Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/sec-week-5-preview-and-predictions-2013

Two heavyweight battles highlight the Week 5 slate in the SEC. LSU, off to a 4-0 start, travels to Georgia in a potential preview of the SEC Championship Game. Ole Miss, which already has won two road games, heads to Tuscaloosa to take on the mighty Crimson Tide.

Week 5 Previews and Predictions:   |  |  

SEC Week 5 Game Power Rankings

1. LSU (+3) at Georgia (3:30 ET, CBS)
LSU has emerged as a legitimate national title contender through the first quarter of the 2013 season. The offense has made significant improvements under new coordinator Cam Cameron, and the defense has been solid despite the loss of key personnel at every level. That defense, however, will face by far its toughest test this Saturday. Georgia puts tremendous pressure on a defense with its ability to move the ball through the air and on the ground. In two games vs. BCS conference opponents (Clemson and South Carolina), the Bulldogs are averaging 540.5 yards and 38.0 points per game. For LSU, Jeremy Hill has been spectacular running the ball — he’s averaging 8.36 yards per carry and has six TDs in three games — but the spotlight will be on quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The fifth-year senior is a Georgia native who spent the first two years of his career with the Bulldogs. How he handles the pressure of his homecoming to Athens could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.

2. Ole Miss (+16) at Alabama (6:30 ET, ESPN) 
Ole Miss has already proven itself on the road with wins at Vanderbilt and Texas. Winning at Alabama, however, is an entirely different animal. The Crimson Tide have only lost three times in Tuscaloosa in the past five seasons — once to a team that won the national title (Auburn, 2010), once to a team that lost in the national title game (LSU, 2011) and once to a team that won 11 games and featured the Heisman Trophy winner (Texas A&M, 2012). Still, don’t expect Ole Miss to be intimidated. Hugh Freeze’s young team is playing with a ton of confidence and truly believes it can contend for the SEC West title. The Rebels will score some points, but the key will be their ability to slow down Alabama’s balanced attack.

3. Texas A&M (-7) at Arkansas (7 ET, ESPN2)
At first glance, it’s a bit surprising that Texas A&M, a top-10 team, is only a touchdown favorite at Arkansas, a team that lost to Rutgers last week. But look at one key stat: Texas A&M ranks 105th nationally in rushing defense, giving up an average of 218.3 yards per game — and it’s even worse when you look at yards per carry allowed (5.94, 118th). And those numbers have come against one great team (Alabama), one decent team (Rice), one bad team (SMU) and one FCS team (Sam Houston State). Arkansas doesn’t do a ton of things well, but the Razorbacks have the ability to expose A&M’s rush defense. The Hogs feature the SEC’s No. 2 rusher (Alex Collins, 120.3 ypg) and No. 6 rusher (Jonathan Williams, 104.5 ypg). Stopping this duo will be the focus for the Aggies’ defense.

4. South Carolina (-7) at UCF (12 ET ABC)
This will not be easy for South Carolina. UCF is 3-0 with wins at home vs. Akron (38-7), at FIU (38-0) and at Penn State (34-31). The Knights feature an experienced quarterback in junior Blake Bortles, who is completing over 70 percent of his passes and averaging 11.7 yards per attempt (third best in the nation). The UCF ground game is led by Storm Johnson, a former 4-star recruit who began his career at Miami. Through three games, Johnson has rushed for 308 yards on a 5.6-yard average. South Carolina will obviously be the toughest defense UCF has faced to date, but keep in mind that the Knights rolled up over 500 yards of offense in their win at Penn State. This is a solid team.

5. Florida (-13) at Kentucky (7 ET, ESPNU)      
Tyler Murphy exceeded expectations in his first appearance as the Gators’ quarterback. Now, however, the junior must prove he is not a one-hit wonder and that he can take his show on the road. Kentucky is far from an elite defensive team, but the Wildcats played well for a half against Louisville and are solid on the defensive line. Still, it will be a bad sign for Florida if Murphy does not play well in Lexington. The Gators’ defense is elite, but the offense will have to at least be mediocre for this team to be a factor in the SEC East race.

