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Path: /college-basketball/larry-brown-back-school-return-college-basketball
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Larry Brown returns to the college game for the first time in 25 years. His task: Lead SMU back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993.

By Michael Bradley

The sound was something like a cross between electronic Dubstep music and an alarm clock gone haywire.

“Uh, Larry, is that your phone?”

“Yes. Is it bothering you?”

“Not at all. It just doesn’t sound like a ringtone you might have.”

“I don’t like any of this mechanical stuff. My boy (L.J.) made me get it, and I don’t know how to change the ringer. I just learned how to text.”

If there is any better metaphor for 72-year old Larry Brown’s return to college coaching at SMU, that small episode is it. While submitting to questions over a speakerphone in his office, Brown endured three calls on the cell, each one triggering the aural explosion that was about as appropriate for him as Jimmy Durante’s “Inka Dinka Doo” would be for one of his players.

Brown is a basketball teacher. He would rather hold a three-hour practice than coach a game any day of the week. His love of the sport’s many intricacies has been well documented, and any point guard who has ever played for him knows how demanding he can be regarding the minutiae. That’s why he has come back to coaching. To teach. To motivate. To build character. Everything else is just, well, noise.

“Before I got too old, I wanted to share these ideas I have with other people,” Brown says in his trademark, drawn-out Brooklyn drone.

The trouble is, there are a lot of people out there who believe Brown is too old. That’s why his inability to remedy the space-age cell tone is so amusing. Inserting Brown’s be-bop personality into a hip-hop game isn’t easy. Take this year’s new NCAA ruling that coaches are now able to fire texts at will toward coveted recruits. The judgment comes too late for Kelvin Sampson and way too late for Brown. At a time when some coaches text more frequently than even the most ardent high school BFFs, and others have Twitter followings that rival those of movie stars (Kentucky’s John Calipari has 1.2 million Twitter followers), Brown isn’t just old school, he’s the basketball equivalent of a one-room schoolhouse.

“This texting and calling on the phone to kids, I don’t know how they enjoy talking to us,” Brown says. “Every time I’m on the phone, I feel like I’m an imposition to the family and the kid.

“But my staff keeps telling me I have to do it to show we care.”

So, Brown texts — slowly, deliberately, infrequently. He calls prospects and shows them love, er, interest. But most of all, he coaches basketball in an attempt to lift SMU from the Conference USA doldrums in time for the Mustangs’ 2013-14 move to the Big East. It’s a big task, and one that some don’t believe he can accomplish, even if he is the only coach in history with NCAA and NBA titles on his resume.

“He is old, old school,” says SMU assistant Tim Jankovich, who gave up a head-coaching gig at Illinois State to become coach-in-waiting under Brown. “You know what is never old, old school? Basketball. He has a passion to teach, and that allows him to connect with players. There is no disconnect there, although I wouldn’t ask him to merge e-mails for me.”

The soap opera surrounding Brown’s hire is quite interesting. It began with SMU’s decision to fire Matt Doherty, who compiled a 80–109 record in six seasons on The Hilltop, and never finished higher than seventh in league play. Not much drama there. But the subsequent search led the school to candidates like Marquette’s Buzz Williams, Saint Louis’ Rick Majerus, Harvard’s Tommy Amaker and Long Beach State’s Dan Monson — reportedly — none of whom wanted the gig. When SMU athletic director Steve Orsini turned to Brown, at the urging of school president R. Gerald Turner, he did so as a last resort. Less than a month later, Orsini was gone, fired by Turner who said in his statement that “a unified effort is required for future progress.” Those who read between the lines speculated Orsini was released because of an unwillingness to hire Brown.

Related: 2012-13 Conference USA Preview

Brown came to town and quickly informed four members of last year’s team that they should look for other places to play in 2012-13. That’s fairly standard stuff at big-time programs, but since the Ponies aren’t exactly big time, it caused a stir. SMU has had three 20-win seasons since 1988 and constantly has missed out on top prospects from the Dallas area. It prepares to enter the Big East with a team that has just 11 players — two of whom are walk-ons — on the roster. Although two transfers – from Illinois (Crandall Head) and Illinois State (Nic Moore) – will be eligible next year, SMU is a long way from competitiveness, even in C-USA.

Larry Brown NCAA Record
Year Team Record NCAA Tournament
1979-80 UCLA 22-10, 12-6 Pac-10 National runner-up
1980-81 UCLA 20-7, 13-5 Pac-10 Second round
1983-84 Kansas 22-10, 9-5 Big 8 Second round
1984-85 Kansas 26-8, 11-3 Big 8 Second round
1985-86 Kansas 35-4, 13-1 Big 8 Final Four
1986-87 Kansas 25-11, 9-5 Big 8 Sweet 16
1987-88 Kansas 27-11, 9-5 Big 8 National champion

 

“The challenge is huge,” Brown says. “We have nine [scholarship] kids in the program, and we’re moving into the Big East. A lot of these kids weren’t recruited to play in the Big East. But there is a lot of potential here. We have to get Texas kids to think we’re relevant and get them to believe we can get better.”

* * *

For the three years or so Larry Brown observed Villanova practice (in between coaching gigs) he was always on time and never left early. “And we had some long practices,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright says. There was that one day, when Brown had to go just as the workout ended. Usually, he stayed around to evaluate the players and talk basketball. But this day was different.

“He said it was his anniversary and that his wife (Shelly) was going to kill him,” Wright says. “He has a unique love for the game.”

It is somewhat comical to poke fun at Brown for returning to coaching -- he’ll be 72 when the season begins -- because the man has what Wright terms “energy” for basketball and an “amazing craving to share his knowledge.” That craving and his energy manifest themselves in a way that Wright terms “relentless.” Brown doesn’t tolerate malingerers. He doesn’t do shortcuts. One day after a practice, Wright watched Brown speak with Villanova big man Mo Sutton. After listening to Brown, Sutton said, “I got you, coach.” Brown replied, “No, Mo. You don’t got me. When I see you at practice tomorrow doing what I taught you, then you got me.”

During his time in the NBA, Brown was notorious for his rough treatment of players, particularly point guards. The fear some have is that his perfectionist tendencies won’t reach today’s players, particularly those on SMU’s current roster, who are not as talented as those Brown encountered on previous collegiate stops at UCLA and Kansas. Further, none of the Mustangs was alive when Brown led Danny Manning and the Jayhawks to the NCAA title in 1988 or lifted the Bruins to the national championship game eight years earlier.

Related: Manning takes over at Tulsa

The announcement that SMU had hired Brown sent players scurrying to the Internet to learn more about him. Forward Shawn Williams says any previous knowledge came from the infamous Allen Iverson “Practice?” press conference. Brown was coaching the Philadelphia 76ers at the time of the outburst. And Williams remembered that Brown coached the Pistons to the NBA title in 2004. But unlike the critics who believe SMU made a mistake hiring someone Brown’s age with his itinerant history, the players are thrilled to have him on campus.

“As soon as he took the job, the atmosphere on campus and in the athletic department changed,” senior guard London Giles says. “To be successful, a program has to have a lot of energy, and that’s what he has brought.”

A new NCAA rule allows coaches to work with players during the summer, and Brown has introduced himself by sharing his knowledge and cultivating an enthusiasm for playing the game, as he puts it, “the right way.”

“The guy is amazing,” Williams says. “For me, it’s been a blessing in disguise. I knew about him as a great coach, but until I met him, I didn’t really know his greatness. They say he’s (72), but he looks like he’s in his 40s. He’s a lot different from what I expected.

“I thought he’d come in as an old, grumpy man. He brings energy to practice every day. He’s the greatest coach I’ve ever been around, and I’ve only been with him four weeks.”

There is a concern Brown’s tenure at SMU will be brief, either due to his inherent restless nature — his longest stint at any of his previous 13 collegiate and professional stops has been six seasons, and most are shorter — or his age. That’s why he enticed Jankovich, who directed Illinois State for five seasons, to join his staff. The term “coach-in-waiting” doesn’t sit well with Brown, but he does acknowledge Jankovich carrying that designation will promote continuity with recruits and help the program remain stable as it grows.

“When you’re my age, people say, ‘The guy’s older, and he’s not going to be there long,’” Brown says. “And if you look at my track record, you want somebody on the staff like Tim.

“Tim’s given up a lot. He wanted to be here. He doesn’t want to see me step down, though. I’m fortunate he’s here.”

Brown is fortunate to be in Dallas, too. It gives him a chance to get back in the game after a nearly two-year hiatus following his devastating firing by Bobcats owner (and fellow North Carolina alum) Michael Jordan. It’s not an easy job, and Brown’s not an easy guy to play for, a big reason why he doesn’t stick around too long in one place. But when it comes to basketball knowledge and passion for the game, Brown is unparalleled. He’ll hope that’s enough for SMU to start its move forward.

And all that stuff about his not knowing anything about texting and cell-phone ring tones? Don’t consider it an indication that Brown is out of touch. He may be older, but he has plenty of fire still burning.

SMU is about to learn that.

@AthlonSports

More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> Larry Brown is back to school in return to college basketball</p>
Post date: Friday, October 26, 2012 - 05:40
Path: /college-basketball/kansas-star-danny-manning-starting-tulsa
Body:

One would imagine a 15-year NBA veteran and former No. 1 overall pick might have some trouble relating to the various personality types that populate a college basketball team. In many cases, that would be correct. Star players don’t have much in common with deep reserves or walk-ons. They might also struggle to connect with a player who has a gaping hole in his game.

Not Danny Manning. During his time in the NBA, he filled just about every job a player could. He was the star. The regular. The sub. The cheerleader. The veteran counselor. At the end of his career, he had to compensate for dwindling skills. Further, when he started college coaching, he began at the bottom, serving the full-time coaches by doing what he characterizes as “the grunt work” and never once complaining.

So, when a member of Manning’s Tulsa squad has a problem, he should know the coach likely has some experience he can draw on to help out.

“I understand the starter, the reserve and the bench player,” Manning says. “I’ve scored points, been a facilitator, been on the active list and not played at all. I’ve been the Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA [1998] and the ninth and 10th man on teams. My experience runs to just about every role on the basketball court.”


Related: Larry Brown is back to school at SMU

Manning spent nine seasons assisting Bill Self at Kansas — the school he lifted to the national title in 1988 as part of “Danny and the Miracles” with then-coach Larry Brown — beginning as director of player development and team manager before moving on to become a full-time aide. In a way, he was joining the family business, since his father, Ed, coached at Kansas under Brown and in the NBA for many years. But he was never in charge of a program, like Manning is. It was Ed’s death, in 2011, that convinced Manning he needed to work harder to become a head coach. When the Tulsa job became open, Manning was definitely interested.

“The biggest thing that opened my eyes in terms of putting a timeline on getting a head coaching job was when my father died,” Manning says. “I started to re-evaluate things.”

Many were surprised Manning got the job because few even knew he was a collegiate assistant. Even Manning admits “there was no idea I thought I’d get a job at this level.” Tulsa may not have strong name recognition, but the Golden Hurricane has employed three eventual national championship coaches (Self, Tubby Smith and Nolan Richardson). Manning’s challenge now is to take his vast playing experience, blend it with what he learned at Kansas and make Tulsa a Conference USA contender. His first impressions have been good.

“He’s a laid back guy, but on the court, he’s a different person,” Tulsa senior Scottie Haralson says. “He’s going to get after you and maximize your potential. He knows the game. There’s no question about that.”

Now, it’s time for Manning to transfer that knowledge to his players and show them how to work together and sacrifice for the good of the team.

Related: 2012-13 Conference USA preview

“The way I was taught the game was to do whatever I could to make the game easier for my teammates,” Manning says. “Whenever that compliment was bestowed on me, I felt it was the greatest compliment I could get from a teammate.”

If he wants compliments now, Manning will have to win games. Given his experience, he should know how to do that.

-By Michael Bradley
 

Teaser:
<p> Kansas star Danny Manning starting up at Tulsa</p>
Post date: Friday, October 26, 2012 - 05:28
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, News
Path: /college-football/mathieu-among-4-former-lsu-players-nabbed-drug-arrest
Body:

Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and three other ex-Tiger football players were arrested on drug possession charges Thursday following an apartment search conducted by Baton Rouge police.

Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist last year who was kicked off the LSU team in August for repeated violations of the school's substance abuse policy, was charged with simple possession of marijuana following the search of his residence.

A release issued by the Baton Rouge Police Department stated the officers also found a marijuana grinder, a digital scale and 10 bags of high-grade marijuana. Seven of the bags were located in a backpack belonging to former Tigers defensive back Derrick Bryant, who was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Also arrested was Jordan Jefferson, a three-year starter at quarterback for the Tigers whose eligibility had expired after last season, and former linebacker Karnell Hatcher. Both were cited with simple possession of marijuana, with Hatcher booked as a second offender.

Mathieu had re-enrolled at LSU this fall after completing the first two stages of rehabilitation at the Right Step recovery center in Houston, where he was being mentored by former NBA player and coach John Lucas, with the intention to rejoin the football program next season. However, Thursday's arrest has likely compromised those plans.

The 20-year-old would be eligible to enter the 2013 NFL Draft and still has two years of college eligibility remaining.

According to the report, police had been summoned to Mathieu's apartment by a maintenance worker at the complex who had engaged in a dispute with Jefferson after the ex-quarterback had attempted to force his way through a security gate.

Teaser:
<p> Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and three other ex-Tiger football players were arrested on drug possession charges Thursday following an apartment search conducted by Baton Rouge police.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 26, 2012 - 05:03
Path: /mlb/top-10-bad-luck-wags-sports
Body:

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander and America’s “it” girl Kate Upton are keeping it coy regarding their official relationship status. But dating the voluptuous bikini model is clearly not helping JV’s pitching. The AL’s reigning MVP and Cy Young winner was rocked by the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, allowing five runs in four innings of a losing effort.

