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Path: /college-football/minnesota-and-jerry-kill-team-rise-tough-schedule-awaits-november
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Now might be a decent time to start buying low on Minnesota in the Big Ten West Division. The balance of power in the Big Ten still appears to be in the top-heavy east, but the West can quickly become Minnesota’s to lose the way this season has been going.

 

Minnesota could be about to get a harsh dose of reality in the second half of the season. Before it does though, Minnesota has two games it should be able to win against Purdue and at Illinois. After that, it may be up to the momentum to carry them the rest of the way, because the back-end of the schedule could be steep.

 

Minnesota’s final four games are at home against Iowa and Ohio State and on the road at Nebraska and Wisconsin. The game with Iowa could determine first-place in the Big Ten West. Ohio State may be the best team in the Big Ten after all. Road trips to Nebraska and Wisconsin could have the division riding on the outcomes, and both the Huskers and Badgers figure to be favorites in that equation. But who can count Minnesota out?

 

Jerry Kill has been through a little bit of everything as a head coach, and he has battled back time and time again during his time at Minnesota. Seizures have become a public story for Kill, but each time he seems to come back more motivated to prove nothing will keep him down. That message has been a rally cry for the Gophers as well, because every time it looks as though Minnesota is getting knocked down, this team finds a way to respond.

 

Though the level of competition has not been too intimidating, outside of a road trip to TCU, you can see that mentality playing out this season. Against Middle Tennessee early in the year, Minnesota jumped out to a 28-0 lead. The Blue Raiders made things interesting in the second half, but the team found a way to hold on. It was a bit of an eye-opener for Minnesota and should have told this team that finishing strong is just as important as starting strong.

 

Last season Minnesota ended the season on a three-game losing streak, including a loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl, another game the Gophers failed to drive the final nail in the coffin.

 

This season has shown Minnesota can start strong. Now all that remains to be seen is how the Gophers finish.

- By Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB)

Teaser:
Minnesota and Jerry Kill a Team on the Rise - But Tough Schedule Awaits in November
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 16:10
Path: /college-football/michigan-state-remains-big-tens-best-team-despite-late-game-struggles
Body:

Michigan State may still be the best team in the Big Ten, but their struggles to close out games should be alarming for Spartans fans.

 

Painful memories of what could have been against Oregon are still fresh. Michigan State held a 27-18 lead at Oregon early in the season, and looked to be in full control of the Ducks. Then Oregon proceeded to score 28 unanswered points, sending the Spartans back to East Lansing with no parting gifts. A few weeks later Michigan State was once again in complete control of Nebraska, only to see the Huskers manage to put together a rally in the fourth quarter with 19 unanswered points. Fortunately for Michigan State, the damage to Nebraska had already been done and the Nebraska rally ran out of time.

 

This weekend Michigan State was a heavy favorite on the road against Purdue, but the Boilermakers gave Michigan State quite the fight. Rather than wait until the fourth quarter, Purdue came out swinging from start to finish. This game did not play out the way it did against Nebraska or Oregon, but it opens up a bit of a concern for the defending Big Ten champions moving forward.

 

How worried should Michigan State be after being outscored 50-45 over the last five quarters of play?

 

Michigan State has a decent enough track record in recent seasons to suggest the ship will eventually get back on the right course. Last season Michigan State allowed a high of 28 points in a game (twice, to Indiana and Nebraska) and already this season they have done so twice with some interesting offenses still to play. Maybe this year’s defense is not as automatic as its 2013 defense was, but Michigan State is still managing to play from ahead on a regular basis. And when the defense is put to the test to come up with a stop, more often than not Michigan State is finding a way to shut the door on opposing offenses.

 

"When you look at our football games, we're playing well enough to get up by 21 points and that's the first thing you have to be able to do," Dantonio said in his postgame comments following the win at Purdue Saturday. "When they come back, we somehow find a way at the end. I think that it makes us a stronger football team."

 

On Saturday it was Darien Harris coming to the rescue. With Purdue looking to tie things up with just about 90 seconds remaining to play, Harris picked off a pass deep in Purdue’s end of the field and returned it for a touchdown. In a sense, it was a 14-point swing and it was just the kind of big play the defense needed.

 

At this stage of the game, Michigan State is as battle-tested as almost any team can be. They have experienced the pain of losing and the thrill of victory when things become tight. As far as the Big Ten is concerned, Michigan State is still the team to beat. The playoffs may be another topic of debate, but it is likely no team would want to be paired against Michigan State defense in the four-team field.

- By Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB)

Teaser:
Michigan State Remains Big Ten's Best Team Despite Late-Game Struggles
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 15:50
Path: /college-football/michigans-win-over-penn-state-quiets-hot-seat-talk-brady-hoke-now
Body:

Michigan picked a good week to scrap together a win, but how much will a win over Penn State calm the noise surrounding the fate of head coach Brady Hoke? The fate of Hoke may already be written, but he at least gave reason to hold off any thought of being dismissed from his job in the middle of the season.

 

Though it would go against the grain of how schools of the size and caliber of Michigan typically handle things, there could have been an argument to be made supporting a decision to let Hoke go now if Michigan had lost to Penn State. A bye week before heading on the road to take on in-state rival Michigan State would have been a good time to allow an interim coach plenty of time to regroup the team’s focus and implement a game plan.

 

After Michigan wiggled by Penn State 18-13 Saturday night in the Big House, the talks about firing Hoke should be silenced, at least for now. Still, change should still be expected, and demanded, by the denizens in Ann Arbor, because a narrow six-point victory over a team visibly decimated up front by two years of sanctions is still little to be overly proud of. This Michigan team still has questions facing them in the coming weeks.

 

For starters, how does this team go into and come out of the bye week with Michigan State on deck? It has to feel good for Michigan to go into the bye off a win after a stretch of humbling losses. At the same time, Michigan’s offense only managed to score one touchdown, and that came on a play that was nearly an interception. The offense should remain a significant concern heading into the Michigan State game. Penn State’s defense is pretty good. Michigan State’s is the best in the Big Ten (for three quarters, at least).

 

Michigan still has to win three more games to become bowl eligible. It is not going to be easy if Michigan continues to play at this level. The Wolverines play road games at Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State. Home games against Indiana and Maryland are mixed in as well. In most seasons you would expect to say there are easily three automatic wins in that mix for Michigan, but that is not the case right now.

 

Hoke continues to sell the idea Michigan can still compete for a Big Ten championship. Mathematically speaking, he is 100 percent correct. Those who have been watching this team play are right to have a contrasting opinion to Hoke’s. Michigan may very well find three wins before the season is over, but it will still take something more for Hoke to be back as head coach in Michigan. Otherwise, the 2015 season will likely be more of the same for the Wolverines.

- By Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB)

Teaser:
Michigan's Win over Penn State Quiets Hot Seat Talk on Brady Hoke - For Now
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 15:25
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-left-tackle-jake-fisher-pac-12s-most-valuable-player
Body:

Oregon has a Heisman frontrunner in quarterback Marcus Mariota, but left tackle Jake Fisher might be the team’s most valuable player. That’s right, an offensive lineman might be the key to the Ducks’ playoff hopes and position in the national title picture over the next two months.

 

As an offensive lineman, Fisher doesn’t get much recognition playing a less-than-glamorous position.

However, just take a look at the stat sheet for the last three games and it’s apparent just how valuable Fisher is to Oregon.

After the offensive line allowed five sacks to Arizona last Thursday and gave up seven sacks to Washington State on Sept. 20, the Ducks did not give up a sack to UCLA on Saturday.

The result: Oregon won 42-30 and Mariota threw for 210 yards and two scores in a key rebound game for the Ducks. Oregon also averaged 6.9 yards per play - almost a full yard improvement from the 6.0 mark posted against Arizona.

 

Listen to the Week 7 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher


After last week’s loss to Arizona, Oregon had little margin for error. A loss to UCLA likely would have ended the Ducks’ playoff chances. And it’s not outlandish to think a poor performance from Oregon on Saturday would have ended Mariota’s Heisman hopes.

But Fisher’s return brought stability and a much-needed anchor to the offensive line.

Fisher earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors in back-to-back seasons (2012-13) and was picked by Athlon Sports to be one of the top linemen in the conference for 2014.

With Fisher back in the lineup, Oregon has more stability and a chance to develop chemistry at a critical time.

Next week, the Ducks host Washington and play Stanford on Nov. 1. The Huskies and Cardinal own two of the best front sevens in the nation, so it’s critical for Oregon to have Fisher back and operating at full strength to protect the blindside of Mariota.

Despite a setback to Arizona, the Ducks are still in the mix for a playoff spot. After an injured line limited the offense against Washington State and Arizona, the return of Fisher is a good sign for Oregon as it hopes to climb back in the playoff discussion.

There’s no doubt Mariota is one of the nation’s best players. But don’t forget about how valuable offensive linemen – especially a standout tackle like Fisher – are to a high-powered offense.  

 

Teaser:
Oregon Left Tackle Jake Fisher is the Pac-12's Most Valuable Player
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 15:00
Path: /college-football/dak-prescott-shines-again-national-stage
Body:

There was a buzz coming out of Starkville in the offseason. Those around the program were confident Dak Prescott was ready to make the transition from a great athlete playing quarterback to a great quarterback who is also a great athlete.

