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Week 1 of the college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches are feeling the pressure to win. Kentucky showed some progress in the season opener against Louisville, but Joker Phillips passes Boston College's Frank Spaziani as the No. 1 coach on the hot seat. Some new names have joined the top 20, including Houston's Tony Levine and Colorado's Jon Embree. 

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 1 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week's Rank:
Record at Kentucky: 11-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Losing handily to a rival is enough for Phillips to claim the top spot after Week 1. The Wildcats showed some signs of life on offense, but the defense had no answer for Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Kentucky should get into the win column against Kent State this Saturday, but Phillips needs to pickup a few wins in SEC play this year.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week's Rank: 1
Record at Boston College: 20-20 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Spaziani moved down from the No. 1 to the No. 2 spot this week. Although Boston College lost to Miami, the team showed some progress on offense. Hiring Doug Martin as the coordinator seems to be the right answer to develop quarterback Chase Rettig, as he threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. Spaziani’s specialty is on defense, which is where the Eagles struggled on Saturday and must improve for Boston College to have any shot at a bowl.

3. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week's Rank:
Record at MTSU: 35-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Stockstill makes a huge jump in the rankings after a Week 1 debacle against McNeese State. The Blue Raiders trailed the Cowboys 24-6 going into the fourth quarter and lost 27-21. MTSU has lost six consecutive season openers under Stockstill and enters Week 2 action with a seven-game losing streak.

4. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week's Rank:
Record at Rice: 23-39 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Things never got on track for Rice in the season opener, as the Owls fell behind 19-0 to UCLA and did not score a point in the second half to lose 49-24. Rice’s defense did little to slow down the Bruins, allowing 646 yards and 49 points. Quarterback Taylor McHargue turned in a solid effort in a losing cause, but the Owls were simply overmatched. The road doesn’t get any easier for Rice, as they matchup against Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Marshall and Houston over the next few weeks.

5. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week: 7
Record at Central Michigan: 7-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
For a half, it appeared Central Michigan would fall victim to FCS foe Southeast Missouri State. However, the Chippewas rallied in the final two quarters to win 38-27 and remain unbeaten under Enos in season openers. Despite the victory, it was an overall lackluster showing for Central Michigan, and the schedule gets tougher in Week 2 against Michigan State.

6. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week: 15
Record at California: 79-49 (11th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Tedford makes a big jump in this week’s poll, climbing from No. 15 in the post-fall practice edition to No. 6 after Saturday’s loss to Nevada. Although the Wolf Pack are one of the top 50 teams in the nation, losing in the home debut after a major stadium renovation is a bad sign. Tedford has recorded a mediocre 12-14 record since 2010 and could be 1-3 after the first four weeks of the season. Tedford has had a successful run in Berkeley, but has the program gone stale?

7. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week:
Record at Idaho: 19-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Eastern Washington is one of the top FCS programs, so it’s really no surprise it won on the road at Idaho. However, it’s another black eye for the Vandals, a program struggling to stay on the FBS level. Idaho has lost 10 out of its last 11 games and it could be a while before it cracks the win column. With Bowling Green, LSU, Wyoming and North Carolina coming up, the Vandals’ best opportunity at a victory is on Oct. 6 against New Mexico State. Akey’s teams have regressed since winning eight contests in 2009, and it’s shaping up to be another long year in Idaho.

8. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week:
Record at Maryland: 3-10 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
Edsall’s 2012 opener nearly ended with disaster. The Terrapins squeaked out a lackluster 7-6 victory over FCS opponent William & Mary. Freshman quarterback Perry Hills turned in a so-so debut, completing 16 of 24 passes for 145 yards and three interceptions. While the defense was solid, the offense clearly has some work to do over the next couple of weeks. Maryland’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, as it travels to Philadelphia take on Temple this Saturday.

9. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week:
Record at Texas Tech: 14-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
Texas Tech had a successful season opener, easily defeating Northwestern State 44-6. The offense gained 500 yards, while a much-maligned defense allowed only 84 yards and held the Demons to just six points. With matchups against Texas State and New Mexico in the next two weeks, Tuberville should slide down this list. However, Tuberville’s long-term future in Lubbock will be determined on what happens in Big 12 play.

10. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week: Not ranked
Record at Houston: 1-1
2012 Record: 0-1
Disaster is the only word to describe Levine’s regular season debut at Houston. The Cougars high-powered offense was grounded, scoring only 13 points and managing 326 yards of total offense. The defense was shredded for 248 yards on the ground and forced only one turnover. Only adding to the uneasiness surrounding Levine was the departure of coordinator Mike Nesbitt on Monday. Athlon ranked Levine as one of the worst coaching hires this offseason, and he needs to get Houston pointed back in the right direction before Conference USA play begins. Levine isn't in danger of losing his job anytime during the season, but his tenure at Houston is off to an awful start. 

11. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week:
Record at UNLV: 4-22 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
After nearly beating Minnesota last Thursday, Hauck moves from No. 9 to No. 11 on this list. The Rebels gave the Golden Gophers all they can handle, giving hope that Hauck can surpass last season’s two wins. The Rebels should get into the win column against Northern Arizona this Saturday.

12. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week:
Record at Syracuse: 17-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Marrone has been on a steady climb in Athlon’s coach on the hot seat rankings since the end of last year. The Orange finished 2011 with a five-game losing streak and opened 2012 with a loss to Northwestern. With a move to the ACC on the horizon for 2013, Syracuse may not want to join a new conference with a coach on the hot seat. Marrone may need to make a bowl to save his job.

13. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Buffalo: 5-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Quinn opened the season with a loss to Georgia, but the Bulls had a good showing in defeat. Although five wins in just over two years isn’t impressive, Quinn seems to be moving the program in the right direction.

14. George O'Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UCF: 51-51 (9th season)
2012 Record: 1-0
The Knights turned in one of the most dominating wins in Week 1, beating Akron 56-14. UCF has a tough road trip to Ohio State this Saturday but is a heavy favorite to win the Conference USA title. As long as the Knights reach a bowl game, O’Leary should be safe to return for 2013.

15. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at Colorado: 3-11 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Embree didn’t inherit a great situation at Colorado, but the Buffaloes haven’t showed a whole lot of improvement in his tenure. Colorado did win two out of the last three from last season but opened 2012 with a disappointing loss to in-state rival Colorado State. Embree isn’t in any danger of losing his job this year, but this program can’t afford many more years of just three wins.

16. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Tennessee: 12-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
Dooley is one of the biggest movers on this list, dropping from No. 3 to No. 16 after Friday’s win over NC State. The Volunteers were impressive against the Wolfpack and considering how Florida looked against Bowling Green, it’s not out of the question Tennessee could be 4-0 before playing at Georgia on Sept. 29. Dooley still has a lot to prove, but Friday night's win was a step in the right direction.

17. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Western Michigan: 47-40 (8th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
The Broncos were a trendy upset pick for Week 1 but fell 24-7 to Illinois. Western Michigan has two more shots at pulling off an upset against a BCS team, as it visits Minnesota on Sept. 15 and hosts Connecticut on Sept. 22. Despite the opening week disappointment, the Broncos are considered the favorites to win the MAC’s West Division.

18. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UTEP: 45-53 (9th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Although it was a losing effort against Oklahoma, Price drops eight spots to No. 18 on the post-week 1 rankings. UTEP gave the Sooners all they could handle and has another shot at an upset against Ole Miss this Saturday. Considering Houston’s struggles against Texas State, the Miners have to be considered one of the favorites to win Conference USA’s West Division.

19. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at New Mexico State: 10-29 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-0
The Aggies opened their season with a convincing 49-19 victory over Sacramento State. New Mexico State is a tough job, and the program faces an uncertain future at the FBS level. It’s clear Walker is making progress and would be a surprise if he doesn’t return to Las Cruces for 2013.

20. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Bowling Green: 14-24 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Clawson probably doesn’t deserve be on this list, especially after nearly leading Bowling Green to a win over Florida in the season opener. However, there are few candidates for this No. 20 ranking, and Clawson’s overall record is 14-24. The Falcons were picked by many to finish in the top three of the MAC East and assuming this team builds off Saturday’s performance, Clawson won’t be moving any higher on this list in 2012.

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
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" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 1 Rankings</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:30
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-voting-post-week-1

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

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

USC's Matt Barkley did little to hurt his Heisman Trophy campaign with his big win over Hawaii and will remain atop the polls entering Week 2. On the flip side, names like Denard Robinson, Montee Ball, Landry Jones and others took major steps back after struggling on opening weekend.

Only three players landed on all nine ballots and those three names claim the top three spots. Otherwise, this week's voting features plenty of new names after a huge first week of games. Fans can expect more volatility over the next couple of weeks with it leveling out somewhere in the second month of the year.

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (7 first place votes)
Season Stats: 23-38, 372 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT
The preseason frontrunner is almost guaranteed a spot in New York come December and throwing for nearly 400 yards and four scores in the Trojans' first blowout victory is the type of weekly output that will all but lock Barkley in as a finalist. The Athlon votes didn't change whatsoever as seven of the nine cast their first place vote for the senior signal caller from USC. And the other two (of which, I am one) gave Barkley second-place votes. Next Game: at Syracuse

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Matt Barkley QB USC 88/90 7 2 - - - 9/9
2. Geno Smith QB West Virginia 78/90 2 6 - - - 9/9
3. Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina 55/90 - - 4 - 2 9/9
4. Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan St 47/90 - - 3 1 1 8/9
5. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin 34/90 - - - 2 1 6/9
6. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 28/90 - - 1 1 1 5/9
7. Marqise Lee WR USC 25/90 - - - 1 - 7/9
8. Andre Ellington RB Clemson 25/90 - - 1 1 1 5/9
9. Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 21/90 - - - 1 - 6/9
10. Barrett Jones OL Alabama 14/90 - 1 - - - 2/9
11. Braxton Miller QB Ohio State 13/90 - - - 1 - 4/9
12. Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas 11/90 - - - - - 4/9
13. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 10/90 - - - - 1 2/9
14. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 7/90 - - - 1 - 1/9
15. Logan Thomas QB Virginia Tech 6/90 - - - - 1 1/9

Also receiving votes: 16. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama (5 pts), 17. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (5 pts), 18. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (5 pts), 19. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia (4 pts), 20. Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio (4 pts)

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (2 first place votes)
Season Stats: 32-36, 323 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT, 8 att., 65 rush yds, TD
For the second straight week, I have voted the Mountaineers quarterback as my No. 1 pick to win the famed stiff-armed trophy. Against an archrival in the season opener, Smith was in midseason form as he scored more touchdowns (5) than he had incompletions. He has more raw ability than Barkley, plays in a more pass-happy system and has one of the only receiving corps that can match the talent and depth of USC's. And the smart money is never on the preseason favorite. Next Game: at James Madison

3. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats: 23 att., 110 yds, 2 TD, 3 rec., 21 yds
The most talented running back in the nation was back on the field for the first time since last October, but he didn't look like he missed a beat. He was up to his usual gyrating, impossible-to-tackle tricks that eventually led to the Gamecocks only scores against SEC East foe Vanderbilt. Steve Spurrier leaned on him in the second half and Lattimore delivered with the game-winning touchdown and more than a few key third down runs. He, like Smith and Barkley, was on all nine Athlon Heisman ballots. Next Game: East Carolina

4. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michgian State
Season Stats: 44 att., 210 yds, 2 TD, 6 rec., 55 yds
The Michigan State tailback was easily the highest mover on this list and rightly so as he carried his team to one of the biggest wins nationally in Week 1. He also had a mini-Heisman moment when he scored the game-winning touchdown late in the game on national television against a ranked Boise State team. And he shattered his career statistical highs in the process. His previous career highs: 20 attempts, 141 yards, 5 receptions, 49 receiving yards — all of which he broke in one game. Next Game: at Central Michigan

5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Season Stats: 32 att., 120 yds, TD, 3 rec., 21 yds
It wasn't a vintage Badger offensive performance, but Ball was still the workhorse. On an offense that clearly misses its quarterback, coordinator and three offensive lineman from last season, Ball's 35 touches stabilized the new-look offense and allowed Wisconsin to hold on for a tight win over Northern Iowa. Next Game: at Oregon State

6. De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 3 att., 64 yds, TD, 4 rec., 55 yds, 2 TD, 6 PR yds
The Black Mamba was up to his old tricks by scoring three times on seven total offensive touches. He is arguably the most dynamic player in the game today and should see his workload increase as the competition gets tougher. Next Game: Fresno State

7. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats: 10 rec., 197 yds, 1 KR, 100 yds, TD
Lee was often overshadowed by his counterpart Robert Woods last season, but the super sophomore made a big statement in Week 1. He scored on the first play of the game and then again on a 100-yard kickoff return. His 297 all-purpose yards currently lead the nation. Next Game: at Syracuse

8. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Season Stats: 25 att., 228 yds, 0 TD
The oft-injured tailback was at his best on Saturday night in a huge win over the Auburn Tigers. He is leading the nation in rushing and, should he stay healthy, could be a huge factor in the Heisman race. Next Game: Ball State

9. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Season Stats: 26-34, 354 yds, 5 TD, 0 INT, 6 att., 10 yds
Martinez was at his all-time best this weekend and it could not have happened at a better time. Nebraska could be without star tailback Rex Burkhead for a few games, which means the offensive onus will fall to T-Mart. His 212.46 QB-rating currently leads the Big Ten. Next Game: at UCLA

10. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Season Stats: 232.0 rush ypg, 41.0 ppg, 2.0 sacks allowed per game (Alabama offense)
Okay, there aren't really any great stats to use for offensive lineman, but how about this. Jones is the best player on the best team who played the best against the best competition this weekend. And he is doing it all at his third position. Next Game: Western Kentucky

11. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 14-24, 207 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 17 att., 161 yds, TD

12. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Season Stats: 19-27, 367 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 att., minus-2 yds

13. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats: 15 att., 214 yds, 3 TD, 1 rec., 4 yds

14. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Season Stats: 21-36, 222 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 3 att., minus-19 yds

15. Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Season Stats: 21-38, 230 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 15 att., 40 yds

- by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 1 Recap

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Pac-12 East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings 

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 1</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-week-1-power-rankings

The NFL season officially kicks off tonight with the New York Giants taking on the Dallas Cowboys. To celebrate, Athlon Sports is bringing you the first of many weekly looks at all 32 NFL franchises and where they fall in the most recent Power Rankings:

2012 Athlon Sports NFL Power Rankings and Team Previews:

1. Green Bay Packers (Week 1: SF)
Only question is depth on defense and losing Desmond Bishop hurt. Still led by the best player in the game.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Week 1: at GB)
Gritty defense packaged with stellar OL and caretaker QB. Home field in the NFC is on the line this Sunday.

3. Houston Texans (Week 1: MIA)
Health on offense might be the only concern this team should have entering what could be a landmark 2012 season.

4. New England Patriots (Week 1: at TEN)
Tom Brady has a stacked collection of pass-catchers and the best head coach in the game upgraded the defense.

5. New York Giants (Week 1: DAL)
Can the defending champs stay on top of a league with so many questions on defense?

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 1: at DEN)
The running game needs to be healthy, but Big Ben and aggressive defense still lead the charge.

7. Baltimore Ravens (Week 1: CIN)
Will the preseason offensive philosophy translate to the regular season? Only time will tell.

8. Atlanta Falcons (Week 1: at KC)
Explosive offense could be one of the league's best, so can Mike Nolan improve the defense?

9. Chicago Bears (Week 1: IND)
Jay Cutler and Matt Forte return to the line-up with a loaded defense — which needs a healthy Brian Urlacher.

10. Detroit Lions (Week 1: STL)
Record-setting offense is championship caliber. Has the defense joined the party yet?

11. Denver Broncos (Week 1: PIT)
Could be good enough to earn a bye in the playoffs and has enough holes to finish third in the AFC West.

12. Dallas Cowboys (Week 1: at NYG)
Might be optimistic for a team with issues swirling all over the roster. Can Tony Romo hold them together?

13. New Orleans Saints (Week 1: WAS)
What sort of impact does off-season have on Drew Brees and the Saints playoff hopes?

14. Philadelphia Eagles (Week 1: at CLE)
Michael Vick must stay healthy for this team to make a playoff push. And that has only happened once in his career.

15. Cincinnati Bengals (Week 1: at BAL)
Fundamentally sound, uninpiring team will prove to be very competitive week-in and week-out.

16. San Diego Chargers (Week 1: at OAK)
Norv Turner begins a critical season needing a playoff berth to save his job in San Deigo.

17. Tennessee Titans (Week 1: NE)
Can sneaky good defensive line make up for young, inexperienced offense in Nashville?

18. Buffalo Bills (Week 1: at NYJ)
Defense should be markedly improved, so can offense stay consistent for 16 weeks?

19. New York Jets (Week 1: BUF)
You have to have (Tim Tebow) thick skin to pick this team (Tim Tebow) to make the playoffs (Tim Tebow).

20. Carolina Panthers (Week 1: at TB)
Will all of that talent translate into wins...or just statistics? The defense should only get better.

21. Seattle Seahawks (Week 1: at ARI)
Is Russell Wilson ready to lead a team with a developing defense into the playoff mix?

22. Washington Redskins (Week 1: at NO)
The Skins should be better with RG3, but how much better? He needs some help.

23. Oakland Raiders (Week 1: SD)
An intriguing team with some upside — if the coaching staff develops quickly.

24. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 1: ATL)
Like the rest of the West: A team with nice pieces and interesting upside but lots of question marks.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1: CAR)
Josh Freeman and a host of young players will attempt to ease Greg Schiano into pro game.

26. Arizona Cardinals (Week 1: SEA)
Offensive line issues could end this season before it begins while solid defense is wasted.

27. Indianapolis Colts (Week 1: at CHI)
Already up a few spots from the preseason due to quick development of stellar rookie class.

28. Miami Dolphins (Week 1: at HOU)
A completely non-descript team that will have loads of growing pains. Both on and off the field.

29. St. Louis Rams (Week 1: at DET)
The offense should be healthier and more talented, but this team will struggle.

30. Cleveland Browns (Week 1: PHI)
Can rookie backfield help the Browns out of the cellar? Only time will tell.

31. Minnesota Vikings (Week 1: JAC)
All-Day Peterson is back but this team has major issues on defense.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 1: at MIN)
Getting MoJo Drew back was huge, but it will be a long year in Jacksonville.

-by Braden Gall


Relate 2012 NFL Content:

Rankings the NFL's Starting Quarterbacks From Best to Worst
Athlon Debate: Which rookie starting QB will win the most games in 2012?

The NFL's Five Biggest Busts of Training Camp

Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez: Who should start for the Jets? 

The NFL Hot Seat: Which Coaches Need to Win Now?

Athlon Debate: Did being on Hard Knocks help or hurt the Dolphins?

<p> <em style="font-size: 14px; ">Athlon Sports weekly look at all 32 NFL franchises and where they fall in the most recent Power Rankings</em></p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-crasher-stock-report
Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Penn State on Saturday.

Although last season marked the first time since 2003 the BCS bowls lacked a team from outside of the six automatic-qualifying conferences, the scene around Mountain West, Conference USA and MAC remained intriguing until the final weeks of the season.

Both Boise State and Houston had big-time bowl games in their sights until their first (and only) losses of the season

With teams like TCU and Utah now in automatic-qualifying conferences and Boise State seemingly out of the picture after a loss to Michigan State, the BCS crasher -- if there will be one -- will come from a new source. Unless, of course, Notre Dame reaches its first BCS game since the 2006 season.

We understand the big leagues tend to dominate the airwaves, and figuring who’s hot and who’s not outside of the mainstream can be tough task. We’re here to help parse through some of the movers and shakers out side of the six major conferences. Whether it’s Notre Dame’s bid for a BCS bid or a key weeknight high-scoring MAC game, we’ll keep you up to date in the BCS Crasher Stock Report.

