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All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-12

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

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU at DET (Thurs.) Held to just 2.8 ypc last week vs. Jaguars.
2 Ray Rice BAL at SD Only 2 100-yard games, 7 TDs on season.
3 Adrian Peterson MIN at CHI Leading rusher vs. Bears D should be fun.
4 Marshawn Lynch SEA at MIA Miami: 132.2 rushing ypg allowed over last 5.
5 Chris Johnson TEN at JAC Has 90+ rushing yds in 6 of last 7 games.
6 Doug Martin TB vs. ATL Falcons 26th against run.
7 C.J. Spiller BUF at IND Had 130 total yards vs. Dolphins last week.
8 Stevan Ridley NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Only 65 yards rushing vs. Jets in Week 7.
9 Jamaal Charles KC vs. DEN Broncos are No. 7 against run.
10 Frank Gore SF at NO Saints allowing third-most fantasy pts. to RBs.
11 Matt Forte CHI vs. MIN Only 3 TDs on season.
12 Alfred Morris WAS at DAL (Thurs.) No touchdowns in last four games.
13 Trent Richardson CLE vs. PIT T-Rich faces Steel Curtain for first time.
14 Ryan Mathews SD vs. BAL Played through neck injury vs. Broncos.
15 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. GB Hoping for better health off of bye.
16 Ronnie Hillman DEN at KC Should get start with McGahee (torn MCL) out.
17 Steven Jackson STL at ARI Has 182 yards rushing in last two games.
18 Reggie Bush MIA vs. SEA Only 20 yards on 10 carries vs. Bills.
19 Michael Turner ATL at TB Bucs are No. 1 against run.
20 Mikel Leshoure DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Texans have not allowed a rushing TD.
21 Marcel Reece OAK at CIN Piled up 193 total yards vs. Saints.
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. OAK Raiders gave up 153 yards rushing to Saints.
23 Jonathan Dwyer PIT at CLE Led Steelers in carries and yards last week.
24 Felix Jones DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Reaggravated knee injury last week, watch status.
25 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. NE (Thurs.) Greene could cede more carries to Powell.
26 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI vs. STL Had season-high 127 yards vs. Falcons.
27 Jalen Parmele JAC vs. TEN Earns start after gaining 80 yards vs. Texans.
28 James Starks GB at NYG Picked up 74 yards as lead back last week.
29 Vick Ballard IND vs. BUF Bills are second-worst against run.
30 Bryce Brown PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) In line to start if McCoy (concussion) can't go.
31 Jonathan Stewart CAR at PHI (Mon.) Scored first rushing TD of season last week.
32 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Sustained concussion, watch status closely.
33 Darren Sproles NO vs. SF Deactivated (hand) late last week, monitor.
34 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at CLE Rushes for 33 yards in return from injury.
35 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. SEA Out-gained (33 to 20) Bush last week.
36 Mark Ingram NO vs. SF Has back-to-back 67-yard efforts.
37 Fred Jackson BUF at IND Status (concussion) uncertain for this week.
38 Beanie Wells ARI vs. STL Set to return from IR (toe) this week.
39 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at TB Bucs have allowed 60 catches by RBs.
40 Kendall Hunter SF at NO Scored second TD of season vs. Bears.
41 Andre Brown NYG vs. GB Has 7 TDs in nine games.
42 Danny Woodhead NE at NYJ (Thurs.) No carries or receptions against Colts.
43 Pierre Thomas NO vs. SF Seeing fewer carries with Ingram's emergence.
44 Lance Dunbar DAL vs. WAS Could be starter if Jones (knee) can't go.
45 Lance Ball DEN at KC Will either backup or share carries with Hillman.
46 Chris Ivory NO vs. SF Role will be reduced once Sproles returns.
47 DeAngelo Williams CAR at PHI (Mon.) Only 18 yards on 7 carries last week.
48 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Considered doubtful for Thanksgiving game.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:58
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-12

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

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Has 129+ yards in 3 straight games, TDs in 2.
2 A.J. Green CIN vs. OAK Has scored a TD in 9 straight games.
3 Reggie Wayne IND vs. BUF Bills have yielded 19 TD catches to WRs.
4 Victor Cruz NYG vs. GB No TDs in past three games.
5 Roddy White ATL at TB Three straight 100-yard games.
6 Demaryius Thomas DEN at KC Chiefs giving up 13.7 yards per catch.
7 Vincent Jackson TB vs. ATL Leads league with 20.5 ypc.
8 Wes Welker NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Has no TDs and 80 yards or less in last four.
9 Andre Johnson HOU at DET (Thurs.) Exploded for 14-273-1 vs. Jaguars.
10 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. MIN His TD only bright spot vs. 49ers.
11 Percy Harvin MIN at CHI Hoping to play (ankle), watch status.
12 Marques Colston NO vs. SF 49ers ranked second in league against pass.
13 Eric Decker DEN at KC Chiefs have yielded fewest rec. (83) to WRs.
14 Randall Cobb GB at NYG Has caught a TD pass in four straight.
15 Jordy Nelson GB at NYG Giants have given up 15 TD rec. to WRs.
16 Steve Smith CAR at PHI (Mon.) Still only 1 TD catch on season.
17 Julio Jones ATL at TB Left game last week w/ ankle injury, watch status.
18 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. STL Cardinals' QB issues hurting Fitz's production.
19 Dez Bryant DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Season-high 145 yards vs. Browns.
20 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. GB Should be rested, ready to go off of bye.
21 Miles Austin DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Redskins allowing fourth-most pts. to WRs.
22 Denarius Moore OAK at CIN Held to one catch for 9 yds. vs. Saints
23 Stevie Johnson BUF at IND Has yet to post 100-yard game.
24 Danny Amendola STL at ARI Injured his foot, but returned vs. Jets.
25 Torrey Smith BAL at SD Only one catch on seven targets vs. Steelers.
26 Mike Wallace PIT at CLE Has only one 100-yard game so far.
27 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. DEN Suffered neck injury last week, watch status.
28 Kenny Britt TEN at JAC Jags gave up 500+ passing yards to Texans.
29 Michael Crabtree SF at NO Has four TD catches over last three games.
30 Malcom Floyd SD vs. BAL Leads Chargers with 43 catches, but just 3 TDs.
31 Brandon Lloyd NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Has caught a TD pass in only 2 of 10 games.
32 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Caught just 2 passes from Foles last week.
33 James Jones GB at NYG Leads Packers with 8 TD catches.
34 Sidney Rice SEA at MIA Has four TD receptions in last three games.
35 Brian Hartline MIA at CHI Seahawks allowing second-fewest pts. to WRs.
36 Mike Williams TB vs. ATL Falcons have only given up 6 TD catches to WRs.
37 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at CIN Played through hamstring issue last week.
38 Cecil Shorts JAC vs. TEN Averaged 27 ypc with a TD vs. Texans.
39 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Didn't catch a single pass from Foles last week.
40 Lance Moore NO vs. SF Made most of 2 catches (2 TDs) vs. Raiders.
41 Danario Alexander SD vs. BAL Posted 7-96-2 last week against Broncos.
42 Nate Washington TEN at JAC Has only one game with more than 69 yds.
43 Brandon LaFell CAR at PHI (Mon.) Had season-high 93 yards last week vs. Bucs.
44 T.Y. Hilton IND vs. BUF Stepped up big (6-100-2) in Avery's absence.
45 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. TEN Showed up big (7-236-1) against Texans.
46 Ryan Broyles DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Should have bigger role with Young suspended.
47 Donnie Avery IND vs. BUF Left game last week w/ concussion, watch status.
48 Kendall Wright TEN at JAC Leads all rookies with 43 receptions.
49 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. NE (Thurs.) Averaging 15.2 yards per reception.
50 Anquan Boldin BAL at SD His only TD catch came in Week 1.
51 Davone Bess MIA vs. SEA Caught first TD pass of season last week vs. Bills.
52 Andre Roberts ARI vs. STL Has one TD catch in last six games.
53 Pierre Garcon WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Finally returned from injury, had 3 receptions.
54 Golden Tate SEA at MIA Only 26 receptions, but 6 TDs.
55 Santana Moss WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Caught one pass, but it was 61-yard TD.
56 Emmanuel Sanders PIT at CLE Led Steelers with 82 yards receiving last week.
57 Laurent Robinson JAC vs. TEN No catches last week as Blackmon, Shorts took over.
58 Chris Givens STL at ARI Cardinals are 6th against the pass.
59 Leonard Hankerson WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Has 2 or fewer receptions in 6 of 10 games.
60 Josh Gordon CLE vs. PIT Steelers surrendering fewest fantasy points to WRs.
61 Brandon Stokley DEN at KC Has four catches and a TD in each of past 2 games.
62 Greg Little CLE vs. PIT Just two TD catches on the season.
63 Harry Douglas ATL at TB Has shown he can produce when called on.
64 Donald Jones BUF at IND Colts have yielded 14 TD receptions to WRs.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:57
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-12

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

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. SF Has caught a TD pass in four straight games.
2 Jason Witten DAL vs. WAS (Thurs.) Redskins giving up second-most fantasy pts. to TEs.
3 Tony Gonzalez ATL at TB Tied a season-low with 3 catches vs. Cardinals.
4 Aaron Hernandez NE at NYJ (Thurs.) Needed more now that Gronk (forearm) is out.
5 Owen Daniels HOU at DET (Thurs.) Has at least 3 receptions in every game he's played.
6 Antonio Gates SD vs. BAL Ravens have surrendered just one TD catch to TEs.
7 Vernon Davis SF at NO Posted best numbers (6-83-1) in 5 games last week.
8 Greg Olsen CAR at PHI (Mon.) Averaging 13.1 yards per catch over last 2 games.
9 Heath Miller PIT at CLE Browns allowing fewest fantasy points to TEs.
10 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. OAK Averaging 12.0 ypc on the season.
11 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. HOU (Thurs.) Has 46 catches, but only 2 TDs.
12 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. GB Hasn't caught a TD since Week 3.
13 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. NE (Thurs.) Patriots allowing third-most fantasy points to TEs.
14 Brent Celek PHI vs. CAR (Mon.) Tied for team lead in targets (8) last week.
15 Brandon Myers OAK at CIN Has three TD receptions in over last three games.
16 Jermichael Finley GB at NYG Caught second TD pass of season last week.
17 Scott Chandler BUF at IND Has only 2 TD catches against teams other than NE.
18 Jared Cook TEN at JAC Jaguars have only given up 2 TD receptions to TEs.
19 Dwayne Allen IND vs. BUF Fleener (shoulder) could return this week.
20 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. TEN Hauled in 2 TDs vs. Texans, Titans have given up 7.
21 Jacob Tamme DEN at KC His only TD catch came back in Week 1.
22 Dennis Pitta BAL at SD Sustained possible concussion last week, monitor.
23 Dallas Clark TB vs. ATL Had best game (7-58-1) of season last week.
24 Joel Dreessen DEN at KC Has just one TD reception in last 5 games.
25 Logan Paulsen WAS at DAL (Thurs.) Only reception last week went for TD.
26 Anthony Fasano MIA vs. SEA Has just one catch in each of last 4 games.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-12

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

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Matt Bryant ATL at TB
2 Stephen Gostkowski NE at NYJ (Thurs.)
3 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at CIN
4 Justin Tucker BAL at SD
5 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. GB
6 Blair Walsh MIN at CHI
7 David Akers SF at NO
8 Greg Zuerlein STL at ARI
9 Jason Hanson DET vs. HOU (Thurs.)
10 Connor Barth TB vs. ATL
11 Adam Vinatieri IND vs. BUF
12 Mike Nugent CIN vs. OAK
13 Rob Bironas TEN at JAC
14 Robbie Gould CHI vs. MIN
15 Shayne Graham HOU at DET (Thurs.)
16 Matt Prater DEN at KC

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-12

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

2012 NFL Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Denver Broncos at KC No. 2 scoring DST gets vs. team w/ most turnovers (31).
2 St. Louis Rams at ARI Held Cardinals to 3 points w/ 9 sacks in Week 5 win.
3 San Francisco 49ers at NO 49ers dominant (7 PA, 6 sacks, 2 INTs, safety) vs. Bears.
4 Seattle Seahawks at MIA Seahawks are No. 3 in total, pass defense, No. 2 in scoring.
5 Chicago Bears vs. MIN Season-worst 32 points, only 2 sacks in loss to 49ers.
6 Houston Texans at DET (Thurs.) Allowed season-high 458 yards against Jaguars.
7 Pittsburgh Steelers at CLE No. 1 in total defense, No. 26 in fantasy scoring.
8 Baltimore Ravens at SD Chargers have 14 turnovers in last five games.
9 Arizona Cardinals vs. STL Picked off Matt Ryan five times last week.
10 Minnesota Vikings at CHI Bears offense hopes to get Cutler (concussion) back.
11 New England Patriots at NYJ (Thurs.) Three INTs, three defensive/special teams TDs vs. Colts.
12 Cleveland Browns vs. PIT Charlie Batch starting at QB for Steelers.
13 Cincinnati Bengals vs. OAK Bengals have allowed 19 points, have 7 sacks in last 2 G.
14 Green Bay Packers at NYG Packers put up 5 sacks, 4 takeaways, TD vs. Lions.
15 Atlanta Falcons at TB Falcons held Cardinals to 41 yards passing last week.
16 New York Giants vs. GB No. 25 passing defense gets shot at Rodgers, Packers.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 12 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 12 Waiver Wire

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-13-plays

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

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

Week 13

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

Texas Tech vs Baylor

Line:  Baylor -2.5(O/U-78)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 41-38

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, WR-Terrance Williams)

Texas Tech (QB-Seth Doege, WRs-Eric Ward, Darrin Moore)

Also consider:

Baylor (RBs-Lache Seastrunk, Glasco Martin, WR-Tevin Reese)

Texas Tech (RB-Kenny Williams, K-Ryan Bustin)

theCFFsite projects:  Baylor 48-42


Oklahoma St at Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -7.5(O/U-72.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 40-33

Best plays:

Oklahoma (QB-Landry Jones, RB-Damien Williams, WR-Kenny Stills)

Oklahoma St (QB-Clint Chelf, RB-Joseph Randle, WR-Josh Stewart)

Also consider:

Oklahoma (WRs-Justin Brown, Jalen Saunders)

Oklahoma St (WRs-Isaiah Anderson, Charlie Moore, K-Quinn Sharp)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 31-28


Marshall at East Carolina

Line:  Marshall -3.5(O/U-76)

Projected score based on point spread:  Marshall 40-37

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Tommy Shuler, Antavious Wilson)

East Carolina (QB-Shane Carden, WR-Justin Hardy)

Also consider:

Marshall (RB-Kevin Grooms, TE-Gator Hoskins)

East Carolina (RB-Vintavious Cooper)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 38-34


Louisiana Tech at San Jose State

Line:  Louisiana Tech -5(O/U-75)

Projected score based on point spread:  LA Tech 40-35

Best plays:

Louisiana Tech (QB-Colby Cameron, RB-Kenneth Dixon, WR-Quinton Patton)

San Jose St (QB-David Fales, WRs-Noel Grigsby, TE-Ryan Otten)

Also consider:

Louisiana Tech (RB-Ray Holley, WR-Myles White, K-Matt Nelson)

San Jose St (DeLeon Eskridge, WR-Chandler Jones)

theCFFsite projects:  Louisiana Tech 45-31


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

Auburn at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -31(O/U-46)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 39-8

Stay away from:

Auburn (RB-Tre Mason, WR-Emory Blake)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 38-10


Idaho at Utah St

Line:  Utah St -39(O/U-57.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Utah St 49-9

Stay away from:

Idaho (WR-Mike Scott)

theCFFsite projects:  Utah St 49-10


BYU at New Mexico St

Line:  BYU -29(O/U-48.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  BYU 39-10

Stay away from:

New Mexico St (WR-Kemonte Bateman)

theCFFsite projects:  BYU 45-14


Utah at Colorado

Line:  Utah -23(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Utah 38-15

Stay away from:

Colorado (RB-Christian Powell)

theCFFsite projects:  Utah 31-10


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Michigan at Ohio St

Line:  Ohio St -4(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio St 29-25

What’s at stake:   The Buckeyes are playing for an undefeated season, while the Wolverines need a win and a Nebraska loss to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio St 27-21


