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Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-disappointments-after-two-weeks

The 2012 college football season is still young, but it's never too early to start looking at some of the biggest disappointments from the preseason. Arkansas' surprising loss to Louisiana-Monroe knocked it out of the national title picture, while the nation has yet to see Washington State's offense get on track. There's plenty of time for these teams, players and units to turn things around. However, after two weeks, these are our 10 biggest disappointments based on preseason expectations.

College Football’s Top 10 Disappointments After 2 Weeks

1. Arkansas – Yes, there was a drop off expected after Bobby Petrino was fired in the spring, but no one could have predicted Saturday night’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks are a solid Sun Belt team, but this is a game Arkansas should not lose. Losing quarterback Tyler Wilson certainly hurt, but the defense had an awful performance. The Razorbacks held national title hopes coming into the year but could struggle just to finish in the top 15 of the polls at the end of the season.

2. Washington State’s offense – With Mike Leach’s arrival in Pullman, and the return of quarterback Jeff Tuel and receiver Marquess Wilson, big things were expected of Washington State’s offense. Through two weeks, the Cougars have failed to live up to the hype, ranking 104th in scoring and 111th in yards per game (289.5). It’s early in the year, but it was a surprise to see Washington State’s offense sputter against Eastern Washington and BYU. A key reason for the struggles has been the play of the offensive line, which is allowing three sacks per game. Expect the Cougars to find their rhythm on offense as the year progresses, but bigger things were expected out of this unit against BYU and Eastern Washington.

3. Wisconsin – With the departure of a handful of assistant coaches, and quarterback Russell Wilson finishing his eligibility, the Badgers weren’t expected to match last season’s offensive numbers. However, Wisconsin’s offense has been lackluster through the first two weeks, recording only 26 points against Northern Iowa and seven against Oregon State. Bret Bielema has already made one change, firing offensive line coach Mike Markuson and more moves could be coming at the end of the year if Wisconsin’s offense doesn’t improve. Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball has just 181 yards and one touchdown through two weeks, while the Badgers rank 105th nationally in total yards per game. The good news for Wisconsin? The Leaders Division is essentially a three-team race – Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin – with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible to play for the Big Ten title. If the Badgers can find the right mix on the offensive line and get Ball going on the ground, this team can easily win the division title.

4. Auburn – The Tigers weren’t expected to be ranked in the top 10, but most thought this team would be improved. Through two weeks, Auburn clearly has a lot of work to do. The offense ranks last in the SEC in yards per game (295) and 13th in passing (159.5). Quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s performance hasn’t inspired much confidence so far, tossing four picks and completing less than 50 percent of his throws. Despite having some talent on the offensive line, Auburn is allowing two sacks per game and is averaging only 135.5 rushing yards per contest. With SEC games against LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Alabama remaining, the Tigers will have its hands full just getting bowl eligible.

5. Pittsburgh – The Panthers were pegged as a darkhorse candidate to compete for the Big East title in the preseason, but it’s been an awful start to Paul Chryst’s tenure. Pittsburgh was dominated by FCS foe Youngstown State 31-17 in the season opener and failed to show much improvement in the Week 2 loss to Cincinnati. The biggest problem for Chryst has been a defense that has allowed 422.5 yards per game and has just one sack through the first two games. As with all of the teams on this list, Pittsburgh has time to turn things around. However, having four head coaches in three years has probably caught up to the Panthers.

6. Big Ten – Two weeks into the season and the Big Ten is off to a bad start. Throw out Northwestern’s wins against Syracuse and Vanderbilt and the conference has no other non-conference victories against BCS competition and Notre Dame (0-7). Ouch. Some of the outcomes weren’t a surprise, but Illinois was expected to challenge Arizona State (not having quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase certainly hurt) and Wisconsin was a heavy favorite to beat Oregon State. Considering the conference doesn’t have many opportunities to earn big non-conference wins the rest of the way, the Big Ten will have to wait until bowl season to get marquee victories against BCS competition.  

7. NCAA’s new helmet rule – Yes, safety is important, but this rule is ridiculous. There have been instances through the first two weeks where players are having their helmets ripped off by defenses and are forced to sit out the next play. It’s important for players to keep their helmets buckled tight for safety, but sitting out a play for something the defense is doing just doesn’t make sense – especially since the referees can’t catch everything. And wouldn’t this rule promote more aggressive play if defenses know any player has to miss a play if his helmet comes off? The intent is correct, but this rule could end up costing a team a victory this year. 

8. Houston – A year after nearly earning a BCS bowl, the Cougars are off to an 0-2 start and no longer appear to be the favorites to win Conference USA’s West Division. Of course, there were some key personnel losses, but new quarterback David Piland had experience and was joined by 12 returning starters. There’s been some turmoil surrounding this team already, as offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt was fired after the first game. New coach Tony Levine was a questionable hire and has done nothing to ease those concerns.

9. Utah – After finishing 2011 with wins in five out of their last six games, the Utes were picked to be USC’s biggest challenger in the Pac-12 South Division. Utah easily won the opener against Northern Colorado but dropped a 27-20 overtime game against in-state foe Utah State in Week 2. The Utes also lost quarterback Jordan Wynn for the year against the Aggies, only adding to the concern surrounding this team. Although Jon Hays and Travis Wilson could end up being a solid duo at quarterback, Utah does not look like the No. 2 team in the South.

10. FIU – The Golden Panthers haven’t been bad, but this team has a 20-point loss to Duke, who was thoroughly dismantled against Stanford in Week 2. FIU also needed overtime to beat an Akron team that was one of the worst in the nation in 2011. The Golden Panthers are still one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt title, but this team was a trendy upset pick against the Blue Devils in Week 1 and were expected to easily beat the Zips last Saturday.

by Steven Lassan



Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 10 Disappointments After Two Weeks</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:39
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-voting-post-week-2

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. An eight-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports voted this week for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point.

USC's Matt Barkley remains atop our poll, with all but one of our panel  listing Barkley at No. 1 as the Trojans begin conference play this week. The only other near-unanimous pick was Geno Smith even though the West Virginia quarterback did not play last week.

The biggest movers this week were in the next seven spots. The voters in our panel who liked Oregon’s explosive all-purpose player De'Anthony Thomas really liked De'Anthony Thomas. He appeared on six of eight ballots, at No. 3 on each of them. UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, the nation’s leading rusher, jumped from No. 13 last week to No. 4 after a second 200-yard effort this season. After a game-turning performance against Missouri, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones became everyone’s favorite defensive candidate, climbing from No. 19 to No. 6. And Kansas State’s Collin Klein, who was not among our top 20 in Week 1, made his season debut at No. 7.

Of the notable players who dropped out of the top 15: Wisconsin’s Montee Ball claimed only one vote at No. 10 after rushing for 61 yards against Oregon State. Injured Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson also dropped from No. 12 to out of the rankings completely.

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (seven first-place votes)
Season Stats: 46-68, 559 yds, 10 TD, 1 INT
Barkley’s performance Saturday against Syracuse wasn’t perfect (23 of 30, 187 yards), but the USC quarterback still tied his own school record of six touchdown passes. In a single game, Barkley had as many touchdown passes as Michigan and Miami have touchdowns all season. Only 20 teams have accounted for more offensive touchdowns than Barkley’s 10 touchdowns through the air. This week, Barkley will try to do something he’s never done in his career: Beat Stanford. Next Game: at Stanford

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Matt Barkley QB USC 70/80 7 1 - - - 8/8
2. Geno Smith QB West Virginia 68/80 1 5 - 1 2 8/8
3. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 48/80 - - 6 - - 6/8
4. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 42/80 - 1 1 2 1 7/8
5. Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan St. 38/80 - - - 3 1 7/8
6. Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 28/80 - 1 - - 1 7/8
7. Collin Klein QB Kansas State 23/80 - - - 1 1 5/8
8. Marqise Lee WR USC 22/80 - - - - 1 5/8
9. Braxton Miller QB Ohio State 19/80 - - - - 1 5/8
10. Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina 17/80 - - - - 2 5/8
t11. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 11/80 - - - - - 3/8
t11. Andre Ellington RB Clemson 11/80 - - - 1 - 2/8
13. A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 10/80 - - 1 - - 3/8
14. Denard Robinson QB Michigan 9/80 - - - - - 3/8
15. Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 7/80 - - - - - 2/8

Also receiving votes: 16. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (five votes), T-17. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee; Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin; Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (one vote each)

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (one first-place vote)
Season Stats:
32-36, 323 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT, 8 att., 65 rush yds, TD
Smith and West Virginia didn’t play last week, but that did nothing to diminish his standing in the Athlon Heisman poll thanks to his near-perfect performance against Marshall in the opener. West Virginia will face James Madison, ranked sixth in this week’s FCS coaches’ poll, in a neutral site game at FedEx Field. Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said he’s anticipating a “bigger challenge” against James Madison than against Marshall. Whether that’s honesty or a not-so-subtle jab against rival Marshall, we’ll find out Saturday. Next game: James Madison (Landover, Md.)

Who is your Heisman frontrunner? free polls 

3. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats:
10 att., 166 yds, 3 TD, 8 rec., 81 yds, 2 TD
Oregon and Thomas have yet to play a major conference team, but the all-purpose dynamo continues to grab our Heisman attention. Thomas appeared at No. 3 on six of eight Athlon ballots. So far, the sophomore has touched the ball 18 times on offense, resulting in five touchdowns. With touchdown runs of 51, 39 and 33 yards this season, Thomas is averaging 13.7 yards each time he touches the ball on offense. Expect that to continue with a warm-up game this week before facing newly-ranked Arizona on Sept. 22. Next game: Tennessee Tech

4. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats:
41 att., 431 yds, 3 TD, 4 rec., 63 yds, 1 TD
The Bruins senior may be the biggest beneficiary of Jim L. Mora’s arrival at UCLA. Was Franklin’s 214-yard performance in the opener a product of weak competition (Rice)? The answer is no. Franklin followed his second career 200-yard game with his third against Nebraska in Week 2. Against Nebraska, Franklin rushed for 217 yards on 26 carries in addition to catching a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that ended up being the difference in the game. Next game: Houston

5. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Season Stats:
62 att., 280 yds, 4 TD, 7 rec., 55 yds
A week after carrying 44 times against Boise State, Bell got a bit of rest against Central Michigan, relatively speaking. Bell carried only 18 times for 70 yards with two touchdowns against the Chippewas. The Spartans didn’t need a gladiator effort in the 41-7 rout, but they may put more on his shoulders this week. Next game: Notre Dame

6. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Season Stats:
17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass breakups
Jones was a dominant presence for nearly the entire game against Missouri, but two key plays turned close game into a Georgia blowout. Jones returned an interception 21 yards to Missouri’s 1-yard line to set up a touchdown. He later sacked quarterback James Franklin, forcing a fumble that set up the Bulldogs’ final touchdown in the 41-20 win. Next game: FAU

7. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
28-39, 379 yds, 3 TD, INT, 25 att., 125 yds, 3 TD
Klein had one of the best passing days of his career, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown on only 9 of 11 completions. Of course, the ground game remained Klein’s calling card with 71 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Klein has accounted for either a passing or rushing touchdown in 15 consecutive games and has 30 rushing TDs since the start of the 2011 season.  Next game: North Texas

8. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats:
21 rec., 263 yds, 4 TD, 1 att., 23 yds, 4 KOR, 140 yds, TD
Lee’s 66 receiving yards against Syracuse was his lowest total since picking up 36 yards against Notre Dame on Oct. 22. Yet Lee still managed to catch three touchdown passes, giving him 13 total touchdowns in his last seven games. Lee also caught 11 passes, giving him at least 10 receptions in his last three games. Next game: at Stanford

9. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats:
32-48, 362 yds, 3 TD, INT, 44 att., 302 yds, 4 TD
For a time last season, Ohio State didn’t trust Miller to throw the ball more than 10 times in a game. That’s hard to believe now as Miller has thrown at least 23 passes in his last four games dating back to the Michigan game last year. And that’s the second-most interesting part of his game right now: Miller is the fourth-leading rusher in the country, topping 140 yards in each game this season. Next game: Cal

10. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats:
36 att., 150 yds, 3 TD
South Carolina didn’t need an other-worldly effort out of Lattimore to defeat East Carolina. The junior rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Next game: UAB

T-11. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Season Stats:
43-57, 437 yds, 4 TD, INT, 22 att., 70 yds

T-11. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Season Stats:
38 att., 269 yds, 2 TD

13. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats:
25-40, 418 yds, 6 TD, 0 INT

14. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Season Stats:
25-51, 408 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT, 30 att., 245 yds, 3 TD

15. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Season Stats:
43-65, 533 yds, 5 TD, INT, 19 att., 122 yds, TD

by David Fox


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Three and Out: Week 2 Recap

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
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<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 2</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:33
Path: /nascar/nascar-horsepower-rankings-13

1. Denny Hamlin   Hamlin slips ahead of Jimmie Johnson thanks to having the strongest car for a third consecutive week (despite the fact he didn’t win). He also gets a hat tip for those four regular season victories. Last week: 2

2. Jimmie Johnson  Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are bringing the car that they dominated and won with at Dover and Indianapolis to Chicago. My thought is it goes three-for-three this season. You heard it here first. Last week: 1

3. Brad Keselowski  Drove to a quiet seventh at Richmond, his ninth top-10 showing in the last 10 races. This kid is for real, people, and his time is now. Last week: 3

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Give him props for the consistency throughout the regular season. Now the question becomes whether this team and its driver can deliver in crunch time or get passed by the heavy-hitters. Last week: 4

5. Jeff Gordon  Gets a huge bump up the rankings this week after being Mr. Clutch the last three weeks, with finishes of third, second and second. Now we’ll see if they have any gas left in the tank. Last week: 10

6. Clint Bowyer  One win per season is impressive and all, but multiple victories rachet a team and its driver up the “keep an eye on” list. Bowyer and the 15 bunch are there — and at just the right time. Last week: 8

7. Greg Biffle  Lest we forget about the “Regular Season Champion” — that is, if there were one. When is NASCAR going to at least acknowledge that achievement? At the least, an “Atta boy!” would do. Last week: 5

8. Matt Kenseth  Kenseth’s standing takes a hit based more on what others have done as opposed to the performance of his No. 17 team. That said, there are still questions how this team will do in the Chase. Last week: 7

9. Kasey Kahne  Many are looking at Kahne as a nice darkhorse Chase pick. It’s hard to argue with those types, especially when you consider that his two wins this year have come on Chase tracks (Charlotte, Loudon). Last week: 9

<p> As NASCAR's regular season comes to a close, Denny Hamlin edges by Jimmie Johnson to take the top spot in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 17:54
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-sept-10

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week for September 10, 2012.

