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Path: /college-football/14-acc-stats-you-need-know-2015
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Here are the most important and interesting stats you need to know about the ACC in 2015:

 

72.3%: That Boston College runs the ball

Among the leaders in the nation, Boston College ran the ball 72.3 percent of the time on offense. The Eagles ran 878 offensive plays and threw just 243 passes. The 635 rushing attempts were 10th nationally and fifth among Power 5 teams.

 

4.03: Clemson’s nation-leading yards per play allowed

The Tigers led the nation by a wide margin with just 4.03 yards allowed per play. The next highest-rated ACC defense was Louisville at 4.75 (11th). The problem, however, is that nine of 11 starters are gone from the Tigers' defense, including five of the top six tacklers.

 

41.0: Number of tackles for a loss allowed by Duke

The Blue Devils led the nation in one key category: tackles for a loss allowed. Duke gave up a nation’s best 41.0 tackles for a loss all year in 2014, making it one of just four teams in the nation to allow fewer than 50.0. Virginia was second in the ACC with 53.0 tackles for a loss allowed.

 

8-0: Florida State’s record in one-score games

After winning by an average of 42.3 points per game in 2013, the Seminoles barely won games in '14. The Noles were 8-0 in games decided by one score due in large part to Jameis Winston’s fourth-quarter heroics. Winston was 7-0 last fall in one-score games, setting an unreachable precedent for Sean Maguire or Everett Golson.

 

18: Consecutive bowl games for Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets have been to 18 consecutive bowl games — the last five under George O’Leary, six under Chan Gailey and all seven of Paul Johnson’s tenure. It helps when you have the No. 1 most efficient offense in the ACC at 6.72 yards per play (eighth nationally).

 

9: Times Bobby Petrino has won at least 8 games

Bobby Petrino has coached at three different programs in 10 seasons — five at Louisville, four at Arkansas and one at Western Kentucky. Only once, his first at Arkansas in 2008, has he won less than eight games (5-7). Seven of those 10 seasons featured at least nine wins. Petrino also is 5-0 against Kentucky as Louisville's head coach.

 

3,198: Brad Kaaya’s Miami freshman passing record

The star sophomore from Miami is poised for a huge career in Coral Gables if his first year was any indication. Kaaya set a Miami freshman record for passing yards (3,198) and touchdowns (26) but nearly set all-time school records. Bernie Kosar owns the all-time single-season school record with 3,642 yards and Steve Walsh owns the TD record with 29. Both could fall in Kaaya’s second season.

 

5.32: North Carolina points per possession inside the 40 allowed

Finishing drives or stopping drives are one of the biggest metrics used to analyze teams by the new wave of advanced college stats. And North Carolina was the worst team in the nation at stopping drives. The Tar Heels were dead last in the NCAA with 5.32 points allowed per opponent’s trip inside the 40-yard line. For perspective, Virginia Tech led the ACC and was second nationally at 3.05 points per opponent’s possession inside the 40 allowed.

 

127: NC State points allowed to top three Atlantic Division teams

NC State is picked fourth in the Atlantic Division behind Florida State, Clemson and Louisville this preseason. The Wolfpack were 7-0 a year ago when giving up 30 points or less. However, against the best teams in the division, NC State allowed 42.3 points against the Noles, Tigers and Cardinals. NC State also gave up 56 to Georgia Tech, the pick to win the Coastal Division.

 

243: James Conner, Tyler Boyd combined YFS/game

Miami’s Duke Johnson led the ACC in yards from scrimmage per game with 159.5 but Pitt’s James Conner (141.2) and Tyler Boyd (101.8) were second and third — and the top two returning to the ACC. Freshman Chris James (35.4) was the next highest producer of yards from scrimmage for the Panthers last season.

 

1984: Last time Syracuse didn’t have a 1,000-yard passer until 2014

The Orange went without a 1,000-yard passer for the first time since 1984. Needless to say, the offense was atrocious, scoring just 17.1 points per game. That number ranked 121st in the nation and ahead of only Wake Forest among Power 5 teams. It was the lowest-scoring output for the Orange since 2007.

 

2005: Last time Virginia won a bowl game

Mike London is squarely on the hot seat entering 2015 despite showing improvement last fall. He’s been to one bowl game — the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl — in his five-year tenure. The Cavaliers' win over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl following the 2005 season was the last postseason win for the Wahoos.

 

17: Virginia Tech losses over the last three years

Unlike their in-state rivals from Charlottesville, the Hokies have been to 22 consecutive bowl games. However, after a remarkable run of eight straight 10-win seasons, the Hokies have dropped back into the middle of the ACC pack. This team has lost either five or six games in three straight, totaling 17 defeats over the last three years.

 

36.8%: Wake Forest rushes stopped for no gain

Wake Forest led the nation in two really bad categories. On 36.8 percent of rushes, the Demon Deacons were stopped for no gain or lost yards. Additionally, Wake Forest led the nation with 127.0 tackles for a loss allowed for a nation’s worst 536 yards.

Teaser:
14 ACC stats you need to know for 2015
Post date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Overtime
Path: /nfl/jj-watt-fires-back-twitter-troll-houston-texans
Body:

J.J. Watt always strikes me as a no-nonsense type of guy. 

 

On the field, the Texans star doesn't let much get by him and he seems to be the same way off the field. When someone on Twitter made a remark about Watt being a 2-star recruit coming out of high school, he had no choice but to respond.

 

 

 

Watt was probably ok with losing this follower. 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 09:42
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Tennessee Volunteers, SEC
Path: /college-football/breaking-down-tennessee-volunteers-future-quarterback-sheriron-jones
Body:
Tennessee fans are well aware of what returning starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs brings to the table. But what about the trio of talented freshmen that will be joining Dobbs on The Hill this fall?
 
 
With the loss of three of the Vols’ four scholarship quarterbacks this past year, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones knew that it was of paramount importance to recruit well at the quarterback position heading into the 2015 season. Not only did Jones and the Tennessee coaching staff rise to the challenge, they landed arguably the top class of freshman quarterbacks in the entire nation for 2015. This group is comprised of three consensus 4-star recruits - Jauan Jennings, Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones.  In the third and final installment of a three-part series featuring each of the freshman quarterbacks, here is a closer look at Sheriron Jones.
 
Sheriron Jones (pronounced Sher-Ron), a 4-star product out of Moreno Valley California’s Rancho Verde High School, was ranked as the No. 7 composite dual-threat quarterback in America per 247 Sports. A celebrated high school career, in addition to top-flight camp performances, would earn Jones a spot as a finalist in the famed Elite 11 quarterback competition. A distinguished honor, especially considering that only the best of the best high school quarterbacks are invited to the premier event, and only 18 quarterbacks nationwide advance to the finals each year. Jones’ stellar play would also earn him a trip to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American game and a spot on the Cal-Hi Sports California All-State team.
 
A one-time Florida Gator commit, Jones had a change of heart following the firing of Will Muschamp last December. He would ultimately sign with a Vols team in January that already had two highly touted freshman quarterbacks on campus, proving that Jones is definitely not one to shy away from competition.
 
While we have yet to see Jones play at the collegiate level, his high school film and scouting report lend credence to him being labeled as a quintessential dual-threat quarterback. Jones combines a solid repertoire of passing skills with a more than adequate skill set as a runner.
 
Jones’ first instinct is to stay in the pocket and throw the football in most instances, but he is quite capable of making plays with his feet under pressure. He possesses a very quick release and is extremely accurate on short and intermediate throws, both from the pocket and on the run.
 
As with any freshman quarterback, Jones has some improving to do in several areas. For starters, he needs to become more consistent in his mechanics and footwork. You can clearly see improvement in these areas when watching his senior film as opposed to his junior film, but he still gets “happy feet” in the pocket from time to time.
 
He also needs to improve on his deep ball and touch passing. Jones has solid arm strength, and he throws the ball on a rope with lethal accuracy in the short and intermediate range. However, you will often see his receivers waiting on the ball on deep throws and rarely does he hit guys in stride on long passes, which is a must at the SEC level. This is an issue that has also plagued current Vols quarterback Dobbs in the past.
 
In fact, Jones’ game appears very much like that of Dobbs' in many ways. Dobbs is obviously more polished and instinctual at this point in his career, but Jones has a very comparable skill set, which certainly bodes well as he enters fall camp vying for the backup role at quarterback.
 
That being said, Jones will have his work cut out for him with Dormady and Jennings also vying for the coveted No. 2 spot on the depth chart. Both Dormady and Jennings were able to get a big head start by enrolling at Tennessee in January, allowing them to participate in spring workouts and the Orange and White spring exhibition. Jones, on the other hand, just arrived on campus and has plenty of catching up to do in a very short time span. He will also need to add weight to his 6-2 frame in short order after showing up last week at an underwhelming 182 pounds.
 
In comparison to his freshmen quarterback counterparts, Jones is best described as the most balanced of the three. He isn’t quite as polished as Dormady in the passing game, and he isn’t as athletically dynamic as Jennings. Jones is, however, more mobile than Dormady, and further along than Jennings in terms of passing skills.
 

 

Dormady has already displayed a solid grasp of the Vols playbook and executed it well in the spring. And Jennings brings an athletic dynamic to the offense unmatched by the other two, but Jones may be the best fit for the current Tennessee offense in the long term.

 
He is a true dual-threat quarterback with a promising upside, which may ultimately give him the upper hand in landing the No. 2 quarterback spot at some point this season, and in due time, a chance to succeed Dobbs as the Vols' starting quarterback. Again, it will not be an easy ascent to the top, especially given that he is late in entering the quarterback race, trailing Dormady by a significant margin at this point. But, if he can master the playbook, show improvement in the passing game and add muscle in quick fashion; Jones should make it a very interesting race heading into the season opener.
 
- Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McVey is a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan who loves singing "Rocky Top" every opportunity he gets. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS
 
(Sheriron Jones photo courtesy of UTSports.com)
Teaser:
Breaking Down the Tennessee Volunteers' Future at Quarterback: Sheriron Jones
Post date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /magazines/letter-bill-snyder-best-award-college-football
Body:

Cody Kirby engineered a 99-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter of a game against Kansas State five years ago that might not be memorable to most. Kirby was the senior quarterback of Missouri State in a game his team lost by 24 points. The game, in the grand scheme of things, was forgettable. From there, Kirby finished his career at Missouri State, played football in Canada and in the Arena Football League before returning to his alma mater as a graduate assistant.

 

Everywhere he’s gone, Kirby has kept with him a copy of Mind Gym, a book on mental training for athletes. And for the past five years, Kirby has used a souvenir from that game against Kansas State as a book mark. Marking his spot in Mind Gym is an envelope and letter on Kansas State stationery.

 

“The envelope is kind of torn and tattered,” Kirby says. “But I haven’t let the letter go without care.”

 

Kirby still reads the letter from time to time as a reminder of the values that stood out to the sender — in this case, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder.