Last week:
Defeated Penn State 24-14
The Bobcats’ win at Penn State was hardly a fluke. Ohio outgained Penn State 316-130 in the second half. The Bobcats were able to move the ball methodically on the Nittany Lions’ defense, using scoring drives of 12, eight and 14 plays (plus an 11-play drive that ended on a missed field goal). The backfield duo of quarterback Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship -- both of whom hail from Norman (Okla.) North High School -- accounted for 480 yards of total offense on Saturday. This could be the toughest test for Ohio until a potential MAC Championship Game.
This week: New Mexico State

Last week: Defeated Washington State 30-6
BYU carried its momentum from the final months of last season into the opener against Washington State. The BYU defense had little trouble containing Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel behind the pass rush of Kyle Van Noy. Tuel finished with two interceptions and was sacked three times as Wazzu failed to score an offensive touchdown. BYU quarterback Riley Nelson made easy work of a porous Washington State defense, but the Cougars showed an intriguing wrinkle by using freshman Taysom Hill in red zone situations. Hill, who committed to Stanford out of high school before signing with BYU after an LDS mission, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
This week: Weber State

Last week:
Defeated Cal 31-24
Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault will hope a victory over Cal is a harbinger of sorts. The last time Nevada defeated the Bears in 2010, the Wolf Pack finished the season 13-1. Nevada may have received a helping hand when the Bears started Allan Bridgford over Zach Maynard for disciplinary reasons. Bridgford started 2-for-9 for six yards as Nevada jumped to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Maynard led a comeback, but Nevada still broke a tie in the final minute of the fourth quarter. In quarterback Cody Fajardo and running back Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada has a backfield capable of putting up numbers similar to the 2010 team.
This week: USF

Notre Dame
Last week:
Defeated Navy 50-10
The Notre Dame-Navy series has returned to normalcy with the Irish defeating the Midshipmen by at least 40 point in each of the last two seasons. In Dublin, Everett Golson had a good showing in his first career game, completing 12 of 18 passes for 144 yards with a touchdown, but he also threw an interception in the red zone. Notre Dame didn’t miss suspended running back Cierre Wood with Theo Riddick, George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel combining for 265 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries. Up next, Notre Dame will face Purdue -- and jet lag.
This week: Purdue

Louisiana Tech
Last week:
Louisiana Tech lost its chance to make an opening week statement when its opener with Texas A&M was postponed to Oct. 13. After Houston lost at home to Texas State in the opener, Louisiana Tech’s first game looks a little less imposing than it once did. The Bulldogs will face Rice on Sept. 15 before facing three major conference teams (at Illinois, at Virginia, Texas A&M) in a four-weeks span.
This week: at Houston

Boise State
Last week:
Lost to Michigan State 17-13
The Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time since 1997, and the defense allowed Le’Veon Bell to put up 265 of the Spartans’ 461 yards from scrimmage. Still, the Broncos went on the road with a bunch of new starters and lost by only four points. Boise State has plenty of room to grow -- especially on offense where the Broncos rushed for only 1.5 yards per carry an completed fewer than half their passes -- before facing BYU on Sept. 20.
This week: Idle

Utah at Utah State (Friday): Utah State has not defeated Utah since 1997, but Gary Andersen is working to close the gap.
USF at Nevada: Back-to-back wins over major conference programs is realistic for Chris Ault’s crew.
Air Force at Michigan: Falcons RBCody Getz rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries against Idaho State last week.

The fallout from Houston’s 30-13 loss to FBS newcomer Texas State was swift as offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt resigned under pressure by Monday. First-year coach Tony Levine would like to see Charlie Sims more involved. Will he get his wish this week against BYU?

Southern Miss: In the first game without Larry Fedora and quarterback Austin Davis, Southern Miss amassed only 75 passing yards and 7 of 19 completions from three quarterbacks in a 49-20 loss to Nebraska. The defense allowed 632 yards to a Nebraska offense that played most of the game without Rex Burkhead.

FIU: Mario Cristobal has FIU as a fast-rising program in the Sun Belt, but the Golden Panthers lost 46-26 at Duke on Saturday. Remember, this was a program that has played in back-to-back bowl games and upset Louisville a year ago.

Jahwan Edwards, Ball State

Ball State opened the season with a 37-26 conference win over Eastern Michigan on Thursday, powered by Edwards. A year after rushing for 786 yards and 11 touchdowns, Edwards ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries in the opener. Edwards will face Clemson this week, meaning the game will feature two of the six players who topped 200 yards in Week 1 (Edwards and Andre Ellington).

by David Fox


<p> College Football: BCS Crasher Stock Report</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 05:45
Path: /nascar/nascar-horsepower-rankings-12

1. Jimmie Johnson  Denny Hamlin may be the hottest driver on the Cup circuit at the moment, but Johnson’s team will still be the one everyone keeps an eye on going into the Chase.

2. Denny Hamlin  Became the first driver since Tony Stewart in last season’s playoffs to score consecutive wins on the Cup circuit, with victories at Bristol and Atlanta. This is not the Denny Hamlin of 2011, folks.

3. Brad Keselowski  Throw out Keselowski’s disastrous night in Bristol (which is a real rarity) and you’ll find a driver with eight straight runs of ninth or better. Along with Johnson and Hamlin, he has to be a title favorite.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Persevered for a respectable seventh-place showing on what was shaping up to be an off night in Atlanta. The consistency is unquestioned, but can Junior post a couple wins in the Chase?

5. Greg Biffle  Was expecting more out of the points leader at the fast and slick Atlanta track. That said, his team of intermediate-track specialists will be ready for the Chase kickoff at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway.

6. Martin Truex Jr.  Victory slips through Truex’s fingers once again. He and the No. 56 team’s performance in the closing laps at Atlanta are what separate the “title contenders” from the “playoff participants.”

7. Matt Kenseth  One has to wonder how his Roush Fenway bunch will react now that Kenseth has walked the halls and officially announced his Joe Gibbs Racing relationship.

8. Clint Bowyer  Moved into the top 10 from a rear-of-the-field starting spot at Atlanta before battery issues cost him three laps. Could Bowyer be a guy who breaks up the Kyle Busch/Jeff Gordon battle royal in Richmond?

<p> Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski challenge Jimmie Johnson for the top spot in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 17:28
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-kenseth-jgr-official-logano-penske

As a Green Bay Packers fan, Matt Kenseth knows the shock many had seeing quarterback Brett Favre wear another team’s uniform. Kenseth says he doesn’t think his fans will be as shocked with his new look at Joe Gibbs Racing next season after being with car owner Jack Roush’s team since 1999.

“I’ve had about 25 different uniforms in the last two years,” Kenseth said, exaggerating the numerous sponsors cobbled together to fund his Cup team. “I think most of my fans eventually are going to appreciate only having two different uniforms and paint jobs next year instead of 10. I’m really looking forward to the stability of the sponsorship and the team.”

What had been known for some time became official Tuesday when Joe Gibbs Racing introduced Kenseth as its driver for next season. Kenseth replaces Joey Logano, who is headed to drive the No. 22 car at Penske Racing in 2013. Home Depot and Dollar General will sponsor Kenseth’s No. 20 car. Jason Ratcliff will serve as his crew chief.

Team officials said having the 40-year-old Kenseth replace the 22-year-old Logano was good for the company’s future.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, it doesn’t matter your experience, the question is are you good and can you communicate and can you be a part of a team?” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “I think Matt will fit that well for Denny (Hamlin) and for Kyle (Busch).”

Gibbs said that with Kenseth coming over, the team wanted Logano to do a full Nationwide schedule next season and some Cup races, but once the Penske ride opened, knew that they couldn’t compete with that. Gibbs could only offer such a program to Logano because of what sponsorship the team had available.

“We love Joey, he’s been here a long time, so we have a real fondness for him, but at the same time we understand that when he has an opportunity there, it’s hard to pass that up,” Gibbs said.

Kenseth said his focus the rest of this season is winning the championship at Roush Fenway Racing. Once his Roush contract ends, he’ll plan to spend as much time as possible with Ratfcliff and discuss the car and their program

“I know without a doubt it is the right place for me,” Kenseth said of moving to Joe Gibbs Racing next season.

DOWN TO TWO  Officially eight drivers have a chance to gain a wild card spot at Richmond and make the Chase, but Kyle Busch admits he thinks it will be between he and Jeff Gordon for the final playoff spot. Kasey Kahne, who has two wins, is expected to make the Chase, most likely via the other wild card spot.

Busch leads Gordon by 12 points heading into Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway, the final one before the Chase field is set. Only once in 15 races they’ve raced each other at Richmond has Gordon finished more than 12 spots ahead of Busch. Also, Busch’s career average finish at Richmond is 4.7 (four wins). Gordon’s average finish in those 15 races is 17.0 (zero wins).

Busch said he doesn’t anticipate needing reports during the race to keep up with what Gordon is doing.

“If (Gordon) is front of me and I can’t see him, obviously we’re not having a good enough night, but if (Gordon) is in front of us and I can see him, I think everything will be fine,” Busch said.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long reports on Matt Kenseth signing with Joe Gibbs Racing, Joey Logano going to Penske Racing and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase wild card battle between Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 16:52
All taxonomy terms: LSU Tigers, Washington Huskies, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /news/washington-brings-live-tiger-practice-prep-lsu

Washington has a huge test ahead this Saturday, as it travels to LSU for a night game in Baton Rouge. Winning at LSU hasn't been easy for opposing teams in recent years, so it's no surprise the Huskies are preparing with some unusual tactics.

To help prepare for Saturday night's hostile atmosphere, Washington had a live tiger at practice on Tuesday. Yes, that's right - a live tiger. 

These pictures tweeted by @RyanDivish and @Curtis_Crabtree show the tiger during practice, which is certainly an interesting motivational tactic for Washington. There's no question this will be a tough game for the Huskies but bringing in a live tiger to watch over practice is certainly among the most interesting practice tactics in recent years.

<p> Washington Brings Live Tiger to Practice to Prep for LSU</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 15:46
All taxonomy terms: MLB, Fantasy
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-sept-3

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire every Monday.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (8/27-9/3):

  Name Team Pos. R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Pedro Alvarez* PIT 3B 7 4 8 0 .417 1.545
2. Rickie Weeks* MIL 2B 9 1 2 4 .423 1.146
3. Torri Hunter* LAA OF 8 1 6 1 .536 1.281
4. Chase Headley SD 3B 3 2 12 1 .407 1.096
5. Josh Donaldson* OAK C/3B 5 4 8 1 .304 1.277
6. Delmon Young* DET OF 5 3 10 0 .385 1.314
7. Bryce Harper WAS OF 7 3 8 0 .333 1.042
8. Chris Heisey* CIN OF 6 2 6 1 .500 1.500
9. Ryan Braun MIL OF 5 2 6 2 .379 1.128
10. Carlos Gomez* MIL OF 6 2 6 3 .261 .901
11. Chris Carter* OAK 1B 6 3 6 0 .421 1.429
12. David Murphy* TEX OF 6 2 5 0 .524 1.535
13. Mark Reynolds* BAL 1B/3B 6 4 7 0 .280 1.200
14. Martin Prado ATL 2/3/OF 4 2 6 2 .375 1.093
15. Josh Reddick OAK OF 5 2 10 0 .355 .977
16. B.J. Upton TB OF 5 2 4 3 .308 .910
17. Coco Crisp* OAK OF 7 2 2 3 .280 1.078
18. Brandon Moss* OAK 1B/OF 6 2 7 0 .412 1.326
19. Jimmy Rollins PHI SS 5 2 5 2 .310 .996
20. Garrett Jones PIT 1B/OF 6 2 4 0 .455 1.318
21. Cliff Pennington* OAK 2B/SS 5 1 3 2 .444 1.111
22. George Kottaras* OAK C 4 2 8 0 .444 1.722
23. Adrian Beltre TEX 3B 5 3 4 0 .375 1.275
24. John Mayberry* PHI 1B/OF 5 2 5 0 .393 1.148
25. Angel Pagan* SF OF 8 1 4 2 .258 .859

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Oakland A's

Of the top 25 hitters of last week, seven of them were Oakland Athletics. This means that seven of the nine hitters in the batting order landed on this Top 25 list and Josh Reddick is the only one owned by more than 70 percent of leagues. So which ones should you add? Chris Carter at first is a must-add for anyone who needs some pop in their line-up. He has 14 homers in 166 at-bats this season. Coco Crisp is No. 2 on the must-add list with his roto friendly stat line (55 R, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 31 SB in 383 at-bats). The sneaky add would be "C-1B" Josh Donaldson. He has been on a major kick of late and as a catcher, brings major value to most line-ups. He might also be the one most likely to cool off. Proceed with caution. 

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Kris Medlen ATL 24.0 3 28 0.00 0.75
2. Max Scherzer DET 22.0 3 26 0.82 0.82
3. Brett Anderson* OAK 20.0 3 15 0.90 0.70
4. Marco Estrada* MIL 18.0 2 27 0.50 0.94
5. Hisashi Iwakuma* SEA 19.0 2 16 0.47 1.00
6. James Shields TB 22.0 2 20 2.78 0.84
7. Bronson Arroyo* CIN 20.0 2 9 2.25 0.65
8. Eric Stults* SD 13.0 2 9 0.00 0.85
9. R.A. Dickey NYM 16.0 2 9 0.56 0.88
10. Cliff Lee PHI 20.2 2 19 1.31 1.11
11. Yu Darvish TEX 14.0 2 16 1.96 0.86
12. Zach Britton* BAL 14.2 2 16 1.84 0.89
13. Felix Hernandez SEA 24.0 2 17 1.88 1.04
14. Zack Greinke LAA 14.2 2 12 1.84 0.95
15. Jhoulys Chasin* COL 18.0 2 9 1.50 1.00
16. Chris Tillman* BAL 16.2 2 14 2.70 0.96
17. Ryan Dempster TEX 12.0 2 14 1.50 1.25
18. Miguel Gonzalez* BAL 7.0 1 9 0.00 0.71
19. Edwin Jackson* WAS 14.0 1 18 1.93 1.07
20. Gio Gonzalez WAS 15.0 1 15 1.80 1.00

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Top 5 Spot Starts for the Week (Mon. - Sun.):

1. Brett Anderson, OAK: at Sea (Sat.) 54% owned
The former ace of the staff is finally back on the mound after two years of injuries and he has been effective. He has allowed two earnies in 20.0 innings with 15 strikeouts and only three walks.

2. Jeff Samardzjia, CHC: at Pit (Sat.) 52% owned
The Shark has been downright nasty of late. He has 41 strikeouts in his last five starts (33.0 IP) and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of those five starts. 

3. Ross Detwiler, WAS: Mia (Sat.) 36% owned
Since returning to the rotation at the end of June, Detwiler has been strong by not allowed more than four runs in any start since. He tossed seven scoreless innings for his third win in four starts on Monday.

4. Tommy Milone, OAK: at Sea (Sun.) 44% owned
The soft tosser got hit around a bit by the Angels on Labor Day but he should bounce back against the Mariners this weekend. He had two awesome starts before Monday and has been lights out against Seattle.

5. Patrick Corbin, ARI: at SD (Sun.) 10% owned
This one is a bit of a flier but the match-up feels right and Corbin has provided big strikeout numbers all year long. Take the risk against the Padres this weekend.

Top 20 fantasy Relief Pitchers of last month:

1. Greg Holland* KC 13.1 2 9 15 0 0.68 1.05
2. Jim Johnson BAL 10.2 0 10 9 0 0.00 0.38
3. Aroldis Chapman CIN 11.1 1 9 15 0 0.79 0.71
4. Jason Motte STL 13.0 0 10 18 0 2.77 0.85
5. Joe Nathan TEX 9.0 0 7 14 0 0.00 0.56
6. Fernando Rodney TB 12.2 0 9 12 0 0.71 0.95
7. Rafael Soriano NYY 12.2 0 9 14 0 2.13 0.79
8. Sergio Romo SF 10.0 1 4 11 6 0.90 0.50
9. Jonathan Papelbon PHI 12.2 1 7 14 0 2.84 0.87
10. Ernesto Frieri LAA 9.1 2 4 14 0 2.89 0.64
11. Grant Balfour OAK 9.1 0 8 11 0 2.89 0.54
12. Tyler Clippard WAS 11.0 0 8 11 0 1.64 0.91
13. Jake McGee* TB 8.2 2 0 9 2 0.00 0.35
14. Glen Perkins* MIN 10.0 0 4 8 0 0.00 0.50
15. Rafael Betancourt COL 11.0 0 10 5 0 1.64 1.18
16. Casey Janssen* TOR 11.0 0 6 12 0 2.45 0.73
17. Wilton Lopez* HOU 13.2 3 1 14 0 2.63 1.02
18. J.J. Putz ARI 12.0 0 8 16 0 2.25 1.25
19. Ryan Cook* OAK 10.0 2 2 15 2 1.80 1.00
20. Luke Gregerson* SD 13.0 0 3 12 8 1.38 0.69

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Keep up to date all season long with Athlon Sports' Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid

- by Braden Gall


<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: Sept. 3</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 11:24
All taxonomy terms: Texas A&M Aggies, SEC, News
Path: /news/texas-am-slams-florida-your-face-billboard

Texas A&M opens SEC play against Florida this Saturday, but the Aggies aren’t waiting long to introduce themselves to the rest of the conference.

This billboard popped up in Gainesville recently, featuring the phrase “You’ve been annexed by Aggie Nation.”

Needless to say, it’s pretty brash talk from Texas A&M – a school that has yet to play its first SEC contest. The billboard also features the phrase “Real Football. Real Tradition.”

And this gem: “The Cleanest Program in the SEC.”

In the conference of secondary violations, it's a nice way to welcome yourself to your new SEC foes.

The billboard is all fun and games and probably means nothing for Saturday’s game. However, it’s definitely a welcome to the SEC moment for Texas A&M – and the Aggies aren’t backing down from anyone.

<p> Texas A&amp;M Slams Florida With In-Your-Face Billboard</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 10:53
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-1-power-rankings

The 2012 college football season kicked off with South Carolina beating Vanderbilt on Thursday night. The Gamecocks weren't particularly impressive but did just enough to knock off the Commodores. Derek Dooley's seat got a little cooler in Knoxville after beating NC State on Friday night. Alabama was the most impressive team in Week 1, thrashing Michigan 41-14.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina — Making his first appearance since injuring his knee last fall, Lattimore ran for 110 yards and two scores on 23 carries against a solid run defense at Vanderbilt.

2. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee — It was quite a debut for the junior college transfer. He combined for 165 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns — one on a 41-yard toss from Tyler Bray and one on a 67-yard run from scrimmage.

3. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee — The junior quarterback completed 27-of-41 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Vols’ win vs. NC State.


Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama — Milliner had four pass deflections and an interception to lead Alabama’s dominant defensive effort against Michigan.

2. Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina — The sophomore had four total tackles, including two for a loss (and one sack) in the Gamecocks’ 17-13 win at Vanderbilt.

3. Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt — Ladler shined in a losing effort for Vanderbilt, recording nine tackles, one interception and a sack as the Commodores held South Carolina to 272 total yards. 


Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama — The Crimson Tide completely dominated Michigan, a team that won 11 games in 2011.

2. Derek Dooley, Tennessee — His seat is a whole lot cooler after the Vols’ impressive win over NC State in Atlanta.

3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina — He’s the only coach in the league with a 1-0 record in the SEC.


