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Path: /nascar/nascar-numbers-game-7-amazing-stats-indianapolis

For the 20th time, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will descend upon Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, but the track isn’t the primary topic.

Maintaining and improving is the focus de jour for drivers and teams in the midst of one of the most hotly contested races to the Chase since the playoff’s inception. Two drivers — one particularly dominant at Indianapolis — look to maintain their sterling summer performance. Two drivers both on the Chase bubble — one terrific at Indianapolis, the other having produced at replacement level there for four races — need to ensure that the 2.5-mile track provides them with a finish that can help in realizing their wildest title fantasies.

While they aren’t discussed as a potential winner at Indianapolis, the driver and team that have been quietly lighting up the Cup Series since May look to continue their point-padding ways.

9.0  Clint Bowyer and the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing team have the best average finish (9.0) over the last 10 races.

Dating back to the Talladega race, two of Bowyer’s fellow MWR employees, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers, have scored victories; however, it is Bowyer and crew who have been the most electric performers out of the stable. Finishing in the top 15 in seven out of eight races — and on the lead lap for each one — Bowyer’s 5.0 finish deviation, which measures the consistency of a team’s finishes, indicates a level of steadiness that the team might wish to emulate in the Chase.

6.700  Jimmie Johnson, who scored three victories at Indianapolis in five CoT era races, leads the Cup Series in PEER (a measure of performance in equal equipment) at the facility with a 6.700 rating.  Jimmie Johnson

Johnson’s four victories in total list him among the Foyts, Schumachers and Gordons of the world as one of the storied track’s top conquerors. Amazingly, if he isn’t winning Indianapolis, he is suffering a day to forget. In his last nine Indy starts, he accumulated four wins and five finishes of 19th or worse. Saying he’s a win threat this weekend as long as nothing catastrophic happens might be the year’s biggest understatement. Because of the feast-or-famine results pattern from the No. 48 team, another driver holds the best average finish there across the CoT era races.

5.0  Greg Biffle’s fifth-place average finish in the last five races at Indianapolis is three positions better, on average, than any other driver.

Biffle? Who knew? The driver of Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 16 hasn’t scored a win at Indianapolis, but he has silently been the track’s most dependable finisher during the aforementioned time frame. He ranks second in PEER (5.450) thanks to finishes of eighth, fourth, third, seventh and third, which makes his 2.3 finish deviation there the most consistent among top performers.

1 and 2  The No. 24 team of Jeff Gordon ranked first and second in 2011 and 2012, respectively, in average green-flag speed at Indianapolis.

Perhaps the other four-time 400 winner isn’t done adding to his tally? In the last two events, it was clear that Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson carried serious speed. Unfortunately, neither outing translated to victory. He finished second to Paul Menard in 2011 and fifth last season. The biggest question surrounding Gordon, who is bouncing on the Chase bubble with seven races remaining in the regular season, is whether Gustafson’s speedy Indy setups can work with the Gen-6 car. Then, it becomes a matter of sealing the deal for his first victory there since 2004.

202  Juan Pablo Montoya led 202 laps across the five CoT era races at Indianapolis.

Montoya’s finishes are an item of concern, though. He crashed out of two races during that time frame, including the 2010 event in which he led 86 laps. His average finish through those five races was 26.2, with his best finish being an 11th-place score following a pit road speeding penalty in his 116 laps-led showing in 2009. Of note: the crew chief for his most dominant performances was Brian Pattie, who now sits on the pit box for the driver with the hottest hand in the Cup Series (Bowyer; see above). Since Pattie was fired from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Montoya hasn’t led a single lap and earned finishes of 28th and 21st in two races.

40th  After a six-race string of finishes 11th or better, Joey Logano was saddled with consecutive finishes of 40th at Daytona and New Hampshire and now sits 18th in the Cup Series point standings.

Well, that escalated quickly. Logano rode a consistency wave all the way to 10th in the point standings just two races ago. What Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and the Penske Racing No. 22 will need to accomplish this weekend in order to stop the bleeding will be foreign to Logano’s best Indianapolis efforts. Logano ranks 29th in PEER (0.313) at Indy. His best finish (ninth) came in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment in 2010’s race.

Logano might have his spirit lifted with a stellar Saturday performance, something that would be in accord with his current run through the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

5.3  Logano has averaged a finish of 5.3 in eight Nationwide Series races this season.  

Last year, Logano finished seventh in the inaugural Nationwide race at Indianapolis, but the car he’ll be driving this weekend captured the victory with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel. To secure a win of his own, he’ll have to topple the Kyle Busch-JGR juggernaut, the team with the only average finish (4.9) better than Logano’s. A win can go a long way in the apparent redevelopment of the 23-year-old driver. The extra seat time on Indy’s hallowed grounds may ultimately do his Chase chances some good.

For PEER and other metrics with which you may be unfamiliar, I refer you to my glossary of terms on

David Smith is the founder of Motorsports Analytics LLC and the creator of NASCAR statistics for projections, analysis and scouting. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidSmithMA.

Photos by Action Sports, Inc.

David Smith crunches the numbers to reveal some revealing NASCAR stats for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 12:27
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-top-300-2013

Johnny ManzielFall college fantasy football drafts are right around the corner and Athlon is here to help win your league in 2013. Athlon Sports has teamed with Joe DiSalvo of to provide the latest rankings for the upcoming year.

Rankings will be updated right up until kickoff and expect plenty of tweaks to over the next couple of months.

Scoring system rankings based upon:

All draft values are based on a 12-team, 20-round draft using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point
Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point
Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point
FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points
Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point,

Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)

2013 College Fantasy Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Team Defenses

Updated: August 22, by Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)

Note: This is not a list of the best players in college football. This is a ranking of the best players in terms of fantasy value (players who will have the best numbers in college football for 2013.)


