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All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-7-sit-or-start-report

As the season starts to make the turn towards the home stretch, many fantasy owners are facing a crucial Week 7 with fantasy studs Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Todd Gurley occupying bench spots.  Truth be told, this is why we love the college fantasy game.  Utilizing the waiver wire and analyzing weekly matchups is critical to your success.  We just try to help you eliminate some of the guess work.  Good luck!


Bryn Renner, QB-North Carolina at Miami

The Vegas total in the game between the ‘Heels and the ‘Canes is set at 69.  If that total holds true, Renner should reward fantasy owners for starting him in Week 7.

Seth Doege, QB-Texas Tech vs West Virginia

Doege is a must-start this week as the Red Raiders will have to keep pace with the high-powered West Virginia offense in Lubbock.

Adam Muema, RB-San Diego St vs Colorado St

Muema has scored a touchdown in every game this season and should perform well against a Colorado State defense that gives up over 215 rushing yards per game.

Dennis Johnson, RB-Arkansas vs Kentucky

Johnson rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns last week against Auburn and may have taken over the lead role at running back in the Hogs’ offense. 

Jyruss Edwards, RB-UL-Monroe vs Florida Atlantic

Edwards has scored at least one touchdown in four of the Warhawks’ five games this season and faces a Florida Atlantic defense ranked 109th against the run.

Zurlon Tipton, RB-Central Michigan vs Navy

Tipton has scored a touchdown in four of his five starts this season, but hasn’t run for 100 yards since the opening week of the season.  Look for the junior running back to top the 100-yard mark against a Navy defense that gives up over 190 yards rushing per game.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington vs USC

Sankey surprised us two weeks ago when he ran for 144 yards against Stanford in a nationally televised Thursday night game.  The sophomore from Spokane has topped 100 yards in three consecutive games and has scored five touchdowns in that span.

Brandon Carter and Josh Boyce, WRs-TCU at Baylor

Quarterback Trevone Boykin has had a full week to prepare for this game and the Horned Frogs will face the nation’s worst pass defense.

JD McKissic, WR-Arkansas St vs South Alabama

McKissic has passed Josh Jarboe as Ryan Aplin’s favorite target and leads the Red Wolves in receptions (39) and receiving yards (460).

Mike Evans and Ryan Swope, WRs-Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

The Vegas total in the game between the Aggies and Bulldogs has reached 80, so start Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s top two receivers against the nation’s second-worst pass defense.

Phillip Dorsett, WR-Miami vs North Carolina

Dorsett had some critical drops last week when the Hurricanes visited South Bend.  Look for the sophomore receiver to bounce back in a contest that should produce a ton of points.


Landry Jones, QB-Oklahoma vs Texas

Jones has not thrown for more than 300 yards in any game this year, a feat he achieved eight times last season.  Additionally, he has not thrown more than two touchdown passes in a single game since the Sooners’ eighth game of the 2011 season.

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri vs Alabama

Lawrence has been the best fantasy option on the Tigers’ roster this season, but starting him against Alabama is like giving points to your opponent. 

Zac Stacy, RB-Vanderbilt vs Florida

Stacy failed to reach the 100-yard mark last week against Missouri (72 rushing yards), but he was able to cross the goal line a couple of times.  We’re not so sure that fantasy owners will get that much out of the senior tailback this Saturday against a stingy Florida defense.

Andre Williams, RB-Boston College at Florida St

If the Eagles weren’t playing at Florida State this week, Williams would have made our Waiver Wire list (;).  Owners must sit Williams against the ‘Noles, but if you have room on your roster, he could be valuable next week against Georgia Tech.

Knile Davis, RB-Arkansas vs Kentucky

We had lofty expectations in the preseason for Davis, but it seems he has taken a backseat to Dennis Johnson and his playing time will be significantly reduced.

Chris Nwoke, RB-Colorado St at San Diego St

Nwoke turned in his best performance of the season last week against Fresno State, rushing for 68 yards on 16 carries.  However, fantasy owners must temper their expectations for the junior running back this week because the Rams are ranked 118th in the nation in rushing yards and 117th in points scored.

Rashad Greene, WR-Florida St vs Boston College

Last week, Green caught a season-high six passes for 60 yards against North Carolina State.  However, the sophomore receiver has been too inconsistent for fantasy owners this year, averaging three receptions and 40 yards per game.

by Joe DiSalvo,

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to:  [email protected]

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 7 Sit or Start Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 03:41
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-30

Do NASCAR fans want to see wrecks? Were they thrilled by the wild action on the last lap at Talladega or was it the 25-car pileup that made the finish more exciting?

Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debated what they thought about the final lap at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s comments about the racing and the big wreck and much more. Here’s what they said:

How would you describe the final lap of Sunday’s race at Talladega?

71.6 percent said Terrible
28.4 percent said Fantastic

What Fan Council members said:
• Fantastically terrible. Everyone walked away OK, so yeah, if I'm being honest: Fantastic.

• NASCAR should be held liable for the next death during a restrictor-plate race.

• There's no excuse in this day and age and with the technology available to us that such an all-encompassing wreck would still occur. It's a minor miracle no one was hurt. And a major miracle that no one was killed. It is shameful that something so idiotic is considered desirable by some “race fans.” I call B.S. on that because any true fan of racing wants to see racing, not crashing. Take Talladega out of the Chase. It is too unpredictable and too costly, both in points and money.

• I love it as long as NO ONE gets hurt.

• I will admit, I do enjoy a multi-car wreck, but what happened at Talladega is ridiculous. There is no reason that the cars should be that bunched up. NASCAR has hurt themselves by putting too many restrictions, like the restrictor plates.

• Where to start? The destruction of millions of dollars of equipment, so many drivers could have been seriously injured or killed and the end result of the race was ultimately unsatisfying for viewers and for drivers with respect to the Chase standings. There has got to be a way to address this, to keep the excitement about Talladega without this kind of carnage. These are real people in these cars and I am really horrified that it is being portrayed almost like an action movie where everybody gets up and dusts themselves off after the shoot. I don't know why this is tolerated in the sport. They don't replay illegal head hits over and over again to promote future NFL games. This is far worse.

• Even though my driver wrecked, watching those cars four-wide with cars bouncing off each other and the wall while bump drafting through the corners was awesome. The wreck was cool, but without Tony's mistake, I think they were gonna pull off a four-wide pack coming across the finish line for an awesome finish.

• Everybody seemed to be doing their best to win — except Denny Hamlin. I want my Chase champion to be the best, to be a winner, to be smart, but have guts and talent in equal parts. Smoke did everything he could think of to win. It resulted in a less-than-great finish for my driver BUT I prefer an all-out assault on the win to taking it easy, being careful and finishing with a whimper.

• Probably would have thought it was awesome if my driver had made it through the carnage and passed a few guys in the championship race.

• Worse than terrible. Horrendous. Awful. Abhorrent. Repulsive. Dreadful. Disastrous. Revolting. Unpleasant. I just cannot understand what morbid excitement anyone can get from wrecked cars and the possibility that a driver will get hurt or killed. It's eventually going to happen and that's sad.

Was Dale Earnhardt Jr. right in complaining about the racing and calling fans that like the big multi-car wrecks bloodthirsty?

77.1 percent agreed with Dale Jr.
22.9 percent disagreed with Dale Jr.

What Fan Council members said:
• Amen, Junior! What a huge waste! Look at all the steps NASCAR has taken to save the teams money and then they throw it all away in one lap of one race. I've never understood fans that like wrecking. And the media feeds it by repeating every wreck over and over and over again. Races are usually advertised using the wrecks from previous years. “Bloodthirsty” is a good way to put it, and I'm glad Dale Jr. said it. I get really sick of reports that “fans want to see” wrecks. Sometimes I wonder just who those fans are and why everyone is so eager to have those kinds of people as fans.

• This is what fans want to see. It is bloodthirsty but that is what fans are expecting to see. When you see a commercial for race tickets, what do you see? Wrecking, beating and banging. This is what fans want. Look at Bristol: Burton Smith changed the track so fans could get the wrecks back.

• Amen! Dale Jr. is right, it is bloodthirsty and for someone to want that is crazy. Bring on the Gladiators and Lions!!

• Boring as things have been lately, they needed a good wreck.

• Loving a track because it provides massive wrecks like this race at Talladega is no different than being a Roman and enjoying a trip to the Colosseum to watch lions eat Christians. Same level of barbarianism.

• I used to like these big wrecks, but that carnage is scary. I don't care how safe the car is, it feels like playing with fire when we see the Big One.

• No, I don't agree with Dale Jr., but in all fairness what do you expect to come out of a driver's mouth when he was just wrecked on the last lap and is speaking with emotions? Was he supposed to say, "Oh well, that was just racin’ and we will get them the next week." I thought fans wanted to hear emotions out of the drivers.

• Give me a break Dale. Junior had a very different tune when he was winning a bunch of these races. He complained about the tandem racing a couple years ago, saying you can't see anything but the bumper ahead of you. He doesn't like the pack racing either, apparently. Maybe as he gets older he likes it less — I can understand that. But the last lap crash was like every other "Talladega Big One." It is what it is.

• No one who is a true fan would want to see a wreck like that.

Grading Sunday’s Cup race at Talladega

49.3 percent called it Good
19.9 percent called it Great
19.3 percent called it Fair
11.5 percent called it Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• Call me bloodthirsty or a non-purist, but the wreck at the end (and knowing the drivers are well protected) was the best part.

• That was the most fun, exciting race at Talladega for the past few years ... I didn't have a problem with the wreck occurring and I prefer to see the drivers go all out for the win and end up wrecked rather than carefully making their way across the start/finish line and being awarded the victory for their cautious behavior.

• Absolutely the best race of the year. The action was unbelievable and the last two laps were jaw-dropping. Nothing in sports even comes close to the excitement that Talladega delivers!

• This is complete B.S. racing. No wonder the attendance is at its lowest in 15 years. What we saw was a monumental waste of time.

• I attended the race. I love Talladega, however, I only really get interested in the race the last 50 laps or so unlike other tracks where my attention is held all race long.

• While I'm glad to see pack racing and not the terrible tandem trash, that wasn't a race until the last three laps, it was a parade. Should it be changed? Yes, with bulldozers! (RIP DAVID POOLE.)

• The last lap made up for the rest of the race in my opinion. To see “Mr. Don't Block Me” block and wreck half the field was funny. Good race overall.

• Wish I could say it was great. I will say I always respect those that have the ability to be racecar drivers and the amazing skill it takes to race at anywhere, but especially Talladega. One of the good things that did happen was a PINK car won and as a breast cancer survivor this made me happy.

• It was not enjoyable waiting for disaster to happen. Not racing.

• Outstanding race. I felt most of the field was running much more competitively from the drop of the green flag to the finish. The big teams (88, 18, etc.) who got themselves a lap down put on a tremendous battle lap after lap to get in front of each other for the lucky dog. And the GWC! It was four deep row after row after row coming to the white flag! You had to know it wasn't going to last the whole lap. I do wish the race finished clean because it would have been absolutely nuts to see how it developed down the straightaway.

<p> Dustin Long's Backseat Drivers Fan Council discusses the age-old arguement about whether NASCR fans want to see wrecks, discuss Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s comments about Talladega's plate racing and size up the Chase battle between Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 14:03
Path: /college-football/lsu-vs-south-carolina-numerical-history

LSU and South Carolina will clash Saturday in Baton Rouge in a battle of top 10 SEC teams. The 5-1 Tigers will be hungry for a win after falling 14-6 to Florida in the Swamp last week, while the 6-0 Gamecocks arrive sky-high after their 35-7 beatdown of Georgia. This will be the 20th meeting between LSU and South Carolina, so here are 20 statistical highlights focusing on the history between these two schools.

1 – Common head coach and athletic director between the schools. The legendary Paul Dietzel led the LSU program from 1955–1961, winning a national championship in 1958. He surprisingly left Baton Rouge to become the first non-Army graduate to lead the Cadets on the gridiron. After four seasons at Army, Dietzel would take over at South Carolina as head coach and athletic director in1966. He won the ACC Coach of the Year in 1969 and led the Gamecocks on the gridiron through the 1974 season. Dietzel would later return to Baton Rouge and serve as LSU’s athletic director from 1978–1982.

2 – Wins for South Carolina over LSU, both by one point. USC won the first meeting of the series in 1930, as well as the 1994 contest.

3 – Losses for head coach Steve Spurrier to LSU. He lost once to the Tigers at Florida in 1997, and then twice at South Carolina in 2007 and 2008.

4 – Point differential in the highest scoring game in LSU-South Carolina history, a 33-29 Tigers victory in 1973.

5 – Wins for LSU in its seven games played in Columbia.

6 – The game on Saturday will be the sixth time in South Carolina history where both teams involved were ranked in the top 10. Last week’s victory over Georgia was the fifth.

7 – Times in this series that LSU has scored 30 or more points. South Carolina has never reached the 30-point mark against the Tigers.

8 – This is the eighth season for Les Miles at LSU and for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina.

9 – Wins over LSU in the 1990s for Steve Spurrier, Florida’s head ball coach at the time.

10 – Consecutive wins by South Carolina entering Saturday’s game at Tiger Stadium. That represents the longest current FBS winning streak.

11 – First downs for South Carolina in the 2003 game, a 33-7 win for LSU in Columbia.
Matt Mauck threw two touchdowns for the Tigers, while Alley Broussard and Justin Vincent led a dominant rushing attack. “Right now, I'm sort of numb,” USC coach Lou Holtz said after the blowout.

12 – Passes completed in the 2002 game by Marcus Randall, who was filling in for the injured Mauck. Randall threw for 183 yards and Domanick Davis led the ground game with 113 yards, as LSU scored 25 third-quarter points on the way to a 38-14 victory.

13 – Meetings in this series where South Carolina was a member of the Southern Conference, the ACC or an Independent. The last six games have been SEC battles. LSU was also a member of the Southern Conference during the first three contests from 1930-32.

14 – First-quarter points scored by LSU in the 1987 Gator Bowl, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish. Both touchdowns in the first stanza were passes from Tommy Hodson to Wendell Davis, and the pair would hook up for another score in the second half to lead LSU to a 30-13 bowl victory.

15 – Yards run by LSU kicker Colt David on a fake field goal touchdown in the second quarter of the 2007 game. The Tigers totaled a dominant 290 rushing yards in the 28-16 win over the Gamecocks.

16 – Wins by LSU in 19 games against South Carolina.

17 – Second-quarter points scored by South Carolina in the 2008 game, Stephen Garcia’s first career start. USC led 17-10 at half, but LSU would rally for 14 unanswered points in the second half to win 24-17 in Columbia.

18 – Points scored by the Gamecocks in 1994, the last time they defeated LSU. A stingy USC defense and quarterback Steve Taneyhill led the way in the18-17 victory.

19 – Losses for Les Miles at LSU, against an incredible 80 wins.

20 – Points scored by each team in the series’ only tie in 1995.

By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> LSU vs. South Carolina: A Numerical History</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/rory-and-tiger-tale-tape

On Thursday, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be staging a head-to-head duel at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final with a spot in the final four of this unique medal match play eight-man bracket on the line. Let's hope it's one of many as this budding bromance blossoms into a full-fledged rivalry.

Never mind the fact that Charl Schwartzel beat Woods and McIlroy, the top two players in the world golf ranking, back to back in this Turkish money grab. No, for the good of the game, we need to root for a Tiger-Rory rivalry to take root and take the game to unprecedented heights.

For more than a decade, golf fans were secure in the knowledge that Woods ruled their sport. Sure, Phil Mickelson was a useful foil for Tiger, and every now and then a Vijay Singh or Padraig Harrington would assert himself before slinking back into the woodwork. But Woods was the Man. Even after the Thanksgiving thunderbolt that derailed the Woods train, we all expected Tiger to resume his rule at any time.

But now that we've reached four years and counting with Tiger stuck on 14 majors, I think we're free to reassess. Now that the Woods era seems to be truly on the wane, it's time to anoint a new king. Science tells us that nature hates a vacuum, and after two eight-shot wins in majors in the last 14 months,  McIlroy looks ready to fill the void at the top of golf. And more than that, Rory looks likes he could be the kind of historic force in the game that Woods was. The proof comes when you compare the two at similar points in their careers.

Let's look at the Tiger vs. Rory tale of the tape through their age-23 seasons — Woods through 1999, Rory through the 2012 Ryder Cup. Rory's record is impressive, but Woods was already dominating the PGA Tour at a similar stage, and he reached his apex the following season, giving 2013 extra meaning for Rory in his effort to match Woods' career trajectory.
Edge to Tiger — for now.


