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Path: /nascar/earnhardt-miss-races-concussion
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Hendrick Motorsports announced on Thursday that driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will sit out the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway after suffering a concussion at Talladega on Sunday.

In a release, the company stated that Earnhardt was diagnosed with a concussion Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte and that Regan Smith will serve as the No. 88 team’s substitute driver in his absence.

Earnhardt currently sits 11th in the Chase for the Championship, a distant 51 points behind leader Brad Keselowski. Earnhardt was involved in a final-lap crash in the Oct. 7 Good Sam 500 that also collected 24 other cars.

Earnhardt revealed that he suffered an initial concussion during a wreck on Aug. 29 while conducting a tire test at Kansas Speedway.

“I decided to push through it,” Earnhardt said of the concussion at Kansas. “I’d had concussions before and knew exactly what I was dealing with. I felt pretty good after a week or two and definitely 80 to 90 percent by the time the Chase started (Sept. 23) and by the time we got to Talladega I felt 100 percent.”

Earnhardt said that while the impact at Talladega was roughly half as hard as the Kansas hit, the proximity of the two concussions raised concerns.

“If you have more than one in a small period of time you need to take that quite seriously. The one in Kansas was really bad and to get shaken up so quickly (at Talladega) over something so trivial—that one shook me up and I thought I should take that seriously.

“I knew that I had sort of regressed and had a bit of a setback. You know how your body is and if something is not quite right. I knew as soon as it happened that I had re-injured myself.

“I went a couple days wondering how my body would react and sort of waited for it to process what was happening. I was still having some headaches — that was really the only symptom I was having. So I took it upon myself to contact my sister (Kelley Earnhardt Miller) and we talked about seeing a neurosurgeon and ended up getting steered toward Dr. Petty.”

Dr. Jerry Petty is a Charlotte neurosurgeon that consults for NASCAR as well as the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Dr. Petty stressed that an MRI on Earnhardt came back normal, meaning no damage was found.

After conducting tests, Earnhardt explained that Petty spent the night thinking about the situation and decided he could not clear the 38-year-old to race.

“His neurological exam was normal. He had no amnesia after either incident, which is very important,” Petty said. “We want to give him four or five days without a headache and then we’ll try to invoke a headache. Then we’ll let him go out and drive a lap or two and see how that goes. If that goes well, we’ll probably clear him to race.”

Earnhardt said that he did not seek medical advice about the concussion he suffered at Kansas and that he regretted not doing so.

“I was stubborn and I’d had concussions before and thought I knew what I was dealing with. I felt like I was capable of doing my job and I had called Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and we talked about how I was feeling, but I really wouldn’t know if I would be able to compete until I got in the car.

“When you have a concussion the symptoms can be really mild and then they’ll typically go away after a couple of days and you feel perfectly normal. But when you get in a car and go around a track at a high rate of speed, you start to understand that some things aren’t quite where they need to be; some reactions just aren’t as sharp.”

He was hesitant to get checked out with his team being in championship contention.

“If I was to volunteer myself to medical attention and be removed from the car, I didn’t know how difficult it’d be to get back in.”

Team owner Rick Hendrick praised Earnhardt for taking action.

“One thing everyone admires about Dale is how honest and up-front he is,” Hendrick said. “When he knew there was something not right, he went to see Dr. Petty. We were so happy yesterday that the MRI was completely normal—that no damage had been done.

“He has a lot of years left to race. And I applaud Dale for getting checked out.”

In 2002, Earnhardt admitted that he had raced for months with a concussion suffered at Auto Club Speedway earlier in the season. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, addressed the subject of drivers not revealing injury, saying, “You saw a driver (Earnhardt) who is racing for a championship, who is our most popular driver, get up here and ask to go see a doctor and get out of a car. That takes a lot of guts. I think it also shows where our sport has come, and they know that safety is first and foremost.”

He also outlined NASCAR’s procedure in evaluating injuries—specifically concussions:

“First and foremost, a driver is evaluated in the (track’s) infield care center where we've got board certified emergency technicians or doctors. If the driver complains of any symptoms or if the emergency room physician believes there may be symptoms, we refer them to a neurologist—in most cases, it is Dr. Petty.

“At that point he's required to go through the tests, then it's up to our neurologists to make the call on whether or not that driver's going to be back. We (NASCAR) take ourselves out of that, and rely on our doctors to make the call on whether or not the driver could be back.”

In missing the upcoming events, Earnhardt will not only be eliminated from title contention—although his chances were slim as it was—but he will break a streak of 461 consecutive Cup Series starts. The streak was the fifth longest among active drivers.

“I'm really going to feel pretty odd not being in the car,” Earnhardt said. “I'm real anxious just to get back into the car and get back. I think you learn not to take things for granted, and I just hate that this has caused such a fuss.”


by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro
 

Teaser:
<p> Hendrick Motorsports announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races after sufferring two concussions since Aug. 29.</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 13:00
Path: /mlb/joe-girardi-pinch-hits-rod
Body:

For two days, Yankees manager Joe Girardi deflected questions about moving third baseman Alex Rodriguez down in the batting order for last night’s Game 3 of the ALDS vs. Baltimore due to A-Rod’s recent struggles.

Girardi explained his decision to keep A-Rod near the top of the lineup by saying trust was a major piece of the Yankees’ success. He reiterated how important it is for him to trust his players and that his players trust him. And after Wednesday night, his players have multiple reasons to trust their skipper.

Two moves the manager made in the Yankees’ 12-inning comeback win over the Orioles give fans, media, and most importantly, his players plenty of reasons to trust the fifth-year manager.

The most notable move was pinch-hitting for Rodriguez with the game on the line in bottom of the ninth inning as the Yankees trailed, 3-2. Girardi called on 40-year-old Raul Ibanez to pinch-hit for Rodriguez. The two players’ history together goes back to Appleton Foxes of the Midwest League in 1994. Ibanez, a 36th-round draft pick of Seattle out of Miami, spent much of his time in the minors behind the plate. His was a slow climb through the minors to the big leagues. Rodriguez, a No. 1 overall selection by Seattle out of Miami in 1993, was on a fast track to the bigs, making his debut in 1994.

But on October 10, 2012, Girardi had more faith in the lefty Ibanez against the Orioles’ premier closer Jim Johnson. And Ibanez rewarded his manager, not once, but twice. His solo home run in the ninth inning sent the game into extra frames. Ibanez, making just $1.1 million this season with no 2013 contract, came up again leading off the 12th inning off tough young lefthander Brian Matusz. Ibanez sent another pitch into the right field seats for a walk-off winner.

The other decision Girardi made? It may be meaningless, but Derek Jeter was not on the field for the final 12 outs. After fouling a pitch off his foot early in the game, Jeter was noticeably limping after singling in the sixth. Girardi called on Jayson Nix to play shortstop in the ninth inning. Last night, the defensive replacement was most likely due to an ailing Jeter. But the door is open for Girardi to replace the future Hall of Famer on defense late in games. Will a healthy Jeter be replaced later this postseason? Maybe not, but Girardi has earned some trust among all his players should he pull the trigger and pull Jeter late in games.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

Teaser:
<p> By pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez and allowing backup shortstop Jayson Nix finish the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi may have opened the final chapter for the Old Guard for New York.</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 11:12
Path: /nfl/pittsburgh-steelers-vs-tennessee-titans-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two AFC teams hungry for a victory will clash in Nashville tonight, when the Tennessee Titans host the Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:20 p.m. EST on the NFL Network. Pittsburgh got back to .500 last week with a hard-fought 16-14 win against the Eagles. Tennessee was blown out on the road for the second consecutive week, dropping to 1-4 on the year after losing a 30-7 decision to the Vikings.

When the Tennessee Titans have the ball:
The Titans have a highly-paid running back in Chris Johnson and two solid tackles, but they rank 30th in the league in rushing with only 65.4 yards per game. The blame has ranged from Chris Palmer’s scheme to weak interior line play to Johnson himself, but Tennessee must find a way to start getting some production on the ground. Matt Hasselbeck started in place of the injured Jake Locker last week in Minnesota, and the veteran signal caller went 26-for-43 for 200 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

The Steelers defense has battled constant injuries this season, and stud safety Troy Polamalu (calf) will miss this game while linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) is doubtful. Pittsburgh has only allowed 280 yards per game through four games, but Dick LeBeau’s group has been torched in both road losses at Denver and Oakland. The Steelers only have one interception and eight sacks on the year, and they cannot afford to let Hasselbeck get into a rhythm tonight.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers have the ball:
The Pittsburgh offense received a huge boost last week with the return of top running back Rashard Mendenhall, who totaled 81 yards and a touchdown on the ground in the victory over the Eagles. The improved rushing attack will be a big help to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been solid in compiling 1,111 yards and eight touchdowns against only one pick this season. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are big-time threats on the outside, and Heath Miller could play a huge role tonight as the Titans have been repeatedly burned by opposing tight ends this year.

The Tennessee defense has simply been awful in 2012, allowing an NFL-high 36.2 points per game. The Titans have battled injuries as well, and they will need big efforts from banged-up defenders like middle linebacker Colin McCarthy, safety Jordan Babineaux and cornerback Alterraun Verner to beat the Steelers. Jerry Gray’s group must contain Mendenhall and the Pittsburgh run game, while trying to force Roethlisberger into some bad decisions.

Key Factor:
The Titans offense must win the time of possession battle and take advantage of the Steelers defensive injuries and the short week of preparation. If Hasselbeck can get some help from the run game, he can lead the team to first downs and keep Tennessee in the game. If not, the Titans defensive woes will be exposed with too much time on the field. The Titans should play inspired ball at home, but look for the Steelers firepower to take over in the end.

Prediction:
Steelers 27 Titans 20

 

Teaser:
<p> Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 06:49
Path: /nfl/5-crappy-nfl-teams-who-need-start-over
Body:

Five games into the season is more than enough time to take the pulse of a team, to know if it’s headed anywhere near the right direction. Things can change, of course, and in a league of parity everyone’s still in the race.

Some are just a little more in it than others.
 
Which makes this a good time to look at five teams that just can’t seem to get a grip on success – teams that need to re-evaluate their entire plan and just start over. For some, that will mean firing the coach or the general manager. For others, they just need wholesale changes in personnel.
 
Whatever they need, here are five teams that are just spinning their wheels at best, and should be plotting a course to some sort of change in direction:
 
New York Jets (2-3) – They have become the poster children for a team without a plan, which is so odd considering they looked so focused two years ago. Dominated by Rex Ryan’s defense and led by an emerging young quarterback, they had come off two straight AFC championship games and looked to be on the verge of a new era.
 
Now? It’s hard to tell if they even believe in Mark Sanchez anymore, especially after they saddled themselves with the burden of Tim Tebow. They are a team that relies on gimmick plays and a gimmick change-of-pace quarterback, putting Sanchez in an unenviable position. It’s impossible for a young quarterback to grow if everything the team does screams about a lack of faith.
 
Add in a defense that is a shell of itself and the Jets may just need to blow the whole thing up. If GM Mike Tannenbaum isn’t already on the hot seat for his strange personnel moves, he certainly should be. Ryan is a good coach, but his act has grown cold.
 
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – It’s hard to imagine anything but a run at the Super Bowl will safe Jason Garrett when he’s working for an owner like Jerry Jones. That’s especially true after they spent money this offseason to improve their secondary – their biggest weakness.
 
But the bigger question with this franchise is this: Is Tony Romo really the quarterback you want to trust to lead you to a championship? He’s a good quarterback. He puts up impressive numbers. But it seems undeniable he can be a liability in big games. His five-interception performance against Chicago was a major red flag.
 
A new quarterback means completely starting over, but it might be something the Cowboys will have to consider soon.
 
Buffalo Bills (2-3) – They stopped acting like a small-market team when they made a big-market-like move for defensive end Mario Williams during the offseason. Adding him to what seemed like a decent defense was supposed to be what put them over the top.
 
Instead the Bills currently have the second-worst defense in the NFL and a shaky quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who throws too many interceptions. The pieces seem to be there (even the quarterback has showed some promise) but when the production is so dramatically different than what’s expected, the plan comes into question.
 
It’s a good bet that Chan Gailey is already on the hot seat. If he’s not, he should be. The Bills have a window to get into the AFC East race over the next couple of years, but they may need someone else to help them do it.
 
Cleveland Browns (0-5) – This is an obvious team to include on this list because it seems a given that they will be starting over. They have a new owner and that almost always leads to change – especially when the team is 0-5.
 
But where to start? It’s easy to blame coach Pat Shurmer – and he’s almost certain to be one of the fall guys – but where exactly is the plan with this franchise. Start with the quarterback, where they’ve gone from Jake Delhomme to Brady Quinn to Seneca Wallace to Colt McCoy and now to 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden in just the last three seasons. How is that any way to build any consistency?
 
