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All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/which-new-college-football-coach-has-been-most-impressive-through-two-games

There were 28 college football teams with a new coach this year, and the results have been mixed so far. UCLA's Jim Mora, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez and Ohio State's Urban Meyer are each off to great starts, while Houston's Tony Levine and Pittsburgh's Paul Chryst are a disappointing 0-2. There's still a long way to go this season, but Athlon's editors (and former coach Don James) discussed which first-year coach has been the most impressive through the first two games. 

Which New College Football Coach Has Been The Most Impressive Through Two Games?


Coach Don James, former head coach of the Washington Huskies, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Jimmy Mora at UCLA. I coached him and I followed him through his career. He’s off to a good start. There’s always been some question about him UCLA, but he’s off to a decent start. He spent most of his career in the NFL. In the NFL, it’s pure football. When you have 16-hour days in the NFL, you’re focused on football. When we had 16-hour days [in college] we were doing everything else: Recruiting and academics. Jim always had an excellent football knowledge. A lot of his early success has to do with his hires. He’s got a guy with two Super Bowl rings [former Steelers assistant Lou Spanos, UCLA’s defensive coordinator] and he’s got some guys who have recruited in college. This isn’t a secret, they had a deal where the seniors had a day off and [Mora] stopped that right away. I think that’s made a big difference. You set a set of rules and start living up to that. If you don’t want to be committed to these rules go do something else. It will impact more of the recruiting because they’ll pick your school because they believe in what you believe.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Based on what games I’ve picked already this season, I’d have to say Rich Rodriguez at Arizona has been the most surprising first-year coach. I picked the Wildcats to lose both to Toledo and Oklahoma State at home this season, and they’ve won both. Rodriguez is a notorious slow starter in his first season at a coaching job, but that doesn’t seem to be plaguing him at Arizona. The Wildcats rolled up 624 yards of offense (though accounted for only 24 points) against Toledo and 501 yards against the defending Big 12 champions. Most impressive in that Oklahoma State game was the lack of turnovers against a ballhawking Cowboys’ D and only a week after Arizona had three turnovers against the Rockets. Going into the season, I didn’t peg Arizona as bowl team, but it looks like that may be in the plans for Rodriguez’s debut season.


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s still a long way to go in the 2012 season, but it’s hard to pick against Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez or UCLA’s Jim Mora for the job they have done so far. The Bruins have given up some yards on defense, but the offense has been one of the best in the nation, and this team finally looks ready to realize its potential. UCLA has always had talent, but the results haven’t always been there. The Wildcats were picked to finish around .500 by most, however, this team could challenge for eight wins, especially after pulling off an upset over Oklahoma State on Saturday. Since Rodriguez and Mora are the two obvious choices, it’s worth highlighting a couple of other coaches that have been impressive early, including Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Arizona State’s Todd Graham and despite the loss on Saturday, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.


Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
There really are only two possible answers to this question, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and Jim Mora at UCLA. I’ll give the slight edge to Mora because the Bruins have faced a more difficult schedule, winning at Rice (which won at Kansas) and beating a solid Nebraska team. UCLA has been terrific on offense, averaging a staggering 649.5 yards and 42.5 points. In the win over Nebraska, the Bruins topped 300 yards both passing and rushing, with quarterback Brett Hundley (305 yards passing) and tailback Johnathan Franklin (217 yards rushing) leading the way. UCLA has long been considered a sleeping giant in the Pac-12. Maybe the Bruins are waking up.


Mark Ross
How far has Arizona come under Rich Rodriguez? Look no further than last Saturday's upset of then-No. 18 ranked Oklahoma State. Last season, the Cowboys defeated the Wildcats 37-14 as they piled up nearly 600 yards of offense. This time around in Tuscon, Oklahoma State was certainly able to move the ball against Arizona's defense, to the tune of 636 total yards, but the Pokes also turned the ball over four times. OSU's defense also had just as much trouble stopping Arizona's offense, as the Wildcats amassed more than 500 yards and, more importantly, out-scored the Cowboys 59-38 to move to 2-0 on the season. The defense will be an issue, especially as 'Zona moves deeper into Pac-12 play, but Rodriguez' zone-read option offense should cause opponents enough headaches of its own, giving Arizona a chance to do something this season it wasn't able to do in 2011 — win more games than it lost.


Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The answer is UCLA’s Jim Mora, and the margin is wide. The Bruins have struggled mightily to find a solution at quarterback over the last few seasons, and Mora’s hire of veteran offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone seems to be working wonders for new signal caller Brett Hundley. The redshirt freshman threw for 305 yards and four touchdown passes in the Nebraska victory on Saturday. Hundley also added 53 yards rushing and did not throw an interception in that fan-base reenergizing win. Of course a running game can be the best friend of any young quarterback, and tailback Johnathan Franklin leads the nation in rushing with 431 yards. While the Bruins still have plenty to fix on defense before a challenging Pac-12 slate, Mora already has a signature victory and has shown significant program improvement just two weeks into UCLA’s 2012 campaign.

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College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> Which New College Football Coach Has Been The Most Impressive Through Two Games?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /nfl/giants-packers-or-saints-which-0-1-team-most-trouble

Throughout the 2012 NFL season, Athlon Sports will tackle the hot issues on and off the gridiron with our our editors and other pigksin experts.

Q: New York Giants, Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints: Which 0-1 Team is in the Most Trouble?

Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster):
It's definitely the Saints. I don’t care how great Robert Griffin III is: When you surrender 40 points and 464 yards at home to a team with a rookie quarterback at the helm and a rookie feature back (sixth-round pick Alfred Morris, who rushed for 96 yards), you have defensive issues that extend far beyond a little bounty-induced personnel depletion. Throw in a punchless running game (32 yards), an alarming carelessness with the football (three turnovers) and an All-Pro quarterback who completed 46 percent of his passes, and you have Week 1’s most disappointing team. Time to panic, New Orleans fans.


Gene Higginbotham,
I feel that out of all three, the Saints could be the most in trouble. The Giants are the defending Super Bowl champs, but they have shown that they can come together at the end of the season and win when they need to. The Packers almost had my vote because of their loss at home in Lambeau Field, but the San Francisco 49ers are a high quality opponent especially on defense. The Saints however not only lost at home in one of the loudest "Dome-field advantage" venues, but to the Washington Redskins who have a brand new rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III and aren't known over the past few seasons to be a huge threat. It seemed that the Saints came in with a slight bit of overconfidence with the "Us Against the World" mentality. Another issue facing them is the "Do Your Job" that suspended head coach Sean Payton left them with. It was stated by the coaching staff after Sunday's loss that too many players were focused on too many things other than "their job." Instead of trying to create the magic fueled from adversity, they just simply need to let it happen and let this season it be special on its own like the 2009-10 season. If not, they could be headed for bigger trouble down the road.


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
Luckily for all three teams (Giants, Saints and Packers), there is plenty of time to turn things around and still make the postseason. However, even though it's only one game, each team has a reason to be concerned going into Week 2. I think the Saints are in the most trouble, especially after the defense was torched for 464 yards against the Redskins. Robert Griffin will be a great quarterback in the NFL, but it's troubling New Orleans' veteran defense couldn't generate much of a pass rush and struggled to get stops on Sunday afternoon. The Saints can score a lot of points, but the defense has to be better, especially in a division that features Matt Ryan and Cam Newton at quarterback. Without Sean Payton on the sidelines, the Saints figured to have a tough time making the playoffs. However, if Sunday's performance is repeated in Week 2, New Orleans could have trouble just reaching eight wins. 


Mark Ross, Athlon Sports:
Let's face it, the openers didn't go as planned for any of these teams as each one tasted defeat on their respective home turfs. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants started their title defense by losing a NFC East division game to the despised Cowboys. The Saints made Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III look like a Hall of Famer in his first career start, while the Packers got beat up and beat down by the 49ers. While there are certainly reasons to be alarmed if you root for one of these teams, I am keeping a close eye on the Packers as they head into this Thursday's home date with Chicago.

The Packers couldn't run the ball at all against the 49ers and I'm not expecting much different results against the Bears' defense. San Francisco also had little trouble going up and down the field against the Green Bay defense. This could be a problem on Thursday since in my estimation, the Bears have a more potent offense than the 49ers, especially when you take into consideration the additions of wide receiver Brandon Marshall and running back Michael Bush. The Packers' secondary was already a question mark going into the season and you know that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Marshall and his fellow wideouts are more than willing to test it out again this Thursday. Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers has had plenty of success in his career against the Monsters of the Midway, but this time around it appears the Bears have enough firepower of their own to not only keep up with Pack Attack, but possibly even out-score it. The NFC North already figured to be a dogfight with the Packers, Bears and Detroit Lions battling it out, so the last thiing the defending division champs want to do is put themselves in a 0-2 hole this early in the season.


Nathan Rush, Athlon Sports:
The Saints are in jeopardy of becoming the Aints this season. After one of the worst offseasons in NFL history, New Orleans opened the season by losing to the Redskins in the NFL debut of Robert Griffin III. Now, Drew Brees and Co. are 0–1 headed to Carolina to take on Cam Newton in an NFC South division showdown. With a skeleton crew coaching staff, ongoing off-field distractions and a legal battle with Commissioner Roger Goodell, the Saints can't afford to get off to a slow start.


Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
It has to be the Saints, who had very little go right in a 40-32 home loss to the Redskins in Week 1. The Packers lost to another elite team in the 49ers, while the Giants have shown a recent penchant for starting slow and turning it on late. I did not believe the New Orleans’ coaching changes were going to be such a huge factor, but the performance against Washington said otherwise. The Saints defense is still trying to become comfortable in new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, while the offense made way too many mistakes and has no running game. Even All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees was 24-for-52 passing (46.2 percent) versus the Redskins, after a 2011 season where he was never below 59 percent in any game. The NFC South is a strong division, especially with an improved Buccaneers squad, so the schedule will be difficult all year. Brees has the ability to mask over some team deficiencies, but the Saints will need to show marked improvement to get back to the postseason.


Joe Tufaro,
While I don't think that any 0-1 team is in all that much trouble, the Saints probably have the biggest question marks. With all that has surrounded that team in the off-season, they needed to make the statement Sunday that they were prepared to put it all behind them and move on. The fact that they looked poor on both offense and defense for much of the game, at home, has to be a concern. Facing the Panthers now, who are also 0-1, will be a major test for this defense.

The Packers defense did not look like the improved product it was supposed to be, and of course they need to right the ship quickly due to their Thursday night affair against division rival Chicago. The Bears have a new big offense, and the Pack must find a way to either stop it or offset it in a hurry.

The Giants played an odd game last Wednesday, in that a lot of their mistakes were uncharacteristic for them, and they still had a chance to either win or at least tie the game in the last minutes. The Giants are not the dominant team at home that the Saints and Packers are, so losing a game at home is not as much of a concern. The Giants only become a team in trouble if they somehow lose to Tampa Bay and then have to face what could be an 0-2 Carolina team on short rest on the road.

So, while the 0-1 start didn't knock any of the 16 teams that started that way out of the playoffs, the match-ups in Week 2 are of major concern to some of those teams.

— Published on Sept. 12, 2012

<p> <span>New York Giants, Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints — Which 0-1 Team is in the Most Trouble?</span></p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/florida-tennessee-rivalry-becoming-nationally-relevant-again

With most teams still playing non-conference opponents, Week 3 of the 2012 college football season is another light slate of games. However, there are a few must-watch games, including the Florida-Tennessee matchup. This rivalry was one of the best in the SEC in the 1990s and early 2000s, however, both teams have slipped in performance and this game hasn't meant as much. Could 2012 be the start of this rivalry reclaiming its spot as one of the most important in college football?

Is the Florida-Tennessee Rivalry Nationally Relevant Once Again?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The answer is no. The only reason this game has taken on additional prominence is because Arkansas couldn’t stop Kolton Browning and Louisiana-Monroe last week. There was a time when Florida-Tennessee determined the SEC East champion and a potential BCS team. Despite strides by both teams in the first two weeks of the season, I can’t imagine this matchup will do anything more than determine a participant in the Outback Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl. This won’t even be the most nationally relevant game in the SEC East this season (that belongs to South Carolina-Georgia), never mind the rest of the league or the rest of the country.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
This rivalry is starting to regain some of its intrigue that the SEC experienced in the 1990s, but I’m not ready to say it is nationally relevant. There’s not many marquee games this week, so it definitely helps the rivalry to be on a stage with little competition from the rest of the top 25. Both teams are off to a solid start, but neither appears to have what it takes (so far) to beat out Georgia or South Carolina for the East title. For this rivalry to reclaim its spot as one of the best in the SEC, both teams need to be ranked a little higher and come into the season with higher expectations. While Florida and Tennessee each have a solid win this season and this is a key game for SEC East positioning, this rivalry would become more nationally relevant if both teams can sustain its success, rather than struggling to crack the top 25 or seven wins each year. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
It’s definitely relevant this season, but it’s a bit premature to make the claim that this series will once again take on national significance on an annual basis. Both teams are off to a solid start, but there is no guarantee that Tennessee and/or Florida will return to elite status this season or any time soon. There is some positive momentum with each program, but it’s quite possible that these are still the third and fourth best teams in the East behind Georgia and South Carolina. 

Mark Ross
It's funny how quickly things change, isn't it? About a month ago if you had asked this question I am pretty sure you would have gotten different answers than now. That said, it certainly helps that both teams are 2-0 and each have already scored impressive victories of their own headed into Saturday's "showdown" in Knoxville, Tenn. However, this is the first time since 2007 both teams will be ranked when they play each other, and perhaps even more telling, it's still not CBS' national SEC Game of the Week on Saturday. That distinction belongs to Alabama at Arkansas. That alone speaks volumes to me about the current national perception of this rivalry. It will always be an important game to fans of each school and the SEC East division race, but it's just not where it used to be, not yet. Considering both teams' recent struggles and the uncertainty surrounding them headed into this season, I would go so far as to say both coaching staffs and fan bases are just happy we are even asking this question.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The annual Vols-Gators game is becoming a big deal once again, although each program must get back in the top ten for this mid-September clash to have its former “Game of the Year” feel from the 1990s. Both teams have gone through a major transition over the last two seasons, with regime changes affecting their win-loss record significantly. Florida lost 11 games between Urban Meyer’s final season and Will Muschamp’s debut last year, while Tennessee dropped a school-record 14 contests in Derek Dooley’s first two years while he tried to repair a program severely depleted by the end of the Fulmer era and a mostly-wasted recruiting class with Lane Kiffin. By contrast, both the Vols and Gators lost only 23 times each in the decade from 1992-2001 when this game was must-see TV. However with both teams ranked and ESPN’s Gameday on the way to Rocky Top, this year’s battle is rekindling the classic SEC East rivalry.


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College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> Is the Florida-Tennessee Rivalry Becoming Nationally Relevant Again?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 06:04
Path: /college-football/college-football-bcs-crasher-stock-report-0

Last week’s BCS crashers probably won’t make a run at a major bowl game this season, but two of them crashed the expectations for power-conference teams.

Louisiana-Monroe scored a rare Sun Belt win over an SEC team, and not just a rebuilding SEC program, as happens every now and then. The Warhawks overwhelmed, at least on offense, an SEC team that fancied itself a West Division and BCS contender. Those hopes may be over for Arkansas.