 1. Nationals — Pacing majors with 58 runs, 24 homers in Sept.

 2. Reds — Leadoff hitters batting just .207, by far worst in majors.

 3. Rangers — Lead down to 3.5 games with seven left with Oakland.

 4. Braves — Kris Medlen unbeatable for Atlanta.

 5. Giants — Starters have 2.02 ERA in 15 games vs. Dodgers.

 6. Yankees — Tough stretch leaves Yanks in battle for division title.

 7. A’s — Green and Gold just keeps winning; 36-17 in second half.

 8. Orioles — Will miss Nick Markakis, who has broken hand.

 9. Rays — Pitchers have a 0.99 WHIP since the break.

10. Angels — 10 blown saves in second half have impeded progress.

11. Cardinals — Jaime Garcia may be Redbirds’ new ace.

12. Dodgers — Mark and A.J. Ellis batting .345 in September.

13. White Sox — Good to have center fielder Alejandro de Aza back in lineup.

14. Tigers — Miguel Cabrera has outside shot at triple crown.

15. Pirates — 63-56 when Neil Walker starts, 9-11 when he doesn’t.

16. Diamondbacks — Winning mark vs. West, below .500 vs. East and Central.

17. Phillies — Haven’t been above .500 since June 1, but getting close.

18. Brewers — Ryan Braun making strong case for another MVP.

19. Mariners — Best last-place team in the majors.

20. Padres — Chase Headley has 58 RBIs in last 52 games.

21. Mets — Only NL team with worse record since the break is Houston.

22. Royals — Batting respectable .277 in 26 games vs. White Sox and Tigers.

23. Blue Jays — Just 14-26 against top three team in AL East.

24. Marlins — 15-13 vs. three NL division leaders.

25. Red Sox — Only 14 extra-base hits in eight September games.

26. Twins — Joe Mauer batting .385 with two outs and RISP.

27. Indians — Fewest homers in majors in second half.

28. Rockies — ERA has dropped from 5.26 in first half to 4.77 after break.

29. Cubs — Alfonso Soriano has 58 extra-base hits and 94 RBIs.

30. Astros — Fewest runs scored, most allowed in NL since the break.



AL Player of the Week

B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay—The streaky center fielder has finally given the Rays some pop this season. Last week he had five home runs and batted .400 against division leaders New York and Texas as Tampa Bay battles for the final wild card spot. Upton scored seven times and was successful on all three stolen base attempts.


AL Pitcher of the Week

James Shields, Tampa Bay—With every game for the Rays now essentially a must-win, Shields gave the club two dynamite starts last week in wins over the Yankees and Rangers. In 17 innings, Shields gave up just seven hits, allowed three walks and whiffed 13.


NL Player of the Week

Chase Headley, San Diego—The Padres’ third baseman has taken over the National League lead in RBIs. Last week he began with four consecutive two-hit games as the Padres took two of three from both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. He batted .321 and led the majors with 13 RBIs. He also homered four times.


NL Pitcher of the Week

Kris Medlen, Atlanta—The Braves’ young righthander finally saw his 40.2-inning scoreless streak come to an end, but he defeated the Mets anyway, allowing just two earned runs over six innings. The Braves have won Medlen’s last nine starts. For the week he allowed nine hits, two walks and struck out 15 in 15 innings.

<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 16:56
All taxonomy terms: TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /news/tcu-has-game-ball-2012-opener-delivered-jetpack

TCU opened the 2012 season in dramatic fashion. The Horned Frogs opened a renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with an easy 56-0 win over Grambling. There's a lot of momentum around the program this season, especially with a move to the Big 12. 

However, Saturday's win over Grambling might not have been the most exciting thing the fans got to watch. Before kickoff, the game ball was delivered via jetpack.

That's right - a jetpack.

Rocketman flies into the stadium and lands right around midfield to deliver the gameball for a historic 2012 season at TCU.

<p> TCU Has Game Ball for 2012 Opener Delivered by Jetpack</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 15:09
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/arkansas-razorbacks-fan-makes-worst-video-ever

We're not sure which is worse: the Arkansas Razorbacks losing to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night or this video made by a very unique Hogs fan. Enjoy.

<p> Arkansas Razorbacks Fan Makes Worst Video Ever</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 13:03
All taxonomy terms: AFC North, Cleveland Browns, News
Path: /news/trent-richardson-delivers-punishing-hit-philadelphias-kurt-coleman

Cleveland running back Trent Richardson wasn't expected to find much running room against Philadelphia in Week 1. The rookie rushed for 39 yards on 19 attempts and caught one pass for five years. 

Although Richardson had a lackluster statistical performance, he provided one of the weekend's top highlights by leveling Philadelphia safety Kurt Coleman. Richardson's punishing hit forces Coleman's helmet off, which isn't a bad way to announce your arrival in the NFL.

<p> Trent Richardson Delivers Punishing Hit to Philadelphia's Kurt Coleman</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 10:33
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/brandon-weeden-gets-trapped-under-american-flag-pregame-warmups

Brandon Weeden had a performance to forget in his first start. The rookie quarterback completed just 12 of 35 throws for 118 yards and four interceptions.

However, his bad day started in pregame warmups, as he was trapped under the American flag. Weeden eventually emerged from underneath the flag, but it was an embarrassing moment for the rookie quarterback from Oklahoma State.

<p> Brandon Weeden Gets Trapped Under American Flag In Pregame Warmups</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 09:56
All taxonomy terms: NFL, MLB
Path: /nfl/greatest-two-sport-athletes-all-time

Some of the world's greatest athletes weren't just one-sport players; instead, they excelled in two (and sometimes in several). Of course, some athletes probably should have stuck with their main sport. Here's a look at the top 30 two-sport athletes of all time, ranked in order of their second best sport.

1. Jim Thorpe, track (Best sport: football)

One the all-time great athletes, Thorpe is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and has been immortalized via the Jim Thorpe Award — given annually to the top defensive back in college football. But Thorpe was also a gold medalist in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

2. Jim Brown, lacrosse (Best sport: football)

Arguably the greatest running back in history, Brown is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. The 6’2”, 230-pounder is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and is considered by many to be the best athlete to ever play the sport.

3. Bob Hayes, football (Best sport: track)

“Bullet Bob” Hayes won the fastest man in the world, winning gold medals in the 100 meters and 4x100 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Hayes then strapped on a helmet for the Dallas Cowboys, winning Super Bowl VI and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

4. Bo Jackson, baseball (Best sport: football)

Only Bo knows what might have been. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner was a Pro Bowl running back for the L.A. Raiders and an All-Star outfielder for the Kansas City Royals — hitting 32 HRs and 105 RBIs in just 135 games in 1989 — before a hip injury derailed the out-of-this-world athlete.

5. Charlie Ward, football (Best sport: basketball)

Sure, Ward played 11 seasons in the NBA — starting at point guard for the New York Knicks’ Eastern Conference champs in 1999. But most know him as a Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback at Florida State in 1993.

6. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, track (Best sport: golf)

A 10-time LPGA major champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Mildred Ella — better known as “Babe” — won gold medals in the 80-meter hurdles and javelin throw as well as a silver medal in the high jump at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

7. Duke Kahanamoku, surfing (Best sport: swimming)

The Big Kahuna won three Olympic medals in the 100-meter freestyle — taking gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and 1920 Antwerp Olympics, and silver at the 1924 Paris Olympics — as well as a gold (1920) and silver (1912) in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay. But Mr. Hawaii was also the “Father of Surfing,” popularizing the longboard en route to becoming a member of the Surfing, Swimming and U.S. Olympic Halls of Fame.

8. Deion Sanders, baseball (Best sport: football)

A member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, Prime Time is considered the greatest cornerback in NFL history. A two-time Super Bowl champion, Sanders also played with the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series and played parts of nine lightning-fast seasons in MLB.

9. Gene Conley, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A four-time MLB All-Star and 1957 World Series champion with the Milwaukee Braves, the 6’8”, 225-pound Conley also won three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics — becoming the only athlete in history to win world titles in two of the big four pro leagues.

10. Danny Ainge, baseball (Best sport: basketball)

The Wooden Award winner at BYU, Ainge won two NBA championships with the Celtics and was an All-Star in 1988. He also had a cup of coffee with the Toronto Blue Jays, playing three seasons from 1979-81.

11. Brian Jordan, football (Best sport: baseball)

A one-time MLB All-Star who played in the bigs for 15 years, Jordan played three seasons (1989-91) as a safety in the NFL before making his debut in The Show in 1992.

12. Jackie Robinson, track (Best sport: baseball)

The 1949 NL MVP and 1955 World Series champ is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a civil rights pioneer. But he was also the 1940 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Long Jump champion at UCLA.

13. Jonathan Ogden, shot put (Best sport: football)

The 6’9”, 345-pound Ogden was the 1996 NCAA Men’s Indoor Shot Put champion at UCLA, before becoming an 11-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXXV champion left tackle with the Baltimore Ravens.

14. Jeff Samardzija, football (Best sport: baseball)

The Shark was an All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist, finishing his Notre Dame football career as the Irish’s all-time leading receiver prior to becoming a right-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.

15. Darin Erstad, football (Best sport: baseball)

The 1995 Golden Spikes Award winner was also the starting punter on Nebraska’s 1994 national championship football team before going on to play 14 seasons in MLB.

16. Joe Mauer, football (Best sport: baseball)

Before Mauer was the 2009 AL MVP and three-time batting champion for the Minnesota Twins, the 6’5” athlete with a cannon for a right arm was USA Today’s High School Player of the Year as a quarterback.

17. Dave Winfield, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A 22-year MLB veteran and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Winfield played college basketball at the University of Minnesota — where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to the 1972 Big Ten title.

18. Kenny Lofton, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A six-time All-Star, five-time stolen base champ and four-time Gold Glove center fielder, Lofton’s first love was basketball. He played point guard for the University of Arizona, making the Final Four in 1988.

19. Tony Gwynn, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A first-ballot member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star and eight-time batting champ with a career .338 batting average and 3,141 hits. But Gwynn was also a solid point guard, setting San Diego State records for assists in a season and career.

20. Marion Jones, basketball (Best sport: track)

Once a golden girl, Jones’ reputation has since been tarnished by PED use and jail time. Before the fall, Jones won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics after a standout hoops career at the University of North Carolina — where she was a member of the 1994 NCAA champion Tar Heels.

21. Antonio Gates, basketball (Best sport: football)

Led Kent State to its first MAC championship and a trip to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament before becoming an eight-time Pro Bowl tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

22. Jimmy Graham, basketball (Best sport: football)

Played four years of basketball at the University of Miami but just one season of football at The U. No big deal, the 6’6”, 260-pound power forward has evolved into one of the NFL’s best tight ends, with 1,310 yards and 11 TDs for the New Orleans Saints in 2011.

23. Tony Gonzalez, basketball (Best sport: football)

Gonzalez round-balled at Cal-Berkeley before becoming a 12-time Pro Bowl tight end with 1,149 catches, 13,338 yards and 95 TDs over 15 seasons (playing 238-of-240 games) for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.

24. Julius Peppers, basketball (Best sport: football)

The pass-rusher was a glass-crasher at University of North Carolina, where he came off the bench for the Tar Heels’ 2000 Final Four squad.

25. Walter Ray Williams Jr., horseshoes (Best sport: bowling)

The seven-time PBA Player of the Year also owns six Men’s World Horseshoe Pitching titles.

26. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, football (Best sport: wrestling)

The WWF wrestler was a member of the University of Miami’s 1991 national championship team, where he played with future NFL stars like Warren Sapp.

27. Ed “Too Tall” Jones, boxing (Best sport: football)

A three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman and Super Bowl XII champion, the 6’9” Jones had a scary 88-inch reach as a boxer — going 6–0 with five KOs in 1979.

28. Herschel Walker, mixed martial arts / bobsled (Best sport: football)

Known for always being in peak condition, Walker started his MMA career as a 48-year-old. The fifth-degree Taekwondo black belt is 2–0 with two TKOs on punches. Years before that he participated in the two-man bobsled competition at the 1992 Winter Olympics, finishing seventh. Oh yeah, Walker, who played several years in the NFL, also won the 1982 Heisman Trophy at Georgia and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

29. Scott Burrell, baseball (Best sport: basketball)

The only athlete selected in the first round of two of the big four sports’ drafts — Burrell went No. 20 overall to the Charlotte Hornets in the 1993 NBA Draft and No. 26 overall to the Seattle Mariners in the 1989 MLB Draft.

