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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

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South Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
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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
Path: /college-football/western-michigan-coach-pj-fleck-walks-fire
Body:

New Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck certainly isn’t short on energy or interesting ideas.

The first-year coach revamped the Broncos’ uniforms for 2013 and recently walked on fire. No, really.

And if that wasn’t enough, Fleck and his staff walked on broken glass this summer.

Here’s a video and a photo showing Fleck’s offseason adventures.

 

Teaser:
Western Michigan Coach P.J. Fleck Walks on Fire
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 08:55
All taxonomy terms: Funny, videos, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/soccer-stars-make-horribly-awesome-retro-rap-video
Body:
In the spirit of "The Super Bowl Shuffle," meet the MLS All-Stars as they rap a truly terrible, "We're Better Than the Rest!" The '85 Bears would be proud.
 

Teaser:
In the spirit of "The Super Bowl Shuffle," meet the MLS All-Stars as they rap a truly terrible, "We're Better Than the Rest!"
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 08:54
Path: /college-football/north-carolina-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

After serving a one-year postseason ban, North Carolina is poised to make a run at the ACC Coastal title in 2013.

The Tar Heels return 13 starters, including quarterback Bryn Renner and receiver Quinshad Davis. Even though guard Jonathan Cooper and running back Giovani Bernard must be replaced, North Carolina should have no trouble scoring points.

However, the defense remains a question mark. North Carolina allowed 25.7 points a game in 2012 and must replace tackle Sylvester Williams and linebacker Kevin Reddick. The Tar Heels also struggled stopping opposing offenses late in the year, allowing 38 points to a Maryland team that was starting a linebacker at quarterback, and giving up 68 to Georgia Tech.

The ACC Coastal is a wide-open division. And the Tar Heels figure to be in the mix for the title, especially with a favorable crossover schedule against the Atlantic.

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

North Carolina's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
John
Cassillo
Ryan 
Tice
Tar Heel
Times
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
Matt
McClusky
David
Fox
8/29 at South Carolina
9/7 MTSU
9/21 at Georgia Tech
9/28 East Carolina
10/5 at Virginia Tech
10/17 Miami
10/26 Boston College
11/2 at NC State
11/9 Virginia
11/16 at Pittsburgh
11/23 Old Dominion
11/30 Duke
Final Projection8-410-28-49-38-48-49-39-3

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The more I look at North Carolina’s 2012 season, the more I am impressed with the job that Larry Fedora did in his first year. The Tar Heels had nothing to play for, yet went 8-4 and lost three games by five points or less. I’m giving Miami a slight edge to win the Coastal, but it wouldn’t shock me if North Carolina finishes at the top of the division. Provided the offensive line finds a replacement for standout guard Jonathan Cooper, the Tar Heels should rank near the top of the ACC in scoring. The defense is still in need of repair, but this unit should be better with another offseason to work with coordinator Vic Koenning. North Carolina has a favorable crossover slate, as it misses Clemson and Florida State in crossover play. However, the Tar Heels drew a tough road schedule, which includes trips to South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State and Pittsburgh.

Tar Heel Times (@TarHeelTimes) TarHeelTimes.com
The 2013 Tar Heels will be as good as their defense allows them to be. Despite an explosive, record-setting offensive performance in 2012, the UNC defense surrendered 26 points per game and seemed to have trouble at times adjusting to their new 4-2-5 scheme. If the defense can catch up with the offense in year two then the sky's the limit. However, the Tar Heels have a tough early-season slate with an opening-weekend visit to South Carolina and a trip to Georgia Tech, where they haven't won since 1997. If the defense can't adjust, then the Tar Heels will have plenty of offensive weapons to fall back on, despite some new faces on the offensive line. Quarterback Bryn Renner, tight end Eric Ebron, wide receiver Quinshad Davis, and running backs A.J. Blue and Romar Morris each have All-ACC caliber talent. UNC's trip to Virginia Tech will be problematic as will their Thursday night prime-time encounter with Miami in Chapel Hill, which is being dubbed "Zero Dark Thursday" and will feature UNC's black uniforms. The Heels also visit rival NC State, who boldly scheduled UNC as their homecoming game despite having a new coach and a first-year starting quarterback. UNC ends their regular season against Duke in Chapel Hill, which is always a close affair.
 

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
I'm sure I'm giving more credit to the Tar Heels than most, but look at that schedule. Outside of the dates against South Carolina and Miami (both losses in my book), are there really any games on this schedule where you truly doubt UNC? Both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are on the road, as is rival NC State, but each of those teams has their own respective reasons why they'll have some struggles this season. Expect Bryn Renner to be even more comfortable in Larry Fedora's offense this year, as he and A.J. Blue (who'll pick up right where Gio Bernard left off) lead this offense to one of the country's best scoring efforts.

 

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
The loss of running back Giovani Bernard to the NFL is a huge blow to the offense — both the ground and aerial attacks — as well as the punt return game. The Tar Heels have also lost some of their star offensive linemen, although left tackle James Hurst will be one of the ACC’s best. Quarterback Bryn Renner is back for his third year as the starter, receiver Quinshad Davis is a potential star in the making and tight end Eric Ebron is the league’s best at his position. However, the defense lost its best two players and that is the side that will really decide wins and losses after the Heels allowed nearly 400 yards of offense per game last season. In terms of the division race, the good news is that UNC gets 14 days to prepare for Georgia Tech on the road, and coaches always want as much time as possible to prepare for Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets. However, the schedule is a bear from that Sept. 21 date until Nov. 2 with an in-state rival that can’t be overlooked in East Carolina, a road game at Virginia Tech, a home tilt with division favorite Miami and then a road date at NC State following a breather against Boston College on Oct. 26.

Mark Ross

Outside of a blowout loss to Georgia Tech, North Carolina's three other losses last season came by a total of nine points. Yes, the Tar Heels lost key personnel on both sides of the ball, but there's plenty of talent coming back and both units should be even more comfortable in Larry Fedora's no-huddle spread attack and the unique 4-2-5 defensive scheme this fall.

The offense, with quarterback Bryn Renner, wide receiver Quinshad Davis and tight end Eric Ebron leading the way, should score plenty of points. The Tar Heels' season success will come down to how much better the defense plays, especially against the pass. Opening up on the road against South Carolina will not be easy, but as long as Renner emerges unscathed against Jedeveon Clowney and company, the Tar Heels should at least keep the ACC Coastal race interesting.

