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Path: /college-basketball/previewing-kentucky-duke-kansas-and-michigan-state-tip-marathon

The opening of the college basketball season garnered a little more buzz this season, even if some of the key games didn’t go as planned.

Even if the aircraft carrier games -- two of which were canceled and one was postponed -- didn’t go off without a hitch, the effort was in the right place. Teams like Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State and Connecticut were in early action in key games, a trend that will continue with ESPN’s tipoff marathon beginning Tuesday morning at midnight.

There’s plenty here to like with matchups that run the gamut from the major powers (Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State), the top programs from outside the Big Six conferences (Butler, Gonzaga, Temple and Xavier) and mid-major darlings (Davidson, Detroit and UMass).

Here’s your guide through the marathon:

Bracket projections | Roundtable picks |
Conference changes
| Preseason All-Americans

All times Eastern, All games on ESPN
West Virginia at Gonzaga (midnight)

This could be the season Gonzaga escapes its status quo -- not that an average Gonzaga season of an NCAA Tournament appearance and a finish at the top of the West Coast Conference standings is anything to take lightly. But the Bulldogs return four starters from last season along with depth on the bench. The lone absence was seven-foot center Robert Sacre. Newcomer Przmek Karnowski, who is 7-1, may fill that void after scoring 22 in the opener against Southern Utah. West Virginia is a bit of a mystery team. The Mountaineers are relying heavily on transfers: point guard Juwan Staten from Dayton, center Aaric Murray from La Salle and wing Matt Humphrey from Boston College. How Karnowski handles Murray and Deniz Klicli could be a barometer for the season; the same goes for Staten against Gonzaga sophomore point guard Kevin Pangos.

Game to watch: Duke vs. Kentucky
Game to miss: Houston Baptist at Hawaii
Player to watch: Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky
Freshman to watch: Ben McLemore, Kansas
Top individual matchup: Nerlens Noel (Kentucky) vs. Mason Plumlee (Duke)
Conference on the spot: Atlantic 10
Mid-major to watch: UMass
Mid-major player to watch: Ray McCallum, Detroit
Spelling test: Deniz Klicli (West Virginia) vs. Przemek Karnowski (Gonzaga)

Davidson at New Mexico (2 a.m.)
A midnight tipoff at The Pit should provide a raucous atmosphere. New Mexico is in the second tier of the Mountain West but still a possible NCAA Tournament team as long as the Lobos can find a replacement for forward Drew Gordon. Davidson will be worth keeping an eye on this season with a veteran-laden team led by Jake Cohen.

Houston Baptist at Hawaii (4 a.m.)
Someone has to play in the 4 a.m. timeslot, and local tip time in Honolulu will be 11 p.m. Neither team is a postseason contender, but Hawaii might fare a bit better in the Big West that it did in the WAC.

Stony Brook at Rider (6 a.m.)
Stony Brook is looking to turn America East regular season titles (the Seawolves have won two of the last three) into NCAA Tournament appearances (the Seawolves have none). Neither is at play here.

Northern Illinois at Valparaiso (8 a.m.)
Valparaiso is expected to contend in the Butler-less Horizon League this season with conference player of the year Ryan Broekhoff returning. Northern Illinois went 5-26 last season and started this season on a similar path with a 77-64 loss to Omaha.

Harvard at UMass (10 a.m.)
The Minutemen haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998, but UMass is as optimistic as it’s been in several seasons. UMass won 25 games last season during a successful run in the NIT. Derek Kellogg has the pieces to run his up-tempo system thanks to 5-9 dynamic point guard Chaz Williams. After reaching the Tournament last season, Harvard is reeling from a campus-wide academic scandal that led to the dismissal of co-captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry.

Temple at Kent State (noon)
Temple has been as steady as any team in the country the last five seasons, but the Owls enter this season with questions. Stalwarts Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez and Michael Eric are gone. The team is in the hands of Khalif Wyatt (17.1 points per game last season) and Scootie Randall, who missed all of last season with a foot injury. Kent State lost the core of last year’s team, but the Golden Flashes should have two of the MAC’s better players in Randal Holt and Chris Evans. Kent State already defeated Colonial favorite Drexel 66-62 in overtime this season.

Detroit at St. John’s (2 p.m.)
Steve Lavin returns to a St. John’s team filled with sophomores and freshmen -- forward God’sgift Achiuwa is the only returning upperclassman -- whereas Detroit is the team with NCAA Tournament experience. The best player on the court will be Titans guard Ray McCallum, a potential pro prospect. He will look to atone for an eight-point performance against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Butler at Xavier (4 p.m.)
Butler makes its debut as an Atlantic 10 team earlier than normal with a conference game in its second game of the season. Both teams are dealing with roster turnover that may impact their ability to contend for an NCAA Tournament -- or not. Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke did exactly what Butler expected from him by scoring 21 points and hitting five three-pointers in the opener against Elon. Xavier defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 117-75 with 22 points and 15 assists from Dee Davis.

Michigan State vs. Kansas (7 p.m. in Atlanta)
Facing Connecticut and Kansas isn’t the easiest way to begin the post-Draymond Green era for Michigan State, but it was still a bit of a surprise for the Spartans to lose to the post-Jim Calhoun Huskies. Michigan State never seemed to be in a rhythm and struggled with balance on the score sheet. Branden Dawson, Keith Appling and freshman Gary Harris all scored in double figures. No one else topped six points. Kansas didn’t face an opponent as good as UConn, but Kansas’ freshmen looked solid in their debuts: Ben McLemore finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and five assists, and Perry Ellis had nine points and 12 assists. After Michigan State’s frontcourt struggled against UConn, the Spartans will have a tougher task against Jeff Withey.

Duke vs. Kentucky (9 p.m. in Atlanta)
New-look Kentucky probably wasn’t what the Wildcats had in mind in the 72-69 win over Maryland. Little-used guard Jarrod Polson was the game’s hero when starting point guard Ryan Harrow fell ill, and sophomore Kyle Wiltjer turned out to be Kentucky’s clutch shooter. In a matchup against Duke’s Mason Plumlee, Kentucky probably can’t afford to be out-rebounded 46-34 and 23-12 on the offensive glass, as it was against Maryland. Meanwhile, Kentucky’s guard play will probably have to be more than Polson against Seth Curry and Rasheed Suliamon.

By David Fox


<p> Previewing Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State in the Tip-Off Marathon</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 18:56
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-11-bowl-projections

College football's bowl season is inching closer, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With 11 weeks of results in the books, it's beginning to get easier to make projections about which teams will be eligible for the postseason.

The post-Week 11 bowl projections are a mixture between how things would look if the season ended today, future schedules, and a dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 11 College Football Bowl Projections

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

* Indicates an at-large team due to a conference unable to fill bowl slots according to Athlon's projections.

** UCF is appealing a postseason ban and for now, is eligible to compete in the 2012 postseason.

Bold indicates a team has accepted bowl bid.

by Steven Lassan


(published Nov. 11, 2012)

<p> College Football Post-Week 11 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 18:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-11-recap-heisman-contender-manziel-flips-sec

The eruption you hear is either a Texas A&M celebration or a shift in national championship dominance out of the Southeast.

The Aggies’ 29-24 win over Alabama shocked Tuscaloosa and may prevent an SEC team from playing for the national title -- as long as Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon remain undefeated.

But in the process, the SEC earned a new superstar and a team that’s going to be able to hold its own in the league even after 16 years of uneven results in the Big 12. Beyond the impact on the SEC, the Alabama loss reverberated through the national championship race, leaving three undefeated teams competing for BCS title.



Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel has entered Cam Newton/Tim Tebow territory. The Aggies freshman quarterback was a cult figure before Saturday. Now he’s established himself one of the nation’s most electrifying players who seems destined for a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist, either this season or another. In Tuscaloosa against the No. 1 team in the country, Manziel looked nearly as comfortable as he would in a scrimmage in College Station. He finished 24 of 31 for 253 yards and two touchdowns along with 92 rushing yards. If the season ended today, Manziel’s 379.4 yards of total offense per game would be an SEC record, beating out Tim Couch’s 377.4 yards per game for Kentucky in 1998.

Texas A&M is out of the shadow of Texas. The Aggies may not win the SEC West and compete for their first conference title since 1998, but doubts of
Texas A&M being able to thrive in its new conference seem ludicrous now. And with Kevin Sumlin’s offense and Manziel’s “wow” factor, the Aggies will be one of the most interesting teams in the conference, especially if they can continue to go toe-to-toe with the powers of the league. Besides defeating Alabama, the Aggies’ only losses this season have come to Florida in the opener and LSU by a combined eight points. Texas is going to have its share of nationally televised games, but it’s worth noting on the same day A&M earned its signature win over Alabama, Texas was defeating Iowa State in a game banished to the Longhorn Network.

The Aggies are more than Manziel. The freshman quarterback is the clear focal point here, but it’s important not to lose sight of the rest the Aggies’ roster. The defense forced three turnovers, including Deshazor Everett’s interception in the end zone to clinch the win. Offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews are NFL draft prospects. And receiver Ryan Swope had two key fourth-quarter catches, including a 42-yard reception to set up the Aggies’ final touchdown on the way to 11 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Swope is a senior, but leading receiver Mike Evans is a freshman, indicating a bright future for A&M.

Stanford’s all-around game. In a game to remain in contention for the Pac-12 North and a BCS spot, Stanford used a balanced effort and a second-half comeback to defeat Oregon State 27-23. Stepfan Taylor led Stanford’s run game to 163 yards, a season-high for an opponent against Oregon State, and Kevin Hogan was 22 of 29 for 254 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in his first career start. It wasn't the most even game for Stanford, but Stanford turned up the pressure when it mattered. After taking a 14-0 lead, the Cardinal allowed 27 unanswered points before a comeback at the end of the third quarter.

Big Ten comebacks. Falling behind by two touchdowns? No problem for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers spotted Penn State at 14-0 lead, but they came back for the third come-from-behind win in the Big Ten. Nebraska was able to engineer a comeback for the second consecutive week thanks to the run game as Ameer Abdullah and Taylor Martinez both topped 100 rushing yards. And while Nebraska remains the Big Ten Legends frontrunner, Michigan’s not out of it, either. Northwestern's Trevor Siemian spelled injured quarterback Kain Colter to march the Wildcats down the field for a late fourth-quarter lead. After a quick interception from Devin Gardner, starting his second game for Denard Robinson, Michigan struck quickly in the final 27 seconds on its next drive to tie: The Wolverines used a 53-yard circus catch by Roy Roundtree to set up the game-tying field goal in the final two seconds before defeating Northwestern 38-31 in overtime.

David Ash, Texas. In his last two weeks, Ash has looked nothing like the quarterback benched against Kansas. Ash started 15 of 16 against Texas Tech and finished 25 of 31 for 364 yards with two touchdowns in a 33-7 win over Iowa State. And despite Texas being pinned inside its 10-yard line, Ash and the Longhorns opened the game in Darrell Royal’s wishbone formation as promised. The formation was faithful to the legendary Texas coach, but the trick play was a unique twist.

The SEC's title hopes. The Crimson Tide’s loss to Texas A&M means the SEC needs two of the remaining undefeated teams in BCS contention -- Kansas State, Notre Dame or Oregon -- to lose if the league is going to compete its seventh national championship. Although the SEC needs help to reach the BCS title game, a one-loss SEC team, whether Alabama or even Georgia, would seem to be on deck of one of the undefeated teams loses. And teams in this spot moving up is not without recent precedent. Half of BCS title game participants since 2006 were ranked third or lower in the rankings as of the second Sunday in November.

Louisville. The Cardinals have been on the outside looking in among the undefeated contenders. That’s not an issue anymore as Louisville lost 45-26 at Syracuse. The Cardinals haven’t been a dominant team despite the record, but Syracuse success in the passing game and on third down was a surprise. Ryan Nassib passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns, and receiver Alec Lemon finished with 176 yards and two scores. Syracuse converted an astonishing 14 of 19 third downs, including four of its six touchdowns.

Florida. By now, South Carolina has to wonder how it ever lost to Florida, a defeat that cost the Gamecocks a shot at the SEC championship. Louisiana-Lafayette led the Gators 20-13 until the final two minutes in Gainesville before a Quinton Dunbar touchdown catch and a blocked punt for a touchdown in the final seconds. The Gators lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel in the 27-20 win, but Florida still struggled to move the ball on the No. 4 team in the Sun Belt with or without Driskel.

Collin Klein, Kansas State. The Wildcats’ defense won the day against TCU, shutting out the Horned Frogs for three quarters in 23-10 win. Klein wasn’t dominant, but he finished 12 of 21 for 145 yards with 50 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He had a 34-yard touchdown run, but otherwise this game won’t be prominently featured in his Heisman reel. It was, however, a good sign to see him return from last week’s injury against Oklahoma State.

A.J. McCarron, Alabama. McCarron’s bid for postseason awards dipped with his ineffectiveness in the second half against LSU and then rose with a miraculous game-winning drive. After his first two interceptions of the season -- the last on the goal line denying Alabama a go-ahead touchdown -- McCarron may have trouble cracking the Heisman field again.

Kenjon Barner, Oregon. The Ducks running back suffered a wrist injury early in the 59-17 win over Cal. He returned to rush for 65 yards on 20 carries, but the Ducks put more on the shoulders of freshman Marcus Mariota, who passed for 377 yards and six touchdowns.

Kent State (9-1)
San Jose State (8-2)
UCLA (8-2)
Gene Chizik, Auburn
Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Mike Price, UTEP

25. Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon set the national record for touchdowns by a freshman with five (four rushing, one receiving) against Texas State. Dixon’s record broke that of Marshall Faulk of San Diego State in 1991. Meanwhile, Bulldogs quarterback Colby Cameron set a national record with 380 passes without an interception. Russell Wilson, then at NC State, had the previous record of 379.

366. Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey set a Pac-12 rushing record with 366 yards against Colorado. Carey broke the record belonging to Washington State’s Rueben Mayes, who rushed for 357 yards against Oregon in 1984. Beyond the numbers for the game, Carey didn’t amass his record cheaply: He averaged 14.6 yards per carry.

38.Tennessee became the first SEC team to give up 38 points in six consecutive games after a 51-48 loss to Missouri in four overtimes. What’s most remarkable, Missouri had only 64 yards of offense in the first half before scoring 44 points in the second half and overtime.

Blake Bell’s wheels. Oklahoma’s backup quarterback is the epitome of a short-yardage specialist with 22 rushing touchdowns on 85 carries entering Saturday. That didn’t change against Baylor, but Bell converted a third and 1 for a 55-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. That one run raised his career yards per carry average from 2.1 to 3.4. Oklahoma defeated Baylor 42-34.

