Articles By All

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/kentucky-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Kentucky hit rock bottom with a 2-10 record last season. As a result of the dismal year, Joker Phillips was fired, and Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was hired to take over the top spot in Lexington.

Stoops hired an excellent coaching staff, which includes former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown, as well as Florida State assistant D.J. Eliot.

Stoops has a stellar recruiting class on the way, but Kentucky still lags behind the rest of the conference in overall talent. The Wildcats return 10 starters from last year’s team, but only end Bud Dupree, tackle Donte Rumph and linebacker Avery Williamson have garnered preseason all-conference consideration.

Kentucky faces an uphill battle in 2013, and progress may not be noticeable in the win column. A non-conference game against Western Kentucky in the season opener isn’t a guaranteed win, while crossover games with SEC West opponents Alabama and Mississippi State are likely losses.

While the future is bright in Kentucky, the Wildcats may struggle just to get to three or four wins in 2013.

What will Kentucky's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Kentucky's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
SEC
Logo
8/31 Western Kentucky
9/7 Miami (Ohio)
9/14 Louisville
9/28 Florida
10/5 at South Carolina
10/12 Alabama
10/24 at Mississippi State
11/2 Alabama State
11/9 Missouri
11/16 at Vanderbilt
11/23 at Georgia
11/30 Tennessee
Final Projection3-92-102-103-93-9

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Mark Stoops has done everything right for Kentucky so far. But now comes the hard part. The Wildcats were outgained by 169 yards per game in SEC play last season and only one conference loss was by 10 points or less. Kentucky has some pieces to work with, including on defense with ends Bud Dupree, Jason Hatcher and Za’Darius Smith. But this unit doesn’t have the depth to consistently compete in the SEC in 2013. The offense will be better under the direction of new coordinator Neal Brown, and there are three promising candidates to start at quarterback. The biggest question mark on offense will be finding playmakers, especially at receiver where the top returning option is Demarco Robinson (28 catches). I have Kentucky finishing 3-9, but I could see this team winning one in SEC play. Stoops has an excellent recruiting class on the way, and it’s all about showing progress in 2013. Even if the Wildcats fail to win a game in the SEC, I expect this team will be more competitive against their conference brethren.

Mark Ross
Do I think Kentucky is headed in the right direction under Mark Stoops? Yes, but let's not kid ourselves here, this Wildcats program has a long way to go to return to the days of five straight bowl games from 2006-10. It will take Stoops some time to mold this program to his liking and, more importantly, gather the necessary talent and depth to compete in the SEC on a consistent basis. That's what happens when you lose two of your best offensive players (guard Larry Warford, wide receiver LaRod King) from a team that went 2-10 and your starting quarterback (Jalen Whitlow) accounted for a grand total of six touchdowns last season. The games with in-state foes Western Kentucky and Louisville make the non-conference schedule challenging to begin with and then SEC play opens with Florida, South Carolina and Alabama? Simply surpassing last year's win total and clawing out a win in conference should be considered a moral victory for this season. Better days are ahead for UK's football team, just not in 2013.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’ll buy stock in Mark Stoops for his long-term prospects at Kentucky, but not for 2013. Who put together this schedule? From Sept. 14-Oct. 12, Kentucky faces the defending national champs, the Sugar Bowl participants and a top-10 team on the road. Kentucky’s just doesn’t have the talent to compete in the SEC, and the real problem is that the Wildcats are really the only ones in this category. Vanderbilt has distanced itself from Kentucky in a big way. Mississippi State and Ole Miss (the latter of which isn’t on UK’s schedule) aren’t doormats anymore. Kentucky’s real statements are going to have to be against Western Kentucky (who defeated UK in overtime last season) and Miami (Ohio). Lose those games and Kentucky runs the risk of losing to every FBS team on the schedule. After that, Kentucky has to hope it has enough pieces like Bud Dupree and Donte Rumph up front to put a scare into Missouri or Vandy late in the season. Other than that, the season is pretty bleak.


Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
It’s been a successful offseason for Kentucky, which has put together one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for 2014. Unfortunately, none of those players are available. It will likely be a difficult season for Kentucky, which has a promising coaching staff but a depleted roster. Still, Kentucky fans shouldn’t give up hope. What if the Wildcats force a few turnovers at home against Louisville? Road games against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt won’t be easy, but they’re winnable. Missouri and Tennessee are both coming off losing seasons and have to travel to Lexington. Kentucky’s defense will rely on a strong line and one of the league’s top linebackers in Avery Williamson. If the Wildcats get consistent (and healthy) play at quarterback, they might surprise a team or two.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Good bye Joker. Hiring a defensive minded head coach like Mark Stoops is a step in the right direction for Kentucky. He is surprising on the recruiting trail for 2014, even giving the state of Ohio a run. Getting 50,000 people to your spring game, not too shabby. With all that said you are bringing back an offence that ranked 119th and a defense that was 86th in the nation last year. I don’t see success in Mark’s first year, but all the signs say he’s doing everything right. With four new head coaches in the SEC, someone has to rise to the top of the pile. Name to remember: Alvin Dupree, LB 
 

Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
Pivotal Players to Determining a SEC Championship
South Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Texas A&M Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Kentucky Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

The Big 12 is up for grabs in 2013. Without a clear frontrunner, this conference should be one of the most entertaining battles for the top spot in the nation this year.

 

A strong case could be made Oklahoma State is the team to beat in the Big 12, but like the rest of the teams in the conference, the Cowboys have question marks.

The offense should be among the best in the Big 12, but quarterback Clint Chelf needs to prove he can be effective for a full season, and the offensive line needs to find three new starters. The biggest area of concern has to be on defense.

 

Oklahoma State is thin on proven defensive ends, and the secondary ranked 110th nationally against the pass last year.

 

With a schedule that features home games against TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Baylor, it’s easy to see why Oklahoma State was picked during Big 12 Media Days as the early favorite.

What will Oklahoma State's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Oklahoma State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mike
Perez
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Chris
Williams
Allen
Kenney
8/31 Mississippi State (Houston
9/7 at UTSA
9/14 Lamar
9/28 at West Virginia
10/5 Kansas State
10/19 TCU
10/26 at Iowa State
11/2 at Texas Tech
11/9 Kansas
11/16 at Texas
11/23 Baylor
12/7 Oklahoma
Final Projection10-211-111-110-29-311-1


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Under coach Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State has been a model of consistency. The Cowboys have won at least seven games in each of the last seven years, including a 23-3 stretch from 2010-11. There’s no question Oklahoma State has joined the ranks of the Big 12 elite, and despite a rebuilding year in 2012, managed to go 8-5 with three losses coming by seven points or less. The Cowboys are my pick to win the Big 12 this season, and with a schedule that features home games against Kansas State, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma, the conference title will run through Stillwater. Senior quarterback Clint Chelf played well in limited action last season, and he will be surrounded by plenty of weapons at running back and receiver. The defense has to play better, but new coordinator Glenn Spencer could be what this unit needs to fix some of the issues from last year. Considering how close the top teams are in the Big 12, two losses will likely win the conference title.   


Mike Perez, (@OrangePowerCom), OrangePower.com
Oklahoma State has had four offensive coordinators during Mike Gundy's eight-year head coaching tenure (including Gundy himself) and each season the offense continues to churn like a well-oiled machine. Expect more of the same this season with Mike Yurcich becoming the newest offensive coordinator to take the reins. Once again, the determining factor of the Cowboys' season will be the level of play they can get from the defense. With linebacker coach turned defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer at the helm, expect to see a more aggressive defense on the field than in year's past. The Cowboys have the talent and experience to get through the non-conference portion of the schedule unscathed and with a relatively down year for the Big 12 I don't expect more than one or two losses for the season. If defensive NFL prospects Calvin Barnett and Justin Gilbert live up to expectations and the OSU defense is able to take advantage of the more aggressive scheme, the Cowboys very well may be a dark horse contender for the BCS Championship game.

Mark Ross

If there was ever a season for Oklahoma State to seize the Big 12, this would be it. With the quarterback uncertainty at Oklahoma and Texas, not to mention the Longhorns' recent "slide," Mike Gundy's team appears to be well positioned to win the conference. Offense has been Gundy's trademark since he took over in Stillwater, and even with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Yurcich and unproven starters in quarterback Clint Chelf and running back Jeremy Smith, this Cowboys team should score its fair share of points. The defense has seven starters returning, including experience at every level, and should be able to improve on last year's poor performance against the pass (110th in the nation).

 

The other thing Oklahoma State has going in its favor this fall is its schedule. The opener with Mississippi State in Houston will be tough, but otherwise the Cowboys should breeze through their non-conference slate. OSU gets five home Big 12 games, with the toughest road test by far coming in Austin, Texas, in the middle of November. However, even there the Cowboys get a break as that game is sandwiched between home dates with Kansas and Baylor. As long as the Pokes don't slip up when they have back-to-back road games in Ames, Iowa, and Lubbock, Texas, they will be in a position to take advantage of a home slate that features Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma. The Cowboys have gone 17-3 at Boone Pickens Stadium over the last three seasons. The bar has been raised in Stillwater, and as long as the offense does what it does and the defense can show some moderate improvement, there's a good chance that Oklahoma State just may be able to clear it this fall.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

Mike Gundy did a wildly underrated coaching job last season. The Cowboys lost Brandon Weeden and needed to start three different quarterbacks to replace him, and they still finished in the top 10 nationally in passing, yards per game and points per game. The 5-4 Big 12 record isn’t pretty, but Oklahoma State lost one-score games to Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor, the last two on the road. For 2013, I’ve picked Oklahoma State to lose two Big 12 games, which may be enough to win the league. The truth is, there’s not much that’s going to be predictable in this conference. Oklahoma State, though, benefits from a good home schedule, drawing rival OU, Baylor and TCU at home. The pick here that sticks out is the Texas Tech loss. The Red Raiders will be OK, and strange things happen to Big 12 frontrunners in Lubbock.

Chris Williams, (@ChrisMWilliams), CycloneFanatic.com
Oklahoma State is without question the safest pick to win the Big 12 in 2013 but I'm wondering if replacing four assistant coaches might not take its toll on Mike Gundy's program this season? Maybe it won't. After all, Gundy seems to do just fine as he loses offensive coordinators on an annual basis (it seems like it at least). OSU won't have any problems starting off 5-0 but that sixth game vs. TCU is a real swing game. I have TCU winning the league and that game as well, but should the Cowboys knock off the Horned Frogs, running the table until its road trip to Austin is very realistic. OSU's final three games are all tough. I see 10-2 as a best-case scenario for the Cowboys but 9-3 is the pick. 