 

The note, handwritten, complimented Kirby’s competitive nature and the way he handled himself. The message predicted he’d be successful in any future endeavor.
 

Kirby left that game against Kansas State honored to have shaken the hand of Snyder after the game. Early the next week, the Missouri State football staff told him he had a delivery in the mail room. With the Kansas State return label, Kirby wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

 

“This was written diagonally across the letter and in a purple marker, so you know he sat and took the time to write that out,” Kirby says.

Related: Buy the 2015 Big 12 Preview Magazine

 

Anyone around Kansas State, though, will find those trademarks unmistakable: The Kansas State letterhead, the ink from a purple felt-tip pen, the lines of handwriting tilted clockwise at nearly a 45 degree angle.

 

And finally: Warm Regards, Bill Snyder

 

Kirby was just one of what must be hundreds of recipients of similar notes over the years. Without any fanfare or public announcements, this is a tradition as much as anything else is at Kansas State.

 

Snyder estimates he’s sent one of these handwritten notes after nearly every game since he became the head coach at Kansas State in 1989. He’s sent them for dozens of reasons, from consoling an injured player to congratulating an opponent on a victory over Kansas State to simple acknowledgements of competitiveness and leadership.

 

“I could think of 25 different reasons over the years when I’ve sent a young person a note,” Snyder says.

 

The process for him doesn’t seem to be a special one, even if he’s the only coach who corresponds with an opponent in such a way.

 

On an ordinary day in March this spring, for example, Snyder was at his desk, sending thank-you notes from a coaching event in Manhattan, Kan., earlier in the week.

 

His colleagues are familiar with the notes, too. R.C. Slocum, who as Texas A&M coach overlapped with Snyder in the Big 12, recalls one of his players getting a note from Snyder at some point during his tenure, though he doesn’t remember which one.
 

Slocum himself received a note from Snyder this winter after attending an event with the Kansas State coach.

 

“I’m never surprised when I get a nice note from him,” says Slocum, who coached at Texas A&M from 1989-2002. “That’s what he does. That’s what separates him from some of other people. ... That’s why Bill is respected like he is. It’s the personal touch.”

 

Even bitter rivals have received that personal touch.

 

Glen Mason, the coach at Kansas from 1988-96, recalled one of his captains receiving a note from Snyder in the late ’80s. Again, the identity of the recipient is lost to memory.

 

Snyder can’t recall why he started sending the notes. Did one of his coaches do the same? Did an opposing coach do that for him when he first started coaching or when he played?

 

“I wasn’t a good enough player, so if anyone sent anything to me, they were mistaken,” Snyder says.

 

When the practice started he can’t really say, either. Joan Friederich has worked in the Kansas State football office since 1973 — predating even Snyder in Manhattan. She’s been the administrative assistant to four football coaches at Kansas State, including both tenures for Snyder.

 

“That’s been too long ago, I don’t remember,” Friederich says. “It was a little bit later than when he first got the job. He sends so many things out, but he’s been doing it for several years.”

 

The routine, though, hasn’t changed. After nearly every Kansas State game, Friederich thumbs through her desktop directory to find the address to the football office of the most recent opponent. She loads an envelope into her typewriter — yes, a typewriter — to address Snyder’s note, and off it goes.

 

Even though this personal touch has gone on for decades, in the past, few people apart from the sender and recipient would have known of each note. Social media changed that, though. After North Dakota State upset Kansas State 24–21 in Manhattan to open the 2013 season, Snyder sent a letter to Bison quarterback Brock Jensen:

 

“Congratulations Brock. I was truly impressed with you & your teammates. You played so very well, virtually error free & with such poise. I wish you a great year & hope you achieve all you desire. Please share my thoughts w/ your teammates. Warm Regards Bill Snyder.”

 

 

 

A North Dakota State fan tweeted an image of the note, and the story quickly went viral.

 

“It caught me by surprise,” says Jensen, who led North Dakota State to its third of four consecutive FCS national championships that season. “I didn’t know he wrote notes to opponents like that. I found out when he wrote me.”

 

Former Texas running back Fozzy Whittaker didn’t know one was coming, either. During his senior season in 2011, Whittaker suffered a knee injury in a loss at Missouri on Nov. 12, a week before Texas’ final home game of the season against Kansas State. Whittaker, as a result, wouldn’t be able to play on Senior Day for the Longhorns. The week before the game against the Wildcats, Whittaker received an envelope from Kansas State.

 

“The letter he wrote to me, it was basically — not a sympathy letter — but to give me words of encouragement,” Whittaker says. “The fact that it was a Big 12 opponent and it was a head coach that wrote it, it was a gesture that I feel like is unparalleled.”

 

Coaches often like to say that locker room conversations or postgame exchanges should remain private, and Snyder is notoriously guarded when it comes to information he shares about his program. If his correspondence with opponents is being shared with the public through social media, he can live with it.

 

“As I tell our young people, don’t write or say anything that you would not want to be repeated,” Snyder says.

 

• • •

 

The letters, at least to one opposing quarterback, have become one of the sport’s top honors of sorts.

 

A note from Snyder doesn’t acknowledge the stats or the result of the game. It means the recipient competed at a level to impress Bill Snyder, a coach whose teams have consistently overachieved in the Big 12 for nearly 30 years.

 

West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett entered the 2014 season with plenty of goals that would have been obvious — get the Mountaineers back to a bowl game, stay healthy for the season and so on. One of the objectives for Trickett was more specific than wins and losses: Make Bill Snyder sit down at his desk in the Kansas State football office and write out his thoughts about the West Virginia quarterback.

 

Trickett knew this was a possibility. A year earlier, Trickett’s friend, Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, received a letter from Snyder during his junior season. In a 49–26 loss to Kansas State on Nov. 9, 2013, Amaro caught nine passes for 67 yards. During the course of the Kansas State game, Amaro took a hard hit and had to be helped off the field. He didn’t return to the game. Again, Snyder noted the details:

 

“You’ve had a great year Jace. Admire how hard you play & the innate toughness you display to help your team. Hope you weren’t hurt badly on Sat. Wishing you & your teammates continued success, good fortune & health. Warm Regards Coach Snyder”

 

 


After Amaro shared the letter on Twitter, Trickett hoped he could live up to the standard to earn one of his own. “That was one of my goals going into the season,” Trickett says. “When we played them, I wanted to be the guy who gets the letter.”

 

Fortunately or unfortunately, the note came. Trickett sustained a concussion in West Virginia’s 26–20 loss to Kansas State on Nov. 20 and had to leave the game in the third quarter facing a two-touchdown deficit.

 

“Sorry I didn’t get to see you after the game Clint. Wasn’t aware that you had received a concussion. I hope the symptoms are gone by now & that you will be back soon. Always appreciate you as a young man of great values as well as being an excellent quarterback. Pulling for you to finish off the season at your best. Warm Regards Coach Snyder.”

 

Trickett, of course, has the letter. He’s taking it with him to East Mississippi Community College, where he’ll start his career as a quarterback coach.
 

At some point, the letter will hang on his wall. He’ll have framed a memento, essentially, from the injury that ended his playing career. “He’s the foundation of what a coach should be,” Trickett says. “When you think what a coach should be, you think of Bill Snyder. The handwritten letter epitomizes it.”

Teaser:
A Letter from Bill Snyder is the Best Award in College Football
Post date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/awesome-graphic-shows-every-player-alabama-offense-made-it-nfl
Body:

Alabama is one of the best when it comes to recruiting.

 

After college, Crimson Tide players often have careers in the NFL. This infographic shows the 2012 Alabama squad during a game against Michigan. Fast forward three years later, all the Alabama players on the field are in the NFL. This is the same team that would go on to defeat Notre Dame for the national championship.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 17:36
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/stephen-smith-makes-sexist-joke-about-womens-world-cup-espn-magazine-megan-greenwell
Body:

Stephen A. Smith may have just put his foot in his mouth yet again.

 

During the SportsCenter Top 10 segment, a play from the World Cup came up and the ESPN personality gave a reason as to why one team may have given up a goal.

 

"They might not have wanted to mess their hair up," Smith said.

 

 

Soon after, Twitter reacted. One opinion in particular caught everyone's eye was that of ESPN Magazine Senior Editor, Megan Greenwell.

 

 

Although most would be a little uneasy about speaking out against a colleague, Greenwell simply could not hold her tongue any longer.

 

Smith, upon seeing his comments were making the rounds on social media, addressed his comments.

 

 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 15:15
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/jimmy-fallon-hands-out-nba-finals-superlatives-lebron-james-cavaliers-warriors-mike-miller
Body:

Jimmy Fallon is known for making fun of athletes with his "Tonight Show Superlatives," and the NBA is no exception.

 

The Tonight Show host releases a special NBA Finals edition where he comes after some of the Warriors and Cavaliers, including LeBron James.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 13:00
Path: /nfl/afc-north-players-will-need-step-2015
Body:

The AFC North was arguably the most competitive division in football last season, and it has been that way for the past several years. Cleveland was the only team that didn’t make the playoffs, while Cincinnati and Baltimore took wild card sports with 10 wins apiece. Pittsburgh edged out their rivals with 11 wins to take the division title. As far as this season is shaping up, the division seems to be destined for a close finish and once again multiple playoff teams is not far-fetched.

 

Each team does have some holes to be filled, so let's take a look at a player for each AFC North team that needs to step up in 2015 (teams listed in order of 2014 finish):

 

Shamarko Thomas, Strong Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers (1st place, 11-5)

 

After future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu’s retirement a few months ago, the Steelers were left with a void at strong safety position for the first time in over a decade. Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2013, has played in 25 games, but has made just two starts. He has yet to have any significant impact on the field. Polamalu was one of the most feared players in the NFL, and thus it is up to Thomas to fill some very big shoes for head coach Mike Tomlin's defense. Teams facing the Steelers now know this weakness in the secondary, and Thomas must adjust quickly to a larger role for a position that has been a consistent strength for Pittsburgh.

 

Another player to watch: wide receiver Martavis Bryant

 


Geno Atkins, Defensive Tackle, Cincinnati Bengals (2nd place, 10-5-1)      

 

After two dominant seasons in his second and third years in the league, Atkins tore his ACL in 2013, missed seven games, and didn't look to be back at 100 percent in '14. He certainly has the skill and ability to be one of the league’s top defensive tackles and has proven it before. However, he’ll need to step up from last season’s performance if the Bengals want to finally get past the wild card round of the playoffs. The coaching staff had nothing but good things to say about Atkins during the recent OTAs, which is a promising sign for the three-time Pro Bowler.

 

Another player to watch: linebacker A.J. Hawk

 

 

Brandon Williams/Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Tackles, Baltimore Ravens (3rd place, 10-6)      

 

The departure of long-time defensive tackle Haloti Ngata appears to be a huge blow from a distance, until one looks at his replacements. Both Jernigan and Williams have been very productive early on in their respective careers, but replacing an all-time great is still a challenge. Offensive lines will not fear this duo as much, as Ngata often drew double teams and added attention in order to stop him. However, neither Williams nor Jernigan is a pushover, and the Ravens need this duo to really step up and continue their productive play in expanded roles.