6. Arkansas State (+21) at Missouri (7:30 ET, CSS)
A few weeks ago, this looked like a decent matchup on paper. That was before Missouri went to Indiana and posted an impressive 45-28 win over the Hoosiers, and Arkansas State was gashed for 505 yards (329 on the ground) in a surprisingly lopsided 31-7 loss at Memphis. Arkansas State, which won 10 games in each of the past two seasons, is showing signs of slippage under first-year coach Bryan Harsin. This one could get out of hand unless the Red Wolves can find a way to stop the run.

7. UAB (+21) at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET, FSN)
Vanderbilt has allowed an average of 37.0 points in its two SEC games (Ole Miss and South Carolina) and 5.0 points in its two non-conference games (Austin Peay and UMass). So how many will UAB score this weekend? Well, it’s safe to say the Blazers aren’t nearly as potent as the Dores’ two SEC opponents, but they are also quite a bit better than both Austin Peay and UMass. Vanderbilt will have to put some points on the board to win this game, and the Commodores figure to have success attacking UAB through the air. The Blazers are allowing 268.7 passing yards per game and rank 117th in the nation in passing efficiency defense.

8. South Alabama (+20) at Tennessee (12:21 ET, SEC Network)
South Alabama opened the season with a 21-20 loss at home to Southern Utah, but the Jags have bounced back with two solid wins, 41-39 at Tulane and 31-24 vs. Western Kentucky. Joey Jones is doing a nice job in Mobile. Tennessee wraps ups its non-conference schedule before diving back into the SEC with a brutal three-game stretch that includes home games against Georgia and South Carolina followed by a visit to Alabama. Justin Worley will get the start at quarterback for the Vols, but don’t be surprised if one of the true freshmen — Joshua Dobbs or Riley Ferguson — sees significant action. 

5 Pivotal Players for Week 5

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger’s ties to Georgia run deep. He grew up in nearby Watkinsville. His mother, Tammy, is an administrative assistant in the Georgia football offense. And he spent the first two years of his career as a Georgia Bulldog. This is not just another game for Mettenberger, who is in his second season as the starter at LSU. So far, he has thrived under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, but this will be his toughest test — in a very difficult environment — of his senior season. He needs to play well to give his team a chance to win the game.

Lamin Barrow, LB, LSU
Few teams in the country are as balanced offensively as Georgia, which has the personnel to throw for over 400 yards or run for 300 on any given Saturday. Barrow, one of the leaders of this new-look LSU defense, will have to be at his best from his weak-side linebacker position on Saturday. When Georgia gets its play-action attack going, the Bulldogs are very difficult to slow down.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Murray delivered on the big stage in Week 2, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns in a pivotal 41-30 win over South Carolina. Now, he must do it again — or hear from his critics how he can’t win the big game. Murray doesn’t have to post gaudy numbers for Georgia to beat LSU, but he must avoid the big mistakes — something that has plagued him in previous seasons.

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Treadwell was a difference-maker in the Rebels’ win over Vanderbilt in Week 1, catching nine passes for 82 yards in addition to a key 2-point conversion in the third quarter. He has teamed with Donte Moncrief to give Ole Miss two big-time targets in the passing game. Alabama’s secondary is talented, but it’s difficult for any team to take away two elite wide receivers. Treadwell, a 5-star recruit from Illinois, could have an opportunity to play a key role in the Rebel attack.

