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All taxonomy terms: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, NFC North, NFL
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-will-not-go-undefeated
Body:

-by Braden Gall (follow him on twitter @AthlonBraden)

The Green Bay Packers will not go undefeated in 2011.

Since Super Bowl I decided the 1966 NFL championship, there have been 1,252 seasons played by official NFL franchises. There have been two undefeated regular seasons and one perfect season. Just in case you’ve been hanging out with the Geico caveman for the last four decades, the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 2007 New England Patriots are the only two teams ever to roll through an NFL schedule unblemished. Obviously, the ’72 Fish were happy to pop champagne corks when the New York Giants toppled the Pats in Super Bowl XLII.

That gives any NFL franchise a 0.15% chance of going undefeated at the start of any season. This is the NFL, after all.

Just ask Drew Brees and the Saints what happened against winless St. Louis two weeks ago. Or how about the AFC West-leading Chiefs’ performance against the winless Miami Dolphins last Sunday? That said, the Packers are nine weeks deep into the NFL season and have yet to lose, so their odds have clearly increased.

But not by much.

Since 1966, only 17 teams have reached the 9-0 mark. During the 45-year Super Bowl history of the NFL, 11.8% of teams to reach the 9-0 plateau went on to finish the regular season undefeated. Three of those 17 didn’t even make it to the next week, as only 14 teams have made it to 10-0. Four more lost in Game 11 and three more lost in Game 12, leaving seven teams in the Super Bowl era to have ever breathed the rarified air of a 12-0 start.

Those are long odds considering the schedule (and defensive struggles) remaining for the Packers.

Green Bay faces only one team with a losing record in the second half; the 2-6 Vikings come to town next Monday night. The Packers then get Tampa Bay at home before back-to-back road trips to likely playoff teams Detroit (on Thanksgiving) and New York (Giants). The Oakland Raiders and a rejuvenated Carson Palmer visit Lambeau Field in Week 14 before the final road game of the year against the wildly unpredictable Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. Green Bay wraps up the 2011 season by hosting division rivals Chicago and Detroit.

No one would be shocked if Green Bay lost any of those games with the possible exception of Monday night’s home contest. In the modern world of professional football, all of those games are easily losable. And it won’t be Aaron Rodgers who costs the Packers an undefeated season; it will be the defense. The secondary is banged up, and the front seven is not getting enough pressure on the quarterback.

Green Bay finished 2010 as the No. 5-rated total defense in the league at 309.1 yards allowed per game. They are 30th at the halfway point of 2011 at 399.6 yards per game. The Packers also ranked fifth in the league last fall at defending the pass at 194.2 yards per game – more than 105 yards better than the 31st-ranked pass defense Green Bay features this season (299.6 ypg). Additionally, the Green and Gold defense recorded an NFL second-best 47.0 sacks a year ago, but is not getting after opposing passers nearly as well this go around. The Packers’ 19.0 sacks rank 17th in the league.

Moreover, scoring points is still the name of the game, not rolling up yards. While Green Bay is on pace to score the third-most points in NFL history (34.4 ppg) on offense, the defense – ranked No. 2 in the NFL at a paltry 15.0 points allowed per game last season – is holding the opposition to a mediocre 22.4 points per game in 2011 (17th in the NFL).

Without even mentioning Mike McCarthy’s looming, unenviable decision to rest key starters against two extremely physical defenses to finish the year, the bright and shiny league-wide bull's-eye on their back and continued defensive woes have the odds stacked heavily against the Green Bay Packers going unbeaten.

But never fear, Packer nation – don’t start canceling plane tickets and hotel reservations in Indianapolis. There are also some excellent odds stacked in your favor as well. Of the 17 teams to make it to the 9-0 mark, 11 of them played in the Super Bowl, with seven of those 11 claiming the ultimate prize as World Champions.

And frankly, hoisting Titletown’s fifth Lombardi Trophy is all Rodgers and company should care about.

Here are the 17 teams since 1966 that have gone 9-0 to start the season:

1969: Los Angeles Rams (11-3) lost to Minnesota in Game 12
1972: Miami Dolphins* (14-0) Undefeated
1973: Minnesota Vikings^ (12-2) lost to Atlanta in Game 10
1975: Minnesota Vikings (12-2) lost to Washington in Game 11
1984: Miami Dolphins^ (14-2) lost to San Diego in Game 12
1985: Chicago Bears* (15-1) lost to Miami in Game 13
1990: New York Giants* (13-3) lost to Philadelphia in Game 11
1990: San Francisco 49ers (14-2) lost to the LA Rams in Game 11
1991: Washington Redskins* (14-2) lost to Dallas in Game 12
1998: Denver Broncos* (14-2) lost to NY Giants in Game 14
2003: Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) lost to Cincinnati in Game 10
2005: Indianapolis Colts (14-2) lost to San Diego in Game 14
2006: Indianapolis Colts* (12-4) lost to Dallas in Game 10
2007: New England Patriots^ (16-0) lost to NY Giants in Super Bowl
2008: Tennessee Titans (13-3) lost to NY Jets in Game 11
2009: New Orleans Saints* (13-3) lost to Dallas in Game 14
2009: Indianapolis Colts^ (14-2) lost to NY Jets in Game 15

* - went on to win the Super Bowl
^ - went on to lose the Super Bowl

Teaser:
<p> The odds are stacked heavily against the Packers going unbeaten in 2011.</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
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

DEFENSIVE SCORING
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

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

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports ranks all the positions for Week 10 of the fantasy football season</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 — Kicker Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Mason Crosby GB vs. MIN
2 John Kasay NO at ATL
3 Dan Bailey DAL vs. BUF
4 David Akers SF vs. NYG
5 Billy Cundiff BAL at SEA
6 Jason Hanson DET at CHI
7 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at SD (Thursday)
8 Nick Novak SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
9 Neil Rackers HOU at TB
10 Robbie Gould CHI vs. DET
11 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. NYG
12 Matt Bryant ATL vs. NO
13 Alex Henery PHI vs. ARI
14 Nick Folk NYJ vs. NE
15 Josh Scobee JAC at IND
16 Mike Nugent CIN vs. PIT

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:51
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 — Wide Receiver Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET at CHI
2 Greg Jennings GB vs. MIN
3 Mike Wallace PIT at CIN
4 Vincent Jackson SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
5 Steve Smith CAR vs. TEN
6 Wes Welker NE at NYJ
7 Dez Bryant DAL vs. BUF
8 Roddy White ATL vs. NO
9 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at PHI
10 Hakeem Nicks NYG at SF
11 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. DEN
12 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. ARI
13 Anquan Boldin BAL at SEA
14 Marques Colston NO at ATL
15 Brandon Marshall MIA vs. WAS
16 A.J. Green CIN vs. PIT
17 Julio Jones ATL vs. NO
18 Brandon Lloyd STL at CLE
19 Steve Johnson BUF at DAL
20 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. ARI
21 Santonio Holmes NYJ vs. NE
22 Jordy Nelson GB vs. MIN
23 Mario Manningham NYG at SF
24 Antonio Brown PIT at CIN
25 Percy Harvin MIN at GB
26 Michael Crabtree SF vs. NYG
27 Mike Williams TB vs. HOU
28 Sidney Rice SEA vs. BAL
29 Plaxico Burress NYJ vs. NE
30 Eric Decker DEN at KC
31 Victor Cruz NYG at SF
32 Pierre Garcon IND vs. JAC
33 Steve Breaston KC vs. DEN
34 Jacoby Ford OAK at SD (Thursday)
35 Greg Little CLE vs. STL
36 Laurent Robinson DAL vs. BUF
37 Torrey Smith BAL at SEA
38 Jabar Gaffney WAS at MIA
39 Lance Moore NO at ATL
40 Reggie Wayne IND vs. JAC
41 Nate Washington TEN at CAR
42 Deion Branch NE at NYJ
43 Earl Bennett CHI vs. DET
44 James Hill JAC at IND
45 Michael Jenkins MIN at GB
46 James Jones GB vs. MIN
47 Kevin Walter HOU at TB
48 Jerome Simpson CIN vs. PIT
49 David Nelson BUF at DAL
50 Denarius Moore OAK at SD (Thursday)
51 Davone Bess MIA vs. WAS
52 Jonathan Baldwin KC vs. DEN
53 Damian Williams TEN at CAR
54 Doug Baldwin SEA vs. BAL
55 Early Doucet ARI at PHI
56 Braylon Edwards SF vs. NYG
57 Mike Thomas JAC at IND
58 Titus Young DET at CHI
59 Nate Burleson DET at CHI
60 Johnny Knox CHI vs. DET
61 Jacoby Jones HOU at TB
62 Arrelious Benn TB vs. HOU
63 Patrick Crayton SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
64 Jason Avant PHI vs. ARI
Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:48
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 — Running Back Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU at TB
2 Adrian Peterson MIN at GB
3 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. ARI
4 Matt Forte CHI vs. DET
5 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at IND
6 Ray Rice BAL at SEA
7 Fred Jackson BUF at DAL
8 Frank Gore SF vs. NYG
9 Michael Turner ATL vs. NO
10 Steven Jackson STL at CLE
11 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. BUF
12 Willis McGahee DEN at KC
13 Chris Johnson TEN at CAR
14 Michael Bush OAK at SD (Thursday)
15 Ryan Mathews SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
16 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. NE
17 Rashard Mendenhall PIT at CIN
18 Darren Sproles NO at ATL
19 LeGarrette Blount TB vs. HOU
20 Cedric Benson CIN vs. PIT
21 Beanie Wells ARI at PHI
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE at NYJ
23 Mike Tolbert SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
24 Roy Helu WAS at MIA
25 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. TEN
26 Jackie Battle KC vs. DEN
27 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. BAL
28 James Starks GB vs. MIN
29 Reggie Bush MIA vs. WAS
30 Brandon Jacobs NYG at SF
31 Ben Tate HOU at TB
32 Pierre Thomas NO at ATL
33 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. TEN
34 Maurice Morris DET at CHI
35 Chris Ogbonnaya CLE vs. STL
36 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. WAS
37 Delone Carter IND vs. JAC
38 Chris Ivory NO at ATL
39 Donald Brown IND vs. JAC
40 LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ vs. NE
41 Joseph Addai IND vs. JAC
42 Marion Barber CHI vs. DET
43 Ryan Grant GB vs. MIN
44 Kendall Hunter SF vs. NYG
45 Javon Ringer TEN at CAR
46 Keiland Williams DET at CHI
47 Thomas Jones KC vs. DEN
48 Knowshon Moreno DEN at KC
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:45
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 — Quarterback Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. MIN
2 Cam Newton CAR vs. TEN
3 Michael Vick PHI vs. ARI
4 Drew Brees NO at ATL
5 Philip Rivers SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
6 Tom Brady NE at NYJ
7 Tony Romo DAL vs. BUF
8 Matthew Stafford DET at CHI
9 Eli Manning NYG at SF
10 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at CIN
11 Tim Tebow DEN at KC
12 Matt Schaub HOU at TB
13 Matt Ryan ATL vs. NO
14 Jay Cutler CHI vs. DET
15 Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. NE
16 Matt Cassel KC vs. DEN
17 Joe Flacco BAL at SEA
18 Carson Palmer OAK at SD (Thursday)
19 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at DAL
20 Josh Freeman TB vs. HOU
21 Sam Bradford STL at CLE
22 Matt Hasselbeck TEN at CAR
23 Andy Dalton CIN vs. PIT
24 Christian Ponder MIN at GB
25 Alex Smith SF vs. NYG
26 Colt McCoy CLE vs. STL
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:41
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 — Tight End Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Jason Witten DAL vs. BUF
2 Jimmy Graham NO at ATL
3 Antonio Gates SD vs. OAK (Thursday)
4 Jermichael Finley GB vs. MIN
5 Aaron Hernandez NE at NYJ
6 Rob Gronkowski NE at NYJ
7 Owen Daniels HOU at TB
8 Greg Olsen CAR vs. TEN
9 Fred Davis WAS at MIA
10 Brandon Pettigrew DET at CHI
11 Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. NO
12 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. NE
13 Kellen Winslow TB vs. HOU
14 Jake Ballard NYG at SF
15 Vernon Davis SF vs. NYG
16 Brent Celek PHI vs. ARI
17 Heath Miller PIT at CIN
18 Scott Chandler BUF at DAL
19 Jared Cook TEN at CAR
20 Visanthe Shiancoe MIN at GB
21 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. PIT
22 Jeremy Shockey CAR vs. TEN
23 Daniel Fells DEN at KC
24 Benjamin Watson CLE vs. STL
25 Marcedes Lewis JAC at IND
26 Ed Dickson BAL at SEA