And is starting over with a 28-year-old rookie a smart move? By the time Weeden puts it all together he might be 31 or 32 and the Browns will already be looking for his replacement. Yes, they seem to have made a great pick in running back Trent Richardson, but much of the rest of the roster looks bare.
 
That will change, but before it does there’ll be more pain for the city of Cleveland, where the Browns just haven’t been able to get anything right since returning to the NFL in 1999.
 
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) – There was such hope two years ago when the Chiefs went 10-6 and made the playoffs as a wild-card. There was even more hope last year after they shook off a disastrous 0-3 start by winning four straight games. OK they lost five of their next six, but they did win two of their last three – both against playoff teams – under then interim coach Romeo Crennel, sparking hope again.
 
It’s gone now, of course, despite a powerful rushing attack and the NFL’s 10th-ranked defense. If you want a reason why, look no further than QB Matt Cassel who has five touchdowns and nine interceptions. An NFL team can’t win with a ratio like that – and it’s even more inexcusable considering how well Jamaal Charles is running (551 yards) and that Cassel has a target to throw to like Dwayne Bowe.
 
Crennel is a quality coach who knows how to get the most out of his team, but he may not be able to get much more out of the Chiefs without a more trustworthy quarterback. There’s a chance GM Scott Pioli could be on the hot seat in Kansas City. If he’s not, he may need to put Cassel there instead and spend the offseason trying to find someone else.
 
—By RALPH VACCHIANO
Teaser:
<p> They wish they could have a do-over</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-7-preview-and-predictions
Body:

A huge injury to a player of the year candidate. A marquee top 25 showdown in a historic college town. A Thursday night primetime affair. And the former No. 1 team in the nation going on the road. The weekend of action out West has a little something for everybody, there is no doubt, so let's hope it lives up to the hype. On to Week 7...

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 7:

1. Which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes in South Bend?
Josh Nunes played the best game of his career last week in the win over Arizona but had three horrible games prior to that. Everett Golson has loads of upside and raw talent but still makes freshman mistakes — on and off the field. And now each will have to face one of the great defensive front sevens in the nation. Notre Dame has allowed 12 total points in its last three games, while Stanford is fourth in the nation in tackles for loss and averages almost three sacks per game. There will be plenty of NFL talent on the field for both defenses, so best of luck to both inexperienced signal callers in this one.

2. Therefore, the ground game will be key for both
Both Stanford and Notre Dame have big, powerful offensive lines and the aforementioned quarterback issues. Therefore, Stepfan Taylor will have to be the key cog for the Cardinal against Heisman contender Manti Te'o and that nasty Irish frontline. Cierre Wood had his best game of the season last weekend against Miami (118 yards, 2 TD) as the ND rushing attack continues to be the focal point of Brian Kelly's offense. The magic number on rushing yards should be around that 100-yard mark. If either team can crack the century mark on the ground, they will have a great chance at winning the game. Notre Dame has allowed two teams to top the 100-yard mark, but Navy runs the triple option and Denard Robinson contributes to the ground game in a unique way. Stanford allowed 124 yards rushing total in its first three games, before both Washington and Arizona topped that mark with 136 and 126 respectively. First team to 100 yards on the ground wins?

3. Can Oregon State win without Sean Mannion?
The bad news? Mannion is going to be out for a few weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The good news? Mannion's prognosis is generally 2-4 weeks and the Beavers, at 3-0 in league play already, can survive without him for the time being. This weekend's game will be a test, but a win or loss against BYU has no impact on the greater goal of a Pac-12 championship. Utah, who visits Corvallis next weekend, hasn't yet shown it is capable of going on the road and scoring against the mighty Beavers defense. The road trip to Washington will be tricky, but ideally, backup Cody Vaz will be settled in by the time that game rolls around. A road trip to face the Cougars is a great (or brutal) way to break in the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder who hasn't thrown a pass in a game since Dec. 4, 2010.

4. The Huskies defense has to get off the mat one more time
After a tremendous performance on national TV in a win over Stanford, the Huskies defense came plummeting back to earth last weekend. Certainly, the Ducks make most defenses look silly, but Washington cannot hope to upset USC this weekend if it allows another 500 yards of offense and 52 more points this Saturday. Matt Barkley's offense scored 40 points and rushed for 252 yards in the blowout home win over the Huskies last season. If Justin Wilcox and company expect to keep this game close, his front seven must stop the developing USC rushing attack while his talented secondary locks down arguably the top pass-catching tandem in the nation. If not, the Barkley Heisman train will continue to roll along.

5. Brett Hundley can't turn the ball over this week
After a rock-star beginning to his UCLA career, redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley experienced what big-time college football can feel like last weekend. He threw four interceptions, fumbled twice (losing one) and got sacked six times in the ugly blowout loss to Cal. He entered the game averaging 327 yards of total offense per game with 15 total touchdowns before the Golden Bears silenced the Bruins quarterback. Hundley returns home to face a Utah team that has struggled all season. This was a demoralizing 31-6 beatdown in Salt Lake City by the Utes last year and UCLA will be aiming for revenge this time around. Much like last weekend, if Jim Mora's team wants to be taken seriously on the national stage, it has to win these types of games. And it starts with the star signal caller protecting the football against a normally savvy defensive front.

6. Letdown Alert: Cal heads to Washington State
Jeff Tedford posted one of the more surprising box scores last weekend — at just the right time. The embattled coach kept the critics at bay for one more week with the impressive defensive showing against UCLA. But there is no rest for this weary head coach as his team needs to be on full "Letdown Alert" this weekend against Washington State. Mike Leach's tenure has been anything but successful thus far, but one has to believe he will pull an upset somewhere along the way. A touchdown underdog at home against a 2-4 conference opponent who is riding high after an big win the week before feels like the perfect storm for just that.

7. Athlon Sports challenges the Colorado Buffaloes to...
NOT make this Thursday's meeting with Arizona State the worst Thursday night college football game of the season. The Sun Devils are heavily favored and are crushing people on offense while Colorado has been worthless other than one night in Pullman. Please make this one at least watchable Buffs!

Week 7 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 7 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Arizona St (-23) at Colorado Arizona St, 31-20 Arizona St, 34-10 Arizona St, 45-17 Arizona St, 45-17
Utah (+8) at UCLA UCLA, 27-20 UCLA, 30-17 UCLA, 31-20 Utah, 21-14
Oregon St (+2.5) at BYU Ore. St, 17-14 Oregon St, 24-14 BYU, 20-17 BYU, 17-7
Stanford (+8) at Notre Dame Notre Dame, 20-7 Notre Dame, 24-13 Notre Dame, 27-27 Notre Dame, 28-10
USC (-11.5) at Washington USC, 34-21 USC, 30-23 USC, 34-24 USC, 35-17
Cal (-7) at Washington St Cal, 31-24 Cal, 37-13 Cal, 31-27 Wazzu, 21-14
Last Week: 4-1 4-1 4-1 3-2
Yearly Totals: 34-15 35-14 35-14 33-16

Bye: Arizona, Oregon

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 7 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 7 Previews and Predictions

Big Ten Week 7 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 7 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 7 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 7 Upset Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 7 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-7-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Fans knew the Big Ten Leaders Division race could be lacking in excitement this year due to two power programs not being eligible to play for the championship. So Wisconsin at Purdue in Week 7 leaves a bit to be desired on a national level when it comes to big-time title bouts. But that is what Big Ten fans are getting this weekend.

Otherwise, any outlandish outcomes this weekend will come as major surprises as Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State are all heavy favorites.

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 7:

1. De facto Leaders Division championship game
Wisconsin will visit Purdue this weekend in what will likely decide one half of the 2012 Big Ten championship game. While Penn State and Ohio State are the two best teams in the Leaders Division (possibly the entire league), neither will be allowed to play in Indianapolis. And with Illinois imploding in Champaign, the Boilermakers and Badgers are left to battle for the division crown. Stop the presses. Drop what you are doing. There is a championship on the line in West Lafayette this Saturday.

2. Caleb TerBush and Company vs. Joel Stave
Danny Hope is sticking with TerBush as his starter but Robert Marve is sure to see time. The two combined for 153 yards passing and both threw an interception in the ugly loss to Michigan last weekend. Neither has played all that well, but Hope needs to get production from his quarterback to win this weekend. Meanwhile, Stave missed the end of the Nebraska game and it cost Wisconsin the win. He returned last weekend to throw for 254 yards and two scores in the easy win over Illinois. The redshirt freshman makes his second career road start against the Boilers. Both defenses will have to stop the run in an effort to force these suspect signal callers into passing situations, so whichever passer can complete clutch third-down throws will emerge victorious.

3. Look for Northwestern to go back to the ground
The Wildcats have made a concerted effort to run the football in 2012. And for most of the year, they have been extremely successful. Try 974 yards in the three games prior to visiting Penn State last weekend — where Northwestern totaled 112 yards on 25 attempts. Venric Mark and Kain Colter form a dynamic 1-2 punch that rushes for 168.3 yards per game, and moving the football against Minnesota's defensive line on the ground will be key. The Gophers' defensive front had allowed under 130 yards rushing per game until Iowa gashed them before the bye. Who wins the battle in the trenches will decide who stays with one loss and who becomes a Big Ten after-thought.

4. What type of impact could MarQueis Gray make?
Head coach Jerry Kill is "cautiously optimistic" that his star senior quarterback will play this weekend in a huge game against Northwestern. While Kill is it playing close to the vest, as he should, Pat Fitzgerald knows Gray is a totally different monster to account for than the young back-up Max Shortell. Gray's dual-threat capabilities and veteran presence give the Gophers a dramatically more complicated offensive look. Shortell failed to throw a touchdown against Syracuse and tossed three interceptions against Iowa, so any production Gray can offer will be a huge upgrade this weekend. The Gophers will need to score points against the Cats and No. 5 gives them the best chance to do so.

5. Heavy favorites need to avoid major letdowns this weekend
Michigan State hosts Iowa and is a 10-point favorite. Michigan hosts a reeling Illinois team. And Ohio State visits overmatched Indiana in an effort to pad Braxton Miller's Heisman Trophy statistics. All three, if they expect to compete for the best record in the league, have to hold serve this weekend. Obviously, the Spartans have the toughest test with the Hawkeyes coming off their best performance of the season — a 31-13 win over Minnesota — and resting over the bye week. That said, Sparty has no business losing this type of game at home if it expects to win the Legends Division.

6. Nearly 500 pounds of running back on display
Walk-on fullback Mark Weisman is listed at 6-foot and 230 pounds. He is a load to bring down and has sparked the once-dormant Iowa rushing attack with 507 yards rushing and seven scores in his last three games. Meanwhile, Michigan State counters with the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Le'Veon Bell who has proven to be a workhorse with three games of at least 36 carries this season already. The ground game will be heavily featured in a game with two struggling quarterbacks, so my condolences go out to both Iowa and Michigan State linebackers and safeties charged with tackling these two beasts. It should be fun to watch, however, if you like big hits and truck sticks.

7. Watch Denard Robinson drive a stake into Illini
Robinson got back on track last weekend with a statement road performance against Purdue. He posted his fifth career 200-yard rushing game with 235 yards on 24 carries, and much to Brady Hoke's delight, didn't throw an interception (even though he did fumble). The Wolverines under Shoelace are nearly unbeatable at home, so this weekend should, for all intents and purposes, signal the end of the Illini's 2012 season. Illinois would be 2-5 and 0-3 in the Big Ten with a loss and still have Ohio State, Purdue and Northwestern remaining on its schedule. 

Week 7 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 7 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Iowa (+10) at Michigan St Mich. St, 20-17 Mich. St, 13-10 Mich. St, 27-17 Mich. St, 38-14
N'Western (-3) at Minnesota N'Western, 30-24 Minnesota, 33-30 N'Western, 31-24 N'Western, 21-14
Wisconsin (+2.5) at Purdue Wisconsin, 27-24 Wisconsin, 23-17 Wisconsin, 27-20 Purdue, 17-14
Illinois (+23.5) at Michigan Michigan, 41-20 Michigan, 38-13 Michigan, 38-13 Michigan, 42-14
Ohio St (-17) at Indiana Ohio St, 45-27 Ohio St, 48-17 Ohio St, 38-17 Ohio St, 56-10
Last Week: 5-0 3-2 5-0 4-1
Yearly Totals: 47-10 44-13 46-9 45-12

Bye Week: Nebraska, Penn State

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 7 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 7 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 7 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 7 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 7 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 7 Upset Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Week 7 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/acc-week-7-preview-and-predictions
Body:

With only four games on the Week 7 slate, it's a relatively quiet Saturday of action in the ACC. Florida State looks to bounce back after last week's disappointing loss to NC State, as struggling Boston College visits Tallahassee. The North Carolina-Miami is the ACC's best matchup for Week 7 and should be an entertaining offensive affair with both teams averaging over 30 points a game.

