbeaten Bearcats didn’t help. A best out of three between these two would be just fine with me.

9. Tennessee vs. Miami, 2001
The Vols lost in heart-breaking fashion to Georgia 26-24 (I know, I was there) in the hob-nailed boot game early in 2001. However, after a huge win at No. 2 Florida to win the East in a game that was postponed due to 9/11, Tennessee worked its way back to the No. 2 spot in the BCS. All it had to do was defeat No. 21 LSU in the SEC championship game. Well, the Tigers (with a back-up QB) won a game that signified Nick Saban’s arrival in the SEC while the Volunteers were relegated to the Citrus Bowl. The Big Orange would have been crushed by the Hurricanes — arguably the best college football team ever assembled — so the end result likely wouldn’t have been any different. But one has to think Tennessee would have given The U a better battle than a Cornhuskers team that allowed 99 points in its final two games of the year.

10. Michigan vs. Ohio State, 2006
It might have been the best Ohio State-Michigan game ever played. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 and the Wolverines were ranked No. 2 and the game ended in a 42-39 win for Ohio State. Both were unbeaten and the eye-ball test indicated they were the best two teams in the nation. Florida backed its way into the game and proved that theory wrong in hindsight. However, if a rematch is good for the SEC, it’s good for the Big Ten as well. Much like Florida-Alabama in 2009 or LSU-Alabama in 2011, a best out of three would have been extraordinary for all parties involved.

11. Georgia vs. Ohio State/LSU, 2007
LSU lost twice en route to its national title in 2007 but never had to face the 11-2 Bulldogs. One could make the case that the Dawgs were the best team in the SEC that year, but a road loss to the Vols sent Tennessee to Atlanta to face LSU. I guess we’ll never know.

12. Oregon vs. Florida, 2012
Oregon is the best team not playing in the national championship game this fall. A one-loss Florida team also deserves to be mentioned amongst the nation’s elite as well. Of course, a playoff would have solved this issue.

13. Boise State vs. Alabama, 2009
The 2006 Boise State team was more memorable but the 2009 version was likely the best. Five teams finished the regular season unbeaten but TCU, who lost to Boise, Cincinnati and Texas lost in bowl games. Boise State and Alabama were the lone unbeatens that year.

14. Boise State vs. Ohio State, 2006
One thing we can all agree on is that Boise State-Ohio State would have been a much more entertaining national title than the one we got. The only thing that would have made the memorable Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma better is if it had come against Ohio State in the national title game.

15. TCU vs. Auburn, 2010
Oregon and Auburn were clearly the best two teams in the nation, but after an excellent performance against Wisconsin in a Rose Bowl win, TCU finished 13-0. Gary Patterson’s defense against Cam Newton would be fun to watch.

There are plenty of others out there I have failed to mention but would have loved to have seen played out. Here a few others I would have enjoyed:

Stanford vs. Alabama, 2011
UCLA vs. Tennessee, 1998
Oregon vs. Notre Dame, 2012
Oregon vs. Kansas State, 2012
Utah vs. USC, 2004
Stanford vs. Auburn, 2010
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State, 1998
Oklahoma State vs. Alabama, 2011
Penn State vs. Ohio State, 2005

<p> 15 BCS Championship Match-ups that should have happened</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 05:16
Path: /college-football/arkansas-auburn-or-tennessee-which-best-job-opening-sec

The SEC is college football's No. 1 conference, so it's no surprise there's a lot of interest in the coaching positions at Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas. Although each of the three schools has a lot of positives, is there much separating this trio? The Razorbacks and Volunteers have upgraded their facilities in recent years, while the Tigers are just two years removed from a national title. 