Stanford at UCLA

Line:  Stanford -2(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Stanford 28-26

What’s at stake:   If UCLA wins, they get Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game, but a Bruins loss will result in a rematch next week in the conference title game.

theCFFsite projects:  Stanford 31-17


Florida at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -6(O/U-NA)

Projected score based on point spread:  N/A

What’s at stake:   An outside shot to play in the BCS Championship Game.

theCFFsite projects:  Florida 24-20


Notre Dame at USC

Line:  Notre Dame -6(O/U-NA)

Projected score based on point spread:  N/A

What’s at stake:   A win by the Irish lands them in the BCS Championship Game.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 31-14


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (22-17)  ATS: (18-21)

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


by Joe DiSalvo

Find us on facebook

Follow us on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email us:   [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 13 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 04:52
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-every-game-week-12-0

NFL Week 12 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Redskins (4-6) at Cowboys (5-5)
DeMarco Murray (foot) and Tyron Smith (ankle) are both expected to miss this traditional rivalry game between the Skins and Boys, while RG3 is making his first Thanksgiving Day appearance.
Cowboys by 1

Texans (9-1) at Lions (4-6)
Detroit is 3–10 on Thanksgiving Day since Barry Sanders retired prior to the 1999 season.
Texans by 5

Patriots (7-3) at Jets (4-6)
New England has a perfect 18–0 regular-season record in the second half of the season since 2010. New York is 9–9 over that same stretch.
Patriots by 9

Titans (4-6) at Jaguars (1-9)
Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert were selected Nos. 8 and 10 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. But Gabbert has been benched for Chad Henne.
Titans by 4

Bills (4-6) at Colts (6-4)
Andrew Luck looks to bounce back against a Buffalo team coming off a win and 10-day break.
Colts by 4

Steelers (6-4) at Browns (2-8)
Cleveland is 1–9 against Pittsburgh over its last 10 meetings with the AFC North heavyweight.
Steelers by 5

Raiders (3-7) at Bengals (5-5)
Cincy’s roller-coaster season started 3–1, went into an 0–4 slump and is now on a 2–0 run.
Bengals by 6

Broncos (7-3) at Chiefs (1-9)
Von Miller enters Derrick Thomas country having just joined Reggie White, Jevon Kearse and Dwight Freeney as the only players with 11 or more sacks in each of their first two seasons.
Broncos by 12

Seahawks (6-4) at Dolphins (4-6)
Miami a miserable 9-for-34 on third downs over current three-game losing streak.
Dolphins by 2

Falcons (9-1) at Buccaneers (6-4)
Matt Ryan has a 6–2 record against the Bucs, but just a 2–2 mark on the road in Tampa Bay.
Falcons by 6

Vikings (6-4) at Bears (7-3)
Jay Cutler (concussion) “feels good” but “felt bad” for Jason Campbell on Monday night.
Bears by 1

Ravens (8-2) at Chargers (4-6)
Baltimore ball-hawk Ed Reed had his one game suspension overturned and will be playing center field against Bolts knuckleballer Philip Rivers.
Ravens by 2

Rams (3-6-1) at Cardinals (4-6)
Arizona’s six-game winless drought started with a 17–3 loss at St. Louis on Thursday in Week 5.
Cardinals by 2

49ers (7-2-1) at Saints (5-5)
San Fran’s Aldon Smith notched 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on Monday night. N’awlins’ Drew Brees won’t be so easy to take down.
49ers by 2

Packers (7-3) at Giants (6-4)
The last time these two powers met, New York shocked No. 1-seed Green Bay, 37–20, at Lambeau Field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Giants by 1

Panthers (2-8) at Eagles (3-7)
Carolina has held a fourth-quarter lead in five of its last six losses. Meanwhile, Philly has lost six straight in a variety of embarrassing ways.
Eagles by 1

Last week: 12–2 // Season: 110–50

<p> NFL Picks, Every Game: Week 12, including Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots at New York Jets, Green Bay Packers at New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 18:11
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-going-week-12

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams — from the best, the one-loss Houston Texans, to the worst, the miserable one-win Kansas City Chiefs.

Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 11 of the season:

1. Texans (9-1) Matt Schaub flirts with Norm Van Brocklin record.

2. Falcons (9-1) Ryan first QB to win with five INTs, no TDs since ’67.

3. 49ers (7-2-1) Colin Kaepernick definitely ready for prime time.

4. Packers (7-3) Aaron Rodgers improves to 8–1 against Detroit.

5. Ravens (8-2) Earn third straight win over Steelers at Heinz Field.

6. Patriots (7-3) Rob Gronkowski out 4-to-6 weeks with broken arm.

7. Broncos (7-3) Von Miller a dancing sack-machine vs. Bolts.

8. Bears (7-3) Jason Campbell ambushed by Niners in MNF loss.

9. Giants (6-4) Big Blue Wrecking Crew well-rested for Green Bay.

10. Steelers (6-4) Re-sign former Steeler (2000-04) Plaxico Burress.

11. Vikings (6-4) Adrian Peterson “can still get stronger” after bye.

12. Seahawks (6-4) Pete Carroll uses bye to solve third-down issues.

13. Colts (6-4) Andrew Luck loses career-worst four turnovers.

14. Buccaneers (6-4) Now 5–1 since bye after comeback at Carolina.

15. Saints (5-5) Marching back, with 5–1 record since 0–4 start.

16. Bengals (5-5) A.J. Green has scored a TD in nine straight games.

17. Cowboys (5-5) Tony Romo takes career-high seven sacks in win.

18. Redskins (4-6) RG3 completes 93.3 percent of passes vs. Philly.

19. Titans (4-6) Jake Locker returns from bye ready for stretch run.

20. Lions (4-6) Coaches have heated sideline argument in defeat.

21. Chargers (4-6) Power outage could mean end of Norv Turner era.

22. Bills (4-6) Score four FGs in four red zone trips but still win.

23. Dolphins (4-6) Just 50 yards, two first downs in first half of loss.

24. Jets (4-6) End three-game losing streak with win at St. Louis.

25. Rams (3-6-1) Defense on longest turnover-less streak since ’50.

26. Cardinals (4-6) Have lost six consecutive games after 4–0 start.

27. Eagles (3-7) First two series of Nick Foles’ first start end in INTs.

28. Raiders (3-7) Have allowed 135 points over three straight losses.

29. Browns (2-8) On a 12-game slide on the road after Big D defeat.

30. Panthers (2-8) Loss to Bucs “as bad as it gets,” says Ron Rivera.

31. Jaguars (1-9) Chad Henne taking over for Blaine Gabbert at QB.

32. Chiefs (1-9) Fans dressed in black, saw ugly ending vs. Cincy.

<p> NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 12, including the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 17:55
Path: /nfl/49ers-starting-qb-colin-kaepernick-or-alex-smith

There’s an age-old football saying: “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one.” That may be the case most of the time, but San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh seems pretty confident in both eighth-year veteran Alex Smith and second-year young gun Colin Kaepernick.

“We really have two quarterbacks with a hot hand,” said Harbaugh, a QB guru who played the position in the NFL from 1987-2000 and also coached Andrew Luck at Stanford.

Before suffering a concussion against the Rams in Week 10, Smith was completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,731 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs for a 104.1 passer rating over his first nine games. Smith’s job seemed pretty safe. He was playing well, had led the 49ers to a 13–3 record and trip to the NFC title game last season, and inked a contract extension worth $16.5 million guaranteed this offseason.

But despite Smith’s recent success and impressive resumé — he was, after all, the No. 1 overall pick (ahead of Aaron Rodgers) in the 2005 draft, had led Utah to an undefeated season under coach Urban Meyer and was a Helix (Calif.) High School teammate of Reggie Bush — he has always been labeled a “game manager” and remains hounded by doubters.

Just when it seemed as if the crowd calling for his exit had quieted down, Smith could only watch as his backup, Kaepernick, shredded the vaunted Chicago Bears defense in a 32–7 win on Monday Night Football.

The 6'4", 230-pound Kaepernick — a local kid from Turlock, Calif. — completed 16-of-23 passes for 243 yards, two TDs and zero INTs, taking only one sack while posting a 133.1 passer rating in his first career start.

Five of his 16 completions went for over 20 yards, and the 25-year-old showed the type of rare athleticism that made him the only quarterback in Division I FBS history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards during his stat-stuffing career at Nevada.

Kaepernick was anything but a “game manager.” He was the definition of a “playmaker.”

“Everything he did was exemplary,” said Harbaugh, who traded the Nos. 45, 108 and 141 picks to the Denver Broncos in order to move up to No. 36 overall to draft Kaepernick last year.

Now the question isn’t whether or not Kaepernick is the quarterback of the future. The question is whether he has supplanted Smith as the starter.

“Kaepernick is a baller,” said 49ers  receiver Michael Crabtree. “That boy can play football. I’m not worried about Colin. We’ve got quarterbacks, man.”

But do the 49ers have one too many quarterbacks?

<p> With Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith both playing well, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is planning on riding the "hot hand" at quarterback.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 17:12
Path: /college-football/15-coaches-replace-fired-jeff-tedford-california

Even though Jeff Tedford had the most wins in California school history, it was clearly time for a change. Tedford was fired on Tuesday, ending a tenure that spanned 11 seasons and compiled 82 victories. Although Tedford had a successful run, the program had dipped in recent years and culminated in a disappointing 3-9 finish this season. 

15 Coaching Candidates to Replace Jeff Tedford at California

Gary Andersen, head coach, Utah State – Andersen is the perfect example of why records can be misleading when judging a head coach. In four seasons at Utah State, his record is just 24-24 overall. However, he inherited a program that won just six games in the three years prior to his arrival. The Aggies went to a bowl game last season and will win the WAC title with a win over Idaho this Saturday.

Mike Bellotti, former Oregon head coach – Bellotti has been out of coaching since 2008 but that shouldn’t stop California from calling if interested. In 14 years at Oregon, the California native went 116-55 and led the Ducks to one BCS bowl appearance. Bellotti will be 62 years old in December, so this isn’t a long-term hire for the program. However, Bellotti is a capable coach and would be a good fit at California.

Ron Caragher, head coach, San Diego – Caragher is a longshot but is a name that’s starting to generate some interest in open jobs. In six seasons with San Diego, he has a solid 43-22 record. Caragher also has experience on the FBS level, spending time as an assistant with UCLA and Kentucky.

Tim DeRuyter, head coach, Fresno State – DeRuyter has been a successful hire at Fresno State, recording an 8-3 mark and having a shot at the Mountain West title in his first season with the Bulldogs. Although he has done a good job in a short amount of time, DeRuyter has only one year of head coaching experience.

Sonny Dykes, head coach, Louisiana Tech – Along with Gary Andersen and Mike MacIntyre, Dykes is one of the top non-BCS coaches that will be in the mix for some of the open vacancies around college football this offseason. Dykes is 22-14 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech and should lead the Bulldogs to a bowl game in 2012. He also has a solid resume as an assistant, making stops at Texas Tech, Arizona and Kentucky. 

Mark Helfrich, offensive coordinator Oregon – Helfrich doesn’t have any head coaching experience but is a rising star in the assistant ranks. The Oregon native has spent time as an assistant at Oregon, Boise State, Arizona State and Colorado, so he is familiar with what it takes to win in the Pac-12. Helfrich doesn’t call the plays with Chip Kelly on the sidelines, but he is certainly involved with the Ducks’ offense. Assuming Helfrich wants to be a head coach, he would be wise to hold off on leaving Oregon, especially with Kelly rumored to be in the mix for NFL jobs.

Hue Jackson, assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals – Jackson has a wealth of experience as an assistant in college and in the NFL but went 8-8 in his only season as the Oakland Raiders’ head coach in 2011. He also has previous experience at California, working as Steve Mariucci’s offensive coordinator in 1996. Jackson also served as USC’s offensive coordinator from 1997-2000. Although Jackson was fired from the Raiders’ job, he is an intriguing candidate to watch in this coaching search. 

Bryan Harsin, offensive coordinator, Texas – Much like Mark Helfrich or Justin Wilcox, Harsin is due for his shot to run a BCS program. The former Boise State quarterback has quickly climbed the ladder in the coaching ranks, working at Eastern Oregon in 2000 and at Boise State from 2001-2010. Harsin oversaw some of the nation’s top offenses at Boise State and has brought improvement to Texas’ offenses over the last two years.

Kliff Kingsbury, offensive coordinator, Texas A&M – Kingsbury’s stock has been on a steady rise since the start of the 2012 season. The former Texas Tech quarterback has helped to engineer one of the nation’s top offenses at Texas A&M, which comes one year after leading Houston the No. 1 overall rank in scoring last year. Kingsbury could use a little more seasoning as an assistant, but his high-scoring offense would certainly spark some interest in the fanbase.

Mike MacIntyre, head coach, San Jose State – Considering MacIntyre’s work less than 60 miles away from Berkeley at San Jose State, he has to be the early favorite to be California’s next coach. After spending time as an assistant at Temple, Ole Miss, Duke and in the NFL with the Jets and Cowboys, MacIntyre has transformed the Spartans into a potential 10-win team in 2012. After going 1-12 in 2010, San Jose State showed big improvement in a 5-7 season in 2011 and has carried that momentum into 2012.

Chris Petersen, head coach, Boise State – Petersen’s name seems to pop up with every opening, and it’s very unlikely he leaves Boise State. However, with the uncertainty surrounding Boise State’s conference future, California at least has to inquire to see if he has any interest in leaving. Petersen is 82-8 in seven seasons at Boise State and led the Broncos to two BCS bowls.

Bobby Petrino, former Arkansas head coach – Although this may be a strange fit for Petrino to land at California, this is a good landing spot for the embattled coach. Petrino was born in Montana and coached at Arizona State for two seasons, so he’s certainly familiar with life in the Pac-12. Considering what transpired at Arkansas, landing at a job away from the SEC and out of the spotlight may not be a bad idea. Also, even though Petrino has a tremendous track record at Arkansas and Louisville, he may be available at a discount price. And that’s certainly of interest to a program that doesn’t have a huge budget to hire a coach.

Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers – Along with Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw, Roman helped to spark Stanford’s turnaround from 2007-2010. Although he has no head coaching experience, Roman has a well-rounded resume with stops in the NFL with the Panthers, Ravens, Texans and the 49ers. He is also a bright offensive mind, which is needed in California with some promising receivers and a young quarterback waiting in the wings.

Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – With three consecutive losses by Western Kentucky, Taggart’s stock has dropped some over the last couple of weeks. However, he still remains one of college football’s rising stars on the non-BCS level. Taggart is 15-20 in three seasons at Western Kentucky and worked for three seasons under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.

Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator, Washington – Wilcox has been a successful defensive coordinator at three different stops – Boise State, Tennessee and Washington. Under his watch in Seattle, the Huskies have improved from one of the worst defenses in college football to one that ranks 29th nationally in yards allowed. The only downside? Wilcox has never been a head coach. However, Wilcox’s experience on the West Coast certainly has to be attractive.

by Steven Lassan


Other Names to Watch

Beau Baldwin, head coach, Eastern Washington – Baldwin has thrived on the FCS level, leading Eastern Washington to a 33-16 record from 2008-2011. The California native also led the program to a FCS title in 2010.

Herm Edwards, former NFL coach – Edwards played at California for two seasons but was just 54-74 during his NFL coaching career. A real longshot.

June Jones, head coach, SMU – Jones nearly landed the Arizona State job last season, so there’s no question he would be interested in leaving SMU. However, after going 76-41 at Hawaii, a 29-34 mark at SMU and a potential 5-7 record this season has not helped his stock in 2012.

Mike Norvell, offensive coordinator, Arizona State – Norvell is a rising star but has no head coaching experience and probably needs a little more seasoning as an assistant.

Brent Pease, offensive coordinator, Florida – Pease is a well-traveled assistant and has worked as an offensive coordinator at Boise State, Florida, Baylor and Kentucky. However, he has never been a head coach.

Related College Football Content

Pac-12 Post-Week 12 Power Rankings
15 Coaches to Replace Derek Dooley at Tennessee

Top 25 Rivalries in College Football

<p> 15 Coaches to Replace Fired Jeff Tedford at California</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 13:31
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-11

Until last week, crew chief Jimmy Fennig admits he had “very seldom’’ talked to Carl Edwards in their years together at Roush Fenway Racing.

