Articles By All

Path: /college-football/western-michigan-unveils-new-uniforms-2013

New Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck has brought some much-needed energy into the program, and the Broncos are already off to a good start on the recruiting trail for the 2014 signing class. And Fleck's task is to get Western Michigan back into the MAC West title picture, which won't be easy in 2013 with Northern Illinois, Toledo and Ball State all coming off bowl appearances last year. 

When trying to build some positive momentum for a program, it certainly doesn’t hurt for the Broncos to unveil a new jersey and helmet combination for 2013. This new look for Western Michigan isn’t quite as drastic at Miami (Ohio), but these are a pretty solid overall design for the Broncos.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the design is the “Ghost Bronco” logo on the helmets, along with the crossing oars as helmet stickers, which fits Fleck’s motto of “Row the Boat.”

Western Michigan Unveils New Uniforms for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/michigan-football-game-game-predictions-2013

Brady HokeMichigan’s last share of the Big Ten title occurred in 2004, but the Wolverines appear to be inching closer to a return to the top of the conference.

Coach Brady Hoke is assembling some of the nation’s top talent on the recruiting trail, while the offense should thrive under the leadership of junior quarterback Devin Gardner. The offensive line has a few holes to fill, but the return of tackle Taylor Lewan should allow the Wolverines to maintain a solid foundation in the trenches.

Hoke and coordinator Greg Mattison have some work to do on defense, especially on the line. Linebacker Jake Ryan’s status for 2013 is uncertain with a torn ACL, but sophomore James Ross is a future star and is due for a bigger role in the linebacking corps this year.

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

Michigan's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

8/31 Central Michigan
9/7 Notre Dame
9/14 Akron
9/21 at Connecticut
10/5 Minnesota
10/12 at Penn State
10/19 Indiana
11/2 at Michigan State
11/9 Nebraska
11/16 at Northwestern
11/23 at Iowa
11/30 Ohio State
Final Projection10-29-310-210-210-210-2


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
With Nebraska, Michigan State, Northwestern and Michigan all capable of winning the division crown, the Legends Division will be one of the toughest leagues in the nation this year. I’m picking the Wolverines to win the division and play in a BCS bowl with a 10-2 record. However, there’s no question this will be a difficult road for Brady Hoke’s team. Even though the offensive line is a concern, promising redshirt freshman Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis could turn the interior into a strength with some seasoning early in the year. And true freshman running back Derrick Green could end up as one of the team’s top playmakers by midseason. With Hoke and Greg Mattison calling the shots, Michigan should finish in the top four of total and scoring defense in the Big Ten – even with six new starters stepping into the lineup. If the Wolverines can get by Notre Dame on Sept. 7, the Wolverines should be 7-0 going into November. However, the real test for Michigan comes in the final month, as road tests at Michigan State and Northwestern won’t be easy, along with home affairs against Nebraska and Ohio State. Assuming the Wolverines win the Legends Division, it could set up an interesting Big Ten Championship with the rival Buckeyes.

Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)
When it comes to Michigan this season, 9-3 sounds right. Brady Hoke has the Wolverines trending in the right direction (take a look at his recruiting success), but it looks like he’ll have to wait at least one more season to play for his first Big Ten title. While Michigan figures to be in the race for the Legends Division crown, along with Nebraska and Northwestern, its schedule is more daunting than the Huskers, arguably its top competition. That said, there’s plenty of talent in Ann Arbor, so if highly touted freshman RB Derrick Green makes an immediate impact, the revamped defensive line provides some kind of pass rush and stud linebacker Jake Ryan returns from a torn ACL sooner than later, Michigan could be much better than this prediction.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

It’s tough to find one of these game-by-game picks pieces that I’ve flip-flopped on more than Michigan. First, I changed my mind on Ohio State. I'd bet Carlos Hyde and Bradley Roby are playing in that game, but I'm not as bullish on Ohio State as I once was. I’m a bit worried about overrating a team walked the tightrope for most of 2012. But back to Michigan: The Wolverines are good enough to defeat each team on the schedule, but not every game on the schedule. I like Michigan to defeat Notre Dame early in the season even though that defense is going to be a major test for Devin Gardner. Notre Dame’s still putting the offense on Tommy Rees shoulders, at least at this stage of the year. I picked the two losses — Michigan State and Northwestern — simply because someone has to defeat Michigan this season. Michigan State lost 12-10 in Ann Arbor and will be a tough out on defense. We all know what Northwestern can do on offense with Venric Mark and Kain Colter. The Michigan game last year was one of many Northwestern had right in its grasp.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), and
Michigan returning to a more traditional offensive style this season should serve the Wolverines well, but don't be totally fooled by a good start to the season. Devin Gardner as the full time quarterback from the start of the season will keep things balanced but the Wolverines will have to find a rhythm on offense. The defense was ranked second in the Big Ten last season but there is still room to improve before the Wolverines become a lock-down defense that suffocates the opposing offense. In 2013 they should have enough to pull together a nice first half, highlighted by a home victory over Notre Dame and a road win at Penn State. The question will be what kind of state are they in for the second half, which I predict will be somewhat painful down the stretch. If they are not careful, the Northwestern game could easily slip away from them. The same goes for Nebraska.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

The Legends Division crown will most likely be decided on November 9 in Ann Arbor when Nebraska comes to town. However, the rest of Nebraska's schedule is nothing like Michigan's. So even if Michigan defeats the Big Red, it still likely needs to be at 10 or even 11 wins heading into the season finale with Ohio State to win a trip to Indianapolis. The offense under Devin Gardner won't be an issue at all but the defense needs to prove it has the depth and toughness to beat teams like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska. There are too many tricky road upset alerts on this schedule — at Michigan State, Penn State and Nothwestern — to pick this team to be in the top 10.

Mark Ross
If Michigan takes care of business at home against Notre Dame, the Wolverines should then be sitting pretty entering November. A trip to Happy Valley won't be easy, but this is not the same Penn State team that opened many eyes last fall. Michigan's Big Ten season likely comes down to the Nov. 9 showdown with Nebraska in the Big House. I'll give the Maize and Blue the edge because of home field, although I do think they will be a little flat the following Saturday in Evanston. Regardless, the win over the Cornhuskers should be enough to help Brady Hoke's team claim the Legends Division title, which will take some of the sting out of a season-ending loss at home to Ohio State. Fret not Wolverine fans, if everything goes according to plan, your beloved team will get another shot at the hated Buckeyes the very next week. Only this time the game will be Indianapolis and the stakes could be even higher.


Related College Football Content

Big Ten 2013 Predictions
Big Ten's 2013 All-Conference Team
Nebraska 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
Christian Hackenberg Could be a Program-Changer at Penn State
Ohio State and Michigan: The New Ten-Year War
The Big Ten's Best Traditions
Does Nebraska Still Believe in Bo Pelini?
5 First-Year Starting QBs Who Could Win College Football's National Title
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Michigan Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 07:21
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-football-game-game-predictions-2013

2013 is shaping up to be an interesting year in the Big 12. Six or seven teams have a case to be picked No. 1, so this could be one of the more entertaining (and wide-open) conference title races in the nation.

Oklahoma has won at least 10 games in six out of the last seven years, but the Sooners won’t start out as the favorite to win the Big 12 title. For most, that distinction belongs to their in-state rival Oklahoma State or a Texas team that finally seems to be pointed in the right direction.

Although the Sooners weren’t picked at media days as the preseason conference favorite, Bob Stoops’ team will be in the thick of the Big 12 title discussion this year. New quarterback Blake Bell will have his growing pains, but the junior should be solid once he gets more experience under his belt. The defense has to be concerned about the lack of depth in the trenches, but there’s still plenty of talent to help keep Oklahoma in the mix for 10 or more wins in 2013.

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

Oklahoma's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

8/31 ULM
9/7 West Virginia
9/14 Tulsa
9/28 at Notre Dame
10/5 TCU
10/12 Texas (Dallas)
10/19 at Kansas
10/26 Texas Tech
11/7 at Baylor
11/16 Iowa State
11/23 at Kansas State
12/7 at Oklahoma State
Final Projection9-39-39-310-210-210-2

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Anything from 8-4 to 11-1 is possible with Oklahoma this year. With the rest of the Big 12 also in transition, the Sooners shouldn’t slide too much in the win column after finishing 10-3 last season. Oklahoma’s Big 12 title hopes will rest on the development of quarterback Blake Bell, along with a defense that ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rush yards allowed and 50th nationally in points allowed in 2012. The defense isn’t short on talent, but the Sooners have to be concerned with the depth in the trenches, along with how three new starters in the secondary blend together. Until the defense finds its footing, Oklahoma will need to lean on an offense that has one of the nation’s top lines, along with a deep group of receivers and running backs. Bell has to prove he can be more than just a specialty package quarterback, but games against ULM, Tulsa and West Virginia will give him an opportunity to get comfortable as the starter, especially before key contests against Notre Dame, TCU and Texas. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Big 12 title is decided on Dec. 7 in the Bedlam series with Oklahoma State.

Chris Williams, (@ChrisMWilliams),

This is a team that will go as far as its quarterback allows it to go in 2013. While I’m assuming that Blake Bell (assuming he wins the job) isn’t Landry Jones, I also don’t see him as a bust either. Due to the fact that Norman has, is and always will be one of the toughest places to play in all of college football, that sure helps mask the fact that Bob Stoops has to replace one of the best signal-callers in program history along with a load of defensive players. I see the Sooners getting through its first five games unscathed with a loss to Texas in the Red River Shootout. But should OU pull that rivalry game off then watch out. All in all, I see this a very Bob Stoops-like season in 2013 for the Sooners in route to a solid 9-3 finish.

Allen Kenney,
Oklahoma appears to have hit a plateau as of late, and I don't think that changes this year. The Sooners will be breaking in a new quarterback - most likely Blake Bell - and have some serious work to do in getting their defense back up to par. On top of that, they have one of the most difficult schedules in the country, catching almost all of their best opponents away from Norman.

Six games look like coin flips to me: at Notre Dame, TCU, Texas, at Baylor, at Kansas St. and at Oklahoma St. I'd peg the Sooners to go 3-3 in that stretch; the harder part is figuring out which of those are Ws and which are Ls. No matter where the losses come from, I don't see this team winning the conference.

Bob Stoops might get a bounce in the public opinion polls with a bowl win. Still, you can bet that the debate about his ability to get the Sooners back to the top of the college football world will only intensify with that kind of season.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Bob Stoops is playing it coy about his starting quarterback, but there is no reason the uber-talented Blake Bell won't be a star this year in Norman. The offensive line is strong and the playmakers are a-plenty so the offense should be in great shape. However, it is the defense that is trending in the wrong direction and returns only four starters. But when in doubt, go with Stoops over most any other coach in the Big 12. The key to a league title for Oklahoma will be what happens in the Big 12 and whether or not an 8-1 record be good enough to win the league. The Sooners could easily win the league even with a loss to Oklahoma State. This will be one of the most wide-open conferences in the nation and it means the Crimson and Cream could lose to Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and the Pokes — or run the table and finish unbeaten in the league.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

The most important game on Oklahoma’s schedule may be the TCU game. The early part of the schedule isn’t easy. ULM, West Virginia and Tulsa will all test the Oklahoma defense, though I’d expect the Sooners to handle all three. A trip to South Bend will be tough and the first major test for the new Oklahoma QB. TCU, though, will set the tone for the rest of the Big 12 season. The Horned Frogs are legitimate conference contenders. Like Notre Dame, TCU has a defensive front that matches up with Oklahoma’s strength on the offensive line. With that game back in Norman, I’m taking the Sooners. After that, I’m picking Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout until Texas proves me wrong. For the final month of the season, Oklahoma will have to avoid a Big 12 road loss, something that’s been tough for the Sooners in recent years. Baylor may be the tougher matchup for Oklahoma than Kansas State in 2013, but I’ve picked OU to win both. That may set up a de facto Big 12 title game against Oklahoma State. Why did I pick the Cowboys? This season, I think we can consider the rivals on equal footing, and I’ll go with the home team if we’re going to make these picks in July.