The key to this is finding a way to get some wins on the road (Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State and Pittsburgh) and also beating Miami at home. Establishing some sort of a running game and cutting down on the big plays allowed on defense wouldn't hurt either.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

What stands out about North Carolina's schedule in the ACC this year is the toughness of the road slate. Few teams will play as tough a four-pack of games like at Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech, at NC State and at Pitt. A 1-3 record in that group might be considered a success. Bryn Renner is an underrated quarterback nationally, but the offense will have to replace loads of departed NFL talent. Quality quarterback play and a great offensive scheme gives UNC a chance to compete for a division crown. The Tar Heels will pull an upset or two — say, over Miami — but won't win enough on the road to get to Charlotte for the ACC title game.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
North Carolina’s going to be an interesting team to watch, especially on offense. Bryn Renner is going to need to take a greater lead of the offense with Giovani Bernard gone to the NFL. Offensive line may be a bit of a question, but the Heels have three starters back to a team that allowed less than one sack per game. I like the way the season ends for North Carolina. If the Tar Heels can get out of those first six games with a winning record, they could win the division. I’ve picked Carolina to lost to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have defeated Carolina in seven of the last eight meetings. After that, North Carolina needs to look for a split against the defensive power of the division (Virginia Tech) and the best offensive team in the division (Miami).

Matt McClusky, (@MatthewMcClusky), NunesMagician.com

Some things about North Carolina you may not realize: Butch Davis is long gone; Larry Fedora is in, and is heading for year two as coach. The Tar Heels' NCAA issues of the last few seasons are mostly over and this team was actually pretty good last year. The off-field turmoil is over and that means it's probably time to pay attention to North Carolina, especially with the return of Bryn Renner at quarterback and Quinshad Davis at wideout. The duo of Renner and Davis will be lighting up ACC defenses, which is good news for fans of big plays. Plus, anyone else excited to see the Tar Heels offense against South Carolina week one? A weak offensive line could make that game...interesting. The defense, which was an issue at points last season, does return six starters, but will likely still be a problem for Fedora. Which is another reason the Tar Heels, a sneaky team in the ACC, should be something of appointment viewing this fall. Close, high scoring games are always fun to watch.
 

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Teaser:
North Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-quarterback-battles-watch-fall-practice
Body:

With the turn of the calendar to August, fall practice is officially set to begin across the nation for all 125 college football teams.

Most teams are settled at quarterback, but there are a handful of programs still looking for the right answer heading into fall practice.

None of the top-10 teams in Athlon’s projected final top 25 will have a quarterback battle this fall, but top-25 teams like TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Wisconsin need to settle on a starter over the next few weeks.

Although quarterback battles aren’t necessarily bad if they extend into the season, most coaching staffs would prefer to find the right answer before the first game.

College Football's Top Fall Practice Quarterback Battles

Arizona
Matt Scott’s eligibility expired after the New Mexico Bowl, leaving a wide-open battle for Arizona’s job in the spring. B.J. Denker served as the backup last season and made one start (Colorado). Denker has the edge in experience, but he will be pushed by junior college transfer and former USC Trojan Jesse Scroggins, redshirt freshman Javelle Allen and true freshman Anu Solomon. Scroggins is recovering from a foot injury and is expected to be at full strength by the time fall practice opens. Solomon ranked as the No. 17 quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class by Athlon Sports. Denker’s edge in experience should pay off early in the year. However, the Wildcats could turn to Solomon or Scroggins by midseason.
Projected Starter for Opener: Denker

Auburn
Gus Malzahn’s return to Auburn was expected to benefit Kiehl Frazier — who was recruited to the Plains by Malzahn — and Jonathan Wallace, as both quarterbacks struggled in last season’s pro-style attack. However, midway through fall practice, the outlook for the Tigers' quarterback battle has changed. Junior college recruit (and former Georgia defensive back) Nick Marshall and true freshman Jeremy Johnson have ascended to the top of the depth chart. Marshall threw for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,095 yards and 19 scores at Garden City Community College in 2012. Adapting as a junior college recruit to SEC play is never easy, but Marshall’s athleticism could at least give him a role as a change-of-pace option in 2013. Frazier moved to safety, but Wallace is expected to be in the mix at quarterback if Johnson or Marshall stumbles.
Projected First Game Starter: Marshall


California
The Golden Bears opened spring practice with seven quarterbacks vying for the starting spot. Redshirt freshman Zach Kline, true freshman Jared Goff and junior Austin Hinder finished as the top three options, but none has thrown a pass at the FBS level. Kline ranked as the No. 4 quarterback in the nation by Athlon Sports in the 2012 signing class, while Goff impressed in his first semester on campus. Hinder ranked as a top-20 national quarterback recruit in the 2010 signing class and completed 5 of 9 passes for 87 yards in the spring game. Whichever quarterback wins the job will be the triggerman for an offense that has potential to score plenty of points under new coach Sonny Dykes and coordinator Tony Franklin
Projected First Game Starter: Kline


Kansas State
Despite losing quarterback Collin Klein, Kansas State’s offense is still in good shape. The offensive line is among the best in the Big 12, and running back John Hubert is back after rushing for 947 yards last year. The receiving corps has plenty of talent, including Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Daniel Sams served as Klein’s backup in 2012, rushing for 235 yards and three touchdowns in limited work. Battling Sams for the top spot is Jake Waters, who ranked as the top junior college quarterback in the nation, throwing for 3,501 yards at Iowa Western Community College in 2012. Waters also set a NJCAA national record for completion percentage (73.3) in 2012. While Klein will be missed, the Wildcats should be solid on offense with either Sams or Waters at the controls.
Projected First Game Starter: Sams


Michigan State
The Spartans sorely missed Kirk Cousins last year, as the offense averaged only 20 points per game and ranked ninth in the Big Ten with 359.3 yards per game. Andrew Maxwell started all 13 games last season but completed only 52.5 percent of his throws and averaged just 200.5 yards per game. Connor Cook gave Michigan State’s offense a spark in the bowl game and is in the mix, along with Tyler O’Connor and true freshman Damion Terry. Cook gives the offense more mobility from the quarterback spot, but Maxwell’s experience should give him the edge for the opener.
Projected First Game Starter: Maxwell


NC State
Mike Glennon expired his eligibility after the Music City Bowl, leaving Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker fighting for the top spot on the depth chart this spring. Thomas finished spring ball as the No. 1 quarterback, but coach Dave Doeren added another name to the mix for the fall – Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell. Although Mitchell doesn’t have a ton of game experience (43 passes) from his time in Fayetteville, he is the best fit for an offense that plans to show more spread looks in 2013. It’s not easy to pickup an offense in a few months, but Mitchell should edge Thomas and Stocker for the top spot.
Projected First Game Starter: Mitchell


Oklahoma
After playing a part-time role the last two seasons, Blake Bell is the heavy favorite to be Oklahoma’s No. 1 quarterback in 2013. Bell has rushed for 24 touchdowns in his career but has thrown only 20 passes. While Bell has a lead over redshirt freshman Trevor Knight and sophomore Kendal Thompson, this job is far from settled – at least according to coach Bob Stoops. Knight had an impressive spring and also brings dual-threat ability to the offense. Could Thompson or Knight see time as a short-yardage or change-of-pace quarterback assuming Bell wins the job? Even though Bell needs to prove he can consistently beat defenses with his arm, the junior should be the No. 1 quarterback for Oklahoma.
Projected First Game Starter: Bell