West Virginia’s supersub. At some point, the new rule requiring players who lose their helmets on a play to leave the game for the next play was bound to have an impact. It did for West Virginia. Geno Smith lost his helmet on a sack on third and 8 in the first quarter. Backup quarterback Paul Millard entered the game to throw a 37-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. West Virginia still lost 55-34.

UCLA’s short kickoff. After a UCLA touchdown, Washington State picked up a pair of personal foul penalties, setting up a UCLA kickoff from the Washington State 35-yard line. And if that wasn’t strange enough, the UCLA kickoff (with a 44-14 Bruins lead in the third quarter, an onside kick was unnecessary at the time) was returned to the 10 yards to the Washington State 15. Washington State also had two field goals and two punts blocked by UCLA in the 44-36 loss.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington. Washington. Seferian-Jenkins may win the Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end, but the Huskies asked him to pull double duty on defense Saturday. Seferian-Jenkins played defensive end periodically in the 34-15 win over Utah. He also caught seven passes for 99 yards.

Duke Johnson, Miami. The Hurricanes freshman had done many things for Miami this season -- 555 rushing yards, 200 receiving yards, a kickoff return for a touchdown. Against Virginia, he added a passing touchdown. Johnson finished with 150 rushing yards, a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and the eight-yard touchdown pass against Virginia, but it wasn’t enough in a 41-40 loss to the Cavaliers.

Marqise Lee, USC. Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Lee might play a little defense this week, which was true. Lee’s not going to be the next Troy Polumalu or Ronnie Lott, but he played one play at safety in the first quarter the 38-17 win over Arizona State. On a fourth-and-1, the Sun Devils were eventually called for a delay of game, leading to a punt.

Virginia 41, Miami 40
Georgia Tech 68, North Carolina 50
Florida 27, UL-Lafayette 20
Stanford at Oregon
Ohio State at Wisconsin
Toledo at Northern Illinois (Wed.)
Kent State at Bowling Green
Utah State at Louisiana Tech

Curt Phillips, Wisconsin. First-string quarterback Joel Stave is out for the year, and the Badgers’ offense stalls with Danny O’Brien, who began the season as the starter. This week, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema turned to Phillips, but the Badgers put the weight of the offense on Montee Ball and James White. Wisconsin rushed for 564 yards (not a typo) in a 62-14 win over Indiana to clinch the Big Ten Leaders division. Phillips was 4 of 7 for 41 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 68.

Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State. Facing the West Virginia defense is a nice-confidence builder for a quarterback in his first career start. The junior Chelf, the oldest of the Cowboys’ three starting quarterbacks this season, completed 22 of 31 passes for 292 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in the 55-34 win over the Mountaineers. West Virginia has allowed at least 39 points in six consecutive games, including four losses.

Philip Nelson, Minnesota. The Gophers have been starting their prized freshman Nelson for four games, but he’s done just enough to help Minnesota become bowl eligible for the first time since 2009. Donnell Kirkwood, with 152 rushing yards and two touchdowns, was the key player in the 17-3 win over Illinois, but Nelson limited mistakes, finishing 9 of 15 for 78 yards while rushing for 24. The freshman had passed for at least 140 yards and a touchdown in his previous three starts.

By David Fox


<p> College Football Week 11 Recap: Heisman contender Manziel flips SEC</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 08:44
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-benjarvus-green-ellis-brian-hartline-lesean-mccoy

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

LeSean McCoyLeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Listed as probable with an illness (flu/chest cold), LeSean McCoy saw limited work on Friday for his first practice of the week but should start today. McCoy has scored in double digits in PPR formats in all eight games this season, including a season-high 21.7 against Atlanta in Week 8. Dallas is ranked 10th against fantasy backs in PPR scoring but just allowed Michael Turner to run for 102 yards and a TD on 20 carries last week and Ahmad Bradshaw to run for 78 yards two weeks ago. Start McCoy, take your double-digit scoring and hope the Eagles hold on to the ball long enough for Shady to get into the 20s for just the second time this season.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Giants
Listed as probable for today's game against the Giants with an illness, BenJarvus Green-Ellis practiced on Thursday and Friday and should be a go against a New York team ranked eighth against fantasy running backs in PPR scoring. The Giants allowed Isaac Redman to run for 147 yards and a score on 26 carries last week, Alfred Morris to run for 120 yards on 22 carries in Week 7. Green-Ellis has not had 20-plus carries since Week 4 and only twice all year. He produced his first double-digit fantasy day since the 26-carry game last week (13.3 vs. Denver). The Law Firm has had games of 16, 18 and 17 carries the last three outings. The bulk we hoped for is there but so is the 3.4 YPC we expected. One stat in BJGE's favor is this: the Giants have faced nine double-digit carry backs this season, only two have not scored double-digit fantasy points in PPR scoring and the nine of them together have averaged a 13.3-point day. Fittingly, BJGE hit 13.3 exactly last week. It's meant to be, folks.


Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans
Well, so much for the bum hamstring on a receiver doing damage. Brian Hartline took to the field last week, drew 12 targets and caught eight of them for 107 yards against the Colts. Still listed as probable with the injury, Hartline practiced all week. Now he draws the Tennessee Titans, who are ranked 22nd against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring. In the three games Hartline has drawn double-digit targets he has scored at least 18.7 points in a PPR (20.1 and 43.3 in the others). The Titans have faced six double-digit target receivers this season and held just one of them below 16.1 points. The six have combined for an average of 24.8 points per game in a PPR. Let that sink in. The Titans surrender an average of 24.8 points per game to double-digit targeted receivers this season. Start Hartline.

— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brian Hartline, LeSean McCoy: Injury Updates Week 10 &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-ahmad-bradshaw-andre-brown-tony-romo-darren-sproles

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Ahmad BradshawAhmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, RBs, New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is listed as questionable for today's game against Cincinnati while Andre Brown, who left last week's game early with a shoulder injury, is listed as probable due to said injury. Both will play today. The Bengals rank 26th against running backs in PPR scoring and allow an average of one TD a week to the position. Bradshaw is still going to be your bulk carrier (106 carries the last five games) while Brown has turned into the goal line back/vulture. I'm sticking with the bulk in Bradshaw and not taking the chance on Brown, who after bursting on the scene with back-to-back games of 17 and 28 points in a PPR has averaged 7.3 points in a PPR in the four games since.


Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
A back injury on the final play of the game against Atlanta last week has not landed Tony Romo on the injury report. Playing against the Eagles might, however. Romo has already been sacked 14 times this season — five times in the last two games — and been intercepted 13 times to 10 TDs thrown with two lost fumbles. Philadelphia is not as ferocious on defense as it used to be, ranking 30th in sacks (11), 15th in interceptions (seven) and 26th in fumble recoveries (three). The Eagles are on a four-game losing streak, allowing 25 points per game during the slide. This is not the Eagles' defense of old, but Romo's decision making is the equalizer. Dallas has no run game to speak of with DeMarco Murray on the shelf and that leaves Romo to guide a one-dimensional offense. If you think the Cowboys will work quickly on offense and try to limit the time Romo is back there, then he is a decent play. If you assume the questionable decisions by Romo and offensive game plan by the coaching staff continues to underwhelm, then look elsewhere today.


Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
Darren Sproles is out today against Atlanta with the fractured hand that will sideline him for a second straight game. For those trying to make a playoff push, the loss of the PPR/all-purpose fantasy player is as untimely as it can get. But it is par for the course for how RBs have fared in general in fantasy this season. However, if you survive to the fantasy postseason you should have Sproles back in time. Even missing a game, he is still ranked 19th in total fantasy points amongst RBs in a PPR — and that is with just 117 yards rushing and no scores on the ground. His 39 catches are still most amongst RBs as are his 323 yards and four scores. So if someone has dropped Sproles, go get him now and stash him before the transactions lock for this week.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Injury Updates Week 10: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, Tony Romo, Darren Sproles &nbsp;</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-brandon-lafell-danny-amendola-ryan-tannehill

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Brandon LaFellBrandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
A concussion quickly sidelined Brandon LaFell's brief return to fantasy relevance for 2012. He is not on the injury report for Week 10 and it would be nice to see him build on the 3-for-88 day he had against Chicago in Week 8. A sleeper for many of us this season, the struggles of Cam Newton have trickled down to the struggles of LaFell as the team's No. 2 receiver behind Steve Smith. There is not much suggesting LaFell starts building this week against a Denver defense ranked 10th against fantasy receivers in PPR formats. Steve Smith is likely to have more success as the Broncos have allowed No. 1 receivers to score five TDs and average six catches for 76 yards. Antonio Brown (4-74 in Week 1) and Kevin Walter (3-73-1 Week 3) are the only non-No. 1 receivers to have any success against the Broncos this season.


Danny AmendolaDanny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
A tease to return in Week 8 in London, Danny Amendola (shoulder) is expected to return to the lineup this week for the first time since Week 5. At worst, a target magnet, at best a PPR juggernaut. His return comes against a pretty tough matchup against a 49ers team that is ranked second against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring. And their Week 8 performance before their bye is the perfect sample of what you might expect from Amendola. Three separate receivers had 11 targets for Arizona in Week 8 and none cashed in on a score and none turned those targets into more than Larry Fitzgerald's 65 yards. San Francisco, which has surrendered two scores to WRs this season, has defended four double-digit target players before Arizona's trio. The four combined for 46 targets, 29 catches, 280 yards and one score for an average of 15.8 in a PPR league. These numbers are right up Amendola's alley (a 16.9 PPR average this season), but is it worth the risk that he will return to those numbers in his first game against this defense?


Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans
A knee, a quad, a Titans defense on the other side of the ball. Ryan Tannehill practiced this week, including Friday, and is listed as probable for today's juicy home matchup against Tennessee. The Titans are ranked 27th against fantasy quarterbacks and have allowed multi-touchdown games to the position in seven of nine games this season, and at least one TD in all nine games. The Titans are terrible against fantasy RBs as well, so the question is: Which position gets theirs this week? Tannehill is not a high-end start, but is bye-week or injury replacement worthy and certainly worth a start in two-QB leagues.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Ryan Tannehill: Injury Updates Week 10</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-dez-bryant-owen-daniels-steve-johnson

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Dez BryantDez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
A full week of practice with the hip injury is a lot better than not practicing at all last week with the injury. Now the question is whether we can fully trust Dez Bryant or his QB, Tony Romo. The Eagles are ranked 14th against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring, and have only faced four double-digit target receivers this season; all four produced double-digit days. The Eagles have allowed four receivers not targeted at least 10 times to also have double-digit PPR days — and all four have happened in the last three games. The Cowboys have no run game without DeMarco Murray, so if Dez Bryant is worth at least a flex and a low-end WR2 with potential (as is every week) to lead the week in WR scoring.


Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears (Sunday night)
A hip injury could slow down Owen Daniels' resurgent in 2012. It's been a season where the Wisconsin product has become a top-two tight end. But if there was ever a week for OD to miss and make a TE decision easier (if you have a back up or cull the waiver wire) then it is against this Chicago defense. The Bears are ranked 23rd against the TE position in fantasy. A lot of that came from Jason Witten's 13-for-112 and one-TD game in Week 4. The Bears have surrendered just one other TD (Tom Crabtree, Week 2) and no TE has come close to Witten's 112. Coby Fleener had 82 yards in Week 1 and Chicago has not surrendered more than 37 yards to the position outside of those two games. The questionable hip, the strong defense and the Sunday night start should have you looking elsewhere today.


Steve Johnson, Donald Jones, WRs, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
Steve Johnson suffered a bruised thigh last week and is questionable for today's game against New England. Perhaps he is limited and perhaps Donald Jones steps in for another big game against the Pats. A 2-for-23 performance for Johnson against New England in Week 4 does not necessarily scream optimism, either. Jones, meanwhile, had 90 yards and a score against the Patriots in Week 4. Maybe Jones draws No. 1 coverage, but the Bills, with or without Johnson, are going to have to throw the ball to hang around because of their own defense against the powerful Pats offense. New England won 52-28 in Week 4. Jones has come on the last few weeks. He has received 14 targets for 10 catches 112 yards and one score.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Dez Bryant, Owen Daniels, Steve Johnson: Injury Updates Week 10</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 05:55
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-jamaal-charles-aaron-hernandez-felix-jones-demarco-murray

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Jamaal CharlesJamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Monday night)
A neck injury last week had people a little scared about what the status of Jamaal Charles would be for Monday night. But he is not on the injury report. And he also has not been on many positive fantasy reports the last three games. After three straight games of 40.8, 26.5 and 19.1 points in PPR scoring, Charles has a combined 20.3 points the last three weeks and a combined 34.2 in the five games that were not part of the three good ones. Now he draws a Steelers team that has allowed just three backs to have double-digit days in PPR scoring. All three came in a three-game span of Weeks 3-6. Hard to sit Charles but it's also hard to trust anything in a Chiefs uniform right now. He's not even getting garbage-time points. The 20.3 points in the last three games have come in losses by an average of 18.6 points per game.


Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
Aaron HernandezAaron Hernandez is a fantasy tease. When he's on he's great. But his dependability has been an issue this season. Today he is out with the ankle injury that has been a bother since Week 2. He has played in three full games this season, receiving at least seven targets in those games, catching at least six passes in two games, at least 54 yards in two games and at least one TD in two games. The Pats are coming off a bye and Hernandez missed earlier in the week due to the birth of his daughter. He practiced three days this week but teased us again. And what a match up he had against a Bills team that allowed two scores to the TE position last week, has allowed at least 100 yards to the position twice this season and is ranked 24th altogether against the position in PPR formats. Unfortunately, it is too bad there's not a dependable back up behind Hernandez. It's way too risky to start Daniel Fells, Michael Hoomanawanui or Visanthe Shiancoe for the Pats, but it would also not surprise if one of them has a great day.


Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner, Lance Dunbar, RBs, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Man, do the Cowboys need DeMarco Murray back. They are 22nd in the league in PPR scoring from the running back position this season and 31st the last three weeks. Whether it is Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner, Lance Dunbar or Lawrence Vickers, none of them have proven to be dependable fantasy backs. Now the Cowboys draw an Eagles team ranked 14th against the position in PPR scoring, having given up two TDs on the ground and two through the air to RBs this season. Miles Austin and Jason Witten are about the only two Cowboys (and their DST today) I am trusting against Philadelphia in Week 10.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Injury Updates Week 10: Jamaal Charles, Aaron Hernandez, Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /nfl/houston-texans-vs-chicago-bears-preview-and-prediction

Two of the NFL’s best teams will clash on Sunday Night Football, when the Chicago Bears host the Houston Texans at 8:20 p.m. EST on NBC. Lovie Smith’s club stands at 7-1 after six straight victories, and Chicago has been led by an aggressive defense that seems to score on a weekly basis. The Texans are also 7-1, led by a balanced offense and a stingy defense of their own. Quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub are both 11-1 in their last 12 starts, and this game should be a well-played one between two clubs with Super Bowl aspirations.