College Fantasy Football: Top 300 for Fall Drafts

1Ka'Deem CareyRBArizona
2Jordan LynchQBNorthern Illinois
3Braxton MillerQBOhio State
4Tajh BoydQBClemson
5Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M
6Marqise LeeWRUSC
7Sammy WatkinsWRClemson
8Adam MuemaRBSan Diego State
9Todd GurleyRBGeorgia
10David FluellenRBToledo
11Antonio AndrewsRBWestern Kentucky
12T.J. YeldonRBAlabama
13Marcus MariotaQBOregon
14Branden OliverRBBuffalo
15Duke JohnsonRBMiami
16Josh StewartWROklahoma State
17Dri ArcherRBKent State
18Ameer AbdullahRBNebraska
19Brett HundleyQBUCLA
20Zurlon TiptonRBCentral Michigan
21Lache SeastrunkRBBaylor
22Bishop SankeyRBWashington
23Davante AdamsWRFresno State
24Eric WardWRTexas Tech
25Brett SmithQBWyoming
26De'Anthony ThomasRBOregon
27Venric MarkRBNorthwestern
28Tommy ShulerWRMarshall
29Justin HardyWREast Carolina
30Kolton BrowningQBUL-Monroe
31Jordan MatthewsWRVanderbilt
32Branden OliverRBBuffalo
33Bernard ReedyWRToledo
34Darrin ReavesRBUAB
35Carlos HydeRBOhio State
36Rakeem CatoQBMarshall
37Storm WoodsRBOregon St
38Charles SimsRBWest Virginia
39Cody HoffmanWRBYU
40Derek CarrQBFresno State
41Kenneth DixonRBLouisiana Tech
42Shane CardenQBEast Carolina
43Kasey CarrierRBNew Mexico
44Willie SneadWRBall State
45Beau BlankenshipRBOhio
46Bryce PettyQBBaylor
47Taylor MartinezQBNebraska
48Melvin GordonRBWisconsin
49Storm JohnsonRBUCF
50Jeremy SmithRBOklahoma State
51Terrance BroadwayQBUL-Lafayette
52Brandin CooksWROregon State
53Mike DavisRBSouth Carolina
54John HubertRBKansas State
55Noel GrigsbyWRSan Jose State
56Quinshad DavisWRNorth Carolina
57Clint ChelfQBOklahoma State
58Mike EvansWRTexas A&M
59Jay AjayiRBBoise State
60Jamison CrowderWRDuke
61Orleans DarkwaRBTulane
62Cody FajardoQBNevada
63Amari CooperWRAlabama
64Chuckie KeetonQBUtah State
65Carlos HydeRBOhio State
66Jamaal WilliamsRBBYU
67Isaac BennettRBPitt
68Jahwan EdwardsRBBall State
69Austin FranklinWRNew Mexico State
70James SimsRBKansas
71David FalesQBSan Jose State
72Austin Sefarian-JenkinsTEWashington
73Andre WilliamsRBBoston College
74Ben MalenaRBTexas A&M
75Silas ReddRBUSC
76Michael CampanaroWRWake Forest
77Allen RobinsonWRPenn State
78Damien WilliamsRBOklahoma
79Bo WallaceQBOle Miss
80Logan ThomasQBVirginia Tech
81Jalen SaundersWROklahoma
82Rod McDowellRBClemson
83Trey WattsRBTulsa
84Aaron MurrayQBGeorgia
85Michael BrewerQBTexas Tech
86Alex NeutzWRBuffalo
87Stefon DiggsWRMaryland
88David OkuRBArkansas State
89Ryan GrantWRTulane
90LaDarius PerkinsRBMississippi State
91Donnell KirkwoodRBMinnesota
92Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville
93Stephen HoustonRBHouston
94Donte MoncriefWROle Miss
95Alonzo HarrisRBUL-Lafayette
96Jeremy GallonWRMichigan
97Tim CornettRBUNLV
98Blake BellQBOklahoma
99Marion GriceRBArizona State
100Brendan BigelowRBCalifornia
101Bryn RennerQBNorth Carolina
102Der’rikk ThompsonWRSMU
103Jay LeeWRBaylor
104Gator HoskinsTEMarshall
105Jordan JamesRBUCLA
106George Atkinson IIIRBNotre Dame
107Chris HarperWRCalifornia
108DeVante ParkerWRLouisville
109Devin GardnerQBMichigan
110Vintavious CooperRBEast Carolina
111Jeff ScottRBOle Miss
112Dawan ScottWRMiami (O)
113Alex AmidonWRBoston College
114Jordan ParkerRBMiddle Tennessee
115Je’Ron HammWRUL-Monroe
116Jerome SmithRBSyracuse
117Vad LeeQBGeorgia Tech
118Taylor KellyQBArizona State
119Keyarris GarrettWRTulsa
120David RichardsWRArizona
121Alabama D/ST  
122Eric EbronTENorth Carolina
123Kasen WilliamsWRWashington
124Antwan GoodleyWRBaylor
125Matt MillerWRBoise State
126Taylor McHargueQBRice
127Jordan HopgoodRBBowling Green
128Wesley TateRBVanderbilt
129Jace AmaroTETexas Tech
130Casey PachallQBTCU
131Titus DavisWRCentral Michigan
132Deontay GreenberryWRHouston
133Dominique WilliamsWRWashington State
134Keenan ReynoldsQBNavy
135Tyler TettletonQBOhio
136Chris CoyleTEArizona State
137Jeremy HillRBLSU
138Phillip DorsettWRMiami
139Tre MasonRBAuburn
140Kelvin YorkRBUtah
141Donte FosterWROhio
142Michael DyerRBLouisville
143Christian PowellRBColorado
144Garrett GilbertQBSMU
145David SimsRBGeorgia Tech
146Stanford D/ST  
147Jordan ThompsonWRWest Virginia
148Brandon CarterWRTCU
149Romar MorrisRBNorth Carolina
150Andre DavisWRSouth Florida
151J.D. McKissicWRArkansas State
152Blake BortlesQBUCF
153Lyle McCombsRBConnecticut
154Chris GallonWRBowling Green
155Joe HillRBUtah State
156Connor HallidayQBWashington State
157James WhiteRBWisconsin
158T.J. JonesWRNotre Dame
159C.J. FiedorowiczTEIowa
160Martavis BryantWRClemson
161Matt JonesRBFlorida
162Byron MarshallRBOregon
163Bronson HillRBEastern Michigan
164B.J. DenkerQBArizona
165Notre Dame D/ST  
166Brandon ColemanWRRutgers
167J.J. WortonWRUCF
168Savon HugginsRBRutgers
169Bradley MarquezWRTexas Tech
170Mike DavisWRTexas
171Shaquelle EvansWRUCLA
172Tevin ReeseWRBaylor
173Stephen MorrisQBMiami
174Marlin LaneRBTennessee
175Keith WenningQBBall State
176Robert HerronWRWyoming
177Derrick GreenRBMichigan
178Chris NwokeRBColorado State
179Colt LyerlaTEOregon
180Eric ThomasWRTroy
181Marteze WallerRBFresno State
182Rashad GreeneWRFlorida State
183Daniel SamsQBKansas State
184South Carolina D/ST  
185Max WittekQBUSC
186Jawon ChisholmRBAkron
187Dorial Green-BeckhamWRMissouri
188Willie McNealWRWestern Kentucky
189Tracy MooreWROklahoma State
190Dominique BrownRBLouisville
191Terrance OwensQBToledo
192Trayion DurhamRBKent State
193Nelson AgohlorWRUSC
194Michael BennettWRGeorgia
195Johnathan GrayRBTexas
196Taysom HillQBBYU
197Joe MorrowWRMississippi State
198Kevonte Martin-ManleyWRIowa
199Michigan State D/ST  
200Arthur LynchTEGeorgia
201Paul RichardsonWRColorado
202Cameron StingilyRBNorthern Illinois
203Kenny WilliamsRBTexas Tech
204James FranklinQBMissouri
205Kevin OzierWRArizona State
206Zach KlineQBCalifornia
207Kevin ParksRBVirginia
208Mark WeismanRBIowa
209Louisville D/ST  
210D.J. ColesWRVirginia Tech
211Jamill SmithWRBall State
212Alex CollinsRBArkansas
213Clive WalfordTEMiami
214David PilandQBHouston
215Bruce EllingtonWRSouth Carolina
216L.T. SmithWRAkron
217Kain ColterQBNorthwestern
218Don JacksonRBNevada
219Jyruss EdwardsRBUL-Monroe
220Noah CopelandRBNavy
221Clint TrickettQBWest Virginia
222Ted BolserTEIndiana
223Glasco MartinRBBaylor
224Jamal RobinsonWRUL-Lafayette
225K.J. MyersWRWest Virginia
226Kenny BellWRNebraska
227Alfred BlueRBLSU
228A.J. McCarronQBAlabama
229LSU D/ST  
230J.C. ColemanRBVirginia Tech
231Marcus DavisWRAuburn
232Sterling ShepardWROklahoma
233Dan VitaleTENorthwestern
234Jameis WinstonQBFlorida State
235Jarvis LandryWRLSU
236Marcus ShawRBSouth Florida
237James Wilder, Jr.RBFlorida State
238Jordan LeslieWRUTEP
239Jeremy JohnsonWRSMU
240Jake McGeeTEVirginia
241Sam RichardsonQBIowa State
242Matt SchilzQBBowling Green
243Zach ZwinakRBPenn State
244Andrew BuieRBWest Virginia
245Jake MurphyTEUtah State
246TCU D/ST  
247Alonzo RussellWRToledo
248Anthony BooneQBDuke
249LeKendrick WilliamsWRTexas A&M
250Kyle CarterTEPenn State
251Chandler JonesWRSan Jose State
252Keith PriceQBWashington
253Devin FunchessTEMichigan
254Gabe MarksWRWashington State
255Mark WeismanRBIowa
256Nick HillRBMichigan State
257Raymond MaplesRBArmy
258Florida D/ST  
259Tyler RussellQBMississippi State
260Brandon WimberlyWRNevada
261Kofi HughesWRIndiana
262Henry JoseyRBMissouri
263Nick O’LearyTEFlorida State
264Devin SmithWROhio State
265Austin BoucherQBMiami (O)
266Nathan JefferyRBUTEP
267Ty MontgomeryWRStanford
268Tavarese MayeWRUL-Monroe
269Raymond SandersRBKentucky
270Clemson D/ST  
271Devonta FreemanRBFlorida State
272Devin StreetWRPittsburgh
273Zane FakesTEBall State
274A.J. SchurrQBArmy
275Joe SouthwickQBBoise State
276Brandon HayesRBMemphis
277Josh HuffWROregon
278Texas D/ST  
279Alex BayerTEBowling Green
280Cody GreenQBTulsa
281C.J. BrownQBMaryland
282Senorise PerryRBLouisville
283Tommylee LewisWRNorthern Illinois
284Josh HarrisRBWake Forest
285Malcolm BrownRBTexas
286Florida State  
287Chase RettigQBBoston College
288Jared AbbrederisWRWisconsin
289Jacob PedersenTEWisconsin
290D.J. FosterRBArizona State
291Oregon State D/ST  
292Malcolm MitchellWRGeorgia
293Xavier GrimbleTEUSC
294Kale PearsonQBAir Foirce
295James WhiteRBIowa State
296Kevin HoganQBStanford
297Rob BlanchflowerTEMassachusetts
298Tyler LockettWRKansas State
299Albert WilsonWRGeorgia State
300Isaiah BurseWRFresno State


College Fantasy Football: Top 300 for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun, MLB
Path: /65-game-suspension-not-enough-ryan-braun

As news broke yesterday of Ryan Braun’s suspension, I am reminded that when cheating and performance-enhancing drugs are involved, there are many more losers than winners. The fans, the Brewers’ organization, MLB, the Players Association, Braun’s teammates, his opponents, Braun and his family — and even Aaron Rodgers — are all losers in this scenario.

While this is a step in the right direction, and potentially a sizeable step, this is not a win for Major League Baseball. Just as pennant fever is beginning to catch on in cities around the country, fans are reminded of a sordid underbelly of professional sports. And now fans must question how rampant PED use is in MLB. Fans have been told that the game is cleaner than it has been since the 1980s, and we want to believe that, but now there is doubt.

I do believe the game is much cleaner now, and that a vast majority of players want to continue vigorous efforts to rid the sport of PEDs. I believe the process is working. But as we’ve seen from this entire Biogenesis affair, there is still much work to do. As has always been the case — and will unfortunately always be the case — there’s more money in cheating than there is in testing, so for MLB, like the Olympics, cycling, the NFL and other governing bodies, the chase will never end.

I don’t think Braun received due punishment. I think he got off light. However, I understand why MLB is interested in quickly resolving this latest PED issue.

Neither MLB nor Braun has presented any evidence to me (shocker). So any evaluation on my part is a bit presumptive. Having said that, if Braun is guilty of PED use — and by accepting this penalty it is reasonable to assume that he is indeed guilty — a 65-game suspension right now is letting him off too easy.

So why would MLB agree to such a light sentence?

A quick and absolute resolution is good for MLB. Lingering questions and doubt cloud an already murky issue. MLB is likely willing to shorten suspensions in exchange for speedy resolutions.

This first domino in the Biogenesis case will be the standard for the remainder of MLB’s cases against other players. From the physical evidence collected from Biogenesis and, perhaps, the information provided by Tony Bosch, a former employee, MLB had enough to convince Braun that the situation could be worse. Now Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and others face similar dilemmas. How hard do they fight these allegations?

So, with one suspension in the books, MLB can move quickly to close this ugly chapter before the 2013 pennant races heat up, which is what this time of year should be about.

But here’s why this punishment is not enough. Here’s why I don’t feel sorry for Ryan Braun.

Braun will lose close to $3.5 million, a little more than a third of a season’s worth of stats, the trust of the fans, his reputation, and likely any chance of a legacy as one of the great hitters in the game. But let’s take a look at what Braun has left in his wake along the way.

With what will be a 65-game suspension, Braun will forfeit close to $3.5 million, which is his salary for 65 games. That’s not a small sum. However, he cheated and lied his way into a long-term contract that guarantees him close to $120 million through 2020. No suspension for drug use can void that deal. So, $3.5 million is a pittance to pay. A few years ago, the Brewers’ organization with limited resources, could not afford to pay two superstars like Braun and Prince Fielder. The Brewers chose Braun and this is the thanks they get?