The Arkansas defense
Arkansas’ defensive numbers look good — 17th nationally in total defense and 25th in scoring defense — but the schedule has been relatively soft. The Hogs’ D will be stressed at every level on Saturday by a Texas A&M offense that is among the best in the nation. Last year, the Aggies torched Arkansas for an astounding 716 yards in a 58-10 win in College Station. The Hogs will need to lop about 250 yards off of that total to have a chance to beat A&M this time around. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

South Carolina at UCF 

S. Carolina 28-24S. Carolina 35-21S. Carolina 30-20S. Carolina 31-17

S. Alabama at Tennessee 

Tennessee 31-21

Tennessee 31-14Tennessee 38-13Tennesssee 34-17

LSU at Georgia

LSU 27-24

LSU 24-21Georgia 34-31Georgia 31-24
Ole Miss at Alabama

Alabama 35-14

Alabama 38-20Alabama 34-24Alabama 31-28

Texas A&M at Arkansas 

Texas A&M 42-21

Texas A&M 49-31Texas A&M 45-24Texas A&M 44-21

Florida at Kentucky 

Florida 28-14

Florida 24-10Florida 31-13Florida 21-3

UAB at Vanderbilt 

Vanderbilt 35-7

Vanderbilt 38-14Vanderbilt 41-17Vanderbilt 31-14

Arkansas St. at Missouri 

Missouri 28-10Missouri 34-13Missouri 45-20Missouri 41-17

Last Week

Post date: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-5-preview-and-predictions-2013

The Big 12 needs to pick up some signature moments, but it’s running out of chances to do so.

The league is 2-4 against teams from the other five BCS automatic-qualifying conferences, with those wins coming against Mississippi State and SMU. That doesn’t include Texas’ loss to BYU, nor the league’s two losses to FCS teams in the first week of the season.

The first full Saturday of Big 12 play is a week away, and the fifth week of the season will feature more action that will impact the league’s perception.

The most important game will be Oklahoma’s trip to Notre Dame, a key game to prove if one of the Big 12’s frontrunners can go toe-to-toe with a nationally ranked team. A road conference game for Oklahoma State to West Virginia shouldn’t be taken lightly, but if the Cowboys — the preseason league favorite — struggle to put the Mountaineers away a week after they were shut out by Maryland.

Week 5 Previews and Predictions:  |  |

Big 12 Week 5 Game Power Rankings
All games Eastern, all games on Saturday unless noted.

1. Oklahoma at Notre Dame (3:30, NBC)
A rematch of a 30-13 Notre Dame win in Norman last season, this will be a key game for national perception. The Sooners are one of three teams well-positioned to make a run at the Big 12 title along with Oklahoma State and Baylor, but none are ranked in the AP top 10 (OU is ranked 14th). This will be Oklahoma’s first game against a ranked team and potentially the Sooners’ only one until at least Oct. 26 against Texas Tech. New Oklahoma starting quarterback Blake Bell flourished against Tulsa two weeks ago, but this will be his first extended action on the road.

2. Oklahoma State at West Virginia (noon, ESPN)
This matchup between Mike Gundy and Dana Holgorsen couldn’t be much more different from the last time Holgorsen was on the Oklahoma State staff in 2010. That season, Oklahoma State is a little more balanced than in 2010, taking advantage of quarterback J.W. Walsh’s running ability. West Virginia, though, may have the worst offense of any team Dana Holgorsen has coached at the FBS level. Quarterback Ford Childress struggled in a shutout to Maryland last week, completing only 11 of 22 passes with two interceptions.

3. SMU at TCU (noon, Fox Sports 1)
The Horned Frogs return from an off week after an uninspiring offensive performance against Texas Tech. A return to Fort Worth against SMU would be a good opportunity for running backs B.J. Catalon and Waymon James to continue to show they can establish the run. TCU topped 200 yards against Texas Tech but finished 3 of 16 on third downs. Against the pass-oriented SMU offense, cornerback Jason Verrett could have another chance to shine. Verrett held Texas Tech’s Eric Ward to without a catch, but the Mustangs’ receiver group has been much more balanced.

4. Iowa State at Tulsa (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Iowa State will face Tulsa for the second time in four games going back to the Golden Hurricane’s 31-17 win in the Liberty Bowl. With narrow losses to Northern Iowa and Iowa, the Cyclones look like they’re going to have trouble picking up wins this season as the conference schedule begins next week against Texas. This will be a key game for momentum.