 

The buzz, in this case, was accurate. Prescott is enjoying a truly spectacular junior season and has emerged — at this point — as the clear frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.

 

His numbers compare favorably with the last three SEC quarterbacks, all of the dual-threat variety, to win the Heisman Trophy — Tim Tebow (2007), Cam Newton (2010) and Johnny Manziel (2012).

 

In three games against SEC competition — and against three teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game — Prescott is averaging 260.7 yards passing and 101.0 yards rushing. None of the aforementioned “Big Three” averaged more than 200 and 100 against league opponents, with Manziel falling short in the rushing category (87.3 ypg), Newton in the passing (162.9 ypg) and Tebow in the rushing (73.7 ypg).

 

Prescott showed some vulnerability in Saturday’s epic win over Auburn, throwing two interceptions and completing only 52.9 percent of his passes. But he still threw for 246 yards, ran for 121 and — most important — led his team to a 15-point victory over the No. 1 team in the nation.

 

It’s still relatively early in the 2014 season and several huge tests await — especially on the road — but Prescott has proven to be the best player on what is right now the best team in the country. Not bad for a 3-star recruit from Louisiana who didn’t garner an offer from the home-state LSU Tigers until late in the recruiting process.  

Teaser:
Dak Prescott Shines (Again) on National Stage
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 14:30
Path: /college-football/no-todd-gurley-no-problem-georgia
Body:

With Todd Gurley leading the offensive attack, Georgia had emerged as the best team in the SEC East over the first half of the season. Gurley is no longer part of the equation — at least for the foreseeable future — but there is still no doubt that Mark Richt’s team is the class of the division.

 

The Bulldogs were dominant on both sides of the ball en route to a statement-making 34–0 win at Missouri. The defense limited Missouri to 147 yards — the fewest allowed by Georgia in SEC play since a 2010 win against Vanderbilt — did not allow a drive that went for more than 50 yards and forced five turnovers. Offensively, the Bulldogs leaned on true freshman tailback Nick Chubb and savvy senior quarterback Hutson Mason. Chubb, the only available member of Georgia’s “Big Four” tailbacks, bullied his way to a career-high 143 yards on 38 carries. Mason’s stats, as usual, weren’t gaudy, but he completed 78.6 percent of his passes and did not commit a turnover. Late in the second quarter, he showed perfect touch when he connected with Michael Bennett on a 9-yard fade in the corner of the end zone.

 

“It’s all about getting comfortable and getting into a rhythm,” Mason said after the game. “I always felt that if I can get into a rhythm, then I finally feel that I am in the flow of things and from the start of the game today, I felt like I was in a rhythm, and the rest of it was just out there playing ball.”

 

If Mason continues to play well and the defense can replicate this type of performance, Georgia should have little difficulty winning the SEC East once again. South Carolina, the only team to defeat Georgia this season, already has three league losses, leaving Kentucky (2–1) and Florida (2–2) as the Dawgs’ biggest challengers.  

 

The SEC West is sealing the headlines — and rightfully so — but be careful about dismissing Georgia as threat to win the SEC title and sneak into the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Teaser:
No Todd Gurley. No problem for Georgia.
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/baylors-bryce-petty-athlon-sports-week-7-player-week
Body:

Baylor’s unbeaten record and place atop the Big 12 appeared to be over early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Bryce Petty threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, and TCU led 58-37 with less than 12 minutes to play. Against the Horned Frogs' defense, a comeback wasn’t going to be easy.

 

However, behind Petty's right arm, Baylor rallied from a 58-37 deficit in the fourth quarter to claim a 61-58 victory over TCU to remain unbeaten and the team to beat in the Big 12.
 

After the interception return by TCU linebacker Marcus Mallet, the senior was sharp the rest of the way and finished with 510 yards and six scores. The 510 yards and six passing scores were both career highs for Petty, and the senior is Athlon Sports National Player of the Week.


Petty guided the Bears to scores on five of the team’s final six drives, including the game-winning field goal as time expired. None of Baylor’s last six drives lasted more than 2:51 and three spanned at least 70 yards.

Baylor finished with 782 total yards, which was the most allowed by TCU under coach Gary Patterson.

After suffering a back injury against SMU, Petty’s was thought to be on the outside of the Heisman picture. But Saturday’s performance could vault the senior back into Heisman discussion, especially if Baylor remains among the nation's best and in discussion for a spot in college football's playoff.

 

National Defensive Player of the Week: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
Thompson led a strong defensive effort for Washington in a 31-7 victory over California. The junior led the Huskies with 11 tackles, broke up one pass and returned a fumble 100 yards for a score in the first quarter. Thompson’s score against California was his fourth defensive touchdown of 2014. 
 

Listen to the Week 7 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

National Coordinator of the Week: Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia
With the absence of running back Todd Gurley, there was extra pressure on Georgia’s defense on Saturday. The Bulldogs delivered with their best effort of the season in a 34-0 shutout against Missouri. The Tigers managed only 10 first downs, averaged just 3.4 yards per play, forced five turnovers and generated three sacks. Missouri’s offense had only two drives end in Georgia territory. Pruitt was brought in to elevate Georgia’s defense among the nation’s elite, and he’s clearly on the right path halfway through his first season in Athens.
 

National Freshman of the Week: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

Chubb averaged only 3.8 yards per rush, but he stepped into a difficult spot and delivered on a big stage for Georgia. The true freshman was pushed into a starting role with Todd Gurley suspended and recorded 143 yards and one touchdown on 38 attempts in Saturday’s 34-0 win over Missouri.

Teaser:
Baylor's Bryce Petty is Athlon Sports' Week 7 Player of the Week
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Dallas Cowboys, NFC, Seattle Seahawks, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/dallas-cowboys-vs-seattle-seahawks-game-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Tony Romo returns to the scene of the crime, as his surprising Dallas Cowboys face the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon on FOX. Although Jan. 6, 2007, seems like another lifetime ago in NFL years, the memory of Romo fumbling the snap of a would-be go-ahead, 19-yard field goal with 1:19 left for what coulda-shoulda-woulda been Dallas’ first playoff victory since 1996 is still fresh in the minds of the Cowboys faithful. It won’t be any easier for Romo this week, as the Boys take on the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, where Seattle carries a 19–1 record (including playoffs) with Russell Wilson starting at quarterback. These two teams have combined for a 7–2 start.

 

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Seattle -8

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Unstoppable Force/Immovable Object

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is on a history-making tear to start the 2014 season. Murray leads the NFL with 670 rushing yards, and his 134 yards per game average puts him on pace for a record-setting 2,144-yard season. He's the cornerstone of the NFL's second-ranked rushing attack. But he hasn't faced a run defense the caliber of Seattle's. The Legion of Boom leads the NFL in stopping the run, allowing only 62.3 yards per game, and the best that a running back has mustered against the Seahawks this season has been Montee Ball's 38 yards on 14 carries in Seattle's overtime win over Denver. The Murray-Seahawks matchup is one of the most intriguing of the first half of the season. "They are going to run the ball and we are going to do everything we can to stop it," said Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. “I love that. And I will be right there on every single play. He’s (Murray) been on a roll, so I’m trying to be the person to stop that."

 

2. Sherman vs. Bryant

If there's a matchup that carries more intrigue than DeMarco Murray vs. the Seattle front, it's Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant against Seattle motormouth Richard Sherman. Even with the Cowboys' commitment to the run, Bryant is on pace for a 102-catch, 13-touchdown season, and he provided the key play in Dallas' win over Houston with a remarkable 37-yard catch in overtime that set up the Cowboys' game-winning field goal. Sherman, who led the NFL with eight interceptions last season, has yet to grab one this year, but that's due as much to avoidance of his side of the field as anything. "He's a great corner, arguably the best in the league," Bryant said. "I do look forward to it, just a great battle. It's not about that. It's really about trying to get this 'W.'" But if Bryant and the Boys fail in that task, expect Sherman to have something to say about it.

 

3. Precision Passers

The two most accurate passers in the NFL so far this season will take CenturyLink Field on Sunday. Russell Wilson leads the league with a 70.3 completion percentage, while Tony Romo is just a tick behind at 69.2. Romo has rebounded nicely from his three-interception performance in a season-opening loss to San Francisco, throwing eight touchdowns to only two interceptions during the Cowboys' current four-game winning streak, despite battling a balky back that has plagued him all season. In the Seahawks' win over Washington, Wilson became only the second quarterback to have two regular-season games in his career with 200 or more yards passing and 100 or more yards rushing, but his running ability is merely the cherry on the sundae. Wilson has a 112.9 passer rating and an 8-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season. 

 

Final Analysis

 

Dallas is looking for its first five-game winning streak since 2007, and it would no doubt love to get it, but the Cowboys’ four-game winning streak has given them a cushion that strips this game of some of the urgency it would otherwise have. Wilson and the Seahawks defense will use the emotional edge provided by the 12th Man to hold serve at home. 

