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Path: /college-football/ranking-toughest-games-iowas-college-football-schedule-2016
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The had what can only be described as a "dream" regular season in 2015. Like many successful teams, the road was paved with plenty of haters and doubters along the way. Kirk Ferentz's squad was up to the challenge through 12 games, besting all comers and earning a trip to the Championship Game.

 

It was there — in the postseason — where the dream turned into a nightmare. A crushing, last-minute loss to Michigan State was followed by a total embarrassment in the Rose Bowl against Stanford. The doubters cheered, while the Hawkeyes and their fans tried to focus on the positives that happened in 2015.

 

Related: 

 

The good news is that the core of Iowa players responsible for those positives returns for the 2016 season. The bad news is that the new season's schedule includes a couple of tricky road trips, along with dates against an FCS dynasty and a national title contender. Those hurdles stand in the way of a second consecutive perfect regular season for the Hawkeyes. 

 

Will Iowa be up to the challenge?

 

Here is how Iowa's 2016 schedule stacks up, ranked from easiest games to the most challenging matchups.

 

12. Sept. 3 vs. Miami (Ohio)

The Redhawks were only able to muster three wins last season. One of those was against an FCS opponent and another was against a school giving serious thought to shutting down its football program. Given that this will be the season opener and the home crowd will be fired up, I don't expect a talented Hawkeye roster to have any problems pushing around a lower-tier MAC squad.

 

11. Sept. 24 at Rutgers

The only real threat the Scarlet Knights have on offense is receiver Janarion Grant. He'll likely be neutralized by cornerbacks Greg Maybin and Desmond King all day. On the other side of the ball, first-year head Coach Chris Ash doesn't have the horses to slow down Iowa's clock-killing rushing attack. This should be a sound, methodical win for Iowa.

 

10. Oct. 15 at Purdue

It'll be mid-season and the Hawkeyes should be firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, Purdue will be leaning heavily on running back Markell Jones to carry the offense. Jones will struggle to gain yards consistently against one of the better defensive lines in the conference — if not the country. Defensively, just like Rutgers, the Boilermakers don't have the personnel to slow Iowa down.

 

9. Nov. 19 at Illinois

Illini running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn is a stud, but he can't beat Iowa alone. Quarterback Wes Lunt will need to have some success through the air, and that's not likely to happen with what's going on in Iowa's secondary. The only thing working against Iowa in this game is the simplicity of the offense. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith and coordinator Hardy Nickerson are elite defensive minds that could cause Iowa some issues. In the end, however, talent should win out, tipping the scales in Iowa's favor.

 

8. Sept. 10 vs. Iowa State

On paper, this shouldn't be a contest. As Hawkeye fans are all too aware, however, it's almost always an anxiety-filled affair. This season comes with the added twist of facing a coach (Matt Campbell) and a scheme that Kirk Ferentz hasn't seen or scouted regularly. The Hawkeyes need to just play their game, prevent big plays and get the win. As always it'll be easier said than done.

 

7. Oct. 8 at Minnesota

The annual battle for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy should be an interesting matchup — just as it normally is. Jerry Kill built and left behind a solid system in Minnesota. The Gophers have a couple of home-run hitters on offense, namely running back Shannon Brooks. Additionally, Mitch Leidner returns under center for what seems like his ninth season. This will be arguably the most disciplined opponent Iowa faces.

 

6. Oct. 1 vs. Northwestern

To borrow a phrase from the Forrest Gump universe, Northwestern is pretty much a box of chocolates — "you never know what you're gonna get." In 2016, what you get is a sophomore quarterback coming off a freshman season that most players dream of. Standing behind him is one of the best running backs in the country. On the sidelines is one of the best motivators and game day coaches there is. This one will be fun.

 

5. Nov. 25 vs. Nebraska

As always lately, this one has the potential to be the deciding game for a trip to Indianapolis. The Cornhuskers have elite talent scattered all over the field on both sides of the ball. They also have a couple of glaring weaknesses that Iowa must attack in order to exploit and defeat their border rival. The outcome of this game depends on whether or not Iowa can do that.

 

4. Sept. 17 vs. North Dakota State

Forget the FCS label for just a moment. Outside of UConn women's basketball, the North Dakota State football team is the most dominant entity in American sport over the last decade. Quarterback Easton Stick — who went 8-0 while replacing the guy who would eventually be the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft — could start for half of the teams in the Big Ten. The Bison's best receiver could start for every team in the Big Ten. They have one of the best middle linebackers in all of college football — at any level. And they have a culture of winning. Oh, and don't look now, but this game happens a week after the Iowa State game.

 

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3. Nov. 5 at Penn State

This will be under the lights in Happy Valley, which is scary enough on its own. Christian Hackenberg is gone, but elite players at the running back and wide receiver positions remain. We've seen lesser Penn State teams beat better teams than what Iowa will be in 2016 in this setting. 

 

2. Oct. 22 vs. Wisconsin

The Badgers haven't changed under Paul Chryst. They are going to run the ball with an elite back and a solid offensive line. They are going to play stingy defense. They are going to match Iowa blow-for-blow. This game was decided by four points and a fumble a season ago. Don't expect this matchup to be much different.

 

1. Nov. 12 vs. Michigan

There is a real good chance that this will be the first of two meetings between these teams within a span of three weeks. This matchup will be like looking in a mirror for the Hawkeyes. They both play similar styles and have similar talent on both sides of the ball. Both are good enough to get to and threaten to win the College Football Playoff. The two clear advantages in this particular game will belong to Iowa. Quarterback C.J. Beathard and the home crowd in Iowa City will both need to show up and bring their A-games for the Hawkeyes to come away with a victory.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
Ranking the Toughest Games on Iowa's College Football Schedule in 2016
Post date: Monday, June 20, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Life
Path: /life/homebrewing-101-tips-beers-best-brewmasters
Body:

More than 1.2 million Americans brew beer at home, according to the American Homebrewers Association. If you’re not among those who have taken the plunge into the sudsy waters of do-it-yourself brewing, you should be. To get you motivated, we spoke with three brewing greats who started small and turned their passion into a career. 

 

Jim Koch, founder & brewer of Samuel Adams

Jim Koch, Sam Adams

How does someone get started brewing?  
The bible for every homebrewer is "," written by Charlie Papazian. 

 

What’s the most experimental flavor you ever brewed? 
Over the years, we’ve experimented with thousands of different ingredients, including things like rocks from our backyard, chickens, beef hearts, and Japanese yuzu wood.

 

Any fun stories about your brewing successes? 
When it was announced (in 1985) that Boston Lager was selected as the “Best Beer in America” (at the Great American Beer Festival), we were shocked. A family recipe that was first brewed in my kitchen was declared the “Best Beer in America!”

 

Biggest rookie mistakes? 
While your bottles are fermenting, cover them with a box or a towel. Nothing’s more alarming than bottles exploding because they’re over-carbonated. It sounds like grenades detonating! 

 

What are your three best tips for brewing a great beer?
1. Brew a beer you’re sincerely passionate about brewing.
2. Brew with the best quality ingredients you can find.
3. Be patient and keep brewing until you perfect your recipe.

 

What do you love most about brewing beer?
I’m a sixth generation brewer, so brewing is in my blood - .06 so I’m legal! And I am still as passionate about brewing today as I was when I first started 32 years ago. 

 

Anything else we should know? 
We’re celebrating 20 years of our Sam Adams LongShot American Homebrew contest (). Homebrewers across the country can submit their best and most innovative beers. Two winning homebrewers will be featured in the Samuel Adams LongShot variety pack in 2017.

 

(Editor's note: To learn more about Koch's rise to success, we highly recommend his entertaining and inspiring new book ".")

 

John Legnard, brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company

John Legnard, Blue Moon

How does someone get started brewing? 
The  is a great place to start. 

 

Where can first-time brewers get their ingredients?
I’d start with your local homebrew shop if you have one in your town. The local shop will likely have knowledgeable folks to answer questions. Chances are the shop is also associated with some homebrewing clubs they could connect you with.

 

Biggest rookie mistakes? 
Keep things clean. And don’t let your dog in the kitchen when you’re brewing. 

 

Are there any life lessons you learned from brewing? 
I did my senior college project for my industrial fermentation class on beer brewing and I brought in samples. That was when it clicked for me that people love beer and the guy that makes it. 

 

What are your three best tips? 
1. Don’t worry if you mess something up. The beer and your friends won’t know.

2. Don’t get stuck on one style or recipe.

3. Use good yeast.

 

What do you love most about brewing beer?
I love experimenting and making a beer that completely surprises somebody. I love it when somebody says, “that’s my favorite beer I’ve ever tried.”

 

Anything else you think we should know?
When I started homebrewing in 1989, the craft brewing industry was in its infancy. After college graduation I had to tell my parents I wasn’t going to school for veterinary medicine but I was going to help start a new brewery. My mom said, “Is that even legal?” That hobby has now turned into 25-plus year career with Blue Moon Brewing Company that has led me all over the country and world visiting great breweries and sampling great beers.

 

Nick Crandall, brewmaster of Redhook Ale Brewery

Nick Crandall, Redhook

What type of equipment do homebrewers need? 
You can get started with some pretty simple equipment and upgrade as you go. Basics that you need are a kettle — maybe what you’re making spaghetti in already — and a fermentation vessel, a large container that holds the beer while it’s fermenting: glass carboys, food grade buckets and stainless fermenters are all good options with different benefits to each.

 

Biggest rookie mistakes? 
Remember that the kettle is hot. I might have learned that one the hard way.

 

How long does it take to get good at homebrewing?
It’s kind of like cooking or barbecue, some people are going to hop in and get good real quick and some are going to keep making burnt toast for years.

 

What are your three best tips? 
Sanitation, sanitation and sanitation. 

 

Anything else we should know? 
You’re opening Pandora’s box once you start your first homebrew. It might be just a hobby or it might be the start of a new career.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 16:45
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, NBA
Path: /nba/ayesha-curry-lebron-wife-savannah-james-espn-first-take-stephen-a-smith-cavs-warriors
Body:

The Ayesha Curry dominoes just keep falling.

 

Stephen A. Smith spoke on ESPN's "First Take" about Steph Curry's wife, specifically her . Steph fouled out and she began to tweet that the NBA was rigged for a Game 7. Ayesha's actions of somewhat inserting herself into the game is what caused a firestorm of backlash for her. 

 

Smith makes a comparison to LeBron James' wife, Savannah, and the fact that she never tweets when LeBron is scrutinized.

 

 

Mrs. Curry was not going to let that go lightly. After seeing the clip, Ayesha called out Smith for his comparison of the two.

 

 

Ayesha probably should've waited until Smith was off the air, because it gave him time to respond to her tweet. 

 

There have been way to many outside issues when it comes to this NBA Finals that plenty of people are just waiting for it to be over.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 12:53
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, MLB
Path: /mlb/dad-year-catches-foul-ball-daughter-arms-phillies-blue-jays-fries
Body:

Making a catch bare-handed is an accomplishment in itself. Doing it while holding a child and other stuff in your arms is in a class all its own.