Out West, Utah had an uphill battle to unseat USC in the Pac-12 North to begin with, but the Utes are now trying to avoid being the third-best team in their own state. Meanwhile, Utah State -- rather than preseason favorite Louisiana Tech -- may be the team to watch in the WAC.

Looking ahead, this could be a key week for teams outside of the six major conferences. ULM will try to upset another SEC team. Utah State faces a reeling Big Ten team. And independents BYU and Notre Dame will hit the road for key rivalry games.

Here’s whose stock is rising and falling for teams outside of the Big Six leagues:

As a conference, the Sun Belt has never had two wins over the SEC in the same season, never mind a single team doing it in back-to-back weeks. And remember, ULM wasn’t even one of the favorites in the Sun Belt -- Athlon picked the Warhawks fourth after Arkansas State, FIU and Louisiana-Lafayette. This week, the Warhawks face an Auburn team stinging from a turnover-filled loss to Mississippi State. Meanwhile, ULM quarterback Kolton Browning bounced back from a broken sternum last season to account for 481 yards of total offense against the Razorbacks’ lackluster defense.

Utah State. Aggies coach Gary Anderson has led once-hapless Utah State to close losses to Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Auburn in the last four seasons. Utah State put an end to the near-misses Friday with a 27-20 win over Utah, the Aggies’ first win over the Utes since 1997. A week after quarterback Chuckie Keeton and Kerwyn Williams averaged 5.3 yards per carry against Utah and All-American defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, the Aggies’ backfield duo will face a Wisconsin team that lost 10-7 to Oregon State last week. How much of a big-game player is Keeton? The sophomore is a combined 56 of 87 for 551 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions against Auburn, BYU and Utah the last two seasons.

Toledo. Anyone with an affinity for midweek college football knows to keep an eye on Toledo. That shouldn’t change this season despite a new Rockets coach. A week after taking Arizona to overtime in a 24-17 loss -- a loss that’s more impressive after the Wildcats’ dismantling of Oklahoma State on Saturday -- Toledo defeated bowl contender Wyoming 34-31 on the road. Toledo’s Terrance Owens passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns and the Rockets rushed for 204 yards as a team. Toledo also has allowed 1,150 yards in two games, so the potential for defense-optional MAC games is high again this season. Could that start this week with Toledo’s home opener against Bowling Green, a team that was competitive with Florida until the fourth quarter in Week 1?

ULM at Auburn. The Warhawks try to add the Tigers to Alabama and Arkansas in their SEC trophy case.
Utah State at Wisconsin. The Aggies seek a big-time road win to go with Utah victory.
BYU at Utah. BYU has lost three of four in the series, but Utah is stinging from the loss to Utah State.
Notre Dame at Michigan State. Manti Te’o vs. Le’Veon Bell is one of the week’s top matchups.

Notre Dame.
The 20-17 win over Purdue is tough to figure, and not because of the Irish quarterback rotation: Is Purdue better than projected? Is Notre Dame worse? Was this a case of jet lag since the trip to Ireland? In any event, Notre Dame escaped with a win. It turns out Notre Dame’s switch at quarterback from Everett Golson to Tommy Rees in the final two minutes was due to Golson’s inexperience rather than his sore thumb. Will Golson go the distance against Michigan State.

Ohio. No Penn State hangover here. The Bobcats defeated New Mexico State 51-24 behind four total touchdowns from Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship. This week’s game against Marshall is Ohio’s only regular-season game against a team with a winning record last year.

Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs won their opener after their first game against Texas A&M was postponed. Louisiana Tech may be one of the top teams outside of the Big Six conferences, but the Bulldogs didn’t show it on defense in a 56-49 win over Houston. The Cougars passed for 580 yards, rushed for 113 and scored 35 second-half points to prevent the game from being a rout.

The Wolf Pack threatened to string together back-to-back wins against major conference teams before a late collapse led to a 32-31 loss to USF. In the fourth quarter, Nevada was stopped on a goal-line stand and the 1-yard line and allowed two 50-yard pass plays to blow an 11-point lead.

Arkansas State. Is it time to re-evaluate those Sun Belt expectations? Arkansas State’s 57-34 loss at Oregon wasn’t a huge surprise, but the Red Wolves let Memphis hang around a little too long Saturday. Arkansas State was the preseason Sun Belt favorite after winning 10 games last season while Memphis lost to UT Martin in the opener. Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin remains productive, though, passing for 300 yards in both games this season.

Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles have made progress under Ron English, going 6-6 last season for the program’s first non-losing season since 1995. Eastern Michigan’s hopes of reaching a bowl for the first time since 1987 decreased thanks to a 31-14 loss to Illinois State. The Eagles turned the ball over five times in the loss.

Colorado State. The Rams’ didn’t have the highest expectations this season, but the good feelings from a season-opening win over Colorado quickly eroded with 22-7 loss to North Dakota State. Colorado State lost to the top-ranked team in the FCS, but an FCS team, nonetheless.

Taylor McHargue, Rice. The Owls quarterback is a week removed from passing for 236 yards in a second-half comeback against Kansas. The junior who lost his job to Nick Fanuzzi also passed for 172 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 95 yards and a score to keep the heat on UCLA in the opener. This week, he’ll face a vulnerable Louisiana Tech defense that just allowed 580 passing yards and 77 pass attempts to Houston last week.

By David Fox


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<p> College Football: BCS Crasher Stock Report</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 05:46
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-3-plays

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

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

Week 3

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Houston at UCLA

Line:  UCLA -17(O/U-74)

Projected score based on point spread:  UCLA 46-28

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims, WR-Daniel Spencer)

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

Also consider:

Houston (WR-Dewayne Peace, K-Matt Hogan)

UCLA (WR-Joseph Fauria, K-Ka’imi Fairbairn)

theCFFsite projects:  UCLA 41-31


Louisiana at Oklahoma State

Line:  Oklahoma St -22(O/U-73)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma St 42-28

Best plays:

Oklahoma St (QB-Wes Lunt, RB-Joseph Randle, WRs-Tracy Moore,  K-Quinn Sharp)

Louisiana (QB-Blaine Gautier, RB-Alonzo Harris, WR-Javone Lawson)

Also consider:

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith, WRs-Isaiah Anderson, Josh Stewart)

Louisiana (TE-Jacob Maxwell, K-Brett Baer)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 41-20


Ohio at Marshall

Line:  Ohio -6.5(O/U-67)

Projected score based on point spread:  Ohio 37-30

Best plays:

Ohio (QB-Tyler Tettleton, RB-Beau Blankenship, K-Matt Weller)

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WR-Aaron Dobson)

Also consider:

Ohio (WR-Donte Foster)

Marshall (RB-Travon Van, WR-Antavious Wilson)

theCFFsite projects:  Ohio 35-24

Arkansas State at Nebraska

Line:  Nebraska -24.5(O/U-67.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Nebraska 46-22

Best plays:

Arkansas St (QB-Ryan Aplin, RB-David Oku, WR-Josh Jarboe)

Nebraska (QB-Taylor Martinez, RB-Ameer Abdullah, K-Brett Maher)

Also consider:

Arkansas St (WR-JD McKissic)

Nebraska (WR-Kenny Bell, TE-Kyler Reed)

theCFFsite projects:  Nebraska 52-28


Rice at Louisiana Tech

Line:  Louisiana Tech -20.5(O/U-65.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LA Tech 43-23

Best plays:

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue, RB-Charles Ross, WR-Jordan Taylor, K-Chris Boswell)

Louisiana Tech (QB-Colby Cameron, WRs-Myles White, Quinton Patton, K-Matt Nelson)

Also consider:

Rice (WRs-Sam McGuffie, TE-Luke Willson)

Louisiana Tech (RBs-Tevin King, Kenneth Dixon)

theCFFsite projects:  LA Tech 45-28


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

Massachusetts at Michigan

Line:  Michigan -45.5(O/U-56)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan 51-5

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan 52-10


Florida Atlantic at Georgia

Line:  Georgia -43.5(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 48-5

Stay away from:

FAU (WR-Byron Hankerson)

theCFFsite projects:  Georgia 56-6

Idaho at LSU

Line:  LSU -42.5(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  LSU 49-6

Stay away from:

Idaho (QB-Dominique Blackman)

theCFFsite projects:  LSU 45-3

South Alabama at North Carolina State

Line:  North Carolina St -31.5(O/U-50)

Projected score based on point spread:  NC St 40-9

Stay away from:

South Alabama (RB-Demetre Baker)

theCFFsite projects:  NC St 42-7


UAB at South Carolina

Line:  South Carolina -33.5(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  South Carolina 44-10

Stay away from:

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry)

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 49-14

Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

USC at Stanford

Line:  USC -9(O/U-56)

Projected score based on point spread:  USC 33-24

Outlook:  Stanford may keep it close for a half, but receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods will eventually make enough plays to put this one out of reach.

theCFFsite projects:  USC 38-21


Florida at Tennessee

Line:  Tennessee -3(O/U-47)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tennessee 25-22

Outlook:  Florida did enough last week to slow down the Aggies in College Station, but the big-play potential of receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson will prove too challenging for the Florida defense.

theCFFsite projects:  Tennessee 31-21


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (5-1)  ATS: (3-3)

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



By:  Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site


Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 3 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 04:04
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-4

The race shop was once a movie theatre. The team’s finances proved as stable as a house of cards. No surprise that one of NASCAR’s biggest dreamers was the owner.

Five years later, Michael Waltrip’s team is in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup for the first time. Michael Waltrip Racing brings an intriguing mix with drivers Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr., who both have shown the ability to string several strong races together this season.

Neither likely will be among the Chase favorites, though, because most people will be smitten with Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin or Dale Earnhardt Jr. All are worthy picks and make it easy to overlook Waltrip’s group.

While much will be made of Hendrick Motorsports putting all four cars in the Chase after Jeff Gordon’s determined drive at Richmond to secure the final wild card spot, just think what could have been for Waltrip’s team. Had Mark Martin run the entire schedule instead of a majority of races, he could have been in position to make the Chase and put all three MWR cars in it. Still, Waltrip’s team has more cars in the Chase than traditional powerhouses Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing and defending champions Stewart-Haas Racing.

That’s a credit to what Waltrip has built along with co-owner Rob Kauffman, who joined the organization in Oct. 2007 and saved it with his infusion of cash.

“They hired the right people,” Denny Hamlin says. “They hired the right drivers. That's how you become successful.

“(MWR) is going to be around for a long time. You look at the progression of the race team, they’re legit now. I mean, they are guys you're going to have to beat week in, week out.”

Bowyer, who joined the team this season, enters the Chase with two wins after his victory last weekend at Richmond. He’s finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races.

“With everything new, never would (I) have dreamed in a million years all this would have happened this quickly,” Bowyer said after his win last weekend.

Asked about the possibility of winning the title, Bowyer said: “Jimmie (Johnson) seems like he has a blast doing it. I promise you I could throw a better party than him. Might not survive it, but we would have a lot of fun.”

As for Truex, he seeks his first win since 2007, but has shown signs of contending for victories, especially during a stretch in the spring where he finished fifth at Martinsville, sixth at Texas and second at Kansas — all Chase tracks. He had finished no worse than 11th in seven races until placing 21st at Richmond. Still, he’s lead in four consecutive races entering the Chase, his longest streak of the season.

"I'm going to be honest with you, the way our cars are running and as fast as we've been the last six or seven weeks we're dangerous,” Truex says. “I know we're kind of an underdog and not a lot of people expect us to do much. It's a good position to be in. We just need to be smart, make good decisions and our Toyotas are strong enough to do this thing. (I’m) looking forward to going out and having some fun and hopefully we'll put together 10 good races and be in the hunt.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit with Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 17:51
Path: /nfl/peyton-manning-throws-400th-td-pass-beats-steelers-broncos-debut

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Peyton Manning played his first meaningful game since Jan. 8, 2011. But even after missing an entire season, enduring four neck surgeries and switching teams during the offseason, the four-time MVP didn’t miss a beat — completing 19-of-26 passes (73.1 percent) for 253 yards, two TDs and zero INTs for a 129.2 passer rating during a 31–19 win over the Steelers.

“It definitely is a special win,” said Manning. “I know how hard I’ve worked and how many people have helped me in this process. I’m grateful, and I’m definitely appreciative of the moment and the opportunity.”

On the other side, Pittsburgh was playing in Denver for the second straight game, having ended last year with a 29–23 loss in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. And although the opposing starting quarterback has since changed, the results were eerily similar nine months later.

Last season, the Steelers lost on an 80-yard “Mile High Miracle” pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime. This time around, Manning found Thomas for a 71-yard catch-and-run the vaunted Steel Curtain defense was yet again unable to predict or stop.

“We weren’t thinking an 80-yard touchdown — maybe a nine-yard gain is kind of what I was thinking. So it sure was a nice surprise,” said Manning. “Of course, Demaryius did the majority of the work and really turned it on with great speed. Just a huge play.”

The dramatic scoring strike was Manning’s first TD pass as a Bronco and the 400th of his 15-year career. The third quarterback in history to throw 400-plus TD passes, Manning joins Brett Favre (508) and Dan Marino (420) in the record books — although he needed 18 fewer games and 473 fewer pass attempts to become a member of the elite fraternity.

“Dan Marino and Brett Favre are two of my favorite players of all time — two of the best quarterbacks of all time,” Manning said. “I don’t really feel comfortable being in that company, but to be mentioned amongst them is truly humbling and quite an honor. It’s not one I take lightly.”

The game also included a few blasts from the past. Denver’s sack master Von Miller celebrated the first of his two sacks by “Tebowing” to show a “little love” to Denver’s former QB. And cornerback Tracy Porter — the man responsible for the most memorable lowlight of Manning’s career — sealed the win for the Broncos with a pick-six of Ben Roethlisberger, just as Porter did against Manning as a member of the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

But in the end, all that mattered was Manning’s triumphant return. It was as if No. 18 never left at all.

“What can you say?” said Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. “I mean, he’s Peyton Manning.”

<p> Peyton Manning makes debut with Denver Broncos, throws 400th TD pass and beats the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 16:54
Path: /golf/rory-mcilroy-greatest-23-year-old-golfer-history

After back-to-back wins at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships, 23-year-old Rory McIlroy is closing in on a FedExCup title. The accompanying $10 million would buy world-class WAG Caroline Wozniacki a lot of bling, but I'm more concerned about Rory's place in history should he close the deal at the Tour Championship next week.

The question before us: Is McIlroy the greatest 23-year-old golfer in history? There are only three clear candidates — Rory, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus — so let's take them one by one and let their numbers speak for themselves.


The Case for Rory McIlroy
Majors Won: 2
Combined Margin: 16
Major Top 5s: 5
Major Top 10s: 6
PGA Tour Wins: 6
Worldwide Wins: 9

• He's the youngest PGA Champion (23 years, three months) since the tournament moved to stroke play in 1958, beating Jack Nicklaus' record.
• His 8-shot margin of victory at the PGA broke Nicklaus' record 7-shot margin at the 1980 PGA.
• McIlroy is the second-youngest player to win two majors. Nicklaus was one month younger when he won his second; Tiger was four months older.
• His 8-shot win at the PGA reprised his 8-shot demolition of the U.S. Open field in 2011. He's the first player to earn his first two major victories in such dominant fashion.
• He's halfway to a career Grand Slam, and had he avoided a Sunday back-nine meltdown at the 2011 Masters, we'd be talking about him in the reverent tones once reserved for Tiger at his apex.