Which job is the best opening in the SEC: Arkansas, Auburn or Tennessee?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Perhaps a few years ago, I would have said something other than Tennessee, but now it’s pretty obvious Tennessee is the best open SEC job this season. The Volunteers are on more solid ground after cycling through Phillip Fulmer, Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley in three years. Even through all the turnover and losing, good players still found their way to Knoxville, even if them could tackle. Like most SEC schools, the commitment is there, the facilities are there, the money is there. Instead, the Tennessee job is better for right now than the other two for what it’s not. The Vols aren’t in the West, even if they have to play Alabama every year. They don’t have the headaches of an Auburn job that eats its own. They have a better track record than Arkansas. All the jobs are tough, a good coach can win at any of them. But Tennessee has the greatest potential for short- and long-term success.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Tennessee is the best job opening in the SEC, but they are all solid gigs. Arkansas has done much to elevate its standing in the college football hierarchy with major facility upgrades in the last few years. But this program lacks an elite recruiting base, is in arguably the toughest division in college football and has yet to prove it can win an SEC title. Auburn has more upside than the Razorbacks, as 2010 proved, and has the best in-state talent pool of the three, but a bizarre and unreasonable fanbase (and their expectations) combined with always being No. 2 in their own state makes the Plains an volatile place to coach. Tennessee has a better tradition of sustained success than both and has arguably the best facilities in the nation. And today, the East is a slightly "easier" place to reside than the West. In the SEC, my rankings would go Tennessee (6th), Auburn (7th) and then Arkansas (9th) — but all three are top 30 jobs nationally.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Considering each of these jobs would rank among the top 25 in the nation, it’s not easy to choose the best one out of this trio. Arkansas strikes me as a program on the rise, especially as it continues to upgrade the facilities and after recording back-to-back seasons of at least 10 victories from 2010-11. However, the Razorbacks don’t have a ton of in-state talent to build a program around, which means recruiting Texas is a priority. And of course, there’s already Alabama and LSU in the same division, which makes getting to the SEC Championship – at least right now – very difficult. Although Auburn won a national title in 2010, dealing with in-state rival Alabama is never going to be an easy task. The Tigers also seem to be in a bit of disarray right now, especially with the NCAA snooping around the program for recruiting violations. Tennessee has an easier path to a SEC Championship right now, even though Florida is back on the rise, and South Carolina continues to improve under Steve Spurrier. The Volunteers have solid facilities and are willing to spend to get a good coach, but just like Arkansas, there’s not a ton of in-state talent to build a program. With all of those factors considered, I’d have to give a slight edge to Tennessee as the best job out of this trio. However, if Arkansas can hire the right coach and successfully recruit Texas, the Razorbacks have a chance to surpass the Volunteers for the No. 1 spot.

Mark Ross
For me, it comes down to Arkansas or Tennessee, because as long as Nick Saban's in Tuscaloosa, I want nothing to do with the job at the "other" Alabama school. That said, it's very close, but I'll go with the Hogs' job over the Volunteers' gig. Yes, Arkansas resides in the same division as Alabama and LSU, not to mention Mississippi State, a Texas A&M program that appears to be on the rise and an improving Ole Miss, but that doesn't mean the Hogs aren't in position to make some noise of their own. Don't forget what Bobby Petrino had accomplished with the program before his unexpected dismissal. That's not the case with Tennessee, who has seven or fewer wins in each of the last four seasons and will be hiring its fourth head coach in four years in the near future. Tennessee was once considered one of the best jobs in all of college football, and I'm not saying it won't ever reach that level again. However, the Volunteers' glory days seem almost like a distant memory these days, and I'm not convinced it won't take some time to get the program back to the level the powers that be and the fan base expect it to be at. Regardless of how long that takes, the pressure will always be there to win "now" in Knoxville, especially with what James Franklin has already done in just two seasons at Vanderbilt, the "other" Tennessee school. Arkansas also has made more of a commitment recently to improving its football facilities, an aspect that can never be overlooked, especially in the SEC, and whoever gets the Hogs' job doesn't have to worry about competing with another SEC program, let alone major FBS member school, in his state. Both teams have plenty of questions surrounding them headed into the offseason and will likely be looking at major turnover, as it applies to the coaching staff and player personnel, and both will play difficult schedules in 2013. Still, if I had to choose, I would probably take the Arkansas job over the other open ones in the SEC because I think the Hogs are better situated to turn things around in the near future and there's no question that there is less pressure to win in Fayetteville than Knoxville, or even Auburn for that matter. Of the three jobs, I think it's less stressful and much sweeter to win big with the Hogs than either the Vols or the Tigers.

