Articles By All

All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-2

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

Neither Aaron Rodgers nor Jay Cutler were all that impressive on Thursday night as the two combined for just two touchdown passes and five interceptions. Defenses, especially Green Bay's, dominated the proceedings on Thursday as the Packers sacked Cutler seven times and picked off Cutler four times. Defenses also could play a major role in the Baltimore vs. Philadelphia match up, so it will be interesting to see if Joe Flacco can build off his near-flawless (299 yards, 2 TDs) Monday night performance against the Eagles, while Michael Vick is hoping to improve from his Week 1 passing effort (52 percent completion rate, 4 INTs)  against a Ravens defense that flexed its muscles against the Bengals. Other quarterbacks looking to bounce back from subpar Week 1 performances include  Drew Brees and Cam Newton, who also are looking to help their teams break into the win column on Sunday as the NFC South divisional foes face off. However, the quarterback showcase that everyone will be watching is on Monday night when Peyton Manning takes his Broncos to Atlanta to face Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Manning looked like his old self in leading the Broncos to a win over Pittsburgh, but it was Ryan who topped all quarterbacks in Week 1 with his 299 yards passing and four total touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush) against Kansas City.

2012 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
2 Drew Brees NO at CAR
3 Tom Brady NE vs. ARI
4 Cam Newton CAR vs. NO
5 Eli Manning NYG vs. TB
6 Matt Ryan ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
7 Peyton Manning DEN at ATL (Mon.)
8 Matthew Stafford DET at SF
9 Jay Cutler CHI at GB (Thurs.)
10 Robert Griffin III WAS at STL
11 Tony Romo DAL at SEA
12 Philip Rivers SD vs. TEN
13 Joe Flacco BAL at PHI
14 Michael Vick PHI vs. BAL
15 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. NYJ
16 Alex Smith SF vs. DET
17 Matt Schaub HOU at JAC
18 Josh Freeman TB at NYG
19 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF vs. KC
20 Andrew Luck IND vs. MIN
21 Carson Palmer OAK at MIA
22 Mark Sanchez NYJ at PIT
23 Jake Locker TEN at SD
24 Andy Dalton CIN vs. CLE
25 Christian Ponder MIN at IND
26 Sam Bradford STL vs. WAS

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 2 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 2 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 2</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:29
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-2

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

Greg Jennings did not play Thursday night against Chicago, sitting with a groin injury, but it's not like any receiver on either team did that much as both quarterbacks combined for two touchdown passes and five interceptions. Hopefully, Sunday will bring better results for top wide receiver options like Julio Jones, who got his 2012 season off to a nice start as he hauled in two touchdowns from Matt Ryan in Week 1. Jones and teammate Roddy White will get the Monday night spotlight this week against Denver's own dynamic duo of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Kenny Britt should also make his season debut after serving his one-game suspension as Tennessee is in San Diego on Sunday. Don't forget that Britt was leading the AFC in receiving after the first two weeks of last season before tearing his ACL in the Titans' third game. Another situation that bears watching is Philadelphia's duo of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, both of whom missed practice on Thursday because of injuries.

2012 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET at SF
2 Andre Johnson HOU at JAC
3 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at NE
4 Julio Jones ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
5 Brandon Marshall CHI at GB (Thurs.)
6 A.J. Green CIN vs. CLE
7 Steve Smith CAR vs. NO
8 Percy Harvin MIN at IND
9 Victor Cruz NYG vs. TB
10 Roddy White ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
11 Jordy Nelson GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
12 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. TB
13 Dez Bryant DAL at SEA
14 Wes Welker NE vs. ARI
15 Miles Austin DAL at SEA
16 Demaryius Thomas DEN at ATL (Mon.)
17 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. ARI
18 Reggie Wayne IND vs. MIN
19 Mike Wallace PIT vs. NYJ
20 Marques Colston NO at CAR
21 Vincent Jackson TB at NYG
22 Stevie Johnson BUF vs. KC
23 Antonio Brown PIT vs. NYJ
24 Pierre Garcon WAS at STL
25 Dwayne Bowe KC at BUF
26 Greg Jennings* GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
27 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. BAL
28 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. BAL
29 Torrey Smith BAL at PHI
30 Eric Decker DEN at ATL (Mon.)
31 Malcom Floyd SD vs. TEN
32 Lance Moore NO at CAR
33 Michael Crabtree SF vs. DET
34 Santonio Holmes NYJ at PIT
35 Nate Washington TEN at SD
36 Randall Cobb GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
37 Anquan Boldin BAL at PHI
38 Robert Meachem SD vs. TEN
39 Sidney Rice SEA vs. DAL
40 Kenny Britt TEN at SD
41 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. NO
42 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at MIA
43 James Jones GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
44 Kevin Ogletree DAL at SEA
45 Danny Amendola STL vs. WAS
46 Randy Moss SF vs. DET
47 Nate Burleson DET at SF
48 Laurent Robinson JAC vs. HOU
49 Mike Williams TB at NYG
50 Davone Bess MIA vs. OAK
51 Andre Roberts ARI at NE
52 Dexter McCluster KC at BUF
53 Greg Little CLE at CIN
54 Doug Baldwin SEA vs. DAL
55 Donald Jones BUF vs. KC
56 Braylon Edwards SEA vs. DAL
57 Mario Manningham SF vs. DET
58 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. HOU
59 Kendall Wright TEN at SD
60 Rueben Randle NYG vs. TB
61 Kevin Walter HOU at JAC
62 Denarius Moore OAK at MIA
63 Eddie Royal SD vs. TEN
64 Titus Young DET at SF

*NOTE: Jennings did not play on Thursday night against Chicago because of a groin injury.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 2 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 2 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 2</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:28
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-2

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

2012 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. ARI
2 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at MIA
3 Garrett Hartley NO at CAR
4 David Akers SF vs. DET
5 Nate Kaeding SD vs. TEN
6 Mason Crosby GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
7 Dan Bailey DAL at SEA
8 Matt Bryant ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
9 Justin Tucker BAL at PHI
10 Matt Prater DEN at ATL (Mon.)
11 Robbie Gould CHI at GB (Thurs.)
12 Rob Bironas TEN at SD
13 Alex Henery PHI vs. BAL
14 Billy Cundiff WAS at STL
15 Jason Hanson DET at SF
16 Shayne Graham HOU at JAC

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 2 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 2 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 2</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:25
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-2

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

2012 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

1 Houston Texans at JAC
2 Baltimore Ravens at PHI
3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. NYJ
4 San Francisco 49ers vs. DET
5 New England Patriots vs. ARI
6 New York Jets at PIT
7 Dallas Cowboys at SEA
8 Philadelphia Eagles vs. BAL
9 Washington Redksins at STL
10 Seattle Seahawks vs. DAL
11 Chicago Bears at GB (Thurs.)
12 Oakland Raiders at MIA
13 New York Giants vs. TB
14 Cincinnati Bengals vs. CLE
15 Green Bay Packers vs. CHI (Thurs.)
16 Detroit Lions at SF

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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


Additional Week 2 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 2 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 2</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:24
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-2

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

Even though both were questionable headed into their teams' respective owners, Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew got enough carries in Week 1 to be relevant for those owners who decided to stick with them. This week there's no uncertainty about whether you should start either, although Jones-Drew appears to be in for a tougher time as he will face off against Houston, while Peterson will get his crack at Indianapolis. The marquee running back showcase is in Philadelphia as Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy will be on the same field and have tough assignments against the respective defenses. Darren McFadden caught 13 passes on Monday night, but his owners are hoping for considerably more than the 32 yards rushing he had against the Chargers as the Raiders go cross-country to play the Dolphins. All eyes also will be on Chris Johnson to see if he can bounce back against San Diego from a miserable four-yard effort on the grond in Week 1, while C.J. Spiller looks to prove to everyone he is ready to be a No. 1 option following his 169 yards against the Jets and with Fred Jackson sidelined for at least a month. Spiller will get his chance against a Kansas City defense that gave up 40 points to the Falcons in Week 1, although most of that damage came via the pass.

2012 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU at JAC
2 Ray Rice BAL at PHI
3 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. BAL
4 Matt Forte CHI at GB (Thurs.)
5 Darren McFadden OAK at MIA
6 Jamaal Charles KC at BUF
7 DeMarco Murray DAL at SEA
8 Adrian Peterson MIN at IND
9 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC vs. HOU
10 Chris Johnson TEN at SD
11 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. DAL
12 Frank Gore SF vs. DET
13 Steven Jackson STL vs. WAS
14 C.J. Spiller BUF vs. KC
15 Reggie Bush MIA vs. OAK
16 Stevan Ridley NE vs. ARI
17 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. TB
18 Doug Martin TB at NYG
19 Willis McGahee DEN at ATL (Mon.)
20 Shonn Greene NYJ at PIT
21 Michael Turner ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. CLE
23 Darren Sproles NO at CAR
24 Trent Richardson CLE at CIN
25 Donald Brown IND vs. MIN
26 Alfred Morris WAS at STL
27 Kevin Smith DET at SF
28 Jonathan Dwyer PIT vs. NYJ
29 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. NO
30 Mark Ingram NO at CAR
31 Beanie Wells ARI at NE
32 Michael Bush CHI at GB (Thurs.)
33 Cedric Benson GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
34 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. NO
35 Ben Tate HOU at JAC
36 Ryan Williams ARI at NE
37 Ronnie Brown SD vs. TEN
38 Kendall Hunter SF vs. DET
39 Peyton Hillis KC at BUF
40 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
41 Toby Gerhart MIN at IND
42 Curtis Brinkley SD vs. TEN
43 Isaac Redman PIT vs. NYJ
44 Pierre Thomas NO at CAR
45 Felix Jones DAL at SEA
46 Knowshon Moreno DEN at ATL (Mon.)
47 David Wilson NYG vs. TB
48 Brandon Jackson CLE at CIN

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 2 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 2 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 2</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:22
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-2

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

Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski did what we have come to expect them to do - find the end zone - but they weren't the only tight ends to enjoy big opening weeks. Gronkowski's teammate Aaron Hernandez also caught a touchdown pass against Tennessee, while Tony Gonzalez enjoyed a triumphant and productive return to Kansas City, where his Hall of Fame career started. No one had a more surprising Week 1 performance, however, than Baltimore's Dennis Pitta. Pitta was Joe Flacco's top target in the Ravens' dominating win over Cincinnati on Monday night, catching five passes for 73 yards and a score. Can he do it two weeks in a row, this time against a tough Philadelphia defense? Also what sort of encore does rookie Coby Fleener (6 rec., 82 yds.) have in mind, and what can we expect from Jason Witten, who was largely ineffective (2 rec., 10 yds.) in his first action after suffering a lacerated spleen in the preseason?

2012 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jimmy Graham NO at CAR
2 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. ARI
3 Antonio Gates SD vs. TEN
4 Jermichael Finley GB vs. CHI (Thurs.)
5 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. ARI
6 Vernon Davis SF vs. DET
7 Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. DEN (Mon.)
8 Brandon Pettigrew DET at SF
9 Fred Davis WAS at STL
10 Jared Cook TEN at SD
11 Jason Witten DAL at SEA
12 Coby Fleener IND vs. MIN
13 Kyle Rudolph MIN at IND
14 Jacob Tamme DEN at ATL (Mon.)
15 Greg Olsen CAR vs. NO
16 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. TB
17 Owen Daniels HOU at JAC
18 Brent Celek PHI vs. BAL
19 Dustin Keller NYJ at PIT
20 Dennis Pitta BAL at PHI
21 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. CLE
22 Scott Chandler BUF vs. KC
23 Heath Miller PIT vs. NYJ
24 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. HOU
25 Kevin Boss KC at BUF
26 Dallas Clark TB at NYG

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 2 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 2 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 2</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:17
Path: /baseballs-half-million-error

According to the greatest baseball research website in the world,, MLB and its players are approaching the 500,000th recorded error since 1876. Wow, a half-million miscues.

With 499,982 as of today, Sept. 15, some unfortunate dude will make the milestone mess-up most likely on Sunday, Sept. 16 (or the next day).

Here are our Top 10 candidates to make history:

10. Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies
Rosario is developing the reputation as one of the best throwers in the game behind the plate, and he is second in the majors with 69 assists, despite playing in only 82 games. He also leads all catchers in errors with 11.
How it could happen: After Chase Headley beats the throw to the plate on a single by Yasmani Grandal, Rosario steps up to take the throw and tries to get Grandal advancing to second, but his throw sails wide and into center field, which allows the Padres’ catcher to advance to third.