So, why would Braun accept a suspension without a fight that costs him more than $3 million? Because it could be that he doesn’t want to fight a losing battle. Or it could be that risking a longer suspension that would drag into next season would cost him even more. This season, Braun loses about $52,400 per game. Beginning next season the tab grows to about $61,700 per game. Besides, aside from the money, this season is a loss already for the Brewers, and with a nagging wrist injury, Braun would be able to return healthy, rested and fresh for spring training. So the time and money lost could be much worse.

He has tarnished his reputation. But if we remember his last altercation with MLB over illicit substance use, Braun’s defense was based on the handling of his specimen. The outfielder and his camp called into question the integrity of the collector Dino Laurenzi, Jr., attempting to tarnish his reputation. There is no sympathy here for anyone who chooses to unfairly question another’s integrity merely in the name of self-preservation.

Braun has lost the trust of baseball fans in Milwaukee and across the country. Poor guy. Again, it’s difficult to feel bad for a guy who accepted the 2011 NL MVP award at the BBWAA dinner with the following statements: “I’ve always believed that a person’s character is revealed through the way they deal with those moments of adversity. I’ve always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball. Everything I’ve done in my career has been done with that respect and appreciation in mind. And that is why I’m so grateful and humbled to accept this award tonight.”

And what about that 2011 MVP award? How would you expect Matt Kemp to react? Braun is not being asked to give that trophy back. And how do the members of the Arizona Diamondbacks that season feel? Braun, after testing positive to grossly inflated testosterone levels at the end of the season, was allowed to play in the postseason and batted .500 in the five games vs. Arizona. Do any of those guys feel cheated? You bet they do.

So, 65 games during a season going nowhere in Milwaukee and $3.5 million just doesn’t seem like much to pay for robbing baseball, lying to teammates and fans, challenging an innocent man’s integrity and building a career based on a lie.

The suspension for 65 games may seem stiff, but Ryan Braun got off easy with PED penalty.
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:35
Path: /college-football/nevada-updates-helmet-2013

Change is the key word in Reno this year, as Nevada will have a new head coach (Brian Polian), and the team has to replace some key players on both sides of the ball.

The Wolf Pack is also updating their helmets this year, as they will wear a white variation in 2013. The blue version is pretty sharp and the same can be said about this new white scheme.

Photo tweeted by Chris Murray of Reno Gazette-Journal


Nevada Wolf Pack updates helmet for 2013.
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/ulm-unveils-new-uniforms-2013

ULM is expected to be one of the top contenders in the Sun Belt this year, and the Warhawks will sport some new jerseys in pursuit of the conference title. 

These aren't a drastic switch from last season's uniform, but overall, this is a pretty solid look for ULM.


ULM Unveils New Uniforms for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-23-2013

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for July 23.


• A countdown I can get on board with: Ranking the 50 Most Famous WAGs in sports history. Kate Upton (pictured) is only 17th, so you know it's a strong list.


Aaron Rodgers once bet a guy his salary via Twitter that Ryan Braun was clean. Let's see if A-Rod is a man of his word.


• Presented without comment: Dashcam video of Antonio Morrison barking at a police dog.


• Sage advice: Let's all relax and let Johnny Football do his thing.


An update on the guy who has 22 kids by 14 women. He might get a reality show, and he's about to become a grandpa at 33. Nice to see responsible behavior rewarded with fame and fortune.


Ray Lewis treads lightly on the subject of Aaron Hernandez. I think that's probably wise.


The latest clown to rush the field got a taste of the infield dirt in San Fran.


Apparently, Larry Legend is still money from three. But does he still have his amazing hops?


Jason Heyward ended last night's Braves win in style.


• Today's odd coupling: Mr. Cub joined Pearl Jam onstage.


• SI's Richard Deitsch got people to share photos of their happiest moments via Twitter. The results are heartwarming.


• The grandson of a Brewers coach wanted his money's worth on his first pitch: 60 feet, six inches. Or, in his case, about two feet.



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

Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 10:29
Path: /college-football/frank-beamers-hilarious-acc-photo-booth-session

A photo is worth a thousand words right? Well of course, except when there are times when a photo leaves you speechless.

Some of the ACC coaches spent some time in the photo booth at the conference's media days, and needless to say, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had some interesting photos. 

These two photos found their way onto the ACC's official twitter account...interesting aren't they?


Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-accs-top-transfers-freshmen-and-more-2013-14

The ACC will be defined by new faces more than most: Primarily the arrival of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame for 2013-14.

Beyond the arrival of one basketball power and two consistent Big East programs, the ACC will have a handful of key new players who could determine the league race in the upcoming season.

Freshmen, transfers, redshirted players and key guys returning from injury can define a season. Today, we start our series highlighting the impact new faces for each league, starting with the ACC.

Fans didn’t see a much from these players this past season, if they saw anything at all. In 2013-14, they could define a season.

Rodney Hood, Duke
Mississippi State transfer
Hood will be one of two forwards asked to fill a handful of spots on the court. The 6-8 sophomore displayed his versatility as a freshman at Mississippi State, where he averaged 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists before the coaching change. Hood suffered an Achilles injury before the World University Games, but he’s expected to be healthy enough to contribute at shooting guard and both forward spots when he’s back.

Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye, Duke
Duke signed an outstanding freshman duo that will keep the Blue Devils in national title contention. Parker is a 6-8 forward who will be one of the top freshmen in the ACC. He’s unselfish, versatile and will be a good complement for the lankier Hood in the frontcourt. Ojeleye is a good defender and rebounder.

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
With Michael Carter-Williams gone, Ennis is one of two point guards on the roster, both freshmen. That’s a tough proposition for a Syracuse team heading into its first season in the ACC, but Ennis was the leading scorer for Canada in the Under-19 World Championships.

Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
North Carolina didn’t start to put its season together until the Tar Heels went to a four-guard lineup into ACC play. After the frontcourt struggled last season, North Carolina added the league’s top freshman power forward (Hicks) and center (Meeks). Adding the 6-9 Hicks and 6-10 Meeks could enable James Michael McAdoo to play in a comfort zone on the perimeter. In other words, don’t expect North Carolina to rely on the small lineup anymore: With Reggie Bullock and Dexter Strickland gone and P.J. Hairston’s status uncertain, North Carolina will have six players at 6-8 or taller.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Florida State
Rathan-Mayes is a friend of super freshman Andrew Wiggins, but that wasn’t enough to lure Wiggins to Florida State. Still, expect Rathan-Mayes to play a major role as a rookie. Michael Snaer is gone, so Florida State is looking for the scoring lift Rathan-Mayes can provide.

Anthony Gill, Virginia
South Carolina transfer
Gill averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds as a freshman at South Carolina before leaving when Frank Martin took over. He had his fair share of suitors when he transferred, and the year away from game action has appeared to give Gill a chance to refine his skills. Virginia just missed the NCAA Tournament a year ago, so adding the 6-8, 231-pound forward to the top five returning scorers from this past season should put the Cavs in the top half of the ACC.

Angel Rodriguez, Miami
Kansas State transfer (pending NCAA waiver)
Miami loses nearly every key player from last year’s ACC championship season, not least of which was point guard Shane Larkin. Rodriguez will help to fill the void — if he is granted immediate eligibility —after his transfer from Kansas State. Rodriguez went to high school in Miami and wanted to be closer to ailing family members in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists for a Wildcats team that tied for the Big 12 lead this past season.

Michael Gbinije, Syracuse
Duke transfer
Gbinije’s had a little trouble finding a home. He started at Duke, where the Blue Devils experimented with him at small forward. And at Syracuse during his redshirt year, he tinkered with playing point guard. Practicing at those positions has given him versatility, but he’s probably going to find a home at shooting guard in a new starting backcourt for the Orange.

Mike Young and Detrick Mostella, Pittsburgh
Picking even highly rated freshmen to make major impacts as rookies at Pittsburgh is a tricky proposition (see: Adams, Steve). Young, the top signee in the class, will step in for Adams in the interior. Mostella was a late addition to the class who could end up being a big-time outside shooter.

Cat Barber, NC State
Mark Gottfried has signed McDonald’s All-Americans before, but that (along with a Sweet 16 appearance) only raised expectations the Wolfpack failed to meet. Projections for Barber will be more tempered as he tries to take over the point guard spot.

Roddy Peters, Maryland
The Terrapins’ point guard rotation of Seth Allen and Pe’Shon Howard produced meager results last year. Maryland ranked 10th in the ACC for assist-to-turnover ratio in conference games last season. Howard is gone, meaning Allen and Peters will man the point, but the freshman missed the second half of his senior year at District Heights (Md.) Suitland with a shoulder injury.

Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
Redshirt freshman
Brad Brownell’s top signee last season missed all of his freshman year due to a slow recovery from compound leg fracture in May. The 6-7 forward has had two procedures on his leg, so his progress will be watched closely.

Adam Smith, Virginia Tech
UNC Wilmington transfer
A 6-1 guard, Smith averaged 13.7 points per game at UNC Wilmington in 2011-12. Virginia Tech is counting on him to be one of their top scorers, which is probably an indication of how things are going to go for the Hokies this season.

Andre Dawkins, Duke
Dawkins will give Duke a perimeter presence after averaging 8.2 points per game and shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore and junior. He also came of the bench for the 2010 title team. Dawkins, whose sister died in a car accident in 2009, announced in April he is ready to rejoin the team.

Ralston Turner, NC State
LSU transfer
Turner averaged 11.2 points per game in two seasons at LSU and will be expected to provide outside shooting on a rebuilding NC State team. Turner, however, shot 36.9 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from 3-point range with the Tigers.

Evan Smotrycz, Maryland
Michigan transfer
As one would expect from a Michigan signee under John Beilein, Smotrycz is a 6-9 forward who can stretch the floor.

Coron Williams, Wake Forest
Robert Morris transfer
Wake Forest did enough with a 6-12 ACC season to show progress under Jeff Bzdelik, but the heat is still on. Williams is a sharp-shooting 3-point specialist who joins a team that returns the bulk of its key players.

Trae Golden, Georgia Tech
Tennessee transfer (pending NCAA waiver)

Golden announced Saturday he’d return home to Atlanta be closer to his ailing father. He’s seeking an NCAA hardship waiver to play immediately, which would be a boon to Georgia Tech’s NCAA Tournament hopes. The Yellow Jackets already return Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter in the frontcourt. Golden was a streaky player last season, who averaged 12.1 points per game.