 

Another player to watch: strong safety Matt Elam

 

Related: 5 Key Questions for the Baltimore Ravens During the Summer


 

Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns (4th place, 7-9)

 

Without a doubt, Manziel has the most to prove in the entire NFL after his incredible college career and off-the-field antics. The Browns' biggest question remains at quarterback, one that has been ongoing since their re-introduction to the league in 1999. This year seems to be the make-it-or-break-it campaign for Manziel, who still must battle with Josh McCown for the starting job. Cleveland needs strong play from a quarterback badly, especially in a division with three well-established starters. Manziel certainly has the talent, but the question is will it click in his second year?

 

Other players to watch: running backs Terrance West/Isaiah Crowell

Teaser:
AFC North Players That Will Need to Step Up in 2015
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

With a solid core of experienced quarterbacks and playmakers returning, the Sun Belt should provide plenty of intriguing matchups and offensive fireworks in 2015. Arkansas State’s Fredi Knighten is Athlon Sports’ first-team All-Sun Belt quarterback, and the senior is a big reason why the Red Wolves are one of the favorites to win the conference this year.

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Sun Belt 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 2015.

 

Related: 2015 Sun Belt Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

2015 Sun Belt Team Previews

       
 
National
Rank:
90767712612587
  
National
Rank:
11512410893118 

 

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 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 2015 All-Sun Belt Team 
 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBFredi Knighten
Ark. State  
Kevin Ellison
Ga. Southern 
Tyler Jones
Texas State 
Taylor Lamb
Appalachian State 
RBMatt Breida
Ga. Southern 
Marcus Cox
App. State 
Robert Lowe
Texas State 
Brandon Burks
Troy 
RBElijah McGuire
UL Lafayette 
Michael Gordon
Ark. State 
Larry Rose III
NMSU 
Elijhaa Penny
Idaho 
WR

Donovan Harden

Georgia State 

Jamal Robinson
UL Lafayette 
Rashon Caesar
ULM 
Dijon Paschal
Ark. State 
WRTeldrick Morgan
NMSU 
Dezmon Epps
Idaho 
J.D. McKissic
Ark. State 
Malachi Jones
App. State 
TEAjalen Holley (WR)
ULM  
Joel Ruiz (TE)
Georgia State 
Bryan Holmes (WR)
Troy 
Darion Griswold (TE)
Ark. State 
CDalton Bennett
Troy 
Joseph Scelfo
South Alabama 
Devin Mondie
Ark. State 
Jesse Chapman
App. State 
OGMykhael Quave
UL Lafayette 
I. Folasa-Lutui
NMSU 
Felix Romero
Texas State 
Alex Stoeher
Georgia State 
OGDarien Foreman
Ga. Southern 
Cameron Blankenship
South Alabama 
Donovan Williams
UL Lafayette 
Parker Collins
App. State 
OTAdrian Bellard
Texas State 
Colton Jackson
Ark. State 
Beau Nunn
App. State 
Jemar Clark
Ark. State 
OTChris May
South Alabama 
Antonio Garcia
Troy 
Ryan Melton
Texas State 
Octravian Anderson
UL Lafayette 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DERonald Blair
App. State 
Tyler Roberts
Troy 
Bernard Dawson
Ga. Southern 
Jamal Stadom
Troy 
DEChris Stone
Ark. State 
Quinton Bradley
Idaho 
Lorenzo Jackson
ULM 
Dallas McClarty
Texas State 
DTGerrand Johnson
ULM 
Jimmie Gipson III
South Alabama 
Jacoby Briscoe
UL Lafayette 
Kennan Gilchrist (LB)
App. State 
DTJa'Von Rolland-Jones
Ark. State 
Jay Ellison
Ga. Southern 
Lonnie Gosha
Troy 
Kawe Johnson (DB)
NMSU  
LBHunter Kissinger
ULM 
Xavier Woodson
Ark. State 
Marc Millan
Idaho 
Otha Peters
UL Lafayette 
LBJohn Law
App. State 
Dominique Tovell
UL Lafayette 
Michael Johnson
ULM 
Blake Dees
South Alabama 
LBJoseph Peterson
Georgia State 
Rodney Butler
NMSU 
Antwione Williams
Ga. Southern 
Trey McGowan
Texas State 
CBDavid Mims
Texas State  
Trey Caldwell
ULM 
Winston Rose
NMSU 
Latrell Gibbs
App. State 
CBDoug Middleton
App. State 
Rocky Hayes
Ark. State 
Bruce Dukes
Georgia State 
Jayshawn Jordan
Idaho 
SMitch Lane
ULM 
Matt Dobson
Ga. Southern 
Tarris Batiste
Georgia State 
Tracy Walker
UL Lafayette 
SMontres Kitchen
Troy 
Roman Buchanan
South Alabama 
Money Hunter
Ark. State 
Bobby Baker
Georgia State 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KAleem Sunanon
South Alabama 
Austin Rehkow
Idaho 
Wil Lutz
Georgia State 
Ryan Kay
Troy 
PAustin Rehkow
Idaho 
Brandon McKee
South Alabama 

Luke Ferguson

Ark. State 

Bentlee Crichter
App. State 
KRDerek Keaton
Ga. Southern 
Teldrick Morgan
NMSU 
Brandon Smith
Texas State 
Tyler Cain
ULM 
PRBlaise Taylor
Ark. State 
Rashon Caesar
ULM 
Elijah McGuire
ULL 
Dezmon Epps
Idaho 
Related: 2015 Sun Belt Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-Sun Belt Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Appalachian State

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 4

Defense: 2 

Sp. Teams: 1

Arkansas State

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 3

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Georgia Southern

Offense: 2 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Georgia State

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Idaho

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

UL Lafayette

Offense: 2 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

ULM

Offense: 1

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1 

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

NMSU

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

South Alabama

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Texas State

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 4

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Troy

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
Sun Belt Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

Baylor and TCU ended 2014 at the top of the Big 12 standings, and the Horned Frogs and Bears begin 2015 as the favorites to win the league crown once again. Both teams are loaded with returning talent on both sides of the ball, as Baylor and TCU each place over 10 selections on Athlon’s 2015 All-Big 12 team. 

 

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 2015.

 

Related: 2015 Big 12 Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Big 12 Team Previews for 2015
      
 
National
Rank:
3741034417
 
National
Rank:
285334836

 

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 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 2015 All-Big 12 Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBTrevone Boykin
TCU 
Mason Rudolph
Oklahoma State 
Seth Russell
Baylor 
Patrick Mahomes
Texas Tech 
RBSamaje Perine
Oklahoma 
Aaron Green
TCU 
Rushel Shell
West Virginia 

Alex Ross

Oklahoma 

RBShock Linwood
Baylor 
DeAndre Washington
Texas Tech 
Johnathan Gray
Texas 
Wendell Smallwood
West Virginia 
WRCorey Coleman
Baylor 
KD Cannon
Baylor 
Allen Lazard
Iowa State 
Devin Lauderdale
Texas Tech 
WRSterling Shepard
Oklahoma 
Jakeem Grant
Texas Tech 
Jordan Thompson
West Virginia 
Kolby Listenbee
TCU 
WRJosh Doctson
TCU 
Brandon Sheperd
Oklahoma State 
Quenton Bundrage
Iowa State 
Jay Lee
Baylor 
CJoey Hunt
TCU 
Tyler Orlosky
West Virginia 
Ty Darlington
Oklahoma 
Jared Kaster
Texas Tech 
OGHala Vaitai
TCU 
Kent Perkins
Texas 
Nila Kasitati
Oklahoma  
Jamelle Naff
TCU 
OGCody Whitehair (OT)
Kansas State 
Boston Stiverson
Kansas State 
Adam Pankey
West Virginia 
Alfredo Morales
Texas Tech 
OTSpencer Drango
Baylor 
Zachary Crabtree
Oklahoma State 
Jake Campos
Iowa State 
Victor Salako
Oklahoma State  
OTLe'Raven Clark
Texas Tech 
Sedrick Flowers
Texas 
Jarell Broxton
Baylor 
Daniel Burton
Iowa State 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEShawn Oakman
Baylor 
Charles Tapper
Oklahoma 

James McFarland

TCU 

Ben Goodman
Kansas 
DEEmmanuel Ogbah
Oklahoma State 
Travis Britz (DT)
Kansas State 
Branden Jackson
Texas Tech 
Jamal Palmer
Baylor 
DTAndrew Billings
Baylor 
Davion Pierson
TCU 
Desmond Jackson
Texas 
Beau Blackshear
Baylor 
DTPete Robertson (DE)
Texas Tech 
Hassan Ridgeway
Texas 
Vincent Taylor
Oklahoma State 
Will Geary
Kansas State 
LBEric Striker
Oklahoma 
Dominique Alexander
Oklahoma 
Elijah Lee
Kansas State 
Malik Jefferson
Texas 
LBNick Kwiatkoski
West Virginia 
Taylor Young
Baylor 
Seth Jacobs
Oklahoma State 
Micah Awe
Texas Tech 
LBRyan Simmons
Oklahoma State 
Jordan Evans
Oklahoma 
Xavien Howard (CB)
Baylor  
Nigel Bethel (DB)
Texas Tech 
CBZack Sanchez
Oklahoma 
Danzel McDaniel
Kansas State 

Nigel Tribune
Iowa State 

Morgan Burns
Kansas State 
CBDaryl Worley
West Virginia 
Kevin Peterson
Oklahoma State 
Duke Thomas
Texas 
Ranthony Texada
TCU 
SKarl Joseph
West Virginia 
Derrick Kindred
TCU 
Jason Hall
Texas 
Kamari Cotton-Moya
Iowa State 
SDante Barnett
Kansas State 
Orion Stewart
Baylor 
Jordan Sterns
Oklahoma State 
Dravon Henry
West Virginia 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KJosh Lambert
West Virginia 
Jaden Oberkrom
TCU 
Matthew McCrane
Kansas State 
Ben Grogan
Oklahoma State 
PNick O'Toole
West Virginia 
Ethan Perry
TCU 
Taylor Symmank
Texas Tech 
Nick Walsh
Kansas State 
KRAlex Ross
Oklahoma 
Morgan Burns
Kansas State 
Jakeem Grant
Texas Tech 
Daje Johnson
Texas 
PRCameron
Echols-Luper
TCU 
Dede Westbrook
Oklahoma 
Corey Coleman
Baylor 
Sterling Shepard
Oklahoma 

Related: 2015 Big 12 Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-Big 12 Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Baylor

Offense: 3

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Iowa State

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Kansas

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0 

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Kansas State

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Oklahoma

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Oklahoma State

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 3 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

TCU

Offense: 4

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 0 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Texas

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 3 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Texas Tech

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 4

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

West Virginia

Offense: 0

Defense: 3

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/cleveland-weatherman-uses-weed-wacker-while-discussing-cavaliers-game-4-lebron-james
Body:

Local anchormen are some of the more interesting people on television. For the most part they're in small markets and are able to get away with a lot of funny things.