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:31
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-10
Body:

We 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 Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 10 — Defense/Special Teams Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 10 Waiver Wire

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

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 Baltimore Ravens at SEA
2 Philadelphia Eagles vs. ARI
3 Houston Texans at TB
4 San Francisco 49ers vs. NYG
5 Pittsburgh Steelers at CIN
6 Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
7 Dallas Cowboys vs. BUF
8 New York Jets vs. NE
9 Cincinnati Bengals vs. PIT
10 Jacksonville Jaguars at IND
11 Chicago Bears vs. DET
12 Detroit Lions at CHI
13 New York Giants at SF
14 San Diego Chargers vs. OAK (Thursday)
15 Washington Redskins at MIA
16 New Orleans Saints at ATL
Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:04
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-10-key-games-week-11
Body:

By Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)

Here are previews and predictions for the 10 best college football games this weekend.

Oregon (+3.5) at Stanford
It’s the game of the year in the Pac-12, featuring two of the most statistically dominant teams in the nation. Stanford is 9–0 and has won those nine games by an average of 31.7 points. The Cardinal are balanced on offense and do a great job stopping the run (third in the nation). Oregon has won eight straight (all by 14 points or more) since opening the season with a 40–27 loss to LSU. The Ducks survived an injury to All-America tailback LaMichael James, who missed two full games with a dislocated elbow. James was at his best in last weekend’s 34–17 win at Washington, rushing for 156 yards on 25 carries. It’s dangerous to put too much stock in a game that was played last season, but Oregon’s speed overwhelmed Stanford in the Ducks’ 52–31 win in Eugene last fall. Stanford’s incredible run of 17 straight wins — all but two decided by 10 points or more — is in serious jeopardy.
Oregon 37, Stanford 31

TCU (+15) at Boise State
It’s the one and only meeting between TCU and Boise State as members of the Mountain West Conference. TCU is bolting for the Big 12 in 2011, and Boise State is potentially headed to the Big East. The Broncos are No. 5 in the BCS standings but are still a long shot to play for the national title. Their schedule, always an issue, is even weaker than usual. TCU is having a solid season at 7–2 overall and 4–0 in the MWC, but the Horned Frogs have clearly taken a few steps back in 2011. They don’t really have a quality win, and their two losses have come against teams (Baylor and SMU) not ranked in the top 25. The usually dominant TCU defense is giving up an average of 22.3 points, an increase of more than 10 per game from last season.
Boise State 37, TCU 24

Virginia Tech (-1) at Georgia Tech (Thu)
Virginia is still in the picture, but the winner of the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech showdown on Thursday night will likely represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game. The Yellow Jackets recovered from a two-game losing streak by upsetting previously unbeaten Clemson, 31–17, two weeks ago. The option attack, which had been held in check in losses to Virginia and Miami, rolled up 443 total yards vs. the Tigers. Virginia Tech is also coming off a bye week. The Hokies struggled with Duke last time out, but prior to that had been playing their best football of the season. They feature an emerging star at quarterback in Logan Thomas and an established star at tailback in David Wilson. Georgia Tech has struggled to stop the run at times this season. That will be an issue on Thursday night.
Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 22

Michigan State (-3) at Iowa
Both teams control their own destiny in the Big Ten Legends Division. Just two weeks ago, Iowa did the unthinkable — lose to a Minnesota team that had lost its first three league games by a total of 110 points. But the Hawkeyes responded with an impressive 24–16 win over Michigan in Iowa City last weekend. Marcus Coker continues to shine for Kirk Ferentz’s club; the sophomore has rushed for at least 120 yards in each of the last four games and currently ranks sixth in the nation in rushing. Stopping Coker will be the top priority for the Spartans. Michigan State boasts some gaudy defensive numbers — No. 2 in the nation in total defense, No. 8 in scoring defense — but has not been as stout in recent weeks. Minnesota had Big Ten-season highs of 415 yards and 24 points in a 31–24 loss to MSU East Lansing on Saturday.
Iowa 24, Michigan State 17

Auburn (+13) at Georgia
Winners of seven straight games, Georgia can take a giant step toward its first SEC East title since 2005 with a win over Auburn Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs are one game up on South Carolina and have two league games remaining — Auburn and Kentucky, both at home. Georgia will be at close to full strength, with running backs Isaiah Crowell and Carlton Thomas back from a one-game suspension and wide receiver Malcom Mitchell expected to return from a hamstring injury (though Richard Samuel remains out with an ankle injury). Auburn is 4–2 in league play but is likely headed for a fourth-place finish in the powerful SEC West. Cllint Mosely has played well at quarterback in his two starts, completing 24-of-35 passes for 305 yards in a loss at LSU and win vs. Ole Miss. He will have to play well to give the Tigers an opportunity to win in Athens.
Georgia 24, Auburn 20

Nebraska (-3.5) at Penn State
The national spotlight is on Penn State this weekend — and not because the Nittany Lions are 8–1 overall and 5–0 in the Big Ten. We have no idea how the players will deal with the firing of Joe Paterno, but the guess here is that we won’t see Penn State at its finest this week. It’s a shame, too, because this team is all alone in first place in the Leaders Division, two games up in the loss column on Ohio State and Wisconsin. Nebraska was in control of the Legends Division until Saturday’s loss at home to Northwestern. Now, the Huskers are in a four-team logjam and will need help to win the division. Getting a win in Happy Valley will certainly help the NU’s cause.
Nebraska 20, Penn State 10

Miami (Fla.) (+9) at Florida State
Florida State has played very well over the past month, winning four straight games by an average of 28.8 points. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, they lost three straight prior to this four-game hot streak. So, once again, a season that began with promise will fall short of expectations. Yes, FSU is still alive in the Atlantic Division, but for the Noles to reach the title game, they will need Clemson to lose its final two games (vs. Wake Forest, at NC State) and for Wake to lose at home to Maryland. Miami played its way out of the Coastal Division race with a shocking loss at home to Virginia two weeks ago. So, for the seventh time in seven years, we will not have a Florida State vs. Miami showdown in the ACC Championship Game.
Florida State 24, Miami 22

Texas A&M (-4.5) at Kansas State
What does Kansas State need to do to get some respect from the boys in Vegas? The Wildcats are 7–2 overall, with the two losses coming to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, yet find themselves as a 4.5-point underdog at home to a Texas A&M team that is 5–4 overall and has lost two straight games. I was a non-believer earlier in the year and picked against Kansas State in four straight games — and I lost four straight times. I’m on the Collin Klein bandwagon now. The Cats haven’t quite mastered the forward pass yet — they rank 112th in the nation in passing — but they rank 18th in rushing with 217.2 yards per game. K-State will have to score some points to beat Texas A&M. For all of the Aggies’ issues, this team still knows how to move the football.
Kansas State 37, Texas A&M 34

Washington (+11.5) at USC
Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, who were co-offensive coordinators at USC under Pete Carroll, meet as head coaches for the second time. Last year, Sarkisian and the Huskies edged USC, 32–31, at the Coliseum on a 32-yard field goal by Erik Folk at the buzzer. This year, the two teams meet in L.A. once again. USC, led by quarterback Matt Barkley and a host of talented receivers, has been on a tear offensively in recent weeks. That’s a bad sign for Washington, which ranks 101st in the nation in scoring defense. The Huskies are potent on offense — led by quarterback Keith Price and tailback Chris Polk — but there is no indication that they are good enough on defense to slow down USC enough to win this game.
USC 35, Washington 24

Texas (-1) at Missouri
Just when you thought that Missouri had righted the ship — after an overtime win at Texas A&M — the Tigers gave up an astounding 686 yards of total offense in a 42–39 loss at Baylor. Mizzou dropped 27 spots in the national total defense rankings in one week, from 62nd to 89th. That is very hard to do this late in the season. Now, Texas comes calling, fresh off an impressive 52–20 win vs. Texas Tech. David Ash is getting most of the snaps at quarterback, but the Longhorns are leaning heavily on their running game. Against Texas Tech, the Horns rushed for 439 yards and attempted only nine passes. This will be a huge test for the struggling Mizzou defense.
Texas 33, Missouri 24

Last week — 6-4 (4-6 vs. spread)
Season — 65–33 (50–48–2 vs. spread)

Teaser:
<p> Stanford and Oregon meet for supremacy in the Pac-12 North.</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/joe-paternos-tenure-penn-state
Body:

-by CoachesByTheNumbers.com

Joe Paterno has been fired three games before the end of his 46th year as the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Coach Paterno had recently announced that he would retire at the end of the 2011 season due to the circumstances surrounding Paterno's action or lack thereof regarding information he was given concerning the lewd and atrocious conduct of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The Penn State Board of Trustees decided not to give Coach Paterno the chance to retire on his own terms Now that Paterno's legendary career is over, let's look at JoePa By The Numbers:

Years WP% Conf. WP% 10-Win Seasons Losing Seasons National Champs. Bowl Games
46 74.64% 64.19% 21 6 2 38

Let's look at these numbers in a little more detail by decade:

Years WP% Conf. WP% 10-Win Years Losing Years Bowl Apps. Top 25 (EOS) Top 10 (EOS) Conf. Titles Nat. Champs.
66-69 81.40% N/A 2 0 3 3 3 N/A 0
70-79 81.36% N/A 6 0 9 9 6 N/A 0
80-89 76.74% N/A 5 1 8 6 5 N/A 2
90-00 75.56% 70.31% 5 1 10 10 4 1 0
01-11 65.41% 58.82% 3 3 6 5 3 2 0
* (EOS) = End of Season Ranking

A little more data on the 2001-Present data:

Years WP% Against Top 25 (TOG) WP% Against Top 5 (TOG) WP% Against Over .500 Teams Bowl WP% # of Top 25 Finishes
2001-2011 32.50% 0.00% 43.06% 50.00% 5
* (TOG) = Time of Game Ranking

So, what do the numbers tell us? 