When the Chicago Bears have the ball:
Chicago ranks 25th in the league (325.3 yards per game) in total offense, but Cutler and crew have shown flashes of becoming a solid attack. The Bears have run the ball well lately, with Matt Forte totaling 376 rushing yards over the last four games. Cutler has not thrown for big yardage, but he did toss three touchdown passes last week in Tennessee. All three went to Brandon Marshall, who has been huge with 59 receptions for 797 yards and seven touchdowns this year. The key tonight for the Bears will be limiting the Texans pass rush, as Cutler has already been sacked 28 times on the year.

 The Texans rank third in the NFL in both total defense and scoring, allowing only 285.6 yards and 17.1 points per game. Houston has given up some big games to elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, but the league’s second-rated run defense has been excellent. The Bears will have to game plan for defensive end J.J. Watt, who leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks. As a team, the Texans have 25 sacks and will look to add to their total of nine interceptions against the sometimes-erratic Cutler.

When the Houston Texans have the ball:
The focus with the Houston attack always starts with the running game, which ranks fourth in the league at 138 yards per contest. Arian Foster leads the NFL in total touchdowns with 11, but rushing yards may be difficult to come by versus the Bears stellar defense. Schaub has been very efficient – a big key tonight – this season, throwing for 1,918 yards and 12 touchdowns against four interceptions. The Texans may have to play this one without tight end Owen Daniels, who is questionable with a back injury.

The Chicago defense has been incredibly productive this season, ranking second in the NFL in points allowed (15.0 ppg) and first in the league in takeaways (28). In fact, the Bears already have seven interception returns for touchdowns this year (just two away from the all-time NFL record of nine). If Houston’s Watt is not the favorite for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, then it has to be the Bears’ Charles Tillman. The veteran cornerback has an amazing seven forced fumbles in eight games, along with 43 tackles, two interceptions and two scores.

Key Factor:
This is easily the NFL’s marquee matchup of the weekend, and it should be decided by the Texans offensive line versus the Bears defensive line. If Julius Peppers and company can control Foster’s productivity, Chicago can force Schaub into some rare mistakes. Look for a physical game that comes down to the fourth quarter, and we’ll take the Bears opportunistic defense with the home crowd to prevail.
Bears 20 Texans 17

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> Houston Texans vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 05:45
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-jonathan-dwyer-rashard-mendenhall-isaac-redman-chris-rainey-baron-bat

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Rashard MendenhallJonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Chris Rainey, Baron Batch, RBs, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Monday night)
The entire Steelers backfield is struggling with injuries going into a matchup that is very inviting for running backs against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles), Jonathan Dwyer (quadriceps), Isaac Redman (ankle) and Chris Rainey (ribs) are all on the injury report. Mendenhall is not likely to return for this week but he will be the man when he does return. Dwyer comes back after missing last week with a quadriceps strain. Redman had 23.1 points in a PPR last week but the return of Dwyer makes the backfield a little diluted. And so does the presence of Chris Rainey. He might not get a lot of touches but the touches he does get means less for the ones that already weren't getting enough. Then there's healthy Baron Batch. Take a flier on Dwyer or Redman in what should be a blowout. But every time I have written, "this team should have its way..." it has been a close game on each occasion.


Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins
Jake LockerWell, it can't get any worse for the Titans than last week's performance against the Bears. Locker returns to the starting lineup after being sidelined with a separated shoulder he suffered twice this season. The Titans are ranked 22nd amongst fantasy QBs this season, 25th the last three weeks. All three of his top receivers are also on the injury report — Kenny Britt (knee), Kendall Wright (elbow) and Nate Washington (illness). All four are probable and should play against a Miami defense that is ranked 23rd against fantasy QBs, including 433 yards and two scores to Andrew Luck last week. It is unlikely Locker throws for 433, but the Dolphins have not held a starter under 234 yards and at least one TD this season. Locker is likely only useful in two-QB leagues, but there are a lot worse players you can take a shot with this week considering his matchup.


Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
From extremely doubtful to out is the news on Percy Harvin for today's game. An ankle injury had sidelined Harvin all week. He caught just two passes for 10 yards on six targets last week — season lows in every department. And it's just not good all around for the Vikings. Receiver Jerome Simpson is still not 100 percent, listed as probable with a calf injury. Tight end Kyle Rudolph's hot start has certainly not continued throughout the first nine weeks of the season. Christian Ponder has been struggling. Then there's the one that started this season as the biggest question mark but has soared back from ACL/MCL surgery. Adrian Peterson takes on a Detroit team he already ran for 102 yards on in Week 4 and Peterson has been a double-digit scorer in PPR formats every week this season. Stick with him and run from the rest.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Injury Updates Week 10: Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Chris Rainey, Baron Batch, Jake Locker, Percy Harvin</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 05:42
Path: /fantasy/week-10-injury-updates-hakeem-nicks-antonio-brown-emmanuel-sanders-darren-mcfadden-mike-good

The fantasy season is nearing its postseason. The weeks are winding down; the injuries are piling up. You need to stay ahead of everything in order to make that playoff push. Here’s some information on those that are on the Week 10 injury report or those stepping in for the injured.

Hakeem NicksHakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants vs. Cincinnati Bengals
I wrote here last week to sit Hakeem Nicks
until he proves he can be productive. Yes, you might have to miss out on a week but it cannot be any worse than what he has done so far. Hopefully, you drafted well or hit the waiver wire and have long since moved on from the underperforming Nicks. He said he did not have a setback with his swollen knee, and he also still has the matter of the broken bone in his foot that he was originally coming back from at the beginning of the season. He told reporters he handles the foot "a lot better" than the knee. Yikes, yikes and yikes. We are 10 weeks into the season and he is coming off of a season-low four-target game — of which he caught one for 10 yards. And now he draws a Bengals team ranked 11th against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring.


Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, WRs, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Monday night)
An ankle injury will keep Antonio Brown out of the lineup on Monday night. Emmanuel Sanders would be a decent replacement for a Steelers team that ranks 13th amongst fantasy receivers and 12th amongst fantasy quarterbacks in points score. The Chiefs are ranked ninth against fantasy receivers in PPR scoring and 25th against fantasy RBs. However, the Steelers are struggling with the health of their backfield. Sanders' first TD of the season last week salvaged a 2-for-20 day on just two targets. He has been inconsistent in production this season, but the removal of Brown and the drops of Mike Wallace could mean good things for Sanders in the coming weeks.


Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden and Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, Marcel Reece, RBs, Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore
Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson both suffered high ankle sprains last week and are on the shelf for today's early game at Baltimore. Now it is up to speedster Taiwan Jones and bruiser Marcel Reece to carry the load for the Raiders. On Monday, the coaching staff said it did not have trust in Jones due to ball security issues and he and Reece split first-team reps this week. If you want to go for the home run, go for the guy that can likely get it in Jones. If you go for the guy that would likely get the bulk of the carries and can punch it in near the goal line, go for Reece. Keep in mind Oakland is 17th in fantasy when it comes to scoring from RBs. However, Baltimore is 25th against the position, including at least 90 yards allowed to five backs in the last four games and a TD allowed to the position in all but last week's game against Trent Richardson (25-for-105 and six catches for 31 yards).
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

<p> Injury Updates Week 10: Hakeem Nicks, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, Marcel Reece</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 05:40
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-against-spread-week-10

A betting preview of every game (against the spread) on Sunday and Monday in Week 10.

Locks of the Week
Take the Manning Bros. to cover on the road against a pair of teams with a combined 1–7 record over their last four games.

Giants (-4) at Bengals
The Bungles are on a four-game slide and 1–3 at home, with their only win in Cincy coming against Cleveland in Week 2.

Broncos (-4.5) at Panthers
Other than a 36–7 loss to the Giants in Week 3, the Cats have lost by an average margin of 3.6 points in their other five defeats.

Blowout Bargains
It’s a particularly good week for powerhouse home teams to mop up some of the worst teams in the league.

Ravens (-9) vs. Raiders
From 2007-11, Eastern Time Zone home teams have a 44–15 record against Pacific Time Zone road teams.

Patriots (-11) vs. Bills
New England is 17–1 against Buffalo in its last 18 games, including a 52–28 blowout victory in Week 4.

49ers (-11.5) vs. Rams
The Niners are 9–2 at home under coach Jim Harbaugh, including a 26–0 win over St. Louis at Candlestick Park in Week 13 last year.

Steelers (-12.5) vs. Chiefs
K.C. has a -107 point differential, losing by 13.4 points per game. The No. 1 defense should take advantage of a team with a league-worst 29 turnovers.

Straight Up Upsets
Take the home teams in these division-rivalry showdowns, which are nearly pick ‘em games as it is.

Eagles (+2) vs. Cowboys
Philly’s “Dream Team” beat the Boys twice, 34–7 in Week 8 and 20–7 in Week 16, last season.

Vikings (+2) vs. Lions
The curse of Samantha Steele ends this week for Christian Ponder.

Saints (+3) vs. Falcons
Atlanta has a 2–6 record against New Orleans and a 1–3 mark in the Big un-Easy with Matt Ryan at QB.

Sucker Bets
Stay away from these contests completely, unless you’re a hometown homer or a degenerate who has to have action.

Bears (-1) vs. Texans
Matt Schaub is 10–1 over his last 11 games; Jay Cutler is 12–1 dating back to before his season-ending injury last year.

Buccaneers (-3) vs. Chargers
The “Muscle Hamster” of Doug Martin will take on the “Turkey Neck” of Norv Turner.

Dolphins (-6) vs. Titans
Tennessee’s Jake Locker returns from a left non-throwing shoulder injury, while Bud Adams gets his firing squad ready.

Seahawks (-6) vs. Jets
The Hawks are 4–0 at CenturyLink Field this season, while the Jetlags have been sluggish wherever they play.

<p> NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 10, including Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 15:09
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Links, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlons-essential-eleven-links-day-4

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for November 9.

• Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times believes Lane Kiffin is on the hot seat at USC after its latest incident and loss.

• ESPN SEC blogger Edward Aschoff looks at Alabama’s emotional ride from winning at LSU last week to facing “Johnny Football” and Texas A&M this Saturday.

• There is a debate going on in Dallas about the revealing nature of the “uniforms” worn by Mavericks dancers. No one here has found a problem yet, but we’ll do more research on the subject.

• The NFL weekend does not appear to offer many compelling matchups, but the Texans-Bears game will be must-see TV.

• It should be a fun opening night of college basketball.

• An exclusive peek into Tim Tebow’s email?

• The Jaguars remained winless at home last night against the Colts, and Mike Mularkey’s club looks like the worst team in the NFL.

• Is Auburn preparing to fire Gene Chizik?

• Ken Davidoff of the New York Post ranks his top ten general managers in baseball.

• The Jon Gruden rumors have started in Philadelphia as the Eagles continue to struggle.

• This nation has become obsessed with bad singing, so look for Dallas Mavericks’ star Dirk Nowitzki to be a judge on The Voice, American Idol or X Factor after this performance.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

November 8

• SB Nation’s Bill Connelly details why unbeatens Oregon and Kansas State are on upset alert this weekend.

• Falcons wide receiver Roddy White believes his team has everything it takes to finish the season undefeated.

• The borders of Colorado after Election Day?

• Many around college football assumed the Heisman Trophy was Collin Klein’s to lose, but Oregon’s Kenjon Barner is closing in. Dave Miller of the National Football Post looks at the top candidates to win the award.

• To honor legendary coach Darrell K. Royal after his passing this week, Texas will wear a DKR decal and start the game in the wishbone formation against Iowa State. Great tribute Longhorns.

• The Lakers shot 28 more free throws than the Jazz last night, but Utah won 95-86 and sent Los Angeles to 1-4 on the season.

• The Colts will look to continue their 2012 magic in Jacksonville tonight.

• The nation’s top football prospects, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche of Georgia, has decommitted from Clemson. Many believe he will soon verbally commit to Ole Miss, where his brother plays.

• Embattled Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had to shut down his brother’s ‘tweeting’ after another Philly loss.

• The Rockies named former big league infielder Walt Weiss as their new manager.

• Awwww…look at singer Rod Stewart crying after his favorite soccer team, Celtic, beat Barcelona. No word yet if the pop star’s favorite football player is Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

November 7

• There is sad news from Texas today, as legendary Longhorns coach Darrell Royal has passed away at the age of 88. Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman details Royal’s amazing accomplishments, colorful nature and sound character.

• Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has reportedly shaved his head in support of coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia.

• Could Texas A&M’s up-tempo offense give Alabama trouble? Brent Zwerneman has the latest on “Johnny Football” and the Aggies.

• Thank you to for making a positive out of Election Day coverage, or non-coverage.

• Will the Reds move their talented closer, Aroldis Chapman, to the rotation next season?

• Blake Griffin should start tonight for the Clippers, but coach Vinny Del Negro says the injured elbow of his star forward is a concern.

• The Falcons are 8-0, and many writers are giving quarterback Matt Ryan the lead in the NFL MVP race.

• Can the West Virginia offense regain its mojo?

• Rangers starter Yu Darvish will not pitch in next spring’s World Baseball Classic, a tournament where he previously was a star.

• Two Indiana basketball players, Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea, have been suspended for nine games each by the NCAA in an unusual case.

Wishful thinking from Clippers forward Lamar Odom?

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

November 6

• On this Election Day, we look back at probably the best athlete to become President of the United States. Gerald Ford was a center on Michigan’s 1932 and 1933 undefeated national title teams, and he had his jersey retired by the Wolverines.

• Would Alabama actually want the high-octane Oregon Ducks as its BCS Championship Game opponent? Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee says yes.

• Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News looks at the free-falling Eagles, who have lost four in a row and have issues all over the field.

• Here’s an interesting political candidate who could transform the election.

• Red Sox slugger David Ortiz responded strongly to last month’s claim by former Boston manager Bobby Valentine that Ortiz quit on the team this season.

• The 3-0 Knicks are off to their best start in 13 years.

• Tired of politics? You can always check out some “MACtion” tonight, when 8-1 Toledo meets 6-3 Ball State.

• A write-in Presidential ballot with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide golf coach? Yep, it is Alabama.

• Check out these GIFs of nutty people in infomercials.

• College basketball starts in a few days, and here are CBS’ top 25 games before Christmas.

• The most talked-about play in last night Saints’ win over the Eagles was Philadelphia’s attempt at the ole Titans “Music City Miracle.” Philly took it a step further by having Riley Cooper lay flat in the end zone to disguise him, but much like the rest of the Eagles season it failed because of bad execution on a forward pass.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

November 5

• Most LSU fans were livid with the wild gambles of coach Les Miles for giving away the Alabama game, but Gannett’s Glenn Guilbeau says defensive coordinator John Chavis deserves much of the blame as well.