Oklahoma State

Coach Mike Gundy has indicated that Clint Chelf will open the year as the No. 1 quarterback. But this battle could extend into the season. Chelf finished 2012 as the starter, throwing for 13 touchdowns over the final five games. Wes Lunt opened last year as the starter as a true freshman, but injuries kept him out of the lineup for most of the season, and he transferred this summer to Illinois. If he doesn’t unseat Chelf, J.W. Walsh could see snaps in special packages if he’s not the starter. Although Gundy insists the quarterback job is open, it’s hard to envision the first snap going to someone other than Chelf.
Projected First Game Starter: Chelf 


Oregon State
The good news for coach Mike Riley is that the Beavers have two proven starting quarterbacks. The bad news? Neither played well enough last season or in spring practice to secure the top spot. Sean Mannion opened 2012 as Oregon State’s No. 1 quarterback, but a knee injury forced him out of action, which opened the door for Cody Vaz. Although Vaz isn’t as talented as Mannion, he seems to have the trust of the coaching staff and threw only three picks in 185 attempts. Mannion has the edge in talent and was voted as a team captain for 2013. Could that be a sign he is the preferred No. 1 quarterback for Oregon State?
Projected First Game Starter: Mannion


Penn State

Steven Bench, the most experienced quarterback on the roster (with eight attempts) left the program after spring practice, creating a two-way battle to replace Matt McGloin. Junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson and true freshman Christian Hackenberg — the No. 13 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100 — will do their best to impress coach Bill O’Brien during the fall. If Hackenberg is as good as advertised, O’Brien won’t hesitate to let the freshman play. Considering O’Brien’s history of tutoring quarterbacks, the winner of this job should have a big season in Happy Valley.
Projected First Game Starter: Hackenberg


TCU
Casey Pachall was on track to be one of the Big 12’s top quarterbacks last season, but he was suspended for the season after an off-the-field incident in early October. Pachall threw for 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns as TCU’s full-time starter in 2011. Trevone Boykin performed well in his first extended look at quarterback last season, finishing the year with 2,054 yards and 15 touchdowns. Boykin is the better dual-threat option, but Pachall is more experienced and has a good grasp of the offense. The senior is also is the better passer, which will allow TCU to stretch the field more than it did last year. Expect Pachall to win the starting job, but don’t be surprised if both quarterbacks see playing time in 2013.
Projected First Game Starter: Pachall


Tennessee
New coach Butch Jones inherits a Tennessee offense that has one of the best offensive lines in the nation, but is lacking proven talent at receiver and doesn’t have an established quarterback. Justin Worley holds a slight edge over the competition, as he has nine games of experience under his belt, including three starts in 2011. Worley has thrown for 738 yards and one touchdown so far in his career. Freshman Nathan Peterman pushed Worley for time in the spring, but true freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson will factor into the mix. Dobbs is the best fit for Jones’ offense, but is he ready to start the season opener?
Projected First Game Starter: Worley


USC
Matt Barkley departs after throwing for 12,327 yards in his career, leaving true freshman Max Browne and sophomores Max Wittek and Cody Kessler competing for the No. 1 job. After Barkley suffered a shoulder injury against UCLA, Wittek started the final two games and completed just 28-of-60 passes. Kessler completed both of his attempts in mop-up duty last year, while Browne is one of the top quarterbacks in the 2013 signing class. Kessler had the better spring, but Wittek seems to be the preferred choice of the coaching staff. Regardless of whether it’s Wittek, Kessler or Browne under center, they will have one of the nation’s top receiving corps at their disposal.
Projected First Game Starter: Wittek

West Virginia
Junior Paul Millard (34 pass attempts), Florida State transfer Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Ford Childress are battling for the right to replace Geno Smith. Millard backed up Smith the last two years and most of his playing time was in mop-up duty. Childress is the son of a former NFL lineman and was ranked as the No. 18 quarterback in the nation by Athlon Sports in the 2012 signing class. Trickett joined the team following spring practice after three seasons in Tallahassee. He started two games in 2011, which included an impressive performance at Clemson (336 yards). Millard has the most experience in coach Dana Holgorsen’s system, but Childress might have more upside. However, the addition of Trickett has added another element to the battle, and the junior certainly wasn’t brought in to hold a clipboard.
Projected First Game Starter: Trickett

Wisconsin
Curt Phillips stabilized Wisconsin’s quarterback play last season after an injury sidelined Joel Stave and Danny O’Brien was benched due to ineffectiveness. But Phillips could be the odd man out this season, as Stave turned in a solid spring, and junior college recruit Tanner McEvoy is the best fit for new coach Gary Andersen’s offense. Stave threw for 1,104 yards and six scores last season but doesn’t offer anything on the ground. McEvoy is a dual-threat who could thrive in coordinator Andy Ludwig’s attack. However, he will need some time to learn the offense, as well as adjust to the competition level in the Big Ten.
Projected First Game Starter: Stave

Others to Watch

Houston
Houston’s offense took a step back last year after the departure of quarterback Case Keenum and coach Kevin Sumlin. Piland had a good performance against Louisiana Tech (580 yards) but finished the year with 12 picks and completed 57.1 percent of his throws. He will be pushed by JUCO recruit Billy Cosh, sophomore Bram Kohlhausen and incoming freshman John O’Korn.

Indiana
The Hoosiers have three quarterbacks capable of leading this team in 2013. Sophomore Tre Roberson missed most of last year due to a leg injury, while Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld played well in relief. Indiana ranked second in the Big Ten in total offense and regardless of which quarterback wins the job, should be one of the best in the conference once again.

Iowa
The Hawkeyes offense ranked 11th in the Big Ten in scoring last year, and none of the quarterbacks on the roster have played a snap in an Iowa uniform. Sophomore Jake Rudock is the favorite, but he will be pushed by junior Cody Sokol and redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard.

Kentucky
Coach Mark Stoops’ decision to hire Neal Brown as his offensive coordinator should pay dividends for Kentucky in 2013. But for Brown to move the Wildcats out of the SEC cellar in scoring offense, a quarterback needs to emerge. There’s no shortage of candidates, with sophomore Jalen Whitlow owning a slight edge over Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles heading into the fall.

Purdue
New coach Darrell Hazell wants to settle on a No. 1 quarterback this fall, with senior Rob Henry and freshmen Danny Etling and Austin Appleby vying for snaps. Henry has seven career starts at quarterback but none since 2010. Etling was one of Purdue’s top recruits and impressed in spring practice.

South Florida
After averaging just 20.6 points a game in 2012, there’s plenty of room for USF’s offense to improve this year. New coach Willie Taggart has attempted to bolster South Florida’s quarterback issues by adding Penn State transfer Steven Bench this summer. Bench will compete with senior Bobby Eveld, sophomore Matt Floyd and true freshman Mike White this fall.