They tell us that Paterno is one of the most successful college football coaches in history. They tell us that he won 409 of the 548 games he was the head coach. They tell us that he won 10 or more games in 46.67% of the full seasons he was the head coach. They tell us that he won two national titles, three Big Ten titles, and finished in the AP Top 10 21 different times. The numbers also unfortunately tell us that Joe Paterno's ability to compete for national championships and beat the elite programs in college football was deteriorating along with his eyesight.

Here at Coaches By The Numbers, we like to ignore the soft factors that far too often dominate conversations surrounding college football coaches. In this instance unfortunately, the soft factor of Paterno's inaction in the face of an unspeakable evil cannot be ignored and will forever tarnish his legacy By The Numbers.

Teaser:
<p> Here is a statistical look at JoePa's long tenure at Penn State University. Champion or tarnished?</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 04:00
Path: /news/joe-paterno-has-been-fired-penn-state
Body:

Joe Paterno has been fired from Penn State University. In the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the longest tenured coach in college football's career is now over.

The Penn State board of trustees voted unanimously to remove Paterno as well as PSU president Graham Spanier, from their jobs "effective immediately." Tom Bradley has taken over as interim head coach.

Two weeks ago, this would have been a stunning end to the lion of college football.

But today, it's not surprising.

As the unthinkable details of this scandal emerged over the last week, it became clear that this tragedy was bigger than football. Paterno's dealings with the media this week have verged on callousness. When speaking to students gathered outside his home, he referred to Jerry Sandusky's abused children as "victims or whatever they want to say" in a veiled attempt to call into question their victimhood.

Then, in a statement released on Wednesday, Joe Pa felt the need to spend one paragraph of a five paragraph statement telling the board of trustees that they should not be investigating him, instead of treating this delicate situation with humility and honesty.

And once again, to make matters even worse, Penn State students acted like, for lack of a better word, idiots, by protesting the decision to fire Paterno. There was a total lack of leadership as a legal and moral tragedy took place on Penn State's campus. And the lack of action and negligence is inexcusable. Defending this man and protesting this decision puts a further black mark on this already unprecedented scandal.

The legal ramifications of this story are far from over. There will be lawsuits, there will be more arrests, and there will be more horrible details that emerge. 

Paterno, who is the winningest coach in college football history, said he would retire at the end of the season in an effort to ease some of the pressure being put on him. But clearly, his lack of leadership and inability to act on this horrific tragedy, it was clear he wasn't calling the shots anymore. And the Penn State Board of Trustees should be applauded for making the difficult decision they made today.

Teaser:
<p> The legendary coach has been fired for the scandal surrounding the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse allegations</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 20:03
Path: /fantasy/michael-bush-or-mike-tolbert-thursday-night
Body:

The first Thursday night game of the NFL season is just a day away, and there are plenty of early choices you need to make about your fantasy rosters this week — namely Michael Bush or Mike Tolbert in the battle of No. 2 running backs.

Bush, the No. 2 RB of the Oakland Raiders, takes the lead against San Diego on Thursday night as Darren McFadden has already been ruled out. Tolbert, the No. 2 RB for the Chargers (although that is debatable) might have to split time with No. 1 Ryan Mathews, who is battling a groin injury.

Mathews will likely have the dreaded “game-time decision” tag associated with his name as San Diego is preparing for the game on a short week and Mathews missed playing in Sunday’s game against Green Bay entirely. But would you trust Mathews even if he were in the lineup? I find it hard to at this point.
With that said, let’s look at which Mike to start — Bush or Tolbert.

The Chargers are the second-best team in the league when it comes to fantasy point production per game from the RB position. The Raiders are third, just four-tenths a game behind. San Diego is up that high thanks to 72 catches for 686 yards and two scores against Oakland’s 43 catches for 423 yards and four scores from RBs. The Raiders have rushed for 1,040 yards and seven scores to 862 yards and eight touchdowns for the Chargers. Both teams have run the ball 203 times.

It is not as even on the defensive side. San Diego remains near the top of the league in points allowed to fantasy RBs, ranking fifth. Meanwhile, Oakland is on the complete opposite end at 30th in the league against the position. The teams are separated by 8.4 points per game.

The Chargers have surrendered 30 catches for 219 yards and a score this season to running backs, which probably does not affect Bush. The five-year veteran has just 11 catches on the year. Bush will have to rely on getting in the end zone to produce, and that is something San Diego has allowed just three times to RBs this season.

Oakland has allowed backs to catch 37 balls for 434 yards and two TDs, and it is coming off a game where Denver’s Willis McGahee (20-163-2) and Tim Tebow (12-117-0) combined to rush for 280 yards and two scores.

Tolbert already has 32 catches for 290 yards and two scores. He has been targeted nine times in three games, including Sunday’s loss to Green Bay; he also added 83 yards rushing on 19 carries in the loss.

Both San Diego and Oakland allow over 19 points per game to fantasy receivers and over 20 points per game to fantasy quarterbacks. I see this one being a QB game, and that is where Tolbert certainly edges out Bush with his pass-catching ability. He had six catches for 47 yards the last time he played the Raiders.

Whether it’s legit called passes to Tolbert or check downs, he is producer out of the backfield via his receptions. And it is for that reason, even if Mathews were to play, that I would go Tolbert over Bush this Thursday night — in any scoring format.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter

Teaser:
<p> Which back up running back will do better on the first Thursday night NFL game?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 17:48
Path: /columns/horsepower-rankings/nascar-horsepower-rankings-6
Body:

by Matt Taliaferro

1. Tony Stewart  Momentum has clearly swung in Smoke’s favor. He’s always been a streaky driver, and now that he’s “on” it may be hard for Carl Edwards to hold him off.

2. Carl Edwards  Averaging a 5.6-place finish in the Chase, but Stewart is blowing Cousin Carl’s doors off in the wins department. Still, NASCAR’s points format rewards consistency over winning, so is it advantage: Carl?

3. Matt Kenseth  Talladega and Martinsville were considered the tracks that could derail Carl Edwards’ championship hopes. Turns out, they bit Matt.

4. Kevin Harvick  It looked as if Harvick was going to pull another miraculous “Where’d he come from?” finish at Texas. However, a two-tire pit call dropped him to 13th, effectively ending his championship hopes.

5. Jimmie Johnson  Johnson’s four finishes outside of the top 10 in this season’s Chase are more than in the last three Chases combined. That’s amazing.

6. Kasey Kahne  Kahne has only one finish outside the top 15 in the last eight races. Credit the lame-duck driver and the Red Bull Racing team (who may lose their jobs at season’s end) for not throwing in the towel.

7. Brad Keselowski  Since Keselowski and the No. 2 turned things around at Indy, they’ve recorded 11 top-12 runs in 15 races, winning twice. Unfortunately, Cinderella’s slipper isn’t going to fit.

8. Jeff Gordon  Returns to the track where he won in February. Unfortunately for Gordon, the track has been repaved, reconfigured and has only one good racing groove. He better qualify well.

9. Deny Hamlin  Was looking for a fourth consecutive top-10 run, which would have been his best string of finishes this year. Brad Keselowski saw to that, though.

10. Clint Bowyer  Would be seventh in the standings had he made the Chase. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, right? It will be interesting to see if he can elevate Michael Waltrip Racing to the next level in 2012.
 

Teaser:
<p> Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart have separated themselves from the field in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup. But who's the real man to beat?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 17:04
Path: /college-football/alabama-gets-nod-nation%E2%80%99s-second-best-team
Body:

Alabama had to drop in the polls after its 9-6 overtime loss in Tuscaloosa to LSU. But how far? It makes sense that the Crimson Tide would fall below undefeated Oklahoma State and Stanford, which happened in the Athlon, AP and Coaches Polls. The BCS standings have Bama ahead of the Cardinal because of schedule strength. Boise State keeps winning Mountain West games, but the Broncos will need some breaks to reach the BCS title game. With its resume, LSU has to be considered the nation’s best team. But who’s next? We forget the rankings today and judge the teams on quality and body of work.

On the field, who is the second-best team in the country?

Nathan Rush
LSU is clearly the No. 1 team in the nation — having defeated Alabama in T-Town, Oregon at the Palace in Dallas and West Virginia in couch-burning country. After Les Miles' club, there are several worthy No. 2 candidates. But Nick Saban's Crimson Tide stand head and shoulders above the likes of Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State, etc. Bama has it all — a mastermind coach (Saban), Heisman-quality running back (Trent Richardson), electric receiver-returner (Marquis Maze), powerful O-line and arguably the most-talented defense (highlighted by NFL-ready playmakers like Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron) led by one of the brightest young minds in the game (Kirby Smart). The Tide are a few missed field goals and unforced errors away from being the undisputed No. 1 team in the country. The "Game of the Century" strengthened my beliefs that LSU and Alabama are Nos. 1 and 2 in the nation. With all due respect, no other team comes close to the Tigers or Tide.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch
This question would be a bit easier to answer after this weekend because Stanford will have an opportunity to make a statement against a very good Oregon team. But right now, I will go with Alabama, even after the Tide’s loss at home to LSU. Alabama boasts the premier defense in the nation — and it’s not even close statistically. The Crimson Tide are giving up an average 187.0 yards per game. The next best team is Michigan State, at 249.4 yards per game. In nine games, Bama has allowed a total of 64 points, 34 points fewer than the No. 2 ranked scoring defense, LSU. And despite only scoring six points on Saturday night, Alabama is still a team capable of scoring a bunch of points. Keep in mind that Nick Saban’s club is averaging 39.4 points against teams not named LSU. And even after you factor in the stats against LSU, Bama still ranks 30th in the nation in total offense and 23rd in scoring offense. Combine that type of offensive production with the nation’s best defense, and you have a team that can make a strong case for a No. 2 ranking — even with a loss on its resume.

Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden
The LSU Tigers? This is my subjective opinion, of course, since I still think Alabama is the best team in the nation. However, it's a good thing games aren't decided subjectively, but rather by scoring more points than the other team. Under that assumption, I would say that Alabama is the No. 2 team in the nation. However, there is no way to truly know if the Tide is better than Stanford, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Clemson, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech or Georgia without them actually playing the game. Otherwise, it is simply an educated guess by definition. We do know that LSU is better than Oregon and Alabama. We do know that Alabama is better than Penn State and Arkansas. We will know if Oklahoma is better than Oklahoma State. We will know if Stanford is better than Oregon. And we will know if LSU is better than Arkansas and Georgia. What we don't, and may never know if there is a "rematch," is if any of those other teams are better than Alabama or LSU — unless they actually take the field.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman
I’ll say Stanford because Andrew Luck and crew have not lost, but Alabama would be favored in that game by the boys in Las Vegas. The Cardinal are balanced enough on offense to give the Tide some issues, and the defense does play well against the run. I’d love to see a very physical Stanford-Alabama battle on the field. As far as Oklahoma State, I think the Cowboys would probably lose close in a shootout with Stanford but would get beaten badly by the Tide (just not a good matchup for OSU). That being my opinion, the current rankings have Oklahoma State controlling its own destiny to the BCS Championship Game. The Cardinal and Tide will have to hope OSU or LSU lose down the stretch to get their chance. I know many fans are tired of SEC dominance, but Alabama may get that shot if OSU loses. For now though, I’ll take Stanford on the strength of 17 straight wins with 15 of those by over a touchdown.
 