• Bleacher Report’s Michael Felder looks at the Heisman candidacy of Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, who rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns in the Ducks’ 62-51 win over USC.

• The sports and broadcasting world is mourning the loss of ESPN radio’s lead NBA voice, Jim Durham, who passed away at age 65.

• Titans owner Bud Adams sounds ready to make some changes after their 51-20 home loss to the Bears.

• Ouch, that shark bite is going to leave a mark.

• Does it make sense for the NFL to void the contract extension of suspended Saints coach Sean Payton?

• Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III get much of the NFL rookie attention (and deservedly so), but Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is quickly becoming a star in Tampa Bay.

• Is there a possibility that Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein would miss the TCU game this Saturday?

• After spending big money last offseason (and not making the postseason), the Angels have let veterans Dan Haren and Torii Hunter go.

• Can Missouri win an SEC basketball title in its debut season?

• The Colts moved to 5-3 on the season with a 23-20 win over the Dolphins, and quarterback Andrew Luck set an NFL rookie record with 433 passing yards. But the best moment of the day was when Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia, was able to attend the game and give this inspiring post-game speech.

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

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 10:19
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-start-or-sit-week-10

Week 10 marks the unofficial start to the second half of the NFL regular season. Eight games remain until the NFL’s postseason, but it’s fewer than that when you take into consideration the start of your fantasy league’s playoffs. Week 10 also means that fantasy owners begin their stretch run without the services of Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Alfred Morris, Larry Fitzgerald, Randall Cobb, the Arizona and Green Bay DSTs, among others.

Have no fear, Athlon Sports is here to help you make all of those important lineup decisions for your Yahoo!, or ESPN fantasy football league with our weekly Start and Sit suggestions. Keep in mind these are merely our suggestions as the ultimate decision comes down to you, the owner.

Week 10 Positional Rankings

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Bye week teams: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington

Sneaky Start of the Week
Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay vs. San Diego
Vincent Jackson is Tampa Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver and No. 8 at his position in fantasy scoring, but don’t discount the Buccaneers’ “other” starting wideout, Williams. While Jackson has a huge advantage on Williams when it comes to receiving yards (710 to 504), Williams has just two fewer receptions (29 to 31) and one less touchdown (5 to 6) than his well-paid teammate.

To put it another way, Williams is No. 22 among receivers in fantasy scoring, ahead of the likes of Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, DaSean Jackson and Torrey Smith, to name a few. Williams has scored 13.4 or more fantasy points five times, while managing 5.6 or fewer only twice.

With as well as Josh Freeman has been throwing the ball lately (11 TDs, 1 INT in his last four games), there should be enough passes for both Jackson and Williams to be viable starting options. On top of that, the Buccaneers host San Diego this Sunday. The Chargers are allowing the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including 11 touchdown receptions.

This matchup also finds Jackson facing off against his former team. While Jackson will probably have a little extra juice headed into this game, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Chargers a little more fired up than usual either, as the defense attempts to limit the amount of damage done by their former teammate. The extra attention paid to Jackson, may present more opportunities for Williams, who is averaging 17.4 yards per reception.

Surprise Sit of the Week
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants at Cincinnati
Just when you thought Nicks may finally be over the hump with the issues related to his ankle/foot, word comes out that he experienced more swelling in his knee this week. The good news is that he was able to return to practice on Thursday, albeit in a limited fashion, and, for what it's worth, he has said he will play Sunday.

Injuries have consistently been an issue for Nicks, who broke his right foot back in May. He started in Week 1, but missed three games after experiencing soreness with his foot/ankle while also dealing with the knee issue. He’s played in the last four games, and while it appears he will continue that streak Sunday in Cincinnati, his owners have no doubt gotten a little tired of the will-he-or-won’t-he guessing game about his playing status.

If the injury bug and his constant “Questionable” or "Game-Time" designation haven’t been enough of a headache, there’s also the matter of Nicks’ lack of production. In Week 2 against Tampa Bay, he caught 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. In the other five games he’s played, he’s had a total of 17 receptions for 191 yards and no scores.

It also doesn't help that Eli Manning has been struggling lately too. He has only two touchdown passes compared to four interceptions in his last four games. I don’t really worry about this week’s matchup against Cincinnati as it applies to Manning’s outlook, but I do think this would be a good week to give Nicks a break and not worry about the will-he-or-won’t-he decision. Just put him on your bench and check back with him in two weeks (Giants are on bye in Week 11).


Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF) at New England
Fitzpatrick had his best game of the season back in Week 4. Despite throwing four interceptions, he also piled up 350 yards passing and four touchdowns. Who was that game against? You guessed it, New England, who the Bills are playing in Foxboro this Sunday. As good as the Patriots’ defense has been against the run, the unit is 28th against the pass and is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. If this game looks anything like the 52-28 affair it was in Week 4, don’t be surprised if Fitzpatrick puts up similar, if not slightly better, numbers.

Alex Smith (SF) vs. St. Louis
Smith played arguably his best game of the season in Week 8 on “Monday Night Football” in Arizona. He only missed one of his 19 pass attempts for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Now coming off of the bye, Smith and the 49ers host NFC West division rival St. Louis. The Rams’ defense has held up pretty well, but gave up 304 yards passing to Tom Brady and 45 points to the Patriots in London in Week 8. Even though the Rams are also coming off of a bye and no one will ever mistake Smith for Brady, I see no reason why he can’t repeat his Week 8 numbers against the Rams. Especially considering I think the 49ers’ defense at home will do its part to give the offense plenty of chances to put points on the board.

Ryan Tannehill (MIA) vs. Tennessee
Tannehill didn’t let a bruised quad/knee keep him off of the field last week against Indianapolis. Not only that, he put up his second-highest yardage total of the season, as he had 290 passing yards and a touchdown in the 23-20 loss to the Colts. Another week away from sustaining the injury, Tannehill should be back to near 100 percent health this Sunday against Tennessee. And what better opponent to get “healthy” against than the Titans, who have allowed 20 touchdown passes and the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Tannehill may be a rookie, but keep in mind that the fewest fantasy points the Titans have surrendered to a starting quarterback thus far is 18.3 to Matthew Stafford in Week 3. Don’t’ forget, when it comes a start/sit designation here, 16 points is considered start-worthy for quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. New York Giants
Dalton is just outside of the top 10 for fantasy scoring at his position, and he’s posted four games of 26 or more points. My concern with him is that he has a tendency to produce based on his opponent. By that I mean he has done a good job of feasting on teams with weak defenses, as his top performances have been against Washington, Cleveland (twice) and Jacksonville. On the other hand, he hasn’t fared as well against defenses that can bring consistent pressure, like Baltimore, Miami and Pittsburgh. The Giants (25 sacks) certainly fall into the latter category, and even though they are the road team, I like the defense this week (see below) to play with a chip on its shoulder, following last week’s disappointing home loss to the Steelers. Dalton can thank the schedule-maker for being cast in the role of prey this Sunday.

Matt Schaub (HOU) at Chicago
The Bears may be just 16th in the league in pass defense, but anyone who has watched the Monsters of the Midway play this season knows that this is merely a number. They are tied for the league lead in interceptions with 17 and have returned seven of them for touchdowns. The defense has scored more touchdowns on interception returns than it has allowed (six) to quarterbacks. The Texans run the ball more than they throw it anyway, which already makes Schaub more of a matchup guy than every-week starter. To that end, can you think of a worse matchup for him than this?

Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. Houston
While Cutler’s defense may be getting all the attention and blowing away the competition when it comes to fantasy scoring, Houston’s D, which he will face on Sunday, is certainly no slouch. The Texans are third overall in total defense (Bears are 6th), second against the rush and fourth versus the pass and in scoring defense. Statistically speaking, the Bears are only better than the Texans in scoring defense and takeaways. Cutler may be coming off of a three-touchdown game against Tennessee, but the only similarities between the Titans and the Texans is that they both play in the AFC South, have ties to Texas and their team names start with the letter T. When it comes to their respective defenses, there are no similarities just as there is no good reason, other than if you have no other option, to start Cutler this week against the Texans.

Running Backs

Stevan Ridley (NE) vs. Buffalo
Ridley has gotten 15 or more carries in every game but one this season. While his best game came in Week 5 against Denver when he had a season-high 28 attempts (151 yards), he also has shown he can do some damage with fewer chances. In his last game, Ridley ran for 127 yards against St. Louis on just 15 carries. Trying to figure out Bill Belichick’s running back rotation is a exercise in futility, but considering the Bills are yielding an average of 5.7 yards per carry, this seems like as good a week as any for Ridley to do some damage even if he doesn’t get the lion’s share of attempts. Don’t forget he went for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries in Week 4 against these same Bills.

Chris Johnson (TEN) vs. Miami
Despite my best guess, Johnson was the lone bright spot in the Titans’ 51-20 shellacking at the hands of the Bears last week. Johnson went for 141 yards rushing, including an 80-yard touchdown, which is by far the most damage the Bears have allowed to a running back this season. Yes the game was well decided by the time Johnson broke off his 80-yarder, but it still counts all the same and he has now posted 91 or more yards on the ground in five of his last six contests. As well as the Dolphins have done against the run, they have yielded at least 91 yards rushing to running backs in each of their past three games. As hot as Johnson has been of late, I would have no hesitation plugging in him this week if he was on my roster.

Mikel Leshoure (DET) at Minnesota
A first glance at Leshoure’s stats last week show 70 yards rushing, which isn’t that great. But scan two more columns over and you see 3 under the TD heading. Even though Joique Bell out-gained (73 to 70) Leshoure on the ground and through the air (36 yards receiving to 0), Leshoure made the most of his opportunities, scoring three rushing touchdowns from eight yards and in, all in the second quarter. Bell will get his touches, but Leshoure also will certrainly get his fair share of carries and gets to face a Vikings’ defense that has allowed an average of 121 yards rushing to the last three No. 1 running backs they have faced – LaRod Stephens-Howling, Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch.

Jamaal Charles (KC) at Pittsburgh (Monday)
Charles ran for 140 yards against Baltimore in Week 5. In the three games since, he’s gained a total of 83 yards on the ground. It doesn’t help that he’s only had a combined 29 carries in those games, compared to the 31 he received against the Ravens, but the Chiefs constantly having to play from behind has contributed to the decline in production as well. There’s no reason to expect that the Chiefs won’t be playing from behind Monday night against the Steelers, who are tied for seventh in rush defense. The Steelers have allowed no more than 74 yards rushing to a team’s backfield over its last three games. Unless Charles can do some damage early, I think it will be another quiet outing for the guy who racked up 233 yards on the ground back in Week 3.

Ryan Mathews (SD) at Tampa Bay
Mathews has yet to top the 100-yard mark since his return in Week 4 from a broken collarbone. He also has scored a total of one touchdown. Tampa Bay is tops in the league in rushing defense, and given the Chargers’ offensive struggles throughout the season, there’s no reason to think they will solve them all, especially having to make the cross-country trip to play the Bucs on Sunday. If Mathews has a big game on Sunday, chances are it will be due to his production in the passing game. While that may end up happening, the Bucs’ track record says otherwise when it comes to his outlook as a rusher this week.

Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) at Cincinnati
Bradshaw has already shown what he can do when he gets a bunch of carries. Try 200 yards on 30 attempts against Cleveland and 116 the following week on 27 totes on the road against San Francisco. However, he’s also been a constant on the Giants’ injury report, as he can’t seem to get over issues related to his troublesome feet. While he’s only missed one game, he’s been a game-time decision on more than one occasion, which is the last thing an owner wants to worry about when it comes to finalizing their lineup. The team also seems to have grown somewhat weary with his injury issues, as his carries have declined since the 49ers game. Andre Brown is back and completely healthy, and he has been cutting into Bradshaw’s workload more and more each passing week it seems. Bradshaw’s been limited again in practice this week, and while there appears to be no real danger of him not playing against Cincinnati, it may be best to treat him along the lines of his teammate Hakeem Nicks (see above). That is, put him away for two weeks and then check back to see if it’s time to dust him off and give him another chance.

Wide Receivers

Kenny Britt (TEN) at Miami
If not for a fumble, Britt would have posted his best fantasy outing of the season after catching five passes for 67 yards against Chicago. Now while a possible maximum of 9.2 fantasy points may not seem like something to get that excited about, at least it’s a step in the right direction for Britt, who has 25 receptions and just one touchdown on the season. Two other things going for Britt his week are the matchup with Miami and the likely return of Jake Locker under center. The Dolphins are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including the second-most receptions (126), more than 1,600 yards and nine touchdown catches. Also, I think Locker suits Britt’s deep-threat ability more as he has a stronger arm than Hasselbeck. Health doesn’t appear to be an issue for Britt at this point, so hopefully some more production on the field is forthcoming.

Emmanuel Sanders (PIT) vs. Kansas City (Monday)
Antonio Brown is not expected to play after sustaining a high ankle sprain last week, which means Sanders will replace him as the starter alongside Mike Wallace. While Wallace is the dangerous vertical threat, Brown is leading the Steelers in receptions and yards, and there’s no reason why Sanders can’t assume that role against Kansas City. Opportunity is clearly knocking, and I think Sanders will answer the call this week.

Davone Bess (MIA) vs. Tennessee
The only thing missing from Bess’ stat sheet this season is a touchdown. He’s averaging nine targets over his last three games and has five games with four or more receptions. Touchdowns are the easiest way to rack up the points in fantasy, and the Titans have allowed 20 of them to wide receivers already. I think is the week when Bess finally puts together a complete stat line.

Percy Harvin (MIN) vs. Detroit
Earlier in the week, Harvin, who sprained his ankle last week against Seattle after re-aggravating a nagging hamstring injury earlier in the contest, pronounced himself “a long shot” to play this Sunday. I would go so far as to label him as a “no shot” for this week, especially considering the Vikings are on bye next week. As hard as it may be to sit Harvin, there’s no reason to take your chances and start him this week. He relies too much on his speed and big-play ability, as evidenced by his league-leading 517 yards after the catch, two skills that are greatly impacted by the health of one’s ankle and hamstring.

Andre Johnson (HOU) at Chicago
I’ve already opined how I feel about Matt Schaub’s chances on Sunday against Chicago, which not surprisingly, ties into Johnson’s outlook. Not only has the Bears defense picked off 17 passes and allowed just five touchdown catches to wide receivers, the secondary has done a pretty good job of shutting down top-flight receivers. Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith and Dez Bryant all have posted 100-yard games against the Bears, but the score in the game had a lot to do with their production. Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and company have also held the likes of Calvin Johnson (3 rec., 34 yds.), Jordy Nelson (6, 84), and Danny Amendola (5, 66) relatively in check. Considering I think this will be more of a defensive battle, I think Andre Johnson will put up numbers more along the lines of Calvin Johnson, Nelson and Amendola rather than Wayne, Smith and Bryant.