Mark Ross

Oklahoma is somewhat hard to figure out since they have an unproven starting quarterback in Blake Bell and only four starters returning on defense. That said, there is no lack of talent in Norman on either side of the ball, which is why I think Bob Stoops will find a way to get 10 wins in the regular season.

This victory total includes beating Notre Dame in South Bend, although I do have the Sooners falling at home to TCU the next week. OU will rebound nicely against Texas in the Red River Shootout and finish out strong, losing only to Oklahoma State to close the regular season out.

As optimistic as I am on this seemingly mysterious team, I will say that the Sooners' margin of error is probably as small as it has been since Stoops has been in charge. By that I mean, 10-2 could easily end up being 8-4 or worse, especially if Bell doesn't pan out as a passer and the defense experiences sustained stretches of growing pains.

Related College Football Content

Big 12 Predictions for 2013
Big 12 2013 All-Conference Team
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
College Football's Worst 25 Tenures of the BCS Era
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
Five Ways to Fix Texas Football
Casey Pachall's Return is a Huge Boost for TCU
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013

Oklahoma Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-50-linebackers-bcs-era

Statistical production, individual awards, team success, longevity, supporting cast, level of competition, raw talent and overall athletic ability all factor heavily in determining overall greatness. Sometimes, you simply know greatness when you see it.

So all factors were considered when trying to determine who the greatest linebackers of the BCS era have been. Here are the Top 50 linebackers since the BCS was implemented in 1998:

1. Lavar Arrington, Penn State
Few college players were as intimidating as the rabid Nittany Lions linebacker. Arrington was an elite leader who helped Penn State to a 28-9 record during his three-year tenure in Happy Valley. He was named as the Butkus and Lambert Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker and was the recipient of the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player after 72 tackles, 20 for loss, nine sacks and two blocked kicks in 1999. He was a consensus All-American and has arguably the most signature defensive play of the BCS Era when he leapt over the Illinois offensive line on 4th-and-1 to secure the win. Arrington consistently delivered crushing blows and wound up as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Redskins.

2. James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
Few players in the nation are as decorated, productive, talented and successful as the Minneapolis native. Laurinaitis won the Butkus, Nagurski, two Lambert Awards and two Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year awards while being a three-time All-American. He posted three straight seasons of at least 115 tackles and helped Ohio State win a share of four Big Ten titles, including two trips to the BCS National Championship game. The Buckeyes tackler was taken in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

3. Patrick Willis, Ole Miss
The unheralded Tennessee native was overlooked by most of the SEC big boys and made them all pay by becoming the league’s best linebacker of the BCS era. Rising from utter poverty to the best LB in the nation, Willis claimed the Butkus and Lambert Awards in 2006. He posted 265 tackles and 21.0 for loss over his final two seasons, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and All-American status as a senior. He was taken with the 11th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by San Francisco.

4. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
It’s possible that the Notre Dame linebacker is the most decorated college football player of all-time. As a senior, Te’o won the Butkus, Bednarik, Lambert, Lombardi, Nagurski and Lott awards while becoming the only defensive player of the BCS era to win the Walter Camp Award and Maxwell Trophy as well. He posted 113 tackles and seven interceptions while leading Notre Dame to a perfect regular season and BCS title game berth. His legacy off the field was soiled by a bizarre catfish scandal but shouldn’t factor into his spectacular overall college career.

5. Derrick Johnson, Texas
The big-play machine from Waco, Texas, was one of the greatest linebackers in Longhorns program history. He finished his career with 458 tackles, 65.0 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, nine interceptions and 11 forced fumbles. Johnson was a three-time All-Big 12 selection and a two-time All-American. He capped his career with the Butkus, Lambert and Nagurski national awards as well as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors before being taken 15th overall by the Chiefs in the 2005 NFL Draft.

6. E.J. Henderson, Maryland
Henderson left Maryland with multiple NCAA records and numerous awards and honors. He owns the career tackles per game record (12.5), career solo tackles per game (8.8) and the single-season unassisted tackle record with 135 in 2002. That year, Henderson won his second ACC Defensive Player of the Year award and was awarded the Butkus, Lambert and Bednarik Awards nationally. He was a two-time All-American, Chick-fil-A Bowl MVP and second-round pick by the Vikings in 2003.

7. Paul Posluszny, Penn State
As a junior, the Nittany Lions tackler was recognized as the nation’s top LB when he posted 116 tackles (11.0 TFL) en route to a Big Ten Championship, consensus All-American honors and both the Butkus and Bednarik Awards. He followed that up as a senior with a second Bednarik Award and second consensus All-American nod. The in-state Aliquippa (Pa.) Hopewell product was a second-round pick by the Bills in 2007.

8. Dan Morgan, Miami
Beginning his career as fullback, fans in South Florida are happy he ended up tackling instead of blocking. The superstar linebacker won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top LB in 2000 as well as Nagurski, Bednarik and Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors. In fact, he was the first college player to claim all three awards. When Morgan left The U he owned the school and Big East record for career tackles with 532 and was taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by Carolina.

9. Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Tackling. Machine. That is really all that needs to be said about the Boston College star defender. He was second nationally with 158 tackles as just a freshman, led the nation in tackles with 183 as a sophomore and led the world again in stops with 191 as a junior. So in just three seasons, Kuechly set the BC and ACC career tackle records en route to numerous awards. He was a two-time All-American, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, a first-round pick by Carolina in 2012 and won the Butkus, Lombardi, Nagurski, Lott and Lambert national trophies.

10. Andy Katzenmoyer, Ohio State
His pro career notwithstanding, the Ohio State tackler was one of college football’s greatest tacklers during his time in Columbus. He was the first true freshman to ever start at linebacker for the Buckeyes, won the Butkus and Lambert Awards as just a sophomore and nearly led OSU to the inaugural BCS title game in 1998. He started all 37 games of his college career and finished with 18 sacks and 50.0 tackles for loss. He was a first-round pick by the Patriots in 1999.

Related: The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era

11. Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma
A three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection and a two-time All-American, Calmus is one of the most important Sooners of all-time. He won the Butkus and Lambert Awards as senior in 2001 as the nation’s top linebacker but his play in '00 will go down in Oklahoma history. He led the vaunted Sooners defense to a perfect record and spearheaded arguably the greatest defensive performance of the BCS era by holding Florida State to zero offensive points in the BCS National Championship Game. Calmus was a third-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft.

12. Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma
The Tulsa, Okla., native played in all 12 games for the 2000 BCS National Champions as a freshman. He was a three-year starter for the Sooners after that, posting 117 tackles and 19.0 TFL and earning the Butkus and Bednarik Awards while leading Oklahoma back to the BCS national title game in 2003. He was a two-time All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was a second-round pick of the Lions in the 2004 NFL Draft.

13. Jonathan Vilma, Miami
During Vilma’s time on campus, the Hurricanes went an unbelievable 46-4 with wins in the Sugar, Rose and Orange Bowls. A three-year starter, including for the dominant 2001 National Champions, Vilma posted 377 total tackles and was a three-time, first-team All-Big East selection. He was honored with the Lambert Award in 2003 as the nation’s top linebacker. He was the 12th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

14. Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M
Arguably the most decorated Texas A&M defender, Nguyen was a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection and his 517 career tackles are an Aggies record. His career in College Station culminated in 1998 with a historic and adorned senior season. Nguyen was named the Bednarik and Lombardi Award winner and earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors as well. The unanimous All-American was a third-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2004.

15. A.J. Hawk, Ohio State
Yet another Buckeyes great, Hawk started 38 of his 51 career college games for Ohio State. He contributed to the 2002 BCS National Championship squad as a freshman before earning two-time consensus All-American honors in 2004-05. As a senior, Hawk earned the Lombardi and Lambert Trophies for his play and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his career with 394 tackles, 41.0 for loss, 15.5 sacks and seven interceptions. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Packers.

16. Al Wilson, Tennessee
Wilson isn’t as decorated as some of his BCS brethren but few players had as big an impact on their team as the Vols middle linebacker. He helped lead Tennessee to two SEC championships and the historic and unblemished 1998 national title. He was a consensus All-American, a consummate teammate on and off the field and was the 31st overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.

17. Rolando McClain, Alabama
His fall from grace aside, McClain was one of the BCS’s great defensive leaders. He started eight games and posted 75 tackles as a freshman before earning some All-American honors as a sophomore (95 tackles). As the unquestioned heartbeat of the Alabama defense, McClain led the Crimson Tide back to the BCS promised land with a perfect senior season. He posted 105 tackles, 14.5 for loss, four sacks and two interceptions. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors, was a unanimous All-American and won both the Butkus and Lambert Awards. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

18. Brian Urlacher, New Mexico
Few players were ever as versatile as Urlacher was for the Lobos. He finished his career with 442 tackles, 11 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, caught six touchdown passes on offense and returned five kicks for touchdowns on special teams. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and is a sure-fire lock for Canton.

19. Rey Maualuga, USC
The hard-hitting tackler was a freshman All-American on the 2005 USC team that barely lost to Texas in the national title game. He then started the next three seasons for the Trojans, earning consensus All-American honors, the Chuck Bednarik Award and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2008. The Men of Troy went 46-6 during his time on campus and few players were as feared nationally as Maualuga.

20. Von Miller, Texas A&M
After an up and down but promising first two seasons, Miller exploded onto the scene as a junior in 2009. He led the nation in sacks with 17.0 and posted 21.0 tackles for loss. As a senior, despite being slowed by an ankle injury, Miller posted 10.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss en route to the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.

Related: The Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era

21. Chris Claiborne, USC
The three-year star for the Trojans was the first and only Butkus Award winner in USC history when he was named the nation’s top linebacker in 1998 — the same year both Wilson and Katzenmoyer were seniors. He was a consensus All-American and the No. 9 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.

22. Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Jones was a Lambert Award winner, a two-time All-American, led the nation in sacks as a sophomore and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He also led Georgia to consecutive SEC East titles and was the 17th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

23. Greg Jones, Michigan State
The stabilizing force for four years in East Lansing, Jones was a three-time, first-team All-Big Ten selection and a two-time, consensus All-American. Finished third in school history in tackles (465), second in tackles for loss (46.5) and sixth in sacks (16.5). He started 46 of 52 career games for the Spartans.

24. Dan Connor, Penn State
The Nittany Lions know something about playing linebacker and Connor is yet another elite tackler. He was a two-time All-American and won the Bednarik Award in 2007 and was a big part of the '05 Big Ten/Orange Bowl Championship team.

25. Brandon Spikes, Florida
Spikes' resume is virtually complete. He was a two-time, consensus All-American, a three-time, first-team All-SEC selection, won two BCS National Championships, was a second-round pick and dated Doc Rivers' daughter. He posted 307 total tackles and started 39 of his 47 career games as a Gator.

26. Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
Curry was a freshman All-American after starting 10 games as a freshman. He posted 83 tackles as a sophomore and tied an NCAA record with three interceptions returned for touchdowns as a junior. As a senior, we won the Butkus Award, was an All-American and made 105 tackles. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

27. D’Qwell Jackson, Maryland
The undersized tackler played in all 14 games as a freshman, started all 11 games as a sophomore and was an All-American as a junior and senior. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005 after 137 tackles. Jackson finished with 447 tackles, good for fourth in school history and was a second-round pick of the Browns in 2006.

28. DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
The former three-star recruit outperformed all expectations for the Crimson Tide. In 2005 as a senior, he was a unanimous All-American, won the Lott Trophy and was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year. He just missed winning the Nagurski, Butkus and Draddy Awards as well before being a second-round pick in 2006 by the Texans.

29. D.J. Williams, Miami
After playing fullback in 2000 as a freshman, Williams switched to linebacker and contributed on the 2001 National Championship team. He was a two-time, first-team All-Big East pick as an upperclassman and finished with 190 tackles over that span. He was a first-round pick of the Broncos in 2004. The U was 46-4 during his time in South Florida.

30. Tank Carder, TCU
The leader of the 2010 unblemished Rose Bowl champs won back-to-back Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He finished his career with 228 total tackles, 25.0 for loss, 9.0 sacks and four interceptions in 39 starts over 50 career games. 