Clearly, every man alive would love to do the Dougie, or Cat Daddy, or just about any dance with the 20-year-old bombshell. But it would be hard to pay attention to your curve ball after attending to her curves. Ask Justin Verlander.

Here’s a rundown of 10 other bad luck WAGs in recent sports history:

Jessica Simpson
Back when she was Tony Romo’s cowgirl, Simpson became Enemy No. 1 of Cowboy Nation. From wearing a pink jersey to taking a pre-playoff vacation to Cabo, Simpson made all the wrong moves. She is the perfect blueprint of what not to do as well as the definitive bad luck WAG.

Rihanna
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp hit .249 with 28 HRs, 89 RBIs and had 19 steals the year he dated Barbados babe Ri-Ri. After the break up, Kemp was an MVP runner-up who hit .324 with 39 HRs, 126 RBIs and had 40 steals. Rihanna had more hits than Kemp did while they were dating.

Kim Kardashian
Both Reggie Bush and Miles Austin know the split stats with and without Ray J’s flick co-star and Kanye West’s current beautiful dark twisted fantasy. Kim K and her best asset end up putting football players on their backside.

Khloe Kardashian
After Lamar Odom married Khloe — who some have speculated to be O.J. Simpson’s illegitimate daughter — his life fell apart. He was traded from the L.A. Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks, berated publicly by Mark Cuban and had a bout with depression that bordered on mental breakdown. Other than that, though, things are great.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
The late TLC star went chasing waterfalls and ended up with a scrub she didn’t want. In less lyrical words, volatile wide receiver Andre Rison cheated on her, so she set fire to his Atlanta mansion — the lowlight of a combustible relationship between two of Hot-lanta’s craziest residents.

Tawny Kitaen
Pitcher Chuck Finley filed for a restraining order against the actress after being attacked — a fight that allegedly included her stomping his foot with her high heel, pressing the car accelerator to the floorboard during the in-car domestic dispute. It’s a baseball superstition to leave your wife if she beats you up before going on Celebrity Rehab.

Anna Benson
Pitcher Kris Benson would have come and gone without anyone noticing him had it not been for his batwing crazy model wife. She was a dumpster fire with D-cups, telling Howard Stern that she would have sex with the entire Mets team if Kris ever cheated on her and generally sabotaging her husband’s middling career.

Madonna
The Material Girl has an all-star roster of athletes she has vogued with. Jose Canseco, Dennis Rodman and Alex Rodriguez all got into the groove with Madge. Those dudes get worse reviews than Guy Ritchie’s 2002 Madonna vehicle Swept Away.

Cameron Diaz
Back to A-Rod, whose nickname apparently isn’t just a reference to his name. Remember when the Bad Teacher fed him popcorn at Super Bowl XLV? Nothing has gone right for lucky No. 13 since then. He hit a rock bottom .120 (3-for-25) before getting benched in the AL playoffs this year.

Evelyn Lozada
Who? Oh yeah, the wacko from Basketball Wives who coincidentally left the lives of both Antoine Walker and Chad Ochocinco Johnson in shambles. You still probably don’t know who she is, but ‘Toine is penny-less and shimmy-less while Ocho is clearly no bueno, jobless and allegedly resorting to Twitter stalking.

Teaser:
<p> The top 10 beautiful women who have ruined athletes’ seasons, careers and/or lives — including Kate Upton, Jessica Simpson, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Tawny Kitaen, Anna Benson, Maddona, Cameron Diaz and Evelyn Lozada.</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 15:20
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-sooners-vs-notre-dame-fighting-irish-preview-and-prediction
Body:

It’s not often college football has a marquee non-conference game at the end of October. However, that’s the stage set on Saturday night, as Oklahoma and Notre Dame – two top-10 teams in the BCS – will meet in Norman. The Sooners have won three in a row since losing to Kansas State, while Notre Dame has a perfect 7-0 record.

These two teams have not met since 1999, with Oklahoma only winning once in nine matchups against the Irish. The Sooners beat Notre Dame 40-0 in 1956 but followed that victory up with six consecutive losses in this series.

With both teams ranked in the top 10 of the BCS, this is essentially an elimination game for the national title. If the Irish win, they should cruise to an 11-0 record before playing USC in the season finale. If the Sooners knock off Notre Dame, they will have an opportunity to jump into the top six of the BCS standings. Considering Oklahoma was thought to be out of the mix after losing to Kansas State, it’s a credit to Bob Stoops and the coaching staff for getting this team refocused on the remaining schedule and the opportunities that await this squad if they win out (and get a little help in the process).

Storylines to watch in Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma

Notre Dame’s Quarterback Play
With Everett Golson sidelined due to a concussion last week, Tommy Rees was forced to make his second start of the season. Rees completed only 7 of 16 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown against BYU, while backup Andrew Hendrix chipped in 14 rushing yards. Golson is expected to return to the starting lineup this week but is still looking for consistency in his first year as the No. 1 quarterback. The redshirt freshman has thrown for 968 yards and four touchdowns but has also tossed three picks. Golson is Notre Dame’s most complete quarterback and gives it the best chance to win. However, ball security and winning the turnover battle will be crucial to the outcome of this matchup. Oklahoma is allowing only 164.3 passing yards a game and has given up only three passing touchdowns this season. Not only does Golson need to play smart but he also has to be decisive with his reads and deliver the ball on time. Expect senior tight end Tyler Eifert to be the primary target for Golson, but the redshirt freshman needs receivers TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels to step up this week.

Stopping the Belldozer
Considering how tough both teams have been on defense this year, scoring touchdowns instead of field goals will be crucial to winning this game. Notre Dame’s rush defense is allowing just over 100 yards a game (106.7) but has yet to allow a rushing score this season. The main catalyst for the Irish’s success on defense has been the play of linebacker Manti Te’o. The senior is having an outstanding year, recording 69 tackles, four interceptions and two tackles for a loss. In addition to Te’o, the Irish have one of the top defensive lines in college football, led by junior nose guard Louis Nix and sophomore end Stephon Tuitt. Although Notre Dame’s defense has passed every test so far, Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell has been the top weapon for the Sooners’ offense around the goal-line, scoring eight rushing scores on 15 carries inside of the 10-yard line. No defense has found an answer to stop the Belldozer package over the last two years. With Notre Dame’s strong front seven, this should be a strength versus strength matchup for both teams.

Oklahoma’s passing offense vs. Notre Dame’s secondary
Despite breaking in two new starting cornerbacks and losing safety Jamoris Slaughter to an injury earlier this season, Notre Dame’s secondary ranks 14th nationally in pass defense. This unit figures to be tested on Saturday night, as Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is the best passer the Irish have seen so far this year. Jones has thrown at least two touchdown passes in each of his last three games and has back-to-back 300-yard efforts. The senior also has a talented group of receivers, led by Kenny Stills and Penn State transfer Justin Brown. If Jones has time to throw, opportunities to make plays downfield should be there. However, Notre Dame is averaging 2.7 sacks a game and has done a good job of generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks all year. If Oklahoma can keep Jones upright in the pocket, the Sooners should be able to move the ball through the air.

Notre Dame’s rush offense vs. Oklahoma defense
With redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson making only his second road start, Notre Dame needs to take the pressure off his shoulders with the rushing attack. In last week’s win over BYU, the Irish recorded 270 rushing yards, with Theo Riddick leading the way with 143 yards. The Sooners rank 46th nationally against the run but have held two out of their last three opponents under 100 yards on the ground. Riddick and Cierre Wood don’t have to match last week’s production, but both players need to have some success on early downs to keep Notre Dame out of third-and-long situations. Expect Oklahoma to counter by stacking the box and forcing Golson to win the game through the air.

The x-factor…special teams
As with every close game, special teams could play a huge role in determining the outcome. Oklahoma owns a edge in this department, as it ranks in the top 10 nationally of punt and kickoff returns, and punter Tress Way is averaging 43.2 yards per kick. The Sooners have also scored twice on returns, which has to be a huge concern for Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. The Irish have struggled to generate any big plays on special teams, while their coverage units rank 92nd nationally in covering kickoffs. Considering how tough Notre Dame’s defense has been all season, Oklahoma needs to hit a few big plays on special teams to put its offense in favorable field position situations.

Final Analysis

The mission for both teams is simple: Win and stay alive in the BCS title picture. Oklahoma has been on a roll since losing to Kansas State in late September and should have the edge in this game. The Sooners will struggle to move the ball on the ground with running back Damien Williams, but the passing attack should be able to hit a few big plays – if Landry Jones has time to throw. Notre Dame’s offense will have success moving the ball at times but this is the game where not having a consistent passing attack will catch up to the Irish.

Final Prediction: Oklahoma 27, Notre Dame 20
 

by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


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Teaser:
<p> Oklahoma Sooners vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 14:04
Path: /nfl/5-best-wide-receiver-tandems-nfl
Body:

Roddy White made his preference clear in an NFL Network interview that aired in late September. He noted the competition coming from the wide receivers in New York, but he cooly brushed them aside.

“The thing that me and (Julio Jones) bring to the game,” White said, “we’re probably the best duo in the league right now.”
 
The counterargument came a few weeks later, from Giants defensive end Justin Tuck.
 
“Well, I know that the ones down in Atlanta get a lot of pub too, but I think you'd be (hard) pressed to show me anybody better than Victor (Cruz) and Hakeem (Nicks)," Tuck said. "That combination, those two guys ... Hakeem has had some issues staying healthy a little bit lately here, but when those guys are healthy and rolling ... I think they are one of the -- if not the -- greatest combos of wide receivers there is."
 
One thing seems certain when considering what team has the most dymanic duo of receivers in the NFL: There is a big drop off after the two in Atlanta and the two in New York. And the truth is, it’s almost impossible to separate the top two tandems based on ability and statistics. And the choice may have to do with your preference, and even then it could change week to week.
 
So who are the top tandems in the league, and the most dangerous receiving duos in the game today? Here’s one list. And again, it’s close between 1 and 2.
 
Not so close after that.
 
1. Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
One year ago the idea that they’d be the top tandem would’ve been laughable, especially since Mario Manningham was the starter opposite Nicks and Cruz was a bottom-of-the-roster player. Then Cruz exploded for a franchise record 1,536 yards and has followed that up this season with some of the best stats among receivers in the NFL (50-627-7). Nicks’ numbers aren’t there because he’s been hampered by foot and knee injuries – which, admittedly, hurts his value. But look at what they did together in Week 2, when Nicks was at his healthiest. Cruz had 11 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown, and Nicks had 10 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown. It’ll be tough for anyone to beat that. Plus, as evidenced by Cruz’s 77-yard, game-winning touchdown catch against the Redskins on Sunday, the Giants’ wideouts have a knack for the big play.
 
 
2. Roddy White/Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
These two have the advantage in pedigree, no doubt. White is a four-time Pro Bowler and Jones was the sixth-overall pick in the 2011 draft. And their stats this season are pretty impressive. White has 37 catches for 553 yards and four touchdowns and Jones has 30 catches for 376 yards and four touchdowns. They are both explosive, good route runners and have everything you’d want in a wide receiver. Maybe the only thing that makes them qualify as the No. 2 tandem instead of No. 1 is this: Neither one of them are the leading receiver on their own team. That honor goes to tight end Tony Gonzalez (43-430-4). Jones and White are tremendous in their own right, but having one of the greatest tight ends in history to draw some of the attention is a huge advantage to have.
 
 
3. Miles Austin/Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
For a moment, put aside Bryant’s off-the-field and character issues, forget about all of Austin’s injuries, and ignore the up-and-down nature of their quarterback, Tony Romo. Based on pure ability, explosiveness and the danger to make a big play, these two might be right on the heels of the top two duos. Bryant has the potential to be one of the NFL’s best if he can ever get his head screwed on straight. He has 36 catches for 378 yards and two touchdowns this season, which is good but hardly great considering he had 63 catches for 928 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. Austin’s numbers aren’t up to par either (25-428-4)but it was only two years ago that he was coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. This may be based more on potential than current production, but the danger is undeniably there.
 
 
4. Mike Wallace/Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
He hasn’t put up huge numbers this season, but Wallace (29-397-4) is one of the fastest, most dangerous receivers in the NFL. There’s no doubt, though, he’s been hampered a bit by an offense that has struggled, especially in running the ball. Still, while he’s drawn the double teams, he’s opened the door for his dangerous sidekick, Brown, who leads the team with 36 catches for 442 yards (and a touchdown). Brown is less of a breakaway threat than Wallace, but two complement each other well. And if the Steelers can ever get a rushing attack going, their numbers should shoot way up.
 
 
5. Anquan Boldin/Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Ray Rice is the star of this team and the defense sometimes gets the headlines (undeservedly so, lately), but the Boldin-Smith combo has “danger” written all over them. Boldin has been a terrific receiver for years. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler still averaging 14.6 yards per catch (31-453-1) at age 32. And while Smith is only fourth on the Ravens in catches (behind Dennis Pitta and Rice), he’s averaging an impressive 17.4 yards per reception (25-435-4) and has very explosive potential. For proof, just look at his six-catch, 127-yard, two-touchdown game against New England in Week 3. Smith is also just 23 years old, so he’s getting better. They could easily start inching up this list by the end of the year.
 