9. Alex Gordon, LF, Royals
Outfielders aren’t charged with errors often, so Gordon isn’t the odds-on favorite. But he’s in love with his arm and seems to enjoy showing it off, which probably has something to do with teammate Jeff Francoeur in right field regularly gunning down runners.
How it could happen: Maicer Izturis of the Angels foolishly attempts to go from first to third on an Albert Pujols single to left center and Gordon throws a pea to third baseman Mike Moustakas. But even the best of throws can hit runners and ricochet awry, leaving the outfielder with the throwing error. Izturis scores as the ball trickles toward the Angels’ dugout.

8. Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
I like Andrus’ defense, but he covers ground, and by definition, shortstops tend to make errors.
How it could happen: In an 8-1 Rangers blowout over Seattle in the Texas heat, Andrus ranges to his left, but can’t corral a grounder by the Mariners’ Trayvon Robinson.

7. Daniel Descalso, SS, Cardinals
With shortstop Rafael Furcal out for the season with an elbow injury, Descalso has become the everyday player at the position. It’s not that he’s sub-par, he’s just not accustomed to playing nine innings at the demanding position every day.
How it could happen: The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp hits a sharp ground ball that handcuffs Descalso with no one on in the sixth inning.

6. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Dodgers
Ramirez topped 20 errors in his first three seasons for the Marlins. He’s steadily improved, and he’s made just two in 32 games at short for the Dodgers this season. But it could happen. Besides, shortstop is demanding and having Vin Scully’s immediate impression is always a bonus.
How it could happen: With runners on first and third, the Cardinals’ David Freese rolls over one and hits a ready-made double-play grounder to short, which should get the Dodgers and Chris Capuano out of the fifth inning with no runs. Ramirez boots it, a run scores and the inning continues.

5. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians
It’s been a long season in Cleveland. It’s tough to maintain concentration this late in a disappointing and frustrating year. If the milestone lasts through the weekend, the Twins will be in Cleveland. And who can concentrate on a Tuesday night during a Twins-Indians game?
How it could happen: Josh Willingham’s harmless grounder eats up Cabrera.

4. Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals
Desmond has the worst fielding percentage of qualifying NL shortstops. And we know he’ll be in the lineup every day since the Nationals are in the pennant race.
How it could happen: Michael Bourn of Atlanta hits a chopper to short that Desmond rushes and throws in the dirt, eluding first baseman Adam LaRoche, allowing Bourn to sprint to second.

3. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
Castro is certainly no stranger to errors or mental lapses. And the Cubs will be hosting the Pirates and Reds during this stretch, two teams that love to put pressure on defenses.
How it could happen: After making an error earlier in the game, Castro makes a nice stop in the hole on a Michael McKendry ground ball, but nonchalants the throw and pulls first baseman Anthony Rizzo off the bag.

2. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
The slugger has found his swing this season and is providing the Bucs with badly needed pop in the lineup. He takes pride in his defense but tries to make plays at times when he shouldn’t, which is why he leads the majors in errors this season.
How it could happen: David DeJesus chops one down the third base line and Alvarez charges hard, bare hands and makes a wide throw to first. Scoring: Infield hit and error.

1. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
Zimmerman, who owns a Gold Glove and has developed a reputation as a superb fielder, has recently become the latest victim of the throwing yips. He has 10 throwing errors this season.
How it could happen: Chipper Jones hits a routine grounder to third, Zimmerman fields, sets himself, and yip, throws it in the seats. Yep. That’s No. 500,000.

The 1,000-Error Club
They just don’t make errors the way they used to. All four in this illustrious club retired before 1915. Pee Wee Reese, who retired at the end of 1958, was the last player to make more than 400 errors, less than half required for this special club membership.

There are just four players in the 1,000-error club. Herman Long leads the pack with 1,096 errors. Bill Dahlen has 1,080, Deacon White made 1,018 and Germany Smith crept into the club with 1,009.

Herman Long, nicknamed “Germany” and the “Flying Dutchman,” played shortstop primarily for 16 seasons with the Boston Beaneaters. His rookie season in 1889 was spent with the Kansas City Cowboys, for which he made 122 errors in 128 games. He topped 100 boots in two other seasons.

Bad Bill Dahlen was a contemporary of Long’s. He was also a shortstop who was charged with 86 errors with the Chicago Colts in 1895.

Deacon White retired in 1890 after 20 seasons of making errors. In the mid-1870s he put together four miraculous seasons of 51, 56, 60 and 64 errors from his catcher position for the Boston Red Stockings. He finished his career with 444 errors at the hot corner and 399 from behind the plate.

Germany Smith — born in Pittsburgh — was a shortstop who spent 15 seasons in the big leagues before retiring in 1898. He wound up his career with 907 runs and 1,009 errors.

-Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Here are our best guesses</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-3-sit-or-start

Starting next week, conference play will start dominating the schedule.  Therefore, you must take advantage of the mismatches littering the schedule this week.  Still, there are some tough calls and we’re here to help you with some additional insight.


Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA vs Houston

The dual-threat freshman quarterback should be a must-start in what figures to be a fantasy-rich contest between the Bruins and Cougars.

Terrence Owens, QB-Toledo vs Bowling Green

Owens was awarded the starting job last week and responded with a three-touchdown, 300-yard performance in a win at Wyoming.

Colby Cameron, QB-Louisiana Tech vs Rice

Cameron was 34 of 52 for 353 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s track meet at Houston.  Expect much of the same this weekend when the Owls visit Ruston.

Ryan Nassib, QB-Syracuse vsStony Brook

Nassib has thrown for 806 yards and six touchdowns in back-to-back games against Northwestern and USC.  This week, the competition gets much easier when Stony Brook comes into the Carrier Dome.

Logan Thomas, QB-Virginia Tech at Pitt

We’re expecting Thomas to put together a solid dual-threat performance against a struggling Pitt defense that has given up 30-plus points in both games this season.

Casey Pachall, QB-TCU at Kansas

Pachall was a perfect 9-for-9 for 201 yards and three touchdowns last week against Grambling State.  He should get a lot more playing time this week on the road at Kansas and receiver Skye Dawson should return to compliment Josh Boyce on the outside.

Jahwan Edwards, RB-Ball St at Indiana

After losing starting quarterback Tre Roberson for the season, it will be interesting to see how the Hoosiers respond to sophomore Cameron Coffman under center.  Either way, expect Edwards to shoulder the load for the Cardinals on the road.

Nathan Jeffery, RB-UTEP vs New Mexico St

If we knew that Jeffery would be 100%, he would be in our top ten.  However, you can never be sure with college injuries, but Jeffery has practiced and should be ready to roll.

Joe Bergeron, RB-Texas at Ole Miss

The sophomore running back is making the most of his carries and should get a heavier workload this week on the road at Ole Miss.

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern vs Northwestern

After rushing for 123 yards last week against Vanderbilt, Mark has become a must-start in deeper leagues.

George Winn, RB-Cincinnati, vs Delaware St

Winn flew under the radar last Saturday because of Cincinnati’s Week One bye.  This week, he’ll fly into a lot of starting roster spots.

Jarred Salubi, RB-Baylor vs Sam Houston St

Baylor had a bye last week, but don’t forget about Salubi’s 91-yard performance against SMU in Week One.

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M at SMU

Get used to the freshman quarterback-receiver combination of Johnny Manziel-to-Mike Evans in College Station.

Matt Miller, WR-Boise St vs Miami, OH

After a rough opening game at Michigan State and a bye week, the Broncos offense should start taking form.


Kolton Browning, UL-Monroe at Auburn

Can Browning come close to duplicating is 38-point Week Two?  We’re not willing to risk our Week Three on it.

Rio Johnson, QB-ECU at Southern Miss

After two starts, Johnson has thrown four interceptions and could get a quick hook if he struggles early at Southern Miss.

Bo Wallace, QB-Ole Miss vs Texas

The sophomore quarterback has accounted for seven touchdowns so far, but the Longhorns will be a much tougher test than Central Arkansas and UTEP.

Knile Davis, RB-Arkansas vs Alabama

Too many other good matchups around the country to settle for average production from your top back.

Garrett Gilbert, QB-SMU vs Texas A&M

Gilbert has only completed 55.8% of his passes this season and that percentage won’t improve much this weekend against the Aggies.

Kedrick Rhodes, RB-FIU at Central Florida

Losing carries last week to Darian Mallary has fantasy owners second-guessing themselves this week.  Play it safe and look elsewhere.

Isi Sofele, RB-Cal at Ohio St

The Buckeyes only surrendered 103 rushing yards to Central Florida and held Miami, Ohio to negative-one yard rushing in the opener.

Tony Pierson, RB-Kansas vs TCU

Pierson has topped 100 yards in each of the first two weeks, but South Dakota State and Rice are no longer on the schedule.

Cameron Marshall, RB-Arizona St at Missouri

Marshall is still scoring touchdowns, but we’re losing confidence in his ability to churn out the yards and hold off freshman D.J. Foster.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy vs Mississippi State

Southward’s value will be much greater in weeks four and five when the Trojans play North Texas and South Alabama.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington vs Portland State

The Huskies are going to do whatever they can to establish a running game, but we’re not quite sure that they have one.

Keenan Davis, WR-Iowa vs Northern Iowa

The Hawkeyes’ offense goes through running back Damon Bullock.  Quarterback James Vandenberg has only completed 54% of his passes.



Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 3 Sit or Start</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 04:16
Path: /rookiepitchers

Baseball has been filled with great pitchers who started their careers with average performances and slowly developed over the course of several seasons. But for a select few hurlers, success came quickly. Here's our look at the best first-year pitchers in baseball history.

1. Fernando Valenzuela, Dodgers, 1981
Fernandomania spread quickly in Southern California, as the young Valenzuela from Mexico dominated NL hitters with his devastating screwball. In the strike-shortened season, the lefty completed nine innings in each of his first eight starts, five of them shutouts. For the season, he twirled eight shutouts, easily leading the league on his way to capturing the Cy Young award. His year continued with five strong starts in the postseason, including a win in Game 5 of the NLCS and Game 3 of the World Series.

2. Neftali Feliz, Rangers, 2010
Feliz, who has since been converted to a starter, established a rookie record with 40 saves (since broken by Craig Kimbrel). Of the 16 runners he inherited, only one scored.

3. Hideo Nomo, Dodgers, 1995
The Japanese League veteran was 6-0 in June with a 0.89 ERA and opponents batted .143 that month. On the season, he allowed 207 baserunners (hits, walks and HBP) and whiffed 236.

4. Mark Fidrych, Tigers, 1976
The Bird was the greatest box office draw Detroit had experienced in years. In the 19 starts Fidrych made at Tiger Stadium, the average attendance was 33,479. The Tigers drew an average of 15,108 in the other 55 home dates. He led the AL with 24 complete games, going 10 or more innings five times, two of those on three days’ rest. The colorful character would talk to the baseball and manicure the mound with his hands.
5. Dwight Gooden, Mets, 1984
In his last eight starts, the 19-year-old Gooden was 7-1 with a 1.17 ERA over 69.0 innings. He struck out 95 while allowing only 49 hits plus walks during that span.

6. Craig Kimbrel, Braves, 2011
Manger Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t shy about using his three young relievers, including Kimbrel, who suffered from overuse. On his way to a record-setting 46 saves, he didn’t allow a run from June 14-Sept 8, a span covering 38 appearances and 37.2 innings.

7. Cy Blanton, Pirates, 1935
Blanton led the NL in ERA, WHIP and shutouts. He made nine starts to begin the season without being relieved, and over a six-day period he had two complete games and a save.

8. Vean Gregg, Indians, 1911
The pride of South Dakota State led the American League in ERA and WHIP, finishing 10th in MVP voting.

9. Don Newcombe, Dodgers, 1949
The 23-year-old led the NL with five shutouts, winning Rookie of the Year honors and finishing eighth in MVP balloting. His first start was a five-hit shutout at Cincinnati with no walks and three strikeouts. On Sept. 24 with the Dodgers just a half game behind the Cardinals, Newcombe pitched a complete game four-hitter over the Phillies on two days’ rest.

10. Kaz Sasaki, Mariners, 2000
A 10-year veteran of Japanese baseball, the 32-year-old converted 37 of 40 save opportunities during his first year in the U.S.

11. Roy Oswalt, Astros, 2001
He had a 2.04 ERA in August and September as the Astros won eight of his last 10 starts.

12. Joe Black, Dodgers, 1952
A veteran of the Negro Leagues, Black broke into the majors at age 28. The rubber-armed righthander once racked up three saves and a win over a four-day period, tossing 8.1 shutout innings.

13. Russ Ford, Yankees, 1910
Somehow his 26 wins, 1.65 ERA or 0.881 WHIP didn’t lead the league.

14. Andrew Bailey, A’s, 2009
Bailey had three wins and two holds before he picked up his first save on May 8. He converted his last 21 save opportunities, with five of them more than three outs.

15. Pete Alexander, Phillies, 1911
The 24-year-old from St. Paul, Neb., led the National League in wins, shutouts, innings and hits/9 IP, finishing third in the MVP race.

- Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie)

<p> Athlon Sports baseball expert Charlie Miller identifies the 15 best rookie seasons ever by pitchers. Remember Fernandomania and The Bird?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 20:40
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-26

NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship is here and with it comes the question of who will win it. Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council tackle that question and more, including what is the biggest surprise this year and if they think drivers give their best effort every race. Here’s what the Backseat Drivers Fan Council had to say about those issues and more.

Who will win the Chase?

23.7 percent picked Jimmie Johnson
17.1 percent picked Denny Hamlin
17.1 percent picked Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11.5 percent picked Jeff Gordon
9.8 percent picked Brad Keselowski
7.0 percent picked Tony Stewart
4.2 percent picked Greg Biffle
2.8 percent picked Clint Bowyer
2.4 percent picked Kevin Harvick
2.4 percent picked Matt Kenseth
2.1 percent picked Kasey Kahne
0.0 percent picked Martin Truex Jr.

What Fan Council members said:
• Hoping for a first-timer, suspecting it will be a six-timer.

• Here's hoping that Denny can keep it going for the next 10 weeks. I would love to see Grubb prove to everyone he's one of the best in the garage.

• Jimmie Johnson is running good and heading into familiar territory on some tracks he dominates. No-brainer, here. It's Johnson's to lose.

• Dale Jr. for a change — if Stevie can hold them together.

• After (Saturday) night, I believe that Gordon and the 24 team are capable of ANYTHING. And he wants it as badly as I've ever seen him want something.

• I think there are a couple of very good choices here, but I'm going to say Jeff Gordon. After the horrendous start to his season, his team worked their butts off & that hard work paid off the last few races.

• My heart says Dale Jr., but my head says Jimmie!

• Denny will win the championship after a battle between he and Kasey Kahne.

• Brad Keselowski is, in my opinion, a cross between Dale Sr. and Darrell Waltrip, and we know what they did.

• You can't go wrong picking a Hendrick driver, but I hope Harvick takes it with no wins to rid us of the Chase.

What has been the biggest surprise for the 2012 season?

35.1 percent said Michael Waltrip Racing putting two cars in the Chase
32.6 percent said Carl Edwards missing the Chase after nearly winning the title last year
29.6 percent said Jeff Gordon rallying to take the final wild card spot from Kyle Busch
2.7 percent said Denny Hamlin leading the points entering the Chase

What Fan Council members said:
• All of the above are surprises, but Carl Edwards not making the Chase is the biggest surprise of all.

• I didn't think MWR would put ANY cars in the Chase, let alone two!

• With the luck that he has had this year, I had written Gordon off MONTHS ago. Even as recently as Watkins Glen, I knew he wouldn't make it. But he made me eat my words.

• Mark Martin, in his interview following the race, stated it best: MWR has been plugging away in the shadows and now we all can see their determination, especially with Truex.

• Not a big fan of Mikey, but if you told me he would have more in the Chase than Gibbs, Childress and Penske I would thought you were crazy.

• After ending last season with a tiebreaker I really thought Carl would have at least made the Chase. That 99 team has me completely puzzled this year. It just seems strange that the second-place finisher of the Chase does so poorly the next year. I sure hope if Dale Jr. doesn't win the Chase that he finishes third.

• Carl Edwards not really being competitive AT ALL this year was a huge surprise to me. I never would have predicted that.

• I think MWR has to be the biggest surprise of 2012 so far. They put their two full-time drivers into the Chase and their No. 55 with (three) drivers almost made the Owners Points Chase. This is an incredible step forward for this organization. They are consistently in the top 10 each week, so making the Chase was not a fluke. That being said, I don't think they are championship contenders. Not yet.

• Biggest surprise was how the whole No. 18 team fell apart and didn't make the Chase.

• While I expected two of JGR's cars in the Chase, I definitely didn't think that Denny would be sitting atop the points.

• MWR has probably become the No. 1 team for Toyota over JGR. Anyone who watched that team two years ago would have laughed if they were told this would happen. The team deserves a lot of credit for having two teams that are not only in the Chase, but have legitimate title hopes.

Do you think drivers give their best effort every week?

71.0 percent said Yes
29.0 percent said No

What Fan Council members said:
• These guys are busting their butts every week. Effort is NOT a question.

• Not since the stupid Chase began. Drivers have admitted to not racing as hard as they would have if they weren't trying to protect their spot in it. I don't think it applies to every driver, however. I do think there are a few that give their best effort every week. But they are becoming more rare.

• No matter how boring some races may seem to be, there is no doubt in my mind that ALL the drivers put their everything into a race. I believe even the start & parkers give it their best … it's not their fault they don't have the mega bucks.

• I do think the best drivers put for the best effort every week. With the big sponsors leaving the sport, they have to do their best every week to keep the sponsors they have. The car has a bad aero package right now so the boring races really don't have anything to do with the drivers.

• Just like us, they are human, so I don't believe they put forth their best effort every week. If they aren't confident in their car/team, feeling sick, or distracted by contract talks it may be hard to give 100 percent.

• On the most part I think drivers put forth their best possible effort every week to get a win. I sometimes think some drivers who are having a difficult race give up and just run their laps. I am not talking about those who had to go to the garage to have their car worked on because of a wreck or mechanical issues. Many of them come back and try to make up positions if possible.

• These guys are so full of competition I don't ever see them doing anything but 110 percent every time they get in the car.

• I'd like to think the drivers do give their all each week, but the cynic in me is not so sure. When the 48 drives in the back of the pack at 'Dega it makes my blood boil. That's playing it way too safe for me, and I lose a lot of respect for a driver when they do something like that.

• Quite simply, if a driver isn't giving 100 percent each week, he wouldn't have a job. These drivers know that every single point counts during the season, and it is worth giving 100 percent to get one more spot. Ask Carl Edwards. Or Kyle Busch.

Grade the Cup race at Richmond:

57.8 percent called it Good
28.4 percent called it Great
10.4 percent called it Fair
3.5 percent called it Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• I'm so glad the race went the distance and NASCAR stayed with it. I don't think you could have scripted a better race

• I was at the race. Despite the delayed start, brief intermission, and lack of wrecks the race had everything! There was passing, there were a few leaders, there was drama, and there was three-wide on more than one occasion ... which may or may not have made it to everyone's TV screen via the telecast.

• As much as I hate the Chase, this made it worth watching this year.

• Same as most every other race this year: single file, not much passing, no beating and banging. BORING!!!!! I really expected more from this race in terms of action, especially considering you had Ky Busch and Cousin Carl fighting for Chase spots. Unfortunately, they were quiet and mild as could be.

• That race proved that you don't need wrecks to have an exciting race. With different pit strategies, lots of passing and a driver that raced his heart out to make the Chase it never got boring. I stayed up to watch the checkered flag and wasn't even tired even at 1:30 am because the race was so good.

• Drama, good racing, strategy and last lap edge-of-your-seat wild card race made for a great race.

• Honestly, if not for the drama of the wild card deal, the race itself was a snoozer. I am happy that NASCAR let it go the whole distance. I was worried they would call it at halfway.

• I admit that I dozed on and off because of the rain delays, but the action was awesome. Bowyer getting spun out and then winning thanks to our old friend JPM, and watching Gordon and the 24 team battle to get in the Chase was drama at it's best. NASCAR must be happy — this is what they wanted the Chase format to do.

• We were cold and wet, but we stuck it out until the end. Thank goodness we did, that was just so cool to watch. We went to Richmond to see Gordon make the Chase and that he did in style.

The Backseat Drivers Fan Council was founded and is administered by Dustin Long. Fans can join by sending Dustin an email at [email protected]

Please include the following information:
Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.

<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council talks about Chase favorites, the racing at Richmond, the season's biggest surprises and discuss whether NASCAR drivers "give it their all" each and every race.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 19:51
Path: /nascar/rankings-nascars-chase-championship-performances

In 2003, Matt Kenseth became the final Winston Cup Champion in less-than-dazzling fashion. He won all of one of 36 races while posting 24 top 10s for an average finishing position of 10.2. He clinched the title by merely starting the second to last race of the year at Rockingham. After promptly blowing an engine and finishing dead last, he ended the year 90 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, and 207 ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

With new series sponsor Nextel coming on board for 2004, and a desire by NASCAR CEO Brian France to have his sport compete more closely – and resemble – the NFL, a playoff-type championship format was instituted. The Chase has evolved over the years, but the cumulative year-long points battle was replaced by a final 10-race title bout for 10-12 drivers.

With Chicagoland the site of the 2012 Chase this Sunday, let’s take a look back at the previous eight Chase campaigns, and how they rank.

1. 2004 Nextel Cup — The Chase Era Begins 
When it was announced that the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion would be determined   by a 10-race playoff, purists scoffed. How could any new champion be judged against the likes of Petty, Earnhardt, Pearson, or even Jeff Gordon? The first 10-race playoff – or “raceoff,” if you prefer – helped relieve much of that anxiety. Going into the final race at Homestead, there were five drivers with a chance to win the title. Kurt Busch held an 18-point lead (under the old Latford points system – the equivalent of a five-point lead today) over Johnson, with Gordon, Earnhardt and Mark Martin in close pursuit.  

This Chase featured some of the greatest moments of the past decade, including Earnhardt winning for the seventh time at Talladega just weeks after suffering burns and being knocked semi-conscious in an ALMS crash – and then being docked 25 points for blurting out a profanity during his post-race interview. The second to last race at Darlington was a testament to it being one of the finest tracks on the circuit with a back and forth contest between Gordon, Johnson, and Martin. The 48 team showed early on why it would go on to win five titles (thus far), by winning four of the final six races, and finishing second at Homestead.

The most poignant moment? Busch suffering a blown right front tire, and the tire liberating itself from his No. 97 Sharpie Ford, which missed knocking down the pit wall by a paper-thin margin. As the wheel continued onto the track, a caution came out, keeping him from losing a lap. The race came down to a green-white-checker finish, with Busch’s teammate, Greg Biffle winning while keeping the No. 48 at bay.

Busch’s eight-point title win over Johnson, at the time, was the closest ever. Be that as it may, the purists were incensed further, noting that had the championship been decided by a year-long cumulative points total as it had since 1975, Gordon would have won his fifth title.

2. 2011 Sprint Cup — The Tiebreaker
Ever poo-poo guys who stay out to lead a lap to get a bonus point or wrench on their car after caving the side of it in, just to come back out 80 laps down in hopes of picking up a position? If so, the 2011 Chase should be the slap in the face that illustrates that every position counts.

Tony Stewart stumbled into the Chase like a drunk guy at the club demanding another Red Bull and vodka. Smoke even admitted weeks earlier that if his team did make the Chase, that they’d just be in the way. All of that changed at the drop of a hat, as the No. 14 took the first two wins of the Chase at Chicago and Loudon.

Stewart ultimately would win five races of the 10 (put the calculator down, it’s a 50 percent win percentage), to Carl Edwards’ zero victories. Edwards played it safe, taking the slow and steady route to what should have been the year that he broke through for a title. Edwards finished second at Homestead despite leading the most laps and Stewart won, despite having a piece of Kurt Busch’s bell housing lodged in his radiator ductwork. With the two tied at race’s end, the Chase went to the first tie-breaker: Wins. And Stewart’s five bested Edwards’ one, which came at Las Vegas in March — a skid he has yet to break.

A bit of coincidence regarding that Vegas race: Edwards only won due to fuel miscalculation by Stewart, who had the race in hand until the closing laps.

3. 2006 Nextel Cup — Johnson’s Rally
Jimmie Johnson’s first title will be remembered for starting a dynasty. However, the most amazing thing about Johnson’s 2006 Chase performance was the hole from which he climbed out of to win.

After finishes of 39th, 13th, 14th and 24th to begin the Chase, the 48 team found itself in a seemingly insurmountable 156-point hole to Jeff Burton. Sitting eighth in the standings, the team, which wasn’t THE TEAM at the time, began its comeback in modest-enough ways, finishing second at Charlotte.

Who could have guessed that that finish would begin a streak of five consecutive runs of second or better, relentlessly beating away all comers. Johnson made up 10 points on first at Charlotte, a dropped the hammer at Martinsville, narrowing his deficit to 41 points with a dominating win.

From there, it was child’s play, moving into second in the standings (-26) after Atlanta and by Matt Kenseth for first the following week at Texas. Another runner-up showing followed in Phoenix, and by Homestead he only needed to play it safe to protect his 63-ppoint advantage. He did so, of course, coming home ninth and beating Kenseth by 56 points.

4. 2005 Nextel Cup — Winning Races and Climbing Fences
By the time the 2005 season rolled around, a couple of constants had been confirmed: Tony Stewart liked to eat, loved Indianapolis Motor Speedway and climbing things (specifically, catchfencing). Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson was in his fourth full Cup campaign, and had racked up a whopping 16 wins by the time that season’s Chase began.