 
Prediction: Seattle 28, Dallas 21
Teaser:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /nfl/new-york-giants-vs-philadelphia-eagles-game-preview-and-prediction-2014
Body:

Control of the NFC East is on the line tonight when New York and Philadelphia get together at Lincoln Financial Field on NBC. The Giants (3-2) have won three in a row while the Eagles (4-1) are a perfect 3-0 at home. Whichever team wins tonight will, by and large, take control of the division. Even if Dallas beats Seattle to move to 5-1, the winner of this game will go to 2-0 in NFC East play. The Cowboys have yet to play a divisional game.

 

Chip Kelly is 1-1 against Tom Coughlin with each team winning on the other’s home field last season. The Giants won the last meeting, 15-7 in Philadelphia in Week 8 last season, as they held the Eagles to a season-low 200 yards of total offense.

 

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Philadelphia -2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Will We See the Real McCoy Tonight?

LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,607 yards on 314 carries (5.1 ypc). Not surprisingly, Philadelphia also led the league in this category (160.4 ypg). This season, the going on the ground has been considerably tougher for the Eagles. As a team, Philadelphia enters Week 6 ranked 21st in the league in rushing, averaging less than 100 yards per game (98.6) and just 3.8 yards per carry. And once again, this largely has to do with McCoy. Despite ranking second in the league with 94 carries, McCoy has gained just 273 yards on the ground in the first five games. That’s less than three yards per carry (2.9) to go along with just one run of 20 or more yards and one rushing touchdown. The Eagles are still 4-1, but the offense hasn’t been near as productive as it last season. Granted, the offensive line has been wrecked by injuries and an earlier suspension, but Chip Kelly still needs his main offensive weapon to produce. Unfortunately, that may not happen tonight, as McCoy rushed for a total of 94 yards on 35 carries (2.7 ypc) in two games against the Giants last season.

 

2. Giants Getting Offensive

After seven seasons as Eli Manning’s offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride retired in January. Tom Coughlin replaced Gilbride with Ben McAdoo, who had been Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach since 2012. With Manning and the rest of the offense practically starting over in a new system, some sort of learning curve was to be expected. And that was certainly the case in the season opener, when New York totaled just 197 yards in its 35-14 loss in Detroit. Even though it was just one game, the natives immediately got restless. The noise became even louder after a 25-14 loss to Arizona in the home opener the following week. Four turnovers (2 INTs, 2 fumbles) played a large role in the outcome, but the fan base was fixated on the perceived ineffectiveness of the new offense. Since that game, however, the Giants have been rolling, winners of three in a row and averaging 395 yards and 35 points per game during this span. The running game (157 ypg) has been particularly effective with Rashad Jennings leading the way. Unfortunately, Jennings sprained his MCL last week and is expected to miss a few games, so the workload now will fall to fourth-round pick Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis. Even with the Jennings injury, the more encouraging sign recently has been Manning getting more and more comfortable in the new system and with his new play-caller. After a rough start that saw Manning complete 61 percent of his passes with more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3), he has compiled an 8:1 TD:INT ratio over the past three games while completing 70 percent of his attempts. Philadelphia may have more of an offensive reputation, but New York looks like it’s starting to figure things out on that side of the ball too. Points may not be too hard to come by tonight.

 

3. The Tale of the Turnover Tape

Entering Week 6, New York enjoys a considerable advantage over Philadelphia when it comes to turnover margin. The Giants are tied for 10th in the NFL with a plus-three (10 takeaways, 7 giveaways) margin, while the Eagles are 28th with a minus-four (8, 12) mark. However, a closer look reveals that while New York has done a better job of protecting the ball, Philadelphia has excelled at capitalizing on other team’s mistakes. The Eagles have already scored seven touchdowns on defense and special teams, including five in the last two games alone. By comparison, all of the Giants’ points have come on offensive touchdowns and field goals. Philadelphia’s defense has returned two fumbles and an interception for touchdowns to go along with two blocked punts, a kickoff return and punt return for scores on special teams. This type of point production is a big reason why the Eagles are 4-1 despite not getting a lot of production from LeSean McCoy and the fact that Nick Foles has as many turnovers (5 INTs, 3 lost fumbles) as touchdowns (8 passing). Ball security is always an important aspect of any game, but this matchup could be determined by which team is able to make the most of the other’s miscues.

 

Final Analysis

 

It’s been a little bit of role reversal recently, as New York has won its last three games thanks in large part to a potent offense, while Philadelphia has relied more on an opportune and defense and special teams unit that has already accounted for seven touchdowns. As well as Dallas has played, both of these teams figure to have a say in how the NFC East plays out, as tonight’s winner will move to 2-0 in divisional play. Even though Eli Manning and the Giants are clicking on offense, I think the absence of injured running back Rashad Jennings will be just enough to get them out of sync. I’m not sure this is the game LeSean McCoy finally breaks out for the Eagles, but Nick Foles has more than enough weapons to make some noise of his own. The combination of Foles and another big play by the defense/special teams will result in Philadelphia maintaining both its hold on first place in the NFC East as well as its perfect mark at Lincoln Financial Field.

 
Prediction: Philadelphia 30, New York 27
Teaser:
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-most-viral-moments-week-7
Body:

Week 7 of college football’s 2014 season is officially in the books. And as expected with every Saturday, there was plenty of excitement, big plays and last-minute wins among the FBS action.

 

In case you missed any action, we tried to capture the big moments of Saturday in one article. The viral wrap-up features key plays, interesting quotes/comments in tweets, uniform unveilings and any major injuries.


College Football's Most Viral Moments from Week 7

 

 

 

 

 



 

 
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Memphis will be wearing these bad boys tonight vs Houston. #GoTigersGo #HOUvsMEM #BeatUH #WaitTilThisYear

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Teaser:
College Football's Most Viral Moments from Week 7
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-6-fantasy-football-injury-updates-vernon-davis-greg-olsen-delanie-walker-jordan-reed
Body:

Two top tight ends are Questionable for their Week 6 matchup. Find out which one has a better chance of playing and the latest information on some other key TE injuries.

 

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals

Questionable – Ankle
Olsen has gotten off to a very strong start, entering Week 6 ranked No. 4 among fantasy TEs. Unfortunately, Olsen has been hobbled in practice this week by an ankle injury. He didn’t practice at all on Wednesday or Thursday was a limited participant on Friday. He is listed as Questionable, but head coach Ron Rivera said he expects Olsen to play. For what it’s worth, teammate Jonathan Stewart also is listed as Questionable, but he’s already been declared a “game-time decision.” So there does seem to be more optimism surrounding Olsen’s potential to play. A quick courtesy check on Olsen prior to the 1 p.m. ET kickoff certainly wouldn’t hurt, but I think you will be OK keeping him in your starting lineup this week.

 
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (Mon.)

Questionable – Back
Davis was made inactive prior to last week’s game because of a back injury and it’s possible that scenario could repeat itself this week. The good news is that Davis was able to practice some, but he remained limited throughout the week. He’s officially listed as Questionable, and a final decision likely won't be made until around kickoff. In Davis’ case, that won’t come until Monday night, which only adds to the dilemma his owners are facing. Considering he’s missed as much time as he’s been on the field this season, the risk may outweigh the potential reward in sticking with Davis this week.

 

Delaine Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Probable – Shoulder
Walker’s shoulder still isn’t 100 percent, as he remains on the injury report. But he was a full practice participant every day this week and his listed as Probable. Even though QB Jake Locker is not expected to play, Walker’s perfectly capable of continuing his top-10 TE fantasy production with Charlie Whitehurst throwing him passes.

 

Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Ankle/Shoulder
Cameron returned to the field last week for the first time since Week 1. While he wasn’t a huge contributor (3 rec., 33 yds.) in the Browns’ comeback win in Tennessee, the fact he made it through no worse for the wear was a good sign. And the news kept getting better, as he was a full go at practice this week. He’s still not 100 percent, but Cameron seems a pretty safe bet to play today based on his Probable designation. Brian Hoyer is settling in under center, so it only should be a matter of time before this QB-TE combo start clicking.

 

Jordan Reed, TEs, Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals

Questionable – Hamstring
Out of action since the season opener, Reed is as close to returning to the field as he’s been. A limited practice participant every day this week, Reed is considered Questionable, but is expected to give it a go unless his hamstring acts up during warmups. Niles Paul has filled in admirably in Reed’s absence, but there’s also no questioning Reed’s talent and abilities. Reed will most likely be a game-time decision, so it’s a matter of how much of a risk are you willing to take on a guy who has TE1 upside but is coming back after a lengthy absence and has some competition at the position?

 
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable – Knee
A fantasy revelation last season, Clay has been a dud (14 rec., 111 yds.) so far in 2014. He’s been bothered by a knee injury and unfortunately, the bye week didn’t seem to help him that much. For some reason, Clay went from being a full practice participant on Wednesday and Thursday to limited on Friday. He’s listed as Probable, so he should play, but one can’t help but wonder if Clay is not 100 percent healthy. It’s very hard to trust Clay as a TE1 right now and it’s getting to the point where he’s becoming more of a matchup play.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Rudolph had surgery for a sports hernia last week. The expectation right now is that he will be out a minimum of six weeks, which would put a potential return around mid-November. If you have room, I would keep Rudolph; just understand this will be a prolonged absence.