Big 12 Week 5 Pivotal Players

Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
The Sooners’ center will reunite with Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III, who got the better of Ikard last season. Ikard may be one of the Big 12’s best linemen, but the OU veteran called Nix one of the best in the country in . The Sooners rushed for only 15 yards on 23 carries in last season’s game.

Oklahoma’s defensive line
Michigan State proved what defensive line pressure could do to the Notre Dame passing game. Against the Spartans, Notre Dame set season lows in passing yards (142), yards per passing attempt (4.2) and completion percentage (41.2). The Sooners have faced three spread teams so far this season, utilizing a three-man front. OU may try more four-man looks in this game, but either way, this could put Mike Stoops’ improved defense to the test.

West Virginia’s ball carriers
The Mountaineers have lost eight fumbles this season. Only Idaho has lost more this season. There’s no easy answer for West Virginia as seven different players have accounted for the eight lost fumbles. Moreover, West Virginia has thrown four interceptions. With eight takeaways, the Mountaineers have a minus-four turnover margin. Running back Dreamius Smith is the only regular skill position player without a fumble lost this season.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
The Horned Frogs need to have a balanced offense to thrive in the Big 12, but SMU is a team that can be defeated in the passing game. The Mustangs have allowed six touchdown passes to one interception and 7.8 yards per pass this season, but two of those games were against Texas Tech and Texas A&M. TCU is the only team in the Big 12 without a play from 40 yards this season. If Boykin and the Frogs can’t break a big play against SMU, then which opponent could they do it to?

Tom Farniok, Iowa State
The veteran is one of the best centers in the Big 12. The hope is that he’ll jumpstart a running game that has averaged 3.3 yards per carry with no touchdowns. Tulsa’s run defense isn’t much better, allowing 605 yards in three games against Bowling Green, Colorado State and Oklahoma.

Off: Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas Tech

Big 12 Week 5 Predictions

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Iowa St. (+2.5) at TulsaTulsa 28-21ISU 28-24ISU 27-24ISU 28-20
OK State (-19) at West Va.OSU 35-14OSU 31-13OSU 38-17OSU 34-14
SMU (+19.5) at TCUTCU 24-14TCU 27-14TCU 30-20TCU 31-21
Okla. (-3.5) at Notre DameOU 31-21OU 24-20OU 27-24OU 28-27
Last week5-05-05-05-0
This season27-325-526-426-4


Post date: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-5-preview-and-predictions-2013

There are two non-conference games left on the Pac-12 schedule. Notre Dame will face Arizona State next week and Stanford in the season finale. But otherwise, starting this weekend, every game out West will carry major Pac-12 championship implication.

The North Division will host four of the five Pac-12 contests this weekend while a massive South Division game in Tempe could eliminate one team from the race before the calendar even flips to October.

Week 5 Previews and Predictions:  |  |  | 

Pac-12 Week 5 Game Power Rankings

1. USC (+6) at Arizona State (10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Win or go home. That is what is at stake in Sun Devil Stadium this weekend when USC comes to town as neither team can afford to start the season in an 0-2 conference hole. The Trojans boast one of the nation’s elite defenses as it leads the Pac-12 in total defense (230.5 ypg), rushing defense (59.3 ypg), red zone defense (40.0 percent), sacks (16.0) and tackles for a loss (38.0). This means Taylor Kelly, who was sacked three times last week, has to get his offense into quality situations before the snap. His offense has struggled to run the ball, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry on the season (110 att., 324 yards), and it will have to prove it can control the line of scrimmage to get the win. USC has won 12 of the last 13 meetings with ASU’s lone win coming the last time these two played in the desert in 2011. Being at home should be a huge help but the Devils have to play much better on offense to avoid the upset.