Post-Week 1 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Michigan 41-14
Alabama was perhaps the most impressive team in the nation in the opening week of the season. The Crimson Tide completely dominated both sides of the ball against a Michigan team ranked in the top 10 heading into the season. The Bama defense did a masterful job on Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who completed only 11-of-26 passes and rushed for 27 yards on 10 attempts. True freshman T.J. Yeldon was the star on offense for the Tide, rushing for 111 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. This was complete domination.
This Week: Western Kentucky

2. LSU (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat North Texas 41-14
The Tigers disposed of North Texas in predictable fashion, leaning on a rushing attack that churned out 316 yards on 46 carries for an impressive 6.9-yard average. Zach Mettenberger put up solid numbers in his debut at quarterback (19-of-26 for 192 yards with one TD and one INT), but he missed some throws that he will need to hit against better competition. Tailbacks Kenny Hilliard (141) and Alfred Blue (123) both went over the 100-yard mark, and Odell Beckham returned a punt 70 yards for a TD in the first quarter.
Next Game: Washington

3. Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Buffalo 45-23
The result was never in doubt, but Georgia didn’t exactly dominate Buffalo (3–9 last season) as thoroughly as most Bulldog fans would have liked. There was a lot to like on offense — especially the 100 yards on eight carries from freshman tailback Todd Gurley — but Georgia couldn’t have been thrilled about giving up 347 total yards (199 on the ground). Tavarres King caught six passes for 117 yards to lead the Dawgs’ receiving corps.
Next Game: at Missouri

4. South Carolina (1-0, 1-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Vanderbilt 17-13
South Carolina managed only 272 yards of offense, including just 67 through the air, but it was good enough to escape Nashville with a 17-13 win over Vanderbilt. Marcus Lattimore ran for 110 yards and two scores on 23 attempts in his return from a torn ACL. He might not be 100 percent just yet, but Lattimore is ready to carry to the load for the Gamecocks’ offense. And with Connor Shaw’s injury — the junior quarterback is questionable this week with a left shoulder bruise — South Carolina will lean on Lattimore quite a bit in the ensuing weeks. It was clear on Thursday night that Dylan Thomas, the No. 2 quarterback, isn’t ready to get the job done against a quality defense.
Next Game: East Carolina

5. Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Jacksonville State 49-24
After a sluggish start — Arkansas trailed 14-7 early in the second quarter — the Razorbacks surged past Jacksonville State to claim a comfortable win in Fayetteville. Playing for the first time since the Sugar Bowl two years ago, tailback Knile Davis carried the ball 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Mitchell, the No. 2 quarterback last year, caught four passes for 122 yards in his debut at wide receiver, and tight end Chris Gragg caught seven passes for 110 yards and two scores.
Next Game: UL Monroe

6. Tennessee (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat NC State 35-21
Derek Dooley’s third season began with an impressive win over a quality ACC opponent. The Volunteers were terrific in the passing games and just good enough on the ground —  UT’s three tailbacks combined for 128 yards on 33 attempts — to keep the Wolfpack defense off balance. Quarterback Tyler Bray was sharp (333 yards and two touchdowns), but junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson was the story at the Georgia Dome. With Da’Rick Rogers now at Tennessee Tech, the Vols needed Patterson to live up to expectations — and he delivered by catching six passes for 93 yards and a TD and adding a 67-yard touchdown run.
Next Game: Georgia State

7. Missouri (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat SE Louisiana 62-10
The Tigers raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 62-10 win in a tune-up for their SEC opener on Saturday vs. Georgia. James Franklin, who underwent major shoulder surgery in the spring, completed 13-of-21 for 131 yards and one touchdown. He will have to play better this week against a ferocious Georgia defense that will force him to prove his shoulder is 100 percent.
Next Game: Georgia

8. Texas A&M (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Game with Louisiana Tech was postponed.
Next Game: Florida

9. Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:

Week 1 Result: Beat Bowling Green 27-14
Florida fans hoping that the Gators’ offense, under new coordinator Brent Pease, would show dramatic improvement in Week 1 were sorely disappointed. The final numbers (365 yards and 27 points) weren’t terrible, but the Gators are going to struggle to move the ball once they get into league play. Jeff Driskel, who will start this week at Texas A&M, completed 10-of-16 for 114 yards and one touchdown. Florida had only one pass play that went for more than 18 yards.
Next Game: at Texas A&M

10. Auburn (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Lost to Clemson 26-19
Auburn’s defense remains a work in progress. The Tigers, who gave up an average 421.1 yards in 10 games vs. AQ conference opponents in 2011, struggled to stop Clemson — despite giving up only 26 points. The biggest issue was defending the run; Clemson’s Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards on an 8.9-yard average. Kiehl Frazier, making his first start at quarterback for Auburn, completed only 11-of-27 passes for 194 yards. The Tigers, however, did run the ball well. Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb combined for 188 yards on 26 carries.
Next Game: at Mississippi State

11. Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to South Carolina 17-13
The Commodores held a 13­-10 lead into the fourth quarterback but were unable to hold off South Carolina on Thursday night. Vanderbilt’s defense was strong, limiting the Gamecocks to 272 yards, but the offense didn’t make enough plays. The Dores came away with zero points on three drives that began in South Carolina territory, and they came away with a total of three points on two trips to the red zone.
Next Game: at Northwestern

12. Mississippi State (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Jackson State 56-9
The Bulldogs barely broke a sweat in a win over in-state “rival” Jackson State. Mississippi State’s offense showed nice balance, with 202 yards rushing and 193 yards passing. We will learn far more about this team when Auburn visits on Saturday.
Next Game: Auburn

13. Kentucky (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Louisville 32-14
Joker Phillips didn’t need to win this game, but he needed his team to be competitive. Didn’t happen. The Cats had no answer for a balanced Louisville offense that moved the ball at will for the first two-and-a-half quarters. There were some positive signs. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith looked decent, completing 35-of-50 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Kentucky’s tailbacks also ran well, but the Cats were forced to abandon the running game after falling behind.
Next Game: Kent State

14. Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Central Arkansas 49-27
Ole Miss averted disaster by seizing control of the game with a 35-point second half. The Rebels trailed 20-14 until midway through the third quarter before scoring twice in a three-minute period. Bo Wallace, who beat out Barry Brunetti for the start, completed 20-of-24 passes for 264 yards with two TDs and one interception. 
Next Game: UTEP

by Mitch Light


Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-1-power-rankings

The first weekend of action in the ACC was a mixed bag of results. NC State missed an opportunity to earn the conference national respect in Friday night’s loss to Tennessee, but Clemson picked up a key win over Auburn on Saturday. Florida State dominated as expected in the matchup against Murray State. Miami and Virginia Tech earned the only two victories in conference play in Week 1.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – With a revamped offensive line, no one knew what to expect out of Clemson’s ground game in the opener. However, Ellington rushed for 228 yards on 25 attempts to lead the Tigers to a victory over Auburn.

2. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – A knee injury ended Bernard’s day a little early, but he scored three times and recorded 203 yards of total offense.

3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins, Tajh Boyd or Logan Thomas are all worthy of this spot. Hopkins shined in Clemson’s victory over Auburn, catching 13 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.


Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – With Brandon Jenkins sidelined for the rest of the year, Werner needs to take his play up another notch.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – The Terrapins’ new 3-4 scheme didn’t slow down Vellano, as he recorded 11 tackles and one interception in the win over William & Mary.

3. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – There were few standout defensive performances in Week 1 in the ACC. Williams recorded two sacks in the Tar Heels’ victory over Elon.


Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles were the preseason favorite to win the ACC and handled their business with a 69-3 thrashing of Murray State.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The defending ACC champs claimed a key non-conference victory with a 26-19 win over Auburn.

3. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech – Monday night’s win against Georgia Tech doesn’t guarantee a Coastal Division title, but it puts the Hokies in great shape after the first weekend of action.


Post-Week 1 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Murray State 69-3
The outcome of the Week 1 matchup against Murray State was never in doubt. Florida State cruised to a 69-3 victory and even though the game was a one-sided affair, the contest allowed the coaching staff to get a good look at the revamped offensive line. The front five did not allow a sack and led the way for rushers to record 285 yards on the ground. The biggest news coming out of the opener was the loss of end Brandon Jenkins to a season-ending foot injury. Florida State has one more tuneup before ACC play, taking on another FCS opponent (Savannah State) this Saturday.
This week: Savannah State

2. Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Auburn 26-19
The Tigers had the most impressive victory among ACC teams in Week 1. Behind 266 total yards and one passing touchdown from quarterback Tajh Boyd, Clemson knocked off Auburn 26-19. The victory was huge for Clemson, but also the ACC as it looks to earn national respect. With star receiver Sammy Watkins suspended, DeAndre Hopkins emerged as the No. 1 target, catching 13 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown. Running back Andre Ellington was stellar, gashing Auburn for 231 yards on 26 attempts. The offensive line needs to work on pass protection but upcoming games against Furman and Ball State should allow the front five to jell before playing Florida State on Sept. 22.
This week: Ball State

3. Virginia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 20-17
The Hokies took an early lead in the battle to win the Coastal Division, edging Georgia Tech 20-17 in overtime. Virginia Tech’s offense struggled to get on track most of the night, with quarterback Logan Thomas making a few key plays late to send the game into overtime. The debut of running back Michael Holmes was solid, earning 54 yards on 12 carries. The Hokies have some time to work out the kinks on offense, as their next ACC game is Oct. 6 against North Carolina.
This week: Austin Peay

4. North Carolina (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Elon 62-0
Larry Fedora’s debut in Chapel Hill was a success. The Tar Heels recorded 62 points (the most by a North Carolina team since 1995) and the first shutout since 1999. Running back Giovani Bernard left early due to a minor knee injury but finished with 93 yards on the ground and three overall scores. The defense held Elon to 170 yards and recorded two sacks. North Carolina opens ACC play this Saturday with a matchup against in-state rival Wake Forest.
This week: at Wake Forest

5. Georgia Tech (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Virginia Tech 20-17
The Yellow Jackets nearly escaped Blacksburg with a victory, but instead return home with a 0-1 record in ACC play. The Hokies kept Georgia Tech’s rushing attack in check for most of the night, but quarterback Tevin Washington made a few key plays through the air to give his team a chance to win. However, his interception in overtime ended any hopes the Yellow Jackets had of pulling off the upset. s also had some bright spots on defense but failed to stop Virginia Tech on the final drive in the fourth quarter. Although the season is far from over, this is a huge loss in the race to win the ACC Coastal.
This week: Presbyterian

6. Virginia (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Beat Richmond 43-19
The Cavaliers continue to build momentum under coach Mike London, opening the 2012 season with a convincing 43-19 victory over Richmond. Michael Rocco edged Phillip Sims for the No. 1 quarterback spot in the fall and tightened his grip on the job, throwing for 311 yards and one touchdown on 25 completions. Running backs Kevin Parks and Perry Jones had a light workload but combined for 101 yards and three scores. The schedule gets a little tougher for Virginia this Saturday, as it hosts Penn State in the first meeting between these schools since 2002.
This week: Penn State

7. NC State (0-1, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Tennessee 35-21
Even though the result wasn’t that one-sided, the Wolfpack had to be the biggest disappointment in the ACC for Week 1. Quarterback Mike Glennon had a bad performance, tossing four picks on 46 attempts, while the rushing attack never really got on track. The secondary was expected to be among the best in the ACC but allowed 333 yards and two touchdowns to Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray. NC State looks to get back on track in Week 2 against Connecticut.
This Week: at Connecticut

8. Miami (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Boston College 41-32
With a lot of youth and inexperience stepping into the starting lineup, Miami was a difficult team to get a read on in the preseason. The Hurricanes showed flashes of promise in the opener against Boston College, recording 415 yards and forcing three turnovers on defense. Quarterback Stephen Morris was a steady 28 of 45 for 207 yards, while freshman running back Duke Johnson was impressive, rushing for 135 yards on seven attempts. Miami’s defense struggled to stop the Eagles’ passing attack, which will be a concern against some of the teams in the ACC.
This week: at Kansas State

9. Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat FIU 46-26
The Blue Devils No. 1 goal for 2012 is to get to a bowl game, and the team took a step in the right direction with a 46-26 victory over FIU on Saturday. The Blue Devils allowed 513 yards to the Golden Panthers but made timely plays, including a blocked field goal return for a score at the end of the first half. The rushing attack still needs work, but quarterback Sean Renfree is off to a good start after throwing for 290 yards against FIU. Duke has a difficult test ahead in Week 2, as it travels west to take on Stanford.
This week: at Stanford

10. Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Liberty 20-17
There’s not much to say about the Demon Deacons’ Week 1 performance other than it was a victory. Squeaking by a FCS opponent is concerning, but Wake Forest’s Week 2 matchup against North Carolina will provide more insight into this team. Quarterback Tanner Price was steady in the opener, throwing for 195 yards and one score, while running back Josh Harris left early due to a concussion. The Demon Deacons allowed 363 yards to Liberty but recorded two sacks and generated two turnovers.
This week: North Carolina

11. Boston College (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Miami 41-32
There were positive signs for Boston College in the season opener against Miami but with a challenging schedule, the Eagles couldn’t afford to lose their first game. Quarterback Chase Rettig was missing two key players from the receiving corps but threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns. While Rettig’s play was a bright spot, Boston College’s defense had no answer for Miami. The Eagles allowed 41 points and 415 yards and gave up a few big plays to the Hurricanes’ offense. Boston College should get a victory in Week 2 against Maine, but the schedule doesn’t let up with Northwestern in Week 3 and Clemson in Week 5.
This week: Maine

12. Maryland (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat William & Mary 7-6
Ugly. That’s really the only way to describe the Terrapins’ opener against William & Mary. With quarterback C.J. Brown lost for the year with a torn ACL, true freshman Perry Hills took over as the starter. Hills completed 16 of 24 passes but tossed three picks. The offense managed only 236 yards but was bailed out by a defense that held the Tribe to just 229 yards and six points. With two new coordinators and a freshman quarterback, there will no doubt be growing pains for Maryland. However, the schedule only gets tougher from here, as the Terrapins visit Temple in Week 2.
This week: at Temple

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
@athlonsteven</a></strong></span></p>" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:57
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-1-power-rankings

The Big Ten had a few marquee showdowns in Week 1 and a whole schedule of mid-major opponents and FCS snoozers. However, this weekend was anything but boring for the Big Ten.

Penn State's first time back on the field since Joe Paterno's passing was emotional but ended in a crushing defeat at the hands of Ohio. Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota all survived brutal tests against inferior competition. Indiana and Illinois struggled at times but won their openers. Northwestern turned to its back-up quarterback to stave off a furious fourth-quarter rally from Syracuse that was nearly one of the worst collapses in Wildcats' history.

And the quarterbacks from the state of Michigan struggled in the two biggest games of the weekend.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State - Bell literally carried the Spartans to the biggest victory of the weekend for the Big Ten. On a night that saw Andrew Maxwell throw three interceptions in his first start for Kirk Cousins, Bell set personal bests in basically every important offensive statistic. Bell had never carried the ball more than 20 times and entered the opener against Boise Sttae with four career 100-yard rushing efforts. Friday night, he carried 44 times for a career-high 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His six receptions and 56 yards in the passing game were also career bests.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State - Urban Mayer hasn't hid his affections for the sophomore signal caller and in Week 1 Miller showed the country why the new Buckeyes coach has been so excited. Miller topped the 200-yard mark for only the second time in his career by completing 14 of his 24 attempts for 207 yards, two scores and no interceptions. Where he really shined, however, was on the ground, rushing for a career-high 161 yards on 17 carries and a third trip to daydirt. 

Taylor Martinez, Nebraska - The Huskers' ability to be balanced on offense could be the difference between another four-loss season or a potential run at a Big Ten title. Yes, it was against a rebuilt Southern Miss team, but Martinez was T-Magic. He completed 76.5 percent of his passes for a personal best 354 yards and five touchdowns. More importantly, he didn't have to rely on his legs, carrying only six times for 10 yards. 


Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

Will Compton, Nebraska -
The Huskers held Southern Miss to 260 yards of offense and only three second-half points behind the play of the talented linebacker. He tallied 12 total tackles, a tackle for loss and one sack in the victory. 

Ashante Williams, Illinois - Without their starting quarterback, the Illini needed a big defensive spark and the senior linebacker gave it to them in the form of a fourth-quarter 60-yard interception return touchdown. The score put the game out of reach. Williams finished with nine tackles on the night.

Larry Black, Jr., Indiana - The Hooisers needed their defense in the second half to get the win over Indiana State and Black was a huge part of it. He posted four tackles, two sacks and two tackles for a loss in the tightly-played 24-17 win over the Sycamores.

Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State -
The Spartans headman might be the best coach in the league and his team posted the best win of the weekend in the 17-13 victory over Boise State. Without Cousins to stablize the offense, he turned to his power tailback and veteran offensive line. They delivered 461 yards of offense while the defense did their job, holding the Broncos to a paltry 206 total yards. 

Bo Pelini, Nebraska - Four straight seasons with four losses has Nebraska nation on edge heading into 2012. Against the reigning C-USA champion Southern Miss Golden Eagles, the Huskers could have struggled. Instead, Martinez was brilliant and the defense played well enough. BIg Red outgained USM 632 yards to 260.

Urban Meyer, Ohio State - The prodigal son returned to the state of Ohio in style. He has the best team in the league and they looked like it on Saturday. His offense started slowly, but the Buckeyes offensive line and receivers eventually began to gel. 

Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (1-0)
Preseason rank: 1
Week 1 result: Beat Miami (Ohio) 56-10
The Urban Meyer era at Ohio State got off to a slow start as the Redhawks took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter. But Miller and the offense began to click, scoring 35 unanswered points in the eventual rout. Miller set an Ohio State rushing record for a quarterback with 161 yards and Meyer ran his record to 4-0 in coaching debuts. The 56 points was the second-highest total for an Ohio State coaching debut as well. The offensive line paved the way to 294 yards rushing on 53 carries and Corey "Philly" Brown caught seven passes for 87 yards and a touchdown — giving the Bucks some optimism surrounding two areas of concern. If this offense can gel quickly and begin to compete on the same level as the defense, the rest of the Big Ten could be in big trouble.
This week: UCF (1-0)

2. Nebraska (1-0)
Preseason rank: 3
Week 1 result: Beat Southern Miss 49-20
Few teams improved their national perception in Week 1 like the Huskers did. Beating the defending Conference USA champs 49-20 isn't all that alarming, 
but it was how the Big Red did it — combined with the struggles of fellow Big Ten contenders — that has fans excited about football in Lincoln. That is, if the Huskers can stay healthy. Taylor Martinez was excellent as the highest rated passer in the Big Ten after one week of action and the defense was strong enough to stymie a team known for its offensive prowess. But if Nebraska wants to go on the road and beat a talented UCLA team this weekend it will need its full complement of offensive weapons. Rex Burkhead had an MRI on Sunday and Bo Pelini confirmed their initial concerns that the star tailback had suffered a sprained MCL. He is questionable for the trip to Pasadena and it looks like sophomore Ameer Abdullah would get first crack at the starting job after carrying 15 times for 81 yards on Saturday. Additionally, senior wideout Tim Marlowe is out for at least six weeks after breaking his clavicle and tight end Ben Cotton is dealing with his own rib issues. 
This week: at UCLA (1-0)

3. Michigan (0-1)
Preseason rank: 2
Week 1 result: Lost to Alabama 41-14
Settle down Michigan fans. The sky isn't falling and the season isn't over. Yes, Alabama was the far superior team and now the Wolverines will play the rest of the season without starting cornerback Blake Countess. But the Big Ten championship is still very much in front of them and star tackle Taylor Lewan appears set to play this weekend after leaving the game Saturday night with a right leg issue. Michigan will be very good this season, but this weekend's outcome should not have come as a surprise. The defending national champs are simply operating on a level the Maize and Blue has yet to reach. The good news is Michigan won't face a better team all season long, no matter where it ends up at the end of year. The front line for Michigan's defense will get another test this weekend after allowing 232 yards on the ground to 'Bama but Brady Hoke should be able to exact some revenge. And he gets Fitzgerald Toussaint back this week.
This week: Air Force (1-0)

4. Michigan State (1-0)
Preseason rank: 5
Week 1 result: Beat Boise State 17-13
Bell was the star of the show Friday night when the Spartans outlasted the upstart Broncos. He carried an offense that clearly missed Kirk Cousins and his deep receiving corps of last fall as Michigan State overcame four turnovers to hold on for the win. Bell touched the ball 50 times and scored the game-winner with just more than eight minutes left in the game. The Spartans nasty defense did the rest as Boise got only one possession for the rest of the game. Mark Dantonio will have to get better play from quarterback Andrew Maxwell, but he knows he can lean on a defense that didn't allow an offensive touchdown and held a normally powerful offense to 206 total yards — easily the lowest total of the Chris Petersen era at Boise State. 
This week: at Central Michigan (1-0) 

5. Wisconsin (1-0)
Preseason rank: 4
Week 1 result: Beat Northern Iowa 26-12
Danny O'Brien is not Russell Wilson. Matt Canada is not Paul Chryst (although, he had a rough start too), and three first-team All-Big Ten blockers are gone from the offense. And it all showed against Northern Iowa, albeit one of the winningest FCS programs in the nation. The ground game had a tricky time getting rolling and the defense allowed big plays at critical moments and it nearly cost UW a big fourth-quarter lead. The normally powerful offense was held to just 387 yards and Montee Ball averaged only 3.8 yards per carry on 32 attempts. That said, Wisconsin held the ball for nearly 40 minutes of time and O'Brien was efficient (19-of-23, 0 INT). Choke it up for first game jitters against a team accustomed to winning. But fans need to realize this isn't an elite UW team, just a really good one. 
This week: at Oregon State (0-0)

6. Illinois (1-0)
Preseason rank: 9
Week 1 result: Beat Western Michigan 24-7
Tim Beckman's debut was off to a roaring start as the Illini had a 17-0 lead in the third quarter. But quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase left the game with an injured ankle and the game came to a screeching halt. The Broncos cut the lead to 10 before a long interception return ended the upset bid and gave Beckman a win in his first game on the Illinois sideline. Scheelhaase, who finished with 126 yards passing, 21 yards rushing and two total touchdowns practiced on Sunday but isn't going to be fully healthy for the Arizona State game. The defense won't be underrated for much longer if it can completely stop opposing rushing attacks like it did against WMU — try minus-6 yards on 19 attempts.
This week: at Arizona State (1-0)