Other Week 7 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 7

Can Florida State get back on track?
Last week’s loss against NC State was a crushing defeat for Florida State. Any shot the Seminoles had of competing for a national title is over, and the team must refocus its goals on winning the ACC Championship and finishing in the top five of the BCS at the end of the year. Florida State simply has too much talent to be losing on the road to NC State, but this team still has a lot to play for, starting with this week’s game against Boston College. The Seminoles need some help to win the ACC Atlantic title, but they should be 8-1 heading into a Thursday night matchup against Virginia Tech on Nov. 8. Florida State shouldn’t have to sweat much to beat the Eagles on Saturday, especially after Boston College lost 34-31 to Army last week. In last season’s matchup in Chestnut Hill, the Seminoles crushed the Eagles 38-7. Even if Florida State gets off to a slow start because of last week’s disappointment, this team should pull away for an easy victory in the second half.

Bowl elimination game between Maryland and Virginia?
Even though there’s a lot of football to be played in the second half of the year, Saturday’s game between Maryland and Virginia will be crucial to both team’s bowl hopes. Thanks to a 19-14 win over Wake Forest last week, the Terrapins have already surpassed 2011’s win total and have a manageable upcoming stretch of games. Although the offense has struggled, the defense ranks seventh nationally in yards allowed. Virginia desperately needs to get into the win column, as it has lost four consecutive games and is still searching for its first win in ACC play this season. After this week’s game against the Terrapins, the Cavaliers take on Wake Forest and NC State, so a win on Saturday would help build momentum for a must-win stretch of games. Quarterback play and turnovers will be crucial to the outcome of this contest. Both teams rank at the bottom of the NCAA in turnover margin, while Maryland ranks 117th nationally in offensive yards per game. Virginia tried to jumpstart its offense by inserting Alabama transfer Phillip Sims into the lineup at quarterback and he finished with 268 yards on 21 completions against Duke. While the Cavaliers have been able to throw the ball this year, the rushing attack and offensive line still need work. This isn't a back against the wall game for either team, but it's a crucial one, especially at the midpoint of the 2012 season.

Miami or North Carolina: Which defense can make key stops?
If you like offense, then Saturday’s Miami-North Carolina matchup should be the game of the week in the ACC. The Tar Heels are averaging 44 points per contest, while the Hurricanes have averaged 42.3 points per game in ACC play this season. Both quarterbacks have been stellar at times this season, as North Carolina’s Bryn Renner is completing 62.7 percent of his throws, while Miami’s Stephen Morris leads all ACC quarterbacks with 1,836 yards this year. Not only will the Hurricanes have their hands full trying to slow down Renner, they will need to find an a way to stop running back Giovani Bernard. Miami is allowing 250.7 rushing yards per game and Bernard gashed Virginia Tech for 262 yards last Saturday. With two potent offenses likely to control the tempo of the game, timely stops will be crucial on Saturday afternoon. Miami isn’t generating much pressure on opposing quarterbacks but has forced 12 turnovers. The Tar Heels have allowed at least 28 points in games against BCS conference foes, with matchups against Elon, East Carolina and Idaho slightly skewing their overall numbers. Expect plenty of points between these two teams – Vegas has the over/under set at 68 – but it’s up to the defenses to get a timely stop or turnover to decide the outcome.

Can Duke get bowl eligible?
With six weeks in the books, it’s fair to say Duke's David Cutcliffe is the early leader in the clubhouse for ACC Coach of the Year. The Blue Devils haven’t knocked off a top-25 team but have wins over Virginia and Wake Forest and need just one more victory to get bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. Despite an elbow injury to quarterback Sean Renfree last week, Duke didn’t miss a beat on offense. Backup Anthony Boone completed 18 of 31 passes for 212 yards and four scores and will likely see time this week, even if Renfree returns to the lineup. Although the rushing attack hasn’t been prolific, the Blue Devils have shown signs of life on the ground, while the defense ranks 50th nationally in yards allowed. Duke has never won in Blacksburg and has been outscored 162-37 in its last five road matchups against Virginia Tech. While the odds are against them, the Blue Devils are an improved team and will catch the Hokies at a good time, especially after losses in three out of their last four games.

What’s Wrong at Virginia Tech?
With a 3-3 start and losses in three out of their last four games, the Hokies are one of the nation’s biggest disappointments in the first half of the season. Both sides of the ball share blame, but a defense that returned eight starters and ranked second in the conference in points allowed last season is struggling. Virginia Tech ranks 64th nationally in total defense and is allowing nearly 200 rushing yards per game (196.7). Quarterback Logan Thomas threw for 354 yards in last week’s loss to North Carolina, but as thrown seven interceptions and isn’t getting much help from the rushing attack. With problems on both sides of the ball, there’s no guarantee this is a fix that can happen during the 2012 season. However, there’s still plenty of time to right the ship, but the Hokies’ schedule isn’t easy, as Duke and Florida State visit Blacksburg, while they hit the road for games against Clemson and Miami. Before the season, it would have been almost unthinkable to consider Saturday’s game against Duke a must-win for Virginia Tech. However, if this team wants to claim the ACC Coastal title once again, the Hokies need to beat the Blue Devils and build some momentum for the final five games of the season.

The last games of the Frank Spaziani era at Boston College?
Coming into 2012, Boston College coach Frank Spaziani probably needed to get to a bowl game to save his job. The Eagles still have a chance to play their way into the postseason but a 1-4 start and a difficult upcoming schedule make six wins nearly impossible. The biggest setback to this team was the 34-31 loss to Army last week. Although the Black Knights are a difficult team to prepare for, that’s a game Boston College could not afford to lose if it wants to reach a bowl. Spaziani’s overall record is just 21-23 and will be evaluated by new athletic director Brad Bates at the end of the year. Although he started out with back-to-back bowl games in his first two years, Spaziani’s team is trending in the wrong direction and is just 5-12 in its last 17 games.
 

Week 7 ACC Predictions

Week 7 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Duke at Virginia Tech VT 21-14 VT 31-28 VT 31-24 VT 27-17
UNC at Miami Miami 35-31 UNC 30-28 UNC 38-34 Miami 37-33
Maryland at Virginia Maryland 14-10 Virginia 24-23 Virginia 24-20 Maryland 17-13
Boston College at Florida State FSU 41-14 FSU 38-14 FSU 41-10 FSU 38-13
Last Week: 4-3 4-3 3-4 4-3
Season Record: 45-10 44-11 42-13 45-10


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven

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Once a kingmaker in the Big 12, Texas-Oklahoma this week almost seems to be an undercard for other matchups in the league in the coming weeks. While the Red River Rivalry is the top game in the Big 12 this week, Kansas State-West Virginia next week may do more to determine the conference champion.

In Dallas on Saturday, one team will remain in the Big 12 race while the loser will endure its second conference loss. Either Oklahoma or Texas won the Big 12 every season from 2004-10, but neither controls its own destiny as of the second week of October.

Kansas State and West Virginia, though, aren’t assured of getting to next week’s game unscathed. Both teams head on road trips (Iowa State and Texas Tech) against teams who have been known to play the role of spoiler.

Other Week 7 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 7:

What are the stakes in the Red River Rivalry?
Oklahoma and Texas started the season ranked first and second, respectively, in Athlon’s Big 12 preseason rankings, but one could be in danger of falling out of the Big 12 race with a loss in Dallas. For now, they’re both chasing West Virginia and Kansas State, who will face each other in Morgantown next week. Without the benefit of a conference championship game, two losses could be devastating. Even the winner of Texas-Oklahoma does not control its own destiny as long as West Virginia and K-State remain undefeated.

Did the Texas defense find something on which to build from last week’s loss?
No Kheeston Randall, Keenan Allen and Emmanuel Acho has made the Texas defense a shell of its former self, but the Longhorns insist there was progress last week against West Virginia. It certainly wasn’t against the run (192 rushing yards allowed) or on fourth down (5 of 5 converted). But Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said the Longhorns missed only seven tackles -- which says something about Texas being in position to make tackles against the Mountaineers. On the other side, Texas sacked Geno Smith five times. But the run defense must be better than the one that has allowed at least 170 yards in the last four games. A big help could be the potential return of starting linebacker Jordan Hicks.

Is the old Landry Jones back?
Oklahoma’s veteran starting quarterback started to look more like the  veteran signal caller we saw up until the Ryan Broyles injury last season. Jones was 25 of 40 for 259 yards with two touchdowns against Texas Tech in the 41-20 rout. Against the Red Raiders, Jones spread the ball around to seven different pass catchers and settled into a groove with shorter and intermediate passes. Jones already has a good track record against the Longhorns (55 of 89, 603 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the last two wins), and the Texas defense has looked nothing like the dominant unit we saw a year ago.

Will there be another track meet for West Virginia?
This may be the toughest stretch of West Virginia’s season. The Mountaineers answered their first Big 12 road trip to Texas, but will have to make the quick turnaround for another road trip to Lubbock, Texas, against the Red Raiders. Beyond that, a home date with Kansas State -- which could be the de facto Big 12 championship game -- is a week away. Lubbock’s not an easy place to play, even if Texas Tech’s last win as a home underdog was over Oklahoma at the end of 2009. With Seth Doege, a one-time recruit of West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, Texas Tech can put up points, and the Mountaineers have been happy to oblige opposing offenses the last two weeks.

What’s next for TCU and Casey Pachall?
After a driving while intoxicated arrest and a positive drug test in February, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall voluntarily withdrew from school to seek treatment for substance abuse. With Pachall gone, TCU likely will turn to freshman Trevone Boykin, who started last week in the loss to Iowa state. Boykin was 23 of 40 for 270 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. This week, he’ll be able to prepare as the primary quarterback, but he’s also making his first road start when the Horned Frogs visit Baylor. Sophomore Matt Brown, who backed up Pachall last season, remains in the mix as well.

Why isn’t anyone talking about John Hubert?
Bill Snyder is a great coach, and Collin Klein is a Heisman contender. Both are true, but let’s take a minute to appreciate someone else at Kansas State: Running back John Hubert is having a career year. With four touchdowns last week against Kansas alone, he matched his entire total from last season. In addition to doubling his touchdowns from last season to eight, Hubert has topped 100 yards in four of five games this year after only hitting the triple digits three times last season. This week, he’ll have an opportunity for a key matchup against Iowa State’s standout linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein.

Will Wes Lunt make his return?
It’s been nearly a month since Oklahoma State freshman quarterback Wes Lunt, named the starter in spring practice, was knocked out of the Louisiana-Lafayette game with an injury. His return could come as early as this week against Kansas, but coach Mike Gundy is playing it safe. It doesn’t hurt that backup J.W. Walsh has played well (39 of 57, 648 yards, six touchdowns, one interception, 130 rushing yards) the last two weeks.

Week 7 Big 12 Predictions

Week 7 Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Kansas St. (-7) at Iowa St. Kansas St. 28-14 Kansas St. 42-17 Kansas St. 31-24 Kansas St. 27-17
Texas vs. Oklahoma (-3) Oklahoma 35-28 Oklahoma 45-20 Texas 31-27 Oklahoma 35-31
Oklahoma St. (-24) at Kansas Oklahoma St. 48-14 Oklahoma St. 45-20 Oklahoma St. 52-17 Oklahoma St. 41-10
West Virginia (-4) at Texas Tech West Virginia 35-31 West Virginia 38-24 West Virginia 41-38 West Virginia 44-24
TCU at Baylor (-8) Baylor 28-14 Baylor 31-20 Baylor 41-31 Baylor 27-18
Last week 33-5 2-2 2-2 2-2
Overall 30-4 31-7 31-7 32-6

by David Fox

@davidfox615

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College football's week 7 slate features a handful of games with upset potential. Athlon's editors predict Boise State will fall to Fresno State, while Wisconsin will score a key victory on the road against Purdue. It's never easy predicting which upsets will happen each week, but keep an eye on these games this Saturday:

College Football's Week 7 Upset Picks

Dave Bartoo (@CFBMatrix), CFBMatrix.comOregon State Beavers +6 at BYU
When I picked this game in March in favor of the Beavers I saw this as a very clear pick as they have a significant talent and coaching advantage in the Matrix charts.  In my opinion, the Beavers should be the favorites. For those that want more details keep the following in mind: BYU has not played anyone this year near the OSU talent levels.  BYU is struggling to score against inferior teams.  Their #1 and #2 QBs are hurt or out.  Oregon State is a run first, defensive minded team.  While the loss of their starting QB takes away a dimension, it is my opinion that is the third most important one for Beaver team.  Better coaching, better talent = Week 7 Upset Alert