Allen Kenney, @BlatantHomerismBlatantHomerism.com
Mike Gundy has done a fantastic job of growing Oklahoma St. from a middle-of-the-road program in the Big 12 that is consistently competing for the conference crown. In fact, I'm picking the Cowboys to win the league for the second time in three years. The experience at quarterback is a big plus in a year with so much turnover at the position throughout the conference, and Clint Chelf will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. The defense also boasts impact players at all three levels: Calvin Barnett up front, Shaun Lewis at linebacker and Justin Gilbert in the secondary.

 

To me, the big concern with OSU this year is the Pokes' tendency to take their eye off the ball. I'm betting one team that has no business beating OSU pulls it off. How about at Texas Tech? The Red Raiders have enough offensive firepower to at least put a scare into the Pokes, and they'll be playing their ninth game under new coach Kliff Kingsbury and his staff. That's enough time to get everything in place to spring an upset.

That lone loss will likely keep OSU out of the national championship game, but another BCS bowl should make for a nice consolation prize.

 

 

Related College Football Content

Big 12 Predictions for 2013
Big 12 2013 All-Conference Team
Oklahoma Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
West Virginia Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
College Football's Worst 25 Tenures of the BCS Era
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
Five Ways to Fix Texas Football

Teaser:
Oklahoma State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/acc-coaches-talk-anonymously-about-conference-foes-2013
Body:

It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year. In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2013, Athlon asked coaches in the ACC to talk anonymously about their opponents.

Note: These scouting reports come directly from the coaching staff and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.

ACC Coaches Anonymously Scout Their Conference Foes for 2013

Boston College
Opposing coaches size up the Eagles:

“Whether it’s Tom O’Brien or Frank Spaziani, they were going to be tough. They were going to be physical. They weren’t going to beat themselves, and they make you earn it every game. That’s always Boston College’s M.O. That hasn’t produced results lately, in part because they don’t have very good talent, but they never gave up their toughness." … 

"I’ve heard Steve Addazio wants to be more like they were at Florida and spread you out. To me, you’ll have a hard time doing that at Boston College because you don’t have the speed. It will be interesting to see what they can do from a scheme standpoint." …

"They are always big on the offensive line, but nobody at the receiver position really scares you. Where they hurt is at the skill positions. But on the offensive line, it’s hard to move guys in there. You would expect that to be the same." …

"There was nobody I can remember that really sticks out on the roster as a force to be reckoned with. They’ve had some good running backs in the past, but nobody really scares you there.”

Clemson

Opposing coaches size up the Tigers:

“Tajh Boyd, for as good a year as he had, is still inconsistent. Our defensive staff feels like he’s got a chance to play as much for the opponent as he does his own team. He did a lot of good things last year and got better, lost weight, and is a lot better because of it. But sometimes he does things that make you wonder what’s he thinking." …

"The loss of (tailback) Andre Ellington is big. I don’t think he got enough credit nationally. He was a really good player." …

"The skill positions make Clemson go. They get three or four great players on offense, and they’ve got a pretty good chance to be good every year. The talent at receiver is as good as anywhere. You see their backup receivers and say, ‘My god, they are better than our receivers.’ …

"Defensively, I thought they were very average. Nobody on the D-line scares you. Nobody at the linebacker position scares you." …

"Stephone Anthony was a highly rated linebacker coming in, and he has hardly done anything. It’s time for highly recruited guys to be developed and step up.”
 

Duke

Opposing coaches size up the Blue Devils:

“David Cutcliffe has done a great job getting the players to believe they can win. Cutcliffe is very well respected. The biggest difference you see in Duke is they’ve developed depth. They had a bunch of injuries on defense but didn’t miss a beat. There’s still a drop-off personnel-wise in certain areas." …

"FSU about killed Duke’s quarterback. They still need to get a little stout up front. The FSU and Stanford games embarrassed them a little bit." …

"The cornerback, Ross Cockrell, the kid was terrible in 2011 but got a lot better last year. He’s a good player now." …

"Their linebackers are slow. They really can’t keep up.  It’s an area we felt we could expose." …

"They are losing their quarterback, Sean Renfree, and Cutcliffe made it work with him. I’m sure he’ll do the same with the new guy (Anthony Boone), who’s more of a dual-threat, option player. I think they’ll implement the option more, which is a little bit of a different look than some of Cutcliffe’s past quarterbacks, so it will be interesting to see how they make it work.”
 

Florida State
Opposing coaches size up the Seminoles:

“From a defensive standpoint and what they had last year, the one thing that jumps out is their back seven. People talked about (defensive end) Bjoern Werner, but those three linebackers and the four guys in the secondary stood out to me. The speed the linebackers had, the physicality, it’s impressive. Even our defensive staff, the week before we played them we saw them on video, and that’s all they could talk about. That’s the thing that jumps out to me about them. It’s hard to say that guy’s a linebacker and that guy’s a defensive back — they are all the same. It allows them to be very multiple. Wasn’t like they presented scheme problems; the biggest problem is just personnel." …

"They are really good, no doubt. I don’t think the loss of Werner will be a big deal. I was more impressed with Cornellius Carradine, who’s gone too. We thought Werner took plays off, but we were impressed with Carradine." …

"Offensively, the loss of EJ Manuel will be a big loss. We were impressed with him last year.”
 

Georgia Tech

Opposing coaches size up the Yellow Jackets:

“Obviously they will be in every game because of the offense. It’s a challenge. It’s hard to defend, unless you have extra time to prepare, which you usually don’t. When you don’t, it’s hard, hard, hard to defend. You have to be extremely disciplined."

"It’s kind of their M.O., but over years, it’s been harder for them. When you walked in, you had Stephen Hill to line up out there and stretch the D. We use it against them. Playing that offense, hard to recruit receivers. All they will do is block." …

"It’s hard being a defensive coordinator there because of the system you’re going into, the offense you’re going against in practice. You never get to defend against the pass." …

"Ted Roof is a good hire. Great for Tech go get a guy like that. You look at those guys on D and they play hard. I thought they had some talent on D. The secondary has its problems." … 

"You look at Tech, they struggled all year, but they still found a way to get bowl-eligible and enter the ACC title game, even if it was a fluke. They are not going to be irrelevant.”
 

Maryland
Opposing coaches size up the Terrapins

“Really curious to see what they do this year. Even though they weren’t very good, you can’t lose a bunch of quarterbacks to injury and expect to compete. You just can’t. Putting a linebacker under center won’t work. That’s what they had to do. It’s crazy." …

"It was just a year to forget for them, though that defense was really good." …

"They lost a bunch of seniors off that defense, though. Replacing them won’t be easy." …

"Sounds like they might go with a transfer at quarterback (Ricardo Young), so we’ll see what he can do. I know they like (C.J.) Brown, too. But overall you have to classify quarterback as a weakness for them until proven otherwise." …

"The stud young receiver, Stefon Diggs, is a big-time player. Whoever the quarterback is, Diggs will help the situation. And there’s a running back (Brandon Ross) who finished the year pretty well. He can play. He’s pretty athletic." …

"I think Randy (Edsall) can coach. He has a hard edge to him that worked at UConn, but it’s uncertain whether that will kind of take shape at Maryland.”
 

Miami

Opposing coaches size up the Hurricanes:

“Great looking offensive line — that’s the thing that stands out about them. Looks like an NFL offensive line. How are we going to be able to hold up to these guys? "…

"I thought the quarterback, Stephen Morris, played well for them." …

"Defensively, you would think they would be better than they were. I know they were young in some spots. Miami, you always think about defensive linemen, but nobody really scared you on that unit." …

"It was a young team that played like it at times. They found a way to win some games. Al Golden did a good job changing the culture. He’s good. I like him. I know a majority of our guys feel the same way. I think he tries to do it the right way. We like the coaches on that staff a lot." …

"They are in a tough situation. The atmosphere at their games is a joke, being as far off campus as the stadium is. It’s a pro stadium that’s pretty much empty. It’s a shame. They had a great home field advantage at the Orange Bowl, but now they have no home field advantage.”
 

NC State
Opposing coaches size up the Wolfpack:

“They didn’t play another quarterback the whole year, so I’m not sure what they have behind that. I didn’t think they were very good on the offensive line. Wide receiver-wise, they had quite a few drops in our game, but that was indicative of their season. Mike Glennon could put the ball on them, but they dropped a lot of balls." …

"It’s a really strong secondary. David Amerson came out. I thought he was really talented,  but he had an up-and-down year." …

"The defensive line is not bad. They should have solid linebackers. I think they had lost all three of their linebackers from the year before, so they were young there last year and will be better." …

"Now, I don’t know what Dave Doeren’s plans are. I do think he’ll have enough to work with. It all depends on the quarterback. The offense he ran at Northern Illinois was very quarterback-oriented. It was about running and throwing." …

"I thought the O-line was one of the weaker parts of the team. Running backs were solid, but nothing special. Tom O’Brien was solid there.”
 

North Carolina
Opposing coaches size up the Tar Heels:

“Larry Fedora, I thought he did a good job in his first year. The biggest thing was the tempo they played with. They are really fast and presented problems for a lot of teams. The tempo can wear you out." …

"The running back, Gio Bernard, was a really, really, really good player — yes, three ‘reallys.’ …

"The receivers are impressive looking. The tight end, Eric Ebron, is impressive looking. He’ll be a big part of what they do next year, I would think." …

"Butch Davis didn’t have a problem recruiting at North Carolina. That guard, Jonathan Cooper, he’s as good as we saw in the country last year. He’s gone to the NFL now, and he’ll be missed. They had great talent on offense, and combined it with the tempo they played." …

"They were just OK in the secondary. I thought it was a liability, to be honest. North Carolina State exposed their secondary last year." …

"If they aren’t good on offense, it can be all over for them on a bad day. … The quarterback played well for them.”


Pittsburgh
Opposing coaches size up the Panthers:

“The quarterback, Tino Sunseri, who’s gone now, was hot and cold." …

"I think Paul Chryst will do a good job getting guys to run his system. He’s perfect for Pitt. They will recruit fits. If they get in Eastern Pennsylvania, they’ll be fine. They always turn out good offensive linemen." …

"It’s a transitional year for them. From what they were under Dave Wannstedt to Todd Graham to Paul, that roster was in flux for awhile." 