“I’m the type of crew chief that I focus in on the job at hand and the driver I have and don’t really pay too much attention to other drivers,” said Fennig, who most recently was Matt Kenseth’s crew chief.

Next season, Fennig and his crew will partner with Edwards as Kenseth drives for Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s part of a series of changes taking place at Roush Fenway Racing. Two-time defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. replaces Kenseth in the No. 17 Cup car. Trevor Bayne takes Stenhouse’s Nationwide ride. The Cup team of Greg Biffle and crew chief Matt Puccia will remain intact.

Fennig, who became a crew chief in 1986 and won the 2004 championship with Kurt Busch, admits he doesn’t know Edwards too well but doesn’t see that as a hinderance in their pairing.

“My goal has always been to win races,” said Fennig, the winning crew chief in the 1988 Daytona 500 with Bobby Allison and this year’s Daytona 500 with Kenseth. “No matter who drives the car, that’s what I try to do every week and that’s something I know we already have in common.”

Fennig will be Edwards’ third crew chief since the start of the 2012 season. Bob Osborne started with Edwards. Osborne, citing health issues, stepped down as crew chief in July and was replaced by Chad Norris.

Edwards was winless this season and finished 15th in the points a year after losing the championship on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart. Edwards scored only four top-10 finishes in the 17 races with Norris as crew chief, thus a change wasn’t surprising.

“We all just sat down and looked at it and Chad and I talked at length about it,” Edwards said of the change. “Everyone agrees the opportunity to have the experience of Jimmy Fennig on the box to get ... back to Victory Lane is what we should do. It wasn’t something that I single-handedly requested or just that Jack (Roush) wanted to do it. As a team we thought this was the best thing to do. The biggest thing at Roush is that he has so many good people that we can move people around and do things like this and it is good for the whole company.”

Along with that move, Roush will pair Stenhouse Jr. with crew chief Scott Graves. Both will be rookies in Cup.

“I would normally not be an advocate for bringing a crew chief who hadn’t been established with a rookie driver into the Cup Series, but Scott Graves – in my words – he’s been a prodigy for the small amount of experience he’s had making the final decisions,” Roush said.

“He made great decisions for Carl at Watkins Glen and he’s made great decisions for Ricky when he’s been with him this year. So I think given the fact he’s a mechanical engineer as well as an experienced team engineer, he’s going to bring enthusiasm and creativity to Ricky that we might not otherwise be able to achieve with somebody that had more experience.”

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long highlights the NASCAR news and notes of the week. Carl Edwards and Regan Smith get new crew chiefs, Kyle Busch searches for sponsorship and Elliot Sadler has a new home at Joe Gibbs Racing.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 11:21
Path: /college-football/rutgers-joins-big-ten-whats-next-big-east

College football has been on a wave of non-stop realignment over the last two years, and the dominoes continued to fall with the Big Ten’s addition of Rutgers. Maryland was announced as the Big Ten’s 13th team on Monday, while the Scarlet Knights will join as team No. 14 in 2014.

Just as the Big Ten did with Maryland, picking up Rutgers adds another team in a valuable television market. The Scarlet Knights won’t completely bring in the New York City television market but it certainly helps to have a team within 100 miles of the city.

In addition to a prime location, another reason Rutgers was an attractive candidate for Big Ten expansion has the improvement on the gridiron. The Scarlet Knights went 15-63 from 1996-2002 but are 65-34 in their last eight seasons. Former coach Greg Schiano did a good job of rebuilding the program, while new coach Kyle Flood has done a good job of maintaining that success in 2012.

What’s Next for the Big East?

Rutgers’ decision to leave is another blow for the Big East. The conference is losing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC in 2013, while West Virginia left for the Big 12 for the 2012 season.

To offset the losses of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, the Big East added UCF, Memphis, SMU, Houston, Boise State, San Diego State and Temple as its new football members. Temple joined in time for 2012, while all of the others were scheduled to join for 2013. Navy is expected to join the Big East in 2015.

The conference was planning on going with a 12-team alignment in 2013, with UCF, South Florida, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville in the East Division and Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and Temple headlining the West Division.

However, all of those plans are on hold after Rutgers’ departure.

Not only is the Big East losing another member, the departure of Rutgers will be felt in the pocketbook. Although the Scarlet Knights may not completely capture the New York City market, it’s an important bargaining chip in television contract negotiations. 

Before jumping into realignment scenarios, this is an important question to consider: Can the Big East stick together?

It’s no secret the ACC is going to expand to a 14th team. Is that Louisville or Connecticut? Could the ACC take both and Cincinnati to get to 16 teams? Nothing is off the table at this point.

If the Big East loses Louisville or Connecticut, the conference isn’t finished but it could force Boise State and San Diego State to rethink its future. The Broncos and Aztecs could head back to the Mountain West, which would be a huge blow to the Big East.

Here’s a few possible replacements for Rutgers in the Big East, as well as any team that leaves for the ACC:

Army: The Big East has expressed some interest in the past in getting the three service academies into the conference. However, the Black Knights would likely struggle to be consistently competitive in the conference.

East Carolina: The location is a negative, but the Pirates have good fan support and has five winning seasons out of the last seven years. Although the Big East needs to add to its Western footprint, the Pirates would be an addition to replace Rutgers in the East Division, provided the conference doesn’t want to move Temple.

UMass: The Minutemen are just in their first season of FBS play but would help to replace some of the Northeast presence lost by Rutgers. UMass would need some time to be competitive in football and plays its games at Gillette Stadium.

Or…More Western Expansion?

If the Big East wants to keep Boise State and San Diego State in the conference, adding more teams out west is probably a must.  

How about UNLV or Fresno State? Both programs would probably have to find somewhere to park its non-football sports but would help to add to the Western footprint of the conference. Outside of UNLV and Fresno State, Air Force and Tulsa might be the only two other viable candidates to pickup from another conference.

There’s no question the biggest prize is BYU. However, the Cougars seem to be happy with their independence, and the instability of the Big East has to be a concern for BYU. Although the money and access to bowls would be better in a conference, it’s hard to see the Cougars giving up their independence anytime soon.

Needless to say, the Big East has to be concerned about the departure of Rutgers and the potential loss of Connecticut or Louisville to the ACC. The conference can survive if it loses two teams. However, losing San Diego State and Boise State back to the Mountain West would be a significant setback.

Needless to say, college football realignment isn't going away anytime soon.

Related College Football Content

Maryland Joins Big Ten - What's Next for the ACC?
History of Big Ten Expansion and Why Maryland Makes Sense

<p> Rutgers Joins Big Ten; What's Next for the Big East?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 10:59
Path: /nascar/keselowski-wins-nascar-sprint-cup-title

Brad Keselowski entered Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 20-point lead in NASCAR’s Chase standings.

Problem was, his competition came in the form of a five-time champion.

Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team enjoyed a reign that lasted from 2006-10, and they won the championship in every way imaginable in that time: Going away, coming from behind, with consistency and utilizing a glut of wins.

So by no means had anyone conceded the 2012 edition of the sport’s playoff to Keselowski’s upstart No. 2 Penske Racing outfit. Yet, as Championship Week in South Florida drew on, it appeared that even in the face of Johnson’s strategically-placed smack talk, the Michigan native remained focused on the task at hand, which was to finish 15th or better in the finale.

That he did — in fact, he finished 15th — in the 400-miler. But not before some mid-race curveballs found Johnson on the brink of overtaking Keselowski.

The architect of Johnson’s five titles, crew chief Chad Knaus, employed a pit scheme that would allow the No. 48 team to make one less stop than the incumbent No. 2 bunch. And if the race were to play out caution-free, Keselowski may have been stuck one lap down — with no guarantee of finishing worse than 15th, but on thin ice, nonetheless.

The story began to play out with 61 laps remaining when Keselowski ran out of fuel on his way to pit road for a scheduled stop. Though all went well once in his pit box, the time lost dropped him to 24th, one lap down to Johnson, who was leading.

However, just 10 laps later Johnson’s regularly-scheduled green flag pit stop threw the favor back in Keselowski’s court. A missing lug nut by the No. 48 crew precipitated a penalty that knocked the Hendrick team one lap down, in 25th.

The coup de grace occurred a handful of laps later, when a rear-gear failure on Johnson’s Chevy relegated it to the garage and, ultimately, a 32nd-place finish.

“I knew it was big,” Johnson said of when his car started leaking fluid. “We were in the cat bird’s seat. We were in position to win the race. We were ahead of the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the 24 won the race.”

From there, Keselowski cruised while Gordon, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer vied for the race win. Gordon came out the victor — outrunning his newly minted rival Bowyer — scoring career Cup win No. 87.

Bowyer’s runner-up finish vaulted him past Johnson in the final championship tally, but a distant 39 points behind Keselowski.

For team owner Roger Penske, the title was a rare first in an illustrious motorsports career. For all the success he has achieved in open-wheel racing (12 IndyCar championships, 15 Indianapolis 500 wins), he had yet to win a title in NASCAR’s premier series.

“I feel amazed that I’ve been able to achieve this in racing,” Penske said. “I’ve lauded the people that have been on that (championship) stage for so many years and to be able to join this elite group and say that I’m a champion in NASCAR means a lot.”

Penske’s Cup program received its catalyst in the form of Keselowski in 2010, when he ran his first full season on the premier level. A natural leader, Keselowski had a vision to take the organization from race-winner to titlist. The team he helped put together persevered through a rough initial season. That’s when Keselowski’s Nationwide Series crew chief, Paul Wolfe, was asked to step up.

Having won the 2010 Nationwide title together, driver and crew chief spearheaded a three-win Cup campaign in 2011 and came out like gangbusters in 2012, winning five races en route to their second NASCAR championship in three years.

Even more challenging for the duo over the course of the Chase was knowing that Penske’s affiliation with manufacturer Dodge ended when the checkered flag fell in Homestead. Making the switch to Ford in the offseason and with Dodge on its way out of the sport altogether, many questioned how the No. 2 team, with no real help in the form of a teammate, would outlast a rival as battle-hardened as Johnson’s No. 48 squad.

The answer, as Keselowski stressed afterward, was through the strength of team and the attitude with which he approached the task.

“Throughout my whole life I’ve been told I’m not big enough, not fast enough, not strong enough and I don’t have what it takes,” Keselowski said. “I’ve used that as a chip on my shoulder to carry me through my whole career. It took until this year for me to realize that that was right, man, they were right: I’m not big enough, fast enough, strong enough.

“No person is. Only a team can do that.”

With a team that is now not only battle-tested, but title-winning, a driver and crew chief in their respective primes, and a new home at Ford Racing awaiting in 2013, the Penske organization can now look forward to many more nights like Sunday’s celebration in South Beach.

by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro

<p> Brad Keselowski beat Jimmie Johnson to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup title at Homestead-Miami Speedway.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 10:05
Path: /college-football/top-25-rivalries-college-football

Pep bands, cheerleaders, tailgating, student sections, cornhole and especially rivalries. All of which makes college football the greatest sport on the planet. The Athlon Sports editorial staff put its collective heads together and ranked the Top 25 rivalries in college football:

1. Michigan-Ohio State (Michigan leads 58-44-6)
Some think the story is a tall tale, but others swear it’s true. After his Ohio State team scored its final touchdown late in a 50–14 rout of Michigan at the end of the 1968 season, Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes elected to go for two points, instead of kicking the PAT. When asked afterward why he did that, Hayes reportedly said, “Because they ­wouldn’t let me go for three.” Hayes’ hatred for “that team up north,” as he referred to Michigan, was legendary. Rest assured that Wolverine fans harbor no affection for the Buckeyes, either. The schools have met every year but five (1913-17) since 1900 — the teams’ first game was in 1897 — and their contests have become appointment viewing for much of the country, late in November, usually under gun-metal gray skies with a hint of winter in the air. More important, Big Ten primacy is usually at stake, especially since Bo Schembechler took over in Ann Arbor in 1969 to turn the U-M fortunes around and provide an irascible counterbalance to the cantankerous Hayes. Since that point, Michigan-Ohio State has been the nation’s most consistently competitive and heated rivalry. Because the games have so much significance and occur at season’s end, a loss can be doubly haunting. Not only does the vanquished team lose to a hated foe, but its season can be destroyed also. For that reason, Michigan-Ohio State tops the rivalry list. There may be games that match these schools’ animosity for each other, and there may be contests that are as consistently important. But none combines the two into such a volatile package.

2. Alabama-Auburn (Alabama leads 41-34-1)
When Bill Curry was coaching at Alabama, he went to a Birmingham elementary school one day to speak with children about football and life. Upon entering the classroom, he saw a boy standing in the corner, sobbing. Curry wondered what was going on, and a student told him, “Jason is an Auburn fan, and we took care of him.” Curry brought Jason out of the corner and told him it was all right to root for the Tigers, no doubt angering the young Crimson Tide supporters in the room. Truth be told, it isn’t all right to be an Auburn fan — if you follow the Tide. Tiger fans feel the same way about Bama. If you live in the state of Alabama, you have to choose; you either yell “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.” You’re either a fan of the big-brother Crimson Tide, or Auburn, which has its roots in agricultural education and resents the perceived arrogance of its rival. In a state with no major professional sports team, Auburn-Alabama football is a religion. Curry’s minister once told him it was more important. It has been that way from the game’s earliest days, which proved to be so contentious that the schools stopped playing each other for 41 years. Once they resumed hostilities, they did so at a geographically neutral site, in Birmingham, but Auburn fans groused for decades because Legion Field was the Tide’s home away from home. That changed when the game moved to campus, but the vitriol has not abated. Fans of both teams crave victory, and a loss means a full year of misery from friends, co-workers and even family members. It’s enough to make someone want to stand in a corner and cry.

3. Army-Navy (Navy leads 56-49-7)
Go ahead and try to attend this game without experiencing a surge of patriotism. If the Super Hornets’ flyover doesn’t get you, the Army paratroopers will. If you miss the parades of Cadets and Midshipmen, then the non-stop spirit videos on the big board will stir your senses. By game’s end, no matter what the score, America wins. That may seem hokey to some, but they haven’t been there. Trust us, Army-Navy is college football in its purest state. Today, that’s something worth celebrating. Fans of the teams thirst for victory, and so do the players, who are truly playing for their fellow students. Afterward, they rejoin their classmates in preparation for military service, not an NFL career. For 364 days of the year, Army and Navy are on the same team. For three hours on a chilled December afternoon, they represent every soldier or sailor who has ever donned a uniform, walked a post or sailed into the dark of night. The football has been pretty good over the years, too. Five Heisman winners have participated in the rivalry, and dozens of Hall of Famers have taken the field representing the academies. Though Navy has dominated the scoreboard over the past decade, the game remains a huge draw and a still thrills fans across the country. Most important, it pits future military and government leaders against each other as they fight for their Academies and provide the country with an afternoon of prideful competition.

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Texas leads 59-43-5)
One of the most unique characteristics about Dallas’ Cotton Bowl is that the teams’ locker rooms empty into a common corridor, so that players take the field through the same tunnel. On more than one occasion, as Texas and Oklahoma have prepared to charge onto the hallowed stadium’s turf, they have encountered each other in a highly charged, emotional moment that could have ignited an inferno. Instead, they decided to enjoin the fight on the gridiron, in front of 95,000-plus fans divided evenly into crimson and burnt orange enclaves. Rarely has the flame from the ensuing collision failed to heat the passions of all in attendance. While the Texas State Fair rollicks on around them, and vendors offer to fry anything that doesn’t move — and some things that do — the Longhorns and Sooners offer a mid-season football feast that dates back to 1900, when Oklahoma wasn’t even a state and Texas was just beginning to tap into the huge oil reserves deep below its surface. The neighbors harbor a significant dislike for each other, and tempers have boiled over many times on nights before the game. It doesn’t help that many OU grads now live in Texas, lured south by jobs in the petroleum industry. And plenty of Lone Star football talent has headed north to Norman, especially when Barry Switzer was pillaging the state’s top programs for all-stars. The action on the field rarely disappoints. Although there have been several blowouts over the years, including 2011’s 55–17 Sooner wipeout, the action is usually taut and has national implications. Though the game is played in October, several championship runs have been spawned by a victory in Dallas, and several high hopes have been dashed.

