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Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-33

Times are a-changin’ in NASCAR but will fans see a change in who has been the champion most often in recent years? With starting times for the remaining races pushed back, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council were asked if they liked the move, along with who now is their pick to win the title with three races left and what they thought of the Martinsville race. Here’s what they had to say about those issues and more:

Later start times for the final three races: Good or bad?
Starting with Sunday’s race at Texas, the final three Cup races will begin at 3 p.m. EST, an hour later than the other day races in the Chase. Fan Council members were asked what they thought about the later starting times:

45.7 percent said they were “neutral”
31.7 percent said they hate it
11.9 percent said they love it
10.7 percent said they like it

What Fan Council members said:
• Morning, noon, or night I will watch my NASCAR races.

• I wish NASCAR would stop changing the start times!!!! Real NASCAR fans will watch regardless of the start time, but quit trying to change the start times to fit the network!!!

• Most NFL games will be in the third or fourth quarter, then you have the rest of the 4:00 games. This is bad for NASCAR, especially considering the lack of passing we saw at Texas in the spring. Most people may be tuned out before the green flag ever waves. As a person on the East Coast, I hate the long wait.

• I will record the race and watch it when time permits. The 3 p.m. start time will cause me to turn on a football game and why stop watching something to start watching something else?

• What happened to the standard start times??!! NASCAR has to stop worrying about what other sports are doing and what times they are on. Do your own thing. If you want to compete with the big boy sports then start at 1 p.m. and go up against them!! I feel the fans prefer the 1 p.m. start time. NASCAR, if you believe in your fans start the races at 1 p.m. those that want to watch it will.

• By starting the race at 3 p.m. I am home from church and can see the green flag and also hear some of the pre-race show and comments.

• I'll miss the ending of most of them due to work. The 2 p.m. EST start time worked perfect for me. Oh well. Leave it to NASCAR to make random changes at random portions of the season.

• I love NASCAR and I'll be watching whatever the time. American football season doesn't start until the week after Homestead for me. UEFA football is on early. The NHL is on strike. There's nothing better or more important on television than the final Cup races in my household.

• Perfect time to start the race. Lets our West Coast viewers tune in at a decent hour. Love races that start in the day and end at night.

• Don't care, as I DVR all races. I then watch a condensed version skipping the commercials, and the spread out green flag parading. Usually I can watch the whole race in less than an hour.

<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss new start times in the Chase, who the chmapionship favorite is with three races remaining in the season and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 12:09
Path: /nfl/13-athletes-who-scare-other-athletes

We love to watch the fearless nature that many of our favorite sports stars exude in their respective games. But even professional stars have to feel a little scared of their competition from time to time, right? To celebrate Halloween, Athlon Sports asked hundreds of pro athletes, "Which athlete scares you the most?" Here are our favorite responses.

“I would say probably Jon Runyan (the former Eagles tackle) because I was a rookie and he was a big guy. He had these bear claws and he would grab the s—t out of you. I remember one play he literally just reached out and grabbed me and held me for the entire play. I struggled and I looked over at the ref and he said ‘You’re not going to get that call rookie.’ I said ‘Oh, so I’m playing against both of you?’ So it was Runyan.”
—Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants

“I think my first at-bat against Brian Wilson, it kind of took me a minute to stare back at him with the beard and everything. He looked intimidating, but I think after facing him a couple times, I was like, 'Alright, it ain't anything. Another pitcher.’”
—Eric Young, Rockies

“Dale Earnhardt. It was scary the first time I met him — he really was intimidating on and off the track.”
—Matt Kenseth, NASCAR

“Aroldis Chapman as far as pitching goes. When I first faced him I didn’t know if he knew exactly where it was going. Now, he’s got pretty damn good control. But anytime you’re facing lefty on lefty who throws 100-plus miles per hour, it’s not a comfortable at-bat. That would be mine. And the other one would be … Scott Rolen. Scott Rolen would fit that category of guys barreling in on me (at second base on the double play). I never like to see Rolen at first and a chopper to shortstop. That doesn’t sit with me very well.”
—Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals

I would say DeMarcus Ware, coming off the edge and I’m having to block him. He’s just such a strong presence it’s hard to sit there and take a bull (rush) from him, but at the same time I don’t want to get juked out by him… He totally ran me over. Bad. Embarrassed me. When I was with the Eagles. It was embarrassing. He got me good.”
—Owen Schmitt, Oakland Raiders

“LSU had this guy named Herman Johnson. He was 6-9 or 6-10 [6-7, 360 actually]. He was huge. My coach harped all week on how big he was. It was like the second or third play and they ran an iso to me, and he came up and I wanted to hit him in the mouth, but it went the other way. He hit me in the mouth. That's probably the scariest guy I've ever played against.”
—Craig Robertson, Cleveland Browns

“Mario Lemieux was the scariest in terms of what he could do on the ice. I remember playing against Brian McGrattan when he had a three-foot Mohawk dyed red and his eyes were bulging out of his head and scratching himself at the blue line. What a freak. It’s two different types of scary.”
—Hal Gill, Nashville Predators

“I’m not scared of anybody.”
—Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

“Randy Johnson. I guess you got to overcome that fear to hit against him. I loved the challenge; I really did. I got some hits off him. At that time, he was the best pitcher in the game and arguably with what he was doing at that period of time one of the best of all-time. But it was fun. If you wanted to really challenge yourself, step in there being left-on-left was what you wanted to do. Him being 6-10, it looked like the ball was being released right in front of you. And he kind of sidearmed a little bit. He was just wild enough, too, to make you nervous. And he threw hard, that was the thing that made him tough.”
—Jason Giambi, Colorado Rockies

“Dwight Freeney, back when I was in Jacksonville, like if it was a third-down and long situation. He’ll get you on your toes…. He had every move you could do. He had just everything. A lot of guys have two or three moves. He pretty much has seven or eight. So that’s what makes him so good…. He’s strong, too.”
—Khalif Barnes, Oakland Raiders

<p> 13 Athletes who Scare Other Athletes</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/arizona-arizona-state-ucla-or-usc-which-team-wins-pac-12-south

The Pac-12 South was expected to be a one-team race in the preseason. USC was a heavy favorite in August but already has two losses in Pac-12 play. The Trojans, UCLA and Arizona State all have two losses within the conference and Arizona isn't far behind with a 2-3 record. 

Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA or USC: Which Team Wins the Pac-12 South?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
Shockingly, this may be Arizona’s to lose. USC’s third conference loss may come against Oregon this week, which would tie the Trojans with the Wildcats in the loss column. Arizona finishes with UCLA in the Rose Bowl, Colorado, Utah on the road and Arizona State. The Wildcats have proven then can defeat teams better than their final four opponents, even when their starting quarterback spent the final minutes being tested for a concussion. Arizona’s surge has been weeks in the making, starting with going toe-to-toe with Stanford in a wild 54-48 overtime loss on the road. Then, Arizona overwhelmed Washington’s improved defense 55-17 before completing the statement against USC last week. Certainly, Arizona is vulnerable against UCLA, Arizona State and perhaps Utah, particularly against the run. But I’m starting to believe more in Arizona than a USC team that may get trounced by Oregon this week. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
This race got a lot more interesting with Arizona's win over USC this weekend didn't it? The Trojans have to be considered the favorites still, however, as a 2-1 record the rest of the way likely gives them the Division Crown. UCLA hosts Arizona — whose margin for error is slim and none — this weekend, and a Bruins win over the Cats would give Rich Rodriguez a fourth Pac-12 loss. Meanwhile, Arizona State's schedule is clearly the toughest of the bunch with three nasty road trips in the final four games and a second straight upset over the Men of Troy is highly unlikely considering how ASU has played of late. That leaves USC's game UCLA left to determine who gets sacrificed to Oregon on December 1. The Trojans were 50 points better than the Bruins last fall and UCLA hasn't closed the gap enough. So while a 6-3 Pac-12 mark and potential 8-4 overall record isn't exactly what USC fans were hoping for this fall, it could still be could enough to give them a shot at the Rose Bowl.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With USC’s loss to Arizona, the battle to win the Pac-12 South is wide open. The Trojans were a heavy favorite to win this conference in the preseason but have suffered two disappointing road losses. After looking at the remaining schedules, I believe this race won’t be settled until the final weekend. The Wildcats are at a bit of a disadvantage with three conference losses, while USC, Arizona State and UCLA each have two. The Trojans will likely lose to Oregon and should be favored to beat Arizona State and UCLA to close out the Pac-12 portion of their schedule. Arizona is in good shape, but the Wildcats have to go on the road to play UCLA and being one-game behind the rest of the pack could be too much to overcome. Arizona State seems to have the toughest path to the title, especially with road trips against Oregon State, USC and Arizona remaining. UCLA has a favorable schedule and will have opportunities to beat Arizona and USC in the Rose Bowl. Even though USC has been a major disappointment, I think the Trojans finish Pac-12 play at 6-3, which is just enough to edge UCLA and Arizona for first place in the South (and the right to lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game).

Mark Ross: 
I think it's pretty safe to remove Colorado and Utah from the discussion right away, so that leaves the two Los Angeles schools and the two Arizona schools. There are still plenty of games to be played, but I can't help but look at the Nov. 23 match up between Arizona State and Arizona and think this game will decide the Pac-12 South winner. Arizona already holds the tiebreaker over USC thanks to last week's win and still has the aforementioned Buffaloes and Utes on the schedule. If the Wildcats can beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, they are looking at a 5-3 mark headed into their game against the Sun Devils. Arizona State has to take on Oregon State and USC on the road these next two Saturdays, but as long as they split those games and beat Washington State, the Sun Devils will have an identical 5-3 conference mark entering that Thanksgiving Friday showdown in Tuscon. The Trojans and Bruins still have a say in this, but one is going to essentially take the other out of the running when they face off on Nov. 17. And don't forget that USC plays Oregon this Saturday, while UCLA ends its regular season against Stanford. Call me a sucker for symmetry, but I just like the way this appears to be shaping up for the two Arizona schools. Besides what better way to decide a division title than a head-to-head desert duel on the Friday after Thanksgiving? And if this match up does in fact occur under the circumstances I have outlined? I like Rich Rodriguez in his first season at Arizona to lead his Wildcats to the Pac-12 title game by beating their arch rivals in front of a raucous home crowd.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
While three South teams — USC, UCLA and Arizona State — only have two league losses, I’m going with the Arizona Wildcats despite a 2-3 Pac-12 record. Rich Rodriguez has rallied the team after three straight losses earlier this year, and I think Arizona wins out while also owning the tiebreaker over preseason favorite USC. As long as intrepid quarterback Matt Scott is healthy, the Wildcats should be able to win high-scoring contests against the Bruins and Sun Devils. The Trojans have to deal with undefeated Oregon this week, while UCLA and ASU still have to play USC as well as the Wildcats. It should be a fun race until the end, and I’ll go with the dynamic duo of Scott and Ka’Deem Carey to lead Arizona to the league title game.

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<p> Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA or USC: Which Team Wins the Pac-12 South?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-basketball/atlantic-10-conference-2012-13-college-basketball-preview

Athlon Sports continues its countdown to the start of the 2012-13 basketball season, which begins with the first games on Nov. 9, with a countdown of the nation’s top conferences. We will release one conference preview each day, counting down to the top conference. For profiles of every team in each conference, check out the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store.

The Atlantic 10 begins a two-year state of flux, and that’s not just because of the comings and goings of teams in the league.

Sure, the A-10 adds recent Final Four teams VCU and Butler to the lineup this season. And the league is set to lose Temple (Big East) and Charlotte (Conference USA) a year from now, but there are questions all over the conference, which may be one of the most competitive in the country, at least at the top.

With a handful of young players returning to VCU, the Rams may be the favorite in the league in their first season here. Part of the reason is personnel turnover at Xavier and Temple, the two teams that have set pace for the conference the last few years.

Saint Louis has the personnel, but one major question on the bench as Jim Crews coaches the team while Rick Majerus takes a leave of absence to tend to health concerns.

Elsewhere, UMass and St. Joseph’s appear to be ready to reclaim their spot as NCAA Tournament teams after several years of the NIT or worse.

From ACC to WAC: Complete conference realignment tracker

G Chaz Williams, UMass* 2011-12 regular season champion: Temple
G Khalif Wyatt, Temple 2012 NCAA Tournament teams: Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure#, Temple,
G Kevin Dillard, Temple VCU (as member of CAA), Xavier
F Juvonte Reddic, VCU New coaches: Jim Crews (Saint Louis), Jim Ferry (Duquesne),
F Chris Braswell, Charlotte Dan Hurley (Rhode Island)
  Realignment: Added Butler (Horizon), VCU (CAA)
*preseason player of the year #won conference tournament





1. VCU (29-7, 15-3 CAA)
Coach Shaka Smart has the luxury of taking a veteran roster from the Colonial to the Atlantic 10. Five of his best players are upperclassmen and two sophomores — Briante Weber and Treveon Graham — played extensively in their first collegiate season during the Rams’ NCAA Tournament run. Defense begets offense in the VCU system, and the Rams are prodigious thieves. They led the country in total steals (381) and steals per game (10.6) last year. What’s important in that statistic is that frequently steals don’t turn into layups — they turn into backbreaking threes. Prior to last season, only two Rams had ever made at least 80 3-pointers in a season, but Troy Daniels (school-record 94) and Bradford Burgess (81) both joined that club in ’11-12. Graham has all-conference written all over him. He averaged 7.0 points in 16.8 minutes off the bench as a freshman and was adept at getting to the foul line (3.3 attempts per game). Smart has no qualms playing a four-guard lineup. Considering VCU has gone 15–5 over the past 10 seasons against current A-10 teams, an A-10 championship and another deep NCAA Tournament run is a possibility.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

2. Saint Louis (26-8, 12-4)
Saint Louis advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a dozen years, and despite losing its leading scorer, this group could be more formidable than the won that won 26 games. There is, however, one caveat -- the Billikens must forge ahead without coach Rick Majerus, who is taking a leave of absence for health reasons. Jim Crews, who joined the staff prior to last season, will be the interim coach. Beyond losing top scorer Brian Conklin, Saint Louis brings back everyone else of note and also adds a talented freshman to a team that beat Memphis in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament before losing to top-seeded Michigan State. Kwamain Mitchell is one of the best guards in the league and could challenge for conference Player of the Year honors. Mitchell, who missed the 2010-11 campaign due to off-court issues, was sensational down the stretch last season. He was second on the team in scoring and led the team in assists. Senior forward Cody Ellis averaged double-figures while coming off the bench last season and gives Crews a skilled forward who can step out and make shots from the perimeter. Majerus is extremely high on freshman Keith Carter. The speedy Proviso (Ill.) East standout has already been labeled by Majerus as the second-best point guard he’s coached, behind former Utah Utes star and NBA veteran Andre Miller. The Billikens suffered a blow when Majerus stepped down, but the roster that nearly reached the Sweet 16 returns mostly intact.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

3. Temple (24-8, 13-3)
The Owls’ last the Atlantic 10 will be a very different Temple squad without Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore. New leaders need to emerge and the good news is there are several candidates. Senior Khalif Wyatt (17.1 ppg) was the team’s second leading scorer and is as dangerous as any guard in the conference. Coach Fran Dunphy also sees forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson capable of making a big jump and returning big man Anthony Lee and guard T.J. DiLeo have valuable minutes under their belts. What will be the difference maker, however, is the impact several new faces can bring. Scootie Randall is no newcomer. The senior was the A-10’s Most Improved Player in 2011, but a foot injury led to a redshirt season a year ago. He averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds two years ago and will be a major impact player.

Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

4. UMass (25-12, 9-7)
It’s taken longer than expected, but UMass basketball is finally healthy again. The first three years of the Derek Kellogg Era in Amherst were mediocre at best, but now, after a 25-win campaign and an NIT semifinal berth, the Minutemen appear primed to challenge for the A-10 title and could make a run at their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998. The difference: A revamped system and a legitimate point guard. For the first three years, Kellogg didn’t have a guy he could count on to run the team, but diminutive Hofstra transfer Chaz Williams was the difference-maker for the program last season, leading the team in scoring, assists and steals. Williams also fits perfectly into Kellogg’s new up-tempo, full-court pressure system— which replaces the dribble drive he implemented upon taking over four years ago. The only starter UMass will have to replace is steady big man Sean Carter (8.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
Postseason prediction: NIT

5. Butler (22-15, 11-7 Horizon)
The standards have become so outrageous when it comes to Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs that a 22-victory campaign, one that resulted in a postseason appearance in the CBI, was considered a major disappointment last season.  Butler’s biggest issue last season was knocking down the outside shot — the Bulldogs made 28 percent from the arc — but that’s certain to change with the addition of Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke and freshman wing Kellen Dunham. Clarke made 274 3-pointers in three seasons with Arkansas and established himself as arguably the top perimeter shooter in the country before transferring to Butler for his final campaign. The 6-5 Dunham gives Stevens another lights-out shooter, one who can help space the court in an effort to help guys like senior big man Andrew Smith. Butler will fill the perimeter shooting void, but it’s most glaring issue will be replacing the leadership, defense and intangibles of point guard Ronald Nored. Butler was dealt a further blow when it dismissed budding star guard Chrishawn Hopkins.
Postseason prediction: NIT

6. Saint Joseph’s (20-14, 9-7)
Saint Joseph’s suffered through an uncharacteristic dip a few years ago, winning only 11 games in 2009-10 and ’10-11. But last season the Hawks took a significant step towards getting back to the norm, winning 20 games overall and finishing 9–7 in A-10 play with a team that is set to remain intact for this coming season. Veteran coach Phil Martelli boasts a big-time scoring guard in Carl Jones, who is the veteran on the team and comes off a second consecutive campaign in which he averaged 17.0 points per game. Junior Langston Galloway, Jones’ running mate in the backcourt, is one of the elite shooters in the country from beyond the arc. The Baton Rouge, La., native hit 46.6 percent from 3-point range in ’11-12. It’ll be difficult to find a more potent guard duo in the league than Jones and Galloway. The X-factor for the Hawks up front is C.J. Aiken, the long and thin 6-9 Pennsylvania native who is one of the most adept shot-blockers in the nation. There’s truly no one else in the league who can match Aiken, who has swatted 237 shots in his two seasons on campus and altered plenty more.
Postseason prediction: NIT

7. St. Bonaventure (20–12, 10–6)
The Bonnies’ season changed dramatically during an Atlantic 10 Tournament run that included wins over Saint Joseph’s, UMass and Xavier and delivered the program’s first-ever conference title and first NCAA berth since 2000. Although he loses NBA draft pick Andrew Nicholson, coach Mark Schmidt has three returning starters and two veterans who sat out last year with injuries. The returning starters include dangerous scorer Demitrius Conger and guards Charlon Kloof and Matthew Wright. Conger is an athletic and heady wing while both Kloof and Wright made major gains as sophomores. That group will be bolstered by the return of senior Michael Davenport, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury after starting all 31 games as a junior (11.1 ppg). Davenport should be ready for a major impact year.

8. Xavier (23-13, 10-6)
Chris Mack lost a ton of talent. Tu Holloway and Kenny Frease both graduated, and guard Mark Lyons transferred to Arizona for his final season of eligibility. Those three represented Xavier’s top three scorers who accounted for nearly 43 points per game. And during the offseason Dez Wells, the top returning scorer, was dismissed and later landed at Maryland. Mack’s focus, instead, will go to rookies Freshman guard Semaj Christon has the potential to be a future star and will likely step in and replace Holloway at the point. Fellow freshmen Myles Davis, Jalen Reynolds and James Farr all have a chance to get significant playing time. In the frontcourt, Former Monmouth star Travis Taylor struggled last season, his first at Xavier, after a stellar preseason. He’ll get a chance to step in and earn a starting spot. So will Towson transfer Isaiah Philmore, a junior who averaged 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Colonial two years ago. Either Taylor or Philmore will need to have a strong season for the Musketeers to be a legitimate factor in the A-10 race.

9. La Salle (21–13, 9–7)
The Explorers entered the A-10 Tournament with 21 wins and lofty postseason hopes but a quick loss to Saint Louis and a one-and-done NIT appearance with a loss at Minnesota left a sour taste on a good season. The good news is the Explorers return four starters. The keys are dynamic point guard Tyreek Duren (13.2 ppg) and senior scoring wing Ramon Galloway (14.1 ppg). Sam Mills (10.6 ppg) also scored in double figures and completes one of the better trios of wings in the conference. That backcourt will be supplemented by the mid-December addition of Virginia Tech transfer Tyrone Garland, a Philly product with plenty of game.

10. Dayton (20–13, 9–7)
The Flyers won their customary 20-plus games in Archie Miller’s first season as head coach, but no one in Dayton is happy with an NIT finish. A few key returnees, plus some impressive newcomers, make the Flyers a potentially dangerous team in the A-10. The leader will be senior Kevin Dillard, a second team all-league pick who led the Flyers in scoring (13.3 ppg) a year ago. He spent part of his summer competing against the best guards in the country at the LeBron James Nike camp and drew strong reviews. Wing Devin Oliver has started at times as well, but he’ll be pushed hard by Georgetown transfer Vee Sanford, LSU transfer Matt Derenbecker and freshman Dyshawn Pierre.

11. Richmond (16–16, 7–9)
Returning to the top of the A-10 standings will be tough for the Richmond, but the Spiders clearly reloaded last year with an eye on 2013. The key will be the return of a three-guard lineup that boasts plenty of experience, as well as talent. Point guard Cedric Lindsay racked up nearly twice as many assists as turnovers as a sophomore and helped trigger the scoring of both Darien Brothers (14.6 ppg) and 5-8 whippet Kendall Anthony (13.0 ppg). Both guards nailed 68 threes. The trick will be upgrading a frontcourt that has some intriguing prospects. Powerful junior Derrick Williams (5.6 rpg) is the leading returning rebounder, but no other returnee averaged more than four boards. The answers will come from a group of three redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen, all frontcourt players.

12. Charlotte (13–17, 5–11)
The 49ers are off to Conference USA in ’13-14 in a quest for relevance as a football school, but Alan Major’s team has one more spin around the Atlantic 10. Major has yet to establish a winning environment in his two years in Charlotte but is certainly remaking the roster. He added six players two years ago and six more newcomers are on board for his third season. The talent base is clearly moving in the right direction. The leader is a holdover from the Bobby Lutz Era, senior center Chris Braswell. Despite losing a ton of games in his three seasons, Braswell is a known NBA commodity who led his team in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg) and shot 51 percent from the field.

13. Fordham (10–19, 3–13)
There aren’t many programs in the country that would award a contract extension to a coach who’s won four conference games in two years. Welcome to Fordham. The Rams have clearly made gains under Tom Pecora. Fordham did post a 7–6 non-league record a year ago and was not routinely blown out of A-10 games for the first time in ages. A good goal for this coming season will be making the league tournament for the first time since 2008, and with four starters back, including all-league candidate Chris Gaston, the move is possible. Now a senior, Gaston (17.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg) continues to be one of the best players no one knows about.

14. George Washington (10–21, 5–11)
Mike Lonergan has clearly made his mark on the GW program, and he’s done so in the most important department — recruiting. The Colonials are adding six new players to a mix of holdovers thirsting to make a move in the A-10. Leading the returnees is Lasan Kromah, an athletic wing who averaged 11.1 points last season. Forward David Pellom also scored in double figures (10.4 ppg) and led the team in rebounding (6.1 rpg).

15. Rhode Island (7–24, 4–12)
After winning 20 or more games in the previous four seasons, the Rams were due for a rebuilding season. and that unfolded in spades in 2012. Things got so bad that the school decided to move on after 11 years under Jim Baron that included lots of wins but zero NCAA Tournament berths. The Rams tabbed Wagner coach Dan Hurley, plus his assistant coaching brother Bobby, to lead the program. The Hurleys have a major rebuilding job on their hands and entering mid-summer there were 11 players on scholarship but only eight eligible for 2012-13. Transfers Gilvydas Biruta (Rutgers), Jarelle Reischel (Rice) and DeShon Minnis (Texas Tech) will wait for 2013-14 to make their mark while this year’s Rams replace four key players. The veterans are led by senior forward Nikola Malesevic. His 3-point shot mysteriously sank from 45 percent to 30 last year in a glimpse of the Rams’ woes.

16. Duquesne (16–15, 7–9)
After regaining solid footing in the Atlantic 10 under Ron Everhart, the Dukes felt he wasn’t the coach to lead the program to the next level and somewhat surprisingly fired him last March. Enter Jim Ferry, an impressive veteran coach who made LIU Brooklyn a leader in the Northeast Conference. Ferry has a major rebuilding job on his hands. Duquesne lost four of its top five scorers, including a painful transfer of local guard and fan favorite T.J. McConnell to Arizona. Senior guard Sean Johnson (13.5 ppg), senior forward Andre Marhold (5.1 ppg) and junior guard Jerry Jones (6.4 ppg) are the veterans Ferry can lean on, but major improvement from returnees like Kadeem Pantophlet, Mamadou Datt and Derrick Martin is vital.


More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
9. West Coast
10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

<p> Atlantic 10 Conference 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:07
Path: /college-football/kansas-state-oregon-or-notre-dame-which-team-has-best-chance-beat-alabama

All signs point to Alabama cruising to another appearance in the national title game. The Crimson Tide have dominated all of their opponents so far this year but get their toughest test of 2012 against LSU this Saturday. While Alabama appears to be the clear No. 1 team, it's too early to guarantee another national title. Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Georgia and LSU are the top contenders but will any of those teams have enough to dethrone Alabama at No. 1 at the end of the year? 

Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame or another team from the SEC: Can anyone beat Alabama?

Coach Terry Donahue, former head coach of the UCLA Bruins, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I think that Oregon would have the best chance to beat Alabama. I have not seen a team in the last thirty years that can run offense like Oregon.  Also, Oregon's Coach Kelly has said this is the best defense that he has had while coaching in Eugene.

Coach Gene Stallings, former head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
If I had to pick one of those three teams (Notre Dame, Kansas State or Oregon) to beat Alabama, it would be Notre Dame.  I think they are the only one of those three teams that is physically strong enough to play against Alabama and beat them. I don't think Oregon could slow down Alabama when they have the ball.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
The team with the best chance to knock off Alabama is a team the Crimson Tide may not face: Kansas State. The Wildcats are the only team that can match Nick Saban’s trademark preparation, intensity and attention to detail. The Wildcats won’t match Alabama in talent level, but Kansas State is sound in offense, defense and special teams. Now, I don’t know how Collin Klein would handle the physical Alabama defense, but I’d cast by lot with Klein against the Tide over a freshman quarterback at Oregon, the two-QB system at Notre Dame and Zach Mettenberger. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that Oregon is the second best team in the nation. Does that mean they are best constructed to defeat the Crimson Tide in a one-game situation with the championship on the line? No. Notre Dame, Kansas State and Florida are the three teams best built to defeat the massive front line and offensive balance that Alabama boasts. Notre Dame still has a question mark at QB that Nick Saban would exploit. Kansas State is a special story with two special leaders but isn't nearly talented enough anywhere on the roster to topple Bama. For my money, the Gators are the team best built to compete with the Tide in the trenches on defense and are physical enough along the offensive line to run the football. Unfortunately, there is a good shot the Gators and Tide won't face each other this fall. Oregon will get and deserves the right to play in the national title game but being equipped to slow down the massive Alabama running game is an entirely different issue.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I don’t see any team beating Alabama this year, but I think Oregon has the best chance to knock the Crimson Tide from the No. 1 spot in the national title game. Notre Dame’s defense would give Alabama’s offense fits, but I don’t think the Fighting Irish would be able to generate many points on the Crimson Tide defense. Kansas State doesn’t beat itself, but getting Collin Klein on track against Alabama seems unlikely. LSU and Georgia won’t be easy outs, but the Tigers have struggled to generate anything on offense all year, while the Bulldogs’ offensive line would be a mismatch against the Crimson Tide’s front seven. The Ducks seem to be in the best position to challenge Alabama this year, as Chip Kelly has assembled a team complete with depth, speed and talent. Oregon’s offense can beat you in many ways, and quarterback Marcus Mariota is only going to get better. Although the defense may not rank statistically as high as Alabama’s, the Ducks are allowing 4.5 yards per play – equal to Notre Dame and South Carolina. It’s going to be hard for any team to knock off the Crimson Tide, but with a dangerous offense and a defense that’s better than the stats might indicate, Oregon would be the best matchup. Chip Kelly vs. Nick Saban. De’Anthony Thomas vs. Alabama’s defense. Talk about a heck of a (potential) matchup in Miami for the national title. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
I think it still has to be LSU. The Tigers have been a bit underwhelming so far this season — their three SEC wins have come by a combined nine points — but we can’t forget this team still has an elite defense and an outstanding rushing game. Alabama has been extremely impressive and no doubt deserves its No. 1 ranking, but the Crimson Tide have yet to face a great defense in 2012. I have supreme confidence in AJ McCarron, Eddie Lacy and Co., but moving the ball and scoring points against teams like Michigan and Mississippi State is one thing. Doing it against LSU, at night in Tiger Stadium, is a different animal. My pick to win this game is still Alabama, but I believe LSU has to considered the biggest threat to knock off the defending champs.

Mark Ross: 
I'm guessing most of my colleagues are viewing this question in light of who Alabama will play in the BCS National Championship Game. I, however, am not convinced that the Crimson Tide won't fall before we get to that point. I'm not saying LSU will be the one to beat 'Bama this Saturday, but I'm not ready to crown Nick Saban's team as SEC champs just yet either. As it stands now, Alabama and Georgia appear to be on a collision course to play in Atlanta in December. Both still have business to attend to, but if this match up is the end result, I think the Bulldogs have the necessary ingredients - namely a physical, athletic defense that can make big plays and a veteran quarterback leading an offense that can run and pass - to beat the Crimson Tide. That said, it still will probably require a near-flawless effort on Georgia's part, and probably a lucky bounce here or there, to do so. Since discipline is not necessarily a hallmark of Mark Richt's teams, I will agree with my colleagues who say the toughest opponent Alabama will face will be in the title game in Miami Gardens in January. As good as Kansas State and Notre Dame have looked thus far, I think Oregon offers the best opponent for Alabama in that the Ducks have the same ingredients I outlined earlier and they are probably one of the few teams in the nation whose offense could provide a challenge for the Tide's defense. I for one would love to see Chip Kelly and Saban square off mano a mano to determine this season's national champion.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
The answer to this question is probably Oregon (if the Ducks make it) in the BCS Championship, but since we do not know if that game will happen, I’ll go with LSU in this weekend’s top matchup. The Tigers have the defense to lead LSU to another low-scoring victory like the one last year in Tuscaloosa, although the offense will needs its best effort by far just to even the time of possession. The Tigers offensive line has been rifled with key injuries this season, so it’s difficult to see LSU doing much on offense. However if Zach Mettenberger and the running game can make a few plays and keep it close until the fourth quarter, then the Death Valley crowd might work some of its famous voodoo. I’m not predicting Les Miles’ bunch to win this weekend, but the Tigers have the speed and physical potential to upset the Tide.

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Is it time for Texas to make a coaching change?

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat

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15 Scariest Players in College Football

<p> Kansas State, Oregon, LSU, Georgia or Notre Dame: Which Team Has the Best Chance to Beat Alabama?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:03
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas Longhorns, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/should-texas-replace-mack-brown-end-2012-season

Even though Texas won 21-17 in last Saturday's game against Kansas, the victory isn't sitting well with many folks in Austin. Struggling to beat the worst team in the conference is never a good sign, and the Longhorns don't seem to be much better from last season's 8-5 squad. Mack Brown has had a successful stint as Texas' head coach, but is it time for a coaching change?

Is it time for Texas to make a coaching change?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
No question, Texas is not where it used to be. The Longhorns aren’t where they should be by any means, either. That said, it’s almost a surprise to look at the standings and see Texas at 6-2. Seems like the record should be much worse -- that’s because the Oklahoma rout felt like two losses, and a 21-17 win over Kansas may as well be a loss. But in the end, Texas is poised for a second consecutive eight-win season or better after going 5-7 two years ago. That three-year span gets coaches fired at Michigan and Florida, and perhaps it should at Texas under normal circumstances. But Mack Brown has too much credibility built up with nine consecutive 10-win seasons and two national title game appearances. And don’t forget: Parting ways with the coach is the easy part. Just ask Tennessee or Florida State. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Before last weekend I would have laughed at this question. But inching past Kansas in extremely unimpressive fashion has raised my eyebrows. Mack Brown has never burnt the midnight oil drawing up game plans to out-scheme the other guy. He has never been an ultra gameday motivator. His value lies in his Gubernatorial talents as CEO of the nation's largest football program and working the "rubber chicken circuit" — aka boosters, recruit’s homes, high school banquets, etc. Most football coaches should be able to win at a place like Texas, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Longhorns should never lose to Kansas. Brown has earned plenty of equity with two national title appearances since 2005. And with Texas Tech, Iowa State and TCU up next on the schedule, his team should be much closer to 9-2 than, say, Auburn's 1-7. I am okay with Brown getting another year in Austin (if he wants it)...unless Art Briles is interested in moving 100 miles down I-35 South.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I don’t think Mack Brown is in any danger of losing his job this season, but there’s no question the pressure is starting to build. It’s never easy for any program to stay on top forever, but since recording nine consecutive seasons of at least 10 victories from 2001-09, the Longhorns are just 19-14 over the last three years. Revamping the staff gave Texas an initial bump last season, but the defense has regressed, and the quarterback position is still a question mark. Brown is the perfect CEO for this program and continues to reel in top-five recruiting classes. So where has Texas gone wrong? The Big 12 has gotten better, but the talent hasn’t developed as quickly as most expected. In the three seasons prior to his arrival, the Longhorns were 22-14 and struggled to find consistency in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Texas is college football’s premier job, so there should be high expectations every year. Considering what Brown has done, he deserves another year to get this team back in the mix for a BCS title. And it’s also hard to envision Brown getting fired at the end of 2012 or 2013. Maybe he steps down to take an athletic department position or retires, but I don’t see Mack Brown ever getting fired from Texas. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
I would hate to see Mack Brown fired — the man has done too many great things at Texas — but it might be time for a change at Texas. The Longhorns showed signs of progress in 2011 but have since reverted back to ’10 form. Their last four games have been especially alarming —  losses to West Virginia (48–45) in Oklahoma (63–21) and wins vs. Baylor (56–50) and Kansas (21–17). Brown has pointed to his team’s youth, but being “too young” should never be an acceptable excuse at a school like Texas. The roster should always be stocked with talent in every class. It might be unrealistic to expect Texas to compete for a national title every season, but it’s not asking too much for this program to be nationally relevant. And that has not been the case since Colt McCoy went down with an injury in the 2009 national title game.