 

Mark Johnson of WEWS News Channel 5 decided to talk a little about the Cavaliers' Game 4 lost before continuing with the weather report. Apparently he needed a weed wacker and a cement block to help him describe certain points in the game.

 

 

One can only imagine if this guy was the actual sports broadcaster.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 10:26
Path: /college-football/beware-improving-sec-east-2015
Body:

The SEC West is the best division in college football. That was the case last year and again in 2015.

 

The Pac-12 South is probably a close second with the Big Ten East quickly gaining momentum.

 

But where does the SEC East rank? After multiple seasons of questionable on-field performance, it might be time to start looking at the SEC East differently.

 

College football is cyclical. The East dominated the SEC for the better part of the 90s and until LSU, Alabama and Auburn won BCS titles from the West.

 

Due in large part to elite coaching hires at schools like Mississippi State, Arkansas and Ole Miss as well as the addition of sleeping giant Texas A&M, the West has been the dominant division in college football.

 

Other than Tim Tebow’s Gators (2006, ‘08), no East Division team has won an SEC championship since 2005.

 

The East bottomed out in 2013. Florida and Tennessee, the two teams that dominated the league in the 90s, combined for 15 losses. Georgia lost five times and Kentucky won only twice. Missouri was a surprise division winner and both South Carolina and Vanderbilt had arguably their best seasons in history — which still involved six combined losses.

 

But using the same blueprint as the West — hiring great new head and assistant coaches — the East is beginning to show signs of life.

 

Related: 2015 Preseason SEC Football Preview and Predictions

 

With Jeremy Pruitt leading the defense for the second year, Georgia is once again a Top 10 preseason team. It would be ranked even higher than No. 10 in the preseason rankings if not for the brutal schedule. The Dawgs face two projected playoff teams from the West in Auburn and Alabama and get ACC Coastal Division frontrunner and defending champ Georgia Tech in non-conference play.

 

Tennessee is surging into Butch Jones' third season loaded with more young talent than almost any team in the nation. Should Joshua Dobbs develop into the star many think he’s capable of becoming, the Vols could easily outperform their No. 22 preseason ranking. This is a hot program that is clearly trending in the right direction.

 

In Gainesville, just add Jim McElwain and stir. The offensive guru should be able to fix many of Florida’s offensive woes and the defense under new coordinator Geoff Collins should be stifling once again. Keep in mind, the Gators had a win over Idaho cancelled last year and were one game away from winning the East. The cupboard isn’t bare in The Swamp.

 

The only known commodity about Missouri is that they will most certainly be better than where they are ranked in the preseason — which is still pretty respectable at No. 27. The hiring of Barry Odom once again proves Gary Pinkel is a wizard when it comes to assembling a coaching staff. Having Maty Mauk back for his second season under center is critical too.

 

The bottom of the division still has some work to do but there are even positive signs down there too.

 

South Carolina’s defense was atrocious last year but mostly because of inexperience. Of the Gamecocks top 25 tacklers last year, 18 were freshmen or sophomores and only four were seniors. There’s plenty there to work with for new defensive leader and old Steve Spurrier confidant Jon Hoke.

 

Mark Stoops quickly reenergized Kentucky on the recruiting trail, but most importantly, more than doubled his win total from Year 1 to Year 2. It’s well within reason to expect the Wildcats to continue getting better and make a bowl game this fall.

 

Vanderbilt only has one direction to go after an abysmal first season under Derek Mason. His defense should be much improved and that should allow him to improve his team’s win total in Year 2 as well.

 

Related: The SEC West if the Best Division in College Football

 

Vandy isn’t a good team, Kentucky and South Carolina have work to do and Florida is a long way from getting back to being Florida. But every team in this division could be better than it was last season with the possible exception of Mizzou — the one team that  is perennially underrated.

 

It’s not the SEC West or even the Pac-12 South but the SEC East is returning to form quickly and the rest of college football could find that out the hard way in 2015.

Teaser:
Beware of the improving SEC East in 2015
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA, Overtime
Path: /nba/ti-tells-nba-players-stop-rapping-jimmy-kimmel-live-tony-parker-metta-world-peace-shaq-curry
Body:

NBA players often think they can rap and they are always wrong. Always.

 

Jimmy Kimmel, with the help of T.I., sent a PSA to players for them to stop rapping. The Atlanta rapper mentions Metta World Peace, Tony Parker, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kevin Durant. None of whom can rap. Seriously, it's terrible.

 

 

Although Kobe Bryant wasn't mentioned by name, it's safe to say we can add him to the list as well.

 

 

NBA players please just play basketball. Leave rapping to the professionals.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 09:12
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/new-auburn-qb-jeremy-johnson-could-be-even-better-nick-marshall
Body:

At most schools, the loss of a quarterback like Nick Marshall would be cause for concern.

 

Marshall arrived at Auburn when the Tigers badly needed a revolution at the quarterback position. In the two years between Cam Newton’s Heisman Trophy season and Marshall’s arrival, Auburn tried four different starters at the position — including Clint Moseley twice — and tumbled all the way to arguably the worst season in the program’s history.

 

One junior college transfer reversed that trend. A dual threat with a big-play arm and electric feet, Marshall threw for more than 4,500 yards, rushed for more than 1,800, produced 57 total touchdowns and earned 20 wins in two seasons as Auburn’s starter. By the time he was finished, Marshall had arguably earned a place next to players such as Newton, Pat Sullivan, Jason Campbell and Dameyune Craig among Auburn’s all-time greats at the position.

 

“He was a big part of leading us to the national championship (game), and it would have been extremely hard to get there without him,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says. “He’s one of the best to ever come through here.”

 

Replacing a player with that kind of legacy should be hard.

 

But many around the program believe Jeremy Johnson can be even better.

 

• • •

 

The days of programs being able to land only one elite quarterback at a time are gone, as Ohio State so poignantly proved last season during its national championship run.

 

Auburn never had to call on Johnson in the same way the Buckeyes had to rely on J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones last season. The few times Johnson had to step in for Marshall were temporary; all Johnson could do was give the Tigers a few brief but brilliant glimpses into the future. “We have a lot of confidence in Jeremy,” Malzahn says.

 

In the first start of his career as a freshman, Johnson stepped in for an injured Marshall and threw for 201 yards and four touchdowns against Western Carolina. His second start was even better. Forced into the starting lineup for Auburn’s 2014 season opener against Arkansas, Johnson completed his first eight passes and finished 12-of-16 for 243 yards and two touchdowns.

Related: Auburn Team Preview and Prediction

 

In two seasons as Marshall’s backup, Johnson completed 73.1 percent of his 78 throws for 858 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Given what he’s done, it’s hard for most of Auburn’s coaches and teammates to understand any uncertainty surrounding Johnson’s ascension to the starting job.

 

 “There’s so much emphasis put on starting quarterbacks at most schools, we always forget about what they’ve done,” Craig, now a wide receivers coach at Auburn, says. “Jeremy started an SEC game last year and threw for 240 yards in the first half against one of the top defenses in the conference. I’m not concerned about him or his possibilities.”

 

• • •

 

Despite two seasons as Marshall’s understudy, Johnson will be a very different weapon than the man who preceded him as Auburn’s quarterback. A towering specimen at 6'5", 230 pounds, Johnson is built more like Newton than the 6'1", 220-pound Marshall, but he’s more of a pocket passer than either of those two star signal callers.

 

From the time he first started taking snaps for Carver-Montgomery High in Alabama’s state capital, Johnson has been most dangerous from the pocket, where he can unleash an NFL-caliber arm.

 

“He’s got all the arm talent you could want,” Tigers offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee says. “He can throw the ball vertically down the field. He can hit every throw on the field to boundary, to intermediate, to field comebacks. He can make every throw on the NFL route tree — throw a very tight, good ball.”

 

Related: Buy the 2015 SEC Preview Magazine

 

Malzahn won’t try to fit Johnson into Marshall’s unique mold. In nine seasons at the college level, Malzahn has always built his system around his quarterback’s strengths, rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

 

With Marshall at the helm, Auburn deployed a devastating running game built around the zone-read, a play uniquely suited to capitalize on Marshall’s prodigious talents in the open field.

 

Johnson presents a different test for defenses. Although Malzahn doesn’t like to go into detail, expect Auburn’s hurry-up, no-huddle to return to the Wing-T-influenced, running back-driven rushing attack of 2009 and emphasize the passing game more to take advantage of Johnson’s incredible arm.

 

He has the weapons to beat teams through the air. D’haquille Williams, who might be the No. 1 receiver in the 2016 NFL Draft, returns as one of the nation’s best possession and red-zone threats to lead the receiving corps.

 

“I’m expecting some big things from those two guys,” Craig says. “They’ll probably break all (of Auburn’s) passing records this year.”

 

The Tigers also bring back experienced pass catchers Ricardo Louis and Marcus Davis, talented receivers who’ve been biding their time in complementary roles and now finally have a chance to shine.

Johnson looks like the perfect distributor to get the ball to all of that talent.

 

“It’s my strength,” Johnson says. “I feel really good about sitting back and making throws, but I’ll run if I have to.”

 

• • •

 

Auburn may not abandon the quarterback run entirely with Johnson at the helm. His right arm might be Johnson’s best asset, but the notion that he can’t make defenses pay with his legs is beginning to bother him. In high school, Johnson was a two-sport star, athletic enough to lead Carver to a state basketball championship in 2012.

 

And in a highly anticipated high school showdown against Auburn High and five-star linebacker Reuben Foster (now at Alabama), Johnson rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns, often on quarterback draws where he was isolated against Foster in the open field.

 

He might not have Marshall’s speed and elusiveness on the perimeter, but Johnson believes he can be a different kind of weapon in the running game.

 

“I’m a downhill runner, the power read instead of the read option,” Johnson says. “I can also use my feet if I have to if the pocket breaks down and make plays. People say I can’t run, but I’m going to show them what I can do.”

 

• • •

 

Due to the difference in playing styles, Johnson didn’t pick up much from the way Marshall played on the field.

 

Off the field, though, the two quarterbacks were close, and one of Marshall’s underrated abilities caught Johnson’s attention. Early in Marshall’s career, the team rallied around his leadership; although he was quiet, Marshall’s calm demeanor in the clutch set the tone for the rest of the Tigers.

 

“Being a quarterback, you have to be that leader to where your teammates are going to follow you no matter what,” Johnson says. “I’ve got to be able to get them to look right at me and be able to say: ‘Can I trust this person?’”

 

Johnson has tried to follow in those footsteps this offseason, organizing impromptu throwing sessions with receivers, cultivating a close relationship with Williams and focusing on making the Tigers his team.

Before Williams decided to return for his senior season, he consulted with Johnson, who offered the receiver his support without begging him to come back.