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Temple (+5.5) over Connecticut
I didn’t think Temple could be all that competitive in the Big East in its first season in its second stint in the league. The win over USF didn’t totally change that outlook, but I still like this matchup with Connecticut. The Huskies’ defense hasn’t been the same in the last three games since defensive end Jesse Joseph was lost for the season. UConn’s run defense has been vulnerable the last two weeks, which creates an interesting matchup against Montel Harris, who had his breakout game of the season last week. And with UConn’s sputtering offense, Temple won’t need much on offense to score the upset.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Wisconsin (+3) at Purdue
The de facto Leaders Division championship game will take place in West Lafayette this weekend (Get excited!). And a field goal point spread doesn't exactly scream upset, but Wisconsin feels like the better team. Joel Stave has stabilized the quarterback position and the ground game is starting to show signs of life behind Montee Ball. After the Boilermakers got torched on the ground by Denard Robinson last week (235 yards rushing), Danny Hope's squad faces another physical test this weekend against the thick and burly Badger warriors. I'll take UW to outscore the Steamers with a trip to Indianapolis on the line in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Fresno State (+7) at Boise State
Winning at Boise State has been nearly impossible for the visiting team. The Broncos are 76-3 at home since 2000 and have defeated Fresno State by a combined score of 108-7 in the last two meetings. The Bulldogs’ last victory in Boise came in 1984, but I think that streak ends on Saturday. Boise State had a ton of talent to replace coming into this season and has been unimpressive in wins over New Mexico and BYU. The Broncos demolished Southern Miss last week, but the Golden Eagles are a disaster right now. New coach Tim DeRuyter has brought some much-needed energy to Fresno State, and the defense has shown significant improvement since last season. The Bulldogs have two of the nation’s most underrated offensive players in quarterback Derek Carr and running back Robbie Rouse. Boise State’s defense is allowing 182.4 rushing yards per game and even though it’s a new season, this secondary was vulnerable to big plays last year. The Broncos will get better as the season goes along, but this is a very winnable game for Fresno State. I never doubt Boise State on the blue turf, but the Bulldogs are the better team right now. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Oregon State (+4) at BYU
Oregon State received a dose of bad news early this week when starting quarterback Sean Mannion was ruled out indefinitely after hurting his knee in the Beavers’ win over Washington State last week. The next man up is junior Cody Vaz, who hasn’t thrown a pass since his redshirt freshman season in 2010. With the inexperienced Vaz taking snaps, expect to see the Beavers lean on tailbacks Storm Woods and Marcus Agnew. That sounds like a solid plan … until you realize that BYU is ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run. The schedule hasn’t been too difficult, but the Cougars are only allowing 59.6 yards per game and 1.93 yards per rush through six games. Boise State (116 yards) and Weber State (115 yards) are the only two teams that have rushed for more than 100 yards on Bronco Mendenhall’s team. That won’t be the case after the Beavers take care of business in Provo this weekend. Oregon State 24, BYU 14

Mark Ross: UTSA (+3) over Rice
Pop quiz — what do Ohio State and UTSA (Texas-San Antonio) have in common? The answer is both teams are undefeated and won't be playing in a bowl game this season. Actually, the Roadrunners have a chance, albeit very slim, at going to the postseason, although they will need a lot of help to get there. Regardless, the same can't be said for the banned Buckeyes. However, there's no debate regarding which team is getting more attention, as very few college football observers are paying attention to Larry Coker's squad, which has won its first five games and has out-scored opponents 189-78. Even though they won't be a full-fledged FBS member until 2014, the Roadrunners have already beaten two FBS schools (South Alabama and New Mexico State) and still have four WAC games remaining. Before that, however, is Saturday's trip to Houston to take on Rice, a C-USA school whose only victory so far is a one-point win over a Kansas team that also has only one victory (and that came against a FCS school). The Owls are ranked 117th in the nation in total defense, 114th in scoring defense and they are coming off of a deflating 14-10 loss to Memphis last week. UTSA has done a much better job on defense (allowing less than 270 yards, 16 points per game) and has a balanced offensive attack that's averaging more than 400 yards per game. UTSA may be the new kids on the block in the FBS, but they are going to treat Rice just like Wile E. Coyote from "Looney Tunes." Meep Meep!

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Iowa State (+6.5) over Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s club has played excellent football this season, with Heisman contender Collin Klein leading the Wildcats to a perfect 5-0 start. However the Cyclones are known for upsets at Jack Trice Stadium, and KSU may be ripe for a surprise with next week’s showdown at West Virginia looming. ISU has played solid defense this season, but the challenge of stopping Klein and the K-State running attack will be a tough one. The Cyclones offense got a lift from quarterback Jared Barnett against TCU, as the sophomore threw three touchdown passes in the 37-23 victory. I’ll take Iowa State to rally around the home crowd and shock the undefeated Wildcats, 27-24.

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The Big East favorites are well established with Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers are vying for the top spot.

The middle of the league is a different story. Syracuse’s 14-13 upset of Pittsburgh last week and Temple’s 37-28 upset of USF shook up the Big East’s second tier. This week may establish more clarity.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse take on two of the league favorites in Louisville and Rutgers, respectively. Meanwhile, Temple, picked to finish last in the preseason, will try to open its conference schedule at 2-0 when it faces struggling Connecticut.

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Big East’s top Storylines to Watch in Week 7:

Will Louisville’s struggling pass rush thrive against Pittsburgh

Facing Pittsburgh the last two seasons has proven to be a boon for opposing pass rushers, most recently Syracuse with five sacks last week. The Cardinals have the same amount all season, and no one on Louisville’s defense has multiple sacks. Defensive end Marcus Smith, who led the team with 5.5 sacks last season, has yet to get to the quarterback so far this season. Beyond the pass rush, the Cardinals haven’t been spectacular in the “big play” department. Louisville has intercepted only two passes all season, second-fewest in the Big East. As teams like Rutgers and Cincinnati continue to show improvement, Louisville will look to prove it can keep pace.

Which Pittsburgh will show up against Louisville?
Pittsburgh’s defense held up on its end of the field in the loss to Syracuse last week, shutting out the Orange after the final three quarters. Pitt also held Syracuse to 305 total yards and 4.8 yards per play, both season lows for Pitt against FBS competition. The offense, though, regressed, giving up five sacks and allowing a fumble to be returned to a touchdown. Most mystifying was a lack of production from the run game against Syracuse. In short, Pitt looked nothing like the team that picked up back-to-back wins entering the Syracuse game. Which Panthers team will face Louisville, a team the Panthers have defeated in each of the last four years?

Can Syracuse muster anything against the Rutgers defense?
The Rutgers defense enters its game against Syracuse allowing only 303 rushing yards all season. The Orange rushing game has been nothing special this season, putting more on the shoulders of quarterback Ryan Nassib. That could be problematic against Rutgers. Against the pass, the Scarlet Knights has been just as stifling, with nine interceptions in the last three games. After topping 450 yards in the first three games, Syracuse has had 350 yards or fewer in the last two against Minnesota and Pitt.

How long will Rutgers’ turnover fortune last?
The answer is possibly for quite a while. Rutgers is plus-nine in turnover margin the last three games against USF, Arkansas and Connecticut to lead the Big East in that category. The Scarlet Knights’ 11 takeaways in just the last three weeks is more than six Big East teams all season. This week’s opponent, Syracuse, has forced only five turnovers all year.

Can the hot streak continue for Montel Harris or will the Connecticut run defense reassert itself?
Montel Harris, who was injured for most of the first two games of the season, enjoyed his best game in a Temple uniform last week against USF. The Boston College transfer rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns as Matt Brown was sidelined for part of the game with an injury (he’s still day-to-day). Harris will try to build off that performance against UConn to give Temple a 2-0 start in its return to the Big East. The Huskies started the season as one of the best against the run, but the last two weeks broke a streak of teams rushing for fewer than 100 yards. Buffalo rushed for 141, and Rutgers rushed for 123. For the second consecutive week, the UConn front seven will be in a matchup of strength vs. strength.

Week 7 Big East Predictions:

Week 7 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Louisville at Pittsburgh Pitt 24-21 Lousville 30-24 Louisville 27-20 Louisville 27-23
Syracuse at Rutgers Rutgers 27-14 Rutgers 27-13 Rutgers 30-17 Rutgers 24-10
Temple at UConn Temple 14-10 UConn 20-17 UConn 24-20 UConn 17-10
Fordham at Cincinnati Cincinnati 56-10 Cincinnati 41-17 Cincinnati 41-6 Cincinnati 47-7
Last week 3-1 2-2 2-2 2-2
Overall 25-10 24-11 22-13 23-12

by David Fox

@DavidFox615

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The South Carolina-LSU showdown in Baton Rouge might be the biggest game in the SEC in Week 7, but Tennessee's visit to Starkville to battle Mississippi State might be the most intriguing game of the weekend. The Vols desperately need a big win to take heat off of head coach Derek Dooley, while the undefeated Bulldogs are looking to prove themselves against a qaulity opponent. 

Other Week 7 Previews and Predictions

ACC Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 

Week 7 SEC Storylines and Predictions

1. Can Tennessee take some pressure off its coach and win a big game?
It’s not an overstatement to say this is the most important game in Derek Dooley’s tenure at Tennessee. With Alabama and South Carolina looming, the Vols, who have lost nine of their last 10 SEC games, simply cannot afford to lose in Starkville. Tennessee showed signs of being balanced offensively in its loss at Georgia two weeks ago. The Volunteers rushed for 197 yards vs. Georgia, their best effort in an SEC game since running for 226 yards vs. Kentucky in November 2009. If the Vols can complement their potent passing attack with an adequate running game, they should be in position to win in Starkville. Mississippi State is playing well and deserves its national ranking, but the Bulldogs have not played a difficult schedule. They have faced Jackson State, Troy and South Alabama in non-conference action, and Kentucky and Auburn — two of the worst teams in the SEC — in league play. Tennessee will be by far the best offensive team Mississippi State has faced.

2. Can Texas A&M pass another road test?
The Aggies made a big statement last week by rallying from 10 points down midway through the fourth quarter to beat Ole Miss 30–27. Beating the Rebels, even in Oxford, isn’t necessarily cause for celebration, but Texas A&M showed the type of resolve and mental toughness that this program has lacked in recent years. Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel bounced back from his first two interceptions of the season to lead A&M on two fourth quarter touchdown drives. Now, the Aggies step out of conference, but the quality of opponent will be better. Louisiana Tech, nationally ranked in both polls after a 5–0 start, has scored 44 points or more in every game and is averaging 523.4 yards. The Bulldogs, however, have struggled on the defensive end. Texas A&M has the weapons to outscore Louisiana Tech. The Aggies also have the leadership both at quarterback and with the head coach — something that wasn’t always the case in recent years. 

3. Can Auburn generate some offense in Oxford?
After scoring a total of 20 points in its first two SEC games — losses to Mississippi State and LSU — Auburn’s offense was hoping to flex its muscles against an Arkansas defense that had given up 34 points or more in each of its last four games. Didn’t happen. The Tigers scored seven points, had 321 total yards and were sacked eight times in a demoralizing 24–7 loss at home. Starting quarterback Kiehl Frazier was benched at halftime in favor of Clint Moselely. Auburn coach Gene Chizik had not named a starter of Wednesday but did say earlier in the week that his team needs to make a concerted effort to run the ball better. In the loss to Arkansas, no Auburn tailback had more than seven carries. This week, the Tigers head to Oxford to face an Ole Miss defense that is vastly improved statistically from a year ago but is still a unit that will give up some yards. In three games vs. AQ conference opponents, the Rebels are allowing 43.0 points and 487.3 yards.

4. Will Missouri hit the 200-yard mark vs. Alabama?
Missouri picked up 395 yards in a loss at home to Vanderbilt last week, but the Tigers struggled to move the ball after James Franklin was sidelined by a knee injury (that will keep him out for at least one more week). Mizzou averaged 9.5 yards per play in the two drives with Franklin in the game and 4.2 yards for the final three-plus quarters after Corbin Berkstresser took over. This week, the Tigers will face an Alabama defense loaded with future pros at every level. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in total defense, only allowing 191.6 yards per game and 3.3 yards per play. Good luck, Mizzou.

5. Is there something that Alabama doesn’t do well?
Alabama is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, and it’s easy to see why by looking at the stats. The Crimson Tide lead the nation in total defense and scoring defense; they’ve scored 33 points in every game and allowed 14 points or fewer in every game; they lead the nation in turnover margin (plus-2.40 per game); and they’re solid in all special teams categories. Offensively, their yardage numbers don’t jump out initially — they rank 68th in the nation in total offense with 401.0 yards per game — but keep in mind that it’s often difficult to post up big yardage totals when you force so many turnovers (and work with short fields). They rank 79th nationally in passing offense (212.8 ypg), but they don’t have to pass much because they are so often nursing a big lead, and when they do pass, they do so efficiently (fourth in the nation in passing efficiency). This is a team that is clearly capable of winning another national title.