 

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars – Lewis is on the injured reserve/designated for return list because of a high ankle sprain. Unless you have an IR spot and/or are smitten with Lewis, there’s no reason to hold onto him or even stash him away.

Teaser:
Week 6 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, Jordan Reed
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-6-injury-updates-calvin-johnson-julio-jones-keenan-allen-cordarrelle
Body:

After trying to play through an ankle injury, Calvin Johnson isn’t expected to be on the field for the Lions in Week 6. Megatron isn’t the only notable fantasy wide receiver on Athlon Sports’ injury radar this week either.

 

Harry Douglas, Devin Hester and Julio Jones, WRs, Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears

Out – Foot; Questionable – Hamstring; Probable – Ankle
Douglas will miss another game because of a foot injury, while Hester is Questionable due to a hamstring issue. Hester missed the first two days of practice, but was back on Friday and he has said he will be out there today against his former team. Jones also seems a pretty safe bet even though he’s listed on the injury report with an ankle issue. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, but that seems to be more a matter of playing it safe. He was full go on Friday, is listed as Probable and should be in for another big day against a depleted Bears secondary. While Jones is a must-start WR1, Hester is a slightly risky WR3/flex option.

 

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Doubtful - Ankle
It is pretty clear that Johnson is nowhere close to 100 percent, and it looks like it’s finally reached the point where it doesn’t do any good for him to try and play through his ankle injury. Johnson missed all three days of practice for the first time this season and the Doubtful designation is just one step away from being ruled Out. A lot of the talk this week from Lions’ camp has been Johnson needs a break to let his ankle heal, so while there’s still a chance he will play today, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Besides Johnson, the Lions also are expected to be without Reggie Bush, which moves Golden Tate into WR1 territory and also increases Joique Bell’s outlook.

 

Keenan Allen and Malcom Floyd, WRs, San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Probable – Quad; Questionable – Calf
Allen’s been bothered by this quad injury for a few weeks now. He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, but was a full go on Friday and wound up listed as Probable on the injury report. He should be safe to start and although he wasn’t needed last week (3 rec., 25 yds.), that could change today based on the appealing matchup with the Raiders and the fact that Floyd is listed as Questionable. Floyd was limited in practice the entire week, so while it’s possible he may still end up playing, he most likely won’t be operating at 100 percent. Floyd has been the Chargers’ primary deep threat (21.6 ypc) this season, a role that Allen can fill if needed. Floyd was already a risky play to begin with, so he should probably stay on your bench. Even though he’s been somewhat of a disappointment thus far, Allen remains a safe WR2 with WR1 upside.

 

Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys

Probable – Thigh
Harvin went from a full practice participant on Wednesday to sitting out Thursday to back at it on Friday. While that seems curious, his Probable designation should be all his owners need to worry about. Harvin’s production has been disappointing (19 rec., 133 yds.), but the potential is clearly there considering he’s a pretty good bet to get a carry or two each game. Don’t forget, Harvin also had three touchdowns called back by penalties in the Monday night win in Washington.

 

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Probable – Hip
Patterson left last week’s loss in Green Bay with a hip injury, an issue that limited him in practice both Wednesday and Thursday. But he was a full participant on Friday and is expected to play today, hence the Probable designation. A popular breakout candidate entering this season, Patterson’s talent and upside is obvious (102 yards rushing in Week 1), but the production (15 rec., 189 yds.) just hasn’t been there to this point. Hopefully the presence of rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater will signal more touches for Patterson moving forward. WR1 potential is there, but right now he probably should be viewed as more of a WR3/flex option until his numbers increase.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 6 Injury Updates: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-6-fantasy-football-injury-updates-aj-green-vincent-jackson-mike-evans-eric-decker
Body:

The Bengals and Jets are two teams that may be without their No. 1 wide receivers for their Week 6 games. And those are just two of the injury storylines Athlon Sports is keeping an eye on at the wide receiver position today.

 

Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, WRs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Questionable – Groin; Questionable – Rib
Just a week ago the expectation was that Evans would miss at least two weeks, if not more, due to a groin injury he suffered in Week 4. However, Evans may be ready to prove a lot of people wrong, as he returned to practice this week, albeit on a limited basis. Evans is listed as Questionable, but Lovie Smith sounded optimistic on Friday that his first-round choice would back in there. Jackson also is listed as Questionable because of a lingering rib injury. Jackson didn’t appear on the practice field until Friday, but apparently he did enough to give himself a decent chance of playing today. Jackson has been a different receiver since Mike Glennon took over at QB and Evans was showing signs of improvement prior to his injury. Unless something changes between now and kickoff (1 p.m. ET), I would keep Jackson in my lineup. Evans is a much riskier play. If you intend to use him, I would recommend it be as a WR3/flex.

 

A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, WRs, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers

Questionable – Toe; Out – Ankle
If there was ever any doubt as to Green’s importance to the Bengals, look no further than the fact his injury is listed as a “Great Toe” issue. That said, Green didn’t practice at all this week and he was spotted in a walking boot on Friday. Head coach Marvin Lewis is referring to Green as “day-to-day,” and he’s officially listed as Questionable, but I wouldn’t count on having the All-Pro in your lineup this week. If anything, the hope is that the rest he’s getting will allow him to miss just one week instead of multiple games. Besides Green, the Bengals already know they will be without Jones for yet another game. Jones is dealing with an ankle injury that’s kept him out of practice. He initially was listed as Questionable on Friday, but the team downgraded him to Out on Saturday. With Jones out and Green likely to join him on the sideline, Mohamed Sanu is poised to move up to No. 1 in the pecking order, which increases his fantasy potential to WR2 with upside.  

 
Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable - Foot
Anytime a player comes out of a bye still dealing with an injury, it’s not a good sign. It’s even worse when that player is still limited in practice by said injury. However, in Wallace’s case there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of concern regarding his foot issue. He’s listed as Probable and the Dolphins’ most productive wide receiver to this point (20-246-3) should be out there today. After a disappointing 2013, Wallace has re-established himself as a steady, reliable WR2.  

 

Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos

Questionable – Hamstring
Decker ended up missing last week’s game because of his bothersome hamstring, but the extra rest may have done him some good. He was still limited in practice this week, but he was able to get some work in all three days. He’s listed as Questionable, but Rex Ryan said he was hopeful Decker would play. There’s also the added motivation of Decker facing his former team, for what that’s worth. Even if Decker ends up playing, just remember which uniform he will be wearing. Even though Decker is his team’s No. 1 WR, he’s still a fairly risky option given the Jets’ issues at QB.

 

Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts, WRs, Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

Probable – Foot; Probable –Hamstring; Probable – Hamstring
For the first time all season, the Jaguars may be at full strength at wide receiver. Lee and Shorts have both missed several games because of hamstring injuries, but both practiced in full on Thursday and Friday and are listed as Probable. Hurns also is listed as Probable, as he’s dealing with some sort of foot issue, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. How the targets will shake out between these three and fellow wideout Allen Robinson is anyone’s guess, as this also will Lee and Shorts’ first game with rookie Blake Bortles under center. Shorts is the Jaguars’ top WR, while Hurns has been the most productive this season. Lee probably has the most upside of any because of his skill set and he’s a rookie, while Robinson has teased of potential PPR value. Put it all together and there’s a lot more question marks than definitive answers. The best course of action if you plan on employing any of these Jaguars is to treat Shorts and Hurns as WR2s with Lee and Robinson checking in as potential flex options.

Teaser:
Week 6 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: A.J. Green, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Eric Decker
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-6-injury-updates-andre-ellington-zac-stacy-ben-tate-rashad-jennings
Body:

A couple of top running backs will sit Week 6 out. Are there any other key fantasy ball-carriers that may not play this week?

 

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers (Mon.)

Probable – Calf
Stacy left last week’s loss to Philadelphia with an apparent calf injury. He did not practice on Thursday, but was a full go on Friday and Saturday. He’s listed as Probable and should be out there on Monday night. Stacy is clearly the Rams’ No. 1 back, but Benny Cunningham has been effective when called upon. Stacy should be safe to start on Monday night, but expectations probably need to be tempered since the 49ers are fifth against the run (77.2 ypg).

 

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins

Probable – Foot
Ellington’s still limited in practice, but it’s beginning to appear this is by design rather than necessitated by his injury. For one, Ellington’s listed as Probable, meaning he’s a pretty safe bet to play. Secondly, he’s coming off a game in which he compiled 144 total yards, including an 81-yard touchdown catch. He’s ranked among the top 10 RBs this week for a reason.

 

Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Probable – Finger
Tate made a triumphant return from a sprained knee last week, rushing for 124 yards in the Browns’ historic comeback victory against the Titans. He’s listed on the injury report this week, but it’s for a finger issue, so clearly the knee is no longer an issue. He was a full participant in practice every day this week and is listed as Probable, so Tate will be out there today carrying the load against the Steelers. Tate’s a solid top-20 option this week. If anything, Tate’s strong return probably means fewer touches for rookies Terrance West or Isaiah Crowell or maybe even both. Even though it appears that Crowell may have passed West on the depth chart, the former is still nothing more than a risky flex option.

