Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-lb-corey-nelson-out-season-torn-pectoral-muscle
Body:

Sooners defensive co-captain Corey Nelson will miss the remainder of the 2013 season with a partially torn pectoral muscle. Nelson sustained the injury in the third quarter during the Sooners 20-17 home win over TCU.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 14:03
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-lb-jarrett-grace-out-season-broken-leg
Body:

Amidst the jubilation of a big win over Arizona State, the Notre Dame defense suffered a major loss as linebacker Jarrett Grace was lost for the season with a broken tibia. The seriousness of Grace's injury was immediately evident as he remained on the field for a few minutes until his leg was stabilized and was later taken away on a cart. 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 14:03
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/2013-legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-6
Body:

After squeaking out victories against ranked opponents Saturday night, Stanford and Ohio State swapped spots in the top 5 of the Legends Poll.

Stanford moved up to No. 4 following its 31-28 win over Washington, which dropped the Huskies three spots to No. 19. Ohio State remained unbeaten but fell to No. 5 after rallying for a win at Northwestern. The loss dropped Northwestern three spots as well to No. 18.

For the fourth straight week, Alabama, Oregon and Clemson were the top 3 teams in the Legends Poll.

Florida State moved up to No. 6 after a 63-0 beat down over Maryland. The Seminoles moved one spot ahead of No. 7 Georgia, which struggled to an overtime win over Tennessee.

No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 25 Missouri moved into the rankings this week. Arizona State and Northern Illinois dropped out.

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll
 
THE LEGENDS POLL TOP 25
RKTEAMRECORDPOINTSPV RK
1AlabamaAlabama (14)5-03981
2OregonOregon (2)5-03862
3ClemsonClemson5-03663
4StanfordStanford5-03405
5Ohio StateOhio State6-03364
6Florida StateFlorida State5-03287
7GeorgiaGeorgia4-12896
8Texas A&MTexas A&M4-12769
9LouisvilleLouisville5-02738
10LSULSU5-125310
11UCLAUCLA4-024011
12OklahomaOklahoma5-021512
13Miami (FL)Miami (FL)5-021413
14BaylorBaylor4-018418
15South CarolinaSouth Carolina4-117814
16FloridaFlorida4-117117
17MichiganMichigan5-013419
18NorthwesternNorthwestern4-112715
19WashingtonWashington4-110316
20Texas TechTexas Tech5-08421
21Fresno StateFresno State5-06922
22Oklahoma StateOklahoma State4-16520
23Notre DameNotre Dame4-240-
24WisconsinWisconsin3-23524
25MissouriMissouri5-033-

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at www.legendschannel.com.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-6-power-rankings-2013
Body:

Michigan State posted one of the most complete outings of the Big Ten season thus far in a critical road division win over Iowa. Indiana exercised some demons with the first win in school history over Penn State. Without Taylor Martinez, Nebraska handled its business at home against overmatched Illinois team. And Michigan kept control of the Little Brown Jug.

But Ohio State made the biggest statement of the weekend by clearly yet another big hurdle. The Buckeyes turned to the power running game to make a big statement against a very good Northwestern team in a hostile environment in Evanston.

More Post-Week 6 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 6 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (6-0, 2-0): Braxton Miller didn't play his best game, but the Buckeyes still managed to win on the road against Northwestern. After three turnovers, Urban Meyer took the ball out of his star quarterback's hands and instead gave it to burly running back Carlos Hyde. The tailback carried his team to victory with three second half touchdowns and physical play all evening long. This Week: Bye 
2.
 
 
 
(3)Michigan (5-0, 1-0): Brady Hoke needed a performance like this. The Wolverines played a squeaky clean games against Minnesota by converting on all but three third downs (10 of 13), not turning the ball over and registering just two penalties. Devin Gardner played efficient football, and the running game did just enough to let the defense win the game. This was an impressive showing for the Maize and Blue in the Big Ten opener before heading to Happy Valley in Week 7. This Week: at Penn State 
3.
 
 
(4)Nebraska (4-1, 1-0): The Cornhuskers played their best defensive game of the year. The Blackshirts held an Illini offense averaging 40 points 478 to just 19 points and 372 yards on Saturday. And the offense clicked on all cylinders despite not having Taylor Martinez under center. Tommy Armstrong did his job by getting the ball to his backfield. Ameer Abdullah (225 yards, 2 TD) spearheaded a rushing attack that posted 335 yards on the ground. This Week: at Purdue 
4.
 
 
(2)Northwestern (4-1, 0-1): The loss to Ohio State was one of the most entertaining games of the season, but Wildcats fans likely don't care about style points too much. The Cats had a chance to pull a marquee upset and take control of the conference but couldn't match the physicality at the point of attack in the second half. The Legends Division is completely wide open and a rematch in the Big Ten title game isn't out of the question. But the Cats continue to struggle to beat more talented teams in the league, and things don't get any easier in Week 7.  This Week: at Wisconsin 
5.
 
(5)Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1): After the tough road loss to Ohio State, the Badgers will have two weeks to prepare for the dynamic and versatile Northwestern attack that came up just short against Ohio State. This Week: Northwestern 
6.
 
 
 
(7)Michigan State (4-1, 1-0): The Big Ten season couldn't have started any better for the Spartans. A key divisional road win over Iowa was the most complete team effort Michigan State has had all season. Connor Cook threw for a career-best 277 yards, the defense pitched a second-half shutout and special teams were a huge factor as the Spartans connected on all four field goals and converted a big fake punt in the second half. It was blue collar, physical and not always exciting, but that is the way Mark Dantonio likes it. This Week: Indiana 
7.
 
 
(6)Penn State (3-2, 0-1): Christian Hackenberg threw the ball 55 times for 340 yards and three touchdowns, but maybe that was the problem. The Penn State offense couldn't find any balance in the loss to Indiana, rushing for just 70 yards on 38 carries at a 1.8 yards per carry. On the flip side, the Lions defense played well for three quarters before cracking in the final frame and allowing nearly 500 yards of offense to the Hoosiers. Penn State gets Michigan and Ohio State in its next two. This Week: Michigan 
8.
 
(8)Iowa (4-2, 1-1): The Hawkeyes head into the off weekend with a bad taste in their mouths. After leading 14-10 at halftime against the Spartans, Iowa was dominated in all three phases of the game in the final 30 minutes. Kirk Ferentz squad entered the game fourth nationally in time of possession (35:50 per game) but managed to hold the ball for 22:47 against Michigan State. Ferentz better not let the off weekend go to waste since the Hawks next three opponents are Ohio State, Northwestern and Wisconsin. This Week: Bye 
9.
 
 
 
 
 
(11)Indiana (3-2, 1-0): The Hoosiers had a slim 21-17 lead at the end of three quarters against Penn State but an offensive explosion to start the fourth quarter gave Kevin Wilson a signature home win — Indiana's first victory over Penn State. Nate Sudfeld threw for 321 yards and two scores on the game while Tre Roberson scored twice on the ground during the 23-point fourth quarter. This was a huge division win at home against a more talented team and it keeps IU's bowl hopes alive. This Week: at Michigan State 
10.
 
 
(9)Minnesota (4-2, 0-2): The Gophers were without coach Jerry Kill after another seizure forced him to stay home for the road trip to Ann Arbor. Without their leader, Minnesota looked lost against Michigan, losing the Little Brown Jug in uncompetitive fashion. Mitch Leidner got the start at quarterback but led his offense to just 281 total yards and 13 points in the blowout loss. This Week: Bye 
11.
 
 
(10)Illinois (3-2, 0-1): Tim Beckman began Big Ten play with a big thud this weekend. Nathan Scheelhaase entered the weekend as one of the most productive and improved quarterbacks in the nation. He looked a lot more like the player who struggled the last two seasons, completing 13 of 26 passes for 135 yards, no scores and one interception. Following the off week, the Illini faces Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State. This Week: Bye 
12.
 
(12)Purdue (1-4, 0-1): After a horrible first month of the season, Purdue spent two weeks preparing for October — which begins with a visit from the Cornhuskers. And there is a good chance that Taylor Martinez will return to the lineup. Best of luck, Boilers. This Week: Nebraska 

Big Ten Week 6 Awards and Superlatives:

 

Offensive Player of the Week: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State  

The 235-pound running back from Florida was simply too much for Northwestern to handle. On a night when Braxton Miller didn't play his best, Hyde stepped up and salvaged the Buckeyes national championship hopes. He entered the night with just 22 rushing attempts and 126 yards on the season but finished with 26 carries, 168 yards and three crucial second-half touchdowns. The worn-down Wildcats had no answer for Hyde's physicality in the second half. The Ohio State tailback also caught four passes for 38 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Michigan State cornerback was preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick by Athlon Sports and he showed why Saturday. In a key division road win, Dennard led the team with eight tackles and added two interceptions as the Spartans shut out of the Hawkeyes in the second half. This unit held Mark Weisman to just nine yards and is still leading the nation in total defense (203.8 ypg).

Team of the Week: Ohio State

Both Michigan State and Indiana had critical — and historic in the Hoosiers case — wins in Week 6 over Iowa and Penn State respectively. But the Buckeyes were once again the class of the Big Ten conference after defeating Northwestern 40-30 on the road. With a power rushing attack, a dynamic quarterback, elite-level coach and, now, two huge wins over ranked conference opponents, there is little doubt who the best team in the league is after six weeks of play.

Coordinator of the Week: John Papuchis, Nebraska

Illinois entered the game against Nebraska averaging nearly 500 yards of offense and more than 40 points per game. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was averaging 307.5 yards per game with 12 touchdowns in four games. Nebraska's defense, though, played its best game of the year, holding the Illini to 372 yards, 19 total points, 4-of-15 on third downs, registering three sacks and forcing two turnovers. Without Taylor Martinez, the Huskers' defense came up big once again.

Freshman of the Week: Tommy Armstrong Jr., QB, Nebraska

In the absence of Taylor Martinez, Armstrong (and fellow reserve signal caller Ron Kellogg III) has been charged with running the Huskers offense. Armstrong played excellent football against the Illini, completing 8 of 13 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the impressive win. He also ran the ball nine times for 18 yards on the ground and didn't throw an interception for a second straight game. With a road trip to Purdue up next before another week off, don't be surprised if Bo Pelini goes to his freshman again in an effort to get Martinez fully healthy.

Fifth Down

• Penn State's Christian Hackenberg broke his own school freshman passing record with 340 yards against Indiana.