 

During a game between the Blue Jays and Phillies, one dad went the extra mile to catch a foul ball and he did it with one hand while still hanging on to his daughter. That's tough. The dad's explanation made it look like it was just another day at the park for him.

 

"I've been playing for about 30 years now," the dad told the broadcast. "It looked like a normal fly ball from the outfield, I put my hand up — I'm lefty — so with my right hand, catching the ball was pretty easy."

 

 

 

Even though the man spilled his fries, the Phillies rewarded him with more. It's the least they could do.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 10:31
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2016-all-conference-team
Body:

Oklahoma is the Big 12’s clear favorite this season, and despite the loss of a couple of key players on both sides of the ball, the Sooners lead the way on Athlon’s All-Big 12 team with 18 selections for 2016. Additionally, eight Oklahoma players – including running back Samaje Perine and quarterback Baker Mayfield – are projected to earn first-team honors this year. TCU (15) and Oklahoma State (13) are just behind Oklahoma in overall selections, while Texas checks in with 11 picks.  

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Big 12 last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2016.

 

Related: 

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2016. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2016 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

 

Big 12 Team Previews for 2016
           
 

National

Rank:

25 71 99 48 6
 

National

Rank:

24 17 43 42 40

 

Visit the  to order a copy of the 2016 Big 12 Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 10 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Athlon's 2016 All-Big 12 Team

 

First-Team

Offense

Second-Team

Offense

Third-Team

Offense

Fourth-Team

Offense

QB

Baker Mayfield

Oklahoma 

Patrick Mahomes

Texas Tech 

Seth Russell

Baylor 

Mason Rudolph

Okla. State 

RB

Samaje Perine

Oklahoma 

Shock Linwood

Baylor 

Rushel Shell

WVU 

Johnny Jefferson

Baylor 

RB

Mike Warren

Iowa State 

D'Onta Foreman

Texas 

Chris Warren

Texas 

Kyle Hicks

TCU 

AP

Joe Mixon

Oklahoma 

Justin Stockton

Texas Tech 

Shelton Gibson (WR)

WVU 

Winston Dimel

K-State 

WR

Allen Lazard

Iowa State 

Marcell Ateman

Okla. State 

Mark Andrews

Oklahoma 

Devin Lauderdale

Texas Tech 

WR

James Washington

Okla. State 

Dede Westbrook

Oklahoma 

John Burt

Texas 

Geno Lewis

Oklahoma 

WR

KD Cannon

Baylor 

KaVontae Turpin
TCU 

Ian Sadler

Texas Tech 

Deante' Gray

TCU 

C

Tyler Orlosky

WVU 

Dalton Risner

K-State 

Jonathan Alvarez

Oklahoma 

Austin Schlottman

TCU 

OL

Kyle Fuller

Baylor 

Kyle Bosch

WVU 

Zachary Crabtree

Okla. State 

Victor Salako

Okla. State 

OL

Patrick Vahe

Texas 

Baylen Brown

Texas Tech 

Adam Pankey
WVU 

Aviante Collins

TCU 

OL

Connor Williams

Texas 

Jake Campos

Iowa State 

Kent Perkins

Texas 

Yodny Cajuste

WVU 

OL

Orlando Brown

Oklahoma 

Joseph Noteboom

TCU 

Dru Samia

Oklahoma 

Dom Desouza

Baylor 

 

First-Team

Defense

Second-Team

Defense

Third-Team

Defense

Fourth-Team

Defense

DL

Josh Carraway

TCU 

James McFarland

TCU 

Breiden Fehoko

Texas Tech 

K.J. Smith

Baylor 

DL

Noble Nwachukwu

WVU 

Demond Tucker

Iowa State 

Poona Ford

Texas 

Aaron Curry

TCU 

DL

Charles Walker

Oklahoma 

Vincent Taylor

Okla. State 

Jordan Brailford

Okla. State 

Matt Romar

Oklahoma 

DL

Will Geary

K-State 

Jordan Willis

K-State 

Christian Brown

WVU 

Dorance Armstrong

Kansas 

LB

Elijah Lee

K-State 

Jordan Burton

Okla. State 

Chad Whitener

Okla. State 

Joe Dineen

Kansas 

LB

Malik Jefferson

Texas 

Taylor Young

Baylor 

Travon Blanchard

Baylor 

Charmeachealle

Moore

K-State  

LB

Jordan Evans

Oklahoma 

Travin Howard

TCU 

Willie Harvey

Iowa State 

Montrel Wilson

TCU 

CB

Jordan Thomas

Oklahoma 

Ashton Lampkin

Okla. State 

Holton Hill

Texas 

Ranthony Texada

TCU 

CB

Davante Davis

Texas 

Brian Peavy

Iowa State 

Duke Shelley

K-State 

Orion Stewart (S)

Baylor 

S

Jordan Sterns

Okla. State 

Steven Parker

Oklahoma 

Fish Smithson

Kansas 

Jah'Shawn Johnson

Texas Tech 

S

Dante Barnett

K-State 

Denzel Johnson

TCU 

Ahmad Thomas

Oklahoma 

Dravon

Henry-Askew

WVU 

 

First-Team

Specialists

Second-Team

Specialists

Third-Team

Specialists

Fourth-Team

Specialists

K

Matthew McCrane

K-State 

Clayton Hatfield

Texas Tech 

Austin Seibert

Oklahoma 

Ben Grogan

Okla. State 

P

Austin Seibert

Oklahoma 

Zach Sinor

Okla. State 

Michael Dickson

Texas 

Nick Walsh

K-State 

KR

KaVontae Turpin

TCU 

Justin Stockton

Texas Tech 

Shelton Gibson

WVU 

Ryan Schadler

Kansas 

PR

KaVontae Turpin

TCU 

Joe Mixon

Oklahoma 

Trever Ryen

Iowa State 

De'Quan Bowman

Texas Tech 

 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2016 All-Big 12 Team
  First Second Third Fourth

Baylor

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Iowa State

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Kansas

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Kansas State

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Oklahoma

Offense: 4

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Oklahoma State

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

TCU

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 2

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 4

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0

Texas

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Texas Tech

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

West Virginia

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

 

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Football 2016 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/10-favorite-sports-dads-steph-curry-ken-griffey-jr-deion-sanders-wilfork
Body:

Dads are all special, it would be impossible to rank them.

 

We love sports dads because no matter what happens, they will always keep their athletic sons and daughters in check. They never let their heads get too big or caught up in all the fame and fortune. It's an extremely tough job but they handle it with no problem. Here's some of our favorite dads in sports. 

 

Dell and Steph Curry - Steph Curry is a guard for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association and the reigning two-time league MVP. One of the best father-daughter moments in sports history came in a post game interview in the 2015 Western Conference Finals when Steph’s daughter, Riley Curry, sat in his lap throughout the interview and stole the show. Since then, Riley Curry has blown up around the Internet and you can find a multitude of her videos on YouTube. We think it’s safe to say that though Riley has stole the hearts of people throughout the country, but Steph and Riley have an amazing connection that we love to. Dell on the other hand retired as the Charlotte Hornets' all-time leader in points (9,839) and three-point field goals made (929). You could say Steph is well on his way to doing the same for the Warriors. 

 

 

Buddy Ryan (Bob and Rex Ryan's dad) - Buddy Ryan was a former defensive coordinator and head coach in the National Football League and the dad of current NFL coordinator Rob Ryan and head coach Rex Ryan.  Buddy built his reputation as a defensive specialist and is credited with creating and implementing the 46 defense, which the Chicago Bears used in the 1980s to dominate opposing offenses.

 

Son Rex Ryan became a defensive specialist in the NFL as well serving as an assistant for 22 years before becoming a head coach in 2009. Each of Rex’s teams have been known for the stingy defenses. Rob’s coaching career has been a little shakier as he’s served as a defensive coordinator on a multitude of teams. His best season came in 2001 as the linebackers coach of the New England Patriots in which they had the best scoring defense in franchise history with only allowing 17 points per game.

 

Seems like Buddy’s defensive prowess has rubbed off on his sons. 

 

Vince Wolfork (D'Aundre Wilfork's dad) - Vince Wilfork is the nose tackle for the Houston Texans in the National Football League.  He’s considered one of the premier defensive linemen in the league as he’s a 5 time pro bowler and 4 time all pro team selection.  He and his wife, Bianca Wilfork, have two sons and one daughter. Their first son, D’Aundre Wilfork, is Vince’s stepson but Vince has taken care of him like one of his own. If you haven’t watched the video of NFL players’ children talking about their dad’s . Wilfork has had an amazing football career but listening to his kids talk about him as a dad seemed like a bigger moment for him. 

 

Archie Manning (Peyton and Eli Manning's dad) - Archie Manning was a quarterback in the National Football League for 16 years namely for the New Orleans Saints. In 1972, Archie led the league in pass attempts and completions in addition to leading the National Football Conference in passing yards. He was named NFC player of the year in 1978 and was selected for two pro bowls.
 

Almost more notably, Archie is the father of two premier NFL quarterbacks, Peyton and Eli Manning. Peyton  was the quarterback of the Denver Broncos after spending 13 years with the Indianapolis colts. He was selected to the pro bowl 14 times, the all pro team 10 times, the NFL MVP 5 times and led the league in numerous passing categories throughout his career. Peyton wrote a book with Archie called Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy. Peyton has often said that family is one of the most important things. Eli Manning has also had a very successful NFL Career as the quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli is a four time pro bowler as well as the record holder for numerous passing categories for the New York Giants. In 2009, Peyton, Eli, and Archie co-authored a book called Family Huddle which was a simple picture book showing how the Manning brothers played football.
 

Throughout their lives, family has seemed of the utmost importance through their books and the founding of Manning Passing Academy and there is no doubt Archie helped instill these values in them. 

 

Howie Long (Chris and Kyle Long's dad) - Previously a star defensive end in the NFL, Howie Long has come a long way since then. He did a few movies here and there, some commercials as well but now he currently is a studio analyst for Fox Sports Networks' NFL coverage. Long has three sons and two of the three are currently playing on Sundays. Chris plays defensive end for the New England Patriots and Kyle straps up on the offensive line for the Chicago Bears.  

 

Clay Matthews Jr. (Casey and Clay Matthews' III dad) - The Matthews family is nothing short of talented. They have an incredible history of NFL caliber players at all kind of positions. Clay Matthews Jr. had a storied NFL career playing linebacker for the Browns and Falcons. He produced two All-Pac 10 linebackers at USC and Oregon, and both made it to the NFL with Clay Matthews III being drafted by the Green Bay Packers and Casey being selecting by the Philadelphia Eagles. 

 

Cecil Fielder (Prince Fielder's dad) - The combination of the two, could easily be the best father and son power hitters of all-time. Cecil in 1990 became the first player to reach the 50-home run mark since George Foster hit 52 for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977. Similarly, Prince hit 50 home runs himself back in 2007. 