"That defense was better than given credit for, though. Physical, strong up front, good against most run teams." …

"I think Paul will do a good job, but they’re probably a little bit behind where they want to be at quarterback." …

"As the season progressed, they got better. They lost to Youngstown but beat Virginia Tech, so that explains it for you." …

"Talent’s probably middle of the road. Paul will maximize what they have." …

"The biggest thing in the ACC is overall team speed week-in and week-out. Getting that consistently for eight weeks will be a big deal, especially while breaking in a new quarterback.”


Syracuse
Opposing coaches size up the Orange: 

“That was a really physical group. We had a bunch of kids banged up after playing them. They have good linebackers and safeties. They have no one like Chandler Jones anymore, but it’s a good group of guys that run and hit." …

"I think they’ll have a dip there because they’ve lost some players. I think they’ve done some junior college things there because of that." …

"I think they’ll probably be a little inconsistent. They’ve struggled in the red zone in the past. They were a good passing team but not efficient. Protection could have caused (quarterback) Ryan Nassib problems." …

"The running backs will still be strong there. Good receivers, not dominant." …

"They may take a little dip. I could be wrong. The Big East was a better league than people think. There were some good ball coaches down there.”

Virginia
Opposing coaches size up the Cavaliers:

“They’ve recruited well, but now you have to develop talent. They’ve taken quite a few guys who can’t play at this level in order to get a pipeline at the same schools." …

"They totally mangled the quarterback situation last year. Michael Rocco is a good player. Phillip Sims, to me, is very average. Alabama can say what they want, but they don’t let him walk out of there if they think he’s the answer at quarterback. It’s a little bit of politics with Sims being from the Tidewater area. That’s an area they recruit. Rocco, the year before, won eight games." …

"It will be interesting to see the change in coordinators. Steve Fairchild was predominantly an NFL guy, and he has no ties to the area. The offensive line will always be impressive looking." …

"Defensive end Eli Harold is going to be a big-time player. He can rush the passer." …

"A lot was made of Mike London’s in-game management. To me, they had some issues with the clock that were head-scratchers. That’s the main reason they brought in Tom O’Brien.”
 

Virginia Tech
Opposing coaches size up the Hokies:

“They really had a subpar year for their standards, but the talent is there. They have guys that can run at every position on defense. They run, they have length. They are really a good-looking football team. And they still recruit well. They just did not play very tough for whatever reason." …

"Something was wrong with that team last year. You could see the talent on film and everything. They didn’t play like it." …

"The quarterback, Logan Thomas, was supposed to be special and he was very below average. He’s a big, good-looking sucker. He has an accuracy problem. Turned the ball over way too much." …

"They built that team on running the ball. They’ve always had great running backs. I don’t know if it was an offensive line problem or they didn’t have a special running back, but they couldn’t run it consistently. I say all this and they may kill us next year."  …

"Frank (Beamer) made a lot of changes. A lot of coaching changes, and it sounds like they are pushing for more toughness this offseason.”

Wake Forest
Opposing coaches size up the Demon Deacons:

“They are going to be very well coached, really solid all the way around, but as far as talent, nothing stood out. Just the one kid, the receiver Michael Campanaro. He really is special. I think he broke some sort of ACC record. He was pretty good. He needs help on the outside. I don’t recall anybody that really stood out beyond him." …

"Wake’s not an easy place to recruit because you’ve got three in-conference programs just down the road, but they could use some upgrades." …

"I think they were dealing with some injuries. They used to have the quarterback (Riley Skinner) who kind of held it all together. I’ve heard they could look to be more multiple in the offense with the quarterback they have now (Tanner Price), who has a lot of experience." …

"They must improve their secondary play. I think they have a lot of young guys there that they want to develop, but late in the season a lack of depth really hurt them. Notre Dame, which wasn’t exactly a polished passing attack, threw it all over Wake.”

 

Related College Football Content

Bowl Projections for 2013
12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
ACC Breakout Players for 2013
North Carolina Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Virginia Tech Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Miami Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Clemson Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013

ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013

Teaser:
ACC Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2013-all-name-team
Body:

With 125 teams in the FBS and around 100 players on a roster, there are certainly some interesting names that pop-up throughout the course of production for Athlon's 2013 college football magazine or online research.

We took a look through the rosters for the 125 teams and pulled out some of the funniest and more interesting names in college football for the 2013 season.

College Football’s All-Name Team for 2013

Offense

Tyler Benz, QB, Eastern Michigan
Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass
Brandon Bourbon, RB, Kansas
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
B.J. Chitty, WR, Troy
River Cracraft, WR, Washington State
Gray Crow, QB, Miami
Christian Cumberlander, WR, San Diego State
Orleans Darkwa, RB, Tulane
Synjyn Days, QB, Georgia Tech
Duke DeLancellotti, QB, Texas State
Jordan Diamond, OL, Auburn
Standish Dobard, TE, Miami
Stevie Joe Dorman, QB, Colorado
Thor Eaton, LB, Colorado
Brisly Estime, WR, Syracuse
Spiffy EvansSpiffy Evans, WR, Boston College
Tunde Fariyike, OL, Auburn
Robert Godhigh, RB, Georgia Tech
Crusoe Gongbay, RB, New Mexico
Brynjar Gudmundsson, OL, South Florida
Rowdy Harper, OL, Houston
Win Homer, OL, Boston College
Gator Hoskins, TE, Marshall
Driphus Jackson, QB, Rice
Thor Jozwiak, OL, South Florida
Jazz King, WR, Marshall
Macgarrett Kings Jr., WR, Michigan State
Munchie Legaux, QB, Cincinnati
Grant Lingafelter, OL, West Virginia
Sterling Lovelady, OL, Florida State
Pharoh McKever, WR, NC State
Maverick Morris, OL, Clemson
Sunny Odogwu, OL, Miami
Leviticus Payne, WR, Cincinnati
Jazz Peavy, WR, Wisconsin
D.J. Polite-Bray, WR, Texas Tech
James Quick, WR, Louisville
Lucky Radley, RB, Utah
Boise Ross, WR, Buffalo
Blaze Ryder, OL, Navy
Diocemy Sainte Juste, RB, Hawaii
Kenneth Santa Marina, OT, Tulane
Konockus Sashington, RB, North Texas
Chandler Shakespeare, RB, Auburn
Dreamius Smith, RB, West Virginia
Jack Snowball, RB, Miami (Ohio)
Mackenzie Sovereign, QB, Duke
Demore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Washington
Altee Tenpenney, RB, Alabama
Poet Thomas, OL, Texas Tech
Sirgregory Thornton, RB, Arkansas State
Tanqueray Towns, WR, Utah
Charlie Will Tuttle, OL, Texas State
Stone Underwood, OL, West Virginia
Fudge Van Hooser, WR, Tulane
Wilson Van Hooser, WR, Troy
Stern Vile, OL, FAU
Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State
Lucky Whitehead, WR, FAU
Psalm Wooching, FB, Washington
Storm Woods, RB, Oregon State


Defense

Promise Amadi, CB, Boise State
Chi Chi Ariguzo, LB, Northwestern
Thurston Armbrister, LB, Miami
Will Barrow, DB, Tulsa
Necho Beard, DB, Nevada
Zeek Bigger, LB, East Carolina
Chief Brown, DB, Ole Miss
Terrance Bullitt, LB, Texas Tech
Keoni Bush-Loo, LB, Arizona
Blaze Caponegro, LB, Temple
Allen Champagne, DE, North Carolina
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Mister Cobble, DT, Kentucky
Wayland Coleman-Dancer, LB, Troy
Pudge Cotton, DB, Eastern Michigan
Blake Countess, DB, Michigan
Steele Divitto, LB, Boston College
Corn Elder, DB, Miami
Hugs Etienne, DB, Wisconsin
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
Maxx Forde, DE, Idaho
Holland Frost, S, Georgia Tech
BooBoo Gates, DB, Bowling Green
Houston Glass, DB, Buffalo
Brixx Hawthorne, DB, Texas State
King Holder, DB, San Diego State
Gunnar Holcombe, QB, Marshall
Chris Hummingbird, DE, Tulsa
Money Hunter, DB, Arkansas State
Sir Thomas Jackson, LB, Buffalo
Nehemie Kankolongo, LB, Wyoming
De’Niro Laster, LB, Minnesota
Tre’maine Lightfoot, LB, UL Lafayette
Dee Liner, DL, Alabama
Courtney Love, LB, Nebraska
Cassanova McKinzy, LB, Auburn
Finesse Middleton, DE, Louisville
Dusty Moore, LB, Kent State
Silverberry Mouhon, DL, Cincinnati
Noble Nwachukwu, DL, West Virginia
Gimel President, DE, Auburn
Jihaad Pretlow, DB, Temple
Johnny Ragin III, LB, California
Floyd Raven, DB, Texas A&M
Vin Rider, DL, Navy
Wave Ryder, DB, Navy
Prince Shembo, LB, Notre Dame
Aziz Shittu, DE, Stanford
Montavious Smoke, DB, Troy
Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma
Dwellie Striggles, DB, Buffalo
Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, DT, Boise State
Destiny Vaeao, DL, Washington State
Sir Calvin Wallace, DT, North Texas
Hershey Walton, DL, Temple
Mwanza Wamulumba, DL, Miami (Ohio)
Freedom Whitfield, LB, FAU
Chocolate Wilson, DB, Marshall
Beau Yap, DE, Hawaii


Special Teams

Chris Blewitt, K, Pittsburgh
Kyle Crofoot, LS, Florida
Stone Monarch, LS, Toledo
Brian Schmiedebusch, P, Bowling Green
Bobby Stonebraker, K, Oklahoma State
Chase Tenpenney, P, Nevada
Hunter Windmuller, P, Virginia Tech

Did we miss out on any names? Add your suggestions into the comments and we'll add them to the list.

Teaser:
College Football's 2013 All-Name Team
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 06:45
Path: /overtime/jose-veras-frightens-alexei-ramirez-curveball-gif
Body:
Pitcher Jose Veras hurled a wicked curveball at batter Alexei Ramirez during a recent White Sox-Tigers game. How wicked? Watch as Ramirez jumps out of the way. And yes, it was called a strike. 
Jose Veras Frightens Alexei Ramirez with Curveball (GIF)
Teaser:
Pitcher Jose Veras hurled a wicked curveball at batter Alexei Ramirez during a recent White Sox-Tigers game.
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-best-and-worst-logos-2013
Body:

Brand image is a massive part of modern 21st century business and college football is big business.