Related College Football Content

Ranking the Bowl Matchups: From the Must-See to the Must-Miss
5 Reasons Why Alabama Will Win the National Title

Week 14 College Football Recap

<p> Arkansas, Auburn or Tennessee: Which is the best job opening in the SEC?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 05:14
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2012-postseason-all-america-team

College football's 2012 regular season is over, which means it's time to hand out the hardware. It's never easy compiling a postseason All-America team, especially after watching several players have excellent 2012 campaigns. Some positions required little debate (linebacker - Manti Te'o) but others (quarterback and running back) were difficult to sort out. 

First-Team All-America Offense

QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin

RB Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona

WR Marqise Lee, USC

WR Terrance Williams, Baylor

TE Zach Ertz, Stanford

C Barrett Jones, Alabama

OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

OG Chance Warmack, Alabama

OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

First-Team All-America Defense

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State

DT Star Lotulelei, Utah

DT Will Sutton, Arizona State

LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia

LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama

LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State

S Matt Elam, Florida

S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

First-Team All-America Special Teams

K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech

KR Reggie Dunn, Utah

PR Venric Mark, Northwestern

AP Tavon Austin, West Virginia

Second-Team All-American Offense

QB Collin Klein, Kansas State

RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford

WR Stedman Bailey, West Virginia

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

C Braxston Cave, Notre Dame

OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor

OG David Yankey, Stanford

OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama

OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

Second-Team All-America Defense

DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

DT Jordan Hill, Penn State

DT Kawann Short, Purdue

LB Anthony Barr, UCLA

LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford

CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State

S Eric Reid, LSU

S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State

Second-Team All-America Special Teams

K Caleb Sturgis, Florida

P Kyle Christy, Florida

KR Dri Archer, Kent State

PR Marcus Murphy, Missouri

AP Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

Related College Football Content

5 Reasons Why Alabama Will Win the National Title

5 Reasons Why Notre Dame Will Win the National Title

Ranking the Bowl Games No. 1-35: Must-See to Must-Miss

<p> College Football's 2012 Postseason All-America Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 05:13
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-14

Chances are your fantasy league’s playoffs either start this week or next, should your team be eligible for the postseason. If that is the case, time is running out to fortify your roster as you prepare to begin your quest for a championship. Injuries also continue to be a factor and another reason why the waiver wire is such an important tool. To that end, here are some possible options worth considering for Week 13 and the rest of the season.

Week 14 Positional Rankings

Week 13 Recap: Kevin Kolb missed another game, but if Ryan Lindley’s performance against the Jets (10-of-31, 72-0-1) on Sunday is any indication, Kolb still appears to have a good shot at getting the starting job back if he’s able to return. Jake Locker was battered and bruised by the Texans’ defense all afternoon long, finishing with 309 yards passing, but also five turnovers (3 INTs, 2 fumbles).

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
Henne struggled (208-1-1 and a fumble) against Buffalo, but he’s in no danger of losing the starting job for the rest of the season. He also threw for a combined 615 yards and six touchdowns (with just one interception) in his previous two games combined. Henne’s matchup this week with the Jets isn’t the best, but after that he has Miami, New England and Tennessee. All three rank among the bottom fourth of the league in passing defense and No. 17 and higher in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis did a much better job of containing Kaepernick the second time around in the Rams’ overtime win over the 49ers on Sunday. Still, the dangerous dual-threat quarterback made his share of plays, including a key 50-yard scamper in the fourth quarter, and for the time being, it looks like he will remain as the 49ers’ starting quarterback over Alex Smith. If Jim Harbaugh has any intentions of going with Kaepernick in the playoffs, then it stands to reason that he will give him as much playing time as possible for the rest of the regular season. Miami and New England are next up on the schedule, with conference tilts in Seattle and against Arizona also remaining. As long as Kaepernick keeps the starting job, he will remain an intriguing fantasy option that could either pay off big or end up falling short. Smith still bears watching, however, should he get his job back, especially these next two weeks based on the matchups with the Dolphins and Patriots.