6. Can Florida keep its focus?
Florida’s trip to Nashville is sandwiched between two of the Gators’ biggest games of the season — last week vs. LSU (a win) and next week’s home date with South Carolina. Will Muschamp’s task this week is simple: Keep his team focused on Vanderbilt. The Gators are clearly the more talented team, but Vanderbilt is good enough to make Florida sweat. Last year, the Commodores rallied from 17–0 in the first half to cut the lead to 20–14 (with the ball) in the fourth quarter before losing 26–21 in the Swamp. Expect Florida to lean on tailback Mike Gillislee. Vanderbilt ranks 33rd nationally in total defense but has struggled to stop the run against the better teams on its schedule.

7. Can Ole Miss break through with an SEC victory?
They are still looking for their first SEC win of the season, but the Ole Miss Rebels are clearly an improved team under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. Through six games, Ole Miss ranks 42nd in the nation in total offense and 56th in total defense; last year, through six games, the Rebs ranked 117th and 106th. Rebel fans are no doubt pleased with their team’s statistical improvement, but they also would like to see some SEC wins — or at least one win. It could happen this week with struggling Auburn in town. The Tigers are 1–4 overall with the lone win coming in overtime against ULM. They rank 12th in the SEC in total defense and last in total offense and are last in the nation in turnover ratio at minus-2.20 per game.

8. Can South Carolina run on LSU?
LSU’s defense has been among the finest in the nation statistically through the first half of the 2012 season. The Tigers rank third nationally in total defense (221.0 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (33.5 ppg). But LSU has struggled to stop the run the last two weeks, giving up 188 yards on 40 carries to Towson and 176 on 58 carries to Florida. That brings us to South Carolina and its star tailback Marcus Lattimore. The junior leads the SEC in conference games in both rushing (106.0 ypg) and rushing touchdowns (seven). The Gamecocks will need Lattimore to be at his best to win in Baton Rouge — something that has happened only once (in 1994) in South Carolina’s 11 trips to Tiger Stadium.

9. Can the LSU offense score more than a touchdown vs. an SEC foe?
Only one team nationally that has played more than one conference game has only scored one TD in league play. That team is LSU. The Tigers have scored a total of 18 points in two SEC games, 12 in a win at Auburn and six in a loss at Florida. Zach Mettenberger was expected to upgrade the passing attack in his first season as the starter, but LSU ranks 98th in the nation in passing offense and has had trouble throwing the ball down the field with consistency. The bigger concern, however, was the Tigers’ struggles in the running game in the loss at Florida. In the past few years, Les Miles could always count on his cadre of tailback to produce, even when his team’s quarterbacks were struggling. But on Saturday, LSU’s three top running backs combined to rush for 51 yards on 17 carries. The Tigers cannot compete for an SEC title with that type of production in the running game.

10. Can Arkansas win two games in a row?
Arkansas finally broke through with its first win vs. an FBS opponent, rolling past Auburn 24–7 with surprising ease. The Arkansas defense, which had been atrocious through its first five games, limited Auburn to 321 total yards and sacked the two Tiger quarterbacks a combined eight times. Now, the Hogs have a great opportunity to win their second straight game with a wounded (both physically and mentally) Kentucky team visiting Fayetteville. The Wildcats dropped to 1–5 with a 27–14 loss at home to Mississippi State last week. Kentucky’s best two quarterbacks, Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles, are out with injuries, leaving true freshman Jalen Whitlow and senior Morgan Newton as the only two options for Joker Phillips. Arkansas is favored by 17 points — a big number for a team with only two wins — but don’t be surprised if the Hogs cover with ease.
 

  David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light

Auburn (+6) at Ole Miss

Ole Miss 21-17 Ole Miss 31-24

Ole Miss 27-24

Ole Miss 27-20

Alabama (-21.5) at Missouri         

Alabama 48-10 Alabama 34-14 Alabama 45-7 Alabama 30-10

Florida (-8) at Vanderbilt         

Florida 28-10 Florida 27-21 Florida 27-13 Florida 24-14

Kentucky (+16) at Arkansas         

Arkansas 24-14 Arkansas 30-20

Arkansas 41-17

Arkansas 38-17

South Carolina (+2.5) at LSU         

South Carolina 17-14 LSU 20-17

South Carolina 20-17

South Carolina 17-13

Tennessee (+3) at Mississippi St.         

Mississippi State 24-21 Tennessee 30-24

Mississippi State 27-24

Tennessee 30-24

Texas A&M (-8) at Louisiana Tech

Texas A&M 35-28 Texas A&M 38-34

Texas A&M 38-34

Texas A&M 44-37
Last week: 3-3 2-4 2-4 2-4
Season:  46-11 48-9 48-9 27-10

Teaser:
<p> The South Carolina-LSU showdown in Baton Rouge might be the biggest game in the SEC in Week 7, but Tennessee's visit to Starkville to battle Mississippi State might be the most intriguing game of the weekend. The Vols desperately need a big win to take heat off of head coach Derek Dooley, while the Bulldogs are looking to prove themselves against a qaulity opponent.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Start or Sit

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Note: Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Matt Ryan ATL vs. OAK Ryan: 13 TDs, 3 INTs; Oakland pass D: 9 TDs, 0 INTs.
2 Aaron Rodgers GB at HOU Texans No. 6 vs. pass (6 TD passes, 7 INTs).
3 Eli Manning NYG at SF Put up 316-2-0 vs. 49ers in last season's NFC title game.
4 Peyton Manning DEN at SD (Mon.) Averaging 338 yds (8 TDs, 0 INTs) over last three games.
5 Tom Brady NE at SEA Hawks have already held Rodgers and Romo in check. Brady next?
6 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Titans have allowed 12 TD passes, have just 3 INTs.
7 Matthew Stafford DET at PHI Has 3 TDs, 4 INTs so far, compared to 11, 3 in 2011.
8 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. MIN Cleared to practice (concussion), but monitor status closely.
9 Philip Rivers SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Put up first 300-yard game (354-2-1) last week vs. Saints.
10 Michael Vick PHI vs. DET Turnovers hurting team, his fantasy production.
11 Tony Romo DAL at BAL Had bye week to put 5-INT Week 4 debacle behind him, hopefully.
12 Andrew Luck IND at NYJ Rookie came up big (362-2-1, rush TD) in comeback win vs. Packers.
13 Joe Flacco BAL vs. DAL Owners hope last week (187-0-1) vs. Chiefs is just a fluke.
14 Matt Schaub HOU vs. GB Not very sharp (14-of-28, 209-1-1) vs. Jets on MNF.
15 Andy Dalton CIN at CLE Went for 318-3-1 in Week 2 vs. Browns.
16 Christian Ponder MIN at WAS Threw first two picks of season vs. Titans, 'Skins last in pass D.
17 Carson Palmer OAK at ATL Falcons have been stronger against pass than run so far.
18 Alex Smith SF vs. NYG Leads NFL in passer rating (108.7), put up 303-3 vs. Bills.
19 Kevin Kolb ARI vs. BUF Bills allowing 29.0 fantasy points per game to QBs.
20 Josh Freeman TB vs. KC Looking to get off to strong start coming off of bye.
21 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at ARI Struggled (126-0-1) vs. 49ers, Cardinals shouldn't be as tough.
22 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. CIN Had best game so far (322-2-0) vs. Bengals in Week 2.
23 Sam Bradford STL at MIA Looking for new top target with Amendola sidelined for a while.
24 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Hasn't been very sharp (393 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) since taking over.
25 Ryan Tannehill MIA vs. STL Has 2 TDs, 6 INTs so far. Rams have allowed 2 TDs w/ 8 INTs.
26 Russell Wilson SEA vs. NE Could be in for another long afternoon against Pats pressure.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:29
All taxonomy terms: Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, College Basketball
Path: /college-football/college-basketball-countdown-no-3-kentucky-preview
Body:
Visit the online store for Kentucky and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals have arrived on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 3 Kentucky.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: John Calipari’s Kentucky team will be among the most talented in the country, but the big question is whether the Wildcats are too young to go all the way. That storyline is recycling for a fourth straight season — with one twist. Last year’s team closed the deal, bringing Calipari his first NCAA title.

Only one contributor from that team returns, but the Cats have reloaded with yet another top-ranked recruiting class. Calipari’s had four of those and 15 NBA Draft picks since coming to Lexington in 2009. Rinse, repeat. But repeat?

“I wish it was the ‘70s and ‘80s where I had guys for four years, because it would get kind of scary,” Calipari says. Still, “to start over every year, I’m going to be honest, it’s exciting.”

FRONTCOURT
The Wildcats must replace Anthony Davis, who just polished off one of the most impressive runs in history — National Player of the Year, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, national champion, No. 1 NBA pick and Olympic champion — as well as first-round pick Terrence Jones. That’s a tall task, but Calipari took his best shot.

In comes the nation’s No. 1 recruit, 6-10 Nerlens Noel, said to be a better shot-blocker than Davis, who set an NCAA freshman record for swats. Calipari also landed 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who is athletic enough that he played wide receiver in high school.

“I’m just blown away by him,” Calipari says. “I knew he was good when I (recruited) him, but he … just blossoms and blossoms.”

So much so that Calipari is already talking about using some “Twin Towers” looks with both Cauley-Stein and Noel on the floor together. Other times, he’ll use his top returning player, 6-9 sophomore power forward Kyle Wiltjer, who also happens to be the team’s sharpest 3-point shooter.

Oh, and then there’s small forward Alex Poythress, merely a McDonald’s All-American who Calipari calls “a beast” and is already a projected top-10 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

BACKCOURT
Swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went No. 2 overall in the draft, point guard Marquis Teague was a late first-rounder and shooting guards Darius Miller and Doron Lamb were both second-round selections. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Replacing four pros in the backcourt is a tall …

Calipari brought in McDonald’s All-American Archie Goodwin for scoring, Wright State transfer Julius Mays for depth, and finally has a non-freshman point guard in Ryan Harrow. The last five guys to run Calipari’s offense were one-and-dones. Harrow, a transfer from NC State who sat out last season at UK and has three years of eligibility left, will be an interesting change.

“I’m happy because I have a feel for Ryan,” Calipari says. “He’s different than all the other point guards I had. How does he compare? Well how did Marquis compare to those guys? They were really good; he’s really good.”

While slight of stature, Harrow is quick, can jump out of the gym and “may be a little bit more of a shooter like Brandon (Knight) was,” Calipari says.

Goodwin impressed all summer and will start from Day 1, while Mays, a senior who began his career at NC State and led Wright State in scoring, assists and steals last season, offers not only a versatile backup but also a veteran presence. Other possible contributors are Twany Beckham and 6-7 Jon Hood.

FINAL ANALYSIS
Kentucky, with three straight Elite Eights, back-to-back Final Fours and a national title, is enjoying its finest stretch since reaching three consecutive NCAA title games — winning twice — from 1996-98. Calipari is the king of reloading, but is repeating a fair expectation?

Since UCLA won seven in a row from 1967-73, only Duke (1991-92) and Florida (2006-07) have won back-to-back championships. But Calipari says: “I can tell you I like my team,” which he’s said at the start of the last three seasons, and those turned out pretty well.

The guys who just helped UK win it all and have been back to watch the Cats work out this summer seem to think the next group will make another run.

“I’m really impressed,” Miller says. “They’re going to have a really good team and everybody’s going to enjoy watching them.”

Says Lamb: “I think they’re going to have a great team to win it all this year.”

Rinse, repeat.