We begin our look at the new faces that will define each conference race
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/lvh-releases-cfb-projected-win-totals

With the college football season just around the corner, it seems there is a different preseason poll or prediction released every day. This time, it’s the LVH, as it has released its over/under win totals for 2013.

There are some interesting totals in the over/under projections, as Louisville at 10.5 and UCLA at 6.5 seem a little low.

Athlon Sports will have more on these over/under projections over the next couple of weeks, as we will take a look at the numbers by conference.

For now, check out these over/under totals from the LVH:


TeamProjected Wins
Ohio State10.5
Boise State9.5
Florida State10
South Carolina9.5
Notre Dame8.5
Oklahoma State9.5
Texas A&M9.5
Arizona State8
Michigan State8.5
Ole Miss7.5
Oregon State8
Kansas State7


LVH Releases CFB Projected Win Totals
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/north-carolina-showcases-new-helmets-acc-media-days

Back in April, North Carolina unveiled some slight tweaks to its jersey and helmet combination for 2013.

And with ACC Media Days ongoing, the college football world is getting a better look at the Tar Heels’ new look.

Here’s the updated look at the Carolina blue helmet, which features a black logo and stripe at the top.


New North Carolina helmet

North Carolina Showcases New Helmets at ACC Media Days
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 08:45
All taxonomy terms: Video, Overtime
Path: /overtime/dashcam-video-antonio-morrisons-arrest-saying-woof-woof

Florida Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested this past weekend for allegedly barking at a police dog and resisting arrest. It's Morrison's second arrest in five weeks. The dashcam video of the event has been released and it's as good as you might think. The best part? When Morrison tells the police, "I'm not looking for any trouble, I just said, 'Woof, woof'."

Florida Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested this past weekend for allegedly barking at a police dog and resisting arrest.
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 08:18
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/texas-am-football-game-game-predictions-2013

Kevin SumlinTexas A&M took the SEC by storm last year. The Aggies won 11 games for the first time since 1998, soundly defeated Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and quarterback Johnny Manziel claimed the Heisman Trophy after recording 5,116 yards and 47 total touchdowns. And of course, there was the huge upset win over Alabama in mid-November.

The Aggies have their sights set even higher in 2013, as coach Kevin Sumlin’s team is poised to push for the national championship. With Manziel returning, along with a deep backfield, Texas A&M’s offense should once again be one of the best in the SEC. The defense has to get better against the run, but the secondary is expected to take a step forward in 2013, especially with De’Vante Harris and Deshazor Everett back to anchor the corner spots.

Texas A&M isn’t without question marks, as the front seven on defense is an issue, and the coaching staff needs to find a few weapons at receiver for Manziel.

What will Texas A&M's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Texas A&M's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

Game Steven
8/31 Rice 
9/7 Sam Houston State 
9/14 Alabama 
9/21 SMU 
9/28 at Arkansas 
10/12 at Ole Miss 
10/19 Auburn 
10/26 Vanderbilt 
11/2 UTEP 
11/9 Mississippi State 
11/23 at LSU 
11/30 at Missouri 
Final Projection 10-210-210-211-110-210-2

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Texas A&M may find its second year in the SEC a little tougher than its debut. However, make no mistake, the Aggies are still one of the nation’s top-10 teams and a threat to play for the national championship. Even though tackle Luke Joeckel and starting center Patrick Lewis must be replaced, Texas A&M’s offensive line remains one of the best in the nation. And while quarterback Johnny Manziel may not match last year’s production, the sophomore is still in for a big year. The biggest question mark for the Aggies is the defense. Texas A&M returns five starters on that side of the ball, and replacements must be found for defensive end Damontre Moore and two starting linebackers. The secondary should take a step forward in 2013, but getting after the quarterback and stopping the run will be a concern. Even though the Aggies won in Tuscaloosa last year, I think the Crimson Tide get revenge on Sept. 14. I have Texas A&M losing to LSU on Nov. 23, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ole Miss knock off the Aggies on Oct. 12. Even with a few personnel voids to fill (and potentially two losses in SEC play), Texas A&M should be in the mix for a BCS bowl in 2013.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

As far as SEC schedules go, Texas A&M's 2013 slate isn't nearly as daunting as one would think for an SEC West team. The non-conference slate is a joke and crossover play with the East won't feature any of the big three (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina). Road trips to LSU and Ole Miss will be tricky but the Aggies could be favored in both games. Johnny Manziel has had an eventful offseason but when he is on the field, he has ice in his veins. This team is talented enough to win in Baton Rouge and Oxford but isn't deep enough to win the division. Yet.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Texas A&M’s week three matchup against Alabama should probably be listed in bold. That game has led every list of must-see games in the 2013 season. I have Alabama winning the rematch of last year’s classic in Tuscaloosa. Don’t be surprised to see the Aggies and Crimson Tide put plenty of points on the board. Texas A&M should still be in fine shape even if it loses to Alabama. Texas A&M will have to be ready when it travels to Ole Miss, a team that was close to beating the Aggies last year. Texas A&M’s next true test will be on the road against LSU, which I have beating Texas A&M. That leaves the Aggies with a solid 10-2 record, although losses to Alabama and LSU would likely keep Texas A&M out of the SEC Championship Game.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Texas A&M is far better than I would have predicted for its first two years in the SEC. This was a program that barely kept its head above water in the Big 12, and now the Aggies are flourishing as an SEC team. That said, I wonder if Texas A&M seduced us with the late season win over Alabama and a bowl rout of Oklahoma. The Aggies are still going to be very good, but a repeat win over Alabama is tough to pick. Remember, last year Alabama faced Texas A&M after an emotional 21-17 win at LSU. The Tide get A&M after an off week this season, and Nick Saban’s Alabama teams rarely lose to the same team twice in a row. Chances are, Alabama’s more prepared and motivated for that game than any other on the schedule. I picked LSU to defeat Texas A&M, too. The Tigers are rebuilding on defense, but I like LSU to be ready to take on A&M by the end of the year. Overall, I’m a skeptic of Texas A&M. There may be one more loss in there, but it’s tough to pick Auburn, Mississippi State or Vanderbilt to win in College Station.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Raise your hand if you had ever heard of Johnny Manziel when Texas A&M joined the SEC last summer.  Keep it up if you predicted he would win the Heisman...  That's what I thought. 5,116 total yards in his first season later, and here we are. Texas A&M will legitimately compete for the SEC West Title this season, and it starts Sept 14th. You may have heard about a certain team form Alabama making their first trip as SEC foes to College Station, TX.  It's the most anticipated game of 2013, and still I have my doubts.  It's surprising to think a 10-2 season would be disappointing, but with Manziel an that offense, it would be. What role will the loss of 2 stud linemen to the NFL and Kliff Kingbury do for the Aggies?  What about going into Death Valley vs LSU, most likely in a night game? Name to remember: Ricky Seals-Jones, WR

Mark Ross
Texas A&M gets Alabama at home, but you know the Crimson Tide, especially the defense, have had this one circled on their calendars for quite some time. If Johnny Manziel befuddles Nick Saban's team a second time, he may win another Heisman by default. Another SEC West foe that's probably licking its chops is LSU, as Manziel and company will more than likely get a taste of the Saturday night experience that is Death Valley. Even if it's not a night game, Tiger Stadium will be a tough test for the Aggies. Even with these two losses, another 10-win regular season for Kevin Sumlin's team is quite remarkable, especially considering some of the key personnel, such as Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore to name a few, they lost from last year's squad.

Related College Football Content

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Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
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South Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
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Texas A&M Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 07:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/lane-kiffins-last-stand-usc

Lane KiffinThere are two ways to look at the fallout of Lane Kiffin’s decision to include more contact in USC practices this spring.

On the one hand, the 20 players ruled out for the Spring Game are evidence that even when the coach tries to do something to improve his team — toughening it up by staging more physical practices — it backfires. Dude is just plain unlucky.

On the other hand, putting the Trojans through a more demanding spring with a roster that has been depleted by NCAA sanctions (thank you, Reggie Bush) is the desperate move of a man more interested in preserving his job than caring for his players.

Either way, Kiffin loses. And maybe that’s the whole point here. As he enters his fourth season leading the USC program, Kiffin finds himself in a situation that includes few happy endings. Either he is the man who couldn’t withstand the NCAA’s crippling punishment, or the guy who just didn’t capture the right tone in Troy. Kiffin needs a big 2013 to prove that he is the right man to lead a program that believes it should win at the level of the Pete Carroll era (80–9 from 2002-08), not the 19 years that came before it (133–89–6).

USC athletic director Pat Haden has said: “There’s no reason that Lane Kiffin shouldn’t be our coach.” Haden didn’t hire the former Trojan assistant. These days, that’s a dangerous condition.

“I can’t imagine a better relationship with a guy who didn’t hire you,” Kiffin says.

Kiffin sits in a remarkably perilous position, with critics snapping at him from every corner and UCLA eager to take over control of the L.A. football scene. Yet, he seems strangely calm and determined to remove it all from his world.

“That’s part of this job,” Kiffin says. “You can’t be too high or too low. Some people were telling me 12 months ago, ‘Thanks for saving the program. You’re going to be here forever. You’re our guy.’ Now, I don’t know anything.

“The only thing I can do is stick to our plan and coach the best we can.”

Last season was the perfect confluence of misfortune, bad judgment and just plain absurdity. The Trojans began the year as everybody’s No. 1 team. They had a Heisman candidate under center in Matt Barkley, excellent skill position players, some nasty defenders and plenty to prove after a two-year postseason exile. But after a 6–1 start, the Trojans disintegrated, losing five of their last six, including an embarrassing Sun Bowl defeat against Georgia Tech. Barkley was lost for the season in the loss to UCLA, and Kiffin had some bizarre moments that included barking at reporters, switching a player’s uniform number during one game and using deflated footballs during another.