 

 

Deion Sanders (Deion Sanders' Jr. dad) - Everyone loves Prime Time right? Arguably the best NFL corner of all-time, Deion has been the man since day one. After having a Hall of Fame career for the 49ers and Cowboys, he has taken more of a dad role with his son Deion Sanders Jr. Junior currently plays defensive back for the SMU Mustangs and this tweet sums up the mentor role quite nicely. 

 

 

Ken Griffey Jr. (Trey Griffey's dad) - The Kid had the most natural swing that the majors has ever seen. He was a great athlete and could even track down any ball in the gap. His son Trey didn’t follow his father’s footsteps on the diamond. Instead he plays on the gridiron for the Arizona Wildcats with hauling in passes at wide receiver. The best part about the situation is that his dad shoots his games on the field. Junior has found a new hobby and taking photos of his beloved son is a great way to put the icing on the cake for our top 10 list. Happy Father’s Day.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-football-2016-all-conference-team
Body:

There’s plenty of intrigue in Conference USA for 2016. The league’s top four teams – WKU, Marshall, MTSU and Southern Miss – all have key players to replace from last year’s squad, but there’s no shortage of talent returning to start the process of making another run at a conference title. On Athlon’s projected All-Conference USA team for 2016, WKU leads the way with 14 selections, with Marshall and MTSU tied for second with 10 picks. Southern Miss is just a step behind with eight selections, but four of those picks earned first-team honors. 

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Conference USA last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2016.

 

Related: 

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2016. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2016 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Conference USA 2016 Team Previews
East Division
 

National

Rank:

125 103 105 73 70 104 76
West Division
 

National

Rank:

85 128 109 68 92 123

 

Visit the  to order a copy of the 2016 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Athlon's 2016 All-Conference USA Team

  First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense

Third-Team

Offense

Fourth-Team

Offense

QB

Nick Mullens

USM 

Brent Stockstill

MTSU 

Chase Litton

Marshall 

Alex McGough

FIU 

RB

Ray Lawry

ODU 

Aaron Jones

UTEP 

Kalif Phillips

Charlotte 

I'Tavius Mathers

MTSU 

RB

Anthony Wales

WKU 

Jarveon Williams

UTSA 

Jeffrey Wilson

North Texas 

Darik Dillard

Rice 

AP

Richie James (WR)

MTSU 

Ito Smith (RB)

USM 

Alex Gardner (RB)

FIU 

Carlos Henderson

La. Tech 

WR

Taywan Taylor

WKU 

Zach Pascal

ODU 

Thomas Owens

FIU 

Deon-Tay McManus

Marshall 

WR

Trent Taylor

La. Tech 

D.J. Thompson

USM 

Nicholas Norris

WKU 

Zach Wright

Rice 

TE

Jonnu Smith

FIU 

Ryan Yurachek

Marshall 

Hayden Plinke

UTEP 

Connor Cella

Rice 

C

Cameron Tom

USM 

Michael Montero

FIU 

Kaydon Kirby

North Texas 

Max Halpin

WKU 

OL

Reggie Bain

FAU 

Darrell Brown

La. Tech 

O'Shea Dugas

La. Tech 

Dillon DeBoer

FAU 

OL

Forrest Lamp

WKU 

Will Hernandez

UTEP 

Jordan Budwig

FIU 

Calvin Anderson 

Rice 

OL

Michael Selby

Marshall 

Brandon Ray

WKU 

Jamal Covington

Charlotte 

Daniel Stephens

MTSU 

OL

Clint Van Horn

Marshall 

Maurquice Shakir

MTSU 

Kelly Parfitt

FAU 

Jerome Daniels

UTEP 

 

First-Team

Defense

Second-Team
Defense

Third-Team

Defense

Fourth-Team

Defense

DL

Dylan Bradley

USM 

Ryan Bee

Marshall 

Chris Hale

MTSU 

Omarius Bryant

WKU 

DL

Jaylon Ferguson

La. Tech 

Marcus Davenport

UTSA 

Hunter Snyder

FAU 

Graysen Schantz

Rice 

DL

Trey Hendrickson

FAU 

Larry Ogunjobi

Charlotte 

Jarrian Roberts

North Texas 

Jimal McBride

MTSU 

DL

Gary Thompson

Marshall 

Oshane Ximines

ODU 

Derik Overstreet

WKU 

Nick

Dawson-Brents

WKU 

LB

T.J. McCollum

WKU 

D'Nerius Antoine

USM 

Dalton Santos

La. Tech 

Davison Colimon

FIU 

LB

T.J. Ricks

ODU 

Keith Brown

WKU 

Alvin Jones

UTEP 

Shawn Petty

Marshall 

LB

Anthony Wint

FIU 

Alex Lyons

Rice 

Azeez Al-Shaair

FAU 

Nick Usher

UTEP 

CB

Cornell Armstrong

USM 

Mike Minter

MTSU 

Terrance Winchester

Charlotte 

C.J. Reavis

Marshall  

CB

Jeremy Cutrer

MTSU 

Aaron Young

ODU 

Jalen Young (S)

FAU 

Brandon Addison

ODU 

S

Tiquan Lang

Marshall 

Kishawn McClain

North Texas 

Ocie Rose

FAU 

Devin Cockrell

UTEP 

S

Xavier Woods

La. Tech 

Marcus Ward

WKU 

Michael Egwuagu

UTSA 

Picasso Nelson

USM 

 

First-Team

Specialists

Second-Team

Specialists

Third-Team

Specialists

Fourth-Team

Specialists

K

Jonathan Barnes

La. Tech 

Jay Mattox

UTEP 

Trevor Moore

North Texas 

Austin Taylor 

FIU 

P

Dalton Schomp

FAU 

Alan Luna

UTEP 

Eric Keena

North Texas 

Gerald Shouse

La. Tech 

KR

Kylen Towner

WKU 

Carlos Henderson

La. Tech 

Anthony Jones

FIU 

Terry Juniel

UTEP 

PR

Trent Taylor

La. Tech 

Richie James

MTSU 

Anthony Jones

FIU 

Nacarius Fant

WKU 

 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2016 All-C-USA Team
  First Second Third Fourth

Charlotte

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

FAU

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense:  0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 4

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

FIU

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Louisiana Tech

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Marshall

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

MTSU

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

North Texas

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Old Dominion

Offense: 1

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Rice

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 4

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Southern Miss

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

UTEP

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

UTSA

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

WKU

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
Conference USA Football 2016 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Life
Path: /life/pick-6-our-favorite-things-june-july
Body:

In each issue of Athlon Sports & Life, we pick six of our favorite things. They may be books, automobiles, games, gear, booze, apparel or whatever happens to be awesome. Here's what made our short list this issue: 

 

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

There's one good reason this track-bred beauty has been making the rounds on automotive magazine covers recently: it's fast...really, really fast. It travels 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and handles the quarter-mile in 11.8 at 118 mph. Power comes courtesy of a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine, capable of 460 goosebump-producing horsepower. Buyers can choose between a 7-speed manual or 8-speed paddle-shift automotic, and can keep this naturally-aspirated beast in check thanks to a Brembo braking system—adapted from the Corvette Z06—that takes it from 60-0 mph in less than 100 feet. All hail the new king of the road!
, $66,445

 

LifeStraw Go

This 22-ounce capacity refillable water bottle is a must-have for any hiker or outdoorsman. If you need water, simply stop by any water source (note: it doesn't filter salt water), fill it up and drink with the peace of mind knowing that it's not going to make you sick. We also love that there's no weird aftertaste. The secret to what makes it unique is the two-stage filtration that removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria like E-Coli and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa parasites. We also recommend this for frequent travelers who may not always have access to filtered water. Expect to get about 264 gallons of water filtered through the bottle before you need to order a new filter. 
, $50

 

Etymotic’s mk5 Isolator Earphones

There's a lot to like about these earphones. Let's start with the fact that they fit snug in your ear, canceling out ambient noise. The headphones come with three choices of earware: two are rubbery (coming in different sizes to fit small or large ear canals) and one set has foam eartips. Our favorites were the foam, which expand to fill the ear canal completely, keeping outside noise out and music in. One thing we realized quickly, if you don't get a good seal on the earpiece, the sound gets lost. In other words, make sure you have them in snug. Speaking of sound, the highs and mid-range are fantastic, making it ideal for audio books and podcasts. The lows (aka, the bass) was lacking, but certainly not enough for us to enjoy 90% of our music selection. We can't recommend these enough for commutors or frequent flyers who are looking to drown out the outside world. 

, $59 

 

Louisville Slugger MLB PRIME Bats

Produced by the legendary bat maker, this new wood bat line features a proprietary finish called EXOARMOR, which makes the bat two times harder that their traditional performance wood bat. That means more pop and distance to hitters. Beyond that, Louisville Slugger also allows players to customize their own via sluggercustombats.com. We tried it and found the options (color, size, fade, lettering, etc.) to be engaging and addictive. Better yet, you can see how the bat will look before you buy it, allowing you to experiment with crazy color combinations and finishes. It would make a perfect gift for any baseball fan, whether they use it on the field or as decoration for an office.
, $170

 

Camerons/Budweiser Indoor Outdoor Stovetop Smoker

For those who love smoked BBQ and other meats, but don't have the space or want the hassle of a large outdoor smoker, this is the answer to your prayers. The metal container comes with a rack to place the meat on, along with flavored wood pellets and/or chips to infuse a distinct flavor into your meat. The lid keeps the flavor trapped inside the container, so there's no need to worry about a smoke-filled kitchen, if you choose to cook it on your stovetop. We put it to the test with a large rack of ribs and the results came out great. There was no smoke in the kitchen and the flavor worked as promised. We found the smoked flavor to be moderate in taste that complemented but didn't overpower the meat. 

, $50  

 

Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling

We were interested as soon as we read the title. Inside Meathead Goldwin (check him out at ) and physicist/food scientist Greg Blonder take readers through the chemistry, physics and meat science behind barbecue, grilling, marinades, searing, and more in this must-read for every Man-Card carrying guy who loves to helm his outdoor grill. Better yet, this beautifully designed book comes with more than 100 tested recipes. A true bible for every barbecue and grilling nerd. 

, $35 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, NBA
Path: /nba/brian-windhorst-rips-ayesha-curry-nba-rigged-steph-fouled-out-twitter-cavaliers-warriors-finals
Body:

The NBA Finals are emotional for everyone, including the families of players.

 

Steph Curry fouled out during Game 6 of the NBA Finals and not only did he not take it well, his wife Ayesha didn't handle it ideally either. She tweeted (and deleted shortly after) that the NBA may be rigged.

 

 

That one tweet sent Twitter into an uproar. From there, ESPN's Brian Windhorst proceeded to say that if the NBA is rigged, it's in the favor of her husband.

 

 

After Ayesha had a chance to cool down, she then explained her earlier tweet.

 

 

 

 

It was an emotional night to say the least.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 09:48
Path: /college-football/ranking-toughest-games-auburns-college-football-schedule-2016
Body:

People from Alabama take their football seriously. Because of that, there is a little added pressure on coaches who aren’t winning at a high level. ’s Gus Malzahn now finds himself in year four with the Tigers, having only beaten Alabama once, back in 2013. Malzahn teams have gone 8-5 and 7-6 the past two seasons so this year’s group needs to show progress or Auburn may start looking for a new coach.