                                                      TIGER (age 23)    RORY
Major championships won               2                           2
Combined margin of victory           13                         16
Major top 5s                                     4                           5
Major top 10s                                   7                           6
PGA Tour wins                               11                          4
Worldwide wins                              13                          6
Scoring avg. (PGA Tour)            69.10 (1997)        70.35 (2010)
                                                     69.21 (1998)        69.48 (2011)
                                                     68.43 (1999)        68.73 (2012)
Ryder Cup record                          3-6-1                   4-3-2


Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-offseason-news-and-scandal-roundup

Even after every recruit signed, after players were drafted, and after (nearly) every coaching change was made, college basketball news impacting the 2012-13 season continued to break through the late summer and early fall.

From Jim Calhoun’s retirement, to eligibility issues at UCLA and Kentucky, to NCAA concerns at Duke and North Carolina, we’re here to keep you up to date.

Here’s a rundown of 20 offseason news events impacting the upcoming basketball season:

1. Jim Calhoun retires. In the biggest college basketball news of the offseason, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun retired after 873 carer wins and three national titles. The Huskies program is turned over to assistant and first-time head coach Kevin Ollie, who will try to piece together a season with a handful of challenges including
a postseason ban, a one-year contract for Ollie, and a roster depleted by transfers and NBA Draft early entries. The lack of a long-term commitment to Ollie hasn’t harmed recruiting yet as Jabari Parker, one of the top prospects in the class of 2013, added UConn to his list of prospective schools after a visit with the new Huskies coach.
Related: What’s next for UConn without Calhoun?

2. Duke dodges an NCAA issue again. The possibility of an NCAA violation at Duke was raised when former player Lance Thomas, a starter on the 2010 title-winning team, was sued for not repaying a $68,000 loan to purchase jewelry in 2009-10. Thomas settled the lawsuit, meaning the NCAA will not have access to court records to determine if the loan would have impacted Thomas’ eligibility. The NCAA has begun an inquiry, but Thomas told The Washington Post he will “eventually” speak with the NCAA. As a former athlete, he is not required to do so.
Related: Duke team preview

3. North Carolina’s academic scandal. New details of the academic scandal at North Carolina seem to trickle out every day, though the spotlight has not focused on the basketball program specifically. What started as an investigation into fraud and no-show classes in the African and African-American Studies department also seeped into other academic programs. The Naval Weapons Systems course in the Department of Naval Science was found to have a disproportionate amount of athletes enrolled, including six basketball players in 2007. Although the NCAA initially stated it would not take action on academic issues at North Carolina, NCAA president Mark Emmert told the organization is continuing to monitor the situation in Chapel Hill. Chancellor Holden Thorp already announced he will resign at the end of the 2012-13 school year. Meanwhile, Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former Tar Heels star Tyler Hansbrough, resigned from her role as a fundraiser when an audit revealed she and Matt Kupec, a North Carolina vice chancellor, billed the university for personal trips. Kupec also resigned. Tami Hansbrough was hired as the associate director of development in the dentistry school during her son’s senior year. Her move to a fundraising role and the personal trips occurred after Tyler Hansbrough left school.

4. Texas Southern feels NCAA’s wrath. From one end of the college basketball spectrum (Duke and North Carolina) to the other. The NCAA levied series sanctions on Texas Southern of the SWAC, stepping just short of the death penalty. Texas Southern allowed players across 13 sports over the course of seven years compete and receive financial aid while ineligible. The basketball program, which has played in the NCAA Tournament just once since 1995, was banned from the postseason and vacated all wins across all sports from 2006-10. The basketball coach to clean up the mess left by Tony Harvey, who resigned after he was accused of providing misleading information to investigators? Former UAB and Indiana coach Mike Davis.

5. Notre Dame. Before Jim Calhoun’s retirement, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC in all sports but football was the biggest news of the offseason. This is more of a football development, including four games per year between the Irish and ACC teams and a drift away from the Big Ten, but it has clear basketball implications as well. Mike Brey has rebuilt Notre Dame basketball into a consistent NCAA Tournament team which should contribute to the depth of a 15-team ACC. Without Notre Dame basketball, the Big East will remain a 17-team league when it expands in 2013-14.
Related: Notre Dame team preview

6. Roy Williams’ cancer scare. The North Carolina coach had surgery in late September to remove a tumor from his right kidney but was relieved to find it was not cancerous. Williams was also scheduled to have a biopsy on a tumor on his left kidney, but doctors said in a news release it was unlikely for the other tumor to be cancerous.
Related: North Carolina team preview

7. Rick Majerus' departure. The Saint Louis coach has battled health concerns for much of his career, but the latest caused him to unexpectedly walk away from one of the Atlantic 10’s top teams. The school announced in late August that Majerus would miss the season while undergoing treatment and evaluations for a heart condition. Assistant Jim Crews, a former head coach at Army and Evansville, was promoted to interim coach. With one year left on his contract, this could be the final season for Majerus at Saint Louis and perhaps his career.

8. Billy Gillispie’s resignation. Texas Tech’s season was bad enough on the court in Gillispie’s first season. Turns out things were worse behind the scenes for the former Kentucky and Texas A&M coach. A report from CBS Sports detailed mistreatment of players and support staff in addition to difficulties with current and potential assistants and staffers. The report indicated practices of eight hours in a day and in excess of the NCAA-mandated 20-hour limit in addition to Gillsipie forcing players to practice while injured. On Aug. 31, Gillispie was hospitalized for six days and was later treated for kidney problems and abnormal headaches. He resigned citing health concerns, turning the program over to interim coach Chris Walker.

9. Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, UCLA. Neither of the Bruins’ two freshman centerpieces have been cleared by the NCAA. Muhammad’s delay is due to alleged impermissible benefits from the brother of an assistant coach at his high school and a financial planner related to his AAU team. The investigation forced UCLA to leave Muhammad home during an exhibition trip to China. The NCAA is investigating Anderson’s relationship with an agent though Anderson did participate in the China trip.
Related: Arrival of top freshmen leads UCLA makeover

10. Nerlens Noel, Kentucky. After delaying his enrollment when he reclassified from the class of 2012 to 2013, Noel became the subject of an NCAA inquiry related to how he paid for unofficial visits during the recruiting process, according to Kentucky coach John Calipari recently said he’s confident Noel will be cleared after the inquiry.

11. Rodney Purvis, NC State. The Wolfpack’s star freshman guard was cleared to play after the NCAA examined his high school transcript. Purvis did not join NC State on an exhibition trip to Spain.

Related: NC State team preview

12. Ricky Ledo, Providence. The full Ed Cooley-rebuilding project will be on hold for a year as a his freshman guard sits outs as a partial qualifier. Ledo can practice but cannot play in any games this season. Highly touted point guard Kris Dunn also joined Ledo in Cooley's recruiting class, but Dunn is nursing a shoulder injury to give the Friars a shorthanded roster early in the season.

13. Notre Dame Prep. Maryland’s Sam Cassell Jr. and Xavier’s Myles Davis, both freshmen, were ruled ineligible related to coursework at Notre Dame Prep, a program whose classes the NCAA had been monitoring. Adding to the confusion, eight other teammates who took similar classes were cleared, drawing harsh criticism from Cassell's father, former NBA player Sam Cassell.

14. Dez Wells, Xavier to Maryland. Wells did not transfer per se, but he did change schools. The former Xavier starter was expelled after he was accused of sexual assault, but prosecutors declined to pursue the case and publicly disputed the actions of Xavier’s conduct board. After considering Kentucky, Memphis and Oregon, Wells chose Maryland. An NCAA waiver to make him eligible this season has been requested.

15. Arsalan Kazemi, Rice to Oregon. One of the best players in Conference USA but languishing at Rice transferred to Oregon, where a hardship waiver may allow him to play this season.

16. Reggie Moore, Washington State. The Cougars dismissed their senior guard and third-leading scorer for a violation of team rules, putting more pressure on unheralded center Brock Motum.

17. Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, Harvard. The Crimson’s hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament received a major blow when its co-captains were accused of being part of a cheating scandal including both athletes and non-athletes. Both were expected to withdraw from school, leaving Harvard with only one returning starter.

18. Chrishawn Hopkins, Butler. Brad Stevens dismissed his third-leading scorer for the dreaded undisclosed violation of team rules.

19. LIU Brooklyn. LIU Brooklyn’s top three scorers, including NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, were among four arrested on third-degree assault charges stemming from a fight at an on-campus party. All four, including Athlon All-NEC forward Jamal Olaswere,  were suspended for the first two games and placed on school probation.

AND FOR 2013-14...
20. Kentucky’s recruiting (t)wins.
Guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, twins from Richmond  (Texas), continued to make John Calipari look unbeatable on the recruiting trail when the two top-five prospects in the 2013 class committed to Kentucky. The decision was considered to be a close one between Kentucky and Maryland. A major factor in Maryland being in the mix was reported to be Under Armour’s sponsorship of the Harrisons’ AAU team, coached by the twins’ father. Under Armour also has a partnership with Maryland. But again, Kentucky walks away a winner.


Athlon College Basketball 2012-13 Preseason Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

<p> 20 Offseason Events Every College Basketball Fan Should Know</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/it-time-auburn-fire-gene-chizik

Auburn is off to a miserable 1-4 start and the pressure is beginning to build on coach Gene Chizik. Since winning the 2010 national championship, the Tigers are just 9-9 and struggled to beat Louisiana-Monroe earlier this year. Is it time for Auburn to make a coaching change?

Is It Time for Auburn to Fire Gene Chizik?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Firing a coach two years removed from a national title would be unprecedented. Even Larry Coker got three subpar (for Miami) years and five after his national title. I could see a case to be made for letting the two new coordinators, Scot Loeffler and Brian Van Gorder, have another year to implement their systems, but Auburn has to ask itself if the national championship year was due more to Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn than any buttons Gene Chizik pushed in 2010. Take away the Newton season from Chizik’s career, and this is a coach who has struggled at Auburn despite strong recruiting classes and at Iowa State, where Paul Rhoads has built a competitive program after Chizik left. Barring an unlikely turnaround this season, 2013 will be an extremely difficult year, both with the Auburn faithful on Chizik’s back and on a recruiting trail that is already dominated by Alabama.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Gene Chizik has done a horrendous job at Auburn the last two seasons. His average national recruiting ranking in the last three classes is 8.0 — meaning, only five teams in the nation have recruited "better" than the Tigers over the last three cycles. So the lack of overall production and development from that level of talent is completely unacceptable. As a comparison, Arkansas, who is having its worst season in years and just stomped Auburn at Jordan-Hare, has an SEC average recruiting ranking (9.7) worse than Auburn's national rank. Auburn ranks last in the SEC in total offense, scoring offense, passing efficiency, rushing defense and turnover margin. But despite my absolute disgust in Chizik — who is 22-33 as a head coach and 7-12 in the SEC without Cam Newton — my conservative roots pertaining to coaching changes say no to making a coaching change immediately. By the end of the season, I will be singing a different tune, but it does this program no good to fire Chizik in Week 7. Dissension in the coaching ranks, turmoil off the field, atrocious play on the field all point to an eventual change on the Plains, but with seven games still left to play, that time isn't now.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
Yes, I think Auburn needs to make a coaching change at the end of the season. Gene Chizik has recruited as well as anyone in the SEC but outside of going 14-0 and winning a national championship, he is a mediocre 17-14 and could easily be 0-5 this year. Let’s not forget a 5-19 record at Iowa State, which looks even worse now after Paul Rhoads went 12-13 in the two seasons after his departure. While winning the BCS title in 2010 should buy him some time, Auburn hasn’t gotten any better over the last two years. The offense has regressed since last season, and the defense – Chizik’s strongsuit – ranks 12th in the SEC in yards allowed, ninth in pass defense and last against the run. When you are bringing in top 10-15 recruiting classes and those players aren’t producing, it’s a clear sign the coaching staff isn’t getting the job done. Giving Chizik another year would only prolong the inevitable and force Auburn to wait until 2014 to start turning the program back in the right direction.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
It’s easy to make an argument that Gene Chizik is not getting it done as the head coach at Auburn. His record in three-plus seasons with the Tigers is 31–14 overall and 15–12 in the SEC. But when you remove the national championship season of 2010, his record isn’t so impressive — 17–14 overall and 7–12 in league play. It might not seem fair to remove that one season, but it’s clearly an outlier when you look at his entire career. In five full seasons as a head coach (three at Auburn and two at Iowa State), Chizik has only lost less five games overall once (in 2010) and lost less than four conference games once (in ’10). While Chizik has a national title on his resume, he hasn’t shown that he can be a championship coach on a consistent basis. He was the head coach of the team that won the crown, but that title was more about Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn than Gene Chizik. That being said, Chizik probably deserves one more season as the boss at Auburn. He has recruited very well in recent years — though there has been quite a bit of attrition — and should have the opportunity to coach this young core for one more season. It’s a tough call for the Auburn administration, which is dealing with a demanding fan base with a short memory.

Mark Ross: 
Things have certainly not gone like any one associated with the program had hoped or even expected, but I don't think it's time to pull the plug on Gene Chizik... yet. There's no doubt this season is a lost cause, as the extremely disappointing showing last Saturday against Arkansas cemented that, but this doesn't mean that the team can't start building for next year now. The quarterback is young, inexperienced and having to learn and adapt to a completely different offensive system, and do his on-the-job training in the toughest conference in college football. That's a tall task in and of itself, but when you ask him to do this behind an equally young and inexperienced offensive line on a team devoid of play makers, I don't think anyone's really surprised the Tigers are 113th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense and 117th in scoring offense. Still I would give Chizik and the staff the rest of this year to continue teaching the players the new offense and also work on fixing the defensive issues. Obviously there's a lot to work on, but there are still seven games to go, five of these being conference ones. If the team can find a way to finish the rest of season with a 4-3 mark, which would mean at minimum two SEC wins, that has to be considered progress. Then you can evaluate the coaching staff after the season. However, if the bottom drops out and the Tigers finish the year winless in the SEC and with only two or three victories overall, then a coaching change is more than likely a matter of when and not if.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I think there may be a change on the Plains after this season, even though Auburn power brokers like Pat Dye seem to swear by Gene Chizik. The biggest issue for me when analyzing the Tigers program is that it seems lost, without an identity. The AU defense should eventually get better under Brian VanGorder, but why has Chizik (a proven coordinator at Auburn and Texas) had trouble on that side of the ball as a head coach? And then there is the Tigers offense, which ranks as the worst in the SEC and 113th in the nation. Scot Loeffler has no answer at quarterback, and his offense only scored seven points against an Arkansas defense that had been torched in four straight Razorback losses.

Many in the media give Chizik and staff credit for quality recruiting rankings, but that potential is not playing out on the field. Too many of Auburn’s “high-star” recruits have left school or have struggled to play up to their potential. The Arkansas debacle makes it very likely that the Tigers miss the postseason, and the AU fan base may not stand for that in year four of the Chizik regime.

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<p> Is It Time for Auburn To Fire Gene Chizik?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/who-best-bowl-eligible-team-big-ten

With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for the postseason, the Big Ten will be missing two of its top teams in bowl games. The conference did not have a team ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll this week, while the Buckeyes are really the only team that merits consideration in the top 10 of any poll they are eligible to be ranked.

Who Is the Big Ten's Best Bowl-Eligible Team in 2012?

Coach John Cooper, former head coach of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Arizona State Sun Devils and Ohio State Buckeyes, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I thought Nebraska would be that team but their defense has been awful. They gave a lot yardage to Ohio State and UCLA earlier this year. I don't know what happened to the black shirt defense. I would have to pick Michigan at this point in the season. They are starting to show the most improvement in the Big Ten.