Dez Bryant (DAL) at Philadelphia
Bryant came fingertips away from helping the Cowboys beat the Giants and not only did his leaping catch in the end zone not count because his hand landed out of bounds, he took a hard hit on his hip when he landed as well. While the team and Bryant both acknowledged the blow to the hip, it didn’t prevent him from playing last week against the Falcons. Still, after catching just one pass for 15 yards, you have to wonder if his hip was more of an issue than he was letting on. Either way, his lack of production last week and Tony Romo’s struggles throwing the ball are enough reasons for me to recommend looking elsewhere for a starting wide receiver this week. The Eagles have had their issues on defense, but they have given up the third-fewest receptions and just eight touchdowns to opposing wide receivers.

Tight Ends

Jason Witten (DAL) at Philadelphia
Remember when Witten was catching just two passes a game? Yeah, those days are long past as Tony Romo has really locked onto his favorite target recently. Witten had 18 catches two weeks ago against the Giants and the last time he had fewer than six receptions was back in Week 3. The Eagles have only allowed two touchdown receptions to tight ends, but in Witten’s case, he has shown he can be productive without getting into the end zone.

Jermaine Gresham (CIN) vs. New York Giants
Gresham has scored 7.2 or more fantasy points in five of his past six games, including three double-digit performances. He has had at least five receptions four times during this same span, and in one of the other two games he had a touchdown catch. Although the Giants have surrendered just one touchdown catch to a tight end, they have allowed the second-most grabs (57) to the position. A.J. Green is Andy Dalton’s top target, and although I don’t think the quarterback will have a huge game this Sunday (see above), I still like Gresham’s chances of putting together a start-worthy (which is 10 points for tight ends) effort.

Brent Celek (PHI) vs. Dallas
Celek has caught a decent number of passes (33), but he still has just one touchdown so far. He’s only had one double-digit scoring game this season and I wouldn’t count on one this Sunday. Dallas is giving up an average of 6.0 fantasy points per game to tight ends, which ranks them 27th in points allowed to the position.

Jared Cook (TEN) at Miami
Cook’s scoring has dropped in each of the past five weeks, starting at 12.2 in Week 5 to a total of 0.6 (2 rec., 6 yds., fumble) last week. Now while I am fairly certain he will do better than 0.6 this week, the Dolphins have yet to allow a touchdown catch by a tight end. Even though I am looking for Kenny Britt to benefit from the return of Jake Locker (see above), I don’t have the same opinion when it comes to Cook. He’s simply been too inconsistent and too much of a disappointment (dare I say bust?) to trust right now.

Defense/Special Teams

Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City (Monday)
The Steelers are following a similar script from last season, a statistically dominant defense on the field, but not very productive when it comes to fantasy scoring. The Steel Curtain is ranked No. 1 in the league in total and pass defense, but are tied for 25th in fantasy scoring as a DST. That will probably change this week, however, with Kansas City coming to town. Not only do the Chiefs have a league-worst 29 turnovers, they are also allowing the most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. The Steelers’ DST has scored double-digit fantasy points just twice so far. I feel fairly confident this number will be three after this game.

New York Giants at Cincinnati
The Giants gave up 158 yards rushing to Pittsburgh last week in a 24-20 home loss that had their home coach using the dreaded four-letter word to describe their effort. No defense wants to be called “soft,” let alone that of the defending Super Bowl champs. True to their championship pedigree, I expect this defense, which is second only to Chicago in fantasy scoring among DSTs, to play with a little extra fire in its belly this week in Cincinnati. Pity Andy Dalton (see above) and the rest of the Bengals, who are in the Giants’ cross-hairs, and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to DSTs.

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo
While the Patriots came out on the winning end against the Bills in Week 4, the defense still gave up 28 points and 438 yards of offense. Six turnovers fueled the majority of the Patriots DST’s 15 fantasy points that week, and there’s no guarantee the unit will be able to generate that many this time around. I’m expecting another fairly high-scoring affair, especially due to the Patriots’ issue stopping the pass (see Ryan Fitzpatrick, above), and think this type of game is too risky to count on significant production from their DST.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders
A Ravens defense that’s already missing two key pieces in linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb, could be down a few more as defensive linemen Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee and safety Ed Reed all missed practice on Wednesday. That’s not to say any or all won’t suit up on Sunday, but it’s not the type of news this defense needs either. The Ravens’ DST, who for years was one of the top scorers in fantasy, hasn’t reached double digits in three games. Not saying Carson Palmer will throw for another 414 yards against the Ravens on Sunday, but I do believe the Ravens are anything but a safe option at DST this week.  


Shaun Suisham (PIT) vs. Kansas City (Monday)

Kansas City is giving up 30 points per game. The Steelers are scoring around 24 points per game. I expect both of these averages will go up after the conclusion of Monday night’s game. I’m not sure how cold it will be in Pittsburgh on Monday night, but I don’t think Suisham will have to worry about keeping his leg warm. The number of times he will have to use it on the field will do the job.

Dan Carpenter (MIA) vs. Tennessee
The Titans are allowing more than 34 points per game and the most fantasy points to kickers. Six of the nine kickers the Titans have faced have scored 10 or more fantasy points. That’s the magic number that kickers need to score to be considered start-worthy. I fully expect Carpenter to join the double-digit kicker club this Sunday.

Stephen Gostkowski (NE) vs. Buffalo
Gostkowski got 10 fantasy points last time against the Bills in Week 4, but it came thanks to seven PATs and a 30-yard field goal. I expect the Patriots to score a fair amount of points, but not quite as many as they did in Round 1. And as long as the Patriots put six on the board, it means Gostkowski’s kicks count for just one point and not three.

Connor Barth (TB) vs. San Diego
The Chargers have given up a total of seven field goal attempts thus far, and while the Buccaneers have scored 28 or more points in four straight games, Barth hasn’t played a big role in this production. He’s scored more than eight fantasy points in only one of these games and also has missed four of his last eight field goal attempts. I expect more of the same, if not less, as the Chargers’ defense is ranked ninth overall and giving up less than 20 points per game.

— By Mark Ross, published on Nov. 9, 2012

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 10</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Philadelphia Eagles, NFL
Path: /nfl/5-coaches-who-could-replace-andy-reid-philadelphia

It’s all beginning to fall apart in Philadelphia where the Eagles showed so much promise a year ago. Maybe it was never smart of them to embrace the “Dream Team” nickname, but after their spending spree before the 2011 season everyone was sure they’d be good.

But they haven’t. Their record is a disappointing 11-13 since then. Michael Vick, once an MVP candidate has become a turnover machine and after a 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, they have put themselves in a 2 ½-game hole that appears far too deep for them to climb out.

And now, after 13 1/2 mostly successful seasons – albeit 13 ½ seasons without a Super Bowl championship – Andy Reid looks lost. He seems clueless about how to revive the franchise. And there are many who think Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is finally ready to pull the trigger on a coaching change.

It won’t be easy to replace a man who has become a fixture in that rough-and-tumble city, who has managed a .597 winning percentage (129-86-1) despite residing in the hyper-competitive NFC East. When Reid was hired, he was a largely unknown assistant coach who came highly recommended but didn’t carry the star power fans usually crave.

Could the Eagles go that route again? Or will they go for the big splash? It’s far too early to tell. Who knows if Reid even will be fired after the season? But if he is, here are 5 very interesting names for Eagles fans – and fans of any team around the NFL that might soon have a coaching search – to watch:

Sean Payton – First of all, he’s a longshot for anyone. But the door was opened last week when the NFL reportedly voided the contract extension he signed with the New Orleans Saints, putting him on schedule to be a free agent after the season. Despite the BountyGate scandal that he oversaw, the Saints want to retain the only coach that took them to the Super Bowl. But Payton is also a Dallas native and would be just the sort of big splash Jerry Jones would love to make. If he’s available, if nothing else, you could bet the Philadelphia Eagles would get in line if they were looking for a replacement for Reid. Payton, a former assistant with the Giants and Cowboys, does have roots in the NFC East.
Steve Spagnuolo – He wouldn’t be a splashy hire, but he’d be a solid one with Philly roots. He was a long time assistant there under beloved defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Then he left and was the defensive coordinator that helped the Giants upset the mighty New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. His stint as St. Louis Rams coach wasn’t good, but most people saw that as an impossible situation – same for his position now as defensive coordinator of the BountyGate-saddled Saints. He’s still well-respected, knows the division, and has a defensive mind that would get the Philly faithful inspired.
Jon Gruden – In a division that has Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan and whatever big name Jerry Jones eventually hires to replace Jason Garrett, the Eagles may choose to match and there might be no bigger available name than Gruden. OK, there’s Bill Cowher and you might as well throw his name in too, but Gruden’s brash, confident, outgoing natures seems more Philly’s style. It helps, too, that his last stop before he became a head coach was as the Eagles offensive coordinator from 1995-97.
Mike McCoy – If the Eagles did want to go the unknown assistant route – especially since it served them so well with Reid – they might consider McCoy, the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. Think about what he’s done in the past two years. He started running an offense with Kyle Orton at quarterback, quickly changed midstream to win with Tim Tebow, and then re-overhauled everything in the offseason when they brought in Peyton Manning. To continue to have success while reinventing your own scheme is pretty impressive. He’s going to be high on the list of a lot of teams looking for the next bright young mind.
Chip Kelly – Ask people around the NFL for the top college coaching prospect in the nation and they’ll probably mention Alabama’s Nick Saban. But since nobody expects him to leave the Crimson Tide, Oregon’s Kelly is next on the list. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly tried to hire him before they hired Greg Schiano, and a few other teams will come knocking on his door this offseason. His spread offense with the Ducks is not only exciting it’s proved to be a winner. He may not be able to run that exact same scheme in the NFL, but he might be able to adapt some components to help out a nimble quarterback such as … oh, maybe Michael Vick?
<p> If the Eagles Fire Their Coach, Here Are Their Best Bets</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:52
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-ncaa-tournament-projections

The first college basketball games of the NCAA Tournament are more than four months from the start of the season, which begins Nov. 9, but it's never too early to start projections for March Madness.

Here is our best guess of how the field might appear Tournament play begins on March 19 with the First Four in Dayton.

1 Indiana Louisville Kentucky Kansas
2 Ohio State Arizona Michigan Syracuse
3 Duke Michigan State NC State UCLA
4 Missouri San Diego State North Carolina UNLV
5 Baylor Memphis Notre Dame Florida
6 Tennessee Florida State Marquette Creighton
7 VCU Cincinnati Georgia Minnesota
8 Kansas State Texas Oklahoma State Wisconsin
9 BYU Saint Mary's Cal Saint Louis
10 Pittsburgh West Virginia Georgetown USF
11 Colorado State New Mexico Wichita State Temple
12 Stanford/Marshall Miami/Arkansas Drexel Harvard
13 Davidson Utah State Ohio Murray State
14 Middle Tennessee Valparaiso Lehigh Long Beach State
15 Oral Roberts LIU-Brooklyn South Dakota State Montana
16 Savannah State Vermont Charleston Southern/ Loyola (Md.)/
      Southern Mercer


Projected NIT Field

George Mason
Illinois State
Iowa State
Northern Iowa
Ole Miss
Oregon State
Saint Joseph's
San Diego
Seton Hall
St. Bonaventure
St. John's
Texas A&M



NCAA Tournament bids by conference

Big East (8): Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, USF
Big 12 (6): Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas, West Virginia
Big Ten (6): Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin
ACC (5): Duke, Florida State, Miami, NC State, North Carolina
SEC (5): Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee
Mountain West (4): Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV
Pac-12 (4): Arizona, Cal, Stanford, UCLA
Atlantic 10 (3): Saint Louis, Temple, VCU
West Coast (3): BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's
Conference USA (2): Marshall, Memphis
Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Wichita State
America East: Vermont

Atlantic Sun: Mercer
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: Charleston Southern
Big West: Long Beach State
Colonial: Drexel
Horizon: Valparaiso
Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Loyola (Md.)
MAC: Ohio

MEAC: Savannah State
Northeast: LIU-Brooklyn
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Patriot: Lehigh
Southern: Davidson
Southland: Oral Roberts
Summit: South Dakota State
Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee
SWAC: Southern
WAC: Utah State


<br />
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:44
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/5-coaching-replacements-if-gene-chizik-fired-auburn

As Auburn puts the finishing touches on a dismal 2012 season, the writing appears to be on the wall for coach Gene Chizik. According to a report from, the school is preparing a committee to help with a coaching search at the end of the season. It’s not a slam dunk Chizik is replaced, but the SEC’s 2010 Coach of the Year probably needs a win over Georgia or Alabama to save his job.

Chizik was a questionable hire from the start, especially after recording a 5-19 record at Iowa State. The Tigers went 8-5 in Chizik’s first season but claimed the 2010 national championship. However, since winning the BCS title, Auburn is just 10-12. Also, Chizik is a mediocre 18-17 at Auburn without Cam Newton under center.

Assuming there is a change at Auburn at the end of the season, who might be the Tigers’ next coach? Here are five names to keep in mind over the next few weeks:

Five Candidates to Watch if Auburn Fires Gene Chizik

Sonny Dykes, head coach, Louisiana Tech – Dykes is another name expected to get plenty of looks for open vacancies this offseason. In three years at Louisiana Tech, he has a 21-13 record and has experience as an assistant in the SEC at Kentucky. Dykes runs a high-powered offense, which has to be attractive after Auburn has fielded a lackluster attack the last two years.

Gus Malzahn, head coach, Arkansas State – Auburn fans are certainly familiar with Malzahn, as he helped to lead Auburn’s offense during the 2010 national championship season. Malzahn has only one year of collegiate head coaching experience but there’s no question he’s ready to takeover a BCS program. Would Auburn fans welcome Malzahn back after leaving at the end of last season? 

Bobby Petrino, former Arkansas coach – There’s a lot of uncertainty where Petrino will land, but it’s a safe bet there will be a demand for his services. The former Arkansas coach has some baggage to deal with and will be on a short leash at his next job. However, Petrino is a winner and was one of college football’s top 10-15 coaches before his firing. Some schools may stay away from Petrino due to his off-the-field incident at Arkansas, but if the Montana native is interested in Auburn, the Tigers shouldn’t pass.

Charlie Strong, head coach, Louisville – Strong will be a popular name at several jobs this offseason but it’s not a guarantee he leaves Louisville this year or anytime soon. However, if Strong is interested in leaving, Arkansas and Auburn are two possible destinations. In three years at Louisville, Strong is 23-12 and has the Cardinals on the verge of an undefeated season in 2012.

Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – Taggart is a rising star in the coaching ranks and will be in high demand this offseason. In three years at Western Kentucky, he is 15-18 and has the Hilltoppers in position to make a bowl game this year. Taggart will have his pick of jobs at the end of the season, which will allow him to be very selective if he wants to leave Western Kentucky before 2013. 

Related College Football Content

SEC Week 11 Preview and Predictions
College Football's Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat

<p> 5 Coaching Replacements If Gene Chizik is Fired at Auburn</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:35
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-every-game-week-11-0

College football’s Week 11 schedule is highlighted by key games in the Big Ten Legends Division, Pac-12 North and SEC West. Also, Georgia can clinch the SEC East with a win at Auburn, and Miami can take another step toward an ACC Coastal Division crown with a victory at Virginia.


No. 51 Pittsburgh at No. 87 Connecticut
Pittsburgh just missed pulling off the upset of the year in South Bend last weekend. The Panthers are playing better as the season progresses, but it’s not a good sign when your defense gives up 291 yards passing to Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh 17–13


No. 14 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama
Alabama is riding high after its thrilling win in Baton Rouge, but Nick Saban can’t be pleased that his defense gave up a season-high 435 yards — 232 more than its previous season average — to an LSU team that had averaged only 318.3 yards in its first four SEC games. The Crimson Tide can wrap up the SEC West title with a win.
Alabama 34–21

No. 2 Oregon at No. 74 California
Cal is 2–5 in the Pac-12 and still has to play two teams (Oregon and Oregon State) that are a combined 11–1 in the league. The Bears also have issues at quarterback; starter Zach Maynard is questionable for this week’s game after injuring his knee against Washington.
Oregon 44–17

No. 3 Kansas State at No. 28 TCU
Kansas State held on to its No. 2 spot in the BCS standings after knocking off Oklahoma State 44–30 last weekend. But the big story in Manhattan is the health of Collin Klein, the Heisman frontrunner. Klein was forced out in the third quarter of the O-State game with an undisclosed injury that has been reported by some to be a concussion. K-State coach Bill Snyder says he expect Klein to play, but Snyder has been known to bend the truth on the injury front.
Kansas State 34–21

No. 4 Notre Dame at No. 94 Boston College
Amazingly, Boston College won six straight in this series from 2001-08 (they didn’t play every year), but Notre Dame has rebounded to win three straight. BC has scored 17 points or fewer in its last four vs. Notre Dame. That trend will continue.
Notre Dame 27–3

No. 6 Georgia at No. 72 Auburn
Georgia can secure a spot in the SEC title game for the second straight season with a win on Saturday. The Bulldogs will be facing a true freshman quarterback (Jonathan Wallace) who will be making his first start against an SEC team.
Georgia 34–10

No. 76 UL Lafayette at No. 7 Florida
The Gators would like to get Mike Gillislee going for the stretch drive. The senior tailback has had four straight sub-100-yard games and still needs 203 yards to become Florida’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004.
Florida 41–10

No. 25 Mississippi State at No. 8 LSU
In the past two weeks, MSU has dropped from 48th to 73rd nationally in total offense and from 25th to 50th in total defense. There is no shame in losing decisively at Alabama, but the Bulldogs were alarmingly uncompetitive at home against Texas A&M. The task this week will be to do something that no Bulldog team has done since 1991 — win in Baton Rouge.
LSU 24–3

No. 45 Arkansas at No. 9 South Carolina
The Hogs have won three straight in the series, the last two in convincing fashion against very good Carolina teams. Two years ago, Ryan Mallet, Knile Davis & Co. rolled up 443 yards of offense in a 41¬–20 victory in Columbia. Last season, Tyler Wilson and friends outgained the Gamecocks 435-to-207 en route to a 44–28 win in Fayetteville. Now, it’s time for payback.
South Carolina 33–17

No. 79 Maryland at No. 11 Clemson
Shawn Petty, who was a linebacker two weeks ago, played relatively well in his debut as Maryland’s quarterback. He completed 9-of-18 for 115 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Not bad. But not good enough to challenge Clemson.
Clemson 34-10

No. 43 Baylor at No. 12 Oklahoma
Baylor is the only team in the nation that is giving up more than 500 yards per game. That is not good.
Oklahoma 44–20

No. 13 Oregon State at No. 16 Stanford
Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will make his first start at quarterback for Stanford. In last week’s 48–0 win over Washington State, Hogan replaced Josh Nunes after two series and went on to complete 18-of-23 for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
Stanford 30–27

No. 15 Louisville at No. 63 Syracuse
Louisville is ranked No. 9 in the latest BCS standings, but the Cardinals — other than being 9–0 — don’t really have the résumé of a top-10 team. They beat FIU (2–8) by seven points, Southern Miss (0–9) by four points and South Florida (3–6) by two points. They have two solid wins, over North Carolina and Cincinnati, but those were by a combined eight points and both were at home.
Syracuse 27–21

No. 17 UCLA at No. 100 Washington State
It’s fair to say Washington State isn’t running the ball well this season. The Cougars have a total of 76 rushing yards in six Pac-12 games. Colorado is next with 576 yards.
UCLA 47–10

No. 27 Penn State at No. 18 Nebraska
Nebraska has seized control of the Leaders Division with consecutive wins over Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State. The Cornhuskers, 4–1 in the league, are one game up on both Northwestern and Michigan and now hold the tie-breaker over both teams.
Nebraska 31–21

No. 34 Iowa State at No. 19 Texas
Texas will open the game in the Wishbone to honor former Longhorn coach Darrell Royal, who passed away earlier this week. Royal went 167–47–5 in 20 seasons as the boss in Austin.
Texas 33–13

No. 31 Northwestern at No. 20 Michigan
Northwestern tailback Venric Mark had 23 carries in his first two seasons. This year, Mark has emerged as the Wildcats’ top offensive weapon with 1,072 yards on a healthy 6.5-yard average.
Michigan 33–24

No. 21 Louisiana Tech at No. 112 Texas State
Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes will be a hot commodity in the coaching world following the 2012 season. And for good reason. His teams win and do so playing an exciting brand of football.
Louisiana Tech 41, Texas State 13

No. 37 Arizona State at No. 22 USC
USC has given up a total of 1,318 yards in its last two games, losses at Arizona and to Oregon at home.
USC 37-23

No. 81 Kansas at No. 23 Texas Tech
Texas Tech gave up a total of 43 points in its first four games. The Raiders have given up 41 or more three times since. That, however, won’t happen this week.
Texas Tech 47–10

No. 99 Colorado at No. 24 Arizona
Colorado has allowed 55 touchdowns this season, most in the nation. Alabama has allowed 82 points this season.
Arizona 48–0

No. 107 Army at No. 26 Rutgers
Army is the only team in the nation that has two players averaging over 100 yards rushing per game — quarterback Trent Steelman (101.2 ypg) and slot back Raymond Maples (100.8 ypg).
Rutgers 40–10

No. 29 Wisconsin at No. 67 Indiana
Amazingly, this game — between two teams with a combined nine overall losses — could determine who represents the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Wisconsin 31–26

No. 33 West Virginia at No. 30 Oklahoma State
Things have changed quite a bit in the past month for West Virginia. In early October, the Mountaineers were 5–0 and ranked in the top five in both major polls. Now, WVU is 5–3, unranked and a 7.5-point underdog to an Oklahoma State team that also has three losses.
Oklahoma State 48–40

No. 61 Utah at No. 32 Washington
Utah has scored a total of 98 points in the past two weeks, climbing from 105th in the nation in scoring (20.1 ppg) to 72nd (26.6 ppg). Washington’s defense has played well of late, holding Oregon State to 17 and California to 13 in back-to-back wins.
Washington 33–10

No. 41 Vanderbilt at No. 38 Ole Miss
Vanderbilt has controlled this series of late, winning five of the last seven overall, including two straight in Oxford. Last year, the Commodores won 30–7 in Nashville for their most decisive win vs. Ole Miss since beating the Rebs 91–0 in 1915.
Vanderbilt 24–20

No. 71 Georgia Tech at No. 39 North Carolina
North Carolina tailback Gio Bernard has been one of the best running backs in the nation in the past month. The sophomore has 717 yards and six touchdowns in the past four games.
North Carolina 31–23

No. 40 Miami (Fla.) at No. 83 Virginia
Virginia snapped a six-game losing streak last week with a surprisingly easy 33–6 win at NC State. Miami controls its own destiny in the ACC Coastal. If the Canes beat Virginia this week and win at Duke on Nov. 24, they will advance to the league title game.
Miami (Fla.) 21–13

No. 42 Cincinnati at No. 84 Temple
Temple exploded for 37 points in its Big East opener (a win vs. South Florida) but has not scored more than 17 points since. The Owls are last in the league in total offense, as well.
Cincinnati 33–10

No. 56 Missouri at No. 44 Tennessee
Tennessee’s historically bad defense is coming off its worst game of the season. The Volunteers gave up an astounding 721 yards of offense to a Troy team that had 381 yards the previous week in a loss to FAU. For the season, the Vols rank last in the league in both yards allowed per game (483.1) and yards allowed per play (6.31).
Tennessee 34–24

No. 46 Tulsa at No. 90 Houston
Tulsa is the only team in Conference USA West with a winning overall record. The Golden Hurricane are 7–2 with losses at Iowa State and Arkansas.
Tulsa 41–38

No. 47 Boise State at No. 120 Hawaii
Boise State, which lost at home to San Diego State last weekend, has multiple regular-season losses for the first time since 2007.
Boise State 48–0

No. 50 Kent State at No. 97 Miami (Ohio)
Kent State has almost doubled its scoring average from last season. The Golden Flashes are averaging 34.0 points per game — up from 17.1 last season.
Kent State 34–23

No. 122 Idaho at No. 54 BYU
BYU dips down in competition this week after playing Oregon State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in successive games. The Cougars should have this one wrapped up by the middle of the second quarter.
BYU 48–3

No. 80 Wake Forest at No. 55 NC State
NC State had one of the most puzzling losses of the season last week, dropping a 33–6 decision at home to a Virginia team that had lost six straight games.
NC State 34–17

No. 57 UCF at No. 102 UTEP
UCF is in control of C-USA East with a 5–0 record. The Knights have allowed exactly 17 points in each of their last three games.
UCF 41–17

No. 58 Fresno State at No. 88 Nevada
Nevada is averaging 33.3 points in its three losses — to South Florida, San Diego State and Air Force. The Wolf Pack will need to score a bunch to beat Fresno State, which has scored 42 points in each of its last three games.
Fresno State 42–41

No. 95 Air Force at No. 59 San Diego State
San Diego State is coming off one of the biggest wins in school history, a 21–19 victory at Boise State. It was SDSU’s first win over a ranked opponent since 1996. The Aztecs are now 5–1 in the MWC and will be favored in their final two games.
San Diego State 33–17

No. 64 San Jose State at No. 123 New Mexico State
San Jose State visits Las Cruces for a tune-up before returning home for a tough two-game stretch against BYU and Louisiana Tech.
San Jose State 44–10

No. 65 Navy at No. 85 Troy
Troy rolled up 721 yards of offense on the road against an SEC team — and lost. The Trojans took a 48–41 lead on Tennessee with 3:14 remaining but gave up two touchdowns in the final three minutes and lost 55–48.
Navy 31–30

No. 77 Purdue at No. 68 Iowa
Neither of these teams has won a game since Oct. 13, when Iowa somehow beat Michigan State on the road. Purdue has lost five straight — all in league play and all by seven points or more.
Iowa 21–20

No. 69 Minnesota at No. 98 Illinois
These are two of the four Big Ten teams that are ranked 68th or worse in this week’s Athlon Sports 124 rankings. Minnesota has shown signs of life this year. Illinois has been a complete debacle.
Minnesota 27–23

No. 117 FAU at No. 73 Western Kentucky
FAU beat a team two weeks ago (Troy) that rolled up 721 yards of offense at Tennessee last Saturday. What does that mean? Probably nothing.
Western Kentucky 31–13

No. 82 Marshall at No. 104 UAB
Marshall is one of 11 teams nationally that has allowed more than 2,000 yards rushing this season. It’s a good thing for the Herd that UAB ranks 11th in Conference USA in rushing with 111.0 yards per game.
Marshall 41–20

No. 86 Western Michigan at No. 108 Buffalo
Buffalo ranks last in the nation with only six turnovers forced — two fumbles and four interceptions. That’s a big reason the Bulls rank 85th nationally in scoring defense despite ranking 49th in total defense.
Buffalo 24–22

No. 111 Southern Miss at No. 89 SMU
Southern Miss’ dreadful 2012 season took another horrific turn last weekend. The Golden Eagles led UAB 16–0 at the half at home yet found a way to lose, 27–19. Ellis Johnson’s team is now an unthinkable 0–9 — one year winning 12 games.
SMU 31–18

No. 101 UNLV at No. 119 Colorado State
UNLV played its best game of the season last weekend, passing for 289 yards and rushing for 241 in a 35–7 win over New Mexico. There has been talk about Bobby Hauck’s job status, but there is a decent chance the Runnin’ Rebels could end their season on a four-game winning streak.
UNLV 28–20

No. 103 Tulane at No. 118 Memphis
Tulane scored a total of 45 points in its first five games. The Green Wave have scored 102 in their last two.
Tulane 41–20

No. 113 Wyoming at No. 105 New Mexico
New Mexico ranks last in the nation in passing yards (535), passing yards per attempt (4.6) and passing touchdowns (two). To be fair, the Lobos are running the option, but that is still alarmingly low production.
Wyoming 30–27

No. 121 South Alabama at No. 106 North Texas
North Texas doesn’t do very much well, but the Mean Green are outstanding at not letting the opposition sack the quarterback. They’ve allowed five in nine games; only three teams (Air Force, Oklahoma State and Tennessee) have allowed fewer.
North Texas 17–10

No. 110 Central Michigan at No. 115 Eastern Michigan
Dan Enos is on thin ice in Mount Pleasant. He might be gone if the Chips lose to their rivals from Ypsilanti.
Central Michigan 34–33

No. 124 UMass at No. 114 Akron
These two MAC East teams are a combined 1–19, with the one win coming by Akron over Morgan State in Week 3. UMass has been outscored 136–7 in the last three games.
Akron 27–17

McNeese State at No. 116 UTSA
McNeese State opened the season with a win at Middle Tennessee, which is now 6–2 against FBS competition. This will be a tough test for Larry Coker’s club.
UTSA 34–31

Last week: 42–11
Season: 441–130


<p>  </p> <p> College football’s Week 11 schedule is highlighted by key games in the Big Ten Legends Division, Pac-12 North and SEC West. Also, Georgia can clinch the SEC East with a win at Auburn, and Miami can take another step toward an ACC Coastal Division crown with a victory at Virginia.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:33
Path: /college-football/12-statistical-highlights-texas-am-vs-alabama-games

Alabama and Texas A&M will meet for the fifth time on Saturday, when the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide hosts the Aggies. There are many fascinating storylines with this game, from A&M’s success in its SEC debut to Bama’s quest to repeat as national champions to the many football connections between these two institutions. In honor of Tide greats like Kenny Stabler and Joe Namath as well as Texas A&M’s 12th Man, here are 12 statistical highlights on both the history and current matchup between two programs with elite fan bases and tradition.