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

4. Kansas

Teaser:
<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 3 Kentucky Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:28
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU vs. GB No. 2 rusher coming off of 152-yard effort at Jets on MNF.
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. DAL Dallas No. 4 defense overall, but No. 15 against rush.
3 Jamaal Charles KC at TB League's leading rusher faces off against No. 4 rush defense.
4 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. DET No. 6 in yards from scrimmage, only 2 total TDs so far.
5 Adrian Peterson MIN at WAS Said he tweaked ankle on first carry last week, still had 84 yds.
6 Trent Richardson CLE vs. CIN Rookie had best game (109 yds) vs. Bengals in Week 2.
7 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. NE Will need to carry load against Patriots.
8 Ryan Mathews SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Last week (139 total yds, TD) sign of things to come?
9 Darren McFadden OAK at ATL Coming off of bye gets No. 27-ranked rush defense.
10 Frank Gore SF vs. NYG Averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
11 Reggie Bush MIA vs. STL Averaging less than 60 ypg since 172-yard effort in Week 2.
12 Alfred Morris WAS vs. MIN Rookie currently No. 4 rusher in league.
13 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Looked good in season debut last week.
14 DeMarco Murray DAL at BAL Did Cowboys fix run game issues during bye week?
15 Michael Turner ATL vs. OAK Averaging 14.6 rush attempts per game.
16 Willis McGahee DEN at SD (Mon.) Chargers No. 5 against run (74 ypg).
17 Doug Martin TB vs. KC Breakout game coming vs. Chiefs?
18 Stevan Ridley NE at SEA Leads all RBs with 37 first downs.
19 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at SF Don't expect another 200 yards vs. 49ers.
20 Mikel Leshoure DET at PHI  
21 Steven Jackson STL at MIA Dolphins No. 1 against rush (61.4 ypg).
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at CLE Had 26 carries in Week 4, only 9 last week.
23 Chris Johnson TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Past time for Titans' highest-paid player to provide spark.
24 C.J. Spiller BUF at ARI Only 24 yards last week, should get more touches this week.
25 Fred Jackson BUF at ARI Timeshare, Spiller's versatility impact FJax' touches/impact.
26 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. IND Still getting bulk of carries, but for how long?
27 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI vs. BUF Missed last two games b/c of hip, expected to play Sunday.
28 Alex Green GB at HOU Starks expected to play, but Green will get chances too.
29 Vick Ballard IND at NYJ Colts' starter with D. Brown out 2-3 weeks (knee surgery).
30 Jackie Battle SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Took backseat (4 att.) to Mathews last week vs. Saints.
31 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL vs. OAK  
32 William Powell ARI vs. BUF Will share load with Stephens-Howling in new Cards' backfield.
33 Kendall Hunter SF vs. NYG  
34 James Starks GB at HOU Expected to make season debut after missing first 5 games.
35 Isaac Redman PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Mendenhall's the starter, but he should get some carries too.
36 Brandon Bolden NE at SEA His role will depend on Ridley's production/ball security.
37 Ben Tate HOU vs. GB Missed MNF b/c of toe, should be back this week.
38 David Wilson NYG at SF Scored on 40-yard burst last week = more carries this week?
39 Shaun Draughn KC at TB  
40 Danny Woodhead NE at SEA Pats preferred back when they go no-huddle.
41 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. STL Suffered possible 2nd concussion last week, monitor status.
42 Daryl Richardson STL at MIA His role depends solely on SJax' health.
43 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. IND Has gotten some chances, yet to capitalize on them.
44 Ronnie Hillman DEN at SD (Mon.)  
45 Toby Gerhart MIN at WAS  
46 LeGarrette Blount TB vs. KC Got goal line-work in Week 4.
47 Robert Turbin SEA vs. NE  
48 Delone Carter IND at NYJ Expected to spell Ballard in Colts' backfield.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:20
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET at PHI Has 29 catches, but only 1 TD in first four games.
2 A.J. Green CIN at CLE Browns allowing second-most fantasy points to WRs.
3 Percy Harvin MIN at WAS Harvin getting opportunities as WR, RB and KR.
4 Roddy White ATL vs. OAK Trails only teammate Gonzalez in first downs (27).
5 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. BUF Bills have given up 1,201 yds and 97 pts in last two games.
6 Victor Cruz NYG at SF Only 5 catches last week, but 3 went for TDs.
7 Mike Wallace PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Titans are 25th against pass.
8 Julio Jones ATL vs. OAK Shook off hand injury, put up 10-94-1 vs. Skins.
9 Demaryius Thomas DEN at SD (Mon.) Second only to Harvin in YAC with 214 yards.
10 Reggie Wayne IND at NYJ Coming off of career-best 212-yard game vs. Packers.
11 Dwayne Bowe KC at TB Bucs are last in NFL in pass defense (345 ypg).
12 Miles Austin DAL at BAL Ravens have only allowed 2 TD catches to WRs.
13 Andre Johnson HOU vs. GB Eight catches in Week 1, only 9 since.
14 Wes Welker NE at SEA Had career-best nine receptions in first half vs. Broncos.
15 Antonio Brown PIT at TEN (Thurs.)  
16 Jordy Nelson GB at HOU Has 23 catches, but only 1 TD so far.
17 Vincent Jackson TB vs. KC  
18 Dez Bryant DAL at BAL Still looking for first TD of season.
19 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. DET  
20 Stevie Johnson BUF at ARI  
21 Brandon Lloyd NE at SEA Had quiet game (3, 34) vs. Broncos.
22 Torrey Smith BAL vs. DAL Cowboys have allowed fewest catches, yards to WRs.
23 Malcom Floyd SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Averaging nearly 18 yards per catch.
24 Eric Decker DEN at SD (Mon.)  
25 Brian Hartline MIA vs. STL Still leading league in receiving yards with 514.
26 Michael Crabtree SF vs. NYG Big game (6-113-1) vs. Bills.
27 Denarius Moore OAK at ATL  
28 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. MIN Hasn't been same since injuring foot in Week 1.
29 James Jones GB at HOU Caught 2 TDs vs. Colts.
30 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. DAL Led team in receiving past two games.
31 Andre Roberts ARI vs. BUF  
32 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. DET  
33 Hakeem Nicks NYG at SF Will be (finally) be able to go?
34 Andrew Hawkins CIN at CLE  
35 Kenny Britt TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Played last week, but severely limited by ankle.
36 Brandon Gibson STL at MIA Needs to step up with Amendola sidelined.
37 Nate Washington TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Has disappeared since Hasselbeck replaced Locker.
38 Greg Jennings GB at HOU Still not practicing, very questionable for Sunday.
39 Randall Cobb GB at HOU  
40 Kendall Wright TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Quickly becoming Titans' top target.
41 Nate Burleson DET at PHI  
42 Domenik Hixon NYG at SF Impact dependent upon Nicks' status.
43 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. IND Was Jets' top receiver last week.
44 Titus Young DET at PHI  
45 Robert Meachem SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Finally showed signs of life (3-67-2) last week.
46 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at ATL Expected to return (concussion) this week.
47 Rueben Randle NYG at SF Had his best game (6-82) last week vs. Browns.
48 Davone Bess MIA vs. STL Rams tied w/ Ravens for fewest TD catches (2) allowed.
49 Sidney Rice SEA vs. NE  
50 Mario Manningham SF vs. NYG Big game coming against former team?
51 Donnie Avery IND at NYJ  
52 Golden Tate SEA vs. NE  
53 Jerome Simpson MIN at WAS Dealing with back issue, but expected to play Sunday.
54 Josh Gordon CLE vs. CIN Caught first two career TDs last week.
55 Leonard Hankerson WAS vs. MIN  
56 Kevin Ogletree DAL at BAL  
57 Mike Williams TB vs. KC Averaging nearly 20 yards per catch.
58 Greg Little CLE vs. CIN Still having problems with dropped passes.
59 Donald Jones BUF at ARI  
60 T.Y. Hilton IND at NYJ  
61 Kevin Walter HOU vs. GB  
62 Santana Moss WAS vs. MIN Caught 77-yard TD pass from Cousins last week.
63 Brandon Stokley DEN at SD (Mon.)  
64 Chaz Schilens NYJ vs. IND

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:17
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. OAK Has 14 more receptions than any other TE.
2 Vernon Davis SF vs. NYG Posted 8th career 100-yard game (5-106) last week.
3 Rob Gronkowski NE at SEA Has better stats compared to first 5 G of '11, except for TDs (3 vs. 5).
4 Kyle Rudolph MIN at WAS Tied for first among TEs with 4 TDs.
5 Owen Daniels HOU vs. GB Leading Texans in rec., yards and TD catches.
6 Brent Celek PHI vs. DET Leads TEs with 15.4 ypc.
7 Heath Miller PIT at TEN (Thurs.) Titans have allowed 7 TDs to opposing TEs.
8 Jason Witten DAL at BAL Is he back? 13-112-1 vs. Bears in Week 4.
9 Fred Davis WAS vs. MIN Vikings allowing sixth-most fantasy points to TEs.
10 Brandon Pettigrew DET at PHI Tied with Gronk for third-most catches by TE.
11 Antonio Gates SD vs. DEN (Mon.) Looking to shake slow start (13-143-0) vs. familiar foe.
12 Jared Cook TEN vs. PIT (Thurs.) Team says they want to involve Cook more in the offense.
13 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. DAL Had 18 catches in first three games, only three total since.
14 Aaron Hernandez NE at SEA Returned to practice, could play on Sunday.
15 Martellus Bennett NYG at SF Injured left knee last week, but stayed in game.
16 Jermichael Finley GB at HOU Injured shoulder last week, monitor status.
17 Scott Chandler BUF at ARI  
18 Jacob Tamme DEN at SD (Mon.) Had 10 catches in first three games, 11 in last two.
19 Jermaine Gresham CIN at CLE  
20 Coby Fleener IND at NYJ  
21 Brandon Myers OAK at ATL  
22 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. IND Expected to be on field for first time since Week 1.
23 Joel Dreessen DEN at SD (Mon.)  
24 Lance Kendricks STL at MIA Caught first career TD pass last week.
25 Anthony Fasano MIA vs. STL  
26 Zach Miller SEA vs. NE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:16
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Arizona Cardinals vs. BUF Bills had just 204 yards, 3 pts last week vs. 49ers.
2 Pittsburgh Steelers at TEN (Thurs.) Quick turnaround, but Titans struggling on offense.
3 Baltimore Ravens vs. DAL Ravens ranked 26th on D, but Cowboys are 24th on O.
4 San Francisco 49ers vs. NYG 49ers looking to slow down Eli, Bradshaw.
5 Houston Texans vs. GB Tough test for Texans' first game w/o Cushing at MLB.
6 Miami Dolphins vs. STL Dolphins No. 1 against run, Rams' passing attack is 30th.
7 Atlanta Falcons vs. OAK Key will be 27th-ranked rush D vs. McFadden
8 Minnesota Vikings at WAS Looking like RGIII will play, can Vikes get to him?
9 Seattle Seahawks vs. NE Already held GB and Dallas in check at home, NE next?
10 St. Louis Rams at MIA Rams rush D will be tested against Reggie and co.
11 Philadelphia Eagles vs. DET Eagles looking to slow down Stafford, CJ.
12 New England Patriots at SEA Pats need to contain Lynch, make Wilson beat them.
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. KC No. 4 rush defense vs. No. 1 rusher (Jamaal Charles).
14 Dallas Cowboys at BAL Cowboys No. 4 in total defense, No. 1 vs. pass.
15 Cincinnati Bengals at CLE Gave up 375 yards, 27 pts to Browns in Week 2 win.
16 Green Bay Packers at HOU Packers need to slow down Texans' running game.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:14
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-6
Body:

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

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF vs. NYG
2 Matt Bryant ATL vs. OAK
3 Greg Zuerlein STL at MIA
4 Stephen Gostkowski NE at SEA
5 Blair Walsh MIN at WAS
6 Lawrence Tynes NYG at SF
7 Justin Tucker BAL vs. DAL
8 Jason Hanson DET at PHI
9 Shayne Graham HOU vs. GB
10 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at ATL
11 Mason Crosby GB at HOU
12 Alex Henery PHI vs. DET
13 Matt Prater DEN at SD (Mon.)
14 Phil Dawson CLE vs. CIN
15 Nick Novak SD vs. DEN (Mon.)
16 Mike Nugent CIN at CLE

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:11
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-7-emergency-starters
Body:

This list was originally designed to assist fantasy owners with injury-riddled rosters, bye-week dilemmas, and unfavorable matchups, but the Emergency Starters has evolved into our Waiver Wire 2.0.  Over the past six weeks, many players listed in our Emergency Starters earned spots in our Waiver Wire report the following week, so don’t underestimate their long-term value. 

We appreciate the commitment that Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports has made to contribute to this valuable piece.

Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)

Quarterback

Trevone Boykin, TCU at Baylor

Devin Combs, Nevada vs UNLV

Shane Carden, ECU vs Memphis

Munchie Legaux, CIN vs Fordham

Ryan Katz, San Diego St vs Colorado St

 

Running Backs

Ben Malena, Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Montel Harris, Temple at UConn

Jeff Scott, Ole Miss vs Auburn

Carlos Hyde, Ohio St at Indiana

Evans Okatcha, UTSA vs Rice

Dennis Johnson, Arkansas vs Kentucky
                

Receivers

Josh Stewart, Oklahoma St at Kansas

Jeremy Johnson, SMU at Tulane

Corey Fuller, Virginia Tech vs Duke

Jordan Leslie, UTEP at Tulsa
 

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to[email protected]
 

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)

Quarterback

Munchie Legaux, Cincinnati vs Fordham

Eric Soza, UTSA at Rice

JW Walsh, Oklahoma St at Kansas
 

Running Backs

Kasey Carrier, New Mexico at Hawaii

Carlos Hyde, Ohio St at Indiana

Jeff Scott, Ole Miss vs Auburn
 

Receivers

Quinshad Davis, North Carolina at Miami

Mike Evans, Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Brent Leonard, UL-Monroe vs FAU

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 7 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 04:18
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-7-sit-or-start-report
Body:

As the season starts to make the turn towards the home stretch, many fantasy owners are facing a crucial Week 7 with fantasy studs Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Todd Gurley occupying bench spots.  Truth be told, this is why we love the college fantasy game.  Utilizing the waiver wire and analyzing weekly matchups is critical to your success.  We just try to help you eliminate some of the guess work.  Good luck!

