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Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-best-players-big-ten-2012

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for the Big Ten in terms of fantasy options for 2012:

2012 Preseason Big Ten All-Fantasy Team

Using a starting roster of 2-QB, 3-RB, 3-WR, FLEX, TE, K, Def/ST, All-Conference Fantasy Teams are projected using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)


QB—Denard Robinson, Sr. (Michigan)

Last season:  Passed for 2,173 yards and 20 TDs, rushed for 1,176 yards and 16 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; @ Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Northwestern, Iowa, @ Ohio St


QB—Braxton Miller, So. (Ohio State)

Last season:  Passed for 1,159 yards and 13 TDS, rushed for 715 yards and 7 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Miami (OH), UCF, Cal

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Wisconsin, Michigan


RB—Montee Ball, Sr. (Wisconsin)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 TDs, 24 receptions for 306 yards and 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; @ Oregon St, Utah St, UTEP

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Indiana, Ohio St, @ Penn St


RB—Rex Burkhead, Sr. (Nebraska)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,357 yards and 15 TDs, 21 receptions for 177 yards and 2 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; USM, @ UCLA, Arkansas St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Penn St, Minnesota, @ Iowa


RB—Le’Veon Bell, Jr. (Michigan State)

Last season:  Rushed for 948 yards and 13 TDs, 35 receptions for 267 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; @ C. Michigan, Notre Dame, E. Michigan

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, Northwestern, @ Minnesota


WR—Jared Abbrederis, Jr. (Wisconsin)

Last season:  55 receptions for a team-high 933 yards, 8 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; Illinois, @ Purdue, Minnesota

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Indiana, Ohio St, @ Penn St


WR—Keenan Davis, Sr. (Iowa)

Last season:  50 receptions for 713 yards and 4 TDs as WR#2 opposite Marvin McNutt.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; No. Illinois, Iowa St, No. Iowa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Purdue, @ Michigan, Nebraska


WR—Demetrius Fields, Sr. (Northwestern)

Last season:  32 receptions for 382 yards and 3 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; Boston College, South Dakota, Indiana

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Michigan, @ Michigan St, Illinois


TE—Jacob Pedersen, Jr. (Wisconsin)

Last season:  30 receptions for 356 yards and 8 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; Illinois, @ Purdue, Minnesota

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Indiana, Ohio St, @ Penn St


FLEX—Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jr. (Michigan)

Last season: Rushed for 1,041 yards and 9 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; @ Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Northwestern, Iowa, @ Ohio St


K—Brett Maher, Sr. (Nebraska)

Last season: 19-for-23 on field goals attempts, 43-for-44 on extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; Arkansas St, Idaho St, Wisconsin

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Penn St, Minnesota, @ Iowa


DEF—Michigan State Spartans

Last season:  No. 6 total defense, No. 10 scoring defense, 8 returning starters.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; @ C. Michigan, Notre Dame, E. Michigan

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, Northwestern, @ Minnesota


Top 5 Reserves

QB—Kain Colter, Jr. (Northwestern)

QB—Taylor Martinez, Jr. (Nebraska)

RB—Silas Redd, Jr. (Penn St)

RB—Jordan Hall, Sr. (Ohio St)

RB—James White, Jr. (Wisconsin)



By Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining the Best Fantasy Options in the Big Ten for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 02:39
Path: /nascar/clint-bowyer-wins-sonoma

Perhaps Clint Bowyer’s win on the road course in Sonoma, Calif., should not have come as a surprise. After all, the seven-year NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran had recorded four top 10s in six starts at the 1.99-mile course prior to Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Still, Bowyer, a Kansas native with Midwest dirt-tracking roots, has never been considered anywhere near a “road course ringer,” as the NASCAR types like to label those who excel when turning left and right.

But Bowyer, crew chief Brian Pattie and their Michael Waltrip Racing crew became the eighth different team to go to Victory Lane at Sonoma in as many visits, fending off a feisty challenge from Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart in the final laps on the 12-turn road course.

“Quietly, we’ve had good runs here,” a beaming Bowyer said following the win. “This is probably, quietly, been one of my favorite racetracks.”

The victory was Bowyer’s first of the season and the first for MWR’s No. 15 team — a group pieced together late last season — and one Bowyer referred to as a bunch of “refugees.”

“Basically, (I) kind of lost my ride at RCR (in 2011), walked into a new program with a lot of unknowns, and I had a lot of confidence in what was going on,” Bowyer said of what brought him to MWR. “I still had confidence in myself. Michael, Rob Kaufmann (co-owner), everybody involved with MWR, paired me with Brian Pattie and paired me with a lot of good people and that’s what it takes to be successful in any good business and NASCAR racing is no exception.”

Pattie’s “refugee” status was not much different than Bowyer’s. A crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Pattie was given his walking papers in mid-July with the team floundering at 17th place in the point standings (it was 21st by season’s end. Waltrip came calling in the fall).

“I was in the same boat (Bowyer) was — he lost his ride and I lost my job,” Pattie said. “Last summer was eye-opening for me personally and career-wise. (I) had a lot of supporters call whenever times changed at my previous employer, and I’m just blessed to be here.”

That Bowyer, Pattie and crew have pieced together nine top 10s in less than a half season together, are solidly in the top 10 in points and now have a win in their pocket to fall back on speaks to the immediate chemistry alive and well within the team. And the progress made by the organization as a whole is evident in the other cars in the stable. Martin Truex Jr., in the No. 56 car, sits ninth in points (Bowyer is seventh), while Mark Martin and Brian Vickers have split duties in the No. 55 to the tune of four top 5s.

Bowyer’s move from Richard Childress Racing to MWR was seen by some as a lateral one, at best. But the Toyota-backed company that first took to the Cup Series in 2007 has grown exponentially. Waltrip credits a better working relationship with fellow Toyota team Joe Gibbs Racing as a major reason.

“I give Andy Graves a lot of credit any time I’m asked about where we are today,” Waltrip said. “The reason for that is simple: I went to him in January of 2011 and I said, ‘Are our cars as good as Job Gibbs’ cars?’ And he said, ‘No, they are not, because you don’t trust our process.’

“I said, ‘Well, we are changing directions, and we are going to start following you.’”

While JGR has outclassed MWR in the win column this season, the latter’s consistency and reliability win the day. And Bowyer’s No. 15 team is leading the charge, riding a streak of four consecutive runs of seventh or better. For a first-year group competing against established teams with years of experience together, it makes the bunch a dangerous — albeit unproven — one as the circuit hits the homestretch to NASCAR’s playoffs.

“It’s a long row to hoe before the Chase,” Bowyer said. “Everybody is in this sport because of the Chase and you can’t win a championship without being a part of that elite group.

“I missed it (the Chase banquet in Las Vegas) last year and it sucked to sit at home and watch. I did get to deer hunt a little bit but I would much rather be partying.”

If the post-race scene in Sonoma is any indication, Bowyer and crew have the chemistry to throw the most epic party Vegas has seen in some time.


by Matt Taliaferro
Follow Matt on Twitter:

<p> Clint Bowyer wins the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 18:49
Path: /nascar/kenseths-future-gordons-slump-and-kahnes-strategy

Points leader Matt Kenseth will leave Roush Fenway Racing after this season and be replaced by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the team announced Tuesday.

Reports state that Kenseth is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing although it is unclear if it will be with a fourth team or in place of Joey Logano, who is in the final year of his contract. 

Kenseth wrote on Twitter: “I’m very thankful to Jack Roush for the opportunities he’s given me over the past 14 years. Together we have enjoyed a lot of success and as a team we are committed as ever to the remainder of the 2012 season and chasing a 3rd sprint cup title for Jack and RFR.

“Although I have nothing to announce regarding 2013, I feel the timing of this announcement gives RFR ample time to get things lined up. Darian (Grubb) and Tony (Stewart) proved to us last year there is no such thing as a “lame duck” team or season. We will continue to go to work and race hard.”

With the move, Roush loses the defending Daytona 500 winner but also a driver who is 40 years old. Taking over the No. 17 car for Kenseth next year will be 24-year-old Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the defending Nationwide Series champion.

“Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has more than proved his abilities on the race track,” said team co-owner Jack Roush in a statement issued by the team  “We feel that he is not only a key piece of our team’s future, but a key piece of the future of the sport. Roush Fenway is an organization with a wonderful past and present, as well as an extremely promising future, and I can’t think of a better candidate than Ricky to usher in the next era of success for the team.

“Of course, I’d like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service. Matt has been an integral part of this organization for well over a decade, and we are extremely appreciative of his accomplishments and contributions to the team, and will always consider him a part of the Roush Fenway family.

“We’re fortunate that we were able to tap into Matt’s potential and bring him on board many years ago, and I’m proud that together we were able to combine the tools and the resources of Roush Fenway with his talent and determination to forge a partnership that yielded a championship at the Cup level and all of his 22 Cup victories, including two Daytona 500 wins. The No. 17 is positioned extremely well this season, and I’m committed to providing the team the best resources to continue their run for the 2012 championship. I have no doubt that Matt will do his part.”

Kenseth has run all but one Cup race in his career for Roush. Kenseth made his debut in 1998, subbing for Bill Elliott at Dover so Elliott could attend his father’s funeral (he finished sixth). Kenseth drove in five Cup races for Roush the following season before running full-time in 2000 when he beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. for rookie of the year honors in the Cup Series. 

Stenhouse ranks third in the Nationwide standings this season with three victories. He has five career series wins in 87 starts heading into this weekend’s race at Kentucky Speedway.

CHANGING WAYS   Progress can’t come fast enough at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. As the NASCAR Sprint Cup season heads toward the midway point, Jamie McMurray is 20th in the points and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya is 22nd.

After an offseason of changes, the EGR teams have struggled to put together strong finishes. McMurray has three top-10 finishes and Montoya has two. At this time a year ago, Montoya was 16th in points with five top-10 finishes, and McMurray was 27th in points with two top-10 finishes.

Montoya says one must look beyond the results to see the change taking place after the it hired Max Jones as team manager in December. It was among a number of changes car owner Chip Ganassi started making last season to revamp his competition department and his teams.

“I think we’ve done a lot of progress,” Montoya said. “If you really go to the team right now and see how different everything is working, it’s pretty amazing. We haven’t had the results we want to have, but there have been a lot of really good changes and we’ve been putting people in the right place.

“Just because you put somebody in the right place doesn’t mean that overnight you are going to run better. You want to run better overnight, but things have got to change. Everybody has to adapt and it’s a process. I really feel we made a lot of gains on the car; we made a lot of gains on how the whole engine department is working. We’re definitely making progress I think.”

McMurray said the way the teams have been re-designed, its created better cohesion between them.

“It’s all for the better and Chip is still out hiring people and looking for more engineers and people to make it better than what it is right now,” McMurray said. “I think for us, my guess is somewhere around the last 10 races you’re going to see a lot of the progress. It takes time. There’s different suspensions, different simulations every week and sometimes they don’t always work. It’s kind of testing and trying to get things better. It’s a big difference than where it was a year ago.

“You don’t go from running 15th to winning just overnight. It takes baby steps. But, I feel like we’re heading in the right direction. I kind of say the last 10 races because I think it’s going to take that long to get to where we need to be.”

Earnhardt Ganssi Racing hopes to be the new version of Michael Waltrip Racing in improving its performance.

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long talks about Matt Kenseth leaving Roush, Jeff Gordon's continued slump and Kasey Kahne's new Chase strategy.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 18:37
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, MLB, Fantasy
Path: /mlb/athlon-sports-mlb-fantasy-closer-grid

Athlon keeps fantasy GMs up to date with a complete look at MLB's bullpen situations.