• Allen Robinson had 12 receptions for 173 yards and two TDs against Indiana. He moved into seventh place all-time in school history with 118 career receptions and fifth all-time with 16 career TD receptions.

• Iowa was leading the Big Ten and was fourth nationally in time of possession entering Week 6 (35:50). The Hawkeyes held the ball for 22:47 in the loss to Michigan State.

• Nebraska is now leading the nation all by itself with just two sacks allowed in 2013.

• Indiana is now 1-16 all-time against Penn State after the win over the Nittany Lions this weekend.

• Ohio State still owns the nation's longest winning streak at 18 and Michigan owns the longest home winning streak with 18. These two will play in Ann Arbor on the final weekend of the regular season.

• After going 10 of 13 on third downs against Minnesota, the Wolverines are leading the Big Ten in third-down conversions at 53.7 percent (36 of 67) which is good for 11th nationally.

• Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah ran for a personal-best 225 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois.

• Despite two different outcomes, Iowa and Michigan are still the nation's only teams that have yet to allow a rushing touchdown.

• Michigan State's Connor Cook set a career high with 277 yards passing. He also had two long scoring strikes in the win over Iowa.

• Saturday was the first game of the season that Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste didn't have an interception in 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-6-power-rankings-node
Body:

The game that is usually the standard bearer in the Big 12 is almost an afterthought.

The Red River Rivalry will be played this week, but the main story in the Big 12 so far is Baylor’s record-setting pace on offense. That's a worhty storyline, but Oklahoma-Texas will still be a major game in the Big 12 race.

The records indicate Oklahoma and Texas can’t afford to overlook this rivalry game — both teams are 2-0 in the Big 12 — but the Sooners’ primary foe in the  Big 12 race may not be the team in Austin. And Texas, by luck and skill, still has its goal of winning the conference in its sights after squeaking by Iowa State on Thursday.

More Post-Week 6 Power Rankings: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

RkTeamLWAnalysis
1.1Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0): Why do the Sooners take the top spot over Baylor? Oklahoma has a more complete resume with two conference wins over West Virginia and TCU. The road win over Notre Dame also looks a lot better after the Irish beat Arizona State last week. The Sooners’ defense was stifling despite the absence of starting defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, holding TCU to 44 rushing yards. The Sooners have the league’s best D despite only one player (linebacker Frank Shannon) in the Big 12’s top 25 in tackles or tackles for a loss. This week: Texas (Dallas)
2.2Baylor (4-0, 1-0): The offense is dominant. No question about that. But the Baylor’s defense isn’t so shabby, either, even after a game in which it allowed 42 points to West Virginia. Baylor ranks eighth nationally in fewest yards per play (4.2 yards allowed) and fourth in yards allowed per carry (2.4). Now, we’ll find what Baylor can do on the road: The Bears are 1-7 on the road in the Big 12 the last two seasons, the lone win by one point at Kansas two years ago. This week: at Kansas State
3.4Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0): The Red Raiders fell behind 10-0 to Kansas, but ended up cruising to a 54-16 win to remain undefeated. They’ll have their questions this week, though, as quarterback Baker Mayfield left with a knee injury. Davis Webb replaced him in the third quarter, and Michael Brewer got his first game action of the year. Whoever starts this week for the Red Raiders will have a the standout duo of tight end Jace Amaro and wide receiver Eric Ward. Ward caught seven passes against KU, as many as his previous three games combined. This week: Iowa State
4.3Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1): The Cowboys have some major concerns on offense even after a win. For the second consecutive week, J.W. Walsh struggled to keep the offense moving, and Mike Gundy showed little indication he’d go back to Game 1 starter Clint Chelf. In the first three games of the season, Oklahoma State converted all nine of its red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Against West Virginia and Kansas State, the Cowboys have converted only three of nine red zone opportunities into touchdowns. This week: Off
5.6Texas (3-2, 2-0): The Longhorns seem to be determined to go as far as Case McCoy will take them. Against Oklahoma, David Ash will miss his third consecutive start with a head injury. McCoy passed 45 times in the win over Iowa State while Texas tailbacks carried only 23 times. Johnathan Gray, who had a breakout game against Kansas State two weeks ago, ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards. This week: Oklahoma (Dallas)
6.8Kansas State (2-3, 0-2): The Wildcats started a new quarterback but stuck with a rotation at the position. Daniel Sams got his longest look of the season, particularly as a passer, in the 33-29 loss to Oklahoma State. Sams moved the offense, completing 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards and rushing for 118 yards on 27 carries. But he also threw three interceptions. Not helping matters was an injury to wide receiver/kick returner Tyler Lockett. This week: Baylor
7.7West Virginia (3-3, 1-2): If West Virginia patted itself on the back after a strong defensive performance in the win over Oklahoma State, it probably stopped sometime during the first quarter against Baylor. The Mountaineers gave up the second-most points in school history in the 73-42 loss to the Bears. The defense may prove to be somewhere between the Oklahoma State and Baylor results, but the ongoing issue remains at quarterback. Clint Trickett struggled with signals from the bench, finishing 9 of 28 for 161 yards. This week: Off
8.5TCU (2-3, 0-2): The second-half explosion two weeks ago against SMU looks more and more like an aberration. TCU’s offense is a mess. The Horned Frogs’ slow starts continued in spectacular fashion as TCU didn’t pick up a first down until the second possession of the third quarter. TCU is averaging 4.2 points in the first half against FBS opponents this season. This week: Kansas
9.9Iowa State (1-3, 0-1): Paul Rhoads’ teams usually play with an edge, and they’ll need it to recover from a disappointing loss to Texas on Thursday. Texas’ non-fumbles on the goal line got most of the attention, but Iowa State also was called for a pass interference on the final drive to set up the Longhorns in a good spot. Despite the poor record, Iowa State still does plenty of good things: The Cyclones are plus-3 in turnover margin and 13 of 13 in the red zone. This week: at Texas Tech
10.10Kansas (2-2, 0-1): Just about everything went right for Kansas in the first quarter against Texas Tech before everything went wrong. Jake Heaps led two scoring drives, and the Jayhawks seemed poised for the first Big 12 win in more than two years. After giving up 10 points, the wheels fell off on an ill-advised fake punt on fourth and 13 from KU’s on 16-yard line. Lucky for Kansas, this week’s opponent isn’t nearly as explosive offensively. This week: at TCU

Big 12 Week 5 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Bryce Petty, Baylor
Last season’s Baylor-West Virginia game featured 1,507 total yards and 133 points. By halftime, there was a sense Baylor could approach those totals alone if it really wanted to. Quarterback Bryce Petty continued to lead an unstoppable Baylor offense with a Big 12-record 864 yards its conference opener against West Virginia. Petty completed 17 of 25 passes for 347 yards with three total touchdowns and an interception in the 73-42 win over the Mountaineers. Nearly all of the damage occurred in a 56-point first half as Petty threw only two passes after halftime.

Defensive player of the week: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Defense may need to carry Oklahoma State for the time being, and linebacker Shaun Lewis proved to be up to the task in a 33-29 win over Kansas State. Lewis finished with eight tackles, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the win, but his biggest play was an interception late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys led by 1 at the time, but Lewis’ pick and 24-yard return set up a field goal to force K-State to go for the touchdown on the final drive.

Freshman of the week: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
A week after special teams were a major liability in the loss to West Virginia, Oklahoma State relied on special teams to defeat Kansas State 33-29. As the Oklahoma State offense stalled in the red zone, freshman kicker Ben Grogan converted four of his five attempts, the lone miss a blocked 43-yard attempt. Grogan made field goals of 30, 34, 23 and 28 yards.

Team of the week: Baylor
Baylor’s schedule is backloaded with the toughest Big 12 competition waiting until November. But after the 73-42 rout of West Virginia, the question is who is going to stop the Bears? Baylor’s scoring output against West Virginia alone was more than Connecticut, Georgia State and Southern Miss have scored all year. The 56 points in the first half alone were more than FIU, Miami (Ohio) and UMass have scored this season. And remember, this was against a West Virginia defense that is vastly improved over the one from a year ago.

Coordinator of the week: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma
The question of who could stop Baylor falls on the shoulders of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners have the Big 12’s top defense and proved it again in a 20-17 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs gained only 16 yards in the first half, failing to gain a first down until their second possession of the third quarter. TCU finished with 44 rushing yards as Stoops’ defense picked up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

Fifth Down

• With 172 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk has topped 100 yards in eight consecutive games.

• Baylor has the top three games in total yardage this season with 864 against West Virginia and 781 each against ULM and Buffalo. Each was a school record.

• Kansas State became the fifth Big 12 team to start a different quarterback since the opener. Daniel Sams started against Oklahoma State, replacing Jake Waters. Sams had been a running specialist, but he completed 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Sams, though, struggled with the deep ball, throwing three interceptions.

• Michael Brewer, who was the projected starting quarterback for Texas Tech this season, made his first appearance of the season in the final minutes of the rout of Kansas. Brewer never threw a pass but appeared in the final three possessions after missing the first four games with a back injury.

• Texas Tech starting quarterback Baker Mayfield left with an injury in the third quarter after passing for 368 yards. The extent of his injury was not known after the game.

• By now, you’ve probably seen Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads’ impassioned postgame press conference after questionable officiating went in Texas’ favor in the Cyclones’ loss Thursday. In case you’ve haven’t seen it...

• One place where Rhoads has a legitimate beef is penalties: Iowa State’s 10 penalties against Texas doubled the Cyclones’ output this season. Rhoads received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a fine, for his critical comments.

• Texas wide receiver Mike Davis received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a suspension, after he lunged at the legs of a defenseless Iowa State player after the whistle in Thursday’s game. He was assessed a 15-yard personal foul on the field.

• Regardless of the outcome Thursday, Iowa State found it has a focal point for its offense in running back Aaron Wimberly, who rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Wimberly has rushed for 254 yards in his last two games. Quarterback Sam Richardson also had the best game of his career with 345 yards of total offense (262 passing, 83 rushing).

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-6-power-rankings-2013
Body:

Missouri and Tennessee both jumped two spots in the weekly power poll — Missouri after its dominating win at Vanderbilt and Tennessee after taking Georgia to overtime at Neyland Stadium. There was no movement in the top six.   