30. Michael Jordan, baseball (Best sport: basketball)

His Airness is undeniably the greatest basketball player of all-time and arguably the greatest athlete ever. However, in 127 games playing for the Chicago White Sox’s Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons, Air Jordan hit just .202 with three HRs, 51 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

<p> The top 30 two-sport athletes in history — including Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, Bob Hayes, Bo Jackson, Charlie Ward, Deion Sanders and Michael Jordan — ranked in order of their second-best sport.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 08:10
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/nfl-postgame-week-1-recap

Rookie quarterbacks were the headliners of Week 1 — quick summary: Robert Griffin III was great, Andrew Luck didn’t suck, Brandon Weeden was worse than imagined — but they were far from the only storyline of a wild, wonderful opening weekend. Here are some highlights.

Robert Griffin III and Those Other Rookie QBs
In this economy, it seems like the only growth sector for new jobs is at the NFL quarterback position. Week 1 saw a record five starting rookie signal-callers, and most of them lived down to their modest expectations. Not surprisingly, the rooks couldn’t crack the Mendoza line, losing four of five for a winning percentage of .200.

There was one notable exception. Robert Griffin III cashed in his own personal bounty on the Saints defense, dazzling the Superdome crowd and outplaying his savvy Saints counterpart Drew Brees as the Redskins stunned New Orleans 40-32.

As debuts go, this was the Beatles on Ed Sullivan — a superstar-in-waiting living up to his advance buzz. RG3 completed his first eight passes and finished 19-of-26 for 320 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, compiling a staggering passer rating of 139.9 and generally treating the Saints defense like he was still at Baylor and they were Kansas. He added 42 yards on the ground as the Redskins amassed 464 yards, scoring 10 points in every quarter.

“I've won a high school state championship and a bowl game in college, but to play in the NFL, the pinnacle of it all, and win your first game against a Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, it’s at the top,” Griffin said after once again proving that Mike Shanahan’s a genius coach when he has a prodigy at quarterback.

For at least a week, Griffin provided sweet vindication to the Heisman voters who awarded him the 2011 trophy over Andrew Luck, who was supposed to be the better pro. But the latest can’t-miss had his share of misses as the Colts lost to the Bears 41-21. Jay Cutler spotted Luck and the Colts a pick-6, but Luck tossed three picks of his own, finishing 23 of 45 for 309 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 52.9. Luck imitated predecessor Peyton Manning in one encouraging way — he looked repeatedly for Reggie Wayne, who caught nine passes for 135 yards.

The unlikeliest of the rookie starters, the diminutive Russell Wilson, was valiant in defeat, nearly leading a winning TD drive in the Seahawks’ 20-16 loss in Arizona. Wilson went 18-for-34 through the air for 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But Kevin Kolb, who lost the Cardinals QB job, won the game, replacing an injured John Skelton and leading what proved to be the game-winning drive.

Now, we come to the dregs, the lukewarm backwash of an otherwise refreshing week one tonic. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw three picks and posted a passer rating of 39.0 in the Dolphins’ 30-10 loss to the Texans. Tannehill sounded surprisingly upbeat after his dismal performance; of course, you’d be upbeat too if you had Lauren Tannehill waiting for you at home after a tough day at the office.

Then there’s 28-year-old former baseballer Brandon Weeden, who probably wishes he were back pitching in Class-A High Desert. You’d need the Hubbell to spot Weeden’s infinitesimal passer rating of 5.1 after his 12-of-35, 110-yard, four-pick showing in Cleveland’s 17-16 loss to the Eagles. How bad was Weeden? Winning quarterback Mike Vick threw four horrendous picks of his own, temporarily electrifying the Dawg Pound.


NFL Scores, Highlights and More...

49ers 30, Packers 22
The game of the day was also a warning shot from Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers. Clearly, they intend to finish what they started in 2011, when they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. The Niners knew it was their day when David Akers’ 63-yard field goal hit the crossbar and somehow bounded through the uprights to tie an NFL record. Frank Gore ran for 112 yards, and Alex Smith played efficient and mistake-free football, throwing for 211 yards, two scores — one of them to Randy Moss — and a passer rating of 125.6 (to Aaron Rodgers’ 93.3). Looking for a Week 1 statement? Look no further. The Niners now have to be the favorites in the NFC.

Patriots 34, Titans 13
The last time these teams met, New England demolished Tennessee 59-0. This one wasn’t much better for the Titans. The P-men were perhaps the most dominant team of Week 1, smacking around the Titans in Nashville in winning their ninth straight season-opener. How bad was it for the Titans? Jake Locker and Nate Washington were both hurt on a play that didn’t even count. Most alarming for the Titans: Chris Johnson rushed for a career-low 4 yards on 11 carries. On eight of those 11 rushes, the Patriots hit him at or behind the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, Steven Ridley averaged 6 yards on 21 carries. Looks like the Titans have issues up front.

Lions 27, Rams 23
The 'stache put up a fight, but the Lions were up to the challenge. Detroit spoiled Jeff Fisher’s Rams debut as Matthew Stafford overcame a shaky start to throw the winning TD pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left. Fisher has to be happy with his defense, though, after forcing three first-half interceptions from Stafford, one of which Fisher fave Cortland Finnegan returned for a score.

Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
This one was close at halftime, but the second half was a giant McCluster for the Chiefs (apologies to Dexter, who was a bright spot for Romeo Crennel’s crew). Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns, one of them to former KC hero Tony Gonzalez.

Vikings 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)
Leslie Frazier had to like what he saw from his team in what is a make-or-break season for his coaching tenure. And what he saw was Adrian Peterson running for two touchdowns and Christian Ponder throwing for 270 yards and no picks. Jags QB Blaine Gabbert was surprisingly competent, but it wasn’t enough to salvage Mike Mularkey’s Jacksonville debut.

Jets 48, Bills 28
It took only one quarterback to beat the hapless Bills. Mark Sanchez got only a minimal assist from Tim Tebow, but he got a major assist from a Jets defense that forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown. Sanchez threw for three scores, and his line rendered high-profile Bills signee Mario Williams a non-factor.

Buccaneers 16, Panthers 10
While RG3 was doing his best Cam Newton impression, Newton was waking echoes of Jake Delhomme. Cam tossed a pair of costly picks as the Bucs used a swarming defense and solid running game to win Greg Schiano’s debut.

Denver 31, Pittsburgh 19
Neck? Fine. Brain? Check. Arm strength? Good enough. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning, and he got the Mile High phase of his career off to a Peyton-esque start, throwing two touchdown passes in Denver’s win over Pittsburgh, a suitably thrilling close to an amazing day.


Replacement Refs: Even Worse than the Real Thing
As they say, refs are at their best when you don’t notice them, and sadly, the replacement refs made themselves visible in Week 1. The low point came in Seattle, as the refs huddled to discuss whether the Seahawks had taken a timeout they didn’t have and then offering an interpretation that former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira declared to be incorrect. Pereira also rightly pointed out that the scabs’ lengthy delay rendered the discussion moot by functioning as a timeout anyway. Braylon Edwards bailed out the hapless crew by dropping a potential game-winner that would have come on borrowed time. Briefly, a Twitter war erupted between Pereira and NFL flak Greg Aiello over the refs’ performance, before they announced they were kidding, no doubt after a call from the Commissioner’s office.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh was a little more circumspect after his team’s win, which featured some overly aggressive calls from the officials, remarking that “I don't know what I'm supposed to say or not say.” But what he did say wasn’t exactly glowing.


Quick Slants
• Okay, Tebow fanatics, here’s your Tim Tally: Eight snaps at QB, eight runs, five of them by Tebow (for 11 yards); a snap at tight end; two snaps in punt protection; and a recovered on-side kick.

• In the video run-down of the Broncos offensive players, Willis McGahee introduced himself as being from Miami. Not “The U.” When your team loses to Kansas State 52-13, you dispense with the bravado.

• Seattle’s Leon Washington had an 83-yard kick return and a 52-yard punt return, but neither resulted in a touchdown. According to Elias, since the merger, no player has had a kickoff return of at least 83 yards and a punt return of at least 52 yards in the same game without a TD on either.

• Patriots rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower scored a touchdown in Titans Stadium in his first NFL game, less than 50 miles from where he grew up. Hightower is a native of Lewisburg, Tenn., only 48 miles south of Nashville.

<p> From Robert Griffin III's debut to the 49ers victory, we look at it all</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/pac12-post-week-2-power-rankings

Saturday was a celebration of Pac-12 football. Its electric, powerful high-flying offenses are clearly impossible to stop. The league went 6-0 against the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Big East over the weekend as defense was, once again, an after thought for the West Coast league. Five teams cracked the 40-point mark and UCLA was four points from being the sixth. The quarterback position is alive and well even after losing names like Luck, Thomas, Foles and Oswieler to the NFL. Sean Mannion, Brett Hundley and Matt Scott all led their teams to major upsets while Matt Barkley, Marcus Mariota, Jeff Tuel and Taylor Kelly each earned key victories as well.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC -
The Heisman front-runner didn't have big yardage numbers this weekend (187) but he did tie a school and personal best with six touchdown strikes. It was the third time he has thrown six touchdown passes in the last six games.

2. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - As a two-touchdown underdog to a team that scored 84 points last week, Scott was a monster. He posted his second straight 300-yard passing effort to go with 55 yards rushing, three total touchdowns and nary a turnover in the upset win over Oklahoma State. He is second nationally in total offense (418.0 ypg).

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA - For the second straight week, it is virtually impossible to pick between the Bruins uber-talented dual-threat freshman quarterback and veteran workhorse tailback. Franklin topped 200 yards again and Hundley added 358 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jake Fischer, Arizona - The leader of the Arizona defense added 14 total tackles and a forced fumble in the upset win over one of the most powerful offenses in all of the nation. He is leading the Pac-12 in tackles at 13.5 per game through two weeks.

2. Dion Bailey, LB, USC - The sophomore All-American candidate had a big day in New Jersey. Bailey posted eight total tackles, one for a loss and intercepted two passes. He is USC's leading tackler with 15 total tackles in two wins for the Trojans.

3. J.P. Hurrell, LB, Cal - Some bigger names (Datone Jones for example) might have played just as well against bigger competition, but few players will ever have a statistical performance like Hurrell did. He posted six total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in a must-win situation for Jeff Tedford. He leads the league in sacks after two weeks.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Lane Kiffin, USC -
It was not nearly as smooth as the USC head man would have liked but his team stayed undefeated, scored at least 38 points in its seventh straight games and found a power running game. All of which is a scary thought for the rest of the Pac-12.

2. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns in the relatively easy win over Mountain West contender Fresno State. The four fumbles — three lost — will likely make for a tense film session, however.

3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA and Rich Rodriguez, Arizona - Both have started their new careers 2-0 with major upset victories over BCS powerhouses. Both have dual-threat quarterbacks who seem to fit their schemes perfectly. Both have workhorse tailbacks in the backfield. And both have defenses that appear to be greatly improved.

Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

1. USC (2-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 2 result: Beat Syracuse 42-29
It was a sluggish, neutral-field performance for the Trojans, but USC emerged unscathed. And that is all Lane Kiffin cares about. Matt Barkley celebrated his 22nd birthday by tossing six touchdown passes and leading his offense to at least 40 points in six of the last seven games. As good as the USC quarterback was, Robert Woods was better. The junior wideout caught 10 passes, totaled 200 all-purpose yards, scored two touchdowns and gifted USC two others via punt return and on an end around. Woods was so good that a guy who caught 11 passes and three touchdowns of his, Marqise Lee, was totally overshadowed. Kiffin also found a power running game as his balanced attacked rushed for nearly eight yards per carry on 33 attempts (7.8 ypc, 258 yards). This defense will need to improve to win the Pac-12, but it doesn't appear any defense, not even Stanford's this weekend, will be able to slow this Trojan offense.
This week: at Stanford (2-0)

2. Oregon (2-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 2 result: Beat Fresno State 45-25
The Ducks have looked national championship good in the early going and will give USC everything they can handle come November 3. But this team cannot afford any more key injuries. Safety John Boyett is lost for the year with potential knee surgery and will be a huge loss to the Oregon secondary. On the offensive line, guard Carson York (knee) and tackle Kyle Long (leg) both are banged-up as well as wideout Josh Huff. This team has proven to be as deep as any in the nation, but a few more key injuries could lower this team's national upside. In other news, De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are unstoppable. Thomas touched the ball 11 times on offense, scoring twice and piling-up 128 yards from scrimmage. That gives him five touchdowns in two games. Barner was the workhorse, carrying 34 times for 201 yards and three rushing touchdowns. 
This week: Tennessee Tech (2-0)

3. UCLA (2-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 2 result: Beat Nebraska 36-30
The UCLA Bruins are one of college football's best surprises through two weeks of action. The talent has always been there for the Bruins but unlucky quarterback injuries and a lack of leadership have led to overwhelming underachievement for the better part of a decade. Names like Datone Jones, Joseph Fauria and Anthony Barr are beginning to realize some of their always apparent potential. The credit has to go to Jim Mora Jr and his deep coaching staff. They have instilled toughness and work ethic that is obvious in the way UCLA has played this year. To top it all off, Brett Hundley has the makings of the best thing to happen under center at Westwood since Cade McNown of the late 90s. He has been dynamic, efficient and protective of the football - all of which has opened up gashes for senior tailback Johnathan Franklin to run through. Last fall, this team ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense (376.6 ypg) and scoring (23.1 ppg). After two games, this offense is ranked No. 1 in a league that also boasts Oregon and USC.
This week: Houston (0-2)

4. Stanford (2-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 2 result: Beat Duke 50-13
This is how the Stanford defense should look in 2012. Shayne Skov returned to the line-up with authority after a one-game suspension with five tackles. Safety Ed Reynolds intercepted his second and third passes of the season to go with his four stops. And Duke was held to 27 yards rushing on 23 carries, while quarterback Sean Renfree was kept in check (0 TD, 2 INT). More importantly, however, quarterback Josh Nunes was dramatically more comfortable in the pocket, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout. This team showed considerable improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 but will need to continue its development if it expects to compete with the Men of Troy this Saturday.
This week: USC (2-0)