Updated June 26, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. CT

Team Closer Setup Watch List
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Bryan Shaw, Craig Breslow, Brad Zeigler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jonny Venters Eric O'Flaherty, Christian Martinez
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Luis Ayala, Kevin Gregg
Boston Alfredo Aceves Vincente Padilla Matt Albers, Mark Melancon, Andrew Bailey (DL)
Chicago (NL) Carlos Marmol Shawn Camp James Russell, Manny Corpas
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Matt Thornton Jesse Crain, Hector Santiago
Cincinnati Aroldis Chapman Sean Marshall Jose Arredondo, Logan Ondrusek, Nick Masset (DL)
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Nick Hagadone, Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez (DL)
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Rex Brothers, Josh Roenicke
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Phil Coke, Brayan Villareal, Octavio Dotel (DL)
Houston Brett Myers Brandon Lyon David Carpenter, Wilton Lopez (DL)
Kansas City Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Tim Collins, Aaron Crow
LA Angles Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Jordan Walden, Jason Isringhausen
LA Dodgers Kenley Jansen Josh Lindblom Ronald Belisario, Javy Guerra (DL)
Miami Heath Bell Steve Cishek Edward Mujica, Randy Choate
Milwaukee John Axford F. Rodriguez Jose Veras, Kameron Loe
Minnesota Glen Perkins* Jared Burton* Alex Burnett, Matt Capps (DL)
New York (NL) Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch Tim Brydak, Miguel Batista, Frank Francisco (DL)
New York (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Cory Wade, Boone Logan, Mariano Rivera (DL)
Oakland Ryan Cook Grant Balfour Brian Fuentes, Jerry Blevins
Philadelphia Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Chad Qualls
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Juan Cruz Jason Grilli, Chris Resop
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Marc Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas
San Diego Huston Street Dale Thayer Luke Gregerson, Brad Boxberger
San Francisco Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Brandon League Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor (DL)
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney  Jake McGee Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth (DL)
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, Koji Uehara (DL)
Toronto Casey Janssen Francisco Cordero Luis Perez, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos (DL)
Washington Tyler Clippard Sean Burnett Craig Stammen, Henry Rodriguez, Drew Storen (DL)

Players currently on the DL are noted above

* - will share the role of closer for the time being. Look for game-by-game situations to dictact who is used in the ninth inning.

<p> Athlon Sports MLB Fantasy Closer Grid</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/titans-kamerion-wimbley-tries-american-ninja-warrior

Tennessee Titan defensive end Kamerion Wimbley brought some serious game to the American Ninja Warrior 2012 Southeast Regional Semi-Finals in Miami recently. Watch as the 6-foot-4-inch, 255-pound Wimbley makes the crazy obstacle course look like a Sunday stroll through the park. The reality TV show airs Sunday nights on the G4 Network and Mondays on NBC.

<br />
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 08:41
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-fantasy-football-whos-number-1

You have the first pick in your fantasy football draft. Who are you taking? Athlon Sports has Houston Texan running back Arian Foster No. 1 overall in its rankings and on its Big Board, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was an unanimous decision.

Six different Athlon editors and one fantasy football contributor were asked who they would take with the first pick. Foster was the clear-cut choice with four votes, but two other running backs and a certain reigning NFL MVP and cover boy quarterback received one vote each as well. Below are the cases made for each player.

Arian Foster for No. 1

“This guy averaged 3.5 more points per game than anyone else at his position in 2010. He led all running backs in scoring average again in 2011 despite opening the year with a bad hamstring. You don’t need to make a case for him. You need to search for reasons to pick anyone else. So what are they? Ray Rice catches more passes? He didn’t in 2010, when both played a full season. Aaron Rodgers? He was stellar last year... and yet only one point per game better than Drew Brees. LeSean McCoy? His coach says McCoy needs to touch the ball less this year than he did last year. Ben Tate? He didn’t hurt Foster in 2011. The only thing to dislike about Foster is the loss of his right tackle, Eric Winston. Frankly, this back has earned the benefit of the doubt.” — Matt Schauf,

“I have always scoffed at those who say you cannot take a QB in the first round. Well, we will see how much that changes this year when Aaron Rodgers is a top three or four pick. We had him at No. 6 overall last year, and he paid off for us. With that said, the question is: Who’s No. 1 in 2012? Arian Foster still gets my nod. He was a non-factor in four games and still had over 300 points for the season. I’m also a schedule nerd, and Foster has seven games against rushing defenses ranked 17th or worst last season, including five of the last six weeks.” — Corby Yarbrough, Athlon Sports (@Corby_Yarborough)

Aaron Rodgers for No. 1

“Last year was a tough call — I voted for Adrian Peterson — but this year is even more difficult. I love LeSean McCoy’s situation in Philadelphia, but can he hold up for 350 touches for a third season? I love Ray Rice’s and Arian Foster’s feature-back status. But in the modern era of running back by committee — which is beginning to have an increasingly volatile relief pitcher feel to it of late — I would have to lean towards the safest player in the NFL, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The league averages at the quarterback position have reached all-time highs, and passing for 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns is almost a low-water mark for success at the position. With the depth at running back and wide receiver this year, my advice is to target an elite passer early and build around him. You can’t win your fantasy league with the first pick, but you can certainly lose it. Rodgers is the closest to a sure thing in the 2012 draft room.” — Braden Gall, Athlon Sports (@BradenGall)

Ray Rice for No. 1

“My choice for the No. 1 overall fantasy selection is Ravens running back Ray Rice. The dynamic Rice was the only player in the NFL to gain over 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year, the second time he has accomplished that feat in the last three seasons. The concern of other Baltimore backs stealing scoring opportunities was alleviated in 2011, with Rice tallying 15 total touchdowns. Other runners like Arian Foster of the Texans or LeSean McCoy of the Eagles are solid choices as well, but Rice’s consistent running and pass-catching make him the best option at the top of the draft. Additionally, I don’t mind taking a top quarterback like Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers or New Orleans’ Drew Brees in the first round, but getting a top running back in the first three or four overall picks will tend to be the better decision for your fantasy squad.” — Patrick Snow, Athlon Sports (@AthlonSnowman)

Chris Johnson for No. 1

“Rumors of Chris Johnson’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The 26-year-old is in his prime, has never missed a game due to injury and has a better single season in the books (remember CJ2K?) than any of his peers. Johnson’s per-season average is 1,768 yards from scrimmage and 11 total TDs; take away the record-breaking 2,509-yard, 16-TD 2009 season, and he still averages 1,521 yards from scrimmage and nine total TDs. Obviously, CJ disappointed fantasy owners last season. Following an NFL lockout and contract holdout, Johnson struggled to find his stride with a new coach, play-caller and quarterback in Tennessee. But it was business as usual over the last eight games, when he piled up 893 of his 1,465 yards from scrimmage and three of his four total TDs. Entering his second year with the Titans’ new regime and coming off his worst season as a pro, the fastest man in the NFL should be the No. 1 fantasy pick.” — Nathan Rush, Athlon Sports

— Published on June 26, 2012

Athlon Sports 2012 NFL Fantasy Content:
Athlon Sports Big Board: Top 150
2012 NFL Fantasy Football Athlon's Top 250
2012 Fantasy Football Mock Draft I
2012 Bye Week Cheat Sheet
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: QBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: RBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: WRs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: TEs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: DLs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: LBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: DBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: IDP Top 75

Related: Order your Athlon Sports 2012 NFL Preview Magazine Here

You can preorder your award-winning Athlon Sports NFL Fantasy Football preview magazine here.
<p> 2012 NFL Fantasy Football: Who's Number 1?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/acc-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-ACC teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR Conner Vernon, Duke

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

TE Matt Furstenburg, Maryland

C Dalton Freeman, Clemson

OL Oday Aboushi, Virginia

OL Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

OL James Hurst, North Carolina

OL Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

First-Team Defense

DL James Gayle, Virginia Tech

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DL Joe Vellano, Maryland

DL Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

LB Steve Greer, Virginia

LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech

CB David Amerson, NC State

CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S Earl Wolff, NC State

First-Team Specialists

K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P Dalton Botts, Miami

KR T.J. Thorpe, North Carolina

PR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team

  First Second Third Overall
Boston College 0 1 1 2
Clemson 4 5 2 11
Duke 1 1 1 3
Florida State 3 4 3 10
Georgia Tech 1 4 2 7
Maryland 2 2 2 6
Miami 1 2 3 6
North Carolina 5 0 3 8
NC State 2 2 2 6
Virginia 2 2 1 5
Virginia Tech 3 2 5 10
Wake Forest 2 1 1 4

Second-Team Offense

QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RB Perry Jones, Virginia

RB Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech

WR Rashad Greene, Florida State

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

TE Nick O'Leary, Florida State

C Camden Wentz, NC State

OL Emmett Cleary, Boston College

OL Brandon Linder, Miami

OL R.J. Mattes, NC State

OL Morgan Moses, Virginia

Second-Team Defense

DL Anthony Chickillo, Miami

DL J.R. Collins, Virginia Tech

DL Malliciah Goodman, Clemson

DL Bjoern Werner, Florida State

LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

LB Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland

LB Kenny Tate, Maryland

CB Merrill Noel, Wake Forest

CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

S Rashard Hall, Clemson

S Isaiah Johnson, Georgia Tech

Second-Team Specialists

K Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson

P Sean Poole, Georgia Tech

KR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

PR Jamison Crowder, Duke

Third-Team Offense

QB EJ Manuel, Florida State

RB Mike James, Miami

RB Kevin Parks, Virginia

WR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech

TE Brandon Ford, Clemson

C Andrew Miller, Virginia Tech

OL Bennett Fulper, Maryland

OL Seantrel Henderson, Miami

OL Will Jackson, Georgia Tech

OL Laken Tomlinson, Duke

Third-Team Defense

DL Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech

DL Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

DL Kareem Martin, North Carolina

DL Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

LB Christian Jones, Florida State

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College

CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

CB Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech

S Brandan Bishop, NC State

S Matt Robinson, Maryland

Third-Team Specialists

K Casey Barth, North Carolina

P Wil Baumann, NC State

KR Dyrell Roberts, Virginia Tech

PR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson


Athlon's 2012 ACC Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 ACC Predictions 

Atlantic Coastal
Boston College Duke
Clemson Miami
Florida State Georgia Tech
Maryland North Carolina
NC State Virginia
Wake Forest Virginia Tech

<p> 2012 ACC Football All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:48
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Mountain West teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-Mountain West Team

First-Team Offense

QB Brett Smith, Wyoming

RB Chris Nwoke, Colorado State

RB Robbie Rouse, Fresno State

WR Chris McNeill, Wyoming

WR Matt Miller, Boise State

TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

C Weston Richburg, Colorado State

OL Chris Barker, Nevada

OL Jason Kons, Air Force

OL Charles Leno, Boise State

OL Jeff Nady, Nevada

First-Team Defense

DL Michael Atkinson, Boise State

DL Paipai Falemalu, Hawaii

DL John Froland, Colorado State

DL Mike Purcell, Wyoming

LB Shaquil Barrett, Colorado State

LB Travis Brown, Fresno State

LB J.C. Percy, Boise State

CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State

CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State

S Luke Ruff, Wyoming

S Duke Williams, Nevada

First-Team Specialists

K Parker Herrington, Air Force

P Pete Kontodiakos, Colorado State

KR Marcus Sullivan, UNLV

PR Mitch Burroughs, Boise State

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Mountain West Team

  First Second Overall
Air Force 2 1 3
Boise State 6 4 10
Colorado State 5 3 8
Fresno State 2 4 6
Hawaii 1 4 5
Nevada 3 2 5
New Mexico 0 1 1
San Diego State 2 2 4
UNLV 1 2 3
Wyoming 4 3 7

Second-Team Offense


QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

RB D.J. Harper, Boise State

RB Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada

WR Josh Harper, Fresno State

WR Colin Lockett, San Diego State

TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State

C Nick Carlson, Wyoming

OL Brett Boyko, UNLV

OL Joe Kellogg, Boise State 

OL Tyler Strong, Wyoming

OL Austin Wentworth, Fresno State

Second-Team Defense

DL Reggie Ellis, New Mexico

DL Patrick Mertens, Wyoming

DL Jack Reynoso, Nevada

DL Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State

LB Art Laurel, Hawaii

LB Alex Means, Air Force

LB James Skelton, Colorado State

CB Jerrell Gavins, Boise State

CB John Hardy-Tuliau, Hawaii

S Nat Berhe, San Diego State

S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State

Second-Team Specialists

K Nolan Kohorst, UNLV

P Alex Dunnachie, Hawaii

KR Mike Edwards, Hawaii

PR Momo Thomas, Colorado State

Athlon's 2012 Mountain West Team Previews

Related Content: 2012 Mountain West Predictions

Air Force Nevada
Boise State New Mexico
Colorado State San Diego State
Fresno State UNLV
Hawaii Wyoming

<p> Mountain West Football 2012 All-Conference Teams.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:41
Path: /college-football/college-football-conference-realignment-draft-part-2

Yesterday, the four commissioners of the NCAA (National Conglomerate of Athlon Authorities) conferences selected their first four programs of 16 in our realignment draft. Today, we'll continue with rounds No. 5 through No. 8.

Powers like Texas, Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and USC are off the board, but plenty of prizes remain in the field. Where our commissioners -- Mitch Light, Steven Lassan, Braden Gall and David Fox -- often selected the best available programs on Day One of the draft, some of their plans for the structure and values of their leagues are starting to take shape on Day Two.