More Post-Week 6 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12  

SEC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (5-0, 2-0): In the biggest mismatch of the day, Alabama cruised to a 45-3 win over Georgia State, considered by most to be the worst team in the FBS ranks. The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 38-0 lead in the second quarter and shifted into cruise control in the second half. Georgia State’s longest drive of the first half went for 17 yards. Next Week: at Kentucky
22Georgia (4-1, 3-0): It was tougher than expected, but Georgia remained unbeaten in the SEC with a 34-31 win in overtime at Tennessee. The Bulldogs fell behind 31-24 with 1:54 in the fourth quarter, but Aaron Murray led the Dawgs on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that tied the game with five seconds remaining. Georgia did not commit a turnover but had a punt blocked that was returned for a touchdown. With Todd Gurley out and Keith Marshall sidelined in the first quarter, true freshman J.J. Green handled the rushing load for Georgia and responded with 129 yards on 17 carries. Next Week: Missouri 
33LSU (5-1, 2-1): LSU broke open a tight game with 28 straight points in the fourth quarter to beat Mississippi State 59-26 in Starkville. The Tigers were once again dominant on offense, averaging 8.3 yards per play en route to 563 total yards. Zach Mettenberger threw for 340 yards, and Jeremy Hill rushed for 157 (on a 9.8-yard average) to lead the balanced attack. The Tigers continued to get great play from their wide receivers, with Odell Beckham catching nine passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns and Jarvis Landry adding eight catches for 96 yards. Next Week: Florida
44Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1): The Aggies had the week off following a 45-33 win at Arkansas. Texas A&M has scored 42 points or more in all five games this season. Next Week: at Ole Miss
55South Carolina (4-1, 1-1): For the second time this season, South Caroline jumped out to a huge lead at home against an overmatched SEC East opponent only to have to sweat things out in the fourth quarter. Last month, the Gamecocks led Vanderbilt 28-0 in the second quarter but had the margin trimmed to 35-25 midway through the fourth. On Saturday, a 27-7 lead over Kentucky was cut to 35-28 with five minutes remaining. Once again, South Carolina held on for the win, but Steve Spurrier has not been pleased with his team’s play for most of the season. Connor Shaw, who injured his shoulder in the win at UCF last week, went most of the way for the Gamecocks, completing 17-of-20 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown. Next Week: at Arkansas
66Florida (4-1, 3-0): With its ground game struggling, Florida leaned on junior quarterback Tyler Murphy to make plays. And that he did, throwing for 240 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions to lead Florida to a 30-10 win over Arkansas in his second career start. The Gators were held to 2.8 yards on 41 rushing attempts, with Matt Jones managing only 50 on 17 carries and Mack Brown 39 on 11. The Gators did a good job slowing down Arkansas’ ground game, holding Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams to a combined 86 yards on 21 carries. Next Week: at LSU
79Missouri (5-0, 1-0): Missouri was very impressive in its SEC opener, cruising to a surprisingly easy 51-28 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville. James Franklin was terrific at quarterback, throwing for 278 yards and four touchdowns to lead an offense that rolled up 523 yards and only punted once. Mizzou set the tone early, marching 75 yards on five plays on the opening drive of the game. The Tigers led 20-0 before Vanderbilt picked up its first first down of the game. Mizzou ranks second in the SEC in total offense with 543.8 yards per game and fourth in yards per play with 7.06. Next Week: at Georgia
88Auburn (4-1, 2-1): Auburn can make a case that it’s the most improved team in the nation. The Tigers, who went 0-8 in the SEC in 2012, are now 2-1 in the league and 4-1 overall after beating Ole Miss 30-22 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Nick Marshall didn’t get much done in the passing game, but the junior quarterback rushed for 140 yards and two scores on 14 carries. The Auburn defense gave up 464 yards of offense but limited the high-powered Ole Miss attack to two touchdowns. Next Week: Western Carolina
97Ole Miss (3-2, 1-2): The Rebels have been humbled the past two weeks, losing 25-0 at Alabama and 30-22 at Auburn. The offense, so efficient in the first three weeks of the season, has scored only two touchdowns in the last eight quarters. Bo Wallace put up decent numbers (336 yards and two touchdowns), but he threw two interceptions, including one that was returned 78 yards for a TD by Robenson Therezie in the first quarter. Wallace, who led the nation with 17 interceptions last year, had not thrown a pick in the first four games. Next Week: Texas A&M
1012Tennessee (3-3, 0-2): It was in a losing effort, but the Volunteers played their finest game of the season on Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee fell behind Georgia by scores of 10-0 and 17-3 in the first half but battled back and took a lead late in the fourth quarter. The Vols eventually lost the game in overtime, but they made a strong statement that the program is making big gains under Butch Jones. Embattled quarterback Justin Worley played well, throwing for 215 yards and one touchdown, and running back Rajion Neal rushed for 148 yards and two scores on 28 carries. Next Week: Bye
1113Arkansas (3-3, 0-2): As expected, yards were tough to come by for Arkansas on its trip to Gainesville. The Razorbacks managed only 275 total yards and were held without a touchdown for the final three quarters in a 30-10 loss to Florida. Brandon Allen once again struggled at quarterback, completing only 17-of-41 passes for 164 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams both averaged at least 4.0 yards per rush, but they only had a combined 21 attempts. Next Week: South Carolina
1210Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3): Vanderbilt’s struggles in SEC play continued. The Commodores dropped to 0-3 in the league with a 51-28 loss at home to Missouri. After falling behind 20-0 at the end of the first quarter and 30-7 at the half, Vanderbilt cut the margin to two scores (16 points) three times in the final two quarters but were never able to get a stop on defense. The Commodores gave up 523 total yards and are allowing an average of 530.3 yards in their three SEC games. With his team trailing all night, quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels threw for a career-high 338 yards on a career-high 41 attempts. Next Week: Bye  
1313Mississippi State (2-3, 0-2): The Bulldogs flirted with the upset but wilted in the fourth quarter of a 59-26 loss to LSU in Starkville. Tyler Russell was cleared to play, but Mississippi State went with Dak Prescott at quarterback once again. The junior dual-threat completed only 9-of-20 attempts for 106 yards, but he led the team in rushing with 103 yards on 12 carries. Russell played for the first time since the opener, completing 7-of-11 for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The MSU offense averaged 7.0 yards per play (including 6.0 per rushing attempt), but the Bulldogs’ defense had no answers for LSU’s balanced attack. Next Week: Bowling Green
1414Kentucky (1-4, 0-2): Kentucky twice cut a 20-point second-half deficit to one score in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats were unable get any closer and lost 35-28 at South Carolina. Jalen Whitlow played the entire game at quarterback, throwing for 178 yards and two touchdowns and leading the team with 69 yards rushing and one score. The Cats have not won an SEC road game since beating Georgia 34-27 in November 2009. Next Week: Alabama 

Week 6 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Mettenberger’s sensational senior season continues. The Tigers’ strong-armed quarterback completed 25-of-29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns — both to Odell Beckham — in LSU’s 59-26 win at Mississippi State. For the season, Mettenberger is completing 68.2 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. In the last two weeks, he has thrown for 712 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Carl Lawson, Auburn
One of the top recruits in the Class of 2013, Lawson enjoyed the finest game of his young career in Auburn’s 30-22 win over Ole Miss. The defensive end from Georgia recorded six tackles (including two sacks) to key an Auburn defense that limited Ole Miss to only two touchdowns.  

Team of the Week: Missouri
After rolling through its non-conference schedule with relative ease, Missouri made a statement in its SEC opener, drilling Vanderbilt 51-28 in Nashville. Led by senior quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers jumped out to leads of 20-0 and 30-7 in the first half and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Mizzou, which went 2-6 in its SEC debut in 2012, currently ranks seventh in the nation in total offense (543.8 ypg) and eighth in scoring offense (46.6 ppg). Franklin is completing 67.9 percent of his passes and has 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
He has outstanding personnel at his disposal, but Cameron has made a huge impact in his first season at LSU. On Saturday, the Tigers rolled up 563 yards of offense on an impressive 8.3 per-play average. LSU had 340 yards passing and 223 on the ground, and converted 6-of-11 on third down and 2-of-2 on fourth down.

Freshman of the Week: J.J. Green, Georgia   
Green, a true freshman tailback who had a total of five carries in the first four games, was forced into action due to injuries to Todd Gurley (last week) and Keith Marshall (in the first quarter). He responded with 129 yards on 17 carries in the Bulldogs’ 34-31 overtime win at Tennessee. Green’s biggest run of the day came on Georgia’s final possession in regulation, when he picked up 17 yards on a 3rd-and-1 at the Dawgs’ 34-yard line.

5th Down

• Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal rushed for 148 yards on 28 carries against Georgia and has 317 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. Neal’s previous two-game high was 255 yards, last season against Akron (151) and Georgia (104).

• Kentucky’s 28 points at South Carolina were the most for the Wildcats in an SEC road game since a 42-35 loss at Ole Miss in October 2010. On Saturday, UK scored three of its four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  

• Ole Miss scored a total of 15 touchdowns in its wins over Vanderbilt, SE Missouri State and Texas but has managed only two touchdowns in losses to Alabama and Auburn.

• Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw for a season-low 93 yards but did plenty of damage with his legs. The former junior college transfer rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries to lead a ground attack that picked up 282 rushing yards.

• Jordan Matthews became Vanderbilt’s all-time leading receiver in the Commodores’ loss to Missouri. The senior now has 2,996 yards receiving and will soon become the fourth player in SEC history to top the 3,000-yard mark.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/colorado-wr-paul-richardson-makes-awesome-one-handed-catch-against-oregon
Body:

Check out this awesome one-handed catch by Colorado receiver Paul Richardson against Oregon. (You will need to fast forward to the 40-second mark).

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/georgia-wr-chris-conley-makes-one-handed-td-catch-against-tennessee
Body:

Week 6 provided college football fans with some of the best catches of the season.

Georgia’s Chris Conley made this nifty one-handed grab in the first half against Tennessee, which gave the Bulldogs a 10-0 lead.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-enters-its-deadball-era
Body:

Before Miami began its surprising run to the 2012-13 ACC regular-season title, coach Jim Larranaga viewed Shane Larkin as a defensive specialist. The speedy sophomore was part of the “Blitz Brothers,” a group of harassing perimeter disrupters charged with creating energy and easy buckets.
 

 
This story appears in the 2013-14 Athlon Sports College basketball annual. This year’s edition previews every team in the country and includes everything you need to now to prepare for the upcoming season. The annual is available online and on newsstands near you.

That was a good thing, because as a freshman the year before, Larkin had trouble scoring on anything but the simple shots. His field goal percentage was a spindly 36 percent, and he converted just 32.3 percent of his 3-pointers. Larkin could create havoc on defense, but he was a liability when he put the ball in the air.