4: Common head coaches between these two schools. Both Bear Bryant (A&M 1954-57; Alabama 1958-82) and Gene Stallings (A&M 1965-71; Alabama 1900-96) won national titles with the Tide after being the head coach at Texas A&M. They faced each other as coaches in the 1968 Cotton Bowl (following the ’67 season), a 20-16 decision for the Aggies as Edd Hargett outdueled Stabler. Stallings actually played for Bryant in College Station from 1954-56. Coach Dennis Franchione led Alabama from 2001-02 before departing for College Station and coaching the Aggies from 2003-07. Additionally, one of the best names ever — Dorsett Vandeventer "Tubby" Graves — led the Tide from 1911-1914 and Texas A&M in 1918.
1: Heisman Trophy winner coached by the legendary Bear Bryant. That player was Texas A&M star John David Crow in 1957.
4: Games this season where Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has compiled over 400 yards of total offense.
2001: The last time Alabama allowed an opposing player to compile more than 400 yards of total offense in a game. LSU’s Rohan Davey had an amazing 540-yard performance (528 passing, 12 rushing) in the Tigers 35-21 victory in Tuscaloosa.

1988: The last time these two schools meet on the gridiron. It was dubbed the Hurricane Bowl after being moved from September to December because of Hurricane Gilbert.
1-10: The Aggies’ record in 11 previous games against the No.1-ranked team in the AP Poll. That lone Texas A&M victory was in November of 2002, a 30-26 decision over Oklahoma as freshman quarterback Reggie McNeal came off the bench to throw for four touchdowns.

12: 100-yard receiving performances in the career of Aggies wideout Ryan Swope.

2010: The last time Alabama allowed an opposing player (Rueben Randle, LSU) to reach the 100-yard mark in receiving.
0: Times that Texas A&M has played in Tuscaloosa. The first two meetings in this series were split in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl (1942, 1968), followed by Alabama wins in Birmingham (23-10 in 1985) and College Station (30-10 in 1988).

58-3: Alabama’s record under Nick Saban when leading at halftime.

8: Consecutive games where Texas A&M has gained 400 or more yards, a school-record.

65.8: Percentage of Alabama games under Nick Saban where the Tide has allowed less than 300 yards of total offense (50 of 76 contests).

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> 12 Statistical Highlights from Texas A&amp;M vs. Alabama Games</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:15
Path: /college-football/nebraska-cornhuskers-vs-penn-state-nittany-lions-preview-and-prediction

There hasn’t been much to cheer about for the Big Ten this year, especially with the conference’s best team (Ohio State) ineligible to play for the postseason. The Big Ten is also struggling to get enough teams eligible to fill its bowl slots and needs Indiana and Minnesota to get to six wins. Although the conference has been dealing with a bad reputation nationally, the race to win the Big Ten has been entertaining. The Legends Division appears to have some clarity with Nebraska and Michigan taking the top spot, while Wisconsin and Indiana are atop the Leaders Division.

With last week’s win over Michigan State in East Lansing, Nebraska has wrestled control of the Legends Division away from Michigan. The Cornhuskers are tied with the Wolverines for first place but own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Michigan still has to play Ohio State, so Nebraska has some cushion in the standings. However, the Cornhuskers can’t afford to take any opponent lightly the next three weeks.

These two teams have met 14 times, with only one meeting as conference mates. Nebraska has a two-game winning streak in this series and has won three out of the last four matchups against Penn State.  

Storylines to Watch in Penn State vs. Nebraska

Taylor Martinez vs. Penn State’s defense
With four new starters taking over this season, the secondary was expected to be a work in progress for Penn State. However, the Nittany Lions’ secondary has exceeded expectations, allowing 211 yards per game and ranking 22nd nationally in pass efficiency defense. This unit will be tested on Saturday against a Nebraska passing attack that ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Quarterback Taylor Martinez has been a different player at home, throwing for 12 touchdowns and one interception at home and six touchdowns and seven picks on the road. Martinez has the Big Ten’s best receiving corps at his disposal, which will test Penn State’s secondary. In addition to his arm, the junior quarterback is a difficult matchup for the Nittany Lions on the ground. He has rushed for 666 yards and eight touchdowns this year, including 205 yards in the win over Michigan State. Mobile quarterbacks have given Penn State some trouble, as they allowed 134 rushing yards to Braxton Miller and 47 yards on nine carries to Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton. Martinez is going to make a few plays, but Penn State needs to keep him contained in the pocket and limit the opportunities for runs on the outside.

Penn State’s rush offense vs. Nebraska’s rush defense
Even though Nebraska’s run defense has experienced a few bright spots, it’s still a concern for coach Bo Pelini. The Cornhuskers gave up 238 rushing yards to Michigan State last week and 180 to Northwestern on Nov. 20. Penn State is averaging 140.2 yards per game on the ground but has at least 160 rushing yards in three out of its last four games. The Nittany Lions average 3.6 yards per carry, which figures to be an easier test for the Cornhuskers than taking on Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell. Penn State running back Zach Zwinak played well in last week’s win over Purdue, rushing for 134 yards on 21 attempts. Zwinak, Bill Belton and Michael Zordich aren’t the nation’s best trio but have been a solid development for this offense. Considering the struggles of Nebraska’s front seven against the run, this is one area Penn State could exploit on Saturday.

Matt McGloin vs. Nebraska’s secondary
There’s no doubt McGloin is one of the Big Ten’s most improved players this season. The senior has thrived under new coach Bill O’Brien, throwing for 2,436 yards and 18 touchdowns. McGloin also ranks fifth in the Big Ten in passing efficiency but faces a Nebraska secondary ranked fifth against the pass. The Cornhuskers have allowed 11 passing scores but opponents are completing just 46 percent of their passes. McGloin has been steady and most importantly, has done a good job of taking care of the ball. For Penn State to win this game, he has to continue playing mistake-free ball, while finding ways to move the ball through the air against this secondary.

Final Analysis

Nebraska can move one step closer to claiming the Legends Division title with a win over Penn State. The Cornhuskers still have some work to do, but the Nittany Lions might be their biggest hurdle the rest of the way. Penn State is 3-0 in Big Ten road games this season but playing in Nebraska is its toughest matchup away from Happy Valley so far. New coach Bill O’Brien has the Nittany Lions playing well, but Nebraska will edge Penn State for the victory. The Cornhuskers may not have running back Rex Burkhead back for his week’s game, but Ameer Abdullah has three consecutive 100-yard efforts. Quarterback Taylor Martinez has been a different player in Lincoln and should be able to make a few plays on Penn State’s secondary. This one will be closer than some expect, but Nebraska moves closer to a division title with a victory over the Nittany Lions.

Final Prediction: Nebraska 27, Penn State 24

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<p> Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:02
Path: /college-football/alabama-crimson-tide-vs-texas-am-aggies-preview-and-prediction

The first meeting between Texas A&M and Alabama as SEC members has a chance to be the best game on the Week 11 slate. The Aggies have turned a lot of heads in their new conference, jumping out to a 7-2 mark and losing close games against Florida and LSU. The Crimson Tide used a late touchdown to beat LSU last week, which kept Alabama ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings once again.

After last Saturday’s win in Baton Rouge, now comes the hard part for Alabama. The Crimson Tide have to quickly refocus for Texas A&M, which just happens to be a dangerous team capable of pulling an upset. After an emotional, hard-fought victory last week, Alabama can’t afford to have a flat performance against a motivated team. Although a loss wouldn’t completely eliminate the Crimson Tide from the national title picture, it’s never a good thing to lose in mid-November.

While Alabama is chasing a national title, this game represents an opportunity for the Aggies to make a statement. Texas A&M is a program on the rise under Kevin Sumlin and has a lot of talent returning for 2013. With Sam Houston State and Missouri the remaining regular season games on the schedule, a victory over the Crimson Tide would give Texas A&M a good shot at having its first year of double-digit wins since 1998.

These two teams have met four times, with Alabama claiming a 3-1 edge in the series. The last meeting came in 1988, with the Crimson Tide winning 30-10 in College Station.

Storylines to Watch in Alabama vs. Texas A&M

Stopping Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel has been virtually unstoppable this season. The redshirt freshman ranks second nationally in total offense with 383.2 yards per game and has scored 14 touchdowns in conference play. Manziel hasn’t made many mistakes but tossed three picks against LSU on Oct. 20 and was contained in the second half against Florida. For Texas A&M to have any shot at an upset, Manziel has to be at his best. The redshirt freshman can’t afford to have any turnovers and should expect the Alabama defense to throw a lot of different looks at him on the line of scrimmage. The Crimson Tide rank first nationally in scoring defense and second in yards allowed. Alabama will likely use a gameplan similar to the one LSU used against Texas A&M, which kept Manziel in the pocket and limited his opportunities to make plays with his legs. As last week showed against LSU, there are opportunities for plays against the Crimson Tide secondary. Manziel is completing just a tick under 67 percent of his passes, and he needs to hit around that number for Texas A&M to win on Saturday. 

Texas A&M’s receivers vs. Alabama’s secondary
One of the biggest surprises from last week’s Alabama-LSU game was the performance of the Tigers’ passing attack. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger completed 24 of 35 passes for 298 yards and one touchdown. The Aggies have a more dynamic passing attack and have a trio of receivers that will test the Alabama secondary. Mike Evans is the No. 1 target with 56 receptions for 802 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Swope (45 receptions) and Thomas Johnson (27) are also key factors in the passing attack. There’s plenty of talent in the receiving corps for Texas A&M to challenge Alabama’s secondary. After the Crimson Tide struggled to stop LSU last week, you can bet Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart spent a little extra time getting the defensive backs ready to go this week.

Texas A&M’s rush defense vs. Alabama’s rushing attack
The Aggies have been solid against the run this season, with only one opponent (LSU) allowed to rush for over 200 yards. Considering the success the Tigers had on the ground, this is one area Alabama will look to target on Saturday. Redshirt freshman T.J. Yeldon leads the team with 725 yards, while Eddie Lacy isn’t far behind with 679 yards. Lacy is dealing with an ankle injury but is expected to play. The Crimson Tide also has one of the nation’s top offensive lines, which should challenge a Texas A&M defensive line that doesn’t have a lot of depth. Expect Alabama to challenge the Aggies’ front seven early and often, using Yeldon and Lacy to try to wear down the defensive early in the fourth quarter.

Turnover battle
Winning on the road in the SEC against the No. 1 team in the nation is no easy task. Texas A&M has an opportunity to win this game but needs to win the turnover battle. The Aggies rank 102nd nationally in turnover margin and have generated only eight takeaways this year. Alabama is on the other end of the spectrum in turnover battle, ranking fourth nationally and picking up 23 takeaways so far. If Texas A&M can’t generate any turnovers, its odds of winning will be dramatically decreased. The Aggies don’t need four or five takeaways, but they have to pickup a couple of short-field situations for the offense.

Final Analysis

Nick Saban will have Alabama prepared but there’s still the worry of a letdown from the huge victory at LSU. With a flat performance possible in the first quarter, Texas A&M could have a chance to jump out to an early lead. However, Alabama will eventually take control of this game in the first half. Quarterback AJ McCarron should be able to take advantage of an Aggies’ secondary that ranks 70th nationally in pass defense, while the rushing attack will wear down the front seven. Texas A&M’s spread offense will give Alabama a few problems in the first half, but the Crimson Tide eventually find the right answers on defense and pull away in the final two quarters.

Final Prediction: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 20

by Steven Lassan


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<p> Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas A&amp;M Aggies Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-betting-against-spread-week-11

Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.

2012 Record Against The Spread: 45-28
Last Week: 5-1

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Utah (-1.5) at Washington
Every now and then a line shocks you as an analyst. And a Washington team with wins over previously unbeatens Stanford and last week Oregon State as a home underdog to a team that is 4-5 makes no sense at all. Travis Wilson has been solid at quarterback for the Utes but he is a freshman going on the road into one of the nastiest road venues west of the Mississippi. Washington has allowed more than 17 points at home only once (to USC, 24) and is 4-1 at The Link. Washington will win outright — just like it did last year 31-14 in Salt Lake City. Prediction: Washington +1.5

Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn
Rumors are swirling on the Plains that Gene Chizik will be out after the Alabama game and the Dawgs must win to clinch the SEC East. This game was an absolute blood bath last season (45-7) and Auburn has only gotten worse. With so much on the line, despite some injuries on offense, Aaron Murray and Mark Richt won’t let the Tigers sneak up. Georgia rolls. Prediction: Georgia -14.5

UCLA (-15.5) at Washington State
Yes, the Bruins can be schizophrenic, especially on the road. But it feels like they have turned a corner under star freshman quarterback Brett Hundley — who trails only Johnny Manziel for total offense by a freshman. Washington State has totaled 76 yards rushing in six Pac-12 games, rushing for negative yards four times. They are historically bad and UCLA is surging after three straight quality wins. Prediction: UCLA -15.5

Arizona State (+9) at USC
I’m all over the West Coast this weekend. USC has many reasons to seek revenge this weekend. Arizona State embarrassed the Trojans last season on national television and the Ducks (as well as some sketchy reports following the game) did the same last weekend. USC could still win the conference and play in the Rose Bowl if it wins out, so Lane Kiffin will have his team focused against a defense that has allowed 124 points and 454.7 yards per game over its last three — all losses. Prediction: USC -9

Fresno State (-3) at Nevada
Other than Utah State’s unblemished record against the spread (10-0), the Bulldogs of Fresno State claim the nation’s next best mark of 9-1. Quarterback Derek Carr has been rolling of late as the offense has scored at least 42 points in three straight games. Nevada has a solid offense as well but has struggled of late to stop people. They allowed 39 points in a loss to San Diego State and 48 in a loss to Air Force in their last two. Prediction: Fresno State -3

Three road teams I like:

Louisville (-2.5) at Syracuse
Pitt (-3) at UConn
Northwestern (+10.5) at Michigan

- by Braden Gall


2012 Trends Against the Spread:

Undefeated ATS: Utah St (10-0)
Winless ATS: None

One Loss ATS: Fresno St (9-1), Kansas St (7-1-1), Northwestern (8-1)
One Win ATS: Idaho (1-8), Virginia (1-7-1)

Two Losses ATS: Ball St (8-2), Clemson (7-2), FAU (7-2), Kent St (7-2), Ole Miss (7-2), N. Illinois (8-2), Penn St (7-2), San Jose St (7-2), UNLV (8-2), Western Kentucky (7-2)

Two Wins ATS: Arkansas (2-7), Boston College (2-7), Central Michigan (2-7), Colorado St (2-7), UConn (2-5-2), Hawaii (2-6), Illinois (2-7), Iowa (2-7), Kentucky (2-8), UMass (2-7), Miami-OH (2-6-1), Nevada (2-7), NC State (2-6-1), USC (2-7), Southern Miss (2-7), Virginia Tech (2-7), West Virginia (2-6)

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<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 11</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-10-key-games-week-11-0

College football’s Week 11 slate is highlighted by a key matchup in the Pac-12 North (Oregon State visits Stanford), an intriguing showdown in the SEC West (Texas A&M travels to Alabama) and several key games in the Big Ten.