Syracuse
Ryan Nassib won’t be easy to replace, but Syracuse has three intriguing candidates competing for time. Drew Allen is eligible immediately after transferring from Oklahoma, while sophomore Terrel Hunt adds a dual-threat option to the offense, and Charley Loeb was the backup to Nassib last year.

Texas Tech
Michael Brewer was considered a heavy favorite to win the job in the spring, but true freshman Davis Webb impressed the coaching staff. Is there really a battle here or is this a motivational tactic to push Brewer?

Virginia
Coach Mike London indicated sophomore David Watford will open fall camp as the No. 1 quarterback, but redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert is expected to push for time. Watford redshirted in 2012 after throwing for 346 yards as a true freshman in 2011.

Washington State
Junior Connor Halliday heads into the fall with an edge over redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca and true freshman Tyler Bruggman. Halliday threw for 1,874 yards in limited action last year, but he needs to cut down on his mistakes and complete a higher percentage of his passes.

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Teaser:
College Football's Quarterback Battles to Watch in Fall Practice
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/penn-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Penn State is still dealing with NCAA sanctions, but the program appears to be on stable ground with second-year coach Bill O’Brien. The Nittany Lions rebounded from an 0-2 start to finish 8-4 last season, which included a win over Wisconsin in overtime and a 39-28 victory over Northwestern. A big part of Penn State’s eight-win season was the transformation of quarterback Matt McGloin into one of the Big Ten’s top passers, along with the leadership provided from defenders Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti and Jordan Hill.

Even though McGloin, Hodges, Mauti and Hill are gone, the Nittany Lions still have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. The offense needs to find a quarterback, which doesn’t figure to be an impossible task considering O’Brien’s work in the NFL and with McGloin in 2012. The defense has a new coordinator and must replace the heart and soul of the unit from last year.

With a bowl ban in place for 2013, Penn State is once again ineligible to compete for the postseason. However, O’Brien should have this team back in the mix for eight or more victories this year.

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

Penn State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Brent
Yarina
Kevin
McGuire
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
8/31 Syracuse (East Rutherford)
9/7 Eastern Michigan
9/14 UCF
9/21 Kent State
10/5 at Indiana
10/12 Michigan
10/26 at Ohio State
11/2 Illinois
11/9 at Minnesota
11/16 Purdue
11/23 Nebraska
11/30 at Wisconsin
Final Projection8-47-56-68-48-48-4

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Whether it’s Christian Hackenberg or Tyler Ferguson starting at quarterback, Penn State should be just fine on offense. There’s plenty of talent at the skill positions, and the offensive line is solid with the return of left tackle Donovan Smith and guard John Urschel. My biggest question mark for the Nittany Lions is a defense that loses linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, along with tackle Jordan Hill. Replacing the leadership and production those players provided won’t be easy. There’s also a new coordinator (John Butler), but Penn State doesn’t plan on drastically changing the scheme. The schedule certainly isn’t easy for the Nittany Lions, especially with crossover games against Michigan and Nebraska. Road trips against division foes Ohio State and Wisconsin are likely losses as well. I know it’s a longshot, but I have Penn State losing to Indiana. Maybe the Nittany Lions don’t lose to the Hoosiers, but I feel this is a 8-4 team.

Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)

We don’t know what Penn State has under center, we don’t know if Zach Zwinak is a true No. 1 back, we don’t know how the Penn State defense will perform without now-NFL linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, so I’m thinking 7-5 is a fair prediction. The schedule doesn’t help, either, featuring arguably the Big Ten’s top four teams (Michigan; at Ohio State;  Nebraska; at Wisconsin) and one of the conference’s tougher nonconference slates. But, I will say this: it’s hard not to believe in Bill O’Brien and staff, who the players never quit on after last year’s 0-2 start and who turned Matt McGloin, a much-maligned and unsuccessful quarterback, and Allen Robinson, an unknown receiver, into the Big Ten’s premier pass-catch duo.
 

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), No2MinuteWarning.com and NittanyLionsDen.com

Penn State appears to have plenty of potential at quarterback, but it could get off to a rough start regardless of who is under center to start the season, be it JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson or blue chip quarterback Christian Hackenberg. I believe the defense will be solid enough to win most of their games and keep some others within reach, but despite having a strong running game and dependable tight ends, until we know just how quickly Hackenberg and/or Ferguson get adjusted to this level of play I think it is fair to have some legitimate concerns about Penn State's offense.

The non-conference schedule is not the easiest. For now, I have Syracuse winning the week one match-up and Central Florida sneaking out of State College with a win. Penn State could just as easily be 4-0 or 3-1 heading in to conference play but I'll take a cautious approach and call for a split. The Big Ten schedule includes three games I think for now are most likely losses. Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska are all losses to keep in line with my previous picks, and I think playing at Wisconsin in the final game of the season could be a loss right now. All in all, six wins avoids a losing record, which I think is a solid victory for Bill O'Brien right now. O'Brien still has Penn State heading in a positive direction overall, which may not be indicative just by watching the win total at the end of the season.

Mark Ross
Give credit to Bill O'Brien and his coaching staff for what they were able to accomplish while dealing with so much adversity last season. This fall the task will be to maintain the momentum despite having to start over at quarterback and fill some sizable holes on defense. Getting Michigan and Nebraska in Big Ten crossover play only adds to the degree of difficulty, but I am a believer in O'Brien. It also helps that the returning offensive players, starting with Big Ten Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson, have had a full season to adapt to the new system, which should only help the new quarterback. It may not be as special as last season's run, but look for the Nittany Lions to match 2012's win total, despite the ongoing bowl ban.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Bill O'Brien has some big holes to fill on defense, in particular in the leadership department. The linebacking corps and defensive line will be the key to success for the Lions this fall. However, the offense returns largely intact and is ready for the arrival of Christian Hackenberg. The non-conference schedule is very manageable and should provide four victories. Division play also offers plenty of wins as well, but crossover play will be nasty with Michigan and Nebraska coming to town. However, is Penn State pulls one upset in a game in which it isn't favored, it could easily get to nine wins. The Lions will win the ones they are supposed to and lose the ones they are supposed to.
 

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Penn State is going to be tough to pick. Christian Hackenberg is the future, but he’s operating without a net. Bill O’Brien worked miracles with Matt McGloin, but McGloin was still a senior with starting experience. I’m looking toward those early games against UCF and Indiana — two teams with quality offenses — to be key indicators of how Penn State will do on defense. The Nittany Lions lost some good seniors. I’ve picked Penn State to win both, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nittany Lions split those games. My eye-popping picks are probably a loss to Minnesota on the road and a win over Nebraska at home. More than anything, I think those possibilities illustrate what kind of up-and-down season this could be for a program with a freshman quarterback, limited depth and no hope for a postseason.