Last summer, Larkin went to work, and by the end of the ’12-13 campaign, he was a first-round draft choice known as much for his offense as his play at the other end. He scored 14.5 points per game, nearly double his previous season’s output, shot 47.9 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from behind the arc.

“Shane spent last summer working on his mid-range game and floaters,” Larranaga says. “His jump shot improved dramatically, and he became a much better offensive player.”

It’s hard to blame Larkin for entering Miami as an incomplete player when the ball was in his hands. Only rarely are freshmen ready to score big when they arrive on campus. They’re young. They’re raw. But these days, there’s something else at work.

They haven’t really worked on their offensive games.

“Kids don’t develop skills in summer (while in high school),” Larranaga says. “They play a lot of games, but they don’t work on their shooting.

“The amount of time it takes for a player to become a good shooter is hours and hours every single day. Kids aren’t doing that anymore.”

Larranaga isn’t alone in his assessment of the state of shooting among college players. Coaches all over agree that skill development suffers as the AAU wave washes across the teenage basketball community. Its impact — along with a collection of other factors — has led to a historic drop in offensive effectiveness throughout the college game.

Last season, teams averaged a meager 67.5 points per game, the lowest since 1951-52. Three-point shooters succeeded at a 34.05 percent clip, the worst since the shot was introduced in 1986-87. Assists (12.82 per game) reached a 20-year low. And fans were subjected to some games that made them run, screaming, to the box office for refunds. The halftime score of the Miami-Maryland game was 19–14. Arkansas and Vanderbilt were in a 21–11 tussle at intermission of their game. And how about this final score: Georgetown 37, Tennessee 36.

Last season, teams averaged a meager 67.5 points per game, the lowest since 1951-52. Three-point shooters succeeded at a 34.05 percent clip, the worst since the shot was introduced in 1986-87. Assists (12.82 per game) reached a 20-year low.

“The skill level of players is really low,” Villanova coach Jay Wright says. “You have to work on (ball-handling) skills, footwork and shooting technique before you can teach a player your system. No system is effective without fundamentals.”

The skills are lacking. But there are other factors, beginning with how physical defenders — particularly those on the perimeter — are allowed to be. Last season, only 17.68 fouls/team were called, an all-time low. And the 19.76 free throws/team/game were the lowest number since 1975-76. Defenses are more sophisticated. Scouting has advanced to the point where coaches can break down rivals almost to the individual dribble. The glut of transfers kills program continuity, and the continued departure of top players after one season drains the game of some of its more accomplished offensive players. Players are bigger and more athletic and therefore more capable of defending larger swaths of the court.

Add it up, and you have a problem that can’t be solved by merely sticking kids in the gym and asking them to launch 500 jumpers a day, although it would be nice to give that a try, too. If college basketball is to escape its current state of drudgery, there must be a commitment on many levels to change. A model exists in the NBA. In 1998-99, teams averaged a puny 91.6 points per game, as rules allowed defenders to bludgeon rivals as they negotiated hoopward. After that season, the league called for an end to contact against ball-handlers on the perimeter and eliminated the process of “re-routing” of players with the ball. In other words, pushing a ball-handler away from the basket ended. Two years later, the defensive three-second violation debuted. And referees were directed to call the fouls. As a result, movement returned to the game, and scoring went up.

In '99-00, teams averaged 97.5 points. Last year, the average was 98.1 on 45.3 percent shooting. Though down from the 100.4/46.1 percent high-water mark in 2009-10, it is a marked improvement on the league’s dead-ball era. If the college game is to climb out of the mire and flow freely, it must address a variety of concerns. Rules can help. The rest is up to players and coaches.

“To win a championship, you have to play good offense,” Missouri coach Frank Haith says. “Louisville needed that against Michigan and Wichita State, because those teams were capable of scoring a lot of points.

“Louisville is a multiple defense team. Very few teams press, then play zone and then morph into a matchup zone. But at the end of the day, their offense got them through. You still have to have the ability to score.”

 


Like most coaches, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo tries to teach his players the right way to do things on the court. He preaches smart, team-oriented basketball that strives to have the unit working together toward a common goal. But despite his urging, pleading, and yes, yelling, Izzo is often helpless against a power more alluring than hardwood purity.

Greed.

“We live in such a selfish society,” he says. “Everybody is looking out for their own interests and aren’t making people better.”

Izzo is not making a grand statement about the state of American culture, although he does raise an interesting point about our unwillingness to help others. In this case, he’s referring to how self-interest hurts a basketball team’s ability to score. We hear all the time about how point guards can “set up” teammates, but Izzo questions whether that is the primary motivation of those who play the game or merely a last resort.

“Guards aren’t giving the ball to the guy when he has a chance to score,” Izzo says. “They try to ‘get mine, get mine, get mine’ and when they can’t, they give it up to someone who isn’t as open as he was earlier.”

That leads to poorer attempts and fewer points. And it is exactly what defenses want to see. Instead of working for the right shot, players who handle the ball are hoping to create something for themselves first. When that doesn’t happen, they pass — sometimes reluctantly, as the shot clock slithers toward zero — into the midst of a defense that is happy to strangle the desperate attempt.

“I think decision-making has a lot to do with it,” Izzo says. “Players are completing passes, but they’re not putting guys in shooting position. It’s like throwing a bomb in football. Do you hit the receiver in stride, or is the pass underthrown, and the receiver has to stop, catch it and get tackled?”

When that happens, the advantage goes to defenses that are already enjoying more robust success, thanks to a variety of circumstances. One is the type of player being recruited by top teams. Longer, quicker athletes are being found on the outskirts of defensive sets, and what used to be open shots are now contested. “In the past, defenders couldn’t help in the paint and then get out on the shooter,” Wright says. “Guys can do that now.”

It wasn’t that long ago that if a player drove the lane, and a defender stepped up to impede his path, the ball-handler would dish a bounce pass to a cutter along the baseline for an easy bucket. Now, according to Wright, “the big man can stop the penetration and get back to block the layup.”

Teams are more adroit at stopping the 3-pointer, too. That explains the continued drop in the success rate. It helps that defenders are allowed to body ball-handlers and cutters along the perimeter — “It’s hard to score when you’re getting knocked around,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says — and that the priority for teams is to stop the long ball, not the mid-range jump shot. Wright says that players on the weak side used to provide help when drivers beat their men. That isn’t so prevalent anymore. “They fake help and stay with the shooter,” he says. “That layup isn’t worth as much as a 3-pointer.”

In order to play the kind of defense that recovers quickly on the interior and can move out to the perimeter to thwart 3-point attempts, teams are recruiting long-armed athletes and hoping they can turn them into productive offensive players. Often, those players can drive to the basket, but when the avenues are cut off, they have no countermoves.

“There used to be a lot of stories about people shooting in the summer, but guys are now more interested in getting to the basket and dunking,” Boeheim says. “We work on shooting more than ever before. We recruit guys who are great athletes, but they can’t shoot.”

If coaches know that their own players can’t shoot well, it’s reasonable for them to believe that opponents’ eyes aren’t so sharp, either. So, they create schemes that focus on thwarting rivals, rather than opening the game up. If teams practice defense first and prefer players with skills that benefit that philosophy, they aren’t to be all that effective at the other end. “I think it’s always been true that you can stay with anybody if you defend well,” Boeheim says. He uses last year’s Marquette team, which was excellent defensively (40.4 opposing field goal percentage) but somewhat challenged at the other end (29.6 percent 3-point) as an example of how defense can carry the day. Marquette tied for first in the Big East and reached the Elite Eight. Of course, Boeheim’s one to talk. His Orange have been strangling rivals with their zone for years. Last year’s Final Four run was fueled by a nasty D that surrendered only 58.7 points per game and allowed rivals to make a mere 36.9 percent of their shots.

Watching the Orange and Louisville reach the Final Four with their zones could well lead to a rush to that style of play. It’s hard to replicate the types of athletes those teams have, but their strategies are transferable. The Cardinals’ multiple defenses (press for 10 seconds, pure zone for 15 seconds, matchup for 10) are pretty advanced, but expect more teams to embrace the zone ideal.

That is if they’re able to keep their players on campus long enough to teach it. Every year, there is a large contingent (about 450 in 2013) of players who transfer in search of more playing time, greater compatibility with coaches and a variety of other reasons. Haith believes that hurts teams’ abilities to create productive offensive cultures.

“Kids are coming in with lesser skills and also aren’t sticking around to develop them,” he says. “It’s a microwave society. Everybody wants it quick and fast, and the patience isn’t there. You see very few veteran teams. Guys don’t stick around and go through things.”

Solving the problem won’t be easy, but there are some steps that could help. Emulating the NBA’s move to clean up contact along the perimeter would be a good idea. “Because of the physical play on the perimeter, pushing guys out, and bumping cutters across the lane, the flow of the game has been disrupted,” Haith says. Coaches aren’t worried about the rough stuff inside. “Inside guys are used to being physical,” Boeheim says. They want freer movement away from the hoop. If refs were to call fouls on defenders who bump and disrupt, offenses would have more room to operate.

Players have a responsibility, too. Their desire to drive to the basket and finish spectacularly has robbed them of the skills needed to be complete offensive players. That doesn’t just mean the jump shot. Larranaga says he and his staff teach how to come off a down screen, how to make a “V” cut and how to take a dribble to get past a defender and then hit a floater. What were once basics are now advanced basketball theory.

One thing that won’t change is the emphasis coaches put on defense, or the information available to coaches preparing for games. “Scouting is so much better now,” Izzo says. That means no matter how much is done to help create more room and a steadier stream of offensive movement, the players had better be in the gym, too, working on their skills.

If not, fans had better get ready for more games in the 30s.

-By Athlon Sports contributor Michael Bradley.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Don Treadwell
Path: /college-football/miami-ohio-fires-coach-don-treadwell
Body:

Miami (Ohio) became the third program to fire its coach this season, as the school parted with Don Treadwell on Sunday.

Treadwell is an alum of the school and was one of the nation’s top assistants when he was hired to take over in Oxford.

However, Miami (Ohio) went just 8-20 in Treadwell’s first two seasons and was off to an 0-5 start this year.

This is solid job in the MAC with plenty of past success, so it will be interesting to see what coaches emerge as candidates.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/absolute-strangest-non-game-related-sports-injuries
Body:

The number of sports injuries that have occurred on the field this year have been staggering. But fans are used to it and consider it part of the game. However, the injuries that still get fans upset are the ones that occur when players hurt themselves doing random, seemingly mundane things. Here’s a list of our favorite ways players have been injured. Most are true, but a few seem a bit suspect. We’ll let you decide.