Teaser:
<p> Alabama edges Oklahoma State and Stanford&nbsp;as nation’s second-best team.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 15:44
Path: /college-football/just-stanford-really-really-good
Body:

By Mitch Light

Stanford lost its final three games of the 2008 season. Needing only one win to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2001, the Cardinal lost consecutive games to Oregon, USC and Cal by an average of 16.7 points.

Standing on the sideline that season was a true freshman by the name of Andrew Luck. A 5-star recruit from Houston, Luck chose the Cardinal over Northwestern, Rice and Purdue. “Stanford has great tradition,” Luck told the Houston Chronicle at the time of his commitment. “I hope to help them get back to the top of the Pac-10, where they belong.”

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Luck has succeeded on that front. Stanford, which hosts Oregon this Saturday in the West Coast version of the Game of the Century, is sitting at the top of the Pac-12. Since Luck was inserted into the starting lineup — in Week 1 of the ’09 season — Stanford is an amazing 29–6 overall and 21–4 in league play. With Luck leading the way, the SU offense has scored 30 points or more in 29 of its last 35 games.

This season, the Cardinal’s numbers are simply astounding:

• They are outgaining their opponents by an average of 181.8 yards per game. In league play, that number jumps to 190.1.

• They lead the Pac-12 in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

• They are one of only three teams in the nation that is averaging over 220 yards passing and 220 yards rushing. (Wisconsin and Missouri are the other two).

• They are 5–0 on the road and have won those five games by an average of 24 points.

• They have given up more than 19 points only one time.

• They have allowed only eight plays of 30 yards or more.

• They are completing 53.4 percent on third down, tied for fourth-best in the nation.

• They have scored on all 52 trips inside the Red Zone and are the only team in the country with a 100 percent success rate.

Okay, you get it: Stanford is pretty good.

The one knock on the Cardinal has been the strength of schedule. Only one of their nine wins has come against a team currently ranked in the AP top 25 (USC) and only two other teams on their schedule (UCLA and Washington) have winning records.

That’s what makes this week’s showdown with Oregon so interesting. There are those (i.e. SEC fans) who still question whether Stanford has the talent and athleticism to beat one of the nation’s truly elite teams. Last year, the Cardinal jumped out to a 21–3 lead over the Ducks in Eugene but were overwhelmed by Oregon’s speed and were outscored 48–10 in the final three quarters.

Now, the Cardinal has another shot at the mighty Ducks, this time in Palo Alto, where they haven’t lost in nearly two calendar years. And this edition of the Oregon Ducks, while still strong, isn’t quite as strong as the team that played in the national title game a year ago. The offensive numbers for Chip Kelly’s club are similar to last season, but the Ducks aren’t quite as formidable on defense in 2011, especially against the run.

Stanford will be on a national stage on Saturday night. This team is still very much alive in national title chase. Luck and the Cardinal offense should be able to score plenty of points. It will be up to the defense, which gave up 626 total yards in this game last year, to slow down the Oregon attack.

AROUND THE PAC-12

• Utah has won two straight in league play after opening its first season in the Pac-12 with an 0–4 record. And with a relatively soft remaining schedule — UCLA, at Washington State, Colorado — don’t be surprised if the Utes end their inaugural Pac-12 campaign with a winning conference record.

• Oregon State is 3–8 in its last 11 Pac-12 games dating back to last season.

• The top three runners in the league, on a yards-per-carry basis, all play for Oregon — De’Anthony Thomas (8.5), LaMichael James (8.0) and Kenjon Barner (6.75).

• Washington State sophomore Marquess Wilson is closing in on his second straight 1,000-yard season. He had 1,006 on 55 catches as a freshman and currently has 974 on 59 catches with three games remaining.

• Washington quarterback Keith Price was held to 143 yards passing despite throwing the ball 35 times in the Huskies’ 34–17 loss to Oregon. Price’s previous low in Pac-12 play was 226 yards in a win at Utah.

• Just under 40 percent of Keenen Allen’s 1,074 receiving yards have come on third down. The sophomore from Cal has converted 19 of his 22 catches on third down into a first down.

• Colorado has given up 42 points or more in all but one Pac-12 game.

Teaser:
<p> Andrew Luck has led the Cardinal to the top of the Pac-12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 10:55
Path: /nfl/nfl-midseason-awards
Body:

At halftime of the 2011 NFL season and the stretch run about to start, Athlon Sports takes a look at the award-worthy performers of this year’s first half:

Most Valuable Player
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
The Super Bowl XLV MVP is on pace to set the single-season records for yards, completion percentage and passer rating. Through eight games, Rodgers has thrown for 2,619 yards, 24 TDs and three INTs with a 129.1 rating, while also scrambling for another 127 yards and two trips to the end zone for the undefeated Packers. Brett Favre won three MVPs during his heyday in Green Bay, A-Rodg’s award-winning run starts this year.

Offensive Player of the Year
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
The heart and soul of Buffalo’s offense, Jackson has rushed for 803 yards (5.4 ypc) and six TDs, while hauling in 30 catches for 391 yards (13.0 ypc). Philly’s LeSean McCoy, Chicago’s Matt Forte and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson also deserve consideration for this award.

Defensive Player of the Year
Jared Allen, DE, Vikings
On pace to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record (22.5), Allen has tallied 12.5 sacks and three forced fumbles through eight games. The Jets’ Darrelle Revis (four INTs for 184 yards, TD) is also making a strong case for himself.

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
This has become a two-horse race between Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton and Newton, who has thrown for 2,393 yards, 11 TDs and nine INTs while rushing for 319 yards and a rookie-QB record-tying seven TDs.

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals
If there were a Special Teams Rookie of the Year, Peterson (three punt return TDs) would be the clear winner. As it is, the athletic corner gets the nod for an award that is still very much up in the air.

Comeback Player of the Year
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Finally healthy, the strong-armed Stafford has thrown for 2,179 yards, a career-high 19 TDs and four INTs while leading the Lions to 6–2 start and a realistic shot at their first trip to the playoffs since 1999.

Coach of the Year
Jim Harbaugh, 49ers
Postgame handshakes aside, the former Stanford boss and brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been a difference-maker in the Bay Area — firing up the Niners’ defense and calming quarterback Alex Smith.

Teaser:
<p> Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' MVP pace leads a pack of award-worthy players at "halftime" of the 2011 season.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 10:37
Path: /columns/heisman-watch/athlon-sports-heisman-voting-week-11
Body:

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

Each week, the Athlon editors will vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A nine-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports will vote for their top 10 Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every Wednesday of the regular season.

Note: The scoring system is as follows: A first place vote earns a player 10 points. A second place votes earns nine points - so on and so forth until the 10th place vote receives one point.

It only took 10 weeks of football but Stanford's Andrew Luck has claimed all nine Athlon Sports first place Heisman Trophy ballots. And rightly so, considering he is the best player in the nation on an unbeaten team.

Despite being the best player on the field, Trent Richardon's kicker might have cost him the Heisman Trophy. Robert Griffin III got Baylor over the hump with a big win over Missouri, boosting his stock back into finalist territory. And Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Boise State's Kellen Moore simply produce huge numbers every week and hold onto Top 5-status once again.

As a side note, only four players landed on all nine ballots. Luck, Richardson, Moore and Houston's Case Keenum.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (90/90 total points, 9/9 first place votes)
Season Stats: 194/272, 2,424 yards, 26 TD, 5 INT, 29 att., 147 yards, 2 TD

Luck and the Cardinal got off to a sluggish start in the cold and damp Corvallis this weekend. After a 0-0 first quarter, Stanford stormed off for a 38-13 win to give Luck his 17th straight victory. His two touchdown passes in less than two minutes in the third quarter put the Beavers away. Luck finished 20-of-30, for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the win. His Heisman Trophy, Pac-12 title and BCS National Championship are on the line this weekend. No pressure. Next Game: Oregon

  Name Pos. Team Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Andrew Luck QB Stanford 90 9 - - - - 9
2. Trent Richardson RB Alabama 75 - 4 4 1 - 9
3. Kellen Moore QB Boise State 66 - 2 3 1 2 9
4. Robert Griffin III QB Baylor 52 - 2 1 1 1 8
5. Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma St 49 - - - 5 1 8
6. Case Keenum QB Houston 43 - - 1 - 2 9
7. Russell Wilson QB Wisconsin 30 - 1 - 1 - 8
8. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 26 - - - - 2 8
9. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin 15 - - - - - 5
10. Matt Barkley QB USC 11 - - - - - 4
11. David Wilson RB Virginia Tech 10 - - - - - 4
12. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 10 - - - - 1 3
13. Sammy Watkins WR Clemson 5 - - - - - 1
14. LaMichael James RB Oregon 5 - - - - - 1
15. Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St 4 - - - - - 2
16. Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma 3 - - - - - 1
17. Brad Wing P LSU 1 - - - - - 1

2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (75)
Season Stats: 172 att., 1,078 yards, 17 TD, 23 rec., 292 yards, TD

Trent Richardson was the best player on the field in the 9-6 overtime loss to LSU in this week's "Game of the Century." He was truly the most productive player for either team (except maybe LSU punter Brad Win) as he carried 23 times for 89 yards and caught five passes for 80 yards. T-Rich consistently moved the Tide into LSU territory all night and is still leading the SEC in rushing at 119.8 yards per game. However, if Bama doesn't get its rematch in the BCS title game, will Richardson have done enough to overcome Luck? Next Game: at Mississippi State

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (66)
Season Stats: 192/259, 2,229 yards, 29 TD, 5 INT, 10 att., (-16) yards

In the 48-21 win at UNLV, Moore became the winningest quarterback in the history of NCAA football. His 46-2 record as the starter speaks for itself. Against the Runnin' Rebels, Moore went 18-for-31 for 219 yards and five touchdowns and he is now fourth in the nation passer rating at 179.51. Moore needs a huge showing in his last real test of the 2011 season this weekend against the Horned Frogs. Next Game: TCU

4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (52)
Season Stats: 202/273, 2,781 yards, 26 TD, 4 INT, 107 att., 375 yards, 4 TD

Griffin has not had any issues posting huge numbers all season. The difference this weekend is that he lead his team to a big win over Missouri 42-39. RG3 finished 27-of-41 for 406 yards and three touchdowns through the air to go with 19 rushing attemps, 53 yards and another score on the ground. Griffin III is the nation's No. 2 rated passer at 188.06 and has his team poised for a second consecutive bowl game for the first time since 1991-1992. Next Game: at Kansas

5. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (49)
Season Stats: 282/391, 3,212 yards, 26 TD, 9 INT, 14 att., (-85) yards

If the offensive ineptitude in Tuscaloosa wasn't your cup of tea, then maybe the defensive woes in Stillwater were. Oklahoma State and Kansas State combined for 1,082 yards of offense in the thrilling 52-45 back and forth affair. Weeden made a couple of bad throws (2 INT, one returned for a touchdowns), but he also set a school record with 502 yards passing. He was an incredibly efficient 36-of-46 passing and threw four scoring strikes of his own. Most importantly, he kept the Pokes national title hopes alive. Next Game: at Texas Tech

6. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (43)
Season Stats: 257/347, 3,626 yards, 34 TD, 3 INT, 32 att., 27 yards, 2 TD

Keenum was downright flawless in the 56-13 win over UAB this weekend. He completed 39 of his 44 attempts for 407 yards and two touchdowns. He also batted 1.000 in the ground game as he scored two touchdowns on two rushing attempts. Keenum is now the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense. In 2011, he is leading the nation in total offense at 405.9 yards per game and is the nation's No. 2 most efficient passer with a rating of 192.44 - which would be an single-season NCAA record if not for the player next on this Heisman list. And his Cougars remain one of the nation's five unbeaten teams. Next Game: at Tulane

7. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (30)
Season Stats: 144/201, 2,238 yards, 21 TD, 3 INT, 48 att., 276 yards, 4 TD, 1 rec., 25 yards, TD

The records this Wisconsin team are establishing on offense are eye-opening. Wilson completed 15-of-20 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns to go with 10 carries, 76 yards and another score on the ground in the 62-17 win over Purdue. His 21 TD passes have tied a single-season school record set by John Stocco and he now has thrown a TD in 33 straight games - three short of the all-time NCAA mark of 36 set by Graham Harrell. Wilson is the nation's No. 1 rated passer at 196.66 - which would set a single-season NCAA record for passing efficiency (186.00). Too bad Wilson doesn't play safety. Next Game: at Minnesota

8. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (26)
Season Stats: 254/393, 3,349 yards, 28 TD, 9 INT, 17 att., 22 yards, 2 TD

Jones is easily the saddest finalist on this list as he had to watch his partner in crime Ryan Broyles walk off the field in Norman in tears after tearing his ACL. But Jones led his team to victory and has the Sooners poised to sneak into the BCS title game should a few teams falter. Jones finished 18-of-38 for 255 and two touchdowns in the 41-25 dismantling of Texas A&M. He is No. 3 in the nation in total offense at 374.56 yards per game. Next Game: at Baylor

9. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (15)

Season Stats: 162 att., 1,076 yards, 21 TD, 13 rec., 229 yards, 3 TD, 1/1, 25 yards, TD

The accolades for the Wisconsin offense continue. Montee Ball scored his 22nd, 23rd and 24th touchdowns of the season in the 62-17 romp over Purdue. Ball is now two scores away from tying Ki-Jana Carter (1994), Anthony Thompson (1988) and Pete Johnson (1975) for the all-time Big Ten single-season touchdown record of 26. His 24 touchdowns (not counting his TD pass to Wilson) have already tied the Badgers single-season mark set by Brian Calhoun back in 2005. Ball also set a career high with 223 yards rushing and now sits No. 2 in the Big Ten with 1,076 yards. Ball leads the nation in scoring at 16.0 points per game. Next Game: at Minnesota

10. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (11)
Season Stats: 229/342, 2,608 yards, 28 TD, 6 INT, 20 att., 25 yards, TD

Barkley is putting his full NFL resume on display. The Trojan quarterback set a school record with six touchdown passes (four in the first half) in the 42-17 road win over Colorado on Friday night. He finished the game 25-of-39 for 318 yards. Barkley has already set a single-season career high in TD passes (28) and is 183 yards from setting his yardage record as well. It is a shame USC cannot play in the Pac-12 title game (and here's hoping he comes back for his senior year). Next Game: Washington

Previous Voting:

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 10

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 9
Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 8

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 7

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 6

Athlon Sports Heisman Ballot: Week 5

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Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports Heisman Voting: Week 11</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 06:00
Path: /news/joe-paterno-addresses-penn-state-students-makes-bad-situation-worse-video
Body:

Somehow the Penn State story just got even worse. After a weeping Joe Paterno reportedly spoke to Penn State students outside his living room window about the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse allegations, he came out, seemingly all smiles and addressed a student body that had formed on his lawn. While the students were chanting and holding up signs showing support for the only college football coach they've known for 46 years, Joe Pa quieted them down and said the following:

"It's hard for me to tell you how much this means to me. I've lived for this place, and I've lived for people like you guys and girls, and I'm just so happy to see that you could feel so strongly about us and about your school. The kids that were victims or whatever they want to say, I think we all ought to say a prayer for them. Tough life, when people do certain things to you. Anyway, you've been great. Everything's great, all right."

Now I think we know why Tuesday's press conference was cancelled. By saying things like "the kids that were victims or whatever they want to say" is not a great way to frame the children who were sexually abused. And the scary thing is, discrediting or attacking the victims is PR 101 in political scandals. But this is not a political scandal. This is bigger than Penn State, it's bigger than Joe Paterno and it's bigger than college football. These are unspeakable accusations and to call into question the victims, and to subtly point the finger is unforgivable. 

To not speak with the utmost delicacy here is to only come across as defensive at best and heartless at worst. Maybe this is all a big set up for the senility defense. Either way, Joe Pa made an already horrific situation worse by what he did last night.

Whether he likes or knows it, Joe Paterno will no longer be the head coach at Penn State within two weeks (if not much sooner). But his words on Tuesday night paint the picture of a man who isn't ready to have the biggest thing he loves taken away from him. And when people feel like they are painted in a corner they don't want to be in, they start taking swipes at what they think is responsible for painting them in that corner.

But this is not the time to create an adversarial position with the victims. If Joe truly understands what happened, he would not refer to those children as "victims or whatever." He would express regret. He would show himself to be human. Instead, he called into question the people who were wronged the most, which is a subtle defense not only of himself, but of Jerry Sandusky as well. And there is no more indefensible person in America right now.

Joe Paterno, who once stood for class in a league known more for cheating and lying, is tarnishing his legacy, one word at a time.

And on another note, I'm not sure why the kids were chanting his support. This isn't a Jim Tressel situation. This isn't about tattoos. This isn't even about cheating. This is the most heinous act imagineable. And anyone who holds up a sign showing support for Paterno, given the facts that we currently know about his lack of action is foolish. Yes, I understand we don't have all the facts in the story, but given the gruesome details we do know, even the most ardent supporters of Joe Paterno and Happy Valley should wait until we know more before making a "I HEART Joe Pa" sign and marching on campus. 

If 1% of the details we've heard are confirmed true, you will look even stupider than you do right now.

Teaser:
<p> The Penn State coach somehow made things worse after talking to students on his lawn</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 01:42
Path: /college-football/jerry-sandusky-joe-paterno-penn-state-profile
Body:

In light of the recent, disgusting events that have come out regarding Jerry Sandusky's alleged child sexual abuse while working as an assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn State, we feel that some of our archival content regarding Joe Paterno is worth revisiting now.

This article originally appeared in Athlon Sports 1995 Big Ten regional edition. Jerry Sandusky's quotes are in bold.

Deep Roots In Happy Valley

More than anything else, that explains why they come and, more to the point, why they stay.

They put down roots and those roots have a way of tunneling down as deep as the stately elms that ring the campus, Almost before they know it, time has done a silly thing to them: It has made a lifetime come and go. And the nice thing is, none of them ever seems to be gnawed by doubt or haunted by second-guess. None of them seems to harbor so much as a single regret about never leaving, about not sampling life beyond the leafy hills that wall of Happy Valley from the rest of the world.

The remarkable part about all of this, of course, is that they are gypsies by trade, members of an inherently nomadic profession. The lifters, the career coaches, they tend to change zip codes as casually as coats. But Penn State is a notable exception. In Happy Valley, they tend to stay put.

Since its first season of football, in 1887, the Nittany Lions have had only 14 head coaches, four of whom held that job for just one year. And only 74 assistant coaches in the university’s 108 seasons up to 1995. Many schools have gone through that many in barely a decade. But from “Anderson, Dick, 1973-83, 90-present” to “Yerger, H.C., 1918,” it takes barely half of one page to list every full-time assistant Penn State has ever had.

The most celebrated of them, of course, is Joseph Vincent Paterno himself. After his senior season at Brown in 1949, Paterno was awaiting graduation and anticipating his entrance into law school at Boston University. He had already been accepted there and fully intended to follow the career path taken by his father, who had set a worthy example by going to night school to earn his degree and them, in an admirable demonsration of persistence, passing the bar exam at the age of 44.

“I was all set,” Paterno recalls, “and then I got a surprising phone call from Rip Engle (who had been Paterno’s coach at Brown). He’d just been hired to be Penn State’s head coach, and he said his contract allowed him to bring one assistant.”

Paterno accepted, fully intending to leave after a year or two and resume the pursuit of that law degree. Forty-five years later, he is still in Happy Valley, and it is now impossible to distinguish where the man leaves off and the legend begins. Because he will start his 30th season as head coach this autumn, it is easy to forget that Joe Paterno was an assistant for 16 years. He seemed to set the tone of fidelity that has become so impressive.

There must be a reason for such an unremitting loyalty. Certainly, it is a pull more powerful than wealth and more seductive than ego. Because many of the assistant coaches at Penn State have had their chances to ramrod their own outfits.

Some of them try it, and then come back. Like Anderson. After 11 years on Paterno’s staff, he became the head coach at Rutgers in 1984, and lasted for six seasons. Relieved of that job, almost immediately he came back to Happy Valley and fell easily, naturally, back in step, as though he had left a 1950’s line dance, slipped out of the gym, and come back without losing the rhythm, the feel.

“In some ways,” says Anderson, coach of the quarterbacks and the passing game, “it was like I never left. There were some subtle changes in the offensive system, sure. All systems constantly evolve. They never stand still. But the guts were pretty much the same.”

Anderson’s tone suggests that you don’t mess with what works. The rest of it: the lifestyle, the Happy Days, Happy Valley insulation-that hadn’t changed. That never changes. Some people find that stunting and stultifying. Others find it charming and irresistible. Some of the assistants think about trying it out there on their own, being the boss man, but back away.

Like Jerry Sandusky. In 1988, Temple reached out to Penn State’s longtime defensive coordinator and offered him the head coaching job. Sandusky held it up t the light and examined it. And then politely handed it back.

“Who knows, I may set an NCAA record for staying on as an assistant coach at one school,” Sandusky says, laughing. Well, this will be his 28th season on Paterno’s staff. “Penn State’s my home. It’s more than just the place I make my living. It’s a place my family and I all love. They really don’t know any other place. Penn State spoils you. You get a perspective that doesn’t exist out there.” Some of the assistants accept a head-coaching job, only to have a change of mind-and of heart-literally overnight.