 

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Teaser:
Penn State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-pivotal-players-big-12
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The conventional thinking in the Big 12 may be that the team whose quarterback takes the reins will win the league.

Indeed, only one of the top six passers, Texas’ David Ash, in the Big 12 returns for 2013.

But in our exercise in picking the pivotal players to a Big 12 championship, we tended to look more toward the defensive side of the ball, and specifically the front seven. Part of that is intentional: It’s clear teams like Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas State won’t have a chance at the conference title if their new starting quarterbacks don’t perform.

What may be overlooked, though, is that four of the top six teams in the Big 12 need a player in the front seven to adjust to a full-time job, return from an injury or simply clear academic hurdles to help their teams to a Big 12 title.

Our criteria for pivotal players:
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 and SEC, and now we turn our eye to the Big 12.

Joel Hasley, LB, TCU
It’s tough to imagine TCU going back-to-back seasons where linebacker is an issue, but the Horned Frogs enter another year where this is the primary concern. Hasley was second on the team with 79 tackles, but the guy ahead of him, Kenny Cain, is gone. With the stable of quality running backs in the Big 12 (plus LSU in the opener), it’s tough to see the Horned Frogs competing for a conference title if its linebackers struggle for a second consecutive season. Hasley is under pressure with converted safety Jonathan Anderson competing for his spot at middle linebacker. Despite linebackers being a weak link, TCU allowed 3.3 yards per carry last season, best in the Big 12.

Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas
Texas waited and waited for Hicks to return after he went down in the third game of the season, but the outside linebacker never returned. The Longhorns run defense unravelled in Big 12 play, allowing 215 rushing yards per game in conference play. Hicks is back for 2013, and Mack Brown hopes his run defense will be back, too.

Ryan Mueller, DE, Kansas State
The easy answer for Kansas State’s pivotal player is either Daniel Sams or Jake Waters replacing quarterback Collin Klein. Nearly as critical is rolling with the changes in the front seven. All four starting defensive linemen are gone, including ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis (who combined for 16.5 sacks). Mueller showed flashes as a pass rusher, but the junior has never been a full-time player.

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Around this time last season, no one projected much out of Nick Florence, and he passed for a school-record 4,309 yards. Petty has far less experience than Florence did when he took over as the starter last season, but Petty also has the running back duo of Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin in tow. Petty, a junior with 14 career pass attempts, will have time to grow into his role before the Bears’ critical stretch in November and December.

Quincy Russell, DT, Oklahoma
For most pivotal players in this series, performance and health are the most pressing concerns. For Russell, it’s if he’ll be around to make an impact. The junior college transfer is still waiting to be cleared academically. Whether or not he’s available, defensive line is Oklahoma’s most pressing question other than quarterback. At 6-4, 315 pounds, Russell is one of the biggest bodies on the offensive line, especially considering his linemate at tackle is converted defensive end Chuka Ndulue.

Jeremy Smith, RB, Oklahoma State
The potential stability at quarterback — provided Clint Chelf starts all season — will be a change for the Cowboys. But we’re watching the change at running back where Joseph Randle hands the baton to Jeremy Smith. Oklahoma State has had a 1,200-yard running back for six consecutive seasons. Smith has averaged 6.2 yards per carry during his career, but he’s deal with nagging injuries through his career. His durability could determine if Oklahoma State has the balanced offense it craves.

Teaser:
The Big 12 title won't be determined by quarterbacks alone
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-big-easts-top-freshmen-transfers-and-more-2013-14
Body:

One thing is pretty clear about the new Big East: Projecting the league is going to be difficult.

Georgetown and Marquette tied for the Big East title in the old conference, but both teams lose key players. Villanova, which defeated Georgetown and Marquette late last season, brings back most of its key players. Creighton won the Missouri Valley and has most of its roster intact, including the top player in the league.

And those are just the top teams. The league pecking order could be determined by a hodgepodge of newcomers — five-star freshmen, junior college players, transfers from teams as different as UCLA and Rice.

Our look at the transfers, freshmen and players returning from injury last season continues with a look at the Big East after we’ve profiled the ACC, American and Big 12.

Josh Smith, Georgetown
Transfer from UCLA
At UCLA, Smith’s weight was a more pressing issue than his play on the court. Smith averaged 10.9 points per game and 6.3 rebounds as a freshman in 2010-11, but his playing time dwindled to 13.5 minutes per game before he left the Bruins early last season. Smith routinely weighed more than 300 pounds at UCLA. He’ll be eligible in December with hopes that a move East will give him a fresh start.

Jameel McKay, Marquette
Junior college transfer
Buzz Williams, a JUCO product himself, has a soft spot for junior college transfers. McKay is yet another to follow Williams to Marquette. He’s a 6-8, 205-pound forward who will bolster Marquette’s frontcourt, which is expected to be the strength of the team in 2013-14. A high-energy player, McKay was a two-time first-team All-American at Indiana Hills Community College after playing high school ball in Milwaukee.

Duane Wilson, Marquette
Freshman
Wilson could take over the point guard spot and give Marquette a scoring punch there. He can knock down 3s, hit free throws and get to the rim. Like McKay, Wilson is a hometown product from Milwaukee.

Rysheed Jordan, St. John’s
Freshman
St. John’s returns better than 90 percent of its scoring, but Jordan will have plenty of opportunities to play minutes immediately. D’Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene IV played point guard last season, but Jordan may be the best option there. Provided he’s not suspended as he was at the end of last season, Harrison is better suited for shooting guard.

Carson Desrosiers, Providence
Transfer from Wake Forest
Ed Cooley laid the groundwork for reviving Providence on the recruiting trail, but transfers will also play a role if the Friars are going to make an NCAA Tournament run in 2013-14. Desrosiers is a seven-foot, 235-pound transfer who started 38 games in two seasons at Wake Forest. He’s a standout shot blocker (1.8 per game), but he can also step outside and make 15-footers.

Jaren Sina, Seton Hall
Freshman
Landing Sina, a former commitment for Northwestern and Alabama, was something of a coup for the Pirates. Problems at point guard sunk Seton Hall a year ago, and the hope is that Sina can eventually stabilize the position.  

Brandon Austin, Providence
Freshman
Austin is yet another high-profile freshman Cooley has signed, joining Kris Dunn (who will be his starting point guard) and Ricky Ledo (who left for the draft after never playing for the Friars). Austin is a versatile guard who could be one of PC’s top scorers.

Dylan Ennis, Villanova
Transfer from Rice
The brother of Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis, Dylan will back up budding star point guard Ryan Arcidacono, but he has the versatility to contribute at three different spots. Ennis averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a freshman at Rice in 2011-12.

Matt Stainbrook, Xavier
Transfer from Western Michigan
Stainbrook will give Xavier a key body in the frontcourt after shedding more than 50 pounds during his redshirt season. He suffered a knee injury in February, but he’s still expected to be major contributor. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in two seasons at Western Michigan.