The 48 came out strong, winning the second race at Dover, but then triggered a 30 car pile-up at Talladega, which would ultimately be Johnson’s downfall (despite another win at Charlotte).

Roush Racing was poised to win its second straight Chase by sheer numbers, owning half of the Chase field with Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards. Edwards was in his first-full year of competition, but wasted little time in showing he was for real, snatching a win away from Martin at Texas and sweeping both Atlanta races for the year. Biffle won the season finale at Homestead by a bumper over Martin, but the title fight that day was on between Stewart and Johnson.

Johnson needed to win to beat Stewart for the title, but ended up beating themselves — as they had on more than one occasion that season. Johnson blew a left rear tire on lap 127 of 267 and nearly took out Jeff Gordon in the process. The incident capped a season of friction between Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, leading to the now-famous “milk and cookies” meeting arranged by owner Rick Hendrick in the offseason.

Stewart, on the other hand, shimmied his bulbous behind up the fence yet again, claiming his second championship in four years and becoming the first driver to claim a Cup title under two different point systems since Richard Petty in 1979. Petty, in fact, won titles under four different points systems. Beat that, Tony.

5. 2009 Sprint Cup — Score One for the Geritol Gang … Almost
When you’re 50 years old, you’re usually planning the next decade of work so you can punch out a few years early and retire. When you’re Mark Martin, you take a new full-time job and still answer the bell at 0600 every morning to start pounding steel.

After taking a couple of years off from the mental and physical grind of a yearly 10-month prize fight, Martin joined Hendrick Motorsports for his last best shot at bringing home the hardware. Through the regular season, Martin and the No. 5 team racked up four wins – his most since 1998 – and served notice that there was a new contender to the throne, both at HMS and in the Cup Series.

Out of the blocks fast with a win in Loudon, it would be up to Johnson to battle back and beat Martin to win a fourth consecutive title. The 48 team responded, with a 271-lap leading drubbing at Dover and follow that up with wins at Fontana and Charlotte. At Talladega, Johnson appeared to be on the verge of suffering a big blow, with Martin running in the top 10 and Johnson hung out, barely in the top 20. A green-white-wreckers finish ensured a flip-flopping in the order, as Martin ended up on his roof while Johnson skating through for an eighth-place finish.

It looked like the 48 would be mailing it in from there on out, except for the first lap at Texas a week later, when Sam Hornish Jr. went Sam Hornish Jr., and clipped Johnson’s car, sending it head-on into the inside wall. A week later, though, Johnson won at Phoenix, with Martin following in fourth. At Homestead, Johnson came home fifth, while the 5 team struggled with a in 12th.

It would be Johnson’s fourth consecutive title, while Martin ended the season second in points for the fifth time in his career.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Vito Pugliese ranks NASCAR's eight Chase for the Championship playoff performances. From the unbelievable to the forgettable, they're all here.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 19:20
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-joins-acc-what-does-it-mean-college-football

Notre Dame is set to join the ACC. Well, sort of. The Irish will be leaving the Big East to join the ACC as a partial member. Maintaining its football independence was crucial for Notre Dame, and this deal allows it to continue that, as well as join a conference with more stability on the football side of things. The Irish will likely join in time for the 2015-2016 season but could negotiate an early exit from the Big East.

As part of the move, Notre Dame will play five games against ACC teams each season and will be a part of the conference's bowl selection process.  

Notre Dame Joins ACC - What Does It Mean For College Football?

1. Notre Dame will remain Independent
The Irish have no desire to join a conference and this move solidifies their independence for the foreseeable future. Scheduling was a big concern for Notre Dame, especially as more conferences move to a 9-game schedule. However, this move provides the Fighting Irish with at least five games a year against ACC teams, and allows the program to keep its traditional games against USC, Navy and Stanford, as well as schedule Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue from the Big Ten. If Notre Dame wants to join a conference as a full-time football member, there’s no question the ACC will welcome the Irish as its 15th team and expand to get to 16. The odds of that happening anytime soon are slim, but at least Notre Dame has a viable option and has a perfect setup to remain independent as long as it would like.

2. The ACC’s future is secure
Remember those rumors about Clemson and Florida State joining the Big 12? Well, it’s not happening anytime soon. In addition to bringing Notre Dame aboard, the ACC’s exit fee is now $50 million. If a school really wanted to leave, that number could be negotiated, but it’s hard to envision any school coming up with $50 million to leave. The ACC is also expected to renegotiate its television contract, which should help boost the yearly revenue for all 14 football members for 2013 and beyond. With that hefty price tag, the ACC’s future is secure, and the rumors about Florida State and Clemson leaving for the Big 12 are done. Which brings up the next point…

3. College Football realignment…is it over?
Perhaps one of the biggest storylines out of Notre Dame’s move to the ACC is what happens with future realignment. The Big 12 seems to be content at 10 teams, but if it had any interest in luring Clemson and Florida State to the league, those hopes are over - at least for the immediate future. With a hefty exit fee, neither team will be leaving the ACC, dealing a setback to Big 12 if it wants to expand in the future. While this limits the pool of expansion candidates for the Big 12, it could help teams like Louisville, Cincinnati or even BYU if the conference decides to expand. We may see another round of realignment in the next five years, but with options on the West Coast dwindling for the Pac-12 and no logical candidates for the Big Ten, don’t expect to see any 16-team superconferences anytime soon.

4. The Big East isn’t going anywhere
While losing Notre Dame’s non-football sports certainly hurts the Big East, this does nothing to devalue its football product. The Irish played only one Big East team in 2010 and 2011, so it’s not like the conference was benefitting that much from having them involved. Notre Dame might have helped the conference secure better bowls, but the Irish were often selected over teams from the Big East in marquee games. Yes, losing Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Syracuse was a blow to the Big East, but the conference is bringing in Boise State – an annual top 15 team in recent years – as well as programs with upside: UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis and San Diego State. And who knows, maybe the conference can give BYU another call to become its 14th football member?

5. ACC’s bowl prospects get better
One look at the bowl schedule for this year has a glaring question mark: Where does Notre Dame fit in? The Irish have no tie-in for this year, which had to be a concern for future seasons and helped to factor into the move to the ACC. Adding Notre Dame to the bowl lineup will only help the ACC when the next round of tie-ins is completed. The Irish are also a part of the pool to be chosen for the ACC’s Orange Bowl opponent. While there could be some frustration from some ACC teams when Notre Dame is selected ahead of them in bowl process, having the Irish should help this conference upgrade its tie-ins for the future.


by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 2
Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

College Football's Top 10 Disappointments

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> Notre Dame Joins ACC; What Does It Mean For College Football?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 15:14
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-assessing-notre-dames-move-acc

The ACC basketball tournament soon could feature games such as Syracuse-Pittsburgh, and now Notre Dame-Miami.

It will be a strange sight in Greensboro, N.C., but Notre Dame’s announcement it will join the ACC in all sports besides football (and hockey) is part of new normal.

With the news breaking today, there are a handful of questions out there, from when the move will actually occur as well as questions regarding the football schedule and bowl lineup.

For the time being, let’s try to assess what the move might mean for Notre Dame basketball, the ACC and the Big East.

What does this mean for ACC basketball?
The ACC arguably leapfrogged the Big East in basketball prominence by adding a nationally elite program (Syracuse) and a sometimes-elite program (Pittsburgh) a year ago. Notre Dame isn’t in this same category, but the Irish have reached the NCAA Tournament five times in the last six seasons and eight times in a dozen seasons under Mike Brey. Don’t expect many Tournament wins (only two Tournament wins since 2007), but Notre Dame should add to the depth in the middle part of the league.

What does this say for the stability of the Big East and ACC?
From a basketball standpoint, this doesn’t say much more than we already knew, except for deepening the gap between the Big East and the other five BCS automatic-qualifying leagues. Perhaps most notable is the new ACC exit fee of $50 million. Just a year ago, the exit fee was raised to $20 million with the addition of Pitt and Syracuse. The addition of Notre Dame at least as partial member and an increased exit fee makes it less likely teams like Florida State and Clemson would jump ship, as was rumored in recent months. Meanwhile, academics remain a priority for Notre Dame, and the Irish move into a conference with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest. Including Notre Dame, the ACC has eight of the top 50 colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report
However, one program, North Carolina, is in the midst of an academic scandal. On the other hand, the Big East has one program (Georgetown) in the U.S. News top 50.

Addition of a 15th team begs question: Will there be a 16th?
Fifteen teams may be an awkward number for the ACC in basketball, though not nearly as awkward as it would be for football. The Big Ten, of course, had an odd number of members for nearly 20 years. The Big East had 13 members for five seasons in the late '90s. The ACC could look to another non-football member to round out the lineup, such as Georgetown. And last September, Rutgers and Connecticut were also in communication with the ACC, according to reports. Sources told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, however, the ACC will stand pat at 15 teams in basketball. The next domino, then, would seem to involve football.

What’s next for the Big East?
The Big East will continue to take a beating from a public perception standpoint with the league losing its fourth big-name program in the last year (five, if you count TCU). However, once Notre Dame leaves and the conference adds Memphis, Temple, UCF, Houston and SMU in 2013-14, the Big East will remain a 17-team league. From a basketball standpoint, Notre Dame’s production shouldn’t be too difficult to replace should the league elect to expand back to 18 members. A team such as Xavier from the Atlantic 10, for example, could be an ideal fit.

By David Fox


<p> College basketball: Assessing Notre Dame's move to the ACC</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 13:30
Path: /nfl/how-5-rookie-quarterbacks-will-do-week-2

The book on rookie quarterbacks in the NFL was a pretty simple one. They were always expected to struggle, especially in the opening games of their careers. Great ones like John Elway and Troy Aikman have talked about how unprepared they were for their first start. Boomer Esiason has described seeing “ghosts” on the field – defenders he never saw who just suddenly appear.

And then last season Cam Newton exploded onto the scene starting as a rookie on opening day and completing 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns while running for another touchdown. That figured to be the most impressive rookie quarterback debut we’d ever see.

Then on Sunday, Robert Griffin III had a debut that might have been even better – or at least just as good. In the Superdome in New Orleans, one of the toughest places in the league to play, against a good Saints team motivated by the fallout from the Bounty scandal, Griffin completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, out-dueling Drew Brees in a 40-32 win.

It was an amazing debut and the best of the record five rookie quarterbacks that started on opening day. It also could be a sign of greatness to come.

Or not. Because one game isn’t a good barometer for anything. There’s a long way to go in the 2012 season and a long way to go in these rookie quarterbacks’ careers. Some of them are off to a good start. But what matters is what lies ahead.

Here’s a look at the future expectations of the new Fab Five:

Robert Griffin III (Redskins): There weren’t many people that rated him ahead of Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft, but there were definitely a few personnel people that did. That’s how good Griffin’s skill is. Plus, he’s the prototypical “new” quarterback – although that prototype is getting old – a man who can make plays out of the pocket just as well as he can in them.

Griffin figures to be a long-term star as long as he can stay healthy and he just might turn the Washington Redskins around. In the short term, though, don’t expect the Redskins’ game in St. Louis to be the same shootout he had in New Orleans. Jeff Fisher’s Rams are going to run the ball to keep it out of Griffin’s hands. Also, now that they’ve seen Griffin in action, it’s a little easier to devise a plan.

Also, keep in mind that Griffin’s biggest play was a short pass to Pierre Garcon that ended up as an 88-yard touchdown. He can’t count on his average receivers making plays like that every game.


Andrew Luck (Colts): He’s been pretty universally called the most complete and NFL-ready prospect since John Elway and his opening day numbers (23 of 45, 309 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions) were eerily similar to those of Peyton Manning back in 1998. There is no doubt that Luck will end up as a great one and eventually have the Colts in the hunt every season, just like Manning once did.

For Week 2 against the Vikings – and for the rest of the season – what you saw out of Luck on Sunday is likely what you’ll get. He’s got a lot of young talent around him, but it’s hardly a polished team. They will be behind a lot and they will throw often, and that will lead to mistakes. The Vikings can also rush the passer as well as the Bears, which will keep Luck on the run and force him to make his decisions quickly.


Russell Wilson (Seahawks): Wilson was probably the biggest surprise starter out of this five, having beaten out Matt Flynn in training camp. But the Seahawks spent a lot of money on Flynn and they think they’ve built a decent team, so there’s only so long Pete Carroll figures to be patient with a rookie quarterback’s struggles.

On opening day, against a Cardinals team he should’ve beaten, Wilson didn’t struggles as much as he was very average – 18 of 34 for just 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Unfortunately for him, now comes the hard part. He gets two home games, but they’re against the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. If he wants to keep up with either Tony Romo or Aaron Rodgers the next two weeks he’s going to have to start throwing more downfield, which it remains to be seen if he can do consistently and effectively.


Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins): It should be exactly the opposite for Tannehill, who had a very rough opening day assignment against the AFC power Texans in Houston. He wasn’t good, getting picked off three times and completing 20 of 36 passes for 219 yards. He threw almost exclusively short passes, which is a combination of him not quite being ready and the Dolphins barely having an adequate receiving corps. That won’t do against a high-scoring team like Houston.

This week, though, Tannehill goes home and gets a Raiders team that has to fly cross country and has some problems of their own. They do have Carson Palmer, though, so they can score, which means that Joe Philbin may have to take the reins off. That could make for a painful start for Tannehill, but the Dolphins need to know if he can handle more on his plate. Because after the Raiders, they get the Jets and one of the best secondaries in the league.


Brandon Weeden (Cleveland): Weeden was so bad in his debut, it’s unfathomable that he nearly beat the Philadelphia Eagles anyway. The 28-year-old rookie completed just 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards and was picked off four times. One scout, when asked about his performance said, “Colt McCoy would’ve won that game, easily.”

We all may find out if that’s true soon enough because it’s hard to see the Browns giving Weeden more than one more game, unless they’re already prepared to surrender and play for the No. 1 overall pick. Next up for the Browns are the Buffalo Bills at home – a team he should fare much better against given how good Mark Sanchez looked against the Bills last week.

If he doesn’t improve quickly, it’s hard to imagine him getting the start at Baltimore and at the New York Giants in the following two weeks. These aren’t the old days for rookie quarterbacks. Teams don’t have time to let them be disasters at the start of their careers anymore.


<p> Was Week 1 just a fluke?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 10:03
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-2-rankings

Week 2 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips and Boston College's Frank Spaziani won last Saturday, but both coaches rank as the top two on the hot seat going into Week 3. Auburn's Gene Chizik and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz are ranked for the first time in 2012, while Arkansas' John L. Smith makes an appearance after the Hogs' stunning overtime home loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Record at Kentucky: 12-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Despite earning his first win of 2012, Phillips maintains the No. 1 ranking in Athlon’s coaches on the hot seat. The Wildcats fell behind 7-0 to Kent State but scored 17 unanswered in the first half to claim a 47-14 victory. Kentucky’s offense has shown some signs of life through two weeks, averaging 30.5 points and 456 yards per game. The next couple of games represent a crucial stretch in Phillips’ tenure, as the Wildcats host in-state foe Western Kentucky on Saturday and travel to Florida the following week. Kentucky can’t afford to lose to the Hilltoppers, while it’s also important for this team to show some progress against SEC competition.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Record at Boston College: 21-20 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Just like Joker Phillips, Spaziani is coming off his first win of 2012 but holds steady in his ranking from last week. The Eagles easily defeated Maine 34-3 in Week 2, giving Spaziani a 21-20 record in his tenure as Boston College’s head coach. If the Eagles want to make a bowl game, beating Northwestern this Saturday is a necessity. With conference games coming up against Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, Boston College could be looking at a 2-5 record before its final five games of 2012.

3. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Record at Central Michigan: 7-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Enos and Central Michigan missed a prime upset opportunity on Saturday. The Chippewas hosted in-state foe Michigan State, but the outcome was never in doubt. The Spartans dominated from the opening snap and cruised to a 41-7 victory. Central Michigan’s offense never got on track, and the defense allowed Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell to throw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in his second start. The Chippewas have lost seven out of their last nine games, with the only wins coming against Akron (one of the worst FBS teams last year) and Southeast Missouri State (a FCS opponent).

4. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at MTSU: 36-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
After a bad showing in the opener against McNeese State, the Blue Raiders bounced back with a 31-17 victory over FAU in Week 2. The victory was enough to move Stockstill down a spot in the rankings, however, MTSU’s road won’t get any easier over the next few weeks. The Blue Raiders have road games at Memphis and Georgia Tech, while Louisiana-Monroe visits Murfreesboro on Oct. 6. MTSU has enough talent in the program to push for a winning record, but the Blue Raiders are a disappointing 1-7 in its last eight games.

5. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at UNLV: 4-23 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-2
After showing signs of progress in the opener against Minnesota, the Rebels took a step back with a loss to FCS opponent Northern Arizona in Week 2. UNLV has not won a game since Oct. 29 of last season and has just four wins under Hauck’s watch. The third-year coach is starting to feel the heat from the fan base and needs to have a good showing against Washington State on Friday night. The cupboard was far from full when Hauck took over in Las Vegas. However, it’s time for the Rebels to show some progress.

6. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Colorado: 3-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-2
Similar to UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, Embree did not inherit a great situation when he arrived at Colorado. The Buffaloes were coming off five losing seasons and the talent level was not where it needed to be to compete in the Pac-12. Although Embree can’t be blamed for all of the issues, Colorado is off to an 0-2 start, including a loss to in-state rival Colorado State and FCS opponent Sacramento State this year. The Buffaloes had to replace some key personnel from last season, but there hasn’t been much improvement from this team from 2011. Making matters worse is the remaining 2012 schedule, which features Fresno State, Washington State, UCLA, Arizona State and USC as its next five games. Unless Colorado pulls off an upset, it could be looking at an 0-12 record at the end of November.

7. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at California: 80-49 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Golden Bears broke into the win column with a 50-31 win over Southern Utah on Saturday. While it was a victory, there were a lot of anxious moments for California, especially when the Thunderbirds jumped out to a 3-0 lead and cut the Golden Bears’ lead to 20-17 early in the third quarter. While California had a good rebound from losing its season opener, the schedule only gets tougher from here, starting with Saturday’s game at Ohio State.

8. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Idaho: 19-45 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A week after dropping a disappointing 20-3 opener to Eastern Washington, the Vandals showed some signs of life in a 21-13 loss to Bowling Green. Quarterback Dominique Blackman threw for 352 yards and one touchdown in his first start, while the defense held the Falcons to 90 rushing yards and forced two turnovers. Unfortunately for Idaho, it faces an uphill battle to earn its first win this season in Week 3. With a trip to Baton Rouge to take on LSU, the Vandals are huge underdogs and need to make it through this matchup without any injuries to attempt a run at a winning record in WAC play. Akey has a tough job, especially as Idaho faces an uncertain future on the FBS level. However, the Vandals need to show progress on the field, which would help make the program more attractive for future Mountain West expansion.

9. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Record at Rice: 24-39 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
In one of the most surprising games from Week 2, Bailiff led Rice to a 25-24 upset over Kansas. The win over the Jayhawks was the Owls’ second victory over a team from a BCS conference in the last two years and should give Rice momentum heading into its Conference USA slate. The win should help Bailiff’s prospects of sticking around for another year, but his fate will largely be determined from what happens in conference play. The West Division is wide open and considering the Owls have shown promise through the first two weeks, Rice could make some noise in C-USA.

10. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Houston: 1-2
2012 Record: 0-2
After a disastrous debut, Levine and the Cougars had a better showing in the Week 2 loss to Louisiana Tech. Houston’s offense recorded 693 yards and six touchdowns, but the defense allowed the Bulldogs to post 598 yards of total offense, while scoring 56 points. Firing Mike Nesbitt as offensive coordinator appears to have been the right move, but the defense has to be better if Houston wants to repeat as Conference USA West Division champs. The Cougars travel to Los Angeles to play UCLA this Saturday.  

11. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at Maryland: 4-10 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
The first two games of the year haven’t been pretty, but Maryland has already matched last season’s win total (2). After a sluggish performance in the opener against William & Mary, the Terrapins’ offense played better against Temple, especially in the case of true freshman quarterback Perry Hills. The defense also played a large role in the win over the Owls, recording three turnovers and allowing only 52 rushing yards. Edsall’s seat has cooled thanks to the 2-0 record, but the Terrapins are far from a perfect team. Expect plenty of hot seat and dream job talk this week, especially as Edsall’s old team (Connecticut) visits College Park on Saturday.

12. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Texas Tech: 15-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
Tuberville has dropped in the weekly hot seat watch over the last two weeks. A 2-0 start certainly helps, while Texas Tech has shown improvement on defense – yes, the competition wasn’t great – but the Red Raiders are allowing just 177 yards per game so far. Tuberville should cruise to a 3-0 record this Saturday, as Texas Tech hosts New Mexico in its final non-conference game of the season.

13. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Auburn: 30-12 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A disappointing 0-2 start and an overall lack of improvement from 2011 to 2012 has placed Chizik squarely on the hot seat. Auburn is just 8-7 since winning the 2010 national championship, and Chizik’s overall record at Auburn without Cam Newton is a pedestrian 16-12. The Tigers face upset-minded Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday, and the schedule only gets more difficult the rest of the way, especially with games against LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia remaining.

14. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Syracuse: 17-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-2
A case could be made the Orange are the best 0-2 team in college football, but Marrone needs wins to show the program is headed in the right direction before joining the ACC in 2013. Syracuse lost 42-41 in the opener against Northwestern and gave USC all it could handle in a 42-29 defeat. The Orange should break into the win column against Stony Brook this Saturday and could be favored to beat Minnesota and Pittsburgh in the next two games.  

15. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Iowa: 97-67 (14th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Is Iowa on the decline? That’s the big question facing Ferentz after a 1-1 start, which saw the Hawkeyes lose to in-state rival Iowa State for the second time in two seasons. Since winning 11 games in 2009, the Hawkeyes are only 16-12 and the offense has been one of the worst in the Big Ten through the first two games. Iowa ranks 12th in the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, while quarterback James Vandenberg is only averaging 175 yards passing per game. The good news for Iowa is Northern Iowa and Central Michigan are the next two opponents, which should allow the Hawkeyes to be 3-1 before the Big Ten opener against Minnesota. Ferentz has led Iowa to 10 bowl games, but there’s plenty of grumbling around the program after losing to Iowa State for consecutive seasons.

16. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at Buffalo: 6-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Quinn’s record is 1-1, but the Bulls have to be pleased with their start to 2012. Buffalo hung tough in a 45-23 loss to Georgia and beat Morgan State 56-34 in Week 2. The Bulls have one of the nation’s most underrated running backs in Branden Oliver, who is averaging 174.5 rushing yards per game. It will be tough for Quinn to have a winning record at the end of 2012, but Buffalo should be more competitive in MAC play.

17. George O’Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UCF: 51-52 (9th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
UCF didn’t beat Ohio State, but there was really nothing shameful about losing 31-16 on the road in Columbus. The Knights have a tough two-game stretch upcoming, as they take on in-state rival FIU in Week 3 and Missouri in Week 5. UCF is still the favorite to win Conference USA’s East Division, but a collapse in the second half of the season would likely spell the end of O’Leary’s tenure.

18. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at New Mexico State: 10-30 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
New Mexico State is one of the toughest jobs in college football, so it has been no surprise that progress has been slow under Walker. The Aggies have won only 10 games under his watch, but are off to a 1-1 start in 2012. New Mexico State could push for a winning record this season, especially if quarterback Andrew Manley continues to develop into an All-WAC honors candidate. The upcoming schedule isn’t too difficult and considering New Mexico State’s uncertain future at the FBS level, it would be a surprise if Walker is fired at the end of 2012.

19. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Western Michigan: 48-40 (8th season)
2012 Record: 1-1
The Broncos have two more chances to knock off BCS competition this season, before opening up conference play against Toledo on Sept. 29. Western Michigan has defeated four BCS teams under Cubit’s watch during the regular season and could make it six with winnable games against Minnesota and Connecticut upcoming. Even if the Broncos lose both games, the biggest obstacle to another year for Cubit in Kalamazoo will be what happens in MAC play. Western Michigan is favored to win the MAC West but has struggled to reach expectations in previous years.

20. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Tennessee: 13-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-0
Dooley has dropped from No. 3 in Athlon’s post-fall practice rankings to No. 20 in just two weeks. Tennessee has started off 2012 on the right foot, beating NC State in the opener and easily handling Georgia State in Week 2. Despite his 2-0 start, this week’s game against Florida is no doubt a bigger challenge for Dooley. If the Volunteers struggle or lose, he will shoot back into the top 10 of the rankings. However, should Tennessee win, it might be time to consider Dooley’s team a contender in the SEC East.

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Arkansas: 1-1 (1st season)
2012 Record: 1-1
Since Smith is on a one-year deal, there wasn’t much expectation for him to retain the job in 2013. However, losing to Louisiana-Monroe certainly isn’t what Arkansas envisioned when he returned to Fayetteville for 2012 following the unexpected dismissal of Bobby Petrino. Barring a complete implosion by the Razorbacks, Smith will stay on as Arkansas’ head coach for the remainder of this season.

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 10 Disappointments
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Rankings</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:32
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /rookieseason

The Angels’ Mike Trout continues to chase history as a 21-year-old rookie bidding to become just the third rookie to win AL MVP honors. How does his season stack up against the best rookie seasons by a positional player of all-time?