Like Fran Ganter, the offensive coordinator. He went to bed one night last December having decided to accept Michigan State’s offer to succeed George Perles. Like pepperoni pizza at midnight, it seemed to be a good idea at the time, but around 4:30 in the morning, emotional indigestion arrived.

“I thought, ‘What am I doing?’” Ganter says. “I realized then that I didn’t really want to leave.”

The money was infinitely better. The opportunity was there to make a program in his own image. And yet he stated. This will be Fran Ganter’s 25th year of coaching at Penn State.

They don’t all say, of course. Ron Dickerson is the head man at Temple now. Jim Caldwell took the Wake Forest job. Craig Cirbus, who was on Paterno’s staff for 11 seasons, left after the 12-0 season of 1994 to become the head coach at the University of Buffalo, which happens to be his alma mater.

So it’s not as though they’re locked up. It’s not as though Paterno doesn’t answer answer the inquiries, the feelers from other schools, and give them all ringing recommendations. It’s not as though they lack ambition or self-confidence, amd it’s not that they don’t think they can make it on their own or burn to do so. It’s just that, in the end, they can’t bear the thought of saying good-bye.

Corny as it may sound, they stay because no other place looks quite as appealing. They are hapy where they are and unashamed to say so. Besides, how bad is it being part of a program that wins 8- percent of its games, that frequently has a perfect season, that has won two national championships and will challenge for more, that comes to think of a bowl game as routine? Maybe it’s better to be an assistant at a successful school than the overseer of a losing program.

Certainly, there are more sophisticated communities than state college .but then part of the allure of Happy Valley is the absence of bright lights and of all the unsavory things they imply. No, State College exists, happily, in a time warp. It is its own Way Back Machine. It is trapped in an age of penny loafers and crew cuts and sha-boom, sha-boom. It is isolated and revels in its isolation.

“Its just a great place to raise a family,” says Jerry Sandusky. It is a subject he knows something about. He and his wife, Dorothy, have five adopted children. They also founded and run The Second Mile, a charitable organization that addresses the welfare of young people. It has expanded into eight separate non-profit programs, including foster homes and summer camps, and they in turn have touched more than 80,000 children.

Such a venture might not have been possible in a different environment, under different circumstances. The Sanduskys are so involved in what they began that to leave Happy Valley is virtually unthinkable. Some might say they are prisoners of their own making. And some might say they are an extraordinary couple that who would have succeeded wherever they lived. They happened to pick Happy Valley. Or was it, perhaps, the other way around?

“The uniqueness of Penn State football is the number of people who have stayed here and retired here,” says Sandusky. “I don’t know that you can explain the attraction. It’s a lot of small things. I guess you have to experience it.”

You can get a taste of it on Saturdays in the fall, on those tart apple-cider afternoons when 96,000 clog the pitifully few access roads, paralyzing the surrounding area in terminal gridlock. Beaver Stadium keeps expanding, the waves of “progress” keep lapping at the doorstep, but Happy Valley remains pretty much the same, pretty much immune.

Over the years, representatives from other football programs have made the pilgrimage to Happy Valley in an effort to entice Paterno away. He has turned them all down, and some of the opportunities were mightily tempting. Michigan, for one. The Wolverines wound up with Bo Schembechler instead, and went to nine rose Bowls. The Pittsburgh Steelers, for another, who settled for Chuck Noll and won four Super Bowls.

“I sure left he door open for some great careers, huh?” Paterno laughs. “The only job I wanted was at Yale, and John Pont got it.”

But the closest Paterno ever came to leaving was for a job in the pros, specifically with the Boston Patriots. “I had decided to accept,” he says, “but the next morning I woke up and told Sue (his wife), ‘You slept with a millionaire…for one night. I just can’t leave.’”

In his 1973 commencement address at Penn State, Paterno amplified on that decision thusly: “Money alone will not make you happy. Success without honor is an unseasoned dish. It will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.”

Paterno, who will be 69 in December, is quite likely to avoid retirement until he has completed half a century at Penn State.

Nor is the Paterno name apt to be severed from Penn State football when the patriarch does retire. To fill the vacancy created by Cirbus leaving this past winter, Joe Paterno named as his new recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach…Jay Paterno.

Teaser:
<p> Our 1995 "Deep Roots in Happy Valley" profile of Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 22:13
Path: /college-football/missouri-finds-stability-upgrade-sec
Body:

Conference realignment has been a constant theme in college football over the past year and a half. Nebraska got the ball rolling when the Cornhuskers — frustrated by the Big 12’s unequal revenue sharing and Texas’ influence over the league — left for the Big Ten. Colorado departed the Big 12 as well, joining Utah in the new Pac-12. But perhaps the most interesting move came from Texas A&M, who joined the SEC after having enough of the Longhorn Network and league instability. It was only a matter of time before the SEC added a 14th team, and Missouri became that school. The SEC is a gold-standard conference, but some have questioned if the Tigers can compete for the title in the country’s toughest league. And while Mizzou will enjoy the money and exposure of the SEC, there are some concerns over historical rivalries and geographical fit.

Missouri to the SEC: Good move for the Tigers?

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch
I think it’s a good move for Missouri because the school, with all of its flirtation with other leagues in recent years, had reached a point of no return with the Big 12. From a strictly competitive standpoint, I don’t think it’s a good move. The football program has raised its profile in the last decade under Gary Pinkel and is now to the point where it can be a factor in the Big 12 almost every season. It might be a stretch to call the Tigers one of the league’s elite programs, but they are relevant almost every season. That won’t be the case in the SEC, at least not initially. There are too many programs in the SEC that simply have more to offer than Missouri — from recruiting to fan base to facilities to tradition, etc. From a basketball standpoint, it’s probably a lateral move — or a small step down — and the school is jeopardizing its rivalry with Kansas, one of the premier programs in the nation. Not playing the Jayhawks, even once per season, is not a good thing for Missouri basketball.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman
It’s an absolutely great move for Missouri. The Tigers just left the craziness of unequal revenue, constant rumors, the LHN, Dan Beebe leadership and an uncertain future for college sports’ royalty. Mizzou now has a permanent home with more money and exposure than ever before. Of course conference titles are difficult to win, but no big-time school is looking to join a league “because it is easy”. Geographical fit? Missouri borders as many SEC states as Big 12 ones. Rivalries? The Tigers can still play Kansas at the end of the season, just like the Florida-FSU, Georgia-Georgia Tech and South Carolina-Clemson rivalries. If KU wants to go “Rock Head, Jayhawk” and not play Mizzou because of jealously, then that’s Kansas’ fault. Recruiting in Texas? Plenty of recent SEC players — Matt Stafford, Ryan Mallett, DeMarcus Love, Brandon LaFell, Denarius Moore, Greg McElroy — were from the Lone Star State. Missouri fans are going to love trips to places like Neyland Stadium, Sanford Stadium, Rupp Arena, Bud Walton Arena and Alex Box Stadium. And they are also going to enjoy being in a top league with solid leadership and passionate fans.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven
From a football viewpoint, I don’t think this move makes a lot of sense for Missouri. The Tigers never won the Big 12 title and now are moving to a tougher conference. Will there be years where Missouri can win the SEC East? Absolutely. However, I would rather take my chances in the Big 12. Also, the Tigers recruit Texas heavily, and it’s unclear how those pipelines would be affected with the shift in conferences. But this move isn’t all about football. Missouri simply had enough of the Big 12 and its instability. With that in mind, I can’t blame the Tigers for moving to the SEC. When an opportunity to join the best athletic conference in the nation comes along, it’s a very difficult invitation to turn down. Additionally, Missouri can make more money in the SEC, which is certainly very attractive to any athletic department. Only time will tell whether or not the Tigers are capable of competing for the SEC East title, but getting away from the instability and constant bickering in the Big 12 makes this move a good one for Missouri.

Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden
This is a phenomenal move for the Missouri Tigers. The dollars and cents differential between the SEC and the new Big 12 contracts are not nearly as great as people think (a reported $12 million dollar difference per year is really more like $2-3 million). But when it comes to stability and recognition, there is no doubt that the SEC has a superior brand. And wins and losses on the field? Well, Mizzou won six conference championships since 1929 when they joined the Big 6 (which became the Big 8 and then the Big 12) and the last came in 1969, so not winning titles in the SEC won't be much of a change. Yet, the football program is currently cranking along at unprecedented levels as three of the school's five 10-win seasons have taken place in the last half-decade under Gary Pinkel. Additionally, Mizzou is 19-7-1 all-time against the current SEC programs and 7-2 all-time in bowl games against the SEC (even if most of them took place before the Cold War). This is the optimal time for Mizzou to make the move and it will be a huge win long-term for the school. Plus, as an added bonus, the SEC upgrades its academic standing and adds one of the more tradition-laden basketball programs in the country — even if both of which really have nothing to do with the move.
 

Teaser:
<p> Missouri leaves the Big 12 for the SEC.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 16:49
Path: /college-football/joe-paterno-living-legend
Body:

In light of the recent, disgusting events that have come out regarding Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual child abuse while working as an assistant under Joe Paterno's at Penn State, we feel that some of our archival content regarding Joe Paterno is worth revisiting now.

This article was originally published in the 2000 Athlon Sports Big Ten Edition.

Living Legend

Joe Pa’s brought a half-century of excellence to Happy Valley. Now, he has the Bear in his sights

The antique shop stands a few hundred feet removed from the Route 322, the rural road that snakes its way through the Pennsylvania wilderness and allows folks from Harrisburg and points southeast access to Happy Valley.

Sitting there on the dusty floor, at first unremarkable among the disorganized mess of goodies, is a quartet of blue and white televisions trays, relics from polyester days of the early 1970s.

But a second glance reveals something very remarkable. Not so much about these particular cheesy bits of Americana, but of the man whose unmistakeable mug has been screened upon them.

Meet Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, the only guy in the business who has been around long enough to have his face emblazoned on antiques. We’re not talking Junior Griffey’s rookie card here. These aluminum beauties are a quarter of a century old if they’re a day.

And, gauche though they may be, they’re about to climb in value.

Because Paterno, who is in his 35th year as head coach of the Nittany Lions, and his 51st year on the PSU staff, is on the brink of passing Alabama’s Bear Bryant for the top spot on the all-time major college win list. The 73-year-old needs six victories to tie the Bear at 323 and a seventh to claim the record as his own.

Considering the Lions have failed to capture at least seven games only three times in Paternon’s tenure as head coach, it’s a good bet the changing of the guard will occur this season.

But while Penn State’s sports information staff expects a deluge of credential requests as Paterno nears and passes the record — from the New York Tiimes to the Los Angeles Times and every outlet in between — there is one person who is not the slightest bit anxious for the big moment to arrive.

Joe Paterno himself.

The first of what will be hundreds of softball questions on the topic was lobbed at a press conference to kick off the Nittany Lions’ spring practice in late March. A reporter asked how he would react when the record became his. And Paterno responded as if he’d been bushwhacked by Jim Gray.

“I haven’t given it any thought,” he snapped. “You ask me questions coming out of the woodwork. I’m an Italian. Who knows how I’m gonna react for crying out loud? I may break down and cry, I don’t know.