Kevin McGuire,, (@KevinonCFB)
Picking the best bowl-eligible team out of the Big Ten is difficult because there are huge holes everywhere you look. No bowl eligible team in the conference has come up big in the spotlight this season, and that should be very alarming for the conference moving forward. But now that we are in conference play the question will be which team will rise to the top and that is why I am suggesting Michigan. After getting trounced by Alabama in week one Michigan's defense has been pretty solid, holding their last three opponents under 14 points. In conference play the offense should be able to get by, although a home game against Michigan State could be tough. Even if they slip up against the Spartans, I think they somehow manage to end the regular season as the best bowl-eligible team in the Big Ten.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
What a mess. I guess we’re down to Michigan and Nebraska, whose signature wins this season are over Purdue and Wisconsin, respectively. When Nebraska gets a good game from Taylor Martinez and when the mix of Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead are moving the ball, the Cornhuskers are pretty tough to beat. But I’ve given up on that defense. Not many teams in the Big Ten are as good on offense Ohio State, but two of them -- Michigan and Northwestern -- face Nebraska in the next two games. Where Nebraska had to come back to beat a subpar Wisconsin team, at least we saw Michigan dominate Purdue, a solid team with an elite defensive tackle, Kawann Short. That’s a good sign for the Wolverines. We may have overreacted to Michigan’s two losses as well. Alabama and Notre Dame are two of the nation’s elite defenses, if not the top two. Michigan won’t see teams that good the rest of the season until Ohio State -- and that includes Nebraska.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Bueller? Bueller? Anyone in the Big Ten want to take this one? Michigan and Michigan State have looked really strong at times and really poor at others. Nebraska had a chance to put its stamp on the league last weekend but allowed 63 points to Ohio State. And Wisconsin and Purdue will battle this weekend for what should be the Leaders Division title in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are beginning to look like the best two teams in the league, so that means the eventual champion — and Rose Bowl participant — will be the third best team in the league at best. A two-week round robin between the Wolverines, Cornhuskers and Spartans will start next weekend and a 1-1 finish for all three is likely. I will tentatively take the Maize and Blue after the very impressive showing on the road against the Boilermakers, but road games at Nebraska and Ohio State likely make 6-2 in the Big Ten the high water mark for any bowl eligible team. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
I think the answer to this question boils down to two teams: Nebraska and Michigan. Although Michigan State has to be in the conversation, the Spartans still have road trips to Michigan and Wisconsin, and I still need to see more from quarterback Andrew Maxwell. I’m going to give a slight edge to the Wolverines over the Cornhuskers, but my opinion might change from week-to-week. Michigan has one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers (Denard Robinson) but needs other parts of the offense to step up. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has only 169 yards in four games, while the defense is allowing 156.8 rushing yards per game. Although the Wolverines are allowing some yards, the defense has not given up more than 13 points to an opponent in each of the last three games. Michigan isn’t perfect but I think this team will finish as the Big Ten’s best bowl-eligible squad at the end of the year. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
I’ll stick with Michigan. The Wolverines are 3–2 on the season, but two of the losses have come away from home against teams ranked in the top five in the nation — Alabama (in Arlington, Texas) and at Notre Dame. Michigan played its best game of the season last week, rolling past Purdue 44–13 in West Lafayette. That’s probably the best win for any of the bowl-eligible teams in the Big Ten. Michigan was obviously manhandled in the loss to Alabama in Week 1 and had some trouble with the Air Force option the following week, but the Wolverines have been solid defensively over the last few weeks. They gave up 13 points to both Notre Dame and Purdue, which will be good enough for this team to win on most Saturdays. 

Mark Ross: 
For me, I considered four teams, all of which reside in the Legends division, but in the end it came down to the two from the state of Michigan. The Wolverines have been a little under the radar since getting beat soundly by Alabama in their opener and then losing to Notre Dame 13-6 a couple of weeks ago. However, the Maize and Blue reasserted themselves in convincing fashion in their 44-13 dismantling of Purdue last week. Denard Robinson still makes his share of mistakes and isn't the most polished passer, but there's no denying his ability to make plays. The defense also has been solid as they are currently No. 19 in the nation. Meanwhile Michigan State has been fine defensively (No. 8 overall), it's the offense that has been the issue. That said, the Spartans' two losses have been by one point to Ohio State and a 20-3 defeat to Notre Dame. Between the Wolverines and the Spartans, all three teams they have collectively lost to are currently ranked among the top 8 in the country. But since I have to choose one, I give a slight edge to the Spartans over the Wolverines. The Spartans are a little better on defense, especially against the run, and when these two teams meet next Saturday in Ann Arbor, it will be Sparty's ability to contain Robinson and company that will be the difference in the game. As long as the Spartans continue to play good defense, I think the offense will continue to develop under quarterback Andrew Maxwell with a healthy assist from running back Le'Veon Bell and the Spartans will earn a second straight trip to the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
With Ohio State on sanctions, I would have to go with Michigan State as the league’s best postseason team. The Spartans schedule will be difficult with trips to Michigan and Wisconsin remaining, but Pat Narduzzi’s defense should make the difference in the end. Despite sleepwalking through some of last week’s game at Indiana, the Spartans have the ability to run the ball (Le’Veon Bell) and stop the run (10th nationally) better than anyone else in the Big Ten. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell should improve in the second half of the season, especially if heralded freshman receiver Aaron Burbridge plays like he did versus the Hoosiers.

Michigan obviously has the talented Denard Robinson as a top playmaker, but the Wolverines passing game and run defense are major concerns. Nebraska can scare opponents with Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead on offense, but unfortunately the Huskers defense is scaring the fan base for a second straight season. With the league’s top defense and a physical run game, I’ll take Sparty to top the B1G’s bowl list.

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<p> Best bowl eligible team in Big Ten?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:11
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-one-year-coaching-tenures-good-bad-and-ugly

After Arkansas’ 24-7 dismantling of Auburn on Saturday, coach John L. Smith has a reason to smile. Sure, it’s been a disappointing season for the coach who will likely spent only one season at Fayetteville, but at least a bowl game remains a possibility now

For Arkansas, Smith’s one-year tenure will be one of the most painful single seasons in recent years. For fans outside of Arkansas, it’s at least been one of the more intriguing one-year coaching situations.

Smith isn’t first one-year tenured coach and won’t be the last. Even some of the all-time greats have made short stints at other schools -- Bear Bryant, Bill Parcells, Darrell Royal and Howard Schnellenberger had one-year stints in their careers.

Just last season, four coaches had one year tenures either due to taking other jobs (Hugh Freeze and Todd Graham) or like Smith, had the job on an interim basis (Luke Fickell and Everett Withers).

Here are the good, the bad, the ugly and the interesting for college football’s one-year coaching tenures:

Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State (2011)
10-3, 8-0 Sun Belt
Freeze got the job in unorthodox fashion as he was the offensive coordinator for the head coach the program just fired. But his only season at Arkansas State was the best in team history. The Red Wolves won an outright Sun Belt title for the first time and reached only their second bowl game. Freeze set the table for another high school coach-turned-offensive mastermind in Gus Malzahn.

Todd Graham, Rice (2006)
7-6, 6-2 Conference USA
Before Pittsburgh, Graham left Rice in the lurch after one season. But that single  was one of the best for a moribund program. Graham took over a 1-10 team under Ken Hatfield the year before to lead Rice to its first bowl game in 45 years. When his year was over, he returned to Tulsa, where he was defensive coordinator before landing at Rice.

Steve Mariucci, Cal (1996)
6-6, 3-5 Pac-10
A 6-6 season is enough to put current Cal coach Jeff Tedford on the hot seat watch. Yet in the mid-90s, this was Cal’s best record and only bowl appearance between 1994-2002, the latter being Tedford’s first season. At age 41, Mariucci left to coach the San Francisco 49ers to replace George Seifert, who abruptly resigned after the ’96 season.

Nick Saban, Toledo (1990)
9-2, 7-1 MAC
Saban’s first head coaching gig was short-lived but successful with a share of a MAC title and the Rockets’ best season in seven years. And as a sign of the times, Toledo’s nine wins weren’t enough to earn the Rockets a spot in one of 19 bowl games in 1990. Saban left after his only season in Toledo to be Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns.

Frank Broyles, Missouri (1957)
5-4-1, 3-3 Big 7
Broyles’ stint was sandwiched between two of Missouri’s most accomplished coaches. He preceded Dan Devine and succeeded Don Faurot, who would later be the namesake of Missouri’s field. After one year in Columbia, he embarked on his Hall of Fame career with Arkansas.

Jim Tatum, Oklahoma (1946)
8-3, 4-1 Big 6
Tatum led Oklahoma to a conference title and a Gator Bowl victory, but he’ll be better remembered for who he left behind in Norman before he bolted for Maryland. Tatum paid players out of the athletic department coffers and was notoriously difficult to deal with. That said, he brought nine All-Americans to Oklahoma, including Buddy Burris and eventual Texas coach Darrell Royal, in addition to hiring the legendary Bud Wilkinson as his offensive coordinator.

Bear Bryant, Maryland (1945)
6-2-1, 3-2 ACC
Maryland athletic director Curley Byrd was impressed enough with the 32-year-old career assistant Bryant to give him his first head coaching job. But the Bear and Byrd clashed in his lone season with the Terrapins, and Bryant bolted for Kentucky after one season. Two years later, Maryland would benefit from a one-year stint at another school when it hired Jim Tatum from Oklahoma.

John L. Smith, Arkansas (2012)
2-4, 1-2 SEC
This season has been so bad for Arkansas, the question remains if this team could contend in the SEC West no matter the coach. With one of the worst defenses in the SEC, the Razorbacks are just looking to salvage a bowl game before moving on to the next coach.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State (2011)
6-7, 3-5 Big Ten
With Jim Tressel resigning on Memorial Day before the 2011 seasons, Ohio State had its first losing season since 1988 and lost to Michigan for the first time since 2003. But the season under the interim coach Fickell wasn’t a total loss -- the Buckeyes defeated Big Ten champion Wisconsin and lost only one game by more than a touchdown. Meanwhile, quarterback Braxton Miller made his debut. New coach Urban Meyer retained Fickell as defensive coordinator.

Lane Kiffin, Tennessee (2009)
7-6, 4-4 SEC
Kiffin brought swagger to Knoxville. He got under the skin of Florida’s Urban Meyer and other SEC rivals. And he signed an elite recruiting class. Tennessee loved all that. Then he took the USC job in mid-January, weeks after most coaching changes. Tennessee fans did not like that. Moreover, Kiffin’s top-10 signing class never panned out as a bulk of the class transferred, failed to qualify or ran into legal trouble.

Dennis Erickson, Idaho (2006)
4-8, 3-5 WAC
Erickson was not the most in-demand coach when he returned to the program that gave him his first job, but a year later, Arizona State came calling. Erickson returned to the Pac-10 and left Idaho with a team that went 3-19 the two seasons after he left.

Sam Wyche, Indiana (1983)
3-8, 2-7 Big Ten
Wyche would eventually take the Cincinnati Bengals to the Super Bowl, but he couldn’t win more than three games at Indiana. The last coach to leave the Big Ten for and NFL job, Wyche had his Hoosers tenure preceded by eventual ESPN analyst Lee Corso and followed by Bill Mallory.

Todd Graham, Pittsburgh (2011)
6-7, 4-3 Big East
The high-octane offense never delivered at Pittsburgh, where Graham took over for a coach, Mike Haywood, who didn’t even make it into his first season, much less complete a full season. When Graham bolted unexpectedly for Arizona State, he left behind a fractured locker room and an angry team for Paul Chryst to repair.

Howard Schnellenberger, Oklahoma (1995)
5-5-1, 2-5 Big 8
In stints at Miami, Louisville and FAU, Schellenberger’s credentials as a program-builder are impeccable. As a program rebuilder at Oklahoma, he was a disaster. He arrived to clean up a mess left by Barry Switzer but never fit in culturally in Norman. He was forced out amid rumors of off-field issues and was replaced by John Blake.

Lou Saban, Northwestern (1955)
0-8-1, 0-6-1 Big Ten
The well-travelled Saban had many jobs in the college ranks and pro ranks, but few of them were as bad as his lone year at Northwestern. Saban’s 0-fer in 1955 was the first at Northwestern, but not the last. Saban would be succeeded by Ara Parseghian, who had a successful run in Evanston before going to Notre Dame.

Houston Nutt, Boise State (1997)
4-7, 3-2 Big West
Houston Nutt was Boise State’s first hire after the Broncos became a Division I-A program. After a successful run in I-AA at Portland State and Boise State, then-Broncos coach Pokey Allen was poised to guide the Broncos into major college football before he died of cancer shortly after the 1996 season. After one season at Boise State, Nutt left for Arkansas and was replaced by Dirk Koetter, who began a run of three wildly successful Boise State coaches.

Bill Parcells, Air Force (1978)
Parcells’ first head coaching job was not with the New York Giants, instead it came five years earlier at Air Force. Parcells wasn’t thrilled with the recruiting process, so he left after a year to be an assistant with the Giants. Coaching stability, though, was easy to find at Air Force thereafter. The Falcons have had only three head coaches since The Tuna left -- Ken Hatfield, Fisher DeBerry and Troy Calhoun.

Pat Dye, Wyoming (1980)
6-5, 4-4 WAC
Wyoming once had a nice coaching tree with Fred Akers (who would coach at Texas), Dennis Erickson (who won two national titles at Miami), Joe Tiller (who would coach at Purdue), and Pat Dye. A long time assistant to Bear Bryant at Alabama, Dye was a possible successor to Bryant, who was then two years away from retirement. Dye instead took the job at rival Auburn, where he won 142 games in 11 seasons.

Jackie Sherrill, Washington State (1978)
3-8, 2-5 Pac-8
Sherrill’s first head coaching job was also one his least successful. After going 3-8 at Wazzu, Sherrill landed at Pittsburgh where had four top-10 finishes in five seasons with a little help from Dan Marino. Sherrill then went to Texas A&M, but his .273 win percentage in his single season at Washington State was the worst of his career until 1995 at Mississippi State.

Darrell Royal, Washington (1956)
5-5, 4-4 Pacific Coast Conference
After a middling season at Washington, Royal returned to his Midlands roots by taking the Texas job, where he’d become the Longhorns’ most celebrated coach. After Royal’s short stint, Washington had only two coaches (Jim Owens and Don James) from 1957-92.

by David Fox


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<p> College Football's Coaching Tenures: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/south-carolina-or-florida-which-team-best-sec-east

With South Carolina's blowout win over Georgia and Florida's victory over LSU, the Gamecocks and Gators seem to be the top two teams in the SEC East. Georgia may have a chance to get back in the race, but the division title could come down to the Oct. 20 meeting between Florida and South Carolina.  

South Carolina or Florida: Who is the best team in the SEC East?

Coach Vince Dooley, former head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I think South Carolina is really good.  Their defense is terrific and they were ready to play against Georgia.  They shocked them early the other night getting 21 points.  I think they can beat LSU at Baton Rouge this coming weekend. But I don't think they can beat Florida the following weekend.  Florida is about as disruptive a defensive team as I've seen.  It will be too difficult for South Carolina to win those three games in a row away from home. I would say that Florida will be the best team in the SEC East.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
The nod for me still goes to South Carolina, though Florida has been awfully impressive through the first half of the season. The Gamecocks are just too good at too many things. First, there’s the elite defensive line led by Jadeveon Clowney. Then there’s special teams with two big returns in the first two weeks from Ace Sanders. On offense, Connor Shaw isn’t going to confuse anyone for a Steve Spurrier quarterback of old, but he can win with both his arm and his legs. Meanwhile, South Carolina has been this dominant without a true jaw-dropping dominant game from Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina hasn’t needed it. Florida has proven it can look like an elite team for a half. But this is also a team that can be incapable of protecting quarterback Jeff Driskel at times, and this is a team that is prone to stupid, drive-killing penalties. Against a team as balanced as South Carolina, those kinds of errors could cost Florida.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. These two teams are not only evenly matched but virtually identical. They have unreal defensive front sevens stocked with NFL talent. They have hard-nosed running backs who have carried their teams to marquee SEC wins this fall. They have game-manager quarterbacks who are protecting the football and can make things happen with their legs. And they both lack elite offensive play-makers on the outside. The head coaching edge clearly falls on the Gamecocks' side of the ledger, so I will give the slight edge to South Carolina. That said, with a road trip to LSU and having to face the Gators in Gainesville makes Florida the pick to win the East.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With South Carolina’s win over Georgia, the Gamecocks and Gators appear to be the teams to beat in the SEC East. The Bulldogs might be able to work their way back into the mix but need to catch a couple of breaks. It’s a really a tossup between Florida and South Carolina for the No. 1 spot, but I’ll give a slight edge to the Gamecocks. While Jeff Driskel will only get better with more snaps, South Carolina has an edge at quarterback with Connor Shaw. The Gamecocks also have a few more playmakers at receiver, including Ace Sanders, Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd. South Carolina’s defensive line is also one of the best in the nation, which helps to compensate for a secondary that had to break in three new starters this season. Florida’s defense isn’t statistically far behind the Gamecocks, but its pass rush hasn’t quite matched South Carolina’s this year. The matchup between the Gamecocks and Florida should be one of the SEC’s best games this year, and my early lean is that South Carolina is the better team. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Great question, and it’s very tough to answer at this point in the season. If I had to pick one — and I will since the question is being asked — I’d go with South Carolina. Florida is probably a little more battle-tested, with road wins at Texas A&M and Tennessee and a home win vs. LSU, but South Carolina also has some quality victories. Both teams are outstanding on defense. I’d probably give South Carolina the slight edge on offense (due in large part to Connor Shaw’s experience) and you have to give the Gamecocks the edge in coaching. Will Muschamp has done a great job with his second Florida team, but Steve Spurrier is an all-time great.