Start

Bryn Renner, QB-North Carolina at Miami

The Vegas total in the game between the ‘Heels and the ‘Canes is set at 69.  If that total holds true, Renner should reward fantasy owners for starting him in Week 7.

Seth Doege, QB-Texas Tech vs West Virginia

Doege is a must-start this week as the Red Raiders will have to keep pace with the high-powered West Virginia offense in Lubbock.

Adam Muema, RB-San Diego St vs Colorado St

Muema has scored a touchdown in every game this season and should perform well against a Colorado State defense that gives up over 215 rushing yards per game.

Dennis Johnson, RB-Arkansas vs Kentucky

Johnson rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns last week against Auburn and may have taken over the lead role at running back in the Hogs’ offense. 

Jyruss Edwards, RB-UL-Monroe vs Florida Atlantic

Edwards has scored at least one touchdown in four of the Warhawks’ five games this season and faces a Florida Atlantic defense ranked 109th against the run.

Zurlon Tipton, RB-Central Michigan vs Navy

Tipton has scored a touchdown in four of his five starts this season, but hasn’t run for 100 yards since the opening week of the season.  Look for the junior running back to top the 100-yard mark against a Navy defense that gives up over 190 yards rushing per game.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington vs USC

Sankey surprised us two weeks ago when he ran for 144 yards against Stanford in a nationally televised Thursday night game.  The sophomore from Spokane has topped 100 yards in three consecutive games and has scored five touchdowns in that span.

Brandon Carter and Josh Boyce, WRs-TCU at Baylor

Quarterback Trevone Boykin has had a full week to prepare for this game and the Horned Frogs will face the nation’s worst pass defense.

JD McKissic, WR-Arkansas St vs South Alabama

McKissic has passed Josh Jarboe as Ryan Aplin’s favorite target and leads the Red Wolves in receptions (39) and receiving yards (460).

Mike Evans and Ryan Swope, WRs-Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

The Vegas total in the game between the Aggies and Bulldogs has reached 80, so start Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s top two receivers against the nation’s second-worst pass defense.

Phillip Dorsett, WR-Miami vs North Carolina

Dorsett had some critical drops last week when the Hurricanes visited South Bend.  Look for the sophomore receiver to bounce back in a contest that should produce a ton of points.
 

Bench

Landry Jones, QB-Oklahoma vs Texas

Jones has not thrown for more than 300 yards in any game this year, a feat he achieved eight times last season.  Additionally, he has not thrown more than two touchdown passes in a single game since the Sooners’ eighth game of the 2011 season.

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri vs Alabama

Lawrence has been the best fantasy option on the Tigers’ roster this season, but starting him against Alabama is like giving points to your opponent. 

Zac Stacy, RB-Vanderbilt vs Florida

Stacy failed to reach the 100-yard mark last week against Missouri (72 rushing yards), but he was able to cross the goal line a couple of times.  We’re not so sure that fantasy owners will get that much out of the senior tailback this Saturday against a stingy Florida defense.

Andre Williams, RB-Boston College at Florida St

If the Eagles weren’t playing at Florida State this week, Williams would have made our Waiver Wire list (;).  Owners must sit Williams against the ‘Noles, but if you have room on your roster, he could be valuable next week against Georgia Tech.

Knile Davis, RB-Arkansas vs Kentucky

We had lofty expectations in the preseason for Davis, but it seems he has taken a backseat to Dennis Johnson and his playing time will be significantly reduced.

Chris Nwoke, RB-Colorado St at San Diego St

Nwoke turned in his best performance of the season last week against Fresno State, rushing for 68 yards on 16 carries.  However, fantasy owners must temper their expectations for the junior running back this week because the Rams are ranked 118th in the nation in rushing yards and 117th in points scored.

Rashad Greene, WR-Florida St vs Boston College

Last week, Green caught a season-high six passes for 60 yards against North Carolina State.  However, the sophomore receiver has been too inconsistent for fantasy owners this year, averaging three receptions and 40 yards per game.


by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to:  [email protected]

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 7 Sit or Start Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 03:41
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-30
Body:

Do NASCAR fans want to see wrecks? Were they thrilled by the wild action on the last lap at Talladega or was it the 25-car pileup that made the finish more exciting?

Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated what they thought about the final lap at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s comments about the racing and the big wreck and much more. Here’s what they said:


How would you describe the final lap of Sunday’s race at Talladega?

71.6 percent said Terrible
28.4 percent said Fantastic

What Fan Council members said:
• Fantastically terrible. Everyone walked away OK, so yeah, if I'm being honest: Fantastic.

• NASCAR should be held liable for the next death during a restrictor-plate race.

• There's no excuse in this day and age and with the technology available to us that such an all-encompassing wreck would still occur. It's a minor miracle no one was hurt. And a major miracle that no one was killed. It is shameful that something so idiotic is considered desirable by some “race fans.” I call B.S. on that because any true fan of racing wants to see racing, not crashing. Take Talladega out of the Chase. It is too unpredictable and too costly, both in points and money.

• I love it as long as NO ONE gets hurt.

• I will admit, I do enjoy a multi-car wreck, but what happened at Talladega is ridiculous. There is no reason that the cars should be that bunched up. NASCAR has hurt themselves by putting too many restrictions, like the restrictor plates.

• Where to start? The destruction of millions of dollars of equipment, so many drivers could have been seriously injured or killed and the end result of the race was ultimately unsatisfying for viewers and for drivers with respect to the Chase standings. There has got to be a way to address this, to keep the excitement about Talladega without this kind of carnage. These are real people in these cars and I am really horrified that it is being portrayed almost like an action movie where everybody gets up and dusts themselves off after the shoot. I don't know why this is tolerated in the sport. They don't replay illegal head hits over and over again to promote future NFL games. This is far worse.

• Even though my driver wrecked, watching those cars four-wide with cars bouncing off each other and the wall while bump drafting through the corners was awesome. The wreck was cool, but without Tony's mistake, I think they were gonna pull off a four-wide pack coming across the finish line for an awesome finish.

• Everybody seemed to be doing their best to win — except Denny Hamlin. I want my Chase champion to be the best, to be a winner, to be smart, but have guts and talent in equal parts. Smoke did everything he could think of to win. It resulted in a less-than-great finish for my driver BUT I prefer an all-out assault on the win to taking it easy, being careful and finishing with a whimper.

• Probably would have thought it was awesome if my driver had made it through the carnage and passed a few guys in the championship race.

• Worse than terrible. Horrendous. Awful. Abhorrent. Repulsive. Dreadful. Disastrous. Revolting. Unpleasant. I just cannot understand what morbid excitement anyone can get from wrecked cars and the possibility that a driver will get hurt or killed. It's eventually going to happen and that's sad.


Was Dale Earnhardt Jr. right in complaining about the racing and calling fans that like the big multi-car wrecks bloodthirsty?

77.1 percent agreed with Dale Jr.
22.9 percent disagreed with Dale Jr.

What Fan Council members said:
• Amen, Junior! What a huge waste! Look at all the steps NASCAR has taken to save the teams money and then they throw it all away in one lap of one race. I've never understood fans that like wrecking. And the media feeds it by repeating every wreck over and over and over again. Races are usually advertised using the wrecks from previous years. “Bloodthirsty” is a good way to put it, and I'm glad Dale Jr. said it. I get really sick of reports that “fans want to see” wrecks. Sometimes I wonder just who those fans are and why everyone is so eager to have those kinds of people as fans.

• This is what fans want to see. It is bloodthirsty but that is what fans are expecting to see. When you see a commercial for race tickets, what do you see? Wrecking, beating and banging. This is what fans want. Look at Bristol: Burton Smith changed the track so fans could get the wrecks back.

• Amen! Dale Jr. is right, it is bloodthirsty and for someone to want that is crazy. Bring on the Gladiators and Lions!!

• Boring as things have been lately, they needed a good wreck.

• Loving a track because it provides massive wrecks like this race at Talladega is no different than being a Roman and enjoying a trip to the Colosseum to watch lions eat Christians. Same level of barbarianism.

• I used to like these big wrecks, but that carnage is scary. I don't care how safe the car is, it feels like playing with fire when we see the Big One.

• No, I don't agree with Dale Jr., but in all fairness what do you expect to come out of a driver's mouth when he was just wrecked on the last lap and is speaking with emotions? Was he supposed to say, "Oh well, that was just racin’ and we will get them the next week." I thought fans wanted to hear emotions out of the drivers.

• Give me a break Dale. Junior had a very different tune when he was winning a bunch of these races. He complained about the tandem racing a couple years ago, saying you can't see anything but the bumper ahead of you. He doesn't like the pack racing either, apparently. Maybe as he gets older he likes it less — I can understand that. But the last lap crash was like every other "Talladega Big One." It is what it is.

• No one who is a true fan would want to see a wreck like that.


Grading Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega

49.3 percent called it Good
19.9 percent called it Great
19.3 percent called it Fair
11.5 percent called it Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• Call me bloodthirsty or a non-purist, but the wreck at the end (and knowing the drivers are well protected) was the best part.

• That was the most fun, exciting race at Talladega for the past few years ... I didn't have a problem with the wreck occurring and I prefer to see the drivers go all out for the win and end up wrecked rather than carefully making their way across the start/finish line and being awarded the victory for their cautious behavior.

• Absolutely the best race of the year. The action was unbelievable and the last two laps were jaw-dropping. Nothing in sports even comes close to the excitement that Talladega delivers!

• This is complete B.S. racing. No wonder the attendance is at its lowest in 15 years. What we saw was a monumental waste of time.

• I attended the race. I love Talladega, however, I only really get interested in the race the last 50 laps or so unlike other tracks where my attention is held all race long.

• While I'm glad to see pack racing and not the terrible tandem trash, that wasn't a race until the last three laps, it was a parade. Should it be changed? Yes, with bulldozers! (RIP DAVID POOLE.)

• The last lap made up for the rest of the race in my opinion. To see “Mr. Don't Block Me” block and wreck half the field was funny. Good race overall.

• Wish I could say it was great. I will say I always respect those that have the ability to be racecar drivers and the amazing skill it takes to race at anywhere, but especially Talladega. One of the good things that did happen was a PINK car won and as a breast cancer survivor this made me happy.

• It was not enjoyable waiting for disaster to happen. Not racing.

• Outstanding race. I felt most of the field was running much more competitively from the drop of the green flag to the finish. The big teams (88, 18, etc.) who got themselves a lap down put on a tremendous battle lap after lap to get in front of each other for the lucky dog. And the GWC! It was four deep row after row after row coming to the white flag! You had to know it wasn't going to last the whole lap. I do wish the race finished clean because it would have been absolutely nuts to see how it developed down the straightaway.
 

Teaser:
<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discusses the age-old arguement about whether NASCR fans want to see wrecks, discuss Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s comments about Talladega's plate racing and size up the Chase battle between Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 14:03
Path: /college-football/lsu-vs-south-carolina-numerical-history
Body:

LSU and South Carolina will clash Saturday in Baton Rouge in a battle of top 10 SEC teams. The 5-1 Tigers will be hungry for a win after falling 14-6 to Florida in the Swamp last week, while the 6-0 Gamecocks arrive sky-high after their 35-7 beatdown of Georgia. This will be the 20th meeting between LSU and South Carolina, so here are 20 statistical highlights focusing on the history between these two schools.

1 – Common head coach and athletic director between the schools. The legendary Paul Dietzel led the LSU program from 1955–1961, winning a national championship in 1958. He surprisingly left Baton Rouge to become the first non-Army graduate to lead the Cadets on the gridiron. After four seasons at Army, Dietzel would take over at South Carolina as head coach and athletic director in1966. He won the ACC Coach of the Year in 1969 and led the Gamecocks on the gridiron through the 1974 season. Dietzel would later return to Baton Rouge and serve as LSU’s athletic director from 1978–1982.

2 – Wins for South Carolina over LSU, both by one point. USC won the first meeting of the series in 1930, as well as the 1994 contest.

3 – Losses for head coach Steve Spurrier to LSU. He lost once to the Tigers at Florida in 1997, and then twice at South Carolina in 2007 and 2008.

4 – Point differential in the highest scoring game in LSU-South Carolina history, a 33-29 Tigers victory in 1973.

5 – Wins for LSU in its seven games played in Columbia.

6 – The game on Saturday will be the sixth time in South Carolina history where both teams involved were ranked in the top 10. Last week’s victory over Georgia was the fifth.

7 – Times in this series that LSU has scored 30 or more points. South Carolina has never reached the 30-point mark against the Tigers.

8 – This is the eighth season for Les Miles at LSU and for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina.

9 – Wins over LSU in the 1990s for Steve Spurrier, Florida’s head ball coach at the time.

10 – Consecutive wins by South Carolina entering Saturday’s game at Tiger Stadium. That represents the longest current FBS winning streak.