“But that’s not gonna be a distraction, and it’s not gonna be anything I spend any time thinking about. If it happens, it happens. I’m more worried about making it happen.”

Barring some unforeseen disaster, he will make it happen. As for how he’ll react?

Well, after winning his 300th game (over Bowling Green at Beaver Stadium in 1998), Paterno broke into tears as he addressed the crowd. It was the first time anyone could remember him showing that particular emotion in public.

No one would be surprised to see more waterworks after Paterno passes Bryant. But those close to him insist the emotion won’t hit until after the record is passed.

“I’ve been around him long enough to know that he’s not gonna think about it until it’s over,” says Budd Thallman, PSU’s associate athletic director for communications. “That’s consistent. That’s how he was at 200 (wins), that’s how he was at 300. It’s almost like he has no clue. He’s remarkable in the way he dose that.”

He’s also remarkable in the way he endures. If Paterno’s health holds up, once he gets the record, it is doubtful anyone will catch him. Sure, Florida State’s 70-year-old Bobby Bowden has 304 wins and is charging hard. But the offseason saw Paterno sign a five-year contract extension, and he’s not entirely sure that will be his last deal.

“I really intend to coach at least five more years,” he says. “If I stay healthy and I can get the kind of people I have been able to get around me and work like they’ve been working, there is no reason I can’t coach five more years. I want to do it.”

As if to prove he’s up to the challenge, Paterno took the occasion of longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s recent retirement to shake up his staff, taking on more responsibility himself in the process. Sandusky used to have a free hand in guiding the defense. Replacement Tom Bradley can expect more input from the head man.

“I’m going to work with everything,” Paterno says. “I am going to have a hand in everything.”

And like the paraphernalia in that antique shop, he’s counting on improving with age. Which is why, even if Penn State wins its third national title in the next few years, he has no intention of slipping off into retirement.

“That has nothing to do with it,” Paterno explains. “Streaks have nothing to do with it, and records have nothing to do with it. I just get up in the morning and I like to coach. I don’t what I could do with myself that I could enjoy as well as I do coaching. That seems to be hard for people to understand. But people write books until they are 85, and why?”

Because they like writing, of course. Just as Joe Paterno likes coaching.

Antique or not.

Teaser:
<p> Joe Paterno is a coaching legend, but his legacy will be tarnished by the recent allegations at Penn State.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 14:59
Path: /college-football/joe-paternos-1992-letter-college-presidents-full-hypocrisy
Body:

In light of the recent, disgusting events that have come out regarding Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual child abuse while working as an assistant under Joe Paterno's at Penn State, we feel that some of our archival content regarding Joe Paterno is worth revisiting now.

This is an open letter he wrote to the college presidents commission in 1992 regarding the importance of integrity and and the role that coaches play in helping provide for the welfare of young people.

An Open Letter To College Presidents - 1992

By Joe Paterno, Head Coach, Penn State University

Today more than ever, college presidents are taking responsibility for the preservation of intercollegiate athletics, ensuring the integrity of their programs, at the same time, maintaining the vitality of all sports.

I don't think any committed coach can take issue with the involvement of the presidents in the administration of intercollegiate athletics. At Penn State, we have had such institutional control, and the participation of the presidents on the national level is indeed welcome.

Having said that, I don't nexessarily subscribe to all the changes the President's Commission has instituted through the NCAA.

Many recollect that our coaches and other athletic staff have not done a good job informing our presidents on what constitutes constructive changes. As a result, I am afraid we have created new rules and restrictions which might diminish the coaches' ability to run athletic programs that are a source of personal growth and provide meaningful competition for our student-athletics. What we must work to establish are activities which add zest to a quality education and enrich life in the exciting mainstream of a vibrant college experience.

Eliminating an assistant coach and replacing graduate assistants with reduced-earning personnel as a cost-cutting measure would have made it more difficult for our coaching staffs to successfully assume the increasing responsibility for the welfare of our people, from guiding their lifestyles to being accountable for their graduation.

The release of institutional graduation rates increases the already significant pressure on football coaches who are held accountable for the academic proficiency of their players, a responsbility no othe runiversity administator or faculty member, with the exception of the president, shoulders in such a public manner. The elimination of graduate assistants would have scrapped the only intern program available to young people who desire to further their education and prepare themselves to be effective coaches.

As an aside, I hope that in the drive to improve graduation rates we will not overlook the necessity of providing a meaningful education or assume that the student does not have the prime responsibility to graduate.

We must continue to challenge our athletes in the classroom, not design or condone programs that will push them through the university for the purpose of improving the published rates.

In seeking to get more institutional control of the expenses and excesses of recruiting, we must be careful not to institute rules so restrictive, so complex and so cumbersome that we end up creating added costs and spending excessive time seeking interpreations. The best-intentioned coaching staff has trouble toeing the NCAA line when it has to deal with the abrupt changes of recruiting legislation.

For the past several years our rules have been effective and, contrary to the public perception, most of our people do not deliberately break them (even though we sometimes have to adhere to some which are neither fair nor practical).

The vast majority of football coaches want to do an honest job recruiting. Of course, as in all human endeavors, there are exceptions, bu, by and large, the climate is competitive rather than confrontational.

But before we change regulations, we need the input of coaches who have to deal with the rules on a daily basis. Our coaches, as would be the case with any faculty member, need to feel that they are contributing to the dialogue which leads to simple, enforceable rules.

Such participation adds to their responsibility to ensure that they and their colleagues abide by the rule changes.

I am encouraged that at the most recent NCAA Convention (January 1992) we were able to restore the assistant coaching position, the graduate assistants and pass some other refinement legislation. This, I think, was an indication of an improving climate of communication between presidents, athletic directors and coaches. I think presidential involvement is essential and will be a positive influence. 

The necessity exists, however, for continuing informed input from coaches. This does not in any way imply that we should expect to have it only our way. Once we receive a fair hearing, we should support efforts to refine the reforms the Presidents Commission has originated and, as the Commission moves ahead, to discuss and supports additional improvements.

College football is a wonderful game, but I believe we have to be careful not to make changes without thoroughly evalutating their impact from every angle, including their effect on our other intercollegiate sports, both men's and women's.

If we can create this atmosphere of collegiality, we can use all of our resources to make college football and intercollegiate athletics what they shuld be: a meaningful educational experience for our maturing young people, a source of pride for our universities and enjoyment for the millions of people who love college sports.

 

Teaser:
<p> The Penn State coach's legacy will never be the same</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 14:12
Path: /college-football/post-mortem-game-century
Body:

By Mitch Light

We’ve all seen the game by now. Some have called it a classic. Others say it was disappointing due to a lack of offense. We can all agree, however, that there were some serious athletes on the field Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

LSU won the game, 9–6 in overtime, but one game isn’t a large enough sample size to determine which team is better. The Tigers are ranked No. 1, and obviously deserve the top spot, but if these two teams played 10 times on a neutral field, my guess is that each team would win five games.

Predictably, there has been a ton of commentary on the game and whether or not we will see a rematch in the national title game. Here are a few things that I’ve heard that just don’t add up.

The offenses aren’t any good.
My response:
Alabama and LSU struggled on offense on Saturday night because they were playing each other. Keep in mind that both teams are averaging just a shade under 40 points in all games not involving the two best defenses in the nation. Alabama scored 27 points in Week 2 at Penn State — the most any team has scored on the Nittany Lions this season. The Tide also scored 38 points on Arkansas and Florida, 52 against Ole Miss, 37 against Tennessee and 34 against Vanderbilt. LSU has been equally as potent, scoring 35 points or more in all but two games this season — 19 in Week 3 against Mississippi State and nine vs. Alabama. I wouldn’t put these teams in the same class as Oregon, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, but both Alabama and LSU are very good on offense, and the numbers back it up.

Jarrett Lee is a bad quarterback
My response: Lee had a bad first half against a ferocious defense and wasn’t given the opportunity to atone for his mistakes. Through the first eight games of his senior season Lee was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation. He was fortunate to play with a tremendous supporting case, but there is no denying that Lee was playing very well — good enough to lead the SEC in passing efficiency and quarterback a team to an 8–0 start. Simply not playing well against Alabama doesn’t make you a bad quarterback. Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, a legitimate NFL prospect and the triggerman of a top-10 passing attack, struggled in a 38–14 loss to the Tide in September. Is Wilson a bad quarterback? Didn’t think so. Neither is Lee.

Alabama’s special teams were a disaster
My response:
Alabama missed four field goals, but most people seem to forget that all four kicks were from 44 yards or longer, including two from 50-plus yards. Sure, it would be nice if Alabama had a kicker capable of hitting from long range, but it wasn’t a special teams disaster, as many have indicated. The staff rolled the dice and attempted several long kicks, and it didn’t work out in most instances, though Alabama did make one from 46 yards. The Tide performed well in other areas on special teams, netting 39.5 yards on two punts and averaging 24.5 yards on two kickoff returns.

Other thoughts from the Game of the Century:

• It is amazing that Alabama only punted two times in a game in which it scored only six points.

• Was it a catch or an interception? After watching the replay a dozen times, I still can’t tell if Michael Williams or Eric Reid caught the ball. If I had to say, I would go with Williams, but the officials ruled that Reid intercepted the pass, and there wasn’t enough on replay to overturn the call.

• Morris Claiborne is a better cornerback than Tyrann Mathieu — he just doesn’t have a cool nickname or recover as many fumbles.

• Michael Ford is really good. Ford was the talk of the spring two years ago, but he only carried the ball 45 times for 244 yards as a redshirt freshman. Spencer Ware has received the bulk of the work in 2011, but Ford has been far more productive on a per-carry basis, averaging 5.7 per rush compared to 3.8 for Ware. My guess is that we are about to see more of Ford.

Around the SEC

• Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews has caught 15 passes for 321 yards the past two weeks, against Arkansas and Florida. In the first seven games, he caught a total of eight for 117 yards. Matthews leads the league in yards per catch at 19.0.

• Over the last three seasons, South Carolina has allowed an average of 39.3 points to Arkansas. In all other regular-season SEC games, the Gamecocks have allowed an average of 19.0 points.

• Auburn’s Michael Dyer leads the SEC with five rushes of 40 yards or more.

• Florida’s John Brantley isn’t regarded as one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks, but he does lead the league in one key stat — yards per attempt (8.5).

• AJ McCarron has converted 35 of his 71 passing attempts on third down into first downs, the highest percentage (.492) in the SEC.

• The top four teams in the SEC West (LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn) are a combined 8–0 vs. the SEC East. Mississippi State and Ole Miss are a combined 1–5.

• South Carolina has scored a touchdown on 21 of 28 trips inside the Red Zone, for an SEC-best 75 percent success rate. Interestingly, none of the Gamecocks’ 28 trips have ended with a field goal. They are the onlyteam in the nation without a field goal off of a Red Zone trip.
 