 

Wild animal attacks. While Nolan Ryan was playing for the Astros in 1985, a coyote bit him on the hand and forced him to miss a start; no word on whether any Acme products were involved. Former Norwegian soccer star Svein Grondalen was absent from an international match in the late-1970s because an angry moose ran into him while he was jogging. We suspect the moose was a fan of Brazil and vuvuzelas.

 

Eating. The Homer Simpson Award for injuries sustained while eating donuts goes to former National League MVP Kevin Mitchell, who chipped a tooth on a frozen donut in 1990 (dude, that's what microwaves are for). He had to have a root canal and ended up on the DL. Montreal Expo infielder Bret Barberie got chili pepper juice in his eye and missed a game. Hockey player Dustin Penner of the Los Angeles Kings takes the (pan)cake, though, wrenching his back last year while leaning over to eat a stack of flapjacks. His back spasm caused him to miss one game. 

 

Sneezing. Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa got back spasms from sneezing in 2004 and was never the same player again (he even turned white after he retired). Pitcher Mat Latos tried to learn from Sosa's example on the dangers of the sneeze, attempting to suppress the one he felt coming in July 2010. Latos strained muscles in his left side and wound up on the DL anyway.

 

Vomiting. Most of us feel better after we throw up, but not baseball’s Kevin Mitchell (yes, the same Mitchell from the earlier item) and Josh Outman. Both strained rib muscles while puking and had to be placed on the DL. Mitchell’s injury occurred in 1992, while Outman’s happened in April 2012.  

 

Playing video games. NBA star Lionel Simmons missed several games of the 1991 season from tendonitis suffered while playing his Nintendo GameBoy. Detroit pitcher Joel Zumaya may have been a Guitar Hero, which cost him a chance to be a baseball hero in the 2006 ALCS. He missed three games due to injuries to his elbow and forearm due to aggressive strumming on his PlayStation 2. Apparently he was attempting to play Buckethead on advanced. 

 

Chopping wood – in the locker room. When the Jacksonville Jaguars started 0-3 in 2003, coach Jack Del Rio put an axe and a stump of wood in the locker room and implored his team to “keep chopping wood.” It turns out that his players were still better at football than lumberjacking. Punter Chris Hanson took aim at the stump, but whacked his non-kicking foot instead and missed the rest of the season. Del Rio finally got the axe himself, a few years too late for Hanson. 

 

Participating in the coin toss. Call this one the Anton Chigurh Award for career-ending coin toss. Offensive tackle Turk Edwards’ career was good enough to make the Hall of Fame, but it might have been better if he hadn’t been the Washington Redskins’ captain in 1940. Edwards called the coin toss and shook hands with Giants’ captain Mel Hein, but when he turned toward the sideline, his cleat caught in the turf and his knee buckled. He never played again. 

 

Yelling at teammates. Words hurt, especially when you scream them with such force that you dislocate your jaw, as Manchester United goalie Alex Stepney did in 1975. If you're a python swallowing a deer, a dislocated jaw is an advantage. Otherwise, not so much.

 

Sleeping. All sorts of potential dangers await the slumbering athlete. Former baseball player Glenallen Hill, an arachnophobe, had a nightmare in 1990 involving spiders and consequently tumbled down the stars and slammed into a glass table. He sustained multiple cuts and required a stay on the disabled list. Thank God he steered clear of the bed pillows, or it might have been worse: former MLB pitcher Terry Mulholland scratched his eye on a loose feather in 2005, and Detroit catcher Brandon Inge went on the DL a few years later (2008) when he pulled an oblique while adjusting a pillow. Former Tigers pitcher Denny McLain once awoke from his slumber with two dislocated toes in 1967. Then, there’s "sleeping." Milan AC midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng earlier this year had a muscular lesion on his left thigh. His model girlfriend attributed it to “too much sex.” 

 

Ironing shirts.  This possible injury is shrouded in mystery. As legend has it, former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz burned himself back in 1990 while ironing his shirt. But that’s not the weird part. The story goes that Smoltz was wearing the shirt when he decided to iron it and not surprisingly burnt himself. Smoltz, of course, denies that it ever happened. And he’s probably telling the truth. Probably. 

 

Phone book attack. In 1994, 28-year-old knuckleballer Steve Sparks missed out on a chance to make his first big-league roster when he dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder during spring training in Chandler, Ariz., with the Milwaukee Brewers. He tried to rip a phone book while imitating a group of motivational speakers named "Radical Reality" who had visited the team.

 

by Chris Lee (@chrislee70), publisher of VandySports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:23
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-6-recap-and-awards
Body:

The first week of November can’t get here fast enough for the Big 12.

Each week, it seems more inevitable that the Nov. 7 clash between Baylor and Oklahoma will determine the Big 12 race and perhaps the national landscape. That's the way it looks after Week 6. Baylor’s offense scored 70 points for the third consecutive game, and Oklahoma continued to shut down opponents.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Big 12 doesn’t look ready to compete for a title, even if teams like Texas and Texas Tech are 2-0.

Oklahoma State eked out a close win over Kansas State, earning two Big 12 weekly honors, but Baylor and Oklahoma continued to steal the show as conference play began in full this week.

Big 12 Week 5 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Bryce Petty, Baylor
Last season’s Baylor-West Virginia game featured 1,507 total yards and 133 points. By halftime, there was a sense Baylor could approach those totals alone if it really wanted to. Quarterback Bryce Petty continued to lead an unstoppable Baylor offense with a Big 12-record 864 yards its conference opener against West Virginia. Petty completed 17 of 25 passes for 347 yards with three total touchdowns and an interception in the 73-42 win over the Mountaineers. Nearly all of the damage occurred in a 56-point first half as Petty threw only two passes after halftime.

Defensive player of the week: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Defense may need to carry Oklahoma State for the time being, and linebacker Shaun Lewis proved to be up to the task in a 33-29 win over Kansas State. Lewis finished with eight tackles, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the win, but his biggest play was an interception late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys led by 1 at the time, but Lewis’ pick and 24-yard return set up a field goal to force K-State to go for the touchdown on the final drive.

Freshman of the week: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
A week after special teams were a major liability in the loss to West Virginia, Oklahoma State relied on special teams to defeat Kansas State 33-29. As the Oklahoma State offense stalled in the red zone, freshman kicker Ben Grogan converted four of his five attempts, the lone miss a blocked 43-yard attempt. Grogan made field goals of 30, 34, 23 and 28 yards.

Team of the week: Baylor
Baylor’s schedule is backloaded with the toughest Big 12 competition waiting until November. But after the 73-42 rout of West Virginia, the question is who is going to stop the Bears? Baylor’s scoring output against West Virginia alone was more than Connecticut, Georgia State and Southern Miss have scored all year. The 56 points in the first half alone were more than FIU, Miami (Ohio) and UMass have scored this season. And remember, this was against a West Virginia defense that is vastly improved over the one from a year ago.

Coordinator of the week: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma
The question of who could stop Baylor falls on the shoulders of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners have the Big 12’s top defense and proved it again in a 20-17 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs gained only 16 yards in the first half, failing to gain a first down until their second possession of the third quarter. TCU finished with 44 rushing yards as Stoops’ defense picked up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

Fifth Down

• With 172 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk has topped 100 yards in eight consecutive games.

• Baylor has the top three games in total yardage this season with 864 against West Virginia and 781 each against ULM and Buffalo. Each was a school record.

• Kansas State became the fifth Big 12 team to start a different quarterback since the opener. Daniel Sams started against Oklahoma State, replacing Jake Waters. Sams had been a running specialist, but he completed 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Sams, though, struggled with the deep ball, throwing three interceptions.

• Michael Brewer, who was the projected starting quarterback for Texas Tech this season, made his first appearance of the season in the final minutes of the rout of Kansas. Brewer never threw a pass but appeared in the final three possessions after missing the first four games with a back injury.

• Texas Tech starting quarterback Baker Mayfield left with an injury in the third quarter after passing for 368 yards. The extent of his injury was not known after the game.

• By now, you’ve probably seen Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads’ impassioned postgame press conference after questionable officiating went in Texas’ favor in the Cyclones’ loss Thursday. In case you’ve haven’t seen it...

• One place where Rhoads has a legitimate beef is penalties: Iowa State’s 10 penalties against Texas doubled the Cyclones’ output this season. Rhoads received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a fine, for his critical comments.

• Texas wide receiver Mike Davis received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a suspension, after he lunged at the legs of a defenseless Iowa State player after the whistle in Thursday’s game. He was assessed a 15-yard personal foul on the field.

• Regardless of the outcome Thursday, Iowa State found it has a focal point for its offense in running back Aaron Wimberly, who rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Wimberly has rushed for 254 yards in his last two games. Quarterback Sam Richardson also had the best game of his career with 345 yards of total offense (262 passing, 83 rushing).

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/florida-states-winston-picks-two-athlon-sports-national-awards
Body:

In the last few years, Florida State has had well-documented issues staying upright in the national championship race.

If the Seminoles’ new star quarterback has anything to do about it, Florida State will remain on its feet for the long haul.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston turned in one of the plays of the week and added to his growing highlight reel of impossible plays with a wild touchdown pass to Nick O’Leary. Maryland’s Yannik Virgil-Cudjoe, a 250-pound linebacker, tried to wrap up Winston for a sack, but the quarterback escaped and scrambled to his right to make the 12-yard pass to O’Leary.

“I can't tell you what the play was but I can tell you I actually held the ball too long,” Winston said. “I just try to get it to the open guys. ... I just slipped out of it and Nick was wide open for the touchdown.”

Winston completed 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards with five touchdowns to earn Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors in addition to his third National Freshman of the Week award.

Athlon Sports Week 6 National Awards
National Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, Florida State
The redshirt freshman is playing with the poise of a fifth-year senior. In Saturday’s win over Maryland, Winston completed 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards and five scores, while rushing for 24 yards on seven attempts. Winston’s five touchdown tosses were the most by a Florida State quarterback since Christian Ponder threw five in 2009, and the redshirt freshman already has three games of at least 300 passing yards. The freshman ranks second in the ACC with 288.2 passing yards per game, averaging an impressive 16 yards per completion. Winston has tossed only two picks and ranks fifth in the NCAA with a 73.2 completion percentage.