5. Arizona (2-0)
Previous rank: 8
Week 2 result: Beat Oklahoma State 59-38
The offenses were expecting to be the star of this bout in the desert, but most believed it would be the Cowboys of Oklahoma State putting up nearly 60 points and over 500 yards of offense. But Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey continued their electric start to the Rich Rodriguez tenure in Tucson by dominating the boxscore. Scott finished with 375 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns without a single turnover and is No. 2 nationally in total offense after two weeks. Carey did his best Steve Slaton impersonation by touching the ball 30 times for 154 yards and four of his own trips to paydirt. The defense still has issues but appears to be improved enough to give the offense a chance to outscore the opponent each and every week. Both UCLA and Arizona are in a heated race in the South and have gotten off to great starts. Both should start the year 3-0. 
This week: South Carolina State (1-1)

6. Washington (1-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 2 result: Lost to LSU 41-3 
The Washington Huskies are getting better. They have improved their coaching staff and upgraded the level of talented across the roster in Seattle. But Steve Sarkisian's group is not prepared for the national spotlight just yet. LSU's powerful offensive line, with the help of one of the deepest and nastiest defensive lines in the nation, out-rushed Washington 242-26. The twitter-sphere started feeling bad for Keith Price, who ran for his life most of the game, completing less than 50% of his passes, got sacked four times and was unable to get his team into the endzoe. Washington will have time to lick its wounds with Portland State and the bye week coming up, but this barometer test clearly indicates the Huskies aren't ready to content with Oregon or USC just yet. After the off week, U of W will face Stanford, Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks.
This week: Portland State (1-1)

7. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 10
Week 2 result: Beat Wisconsin 10-7
Mike Riley knew how big this game was and he coached for his life in one of the biggest wins in program history. While this Wisconsin team isn't an elite Badger unit, the Beavers still knocked off a top 15 non-conference opponent in dominating fashion. The offense wasn't perfect by any means, but Sean Mannion connected with Markus Wheaton and the speedy Brandin Cooks time and time again in key situations throughout the second half. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Mark Banker should get DC of the Week nationally for the job he did against the Badgers offense. Montee Ball was completely ineffective, Jared Abbrederis was knocked out of the game and Danny O'Brien had no where to go with the football. The ceiling for this team may still be an unknown, but 3-9 should be a distant memory in Corvallis.
This week: Open Date

8. Arizona State (2-0)
Previous rank: 9
Week 2 result: Beat Illinois 45-14
The Sun Devils have put 108 points on the board in two wins under Todd Graham, and what is scary is that it could have been better if not for some miscues in the redzone. Taylor Kelly won his second start and was efficient once again throwing the football. He was 18-of-24 for 249 yards and a touchdown and has yet to throw an interception this fall. The deep and talented backfield did the rest. Cameron Marshall got 12 carries and scored his 21st rushing touchdown in his last 15 games. Freshman D.J. Foster continues to show his versatility by leading the team in receiving (72 yards) as well as scoring for the second time in as many career games on nine rushing attempts. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase didn't play and the Illini put up little opposition without their leader under center. That said, the Sun Devils have been impressive thus far and will be facing their toughest test of the young year this weekend in Columbia.
This week: at Missouri (1-1)

9. California (1-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 2 result: Beat Southern Utah 50-31
The Golden Bears rushed for 176 more yards this week (289) than it did in the opening loss to Nevada (113). Still, consistency will be the lesson from the embattled Jeff Tedford this week. Cal was sluggish once again out of the gate, being outscored 3-0 in the first quarter. Then again coming out of halftime, Southern Utah won the third quarter 7-0. It meant that SUU took a lead into the second quarter and trailed only by three when the final frame began. Explosive second and fourth periods in which Cal outscored Southern Utah 20-7 and 30-14 respectively gave Tedford the much-needed win. But inconsistent play from both side of the ball will be an issue against Pac-12 foes. Also concerning is allowing exactly 31 points in each game - good for dead last in the league in scoring defense. And now they have to stop Braxton Miller.
This week: at Ohio State (2-0)

10. Utah (1-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 2 result: Lost to Utah State 27-20 (OT)
The Battle of the Brothers went the way of the little brother this time around. Utah State is a developing into one of the better mid-major programs out west and a signature win over an in-state rival on national TV cannot be undervalued. So the intense overtime battle shouldn't have come as a huge shock. However, Utes fans had to have a sense of deja vu when they watched starting quarterback Jordan Wynn leave the game with a shoulder injury and Jon Hays step under center. Wynn's X-rays were negative but Kyle Whittingham hasn't made any official statements about the future of his starting quarterback. Hays was terrible last fall but showed some growth in the second half against the Aggies. He threw for 154 yards and led the Utah offense to 17 second-half points to get the game into overtime. Either way, having quarterback issues getting ready for BYU's defense in what could be the last Holy War for the foreseeable future makes a 1-2 start very possible for Utah.
This week: BYU (2-0)

11. Washington State (1-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 2 result: Beat Eastern Washington 24-20
On the surface, it looks like Washington State played cupcake and struggled to win Mike Leach's first game of the year. However, Eastern Washington already has one FBS win this season in impressive fashion, is one of the top west coast FCS programs, boasts a former June Jones SMU disciple at quarterback and likely sports an entire roster of players who dreamed of playing football in the Pac-12. The defense gave up a lot of yards (469) and will struggle all season but the offense scored 24 first-half points and the defense made it stand up. Jeff Tuel was much more effective than he was against BYU throwing two touchdowns, but a twisted knee forced the oft-injured starting quarterback to the bench. Connor Halliday finished the game and would be the starter should Tuel miss any extended time. 
This week: at UNLV (0-2)

12. Colorado (0-2)
Previous rank: 12
Week 2 result: Lost to Sacramento State 28-20
Where to start? Colorado is one of only six BCS conference teams to begin the year 0-2. Pitt, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Penn State and Syracuse are the others. Only PItt, however, joins the Buffs with a loss to an FCS opponent. What's worse is Sacramento State didn't look overmatched. It out-passed Colorado nearly 2-to-1, it out-rushed Colorado and held the Buffaloes to seven second-half points in the upset win. With nine conference games and a trip to Fresno State this weekend left on the slate, Jon Embree's team won't be favored the rest of the 2012 season, meaning they will have to pull an upset to win a single game this fall. 
This week: Fresno State (1-1)

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 2 Recap

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings 

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-2-power-rankings

It was a huge week in the SEC, as the conference officially welcomed its two new members. However, the new schools (Texas A&M and Missouri) both lost in its debuts but should be good additions to the conference. Tennessee moved to 2-0 with a win over Georgia State, and Alabama handled Western Kentucky with a 35-0 win. One of the biggest surprises in the SEC from Week 2 was Vanderbilt's loss to Northwestern.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. AJ McCarron, Alabama - Western Kentucky won’t be the toughest test of McCarron’s season, but the Tide’s quarterback completed 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. In his last six games, McCarron has 12 touchdown and no interceptions. Next up: Arkansas.

2. Tyler Bray, Tennessee - A bigger test will come this week against Florida, but Bray already appears poised for a career year by completing 45 of 61 of his passes for 643 yards with six touchdowns in his first two games.

3. Mike Gillislee, Florida - Where would the Gators be without their top running back? Florida wants to center its offense around the power run game, and Gillislee is delivering. After rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Bowling Green, the senior rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries against Texas A&M. Presumably, he would have been more of a factor had he not missed time with injury.

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia - Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Jones may be the best defensive player in America. He certainly was in the second week of the season as he almost single-handedly turned a stalemate of a game into a lopsided finish for Georgia. Jones set up a touchdown by intercepting a James Franklin pass and returning it 22 yards to the 1-yard line. Jones then sacked James Franklin later in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble to set up a touchdown to seal the 41-20 win.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State - Opposing quarterbacks avoided the Bulldogs cornerback over the second half of last season. Auburns’ Kiehl Frazier would have been wise to do the same. Banks had two first-half interceptions against the Tigers to go with six tackles. Banks has 14 career picks and seven in the last two seasons.

3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M - The nation’s top pass rush from a year ago showed no signs of letting up against Florida. The Aggies had eight sacks against the Gators, led by Damontre Moore. The junior finished with three sacks and 10 tackles.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama - Until further notice, Saban’s still the best coach in the country even when he’s chastising the media (when he’s really chastising his own players).

2. Mark Richt, Georgia - The Bulldogs are still missing key players on defense, but big plays from the D set the tone in a conference road win.

3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina - It was only East Carolina, but the Gamecocks rolled despite a backup quarterback and only 40 yards from Marcus Lattimore.

Post-Week 2 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Western Kentucky 35-0
It wasn’t the cleanest effort, but the Crimson Tide handled Western Kentucky to move to 2-0 on the year. Quarterback AJ McCarron was efficient and effective, completing 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama’s defense held the Hilltoppers to 224 yards, while also forcing four turnovers. One concern for the Crimson Tide was the play of the offensive line. Western Kentucky recorded six sacks against McCarron, giving something for Nick Saban and his staff to address in practice this week.
Next Game: at Arkansas

2. LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Washington 41-3
The Tigers haven’t had to sweat much through the first two weeks and should cruise to a 3-0 start with Idaho up next. LSU fell behind 3-0 to Washington but took control through the rest of the first half with a dominating defensive line and rushing attack. The Tigers ended up with three running backs with at least 10 carries, with Alfred Blue leading the way with 101 yards. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger wasn’t flashy but finished with 195 yards on 12 completions. The only downside to Week 2 was an injury to tackle Chris Faulk in practice, who will miss the rest of the year.
Next Game: Idaho

3. Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Missouri 41-20
All the talk about suspensions catching up to Georgia against Missouri seemed pretty silly by late Saturday. The Bulldogs still don’t have safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Sanders Commings. Instead, linebacker Jarvis Jones was a wrecking crew on defense on his own. The Bulldogs had some miscues early with two turnovers and five punts in the first eight possessions, but they were tough to stop on either side of the ball in the second half. Georgia held Missouri to 2.6 yards per carry, and Aaron Murray settled in to complete 22-of-35 passes for 242 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
This week: FAU

4. South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat East Carolina 48-10
South Carolina had no need for Connor Shaw and his bruised shoulder against East Carolina, and in the process, the Gamecocks found a perfectly capably backup quarterback. Dylan Thompson was 21-of-37 for 330 yards with three touchdowns against the Pirates in his first career start. The 397 yards through the air were the most at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier.
This week: UAB

5. Tennessee (2-0. 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Georgia State 51-13
Georgia State was overmatched, but the Volunteers were encouraged to see their passing game click for the second time this season. Quarterback Tyler Bray finished 18 of 20 for 310 yards with four touchdown passes while receiver Justin Hunter showed he’s recovered from a torn ACL by catching eight passes for 146 yards with three touchdowns. Bray is riding a streak of 13 consecutive completions going into the matchup with Florida, which is suddenly the top game in the SEC following Arkansas’ loss to Louisiana-Monroe. If there’s a concern for Tennessee, it may be in the kicking game where Michael Palardy has missed two extra points and a field goal this season.
This week: Florida

6. Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Texas A&M 20-17
Florida scored a major win in halftime adjustments. Without any film on Kevin Sumlin’s Texas A&M team, the Gators limped through the first half, especially in defending Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Gators allowed long drives throughout the first half, but they returned more disciplined in the second, forcing A&M to punt on all six second-half possessions. In his first game since being anointed as the starter, quarterback Jeff Driskel showed improvement, completing 13 of 16 passes for 162 yards with no turnovers. The Gators, though, must do a better job of protecting their quarterback, who was sacked eight times Saturday.
This week: at Tennessee

7. Mississippi State (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Auburn 28-10
It’s only the second week of the season, but the Bulldogs 28-10 victory over Auburn was huge. The win over the Tigers was Dan Mullen’s first against a SEC West opponent outside of Ole Miss, while the game also showed it was a case of programs headed in opposite directions. Quarterback Tyler Russell completed 20 of 29 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense forced five turnovers and allowed no offensive touchdowns to Auburn. With games against Troy, South Alabama and Kentucky coming up, Mississippi State should be 5-0 before the Oct. 13 game against Tennessee.
Next Game: at Troy 

8. Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Georgia 41-20
The Tigers exited the loss to Georgia with bigger concerns than staring 0-1 in their new conference. The offensive line struggled from beginning to end and is facing a major injury to boot. Missouri had three bad snaps (including one over the head of quarterback James Franklin for a 24-yard loss) and two penalties on their first three possessions, and by halftime the line lost its leader. Tackle Elvis Fisher left the game with an MCL sprain, forcing a reshuffling of three spots on the line midway through the game. The result was a redshirt freshman at center and a career day for Georgia’s Jarvis Jones. If Fisher is out for a significant amount of time, the Tigers won’t have any warm up games with Arizona State and South Carolina on the schedule in the next two weeks.
This week: Arizona State

9. Texas A&M (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Florida 20-17
It was a big day in College Station but once again, the Aggies were unable to close out a lead in the second half. Texas A&M’s SEC debut started well, jumping out to a 17-7 lead at halftime. However, Florida kept Aggies’ quarterback Johnny Manziel in check in the second half, while making a few timely plays on offense to drop Texas A&M to 0-1. Although the Gators have struggled to establish consistency on the offensive line, coordinator Mark Snyder has to be pleased with the Aggies’ defense recording eight sacks on Saturday. Texas A&M should break into the win column with a matchup against SMU this Saturday.
Next Game: at SMU