Mark Ross: 
As they say, everything's bigger in Texas, especially when it comes to expectations surrounding the football team. As bad as the back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma have looked, especially the 63-21 beatdown by the Sooners, this Texas team will still probably finish with no fewer than eight wins, and has a chance to make some noise late and get back into the BCS conversation. The Longhorns will have to take care of business, but if they go 4-0 the rest of the way, which would include a win over Kansas State, who is currently undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS standings, that would bring their record to 10-2. However, considering the defense's consistent struggles this season, another loss or two before the bowl season seems a little more realistic. Still, an eight- or nine-win season is something most programs would gladly take, and even though this is Texas, where they eat, drink and breathe football, I see no reason to make a coaching change. That is, unless Mack Brown is the one making the decision to step down. I think he's at least earned that right having won more than 140 games in his 15 seasons in Austin. Do Longhorn fans really think there's someone out there, who would take the job if offered, that would be better for the program, as a whole, than Brown? I don't.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
I think the UT program has been inexcusably average for the last three seasons, but the Longhorns still have a shot at a double-digit win total this year. The Texas offense was horrid in 2010-11 but has improved this season; however, a talented defense has suddenly become a sieve under Manny Diaz in 2012. There were high hopes in Austin coming into this season, after the Longhorns totaled just 13 wins over the last two years. It has not been pretty — especially a 63-21 loss against Oklahoma — but Texas is still 6-2. If Mack Brown can get to 9-10 victories, he should be allowed to fix the recent slippage in a program that has every resource imaginable. If the Horns falter late by losing three or four more, a change may be needed.

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<p> Should Texas Replace Mack Brown at the end of the 2012 season?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Heisman Trophy
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-9

Each week, the Athlon editors and others who closely follow college football vote on the most prestigious award in the sport. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports and other publications cast their votes for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

Barrett Sallee: Bleacher Report SEC Lead Writer (@BarrettSallee)
Jim Young: (@ACCSports)
Blair Kerkhoff: Kansas City Star (@BlairKerkhoff)
Chris Level: (@ChrisLevel)

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (12 first place votes)
Season Stats:
 117-165, 1,630 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT, 122 att., 634 yards, 16 TD
For the third time in four games, Klein led his team to at least 55 points against a ranked opponent. The KSU quarterback scored four total touchdowns, passed for 233 yards and rushed for 83 yards. He has now rushed for at least two scores in four straight games and hasn't thrown an interception since Week 3. CK7 is the No. 2-rated passer in the nation at 175.47, trailing only A.J. McCarron. Next Game: Oklahoma State

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 129/130 12 1 - - - 13/13
2. (3) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 108/130 1 6 3 2 1 13/13
3. (2) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 101/130 - 3 6 2 2 13/13
4. (6) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 82/130 - 1 2 5 2 12/13
5. (4) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 64/130 - 1 - 2 3 12/13
6. (5) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 54/130 - 1 1 2 1 10/13
7. (10) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 49/130 - - - - - 12/13
8. (7) Matt Barkley QB USC 21/130 - - - - 1 6/13
9t. (ur) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 20/130 - - 1 - - 5/13
9t. (ur) Marqise Lee WR USC 20/130 - - - - - 8/13
11. (12) Giovani Bernard RB N. Carolina 19/130 - - - - 2 4/13
12. (9) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 13/130 - - - - 1 4/13
13. (14) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 7/130 - - - - - 2/13
14t. (8) Seth Doege QB Texas Tech 5/130 - - - - - 3/13
14t. (22) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 5/130 - - - - - 3/13
16t. (ur) Matt Scott QB Arizona 4/130 - - - - - 2/13
16t. (17) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 4/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (15) Jadeveon Clowney DE S. Carolina 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (ur) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 2/13
20t. (12) DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (17) E.J. Manuel QB Florida St 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (ur) Colby Cameron QB Louisiana Tech 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (17) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 1/130 - - - - - 1/13

2. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (1 first place vote)
Season Stats: 80 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 5 INT, 1 sack, FR, 3 PBU
The Irish held the Sooners to their lowest scoring (13 points) and yardage (379) outputs of the season. And Te'o played a huge role. In fact, should Te'o win the stiff-armed trophy, it will be his performance in the spotlight on the road against Oklahoma that won him the award. He posted 11 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, one monster sack, and one outstanding, diving, game-clinching interception. There is much left to be accomplished in South Bend, but this was a signature performance from the star linebacker. Next Game: Pitt

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
112-198, 1,527 yards, 12 TD, 6 INT, 166 att., 1,093 yards, 12 TD
After a huge hit that cost him the fourth quarter against Purdue and resulted in a trip to the hospital, Miller was up to his old tricks again this weekend. He rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the easy win over Penn State and the Ohio State quarterback now leads the Big Ten in rushing (121.4 ypg). It was his sixth 100-yard effort of the season. He also threw for 143 yards and another touchdown through the air as well. Next Game: Illinois

4. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 122-177, 1,684 yards, 18 TD, 0 INT, 31 att., minus-51 yards
McCarron continues to play flawless football. Against unbeaten Mississippi State who was leading the nation in turnover margin, the Bama quarterback kept his record-setting interception-less streak intact. He completed 16-of-23 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-7 win over the Bull-puppies. He is leading the nation in passing efficiency at 182.40 and has his team poised for its second straight national title. A win on the road against LSU would likely lock McCarron into a trip to NYC at season's end. Next Game: at LSU

5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Season Stats: 
216-291, 2,414 yards, 26 TD, 2 INT, 35 att., 56 yards, TD
The numbers are still elite level for the Mountaineers' passer and hopefully the bye week gave Smith and company some time to regroup and rebuild their lost confidence. There is still much to play for with five conference games remaining. Next game: TCU

6. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Season Stats: 141 att., 974 yards, 14 TD, 13 rec., 158 yards, TD
Next Game: at USC

7. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Season Stats: 173-269, 2,216 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT, 117 att., 793 yards, 13 TD
Next Week: at Mississippi State

8. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 
171-262, 2,266 yards, 25 TD, 8 INT, 27 att., minus-56 yards
Next game: Oregon

9. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Season Stats: 
133-194, 1,483 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT, 57 att., 378 yards, 3 TD
Next Game: at USC

10. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats: 76 rec., 1,129 yards, 10 TD, 15 KR, 426 yards, TD, 44 yards rushing 
Next Game: Oregon

by Braden Gall


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ACC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings 

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 9</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: college basketball, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-conference-realignment-tracking-all-changes

Conference realignment has been one of the major storylines in college football and basketball the last few years. Some moves have been major, such as ACC expansion and another realignment within the Big East, but other conference lineups across the country have changed since the end of last season.

In college basketball, realignment will be a two-year storyline (at least). The SEC will have two new members as will the Atlantic 10, for starters. But the major dominoes start to fall in 2013-14 when the Pittsburgh and Syracuse move to the ACC, and the Big East reorganizes as a result. From there the dominoes fall.

Need to catch up? Want to look ahead? Here’s our guide to college basketball realignment for the next two seasons.

The following conferences do not expect any change in membership: Ivy League, MAC, MEAC, Pac-12, and SWAC.

These charts refer only to changes in basketball conference lineups. We also tracked realignment in college football.

Teams in italics are leaving the conference listed. Teams in bold are joining the conference listed.



Boston CollegeBoston CollegeBoston College
Florida StateFlorida StateFlorida State
Georgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia Tech
NC StateNC StateNC State
North CarolinaNorth CarolinaNorth Carolina
VirginiaNotre DameNotre Dame
Virginia TechPittsburghPittsburgh
Wake ForestSyracuseSyracuse
 Virginia TechVirginia Tech
 Wake ForestWake Forest


HoustonEast Carolina

BIG 12

Iowa StateIowa State
Kansas StateKansas State
OklahomaOklahoma State
Oklahoma StateTCU
Texas A&MTexas Tech
Texas TechWest Virginia


Notre DameNotre DameSeton Hall
PittsburghPittsburghSt. John's
Seton HallSeton Hall 
St. John'sSt. John's 
West Virginia  


Michigan StateMichigan
MinnesotaMichigan State
Ohio StateNorthwestern
Penn StateOhio State
PurduePenn State


2011-122012-13 and beyond
Ole MissOle Miss
Mississippi StateMississippi State
South CarolinaMissouri
TennesseeSouth Carolina
 Texas A&M


Atlantic 10

FordhamDuquesneGeorge MasonFordham
George WashingtonFordhamGeorge WashingtonGeorge Mason
La SalleGeorge WashingtonLa SalleGeorge Washington
MassachusettsLa SalleMassachusettsLa Salle
Rhode IslandMassachusettsRhode IslandMassachusetts
RichmondRhode IslandRichmondRhode Island
Saint LouisRichmondSaint LouisRichmond
St. BonaventureSaint LouisSt. BonaventureSaint Louis
St. Joseph'sSt. BonaventureSt. Joseph'sSt. Bonaventure
TempleSt. Joseph'sVCUSt. Joseph's
XavierTemple VCU

Colonial Athletic Association

George MasonGeorge MasonDrexelDrexel
Georgia StateGeorgia StateHofstraElon
HofstraHofstraJames MadisonHofstra
James MadisonJames MadisonNortheasternJames Madison
Old DominionOld DominionUNC WilmingtonTowson
TowsonTowsonWilliam & MaryUNC Wilmington
UNC WilmingtonUNC Wilmington William & Mary
VCUWilliam & Mary  
William & Mary   

Conference USA

East CarolinaCharlotteCharlotte
HoustonEast CarolinaFAU
MemphisFIULouisiana Tech
RiceLouisiana TechMarshall
SMUMarshallMiddle Tenn.
Southern MissMiddle Tenn.North Texas
TulaneNorth TexasOld Dominion
TulsaOld DominionRice
UABRiceSouthern Miss
UCFSouthern MissUAB
 UABWestern Ky.

Missouri Valley

EvansvilleIllinois State
Illinois StateIndiana State
Indiana StateLoyola Chicago
Missouri StateMissouri State
Northern IowaNorthern Iowa
Southern IllinoisSouthern Illinois
Wichita StateWichita State

Mountain West

Air ForceAir ForceAir Force
Boise StateBoise StateBoise State
Colorado StateColorado StateColorado State
New MexicoFresno StateFrenso State
San Diego StateNevadaNevada
TCUNew MexicoNew Mexico
UNLVSan Diego StateSan Diego State
WyomingUNLVSan Jose State
  Utah State

Sun Belt

Arkansas St.Arkansas St.Arkansas St.UALR
DenverFAUGeorgia St.Arkansas St.
FAUFIUUL-LafayetteGa. Southern
FIUUL-LafayetteSouth Ala.Georgia St.
UL-LafayetteMiddle Tenn.Texas St.UL-Lafayette
Middle Tenn.North TexasTroySouth Ala.
North TexasSouth Ala.ULMTexas State
South Ala.TroyUT ArlingtonTroy
TroyULMWestern Ky.ULM
ULMWestern Ky. UT Arlington
Western Ky.   


Fresno StateDenverCal State Bakersfield
HawaiiIdahoChicago State
IdahoLouisiana TechGrand Canyon#
Louisiana TechNew Mexico StateIdaho*
NevadaSan Jose StateNew Mexico State
New Mexico StateSeattleSeattle
San Jose StateTexas StateUMKC
Utah StateUtah StateUT Pan American
 UT-ArlingtonUtah Valley

*Idaho will leave the WAC to join the Big Sky as a non-football member in 2014-15.
#Transitional member, ineligible for postseason

West Coast Conference

Loyola MarymountLoyola Marymount
San DiegoPortland
San FranciscoSan Diego
Santa ClaraSan Francisco
St. Mary'sSanta Clara
 St. Mary's


America East

Boston UniversityHartford
MaineNew Hampshire
New HampshireStony Brook
Stony BrookUMass-Lowell*

*not eligible for conference championship until 2017.

Atlantic Sun

BelmontEast Tennessee State
East Tennessee StateFlorida Gulf Coast
Florida Gulf CoastJacksonville
JacksonvilleKennesaw State
Kennesaw StateLipscomb
MercerNorth Florida
North FloridaNorthern Kentucky
USC UpstateUSC Upstate

Big Sky

Eastern WashingtonEastern WashingtonEastern Washington
Idaho StateIdaho StateIdaho
MontanaMontanaIdaho State
Montana StateMontana StateMontana
Northern ArizonaNorth DakotaMontana State
Northern ColoradoNorthern ArizonaNorth Dakota
Portland StateNorthern ColoradoNorthern Arizona
Sacramento StatePortland StateNorthern Colorado
Weber StateSacramento StatePortland State
 Southern UtahSacramento State
 Weber StateSouthern Utah
  Weber State

Big South

Charleston SouthernCharleston Southern
Coastal CarolinaCoastal Carolina
High PointHigh Point
UNC AshevilleRadford
VMIUNC Asheville

Big West

Cal PolyCal PolyCal Poly
Cal State FullertonCal State FullertonCal State Fullerton
Cal State NorthwoodCal State NorthwoodCal State Northwood
Long Beach StateHawaiiHawaii
PacificLong Beach StateLong Beach State
UC DavisPacificUC Davis
UC IrvineUC DavisUC Irvine
UC RiversideUC IrvineUC Riverside
UC Santa BarbaraUC RiversideUC Santa Barbara
 UC Santa Barbara 

Horizon League

ButlerCleveland StateCleveland State
Cleveland StateDetroitDetroit
DetroitGreen BayGreen Bay
Green BayLoyola ChicagoMilwaukee
Loyola ChicagoMilwaukeeOakland
ValparaisoWright StateWright State
Wright StateYoungstown StateYoungstown State
Youngstown State  


Loyola (Md.)Manhattan
Saint Peter'sRider
SienaSaint Peter's


Central ConnecticutCentral Connecticut
Fairleigh DickinsonFairleigh Dickinson
LIU BrooklynLIU Brooklyn
MonmouthMount St. Mary's
Mount St. Mary'sRobert Morris
QuinnipiacSacred Heart
Robert MorrisSt. Francis (NY)
Sacred HeartSt. Francis (Pa.)
St. Francis (NY)Wagner
St. Francis (Pa.) 

Ohio Valley

Austin PeayEAST
Eastern IllinoisBelmont
Eastern KentuckyEastern Kentucky
Jacksonville StateJacksonville State
Morehead StateMorehead State
Murray StateTennessee State
SIU-EdwardsvileTennesee Tech
Southeaste Missouri StateWEST
Tennessee StateAustin Peay
Tennessee TechEastern Illinois
UT MartinMurray State
 Southeast Missouri State
 UT Martin

Patriot League

BucknellBoston University
Holy CrossHoly Cross
NavyLoyola (Md.)


Appalachian StateAppalachian StateChattanooga
CharlestonChattanoogaThe Citadel
ChattanoogaThe CitadelFurman
The CitadelDavidsonSamford
DavidsonElonUNC Greensboro
ElonFurmanWestern Carolina
FurmanGeorgia SouthernWofford
Georgia SouthernSamford 
SamfordUNC Greensboro 
UNC GreensboroWestern Carolina 
Western CarolinaWofford 


Central ArkansasCentral ArkansasAbilene Christian
LamarLamarCentral Arkansas
McNeese StateMcNeese StateHouston Baptist
Nicholls StateNicholls StateIncarnate Word
Northwestern StateNorthwestern StateLamar
Sam Houston StateOral RobertsMcNeese State
SE LouisianaSam Houston StateNew Orleans
Stephen F. AustinSE LouisianaNicholls State
TAMU-Corpus ChristiStephen F. AustinNorthwestern State
Texas StateTAMU-Corpus ChristiOral Roberts
UT Arlington Sam Houston State
UTSA SE Louisiana
  Stephen F. Austin
  TAMU-Corpus Christi

Summit League*

Fort WayneFort WayneDenver
Kansas CityKansas CityIUPUI
North DakotaNorth Dakota StateNorth Dakota State
North Dakota StateOaklandOmaha
OaklandOmahaSouth Dakota
Oral RobertsSouth DakotaSouth Dakota State
South DakotaSouth Dakota StateWestern Illinois
South Dakota StateWestern Illinois 
Southern Utah  
Western Illinois  

*A number of Summit League teams have shifted their school names to reflect cities, rather than acronyms. Among the changes in use this season: IPFW is now Fort Wayne, UMKC is now Kansas City, Nebraska-Omaha is now Omaha.