 

Related:

 

With little stability at quarterback, the Tigers likely will rely on their offensive line and returning running back Jovon Robinson to carry the load this fall. Auburn’s schedule will be a big factor when it comes to navigating the 2016 season. The Tigers have an advantage in not hitting the road until Oct. 8. However, Auburn is the only team in college football that has to play both participants from last year’s national championship game.

 

College Football: Jeremy Foley, Beer and… Gaming?



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Here is a look at Auburn’s 12 regular season games, ranked from easiest to toughest:

 

12. Nov. 19 vs. Alabama A&M

Auburn is one of several SEC teams essentially taking a vacation the week of Nov. 19. That’s not to discredit or disrespect Alabama A&M, but the Bulldogs simply aren’t capable of beating a Power Five team, especially not a traditional SEC powerhouse. Many people outside the southeast criticize the SEC for its late-season scheduling. That’s understandable. 

 

11. Oct. 1 vs. ULM

Auburn will take on the Warhawks from Monroe, La., to cap off a run of five straight homes games to start the season. ULM is no stranger to SEC competition, having faced plenty of teams from the conference over the years. In fact, the Warhawks beat Alabama in 2007 and Arkansas in ‘12. But a lot has changed in a few years. Last season, ULM went 2-11 and gave up more than 50 points on five separate occasions.

 

10. Sept. 10 vs. Arkansas State

When it comes to Sun Belt competition, Arkansas State brings a little more to the table. The Red Wolves are coming off a 9-4 season, but must find a replacement for quarterback Fredi Knighten. Head coach Blake Anderson, now in his third season, should have a pretty solid defense. Last year, the Red Wolves led the nation with eight defensive touchdowns. Auburn and Arkansas State will meet on the gridiron for the fourth time since 2006.

 

9. Nov. 5 vs. Vanderbilt

The Tigers get somewhat of a break in drawing Vanderbilt from the SEC East, but the Commodores shouldn’t be taken lightly. Derek Mason has done a good job of getting this team to a more competitive level. When Mason took over, it was bad… really bad. Now, Vanderbilt appears to have one of the SEC’s best defenses, at least on paper. This team will be pushing hard to get to a bowl game by November. Auburn will have a fight on its hands.

 

8. Oct. 8 at Mississippi State

I’m tired of typing “Dak Prescott,” and you already know all about it, so we’ll leave it at this: Mississippi State has to find a new groove on offense, and be creative in getting the ball to its playmakers. Last season, the Bulldogs were able to edge Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium without much offense, 17-9. Auburn will be on the road for the first time when it travels to Starkville, so this will probably be a tightly-contested game.

 

7. Sept. 17 vs. Texas A&M

This week three matchup could give us a clearer picture of the SEC West hierarchy. The Aggies and Tigers are two of the most puzzling teams to figure out in the division. Both have coaches who arguably could be on the hot seat, yet both also have a good deal of talent. It’s easy to get the impression that either team could be a sleeper pick. Since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012, the teams are 2-2 against each other, with the road team winning every time.

 

6. Oct. 22 vs. Arkansas

Last year, Auburn and Arkansas had a crazy, four-overtime thriller in Fayetteville. The game was tied at 24 at the end of regulation, but the Hogs prevailed 54-46 when the smoke cleared. That was Malzahn’s first loss as a head coach against his home state. This time around, the Hogs will be rebuilding on offense, so Auburn might have an advantage in the running game.

 

5. Nov. 12 at Georgia

The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry goes all the way back to 1892. Talk about history. This has been one of the most hotly-contested rivalries in all of football, with Georgia holding a slight edge, 56-55-8. The Bulldogs have caught up in the series after winning eight of the last 10 matchups. Georgia’s new head coach, Kirby Smart, is certainly familiar with the Tigers. If this game is half as good as the 2013 contest, we should be in for a treat.

 

4. Oct. 29 at Ole Miss

Auburn and Ole Miss typically have pretty close games. This season, Auburn certainly has more question marks, but Ole Miss has shipped off a ton of talent to the NFL. The Tigers would probably rather deal with Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly at home, but they’ll have to travel to Oxford instead. Auburn’s ground game will need to be well established by this point in the season for the Tigers to have a chance to win this one.

 

3. Sept. 24 vs. LSU

Leonard Fournette had a field day against Auburn last season, rushing for 228 yards and three touchdowns. That performance is still running on highlight reels all across Louisiana. Auburn was totally embarrassed in Baton Rouge, and will undoubtedly be looking for revenge down on the plains. LSU looks to be loaded again, but this will be its first true road test. Jordan-Hare Stadium will be loud.

 

2. Sept. 3 vs. Clemson

With great challenge comes great opportunity, but Auburn fans are probably wishing their team was playing Clemson a few years down the road. Clemson returns one of the most talented rosters in college football, including Heisman Trophy front-runner Deshaun Watson at quarterback. But, you know, it’s been proven time and time again that anything can happen in week one. Just imagine the scene on Toomer’s Corner if Auburn pulls this one out.

 

1. Nov. 26 at Alabama

The only team that beat Clemson last year was Alabama. The Crimson Tide have more questions than usual coming into the season, but until something changes, there’s no reason to think Alabama won’t be in contention for a College Football Playoff spot once again. Because this game is on the road and Auburn won’t have as much time to prepare for it, chances are Alabama will be the Tigers’ most difficult challenge in 2016.

 

— Written by Cody McClure, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a radio host and lead SEC Writer for . Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
Ranking the Toughest Games on Auburn's College Football Schedule in 2016
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/ranking-toughest-games-ohio-states-college-football-schedule-2016
Body:

In 2015, 's schedule was widely criticized for its perceived weakness and quality of opponents. Flash forward to the 2016 season, and those critiques will not be heard. Of Ohio State's 12 opponents, 10 played in a bowl game last season and two teams qualified for the College Football Playoff.

 

Throw in the massive roster upheaval, due to the 12 NFL Draft choices from Ohio State's 2015 roster, and combine that with a returning roster that has never played in a college game before, and this should be one of the most challenging schedules in recent memory. If head coach Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes in contention for a Playoff spot at the end of this season, national coach of the year honors will not be out of the question.

 

Related:

 

College Football: Jeremy Foley, Beer and… Gaming?



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With that in mind here are Ohio State’s 12 regular season games ranked from easiest to most difficult.

 

12. Sept. 10 vs. Tulsa

Tulsa head coach Phillip Montgomery has done a solid job in molding the Golden Hurricane into a potent offensive unit, finishing 21st in the country in scoring (37.2 ppg) a year ago. Unfortunately, the defense gave up more points (39.8 ppg, 120th nationally) to the opposition, which is a big reason why Tulsa finished 6-7. The old coaching axiom is that a team improves most from game one to game two. When does Ohio State face Tulsa? Game two.

 

11. Sept. 3 vs. Bowling Green

Any time Ohio State plays a MAC opponent, especially an Ohio-based MAC opponent, it causes some concern from the fan base that the Buckeyes will come out flat and not take said opponent seriously. Bowling Green will enter Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2006, under a first-time head coach in Mike Jinks. The majority of Ohio State's roster will be freshmen or redshirt freshmen, eager to impress and make a positive first impression during the season opener.

 

10. Oct. 1 vs. Rutgers

Former Ohio State assistant and current Rutgers head coach Chris Ash will make his first return to Ohio Stadium. The last time the Scarlet Knights visited The Shoe in 2014, Ohio State handled them easily, winning 56-17. Considering Ohio State has a bye week before this game, this one could be an unhappy homecoming for Chris Ash.

 

9. Oct. 8 vs. Indiana

Indiana has not defeated Ohio State in Columbus since 1987, when Meyer was a graduate assistant. Indiana actually led the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium in 2014, until the Buckeyes rallied for a 42-27 win. Meyer will not let the Buckeyes take the Hoosiers too lightly after last season's scare in Bloomington, when Ohio State escaped with a 34-27 win.

 

8. Nov. 12 at Maryland

Former Meyer and Jim Harbaugh protege D.J. Durkin takes the helm at Maryland, trying to make the Terrapins more formidable within The B1G East. Ohio State will be coming off a night game against Nebraska, and will be gearing up for an important road trip to East Lansing against Michigan State. Will Ohio State be guilty of looking ahead too much in this contest?

 

7. Nov. 5 vs. Nebraska

Nebraska makes its first trip to Columbus since 2012, Meyer's inaugural season as the Buckeyes’ head coach. Like the 2012 contest, this game has already been designated as a night game in Ohio Stadium. Nebraska will be coming off an important game against Wisconsin. Look for Meyer to have many top-rated recruits in attendance, and the Ohio Stadium patrons to be raucous and ready for Mike Riley's Cornhuskers.

 

6. Oct. 29 vs. Northwestern

The last time Northwestern visited Ohio Stadium? It was in 2007 when most of these players from both teams were still in grade school, and Jim Tressel was patrolling the sidelines as Ohio State's head coach. The reason why Northwestern is being ranked this high on the list of Ohio State's opponents? Timing. The Buckeyes will be coming off two challenging road games, while Northwestern will have just concluded a home game against Indiana.

 

5. Oct. 15 at Wisconsin

Ohio State has not traveled to Camp Randall at night since 2012. The Buckeyes prevailed against the Badgers in overtime, winning 21-14. Camp Randall is always a difficult stadium to play in, even more so at night. The Badgers also will have the advantage of a bye week before the Buckeyes come to town, whereas Ohio State will host Indiana prior to making the trip to Madison.

 

4. Oct. 22 at Penn State

The last time Ohio State traveled to Beaver Stadium in 2014, the Buckeyes were happy to escape with a 31-24 double overtime victory. Penn State is still recovering from its NCAA sanctions, and head coach James Franklin will be tasked with replacing Christian Hackenberg at the all-important quarterback position. The Nittany Lions have advantage of a bye week preceding this game and has designated this contest for their "White Out" game, while Ohio State will be coming off a challenging road trip to Wisconsin.

 

3. Nov. 19 at Michigan State

Meyer has been Ohio State's head coach since 2012, and every season has had a significant battle against Michigan State. Ohio State won contests in East Lansing in 2012 and ‘14, while Michigan State broke the hearts of Buckeye coaches, players and fans in 2013 in the Big Ten Championship Game and last season in Columbus. Deadlocked at two wins and two losses since 2012 against the Spartans, which way will this game turn out for Meyer and the Buckeyes?

 

2. Nov. 26 vs. Michigan

This might come as a shocker to not be ranked at the top; it was a tough decision. THE GAME. "That Team Up North." Jim Harbaugh, who will be making his first trip into Ohio Stadium since his senior season in 1986, when he guaranteed a victory over the Buckeyes. Look for this one to settle The B1G East Division champion, and go a long ways towards determining a berth in the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines are closing the talent gap between the two programs, and will be eager for their first win in Columbus since the 2000 season.