10. Arkansas (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to UL Monroe 34-31 (OT)
Whether it was a case of looking ahead to Alabama or injuries adding up, Saturday’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe was inexcusable for a team that expected to compete for the SEC West title. The Razorbacks were knocked out of the national title race with a 34-31 loss to the Warhawks, a game that turned on an injury to quarterback Tyler Wilson. Arkansas’ defense was a question mark entering the season and it doesn’t appear to be much better after allowing 550 yards in Saturday’s loss. The Razorbacks don’t have much time to mope about the disappointing effort, especially with No. 1 Alabama coming to Fayetteville.
Next Game: Alabama

11. Auburn (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost 28-10 to Mississippi State
Outside of Onterio McCalebb’s kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, there wasn’t much in the way of positives for Auburn to take away from Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State. The Tigers managed only 216 total yards and committed five turnovers. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier had a disastrous performance, completing only 13 of 22 passes for 125 yards and three interceptions. Making matters worse for the Tigers is the upcoming schedule, which features games against LSU, Arkansas and upset-minded Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday. Unless the offense makes major strides, it will be tough for Auburn to make a bowl this year.
Next Game: UL Monroe

12. Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Northwestern 23-13
The optimism from last season’s bowl trip is beginning to wane after the Commodores started their season with losses to South Carolina and Northwestern. Against the Wildcats, Vanderbilt allowed 10 points in the final 2:06, breaking a 13-13 tie on the road. Although Northwestern’s defense was shredded by Syracuse a week earlier, Vanderbilt struggled to move the ball in the second half. Jordan Rodgers finished 17-of-33 for 217 yards, took three sacks and lost two fumbles. Against Presbyterian of the FCS, Vandy may have a chance to play backup quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who had a successful freshman season at Wyoming before his transfer. It might not be the last time Franklin turns to his backup.
This week: Presbyterian

13. Kentucky (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Kent State 47-14
Kentucky needed a boost of confidence after the 32-14 loss to Louisville in the opener. The final score was lopsided, but the Wildcats led by merely a field goal until the final eight minutes of the third quarter. Kentucky scored 30 unanswered points in the second half to seal the rout. Maxwell Smith continues to be one of Kentucky’s only hopes for respectability. He was 30-of-39 for 354 yards with four touchdown passes an no interceptions against Kent State. And since taking over as Kentucky’s starting quarterback, he’s completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,403 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last six games.
This week: Western Kentucky

14. Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat UTEP 28-10
The competition hasn’t been great, but the Rebels have shown some signs of life and are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2009. Ole Miss didn't dominate but was never really in any danger of losing to UTEP on Saturday night. Quarterback Bo Wallace has been solid through the first two weeks, completing 35 of 46 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns. Just how much has Ole Miss improved under new coach Huge Freeze? The Rebels should find out this Saturday with Texas coming to Oxford.
Next Game: Texas

by David Fox and Steven Lassan

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<p> SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 06:31
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-2-power-rankings

After two weeks of the season, Louisville still looks like the team to beat in the Big East, but the Cardinals are not without company.

The top four in our power rankings remain unchanged since last week, but USF and Cincinnati picked up key wins to signal they may be in the conference title hunt. USF finally turned the tables on its fourth quarter woes, and Cincinnati appears to be just as explosive on offense without Zach Collaros and Isaiah Pead.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville --
The Cardinals sophomore quarterback added another milestone performance to his resume, earning his first 300-yard passing game in a 35-7 win over Missouri State. Bridgewater was 30-of-39 with 344 yards and two touchdowns again the Bears.

2. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- The Orange have faced tough competition in Northwestern and USC, but Nassib has kept Syracuse competitive in both games. The Orange are third in the nation in passing with Nassib throwing for 804 yards with six touchdowns.

3. B.J. Daniels, USF -- Daniels showed off his arm in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes of at least 50 yards (he had three in the game, though the first was the result of broken tackles). Daniels has accounted for seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) in two games

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Walter Stewart, Cincinnati -- The senior had nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in the 34-10 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday.

2. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut -- Smallwood continued to be the most productive player on the UConn defense in a stout effort. The sophomore finished with 14 tackles and three tackles for a loss as the Huskies lost 10-7 to NC State.

3. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights linebacker continued to rack up the tackle numbers with 10 stops against Howard, including a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Butch Jones, Cincinnati -- Pittsburgh may be the worst team in the Big East right now, but Cincinnati might be one of the best after a 34-10 win Thursday. Despite losses to graduation, the Bearcats still have game-changing performers on both sides of the ball.

2. Charlie Strong, Louisville -- The Cardinals have done everything they were supposed to do this season with decisive wins over Kentucky and Missouri State by a combined score of 67-21.

3. Skip Holtz, USF -- Holtz will learn more about his team’s ability to compete for a Big East title when the Bulls face Rutgers this week, but it was encouraging to see the Bulls battle back on the road against Nevada.

Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
1. Louisville (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 2 result: Beat Missouri State 35-7
Louisville took care of business against an overmatched Missouri State team that lost 51-9 at Kansas State a week earlier. Missouri State loaded up to stop the run, allowing Teddy Bridgewater to pass for a career-high 344 yards. Bridgewater got some new faces in the passing game involved with freshman receiver Charles Gaines catching three passes for 73 yards and senior tight end Nate Nord catching four passes for 59 yards with a touchdown. Up next, Louisville will face its toughest test of the season against North Carolina. The Tar Heels defeated Louisville 14-7 last season.
This week: North Carolina

2. USF (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 2 result: Beat Nevada 32-31
The Bulls finally saw a late fourth-quarter win go its way. A year ago, USF led or was tied in the fourth quarter of each of its last six losses. On Saturday, Nevada led 31-20 in the fourth quarter, but B.J. Daniels completed touchdown passes for 52 and 56 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win. And before that, USF forced a fumble in the Bulls' territory and held Nevada to a field goal in the red zone to prevent the game from going out of reach earlier in the fourth quarter. Starting cornerback Kayvon Webster and receiver Sterling Griffin left the game with injuries, but Andre Davis was the breakout Big East player of the weekend with 12 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including the 56-yard game-winner. A major concern for Skip Holtz, though, will be allowing 549 yards of offense and twice falling behind by double figures.
This week: Rutgers

3. Rutgers (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 2 result: Beat Howard 26-0
A sloppy effort wasn’t enough to derail a shutout of Howard, but it does signal the Scarlet Knights have plenty of work to do before facing USF in its Big East opener. Rutgers missed two extra points, committed 11 penalties and dropped a handful of passes against Howard. Quarterback Gary Nova was a mere 15 of 27 for 130 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Jawan Jamison added his second 100-yard game of the season, averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
This week: at USF

4. Cincinnati (1-0, 1-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 2 result: Beat Pittsburgh 34-10
Cincinnati’s offense is going to be just fine, it seems. In his first game as the permanent starter, Munchie Legaux completed 14 of 28 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns, but he was more impressive in the ground game. Legaux rushed for 117 yards on six carries against Pittsburgh. Receiver Ralph David Abernathy IV (two touchdown catches) looked like a star now that he’s moved into the offense full time after returning kicks last season. Cincinnati had eight plays or 20 yards or more against the Pitt defense.
This week: Delaware State

5. Connecticut (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 2 result: Lost to NC State 10-7
Connecticut’s defense will keep the Huskies competitive. The offense, though, remains a work in progress. One 46-yard touchdown pass was the only explosive play for NC State all day. UConn sacked Mike Glennon six times and limited him to 15 of 30 attempts with an interception. The offense, though, reverted to its 2011 form. Chandler Whitmer threw three interceptions, and the Huskies rushed for only 35 yards and 1.1 yards per carry.
This week: at Maryland

6. Syracuse (0-2, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 2 result: Lost to USC 42-29
With an easier schedule, Syracuse might be 2-0. Instead, Syracuse is 0-2 with hard-fought losses to Northwestern and USC. Syracuse narrowed USC’s lead to 21-16 going into the fourth quarter, but the Trojans were just too much for the Orange. Ryan Nassib has proven capable of moving the ball on any opponent, but the defense has allowed 42 points in back-to-back games. Stony Brook should give Syracuse a chance to not a win, and after that the Orange face Minnesota and Pitt.
This week: Stony Brook

7. Temple (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 2 result: Lost to Maryland 36-27
Temple’s limitations in the passing game were evident as the Owls attempted a second-half comeback against Maryland. Temple fell behind 26-3 at halftime and crawled back to with in 2 in the final 7:18 of the fourth quarter. However, owls quarterback Chris Coyer threw the game-clinching interception for Maryland to seal a loss that included three Temple turnovers and a missed field goal. An off week is coming at a good time. Montel Harris, who left the opener with a hamstring injury, and Matt Brown, who was limited with an ankle injury, have opportunities to heal before the Owls face Penn State on Sept. 22.
This week: Off

8. Pittsburgh (0-2, 0-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 2 result: Lost to Cincinnati 34-10
Pittsburgh’s misery continued on just the first play of the game when Cincinnati’s George Winn rushed for a 58-yard score. Pittsburgh’s problems could be found all over the the field as Tino Sunseri was sacked six times and intercepted once, the defense allowed eight plays of 20 yards or more, including runs of 77 of 58 yards, and the Panthers committed eight penalties, including key miscues by veterans. If there’s any silver lining, it’s the play of Ray Graham. The running back seemed to be more confident as the Cincinnati game wore on as he finished with 103 yards on 19 carries and 51 yards on four receptions.
This week: Virginia Tech

by David Fox


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<p> Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/6-stats-sunday-week1

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each and every NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. 

And new statistics. 

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 1 of NFL play:

123.4: Mark Sanchez' QB rating against the Bills
Sanchez completed 19-of-27 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and didn't get sacked in the 48-28 destruction of Buffalo. It was the highest scoring output of the Sanchez era in New York and it was the second-highest single-game QB rating of Sanchez' career. So by definition, he has played one better game in his entire career— a 124.3 rating back in Week 2 of the 2010 season against New England. The former USC quarterback was brilliant in arguably the most pressure-packed atmosphere of his entire career as back-up Tim Tebow looked on from the sidelines. Tebow didn't attempt a pass and rushed five times for 11 yards. Although, I am sure that Tebow was the catalyst behind Sanchez' play, and therefore, deserves all of the credit.


8-8: Consecutive completions for Robert Griffin III to start his career
The No. 2 overall pick in the spring draft made his debut in New Orleans by completing his first eight passes for 149 yards and an 88-yard scoring strike. The long touchdown pass was the second-longest scoring strike by any quarterback making their debut, trailing on Charlie Batch's 98-yard scoring throw to Johnnie Morton back in 1998 for the Lions. Griffin III took a 20-14 road lead over New Orleans into halftime with a perfect 158.3 QB rating, something that has never been done (10 att.). By the game's end, Washington had defeated the Saints on the road and scored the most points, 40, of any Mike Shanahan-coached team in D.C. He threw for 320 yards as one of an NFL-record five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday. He and Andrew Luck, who threw for 309 yards in his debut, were only the third and fourth players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in Week 1 of their rookie season (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton).


22: Games in which New England has had one 100-yard rusher
Second-year back Stevan Ridley rushed for 123 yards in the 34-13 mauling of the Tennessee Titans. It is only the second 100-yard rushing effort for the Patriots in its last 22 games. BenJarvus Green-Elllis back in Week 5 last season was the only Patriot to top the century mark rushing since December of 2010. The former LSU workhorse touched the ball 23 times for 152 yards from scrimmage and one hard-nosed touchdown. The Pats won their NFL-best ninth straight season opener and actually look better than the Super Bowl runner-up squad from a year ago. Ridley brings a physical presence to the backfield and his continued success would make stopping the New England offense virtually impossible.


:14 Seconds it took Minnesota to tie the game
The Minnesota Vikings scored to take the lead against the Jaguars with 9:42 seconds left in the third quarter. The Vikes led the entire rest of the game until, with 20 seconds left to play, Blaine Gabbert connected on what was all but sure to be the game-winning touchdown pass. But Christian Ponder took over at his own 31 yard line and proceeded to complete three passes for 32 yards in a drive that lasted 14 seconds and ended with a 55-yard game-tying field goal from rookie kicker Blair Walsh. 


8: Total interceptions thrown by Cleveland and Philadelphia
Rookie Brandon Weeden was making his first career start against one of the NFL's top secondaries. He has some excuses for throwing four interceptions on Sunday, but Michael Vick doesn't have too many for his four interceptions. The Eagles won a sloppy, ugly game in which Vick threw a career-high 56 passes and neither team looked like it belonged in the playoffs. At the end of the day, Vick made the big plays he needed to in order to win, but he knows everyone in a Eagles uniform will have to improve. The Browns, who weren't really concerned with a playoff seed, have now lost 13 of its last 14 season openers.


5, 53, 1: Tony Gonzalez' catches, yards and touchdowns in Arrowhead Stadium
If you polled everyone who claims to be at least a casual NFL fan, how many would know that Tony Gonzalez is No. 2 all-time with 1,154 receptions? It's Jerry Rice and then Gonzo. A total of 916 of those catches came in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform and 95 of those have gone for touchdowns — of which, only one will ever be scored in Arrowhead Stadium in a uniform that isn't red and gold. So when No. 88 stood in the KC endzone on Sunday, clad in the black and red colors of Atlanta, and dunked the football over the crossbar like he did 76 times as a Chief, was a surreal image for this diehard football fan. Gonzalez has posted eight straight seasons of at least 70 catches and his clutch play on Sunday indicates he isn't slowing down just yet. He will own every KC and NFL tight end receiving records in the book and will be only the second player to ever catch 1,200 passes. And the only number he really cares about? The 40-24 final score. The second he gracefully steps away from the game in the coming years, those boos you heard at Arrowhead on Sunday will instantly return to an overwhelming ovation. And rightly so, few deserve it more than Gonzalez. 