 

Signature uniforms like Michigan’s winged helmet, picturesque monuments like Lake Washington in Seattle or historic personalities like Bear Bryant help separate one team from the next in the college football with clarity. Fans identify with these brand images and it helps build value — or brand equity — for every program in the nation.

 

However, official school logos have been and will always be the simplest and most important way for a college program to classify and separate itself from its peers. Some change dramatically over time while others are literally set in stone for decades. Some are edgy, exciting and extremely busy while others are clean, classic and simple. 

 

Every college football program in the nation has an official logo — and some are better than others — and the goal is to be the most recognizable brand in the nation.

 

And since Athlon Sports has been designing the best looking magazines on newstands for the better part of half a century, we'd thought we'd turn our graphic design guru loose on college football's logos. Here are Athlon Sports Art Director Matt Taliaferro favorite football logos — and a few he can't stand.

 

College Football's Best Official Logos

 SchoolLogoThoughts
1.TexasThe best logo in college football, the Longhorn is classic, simple, unchanging but also unique and creative. There is nothing else to say.
2.ClemsonThere are tons of Tigers, Wildcats and Bulldogs in college sports but none use their mascot quite like Clemson. The Tiger Paw print is synonymous with Clemson athletics and is utterly simple but still edgy and creative. 
3.GeorgiaFind me a more effective marriage of color and simplicity of design and I'll hand these writing duties over to you. Georgia's logo is so timeless that I can't remember there ever being another that represented the football team. You see this, there's no confusion as to what you're looking at. If that's not a successful logo, I don't know what it.
4.BYUIt is one of the most recognizable logos in college sports. There is some creativity in the "Y" font and the inverted color scheme works very well on helmets, merchandise and the like.
5.North CarolinaThe interlocked N-C are as famous as any brand logo in the nation. There are simple touches of style — the font and black trim — that make this logo completely unmistakable.
6.TennesseeAs a logo, Tennessee's is as direct and to-the-point as it gets. Think what you will of the orange (personally, I'm no fan), but the unique working of the "T" is as good as it gets. As an aside, UT's retro Davy Crockett logo is badass.
7.Michigan StIt's clean, classic, gets the point across and is recognizable. It has some fierce edginess to it, the color scheme is perfect and there is no doubt it represents a Spartan.
8.WashingtonSimple, tasteful, unchanging and very obvious. This emblem with its signature gold trim is one of the best in the nation and leaves little doubt as to what it represents.
9.MiamiIt's as simple as it gets but also brings loads of creativity and history. No other logo turns into a hand signal like "The U" and the two-tone color scheme and pattern is unique.
10.Penn StHistorically speaking, few logos are as traditional as the Nittany Lions oval. The smooth looking Lions head has great lines and appears to be hunting... Wolverines or Buckeyes? Few logos combine classy and aggresive like PSU.
11.NebraskaAgain, simple and straight forward gets the point across. The colors and subtle trim are great and it appears that the Huskers have a monopoly on this letter. There is no doubting what this logo refers to.
12.UCLAThe script "UCLA" is one of the most well-known logos in all of sports much less college football. And the way the word Bruins is incorporated makes it one of the most informative in the nation while still being fairly simple.
13.StanfordMichigan State and NC State know exactly what the smart kids from Palo Alto were thinking when this logo was created. It's classic and simple with a touch of style in the stroked white/red trim. Stanford boasts one of the best brand logos in the nation.
14.MichiganIt doesn't get any more simple that the block "M" of Michigan. The font is excellent but it could use some blue trim or accents.
15.ColoradoThe Buffs logo balances all of the key aspects to a company logo. It's simple and classic but with just enough style and flair while also being incredibly unique. 
16.AuburnHard to find fault in the interlocking A-U. Again, trimming away all the waste and boiling a logomark down to its most basic typically nets the best results.
17.Kansas StAll of Kansas State's design work, color scheme and uniforms are underrated and the logo is the same. Aggressive, stylish but yet still fairly simple and clean.
18.OklahomaThere is no doubting what the interlocking "O" and "U" stand for, right? The smooth lines and lack of extras in the font make this a fantastic logo.
19.Texas A&MSomeone from A&M needs to call Texas Tech and explain how effective beveling is done. Like Vandy, Texas A&M's logo is simple and therefore works as a potent branding mark.
20.Ohio StateNormally, a name in a logo doesn't work, but the "S" is perfectly designed into the "O" and it works. It makes it busier than the cleaner, more classic logos above. The colors and trim are second to none.

Others receiving votes: West Virginia, Oregon, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, UConn, Louisville, Iowa

College Football's Worst Official Logos*

 TeamLogoThoughts
1.Oregon StOSU’s logo resembles some sort of odd flying wedge more than it does a beaver — although the inadvertent shark fin on the beaver’s head adds a touch of menace.
2.NorthwesternWas that wildcats drawn in with a Paper Mate? Working with purple already presents challenges and the overall design here isn’t helping.
3.South CarolinaIt’s not the chicken, it’s the “C.” A tweak to the hard inner angles and this logo is no longer in the bottom 5.
4.KansasThere may be some tradition associated with the Looney Tunes magpie but the primary colors scheme and cartoon-ish nature date the logo.
5.Texas TechSlow your bevel roll and quit stacking letters. That's my advice for the Red Raiders. Take a cue from instate rival Texas A&M about how to effectively bevel a logo.

* - Big 6, or "BCS," conferences only

Teaser:
College Football's Best and Worst Logos for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/south-carolinas-jadeveon-clowney-flips-sled-practice
Body:

Football is back. Yes, we made it through a long offseason once again.

And what better way to announce that football season is back with a video of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney flipping one of the sleds in practice?

 

Teaser:
South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney Flips Sled in Practice
Post date: Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 12:14
All taxonomy terms: Tiger Woods, Golf, News
Path: /tiger-woods-tames-firestone-61
Body:

The one missing accomplishment on Tiger Woods' resume remains elusive. Woods flirted with a 59 on Friday before settling for a 9-under par 61 to take a seven-shot lead into the weekend at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

Woods dismantled a track he loves, tying his own course record on the storied South Course at Firestone and putting himself in prime position to win this event for the eighth time. Tiger stood at 9-under through 13 after an eagle and seven birdies — that's a picture of his scorecard after his fourth straight birdie to start the back nine — but makeable birdie tries at 15 and 16 failed to drop, leaving him with a 61 that tied his own course record, as well as matching his personal best in professional competition.

It shouldn't be all that surprsing. Woods' record in this  tournament stands apart from anything the game has ever seen. It's simply jaw-dropping. For a decade, Tiger put an MMA-style chokehold on storied Firestone, leaving competitors flailing. Between 1999 and 2009, Woods played the Bridgestone 10 times, missing the 2008 tournament with injury. In those 10 years, he won the tournament seven times. That's an acceptable percentage for free throws. For golf tournaments, it's insane.

The three years Woods failed to win, he finished 4th, T4 and T2. Over a 10-tounament span, that's an average finish of 1.7. Let all that sink in for a minute. The WGC events assemble the greatest fields in world golf. The Firestone South course layout is a classic track that has hosted three PGA Championships. Woods has treated the tournament, the course and the field like he was Steve Williams and they were pesky photographers.

Over those 10 tournaments, from 1999-2009, Woods won $9,352,500. That number would rank sixth on an all-time list of single-season earnings, and Woods accumulated it in 10 tournaments. Over that span, Woods averaged 67.5 strokes per round on a course that Arnold Palmer once dubbed a "Monster." Basically, it's his best tournament. Heck, it's probably the best tournament for any player in the game's history. And he's a good bet to win it for the eighth time.

 

- by Rob Doster
Follow me on Twitter @AthlonDoster

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 17:16
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-best-july-29-august-2
Body:

It's been a busy week in the college football world.

In addition to the latest news, Friday's links will try to highlight some of the best posts of week - just in case you didn't catch our posts from earlier in the week.

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)

College Football's Must-Read Stories From the Week of July 22-26


Five questions for Alabama as it opens fall practice.

And speaking of Alabama, a Crimson Tide fan got a very bad misspelled arm tattoo

Ole Miss cornerback/receiver Nick Brassell is no longer on the team.

Ranking the Mountain West quarterbacks for 2013 - which is one of the best conferences in the nation in terms of overall quarterback talent.

Rutgers will have a revamped offensive line in 2013.

Maryland running back Wes Brown has been suspended from school for the fall semester.

Florida running back Matt Jones is out indefinitely with a viral infection. 

Oklahoma quarterback Kendal Thompson is recovering from a foot injury suffered in fall practice.
 

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall spoke to the media on Wednesday and seems to have matured after missing most of last season due to a suspension.

The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released.

Another story out of TCU today, as starting tackle Tayo Fabuluje has decided to leave the team.

Here are five key questions West Virginia must answer in fall practice.

Kevin McGuire takes a look at the progress Memphis has made under second-year coach Justin Fuente.

John Pennington of Mr. SEC writes an open letter to Johnny Manziel.

Wake Forest running back Josh Harris' status is in limbo for 2013.

Rob Moseley previews Oregon's defensive line (which is in pretty good shape for 2013).

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde has been suspended for at least the first three games of 2013. But cornerback Bradley Roby's status for 2013 is still uncertain.

Saturday Down South ranks the defensive backfields in the SEC and looks at the contract details for the conference's first-round picks from the NFL Draft.

Big things are expected from Michigan receiver Amara Darboh in 2013.

Is Oklahoma considering some tweaks to its uniforms?

Does Clint Trickett hold the inside track to start at West Virginia?

Some sad news: Texas A&M's Polo Manukainiu and Utah's Gaius Vaenuku were killed in a car crash in New Mexico.

Arizona picked up Texas quarterback transfer Connor Brewer.

USA Today's Dan Wolken takes a look at Miami's Al Golden as he attempts to lead the program back to prominence.  

Georgia coach Mark Richt called South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney the best player on the planet.

Saturday Blitz takes a look at the rise of Stanford.

Big loss for Minnesota: Receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts has decided not to play football this year.