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
Palmer has thrown seven touchdown passes and five interceptions over his last four games. However, he’s also passed for 300 or more yards in all but one of these games and has no fewer than 34 pass attempts during this span. As long as Darren McFadden remains sidelined, the Raiders will continue to throw the ball and overall Palmer has had only two games in which he’s scored fewer than 17.1 fantasy points. You could do a lot worse in terms of a backup quarterback than Palmer.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Entering Sunday’s game in Chicago, Wilson had yet to put together a solid game on the road. That is no longer the case after Wilson threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 71 with no turnovers in the Seahawks’ overtime win over the Bears. He still has conference games with Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis remaining, but two of these are at home, where he has been stellar (11 TDs, 0 INTs) all season, while his only road contest is in Buffalo. He may not be an every-week starter just yet, but if he continues to play like he did against the Bears, it won’t be long.

Running Backs
Week 13 Recap: Matt Forte (ankle) not only played against Seattle, he dominated the carries (21 to 7) and scored on a touchdown reception in the Bears’ overtime loss to the Seahawks. As long as Forte is able to play, Michael Bush doesn’t carry much fantasy value, other than as a must-have handcuff. Beanie Wells found the going pretty tough (15 att., 22 yds.) against the Jets, but had twice as many carries as the rest of the team combined. David Wilson had as many carries as he did kick returns (four each) in the Giants' loss to Washington on "Monday Night Football."

Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis offense is all about Andrew Luck and how far the rookie quarterback can carry the Colts, but don’t overlook Ballard. As long as he gets more opportunities than Donald Brown, the rookie running back could have value. Especially with games against Tennessee and Kansas City remaining, not to mention two games against Houston, a team that has already clinched a division title and may be resting its starters in Weeks 15 and 17.

Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Dwyer was named the Steelers’ starter a few weeks ago and he did receive the bulk of the carries (16 of team’s 26) in the win over Baltimore. The Steelers’ offense should only get better once Ben Roethlisberger returns under center, and they definitely need to keep winning to secure a playoff spot. As long as Dwyer maintains his position as the Steelers’ lead back, he will hold some degree of fantasy value.

Justin Forsett and Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Whether it’s Forsett or Tate, whoever is backing up Arian Foster is a must-have handcuff for owners of the Texans’ workhorse. Houston has already clinched the AFC South division title, so it’s highly likely Foster will see fewer carries the rest of the way. Look no further than yesterday’s win in Tennessee, as Foster carried it 14 times for 38 yards, while Forsett matched that with 14 totes of his own, gaining 64 yards. There’s no debate that Foster’s No. 1 and he’s most likely in for a busy day at the office against New England this coming Monday, but for now it appears that Forsett may have supplanted Tate, who’s been dealing with numerous injuries this season, as the backup. However it shakes out, both names should be watched closely, especially if any sort of announcement regarding Foster’s workload is made in the near future. In fact, if you own Foster and can make it work, I would strongly consider adding both Forsett and Tate to your roster. That’s how highly I think of the Texans’ ability to run the ball.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
He was mentioned in this space last week, but bears mentioning again because of his position as the starting back in Denver. Moreno has seen 20 carries and caught four passes in each of his first two games as the Broncos’ lead back in place of an injured Willis McGahee. The Broncos have clinched the AFC West division title, but still have seeding and home field to play for, so there’s no reason to think Moreno’s load will lessen any over the next few weeks. Oakland, who is 28th in the league against the run, is next up, with home dates against Cleveland and Kansas City also remaining. Unless you are absolutely loaded at running back there is no reason to not at least consider adding Moreno to your roster, if not starting him right away.

Wide Receivers
Week 13 Recap: Cole Beasley and Julian Edelman posted identical stat lines (1 rec., 13 yds.), while Justin Blackmon fared even worse with one catch for nine yards. Still, of these three, Blackmon by far is the most intriguing fantasy option for the playoffs. Ryan Broyles, however, will not be an option for the playoffs, as he tore the ACL in his right knee in the game against Indianapolis and is done for the season. Pierre Garcon posted just his second 100-yard game of the season (other coming in Week 1) and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against the Giants on Monday night.