- by Braden Gall


<p> 6 Most Important Stats from Week 1 of the NFL</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:55
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-2-power-rankings

With the top three teams playing non-conference opponents, it was a relatively quiet week in the ACC. NC State scored a key win at Connecticut, while Wake Forest opened conference play with a victory over North Carolina. Maryland matched its win total from last season by beating Temple, but Miami was whipped in a loss to Kansas State.

Post-Week 2 ACC Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington wasn’t called upon much in Clemson’s blowout win over Ball State. Through two weeks, the senior has 269 yards, two scores and is averaging 7.1 yards per attempt.

2. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins followed up a stellar effort in the opener against Auburn with six catches for 105 yards and three scores against Ball State.

3. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest – Campanaro delivered in a big way for Wake Forest’s offense against North Carolina, catching 13 passes for 164 yards.

Post-Week 2 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner barely played against Savannah State but still notched two tackles, one sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss.

2. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland – Vellano turned in another strong performance in Week 2, recording four tackles, one sack and one forced fumble against Temple.

3. Steve Greer, LB, Virginia – Greer has been a tackling machine through the first two weeks of the season, leading the team with 15 stops and two sacks in the narrow win over Penn State.

Post-Week 2 ACC Coach of the Year Standings

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles haven’t been challenged through the first two games, but this team still looks like the one to beat in the ACC.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – No letdown for the Tigers on Saturday, cruising to an easy 52-27 win over Ball State.

3. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons looked sluggish in their Week 1 win over Liberty but rebounded with a key ACC victory over North Carolina in Week 2.

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Savannah State 55-0
As expected, the Seminoles cruised to an easy 55-0 victory over Savannah State. Inclement weather forced the game to end early, but there was really nothing for Florida State to gain by playing out the second half. Although the competition will get tougher over the next two weeks, it’s a positive sign the Seminoles have allowed zero sacks through the first two games. Quarterback EJ Manuel has been steady as well, completing 27 of 35 passes for 349 yards and four scores. Florida State’s quest for an ACC title starts on Saturday against Wake Forest.
Next Game: Wake Forest

2. Clemson (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Ball State 52-27
After a big win over Auburn, Clemson’s coaching staff had to be worried about an early letdown against Ball State. However, those concerns were quickly erased with a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers got another solid performance from quarterback Tajh Boyd, throwing for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Andre Ellington chipped in two touchdowns, while receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 105 yards and three scores. The Tigers have one more tune-up before taking on Florida State on Sept. 22. Although Clemson has been solid through the first two weeks, the offensive line still needs some work, and the defense has allowed 216 rushing yards per game.
Next Game: Furman

3. Virginia Tech (2-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Austin Peay 42-7
No letdown. That’s the most important motto coming out of Week 2 for Virginia Tech. After playing Boise State on Labor Day and losing to James Madison the following week in 2010, the Hokies came out and easily handled Austin Peay. Quarterback Logan Thomas was an efficient 15 of 23 for 212 yards and two scores. The defense forced two turnovers and allowed the Governors to gain only 221 yards. Virginia Tech takes on future ACC rival Pittsburgh this Saturday and doesn’t play another conference game until Oct. 6 at North Carolina.
Next Game: at Pittsburgh

4. Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Presbyterian 59-3
Presbyterian was the perfect get-well opponent for Georgia Tech. After suffering an overtime loss to Virginia Tech in Week 1, the Yellow Jackets used the FCS opponent to take out some frustration. The offense recorded 712 yards, and the defense pitched a shutout until the final 10 seconds of the game. Considering Georgia Tech already has an ACC loss, Saturday’s game against Virginia is a must-win contest. Another conference defeat would make it tough for the Yellow Jackets to claim the ACC Coastal title this year.
Next Game: Virginia

5. Virginia (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Penn State 17-16
Despite being outgained (330 to 295) and losing the turnover battle, the Cavaliers knocked off Penn State 17-16. Virginia benefitted from the Nittany Lions struggling on field goals, as kicker Sam Ficken missed four attempts, including the game winner as time expired. Virginia’s rushing attack was grounded by Penn State, but quarterback Michael Rocco completed 21 of 33 passes for 258 yards and two scores to help pickup the offense. Although the Nittany Lions are down, it was a huge win for Virginia with games against Georgia Tech, TCU and Louisiana Tech upcoming.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech

6. NC State (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Connecticut 10-7
It was a hard-fought win for the Wolfpack in Week 2. NC State’s offense was held in check through most of the day, as Connecticut registered seven sacks and forced one turnover. However, quarterback Mike Glennon did just enough (15 of 30, 204 yards), while the defense made a key stop with less than two minutes to go to seal the victory. Cornerback David Amerson struggled in the opener but picked off one pass and made a crucial pass breakup late in the fourth quarter.
Next Game: South Alabama

7. Wake Forest (2-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 10
Week 2 result: Beat North Carolina 28-27
The Demon Deacons make a three-spot jump in the power rankings thanks to a 28-27 win over North Carolina. After struggling to beat Liberty in Week 1, Wake Forest looked much better in Saturday’s victory, largely due to quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro. The duo hooked up 13 times for 164 yards, which was just enough for the Demon Deacons to beat the Tar Heels for the third time in the last four games.
Next Game: at Florida State

8. North Carolina (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 2 result: Lost to Wake Forest 28-27
A week after cruising to a 62-0 win over Elon, the Tar Heels suffered a 28-27 loss to Wake Forest in the ACC opener for both teams. North Carolina’s offense was hindered by the absence of running back Giovani Bernard, and the defense had no answer for the Demon Deacons’ passing combo of quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro. Bernard’s availability is uncertain for Week 3, and a secondary that was torched by Wake Forest will be under fire from Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Next Game: at Louisville

9. Miami (1-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Kansas State 52-13
After two games, it’s pretty clear Al Golden has a lot of work to do if Miami is going to finish with a winning record. The offense has shown signs of life, but the defense has allowed 84 points through two weeks and is allowing 517.5 yards per game. The Hurricanes had no chance in Saturday’s game and was easily blown out 52-13 by Kansas State. Miami’s struggling defense suffered another setback on Sunday, as linebacker Ramon Buchanan was lost for the year due to an injury. The Hurricanes should bounce back against Bethune-Cookman next Saturday, but the real test comes against Georgia Tech, NC State and Notre Dame in the next three games.
Next Game: Bethune-Cookman

10. Duke (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Stanford 50-13
After the Blue Devils knocked off FIU 46-26 in Week 1 and Stanford struggled to beat San Jose State, some thought Duke had a shot to pull off the upset in Palo Alto. Not so fast. The Blue Devils quickly fell behind in the first quarter and trailed 23-3 at halftime. The defense allowed Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes to throw for 275 yards in his second start, while Duke’s offense turned the ball over four times. After a disappointing performance, the Blue Devils should get back into the win column with N.C. Central in Week 3.
Next Game: N.C. Central

11. Boston College (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Maine 34-3
The Eagles bounced back after a disappointing Week 1 loss to Miami, handling Maine for a 34-3 victory. Quarterback Chase Rettig misfired on half of his passes but finished with 219 yards and three scores. The rushing attack was steady, getting 90 yards from Deuce Finch and 61 from Andre Williams. Receiver Spiffy Evans did his part on special teams with an 82-yard punt return in the third quarter. After allowing Miami to gain 415 yards in the opener, Boston College’s defense stepped up and held Maine to 193 yards. However, the defense will be tested by a Northwestern offense that’s averaging 32.5 points a game next Saturday.
Next Game: at Northwestern

12. Maryland (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last week’s Rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Temple 36-27
It hasn’t been pretty, but the Terrapins have already matched their win total from last season. True freshman quarterback Perry Hills rebounded after a sluggish performance in the opener to throw for 190 yards and two scores to beat Temple 36-27. Hills and the offense got a little help from the defense, which forced three turnovers and held the Owls to 52 rushing yards. The Terrapins are improved, but this team still has a ways to go before it can think about making bowl reservations in 2012.
Next Game: Connecticut

by Steven Lassan


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<p> ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:53
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-2-waiver-wire-report

We mentioned last week that the waiver wire is the deepest after Week One.  Last week’s names included:  Ameer Abdullah, Beau Blankenship, LaDarius Perkins, David Oku, Marcus Sales, Jaime Wilson, Davante Adams, Austin Hill, and Dan Buckner.  As previously stated in last week’s Waiver article, finding consistent fantasy production only gets tougher as the season progresses.  Don’t wait another week if anyone on this list is still available in your league.

Post-Week 2's Best Pickups

Brett Hundley, QB-UCLA

Hundley should be able to do more than just hold his own once the Bruins get into their conference schedule.

Connor Halliday, QB-Washington State

Starter Jeff Tuel left last week’s game with a knee injury, so Halliday should get his shot in Mike Leach’s ‘Air-Raid’ attack.

Rolandan Finch, RB-Boston College

Finch returned from injury and ran for 90 yards on 17 carries.  Expect a heavier workload next week at Northwestern.

Cody Getz, RB-Air Force

Getz proved that Week One was not a fluke by rushing for 130 yards and three touchdowns at Michigan.

Damien Williams, RB-Oklahoma

Even though Williams has only 19 carries in two weeks, his 13.7 yards-per-carry and five touchdowns cannot be ignored.

Leighton Settle, RB-Northern Illinois

Settle’s numbers have not been overly impressive, but defenses will start focusing their attention on quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia

The freshman running back has been too productive not to be given a bigger role as the season progresses.

Venric Mark, RB-Northwestern

Mark has given the Wildcats’ offense some stability at a position that was in question leading up to the season.

Alex Neutz, WR-Buffalo

If you picked up and started Neutz after we posted him onto our Emergency Starters list last Friday, you were rewarded with four touchdowns and 154 yards receiving against Morgan State.

Isaiah Burse, WR-Fresno State

Burse was another receiver that was in our Emergency Starters piece last week.  He and Davante Adams have clearly become WR#1 and WR#2 options for quarterback Derek Carr.

Austin Franklin, WR-New Mexico State

We were hesitant to pull the trigger after Franklin’s 200-yard, two touchdown game against Sacramento State to open the season, but he posted respectable numbers (5-72-1) against better competition (Ohio) in Week Two.

Jamison Crowder, WR-Duke

Crowder has posted at least six catches and 100 yards receiving in the first two weeks of the season. 

by Joe DiSalvo

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<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 2 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:51
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-2-power-rankings

After going undefeated in Week 1, the Big 12 wasn't so lucky in Week 2. Oklahoma State fell on the road to Arizona, while Kansas suffered a surprising defeat to Rice. Oklahoma and Texas had easy victories over bad competition, and TCU opened a renovated stadium with an easy victory over Grambling. Iowa State moved to 2-0 with an ugly, but crucial 9-6 victory over Iowa.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – The Mountaineers were off in Week 2, but Smith still ranks No. 1 after throwing for 323 yards and four scores in Week 1.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein has picked up where he left off last season, recording 504 yards and six touchdowns through two weeks.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle didn’t reach the endzone against Arizona but managed 193 overall yards on 31 touches.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Brown came up big against his former school (Miami) recording 10 tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery. Brown has 15 tackles through two weeks.

2. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State – Knott recorded only six tackles against the Hawkeyes but came up with arguably the biggest play of the game, picking off James Vandenberg with less than two minutes to go to seal the win.

3. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat has been steady through the first two weeks, recording 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one sack.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State – The Cyclones will have to scrap to get to another bowl, but once again, Rhoads has this team in good position after two weeks.

2. Bill Snyder, Kansas State – The schedule will get tougher over the next few weeks, but Kansas State seems to be loaded for another run at 10 victories.

3. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – The Mountaineers were off in Week 2 but had an impressive debut in Week 1 against Marshall.