Here’s our ranking:

1. Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox, 1939
The Splendid Splinter burst onto the scene in Boston leading the American League with 145 RBIs and 344 total bases. His command of the strike zone was immediately evident by his 107 walks.

2. Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals, 2001
After a meteoric rise in the minor leagues, the 13th-round draft pick started more than 30 games at four different positions in 2001. On a team that included Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds, the rookie led the Redbirds in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs.

3. Dale Alexander, Detroit Tigers, 1929
His career was brief — only five seasons — due to a knee injury, but his rookie season was stellar. The Tigers’ first baseman led the circuit with 215 hits and did not miss a game. He won a batting title in 1932.

4. Fred Lynn, Boston Red Sox, 1975
Some of his numbers pale when compared to other eras, but the 1970s were not kind to hitters. The Gold Glove outfielder is one of only six rookies with 100 runs and RBIs, and he led the AL in runs, doubles, slugging and OPS. He was the first rookie to win an MVP.

5. Richie Allen, Philadelphia Phillies, 1964
Later known as Dick Allen, the enigmatic slugger had some difficulty finding a home later in his career. But during his rookie season, the Phillies’ offense leaned on him as he led the NL in runs and triples. He started every game at third base.

6. Mark McGwire, Oakland A’s, 1987
Before his arms blew up like Popeye’s, McGwire was a feared slugger for Oakland. Part of the Bash Brothers with Jose Canseco, McGwire established a rookie record with 49 home runs, which led the AL that season.

7. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, 2001
Ichiro came to America as the owner of seven batting titles in Japan, not exactly inexperienced. But winning a batting title, a stolen base title and earning MVP honors in his first season in the U.S. is impressive.  

8. Tony Oliva, Minnesota Twins, 1964
Oliva won a batting title and led the American League in hits, runs and doubles. He joined Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew to form a formidable lineup for the Twins in the 1960s, leading the team to the World Series in 1965, and to two division titles in 1969-70.

9. Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, 1936
Joltin’ Joe certainly had a spectacular supporting cast, but DiMaggio began his assault on American League pitching right out of the box. He finished eighth in MVP voting and it marked the only time in his career that he led the league in triples.

10. Carlton Fisk, Boston Red Sox, 1972
Fans most vivid memory of Fisk is the stout catcher waving a home run fair to walkoff Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. But Pudge won a Gold Glove as a rookie and led the AL with nine triples. His OPS+ of 162 that season ranks among the best ever for a first-year player.

11. Johnny Mize, St. Louis Cardinals, 1936
The Hall of Famer had a .400 on-base percentage in each of his first six seasons in the majors. He also never dipped below 30 doubles during that time. He missed three full seasons due to military service during WWII, and wasn’t quite the same player when he returned.

12. Frank Robinson, Cincinnati Reds, 1956
Robinson, who would become the first player to win the MVP award in both leagues, got the attention of National League pitchers quickly in 1956. His OPS of .936 finished second in the NL to Duke Snider, and ahead of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.

13. Nomar Garciaparra, Boston Red Sox, 1997
Nomar led the league in hits and triples during his rookie campaign. He earned a trip to the All-Star Game, finished eighth in MVP balloting and won a Silver Slugger award.

14. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, 2007
His rookie season was briefer than most since he didn’t make his debut until May 25. But his 34 home runs tied for fifth in the league and his .634 slugging topped the NL.

15. Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1993
The second of five consecutive Dodgers to win the NL Rookie of the Year, Piazza started 141 games behind the plate. He led the Dodgers in average, runs, homers and RBIs.

Honorable Mentions
Del Bissonette, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1928
Del Ennis, Philadelphia Phillies, 1946
Mitchell Page, Oakland A’s, 1977
Paul Waner, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1926


<p> Athlon Sports picks the best rookie seasons in baseball history.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:29
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-2-bowl-projections

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only two weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

With very little data to work with, the post-Week 2 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 2 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Utah vs. Colorado State
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. Nevada
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA East Carolina vs. Connecticut
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 Washington vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Purdue vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Marshall* vs. Vanderbilt*
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Baylor
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East South Florida vs. NC State
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 TCU vs. Iowa
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Houston vs. Wyoming
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. California
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Rutgers vs. Notre Dame
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. Kansas State
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Oklahoma State vs. Illinois
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Miami (Fla.) vs. Arkansas
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Virginia
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Missouri
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Virginia Tech vs. Florida
TicketCity Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Texas Tech* vs. Northwestern Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Tennessee vs. Nebraska
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Georgia vs. Michigan
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten South Carolina vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. Miss. State
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Auburn vs. Louisiana Tech* Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs. Ohio
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Michigan State vs. Oregon
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Texas
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Oklahoma vs. Clemson
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS USC vs. Alabama

by Steven Lassan


(published Sept. 12, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> College Football Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:21
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/which-new-college-football-coach-has-been-most-impressive-through-two-games

There were 28 college football teams with a new coach this year, and the results have been mixed so far. UCLA's Jim Mora, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez and Ohio State's Urban Meyer are each off to great starts, while Houston's Tony Levine and Pittsburgh's Paul Chryst are a disappointing 0-2. There's still a long way to go this season, but Athlon's editors (and former coach Don James) discussed which first-year coach has been the most impressive through the first two games. 

Which New College Football Coach Has Been The Most Impressive Through Two Games?


Coach Don James, former head coach of the Washington Huskies, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Jimmy Mora at UCLA. I coached him and I followed him through his career. He’s off to a good start. There’s always been some question about him UCLA, but he’s off to a decent start. He spent most of his career in the NFL. In the NFL, it’s pure football. When you have 16-hour days in the NFL, you’re focused on football. When we had 16-hour days [in college] we were doing everything else: Recruiting and academics. Jim always had an excellent football knowledge. A lot of his early success has to do with his hires. He’s got a guy with two Super Bowl rings [former Steelers assistant Lou Spanos, UCLA’s defensive coordinator] and he’s got some guys who have recruited in college. This isn’t a secret, they had a deal where the seniors had a day off and [Mora] stopped that right away. I think that’s made a big difference. You set a set of rules and start living up to that. If you don’t want to be committed to these rules go do something else. It will impact more of the recruiting because they’ll pick your school because they believe in what you believe.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Based on what games I’ve picked already this season, I’d have to say Rich Rodriguez at Arizona has been the most surprising first-year coach. I picked the Wildcats to lose both to Toledo and Oklahoma State at home this season, and they’ve won both. Rodriguez is a notorious slow starter in his first season at a coaching job, but that doesn’t seem to be plaguing him at Arizona. The Wildcats rolled up 624 yards of offense (though accounted for only 24 points) against Toledo and 501 yards against the defending Big 12 champions. Most impressive in that Oklahoma State game was the lack of turnovers against a ballhawking Cowboys’ D and only a week after Arizona had three turnovers against the Rockets. Going into the season, I didn’t peg Arizona as bowl team, but it looks like that may be in the plans for Rodriguez’s debut season.


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s still a long way to go in the 2012 season, but it’s hard to pick against Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez or UCLA’s Jim Mora for the job they have done so far. The Bruins have given up some yards on defense, but the offense has been one of the best in the nation, and this team finally looks ready to realize its potential. UCLA has always had talent, but the results haven’t always been there. The Wildcats were picked to finish around .500 by most, however, this team could challenge for eight wins, especially after pulling off an upset over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Since Rodriguez and Mora are the two obvious choices, it’s worth highlighting a couple of other coaches that have been impressive early, including Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Arizona State’s Todd Graham and despite the loss on Saturday, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.


Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
There really are only two possible answers to this question, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and Jim Mora at UCLA. I’ll give the slight edge to Mora because the Bruins have faced a more difficult schedule, winning at Rice (which won at Kansas) and beating a solid Nebraska team. UCLA has been terrific on offense, averaging a staggering 649.5 yards and 42.5 points. In the win over Nebraska, the Bruins topped 300 yards both passing and rushing, with quarterback Brett Hundley (305 yards passing) and tailback Johnathan Franklin (217 yards rushing) leading the way. UCLA has long been considered a sleeping giant in the Pac-12. Maybe the Bruins are waking up.


Mark Ross
How far has Arizona come under Rich Rodriguez? Look no further than last Saturday's upset of then-No. 18 ranked Oklahoma State. Last season, the Cowboys defeated the Wildcats 37-14 as they piled up nearly 600 yards of offense. This time around in Tuscon, Oklahoma State was certainly able to move the ball against Arizona's defense, to the tune of 636 total yards, but the Pokes also turned the ball over four times. OSU's defense also had just as much trouble stopping Arizona's offense, as the Wildcats amassed more than 500 yards and, more importantly, out-scored the Cowboys 59-38 to move to 2-0 on the season. The defense will be an issue, especially as 'Zona moves deeper into Pac-12 play, but Rodriguez' zone-read option offense should cause opponents enough headaches of its own, giving Arizona a chance to do something this season it wasn't able to do in 2011 — win more games than it lost.


Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The answer is UCLA’s Jim Mora, and the margin is wide. The Bruins have struggled mightily to find a solution at quarterback over the last few seasons, and Mora’s hire of veteran offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone seems to be working wonders for new signal caller Brett Hundley. The redshirt freshman threw for 305 yards and four touchdown passes in the Nebraska victory on Saturday. Hundley also added 53 yards rushing and did not throw an interception in that fan-base reenergizing win. Of course a running game can be the best friend of any young quarterback, and tailback Johnathan Franklin leads the nation in rushing with 431 yards. While the Bruins still have plenty to fix on defense before a challenging Pac-12 slate, Mora already has a signature victory and has shown significant program improvement just two weeks into UCLA’s 2012 campaign.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 2 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> Which New College Football Coach Has Been The Most Impressive Through Two Games?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /nfl/giants-packers-or-saints-which-0-1-team-most-trouble

Throughout the 2012 NFL season, Athlon Sports will tackle the hot issues on and off the gridiron with our our editors and other pigksin experts.

Q: New York Giants, Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints: Which 0-1 Team is in the Most Trouble?

Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster):
It's definitely the Saints. I don’t care how great Robert Griffin III is: When you surrender 40 points and 464 yards at home to a team with a rookie quarterback at the helm and a rookie feature back (sixth-round pick Alfred Morris, who rushed for 96 yards), you have defensive issues that extend far beyond a little bounty-induced personnel depletion. Throw in a punchless running game (32 yards), an alarming carelessness with the football (three turnovers) and an All-Pro quarterback who completed 46 percent of his passes, and you have Week 1’s most disappointing team. Time to panic, New Orleans fans.


Gene Higginbotham,
I feel that out of all three, the Saints could be the most in trouble. The Giants are the defending Super Bowl champs, but they have shown that they can come together at the end of the season and win when they need to. The Packers almost had my vote because of their loss at home in Lambeau Field, but the San Francisco 49ers are a high quality opponent especially on defense. The Saints however not only lost at home in one of the loudest "Dome-field advantage" venues, but to the Washington Redskins who have a brand new rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III and aren't known over the past few seasons to be a huge threat. It seemed that the Saints came in with a slight bit of overconfidence with the "Us Against the World" mentality. Another issue facing them is the "Do Your Job" that suspended head coach Sean Payton left them with. It was stated by the coaching staff after Sunday's loss that too many players were focused on too many things other than "their job." Instead of trying to create the magic fueled from adversity, they just simply need to let it happen and let this season it be special on its own like the 2009-10 season. If not, they could be headed for bigger trouble down the road.


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
Luckily for all three teams (Giants, Saints and Packers), there is plenty of time to turn things around and still make the postseason. However, even though it's only one game, each team has a reason to be concerned going into Week 2. I think the Saints are in the most trouble, especially after the defense was torched for 464 yards against the Redskins. Robert Griffin will be a great quarterback in the NFL, but it's troubling New Orleans' veteran defense couldn't generate much of a pass rush and struggled to get stops on Sunday afternoon. The Saints can score a lot of points, but the defense has to be better, especially in a division that features Matt Ryan and Cam Newton at quarterback. Without Sean Payton on the sidelines, the Saints figured to have a tough time making the playoffs. However, if Sunday's performance is repeated in Week 2, New Orleans could have trouble just reaching eight wins. 


Mark Ross, Athlon Sports:
Let's face it, the openers didn't go as planned for any of these teams as each one tasted defeat on their respective home turfs. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants started their title defense by losing a NFC East division game to the despised Cowboys. The Saints made Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III look like a Hall of Famer in his first career start, while the Packers got beat up and beat down by the 49ers. While there are certainly reasons to be alarmed if you root for one of these teams, I am keeping a close eye on the Packers as they head into this Thursday's home date with Chicago.