7. Northwestern (1-0)
Preseason rank: 7
Week 1 result: Beat Syracuse 42-41
The day certainly belonged to the quarterbacks in the Carrier Dome this weekend. Syracuse's Ryan Nassib completed 44 of his 65 total attempts for 470 yards and four touchdowns while the Wildcats' duo of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian combined to score four touchdowns. After Colter sustained a slight shoulder injury, Pat Fitzgerald turned to the back-up Siemian and the sophomore delivered a nine-yard scoring strike to Demetrius Fields with 44 seconds left to win the game. Colter is listed as the starter for the Vanderbilt game this weekend but keep an eye on this position moving forward. This defense was a major question mark heading into the season and the Cuse's four unanswered touchdowns to erase a 22-point Northwestern second-half lead only further highlights the issues.
This week: Vanderbilt (0-1)

8. Iowa (1-0)
Preseason rank: 8
Week 1 result: Beat Northern Illinois 18-17
Iowa was 12th in the Big Ten in rushing last season and has dealt with major attrition at the running back position since the end of the 2011 season. The Hawkeyes rushed for 2.8 yards per carry on 49 attempts and nearly lost to Northern Illinois. However, Damon Bullock provided a huge boost to the ground game and made the definitive play of the game. The sophomore, who totaled 10 carries and 20 yards for the entire '11 campaign, carried 30 times for 150 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes to go in the game. The scored capped a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback for Kirk Ferentz on a day in which James Vandenberg struggled mightily. This was a huge win for a coach who cannot afford losses to MAC teams. Be it the defending champs or not.
This week: Iowa State (1-0)

9. Purdue (1-0)
Preseason rank: 10
Week 1 result: Beat Eastern Kentucky 48-6
Danny Hope's got himself a quarterback battle folks. Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve are listed as co-starters for Saturday's huge test against Notre Dame. TerBush was suspended for the opener and Marve took full advantage by completing 30-of-38 passes for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Hope returned Purdue to the postseason last fall and will need to settle on a quarterback if he expects to do so again in 2012. Of course, a sneaky good defense would go a long way in getting the Boilers into the Leaders Division race — and they allowed only 190 yards of total offense against Hope's former employer.
This week: at Notre Dame (1-0)

10. Penn State (0-1)
Preseason rank: 6
Week 1 result: Lost to Ohio 24-14
It was an emotional day for Penn State fans. At first, the emotion aided Penn State in building a 14-3 lead. Matt McGloin was crisp, the offense looked well-designed and Bill Belton was very effective out of the backfield. Then Belton was lost for the game with an ankle injury and the offense came to a grinding halt. Tyler Tettleton took advantage and produced 371 total yards (324 passing, 47 rushing) and three total touchdowns en route to arguably the biggest win in Ohio history. A day that should have been about of progress and unity quickly turned into a very real reminder of the state of the Nittany Lion perspective.
This week: at Virginia (1-0)

11. Minnesota (1-0)
Preseason rank: 11
Week 1 result: Beat UNLV 30-27 (3 OT)
It took a full four quarters, but MarQueis Gray finally played well when it counted. The senior quarterback threw two overtime touchdown passes on the road to keep his team out of the upset column. A sloppy regulation ended uneventfully at 13-13 before the fireworks started popping off in Las Vegas. The two teams combined for 18 penalties and five turnovers while Minnesota out-gained the inferior competition 478 to 275.
This week: New Hampshire

12. Indiana (1-0)
Preseason rank: 12
Week 1 result: Beat Indiana State 24-17
Tre Roberson was effective and poised in only the second win of the Kevin Wilson era at Indiana. The sophomore dual-threat finished with a career-high 280 yards passing, 26 completions and 38 attempts to go with a pair of touchdowns. His first win as the starter snapped the nine-game losing streak and gives Hoosiers fans a reason to believe once again. With UMass and Ball State coming up, IU has a chance to triple its win total from a year ago if it continues to get sound quarterback play. 
This week: at UMass (0-1)

by Braden Gall


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ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
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Pac-12 East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings 

<p> Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:57
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-1-power-rankings

The West Coast league had two preseason national championship contenders, four new head coaches, the most talented receivers in the country and some regimes in desperate need of winning seasons. 

Headed into this weekend's opening action, USC and Oregon were the clear picks to face-off in the Pac-12 title game and few teams looked better nationally than the Ducks and Trojans. In fact, Oregon's first half might have been the best half of football played by any team in any league. These two looked like bonafide national champion contenders and appear to be headed for a massive battle in Los Angeles come Nov. 3. 

Meanwhile, the new coaches experienced everything from utter joy to an overtime thriller to complete despair. And Jeff Tedford got his critical season in Berkeley off on the exact wrong foot.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Barkley, USC -
Fans shouldn't be shocked if Barkley's name is No. 1 on this list every single week of the year. All he did on his first pass of 2012 was toss a 75-yard touchdown strike to Marqise Lee (yeah, yeah, Lee did most of the work). The Trojan passer finished 23-of-38 for 357 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout win.

2. Marqise Lee, USC - The first play from scrimmage was about a two-yard quick pass to No. 9 in a Trojan uniform. Lee took the pass, hit the sideline and outran the entire Hawaii team for a touchdown. He then caught nine more passes for 122 more yards and returned a kick 100 yards for a second score. He finished with 10 catches, 197 receiving yards and the nation's lead in all-purpose yardage.

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA - UCLA has been craving a quarterback for over a decade and, should he stay healthy, Hundley could be that guy. On his first carry, he raced off the right edge for a 72-yard touchdown run. He finished with 202 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-28 passing to go with 68 yards rushing and that long score on the ground. Franklin made life easy for everyone by carrying the ball 15 times for 214 yards and three scores of his own. Yes, Franklin was the big-time performer, but Hundley's performance is dramatically more important to the program.

Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Hayes Pullard, USC -
The sophomore was largely overshadowed by fellow impact freshman Dion Bailey last fall, but Pullard was the star on Saturday. He posted six total tackles including an assist on a tackle for loss to go with his 27-yard interception return for a touchdown.

2. Jake Fischer, Arizona - The junior linebacker posted career highs with 13 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. He also forced his first career fumble and was a part of a defense that played very well in the second half of the game. Toledo finished the game 10-23 on third downs and 0-7 in the second half.

3. Usua Amanam, Stanford - The Cardinal defense had to lead the way in the first post-Andrew Luck performance. Amanam posted six total tackles, 4.0 tackles for a loss and a pair of sacks in the tight 20-17 win over San Jose State.

Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Lane Kiffin, USC -
There was a nice little backstory to the Trojans opener with Hawaii as Kiffin and Warriors' head coach Norm Chow worked together under Pete Carroll. Kiffin took no prisoners as the Men of Troy rolled from the first play of the game. Until someone beats him, Kiffin will top this ballot. 

2. Chip Kelly, Oregon - This game was at one point a 50-3 contest and Chip Kelly pulled Marcus Mariota in the second quarter. This team is absolutely stacked with speed and it will be hard for any coach to wedge his way into the Pac-12 Coach of the Year race with Kiffin and Kelly battling it out all year long. 

3. New head coaches not named MIke Leach - The Pac-12 welcomed four stellar new head coaches to the ranks this fall and three of them came away from Week 1 with quality performances. UCLA looked reenergized on offense while Arizona State won by a cool 57 points. Arizona posted big offensive numbers and outlasted a gamey Toledo Rockets squad. Leach's bunch had no such luck this weekend.

Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

1. USC (1-0)
Preseason rank: 1
Week 1 result: Beat Hawaii 49-10
There was little Lane Kiffin could be upset about in his drubbing of former co-worker Norm Chow and Hawaii. Matt Barkley was efficient, his receivers made huge plays on offense, special teams were explosive, Silas Redd beefed up the ground game and the Trojan defense got in on the scoring as well. This is the preseason No. 1 team in the nation for a reason and showed zero signs of weakness. Although, the two-point conversion plays could use some upgrading as USC went 0-3 in that department. In fact, the only thing that should concern Kiffin about his team's chances of winning the Pac-12 crown after one week of action would be how his North Division foe played in Eugene Saturday night.
This week: at Syracuse (0-1)

2. Oregon (1-0)
Preseason rank: 2
Week 1 result: Beat Arkansas State 57-34
Even though Oregon scored 57 points, the score wasn't indicative of just how electric Oregon's offense was in Week 1. Without LaMichael James and Darron Thomas, the Ducks didn't miss a beat, scoring 50 first-half points and ultimately taking a 50-3 (with seven minutes to go in the second quarter) lead before starting quarterback Marcus Mariota was pulled from the game. De'Anthony Thomas was up to his old tricks by scoring three times on seven offensive touches, but the story was the quarterback. Mariota was poised and looked the part of a leader, taking charge of the huddle and supporting his teammates at every turn. He finished 18-of-22 passing with 200 yards and three touchdowns to go with 24 yards rushing and could be Chip Kelly's best all-around QB as only a redshirt freshman. Certainly, the high-powered Red Wolves attack which won the Sun Belt last fall finally got on the board, but the 24 second-half points were essentially meaningless as Kelly got his reserves into the game.
This week: Fresno State (1-0)

3. Washington (1-0)
Preseason rank: 4
Week 1 result: Beat San Diego State 21-12
So far, so good for the newly rebuilt Washington defense. With an entirely new coaching staff and plenty of new faces in the starting line-up, Husky fans were hoping for marked improvement from a unit that was downright atrocious last fall. The Justin Wilcox-led defense forced three turnovers, registered four sacks, provided a big touchdown of its own and 450 fewer yards on Saturday than it did the last time it was on the field (777 to 327). Keith Price wasn't elite but did his job by tossing a scoring strike to emerging star Kasen Williams. All cylinders will have to be firing if Price and Wilcox expect to go into Baton Rouge and simply be competitive, much less win.
This week: at LSU (1-0)

4. Stanford (1-0)
Preseason rank: 3
Week 1 result: Beat San Jose State 20-17
For the first time in four years, Cardinal fans saw a team without Jim Harbaugh or Andrew Luck leading the way. And the offensive issues were painfully obvious. Quarterback Josh Nunes had issues moving the football all day, converting only 2-of-13 third-down attempts. The Aztecs actually out-gained the Cardinal 288-280 in total yards and David Shaw needed a late San Jose State fumble deep in its own territory to score the game-winning field goal. The defense was solid and Stepfan Taylor was the lone bright spot for the Stanford offense. He carried the ball 26 times for 116 yards and a first-quarter touchdown. 
This week: Duke (1-0)

5. Utah (1-0)
Preseason rank: 5
Week 1 result: Beat Northern Colorado 41-0
If there is a team assembled in such a way to stop USC or Oregon, it might just be the Utes. This team boasts one of the best power running attacks west of the Mississippi — John White rushed 24 times for 119 yards and a score Thursday night — and plays strong defense at the point of attack — Utah allowed a total of 114 yards in the season-opening shutout. If this team can get balanced offense from the passing game, it could easily pull the biggest upset of the season. Jordan Wynn finished 19-of-27 for 200 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while heralded back-up Travis Wilson rushed for two touchdowns as well. This weekend, however, finds the Utes on upset alert against in-state foe Utah State.
This week: at Utah State (1-0)

6. UCLA (1-0)
Preseason rank: 7
Week 1 result: Beat Rice 49-24
The UCLA Bruins have been looking for a quality quarterback since 1998 and it might have found one in redshirt freshman Brett Hundley. He took the game's first play 72 yards for a touchdown, setting the stage for a host of long scoring runs for the Bruins. Running back Johnathan Franklin also scored on runs of 74 and 78 yards, leading to an absurd 14.3 yards per carry clip on 15 carries (214 yards). Hundley was also efficient passing the ball and led an offense that topped the 300-yard mark in both rushing and passing. Jim Mora Jr. saw his offense roll-up 646 yards of total offense. Fans should learn a lot more about the growth of UCLA under Mora after Nebraska comes to town this weekend.
This week: Nebraska (1-0)

7. Cal (0-1)
Preseason rank: 6
Week 1 result: Lost to Nevada 31-24
Jeff Tedford is going to have nightmares about the Nevada Wolfpack. For the second time in as many games, Nevada has beaten the Cal Golden Bears on the back of a dynamic dual-threat quarterback. Quarterback Cody Fajardo and his offense out-gained the Bears 450 to 365 and two key completions on their final drive of the game led to the game-winning touchdown. Cal finished 3-of-14 on third-downs and failed to get the ground game going at all. Meanwhile, the reworked defensive front seven clearly had issues stopping the Pistol rushing attack of Chris Ault. 
This week: Southern Utah (0-1)

8. Arizona (1-0)
Preseason rank: 8
Week 1 result: Beat Toledo 24-17
Rich Rodriguez' debut at Arizona had a little bit of everything for everyone. Quarterback Matt Scott waited his turn for this moment and he delivered in a big way in the season opener. He threw for 387 yards, completed 30 passes in 46 attempts and added 74 yards on 14 carries rushing. His backfield mate Ka'Deem Carey sprinted up the gut for a key third-quarter 73-yard touchdown run and finished with 147 yards on 20 carries. These are the two staples of the RichRod patented zone-read option. Arizona survived three turnovers and doubled the Rockets in total yards but still had to fight into overtime to clinch the win. Linebacker Jake Fischer had a monster game as the Wildcats' defense stepped up in the second half. They will be called upon again this Saturday against a team that scored 84 points last weekend.
This week: Oklahoma State

9. Arizona State (1-0)
Preseason rank: 10
Week 1 result: Beat Northern Arizona 63-6
Winning by 57 points is a good thing, right? Todd Graham got his tenure as the ASU head coach off to a roaring start by rolling-up 63 total points and 305 yards rushing this Saturday. The Sun Devils new quarterback, sophomore Taylor Kelly, had by definition the best game of any Pac-12 quarterback this weekend. Kelly finished with a 205.52 QB rating by completing 15-of-19 passing for 247 yards and one touchdown pass. He also added 43 yards on six carries rushing as well. The rest of the backfield took it from there. Cameron Marshall scored twice, Marion Grice scored three times and rushed for 107 yards and newcomer D.J. Foster had 99 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in his first-ever college action. This team has some ability and Graham knows offense, but it will have to prove it against solid competition before it can start thinking about bowl games. Like maybe Illinois?
This week: Illinois (1-0)

10. Oregon State (0-0)
Preseason rank: 11
Week 1 result: Postponed
The Beavers were set to kickoff the 2012 season with what should have been a relatively easy win over FCS opponent Nicholls State. Instead, Mike Riley's quest to return to the postseason now must begin with the reigning Big Ten champion Wisconsin Badgers. This turn of events was clearly an unlucky break for Oregon State.
This week: Wisconsin (1-0)

11. Washington State (0-1)
Preseason rank: 9
Week 1 result: Lost to BYU 30-6
A Mike Leach-coached team has failed to reach 10 points in a game only five times in 128 games. Washington State's performance against BYU in Provo Thursday night was one on the worst performances of the entire Week 1 slate. The running game was non-existent and Leach's air raid never took off. Meanwhile, the defense still has major issues as Riley Nelson was able to pick apart the Wazzu defense pretty much at will. Many thought the Cougars could make a run at a postseason game in Leach's first year, however, Week 1 indicated that WSU is still a ways away from bowl contention.
This week: Eastern Washington (1-0)

12. Colorado (0-1)
Preseason rank: 12
Week 1 result: Lost to Colorado State 22-17
Jordan Webb barely completed half of his passes (22 of 41), the running game averaged exactly 2.0 yards per carry (29 for 58) and Jon Embree began his second season as the head coach in Boulder with a crushing loss to in-state rival Colorado State. The Buffs allowed five sacks and turned the ball over twice in one of the worst outcomes of the week. Jim McElwain had a decidedly different debut for the Rams. 
This week: Sacramento State (0-1)

by Braden Gall


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Three and Out: Week 1 Recap

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Pac-12 East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings 

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-1-power-rankings

Week 1 in the Big 12 was filled with non-conference games and some surprises. Oklahoma struggled in a 24-7 win at UTEP, while Texas Tech’s defense appears to be improved after a solid performance in the opener against Northwestern State. West Virginia was impressive against Marshall, while Baylor did not miss Robert Griffin against SMU.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Smith was nearly perfect in Saturday’s win over Marshall, as he threw only four incompletions and passed for 323 yards and four touchdowns.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein didn’t have to do much with Kansas State in control in the second half against Missouri State, finishing with 223 total yards and two touchdowns.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle barely broke a sweat in Saturday’s win over Savannah State, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts.

Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat didn’t have a spectacular debut, but he led the team with six tackles and recorded one quarterback hurry.

2. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State – The Cyclones have one of the best linebacking corps in the nation, and Knott picked up where he left off last year. He recorded 11 tackles and one forced fumble in the win over Tulsa.

3. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia – Bruce turned in an impressive performance in the first game of his West Virginia career, recording 16 tackles, one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery.

Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – The Mountaineers’ offense will be a handful for Big 12 defenses, but the defense has to get better if this team wants to win the conference championship.

2. Art Briles, Baylor – Robert Griffin will be missed, but Baylor has more depth than it has in years, and the defense showed improvement in Sunday’s win against SMU.

3. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State – Beating Savannah State won’t win Gundy any coach of the year honors, but he should be in the mix for this award if the Cowboys push for the Big 12 title once again.

Post-Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 1
Week 1 Result: Beat UTEP 24-7
It wasn’t pretty, but the Sooners left El Paso with a 24-7 victory over UTEP. The offseason concerns about the offense continued in Saturday’s win, as Landry Jones was sacked three times, and this unit never seemed to find its rhythm. Dominique Whaley returned to the lineup after missing the final five games of last season with a significant ankle injury and rushed for 54 yards on 11 attempts. The rush defense struggled to slow down the Miners, especially with Casey Walker and Stacy McGee missing the game. Week 1 was a less than perfect effort, but the Sooners still have plenty of time to find the right answers.
This week: Florida A&M

2. Texas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 2
Week 1 Result: Beat Wyoming 37-17
The Longhorns weren’t particularly impressive in the season opener but turned in an overall solid effort. The rushing attack generated 280 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback David Ash was an efficient 20 of 27 for 156 yards and one touchdown. Texas’ defense allowed Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith to throw for 276 yards but held the Cowboys’ offense to just eight points in the second half. The Longhorns will get another tuneup in Week 2 with New Mexico visiting Austin.
This week: New Mexico

3. West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Marshall 69-34
The Mountaineers’ offense picked up where it left off in the Orange Bowl, scoring 69 points to easily defeat Marshall. Quarterback Geno Smith was unstoppable, throwing for 323 yards and four touchdowns on 32 completions. He added 65 yards and one score on the ground. The offense wasn’t just about the pass, as Shawne Alston added 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Mountaineers’ new 3-4 defense still needs some work, but the offense should score plenty of points in 2012.
Next Game: James Madison (9/15)

4. Oklahoma State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 4
Week 1 Result: Beat Savannah State 84-0
Savannah State was one of the worst FCS teams last season, so it’s hard to takeaway much for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys easily cruised to an 84-0 victory and was able to play a ton of players thanks to the blowout. True freshman quarterback Wes Lunt was perfect in his first start, completing all 11 of his passes for 129 yards. Running back Joseph Randle was also effective in limited work, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts. The road gets tougher for Oklahoma State this Saturday, as it travels to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Cowboys beat the Wildcats 37-14 last year, but this will be a huge test for Lunt in his first road start.
This week: at Arizona

5. TCU (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 5
Week 1 Result: Did not play
The Horned Frogs had the rare Week 1 bye, so they will have to wait until this Saturday to play their first game as a Big 12 member. TCU will open a newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with FCS opponent Grambling, a team that lost 22-21 to Alcorn State in Week 1. The Horned Frogs should have no trouble opening up the 2012 season with a victory, but the coaching staff will be eager to see how much a revamped offensive line and linebacking corps will perform.
This week: Grambling

6. Kansas State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 6
Week 1 Result: Beat Missouri State 51-9
Bill Snyder kept things basic in the Wildcats’ 51-9 blowout win over Missouri State. Kansas State led only 9-6 at halftime but scored 42 points in the second half to cruise to the victory. Quarterback Collin Klein threw for 169 yards and two scores, while adding 54 yards on the ground. The Wildcats’ secondary was tested by FBS transfer quarterback Ashton Glaser, as he threw for 257 yards on 22 completions. Expect Kansas State to pickup the intensity in Week 2, as it hosts Miami this Saturday.
This week: Miami (Fla.)