Teaser:
<p> Alabama's special teams aren't bad. Jarrett Lee is still a solid quarterback. These teams do know how to play offense.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 10:46
All taxonomy terms: Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, News
Path: /news/high-expectations-ole-miss
Body:

This article about expectations at Ole Miss appeared in Athlon's 2009 SEC regional edition. With the Rebels' decision to force coach Houston Nutt out at the end of the year, here's a look back at the high expectations surrounding the program going into the 2009 season.

Ole Miss football has been here before. Wins. Rankings. Notoriety. Expectations. They’re all engrained in Ole Miss football — at least the way it was half a century ago.

That picture of Ole Miss football in the 1950s and 1960s was a motivating factor for two men who have helped revive the program. They were part of a plan that has Ole Miss positioned as a consensus top 15 team heading into the 2009 season, a team with a chance to win the SEC — the ultimate conference championship — and a team in the discussion for a BCS bowl game.

Robert Khayat was a kicker and lineman on what was arguably the best football team in the rich history of the University of Mississippi. He was a senior under legendary coach John Vaught in 1959 when the Rebels lost only to a tricky LSU punt returner named Billy Cannon, who cut to the inside instead of the sideline in the Tigers’ 7–3 win on Halloween night. Three outlets proclaimed Ole Miss, at 10–1, the national champion that season.

Pete Boone, now the athletic director, came onto the scene later, lettering from 1970-72. The best times were in the rearview mirror but were still fresh in the minds of Rebel fans.

The lives of Khayat and Boone intersected in the university community. They became good friends and handball buddies.

They longed to see Ole Miss football as what it had been, not what it had become, and they found themselves in position to do something about it.

“We certainly had, and have, that desire,” says Khayat, the school’s outgoing chancellor, who will retire in June.

“What our fans want is consistency in a winning program,” Boone says. “To me that means they come to every game believing we’re going to win. If we don’t win, they feel we should have and that we’re going to win next week.”

Ole Miss fans indeed expect to win this season.

Boone began his first term as AD in 1995. Khayat began his run as chancellor the same year. Under their combined leadership the school has increased its commitment to facilities and coaches’ salaries. The missing piece of the puzzle — a successful, experienced coach — was added in November 2007 when Houston Nutt jumped from Arkansas to Oxford.

Nutt is the primary reason for this season’s expectations.

The Rebels floundered under former coach Ed Orgeron. Khayat and Boone hired a proven recruiter instead of a proven head coach when replacing David Cutcliffe, whom they fired following the 2004 season.

“David Cutcliffe’s last two years we virtually had no recruiting, no signing of people who could play,” Khayat says. “It was pretty natural to go for the person who was viewed as the best recruiter in the country. What we didn’t realize was that Ed was going to have so much difficulty coaching.”

The Orgeron Experiment concluded with the coach’s 3–21 SEC mark in three seasons. He was shown the door but left behind plentiful talent, which Nutt managed more successfully in 2008.

The Rebels started slowly but showed promise in some close losses. In late September they dealt eventual national champion Florida its only defeat, but it was in late October that the football program began to win like it had under Vaught.

Ole Miss won its last six games, routing LSU 31–13 in Baton Rouge, rival Mississippi State 45–0 at home and ultimately handling media darling Texas Tech, ranked No. 7 at the time, 47–34 in the Cotton Bowl.

The Rebels — having suffered through a winless SEC season in Orgeron’s last hurrah — won their four November games by a combined count of 152–20. They finished 9–4, and the Cotton Bowl win propelled them to a No. 14 final ranking. Ole Miss finished 5–3 in the SEC, second in the West.

Virtually every playmaker from the SEC’s No. 2 scoring offense returns. Eight starters are back from a defense that was playing at an elite level late last season, though replacing All-America defensive tackle Peria Jerry will be a challenge.

Boone approaches the topic of expectations cautiously.

“Do I feel like we made a lot of progress last year? Absolutely. Are we going in the right direction? Absolutely. Do I think we’re there? Absolutely not,” he says. “Over the course of a season so many things have to happen to end up in the championship event.”

Many Ole Miss fans in the offseason have bypassed talk of getting to Atlanta — the Rebels are the only Western Division team yet to make the league’s championship game — in favor of their chances for a BCS bowl.

A BCS bid could be hindered by a lack of strength of schedule. After waiting on ESPN to finalize a Thursday night game at South Carolina, then having talks with TCU break off, Boone found himself with a late vacancy and added Northern Arizona for Nov. 7. The move gives the Rebels two FCS opponents.

Nutt hopes his team is in the BCS mix when the time comes.

“I told our players they can no longer hide,” Nutt says. “No longer will they not be on the radar screen. Last year, people didn’t even know about them. This year they’re picked in all the magazines.”

 “With what they have coming back, I think they’ll be under-achieving if they don’t at least get back to a New Year’s Day bowl,” says John Darnell, a quarterback on Billy Brewer’s Ole Miss teams in the late 1980s. “That’s not to put any pressure on them; I think they would say that too. Expectations have been raised not only by the fans but by the players and coaches themselves.”

Modern-day Ole Miss football has less experience with high expectations than Nutt did at Arkansas. The Rebels have never been preseason favorites to win the West. Since the SEC split into divisions in 1992, league media have picked the Rebels has high as No. 2 only twice.

In 2003, senior quarterback Eli Manning’s team went 7–1 in the league — losing at home in November to LSU in what amounted to a Western Division championship game — then won the Cotton Bowl and finished No. 13 in the rankings. That team was only picked third in the division.

In the cannibalistic landscape of SEC football, the Rebels may not start the season on top in the West. The national exposure they received at the close of 2008, however, should have them ranked high enough to continue the important season-long ascent if they prove to be as good as many people believe.

“I think we can handle the expectations,” senior wide receiver/tailback Dexter McCluster says. “We handled it pretty well last year when we had no expectations.”

In one year Nutt’s challenge has changed from making players believe they were better than they thought to making them remember that pride cometh before a fall.

“It’s about being humble and going back to work. It’s doing the little things right, it’s the sacrifice and investment you have to make,” he says. “We’re in the toughest league in America. What we did last year doesn’t just happen.”

At Ole Miss it hasn’t happened with consistency since the days of Vaught. Fans are hoping that 2008 wasn’t lighting in a bottle, but rather the beginning of something big. For six straight games last season, grandfathers talked of how it used to be, and for the first time, grandchildren had a visual aid on the field.

“There’s a level of passion here that I haven’t seen in a long, long time,” Khayat says.

Teaser:
<p> Ole Miss football has been here before. Wins. Rankings. Notoriety. Expectations. They’re all engrained in Ole Miss football — at least the way it was half a century ago.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 10:28
Path: /overtime/100-twitter-accounts-every-sports-fan-should-follow
Body:

Twitter can range between being awesome and being the most annoying thing in on the Internet. To help sports fans figure out which Twitter accounts they should follow, we put together the list of the best 100.

This list contains everything from journalists to athletes to comedians. To make sure there's a broad enough apeal, we tried to keep it national (sorry, the guy who tweets about your high school football team didn't make the list). Feel free to let us know who we missed in the comments.

100. Athlon Sports, @athlonsports
Category: All Sports, College Football
Our Athlon Sports Monthly is the largest sport publication in America and our college football annuals have, at times, been referred to as “Bibles” by people who enjoy college football. And, hey, we made this list, so we should at least be on it somewhere.


 

99. Stephania Bell, @Stephania_ESPN
Category: Sports, Injuries, Fantasy
Her breakdown of player injuries goes beyond “probable” and “doubtful” to give you the expert’s take on what a torn Achilles means in layman’s terms.


 

98. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, @SI_Swimsuit
Category: Girls
Sports Illustrated showed their social media genius by creating an account devoted entirely to their swimsuit issue.


 

97. Jim Irsay, @jimirsay
Category: NFL
The Indianapolis Colts' owner says a lot of awesome stuff on Twitter you don’t expect an owner of a professional football team to say. He also gives away free tickets to games, so there’s that.


 

96. Andrew Brandt, @adbrandt
Category: Sports Business
ESPN's NFL business analyst used to work in the Packers' front office. If you’re interested in the business side of sports, he’s someone you need to follow.


 

95. Adrian Wojnarowski, @WojYahooNBA
Category: NBA
Yahoo’s NBA guy provides a nice mix of news, links and anything else NBA-related.


 

94. Joe Sports Fan, @JoeSportsFan
Category: Humor, All Sports
If you like to laugh, follow this feed. If you don’t like to laugh, do nine shots of tequila, then follow this feed (after you puke).


 

93. Ken Rosenthal, @Ken_Rosenthal
Category: MLB
Fox’s MLB reporter breaks news and gives an insider’s take on the big stories in baseball.


 

92. Coaches By The Numbers, @CoachesBTN
Category: College Football
Coaches By the Numbers dives into college football coaching stats to figure out if your favorite coach is actually good at coaching. No other site delves in and analyzes the statistics of college football coaches like Coaches By The Numbers.


 

91. Fake Kyle Orton, @KingNeckbeard
Category: Humor
Fake Kyle Orton has a lot of awesome (NFSW) things to say. Can someone start a petition that makes him the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos?


 

90. Sports By Brooks, @SportsByBrooks
Category:
All Sports
Sports By Brooks' Twitter account is a mix of funny and juicy bits of news from the sports world.


 

89. Kyle Petty, @kylepetty
Category: NASCAR
NASCAR needs more twittering and less fighting (or more twittering and more fighting). Either way, Kyle Petty is the man for the twittering part of the job. On a side note, he seems to answer every tweet, so we suggestion hitting him up with ANY question you have (like the one below).


 

88. Mike Tyson, @MikeTyson
Category: Celebrity, Athlete
If you’re like me, you could listen to Mike Tyson philosophize all day. Reading his tweets is a close second.


 

87. Jay Bilas, @JayBilas
Category: College Basketball
If there's anyone on this planet who knows more about college basketball, I probably don’t want to meet them.


 

86. Rory McIlroy, @mcilroyrory
Category: Golf
Rory has sweet hair and a good attitude, and if you want to follow the biggest rising star in golf, you should probably follow Rory.


 

85. The League, @theleaguefx
Category: Humor
This is more a promotion of the show than the show’s Twitter page. If you haven’t seen the show, you’re wasting your TV.


 

84. Dave Telep, @davetelep
Category: College Basketball
Hardcore college hoops recruiting info.


 

83. Joe Lunardi, @ESPNLunardi
Category: College Basketball
I’m not sure if he coined the term Bracketology, but you should at least follow Joe in March so you’ll know which No. 14 seed will make it to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.


 

82. Paul Finebaum, @finebaum
Category: College Football
He’s sort of the Rush Limbaugh of Southern sports. (How’s that for a ringing endorsement?) But to put his reach and authority in the world of Southern sports in perspective, when the guy who poisoned the trees at Auburn wanted to let everyone know what he’d done, he called Paul Finebaum’s radio show.


 

81. The Sklar Brothers, @SklarBrothers
Category: Humor
The Sklar Brothers have a geniusly titled podcast called “Sklarbro Country.” They also tweet funny stuff about sports.


 

Continue Reading: 100-81     80-61     60-41     40-21     20-1

Teaser:
<p> Here are the 100 Twitter feeds you should follow if you consider yourself a sports fan</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 10:23

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