<p> From the top conferences to the one-bid leagues, conference realignment has changed college basketball. Here's a look at every move for every conference.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 05:12
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-10-plays

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

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

Week 10

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

Kansas at Baylor

Line:  Baylor -17(O/U-71)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 44-27

Best plays:

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

Kansas (RB-James Sims)

Also consider:

Baylor (RB-Jared Salubi, WRs-Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson)

Kansas (RB-Tony Pierson)

theCFFsite projects:  Baylor 42-28


TCU at West Virginia

Line:  West Virginia -7(O/U-68)

Projected score based on point spread:  West Virginia 38-30

Best plays:

TCU (QB-Trevone Boykin*-inj, WRs-Josh Boyce, LaDarius Brown)

West Virginia (QB-Geno Smith, WRs-Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey)

Also consider:

TCU (RBs-BJ Catalon, Matthew Tucker, K-Jaden Oberkrom)

West Virginia (RB-Andrew Buie)

theCFFsite projects:  West Virginia 42-28


Houston at East Carolina

Line:  Houston -3.5(O/U-67)

Projected score based on point spread:  Houston 35-32

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims)

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

Also consider:

Houston (WRs-Daniel Spencer, Larry McDuffey, Deontay Greenberry)

East Carolina (RB-Vintavious Cooper)

theCFFsite projects:  Houston 41-31


Arizona at UCLA

Line:  UCLA -3(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  UCLA 37-34

Best plays:

UCLA (QB-Brett Hundley, RB-Johnathan Franklin)

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WR-Austin Hill)

Also consider:

UCLA (WR-Shaquelle Evans)

Arizona (WR-Dan Buckner)

theCFFsite projects:  Arizona 31-30


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

Texas St at Utah St

Line:  Utah St -22(O/U-50.5)Utah St -26(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Utah St 40-13

Stay away from:

Texas St (RB-Marcus Curry)

theCFFsite projects:  Utah St 42-14

Hawaii at Fresno St

Line:  Fresno St -33.5(O/U-47)

Projected score based on point spread:  Fresno St 47-13

Stay away from:

Hawaii (RB-Will Gregory)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 45-14


Stanford at Colorado

Line:  Stanford -28(O/U-51)

Projected score based on point spread:  Stanford 40-11

Stay away from:

Colorado (RB-Christian Powell)

theCFFsite projects:  Stanford 34-10


Massachusetts at Northern Illinois

Line:  NIU -35(O/U-56.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  46-10

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Northern Illinois 45-13


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Alabama at LSU

Line:  Alabama -9.5(O/U-42.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 26-16

Outlook:  Considering how well Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame are playing, a win by the Tigers could dampen the SEC’s chances of playing for another BCS Championship.  Death Valley will present the most hostile environment the Tide will play in all season, but the Tigers inconsistencies on offense will be their demise.

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 24-14


Oregon at USC

Line:  Oregon -7.5(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 39-31

Outlook:  It’s scary to think what the Oregon offense can do if they stay on the field an entire sixty minutes, but the Duck’s defense will make a statement of their own and prove why they are one of the two best teams in the nation.

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 63-24


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (17-13)  ATS: (12-18)

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

By Joe DiSalvo,

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Follow us on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email us:   [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 10 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 04:29
Path: /nfl/nfl-picks-every-game-week-9-0

NFL Week 9 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Chiefs (1-6) at Chargers (3-4)
These two AFC West division rivals face off for the second time in six weeks. In Week 4, the Bolts lit up the Chiefs, 37–20. Overall, San Diego signal-caller Philip Rivers has a 9–4 record in his career against Kansas City. This Thursday night fight could be win No. 10 for Rivers vs. K.C.
Chargers by 4

Cardinals (4-4) at Packers (5-3)
After a 4–0 start to the season, Arizona has gone an ice cold 0–4 since. A trip to Lambeau Field probably isn’t what the doctor ordered.
Packers by 7

Lions (3-4) at Jaguars (1-6)
If Detroit can’t win at Jacksonville in the battle of big cats, then last season was indeed a fluke.
Lions by 5

Bears (6-1) at Titans (3-5)
Jay Cutler returns to Nashville, where he played his college ball at Vanderbilt. The Windy City and Music City squads are coming off last-second decisions in Week 8, when the Bears made a late rally to beat the Panthers and the Titans stumbled down the stretch to lose to the Colts.
Bears by 6

Broncos (4-3) at Bengals (3-4)
Peyton Manning is 7–0 all-time vs. Cincinnati, with 1,827 yards, 17 TDs and three INTs.
Bengals by 1

Panthers (1-6) at Redskins (3-5)
Cam Newton could learn a thing or two from RG3 about how to handle the big league spotlight.
Redskins by 4

Ravens (5-2) at Browns (2-6)
The Jim Browns play the Courtney Browns for the second time in six weeks. In Week 4, the relocated Browns defeated the expansion Browns, 23–16, on Thursday night in Baltimore.
Ravens by 4

Dolphins (4-3) at Colts (4-3)
If Indy can win against the Fins, let the playoff talk begin and start engraving the ROY award.
Colts by 1

Bills (3-4) at Texans (6-1)
It’s a big comeback week for Mario Williams, who returns from wrist surgery on the same week he heads back to Houston, where he played for six seasons after being a controversial No. 1 overall pick in 2006.
Texans by 13

Vikings (5-3) at Seahawks (4-4)
Adrian Peterson vs. Marshawn Lynch is a RB battle that will be in “Beast Mode” “All Day.”
Seahawks by 5

Buccaneers (3-4) at Raiders (3-4)
If only Jon Gruden could make this clash of the pirates a Monday night love fest…
Raiders by 1

Steelers (4-3) at Giants (6-2)
The Super Bowl winning quarterbacks from the Class of 2004 go toe-to-toe, with champions “Big Ben” Roethlisberger (Super Bowls XL, XLIII) and Eli Manning (Super Bowls XLII, XLVI) making it rain like super storm Sandy.
Giants by 3

Cowboys (3-4) at Falcons (7-0)
Atlanta will attempt to become the 15th team to start 8–0 since the 16-game schedule in 1978.
Falcons by 7

Eagles (3-4) at Saints (2-5)
This Monday night party could be Michael Vick’s last stand as the starter in Philly. And it will be if Drew Brees has anything to say about it.
Saints by 3

Last week: 10–4 // Season: 77–41

<p> NFL Picks, Every Game: Week 9, including the Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 19:36
Path: /nfl/atlanta-falcons-first-7-0-start-franchise-history

Matt Ryan’s homecoming could not have gone much better. A product of Philadelphia’s William Penn Charter School, “Matty Ice” led the Atlanta Falcons to a 30–17 statement victory against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the “City of Brotherly Love.”

The win was Ryan’s first in three attempts in his hometown, Atlanta’s first victory at Philly since Oct. 30, 1988, and the first loss Eagles coach Andy Reid has taken in a game after the bye week during his 14 years since taking over in 1999.

Ryan threw touchdown passes on the Falcons’ first three possessions, while leading the Dirty Birds on scoring drives in each of their first six possessions of the game.

“When you do that, it’s going to be a good day,” said Ryan, who completed 20-of-29 passes for 262 yards, three TDs and zero INTs for a season-high 137.4 passer rating.

The Falcons are now 15–0 when Ryan passes for three or more touchdowns. The fifth-year signal-caller out of Boston College, meanwhile, has thrown at least one scoring strike in 22 consecutive games — trailing only Super Bowl-winning future Hall of Famers Drew Brees (49) and Tom Brady (40) in that category.

The victory was also a milestone for coach Mike Smith, who passed Dan Reeves (49–59–1) to became the winningest coach in Falcons history, carrying a 50–21 career record. Smith needed the third-fewest games in history to reach the 50-win plateau — trailing George Seifert (62 games) and Chuck Knox (65 games).

“It’s not about a coach,” said Smith, who has led the Falcons to the playoffs in three of his first four seasons since taking over the top spot in 2008.

“There are a lot of people that contributed to the number of wins since (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) and I have gotten here. It’s about the players. It’s about the coaches. There are a lot of people that make contributions to that. We’re glad that we were able to get the win this week … We’ll enjoy this for a few minutes and then move on.”

The NFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team, Atlanta improved to 7–0 for the first time in franchise history by defeating Ryan’s predecessor, embattled Eagles quarterback Michael Vick — who was drafted No. 1 overall in 2001 and played for the Falcons until being convicted of felony charges in August 2007 for his involvement in a dog fighting ring.

How far Atlanta has come since Vick and coach Bobby Petrino were replaced by Ryan and Smith. The Falcons have gone from disgraced franchise to favorites in the NFC in five short years. But Ryan doesn’t want to hear about a potential undefeated season or trip to the Super Bowl.

“You can’t get caught up in all the ‘what ifs’ about what could happen,” said Ryan. “If you just keep your focus, you’re going to be fine.”

<p> The Atlanta Falcons are off to the first 7-0 start in franchise history after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles, 30-17, in a homecoming game for Matt Ryan.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 19:22
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-going-week-9

Athlon Sports' weekly rankings of NFL teams from the best, the lone remaining undefeated Atlanta Falcons, to the worst, the banged-up one-win Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 8 of the season:

1. Falcons (7-0) Scored on first six possessions in victory at Philly.

2. Texans (6-1) Hoping to pick up where they left off before bye.

3. Giants (6-2) Up 23–0, down 24–23, but beat Cowboys 29–24.

4. 49ers (6-2) Defense holds Cardinals to seven rush yards.

5. Packers (5-3) Aaron Rodgers passes Bart Starr on team TD list.

6. Bears (6-1) Scored 16 fourth-quarter points to beat Panthers.

7. Ravens (5-2) Fined $20K for not listing Ed Reed on injury report.

8. Patriots (5-3) Tom Brady gives Rams royal treatment in London.

9. Vikings (5-3) Had no answer for Bucs rookie runner Doug Martin.

10. Broncos (4-3) Peyton Manning throws fifth straight 300-yarder.

11. Steelers (4-3) Improve to 14–1 against rookie QBs since 2004.

12. Seahawks (4-4) Lose back-to-back games for first time all season.

13. Dolphins (4-3) Matt Moore wins filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill.

14. Colts (4-3) Vick Ballard acrobatic TD leap one of year’s best.

15. Bengals (3-4) Andy Dalton ready for Peyton Manning showdown.

16. Cowboys (3-4) Dez Bryant fingertips away from epic comeback.

17. Saints (2-5) Joe Vitt’s debut as interim coach a losing effort.

18. Chargers (3-4) Robert Meachem dropped pass costly at Browns.

19. Eagles (3-4) Vick or Nick? That is the QB debate in Philadelphia.

20. Cardinals (4-4) Outscored 41–6 in prime time games this season.

21. Redskins (3-5) Ten dropped passes make RG3’s day a long one.

22. Jets (3-5) Smacked in mouth after talking big all week long.

23. Titans (3-5) Have lost seven of last eight to rival Indianapolis.

24. Lions (3-4) Matt Stafford leads ninth comeback win of career.

25. Buccaneers (3-4) Second road team to win on Thursday this season.

26. Bills (3-4) Mario Williams returns to Houston after bye week.

27. Raiders (3-4) Have not lost at Arrowhead Stadium since 2006.

28. Rams (3-5) Back out of deal to play in London in 2013 and ’14.

29. Browns (2-6) Barking after second straight win at Dawg Pound.

30. Panthers (1-6) Snatched defeat from jaws of victory at Chicago.

31. Chiefs (1-6) Jamaal Charles only given five carries in defeat.

32. Jaguars (1-6) Not good Mojo seeing MJD sidelined on crutches.

<p> NFL Power Rankings Going Into Week 9, including the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 19:15
Path: /nba/nba-preview-will-heat-repeat

Last year, the only thing NBA fans knew was what they didn't know — like, would the season ever start? One convincing Miami Heat title and blockbuster trade later, and fans just know that it will be Miami and L.A. in the Finals. C’mon guys, it’s the NBA, no one knows everything. So...
 1) Who’s Next?
Turns out, teaming LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Dwyane Wade was a decent idea after all. But we all can’t have a Big Three. There aren’t enough All-Stars. Or max deals. Or money. So the Nuggets stole Andre Iguodala from Philly in the mega-deal that made Dwight Howard the centerpiece of a Big Four in L.A. (see No. 2), content to play as many bouncy wing players as the rules allow. The Rockets are making a Moneyball-style commitment to squeezing value from underappreciated tweeners and sleepers. The Timberwolves are essentially mimicking a strong Euroleague team. The Spurs will take one more shot with that mystical Spurs-ian thing. And the Clippers will go old-school again, betting on a great point guard and the two-handed dunk. As long as they all know they’re playing for runner-up, everyone should do just fine.
2) Will L.A.’s Ensemble Deliver?
The Lakers are not short of star power. “Just on paper, you’re obviously talking about defensive players of the years, MVPs, All-Stars,” Kobe told the Los Angeles Times. “You’re talking about a myriad of things where guys are on top of their position and have been at the top of their position.” But you’re also talking about one of the league’s oddest mixes. In Bryant and Howard, the Lakers lineup pairs two of the game’s premier scorers (and unapologetic ball-stoppers) with, arguably, the NBA’s best back- and frontcourt passers in Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. Now, add a coach whose authority is perpetually in doubt, a short bench, and the performance artist formerly known as Ron Artest. If it all goes just right, this could be the hardcourt version of “Ocean’s 11” — a bunch of talented stars having fun together as they abscond with the big prize. But if it goes wrong — if, say, someone gets hurt, old or grumpy — this could look much more like “The Expendables”: a bunch of big names joylessly going through the motions, waiting for someone to yell “cut.”
3) Is There a Dark Horse?
Yes, but he won’t be running for a while. Miami may have ended 2011-12 as champs, but it wrapped up the regular season like everyone else in the East: looking up at the 50–16 Chicago Bulls. And then Derrick Rose went down with a torn ACL. He’ll begin this season on the mend, and the rest of the league is breathing a sigh of relief. They may be fooling themselves. Coach Tom Thibodeau’s discipline and the team’s maniacal defense and talented frontcourt should keep them close until Rose’s expected return in the new year. Then, watch out. “I don’t know how I’m going to play,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I don’t know what’s going to be new about my game. I just know it’s going to be exciting.” As horses go, a team that will spend much of the season without its best player is a dark one indeed. But if Rose is galloping at full speed down the stretch, the race for the East could go down to the wire.


<p> NBA Preview: Will the Heat Repeat?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 15:09
Path: /nba/top-10-reasons-why-miami-heat-won%E2%80%99t-win-2013-nba-championship

The Miami Heat will raise their 2012 NBA championship banner before hosting the Boston Celtics on opening night of the 2012-13 NBA season. And they will do so as the league’s overwhelming favorites to win it all once again this year.

While it is clear that Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the NBA are chasing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Co., there is no guarantee that Heat will repeat. Here are the top 10 reasons why the Miami Heat won’t win the 2013 NBA championship:

1. LeBron Letdown
LeBron James hunted down his first NBA championship with a killer instinct previously unseen from the overanalyzed King. In one of the greatest individual efforts in history, LeBron averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals, while shooting 50 percent from the field, over 23 playoff games last season. The postseason bar has been set ridiculously high for LeBron.

After playing into June last season and spending all summer at the London Olympics leading Team USA to the gold medal, James enters the 2012-13 season with almost no offseason rest to speak of. In a grueling marathon, the 27-year-old wunderkind will need to be fresh — physically, mentally and emotionally — come playoff time if the Heat are to successfully defend their title.

2. D-Wade’s Knee
As good as LeBron is, Miami is still Wade County. The two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP is the spark that ignites the Heat. But Wade often flies too close to the sun, sacrificing his body to make the spectacular seem routine. Entering his age 31 season, Wade was forced to withdraw from the Olympics due to surgery on his left knee. If Flash can’t go in the playoffs, the Heat’s title hopes could be dashed.

3. Third Wheel
Remember when Chris Bosh was the Toronto talent with the Predator hairstyle? What happened to that guy, whose talent was supposedly being wasted north of the border? Bosh shrunk in the spotlight of the Heat lamp. He doesn’t have to carry his own weight as a member of the “Big Three,” but Miami needs at least two and a half men to win it all.

4. Best in the West
Should the Heat advance to the NBA Finals, just showing up won’t be enough. The Oklahoma City Thunder are young and hungry. The Los Angeles Lakers are old and desperate. The San Antonio Spurs are geriatric but dangerously cagy. There will be no easy outs in June.

5. Size Matters
While Miami is playing small ball with no real center, the Lakers have two of the game’s best bigs in Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, the Thunder have two defensive menaces in Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, the Spurs have Tim Duncan down low, the Celtics have mad man Kevin Garnett, and the 76ers acquired Andrew Bynum to go along with Spencer Hawes. The Heat are relying on Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, Dexter Pittman and Josh “Jorts” Harrellson to bang with the best in the business.