7. Baylor (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat SMU 59-24
Robert who? Nick Florence showed Baylor’s offense still has plenty of firepower, throwing for 342 yards and four touchdowns in the 59-24 rout over SMU. The senior quarterback also completed 70 percent of his throws and did not toss an interception. Florence had plenty of help from his receiving corps, and a rushing attack that was led by Jarred Salubi. Baylor’s defense allowed over 500 yards but showed signs of improvement after struggling in 2011. The Bears do not play in Week 2 and will return to action in Week 3 against Sam Houston State.
This week: Sam Houston State (9/15)

8. Iowa State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 9
Week 1 Result: Beat Tulsa 38-23
The Cyclones weren’t given much respect going into the Week 1 matchup against Tulsa, as the folks in Vegas listed Iowa State as a home underdog. However, the Cyclones rallied from a 16-7 deficit after the first quarter to win 38-23. Steele Jantz won a close competition with Jared Barnett for the starting quarterback spot, and he responded with 281 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Shontrelle Johnson showed no ill-effects from a neck injury that sidelined him most of last year, rushing for 120 yards and one score on 18 attempts. Beating Tulsa is just one victory, but with a difficult schedule, Iowa State needed this one to have any shot at making a bowl.
This week: at Iowa

9. Texas Tech (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat Northwestern State 44-6
Northwestern State wasn’t the toughest of Week 1 tests, but Texas Tech has to be pleased with its performance. The defense did not allow a touchdown and limited the Demons to just 84 yards. After struggling on defense the last two years, Saturday’s performance was a welcomed sight for coach Tommy Tuberville. The other good sign was the return of running back Eric Stephens. After suffering a significant knee injury last season, Stephens looked ready for Big 12 play by rushing for 58 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts.
This week: at Texas State

10. Kansas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 10
Week 1 Result: Beat South Dakota State 31-17
The Jayhawks opened up the Charlie Weis era with a much-needed 31-17 victory over South Dakota State. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak and should help this team build some confidence. Quarterback Dayne Crist completed 17 of 36 throws for 169 yards and one touchdown in his Kansas debut, while running back Tony Pierson chipped in 124 yards and two scores. The defense was awful last season, and there’s still plenty of work to be done after allowing 411 yards in the opener.
This week: Rice

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
@athlonsteven</a></strong></span></p>" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:49
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-1-power-rankings

The Big East may have a degree of smug satisfaction in watching Pittsburgh and Syracuse struggle in their final season in the league before bolting for the ACC.

Certainly, the feeling is warranted. Pitt lost to FCS Youngstown State on Saturday, while Syracuse squandered a four-touchdown second-half comeback to lose at home to Northwestern. Not so fast, though. Future Big East members had embarrassing losses, too, with Memphis losing to UT Martin and Houston losing to Texas State.

For 2012, though, Louisville still has bragging rights after a dominant performance against Kentucky. For the rest of the league, most teams must  still refine some wrinkles on offense.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville -
As expected, Bridgewater showed major improvement from the start of his freshman season to the start of his sophomore year. He was remarkably efficient in the victory of Kentucky, completing 19 of 21 passes for 232 yards. From the start, Bridgewater was responsible for three long scoring drives to take an insurmountable lead over Kentucky. Now that he appears to have a strong run game behind him, Bridgewater could be a breakout player on a national level.

2. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse - Nassib was on the verge of his eighth fourth-quarter comeback when Northwestern dodged those hopes in the final minute. Even with the Syracuse offense at less than full strength, Nassib set school records with 44 completions, 65 attempts and 470 yards while passing for four touchdowns -- all in a new no-huddle offense.

3. Matt Brown, Temple - Brown has been overlooked at Temple, first by backing up Bernard Pierce and then by the arrival of Montel Harris. When Harris left Friday’s game against Villanova with a sore hamstring, Brown finished with 145 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers -
The Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year picked up where he left off last season with 14 tackles, a sack and a pass break up in the win over Tulane. Rutgers held Tulane to 262 total yards.

2. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut - The Huskies sophomore linebacker led a stifling effort against UMass with 3.5 tackles for a loss, seven total tackles and a pass break up. He led a group of three returning starters at linebacker who prevented UMass from crossing midfield all game.

3. Vaughn Carraway, Temple - The Owls safety returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble in Temple’s 41-10 rout of Villanova.

Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Charlie Strong, Louisville -
When other Big East teams sputtered at times against inferior competition (or lost, in the case of Pittsburgh), Louisville dominated rival Kentucky, jumping to a 22-7 halftime lead that never let up. The Cardinals did little to change the assumption they could dominate the Big East.

2. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut - After a year away from the postseason, UConn may be poised to rebound. The defense has shown signs of returning to form and junior college transfer Chandler Whitmer should stabilize the Huskies’ quarterback situation.

3. Skip Holtz, USF - The Bulls’ had an uneven game on offense, but we’re still optimistic about USF’s chances to contend in the Big East. A road trip against Mountain West contender Nevada this week will be a major measuring stick for the Bulls.

Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
1. Louisville (1-0)
Preseason rank: 1
Week 1 result: Beat Kentucky 32-14
Louisville was the only team to receive preseason fanfare in the Big East, ranked  23rd in the preseason by Athlon. The Cardinals looked the part of a top-25 team by making easy work of Kentucky. Louisville jumped to a 22-7 lead thanks to scoring drives of 99, 85 and 93 yards. The Cardinals started the season with questions at running back, but both Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright topped 100 rushing yards with Dominique Jones out of the game. Wright finished with three touchdowns, and Perry finished with one.
This week: Missouri State (0-1)

2. USF (1-0)
Preseason rank: 2
Week 1 result: Beat Chattanooga 34-13
The Bulls turned in a dominant defensive performance, holding Chattanooga to 151 total yards (49 rushing, 151 passing). USF also amassed six sacks. However, the offense sputtered at times with quarterback B.J. Daniels accounting for two turnovers (an interception and a sack on a fumble). Still, Daniels completed 17 of 26 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns and rushed 20 yards for a fourth score. After this warmup, the Bulls go to Reno to face a Nevada team that upset Cal 31-24 on the road on Saturday.
This week: at Nevada (1-0)

3. Rutgers (1-0)
Preseason rank: 4
Week 1 result: Beat Tulane 24-12
Rutgers got off to a slow start against Tulane until cornerback Brandon Jones broke a 7-3 game open a 14-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tulane passed for 254 yards, but the Green Wave all but abandoned the run without injured Orleans Darkwa, the leading rusher in 2011. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova was uneven after being named the starter, completing 11 of 20 passes for 158 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Scarlet Knights have a game against Howard to smooth the rough edges before back-to-back road trips to USF and Arkansas.
This week: Howard (1-0)

4. Cincinnati (0-0)
Preseason rank: 5
Week 1 result: DNP
Cincinnati was one of seven teams FBS teams that did not play the opening weekend, giving the Bearcats a leg up on Week 2 opponent Pittsburgh, at least as far as scouting is concerned. The Bearcats were one of the last teams to name a starting quarterback, though Munchie Legaux was considered the favorite since the end of last season. In addition to Legaux taking over for Zach Collaros, the Bearcats replace senior running back Isaiah Pead with George Winn. Cincinnati has won three of the last four meetings but dropped the last game at Nippert Stadium 28-10 in 2010.
This week: Pittsburgh (0-1) (Thursday)

5. Connecticut (1-0)
Preseason rank: 7
Week 1 result: Beat Massachusetts 37-0
The Huskies had an uneventful opener against UMass, a team that joined FBS this season as a member of the MAC. The Minutemen were outclassed, particularly on offense. UConn was dominant on defense, holding UMass to three rushing yards on 24 attempts and 59 yards of total offense. Never mind midfield, UMass didn’t even cross its own 40-yard line. Huskies junior college transfer quarterback Chandler Whitmer had an uneven debut, completing 15 of 29 passes for 219 yards. A major concern was three turnovers out of the backfield with two Whitmer interceptions and a Lyle McCombs fumble.
This week: NC State (0-1)

6. Syracuse (0-1)
Preseason rank: 6
Week 1 result: Lost to Northwestern 42-41
Syracuse played the first week of the season without Athlon All-Big East offensive tackle Justin Pugh and wide receiver Alec Lemon, but the Orange still managed to roll up 596 yards, 41 points and four consecutive second-half touchdowns on Northwestern (perhaps with some help from the Wildcats’ pass defense). Syracuse may have won the stats, but the Orange lost on key plays, which included two big punt returns by Venric Mark (one for an 82-yard touchdown), an interception returned for a touchdown after bouncing off a Syracuse receiver and a fumble returned for a touchdown when Syracuse mistook a lateral for a forward pass.
This week: USC (1-0)

7. Temple (1-0)
Preseason rank: 8
Week 1 result: Beat Villanova 41-10
Temple dominated crosstown rival Villanova, a team that sought entry into the Big East, in the final Mayor’s Cup game. Even with limited contributions for Boston College transfer Montel Harris, Temple rushed for 301 yards and 6.4 yards per carry. Matt Brown rushed for 145 yards, and quarterback Chris Coyer added 80. Harris, who entered the game with a sore hamstring, left after five carries. He’s expected to return against Maryland this week. Temple was outgained 365-362, but scored a defensive touchdown on a 57-yard interception return from safety Vaughn Carraway.
This week: Maryland (1-0)

8. Pittsburgh (0-1)
Preseason rank: 3
Week 1 result: Lost to Youngstown State 31-17
Coach Paul Chryst started his first game day has head coach by suspending six players, including starting defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell and touted running back Rushel Shell. Pitt then went out and lost convincingly to Youngstown State of the FCS. Pitt allowed the Penguins to put up long sustained drives in a game the Panthers never led and trailed by double figures for most of the second half. Ray Graham returned from his season-ending injury last season to rush for 71 yards on 14 carries, but he lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tino Sunseri continued to struggle, completing 19 of 30 passes but missing a handful of open receivers. The Panthers have little time to recover, starting conference play next week on the road.
This week: at Cincinnati (0-0) (Thursday)

by David Fox


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Post-Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings

Post-Week 1 Big Ten Power Rankings

Post-Week 1 Pac-12 Power Rankings
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Three and Out: Week 1 Recap

<p> Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:44
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-1-waiver-wire-report

We’re not afraid to admit that we swing and miss on quite a few players leading up to Week 1.  The college game does not have a preseason, and as a result, many players slip under the radar and burst onto the scene during the opening weekend.  Take advantage of the players available because the waiver wire will become shorter and shorter as the season progresses.  If you do not have a lot of confidence in your roster after Week 1, this is the perfect time to start rebuilding.  If you feel great about you team right now, grab some depth and play keep-away from your league adversaries.  

College Fantasy Football's Best Pickups Post-Week 1

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice

UCLA’s defense is a lot better than those in C-USA and McHargue threw two TD passes and ran for another score, while carrying the ball 22 times for 95 yards against the Bruins.

Jeremy Wright, RB-Louisville

Wright took advantage of teammate Dominique’s Brown pre-game injury by running for 105 yards and three scores against Kentucky.  If Brown does not return this week, Wright should do even more damage against Missouri State in Week 2.

Jarred Salubi, RB-Baylor

We rolled the dice with Seastrunk on draft day.  We were wrong.  Salubi got the nod in Week 1 and ran for 91 yards and a score on only 13 carries against SMU.

Ameer Abdullah, RB-Nebraska

Abdullah filled in nicely for starter Rex Burkhead, who sprained his MCL in the first half against Southern Miss.  If Burkhead cannot go in Week 2, Abdullah is more than capable of shouldering the load at UCLA.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy

Southward was on our radar leading up to the season, but little did we know he was going to carry the ball 28 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns against UAB.

Beau Blankenship, RB-Ohio

Blankenship proved to be a workhorse against Penn State by toting the rock 31 times for 109 yards and the schedule should only get easier.

Trey Watts, RB-Tulsa

We liked Watts during the preseason because of his versatility, and he didn’t disappoint by running for 125 yards and adding another 31 yards on three receptions against Iowa State in Week 1.

Duke Johnson, RB-Miami

Some were wise to scoop up the freshman on draft day, but Johnson may have gone undrafted in some leagues.  Two scoring runs of 50-plus yards against Boston College in Week 1 only fueled the preseason hype.

Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa

We listed Bullock on our Emergency Starters list Friday and he responded by running for 150 yards and a score on 30 carries against Northern Illinois. 

Deandre Martin, RB-Wake Forest

Starting running back Josh Harris left in the first quarter with an injury, which seems to be a recurring theme.  Freshman Deandre Martin filled in nicely by running for 74 yards and a touchdown.  Maybe it’s time to move on from the oft-injured Harris.

Kenny Hilliard, RB-LSU

We had Hilliard rated the highest of all LSU running backs leading up to draft day.  The sophomore is making us look good after running for 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.

LaDarius Perkins, RB-Mississippi State

The fantasy potential is there in the Bulldogs’ spread attack.  Perkins has the ability to duplicate Vick Ballard’s numbers from a year ago.

David Oku, RB-Arkansas State

We jumped on Oku in every draft this season, especially after Auburn transfer Michael Dyer was denied immediate eligibility and was eventually booted from the program.  He looks to be the second-best fantasy back in the Sun Belt behind FIU’s Kendrick Rhodes.

Lanear Sampson, WR-Baylor

We debated Sampson or Tevin Reese as Baylor’s WR#2 in the preseason.  After Week 1, we think the speedy senior has more fantasy potential.

Jackie Williams, WR-UAB

Williams was one of our under-the-radar receivers in the preseason.  After catching 6 passes for 157 yards against Troy in Week 1, Williams should be owned in every league.

Demetrius Fields, WR-Northwestern

While all of the preseason attention was focused on quarterback Kain Colter, Fields has quietly emerged as Jeremy Ebert’s replacement at the inside receiver position.

Marcus Sales, WR-Syracuse

While fellow receiver Alec Lemon missed Week 1 with an injury, Sales caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, and showed why we were so high on him in 2011 before his season-long suspension.

Jaime Wilson, WR-Western Michigan

We were wondering who Alex Carder’s favorite target would be this season.  After Week 1, Wilson had as many catches as Eric Monette and Josh Schaffer combined. 

Davante Adams, WR-Fresno State

We all know that the Fresno State offense revolves around running back Robbie Rouse, but Adams emerged as the big-play receiver quarterback Derek Carr needs.

Austin Hill and Dan Buckner, WRs-Arizona

The Wildcats are going to put the ball in the air often, especially in Rich Rodriguez’s spread attack.  In Week 1, Buckner led the team in receptions (10), and Hill led the team in receiving yards (139).  Neither may be a WR#1 or WR#2, but either could be a legitimate fantasy WR#3.

by Joe DiSalvo,

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<p> College Fantasy Football Post-Week 1 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:17
Path: /college-football/florida-state-loses-brandon-jenkins-national-title-hopes-take-hit

Florida State cruised to an easy 69-3 victory over Murray State in Week 1, but the win came at a heavy price. Senior defensive end Brandon Jenkins suffered a season-ending foot injury, which is a huge blow to one of the nation’s best defenses.

In his first three seasons in Tallahassee, Jenkins recorded 21.5 sacks and 36.5 tackles for a loss. He also forced two fumbles and registered 116 tackles.

Even though Florida State has depth on the defensive line, losing a player of Jenkins’ caliber will hurt its chances of making a run at the national title. And it's the second departure on the Seminoles' defense, as Greg Reid was dismissed from the team in the preseason.

Junior Bjoern Werner is an underrated performer on one side of the line, and he will be forced to pickup more of the pass rush the rest of the season. Werner had five tackles for a loss and four sacks in Saturday’s victory over Murray State. With Jenkins out, look for Werner to see more attention from opposing offensive lines the rest of the year.

While losing Jenkins doesn’t eliminate or knock out Florida State from the national title picture, it definitely hurts its chances. The Seminoles still have one of college football’s top defenses, but with an offense that’s finding its footing, the defense needs to carry this team early in the year.

Werner is clearly locked into one spot, but the other end position will be watched closely the rest of the season. The Seminoles listed redshirt freshman Giorgio Newberry as Jenkins’ backup for the opener against Murray State, but senior Cornellius Carradine is expected to slide into the starting role. Newberry ranked as one of the top 100 prospects coming out of high school and recorded two tackles in the opener. Carradine was a huge junior college recruit and played in all 13 contests last year, registering 38 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Considering it usually takes a year for junior college recruits to adjust to FBS play, Carradine’s performance in 2011 was impressive. And he continued to build on that performance with nine tackles and one sack in the season opener against Murray State. Carradine could be an All-ACC player for Florida State this season, but the Seminoles should be concerned about the depth.

With Carradine sliding into a starting role, senior Toshmon Stevens and true freshman Mario Edwards Jr. will have to see a few more snaps each week. Edwards was one of the top recruits in the country and was expected to redshirt before Jenkins’ injury. Although Edwards is talented, it may take him a couple of weeks to get acclimated to FBS play.

Even though Florida State is equipped to handle the loss of Jenkins, an injury to Werner or Carradine would be devastating.

Jenkins has a redshirt season available, so he could return to the team in 2013. However, he was expected to be a top defensive prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft and may not decide to return to Tallahassee.

Jenkins was one of the nation’s top returning defenders, as he ranked as Athlon’s No. 9 defensive end for 2012 and the No. 6 overall player in the ACC. He was also a third-team Athlon Sports All-American for 2012 and a first-team All-ACC selection.

by Steven Lassan


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ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

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Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

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SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> Brandon Jenkins: Star Florida State DE's Injury Hampers National Title Hopes</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:07
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-sept-3

Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams and players in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings and Players of the Week for Sept. 3, 2012.


  1. Reds — Cruising to NL Central title.

 2. Nationals — Can Nats hold on without Strasburg?

 3. Rangers — Jurickson Profar certainly looks like the real deal.

 4. Yankees — Huge week coming up at Tampa and Baltimore.

 5. Giants — Went 5-1 on back-to-back road trips.

 6. Braves — Bravos feel like they can run down the Nats.

 7. A’s —Where did all this winning come from?

 8. Rays — Next 12 games against contenders.

 9. Orioles — Within one good weekend of catching the Yanks.

10. Tigers — Maybe this time they really do have control of the division.

11. White Sox — Tigers’ ace Verlander beat Sox ace Sale on Sunday.

12. Dodgers — Must gain ground against the Giants this weekend.

13. Cardinals — Offense took about a week off.

14. Pirates — Back-to-back shutouts over St. Louis looked good at the time.

15. Angels —Won 9 of 12 to climb back in race; 7 of next 10 games vs. A’s.

16. Diamondbacks — Still nine games left with San Francisco.

17. Mariners — Continue to bank on starting pitching.

18. Phillies — Committed to being a spoiler down the stretch.

19. Brewers — One of the teams that contenders don’t want to play right now.

20. Mets — Can affect wild card race vs. Cards, Braves and Nats.

21. Padres — Last seven saves by four different pitchers.

22. Royals — Finishing with a flurry could yield 76 wins, most since 2003.

23. Red Sox — Can Bobby V and Dustin Pedroia coexist?

24. Blue Jays — Last two series Jays won were against Yankees and Tigers.

25. Marlins — Ozzie Guillen will likely get a mulligan on this season.

26. Twins — Need just eight wins to avoid 100 losses.

27. Rockies — Can the Rockies get one pitcher to 10 wins?

28. Indians — Need to learn from this season and move on.

29. Cubs — Optimistic about young players, but lots of holes to fill.

30. Astros — Total house cleaning on the field and in the front office.


AL Player of the Week

Adrian Beltre, Texas—Beltre is honored here for the second week in a row as he continues to creep into the MVP discussion. The Texas third baseman had three three-hit games last week and batted .478 with a 1.563 OPS. Among his seven extra-base hits were three home runs, and he drove in seven runs. Beltre closed the week with an 8-for-14 series against Cleveland, all the while playing excellent defense at the hot corner.


AL Pitcher of the Week

Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle—You may not be familiar with Iwakuma, but he is quickly becoming one of Seattle’s top starters. Last week he was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. After a win at Minnesota, the slender righthander tossed 7.1 shutout innings against the Angels, giving up just five hits, no walks and seven strikeouts in the 2-1 win. The Mariners have won his last five starts.