The Packers couldn't run the ball at all against the 49ers and I'm not expecting much different results against the Bears' defense. San Francisco also had little trouble going up and down the field against the Green Bay defense. This could be a problem on Thursday since in my estimation, the Bears have a more potent offense than the 49ers, especially when you take into consideration the additions of wide receiver Brandon Marshall and running back Michael Bush. The Packers' secondary was already a question mark going into the season and you know that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Marshall and his fellow wideouts are more than willing to test it out again this Thursday. Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers has had plenty of success in his career against the Monsters of the Midway, but this time around it appears the Bears have enough firepower of their own to not only keep up with Pack Attack, but possibly even out-score it. The NFC North already figured to be a dogfight with the Packers, Bears and Detroit Lions battling it out, so the last thiing the defending division champs want to do is put themselves in a 0-2 hole this early in the season.


Nathan Rush, Athlon Sports:
The Saints are in jeopardy of becoming the Aints this season. After one of the worst offseasons in NFL history, New Orleans opened the season by losing to the Redskins in the NFL debut of Robert Griffin III. Now, Drew Brees and Co. are 0–1 headed to Carolina to take on Cam Newton in an NFC South division showdown. With a skeleton crew coaching staff, ongoing off-field distractions and a legal battle with Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Saints can't afford to get off to a slow start.


Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
It has to be the Saints, who had very little go right in a 40-32 home loss to the Redskins in Week 1. The Packers lost to another elite team in the 49ers, while the Giants have shown a recent penchant for starting slow and turning it on late. I did not believe the New Orleans’ coaching changes were going to be such a huge factor, but the performance against Washington said otherwise. The Saints defense is still trying to become comfortable in new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, while the offense made way too many mistakes and has no running game. Even All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees was 24-for-52 passing (46.2 percent) versus the Redskins, after a 2011 season where he was never below 59 percent in any game. The NFC South is a strong division, especially with an improved Buccaneers squad, so the schedule will be difficult all year. Brees has the ability to mask over some team deficiencies, but the Saints will need to show marked improvement to get back to the postseason.


Joe Tufaro,
While I don't think that any 0-1 team is in all that much trouble, the Saints probably have the biggest question marks. With all that has surrounded that team in the off-season, they needed to make the statement Sunday that they were prepared to put it all behind them and move on. The fact that they looked poor on both offense and defense for much of the game, at home, has to be a concern. Facing the Panthers now, who are also 0-1, will be a major test for this defense.

The Packers defense did not look like the improved product it was supposed to be, and of course they need to right the ship quickly due to their Thursday night affair against division rival Chicago. The Bears have a new big offense, and the Pack must find a way to either stop it or offset it in a hurry.

The Giants played an odd game last Wednesday, in that a lot of their mistakes were uncharacteristic for them, and they still had a chance to either win or at least tie the game in the last minutes. The Giants are not the dominant team at home that the Saints and Packers are, so losing a game at home is not as much of a concern. The Giants only become a team in trouble if they somehow lose to Tampa Bay and then have to face what could be an 0-2 Carolina team on short rest on the road.

So, while the 0-1 start didn't knock any of the 16 teams that started that way out of the playoffs, the match-ups in Week 2 are of major concern to some of those teams.

— Published on Sept. 12, 2012

<p> <span>New York Giants, Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints — Which 0-1 Team is in the Most Trouble?</span></p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/florida-tennessee-rivalry-becoming-nationally-relevant-again

With most teams still playing non-conference opponents, Week 3 of the 2012 college football season is another light slate of games. However, there are a few must-watch games, including the Florida-Tennessee matchup. This rivalry was one of the best in the SEC in the 1990s and early 2000s, however, both teams have slipped in performance and this game hasn't meant as much. Could 2012 be the start of this rivalry reclaiming its spot as one of the most important in college football?

Is the Florida-Tennessee Rivalry Nationally Relevant Once Again?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The answer is no. The only reason this game has taken on additional prominence is because Arkansas couldn’t stop Kolton Browning and Louisiana-Monroe last week. There was a time when Florida-Tennessee determined the SEC East champion and a potential BCS team. Despite strides by both teams in the first two weeks of the season, I can’t imagine this matchup will do anything more than determine a participant in the Outback Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl. This won’t even be the most nationally relevant game in the SEC East this season (that belongs to South Carolina-Georgia), never mind the rest of the league or the rest of the country.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
This rivalry is starting to regain some of its intrigue that the SEC experienced in the 1990s, but I’m not ready to say it is nationally relevant. There’s not many marquee games this week, so it definitely helps the rivalry to be on a stage with little competition from the rest of the top 25. Both teams are off to a solid start, but neither appears to have what it takes (so far) to beat out Georgia or South Carolina for the East title. For this rivalry to reclaim its spot as one of the best in the SEC, both teams need to be ranked a little higher and come into the season with higher expectations. While Florida and Tennessee each have a solid win this season and this is a key game for SEC East positioning, this rivalry would become more nationally relevant if both teams can sustain its success, rather than struggling to crack the top 25 or seven wins each year. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
It’s definitely relevant this season, but it’s a bit premature to make the claim that this series will once again take on national significance on an annual basis. Both teams are off to a solid start, but there is no guarantee that Tennessee and/or Florida will return to elite status this season or any time soon. There is some positive momentum with each program, but it’s quite possible that these are still the third and fourth best teams in the East behind Georgia and South Carolina. 

Mark Ross
It's funny how quickly things change, isn't it? About a month ago if you had asked this question I am pretty sure you would have gotten different answers than now. That said, it certainly helps that both teams are 2-0 and each have already scored impressive victories of their own headed into Saturday's "showdown" in Knoxville, Tenn. However, this is the first time since 2007 both teams will be ranked when they play each other, and perhaps even more telling, it's still not CBS' national SEC Game of the Week on Saturday. That distinction belongs to Alabama at Arkansas. That alone speaks volumes to me about the current national perception of this rivalry. It will always be an important game to fans of each school and the SEC East division race, but it's just not where it used to be, not yet. Considering both teams' recent struggles and the uncertainty surrounding them headed into this season, I would go so far as to say both coaching staffs and fan bases are just happy we are even asking this question.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The annual Vols-Gators game is becoming a big deal once again, although each program must get back in the top ten for this mid-September clash to have its former “Game of the Year” feel from the 1990s. Both teams have gone through a major transition over the last two seasons, with regime changes affecting their win-loss record significantly. Florida lost 11 games between Urban Meyer’s final season and Will Muschamp’s debut last year, while Tennessee dropped a school-record 14 contests in Derek Dooley’s first two years while he tried to repair a program severely depleted by the end of the Fulmer era and a mostly-wasted recruiting class with Lane Kiffin. By contrast, both the Vols and Gators lost only 23 times each in the decade from 1992-2001 when this game was must-see TV. However with both teams ranked and ESPN’s Gameday on the way to Rocky Top, this year’s battle is rekindling the classic SEC East rivalry.


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 10 Disappointments
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> Is the Florida-Tennessee Rivalry Becoming Nationally Relevant Again?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:04
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-crasher-stock-report-0

Last week’s BCS crashers probably won’t make a run at a major bowl game this season, but two of them crashed the expectations for power-conference teams.

Louisiana-Monroe scored a rare Sun Belt win over an SEC team, and not just a rebuilding SEC program, as happens every now and then. The Warhawks overwhelmed, at least on offense, an SEC team that fancied itself a West Division and BCS contender. Those hopes may be over for Arkansas.

Out West, Utah had an uphill battle to unseat USC in the Pac-12 North to begin with, but the Utes are now trying to avoid being the third-best team in their own state. Meanwhile, Utah State -- rather than preseason favorite Louisiana Tech -- may be the team to watch in the WAC.

Looking ahead, this could be a key week for teams outside of the six major conferences. ULM will try to upset another SEC team. Utah State faces a reeling Big Ten team. And independents BYU and Notre Dame will hit the road for key rivalry games.

Here’s whose stock is rising and falling for teams outside of the Big Six leagues:

As a conference, the Sun Belt has never had two wins over the SEC in the same season, never mind a single team doing it in back-to-back weeks. And remember, ULM wasn’t even one of the favorites in the Sun Belt -- Athlon picked the Warhawks fourth after Arkansas State, FIU and Louisiana-Lafayette. This week, the Warhawks face an Auburn team stinging from a turnover-filled loss to Mississippi State. Meanwhile, ULM quarterback Kolton Browning bounced back from a broken sternum last season to account for 481 yards of total offense against the Razorbacks’ lackluster defense.

Utah State. Aggies coach Gary Anderson has led once-hapless Utah State to close losses to Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Auburn in the last four seasons. Utah State put an end to the near-misses Friday with a 27-20 win over Utah, the Aggies’ first win over the Utes since 1997. A week after quarterback Chuckie Keeton and Kerwyn Williams averaged 5.3 yards per carry against Utah and All-American defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, the Aggies’ backfield duo will face a Wisconsin team that lost 10-7 to Oregon State last week. How much of a big-game player is Keeton? The sophomore is a combined 56 of 87 for 551 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions against Auburn, BYU and Utah the last two seasons.

Toledo. Anyone with an affinity for midweek college football knows to keep an eye on Toledo. That shouldn’t change this season despite a new Rockets coach. A week after taking Arizona to overtime in a 24-17 loss -- a loss that’s more impressive after the Wildcats’ dismantling of Oklahoma State on Saturday -- Toledo defeated bowl contender Wyoming 34-31 on the road. Toledo’s Terrance Owens passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns and the Rockets rushed for 204 yards as a team. Toledo also has allowed 1,150 yards in two games, so the potential for defense-optional MAC games is high again this season. Could that start this week with Toledo’s home opener against Bowling Green, a team that was competitive with Florida until the fourth quarter in Week 1?

ULM at Auburn. The Warhawks try to add the Tigers to Alabama and Arkansas in their SEC trophy case.
Utah State at Wisconsin. The Aggies seek a big-time road win to go with Utah victory.
BYU at Utah. BYU has lost three of four in the series, but Utah is stinging from the loss to Utah State.
Notre Dame at Michigan State. Manti Te’o vs. Le’Veon Bell is one of the week’s top matchups.

Notre Dame.
The 20-17 win over Purdue is tough to figure, and not because of the Irish quarterback rotation: Is Purdue better than projected? Is Notre Dame worse? Was this a case of jet lag since the trip to Ireland? In any event, Notre Dame escaped with a win. It turns out Notre Dame’s switch at quarterback from Everett Golson to Tommy Rees in the final two minutes was due to Golson’s inexperience rather than his sore thumb. Will Golson go the distance against Michigan State.

Ohio. No Penn State hangover here. The Bobcats defeated New Mexico State 51-24 behind four total touchdowns from Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship. This week’s game against Marshall is Ohio’s only regular-season game against a team with a winning record last year.

Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs won their opener after their first game against Texas A&M was postponed. Louisiana Tech may be one of the top teams outside of the Big Six conferences, but the Bulldogs didn’t show it on defense in a 56-49 win over Houston. The Cougars passed for 580 yards, rushed for 113 and scored 35 second-half points to prevent the game from being a rout.

The Wolf Pack threatened to string together back-to-back wins against major conference teams before a late collapse led to a 32-31 loss to USF. In the fourth quarter, Nevada was stopped on a goal-line stand and the 1-yard line and allowed two 50-yard pass plays to blow an 11-point lead.

Arkansas State. Is it time to re-evaluate those Sun Belt expectations? Arkansas State’s 57-34 loss at Oregon wasn’t a huge surprise, but the Red Wolves let Memphis hang around a little too long Saturday. Arkansas State was the preseason Sun Belt favorite after winning 10 games last season while Memphis lost to UT Martin in the opener. Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin remains productive, though, passing for 300 yards in both games this season.

Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles have made progress under Ron English, going 6-6 last season for the program’s first non-losing season since 1995. Eastern Michigan’s hopes of reaching a bowl for the first time since 1987 decreased thanks to a 31-14 loss to Illinois State. The Eagles turned the ball over five times in the loss.

Colorado State. The Rams’ didn’t have the highest expectations this season, but the good feelings from a season-opening win over Colorado quickly eroded with 22-7 loss to North Dakota State. Colorado State lost to the top-ranked team in the FCS, but an FCS team, nonetheless.

Taylor McHargue, Rice. The Owls quarterback is a week removed from passing for 236 yards in a second-half comeback against Kansas. The junior who lost his job to Nick Fanuzzi also passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 95 yards and a score to keep the heat on UCLA in the opener. This week, he’ll face a vulnerable Louisiana Tech defense that just allowed 580 passing yards and 77 pass attempts to Houston last week.