 

Darrin Reaves, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, RBs, Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

Probable – Hip; Questionable – Knee; Out – Ankle
Another week, more injury intrigue in the Panthers’ backfield. Let’s start with the easy one – Williams is Out for a second straight week with an ankle injury. After missing last week, Stewart was able to take part in practice both Thursday and Friday, although he was still limited. The good news is after being Doubtful last week, Stewart has been upgraded to Questionable. Stewart will be a game-time decision and this one may be worth watching. Should Stewart play, it’s likely he will see the majority of the touches. There’s still plenty of risk when it comes to trusting a guy like Stewart, but there’s the potential for a decent reward too. Reaves meanwhile got the most carries last week (11 att.), but he didn’t do much with them (35 yds.). He’s dealing with a hip injury, which prevented him from practicing on Wednesday. Reaves was a full go on Thursday and Friday, however, and is listed as Probable, so he should be out there too. A risky option to begin with, Reaves’ fantasy potential is tied directly to whether Stewart plays or not. Unless you simply don’t have any other options it may be best to steer clear of all Panther RBs this week, especially against a pretty good Bengals defense.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants – Jennings injured his knee last week against the Falcons. He’s been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is likely to miss a few weeks. Fourth-round pick Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis will handle the workload in Jennings’ absence. Williams is clearly the more appealing fantasy option, as he rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a senior at Boston College and has scored a touchdown in each of his past two games. Williams was ranked as a top-10 RB this week.

 

Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos – Ball suffered a groin strain in last week’s win against Arizona and is expected to miss up to three weeks. Ronnie Hillman should get first crack at starter’s reps, but Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson both could figure into the mix and possibly supplant Hillman. For now, Hillman is an appealing RB2 option this week, especially in PPR leagues.

 

Donald Brown and Ryan Mathews, RBs, San Diego Chargers – Danny Woodhead is on IR (broken leg) and Mathews is still sidelined by an MCL sprain. Brown suffered a concussion last week against the Jets and hasn’t been cleared to return yet, which means it’s Branden Oliver’s show today against the Raiders. The undrafted rookie exploded for 182 total yards and two touchdowns last week and if he’s still available in your league, I highly recommend you pick Oliver up. It’s always risky to trust a rookie, but I really like Oliver’s skill set and his matchup, which is why he’s ranked as a top-15 RB this week.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 6 Injury Updates: Andre Ellington, Zac Stacy, Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/week-6-fantasy-football-injury-updates-knowshon-moreno-reggie-bush-fred-jackson-shonn-greene
Body:

Miami’s backfield should be back at full strength for the first time in several weeks while Detroit’s looks to be a little shorthanded for its Week 6 game. Those aren’t the only running back injuries Athlon Sports is tracking for this week’s action.

 

Joique Bell and Reggie Bush, RBs, Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Probable – Concussion, Questionable – Ankle
After missing last week’s game because of a concussion, Bell was a full practice participant every day this week. He’s listed as Probable and could end up being the Lions’ bell cow with Bush being Questionable. Bush injured his ankle in last week’s loss to Buffalo and wasn’t able to practice at all this week. He’s officially considered a 50/50 shot of playing and will reportedly test out the ankle in warmups, but it seems highly unlikely that Bush will be out there. With wide receiver Calvin Johnson most likely sitting this one out, Bell could be in line for a lot of touches against the Vikings. Bell should be pretty safe to use as a RB2.

 

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins vs. Green Bay Packers

Probable – Elbow
Moreno dislocated his elbow on his first carry in Week 2 and at the time was expected to miss between four and six weeks. Looks like he’ll beat that estimate, as Moreno returned to practice this week and is listed as Probable. He’s wearing a brace on the injured elbow and admitted he’s still getting used to it, but it doesn’t appear that will prevent him from returning to the field. Lamar Miller, who also appears on the injury report (Probable, Foot), picked up the slack (5.7 ypc) in Moreno’s absence and it’s not yet known how these two will split the carries. For now, it’s safest to view each as RB2/flex options until this picture becomes a little clearer.

 

Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

Questionable – Ankle
Jackson sprained his right ankle in last week’s win in Detroit and was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of it. He missed Friday’s session entirely, but that was due to illness. He’s listed as Questionable, but the expectation is he will play. Jackson and C.J. Spiller have been sharing the backfield work, which was impacted each’s fantasy value. Should Jackson play he remains a RB2/flex option and to be honest, Spiller’s value doesn’t change that much should Jackson not suit up against the Patriots.

 

Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Doubtful – Hamstring
Greene injured his hamstring during Wednesday’s practice and was sidelined because of it the rest of the week. He’s listed as Doubtful, but there’s no reason to expect Greene to play, not with Bishop Sankey and Dexter McCluster waiting in the wings. In fact, this may be the game Sankey owners and supporters have been waiting for, as the second-round pick may finally get the chance to showcase his skills. Even with the likelihood of more touches, Sankey should be viewed as a RB2 at best. McCluster is probably nothing more than a flex option, although he’s got the potential to be more valuable in PPR leagues.

 

Already Ruled Out:

 

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – Gerhart has dealt with several different injuries this season, but a lingering foot issue has finally sidelined him. Gus Bradley said that the trio of Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson will share the carries, but it’s not known yet who will start. Of the three, Johnson is probably the most intriguing because he’s a rookie, but for now it’s probably best to stay away from this crowded backfield.

Teaser:
Week 6 Fantasy Football Injury Updates: Knowshon Moreno, Reggie Bush, Fred Jackson, Shonn Greene
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, injury updates, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-week-6-injury-updates-tom-brady-teddy-bridgewater-carson-palmer-jake-locker
Body:

A future Hall of Fame quarterback is dealing with an ankle injury, while a rookie signal-caller is expected back for Week 6. Here are those and some other quarterback injuries you need to know about.

 

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Probable – Ankle
Bridgewater was held out of last week’s game against Green Bay because of an ankle injury, but that was largely due to the fact the Vikings had a short turnaround for the Thursday night game. He was a full go at practice this week, is listed as Probable and will make his second career start today. Bridgewater was impressive in his first start (371-0-0, rushing TD) against Atlanta and he’s definitely worthy of QB2 consideration this week.

 
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Questionable – Ankle
After not even appearing on the injury report Wednesday or Thursday, Brady showed up on it Friday after being limited in practice due to an ankle injury. He’s officially listed as Questionable, but I think it would be a surprise if Brady didn’t play today. Especially considering Brady and the Patriots are coming off of their best game of the season, a 43-17 rout at home against previously undefeated Cincinnati in which he threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Even though the expectation is that Brady will play, he’s not putting up the numbers he has in seasons past, so it’s not like he’s a slam dunk to start for your fantasy team, depending on your options.

 
Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, QBs, Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins

Questionable – Shoulder; Questionable – Concussion
Which quarterback is going to start for the Cardinals? That seems to be the biggest question for Arizona entering its game against Washington. After missing another game last week because of the bruised nerve in his right shoulder, Palmer was able to practice and throw the ball each day this week. However, he was still limited, there were reports that the arm strength just wasn’t there and that he sought additional treatment late Friday. Stanton meanwhile passed his final concussion test on Friday, so he could be back out there. Both Palmer and Stanton are listed as Questionable, which leaves rookie Logan Thomas as the healthiest, and most inexperienced, QB on the roster. Bruce Arians has held off naming a starter, a decision that could go all the way until right before kickoff (4:25 p.m. ET). If Stanton has been cleared to play, my guess is that he would get the call because of the uncertainty surrounding Palmer’s arm. Whatever ends up happening, even with a decent matchup against the Redskins, Cardinal QBs are better off left alone or on your bench this week.

 

Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Questionable – Hand
Locker’s bad luck with injuries continued last week when he got off to a great start against Cleveland before leaving the game after hitting his hand on the helmet of a Browns’ player. He’s officially Questionable, but it seems highly unlikely that he will play after missing an entire week of practice. Charlie Whitehurst should get the start and he was able to make a couple of big plays against the Browns last week. The matchup with the Jaguars is certainly appealing, but even in 2-QB leagues I would only use Whitehurst if I had no other viable option.

 

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

Questionable – Ankle/Knee
Carr got hurt late in the Raiders’ loss to the Dolphins in London in Week 4, but it appears that the bye came at a good time for him. After taking a week off, Carr returned to practice on a limited basis. He’s listed as Questionable, but all signs point him to being under center today. Even if he does play, Carr is not an appealing fantasy option, even in 2-QB leagues, based on the Raiders’ struggles on offense and their matchup with a very good Chargers defense.

 
Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Doubtful – Thumb
To no one’s surprise, McCown didn’t play last week because of his injured thumb. He’s yet to return to practice and is listed as Doubtful for today, which pretty much means Mike Glennon will get another start. Glennon nearly made it two wins in a row, as he helped stake the Bucs to an 11-point fourth-quarter lead in New Orleans, but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, McCown put together another respectable outing (249-2-1), keeping him in the thick of the QB2 conversation for this week.