 

That spoke volumes to Williams.

 

Now, Johnson’s task is to become that kind of confidant for the entire team.

 

“I’m looking forward to bringing everybody in to where if I say we’re going to move right, the whole team moves right,” Johnson says.

 

Johnson spent two long years waiting behind Marshall. For two years, he was the perfect understudy, learning to lead without undermining Marshall’s status as Auburn’s bell cow. Now, after all that waiting, it’s his team.

 

“It feels great,” Johnson says. “I’m just trying to become a leader first to where my team can follow me, but mainly my goal is to win a national championship.”

 

If Johnson can do that, he’ll take his place with Marshall in the Auburn pantheon.

Teaser:
New Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson Could Be Even Better than Nick Marshall
Post date: Friday, June 12, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /mlb/torii-hunter-gets-tossed-and-then-undressed
Body:

The Minnesota Twins have been pretty hot over the past month of baseball, but Torii Hunter was the hottest last night. After two straight strike calls, the latter that struck Hunter out, he immediately got into the umpire’s face to argue. He shared his disagreement with the umpire after the first close strike and then exploded after the strikeout.

 

He continued to yell at the umpire and was quickly ejected, and then manager Paul Molitor was also thrown out. Then, after continuing his tirade, he walked away a few feet and began undressing on the field, throwing his shin guard, his gloves, and his jersey. As a normally easygoing player, the 39-year old brought the crowd to its feet, bringing on a loud cheer for his entertaining debacle. 

Watch Hunter's reaction below and judge for yourself whether or not it was a strike:

Teaser:
Torii Hunter Gets Tossed and Then Undressed
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:40
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/browns-punter-andy-lee-changes-number-honor-late-daughter-49ers-cleveland
Body:

Andy Lee was traded to the Browns from the 49ers and decided to change his number. 

 

After wearing No. 4 in San Francisco for 11 season, he will now sport No. 8 in honor of his late daughter. Lee's daughter, Madeline, lived eight days before passing away in January from complications.

 

"I think sometimes, not necessarily by me and my wife, her life can get overlooked," Lee said according to the team's website. "She was here, she was a person but nobody got to meet her, nobody got to see her. She was really alive and really a person. It's a way to honor her and kind of just give her some glory she deserves."

 

Lee is starting a new chapter with the Browns, while making sure to remember the past.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:34
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-longhorns-inc-texas-rakes-green-0
Body:

During the summer of 2010, the college football world hinged on what Texas might do next. True, Nebraska had left for the Big Ten, Texas A&M and Missouri were soon to leave for the SEC, and the Pac-10 expanded to 12 teams.

 

Yet for a time, it was reported at one point Texas would abandon the Big 12 to join the Pac-10. Five Big 12 members would join the Longhorns to form a Pac-16 superconference. That development remained a pipe dream, but this piece from 2011 explains how Texas still solidified itself as college football’s biggest power player.

 

Originally published in Athlon’s 2011 Big 12 Annual

By Michael Bradley

 

When DeLoss Dodds took over as athletic director at Texas in 1981, he didn’t have to try so hard to learn everybody’s name. With only 70 or so people working in the department, he probably needed less than a month to meet his staff and become acquainted with their job descriptions. A welcome luncheon or two and a couple trips around the building probably did it. 

 

Of course, anybody trying to do the same thing at UT today would need a collection of mnemonic devices, a mandatory name-tag policy and an assistant willing to follow him around whispering people’s names and their positions just to get a good start. Maybe after a year, he would know that Doris coordinates team travel, Bob is in charge of the equipment room and Mack is the football coach. Okay, so maybe remembering Mack’s name wouldn’t be so hard, especially since he’s responsible for about $94 million in income for the department each year.

 

“We have $143 million in revenues, and that’s different than when I came — it was just $4.5 million,” Dodds says. “It takes more people to run that kind of a business.”

 

The operative word in college athletics today is “business.” Schools are searching for more creative and effective ways to fatten their bottom lines, whether it’s through sponsorship deals, stadium expansions, media partnerships or all of the above. Financing a broad-based and successful program takes money and lots of it. Generating the revenue necessary to be first class these days involves a collection of moving parts and a vision that is always trained on future opportunities and revenue streams. 

 

Right now, no school does it better than Texas, which has the highest revenues of any NCAA school and which should hold on to that title for years to come thanks to the new Longhorn Network, a UT-centric TV initiative that will generate $300 million over the next 20 years and provide the kind of promotional vehicle that is unparalleled in college athletics. When added to Texas’ already-successful collection of initiatives — including the Big 12 Conference’s recent 13-year, $90 million per year deal with Fox Sports — the groundbreaking partnership with ESPN will establish the department further as not only the wealthiest but also the most innovative in the nation.

 

“(The network) is a huge branding thing for the university, not just athletics,” Dodds says. “We have a network we can use for promoting the brand of the university.”

 

For years, schools have been using successful sports programs as first-tier methods of attracting interest. Win a national championship and watch admissions applications double. Reach the Final Four and set new records for alumni donations. Although faculty members grouse — rightly — about high salaries and facilities arms races that require huge expenditures, there can be no denying the impact of winning on the fields and courts. Texas, which has captured 13 national titles and more than 100 conference crowns during Dodds’ tenure, certainly has the résumé to justify its spending ($136.7 million in ’09-10) and the profit ($6.8 million in ’09-10) to counter any argument about frivolous economic practices.

 

Face it: Although Texas has the second-largest endowment of any university in the nation, behind Harvard, and has several world-class academic programs, its identity for many involves a full football stadium and the band’s playing “The Eyes of Texas” after a touchdown. To that end, Dodds and his people are working to improve every facet of the program, from facilities to personnel to fundraising and more. That way, the Longhorns will be able to maximize the use of their athletics success for the university.

 

“On many campuses, athletics are looked at as separate,” Dodds says. “We don’t want to be separate. We want to be an integral part.”

 

While Dodds works on that synergy, other Big 12 members are in lower tax brackets. Sure, Oklahoma is trying to set up a sports network of its own, but the state’s small population (one-sixth of the Lone Star State’s) won’t guarantee a payday like Texas received. Although the Fox deal, coupled with the league’s relationship with ESPN/ABC, will guarantee most schools between $15-17 million a year, Texas will go well beyond that, thanks to the Longhorn Network.

UT also reaps more money from the other TV deals, thanks to its stronger national profile. In 2007, the last year tax data was available, Texas received $10.2 million from the league’s TV deals, while Baylor got only $7.1 million.  Believe it or not, that does not bother the other schools, who understand Texas’ value to the Big 12 — it would have broken apart had the Longhorns left for the Pac-12 last summer, as was rumored — and what it means to have the chance to play in Texas.

 

If the Big 12 is worried about anything, it shouldn’t be whether Texas is making more money — it’s whether the Longhorns will consider going independent, the better to cut TV deals that will bring them more money and greater scheduling flexibility. The loss of the Longhorns would cripple the Big 12 and perhaps signal an exodus of Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. Against that doomsday scenario, what’s a few million dollars?
 

“Our overhead and expenses at Kansas State are lower than those at Texas,” says John Currie, athletic director at KSU, which received $8.21 million in TV revenues in ’07. “If they get two or three million more a year, that’s no big deal. Their expense ratio’s much larger.

 

“We’re not worried about how we share it. We have to worry about growing the pie. We have to realize individual institutions have different needs.” 
 

It’s a pretty simple equation for David Carter, a professor of sports business at USC and executive director of the school’s Sports Business Institute. With each passing day and every new groundbreaking deal, college athletics become less about the competition and more about the money.

 

“The major Division I programs are looking and feeling more like professional sports all the time,” Carter says.

 

 

Few fans are naïve enough any more to think that the college sports climate of the 1950s and ’60s was of the idyllic, extra-curricular variety. Schools were trying to maximize success and revenues then, but the model had not yet been constructed to allow for a flood of profit. Visionaries like Michigan AD Don Canham in the 1970s helped lay the groundwork for modern marketing efforts, and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1984 that gave schools and conferences control over their television rights was a major step toward the Longhorn Network.

 

But as technology booms, new media spreads and promotional tactics (luxury suites, corporate sponsorships, merchandise options) become more sophisticated and professional in style, the potential for revenue increases is colossal. Thanks to the increased opportunities, schools are pushing ahead with programs like never before, to the point where the on-field competitions themselves seem complementary to the overall “experience,” rather than the reason for it all.

 

“Schools are recognizing the tremendous demands to consume their products in all forms,” Carter says. “So, they are running to daylight as fast as they can.”

 

Texas is certainly in full sprint. From 2005-10, the Longhorn athletic department’s revenues grew nearly 50 percent, from $98.1 million in ’05-06, to the $143.6 million that came in ’09-10. Many of the line items found in the department’s fiscal report — like concessions, camps or conference distributions — remained relatively the same or experienced modest growth. The real money was made in three primary areas — ticket sales, contributions and sponsorships. And each represents a new approach to the collegiate athletics model.

 

Consider Memorial Stadium, home to the Longhorn football program. Its capacity has swelled from 80,000 to 94,000, and a portion of the new seats has been of the suite/club variety. Revenue on football ticket sales went from $20 million in ’05 to $33 million in ’09, a big reason for the football program’s robust bottom line.

 

The Longhorns have also had a big spike in overall advertising and sponsorship revenues, with the bottom line growing from $9.7 million to $22.1 million from ’05-10. More sophisticated techniques and expanded partnership programs gave a greater number of businesses access to UT athletics during that time. Like many big-time athletic programs, the taboos of in-stadium/arena signage or overt promotional considerations, such as game sponsorship and scoreboard advertising, no longer exist for Texas. Memorial Stadium has not reached the level of many professional venues, which are festooned with ads, but don’t be surprised if that happens soon. 

 

“There was no marketing staff a year ago,” Dodds says. “Now, we have 10 people on that staff. Our fundraising arm has tripled in size and tripled in revenues.”

 

It’s important to remember that a lot of that $143.6 million — and a sizeable portion of the football program’s $70 million net income in 2009 — funds other Longhorn teams. Only men’s basketball ($6.7 million net income) and baseball ($1.9 million) made money in 2009-10. Each of the school’s other 17 sports relied on money raised by football, men’s basketball and baseball to survive. Granted, the tennis teams’ combined budget of $1.68 million is nearly $800,000 less than what the football team’s travel expenses were in 2009-10, but those squads still depend on the athletic department’s ability to squeeze every dollar out of the profitable programs. 

 

Then there are the facilities. In addition to improving and expanding Memorial Stadium, Texas has in the past five years added a new softball venue, expanded the school’s rowing center, built a golf academy and renovated the Erwin Center, which houses the men’s and women’s basketball programs. It’s one thing to have a successful program and another to have the types of arenas, stadia, fields and practice facilities to lure future athletes to campus.

 

“You have to keep up with the Joneses,” Carter says. “When you’re recruiting players, a lot of times it comes down to the training facilities and other amenities that in their minds prepare them for the next level.”