A refresher on our ground rules of this four-team, 16-round draft: Each commissioner drafts the entire package -- the program’s history, current performance and personnel and long-term potential. Each commissioner will take on an entire athletic program, from football to men’s basketball to lacrosse and gymnastics, the program’s academic reputation, and any NCAA baggage.

Previous rounds: Rounds 1-4

Light selected Penn State with the final pick of the fourth round, so he’ll start on the turn of the fifth round:


17. Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Michigan State
Conference so far: Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas
This was my first pick in which a sport other than football played a role. The Spartans have been an elite basketball program for the past decade and show no signs of slowing down. And the football program is seemingly on the verge of accomplishing something that has eluded Michigan State for decades — consistency.

18. Braden Gall (@BradenGall): North Carolina
Conference so far: Alabama, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame
With a strong foothold in the Deep South and the Midwest, I wanted to extend my league to the eastern seaboard so I took what I think is the most powerful East Coast athletic department in college sports. Arguably the top hoops brand in the nation, a quality baseball team and a football program with loads of upside made the Tar Heels a perfect fit. There is no excuse for North Carolina football not to be highly competitive every year. All it takes is a quality coach — something UNC fans believe they have in Larry Fedora.

19. Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Texas A&M
Conference so far: Florida, Florida State, UCLA, USC
After my first four picks, I wanted to branch out and add some teams in the Midwest. Texas A&M (almost similar to UCLA and Florida State) has underachieved recently, but the pieces are in place to win big. The Aggies have a terrific recruiting base, and the facilities are getting a facelift. Also, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a team in the second-largest state. Although relations between Texas and Texas A&M are frosty, I plan on calling Commissioner Light to schedule a non-conference game with his league's Longhorns as soon as possible.

20. David Fox (@DavidFox615): Wisconsin
Conference so far: Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Washington
I briefly considered dipping into the South with Auburn, South Carolina or Clemson, but I’m going to stick with my East-West strategy. The competition for Southern programs is going to be tough, and the Light and Gall conferences have shown little interest in the West. Even with Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan State gone, the Midwest still has some major programs with big followings available starting with Wisconsin.


21. Fox: West Virginia
I’m starting to stray on my plan a bit here, but I couldn’t pass up the Mountaineers. Several accomplished programs remain on the board, but West Virginia could end up a better geographic fit for my league rather than Miami, Clemson or a handful of quality SEC schools. Like Wisconsin, West Virginia is consistently competitive in both football and basketball with occasional flashes of greatness.

22. Lassan: Oklahoma State
The Aggies needed a partner, and the Cowboys were the top remaining program in the Midwest on the board. Oklahoma State has emerged as a football power in recent years and came within one victory of playing for the national title in 2011.

23. Gall: Tennessee
Since the Midwest and South both had two strong members, I stayed in the “East” by grabbing the powerful, yet undervalued, Tennessee Vols. The football program is underachieving today but won’t be down for long. The basketball program has reached new heights in the last half decade, and the school as a whole has sparkling new facilities across the board. The stadium duo of Neyland and Thompson-Bowling alone provided enough value with this pick. Packaged with North Carolina, the Vols further strengthen my hold over the Southeast TV markets.

24. Light: Miami
This was all about potential. Getting a program that has the ability to compete for national championships with the final pick in the sixth round could end up being a steal. It is also advantageous to have a program located in one of the most fertile recruiting areas in the nation. My league now has teams in Texas, Georgia and South Florida. The Canes also bring a top-flight baseball program to my league, with an amazing 23 trips to the College World Series.


25. Light: Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech has yet to break through and win a national title under Frank Beamer, but the Hokies have been remarkably consistent, winning at least 10 games in eight straight seasons. And while Virginia is making strides under Mike London, Virginia Tech is still the flagship program in a state with over eight million people. The Hokies, however, don’t offer much in any of the other major sports. The basketball program has been to the NCAA Tournament only once since 1996.

26. Gall: Auburn
I may have valued the Auburn Tigers more than my fellow commissioners, but I was fine with that in order to have the Iron Bowl under my control every year. The football program is really all you get with this pick, but that is some serious football clout for a program that has as committed a fan base as there is in the nation. How many schools taken this late have true national championship potential?

27. Lassan: Clemson
In the same mold of Texas A&M and UCLA, Clemson is a team that has underachieved at times but there’s also a lot of potential. The Tigers don’t add much in the way of a television market, but there’s a good fanbase and another solid Southeast program to add with Florida and Florida State.

28. Fox: Iowa
In this round, I was still considering a branch of my league in the South. With Auburn, Clemson and Virginia Tech gone, I’ve all but abandoned the idea. I’m not particularly excited about this pick in the seventh round, but it makes sense for my league with a rival to pair with Wisconsin. I don’t need the Hawkeyes to be spectacular, but I can live with 10 bowl games in the last 11 seasons.


29. Fox: Pittsburgh
With Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia, I have my share of passionate fanbases who won’t struggle to sell tickets. Pitt is not in that group. Pittsburgh’s a pro town and lukewarm to the Panthers, not that Pitt has given the Steel City many reasons to get excited over the last decades. Still, West Virginia is no longer on an island as the Eastern-most team in my league. Pitt brings a rivalry game to my league and some untapped potential. That said, I’ve probably overreached on the Midwest/East portion of my conference. I need to address the West in the next two rounds or so.

30. Lassan: South Carolina
Just like I did with Florida/Florida State and USC/UCLA, I had to grab South Carolina to pair with Clemson. The Gamecocks are coming off the best two-year stretch on the gridiron, while the baseball team has College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011.

31. Gall: Missouri
I love the upside of the Mizzou athletic department. Football is achieving at unprecedented levels under Gary Pinkel and is set up for long-term success. The basketball program is one of the nation’s most historical and the baseball team is always strong. Geography also played a key role here, offering not only a centrally located heartland campus but additionally the big TV markets of Kansas City and St. Louis.

32. Light: Illinois
Illinois has had its moments on the gridiron — the Fighting Illini played in the Rose Bowl as recently as Jan. 1, 2008 — but this pick was about two things: eyeballs and basketball. Illinois is home to 12.9 million people, fifth-most in the nation, and Champaign-Urbana is 140 miles from Chicago, the third-largest TV market in the United States. The basketball program has been to the NCAA Tournament 21 times since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Coming tomorrow: Our commissioners move into the second half of the conference alignment draft, where they'll start to look closer at basketball-centric powers and teams on the West Coast.

Comments on other rounds: Rounds 1-4 | Rounds 9-12

National Conglomerate of Athlon Authorities Conference Alignment Draft Recap

Rd Mitch Light Braden Gall Steven Lassan David Fox
1 >> Texas Alabama Florida Ohio State
2 << Oklahoma Notre Dame USC Michigan
3 >> Georgia LSU Florida State Oregon
4 << Penn State Nebraska UCLA Washington
5 >> Michigan State North Carolina Texas A&M Wisconsin
6 << Miami Tennessee Oklahoma State West Virginia
7 >> Virginia Tech Auburn Clemson Iowa
8 << Illinois Missouri South Carolina Pittsburgh

Related College Football Content

Athlon's 2012 Conference Predictions
Athlon's Top 25 for 2012

<p> College football conference realignment draft: Part 2</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:39
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-best-players-sec

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for the SEC in terms of fantasy options for 2012:

2012 Preseason SEC All-Fantasy Team

Using a starting roster of 2-QB, 3-RB, 3-WR, FLEX, TE, K, Def/ST, All-Conference Fantasy Teams are projected using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)


QB—Aaron Murray, Jr. (Georgia)

Last season:  Passed for 3,149 yards and 35 TDs, rushed for 111 yards and 2 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; FL-Atlantic, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Auburn, GA Southern, Georgia Tech


QB—James Franklin, Jr. (Missouri)

Last season:  Passed for 2,865 yards and 21 TDs, rushed for 1,145 yards and 15 TDs

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 11-12-13; @ Tennessee, Syracuse, @ Texas A&M

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Tennessee, Syracuse, @ Texas A&M


RB—Marcus Lattimore, Jr. (So. Carolina)

Last season:  Ran for 818 yards and scored 11 TDs before suffering a season-ending knee injury in week seven.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; ECU, UAB, Missouri

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Arkansas, Wofford, @ Clemson


RB—Knile Davis, Jr. (Arkansas)

Last season:  Missed the entire season with a broken ankle.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9-10; Kentucky, Bye, Ole Miss, Tulsa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ So. Carolina, @ Miss. St, LSU


RB—Eddie Lacy, Jr. (Alabama)

Last season:  Rushed for 674 yards and 7 TDs as Trent Richardson’s backup.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 4-5-6-7; FAU, Ole Miss, Bye, @ Missouri

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Texas A&M, W. Carolina, Auburn


WR—Cobi Hamilton, Sr. (Arkansas)

Last season:  Caught 34 passes for 542 yards and 4 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Jacksonville St, LA-Monroe, Alabama

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ So. Carolina, @ Miss. St, LSU


WR—Justin Hunter, Jr. (Tennessee)

Last season:  Lost for the season after tearing his ACL in week three (17-314-2).

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; Georgia St, Florida, Akron

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Missouri, @ Vanderbilt, Kentucky


WR—Ryan Swope, Sr. (Texas A&M)

Last season:  Led all A&M receivers with 89 receptions, 1,207 yards, and 11 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ SMU, So. Carolina St, Arkansas

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Alabama, Sam Houston St, Missouri


TE—Chris Gragg, Sr. (Arkansas)

Last season:  Caught 41 passes for 518 yards and 2 TDs

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Jacksonville St, LA-Monroe, Alabama

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ So. Carolina, @ Miss. St, LSU


FLEX—Zac Stacy, Sr. (Vanderbilt)

Last season:  Set the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,193 yards and scored 15 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 9-10-11; UMass, @ Kentucky, @ Ole Miss

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Ole Miss, Tennessee, @ Wake Forest


K—Drew Alleman, Sr. (LSU)

Last season:  Made 16-of-18 FG attempts and 62-of-63 extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; No. Texas, Washington, Idaho

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Mississippi St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas


DEF—LSU Tigers

Last season:  No. 2 in the nation in total defense, scoring, and turnover margin.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; No. Texas, Washington, Idaho

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Mississippi St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas


Top 5 Reserves

QB—Tyler Bray, Jr. (Tennessee)

QB—Tyler Wilson, Sr. (Arkansas)

RB—Christine Michael, Sr. (Texas A&M)

WR—Da’Rick Rogers, Jr. (Tennessee)

WR—Tavarres King, Sr. (Georgia)



By Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining the Best Players in the SEC</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 04:38
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/slow-play-its-killing-golf

The United States Golf Association and the PGA of America are fighting an uphill battle against slow play. They say five-hour rounds of golf are killing the game. People are quitting because they don’t have the time necessary to play. The two organizations have come up with all sorts of ideas to speed up play: 12-hole courses and the “Tee it Forward” program, promoting amateur hackers to move up a set of tees to make the game easier, more enjoyable and ultimately quicker to play. 

Unfortunately, all their efforts are eroding thanks to the nonchalant attitude of the PGA Tour, both by the players and the administration. It’s too bad that many everyday amateurs mimic what they see on TV because what they’re seeing isn’t good for golf. 
There are a handful of notorious offenders when it comes to slow play on Tour, notably Ben Crane and Kevin Na. Tour officials regularly warn players that they are moving slowly and to pick up the pace, but there are no repercussions. Too bad they haven’t backed up their message with consequences. A slow play penalty hasn’t been handed out in years. 
The LPGA Tour seems to be taking a more proactive approach. Unfortunately, that tour bungled its opportunity as well. Morgan Pressel was penalized for slow play during a semifinal match against Azahara Munoz in the Sybase Match Play Championship in Gladstone, N.J., in May. The penalty halted her momentum and turned a potential three-up lead in match play into a slim 1-up advantage that eventually was lost. Both players had been warned on the ninth hole about slow play, but only Pressel was slapped with the consequences.
So where do we go from here? Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee cites "golf courses built for home sales, over coaching and tolerance for dawdling in youth" for imbedding the tendency toward slow play. But isn’t it time we all take the blame and do something about it? Slow play should have no place in golf, no matter what level.
"It's not that hard, be ready when it's your turn," Luke Donald tweeted earlier this year. "Slow play is killing our sport."
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 17:38
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/baseballs-players-week-middlebrooks-heyward-verlander-miley

Each week Athlon Sports looks back at the previous week's best baseball players in the American and National Leagues and recaps the most outstanding pitching performances. Here are last week's — June 18-24 — standouts.