Already Ruled Out:

 

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redksins – RG3 remains sidelined by the dislocated ankle he suffered in Week 2, but he has made progress in his recovery. Kirk Cousins will continue to start in Griffin’s absence and after a disastrous Week 4 effort (5 turnovers) against the Giants; he bounced back (283-2-0) in the loss to the Seahawks on Monday night. Cousins will face another tough defense today in the Cardinals, but he’s definitely on the QB-2 radar and is a borderline QB1 in deeper leagues.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football Week 6 Injury Updates: Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater, Carson Palmer, Jake Locker
Post date: Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas Longhorns, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/texas-lb-steve-edmond-hits-teammate-face-during-celebration-against-oklahoma
Body:

 Texas linebacker Steve Edmond had a massive fail on his celebration attempt in Saturday’s game against Oklahoma.

Instead of exchanging a high-five with defensive end Caleb Bluiett, Edmond slapped one his fellow defender in the face.

Yes, that’s correct. Massive fail on Edmond’s part.



 

Teaser:
Texas LB Steve Edmond Hits Teammate in Face During Celebration Against Oklahoma
Post date: Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 18:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/kentucky-wr-javess-blue-makes-impressive-one-handed-td-catch-against-ulm
Body:

Kentucky receiver Javess Blue led a huge effort from the Wildcats’ offense in Saturday’s 48-14 victory over ULM.

Blue led the team with 108 receiving yards and two scores on just three catches.

One of Blue’s catches was an awesome one-handed grab that is one of the top plays of Week 7:

Teaser:
Kentucky WR Javess Blue Makes Impressive One-Handed TD Catch Against ULM
Post date: Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 18:05
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/ucla-coach-jim-mora-and-defensive-coordinator-jeff-ulbrich-argue-sidelines-against
Body:

UCLA coach Jim Mora and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had a bit of a disagreement during the first half of Saturday’s game against Oregon, and the two coaches got into a heated discussion after a touchdown by the Ducks.

Mora appeared to be upset with the defensive playcalling after an Oregon touchdown. And Ulbrich was not happy with the criticism, handing Mora the playsheet and taking off his headset.

Ulbrich returned to his role on the next defensive series for UCLA, but you can bet this sideline disagreement will be a topic of conversation after the game.

Teaser:
UCLA Coach Jim Mora and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich Argue on Sidelines Against Oregon
Post date: Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 17:43
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Clemson Tigers, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/clemson-qb-deshaun-watson-leaves-game-against-louisville-hand-injury
Body:

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson suffered a hand injury in Saturday’s game against Louisville and will not return to the game. Watson’s injury is to his throwing hand and the freshman will be replaced by senior Cole Stoudt.

Coming into Saturday’s game against NC State, Watson completed 73 of 106 passes for 1,181 yards and 12 scores. Watson had tossed only on pick in 106 attempts and rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns.

Prior to his injury against the Cardinals, Watson had two completions and tossed a pick.

Stoudt began the year as the starter but was replaced by Watson after the loss to Florida State.

In five games, Stoudt completed 42 of 69 passes for 487 yards and one touchdown.

It’s uncertain if this is a long-term injury for Watson or if he will be able to return in Week 8 at Boston College.

Stoudt is a capable option for coach Dabo Swinney and coordinator Chad Morris, but Watson is clearly the better quarterback.

 

Teaser:
Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Suffers Hand Injury Against Louisville
Post date: Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 16:42
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/5-storylines-watch-al-and-nl-championship-series-royals-giants-cardinals-orioles
Body:

The marketing for MLB likes to say that, “You can’t script October.” So true. Every postseason the games write the stories themselves, furnishing our sports memories with moments that last forever. Here are several story lines to keep an eye on during the AL and NL Championship Series.


5 Storylines to Watch in AL and NL Championship Series

 

Speed vs. Power

 

What a contrast of styles the ALCS is going to deliever. The Royals, the Wild Card, cinderella story from the AL Central, made it to the League Championship Series with their game-changing speed, timely hitting, and brilliant defense. The Orioles won the disastrous American League East by 12 games with brut strength.
 

Both teams pitching is rather similar, with the only true ace belonging to the Royals and “Big Game” James Shields, even though he really hasn't lived up to that moniker. It sounds good though. Pitching aside, the Royals and O’s couldn't be more polar opposites. The Royals led baseball in stolen bases (153) and were last in baseball in home runs (95). In the other dugout, the Orioles led baseball in dingers (211) and were last in stolen bases (44). Pretty remarkable that two teams with such a contrast in styles were able to make it this far into the Postseason. Should make for a fantastic ALCS.

 

Same Teams, Different Year

 

If the Giants and Cardinals weren't wearing different uniforms, they might be mistaken for the same ball club. Both teams have an ace backed by reliable starting pitching, and good, not outstanding bullpens. In fact, both clubs have the exact same team ERA (3.50), almost identical BAA (SF-2.41, STL-2.42), and number of strikeouts (SF-1211, STL-1222).
 

Both clubs thrive on timely hitting, not gaudy power numbers. In the NLDS, it was Brandon Belt that hit the midnight, 18th inning homer in Game 3 that gave the Giants a two-games-to-one lead over the baseball’s best regular season team, the Washington Nationals. It was a mix of Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter, and Matt Adams that sent the favored Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw back to Chavez Ravine in dramatic and unlikely fashion.

 
Since, 2000, the Cardinals have made it to the NLCS nine different times (Ed Rooney voice: “Niiiiiiiine times), including the last four in a row, and the World Series four times, winning it all twice. Not to be outdone, the Giants have been to three of the last five NLCS, winning the World Series two times as well.

 

Lefty vs. Lefty

 

The Cardinals were able to do the impossible in the NLDS against the Dodgers, they beat Clayton Kershaw…twice…in one series. Against the game’s best hurler and probable 2014 NL Cy Young Award and MVP winner, St. Louis was able to put an 8-spot in game one thanks to lefty Matt Carpenter’s homer and double that sparked an unbelievable comeback. In game four, Kershaw was throwing a one-hit shutout in the sixth when Matt Adams took him deep to give the Cards a 3-2 lead they would hold on to and take the series. To my knowledge, the Cardinals do not play with four-leaf clovers in the cleats.
 

How long can their luck against power lefties last? The Cards are all but guaranteed to see the Giants ace, Madison Bumgarner twice, if not three times in this series. Bumgarner’s numbers against left-handed batters are pretty dominating. This season lefties are hitting just .224/.246/.293 with just 1 HR, 5 walks, and a SO/BB ratio of 11.60. Bumgarner pitched against the Cards just twice this season, but only allowed 5 runs on 9 hits, 16 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a slash line of .205/.271/.341.
 

Kolten Wong, Matt Adams, and Matt Carpenter, the heroes of the NLDS for the Cards, will have their hands full with MadBum in game one Saturday night against the Giants.

 

Kings of Kansas City

 

Much has been made of the Kansas City Royals and their fantastic October run that has led up to this ALCS against the Orioles. The world knows that they haven’t made a Postseason, let alone a World Series appearance since their Fall Classic title in 1985. But the relationship between this club and their city is certainly special. Sick and tired of being bottom dwellers in the AL Central and playing little brother to the St. Louis Cardinals and the self-appointed “best fans in baseball,” Kansas City Royals fans have been out in full force for their ball club. The atmosphere they have created for their team at Kauffman Stadium has been nothing short of magnificent. The brooms for a sweep against the Angels and the saturated sea of Royal blue has been a sight long over-due in the city of Kansas City. And nothing may have been more evident of the relationship between the city and the ball club when star first baseman, Eric Hosmer, invited the fans to a local watering hole via Twitter after the series clincher against the  Angels and offered to fund a happy hour to anyone that joined. A $15,000 tab and some spilled beer later, a bond that was forged over years of lackluster baseball and recent resurgence was solidified.

 

Orioles Sluggers

 

In the three games sweep against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, the Orioles put up 21 runs, 10 of which came against the likes of the last three AL Cy Young Award winners (Scherzer, Verlander, and David Price). Let there be no doubt, the Royals bullpen (ERA 3.30) is much, much better than that of the Tigers in which the Orioles scored 11 runs in their series sweep.
 

But the most fascinating thing about the Orioles slugging is the fact that they lead baseball in homers (211) by far, and they did it without last season’s home run leader, a lackluster and suspended Chris Davis, and injured stars Manny Machado and Matt Wieters. Davis did hit 26 long balls this season, but thats less than half of the 53 that he hit last year.
 

Not only was Davis a shell of what he had been, but he got himself suspended for a bizarre use of Adderall. Machado’s “Young and the Restless” 2014 season was wild and over-dramatic. In-between stints on the disabled list and run-ins with Oakland A’s, Machado only played half the season and put up less than stellar numbers. Matt Wieters was having the best season of his young career when he was sidelined for a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery, which seems unheard of for a catcher. But even without three of their best players, the O’s were able to slug their way to an AL East title thanks in large part to season home run leader Nelson Cruz (40), Adam Jones (29), and Steve Pearce (21).