5. USC-Notre Dame (Notre Dame leads 43-23-5)
The nation’s top intersectional rivalry owes a debt of gratitude to some unfriendly residents of Lincoln, Neb., and Bonnie Rockne’s love of warm California weather. At a time when traditional gridiron matchups are being torn asunder by the whirling conference kaleidoscope, Notre Dame and USC continue their annual hostilities, treating the nation to a classic matchup of iconic programs. The schools almost didn’t get together. But in 1925, after ND dropped a 17–0 decision at Nebraska, before an inhospitable crowd of Cornhusker fans, coach Knute Rockne and his wife were joined on the train back to Chicago by USC athletic director Gwynn Wilson and his wife, Marion. While Wilson tried to convince Rockne to ditch the burgeoning rivalry with Nebraska for an annual trip west, Marion Wilson and Bonnie Rockne became fast friends in another train compartment. Rockne resisted Wilson’s entreaties, but his wife was enthralled with the idea of Los Angeles in the late fall. She later convinced her husband to play the Trojans. The resulting rivalry has lasted 85 years and has filled the college football history books with dozens of classic tales. More Heisman winners have played in the Notre Dame-USC game than in any other rivalry, and many a national championship hope has been validated with a victory in the game. Though the teams alternate between their home sites, playing in late November in L.A. and mid-October in South Bend, the game retains a glamour that defines it and is a product of two of college football’s most storied programs.

6. Georgia-Florida (Georgia leads 48-40-2)
The party begins at “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” around Tuesday, when the big boats start cruising up the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. By gametime, everybody is in a festive mood – except the players. The Bulldogs and Gators have engaged in some classics over the years, from Georgia’s thrilling comeback in 1980 to Florida’s soggy 1993 triumph. Cheers!

7. Miami-Florida State (Miami leads 31-26)
For a while there during the 1990s, there was more talent on the field when the ‘Canes and ‘Noles met up than in some NFL stadiums. And everybody wanted to put on a show. This matchup lacks the tradition and history of other rivalries, but the hostility is just as high. And there have been some classics. FSU fans still wince when they hear the words “Wide Right,” while Miami backers still cringe at the 34-3 beating their heroes absorbed in ’84.

8. Harvard-Yale (Yale leads 65-56-8)
The Crimson and Bulldogs may not have played the first-ever college football game, but both schools had hands in how the game developed into what we have today. The late-November meeting between the schools is a history lesson wrapped in a high-class tailgate party. Harvard and Yale no longer compete at college football’s highest level, but they remain forever linked to the sport’s earliest days.

9. Florida-Florida State (Florida leads 33-21-2)
For years, this was a big brother/little brother battle, with the establishment Gators looking down on the upstart Seminoles. Then, FSU started to win games – a lot of games – and things changed. This may lack the in-state hate of Auburn-Alabama, but don’t worry; the two sides harbor plenty of dislike for each other. During the past three decades, as both have competed for national laurels, their games have become more than just neighborhood brawls.

10. Cal-Stanford (Stanford leads 58-46-11)
To some, The Big Game is the province of the wine-and-cheese crowd, and the schools’ NoCal addresses reinforce that. But there can be no denying that these schools thirst to defeat each other. It’s a classic battle of private (Stanford) against public (Cal), and bragging rights go well beyond which side brings the best pinot to the pre-game party. Plus, what other rivalry can boast a game with a crazy ending as the 1982 contest: “The band is on the field!”

11. Pittsburgh-West Virginia (Pitt leads 61-40-3)
Only 75 miles separates the two combatants in the Backyard Brawl. This rivalry is on hold after Pittsburgh moved to the ACC and West Virginia relocated to the Big 12.

12. Texas-Texas A&M (Texas leads 76-37-5)
This Thanksgiving weekend tradition is in jeopardy with the Aggies’ move to the SEC.

13. Oregon-Oregon State (Oregon leads 59-46-10)
The Civil War has come a long way since the Ducks and Beavers played to a 0–0 tie in 1983.

14. BYU-Utah (Utah leads 56-34-4)
The Holy War might be the best name for any rivalry in the nation.

15. UCLA-USC (USC leads 44-29-7)
The Southern California showdown was dominated by UCLA from 1991-98, but the Bruins have only won once since, in 2006.

16. Alabama-Tennessee (Alabama leads 49-38-7)
The Third Saturday in October means only one thing to people in the South: Alabama vs. Tennessee.

17. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Oklahoma leads 82-17-7)
T. Boone Pickens’ interest in the Oklahoma State program was piqued after the Pokes, 3–7 at the time, knocked OU out of the 2001 national title game with a 16–13 win.

18. Clemson-South Carolina (Clemson leads 65-40-4)
These two schools were bitter rivals well before they started playing football in the 1890s. South Carolina has won two straight, but Clemson holds a 65–39–4 advantage in the all-time series.

19. Mississippi State-Ole Miss (Ole Miss leads 60-42-6)
The Egg Bowl is often the only way to salvage a season for these two programs that have struggled to win consistently in the SEC.

20. Michigan-Michigan State (Michigan leads 68-32-5)
It pains MSU fans that Michigan’s biggest rival is Ohio State, but the “Little Brothers” from East Lansing have won the last four in the series.

21. Auburn-Georgia (Auburn leads 54-53-8)
It’s the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and it dates back to 1892. Auburn holds the slimmest of margins, with a 54–52–8 edge in the series.

22. Michigan-Notre Dame (Michigan leads 23-16-1)
These two traditional powers have only played regularly for the past three decades, but they produced a ton of memorable moments. Strike a pose, Desmond!

23. Georgia-Georgia Tech (Georgia leads 62-39-5)
You know it’s a good rivalry when the book about the series is called Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

24. Minnesota-Wisconsin (Minnesota leads 59-55-8)
The winner of the Gophers vs. Badgers showdown takes home the prized Paul Bunyan Axe. It’s the most played rivalry in FBS football, dating back to 1890.

25. Lafayette-Lehigh (Lafayette leads 76-67-5)
The Rivalry, as it’s called, pits two small private schools located 17 miles apart in Eastern Pennsylvania. Lafayette and Lehigh have met 146 times, including every year since 1897.

<p> The Top 25 Rivalries in College Football</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:22
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-12-rankings

Week 12 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. And it was a busy week in the coaching carousel, as Tennessee's Derek Dooley and Western Michigan's Bill Cubit were fired after Saturday's games. UTEP's Mike Price also announced his retirement, which means there are five FBS open jobs going into Week 13.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 12 Rankings

1. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Boston College: 22-28 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-9
In what will be the final home game in the Frank Spaziani era, Boston College lost 30-23 in overtime to Virginia Tech. Although the Eagles aren’t packing it in after a tough season, this program is on the verge of having its first year of double-digit losses since 1978. Spaziani guided Boston College to back-to-back winning seasons in his first two years, but the Eagles are just 6-17 after going 15-11 from 2009-10.

2. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Auburn: 33-18 (4th season)
2012 Record: 3-8
Auburn closed out its 2012 home slate with a dominant 51-7 victory over Alabama A&M. The Tigers easily outmatched their FCS opponent, which provided some good news in a season that has been downright awful. If Chizik has any hope of returning to Auburn next season, a good showing in Saturday’s Iron Bowl is a must. The Crimson Tide is a heavy favorite, but rivalry games usually bring out the best in the underdog.

3. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at California: 82-57 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-9
After a 3-9 season, Tedford wasn’t given much of a chance to return to California for 2013. However, signs out of Berkeley seem to indicate he will be back for another year. The Golden Bears were dominated in a 62-14 loss to Oregon State on Saturday, which was their fifth consecutive defeat and seventh overall loss in Pac-12 play. Helping Tedford’s cause to return has to be a lack of appealing replacements for California, as well as a small budget that would make a buyout very difficult. If Tedford is back in 2013, he will likely be the coach at the top of the hot seat rankings.

4. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Record at Southern Miss: 0-11
2012 Record: 0-11
The Golden Eagles came up just short in a 34-33 loss to UTEP on Saturday. The defeat dropped Southern Miss to 0-11, which is the worst season in school history. Johnson is only in his first season in Hattiesburg but there should be doubts about his future at Southern Miss. After winning the Conference USA title last year, the Golden Eagles have struggled to be competitive and are likely to finish the season at 0-12. Even if Johnson returns next season, he’s shown nothing to suggest he can help lead Southern Miss back to a winning record in 2013.

5. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at New Mexico State: 10-38 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-9
The Aggies had a bye in Week 12 and return to action this Saturday against BYU. Since beating Sacramento State in the opener, New Mexico State has lost its last nine games. And with a date against the Cougars this week and a road matchup against Texas State upcoming, there’s no guaranteed victory on the schedule. Walker inherited a difficult situation at New Mexico State, but the program has yet to make much progress under his watch.

6. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at UNLV: 6-31 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-10
With Saturday’s 28-23 loss to Wyoming, the Rebels clinched their third consecutive season of at least 10 or more defeats. Hauck has brought some improvement to UNLV, and it hung tough in losses to Minnesota, Washington State, Nevada and San Diego State. However, the Rebels were blown out by Colorado State and have only six wins over the last three years. A win over Hawaii in the season finale would certainly help Hauck’s case to return for 2013.

7. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Colorado: 4-20 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-10
The 2012 season has been a miserable one for the Buffaloes, and the bad news continued with a 38-3 loss to Washington in Week 12. Colorado has major issues on both sides of the ball but none bigger than finding a quarterback. Jordan Webb, Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood have played but each has struggled to give the passing attack any consistency. Another problem is the defense, which ranks 120th in points allowed and is giving up 502.4 yards per game. Although this season has been a disaster, all signs point to Embree returning for 2013. 

8. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at South Florida: 16-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-7
A 40-9 loss to Miami was bad enough, but there’s been plenty of criticism about Holtz for his poor game management and the ongoing issues at quarterback. With B.J. Daniels sidelined, the Bulls decided to take the redshirt off of Bobby Eveld – in the 10th game of the season. Eveld was knocked out in the first half, which prompted Matt Floyd’s insertion into the lineup. As expected, Floyd’s first extended game action was inconsistent but taking the redshirt off of Eveld this late into the year makes zero sense. With Cincinnati and Pittsburgh up next on the schedule, South Florida is likely looking at a 3-9 finish.

9. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Purdue: 21-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 5-6
With back-to-back wins over Iowa and Illinois, Purdue is making a late case for Hope to return in 2013. The Boilermakers haven’t exactly earned a marquee victory this year but has close losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State. Hope is just 21-27 in his career and does not have a season over .500 in Big Ten play. However, if Purdue beats Indiana to get to 6-6, it might be tough for the Boilermakers to make a change. 

10. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at Buffalo: 9-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-7
Just like Purdue’s Danny Hope, Quinn is making a late-season surge to return in 2013. The Bulls are riding a three-game winning streak headed into the season finale at Bowling Green and has lost by seven points or less to Connecticut, Toledo and Ohio. Even if Buffalo fails to knock off the Falcons, a 4-8 mark would be the best record in Quinn’s three-year tenure.

11. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: 14
Record at Iowa: 100-74 (14th season)
2012 Record: 4-7
With a huge buyout, Ferentz doesn’t appear to be in any danger at Iowa. However, there’s no question the rumblings from the fanbase won’t get any quieter over the next few weeks. Iowa was blown out 42-17 by Michigan on Saturday, which was its fifth consecutive defeat. Losses to Indiana and Purdue certainly didn’t sit well in Iowa City, along with an early season defeat to Central Michigan. Although Ferentz has led Iowa to 10 bowl games during his tenure, the program seems to be headed in the wrong direction, especially after hiring Greg Davis as the team’s offensive coordinator last offseason.

12. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank: 20
Record at SMU: 29-34 (5th season)
2012 Record: 5-6
Barring an upset win over Tulsa this week, SMU will miss out on its first bowl game since 2008. Although Jones has brought some improvement, the Mustangs have struggled to take the next step under his watch. A 5-7 record would be a disappointment, especially with the program making the jump to the Big East in 2013.

13. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Rice: 28-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 5-6
Thanks to three consecutive wins, Bailiff has been sliding down the hot seat rankings over the last few weeks. Considering Rice started 1-5, it’s quite an accomplishment for the Owls to be one victory away for bowl eligibility. A win over UTEP this Saturday should ensure Rice goes to a bowl game, especially with Conference USA struggling to have enough eligible teams for the postseason. Bailiff is just 28-44 in six years but getting to a bowl game would be enough for the Texas native to return in 2013.

14. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at Central Michigan: 11-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 5-6
A soft late-season schedule might be just enough for Central Michigan to get bowl eligible. Wins over Akron, Eastern Michigan and Miami (Ohio) have the Chippewas sitting at 5-6 with one game remaining at UMass. Enos went 6-18 through his first two years and appeared to be in danger of getting fired at the end of 2012 after a 2-5 start. Even though the schedule has been easy, getting to a bowl game would be good news for Enos.

15. Tom O’Brien, NC State
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at NC State: 39-35 (6th season)
2012 Record: 6-5
The Wolfpack were a trendy preseason pick to surprise in the ACC this year but have failed to reach expectations. NC State is just 1-3 in its last four games but is a lock to make a bowl appearance. O’Brien’s future will be an interesting storyline to watch this offseason, especially if the Wolfpack lose in Week 13 to Boston College. Although O’Brien isn’t a flashy coach, he is 23-14 over the last three years. The fanbase is getting a little restless, which could make for an interesting offseason in Raleigh.

16. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Illinois: 2-9 (1st season)
2012 Record: 2-9
Beckman’s miserable first season at Illinois continued with a 20-17 loss to Purdue. The Fighting Illini enter their season finale with an eight-game losing streak and are winless in Big Ten play. Although Beckman’s debut has been a disaster, he deserves another season to get the program pointed in the right direction. Staff changes should be considered, especially on an offense that ranks 118th nationally in scoring.

17. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at Houston: 5-7 (1st season)
2012 Record: 4-7
Despite a solid core coming back for Levine’s debut season, Houston has failed to reach expectations. The Cougars dropped to 4-7 with a loss to Marshall on Saturday, which is just their second losing season in since 2005. Houston opened its season with a loss to Texas State, lost by 30 to SMU, 34 to Tulsa and is riding a three-game losing streak. With a move to the Big East on the horizon next year, this will be an important offseason for Levine to find the right answers to get the program back on track.

18. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 18
Record at Eastern Michigan: 10-37 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-9
Eastern Michigan might be the toughest job in college football, and the program has struggled to establish any consistent success. Although English led the Eagles to a 6-6 mark in 2011, he is just 4-31 during the other three seasons during his tenure. English should be back at Eastern Michigan for 2013 but likely needs to get five or six victories to ensure his return for 2014.

19. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Connecticut: 9-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Huskies had an off date on Saturday and return to action against Louisville in Week 13. Connecticut has some momentum as the season enters its final stretch, especially after beating Pittsburgh 24-17 on Nov. 9. Pasqualoni is just 9-13 in his two years in Storrs and has yet to lead Connecticut to a bowl game. During his tenure, the offense has been awful and has scored more than 24 points only once this season. However, all signs point to the former Syracuse coach returning to the Huskies’ sideline in 2013.

20. Lane Kiffin, USC
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at USC: 25-11 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 7-4
Kiffin has already been assured he is returning to USC in 2013, which is the right move for the program. However, there’s no question he will be under immense pressure next season. And the Trojans will lose quarterback Matt Barkley to the NFL, while still dealing with scholarship reductions from NCAA sanctions. Kiffin has done a good job on the recruiting trail but a 6-6 finish next season would not sit well in Los Angeles.

by Steven Lassan


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<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 12 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:21
Path: /college-football/who-should-tennessee-hire-replace-derek-dooley

The Derek Dooley era at Tennessee is over. Dooley was fired after Saturday's 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt, which dropped his overall record in Knoxville 15-21. Under Dooley's watch, the Volunteers were just 4-19 in SEC play and made only one bowl appearance. Tennessee has fallen behind Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in recent years, so this is an important hire for athletic director Dave Hart.