National Defensive Player of the Week: Shayne Skov, Stanford
UCLA had a trio of great performances from Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Anthony Jefferson, but Shayne Skov was all over the field against an excellent Washington offense. Skov played one of the best games of his career, posting 14 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the huge win over the division rival Huskies. With Trent Murphy, A.J. Tarpley and James Vaughters, the Cardinal boast the best linebacker corps in the nation.

National Coordinator of the Week: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma
The question of who could stop Baylor falls on the shoulders of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners have the Big 12’s top defense and proved it again in a 20-17 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs gained only 16 yards in the first half, failing to gain a first down until their second possession of the third quarter. TCU finished with 44 rushing yards as Stoops’ defense picked up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

Athlon Sports Week 6 Conference Awards

ACC
Offense: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Defense: Vic Beasley, Clemson
Freshman: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Coordinator: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State

Big 12
Offense: Bryce Petty, Baylor
Defense: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Freshman: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
Coordinator: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma

Big Ten
Offense: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Defense: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Freshman: Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Coordinator: John Papuchis, Nebraska

Pac-12
Offense: Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Defense: Shayne Skov, Stanford
Freshman: Daquon Brown, Washington State
Coordinator: Lou Spanos, UCLA

SEC
Offense: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Defense: Carl Lawson, Auburn
Freshman: Cam Cameron, LSU
Coordinator: J.J. Green, Georgia

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-6-recap-and-awards
Body:

Michigan State posted one of the most complete outings of the Big Ten season thus far in a critical road division win over Iowa. Indiana exercised some demons with the first win in school history over Penn State. Without Taylor Martinez, Nebraska handled its business at home against overmatched Illinois team. And Michigan kept control of the Little Brown Jug.

But Ohio State made the biggest statement of the weekend by clearly yet another big hurdle. The Buckeyes turned to the power running game to make a big statement against a very good Northwestern team in a hostile environment in Evanston.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 6 Superlatives:

Big Ten Week 6 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State  

The 235-pound running back from Florida was simply too much for Northwestern to handle. On a night when Braxton Miller didn't play his best, Hyde stepped up and salvaged the Buckeyes national championship hopes. He entered the night with just 22 rushing attempts and 126 yards on the season but finished with 26 carries, 168 yards and three crucial second-half touchdowns. The worn-down Wildcats had no answer for Hyde's physicality in the second half. The Ohio State tailback also caught four passes for 38 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Michigan State cornerback was preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick by Athlon Sports and he showed why Saturday. In a key division road win, Dennard led the team with eight tackles and added two interceptions as the Spartans shut out of the Hawkeyes in the second half. This unit held Mark Weisman to just nine yards and is still leading the nation in total defense (203.8 ypg).

Team of the Week: Ohio State

Both Michigan State and Indiana had critical — and historic in the Hoosiers case — wins in Week 6 over Iowa and Penn State respectively. But the Buckeyes were once again the class of the Big Ten conference after defeating Northwestern 40-30 on the road. With a power rushing attack, a dynamic quarterback, elite-level coach and, now, two huge wins over ranked conference opponents, there is little doubt who the best team in the league is after six weeks of play.

Coordinator of the Week: John Papuchis, Nebraska

Illinois entered the game against Nebraska averaging nearly 500 yards of offense and more than 40 points per game. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was averaging 307.5 yards per game with 12 touchdowns in four games. Nebraska's defense, though, played its best game of the year, holding the Illini to 372 yards, 19 total points, 4-of-15 on third downs, registering three sacks and forcing two turnovers. Without Taylor Martinez, the Huskers' defense came up big once again.

Freshman of the Week: Tommy Armstrong Jr., QB, Nebraska

In the absence of Taylor Martinez, Armstrong (and fellow reserve signal caller Ron Kellogg III) has been charged with running the Huskers offense. Armstrong played excellent football against the Illini, completing 8 of 13 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the impressive win. He also ran the ball nine times for 18 yards on the ground and didn't throw an interception for a second straight game. With a road trip to Purdue up next before another week off, don't be surprised if Bo Pelini goes to his freshman again in an effort to get Martinez fully healthy.

Fifth Down

• Penn State's Christian Hackenberg broke his own school freshman passing record with 340 yards against Indiana.

• Allen Robinson had 12 receptions for 173 yards and two TDs against Indiana. He moved into seventh place all-time in school history with 118 career receptions and fifth all-time with 16 career TD receptions.

• Iowa was leading the Big Ten and was fourth nationally in time of possession entering Week 6 (35:50). The Hawkeyes held the ball for 22:47 in the loss to Michigan State.

• Nebraska is now leading the nation all by itself with just two sacks allowed in 2013.

• Indiana is now 1-16 all-time against Penn State after the win over the Nittany Lions this weekend.

• Ohio State still owns the nation's longest winning streak at 18 and Michigan owns the longest home winning streak with 18. These two will play in Ann Arbor on the final weekend of the regular season.

• After going 10 of 13 on third downs against Minnesota, the Wolverines are leading the Big Ten in third-down conversions at 53.7 percent (36 of 67) which is good for 11th nationally.

• Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah ran for a personal-best 225 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois.

• Despite two different outcomes, Iowa and Michigan are still the nation's only teams that have yet to allow a rushing touchdown.

• Michigan State's Connor Cook set a career high with 277 yards passing. He also had two long scoring strikes in the win over Iowa.

• Saturday was the first game of the season that Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste didn't have an interception in 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-6-recap-and-awards
Body:

Stanford highlighted the weekend by staying unbeaten after slipping past Washington. Oregon trounced Colorado on the road. So never fear, the collision course for Thursday, Nov. 7 in Palo Alto is still intact. But only by the slimmest of margins.

Elsewhere, Mike Leach had a signature performance for Washington State, UCLA won a critical road game on Thursday night and Arizona State tripped all over itself in Jerry's World against Notre Dame. The league has two remaining non-conference games left in 2013 (Notre Dame at Stanford, USC at Notre Dame).

Pac-12 Week 6 Awards and Recap

Offensive Player of the Week: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford

As usual, there were plenty of worthy candidates who accounted for seven touchdowns (Marcus Mariota), topped 500 yards passing (Connor Halliday) or scored three different ways (Brett Hundley), but only one posted 290 all-purpose yards in the biggest conference game to date. Montgomery took the opening kickoff 99 yards for the game's first score and Stanford never looked back. He finished with 204 return yards — a 35.0 yards per return average on his other three returns — three receptions for 56 yards, a receiving touchdown, a return touchdown and 30 yards rushing on two attempts. He was a one-man show in a game highlighted by its defensive prowess.

Defensive Player of the Week: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

UCLA had a trio of great performances from Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Anthony Jefferson, but Shayne Skov was all over the field against an excellent Washington offense. Skov played one of the best games of his career, posting 14 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the huge win over the division rival Huskies. With Trent Murphy, A.J. Tarpley and James Vaughters, the Cardinal boast the best linebacker corps in the nation.

Team of the Week: Stanford

Stanford's slimmest of margins entailed an Keith Price tipped-pass interception inside the Cardinal's 5-yard line with less than seven minutes to play and a final minute replay booth decision. Kevin Hogan was solid — 12 of 20, 100 yards with two total touchdowns — but didn't turn any Heisman voters' heads. More important, the defense pressured Price all night and a playmaker emerged on the outside of the offense in Montgomery. This team has a nasty schedule but the poise and veteran leadership needed to conquer it was on full display Saturday night as the Huskies rallied. Stanford won despite being outgained by more than 200 yards.

Coordinator of the Week: Lou Spanos, UCLA

The Bruins went into a hostile environment and returned home still unbeaten due to extraordinary performance by the defense. Spanos' defense had quarterback Travis Wilson solved from the opening kickoff. UCLA forced six turnovers, registered three sacks and held an offense averaging over 500 yards per and 42 points per game to just 387 yards and 20 offensive points. But maybe the most critical performance came on third downs, where the Bruins held Utah to just 2 o -13. This unit has star power and could quickly develop into an elite defense should the young players continue to hold their own.

Freshman of the Week: Daquawn Brown, DB, Washington State

At some point, we will all have to acknowledge the Pac-12's No. 2 tackler, Colorado freshman linebacker Addison Gillam. He posted 15 tackles, two for loss and one sack in the blowout loss to Oregon. But Washington State's freshman defensive back played an equally large role in a road win for the Cougars. Brown posted six tackles and his second interception of the season against a Golden Bears offense that threw the ball 62 times.

Fifth Down

• Washington had more than twice as many first downs (30) as Stanford (14). But the Huskies never led the Cardinal.

• The Huskies had 489 yards of offense. Stanford had 279.

• UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw, ran and caught a touchdown pass on Thursday night against the Utes. He finished with 211 yards passing, 85 yards rushing and seven yards receiving.

• Oregon's Marcus Mariota scored seven touchdowns against the Buffaloes this weekend. So after 18 career games, he has 59 total TDs and just six interceptions. That is 3.3 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions per game and basically a 10:1 total TD-to-interception career rate. He has gone 202 consecutive attempts without an interception.

• The Ducks scored at least 50 points for fifth straight time. According to ESPN Stats and Info, there are only the second team in history to do so, joining Princeton in 1885.

• There were 129 pass attempts for 1,027 passing yards between Cal and Washington State.

• Taylor Kelly through for his fifth straight 300-yard game but the Sun Devils lost thanks to two more interceptions. He has six on the year, ahead of only Connor Halliday (10) and Travis Wilson (nine) in the Pac-12.

• Nine players are tied for the lead nationally in interceptions with four. Three of them play in the Pac-12: Colorado's Greg Henderson, Oregon State's Steven Nelson and Wazzu's Deone Bucannon. Bucannon also leads the league in tackles with 56 total stops.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Keith Marshall
Path: /college-football/georgia-rb-keith-marshall-injures-knee-against-tennessee
Body:

Georgia running back Keith Marshall suffered a knee injury in the first half against Tennessee and is out for the remainder of the game.

Marshall’s injury is a huge loss for the Bulldogs, as starter Todd Gurley did not dress against the Volunteers due to an ankle injury.

With Marshall sidelined, Georgia will have to lean on J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas for the rest of the game.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 18:00
Path: /college-football/smu-scores-crazy-two-point-conversion-against-rutgers
Body:

The Rutgers-SMU matchup wasn’t one of the weekend’s most-anticipated games, but this American Athletic Conference game was an entertaining, three-overtime affair.