6. Spoel-strategy
Coach Erik Spoelstra is no Pat Riley. He may be underappreciated by the masses, but that is because he lacks the swagger of Riles, aura of Phil Jackson or grit of Gregg Popovich. To many, Coach Spo is just a guy in a suit (who happens to be friends with Riley) who looks confused while being outcoached by Doc Rivers or even Scott Brooks. Substitution patterns, play calls out of timeouts and clock management through the use of timeouts all fall on the shoulders of the head coach come playoff time.

7. Triple Threat
Even when LeBron and Wade are on top of their game, Miami’s small ball still relies on the 3-ball. But the Heat’s long range shooters are also long in the tooth. Newly acquired 37-year-old Ray Allen, 34-year-old Shane Battier, 33-year-old Rashard Lewis, 32-year-old Mike Miller and 32-year-old James Jones are the five oldest dudes on the roster. If those 10 legs are tired, long misses could turn into easy buckets — especially against the lightning fast Thunder — with the Larry O’Brien Trophy on the line.

8. Judas Curse
Speaking of the smooth as silk jump shot of Ray Allen… Jesus Shuttlesworth has become a symbolic Judas traitor to the rabid, superstitious fans of the Boston Celtics. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em may be a seemingly easy answer to Ray’s second-ring riddle. But the basketball gods seem to have a warped sense of karmic justice. And while Paul Pierce, KG and the C’s may seem as ancient as Red Auerbach’s old Boston Garden, they’ve given Miami trouble in the past. And no team wins the NBA title without first winning the conference crown.

9. Long Odds
History’s split stats say the Heat have a little less than a 1-in-3 shot of repeating as champs. Of the 65 previous NBA champions, 44 have failed to defend their title the following season. When D-Wade, Shaquille O’Neal and Riley won Miami’s first title in 2006, they didn’t even make it back to the NBA Finals the following season. If it were easy, the achievement wouldn’t be as sweet.

10. Mayan Apocalypse
Hey, Dec. 21, 2012 is just around the corner and super storm Sandy is beating down the East Coast. June is a long way off. If there are no NBA Finals, the Miami Heat certainly won’t repeat.

<p> Top 10 Reasons Why the Miami Heat Won’t Win the 2013 NBA Championship, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Erik Spoelstra and Ray Allen.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 12:26
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-9

Brad Keselowski is not supposed to be challenging for a NASCAR Sprint Cup title. At least this year’s title. Many expect him to be a championship contender for years to come but the prevailing thought entering the Chase was that this wouldn’t be his year.

The reasons varied:

• Dodge, the team’s manufacturer, is leaving NASCAR after this season.

• Keselowski hadn’t truly been in a race for the Sprint Cup title to the final race.

• Others viewed Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin as having a better shot.

Yet, with three races to go, Keselowski trails Johnson by two points. No other driver is within 25 points of Johnson. Unless something unexpected happens, the championship race is between Johnson and Keselowski.

So, how has Keselowski gotten to this point?

Crew chief Paul Wolfe says that the team has “put blinders on all of that and not really focused on the things around us.

“I think we’ve shown growth in this team. We’ve shown improvement from the beginning of the season. I think we were lacking speed earlier the season. We were able to run well and get good finishes and win some races, but we didn’t have dominant race cars. We continued to work on our stuff and as we got closer to the Chase and, as we’ve been in the Chase, there have been tracks where I feel we’ve been dominant or as good as anybody here and that’s the improvement part I see of having the speed in the car.”

The team also has shown little impact in Dodge’s announcement that it won’t return to the sport next year and that Penske Racing will switch to Ford. Keselowski has been fast and also benefited from Wolfe’s pit strategy to win two Chase races (Chicagoland and Dover).

Another key is how the team benefited from last year’s Chase even though its title hopes ended before the season finale. The No. 2 bunch was third in the point standings with four races to go in 2011, heading to Martinsville. Keselowski was sixth in that race when he was collected in a chain-reaction incident in the final laps. NASCAR didn’t throw a caution and it cost him about 10 positions, dropping him further behind Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards and all but ending his title hopes. Although Keselowski didn’t challenge to the end, Jeff Gordon recently said he thought that was a valuable experience that has helped that team for this season.

Such experience has helped even when things have not gone as planned in the Chase.

Keselowski stayed out an extra lap at Charlotte but ran out of fuel in a race he was dominant but finished 11th. They struggled at Kansas but still managed an eighth-place finish. Qualifying has been an issue, as Keselowski has not started in the top 20 in the last four races. Each time the team didn’t panic.

It’s why Keselowski is so close to winning the Sprint Cup championship.

“It shows the potential we have together and that we’re still growing together,” Keselowski said after finishing sixth at Martinsville last weekend. “I believe that we can do this, I really do. We’ve got work ahead of us, and I know that, but we’re doing all the right things. If you do that long enough, good things will happen to you and good things are happening to us.”

HITTING THEIR STRIDE  Jimmie Johnson said his title run began months ago.

“I feel kind of mid-to-late summer we started hitting on all eight cylinders,” he says. “I guess the Indy weekend (in late July) would be a good landmark weekend for us.”

Since Indy, where he won, Johnson has scored nine top-10 finishes in 14 races. He’s led in all but two of those events.

“We were around it, hitting on things, but starting at Indy, everything started clicking really, really well for us,” Johnson says. “I feel as focused and prepared as I’ve ever been in my career. We have some very smart guys with experience. Everybody is managing their emotions well, working very hard on their individual positions and executing.”

BEST OF THE REST  Kyle Busch’s runner-up finish at Martinsville continued his strong run. Although he didn’t make the Chase, he’s had five top-10 finishes, including four top 5s, in the last seven races.

The 232 points he’s scored in the Chase is more than what seven title contenders have tallied in the same period. He’s outscored Denny Hamlin (230 points), Martin Truex Jr. (228), Matt Kenseth (223), Greg Biffle (216), Tony Stewart (211), Kevin Harvick (203) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (148), who missed two races because of a concussion suffered at Talladega.

Jimmie Johnson has scored the most points in the Chase at 282 with Brad Keselowski next at 280.

Non-Chase drivers who have scored the most points in the Chase are Busch (232 points), Joey Logano (207), Ryan Newman (202) and Carl Edwards and Paul Menard (190 each).

AT THE TOP  Michael Waltrip Racing has placed one of its drivers in the top 5 in eight of the last 10 races.

All four MWR drivers have scored at least one top-5 finish during that stretch. Clint Bowyer has four top 5s, Martin Truex Jr. has two, Mark Martin has two and Brian Vickers has one.

Only Hendrick Motorsports can top MWR’s streak of races with at least one driver in the top 5. Hendrick has had a top-5 finisher in 15 consecutive races.

CREW CHIEF SHUFFLE  Richard Petty Motorsports announced Tuesday that it has hired Drew Blickensderfer to be the crew chief for Marcos Ambrose, replacing Mike Ford.

Blickensderfer moved over from Richard Childress Racing where he had been Jeff Burton’s crew chief this season. Shane Wilson will replace Blickensderfer for the season’s final three races. Luke Lambert, who is serving as Elliott Sadler’s crew chief for RCR in the Nationwide Series, will be Burton’s crew chief next season.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit with Brad Keselowski's title fight with Jimmie Johnson, a crew chief shuffle, Michael Waltrip Racing's performance and Kyle Busch's hot streak.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 12:16
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-15-scariest-players-2012

Goblins, zombies, witches and skeletons. Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Pinhead. Pick any combination of those and you have a recipe for nightmares and sleepless nights.

While those may bother some college football players and coaches, what about the actual on-field frights? Here’s a look at 15 players that have scared players and coaching staffs this season.

15 Scariest Players in College Football

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Vitals: 6-foot-6, 256 pounds
2012 stats: 40 tackles, 15 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 4 QBH
No player defines the physical freak category more than Clowney. The South Carolina defensive end has all of the physical attributes to start right now in the NFL, but he will have to make do with terrorizing SEC quarterbacks instead. At 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds, Clowney has the size to be one of the nation’s elite run stuffers, while possessing the necessary speed to blow offensive tackles right off the line of scrimmage. The sophomore is a headache for offensive coordinators to gameplan around and gives opposing quarterbacks’ nightmares throughout the season. Another scary thought for quarterbacks? Clowney is just a sophomore and will be back for South Carolina in 2013.

Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 255 pounds
2012 stats: 80 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack, 5 INT
There’s simply no defender playing at a higher level in college football this season. Te’o leads the Fighting Irish with 80 tackles and five interceptions and is a lock to earn first-team All-American honors at the end of the year. The senior is one of Notre Dame’s leaders and while he might be soft spoken, don’t let that fool you on the field. Te’o lets his play on the field do all of the talking and he is a player you have to account for at all times.

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 226 pounds
2012 stats: 1,630 pass yards, 12 TDs, 634 rush yards, 16 TDs
If Klein was planning on getting a Halloween costume, his decision was made easier when he gained the nickname “Optimus Klein” earlier this year. The senior is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy after eight weeks and is the heart and soul of Kansas State’s offense. He has 28 total touchdowns and improved passing skills have made him nearly impossible to stop. Do you load up and stop the run and allow Klein and receivers to have 1-on-1 matchups on the outside? Or do you take away the pass and allow Klein to grind away yards on the ground? Good luck defensive coordinators. Best wishes trying to get to sleep with visions of No. 7 haunting your dreams.

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 320 pounds
2012 stats: 29 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 FF
There are few 6-foot-4, 320-pound linemen who can move like Lotulelei. The Utah native keeps plenty of Pac-12 offensive linemen up at night, as they try to keep Lotulelei from destroying their quarterback. The senior moves well for someone for his size and his quick feet allow him to blow linemen right off the ball – just ask USC.

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Vitals: 6-foot-8, 280 pounds
2012 stats: 18 tackles, 6 TFL, 5 sacks, 6 QBH, 3 blocked kicks
Hailing from Estonia, Hunt is one of college football’s hidden gems. The senior ranked as the No. 1 athletic freak by’s Bruce Feldman and has been a monster on defense and special teams. Hunt won gold medals in the shot put and discus throw at the 2006 World Junior Championships. Additionally, he blocked seven kicks as a freshman, three as a sophomore and four as a junior. Whether he’s on special teams on lining up across offensive linemen, Hunt is a true terror on the field and a nightmare to match up against.

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 255 pounds
2012 stats: 27 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 8 sacks, 5 QBH
The “Germanator” has lived in opposing backfields all year and has left ACC quarterbacks running for their lives this season. Werner has been the ACC’s top defensive player so far, recording 12.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. Whether it’s an offensive lineman or a quarterback, there’s no question Werner is not someone you want to see coming in your direction after the ball is snapped. And anytime a player has a nickname like the “Germanator,” you know he has to be a bad, bad man.

Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 320 pounds
2012 stats: 14 tackles, 2 PBU
Just take a look at Williams – doesn’t he look like someone who is ready to inflict pain on opposing offensive linemen? The native Australian started his career at Arizona Western College and immediately made an impact in his first season in Tuscaloosa in 2011. Williams isn’t asked to generate much in the way of stats but the 6-foot-4 lineman is a beast for any opposing offensive lineman to handle, especially after recording a 600-pound bench press in the offseason.

T.J. McDonald, S, USC
6-foot-3, 205 pounds
2012 stats: 66 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PD
Catching a pass over the middle is not necessarily high on a receiver's wish list, especially with a safety ready to deliver a blow lurking just a few yards behind. McDonald is the eptiome of this worst-case scenario for opposing wideouts, as he is one of college football’s biggest hitters and is a well-built safety at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. With McDonald ready to lower the boom after a catch, it’s enough to make any receiver think twice about catching a slant or curl route over the middle.

John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 263 pounds
2012 stats: 37 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4 sacks
At 6-foot-2 and 263 pounds, Simon isn’t necessarily the biggest defensive end in college football. However, don’t let that size fool you. Simon has been a terror off the edge throughout his career and has 16 sacks in four seasons. He is also one of college football’s biggest workout warriors and is relentless when it comes to spending time in the weight room.                                                                                                                                                                                              

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds
2012 stats: 47 rec., 657 yds., 4 TDs
A torn ACL ended Hunter’s 2011 season after three games, but the Virginia native has shown no ill effects from the injury and remains one of the best receivers in the SEC. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Hunter has the size to be an elite red zone threat, while possessing the speed to outrun opposing defensive backs. The junior has 4.4 speed and posted a mark of 26 feet, 1.5 inches in the long jump during his freshman season.

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Vitals: 5-foot-9, 171 pounds
2012 stats: 74 rec., 788 yards, 9 TDs; 90 rush yards, 1 kickoff return for a TD
Austin is one player you do not want to encounter in the open field. The Baltimore native has 248 career receptions for 2,912 yards and 26 scores, while also adding 478 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In addition to his production, Austin’s speed and quick-change ability is a defensive back’s worst nightmare, especially if they don’t want to be embarrassed on highlight reels for the entire college season.

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Vitals: 6-foot-0, 197 pounds
2012 stats: 1,319 passing yards, 9 TDs, 946 rush yards, 6 TDs
Just like Tavon Austin, “Shoelace” is a player that opposing defenders hate to see in the open field. Robinson reportedly runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash and even though he can be inconsistent at times, the senior can also beat defenses with his arm. Anytime a defense gets ready to take the field, there’s always that thought Robinson could be ready to run by them all for a long touchdown or connect with a receiver for a big play.

De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Vitals: 5-foot-9, 176 pounds
2012 stats: 499 rush yards, 7 TDs, 24 rec., 218 yards, 1 TD
Anytime a running back has a nickname like “Black Mamba,” he already has the full attention of defenses. And when defensive coordinators put on the tape to watch Oregon, Thomas is exactly the type of player they spend countless hours trying to gameplan around. The sophomore averaged 10.8 yards per carry in 2011 and scored 18 overall touchdowns. Here’s the real problem for defenders and coaches facing Oregon: Blink and Thomas will run right by you. Talk about a scary thought.

Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Vitals: 6-foot-8, 360 pounds
2012 Stats: 27 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 QBH
McCullers is in his first season at Tennessee but his sheer size and mere presecen on the filed is enough to cause  any offensive lineman or quarterback to panic. The junior checks in at a massive 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds. McCullers may not have Jadeveon Clowney’s speed, but he isn’t a statue around the line of scrimmage either. Can you imagine this beast running at you?

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds
2012 stats: 32 rec., 404 yards, 1 TD, 102 rush yards, 1 TD
Watkins got off to a slow start in 2012, but as evidenced in the win over Wake Forest, it appears he's coming alive. The sophomore caught eight passes for 202 yards and one touchdown against the Demon Deacons and is on his way to regaining the form that allowed him to catch 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 scores last season. Watkins isn’t just a weapon in the passing game, as he can hurt teams on the ground and on special teams. Try being a defensive coordinator attempting to stop Watkins, quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. How do you slow down, let alone stop, this offense? Whether it’s athleticism or game-changing ability, Watkins is one of the nation’s most dangerous players with the ball in his hands and is constantly striking fear in opposing defensive backs.

by Steven Lassan


(published Oct. 30, 2012)

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College Football Week 9 Recap

<p> College Football's 15 Scariest Players for 2012</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 10:02
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-9

Three more bye weeks remain with four teams getting a break each week up until Thanksgiving. As for Week 9, New England is the team owners will miss most, although San Francisco, St. Louis and the Jets have their respective useful players.

So whether it’s Tom Brady or Frank Gore or the 49ers DST you need to find a replacement for this week, here are some options for those positions and others worth considering as you look to fill out your Week 9 roster.

Week 9 Positional Rankings

Week 9 Start or Sit

Bye week teams: New England, New York Jets, St. Louis, San Francisco

Week 8 Recap: Josh Freeman posted his third-straight three-touchdown game against the Vikings, while Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Henne and Brandon Weeden combined to toss one TD pass. That came from Hasselbeck, as it was the only touchdown his Titans’ managed in their overtime loss to Indianapolis. Weeden’s Browns also scored a total of one touchdown, but that was enough to beat the Chargers. Henne didn’t even see the field as Blaine Gabbert played through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder and helped the Jaguars put up a good fight before falling to Green Bay.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
Just as he lost his job in part to a concussion, Cassel could have his starting job back after Brady Quinn sustained one this past Sunday against Oakland. Even though the Chiefs lost to the Raiders, Cassel didn’t play that poorly – 20-of-30 for 218 yards passing and a team-high 35 yards rushing. Turnovers, however, continue to be an issue as Cassel coughed up another fumble and threw a pick to increase his season total to 16 (10 INTs, 6 fumbles). Quinn will need to pass the mandatory concussion tests before he is cleared to practice, let alone play, so there’s a strong chance Cassel will be the starter this Thursday in San Diego.

Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill left the Dolphins’ 30-9 win over the Jets early after hyperextending his left knee and bruising his quad following a first-quarter sack. The rookie has said he is hopeful of playing this Sunday in Indianapolis, but if not the veteran Moore will get the nod. Moore wasn’t asked to do that much (11-of-19, 131 yards, TD) against the Jets, but he has plenty of starting experience under his belt. The Colts are allowing the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, so if Moore gets the start, he could be a potential sleeper option if you are looking for one.