 

Can the O’s continue to defy baseball logic and march toward their first Fall Classic appearance since 1983 with their love of the long ball? Or will the Royals arsenal of power arms stifle their bats and continue their Cinderella run to the World Series?

By Jake Rose

Teaser:
5 Storylines to Watch in the AL and NL Championship Series Royals Giants Cardinals Orioles
Post date: Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 13:25
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/7-mlb-players-watch-al-and-nl-championship-series-2014
Body:

The month of October enhances the drama of baseball every year to immeasurable proportions. October forges players into baseball legends and imprints the moments of greatness in the timeline of American sports. David Freese, Kirk Gibson, Bill Mazeroski, Derek Jeter, Joe Carter, and Don Larsen are just a handful of the names who delivered in the most important month of the season, October.


This postseason is full of star talent. We all know guys like Trout, Kershaw, Strasburg, and Adam Jones, but a lot of times it’s the guys that you might least expect to make the biggest difference in going home early or winning World Series MVP.

 

Here is a list of seven players who will have a major impact on the Postseason, one way or the other, going forward.


7 Players to Watch in AL and NL Championship Series

 

Matt Holliday

 

In the second half of the season, Matt Holliday practically carried the Cardinals on his bat to an NL Central title, hitting 14 of his 20 long balls after the All Star break. Holliday’s success is absolutely vital if the Cards have any chance of making it back to the Fall Classic. This season, in games that the Cards won Holliday hit .320, with 14 home runs, an OBP of .416 and 73 RBI. In games in which St. Louis lost, Holliday was .210, 6 HR, and just 17 RBI in 70 games.
 

With no more names like Beltran, Berkman, Freese, Pujols, or Allen Craig in the lineup to offer protection or to give protection to, Holliday’s job is that much more important. It is safe to say that whether or not the Red Birds fly high in October relies on the shoulders of Matt Holliday.

 

Matt Carpenter


Matt Carpenter absolutely smashed the Dodgers October dreams in the NLDS, hitting three homers and knocking in seven runs. Along with Holliday, Carpenter will have to continue knocking the ball around the yard if the Cards want to advance to the Fall Classic for the second year in a row and third time in four years. Asking for three home runs and three doubles from Carpenter in the NLCS might be asking too much, he only hit eight long balls all season long, but it’s not unreasonable to see Carpenter be a big-time producer against the Giants, and it all starts with him getting on base.

 

Joe Panik

 

Second base was supposed to be Marco Scutaro’s this season. And then it was supposed to be Ehrie Adrianza’s, then Dan Uggla’s, and then Joaquin Araias’. None of those worked out. What did work out was calling up 2011 first round pick, Joe Panik, the 23 year old New Yorker.

 
Panik declared the starting second base job his in the second half of the season, hitting .305/.343./.368 in 287 plate appearances, and making Bruce Bochy’s job a heck of a lot easier.
 

Panik is the first player in Giant’s history to have five hits in his first two postseason games, getting three in NL Wild Card game in Pittsburgh. and adding two more in game one of the NLDS against the Nationals, including a triple and an insurance run.


If Panik can just be consistent at the plate, get on base, and be the kickstarted of this Giant’s offense, Pence, Posey, and Panda should be able to do the rest.


Madison Bumgarner


Madison Bumgarner might be the best pitcher remaining in the Postseason. His uncanny, left-handed delivery and tight command of the strike zone could be trouble for the left-handed Cardinals hitters. Bumgarner hardly gives up walks (BB% 4.9), so the battle with the patient Cardinals bats should be an interesting one. In the regular season, Bumgarner surrendered 21 homers and only one of those long balls was to a fellow lefty. Bumgarner gets takes the hill in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night, and depending on how the series plays out, we could see Mad-Bum several times in the coming games.

 

Eric Hosmer

 

Eric Hosmer might finally be turning into the player he was projected to be, right in front of our very eyes. Hosmer’s career has been up and down since finishing third in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in 2011. His sophomore slump was rather noticeable but rebounded fantastically in 2013 and had a good enough 2014, but a stress fracture in his right hand limited his power to just 9 HRs.
 

When the bright lights of the Postseason flipped on in the AL Wild Card game against the As, Hosmer has been remarkable. At a time when its all about who is hot, Hosmer has been scorching. Against the As, Hosmer went 3 for 4 including a one-out triple in the bottom of the 12th, which led to him scoring a run and tying the game, sparking the Royals massive comeback. Hosmer also chipped in an RBI and two walks.
 

Hosmer continued his hot streak into the ALDS against the AL’s best team, the Los Angeles Angels. In game two, Hosmer came up big once again, getting three hits, scoring two runs, and adding two RBI. But nothing was bigger than his 11th inning monster two-run shot to off reliever Kevin Jepsen, a no-doubter.

If the Royals are going to continue this Cinderella run through October, they are going to need Hos to keep on swinging to keep up with the O’s big bats.

 

Yordano Ventura

 
This youngster might be the most exciting new pitcher to enter the baseball water-cooler talk this October. With a fastball that reached 102 MPH in the ALDS against the Angels, Yordano Ventura could be the pendulum that swings in the Royals favor against the Orioles, especially if he gets the chance to start more than once in the series. But it’s not just Ventura’s fastball that makes hitters whiff. His curveball might have more break on it than anyone else the Orioles have faced this season, to go along with a change up that hits 87 MPH. The big question is how well will the youngster handles the ever increasing spotlight that comes with the stage of the Postseason.  Ventura was rocked in his first Postseason appearance, coming out of the bullpen in the AL Wild Card Game against the As, but completely rebounded in the next round against the Angels. Ventura faces an Orioles lineup that crushed fastballs and hit more dingers that any other team in baseball.

 

Adam Jones


Adam Jones is the motor that keeps the Orioles team going. In the ALDS against the Tigers, jones went 2 for 11 in 13 plate appearances. The Orioles power at the plate is well-known, but going against power pitchers James Shields, Wade Davis, and Yordano Ventura could prove to be a problem in hitting long balls, base hits may be the difference in the series. If that is the case, Jones is going to have to put wood on the ball and drive in runs the old fashioned way, 2 hits in 3 games won’t cut it. Also, with the Royals ability to use their speed to score runs, Jones’ defense will be a major factor in preventing runs.

- By Jake Rose

Teaser:
7 MLB Players to Watch in the AL and NL Championship Series 2014
Post date: Saturday, October 11, 2014 - 13:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy, News
Path: /fantasy/college-fantasy-football-week-7-start-or-sit-report
Body:

It's Week 7 of the 2014 college fantasy football season. Who should you start or bench in your lineup this week? TheCFFSite.com's Joe DiSalvo runs down the start or sit options for this Saturday to help you win your league.
 

Start

Maty Mauk, QB-Misouri vs Georgia

This week, Mauk should have a healthy set of receivers as Darius White and Jimmie Hunt return from injury and the Tigers are catching a Bulldogs team that lost their Heisman hopeful, running back Todd Gurley, to an indefinite suspension.

 

Justin Thomas, QB and Zach Laskey, RB-Georgia Tech vs Duke

Miami was the first quality opponent that the Blue Devils have played this season and the Hurricanes outgained them easily 426-264.  Duke figures to stay in the bottom one-third of the FBS in rushing yards allowed (186.4 rypg) when they travel to Atlanta to face a ranked and undefeated Yellow Jackets team.

 

Mark Weisman, RB-Iowa vs Indiana

The senior running back has seen his carries increase over the past couple of weeks and he could be in line for another busy day when the Hawkeyes host Indiana this Saturday.  Weisman has scored a touchdown in four of five games this season and has six of Iowa’s eight rushing touchdowns.

 

Mario Pender, RB-Florida State at Syracuse

Pender’s weekly value is at a season-high now that Karlos Williams is unlikely to suit up this weekend due to an ankle injury.  The Syracuse rush defense is giving up a respectable 130 yards per game, but assuming the lead-role in the Seminoles’ backfield makes Pender an attractive Week 7 start.

 

Nick Chubb, RB-Georgia at Missouri

Missouri’s defense hasn’t exactly shut opposing running backs down this season and Chubb should be in line for 20-plus carries due to the absence of Todd Gurley (suspension), Keith Marshall (ankle), and Sony Michel (shoulder).

 

Marteze Waller, Fresno State at UNLV

Waller has carried the ball at least 15 times in five of Fresno State’s six games this season.  Against the nation’s second-worst run defense, fifteen carries and 100 yards looks like a given this Friday night for the junior running back.

 

A.J. Ouellette, RB-Ohio vs Bowling Green

The freshman running back is reportedly recovered from an ankle injury and no team has given up more rushing touchdowns in the FBS than Bowling Green (21).

 

Matt Jones, RB-Florida vs LSU

Much like LSU, the Gators have woes at quarterback, but that could be a good thing for Jones’ fantasy owners.  The Tigers are allowing over 184 yards on the ground, which ranks them in the bottom one-third of the FBS.

 

 

 

Bench

 

Andrew Hendrix, Miami (OH) at Akron

The Akron defense has held opponents to ten or fewer points three times this year and are ranked 15th in the FBS in points allowed per game (17.0ppg).