Who Should Tennessee Hire to Replace Derek Dooley?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
For just about any job in the SEC, I’d say Louisville’s Charlie Strong should get one of the first calls. After Bobby Petrino left Louisville, the Cardinals were a mess for three years under Steve Kragthorpe. Strong rebuilt a disciplined and tough program over the last three seasons, last week’s loss to Syracuse notwithstanding. Simply put, he knows how to build a quality program. The talent base is better (see: Teddy Bridgewater), the off-field problems have been cleaned up, and the program is back where it was at the end of the Petrino era. Strong is a no-nonsense coach whose not afraid to light into his players with fire and brimstone speeches, as he did early in his tenure with the Cardinals. Given the tumult at Tennessee, Strong's demeanor will be a major asset. And I haven’t even mentioned his decade in the SEC at South Carolina and Florida, where he was the architect of two national championship defenses. But competition is going to be crowded if Strong is going to leave U of L. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
There is a benchmark I would have in my mind if I am a Tennessee fan. The phone log for Dave Hart should read as follows: Chip Kelly, Al Golden, Dan Mullen, Chris Petersen, Jon Gruden, Bobby Petrino, Jimbo Fisher, Gary Patterson and Mike Gundy. Any name "below" that list would feel like a failure on Hart's part. Tennessee will force Gruden to say no (who isn't a sure-fire home run) and Gundy, Kelly, Petersen or Patterson won't be leaving their current employers anytime soon. And Hart's "integrity" statement seems to eliminate Petrino. That leaves Golden, Mullen and Fisher as the best and most viable options. If am a Tennessee fan and either Al Golden or Dan Mullen is coaching in Knoxville next fall, I am ecstatic.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
This is a critical hire for Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart. The Volunteers have had too much coaching turnover in recent years, so this hire needs to be one that can bring some stability. Bobby Petrino and Jon Gruden will be tossed around in Knoxville, but I think Tennessee would be wise to go after one of three coaches: San Jose State’s Mike MacIntyre, Miami’s Al Golden or Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen. I'd also throw Charlie Strong into the mix, but I'm not sure he is ready to leave Louisville. MacIntyre has turned San Jose State from one of the worst teams in college football to a potential 10-win squad in 2012. Golden resurrected Temple’s program and has brought improvement to Miami over the last two years. Mullen is 29-20 in four seasons at Mississippi State and could thrive at a program with a bigger budget and more resources. Tennessee would be in good shape with any of those three, but I’d give Mullen a slight edge over MacIntyre or Golden if I were hiring the next coach.  

Mark Ross: 
One of the names you keep hearing to take over in Knoxville is Jon Gruden. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see why Gruden would leave his plush job with ESPN and "Monday Night Football" to return to coaching, unless it's the NFL. It certainly looks like there will be a number of openings on the pro level, so if Gruden has the chance to hand-pick his next pro job, why would he go to the collegiate ranks, where he has a grand total of two seasons of coaching experience, which came as a graduate assistant? No, I think Tennessee is best served by hiring an experienced head coach who has had success at a BCS school. Enter Charlie Strong, who has won at least seven games in all three of his seasons at Louisville and could lead his Cardinals to a Big East title and BCS bowl bid this season. Strong has plenty of experience coaching in the SEC, highlighted by his eight seasons at Florida where he served as defensive coordinator for the Gators' two BCS championship teams, and he has shown that he can recruit and bring in talent like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at a lesser known, if you will, program like Louisville. Strong has a defensive background, and it's pretty apparent that Tennessee needs all the help it can get there, and he's not going to be intimidated by making the jump to the big bad SEC. Hiring Strong may not "win the press conference," as they say, but I think he will win plenty of games, which is what matters most to Volunteer fans and supporters.

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<p> Who Should Tennessee Hire to Replace Derek Dooley?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:20
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-12

If anything, fantasy owners should be thankful in Week 12 that there are no more bye weeks to deal with. All teams will be in action this week, including six on Thanksgiving Day. That doesn’t mean, however, that owners should completely ignore the waiver wire and/or free agent pool in their respective league. With more key injuries happening on Sunday and the fantasy playoff push in full effect, here are some possible options worth considering as you get ready for Week 12.

Week 11 Recap: Colin Kaepernick made it look relatively easy (243-2-0) in his first career start in the 49ers' convincing 32-7 win over Chicago. Sam Bradford had two touchdown passes against the Jets, but only 170 yards passing and two turnovers in the loss. 

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Foles didn’t fare that well in his first career NFL start, throwing for 204 yards with two interceptions and fumbling three times (didn’t lose any of them), but it’s highly likely he will get another chance under center on Monday against Carolina. Michael Vick reportedly suffered a severe concussion and considering the Eagles are now 3-7 and a longshot to make the playoffs, it may be time to see if Foles is the team’s future quarterback or not. As far as fantasy value goes, Foles is a longshot in his own right, but the coaching staff did let him throw the ball 46 times against the Redskins, so if anything, there appears to be the potential to put up some decent numbers. It’s just a matter of executing the throws and taking care of the football.

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
Blaine Gabbert left in the first quarter against Houston with a bruised right elbow. Henne promptly came in and threw for 354 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes in the 43-37 overtime loss to the Texans. Henne and Justin Blackmon really had it going, as the rookie wide receiver exploded for 236 yards on seven receptions (33.7 ypc), including an 81-yard touchdown. The Jags have already announced Henne as their starter this week against Tennessee, giving him a shot at the Titans’ 27th-ranked pass defense.

Running Backs
Week 11 Recap: Marcel Reece led all running backs in fantasy scoring as he complied 193 total yards against New Orleans. James Starks got just about all of Green Bay’s carries (25 of 29 rushing attempts) and picked up 74 yards rushing in the win in Detroit. Kendall Hunter received only five carries, but did score a touchdown in the 49ers' dominating victory over the Bears on Monday night.

Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy left Sunday’s loss to Washington on a cart after sustaining a concussion with about two minutes left in a 31-6 game. While the severity of McCoy’s concussion has not been revealed, the circumstances in which he left the game and the fact that the Eagles are, for all intents and purposes, out of the playoff hunt, at the very least raise the possibility that he may miss some time. Should that occur, Brown, the Eagles’ seventh-round draft pick this year, appears to be next in line. Brown gained 35 yards against the Redskins on just five carries (7.0 ypc). For the season, he’s averaging just under four yards per carry and if he gets the start, it will be against Carolina on Monday night. The Panthers are 15th in the league against the rush. At minimum, Brown is a must-have handcuff for McCoy owners, if he’s still out there.

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Willis McGahee left the game against San Diego early with a right knee injury and did not return. Prior to getting hurt, he had 55 yards rushing on seven carries. Hillman took over after McGahee’s departure and he finished with 43 yards on 12 carries (3.6 ypc), including a long rush of 21 yards. Initial reports are McGahee suffered a torn MCL, so he will more than likely be sidelined for anywhere between six to eight weeks. If that is the case, Hillman could get the opportunity to carry the load, unless the coaching staff decides to go with a time-share between the rookie and Lance Ball. Hillman did rush for a season-high 86 yards on 14 carries in Week 8 against New Orleans, so the team is aware of what’s he capable of doing. The other thing going for Hillman is the matchup with the Chiefs, who are giving up more than 122 yards rushing per game.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
A funny thing happened after the Saints lost Darren Sproles to a hand injury. They discovered their rushing game behind Ingram, Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas. In the three games that Darren Sproles has missed, the Saints have averaged 147 yards rushing. In the nine games that Sproles has played, they have averaged only 58 yards on the ground. One of the big reasons for their rushing renaissance is Ingram, who himself is averaging about 60 yards per game and better than five yards per carry over the last three. He’s had 67 yards in each of the last two games and scored his second touchdown of the season in the win in Oakland. Even when Sproles returns, you have to figure that Ingram will still get his chances as the 2011 first-round pick is starting to show flashes of his Heisman Trophy-winning form.

Jalen Parmele, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rashad Jennings managed -1 yard on three carries against Houston, so the Jaguars turned to Parmele, who finished with 80 on 24 carries. Maurice Jones-Drew is "very questionable" to play this coming Sunday, so head coach Mike Mularkey has decided to tab Parmele the starter and Jennings will be get some use on a rotational basis. Parmele is a four-year pro who spent 2008-10 with the Ravens before joining the Jags this season, and although he has no track record to speak of, he does have this going for him: Tennessee, this week's opponent, is No. 30 in the league in rush defense (132.8 ypg) and is giving up the most fantasy points to running backs.

Bilal Powell, New York Jets
Shonn Greene got more carries (18 to 11) and rushing yards (64 to 42), but it was Powell who finished with a better average (3.8 to 3.6 ypc) and more importantly, scored twice in the win over St. Louis. Powell was reportedly on the verge of splitting carries evenly with Greene before he got injured in Week 6. He’s back now and with the Jets needing every win they can get to keep their playoff hopes alive, Rex Ryan may have no choice but to go with Powell instead of Greene, especially if he continues to out-produce him.

Wide Receivers
Week 11 Recap: Brandon Stokley caught his fourth touchdown in six games and his second against San Diego in the Broncos’ win on Sunday. Darrius Heyward-Bey had 69 yards receiving and Harry Douglas 48, although Douglas’ role could be expanding as Julio Jones left the win against Arizona early with an ankle injury. Laurent Robinson, on the other hand, didn’t catch a single pass in the Jaguars’ overtime loss in Houston, as rookie Justin Blackmon (7-236-1) and Cecil Shorts (3-81-1) did most of the damage.

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Donnie Avery got knocked out of the game against New England with a concussion, but Hilton stepped up big in his absence. After not catching a single pass in his last game against Miami, Hilton hauled in six for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 59-24 loss to the Patriots. Hilton will presumably get the start opposite Reggie Wayne if Avery can’t go this Sunday against Buffalo, who is 25th against the pass.

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals
Sanu has touchdown receptions in each of the past two games as he got the start in Sunday’s win in Kansas City because Andrew Hawkins (knee) was inactive. After not catching a pass in his first four games, he has at least two receptions in his past four and seems to have decent chemistry with Andy Dalton. Fellow wideout A.J. Green is Dalton’s primary target, followed by tight end Jermaine Gresham, but the opportunity is there for Sanu, even if Hawkins doesn’t miss any more games.

Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
Tate has done a good job of making the most of his receptions. Even though he’s had three or fewer catches in seven of nine games, he has scored six touchdowns. Better still, he’s starting to show some signs of consistency as he has 13 receptions over his past three games and three scores in his last two contests. Russell Wilson is a rookie and probably won’t put up huge passing numbers, but he’s starting to show a little more consistency and has seven touchdown passes in his last three outings. Sidney Rice may be the Seahawks’ No. 1 wide receiver, but Tate appears to be right behind him. Tate is definitely a boom-or-bust type of player, but it’s hard to discount his knack for finding the end zone.

Jairus Wright, Minnesota Vikings
All Wright did in his first career NFL game was grab three passes for 65 yards (21.7 ypc) and a touchdown. That came in a Week 10 win against Detroit and he got the opportunity because Percy Harvin (ankle) missed the game. Coming off of the bye, Harvin should be back, but Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has been looking for a reliable second target at wide receiver all season. Wright certainly made a strong first impression and figures to get more chances moving forward.

Tight Ends
Week 11 Recap: Dustin Keller and Lance Kendricks combined to catch four passes (two each) for 30 yards on Sunday.

Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
Owen Daniels is the Texans’ primary tight end, but he’s been dealing with a hip injury recently, which has presented Graham with more opportunities. Graham really cashed in on those on Sunday as he caught eight passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Daniels had six receptions for 57 yards of his own and isn’t in danger of being replaced by Graham, but many other teams have been productive with two tight ends, so there’s no reason to think Houston can’t do the same. Unless Daniels gets hurt or misses another game, Graham is probably too inconsistent to trust on an every-week basis, but he’s someone worth keeping an eye on.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lewis has two or more receptions in each of his last seven games and has averaged more than 10 yards per catch in his last four. He also had his best game of the season on Sunday hauling in two touchdowns against Houston. Lewis Is awfully hard to trust, but he is the Jaguars’ undisputed No. 1 tight end and has seen more than five targets per game over his last four contests. I like Lewis’ chances more if Chad Henne (see above) remains the Jags’ starting quarterback.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 11 Recap: Cincinnati held the Chiefs to just six points and had three sacks and a fumble recovery (15 fantasy points) in its win on Sunday. Likewise, Washington also held the Eagles to just six points, but the Redskins’ DST produced even more points with four sacks and three takeaways (20 points).

Carolina Panthers
The Panthers’ DST has posted double-digit efforts in three of its past four games, including 15 fantasy points on Sunday against Tampa Bay. In addition, the Panthers’ next two opponents are Philadelphia, who could very well have a rookie starting at both quarterback (Nick Foles) and running back (Bryce Brown, see above), and Kansas City, who leads the league with 31 turnovers. Bye weeks are done, but if you don’t like the DST you’ve been running out there or their matchup this week or next, it may be worth considering giving the Panthers a tryout.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 12</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/10-college-rivalries-ended-conference-realignment

Texas alumni are holding their traditional Hex Rally this week, but it probably won’t be as fun. In College Station, the Aggies are holding Midnight Yell Practice in anticipation of their Thanksgiving week game.

But with TCU and Missouri on the other side the Longhorns’ and Aggies’ vitriol, it’s just not the same.

Some of the biggest casualties of conference realignment will be noticed this week, and not just because the Big Ten caused the dominoes to keep falling by adding Maryland on Monday.

No Texas-Texas A&M this week. No Backyard Brawl. No Border War.

Thank conference realignment for denting some of the passion associated with rivalry week. Here’s a look at what conference changes have cost the sport in terms of history and tradition.

Related: Why Maryland's addition to the Big Ten makes sense

Texas-Texas A&M

Last played: 2011
Played on Thanksgiving in most years, this heated rivalry ended when the Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC. This season marks the first since 1915 that A&M and Texas haven’t been in the same league -- both were charter members of the Southwest Conference and then the Big 12. Few rivalries run as deep in the traditions of each school. Both fight songs mention the other (“Goodbye to Texas University. So long to the Orange and White” in the Aggie War Hymn, “And it’s goodbye to Texas A&M” in Texas Fight). Bevo has been kidnapped through the course of the rivalry, so has Reveille. Long in the shadow of the Longhorns, Texas A&M broke with Texas to join the SEC this season. For now, the best chance of a game between the two may be the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Pittsburgh-West Virginia
Last played:
Separated by 80 miles, the Backyard Brawl was turned up a notch when Pittsburgh stopped playing its other top rival, Penn State. With both teams in the Big East and the game taking place in the final week of November in all but one year since 1997, the rivalry took a new look. The most significant game in the rivalry, though, was in 2007 when a then-No. 2 West Virginia team lost its bid to the national championship thanks to a monumental 13-9 upset to a 4-7 Pittsburgh team.

Last played:
Just because the Border War (now the Border Showdown) doesn’t rise to the same level of national attention as Michigan-Ohio State or the Iron Bowl, that doesn’t make it any less nasty across all sports. Before Missouri left for the SEC, Kansas-Missouri was the oldest rivalry West of the Mississippi. The series has included brawls, conniving and upsets over the years. But now it’s just a Cold War. While he won’t be the final say, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has indicated he wouldn’t mind of the Jayhawks never played Missouri again.

Last played:
Consider this: there’s a whole generation out there that never watched Nebraska and Oklahoma face off on Thanksgiving.  As the Big Eight’s preeminent powers during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, one program in the rivalry was a consistent foil for the other. At one point, the winner of this game won the Big Eight in 31 of 36 seasons, including the 1971 Game of the Century between the No. 1 Cornhuskers and No. 2 Sooners. The formation of the Big 12 ended this game as an annual event, and Nebraska’s departure for the Big Ten ended regular meetings altogether. A sliver of good news, though: The series has been tentatively scheduled for a non-conference home-and-home in 2012-22.

Michigan-Notre Dame
Final game:
The Michigan-Notre Dame series has been marked by lulls from 1944-77 and 1910-41, but the two teams have met nearly every year since 1978. The series was an apparent casualty from Notre Dame’s agreement to face five ACC schools every season. It remains to be seen how the arrangement will affect Notre Dame’s other traditional games against Michigan State and Purdue. Notre Dame has indicated its top rivalries to preserve would be those with USC, Navy and Stanford.