Oregon State (+5) at Stanford
Oregon is the clear favorite in the Pac-12 North, but Oregon State and Stanford are both 5–1 in the league and both teams still have a date with the Ducks. So the winner of this game will have an opportunity to play its way into the second Pac-12 title game. The other storyline is the quarterback situation at both schools. In Stanford’s 48–0 win over Colorado last week, redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan replaced Josh Nunes after two series and went on to complete 18-of-23 for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Coach David Shaw named Hogan as the starter earlier this week. At Oregon State, Cody Vaz has apparently taken over for Sean Mannion, who struggled in his one game back from a knee injury. Vaz, a junior, threw for 267 yards and three scores in a 10-point win over Arizona State on Saturday night. It’s rare that two teams this good are unsettled at quarterback this late in the season.
Stanford 30–27

Texas A&M (+13.5) at Alabama
After seeing a CBS promo for the Texas A&M-Alabama game, my 8-year-old son asked the following: “Do you think Johnny Football will gain a lot of yards against Alabama?” That’s a good question: Can Johnny Manziel, who threw for 311 yards and rushed for 129 in last week’s win at Mississippi State, do his thing against the mighty Crimson Tide? Much has been made of Manziel’s “struggles” against the top defenses he has faced, but he still averaged 268 yards of total offense in losses — by a total of 10 points — to Florida and LSU. Alabama is riding high after its thrilling win in Baton Rouge, but Nick Saban can’t be pleased that his defense gave up a season-high 435 yards — 232 more than its previous season average — to an LSU team that had averaged only 318.3 yards in its first four SEC games. The Crimson Tide can wrap up the SEC West title with a win.
Alabama 34–21

Wisconsin (+7) at Indiana
Amazingly, this game — between two teams with a combined nine overall losses — could determine who represents the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship Game. Ohio State (6–0 Big Ten) and Penn State (4–1) are the top two teams in the division, but both are ineligible to play in the title game due to NCAA sanctions. That leaves 3–2 Wisconsin, which is struggling through its worst season since 2008, and 2–3 Indiana, which has won four of it last 25 games vs. FBS competition, as the next best options. To its credit, IU is showing signs of significant improvement in Kevin Wilson’s second season in Bloomington. The Hoosiers flirted with upsets over Michigan State (lost 31–27) and Ohio State (lost 52–49) early last month before breaking through with two straight Big Ten wins, at Illinois and vs. Iowa at home. Wisconsin had a three-game winning streak snapped two weeks ago at home to Michigan State. The Badgers lost quarterback Joel Stave to a season-ending injury and will reportedly send out senior Curt Phillips, who has suffered three torn ACLs in his career.
Wisconsin 31–26

Penn State (+7) at Nebraska
Nebraska has seized control of the Leaders Division with consecutive wins over Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State. The Cornhuskers, 4–1 in the league, are one game up on both Northwestern and Michigan and now hold the tie-breaker over both teams. Last Saturday, Nebraska rallied from 10 down in the fourth quarter to beat Michigan State in East Lansing. Quarterback Taylor Martinez was largely ineffective throwing the ball (16-of-36 for 160 yards with three INTs), but he rushed for 205 yards and two scores to lead a ground attack that totaled 313 yards on 40 attempts. Penn State rebounded from a 35–23 loss at home to Ohio State by drilling Purdue on the road 34–9. Matt McGloin had another big game, throwing for 321 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. McGloin will have to solve a Nebraska defense that has been very good against the pass. The Huskers rank eighth nationally in pass efficiency defense and fifth in passing yards allowed (156.0 ypg).
Nebraska 31–21

Kansas State (-7.5) at TCU
Kansas State held on to its No. 2 spot in the BCS standings after knocking off Oklahoma State 44–30 last weekend. But the big story in Manhattan is the health of Collin Klein, the Heisman frontrunner. Klein was forced out in the third quarter of the O-State game with an undisclosed injury that has been reported by some to be a concussion. His status for Saturday’s game in Fort Worth most likely won’t be known until game time. If Klein can’t go, redshirt freshman Daniel Sams will get the call. Sams completed 5-of-6 passes for 45 yards and ran for 20 yards in relief on Saturday. TCU has been playing with its No. 2 quarterback, Trevone Boykin, since early October. Boykin is 2–3 as a starter, with wins over Baylor and West Virginia, and losses to Iowa State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Last weekend, he completed only 12-of-29 passes, but those 12 completions went for 254 yards and two touchdowns to help the Horned Frogs upset West Virginia in Morgantown. TCU’s numbers are down on defense, but this team has shown it can score points in bunches vs. most Big 12 teams.
Kansas State 34–21

Northwestern (+11) at Michigan
Northwestern is 7–2 overall and had a double-digit lead in both of its losses — at Penn State (39–28) and vs. Nebraska (29–28). The Wildcats rank 13th nationally in rushing offense (237.6 ypg) thanks in part to the emergence of tailback Venric Mark. A junior who had only 23 carries in his first two seasons, Mark has rushed for 1,072 yards and nine scores on a healthy 6.5-yard average. Michigan has a dynamic playmaker of its own in Denard Robinson, but the senior quarterback missed all of last week’s game and a large portion of the Nebraska game with an elbow injury. He is expected to play this week, but the injury could be a factor for the rest of the season. Michigan is still alive in the Legends Division race, but the Wolverines will need some help; they are tied with Nebraska at 4–1. but the Huskers have the tie-breaker and have an easier schedule.
Michigan 33–24

Florida State (-13.5) at Virginia Tech (Thu)
This figured to be the game of the year in the ACC, a showdown against the overwhelming favorites in the Atlantic and Coastal. Well, Florida State has done its part, with a 5–1 league record and a top-10 national ranking. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has been a colossal disappointment, with an overall record of 4–5 and a 2–3 mark in the ACC. The Hokies’ five losses are the most since the 2003 team went 8–5; they haven’t lost six games in a season since 1992 (2–8–1). Virginia Tech hasn’t been horrible in any one area (though it ranks 91st in turnover margin), but the Hokies haven’t been good at anything, either. The usually stout defense has given up 30 points or more four times, and the running attack has been average at best. It will be a surprise if Florida State does not win this game by a comfortable margin.
Florida State 35–21

Vanderbilt (+3) at Ole Miss
It’s a huge game for two programs searching for their sixth win of the season. Vanderbilt has controlled this series of late, winning five of the last seven overall, including two straight in Oxford. Last year, the Commodores won 30–7 in Nashville for their most decisive win vs. Ole Miss since beating the Rebs 91–0 in 1915. This, however, is a much-improved Ole Miss team that has made significant progress on both sides of the ball under first-year coach Hugh Freeze. The key to this game could be quarterback Bo Wallace, a Tennessee native who is a threat with his arm and his legs. Wallace, however, has thrown nine interceptions in the Rebs’ six games against AQ conference teams. Vanderbilt must win the turnover battle and limit Wallace in the zone read — something that has been a problem for the Commodores at times.
Vanderbilt 24–20

West Virginia (+7.5) at Oklahoma State
Things have changed quite a bit in the past month for West Virginia. In early October, the Mountaineers were 5–0 and ranked in the top five in both major polls. Now, WVU is 5–3, unranked and a 7.5-point underdog to an Oklahoma State team that also has three losses. The Mountaineers have allowed an average of 532.8 yards and 50.2 points in their five Big 12 games. Those numbers might be even worse after this week’s trip to Stillwater. Oklahoma State, despite injuries at the quarterback position, is averaging 509.2 yards in its five Big 12 games, second only to Baylor (589.2 ypg). The Cowboys likely won’t know who will start at quarterback until late this week; true freshman Wes Lunt, the opening day starter, was sidelined in the Kansas State game with an undisclosed injury. Junior Clint Shelf, in his first appearance of the season, stepped in and completed 16-of-27 for 233 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh was lost for the season with a torn ACL three weeks ago.
Oklahoma State 48–40

Louisville (-3) at Syracuse
Louisville is ranked No. 9 in the latest BCS standings, but the Cardinals — other than being 9–0 — don’t really have the résumé of a top-10 team. They beat FIU (2–8) by seven points, Southern Miss (0–9) by four points and South Florida (3–6) by two points. They have two solid wins, over North Carolina and Cincinnati, but those were by a combined eight points and both were at home. Syracuse is playing pretty well despite its overall mark of 4–5. Each of the Orange’s five losses has come to an AQ conference team that currently has a winning record. Syracuse’s strength is throwing the ball. Louisville’s strength — at least one of them — is stopping the pass. Whoever wins this battle will have a great chance to win the game. Go Orange in the upset.
Syracuse 27–21

Last week: 8–2 overall (5–5 against the spread)
Season: 66–34 overall (51–49 against the spread)


<p> College football’s Week 11 slate is highlighted by a key matchup in the Pac-12 North (Oregon State visits Stanford), an intriguing showdown in the SEC West (Texas A&amp;M travels to Alabama) and several key games in the Big Ten.</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 04:59
Path: /college-basketball/shaquille-oneal-big-namesake

Shaquille O’Neal was a one-of-a-kind talent with a one-of-a-kind name when he burst onto the national scene at LSU in the early 1990s. Now, two decades later, the name is no longer a novelty. In fact, there are dozens of players in college athletics named Shaq — all of whom were born following O’Neal’s rise to prominence.

We looked at every roster in the Athlon Sports college football and basketball magazines from 1995, the year The Diesel played in his first NBA Finals with the Orlando Magic, and there wasn’t a single player in the nation with the first name Shaq or Shaquille. Now, it’s becoming commonplace.

Here are some of the more prominent players named Shaq in collegiate athletics.

• Shaq Wilson: Senior linebacker at South Carolina.


Shaquille Thomas: Redshirt freshman basketball player at Cincinnati; top-100 national recruit in Class of 2011.

Shaq Lawson: True freshman defensive end for Clemson; top-40 defensive line recruit in Class of 2012.


Shaq Thompson: True freshman safety at the University of Washington; No. 6 overall recruit in Class of 2012.


Shaquille Cleare: True freshman basketball player at Maryland; top-40 national recruit in Class of 2012.


Shaquille Johnson: True freshman basketball player at Auburn; top-150 national recruit in Class of 2012.


Shaquille Richardson: Junior cornerback at the University of Arizona.


• Shaq RolandTrue freshman wide receiver for South Carolina; top-50 national recruit in Class of 2012.


Shaqquan Aarron: Top-50 Class of 2014 basketball prospect.


Shaquile Carr: Top-75 Class of 2014 basketball prospect.

<p> Shaquille O'Neal: The Big Namesake</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 04:53
Path: /college-basketball/2012-13-college-basketball-preview-and-predictions

The college basketball season starts today, so it's time for picks. Not just for the Final Four and top players and coaches, but also who we think who will thrive, flop and surprise.

Here are the picks from the Athlon editorial staff:

PICKS Mitch Light Braden Gall David Fox Nathan Rush Mark Ross Patrick Snow
National Champ Indiana Louisville Ohio State Indiana Indiana Louisville
Final Four Kansas Duke Arizona Kentucky Arizona Indiana
  Kentucky Indiana Indiana Memphis Kansas Kansas
  Louisville San Diego State Kansas UCLA Louisville Syracuse
Surprise team Colorado Tennessee Tennessee Oklahoma State Pittsburgh West Virginia
Flop team Michigan Michigan Syracuse Duke Syracuse Duke
Player of the Year Cody Zeller, Indiana Mike Moser, UNLV Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State Cody Zeller, Indiana Cody Zeller, Indiana Cody Zeller, Indiana
Top Freshman Nerlens Noel, Kentucky Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Top Transfer Rotnei Clarke, Butler Alex Oriakhi, Missouri Dez Wells, Maryland Alex Oriakhi, Missouri Ryan Harrow, Kentucky Aaric Murray, West Virginia
Coach of the Year Sean Miller, Arizona Tom Crean, Indiana Jim Larranaga, Miami John Calipari, Kentucky Tom Crean, Indiana John Beilein, Michigan
Breakout Player James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee Adonis Thomas, Memphis James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina Ben McLemore, Kansas
Most interesting conference Atlantic 10 Big Ten ACC SEC Atlantic 10 Big 12
Mid-major darling Drexel South Dakota State Davidson Lehigh Drexel LIU-Brooklyn
Next major coach to retire Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Bob Huggins, West Virginia Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Larry Brown, SMU Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Roy Williams, North Carolina
New coach to thrive Larry Eustachy, Colorado State John Cooper, Miami (Ohio) Jim Christian, Ohio Larry Brown, SMU Larry Eustachy, Colorado State Larry Eustachy, Colorado State
Indiana, Louisville or Kentucky Indiana Louisville Indiana Indiana Indiana Louisville
Arizona or UCLA Arizona Arizona Arizona UCLA Arizona Arizona
Michigan or Ohio State Michigan Ohio State Ohio State Michigan Michigan Michigan
Preseason All-America Team Conference Realignment Primer
Athlon College Basketball Top 25: Athlon Conference Previews
1. Indiana 1. Big Ten 
2. Louisville 2. Big East
3. Kentucky 3. ACC
4. Kansas 4. Big 12
5. Syracuse 5. SEC
6. Michigan 6. Pac-12
7. Arizona 7. Mountain West
8. Ohio State 8. Atlantic 10
9. Duke 9. West Coast
10. Michigan State 10. Missouri Valley
11. NC State 11. Conference USA
12. UCLA 12. Colonial
13. UNLV 13. Sun Belt
14. North Carolina 14. MAC
15. San Diego State 15. Horizon
16. Missouri  
17. Baylor  
18. Memphis  
19. Notre Dame  
20. Florida  

<p> 2012-13 College Basketball Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 21:46