 

1. Sept. 17 at Oklahoma

Just as in life, timing is everything. Oklahoma kicks off its 2016 season with a tough opponent in Houston, which won the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl over Florida State to finish off last season’s 13-1 campaign and is coached by former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman. Oklahoma also gets Sun Belt member ULM at home before Ohio State comes into Norman. As stated above, Ohio State will be fielding a very young team, on both sides of the ball. Will these young players have gained enough experience to withstand what promises to be a rowdy atmosphere in Memorial Stadium, under the lights, before a national television audience, by the third game of the 2016 season?

 

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a diehard Ohio State fan. Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
Ranking the Toughest Games on Ohio State's College Football Schedule in 2016
Post date: Friday, June 17, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Michael Strahan, New York Giants, Life
Path: /life/michael-strahan-renaissance-man
Body:

After being named Regis Philbin’s replacement on Live! in 2012, Michael Strahan, 44, enjoyed a phenomenal run on the morning talk show before stepping aside last month. Despite the career pivot, Strahan remains one of the hardest working men in show business. The former New York Giants pass rusher, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XLII champion is hosting ABC’s revival of “$100,000 Pyramid,” he has ramped up his work on ABC’s Good Morning America and will continue to serve as an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday during the football season. He also has two clothing lines at JCPenney; Collection by Michael Strahan is a line of suits and suit accessories, while the recently launched MSX by Michael Strahan is a line of sportswear — or “everywear for everywhere.” As if that laundry list wasn’t enough, Strahan is the voice of Teddy — a fearless rabbit — in the upcoming 3D computer-animated Ice Age: Collision Course, the fifth installment of the Ice Age film series.

 

Teaser:
Super Bowl champion Michael Strahan stays busy with TV, film and fashion
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 16:02
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2016-all-conference-team
Body:

An intriguing race is set to unfold in the Pac-12 this season, as there’s not a clear frontrunner or team projected to finish in the top four and in the mix for a playoff berth. However, while the league may not have a dominant team in place for 2016, there’s no shortage of talent across the conference for all 12 teams. UCLA leads the way on Athlon’s projected All-Pac-12 team with 15 selections, while Washington is the top team from the North with 14 picks. USC (12), Utah (10), Stanford (11) and Arizona State (12) also hit the double-digit mark in selections for Athlon’s All-Pac-12 team for 2016. 

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the  last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2016.

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2016. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2016 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Related: 

 

 

Pac-12 Team Previews for 2016
North Division
 

National

Rank:

44 23 90 12 11 30
South Division
 

National

Rank:

50 46 61 14 22 32

 

 

Visit the  to order a copy of the 2016 Pac-12 Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 12 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Athlon's 2016 All-Pac-12 Team

 

First-Team

Offense

Second-Team

Offense

Third-Team

Offense

Fourth-Team

Offense

QB

Josh Rosen

UCLA 

Luke Falk

Wazzu 

Jake Browning

Washington 

Davis Webb

California 

RB

Royce Freeman

Oregon 

Ronald Jones

USC 

Soso Jamabo

UCLA 

Nick Wilson

Arizona 

RB

Myles Gaskin

Washington 

Demario Richard

Arizona State 

Joe Williams

Utah 

Justin Davis

USC 

AP

Christian McCaffrey

Stanford 

Charles Nelson

Oregon 

Victor Bolden

Oregon State 

Kalen Ballage

Arizona State 

WR

Gabe Marks

Wazzu 

Darren Carrington

Oregon 

Darren Andrews

UCLA 

John Ross

Washington 

WR

JuJu

Smith-Schuster

USC 

Michael Rector

Stanford 

Tim White

Arizona State 

Samajie Grant

Arizona 

TE

Dalton Schultz

Stanford 

Darrell Daniels

Washington 

Pharaoh Brown

Oregon 

Kody Kohl

Arizona State 

C

Riley Sorenson

Wazzu 

Toa Lobendahn

USC 

Coleman Shelton

Washington 

Alex Kelley

Colorado 

OL

Tyrell Crosby

Oregon 

Trey Adams

Washington 

Jacob Alsadek

Arizona 

Casey Tucker

Stanford 

OL

Zach Banner

USC 

Johnny Caspers

Stanford 

Chris Borrayo

California 

Kenny Lacy

UCLA  

OL

J.J. Dielman

Utah 

Chad Wheeler

USC 

Cole Madison

Wazzu 

Sean Harlow

Oregon State 

OL

Conor McDermott

UCLA 

Isaac Asiata

Utah 

Damien Mama

USC 

Scott Quessenberry

UCLA 

 

First-Team

Defense

Second-Team

Defense

Third-Team

Defense

Fourth-Team

Defense

DL

Kylie Fitts

Utah 

Hunter Dimick

Utah 

Greg Gaines

Washington 

Rasheem Green

USC 

DL

Eddie Vanderdoes

UCLA 

Hercules Mata'afa

Wazzu 

Takkarist McKinley

UCLA 

Josh Tupou

Colorado 

DL

Lowell Lotulelei

Utah 

Elijah Qualls 

Washington 

Henry Mondeaux

Oregon 

James Looney

California 

DL

Solomon Thomas

Stanford 

JoJo Wicker

Arizona State 

Tashon Smallwood

Arizona State 

Torrodney Prevot

Oregon 

LB

Salamo Fiso

Arizona State 

Peter Kalambayi

Stanford 

Keishawn Bierria

Washington 

Deon Hollins

UCLA 

LB

Cameron Smith

USC 

Peyton Pelluer

Wazzu 

Jayon Brown

UCLA 

Paul Magloire

Arizona 

LB

Azeem Victor

Washington 

Christian Sam

Arizona State 

Derek McCartney

Colorado 

Addison Gillam

Colorado 

CB

Adoree' Jackson

USC 

Chidobe Awuzie

Colorado 

Alijah Holder

Stanford 

Darrien Molton

Wazzu 

CB

Sidney Jones

Washington 

Iman Marshall
USC 

Marcus Rios

UCLA 

Dominique Hatfield

Utah 

S

Budda Baker

Washington 

Randall Goforth

UCLA 

Shalom Luani

Wazzu 

Kareem Orr

Arizona State 

S

Marcus Williams

Utah 

Jaleel Wadood

UCLA 

Tedric Thompson

Colorado 

Fabian Moreau (CB)

UCLA 

 

First-Team

Specialists

Second-Team

Specialists

Third-Team

Specialists

Fourth-Team

Specialists

K

Andy Phillips

Utah 

Aidan Schneider

Oregon 

Conrad Ukropina

Stanford 

Zane Gonzalez

Arizona State 

P

Matt Haack

Arizona State 

Nick Porebski

Oregon State 

Alex Kinney

Colorado 

Mitch Wishnowsky

Utah 

KR

Christian McCaffrey

Stanford 

Tim White

Arizona State 

John Ross

Washington 

Charles Nelson

Oregon 

PR

Dante Pettis

Washington 

Adoree' Jackson

USC 

Christian McCaffrey

Stanford 

Ishmael Adams

UCLA 

 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2016 All-Pac-12 Team
  First Second Third Fourth

Arizona

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Arizona State

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

California

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Colorado

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Oregon

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Oregon State

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Stanford

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

UCLA

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

USC

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Utah

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Washington

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Washington State

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Teaser:
Pac-12 Football 2016 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: Funny, syndicated, Video, videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/laquon-treadwell-vikings-prank-minnesota
Body:

Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver has now experienced rookie "hazing" at mini-camp. 

 

On his 21st birthday, Vikings veterans surprised the Laquon Treadwell with 60,000 bags of fruit snacks. Kyle Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater stuffed the rookie's car full of them through the sun roof. Similar to more common pranks such as stuffing popcorn (which is just terrible) or balloons in people's cars.

 

 

Treadwell seemed to take it well as it provided a great selfie opportunity. He probably was happy enough that gummies are at least bagged so they're just more of an inconvenience. Plus, it'll provide a great snack on the way to camp.

 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 11:53
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2016-all-conference-team
Body:

Boise State and San Diego State are the favorites to meet in the Mountain West title game in early December, and the Broncos and Aztecs feature plenty of representation on the Athlon Sports 2016 All-Mountain West team. The Broncos lead all Mountain West teams with 15 selections, while the Aztecs feature 11 picks. Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien and San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey are two of the top players in the Group of 5 ranks, with both claiming first-team honors for 2016. San Jose State (11), Nevada (12) and Utah State (10) also hit double-digit selections on the projected all-conference team. 

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Mountain West last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2016.

 

Related: 

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2016. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2016 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Mountain West Conference 2016 Team Previews
Mountain Division
 

National

Rank:

51 34 89 93 82 114
West Division
 

National

Rank:

108 121 86 36 96 106

 

 

Visit the  to order a copy of the 2016 National College Football Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 128 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Athlon's 2016 All-Mountain West Team
 

First-Team

Offense

Second-Team

Offense

Third-Team

Offense

Fourth-Team

Offense

QB

Brett Rypien

Boise State 

Kent Myers

Utah State 

Nick Stevens

Colorado State 

Kenny Potter

SJSU 

RB

Brian Hill

Wyoming 

James Butler

Nevada 

Paul Harris

Hawaii 

Teriyon Gipson

New Mexico 

RB

Donnel Pumphrey

SDSU 

Jacobi Owens

AFA 

Devante Mays

Utah State 

Dalyn Dawkins

Colorado State 

AP

Jeremy McNichols (RB)

Boise State 

Timothy McVey

AFA 

Tyler Winston

SJSU 

Chaz Anderson

Boise State 

WR

Devonte Boyd

UNLV 

Tanner Gentry

Wyoming 

Jalen Robinette

AFA 

Jamire Jordan

Fresno State 

WR

Thomas Sperbeck

Boise State 

Hasaan Henderson

Nevada 

Jerico Richardson

Nevada 

Marcus Kemp

Hawaii 

TE

Billy Freeman

SJSU 

Jake Roh

Boise State 

Jarred Gipson

Nevada 

Wyatt Houston

Utah State 

C

Jake Bennett

Colorado State 

Austin Stephens

Utah State 

Will Kreitler 

UNLV 

Arthur Flores

SDSU 

OL

Chase Roullier

Wyoming 

Dejon Allen

Hawaii 

Kwayde Miller

SDSU 

Kyle Saxelid

UNLV 

OL

Nico Siragusa

SDSU 

Austin Corbett

Nevada 

Travis Averill

Boise State 

Zach Wallace

Wyoming 

OL

Mario Yakoo

Boise State 

Jake Simonich

Utah State 

Colin Sandor

AFA 

Jeremiah Kolone

SJSU 

OL

Fred Zerblis

Colorado State 

Nate Velichko

SJSU 

Reno Henderson

New Mexico 

Steven Baggett

Boise State 

 