Related: Michigan-Ohio State tops our list of college football's top rivalries

Penn State-Pittsburgh
Last played:
This used to be the biggest rivalry game for both schools, but it was at its best in the late 1970s and 80s when Pitt was a national title contender under Jackie Sherrill and Johnny Majors. Penn State coach Joe Paterno was not the biggest fan of Sherrill, and Pittsburgh was not the biggest fan of the Eastern football league Paterno hoped to establish. Pitt joined the Big East instead. When Penn State joined the Big Ten, it all but ended the series.

Last played:
Once the longest running series in the Sunshine State ended when the SEC moved to an eight-game schedule. The Gators kept their annual series with Florida State, set in motion by the state legislature (Miami also continued to play FSU every year well before both were in the ACC). Florida and Miami played every year from 1938-87, ending just as both programs achieved national prominence. The two teams met intermittently since, but they’ve played only five times since the series ended.

Last played:
The two programs have played only three times in the regular season since Arkansas left the Southwest Conference in 1992. The rivalry was at its best when the top two coaches for each school -- Darrell Royal at Texas and Frank Broyles at Arkansas -- overlapped from 1958-78. In 1969, No. 1 Texas defeated No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 on Dec. 2 of that season. In that famous game, President Richard Nixon attended and declared the Longhorns national champions.

Final game:
Perhaps the biggest basketball casualty due to realignment is the end of Georgetown-Syracuse with the Orange joining the ACC next season. By the time Syracuse and Georgetown helped launch Big East basketball in 1979-80, Jim Boeheim had already begun to build his program. The advent of the league also coincided with the rise of John Thompson with the Hoyas. One of the first meeting of the two as Big East members -- a Georgetown victory at Syracuse’s Manley Field House to end the Orange’s 57-game home winning streak -- set the tone for the rest of the rivalry.

Related: What's next for the ACC without Maryland?

Final game:
Back before Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech joined, ACC basketball was iconic. Maryland was on a virtual island, isolated from the heart of ACC country on Tobacco Road. The Terrapins still tabbed Duke as their top rivalry, though the Blue Devils spent more time agonizing over what was going on in Chapel Hill instead. When both programs were at the top of their games, however, when Gary Williams faced off against Mike Krzyzewski, this series was tough to beat.

<p> 10 college rivalries ended by conference realignment</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 05:11
Path: /college-football/big-ten-expansion-and-why-maryland-terrapins-makes-sense

College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.

The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.

Programs rise and fall due to a variety of factors and become more or less attractive to conferences over time. In the 1980s, it was Florida State, Miami and Colorado. In the 1990s, it was Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Kansas State. In the 2000s, it was Oregon, TCU, Boise State and Utah.

For a variety of reasons – coaching, support, media exposure, recruiting base – each of these programs blossomed into the full-throated college football monsters that we see every Saturday.

The point is, college football is a completely fluid situation, and programs rise and fall like European Empires of centuries past. It is about finding the right coach at the right time in the right situation. So as college football enters another era of conference upheaval, mega-television contracts, 7-on-7 national recruiting showcases, weekly uniform changes and a heightened countrywide awareness, the question becomes: Which program are best situated to elevate themselves into national prominence over the next decade and continue the athletic, academic and finacial growth of the Big Ten? This is what Jim Delany cares about.

But before I make the case for Maryland as a perfect fit for the Big Ten, here is a quick timeline of the history of Big Ten expansion:

The Big Ten Conference Timeline:

1896: The Big Ten is formed as the first major collegiate conference of universities. Purdue president James Smart is credited with spearheading the decision to regulate and control intercollegiate athletics. The seven founding members were the Univeristy of Chicago, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Lake Forest College attended the 1895 meeting that eventually spawned what was then referred to as the Western Conference, but it did not join the league.

1899: Iowa and Indiana both join the Big Ten Conference three years after it’s inception. It was then commonly called the Big Nine.

1900: Both Iowa and Indiana would begin athletic competition the following year. Interestingly enough, Nebraska petitioned to join the league the same year (and would again request an invitation in 1911 to no avail).

1908: Michigan was voted out of the conference due to rules issues. The Wolverines failed to adhere to league-wide regulations and were subsequently ruled inactive.

1912: Ohio State joins the league.

1917: When Michigan was finally allowed back into the conference after the decade-long hiatus, the term Big Ten became an instantly popular way to refer to the conference.

1946: Due to the on-going World War in Europe, the University of Chicago had de-emphasized athletics in 1939 in a severe manner by discontinuing its football program. By 1946, Chicago withdrew from the league. The Big Ten went back to being referred to as the Big Nine.

1950: Michigan State is invited to join the Big Nine and does so to return the total number of league institutions to ten. The term Big Ten was re-adopted at this point. It would begin athletic competition in 1953.

1982: Penn State, currently an independent institution, asked to join the Big East but was denied inclusion in what was considered a basketball-centric league at the time.

1987: Technically, the league had been named the “Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives.” But since ICFR doesn’t roll off the tongue, the league officially changed its name to The Big Ten when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit business entity.

1990: After remaining unchanged for nearly exactly four decades of success, the Big Ten voted to expand to 11 schools and asked Penn State to join. The Nittany Lions were happy to oblige. It would begin Big Ten athletic competition in 1993.

2011: Nebraska played its first Big Ten conference schedule and the league splits into two divisions to accommodate the Cornhuskers. The Big Ten plays its first league championship game in Indianapolis. 

Why the Maryland Terrapins makes sense:

If you are looking for the next edition of the Oregon Ducks, look no further than College Park, Maryland. There is a lot of room for upward growth, and good coaches have proven that winning big is well within reach. The Terps have won a National Championship in hoops and had a good stretch in football for years. The Terps have a giant booster in Kevin Plank who, like Phil Knight at Oregon, is willing to funnel his Under Armour money – and his own intriguing sense of fashion – into the program he dearly loves.

The Big Ten is the most lucrative league in college football and is second only to the SEC in long-term stability. The Big Ten will get a record $24.6 million in shared revenue that is only sure to increase when an expanded footprint helps TV negotiations in 2017 when the new contract is signed. Maryland also lies in an incredibly rich area of the country for talent, both football and basketball, and would allow the Big Ten to dip into Virginia, DC, Pennsylvania and New Jersey for players on a yearly basis. And the truth of the matter is that upward movement within the league would involve leap-frogging programs Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern or Purdue. Very doable should things fall into place.

Randy Edsall proved at UConn that he could work minor miracles with mediocre ingredients. Now, he has a full-sized athletic department budget (that needs some overhaul), a great recruiting base and support from a powerful, high-profile booster who has created a connection with a certain 15-18 year-old male demographic with edgy advertising campaigns and creative uniforms.

Whether Edsall is the final answer for Maryland remains to be seen, but with the right person steering the program, the future appears to be very bright for the Terps. Rutgers brings the New York-New Jersey market while the Terps bring the Beltway — and a long history of competitive athletics. Add to it millions in increased revenue from not only the Big Ten coffers but also from increased interest in home football games with former rival Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan and Wisconsin, and Maryland has all the pieces in place to be a big part of the Big Ten's future. 

The History of the Big Ten:

Special thanks to for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.

Big Ten Conference BCS Bowl History:

Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking

1998 Sugar: (4) Ohio State 24, (6) Texas A&M 14
1998 Rose: (9) Wisconsin 38, (5) UCLA 31
1999 Orange: (8) Michigan 35, (4) Alabama 34
1999 Rose: (7) Wisconsin 17, (ur) Stanford 9
2000 Rose: (4) Washington 34, (ur) Purdue 24
2001 Sugar: (13) LSU 47, (8) Illinois 34
2002 Fiesta (NCG): (2) Ohio State 31, (1) Miami 24 (2 OT)
2002 Orange: (4) USC 38, (5) Iowa 17
2003 Fiesta: (5) Ohio State 35, (10) Kansas State 28
2003 Rose: (3) USC 28, (4) Michigan 14
2004 Rose: (4) Texas 38, (13) Michigan 37
2005 Fiesta: (4) Ohio State 34, (6) Notre Dame 20
2005 Orange: (3) Penn State 26,* (22) Florida State 23
2006 NCG: (2) Florida 41, (1) Ohio State 14
2006 Rose: (5) USC 32, (3) Michigan 18
2007 NCG: (2) LSU 38, (1) Ohio State 24
2007 Rose: (7) USC 49, (13) Illinois 17
2008 Fiesta: (3) Texas 24, (10) Ohio State 21
2008 Rose: (5) USC 38, (8) Penn State 24
2009 Rose: (8) Ohio State 26, (7) Oregon 16
2009 Orange: (10) Iowa 24, (9) Georgia Tech 14
2010 Sugar: (6) Ohio State 31,* (8) Arkansas 26
2010 Rose: (3) TCU 21, (5) Wisconsin 19
2011 Sugar: (13) Michigan 23, (11) Virginia Tech 20 (OT)
2011 Rose: (5) Oregon 45, (10) Wisconsin 38

* - later vacated

Overall Record: 12-13
National Championships: 1-2

<p> History of Big Ten Expansion and Why Maryland Terrapins makes sense</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 10:58
Path: /college-football/maryland-joins-big-ten-whats-next-acc

Expansion never stops in college football and another domino fell on Monday: Maryland will be leaving the ACC to become the 13th member of the Big Ten.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh are set to join the ACC in 2013, which would have given the conference 14 teams. However, with the Terrapins set to depart, the ACC is back to 13 teams and unbalanced divisions for its long-term outlook.

Maryland’s official departing date from the ACC will be after the 2013 season but it will have to pay a hefty exit fee. The conference raised the exit fee to $50 million earlier this season but that number will likely be negotiated.

So now the big question is…what’s next for the ACC?

Simple answer: Uncertainty. The rumors about Florida State and Clemson potentially leaving for the Big 12 will likely start again, while the ACC will have to add another team.

Rutgers is the most likely 14th team for the Big Ten, but North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech are also believed to be on commissioner Jim Delany’s radar. Even if the Big Ten stops at 14 teams for now, don’t be surprised if the conference moves to 16 in the future.

With Maryland officially leaving for the Big Ten, Louisville and Connecticut are expected to be the top targets for the ACC to get back to 14 teams. Here’s a look at the pros/cons for each school.


Pros: In the ACC’s quest to become college football’s premier conference on the East Coast, the Huskies would be another solid addition to bolster that claim. Connecticut’s football program isn’t a national powerhouse, but its men’s basketball team has three national titles. Also, the women’s basketball program is one of the top-10 teams in the nation. Connecticut also has an attractive location for television, as it is less than three hours outside of New York City.

Cons: Considering the ACC has struggled to become a football power, why add another program that is just 83-83 since 1999? While the Huskies are located in a prime spot in the Northeast, would they really deliver the highly-valued television markets?


Pros: Louisville is a well-rounded athletic department, which includes top 25 teams in football and women’s and men’s basketball. The Cardinals also are in better shape than Connecticut in terms of an athletic budget. With the ACC needing a boost in football, Louisville would be the perfect fix. The facilities are in place for the Cardinals to win big, especially if coach Charlie Strong sticks around for the immediate future.

Cons: The Cardinals don’t have as strong of a television market as Connecticut, which matters when it comes to realignment. Also, Louisville ranks behind the Huskies in the U.S. News College rankings, which is important for an academic conference like the ACC.

Who should be the ACC’s 14th team? Louisville

When it comes to realignment, it’s all about money and long-term potential. While Connecticut has the better television market and academics, the ACC needs to add a program like Louisville to bolster its football product. The Cardinals are 113-59 in football since 1999 and the potential is there to win big. Louisville isn’t a perfect geographic fit but that matters little in realignment.

It’s not crazy to think Florida State and Clemson would want to look for a way out of the ACC in the near future and adding a program like Louisville would help the conference show its commitment to football, especially after passing on West Virginia last year.

Outside of adding Connecticut or Louisville, the ACC's other options would appear to be standing pat at 13 teams for the near future or convincing Notre Dame to join as a full-time member. While the ACC would like the Fighting Irish as a full-time member, it doesn't appear they want to give up their independence. And staying at 13 football programs doesn't make sense with two viable options on the table.

Related College Football Content

Big Ten Expansion and Why Maryland Makes Sense

<p> Maryland Joins Big Ten; What's Next for the ACC?</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 10:02
Path: /nfl/8-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-11

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each 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 11 of NFL play:

7: Return touchdowns allowed by Detroit, the most in the NFL
The Lions lost in heart-breaking fashion to the rival Packers due in large part to a big momentum swing on a Matthew Stafford interception. With the Packers trailing in the third quarter, M.D. Jennings picked off the Lions' quarterback and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown and the lead. The INT return for a touchdown was the second such return of the year and an NFL-high seventh total return TD — two punt returns, two kick returns, two interceptions returns and one fumble return — against the Lions. Stafford was sacked five times and his offense turned the ball over four times. The Lions own the worst division record in the NFL thus far at 0-4 against NFC North teams.

Sept. 24, 1967: Last time a QB threw 5 INT and 0 TD in a win
Matt Ryan completed 28-of-46 passes for 301 yards, no touchdowns and five interceptions. But since the inept Arizona offense couldn't score touchdowns either, Atlanta won the game despite Ryan's 0:5 TD:INT ratio. When was the last time a quarterback threw at least five interceptions and no touchdowns in a win you ask? Bart Starr went 10-of-19 for 113 yards, no scores and five picks in a 13-10 win over the Bears on Sept. 24, 1967. In case Falcons fans didn't know, Green Bay won the Super Bowl that year as well.

1: Incompletions thrown by Robert Griffin III
The 4-6 Redskins kept their slim playoff lights flickering with a dominant performance against Andy Reid and his reeling Eagles. RG3 was 14-of-15 for 200 yards and four touchdown passes, one in each quarter, in the 31-6 division win. He also rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles struggled for the Eagles in place of Michael Vick and Washington snapped a bizarre losing streak. The Skins had lost eight straight games to rookie quarterbacks dating back to 2006.

273: Career-high yards receiving for Andre Johnson
This one is a lay-up. The great Andre Johnson caught a personal-best 14 passes for a personal-best 273 yards and the game-winning 48-yard touchdown catch and run. It was his 41st 100-yard receiving game in his illustrious Texans career. He has 766 catches for 10,526 yards and 55 touchdowns in his career. Imagine what his numbers would be if he hadn't missed 21 games over the last seven seasons. Matt Schaub's 527 yards passing were second all-time in a single game behind only Norm Van Brocklin's 554 yards in 1951. He tied Warren Moon's 527-yard performance from 1990. Schaub also set a Texans' record with 43 completions.

0.88: Rob Gronkowski's career touchdowns per game
The big Patriots tight end has been a touchdown machine since entering the league three seasons ago. He was targeted seven times in the win over the Colts and he caught all seven Tom Brady offerings for 137 yards and two more touchdowns. He now has 10 on the season and at least 10 in all three of his NFL seasons. That gives him 37 touchdown catches in 42 career games, for an average of 0.88 TD/game. Jerry Rice caught an NFL-record 197 TD in 303 games for an average rate of 0.65 TD/game. Randy Moss's 155 TD are No. 2 all-time and his TD rate was 0.73 per game. Terrell Owens is No. 3 all-time with 153 touchdowns in 219 games, or an 0.69 average. Gronkowski is on pace to get to 100 touchdowns — something only eight players have ever done — in just 114 games, or just a few weeks into his seventh NFL season. The Patriots' 59 points scored against Indianapolis tied a franchise record. Unfortunately, The Gronk also suffered a broken forearm and will likely miss 3-6 weeks.

11+ Points: Leads Cleveland, Jacksonville and Carolina gave up
With six minutes to go in the game, Cam Newton and the Panthers led Tampa Bay by 11 points. With 12:33 left to go in the game, Jacksonville had a 14-point lead on Houston. And the Dallas Cowboys trailed 13-0 to Cleveland with a few minutes left in the third quarter when they finally got onto the scoreboard with a field goal. All three teams choked away a double-digit second-half lead on Sunday. That is why these three teams have a combined record of 5-25 on the year and why they have one combined playoff win since 2005. The Browns set a franchise record with their 12th consecutive road loss.