Running Backs
Week 8 Recap: Jonathan Dwyer reeled off his second straight 100-yard effort, as he rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries (6.3 ypc) in the Steelers’ win over the Redskins. Dwyer is making a strong case to keep the starting job even once Rashard Mendenhall and/or Isaac Redman return. Vick Ballard gained fewer yards rushing than Donald Brown (see below), but it was Ballard who scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Titans after catching a pass and diving into the end zone. Rashad Jennings got 23 touches (17 carries, 6 receptions) and produced 115 total yards against Green Bay, while Danny Woodhead only saw seven for 59 total yards in the Patriots’ rout of the Rams. That was still more chances than Phillip Tanner (three for 13 yards) had in the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants.

Joique Bell, Detroit Lions
Bell got only three fewer carries (7 to 10) than Mikel Leshoure in the Lions’ win over Seattle and added four receptions to his afternoon’s work. For the season, Bell is averaging 3.9 yards per carry and is averaging better than five attempts over the past three games. He also has 20 receptions on the season and has caught three or more passes in five of the past six contests. Unless the Lions decide to give Leshoure the full workload, Bell could have some potential as a flex option, depending on how deep your league is, down the road.

Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Remember me? Brown was the Colts’ starting running back until knee surgery sidelined him after Week 5. He returned on Sunday against Tennessee and led the team with 80 yards rushing on 14 carries (5.7 ypc). Vick Ballard did a respectable job in Brown’s absence, but unless the coaching staff has had a change of heart, one would assume that Brown would resume his starting role, perhaps as early as this Sunday against Miami. Either way, Brown is definitely someone that should be added to your roster, if he’s still available in your league.

Justin Forsett, Houston Texans
After spending his first three seasons with Seattle, Forsett now finds himself in Houston. Forsett also could find himself with more to do now that Ben Tate will be out of action for some time due to a hamstring injury. Arian Foster is the undisputed top dog in the Texans’ backfield, but he’s already had a heavy workload (league-leading 168 carries), so there’s a chance the team may turn to someone else to help lighten the load. There’s also the matter that Houston comes off of its bye to play Buffalo this Sunday. The Bills are last in the league in rushing defense (176.9 ypg) and have given up 13 touchdowns on the ground. The opportunity at least appears to be there for Forsett to be a potential sneaky flex option this week.

Peyton Hillis, Kansas City Chiefs
Like Brown, Hillis also dropped off most people’s radars as he’s been out of action since Week 4 with an ankle injury. Hillis finally returned on Sunday and although he only had 23 yards rushing against Oakland, 17 of those came on one lone carry. He also finished with just one fewer carry (4 to 5) than Jamaal Charles, which no doubt frustrated Charles’ owners to no end. While I am not expecting Hillis to surpass Charles in the pecking order for any reason other than injury, it at least appears that Hillis will resume his backup role in the Chiefs’ running attack. If that’s the case, Hillis becomes a clear handcuff for Charles’ owners and a potential flex option/bench depth for others.

Wide Receivers
Week 8 Recap: Cecil Shorts caught eight balls for 116 yards against the Packers, while Santana Moss caught another touchdown pass in the Redskins’ loss in Pittsburgh. Jeremy Kerley and Nate Washington each hauled in five passes for their respective teams.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders
Heyward-Bey seems to be getting back into the flow of things with the Raiders after missing some time due to a concussion. He caught four passes for 85 yards (21.3 ypc) two weeks ago,  and this past Sunday he made his one catch count as he took it into the end zone from 32 yards out against Kansas City. Denarius Moore has established himself as Carson Palmer’s top target, but Heyward-Bey is more of a vertical threat. This Sunday, Oakland hosts Tampa Bay, who is ranked second-to-last in the league in passing defense (310 ypg).

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
With four or more targets in each of the Colts’ past five games, Hilton is becoming a consistent part of his team’s passing attack. The rookie caught a season-best five passes against Tennessee and is averaging more than 14 yards per reception. With as well as Andrew Luck has thrown the ball, there will be opportunities behind No. 1 option Reggie Wayne, and Hilton should be in the mix for those along with Donnie Avery and the Colts’ tight ends.

Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
In some leagues McCluster also qualifies as a running back, but in every sense of the word he’s a legitimate flex option. His performance was somewhat hindered by an earlier elbow injury, but he appears to be completely healthy once more. McCluster led the Chiefs with six receptions against Oakland, which went for 54 yards and their lone touchdown. He has six catches in each of the past two games, occasionally gets a carry or two out of the backfield, and can return kicks if need be. As much as the Chiefs’ offense has struggled this season, McCluster will more than likely continue to get some chances in hopes of providing some sort of spark.  

Titus Young, Detroit Lions
For a variety of reasons, Young couldn’t seem to get out of his own way to start the season and Nate Burleson took advantage of the opportunity and posted decent numbers. Burleson is out for the season after breaking his leg in Week 7 and this time, Young didn’t let another chance pass by. Young caught nine passes, on as many targets, for 100 yards and two touchdowns, all team highs, in helping the Lions defeat Seattle on Sunday. There’s no denying the talent that Young, the Lions’ second-round pick in 2011, has, it’s just been a matter of capitalizing on that untapped potential. With no one in front of him on the depth chart and All-Pro Calvin Johnson to attract plenty of attention on the field, there are no more excuses for Young to fall back on. Because this time, if he doesn’t, he may get bypassed by teammate Ryan Broyles, who caught his second touchdown pass in as many games against the Seahawks.

Tight Ends
Week 8 Recap: Logan Paulsen caught four passes for 43 yards in his first career NFL start, while David Thomas didn’t make the start, nor see much time on the field, as Jimmy Graham returned to the Saints’ starting lineup.

Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks
After averaging nearly 57 receptions over a four-season span with Oakland, Miller caught a total of 25 passes last season, his first in Seattle. Miller already has 16 this season, including one that went for a touchdown this past Sunday against Detroit. Miller’s track record speaks for itself and it looks like Russell Wilson is realizing this and is starting to look the tight end’s way a little more frequently.

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
Myers has averaged five receptions and 52 yards receiving over the past three games. Carson Palmer clearly trusts his tight end, as Myers leads the Raiders in receptions (31) and is second only to Denarius Moore in targets (37). If he could find his way into the end zone a few times, Myers could develop into a borderline starting option depending on the week and match up.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 8 Recap: Atlanta got to Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick three times in its win on Sunday, but the Falcons weren’t able to force the Eagles into any miscues, limiting their fantasy output.

San Diego Chargers
The Chargers’ defense has performed pretty well to this point, as the unit is 10th in total defense and second in rushing defense. The Chargers held the Browns to just one touchdown in a 7-6 loss on Sunday, and will host the Chiefs on Thursday. Kansas City has had its share of issues on offense, most notably with the quarterback position, and is tied for 29th in the league in scoring at 17.1 ppg.

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

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 30, 2012

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 9</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: Halloween, NFL, MLB, Overtime
Path: /nfl/10-things-scare-athletes-field

Our favorite athletes play their respective games with reckless abandon, often making the very difficult look very easy. But we all know there has to be some internal fear during the highest level of competition. With Halloween upon us, Athlon Sports Monthly polled some sporting stars on "What scares you on the field?"

“I don't have any phobias. Probably too dumb. I've been in the scariest (setting) — played seven years for the Yankees. Played at Yankee Stadium. Been in the rivalry with Boston.”
—Jason Giambi, Colorado Rockies


“Nothing, can’t play with fear. You’re beat if you play with fear.”
—Shea Weber, Nashville Predators


“I would say what would scare me most on the field is not living up to the expectations of Cardinals fans. If that makes sense. Not living up to the great names who have pitched before here. The respect I have for them, for the organization, the town, that’s why. True story. I’m not trying to be sappy. That’s the driving force for me.”
—Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals


“I played in the USA All-America Game coming out of high school. I think we had like 20 players who now are in the NFL playing in that game. Reggie Bush, Steve Smith, Donte Whitner... It was intimidating to see some of those players from other states you had only heard about.”
—Tarell Brown, San Francisco 49ers


“Well, me. I'm scared of what I might do. That's an honest answer."
—Udonis Haslem, Miami Heat

“Pre-snap penalties. I’ve had a few. You just don’t want them to happen. You don’t want to be the only guy singled out, because when you mess up you’re the only guy out there.”
—Khalif Barnes, Oakland Raiders


“Messing up and getting somebody else hurt.”
—Owen Schmitt, Oakland Raiders


“I would say when you can’t see the puck. It’s just a bad feeling, you’re kind of lost in there a little bit and you can’t see the puck. That’s probably one of the worst feelings I have on the ice.”
—Chris Mason, Nashville Predators








<p> 10 Things that Scare Athletes On the Field</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 06:16
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, Overtime
Path: /overtime/20-halloween-related-names-sports

Whether it’s their given name or a nickname, these athletes and sports figures fit right in on Halloween.


Hal Mumme

College football coach (Iowa Wesleyan 1989-91, Valdosta State 1992-96, Kentucky 1997-2000, Southeastern Louisiana 2003-04, New Mexico State 2005-08, McMurry 2009-present)

Mumme (pronounced mummy) has been a college football head coach for more than 20 years and has more than 130 wins on his resume. For all his success, however, he is best known for his four seasons at Kentucky, where he went 20-26 overall and only 10-22 in SEC play. Mumme’s tenure with the Wildcats was (ahem) wrapped up at the end of the 2000 season with an eight-game losing streak and an investigation into NCAA rules violations related to illegally paying recruits. After taking a break from coaching, Mumme returned to the profession in 2003 and currently is the head coach at Division III McMurry in Abilene, Texas.


Boo Weekley
PGA golfer (2002-present)

Weekley’s given name is Thomas Brent, but everyone knows him by his nickname, Boo. This nickname came from Yogi Bear’s sidekick, Boo Boo, and not from trying to scare people, which is fitting given Weekley’s colorful personality on and off the golf course. It was on full display during the 2008 Ryder Cup when he rode his driver like it was a horse down the fairway during Singles play. Weekley and the rest of the U.S. team certainly put a fright into the European team at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., as the underdog Americans won back the Ryder Cup with a convincing five-point victory.


Boomer Esiason
NFL (Cincinnati Bengals 1984-92, ’97; New York Jets 1993-95; Arizona Cardinals 1996)

A quarterback for 14 years in the NFL, Norman Julius, better known as Boomer, finished his career with 37,920 passing yards and 247 touchdown passes. His best season came in 1998, when he was the league’s MVP and led the Bengals to a spot in Super Bowl XXIII. He and his teammates came up short in that game against San Francisco, but Esiason will always be loved in Cincinnati, where he spent 10 seasons. The same cannot necessarily be said in New York, at least as it relates to his playing career. Esiason heard many a boo from the home crowd during his 15-27 run as the Jets’ starting quarterback from 1993-95. Esiason has remained in the game as a television and radio analyst and he also co-hosts a morning radio show on WFAN Radio in New York.


Red Grange, “The Galloping Ghost”
NFL (Chicago Bears 1925, ’29-’34; New York Yankees 1926-27)

Harold Edward, better known as “Red,” first made a name for himself and earned his spectral nickname when he starred as a halfback at Illinois. While noted sportswriter Grantland Rice was the first to record Grange’s collegiate exploits in prose, it was his colleague, Warren Brown, who then wrote for the Chicago American, who dubbed Grange “The Galloping Ghost.” Grange went on to play10 seasons in the NFL, most of them with the Chicago Bears, who later retired his number. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.


Spook Jacobs
MLB (Philadelphia Athletics 1954, Kansas City Athletics 1955-56, Pittsburgh Pirates 1956)

His given name was Forrest Vandergrift, but for some unknown reason  he went by Spook during his brief baseball career. A second baseman, Jacobs hit .247 in 188 career games and never hit a home run.


Jerry Adair, “Casper the Friendly Ghost”
MLB (Baltimore Orioles 1958-66, Chicago White Sox 1966-67, Boston Red Sox 1967-68, Kansas City Royals 1969-70)

Adair’s major league career lasted 13 seasons, in large part due to his glove and ability to deliver in the clutch. He played most of his career for the Orioles and was a .254 hitter with 57 career home runs. He finished with a career .981 fielding percentage as he played all four infield positions (primarily second base and shortstop) at some point during his time in the majors.


Michael Myers
NFL (Dallas Cowboys 1998-2003, Cleveland Browns 2003-04, Denver Broncos 2005-06, Cincinnati Bengals 2007)

Mike Myers
MLB (Florida Marlins 1995, Detroit Tigers 1995-97, Milwaukee Brewers 1998-99, Colorado Rockies 2000-01, Arizona Diamondbacks 2002-03, Seattle Mariners 2004, Boston Red Sox 2004-05, New York Yankees 2006-07, Chicago White Sox 2007)

Michael Dewayne Myers terrorized quarterbacks as a defensive end in the NFL for six seasons collecting 15.5 sacks, while Michael Stanley Myers lasted 13 seasons in baseball as a left-handed relief pitcher. Myers didn’t exactly slash his was through major league batters, as he played for nine different teams in his career. His major league totals include a 25-24 record, 4.29 ERA, 256 walks and 429 strikeouts in 541 2/3 career innings pitched.


John Candelaria, “Candy Man”
MLB (Pittsburgh Pirates 1975-85, ’93; California Angels 1985-87; New York Mets 1987; New York Yankees 1988-89; Montreal Expos 1989; Minnesota Twins 1990; Toronto Blue Jays 1990; Los Angeles Dodgers 1991-92)

Candelaria was a left-handed pitcher who won 177 games during his 19-year major league career. The “Candy Man” finished with a respectable 3.33 career ERA over his 2,525 2/3 innings pitched. He was at his sweetest in 1977 when he went 20-5 with a National League-leading 2.34 ERA. He made his only All-Star Game that season and finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting.


Vladimir Guerrero, “Vlad the Impaler”
MLB (1996-2003 Montreal Expos, Anaheim Angels 2004, Los Angeles Angels 2005-09, Texas Rangers 2010, Baltimore Orioles 2011)

For 16 years Guerrero struck fear into the hearts and minds of major league pitchers because of his tendency to swing at whatever they threw at him, regardless of where it was located. A career .318 hitter who was named AL MVP in 2004, Guerrero finished many of his at-bats holding his wooden stake after driving it right through the pitcher’s heart with yet another monster home run or game-winning hit.


George Wolfman & Cedric Wolfman
Minor league catcher 1934-35; Minor league pitcher 1954-56

Neither of these guys got a chance to howl on the major-league level, although I bet they were a lot of fun on nights with a full moon.


Moonlight Graham
MLB (New York Giants 1905)

Best known for his inclusion in the iconic movie, “Field of Dreams,” Archibald Wright, better known as “Moonlight” was in fact a real major leaguer. The outfielder’s career in the big leagues lasted all of one game, actually one inning, with the New York Giants 1905 when he was 27. He spent seven seasons in the minors, including his last in professional baseball in 1908. After his baseball dreams came to an end, he worked as a doctor in Chisholm, Minn., for 50 years before passing away in 1965 at the age of 85.


Warren Moon
NFL (Houston Oilers 1984-93, Minnesota Vikings 1994-96, Seattle Seahawks 1997-98, Kansas City Chiefs 1999-2000)

After going undrafted out of college, Moon started his professional football career playing for the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos. Six seasons later, Moon migrated from north of the border to Houston where he started his NFL career with the Oilers. Moon played 10 seasons for the Oilers, setting numerous franchise records, before moving on to the Vikings, Seahawks and ending his career with the Chiefs in 2000. Moon’s No. 1 jersey was retired by the Oliers (now Tennessee Titans) and he finished his NFL career with 49,325 yards passing and 291 touchdown passes. In 2006, Moon became the first modern African-American quarterback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s also a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (2001).


Jose Bautista, “Joey Bats”
MLB (Baltimore Orioles 2004, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2004, Kansas City Royals 2004, Pittsburgh Pirates 2004-08, Toronto Blue Jays 2008-present)

Bautista bounced around with four different teams in his first season in the majors before finding a home in Pittsburgh. However, it’s been the past three seasons in Toronto that Bautista has made a name for himself and earned his nickname for the damage he’s done with his Louisville Slugger. In 2010-11, Bautista truly drove opposing pitchers batty as he hit a combined 97 home runs, drove in 227 runs, scored 214 and walked 232 times. He was named to the American League All-Star team and finished in the top four of the AL MVP voting each of these seasons. He was off to another strong start this season before a wrist injury caused him to miss more than a month and eventually led to season-ending surgery.


Torii Hunter, “Spider-Man”
MLB (Minnesota Twins, 1997-2007, Los Angeles Angels 2008-present)

The recipient of nine straight Gold Gloves from 2001-10, Hunter has an established reputation for his defense, most notably the art of robbing the home run. First with the Twins and now with the Angels, Hunter earned his nickname for his adept ability at climbing the outfield wall or timing his leap just perfectly to snag what seemed like a certain home run. Many a batter has experienced the agony of defeat as they watched the baseball that seemed ticketed to go over the fence get ensnared in the web of Hunter’s glove instead.