—By RALPH VACCHIANO
Teaser:
<p> These double threats would make any QB smile.</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 12:00
Path: /nfl/tampa-bay-buccaneers-vs-minnesota-vikings-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two NFC foes with drastically different 2012 results will meet on Thursday Night Football, when the Minnesota Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8:20 p.m. EST on the NFL Network. The Bucs have struggled to a 2-4 record this season, and they travel to Minnesota coming off a heartbreaking last-second loss to the Saints. Meanwhile, the Vikings have played well during a 5-2 start and have been energized by the healthy return of intrepid running back Adrian Peterson.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the ball:
The Buccaneers have been inconsistent on offense this year, but they have scored four touchdowns in both of their last two games after a Week 5 bye. Quarterback Josh Freeman threw five touchdowns against four interceptions in Tampa’s first four contests, but he has tossed six TD passes and only one pick the last two weeks. The Bucs passing game has been improved greatly by the free agent addition of receiver Vincent Jackson, who already has 586 yards and five scores through six games. Running back Doug Martin has been solid in his rookie campaign, compiling 480 yards on 100 carries.

Minnesota ranks ninth in the NFL in total defense, as well as sixth in points (18.7) allowed. The Vikings rely on getting solid pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and they stand third in the league with 22 sacks this season. The defensive end tandem of Jared Allen and Brian Robison has compiled 10 of those sacks, and they will draw the attention of the Buccaneers game plan tonight. Linebacker Chad Greenway is also having a stellar season, ranking third in the league with 68 tackles.

When the Minnesota Vikings have the ball:
There were many questions around the health of Peterson following his knee injury late last season, but the All-Pro running back has returned to his old form with 652 yards and three touchdowns this year. He did miss practice earlier this week with an ankle issue, but Peterson should be good to go tonight. Quarterback Christian Ponder has been solid enough to win games during his sophomore season, throwing for nine scores against six interceptions. His favorite target has been electric receiver Percy Harvin, who already has 53 catches for 577 yards on the year.

The Bucs defense has been especially stingy against the run this season, ranking third in the league by allowing only 76 yards per game on the ground. However Tampa Bay has struggled mightily versus opposing passing attacks, giving up an alarming 323 yards per game through the air. A major issue has been a lack of pass rush, as the Bucs have totaled only eight sacks this season. They will look for improvement in that area against Ponder, who has already been sacked 16 times this year.

Key Factor:
This NFC battle should come to Peterson versus Tampa’s nasty run defense. If he has any kind of success, it will be a long night for the Bucs. Minnesota should play well with a raucous home crowd, and that factor could be huge in pressuring Freeman. Tampa Bay has won five straight in this series dating back to 2001, but look for the Vikings to ride their current momentum to a close victory tonight.

Prediction:
Vikings 20 Buccaneers 16


---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

Teaser:
<p> Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:49
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-9-upset-predictions
Body:

There's no shortage of possible upset picks for Week 9. UCLA is nearly a touchdown underdog against Arizona State, which is a bit surprising considering how both teams have played this year. NC State has beat North Carolina five times in a row but is an underdog this Saturday. Check out Athlon's upset picks for this Saturday:

College Football's Week 9 Upset Picks

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Kentucky (+13.5) over Missouri
Let me preface this by saying Kentucky is just dreadful. But the Wildcats have played South Carolina close and challenged Georgia last week in a 29-24 loss. Both opponents were caught looking ahead, something that shouldn’t afflict Missouri even with a road game against Florida next week. Missouri’s not in contention for anything but a minor bowl. But minus starting quarterback James Franklin, Missouri is vulnerable. The Tigers have scored multiple offensive touchdowns in a game just once since Sept. 8, and that came against UCF. Sooner or later, Kentucky’s going to complete a game and pull a shocking upset. Might as well be this week.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): UCLA (+6.5) at Arizona State
The top-rated defense in the Pac-12 had its rude awakening last weekend on national TV when Oregon rushed for over 400 yards in the blowout. UCLA comes to town after a week off to rest and one of the most balanced offenses in the nation. This game carries major import in the Pac-12 South and could dictate bowl game pecking orders. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin bring a similar set of skills to the field that Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner, so the pressure now falls to the Sun Devils to bounce back. Todd Graham's team has played a weak schedule and they were totally exposed against the Ducks. Look for more of the same this weekend.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): NC State (+7.5) at North Carolina
Considering NC State’s recent success in this rivalry, I am surprised to see the Wolfpack as a touchdown underdog against North Carolina. NC State has won the last five matchups in this series, including a 13-0 shutout last season. With the Tar Heels banned from postseason play, there’s no question this game has extra meaning for North Carolina. However, the Tar Heels rank 11th in ACC games in pass defense and have allowed at least 30 points in two out of their last three conference games. North Carolina has two of the ACC’s top playmakers in quarterback Bryn Renner and running back Giovani Bernard, but the Wolfpack rank 35th nationally against the run and have not allowed more than 18 points in their last two conference games. NC State quarterback Mike Glennon should be able to take advantage of North Carolina’s secondary, while its defense should be able slow Bernard just enough to win. Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien seems to have the Tar Heels’ number and that success will continue in 2012. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): UCLA (+6.5) at Arizona State
I’m surprised the spread is so high between these seemingly evenly matched teams. UCLA is 5–2 and has only played one bad game, a 43–17 loss at California. The Bruins’ other loss was by seven points at home to undefeated Oregon State, and they have a nice win over Nebraska on their résumé. Outside of last week’s 43–21 loss at home to Oregon, Arizona State has played very well defensively under first-year coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils have given up 24 points or fewer in their six games an rank first in the Pac-12 in total defense (298.6 ppg). UCLA, however, is the most balanced offensive team ASU has played — and that includes Oregon. Quarterback Brett Hundley and tailback Johnathan Franklin form one of the top QB-RB tandems in the league. UCLA 27, Arizona State 24  

Mark Ross: Navy (+4) over East Carolina
Navy and East Carolina each come into this game carrying modest winning streaks. Both teams are also similar in terms of where they rank nationally in a number of categories. The biggest differences appear to be with offensive distribution and defensive strengths. The Midshipmen are 13th in the nation in rushing at 236.7 yards per game, while the Pirates are averaging less than 118 yards on the ground (103rd nationally). Part of the reason for this is because ECU is a pass-oriented offense, one that is averaging 265 yards through the air. Navy's patented triple-option attack is a run first, second and third type of offense as evidenced by its No. 117 ranking out of 120 FBS schools when it comes to passing. On the defensive side, Navy's strength, at least on paper, is pass defense. The Mids are giving up only 197 passing yards per game, which is 26th in the nation. Now whether that's more a function of a rush defense that allows more than 172 yards per contest or not remains to be seen, but it appears that ECU's offensive strength and Navy's defensive strength match up. The same could be said for the Pirates on defense as they are 32nd in the nation in rush defense (123.1 ypg), but they haven't really played a run-centric team like Navy yet. I think both teams will be able to move the ball, but in the end, I like Navy's running game to wear down and outlast ECU. Besides, even though this battle will take place on land instead of water, when it comes to the U.S. Navy versus a bunch of pirates, whose side are you going to take, really?

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): TCU (+7.5) at Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have one of the top offenses in the country, but OSU lost starting quarterback J.W. Walsh for the rest of the season to a knee injury suffered in last week’s victory over Iowa State. Both freshman Wes Lunt and junior Clint Chelf could see time at signal caller this week, but the change may force the Cowboys to rely more on Joseph Randle and the running attack. While Randle is one of the best backs in college football, TCU’s run defense is ranked No. 7 nationally. The Horned Frogs are also tied for ninth in the country is takeaways (20), and they will look to harass either OSU quarterback into turning the ball over. The TCU offense has found a replacement for quarterback Casey Pachall in redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin, who has passed for 863 yards and nine touchdowns over the last three games. This one projects as another Big 12 shootout, and the difference should be which defense can force the other’s inexperienced quarterback into mistakes. The atmosphere in Stillwater will be difficult for the Horned Frogs, but I’ll take Gary Patterson’s crew to spring a big-time upset.

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 9 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 9 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 9 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 9 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 9 Preview and Predictions

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 9 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:03
Path: /college-football/sec-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The de facto SEC East title game between Florida and Georgia in Jacksonville highlights the Week 9 schedule in the SEC. There is also a big game in the SEC West as a pair of 7–0 teams, Alabama and Mississippi State, battle in Tuscaloosa. There’s also an intriguing game in Fayetteville. Ole Miss is vastly improved, but are the Rebels good enough to beat Arkansas, which has won two straight, at Razorback Stadium?

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

SEC’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9

1. Can Mississippi State make Alabama sweat?
It’s safe to say that Alabama hasn’t played under duress at any point this season. Bama’s seven wins have come by an average of 32.7 points, and each victory has been by at least 19 points. The Crimson Tide have only trailed once — by one point to Ole Miss for 15 seconds — and they have never led by less than 13 points at any time in the second half. So what happens if Nick Saban’s club is forced to sweat? Will this team, which has operated with such efficiency so far this season, show signs of weakness? It’s doubtful, but Mississippi State would sure love to find out. The Bulldogs are 7–0 overall and 3–0 in the SEC yet head to Tuscaloosa as a 23-point underdog. “Everyone on their roster is a 4- or 5-star prospect,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said earlier this week. “They get those guys in position to make plays and have a real physical team. They don’t make many mistakes and do not turn the ball over. … It should be a great challenge for our guys as we will have to play our best game of the year.”

2. Can AJ McCarron play his way into the Heisman Trophy race?
Kansas State’s Collin Klein is the clear favorite, for now, in the evolving race for the Heisman Trophy. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is also getting significant buzz. But we can’t forget about AJ McCarron, the starting quarterback on the nation’s No. 1 team. McCarron’s raw numbers won’t wow you — he ranks 64th in the nation in passing yards per game (210.9) and tied for 12th in touchdown passes (16) — but he leads the nation in passing efficiency thanks to his 68.9 completion percentage and 16-to-0 TD-to-INT ratio. The nation is now starting to realize what most savvy SEC fans have known since the middle of last season — McCarron is far more than the “game-manager” of the powerful Alabama offense. He’s one of the elite quarterbacks in the game.

3. Can Tyler Bray play well against a good team?
Tyler Bray is regarded as one of the most talented quarterbacks in the SEC. That talent, however, hasn’t translated to success against the better teams in the league. Bray, a strong-armed junior, has feasted on inferior competition throughout his career. This season, in three games vs. non-conference opponents, Bray has a quarterback rating of 183.4 (third in the league) and has averaged 348.0 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and one interception. In league play, however, those numbers plummet. His quarterback rating vs. SEC foes is 106.3 (11th in the league), and he has averaged 217.5 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions. For his career, he has nine games with at least 300 yards passing. Only two were against SEC foes, Ole Miss and Kentucky in 2010. Bray is too talented, and he has too many weapons — including two likely first-round draft picks at wide receiver — to struggle so much against quality competition.

4. Can South Carolina regain its focus?
Two weeks ago, South Carolina fans were dreaming of a national title. Now, after losses at LSU and Florida, the Gamecocks are all but eliminated from the SEC East title chase. Steve Spurrier’s challenge is to keep his team engaged for the stretch run, which begins this week with a visit from Tennessee. The Volunteers are struggling but have more than enough talent, especially on offense, to hang with Carolina in Columbia. “They’re going to come in here and throw it around probably as well as anybody we’ve played,” Spurrier said earlier this week. “They’ve got a good running game also. They've made yards against everybody they’ve played.” The Gamecocks will be seeking their third straight win against Tennessee. Since joining the SEC in 1991, Carolina has yet to win three in a row against any of its chief rivals in the SEC East — Tennessee, Florida and Georgia.

5. Can Ole Miss beat a good team?
There is no doubt that Ole Miss is one of the most improved teams in the league. The Rebels have made significant progress on both sides of the ball under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. Through seven games last year, Ole Miss ranked 116th in the nation in total offense (268.7 ypg) and 110th in total defense (442.1 ypg). This year, they rank 38th in offense (440.7 ypg) and 40th in defense (356.0 ypg). That’s impressive improvement. However, it must be noted that the Rebs have yet to beat a good team. Their four wins have come against Central Arkansas, UTEP (2–6), Tulane (1–6) and Auburn (1–6). So can this team take the next step and defeat a quality opponent? (And yes, I am considering Arkansas, at home, to be a quality opponent.)

6. Can Georgia’s defense bounce back?
Thanks in part to South Carolina’s recent slide, Georgia controls its own destiny in the SEC East. The Dawgs’ biggest hurdle is this week against Florida in Jacksonville. After that, they host Ole Miss and travel to Auburn, games in which they will be the heavy favorite. That all sounds good, but is this Georgia team good enough on defense to take advantage of the situation? Last year, in the second season of Todd Grantham’s 3–4 scheme, the Bulldogs fielded one of the elite defenses in the nation. They ranked fifth in total defense (277.2 ypg) and 23rd in scoring defense (20.6 ppg). With 10 starters back, expectations were high for this unit in 2012. But through seven games, Georgia ranks 47th nationally in total defense (367.4 ypg) and 49th in scoring defense (24.1 ppg). Over their last three games, the Dawgs have given up a total of 105 points — yet still managed to win two of those games. Last week, in a too-close-for-comfort win against Kentucky, Georgia gave up 206 yards rushing to a UK offense that had combined to run for 150 yards in its previous two games. That’s not a good sign with Florida up next. The Gators are far from elite on offense, but they do run the ball effectively, utilizing both the tailback (Mike Gillislee) and the quarterback (Jeff Driskel). Georgia has the weapons to beat Florida; it’s up to the defense to do its part.

7. What will Auburn do at quarterback?
Breaking news: Auburn’s offense is bad. How bad? Well, the Tigers rank 119th in the nation in total yards (276.7) and have averaged only 229.0 yards against SEC opponents. Last week, in a 17–13 loss at Vanderbilt, Auburn managed 212 total yards. The week before, against Ole Miss, they had 213 yards. It’s no secret that the primary area of concern has been the quarterback position. Kiehl Frazier and Clint Moseley, who have taken the majority of the snaps, have a combined three touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Moseley, who replaced Frazier as the starter prior to the Ole Miss game, has decent stats (38-of-59 for 373 yards in two games), but the offense has three total touchdowns since he was elevated to the No. 1 position. Don’t be surprised if Jonathan Wallace takes on a larger role in the coming weeks. A true freshman who has seen action in the past five games in the Wildcat package, Wallace is a dynamic athlete who might be able to ignite the Auburn attack. Last week, he completed his first career pass, a quick out that went for 11 yards. The Tigers clearly aren’t threatening defenses with their downfield passing game; it might be time to lean on Wallace and tailbacks Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb.