Lane KiffinIt appeared as if the program was careening toward the surreal, with a stew of poor play and unexplainable sideshows that some said revealed Kiffin’s true nature. There were those who argued that the reason Haden didn’t can Kiffin after the season was that he didn’t want to saddle another coach with the post-probation roster limitations and preferred to let Kiffin ride out the storm before dispatching him. Whatever Haden’s motivation might be, Kiffin is back, and the Trojans are trying to put 2012 as far behind them as possible.
“Last year is dead and gone,” senior defensive end Devon Kennard says. “This is a new team, a new group and new leaders. There are a lot of new coaches. Everything is new. That’s our perspective after the season we had (in 2012). We’re now focused on this team.”

It’s going to be a vastly different outfit than its ’12 predecessor. “We’re creating a new energy,” Kiffin says. Kennard references staff changes, and USC has a new offensive coordinator in the person of former quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Clay Helton. Kiffin removed his father, Monte, from atop the defensive flow chart and brought in Clancy Pendergast, who spent the last three years directing Cal’s D and has six years of NFL coordinator experience. In all, Kiffin’s 2013 staff includes four new coaches, with an emphasis on revitalizing the Trojan offense.

That won’t be easy, since Barkley is gone. Sophomore Max Wittek, who struggled in two starts at the end of last season, is the likely quarterback, and though talented players like explosive wideout Marqise Lee and running back Silas Redd return, there are questions about whether the Trojans can keep up in a conference that features some of the nation’s most potent attacks.

“Things are really different,” Wittek says. “There’s a lot bigger focus on fundamental things, the small, minute details that mean a lot.”

No amount of coaching can change the composition of the Trojans roster, which continues to feel the impact of the sanctions. USC has added only 30 new players over the past two years and has one more year of recruiting limitations.

The impact has been dramatic. Haden told USA Today last November that USC traveled to Stanford with only 56 scholarship players and 14 former or current walk-ons, some of whom had been awarded scholarships. No matter how you slice it, the Trojans have been compromised considerably.

“I think the sanctions do a lot of little things that people don’t realize,” Kiffin says. “They affect our ‘service teams.’ When we go to our 2’s, they are what our 3’s used to be when I was here before (on Carroll’s staff). We’re using more walk-ons. It impacts the way we can practice. But it is what it is.”

Some Kiffin supporters — and Haden counts himself as one — argue that it’s impossible to know whether the coach is actually capable of leading the Trojans to the top of the Pac-12 and into the upper reaches of the college football world, because of the sanctions. Others counter that Kiffin’s 7–6 record at Tennessee, coupled with last year’s collapse, indicate that he is not qualified.

Although there were reports last year that Kiffin had lost some members of the team, this year’s squad seems to have faith in its coach and is approaching 2013 as if 2012 were 30 years ago. To them, the discussion about Kiffin’s future doesn’t matter.

“In the locker room, we’re not worried about that,” Kennard says. “We can’t do anything about that, and we can’t control it. We believe in Coach Kiffin. He has the players’ best interests in mind, and he wants to put us in position to be successful. As a player, I respect that.”

Until Aug. 29, when the Trojans finally “put it on the field,” as Kiffin says, the only thing to do is speculate. This is a huge season for the Trojans — and for Kiffin, who could be fired if the team isn’t highly competitive in the Pac-12. Kiffin isn’t worried, at least outwardly, and insists that he cannot wait for the games to start.

“When you have a season like that, you form a great resolve, and you never look back,” he says.

For Kiffin, that’s a good idea, because he doesn’t want to see who might be coming after him.

Written by Michael Bradley for Athlon Sports. This article appeared in Athlon Sports' 2013 Pac-12 Preview Edition. Visit our online store to order your copy to get more in-depth analysis on the 2013 Big 12 season.

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Lane Kiffin's last stand at USC.
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/florida-football-game-game-predictions-2013

Will MuschampFlorida lived a little dangerous last season, as the Gators had five games decided by eight points or less.

However, thanks to a defense that allowed just 14.5 points a game, Florida finished the regular season at 11-1 and played in a BCS bowl for the first time since the 2009 season. The Gators were defeated by Louisville 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl, but coach Will Muschamp seems to have Florida back on track to being an annual top 10-15 team.

The Gators return eight starters for 2013, including quarterback Jeff Driskel. The defense loses a couple of key players, but this unit will regain the services of end/linebacker Ronald Powell – who missed all of last season with an injury – and the secondary is one of the best in college football.

The schedule makers certainly didn’t give Florida many breaks in 2013. The Gators have to travel to Miami in Week 2, play at LSU in mid-October and finish SEC action with a road trip to South Carolina on Nov. 16.

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

Florida's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions


8/31 Toledo
9/7 at Miami
9/21 Tennessee
9/28 at Kentucky
10/5 Arkansas
10/12 at LSU
10/19 at Missouri
11/2 Georgia (Jacksonville)
11/9 Vanderbilt
11/16 at South Carolina
11/23 Georgia Southern
11/30 Florida State
Final Projection9-39-311-19-310-210-2

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
How high Florida can climb in the SEC East standings will depend largely on an offense that ranked 10th in the conference in scoring last year. Despite the departure of a couple of key defenders, the Gators should still have one of the SEC’s best defenses. However, the offense struggled to find a consistent passing attack in 2012, and much of the same core is back for 2013. The offense has to replace running back Mike Gillislee, and still needs to find a couple of playmakers at receiver. The offensive line should be better with the addition of two transfers, but quarterback Jeff Driskel has to take the next step in his development. Winning the turnover battle was a key reason why Florida was 4-1 in one-score games last season, and the Gators need similar production in 2013. Much like my South Carolina prediction, I’m guessing Florida will end up 9-3. Maybe it’s not a loss to at Missouri (the Tigers only lost by seven in the Swamp last year), but I think the Gators will lose three times in 2013.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
The first five weeks look favorable for Florida, which really only faces one tough test (week 2 at Miami) before traveling to LSU. The Tigers’ health could be a question that week as they will be coming off consecutive road trips to Georgia and Mississippi State. If LSU is healthy, the Tigers should be able to take advantage of their home field and beat Florida. The Gators’ next three games – Missouri, Georgia and Vanderbilt – will all be tough, but I have Florida escaping all of them. But not South Carolina. The Gamecocks were too beaten up when they lost in Gainesville last year. A bye week should have them more prepared for Florida this time around. That leaves the Gators with a 10-2 record, which should put them in contention for an SEC Eastern Division title.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

I have no idea what to make of Florida, and my picks probably reflect that. Georgia and Florida State are going to be really good, yet I have Florida winning both of those matchups. Miami might not have as good a final record as Florida, but I’ve picked the Hurricanes here. The Gators are going to be the same kind of team they were last season: Stingy on defense, but limited on offense. Florida did a lot of things great teams do last season — executing second-half adjustments and pouncing on opponents’ mistakes. But the ball control game and limitations in the passing attack mean Florida is going to be in a ton of close games again. That formula may meet its match against a high-powered offense like Miami or on the road against a team that does the same thing well (LSU, South Carolina).

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
The Gators could have the best defense in the SEC. They are stacked with names like Easley, Purifoy, Roberson, Morrison, Fowler, Powell and Bullard. Last year, Florida’s D had 20 INT’s (no fly zone), 7th best mark in the nation. It’s a pretty tricky schedule, at Miami, at LSU, Georgia, at South Carolina and FSU.  They will get a bye week early before Tennessee and another five weeks later before Georgia. Now to the bad, last year they finished 118th in the country in passing, averaging 143.6 YPG. You cannot win a National Championship with numbers like that. Name to remember: Matt Jones, RB

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

The Gators' offense will be much improved in 2013 and it should be on full display in an early non-conference test with Miami in South Florida. Should it win in Miami, Florida will be 5-0 heading into Baton Rouge to battle LSU in what could be a top 10 match-up. Should it handle it's business against teams like Florida State, Missouri and Vanderbilt in the second half, Will Muschamp will be starring directly at another 10-win season. Bouts with Georgia and South Carolina loom large in the first three weeks of November and a split either way would give the Gators a shot at a trip to Atlanta.


Mark Ross
Unfortunately for Florida, it didn't get many breaks when it came to scheduling. The Gators' three toughest SEC games are at LSU and South Carolina and the annual cocktail party with Georgia in Jacksonville. I've got Florida coming out on the losing end of all three of those, but beating both Miami and Florida State to capture the Sunshine State crown isn't too bad of a consolation prize, right?

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SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
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Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /mlb/2013-mlb-power-rankings-july-22
Each week during the baseball season Athlon Sports looks at the best (St. Louis Cardinals) and worst (Houston Astros) baseball teams and players in the league. Here are our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week.
Athlon Sports MLB Power Ranking
 1. Cardinals Two first-place teams meet in Atlanta this weekend.
 2. Red Sox Key four-game set with Rays could set tone for second half.
 3. Rays Have won 17 of 19 and carry confidence into Boston.
 4. A’s Three-game cushion matches largest lead of the season.
 5. Pirates Winnable series at Washington and Miami this week.
 6. Orioles Huge sweep at Texas, host Red Sox this weekend.
 7. Braves Gave up 17 runs to worst offense in AL.
 8. Rangers Curent standings have Rangers missing postseason.
 9. Reds Road struggles may continue with 11-game trip to West Coast.
10. Tigers Still looking for bullpen help.
11. Dodgers Winners of 20 of their last 25 games.
12. Indians Tough decisions whether to buy or sell at trade deadline.
13. Yankees Mariano Rivera gets touching tribute at All-Star Game.
14. Diamondbacks Mustered only six runs against Giants pitching over the weekend.
15. Phillies Challenging week coming up at St. Louis and Detroit.
16. Rockies Still searching for reliable No. 4 and 5 starters.
17. Mariners Needed just one hit to plate four runs in win at Houston.
18. Nationals The season is slipping away fast.
19. Giants Still contenders in the mediocre NL West.
20. Blue Jays Latest team unable to solve Tampa Bay mojo.
21. Angels 13 of next 20 games vs. A’s or Rangers.
22. Royals 12 of next 16 games vs. teams with records worse than K.C.
23. Padres Eric Stults becoming team’s ace.
24. Mets Starting pitching gives team bright future.
25. Cubs Who will be the next player traded?
26. Brewers Held Marlins to 15 hits, six walks, no runs over 31 innings. 
27. Twins Is Rod Gardenhire a lame duck manager?
28. White Sox Had little trouble solving Braves’ pitching.
29. Marlins Long, discouraging season continues in South Florida.
30. Astros Bad start to second half.
AL Player of the Week
Alex Rios, Chicago
With the White Sox going nowhere in the AL Central, it’s likely that Rios will be wearing a different uniform by the end of July. He was tremendous over the weekend, batting .500 with eight RBIs in the three games with Atlanta.
AL Pitcher of the Week
Bartolo Colon, Oakland
Amidst swirling rumors that tie Colon to the Biogenesis scandal, the veteran righthander keeps putting zeroes up on the scoreboard. Colon tossed a complete game at Los Angeles to earn his 13th victory of the season. He allowed just four hits and walked one.
NL Player of the Week
Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles
The Dodgers’ shortstop is healthy and playing with a renewed spirit of late. In the weekend sweep over Washington, Ramirez logged six hits, including two home runs, scored four times and drove in six runs.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles
The Dodgers’ closer pitched two perfect innings to notch a pair of saves in the Dodgers’ sweep of the Nationals over the weekend at Washington. Jansen struck out four and gave up two harmless ground balls.
A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 18:36
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/has-running-back-become-troubled-position

Johnny Manziel was arrested last spring and has been a bit of a knucklehead ever since arriving in College Station. Zach Mettenberger was kicked off the Georgia Bulldogs for two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. Aaron Hernandez and Jerramy Stevens gave the tight end position a horrendously bad name both in college and the NFL.