NL Player of the Week

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh—The Pirates’ third baseman is beginning to unlock the potential that made him the second overall pick in 2008. He began last week with 10 hits in four games, including 11 total bases in a win over St. Louis on Tuesday. He batted .458 with a 1.542 OPS and led the NL with four home runs. During the week, he either scored or drove home more than a third of the Pirates’ runs.


NL Pitcher of the Week

Bud Norris, Houston—It isn’t easy getting wins these days in Houston, but that doesn’t prevent Norris from pitching well enough to earn victories. In 12.2 innings over two starts, Norris had a 0.95 ERA and 0.71 WHIP pitching against San Francisco and Cincinnati. He left the Giants game after 6.2 innings with the score tied 1-1, then tossed six shutout innings over the Reds and left with a 1-0 lead. The Astros’ bullpen lost both games.

<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 3, 2012 - 14:07
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-1-recap-three-and-out-0

The names and faces change, but sometimes the results don’t.

At least that’s what people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Eugene, Ore., learned after the first weekend of college football. Alabama looked near-invincible in defending its national championship. Dee Milliner, Trey DePriest and T.J. Yeldon stepped into starring roles in the Crimson Tide’s rout of Michigan.

On the West Coast, Oregon’s plug-and-play system of quarterbacks continued with redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota, who was 18-of-22 for 200 yards and three touchdown passes in his debut against Arkansas State. We didn’t even see the full extent of Mariota’s running ability, meaning perhaps Chip Kelly’s quarterback conundrum was easier to figure out than he let on.

Not every team found such easy answers. Oklahoma struggled at UTEP late Saturday night, and four teams lost to FCS foes (Pittsburgh to Youngstown State, Memphis to UT Martin, Middle Tennessee to McNeese State, Idaho to Eastern Washington).

It was a busy first weekend in college football -- and it’s not even over. Here’s our Three and Out recap of the first week so far.


Alabama and Coach Nick Saban appeared ready to defend their BCS championship in the win over Michigan

No let up at Alabama. With a 41-14 win over Michigan, the Crimson Tide dashed any questions it could defend its BCS championship with so many new starters on defense. Alabama keeps replacing NFL draft picks with NFL draft picks. Michigan tested corner Dee Milliner a few too many times as Milliner, a part-time starter last season, finished with an interception and four pass breakups. In place of Heisman finalist running back Trent Richardson, freshman T.J. Yeldon rushed for 111 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown, amassing a good portion of that after the catch. Meanwhile junior battering ram Jalston Folwer rushed for 67 yards on eight carries.

Clemson’s no-Sammy offense. The Tigers were without suspended receiver Sammy Watkins, but Clemson displayed an embarrassment of riches on offense. Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards for an average of 8.9 yards per carry. DeAndre Hopkins caught 13 passes for 119 yards and a miraculous go-ahead touchdown catch through interference. And though quarterback Tajh Boyd threw a second half interception, Boyd did enough through the air and on the ground to break through the field goal-laden stalemate to win 26-19.

Special season for Ohio? The Bobcats may be eying a signature season after a win at Penn State on Saturday. Weakened by transfers and breaking in a new coach, Penn State was vulnerable, but don’t lose sight of how convincing Ohio’s win was. The Bobcats outscored Penn State 21-0 in the second half, including drives of 82, 70 and 93 yards. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton delivered, completing 31 of 41 passes for 324 yards with two touchdowns. During the regular season, Ohio will play one team that had a winning record in 2011, and that’s at Marshall, a non-conference opponent that went 7-6.

Penn State.
Unfortunately for Penn State, this was probably a sign of things to come. The Nittany Lions rode the emotion of returning to the field to jump to a 14-3 halftime lead on the arm of Matt McGloin. But Penn State couldn’t sustain that level of play. Ohio used demoralizing drives against Penn State’s strongest unit, its defense, in the second half to pull away. If this is the result against the runaway MAC favorite, what’s in store against the Big Ten schedule? Or Virginia on the road next week?

Florida. The Gators showed little indication this season would be any different form last year’s 7-6 effort. Coach Will Muschamp refused to hint at his starting quarterback right up until the first snap when Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett both broke the huddle. Brissett took the first quarterback snap, but Driskel was the quarterback during the fourth quarter and later in crunch time. The quarterback rotation eased no questions as the Gators were tied at 14 until 6:03 remaining in the third quarter. Mike Gillislee saved the day with 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the 27-14 win. That might not be enough to defeat Texas A&M and Tennessee on the road the next two weeks.

Oklahoma. Blame the late start (10:30 p.m. Eastern, 8:30 p.m. local time). Blame the odd road trip to El Paso. Either way, the Sooners limped to a 24-7 win over UTEP on Saturday. Before taking a third-quarter lead, Oklahoma was probably lucky to never fall behind the Miners. UTEP missed three field goals through three quarters, Oklahoma had two kicks blocked and UTEP failed on a fake punt attempt in the fourth to set up an Oklahoma touchdown. Miners running back Nathan Jeffery, who gashed the Sooner defense for 177 yards, also left the game in the second half with injury.

Geno Smith, West Virginia.
The Mountaineers’ quarterback passed for 232 yards and four touchdowns against Marshall, which isn’t terribly surprising. What was eye-opening was his efficiency (32 of 36) and his performance in the run game (eight carries, 65 yards with a 28-yard touchdown run). Smith led scoring drives on seven of nine possessions, with one of those non-scoring drives ending on downs at the Marshall 2. Smith completed passes to six different receivers.

Denard Robinson, Michigan. Robinson will have opportunities to recover, but this game will leave a mark. Robinson was a non-factor in the ground game with 27 rushing yards on 10 carries and struggled just the same in the passing game, completing 11 of 26 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Good news for him: He won’t play Alabama every week.

Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State. The 6-2, 244-pound junior had been part of a running back duo with Edwin Baker the last two seasons, but he needed no one to spell him against Boise State. On Friday, Bell carried 44 times -- more than anyone carried in a single game all of last season -- for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Bell also caught six passes for 55 yards.

354. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez passed for a career-high 354 yards with five touchdown passes in a 49-20 win over Southern Miss. The most notable storyline for the game was who wasn’t on the field for Nebraska and Martinez’s emergence. Running back Rex Burkhead, the cornerstone of the Huskers offense, left with an MCL sprain after only three carries (one of which was a 57-yard TD run).

0. Boise State failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time since Sept. 27, 1997 when the Broncos were shut out by Washington State. Boise State was a member of the Big West that season and in only its second year in Division I-A. The coach? Houston Nutt.

0. Speaking of Washington State and no touchdowns, the Cougars were limited to a mere two field goals Friday in a 30-6 loss to BYU. It was the first time a Mike Leach-coached team failed to score a touchdown since a 12-3 loss to TCU on Sept. 16, 2006.

Notre Dame and Navy playing in Dublin’s soccer palace Aviva Stadium.
Names on Penn State jerseys.
The new rule requiring players to leave the game for a play if their helmets are removed.
Oklahoma State 84, Savannah State 0
Maryland 7, William & Mary 6
FAU 7, Wagner 3
Washington at LSU
Nebraska at UCLA
Georgia at Missouri

Nevada’s backfield.
The Wolf Pack has long been excited about the potential of quarterback Cody Fajardo. It looks like he’s going to deliver as a sophomore. Fajardo completed 25 of 32 passes for 230 yards and rushed for 99 yards including a 49-yard touchdown in the 31-24 upset at Cal. Not to be upstaged, running back Stefphon Jefferson rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minute. It had the look of the best Nevada backfield since Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua, who also defeated Cal in September on the way to a 13-1 season in 2010.

Pittsburgh loses to Youngstown State. Paul Chryst did not distinguish himself in his first game as Pitt’s coach. The Panthers lost in convincing fashion, 31-17, to Youngstown State of the FCS. Pitt never led in the game as the Penguins were able to put together long, sustained drives against against the Panthers’ defense. Making matters worse, Todd Graham, who spurned Pitt for Arizona State, led the Sun Devils to a 63-6 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday.

Franchione, Coker are winners. Texas State coach Dennis Franchione (formerly of Alabama and Texas A&M) and UTSA coach Larry Coker (formerly of Miami) were winners in their returns to major college football. Texas State made easy work of Houston (13-1 last season) with a 30-13 win on the road. And Coker’s Roadrunners defeated South Alabama 33-31 in both teams’ first game as FBS members. It was Coker’s first FBS win since 2006 and Franchione’s first since 2007.

Duke Johnson, Miami.
The Hurricanes’ heralded freshman running back rushed for 135 yards on seven carries, including touchdowns of 54 and 56 yards to lead a comeback effort against Boston College.

Everett Golson, Notre Dame. The latest starting quarterback for Brian Kelly was a serviceable 12 of 18 for 144 yards with a touchdown (and a red zone interception) in a 50-10 win over Navy.

Brett Hundley, UCLA. The Bruins’ redshirt freshman quarterback completed 21 of 28 passes for 202 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for touchdowns of 72 and 78 yards. Could this be the end of UCLA’s quarterback woes?

“The #BigEast will be a better football conference on the field next year than it has ever been!”
-Big East senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli (via Twitter) following outgoing conference member Pitt’s loss to Youngstown State. Incoming Big
East members Memphis and Houston lost to UT Martin and Texas State, respectively, Saturday.

“They don’t have a bunch of slow dudes like they used to.”
-South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on Vanderbilt.

“That kid looked pretty good didn’t he? He was drilling them tonight. I remember seeing Darron’s (Thomas) first starts and how happy and excited he was after plays. Marcus was having the time of his life out there tonight and jumping around.”
-Oregon OL Carson York on QB Marcus Mariota.

Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee.
Junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson stepped in for the star receiver to catch a 41-yard touchdown pass and run for a 67-yard score in the 35-21 win over NC State on Thursday. Zach Rogers added a 72-yard touchdown catch. Both victimized the Wolfpack’s cornerback David Amerson, a Thorpe Award finalist last season, in the process.

Isaiah Crowell, Georgia. Bulldogs freshman running back Todd Gurley accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing and one 100-yard kickoff return) in the 45-23 win over Buffalo. Gurley rushed for 100 yards on eight carries, including a 55-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Tyrann Mathieu, LSU. Mathieu’s playmaking ability in the secondary will be missed, but Odell Beckham at least filled the gap on special teams by returning a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the 41-14 win over North Texas.

The Badgers needed a fourth-and-1 stop in the final minutes to preserve a 26-21 win over Northern Iowa. The Panthers of the FCS scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put a scare into Wisconsin.

Iowa. The Hawkeyes never led against the defending MAC champion Northern Illinois until Damon Bullock ran for a 22-yard score with 3:35 remaining. Iowa, a team with two new coordinators, dodged not only a MAC loss but also another instance of the Iowa running back curse. Bullock finished with 151 rushing yards.

Minnesota. In the wee hours of the morning Friday, the Gophers defeated UNLV 30-27 in triple overtime. The Rebels went 2-11 last season.

Florida. To wrap up a 14-penalty game against Bowling Green, the Gators were called for an offsides while trying to take a knee to run out the clock.

Boston College. The Eagles needed to call a timeout before their first offensive play against Miami. It must have worked as it resulted in a 41-yard pass play.

Kent State. The Golden Flashes picked up a muffed punt and returned it 58 yards the wrong way. Only one thing stopped Kent State from scoring a touchdown on itself: Opponent Towson tackled Andre Parker before reaching the end zone.

by David Fox


<p> College Football Week 1 Recap: Three and Out</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 11:01
All taxonomy terms: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/nebraskas-rex-burkhead-suffers-knee-injury-against-southern-miss

Nebraska's offense suffered a huge loss during Saturday's game against Southern Miss. Running back Rex Burkhead suffered a sprained MCL in the first half against the Golden Eagles and was ruled out for the remainder of the opener.

During his limited work against Southern Miss, Burkhead rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown on three attempts.

Without Burkhead, Nebraska will have to lean on Ameer Abdullah and Mike Marrow to carry the workload on the ground. 

Burkhead is one of the nation's top running backs after rushing for 1,357 yards and 15 scores last season. He is expected to be one of the Big Ten's top performers in 2012 and his status will be something to watch over the next couple of days.

With a road trip to UCLA coming up in Week 2, Nebraska has to be concerned about Burkhead's health. If he can't go against the Bruins, quarterback Taylor Martinez will have to shoulder more of the load on offense.

And there's the possibility that Burkhead could be out even longer than Week 2 with a knee injury. However, Nebraska's first Big Ten game isn't until Sept. 29, which should give plenty of time for Burkhead to heal if the injury is one that could keep him out a few weeks.

<p> Nebraska's Rex Burkhead Suffers Knee Injury Against Southern Miss</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 17:03
Path: /news/ohio-states-devin-smith-makes-ridiculous-catch-against-miami-ohio

It's only Week 1 of the 2012 college football season, but Ohio State's Devin Smith might have made one of the best plays we will see all season. 

Smith grabbed this one-handed catch from quarterback Braxton Miller in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio). 

One of the biggest questions facing Ohio State's offense was the receiving corps, but Smith should become a bigger weapon if he continues to make catches like this one.

<p> Ohio State's Devin Smith Makes a Ridiculous Catch Against Miami (Ohio)</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 13:29
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Links, College Basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB
Path: /college-football/athlon%E2%80%99s-essential-eleven-links-day-14

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for August 31.

• ESPN Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett believes Michigan has almost nothing to lose in the season opener against defending champion Alabama.

• SI’s Andy Staples looks at South Carolina’s close call on the road at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks pulled out a 17-13 victory.

• The San Francisco Giants have an awesome promotion on Tuesday: it’s Bruce Lee Bobblehead Night.

• The NFL and its locked-out referees will meet today to try and solve their labor issues.

• It’s a huge weekend for ACC football, with Clemson taking on Auburn and NC State battling Tennessee.

• Gotta love this beer commercial from the Chive.

• UCLA beat Rice in Jim Mora’s debut despite having three extra points blocked.

• The NCAA has surprisingly exonerated North Carolina in its academic violations case.

• The Lakers will retire Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 34, as well as Jamaal Wilkes’ No. 52.

• It sounds like Texas Tech basketball players are rebelling against coach Billy Gillispie.

• It was great to finally see some college football last night, and Kent State’s Andre Parker gave us a classic highlight on opening night. He runs the wrong way after picking up a punt, but then for some reason the Towson players tackle him. Holy Moly!

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

August 30

• The college football season is here! Russ Mitchell of CFN believes that Vanderbilt can upset Marcus Lattimore and South Carolina in tonight’s opening contest.

• ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller has the latest on DirecTV’s rejection of the league’s new network.

• A potential Apple lawsuit?

• Giants defender Mathias Kiwanuka calls out Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, saying the G-men have been “whupping his ass for a long time.”

• Former Notre Dame running back and current Irish radio broadcaster Allen Pinkett apologized today for his controversial comments that “to have a successful team you've got to have a few bad citizens.”

• Former Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett rips the Boston sports culture.

• It’s been an interesting year for NBA big man Kris Humphries. There was his well-publicized marriage and quick divorce from Kim Kardashian, and now he’s being sued by a Los Angeles woman for giving her herpes. Lovely.

• It was quite a night for Nationals rookie Bryce Harper, who hit two home runs and was ejected in Washington’s 8-4 win over the Marlins.

• When will star running back Maurice Jones-Drew end his holdout and report to the Jaguars?

• The Dodgers may have lost starting pitcher Chad Billingsley for the rest of the season due to elbow issues.

• My thoughts during the NFL preseason have been that the replacement refs (after they get acclimated to the pro game) would not be that much worse than the regulars, but calls like this one in the Patriots-Giants game last night do not help.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

August 29

• Brent Zwerneman has the latest on a ton of Texas A&M news. Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech has been postponed due to Hurricane Isaac, and the Aggies will play Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium each season from 2014-2024.

• Twins All-Star catcher and hometown hero Joe Mauer has been put on waivers by the club.

• We hope Hurricane Isaac does not affect the Kool-Aid crop this year.

• Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee looks at Nick Saban’s comparison between Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and former Auburn star Cam Newton.

• Michael Vick won’t be the first guy to wear Kevlar in Philly, but the Eagles are hoping a new flak jacket will protect the oft-injured quarterback.

• has compiled its “sexiest movie posters ever.”

• Even with their new acquisitions, the Dodgers cannot afford to lose Matt Kemp to another injury.

• Three suspects in the assault of Wisconsin star running back Montee Ball have been arrested.

• Loyola (Md.) will leave the MAAC after this season to join the Patriot League.

• Florida coach Will Muschamp still has not named a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Bowling Green, although both Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett will play in the first half.

• Check out Masters champ Bubba Watson pulling a prank on Alex Miceli of the Golf Channel.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

August 28

• Former Oregon quarterback Nate Costa believes the Ducks cheerleaders' physical appearance is in decline. We do not agree.

• Penn State has chosen not to play “Sweet Caroline” at its games this year for obvious reasons. Hopefully other sports entities will ban the song as well, simply for the reason that it’s cheesy and insufferable.

• This was not your average ride on the Gravitron.

• Mark Ennis of Big East Coast Bias looks at ESPN’s picks for the league winner and wonders what Joey Galloway is thinking. We concur.

• Saturday Down South’s Kevin Duffey calls out Rick Neuheisel’s fan-like quip that the SEC is powerful because of ESPN.

• CBS’ Jeff Borzello looks at the slower pace of college basketball’s verbal commitments.

• ESPN stirs up an Adrian Beltre-Hall of Fame debate.

• Sometimes you choose the game; sometimes it chooses you.

• Check out what Baltimore Orioles reliever Luis Ayala is doing with his bullpen time.

• Mike Wallace has finally reported to Steelers camp.

• Yes, the rumors are true. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones does “rap” in this new Papa John’s commercial.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

August 27

• It’s a pretty sad commentary that Dez Bryant of the Cowboys needs a club-mandated set of guidelines for basic behavior, but that is the case in Dallas.

• Bleacher Report’s Ian Casselberry calls the Dodgers-Red Sox blockbuster the biggest trade in MLB history.

• This Fox News anchor really needed the graphics department to spell out "Maine" on President Obama's visit there.

• has an extensive slideshow and grades of college football’s new 2012 uniforms.

• Tropical Storm Isaac has affected the Saints’ week in a big way.

• The downward spiral of Vince Young continues with his release from the Buffalo Bills.

• Carolina Mudcats utility man Justin Toole played all nine positions in a 4-2 win over Salem on Saturday.

• Former NBA tough guy Charles Oakley rips the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard.

• Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel provides insight into the personality of Nick Watney, who won at The Barclays over the weekend.

• Are the Angels baseball’s most disappointing team?

• Check out this bare-handed grab by Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth. Use two hands, kids.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

---By Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)

<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>
Post date: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 12:29
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-every-game-week-1

College football's first weekend of action features games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Here's a prediction on every game this weekend.