8. Will Missouri win its first SEC game?
Missouri’s quest for its first SEC win should come to an end this Saturday with Kentucky coming to town. The Tigers likely will be without quarterback James Franklin for one more week, but they are still nearly a two touchdown favorite to beat UK. Missouri’s 0–4 start in its new league shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Sure, losing to Vanderbilt wasn’t exactly what the Tiger faithful had in mind, but the three other losses have been against Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. Beating Kentucky this week is of paramount importance because it’s the last time Mizzou will be favored against an SEC foe. With trips to Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M looming, Gary Pinkel’s club could be staring at an 0–8 record in its maiden voyage through the league if it somehow fails to beat Kentucky.

9. Will Patrick Towles return for Kentucky?
Kentucky’s disappointing 2012 season received a jolt of electricity when Patrick Towles made his collegiate debut in the first quarter against Mississippi State on Oct. 6. Towles, a true freshman from Fort Thomas, Ky., drove the Cats 80 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown in his first drive. His presence in the lineup energized Commonwealth Stadium, giving the Wildcat faithful a reason to get excited. The fun didn’t last long. Towles was sidelined in the second quarter with a high ankle sprain that was feared, at the time, to be potentially season-ending. Towles, however, returned to practice this week and will play this week at Missouri — assuming he is able to go through all the necessary drills this week. The plan, if Towles is able to go, is to play both quarterbacks — Towles and fellow true freshman Jalen Whitlow. Senior Morgan Newton, who went 1-of-6 for four yards against Georgia last week, is also available.

10. Can Florida keep winning without a downfield passing attack?
Florida is one of the surprise teams in the nation in 2012. The Gators are well-positioned to compete for a national title just one year after stumbling through the school’s first losing SEC season since 1986. Will Muschamp’s team is getting it done with its defense and running game. At some point this season, however, the Gators must prove they can make plays in the passing game. This isn’t to say they can’t do it — they just haven’t done it yet. Consider the following: Florida ranks last in the SEC in passing plays of 10 yards or more (35) and last in passing plays of 20 yards or more (13). In their last three games, the Gators have completed only two passes that went for 20 yards or more — a 39-yarder to tight end Jordan Reed vs. South Carolina and a 21-yarder to Quinton Dunbar vs. Vanderbilt. This limited offensive attack has served Florida well to this point, but can this team win a national championship without the threat of a deep ball? Stay tuned.

@AthlonMitch

SEC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light

Kentucky (+13.5) at Missouri 

Kentucky 21-14

Missouri 31-14

Missouri 27-20

Missouri 21-14

Tennessee (+14) at S. Carolina

S. Carolina 35-21

South Carolina 34-20

S. Carolina 37-20

S. Carolina 31-20
Ole Miss (+5) at Arkansas Arkansas 28-14

Arkansas 35-30

Arkansas 34-30

Arkansas 38-30
Florida (-6.5) at Georgia Florida 27-13

Florida 24-17

Florida 24-20

Florida 24-17

Texas A&M (-14) at Auburn

Texas A&M 38-7

Texas A&M 45-17

Texas A&M 34-17

Texas A&M 30-17

UMass (+33) at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt 28-3

Vanderbilt 42-13

Vanderbilt 45-0

Vanderbilt 44-0

Mississippi St. (-23.5) at Alabama

Alabama 42-14

Alabama 35-17

Alabama 31-13

Alabama 30-17
Last week 4-2 6-0 6-0 6-0
Season 56-14 60-10 60-10 58-12

Teaser:
<p>  </p> <p> The de facto SEC East title game between Florida and Georgia in Jacksonville highlights the Week 9 schedule in the SEC. There is also a big game in the SEC West as a pair of 7–0 teams, Alabama and Mississippi State, battle in Tuscaloosa. There’s also an intriguing game in Fayetteville. Ole Miss is vastly improved, but are the Rebels good enough to beat Arkansas, which has won two straight, at Razorback Stadium?</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:01
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Two unbeatens still remain out West and one will face a major road test this weekend. But a former Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate will return to help the Beavers attempt to stay unblemished against Washington. The Ducks-Buffaloes showdown, however, shouldn't be nearly as competitive. 

Down in the South Division, both Los Angeles teams head into the desert where weird things tend to happen late in the season. Both USC and UCLA have major road tests this weekend. There is much to be determined before next weekend's Oregon-USC showdown.

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

1. The return of Sean Mannion in Seattle
It is amazing what an undefeated record can do for a busted up meniscus. Oregon State’s starting quarterback underwent knee surgery to repair his left meniscus less than three weeks ago and is now slated to start on the road against Washington. He was supposed to be miss nearly a month but will miss only two games. Cody Vaz was more than capable in his stead (506 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT), but Mannion was on track for Pac-12 Player of the Year honors before getting banged-up. And he will be needed this weekend in Seattle. The Huskies are allowing only 160.8 yards passing per game and three total touchdown passes at home in four games — which included games against San Diego State, Stanford and Matt Barkley.

2. Will the Washington offense ever wake up?
Steve Sarkisian’s offense averaged 409.8 yards and 33.4 points per game in 2011. Quarterback Keith Price was one of the best in the nation by accounting for 36 total touchdowns. One year later, this offense is 103rd in the nation in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and total offense (326.4 ypg). Certainly, U of W is one game away from wrapping up arguably the toughest five-game stretch in the nation (Stanford, at Oregon, USC, at Arizona, Oregon St). But other than 52 points against Portland State, the Huskies have scored 11 offensive touchdowns in six games against FBS opponents. Washington scored 55 offensive touchdowns last season. Good luck against the Pac-12’s No. 1 scoring defense.

3. What will Monte Kiffin do to stop Matt Scott?
USC allowed 23.6 points per game, including 41 to Arizona, and 374.8 yards per game on defense last year, ranking them 45th and 54th nationally respectively. To date, Kiffin’s defense is allowing only 16.7 points per game and 334.3 yards per game behind improved defensive line play (thanks to Morgan Breslin) and a young linebacking corps that continues to develop. And his defense may be peaking at just the right time as Arizona and Oregon are USC’s next two opponents. The Trojans have allowed two total touchdowns and have intercepted five passes in the last two games. Against Matt Scott, the league’s top offensive force at over 400 yards of offense per game, Kiffin’s bunch will have to play disciplined football to win. USC better not be looking ahead to Oregon because strange things happen in the desert this time of year.

4. Arizona must limit USC's big plays in the passing game
Matt Barkley threw for a career-high 468 yards and four touchdowns in the 48-41 win over Arizona last fall. Last week, the senior signal caller chucked six touchdowns and 298 yards with one incompletion. Arizona’s ability to limit Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Barkley in the passing game will largely determine if the Wildcats can hang around in this one. Its close losses this season (Stanford, Oregon St) have come because the secondary and pass rush couldn’t contain opposing quarterbacks. My unwanted advice? Let Silas Redd and the backfield do whatever they want but make sure you have coverage over the top on Woods and Lee.

5. How does the league's No. 1-rated defense bounce back?
Arizona State is still the league’s No. 1-rated total defense, despite allowing 406 yards rushing and 43 points to Oregon last week. So how does Will Sutton (who apparently is Superman after a knee injury last Thursday) and Brandon Magee bounce back in what could be the biggest game of the year? (Especially considering UCLA should be well rested after the bye week and won this game last fall.) They bring to Tempe one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the nation as one of only two teams in the Pac-12 to average more than 200 yards rushing and passing. Stopping the UCLA backfield, which functions similarly to that of Oregon’s, will be another tall order for Todd Graham’s bunch.

6. A must-win situation for Jeff Tedford
Utah has lost four straight games and has struggled to score points of late. Jeff Tedford has his back up against the wall in Berkeley and likely has to win three of his last four to keep his job and get to bowl eligibility. The Golden Bears thrashed the Utes last fall 34-10 and the offensive talent is far too rich on this roster for them to lose this weekend — far too rich to total three yards rushing and 217 total yards like it did last weekend in the loss to Stanford. If Cal returns home at 3-6, Tedford is staring at a potential nine-loss season. Returning home at 4-5 give his team a shot at the postseason.

7. Will Colorado cover the spread in Eugene?
Colorado was a 41-point underdog last week against USC on the road and it didn’t cover the spread in a 50-6 loss. As the Buffaloes continue to take their medicine, Colorado enters this weekend as a 46-point underdog to Oregon. How many points are enough to start placing bets on Jon Embree’s squad? The bottom line in Boulder, if fans cannot even expect their team to cover six- and seven-touchdown spreads, is don’t they have a right to scream for a change?

8. Travis Long vs. Stepfan Taylor
There may not be much to watch in the Washington State-Stanford showdown in Palo Alto. The Cardinal front seven will terrorize the Cougars' offensive line and this game could get ugly quickly as Wazzu will find the sledding extremely tough. However, there could be one great individual match-up to watch: Cougars linebacker-defensive end Travis Long and Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor. Long has been a lone bright spot for Wazzu, ranking third in the league in sacks, while Taylor is coming off of his third straight game with at least 28 carries. Keep an eye how many times No. 89 in gray and No. 33 in red get together.

Week 9 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 9 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
UCLA (+6.5) at Arizona St Arizona St, 31-30 UCLA, 27-24 UCLA, 34-31 UCLA, 21-14
Colorado (+46) at Oregon Oregon, 50-10 Oregon, 58-6 Oregon, 62-7 Oregon, 72-7
USC (-6.5) at Arizona USC, 42-35 USC, 28-24 USC, 34-27 Arizona, 35-28
Washington St (+25) at Stanford Stanford, 35-17 Stanford, 44-10 Stanford, 40-14 Stanford, 42-17
Cal (+1) at Utah Cal, 24-21 Cal, 28-17 Cal, 24-20 Utah, 17-13
Oregon St (-4.5) at Washington Oregon St, 27-17 Oregon St, 37-21 Oregon St, 27-24 Oregon St, 28-21
Last Week: 5-0 5-0 4-1 5-0
Yearly Totals: 45-15 46-14 44-16 41-19

Bye: None

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 9 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Big Ten Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 9 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 9 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 9 Upset Predictions

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The Big Ten championship could be on the line when Michigan visits Nebraska this weekend. Wisconsin has the Leaders Division all but locked up, but will likely be an underdog to their Legends Division counterpart. Therefore, the winner of this weekend's game in Lincoln will be the favorite to end the year in Pasadena. 

Big Blue and Big Red headline what appears to be a sneaky good weekend of action as Madison, Happy Valley, Evanston and Minneapolis all host games that should be close. No Big Ten game this weekend features a point spread bigger than six points.

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

1. Legends Division Championship Game
The Wolverines enter this weekend's showdown with the Cornhuskers unbeaten in league play after three straight wins, including a final-minute home victory over Michigan State. Brady Hoke's only two losses are to the No. 1 and No. 5 teams in the BCS. Nebraska is 2-1 in the league with quality wins over Northwestern and Wisconsin and one embarrassing fourth quarter against Ohio State. However, the Huskers are already a game behind with that loss — with road trips to Iowa and Michigan State still left to go — so this game has become the Legends Division Championship Game. Should the Maize and Blue get past the Cornhuskers, only a road trip to Columbus at season's end could derail Michigan's train to Pasadena. Should Big Red topple Big Blue, all bets are off and the Huskers then control their own destiny.

2. Taylor Martinez vs. Denard Robinson
It is cliché for a reason. Quarterback play can win or lose games and the position will easily be the focal point of both defenses in Lincoln on Saturday. Taylor Martinez is leading the league in passing efficiency and Hoke has praised his growth and development this fall. He is coming off of his best performance of the year on the road in the win against Northwestern (407 total yards, 4 TD) last weekend, but played horribly against Michigan last fall in the 45-17 loss (171 total yards, 1 TD). Denard Robinson is now the Big Ten’s leading rusher and tops the total offense charts as well. Both defenses will look to keep both scramblers in the pocket, so the winner will be the quarterback who can stand in the pocket and deliver third-down conversions down the field.

3. The Ineligible Bowl in Happy Valley
Penn State and Ohio State are two of the remaining three unbeaten teams in Big Ten play and neither will be playing in a bowl game. So while there is no Big Ten title game or bowl implications associated with what should be one of the best games of the weekend nationally, there could be a variety of other items hanging in the balance. Big Ten Coach of the Year has two clear-cut candidates and they will be standing opposite of each other in Happy Valley. Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is also a two-horse race and both will be (hopefully) playing quarterback in this game. And Mike Mauti could slam the door on Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors with a big performance against the Buckeyes. The atmosphere in Beaver Stadium should be electric and should feel like a Big Ten title bout. Even if the only thing on the line is bragging rights.

4. Should Braxton Miller play this weekend?
The Heisman Trophy candidate for Ohio State has to play if the Buckeyes want to stay unbeaten in Happy Valley this weekend. He has practiced, but Urban Meyer has admitted his star quarterback isn’t close to 100 percent. This leaves Meyer an extremely difficult decision to make concerning the long-term future of his program. With head and neck injuries, it is impossible to be too careful, so running Miller out there against one of the Big Ten’s most physical defenses has to raise concerns about his long-term health. Miller could easily find himself in New York as just a sophomore if he continues at this pace for four more games. But Meyer and the Buckeyes’ primary concern should be a potential national championship run in 2013. Give Miller a chance at history and an unbeaten season with no real reward at season’s end? Or protect your investment and live to fight another day? This is why Meyer makes $5 million per year.