Post-Week 2 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Beat Florida A&M 69-13
As expected, the Sooners had no trouble cruising to a 69-13 victory over Florida A&M in Week 2. Oklahoma hasn’t posted huge passing totals, but quarterback Landry Jones completed 19 of 28 passes for 252 yards in the win over the Rattlers. The rushing attack was a concern going into the season, but junior college recruit Damien Williams has been impressive through the first two games. One cause for concern: The offensive line. Oklahoma has allowed three sacks against two mediocre opponents. The Sooners have a bye this Saturday and return to action on Sept. 22 against Kansas State.
Next Game: Kansas State (Sept. 22)

2. Texas (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Beat New Mexico 45-0
So far, so good for the Longhorns. The passing attack still needs some work, but quarterback David Ash has thrown for 377 yards and two scores (without an interception) through the first two weeks. The biggest tests are still to come, but Texas has to be encouraged with Ash’s performance so far. As expected, the Longhorns have been strong on defense and rank eighth nationally in points allowed through two weeks.
Next Game: at Ole Miss

3. West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Did not play
After an impressive debut against Marshall, the Mountaineers had a bye in Week 2. West Virginia will return to action this Saturday, traveling to Maryland for a neutral site matchup against James Madison in Landover. The Mountaineers seem to have the offense firing on all cylinders, but the defense allowed 545 yards in the opener against the Thundering Herd. Expect West Virginia to get better on defense as the year progresses, especially as the two new co-coordinators and scheme mixes with the personnel.
Next Game: James Madison

4. TCU (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Beat Grambling 56-0
The Horned Frogs christened a renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with an impressive 56-0 rout over Grambling. Sure, the blowout was expected, but TCU quarterbacks did not throw an incompletion, while a revamped defense allowed only 70 yards. The Horned Frogs have another milestone ahead this Saturday, as they play their first game as Big 12 members against Kansas. TCU’s offense should have no trouble moving the ball against the Jayhawks, but this will be a better test for its retooled defense.
Next Game: at Kansas

5. Kansas State (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Beat Miami 52-13
The Wildcats needed a last-second defensive stand to beat Miami last season, but the 2012 matchup was a one-sided affair. Kansas State jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Quarterback Collin Klein completed 9 of 11 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown, while adding 71 yards and three scores on the ground. After allowing 418 yards to Missouri State in Week 1, Kansas State’s defense held the Hurricanes to 277 yards and forced three turnovers. Linebacker Arthur Brown had a huge game against his former team, recording 10 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.
Next Game: North Texas

6. Oklahoma State (1-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Lost to Arizona 59-38
Despite jumping out to a 14-0 lead against Arizona, the Cowboys were unable to capitalize on the momentum and suffered a 59-38 defeat. Oklahoma State outgained the Wildcats 636 to 501 but committed a ridiculous 15 penalties and lost four turnovers. Although he threw three interceptions, the Cowboys have to be pleased with freshman quarterback Wes Lunt’s performance. He threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns and certainly wasn’t the reason Oklahoma State lost. The Cowboys take on upset-minded Louisiana-Lafayette in Week 3 and open Big 12 play on Sept. 29 against Texas.
Next Game: UL Lafayette

7. Baylor (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Did not play
The Bears had their first of two bye weeks this season and did not play on Saturday. Baylor cruised to an easy 59-24 victory over SMU in Week 1 and should move to 2-0 with a favorable matchup against Sam Houston State next Saturday. The Bears have two more non-conference games before Big 12 play begins, which provides this team a few chances to work on the defense and get Nick Florence comfortable as the full-time starter.
Next Game: Sam Houston State

8. Iowa State (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Beat Iowa 9-6
It’s a clear sign of the Big 12’s depth when Iowa State ranks eighth after two weeks. The Cyclones have scored two impressive victories so far, beating one of the frontrunners for the Conference USA title (Tulsa), while knocking off in-state rival Iowa in Week 2. Quarterback Steele Jantz has been steady through the first two weeks, and the defense has made a few timely plays and forced five turnovers. Although the Cyclones have earned two tough wins to begin the season, it won’t get any easier with Big 12 play starting on Sept. 29.
Next Game: Western Illinois

9. Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Beat Texas State 58-10
The competition hasn’t been elite, but the Red Raiders are showing signs last season’s collapse is behind them. Texas Tech quickly dispatched any hopes Texas State had of an upset on Saturday, scoring 21 points in the first quarter and taking a 38-10 lead into halftime. Quarterback Seth Doege led the way against the Bobcats by throwing for 319 yards and five touchdowns, while the rushing attack generated 186 overall yards. The defense was a sore spot but has allowed just 16 points through two games. Bigger tests are ahead, but Texas Tech is off to a good start and should be 3-0 when it travels to Iowa State on Sept. 29.
Next Game: New Mexico

10. Kansas (1-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 2 result: Lost 25-24 to Rice
The Jayhawks opened up the Charlie Weis era with a victory over South Dakota State but took a step back with Saturday’s loss to Rice. Kansas was outgained by the Owls (403 to 339) and also had three turnovers. Quarterback Dayne Crist had an off performance too, completing 16 of 28 throws for 144 yards. As Saturday’s performance showed, Weis still has a lot of work to do in order to make the Jayhawks a competitive Big 12 team, and the road ahead won’t get any easier with TCU coming up next Saturday.
Next Game: TCU

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:49
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-2-recap-three-and-out-0

The first week of the season vaulted Alabama to the No. 1 spot in the polls (much to Nick Saban’s disappointment) while at the same time knocking Michigan down a few pegs.

Beyond those two teams, it was a relatively quiet first week of the season.

After Week 2, we saw some real recalibration. The defending Big 12 and Big Ten champions lost to teams that didn’t make bowl games last year, and that doesn’t count Big Ten contender Nebraska losing to UCLA, who finished 6-8 a year ago.

When the day ended, four top 20 teams lost to unranked opponents -- No. 8 Arkansas, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 16 Nebraska and No. 18 Oklahoma State. Rankings flip flopped as all four fell out of the AP top 25. Here’s what else we learned out of Week 2.


Pac-12’s new coaches.
The four new coaches in the Pac-12 went 4-0 on Saturday, and three of them picked up signature victories for early in their tenures. The most impressive performance may have been from UCLA and Jim L. Mora. The Bruins entered the fourth quarter tied with Nebraska, but Rick Neuheisel’s old players seemed to have a new toughness under Mora. UCLA picked up a safety, and Brett Hundley, who left the game briefly with an injury, threw the game-clinching touchdown pass to beat Nebraska 36-30. In Arizona, the Wildcats fell behind 14-0 early, but Arizona put up 501 yards to win 59-38. Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt, making his first road start, helped out with three interceptions, and the Cowboys picked up 167 yards in penalties. However, the Arizona backfield of Matt Scott (320 passing yards, 55 rushing yards, three total touchdowns) and Ka’Deem Carey (126 rushing yards, three touchdowns) put up Pat White/Steve Slaton-type numbers for Rich Rodriguez. Elsewhere, Arizona State coach Todd Graham took advantage of the injury to Illinois starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to win a 45-14 romp. Only Mike Leach had to sweat a little as Washington State defeated Eastern Washington 24-20.

The SEC’s old guard. Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s “Old Man Football” barb looked ill-advised by the end of the day Saturday when the SEC’s old guard of Georgia and Florida both emerged in the second half to defeat new conference members on the road. Georgia trailed or was tied for most of the first three quarters before the Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points in the second half thanks to Jarvis Jones’ forced turnovers and Aaron Murray’s three touchdown passes. Florida also clamped down to shut out Texas A&M and plucky quarterback Johnny Manziel in the second half.

Mississippi State. The knock against Dan Mullen’s tenure at Mississippi State was a winless record against SEC West opponents not named Ole Miss. The Bulldogs changed that with a 28-10 win over Auburn. Cornerback Johnthan Banks delivered on his preseason All-American credentials with two interceptions, but the Bulldogs major discovery was the play of quarterback Tyler Russell. The junior was 20 of 29 for 222 yards with three touchdowns.

Arkansas’ defense. Tyler Wilson didn’t play the second half against ULM, and John L. Smith is no Bobby Petrino. All that much is true, but the Razorbacks shouldn’t lose a game to a Sun Belt team if they fashion themselves SEC West contenders. The Hogs’ defense was atrocious in the second half against the Warhawks, blowing a 28-7 lead and allowing 550 yards. Arkansas was horrible in crunch time as ULM converted 8 of 23 third downs and 6 of 7 fourth downs, including Kolton Browning’s game-winning scramble on fourth and 1. Browning, who went to high school 55 miles outside of Dallas in Mabank, Texas, finished 42 of 68 for 410 yards with three touchdowns and an interception to go with 78 rushing yards. Browning’s 488 yards of total offense was a Sun Belt record against any major conference team, never mind an SEC team.

Big Ten. If the Big Ten thought recent New Year’s Days were bad, the second Saturday of this season was even worse. Ohio State pulled away from UCF in the second half, and Northwestern’s defense rebounded against Vanderbilt. Otherwise, Saturday was a day to forget for the Big Ten. Defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin mustered only one touchdown against Oregon State. Despite Denard Robinson’s heroics, Michigan struggled to put away Air Force. Purdue put up a good effort against Notre Dame before losing on a field goal as time expired. Without quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois lost in a rout to Arizona State. Thanks to four missed field goals, Penn State lost at Virginia. And Iowa failed to score a touchdown at home against Iowa State. With Ohio State ineligible, the winner of the Leaders Division is anyone’s guess, while the Legends looks like Michigan State’s to lose.

Injuries. The image of ambulances and stretchers on football fields were far too common in the second week of the football season, starting with Tulane safety Devon Walker suffering a broken neck after a helmet-to-helmet collision with a teammate. The injury required CPR and a tracheotomy on the field before he was taken to the hospital. Arkansas cornerback Tevin Mitchel also was carted off the field after a head-to-head collision. In less serious injury news: Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson may or not have a broken collarbone that will keep him out of Saturday’s game against Alabama. Oregon’s potential All-American safety John Boyett may also miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Indiana’s hopes of a competitive season may also be dashed with a broken leg to Tre Roberson. USC center Khaled Holmes, Missouri left tackle Elvis Fisher and Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel were among other key players leaving Saturday’s games with injuries.

Jarvis Jones, Georgia. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu finished in the top five in Heisman voting in the last three seasons. If a defensive player is going to make a Heisman push, the discussion might as well start with Jones. The Georgia linebacker had eight tackles, an interception and a sack with a forced fumble in the Bulldogs’ 41-20. His turnovers led to 14 Georgia points in the fourth quarter.

Matt Barkley, USC. The preseason Heisman favorite had an opportunity to impress East Coast voters against Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J. Though his game was uneven at times (and delayed during halftime due to weather), Barkley finished 23 of 30 for 187 yards, matching his own school record with six touchdown passes. If there was any flaw in his game, Barkley completed 21 passes to Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and only two passes to other receivers.

Collin Klein, Kansas State. Miami’s defense is flat-out bad (1,055 yards allowed in two games), but what Klein did against the Hurricanes earned plenty of buzz. Klein picked up where he left off last season in the ground game with three rushing touchdowns on 81 yards. Klein was nearly as efficient through the air, completing 9 of 11 passes for 210 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His only miscue may have been this:


61. Montee Ball’s 61 rushing yards in the 10-7 loss to Oregon State was his lowest total since Oct. 23, 2010 against Iowa. Ball also ended his streak of 21 consecutive games with a touchdown. Oregon State limited him to 2 yards or fewer on nine of his 15 carries.

200/200. Michigan had a close call in a 31-25 win over Air Force, but Denard Robinson had another standout game. A week after a disastrous start against Alabama, Robinson passed for 203 yards and rushed for 218 against the Falcons, giving him the third 200-200 game in his career. Vince Young is the only other quarterback who has accomplished the feat more than once.

0. Iowa’s failure to reach the end zone continued in a 9-6 loss to Iowa State. The Hawkeyes, who had one touchdown in the first two games this season, have not scored a touchdown in the first three quarters of a game since a 31-21 win over Purdue on Nov. 19, a span of four games.


Ohio State
Notre Dame at Michigan State
USC at Stanford
Florida at Tennessee

Spencer Benton’s 61-yard field goal. Clemson didn’t need his field goal as time expired in the first half, but Benton put his name in record book anyway in the 52-27 win over Ball State. The 61-yarder was the longest in ACC history and the first 60-yarder in more than two seasons.

Louisiana Tech 56, Houston 49. Houston forced offensive coordinator Michael Nesbitt to resign after last week’s loss to Texas State. Whatever changed as a result brought about instant results, at least as far as offense is concerned. Houston quarterback David Piland was 53 of 77 (six short of Drew Brees’ record of 83 attempts) for 581 yards before a fourth-quarter comeback bid fell short. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech was the favorite in the WAC, but the Bulldogs’ allowed 692 yards.

Stephen F. Austin’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Sorry Arkansas and Auburn, your team did not have the worst day in college football. That belongs to Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks had 10 turnovers against SMU, a feat that included six interceptions and four fumbles. And if that’s not enough, Stephen F. Austin had two field goals blocked. Not surprisingly, SMU won 52-0.

Florida. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel looked like a future star in the first half of his first career start, but Florida’s defense contained him in the second. Florida limited the Aggies to to 46 yards in the second half, shorter than any single possession in the first.

Rice. A new coach and a new quarterback brought similar results for Kansas. The Jayhawks led 24-13 in the third quarter, but a Bryce Callahan interception of Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist, a 93-yard touchdown drive from quarterback Taylor McHargue and a 45-yard field goal from Chris Boswell as time ran out gave Rice a 25-24 win.

USF. The Bulls eased the memory of losing five consecutive one-score games in  the second half of last season with a late burst at Nevada. Despite game-ending knee injuries to the Bulls’ best receiver (Sterling Griffin) and cornerback (Kayvon Webster), USF answered with two touchdowns in the final 2:55. Quarterback B.J. Daniels completed touchdown passes of 52 and 56 yards for the win.


Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's team is ranked 115th nationally in rush defense.

Bo Pelini, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers didn’t have Rex Burkhead this week, but more of the focus may be on the Nebraska defense. UCLA rolled up 638 yards despite not having quarterback Brett Hundley for a stretch in the second half. A week after an impressive passing performance, quarterback Taylor Martinez reverted to his old self, going 17 of 32 for 180 yards with an interception. UCLA sacked him four times. Pelini’s not known for a sunny disposition, for starters. With a struggling defense and quarterback, don’t look for that to improve.

Gene Chizik, Auburn. Without Cam Newton taking snaps, Chizik is 16-12 at Auburn, including 2-8 on the road and 7-10 against the SEC. This week, Chizik have to answer for the loss to Mississippi State and keeping Kiehl Frazier in the game even though he says backup Clint Moseley is healthy.

John L. Smith, Arkansas. Bobby Petrino’s absence was felt earlier than anyone could have expected as the Razorbacks lost 34-31 to ULM in overtime. Sure, Arkansas didn’t have Tyler Wilson for the second half, but the Hogs were outgained 557-397, thanks primarily to Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning.

Sam Ficken, Penn State. He wasn’t even supposed to be the Nittany Lions’ main kicker this season, but Anthony Fera’s departure left him in the lurch against Virginia. Ficken left 13 points on the field in a 17-16 loss at Virginia. Ficken went 1 of 5 on field goals and had an extra point blocked. Ficken missed field goals of 40, 38, 20 and 42 yards, the final one as time expired.