No. 24 Boise State at No. 18 Michigan State (Fri.)
Much of the focus will be on the first-time starters at quarterback, Joe Southwick for Boise State and Andrew Maxwell for Michigan State, but the key matchups will be on the line of scrimmage. Michigan State will look to attack Boise State’s inexperienced defense — only one full-time starter is back — with a heavy dose of tailback Le’Veon Bell.
Michigan State 28–14

No. 98 San Jose State at No. 21 Stanford (Fri.)
Josh Nunes gets his first start at Stanford after beating out Brett Nottingham for the right to replace Andrew Luck at quarterback. The Cardinal have won four straight and eight of nine vs. San Jose State, including a 57–3 win in last year’s opener.
Stanford 41–14

No. 28 NC State vs. No. 37 Tennessee (in Atlanta) (Friday)
It’s always dangerous to put too much stock in one game, but Tennessee coach Derek Dooley could really use a win to begin his third season in Knoxville. Dooley is 11–14 overall, and only one of the wins (vs. Cincinnati in 2011) came against an FBS team that ended the season with a winning record.
Tennessee 34–27

Villanova at No. 73 Temple (Fri.)
Temple opens up with Villanova for the fourth straight season. The Owls rolled last year, winning 42–7, but struggled in ’10 (won 31–24) and lost in ’09 (lost 27–24). Villanova went 2–9 last year and won only one game in the Colonial.
Temple 41–14

Wagner at No. 120 Florida Atlantic
FAU scored 17 points or less in nine of 12 games en route to a 1–11 season in the final year of Howard Schnellenberger’s legendary career. Carl Pelini, the brother of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, is now in charge in South Florida.
Florida Atlantic 20–10



No. 108 Hawaii at No. 1 USC
Norm Chow makes his debut as a head coach against the No. 1 team in the land. Chow and current USC coach Lane Kiffin served on the same USC staff from 2001-04, with Chow as the offensive coordinator and Kiffin a the tight ends (’01) and wide receivers (’02-04) coach.
USC 48–16

No. 104 North Texas at No. 2 LSU
When he signed with Georgia as a 4-star recruit in 2009, Zach Mettenberger probably didn’t think it would be four years before he would be starting his first game in the FBS ranks. But that is the reality for the 6-5, 230-pound fourth-year junior who arrived at LSU after a stop at Butler (Kan.) Community College.
LSU 44–14

No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 7 Michigan (at Arlington, Texas)
There is one school of thought that says that it’s best to play Alabama early, especially with so many new starters on the defense. That’s probably true, but the Crimson Tide defense should be more than ready to slow down the Wolverines.
Alabama 27–13

No. 64 Arkansas State at No. 4 Oregon
Two of the top offensive minds in college will meet in Eugene, with Gus Malzahn making his head coaching debut against Chip Kelly and the Ducks. Ryan Aplin leads an Arkansas State offense that should be able to score some points, but the Red Wolves won’t be able to stop the Oregon attack.
Oregon 54–28

No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 105 UTEP
UTEP is 0–9 vs. current power conference teams during the 11-year Mike Price era. That will be 0–10 sometime last Saturday night.
Oklahoma 41–14

No. 99 Miami (Ohio) at No. 6 Ohio State
Don’t expect much production on the ground from Miami on Saturday. Last year, there were 68 players in the nation who had more rushing yards than the entire Miami team. The Redhawks netted only 886 yards on the ground.
Ohio State 41–14

No. 111 Buffalo at No. 8 Georgia
Mark Richt said earlier this week that “Coach (Jeff) Quinn is in his third season. He’s doing an outstanding job there — no doubt about it.” Quinn is 5–19 overall and 3–13 in the MAC. Not sure what is “outstanding” about that.
Georgia 41–10

Murray State at No. 9 Florida State
Murray State averaged 39.9 points in 10 games vs. FCS competition last year but scored only nine in a season-opening loss at Louisville last year.
Florida State 44–10

No. 88 Wyoming at No. 11 Texas
Wyoming could be a sleeper in the Mountain West, but the Cowboys will be outmatched in Austin on Saturday. The Longhorns will run all over a Wyoming defense that ranked 115th in the nation in stopping the run in 2011.
Texas 34–13

No. 83 Marshall at No. 12 West Virginia
Marshall is 0–11 all-time against West Virginia and only twice has the game been decided by less than 10 points — 24–21 in 2010 and 17–15 in 1911. Last year, the Herd held WVU to 291 yards, by far the fewest of the season for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia 38-14

Jacksonville State at No. 13 Arkansas
Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe was on the losing end the last time Arkansas lost to an FCS (or Division I-AA school). That was in 1992, when the Hogs lost 10–3 to The Citadel in the season-opener. Crowe was fired after the loss.
Arkansas 38–14

No. 82 Southern Miss at No. 14 Nebraska
Southern Miss won 12 games last year but figures to take a step back with quarterback Austin Davis no longer around. New coach Ellis Johnson, formerly the defensive boss at South Carolina, will turn to junior Chris Campbell, who has yet to throw a pass in college.
Nebraska 34–20

No. 15 Clemson vs. No. 30 Auburn
Don’t be surprised if the Auburn defense, now coordinated by Brian VanGorder, is vastly improved in 2012. But also don’t be surprised if the Auburn defense struggles in Week 1, even though Clemson is missing All-America wideout Sammy Watkins. The Tigers still have weapons.
Clemson 30–20

Northern Iowa at No. 17 Wisconsin
Danny O’Brien makes his debut at quarterback for the Badgers, but the Wisconsin offense will still feature heavy doses of tailbacks Montee Ball and James White.
Wisconsin 41–8

Savannah State at No. 19 Oklahoma State
Savannah State is 2–20 over the last two seasons with both wins coming over North Carolina Central. This is a colossal mismatch.
Oklahoma State 51-6

No. 65 Navy vs. No. 20 Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland)
The storyline for this game — other than the fact that it is being played in Ireland — is the debut of redshirt freshman Everett Golson at quarterback for Notre Dame. Golson is far from a finished product, but he is an outstanding athlete who has taken care of the ball — a huge focus for the Irish this season — in scrimmages.
Notre Dame 34-14

No. 95 San Diego State at No. 25 Washington
Oregon State transfer Ryan Katz will make his debut for San Diego State against a familiar foe. Katz lost his only start vs. UW — he threw for 206 yards but was picked off three times in a 35–34 loss in 2009 — but Oregon State went 2–1 vs. the Huskies in his three seasons in Corvallis.
Washington 33–20

No. 94 Bowling Green at No. 26 Florida
Florida is hoping to find some answers at quarterback this Saturday. Here’s a question: Will Matt Schilz, Bowling Green’s third-year starter, be the best quarterback on the field? My guess is yes.
Florida 31–14

Missouri State at No. 27 Kansas State
K-State struggled in its 2011 opener vs. an FCS team, holding on to beat Eastern Kentucky 10–7. It shouldn’t be so difficult this time around. Missouri State went 2–9 last season and was among the worst defensive teams in the nation.
Kansas State 41–0

Elon at No. 29 North Carolina
North Carolina is the better team, but the best player on the field might be Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette, who caught 113 passes for 1,639 yards last season, including 11 for 180 in the opener vs. Vanderbilt.
North Carolina 33–14

SE Louisiana at No. 31Missouri
The Lions from Southeastern Louisiana gave up a total of 99 points in two games vs. FBS foes last year — 47 to Tulane and 52 to Southern Miss. Points should be easy to come by for the Tigers.
Missouri 51–6

Chattanooga at No. 34 South Florida
Chattanooga went 5–6 last year with a future NFL Draft pick (B.J. Coleman, seventh round to Green Bay) playing quarterback. The Mocs don’t have a future pro under center this year.
South Florida 44-10

Richmond at No. 36 Virginia
Richmond opened the 2011 season with three straight wins, highlighted by a 23–21 victory at Duke, but then lost its final eight games. That’s not very Spider-like.
Virginia 28–10

No. 54 Nevada at No. 38 California
This is a tricky opener for the Golden Bears. Two years, ago Cal made the short trip to Reno and came home with a 52–31 loss. Zach Maynard must play well for Cal to win.
California 30–23

No. 79 Toledo at No. 43 Arizona
RichRod’s first game at Arizona is against a Toledo team that knows how to put points on the board. The Rockets averaged 42.2 points per game last season and hit the 60-point mark on two occasions.
Arizona 37–24

No. 59 Ohio at No. 44 Penn State
The Bill O’Brien era begins Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium when the Nittany Lions host Ohio, one of the top mid-major programs in the nation. Ohio is fresh off a 10-win season and features one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the nation, junior Tyler Tettleton. A true dual-threat, Tettleton threw for 3,202 yards and 28 touchdowns (with only 10 INTs) and added 658 yards on the ground in 2012.
Penn State 21–13

Youngstown State at No. 45 Pittsburgh
With Ray Graham out with an injury, don’t be surprised if Pitt freshman Rushel Shell has a huge — as in 200-plus yards — game in the coaching debut of Paul Chryst.
Pittsburgh 38–10

No. 46 Rutgers at No. 113 Tulane
Tulane has some solid skill-position players — most notably quarterback Ryan Griffin and tailback Orleans Darkwa — but Rutgers’ defense will be a bit too strong for the Green Wave.
Rutgers 31–17

Jackson State at No. 47 Mississippi State
Jackson Sate went 9–2 in the FCS ranks last season but shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State 41–10

No. 48 Miami (Fla.) at No. 86 Boston College
I realize expectations aren’t high at Miami this fall, but it’s got to be a bit alarming that the Hurricanes are only favored by two points over a Boston College team that is picked by most to finish in last place in the ACC Atlantic — even behind Maryland.
Miami 24–20

No. 49 Northwestern at No. 67 Syracuse
Syracuse is eager to get the 2012 season off on a good note after losing the final five games in 2011. Northwestern opens the season with three straight non-conference games vs. BCS foes. The Wildcats host Vanderbilt and Boston College in the next two weeks.
Northwestern 28–24

No. 50 Iowa vs. No. 85 Northern Illinois (Chicago)
Northern Illinois brings a nine-game winning streak into the 2012 opener, but the Huskies only return three starters on offense. They figure to take a step back in the competitive MAC West.
Iowa 30–17

No. 77 Western Michigan at No. 52 Illinois
Western Michigan went 1–3 outright vs. teams vs. BCS conferences in 2011, with a win at UConn, a lopsided loss at Michigan (34–10) and close losses at Illinois (23–20) and vs. Purdue (37–32) in the Little Caesers Pizza Bowl. This is a team with a senior quarterback (Alex Carder) and a veteran offensive line that will not be intimidated by playing on the road at a Big Ten school.
Western Michigan 30–27

Eastern Kentucky at No. 53 Purdue
It will be an emotional day for Purdue coach Danny Hope. He served as the head coach at Eastern Kentucky, his alma mater, from 2003-07 and guided the Colonials to a 35–22 record in five seasons.
Purdue 41–14

Liberty at No. 57 Wake Forest
Wake Forest ended the 2011 season with five losses in its last six games, with the only win coming at home vs. Maryland. Liberty, a solid FCS team, will not be a pushover.
Wake Forest 31–17

Northwestern State at No. 58 Texas Tech
Northwestern State scored a total of 10 points in two games vs. FBS competition last year — three vs. LSU and seven vs. SMU. Texas Tech should roll in Week 1.
Texas Tech 48–7

No. 74 Tulsa at No. 60 Iowa State
Iowa State is the only AQ conference home team that is an underdog vs. a non-AQ conference opponent. Tulsa is solid, but the Golden Hurricane didn’t play well last year against top competition. I think the wrong team is favored.
Iowa State 33–28

Nicholls State at No. 61 Oregon State
Oregon State was stunned at home in its 2011 opener, losing in overtime, 29–28, to Sacramento State. Don’t expect a repeat. Nicholls State went 1–10 last season, with its only win coming vs. Evangel.
Oregon State 41–0

No. 68 FIU at No. 80 Duke
Duke rallied from 10 down in the fourth quarter to win at FIU, 31–27, last season. The Golden Panthers had little trouble moving the ball, with 392 yards passing and 176 yards rushing. However, two of their top skill players (quarterback Wesley Carroll and wideout T.Y. Hilton) are gone.
Duke 28–22

No. 121 Texas State at No. 70 Houston
Dennis Franchione and Texas State make the short trip to Houston to face Houston and new coach Tony Levine. The Cougars, who won 13 games last year, will send out sophomore David Piland to replace record-setting quarterback Case Keenum. Piland threw for 2,669 yards and 24 touchdowns two years ago while filling in for the injured Keenum.
Houston 48–13

Central Arkansas at No. 71 Ole Miss
After leading Arkansas State to its first-ever Sun Belt title in 2011, Hugh Freeze is now charged with making Ole Miss relevant in the brutal SEC West. Winning this week won’t be a problem. Winning more than four games this year could be.
Ole Miss 30–7

William & Mary at No. 72 Maryland
I can’t even imagine what would happen to Randy Edsall if he opened Year 2 with a loss to an FCS school that went 5–6 last year.
Maryland 28–13

Lamar at No. 76 UL-Lafayette
Mark Hudspeth did a tremendous job in his first season at UL-Lafayette, leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 9–4 record capped with a thrilling 32–30 win over San Diego State in the New Orleans bowl. The Cajuns should win with ease in Week 1.
UL-Lafayette 37–10

Appalachian State at No. 78 East Carolina
This won’t be easy for ECU. Appalachian State went 8–4 last year and is ranked No. 8 in the 2012 FCS preseason top 25 by Athlon Sports. The Pirates, though, are set up for a nice season in Conference USA. If Rio Johnson plays well at quarterback, ECU should contend in the East Division.
East Carolina 30–17

South Dakota State at No. 81 Kansas
Charlie Weis makes his debut at KU against a South Dakota State club that went 5–6 last year and lost to Illinois 56–3 in its only game vs. an FBS opponent. Dayne Crist, a former top recruit at Notre Dame, is the starting quarterback at Kansas.
Kansas 37–10

No. 91 Colorado State vs. No. 84 Colorado (Denver)
This rivalry has lost some of its luster in recent years, but it’s still an important game in the Centennial State. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, who won two national titles with the Tide, is the man in charge at Colorado State. The Rams will need a big game from underrated tailback Chris Nwoke.
Colorado 17–14

Weber State at No. 87 Fresno State
New Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter has a defensive background, but the Bulldogs will be fun to watch on offense this fall with star power at quarterback in Derek Carr (David’s brother) and tailback Robbie Rouse.
Fresno State 44–14

Indiana State at No. 89 Indiana
The Hoosiers were the only AQ conference team that did not beat an FBS opponent last year. Indiana lost to Ball State in Indianapolis and at North Texas. Indiana State will make Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers sweat, but IU should prevail.
Indiana 21–17

Idaho State at No. 92 Air Force
Idaho State is bad. Very bad. The Bengals went 2–9 last year and ranked in the 100s in the FCS ranks in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Air Force option attack could roll up over 400 yards on the ground.
Air Force 44–0

Austin Peay at No. 101 Western Kentucky
Austin Peay lost its two games vs. FBS opponents last season by a combined score of 99–16 — and one of those games was against Memphis. The Governors will be hard-pressed to keep this game close.
Western Kentucky 41–10

No. 109 Troy at No. 106 UAB
Troy rallied from nine down in the fourth quarter to beat UAB 24–23 last fall in a game that featured some questionable officiating down the stretch. “Everybody saw the game — bad calls by some Sun Belt referees,” UAB safety Jamie Bender said after the game. This year, the Blazers will be at home, with Conference USA officials.
UAB 27–24

Tennessee-Martin at No. 115 Memphis
The Larry Porter era mercifully came to an end after two miserable seasons. Now, it’s Justin Feunte’s turn to make Memphis a factor as it gets ready to make the move from Conference USA to the Big East. The first season figures to be a struggle, but the first week should produce a victory.
Memphis 30–14

Southern at No. 117 New Mexico
Bob Davie is back in coaching for the first time since 2001. He inherited a New Mexico program that has been alarmingly uncompetitive in recent years. This is a big rebuilding project.
New Mexico 21–3

No. 124 UTSA at No. 123 South Alabama
It’s classic battle between two of the four new members of the FBS ranks. Since we’ve got South Alabama ranked higher and the Jags are at home, the pick is obvious.
South Alabama 34-30



No. 75 Kentucky at No. 23 Louisville
Establishing a running game is always important, but it takes on extra meaning in this intra-state rivalry. Consider the following: The team that has won the rushing battle has won the last 13 Kentucky-Louisville games.
Louisville 30-20

No. 93 SMU at No. 40 Baylor
Former Texas Longhorn Garrett Gilbert, a one-time Gatorade National Player of the Year, makes his debut as the starting quarterback at SMU. He will be operating behind an offensive line that features five new starters.
Baylor 38–20



No. 35 Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech is 1–3 against Virginia Tech since Paul Johnson took over in 2008, but the Yellow Jackets have had success moving the ball. They have averaged 378.3 yards in those four games, including 294.0 on the ground.
Virginia Tech 24–17

— by Mitch Light

<p> College Football Predictions: Every Game in Week 1</p>
Post date: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 10:57
All taxonomy terms: Green Bay Packers, NFC, NFC North, NFL
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-2012-nfl-team-preview

Athlon Sports is counting down its 2012 NFL preseason Power Rankings with in-depth team previews, schedule analysis and more as the start of the NFL season draws near.

The Green Bay Packers check in at No. 1.

In the end, 15–1 meant zero to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. All it really did was provide motivation for 2012. While the team took an undefeated record into mid-December, the offense put up more points than all but one outfit in NFL history and the quarterback won the NFL MVP after a spectacular season, 2011 was ultimately a disappointment for Rodgers and his team after winning Super Bowl XLV a year earlier.

“After you win the Super Bowl, I think it kind of changes your perspective,” Rodgers says. “You think you’re going to do this every year, get used to this, and you kind of forget just how special a run like that is, and how difficult it is. It gives you a greater respect for what you did when you made that run, but also a greater resolve to try and repeat that feeling.”

In order to repeat that feeling in 2012, the Rodgers-led offense will have to maintain its score-a-minute pace, and the defense will have to improve — significantly.


The Packers are set at quarterback for the next decade or so with Rodgers, who’s just entering his prime at age 28. While he admits that replicating his 2011 numbers will be difficult, the way he plays — brilliant decision-making, pinpoint accuracy and an absolute aversion to interceptions — gives him every chance to do it again. But with the free agent departure of backup Matt Flynn, who flew to Seattle, the team needs Rodgers to stay healthy.

For the pass-first Packers, running back is almost an afterthought. James Starks, a sixth-round pick in 2010 who was vital down the stretch of the team’s Super Bowl run, simply ­hasn’t proven durable. He was hampered during the second half of last season by knee and ankle injuries and must stay healthy for the first time since his junior year of college. Alex Green, a third-round pick in 2011, missed most of his rookie season with a torn ACL, but the coaches expect big things from him this year. The team also signed veteran Cedric Benson after the start of training camp so for now it appears that the Packers will utilize some sort of running back by committee approach.

Meanwhile, the team that carried three fullbacks on the 53-man roster once upon a time kept only John Kuhn last year. He’s a fan favorite who can protect against blitzes and run the ball at the goal line or in an emergency.

The Packers’ wide receiving corps is the deepest in the league. Greg Jennings, who is entering the final year of his contract, is a legitimate star. Jordy Nelson is physical, sneaky fast and coming off one of the greatest breakout seasons in recent memory. James Jones makes the most of limited opportunities. Randall Cobb was a revelation as a rookie, both as a returner and as a fast learner at receiver. And ageless Donald Driver still has something left, even more than he showed on “Dancing With the Stars.” Beyond that core, the team liked practice-squad receivers Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel so much last year that they paid them 53-man roster money to stick around on the practice squad despite offers from other teams. Driver’s future isn’t entirely certain because of his $5 million cap number. He’s offered to take a pay cut.

Few teams in the league value tight ends more than Green Bay, which kept a whopping five last year. Jermichael Finley must reduce the number of dropped passes (11) he had last year to be truly elite. Still, he’s a matchup nightmare. The team was hoping that Andrew Quarless, who sustained a horrific knee injury in December, would be ready for the start of this season, but he will begin 2012 on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, meaning he will miss at minimum the first six games. In place of Quarless, savage blocker Tom Crabtree and second-year pro D.J. Williams appear ready for expanded roles. Also, Ryan Taylor is a favorite of Rodgers and could make a big jump in Year 2.

After letting stalwart center Scott Wells walk, the team is pinning its hopes to 37-year-old center Jeff Saturday, the club’s first significant free agent signing since 2006. Starting left tackle Chad Clifton was cut loose in April, meaning Marshall Newhouse or 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod will be protecting Rodgers’ blindside. Newhouse saved the season when Clifton tore his hamstring in Week 5, but he must be more consistent. Sherrod’s horrific December leg injury makes him a question mark. Guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are tough, stout and nasty. 


If everything starts up front, no wonder the Packers had the NFL’s worst defense last year. After Cullen Jenkins left as a free agent, the guy who was supposed to step up — 2010 second-round pick Mike Neal — was a disaster, suffering a training-camp knee injury and doing nothing once activated. Now, he’s been suspended for the first four games of 2012 for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The team did sign free agent end Anthony Hargrove, then watched as his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal resulted in an eight-game suspension. While draft picks Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels should help, the key player is B.J. Raji, who failed to replicate his impressive 2010 season. He must generate more interior pass rush and stuff the run better.

At linebacker, Clay Matthews, despite registering only six regular-season sacks last season, remains the defense’s brightest star, but he needs help. The club hopes first-round pick Nick Perry, another USC product, is exactly what Matthews needs on the opposite side. Inside, Desmond Bishop suffered a hamstring injury in the Packers' first preseason game and is lost for the entire season. D.J. Smith will take Bishop's place as the starter, which means the team's linebacker depth takes a hit. A.J. Hawk had a down year and must bounce back at the other inside 'backer spot, especially in light of Bishop's loss.