You can’t blame some people for thinking that any opponent that happens to take part in a game being televised by the Longhorn Network might just be in for a tough time. It’s hard to imagine Iowa State’s women’s basketball team getting fair analysis from courtside commentators who rode to the game on Bevo’s back and are dressed like members of the Longhorn Marching Band.

 

Okay, so maybe that is an exaggeration. A big exaggeration. Network broadcasters won’t have to sign off with a quick “Hook ’em” sign to the cameras or wear burnt orange blazers on the air.

 

“We might have ‘The Eyes of Texas’ playing during a broadcast,” Stephanie Druley says. “But we won’t have it running under commentary or analysis.”
 

Druley is a proud UT graduate (broadcast journalism, ’89) who is heading back to Austin to help oversee the Longhorn Network’s launch and subsequent daily operations. She and fellow ESPN alum Dave Brown are tasked with making the school’s TV initiative look and feel like a top-shelf outfit. They’ll employ the same production tactics that one finds on any other ESPN game telecast, studio show or remote broadcast and make sure to give viewers a high-quality presentation while advancing the Texas brand. “We intend this to look like an ESPN product,” Druley says.

 

When Texas’ multimedia rights holder IMG College first set out to find a TV partner for the school, which had the ability to create its own network because the Big 12 Conference does not own its members’ television rights, ESPN had never been involved in anything like it. It paid big fees to broadcast professional and collegiate games but never was allied directly with a team, league or conference. The idea of working directly with Texas was not only unheard of; it was also a big risk. It was one thing for the Big Ten to create its own network, since it included 11 (now 12) schools that spanned six (now seven) states. To create a station that would focus on just one school was a big step.

 

“There are 25 million people in the state,” Brown says. “If there were not 25 million people, the economics wouldn’t allow us to take a shot at making this work.”

 

The numbers just work in Texas’ favor. That’s not to say ESPN won’t try to build a partnership with another school down the road, but the numbers and flexibility available through Big 12 membership make Texas the perfect place to start.

 

So does the breadth of available programming options. Even though the Longhorn Network will televise only one football and eight men’s hoops games per year, there is plenty of other inventory across the school’s other 18 varsity programs. Plus, the network will air non-sports programming that provides avenues for the arts, sciences and general university activity. The Texas archives will also come into play. “Robert DeNiro’s personal archives are there,” Druley says. “There’s a wealth of stuff.”

 

The network’s overriding goal, as with everything done in the name of athletics, is to advance the university’s reputation — and bottom line. To that end, one-third to one-half of revenues for at least the first few years will go to the school, rather than the athletic department. The money will be used to finance a pair of endowed faculty chairs in physics and philosophy, among other things. At a time when UT is facing proposed cutbacks of nearly $100 million in the state’s two-year budget, everything helps, even though you don’t have to work hard to find faculty members who aren’t thrilled with Texas’ athletic expenditures when academic programs face the reaper’s scythe.

 

But as Texas builds its brand, what does it mean for the rest of the Big 12? The conference already distributes TV funds unequally, the better to reward its more popular teams. By generating another $10-20 million per year, UT can gain a competitive edge through better facilities, coaches and equipment. Dodds, of course, believes this rising TV tide will lift all Big 12 vessels.

 

“The other Big 12 teams are part of this network, too,” he says. “In the end, there are a lot of joint things going on in the conference. If we play Baylor in baseball, they could be on our network, and it’s a win-win for everybody.

 

“It’s not Texas getting too big athletically. We did it for our student-athletes and the university.”

 

Currie echoes that sentiment, although what other choice does he have? He points to Kansas State’s “national” alumni base as a reason for supporting Texas’ initiative and reminds us that the Wildcats beat Texas in football and basketball this year. So much for a competitive disadvantage.

 

“We like the Longhorn Network,” Currie says. “When Kansas State plays the University of Texas in any sport, we’ll be on the Longhorn Network in the state of Texas. That allows us to reach our second-largest alumni base, the Dallas Metroplex.”

 

And play a supporting role in Longhorns, Inc.’s latest initiative.

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: Longhorns, Inc. - Texas Rakes in the Green
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:22
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-nebraska-joins-new-frontier-big-ten
Body:

Five years ago this week, Nebraska became the first domino in a wave of conference realignment. The Cornhuskers broke from their traditional Big 8 roots and became the 12th member of the Big Ten.

 

The move gave us the Legends and Leaders divisions and disrupted college football summers for two years to come.

 

Here’s how and why Nebraska made the move.

 

Originally published in Athlon 2011 Big Ten annual

By Mike Babcock

 

Tim Marlowe was already thinking about tickets to the Nebraska-Ohio State football game in the spring, even though the game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln won’t be played until Oct. 8.

 

Marlowe, a junior wide receiver and kick returner for the Huskers, is from Youngstown, Ohio, and he needs tickets for family and friends —as many tickets as he can get. Players are allotted four tickets for each game. But they can trade among themselves. And that’s what Marlowe plans to do.

 

“There’ll be a lot of fighting in the locker room come October,” he says.

 

Not because of the number of Huskers from Ohio, however — Marlowe is among only a handful — but rather because of Ohio State’s tradition, and because it is now a conference opponent.

 

On June 11, 2010, Nebraska applied for membership in the Big Ten. And later that day, the Big Ten unanimously accepted its 12th member, commencing on July 1, 2011. 

 

Marlowe might have been the happiest Husker when the official announcement was made. 

 

“I’d say so,” he says. “At first, I was thinking it was just a rumor. I didn’t want to get too hyped up on it. But then when I saw that it was really getting serious, I’m getting real excited, calling all my friends, setting dates when we’re going to play them.”

 

Talk of a possible change in conference affiliation went from speculative to serious because of Nebraska’s concerns about the stability of the Big 12 Conference, which University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman said “probably wasn’t going to hold together.”

 

The rumors had several schools leaving the Big 12. There was talk of a group of teams — including Texas and Oklahoma — going to the Pac-10, where Colorado did go. Missouri was rumored to be headed to the Big Ten, either instead of Nebraska or in addition to the Huskers.

 

Also at issue was concern over a disproportionate South Division influence, in particular that of Texas. From the Big 12’s first season in 1996, the focus of the conference began gravitating to the south, symbolized by its offices being moved from traditional home Kansas City, Mo., to Dallas. 

 

“There’s a little bit of nostalgia because you realize some of the history’s going by the wayside,” Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said the day the move was announced.

 

“It isn’t that we weren’t sensitive (to tradition). Believe me, I agonized about this.”

 

From the point of view of many Nebraskans, however, the disconnect had begun when Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor joined the former Big Eight, setting tradition aside.

 

For example, the formation of the Big 12, with its divisional alignment, meant that the Huskers would no longer play Oklahoma annually but rather twice every four years. The schools had been members of the same conference since 1921 and had played each other in football every season since 1928. Nebraska-Oklahoma was the Big Eight’s signature rivalry. 

 

Nebraska’s association with Missouri, Kansas, Iowa State and Kansas State goes back even further. Missouri and Kansas were first on Nebraska’s schedule in 1892, though Missouri forfeited rather than compete against an African-American player, Nebraska’s George Flippin.

 

Later they were members together of the Missouri Valley Conference, which preceded the Big Six (formed in 1929). With the addition of Colorado, the conference began competition as the Big Seven in 1948, and with the addition of Oklahoma State, the league became the Big Eight in 1960.
 

 

Despite that history, however, Nebraska had to make the move for what Osborne called “the long-term trajectory of the athletic program and the university.”

 

Affiliation with the Big Ten has significant academic and research implications as well. Athletic revenue was also a factor, as was exposure on the Big Ten Network, which will help offset travel considerations for Husker fans. Big 12 campuses were more accessible, in general, for team travel and fans in the state’s most populous areas, Lincoln and Omaha. 

 

Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State and Missouri are within reasonable driving distance, as is Colorado for fans in the central and western parts of the state. Even Oklahoma and Oklahoma State weren’t that far. Now, the closest to Nebraska’s campus is Iowa, at 300 miles. Next is Minnesota, at 430. Every other Big Ten school is at least 450 miles from Lincoln.

 

Nebraska does, however, fit the culture of the Big Ten. “It’s a comfortable fit,” says Osborne. “I do think that there’s a lot of similarity, an emphasis on work ethic; a lot of people are fairly blue collar, pretty good values throughout the Midwest, so I think that’s going to help.”

 

Also, Nebraska has some history with Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa was its first out-of-state football opponent in 1891, and the Huskers played Minnesota regularly, though not annually, from 1900 through the early 1970s. In fact, Minnesota leads the all-time series 29–20–2, despite losing the last 14 games.

 

The Huskers are in the Big Ten’s Legends Division for football, along with Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern. Penn State is Nebraska’s designated cross-divisional rival, which means those teams will play every season.

 

The Big Ten designated four college football “brands” in aligning the divisions, with two in each division. Nebraska and Michigan are in the Legends, Ohio State and Penn State in the Leaders Division. The Huskers’ other cross-divisional opponent in the first two years is Wisconsin. Welcome to the Big Ten. “The schedule will be challenging,” Osborne said when it was announced.

 

“I think it will be cool going to Michigan and Penn State, even though we’ve got them back-to-back,” says senior safety Austin Cassidy. “Playing in front of 100,000 people, that’s not something very many people get to say that they’ve done in their lifetime.”

 

Cassidy went to high school in Lincoln but grew up in Texas.

 

“Do we play Michigan State away?” Alfonzo Dennard, a senior cornerback from Rochelle, Ga., asked at the start of spring practice. “I haven’t looked at the schedule really. … Oh yeah, Michigan. I want to play at Michigan because (of) how big the stadium is. I want to, like, experience that.”

 

Only a few Huskers are from Big Ten country, senior wide receiver Brandon Kinnie among them. Though Kinnie graduated high school in Kansas City, Mo., he was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., where much of his extended family lives. A cousin, Dre Muhammad, plays for Indiana. And even though he and Muhammad, also a senior, will be finished before Nebraska and Indiana are scheduled to play in football, “I’m excited about it (the move),” Kinnie says.

 

Nebraska’s coaching staff has a pronounced Big Ten background. Coach Bo Pelini, defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and first-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck are all (like Marlowe) from Youngstown’s Cardinal Mooney High School. So they’re returning home, sort of.

 

During a news conference to announce the Big Ten’s acceptance of Nebraska, Bo Pelini was asked about the move. “I’m not a real emotional guy,” he said with a wry smile.

 

The comment drew laughter. The Huskers’ fourth-year head coach is emotional, all right. If you don’t think so, watch him on the sideline. He’s just not sentimental about such things.

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: Nebraska Joins New Frontier in Big Ten
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-byu-football-lone-cougar
Body:

This summer is the five-year anniversary of conference realignment that shook up college football. Nebraska announced in 2010 it would join the Big Ten. The dominoes of Utah and Colorado to form the Pac-12 followed that same summer.