Sterling Gibbs, Seton Hall
Transfer from Texas
Gibbs averaged only 7.5 minutes per game at Texas but transferred back home to New Jersey after only one season in Austin. The brother of former Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs could join Sina in solidifying Seton Hall’s point guard spot.

Other new faces to watch:

God’sgift Achiuwa, St. John’s
Redshirt
The all-name teamer redshirted last season but averaged 9.4 points per game and 5.8 rebounds in 18 starts in 2011-12.

Elijah Brown, Butler
Freshman
The son of former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown is capable of playing both guard spots and the wing.

Tyler Harris, Providence
Transfer from NC State
Harris was caught in a crunch for playing time at NC State, but Providence believes he can contribute quality minutes. He’s a 6-9 forward who can shoot like a guard.

Jalen Reynolds, Xavier
Ineligible last season

Reynolds was tabbed as a hidden gem after winning a one-on-one battle with Mitch McGary, but the forward was ineligible last season.

Reggie Coleman, Georgetown
Freshman
The top-100 freshman small forward should boost the Hoyas from 3-point range.

Teaser:
Reformed league could be determined by key new players
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-pivotal-players-pac-12
Body:

USC is used to having prolific quarterbacks. Stanford is used to big-time tight ends. UCLA is used to productive running backs. And Oregon State can usually count on its defensive tackle position to hold its own.

In 2013, all four of those positions are in question. Key players at those position groups could help determine if their teams win their division or more.

In our ongoing series of pivotal players we took a look at four key players from those schools, plus three others who are in Pac-12 contention.

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 and SEC, and now we turn our eye to the Pac-12.

Tyson Coleman, LB, Oregon
The biggest question on the Ducks' defense is replacing inside linebackers Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso. Coleman appeared slated to start on the outside at one point, but necessity forced him to move to the inside. His teammates voted him the most improved player last year as a redshirt freshman, but the inside presents new challenges, especially considering some of Oregon’s top opponents this season — Washington, Stanford and Oregon — should all have above-average run games.

Luke Kaumatule, TE, Stanford
Tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are gone, and beyond that, the top returning receiver Ty Montgomery averaged only 8.2 yards per catch on 26 receptions. Kaumatule played nine game last season, but didn’t catch a pass. Still, the 6-7, 260-pound Hawaiian is already on the Mackey Award watch list, thanks to Stanford’s recent reputation. Kaumatule played defensive end and wide receiver in high school, and now he’s expected to be one of the breakout players in Stanford’s passing game.

Edwin Delva, DT, Oregon State
Any one of four defensive tackles could be Oregon State’s pivotal player after starters Andrew Seumalo and Castro Masaniai left. For this spot, though, we’ll pick Delva, the junior college transfer originally from Miami. His fellow JUCO transfer slated to start, Siale Hautau, missed part of the spring with a broken hand. Good thing the Beavers’ new defensive tackle tandem faces only one top-40 rushing team (San Diego State) in the first seven games.

Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Let’s assume returning starting quarterback Keith Price will be better this season with more stability on the offensive line. The next major question in defensive tackle, particularly against the run. Shelton is a returning starter at tackle, but he hasn’t shown much consistency. The junior accounted for four tackles for a loss last season, half of them coming against USC.

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Arizona State’s wide receivers were barely a factor last season. Only one wide receiver was among the Sun Devils’ top four pass-catchers, and Rashad Ross is gone. That has to gnaw at Todd Graham, who’d like to run a more dynamic pass offense. Graham signed five receivers, but two junior college transfers — Strong and Joe Morris — need to contribute immediately if Arizona State is going to win the Pac-12 South.

Max Wittek or Cody Kessler, QB, USC
Few times in the last decade has USC had a legitimate quarterback competition. If Lane Kiffin has an inkling of which quarterback he’ll start, he’s not telling anyone. Wittek was Matt Barkley’s backup last year and started in his place late in the season, but Kessler outperformed Wittek during the spring. Someone will need to get the ball to elite receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor if the Trojans are going to have a chance at the division.

Malcolm Jones, RB, UCLA
Jones is the most interesting name in a group of running backs looking to replace Johnathan Franklin. Jones signed under Rick Neuheisel, left the program under Jim L. Mora and returned as a walk-on later in the season. In losses last season, UCLA averaged 3.7 yards per carry (down from 4.8 in wins) and 118 yards per game (down from 231.2 in wins).

Teaser:
Seven players who could determine the North and South champions
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 06:00
Path: /2013-mlb-trade-deadline-winers-and-losers
Body:

Last season the most impactful trades didn’t seem that impressive when they were announced. But the additions of Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro by San Francisco shifted the balance of power toward the Giants in the NL West and eventually led to a World Series championship. Often it’s the little things that seem to matter most, like solid defense, eating innings and clubhouse unity.

The frenzy at the trade deadline last Wednesday never really materialized, but there were a handful of significant trades over the past few weeks that could affect the 2013 pennant races.

Winners
Boston Red Sox
The Sox weren’t shy about giving up some prospects, but were steadfast in holding on to rising star Xander Bogaerts, a 20-year-old shortstop expected to contribute next season. Boston acquired a major addition to the rotation with Jake Peavy. The former Cy Young winner usually keeps his teams in games and logs innings, taking pressure off the bullpen.  He has some health questions, and the likelihood that he could miss some starts is higher than the Sox would like. But if he makes 10 starts for Boston, the Red Sox are much more likely to fend off Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Matt Thornton, acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a separate deal, deepens the Red Sox bullpen.

Detroit Tigers
With the impending suspension of shortstop Jhonny Peralta, the Tigers took a preemptive strike in trading for Jose Iglesias from Boston. The defensive whiz will immediately upgrade the Tigers’ defense up the middle, and the former Cuban star hasn’t been too shabby with the bat. Detroit has enough offense to withstand the loss of Peralta’s bat, and Iglesias improves the defense. Avisail Garcia is a rising star, but the Tigers need to ensure their position in the playoffs this season, so this deal makes a ton of sense. Other than the Peralta potential situation, the Tigers’ glaring need all season has been bullpen help. Problem solved with the addition of Jose Veras from Houston. Veras has been the lone bright spot in Houston this season with 19 saves.

Chicago Cubs
Like their brethren on the South Side, the Cubs aren’t expecting to seriously contend this season or next. So the Cubs are building their farm system with an eye toward sustaining success through the second half of this decade. The Cubs’ return for Scott Feldman and Matt Garza brought good value for the future, and they were able to unload Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano.

Chicago White Sox
Clearly the White Sox are not going anywhere in 2013, and with an aging roster and the rise of Cleveland and Kansas City, even 2014 may not hold high hopes. So stocking the system with players like Garcia, who should be immediately useful in the big leagues, and prospects Francelis Montas, a 20-year-old flamethrower, J.B. Wendelken, another highly touted pitcher, and infielder Cleuluis Rondon, the White Sox have a brighter future than they did a few days ago. Brandon Jacobs was acquired from Boston in the Thornton deal earlier.