Mark Ross: 
Right now, I will give the slightest of edges to South Carolina, based on their impressive win over Georgia. Both teams are similar in that they have stout defenses and rely more on running the ball rather than passing it. Their quarterbacks are also similar in that they can make plays with either their arm or legs, but even here, I would give a slight edge to South Carolina because I think Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw is a little more polished as a passer compared to Florida's Jeff Driskel. Bottom line is I think these are two evenly matched teams and provided both take care of business this week (South Carolina at LSU, Florida at Vanderbilt) we should find out who's better next Saturday in Gainesville.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Both of these undefeated teams have a stingy defense and power running game, and I would give a slight edge — very slight — to the Gators based on the head-to-head contest being in the Swamp and their ability to succeed late in games. Florida’s defense has not allowed a single point in the fourth quarter this season, and the Gators have only given up a combined six second-half points in their four SEC wins. Quarterback Jeff Driskel still struggles in the passing game and takes too many sacks, but he is a quality athlete who seems to make just enough of the right plays when UF needs it. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease will find creative ways as the season goes on to complement the physical running attack led by Mike Gillislee.

Obviously South Carolina has the same type of resume with top back Marcus Lattimore on offense and a ferocious pass rush led by Jadeveon Clowney on defense. The Gamecocks, however, have brutal back-to-back road trips to LSU and Florida the next two weeks. Both South Carolina and Florida have the roster and mentality to win the East and challenge Alabama for the SEC crown. For now, I’ll take the physical Gators to be in Atlanta this December.

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<p> South Carolina or Florida: Which Team is the Best In the SEC East?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:05
All taxonomy terms: Big 12, Kansas Jayhawks, College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-4-kansas-preview
Visit the online store for Kansas and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals have arrived on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 4 Kansas.

It’s hard to imagine a team losing a top-five NBA Draft pick in the paint and a four-year starter at the point and somehow getting better. But that’s the scenario facing the Kansas Jayhawks as they enter the 2012-13 season.

On the heels of their thrilling run to the 2012 national championship game, Bill Self’s squad returns several key pieces from last year’s team and will look to replace leading scorers Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor with one of the deepest and most talented recruiting class of the Self era.

Although the talent is in place — isn’t it always at Kansas? — Self’s biggest challenge will be getting the group to mesh while also relying on new leadership.

Top returners Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey will get the first crack at leading this year’s Jayhawks, who figure to enter the season more motivated than ever.

“I think (that) experience will only make us more hungry for next year,” Withey said of reaching the 2012 title game but falling to Kentucky. “We’ll have a great team, and I’m really excited for the opportunity to be a leader.”

Withey was a force defensively in his first season as a starter at KU. He set a record with 31 blocks in the NCAA Tournament and finished the year with a Big-12-best 140 rejections. This season, he will be asked to contribute more on the offensive end.

“I don’t think I was too much of an offensive threat last year,” Withey says. “A little bit here and there, maybe, but not what I’m capable of. So for next year, offensively, I’m going to try to get better and stronger and try and look like T-Rob. That’s the game plan.”

Is that even possible?

“I could see that happening,” senior forward Travis Releford says. “Because that’s how it’s been in the past. Guys leave, other guys step up. It’s going to continue to be like that at a program like Kansas.”

Joining Withey up front will be impact freshman Perry Ellis, a four-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, along with Kevin Young and redshirt freshman Jamari Traylor. Young, a former transfer from Loyola Marymount, averaged 3.4 points in his first season at KU. Traylor was academically ineligible last season but practiced with the team.

After his breakout NCAA Tournament, Johnson takes the reins at point guard. Like Taylor, his predecessor, Johnson is an athletic guard with good size and toughness. Unlike Taylor, Johnson seems to be a better decision-maker and a more natural shooter. The Las Vegas native played extremely well late last season, averaging 15.1 points in the final eight games and scored in double figures in all six NCAA Tournament games.  

Ben McLemore, a 4-star recruit in the Class of 2011, was forced to sit out last season because of academic issues. Self has said that McLemore, a possible starter at shooting guard, might have emerged as the team’s top pro prospect had he played last season.

Releford, like Johnson, played well in the NCAA Tournament, scoring in double figures against Purdue (10 points), North Carolina (11) and Ohio State (15). Seldom-used early in his career, he emerged as a key cog in his first season as a starter.  

Freshmen Anrio Adams and Milton Doyle and sophomore Naadir Tharpe will push for playing time. Adams, a shooting guard from Seattle, has been compared to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.
“He can certainly score,” Self says. “He’s capable of being an elite guard.” Tharpe arrived as a highly regarded recruit but failed to crack the rotation as a freshman last season.

Last year’s squad survived and thrived because of heart and will, but this year’s team figures to benefit from different strengths. Chief among them is depth, something the Jayhawks had little of a season ago.

While KU’s roster will give Self plenty of options, it also figures to provide a few growing pains as nearly half of the rotation could be first-year players. In addition, Self’s bench will feature two new faces — Norm Roberts steps in for his second stint at KU to replace Danny Manning (now the head coach at Tulsa), and Doc Sadler, formerly the head coach at Nebraska, takes over as the director of basketball operations. Self doesn’t seem to be concerned.

“I love the makeup of this team, especially the newcomers,” says the veteran coach. “This is going to be a young group that will rely heavily on senior leadership.”


Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

5. Syracuse

<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 4 Kansas Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Heisman Trophy
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-6

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 this week for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. 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. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (13 first-place votes)
Season Stats: 
166-204, 1,996 yards, 24 TD, 0 INT, 26 att., 66 yards, TD
His 268 yards and four touchdowns paled in comparison to his monster game against Baylor, but this one came in a road win over Texas. It was a signature performance in a marquee win for the Mountaineers. Smith got all 13 first-place votes and is leading the nation in passing efficiency at 202.38. Next game: at Texas Tech

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 130/130 13 - - - - 13/13
2. (4) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 104/130 - 7 1 4 - 13/13
3. (3) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 102/130 - 3 8 1 - 13/13
4. (7) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 73/130 - 2 2 2 2 12/13
5. (9) Marcus Lattimore RB S. Carolina 48/130 - - 1 2 1 9/13
6. (6) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 46/130 - 1 1 1 3 7/13
7. (8) Matt Barkley QB USC 40/130 - - - 2 2 8/13
8. (10) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 26/130 - - - 1 1 6/13
9. (ur) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 18/130 - - - - 2 4/13
10. (ur) Mike Gillislee RB Florida 17/130 - - - - 1 7/13
11. (2) E.J. Manuel QB Florida St 17/130 - - - - - 6/13
12. (17) Stedman Bailey WR W. Virginia 15/130 - - - - 1 3/13
13. (12) Marqise Lee WR USC 14/130 - - - - - 5/13
14. (ur) Tavon Austin WR W. Virginia 11/130 - - - - - 4/13
15. (16) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 10/130 - - - - - 4/13
16. (ur) Jadeveon Clowney DE S. Carolina 10/130 - - - - - 4/13
17. (ur) DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson 9/130 - - - - - 2/13
18. (14) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 6/130 - - - - - 2/13
19. (13) Sean Mannion QB Oregon St 5/130 - - - - - 1/13
20. (20) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 4/130 - - - - - 1/13
21. (5) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 2/13
22. (11) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
23. (ur) Denard Robinson QB Michigan 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
24. (ur) Venric Mark RB Northwestern 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
25. (ur) Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma St 1/130 - - - - - 1/13

2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
83-135, 1,060 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT, 106 att., 763 yards, 8 TD
The Ohio native continues to make video game-esque runs and clutch throws for the Buckeyes. He rushed for a school-record 186 yards for a quarterback on 16 carries without a turnover in the blitzing of Nebraska last Saturday. He helped drop 63 points on the Black Shirts and is now second in the Heisman voting. Next Game: at Indiana 

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
 63-94, 887 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 73 att., 405 yards, 7 TD
It was a bit of a slow start for CK7, but eventually he finished with 129 yards passing, 116 yards rushing, four total touchdowns and a 40-point win over his in-state rival. Smith, Miller and Klein are the only three players on all 13 ballots and are clearly the top three candidates for the 2012 stiff-armed trophy.
Next Game: at Iowa State

4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Season Stats: 48 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 3 INT, FR, 3 PBU
The heart and soul of the Irish defense continues to lead by example with 10 tackles in the virtual shutout of Miami. Notre Dame is No. 2 nationally in scoring defense at 7.8 points allowed per game and has allowed 12 points in its last three games — against Michigan State, Michigan and Miami.
Next Game: Stanford

5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats: 116 att., 549 yards, 9 TD, 18 rec., 133 yards
Another SEC win and another 100 yards rushing for the best runner in the nation. Lattimore is No. 2 in the SEC in all-purpose yards (Todd Gurley) and is averaging 136.3 yards from scrimmage and has scored seven touchdowns in four SEC wins for the Gamecocks. He has touched the ball 106 times in those games. 
Next game: at LSU

6. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 41 att., 377 yards, 6 TD, 20 rec., 205 yards, 3 TD, 10 PR, 150 PR yards, 6 KR, 88 yards
Next Game: Bye Week

7. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 111-173, 1,308 yards, 15 TD, 5 INT, 12 att., minus-64 yards
Next game: at Washington

8. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 73-111, 999 yards, 12 TD, 0 INT, 19 att., minus-41 yards
Next Game: at Missouri

9. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Season Stats: 116 att., 727 yards, 9 TD, 11 rec., 111 yards, TD
Next Game: Bye Week

10. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Season Stats: 103 att., 548 yards, 7 TD, 2 rec., 14 yards
Next Game: at Vanderbilt

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 6 Recap

ACC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings 

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 6</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-7-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 7

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

West Virginia at Texas Tech

Line:  West Virginia -3.5(O/U-78)

Projected score based on point spread:  West Virginia 41-37

Best plays:

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

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

Also consider:

West Virginia (K-Tyler Bitancurt)

Texas Tech (TE-Jace Amaro)

theCFFsite projects:  West Virginia 52-35


Oklahoma St at Kansas

Line:  Oklahoma St -23(O/U-74.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma St 49-25

Best plays:

Oklahoma St (QB-JW Walsh, RB-Joseph Randle, WR-Josh Stewart, K-Quinn Sharp)

Kansas (QB-Dayne Crist, RB-James Sims)

Also consider:

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith, WR-Tracy Moore, TE-Blake Jackson)

Kansas (RB-Tony Pierson)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 42-28


Western Michigan at Ball St

Line:  Ball St -3(O/U-66)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ball St 35-32

Best plays:

Western Michigan (QB-Tyler Van Tubbergen, WR-Jaime Wilson)

Ball St (QB-Keith Wenning, WRs-Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, K-Steven Schott)

Also consider:

Western Michigan (RB-Dareyon Chance, WR-Josh Schaffer)

Ball St (RB-Jahwan Edwards)

theCFFsite projects:  Western Michigan 35-31


North Carolina at Miami

Line:  North Carolina -6.5(O/U-69)

Projected score based on point spread:  UNC 38-31

Best plays:

North Carolina (QB-Bryn Renner, RB-Gio Bernard, TE-Eric Ebron, K-Casey Barth)

Miami (QB-Stephen Morris, RBs-Duke Johnson, WR-Philip Dorsett)

Also consider:

North Carolina (WRs-Erik Highsmith, Sean Tapley)

Miami (RB-Mike James)

theCFFsite projects:  UNC 38-30


Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech

Line:  Texas A&M -7.5(O/U-80)

Projected score based on point spread:  Texas A&M 44-36

Best plays:

Texas A&M (QB-Johnny Manziel, RB-Ben Malena, WRs-Ryan Swope, Mike Evans)

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

Also consider:

Texas A&M (WR-Uzoma Nwachukwu)

Louisiana Tech (RB-Ray Holley, WRs-DJ Banks, Myles White)

theCFFsite projects:  Louisiana Tech 45-42


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

Alabama at Missouri

Line:  Alabama -21.5(O/U-43.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 33-11

Stay away from:

Missouri (RB-Kendial Lawrence)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 31-13


Illinois at Michigan

Line:  Michigan -23(O/U-49.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan 36-13

Stay away from:

Illinois (QB-Nathan Scheelhaase)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan 31-14


Boston College at Florida St

Line:  Florida St -28(O/U-54)

Projected score based on point spread:  Florida St 41-13

Stay away from:

Boston College (RB-Andre Williams)

theCFFsite projects:  Florida St 34-21


Florida Atlantic at Louisiana-Monroe

Line:  Louisiana-Monroe -24(O/U-54)

Projected score based on point spread:  ULM 39-15

Stay away from:

Florida Atlantic (RB-Damian Fortner)

theCFFsite projects:  ULM 38-13


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Texas vs Oklahoma

Line:  Oklahoma -3(O/U-61.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 32-29

Outlook:  Both teams will be fighting to stay alive in the Big 12 title chase as they square off in this neutral site rivalry game.  We’re expecting the Longhorns to bounce back from last week’s loss to West Virginia by slowing down the Oklahoma offense with a solid defensive performance.

theCFFsite projects:  Texas 31-20

USC at Washington

Line:  USC -12.5(O/U-55.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  USC 34-22

Outlook:  One week after knocking off an undefeated Stanford team, the Huskies were embarrassed in a 52-21 loss at Oregon.  Washington should keep the game close, but the big-play ability of Marqise Lee will be the difference in this one.

theCFFsite projects:  USC 31-28


Stanford at Notre Dame

Line:  Notre Dame -9(O/U-45.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Notre Dame 27-18

Outlook:  The Irish begin the toughest three-game stretch on their schedule when they host Stanford this weekend.  We don’t think they will win three consecutive games against Stanford, BYU, and Oklahoma, but the Irish should be fresh and healthy enough to squeeze past the Cardinal at home.

theCFFsite projects:  Notre Dame 24-21


South Carolina at LSU

Line:  LSU -2.5(O/U-40.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LSU 21-18

Outlook:  South Carolina demolished an undefeated Georgia squad that was clicking on all cylinders heading into last week’s showdown in Columbia.  Expect the Gamecocks to win the time of possession battle and eventually wear down the Tigers defense with a heavy dose of Marcus Lattimore.

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 24-17


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (12-7)  ATS: (9-10)

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

By Joe DiSalvo,

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 7 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 03:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/sandusky-statement-surfaces

Bellefonte, PA (Sports Network) - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for his conviction on charges of child sexual abuse.

Judge John M. Cleland handed down the sentence on Tuesday after Sandusky was found guilty in June on 45 counts charging him with sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period.

The scandal, which broke last November with Sandusky's arrest, brought down the Penn State football program, tarnished the legacy of the late Joe Paterno and scarred the entire university.

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for his conviction on charges of child sexual abuse.
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 23:00
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-7

Matt Kenseth’s win Sunday at Talladega completed one of the greatest seasons of restrictor-plate racing in NASCAR since 1988, the first season the plates were used for all the races at Daytona and Talladega.

Kenseth won the Daytona 500, finished third at Talladega in the spring, was third at Daytona in July and won at Talladega last weekend, giving him an average finish of 2.0 in those four plate races.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. owns the greatest average finish in NASCAR history in those four plates races at 1.5 in 1999. He won two of those races and finished second in the other two. Next is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2004 season when he had an average finish of 1.75 in the restrictor-plate races, recording two wins, one second-place finish and a third-place finish.

Kenseth’s 2.0 average finish is next, tied with what Dale Earnhardt Sr. did in 1990 and 1993.

Kenseth’s total might have been better. He led the next-to-last lap at Daytona in July before Tony Stewart took the lead and won. Kenseth led with two laps to go at Talladega in the spring before losing the lead to Brad Keselowski, who went on to win the race.