Florida State cornerback Nick Waisome helped to catch two suspects involved in a robbery at his apartment. 

Chris Williams of Cyclone Fanatic projects Iowa State's record for 2013.

Lost Lettermen looks at players with famous fathers in college football this year.

A good read from WVUPressbox.com on Dana Holgorsen: Is he building a foundation or a golden parachute?

Can Jeremy Johnson or Nick Marshall push Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace for the starting quarterback job at Auburn?

Where does Barry Sanders fit into Stanford's running back rotation? 

Current California coach Sonny Dykes is reaching out to the man he replaced - Jeff Tedford.

Ira Schoffel has an excellent Q & A with ACC commissioner John Swofford about Florida State athletics. 

Former Oklahoma State defensive end Naim Mustafaa is planning on attending Hawaii.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: Best of July 29-August 2
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 16:45
Path: /nascar/jimmie-johnson-dropping-c-word-%E2%80%94-clarity-%E2%80%94-pocono
Body:

1. Pocono re-pave hasn’t taken kindly to Denny Hamlin  Denny Hamlin
The lore of Denny Hamlin’s exploits grew quickly at Pocono Raceway. That’ll happen when you win the first two races of your career at the tough-to-master speedway. Sprint Cup races, nonetheless.

Hamlin scored two more Pocono victories by his ninth start and three other top-5 finishes. The twin summer stretch of races at the Pennsylvania track was almost always a good way for Hamlin to boost his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“It was a track that we circled on our calendars as one to expect to run up front and compete for the win,” Hamlin said.

But then the deteriorating pavement finally met its maker, and the 2012 race brought the Cup Series back to Pocono on a new, smooth, and perfectly-laid surface. Hamlin’s locked-in dominance fizzled.

No, Hamlin hasn’t been bad at Pocono since the repave. In the three races competed on the new surface, he has a pair of top-10 finishes and a 29th-place run due to a crash on a late restart. But he’s not been nearly as good as his first 12 starts on the old track.

His average number of laps led has dropped from 53 per race to eight. His average finish is down nearly five spots to 14th. And, most telling, Hamlin’s average Pocono running position is down to 12.6 from 8.25.

Last week’s finish at Indianapolis wasn’t exactly a boost of confidence or sign that better things are coming for Hamlin at Pocono. He finished a disappointing 18th.

“We need to start stringing some good finishes together,” Hamlin said this week after his downtrodden post-Brickyard Twitter post. “Pocono is a great place to do that.”



2.  Jimmie Johnson is using that “C” word againNo, not that one. Or that one. Johnson’s use of a “C-word” is much more benign than something found on a Howard Stern show – but it still probably feels dangerous and downright malignant to other teams in the Cup garage.

The five-time champ waltzes back to Pocono this weekend dropping the word “clarity” when describing where his team is with the knowledge and development of NASCAR’s Gen-6 car. Sure, “clarity” sounds innocent and perhaps uninteresting out of context. But when you consider all of the moving pieces that go into making a car fast, having a clear idea of what inputs create the best outputs leads to downright dominance – or a 75-point lead in the point standings.

It’s the same word he used at Pocono when he dominated for the first time this season.

“I feel like we have a clearer vision now of what the car wants, what this Gen-6 car wants, and we’re getting smarter and smarter with it, and that leads into stretches where you can click off the wins and the finishes. Excited to have some clarity right now,” Johnson said this week.

Fortunately for the competition – and somewhat unexpectedly – Johnson didn’t return with the same chassis that so handily dominated Pocono’s first race and was only a pit-crew blunder short of a record-setting fifth Brickyard 400 win last week. Instead, Johnson is racing the car that dominated most of the day at Kentucky Speedway in June. That’s great news for the 42 other drivers, right?

Probably not.



3. Fuel mileage racing always in play at PoconoThe distance and long lap times of Pocono make short-pitting and racing the track like a road course a reality for teams desperate to jump track position in a manner easier – albeit much more risky – than simply passing cars on the track. It also routinely brings fuel mileage racing into play.

Of course, Johnson seems to have a leg up there, too. At least he did in the first Pocono race.

“In fuel-saving mode, I could get a nice gap off of (Turn) three and manage my fuel the rest of the way around the track,” Johnson said about the June race. “And guys would kind of inch back up to me and then I’d blister three again and get my gap and they’d slowly catch up due to fuel savings.”

Ah, clarity and what-not.

Fuel mileage racing doesn’t always receive the kindest rapport of strategies among many in NASCAR. But seasoned definer of racing Tony Stewart – remember his comments about how “racing” doesn’t require “passing” after last week’s race at Indianapolis? – actually enjoys the challenge of fuel conservation and management.

“To be in a situation where your speed is dictated off the guy behind you and not off of what you can do, it’s a different style of racing,” Stewart said. “It’s hard. It’s just as hard, if not tougher, than trying to run 100 percent.”



4. Passing easier at Pocono than Indianapolis, Stewart says  Tony StewartDespite his vivid Indianapolis comments and takedown of those who think NASCAR’s top series should feature more rules designed to make two- and three-wide passes a normal thing in the sport, Stewart pointed out that the passing opportunities provided at Pocono are greater than what the sport just left at the Brickyard. Sure, the tracks share similarities, Stewart said, but Pocono provides a few more options.

“It’s harder to pass at the Brickyard than it is at Pocono,” Stewart said. “There’s a fair amount of room going into (Turn) one at Pocono, and you can run two-wide there and you can go two-wide in (Turn) three at the beginning of a run. But it’s pretty tough to run two-wide through the corners at Indy.”

Stewart credited the Pocono passing options – without any self-aware mentions of his recently-announced disillusionment for the actual act of passing – to that new track surface starting to improve with age.

“The good thing is that (the track has) lost just enough grip to where it’s making it easier to lay rubber in the racetrack now and a lot easier to see it,” Stewart said. “The track is in good shape.”



5. Johnson’s dominance currently making Chase seem awful intelligentYadda, yadda, yadda. Have you heard enough about the impending Chase for the Sprint Cup yet? Who is going to be in? Who’s going to be out? Just wait – the chatter is about to hit hyperdrive. Strap in, Chewie.

Pocono included, six races remain before NASCAR officially sets the lineup of the 11 drivers who will somehow try to scratch, claw and even bite their way past Johnson and the No. 48 for the 2013 title. We’ll talk plenty about who in the wildcard will be in, and who will be out. Pocono could even play a large role in that – just ask last year’s winner of the second race, Jeff Gordon.

But the larger point might be getting missed: The 2013 season is explaining perfectly why a playoff system for NASCAR’s championship is mostly a good idea.

Now I’m the first to admit I have grievances with how the points are doled out, how little wins actually mean anything and whether or not the 10-race fight for the crown is always the perfect way to find a champion.

But this year, with Johnson’s dominance on the top-end and the ridiculous struggle currently underway for the final few spots (a total of 19 measly points separates Greg Biffle in eighth and Kurt Busch in 14th), the Chase is proving to be a tool that will keep people engaged for much longer.

Johnson has a 75-point lead at the moment. He could hit the beach this weekend and play golf the next and still likely return to the sport with the point lead. Without a Chase, the 2013 champion’s trophy would have likely arrived at the engraving shop in July.

And further back? The Chase is doing wonders for the drivers who aren’t always doing wonders on the track. Just think of the value Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Stewart, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Busch are bringing to the table for sponsors – all of which would hardly exist without the championship battle.

No, the Chase isn’t perfect. It needs some amending. But this year, it’s working out pretty darn well.


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

Teaser:
Geoffrey Miller highlights the five NASCAR storylines to watch in this weekend's GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 14:42
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/12-young-nfl-stars-headed-hall-fame
Body:

Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Bill Parcells, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp, Dave Robinson and Curley Culp were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in February. They are some of the game's greatest players and their legacies and impact on the NFL will live forever in Canton, Ohio, as official members of the Hall of Fame.

Projecting the Hall of Fame is virtually impossible, especially for the youngest athletes in football, but as these seven men kick off the 2013 NFL season with Saturday's Enshrinement Ceremony, it is fun to look at the game's best young players. Rookies are expected to contribute quicker than ever on the NFL gridiron and a few have made a big splash in short order.

So, limiting the scope to players drafted in the last three rookie classes (not counting 2013), here are the most likely Pro Football Hall of Famers playing the game today:

Class of 2010: 

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NY Giants
In his first three seasons, JPP has yet to miss a game, playing all 48 for the Giants. He helped lead the Giants to a Super Bowl win in 2011 when he posted 93 tackles and 16.5 sacks. Pierre-Paul has 27.5 sacks, 181 total tackles and two Pro Bowls in three career NFL seasons. In 2012, he intercepted his first career pass and took it 28 yards to score his first career touchdown. He may be the most physically gifted defensive end in the NFL.

Mike Iupati, OL, San Francisco
The Niners have seen a remarkable turnaround under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Much of that can be attributed to what might be the best offensive line in the league. Iupati, drafted in the first round, has started every single game of his NFL career and has watched the 49ers' rushing attack flourish. After averaging 103.6 yards per game in 2010, SanFran rushed for 127.8 yards per game in '11 and finished fourth in the NFL a year ago at 155.6 yards per game en route to a Super Bowl berth. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound mauler should be a mainstay in the Bay Area for years to come.

NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco
The 2010 draft was a great one for the Niners as not only was the offensive line rebuilt with Iupati and Anthony Davis, but so was the defense with this third-round steal. Bowman was an All-American at Penn State and proved in his first season as an NFL starter that he was going to be around for a while. He posted 150 tackles in 16 starts in 2011 and, after getting a long-term contract extension, added another 144 total tackles. He earned his second Pro Bowl appearance in three seasons while leading the Niners to the Super Bowl. Along with Patrick Willis, Bowman is half of the best LB duo in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans
Sometimes it can be all about timing and Graham couldn’t have landed in a better spot at a better time. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound basketball player from Miami fell into a perfect position to succeed for the Saints. He finished third in the NFL with 99 catches, seventh with 1,310 yards and was one of only five players with double-digit touchdowns (11) in 2011. While he took a slight step back in 2012, Graham's 85 catches, 982 yards and nine TDs were still among the league's best by a tight end. With Sean Payton back on the sidelines, Graham should be a part of another Saints postseason run in 2013.