Spider Webb
Formula 1 driver 1950, ’52-‘54

Webb’s racing career lasted all of four races, in which he never finished higher than 19th. Tony Stewart may have made the move famous, but it would have been something to see Webb climb the fence after reaching Victory Lane, no?


Webb Simpson
PGA golfer (2008-present)

The professional golfer’s given name is James Frederick Webb, but whatever you choose to call him, you have to include major champion in that title. Simpson won this year’s U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco with a final score of one-over par. Simpson played in his first Ryder Cup this year as well, one of four rookies on the U.S. team. Simpson went 2-2 in his matches, but one of those losses was in Singles play as the European team roared back to defeat the Americans and retain the cup despite trailing by four points entering Sunday.


Brandon Webb
MLB (Arizona Diamondbacks 2003-09)

Shoulder injuries have short-circuited his pitching career, but Webb was at his best from 2005-08. He won 70 games during that four-year span, including 22 in 2008. He spun the best season of his career in 2006 as he went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and was awarded the NL Cy Young Award. He finished second in the voting the next two seasons, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009.


Spud Webb
NBA (1985-91, ’95-‘96 Atlanta Hawks; Sacramento Kings 1991-95; Minnesota Timberwolves 1996; Orlando Magic 1998)

Anthony Jerome, better known as “Spud,” stands all of 5’7, but he never let his lack of size limit his impact on a basketball court. After playing at NC State for Jim Valvano, Webb was drafted in the fourth round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He never played for the Pistons and ended up spending the first six seasons of his NBA careeer with the Atlanta Hawks. Webb will forever be remembered for winning the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend as he surprised everyone in defeating defending champion and Hawks teammate Dominique Wilkins for the title. Webb remains one of only two participants under six feet tall (Nate Robinson, who is 5’9 won it in 2006) to win the slam dunk competition. Webb’s NBA career lasted 12 seasons and he is documented as the third-shortest player in NBA history.


<p> 20 Halloween-Related Names in Sports</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-9-bowl-projections

College football's bowl season is inching closer, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With nine weeks of results in the books, it's beginning to get easier to make long-term projections about teams. 

The post-Week 9 bowl projections are a mixture between how things would look if the season ended today, a look at future schedules, and a dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 9 College Football Bowl Projections

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

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

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

by Steven Lassan


(published Oct. 30, 2012)

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Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 9
Post-Week 9 ACC Power Rankings

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College Football Week 9 Recap

<p> College Football Post-Week 9 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-9-rankings

Week 9 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips and Boston College's Frank Spaziani continue to hold down the top two spots in the rankings. SEC coaches own three of the top four spots, as Auburn's Gene Chizik and Tennessee's Derek Dooley both join Phillips in the top tier of this list for the third week in a row. California's Jeff Tedford jumps into the top five, while Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson makes his first appearance in the hot seat watch.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 9 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Kentucky: 12-22 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-8
With Missouri struggling in its first season of SEC play, the Wildcats had a chance to pull off an upset in Columbia. Instead, Kentucky committed three costly turnovers and allowed the Tigers to win by throwing for just 87 yards. Although Phillips has a young team, it’s hard to find much improvement from game one to now. Unless Kentucky beats Vanderbilt and Tennessee in its final two SEC games, the Wildcats will have a new coach in 2013.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Record at Boston College: 22-25 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-6
In an overall disappointing season, the Eagles finally had some good news to talk about on Sunday. Boston College knocked off Maryland 20-17 to score its first win over a FBS team in 2012. The victory also snapped a four-game losing streak in ACC play. Although the win was crucial to this team’s confidence heading into the last few weeks of the season, it’s unlikely to make any difference in Spaziani’s future. Boston College plays Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State to close the year, which likely means the Eagles finish with a 2-10 mark.

3. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Auburn: 31-17 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-7
The adjectives to describe just how bad Auburn has performed this season are beginning to run short. The Tigers were demolished by Texas A&M 63-21 on Saturday night, dropping Auburn to 1-7 overall and 0-6 in SEC play. The Tigers should beat New Mexico State this Saturday and Alabama A&M on Nov. 17, but this team will be a heavy underdog against Georgia and Alabama. Chizik is only two years removed from a national title. But the rest of his tenure has been largely mediocre and a likely 3-9 season should be enough to force a coaching change.

4. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Tennessee: 14-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-5
Close, but not good enough. That’s been the motto for Dooley and Tennessee this year. The Volunteers have played a difficult schedule and lost to Georgia by seven points and South Carolina by three. With the toughest part of the schedule out of the way, Tennessee should be favored to win its final four games and will likely be 7-5 heading into a bowl. Will that be enough to save Derek Dooley’s job?

5. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at California: 82-54 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-6
If there were any doubts about Tedford’s future at California, they were sealed after Saturday’s 49-27 loss to Utah. The Golden Bears trailed 42-6 before tacking on a few late touchdowns to make the final more respectable. Since winning 17 games from 2008-09, California has been trending in the wrong direction. The Golden Bears are just 15-19 over the last three seasons and are unlikely to make a bowl game this year. It seems Tedford and California both would benefit from a fresh start.  

6. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Southern Miss: 0-8
2012 Record: 0-8
Not many first-year coaches have jumped onto the hot seat watch over the past couple of seasons, but it’s clear Southern Miss made a bad decision when it hired Johnson. The schedule and roster turnover is to blame for part of the struggles, but the Golden Eagles haven’t been competitive in most of their games and were blown out 44-17 by Rice on Saturday. Considering the upcoming schedule – UAB, at SMU, UTEP and at Memphis – is it possible this team goes winless? UAB, UTEP and Memphis are winnable but with the way Southern Miss is playing, there’s no guaranteed win on the schedule.

7. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at Buffalo: 6-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-7
The Bulls have had some chances to beat quality teams this year but just can’t seem to make enough plays to turn those into victories. Buffalo lost 25-20 to Toledo on Saturday, dropping its record to 1-7 and 0-4 in MAC games. The Bulls have lost by seven points or less to Connecticut, Ohio and Toledo. With a 6-26 mark, Quinn needs to win a couple of games over the final four weeks to save his job. The remaining schedule isn’t daunting but there’s not a guaranteed win.

8. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at New Mexico State: 10-36 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-6
After suffering a 41-7 defeat to Utah State in Week 8, the Aggies weren’t expected to put up much of a fight against Louisiana Tech. However, New Mexico State gave the Bulldogs all they could handle before losing 28-14. With the loss to Louisiana Tech, the Aggies were eliminated from bowl contention and could struggle to win another game the rest of the season with a difficult schedule ahead. With an uncertain conference future, it’s hard to envision many coaching candidates being interested in New Mexico State if Walker is fired. However, a new coach might help spark this struggling program get to a winning season.

9. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Central Michigan: 9-23 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-5
The Chippewas kept their slim bowl hopes alive with a 35-14 victory over Akron. The win over the Zips was Central Michigan’s first in MAC play this season and sets this team up for a favorable four-game stretch to close the year. The Chippewas host Western Michigan this Saturday, before taking on Eastern Michigan, Miami and UMass. All four of those games are winnable and a 6-6 mark is probably good enough for Enos to return in 2012. However, a 4-8 record or 5-7 should be enough for a coaching change.

10. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Rice: 26-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 3-6
After narrowly losing to Tulsa in Week 8, the Owls won their first Conference USA game of the season with a 44-17 victory over Southern Miss. And considering the upcoming schedule – at Tulane, SMU and at UTEP – Rice should have a chance to finish 5-7 or 6-6. It’s not easy winning at Rice, but Bailiff has shown very little progress in his tenure. If the Owls can get to .500, it would be a good sign that the program is headed in the right direction going into 2013.

11. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UNLV: 5-29 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-8
The Rebels are showing signs of life under Hauck, but the win column hasn’t gotten much better this season. UNLV dropped its fifth consecutive game with a 24-13 defeat to San Diego State in Week 9. The Rebels have lost five games by 11 points or less and suffered a disappointing defeat to Northern Arizona in Week 2. The next four games – New Mexico, at Colorado State, Wyoming and at Hawaii – are very winnable for UNLV. And it’s not out of the question to suspect Hauck’s future could rest on the team’s performance in the next few games.

12. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at South Florida: 15-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-6
The Bulls’ disappointing season continued with another close loss. Syracuse scored on the final offensive play of the game, dropping South Florida to 0-3 in games decided by four points or less this season. After the Bulls’ second-half collapse last season, Holtz and his staff need to show some progress in the final few games of 2012. South Florida hosts Connecticut this Saturday but take on Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to close out the year. Holtz signed a huge contract extension at the end of last year, but the Bulls are just 7-13 over the last two seasons.

13. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UTEP: 47-59 (8 years)
2012 Record: 2-7
The Miners were officially eliminated from bowl contention with a 45-35 loss to Houston in Week 9. With the loss to the Cougars, UTEP will have at least seven losses for the seventh consecutive season. Price did a good job of leading the Miners to back-to-back bowl games in 2004-05, but the program hasn’t made much progress. Considering the lack of improvement, Price is not expected to return to El Paso in 2013.

14. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Connecticut: 8-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 3-5
The Huskies had a much-needed bye in Week 9 and return to action at South Florida this Saturday. The off date came at a good time for Pasqualoni and his team, especially after the offense has managed just 27 points over its last three games. Connecticut still has a chance to make a bowl game, but the bigger question to be decided over the final four matchups is what direction this program is headed. The Huskies have wins over UMass, Buffalo and Maryland this season and have yet to face Louisville and Cincinnati – two of the top three teams in the Big East.

15. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Western Michigan: 50-45 (8th season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The Broncos haven’t had much luck in the way of injuries this season, as leading receiver Jaime Wilson missed Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois, and quarterback Alex Carder is not expected back for the Week 10 matchup against Central Michigan. All of the injuries have taken a toll on Western Michigan’s offense and its record, as Cubit’s team is 3-6 and has a three-game losing streak. The last three contests are very winnable – at Central Michigan, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan – but 6-6 might not even be enough for Cubit to return for 2013.

16. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Purdue: 19-26 (4th season)
2012 Record: 3-5
Hope is on a steady climb in the hot seat watch and even though he received a contract extension at the end of last year, he is in jeopardy of being fired at the end of the year. Since starting 3-1, the Boilermakers have lost their last four games, including a 44-28 dismantling at Minnesota in Week 9. If Purdue can salvage a bowl game, Hope will probably be safe to return for 2013. However, the schedule isn’t particularly easy, as Purdue hosts Penn State and an improving Indiana team, along with a road trip to Iowa.

17. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Colorado: 4-17 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-7
Embree drops two spots in this week’s hot seat watch but that’s only due to other coaches moving higher on the list. Colorado’s miserable 2012 season continued with a 70-14 loss at Oregon, dropping the Buffaloes' record to 1-7. Embree has done little to suggest the program is headed in the right direction but all signs point to the second-year coach returning in 2013. Colorado wants to hire more support personnel for the football program, but coaching changes – especially on defense – might be the only way this team is more competitive in 2013.

18. Mack Brown, Texas
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Texas: 147-41 (15th season)
2012 Record: 6-2
There’s really only one word to describe Texas’ victory against Kansas on Saturday: Ugly. The Longhorns needed a touchdown with less than a minute to go to knock off a Jayhawks’ team that lost to Rice and has just one victory this year. Considering the grumblings from the Texas fan base after a win, the calls for Brown’s job would have been almost deafening had the Longhorns lost. Texas could surpass last season’s eight-win mark, but it’s also fair to question whether or not this team is headed in the right direction.

19. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at Georgia Tech: 37-24 (5th season)
2012 Record: 3-5
Johnson started his Georgia Tech career with a bang. The Yellow Jackets went 20-7 through his first two years and played in the 2010 Orange Bowl. However, the program hasn’t made much progress since, recording a 17-17 mark over the last three years. The Yellow Jackets are also in danger of missing out on a bowl game this season and their only two wins over FBS teams came against Boston College and Virginia – a combined 4-12. Another reason Johnson could be in trouble? Athletic director Dan Radakovich left his post at Georgia Tech for Clemson.

20. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at SMU: 28-32 (5th season)
2012 Record: 4-4
The Mustangs evened their 2012 record to 4-4 with a victory over Memphis in Week 9. With just one loss in conference play, SMU still has Conference USA title aspirations and hosts frontrunner Tulsa in the season finale. Although Jones has transformed the Mustangs into a bowl team, he hasn’t raised the program like many expected. And of course, there are still some hard feelings after he nearly landed the Arizona State job last year. Could Jones throw his name into the mix for more jobs this offseason? A fresh start might be a good idea for both parties.

by Steven Lassan


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<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 9 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 06:04
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-middle-linebackers

It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best middle linebackers prospects:

1. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame (6-2, 245, Sr.)
This guy pretty much sells himself as the best player at his position in the 2013 Draft — even in a draft class that is extremely deep at the position. He was likely a first-round pick last year and has put together a Heisman-caliber season as a senior. He also dropped a few pounds for 2012, which has given him elite quickness and burst to go with tremendous strength, tackling skill, physicality, intangibles, leadership and size. He is a sure-fire NFL prospect who will likely start right away.

2. Alec Ogletree, Georgia (6-3, 235, Jr.)
Physical. Explosive. Can play in any system. Has faced the nation’s top programs. Ogletree has had some issues off the field but they have been relatively minor and shouldn’t keep him out of the first round. The raw upside on Ogletree makes him one of the most intriguing players in the upcoming draft at any position. If he stays clean off the field, his speed, instincts and overall productivity should make him a first rounder.

3. Kevin Minter, LSU (6-2, 240, Jr.)
On a team with little depth and talent around him at linebacker, Minter has played excellent football in 2012. He has good size, is the leader of the LSU defense, makes plays all over the field and has elite level toughness. He has played behind elite defensive lineman, so scouts will want to see him in traffic more often. The good news for Minter is he has saved his best season for his last and it will help him come Draft Day.

4. Shayne Skov, Stanford (6-3, 242, Sr.)
Off the field issues — injuries and a DUI — have slowed Skov’s career over the last few seasons. Yet, his impact was immediate when he stepped on campus. He leads one of the best front sevens in the game with elite size and physicality. He is an extremely tough player with tremendous instincts and tackling ability. If healthy and focused, he might be one of the most talented players in the nation at his position.

5. CJ Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 235, Jr.)
Mosley could easily end up as an outside linebacker, but for now, he is one of the nation’s elite interior tacklers. He plays well in space and on the inside and continually makes plays against both the run and the pass. He has one national title ring and is the leader of one of the nastiest defenses in the nation this fall. He has speed, power, toughness and fundamentals. Look for Mosley to grade out highly at either outside or inside linebacker.

6. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (6-3, 240, Sr.)
A slow senior season has cost Reddick some money this fall. He still has excellent size, speed and strength for the interior of any defense. He possesses NFL speed and size,  but hasn’t made enough big plays to be considered an elite prospect. However, he has the skills needed to be a productive player at the next level.

7. Michael Mauti, Penn State (6-2, 235, Sr.)
The steady veteran has all but locked up Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012 with stellar leadership this fall. Especially considering what Penn State has gone through this season. He isn’t overly talented at any one thing but is extremely consistent and physical. Think Sean Lee, Dan Connor or a slightly less talented version of Paul Posluszny.

8. Nico Johnson, Alabama (6-3, 245, Sr.)
There is a lot to like about this senior’s resume. He has two national championships already and has been a big part of one of the nation’s top defenses. He is excellent against the run and can play inside or out. Yet, he has had long stretches of relatively quiet play. Is that a sign of steady production no matter the situation or a sign of less than elite consistency?

9. Jon Bostic, Florida (6-1, 245, Sr.)
In the midst of a semi-disappointing senior year (from an NFL scouting standpoint), Bostic has become a focal point and leader for one of the nation’s elite defenses. He is a tough hitter and can make big plays from all over the field. He has the size and toughness to start inside on the NFL level, but will need to prove his overall talent before the draft.

10. Chris Borland, Wisconsin (5-11, 245, Jr.)
The original Honey Badger is an elite competitor. He has a motor that never quits and he can be used in a variety of ways. He has played inside, outside and exclusively as a pass rusher on third downs this fall. He consistently makes big plays (blocked kicks, forced fumbles, sacks, tackles for loss) and will remind many scouts of Cleveland's D'Qwell Jackson — short but stout.

11. Jonathan Brown, Illinois (6-1, 235, Jr.)
12. Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech (6-2, 245, Sr.)
13. A.J. Klein, Iowa State (6-2, 245, Sr.)
14. Kiko Alonso, Oregon (6-3, 245, Sr.)
15. Tom Wort, Oklahoma (6-0, 235, Jr.)
16. Kenny Demens, Michigan (6-1, 240, Sr.)
17. Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers (6-2, 230, Sr.)
18. Uona Kaveinga, BYU (5-11, 235, Sr.)
19. Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky (6-1, 260, Jr.)
20. Will Compton, Nebraska (6-2, 230, Sr.)
21. James Morris, Iowa (6-2, 230, Jr.)
22. Christian Robinson, Georgia (6-2, 235, Sr.)
23. Steve Greer, Virginia (6-2, 235, Sr.)
24. Vince Williams, Florida State (6-0, 240, Sr.)
25. Shaq Wilson, South Carolina (5-11, 225, Sr.)