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
All Alexander has done in his last five games is lead the Chargers in targets, receptions and yards, while matching fellow wideout Malcom Floyd in touchdown catches with three. Alexander has become Philip Rivers’ new deep threat and as much as Rivers has struggled throwing the football this season, it’s not like he’s getting benched anytime soon and he will not hesitate to continue to air it out. Also, while this Sunday’s matchup with Pittsburgh appears daunting, the Steelers’ lost their top coverman, cornerback Ike Taylor, to injury last week and have dealt with injuries in their secondary all season long. After the Steelers, the Chargers close out things with Carolina, the Jets and Oakland.

Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
As long as Andrew Luck continues to throw the ball as well as he has lately, both Avery and Hilton (who showed up here last week) could be valuable WR3/flex options. Reggie Wayne is the clear-cut No. 1 option for Luck, but Avery and Hilton combined for 11 catches, 191 yards and two scores (both Avery’s) on Sunday against the Lions. Hilton also has value as a returner for leagues that include that aspect in their scoring. The Colts are leading the chase for a Wild Card berth right now and have games with Tennessee and at Kansas City left, along with two games against a Houston team that already has its playoff ticket punched and may not have much else to play for by the time Weeks 15 and 17 come around. All reasons why you may want to give Avery and/or Hilton a close look if you are in need of some receiving depth.

Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
It has been a disappointing fantasy season to put it mildly for Britt and all other Titans, with the possible exception of Chris Johnson. That said, there’s still plenty of time left for Britt, who when healthy has the ability to produce like a No. 1 wide receiver, to have an impact. He and quarterback Jake Locker hooked up for a 34-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Houston on Sunday and considering the duo figures to be the future of the Titans’ passing attack, it’s safe to assume they will work to build on their chemistry as the season winds down. The Titans still have games with Indianapolis, the Jets, Green Bay and Jacksonville remaining, so there also should be opportunities to produce some decent offensive numbers as well.

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
It took five games, but Gordon finally got back into the scoring column on Sunday against the Raiders, thanks to another big play. Gordon’s 44-yard scoring strike from Brandon Weeden may have been his first touchdown in five games, but it’s also indicative of the playmaking ability he brings to the table. Gordon is averaging 19 yards per reception for the season and more than a third of his catches (12 of 34) have gone for 20 yards or more. Kansas City and Washington are next on the docket for Cleveland, so the opportunity for more of these types of plays appears to be there.

Tight Ends
Week 13 Recap: Dallas Clark maintained his recent stretch of solid play with a touchdown catch against Denver, while Rob Housler led Arizona in receptions, albeit it was a total of four and they went for only 15 yards.

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
I have no idea why the No. 5 tight end in fantasy football is owned in a little more than half of Yahoo! leagues, but that's the story with Myers. The leading receiver for the Raiders by a whopping 31 catches and 86 yards over Denarius Moore, Myers had 14 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Cleveland. Myers has posted fewer than five catches only once in his last eight games. Really, what else are you looking for in your starting fantasy tight end?

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
After going through a three-game stretch in which he caught just two passes total, Rudolph has recorded no fewer than five receptions in each of his last three contests. He also has hauled in a touchdown in each of these three games, giving him a total of eight on the season. For all his inconsistency, Rudolph is tied for second among tight ends with those eight scoring strikes. If Christian Ponder's going to have any sort of success the rest of this season, Rudolph figures to be a key reason for it.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 13 Recap: Cleveland had just one sack and an interception in its 20-17 win in Oakland.

Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have been a borderline top 10 fantasy DST for most of the season and picked off five Drew Brees passes in their win last week. The unit has produced eight double-digit performances on the season and has been a fairly reliable source for both sacks (27) and turnovers (24 total).

San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are the No. 7 fantasy DST thanks to an opportunistic ball-hawking unit that has produced 22 total turnovers and scored six defensive touchdowns and a safety. The NFL playoffs may not be a possibility for them, but with games remaining against Carolina, the Jets and Oakland, the Chargers' DST could be just what your fantasy team needs for its own postseason push.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 14</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 05:10