By David Fox


Related College Football Content

Top 10 Surprises Through Two Weeks
Top 10 Disappointments Through Two Weeks
Athlon Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 2
Three and Out: Week 2 College Football Recap

<p> College Football: BCS Crasher Stock Report</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 05:46
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-3-plays

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 3

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Houston at UCLA

Line:  UCLA -17(O/U-74)

Projected score based on point spread:  UCLA 46-28

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims, WR-Daniel Spencer)

UCLA (QB-Brett Hundley, RB-Johnathan Franklin)

Also consider:

Houston (WR-Dewayne Peace, K-Matt Hogan)

UCLA (WR-Joseph Fauria, K-Ka’imi Fairbairn)

theCFFsite projects:  UCLA 41-31


Louisiana at Oklahoma State

Line:  Oklahoma St -22(O/U-73)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma St 42-28

Best plays:

Oklahoma St (QB-Wes Lunt, RB-Joseph Randle, WRs-Tracy Moore,  K-Quinn Sharp)

Louisiana (QB-Blaine Gautier, RB-Alonzo Harris, WR-Javone Lawson)

Also consider:

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith, WRs-Isaiah Anderson, Josh Stewart)

Louisiana (TE-Jacob Maxwell, K-Brett Baer)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 41-20


Ohio at Marshall

Line:  Ohio -6.5(O/U-67)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio 37-30

Best plays:

Ohio (QB-Tyler Tettleton, RB-Beau Blankenship, K-Matt Weller)

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WR-Aaron Dobson)

Also consider:

Ohio (WR-Donte Foster)

Marshall (RB-Travon Van, WR-Antavious Wilson)

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio 35-24

Arkansas State at Nebraska

Line:  Nebraska -24.5(O/U-67.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Nebraska 46-22

Best plays:

Arkansas St (QB-Ryan Aplin, RB-David Oku, WR-Josh Jarboe)

Nebraska (QB-Taylor Martinez, RB-Ameer Abdullah, K-Brett Maher)

Also consider:

Arkansas St (WR-JD McKissic)

Nebraska (WR-Kenny Bell, TE-Kyler Reed)

theCFFsite projects:  Nebraska 52-28


Rice at Louisiana Tech

Line:  Louisiana Tech -20.5(O/U-65.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LA Tech 43-23

Best plays:

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue, RB-Charles Ross, WR-Jordan Taylor, K-Chris Boswell)

Louisiana Tech (QB-Colby Cameron, WRs-Myles White, Quinton Patton, K-Matt Nelson)

Also consider:

Rice (WRs-Sam McGuffie, TE-Luke Willson)

Louisiana Tech (RBs-Tevin King, Kenneth Dixon)

theCFFsite projects:  LA Tech 45-28


One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Massachusetts at Michigan

Line:  Michigan -45.5(O/U-56)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan 51-5

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan 52-10


Florida Atlantic at Georgia

Line:  Georgia -43.5(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 48-5

Stay away from:

FAU (WR-Byron Hankerson)

theCFFsite projects:  Georgia 56-6

Idaho at LSU

Line:  LSU -42.5(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LSU 49-6

Stay away from:

Idaho (QB-Dominique Blackman)

theCFFsite projects:  LSU 45-3

South Alabama at North Carolina State

Line:  North Carolina St -31.5(O/U-50)

Projected score based on point spread:  NC St 40-9

Stay away from:

South Alabama (RB-Demetre Baker)

theCFFsite projects:  NC St 42-7


UAB at South Carolina

Line:  South Carolina -33.5(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  South Carolina 44-10

Stay away from:

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry)

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 49-14

Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

USC at Stanford

Line:  USC -9(O/U-56)

Projected score based on point spread:  USC 33-24

Outlook:  Stanford may keep it close for a half, but receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods will eventually make enough plays to put this one out of reach.

theCFFsite projects:  USC 38-21


Florida at Tennessee

Line:  Tennessee -3(O/U-47)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tennessee 25-22

Outlook:  Florida did enough last week to slow down the Aggies in College Station, but the big-play potential of receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson will prove too challenging for the Florida defense.

theCFFsite projects:  Tennessee 31-21


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (5-1)  ATS: (3-3)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)



By:  Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site


Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 3 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 04:04
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-4

The race shop was once a movie theatre. The team’s finances proved as stable as a house of cards. No surprise that one of NASCAR’s biggest dreamers was the owner.

Five years later, Michael Waltrip’s team is in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time. Michael Waltrip Racing brings an intriguing mix with drivers Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr., who both have shown the ability to string several strong races together this season.

Neither likely will be among the Chase favorites, though, because most people will be smitten with Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin or Dale Earnhardt Jr. All are worthy picks and make it easy to overlook Waltrip’s group.

While much will be made of Hendrick Motorsports putting all four cars in the Chase after Jeff Gordon’s determined drive at Richmond to secure the final wild card spot, just think what could have been for Waltrip’s team. Had Mark Martin run the entire schedule instead of a majority of races, he could have been in position to make the Chase and put all three MWR cars in it. Still, Waltrip’s team has more cars in the Chase than traditional powerhouses Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing and defending champions Stewart-Haas Racing.

That’s a credit to what Waltrip has built along with co-owner Rob Kauffman, who joined the organization in Oct. 2007 and saved it with his infusion of cash.

“They hired the right people,” Denny Hamlin says. “They hired the right drivers. That's how you become successful.

“(MWR) is going to be around for a long time. You look at the progression of the race team, they’re legit now. I mean, they are guys you're going to have to beat week in, week out.”

Bowyer, who joined the team this season, enters the Chase with two wins after his victory last weekend at Richmond. He’s finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races.

“With everything new, never would (I) have dreamed in a million years all this would have happened this quickly,” Bowyer said after his win last weekend.

Asked about the possibility of winning the title, Bowyer said: “Jimmie (Johnson) seems like he has a blast doing it. I promise you I could throw a better party than him. Might not survive it, but we would have a lot of fun.”

As for Truex, he seeks his first win since 2007, but has shown signs of contending for victories, especially during a stretch in the spring where he finished fifth at Martinsville, sixth at Texas and second at Kansas — all Chase tracks. He had finished no worse than 11th in seven races until placing 21st at Richmond. Still, he’s lead in four consecutive races entering the Chase, his longest streak of the season.

"I'm going to be honest with you, the way our cars are running and as fast as we've been the last six or seven weeks we're dangerous,” Truex says. “I know we're kind of an underdog and not a lot of people expect us to do much. It's a good position to be in. We just need to be smart, make good decisions and our Toyotas are strong enough to do this thing. (I’m) looking forward to going out and having some fun and hopefully we'll put together 10 good races and be in the hunt.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit with Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 17:51
Path: /nfl/peyton-manning-throws-400th-td-pass-beats-steelers-broncos-debut

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Peyton Manning played his first meaningful game since Jan. 8, 2011. But even after missing an entire season, enduring four neck surgeries and switching teams during the offseason, the four-time MVP didn’t miss a beat — completing 19-of-26 passes (73.1 percent) for 253 yards, two TDs and zero INTs for a 129.2 passer rating during a 31–19 win over the Steelers.

“It definitely is a special win,” said Manning. “I know how hard I’ve worked and how many people have helped me in this process. I’m grateful, and I’m definitely appreciative of the moment and the opportunity.”

On the other side, Pittsburgh was playing in Denver for the second straight game, having ended last year with a 29–23 loss in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. And although the opposing starting quarterback has since changed, the results were eerily similar nine months later.

Last season, the Steelers lost on an 80-yard “Mile High Miracle” pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime. This time around, Manning found Thomas for a 71-yard catch-and-run the vaunted Steel Curtain defense was yet again unable to predict or stop.

“We weren’t thinking an 80-yard touchdown — maybe a nine-yard gain is kind of what I was thinking. So it sure was a nice surprise,” said Manning. “Of course, Demaryius did the majority of the work and really turned it on with great speed. Just a huge play.”

The dramatic scoring strike was Manning’s first TD pass as a Bronco and the 400th of his 15-year career. The third quarterback in history to throw 400-plus TD passes, Manning joins Brett Favre (508) and Dan Marino (420) in the record books — although he needed 18 fewer games and 473 fewer pass attempts to become a member of the elite fraternity.

“Dan Marino and Brett Favre are two of my favorite players of all time — two of the best quarterbacks of all time,” Manning said. “I don’t really feel comfortable being in that company, but to be mentioned amongst them is truly humbling and quite an honor. It’s not one I take lightly.”

The game also included a few blasts from the past. Denver’s sack master Von Miller celebrated the first of his two sacks by “Tebowing” to show a “little love” to Denver’s former QB. And cornerback Tracy Porter — the man responsible for the most memorable lowlight of Manning’s career — sealed the win for the Broncos with a pick-six of Ben Roethlisberger, just as Porter did against Manning as a member of the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

But in the end, all that mattered was Manning’s triumphant return. It was as if No. 18 never left at all.

“What can you say?” said Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. “I mean, he’s Peyton Manning.”

<p> Peyton Manning makes debut with Denver Broncos, throws 400th TD pass and beats the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 16:54
Path: /golf/rory-mcilroy-greatest-23-year-old-golfer-history

After back-to-back wins at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships, 23-year-old Rory McIlroy is closing in on a FedExCup title. The accompanying $10 million would buy world-class WAG Caroline Wozniacki a lot of bling, but I'm more concerned about Rory's place in history should he close the deal at the Tour Championship next week.

The question before us: Is McIlroy the greatest 23-year-old golfer in history? There are only three clear candidates — Rory, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus — so let's take them one by one and let their numbers speak for themselves.


The Case for Rory McIlroy
Majors Won: 2
Combined Margin: 16
Major Top 5s: 5
Major Top 10s: 6
PGA Tour Wins: 6
Worldwide Wins: 9

• He's the youngest PGA Champion (23 years, three months) since the tournament moved to stroke play in 1958, beating Jack Nicklaus' record.
• His 8-shot margin of victory at the PGA broke Nicklaus' record 7-shot margin at the 1980 PGA.
• McIlroy is the second-youngest player to win two majors. Nicklaus was one month younger when he won his second; Tiger was four months older.
• His 8-shot win at the PGA reprised his 8-shot demolition of the U.S. Open field in 2011. He's the first player to earn his first two major victories in such dominant fashion.
• He's halfway to a career Grand Slam, and had he avoided a Sunday back-nine meltdown at the 2011 Masters, we'd be talking about him in the reverent tones once reserved for Tiger at his apex.


The Case for Tiger Woods (through age 23 season)
Majors Won: 2
Combined Margin: 13
Major Top 5s: 4
Major Top 10s: 6
PGA Tour Wins: 15
Worldwide Wins: 17

• Tiger also won an unprecedented three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles (1994-96), which at one time were considered majors.
• Tiger was the 1996 NCAA champion while at Stanford.
• As low amateur at the 1996 British Open, he tied a record with an amateur aggregate score of 281.
• He was PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1997 and 1999.


The Case for Jack Nicklaus (through age 23 season)
Majors Won: 3
Margin: 3 (plus playoff)
Major Top 5s: 7
Major Top 10s: 8
PGA Tour Wins: 8
Worldwide Wins: 11

• Nicklaus was a two-time U.S. Amateur Champion (1959, 1961).
• He won the NCAA title at Ohio State in 1961.
• Nicklaus won 27 events in the Ohio area from ages 10-17, many against professionals.
• His first professional win came in the 1962 U.S. Open, where he beat Arnold Palmer on Palmer's home turf at Oakmont with a partisan crowd rooting against him. At 22, he was the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.

The Verdict
Nicklaus was the only three-time major winner at age 23, and he took down the great Arnold Palmer when the King was at his peak. McIlroy set new standards of dominance in winning his first two majors by a combined 16 strokes, and he's established himself as the clear No. 1 player in the world. Plus, he doesn't turn 24 until next May, giving him time to add to his ledger. But for dramatic success combined with sheer impact, Woods is the choice. His 12-stroke breakthrough win at the 1997 Masters remains one of golf's greatest achievements, and his 17 worldwide wins at such a tender age remain unmatched. And that's without mentioning the broader significance of his status as the first major champion of color, a development that tapped a new market for the game.

Others Worth Mentioning

• I can't leave Seve Ballesteros out of this discussion. By the time he turned 24, Seve had two majors under his belt — the 1979 British Open and 1980 Masters — as well as 12 other wins in Europe and the 1978 Greensboro title on the PGA Tour. I only omit him from inclusion with Rory, Tiger and Jack because of the level of competition on the European Tour at the time; it wasn't what it is today. Plus, he had only one top 10 in a major aside from his two wins, leaving him well behind the top three.

• At age 23, Bobby Jones had won a U.S. Open and two U.S. Amateurs, when they were true majors. His level of competition excludes him from consideration, though.

• By the time he turned 24, Phil Mickelson was a four-time winner on Tour, including a rare win as an amateur (Tucson, 1991). He remains the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour. He's probably the greatest NCAA golfer in history, winning three individual NCAA championships and earning All-America honors all four years at Arizona State. He also won the U.S. Amateur in 1990, joining Woods and Nicklaus in winning the NCAA-U.S. Amateur double in the same season. But his success in majors would come later.

• At age 21, Ben Crenshaw became the second player in Tour history to win the first event he entered. He was a three-time NCAA champion at Texas.

<br />
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 12:10