Losers
Arizona Diamondbacks
The season is quickly slipping away from the D-Men. I had the Diamondbacks in the Jake Peavy pool, so that didn’t work out too well. The pitching staff is not too bad, especially if Trevor Cahill can come back and be productive soon. Left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher was acquired from San Diego along with minor leaguer Matt Stites, a closer at Double-A, for Ian Kennedy. While this helps the bullpen, offensively the D-backs need lots of help. Paul Goldschmidt has twice as many homers and RBIs as any teammate. He must have some help. Arizona did not improve its roster enough to come back and catch the Dodgers.

Baltimore Orioles
The acquisitions of Scott Feldman and Bud Norris boost the rotation, and Francisco Rodriguez adds experienced depth to the bullpen, but the club really could use some pop at DH and protection for Chris Davis. The Orioles are 0-for-11 after an intentional walk to Davis, and don’t think teams don’t notice trends like that. The slugger will be avoided more and more as the season goes along. If rookie Henry Urrutia can fill that role as DH/Davis protector, then the Orioles will have played their hand well. If not, Buck Showlater will be left wishing he had a few more weapons in his arsenal.

Texas Rangers
Reports that the Rangers were willing to listen on any player speak to how desperate the team is to improve its offense, especially in light of the impending suspension of right fielder and best run producer Nelson Cruz. The team's slugging percentage dropped to .362 in June. The acquisition of Matt Garza gives the Rangers a respectable 1-2-3 punch with Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Garza. But the Rangers need offense badly, and that’s with Cruz in the lineup.

Pittsburgh Pirates
With Andrew McCutchen warming up and Pedro Alvarez finally becoming the power threat the Pirates envisioned when they made him the No. 2 overall selection in 2006, the offense is not bad. But for the season the Bucs are batting just .243 with a .390 slugging percentage. A hitter like Justin Morneau or even Marlon Byrd could have been helpful. But the biggest problem could be the bullpen. Clint Hurdle’s plan was working perfectly with Mark Melancon setting up closer Jason Grilli, who was near perfect. But with Grilli out for what could be an extended time, all the roles have shifted and Pittsburgh may begin to let a few close games slip away without additional help.

New York Yankees
With the Orioles adding two starting pitchers and Francisco Rodriguez, the Red Sox bolstering their rotation and even the Rays strengthening their bullpen, the Yankees didn’t do much to address some dire needs. Yes, bringing Alfonso Soriano back was a positive step, but there was nothing done to beef up the pitching staff or find a right-handed hitting first baseman, to say nothing of the gaping hole at third base. The Yankees have gotten just five home runs from the hot corner this season, or the same number the Cubs have gotten from their pitching staff.

Teaser:
Last season the most impactful trades didn’t seem that impressive when they were announced. But the additions of Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro by San Francisco shifted the balance of power toward the Giants in the NL West and eventually led to a World Series championship. Often it’s the little things that seem to matter most, like solid defense, eating innings and clubhouse unity. The frenzy at the trade deadline last Wednesday never really materialized, but there were a handful of significant trades over the past few weeks that could affect the 2013 pennant races.
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 17:40
Path: /nascar/fantasy-nascar-picks-pocono-raceway-0
Body:

To help guide you through the 2013 Fantasy NASCAR season, Athlon Sports contributor Geoffrey Miller will be offering his best predictions for each race. And because Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing game is arguably the most popular, he’ll break down the picks according to its NASCAR driver classes — A-List, B-List, C-List. The main picks are designed to make optimal use of Yahoo!’s 9-start maximum rule over the course of the season. The “also consider” section ranks unmentioned drivers strictly by expected result without consideration of start limitations.


Next up: GoBowling.com 400 (Pocono Raceway)
Race: 400 miles/160 laps (2.5-mile track)
June 2013 winner: Jimmie Johnson



A-List (Pick two, start one)
Jimmie Johnson  Jimmie Johnson
If you’re scared to use Jimmie Johnson again — you’re likely nearing his nine-race limit at this point — I understand. But choosing to not use Johnson Sunday at Pocono will end up burning you.

It was less than two months ago that Johnson and the No. 48 team led 128 of 160 laps at the first race of 2013 at Pocono Raceway en route to the win. Only Ryan Newman’s alternate pit strategy kept Johnson from leading about 20 laps more. The most frightening part about Johnson and his return to Pocono — aside from Johnson’s ominous claim after the first Pocono race that his team had found “clarity” with the Gen-6 car — is knowing he’ll likely race the same car that dominated so handily last time out. That car should have won the Brickyard last weekend, too, but wound up second after a blown final pit stop.


Tony StewartSmoke has the fourth-best average finish in the last 17 races at Pocono Raceway among A-List drivers, but he’s a great choice this weekend for fantasy teams looking to spread starts among the ultra-competitive A-List. Stewart finished fourth in June at Pocono, stretching a top-5 finish streak at the track to three races. In fact, he’s been plenty good at the Tricky Triangle for a long while. Stretching to the second Pocono race of 2005, Stewart has finished worse than 11th just twice.

Also consider: Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne



B-List (Pick four, start two)
Kurt Busch  Kurt Busch
Busch left Indianapolis plenty frustrated with his 14th-place finish. The weekend had started promising — his Furniture Row Racing No. 78 was fast in practice and qualifying — but fell apart when the team lost the handling in the car as the Brickyard 400 worked to conclusion. All isn’t lost for Busch’s season and his dream bid to score a Chase berth for the previously unheralded team. Pocono could be just the medicine, as it’s a track where Busch was both won before (2005, 2007) and where he landed a sixth-place finish in June. His average Pocono running position (10.9) leads all B-List drivers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Another driver looking for a turnaround, albeit from a larger perspective, is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Yes, he was sixth at Indianapolis. Yes, he’s a virtual lock in the Chase. But Earnhardt has just one top-5 since he took the Sprint Cup points lead briefly after the spring race at Auto Club Speedway. That top-5? It came, of course, at Pocono where Earnhardt finished third behind Johnson and Greg Biffle. Tie that with all four Hendrick cars running in the top seven at a similar Indianapolis track, and Earnhardt seems to be locked in for a high finish among B-List drivers.


Greg BiffleBiffle left Pocono in June with a runner-up finish, and spoke afterward about how the result was a bit of an inflated example of Roush-Fenway Racing’s overall strength in 2013 to that point. Naturally, he won the series’ next race at Michigan. Biffle, immensely confident heading to Indy, then stumbled to a 24th-place run one lap down at the Brickyard. The team needs a weekend of “back to what we know” and Pocono should handle that demand well. Biffle has the fourth-best average running position (14.4) at Pocono among B-List contenders.