Related: The Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era

31. C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Mosley has already won two BCS titles and was named an All-American with one year still left to go in his college career.

32. Lofa Tatupu, USC
He started all 25 games during his USC career posting 202 tackles, winning one national title and playing for another.

33. Adam Archuleta, Arizona State
Two-time All-Pac-10 performer won Def. P.O.Y. honors. The former walk-on finished with 330 tackles, 14.0 sacks and 54.0 TFL.

34. Keith Bullock, Syracuse
Two-time All-Big East pick led the league in tackles (1999) during Syracuse’s heyday. He was a first-round pick and posted 375 career tackles.

35. Julian Peterson, Michigan State
He posted 140 tackles and 25.0 sacks in just 23 career games for the Spartans and was a first-round pick in 2000.

36. Mike Peterson, Florida
The Gators linebacker was an All-American and led the defense to the 1996 National Championship and two SEC titles.

37. Arthur Brown, Kansas State
After transferring home from Miami, Brown won Big 12 Defensive P.O.Y., was an All-American and led KSU to a Big 12 championship

38. Kirk Morrison, San Diego State
He claimed back-to-back Mountain West Player of the Year honors and was a four-time All-MWC performer.

39. Mark Simoneau, Kansas State
He was a consensus All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and finished with 400 career tackles.

40. Keith Adams, Clemson
The All-American won ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 1999 and posted 23.0 sacks in three years.

Related: The Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

41. Chad Greenway, Iowa
42. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
43. Rennie Curran, Georgia
44. Larry Foote, Michigan
45. Jordon Dizon, Colorado
46. Robert Thomas, UCLA
47. Keith Rivers, USC
48. Lavonte David, Nebraska
49. David Harris, Michigan
50. Mark Herzlich, Boston College

Related: The Top 50 Offensive Linemen of the BCS Era

The Next 25:

51. Torrance Marshall, Oklahoma
52. Brandon Short, Penn State
53. Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma
54. Karlos Dansby, Auburn
55. Tommy Polley, Florida State
56. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
57. Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
58. Lawrence Timmons, Florida State
59. Ernie Sims, Florida State
60. Leroy Hill, Clemson
61. Barrett Ruud, Nebraska
62. H.B. Blades, Pitt
63. Boss Bailey, Georgia
64. Levar Fisher, NC State
65. Brian Cushing, USC
66. Odell Thurman, Georgia
67. Ian Gold, Michigan
68. Raynoch Thompson, Tennessee
69. Jamie Winborn, Vanderbilt
70. Nick Barnett, Oregon State
71. Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina
72. Mychal Kendricks, Cal
73. A.J. Klein, Iowa State
74. Nick Reid, Kansas
75. Roosevelt Colvin, Purdue

Top 50s of the BCS Era:
The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era
The Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era
The Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era
The Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era
The Top 50 Offensive Linemen of the BCS Era

College Football's Top 50 Linebackers of the BCS Era
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/top-10-west-virginia-football-teams-all-time

West Virginia has taken a long and winding path to Big 12 competition. It hasn't had an undefeated season since the AP Poll was implemented in 1934, has played in three difference conferences and was an independent as well. The Mountaineers haven't won any national championships but have plenty of conference titles under their belt.\

So who was more difficult to stop, Major Harris or Pat White? Could Rich Rodriguez' best team defeat Don Nehlen's top squad? Which team was the best? The fact of the matter is no one will ever know for sure, so trying to rank the best teams in W-V-U history is virtually impossible. But we're going to try anyway.

1. 1988 (11-1)
Head Coach: Don Nehlen

The 1988 Mountaineers team went unbeaten in the regular season and is simultaneously the most revered and most painful team in school history. After rolling perfectly through the season led by dynamic quarterback Major Harris, West Virginia entered the national championship showdown with Notre Dame. Yet, three plays into the Fiesta Bowl, the Mounties' season unraveled when Harris separated his shoulder. The Irish won 34-21 and the game has left fans in Morgantown wondering "what if?" for more than two decades.

2. 2007 (11-2, 5-2)
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez/Bill Stewart

Yet another "what if?" for Mountaineers fans came in 2007 when juniors Pat White and Steve Slaton led West Virginia to a No. 1 ranking entering the Backyard Brawl. An injury to White helped Pitt defeat WVU 13-9 in the regular-season finale and the loss knocked the Mounties out of the BCS National Championship game. This is the highest scoring team in school history (515 points), one that earned a Big East co-championship and eventually won the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma 48-28 — a game coached by Bill Stewart after Rodriguez took the Michigan job following the regular season. The sixth-place final AP poll finish is third all-time in school history.

3. 2005 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez

The ’05 team wasn’t supposed to be one of the school’s best but two freshman superstars changed all of that for WVU. Quarterback White and tailback Slaton were perfect fits for RichRod’s zone-read option and defenses didn’t know how to slow them down. The lone loss of the year came against No. 3 Virginia Tech and the Big East championship season was capped by a historic showdown in the Sugar Bowl with Georgia (in Atlanta). The 38-35 win over the Bulldogs gave the Mountaineers a fifth-place finish in the polls, tying the 1988 team for the best AP finish in school history.

4. 1993 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Don Nehlen

Nehlen’s 1993 team won its first 11 games, including wins over ranked Missouri, Louisville, Miami and Boston College, to reach the Sugar Bowl. The Big East champs, ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll, didn’t get to face either Florida State or Nebraska and instead lost to Florida in ugly fashion 41-7. This was the fourth highest scoring team in school history at the time and finished seventh in the polls.

5. 2006 (11-2, 5-2)
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez

The Mountaineers entered the season fifth in the AP Poll and rattled off seven straight victories to start the year. White and Slaton continued to churn out big yards until a mid-season road loss to Louisville cost this team a Big East championship. Another loss at home to USF led to a Gator Bowl berth (and win) against Georgia Tech. The 10th-place finish in the AP Poll is one of just six top 10 postseason rankings.

6. 2011 (10-3, 5-2)
Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen

Led by junior quarterback Geno Smith, the Mountaineers won a share of the Big East Championship with losses to No. 2 LSU, at Syracuse and Louisville. Smith and Holgorsen’s offense dropped 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl win to cap the year.

7. 1953 (8-2, 4-0)
Head Coach: Art Lewis

Playing in the Southern Conference, Lewis led the Mountaineers to a perfect league record and SoCon title. The only two losses came against South Carolina and No. 8 Georgia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

8. 1969 (10-1)
Head Coach: Jim Carlen

Still playing independent football, West Virginia lost just one game in 1969 — a brutal road loss to No. 5 Penn State. The season ended with a 14-3 win over South Carolina in the Peach Bowl.

9. 1954 (8-1, 3-0)
Head Coach: Art Lewis

The Mounties won their second straight SoCon Championship after wins over ranked South Carolina and Penn State. The only loss came against arch-rival Pitt in the Backyard Brawl 13-10.

10. 2010 (9-4, 5-2)
Head Coach: Bill Stewart

Geno Smith began his starting career under center for WVU with a co-Big East Championship and trip to the Champs Sports Bowl. This team lost three regular-season games, including road trips to LSU and co-champ UConn, by a combined 14 points.


2013 Big 12 Team Previews

BaylorOklahoma State
Iowa StateTCU
Kansas StateTexas Tech
OklahomaWest Virginia

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 25 Teams for 2013
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 26-40
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 41-60
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 61-80
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 81-100
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125
College Football's Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of BCS Era
College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of BCS Era
College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Athlon Sports ranks the best Mountaineers teams since the AP debuted in 1934.
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 07:10
Path: /college-football/college-football-2013-ranking-big-12s-logos

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

Signature uniforms like the Sooners or Cowboys, unique hand signals or historic mascots like Bevo help separate one team from the next in the Big 12 with clarity. Fans identify with these brand images and it helps build value — or brand equity — for every program in the nation.

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

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

And since Athlon Sports has been designing the best looking magazines on newsstands for the better part of half a century, we'd thought we'd turn our senior graphic design guru loose on college football's logos. Here is what is Art Director Matt Taliaferro has to say about the Big 12's football logos:

“The Big 12 football logos largely reflect the blue-collar toughness of its gridiron reputation: tough and no nonsense. And Texas easily leads the way on the Plains with a logo that is to college sports what the Nike Swoosh is to athletic wear. I don’t know if there’s a higher compliment a designer can bestow, so I’ll stop there.

“Oklahoma, West Virginia and Baylor go straight old school with strong symmetrical initials (always welcome as the safest collegiate default setting) while TCU shows Pitt over in the ACC how arched, serif’d type should be handled. OSU has successfully upgraded to a slanted, contemporary look that retains some classic block-letter charm. And while Kansas State’s wildcat graphic is nowhere near what Texas pulled off, it works — though there is an Arena Football League element that gives pause.

"Elsewhere, Iowa State continues to search for a mark that “fits” (is it the colors?), though they’re closer than ever; Kansas’ Looney Tunes magpie has tradition on its side, but little else. It’s time for a redesign in Lawrence that goes beyond “KU” or “Kansas” spelled out in Trajan; Lastly, Texas Tech is in worse shape than the Jayhawks, with stacked beveled “T’s” that reek of the 1980s’ obsession with 3-D. Take a lesson from the kids in Austin and College Station: Simplicity makes a logo easy on the eye as well as effective.”

Big 12 Official Football Logo Rankings


1.TexasArguably the best logo in college football, the Longhorn is classic, simple, unchanging but also unique and creative. There is nothing else to say.
2.Kansas StateAll of Kansas State's design work, color scheme and uniforms are underrated and the logo is the same. Aggressive, stylish but yet still fairly simple and clean.
3.OklahomaThere is no doubting what the interlocking "O" and "U" stand for, right? The smooth lines and lack of extras in the font make this a fantastic logo.
4.West VirginiaWhen it comes to creativity, this one gets high marks for the way the letters have been worked together without putting too much flair into the design. It also reminds fans of the WVU landscape as well.
5.Oklahoma StateThe letters are uniquely combined and the font is solid. The grey outline isn't the best and gives this logo a third unneeded color.
6.TCUThe block font will always be in style and the arched type works best with three letters rather than four or more. An underrated logo.
7.Iowa StateThe power "I" and arched State are very unique across all of college football. But nothing can be done about the color scheme.
8.Texas TechThe big-T, little-T combo is pretty cool but this logo is extremely busy. Beveled font and three different colors don't exude tradition.
9.BaylorNormally, block lettering is great but the Bears' font is just a little off and seems a bit antiquated. The color scheme isn't the best but is used well.
10.KansasThe cartoon Jayhawk is a signature logo but doesn't really create an intimidating image in any sense of the word. And why is it dancing?

2013 Big 12 Team Previews

BaylorOklahoma State
Iowa StateTCU
Kansas StateTexas Tech
OklahomaWest Virginia


Who has the best football logo in the Big 12?
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 06:45
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/will-ole-miss-wear-powder-blue-helmets

An Ole Miss chrome helmet made its rounds on the internet a week ago, but it doesn’t appear the Rebels will be wearing that version anytime soon.

But what about a powder blue version? Ole Miss previously wore a similar variation, in the 1980s and 90s, but switched to its darker blue scheme in 1995.

This photo was tweeted by Bruce Johnston, Ole Miss’ coordinator of recruiting development, but Kyle Campbell, the Rebels' sports information director, has already indicated there is no plan to wear the powder blue helmets.

Who knows, maybe Ole Miss will break out this version in the future. But for now, it’s simply another concept floating around. 

Will Ole Miss Wear Powder Blue Helmets?
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 17:30
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-25

A relatively quiet day around college football as Big Ten Media Days winds down in Chicago. 

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Wednesday, July 25th

Can Kliff Kingsbury replicate Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald's path?

Penn State and West Virginia are close to finalizing a home-and-home series.

Saturday Down South ranks the cornerbacks in the SEC for 2013.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr played all of 2012 with an abdominal tear.

Texas receiver Cayleb Jones has decided to transfer.