The Case for Tiger Woods (through age 23 season)
Majors Won: 2
Combined Margin: 13
Major Top 5s: 4
Major Top 10s: 6
PGA Tour Wins: 15
Worldwide Wins: 17

• Tiger also won an unprecedented three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles (1994-96), which at one time were considered majors.
• Tiger was the 1996 NCAA champion while at Stanford.
• As low amateur at the 1996 British Open, he tied a record with an amateur aggregate score of 281.
• He was PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1997 and 1999.


The Case for Jack Nicklaus (through age 23 season)
Majors Won: 3
Margin: 3 (plus playoff)
Major Top 5s: 7
Major Top 10s: 8
PGA Tour Wins: 8
Worldwide Wins: 11

• Nicklaus was a two-time U.S. Amateur Champion (1959, 1961).
• He won the NCAA title at Ohio State in 1961.
• Nicklaus won 27 events in the Ohio area from ages 10-17, many against professionals.
• His first professional win came in the 1962 U.S. Open, where he beat Arnold Palmer on Palmer's home turf at Oakmont with a partisan crowd rooting against him. At 22, he was the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.

The Verdict
Nicklaus was the only three-time major winner at age 23, and he took down the great Arnold Palmer when the King was at his peak. McIlroy set new standards of dominance in winning his first two majors by a combined 16 strokes, and he's established himself as the clear No. 1 player in the world. Plus, he doesn't turn 24 until next May, giving him time to add to his ledger. But for dramatic success combined with sheer impact, Woods is the choice. His 12-stroke breakthrough win at the 1997 Masters remains one of golf's greatest achievements, and his 17 worldwide wins at such a tender age remain unmatched. And that's without mentioning the broader significance of his status as the first major champion of color, a development that tapped a new market for the game.

Others Worth Mentioning

• I can't leave Seve Ballesteros out of this discussion. By the time he turned 24, Seve had two majors under his belt — the 1979 British Open and 1980 Masters — as well as 12 other wins in Europe and the 1978 Greensboro title on the PGA Tour. I only omit him from inclusion with Rory, Tiger and Jack because of the level of competition on the European Tour at the time; it wasn't what it is today. Plus, he had only one top 10 in a major aside from his two wins, leaving him well behind the top three.

• At age 23, Bobby Jones had won a U.S. Open and two U.S. Amateurs, when they were true majors. His level of competition excludes him from consideration, though.

• By the time he turned 24, Phil Mickelson was a four-time winner on Tour, including a rare win as an amateur (Tucson, 1991). He remains the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour. He's probably the greatest NCAA golfer in history, winning three individual NCAA championships and earning All-America honors all four years at Arizona State. He also won the U.S. Amateur in 1990, joining Woods and Nicklaus in winning the NCAA-U.S. Amateur double in the same season. But his success in majors would come later.

• At age 21, Ben Crenshaw became the second player in Tour history to win the first event he entered. He was a three-time NCAA champion at Texas.

<br />
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 12:10
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-2

The first week of NFL action is in the books and many fantasy football owners are already looking to the waiver wire. We're here to help. The players listed in Athlon Sports’ weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players worth grabbing.


Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville
It’s only one week, but Gabbert looked pretty good against Minnesota, completing nearly 60 percent of his attempts for a career-high 260 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. However, it is still early and Houston’s defense figures to be a much tougher test than the Vikings’, but progress is progress, right?

Christian Ponder, Minnesota
Speaking of progress, fellow second-year signal caller Ponder completed nearly 75 percent of his pass attempts against the Jaguars. He threw for 270 yards, but had no touchdowns. Still, with Adrian Peterson back in the fold, Ponder could become a reliable spot-starter, especially if the Vikings’ offense continues to progress.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
Tim Tebow did get on the field, but it was Sanchez who did all the damage under center, as he passed for 266 yards and three touchdowns in the Jets’ demolition of Buffalo. A trip to Pittsburgh is next up for the Jets, but the Steelers had trouble stopping Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ aerial attack, so Sanchez could be worth a look in Week 2, if not beyond.

Alex Smith, San Francisco
Is San Francisco changing its style? The 49ers passed nearly as many times (26) as they ran the ball (32), and when they did go to the air, Smith made it count. He missed on just six of his 26 attempts for 211 yards and two touchdowns in the huge road win over Green Bay. He connected with six different receivers on the day, including a total of eight catches by new wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. If the 49ers continue to let Smith throw the ball, he could put up some decent numbers, starting this week as Detroit and its banged up secondary comes calling.

Running Backs

Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Isaac Redman started and had more carries (11 to 9), but Dwyer did more with his touches as he had 43 yards rushing and caught two passes in the Steelers’ loss to Denver. It remains to be seen if Dwyer will supplant Redman as the starter, and also what will happen once Rashard Mendenhall returns, but the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket certainly bears watching.

Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore (112 yards rushing) did the bulk of the damage on the ground, but Hunter still got nine carries against Green Bay. Hunter finished with 41 yards (4.6 ypc) and with LaMichael James and Brandon Jacobs sidelined by injuries, he appears to be the clear-cut second option for a team that likes to run.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Willis McGahee is the No. 1 option in Denver right now, but if Week 1 showed us anything, it’s that Moreno and not third-round pick Ronnie Hillman, is No. 2. Moreno was productive in his return from last season’s torn ACL as he had five carries for 13 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Broncos’ win over Pittsburgh. Even though Peyton Manning is now under center, it’s not like he’s going to throw the ball every play, so opportunity is there for Moreno, especially if McGahee goes down to injury.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
Morris got more than four times as many carries as any other Washington running back against New Orleans, and turned those 28 totes into 96 yards and two scores. The obvious caveat with him, however, is that he plays for Mike Shanahan, who has a well-earned reputation for driving fantasy owners crazy with how he handles his backfield. You’ve been warned.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons
Although Atlanta's 40-24 domination of Kansas City may not be the best gauge, it should be pointed out that Rodgers carried the ball just four times fewer than Michael Turner, who had 11 carries. Rodgers had a better average (3.1 to 2.9 ypc) and also had two receptions. If the coaching staff is serious about cutting down Turner’s workload, Rodgers will be the primary beneficiary.

C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
He leads the NFL in rushing and he’s probably the Bills’ starter moving forward as Fred Jackson is dealing with a knee injury that will reportedly keep him out at least a month. Spiller was the lone Bills highlight in the lopsided loss to the Jets, as he gashed them for 169 rushing yards on just 14 carries. Even if you took out his 56-yard touchdown run, Spiller would have finished with 113 yards on 13 carries (8.7 ypc).

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals
He didn’t do a lot with them (9 yards rushing), but Williams finished Arizona’s win over Seattle with more carries (8 to 7) than Beanie Wells. He also caught two passes for 17 yards. The workload for the two backs is what bears watching moving forward, especially if Williams establishes himself as the lead horse.

Wide Receivers

Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions
Detroit surprisingly struggled to put away St. Louis, but Matthew Stafford still finished with more than 300 yards passing and Calvin Johnson led the way with 111 yards receiving. It was Burleson, however, who got more targets (8 to 7) than Johnson and tied Megatron with six catches (69 yards). As much as the Lions throw the ball, Burleson could develop into a valuable contributor, especially if he’s able to hold off Titus Young as the No. 2 receiver.

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Cobb tied Greg Jennings for most targets among Green Bay wide receivers in the loss to San Francisco with nine. More than that, however, was how the Packers lined the second-year pro up – in the backfield, on the outside, in the slot – in an attempt to get him the ball. If you have any doubts about his big-play ability, look no further than his 75-yard punt return for a touchdown that got the Packers back in the game early in the fourth quarter.

Stephen Hill, New York Jets
It was Hill and not Santonio Holmes, who was the Jets’ leading receiver against Buffalo. Hill put a disappointing preseason completely behind him with his five-catch, 89-yard effort that also included two touchdowns. Holmes was targeted more (8 to 6), but Hill is the other starting wideout for the Jets and it looks like Mark Sanchez will not be afraid to throw it his way.

Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
There’s no doubt that Brandon Marshall is and will be Jay Cutler’s favorite target, but there’s room for someone to emerge as his No. 2 option and Jeffery did nothing to hurt himself in that regard in Week 1. The rookie out of South Carolina was targeted five times, which was second only to Marshall’s 15 among Bears wideouts, and finished with three receptions for 80 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown strike in the fourth quarter.

Donald Jones, Buffalo Bills
Jones led the Bills in receptions with five in Week 1, and he should continue to see plenty of opportunities as David Nelson tore his ACL in the loss to the Jets. Stevie Johnson is the clear No. 1 option for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Jones will line up opposite him as the other starter due to the loss of Nelson.

Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers
Barring injury, LaFell won’t supplant Steve Smith as Cam Newton’s favorite target anytime soon. Still, the former LSU Tiger came on late last season and continued that momentum in Week 1 as he caught three passes for 65 yards (21.7 ypc) and a score.

Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers
Is he back? Perhaps, but one thing is for sure – Alex Smith did his part to involve him in San Francisco’s passing attack. Moss was targeted four times, which tied him for second among 49er wide receivers with Mario Manningham, but he caught all of them for 47 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, Smith looked his way multiple times in the red zone.

Kevin Ogletree, Dallas Cowboys
On the one hand there’s the eight receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns, which is certainly the type of production anyone would want to have in their lineup. There are also the team-high 11 targets he got from Tony Romo. On the other hand, there’s the fact that Ogletree will remain the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver, barring injury, and that opposing secondaries will probably offer more resistance than the Giants’ injury-depleted one did in Week 1. All of that said, Ogletree is still worth picking up if you have room for him. Remember what Laurent Robinson did last season?

Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona’s quarterback situation and the presence of Larry Fitzgerald notwithstanding, Roberts staked his claim to the No. 2 receiver job in Week 1. Besides leading the team in catches (five for 54 yards and a touchdown), and receiving just two fewer targets (11 to 9) than Fitzgerald, Roberts also was the Cardinals’ leading rusher. He gained 15 yards on one lone carry.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
Three different Giants tight ends were targeted a total of 86 times last season. Only one of them – Bear Pascoe – is on the active roster this reason. Eli Manning targeted his tight ends a total of seven times in the opener against the Cowboys. Pascoe got one, while Bennett got the other six and turned them into four catches and a touchdown.

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
Fleener was targeted by his former Stanford teammate Andrew Luck 10 times against Chicago, finishing with six catches for 82 yards. Overall Luck threw the ball 45 times, a trend that figures to continue considering the chances the Colts will be playing from behind a majority of the season.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
A breakout star in 2010, Lewis all but disappeared in 2011. After posting five catches on five targets for 52 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Lewis may be back on the fantasy map this season, especially if Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert can perform like he did against Minnesota on a weekly basis.

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
Pitta and not Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin or even Ray Rice was the most targeted Raven on Monday night with nine of them. He finished the evening with a team-high five receptions, 73 yards receiving, and scored a touchdown. He and Ed Dickson give quarterback Joe Flacco two dependable options at tight end, but the early returns seem to show that Pitta is first in the pecking order. Don't lose sight of the fact that even though the outcome against Cincinnati was a laugher, 44-13, the Ravens still threw the ball (32 attempts) more than they ran it (23 rushes).

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph got seven targets, just one fewer than wide receiver Percy Harvin, and caught five passes for 67 yards in the win over Jacksonville, He should continue to receive his fair share of opportunities as he and Harvin will more than likely be Christian Ponder’s primary reads in the Vikings’ passing game as the season progresses.

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

— By Mark Ross, published on Sept. 11, 2012

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 2</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-most-underrated-all-overlooked-team

With roughly 340 teams in Division I basketball, some players are bound to fall through the cracks.

We’d like to do our part to rectify that by highlighting some of the key players you may have missed last season. A handful of reasons led to these players going overlooked and underrated nationally: Chief among them is an absence from the NCAA Tournament. Some made all-conference teams. Some had impressive statistics, but for whatever reason, only hardcore fans knew their names.

We think these players anonymity will come to an end this season, and they’ll no longer be overlooked and underrated.

G Tim Frazier, Penn State
6-1/170, Sr.
Stats: 18.8 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 spg
Playing basketball at Penn State isn’t the best way to get noticed. Just ask Talor Battle. Frazier was just as productive in his second season. He improved from 6.3 points per game to become to the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten. Frazier is one of the quickest guards in the country, but he’s also one of Penn State’s only real offensive threats. His 497 shots from the field were 203 more than anyone else on the roster last season.

Related: Big Ten coach rankings

G B.J. Young, Arkansas
6-3/180, Soph.
Stats: 15.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.3 apg
Young was a second-team All-SEC selection, but the league’s other big-time freshmen (Kentucky’s roster, Florida’s Bradley Beal, Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes), seemed to be bigger names. Look for this to change. Young was sixth in the SEC in scoring (ahead of Beal and Anthony Davis) and shot better than 50 percent from the field. After going 6-10 in the league last season, Arkansas is a possible NCAA Tournament team thanks to an extra year under Young’s belt and the return of injured forward Marshawn Powell
Related: Arkansas among sleeper teams who could return to NCAA Tournament

F Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss
Particulars: 6-7/240, Sr.
Stats: 11.2 ppg, 9 rpg
Holloway and teammate Reginald Buckner will form one of the SEC’s top frontcourts after ranking third and fourth, respectively, in the conference in rebounding. Holloway is the rare player to transfer from one school only to transfer back later -- he left for the 2010-11 season to walk on at South Carolina to help take care of his infant daughter. He didn’t play that season at South Carolina and returned to Ole Miss last year.
Related: 17 questions for the South Region in 2012-13

F Andre Roberson, Colorado
Particulars: 6-7/210, Jr.
Stats: 11.6 pgg, 11.1 rpg
No one paid too much attention to Colorado until the Buffaloes marched through the Pac-12 Tournament and defeated No. 6 seed UNLV in the NCAA round of 64. Now, Colorado is gearing up for a third consecutive postseason berth thanks to the return of Roberson, who was third in the nation in rebounding. He finished the season with 20 double-doubles, just as many as Anthony Davis. That number included four double-doubles in six postseason games.
Related: Pac-12 coach rankings

F Brock Motum, Washington State
Particulars: 6-10/245, Sr.
Stats: 18 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Did any player do more last season and receive less notoriety? We believe so. We even considered naming this team the “Brock Motum All-Stars.” Blame Pullman, Wash., or blame the 7-11 season in a poor Pac-12. The Australian lefty improved from Washington’s fifth-leading scorer to lead the Pac-12 in points per game last year.

G Chaz Williams, UMass
Particulars: 5-9/175, Jr.
Stats: 16.9 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 spg
Upon his transfer from Hofstra, the diminutive Williams helped transfer UMass from an Atlantic 10 also-ran status to potential NCAA Tournament contender. Williams led the A-10 in assists and finished seventh in scoring. He was a perfect fit for the Minutemen’s up-tempo system, which led the A-10 in scoring. After a year with Williams running the point, UMass is hoping for bigger postseason goals.

Related: Can UMass, St. Joe's return to the NCAA Tournament?