First-Team

Defense

Second-Team

Defense

Third-Team

Defense

Fourth-Team

Defense

DL

Alex Barrett

SDSU 

Kyle Kelley

SDSU 

Gabe Perez

Boise State 

Nate Madsen

Fresno State 

DL

Nik D'Avanzo

New Mexico 

Ricky Ali'fua

Utah State 

Carl Granderson

Wyoming 

Isaiah Irving

SJSU 

DL

Travis Seefeldt

Utah State 

Sam McCaskill

Boise State 

Malik Reed

Nevada 

Keenan Sykes

SJSU 

DL

Kennedy*

Tulimasealii

Hawaii 

Ryan Watson

AFA 

Kory Rasmussen

Hawaii 

Mike Hughes

UNLV 

LB

Calvin Munson

SDSU 

Dakota Cox

New Mexico 

Tau Lotulelei

UNLV 

D.J. Dunn

AFA 

LB

Christian Tago

SJSU 

Kevin Davis

Colorado State 

Lucas Wacha

Wyoming 

Jeff Camilli

Fresno State 

LB

Tanner Vallejo

Boise State 

Ben Weaver

Boise State 

Jerrol 

Garcia-Williams

Hawaii 

Ryan McAleenan

UNLV 

CB

Damontae Kazee

SDSU 

Jalen Davis

Utah State 

Daquawn Brown

Fresno State 

Andre Chachere

SJSU 

CB

Ronald Ladipo

AFA 

Jonathan Moxey

Boise State 

Tyquwan Glass

Fresno State 

Torry McTyer

UNLV 

S

Weston 

Steelhammer

AFA 

Dylan 

Sumner-Gardner

Boise State 

Asauni Rufus

Nevada 

Maurice McKnight

SJSU 

S

Andrew Wingard

Wyoming 

Dameon Baber

Nevada 

Malik Smith

SDSU 

Dallin Leavitt

Utah State 

 

First-Team

Specialists

Second-Team

Specialists

Third-Team

Specialists

Fourth-Team

Specialists

K

Tyler Rausa

Boise State 

Brent Zuzo

Nevada 

Nicolai Bornand

UNLV 

Wyatt Bryan

Colorado State 

P

Hayden Hunt

Colorado State 

Michael Carrizosa

SJSU 

Rigoberto Sanchez

Hawaii 

Alex Boy

Nevada 

KR

Rashaad Penny

SDSU 

D.J. May

Wyoming 

Elijah Mitchell

Nevada 

Keelan Ewaliko

Hawaii 

PR

Andrew Rodriguez

Utah State 

Tanner Gentry

Wyoming 

Andrew Celis

Nevada 

Mikah Holder

SDSU 

 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2016 All-Mountain West Team
  First Second Third Fourth

Air Force

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Boise State

Offense: 4

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 4

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Colorado State

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Fresno State

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Hawaii

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Nevada

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

New Mexico

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

San Diego State

Offense: 2

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

San Jose State

Offense: 1

Defense:  1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 4

Sp. Teams: 0

UNLV

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0

Utah State

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 3

Defense:  2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Wyoming

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

* Tulimasealii was dismissed from the team in late June - after Athlon's All-Mountain West team was released for 2016.

Teaser:
Mountain West Football 2016 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, syndicated
Path: /college-football/best-non-conference-games-fcs-2016
Body:

The early weeks of the FCS season will be energized by the upsets of FBS teams. After all, Cinderella straps on the dancin’ shoes in September too.

 

Related:

 

But what the FCS needs just as much, though, are strong matchups between teams stepping out of conference. With smaller athletic budgets, it’s not always possible if the matchups aren’t somewhat regional.

 

But during the first month of the 2016 season, there are plenty of attractive non-conference matchups.

 

Here are a dozen of the best:

 

Charleston Southern at North Dakota State (Aug. 27)

The five-time reigning national champion Bison open the FCS season for the second consecutive season. They lost at Montana a year ago, but this one is at home, sweet dome. The visiting Buccaneers, coming off a Big South title, will try to silence the Fargodome crowd with a controlled run game.

 

Duquesne at Youngstown State (Sept. 1)

Don’t sleep on this matchup. The visiting Dukes are coming off a Northeast Conference title and have a quarterback, senior Dillon Buechel, who will test YSU’s pass defense, which led the FCS last season. The playoff-starved Penguins can’t afford to lose their opener under head coach Bo Pelini.

 

Alcorn State at Bethune-Cookman (Sept. 4)

The MEAC-SWAC Challenge has moved to a campus site and it’s a dandy. Alcorn State is coming off two straight SWAC titles and Bethune-Cookman has won at least a share of five of the last six MEAC championships. Maybe a preview of the Celebration Bowl in December?

 

Montana at Northern Iowa (Sept. 10)

Montana has won all five previous meetings, including the three most recent in the FCS playoffs in 1994, 2001 and '11. Now if the Panthers could only have the same luck against the Griz as they do against Eastern Washington (you’ll see below).

 

Eastern Washington at North Dakota State (Sept. 10)

NDSU has come to dominate the FCS, but this is a matchup of the two most recent national champions as Eastern Washington preceded the Bison in 2010. In fact, the last Bison loss in the playoffs occurred in the 2010 quarterfinals when the Eagles won in overtime on their way to the title.

 

Northern Arizona at Western Illinois (Sept. 10)

So you’ve noticed Big Sky vs. Missouri Valley is a theme. This one has NAU super soph quarterback Case Cookus, who set the FCS freshman record for touchdown passes in a season, facing a veteran Western Illinois squad.

 

Coastal Carolina at Jacksonville State (Sept. 17)

All 12 Coastal Carolina games are non-conference this season as the program makes its transition toward the FBS as an FCS independent. The Chanticleers’ trip to last year’s national runner-up is their toughest game. Their matchups against Charleston Southern (Oct. 1) and Liberty (Nov. 17) will be at home.

 

Northern Iowa at Eastern Washington (Sept. 17)

Whew! By the time these power programs square off for a second straight year, UNI will have traveled to Iowa State and hosted Montana, and EWU will have visited Washington State and North Dakota State. UNI won 38-35 in Cedar Falls last season to extend its series lead to 6-0.

 

Eastern Illinois at Illinois State (Sept. 17)

Since the oldest rivalry in the state of Illinois was dubbed the Mid-America Classic in 2012, Illinois State has won three of the four games, including 34-31 in overtime last season. That has upped the Redbirds’ series lead to 54-40-9.

 

Colgate at Richmond (Sept. 24)

After winning the Patriot League title, Colgate beat CAA Football programs New Hampshire and James Madison on the road in the playoffs last season. The Raiders will have their hands full with Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta-to-Brian Brown passing combo.

 

Penn at Fordham (Sept. 24)

There’s no shortage of offensive standouts in this matchup with Penn quarterback Alex Torgersen and wide receiver Justin Watson and Fordham quarterback Kevin Anderson and running back Chase Edmonds.

 

Jacksonville State at Liberty (Sept. 24)

The host Flames were humbled by a 6-5 finish last season, but they went 5-0 at Williams Stadium, including wins over Montana and Coastal Carolina. A capacity crowd figures to turn out for quarterback Eli Jenkins and the Gamecocks.

 

— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for . He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter .

 

(Top photo by University of Northern Iowa Athletics)

Teaser:
Best Non-Conference Games in the FCS in 2016
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, MLB
Path: /mlb/top-10-mlb-fathers-day-2016-uniforms
Body:

For the first time,  teams will forgo their usual color palette for a special light blue motif on Father’s Day. On June 19, all 30 teams will wear specially designed caps and jerseys in recognition of the special day.

 

In the past players have worn special blue ribbons and wristbands on Father’s Day, but this is the first year MLB has gone with the uniform approach. The Father’s Day look was created in partnership with New Era and Majestic and is part of this year’s line of special event looks, which were . Teams wore pink-centric uniforms on Mother’s Day, camouflage-influenced ones on Memorial Day and will don special stars and stripes editions on the 4th of July.

 

Related:

 

MLB will donate a portion of its licensed Father's Day uniform royalties to the Prostate Cancer Foundation as well as Stand Up to Cancer. MLB's partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation goes back to 1996.

 

So light blue will be the dominant color on the diamond come June 19, but which team will wear it best? Here are the 10 (in alphabetical order) we think will stand out on Father's Day. 

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

 


Kansas City Royals

 

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

 

 

Miami Marlins

 

 

Minnesota Twins

 

 

New York Mets

 

 

Oakland A's

 

 

San Diego Padres

 

 

San Francisco Giants

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays

 

 

(Photos courtesy of , where you can find the complete gallery of Father's Day  and .)

Teaser:
Top 10 MLB Father's Day 2016 Uniforms
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /college-football/catching-floridas-larry-smith-athlons-first-mvp-1967
Body:

Athlon Sports is celebrating the 50th volume of its inaugural SEC annual this year. Throughout the summer and fall, we’ll look back at some of the players, coaches, teams and images from our early years.

 

Back then, Florida running back Larry Smith was the SEC’s preseason MVP in that . We caught up with Smith to talk about his time at Florida, his pro career and his post-football pursuits.

 

Larry Smith’s most famous play as a Florida football player is a matter of dispute.

 

In the Sugar Bowl following the 1966 season, Smith managed to steal the spotlight from his quarterback, who was a month removed from winning the Heisman Trophy.

 

With Florida up 7-6 in the third quarter against Georgia Tech, Smith took a handoff from Steve Spurrier at the 6, scored a few blocks and ran 94 yards for a touchdown. In Florida’s first Orange Bowl and only its second major bowl appearance, Smith ran for 187 yards on 23 carries to beat Georgia Tech 27-12.

 

The image of that 94-yard run though — or at least the story of it — persisted. According to the legend, Smith made the run with his pants falling down, a fact Smith says was more or less an optical illusion.

 

“They had those old hip pads back then and they were sliding up, making it look like my pants were falling down,” said Smith from his law office in Tampa, Fla. “I honestly don’t think I could have run that far if my pants were falling down.”

 

So why did that legend persist? Norm Carlson is a genius, says Smith.

 

Norm Carlson was Florida’s sports information director at the time, and as Florida’s liaison to the press, he was happy to make the star running back larger than life even if Smith would have nothing to do with such praise.

 

“His pants did start falling down,” Carlson said. “He had small hips. They didn’t fall down, but they started slipping and you could see his hip pad. It didn’t affect the run, but you could clearly see them slipping. I just reported the truth. It’s all about truth in journalism.”

 

That run and his MVP performance in the Orange Bowl set up Smith as one of the SEC’s biggest stars going into the 1967 season. With Spurrier — the SEC’s second Heisman winner in seven years — graduating, Smith had big shoes to fill.

 

 

Conference coaches felt Smith was up to the task when they voted him the preseason MVP in the inaugural issue of Athlon in 1967.

 

“He’s the best college back I’ve been around,” then-Florida coach Ray Graves told Athlon.

 

In Smith’s 1966 sophomore season — his first on the varsity as freshmen were ineligible at the time — he rushed for 742 yards, caught 23 passes and accounted for 12 total touchdowns in 10 games.

 

Smith rushed for 754 yards as a junior and accounted for eight touchdowns, but Florida struggled to find a quarterback in the absence of Spurrier and finished 6-4 without a bowl game.