5. Sparty-Bucky Part III lacks national appeal
Michigan State and Wisconsin has developed into one of the Big Ten’s best rivalries — in both football and basketball. These two played two epic games last fall, one of which ended on a successful Hail Mary and the other was a championship bout that sent one team to Pasadena and the other to the Outback Bowl. However, with six combined losses between them, this year's game lacks the cachet of last fall's meeting. Wisconsin feels like the better team once again this year as Sparty is struggling to find balance on offense. Montee Ball has been on a tear of late, scoring 10 times and rushing for 155.5 yards per game in Big Ten play. The Badgers are starting to catch their stride and are at home where they never lose. Mark Dantonio could go from back-to-back 11-win seasons to 2-6 in the league.

6. Will this be a special season in Evanston or not?
Northwestern is 6-2 overall but 0-2 in marquee statement games. This season still has a chance to be special in Evanston, and two more wins the rest of the way gives Pat Fitzgerald a chance at nine wins — something that has only happened once at Northwestern since 1996 (2006). However, with back-to-back road trips to the state of Michigan looming, wins over Illinois in the season finale and Iowa this weekend become must wins. Iowa, without Mark Weisman, was pushed around and abused on both sides of the ball by Penn State last weekend but the big fella is going to try to play this Saturday. This is a huge swing game for both sides and the running game will be the deciding factor.

7. The battle for last place
Indiana and Illinois are a combined 4-10 overall this year, a combined 0-6 in Big Ten play and have lost a combined nine straight games. This is the best, and possibly only, chance for either team to get a conference win in 2012. The Hoosiers own the league’s top passing offense and could triple its win total from last fall with a victory this weekend. Meanwhile, a loss for the Illini would be their tenth straight in Big Ten play. Tune in if you dare.

8. Youngsters can kick start Gophers' future this weekend
A freshman quarterback, underclassman skill players and young offensive lineman. Certainly, this Gophers offense is extremely young, but it has lots of upside and, it appears, has entered the Philip Nelson era. The gunslinger from Mankato, Minn., set prep records, won Mr. Football honors in 2011and did enough in practice to earn the start against Wisconsin. He had his good moments (67 yards rushing, two scoring strikes) and his bad moments (13 total points, two interceptions), but most importantly, seem to have the poise and leadership the position requires to be successful. Yet, Minnesota can take a major step towards a bowl game with a starting 22 littered with freshmen and sophomores if it can defeat Purdue this weekend. The training wheels have been officially removed in the Twin Cities and a reeling Boilermakers team is ripe for the picking.

Week 9 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 9 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Iowa (+6) at Northwestern N'Western, 27-24 N'Western, 24-17 N'Western, 27-20 N'Western, 28-10
Indiana (+2) at Illinois Illinois, 30-27 Indiana, 31-20 Indiana, 31-27 Indiana, 45-38
Purdue (-3) at Minnesota Minnesota, 27-24 Minnesota, 24-20 Minnesota, 27-24 Minnesota, 21-14
Michigan St (+6) at Wisconsin Wisconsin, 24-14 Wisconsin, 24-14 Wisconsin, 24-20 Wisconsin, 38-14
Ohio St (pk) at Penn St Ohio St, 27-21 Penn St, 33-28 Ohio St, 27-24 Penn St, 31-28
Michigan (+2.5) at Nebraska Michigan, 31-27 Michigan, 34-28 Michigan, 31-27 Michigan, 27-24
Last Week: 5-1 5-1 5-1 3-2
Yearly Totals: 56-12 52-16 57-11 52-16

Bye Week: None

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Big East Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 9 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 9 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

After a slow start to the season with only a handful of marquee games in September, the Big 12 has been the conference of October. The final Saturday of the month should continue to deliver.

The major game of the weekend is in Norman, where undefeated Notre Dame will face Oklahoma for the first time since 1999. The Sooners are 1-8 against the Irish with Oklahoma’s only win in 1956.

That’s a game of national significance, but conference frontrunner and BCS title contender Kansas State will have another major test when it faces surprising Texas Tech.

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

Big 12’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

Is this Landry Jones’ time to shine?
Landry Jones is starting to look more and more like the quarterback we thought he’d be this season. In his last three games, Jones has completed 65 of 105 passes for 871 yards with seven touchdowns and an interception. Notre Dame’s forte is against the run, but the Irish have intercepted four passes the last two weeks. Granted, however, Stanford’s Josh Nunes and BYU’s Riley Nelson are not nearly as established as Jones. As Oklahoma starts to creep back into the BCS picture, a win over Notre Dame will be necessary, and Jones is the Sooners’ best hope to hand Notre Dame its first loss.

Belldozer v. Notre Dame, who wins?
Notre Dame last week allowed its first offensive touchdowns since Sept. 8 against Purdue, but both were in the passing game. The Irish have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, thanks to a fourth-down stop against Stanford on the goal line two weeks ago. If Oklahoma gets into a goal-line situation, the Sooners almost certainly will turn to backup quarterback Blake Bell, who has 21 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons. It will be strength v. strength if Bell lines up against Heisman-contending linebacker Manti Te’o.

How does Kansas State handle frontrunner status?
In less than a year, Kansas State has gone from a plucky underdog to a national title contender. At the same time, Collin Klein has become a Heisman contender. The Wildcats no longer have to fight for respect or headlines -- they’ve become one of the top stories of the season. That’s not a position Bill Snyder or Kansas State has faced in more than a decade. In an odd turn of events, the sudden Big 12 favorite and BCS contender will host another underdog story featuring a productive quarterback and stifling defense in Texas Tech, perhaps the best opponent K-State will face the remainder of the regular season. By reaching the No. 3 spot in this week’s BCS standings, the Wildcats are no longer in the business of proving themselves. They’re in the business of building style points.

Can Seth Doege navigate the ballhawking Kansas State defense?
Since throwing three interceptions against Oklahoma, Seth Doege has throw 13 touchdown passes and one interception against West Virginia and TCU. Meanwhile, the Kansas State defense has made offenses at Oklahoma and West Virginia look pedestrian. Can Doege do what Landry Jones and Geno Smith couldn’t? Kansas State, meanwhile, has intercepted seven passes the last two weeks.

Are we starting to see the cracks in Texas Tech’s defense?
Texas Tech continues to lead the Big 12 in defense, but the Red Raiders are coming off a game in which they allowed 516 yards and 53 points against TCU, albeit in triple overtime. Beyond that, Tech allowed 5.8 yards per play, its highest average of the season. Was that a one-week lapse or a sign of things to come? The numbers may point to the latter. Texas Tech’s three highest yards allowed per play have come in the last three weeks, including 5.5 against Oklahoma and 4.9 against West Virginia in addition to TCU. Kansas State and Klein will bring a new test, with the most run-oriented team the Red Raiders have seen since the third week of the season against New Mexico, who like Kansas State, utilizes the option.

Will the Oklahoma State offense keep rolling behind another hobbled quarterback?
Oklahoma State remains among the national top 10 in the four major offensive categories, including No. 1 in total offense. The Cowboys’ offense, though, is scrambling for the second time this season due to an injury to the starting quarterback. Redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh sustained the knee injury that would eventually end his season in the first quarter against Iowa State, but he remained in the game to pass for 415 yards. When the severity of the injury was discovered after the game, Walsh was shut down for the remainder of the season. That likely returns the job to Wes Lunt, who began the season as the starter before a series of knee and ankle problems. If Lunt’s return is further delayed, the job will go to junior Clint Chelf. The questions at quarterback come at a critical part of the schedule as Oklahoma State faces TCU this week followed by Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

How will Nick Florence fare against an above average defense?
When Baylor has the ball, this should be one of the most interesting matchups in the Big 12. Baylor quarterback Nick Florence has flourished in road games against porous defenses from West Virginia and Texas, though both games resulted in losses. Against TCU, however, Florence threw four interceptions. His chance at redemption comes in a key game for Baylor’s postseason hopes. Winless in the Big 12, Baylor needs three more wins to get to bowl eligibility, something that’s going to be tough with Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State remaining on the schedule. Iowa State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) is in a similar situation, but if the Cyclones can’t move the ball against the Baylor defense do they really deserve to go to a bowl game?

How bad can the Texas defense get?
A matchup against Kansas should be a confidence builder for the Texas defense. In theory. The Jayhawks handed the quarterback job to redshirt freshman Michael Cummings. We could mention the 600-plus yards Texas has allowed the last two weeks, but it may say more about the Texas defense that Kansas coach Charlie Weis doesn’t mind benching his veteran starter for a redshirt freshman against the Longhorns. The situation is bad in Austin on defense, but it could get worse if the Jayhawks rookie starts putting up numbers.

Week 9 Big 12 Predictions

Week 9 Big 12 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Texas at Kansas Texas 38-21 Texas 31-17 Texas 45-10 Texas 40-10
TCU at Oklahoma State TCU 28-21 Oklahoma St. 33-27 Oklahoma St. 31-27 Oklahoma St. 34-27
Texas Tech at Kansas State Kansas State 35-21 Kansas State 35-24 Kansas State 34-31 Kansas State 35-27
Baylor at Iowa State Baylor 34-31 Iowa State 27-24 Baylor 34-30 Iowa State 38-34
Notre Dame at Oklahoma Notre Dame 21-14 Oklahoma 21-20 Oklahoma 27-20 Oklahoma 20-17
Last week 3-2 3-2 3-2 4-1
Overall 39-9 37-11 37-11 39-9

by David Fox

@davidfox615

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 8
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Top Heisman Trophy Contenders After Week 8

Teaser:
<p> Big 12 Week 9 Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:56
Path: /college-football/acc-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

With the final month of the season almost here, every week is a crucial one to sort out the pecking order in the ACC. The Coastal Division is wide open, with Duke currently leading the standings with a 3-1 record. Miami and Virginia Tech have a bye week, which makes Saturday's game for the Blue Devils against Florida State even more important. Duke is a heavy underdog and a loss to the Seminoles would leave the top three contenders with two losses in conference play. The game of the week has to be the battle for bragging rights in North Carolina, as the Tar Heels and Wolfpack meet on Saturday. NC State has won five in a row in this series, but North Carolina is hungry to end that losing streak this season.

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 9

How will Florida State replace Chris Thompson?
Chris Thompson was one of the ACC’s best stories through the first half of the season, as he returned from a serious back injury last year to rank as one of the conference’s leading rushers. Unfortunately for Thompson and Florida State, he suffered an ACL tear against Miami and is out for the rest of the year. While losing Thompson is a blow to the rushing attack, the Seminoles have depth in the backfield. Sophomore Devonta Freeman has rushed for 70 yards in back-to-back games, while James Wilder Jr. has 369 yards and seven touchdowns this year. There’s no doubt Florida State will miss Thompson’s all-around ability and leadership. However, with Freeman, Wilder and quarterback EJ Manuel picking up the slack on the ground, the Seminoles’ rushing attack shouldn’t miss a beat.

Can North Carolina end a five-game losing streak to NC State?
With the Tar Heels banned from postseason play, there’s no doubt this matchup against their in-state rival is one of the games they circled on the calendar at the beginning of the season. North Carolina has lost five straight matchups to the Wolfpack, including a 13-0 defeat in Raleigh last season. New coach Larry Fedora knows the importance of this game and decorated the player’s locker room in NC State colors to add extra emphasis to Saturday’s matchup. In order for the Tar Heels to snap the losing streak, they have to find a way to slow down Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon. North Carolina ranks 11th in conference play in pass defense and has generated only four sacks against ACC opponents. That type of defensive effort won’t be enough to win on Saturday, especially with Glennon averaging 335.3 passing yards a game in his last three contests. There’s no shortage of firepower on North Carolina’s offense, but the only way North Carolina snaps the losing streak to NC State has to come in the form of better defense.

Is this the year Duke beats Florida State?
Considering the Blue Devils have already ended a streak of 16 seasons with a losing record, why not break another mark? Even though it’s clear Duke is a much-improved team under David Cutcliffe, winning in Tallahassee is a difficult assignment. The Blue Devils have lost all 17 meetings against Florida State and only one game has been decided by less than 20 points. One of the key reasons for Duke’s success this year has been an improved rushing attack and a defense that is generating 2.4 sacks a game. Establishing a ground game against Florida State won’t be easy, as the Seminoles rank No. 2 nationally in rush defense. If the Blue Devils can’t establish any balance on offense, they will have no shot at winning this game. When Duke’s defense is on the field, it has to find a way slow down a Florida State offense averaging 520.1 yards per game. Although the Blue Devils are on the right track, winning in Tallahassee is simply too much to ask in 2012.

Will Georgia Tech struggle to establish its rushing attack?
The Yellow Jackets step out of conference play for an intriguing matchup against BYU this Saturday. The Cougars have been stingy on defense all season, as only one opponent has managed to score more than 24 points. BYU also ranks eighth nationally against the run and is allowing just 2.9 yards per carry. One of the key reasons for the Cougars’ success against the run is an active group of linebackers, led by standout Kyle Van Noy. While the Cougars have been tough to run against all season, they have not played an option team since playing Air Force on Sept. 11, 2010. Preparing for an option offense late in the season is no easy task, which should allow Georgia Tech to have a slight advantage on Saturday. However, BYU’s defensive front has 60 tackles for a loss this season and needs to force the Yellow Jackets into third-and-long situations. While there’s no question Georgia Tech has to run the ball well to win, quarterbacks Tevin Washington and Vad Lee also have to make timely throws to keep the defense off balance. Considering BYU has struggled with turnovers this year, it’s also important for the Yellow Jackets to not make any mistakes and give the Cougars’ offense a short field to work with.