Ryan Newman
Buoyed by both his Indianapolis success and the sudden demand to find a suitable Sprint Cup team in 2013, Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland might be on the beginning side of a successful roll to the Chase. Newman’s impressive run at Indianapolis — both in the race and in qualifying — should undoubtedly transfer to the similar Pocono track. That’s good news for fantasy teams counting on Newman’s 11th-place average Pocono finish to buoy the middle of the lineup.

Also consider: Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin


C-List (Pick two, start one)
AJ Allmendinger

A few fantasy teams are probably starting to run low on available Allmendinger starts, a fact that seems incredible based on his piecemeal part-time Sprint Cup ride situation. Allmendinger pilots James Finch’s No. 51 again this weekend at Pocono a week after leading the C-list at Indianapolis with a 22nd-place finish.


Travis KvapilI’m certainly not expecting BK Racing’s Travis Kvapil to drop the hammer on the racing world at Pocono, but he seems a good choice for fantasy teams needing to try a different route this weekend. Kvapil, 31st at Indianapolis, scored his best non-road course and non-restrictor plate finish of the year in June at Pocono when the blue No. 93 finished 20th. Also telling of his potential this weekend is an extremely strong average race position improvement of 10 spots from start to finish. Sure, his average Pocono finish is 24th, but he’s doing that when he’s starting around 34th.

Also consider: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Casey Mears


Follow Geoffrey on Twitter: @GeoffreyMiller

Photos by Action Sports, Inc.
 

Teaser:
JImmie Johnson and Tony Stewart top the list of Fantasy picks for NASCAR's trip to Pocono Raceway for the GoBowling.com 400.
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 16:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-31
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 Wednesday, July 31st


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.

And in case you missed it yesterday, this feature on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is excellent.

As expected, Tennessee's fall depth chart doesn't give much insight into the quarterback battle.

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?

Iowa receiver (and JUCO recruit) Damond Powell is slated to arrive in Iowa City soon.

Recruiting isn't an issue for Gary Anderson at Wisconsin.

Syracuse's offensive line has some big holes to fill in 2013.

A potential starter on Michigan State's offensive line has retired due to injuries.

Maryland's receiving corps should be among the best in the ACC. Here's a good breakdown of that group, along with what to expect from touted JUCO recruit Deon Long.

What can Florida State expect out of defensive end Dan Hicks in 2013?

Missouri's offensive line was hit hard by injuries last year. Here's a preview of what should be expected out of that unit for 2013.

 

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 31
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 15:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregons-new-football-facility-insane
Body:

The Oregon football uniforms are now the second-most garish thing about Oregon football. GoDucks.com released a slideshow for the Football Performance Center where the Ducks will move this season.

You know how Google or other Silicon Valley giants have over-the-top offices full of amenities? The Oregon Football Performance Center would make them blush.

Keep in mind, this facility was once reported to have a hot tub video room. After looking at the slideshow, we’re wondering why not.

This place needs a name, and we have some suggestions:

• Duckingham Palace

• Duck-ri-la

• The Battlestar Quacklactica

• The Knight House

• The Duck Star

• Castle Duckskull

• The Quack Mahal

• The Fortress of Duckitutde

• The Webbed Foot Locker

• The House Rich Brooks Built

• New Quack City

• Gracepond

• The Neverland Pond

(We'll add more nicknames if you have them, tweet us at @AthlonSports or post to our Facebook page).


Among the key captions from Oregon's slideshow:

• The 145,000-square-foot facility features black glass to signify stealth and 40-foot cantilevers that illustrate the various building blocks necessary to build a successful program.

• Many of the high-profile trophies won by Oregon are housed in the lobby's trophy case. Others are featured elsewhere in the building. (Ed. note: You cannot find a Heisman here)

• The lobby's ring room is not to be missed, with LED lighting and 3D sound enhancing the presentation of Oregon's bowl and championship rings. (Ed. note: You cannot find a national championship trophy here)

• Yes, among the stalls in the locker room is one designated for 'Uncle Phil.'

• Just off the locker room is a barber shop, which will over on-site haircuts at student rates.

• Press conferences and postgame interviews will take place in a new media room that features theater-style seating, and four 'confessional' booths for one-on-one interactions.

• The War Room sits 22 around a grand table, has six 80-inch monitors and, like much of the rest of the facility, black magnetic walls that are also writable/erasable.

• The sixth-floor skybridge features a flock of ducks representing Oregon's NFL draftees, identified by their initials on each individual duck.

• Just inside the player lounge's outdoor deck are a pool table crafted in Portland and two foosball tables, each with one 11-player team in green and yellow and the other representing the rest of the Pac-12.

Teaser:
The Ducks released a slideshow for their new over-the-top facility
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 12:02
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-31-2013
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for July 31.

 

• July is all but over, but we still have the memories. Here's a rundown of sports-related ladies who wowed us this month, including Matt Stafford's patriotic girlfriend (pictured).

 

• Speaking of American heroes, one Arizona Cardinals cheerleader did a tour of duty in Iraq.

 

This is the best use of facial hair I've ever seen. Andy Dalton agrees.

 

• Nike's latest handiwork: Oregon's football performance center would be the envy of most NFL teams.

 

• All 12 SEC first-round picks are signed, sealed and delivered to their new teams. Here's a contract rundown.

 

• While we're talking SEC, here's a ranking of the league's top defensive back units. Vanderbilt is second. I expect to see the sky raining frogs and blood any second.

 

There's a new Barkley in Philly, and he didn't come to hold a clipboard.

 

Check out this Manziel profile from Wright Thompson. Johnny Football is starting to worry his parents. Speaking of Manziel, here's the story of one writer's quest to interview the new king of all media.

 

Some chick from Glee went on Kimmel last night wearing what looked like a bikini top. Might have to start watching Glee.

 

• You're never too old to get excited for the ice cream man. Just ask the Ravens' Arthur Jones.

 

• Who doesn't love a good redemption story? The Rays ballboy redeemed himself with this catch after a couple of misses.

 

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:32
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/uclas-eddie-vanderdoes-wins-appeal-will-play-2013
Body:

The transfer saga of former Notre Dame signee Eddie Vanderdoes appears to be finished. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the California native was granted a waiver to play in 2013 and will not have to sit out a season due to transfer rules.

Vanderdoes signed with Notre Dame in February but chose to leave the school this summer. The Fighting Irish would not release Vanderdoes from his scholarship, which meant the defensive lineman would have to sit out a year.

However, Vanderdoes’ appeal for immediate eligibility has been approved, which means UCLA is getting a player capable of making a big impact on the defensive line. Datone Jones expired his eligibility after last season, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa is recovering from offseason hip surgery. Even though Vanderdoes didn’t practice this spring with the Bruins, there’s a good chance he will be in the two-deep by the season opener.

Teaser:
UCLA's Eddie Vanderdoes Wins Appeal, Will Play in 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:30

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