In an era where restrictor-plate racing can be a game of chance—Jimmie Johnson was collected in crashes in three of those four races and blew an engine in the other—Kenseth’s run is remarkable. Add to it that Kenseth isn’t known for his restrictor-plate prowess and the accomplishment is even more impressive.

“I feel like through my career, honestly, it’s been one of my weak points,” said Kenseth, whose average finish in plate races last year was 22.5. “I never felt like I was very good at it, felt like we’d make not the right decisions when we had really fast cars. I felt like that a couple of times, the second Daytona and the first Talladega, both of them races were mine to lose and I lost them for my team. I thought they gave me the stuff to win both of those races as well. Super, super thankful we were able to win this (past) weekend.

“I had no idea our plate stuff was going to run that good. After the 150 (-mile qualifying race at Daytona) with this package, I felt like we learned a few things and I learned a few things. Honestly, from the 150s all the way until we got done with the race last Sunday we’ve been surprisingly good.”

SPOKE TOO SOON  Dale Earnhardt Jr. had some strong words to say about the racing at Talladega after he was collected in a 25-car crash on the last lap of a green-white-checker finish.

“If this is what we did every week I wouldn’t be doing it I will just put it to you like that,” Earnhardt said. “If this is how we raced every week I would find another job.”

When a reporter suggested that fans enjoyed such a chaotic finish with cars spinning and crash, Earnhardt said: “Really? It’s not safe. Wrecking like that is ridiculous. It’s bloodthirsty if that is what people want. It’s ridiculous.”

When asked what changes he’d like to see, Earnhardt said: “The way we are going ain’t the right direction. There are plenty of engineers out there I’m just a driver. There are plenty of smart people out there that can figure something out where when one guy gets in trouble we don’t have 30 cars tore up at the expense of it. I mean it’s awesome in a word and everybody can get on the chip about it and get excited about all that which just happened, but for the longevity of the sport that ain’t healthy.”

Tuesday, Earnhardt told he regretted what he said.

“I regret making a bit of a scene and not considering the fact we're going to be in a totally different racecar for 2013. It's probably going to present a totally different style of racing at those tracks, so I probably have a bit more of a positive outlook on the potential for that style of racing to be really good with the next car.

“It was a bit heat of the moment, and I kind of regret getting that emotional about it. But I was just really upset about how that all went down. We'd run so good. I was really, really happy with my car in that race and I thought we should have been able to finish really good.”

TV RATINGS FOR ’DEGA DOWN  ESPN reported that Sunday’s broadcast of the Talladega Sprint Cup race earned a 3.7 household rating. That’s down from last year when the race drew a 3.9 household rating. In 2010, the race drew a 3.6 household rating.

ESPN also noted that the Talladega race drew an average audience of 5.1 million viewers. To compare, the Dover race the previous week on ESPN drew an average audience of 3.5 million viewers.

A GOOD SIGN  The points leader after the fifth race in the Chase has gone on to win the title in five of the previous eight years.

The years the champion was not the points leader after the fifth race was 2011 when Tony Stewart was fifth in the points after the fifth race, 2007 when Jimmie Johnson was second in the points and 2006 when Johnson was sixth in the points. Saturday night’s Charlotte race is the fifth race in the Chase.

by Dustin Long
Follow Dustin on Twitter: @DustinLong


<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long discusses Matt Kenseth's restrictor plate record in 2012, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s statements about plate racing and ESPN's ratings for NASCAR's Good Sam 500 at Talladega.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 18:59
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-picks-every-game-week-6

NFL Week 6 previews and predictions for every game on the schedule:

Steelers (2-2) at Titans (1-4)
The last time the Titans defeated the Steelers was Chris Johnson’s rookie season in 2008, when CJ taunted Troy Polamalu en route to a TD that locked up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs for Tennessee. Afterwards, the other half of "Smash and Dash," LenDale White, stomped on Pittsburgh’s signature "Terrible Towels" on the sideline. The curse was on, as the Titans lost eight straight games immediately after and have since gone 0–3 against the Steelers.
Steelers by 8

Chiefs (1-4) at Buccaneers (1-3)
"We are athletes. We are not gladiators," said Kansas City tackle Eric Winston, in a postgame rant. "When you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don’t care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel, it’s sickening." Good time for a road game. Brady Quinn — the Notre Dame golden boy with 10 TDs, nine INTs and a 67.3 passer rating over five seasons — will put his 3–9 record as a starter on the line.
Buccaneers by 6

Colts (2-2) at Jets (2-3)
"No question" that Mark Sanchez will be the Jets starting quarterback, according to coach Rex Ryan. But that won’t stop the Tim Tebow cheers when the league’s most popular lefty backup enters the game — or the boos when Sanchez comes back on the field.
Jets by 3

Bengals (3-2) at Browns (0-5)
For the second time in five games, Cincinnati and Cleveland will meet for a battle of the Buckeye State. In Week 2, the Bengals beat the in-state AFC North rival Browns, 34–27.
Browns by 1

Lions (1-3) at Eagles (3-2)
Michael Vick’s seven TDs (six pass, one rush) and 11 turnovers (six INTs, five lost fumbles) through five games are not a good sign of things to come for Philly.
Eagles by 4

Raiders (1-3) at Falcons (5-0)
The Silver-and-Bleak rank 32nd in the NFL in stopping opposing offenses on third down. Meanwhile, the Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez (29) and Roddy White (27) rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the NFL in passes caught for a first down. Add in the fact that Matt Ryan has a 27–4 record at the Georgia Dome and it looks like Atlanta will be 6–0 for the first time in franchise history.
Falcons by 10

Rams (3-2) at Dolphins (2-3)
Jeff Fisher turned down the Dolphins during the offseason. The Fins may need to brace for another disappointment caused by the mustache.
Dolphins by 2

Cowboys (2-2) at Ravens (4-1)
Tony Romo had the bye week to stew on his five-INT Monday night effort against Chicago. Things won’t be any easier for Romo against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and Co.
Ravens by 5

Bills (2-3) at Cardinals (4-1)
Buffalo has been getting slaughtered the past two weeks, losing to San Francisco 45–3 after taking a 52–28 defeat against New England.
Cardinals by 5

Patriots (3-2) at Seahawks (3-2)
New England brings its Oregon Ducks-style hurry-up and run offense to the Pacific Northwest, where another neon Nike team awaits.
Patriots by 5

Giants (3-2) at 49ers (4-1)
A rematch of last season’s epic NFC title game, when the G-Men topped the Niners, 20–17, thanks to a Kyle Williams fumbled punt return that led to a game-winning FG in overtime by Lawrence Tynes. The Giants went on to win their second Super Bowl in five years, while the 49ers went home hungrier than ever. San Fran has been on a mission so far, with a balanced offense and relentless defense. Last week, the Niners became the first team in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing in a single game, a 45–3 win over the Bills.
49ers by 4

Vikings (4-1) at Redskins (2-3)
All eyes will be on the status of RG3, who was knocked out of a loss to the Falcons with a ìmildî concussion and what appeared to be a few stitches to the face.
Vikings by 1

Packers (2-3) at Texans (5-0)
Green Bay can’t seem to get its footing in 2012. After losing to the Colts last week and losing running back Cedric Benson to a Lisfranc foot injury, the Packers will take on the undefeated Texans on the road on Sunday night — in what could be a defining do-or-die crossroads.
Texans by 2

Broncos (2-3) at Chargers (3-2)
Peyton Manning earned his first career win against the Chargers back in 1998. But the high points have been few and far between since. Manning has a 4–5 career record against the Bolts, including a 2–2 mark on the road in sunny San Diego and an 0–2 playoff record against the Super Chargers. Overall, Manning has thrown 16 TDs compared to 18 INTs — including a career-worst six picks during a 2007 loss and a four-pick game in a 2010 loss.
Chargers by 1

Last week: 11–3 // Season: 48–29

<p> A look at every game on the NFL schedule for Week 6, including Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans, Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers, New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 18:48
Path: /nfl/colts-%E2%80%9Cchuckstrong%E2%80%9D-upset-win-over-packers

Against all odds, the Indianapolis Colts proved they were indeed "ChuckStrong" during an unbelievable come-from-behind 30–27 win over the Green Bay Packers.

When first-year Colts coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, many thought the 2012 season was essentially over for the Colts, who posted the NFL’s worst record last year and have a young roster led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.

When Indianapolis trailed 21–3 at halftime against Green Bay — in its first game without Pagano pacing the sidelines — nearly everyone wrote off the Colts. After such a trying time dealing with Pagano’s sudden illness, there were countless built-in excuses for losing to the Packers.

But Indy never gave up, kept its foot to the floorboard and made a speedy second-half comeback. The Colts outscored the Packers 27–6 after the break, capping the unlikely rally with a four-yard scoring strike from Luck to Reggie Wayne with just 35 seconds remaining.

"I think we all went out there wanting to do it for Chuck more than anything else. To see all the emotions on Mr. Irsay’s face, BA’s (interim coach Bruce Arians), everyone in there," said Luck. "I think it’s one of the greatest athletic moments I’ve ever been a part of."

In his finest performance since being the No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford, Luck completed 31-of-55 passes for a career-high 362 yards, two TDs and one INT, along with 24 yards and one TD on the ground.

Luck’s go-to guy was Wayne, who hauled in 13 catches for a career-best 212 yards and the game-winning TD. The effort was Wayne’s 15th game with 10 or more catches and his 40th game with 100-plus-yards in a game. The 12th-year wideout also made a fashion statement to honor his hospitalized coach, wearing orange gloves for leukemia awareness rather than the traditional pink gloves for breast cancer awareness.

"I just wanted to do something, you know, for Chuck," said Wayne. "I had some equipment guys make some calls. If they fine me, they fine me. ... I’ll go ahead and take the fine and do it for Chuck."

The Colts were able to "do it for Chuck." As a result, owner Jim Irsay brought the game ball to the coach at IU Simon Cancer Center.

"In my 40 years in this business, I’ve never been prouder of a team and how they battled back," said Irsay.

"I’ve been in a lot of winning locker rooms, Super Bowl locker rooms, but I’ve never had an experience like this. People talk about money, what the team is worth, those kinds of things. But this was priceless. Absolutely priceless.

"We walked in, he got up, we all embraced and shed some tears, and Chuck said, ‘You know, I don’t feel so sick right now.’"

<p> The Indianapolis Colts, led by Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne, proved to be "ChuckStrong" during a come-from-behind 30-27 win over the Green Bay Packers. The victory was dedicated to hospitalized coach Chuck Pagano, who was given the game ball by owner Jim Irsay after the game.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 18:04
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-power-rankings-going-week-6

Athlon Sports’ weekly rankings of the best and worst teams in the NFL starts at the top with the undefeated Houston Texans and goes all the way to the bottom with the winless Cleveland Browns. Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 5 of the season.

1. Texans (5-0) Cushing injures left knee in MNF victory over Jets.

2. Falcons (5-0) Off to first 5–0 start in franchise history, since ’66.

3. 49ers (4-1) Strike gold with franchise-record 621 total yards.

4. Ravens (4-1) Defense holds strong, Tucker hits FGs in ugly win.

5. Bears (4-1) Have five INTs returned for TDs over last three weeks.

6. Cardinals (4-1) Kolb sacked nine times by Rams in first loss of year.

7. Vikings (4-1) Riding first three-game winning streak since ’09.

8. Patriots (3-2) Brady improves career record vs. Manning to 9–4.

9. Steelers (2-2) Polamalu aggravates calf, won’t play at Tennessee.

10. Eagles (3-2) Vick loses two fumbles in close call loss to Steelers.

11. Giants (3-2) Bradshaw romps, Cruz cha-chas, Wilson flips in win.

12. Packers (2-3) Crosby misses game-tying 51-yard FG in loss at Indy.

13. Bengals (3-2) Late fourth-quarter INT by Dalton ends loss to Fins.

14. Broncos (2-3) Manning-led second-half rally falls short at Patriots.

15. Saints (1-4) Brees breaks Unitas’ record in Big Easy’s first win.

16. Chargers (3-2) Rivers throws INT, loses fumble in fourth quarter.

17. Cowboys (2-2) Used bye to ìrecoup, refresh, regroup,î says Carr.

18. Rams (3-2) Fisher has Rams above .500 for first time since ’06.

19. Seahawks (3-2) No controversy over Golden go-ahead TD at Carolina.

20. Redskins (2-3) RG3 bloodied, concussed after hit by Weatherspoon.

21. Colts (2-2) Dedicate ìChuckStrongî win over Packers to Pagano.

22. Jets (2-3) Tebow fake punt first-down run highlights defeat.

23. Dolphins (2-3) Have not allowed 100-yard rusher in 19 contests.

24. Bills (2-3) Have allowed combined 97 points last two weeks.

25. Lions (1-3) Stafford hopes bye ìrefocusesî disappointing Detroit.

26. Buccaneers (1-3) Schiano uses bye for top-to-bottom team review.

27. Raiders (1-3) Have yet to record INT, high-flying Falcons up next.

28. Titans (1-4) Have league-worst negative-93 point differential.

29. Panthers (1-4) Newton sophomore slump continues vs. Seahawks.

30. Chiefs (1-4) Winston ìsickenedî by fans cheering Cassel injury.

31. Jaguars (1-4) Gabbert throws two pick-sixes to Bears in defeat.

32. Browns (0-5) Fall to 0–5 for first time since returning to NFL in ’99.

<p> Athlon Sports’ weekly rankings of the best and worst teams in the NFL starts at the top with the undefeated Houston Texans and goes all the way to the bottom with the winless Cleveland Browns. Here are our NFL Power Rankings following Week 5 of the season.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 17:41
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-6-rankings

Week 6 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. Phillips' Kentucky team is off to a 1-5 start, while Spaziani and Boston College are coming off of a disappointing loss to Army. 

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 6 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Record at Kentucky: 12-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-5
The bad news for Phillips only got worse on Saturday. Highly touted true freshman quarterback Patrick Towles led a touchdown drive on his first series but left shortly after with an ankle injury. With Maxwell Smith and Towles sidelined indefinitely, Kentucky is down to true freshman Jalen Whitlow and struggling senior Morgan Newton at quarterback. The Wildcats are playing a lot of young players, which would seem to help Phillips’ case that he should get another year. However, with six games to go, Kentucky needs to be competitive and pull out an upset or two to give Phillips enough cache to return for 2013.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Boston College: 21-23 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-4
If there was any doubt Spaziani was gone at the end of the year, Saturday’s loss to Army clinched his fate. Boston College dropped its third game in a row, falling 34-31 to the Black Knights. Spaziani is known for his background on defense, but the Eagles have struggled on that side of the ball this year, ranking 117th nationally against the run and 104th in total yards allowed. Barring a couple of upsets, Boston College will miss out on a bowl game for the second consecutive season.

3. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Rice: 24-43 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-5
After beating Kansas in Week 2, Bailiff appeared to have Rice on the right track and was moving off the hot seat. However, it’s been all downhill since then, as the Owls have lost four consecutive games, including a disappointing 14-10 loss to Memphis on Saturday. Rice’s offense averaged 34.3 points a game through the first four weeks but is averaging just 12 points over the last two contests. Outside of an Oct. 20 date at Tulsa, every remaining game on Rice’s schedule is winnable. Needless to say, the next six contests will likely decide Bailiff’s fate.

4. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Buffalo: 6-23 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-4
Quinn jumps two spots in this week’s coaches on the hot seat ranking, but let’s give the Bulls a little credit. Buffalo gave Ohio all it could handle before losing 38-31. The Bulls have pushed Connecticut and Ohio in the last two weeks and played relatively well in the opener against Georgia. While Buffalo has shown flashes of promise, Quinn needs to get this team over the hump and convert close games into victories. The Bulls won’t have an easy road over the next three games, as they take on Northern Illinois, Pittsburgh and Toledo.

5. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Central Michigan: 8-21 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-3
The momentum that Central Michigan established with a win over Iowa has quickly eroded over the last two weeks. The Chippewas fell to 2-3 with a 50-35 loss to Toledo on Saturday, which is the third game the defense has allowed 40 or more points. Central Michigan returns home for its next four games, including a nationally televised game against Navy this Friday.

6. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Auburn: 31-14 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-4
After losing 12-10 to LSU in Week 4, most thought Auburn had found some answers on both sides of the ball and was ready to turn things around in the second half of the season. However, the Tigers were awful in Saturday’s game against Arkansas, losing 24-7 and falling to 0-3 in the SEC. Although Auburn has plenty of issues, the Razorbacks came into this game in a freefall and thoroughly handled the Tigers. While Chizik’s overall record (31-14) is impressive, take out the 14-0 national championship season and Auburn is just above a .500 team (17-14) – which won’t get it done in the SEC.

7. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at New Mexico State: 10-34 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-5
As we have mentioned in this space about Walker this year, New Mexico State is a difficult job and this program needed a lot of work when he became head coach. However, the Aggies have lost four in a row, including a 35-14 blowout defeat to UTSA (a program in its second year of football) and a 26-18 loss to Idaho. With the uncertainty over New Mexico State’s future conference, Walker is probably safe for another year. However, a 1-11 or 2-10 record this season would be a major disappointment.

8. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Idaho: 20-48 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-5
The Vandals finally cracked the win column, beating New Mexico State 26-18 in Week 6. Idaho’s schedule hasn’t afford many opportunities for victories, but this team played well in a loss against Bowling Green and nearly beat Wyoming on Sept. 22. The win over the Aggies snapped an eight-game losing streak and should allow this team to build some momentum for WAC play in the second half of the season. Akey is in a difficult position with Idaho’s uncertainty surrounding its conference. However, just like New Mexico State’s DeWayne Walker, this program can’t afford to fall too far behind and a 1-11 season might bring a coaching change for 2013.

9. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at California: 81-52 (11th season)
2012 Record: 2-4
With their backs against the wall, the Golden Bears responded with a 43-17 victory over UCLA on Saturday night. The win not only snaps a three-game losing streak, but should reduce some of the pressure on Tedford. The veteran coach has taken a lot of heat this year and still needs a few more wins to keep his job. Although California’s 2-4 record is disappointing, its schedule has been one of the most difficult in the nation through the first six weeks of 2012.

10. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Tennessee: 14-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-2
With an upcoming schedule that features games against Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina, the bye week came at a good time for Tennessee. Although Volunteers’ fans want to be undefeated, this team simply lost to better teams so far (Georgia and Florida) and have not played bad in either game. While the next three contests could all be losses, Tennessee could finish out 2012 on a four-game winning streak, as Troy, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky should all be victories. Dooley’s team has made some progress, but the next seven games will be crucial for his future in Knoxville.

11. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UNLV: 5-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-5
As the hot seat watch has mentioned in previous editions, Hauck seems to have UNLV pointed in the right direction. However, the harsh reality remains: The Rebels are 1-5 and lost to Northern Arizona in Week 2. UNLV’s schedule hasn’t been particularly easy and the next two games are daunting: Nevada and at Boise State. Looking ahead to the last month of the season, the Rebels should have a chance to win all four games, which would help Hauck make a case for another year in 2013.

12. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Iowa: 99-68 (14th season)
2012 Record: 3-2
Ferentz has experienced a roller coaster ride on the hot seat rankings this season, as he climbed into the top 10 with a bad loss to Central Michigan but tumbled down the list after beating Minnesota on Sept. 29. With Iowa’s next victory, Ferentz will top 100 victories in his career in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes travel to Michigan State this week and host Penn State on Oct. 20, which won’t make it any easier for Ferentz to hit that milestone.

13. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Southern Miss: 0-5
2012 Record: 0-5
The disastrous start to Johnson’s tenure at Southern Miss continued with a 40-14 loss to Boise State. In fairness to the Golden Eagles, the schedule hasn’t been easy, as all five of their opponents should be bowl teams. However, Southern Miss’ offense has not scored more than 17 points in each of its last four games and the defense ranks 105th nationally in points allowed. With a game at UCF this Saturday and a home date against Marshall on Oct. 20 coming up, the Golden Eagles could be 0-7 heading into a road trip to Rice at the end of October.

14. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at South Florida: 15-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-4
The Bulls are one of college football’s biggest disappointments through the first six weeks of the season. With a roster that returned 13 starters, South Florida was expected to be in the mix for the Big East title, while erasing the disappointment from a 5-7 finish last year. Instead, the Bulls have slumped to a 2-4 start, which includes losses at Ball State and Temple. South Florida simply has too much talent to be 2-4, leaving Holtz and his coaching staff with much of the blame. Holtz signed a hefty contract extension in the offseason, so it’s unlikely the school will make a change. However, another 5-7 or 4-8 year won’t sit well in Tampa.

15. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at UTEP: 46-57 (8 years)
2012 Record: 1-5
Although UTEP has close calls against Oklahoma and Wisconsin this season, the Miners have only one win at the midpoint of 2012 and are 0-2 in C-USA play. UTEP’s second half schedule doesn’t provide a ton of relief, especially with road trips to Tulsa and Houston, along with a visit from UCF. Price has not had a winning year since 2005 and the Miners appear to be headed for their seventh consecutive season of at least seven or more losses.

16. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Colorado: 4-14 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-4
Colorado had a bye week on Saturday and return to action against Arizona State on Thursday night. The off date came at a good time for the Buffaloes, as they had a handful of injured players and had a full week to make some much-needed adjustments. Colorado is going to struggle to win another game this year, but Embree doesn’t appear to be in any danger of losing his job.

17. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at MTSU: 38-42 (7th season)
2012 Record: 3-2
The week after beating Georgia Tech on the road, it was no surprise MTSU lost to Louisiana-Monroe. The Blue Raiders had a letdown performance, but the Warhawks are also one of the best teams in the Sun Belt this year. Stockstill’s seat was scalding hot after losing the season opener to McNeese State, but MTSU rebounded and could make a run at six victories.

18. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Western Michigan: 50-42 (8th season)
2012 Record: 3-3
With quarterback Alex Carder sidelined with a hand injury, backup Tyler VanTubbergen led Western Michigan to an easy 52-14 win over UMass. VanTubbergen threw for five touchdowns and 283 yards, while the Broncos’ defense limited the Minutemen to 135 passing yards. Cubit entered this season with a lot of pressure on his shoulders, as Western Michigan has yet to win the MAC West under his watch. The Broncos were picked by many to win the division but need some help after losing to Toledo 37-17. Western Michigan’s next five games – including four on the road – will decide whether or not this team can play in Detroit for the conference championship in early December.

19. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Syracuse: 19-23 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-3
Marrone is one of the biggest winners from the Week 6 action. The Orange got a much-needed victory over Pittsburgh, edging the Panthers 14-13. The win was Syracuse’s first over a FBS team since beating West Virginia 49-23 on Oct. 21 last season. Barring a disastrous finish to 2012, Marrone shouldn’t be in any danger of losing his job. However, the Orange needs to show more progress in the second half of the season, especially as a move to the ACC is on the horizon for 2013.

20. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Maryland: 5-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 3-2
Saturday’s 19-14 win over Wake Forest wasn’t pretty, but the victory ensured Maryland would finish 2012 with a better record than it did last season. Edsall has been under fire since he took the job in College Park, but the Terrapins are making progress, which has been made possible by a true freshman quarterback (Perry Hills) and a dynamic playmaker at receiver (Stefon Diggs). Maryland still needs some help to get to a bowl game, but upcoming match-ups against Virginia and Boston College are very winnable.

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas:
2012 Record: 2-4
As the hot seat watch has mentioned every week, Smith is on a one-year contract, so he’s not really in any danger of being fired. After a 24-7 victory at Auburn, the Razorbacks are building some momentum for the second half of the season, and they still have a chance to make a bowl game. Arkansas has winnable games against Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tulsa but would need to pull off an upset over Arkansas, Mississippi State or LSU to get to six wins. Although Smith has taken a lot of heat over the last few weeks, he deserves credit for Saturday’s win over Auburn. 

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 6 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
College Football Week 6 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 6 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-6-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 six weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams just getting into conference play. 

With little data to work with, the post-Week 6 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 6 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Nevada
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Utah State vs. N. Illinois
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. San Diego State
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA East Carolina vs. Connecticut
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Tulsa
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Minnesota vs. Toledo
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Duke vs. Marshall*
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East NC State vs. Cincinnati
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Baylor
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Wake Forest vs. La. Tech*
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East Miami vs. Rutgers
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Iowa vs. Texas Tech
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. Iowa State
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Oregon State vs. Texas
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Okla. State vs. Northwestern 
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 Arizona State vs. Va. Tech
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Arkansas vs. UCF**
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Clemson vs. Miss. State
Heart of Dallas Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Purdue vs. TCU Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Texas A&M vs. Michigan State
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Florida vs. Nebraska
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Wisconsin vs. Georgia
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC Oklahoma vs. LSU
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Vanderbilt vs. UL Monroe* Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt W. Kentucky vs. Ohio
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Michigan vs. USC
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS South Carolina vs. Kansas State
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS West Virginia 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. 9, 2012)

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 6 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
College Football Week 6 Recap

<p> College Football Post-Week 6 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-6

Several top fantasy producers will be getting a rest in Week 6 with Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans all on bye. Not only does that mean no Drew Brees, Cam Newton or Jay Cutler, it also means owners won’t get anything out of Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Brandon Marshall, Marques Colston, or Jimmy Graham, among others. And don’t forget about Chicago’s defense/special teams, which is far and away the No. 1 unit in all of fantasy football as the Monsters of the Midway have out-scored opposing offenses on their own over the past three weeks.

While there is not a suitable replacement for the Bears DST out there, that does not mean there aren’t any viable options available on the waiver wire. The same goes for other positions that are either impacted by the bye week, injury or a lack of production. Here are some names worth considering.

Week 6 Positional Rankings

Week 6 Start or Sit

Bye week teams: Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville, New Orleans

Week 5 Recap: This past week didn’t go that well for Matt Hasselbeck, Kevin Kolb or Ryan Tannehill, although Tannehill’s Dolphins were victorious over the Bengals. Hasselbeck had the best fantasy numbers thanks to a fourth quarter touchdown in the Titans’ loss to the Vikings, but overall his numbers (200-1-1, 10 rushing yards) were nothing to get that excited about. Hasselbeck will get another chance this Thursday at home against Pittsburgh as Jake Locker (shoulder) has already been ruled out by head coach Mike Munchak. Hasselbeck also could benefit from facing a Steelers defense that won a physical, hard-hitting affair against the Eagles on Sunday, but besides being battered and bruised, suffered even more injuries and faces a quick turnaround for this week's game. Kolb and Tannehill scored even fewer fantasy points than Hasselbeck, as the Rams knocked Kolb around (9 sacks) and he committed three turnovers (2 INT, 1 fumle), while Tannehill wasn’t called on to do that much (17-of-26, 223 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) in the passing game. Kolb appears to have the better match-up this week as the Cardinals will host Buffalo, while Tannehill and the Dolphins welcome the aforementioned Rams to Miami.

Kirk Cousins, Washington Redksins
Purely speculative, but starter Robert Griffin III suffered an apparent concussion in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, so he will need to pass all the mandatory tests and be cleared to not only practice, but play Sunday against Minnesota. If Griffin can’t go, Cousins will get the start, as he made his NFL debut in relief of Griffin and picked up his first career touchdown pass, a 77-yard strike to Santana Moss to give the Redskins the lead early in the fourth quarter. He also was picked off twice as the Falcons scored the final 10 points for the victory, but the rookie still finished with decent numbers (5-of-9, 111 yards, TD, 2 INT) in his first taste of NFL action. He could be in line for significantly more this Sunday.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman hasn’t done an awful lot (790 yards passing, 5 TD, 4 INT, 22 yards rushing) in his first four games, but Tampa Bay is coming off of its bye week, allowing Freeman and the offense time to work out the kinks. Also, don’t overlook that this week the Buccaneers will host Kansas City. Even after holding Joe Flacco and the Ravens to just nine points (yet still losing), the Chiefs are still allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They have given up a total of 10 passing touchdowns compared to just three interceptions so far.

Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel left Kansas City’s 9-6 loss to Baltimore with an apparent head injury, opening the door for Quinn. The reality is that while injury may end up being the official reason for a quarterback change in KC, the truth is that this was probably coming regardless. The Chiefs are 1-4 and in spite of the defense’s own issues, it’s quite easy to point the finger at Cassel. He is completing less than 59 percent of his passes for an average of 230 yards per game. More troubling is the turnovers, as he’s coughed it up 13 times (9 INTs, 4 fumbles) while accounting for only six touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rush) in five games. Injury or not, there’s a good chance Quinn will get the nod this Sunday in Tampa Bay. Quinn started 12 games in 2008-09 for the Browns, and for his career has completed less than 53 percent of his attempts for 1,934 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. One other thing to keep in mind: Tampa Bay has given up an average of 345 yards passing in its first four games.

Tim Tebow, New York Jets
Like Quinn, Tebow may soon get the chance to show what he can do under center for the Jets, especially if Mark Sanchez and the offense continue to struggle. By now, it’s no secret what Tebow can and can not do when it comes to playing quarterback, but if he gets the opportunity to start, it instantly increases his fantasy value. His shortcomings as a passer aside, Tebow has already shown that he’s capable of producing as a rusher. Even with his limited playing time so far, Tebow is third on the team in rushing and is responsible for the Jets’ longest running play (22 yards) from scrimmage.

Running Backs
Week 5 Recap: Rashard Mendenhall certainly made his presence felt in his season debut, as he led the Steelers in carries (14), rushing yards (81) and scored the team’s only touchdown in the win over the Eagles. There’s no reason to think he’s not the team’s top back moving forward. Kendall Hunter also had 81 yards rushing as he made the most of his opportunities in San Francisco’s 45-3 blowout of Buffalo. Jackie Battle, Brandon Bolden and Ronnie Hillman combined for 83 rushing yards on 21 carries as they saw the starters in front of them, namely Ryan Mathews for San Diego and Stevan Ridley for New England, assert themselves. All three are still worth owning, but expectations, barring injury, for each moving forward should probably be tempered.

Alex Green, Green Bay Packers
Cedric Benson left Sunday’s game in Indianapolis with a foot injury and Green got the most carries (9) after that. The second-year pro from Hawaii, who was the team’s third-round pick in 2011, finished with 55 yards (6.1 ypc) and is now in line for even more opportunities, as Benson will be out for at least eight weeks (possibly lost for the season) after suffering an apparent Lisfranc injury to his foot. James Starks (and perhaps Brandon Saine) could still have something to say about this. Starks, who was the presumed starter before the Packers signed Benson during training camp, has missed the first five games with a toe injury, but is reportedly almost healthy enough to return to the field. Regardless, I wouldn’t expect a great deal out of any of the Packers' backs this week when they take on the undefeated Texans and their No. 6-ranked defense.

Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall made his triumphant return as the Steelers’ lead back on Sunday against the Eagles and looks to have cemented his status as such moving forward. That said, Redman finished with only one fewer carry (13 to 14) than Mendenhall and he is currently the team’s leading rusher. Also, the Steelers decided to make Jonathan Dwyer inactive, even though he was healthy, against the Eagles, so it appears that Redman, and not Dwyer, will maintain the role of the team’s No. 2 back. There could be worse positions to be in considering the Steelers’ propensity to run the ball and this Thursday’s match-up with Tennessee, who is giving up more than 144 yards rushing per game.

Darius Reynaud, Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson isn’t losing his job as the Titans’ starting running back, especially now that backup Javon Ringer is out four to six weeks after spraining his left knee. However, that doesn’t mean that CJ might not lose some carries, as he’s been largely ineffective (210 yards, 2.9 ypc, 0 TD) running the ball and has yet to score. To that end, it appears that Reynaud (who also could be eligible at WR depending on the league) would get the chance, as he currently has more carries, targets and receptions than Jamie Harper, who is also on the roster. The Titans already know about Reynaud’s speed and playmaking ability, as he’s averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return, including one he brought back 105 yards for a touchdown. At this point, it certainly can’t hurt to give someone other than Johnson a shot at running the ball.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals
Beanie Wells is already on injured reserve because of a toe injury, but there’s a chance he will return at some point this season. The same cannot be said for Ryan Williams, however, as the shoulder injury he suffered during Thursday’s loss to St. Louis ended up being worse than initially believed. Williams’ 2012 season is over as the second-year back will need to undergo shoulder surgery to repair the damage. Stephens-Howling is expected to move to the top of the Cardinals’ depth chart at running back, although he has missed the past two games with a hip-flexor injury. He was reportedly close to playing last Thursday, so if he’s healthy enough, he should get the first shot. The Cardinals also have William Powell, the only other running back other than Williams to get a carry against the Rams, and Alfonso Smith on the roster. This is a situation that bears watching, especially in deeper leagues, as Arizona welcomes Buffalo to the desert on Sunday. The Bills’ defense is among the worst in the league statistically and it gave up 311 yards rushing and 45 points to San Francisco last week.