 

At the same time, BYU made perhaps the most risky move of all by choosing to go independent. By 2015, the Cougars, Notre Dame and Army would be the only independents in Division I.

 

Here’s how and why the move happened.

 

Originally published in Athlon’s Pac-12 2015 Annual.

By Michael Bradley

 

Last summer, when schools throughout the Big 12 Conference were wondering about their athletic futures as Texas and its cronies wondered whether it made sense to go West, the idea of football bachelorhood seemed ridiculous. Why would anybody want to go it alone, when strength was obviously to be gained by affiliating with the biggest, baddest programs around? After years of sensible groupings based on geography and reasonable travel, ages-old rules no longer applied. 

 

Colorado was a “Pacific” school. So was Utah. TCU would eventually join the Big East. The Rust Belt now extended to the Plains and Nebraska. And Hawaii was in the Mountains. There was talk of adding Rutgers to the Big Ten and Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference — even though the Aggies were once proud Southwest Conference members.

 

Up was down. Hip-hop was Easy Listening. Dogs and cats, living together. All in the name of a secure home and access to BCS dough.

 

And then, late last August, BYU saw other schools’ craziness and raised them in absurdity. At a time when conference membership was everything, the Cougars declared their independence. They would no longer be part of a conference for football and were leaving the Mountain West for the West Coast Conference in every other sport. Some referred to the move as “bold.” Many thought it was crazy. And even BYU understands that the move is not a guaranteed success.

 

“We’re in uncharted waters,” Cougar athletic director Tom Holmoe says. 

The culprit in all of this is television, that demon tube (or flat screen) that has spawned all of the seismic activity on the collegiate sports front. The Cougars have surplus programming and a large audience they believe wants it, and their old arrangement with the MWC didn’t allow them to get it all on the air. Holmoe insists the school tried to work out an agreement with its former league, but it just didn’t happen. It thought about returning to the WAC, its ancestral conference home. It knew the Pac-10 wasn’t interested. So, instead of complaining about not having control over its future, BYU decided to go alone.

 

“(The Mountain West) didn’t have the foresight to see what we wanted,” Holmoe says. “There were nine teams in the conference, with Boise State coming in. They knew we were unhappy with the TV arrangement, but it didn’t seem to matter.”

 

On the surface, it appears as if the Cougars are taking a huge chance, even if they do have an eight-year deal with ESPN to televise most of their home games and the freedom to assemble a schedule that suits them. There are only three independent teams in the FBS ranks. One, Notre Dame, has a special deal with the BCS and its home games on the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company, er, NBC. The other two, Army and Navy, have national followings, no need to increase endowments or win a facilities arms race, and bowl tie-ins that provide postseason homes if they earn as many as six wins. It makes sense for them to be on their own. But BYU? Now, you’re talking crazy.

 

Or are you? The Cougars have their own TV network, Brigham Young Broadcasting, which brings “family programming” to 55 million people around the country. The school’s 300,000-plus living alumni are scattered throughout the nation — particularly California and the Pacific Northwest — making that network ripe for growth. And through its affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU has a vast audience for its message and brand. 

 

“A number of years ago, we said that we have this incredible resource in BYU Broadcasting that we could take advantage of,” Holmoe says. “But we weren’t able to. One way to do it was to go independent.”

 

Last year, when the Big Ten was looking to grow and was considering its options, it reached out — again — to Notre Dame. The Irish looked at their choices, considered the possibilities and stayed independent. From South Bend, BYU’s decision to go alone is not rash or ill conceived. In fact, it’s quite logical.

 

“To do this, you need a reason that is related to the school’s mission,” ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick says. “It makes sense for BYU, just as it does a Catholic school like Notre Dame.”

 

The Cougars are following the Irish model, since they will be rugged individualists only on the gridiron. Just as ND is a member of the Big East for all other sports, BYU will participate in the WCC off the football field. It is easily argued that the school has taken a step down from the Mountain West, until the secret weapon steps in. Without ESPN, BYU’s decision would be particularly ill-advised. But with the four-letter folks picking up all but one (Idaho State) of the Cougars’ home games this year and working to assemble a contract that highlights BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and the rest of the West Coast Conference schools on the hardwood, the concept makes sense.

 

Of course, it all starts with football. That’s what brought ESPN on board. The network’s relationship with BYU goes back to the days when the school was the scourge of the WAC and was playing in the Holiday Bowl — and on ESPN — almost  every year.

 

 

“I think people associate BYU football with exciting offense,” says Dave Brown, who helped put together ESPN’s football schedule for years and now runs the Longhorn Network. “People will play BYU, so we’ll get good games on our schedule.”

 

The Cougars’ 2011 home campaign isn’t going to inspire a run on the ticket office, but a six-year deal with Notre Dame has blockbuster potential. Texas visits Provo in 2013. Georgia Tech will be coming to town down the line, as will Boise State. “There haven’t been too many teams we have called that we haven’t been able to work out a deal with,” Holmoe says. Lining up quality opposition is the easy part. Balancing the schedule is more difficult. Swarbrick admits that it’s tough to put some easier games on the slate, particularly when the TV networks are asking for quality matchups. But he has learned to avoid loading the slate.

 

“Being independent gives you the opportunity to play anybody,” he says. “You feel obligated to take advantage of it. You have to find a balance. If you have a TV partner, you feel obligated to schedule good games.”

 

The Cougars will play good teams, on practically every night of the week, the better to get on ESPN’s main station and away from The Deuce, ESPNU and ESPN Classic. They will strive for excellence in order to qualify for BCS paydays. “We’re like any other college that’s ranked in the system,” Holmoe says of the BCS. And they will play basketball against the Zags and their WCC brethren, with a contract that could well be better than what the Mountain West had. 

 

While Holmoe talks about the aforementioned “uncharted waters” of independence, at a time when everybody else is looking for the most secure home possible, he also says, “We didn’t want to wait.”

Brigham Young is moving ahead. Boldly. Confidently.

 

And, maybe, it’s just a little crazy. Then again, what in college athletics makes sense these days?

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: BYU Football is a Lone Cougar
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 13:47
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, Overtime
Path: /overtime/fallen-hoops-star-lauren-hill-honored-indiana-basketball-hall-fame
Body:

Lauren Hill did so much in her 19 years of life.

 

The basketball star raised money for cancer research through her charity, Layup 4 Lauren, and became a household name. It seemes like all she wanted to do is play with her teammates one last time, and she got that wish and so much more.

 

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is honoring the young star with a brick donated by Shannon Freeman-Frogge, an Indiana All-Star player. The former hoops player was touched at all Hill accomplished.

 

 

Hill joins some of the greatest players in the world now that she's a permanent part of the Hall of Fame.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 12:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/these-mashed-logos-college-football-rivals-will-burn-your-eyes
Body:

Every college football fan knows that one person whose opinion changes of a friend or colleague as soon as they learn they’re a fan or graduate of a rival school.

 

Perhaps you are that person.

 

Let’s say you’re an Alabama fan and your co-worker seems pleasant enough until you find out he or she has a cubicle full of Auburn memorabilia.

 

If you’re that person, look away.

 

Some person with a sick mind combined rival logos in college football, blending Auburn and Alabama, Alabama and Tennessee, Florida and Georgia and more.

 

It’s gross.

 

(h/t @RedditCFB and @FakeJoshJohnson)

 

 

 

 

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Teaser:
These Mashed-Up Logos of College Football Rivals will Burn your Eyes
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 12:15
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

Ohio State is the favorite to win college football’s 2015 national championship, and a quick glance at Athlon’s projected All-Big Ten shows how loaded coach Urban Meyer’s team is for this year. The Buckeyes place nine players on the first team, including projected starting quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the Big Ten 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 2015.

 

Related: 2015 Big Ten Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

Big Ten Team Previews for 2015

East Division
 
National
Rank:
605734713265
West Division
 
National
Rank:
64534529588419

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 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 2015 All-Big Ten Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBCardale Jones
Ohio State 
Connor Cook
Michigan State 
Christian Hackenberg
Penn State 
Wes Lunt
Illinois 
RBEzekiel Elliott
Ohio State 

Justin Jackson
Northwestern 

Josh Ferguson
Illinois 
Ty Isaac
Michigan 
RBCorey Clement
Wisconsin 
Jordan Howard
Indiana 

Akeel Lynch
Penn State 

Terrell Newby
Nebraska 
APDe'Mornay Pierson-El
Nebraska 
Curtis Samuel
Ohio State 
Dan Vitale (TE)
Northwestern 
Amara Darboh (WR)
Michigan  
WRLeonte Carroo
Rutgers 
Michael Thomas
Ohio State 
Jordan Westerkamp
Nebraska 
Geronimo Allison
Illinois 
WRDaeSean Hamilton
Penn State 
Jalin Marshall
Ohio State 
Alex Erickson
Wisconsin 
Aaron Burbridge
Michigan State 
TEJosiah Price
Michigan State  
Jake Butt
Michigan 
Nick Vannett
Ohio State 
Kyle Carter
Penn State 
CJack Allen
Michigan State 
Dan Voltz
Wisconsin 
Austin Blythe
Iowa 
Robert Kugler
Purdue 
OGPat Elflein
Ohio State 
Dan Feeney
Indiana 
Ted Karras
Illinois 
Brian Allen
Michigan State 
OGTyler Marz (OT)
Wisconsin 
Josh Campion
Minnesota 
Jordan Walsh
Iowa 
Chris Muller
Rutgers 
OTTaylor Decker
Ohio State 
Alex Lewis
Nebraska 
Keith Lumpkin
Rutgers 
Jacoby Boren (C)
Ohio State 
OTJack Conklin
Michigan State 
Jason Spriggs
Indiana 
Andrew Nelson
Penn State 
Mason Cole
Michigan 
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEJoey Bosa
Ohio State 
Drew Ott
Iowa 
Jihad Ward
Illinois 
Kemoko Turay
Rutgers 
DEShilique Calhoun
Michigan State 
Yannick Ngakoue
Maryland 
Lawrence Thomas
Michigan State  
Dean Lowry
Northwestern 
DTAnthony Zettel
Penn State 
Adolphus Washington
Ohio State 
Austin Johnson
Penn State 
Theiren Cockran (DE)
Minnesota  
DTMaliek Collins
Nebraska 
Darius Hamilton
Rutgers 
Vincent Valentine
Nebraska 
Malik McDowell
Michigan State 
LBDarron Lee
Ohio State 
Ed Davis
Michigan State 
Mason Monheim
Illinois 
James Ross III
Michigan 
LBJoshua Perry
Ohio State 
Nyeem Wartman
Penn State 