Other names to watch:

Doug Rippy, Colorado (6-3, 245, Sr.)
Jake Johnson, South Alabama (6-1, 240, Sr.)
Dwayne Beckford, Purdue (6-1, 235, Sr.)
Herman Lathers, Tennessee (6-0, 230, Sr.)
Kenny Cain, TCU (6-1, 225, Sr.)
Tenarius Wright, Arkansas (6-1, 250, Sr.)
Tanner Brock, TCU (6-3, 250, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall


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2013 NFL Draft: Running Backs

2013 NFL Draft: Tight Ends
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2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Wide Receivers

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2013 NFL Draft: Inside Linebackers

<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Middle Linebackers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-basketball/west-coast-conference-2012-13-college-basketball-preview

Athlon Sports continues its countdown to the start of the 2012-13 basketball season, which begins with the first games on Nov. 9, with a countdown of the nation’s top conferences. We will release one conference preview each day, counting down to the top conference. For profiles of every team in each conference, check out the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store.

The West Coast Conference had one of the most unorthodox seasons it’s seen in the last two decades, and not just because the league added BYU to the mix.

Certainly, adding BYU played a role in the WCC’s success last season, enabling the league to send three teams to the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in conference history.

But what was really strange in the WCC was not seeing Gonzaga at the top of the league. For the first time since 1996-97, Gonzaga capture neither a share of the regular season title nor the conference tournament title. Instead, Saint Mary’s became the first WCC team to win both an outright regular season title and the league tournament title since Pepperdine in 1991-92.

The addition of BYU’s consistency makes the WCC a deeper league, but Gonzaga may be poised to return to its familiar spot as the West Coast king.

G Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary's* 2011-12 regular season champion: Saint Mary's
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga 2011-12 NCAA Tournament teams: BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's#
G Anthony Ireland, Loyola Marymount New coaches: None
F Elias Harris, Gonzaga Realignment: None
F Brandon Davies, BYU  
*preseason player of the year #conference tournament champion

1. Gonzaga (26-7, 13-3)

Mark Few and the Zags made it 13-for-13 last season, but the road to another NCAA Tournament berth wasn’t quite the same as it had been in the past. It was the first time in a dozen years that Gonzaga didn’t claim at least a share of the WCC regular-season crown. Despite the loss of Robert Sacre, the Bulldogs will have a potent and skilled frontline that will be an upgrade over last season. Elias Harris is back for his senior campaign. The skilled German worked on his body and conditioning over the offseason, and Few intends to play the 6-7, 240-pounder at small forward in an effort to get him on the floor as much as possible. The all-freshman backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. didn’t disappoint a year ago. Pangos wound up leading the team in scoring, but it may have been Bell who was the most consistent player. Bell didn’t score as much — he averaged 10.4 points in 28.9 minutes of action — but he was terrific on the defensive end. His offensive production should increase as a sophomore as he becomes more assertive. There’s not much missing in Spokane this year. Gonzaga has talent, balance and experience. After a one-year hiatus, the Bulldogs should return to supremacy in the increasingly competitive WCC.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament Two and Out

2. BYU (26-9, 12-4)
In their first season together, BYU and the other West Coast Conference schools coexisted nicely. Having lost the WCC’s leading scorer, forward Noah Hartsock, the Cougars will rely even more on all-conference center Brandon Davies while hoping that young guards keep developing in the Cougars’ second season in the league. BYU classifies its big men simply as “post” players, but it is fair to say that Davies functions as a traditional center. He thrived against some undersized opponents in the WCC, ranking fourth in the league in scoring and rebounding. Coach Dave Rose essentially uses a three-guard lineup. UCLA transfer Matt Carlino immediately took over as the starting point guard in mid-December after becoming eligible. He proved to be a dynamic, if inconsistent, scorer as a freshman. BYU is well stocked at the two wing positions. Tyler Haws returns from a church mission after averaging 11.3 points and 4.2 rebounds as a freshman in 2009-10. Brock Zylstra is an overachiever who emerged as a scoring threat in ’11-12. The Cougars’ biggest deficiencies in the post-Jimmer Fredette era were 3-point shooting and free throw shooting. Their 34.3 percent showing from beyond the arc was the worst in Rose’s seven seasons. The hope is that junior college transfer Raul Delgado will improve that figure.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

3. Saint Mary’s (27–6, 14–2)
The Gaels are coming of an historic season, capturing both the West Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles for the first time. Saint Mary’s has won the WCC Tournament in two of the last three seasons and has made three of the last five NCAA Tournaments while in the process eliminating the intimidation factor of league bully Gonzaga. With WCC Player of the Year Matthew Dellavedova and three other starters returning, the Gaels have a good chance to earn yet another bid and battle the Zags and BYU for the WCC crown. Dellavedova was one of two returning college players to participate in the Olympics, starting alongside Patty Mills for the Australian team in London. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 assists per game last season and is a preseason All-America candidate. Dellavedova will be joined in the backcourt by Stephen Holt, a defensive wizard who will be expected to up his 10.1 points per game this season. Brad Waldow had strong efficiency stats en route to earning WCC All-Freshman honors in 2011-12. Up front, Southern Utah transfer Matt Hodgson will be counted on to make up for some of the production lost by the graduation of double-double machine Rob Jones.
Postseason prediction: NCAA Tournament One and Done

4. San Diego (13–18, 7–9)
After three straight sub-.500 seasons, Bill Grier seems poised to get the Toreros back on the plus side and further away from the point-shaving scandal that rocked the program. All five starters return, led by emerging star Johnny Dee. The 6-0 guard made the WCC All-Freshman team and exploded for 30 points in a win over Pepperdine in the WCC Tournament. Dee averaged 13.7 points for the season and will again be leaned on to pace the offense. Diminutive point guard Christopher Anderson also enjoyed a strong freshman year with 9.0 points and 5.0 assists, which was double the next closest freshman in the category. Up front, Dennis Kramer and Simi Fajemisin give San Diego very good size, though their rebounding must improve after USD was last in the WCC in rebound margin. A pair of seniors — Chris Manresa and Cameron Miles — give USD solid production off the bench.
Postseason prediction: NIT

5. Loyola Marymount (21–13, 11–5)
Max Good was rewarded with WCC Coach of the Year honors last season after winning 21 games. Good has his best player returning in guard Anthony Ireland, a dynamic point guard who averaged 16.1 points and 4.9 assists. Two other veteran starters are back in Ashley Hamilton (11.0 ppg) and Godwin Okonji (4.6 rpg). The Lions did lose All-WCC first-teamer Drew Viney as well as Jarred DuBois, who transferred to Utah after averaging 10.1 points off the bench. Incoming freshman Nick Stover has gotten some good press and will be able to find minutes if he is ready. The Lions knocked on the door of the Big Three in the league last year, but they will be in a dogfight with San Diego this year for fourth place behind Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU.

6. Santa Clara (8–22, 0–16)
Santa Clara struggled through a puzzling 0–16 league record last season one year after winning 24 games and the postseason title. Kevin Foster, a first-team All-WCC guard in ’10-11, returned for Kerry Keating, but the team did suffer the loss of forward Marc Trasolini to a torn ACL in the preseason, which contributed to the Broncos’ downturn. Trasolini, who averaged 12.8 points as a junior and 13.7 as a sophomore, should return to the starting lineup as a fifth-year senior. In addition to Foster, Santa Clara returns the other four starters from last season, plus the top three bench players. Evan Roquemore averaged 13.8 points per game led the team in assists (5.3 apg) and will team with Foster to give the Broncos a solid backcourt. If Santa Clara wants to improve, it must up its defensive pressure after finishing 302nd nationally in steals and 303rd in field goal defense.

7. Pepperdine (10–19, 4–12)
Coach Marty Wilson enters his second season at his alma mater no closer to breaking into the top echelon of the league than when he took over last year. The Waves struggled offensively in 2011-12, finishing last in the WCC in points (59.3 ppg), field goal percentage (.396) and 3-pointers made per game (5.0). With the top two scorers departing plus another starter who averaged 8.7 points per game, Pepperdine figures to struggle once again putting points on the board. If there is a reason for optimism, it comes in the form of senior Lorne Jackson, a 6-2 guard who missed last season with a knee injury. Jackson averaged 13.2 points as a junior in 2010-11 and, along with returning starters Jordan Baker (9.0 ppg) and Caleb Willis (sixth in WCC in assists), will head a solid three-guard starting lineup. Up front, without Corbin Moore at center, it could be a challenge. UCLA transfer Brendan Lane and sophomore Jan Maehlen will see minutes, but neither has a track record of production.

8. San Francisco (20–14, 8–8)
Rex Walters appears headed for a tough rebuilding job after six players — including starters Perris Blackwell and Mikey Williams — transferred during the offseason. With two other starters graduating, Walters has little experience to lean on. Point guard Cody Doolin started all 34 games and averaged 9.3 points and 3.8 assists. Walters’ top two players off the bench are back in Dominique O’Connor and Cole Dickerson, plus transfer De’End Parker (UCLA) should find time right away. After winning 11, 12, 19 and 20 games in his first four years, Walters can expect to see a significant decline this season.

9. Portland (7–24, 3–13)
Portland took a big step backward in 2011-12, a step that would have been even bigger without Santa Clara, who the Pilots beat three times. Three starters return, including top player Ryan Nicholas. The 6-7 junior averaged 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and will be counted on to carry an even larger load this season. Kevin Bailey, the team’s second-leading scorer (9.5 ppg) is also back, as is 6-11 sophomore Thomas van der Mars (7.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg). The point guard will be senior Derrick Rodgers, who is in his second year with Portland after transferring from junior college. Rodgers split starts last year with Tim Douglas, who transferred to Portland State. Douglas was the more productive of the two, averaging 8.5 points and 3.0 assists, so his loss will be felt. Rodgers made just one 3-pointer all season while averaging over 17 minutes per game.


More previews for the 2012-13 season can be found in the Athlon Sports College Basketball annual available in the online store

Athlon Conference Previews and Power Rankings
10. Missouri Valley
11. Conference USA
12. Colonial
13. Sun Belt
14. MAC
15. Horizon

Athlon College Basketball Countdown:
1. Indiana
2. Louisville

3. Kentucky
4. Kansas
5. Syracuse
6. Michigan
7. Arizona
8. Ohio State
9. Duke
10. Michigan State
11. NC State
12. UCLA
13. UNLV
14. North Carolina
15. San Diego State
16. Missouri
17. Baylor
18. Memphis
19. Notre Dame

20. Florida

More from the 2012-13 College Basketball Preview:
Top 10 Freshmen for 2012-13

Impact Transfers for 2012-13
Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2012-13
10 Players Returning from Injury

Gonzaga leads International Dream Team

<p> West Coast Conference 2012-13 College Basketball Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 05:46
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-9-0

With another lopsided victory against a ranked opponent, Kansas State received enough votes to edge Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the Legends Poll.

Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein continued his phenomenal play, leading Kansas State to a 55-24 win over Texas Tech.

“I think (coach and former Legends Poll voter) Bill Snyder is doing a great job,” Legends Poll voter John Cooper said. “Kansas State is a very, very well coached football team.  Those good teams, Alabama and Kansas State, teams like that, you’ve got to beat them.  They’re not going to beat themselves.”

Top-ranked Alabama continued to roll against Mississippi State and remained the unanimous No. 1 team.

Notre Dame proved its worth on Saturday, going on the road and stifling Oklahoma, 23-13. With the victory, the Irish moved up two spots to No. 4 in the Legends Poll.

Idle LSU remained the highest ranked one-loss team and rounded out the top five.

No. 7 Georgia moved up five spots in the rankings and back into the top 10 after knocking off Florida. The Gators dropped six spots to No. 8.

No. 9 Clemson moved up two spots, followed by unbeaten Louisville, which made its first top 10 appearance of the season.

No. 12 Oregon State suffered its first loss of the season at Washington and dropped three spots. However, no team fell more in the rankings than USC. The Trojans dropped eight spots to No. 18 in the Legends Poll after suffering an upset at Arizona.

No. 19 Nebraska, No. 23 Northwestern and No. 25 Louisiana Tech returned to the top 25 this week.

Michigan, TCU and Wisconsin dropped out of the rankings.

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll.



1 AlabamaAlabama (17) 8-0 425 1
2 Kansas StateKansas State 8-0 398 4
3 OregonOregon 8-0 397 2
4 Notre DameNotre Dame 8-0 375 6
5 LSULSU 7-1 356 5
6 Florida StateFlorida State 8-1 336 8
7 GeorgiaGeorgia 7-1 327 12
8 FloridaFlorida 7-1 294 3
9 ClemsonClemson 7-1 284 11
10 LouisvilleLouisville 8-0 257 14
11 South CarolinaSouth Carolina 7-2 248 15
12 Oregon StateOregon State 6-1 225 9
13 StanfordStanford 6-2 209 18
14 Texas A&MTexas A&M 6-2 202 19
15 OklahomaOklahoma 5-2 185 7
16 Mississippi StateMississippi State 7-1 170 13
17 Boise StateBoise State 7-1 166 21
18 USCUSC 6-2 135 10
19 NebraskaNebraska 6-2 95 -
20 Texas TechTexas Tech 6-2 94 16
21 Oklahoma StateOklahoma State 5-2 84 25
22 West VirginiaWest Virginia 5-2 51 23
23 NorthwesternNorthwestern 7-2 46 -
24 RutgersRutgers 7-1 45 17
25 Louisiana TechLouisiana Tech 7-1 38 -

Others Receiving Votes

Texas 16, Kent State 13, Arizona 10, UCLA 8, Cincinnati 8, Utah State 7, North Carolina 5, Arizona State 5, TCU 4, Wisconsin 3, Iowa State 2, Toledo 1, Northern Illinois 1

Teams Dropped Out from Last Week's Poll

Michigan, TCU, Wisconsin


* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at

<p> The Legends Poll Top 25: College Football Week 9</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 20:27
All taxonomy terms: Halloween, NFL, MLB, Overtime
Path: /nfl/15-things-scare-athletes-field

Many professional stars seem fearless on their respective fields of play. But away from the game, many of them have the same fears that all of us share. With Halloween approaching, Athlon Sports asked hundreds of athletes, "What scares you off the field?" Here are our favorite responses.


"Passing a police car.”
—Sam Hornish Jr., NASCAR


“Bats, I don’t like bats. I used to do siding and painting in high school and college. I was up on a ladder and a bat came and slapped my face. Fangs were flying. I’ve just never been comfortable with them. They don’t know where they’re going. They’re blind. They just come by and get in your hair. They’re nasty.”
—Hal Gill, Nashville Predators


“The only thing is when I was a kid I hated roller coasters and heights. That was the only thing I was intimidated by. The rest of my family would be like, 'Come on. Let's go.' I'd say, 'I'm cool. I'll just chill over here.' I think the biggest thing is just not being in control. I haven't been back to an amusement park in a long time.”
—Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals


“That would be my mom. Oh yeah. I was an only child, grew up with my mom. I don’t know if I can say this, but she beat me a few days when I was a bad little kid. I deserved it, obviously. Yeah, mine would be my mom.”
—Michael Huff, Oakland Raiders


As a kid, I was always scared of getting lost. Not knowing where your parents were was pretty scary. We didn't have a GPS when I was little.
—Craig Robertson, Cleveland Browns


“I’d say the potholes in New York City. I feel like they search my rims out just to do damage. I’ve got one I have to fix right now. Honestly, that’s what scares me. I have to remind myself not to swerve the car when my daughter’s in there because I’m so used to jerking the wheel at the last second.”
—Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants


“Elevators. I was terrified of being stuck in an elevator. Actually, it happened after I had the fear. My older sister got stuck in an elevator and then I was always scared of it and then one time at the dentist I got stuck. It was only like five minutes, but it felt like forever. Yeah, the elevator is horrible.”
—Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


“Probably sleeping, and it's dark and you hear stuff at night and you don't know where it's coming from. You just keep your eyes closed and wake up in the morning.”
—Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs



“Scary movies. Still to this day, I don’t really watch many of them. That’s probably the only thing I’d own up to. I don’t care for those too much. The last one I saw was Friday the 13th maybe. It left me scarred.”
—Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys


“I've been afraid of heights as long as I can remember. I'm the guy who always puts the shade down as the plane taking off. I jumped off the balcony from the second floor when I was small, and broke my leg. But that's not really why I'm afraid of heights. My cousin told me if I jumped first, he'd do it after me. But then he didn't jump.”
—Udonis Haslem, Miami Heat

—Khalif Barnes, Oakland Raiders


“I don't like roller coasters. I don't ride anything that's not on the ground, except airplanes.”
—Tarell Brown, San Francisco 49ers

<p> 15 Things That Scare Athletes Off the Field</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 17:54