David Wilson, New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw rumbled for 200 yards on 30 carries (6.7 ypc) against Cleveland, but it was Wilson who perhaps made the most of his chances against the Browns. Andre Brown went down early with a head injury, presenting Wilson with an opportunity as the Giants looked to eat up some time with a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. Wilson finally got another chance to run the ball and he promptly took it 40 yards to paydirt. Whether or not this results in Wilson getting more opportunities in the future remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the rookie that he capitalized on the chance he got on Sunday, especially in light of Brown’s injury and the Giants’ renewed emphasis on running the ball.

Wide Receivers
Week 5 Recap: James Jones (4-46-2) made the most noise in Week 5, while Brian Hartline, Domenik Hixon and Andre Roberts each caught at least four passes. Donald Jones only managed two receptions, but then again the Bills had a total of 204 yards of offense and scored three measly points against the 49ers. Hartline, James Jones and Roberts appear to the most appealing options of these moving forward based on their respective situations, although Hixon’s outlook is tied directly to the health of Hakeem Nicks.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams
The Rams will be without the services of leading receiver Danny Amendola for at least a month, meaning some other wideout will need to step up in his absence. Gibson appears to be the most likely candidate to assume Amendola’s role, as he’s second on the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards and he’s already caught two touchdowns. Rookie Chris Givens probably bears watching as well. He caught a 51-yard touchdown against the Cardinals, but has had problems holding on to the ball overall (4 receptions, 15 targets).

Mario Manningham, San Francisco Giants
Alex Smith, the NFL’s top-rated passer, threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns against Buffalo. Not to say the 49ers will continue to air it out, but Smith’s showing himself capable as a passer. To that end, Manningham is third on the team in both targets (23) and receptions (19) and has the same number of touchdown catches (one) as leading receiver Michael Crabtree. It also doesn’t hurt that this Sunday Manningham’s former team, the Giants, will be making the cross-country trip to take on the 49ers.

Robert Meachem, San Diego Chargers
Perhaps all it took was some familiar faces to get Meachem going. After catching just six passes for 92 yards in the Chargers’ first four games, the free agent acquisition erupted for three catches, 67 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints, his former team. Malcom Floyd is Philip Rivers’ top target and tight end Antonio Gates will probably continue to get more looks, but Meachem can still be a productive receiver for the Chargers and someone’s fantasy team. It starts by putting together two solid games in a row as the Chargers will host Denver this coming Monday night.

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vincent Jackson gets more targets (and makes considerably more money), but Williams has been a reliable and productive secondary option for Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay’s passing attack. Williams is averaging slightly more yards (19.9 to 19.0) per reception than Jackson and each have caught two touchdown passes so far. The Bucs have had an extra week to get ready for Kansas City, who has had its share of problems on defense and is giving up an average of 29 points per game.

Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Tennessee’s offense is struggling, especially when it comes to running the ball, but you can’t pin it on the rookie. Not only is he leading the team in receptions, he’s tied for 19th in the league as his 27 is also the most of any first-year wide receiver. Wright’s not getting a lot of yards (214, 7.9 ypc), but he’s tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with two and has caught a total of 13 passes the past two games. Wright is worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses, especially in PPR leagues.

Tight Ends
Week 5 Recap: Scott Chandler was the Bills’ leading receiver (4 rec., 40 yds.) against San Francisco, which isn’t saying much, but he also lost a fumble. Greg Olsen fared similarly (2, 37), minus the fumble, but that’s not surprising considering Cam Newton was 12-for-29 for only 141 yards (4.9 ypc) against Seattle. The Bills will try to get some offense going at Arizona, while Olsen and the Panthers have the week off.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham is averaging five catches and 57 yards over his last three games and he’s also caught a touchdown during that span. He’s second on the Bengals in receptions and even though A..J. Green is the clear-cut primary option in the team’s passing attack, Andy Dalton has been averaging nearly 34 pass attempts per game and is seventh in both passing yards and touchdowns. With numbers like that, there should be more than enough to make Gresham fantasy relevant too.

Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals
Housler’s not catching a ton of passes, only eight on the year, but seven of those have come over the past three weeks. He’s also averaging nearly 15 yards per reception and Kevin Kolb targeted him six times last week. If anything, it appears that Housler has established himself as the Cardinals’ primary tight end moving forward. If he can increase his production and show some consistency, at worst he could become a viable bye week replacement option.

Defense/Special Teams

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins' defense has played well to start the season, especially against the run. The 'Fins are No. 1 in rush defense as they have allowed only 61.4 yards per game and have already faced off against running backs like Arian Foster and Darren McFadden. They have been a little more susceptible to the pass (281.8 ypg), but are only surrendering 20.6 points per game. Next up is a Rams team at home that's lost its top wide receiver and only completed seven passes last week. Following their bye in Week 7, the Dolphins have the Jets, Colts, Titans, Bills and Seahawks on their slate. Of these six teams, only Indianapolis ranks higher than 21st in the league in total offense.

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are tied for fourth among DSTs in fantasy scoring, largely due to their ability to pressure the quarterback (14 sacks) and having viable threats for both kickoff (Percy Harvin) and punt (Marcus Sherels) returns. Overall, the Vikings' defense has been a pleasant surprise thus far and their upcoming schedule — at WAS, ARI, TB, at SEA — doesn't appear to be all that daunting either. In fact, this week's game in Washington could look a lot different if Robert Griffin III is unable to play because of the concussion he suffered last week.

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. 9, 2012

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 6</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-countdown-no-5-syracuse-preview
Visit the online store for Syracuse and other editions of the 2012-13 Athlon Sports College Basketball annual.

The first practices of college basketball season begin in mid-October, and Athlon Sports 2012-13 preview annuals have arrived on newsstands all over the country.

To prepare for the start of college basketball season, we will preview one team each weekday, counting down to the first official day of basketball practice on Oct. 15, or for some teams on Oct. 12.

We continue our countdown with a preview of No. 5 Syracuse.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim prefers to look at the players he has and not the ones who are gone. So while many pundits will pore over Syracuse’s extensive personnel losses off last year’s team that went 34–3 and advanced to the Elite Eight, Boeheim will stick to one of his favorite mantras.

“I coach the players that are here,” Boeheim says.

Syracuse’s losses would debilitate most programs. Gone from last year’s team are three starters — seniors Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph plus NBA first-round pick Fab Melo — and Big East Sixth Man of the Year Dion Waiters, who was the No. 4 pick in the draft despite not starting a game for SU in ’11-12.

Syracuse, however, should maintain its customary spot at or near the top of the Big East standings. Senior guard Brandon Triche and sophomore forward Rakeem Christmas return as starters, while senior James Southerland and juniors C.J. Fair and Baye Keita should step into bigger roles this season after gaining a wealth of experience last year.

“The fact that you have six guys that played a lot, that’s a lot,” Boeheim says. “Most teams don’t have that many. We have a good, solid nucleus of players.”

The key to Syracuse’s frontcourt rotation could be the readiness of DaJuan Coleman. The  6-10, 285-pound freshman local product led Jamesville-Dewitt High to four New York State Class A titles and was a McDonald’s All-American last year. “I think he’s got good tools,” Boeheim says. “He’s underrated as a ball-handler and passer. He can do those things even though he’s a big guy.”

If Coleman proves ready to start, Christmas can remain at power forward. Christmas averaged just 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds last year, but he had big moments like an eight-point, 11-rebound game against Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament.

Joseph led Syracuse in scoring in each of the last two seasons, but Fair has been preparing for a featured role for two years. Fair played 26.4 minutes per game off the bench last season, second-most on the team team behind Joseph. Fair can play either forward position but needs to extend his range out to the 3-point line to become a complete player.

Southerland could start at forward if Christmas gets moved to center, or the long, lanky senior will come off the bench ready to launch his accurate jumper from 3-point range. Expect Keita and freshman forward Jerami Grant to provide depth.

Last year, Syracuse’s backcourt was one of the most experienced in the country. This year, Triche will be the only SU guard with any substantial experience.  Still, the Orange backcourt could be just as potent.

Triche will need to emerge as a vocal leader and a become more aggressive on the offensive end of the court. Improving his 3-point shooting (35.0 percent last year) would be nice, too.

“I think he’s important,” Boeheim says. “He’s got to be ready. It’s his fourth year. He knows what to do.”

Complementing Triche will be two young players in sophomore Michael Carter-Williams and redshirt freshman Trevor Cooney. Carter-Williams, whose lean 6-5 frame reminds some of a young Jason Kidd, has outstanding court vision. His passing ability will create easy looks for the big guys up front. Carter-Williams averaged 2.1 assists in only 10.3 minutes of action as a freshman.

Cooney, a Delaware native who signed with SU two years ago, can drill the spot-up 3-pointer, but don’t label him, says Boeheim. “He’s not a guy we look at as just being a shooter. We think he’s a good player.”

Despite losing four players, including three NBA Draft picks, Syracuse will compete for the Big East title in what will be its last year in the conference before leaving for the ACC.

The Orange have enough experience in Triche, Fair, Southerland and Christmas, but the big keys will be two of the team’s younger players. If Carter-Williams can handle the point and Coleman can step in and contribute in the middle, the Orange could emerge as a Final Four contender.

“I think it’s always difficult to replace a lot of guys,” Boeheim says. “The good news is that the other guys all got to play a lot last year. We have seven guys that we think can play, and we think the two freshmen certainly are playing right away.”


Athlon College Basketball Countdown So Far:
20. Florida

19. Notre Dame

18. Memphis
17. Baylor
16. Missouri

15. San Diego State

14. North Carolina

13. UNLV

12. UCLA
11. NC State

10. Michigan State
9. Duke

8. Ohio State

7. Arizona

6. Michigan

<p> College Basketball Countdown: No. 5 Syracuse Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 05:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-who-votes-harris-poll
Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is one of 115 voters in the Harris poll for 2012.

The calendar has turned to October, and the unveiling of the BCS standings is near.

For college football fans, in short, this can be an infuriating time. College football’s national championship is decided by a handful of components -- active coaches, computers and the mix of personalities in the Harris Interactive top 25.

Part of the BCS standings since 2005 when the Associated Press pulled its poll out of the formula, the Harris poll may be the least understood of the postseason components.

Its 115 voters are randomly selected to represent each conference and the independents. Harris Interactive selects 10 voters each from a pool of candidates provided by each conference, bringing the total voters to 110. Candidates submitted by the four independents make up the final five spots in the poll.

But who are the voters? Harris releases a list of names of the panel, but not their relationship to college football, the conference from which they were selected, or the college or conference that nominated to the panel in the first place.

Through research, we have filled in the gaps with a quick description of each voter for 2012.

Here are a few of our observations on the panel.

The mix is as expected among former players, former coaches, current and former media members and college administrators.

Our breakdown is as follows:

39 former players. This includes football players who went on to broadcast careers but not former college football players who went on to become coaches or administrators. One Heisman winner, Army’s Pete Dawkins, is in the panel.

31 former administrators. This includes former commissioners, athletic directors and sports information directors. The most notable is former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, who is considered to be the father of the BCS.

27 current and former media members for print, broadcast and online outlets.

13 former coaches. This includes Lloyd Carr (Michigan), Tommy Bowden (Clemson and Tulane), Rich Brooks (Kentucky and Oregon) and Jackie Sherrill (Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh and Washington State).

5 “others.” This includes a former head of officials (Tim Mills), a former television executive (Loren Matthews) and a director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers (John Dorsey).

Other notes:

Of the 115 voters, 29 have participated in the Harris poll every season since it began in 2005.

The Harris poll features 15 new voters from last season including former Tulane quarterback Shaun King, former Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El, former Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner, former Minnesota running back Darrell Thompson and former Cincinnati and Florida State athletic director Bob Goin.

Another new voter, Bob Condron, spent the last 28 years as the director of media services for the United States Olympic Committee. His last experience in college athletics was sports information staffer at SMU and Texas Tech in the early 1980s.

Gary Hogeboom was a quarterback at Central Michigan and with the Dallas Cowboys, but he was also a contestant on Survivor: Guatemala in 2005.

Voter Description
*Denny Aldridge Texas player 1966-68
Bob Anderson Army player 1956-60
Eric Bailey Reporter, The Tulsa World
James Bates Florida player 1993-96, CBS Sports Network broadcaster
Sammy Batten Reporter, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
*Dick Bestwick Georgia administrator 1986-88, South Carolina athletic director 1988, Virginia coach 1976-81
*Joe Biddle Former columnist, The Nashville Tennessean
*Blaine Bishop Ball State player 1990-92, Radio host, WGFX in Nashville
Tommy Bowden Tulane coach 1997-98, Clemson coach 1999-2008
Dave Braine Georgia Tech athletic director 1997-2006, Virginia Tech AD 1988-97, Marshall AD 1985-87
Gil Brandt analyst, Former Cowboys director of player personnel
Rich Brooks Oregon coach 1977-94, Kentucky coach 2003-09
Chip Brown Reporter,
*Brenston Buckner Clemson player 1990-93
Grant Burget Oklahoma player 1970-74
Chris Carlin Broadcaster for Rutgers and SNY
Lloyd Carr Michigan coach 1995-2007
*Charlie Cavagnaro UNLV athletic director 1995-2001, Memphis AD 1982-95
Pete Cavender Boise State player 2003-07, radio analyst BSU Sports Radio Network
Tony Collins East Carolina player 1977-80
Bob Condron Former USOC director of media services 1984-2012, former SID staffer at Texas Tech and SMU
Gene Corrigan Notre Dame athletic director 1981-87, Virginia AD 1971-80, ACC commissioner 1987-97
Joe Crowley Former University of Nevada president, former NCAA president
Dick Crum North Carolina coach 1978-87, Kent State coach 1988-90
Fran Curci Miami coach 1971-72, Kentucky coach 1973-81
*Pete Dawkins 1958 Heisman winner at Army, former CEO of Primerica Financial Services
Herb Dromedi Central Michigan coach 1978-93
Mark Dienhart Minnesota athletic director 1995-2000, Executive Vice President, University of St. Thomas
John Dorsey Green Bay Packers director of college scouting, Connecticut player 1980-83
Bob Dunlevy West Virginia player 1963-65
Chuck Ealey Toledo player 1969-71
Jack Ebling Columnist,; Former columnist Lansing (Mich.) State Journal
Rondo Fehlberg BYU athletic director 1995-99
Robert Gagliardi Reporter, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Richard Giannini Southern Miss athletic director 1999-2011, former administrator at ULM, Florida and Duke.
Bob Goin Cincinnati athletic director 1997-2005, Florida State athletic director 1990-94
Joe Gottfried South Alabama athletic director 1984-2009
Mike Griffith Reporter,
*Bob Grim Oregon State player 1964-66
Lee Grosscup Utah player 1957-58
Mark Hermann Purdue player 1977-80
*Tommy Hicks Columnist, Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register
Gary Hogeboom Central Michigan player 1976-79
David Horning NC State administrator 1984-2010
*David Housel Auburn athletic director 1990-2004
Todd Husak Stanford player 1996-99
J.J. Joe Former Baylor player 1990-93; Radio analyst, Baylor
Scott Johnson Fresno State athletic director 2001-05
Tony Jones Texas player 1986-89
Adam Jude Reporter, The Oregonian
Don W. Kassing San Jose State president 2005-08
Laing Kennedy Kent State athletic director 1994-2010, Cornell athletic director 1983-94
*Blair Kerkhoff Reporter, The Kansas City Star
*Mike Kern Reporter, The Philadelphia Daily News
Shaun King Tulane player 1995-98
*Roy Kramer SEC Commissioner, 1990-2002
Nate Kreckman Radio host, KXDP in Denver
*Bobby Leach SMU player 1981-84
Sonny Lubick Colorado State coach 1993-2007
*Mike Lude Auburn athletic director 1992-93, Washington athletic director 1975-91
*Tom Luicci Reporter, Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger
John Mallory West Virginia player 1965-67
Bob Marcum Kansas athletic director 1978-82, South Carolina AD 1982-88, Marshall AD 2002-09
Loren Matthews Former ABCSports Senior Vice President
Derrick Mayes Notre Dame player 1992-95
*Mike McGee Duke coach 1971-78, Cincinnati athletic director 1979-84, USC athletic director 1984-93
*Lance McIlhenny SMU player 1980-83
Pete Medhurst Radio reporter and host, Navy Radio Network
Tim Millis Former executive director of the NFL Referees Association, former Big 12 supervisor of officials
Eric Mizell Troy player 1990-91
*Craig Morton Cal player 1962-64
Gerald Myers Texas Tech athletic director 1996-2011
Joe Novak Northern Illinois coach 1996-2007
Jim Oakes Louisiana Tech athletic director 1994-2008
Denny O'Brien Reporter on East Carolina for
David Paschall Reporter, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Free-Press
Allen Pinkett Notre Dame player 1982-85; Radio analyst, Notre Dame
Doug Plank Ohio State player 1972-74
Mike Prater Sports editor, Idaho Statesman
*Steve Preece Oregon State player 1966-68
Antwaan Randle El Indiana player 1998-2001
*Pat Richter Wisconsin athletic director 1989-2004
Earle Robinson Radio host, AM870 East Lansing, Mich.
*Kenny Roda Radio host WKNR 850 in Cleveland
Gary Sanders Former radio broadcaster, UAB
*Harvey Schiller CEO of GlobalOptions Group, SEC Commissioner 1986-90, Former VP at TBS
*Terry R. Schmidt Ball State player 1971-73
Terry Shea San Jose State coach 1990-91, Rutgers coach 1996-2000
Jackie Sherrill Pittsburgh coach 1977-81, Texas A&M coach 1982-88, Mississippi State coach 1991-2003
Corky Simpson Former columnist, The Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen
Riley Skinner Wake Forest player 2006-09
Joe Smigiel Arizona player 1992-94
Adam Sparks Reporter, The Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News Journal
Fred Stabley Former Central Michigan sports information director
Patrick Stevens Reporter, The Washington Times
Don Strock Florida International coach 2002-06
Pat Swilling Georgia Tech player 1982-85
Mel Thomas Former TCU administrator and assistant coach
Darrell Thompson Minnesota player 1986-89
*John Toner Connecticut athletic director 1969-87
Charlie Trotman Auburn player 1977-79
*Max Urick Iowa State athletic director 1983-93, Kansas State athletic director 1993-2001
*Roger Valdiserri Former Notre Dame sports information director
Jeff Van Note Kentucky player 1966-68
Tommy Vardell Stanford player 1988-91
Mike Vaught Former SMU administrator
Jim Vruggink Former Purdue sports information director
*Bob Wagner Hawaii coach 1988-95
Jim Walden Iowa State coach 1987-94, Washington State coach 1978-86
Jay Walker Radio host, KPEL in Lafayette, La., play-by-play announcer, Louisiana-Lafayette
John Walters Former columnist, The Daily
Jack White Alabama player 1971, former director for PGA Tour's Shotlink
Dwayne Woodruff Louisville player 1976-78
Rick Wright Reporter, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal
*Hugh Yoshida Hawaii athletic director 1992-2002
  *Indicates voters since first Harris poll in 2005
  Bold indicates new voter in 2012