But it appears the running back position has taken over as the dumbest position on the college gridiron and it seems to have culminated this summer.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde has been dismissed from the team stemming from an early morning arrest in Bloomington, Ind. Hyde scored 17 touchdowns last year and is now facing “preliminary charges of battery resulting in bodily injury.” He has cost himself a chance to play for a BCS National Championship and has hurt Ohio State's title hopes.

Hyde is the just the latest in what has become a long and distinguished list of big-time running backs to find themselves in off-the-field trouble over the past few seasons. I am talking about four-and five-star elite recruits who had the chance to live a dream at elite blueblood universities.

No, this obviously doesn’t mean that every single ball carrier in the world is an idiot. Trent Richardson, Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy, De'Anthony Thomas and plenty of other big-time recruits have stayed focused, been extremely productive and helped their teams win big. And no, it doesn’t mean that other positions don’t act like morons too (see Mettenberger). So is this summer a sign of a developing trend or just a string of random unconnected incidents? You be the judge.

(Signing class in parenthesis)

Jeremy Hill, LSU (2011)
The four-star prospect from Baton Rouge is currently suspended indefinitely after his “legal entanglement” stemming from a simple battery charge this April. However, Hill was on probation at the time of the arrest after an illicit relationship with a minor when he was 18 years old. He rushed for 755 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and was poised to push T.J. Yeldon and Todd Gurley as the best back in the SEC this fall.

Michael Dyer, Auburn (2010)
The former five-star recruit was the No. 2 tailback in the nation coming out of the 2010 class. He signed with Auburn and played a huge roll on the unbeaten 2010 BCS National Champions. After a long list of arrests, traffic incidents, failed drug tests and gun issues, Dyer is still looking for a place to play ball.

Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona (2011)
Not only was Carey a big-time, four-star recruit back in 2011 but he led the nation in rushing a year ago. He also faced domestic abuse charges (which have since been dropped) and was kicked out of a basketball game last season. At least there is still time for this one.

Wes Brown, Maryland (2012)
The in-state prospect was one of the most highly-touted players to ever sign with the Terrapins. But his car was allegedly involved with a non-fatal shooting and he was then arrested for attempting to punch a police officer, fleeing from police and illegal wire-tapping this summer. Avon Barksdale would be proud.

Michael Holmes, Virginia Tech (2011)
Holmes wasn’t an elite recruit — a three-star prospect from Harrisonburg, Va. — but was expected to compete for starting time this fall for one of the ACC’s most prominent football programs. He was kicked off the team last month after being found guilty of misdemeanor assault.

Isaiah Crowell, Georgia (2011)
The local product was a four-star elite recruit who proved to be an excellent running back as a freshman (850 yards). But he also faced three weapons charges, including two felonies. He was dismissed from the team and landed at Alabama State.

Bryce Brown, Tennessee (2009)
Brown was the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation in 2009 and his saga is a well-known one. His recruitment was a joke as one seedy handler and leeches pushed and pulled him in every direction. After 460 yards rushing in his first season and a public spat with coach Derek Dooley, Brown returned home to Kansas State. He rushed for 16 yards at KSU before leaving early for the NFL.

Dillon Baxter, USC (2010)
The No. 1-rated, five-star all-purpose star signed with USC and rushed for 258 yards and six scores as a freshman. He was then ruled ineligible for accepting improper benefits and was later kicked off the Trojans roster. He then enrolled at San Diego State but was dismissed from his second team before ever playing a down last February.

Washaun Ealey, Georgia (2009)
After two solid but uninspiring seasons with Georgia, the former four-star recruit was dismissed from the team after multiple suspensions and one hit-and-run incident. He landed at Jacksonville State and was promptly arrested again before the 2012 season opener.

Jovon Robinson, Auburn (2012)
The four-star from Memphis enrolled early at Auburn last spring before the story broke about a potential grade-changing scandal. Robinson landed at Georgia Military College and is looking to get back into SEC football.

Marcus Coker, Iowa (2010)
A four-star prospect from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha, Coker starred as a freshman and a sophomore for the Hawkeyes. He was then suspended for disciplinary reasons prior to the bowl game in 2011 and never played a down for Iowa again.


It seems like the most troubled position on the football field has become the running back.
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 17:30
Path: /college-football/tajh-boyd-responds-jadeveon-clowney-video

As you may remember, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had some interesting comments at SEC Media Days last week. The junior noted Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, Georgia's Aaron Murray and Arkansas' Tyler Wilson were all scared when they played South Carolina last season.

Well, the tables were turned this week, as Boyd had a chance to respond to Clowney at ACC Media Days:



Expect to see plenty of highlights from both players this fall, but you can expect Boyd to have the Nov. 30 date circled when Clemson takes on South Carolina.

Tajh Boyd Responds to Jadeveon Clowney (Video)
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: crossword, Monthly
Path: /july-2013-crossword-solution

Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 16:02
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-22

More conference media days this week and plenty of news from around the college football world. Kickoff is just over a month away. 

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, July 22nd


In case you missed it, no press release will top the one FIU had to send out on Friday.

A great feature from Lost Lettermen: Can Brady Hoke Match Urban Meyer?

And Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison has one of the most bizarre arrests in recent memory. Due to his arrest over the weekend, the sophomore is suspended for the first two games of the season.

These are always fun to read: The Big Ten Network’s 2013 mock draft.

Auburn picked up one of the top JUCO recruits for the 2014 signing class.

A humorous look at SEC Media Days: What everyone really meant to say.

Some bad news for North Carolina in its ongoing academic scandal.

What changes should be expected from LSU’s offense with Cam Cameron calling the plays?

Is Utah a candidate to play a game in China? And what are the Utes' biggest concerns going into the 2013 season?

Colorado is expected to pickup a transfer from Pittsburgh. But the Buffaloes lost another quarterback over the weekend.

John Cassillo of Atlantic Coast Convos takes a look at the defensive lines in the conference for 2013.

Syracuse has released its preseason depth chart. There's no Drew Allen at quarterback on the two-deep, but that is expected to change this fall.

A little late on this one, but here’s an excellent read from Brandon Marcello on Gus Malzahn, Houston Nutt and Mitch Mustain.

West Virginia defensive lineman Korey Harris is no longer with the team. The defensive tackle was arrested on first-degree armed robbery charges earlier this month. (You have to read how he was identified by the victims).

Could two redshirt freshmen start on Michigan’s offensive line this year?

Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck has a broken jaw from sleep apnea surgery.

Should Iowa State expand Jack Trice Stadium?

Mississippi State is making a slight change on offense this year.

Could Penn State ask the NCAA to reduce its sanctions in the near future

Texas has a couple of players on the mend as fall practice approaches.

Three MTSU players have been suspended indefinitely from the team due to an off-the-field incident.

College Football's Link Roundup: July 22
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 15:42
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/weis-recruiting-pitch-have-you-looked-pile-crap-out-there

Senior Day at Kansas must be pretty awkward.

At 1-11 overall in 2012 and riding a 21-game Big 12 losing streak, Kansas isn’t fooling anyone with its place in the college football world.

Coach Charlie Weis isn’t even trying to sugarcoat it on the recruiting trail. Asked for his pitch to high school juniors and seniors, Weis summed it up thusly:

“I said, have you looked at that pile of crap out there?” Weis told reporters. “Have you taken a look at that? So if you don't think you can play here, where do you think you can play? It's a pretty simple approach.”

Before that blunt assessment of his roster, Weis noted the other part of the Kansas pitch — “a great school here, great education, great academic support ... a great strength coach. My trainer is topnotch. All the facilities are on par with everyone else.”

And by Weis’ admission, early playing time is there for the taking.

Naturally, Weis’ candor played well on Twitter. Matt Hinton, a blogger with, poked fun at one of Weis’ predecessors. Kansas coach Mark Mangino was fired in 2009 amid allegations of mistreatment and verbal abuse of players and staff. Mangino is now an assistant at Youngstown State.


Mangino later Tweeted he understood the joke, "Ok then I accept the tweet as sarcasm! Lol!"


Other gems from the most entertaining media day session with Weis:

Q. Did you take anything positive out of the near-upset of Texas last year?
A. Here’s the thing I took: I was happy for Mack. I was miserable for me. So, no, I took nothing positive for it.