 

The reputation of the Florida running back continued into his senior season when Athlon wrote: “With all due apologies to O.J. Simpson, Larry Smith may be the greatest running back in college football.”

 

Perhaps there was some provincialism at work in the SEC, but Carlson says this was no hyperbole.

 

“He was a great football player, proved it in every way on the field,” said Carlson, who is semi-retired but still listed as Florida’s historian and an assistant athletic director. “To take in all the categories of what he did, statistically maybe not the best, but he didn’t care. That’s what made him one of the best.”

 

 

Smith finished with 2,186 career rushing yards and 607 receiving yards, leaving school as the program’s all-time leader in rushing and yards from scrimmage. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound running back was also known for completing passes on what started as end sweeps.

 

Since then, Smith’s notoriety would fade as Emmitt Smith, Errict Rhett and Fred Taylor passed him in the record books, and quarterbacks and receivers became the superstars under Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer.

 

After Florida, Smith was drafted eighth overall by the Rams in the 1969 NFL Draft. Injuries limited him throughout his career, and he never topped the 599 rushing yards from his rookie season He retired in 1974, but before then he split time living in Los Angeles and Gainesville, Fla.

 

Smith’s heart was always in Florida, anyhow. His father was a Florida graduate — he still has his season tickets that they first purchased when Smith was eight years old.

 

After 10 years in Gainesville, Smith worked in the business world in his hometown of Tampa before going to law school in his early 30s. After changing gears in his career, Smith graduated law school at age 34 and has worked in commercial real estate law in Tampa ever since.

 

Other names in Florida history loom larger, particularly his former quarterback, but in 1967 and 1968 few were better than Athlon’s first SEC MVP.

 

“All around, he was one of the best we have ever had at Florida,” Carlson said.

Teaser:
Catching up with Florida's Larry Smith, Athlon's first MVP in 1967
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army West Point Black Knights, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, syndicated, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-10-most-explosive-running-quarterbacks-2016
Body:

Having a dual-threat quarterback who makes the defense respect his arm and legs is arguably a must for effective offenses in today’s college football. These quarterbacks have the unique ability to turn ordinary plays into pay dirt and six points for the offense. They come in different shapes and sizes, but there are a few qualities each big-play signal-caller seems to possess - speed, acceleration and great playmaking ability. This spreadsheet below shows runs that went over 20 and 30 yards, average per carry and a total sum of the statistics. There is no perfect system to define the elite dual-threat quarterbacks, but this arbitrary metric should efficiently sort out the best of the best. Without further ado, here are the most dynamic running quarterbacks in college football.

 

CFB's 10 Most Explosive Running QBs for 2016

Name

20+

30+

Avg

Total

Greg Ward Jr. (UH)

16

9

5.8

30.8

Lamar Jordan (UNM)

13

4

5.3

22.3

Lamar Jackson (UL)

11

6

5.2

22.2

Deshaun Watson (CLEM)

10

6

5.4

21.4

Kevin Ellison (GSU)

9

5

6.4

20.4

Matt Davis (SMU)

11

5

4.1

20.1

Tyler Jones (TSU)

9

5

4.2

18.2

Quinton Flowers (USF)

10

3

5.0

18.0

Kenny Potter (SJSU)

9

5

3.5

17.5

Joshua Dobbs (UT)

10

2

4.6

16.6

Greg Ward Jr., 5’11, 185 lbs., Houston

Became the first Houston quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.

 

Lamar Jordan, 5’10, 190 lbs., New Mexico

Has 1,419 career rushing yards and had a 5.11 average per carry versus Power 5 opponents in 2015.

 

Lamar Jackson, 6’3, 196 lbs., Louisville

Holds the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season and already owns the career record with 960 yards.

 

Deshaun Watson, 6’2, 210 lbs., Clemson

Broke the ACC total offense mark of 4,600 yards set by Philip Rivers of NC State in 2003.

 

Kevin Ellison, 6’0, 183 lbs., Georgia Southern

The triple-option threat has 2,690 career rushing yards and 28 touchdowns thus far in his storied Eagle career.

 

Matt Davis, 6’0, 212 lbs., SMU

Had four 100-yard rushing performances and owns the two highest rushing totals by a quarterback in SMU history.

 

Tyler Jones, 6’2, 205 lbs., Texas State

Was second in the Sun Belt for rushing yards by a quarterback and rushed for 160 yards versus Southern Miss.

 

Quinton Flowers, 6’0, 210 lbs., South Florida

Posted 3,287 yards of total offense and set a USF season record for total touchdowns accounted for with 34.

 

Kenny Potter, 6’2, 208 lbs., San José State

Became the first San José State quarterback in 11 years to rush for six touchdowns in a season.

 

Joshua Dobbs, 6’3, 207 lbs., Tennessee

Rushed for at least one touchdown in 13 of his last 19 starts with two or more in six of those games.

Teaser:
College Football's 10 Most Explosive Running Quarterbacks for 2016
Post date: Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: AAC, ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-jeremy-foley-beer-and-gaming
Body:

Braden Gall and David Fox break down a slow news week in college football.

 

- Jeremy Foley is stepping down as Florida's Athletic Director. How impressive was his run and was he the first of a new type of AD.

 

- Ohio State will sell beer at games this year, bringing the total to more than 30 FBS schools selling alcohol at sporting events. What is the downside? Are there any negatives to selling booze at games?

 

- Why can't Baylor get out of his it's own way? Is the Board of Regents going to vote Art Briles back in place? What is the real solution for the Bears? (Hint: TELL THE TRUTH!)

 

- The guys break down the Athlon Sports preseason All-American and All-Conference teams.

 

- Finally, are eSports the future of college athletics? The Pac-12 Network seems to think gaming is the wave of the future.

 

Check out the .

 

You can order your preseason .

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to  @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on  and our .

Teaser:
College Football Podcast: Jeremy Foley, Beer and... Gaming?
Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 15:47
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, NBA
Path: /overtime/someone-bought-cryingjordancom-and-redirected-it-cavaliers-website
Body:

The crying Jordan meme has been used frequently for the past year. However, this instance has taken it to a whole other level.

 

Fans buying website domains to troll is not new. In 2012, someone bought Nets.com to redirect Nets fans to the New York Knicks official website. In 2015, another person bought TheWashingtonRedskins.com to redirect Redskins fans to the New York Giants official website. 

 

Instead of seeing the usual memes you would expect on a website named , the URL redirects you to the Cleveland Cavaliers official website. 

 

Whatever the reason and whoever it is, this troll is pretty funny. A Crying Jordan never fails to disappoint. 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 15:43
All taxonomy terms: Funny, syndicated, Video, videos, NFL
Path: /nfl/colts-mean-tweets-read-indianapolis-ty-hilton-pat-mcafee-defense-adam
Body:

Reading mean tweets about yourself can be difficult, but funny.

 

The Indianapolis Colts took it upon themselves to take a gander at the things being said about them on social media, and it does not disappoint. Players learn that twitter users think they're old, ugly, and can't play defense. Ouch.

 

 

Please never tweet about Pat McAfee again.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 14:08
Path: /college-football/ranking-toughest-games-arkansas-college-football-schedule-2016
Body:

If is to ever make a run at a West title, 2016 would be the year to do it. The Razorbacks have a lot going for them heading into the season with nine starters back on defense, a very favorable schedule, and their side of the SEC figures to be down this year. The trouble for the Hogs is the unknown on offense.

 

Related:

 

Arkansas pulled together an 8-5 season in 2015 after stumbling hard out of the blocks at 1-3. The Hogs buckled down through the heart of their SEC schedule, ending the year on a high note with a 45-23 trouncing of Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl.

 

On offense, quarterback Brandon Allen is gone replaced by younger brother Austin, as is leading rusher Alex Collins with Kody Walker, Rawleigh Williams and incoming freshman Devwah Whaley in a battle to fill his big shoes. Another key piece of last year’s offense that has departed is Mackey Award-winning tight end Hunter Henry. The one good thing for second-year offensive coordinator Dan Enos is the cupboard is not bare at tight end or wide receiver. So if Allen can come in and get the ball to his weapons, the Razorbacks should be able to move the ball and score some points.

 

The defense was a Jekyll and Hyde affair with one part being stout (run defense finished 12th in the nation) with the other being anything but (pass defense finished No. 117). Former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads has been brought on to help mold the secondary into shape. If Arkansas is to have a season to remember, the pass defense must improve and quickly. The good news for defensive coordinator Robb Smith is that plenty of experience returns in those nine starters.

 

Here is a look at Arkansas 12 regular season games ranked from easiest to most difficult.

 

12. Oct. 1 vs. Alcorn State

The Braves may get a distracted Arkansas team in early October. Arkansas has lost back-to-back games to Texas A&M in overtime, so one can expect another nail-biting finish leading into this game, and the Hogs get Alabama the following week. The Braves were 9-4 in 2015 but were quickly shown the door against their lone FBS opponent, Georgia Tech, losing 69-6 in their season opener.

 

11. Sept. 17 vs. Texas State

The Bobcats suffered through a 3-9 (2-6 Sun Belt) showing in 2015 and have just four starters back on offense and four back on defense. Texas State could be a much-needed game to get the ship back on course if all does not go well in Fort Worth against the Horned Frogs the week prior.

 

10. Sept. 3 vs. Louisiana Tech

The Bulldogs were 9-4 a year ago, but lost quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Kenneth Dixon to the NFL. Louisiana Tech likes to use four wide receivers, making this season opener a good barometer for Arkansas’ beleaguered pass defense in preparation for the likes of TCU, Texas A&M and Auburn. The Bulldogs only have two key starters returning on defense, so the Hogs should be able to make some noise on offense too.

 

9. Nov. 25 at Missouri

First-year head coach Barry Odom will have his hands full in 2016 trying to revive Missouri’s offense. The line returns just one starter to protect sophomore quarterback Drew Lock, who needs to take a step or two forward this season. The running game should get a boost from true freshmen Nate Strong and Damrea Crockett but can the line get a push up front?

 

Missouri’s defense was very good a year ago, finishing sixth overall in FBS. The Tigers’ front line is stout and led by Charles Harris, Josh Augusta and Walter Brady. If Missouri can produce some offense, expect the Tigers to hang closer than the 28-3 beating they took in Fayetteville last season.

 

8. Sept. 10 at TCU

Athlon Sports has the Horned Frogs , which on paper may seem a bit odd. TCU may put up a pile of points on its Big 12 competition because that is what the Horned Frogs have been able to do lately, but the offense returns just one starter as the potent passing combination of Trevone Boykin to Josh Doctson is no longer around. Quarterback Kenny Hill beat the Hogs when he was with Texas A&M in 2014, but he may not get the starting spot if Foster Sawyer has anything to say about the matter.

 

TCU should be solid on defense with eight starters back, but that unit was fairly average in 2015 against the run, something Arkansas will look to exploit if possible.