AL Player of the Week

Will Middlebrooks, Boston

The Red Sox are confident enough in rookie Middlebrooks that they were willing to part with long-time fan favorite Kevin Youkilis last weekend. The young third sacker hasn’t disappointed and seems to be getting better. Last week he hit .625 with a 2.007 OPS with three home runs and 10 RBIs.


AL Pitcher of the Week

Justin Verlander, Detroit

Verlander still hasn’t pitched a perfect game, but he defeated both the Cardinals and Pirates last week, holding the two teams to 10 hits over 16 innings. The righthander walked only five and struck out 10 in winning both his starts for the Tigers. Verlander’s last four starts (all wins) have come against National League teams.






NL Player of the Week

Jason Heyward, Atlanta

The streaky Braves rightfielder has been on-again off-again this season, but was definitely on last week during a road trip to Boston and New York to visit the Yankees. He led the National League with nine runs and had seven extra-base hits. He batted .522 with three homers and five RBIs.


NL Pitcher of the Week

Wade Miley, Arizona

The Southeastern Louisiana alum may be the best-kept secret in the big leagues. The Diamondbacks have won seven of his last 10 starts, and scored a total of three runs in the three losses. Last week, Miley defeated the Mariners and Cubs, tossing a total of 15 innings and giving up just 12 hits and one walk. He whiffed 15. He is now 9-3 with a 2.19 ERA for the season.

<p> Athlon Sports looks back at the previous week's best baseball players</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 14:27
Path: /mlb/2012-major-league-baseball-power-rankings-june-25


Each week during the season Athlon Sports looks at the best and worst baseball teams in the league. Here's our MLB Power Rankings for June 25, 2012.

 1. Rangers—Three players on pace to drive in more than 100 runs.

 2. Yankees—Bronx Bombers bashing way toward top of AL.

 3. Dodgers—Only six homers so far in June; eight players have more.

 4. Rays—Only team hitting below .200 (.196) in seventh inning and later.

5. Reds—Upcoming West Coast trip should be good for pitching stats.

 6. Orioles—Scored 10 runs in last seven games.

 7. Angels—Won seven of 10 but lost ground to Rangers.

 8. Nationals—Lost four of six to Baltimore this season, but still in first place.

9. Giants—12 saves by five different pitchers in June (13 wins).

10. Blue Jays—Jose Bautista finding his power stroke.

11. Braves—NL East shaping up to be fun battle.

12. White Sox—Trade for Kevin Youkilis should improve offense and defense.

13. Diamondbacks—Shortstops are batting .301 this season without Stephen Drew.

14. Cardinals—Much better result vs. Royals this weekend.

15. Pirates—Won 18 of 27 over last 30 days.

16. Mets—Major League-worst 4.84 ERA from seventh inning on.

17. Red Sox—Scored 68 runs in last nine wins.

18. Indians—Batting .266 vs. righthanders, just .215 against lefties.

19. Tigers—Where’s the offense? Scored eight runs in last five games.

20. A’s—Who would have guessed? Lead majors in runs during June.

21. Phillies—Season is slipping away but Ryan Howard to return soon.

22. Brewers—Played five extra-inning games already in June (won two).

23. Marlins—Majors’ worst record and ERA in June.

24. Mariners—Tom Wilhelmsen has been terrific answer as closer.

25. Royals—Unfriendly Kaufman; eight more road wins than at home.

26. Twins—Trevor Plouffe hitting .351 with 10 homers in June.

27. Astros—5.80 ERA in June has been a killer.

28. Rockies—Sure, Troy Tulowitzki is missed, but starters have 6.40 ERA.

29. Padres—Batting just .153 with runners in scoring position and two outs.

30. Cubs—Bright side: Took two of three from Southsiders last week.

Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 14:19
All taxonomy terms: waiver wire, MLB, Fantasy
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-june-25

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

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (6/18-6/24):

  Name Team Pos. R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Will Middlebrooks BOS 3B 6 3 10 0 .625 2.007
2. Mike Trout LAA OF 8 1 2 5 .440 1.157
3. Jason Heyward ATL OF 9 3 5 0 .522 1.672
4. Aaron Hill* ARI 2B 7 3 8 0 .462 1.483
5. Justin Upton ARI OF 7 2 11 0 .391 1.119
6. Jason Kubel ARI OF 9 3 7 0 .348 1.233
7. Jose Bautista TOR 3B/OF 7 4 8 0 .318 1.328
8. Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1B 8 2 6 1 .421 1.478
9. Jimmy Rollins PHI SS 7 3 5 1 .391 1.332
10. Andrew McCutchen PIT OF 4 2 8 1 .500 1.515
11. Brett Lawrie TOR 3B 10 2 3 2 .320 1.134
12. Edwin Encarnacion TOR 1B/3B 7 4 6 0 .333 1.262
13. Cody Ross* BOS OF 5 3 10 0 .318 1.212
14. Aramis Ramirez MIL 3B 5 2 7 0 .500 1.577
15. Adrian Beltre TEX 3B 6 2 5 0 .500 1.410
16. Nelson Cruz TEX OF 5 2 8 1 .333 1.154
17. Colby Rasmus* TOR OF 5 3 8 0 .320 1.134
18. Robinson Cano NYY 2B 6 4 4 0 .286 1.232
19. Matt Holliday STL OF 6 0 6 1 .478 1.169
20. Miguel Montero ARI C 3 1 10 0 .455 1.182
21. Coco Crisp* OAK OF 6 0 0 5 .350 .930
22. Josh Reddick OAK OF 4 2 5 2 .316 1.067
23. Ryan Braun MIL OF 5 1 5 2 .348 .966
24. Chris Nelson* COL 2B/3B 4 2 6 0 .429 1.239
25. Gordon Beckham* CHW 2B 3 1 5 2 .409 1.071

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

The Waiver Wire

The middle infield has been a serious point of contention for one of my teams this fall. Names like Weeks, Kendricks and even Brian Roberts were got a shot to hold down my "MI" spot. But Aaron Hill was the add this weekend. His complete roto line plays in any format (35-10-32-6, .291/853). Don't expect his average to stay that high as he is a career .268 hitter, but he has always had pop in his bat. With the way Justin Upton and the rest of D-Backs appear to be playing, Hill could easily get to 20/20 this year. Don't be scared to snag this Rattler.

Chris Nelson needs regular playing time before I add him to my contending roster but Gordan Beckham is making a huge push to be owned. He is the classic post-hype prospect. He has gotten a hit in 24 of his last 28 games and has raised his average from .204 to .249 over that span. And over the last month, only four other two-sackers have more RBI than his 18.  

MiLB Debuts

I cautioned about many potential 2012 debuts coming soon and it looks like two big ones will happen this week. Anthony Rizzo is slated to join the Cubs for his Northside debut on Tuesday against the Mets while Trevor Bauer is scheduled to start Thursday in his major league debut against the Braves. He is a two-start pitcher next week. Both are must-adds at this point. They are both worth the risk. Still no word on Wil Myers as the Royals are apparently shopping some pieces to make room for the MiLB slugger.

The Greek God of Walks

I am not going to lie. Kevin Youkilis is one of my favorite players of this generation. He can play just about any position on the diamond effectively and is a middle of the order on-base machine. Yet, he has dealt with a multitide of injuries over the past few seasons and it has significantly dropped his fantasy value. So after a four-game hitting streak that raised his average from .212 to .233, he has been shipped to the White Sox. He will never be the 91-29-115-3 (.312/.958) roto montster of 2008, but he has plenty of talent. And in that order, his bat should play for the rest of the year. His .875 career OPS over 3,352 at-bats will come around at some point — and can likely be had for very cheap at the moment.

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Johnny Cueto CIN 23.0 3 24 0.78 0.74
2. R.A. Dickey NYM 24.0 2 28 1.88 0.50
3. Jason Hammel BAL 17.0 2 18 0.00 0.47
4. Wade Miley ARI 22.2 2 23 1.19 0.75
5. Justin Masterson* CLE 16.0 2 18 0.00 0.63
6. Matt Cain SF 21.0 2 25 1.71 0.71
7. Justin Verlander DET 24.0 3 18 1.88 0.83
8. Ervin Santana* LAA 17.0 1 15 1.06 0.35
9. Michael Fiers* SEA 15.1 1 14 0.59 0.78
10. Ivan Nova* NYY 20.1 2 17 1.33 1.08
11. Clayton Richard* SD 21.1 3 15 1.69 1.17
12. Jose Quintana* CHW 21.1 1 14 0.42 0.98
13. Madison Bumgarner SF 21.2 2 22 2.49 1.02
14. Yu Darvish TEX 16.0 2 19 2.25 1.06
15. Stephen Strasburg WAS 13.0 2 18 2.77 1.00
16. Jake Westbrook* STL 15.0 2 6 1.80 0.73
17. Zach Greinke MIL 24.0 1 18 1.88 0.96
18. Max Scherzer DET 20.0 1 27 2.70 1.05
19. James McDonald PIT 15.0 1 10 0.69 0.77
20. Jarrod Parker* OAK 13.0 1 10 0.69 0.77

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

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

1. Vance Worley, PHI: Pittsburgh (Tues.)
Has been sterling in last three starts (3 ER, 20.0 IP) and faces worst offense in MLB.

2. Jarrod Parker, OAK: at Seattle (Wed.)
Has this line over the last 30 days: 32.0 IP, 2 W, 24 K, 1.97 ERA, 1.09 WHIP.

3. Trevor Bauer, ARI: at Atlanta (Thur.)
His upside is totally worth a shot in his first-ever major league start.

4. Andy Pettitte, NYY: Cleveland (Wed.)
Finally got hit around a bit this weekend, but has been near Pettitte of old. In AP I trust.

5. A.J. Burnett, PI: at Philadelphia (Thurs.)
Take away May 2 disaster at St. Louis (12 ER on 12 H in 2 2/3 IP) and Burnett is 8-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 11 starts, nine of those being quality starts.

Top 20 fantasy Relief Pitchers of last month:

1. Craig Kimbrel ATL 11.0 0 8 19 0 0.00 0.18
2. Tyler Clippard WAS 11.1 0 10 13 0 0.00 0.53
3. Tom Wilhelmsen* SEA 12.2 2 5 16 0 0.00 0.63
4. Joel Hanrahan PIT 11.1 2 8 14 0 1.59 0.88
5. Ernesto Frieri LAA 13.1 0 8 19 3 0.00 0.90
6. Brayan Villarreal* DET 16.2 3 0 26 1 1.62 0.84
7. Jonathan Broxton KC 12.0 1 10 11 0 0.75 1.33
8. Rafael Soriano NYY 11.0 0 11 9 0 0.82 1.18
9. Jim Johnson BAL 12.0 1 6 6 0 1.50 0.50
10. Kenley Jansen LAD 10.2 1 6 16 0 2.53 0.94
11. Joe Nathan TEX 12.0 0 6 14 0 1.50 0.83
12. Heath Bell MIA 9.2 0 7 16 1 0.93 1.14
13. Chris Perez CLE 9.0 0 7 9 0 2.00 0.78
14. Ronald Belisario* LAD 14.2 3 0 8 3 1.84 0.89
15. J.J. Putz ARI 9.0 1 4 10 0 2.00 0.78
16. Rex Brothers* COL 10.2 1 0 17 2 0.84 0.66
17. Huston Street SD 7.1 1 6 9 0 2.45 1.09
18. Joaquin Benoit* DET 13.2 1 0 16 7 0.66 0.88
19. Sean Marshall* CIN 12.2 0 1 14 4 0.71 0.63
20. Alex Burnett* MIN 11.1 1 0 4 3 0.00 0.44

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

- by Braden Gall


<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: June 25</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 11:06
All taxonomy terms: AFC, Miami Dolphins, NFL
Path: /nfl/miami-dolphins-qbs-marino-nfl-horror-story

On January 2, 2000 Dan Marino played his final game in a Miami Dolphins uniform. In the 12 seasons since, the Dolphins’ tale of quarterback woes is a cautionary horror narrative that keeps many an NFL GM awake at night.

Miami has started 16 different players at quarterback since Marino stepped away from football. It has finished in the top ten in scoring one time since (2001) and no higher than 12th in total offense. Only two seasons since, 2001 and 2008, have the Dolphins started the same player for all 16 games. The organization has played in one playoff game since 2001.

Here are the 16 quarterbacks who have started a game for the Miami Dolphins since the retirement of Dan Marino following the 2000 season:

Jay Fiedler (2000-04)
The Darmouth grad gave the Phins an extremely false sense of security with a relatively solid stint in Miami immediately following Marino’s depature. Fiedler started 59 games in his five-year Miami career, including all 16 games in 2001 — the best offensive season since Marino for the Fish. He was 36-23 as the starter and averaged 178.1 yards per game with 66 TD and 63 INT.