 

Marquise Williams, QB-North Carolina at Notre Dame

A struggling North Carolina team could be catching Notre Dame at the perfect time.  The Irish are coming off a dramatic win at home against Stanford and travel to Tallahassee next week for their showdown with Florida State.  Could this be a classic letdown game?  We’re not taking our chances against a stingy Notre Dame defense and their 12.0 ppg average, which is tied for third-best in the FBS.

 

Devin Gardner, QB-Michigan v Penn State

If you play in a Power 5 league and need to start Gardner this week, you are already in desperation-mode.  The thought of Gardner posing a threat on the ground is hopeful at best, as the Nittany Lions have the nation’s second-best run defense.  Should Gardner get things going through the air, finding the end zone may prove challenging, too, because Penn State is only allowing 14.6 points per game.

 

Akeem Hunt, RB-Purdue vs Michigan State

Hunt has been picking up steam as of late, totaling 99, 117, and 199 yards in the past three games.  However, this week the Boilermakers host Michigan State, who are coming off a Week 6 win over Nebraska, a game in which they held Ameer Abdullah to 45 yards on 24 carries.

 

Alex Collins, RB-Arkansas and Jonathan Williams, RB-Arkansas vs Alabama

Collins and Williams have been impactful this season from a fantasy perspective, but neither player has topped the 80-yard mark when the Razorbacks have played defenses ranked in the top 20 against the run (Auburn No. 13, Northern Illinois No. 19).  Not only does Alabama have the third-best defense against the run, but they have only allowed one rushing touchdown and 20 rushing first-downs in 2014, both tops in the FBS.

 

De’Veon Smith, RB-Michigan vs Penn State

Smith became a waiver wire commodity after news broke that Derrick Green would miss the remainder of the season due to an injury.  Smith has value moving forward, but a game against Penn State’s No.2 rated run defense presents a problem this weekend.

 

Travin Dural, WR-LSU at Florida

The inconsistent play at quarterback for LSU is a tremendous blow to Dural’s fantasy potential.  Expect the Tigers to lean on their running game and put the ball in the hands of their backs 40-50 times at Florida.

 

Deontay Greenberry, WR-Houston vs Memphis

Seventeen of Greenberry’s twenty-one receptions this year came in Houston’s first three games of the season.  Since then, the junior receiver has four catches for 43 yards and the Cougars seem unsettled at quarterback.  To make matters worse for Greenberry’s fantasy owners, Memphis comes to town with a top 25 defense. 

 

 

For Start/Bench advice , send an email

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

 

Teaser:
College Fantasy Football Week 7 Start or Sit Report
Post date: Friday, October 10, 2014 - 18:31
Path: /nascar/nascars-chase-dramatic-%E2%80%94-it-working
Body:

The Chase is dramatic — but is it working?

Taylor Swift has one of the hottest tunes on pop radio right with a message for all of her, um, haters. 

 

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

I shake it off, I shake it off

 

It’s an anthem of righteousness and belief in one’s self. It’s a keep-going-no-matter-what-they-say type of thing. It’s catchy as hell.

 

It’s also the perfect theme song for this current version of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

 

Now in its fifth week of existence, this elimination-style Chase format has ceded television viewers from this point a year ago and has completely changed the paradigm of how we watch NASCAR’s championship battle. Everything is now about the bottom — who crashes, who struggles and who’s going to get eliminated — while each week’s winner also gets a slight bit of the publicity action.

 

The focus is on failure. The drama is in who doesn’t succeed, not who is succeeding. And, if we’re talking last week at Kansas, that drama is being unfairly applied to the season’s best drivers because of tire failures seemingly out of their control.

 

Is that how sports are really supposed to work? Is that a legitimate way to determine a champion? Should winning in the postseason — Joey Logano did Sunday — be treated so callously that it won’t mean a darn thing 15 days later?

 

I don’t think so. 

 

But maybe I need to listen to Ms. Swift a little bit more.

 

 

Kyle Busch out of spotlight, but quietly in title consideration

Would you want to race against Kyle Busch for the title in a 400-mile, winner-take-all finale? Better yet, would you want to be stuck in a late-race restart duel with Busch in that instance?

 

That’s a question that might become reality for competing drivers should Busch continue his decent streak of strong finishes into Round 3 of the Chase. And it’s a scenario they may be a bit fearful of.

 

We’re a long, long way from that point, but Busch has quietly strung together four top-10 finishes in the first four races of the Chase. He’s never done that in a Chase before, and Saturday night he starts on the pole. He’ll aim for his first Cup win at CMS.

 

Kurt Busch sets fastest 1.5-mile lap speed ever

Thursday night, qualifying for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 was wildly fast. Track record fast.

 

Kurt Busch set the new fastest stock car speed ever at the venerable speedway with a lap of 198.771 mph — that’s an elapsed time of 27.175 seconds — and also now holds the fastest NASCAR lap on 1.5-mile tracks.

 

His brother was the one celebrating a pole, however, due to NASCAR’s three-round qualifying format. Kyle clocked in a 197.390 in the final session.

 

Just where did all of that speed come from? Well, there’s no easy answer. 

 

The weather in greater Charlotte — Charlotte Motor Speedway is located a bit northeast of the city — can fluctuate pretty rapidly between the traditional May and October races at the track. May can bring the typical welcome-to-summer temperatures and October can bring out the long sleeves.

 

But Thursday night was mostly mild in the Carolinas and only about 10 degrees cooler than qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 22. That’s a temperature difference not enough to yield the entirety of the gap Kurt put on Jimmie Johnson’s pole-winning lap of 194.911 mph from May.

 

Some of it had to with innovation that never stops in the Sprint Cup garage and some it probably had to with teams getting a whole lot better at the qualifying format. Engines may be tuned up a bit more thanks to the 100-fewer miles and practice during the day Thursday was probably closer to conditions for qualifying then was the case in May.

 

Whatever the case, Busch’s number will stand for a while. Massive changes to the 2015 Sprint Cup rules package should drop qualifying speeds by at least 10 mph next year.

 

 

Speeds have Goodyear concerned

Friday afternoon, Goodyear provided a bit of an update both on those high speeds and what happened last weekend at Kansas Speedway.

 

First, the tire company has warned teams that the track record speeds seen this weekend will contribute to higher tire wear and a greater chance of right front tire failure. Teams — already on edge from the failures at Kansas and other tracks this season — were advised to take the information into consideration for race setups and air pressure settings.

 

Goodyear also confirmed that it is just getting the process underway of studying the tires that came off of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crashed race cars last week. For some reason, the teams took the tires in question first for examination prior to Goodyear getting to thoroughly examine them at the company’s Akron, Ohio, headquarters.

 

Even without that investigation complete, Goodyear was still happy to lay preliminary blame at the feet of Keselowski’s team and Earnhardt’s team.

 

"It’s such a complicated equation, it’s hard to tell,” said Goodyear’s Stu Grant told reporters at the track Friday. “It could be camber, it could be toe, it could be air pressure, it could be spring, it could be shock. There’s a lot of factors. We see an overloaded situation on those two tires. Could it have been a result of a slow leak? Possible. It may not have been anything that the teams did. All that we can do is look at what we have and do an analysis.”

 

That’s certainly an odd way to frame an investigation that hasn’t even started.

 

 

Johnson’s qualifying effort doesn’t help comeback try

Jimmie Johnson’s crash last week at Kansas left him with the deepest hole of any driver to climb from if advancement to Round 3 of the Chase is in his future. It’s a concerning point for the driver, certainly, but one that has a chance of being completely flipped should he mirror his win from the pole at Charlotte in May.

 

He didn’t start the weekend, well, however.

 

Johnson was knocked out of qualifying in the second round when he could only muster the 21st-best qualifying speed. It’ll tie his second-worst start at the track in his career.

 

“It’s disappointing. There’s no way around it,” Johnson said Thursday after explaining his car got tight in Turns 3 and 4 on the qualifying lap, slowing his speed.

 

It’s not all black clouds for Johnson, though. He won at Charlotte from 37th in 2003.

 

 

Follow Geoffrey Miller on Twitter: @GeoffreyMiller

Photo by Action Sports, Inc.

Teaser:
Geoffrey Miller highlights the five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase rolls on to Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Post date: Friday, October 10, 2014 - 16:23
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /20-funny-fantasy-hockey-team-names
Body:

The NHL season is upon us and that means it's time for slap shots, fist fights, line changes, icing and fantasy hockey. Only one team will raise the Stanley Cup at the end of the season, but everyone can have a funny fantasy hockey team name worthy of a toothless smile and playoff beard. Here are a few suggestions:

Moves Like Jagr

Jagr Bombs

Ride My Zamboni

Right in Her 5-Hole

Curved Stick

The New Great One

Smashville

Wanna Puck?

Puck You

Mother Puckers

Five For Fighting

Gordie Howe Hat Tricks

Goon Squad

Big Daddy Kane

Blades of Glory

Duck Dynasty

Mighty Duck Face

Quack is Wack

Canadien Tuxedo

Olympic Oshie

Teaser:
These 20 hilarious hockey team names will make your league laugh
Post date: Friday, October 10, 2014 - 15:48

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