Others names from this class to consider:

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England
If he could ever stay healthy and out of trouble, he could shatter all NFL TE receiving records.

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit
Elite-level player with all the tools to be an all-time great, but needs to mature.

Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati
A fourth-round steal on draft day is already an All-Pro performer.

Maurkice Pouncey, C, Pittsburgh
Elite high school prospect, elite college prospect and now an All-Pro in the NFL.

Class of 2011:

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati
Few players have ever started their career like Green. The superstar talent from Georgia was one of the most coveted pass-catchers in the nation as both a recruit and draft pick. All he has done in two pro seasons is catch 162 passes for 2,407 yards and 18 touchdowns while leading the Bengals to the postseason both seasons. He is an elite red zone target, can stretch the field and has tremendous open field ability as well. He is the complete package at wide receiver.

Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, San Francisco
The youngster out of Missouri was looked at as a project on the NFL level but his elite talents were obvious. Well, the project turned into a star quicker than expected as Smith posted 14.0 sacks as a rookie without technically starting a game. He only got better in Year 2, posting 19.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 65 total tackles for the NFC Champs. Smith is downright unblockable and has already set the 49ers' single-season sack record.

J.J. Watt, DE, Houston
From pizza boy tight end to Big Ten Rose Bowl star to NFL Rookie of the Year candidate to Defensive Player of the Year. The former Wisconsin Badgers end has started every game of his short career and made history by returning an interception for a touchdown in his first postseason game (and Houston’s first postseason win). He led the NFL in sacks in 2012 with 20.5 QB takedowns and has made an art form of deflecting passes (16 last year). He has 149 tackles, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in two pro seasons.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta
The weapons Matt Ryan has in Atlanta are unreal. Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez certainly make life easier for Jones in the passing game, but make no mistake; the former Alabama star is the real deal. He was the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the nation coming out of high school and has only gotten better with age. He is an athletic freak at 6-4 and 220 pounds. He improved his production in every major category from his rookie season to last year, going from 54 receptions to 79, from 959 yards to 1,198 and from eight scores to 10 TDs. He is already one of the league's most impossible players to cover.

Other names from this class to consider:

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina
If he always played like he did against Atlanta, he will be special. Needs to learn how to win.

Von Miller, OLB/DE, Denver
Dynamic pass-rusher was a Pro Bowler as a rookie and has 30.0 sacks in two years. Needs to stay focused off the field.

Class of 2012:

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis
The Colts were 2-14 in 2011 and it landed them Mr. Luck. All the rookie QB did in his first year was produce the best season by a rookie starting NFL quarterback in league history. He won 11 games, set an NFL rookie record with 4,374 yards passing and accounted for 28 total touchdowns. He was an elite, Top-100 prospect in high school and was considered by many the best pro prospect since John Elway. He has proven to be worthy of the top overall pick and literally has zero weaknesses to his game.

Matt Kalil, OL, Minnesota
The top tackle taken in the 2012 draft has played from Game 1 for the much-improved Vikings. According to Football Outsiders, Kalil allowed just two sacks in his first 721 snaps in the NFL. He paved the way for Adrian Peterson’s historic 2,000-yard season and helped lead the Vikings into the postseason. The bookend tackle was a coveted prospect in high school, had a great college career and is already a Pro Bowler in the NFL. Having an All-Pro older brother (Ryan) has helped as well.

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay
He wasn’t the first running back taken in the draft, but he was the most productive. The do-everything tailback was used all over the field as arguably the most successful Boise State runner in program history. His talents have translated instantly. He was fifth in the NFL in rushing (1,454), was fourth in attempts (319), fourth in all-purpose yards (1,926) and trailed only Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson in total offensive touches (368). His ability to catch passes makes him one of the most dynamic players in the league already.

Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina
The Boston College linebacker led the nation in tackles each season in college and was the top player taken at his position in his draft. All he did in his first NFL season was lead the league in tackles (164) by a wide margin. He picked off two passes, registered one sack and recovered three fumbles. The tackling machine is rarely out of position, doesn’t miss tackles and is the center building block on defense for the future of Panthers football.

Other names from this class to consider:

Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland
Elite player with rare skills, but will balky knees and playing for the Browns hurt his long-term stock?

LaVonte David, LB, Tampa Bay
Incredibly productive player on all levels is making quick impact for Bucs.

Morris Claiborne, CB, Dallas
Elite lock-down coverman has lived up to his status as the best corner in the 2012 draft.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington
He is a supremely gifted athlete and remarkable leader — who cannot stay healthy unless he changes his style of play.

Mark Barron, S, Tampa Bay
Has already shown he is a big hitter who has stabilized the back end of the Bucs' secondary.

,

So, limiting the scope to players drafted in the last three rookie classes (not counting 2013), here are the most likely Pro Football Hall of Famers playing the game today:

Teaser:
So, limiting the scope to players drafted in the last three rookie classes (not counting 2013), here are the most likely Pro Football Hall of Famers playing the game today:
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: girls, Houston Texans, Video, videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/houston-texans-cheerleaders-present-freestyle-fridays
Body:

It's the Houston Texans cheerleaders doing something they call "Freestyle Fridays." And it's glorious.

Teaser:
It's the Houston Texans cheerleaders doing something they call "Freestyle Fridays."
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 11:44
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-august-2-2013
Body:

• Just because it's Friday: Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez riding scooters in bikinis.

 

• Failed audition dept.: Seattle bench coach and acting manager Robby Thompson confused his right and left arms and called for the wrong pitcher out of the bullpen. The Mariners then lost.

 

• Well worth a click: Myles Kerr, American hero.

 

Athletes vs. Animals: The Slideshow.

 

The SEC dominated the USA Today Coaches top 10. In other news, the sun rose and water is wet.

 

The touching story of Roger Federer and a cancer survivor. Proof that not all athletes are spoiled jerks. Just most of them.

 

Celebrate International Beer Day with these beer-based cocktail recipes. For some of us, every day is International Beer Day.

 

• Reporter Jenny Dell got soaked while interviewing Johnny Gomes following the Red Sox' walk-off win. She handled it like a pro.

 

Cubs fans obviously aren't used to celebrating. They kinda suck at it.

 

• The latest stupid social media trend: Smack Cam.

 

• Anything's possible: A minor leaguer recorded a one-pitch strikeout.

 

• Check out Blake Griffin's new Nike ad.

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 10:39
Path: /college-football/michael-dyer-transfers-louisville
Body:

Louisville’s high-scoring offense gained another valuable weapon on Thursday night, as former Auburn running back Michael Dyer decided to continue his college career with the Cardinals. USA Today’s George Schroeder first reported the news. Dyer is immediately eligible at Louisville and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Dyer rushed for 1,093 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman at Auburn in 2010. He was a key piece in the Tigers’ national championship run, which included 143 yards in the victory over Oregon in the title game.

Dyer’s numbers were even better as a sophomore, recording 1,242 yards and 10 scores on 242 attempts.

However, Dyer was suspended for Auburn’s bowl game in 2012 and decided to transfer to Arkansas State. But he was dismissed from the team after an off-the-field incident and enrolled at Arkansas Baptist. During his time at Arkansas Baptist, Dyer was mentored by former San Jose State coach Fitz Hill.

Dyer may need some time to knock off the rust and get back into football shape, but the former Auburn running back could be one of the top rushers in the American Athletic Conference this year. Louisville already returns two capable backs in Senorise Perry and Dominique Brown, but Dyer has the most talented out of that trio.

With quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Dyer leading the way, stopping Louisville’s offense is going to be a difficult task for opposing defenses this year.

And Dyer’s decision to transfer to Louisville could be the final piece in a run at an unbeaten season for the Cardinals.

Teaser:
Michael Dyer Transfers to Louisville
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 09:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/texas-am-commerce-has-massive-midfield-logo
Body:

They say everything is bigger in Texas. And that’s certainly the case when it comes to Texas A&M-Commerce’s new midfield logo for 2013.

The Lions have unveiled a gigantic lion logo on their field for 2013, which stretches from about 50 yards, starting on the 25-yard line.

Some won’t like the massive logo, but I think it’s a nice addition for Texas A&M-Commerce. If nothing else, it brought the school some attention, which certainly can't hurt when it comes to recruiting. And who knows, maybe Texas A&M-Commerce will start the next trend in college athletics.

 

Teaser:
Texas A&M-Commerce Has Massive Midfield Logo
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, Video, videos, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/blake-griffin-stars-awesome-new-jordan-commercial
Body:
Blake Griffin stars in a new summer hoops Jordan commercial. His co-star is Darryl Drain, a cocky yet horribly bad player. The result? Comedy gold.

Teaser:
Blake Griffin co-stars in a new summer hoops Jordan commercial.
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 08:37
All taxonomy terms: Boston Red Sox, videos, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/red-sox-fan-proposes-fenway
Body:

A Red Sox fan used the scoreboard at Fenway Park to pop the question, "Samantha, will you marry me?" Although it would have been considerably more entertaining if she said, "no", this Boston fan got the nod of approval.

Teaser:
A Red Sox fan used the scoreboard at Fenway Park to pop the question, "Samantha, will you marry me?"
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 07:53
Path: /college-football/louisville-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

After an 11-2 season, which featured a 33-23 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl, expectations are high in Louisville. The Cardinals rank as a top-10 team in Athlon's projected final top 25 for 2013.

Louisville returns 14 starters, including one of the nation’s top Heisman candidates in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Coach Charlie Strong also turned down coaching offers in the SEC to stay at Louisville, and the program will move to the ACC after the 2013 season.