How will Kansas State rebuild its defense?

Will California running back Brendan Bigelow be ready to go in fall practice?

Crystal Ball Run breaks down the latest in the Carlos Hyde saga at Ohio State.

Tight end Christo Kourtzidis is transferring from Florida State. 

JUCO recruits are hit-or-miss in the Big 12.

Thankfully, there is no end in sight to the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry.

Here's an excellent Q and A with Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Georgia's coordinators enter 2013 with contrasting outlooks.

If Division 4 is created, expect the American to fight to be involved. And on the same subject, Southern Miss coach Todd Monken had some interesting thoughts on an NCAA split.

Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has already served his day in jail as a result of an off-the-field incident this summer.

An Oregon State cornerback was dismissed from the team this week.

What are some of the key questions and answers for Oklahoma State this year?

Maryland's linebackers have some big shoes to fill in 2013.

Tulane is expected to add a LSU transfer for the 2013 season.

College Football's Link Roundup: July 24
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 14:49
All taxonomy terms: Eldora Speedway, NASCAR, NASCAR, News
Path: /taking-stock-nascars-visit-eldoras-dirt-oval

"Do we have to go back?!"

That was the question asked by Clint Bowyer, referring to returning to the Sprint Cup Series, following Wednesday's Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway. And he didn't even race.

NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series was at the center of the North American motorsports spotlight upon its visit to tiny Rossburg, Ohio, marking the first time one of NASCAR’s three major touring circuits raced on a dirt track since Sept. 30, 1970. That race, the Old State 200 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C., was won by Richard Petty.

When the green waved over the 150-lap feature, few of the participants were even born when Petty ended an era of dirt in NASCAR 43 years ago.

And in an odd — yet telling — twist, the visit to Eldora’s 24-degree banked dirt oval has upstaged what once was a jewel on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit: The Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In recent years, interest in NASCAR at the grand old speedway has waned, as evidenced by severely sagging attendance, TV ratings and the desperate inclusion of Nationwide Series and Grand Am races to complement Sunday’s Cup show.

Indy has never provided great “racin’” in the vein stock car fans are accustomed, and a tipping point may have been reached in 2008, when failing Goodyear tires on a newly diamond-ground surface essentially reduced the event to a series of 12-lap heat races. And even if that race had gone off without a hitch, it’s doubtful many would feel different about the on-track product the speedway provides the bulky stocks.

Enter Eldora, whose racing may not have been "great" in the classic sense, but was certainly an enjoyable change of pace. Tony Stewart's half-mile oval is a throwback in every sense of the word, as far from a 1.5-mile asphalt cookie-cutter track as one will find. A palpable enthusiasm had permeated the fan base since the date’s announcement last fall; it was a welcome return to the sport’s roots. Something new, fun and as accessible as a quarter-mile dirt track “just a few miles out in the county” — a half hour from your house or mine. The big boys of NASCAR were racing on (what felt like) the local level. And social media reaction on Twitter ran overwhelmingly positive (a rarity) during the event.

Is this the type of show fans have longed for from a sport whose sanctioning body often seems disconnected from the loyal base that made NASCAR what it is?

Perhaps NASCAR should learn from this experiment. Perhaps sparsely-attended 500-mile parades at aero-dependent palaces of speed aren’t what interest fans after all — or pull new ones in. Perhaps “great racing” at a facility that will pack in "only" 20,000 rabid fans means more than NASCAR’s track-operating wing showing a hefty year-end surplus on a ledger sheet. After all, the the ruling family is soon to be about  $4 billion richer, thanks to a healthy new TV contract.

Perhaps Eldora will help NASCAR find its identity again, the same as the rough ’n’ tumble short tracks did nearly two decades ago just before the sport began a rocketship rise from regional obsession to national phenomenon.

Or perhaps another casino on a speedway’s grounds will justify a second date, as seen at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. Or prime dates will be doled out to struggling France family-owned facilities, as fellow 1.5-miler Chicagoland Speedway’s first Chase date highlights. Those immaculate cathedrals cater to the suite-dwelling business types whose sponsorship dough keep teams running, after all.

Yes, Wednesday’s show at Eldora was a fun one to watch — and it may have opened the door to the Truck Series’ return to other off-the-beaten-path locales. But let's enjoy it for what it was: a gimmick — and that's not a bad thing. It was a gimmick that really and truly worked and should be scheduled again post haste. (Props to Stewart, Steve O'Donnell, Roger Slack, et al, for a flawless show.)

Just don’t hold out hope that the mighty Cup Series will descend upon Knoxville any time soon, or that the Nationwide circuit will magically reappear in South Boston, Myrtle Beach or Nashville. And don’t expect the wallets of the few to be effected by the wants of the many.

Follow Matt Taliaferro on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro

What does NASCAR's visit to the dirt track at Eldora mean for the sport's future?
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 12:53
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/best-and-worst-times-be-usc-football-fan

The 2012 season wasn’t a pleasant one for USC. The thud from preseason No. 1 to 7-6 with a two-touchdown loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl qualifies as one of the most disappointing for any school anywhere.

Painful as it was, that season alone doesn’t qualify as one of the toughest times for a USC fan. At least Trojans fans got to watch their team. The 1982-83 squads, also limited by NCAA sanctions, faced a television ban. And yet USC still managed to go 8-3 in ’82 and recovered to go to the Rose Bowl two years later.

The standards are higher at USC for sure, and the Trojans have rarely had long stretches of poor play. USC has only had 12 losing seasons in its history.

Certainly, the highs are more notable in Los Angeles.

The most prominent college football programs, for the most part, resided West of the Rocky Mountains when John McKay became USC’s head coach in 1960, though the Trojans at the time were a Rose Bowl regular before then. McKay set up USC to become one of college football’s premier programs with a constant stream of Heisman winners, national champions, All-Americans and future Pro Football Hall of Famers.

Here are the times when the Song Girls had a little more pep in their step as well as the times they were the better draw to the Coliseum than the football team.


National championships: 4
Coach: John McKay, John Robinson
Notable players: O.J. Simpson, Ron Yary, Lynn Swann, Richard Wood, Ricky Bell, Dennis Thurman, Charles White, Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen, Sam Cunningham
Generations of Americans will remember O.J. Simpson for reasons other than what a superstar Juice was in college. Simpson ushered in the most successful era in USC history by rushing for 3,423 yards in two seasons with 23 touchdowns as a senior. The ledger during this era is astounding: Four national titles (1967, ’72, ’74, ’78), three Heisman winners (Simpson, White and Allen), an Outland winner (Yary) nine Pac-10 titles (plus a 10th in the 7-4 season in 1966). These USC teams also brought social significance, with Sam Cunningham and USC’s 42-21 win over an all-white Alabama team in Birmingham in 1970 doing “more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 60 years,” as Tide assistant Jerry Claiborne put it. The 1972 team was one of the best in USC history, becoming the first team to gain every first-place ballot in the AP and UPI polls.

Record: 68-9
National championships: 2
Coach: Pete Carroll
Notable players: Reggie Bush (right), Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Troy Polamalu, Dwayne Jarrett, Sam Baker, Keneche Udezi, Lofa Tatupu
Before Alabama resurfaced, USC was the dominant program of the 21st century, though the fanfare around the two traditional powers couldn’t be more different. Pete Carroll was made for Los Angeles with his big personality and open invitations for celebrities such as Will Ferrell and Snoop Dogg to hang around the program. USC won seven consecutive Pac-10 titles under Carroll, a feat no Trojans coach accomplished. On a national scale, USC won back-to-back national titles in 2003-04 during a run of seven consecutive top-five finishes. With three Heisman winners (Palmer, Bush and Leinart), USC had one of the nation’s best offenses, but the Trojans had one of the best defensive performances in school history by holding eight teams to a touchdown or less in 2008. During this era, only a Vince Young-led Texas team was able to beat USC in a bowl game.

National championships: 2
Coach: Howard Jones
Notable players: Mort Kaer, Jesse Hibbs, Morley Drury, Erny Pinckert, Gus Shaver, Ernie Smith, Aaron Rosenberg, Cotton Warburton
USC quickly became the preeminent Western power in the late ‘20s, winning two pre-AP era national championships in 1931 and ’32. The 1932 team that finished 10-0 held opponents to a grand total of 13 points.


Record: 21-27-2
Coaches: Don Clark, John McKay
USC had yet to achieve dynasty status as it did in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but the Trojans had come to expect more that what it got in the late ‘50s during the short tenure of Don Clark. He went 1-9 in his first season and finished 8-2, but USC endured a seven-year Rose Bowl drought, the longest for the program since the ‘20s. Clark’s tenure wasn’t all a failure; his staff included McKay and future Raiders icon Al Davis. McKay went 8-11-1 in his first two seasons before an unlikely undefeated national championship season in Year Three.

Coaches: John Robinson, Paul Hackett
Robinson’s second tour of duty with USC wasn’t nearly successful as the first, as he went 12-11 in his final two seasons. Hackett didn’t fare much better, going 11-13 in his final two seasons. This was one of the rare times USC was dormant in the Pac-10, reaching only one bowl game in five seasons.

The '60s and '70s were a good time to pull for Tailback U
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 12:40
Path: /nfl/2013-afc-coordinator-carousel

More than half of the teams in the AFC will have at least one new coordinator in 2013. Most of the staff changes are the result of the five new head coaches that were hired by Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City and San Diego and filling some vacancies that were created as a result.

There also were those changes that were made due to a lack of performance, such as is the case for the New York Jets, who have a new offensive and denfensive coordinator following last season's 6-10 showing.

Related: 2013 NFC Coordinator Carousel

Here is a rundown of the coordinator changes in the AFC:

Buffalo Bills, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Curtis Modkins
NEW: Nathaniel Hackett

New Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone brought Hackett, the offensive coordinator his last two seasons at Syracuse, with him to the NFL. Hackett is tasked with trying to jumpstart one of the league’s least-productive passing offenses in 2012.

Buffalo Bills, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Dave Wannstedt
NEW: Mike Pettine

Pettine stays in the AFC East, coming over after serving as Rex Ryan’s defensive coordinator with the Jets the past four seasons. Pettine has his work cut out for him in Buffalo. The Bills surrendered the second-most points (435) in franchise history last season.

Cleveland Browns, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Brad Childress
NEW: Norv Turner

Fired after six seasons in San Diego, Turner returns to the role where he first made a name for himself in the NFL. As Dallas’ offensive coordinator from 1991-93, Turner helped produce three top-10 offenses for Cowboy teams that won back-to-back Super Bowls.

Cleveland Browns, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Dick Jauron
NEW: Ray Horton

After getting passed over for the head job in Arizona, Horton was tabbed by new Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski to help the Browns’ young defense take the next step.

Denver Broncos, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Mike McCoy
NEW: Adam Gase

Promoted from QBs coach following Mike McCoy’s departure to San Diego, Gase will try to continue what Peyton Manning & Co. started. Gase has even more weapons at his disposal in wide receiver Wes Welker and rookie running back Montee Ball.

Indianapolis Colts, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Bruce Arians
NEW: Pep Hamilton

After Bruce Arians left to take over as the head coach in Arizona, Chuck Pagano hired Hamilton, who was Andrew Luck’s quarterbacks coach and Stanford’s offensive coordinator during Luck’s highly successful final season with the Cardinal.

Jacksonville Jaguars, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Bob Bratkowski
NEW: Jedd Fisch

New Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is already familiar with Fisch, as the two worked together on Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle in 2010. Fisch returns to the NFL following a two-year stint as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator.

Jacksonville Jaguars, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Mel Tucker
NEW: Bob Babich

Babich brings three decades of experience to Jacksonville to oversee Gus Bradley’s defense. He had been a part of the Bears coaching staff since 2006, including the past three as linebackers coach, where he worked with Pro Bowlers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.

Kansas City Chiefs, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Brian Daboll
NEW: Doug Pederson

Pederson was part of Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia from 2009-12 and will take his first crack as a coordinator working with Reid in Kansas City. Pederson was the Eagles’ quarterbacks coach when the team set a franchise record for total offense in 2011.