G Langston Galloway, St. Joseph’s
Particulars: 6-2/200, Jr.
Stats: 15.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
Galloway has played the last two seasons with high-scoring guard Carl Jones, but Galloway might be the best player at St. Joe’s. He certainly was the most improved last season. He shot 39.9 percent from the field as a freshman and then 48.8 percent as a sophomore. He also made 90 3-pointers, 22 more than anyone else in the A-10, leading the league by shooting at a 46.6 percent clip.
Related: Atlantic-10 coach rankings

G/F Colt Ryan, Evansville
Particulars: 6-5/210, Sr.
Stats: 20.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.9 spg
Ryan is a one-man show for the Purple Aces, leading the Missouri Valley in minutes played and finishing second in scoring behind Creighton’s All-America forward Doug McDermott. Though Evansville has yet to breakthrough as an NCAA Tournament team, Ryan has finished in the top three in the league in scoring all three seasons on campus.

F Rodney Williams, Minnesota
Particulars: 6-7/200, Sr.
Stats: 12.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Williams finished last season in a flourish as the Gophers recovered from a 5-12 season in the Big Ten to reach the NIT final. Williams scored 20 points in four of the last six games. Optimism runs high in Minneapolis as Trevor Mbakwe returns to the lineup, and the Gophers receive a season’s worth of standout point guard play from sophomore Andre Hollins. Williams could be a major beneficiary.
Related: Big Ten coach rankings

F Cameron Melvin, DePaul
Particulars: 6-8/208, Jr.
Stats: 17.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg
These are lean times for DePaul -- very lean times. If Melvin, the first signee under coach Oliver Purnell, the Blue Demons may escape the Big East cellar. For the last two seasons, though, DePaul hasn’t lacked a legitimate all-conference-type of player. Melvin finished the season sixth in the Big East in scoring and 12th in rebounding.
Related: 17 questions for the East Region in 2012-13

-David Fox 


<p> College Basketball's Most Underrated: The All-Overlooked Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:56
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-surprises-after-two-weeks

Only two weeks of the 2012 college football season are in the books, but there has been plenty of action so far. After two weeks, Athlon runs down 10 surprises, including Pac-12 teams UCLA, Arizona and Oregon State. There's still plenty of time for our opinion to change on these teams/players/units over the next few weeks, but here are 10 things that caught our attention through two games.

College Football's Top 10 Surprises After Two Weeks

1. UCLA – Talent never seems to be an issue for the Bruins. However, the results haven’t always matched the players on the roster. That isn’t the case in 2012, as UCLA is off to a promising 2-0 start, largely due to the emergence of quarterback Brett Hundley. Behind Hundley and running back Johnathan Franklin, the Bruins are averaging 649.5 yards and 42.5 points per game. UCLA’s defense needs some work, but its offense should be able to outscore a lot of teams on the schedule in 2012. With Houston, Oregon State and Colorado up next, the Bruins could be 5-0 going into the first weekend in October.

2. Arizona – Rich Rodriguez was a bad fit at Michigan, but he’s clearly the right man for the job in Tucson. The Wildcats are off to a 2-0 start, which includes a solid win over Toledo in the opener and an upset victory over Oklahoma State in Week 2. Rodriguez has found the perfect triggerman for his spread attack, as senior Matt Scott is tied for second nationally in total offense after two games. The Wildcats still have concerns on defense but should be 3-0 after beating South Carolina State this Saturday. Even though Arizona won’t win the Pac-12 this year, it’s clear Rodriguez has this program on the right track.

3. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon – Considering what he did as a freshman last season, Thomas’ numbers through the first two weeks shouldn’t be a shock. However, the sophomore’s statline is ridiculous. Thomas has scored on three of his 10 rushing attempts and is averaging 16.6 yards per carry. He has also scored on two of his eight receptions. It will be difficult to keep those numbers up the rest of the season, but Thomas is clearly one of the nation’s top playmakers and should make a run at the Heisman Trophy.

4. Iowa State – As long as Paul Rhoads is on the sideline in Ames, the Cyclones will be a threat to pull off a couple of upsets every year. Iowa State was listed as an underdog in the first two games of 2012 but won both contests. The Cyclones knocked off one of the favorites (Tulsa) for the Conference USA title in Week 1 and beat in-state rival in Iowa in Week 2. Considering Iowa State was an underdog in its first two games and seems to be improved off last season’s bowl team, the Cyclones are the Big 12’s top surprise team through the first two weeks. 

5. Oregon State – Due to a canceled game against Nicholls State in Week 1, there’s not much data on Oregon State. However, the limited sample size on the Beavers suggests this is an improved team. Oregon State upset Wisconsin last Saturday, and after struggling to stop the run in 2011, the Beavers allowed just 35 yards to the Badgers and forced three sacks. Oregon State has an uphill battle to get bowl eligible in the Pac-12 North, but don’t expect this team to be an easy out in conference play. 

6. Alabama’s defense – There was no doubt the Crimson Tide would reload on defense, but most expected it would take a couple of weeks before this unit was back to its usual shutdown ways. Two weeks into the season and it looks like Alabama is ready to match last year’s No. 1 ranking. The defense has allowed only 14 points through two weeks and ranks 14th in total defense (246.5 yards per game). Alabama’s defense won’t be as dominant with all of the new faces stepping in, however, this unit should still finish in the top five nationally in points and yards allowed.

7. Miami Hurricanes’ defense – Even with six new starters, no one could have predicted Miami’s defense would be this bad after two weeks. The Hurricanes have been abysmal so far, allowing an average of 42 points and 517.5 yards per game. This unit has barely generated a pass rush (1 sack) and ranks last in the ACC in total, scoring and pass defense. Miami suffered another setback in Saturday’s game against Kansas State, as linebacker Ramon Buchanan was lost for the season. The Hurricanes should have a much easier time stopping Bethune-Cookman this Saturday, but Georgia Tech, NC State and Notre Dame will test this defense once again.

8. FCS upsets over FBS teams – Games against FCS teams aren’t always guaranteed wins and that’s been showcased through the first two weeks. FCS teams have pulled eight upsets so far – McNeese State over MTSU, Northern Arizona over UNLV, Sacramento State over Colorado, North Dakota State over Colorado State, UT Martin over Memphis, Illinois State over Eastern Michigan, Youngstown State over Pittsburgh and Eastern Washington over Idaho. Although none of those teams were national title contenders, FBS teams – especially those outside of the BCS – can’t take FCS teams lightly.

9. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse – Nassib was expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big East, but he stepped up his play to another level in 2012. Through the first two weeks of this season, Nassib has 804 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 32 yards and a score on the ground. The senior ranks second nationally with an average of 418 total yards per game and is completing 67 percent of his throws. Nassib should easily surpass last season’s totals – 2,685 yards and 22 touchdowns if he continues to play at this level. Considering Syracuse is struggling to keep opposing offenses out of the endzone, the Orange could ask Nassib to win a lot of shootouts in 2012.

10. Boise State’s defense – While Miami’s defense made it on this list for the wrong reasons, the Broncos earn a spot due to their Week 1 performance against Michigan State. Yes, this unit allowed 461 yards, but it forced four turnovers and took one interception back for a score. Boise State has only one game under its belt, but considering its defense had to break in 10 new starters, the early results are positive that this unit will remain one of the best in the nation. 

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

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<p> College Football's Top 10 Surprises After Two Weeks</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:41
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-disappointments-after-two-weeks

The 2012 college football season is still young, but it's never too early to start looking at some of the biggest disappointments from the preseason. Arkansas' surprising loss to Louisiana-Monroe knocked it out of the national title picture, while the nation has yet to see Washington State's offense get on track. There's plenty of time for these teams, players and units to turn things around. However, after two weeks, these are our 10 biggest disappointments based on preseason expectations.

College Football’s Top 10 Disappointments After 2 Weeks

1. Arkansas – Yes, there was a drop off expected after Bobby Petrino was fired in the spring, but no one could have predicted Saturday night’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks are a solid Sun Belt team, but this is a game Arkansas should not lose. Losing quarterback Tyler Wilson certainly hurt, but the defense had an awful performance. The Razorbacks held national title hopes coming into the year but could struggle just to finish in the top 15 of the polls at the end of the season.

2. Washington State’s offense – With Mike Leach’s arrival in Pullman, and the return of quarterback Jeff Tuel and receiver Marquess Wilson, big things were expected of Washington State’s offense. Through two weeks, the Cougars have failed to live up to the hype, ranking 104th in scoring and 111th in yards per game (289.5). It’s early in the year, but it was a surprise to see Washington State’s offense sputter against Eastern Washington and BYU. A key reason for the struggles has been the play of the offensive line, which is allowing three sacks per game. Expect the Cougars to find their rhythm on offense as the year progresses, but bigger things were expected out of this unit against BYU and Eastern Washington.

3. Wisconsin – With the departure of a handful of assistant coaches, and quarterback Russell Wilson finishing his eligibility, the Badgers weren’t expected to match last season’s offensive numbers. However, Wisconsin’s offense has been lackluster through the first two weeks, recording only 26 points against Northern Iowa and seven against Oregon State. Bret Bielema has already made one change, firing offensive line coach Mike Markuson and more moves could be coming at the end of the year if Wisconsin’s offense doesn’t improve. Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball has just 181 yards and one touchdown through two weeks, while the Badgers rank 105th nationally in total yards per game. The good news for Wisconsin? The Leaders Division is essentially a three-team race – Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin – with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible to play for the Big Ten title. If the Badgers can find the right mix on the offensive line and get Ball going on the ground, this team can easily win the division title.

4. Auburn – The Tigers weren’t expected to be ranked in the top 10, but most thought this team would be improved. Through two weeks, Auburn clearly has a lot of work to do. The offense ranks last in the SEC in yards per game (295) and 13th in passing (159.5). Quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s performance hasn’t inspired much confidence so far, tossing four picks and completing less than 50 percent of his throws. Despite having some talent on the offensive line, Auburn is allowing two sacks per game and is averaging only 135.5 rushing yards per contest. With SEC games against LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Georgia and Alabama remaining, the Tigers will have its hands full just getting bowl eligible.

5. Pittsburgh – The Panthers were pegged as a darkhorse candidate to compete for the Big East title in the preseason, but it’s been an awful start to Paul Chryst’s tenure. Pittsburgh was dominated by FCS foe Youngstown State 31-17 in the season opener and failed to show much improvement in the Week 2 loss to Cincinnati. The biggest problem for Chryst has been a defense that has allowed 422.5 yards per game and has just one sack through the first two games. As with all of the teams on this list, Pittsburgh has time to turn things around. However, having four head coaches in three years has probably caught up to the Panthers.

6. Big Ten – Two weeks into the season and the Big Ten is off to a bad start. Throw out Northwestern’s wins against Syracuse and Vanderbilt and the conference has no other non-conference victories against BCS competition and Notre Dame (0-7). Ouch. Some of the outcomes weren’t a surprise, but Illinois was expected to challenge Arizona State (not having quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase certainly hurt) and Wisconsin was a heavy favorite to beat Oregon State. Considering the conference doesn’t have many opportunities to earn big non-conference wins the rest of the way, the Big Ten will have to wait until bowl season to get marquee victories against BCS competition.  

7. NCAA’s new helmet rule – Yes, safety is important, but this rule is ridiculous. There have been instances through the first two weeks where players are having their helmets ripped off by defenses and are forced to sit out the next play. It’s important for players to keep their helmets buckled tight for safety, but sitting out a play for something the defense is doing just doesn’t make sense – especially since the referees can’t catch everything. And wouldn’t this rule promote more aggressive play if defenses know any player has to miss a play if his helmet comes off? The intent is correct, but this rule could end up costing a team a victory this year. 

8. Houston – A year after nearly earning a BCS bowl, the Cougars are off to an 0-2 start and no longer appear to be the favorites to win Conference USA’s West Division. Of course, there were some key personnel losses, but new quarterback David Piland had experience and was joined by 12 returning starters. There’s been some turmoil surrounding this team already, as offensive coordinator Mike Nesbitt was fired after the first game. New coach Tony Levine was a questionable hire and has done nothing to ease those concerns.

9. Utah – After finishing 2011 with wins in five out of their last six games, the Utes were picked to be USC’s biggest challenger in the Pac-12 South Division. Utah easily won the opener against Northern Colorado but dropped a 27-20 overtime game against in-state foe Utah State in Week 2. The Utes also lost quarterback Jordan Wynn for the year against the Aggies, only adding to the concern surrounding this team. Although Jon Hays and Travis Wilson could end up being a solid duo at quarterback, Utah does not look like the No. 2 team in the South.

10. FIU – The Golden Panthers haven’t been bad, but this team has a 20-point loss to Duke, who was thoroughly dismantled against Stanford in Week 2. FIU also needed overtime to beat an Akron team that was one of the worst in the nation in 2011. The Golden Panthers are still one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt title, but this team was a trendy upset pick against the Blue Devils in Week 1 and were expected to easily beat the Zips last Saturday.

by Steven Lassan



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College Football Week 2 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 10 Disappointments After Two Weeks</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:39
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-voting-post-week-2

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

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

USC's Matt Barkley remains atop our poll, with all but one of our panel  listing Barkley at No. 1 as the Trojans begin conference play this week. The only other near-unanimous pick was Geno Smith even though the West Virginia quarterback did not play last week.

The biggest movers this week were in the next seven spots. The voters in our panel who liked Oregon’s explosive all-purpose player De'Anthony Thomas really liked De'Anthony Thomas. He appeared on six of eight ballots, at No. 3 on each of them. UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, the nation’s leading rusher, jumped from No. 13 last week to No. 4 after a second 200-yard effort this season. After a game-turning performance against Missouri, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones became everyone’s favorite defensive candidate, climbing from No. 19 to No. 6. And Kansas State’s Collin Klein, who was not among our top 20 in Week 1, made his season debut at No. 7.

Of the notable players who dropped out of the top 15: Wisconsin’s Montee Ball claimed only one vote at No. 10 after rushing for 61 yards against Oregon State. Injured Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson also dropped from No. 12 to out of the rankings completely.

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (seven first-place votes)
Season Stats: 46-68, 559 yds, 10 TD, 1 INT
Barkley’s performance Saturday against Syracuse wasn’t perfect (23 of 30, 187 yards), but the USC quarterback still tied his own school record of six touchdown passes. In a single game, Barkley had as many touchdown passes as Michigan and Miami have touchdowns all season. Only 20 teams have accounted for more offensive touchdowns than Barkley’s 10 touchdowns through the air. This week, Barkley will try to do something he’s never done in his career: Beat Stanford. Next Game: at Stanford

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Matt Barkley QB USC 70/80 7 1 - - - 8/8
2. Geno Smith QB West Virginia 68/80 1 5 - 1 2 8/8
3. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 48/80 - - 6 - - 6/8
4. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 42/80 - 1 1 2 1 7/8
5. Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan St. 38/80 - - - 3 1 7/8
6. Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 28/80 - 1 - - 1 7/8
7. Collin Klein QB Kansas State 23/80 - - - 1 1 5/8
8. Marqise Lee WR USC 22/80 - - - - 1 5/8
9. Braxton Miller QB Ohio State 19/80 - - - - 1 5/8
10. Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina 17/80 - - - - 2 5/8
t11. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 11/80 - - - - - 3/8
t11. Andre Ellington RB Clemson 11/80 - - - 1 - 2/8
13. A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 10/80 - - 1 - - 3/8
14. Denard Robinson QB Michigan 9/80 - - - - - 3/8
15. Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 7/80 - - - - - 2/8

Also receiving votes: 16. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (five votes), T-17. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee; Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin; Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (one vote each)

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (one first-place vote)
Season Stats:
32-36, 323 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT, 8 att., 65 rush yds, TD
Smith and West Virginia didn’t play last week, but that did nothing to diminish his standing in the Athlon Heisman poll thanks to his near-perfect performance against Marshall in the opener. West Virginia will face James Madison, ranked sixth in this week’s FCS coaches’ poll, in a neutral site game at FedEx Field. Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said he’s anticipating a “bigger challenge” against James Madison than against Marshall. Whether that’s honesty or a not-so-subtle jab against rival Marshall, we’ll find out Saturday. Next game: James Madison (Landover, Md.)