11 – First downs for South Carolina in the 2003 game, a 33-7 win for LSU in Columbia.
Matt Mauck threw two touchdowns for the Tigers, while Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent led a dominant rushing attack. “Right now, I'm sort of numb,” USC coach Lou Holtz said after the blowout.

12 – Passes completed in the 2002 game by Marcus Randall, who was filling in for the injured Mauck. Randall threw for 183 yards and Domanick Davis led the ground game with 113 yards, as LSU scored 25 third-quarter points on the way to a 38-14 victory.

13 – Meetings in this series where South Carolina was a member of the Southern Conference, the ACC or an Independent. The last six games have been SEC battles. LSU was also a member of the Southern Conference during the first three contests from 1930-32.

14 – First-quarter points scored by LSU in the 1987 Gator Bowl, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish. Both touchdowns in the first stanza were passes from Tommy Hodson to Wendell Davis, and the pair would hook up for another score in the second half to lead LSU to a 30-13 bowl victory.

15 – Yards run by LSU kicker Colt David on a fake field goal touchdown in the second quarter of the 2007 game. The Tigers totaled a dominant 290 rushing yards in the 28-16 win over the Gamecocks.

16 – Wins by LSU in 19 games against South Carolina.

17 – Second-quarter points scored by South Carolina in the 2008 game, Stephen Garcia’s first career start. USC led 17-10 at half, but LSU would rally for 14 unanswered points in the second half to win 24-17 in Columbia.

18 – Points scored by the Gamecocks in 1994, the last time they defeated LSU. A stingy USC defense and quarterback Steve Taneyhill led the way in the18-17 victory.

19 – Losses for Les Miles at LSU, against an incredible 80 wins.

20 – Points scored by each team in the series’ only tie in 1995.


By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

Teaser:
<p> LSU vs. South Carolina: A Numerical History</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/rory-and-tiger-tale-tape
Body:

On Thursday, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be staging a head-to-head duel at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final with a spot in the final four of this unique medal match play eight-man bracket on the line. Let's hope it's one of many as this budding bromance blossoms into a full-fledged rivalry.

Never mind the fact that Charl Schwartzel beat Woods and McIlroy, the top two players in the world golf ranking, back to back in this Turkish money grab. No, for the good of the game, we need to root for a Tiger-Rory rivalry to take root and take the game to unprecedented heights.

For more than a decade, golf fans were secure in the knowledge that Woods ruled their sport. Sure, Phil Mickelson was a useful foil for Tiger, and every now and then a Vijay Singh or Padraig Harrington would assert himself before slinking back into the woodwork. But Woods was the Man. Even after the Thanksgiving thunderbolt that derailed the Woods train, we all expected Tiger to resume his rule at any time.

But now that we've reached four years and counting with Tiger stuck on 14 majors, I think we're free to reassess. Now that the Woods era seems to be truly on the wane, it's time to anoint a new king. Science tells us that nature hates a vacuum, and after two eight-shot wins in majors in the last 14 months,  McIlroy looks ready to fill the void at the top of golf. And more than that, Rory looks likes he could be the kind of historic force in the game that Woods was. The proof comes when you compare the two at similar points in their careers.

Let's look at the Tiger vs. Rory tale of the tape through their age-23 seasons — Woods through 1999, Rory through the 2012 Ryder Cup. Rory's record is impressive, but Woods was already dominating the PGA Tour at a similar stage, and he reached his apex the following season, giving 2013 extra meaning for Rory in his effort to match Woods' career trajectory.
Edge to Tiger — for now.

TALE OF THE TAPE

                                                      TIGER (age 23)    RORY
Major championships won               2                           2
Combined margin of victory           13                         16
Major top 5s                                     4                           5
Major top 10s                                   7                           6
PGA Tour wins                               11                          4
Worldwide wins                              13                          6
Scoring avg. (PGA Tour)            69.10 (1997)        70.35 (2010)
                                                     69.21 (1998)        69.48 (2011)
                                                     68.43 (1999)        68.73 (2012)
Ryder Cup record                          3-6-1                   4-3-2

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-offseason-news-and-scandal-roundup
Body:

Even after every recruit signed, after players were drafted, and after (nearly) every coaching change was made, college basketball news impacting the 2012-13 season continued to break through the late summer and early fall.

From Jim Calhoun’s retirement, to eligibility issues at UCLA and Kentucky, to NCAA concerns at Duke and North Carolina, we’re here to keep you up to date.

Here’s a rundown of 20 offseason news events impacting the upcoming basketball season:

A RETIRING LEGEND
1. Jim Calhoun retires. In the biggest college basketball news of the offseason, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun retired after 873 carer wins and three national titles. The Huskies program is turned over to assistant and first-time head coach Kevin Ollie, who will try to piece together a season with a handful of challenges including
a postseason ban, a one-year contract for Ollie, and a roster depleted by transfers and NBA Draft early entries. The lack of a long-term commitment to Ollie hasn’t harmed recruiting yet as Jabari Parker, one of the top prospects in the class of 2013, added UConn to his list of prospective schools after a visit with the new Huskies coach.
Related: What’s next for UConn without Calhoun?

NCAA-ISH ISSUES
2. Duke dodges an NCAA issue again. The possibility of an NCAA violation at Duke was raised when former player Lance Thomas, a starter on the 2010 title-winning team, was sued for not repaying a $68,000 loan to purchase jewelry in 2009-10. Thomas settled the lawsuit, meaning the NCAA will not have access to court records to determine if the loan would have impacted Thomas’ eligibility. The NCAA has begun an inquiry, but Thomas told The Washington Post he will “eventually” speak with the NCAA. As a former athlete, he is not required to do so.
Related: Duke team preview

3. North Carolina’s academic scandal. New details of the academic scandal at North Carolina seem to trickle out every day, though the spotlight has not focused on the basketball program specifically. What started as an investigation into fraud and no-show classes in the African and African-American Studies department also seeped into other academic programs. The Naval Weapons Systems course in the Department of Naval Science was found to have a disproportionate amount of athletes enrolled, including six basketball players in 2007. Although the NCAA initially stated it would not take action on academic issues at North Carolina, NCAA president Mark Emmert told CBSSports.com the organization is continuing to monitor the situation in Chapel Hill. Chancellor Holden Thorp already announced he will resign at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Meanwhile, Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former Tar Heels star Tyler Hansbrough, resigned from her role as a fundraiser when an audit revealed she and Matt Kupec, a North Carolina vice chancellor, billed the university for personal trips. Kupec also resigned. Tami Hansbrough was hired as the associate director of development in the dentistry school during her son’s senior year. Her move to a fundraising role and the personal trips occurred after Tyler Hansbrough left school.

4. Texas Southern feels NCAA’s wrath. From one end of the college basketball spectrum (Duke and North Carolina) to the other. The NCAA levied series sanctions on Texas Southern of the SWAC, stepping just short of the death penalty. Texas Southern allowed players across 13 sports over the course of seven years compete and receive financial aid while ineligible. The basketball program, which has played in the NCAA Tournament just once since 1995, was banned from the postseason and vacated all wins across all sports from 2006-10. The basketball coach to clean up the mess left by Tony Harvey, who resigned after he was accused of providing misleading information to investigators? Former UAB and Indiana coach Mike Davis.

CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
5. Notre Dame. Before Jim Calhoun’s retirement, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC in all sports but football was the biggest news of the offseason. This is more of a football development, including four games per year between the Irish and ACC teams and a drift away from the Big Ten, but it has clear basketball implications as well. Mike Brey has rebuilt Notre Dame basketball into a consistent NCAA Tournament team which should contribute to the depth of a 15-team ACC. Without Notre Dame basketball, the Big East will remain a 17-team league when it expands in 2013-14.
Related: Notre Dame team preview

COACH HEALTH SCARES
6. Roy Williams’ cancer scare. The North Carolina coach had surgery in late September to remove a tumor from his right kidney but was relieved to find it was not cancerous. Williams was also scheduled to have a biopsy on a tumor on his left kidney, but doctors said in a news release it was unlikely for the other tumor to be cancerous.
Related: North Carolina team preview

7. Rick Majerus' departure. The Saint Louis coach has battled health concerns for much of his career, but the latest caused him to unexpectedly walk away from one of the Atlantic 10’s top teams. The school announced in late August that Majerus would miss the season while undergoing treatment and evaluations for a heart condition. Assistant Jim Crews, a former head coach at Army and Evansville, was promoted to interim coach. With one year left on his contract, this could be the final season for Majerus at Saint Louis and perhaps his career.

8. Billy Gillispie’s resignation. Texas Tech’s season was bad enough on the court in Gillispie’s first season. Turns out things were worse behind the scenes for the former Kentucky and Texas A&M coach. A report from CBS Sports detailed mistreatment of players and support staff in addition to difficulties with current and potential assistants and staffers. The report indicated practices of eight hours in a day and in excess of the NCAA-mandated 20-hour limit in addition to Gillsipie forcing players to practice while injured. On Aug. 31, Gillispie was hospitalized for six days and was later treated for kidney problems and abnormal headaches. He resigned citing health concerns, turning the program over to interim coach Chris Walker.

ELIGIBILITY WATCH
9. Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, UCLA. Neither of the Bruins’ two freshman centerpieces have been cleared by the NCAA. Muhammad’s delay is due to alleged impermissible benefits from the brother of an assistant coach at his high school and a financial planner related to his AAU team. The investigation forced UCLA to leave Muhammad home during an exhibition trip to China. The NCAA is investigating Anderson’s relationship with an agent though Anderson did participate in the China trip.
Related: Arrival of top freshmen leads UCLA makeover

10. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky. After delaying his enrollment when he reclassified from the class of 2012 to 2013, Noel became the subject of an NCAA inquiry related to how he paid for unofficial visits during the recruiting process, according to SI.com. Kentucky coach John Calipari recently said he’s confident Noel will be cleared after the inquiry.

11. Rodney Purvis, NC State. The Wolfpack’s star freshman guard was cleared to play after the NCAA examined his high school transcript. Purvis did not join NC State on an exhibition trip to Spain.

Related: NC State team preview

12. Ricky Ledo, Providence. The full Ed Cooley-rebuilding project will be on hold for a year as a his freshman guard sits outs as a partial qualifier. Ledo can practice but cannot play in any games this season. Highly touted point guard Kris Dunn also joined Ledo in Cooley's recruiting class, but Dunn is nursing a shoulder injury to give the Friars a shorthanded roster early in the season.

13. Notre Dame Prep. Maryland’s Sam Cassell Jr. and Xavier’s Myles Davis, both freshmen, were ruled ineligible related to coursework at Notre Dame Prep, a program whose classes the NCAA had been monitoring. Adding to the confusion, eight other teammates who took similar classes were cleared, drawing harsh criticism from Cassell's father, former NBA player Sam Cassell.

TRANSFERS
14. Dez Wells, Xavier to Maryland. Wells did not transfer per se, but he did change schools. The former Xavier starter was expelled after he was accused of sexual assault, but prosecutors declined to pursue the case and publicly disputed the actions of Xavier’s conduct board. After considering Kentucky, Memphis and Oregon, Wells chose Maryland. An NCAA waiver to make him eligible this season has been requested.

15. Arsalan Kazemi, Rice to Oregon. One of the best players in Conference USA but languishing at Rice transferred to Oregon, where a hardship waiver may allow him to play this season.

DISMISSALS
16. Reggie Moore, Washington State. The Cougars dismissed their senior guard and third-leading scorer for a violation of team rules, putting more pressure on unheralded center Brock Motum.

17. Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, Harvard. The Crimson’s hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament received a major blow when its co-captains were accused of being part of a cheating scandal including both athletes and non-athletes. Both were expected to withdraw from school, leaving Harvard with only one returning starter.

18. Chrishawn Hopkins, Butler. Brad Stevens dismissed his third-leading scorer for the dreaded undisclosed violation of team rules.

POLICE BLOTTER
19. LIU Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn’s top three scorers, including NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, were among four arrested on third-degree assault charges stemming from a fight at an on-campus party. All four, including Athlon All-NEC forward Jamal Olaswere,  were suspended for the first two games and placed on school probation.

AND FOR 2013-14...
20. Kentucky’s recruiting (t)wins.
Guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, twins from Richmond  (Texas), continued to make John Calipari look unbeatable on the recruiting trail when the two top-five prospects in the 2013 class committed to Kentucky. The decision was considered to be a close one between Kentucky and Maryland. A major factor in Maryland being in the mix was reported to be Under Armour’s sponsorship of the Harrisons’ AAU team, coached by the twins’ father. Under Armour also has a partnership with Maryland. But again, Kentucky walks away a winner.

@AthlonSports

Athlon College Basketball 2012-13 Preseason Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

Teaser:
<p> 20 Offseason Events Every College Basketball Fan Should Know</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 07:00

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