Kansas City Chiefs, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Romeo Crennel
NEW: Bob Sutton

Sutton spent the past 13 seasons on the Jets’ staff. He served as Eric Mangini’s defensive coordinator in New York from 2006-08 before shifting to LBs coach under Rex Ryan.

New York Jets, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Tony Sparano
NEW: Marty Mornhinweg

The Eagles’ offensive coordinator the past seven seasons, Mornhinweg landed on his feet following his dismissal in Philadelphia. He’ll work with a Jets offense that scored fewer than 18 points and averaged less than 181 yards passing per game last season.

New York Jets, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Mike Pettine
NEW: Dennis Thurman

The Jets’ DBs coach the past five seasons, Thurman was promoted to defensive coordinator by Rex Ryan after Pettine left for the same post in Buffalo. Thurman will try to help the Jets’ defense return to its ’09 form, when it led the NFL in points and yards allowed.

Oakland Raiders, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Greg Knapp
NEW: Greg Olson

Knapp was made the scapegoat for the Raiders’ inability to run the ball. Olson is no stranger to this role, having served as OC for Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay.

San Diego Chargers, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Hal Hunter
NEW: Ken Whisenhunt

Fired after six seasons as the head coach in Arizona, Whisenhunt joins new San Diego head coach Mike McCoy’s staff in the same role he held with Pittsburgh from 2004-06.

Related NFL Content

Top 25 NFL Players on the Hot Seat in 2013
8 NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2013
12 NFL Quarterbacks on the Hot Seat in 2013
12 NFL Running Backs on the Hot Seat in 2013
15 NFL Wide Receivers/Tight Ends on the Hot Seat in 2013

2013 NFL Training Camp Dates and Locations
2013 NFL Training Camp: Storylines to Watch
2013 NFL Training Camp: Quarterback Battles to Watch

2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
BuffaloBaltimoreHouston Denver
MiamiCincinnatiIndianapolisKansas City
New EnglandClevelandJacksonvilleOakland
NY JetsPittsburghTennesseeSan Diego
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
NY GiantsDetroitCarolinaSt. Louis
PhiladelphiaGreen BayNew OrleansSan Francisco
WashingtonMinnesotaTampa BaySeattle

Click here to order your Athlon Sports Pro Football 2013 Preview magazine

2013 AFC Coordinator Carousel
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /nfl/2013-nfc-coordinator-carousel

Similar to the AFC, half of the teams in the NFC made a change at either offensive or defensive coordinator, or both, during the offseason. Three teams — Arizona, Chicago and Philadelphia — hired new head coaches, which meant they brought in new coordinators as well.

Carolina and Seattle also had to find new a offensive and defensive coordinator, respectively, as their previous ones were hired by AFC teams to be their head coaches. The change at defensive coordinator in Dallas and New Orleans was prompted simply by poor performance in 2012.

Related: 2013 AFC Coordinator Carousel

Here is a rundown of the coordinator changes in the NFC:

Here is a rundown of the coordinator changes in the AFC: - See more at:

Arizona Cardinals, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Mike Miller
NEW: Harold Goodwin

Miller was among the many assistant coaches dismissed when Arizona fired Ken Whisenhunt. Goodwin and new head coach Bruce Arians served on Pittsburgh’s offensive staff from 2007-11 before moving on to Indianapolis, where Goodwin was the Colts’ offensive line coach last season. This will be Goodwin’s first stint as an offensive coordinator (though Arians is expected to call the plays).

Arizona Cardinals, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Ray Horton
NEW: Todd Bowles

Horton left for Cleveland when he was passed over for the head coaching position following Ken Whisenhunt’s firing in Arizona. Bowles was promoted from Philadelphia’s defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator following Juan Castillo’s dismissal during the Eagles’ bye week last season.

Carolina Panthers, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Rob Chudzinski
NEW: Mike Shula

With Chudzinski getting the head coaching gig in Cleveland, Shula moves up from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator on Ron Rivera’s Panthers staff. The head coach at Alabama from 2003-06, Shula served as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator from 1996-99. He’s been Cam Newton’s quarterbacks coach since Newton entered the league.

Chicago Bears, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Mike Tice
NEW: Aaron Kromer

Kromer had been on Sean Payton’s staff in New Orleans the past five seasons, serving first as running backs coach and then offensive line coach. He also was the Saints’ interim head coach the first six games of last season. Kromer and new Bears head coach Marc Trestman previously worked together on Oakland’s staff from 2001-04.

Chicago Bears, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Rod Marinelli
NEW: Mel Tucker

Marinelli went to Dallas to join Monte Kiffin’s staff as the Cowboys’ defensive line coach. New Chicago head coach Marc Trestman hired Mel Tucker away from Jacksonville. The Jaguars’ defensive coordinator and then assistant head coach from 2009 until last season, Tucker also served as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator during the ’08 season.

Dallas Cowboys, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Rob Ryan
NEW: Monte Kiffin

The 73-year-old Kiffin is back in the NFL after being a part of his son Lane’s staff at Tennessee and USC. The long-time Tampa Bay defensive coordinator (1996-2008) will try to turn around a Dallas defense that finished 24th in the league last season in points allowed and forced a total of just 16 turnovers.

Related: It's Playoffs or Bust for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013

New Orleans Saints, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Steve Spagnuolo
NEW: Rob Ryan

Rex’s twin brother landed in New Orleans following his dismissal in Dallas. This will be Rob’s fourth stint as an NFL defensive coordinator; he served in that capacity at Oakland (2004-08) and Cleveland (2009-10) before running things in Dallas the past two seasons.

Philadelphia Eagles, Offensive Coordinator
OLD: Marty Mornhinweg
NEW: Pat Shurmur

Mornhinweg was let go by the Eagles but landed the same job with the Jets. Shurmur likewise was fired following his 9–23 two-season stint as Cleveland’s head coach and decided to return to Philadelphia to work with first-year head coach Chip Kelly.

Philadelphia Eagles, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Juan Castillo/Todd Bowles
NEW: Bill Davis

Rookie NFL head coach Chip Kelly tabbed NFL-lifer Davis to run his defense in Philadelphia. Davis has been an NFL assistant coach since 1992 when he got his start in Pittsburgh. The Eagles are the ninth team Davis has worked for, including previous stints as the defensive coordinator for the 49ers (2005-06) and Cardinals (2009-10).

St. Louis Rams, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Committee
NEW: Tim Walton

After going with a three-headed monster to run the defense last season, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher hired a member of his coaching tree to take over the reins. Walton served as Detroit’s secondary coach the past four seasons, during which time he worked under Jim Schwartz, Fisher’s former defensive coordinator when they both were with the Titans.

Seattle Seahawks, Defensive Coordinator
OLD: Gus Bradley
NEW: Dan Quinn

Bradley parlayed the Seahawks’ recent success into the top job in Jacksonville. Quinn returns to the Seahawks after spending the last two seasons as Florida’s defensive coordinator. Quinn served under Bradley as the Seahawks’ defensive line coach from 2009-10.

Related NFL Content

Top 25 NFL Players on the Hot Seat in 2013
8 NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2013
12 NFL Quarterbacks on the Hot Seat in 2013
12 NFL Running Backs on the Hot Seat in 2013
15 NFL Wide Receivers/Tight Ends on the Hot Seat in 2013

2013 NFL Training Camp Dates and Locations
2013 NFL Training Camp: Storylines to Watch
2013 NFL Training Camp: Quarterback Battles to Watch

2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
BuffaloBaltimoreHouston Denver
MiamiCincinnatiIndianapolisKansas City
New EnglandClevelandJacksonvilleOakland
NY JetsPittsburghTennesseeSan Diego
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
NY GiantsDetroitCarolinaSt. Louis
PhiladelphiaGreen BayNew OrleansSan Francisco
WashingtonMinnesotaTampa BaySeattle

Click here to order your Athlon Sports Pro Football 2013 Preview magazine

2013 NFC Coordinator Carousel
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /nascar/austin-dillon-wins-nascars-return-dirt-eldora

“I think it was a success. It was such a great show. This is real racing right here, and that’s all I’ve got to say.”  Austin Dillon and Tony Stewart

With those words from race-winner Austin Dillon, NASCAR’s inaugural trip to the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, was deemed a success.

Not that those in attendance or watching on television needed affirmation.

NASCAR’s first sanctioned dirt race of its top three series in 43 years went off without a hitch Wednesday night in front of a capacity crowd somewhere in the neighborhood of 18,000.

After a night filled with heat races, last-chance qualifiers and a 150-lap feature, it was Richard Childress Racing’s Dillon that won the Mudsummer Classic, beating Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman in a spirited battle that was extended to 153 laps due to a green-white-checker finish.

“This is bad to the bone,” Dillon said. “This is a great race. … This is one of the biggest wins of my career.”

It was one of the most anticipated nights in Camping World Truck Series history, orchestrated by track owner and Sprint Cup regular Tony Stewart, NASCAR VP Steve O’Donnell and track general manager Roger Slack. And the evening started with a bang, as veteran racer Ken Schrader won the pole, in the process becoming NASCAR’s oldest pole-winner at 58 years of age.

Youth took over from there, with the 20-year-old Larson leading 51 laps and at times putting on a clinic in how to hustle the bulky trucks around the slick half-mile oval. But Dillon made the decisive pass for the lead while in heavy traffic on lap 89 and held off Larson and Newman for the final 31 circuits. He led a race-high 64 laps.

“My dad told me a long time ago that if we won at Eldora, we’d just skip all the NASCAR stuff and go to NHRA because there’s nothing more out here to do because it’s just so tough to do,” said Dillon, who started 19th.

“We’re going to stick in NASCAR, but the coolest thing is you’re out of control out there. … I’d clip the fence and I’m leading the race. You’re on the edge every lap.”

Finicky NASCAR fans took to Twitter to voice support of the race throughout the evening, and competitors — including Stewart, a three-time Cup champion and regular dirt tracker — mirrored Dillon’s enthusiasm.

“This is more than just a truck race," Stewart said. “This is big for every dirt track across the country. This is exposure that a lot of these tracks never get. We’re fortunate to have this opportunity. This is something that can help short-track racing as a whole.”

Follow Matt Talaiferro on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro

Austin Dillon wins Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 11:56
All taxonomy terms: Buffalo Bulls, College Football, MAC, News
Path: /college-football/buffalos-rebranding-effort-be-new-yorks-team

Buffalo launched a rebranding effort this summer, and the team debuted its new jerseys and helmets for 2013 at MAC Media Days.

The Bulls are hoping to brand themselves as the State University of New York, and the new jerseys reflect the rebranding effort with a patch just above the number.

It’s not a huge change, but an interesting effort by Buffalo.

(Photos tweeted by (@JasonAmessenger)


And here is Buffalo's new helmet for 2013


Buffalo launches rebranding effort
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 11:30
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-americans-top-freshmen-transfers-and-more-2013-14

Most coaches would envy Rick Pitino. Louisville won the national championship and returns every key player other than Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng. Those are major losses, for sure, but the Cardinals may start the season ranked in the top three.

The determining factor in Louisville’s ability to repeat may be a handful of new key players. Junior college transfer Chris Jones takes over Siva’s point guard spot. Freshman Terry Rozier will bolster backcourt depth. Redshirt freshman Mangok Mathiang isn’t the veteran Dieng was, but he could be a solid shotblocker.

The Cardinals will be the overwhelming favorite in the first season of the American, but how newcomers perform elsewhere in the conference may determine how much the other teams in the league challenge Louisville. Memphis, as usual, has highly touted freshmen. So does Connecticut. SMU has a slew of transfers ready to make the Mustangs relevant.

Our series on new faces started earlier this week with the ACC. We continue today with the American.

Chris Jones, Louisville
Junior college transfer
Few newcomers have bigger shoes to fill. Point guard Peyton Siva is one of the few departures from the national title winners, and more than that, he was one of Rick Pitino’s all-time favorite players. Jones was a junior college All-American who committed to Tennessee out of high school but took a detour since then. He’s a relentless defender who will be a good fit in the Cardinals’ press.