2. Arizona (+10) at Washington (7 p.m., FOX)
A sneaky good matchup of undefeateds will give one team a perfect slate in September with the other starting league play with a loss. The offensive skill talent should be on full display as the Huskies' Bishop Sankey and Wildcats' Ka’Deem Carey should star in the backfield for each team. Washington gets a huge advantage under center as Keith Price finally appears to be delivering on his big-time upside while B.J. Denker makes just his fifth career start. A key battle to watch will come on third down. Washington’s offense is third nationally on the critical down while Arizona is allowing opponents to convert a paltry 32 percent (16-of-50). Washington is at home and is looking for revenge after the 52-17 drubbing it took at the hands of Rich Rodriguez last season.

3. Stanford (+10) at Washington State (10 p.m., ESPN, Seattle)
The Cardinal made a big statement at home last weekend against Arizona State and a letdown alert may be in effect for the trip North to Seattle. Despite rushing for minus-18 yards and being sacked 10 times against Stanford last year, the Cougars managed to keep the game tight until the end. The Cardinal allowed 403 yards through the air in that game and will be without All-American safety Ed Reynolds for the first half after being ejected for a targeting penalty last weekend. Kevin Hogan, who entered the starting lineup the week after the WSU game last year, needs to have his team prepared from the opening kickoff or Mike Leach’s squad will put a scare into the No. 5-ranked team in the nation.

4. Colorado (+10.5) at Oregon State (3 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
This should be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. With star power at wide receiver and two very capable quarterbacks running two prolific offensive systems, defense will be an afterthought in Corvallis. Sean Mannion and Connor Wood are two of the top four passers in the nation as both average more than 370 yards per game and each has an elite target in Brandin Cooks and Paul Richardson. The Beavers' defense has been putrid but has played some solid competition while the Buffaloes unit has been surprisingly stingy — against Colorado State and Central Arkansas. Someone has to make a stop in the fourth quarter, right?

5. Cal (+36.5) at Oregon (10:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
In 2010, the closest game the Ducks played en route to the BCS National Championship game was a 15-13 nail-biter in Berkeley. Three years later, 28 points could be the over/under for each quarter between these two up-tempo offenses. Sonny Dykes’ offense is running 94.6 plays per game (No. 2 nationally) while the Ducks are running a measly 72.0 per game. Cal isn’t ready to compete at this level but fans in Eugene should get a long look at Cal’s budding star quarterback Jared Goff.

Pac-12 Week 5 Pivotal Players:

1. Arizona State’s offensive line
As Todd Graham well knows, the ASU offensive line hasn’t gotten much of a push this season. The Devils are averaging less than three yards per carry and have allowed six sacks in three games. Now they face Morgan Breslin, George Uko and Leonard Williams among others along a defensive line that is tops in the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for a loss. This unit must play solid football for Arizona State to avoid the upset.

2. B.J. Denker, QB, Arizona
There is tons of star power on both offenses but Arizona’s chances at an upset in Husky Stadium hinges on Denker’s play. He has yet to throw an interception and has been excellent in the running game (39 att., 221 yards, 5 TD) in RichRod’s zone-read option attack. He has plenty of backfield support in the form of Ka’Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins, however, his ability to make plays in the air will be critical on the road. He has yet to reach 200 yards passing in a game and is completing just 56.4 percent of his passes on the year.

3. Tre Madden, RB, USC
The best way to help out a struggling passing attack is with a quality running game. And Madden has been just that for Lane Kiffin over the first four weeks. He has topped 100 yards in all but one game and has scored in each of the last two contests. His 90 carries are second only to Iowa’s Mark Weisman nationally and his 455 yards are eighth in the nation. Cody Kessler needs No. 23 to come up big on the road.

4. Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
Since the Beavers' defense doesn’t appear capable of stopping air, it once again will fall to Mannion and the offense to keep pace. Arguably the most underrated passer in the nation, no one in the country has completed as many passes (133) for as many yards (1,604) or touchdowns (15) as OSU's signal-caller. With the defense allowing 432 yards and more than 35 points per game, Mannion probably feels the need to score every time he steps on the field.