423: Peyton Manning career touchdown passes
With three more touchdown passes in a key division win over San Diego, Manning has moved past Dan Marino for second all-time in passing touchdowns. Since a horrible first quarter in Atlanta back in Week 2 in which he threw three interceptions, Manning has 22 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. Denver has won five out of seven since the loss to Atlanta and the Broncos have taken a commanding three-game lead in the division. Manning is second only to Brett Favre's 508 touchdown passes. Manning also tied his boss, Broncos' Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway, for second place on the all-time list for victories in the regular season with No. 148. He needs 39 wins to break Favre's record of 186.

4-1: Joe Flacco's record against the Steelers in his last five
He has been often scrutinized, but Joe Flacco could be taking the next step in his development. He continues to show improved numbers year after year, he takes his team to the playoffs, has won five postseason games in four years and is now beating the Steelers on a regular basis. At least in the regular season. Flacco has won four of the last five meetings and five of the last seven with the arch-rival Steelers. He has also won three straight in the Steel City. No, Ben Roethlisberger didn't play and, no, Flacco hasn't beaten Pittsburgh in the playoffs yet (0-2). But this three-week stretch is likely going to determine the final AFC North standings as these two rivals will face-off twice. What's more, round one has gone the way of Flacco and the Ravens — giving Baltimore a commanding two-game lead in the division.

<p> 8 Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 11</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-12-power-rankings

There were no changes in the power rankings, but it was still a huge weekend for the SEC. Thanks to losses by both Kansas State and Oregon, the winner of the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia will be in position to play for the national championship. Also of note, Vanderbilt beat Tennessee in Nashville for the first time in 30 years.

Post-Week 12 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M — Manziel is now at the forefront of the Heisman Trophy race. The redshirt freshman quarterback leads the SEC in rushing (101.3 ypg) and ranks second in the nation in total offense (378.3 ypg).

2. AJ McCarron, Alabama — McCarron barely broke a sweat in the Crimson Tide’s 49–0 win over Western Carolina. The junior quarterback completed 6-of-6 for 133 yards and one touchdown. He now ranks third nationally in passing efficiency.

3. Aaron Murray, Georgia — Murray had a productive day throwing the football in the Bulldogs’ 45–14 win over Georgia Southern. He threw for 330 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. The junior ranks first in the nation in passing efficiency and has 15 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games. 

Post-Week 12 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
— Clowney did not play in South Carolina’s win over Wofford due to a foot injury. For the season, the sophomore defensive end has 42 total tackles (17 for a loss) with 9.5 sacks.

2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia — Jones had six tackles, including one for a loss, in the Bulldogs’ win over Georgia Southern. The junior linebacker now has 18 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks for the season.

3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M — The junior defensive end recorded four tackles in the Aggies’ win over Sam Houston State. He continues to lead the SEC in tackles for a loss with 20.0 and sacks with 12.5.

Post-Week 12 Coach of the Year Standings 

1. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M — It helps to have one of the most electric players in college football running the show, but Sumlin deserves a ton of credit for the Aggies’ 5–2 SEC record. They have two close losses at home to top-10 teams (Florida and LSU) and two weeks ago they knocked off Alabama in Tuscaloosa. 

2. James Franklin, Vanderbilt — The Commodores rolled past Tennessee with surprising ease on Saturday night to improve to 7–4 in Franklin’s second season on the job. Vanderbilt tied a school record with five SEC wins in Franklin’s second season.

3. Will Muschamp, Florida — The Gators aren’t exactly playing their best ball of late, but Muschamp has this program back among the nation’s elite. Last year, in his first on the job, Florida went 3–5 in the SEC. This year, the Gators went 7–1

Post-Week  12 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (10–1, 6–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 12 result: Beat Western Carolina 49–0
Alabama disposed of FCS lightweight Western Carolina with little difficulty on Saturday afternoon. The big news, however, came late Saturday night, when both Kansas State (BCS No. 1) and Oregon (BCS No. 2) were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten. Alabama climbed to No. 2 in the BCS standings and will play for the national title with wins over Auburn next week and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Next week: Auburn

2. Georgia (10–1, 7–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 12 result: Beat Georgia Southern 45–14
It was a struggle for a while, but Georgia pulled away in the second half en route to a 45–14 win over Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs had some trouble at times with Georgia Southern’s option attack, but only allowed one touchdown through the first three quarters and 318 total yards for the game. Aaron Murray was the offensive star for Georgia, throwing for 330 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. With both Oregon and Kansas State losing, Georgia now controls its own destiny to play for the national title. 
Next week: Georgia Tech

3. Florida (10–1, 7–1 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 12 result: Beat Jacksonville State 23–0
Nothing comes easy for the Gators these days. Florida improved to 10–1 overall with a 23–0 win over Jacksonville State despite scoring only one offensive touchdown and recording only 356 yards of offense. Jacoby Brissett, playing for the injured Jeff Driskell, completed 14-of-22 passes for 154 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Senior tailback Mike Gillieslee rushed for 122 yards on 20 carries, his first 100-yard game since early October.
Next week: at Florida State

4. LSU (9–2, 5–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 12 result: Beat Ole Miss 41–35
LSU kept its slim SEC West title hopes alive with a wild 41–35 win over Ole Miss in Baton Rouge. The Tigers gave up 463 total yards, including 310 through the air, but made key plays at the right time. Late in the fourth quarter, Anthony Johnson and Lavar Edwards sacked Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace on consecutive plays to knock the Rebels from the 18 to the 36-yard line. Then, after Ole Miss missed a 53-yard field goal attempts, LSU drove 64 yards on nine plays for the game-winning touchdown. To win the SEC West and play in the SEC title game, LSU needs to beat Arkansas, Missouri needs to beat Texas A&M and Auburn needs to beat Alabama.
Next week: at Arkansas

5. Texas A&M (9–2, 5–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 12 result: Beat Sam Houston State 47–28
Texas A&M won for the ninth time in the past 10 games, cruising to a 47–28 win over FCS power Sam Houston State. Quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 100 yards and two scores to lead the Aggie attack. With Collin Klein struggling in Kansas State’s loss to Baylor, Manziel has emerged as the frontrunner in the Heisman Trophy race.
Next week: Missouri

6. South Carolina (9–2, 6–2 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 12 result: Beat Wofford 24–7
South Carolina was outgained 330-to-293 but managed to escape Williams-Brice Stadium with a tougher-than-expected 24–7 win over Wofford. Connor Shaw completed 16-of-20 passes for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and Kenny Miles rushed for 127 yards and a score to lead the Carolina offense. The Gamecocks completed their first unbeaten (7–0) at home since 1987.
Next week: at Clemson

7. Mississippi State (8–3, 4–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Beat Arkansas 45–14
Mississippi State snapped a three-game losing streak with a emphatic 45–14 win over Arkansas in Starkville. The Bulldogs fell behind 14–7 early in the second quarter but scored the game’s final 31 points to secure no worse than a .500 record in the SEC. Tyler Russell was sharp for MSU, completing 19-of-32 passes for 274 yards with four touchdowns an no interceptions. Tailback LaDarius Perkins, who missed the LSU game with an injury, returned to the lineup and rushed for 91 yards on 17 carries. The Bulldogs recorded a season-high 505 yards of total offense.
Next week: at Ole Miss

8. Vanderbilt (7–4, 5–3 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 12 result: Beat Tennessee 41–18
Vanderbilt beat Tennessee in Nashville for the first time since 1982 — and did so in dominating fashion. The Commodores broke open a tight game with 28 straight points in the second half to claim their fifth straight win. The Vanderbilt defense held the powerful Volunteer offense to 303 total yards (second fewest of the season) and allowed UT to convert only 2-of-15 on third down. Jordan Rodgers outdueled UT’s Tyler Bray, throwing for 245 yards and two touchdowns. The 23-point win was the largest margin of victory for Vanderbilt over Tennessee since 1954. The Commodores, with five SEC wins, have secured their first winning league record since 1982.
Next week: at Wake Forest

9. Ole Miss (5–6, 2¬–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 9
Week 12 result: Lost to LSU 41–35
It’s been a tough two weeks for the Ole Miss Rebels. One week after blowing a 23–6 second half lead at home to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss battled LSU to the wire in Baton Rouge before falling 41–35. The Rebels outgained LSU 463-to-427 but committed four turnovers and had trouble protecting quarterback Bo Wallace on a decisive fourth quarter drive. Wallace threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns on only 15 completions but was responsible for three of the Rebels’ turnovers. He also rushed for two touchdowns, including a 58-yard run up the middle in the first quarter. Ole Miss must beat rival Mississippi State in Oxford next week to become bowl-eligible.
Next week: Mississippi State

10. Arkansas (4–7, 2–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Lost to Mississippi State 45–14
It’s official: Arkansas, a top-15 team in the preseason, will not play in a bowl game. The Razorbacks dropped to 4–7 overall and 2–5 in the SEC with a 45–17 loss at Mississippi State. Arkansas was done in once again by a pass defense that has been among the worst in the nation in 2012. MSU threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the seventh team to top the 275-yard mark against the Hogs. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 23-of-29 passes for 225 yard and two touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice. Wilson has thrown seven picks in the last four games; he threw only six all of last season.
Next week: LSU

11. Missouri (5–6, 2–5 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 12 result: Lost to Syracuse 31–27
Missouri lost for the fourth time at home this season, falling to Syracuse 31–27 on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds remaining. Missouri held leads of 14–3, 17–10, 24–17 and 27–24 but had trouble stopping the Syracuse passing attack all night long. SU quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns and wide out Alec Lemon caught 12 passes for 244 yards. Missouri quarterback James Franklin completed 17-of-23 for 278 yards and two scores but had to be replaced in the fourth quarter for an undisclosed injury. The Tigers must beat Texas A&M in College Station to become bowl-eligible.
Next week: at Texas A&M

12. Tennessee (4–7, 0–7 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 11
Week 12 result: Lost to Vanderbilt 41–18
The Derek Dooley era is over. It became official on Sunday morning, about 12 hours after the Vols suffered their worst defeat to Vanderbilt since 1954. The final score was 41–18 — and it could have been worse. The Volunteers were completely dominated in the second half on their way to their eighth straight SEC road loss. The Tennessee offense, which had scored 103 points in the previous two games, was held to one touchdown (the Vols added a scored on special teams). Tyler Bray had his worst outing of the season, completing only 11-of-29 for 103 yards with one touchdown and two picks. Bray was pulled in the second quarter but returned to the lineup in the second half. Tennessee ends its season next week vs. Kentucky. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will serve as the interim head coach.
Next week: Kentucky

13. Auburn (3–8, 0–7 SEC)
Last week:
Week 12 result: Beat Alabama A&M 51–7
This one was never in doubt. Auburn jumped on Alabama A&M early, taking a 21–0 lead after one quarter and a 35–0 at the half. The Tigers rolled up 502 yards offense, led by tailbacks Tre Mason (181 yards) and Onterio McCalebb (104 yards). True freshman Jonathan Wallace continues to play well at quarterback; he completed 10-of-18 for 171 yards and one touchdown. Auburn now makes the trip across the state to battle rival Alabama, which is back in the national title picture.
Next week: at Alabama

14. Kentucky (2–9, 0–7 SEC)
Last week’s rank: 14
Week 12 result: Beat Samford 34–3
Joker Phillips won in his final game at Commonwealth Stadium as the Wildcats snapped an eight-game winning streak with a convincing win over Samford. The Cats outgained Samford 455-to-102 by dominating on the line of scrimmage. UK ran for a season-high 342 yards, with Raymond Sanders (123 yards), Dyshawn Mobley (82) and Jonathan George (76) doing most of the damage. Jalen Whitlow received most of the snaps at quarterback and completed 10-of-13 for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Next week: at Tennessee

<p>  </p> <p> There were no changes in the power rankings, but it was still a huge weekend for the SEC. Thanks to losses by both Kansas State and Oregon, the winner of the SEC title game between Alabama and Georgia will be in position to play for the national championship. Also of note, Vanderbilt beat Tennessee in Nashville for the first time in 30 years.</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 05:45
Path: /college-football/15-coaches-replace-fired-derek-dooley-tennessee

Derek DooleyAfter Saturday’s 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt, Tennessee decided to pull the plug on the Derek Dooley era. Dooley went 6-7 in his first season in Knoxville but went 9-14 over the next two years. Also, the Volunteers were just 4-19 in SEC play under his watch and was off to a 0-7 start in 2012. Dooley didn’t inherit a full cupboard to work with in 2010, but the program hasn’t made considerable progress under his watch.

15 Coaching Candidates to Replace Derek Dooley at Tennessee


Sonny Dykes, head coach, Louisiana Tech – Dykes is one of the hottest names for BCS vacancies this offseason. The Texas native is 22-14 in three years at Louisiana Tech and has previous SEC experience at Kentucky in 1997 and 1999. Dykes also has stops as an assistant at Texas Tech and Arizona. Even though Dykes has proven he is a good coach, would Tennessee shy away from hiring someone else from Louisiana Tech?

Larry Fedora, head coach, North Carolina – Fedora is just in his first season at North Carolina, but he is a name to watch in this coaching search. An ongoing academic scandal prior to Fedora’s arrival is a concern, especially if the NCAA decides to get involved. Fedora went 34-19 in four seasons at Southern Miss, leading the Golden Eagles to four bowl games. The Texas native is 7-4 in his first season at North Carolina and has previous SEC experience with a stint as Florida’s offensive coordinator from 2002-04.

Al Golden, head coach, Miami – Considering the NCAA hammer is about to drop on Miami, Golden may look to escape for a better job this offseason. The New Jersey native has spent most of his career on the East Coast, playing for Penn State from 1987-91 and coaching as an assistant at Virginia, Boston College and Penn State. Golden resurrected Temple and led the Owls to a 17-8 record during his final two years in Philadelphia. Miami is just 11-11 in his two years, but the program did not have an abundance of talent when he arrived.

Jon Gruden, former NFL head coach – Gruden’s name has been mentioned prominently among Tennessee fans over the last year. The former NFL head coach has some connections to Rocky Top, as he worked as a graduate assistant in Knoxville from 1986-87 and his wife went to Tennessee. Gruden went 95-81 during his time in the NFL, which included a Super Bowl victory in 2002. He is also highly regarded for his work on offense, but the West Coast offense is a difficult scheme to implement in college. Two key questions for Tennessee to ponder: Would Gruden enjoy recruiting? How about the lure of the NFL: Would he stick around for five years?

Related Content: 5 Reasons Why Jon Gruden Would Be a Bad Fit at Tennessee 

Darrell Hazell, head coach, Kent State – Hazell has only been a head coach for two seasons, but he has clearly made a difference at Kent State. In two years with the Golden Flashes, Hazell is 15-8 and won the MAC East title in 2012. Before coming to Kent State, the New Jersey native made stops as an assistant at Western Michigan, Army, West Virginia, Rutgers and Ohio State. Hazell has no experience in the SEC but is a rising star in the coaching ranks.

Kliff Kingsbury, offensive coordinator, Texas A&M – Kingsbury has helped to coordinate one of the nation’s top offenses this season and oversaw the development of Johnny Manziel. He also thrived as an offensive coordinator at Houston and played under Bill Belichick during his NFL career. The only downside to Kingsbury? He has no head coaching experience.

Mike MacIntyre, head coach, San Jose State – MacIntyre has turned San Jose State into one of the WAC’s worst teams into a bowl team in just three years. The Spartans went 1-12 in 2010, improved to 5-7 in 2011 and have climbed to 9-2 this season. MacIntyre has stops as an assistant at Temple, Ole Miss, Duke and in the NFL with the Cowboys and Jets. MacIntyre isn’t a flashy or a big name, but as the results have shown at San Jose State, he’s capable of leading a BCS program.

Gus Malzahn, head coach, Arkansas State – Malzahn has made a quick rise through the coaching ranks. The Texas native was a high school head coach in 2005 and joined Arkansas’ coaching staff in 2006. After one season in Fayetteville, Malzahn joined Tulsa and spent two years working under Todd Graham. Malzahn moved to Auburn in 2009 and was a key piece in the Tigers’ national championship. Arkansas State is 8-3 in Malzahn’s first season and as expected, ranks near the top of the Sun Belt in scoring, passing, total and rushing offense. The only downside to Malzahn? Only one year of head coaching experience on the collegiate level.