Terry Rozier, Louisville
Freshman (Hargrave Military Academy)
Another addition to the Louisville backcourt, Rozier adds a scoring touch with his ability to attack the rim. That was pretty evident in January when Rozier scored a Hargrave-record 68 points in a double-overtime game on 19-of-37 shooting and 22-of-24 free throws.

Jermaine Lawrence, Cincinnati
Cincinnati scored fewer than half its points from 2-point range last season (49.6 percent, ranked 247th nationally). Adding the 6-9 power forward Lawrence, a top-25 recruit, should help the Bearcats in the low post. From Sparta, N.J., Lawrence is another big-time prospect Mick Cronin has pulled from the New York/New Jersey area, joining Lance Stephenson and Sean Kilpatrick.

Austin Nichols, Memphis
With Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, Geron Johnson and Shaq Goodwin, Memphis has a strong backcourt despite a pair of player transfers and an NBA Draft early entry. Memphis needs Nichols, the Tigers’ top recruit and a local product from Briarcrest Christian, to step into the frontcourt right away.  The Tigers also signed two other 6-9 top-50 forwards Kuran Iverson and Dominic Woodson.

Kentan Facey and Amida Brimah, Connecticut
The Huskies got little production out of their frontcourt last season, so this pair of freshman will have the opportunity to push veterans DeAndre Daniels and Tyler Olander. Facey is a good rebounder while Brimah is a lanky shot-blocker.

Lasan Kromah, Connecticut
George Washington transfer
Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright return to lead the UConn backcourt, but adding Kromah gives the Huskies some nice depth on the perimeter. Kromah averaged 11 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in three seasons at George Washington.

Keith Frazier, SMU
SMU has decided it’s serious about basketball, hiring Larry Brown, renovating its arena and signing a local McDonald’s All-American in Frazier. On a team that returns all five starters, the 6-5 shooting guard Frazier could end up the top scorer on a team that hopes to make a splash in its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

Nic Moore, SMU
Illinois State transfer
Moore followed his coach at Illinois State, SMU’s head coach-in-waiting Tim Jankovich, to Dallas. The Mustangs didn’t have a true point guard last season — SMU ranked 11th in Conference USA in assist-to-turnover ratio — so Moore will have a chance to take over point guard duties immediately. Moore had a 1.71 assist-to-turnover ratio and 135 assists as a freshman at Illinois State in 2011-12.

Danrad “Chicken” Knowles, Houston
Ineligible last season
Knowles was the rare top-100 recruit to sign at Houston, but the 6-10 power forward was ineligible last season. Houston is also hoping former Baylor guard L.J. Rose will receive a waiver to be eligible immediately. If both are ready to play this season, Houston will be competitive in its new league. Without them, Houston went 7-9 in a bad Conference USA — and that was before leading scorer Joseph Young transferred.

Josh Brown, Temple
Brown, a graduate of the St. Anthony program coached by the legendary Bob Hurley, committed twice to Temple, both before and after his junior season breakout. He could be the Owls' best perimeter scorer only a year after Temple lost the backcourt duo of Khalif Wyatt and T.J. DiLeo.

Greg Lewis, Rutgers
Rutgers has brought in a handful of transfers to help ease the roster turnover from the Mike Rice era, but Kerwin Okoro (Iowa State) and J.J. Moore (Pittsburgh) are still seeking immediate eligibility. Lewis is a big body at 6-9, 240 pounds who missed last season with a knee injury.

Others of Note

John Egbunu, USF
The Bulls signed Egbunu, a top-100 center, but coach Stan Heath may sweat a bit. USF is pushing back his enrollment a semester as an academic precaution.

Yanic Moreira and Markus Kennedy, SMU
Moreira transferred from junior college and Kennedy transferred from Villanova to bolster SMU’s frontcourt.

Troy Caupain, Cincinnati
Cashmere Wright was a fixture at point guard for Cincinnati, and now the Bearcats turn to a freshman to run the position. He’ll have every chance to take over there to set up Sean Kilpatrick.

Mangok Mathiang, Louisville
The 6-10 center still needs to develop offensively, but he’s ready to contribute now as a shotblocker.

Mark Williams, Temple
The Owls are doing some major rebuilding in the frontcourt, so the 6-8, 230-pound Williams will play immediately. He’ll be a big body inside.

We continue our look at the new faces who will shape each conference race
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-25-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for July 25.


• Elsewhere on this very site, you'll find a must-watch video of the Bucs cheerleaders doing a "Blurred Lines" video. I'll wait while you go watch it here. That photo is a sneak preview.


• Aaron Hernandez forfeited his freedom. Now he's forfeited his All-American brick at Florida.


• Speaking of tight ends from the state of Florida, FSU's Nick O'Leary absolutely shredded his motorcycle but somehow walked away. You'd think Jack Nicklaus' grandson could drive better than that.


Kids and adults have differing perspectives on summer. Kids love it; adults wonder if they've actually died and gone to hell.


• Best part of a knucklehead rushing the field at a sporting event? Security guard bodyslam. Here's a video gallery.


Check out this youth football de-cleating. Looks like a pee-wee remake of "The Waterboy."


Updates on Tim Hudson's gruesome ankle injury. Don't watch the video if you've already eaten this morning.


• Brandon Moore, who put the "butt" in the "butt fumble," is retiring. That's just an excuse to link to my favorite NFL play of the last decade.


Guy stuck his head in a crocodile's mouth, with sadly predictable results.


Ranking the top 10 linebackers in the SEC. Guess who has the top two?


Andrew Bynum apparently walked in to his barber and said, "Give me the Don King."


• Play of the night: The Rays turned a tasty double-play against the Sox.



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

Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 10:32
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Miami Ohio RedHawks, MAC, News
Path: /college-football/miami-ohio-unveils-crazy-new-uniforms

Miami, Ohio is making a pretty drastic switch to its uniforms for 2013.

And needless to say, it’s quite an interesting change, as the RedHawks are adding a chrome helmet with the block M in front (instead of the sides as in previous years). Miami is also adding the school’s name across the shoulder pads.

Credit Miami, Ohio for trying something different, but I think I would prefer the RedHawks old jerseys.



Miami (Ohio) Unveils Crazy New Uniforms
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, Overtime
Path: /overtime/david-wright-hits-himself-head-bat

David Wright not only chopped a grounder to short during the Mets game against the Braves, but also chopped himself in the head. During the fourth inning, Wright's bat broke just as he was finishing up his swing, resulting in a nasty smack in the back of his head. From the video, it looks like has seeing stars.


Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 08:40
All taxonomy terms: Atlanta Braves, Tim Hudson, MLB, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/braves-tim-hudson-breaks-ankle-video
In a freak accident, pitcher Tim Hudson's right ankle was broken when he was stepped on by Eric Young while covering first base last night. The incident ended one of Hudson's best starts this season and spoiled Atlanta's 8-2 victory over the New York Mets. We wish Hudson a speedy recovery.


Tim Hudson breaks his ankle GIF

Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 08:21
Path: /college-football/college-football-2013-ranking-accs-logos

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

Signature uniforms like Clemson's alternate purples, picturesque campuses like Blacksburg, Va., or historic personalities like Bobby Bowden help separate one team from the next in the ACC with clarity. Fans identify with these brand images and it helps build value — or brand equity — for every program in the nation.

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

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

And since Athlon Sports has been designing the best looking magazines on newsstands for the better part of half a century, we'd thought we'd turn our graphic design guru loose on college football's logos. Here is what Athlon Sports Art Director Matt Taliaferro has to say about the ACC's football logos:

“If the Big Ten is the gold standard for university logos and the Pac-12 is a strange amalgamation of classy and gaudy, the ACC sits somewhere (not surprisingly) in the middle.

Overall, its members subscribe to a more traditional design ethos (with one glaring exception!). Clemson, UNC, Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Duke get high marks for being simple, yet creative; a combination that equates to being effective. Virginia Tech, NC State and Wake leave some intangible 'zing' on the table, yet their logos — for better or worse — have stood the test of time. Either that or university principles have failed to invest in an upgrade, take your pick.

Those yet to be mentioned are a mixed bag. FSU’s logo owes more to the school’s gridiron success than for being a standout in its own right; Pitt’s arched, blocked mark should work, but somehow comes across as clumsy and a bit sloppy; BC has gone contemporary, and that’s fine if that’s your thing (in this case, it’s not mine).

And then there’s Maryland … oh boy, I could write a thesis on what’s going on in College Park. Let me first say that what the Terps are doing with everything from logomarks to uniforms screams 'fun, fun, fun!' While many scoff at the radical look of the football unis, I give Under Armour a ton of credit for zigging while others zag, being innovative, and successfully tying it all together in an exciting presentation. Trust me, one day we’ll look at this as groundbreaking stuff in the sports realm. As for the logo, the new-school block “M” takes a traditional approach and adds a touch of today with a simple flick of the wrist. The total “Maryland package” is well conceived, well executed and — this being the end-game of UM’s madness — makes me want to tune in to see what happens next. Bravo.”

ACC Official Football Logo Rankings

1.ClemsonThere are tons of Tigers, Wildcats and Bulldogs in college sports but none use their mascot quite like Clemson. The Tiger Paw print is synonymous with Clemson athletics and is utterly simple but still edgy and creative. 
2.North CarolinaThe interlocked N-C are as famous as any brand logo in the nation. There are simple touches of style — the font and black trim — that make this logo completely unmistakable.
3.MiamiIt's as simple as it gets but also brings loads of creativity and history. No other logo turns into a hand signal like "The U" and the two-tone color scheme and pattern is unique.
4.Florida StateThe traditional Seminole logo is as recognizable as any in college football. It is a busy look but the subtle "Florida State" isn't too obvious and the lines are very smooth. Frankly, the tradition/success of the football team makes the logo in this case.
5.PittsburghFew teams have a logo that is simply the program's name. With drop shadows and arched font, the Panthers sport one of the cooler looks.
6.Virginia TechVirginia Tech has one of the best combination letter logos in the nation. It is hard to make it work but the simplicity and color pattern combines two letters that fit together nicely.
7.VirginiaThe Cavalier sabres crossed beneath the seraphed "V" is equal parts classic and creative. Few logos can combine these aspects of graphic design.
8.MarylandThe Testudo logo is excellent and this "M" standing alone is unique and fairly good looking. But the added obsession with the state flag in Maryland drops this one down a peg or two.
9.Georgia TechThe Ramblin Wreck's interlocking "G-T" is a historic look that isn't really good or bad. It's got some creativity but not too much.
10.NC StateThe block "S" is a popular logo for many college football teams (Michigan State, Stanford) but NC State takes it a step further by adding the N-C. The black trim is a nice touch and the overall package has good symmetry.
11.DukeThe font is bizarre, that is for sure — and that is what keeps it from being one of the league's top logos. However, it is a signature logo that everyone knows all across the nation.
12.SyracuseOnce again, the block "S" is a classic look and feel and is difficult to screw up. Adding the arched team name above it, however, takes away from what could be a classic, simple logo.
13.Wake ForestThe ACC seems to have more two-letter logos than any other league and Wake Forest is one of them. However, unlike Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech, Wake hasn't really found a creative way to connect its "W" and "F."
14.Boston CollegeThe cartoon eagle and italicized/overlapped BC just doesn't exude tradition and excellence like some other logos. The colors aren't bad but it's too busy to be considered a great logo.

Related College Football Content

ACC Predictions for 2013

12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013
ACC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
College Football's Top 15 Winners From Conference Realignment
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
Virginia Tech's Struggling Offense Gets a Makeover

Who has the best football logo in the ACC?
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/vanderbilts-james-franklin-jumps-cliff-chattanooga-video

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and his staff are on an annual coaches treat in Chattanooga, but that didn’t stop the third-year head coach from having a little fun.

Franklin took the challenge of jumping from a 50-foot cliff into the lake, and it was all captured on film thanks to receivers coach Josh Gattis and player personnel coach Andy Frank.