Who is your Heisman frontrunner? free polls 

3. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats:
10 att., 166 yds, 3 TD, 8 rec., 81 yds, 2 TD
Oregon and Thomas have yet to play a major conference team, but the all-purpose dynamo continues to grab our Heisman attention. Thomas appeared at No. 3 on six of eight Athlon ballots. So far, the sophomore has touched the ball 18 times on offense, resulting in five touchdowns. With touchdown runs of 51, 39 and 33 yards this season, Thomas is averaging 13.7 yards each time he touches the ball on offense. Expect that to continue with a warm-up game this week before facing newly-ranked Arizona on Sept. 22. Next game: Tennessee Tech

4. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats:
41 att., 431 yds, 3 TD, 4 rec., 63 yds, 1 TD
The Bruins senior may be the biggest beneficiary of Jim L. Mora’s arrival at UCLA. Was Franklin’s 214-yard performance in the opener a product of weak competition (Rice)? The answer is no. Franklin followed his second career 200-yard game with his third against Nebraska in Week 2. Against Nebraska, Franklin rushed for 217 yards on 26 carries in addition to catching a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that ended up being the difference in the game. Next game: Houston

5. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Season Stats:
62 att., 280 yds, 4 TD, 7 rec., 55 yds
A week after carrying 44 times against Boise State, Bell got a bit of rest against Central Michigan, relatively speaking. Bell carried only 18 times for 70 yards with two touchdowns against the Chippewas. The Spartans didn’t need a gladiator effort in the 41-7 rout, but they may put more on his shoulders this week. Next game: Notre Dame

6. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Season Stats:
17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass breakups
Jones was a dominant presence for nearly the entire game against Missouri, but two key plays turned close game into a Georgia blowout. Jones returned an interception 21 yards to Missouri’s 1-yard line to set up a touchdown. He later sacked quarterback James Franklin, forcing a fumble that set up the Bulldogs’ final touchdown in the 41-20 win. Next game: FAU

7. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
28-39, 379 yds, 3 TD, INT, 25 att., 125 yds, 3 TD
Klein had one of the best passing days of his career, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown on only 9 of 11 completions. Of course, the ground game remained Klein’s calling card with 71 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Klein has accounted for either a passing or rushing touchdown in 15 consecutive games and has 30 rushing TDs since the start of the 2011 season.  Next game: North Texas

8. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats:
21 rec., 263 yds, 4 TD, 1 att., 23 yds, 4 KOR, 140 yds, TD
Lee’s 66 receiving yards against Syracuse was his lowest total since picking up 36 yards against Notre Dame on Oct. 22. Yet Lee still managed to catch three touchdown passes, giving him 13 total touchdowns in his last seven games. Lee also caught 11 passes, giving him at least 10 receptions in his last three games. Next game: at Stanford

9. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats:
32-48, 362 yds, 3 TD, INT, 44 att., 302 yds, 4 TD
For a time last season, Ohio State didn’t trust Miller to throw the ball more than 10 times in a game. That’s hard to believe now as Miller has thrown at least 23 passes in his last four games dating back to the Michigan game last year. And that’s the second-most interesting part of his game right now: Miller is the fourth-leading rusher in the country, topping 140 yards in each game this season. Next game: Cal

10. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats:
36 att., 150 yds, 3 TD
South Carolina didn’t need an other-worldly effort out of Lattimore to defeat East Carolina. The junior rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Next game: UAB

T-11. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Season Stats:
43-57, 437 yds, 4 TD, INT, 22 att., 70 yds

T-11. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Season Stats:
38 att., 269 yds, 2 TD

13. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats:
25-40, 418 yds, 6 TD, 0 INT

14. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Season Stats:
25-51, 408 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT, 30 att., 245 yds, 3 TD

15. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Season Stats:
43-65, 533 yds, 5 TD, INT, 19 att., 122 yds, TD

by David Fox


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<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 2</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 05:33
Path: /nascar/nascar-horsepower-rankings-13

1. Denny Hamlin   Hamlin slips ahead of Jimmie Johnson thanks to having the strongest car for a third consecutive week (despite the fact he didn’t win). He also gets a hat tip for those four regular season victories. Last week: 2

2. Jimmie Johnson  Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are bringing the car that they dominated and won with at Dover and Indianapolis to Chicago. My thought is it goes three-for-three this season. You heard it here first. Last week: 1

3. Brad Keselowski  Drove to a quiet seventh at Richmond, his ninth top-10 showing in the last 10 races. This kid is for real, people, and his time is now. Last week: 3

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Give him props for the consistency throughout the regular season. Now the question becomes whether this team and its driver can deliver in crunch time or get passed by the heavy-hitters. Last week: 4

5. Jeff Gordon  Gets a huge bump up the rankings this week after being Mr. Clutch the last three weeks, with finishes of third, second and second. Now we’ll see if they have any gas left in the tank. Last week: 10

6. Clint Bowyer  One win per season is impressive and all, but multiple victories rachet a team and its driver up the “keep an eye on” list. Bowyer and the 15 bunch are there — and at just the right time. Last week: 8

7. Greg Biffle  Lest we forget about the “Regular Season Champion” — that is, if there were one. When is NASCAR going to at least acknowledge that achievement? At the least, an “Atta boy!” would do. Last week: 5

8. Matt Kenseth  Kenseth’s standing takes a hit based more on what others have done as opposed to the performance of his No. 17 team. That said, there are still questions how this team will do in the Chase. Last week: 7

9. Kasey Kahne  Many are looking at Kahne as a nice darkhorse Chase pick. It’s hard to argue with those types, especially when you consider that his two wins this year have come on Chase tracks (Charlotte, Loudon). Last week: 9

<p> As NASCAR's regular season comes to a close, Denny Hamlin edges by Jimmie Johnson to take the top spot in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 17:54
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-sept-10

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 September 10, 2012.

 1. Nationals — Pacing majors with 58 runs, 24 homers in Sept.

 2. Reds — Leadoff hitters batting just .207, by far worst in majors.

 3. Rangers — Lead down to 3.5 games with seven left with Oakland.

 4. Braves — Kris Medlen unbeatable for Atlanta.

 5. Giants — Starters have 2.02 ERA in 15 games vs. Dodgers.

 6. Yankees — Tough stretch leaves Yanks in battle for division title.

 7. A’s — Green and Gold just keeps winning; 36-17 in second half.

 8. Orioles — Will miss Nick Markakis, who has broken hand.

 9. Rays — Pitchers have a 0.99 WHIP since the break.

10. Angels — 10 blown saves in second half have impeded progress.

11. Cardinals — Jaime Garcia may be Redbirds’ new ace.

12. Dodgers — Mark and A.J. Ellis batting .345 in September.

13. White Sox — Good to have center fielder Alejandro de Aza back in lineup.

14. Tigers — Miguel Cabrera has outside shot at triple crown.

15. Pirates — 63-56 when Neil Walker starts, 9-11 when he doesn’t.

16. Diamondbacks — Winning mark vs. West, below .500 vs. East and Central.

17. Phillies — Haven’t been above .500 since June 1, but getting close.

18. Brewers — Ryan Braun making strong case for another MVP.

19. Mariners — Best last-place team in the majors.

20. Padres — Chase Headley has 58 RBIs in last 52 games.

21. Mets — Only NL team with worse record since the break is Houston.

22. Royals — Batting respectable .277 in 26 games vs. White Sox and Tigers.

23. Blue Jays — Just 14-26 against top three team in AL East.

24. Marlins — 15-13 vs. three NL division leaders.

25. Red Sox — Only 14 extra-base hits in eight September games.

26. Twins — Joe Mauer batting .385 with two outs and RISP.

27. Indians — Fewest homers in majors in second half.

28. Rockies — ERA has dropped from 5.26 in first half to 4.77 after break.

29. Cubs — Alfonso Soriano has 58 extra-base hits and 94 RBIs.

30. Astros — Fewest runs scored, most allowed in NL since the break.



AL Player of the Week

B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay—The streaky center fielder has finally given the Rays some pop this season. Last week he had five home runs and batted .400 against division leaders New York and Texas as Tampa Bay battles for the final wild card spot. Upton scored seven times and was successful on all three stolen base attempts.


AL Pitcher of the Week

James Shields, Tampa Bay—With every game for the Rays now essentially a must-win, Shields gave the club two dynamite starts last week in wins over the Yankees and Rangers. In 17 innings, Shields gave up just seven hits, allowed three walks and whiffed 13.


NL Player of the Week

Chase Headley, San Diego—The Padres’ third baseman has taken over the National League lead in RBIs. Last week he began with four consecutive two-hit games as the Padres took two of three from both the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. He batted .321 and led the majors with 13 RBIs. He also homered four times.


NL Pitcher of the Week

Kris Medlen, Atlanta—The Braves’ young righthander finally saw his 40.2-inning scoreless streak come to an end, but he defeated the Mets anyway, allowing just two earned runs over six innings. The Braves have won Medlen’s last nine starts. For the week he allowed nine hits, two walks and struck out 15 in 15 innings.

<p> A look at the best and worst baseball teams in the league.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 16:56
All taxonomy terms: TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /news/tcu-has-game-ball-2012-opener-delivered-jetpack

TCU opened the 2012 season in dramatic fashion. The Horned Frogs opened a renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with an easy 56-0 win over Grambling. There's a lot of momentum around the program this season, especially with a move to the Big 12. 

However, Saturday's win over Grambling might not have been the most exciting thing the fans got to watch. Before kickoff, the game ball was delivered via jetpack.

That's right - a jetpack.

Rocketman flies into the stadium and lands right around midfield to deliver the gameball for a historic 2012 season at TCU.

<p> TCU Has Game Ball for 2012 Opener Delivered by Jetpack</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 15:09
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/arkansas-razorbacks-fan-makes-worst-video-ever

We're not sure which is worse: the Arkansas Razorbacks losing to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night or this video made by a very unique Hogs fan. Enjoy.

<p> Arkansas Razorbacks Fan Makes Worst Video Ever</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 13:03
All taxonomy terms: AFC North, Cleveland Browns, News
Path: /news/trent-richardson-delivers-punishing-hit-philadelphias-kurt-coleman

Cleveland running back Trent Richardson wasn't expected to find much running room against Philadelphia in Week 1. The rookie rushed for 39 yards on 19 attempts and caught one pass for five years. 

Although Richardson had a lackluster statistical performance, he provided one of the weekend's top highlights by leveling Philadelphia safety Kurt Coleman. Richardson's punishing hit forces Coleman's helmet off, which isn't a bad way to announce your arrival in the NFL.

<p> Trent Richardson Delivers Punishing Hit to Philadelphia's Kurt Coleman</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 10:33
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/brandon-weeden-gets-trapped-under-american-flag-pregame-warmups

Brandon Weeden had a performance to forget in his first start. The rookie quarterback completed just 12 of 35 throws for 118 yards and four interceptions.

However, his bad day started in pregame warmups, as he was trapped under the American flag. Weeden eventually emerged from underneath the flag, but it was an embarrassing moment for the rookie quarterback from Oklahoma State.

<p> Brandon Weeden Gets Trapped Under American Flag In Pregame Warmups</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 09:56
All taxonomy terms: NFL, MLB
Path: /nfl/greatest-two-sport-athletes-all-time

Some of the world's greatest athletes weren't just one-sport players; instead, they excelled in two (and sometimes in several). Of course, some athletes probably should have stuck with their main sport. Here's a look at the top 30 two-sport athletes of all time, ranked in order of their second best sport.

1. Jim Thorpe, track (Best sport: football)

One the all-time great athletes, Thorpe is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and has been immortalized via the Jim Thorpe Award — given annually to the top defensive back in college football. But Thorpe was also a gold medalist in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

2. Jim Brown, lacrosse (Best sport: football)

Arguably the greatest running back in history, Brown is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. The 6’2”, 230-pounder is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and is considered by many to be the best athlete to ever play the sport.

3. Bob Hayes, football (Best sport: track)

“Bullet Bob” Hayes won the fastest man in the world, winning gold medals in the 100 meters and 4x100 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Hayes then strapped on a helmet for the Dallas Cowboys, winning Super Bowl VI and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

4. Bo Jackson, baseball (Best sport: football)

Only Bo knows what might have been. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner was a Pro Bowl running back for the L.A. Raiders and an All-Star outfielder for the Kansas City Royals — hitting 32 HRs and 105 RBIs in just 135 games in 1989 — before a hip injury derailed the out-of-this-world athlete.

5. Charlie Ward, football (Best sport: basketball)

Sure, Ward played 11 seasons in the NBA — starting at point guard for the New York Knicks’ Eastern Conference champs in 1999. But most know him as a Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback at Florida State in 1993.

6. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, track (Best sport: golf)

A 10-time LPGA major champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Mildred Ella — better known as “Babe” — won gold medals in the 80-meter hurdles and javelin throw as well as a silver medal in the high jump at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

7. Duke Kahanamoku, surfing (Best sport: swimming)

The Big Kahuna won three Olympic medals in the 100-meter freestyle — taking gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and 1920 Antwerp Olympics, and silver at the 1924 Paris Olympics — as well as a gold (1920) and silver (1912) in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay. But Mr. Hawaii was also the “Father of Surfing,” popularizing the longboard en route to becoming a member of the Surfing, Swimming and U.S. Olympic Halls of Fame.

8. Deion Sanders, baseball (Best sport: football)

A member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, Prime Time is considered the greatest cornerback in NFL history. A two-time Super Bowl champion, Sanders also played with the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series and played parts of nine lightning-fast seasons in MLB.

9. Gene Conley, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A four-time MLB All-Star and 1957 World Series champion with the Milwaukee Braves, the 6’8”, 225-pound Conley also won three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics — becoming the only athlete in history to win world titles in two of the big four pro leagues.

10. Danny Ainge, baseball (Best sport: basketball)

The Wooden Award winner at BYU, Ainge won two NBA championships with the Celtics and was an All-Star in 1988. He also had a cup of coffee with the Toronto Blue Jays, playing three seasons from 1979-81.

11. Brian Jordan, football (Best sport: baseball)

A one-time MLB All-Star who played in the bigs for 15 years, Jordan played three seasons (1989-91) as a safety in the NFL before making his debut in The Show in 1992.

12. Jackie Robinson, track (Best sport: baseball)

The 1949 NL MVP and 1955 World Series champ is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a civil rights pioneer. But he was also the 1940 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Long Jump champion at UCLA.