Steve Longa
Rutgers 

De'Vondre Campbell
Minnesota 
LBVince Biegel
Wisconsin 
Raekwon McMillan
Ohio State 
Ja'Whaun Bentley
Purdue 
Joe Schobert
Wisconsin  
CBWilliam Likely
Maryland 
Eric Murray
Minnesota 
Darius Hillary
Wisconsin 
Desmond King
Iowa 
CBEli Apple
Ohio State 
Briean Boddy-Calhoun
Minnesota 
Nick VanHoose
Northwestern 
Sojourn Shelton
Wisconsin 
SVonn Bell
Ohio State 
Nate Gerry
Nebraska 
Jabrill Peppers
Michigan 
Tyvis Powell
Ohio State 
SMichael Caputo
Wisconsin 
Jordan Lucas
Penn State  
Frankie Williams
Purdue 
Jordan Lomax
Iowa 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KBrad Craddock
Maryland 
Rafael Gaglianone
Wisconsin 
Paul Griggs
Purdue 
Jack Mitchell
Northwestern 
PPeter Mortell
Minnesota 
Cameron Johnston
Ohio State 
Sam Foltz
Nebraska 
Blake O'Neill
Michigan 
KRJanarion Grant
Rutgers 
R.J. Shelton
Michigan State 
Jalen Myrick
Minnesota 
William Likely
Maryland 
PRDe'Mornay Pierson-El
Nebraska 
Jalin Marshall
Ohio State 
William Likely
Maryland 
Frankie Williams
Purdue 

Related: 2015 Big Ten Predictions


 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-Big Ten Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Illinois

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Indiana

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Iowa

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Maryland

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Michigan

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Michigan State

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 2

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Minnesota

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Nebraska

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Northwestern

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 1

Ohio State

Offense: 4

Defense: 5

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 2

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Penn State

Offense: 1

Defense: 1 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 3

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Purdue

Offense: 0

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0 

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Rutgers

Offense: 1

Defense: 0 

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 0

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Wisconsin

Offense: 2

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 1

Defense: 0

Sp. Teams: 1

Offense: 1 

Defense: 1

Sp. Teams: 0

Offense: 0

Defense: 2

Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Big Ten Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/mac-football-2015-all-conference-team
Body:

The MAC should have plenty of offensive fireworks in 2015. There’s no shortage of talent at quarterback in this league, beginning with UMass’ Blake Frohnapfel, as the senior headlines Athlon’s 2015 All-MAC team. However, Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell, Buffalo’s Joe Licata, Northern Illinois’ Drew Hare and Central Michigan’s Cooper Rush are all in the mix for all-conference honors. The MAC also features two star running backs capable of pushing for All-America honors in Toledo’s Kareem Hunt and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

 

Athlon Sports released its full predictions for the MAC 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 2015.

 

Related: 2015 MAC Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2015. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2015 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

MAC 2015 Team Previews
East Division
 
National
Rank:
97781051191219892
West Division
 
National
Rank:
94111127807581

Visit the Athlon Sports Online Store to order a copy of the 2015 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 2015 All-MAC Team

 First-Team
Offense
Second-Team
Offense
Third-Team
Offense
Fourth-Team
Offense
QBBlake Frohnapfel
UMass 
Matt Johnson
BGSU 
Zach Terrell
WMU 
Joe Licata
Buffalo 
RBKareem Hunt
Toledo 
Travis Greene
BGSU 
A.J. Ouellette
Ohio 
 
Trayion Durham
Kent State 
RBJarvion Franklin
WMU 
Anthone Taylor
Buffalo 
Joel Bouagnon
NIU 
Devon Spalding
CMU 
APTajae Sharpe (WR)
UMass  
Ron Willoughy (WR)
Buffalo 
Daniel Braverman (WR)
WMU 

Ronnie Moore (WR)

BGSU 

WRCorey Davis
WMU 
Corey Jones
Toledo 
Alonzo Russell
Toledo 
Jesse Kroll
CMU  
WRRoger Lewis
BGSU 
Jordan Williams
Ball State 
KeVonn Mabon
Ball State 
Rokeem Williams
Miami (Ohio)  
TERodney Mills
UMass  
Matt Weiser
Buffalo  
Tommylee Lewis (WR)
NIU  
Juwan Brescacin (WR)
NIU  
CAndrew Ness
NIU 
Nick Beamish
CMU 
Jacob Richard
Ball State 
Lucas Powell
Ohio 
OGAlex Huettel
BGSU 
Dylan Brumbaugh
Akron 
Logan Dietz
BGSU 
Mike Lucas
Ohio 
OGJames Kristof
WMU 
Aidan Conlon
NIU 
Trevan Brown
Miami, Ohio 
Jalen Schlachter
Ball State 
OTWillie Beavers
WMU 
Steven Bell
Ball State 
Ramadan Ahmeti
CMU 
Reno Reda
Kent State 
OTStorm Norton
Toledo 
Tyrell Smith
UMass 
Jacob Bennett
BGSU  
Taylor Moton
WMU  
 First-Team
Defense
Second-Team
Defense
Third-Team
Defense
Fourth-Team
Defense
DEPerez Ford
NIU 
Tarell Basham
Ohio 
Blake Serpa
CMU 
Jamal Marcus
Akron 
DETrent Voss
Toledo 
Joe Ostman
CMU 
Bryson Albright
Miami, Ohio 
Nathan Braster
WMU 
DTPat O'Connor
EMU 
Treyvon Hester
Toledo 
Jabari Dean
CMU  
Nate Terhune
Kent State 
DTCody Grice
Akron 
Orion Jones
Toledo 
Rodney Coe
Akron 
Darnell Smith
Ball State 
LBJatavis Brown
Akron 
Grant DePalma
WMU 
Ben Ingle
Ball State 
Zack Ryan
Ball State 
LBGreat Ibe
EMU 
Boomer Mays
NIU 
Quentin Poling
Ohio  
Rasheen Lemon
NIU  
LBJovan Santos-Knox
UMass 
Jovon Johnson
Ohio 
Kent Kern
Miami, Ohio  
Matt Dellinger
Kent State 
CBRandall Jette
UMass 
Cheatham Norrils
Toledo 
Najee Murray
Kent State  
Ian Wells
Ohio 
CBParis Logan
NIU 
Ronald Zamort
WMU 
Heath Harding
Miami, Ohio  
Trey Dudley-Giles
UMass 
STony Annese
CMU 
Jordan Italiano
Kent State 
DeJuan Rogers
Toledo 
Kavon Frazier
CMU  
SNate Holley
Kent State 
Marlon Moore
NIU 
Rontavious Atkins
WMU  
Larry Hope (CB)
Akron 
 First-Team
Specialists
Second-Team
Specialists
Third-Team
Specialists
Fourth-Team
Specialists
KTyler Tate
BGSU 
Andrew Haldeman
WMU 
Robert Stein
Akron 
Dylan Mulder
EMU  
PAnthony Melchiori
Kent State 
Zach Paul
Akron 
Joe Davidson
BGSU 
J. Schroeder
WMU 
KRDarius Phillips
WMU 
Devin Campbell
Buffalo 
Khary Bailey-Smith
UMass 
Clint Stephens
BGSU 
PRCorey Jones
Toledo 
Tommylee Lewis
NIU 
Ryan Burbrink
BGSU 
Daz'mond Patterson
Ohio 
Related: 2015 MAC Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2015 All-MAC Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth

Akron

Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Ball State

Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Bowling Green

Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 2 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 

Buffalo

Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Central Michigan

Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0

Eastern Michigan

Offense: 0 
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 1

Kent State

Offense: 0 
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0 
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Miami, Ohio

Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0 
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Northern Illinois

Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Ohio

Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1

Toledo

Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0 
​Sp. Teams: 0

UMass

Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1 
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 

Western Michigan

Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 

 

Teaser:
MAC Football 2015 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: AFC, AFC North, Balitmore Ravens, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/why-breshad-perriman-and-maxx-williams-are-key-baltimore-ravens-2015
Body:

For the first time since 2008, the Baltimore Ravens used their first two picks in the NFL Draft to select offensive players. In the first round, they took speedy wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who looks to fill in for Torrey Smith. With their next pick, the Ravens selected Maxx Williams, the first tight end drafted, who many considered to be the best in this year’s rookie class. The Ravens want to shed the long-held belief that they are just a defensive team, especially as they have made significant progress on offense just last year. Both players seem to factor into starting roles during the season with the skill sets they bring to the team out of college.

 

Related: 5 Key Questions for the Baltimore Ravens During the Summer

 

Breshad Perriman

After notching career highs in passing yards and touchdowns, Joe Flacco seems to only progress over time. Yet, Flacco will be without deep threat Torrey Smith this year, after he left for the 49ers in free agency. The Ravens quickly addressed his departure by drafting Perriman, whose 6-2 frame and 4.24 40-yard dash helped send his draft stock high. Perriman should look like Smith out on the field with his blazing speed and ability to stretch the field. A deep threat is essential for Flacco in new coordinator Marc Trestman’s offense, and there is no doubt that Perriman will be running long from the beginning of the season. 

 

Perriman will be essential to the Ravens’ success during the season, as he’ll be lined up across from Steve Smith from the start. Smith is still an incredible player, but at 36 years old, he can’t do all the work alone. Many evaluators show concern over Perriman’s hands because of drops in college, although Torrey Smith had the same issue early on. The first-rounder out of the University of Central Florida will play a vital role for the Ravens, especially with questions at the third wide receiver and tight end positions.

 

Maxx Williams

Williams will either be very important or extremely important this season, depending on the health of Dennis Pitta, Flacco’s favorite target and best friend. The Ravens have historically been successful at the tight end position, starting with Shannon Sharpe and Todd Heap, and more recently Pitta and Owen Daniels. This position has constantly provided insurance in the passing game, especially in the underneath passes. A two-tight end base system looks to be the way the Ravens are headed, and Williams figures to be an integral part of it. Hopefully Pitta will return, but with no guarantees, Williams will be involved greatly on offense. 

 

With much youth in the receiving game, Flacco will be certain to use Williams on short passes and in the middle of the field, especially when under pressure. Similar in build to Pitta, Williams should provide a matchup problem for most linebackers covering him. His ability to block will probably be greatly overshadowed by his receiving production, as the Ravens have focused more on developing pass catchers at tight end, a common trait among the elite at the position in the NFL. Flacco needs more big targets like Pitta because of his comfort level throwing to him, especially as an option when other receivers are covered. The Ravens got through most of last season with one tight end, but just the potential of having Pitta and Williams on the field this season could make this offense that much more dangerous.

 

 

(Breshard Perriman and Maxx Williams photos courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com)

Teaser:
Why Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams are Key to the Baltimore Ravens in 2015
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NBA
Path: /nba/tbt-16-year-old-lebron-james-talks-about-desire-win-cavaliers-kirk-herbstreit
Body:

It's difficult to imagine LeBron James as anything other than a beast. Even as a 16-year-old, he had the will to win.

 

In an interview with 10TV, a high school James is interviewed by Kirk Herbstreit about his desire to win four state championships and eventually make it in the NBA. My how time flies.

 

"Every day you've got to go out there and work because there's someone out there working too — and if you stop, I think they can pass you up," James said. 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 09:19

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