 

7. Oct. 22 at Auburn

The Tigers limped to a 7-6 mark in 2015 but still almost beat Arkansas in Fayetteville before losing 54-46 in overtime. Former running back Peyton Barber ran over Arkansas’ defense for 120 yards on 37 carries with four scores. Sean White, who is in a battle with Jeremy Johnson for the starting spot under center, was good enough to keep the chains moving, hitting 19 of 32 passes for 254 yards.

 

Auburn welcomes Arkansas at the right time, after consecutive games against Alabama and Ole Miss. The Hogs have a bye the following week before Florida and may be eyeing a week off to rest and heal before four more SEC games to end the regular season.

 

6. Nov. 19 at Mississippi State

How good can Mississippi State be with quarterback Dak Prescott now in the NFL? Each year Mississippi State is essentially picked last in the SEC West, and each year the Bulldogs rise above expectations. Nick Fitzgerald appears to be the heir apparent in the pocket. Like Prescott he can run, which has caused trouble for Arkansas defenses in the past.

 

On defense, the Bulldogs are moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment, which could work in Arkansas’ favor. The Hogs had trouble moving MSU’s defensive front a year ago. MSU has five key starters back on defense and five on offense. Everything teeters on quarterback play for the Bulldogs. 

 

5. Sept. 24 vs. Texas A&M (Arlington, Texas)

No matter the records or amount of returning starters either Arkansas or Texas A&M has on their rosters when they square off, the game is sure to be exciting. The Aggies went 8-5 in 2015 but lost both starting quarterbacks to transfer. Former Oklahoma starting quarterback Trevor Knight has been given the nod to start the season in the pocket for A&M. How will he hold up against a SEC schedule?

 

The Aggies will be tough on defense again and will have arguably one of the best wide receivers corps in the nation. Just another tough game for the Hogs.

 

4. Nov. 5 vs. Florida

Arkansas rotates off Tennessee from the East for Florida, which may be a blessing. The Gators lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, especially on defense to the NFL. For the sixth year in a row, Florida will have a new starting quarterback. The Gators return three along their offensive line and have running backs Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite back after solid freshmen seasons.

 

The defense may be salty again but will miss cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, safety Keanu Neal and lineman Jonathan Bullard.

 

Florida could be struggling by the time Arkansas welcomes the defending SEC East champions to Fayetteville. The Gators’ schedule is difficult with road games to Tennessee and Vanderbilt, home games against LSU and Missouri, a neutral site game against Georgia, then to Arkansas before going back to the Swamp to greet South Carolina.

 

3. Oct. 15 vs. Ole Miss

Arkansas escaped Ole Miss 53-52 in overtime in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium thanks to the “Henry heave” to running back Alex Collins on a 4th-and-20 play for a game-saving first down. The Rebels will be very young on offense but have senior quarterback Chad Kelly and his conference-leading 4,042 yards and 31 touchdown passes back.

 

Brandon Allen exploited Ole Miss’ defense for 442 yards and six scores without a pick. It is tough to assume Austin Allen will be able to do the same. With three starting defensive backs returning, the Rebels’ pass defense should improve. Coming right after the showdown against Alabama makes this a really difficult game for Arkansas.

 

2. Oct. 8 vs. Alabama

Between Bobby Petrino, John L. Smith and Bret Bielema, the Hogs are closing in on a decade of losing to Alabama. The last time the Hogs bested the Crimson Tide was a 24-23 win in 2006. If Arkansas could pick a year to beat Alabama, this would be it.

 

Alabama has six starters back on offense and will be replacing three up front, its quarterback and running back. The Crimson Tide’s secondary is very solid but the front seven might be tested in 2016.

 

Arkansas has its cupcake game against Alcorn State the week before Alabama comes to town. The Hogs could be 5-0 looking for legitimacy at this point or 3-2 looking to turn things around against the best college football program in the nation. Maybe Bama will be looking ahead to another critical conference road game (at Tennessee the following week)?

 

1.  Nov. 12 vs. LSU

Tough to pick anything against Alabama not being the No. 1 game, but LSU could be the team to beat in 2016. Brandon Harris’ play at quarterback will be under the microscope but with seven other starters back on offense, including Heisman Trophy contender Leonard Fournette, and 10 back on defense, the Tigers look like one of the nation’s best this season.

 

LSU heads to Arkansas after what could be tough back-to-back games against Ole Miss and Alabama. The Hogs have beaten LSU the last two seasons with both games coming after the Tigers fell to Alabama.  That part of the schedule is in place again this fall so If Alabama wears down LSU again, Arkansas could pull out its third win in a row over the Bayou Bengals.

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, . Follow him on Twitter .

Teaser:
Ranking the Toughest Games on Arkansas’ College Football Schedule in 2016
Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2016-all-conference-team
Body:

Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa are projected to be the Big Ten’s top four teams this season, so it should be no surprise these programs dominate the Athlon Sports projected All-Big Ten team for 2016. Michigan leads the way with 13 overall selections, while Iowa and Michigan State rank a close second with 12 picks. Ohio State returns only six starters, but the Buckeyes have a strong showing on Athlon’s projected all-conference team with 10 selections. 

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the  last week. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor the top players in the league with a release of first, second, third and fourth all-conference teams for 2016.

 

Related: 

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2016. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2016 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Big Ten Team Previews for 2016

East Division
 

National

Rank:

55 66 5 13 3 39 87
West Division
 

National

Rank:

74 19 60 31 45 95 33

 

Visit the  to order a copy of the 2016 Big Ten Preview Magazine, which features in-depth analysis and previews for all 14 teams, predictions, rankings and features to prepare for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Athlon's 2016 All-Big Ten Team

 

First-Team

Offense

Second-Team

Offense

Third-Team

Offense

Fourth-Team

Offense

QB

J.T. Barrett

Ohio State 

C.J. Beathard

Iowa 

Tommy Armstrong

Nebraska 

Wes Lunt

Illinois 

RB

Saquon Barkley

Penn State 

Corey Clement

Wisconsin 

Devine Redding

Indiana 

LeShun Daniels

Iowa 

RB

Justin Jackson

Northwestern 

LJ Scott

Michigan State 

Mike Weber

Ohio State 

Shannon Brooks

Minnesota 

AP

Jordan Westerkamp (WR)

Nebraska 

Curtis Samuel 

Ohio State 

Ke'Shawn Vaughn

Illinois 

Markell Jones

Purdue 

WR

Jehu Chesson

Michigan 

Simmie Cobbs

Indiana 

R.J. Shelton

Michigan State 

Malik Turner

Illinois 

WR

Chris Godwin

Penn State 

Amara Darboh

Michigan 

Matt VandeBerg

Iowa 

D.J. Moore

Maryland 

TE

Jake Butt

Michigan 

Josiah Price

Michigan State 

Brandon Lingen

Minnesota  

George Kittle

Iowa 

C

Pat Elflein

Ohio State 

Michael Deiter

Wisconsin 

Dylan Utter

Nebraska  

Michael Dunn

Maryland 

OL

Brian Allen

Michigan State 

Cole Croston

Iowa 

Christian DiLauro

Illinois 

Jordan Roos

Purdue 

OL

Mason Cole

Michigan 

Nick Gates

Nebraska 

Kodi Kieler

Michigan State 

Blake Hance

Northwestern 

OL

Sean Welsh

Iowa 

Erik Magnuson

Michigan 

Andrew Nelson

Penn State 

Dimitric Camiel

Indiana 

OL

Dan Feeney

Indiana 

Billy Price

Ohio State 

Jonah Pirsig

Minnesota 

Kyle Kalis

Michigan 

 

 

First-Team

Defense

Second-Team

Defense

Third-Team

Defense

Fourth-Team

Defense

DL

Malik McDowell

Michigan State 

Taco Charlton

Michigan 

Darius Hamilton

Rutgers 

Freedom Akinmoladun

Nebraska 

DL

Tyquan Lewis

Ohio State 

Jaleel Johnson

Iowa 

Demetrius Cooper

Michigan State 

Parker Hesse

Iowa 

DL

Sam Hubbard

Ohio State 

Garrett Sickels

Penn State 

Tyler Lancaster

Northwestern 

Bryan Mone

Michigan 

DL

Chris Wormley

Michigan 

Dawuane Smoot

Illinois 

Jake Replogle

Purdue 

Olive Sagapolu

Wisconsin 

LB

Raekwon McMillan

Ohio State 

Vince Biegel

Wisconsin 

Hardy Nickerson

Illinois 

Brandon Bell

Penn State 

LB

Jabrill Peppers

Michigan 

Riley Bullough

Michigan State 

Jason Cabinda

Penn State 

Jack Lynn

Minnesota 

LB

Anthony Walker

Northwestern 

Josey Jewell

Iowa 

T.J. Edwards

Wisconsin 

Marcus Oliver

Indiana 

CB

Desmond King

Iowa 

Gareon Conley

Ohio State 

Matthew Harris

Northwestern 

Vayante Copeland

Michigan State 

CB

Jourdan Lewis

Michigan 

William Likely

Maryland 

Sojourn Shelton

Wisconsin 

Grant Haley

Penn State 

S

Nate Gerry

Nebraska 

Marcus Allen

Penn State 

Jonathan Crawford

Indiana 

Demetrious Cox

Michigan State 

S

Montae Nicholson

Michigan State 

Godwin Igwebuike

Northwestern 

Damarius Travis

Minnesota 

Taylor Barton

Illinois 

 

First-Team

Specialists

Second-Team

Specialists

Third-Team

Specialists

Fourth-Team

Specialists

K

Griffin Oakes

Indiana 

Drew Brown

Nebraska 

Ryan Santoso

Minnesota 

Rafael Gaglianone

Wisconsin 

P

Cameron Johnston

Ohio State 

Sam Foltz

Nebraska 

Jake Hartbarger

Michigan State 

Joe Schopper

Purdue 

KR

Janarion Grant

Rutgers 

Solomon Vault

Northwestern 

Desmond King

Iowa 

Jourdan Lewis

Michigan 

PR

William Likely

Maryland 

Desmond King

Iowa 

De'Mornay Pierson-El

Nebraska 

Jabrill Peppers

Michigan 

 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2016 All-Big Ten Team
  First Second Third Fourth

Illinois

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Indiana

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Iowa

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Maryland

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense:  1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Michigan

Offense: 3

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Michigan State

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Minnesota

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Nebraska

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Northwestern

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Ohio State

Offense: 2

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Penn State

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Purdue

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Rutgers

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Wisconsin

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Teaser:
Big Ten Football 2016 All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: syndicated, Olympics
Path: /olympics/oscar-pistorius-walks-without-prosthetic-legs-court-avoid-jail
Body:

Oscar Pistorius' defense team is doing all they can to avoid jail time. 

 

The 29-year-old Paralympian gold medalist is currently facing at least a 15-year jail term for the 2013 murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder as he fired four shots, killing her. His defense team hopes that showing the athlete's vulnerability without his legs will lessen his term or even eliminate it completely.

 

"The accused was vulnerable because of his disability," Barry Roux, Pistorius' lawyer said. 

 

Roux went on to say he should serve a non-custodial sentence that includes community service.

 

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Post date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 10:24

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