Check out James Franklin’s jump from a 50-foot cliff:

Vanderbilt's James Franklin Cliff Jumps in Chattanooga (Video)
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 07:25
Path: /college-football/florida-state-te-nick-oleary-survives-motorcycle-crash-video

Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary was involved in a scary motorcycle accident in early May, but details of the crash have been kept largely quiet for the last two months. O'Leary was not seriously injured in the crash, which is hard to believe considering the collision that occurred between his motorcycle and car.

Thanks to some excellent reporting from, the video from the incident and a few more details about the wreck was just released.

And needless to say, it’s great to see O’Leary walk away from the scene after what could have been a serious injury.


Florida State TE Nick O'Leary Survives Motorcycle Crash (Video)
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/washington-football-game-game-predictions-2013

Austin Seferian-JenkinsThe Pac-12 North is viewed as a two-team race in 2013. Oregon and Stanford are the class of the North, but there are a lot of eyes on Washington this year.

The Huskies have a revamped and improved Husky Stadium after spending a year in the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field, and Washington will open with Boise State on Aug. 31. But the Huskies didn’t draw a favorable conference slate, as they catch Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and UCLA in crossover play, with road trips to Oregon State and Stanford also on the Pac-12 schedule.

With a challenging schedule, Washington needs a big year from quarterback Keith Price. After throwing for 3,063 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2011, Price tossed 13 interceptions and regressed in yardage (2,728) last year. Price didn’t have a lot of help from his offensive line in 2012, which is still a concern heading into this year.

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

Washington's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

8/31 Boise State
9/14 Illinois (Chicago)
9/21 Idaho State
9/28 Arizona
10/5 at Stanford
10/12 Oregon
10/19 at Arizona State
10/26 California
11/9 Colorado
11/15 at UCLA
11/23 at Oregon State
11/29 Washington State
Final Projection8-47-57-58-48-4

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Considering how difficult Washington’s schedule is, it’s very possible the Huskies are a better team, but the progress won’t show in the win column. Much of Washington’s success in 2013 will ride on an improved offensive line, along with the return of quarterback Keith Price to an All-Pac-12 level. Just how difficult is the schedule? Well, there could be four losses on first glance: at Stanford, Oregon, at Arizona State and at UCLA. And games at Oregon State and home against Boise State are tossups or swing games. With the status of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and receiver Kasen Williams uncertain for the opener against the Broncos, I’m going to lean slightly with Boise State on Aug. 31. But I’m going to give Washington – especially with Seferian-Jenkins and Williams back in the lineup – a win over Oregon State on Nov. 23. After three consecutive seven-win seasons, the Huskies find a way to get to eight wins and finish third in the Pac-12 North in 2013.

Mark Ross
I like this Washington team, as I think the offense, with quarterback Keith Price, running back Bishop Sankey and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins leading the way, has a chance to do some damage. The defense also has a lot of talent and experience returning. The problem I see for the Huskies this season, however, is their schedule. Washington opens by hosting Boise State in brand-new Husky Stadium. Unfortunately, I don't see that one going Steve Sarkisian's way, and October is shaping up to be a pretty rough month as well with Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State lined up in a row.

Getting to six wins shouldn't be a problem for this team. The thing to watch is if these Huskies are able to pull of an upset or two along the way, such as on the road against Oregon State or UCLA. The potential is there for eight or even nine wins, but to get there Washington has to show up for the big games (lost to both Arizona and Oregon on the road last season by a combined score of 104-38) and must win the Apple Cup at home against in-state rival Washington State, something the Huskies did not do last season.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
If Washington is going to get over that 7-6 hump where the Huskies have been stuck the last three seasons, they’re going to have to win on the road. That hasn’t been easy — Washington is 6-11 on the road the last three years. It’s hard to believe Washington defeated Stanford last season, but that’s not going to happen again in Palo Alto with the Cardinal’s offensive line against Washington’s weakness on the defensive front. After that, the Huskies have three winnable Pac-12 road games in Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon State. Washington's defense was one of the most improved units in the country last season (from 6.2 yards per play in Pac-12 games to 5.3). The skill positions are among the best in the league at receiver, running back and tight end. Four linemen are back. That puts the onus on Keith Price, who underachieved last season. I’ll pick Washington to beat Oregon State, which is minus lockdown corner Jordan Poyer.

Kyle Kensing, Saturday Blitz (@Kensing45)
Great recruiting classes add up to equal talent and experience on what is easily the best Washington team of the Steve Sarkisian era. He will finally get over the seven-win mark, but the question is by how much?

Justin Wilcox led a remarkable one-year turnaround of the defense that should carry over into 2013. Unfortunately for the Huskies, offensive regression coincided with the defensive improvement to keep UW from meeting its potential. Keith Price must bounce back to his 2011 level of play for UW to elevate from a good, second tier Pac-12 team to a legitimate Rose Bowl contender. We should get a sense of where the Huskies are immediately against always-outstanding Boise State, which beat UW in the final game of last season.

The Huskies' four-game stretch to open Pac-12 play is season-defining. They open at home with two teams that beat them last year, Arizona and Oregon, and must travel to face defending conference champion Stanford, then travel to face an Arizona State that is my pick to win the South. Coming out of that spell 2-2 would be a major win. Should UW go 3-1, it positions itself at a run for the conference championship game.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
If Coach Sark can combine his offense from 2011 with his defense in 2012, this team might be capable of winning the Pac-12. The defensive coaching changes made last year were wildly effective and this unit should once again be salty. Keith Price, however, needs to revert to his record-setting form from two years ago — and there is no reason to think that won't happen considering his now healthy O-line and talented supporting skill cast. Late season road games with Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon State will determine if this team is a 9-10 win team or a 6-7 win team. I will go right in the middle.

Related College Football Content

Pac-12 Football Predictions for 2013
Pac-12 2013 All-Conference Team
Lane Kiffin's Last Stand at USC
The Pac-12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
A New Era Begins at Oregon with Mark Helfrich
Mike MacIntyre Brings Hope and a New Commitment to Colorado
College Football's Top 10 Players Returning From Injury for 2013
The Pac-12's Best Traditions
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013
5 First-Year Starting QBs Who Could Win College Football's National Title
College Football's 2013 All-America Team


Washington Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-close-game-analysis-who-best-worst-clutch

Nothing swings a season in college football like a close game.

Every time a national championship contender wins by a touchdown or a field goal over a lesser opponent, like clockwork the talking heads say every champion has a game like that through the season, mainly because it’s true. Notre Dame had five of them leading into the national championship game. Alabama gutted out wins over LSU and Georgia and lost a close one to Texas A&M.

On the other side, a sure-fire way to lose a job as a head coach is to lose a string of close games. Jeff Tedford’s Cal teams lost five games decided by one score in a row. Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson finished his tenure going 3-13 in one-score games over his final four seasons. Skip Holtz lost eight of his last 10 at USF before being shown the door.

Indeed, the heartbreaking loss or out-of-nowhere upset make up the fabric of college football. They influence athletic directors’ decision-making and fan and perception. Here, though, are the raw numbers. We decided to look at every major conference program, their coaches and how they’ve fared in close games over the last five seasons.

A few things to consider:

1. Close games are considered to be one-score games (i.e. games decided by eight points or fewer).

2. Unless noted, all records are from the last five seasons (since 2008).

3. Our research focused on teams in the six major conferences and active coaches at those programs.

4. We didn’t spend much time considering why the game was close — did a lesser team put a scare in a more highly ranked team? Did an elite team play down to an opponent? Over the span of five seasons, these close games more or less balanced out.

Here’s what we learned:

1. Kansas State19-5.792
2. Utah14-5.737
3. LSU19-9.679
T4. Alabama8-4.667
T4. Oklahoma State10-5.667
T4. Penn State8-4.667
1. Arizona State4-15.211
2. Ole Miss4-13.235
3. Memphis4-10.286
4. Indiana7-16.304
5. Tennessee6-12.333
Oklahoma State128-4
Washington State138-5
Kansas State19 
Notre Dame17 
Wake Forest16 
ACTIVE COACHES (min. 10 games)  
1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State17-4.810
2. Brian Kelly, Cincy/Notre Dame19-5.791
3. David Shaw, Stanford10-3.769
4. Dave Doeren, NIU/NC State9-3.750
5. Kyle Whittingham, Utah14-5.737
6. Urban Meyer, Florida/Ohio State8-3.727
T7. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU14-6.700
T7. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia7-3.700
9. Les Miles, LSU19-9.679
T10. Steve Sarkisian, Washington12-6.667
T10. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State10-5.667
T10. Nick Saban, Alabama8-4.667
1. Kevin Wilson, Indiana2-8.200
2. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame/Kansas7-14.333
3. George O'Leary, UCF9-16.360
4. David Cutcliffe, Duke8-14.364
5. Jerry Kill, NIU/Minnesota11-16.407
6. Todd Graham, Tulsa/Pitt/ASU9-13.409
7. Brady Hoke, Ball St/SDSU/Michigan7-10.412
T8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa12-16.429
T8. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest12-16.429
T8. Paul Pasqualoni, UConn4-8.429

• Brian Kelly’s 4-0 record in one-score games at Notre Dame last season was no fluke. The Notre Dame coach is 19-5 in games decided by eight points or less in the last five seasons, dating to his days at Cincinnati. And once Kelly is entrenched, the better success rate he has. Notre Dame has won eight of its last nine one-score games, and Cincinnati won nine in a row before Kelly left for South Bend.

• At what point should Lucky Les Miles shed the “lucky” tag? There has to be a skill to winning close games, right? LSU is 19-9 in one-score games in the last five seasons. Miles’ 11-4 mark in 2009-10 alone included more close games than Alabama has played in five seasons (8-4). The opponent who has played LSU the closest hasn’t been Alabama or Auburn as one might expect: LSU has split its four one-score games against Arkansas the last five years.

• Kansas State’s record in close games is staggering. The Wildcats are 19-5 in one-score games in the last five seasons for a 79.2 win percentage, by far the best in the major conferences. Kansas State has gone 17-4 in those games under Bill Snyder. But the Collin Klein era was another level: With Klein as the starting quarterback in 2011-12, Kansas State went 10-1 in one-score games.

• Arizona State is the anti-Kansas State. The Sun Devils are 4-15 in one-score games over the last five seasons. Dennis Erickson may have won two national titles at Miami, but he was 3-13 in close games in his final four seasons at Arizona State. That was more than enough to cost Erickson his job. The Sun Devils hired Todd Graham, whose record is a bit better, but not great: 9-13 in the last five seasons at Tulsa, Pittsburgh at ASU.

• The biggest surprise among teams on the right side of the ledger in close games is Utah. Aside from K-State, the Utes are the only other team to win more than 70 percent of their one-score games. Utah is 14-5 in close games the last five seasons, doing most of that damage as a Mountain West member at  10-2.

• Jim Harbaugh built Stanford into a contender, but David Shaw knows how to win the tight games. Shaw is 10-3 in one-score games as the Stanford coach; Harbaugh finished his tenure on a 6-7 note.

• Washington fans may be getting bored with seven win seasons, but Steve Sarkisian is winning when his back is against he wall. The Huskies won 10 one-score games before back-to-back losses to end the 2012 season (31-29 to Washington State, 28-26 to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl).

• Looking for another Brian Kelly, whose close game turnaround indicates a big season? Try Al Golden and Charlie Strong. In his final three seasons at Temple, Golden in close games went 2-5, 3-1 and 4-1. In that case, the last two seasons should be a bellwether for Golden at Miami. The Hurricanes went 2-6 in close games in 2011 and 3-2 in 2012. Meanwhile, Louisville went 5-11 under Strong in such games early. The Cardinals went 6-1 with their backs against the wall last season.

• If you’re looking for other teams trending in the right direction, Florida has won five of six one-score games dating back to the 2011 Gator Bowl against Ohio State. And further illustrating the point that opponents in close games even themselves out, two of those close games in 2012 were against Texas A&M and LSU; the others were Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette. Another impressive turnaround has been Nebraska: The Huskers went 5-10 in close games in the first four seasons under Bo Pelini before going 4-1 last year.