Kiehl Frazier, Auburn. Cam Newton he is not. Frazier accounted for all five of Auburn’s turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) in the loss to Mississippi State on Saturday. He’s 16 of 39 passing on the season.

Jon Embree, Colorado. A week after losing to Colorado State, the Buffaloes blew a fourth quarter lead to lose 30-28 to Sacramento State of the FCS. Making matters worse, Colorado State followed its win over the Buffs by losing 22-7 to North Dakota State, a team ranked No. 1 in the FCS coaches’ poll. Embree is 3-12 as Colorado’s coach.

Tommy Rees, Notre Dame. The embattled former starter entered Notre Dame’s game on the final possession to lead a two-minute drive in place of Everett Golson, who hurt his hand and had trouble gripping the ball. Even without tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion), Rees converted two third downs to set up the game-winning 27-yard field goal in a 20-17 victory over Purdue. His final line (3 of 8) wasn’t great, but he didn’t turn the ball over in the red zone in a critical situation, either.

David Amerson, NC State. Tennessee twice burned the preseason All-American and Thorpe finalist for touchdowns in the opener, but in the second game he recorded one of NC State’s three interceptions against Connecticut. Then, he broke up a pass on UConn’s final drive of the Wolfpack’s 10-7 win.

Maryland. Defeating Temple shouldn’t be a big moment for an ACC team, but it was Saturday for Randy Edsall’s Terrapins. Maryland nearly gave it away, leading by 23 at halftime before Temple narrowed the lead to 2 in the fourth quarter. With a 36-27 win, Maryland upset a team favored by 10, matched its 2011 win total and defeated its first FBS team in more than a year.

by David Fox


<p> College Football Week 2 Recap: Three and Out</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 12:07
All taxonomy terms: Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR, News
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-12-drivers-2012-chase-sprint-cup
The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup field—12 drivers in all—is finally set.
The final wild-card spot was earned in dramatic fashion last night at Richmond International Raceway, when Jeff Gordon squeaked into the 12th slot.
Notable names such as Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards didn't make this year's cut, after a grueling 26-week season that began in late-February with the Daytona 500. 
Here are the 12 drivers who will vie for the 2012 title over the next 10 races.
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Tony Stewart
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Greg Biffle
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Martin Truex Jr.
11. Kasey Kahne
12. Jeff Gordon
<br />
Post date: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 11:20
Path: /nfl/robert-griffin-iii-expect-top-12-fantasy-performance-redskins-qb

Robert Griffin III (aka RG3) makes his debut at New Orleans in Week 1 in a game that seems to be getting labeled the shootout of the week. Of course, this probably means it will be the dud of the week. 

But you do have the new Washington Redskins quarterback in the Superdome trying to keep up with a team that scored 34.2 points per game last year (2nd) while allowing 21.2 (20th).

Washington, meanwhile, allowed 22.9 (12th) while scoring 18 (26th). It’s the latter where Griffin is expected to be able to help the Redskins make a marked improvement on and it begins Sunday in New Orleans.

He will be a top-12 fantasy quarterback when Week 1 comes to an end.

New Orleans was generous to rookie QBs a year ago — facing them four times for an average of 196 yards passing, 32.3 yards on the ground with eight TDs and three interceptions. 

The Saints allowed four rookies to throw for at least one touchdown last season, and they allowed 193 yards and two scores on the ground to opposing QBs a year ago. All three top performances came from rookies as Cam Newton had 59 yards and a score in two game, Jake Locker had 36 yards and a score and Christian Ponder rushed for 34 yards.

It comes out to an average of 23.04 points for the four rookies.

I would be happy with a 23-point day from RGIII in his NFL debut.

RGIII has a stable of receivers to throw to — Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss — and a stable of pass-catching backs — Evan Royster, Roy Helu and Alfred Morris. He also has the ability to pull it down and run himself.

Expect a shootout of a game where each team scores at least 20. That happened to the Saints in half of their games last season, and opposing QBs averaged 283 yards and 2.1 touchdown passes with five total interceptions in those eight games.

Washington might be on the 20-point end of the shootout, while New Orleans is on the 40-point side, but that doesn’t matter in fantasy. What matters is RGIII can help you and the Redskins score 20 on the way there and be considered a top-12 start in Week 1.

—by Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 09:24
Path: /nfl/trent-richardson-dont-start-browns-running-back-week-1

Do something Trent Richardson was not able to do in preseason games in 2012 — run!

Run from starting the Cleveland Browns’ rookie running back in any capacity in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Take away the fact that a knee injury kept him off the field during the four preseason games. Take away that it was his second knee surgery in six months. Take away that he has been limited in practice this week leading up to his highly anticipated debut.

Richardson’s knee is an issue — one that allowed him to participate in just the first 10 days of training camp — but what surrounds his team in this game is the bigger issue.

The issues are these:

Quarterback Brandon Weeden. No proven pass catchers. A Browns run defense that was eighth-worst against fantasy running backs. Facing an Eagles team that was a top-13 fantasy team at the quarterback (9), running back (12), receiver (9), tight end (13) and defense (8) positions last season.

They are all issues because you have an already unhealthy back that should be in no position to succeed in a game where the Eagles should lead comfortably.

Weeden is a rookie himself and will face one of the deepest pass rushing groups in the league — one that tied for a league-leading 50 sacks a season ago. Cleveland was 23rd in the league with 162 receptions from its receivers and ranked second to last with eight touchdowns from that group.

There are plenty more playmakers on the Philadelphia side that have the oddsmakers favoring the Eagles by nine.  Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek and the Eagles defense/special teams will be the ones coming out of this game in a favorable fantasy light.

The only plus for Richardson is that the Eagles were 24th against fantasy RBs last season. But were he cleared to play, it is expected that it would be in a limited capacity. Maybe he would be better served to make his debut against rival Cincinnati next week and its 16th-ranked fantasy defense against running backs from a year ago. Or better yet, get fully healthy and take on a Buffalo defense in Week 3 that, while they have bolstered their roster on that side of the ball, were 29th against fantasy backs last season. 

If you drafted Richardson — which you probably did pretty early — you don’t want to see him on the sideline long. But you also don’t want to see him on the field too soon and suffer another setback. Sit him, as the Browns should this week and get ready for the Bengals.

As an aside, the Browns are 1-11-1 against the spread in season openers.

—by Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 09:00
Path: /nfl/maurice-jones-drew-good-flex-option-week-1-0

Maurice Jones-Drew had a 38-day holdout, missed training camp, missed preseason and as Week 1 is upon us, he is expected to be a third-down back for Jacksonville at Minnesota today.

So what do we do with the league’s returning leading rusher (1,606 yards), who also missed the 2011 preseason after a knee injury and went out and did what he did on the bum knee the rest of the season?

You play MJD as a flex. 

Like his counterpart across the field, Adrian Peterson, who, if he plays, is also said to be on a limited snap count as he comes back from a torn ACL and MCL, these two are going to be needed to win the opening game for their team.

MJD is healthy, and while he may not be in “football shape,” there are statistical advantages for him if he is reserved to a third-down role — which is unlikely that’s all it is if he is active.

The Vikings were 14th-best against fantasy running backs last season at 21 points per game but were tied for ninth with the fewest rushing touchdowns allowed (eight). Where it becomes interesting in regards to Jones-Drew’s role as potentially only a third-down back is what he can do as a receiver and what Minnesota allowed RBs to do as receivers last season.

The Vikings allowed five receiving touchdowns to backs last season — tied for second-most in the league — and MJD had three receiving touchdowns last season — tied for second-most in the league. His three scores came in back-to-back weeks against San Diego and Tampa Bay in Weeks 13 and 14

Jones-Drew caught his last two scoring passes from Blaine Gabbert on third-and-four plays from the 5. His receiving TD against San Diego came on a second-and-eight from the 9.

If the Jags get near the goal line, chances are it is MJD that is either punching it in or catching a pass and taking it in to the end zone. 

Gabbert threw 12 touchdown passes last season — five coming from inside the 10; MJD caught three of them. Gabbert threw nine of the 12 inside the red zone. MJD caught three of them and five of the other six are by players no longer on active rosters.

Of MJD’s eight rushing touchdowns, six came from inside the 6, one from 10 and the other from 21 in the season opener.

That’s 10 of his 11 scores coming from inside the 10 — and he accounted for 11 of the team’s 21 offensive scores last season.

It depends on what you want from a flex in regards to points, but the potential for a 12-point day in limited work is pretty appealing.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 08:50
Path: /fantasy/pierre-garcon-or-vincent-jackson-whos-better-week-1

Pierre GarconWhich big free-agent receiver signing will you go with in Week 1? 

Will it be Washington Redskins top receiver, Pierre Garcon? Or will you go with the receiver that had success on the West coast and hopes to keep it going in the Gulf coast in Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson?

For matchup and necessity purposes, roll with Garcon in Week 1.

It is expected that Washington will be in a shootout with host New Orleans today, and Garcon is slated to be rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s top target and deep threat. Garcon goes against a 30th-ranked pass defense from a year ago that allowed 24 TDs through the air.

The same can be said for Jackson in Tampa Bay. He is expected to be the top target and the deep target and go against a bad pass defense.

Carolina’s was 24th in passing yards allowed per game (246.8) and 25th in TDs allowed (28). In half-point PPR scoring, the Panthers allowed 11 receivers to have double-digit days. However, Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay and New Orleans receivers, all top eight passing offenses a year ago, accounted for seven of the 11 double-digit outputs.

It is expected that Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble will cover Jackson. Gamble allowed 27 catches and two scores on the 60 times he was thrown at, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked him as the 17th-best cornerback last season. Not too shabby for a player in a division with the Falcons and Saints.

Now the Panthers face a Tampa Bay offense that many assume will be run, run, run and more run from new coach Greg Schiano. The Buccaneers were 16th in passing yards per game last season (228.1) and 26th in TD passes (17). Meanwhile, Carolina was 24th against the run in the NFL last season (246.8 yards per game).

Jackson was the big free-agent signing for Tampa Bay in the offseason, but on a team that is run first and will take its shots when it can, I’d rather roll with the team that is likely to be in a higher-scoring affair and must throw to keep pace.

Even if the Buccaneers get gashed on the ground and have to go to the air to keep up, I’d rather not gamble on the guy facing Gamble to get me the trash points late.

Give me Garcon for Week 1 and monitor Jackson’s progress in the opener. If he has success against Gamble or is targeted frequently, it will be a sign that perhaps it is not all ground and pound in Tampa.

—Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Post date: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 07:30
Path: /nfl/pittsburgh-steelers-and-denver-broncos-preview

He’s back. Peyton Manning will return to the NFL gridiron Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. EST on NBC, as the Denver Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a much-anticipated matchup that could set a regular-season ratings record. The four-time MVP quarterback has recovered from multiple neck surgeries and will try to lead Broncos back to the playoffs, where they ended the Steelers season a year ago. Pittsburgh will be extremely motivated to revenge that painful 29-23 overtime loss, while Denver will have to adjust to Manning on offense and new coordinator Jack Del Rio on defense.

When the Denver Broncos have the ball:
We all know what Manning can do when healthy, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to develop chemistry with receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. The good news for No. 18 is that he will have quality offensive line and running game for the first time in almost a decade. Veteran runner Willis McGahee should take some pressure off Manning while the passing game develops.

The Steelers defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season, giving up the fewest yards (271.8 per game) and points (14.2 per game) in the league. However the heralded Pittsburgh unit played its worst game of the season in the playoff loss to Denver, as intrepid coordinator Dick LeBeau faced rare criticism for his scheme in that game. It will be a different challenge against Manning, and the Steelers will be without the services of safety Ryan Clark (his sickle cell trait is a higher risk in Denver’s elevation) and linebacker James Harrison.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers have the ball:
Ben Roethlisberger will be the focal point of the Pittsburgh attack once again, and he has two 1,100-yard receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Big Ben will need better offensive line play after being sacked 40 times last year, but he also needs to get rid of the ball quicker. The Steelers run game is a question mark with top back Rashard Mendenhall still recovering from a knee injury, so expect to see both Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer tote the rock.

The Broncos defense will look for more consistency this season, and that will start by trying to force more turnovers. Denver only had 18 takeaways last year, compared to 28 for Del Rio’s old club in Jacksonville. The good news is that the Broncos can get to opposing quarterbacks, with pass rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil combining for 21 of Denver’s 42 sacks in 2011.

Key Factor:
The adjustment to new players and coordinators will be critical on Sunday night. Manning’s rhythm passing usually takes a couple of games to get going, and Del Rio brings a new voice to the Denver defense. The Steelers have a new offensive coordinator in Todd Haley, and the defense will miss Clark and Harrison. But in a low-scoring affair, we’ll take the Pittsburgh defense to rebound in Denver and lead the way to an emotional win.

Steelers 20 Broncos 17

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos Preview</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 08:00
Path: /nfl/10-things-journalists-should-avoid-when-michael-vick-goes-dawg-pound

As Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick heads to the Cleveland Browns' "Dawg Pound" on Sunday in Week 1, journalist should watch what they write and say. Here's our quick list of 10 things writers should avoid before covering the game.

Headlines to Avoid 

1. “Vick Electrifies Dawg Pound”

2. “Vick Shows Killer Instinct at Dawg Pound”

3. “Vick Bad Newz for Dawg Pound”


Words to Avoid

4. “Slaughter”

5. “Maul”

6. “Dogfight”

7. "Beat"

8. "Whipped"


Subjects to Avoid

9. Michael Vick’s dogfighting conviction

10. The Cleveland Browns’ chances in 2012


Topic of Conversation That Might Actually Work Better

• Art Modell’s death

<p> Journalists should watch what they write and say when Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick plays at the Cleveland Browns' "Dawg Pound" on Sunday in Week 1.</p>
Post date: Friday, September 7, 2012 - 15:41