NC State’s run defense vs. Giovani Bernard
Even though North Carolina and NC State rank in the top 30 nationally of scoring defense, there should be no shortage of points on Saturday. NC State has won the last five matchups in this series, but with North Carolina banned from postseason play, the players likely consider this matchup their bowl game for 2012. If the Wolfpack expect to extend their winning streak over the Tar Heels, they have to slow down Giovani Bernard. The sophomore is averaging 194 yards per game in his last three contests but managed only 47 yards on 18 attempts against NC State last year. The Wolfpack has allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers in its last two ACC games but has held conference opponents to only three rushing scores in 2012. Not only is Bernard one of the nation’s best backs, but he will be running behind one of college football’s top offensive lines. The battle in the trenches will be crucial to the outcome of this game. If North Carolina establishes Bernard, it should open up more passing opportunities for quarterback Bryn Renner. If the Wolfpack shut down Bernard, the Tar Heels will have an uphill battle to knock off their in-state rival.

What is Maryland’s plan at quarterback?
The Terrapins suffered another blow to their quarterback depth last week, as true freshman Perry Hills was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Losing Hills is a significant setback to a team that already lost No. 1 quarterback C.J. Brown in the preseason due to a knee injury. With Hills sidelined for the year, sophomore Devin Burns and true freshman Caleb Rowe were expected to share snaps. Burns – a converted wide receiver – threw for 47 yards and rushed for 50 yards and one score last week. However, Burns was ruled out for the year on Thursday night, leaving Rowe as Maryland's only scholarship quarterback. Rowe completed both of his passes for 50 yards last Saturday and nearly led the Terrapins to a game-winning field goal. Considering Maryland has struggled to establish its ground attack all year, Burns’ presence should help spark the rushing game. However, the offense also needs more help from running backs Wes Brown, Albert Reid and Justus Pickett. With Rowe taking over, it’s also important for the defense to continue playing at its current pace and limit opposing teams to around 300 yards a game.

Last chance at a win for Boston College this year?
With a schedule that features games at Wake Forest and NC State, along with home dates against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, Saturday’s matchup against Maryland is probably Boston College’s best shot at a win the rest of the season. The Eagles are riding a five-game losing streak and have lost their last three ACC games by at least 14 points. A major culprit of the struggles has been the play of the defense. Boston College ranks 119th nationally against the run and 117th in total defense. Considering Maryland has struggled on offense most of the season and lost its starting quarterback last week, the Eagles need to jump out to an early lead and put pressure on two inexperienced passers. Coach Frank Spaziani has little chance to retain his job next year, but this team needs to find something over the last five games to build on for 2013.


Week 9 ACC Predictions

Week 9 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Clemson at Wake Forest Clemson 42-27 Clemson 45-17 Clemson 34-17 Clemson 31-10
NC State at North Carolina UNC 35-21 UNC 28-24 NC State 31-27 UNC 28-27
Maryland at Boston College BC 10-7 Maryland 31-20 Maryland 24-20 BC 21-20
BYU at Georgia Tech Ga. Tech 35-10 Ga. Tech 31-28 Ga. Tech 27-24 Ga. Tech 28-20
Duke at Florida State Florida State 28-17 Florida State 34-20 Florida State 38-17 Florida State 38-20
Last Week: 4-2 4-2 4-2 5-1
Season Record: 52-13 51-14 49-16 54-11


by Steven Lassan

@athlonsteven


Related College Football Content

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College Football's Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections

College Football's Heisman Contenders After Week 8

Teaser:
<p> ACC Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:55
Path: /college-football/big-east-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The three-game round robin between Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers may still determine the Big East championship, but some of the luster is gone after the MAC bit the Big East again this season as Toledo upset previously undefeated Cincinnati last week.

The Bearcats will try to rebound this week with they face undefeated Louisville for the Keg of Nails, but the prospect of a Friday night marquee matchup between undefeated teams is long gone. Louisville and Rutgers remain unbeaten, but while the Cardinals face the Bearcats, the Scarlet Knights -- like Cincinnati a week ago -- catch another MAC team with only one loss.

Other Week 9 Previews and Predictions

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

Big East’s Top Storylines to Watch in Week 9:

Where does the Cincinnati defense go without Walter Stewart?

Last week, Cincinnati missed defensive end Walter Stewart, a contender for Big East defensive player of the year, in the loss to Toledo, although the Bearcats’ offensive inconsistency may have been more to blame for the 29-23 loss. Either way, Cincinnati will have to put the pressure on Teddy Bridgewater this week without their star pass rusher. Stewart will miss this week’s game against Louisville as he gets a second opinion on what’s been described as an “upper body injury.” Dan Giordano, the starter on the other side of the line, is a veteran, but he has only 2.5 sacks this season, tied for the team lead. Fellow end Elijah Shuler, Stewart’s replacement, is a junior college transfer.

Will Louisville’s newfound pass rush continue against he mobile Munchie Legaux?
Led by end Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville had five sacks two weeks ago against Pittsburgh and four last week against USF. Against Pitt and sack-prone Tino Sunseri, that wasn’t a huge surprise, even though Louisville managed only five sacks in the first five games. However, last week, the Cardinals limited USF quarterback B.J. Daniels to zero rushing yards (he gained 34 and lost the same on sacks). Cincinnati’s Munchie Legaux can move a little bit, but he’s also liable to make a mistake while on the run.

Where did Louisville’s run game go?
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater led Louisville in rushing last week with 74 yards on 10 carries, the best day of his career in the ground game. That’s great, but it’s probably not what the Cardinals want their star quarterback to be doing on a regular basis. Senorise Perry (11 carries, 27 yards) and Jeremy Wright (11 carries, 29 yards) had trouble breaking the big play against USF, though each contributed a rushing touchdown. Perry, especially, had been a key player for the Cardinals with back-to-back 100-yard games with six touchdowns against Southern Miss and Pittsburgh. Charlie Strong may want to get back to that balance and take some of the pressure off Bridgewater.

Why should Rutgers be on upset alert against the Big East’s new nemesis, the MAC?
The Big East has gone 4-3 against the MAC this season with Cincinnati losing to Toledo, Connecticut losing to Western Michigan and USF losing to Ball State. All of those losses occurred on the road, but this is not a trend the Big East can afford to continue as it tries to rebuild its image. Rutgers faces Kent State at home, but this is not the typical Golden Flashes team. Under former Scarlet Knights and Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell, Kent State is 6-1 and 4-0 in the MAC. Rutgers will need to be alert in all phases of the game. Dri Archer leads the nation in all-purpose yards (687 rushing, 278 receiving, 11 touchdowns from scrimmage, one touchdown pass and three kickoff returns for TDs). His game isn’t all that different from FIU’s T.Y. Hilton, who torched Rutgers in 2009 and Louisville a year ago. On defense, Kent State has an undersized but disruptive defensive tackle in Roosevelt Nix (18 career sacks, nine forced fumbles). Kent State lost 47-14 to Kentucky in the second week of the season, so the record might not be as good as it looks, but there’s plenty here to concern even an undefeated Rutgers.

Which run defense will show up for Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is getting healthier in some spots (linebackers Todd Thomas and Dan Mason) and getting banged up in others (linebacker Manny Williams). That means plenty of questions against Temple’s run-oriented offense led by Montel Harris and quarterback Chris Coyer. As up-and-down as Pitt has been on offense, it’s been the same against the run. Pitt allowed Louisville to rush for five touchdowns two weeks ago but held Virginia Tech to 59 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Pitt’s run defense has been something of a barometer for the Panthers season -- Pitt is 0-3 when allowing a rushing touchdown and 3-0 when keeping runners out of the end zone. That’s going to be tough against Temple.

Has Syracuse turned a corner or is Connecticut just that bad?
Syracuse hasn’t won consecutive games in a year and hasn’t won consecutive Big East games in two. There’s a chance to change that this week when the Orange face struggling USF. Syracuse was dominant against Connecticut at home last week, putting up 500 yards for the third time this season. It was the most complete game of a season that’s included a 42-41 shootout with Northwestern, a sloppy 17-10 loss to Minnesota and a 14-13 defensive struggle with Pitt. Did a 30-point win at home help Syracuse build some confidence? The numbers should point to quarterback Ryan Nassib, the Big East leader in total offense, feasting on the worst defense in the conference, but these two teams have not been predictable through the first two months this season.

Week 9 Big East Predictions:

Week 9 Big East Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Cincinnati at Louisville Louisville 31-24 Louisville 31-17 Louisville 31-24 Louisville 30-20
Temple at Pittsburgh Temple 21-20 Pitt 27-20 Pitt 27-17 Pitt 21-17
Kent State at Rutgers Rutgers 35-13 Rutgers 31-20 Rutgers 31-13 Rutgers 21-10
Syracuse at USF Syracuse 35-14 USF 27-24 Syracuse 30-27 USF 24-20
Last week 4-1 4-1 4-1 4-1
Overall 32-12 31-13 29-15 30-14

by David Fox

@DavidFox615

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 8
Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections

Top Heisman Trophy Contenders After Week 8

Teaser:
<p> Big East Week 9 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-8
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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 8 Fantasy Football Rankings

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

Week 8 Start or Sit

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Note: Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston 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 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:50
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-8
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.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. JAC Reigning MVP has 16 TDs, 2 INTs last 4 games.
2 Drew Brees NO at DEN Four straight games w/ at least 3 TD passes.
3 Peyton Manning DEN vs. NO Has three straight 300-3 performances.
4 Tom Brady NE vs. STL (London) Only one game w/ 3+ TD passes so far.
5 Robert Griffin III WAS at PIT Steelers No. 1 in passing defense.
6 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. WAS Redskins worst in NFL against pass.
7 Matt Ryan ATL at PHI Looking to put Week 6 (1 TD, 3 INTs) behind him.
8 Eli Manning NYG at DAL Only had 213 yards, 1 TD vs. Cowboys in Week 1.
9 Andrew Luck IND at TEN Titans have allowed 16 TD passes vs. 5 INTs.
10 Michael Vick PHI vs. ATL Is his job on the line against Falcons?
11 Tony Romo DAL vs. NYG Put up 307-3-1 against Giants in Week 1.
12 Cam Newton CAR at CHI Has just one 300-yard game to this point.
13 Philip Rivers SD at CLE Extra week to stew on 6 TOs vs. Broncos.
14 Carson Palmer OAK at KC Averaging 40+ pass attempts per game.
15 Matthew Stafford DET vs. SEA Has more INTs (6) than TDs (5).
16 Jay Cutler CHI vs. CAR Will his ribs be an issue against Panthers?
17 Josh Freeman TB at MIN (Thurs.) Has thrown for 728 yds., 6 TDs in last two games.
18 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. IND Gets 4th straight start, looking for 3 Ws in a row.
19 Alex Smith SF at ARI (Mon.) Has thrown 1 TD pass vs. 4 INTs in last two games.
20 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. SD Has posted 6:3 TD:INT ratio over last three games.
21 Sam Bradford STL vs. NE (London) Rams' passing attack been inconsistent all season.
22 Christian Ponder MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Only 58 yds. (1 TD, 2 INTs) last week vs. Cardinals.
23 Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. MIA Threw for season-high 328 yds. last week vs. Pats.
24 Russell Wilson SEA at DET Has 2:7 TD:INT ratio on road vs. 6:1 at home.
25 Ryan Tannehill MIA at NYJ Rookie has just 4 TD passes (6 INTs) thus far.
26 John Skelton ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Cardinal QBs have been sacked 35 times already.

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 8 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:49
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-8
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.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. ATL Falcons allowing 143.8 rushing yards per game.
2 Jamaal Charles KC vs. OAK Had just 40 yards rushing vs. Bucs in last game.
3 Matt Forte CHI vs. CAR Has 203 yards rushing in past two games combined.
4 Ryan Mathews SD at CLE Browns are 27th against run.
5 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Bucs have allowed only one 100-yard rusher so far.
6 Marshawn Lynch SEA at DET Ran for 103 on the road vs. 49ers last week.
7 Darren McFadden OAK at KC Has only one game with more than 70 yards rushing.
8 Chris Johnson TEN vs. IND After slow start, CJ averaging 112.8 ypg over last four.
9 Willis McGahee DEN vs. NO Saints allowing most fantasy points to RBs.
10 Frank Gore SF at ARI (Mon.) Ran roughshod (131 yds.) vs. Seahawks, ribs OK?
11 Alfred Morris WAS at PIT No. 2 rusher vs. No. 5 rush defense.
12 Reggie Bush MIA at NYJ Only had 61 yds. last game vs. Jets (injured knee).
13 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at DAL Producing on Sundays, but foot remains an issue.
14 Doug Martin TB at MIN (Thurs.) Averaging 125+ total yards over last two games.
15 Michael Turner ATL at PHI Eagles have allowed only 2 rushing TDs.
16 Stevan Ridley NE vs. STL (London) Still lead back, but getting fewer carries.
17 Darren Sproles NO at DEN Still looking for first rushing TD of season.
18 Rashad Jennings JAC at GB His time to shine with MJD sidelined (sprained foot).
19 Steven Jackson STL vs. NE (London) Patriots are ninth against the run.
20 Trent Richardson CLE vs. SD Rib injury clearly worse than he let on, timeshare coming?
21 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. MIA Held to just 40 yards vs. Dolphins in Week 3.
22 Vick Ballard IND at TEN Titans are 28th against run.
23 Mikel Leshoure DET vs. SEA Last week Bears (No. 2 vs. run), this week 'Hawks (No. 7).
24 Felix Jones DAL vs. NYG Expected to start despite bruised knee.
25 Jonathan Dwyer PIT vs. WAS May keep starting job even after others are healthy.
26 Alex Green GB vs. JAC Packers just not running the ball a lot right now.
27 Jonathan Stewart CAR at CHI Reports are he could become Panthers' lead back.
28 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Busted out (159 total yds.) last week, but 49ers on tap.
29 Pierre Thomas NO at DEN  
30 Montario Hardesty CLE vs. SD Keep eye on Richardson's status/rib injury.
31 Michael Bush CHI vs. CAR Not getting as many opportunities with Forte back.
32 Daryl Richardson STL vs. NE (London) Averaging nearly 10 carries per over last three games.
33 Rashard Mendenhall PIT vs. WAS Has chance (Achilles) to play this week.
34 Kendall Hunter SF at ARI (Mon.)  
35 Danny Woodhead NE vs. STL (London)  
36 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at PHI Hasn't seen many opportunities last two games.
37 Phillip Tanner DAL vs. NYG Should get his carries even with Jones expected to start.
38 Andre Brown NYG at DAL Resumed backup role to Bradshaw in first game back.
39 Shane Vereen NE vs. STL (London) Got start last week vs. Jets, Patriots like to use all RBs.
40 DeAngelo Williams CAR at CHI Only eight carries in last two games combined.
41 Jamie Harper TEN vs. IND Been used in goal-line situations recently.
42 Mark Ingram NO at DEN  
43 William Powell ARI vs. SF (Mon.) LSH appears to have taken control of Cards' No. 1 job.
44 Joique Bell DET vs. SEA  
45 Ronnie Hillman DEN vs. NO  
46 Daniel Thomas MIA at NYJ  
47 LeGarrette Blount TB at MIN (Thurs.)  
48 Isaac Redman PIT vs. WAS Chance he (ankle) could play. Monitor status.