Damon Huard (1998-2000)
Huard filled in for Fiedler in Week 12 of the 2000 season after he had previously stared five games during Marino’s 1999 farewell tour. He won his only post-Marino start after throwing for 183 yards and his only TD of the year. The Washington alum went on to start 21 more games over a five-year span for the Patriots and Cheifs before retiring in 2008.

Ray Lucas (2001-02)
The Rutgers Scarlet Knight started only six games for the Dolphins, all in 2002 spot duty for Fiedler. He went 2-4 as the starter, completed only 57.5 percent of his passes for 149.3 yards per game and threw only four touchdowns (against six INTs). Lucas never played football again following that season.

Brian Griese (2003)
As the Jay Fiedler experiment continued to fall off the tracks for various reasons, Griese became the third quarterback to get a start in place of the Ivy League grad. All five career games Griese played for Miami came in place of Fiedler in ’03. He went 3-2 as the starter with five touchdowns, six interceptions and 162.6 yards per game.

AJ Feeley (2004)
The Oregon quarterback, like Griese the year before, played only one year in Miami and got eight starts in place of Fiedler. He lost his first two starts in Week 2 and 3 before returning to the line-up from Weeks 10-15. Feeley was 3-5 as the leader of the Fish, completing only 53.7 percent of his passes with 15 interceptions for his Dolphins’ career.

Sage Rosenfels (2002-05)
In his third season as a Dolphin, the Iowa State Cyclone finally got to start a game when he entered the line-up for the final game of 2004. He completed 42.1 percent of his passes (16 of 38) with three interceptions and one touchdown in the loss. He then started one more game in 2005 (Week 10) when he threw for 14 yards and two picks in the shutout loss to Cleveland. He never started another game and ended his Fish career 0-2 as the starter.

Gus Frerotte (2005)
The real starter in ’05 was Frerotte. And he was mildly effective. He was 9-6 as the starter and nearly topped 3,000 yards (2,996) with more touchdowns (18) than interceptions (13). Numbers that aren’t amazing, but look Hall of Fame-esque when placed next to the other starters from South Beach.

Joey Harrington (2006)
Another year and another starting quarterback experiment. Harrington started 11 games in 2006, winning five while throwing for over 200 yards per game. He also threw 15 interceptions and 12 touchdowns and was an Atlanta Falcon the next year.

Daunte Culpepper (2006)
The Former Viking played his first game with a new team when he started four games for the Dolphins in 2006. He was 1-3 as a starter and tossed just two touchdowns as a Dolphin. The former first-rounder played for four teams in four years from 2005-08. Don't forget, the brass in Miami decided it was a good decision to go with Culpepper instead of Drew Brees.

Cleo Lemon (2006-07)
The Arkansas State grad played four years in the NFL on three different teams. He started eight career games, all for the Dolphins, and won only one time in his entire career. He threw for 168.1 yards per game, completed 56.0 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Trent Green (2007)
Green also only played one season for the Dolphins and failed to win any of his five career starts in Miami. He threw only five touchdowns and seven picks over that span while averaging nearly 200 yards per game.

John Beck (2007)
The second-round pick played one year for the team that drafted him. Beck was 0-4 as the starter in Miami and threw only one career touchdown pass as a Dolphin. He averaged 111.8 yards per game and has never won a game as a starter in the NFL.

Chad Pennington (2008-10)
The soft-tossing Marshall grad likely had the most successful season of any quarterback in a Fish uni since Marino retired. He started every game of the 2008 season, winning 11 and earning Comeback Player of the Year honors. He led the NFL in completion percentage (67.4 percent) and posted a nice 3,653-19-7 stat line en route to a co-AFC East title and playoff berth. However, he started only four more games over the next two years (1-3) before retiring in 2010.

Chad Henne (2008-11)
The strong-armed Michigan grad came to Miami in the second-round of the 2008 draft. He got into the starting line-up in year two and actually posted a winning record at 7-6. Yet, despite statistical improvement in year three, Henne lost more than he won (6-8). He was 0-4 as the starter in year four and has bolted for Jacksonville.

Tyler Thigpen (2010)
The Coastal Carolina product started and lost one game in his Dolphins one-year career. He threw for 187 yards, one interception and lost in a shutout at the hands of the Bears.

Matt Moore (2011)
The Oregon State Beaver was relatively effective last year on a team with a lame duck coach and terrible roster. He actually won six of his 12 starts, threw more touchdowns (16) than interceptions (9) and appears poised to start the 2012 campaign atop the depth charts. At least, for now, until Ryan Tannehill becomes the 17th quarterback to start a game for Miami since Marino.

The Fish aren’t the only NFL franchise that suffered after the retirement of a truly great signal caller. The Bills haven’t been the same since Jim Kelly. The 49ers are the poster children for how to adapt to loss — Joe Montana to Steve Young — and how not to adapt to loss — Young to everyone since then. Those two franchises have combined for six winning seasons in 28 combined years of competition since Kelly (1996) and Young (1999) stepped away.

But hope springs eternal on South Beach as the Dolphins enter their 13th season without No. 13 — and are doing so with their first first-round quarterback since taking Marino in the 1983 NFL Draft. Yes, Ryan Tannehill has the unenviable task of being the first quarterback taken in the first round by Miami since Mr. Isotoners himself joined the club.

While I have my doubts about Tannehill’s ability to succeed at the NFL level, the beauty of the NFL lies in its balance. Teams can go from worst to first and vice versa in a matter of months and new head coach Joe Philbin brings one of the most powerful offensive systems in the NFL to the franchise.

Only time will tell if Tannehill is the next Dan Marino.

Or the next Cleo Lemon.

- By Braden Gall


Related: Miami Dolphins 2012 Schedule Analysis

<p> Miami Dolphins QBs Since Marino: An NFL Horror Story</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/big-east-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Big East teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-Big East Team

First-Team Offense

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

RB Ray Graham, Pittsburgh

RB Lyle McCombs, Connecticut 

WR Sterling Griffin, South Florida

WR Alec Lemon, Syracuse

TE Ryan Griffin, Connecticut

C Mario Benavides, Louisville

OL Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers

OL Adam Masters, Connecticut

OL Mark Popek, South Florida

OL Justin Pugh, Syracuse

First-Team Defense

DL Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

DL Ryne Giddins, South Florida

DL Scott Vallone, Rutgers

DL Trevardo Williams, Connecticut

LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

LB DeDe Lattimore, South Florida

LB Sio Moore, Connecticut

CB Adrian Bushell, Louisville

CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers

S Jarred Holley, Pittsburgh

S Hakeem Smith, Louisville

First-Team Specialists

K Maikon Bonani, South Florida

P Pat O'Donnell, Cincinnati

KR Ralph David Abernathy IV, Cincinnati

PR Nick Williams, Connecticut

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Big East Team

  First Second Third Overall
Cincinnati 2 4 2 8
Connecticut 6 2 4 12
Louisville 4 4 2 10
Pittsburgh 3 3 4 10
Rutgers 4 5 1 10
South Florida 5 2 7 14
Syracuse 2 3 4 9
Temple 0 3 2 5

Second-Team Offense

QB B.J. Daniels, South Florida

RB Matt Brown, Temple

RB Jawan Jamison, Rutgers

WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

WR DeVante Parker, Louisville

TE Hubie Graham, Pittsburgh

C Ryan Turnley, Pittsburgh

OL Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati

OL Zack Chibane, Syracuse

OL Chris Jacobson, Pittsburgh

OL John Miller, Louisville

Second-Team Defense

DL Dan Giordano, Cincinnati

DL Jesse Joseph, Connecticut

DL Marcus Smith, Louisville

DL Walter Stewart, Cincinnati

LB Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers

LB Preston Brown, Louisville

LB Marquis Spruill, Syracuse

CB Kayvon Webster, South Florida

CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut

S Drew Frey, Cincinnati

S Duron Harmon, Rutgers

Second-Team Specialists

K Ross Krautman, Syracuse

P Brandon McManus, Temple

KR Jeremy Deering, Rutgers

PR Matt Brown, Temple

Third-Team Offense

QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

RB Dominique Brown, Louisville

RB Demetris Murray, South Florida

WR Anthony McClung, Cincinnati

WR Devin Street, Pittsburgh

TE Evan Landi, South Florida

C Macky MacPherson, Syracuse

OL Danous Estenor, South Florida

OL R.J. Dill, Rutgers

OL Quinterrius Eatmon, South Florida

OL Martin Wallace, Temple

Third-Team Defense

DL Levi Brown, Temple

DL Deon Goggins, Syracuse

DL Roy Philon, Louisville

DL Elkino Watson, South Florida

LB Sam Barrington, South Florida

LB Maalik Bomar, Cincinnati

LB Jory Johnson, Connecticut

CB Dwayne Gratz, Connecticut

CB K'Waun Williams, Pittsburgh

S Jon Lejiste, South Florida

S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse

Third-Team Specialists

K Kevin Harper, Pittsburgh

P Cole Wagner, Connecticut

KR Nick Williams, Connecticut

PR Ronald Jones, Pittsburgh

Athlon's 2012 Big East Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Big East Predictions

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut South Florida
Louisville Syracuse
Pittsburgh Temple

<p> Big East Football 2012 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/tcu-football-horned-frogs-come-home-big-12

It really wasn’t that long ago when TCU football was barely a topic of discussion around Fort Worth.

For 38 years — from 1960 to 1997 — the Horned Frogs had seven winning seasons and three bowl appearances. Oh, sure, there were a few moments of glory. The ’65 team went 6–5 and earned a Sun Bowl berth. The ’67 team won at Texas. In 1984, after 12 consecutive losing seasons, TCU finished 8–4 and earned a trip to the Bluebonnet Bowl under coach Jim Wacker. But for every high point, there were 20 lows. For a 10-year stretch — from 1974 to 1983 — a third of the Frogs’ wins (five of 15) came against Rice, the Southwest Conference doormat. Otherwise, TCU was the doormat. The Frogs went 1–20–3 in road games from 1979 to 1983.

When Dennis Franchione left New Mexico to take over TCU in 1998, he inherited a 1–10 team. The lone win was Pat Sullivan’s last at TCU, a regular-season finale against SMU in front of 19,000 indifferent fans in a “rivalry” game.

From Albuquerque, Franchione brought with him a little-known defensive coordinator. Three years later, when Franchione bolted for the job at Alabama in December 2000, that coordinator, Gary Patterson, was named TCU’s coach before the Frogs played Southern Miss in the Mobile Alabama Bowl.

Patterson wasn’t a unanimous choice, either. Although his defense led the nation in 2000, he was unpolished, and some at TCU weren’t sure if he was ready for a head coaching job after a less-than-stellar interview. Finally, one major donor spoke up and declared that TCU didn’t need somebody who interviewed well, but someone who knew how to coach. Patterson, then a 40-year-old who had coached at 10 other places before arriving at TCU, was their man.

Now, with 109 wins and 10 bowl appearances since he was hired on a full-time basis, Patterson has become something of a mythical figure in the eyes of Frog fans, who have watched their team go from upstart, to conference juggernaut, to legitimate BCS contender in 12 years. Young fans weren’t even alive when TCU was left for dead when the Southwest Conference broke up in 1995 to form the Big 12.

“The omission, sort of being left out of the club, was a kick in the pants,” says former player and longtime TCU radio analyst John Denton. “It got people’s attention. The alums and the school realized we weren’t as well positioned, nor did we know what was going on. Our reputation and how people looked at us from the outside in was poor, and it wasn’t just football. The entire program needed to be looked at.”

So the school set out on a 12-year conference affiliation odyssey, beginning with the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. TCU joined Conference USA in 2001 and then the Mountain West in 2005. After undefeated regular seasons in 2009 and 2010, TCU accepted an invitation to the Big East, an awkward geographic fit, but no more so than trips to San Diego State and UNLV in the MWC.

When conference realignment started up again in the summer of 2011, an invitation to the Big 12 came to fruition and TCU, finally, was asked back into the club with Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor.

“I’d like to welcome you home,” Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told a packed ballroom full of TCU administrators, donors and alumni on Oct. 10.

The return “home” wasn’t just a result of winning, although that undoubtedly had a positive effect. It was also a culmination of a rededication to the football program, including facilities and coaching salaries, that began with the hiring of Franchione.  

Until then, TCU football was given little consideration.

“The entire athletic department was a backburner operation,” Denton says of the ’70s and ’80s. “It was part of the university, but it wasn’t invested in.”