No defense in NFL history gave up as many yards through the air as the 2011 Packers. The release of three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins after last year’s career-threatening neck injury leaves Morgan Burnett as one of the starting safeties. The other is future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, who once again was a dynamic playmaker last season, but he was a non-factor in some games and isn’t the cover man he used to be. Tramon Williams must regain his 2010 form after a Week 1 shoulder injury caused nerve damage that robbed him of strength. Second-year nickel back Sam Shields regressed significantly, a devastating blow for a team that played nickel or dime nearly 70 percent of the time and. He’ll be pushed by both veteran Jarrett Bush and rookie Casey Hayward


The Packers could not be in better shape when it comes to their specialists. Kicker Mason Crosby and punter Tim Masthay are coming off their best seasons. Long snapper Brett Goode hasn’t had an errant snap since he arrived as a free agent in 2008. And Cobb gives the team the electrifying return man it lacked for so long. His 108-yard team-record kickoff return for a touchdown in the opener last year was just the beginning.

Final Analysis: 1st in the NFC North

If Dom Capers’ defense returns to its top-five form and Rodgers stays upright, the Packers will be the Super Bowl favorites in the NFC. If the defense falters or Rodgers goes down for an extended period, there’s no chance of another title in Titletown.

Related: 2012 Green Bay Packers Schedule Analysis

Outside The Huddle

Happy Haircut
A.J. Hawk had been considering a long-overdue haircut for a while. “I just felt like it was kind of time for me. I was kind of sick of having long hair,” the linebacker said. Now, Hawk is helping sick kids with the hair he no longer wanted. Working in conjunction with Wigs for Kids, a charity that provides wigs for children who lose their hair due to medical treatments and other conditions, Hawk has started Hawk’s Locks for Kids.

No Mario
While some Packers fans hoped free agent Mario Williams might line up opposite Clay Matthews in 2012, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was thrilled when Williams signed with Buffalo. Williams had been rumored to be headed to the NFC North with the Chicago Bears. “Congrats to Mario Williams signing in Buffalo, far away from the NFC North,” Rodgers wrote on Twitter. “Thanks big guy.”

What If
When ex-New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for his role in the team’s bounty scandal, Packers fans thanked their lucky stars that Mike McCarthy had hired Dom Capers as his defensive coordinator in 2009, when Williams claims he turned down ­McCarthy’s offer. “Like a lot of those questions, that’s a hypothetical,” McCarthy replied when asked what he might have had to deal with if he’d hired Williams. “I didn’t go through the hiring process, the details of it, out of respect for the people involved. Things happen for a reason. We hired Dom Capers, and we’re very happy with the way it’s worked out.”

Confused Coach
McCarthy has juggled so many assistants’ responsibilities that even he got confused at the staff’s first meeting of the offseason. In the past two years, McCarthy shifted running backs coach Edgar Bennett to wide receivers, moved assistant offensive line coach Jerry Fontenot first to running backs and now tight ends, promoted quarterbacks coach Tom Clements to offensive coordinator to replace Joe Philbin, and shifted tight ends coach Ben McAdoo to quarterbacks. “We had a staff meeting and for six years, the O-Line coach went first and talked about his players. And Ben McAdoo is standing next to the O-Line coach and I start talking about the tight ends,” McCarthy says. “He looked at me and I had to remember he was coaching the quarterbacks."

No New Threads
With the NFL switching to Nike as its official uniform supplier, many teams made at least minor alterations to their jerseys. Not the Packers, who refused to even try Nike’s technologically advanced materials. The only change to the Packers’ uniforms this year? The Nike Swoosh replaces the Reebok logo.

Brewers Fan
Rodgers, who is good friends with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and NL MVP Ryan Braun, filmed five commercials for the team in spring training. The first, entitled “3-Step Drop,” featured Rodgers on the mound with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke scouting him from the stands.

2012 Athlon Sports NFL Power Rankings and Team Previews:

No. 32: Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 31: St. Louis Rams
No. 30: Minnesota Vikings
No. 29: Indianapolis Colts
No. 28: Cleveland Browns
No. 27: Miami Dolphins
No. 26: Arizona Cardinals
No. 25: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 24: Kansas City Chiefs
No. 23: Oakland Raiders
No. 22: Washington Redskins
No. 21: Seattle Seahawks
No. 20: Carolina Panthers
No. 19: New York Jets
No. 18: Buffalo Bills
No. 17: Tennessee Titans
No. 16: San Diego Chargers
No. 15: Cincinnati Bengals
No. 14: Philadelphia Eagles
No. 13: New Orleans Saints
No. 12: Dallas Cowboys
No. 11: Denver Broncos
No. 10: Detroit Lions
No. 9: Chicago Bears
No. 8: Atlanta Falcons
No. 7: Baltimore Ravens
No. 6: Pittsburgh Steelers
No. 5: New York Giants
No. 4: New England Patriots
No. 3: Houston Texans
No. 2: San Francisco 49ers
No. 1: Green Bay Packers

Order your 2012 Green Bay Packers Athlon Sports NFL Preview magazine here

Related: 2012 Green Bay Packers Schedule Analysis

<p> Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Team Preview</p>
Post date: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-1-preview-match-ups-upset-picks-and-storylines-watch

Week 1 of the college football season features several interesting matchups, storylines and new faces stepping into playing time. Athlon gets you ready for the opening Saturday of action with an in-depth look at Week 1.

Top Storylines to Watch for Week 1

1. Two of the weekend’s most intriguing games take place in Atlanta, starting with NC State-Tennessee on Friday night. The Wolfpack are a popular sleeper pick in the ACC, while the Volunteers look to get back on track after a disappointing 5-7 record last season. Even though receiver Da’Rick Rogers was a head case, his departure will impact Tennessee’s offense. Without Rogers, NC State can shift All-American cornerback David Amerson to Hunter, leaving talented, but unproven junior college recruit Cordarrelle Patterson as the Volunteers’ No. 2 receiver. Tennessee’s Tyler Bray and NC State’s Mike Glennon are two of the top 15 quarterbacks in the nation, but whichever offense can establish the run (and some balance) will likely come out on top. The ACC’s needs marquee non-conference wins, and NC State could give the conference one on Friday night.

2. Even with significant personnel losses, Boise State will be in the mix for a BCS bowl in 2012. However, the Broncos have a huge opening week test at Michigan State. The Spartans will be breaking in a new quarterback (Andrew Maxwell), but the defense could be the best in the Big Ten. Michigan State will test Boise State in the trenches, especially on defense where the Broncos are replacing all four starters from last year. The Broncos have never lost an opener under coach Chris Petersen. However, that record will be put to the test against a talented and deep Michigan State roster. Considering the new faces stepping into playing time, could we see Boise State pull out a few trick plays to keep the Spartans on their toes?

3. Saturday’s matchup between Ohio State and Miami (Ohio) should be a one-sided affair. However, it’s a big day in Columbus, as the Buckeyes open up play under new coach Urban Meyer. A postseason ban has left Ohio State with nothing to play for, but this team should contend for the Big Ten’s best overall record. This game will be the first opportunity to see how the Buckeyes’ new spread offense looks and how much quarterback Braxton Miller has improved over the offseason. In addition to Miller’s improvement, Ohio State has a core of young players expected to see significant snaps, while the offensive line was a question mark after spring practice. It’s a long ways away from thinking about 2013. However, if the Buckeyes improve as expected, this team could be in the top five when next year’s preseason polls are released.

4. The second of the ACC-SEC Week 1 clashes in Atlanta features a Clemson team hoping to rebound after a disappointing end to 2011, while Auburn looks to get back on track after an 8-5 record last year. Both teams will be without key players, as Clemson’s Sammy Watkins is facing a two-game suspension, while starting center Reese Dismukes is suspended for Auburn. Even with Watkins suspended, Clemson has plenty of firepower to win this game. However, the key battle to watch will be in the trenches, as Clemson’s offensive line is a question mark, and Auburn’s defensive line could be one of the best in the SEC. Getting pressure on quarterback Tajh Boyd is Auburn’s best chance to win, but Clemson will counter with a quick-strike passing attack. Just like NC State matching up against Tennessee, this game represents an opportunity for Clemson to earn a key win for the ACC.

5. Speaking of conferences and key victories, the Big Ten has an opportunity to earn a huge non-conference win against the SEC on Saturday night. Michigan faces an uphill battle to beat Alabama, but a win by the Wolverines would help bolster the Big Ten’s reputation and place them squarely in the mix as a national title contender. However, the Crimson Tide’s strengths (offensive and defensive lines) are also where Michigan has question marks. Winning the battle in the trenches will be crucial to the Wolverines’ chances at an upset bid.

6. It’s been a long offseason in Happy Valley, so Saturday’s game against Ohio can’t get here fast enough for Penn State. There’s some momentum with a new coaching staff, but the Nittany Lions need to find weapons on offense, while finding a way to slow down Bobcats’ quarterback Tyler Tettleton. New coach Bill O’Brien will have his work cut out for him over the next couple of years, and if the offense struggles to find its footing, Ohio will have a chance to exit Happy Valley with a victory.

7. With Texas being a heavy favorite against Wyoming, it’s hard to glean much from the Longhorns opener. However, this game will be a good opportunity for quarterback David Ash to show he’s clearly the No. 1 quarterback over Case McCoy. Ash doesn’t need to throw 30-40 times every game, but he has to stretch the field and give Texas some balance. If the sophomore can cut down on his mistakes, the Longhorns will push for the Big 12 title. If Ash struggles on Saturday, the door will be open for McCoy to steal snaps away for Week 2.

8. Quarterbacks Making Their First Start

Brett Hundley, UCLA – Hundley shined in his debut against Rice, recording over 300 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. The Owls weren’t exactly the toughest competition, but Hundley looked poised and in control.

Kiehl Frazier, Auburn – Frazier played in all 13 games last season but was recruited to run Gus Malzahn’s up-tempo offense. How will the sophomore transition to a pro-style offense? His first test won’t be easy, as Auburn takes on Clemson Saturday night in Atlanta.

Everett Golson, Notre Dame – Golson has yet to take a snap on the FBS level, but there’s a lot of confidence in him going into Saturday’s game against Navy. The dual-threat quarterback should thrive in Brian Kelly’s offense.

Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State – Repeating as Big 12 champs won’t be easy, but the Cowboys should be in good hands with Lunt under center.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon – The Hawaii native is a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s offense and should have a monster debut against Arkansas State.

Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State – Not only was Kirk Cousins one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks, but he was a valuable leader for this team. Maxwell has very little experience but can lean on a solid rushing attack and offensive line.

Zach Mettenberger, LSU – After watching Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee struggle to stretch the field last season, Mettenberger appears to be the missing piece for LSU’s passing attack.

Josh Nunes, Stanford – Nunes has some of the biggest shoes to fill in college football as he looks to replace Andrew Luck.

Joe Southwick, Boise State – There’s really no way Boise State can replace Kellen Moore in 2012. Southwick will be making his first start this season and drew a tough opener on the road against Michigan State.

David Piland, Houston – Case Keenum is gone, but Houston’s high-powered offense shouldn’t drop too far with Piland at the controls.

Perry Hills, Maryland – With C.J. Brown out for the year due to a torn ACL, Hills (a true freshman) will get the controls to Maryland’s offense. After a disappointing 2-10 season last year, there’s a lot of pressure on the Terrapins to turn things around in 2012.

Bo Wallace, Ole Miss – New Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze coached Wallace at Arkansas State, and the sophomore edged Barry Brunetti for the starting nod this fall.

9. 6 Potential Upsets

Ohio at Penn State
It’s a new era at Penn State, but the Nittany Lions lost a handful of key players after the NCAA sanctions were handed down. An offense that struggled to move the ball last season will have some trouble adjusting to a new scheme, especially with the departure of running back Silas Redd. The Bobcats won 10 games last year and bring back quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 3,302 yards and 28 scores last year.
My pick: Ohio 24-20

Western Michigan at Illinois
Another Big Ten-MAC matchup ranks high on the list of possible upsets for Week 1. The Broncos are led by senior quarterback Alex Carder, but the Fighting Illini will counter with a defense that led the Big Ten in pass defense last season. Keep a close watch on Illinois’ offense. There’s some talent returning, but a new scheme could provide for some headaches early.
My pick: Illinois 27-24

FIU at Duke
The Blue Devils are dealing with a handful of injuries, including a couple to key contributors on defense. FIU nearly knocked off Duke last season, losing 31-27 in early October. The Golden Panthers return 17 starters and should give the Blue Devils all they can handle.
My pick: Duke 31-28

Indiana State at Indiana
The Sycamores were one of the worst teams in FCS play from 2005-2008, winning just one game during that span. Indiana State has improved under coach Trent Miles and could give its in-state rivals trouble on Saturday. The Hoosiers struggled in their first season under coach Kevin Wilson but should be improved in 2012.
My pick: Indiana 34-20

Toledo at Arizona
Expect a lot of points in this Week 1 battle. The Rockets no longer have Eric Page catching passes, but the offense returns two proven quarterbacks and a breakout player at running back in David Fluellen. The Wildcats may need some time to adjust to their new schemes but should find a way to edge Toledo on Saturday.
My pick: Arizona 37-30

NC State vs. Tennessee (Atlanta)
No one would really be surprised if Tennessee lost this game, but the Volunteers are the favorite. Without Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee needs a big performance from receiver Justin Hunter, who is coming off a torn ACL.
My pick: NC State 31-27

10. Notable player absences

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – Watkins is the biggest absence for Week 1. The sophomore is suspended for the first two games of the season due to an offseason arrest, and there’s no question he will be missed. Clemson has depth at receiver, but it won’t be easy replacing an All-American.

Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh? – Graham hasn’t been officially ruled out, but all signs point to him sitting out the opener. The Panthers have capable backups in Isaac Bennett and Rushel Shell.

Tommy Rees, QB, Notre Dame – Rees is suspended for the first game of the year due to an off-the-field incident in early May. Barring a complete collapse by Everett Golson, Rees may not start again for Notre Dame this season.

Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame – Wood is suspended for the first two games, which leaves a gaping hole in the Notre Dame backfield. USC transfer Amir Carlisle is not ready to play, leaving Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III as the top two backs.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan? – Brady Hoke has not decided whether or not Toussaint will sit out Saturday night’s game against Alabama. If Toussaint does not play, look for Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith and Justice Hayes to carry the Wolverines’ ground attack.

Georgia suspensions – Cornerback Sanders Commings is suspended for the first two games, but the coaching staff has yet to announce any penalties for linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo for offseason incidents.

James Sims, RB, Kansas – Sims is suspended for the opener due to an off-the-field incident. Tony Pierson will fill in as Kansas’ No. 1 back.

Jeff Scott, RB, Ole Miss – One of the few offensive playmakers for the Rebels will miss the season opener against Central Arkansas due to a back injury.

Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami – Henderson has been a bust since coming to Miami and will sit out the opener after missing practices in August.

11. Three Mystery Teams to Watch in Week 1

1. Florida - Is it Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel at quarterback? Also, do the Gators have any playmakers at wide receiver or running back?

2. Iowa – The Hawkeyes have a new offensive coordinator (Greg Davis) and several new faces in the front four on defense.

3. Miami – The Hurricanes have a lot of youth stepping into key roles on both sides of the ball and there’s a NCAA investigation still hanging over the program. It’s not crazy to think the opener against Boston College could decide whether or not Miami gets to a bowl game.

12. First-year coaches who should start off with a bang

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State (vs. Miami (Ohio)
Buckeyes shouldn’t have much trouble with Miami (Ohio).

2. Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh (vs. Youngstown State)
Look for the Panthers to allow quarterback Tino Sunseri to build some confidence, as he should throw early and often against Youngstown State.

3. Larry Fedora, North Carolina (vs. Elon)
The Tar Heels are ineligible to play for the conference title or in a bowl game, but Fedora’s up-tempo offense should be fun to watch in Chapel Hill in 2012.

4. John L. Smith, Arkansas (vs. Jacksonville State)
After a tumultuous offseason, the Razorbacks will be glad to see the 2012 season begin.

5. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss (vs. Central Arkansas)
Victories will be tough for the Rebels to find this year, but Freeze should get his tenure in Oxford off to a good start with an easy win over Central Arkansas.

13. Familiar faces, new places

Dayne Crist, QB, Kansas (from Colorado) vs. South Dakota State
Crist is a key piece in the rebuilding efforts at Kansas. The senior knows Charlie Weis’ system and should give the Jayhawks a spark on offense. Kansas has lost 10 consecutive games, but that streak will end on Saturday night with Crist under center.

Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU (from Texas) vs. Baylor
Gilbert returns to the Big 12 with a non-conference matchup against Baylor. The Bears struggled on defense last season, but the Mustangs could struggle to exploit those question marks with a rebuilt offensive line.

Cody Green, QB, Tulsa (from Nebraska) vs. Iowa State
In a bit of a surprise, Tulsa is a slight favorite against Iowa State on Saturday. Green should be a good fit as G.J. Kinne’s replacement under center and certainly won’t be intimated after playing at Nebraska.

Montel Harris, RB, Temple (from Boston College) vs. Villanova
With Bernard Pierce moving onto the NFL, Harris is the perfect complement to Matt Brown in the backfield. Harris has battled knee injuries the last two seasons and will get a chance to show he is 100 percent on Friday night against the Wildcats.

Ryan Katz, QB, San Diego State (from Oregon State) vs. Washington
Katz struggled last year after a promising 2010 season. If he can get back on track, the Aztecs will test Washington’s defense and new coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Danny O’Brien, QB, Wisconsin (from Maryland) vs. Northern Iowa
The Badgers hope another transfer from the ACC is the answer under center. O’Brien won’t match Russell Wilson’s effectiveness, but he should be a solid option for Wisconsin this season. Expect O’Brien to get off to a good start in the opener against Northern Iowa.

Silas Redd, RB, USC (from Penn State) vs. Hawaii
Redd is the highest-profile name on the list and will play a key role in USC’s run at a national title. The Trojans are heavy favorites against Hawaii, so the junior probably won’t see a heavy workload. However, it will be interesting to see how Redd and Curtis McNeal share carries on Saturday.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (from Oregon) vs. SMU
Yes, Robert Griffin will be missed, but the cupboard isn’t bare in Waco. Seastrunk’s big-play ability will help Baylor’s offense overcome the absence of the Heisman Trophy winner. Seastrunk did not play at Oregon but was one of the nation’s top recruits in 2010. SMU’s run defense allowed 118.3 yards per game last season but that will be tested by the Texas native on Sunday.

Jordan Webb, QB, Colorado (from Kansas) vs. Colorado State
Webb edged Texas transfer Connor Wood for the starting job in the fall. In two years as Kansas’ quarterback, he threw for 3,079 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Week 1 Predictions

Alabama 31, Michigan 13
Arizona 37, Toledo 30
Arkansas 52, Jacksonville State 13
Baylor 38, SMU 24
California 31, Nevada 27
Clemson 27, Auburn 24
Colorado 27, Colorado State 20
Duke 31, FIU 28
Florida 37, Bowling Green 17
Florida State 48, Murray State 10
Georgia 49, Buffalo 13
Illinois 27, Western Michigan 24
Indiana 34, Indiana State 20
Iowa 27, Northern Illinois 20
Iowa State 30, Tulsa 27
Kansas 38, South Dakota State 13
Kansas State 45, Missouri State 7
Louisville 27, Kentucky 17
LSU 51, North Texas 10
Maryland 34, William & Mary 14
Miami 24, Boston College 20
Michigan State 27, Boise State 17
Mississippi State 40, Jackson State 10
Missouri 45, SE Louisiana 7
NC State 31, Tennessee 27
Nebraska 38, Southern Miss 13
North Carolina 45, Elon 10
Northwestern 31, Syracuse 27
Ohio 24, Penn State 20
Ohio State 45, Miami (Ohio) 13
Oklahoma 45, UTEP 10
Oklahoma State 55, Savannah State 3
Ole Miss 38, Central Arkansas 10
Oregon 51, Arkansas State 20
Pittsburgh 41, Youngstown State 13
Purdue 41, Eastern Kentucky 10
Rutgers 38, Tulane 13
South Florida 45, Chattanooga 7
Stanford 44, San Jose State 7
Temple 40, Villanova 10
Texas 38, Wyoming 10
Texas Tech 52, Northwestern State 7
USC 55, Hawaii 10
Virginia 38, Richmond 7
Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 24
Wake Forest 38, Liberty 13
Washington 40, San Diego State 17
West Virginia 44, Marshall 20
Wisconsin 45, Northern Iowa 7

by Steven Lassan



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Post date: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 07:15