The Scarlet Knights led 21-0, and the Mustangs rallied to cut the deficit to 21-14 early in the third quarter.

SMU rallied once again after trailing 35-14 late in the third, with quarterback Garrett Gilbert connecting with receiver Jeremy Johnson on a 13-yard touchdown passes with just over a minute to go.

After Johnson’s touchdown catch, the Mustangs needed a two-point play to tie. And if you haven’t seen it, this conversion is easily one of the best two-point plays in recent memory. 
 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: C.J. Brown, College Football
Path: /college-football/maryland-qb-cj-brown-leaves-florida-state-game-injury
Body:

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown took a huge hit in Saturday’s loss to Florida State and did not return to action.

After the game, Terrapins’ coach Randy Edsall indicated Brown suffered a concussion and will be evaluated.

Brown has been a big reason why Maryland got off to a 4-0 start, and his status for next week’s game against Virginia is uncertain.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kenny Bell
Path: /college-football/nebraska-wr-kenny-bell-makes-crazy-one-handed-td-catch-against-illinois
Body:

Even with quarterback Taylor Martinez sidelined with a toe injury, Nebraska’s offense didn’t miss a beat against Illinois.

The Cornhuskers won 39-19, and freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong threw for 135 yards and two touchdowns on eight completions.

One of Armstrong’s top passes was a 37-yard scoring strike to receiver Kenny Bell, who made an excellent one-handed grab against the Illinois’ defense.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/alabama-wr-deandrew-white-makes-one-handed-td-catch-against-georgia-state
Body:

As expected, Alabama had little trouble scoring in its Week 6 matchup against Georgia State.

Receiver DeAndrew White made one of the top plays of Week 6, as he made a one-handed grab from quarterback AJ McCarron to give Alabama a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

Check out White’s one-handed touchdown grab against Georgia State:

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/texas-qb-david-ash-out-week-7-game-against-oklahoma
Body:

Texas quarterback David Ash has been ruled out for next Saturday’s game against Oklahoma.

The junior suffered a concussion in Texas’ 40-21 loss at BYU on Sept. 7 and sat out the Longhorns’ 44-23 defeat to Ole Miss on Sept. 14.

Ash returned against Kansas State but was forced to leave the game early and did not play in the 31-30 win over Iowa State on Thursday night.

With Ash sidelined, Texas will go with Case McCoy at quarterback once again. McCoy has thrown for 574 yards and two scores this season but missed several throws in the win over the Cyclones.

Will Texas pull the redshirt off of freshman Tyrone Swoopes?

Oklahoma has dominated the Longhorns in the last two seasons, and not having Ash on the field next weekend only adds to the challenge for Texas.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/minnesota-coach-jerry-kill-suffers-seizure-wont-coach-against-michigan
Body:

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure on Saturday morning and won’t coach the Golden Gophers against Michigan.

Kill suffers from epilepsy and has suffered five seizures since taking over at Minnesota in 2011.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as Minnesota’s coach against Michigan.

 

 


Minnesota released a statement on Saturday morning regarding Kill:

Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill is at home in Minneapolis and will not be on the sideline for today's game against Michigan. Coach Kill was not feeling well on Friday morning and decided to meet the team in Ann Arbor on Saturday. He then suffered a seizure on Saturday morning and will remain at home in Minnesota for today's game.

Coach Kill has been in contact with his staff today and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as Minnesota's acting head coach from the press box.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Utah State Aggies
Path: /college-football/utah-state-qb-chuckie-keeton-suffers-knee-injury-against-byu
Body:

Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton is one of college football’s most underrated players, but the junior suffered a knee injury in Friday night’s loss to BYU and is out indefinitely.

Prior to his injury, Keeton threw for 1,388 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, while tossing only two interceptions and adding 241 yards on the ground.

With Keeton sidelined, Utah State will start Craig Harrison in next week’s matchup against Boise State.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/nebraska-qb-taylor-martinez-out-against-illinois-tommy-armstrong-named-starter
Body:

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Illinois with a turf toe injury. This will be the second straight game Martinez will miss due to injury, as he did not play in the Cornhuskers’ win over South Dakota State.

Freshman Tommy Armstrong will start in place of Martinez, and he held up well against South Dakota State, completing 12 of 15 passes for 169 yards and one score. Armstrong also added 38 rushing yards on five attempts.

If Armstrong struggles, Ron Kellogg III will get the call off the bench.

Although Martinez will be missed, Nebraska has a strong supporting cast to ease Armstrong’s transition into the starting lineup.

Also, this experience should serve Armstrong well this offseason, as he is expected to be Nebraska’s No. 1 quarterback in 2014.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-every-game-week-6-2013
Body:

The Week 6 slate is highlighted by Ohio State’s trip to Northwestern and Washington’s visit to Palo Alto to play Stanford. Elsewhere, Ole Miss tries to get back on track against improved Auburn; Georgia hopes to avoid a letdown at Neyland Stadium against Tennessee; and Maryland looks to knock off ACC superpower Florida State.

Friday

No. 43 BYU at No. 57 Utah State
Gary Andersen is now the coach at Wisconsin, but Utah State is still one of the more underappreciated teams in the nation. The Aggies are 3-2, with a four-point loss at Utah and a three-point loss at USC. They also have convincing road wins over Air Force and San Jose State. This is a very good team.
Utah State 27-24

No. 77 Nevada at No. 103 San Diego State
Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo returned to the lineup last Saturday after a two-week absence due to injury. He put up Fajardo-like numbers, throwing for 389 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 81 yards and two scores in a 45-42 win over Air Force. Expect similar numbers this week.
Nevada 47-38

Saturday

No. 125 Georgia State at No. 1 Alabama
Alabama steps out of SEC play for what should be little more than a scrimmage. Georgia State is 0-4, with three of the four defeats coming against teams from the FCS ranks — and all three of those games were at home. Now, the Panthers head to Tuscaloosa to play the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck.
Alabama 49-0

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 19 Northwestern
ESPN is bringing its travelling road show — better known as College GameDay — to Northwestern for the first time since 1995. That year, the Wildcats were led by an undersized linebacker named Pat Fitzgerald. Nearly 20 years later, Fitzgerald is in the eighth year at his alma mater and has the program positioned to challenge for its first Big Ten title since 2000. This week, the undefeated Cats host No. 2 Ohio State in their first true test of the season.
Ohio State 27-23

No. 3 Oregon at No. 84 Colorado
First-year Oregon coach Mark Helfrich served as the offensive coordinator at Colorado from 2006-08. It’s safe to say he has far more talent at his disposal in his current gig. The Ducks will score a ton of points. Colorado won’t score many.
Oregon 51-10

No. 4 Clemson at No. 68 Syracuse
In two weeks, Clemson will host Florida State in the Game of the Year in the ACC. That game, however, won’t mean quite as much if the Tigers slip up in the next two weeks — at Syracuse on Saturday or at home vs. Boston College on Oct. 12.
Clemson 37-17

No. 5 Georgia at No. 49 Tennessee
Georgia lost nine straight in this series from 1989-99 but has since won nine of the last 13, including three straight. And after looking at both teams’ performances through the first month of the season, there is no reason to believe that won’t be four straight after the Bulldogs’ trip to Neyland Stadium this weekend.
Georgia 34-14

No. 13 Washington at No. 6 Stanford
Washington’s emergence as a legitimate contender in the Pac-12 North has elevated this game to must-see status. The Huskies have cruised to a 4–0 start against a solid schedule that has featured home wins over Boise State and Arizona and a road win at improved Illinois. Stanford might lack dynamic playmakers at the skill positions, but this team has few weaknesses.
Stanford 27-17

No. 7 LSU at No. 48 Mississippi State
LSU proved once again last week that it might be the most improved offensive team in the nation. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they proved it in a loss — despite scoring 41 points on the road. One loss will not eliminate LSU from the national title hunt, but this team no longer has any margin for error.
LSU 33-17

No. 9 South Carolina at No. 83 Kentucky
Steve Spurrier was not pleased with his team’s start or finish last week in Orlando. The Gamecocks got the win — 28-25 over UCF — but it was not the type of performance that gave Spurrier confidence his team can compete with the powers in the SEC. He can’t, however, have many complaints about Mike Davis, his sophomore tailback. Davis leads the SEC in rushing with 127.0 yards per game and has done so on a healthy 7.2-yard average.
South Carolina 24-10

No. 10 Louisville at No. 116 Temple
Things are not going well for first-year Temple coach Matt Ruhle. The Owls are 0-4 and have lost at home to Fordham and at Idaho. Those are two really bad losses.
Louisville 55-10

No. 26 Maryland at No. 11 Florida State
The same week that UConn fired his replacement, Randy Edsall is gearing up for the biggest game of his tenure as the coach at Maryland. The Terps, off to a 4–0 start, head to Tallahassee to play a loaded Florida State team that has dreams of a national title.
Florida State 34-21

No. 32 TCU at No. 12 Oklahoma
The Sooners are beginning to separate themselves in the Big 12. The defense has been better than expected, and Blake Bell, who began the year No. 2 on the depth chart, is emerging as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. He has completed 71.2 percent of his passes and has six TDs and zero INTs.
Oklahoma 24-20

No. 45 West Virginia at No. 14 Baylor
These two teams combined to score 133 points last year in Morgantown, with West Virginia outlasting Baylor 70-63. Baylor is still scoring an obscene amount of points — the Bears lead the nation with 69.7 per game — but WVU, minus Geno Smith & Co., isn’t quite as explosive.
Baylor 54-31

No. 59 Minnesota at No. 15 Michigan
Minnesota’s Big Ten opener was a disaster. The Golden Gophers, who went 4-0 against a soft non-conference schedule, managed only 165 total yards in a disheartening 23-7 loss at home to Iowa. That does not bode well for the rest of the season.
Michigan 41-17

No. 29 Georgia Tech at No. 16 Miami (Fla.)
This was shaping up to be the Game of the Year in the ACC Coastal Division … until Georgia Tech lost at home to Virginia Tech last Thursday. Still, this is a big game for both teams. Miami has only been challenged once, and the Canes passed the test in impressive fashion, beating Florida 21–16 in Week 2.
Miami 27-24

No. 50 Arkansas at No. 17 Florida
So far so good for Tyler Murphy. One week after coming off the bench to lead Florida past Tennessee in Gainesville, Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Gators’ 24-7 win at Kentucky. Those numbers won’t get you in the discussion for All-SEC honors, but it’s probably more than most Florida fans expected from the former 2-star recruit.
Florida 27-20