By David Fox


<p> College Football: Who votes in the Harris Poll?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 05:53
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-running-backs

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 best running back prospects:

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (6-0, 220, Jr.)
He appears to be fully recovered from his torn ACL in 2011. He still might be a bit tentative but he is rounding into form. He is big, physical, never goes down on first contact, is a tremendous receiver and works hard off the field. He is the most talented, most complete runner in the nation. For his career (26 games), he is averaging 126.6 yards from scrimmage per game and has scored 39 touchdowns. He might be the only back taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Comparison: Adrian Peterson

2. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (5-11, 215, Sr.)
Few players have as complete a game as the Cardinal ball-carrier. He is the workhorse back for a program that uses a physical, pro-style attack based around Taylor’s ability. He is thickly built, has a tremendous work ethic, plays smart football, can catch passes and runs hard every game. His workload in college could be his only negative, as he will be over 800 touches from scrimmage by the time his career is over. Comparison: Frank Gore

3. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina (5-10, 205, rSo.)
This tough little runner came to UNC from St. Thomas Aquinas H.S., a storied South Florida program that prepares football talents for the next level. And as a redshirt freshman, Bernard exploded onto the scene with 239 carries for 1,253 yards, along with 45 receptions for another 362 yards and a total of 14 touchdowns. He has missed some time in 2012 but also delivered a huge performance in a win over one of the best defenses in the country (262 yards against Virginia Tech, Week 6). He is a bit smaller than a proto-type back but has speed to burn and the talent to play all three downs. In addition, as a redshirt sophomore, Bernard will have the most “tread left on the tires” of any back in the class. Comparison: LeSean McCoy

4. Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State (6-1, 240, Jr.)
Bell has some negatives — average shiftiness, straight line speed and work ethic — but also has the biggest, most powerful frame of anyone in the class. He is accustomed to power-I formations and can carry the load if needed (see games of 44, 36 and 37 carries in 2012). He is right at home in a play-action style offense and will be a huge asset around the goal line. If he can stay focused on keeping his weight down and works hard, he could be a future feature back. Comparison: Steven Jackson

5. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St (6-0, 205, Jr.)
Production hasn’t been an issue for Randle after a school-record 26 touchdowns in 2011. He has been outstanding as the leader of the revamped Pokes offense this fall and brings breakaway speed to the edge, power up the middle and will play a big role in the passing game. Randle is taller than most ideal backs who aren’t 230 pounds, but he has plenty of big-play ability. Comparison: DeMarco Murray

6. Montee Ball, Wisconsin (5-11, 210, Sr.)
Scouts cannot argue the production for a guy who has a chance to finish his career with more rushing touchdowns than anyone in the history of the sport (73). He dropped weight before his junior season and it helped with quickness and burst. Yet, he lacks the top-end skills of the NFL’s elite. However, he is a tough player who consistently produces and has fumbled one time in his entire career. Comparison: Ahmad Bradshaw

7. Andre Ellington, Clemson (5-9, 190, Sr.)
The only real knock on Ellington is his durability, which stems from his overall lack of size. His frame isn’t ideal and he has been banged up throughout his Tigers career. That said, he will finish with over 4,000 yards from scrimmage and more than 30 touchdowns in his career. He has the raw ability to do everything an NFL back is asked to do, but can he be a true workhorse on Sundays? Comparison: Donald Brown

8. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska (5-11, 210, Sr.)
He won’t wow scouts at the combine with his average measurables, but he makes up for it with things that simply cannot be tracked with a stop watch: intangibles, leadership, blitz pick-ups, toughness and heart. He is one of the most complete players in the nation and will be a welcome addition to any NFL locker room. He will be a late-round steal and could be very productive for many years — even if he is never a star. Comparison: Matt Forte

9. Silas Redd, USC (5-10, 210, Jr.)
Redd was the only star for an average Penn State team (1,241 yards, 7 TD as a sophomore) before heading out West to USC for his junior season. He is a pro-style runner who has the skills to be a three-down back should he get a little bigger. He runs with power and has adequate speed. Should he develop his skills, he could be a sneaky good player on Sundays. Comparison: Rashard Mendenhall

10. Mike Gillislee, Florida (5-11, 210, Sr.)
This Gator tailback was a late bloomer — 920 yards and 10 TDs in his first three seasons — but developed into an SEC Player of the Year candidate with hard running and toughness throughout a brutal conference schedule in 2012. He was miscast in Urban Meyer’s scheme and fits much better into the pro-style attack Will Muschamp brought to Gainesville. Look for Gillislee to continue to move up draft boards with his excellent play this fall. Comparison: Cedric Benson

11. Eddie Lacy, Alabama (6-1, 220, Jr.)
All the physical talent in the world, but can never stay healthy.

12. Jonathan Franklin, UCLA (5-11, 195, Sr.)
Long track record of success but could be limited physically on the next elevel.

13. Ray Graham, Pitt (5-9, 195, Sr.)
Has NFL ability but is still regaining form after torn ACL. Size could be an issue as well.

14. Knile Davis, Arkansas (6-0, 225, Sr.)
Not the same back as he was before suffering a major ankle injury in 2011.

15. Christine Michael, Texas A&M (5-11, 220, Sr.)
Much like Davis and Lacy, he has the talent... and the long track record of injuries.

16. Cierre Wood, Notre Dame (6-0, 215, Jr.)
Off the field focus issues have knocked him down a peg, but coming on strong.

17. DJ Harper, Boise State (5-9, 205, Sr.)
This should be a sneaky draft day value for someone. Can do a little bit of everything.

18. Kenjon Barner, Oregon (5-11, 192, Sr.)
Tremendous talent, but has been banged up and scouts will question scheme and size.

19. Spencer Ware/Michael Ford/Alfred Blue, LSU (5-11, 225/5-10, 215/6-2, 220, Jr.)
Three burly backs who are tremendously physical. Each could be a steal on draft day.

20. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt (5-9, 210, Sr.)
Short, stocky player with lots of potential and is accustomed to high level of competition.

Third-Down Speedsters 

Curtis McNeal, USC (5-7, 190, Sr.)
Chris Thompson, Florida State (5-8, 190, Sr.)
Onterio McCalebb, Auburn (5-11, 175, Sr.)
Perry Jones, Virginia (5-8, 187, Sr.)
Dennis Johnson, Arkansas (5-8, 212, Sr.)

Other Names to Watch:

Michael Dyer, Ark. Baptist (5-8, 210, Sr.)
Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech (6-0, 205, Sr.)
Cameron Marshall, Arizona St (5-11, 220, Sr.)
Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook (5-9, 205, Sr.)
John White, Utah (5-8, 190, Sr.)
Matthew Tucker, TCU (6-0, 225, Sr.)
Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma (5-11, 205, Sr.)
Mike James, Miami (5-11, 220, Sr.)
Ronnie Wingo, Arkansas (6-2, 230, Sr.)

- by Braden Gall


Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

2013 NFL Draft: Running Backs

2013 NFL Draft: Tight Ends
2013 NFL Draft: Safeties

2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Wide Receivers

2013 NFL Draft: Offensive Tackles

2013 NFL Draft: Inside Linebackers

<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Running Backs</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 05:50
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/athlon-sports-college-football-top-25-poll-week-7

Each week Athlon Sports ranks the Top 25 college football teams in the nation. Alabama and Oregon remain No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, with the South Carolina Gamecocks shooting up four spots to the No. 3 slot. West Virginia, who toppled Texas on Saturday, moves into the No. 6 spot. The week's biggest sliders include Georgia (down 7 spots to No. 10) and Florida State (down 9 spots to No. 13.) 

Teams falling out of the Top 25 include Washington, Nebraska and UCLA.


Rank Team Last Week
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide #1 (-)
#2 Oregon Ducks #2 (-)
#3 South Carolina Gamecocks #7 (+4)
#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish #6 (+2)
#5 Florida Gators #9 (+4)
#6 West Virginia Mountaineers #12 (+6)
#7 Kansas State Wildcats #10 (+3)
#8 LSU Tigers #5 (-3)
#9 Ohio State Buckeyes #11 (+2)
#10 Georgia Bulldogs #3 (-7)
#11 USC Trojans #13 (+2)
#12 Texas Longhorns #8 (-4)
#13 Florida State Seminoles #4 (-9)
#14 Oklahoma Sooners #14 (-)
#15 Clemson Tigers #15 (-)
#16 Oregon State Beavers #17 (+1)
#17 Louisville Cardinals #18 (+1)
#18 Rutgers Scarlet Knights #19 (+1)
#19 Stanford Cardinal #24 (+5)
#20 Michigan Wolverines #23 (+3)
#21 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs #25 (+4)
#22 Mississippi State Bulldogs #27 (+5)
#23 Cincinnati Bearcats #29 (+6)
#24 Texas A&M Aggies #28 (+4)
#25   Arizona State Sun Devils #35 (+10)

To see our rankings for all 124 teams, visit Athlon's 124.

<p> Ranking the best college football teams in the nation</p>
Post date: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 16:34
Path: /mlb/10-worst-contracts-baseball

Fans love it when their team signs a big-name free agent or locks up a current star, but too many times organizations pay for past accomplishment instead of future production. There are obviously some baseball superstars on this list, but unfortunately much is expected from those who have been compensated at the highest level. Here’s our look at the 10 worst contracts in major league baseball.

1. Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels; 2 years and $42 million left on his deal.
Blue Jays general manger Alex Anthopoulos may never construct a playoff team, but his bosses were elated when he dumped this contract (originally seven years for $126 million). Not only did Anthopoulos save the club a ton of money, he got Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in return. Wells is a great guy, but the reality is that he’s making over $20 million a year as a non-starter. Ouch. Wells has a combined .222 average and .667 OPS in his two seasons in Anaheim. Double ouch.

2. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers: 5 years and $106.8 million left on his deal.
The speedy outfielder was outstanding during his (Devil) Rays tenure, but Crawford has struggled mightily since leaving Tampa Bay. His 2011 campaign was a season-long slump in Boston, hitting .255 with 11 home runs in over 500 at-bats. With injuries cutting his 2012 season to 31 games, the Red Sox decided to dump their massive mistake on the Dodgers. Of course, that cost Boston Adrian Gonzalez as well. Maybe Crawford will regain his form on the west coast once healthy, but his Boston deal just looks awful at the current time.

3. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees: 5 years and $119 million left on his deal.
Obviously A-Rod was once the best player in baseball, and he’s a lock (barring a PED protest by the writers) for the Hall of Fame. However, Rodriguez’s last two years average out to 110 games played, a .274 batting average, 17 home runs and 60 RBIs. Astros/Diamondbacks third baseman Chris Johnson and his $495,000 salary matched those types of numbers this season. A-Rod turned 37 this summer and is just an average third baseman now. He can make additional bonuses should he reach all-time home run milestones, so this deal is a dud even with the Yankees' deep pockets.

4. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels: 9 years, $228 million left on his deal.
The baseball world cringed when the Angels gave a 32-year-old first baseman a 10-year deal over the winter, and owner Arte Moreno was not counting on missing the postseason when he inked Pujols to such a large contract. King Albert’s final numbers were solid (.285, 30 home runs and 105 RBIs), but his slow start set a tone for an underachieving team that should have been better. We all know the slugger’s deal will become an albatross in a few years, but missing the playoffs in its cheapest year was not in the plans of Angels management.

5. Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals: 5 years and $101.8 million left on his deal.
This oversized contract becomes easier to take with the Nationals' pitching leading the team to the postseason. Baseball pundits screamed at Washington in December 2010 for signing a .272 hitting outfielder who had never driven in 100 runs to a seven-year, $126 million contract. Werth hit .232 and knocked in only 58 runs for the Nats in 2011, and he battled injuries and only totaled five homers (although he did hit .300 in his 81 games played) this season. Werth turns 34 next May, so the length of this deal is scary.

6. Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs: 2 years, $38 million left on his deal.
The embattled outfielder has topped this list for a few years now, but his 2012 numbers (32 home runs and 108 RBIs) showed a little bit of his old form. Soriano is considered a non-leader and a below-average fielder, which seemed to make his power bat untradeable for new Cubs management who would love to get him out of their clubhouse.

7. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins: 6 years and $138 million left on his deal.
We all loved it when Minnesota kept the likeable Mauer at home, instead of seeing him become the next big-market acquisition. However, Mauer’s total of 22 home runs from 2009-11 make it difficult to deal with his stranglehold on the Twins payroll. He hits for average and gets on base, but Mauer’s deal will hinder Minnesota efforts to acquire pitching to help the ball club become relevant again.

8. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies: 4 years and $105 million left on his deal.
We all feared what the 2011 NLDS-ending Achilles injury could mean for the slugger’s career, and Howard only posted a .219 average and .718 OPS in 71 games played this season. He turns 33 this winter, and it will be interesting to see if he can regain his dependable form in 2013. If not, Philly management has a big issue on its hands.

9. John Lackey, Boston Red Sox: 2 years and $31 million left on his deal.
The big right-hander missed this season after having Tommy John surgery, and Lackey was already struggling in New England before his injury. A 4.40 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in his 2010 Boston debut turned into a disastrous 6.41 ERA and 1.62 WHIP during the 2011 campaign. The Red Sox were able to dump Crawford’s contract, but they look to be stuck with Lackey’s deal during their attempt to rebuild.

10. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees: 4 years, $92.5 million left on his deal.
It was a tough call to put the Yankees first baseman on the list, but his .249 average and .822 OPS over the last two years is concerning. He played 123 games this season, and injuries could become a large concern for Teixeira who turns 33 next April. He still plays quality defense and can produce a 30-100 season, but $23+ million for four more years seems excessive even with the Yankees' budget.

<p> 10 Worst Contracts in Baseball</p>
Post date: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 15:11