About the time Texas’ Darrell Royal and Arkansas’ Frank Broyles began to ratchet up the importance of their programs in the early 1960s, TCU began to slowly fade to the background, only occasionally fielding a competitive team. In one brutal stretch from 1974-76, the Frogs won two games.

“The leaders of the university just decided they weren’t going to get caught up in the arms race,” Denton says. “Texas and Arkansas kind of took the Southwest Conference to a new level and kind of left TCU, SMU and Baylor behind. They ruled the roost for the better part of 20-25 years starting in the early ’60s.”

A turning point came in Franchione’s first year in 1998. After a 1–10 season the year before, TCU won its last two regular-season games, both on the road, to earn a trip to the Sun Bowl against USC. The Frogs upset the Trojans 28–19 for their first bowl win since the 1957 Cotton Bowl.

In the next two years, TCU continued to improve, winning a share of the WAC title and earning a bowl bid each season. Since taking over, Patterson has led his team to a bowl in 10 of 11 seasons, including two BCS bowls — the Fiesta Bowl after the 2009 season, and the Rose Bowl after the 2010 season. TCU defeated Wisconsin in the Rose to cap a 13–0 season, its first undefeated campaign since 1938.

People are talking TCU football now. The school will unveil its $164 million renovations to Amon G. Carter Stadium during the season opener Sept. 8 against Grambling State. A brand new locker room, training room, and equipment room are set to open in July. A state of the art weight room opened last fall.

The Frogs are the talk of the town again. They sold a record 22,000 season tickets in 2011 and hope to reach 30,000 in 2012. Pretty impressive for a school with an enrollment of about 9,500.

Only two programs — Alabama and Oregon — rank ahead of TCU in average final Associated Press ranking since 2008. Patterson’s next win will make him the all-time leader in TCU history, surpassing Frog legend Dutch Meyer, who went 109–79–13 from 1934-52. Patterson has lost only 30 times and has shepherded a defense that has led the nation five times since 2000.

The move from the Mountain West to the Big 12 will test TCU’s depth and athletic ability at nearly every position. But compared to the travels the team has been on since 1995, the move back “home” feels right.

Patterson often spoke during spring practice of the challenge the Big 12 would pose for his team. After the team’s last practice in April, his encapsulation of his team’s progress stood also as a metaphor for his program.

“We grew the team up,” Patterson said. “We still have a long way to go to be what we want to be, but we’re not where we were.”

Related Big 12 Content

Athlon's 2012 Big 12 Predictions
Athlon's 2012 All-Big 12 Team

Athlon's College Football Top 25 for 2012
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 26-35
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 36-45
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 46-60
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 61-80
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 81-100
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 101-124

<p> TCU football has made quite a climb in recent years.</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:26
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2012-predictions

The Mountain West will have yet another new look in 2012. The ever-changing conference lost TCU — which went 48–7 during its seven-year stay — to the Big 12 and added Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii from the WAC. Next year, it will be time for another makeover when Boise State and San Diego State make their move to the Big East.

For now, the MW is a 10-team league that features one top-25 team (Boise State), a solid second tier (Nevada and Fresno State), and four other teams (Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force and San Diego State) that are good enough to play in a bowl game.

Boise State is in rebuilding mode after losing seven first-team All-Mountain West picks, most notably record-setting quarterback Kellen Moore and first-round NFL draft pick tailback Doug Martin. Still, the Broncos remain the team to beat. Junior Joe Southwick is next in line at quarterback, and he will spread the ball around to a talented group of skill players led by tailback D.J. Harper and wide receivers Matt Miller and Mitch Burroughs. The defense, which returns only one starter, is the biggest concern for coach Chris Petersen’s club.

Nevada, which went 19–4 in its final three seasons in the WAC, will lean on sophomore quarterback Cody Fajardo, who earned 2011 WAC Freshman of the Year honors after throwing for 1,707 yards and running for 694 out of Chris Ault’s Pistol attack. The Wolf Pack have a favorable league schedule, with both Fresno State and Boise State visiting Reno in November.

For the first time since 1996, Pat Hill will not be roaming the sidelines at Fresno State. The Bulldogs are now under the control of Tim DeRuyter, who spent three years (2007-09) in the MWC as the defensive coordinator at Air Force before taking over the same position at Texas A&M in ’10. Fresno State will feature two of the league’s top offensive players — quarterback Derek Carr (26 TDs in 2011) and tailback Robbie Rouse (1,549 yards).

Wyoming was the biggest surprise in the MWC in 2011. Led by true freshman quarterback Brett Smith (2,622 yards passing, 710 rushing), the Cowboys went 5–2 in the league, with the only losses to TCU and Boise State.  After struggling through its third straight 3–9 season, Colorado State fired Steve Fairchild (a former CSU quarterback) and hired Jim McElwain, who picked up two national title rings as the offensive coordinator at Alabama. The Rams’ offense will feature tailback Chris Nwoke, a second-team All-MWC pick last year after rushing for 1,130 yards.

Air Force, as usual, has major holes to fill. The Falcons must replace quarterback Tim Jefferson (a four-year starter) and halfback Asher Clark, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher. A big key for Air Force will be on defense, where it ranked 109th in the nation in stopping the run in 2011. San Diego State is coming off back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time as a Division I program. To make it three straight, the Aztecs will need a productive season from quarterback Ryan Katz, a post-graduate transfer from Oregon State who will step in for Ryan Lindley.

Hawaii is now under the leadership of Norm Chow, a longtime offensive coordinator who is getting his first opportunity to run his own program. The Warriors figure to struggle due in large part to the loss of eight players who received either first- or second-team All-WAC honors in 2011. With a 4–21 record in two seasons, Bobby Hauck will need to show some significant improvement at UNLV this fall. The Rebels’ 10 losses in 2011 came by an average of 30.1 points. Not good.

The train wreck known as the Mike Locksley era at New Mexico mercifully ended late last September. It’s up to former Notre Dame boss Bob Davie to pick up the pieces. Davie, who went 35–25 in five seasons with the Fighting Irish, has been out of coaching since 2001.

Athlon's 2012 Mountain West Team Previews

Air Force Nevada
Boise State New Mexico
Colorado State San Diego State
Fresno State UNLV
Hawaii Wyoming

Athlon's 2012 College Football Rankings

Athlon's College Football Top 25 for 2012
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 26-35
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 36-45
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 46-60
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 61-80
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 81-100
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 101-124

<p> Mountain West 2012 Team Predictions</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/college-football-superconference-realignment-draft-part-1

Welcome to the 2012 NCAA (National Conglomerate of Athlon Authorities) conference realignment draft.

Our esteemed conference commissioners -- Mitch Light, Braden Gall, Steven Lassan and David Fox -- will put an end to the conference realignment madness, which stretched into yet another summer this year, with the first (and hopefully, only) conference alignment draft.

Today, we wipe the slate clean and see where the chips fall if our commissioners could start from scratch. Rather than settle alignments through third parties, backroom deals and non-denial denials, we’ll start with a 16-round draft for our four conferences.

Here are the ground rules: Each commissioner drafts the entire package -- the program’s history, current performance and personnel and long-term potential. Each commissioner will take on an entire athletic program, from football to men’s basketball to lacrosse and gymnastics, the program’s academic reputation, and any NCAA baggage.

It’s up to our commissioners to decide the values and format of the conference.  Our commissioners will decide if regions and rivalries are important, if the league should be well-rounded among all sports and academics or if the league will be a football powerhouse moneymaker.

We’ve allotted 16 spots to draft, but if a commissioner wants to draft eight basketball powerhouses and call it a day, that’s fine. That commissioner, however, might have a league full of angry chancellors and athletic directors who aren’t rolling in the money of the other three football-centric leagues. Draft order was determined by a blind draw.

At the end of the draft, the commissioners will determine their league format, divisions, playoffs or conference championship games.

Starting now, we're on the clock:


1. Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Texas
I considered Florida, but Texas was just too powerful to pass up with the No. 1 overall pick. The UT athletic department has the largest budget in the nation — and the highest revenues. The football team has struggled the past two seasons, but the Horns won at least 10 games from 2001-09. This is a program that will compete for national titles.

2. Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Alabama
Florida and Ohio State were both in the mix for me here with the No. 2 overall pick. I choose Alabama, however, due to the current state of its football program. The Crimson Tide is the best football program in the nation and Nick Saban is the best coach in the nation. Since it is also the most dedicated fanbase in the nation, Bama football won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Even if the top coach in the nation decides to, gasp, retire. A quality basketball coach, solid baseball program and softball national champions didn’t hurt Alabama’s case either.

3. Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Florida
It was really a no-brainer to start my conference with Florida. This is a key state for recruiting, and the Gators have won two football national titles since 2006. Florida also brings a solid basketball program and is a member of the AAU (Association of American Universities).

4. David Fox (@DavidFox615): Ohio State
With back-to-back picks on the turn, I’m able to secure two power programs to start my league. USC and Notre Dame are available, but I opted for Ohio State. I’m not too worried about the Buckeyes’ recent NCAA issues. Bringing in Urban Meyer ensures the football program won’t suffer for long. Ohio State brings my league an athletic department that’s normally in the top-10 of the Director’s Cup standings and is financially solvent enough to pay for itself and more.


5. Fox: Michigan
I started this draft with the plan to maintain traditional rivalries and to build a league that makes sense geographically. If I were picking simply the best available, I might follow Ohio State with USC or Notre Dame, but I like the Ohio State-Michigan tandem to the be the foundation of my conference. I could have gone with USC-Notre Dame or Michigan-Notre Dame and keep rivals together as well, but the Wolverines needed only one season to pull out of the Rich Rodriguez funk while the Irish are still struggling to find their way. With my first two picks, I have two well-rounded athletic programs with massive alumni bases.
6. Lassan: USC
I considered taking USC at No. 2 overall, so I was surprised to see them fall to the No. 6 spot. The Trojans are a huge brand on the West Coast and bring a national power in football. The basketball program has experienced some success, but this is all about the gridiron.

7. Gall: Notre Dame
I wanted to spread my conference into the Midwest, where there are more TV sets than anywhere in the country, so Notre Dame was the obvious pick. The Irish brand is arguably the most powerful national brand in college sports today, and, now that Notre Dame is finally in a conference, it will quickly return to national prominence. The overall athletic department is stellar and is guaranteed to attract huge TV dollars. Plus, the idea of an Alabama-Notre Dame showdown every year was too sexy to pass up.

8. Light: Oklahoma
Maintaining one of the nation’s top rivalry games — OU vs. Texas — was a factor, but OU was simply the best football program on the board with the No. 8 overall pick. The basketball program is showing signs of life under Lon Kruger and the baseball team has been to the College World Series twice in the past three years.


9. Light: Georgia
It was tough to pass up LSU, but Georgia gets my league into Atlanta and gives me an anchor in the deep South. The football program has been solid over the years, but the Dawgs have won only two outright SEC titles since the 1982. With the right coach in place — and Mark Richt could still be the right coach — Georgia should be in the national title picture on a semi-regular basis.

10. Gall: LSU
Getting the LSU Tigers in the third round felt like a steal. After a 30-year hiatus, LSU has returned to football’s upper echelon on the back of quality coaching, elite fan support, arguably the best facilities in the SEC and a tremendous natural recruiting base. Additionally, the baseball program has led the nation in attendance 16 straight seasons and the hoops program was in the Final Four just a few years ago.

11. Lassan: Florida State
I’m a big fan of rivalries, so it only makes sense to pair Florida with Florida State. The Seminoles may have underachieved recently, but this program can compete for national titles. Florida State basketball is coming off an ACC Tournament Championship, and the baseball team is solid.

12. Fox: Oregon
I want my conference to have at least two geographic divisions. Before Lassan took Florida State, I was going to take the Seminoles and Miami to anchor my Southern division. With FSU off the board, I’m looking West with Oregon. I’d rather have USC, but the Ducks are clearly the No. 2 program on the West Coast. I also like the idea of the Ducks’ flash to counterbalance the more traditional elements Ohio State and Michigan bring to the league.


13. Fox: Washington
I admit it: This is a major reach. There’s no way a program more than a decade removed from its last Rose Bowl should be the 13th team drafted. But like I said, rivalries and regions will be one of the main features of my conference. Oregon and Washington give me two rivals to anchor the Western portion of my league. I drafted Washington too high, but this isn’t a bad Plan B for a Western Division if I can’t have USC.

14. Lassan: UCLA
This was a tough pick. I debated taking Nebraska, but I thought getting the Bruins to pair with USC made too much sense. UCLA should be better in football, and the basketball program has a rich history. And there’s nothing wrong with having two teams in the Los Angeles market.