13. Jonathan Ogden, shot put (Best sport: football)

The 6’9”, 345-pound Ogden was the 1996 NCAA Men’s Indoor Shot Put champion at UCLA, before becoming an 11-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXXV champion left tackle with the Baltimore Ravens.

14. Jeff Samardzija, football (Best sport: baseball)

The Shark was an All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist, finishing his Notre Dame football career as the Irish’s all-time leading receiver prior to becoming a right-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.

15. Darin Erstad, football (Best sport: baseball)

The 1995 Golden Spikes Award winner was also the starting punter on Nebraska’s 1994 national championship football team before going on to play 14 seasons in MLB.

16. Joe Mauer, football (Best sport: baseball)

Before Mauer was the 2009 AL MVP and three-time batting champion for the Minnesota Twins, the 6’5” athlete with a cannon for a right arm was USA Today’s High School Player of the Year as a quarterback.

17. Dave Winfield, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A 22-year MLB veteran and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Winfield played college basketball at the University of Minnesota — where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to the 1972 Big Ten title.

18. Kenny Lofton, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A six-time All-Star, five-time stolen base champ and four-time Gold Glove center fielder, Lofton’s first love was basketball. He played point guard for the University of Arizona, making the Final Four in 1988.

19. Tony Gwynn, basketball (Best sport: baseball)

A first-ballot member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star and eight-time batting champ with a career .338 batting average and 3,141 hits. But Gwynn was also a solid point guard, setting San Diego State records for assists in a season and career.

20. Marion Jones, basketball (Best sport: track)

Once a golden girl, Jones’ reputation has since been tarnished by PED use and jail time. Before the fall, Jones won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics after a standout hoops career at the University of North Carolina — where she was a member of the 1994 NCAA champion Tar Heels.

21. Antonio Gates, basketball (Best sport: football)

Led Kent State to its first MAC championship and a trip to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament before becoming an eight-time Pro Bowl tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

22. Jimmy Graham, basketball (Best sport: football)

Played four years of basketball at the University of Miami but just one season of football at The U. No big deal, the 6’6”, 260-pound power forward has evolved into one of the NFL’s best tight ends, with 1,310 yards and 11 TDs for the New Orleans Saints in 2011.

23. Tony Gonzalez, basketball (Best sport: football)

Gonzalez round-balled at Cal-Berkeley before becoming a 12-time Pro Bowl tight end with 1,149 catches, 13,338 yards and 95 TDs over 15 seasons (playing 238-of-240 games) for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.

24. Julius Peppers, basketball (Best sport: football)

The pass-rusher was a glass-crasher at University of North Carolina, where he came off the bench for the Tar Heels’ 2000 Final Four squad.

25. Walter Ray Williams Jr., horseshoes (Best sport: bowling)

The seven-time PBA Player of the Year also owns six Men’s World Horseshoe Pitching titles.

26. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, football (Best sport: wrestling)

The WWF wrestler was a member of the University of Miami’s 1991 national championship team, where he played with future NFL stars like Warren Sapp.

27. Ed “Too Tall” Jones, boxing (Best sport: football)

A three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman and Super Bowl XII champion, the 6’9” Jones had a scary 88-inch reach as a boxer — going 6–0 with five KOs in 1979.

28. Herschel Walker, mixed martial arts / bobsled (Best sport: football)

Known for always being in peak condition, Walker started his MMA career as a 48-year-old. The fifth-degree Taekwondo black belt is 2–0 with two TKOs on punches. Years before that he participated in the two-man bobsled competition at the 1992 Winter Olympics, finishing seventh. Oh yeah, Walker, who played several years in the NFL, also won the 1982 Heisman Trophy at Georgia and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

29. Scott Burrell, baseball (Best sport: basketball)

The only athlete selected in the first round of two of the big four sports’ drafts — Burrell went No. 20 overall to the Charlotte Hornets in the 1993 NBA Draft and No. 26 overall to the Seattle Mariners in the 1989 MLB Draft.

30. Michael Jordan, baseball (Best sport: basketball)

His Airness is undeniably the greatest basketball player of all-time and arguably the greatest athlete ever. However, in 127 games playing for the Chicago White Sox’s Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons, Air Jordan hit just .202 with three HRs, 51 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

<p> The top 30 two-sport athletes in history — including Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, Bob Hayes, Bo Jackson, Charlie Ward, Deion Sanders and Michael Jordan — ranked in order of their second-best sport.</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 08:10
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/nfl-postgame-week-1-recap

Rookie quarterbacks were the headliners of Week 1 — quick summary: Robert Griffin III was great, Andrew Luck didn’t suck, Brandon Weeden was worse than imagined — but they were far from the only storyline of a wild, wonderful opening weekend. Here are some highlights.

Robert Griffin III and Those Other Rookie QBs
In this economy, it seems like the only growth sector for new jobs is at the NFL quarterback position. Week 1 saw a record five starting rookie signal-callers, and most of them lived down to their modest expectations. Not surprisingly, the rooks couldn’t crack the Mendoza line, losing four of five for a winning percentage of .200.

There was one notable exception. Robert Griffin III cashed in his own personal bounty on the Saints defense, dazzling the Superdome crowd and outplaying his savvy Saints counterpart Drew Brees as the Redskins stunned New Orleans 40-32.

As debuts go, this was the Beatles on Ed Sullivan — a superstar-in-waiting living up to his advance buzz. RG3 completed his first eight passes and finished 19-of-26 for 320 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, compiling a staggering passer rating of 139.9 and generally treating the Saints defense like he was still at Baylor and they were Kansas. He added 42 yards on the ground as the Redskins amassed 464 yards, scoring 10 points in every quarter.

“I've won a high school state championship and a bowl game in college, but to play in the NFL, the pinnacle of it all, and win your first game against a Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, it’s at the top,” Griffin said after once again proving that Mike Shanahan’s a genius coach when he has a prodigy at quarterback.

For at least a week, Griffin provided sweet vindication to the Heisman voters who awarded him the 2011 trophy over Andrew Luck, who was supposed to be the better pro. But the latest can’t-miss had his share of misses as the Colts lost to the Bears 41-21. Jay Cutler spotted Luck and the Colts a pick-6, but Luck tossed three picks of his own, finishing 23 of 45 for 309 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 52.9. Luck imitated predecessor Peyton Manning in one encouraging way — he looked repeatedly for Reggie Wayne, who caught nine passes for 135 yards.

The unlikeliest of the rookie starters, the diminutive Russell Wilson, was valiant in defeat, nearly leading a winning TD drive in the Seahawks’ 20-16 loss in Arizona. Wilson went 18-for-34 through the air for 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception. But Kevin Kolb, who lost the Cardinals QB job, won the game, replacing an injured John Skelton and leading what proved to be the game-winning drive.

Now, we come to the dregs, the lukewarm backwash of an otherwise refreshing week one tonic. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw three picks and posted a passer rating of 39.0 in the Dolphins’ 30-10 loss to the Texans. Tannehill sounded surprisingly upbeat after his dismal performance; of course, you’d be upbeat too if you had Lauren Tannehill waiting for you at home after a tough day at the office.

Then there’s 28-year-old former baseballer Brandon Weeden, who probably wishes he were back pitching in Class-A High Desert. You’d need the Hubbell to spot Weeden’s infinitesimal passer rating of 5.1 after his 12-of-35, 110-yard, four-pick showing in Cleveland’s 17-16 loss to the Eagles. How bad was Weeden? Winning quarterback Mike Vick threw four horrendous picks of his own, temporarily electrifying the Dawg Pound.


NFL Scores, Highlights and More...

49ers 30, Packers 22
The game of the day was also a warning shot from Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers. Clearly, they intend to finish what they started in 2011, when they lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. The Niners knew it was their day when David Akers’ 63-yard field goal hit the crossbar and somehow bounded through the uprights to tie an NFL record. Frank Gore ran for 112 yards, and Alex Smith played efficient and mistake-free football, throwing for 211 yards, two scores — one of them to Randy Moss — and a passer rating of 125.6 (to Aaron Rodgers’ 93.3). Looking for a Week 1 statement? Look no further. The Niners now have to be the favorites in the NFC.

Patriots 34, Titans 13
The last time these teams met, New England demolished Tennessee 59-0. This one wasn’t much better for the Titans. The P-men were perhaps the most dominant team of Week 1, smacking around the Titans in Nashville in winning their ninth straight season-opener. How bad was it for the Titans? Jake Locker and Nate Washington were both hurt on a play that didn’t even count. Most alarming for the Titans: Chris Johnson rushed for a career-low 4 yards on 11 carries. On eight of those 11 rushes, the Patriots hit him at or behind the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, Steven Ridley averaged 6 yards on 21 carries. Looks like the Titans have issues up front.

Lions 27, Rams 23
The 'stache put up a fight, but the Lions were up to the challenge. Detroit spoiled Jeff Fisher’s Rams debut as Matthew Stafford overcame a shaky start to throw the winning TD pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds left. Fisher has to be happy with his defense, though, after forcing three first-half interceptions from Stafford, one of which Fisher fave Cortland Finnegan returned for a score.

Falcons 40, Chiefs 24
This one was close at halftime, but the second half was a giant McCluster for the Chiefs (apologies to Dexter, who was a bright spot for Romeo Crennel’s crew). Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns, one of them to former KC hero Tony Gonzalez.

Vikings 26, Jaguars 23 (OT)
Leslie Frazier had to like what he saw from his team in what is a make-or-break season for his coaching tenure. And what he saw was Adrian Peterson running for two touchdowns and Christian Ponder throwing for 270 yards and no picks. Jags QB Blaine Gabbert was surprisingly competent, but it wasn’t enough to salvage Mike Mularkey’s Jacksonville debut.

Jets 48, Bills 28
It took only one quarterback to beat the hapless Bills. Mark Sanchez got only a minimal assist from Tim Tebow, but he got a major assist from a Jets defense that forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown. Sanchez threw for three scores, and his line rendered high-profile Bills signee Mario Williams a non-factor.

Buccaneers 16, Panthers 10
While RG3 was doing his best Cam Newton impression, Newton was waking echoes of Jake Delhomme. Cam tossed a pair of costly picks as the Bucs used a swarming defense and solid running game to win Greg Schiano’s debut.

Denver 31, Pittsburgh 19
Neck? Fine. Brain? Check. Arm strength? Good enough. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning, and he got the Mile High phase of his career off to a Peyton-esque start, throwing two touchdown passes in Denver’s win over Pittsburgh, a suitably thrilling close to an amazing day.


Replacement Refs: Even Worse than the Real Thing
As they say, refs are at their best when you don’t notice them, and sadly, the replacement refs made themselves visible in Week 1. The low point came in Seattle, as the refs huddled to discuss whether the Seahawks had taken a timeout they didn’t have and then offering an interpretation that former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira declared to be incorrect. Pereira also rightly pointed out that the scabs’ lengthy delay rendered the discussion moot by functioning as a timeout anyway. Braylon Edwards bailed out the hapless crew by dropping a potential game-winner that would have come on borrowed time. Briefly, a Twitter war erupted between Pereira and NFL flak Greg Aiello over the refs’ performance, before they announced they were kidding, no doubt after a call from the Commissioner’s office.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh was a little more circumspect after his team’s win, which featured some overly aggressive calls from the officials, remarking that “I don't know what I'm supposed to say or not say.” But what he did say wasn’t exactly glowing.


Quick Slants
• Okay, Tebow fanatics, here’s your Tim Tally: Eight snaps at QB, eight runs, five of them by Tebow (for 11 yards); a snap at tight end; two snaps in punt protection; and a recovered on-side kick.

• In the video run-down of the Broncos offensive players, Willis McGahee introduced himself as being from Miami. Not “The U.” When your team loses to Kansas State 52-13, you dispense with the bravado.

• Seattle’s Leon Washington had an 83-yard kick return and a 52-yard punt return, but neither resulted in a touchdown. According to Elias, since the merger, no player has had a kickoff return of at least 83 yards and a punt return of at least 52 yards in the same game without a TD on either.

• Patriots rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower scored a touchdown in Titans Stadium in his first NFL game, less than 50 miles from where he grew up. Hightower is a native of Lewisburg, Tenn., only 48 miles south of Nashville.

<p> From Robert Griffin III's debut to the 49ers victory, we look at it all</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/pac12-post-week-2-power-rankings

Saturday was a celebration of Pac-12 football. Its electric, powerful high-flying offenses are clearly impossible to stop. The league went 6-0 against the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Big East over the weekend as defense was, once again, an after thought for the West Coast league. Five teams cracked the 40-point mark and UCLA was four points from being the sixth. The quarterback position is alive and well even after losing names like Luck, Thomas, Foles and Oswieler to the NFL. Sean Mannion, Brett Hundley and Matt Scott all led their teams to major upsets while Matt Barkley, Marcus Mariota, Jeff Tuel and Taylor Kelly each earned key victories as well.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC -
The Heisman front-runner didn't have big yardage numbers this weekend (187) but he did tie a school and personal best with six touchdown strikes. It was the third time he has thrown six touchdown passes in the last six games.

2. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - As a two-touchdown underdog to a team that scored 84 points last week, Scott was a monster. He posted his second straight 300-yard passing effort to go with 55 yards rushing, three total touchdowns and nary a turnover in the upset win over Oklahoma State. He is second nationally in total offense (418.0 ypg).

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA - For the second straight week, it is virtually impossible to pick between the Bruins uber-talented dual-threat freshman quarterback and veteran workhorse tailback. Franklin topped 200 yards again and Hundley added 358 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jake Fischer, Arizona - The leader of the Arizona defense added 14 total tackles and a forced fumble in the upset win over one of the most powerful offenses in all of the nation. He is leading the Pac-12 in tackles at 13.5 per game through two weeks.

2. Dion Bailey, LB, USC - The sophomore All-American candidate had a big day in New Jersey. Bailey posted eight total tackles, one for a loss and intercepted two passes. He is USC's leading tackler with 15 total tackles in two wins for the Trojans.

3. J.P. Hurrell, LB, Cal - Some bigger names (Datone Jones for example) might have played just as well against bigger competition, but few players will ever have a statistical performance like Hurrell did. He posted six total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in a must-win situation for Jeff Tedford. He leads the league in sacks after two weeks.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Lane Kiffin, USC -
It was not nearly as smooth as the USC head man would have liked but his team stayed undefeated, scored at least 38 points in its seventh straight games and found a power running game. All of which is a scary thought for the rest of the Pac-12.

2. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns in the relatively easy win over Mountain West contender Fresno State. The four fumbles — three lost — will likely make for a tense film session, however.

3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA and Rich Rodriguez, Arizona - Both have started their new careers 2-0 with major upset victories over BCS powerhouses. Both have dual-threat quarterbacks who seem to fit their schemes perfectly. Both have workhorse tailbacks in the backfield. And both have defenses that appear to be greatly improved.

Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

1. USC (2-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 2 result: Beat Syracuse 42-29
It was a sluggish, neutral-field performance for the Trojans, but USC emerged unscathed. And that is all Lane Kiffin cares about. Matt Barkley celebrated his 22nd birthday by tossing six touchdown passes and leading his offense to at least 40 points in six of the last seven games. As good as the USC quarterback was, Robert Woods was better. The junior wideout caught 10 passes, totaled 200 all-purpose yards, scored two touchdowns and gifted USC two others via punt return and on an end around. Woods was so good that a guy who caught 11 passes and three touchdowns of his, Marqise Lee, was totally overshadowed. Kiffin also found a power running game as his balanced attacked rushed for nearly eight yards per carry on 33 attempts (7.8 ypc, 258 yards). This defense will need to improve to win the Pac-12, but it doesn't appear any defense, not even Stanford's this weekend, will be able to slow this Trojan offense.
This week: at Stanford (2-0)

2. Oregon (2-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 2 result: Beat Fresno State 45-25
The Ducks have looked national championship good in the early going and will give USC everything they can handle come November 3. But this team cannot afford any more key injuries. Safety John Boyett is lost for the year with potential knee surgery and will be a huge loss to the Oregon secondary. On the offensive line, guard Carson York (knee) and tackle Kyle Long (leg) both are banged-up as well as wideout Josh Huff. This team has proven to be as deep as any in the nation, but a few more key injuries could lower this team's national upside. In other news, De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are unstoppable. Thomas touched the ball 11 times on offense, scoring twice and piling-up 128 yards from scrimmage. That gives him five touchdowns in two games. Barner was the workhorse, carrying 34 times for 201 yards and three rushing touchdowns. 
This week: Tennessee Tech (2-0)

3. UCLA (2-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 2 result: Beat Nebraska 36-30
The UCLA Bruins are one of college football's best surprises through two weeks of action. The talent has always been there for the Bruins but unlucky quarterback injuries and a lack of leadership have led to overwhelming underachievement for the better part of a decade. Names like Datone Jones, Joseph Fauria and Anthony Barr are beginning to realize some of their always apparent potential. The credit has to go to Jim Mora Jr and his deep coaching staff. They have instilled toughness and work ethic that is obvious in the way UCLA has played this year. To top it all off, Brett Hundley has the makings of the best thing to happen under center at Westwood since Cade McNown of the late 90s. He has been dynamic, efficient and protective of the football - all of which has opened up gashes for senior tailback Johnathan Franklin to run through. Last fall, this team ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense (376.6 ypg) and scoring (23.1 ppg). After two games, this offense is ranked No. 1 in a league that also boasts Oregon and USC.
This week: Houston (0-2)

4. Stanford (2-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 2 result: Beat Duke 50-13
This is how the Stanford defense should look in 2012. Shayne Skov returned to the line-up with authority after a one-game suspension with five tackles. Safety Ed Reynolds intercepted his second and third passes of the season to go with his four stops. And Duke was held to 27 yards rushing on 23 carries, while quarterback Sean Renfree was kept in check (0 TD, 2 INT). More importantly, however, quarterback Josh Nunes was dramatically more comfortable in the pocket, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout. This team showed considerable improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 but will need to continue its development if it expects to compete with the Men of Troy this Saturday.
This week: USC (2-0)

5. Arizona (2-0)
Previous rank: 8
Week 2 result: Beat Oklahoma State 59-38
The offenses were expecting to be the star of this bout in the desert, but most believed it would be the Cowboys of Oklahoma State putting up nearly 60 points and over 500 yards of offense. But Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey continued their electric start to the Rich Rodriguez tenure in Tucson by dominating the boxscore. Scott finished with 375 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns without a single turnover and is No. 2 nationally in total offense after two weeks. Carey did his best Steve Slaton impersonation by touching the ball 30 times for 154 yards and four of his own trips to paydirt. The defense still has issues but appears to be improved enough to give the offense a chance to outscore the opponent each and every week. Both UCLA and Arizona are in a heated race in the South and have gotten off to great starts. Both should start the year 3-0. 
This week: South Carolina State (1-1)

6. Washington (1-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 2 result: Lost to LSU 41-3 
The Washington Huskies are getting better. They have improved their coaching staff and upgraded the level of talented across the roster in Seattle. But Steve Sarkisian's group is not prepared for the national spotlight just yet. LSU's powerful offensive line, with the help of one of the deepest and nastiest defensive lines in the nation, out-rushed Washington 242-26. The twitter-sphere started feeling bad for Keith Price, who ran for his life most of the game, completing less than 50% of his passes, got sacked four times and was unable to get his team into the endzoe. Washington will have time to lick its wounds with Portland State and the bye week coming up, but this barometer test clearly indicates the Huskies aren't ready to content with Oregon or USC just yet. After the off week, U of W will face Stanford, Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks.
This week: Portland State (1-1)

7. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 10
Week 2 result: Beat Wisconsin 10-7
Mike Riley knew how big this game was and he coached for his life in one of the biggest wins in program history. While this Wisconsin team isn't an elite Badger unit, the Beavers still knocked off a top 15 non-conference opponent in dominating fashion. The offense wasn't perfect by any means, but Sean Mannion connected with Markus Wheaton and the speedy Brandin Cooks time and time again in key situations throughout the second half. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Mark Banker should get DC of the Week nationally for the job he did against the Badgers offense. Montee Ball was completely ineffective, Jared Abbrederis was knocked out of the game and Danny O'Brien had no where to go with the football. The ceiling for this team may still be an unknown, but 3-9 should be a distant memory in Corvallis.
This week: Open Date

8. Arizona State (2-0)
Previous rank: 9
Week 2 result: Beat Illinois 45-14
The Sun Devils have put 108 points on the board in two wins under Todd Graham, and what is scary is that it could have been better if not for some miscues in the redzone. Taylor Kelly won his second start and was efficient once again throwing the football. He was 18-of-24 for 249 yards and a touchdown and has yet to throw an interception this fall. The deep and talented backfield did the rest. Cameron Marshall got 12 carries and scored his 21st rushing touchdown in his last 15 games. Freshman D.J. Foster continues to show his versatility by leading the team in receiving (72 yards) as well as scoring for the second time in as many career games on nine rushing attempts. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase didn't play and the Illini put up little opposition without their leader under center. That said, the Sun Devils have been impressive thus far and will be facing their toughest test of the young year this weekend in Columbia.
This week: at Missouri (1-1)

9. California (1-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 2 result: Beat Southern Utah 50-31
The Golden Bears rushed for 176 more yards this week (289) than it did in the opening loss to Nevada (113). Still, consistency will be the lesson from the embattled Jeff Tedford this week. Cal was sluggish once again out of the gate, being outscored 3-0 in the first quarter. Then again coming out of halftime, Southern Utah won the third quarter 7-0. It meant that SUU took a lead into the second quarter and trailed only by three when the final frame began. Explosive second and fourth periods in which Cal outscored Southern Utah 20-7 and 30-14 respectively gave Tedford the much-needed win. But inconsistent play from both side of the ball will be an issue against Pac-12 foes. Also concerning is allowing exactly 31 points in each game - good for dead last in the league in scoring defense. And now they have to stop Braxton Miller.
This week: at Ohio State (2-0)

10. Utah (1-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 2 result: Lost to Utah State 27-20 (OT)
The Battle of the Brothers went the way of the little brother this time around. Utah State is a developing into one of the better mid-major programs out west and a signature win over an in-state rival on national TV cannot be undervalued. So the intense overtime battle shouldn't have come as a huge shock. However, Utes fans had to have a sense of deja vu when they watched starting quarterback Jordan Wynn leave the game with a shoulder injury and Jon Hays step under center. Wynn's X-rays were negative but Kyle Whittingham hasn't made any official statements about the future of his starting quarterback. Hays was terrible last fall but showed some growth in the second half against the Aggies. He threw for 154 yards and led the Utah offense to 17 second-half points to get the game into overtime. Either way, having quarterback issues getting ready for BYU's defense in what could be the last Holy War for the foreseeable future makes a 1-2 start very possible for Utah.
This week: BYU (2-0)

11. Washington State (1-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 2 result: Beat Eastern Washington 24-20
On the surface, it looks like Washington State played cupcake and struggled to win Mike Leach's first game of the year. However, Eastern Washington already has one FBS win this season in impressive fashion, is one of the top west coast FCS programs, boasts a former June Jones SMU disciple at quarterback and likely sports an entire roster of players who dreamed of playing football in the Pac-12. The defense gave up a lot of yards (469) and will struggle all season but the offense scored 24 first-half points and the defense made it stand up. Jeff Tuel was much more effective than he was against BYU throwing two touchdowns, but a twisted knee forced the oft-injured starting quarterback to the bench. Connor Halliday finished the game and would be the starter should Tuel miss any extended time. 
This week: at UNLV (0-2)

12. Colorado (0-2)
Previous rank: 12
Week 2 result: Lost to Sacramento State 28-20
Where to start? Colorado is one of only six BCS conference teams to begin the year 0-2. Pitt, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Penn State and Syracuse are the others. Only PItt, however, joins the Buffs with a loss to an FCS opponent. What's worse is Sacramento State didn't look overmatched. It out-passed Colorado nearly 2-to-1, it out-rushed Colorado and held the Buffaloes to seven second-half points in the upset win. With nine conference games and a trip to Fresno State this weekend left on the slate, Jon Embree's team won't be favored the rest of the 2012 season, meaning they will have to pull an upset to win a single game this fall. 
This week: Fresno State (1-1)

by Braden Gall


Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 2 Recap

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings 

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-2-power-rankings

It was a huge week in the SEC, as the conference officially welcomed its two new members. However, the new schools (Texas A&M and Missouri) both lost in its debuts but should be good additions to the conference. Tennessee moved to 2-0 with a win over Georgia State, and Alabama handled Western Kentucky with a 35-0 win. One of the biggest surprises in the SEC from Week 2 was Vanderbilt's loss to Northwestern.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. AJ McCarron, Alabama - Western Kentucky won’t be the toughest test of McCarron’s season, but the Tide’s quarterback completed 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. In his last six games, McCarron has 12 touchdown and no interceptions. Next up: Arkansas.

2. Tyler Bray, Tennessee - A bigger test will come this week against Florida, but Bray already appears poised for a career year by completing 45 of 61 of his passes for 643 yards with six touchdowns in his first two games.

3. Mike Gillislee, Florida - Where would the Gators be without their top running back? Florida wants to center its offense around the power run game, and Gillislee is delivering. After rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Bowling Green, the senior rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries against Texas A&M. Presumably, he would have been more of a factor had he not missed time with injury.

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia - Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Jones may be the best defensive player in America. He certainly was in the second week of the season as he almost single-handedly turned a stalemate of a game into a lopsided finish for Georgia. Jones set up a touchdown by intercepting a James Franklin pass and returning it 22 yards to the 1-yard line. Jones then sacked James Franklin later in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble to set up a touchdown to seal the 41-20 win.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State - Opposing quarterbacks avoided the Bulldogs cornerback over the second half of last season. Auburns’ Kiehl Frazier would have been wise to do the same. Banks had two first-half interceptions against the Tigers to go with six tackles. Banks has 14 career picks and seven in the last two seasons.

3. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M - The nation’s top pass rush from a year ago showed no signs of letting up against Florida. The Aggies had eight sacks against the Gators, led by Damontre Moore. The junior finished with three sacks and 10 tackles.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama - Until further notice, Saban’s still the best coach in the country even when he’s chastising the media (when he’s really chastising his own players).

2. Mark Richt, Georgia - The Bulldogs are still missing key players on defense, but big plays from the D set the tone in a conference road win.

3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina - It was only East Carolina, but the Gamecocks rolled despite a backup quarterback and only 40 yards from Marcus Lattimore.

Post-Week 2 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Western Kentucky 35-0
It wasn’t the cleanest effort, but the Crimson Tide handled Western Kentucky to move to 2-0 on the year. Quarterback AJ McCarron was efficient and effective, completing 14 of 19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama’s defense held the Hilltoppers to 224 yards, while also forcing four turnovers. One concern for the Crimson Tide was the play of the offensive line. Western Kentucky recorded six sacks against McCarron, giving something for Nick Saban and his staff to address in practice this week.
Next Game: at Arkansas

2. LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Washington 41-3
The Tigers haven’t had to sweat much through the first two weeks and should cruise to a 3-0 start with Idaho up next. LSU fell behind 3-0 to Washington but took control through the rest of the first half with a dominating defensive line and rushing attack. The Tigers ended up with three running backs with at least 10 carries, with Alfred Blue leading the way with 101 yards. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger wasn’t flashy but finished with 195 yards on 12 completions. The only downside to Week 2 was an injury to tackle Chris Faulk in practice, who will miss the rest of the year.
Next Game: Idaho

3. Georgia (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Missouri 41-20
All the talk about suspensions catching up to Georgia against Missouri seemed pretty silly by late Saturday. The Bulldogs still don’t have safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Sanders Commings. Instead, linebacker Jarvis Jones was a wrecking crew on defense on his own. The Bulldogs had some miscues early with two turnovers and five punts in the first eight possessions, but they were tough to stop on either side of the ball in the second half. Georgia held Missouri to 2.6 yards per carry, and Aaron Murray settled in to complete 22-of-35 passes for 242 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
This week: FAU

4. South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat East Carolina 48-10
South Carolina had no need for Connor Shaw and his bruised shoulder against East Carolina, and in the process, the Gamecocks found a perfectly capably backup quarterback. Dylan Thompson was 21-of-37 for 330 yards with three touchdowns against the Pirates in his first career start. The 397 yards through the air were the most at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier.
This week: UAB

5. Tennessee (2-0. 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Georgia State 51-13
Georgia State was overmatched, but the Volunteers were encouraged to see their passing game click for the second time this season. Quarterback Tyler Bray finished 18 of 20 for 310 yards with four touchdown passes while receiver Justin Hunter showed he’s recovered from a torn ACL by catching eight passes for 146 yards with three touchdowns. Bray is riding a streak of 13 consecutive completions going into the matchup with Florida, which is suddenly the top game in the SEC following Arkansas’ loss to Louisiana-Monroe. If there’s a concern for Tennessee, it may be in the kicking game where Michael Palardy has missed two extra points and a field goal this season.
This week: Florida

6. Florida (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Texas A&M 20-17
Florida scored a major win in halftime adjustments. Without any film on Kevin Sumlin’s Texas A&M team, the Gators limped through the first half, especially in defending Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Gators allowed long drives throughout the first half, but they returned more disciplined in the second, forcing A&M to punt on all six second-half possessions. In his first game since being anointed as the starter, quarterback Jeff Driskel showed improvement, completing 13 of 16 passes for 162 yards with no turnovers. The Gators, though, must do a better job of protecting their quarterback, who was sacked eight times Saturday.
This week: at Tennessee

7. Mississippi State (2-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Auburn 28-10
It’s only the second week of the season, but the Bulldogs 28-10 victory over Auburn was huge. The win over the Tigers was Dan Mullen’s first against a SEC West opponent outside of Ole Miss, while the game also showed it was a case of programs headed in opposite directions. Quarterback Tyler Russell completed 20 of 29 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense forced five turnovers and allowed no offensive touchdowns to Auburn. With games against Troy, South Alabama and Kentucky coming up, Mississippi State should be 5-0 before the Oct. 13 game against Tennessee.
Next Game: at Troy 

8. Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Georgia 41-20
The Tigers exited the loss to Georgia with bigger concerns than staring 0-1 in their new conference. The offensive line struggled from beginning to end and is facing a major injury to boot. Missouri had three bad snaps (including one over the head of quarterback James Franklin for a 24-yard loss) and two penalties on their first three possessions, and by halftime the line lost its leader. Tackle Elvis Fisher left the game with an MCL sprain, forcing a reshuffling of three spots on the line midway through the game. The result was a redshirt freshman at center and a career day for Georgia’s Jarvis Jones. If Fisher is out for a significant amount of time, the Tigers won’t have any warm up games with Arizona State and South Carolina on the schedule in the next two weeks.
This week: Arizona State

9. Texas A&M (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Florida 20-17
It was a big day in College Station but once again, the Aggies were unable to close out a lead in the second half. Texas A&M’s SEC debut started well, jumping out to a 17-7 lead at halftime. However, Florida kept Aggies’ quarterback Johnny Manziel in check in the second half, while making a few timely plays on offense to drop Texas A&M to 0-1. Although the Gators have struggled to establish consistency on the offensive line, coordinator Mark Snyder has to be pleased with the Aggies’ defense recording eight sacks on Saturday. Texas A&M should break into the win column with a matchup against SMU this Saturday.
Next Game: at SMU

10. Arkansas (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to UL Monroe 34-31 (OT)
Whether it was a case of looking ahead to Alabama or injuries adding up, Saturday’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe was inexcusable for a team that expected to compete for the SEC West title. The Razorbacks were knocked out of the national title race with a 34-31 loss to the Warhawks, a game that turned on an injury to quarterback Tyler Wilson. Arkansas’ defense was a question mark entering the season and it doesn’t appear to be much better after allowing 550 yards in Saturday’s loss. The Razorbacks don’t have much time to mope about the disappointing effort, especially with No. 1 Alabama coming to Fayetteville.
Next Game: Alabama

11. Auburn (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost 28-10 to Mississippi State
Outside of Onterio McCalebb’s kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, there wasn’t much in the way of positives for Auburn to take away from Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State. The Tigers managed only 216 total yards and committed five turnovers. Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier had a disastrous performance, completing only 13 of 22 passes for 125 yards and three interceptions. Making matters worse for the Tigers is the upcoming schedule, which features games against LSU, Arkansas and upset-minded Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday. Unless the offense makes major strides, it will be tough for Auburn to make a bowl this year.
Next Game: UL Monroe

12. Vanderbilt (0-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Lost to Northwestern 23-13
The optimism from last season’s bowl trip is beginning to wane after the Commodores started their season with losses to South Carolina and Northwestern. Against the Wildcats, Vanderbilt allowed 10 points in the final 2:06, breaking a 13-13 tie on the road. Although Northwestern’s defense was shredded by Syracuse a week earlier, Vanderbilt struggled to move the ball in the second half. Jordan Rodgers finished 17-of-33 for 217 yards, took three sacks and lost two fumbles. Against Presbyterian of the FCS, Vandy may have a chance to play backup quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who had a successful freshman season at Wyoming before his transfer. It might not be the last time Franklin turns to his backup.
This week: Presbyterian

13. Kentucky (1-1, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat Kent State 47-14
Kentucky needed a boost of confidence after the 32-14 loss to Louisville in the opener. The final score was lopsided, but the Wildcats led by merely a field goal until the final eight minutes of the third quarter. Kentucky scored 30 unanswered points in the second half to seal the rout. Maxwell Smith continues to be one of Kentucky’s only hopes for respectability. He was 30-of-39 for 354 yards with four touchdown passes an no interceptions against Kent State. And since taking over as Kentucky’s starting quarterback, he’s completing 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,403 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last six games.
This week: Western Kentucky

14. Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Last week’s rank:
Week 2 result: Beat UTEP 28-10
The competition hasn’t been great, but the Rebels have shown some signs of life and are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2009. Ole Miss didn't dominate but was never really in any danger of losing to UTEP on Saturday night. Quarterback Bo Wallace has been solid through the first two weeks, completing 35 of 46 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns. Just how much has Ole Miss improved under new coach Huge Freeze? The Rebels should find out this Saturday with Texas coming to Oxford.
Next Game: Texas

by David Fox and Steven Lassan

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<p> SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 06:31
Path: /college-football/big-east-post-week-2-power-rankings

After two weeks of the season, Louisville still looks like the team to beat in the Big East, but the Cardinals are not without company.

The top four in our power rankings remain unchanged since last week, but USF and Cincinnati picked up key wins to signal they may be in the conference title hunt. USF finally turned the tables on its fourth quarter woes, and Cincinnati appears to be just as explosive on offense without Zach Collaros and Isaiah Pead.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville --
The Cardinals sophomore quarterback added another milestone performance to his resume, earning his first 300-yard passing game in a 35-7 win over Missouri State. Bridgewater was 30-of-39 with 344 yards and two touchdowns again the Bears.

2. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse -- The Orange have faced tough competition in Northwestern and USC, but Nassib has kept Syracuse competitive in both games. The Orange are third in the nation in passing with Nassib throwing for 804 yards with six touchdowns.

3. B.J. Daniels, USF -- Daniels showed off his arm in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes of at least 50 yards (he had three in the game, though the first was the result of broken tackles). Daniels has accounted for seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) in two games

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Walter Stewart, Cincinnati -- The senior had nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in the 34-10 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday.

2. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut -- Smallwood continued to be the most productive player on the UConn defense in a stout effort. The sophomore finished with 14 tackles and three tackles for a loss as the Huskies lost 10-7 to NC State.

3. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights linebacker continued to rack up the tackle numbers with 10 stops against Howard, including a sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Butch Jones, Cincinnati -- Pittsburgh may be the worst team in the Big East right now, but Cincinnati might be one of the best after a 34-10 win Thursday. Despite losses to graduation, the Bearcats still have game-changing performers on both sides of the ball.

2. Charlie Strong, Louisville -- The Cardinals have done everything they were supposed to do this season with decisive wins over Kentucky and Missouri State by a combined score of 67-21.

3. Skip Holtz, USF -- Holtz will learn more about his team’s ability to compete for a Big East title when the Bulls face Rutgers this week, but it was encouraging to see the Bulls battle back on the road against Nevada.

Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
1. Louisville (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 1
Week 2 result: Beat Missouri State 35-7
Louisville took care of business against an overmatched Missouri State team that lost 51-9 at Kansas State a week earlier. Missouri State loaded up to stop the run, allowing Teddy Bridgewater to pass for a career-high 344 yards. Bridgewater got some new faces in the passing game involved with freshman receiver Charles Gaines catching three passes for 73 yards and senior tight end Nate Nord catching four passes for 59 yards with a touchdown. Up next, Louisville will face its toughest test of the season against North Carolina. The Tar Heels defeated Louisville 14-7 last season.
This week: North Carolina

2. USF (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 2
Week 2 result: Beat Nevada 32-31
The Bulls finally saw a late fourth-quarter win go its way. A year ago, USF led or was tied in the fourth quarter of each of its last six losses. On Saturday, Nevada led 31-20 in the fourth quarter, but B.J. Daniels completed touchdown passes for 52 and 56 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the win. And before that, USF forced a fumble in the Bulls' territory and held Nevada to a field goal in the red zone to prevent the game from going out of reach earlier in the fourth quarter. Starting cornerback Kayvon Webster and receiver Sterling Griffin left the game with injuries, but Andre Davis was the breakout Big East player of the weekend with 12 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including the 56-yard game-winner. A major concern for Skip Holtz, though, will be allowing 549 yards of offense and twice falling behind by double figures.
This week: Rutgers

3. Rutgers (2-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 3
Week 2 result: Beat Howard 26-0
A sloppy effort wasn’t enough to derail a shutout of Howard, but it does signal the Scarlet Knights have plenty of work to do before facing USF in its Big East opener. Rutgers missed two extra points, committed 11 penalties and dropped a handful of passes against Howard. Quarterback Gary Nova was a mere 15 of 27 for 130 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Jawan Jamison added his second 100-yard game of the season, averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
This week: at USF

4. Cincinnati (1-0, 1-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 4
Week 2 result: Beat Pittsburgh 34-10
Cincinnati’s offense is going to be just fine, it seems. In his first game as the permanent starter, Munchie Legaux completed 14 of 28 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns, but he was more impressive in the ground game. Legaux rushed for 117 yards on six carries against Pittsburgh. Receiver Ralph David Abernathy IV (two touchdown catches) looked like a star now that he’s moved into the offense full time after returning kicks last season. Cincinnati had eight plays or 20 yards or more against the Pitt defense.
This week: Delaware State

5. Connecticut (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 5
Week 2 result: Lost to NC State 10-7
Connecticut’s defense will keep the Huskies competitive. The offense, though, remains a work in progress. One 46-yard touchdown pass was the only explosive play for NC State all day. UConn sacked Mike Glennon six times and limited him to 15 of 30 attempts with an interception. The offense, though, reverted to its 2011 form. Chandler Whitmer threw three interceptions, and the Huskies rushed for only 35 yards and 1.1 yards per carry.
This week: at Maryland

6. Syracuse (0-2, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 6
Week 2 result: Lost to USC 42-29
With an easier schedule, Syracuse might be 2-0. Instead, Syracuse is 0-2 with hard-fought losses to Northwestern and USC. Syracuse narrowed USC’s lead to 21-16 going into the fourth quarter, but the Trojans were just too much for the Orange. Ryan Nassib has proven capable of moving the ball on any opponent, but the defense has allowed 42 points in back-to-back games. Stony Brook should give Syracuse a chance to not a win, and after that the Orange face Minnesota and Pitt.
This week: Stony Brook

7. Temple (1-1, 0-0 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 7
Week 2 result: Lost to Maryland 36-27
Temple’s limitations in the passing game were evident as the Owls attempted a second-half comeback against Maryland. Temple fell behind 26-3 at halftime and crawled back to with in 2 in the final 7:18 of the fourth quarter. However, owls quarterback Chris Coyer threw the game-clinching interception for Maryland to seal a loss that included three Temple turnovers and a missed field goal. An off week is coming at a good time. Montel Harris, who left the opener with a hamstring injury, and Matt Brown, who was limited with an ankle injury, have opportunities to heal before the Owls face Penn State on Sept. 22.
This week: Off

8. Pittsburgh (0-2, 0-1 Big East)
Last week’s rank: 8
Week 2 result: Lost to Cincinnati 34-10
Pittsburgh’s misery continued on just the first play of the game when Cincinnati’s George Winn rushed for a 58-yard score. Pittsburgh’s problems could be found all over the the field as Tino Sunseri was sacked six times and intercepted once, the defense allowed eight plays of 20 yards or more, including runs of 77 of 58 yards, and the Panthers committed eight penalties, including key miscues by veterans. If there’s any silver lining, it’s the play of Ray Graham. The running back seemed to be more confident as the Cincinnati game wore on as he finished with 103 yards on 19 carries and 51 yards on four receptions.
This week: Virginia Tech

by David Fox


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<p> Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/6-stats-sunday-week1

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each and every NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. 

And new statistics. 

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 1 of NFL play:

123.4: Mark Sanchez' QB rating against the Bills
Sanchez completed 19-of-27 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and didn't get sacked in the 48-28 destruction of Buffalo. It was the highest scoring output of the Sanchez era in New York and it was the second-highest single-game QB rating of Sanchez' career. So by definition, he has played one better game in his entire career— a 124.3 rating back in Week 2 of the 2010 season against New England. The former USC quarterback was brilliant in arguably the most pressure-packed atmosphere of his entire career as back-up Tim Tebow looked on from the sidelines. Tebow didn't attempt a pass and rushed five times for 11 yards. Although, I am sure that Tebow was the catalyst behind Sanchez' play, and therefore, deserves all of the credit.


8-8: Consecutive completions for Robert Griffin III to start his career
The No. 2 overall pick in the spring draft made his debut in New Orleans by completing his first eight passes for 149 yards and an 88-yard scoring strike. The long touchdown pass was the second-longest scoring strike by any quarterback making their debut, trailing on Charlie Batch's 98-yard scoring throw to Johnnie Morton back in 1998 for the Lions. Griffin III took a 20-14 road lead over New Orleans into halftime with a perfect 158.3 QB rating, something that has never been done (10 att.). By the game's end, Washington had defeated the Saints on the road and scored the most points, 40, of any Mike Shanahan-coached team in D.C. He threw for 320 yards as one of an NFL-record five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday. He and Andrew Luck, who threw for 309 yards in his debut, were only the third and fourth players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in Week 1 of their rookie season (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton).


22: Games in which New England has had one 100-yard rusher
Second-year back Stevan Ridley rushed for 123 yards in the 34-13 mauling of the Tennessee Titans. It is only the second 100-yard rushing effort for the Patriots in its last 22 games. BenJarvus Green-Elllis back in Week 5 last season was the only Patriot to top the century mark rushing since December of 2010. The former LSU workhorse touched the ball 23 times for 152 yards from scrimmage and one hard-nosed touchdown. The Pats won their NFL-best ninth straight season opener and actually look better than the Super Bowl runner-up squad from a year ago. Ridley brings a physical presence to the backfield and his continued success would make stopping the New England offense virtually impossible.


:14 Seconds it took Minnesota to tie the game
The Minnesota Vikings scored to take the lead against the Jaguars with 9:42 seconds left in the third quarter. The Vikes led the entire rest of the game until, with 20 seconds left to play, Blaine Gabbert connected on what was all but sure to be the game-winning touchdown pass. But Christian Ponder took over at his own 31 yard line and proceeded to complete three passes for 32 yards in a drive that lasted 14 seconds and ended with a 55-yard game-tying field goal from rookie kicker Blair Walsh. 


8: Total interceptions thrown by Cleveland and Philadelphia
Rookie Brandon Weeden was making his first career start against one of the NFL's top secondaries. He has some excuses for throwing four interceptions on Sunday, but Michael Vick doesn't have too many for his four interceptions. The Eagles won a sloppy, ugly game in which Vick threw a career-high 56 passes and neither team looked like it belonged in the playoffs. At the end of the day, Vick made the big plays he needed to in order to win, but he knows everyone in a Eagles uniform will have to improve. The Browns, who weren't really concerned with a playoff seed, have now lost 13 of its last 14 season openers.


5, 53, 1: Tony Gonzalez' catches, yards and touchdowns in Arrowhead Stadium
If you polled everyone who claims to be at least a casual NFL fan, how many would know that Tony Gonzalez is No. 2 all-time with 1,154 receptions? It's Jerry Rice and then Gonzo. A total of 916 of those catches came in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform and 95 of those have gone for touchdowns — of which, only one will ever be scored in Arrowhead Stadium in a uniform that isn't red and gold. So when No. 88 stood in the KC endzone on Sunday, clad in the black and red colors of Atlanta, and dunked the football over the crossbar like he did 76 times as a Chief, was a surreal image for this diehard football fan. Gonzalez has posted eight straight seasons of at least 70 catches and his clutch play on Sunday indicates he isn't slowing down just yet. He will own every KC and NFL tight end receiving records in the book and will be only the second player to ever catch 1,200 passes. And the only number he really cares about? The 40-24 final score. The second he gracefully steps away from the game in the coming years, those boos you heard at Arrowhead on Sunday will instantly return to an overwhelming ovation. And rightly so, few deserve it more than Gonzalez. 

- by Braden Gall


<p> 6 Most Important Stats from Week 1 of the NFL</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:55