With a favorable schedule and plenty of talent returning, Louisville will be in the mix to play for the national championship. The Cardinals are the heavy favorite to win the remodeled American Athletic Conference, but road games against Kentucky, Cincinnati and South Florida won’t be easy.
What will Louisville's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Louisville's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
9/1 Ohio
9/7 Eastern Kentucky
9/14 at Kentucky
9/21 FIU
10/5 at Temple
10/10 Rutgers
10/18 UCF
10/26 at USF
11/8 at Connecticut
11/16 Houston
11/23 Memphis
12/5 at Cincinnati
Final Projection11-110-211-111-1

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Louisville has one of the most favorable schedules in the nation, but there are a few potential landmines for Charlie Strong’s team. The Cardinals will open with an Ohio team capable of pulling an upset. There’s a trip to Lexington to take on rival Kentucky on Sept. 14, which is a huge game for bragging rights in the Bluegrass State. New Wildcats’ coach Mark Stoops certainly has that date circled, as Kentucky looks to make a statement under its new regime. The other game that is a potential loss for Louisville is the season finale at Cincinnati. The Cardinals have a loaded roster, which includes a Heisman candidate in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and nine starters from a defense that ranked 23rd nationally in yards allowed. Louisville had two head-scratching losses last year, but this team is in better position from a depth and talent standpoint in 2013. Finishing with an unbeaten record is never easy. Whether it’s at Cincinnati or Kentucky, I think the Cardinals drop one game but still claim an American Athletic title.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Teddy Bridgewater is a special player but this team simply isn't deep or talented enough to be a national championship caliber team just yet. Charlie Strong is a highly respected leader for many reasons but this team got inexplicably hammered by Syracuse on the road and lost at home to UConn — let me repeat that, Louisville lost at home to Connecticut — in 2012. This team is building towards national title contention in the near future but it needs a few more recruiting classes to get there and it will be as a member of the ACC. This defense will be salty against a very mediocre schedule, but the margin for error is razor thin in 2013 and it will slip-up at least once.

Mark Ross
After an impressive win in the Sugar Bowl over Florida, Louisville appears to have all the pieces in place to remain in the national title discussion this season, provided the Cardinals go undefeated in the regular season. The "new" American Athletic Conference doesn't figure to be as rugged as the former Big East, at least on paper, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse gone to the ACC and Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF coming on board.

The Cardinals will follow the lead of Teddy Bridgewater, their dual-threat quarterback who could emerge as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate should he lead his team to a perfect regular season. The non-conference slate isn't that challenging, especially with in-state rival Kentucky rebuilding under Mark Stoops. Barring a slip up on the road or at home against say Rutgers or UCF, Louisville's national title hopes will most likely come down to the final game in Cincinnati. With no top-25 teams on the schedule and coming from what was the Big East, the only way Charlie Strong's team has any shot at playing in Pasadena, Calif., in January is if his Cardinals run the table.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The preseason consensus is that Louisville is the most likely team to go undefeated during the regular season. That means Louisville almost certainly will not go undefeated. I like so many things about Louisville from the way Charlie Strong has rebuilt the program to the gutty play of Teddy Bridgewater at the end of last season. But this is a team that had its flaws. Run defense was a problem at times as the Cards lost to Connecticut and Syracuse last season. Everyone points to the Sugar Bowl from last season, but Louisville needed to win six one-score games and two of those were over FIU and winless Southern Miss. Louisville’s going to win the AAC and should win most of their games with ease. But perfection is pretty tough.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Bowl Projections for 2013
College Football's Top 15 Quarterback Battles to Watch in Fall Practice
American Athletic Predictions for 2013
Which College Football Conference has the Best Quarterbacks?
American Athletic All-Conference Team for 2013
American Athletic Breakout Players for 2013
American Athletic Pivotal Players to a Championship

Teaser:
Louisville Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouri-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Missouri’s transition to the SEC didn’t go as smooth as it did for Texas A&M. The Tigers’ record dipped to 5-7, which was their first losing record since 2004.

Coach Gary Pinkel is starting to feel the heat, especially since Missouri cannot afford to fall too far behind in the SEC. Even though Pinkel’s overall record in Columbia is 90-61, the rest of the SEC is improving, and Missouri needs to show it can keep up with the rest of the East Division.

Despite last year’s 5-7 record, there are signs Missouri is ready to rebound in 2013. Quarterback James Franklin is healthy after an injury-plagued 2012 campaign. And the ground attack is expected to get a boost from the return of Henry Josey.

The schedule certainly isn’t easy for the Tigers. However, there’s still some talent on the roster. And Pinkel hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons at Missouri since 2001-02.

What will Missouri's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Missouri's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
SEC
Logo
Braden
Gall
Blair
Kerkhoff
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
Ben
Frederickson
8/31 Murray State
9/7 Toledo
9/21 at Indiana
9/28 Arkansas State
10/5 at Vanderbilt
10/12 at Georgia
10/19 Florida
10/26 South Carolina
11/2 Tennessee
11/9 at Kentucky
11/23 at Ole Miss
11/30 Texas A&M
Final Projection6-66-65-77-54-85-76-66-6

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
With a year of SEC experience under its belt, Missouri should be back into contention for a bowl game in 2013. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that quarterback James Franklin is closer to 100 percent after shoulder surgery in 2012, and running back Henry Josey is back after missing all of last year with a significant knee injury. The offensive line was hit hard by injuries last season but should be stabilized with the return of four starters. The defense is the biggest question mark, especially as the Tigers look to replace tackle Sheldon Richardson. The schedule isn’t ideal, as Missouri catches Ole Miss and Texas A&M in crossover play, and non-conference games against Toledo and Indiana won’t be easy. Somehow, someway, I think the Tigers get bowl eligible and quiet some of the hot seat talk about coach Gary Pinkel.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The Tigers might have the most fascinating coaching situation in the SEC in 2013. Gary Pinkel is arguably the most important coach in school history but a second straight losing season in their new home could cost him his job. The offense should be improved as James Franklin and Henry Josey return to full health and Dorial Green-Beckham takes the next step in his development process. The offensive line should also be a strength. However, the defense lost some big pieces and will take a step back while still facing one of the nastiest schedules in the nation. Getting Ole Miss and Texas A&M is rough in crossover play. The only hope for Pinkel is a marquee home SEC East schedule as Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee all come to Columbia. I fall on the side of pessimism and think Mizzou struggles again in the more treacherous SEC waters. An early season road loss to a tricky Indiana team could derail this season quickly.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Mizzou and Texas A&M join the SEC, one steals the national spotlight and the other quietly goes 5-7 (2-6) just missing a bowl game. One good thing going for Mizzou is returning their starting quarterback James Franklin, who battled injury last season. I think he is setup to have a big statistical season, but I'm not sure that will turn into W's. The first 5 games are winnable: Murray State, Toledo, Bye, at Indiana, Arkansas State, and at Vanderbilt. They must win 4 out of 5 for a shot at a bowl game. If Gary Pinkel doesn't make a bowl game, I feel he is gone. Name to watch for: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR 

Mark Ross
Missouri is a hard team for me to get a handle on. The Tigers had a rough entry into the SEC last season, although they did play better late in the year. I still think Mizzou is a couple of recruiting classes away from collecting the talent necessary to compete in the country's toughest conference on a consistent basis. The defense lost its best player (Sheldon Richardson) and the offense is a bit of mystery considering quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey are both returning from injuries.

The non-conference schedule isn't a cakewalk, as Toledo is capable of pulling the upset in Columbia, and Missouri's October slate – at Vanderbilt and Georgia and home against Florida and South Carolina – is just nasty. Bowl eligibility seems a little too optimistic for 2013, but the Tigers will have a couple of chances to build some momentum for next season by picking up a SEC win or two in November. That also would be the easiest way for Gary Pinkel to prove he's still the best man for this job.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Sorry, Missouri, life in the SEC is going to be ugly. Perhaps things will turn around with more stability on the offensive line, a healthy Henry Josey and a settled quarterback situation, but Missouri’s still going to have trouble cracking the top three or four in the SEC East. The Tigers had a first-round draft pick on the defensive line and still gave up 30 points in half their games last season. That’s part of the reason why I’ve picked an upset in Bloomington. Indiana can move the ball, and we have yet to see if Missouri will have a functional offense.  After that, Missouri may need to beat Vanderbilt on Oct. 5 if the Tigers are going to get out of the month with a win.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Missouri will need to begin October with a 4-0 record if it hopes to have any success this season. We’ll see if Missouri is more prepared for the SEC this year when it begins conference play in October. It helps that quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey are back healthy. If wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham can take a big step, the offense could be explosive. It won’t be easy for Missouri to reach a bowl game, but the opportunity is there. I have Vanderbilt beating Missouri, but that’s a winnable game for the Tigers. Missouri catches South Carolina on its final trip of a three-game road stretch, which should help Missouri attempt to pull off the upset. Games against Kentucky and Tennessee will also be important as Missouri tries to erase the dreadful 2012 season from its memory.

Ben Frederickson, (@Ben_Fred), FoxSportsMidwest.com
Tiger fans are restless after their inaugural tour de SEC soured; last year was the team's first losing season since 2004. If quarterback James Franklin (he should be the starter, even if Gary Pinkel won't admit it) and his offensive line can avoid the injury bug, things should be better this year — barely. Maybe the Tigers start 4-0, win the conference games they should and sprinkle in a couple of upsets, shattering my somewhat low expectations. But I don't think this group skates through non-conference, and I am convinced Indiana at night in Bloomington is a legitimate threat. A string of losses will likely accompany SEC opponents, but the Tigers should have a chance to turn things around in November. Beat Tennessee and Kentucky, two must-wins, and the momentum could help dismount Ole Miss before Johnny Football crashes the party.

 

Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
Pivotal Players to Determining a SEC Championship
South Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Texas A&M Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Missouri Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas Longhorns, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/best-and-worst-times-be-texas-football-fan
Body:

Texas is something of football royalty and the fans know it. Just ask the Longhorns. Or better yet, ask fans of Texas A&M.

Being the top historical football program in the top football state certainly has its perks, starting with your own television network (if even no one’s able to watch it).

Tease Texas at your own risk. With the Longhorns’ resources, tradition and access to the deep pool of Lone Star State high school talent, the Longhorns can dominate the college football landscape for decades at a time.

In our series of the greatest time to be a fan of a school, rarely have our snapshots covered so much ground. Darrell Royal owned most of the ‘60s thanks to a pair of linebackers at first and the wishbone offense later. Then came Mack Brown in the 2000s to revive the Longhorns from their ‘80s-’90s malaise.

Here are the best and worst times to flash the Hook ‘em Horns.