Q. What did you do to shore up the kicking game?
A. Change the kicker. That was a pretty easy one. Thank you.

Early playing time not an issue at Kansas. Clearly.
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 14:59
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Baseball, Roto, MLB, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-july-22

The All-Star break is over, so it's time for the pennant races, both on the field and in fantasyland to start heating up. With just three games being played this past weekend, Athlon Sports is here to catch you up on who some of the hottest hitters and starting pitchers over the past month have been. Our fantasy junkies also have identified some arms that could be worth picking up to help your team make a second-half charge.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last 30 days (June 22-July 21):

1Hanley Ramirez3B/SSLAD2282340.4001.225
2Jason Kipnis2BCLE2262450.4021.219
3Miguel Cabrera3BDET19112210.3301.173
4Robinson Cano2BNYY1552520.4101.158
5Alfonso SorianoOFCHC19102120.3001.070
6Raul Ibanez*OFSEA16102000.3371.151
7Chris Davis1B/OFBAL20102500.2390.968
8Matt Carpenter1/2/3/OFSTL2042200.3561.046
9Jacoby EllsburyOFBOS173960.3851.001
10Andrew McCutchenOFPIT1151560.3611.069
11Marlon Byrd*OFNYM1762300.3130.919
12Adrian Beltre3BTEX1581700.3441.038
13Mike TroutOFLAA1441650.3491.059
14Jayson Werth*OFWAS1751610.3731.069
15Allen Craig1B/OFSTL1342010.3981.049
16Chase Utley2BPHI2461120.3010.960
17Desmond JenningsOFTB2121170.3050.863
18Jose BautistaOFTOR1872120.2500.903
19Wil Myers*OFTB1641630.3370.877
20Brian McCannCATL1361800.3731.122
21Torii HunterOFDET1841610.3370.894
22Michael Cuddyer1B/OFCOL1661800.3180.961
23Victor MartinezC/1BDET1631800.3600.963
24Kyle Seager2B/3BSEA2171300.2830.889
25Michael Brantley*OFCLE1531850.2780.770

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Last week, we used the Weekly Waiver Wire section to focus on those hitters that are less than 70 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues that could benefit your lineup for the stretch run. This week we turn to the mound and identify those starting pitchers who could give your rotation a boost.

Weekly Waiver Wire:

Chris Archer, SP, TB (36% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
All the 24-year-old has done is string together four straight quality starts, including tossing a five-hit, complete game shutout against the Astros on July 14. Archer has just added to the Rays' embarrassment of riches when it comes to starting pitching, as he helped the team maintain its momentum even after David Price and Alex Cobb both went on the DL. Price is back in the starting rotation and Cobb could return by the middle of August, but even then there's no reason to think Archer won't stick around.

Wei-Yin Chen, SP, BAL (32%)
After spending nearly two months on the DL with an oblique strain, Chen has been very effective in his first two starts. He has allowed just two earned runs over 13 2/3 innings, defeating the Rangers twice. The left-hander won't strike out a ton, but he generally does a good job of limiting the walks and total base runners, and has allowed more than three earned runs just once in 10 total starts so far this season.

Scott Feldman, SP, BAL (39%)
After toiling in relative obscurity with the Cubs to start the season, Feldman was traded to the Orioles in early July. Having started his career with Texas, Feldman is no stranger to pitching in the American League and has managed the return trip back fairly well so far. He's 1-1 with the Orioles with two quality starts, although his former team roughed him up to the tune of seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings two weeks ago. That's the most runs Feldman has allowed in any start this season and his overall numbers (8-7, 3.86 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) are more than serviceable.

Jeremy Hefner, SP, NYM (23%)
Hefner got tattooed by Philadelphia (10 H, 8 ER in 2 IP) on Friday, but that shouldn't completely erase the solid work he had been doing on the mound. Prior to his last outing, Hefner had put together 10 straight quality starts and gave up three earned runs just once during this stretch. Since June his ERA had been 1.74 until the Phillies hit him hard, and his WHIP (1.22) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (85:28) are both more than respectable. He may not be Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, but this young Mets' right-hander shouldn't be ignored.

Kyle Lohse, SP, MIL (58%)
The veteran was horrendous in May (0-4, 6.51 ERA), but has turned things around nicely. He went 2-0 with a 2.34 ERA in June and has already won three games in July. Since June he's given up more than three earned runs in a start just once and he tossed six shutout innings against the Marlins last Friday. He's not a big strikeout guy, but he usually doesn't walk many either, which helps his other stats, such as his WHIP (0.97 since June 1).

Ricky Nolasco, SP, LAD (41%)
Nolasco is going to have his share of rough outings, but the fact that he is now in a Dodgers uniform and no longer with the Marlins alone enhances his fantasy appeal. The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in all of baseball right now, as the offense has energized this team and finally provided consistent support to its starting pitchers. Nolasco will benefit from this, as well as pitching his home games in Dodger Stadium. He's 1-1 with a respectable 3.11 ERA in three starts with his new team so far.

Chris Tillman, SP, BAL (62%)
Yes Tillman is the third Oriole on this list (along with Chen and Feldman), and to be honest, I like him the best of the trio. His ERA (3.84) may be a little too high for some people's tastes, but he's also 12-3 on the season and has 96 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings. He should get plenty of support from the Orioles' offense, so as long as he limits the walks (44) and home runs (21 allowed), he should be able to help just about any fantasy rotation.

Jacob Turner, SP, DET (25%)
I was high on Turner before the season started, and was a little surprised when the Marlins sent him down to Triple-A before the end of spring training. Well whatever he worked on in the minors has paid off, as the 22-year-old has returned and looks like he's here to stay. Turner is 3-2 in nine starts with a sparking 2.44 ERA and just three home runs allowed in 59 innings pitched. He's allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once and had four straight no-decisions in June during which he gave up a total of seven earned runs over 25 innings. Run support and wins will be an issue since he pitches for the Marlins, but don't let those shortcomings prevent you from giving this young righty the chance to help out your rotation.

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last 30 days:

1Clayton KershawLAD39.04371.850.56
2Matt MooreTB26.24361.351.01
3Chris Archer*TB39.04231.620.95
4Madison BumgarnerSF35.03312.060.83
5C.J. WilsonLAA34.04331.851.06
6Felix HernandezSEA35.03351.541.06
7Matt HarveyNYM33.02422.450.85
8Zack GreinkeLAD42.05362.361.14
9Gio GonzalezWAS33.04321.641.15
10Wily Peralta*MIL34.12281.050.99
11David PriceTB32.03231.970.84
12Jeremy Hellickson*TB31.04302.031.10
13Matt GarzaCHC28.24251.571.15
14Bartolo ColonOAK37.13191.451.02
15Jered WeaverLAA33.03281.641.09
16Adam WainwrightSTL44.23372.621.05
17Patrick CorbinARI35.22352.520.95
18John Lackey*BOS35.13392.801.08
19Derek HollandTEX36.23372.211.20
20Kyle Lohse*MIL35.24223.030.95

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Keep up to date all season long with Athlon Sports' Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid

Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: July 22
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-rb-carlos-hyde-dismissed-team

Ohio State’s national title hopes took a slight hit on Monday, as running back Carlos Hyde was indefinitely suspended. The Columbus Dispatch reported Hyde was dismissed on Monday morning, which came after reports the running back had been involved in an incident at a bar. However, the school announced Hyde had been suspended later in the day.

Hyde’s suspension isn’t a huge blow to Ohio State, but it does take away one of the Big Ten’s top running backs. The senior ranked second on the team in rushing yards last season, recording 970 yards and 16 touchdowns on 185 attempts. Hyde will likely return at some point in 2013, but the suspension length could vary depending on the outcome of the investigation. 

With Hyde out of the picture for now, the Buckeyes will lean on junior Rod Smith, sophomore Bri’onte Dunn and redshirt freshman Warren Ball. Incoming freshman Ezekiel Elliott is also expected to factor into the mix, while hybrid receiver/running back Jordan Hall will factor prominently into the offense.

There’s no question that Hyde will be missed, but if there was one position where Ohio State has depth, it’s at running back. And with quarterback Braxton Miller returning, the Buckeyes should remain one of the Big Ten’s top rushing attacks in 2013.

Losing Hyde for a short period of time isn’t going to derail Ohio State’s national title hopes, but this certainly isn’t something that coach Urban Meyer wanted to be dealing with just a month before the season starts.

Ohio State's Leading Returning Rushers for 2013 (outside of Carlos Hyde)

Braxton Miller2271,27113
Jordan Hall402181
Rod Smith322152
Bri'onte Dunn251332


Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde Dismissed From Team
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 12:20
Path: /college-football/best-and-worst-times-be-tennessee-football-fan

Maybe it’s because Tennessee fans sing it so many times during the course of one game, but it’s easy to forget Rocky Top wasn’t first played at Neyland Stadium until 1972.

Now, just imagine how many times the coach Gen. Robert Neyland would have inspired the band to kick into Rocky Top during his time as the Volunteers’ coach.

His tenure included Tennessee’s rise to prominence, a national championship season, an entire regular season full of shutouts. Certainly, Neyland’s eras were among the best in Tennessee history. Like many teams of their era, they were powered by grinding running backs and linemen who played on both sides of the ball.

Tennessee had pockets of success after Neyland, but reclaimed national power status under Philip Fulmer. By then, Tennessee had one of the greatest passing quarterbacks in the history of the game in Peyton Manning. A decade after the national championship, though, Tennessee would reach new lows.



National championships: 1
Coach: Philip Fulmer
Notable players: Peyton Manning, Tee Martin, Travis Henry, Peerless Price, Shaun Ellis, Al Wilson, Jamal Lewis, Deon Grant
Alum Philp Fulmer returned Tennessee to the national spotlight with a little help from Peyton Manning. Manning started all four seasons, passing for 11,201 career yards, but the Volunteers also churned out NFL running backs in Travis Henry and Jamal Lewis, plus receiver Peerless Price. The Vols could have made a case to be the SEC’s team of the ‘90s if not for their Achilles’ heel Florida, who defeated Manning in all four meetings. Tennessee got over that hump in 1998, defeating the Gators 20-17 and then got a fortunate fumble from Arkansas’ Clint Stoerner to win the SEC. The Vols then defeated Florida State 23-16 in the Fiesta Bowl for the first BCS championship and the first title in school history since 1951.

Record: 31-2
National championships: 0
Coach: Gen. Robert Neyland
Notable players: Bowden Wyatt, Eddie Molinski, George Cafego, Bob Suffridge
Sure, teams scored at a lower rate in this era, but Tennessee managed to shut out 15 consecutive opponents from Nov. 5, 1938 until a 14-0 loss to USC in the 1941 Rose Bowl. Linemen Bob Suffridge and Eddie Molinski earned All-America honors five times between them, with Molinski anchoring the 1939 defense and Suffridge becoming one of the best pulling single-wing guards. This era included Tennessee’s first three bowl game with the Orange, Rose and Sugar.