No. 20 Fresno State at No. 115 Idaho
Fresno State is undefeated, but the Bulldogs are living dangerously. They have won three games by five points or less, including last week’s too-close-for-comfort 42-37 win over a bad Hawaii team. The Bulldogs’ defense must improve.
Fresno State 48-10

No. 21 Ole Miss at No. 35 Auburn
We learned last Saturday night that Ole Miss isn’t quite ready to contend for the SEC West title. But one loss — especially when that loss is at Alabama — should not derail the momentum the Rebels grabbed with their 3-0 start. This is still a very good team.
Ole Miss 31-21

No. 22 Arizona State vs. No. 28 Notre Dame (Arlington, Texas)
Notre Dame rushed for 220 yards (on a 7.6-yard average) at home last week yet still lost by 14 points to Oklahoma. The reason? Tommy Rees completed only 9-of-24 and was intercepted three times. The Irish will need more balance to beat a solid Arizona State team at Cowboys Stadium.
Arizona State 28-20

No. 55 Kansas State at No. 23 Oklahoma State
Those of us who picked Oklahoma State to win the Big 12 title weren’t envisioning a loss at West Virginia in the Pokes’ league opener. But that’s what happened, thanks in part to a subpar day from quarterback J.W Walsh, who threw 27 incomplete passes (including two picks). The Pokes will have to play much better to stay in the race throughout the season.
Oklahoma State 27-20

No. 58 North Carolina at No. 24 Virginia Tech

It’s hard to decide what stat was the most disappointing last week for North Carolina. Was it the 603 total yards rolled up by East Carolina in the Pirates’ 42-24 win? Was it the 186 rushing yards accumulated by ECU tailback Vintavious Cooper? Or was it the fact that UNC only averaged 2.1 yards per carry against a C-USA defense?
Virginia Tech 24-20

No. 27 Texas Tech at No. 93 Kansas
The schedule hasn’t been too taxing, but the Red Raiders are thriving under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury. Tech is 4-0, with wins over four teams from Texas — SMU (on the road), Stephen F. Austin, TCU and Texas State. This week, the Raiders leave the Lone Star State for the first time, but their perfect record should remain intact.
Texas Tech 51-17

No. 31 Michigan State at No. 53 Iowa
Iowa opened the season with a loss at home to Northern Illinois but has since won four straight, several in very impressive fashion. Last week, the Hawkeyes limited Minnesota to 165 yards in a 23-7 win in Minneapolis. This week, offensively challenged Michigan State visits Iowa City. Don’t expect a lot of points.  
Iowa 13-10

No. 33 Northern Illinois at No. 104 Kent State
The Huskies are 4-0, with two wins coming against teams from the Big Ten (Iowa and Purdue). Jordan Lynch is completing nearly two-thirds of his passes with 10 TDs and two INTs and has added 439 yards and three scores on the ground. It would be a surprise if NIU does not win the MAC.
Northern Illinois 43-18

No. 60 Illinois at No. 34 Nebraska
Illinois hasn’t won a Big Ten road game in almost two calendar years. They won’t win this week, either — but don’t be surprised if this game isn’t decided until the fourth quarter. It’s tough to trust the Nebraska defense. Plus, the Huskers could be playing without quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Nebraska 37-30 

No. 36 Missouri at No. 37 Vanderbilt
Missouri has cruised to a 4-0 start against a relatively soft non-conference schedule. Now the fun begins for the Tigers, who play eight SEC games over the next nine weeks. On Saturday, Mizzou makes its first trip to Vanderbilt since 1957. Last year, the Tigers outgained the Dores by 100 yards but dropped a 19-15 decision in Columbia.
Vanderbilt 31-28

No. 38 UCF at No. 94 Memphis
Memphis is clearly on the right track under second-year coach Justin Fuente, but the Tigers aren’t quite ready to beat a team as talented as UCF. Blake Bortles is one of the nation’s most underrated players.
UCF 31-20

No. 39 Penn State at No. 62 Indiana
Indiana closes its season-opening, five-game home stand with a visit from Penn State. The Hoosiers, who have already lost two games, will have a tough time reaching bowl-eligibility unless they win on Saturday.
Indiana 31-30

No. 46 Rutgers at No. 97 SMU
There’s no shame in losing to Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU — as SMU has done — but the Mustangs haven’t been competitive in any of the three losses. Also, their only win came against Montana State, by one point. It’s fair to say this team has been a disappointment in 2013.
Rutgers 28-20

No. 51 NC State at No. 91 Wake Forest
NC State plays on the road for the first time this year, making the short trip from Raleigh to Winston-Salem. The Wolfpack are 3-1 but don’t have anything resembling a quality win.
NC State 34-24

No. 52 East Carolina at No. 87 Middle Tennessee
East Carolina must avoid a letdown after last week’s shockingly easy 55-31 win at North Carolina. The Pirates rolled up 603 yards of offense and only committed one turnover on 101 offensive plays.
East Carolina 47-24

No. 54 Washington State at No. 69 California
Washington State (-1.5) is favored in a league road game for the first time since late in the 2006 season, when the Bill Doba-led Cougars were a one-point favorite at Arizona State. They lost 47-14.
California 38-30

No. 98 Air Force at No. 61 Navy
After a few days of uncertainty, the Air Force-Navy game will be played despite the government shutdown. Air Force has lost four in a row for the first time since the end of the 2006 season. The Falcons haven’t lost five straight since 1993.
Navy 34-18

No. 63 Cincinnati at No. 110 South Florida
There’s still a lot of football to be played, but South Florida — 0-4 with a 53-21 loss to McNeese State on its resume — has a chance to be remembered among the worst AQ conference teams in the BCS era.
Cincinnati 48-20

No. 123 UMass at No. 64 Bowling Green
Last year, Bowling Green limited UMass to 118 total yards, including only 33 passing, in a 24-0 win over the Minutemen. The Falcons should dominate again.
Bowling Green 34-10

No. 79 Ball State at No. 65 Virginia
Ball State stubbed its toe in a surprising Week 3 loss at North Texas (by three points), but Pete Lembo once again has a very good team. The Cardinals are already 2-0 in the MAC, highlighted by a nice win over MAC West rival Toledo. This will be a struggle for Virginia.
Virginia 24-20

No. 111 Army at No. 66 Boston College
This game, like Air Force-Navy, was in jeopardy due to the government shutdown. But it will be played — and that’s a good thing for a Boston College program that is trying to piece together six wins to get to a bowl game under first-year coach Steve Addazio.
Boston College 34-13

No. 81 Texas State at No. 72 UL Lafayette
Dennis Franchione is quietly doing a solid job at Texas State. The Bobcats are 3-1 after beating a decent Wyoming team by 21 points last weekend in San Marcos.
Texas State 34-30

No. 73 Ohio at No. 112 Akron
Ohio has rebounded from a 49-7 loss in Week 1 at Louisville by winning three straight — highlighted by a 34-31 victory over Marshall on Sept. 14. Akron made headlines in Week 3 with its near-miss at Michigan, but the Zips are 1-4, and the only win came by two points against James Madison.
Ohio 37-14

No. 102 UTSA at No. 74 Marshall
Marshall is just a few plays away from a perfect 4-0 record. The Thundering Herd lost by three at Ohio in Week 3 and by eight in triple-overtime at Virginia Tech in Week 4. This team is good enough to challenge East Carolina for the C-USA East title.
Marshall 34-18

No. 76 Rice at No. 86 Tulsa
Tulsa appears to be in the midst of a slow decline under third-year coach Bill Blankenship. None of the Golden Hurricane’s three losses — at Bowling Green, at Oklahoma and vs. Iowa State — is a particularly bad loss, but it’s pretty clear the talent level isn’t the same as previous Tulsa teams.
Rice 28-20

No. 78 North Texas at No. 89 Tulane
With two roads on the season — at Louisiana Tech and at ULM — Tulane is making solid progress in Curtis Johnson’s second year. Beating North Texas, however, could be a challenge. The Mean Green beat a good Ball State team in Week 3 and made Georgia sweat into the second half last week in Athens.
North Texas 27-17

No. 121 Western Michigan at No. 80 Toledo
The schedule hasn’t been easy, but Western Michigan has been one of the worst teams in the nation over the first month of the season. There’s nothing wrong with losing to Michigan State, Northwestern or Iowa. There is, however, something wrong with losing at home to Nichols State.
Toledo 41-10

No. 85 San Jose State at No. 118 Hawaii
It’s a bit too soon to declare the first year of the Ron Cargher era a disappointment — after all, there are a lot of teams that would lose to Stanford, Minnesota and Utah State — but the Spartans really need to beat Hawaii this week.
San Jose State 41-34

No. 88 South Alabama at No. 101 Troy
This has the makings of a solid regional rivalry. Troy has proven it can win on a consistent basis, and Joey Jones is doing an outstanding job building the program from scratch at South Alabama.
South Alabama 34-30

No. 120 Eastern Michigan at No. 96 Buffalo
It’s been a strange season for Buffalo, which in consecutive games gave up 70 points to Baylor, beat Stony Brook in five overtimes and beat Connecticut by 29 points.
Buffalo 30-20

No. 109 FAU at No. 106 UAB
The record isn’t very good (1-5), but FAU is showing signs of life under second-year coach Carl Pelini. The Owls won at South Florida in Week 3 and have lost their two games — vs. Middle Tennessee and at Rice — by a combined 11 points (one in overtime).
UAB 34-21

No. 122 New Mexico State at No. 107 New Mexico
It’s the annual battle in the Land of Enchantment between two of the worst FBS teams in the country. New Mexico is 0-5, and only one its losses (at home to San Diego State) has come by less than 21 points. New Mexico is 1-3, with its only win in overtime at UTEP.
New Mexico 34-20

No. 113 Louisiana Tech at No. 108 UTEP
Some teams have bad records because they’ve played a tough schedule. Louisiana Tech has a bad record because it’s a bad team. The Bulldogs are 0-4 against FBS competition, including losses to Tulane at home, at Kansas and vs. Army in Dallas.
UTEP 24-20

No. 114 Central Michigan at No. 119 Miami (Ohio)
Miami has scored a total of 35 points in four games and only has two plays of at least 30 yards. Wisconsin, for comparison purposes, has 19 such plays.
Central Michigan 20-7

No. 124 FIU at No. 117 Southern Miss
Southern Miss hasn’t won a game since the end of the 2011 season yet is a 17-point favorite over FIU. This game could be painful.
Southern Miss 38-10

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 08:00

Pages