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 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:48
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-8
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.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. SEA From one physical secondary (CHI) to another (SEA).
2 Percy Harvin MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Vikings getting ball to Harvin any way they can.
3 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. CAR Has seen 27 targets (16 rec.) in last 2 games combined.
4 Victor Cruz NYG at DAL Leads all wide receivers in fantasy scoring.
5 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. NO Big target could be big problem for Saints' secondary.
6 Jordy Nelson GB vs. JAC Has 17 catches, 243 yards and 4 TDs in last two games.
7 Marques Colston NO at DEN Has five touchdowns in past three games.
8 Reggie Wayne IND at TEN Career vs. Titans: 90 rec., 1,208 yds. 8 TDs (20 games).
9 Mike Wallace PIT vs. WAS Redskins allowing most fantasy points to WRs.
10 Roddy White ATL at PHI Sixth in league in with 92.2 ypg.
11 Vincent Jackson TB at MIN (Thurs.) Posted 7-216-1 in loss to Saints last week.
12 Julio Jones ATL at PHI Tied for team lead with 4 TD catches.
13 Wes Welker NE vs. STL (London) Averaging 11.5 targets per game since Week 1.
14 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Poor pass protection hampering Cards' aerial production.
15 Miles Austin DAL vs. NYG His 4 career TDs vs. Giants are most against any team.
16 Eric Decker DEN vs. NO Saints allowing third-most fantasy points to WRs.
17 Randall Cobb GB vs. JAC Averaging 91 ypg and has 3 TDs over last three games.
18 Antonio Brown PIT vs. WAS Leads Steelers in targets (57) and receptions (36).
19 Hakeem Nicks NYG at DAL Just six catches for 28 yards in Week 1 loss to Cowboys.
20 Dez Bryant DAL vs. NYG Groin injury seemed to hinder him against Panthers.
21 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. ATL Just one TD catch and six receptions of 20+ yards so far.
22 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. OAK Can he and new starter Quinn get on the same page?
23 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. ATL Says he is completely over hip pointer injury.
24 Steve Smith CAR at CHI Bears' secondary figures to be tough task.
25 Denarius Moore OAK at KC Just one game with more than 71 yards receiving.
26 James Jones GB vs. JAC Held out of end zone for first time in four games last week.
27 Malcom Floyd SD at CLE Browns allowing second-most fantasy points to WRs.
28 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. STL (London) Pats' recent game plans not been kind to Lloyd.
29 Kenny Britt TEN vs. IND Appears to be healthy, breakout coming?
30 Lance Moore NO at DEN Had season-high nine catches, 121 yards last week.
31 Josh Gordon CLE vs. SD Weeden's top target for the time being.
32 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. MIA Establishing himself as viable deep threat.
33 Mike Williams TB at MIN (Thurs.) Saw streak of 100-yard games end at two last week.
34 Michael Crabtree SF at ARI (Mon.) Only 57 yards receiving combined last two games.
35 Brandon Gibson STL vs. NE (London) Patriots have allowed 10 TD passes to WRs.
36 Nate Washington TEN vs. IND Caught game-winning TD vs. Bills last week.
37 Santana Moss WAS at PIT Had first 2-TD game since Dec. 2010 last week.
38 Brian Hartline MIA at NYJ Didn't catch a single pass in last game vs. Rams.
39 Titus Young DET vs. SEA Huge opportunity with Burleson (leg) done for year.
40 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at KC Seems to be getting back into the flow.
41 Andre Roberts ARI vs. SF (Mon.) Caught fifth TD pass last week.
42 Chris Givens STL vs. NE (London) Vertical threat could be a factor against Patriots.
43 Donnie Avery IND at TEN Titans are 30th against the pass.
44 Sidney Rice SEA at DET  
45 Stephen Hill NYJ vs. MIA Three touchdowns in as many games played.
46 Kendall Wright TEN vs. IND  
47 Cecil Shorts JAC at GB Probably better option with Gabbert rather than Henne.
48 Brandon LaFell CAR at CHI  
49 Greg Little CLE vs. SD Plagued by drops, but has caught last nine thrown to him.
50 Leonard Hankerson WAS at PIT Led team in receptions (6 for 70 yds.) last week.
51 Robert Meachem SD at CLE  
52 Davone Bess MIA at NYJ  
53 Devery Henderson NO at DEN Has 11 receptions, 198 yards, TD in last two games.
54 Mario Manningham SF at ARI (Mon.)  
55 T.Y. Hilton IND at TEN  
56 Brandon Stokley DEN vs. NO Crafty vet has three TDs in last four games.
57 Devin Hester CHI vs. JAC  
58 Justin Blackmon JAC at CHI Jags still looking for first-round pick to make an impact.
59 Emmanuel Sanders PIT vs. WAS  
60 Randy Moss SF at ARI (Mon.) Has a total of four catches in last four games.
61 Kevin Ogletree DAL vs. NYG Could be in danger of losing No. 3 job to Dwayne Harris.
62 Michael Jenkins MIN vs. TB (Thurs.)  
63 Ryan Broyles DET vs. SEA Should see more playing time w/ Burleson sidelined.
64 Jon Baldwin KC vs. OAK

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 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:37
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-8
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.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. STL (London) Hauled in two TDs vs. Jets last week.
2 Tony Gonzalez ATL at PHI Still leads all TEs in receptions with 43.
3 Jimmy Graham NO at DEN Surprise scratch last week, back this week?
4 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. STL (London)  
5 Antonio Gates SD at CLE Caught 2 TD passes in last game (Week 6).
6 Vernon Davis SF at ARI (Mon.) First game with no catches since 2008.
7 Jason Witten DAL vs. NYG Had 3 rec. for 10 yds. in Week 1 vs. Giants.
8 Heath Miller PIT vs. WAS No. 4 in fantasy scoring among TEs.
9 Martellus Bennett NYG at DAL Put up 6-40-1 vs. Cowboys in Week 1.
10 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. TB (Thurs.) Four targets, 0 receptions last week.
11 Brent Celek PHI vs. ATL  
12 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. MIA Had best game (7-93-1) last week.
13 Greg Olsen CAR at CHI  
14 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. SEA  
15 Jared Cook TEN vs. IND Colts allowing fewest fantasy pts. to TEs.
16 Brandon Myers OAK at KC Led Raiders in receptions with 7 last week.
17 Jacob Tamme DEN vs. NO  
18 Jermichael Finley GB vs. JAC Shoulder continues to hamper production.
19 Coby Fleener IND at TEN Titans allowing most fantasy pts. to TEs.
20 Joel Dreessen DEN vs. NO  
21 Dwayne Allen IND at TEN  
22 Anthony Fasano MIA at NYJ  
23 Marcedes Lewis JAC at GB  
24 Dallas Clark TB at MIN (Thurs.) Put up 5-51-1 last week vs. Saints.
25 Logan Paulsen WAS at PIT Takes Fred Davis' (Achilles - IR) starting spot.
26 Lance Kendricks STL vs. NE (London)

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 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:36
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-college-basketball-countdown-colonial-athletic-association-preview
Body:

Athlon Sports continues its countdown to the start of the 2012-13 basketball season, which begins with the first games on Nov. 9, with a countdown of the nation’s top conferences. We will release one conference preview each day, counting down to the top conference. For profiles of every team in each conference, check out the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store.

With the Colonial Athletic Association in flux, new blood could represent the league in the NCAA Tournament.

This year, with VCU having departed for the Atlantic 10 and Old Dominion ineligible for the CAA title as it prepares to leave for Conference USA, the door is open for some redemption for Drexel.

Drexel set a school record for wins last season, hit the 20-victory plateau for the second straight year and won the CAA’s regular-season title. But the Dragons didn’t win the conference tournament and missed the NCAA Tournament for the 16th consecutive season.

The path is as clear as its been for Drexel, which has contended for a Tournament slot for several seasons, but it’s not automatic. Delaware has its own Tourney drought (since 1999) it hopes to end thanks to one of the highest-scoring duos in the conference.

Traditional CAA contenders George Mason and Old Dominion, which is still eligible for an NCAA at-large spot, are rebuilding to various degrees, but they can’t be counted out.

ATHLON ALL-COLONIAL TEAM COLONIAL FACTS AND FIGURES
G Frantz Massenat, Drexel* 2011-12 regular season champion: Drexel
G Devon Saddler, Delaware 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: VCU#
F Keith Rendleman, UNC Wilmington New coaches: None
F Jamelle Hagins, Delaware Realignment: Lost VCU to the Atlantic 10
C DeShawn Painter, Old Dominion  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion


 

 

 

 

2012-13 COLONIAL PREVIEW
1. Drexel (29-8, 16-2)
Drexel enters the 2012-13 basketball season as the overwhelming favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons lost only Sammie Givens from last year’s 29–7 squad and return four starters including point guard Frantz Massenat and ’11-12 CAA Rookie of the Year Damion Lee. The Dragons, as usual, got it done on the defensive end last year, leading the CAA in allowing just 56.1 points per game. Offensively, Drexel averaged a modest 65.3 points per game, eighth best total in the league. That’s the most a Flint-coached team has scored in six years, since the 2006-07 version averaged 66.5 points per outing. The jump in offense came, largely, from the continued development of Massenat, who shot well from outside. Forwards Daryl McCoy and Dartaye Ruffin return to give Drexel the size and muscle in the paint. The Dragons can rely on Chris Fouch, one of four players who averaged double-digits in scoring last season, coming off the bench again.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One & Done

2. Delaware (18-14, 12-6)
Coach Monte Ross posted his best record since taking over Delaware’s basketball program before the 2006-07 season. It was also the best mark for any Blue Hens team since winning 20 games in 2000-01, the year before they joined the CAA. Delaware should take the next step by challenging for a league title. The Hens’ talented backcourt of Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt is a big part of the reason why. Saddler, a second-team All-CAA pick last year, was second in the league in scoring, putting up 18.8 points per game. Threatt came on strong as his freshman year went on, added 10.7 points per game. Add to that, Jamelle Hagins, also a second-team all-conference pick, has steadily become more and more of an offensive threat for the Hens. In addition to leading the CAA in rebounding (11.1 rpg) and finishing second in blocked shots (3.0 bpg), Hagins has become a primary scoring option for Delaware in the post.
Postseason prediction: NIT

3. George Mason (24–9, 14–4)
The coaching change from Jim Larranaga to Paul Hewitt didn’t throw the Patriots off track. George Mason won 20 games for the fourth time in the last five years. Now the Patriots are dealing with the loss of three key players — Andre Cornelius, Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson. That group helped Mason lead the CAA in offense, averaging 70.4 points per game. The return of the athletic and talented Johnny Williams and the addition of Seton Hall transfer Anali Okoloji should help. Williams could be an all-conference player a year after missing the season due to shoulder surgery.
 
4. Old Dominion (22–14, 13–5)
The Monarchs lose their top three scorers from last season in Kent Bazemore, Chris Cooper and Trian Illiadis. That trio combined for 34.4 points per game. But if there is one thing that has been a trademark of Blaine Taylor’s program, it’s been consistency. ODU reached 20 wins for the seventh time in the last nine seasons. Expect Nick Wright to help continue that trend. Last year, as always, the Monarchs were one of the CAA’s top teams in the paint. They led the league with 40.2 rebounds per game, beating opponents on the glass by 6.1 boards per night. The addition of DeShawn Painter, a transfer from NC State, should keep ODU near the top of the charts when it comes to rebounding. The Monarchs, however, will not be eligible for the CAA title due to their impending move to Conference USA (’13-14).
 
5. Northeastern (14–7, 9–9)
The Huskies’ lineup boasts a trio of players with all-league talent in Jonathan Lee, Joel Smith and Quincy Ford. That group combined to average nearly 40 points per game. They did lose Kauri Black, Alwayne Bigby and Ryan Pierson, all players who started multiple games last year but transferred in the offseason. Still, with their top four scorers back from last season, Bill Coen’s team should improve on its offensive production. Last season, the Huskies were 10th in the CAA averaging just 62.6 points per game. If Coen can integrate his five newcomers with the returning core, Northeastern could be a contender.
 