• Wisconsin is 14-14 overall in close games in the last five seasons, but the Badgers have lost 10 of 13 dating back to the 2011 Rose Bowl against TCU. Wisconsin, though, hired a coach in Gary Andersen who won eight of his last 10 one-score games at Utah State, one of those loses coming in Camp Randall.

• Michigan State and Iowa get the most attention for playing close games in the Big Ten. But they don’t play the most, and they don’t have the best success rate. That belongs to Northwestern, which is 19-16 in one-score games the last five seasons (albeit 0-3 in bowl games). Michigan State is 16-11, padded by an 8-1 mark in 2011. Iowa is 12-16 with a 6-12 mark the last three seasons.

• Bob Stoops is taking his lumps at Oklahoma, but the Sooners are 11-4 in one-score games since the 2009 Sun Bowl win over Stanford.

• Let’s give credit to Dabo Swinney for being able to avoid the heartbreakers. Tommy Bowden finished on a 1-7 skid in one-score games at Clemson. Swinney has won has last five one-score games.

• TCU is a strange case, aided by the Horned Frogs defensive dominance of the Mountain West. The Frogs have played only 16 one-score games in the last five seasons. Five have come in bowl games (TCU is 3-2), six came in the first year in the Big 12 (3-3).

• BYU is 14-6 in close games, which is mighty impressive. But consider that Bronco Mendenhall and the Cougars won 14 consecutive one score games from 2007-10.

• New Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz is a strange case. He went 10-4 in one-score games in his last two seasons at East Carolina in 2008-09. Then, he won six of his first nine close games at USF. But the Bulls squandered second-half lead after second-half lead to lose eight of their last 10 close games in 2011-12. That skid doomed Holtz at USF, but he’s still 18-15 overall in one-score games in the last five seasons.

• With its triple option offense, it’s not shocking Navy has played more close games than most, going 18-12 under Ken Niumatalolo in those games. Niumatololo’s predecessor, Paul Johnson, has gone 15-12 in one-score games at Georgia Tech, also running the option.

Kansas State's Bill Snyder owns staggering record in one-score games
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /nfl/nfls-worst-10-teams-expansion

The Seattle Seahawks own the 16-game NFL record for fewest points scored with 140 in 1992. Seattle also owns the all-time mark for fewest yards in a game when it totaled minus-7 yards against the L.A. Rams in 1979. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers set the modern NFL mark for worst point differential by being outscored by 287 points in 1976. The Baltimore Colts allowed an NFL-record 533 points back in 1981. The Houston Oilers claim the NFL mark for most interceptions thrown in a single season with 48 picks tossed in 1962. And the Philadelphia Eagles own the NFL’s single-season sacks allowed mark with 104 back in 1986.

Needless to say, there are many ways to measure NFL ineptitude. So while offensive and defensive statistical production (or lack thereof) is a huge factor in measuring pathetic-ness, wins and losses are still the most important way to evaluate any team.

Who are the worst NFL teams since expansion in 2002?

1. 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16)
Point Differential: -249 (268 PF, 517 PA)
Offense (total, scoring): 30th (268.3 ypg), 27th (16.8 ppg)
Defense (total, scoring): 32nd (404.4 ypg), 32nd (32.3 ppg)

No other team has ever gone winless in the modern NFL era (16-game regular season), which means the Detroit Lions must be considered the worst team due in large part to the massive "0" in the win column. Winning is all that really matters in sports and the Lions failed in truly epic fashion. Top it off with the worst defense of the expansion era, as this team fell just 16 points shy of setting an NFL record for points allowed (533). This team posted an NFL-worst four interceptions on defense, was next to last in sacks allowed (52.0) and finished 14th in the NFC in turnover differential. Dan Orlovsky led a five-man QB platoon that featured 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions and a combined 71.3 QB rating.

2. 2009 St. Louis Rams (1-15)
Point Differential: -261 (175 PF, 436 PA)
Offense: 29th (279.4 ypg), 32nd (10.9 ppg)
Defense: 29th (372.8 ypg), 31st (27.3 ppg)

This team redefined the term offensive struggles as its 175 points were only 35 away from the NFL mark set by Seattle (140) in 1992. It is the all-time low for a Rams team that played 16 games while the 261-point differential is the worst in franchise history as well. Marc Bulger was the leading passer with 1,469 yards, 5 TDs and 6 INTs. The team itself finished with 12 total TD passes and 21 INTs and a collective passer rating of 64.0. The Rams were shutout twice and scored 10 or fewer points in nine games. St. Louis also finished 31st in the NFL in turnover margin (-13) and 30th in team sacks (25.0). Steven Jackson was the lone bright spot on a team that won only once — against Detroit. The Rams were one of only three teams since 2002 to win one or fewer games.

3. 2009 Detroit Lions (2-14)
Point Differential: -232 (262 PF, 494 PA)
Offense: 26th (299.0 ypg), 27th (16.4 ppg)
Defense: 32nd (392.1 ypg), 32nd (30.9 ppg)

While the '09 Rams set offensive football back two decades, the '09 Lions continued to show its lack of defensive prowess. The Rams did defeat the Lions (17-10) that year, but for the season, Detroit scored nearly 100 more points and won twice as many games (over Washington and Cleveland). This Lions team also finished dead last in turnover margin (-18) and No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford missed the final six games of the season. The Lions went 0-6 after Stafford was lost. 

4. 2007 Miami Dolphins (1-15)
Point Differential: -170 (267 PF, 437 PA)
Offense: 28th (287.5 ypg), 26th (16.7 ppg)
Defense: 23rd (342.2 ypg), 30th (27.3 ppg)

This version of the Fish lost the first 13 games of the season before winning their only game of the year over Baltimore. Cleo Lemon was 1-6 as the starter, John Beck went 0-4 and Trent Green was 0-5. The trio combined to throw 12 touchdown passes, 16 fewer than the opposition. Ronnie Brown led the team in rushing after playing only seven games (602 yards) while Jesse Chatman actually got the most carries (128). The only shot Cam Cameron has had to be a head coach in the NFL was his one-win season at the helm of the Dolphins.

5. 2008 St. Louis Rams (2-14)
Point Differential:
-233 (232 PF, 465 PA)
Offense: 27th (287.3 ypg), 31st (14.5 ppg)
Defense: 28th (371.9 ypg), 31st (29.1 ppg)

The 233-point scoring differential was a franchise record at the time and would still be the Rams' worst-ever scoring season had it not been for the 2009 team that came along the next year. This team lost the final 10 games of the year and scored only 19 offensive touchdowns all season (11 pass, 8 rush). In fact, this offense was the most scored upon OFFENSE in the NFL. That is right, the Rams offense had seven turnovers returned for touchdowns, a number that tied for the league lead.

6. 2011 St. Louis Rams (2-14)
Point Differential:
-214 (193, 407)
Offense: 31st, (283.6 ypg), 32nd (12.1 ppg)
Defense: 22nd (358.4 ypg), 26th (25.4 ppg)

If not for the 2008 and '09 teams, this team would have been the most outscored Rams team in history. The 193 total points scored are the second-worst in team history for one that played 16 games. Losing Sam Bradford to an injury after 10 games certainly didn't help the offense as the team finished with nine touchdown passes and a paltry 53.2 percent completion rate. St. Louis also led the league in sacks allowed with 55.0 while the rushing attack contributed only seven scores of its own. The 28.1 percent third-down rate was the worst ratio in the NFL as well.

7. 2010 Carolina Panthers (2-14)
Point Differential:
-212 (196 PF, 408 PA)
Offense: 32nd (12.3 ypg), 32nd (258.4 ppg)
Defense: 18th (335.9 ypg), 26th (25.5 ppg)

The offense did little to contribute to this football team whatsoever. Not only were the 196 total points scored the worst in the 17-year history of the franchise, but this season also was the only time the Panthers failed to reach 250 points. Jimmy Clausen (1-9), Matt Moore (1-4) and Brian St. Pierre (0-1) combined for a nasty 9:21 TD:INT ratio while finishing 30th in 3rd downs (30.4 percent) and 25th in turnover margin. To top it off, the 408 points allowed were third worst in franchise history on the defensive side of the ball.

8. 2011 Indianapolis Colts (2-14)
Point Differential: -212 (196 PF, 408 PA)
Offense: 32nd (12.3 ypg), 32nd (258.4 ppg)
Defense: 18th (335.9 ypg), 26th (25.5 ppg)

Obviously, without Peyton Manning, the Colts experienced its worst season since 1998, No. 18's rookie year. If not for a torrid 2-1 finish to the year, the Colts were in danger of challenging the Lions of 2008. In the first 13 losses, Indy allowed less than 23 points only one time. The total points scored, which included only 14 total touchdown passes (or 12 less than Manning's career low), and point differential were the worst numbers for the Colts since the 1993 season. The top ball carrier, Donald Brown, led the team in rushing despite making just two starts all year (645 yards).

9. 2004 San Francisco 49ers (2-14)
Point Differential:
-193 (259, 452)
Offense: 26th (286.6 ypg), 30th (16.2 ppg)
Defense: 24th (342.6 ypg), 32nd (28.3 ppg) 

San Francisco was two games worse than every other team in the NFL that year, and, technically, the 49ers were winless in regulation as both wins came in overtime. The Niners were 30th in the NFL in points scored and dead last in points allowed while finishing 31st in turnover margin (-19). Tim Rattay (1-8) and Ken Dorsey (1-6) were equally ineffective, throwing for 16 touchdowns against 21 interceptions and completing only 57.9 percent of their passes. The ground game was led by the great Kevan Barlow, who rushed for 822 yards at 3.4 yards per clip. The Niners finished 30th in the NFL in rushing at just over 90 yards per game. The 452 points allowed were one point shy of the franchise record set in 1999 (453) and the 193-point differential was an organizational record.

10. 2005 Houston Texans (2-14)
Point Differential: -171 (260, 431)
Offense: 30th (253.3 ypg), 26th (16.3 ppg)
Defense: 31st (364.0 ypg), 32nd (26.9 ppg)

There were some bad Texans team and David Carr paid a big price. After getting sacked a league-worst 76 times as a rookie, Houston once again led the league in sacks allowed in 2005 with 68. This franchise will be playing in just its 12th season this fall, but the '05 team set the benchmark for fewest wins, points allowed and point differential, all of which led to the firing of Dom Capers. Carr started every game and averaged a pathetic 155.5 yards passing per game, threw only 14 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions and fumbled 17 times.

The...Worst of the Rest?

2012 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
This team was outscored by nearly 200 points (minus-189), yet beat the Tennessee Titans as well as a shocking early season upset of the Colts. This team ranked 29th in total offense and 30th in total defense in 2012.

2004 Cleveland Browns (4-12)
Began 3-3 before losing nine straight in which they scored more than 15 points only one time. Trailed only the Niners for worst record. The offense was led by Jeff Garcia for 10 games, Luke McCown for four and Kelly Holcombe for two.

2002 Houston Texans (4-12)
The lowest scoring team in franchise history (213 pts) finished last in total offense as well as sacks allowed with 76. The first year of the Texans was salvaged by two strange wins over playoff teams (NYG, PIT) and is the only thing keeping this team out of the top ten.

2011 Tampa Bay Bucs (4-12)
The Bucs led the league in turnovers (40) and posted the worst turnover margin (-16) in 2011. After starting 4-2, Tampa Bay crumbled down the stretch with 10 straight losses and set a franchise mark with 494 points allowed (keep in mind, that is a BUCCANEERS franchise record).

2008 Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
This team couldn't get off the field in 2008 as it was the worst 3rd down team in the league (47.4 percent) and dead last in sacks (10). It finished 31st in total defense and the 440 points allowed and -149-point differential are Chiefs single-season records.

2006 Oakland Raiders (2-14)
The Silver and Black defense was good enough to keep them out of the top ten, but the offense was nearly historic in its struggles. The 168 points scored were 28 away from the all-time NFL mark, these Raiders finished dead last in sacks allowed (72), turnover margin (-20) and both scoring and total offense. Oakland was also 31st in the league with 23 interceptions thrown.

Who are the most inept, least-productive NFL football teams since 2002?
Post date: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 06:45