Record: 61-2-5
National championships: 0
Coach: Gen. Robert Neyland (right)
Notable players: Gene McEver, Beattie Feathers, Bobby Dodd, Herman Hickman
The Volunteers put their program on the map with an upset of Alabama in 1928 in which Tide coach Wallace Wade was so confident he told UT he’d end the game early if it got out of hand. Tennessee became a national power in the late ‘20s and early ‘30s with a pair of halfbacks (McEver and Feathers), a quarterback (Dodd, who became a College Football Hall of Fame coach) and a guard (Hickman). This, of course, began the reign of Tennessee’s top coach in school history in Gen. Robert Neyland, hired in 1926. Tennessee had five undefeated seasons in a seven-season span.

National championships: 1
Coach: Gen. Robert Neyland
Notable players: Hank Lauricella, John Michels, Doug Atkins
Neyland’s return from World War II didn’t get off to a great start (25-13-3), but he proved he still had it at the start of the 50s. Though Tennessee only won a share of the SEC title once during this era, it coincided with the Volunteers’ first national championship in 1951, which would stand as their only title until 1998.


Record: 28-34
Coaches: Philip Fulmer, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley
The dysfunction in Knoxville goes beyond losses on the football field, though there was plenty of that. Fulmer was unceremoniously forced out of his job after 15 years, replaced by the young and brash Lane Kiffin. Tennessee fans loved his bravado at first, believing Fulmer had made the program stale in the increasingly competitive SEC. Kiffin bolted after one season, and his one standout recruiting class crumbled with player transfers, academic casualties and legal issues. Dooley’s watch included a 4-19 SEC record and the end of UT’s 26-game win streak over Kentucky. The basketball program also saw one of its most successful coaches, Bruce Pearl, fired amid NCAA violations. As if the bumblings in football and men’s basketball weren’t enough, Tennessee’s beacon of stability, women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, retired after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

Coaches: Bowden Wyatt, Jim McDonald, Doug Dickey
Tennessee slipped into a period of mediocrity, going seven seasons without a bowl game. These lean years still produced middle guard Steve DeLong, who won the Outland Trophy in 1964.

The Vols' greatest eras from Neyland to Manning
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/big-12-unveils-new-logo-media-days

For the first time in a couple of years, Big 12 Media Days didn’t have to deal much with realignment questions. With the immediate future secure, the conference is working on its branding, which includes a new logo.

This logo was released by the conference today and is expected to take over as the official mark of the Big 12 by next July.


Big 12 Unveils New Logo at Media Days
Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 11:15
Path: /nfl/8-nfl-head-coaches-hot-seat-2013

NFL training camps have begun, which means the battle for roster spots has started anew. Players aren’t the only ones who need to worry about job security, however, as there’s generally no hotter seat in the league than the one belonging to the head coach.

Over the last two seasons, 13 teams have changed coaches, including one team (Jacksonville) twice. Given that sample size, it’s reasonable to assume that one or more current head coaches will join the unemployment line at some point this season. Here is our list of the coaches who really need to win this fall if they want to keep their job.

1. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Unless you’re winning Super Bowls, and even then there are few guarantees, “job security” are two words that don’t really seem to be a part of Jerry Jones’ vocabulary. The outspoken owner/general manager of “America’s Team” makes it clear that a successful season comes down to one thing – him holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end.

It has been 17 years since the Cowboys’ last Super Bowl title back in 1995, and what’s worse is that the Cowboys haven’t even been in the playoffs the past three seasons. Garrett, who took over halfway through the 2010 season, is 21-19 as he enters his third full one as the head coach. He has led his team to a 16-16 mark over the past two seasons and Jones has made it clear that won’t cut it this year.

Jones signed quarterback Tony Romo, who is just 1-3 in his career in the playoffs, to a six-year contract extension in March, so he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was replaced by 73-year-old Monte Kiffin, who is switching the Cowboys’ from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme. The past several Cowboys’ drafts have produced very few starters on the current roster.

While all of the aforementioned moves and decisions were made primarily by Jones, he’s not the one who will be held accountable if the Cowboys don’t fare better than 8-8 this season. The buck may stop with Jones, but it’s Garrett whose job is on the line this fall.

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

Rex Ryan2. Rex Ryan, New York Jets
There have been no recent Super Bowl guarantees from the normally boisterous Ryan, but that’s what happens when your team goes 14-18 over the past two seasons. Since leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games in his first two seasons, Ryan’s team has gone the opposite direction and become primarily a punching bag for both the local and national media.

That’s the price you pay for coaching the least successful of the two teams based in the biggest media capital of the world, and especially when you provide them with fodder such as last season’s Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow quarterback drama.

Tebow is no longer on the Jets’ roster, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any sort of quarterback controversy. For the second straight training camp, Sanchez and Ryan and the rest of the team will have to endure the barrage of questions about the battle between the incumbent starter and his latest competition, second-round pick Geno Smith.

The bottom line for Ryan is he needs training camp to figure out who his quarterback is going to be, especially with a new offensive coordinator (Marty Mornhinweg) calling the plays. Forget about any Super Bowl or any other sort of guarantees coming from Ryan’s mouth this season. He just needs to focus on getting his team ready to compete and win more than six games in 2013, or he can pretty much guarantee he will be out of a job.

Related: 2013 NFL Training Camp: Quarterback Battles to Watch

3. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions
In 2011, Schwartz led the Lions to a 10-6 mark and their first playoff berth since 1999. Outside of that season, however, he’s 12-36, including a discouraging 4-12 record in 2012. Injuries played a large role in last season’s collapse, but so did turnovers (-16 differential, 30th in NFL), the lack of a running game and a defense that gave up more than 27 points per contest.

The Lions made significant changes during the offseason, both in regards to player personnel and on the coaching staff. Defense was the focus of the draft while running back Reggie Bush was the big free-agent addition.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford also recently signed a contract extension, meaning both he and record-setting wide receiver Calvin Johnson are locked up for years to come. Now it’s up to Schwartz to show that 2011 was no fluke if he wants to be a part of the Lions’ future too.

Ron Rivera4. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Rivera is just 13-19 in his first two seasons with the Panthers, but they did finish 2012 strong by winning their final four games. Quarterback Cam Newton is entering his third season and the Panthers don’t lack for options at running back. The defense showed significant signs of improvement last season, finishing 10th overall in yards allowed, and added to its defensive line depth through the draft.

Put it all together and it appears this team is on the upswing. Being in the same division with expected Super Bowl contender Atlanta and a New Orleans team that gets head coach Sean Payton back makes the playoffs seem perhaps too optimistic for the Panthers this season. However, any significant steps backwards from their 7-9 showing a year ago may result in new general manager Dave Gettleman looking for a new head coach after the season.

5. Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders went from 8-8 in 2011 to just 4-12 last season, Allen’s first as a head coach on any level. The roster went through significant changes during the offseason, and there’s no disputing that this team is a long ways from playoff contention.

With as many holes as this team appears to have, starting first and foremost with quarterback, one would think the Raiders would give Allen time to mold the roster to his liking and then see what he can do with it. That said, the words coaching and continuity haven’t been used together often when it comes to the Raiders. Since 1995 the only head coach that lasted more than two full seasons in Oakland was Jon Gruden (1998-2001). And everyone remembers what happened after Gruden left the Raiders, right?

It’s only fitting that Gruden won his only Super Bowl title the very season after he left Oakland. Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season, then promptly led the Buccaneers to victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Given the current state of the Raiders,

Mike Munchak6. Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans
After leading the Titans to a 9-7 record and just missing the playoffs in 2011, Munchak’s team slipped to 6-10 last season. The Titans were active in free agency and also used the draft to shore up the offensive line and add depth to its defense. The team’s success in 2013, however, will likely come down to the quality of quarterback play they get from 2011 first-round pick Jake Locker. Locker is entering his second full season as the Titans’ starter and he needs to show them he can get the job done on a consistent basis.

Munchak is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who has been with the Oilers/Titans franchise since he was the eighth overall pick of the 1982 NFL Draft. Owner Bud Adams has seen Munchak grow from a first-round pick into an NFL coach and clearly thinks highly of Munchak since he was the one he hand-picked to replace Jeff Fisher, the franchise’s all-time winningest head coach.

Adams also is 90 years old and hasn’t seen his team make the playoffs since the 2008 season. This man wants to win a Super Bowl and knows he doesn’t have many years left to fulfill that goal. This sense of urgency and borderline desperation may be just enough to trump loyalty and sentimentality, especially if Munchak’s team doesn’t win more than six games this fall.

Related: 12 NFL Quarterbacks on the Hot Seat in 2013

7. Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings
Frazier’s team rebounded from a disheartening 3-13 campaign in 2011 to a 10-6 season and playoff berth in ’12. Running back Adrian Peterson’s historic 2,000-yard campaign had a lot to do with the team’s success, but several other young players emerged and provided contributions last season too.

Following the season, the Vikings exercised the fourth-year option on Frazier’s contract, which means he his now signed through the 2014 season. The team made some moves during free agency and added more young talent, especially on defense, through the draft, but it also lost some key members of last season’s roster. Expectations have changed now in Minnesota, so Frazier cannot afford to just sit back and rest on last season’s success, especially given his contract situation.

8. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are coming off of back-to-back Wild Card appearances, marking the first time the team has played in consecutive postseasons since 1981-82. So why is Lewis, who is entering his 11th season as the head coach, on the hot seat?

Considering Lewis’ recent success (winning nine or more games in three of the last four seasons) and the fact he is signed for two more seasons, he may have noting to worry about. On the other hand, the Bengals weren’t able to win either of their Wild Card matchups these past two seasons.

With a solid quarterback in Andy Dalton, an All-Pro weapon in A.J. Green and a defense that ranked sixth in the NFL in 2012 all in place, Lewis knows that the expectation level for his team has been raised. Simply making the playoffs, which was a pipe dream during “The Bungles” years, is no longer the goal for this breed of Bengals.

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

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

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Post date: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 10:30