Dan Mullen, head coach, Mississippi State – Even though Mullen has yet to beat Alabama or LSU during his tenure in Starkville, there’s no doubt Mississippi State is an improved team. The Bulldogs will be making their third consecutive bowl appearance in 2012 and has a 13-18 mark in SEC play over the last four years. Mullen also has assistant experience from stops at Bowling Green, Notre Dame, Utah and Florida. Considering what Mullen has done in four years at Mississippi State, he could thrive at a program with more resources.

Bobby Petrino, former Arkansas head coach – There’s no question Petrino is the most polarizing name in coaching searches this offseason. Petrino has been successful at each of his stops in college, leading Louisville to a 41-9 mark in four years and a 34-17 record in four seasons at Arkansas. The Montana native is highly regarded for his work with quarterbacks and offenses and has four years of NFL experience. While those are the positives, Petrino had a messy exit from Arkansas after lying to athletic director Jeff Long about the details of a motorcycle crash in late March. Petrino has already indicated he is ready to work and considering what happened at Arkansas, it’s a safe bet he doesn’t make the same mistakes that ended his tenure in Fayetteville. 

Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama – Although Smart is due for his shot to run a program, you have to wonder if Tennessee will shy away from hiring another Nick Saban assistant after firing Derek Dooley. Smart is well-versed in the SEC, as he was born in Alabama, played at Georgia and has made stops as an assistant at LSU, Georgia and Alabama. 

Mark Stoops, defensive coordinator, Florida State – Stoops is one of the nation’s best assistants and like Kirby Smart, it’s only a matter of time before he gets a chance to become a head coach. Stoops made stops as an assistant at South Florida, Wyoming, Houston, Miami and Arizona before coming to Florida State. The Seminoles have been one of the nation’s top defenses during his watch in Tallahassee, which includes a No. 1 overall rank in 2012.

Charlie Strong, head coach, Louisville – Even though Strong has mentioned he his committed to Louisville, the uncertainty surrounding the Big East could be enough to make a move. Strong has been a home-run hire for Louisville, leading the Cardinals to a 23-13 mark during his three seasons. He also has SEC experience, spending time at Florida, Ole Miss and South Carolina. Strong’s recruiting connections in Florida would be appealing for any athletic director, while his background on defense has to be attractive for Tennessee after the disastrous 2012 season.

Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – Taggart was one of the hottest names in the coaching rumor mill earlier this season, especially after Western Kentucky opened 5-1 with a win over Kentucky. However, the Hilltoppers have tailed off in recent weeks, losing their last three games and dropping to 6-5 overall. Despite the recent setback, Taggart is a good coach and will get a chance to run a BCS program in the near future.

Tommy Tuberville, head coach, Texas Tech – Tuberville already has two tours of duty through the SEC, coaching at Ole Miss from 1995-98 and at Auburn in 1999-2008. In four seasons with the Rebels, he recorded a 25-20 mark and went 85-40 at Auburn. Tuberville is 20-15 in three seasons at Texas Tech and has the Red Raiders back on track after a 5-7 mark in 2011. Tuberville isn’t flashy, but he’s a proven winner and a steady option for Tennessee.

Other Names to Watch

David Cutcliffe, head coach, Duke – Cutcliffe is a name that’s certainly familiar around Knoxville. He worked as an assistant coach in Knoxville from 1982-98 and then again from 2006-07. Cutcliffe has two stops as a head coach, working from 1998-2004 at Ole Miss with a 44-29 mark. Since 2008, Cutcliffe has been the head coach at Duke and led the Blue Devils to their first bowl game since 1994 this season. Cutcliffe isn’t a flashy hire but has previous experience at Tennessee and is highly regarded for his work with quarterbacks. However, Cutcliffe has mentioned he is committed to staying at Duke for 2013.

Pete Lembo, head coach, Ball State – Lembo has been a consistent winner at three different stops, posting a 44-14 mark at Lehigh, a 35-22 record at Elon and a 14-9 mark in two seasons at Ball State. He’s ready for a shot to run a BCS program.

Gary Patterson, head coach, TCU – The rumor mill will throw Patterson’s name out there, but he’s not leaving TCU.

Todd Monken, offensive coordinator, Oklahoma State – Monken has never been a head coach but over the last two years, has helped to coordinate one of the nation’s best offenses at Oklahoma State.

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson - Morris has emerged as one of the top offensive minds in college football, leading Clemson's offense to an average of 44.6 points a game this season. Morris has no head coaching experience and already has a salary of $1.3 million, so it would take a significant raise to leave Clemson.

Brent Pease, offensive coordinator, Florida – Pease is a long-time assistant that is expected to get into the mix for a head coaching job this offseason. He has stops as an assistant at Kentucky, Baylor, Boise State and Florida.

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

25 Coaches to Replace Fired Joker Phillips at Kentucky
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<p> 15 Coaches to Replace Fired Derek Dooley at Tennessee</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 05:40
Path: /college-football/10-coaches-who-should-be-thankful-be-college-football-sideline

A chance to coach college football at the top level of the game for a living should make any man on the sideline to be thankful.

Some should be more thankful than others this year, though, to be coaching major college football this season.

Whether they’re thankful for their health, thankful for a second chance or thankful to be gainfully employed despite the results, here is our list of coaches who should be extra thankful to be wearing a headset this Thanksgiving:

Mack Brown, Texas
With four consecutive wins, the Longhorns have their act back together after an embarrassing 63-21 loss to Oklahoma and close calls against Baylor and Kansas. Texas is 8-2 and could be in the discussion for a BCS bid, especially if the Longhorns manage to upset Kansas State in Manhattan. Brown wasn’t the most popular man in Austin back in September, but he could have Texas back at 10 wins for the first time since 2009.

Norm Chow, Hawaii
The former offensive coordinator, whose star has fallen quite a bit since he coached Heisman winners at USC in the early 2000s, is thankful to have finally landed his first head coaching job at Hawaii. After starting 1-9, Chow eventually might be thankful to keep his job for however long he hangs onto it.

Bob Davie, New Mexico
Hiring a man whose last coaching job was the first of three ill-fated tenures at Notre Dame more than a decade ago would be a tough sell for most fanbases. Davie, though, is thankful for New Mexico rolling the dice on a 58-year-old coach who spent more time in the broadcast booth than on the sideline the last 11 years. New Mexico won’t go to a bowl game, but the Lobos have won more games in Davie’s first season than they did during all of Mike Locksley’s three years.

Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Kill has dealt with occasionally frightening health issues for several years now, including a suffering a seizure on the field during a game against New Mexico State last year and in the locker room after a loss to Northwestern this season. Few will savor Minnesota’s return to a bowl game more than Kill, one of the nation’s most underrated coaches.

Mike Leach, Washington State, and Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
On the same day in November, Leach and his staff were accused of player mistreatment by his former star wide receiver, and Tuberville was caught on camera swatting the headset off the head of a graduate assistant during the game. Leach had the backing of his athletic director, though an investigation by the Pac-12 is in progress. Tuberville has since apologized and received a public reprimand. Considering the history -- Leach losing his job over player mistreatment accusations at Texas Tech and Tuberville coaching at Tech where basketball coach Billy Gillispie also received such allegations -- both may be thankful when these issues fade away with out serious repercussions.

Will Muschamp, Florida
It’s better to be lucky than good. At least on offense for Florida. The Gators are indeed a charmed one-loss bunch. A blocked punt for a touchdown in the final minute salvaged a win against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 10. Before that, four Missouri interceptions covered up a lackluster performance against Missouri. And then there’s South Carolina. Poor South Carolina, who fumbled twice around its own goal line and had a field goal blocked in the loss to Florida. The Gators may not be too much better than the group that went 7-6 last season, but they sure are luckier.

Bill O’Brien, Penn State
Penn State’s football program will take an inevitable dive as NCAA sanctions start to take hold in the coming years. For now, though, O’Brien is enjoying a 7-4 season, including 5-2 in the Big Ten. Not bad, considering the season started with a 24-17 loss to Ohio and a missed-kick-fest against Virginia. The hire of O’Brien, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, was not universally applauded, but the no-nonsense coach and Penn State should be thankful he’s a good fit in State College.

Mark Richt, Georgia
Before the season, Richt had reason to be thankful for a schedule that dodged Alabama and LSU. Richt is thankful for much more. For the second consecutive season, Georgia lost to South Carolina but will win the SEC East anyway. The fortuitous bounces in Florida’s favor against the Gamecocks knocked Carolina down in the East standings and put Georgia back in contention. Then, the Gators’ turnovers against Georgia in Jacksonville put the Bulldogs in the driver’s seat for the SEC title game. After Kansas State and Oregon both lost Saturday, a win in the SEC championship game could send Georgia to the national title game despite being outclassed in a 35-7 loss to South Carolina.

John L. Smith, Arkansas
The coach who urged reporters to “smile” likely won’t need any reminders to be thankful. It’s been a tough year for Smith off the field with the passing of his brother in addition to the coach dealing with financial problems. Arkansas football won’t reach a bowl game this season, but Smith may be the first to say that coaching college football as a profession is worthy of gratitude no matter the on-field results.

Charlie Weis, Kansas
Weis went 19-6 in his first two seasons at Notre Dame, but his college results since then have been less than stellar: 16-21 at Notre Dame and a putrid offense at Florida with Weis as coordinator. Weis has reason to be thankful to be a coach in any major conference, even if its the toughest job in the Big 12.

<p> 10 coaches who should be thankful to be on a college football sideline</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 05:30
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-12-power-rankings

The de facto Big East championship game between Louisville and Rutgers has been established with the Scarlet Knights’ 10-3 win over Cincinnati on Saturday.

But that’s not going to be the big topic around the Big East in the two weeks before the game in Piscataway. The Big East may yet again be the subject of conference realignment talk as reports surfaced Saturday that Maryland is in negotiations to leave the ACC for the Big Ten, a possibility that could cause Rutgers to leave the Big East to be the Big Ten’s 14th member.

As far as developments on the field, Rutgers remains in position for its first (and only?) Big East title.

Teddy Bridgewater

Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville --
The Cardinals’ bid at an undefeated season is up, but Bridgewater has been excellent the last three games with 1,164 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. Even more will be on his shoulders with leading rusher Senorise Perry out for the season.

2. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- Nassib continued his hot streak in a non-conference game against Missouri, passing for 385 yards and two touchdowns in Columbia. His lone interception against the Tigers was his first since Oct. 13.

3. Alec Lemon, Syracuse -- The Nassib-Lemon connection has been key to Syracuse’s turnaround this season. Lemon caught 12 passes for 244 yards with two touchdowns against Missouri, giving him 727 yards and seven touchdowns in the last five games.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers --
Greene led the way for the defense in Rutgers’ 10-3 win over Cincinnati with 11 tackles, two sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss.

2. Sio Moore, Connecticut -- Moore is two weeks removed from recording two sacks and a forced fumble against Pittsburgh. He and the UConn defense will have their work cut out for them in the next two weeks against Louisville and Cincinnati.

3. Logan Ryan, Rutgers -- Ryan anchors the standout Rutgers’ secondary with four interceptions and 13 pass breakups. Ryan picked up an interception at Rutgers‘ 3 to turn back a Cincinnati scoring chance early.

Coach of the Year Standings
1. Kyle Flood, Rutgers --
Flood has done in one season Greg Schiano never did in building the Rutgers program to relevance. The Scarlet Knights are off to a 5-0 start in conference play and have a chance to deliver a Big East title and a BCS bid for the first time in school history.

2. Charlie Strong, Louisville -- A BCS bid remains in sight for the Cardinals. After an off week, Strong will try to repair a defense that flopped against Syracuse. This week’s opponent, UConn, won’t provide much of a test downfield for Louisville, but Rutgers could in the finale.

3. Doug Marrone, Syracuse -- The Syracuse alum has gone from a hot seat candidate to doing one of the better coaching jobs in the league over the second half of the season. Once inconsistent, Syracuse has won four of the last five to become bowl eligible.

Big East Post-Week 12 Power Rankings

1. Rutgers (9-1, 5-0)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Rutgers becomes the first team not named Louisville to take the top spot in the Big East power rankings thanks to a dominating defensive performance against Cincinnati. The Bearcats rushed for a season-low 90 yards, and Brendon Kay threw two interceptions against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights still have lingering concerns on offense with two red zone interceptions and a missed field goal. With Jawan Jamison hobbled, however, sophomore Savon Huggins delivered on the promise he showed as a recruit by rushing for 179 yards on 41 carries.
This week: at Pittsburgh

2. Louisville (9-1, 4-1)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Off
The off week may have come at a good time for Louisville. Several weeks of close calls finally caught up to the Cardinals in a 45-26 loss to Nov. 10. Louisville will face Connecticut on Saturday and then have a five-day turnaround for the Big East title at Rutgers. The Cardinals’ two-man show at running back is down to Jeremy Wright (680 yards, nine touchdowns) after a season-ending injury to Senorise Perry against Syracuse.
This week: Connecticut

3. Syracuse (6-5, 4-2)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Beat Missouri 31-27
Wildly inconsistent to start the season, Syracuse has settled into a rhythm with four wins in the last five games, including two road wins (USF and Missouri) and a victory over undefeated Louisville. Ryan Nassib led another fourth-quarter comeback with a 17-yard pass to Alec Lemon in the final 17 seconds to wrap up a 21-point fourth quarter. Syracuse is bowl eligible for the second time under Doug Marrone and could be in line for an eight-win season with the Orange can defeat Temple and then win a bowl game.
This week: at Temple (Friday)

4. Cincinnati (7-3, 3-2)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 12 result: Lost to Rutgers 10-3
Yet again, Cincinnati couldn’t find away to crack the Rutgers defense. For the second consecutive year, the Bearcats managed just a field goal against the Scarlet Knights. Cincinnati changed quarterbacks two weeks ago, but the Bearcats ended up with similar results with two interceptions on 17-of-31 passing from Brendon Kay. Even George Winn, the rock of the Cincinnati defense, was stymied for 46 yards. With the loss, Cincinnati lost a slim chance to reach a BCS game.
This week: USF (Friday)

5. Pittsburgh (4-6, 1-4)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Off
Pittsburgh is coming off an open date after two deflating losses -- one in triple overtime against Notre Dame and an upset by Connecticut. The UConn loss may be the most damaging to Pitt’s bowl hopes as the 4-6 Panthers face Big East-leading Rutgers this week in a game that could eliminate Pitt from the postseason. Interestingly, Pitt’s season-opening loss to Youngstown State means nothing for the Panthers’ bowl eligibility as Pitt defeated a second FCS team, Gardner-Webb, on Sept. 22. Only one win over an FCS team counts toward bowl eligibility.
This week: Rutgers

6. USF (3-7, 1-4)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Lost to Miami 40-9
Skip Holtz burned the redshirt of junior quarterback Bobby Eveld, a decision which turned out to be short-lived. Eveld, who started in place of B.J. Daniels’ season-long backup Matt Floyd, was knocked out in the first quarter with an injury. Eveld went 3 of 8 for 29 yards while Floyd finished 20 of 35 for 175 yards and two picks. As has been the case all season, the defense flopped for USF, allowing Miami to pass for 463 yards. The clock may be ticking for coach Skip Holtz.
This week: at Cincinnati (Friday)

7. Connecticut (4-6, 1-4)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Off
Connecticut is a week removed from its shocking 24-17 upset of Pittsburgh. Winning the final two games against Louisville and Cincinnati will be a tough task, but the Huskies will try to duplicate what worked against Pitt. The run game is returning from its best day in Big East play with 132 yards, and the Huskies’ defense remains one of the best in the conference. UConn ranks ninth nationally in total defense at 296.2 yards allowed per game.
This week: at Louisville

8. Temple (4-6, 2-4)
Last week’s rank:
Week 12 result: Beat Army 63-32
Against Army, Montel Harris had one of the best rushing performances of any player this season with a Big East-record 351 yards and seven touchdowns, the latter being one short of the FBS record. Harris’ effort naturally overshadowed Temple’s change at quarterback where Clinton Granger made his first start of the season. Grange was 2 of 4 for 31 yards but rushed for 85 yards. Beyond Harris, Temple rushed for 534 yards and nine touchdowns against Army.
This week: Syracuse (Friday)

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SEC Post-Week 12 Power Rankings

<p> Big East Post-Week 12 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 05:15