BEST TIMES TO BE A TEXAS FAN

1961-73
Record: 115-24-2
National championships: 3
Coach: Darrell Royal
Notable players: Tommy Nobis, Scott Appleton, Jimmy Saxton, Johnny Treadwell, Jerry Sisemore, Bob McKay, Bobby Wuensch, Bill Atessis, Bill Wyman, Roosevelt Leaks, James Street.
This was the era that made Darrell Royal a legend. He and offensive coordinator Emory Bellard would change the offensive game, but the early part of his reign was marked my defense. The 1963 national championship team featured Outland winner Scott Appleton. A year later, one of the greatest players in Texas history, Tommy Nobis, stuffed Joe Namath to beat Alabama in the Orange Bowl to cap a 10-1 season. Nobis won the Outland in 1965. Royal and his staff became offensive innovators by 1968 by unveiling the wishbone offense. After going 0-1-1 in their first two games in the new offense, Texas reeled off 30 consecutive wins from ‘68-’70. In a thrilling Cotton Bowl, James Street led Texas to a 21-17 win over Notre Dame to win Royal’s third national title in 1969. Texas won seven outright Southwest Conference titles from 1961-73 and shared two others with Arkansas.

2001-09
Record: 101-16
National championships: 1
Coach: Mack Brown
Notable players: Vince Young, Colt McCoy, Derrick Johnson, Justin Blalock, Quentin Jammer, Derrick Dockery, Rodrique Wright, Jonathan Scott, Michael Huff, Brian Orakpo, Jordan Shipley, Earl Thomas, Jamaal Charles, Cedric Benson, Aaron Ross
Texas was one of the dominant programs of the decade, even if Longhorns fans were left wanting more. Texas was one of two teams to win more than 100 games during this span (Boise State was the other) as the Longhorns won 10 or more games in nine consecutive seasons. The 2005 team was the high point as Vince Young capped perhaps the finest quarterback career of the BCS era with a performance for ages to defeat No. 1 USC for his second Rose Bowl MVP. Texas also played for a title in 2009 but was never seriously able to compete with Alabama in the BCS Championship Game when Colt McCoy was knocked out with a game-ending injury in the first quarter. This was a successful era that would be the envy of any program, save perhaps, Texas. A bid for a third national title game was dashed by a Michael Crabtree catch for Texas’ only loss in 2008. The Longhorns won the Big 12 only twice, aided by a 4-5 record against Oklahoma. And even though Texas claimed a Doak Walker Award (Benson) and two Jim Thorpe awards (Huff and Ross), the Longhorns never brought home a Heisman.

WORST TIMES TO BE A TEXAS FAN

1986-93
Record: 47-47-1
Coaches: Fred Akers, David McWilliams, John Mackovic
The demise of the Southwest Conference wasn’t kind to many teams in that league. Texas was no exception. The Longhorns endured three losing seasons in five years under the hapless David McWilliams. Hopes were high for John Mackovic, but he was not a great fit. A 66-3 loss to UCLA in 1997 all but sealed his fate.

1935-37
Record: 9-26-2
Coaches: Jack Chevigny, Dana Bible
Remember when it was unthinkable for Texas to go 5-7? The Longhorns went through a three-year period in the ‘30s where they won a grand total of five games from 1936-38. The streak of four consecutive losing seasons remains the longest in school history.

Teaser:
Darrell Royal, Mack Brown lead dominant eras
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-pivotal-players-big-ten
Body:

The SEC rules the recruiting rankings, but three big-time Big Ten signees from the last two seasons could play major roles in how the league is decided.


Michigan and Ohio State are both plugging in five-star signees from the class of 2012 in redshirt freshman guard Kyle Kalis and sophomore defensive end Noah Spence. And although Penn State can’t go to to the postseason, freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg could determine the Big Ten race as the Nittany Lions face Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Those names aren’t the only ones who could determine the Big Ten title. We’ve picked six players from six Big Ten contenders who may be pivotal to league or division titles.

As a refresher, our criteria for pivotal players is:
1. He plays for a conference or division contender.
2. He is an unproven commodity in some way.
3. He plays at a position his team needs to perform in order to win a division or conference title.

We’ve looked at pivotal players for contenders in the ACC, the American, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, and finally we turn our eye to the Big Ten.

Zaire Anderson, LB, Nebraska
Nebraska played four games where the Cornhuskers allowed more than six yards per play, and lost all five (UCLA, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Georgia). Linebacker will be a major question as the Cornhuskers rebuild with only four returning starters on the defense. Anderson started at one point early last season before missing most of the year following knee surgery. While recovering, he gained 22 pounds without losing speed, and he’s drawn comparisons to another prominent junior college transfer linebacker, Lavonte David.

Riley Bullough, RB, Michigan State
Le’Veon Bell accounted for 78.6 percent of Michigan State’s rush attempts and 91.9 percent of the Spartans’ yards on the ground. Unless Michigan State is turning to the Air Raid, Mark Dantonio needs to find production at running back to replace Bell. If Bullough has a familiar name, it’s because his brother Max is a starting linebacker. There may be a familiar style of play from Riley, though on the opposite side of the ball. A former linebacker, Riley is a bruiser. The redshirt freshman Riley will be the lead back in a committee approach to the position.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The transfer of Steven Bench left Penn State without experience at quarterback, so the assumption is that the Hackenberg era will begin immediately. While Penn State doesn’t exactly begin the season with a gauntlet, the Nittany Lions face Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J., and two teams that can score in UCF and Kent State. Hackenberg’s importance to the program is a long-term storyline, especially as sanctions will cut deeper in his upperclassman seasons. But how he performs early as a rookie will determine momentum for his first season in Happy Valley.

Darius Hillary, CB, Wisconsin
Don’t be too concerned with a backfield that loses Montee Ball and must decide on a quarterback. Wisconsin’s defensive backfield is a major concern. Three starters were gone last season, and two key players the Badgers expected to start won’t be on campus (Reggie Mitchell and Donnell Vercher). Hillary played in every game last season as a redshirt freshman, recording 23 tackles, mostly early in the season. Hillary and Peniel Jean are further on the spot to solidify the cornerback position in a secondary that includes one sure thing in safety Dezmen Southward.

Tony Jones, WR, Northwestern
Tony Jones has deep-threat capabilities, but he averaged only 11.6 yards per catch last season. Sure, much of this will be on starting quarterback Kain Colter’s ability to get the ball downfield as much as Jones’ play, but averaging better than six yards per pass will be critical if Northwestern is going to challenge for a Legends Division title.

Kyle Kalis, OG, Michigan
All three of the Wolverines’ starting interior offensive linemen are gone, so any could be pivotal to Michigan’s hopes of winning the Big Ten for the first time since 2004. We’ll point to right guard Kyle Kalis, who was a top-three guard in the class of 2012. Michigan tailbacks averaged only 72.8 rushing yards last season, but the Wolverines think they can turn that around with more consistency from Fitz Touissaint and the arrival of freshman Derrick Green. Kalis delivering on his immense talent could go along way to reestablishing the run at Michigan.

Noah Spence, DE, Ohio State
Urban Meyer went to great lengths to get Spence out of Pennsylvania during his first recruiting cycle, and now the defensive end should be ready to deliver. Spence has all-conference honors or more in his future, but it may need to happen now as the Buckeyes replenish their entire starting defensive line. He’s a pivotal player, but also one of the breakout candidates in the league.

Teaser:
Six players who could swing the Big Ten race
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-1
Body:

Fall camps starting up this week. The 2013 season is almost here.

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)


College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Thursday, August 1st


TCU quarterback Casey Pachall spoke to the media on Wednesday and seems to have matured after missing most of last season due to a suspension.

The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released.

Another story out of TCU today, as starting tackle Tayo Fabuluje has decided to leave the team.

Here are five key questions West Virginia must answer in fall practice.

Kevin McGuire takes a look at the progress Memphis has made under second-year coach Justin Fuente.

John Pennington of Mr. SEC writes an open letter to Johnny Manziel.

Michael Casagrande of the South Florida Sun Sentinel shares some observations on Miami's pre-fall practice depth chart.

Here are seven key position battles to watch as Michigan State opens fall practice.

Wake Forest running back Josh Harris' status is in limbo for 2013.

Here are four areas to watch for North Carolina this fall.

The ACC is weighing whether or not to launch a conference television network in the future.

BYU and Fresno State have agreed on a two-game series.

SMU coach June Jones has some high praise for running back Traylon Shead.

Rob Moseley previews Oregon's defensive line (which is in pretty good shape for 2013).

Wisconsin is searching for more playmakers at receiver this fall.

 

 

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 1
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 15:02
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-august-1-2013
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for Aug. 1.

 

We lead off today with 20 crush-worthy Hollywood bachelorettes, starting with Jennifer Lawrence. Yes, please.

 

20 awesome athletes in diapers. Not including Juwan Howard. (Get it? It's because he's old.)

 

An open letter to Johnny Football. I'm sure he's reading this blog and will click the link.

 

Steve Nash is still haunted by an awful photograph of him and Dirk and Cubes. Can you blame him?

 

Ever wished you could practice your putting while seated on the throne? You're in luck.

 

The SEC was a hot topic at other conference media days. Saban & Co. are in their heads.

 

Johnny Gomes does not require your assistance to turn double plays.

 

• Priceless historical artifact alert: Could this be the chalice from the Malice in the Palace?

 

An unfortunate typo involving "Chooch" Ruiz resulted in an amusing screen grab in Philly.

 

Riley Cooper gets the Taiwanese animation treatment, complete with golden shower from angry teammates.

 

• They're apparently making a movie about Kurt Warner. Here are some clever casting suggestions.

 

• Presenting the Dodgers' starting lineup, Mr. Chow-style.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 10:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouris-henry-josey-announces-return-haircut
Body:

Missouri’s Henry Josey was one of college football’s top running backs in 2011, but he suffered a significant knee injury late in the year and was forced to sit out all of 2012.

Although it’s uncertain if Josey will be the same player before his injury, the junior is ready to go for fall camp.

Josey is announcing his return to the college football world with an impressive haircut, which simply states, “I’m Back.”

If Josey is at full strength, he could be one of the SEC’s top running backs in 2013 and will help get Missouri back into contention for a bowl game.

 

Teaser:
Missouri's Henry Josey Announces Return With Haircut
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 09:50
All taxonomy terms: videos, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/skater-bob-burnquist-makes-insane-death-defying-tricks-video
Body:
Pro skateboarder Bob Burnquist may have the coolest backyard in the world, filled with insane ramps that look like they came straight out of a video game. He uses those ramps, and a helicopter to unleash a barrage of over-the-top tricks. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear his mom in the background yelling, "Stop doing that!"
 

Teaser:
Pro skateboarder Bob Burnquist may have the coolest backyard in the world, filled with insane ramps that look like they came straight out of a video game.
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 09:18

Pages