6. Hofstra (10–22, 3–15)
No CAA team is harder to get a handle on this offseason than Hofstra. The Pride lost its top players in Mike Moore and Nathaniel Lester and solid contributors in Dwan McMillan and Shamiye McLendon. Moore led the league in scoring, putting up 19.9 points per game. Lester was eighth in the CAA at 14.6 points per game. But Hofstra adds a ton of transfer talent, including UConn’s Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Penn State’s Taran Buie and Fresno State’s Daquan Brown, all of whom sat out last year. If Hawaii’s Shaquille Stokes is ruled eligible for this season, Mo Cassara’s team might have the pieces to challenge the CAA’s upper-echelon squads.
 
7.  James Madison (12–20, 5–13)
This could be Matt Brady’s last chance to turnaround the Dukes’ basketball program. He’ll make a run at it with his most veteran, experienced lineup during his time at JMU, a group led by point guard Devon Moore and athletic wing A.J. Davis. Forward Rayshawn Goins is back from injury and in the best shape of his college career, checking in at under 270 pounds for the first time in his JMU tenure. The Dukes need Enoch Hood to develop into a presence in the post. Brady has high hopes for freshman Ron Curry to contribute this year. Of course, the Dukes will need to avoid the injuries that have plagued the program since Brady took over.
 
8. Georgia State (22–12, 11–7)
The Panthers lose four starters and two of their top bench players. And they get to rebuild with an early-season trip to Duke. Devonta White, who averaged 12.9 points per game, returns. And Georgia State has loaded up on transfers, including Virginia Tech’s Manny Atkins and USC’s Curtis Washington. In all, the Panthers are adding four transfers and five incoming freshmen to rebuild. Georgia State had the second-best scoring defense in the CAA last year, giving up 58.9 points per game. It led the league in blocked shots, ranked second in steals and was stout on the perimeter. Opponents shot just 31.5 percent from 3-point range, third lowest mark in the league.

9. William & Mary (6–26, 4–14)
Guard Marcus Thornton had a strong rookie year. The Tribe will need him to avoid a sophomore slump this season as they try to replace the production of Quinn McDowell. Getting Kyle Gaillard back should help. Gaillard missed all of last season redshirting with an injury. Those two combined with Tim Rusthoven, Brandon Britt and Matt Rum give the Tribe an experienced core that knows how to play in coach Tony Shaver’s system.

10. Towson (1–31, 1–17)
Pat Skerry’s revival effort continues. He’s got a way to go. This season, the Tigers are not eligible for the postseason because of their lack of performance in the APR. And they lost three starters. Leading scorer Robert Nwankwo graduated, Deon Jones transferred, and Erique Gumbs won’t play due to a medical condition. So Skerry and Towson will turn to a trio of Big East transfers (Georgetown’s Jerrelle Benimon, South Florida’s Mike Burwell and Providence’s Bilal Dixon) to try to be competitive while the young coach reshapes his program. Marcus Damas returns after matching Nwankwo’s production of 12.5 points per game last year. Kris Walden will need to take a step forward.
 
11. UNC Wilmington (10–21, 5–13)
The Seahawks are again in a state of flux. They lost three players who transferred out, three of their top four scorers from last season. The defections included promising young scorer Adam Smith (Virginia Tech), who scored 13.7 points per game as a rookie, second on the team. They add a Big East transfer in Rutgers’ Tyree Graham. The biggest news might be that top player Keith Rendleman will play this season. With UNC-W not eligible for the CAA Tournament because of a poor showing under the NCAA’s APR metric, Rendleman had considered redshirting this year. But the all-conference forward told coach Buzz Peterson in June he would play.

@AthlonSports

More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

Teaser:
<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Countdown: Colonial Athletic Association Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:35
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-8
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.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. STL (London)
2 David Akers SF at ARI (Mon.)
3 Blair Walsh MIN vs. TB (Thurs.)
4 Matt Bryant ATL at PHI
5 Lawrence Tynes NYG at DAL
6 Greg Zuerlein STL vs. NE (London)
7 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at KC
8 Jason Hanson DET vs. SEA
9 Robbie Gould CHI vs. CAR
10 Mason Crosby GB vs. JAC
11 Matt Prater DEN vs. NO
12 Phil Dawson CLE vs. SD
13 Garrett Hartley NO at DEN
14 Dan Bailey DAL vs. NYG
15 Alex Henery PHI vs. ATL
16 Rob Bironas TEN vs. IND

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 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:35
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-8
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.

Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Houston are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Chicago Bears vs. CAR Bears looking to add to Panthers' woes.
2 San Francisco 49ers at ARI (Mon.) 49ers could seize control of NFC West with W.
3 Green Bay Packers vs. JAC Jaguars will be w/o MJD, possibly Gabbert too.
4 Seattle Seahawks at DET Hawks allowing 16 ppg on road.
5 Minnesota Vikings vs. TB (Thurs.) Vikings hoping to slow down Freeman/passing game.
6 Arizona Cardinals vs. SF (Mon.) Cardinals gave up 153 yards to Peterson, Gore up next.
7 New England Patriots vs. STL (London) Patriots gave up 403 total yards vs. Jets last week.
8 Atlanta Falcons at PHI Falcons hoping to capitalize on turnover-prone Eagles.
9 Detroit Lions vs. SEA Defense played well in 13-7 loss to Chicago on MNF.
10 Miami Dolphins at NYJ Dolphins held Jets to 93 yds. rushing in Week 3 loss.
11 San Diego Chargers at CLE Facing Weeden welcome sight after getting Brees/Peyton.
12 New York Giants at DAL Gave up 433 total yards to Cowboys in Week 1 loss.
13 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. WAS Steelers No. 1 in total defense, No. 2 against pass.
14 New York Jets vs. MIA Have allowed only 172 yards rushing last two games.
15 Cleveland Browns vs. SD Chargers' Rivers turned ball over six times in last game.
16 Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG Held Giants to 269 yards of offense in Week 1 win.

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 8 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 8 Waiver Wire

Week 8 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 05:34
Path: /college-football/start-vick-ballard-randall-cobb-rashad-jennings-philip-rivers-week-8
Body:

Only four teams are on bye in Week 8, compared to six last week. While owners will welcome some familiar faces back to their lineups, others will be faced with some difficult decisions. That’s especially the case at running back as Arian Foster, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are all unavailable this week. Here are two ball carriers that may be able to fill in along with two other names worth starting in Week 8.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee
Ballard was handed the Colts’ starting job after Donald Brown was sidelined because of knee surgery. Brown’s closer to returning, but if Ballard can build on his performance from last week, the Colts' backfield will be that much deeper. Ballard’s first career start against the Jets was entirely forgettable (8 att., 25 yds.), but he bounced back nicely last week against Cleveland. The rookie out of Mississippi State had 84 yards rushing on 20 carries (4.2 ypc), including a long of 26. He will have the opportunity to take the next step this week against Tennessee. The Titans are 28th in the league in rush defense (134.7 ypg) and are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay vs. Jacksonville
When Greg Jennings initially went down with a groin injury, James Jones was the early beneficiary as he capitalized on his additional playing time and put together a streak of three straight two-touchdown games. However, he’s not the only Packer receiver to emerge while Jennings has been sidelined. Over the past three games, Cobb is averaging 91 yards receiving per contest and caught two scoring strikes last week against the Rams. Considering the Packers have thrown the ball 41 more times compared to rush attempts in their last four games combined, there’s little reason to think Cobb won’t continue to get his chances, even when Jennings finally returns. Not to mention that the Packers, who are on a nice little roll offensively, welcome the lowly Jaguars to Lambeau Field this Sunday.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville at Green Bay
Speaking of the Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew will likely miss several games with a sprained foot. His injury opens the door for backup Jennings, who himself missed two games earlier this season with a knee injury. The Jags also could be without starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who tore the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder last week, leaving Chad Henne under center against Green Bay. Either way, Jennings should get his chance to carry the load and the Packers have been somewhat susceptible to the run (109.9 ypg, 17th overall). This also is a guy who averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2009-10 combined. May as well find out what he can do, right?

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego at Cleveland
I am fully aware that Rivers turned the ball over six times (4 INTs, 2 fumbles) the last time he played. That final turnover cost me a victory in the league I own him, so believe me I felt your pain too. That said, I still believe in Rivers and think the bye came at the best time for him and the Chargers. Norv Turner said he was going to simplify the playbook to try and help his embattled field general, and I think we will see the fruits of this decision starting this Sunday. The Browns are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and only two starters have scored fewer than 24.6 points against them. In fact, Michael Vick put up 19.9 points against the Browns in Week 1 despite throwing four interceptions. The turnovers are certainly frustrating and something that will hopefully be corrected, but if the Browns’ track record is any indication, Rivers should be able to bounce back this week.

Week 8 Positional Rankings

Week 8 Waiver Wire

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 25, 2012

Teaser:
<p> Start Vick Ballard, Randall Cobb, Rashad Jennings, Philip Rivers in Week 8</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 04:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-9-start-or-sit-report
Body:

Whether you are stuck at .500 or trying to stay atop your league standings, the next two weeks will likely determine your playoff fate.  We’ve tried to identify as many on-the-fence players as we could to help with some of the tougher roster decisions.  As always, if you have any start/bench questions or need additional insight on roster decisions, please reach out to us via email or twitter.

Start

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice at Southern Miss

McHargue can be hit or miss, but this week he faces a defense giving up 39 points per game and over 200 yards per game on the ground.
 

Ameer Abdullah, RB-Nebraska vs Michigan

Rex Burkhead is not expected to play this weekend against Michigan, so expect Abdullah to receive 20-plus carries and carry the load on the ground for the Cornhuskers.
 

Dennis Johnson, RB-Arkansas vs Ole Miss

Since taking over as the lead back in Arkansas two games ago, Johnson has rushed for 158 yards and scored five touchdowns.
 

Chris Nwoke, RB-Colorado St vs Hawaii

Nwoke has been a fantasy bust in 2012, but we’re expecting him to run for a season-high this week against a Hawaii defense giving up 233.7 rushing yards per game.
 

Jahwan Edwards, RB-Ball St at Army

Army is giving up 235.3 rushing yards per game, so look for Edwards to be the fantasy stud this week for Ball State instead of receivers Willie Snead and Jamill Smith.
 

Charlie Moore, WR-Oklahoma St vs TCU

Moore is on a roll over the past two games, catching 13 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns.  Plus, TCU’s defense is allowing over 31 points and 220 passing yards per game, so the potential is there for another solid fantasy outing.
 

Terence Davis, WR-Wake Forest vs Clemson

Davis was a fantasy dud last week catching only one pass in Wake Forest’s 16-10 win at Virginia.  If the Demon Deacons are to have any chance against Clemson this week, Davis will have to be a factor in the passing game.
 

Allen Robinson, WR-Penn St vs Ohio St

Robinson has only failed to reach the end zone twice in seven games this season and this week he faces an Ohio State defense giving up over 271 passing yards per game.
 

Bench

Tevin Washington, QB-Georgia Tech vs BYU

Washington has been splitting time with freshman Vad Lee and this week the Yellow Jackets face a BYU defense giving up less than 95 rushing yards per game.
 

Aaron Murray, QB-Georgia vs Florida

After leaving Murray out of our Top 30 quarterback rankings last week, he proved us wrong by having his best game of the season.  We’re not getting sucked in this week when the Bulldogs take on the Gators in Jacksonville.
 

Brett Smith, QB-Wyoming vs Boise St

Smith may be able to conjure up some yards against the Boise State defense, but he will be challenged to find the end zone against a defense giving up only 13.6 points per game.
 

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia vs Florida

Three weeks ago Gurley was a must-start, but fantasy owners that are in dire need of a win may want to steer away from starting the freshman against the Florida defense.
 

LaDarius Perkins, RB-Mississippi St at Alabama

Perkins has found the end zone in every game this season, but we’re projecting that he will fail to either score or reach the 100-yard mark on the road against the Crimson Tide this weekend.
 

Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, RBs-Kent St at Rutgers

It’s difficult to suggest sitting two guys that have accounted for 18 of their team’s 25 touchdowns, but facing Rutgers’ defense on the road makes each of them an iffy play.
 

Justin Hunter, WR-Tennessee at South Carolina

We’re benching Hunter for the second consecutive week and holding out on starting him until the Vols face Troy next week at home.
 

Conner Vernon, WR-Duke at Florida St

Vernon is a little banged up and we don’t want owners to take a chance starting Duke’s leading receiver against the nation’s 7th-ranked pass defense.


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 9 Start or Sit Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 04:13
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/college-fantasy-football-week-9-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. 

 

Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)

Quarterback

Mike Glennon, North Carolina St at North Carolina

Garrett Gilbert, SMU vs Memphis

Keenan Reynolds, Navy at ECU

Austin Brown, UAB at Tulane

Andrew Manley, New Mexico St vs LA Tech

 

Running Backs

Devonta Freeman, Florida St vs Duke

James Wilder, Florida St vs Duke

Darrin Reaves, UAB at Tulane

Germi Morrison, New Mexico St vs LA Tech

Shontrelle Johnson, Iowa St vs Baylor

                 

Receivers

Aaron Horne, WR Iowa St vs Baylor

Eric Monette, Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois

Ryan Grant, Tulane vs UAB

Bryan Underwood, North Carolina St at North Carolina

Kenny Bell, Nebraska vs Michigan

 

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

 

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)

 

Quarterbacks

David Ash, Texas at Kansas

Trevone Boykin, TCU at Oklahoma State

David Fales, San Jose State vs. Texas State

Ryan Radcliff, Central Michigan vs. Akron
 

Running Backs

Dennis Johnson, Arkansas vs. Ole Miss

Brian Kimbrow, Vanderbilt vs. UMass

Latavius Murray, UCF at Marshall
 

Wide Receivers

Mike Davis, Texas at Kansas

Mike Evans, Texas A&M at Auburn

Jordan Leslie, UTEP at Houston

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 9 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 01:26

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