15. Gall: Nebraska
I was ecstatic to land one of the most powerful football brands in the history of college football with my fourth pick. The Huskers are one of the most technologically advanced programs in the nation and the fan support is virtually unparallel. Few programs can match the staying power and tradition of the Cornhuskers, and, being located in the Midwest, extends my league’s reach into the most lucrative TV market in the sport.

16. Light: Penn State
The program is going through some turmoil, but Penn State football is a national brand with a tremendous following in the nation’s sixth-most populous state. The school ranked sixth in athletic revenue from 2006-11 according to a USA Today study. The one negative: None of the other major sports will bring much to the table. This is a football-only play.

Coming tomorrow: The next four rounds of our conference draft, which includes picks Nos. 17 through 32. Our four commissioners are starting to eye some national names that have gone dormant in addition to some elite basketball powers.

Skip ahead to: Rounds 5-8 | Rounds 9-12

National Conglomerate of Athlon Authorities Conference Alignment

Rd Mitch Light Braden Gall Steven Lassan David Fox
1 >> Texas Alabama Florida Ohio State
2 << Oklahoma Notre Dame USC Michigan
3 >> Georgia LSU Florida State Oregon
4 << Penn State Nebraska UCLA Washington

Related College Football Content

Athlon's 2012 Conference Predictions
Athlon's Top 25 for 2012

<p> College football conference realignment draft</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:10
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/ask-athlon-sports-baseball-history

Q: In the early days of baseball, it’s my understanding that a “courtesy runner” could at times take the base in the place of an injured player, although the injured player would remain in the game. It was the option of the opposing team to allow the courtesy runner, and to designate a slow player to take the base. I don’t believe the courtesy runner was entered in the box score. Who was the last courtesy runner in the major leagues?

— Edward Rhoades, Ramsey, N.J.

A: Edward, you really know your baseball history. There was such a thing as a courtesy runner, and it was distinct from the pinch-runner, which is obviously still in use today. Here’s the scoop from one of our favorite websites, “In the early days of baseball, when rosters were much more limited, there were courtesy runners in addition to pinch-runners. A courtesy runner was put in when the normal runner was temporarily incapacitated by an injury. A courtesy runner had to be agreed by the opposite manager, and his presence in the game was not considered as an official substitution. He could therefore be used again once his running duty was completed, or could be a player already in the lineup, and the player for whom he ran would usually return to the game in the next half-inning. In contrast with pinch-runners, courtesy runners tended to be slow baserunners. The last courtesy runner in a Major League Game was used in 1949.”

Charlie Miller, Editorial Director

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at [email protected]
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

<p> Baseball History</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 15:18
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/ask-athlon-sports-horse-racing

Q: Please explain to me how horse racing odds are figured. I’ve always wondered.

— Danny Coulthard, North Tazewell, Va

A: Danny, it’s not as mysterious as it seems. Basically, the odds are set by the bettors themselves. The track is in business to make money, and it covers its bases by ensuring that equal amounts are bet on all horses, so the more money bet on a horse, the lower its odds, and hence, the lower the payout. The odds for an individual horse are determined by taking the total amount of money bet on all horses in that race and figuring what percentage has been bet on the horse in question, minus a portion for the track’s take. Here’s a scenario that may explain it more clearly: $1,100 has been bet on all horses in a given race, and of that total, $375 has been bet on Horse A to win. Let’s say that the track takes 15 percent as its cut, so $1,100 multiplied by .85 equals $935. Subtract the $375 bet on Horse A, leaving $560. Then, divide the total remaining pool by the amount bet on Horse A, $560 divided by $375, giving you $1.49. That’s rounded up to $1.50, so Horse A’s odds to win are set at 1.5:1. Of course, at the beginning the day, no money has been wagered, so the initial odds are set by a handicapper who provides a baseline for the day’s odds.

Nathan Rush, Editor

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at [email protected]
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

<p> Horse Racing odds</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 15:14
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/ask-athlon-sports-baseball

Q: I would like to know where the baseball term “Texas Leaguer” originated. I know it refers to a base hit that lands too far out for the infielder and too far in for the outfielder, but how and where did it get its name?

— Tom Ferraris, Whitestone, N.Y.

A: Much of baseball’s colorful terminology has slightly murky origins, and the term “Texas Leaguer,” which refers to a bloop hit that lands between the infield and the outfield, is no exception. As best we can tell, the term originated with a player named Ollie Pickering, a major league outfielder from 1896 to 1908 who had the distinction of being the first batter in an American League game as a member of the Cleveland Blues in 1901. News accounts of the time indicated that Pickering, who had been a popular player in the Texas League (a renowned minor league that dates back to 1884), once ran off a string of eight straight bloop hits, prompting onlookers to remark, “There goes Pickering with another one of those Texas Leaguers.”

Rob Doster, Senior Editor

Have a question? Email us with any sports-related questions at [email protected]
Please include first and last name, plus hometown.

<p> Ask Athlon Sports: Baseball</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 15:04
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Pac-12 teams for this season.

First-Team Offense

QB Matt Barkley, USC

RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

RB John White, Utah

WR Keenan Allen, California

WR Robert Woods, USC

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

C Khaled Holmes, USC

OL David Bakhtiari, Colorado

OL John Fullington, Washington State

OL Kevin Graf, USC

OL David Yankey, Stanford

First-Team Defense

DL Wes Horton, USC

DL Dion Jordan, Oregon

DL Travis Long, Washington State

DL Star Lotulelei, Utah

LB Dion Bailey, USC

LB Michael Clay, Oregon

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford

CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State

CB Nickell Robey, USC

S John Boyett, Oregon

S T.J. McDonald, USC

First-Team Specialists

K Andre Heidari, USC

P Jeff Locke, UCLA

KR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

PR Jamal Miles, Arizona State

AP De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Pac-12 Team

  First Second Third Overall
Arizona 0 0 2 2
Arizona State 1 2 3 6
California 1 2 2 5
Colorado 1 1 1 3
Oregon 6 3 3 12
Oregon State 1 1 3 5
Stanford 2 6 1 9
UCLA 1 1 3 5
USC 9 2 2 13
Utah 2 1 1 4
Washington 1 5 3 9
Washington State 2 2 2 6


Second-Team Offense

QB Keith Price, Washington

RB Isi Sofele, California

RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford

WR Marqise Lee, USC

WR Marquess Wilson, Washington State

TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA

C Drew Schaefer, Washington

OL Nick Cody, Oregon 

OL Evan Finkenberg, Arizona State

OL Cameron Fleming, Stanford

OL Matt Summers-Gavin, California

Second-Team Defense

DL Scott Crichton, Oregon State

DL Ben Gardner, Stanford

DL Taylor Hart, Oregon

DL Hau'oli Jamora, Washington

LB Jon Major, Colorado

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

LB Shayne Skov, Stanford

CB Damante Horton, Washington State

CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

S Brian Blechen, Utah

S Sean Parker, Washington

Second-Team Specialists

K Jordan Williamson, Stanford

P Jackson Rice, Oregon

KR Jamal Miles, Arizona State

PR Drew Terrell, Stanford

Third-Team Offense

QB Jeff Tuel, Washington State

RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

RB Cameron Marshall, Arizona State

WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

WR Kasen Williams, Washington

TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford

C Kyle Quinn, Arizona

OL Josh Andrews, Oregon State

OL Marcus Martin, USC

OL Xavier Su'a Filo, UCLA

OL Carson York, Oregon

Third-Team Defense

DL Deandre Coleman, California

DL Devon Kennard, USC

DL Will Pericak, Colorado

DL Josh Shirley, Washington

LB Kiko Alonso, Oregon

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

LB Chris McCain, California

CB Osahon Irabor, Arizona State

CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon

S Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Arizona

S Deone Bucannon, Washington State

Third-Team Specialists

K Coleman Petersen, Utah

P Josh Hubner, Arizona State

KR Kevin Smith, Washington

PR Jordan Poyer, Oregon State

Athlon's 2012 Pac-12 Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Pac-12 Predictions

North South
California Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State Colorado
Stanford UCLA
Washington USC
Washington State Utah

<p> Pac-12 Football 2012 All-Conference Team.</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2012-all-conference-team-recruit

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at all-conference teams from across the nation. But where did all these tremendous all-league performers come from and how did they get where they are today? Some showed up on campus as five-star uber-recruits and others defied all odds as walk-ons. Athlon analyzes how the 2012 preseason All-Pac-12 team ranked as recruits.

Related: Athlon Sports 2012 preseason All-Pac-12 Teams

AC100: Athlon Consensus 100 prospect

All-Pac-12 Preseason First-Team Offense:

Matt Barkley, QB, USC (2009) AC100
The Golden Boy from Newport Beach (Calif.) Mater Dei has absolutely lived-up to his top billing as the nation's No. 1 prospect by Athlon Sports. He sat atop the AC100 for the entire 2009 cycle and has dominated college football ever since enrolling at USC.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon (2008)
The Riverside (Calif.) Notre Dame prospect was ranked as the No. 38 running back in the nation and the No. 86-rated player in the state of California by Rivals. He was a three-star recruit.

John White, RB, Utah (2011) JUCO
Was listed as a three-star junior college prospect in last year's class. He was completely unranked in the JUCO rankings by

Keenan Allen, WR, Cal (2010) AC100
The Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford prospect trailed only Tony Jefferson as the nation's top 'athlete' recuit. He was No. 26 in the top 100 and was the No. 2 player it the Tar Heel State (Robert Crisp) by Athlon Sports.

Robert Woods, WR, USC (2010) AC100
The Carson (Calif.) Junipero Serra was named the Athlon Sports High School Player of the Year when he was a senior. He finished as the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the nation and trailed only Ronald Powell and Seantrel Henderson nationally as he finished No. 3 overall by Athlon Sports.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington (2011) AC100
The record-setting freshman from Fox Island (Wash.) Gig Harbor proved his status as the No. 3 tight end prospect in the nation to be accurate. He was the No. 33 overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports.

Khaled Holmes, C, USC (2008)
The big blocker from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei was the No. 3 offensive guard, was rated No. 104 overall and the No. 14 player in The Golden State by Rivals.

David Bakhtiari, OL, Colorado (2009)
The San Mateo (Calif.) Junipero Serra was teammates with Robert Woods (and other stellar wideouts) but got very little recruiting hype. He was a two-star unrated prospect by Rivals.

John Fullington, OL, Washington State (2010)
The Belfair (Wash.) North Mason product was the No. 70 offensive tackle prospect in the nation and the No. 16-rated player in The Evergreen State by Rivals.

Kevin Graf, OL, USC (2009) AC100
A top 100 talent from Agoura, Calif., Graf was the No. 9-rated offensive lineman and the No. 51-rated overall prospect in the class of 2009 by Athlon Sports.

David Yankey, OL, Stanford (2010)
The massive Cardinal hails from Roswell (Ga.) Centennial and was only the No. 53-rated player in The Peach State back in 2010. He was the No. 47-rated offensive tackle by Rivals.

De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon (2011) AC100
Football's version of the Black Mamba signed with Oregon from Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw High. Thomas was the nation's No. 1 'athlete' prospect and the No. 5-rated player in the entire nation. 

All-Pac-12 Preseason First-Team Defense:

Wes Horton, DL, USC (2008)
The top 100 prospect from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame was the No. 3-rated strongside defensive end in the nation by Rivals. He was also listed as the No. 40-rated prospect nationally and the No. 6 player in the state of California.

Dion Jordan, DL, Oregon (2008)
Coming to Eugene from Chandler, Ariz., Jordan was a four-star recruit who ranked as the No. 15 overall tight end prospect in the nation and the No. 7-rated player in the state by Rivals.

Travis Long, DL, Washington State (2009)
A lower-rated prospect, Long came to Pullman as the No. 13-rated player in the state of Washington (Gonzaga Prep) by Rivals. He was a three-star recruit.

Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah (2007)
Originally, the Bingham, Utah prospect signed with BYU but didn't qualify. He was a three-star recruit who ranked as the No. 3 player in the state of Utah. He went to Snow College before heading to Utah.

Dion Bailey, LB, USC (2010) AC100
Bailey was a top 100 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety prospect from Lakewood, Calif. He was the No. 12-rated defensive back and the No. 96 overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports.

Michael Clay, LB, Oregon (2009)
A bit undersized — he was listed at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds as a recruit — Clay came to Oregon from San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep as a three-star. Rivals rated him the No. 43 outside linebacker and the No. 61 player in the state.

Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford (2008)
From Marietta (Ga.) Walton, Thomas was a three-star outside linebacker prospect by Rivals who ranked as the No. 26-best player in the state and the No. 27-best player at his position.

Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (2009)
From Astoria, Ore., Poyer was underrecruited by nearly everyone. He was an unranked two-star prospect by who got one D-1 offer: Oregon State.

Nickell Robey, CB, USC (2010)
The cornerback from Frostproof, Fla., was the No. 34-rated defensive back in the nation and the No. 226-rated player overall by Athlon Sports.

T.J. McDonald, S, USC (2009) AC100
The NFL legacy from Fresno (Calif.) Edison was the No. 9-rated defensive back in the nation and the No. 76-rated overall player in the nation by Athlon Sports.

John Boyett, S, Oregon (2008)
Coming from Napa (Calif.) High, Boyett was a middle of the pack prospect with a three-star ranking. He was the No. 91-rated player in California and the No. 64-rated safety in the nation by

Athlon's 2012 Pac-12 Team Previews

North South
California Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State Colorado
Stanford UCLA
Washington USC
Washington State Utah

-by Braden Gall


<p> Pac-12 Football: 2012 All-Conference Team As Recruits</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-fantasy-football-athlons-top-250

The 2012 NFL Fantasy Season is here. Mock drafts abound. Rookie round-ups are nearly complete. Bye week cheat sheets and player rankings are everywhere. 

For example, ESPN's has 300 players ranked, while Yahoo! lists 200. We settled on a number in between, offering up our 2012 Fantasy Football Top 250.

Our rankings are a little different in that they include Individual Defensive Players or IDPs. So not only do we have our positional rankings of the top DLs, LBs and DBs for 2012, we also have incorporated these IDPs into our overall 250. 

Also, don't forget about the ever-important Athlon Sports 2012 Big Board, the most accurate consensus top 150 list of fantasy footballers on the web.

Athlon Sports' Top 250 w/ IDPs

Rank Player Team Pos Bye
1 Arian Foster HOU RB 8
2 Ray Rice BAL RB 8
3 LeSean McCoy PHI RB 7
4 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 10
5 Calvin Johnson DET WR 5
6 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC RB 6
7 Tom Brady NE QB 9
8 Drew Brees NO QB 6
9 Chris Johnson TEN RB 11
10 Larry Fitzgerald ARI WR 10
11 Matthew Stafford DET QB 5
12 Matt Forte CHI RB 6
13 Ryan Mathews SD RB 7
14 Darren McFadden OAK RB 5
15 Marshawn Lynch SEA RB 11
16 Roddy White ATL WR 7
17 Jamaal Charles KC RB 7
18 Andre Johnson HOU WR 8
19 Cam Newton CAR QB 6
20 Frank Gore SF RB 9
21 Michael Turner ATL RB 7
22 Adrian Peterson MIN RB 11
23 Wes Welker NE WR 9
24 Greg Jennings GB WR 10
25 Rob Gronkowski NE TE 9
26 A.J. Green CIN WR 8
27 Hakeem Nicks NYG WR 11
28 Mike Wallace PIT WR 4
29 Jimmy Graham NO TE 6
30 Julio Jones ATL WR 7
31 Jordy Nelson GB WR 10
32 Victor Cruz NYG WR 11
33 Trent Richardson CLE RB 10
34 DeMarco Murray DAL RB 5
35 Brandon Marshall CHI WR 6
36 Steven Jackson STL RB 9
37 Dez Bryant DAL WR 5
38 Fred Jackson BUF RB 8
39 Marques Colston NO WR 6
40 Steve Smith CAR WR 6
41 Tony Romo DAL QB 5
42 Eli Manning NYG QB 11
43 Philip Rivers SD QB 7
44 Darren Sproles NO RB 6
45 Reggie Bush MIA RB 7
46 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG RB 11
47 Michael Vick PHI QB 7
48 Roy Helu WAS RB 10
49 Willis McGahee DEN RB 7
50 Jeremy Maclin PHI WR 7
51 Mark Ingram NO RB 6
52 Miles Austin DAL WR 5
53 Vincent Jackson TB WR 5
54 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN RB 8
55 Shonn Greene NYJ RB 9
56 Percy Harvin MIN WR 11
57 Dwayne Bowe KC WR 7
58 Beanie Wells ARI RB 10
59 Stevie Johnson BUF WR 8
60 Demaryius Thomas DEN WR 7
61 DeSean Jackson PHI WR 7
62 Brandon Lloyd NE WR 9
63 Antonio Gates SD TE 7
64 Isaac Redman PIT RB 4
65 Jonathan Stewart CAR RB 6
66 DeAngelo Williams CAR RB 6
67 Antonio Brown PIT WR 4
68 Doug Martin TB RB 5
69 Jahvid Best DET RB 5
70 Aaron Hernandez NE TE 9
71 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 4
72 Torrey Smith BAL WR 8
73 Peyton Manning DEN QB 7
74 Kenny Britt TEN WR 11
75 Donald Brown IND RB 4
76 Stevan Ridley NE RB 9
77 Ben Tate HOU RB 8
78 C.J. Spiller BUF RB 8
79 Vernon Davis SF TE 9
80 Jason Witten DAL TE 5
81 Matt Ryan ATL QB 7
82 Pierre Garcon WAS WR 10
83 Jermichael Finley GB TE 10
84 Denarius Moore OAK WR 5
85 Robert Meachem SD WR 7
86 Anquan Boldin BAL WR 8
87 Lance Moore NO WR 6
88 James Starks GB RB 10
89 Toby Gerhart MIN RB 11
90 Peyton Hillis KC RB 7
91 David Wilson NYG RB 11
92 Brandon Pettigrew DET TE 5
93 Michael Bush CHI RB 6
94 Matt Schaub HOU QB 8
95 49ers SF DST 9
96 Justin Blackmon JAC WR 6
97 Sidney Rice SEA WR 11
98 Reggie Wayne IND WR 4
99 Eric Decker DEN WR 7
100 LeGarrette Blount TB RB 5
101 Jay Cutler CHI QB 6
102 Josh Freeman TB QB 5
103 Texans HOU DST 8
104 Carson Palmer OAK QB 5
105 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK WR 5
106 Fred Davis WAS TE 10
107 Steelers PIT DST 4
108 Santonio Holmes NYJ WR 9
109 Michael Crabtree SF WR 9
110 Robert Griffin III WAS QB 10
111 Jason Pierre-Paul NYG DL 11
112 Santana Moss WAS WR 10
113 Tony Gonzalez ATL TE 7
114 Eagles PHI DST 7
115 Felix Jones DAL RB 5
116 Bernard Scott CIN RB 8
117 Mikel Leshoure DET RB 5
118 Jared Allen MIN DL 11
119 Ryan Williams ARI RB 10
120 Greg Little CLE WR 10
121 Nate Washington TEN WR 11
122 Vincent Brown SD WR 7
123 Titus Young DET WR 5
124 Doug Baldwin SEA WR 11
125 Mike Williams TB WR 5
126 Jared Cook TEN TE 11
127 Patrick Willis SF LB 9
128 Owen Daniels HOU TE 8
129 Brent Celek PHI TE 7
130 Joe Flacco BAL QB 8
131 Andy Dalton CIN QB 8
132 Justin Tuck NYG DL 11
133 Trent Cole PHI DL 7
134 Daniel Thomas MIA RB 7
135 Pierre Thomas NO RB 6
136 Mike Tolbert CAR RB 6
137 Desmond Bishop GB LB 10
138 Julius Peppers CHI DL 6
139 James Laurinaitis STL LB 9
140 Bears CHI DST 6
141 Eric Berry KC DB 7
142 Shane Vereen NE RB 9
143 Dustin Keller NYJ TE 9
144 Mario Williams BUF DL 8
145 Derrick Johnson KC LB 7
146 Rashard Mendenhall PIT RB 4
147 Tim Hightower WAS RB 10
148 Jabaal Sheard CLE DL 10
149 Rashad Jennings JAC RB 6
150 Jermaine Gresham CIN TE 8
151 NaVorro Bowman SF LB 9
152 Cedric Benson FA RB  
153 Isaiah Pead STL RB 9
154 Tyvon Branch OAK DB 5
155 Ravens BAL DST 8
156 Greg Olsen CAR TE 6
157 Mike Goodson OAK RB 5
158 Calais Campbell ARI DL 10
159 Javon Ringer TEN RB 11
160 Danny Amendola STL WR 9
161 Malcom Floyd SD WR 7
162 D’Qwell Jackson CLE LB 10
163 Daryl Washington ARI LB 10
164 James Jones GB WR 10
165 Deion Branch NE WR 9
166 Patrick Chung NE DB 9
167 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL RB 7
168 Martellus Bennett NYG TE 11
169 Sean Weatherspoon ATL LB 7
170 LaMichael James SF RB 9
171 Emmanuel Sanders PIT WR 4
172 Leonard Hankerson WAS WR 10
173 Charles Johnson CAR DL 6
174 Elvis Dumervil DEN DL 7
175 Jason Babin PHI DL 7
176 Brandon Jacobs SF RB 9
177 Devery Henderson NO WR 6
178 Montario Hardesty CLE RB 10
179 Le'Ron McClain SD RB 7
180 Dexter McCluster KC RB 7
181 Michael Floyd ARI WR 10
182 Bernard Pierce BAL RB 8
183 Curtis Lofton NO LB 6
184 Coby Fleener IND TE 4
185 Kendall Wright TEN WR 11
186 Kendall Hunter SF RB 9
187 George Wilson BUF DB 8
188 Laurent Robinson JAC WR 6
189 Cliff Avril DET DL 5
190 Mario Manningham SF WR 9
191 Sam Bradford STL QB 9
192 Jets NYJ DST 9
193 Stephen Tulloch DET LB 5
194 Jerod Mayo NE LB 9
195 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF QB 8
196 Chris Long STL DL 9
197 Rueben Randle NYG WR 11
198 Eric Weddle SD DB 7
199 Randy Moss SF WR 9
200 Colin McCarthy TEN LB 11
201 Paul Posluszny JAC LB 6
202 Pat Angerer IND LB 4
203 Plaxico Burress FA WR  
204 Kam Chancellor SEA DB 11
205 Brandon Stokley DEN WR 7
206 Earl Bennett CHI WR 6
207 Ray Lewis BAL LB 8
208 Brian Urlacher CHI LB 6
209 Alex Smith SF QB 9
210 Jacob Tamme DEN TE 7
211 Kyle Rudolph MIN TE 11
212 Seahawks SEA DST 11
213 Bengals CIN DST 8
214 J.J. Watt HOU DL 8
215 Heath Miller PIT TE 4
216 Mark Sanchez NYJ QB 9
217 Jason Snelling ATL RB 7
218 Jon Baldwin KC WR 7
219 Josh Morgan WAS WR 10
220 Kevin Walter HOU WR 8
221 Randall Cobb GB WR 10
222 Austin Collie IND WR 4
223 LaRon Landry NYJ DB 9
224 Sean Lee DAL LB 5
225 Charles Tillman CHI DB 6
226 Steve Breaston KC WR 7
227 Andre Roberts ARI WR 10
228 Jacoby Jones BAL WR 8
229 Tony Moeaki KC TE 7
230 Giants NYG DST 11
231 Haloti Ngata BAL DL 8
232 Aldon Smith SF LB/DL 9
233 Osi Umenyiora NYG DL 11
234 Jacoby Ford OAK WR 5
235 Packers GB DST 10
236 Stephen Gostkowski NE K 9
237 Mason Crosby GB K 10
238 Luke Kuechly CAR LB 6
239 David Akers SF K 9
240 Dan Bailey DAL K 5
241 Sebastian Janikowski OAK K 5
242 Andrew Luck IND QB 4
243 Broncos DEN DST 7
244 Jason Avant PHI WR 7
245 Stephen Hill NYJ WR 9
246 Davone Bess MIA WR 7
247 Brian Hartline MIA WR 7
248 Andre Caldwell DEN WR 7
249 Eddie Royal SD WR 7
250 Steve Smith STL WR 9

— Published on June 22, 2012

Athlon Sports 2012 NFL Fantasy Content:

Athlon Sports Big Board: Top 150

2012 Fantasy Football Mock Draft I

2012 Bye Week Cheat Sheet

Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: QBs

Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: RBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: WRs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: TEs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: DLs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: LBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: DBs
Athlon Sports Fantasy Positional Rankings: IDP Top 75

Related: Order your Athlon Sports 2012 NFL Preview Magazine Here

You can preorder your award-winning Athlon Sports NFL Fantasy Football preview magazine here.
<p> 2012 NFL Fantasy Football Athlon Sports' Top 250</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 06:00