5. Devon Carrington, S, Stanford
Star safety Ed Reynolds will have to sit out the first half after being ejected from last weekend’s contest due a targeting penalty. So it falls to the senior reserve to step in and provide stability against one of the better passing attacks in the nation. Mike Leach’s team torched this group for 403 yards last year and is averaging 328.8 yards per game through air this season.

Pac-12 Week 5 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
USC (+6) at Arizona StArizona St, 21-17Arizona St, 27-20Arizona St, 27-20Arizona St, 21-14
Arizona (+10) at WashingtonWash., 38-20Wash., 34-27Wash., 38-27Wash., 41-14
Stanford (-10) at Washington StStanford, 34-13Stanford, 38-17Stanford, 34-17Stanford, 38-10
Colorado (+10.5) at Oregon St Ore. St, 41-35Ore. St, 37-21Ore. St, 41-27Ore. St, 41-35
Cal (+36.5) at OregonOregon, 51-27Oregon, 51-30Oregon, 58-24Oregon, 56-21
Last Week: 6-16-16-15-2


Post date: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-5-preview-and-predictions-2013

Jim Delany knows what he’s doing.

Half of his conference won’t play football this weekend, including most of his highest profile programs. Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Indiana are all off this weekend and will be sitting at home focused on The Horseshoe like the rest of the nation.

With all due respect to a sneaky good Iowa-Minnesota contest, Delany wants no excuses as the entire conference is focused on what could be the biggest divisional game of the season for the Big Ten. All eyes nationally should be centered on Wisconsin at Ohio State Saturday night.

Week 5 Previews and Predictions:  | |

Big Ten Week 5 Game Power Rankings:

1. Wisconsin (+7) at Ohio State (8 p.m., ABC)
This is the biggest Leaders Division game of the year and could end up being the second biggest Big Ten game of the year (Ohio State at Michigan). Wisconsin’s defense has been a pleasant surprise through four games, ranking sixth nationally in total defense (243.3 ypg), fourth nationally in yards allowed per play (3.8 ypp) and 10th nationally in scoring defense (10.5 ppg). And Gary Andersen hasn’t changed the offense all that much — the Badgers already have had nine 100-yard games from their talented backfield trio. But facing the Buckeyes with Braxton Miller under center in Columbus is a totally different beast. Ohio State has owned UW of late, winning five of the last six overall and three straight in The Shoe. Even if Miller isn’t 100 percent, Kenny Guiton has proven to be not only capable of filling in, but extremely gifted in his own right. To pull the upset, Wisconsin’s front seven will have to play perfectly disciplined football and quarterback Joel Stave will have to complement the running game. Both of which would be considered unlikely on the road.

2. Iowa (+1.5) at Minnesota (3:30 p.m., ABC)
The Hawkeyes won just four games last year and just twice in the Big Ten, but one was a surprising 31-13 win over the Gophers. However, Iowa has lost its last two trips to the Twin Cities at the hands of two 3-9 Minnesota teams. Something has to give for two teams desperately trying to get to the postseason. Both teams feature dedicated and reinvigorated rushing attacks as both teams rank in the top 25 nationally at over 240 yards on the ground per game. So, as usual, the outcome hinges on quarterback play. Jake Rudock has had his good and bad moments for Iowa, failing to top 200 yards in three straight games but tossing four touchdowns and no interceptions over the last two. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Mitch Leidner — and his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame — likely will get his second start of his career after a monster performance last week against San Jose State.

3. Northern Illinois (+3.5) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
The Boilermakers have serious issues on offense, ranking last among BCS (automatic qualifying) conference teams and 123rd overall with just 246.0 yards per game. So for a team struggling to score points, stopping NIU’s star quarterback Jordan Lynch becomes imperative. The Huskies are averaging 516 yards per game and 6.4 yards per play on offense behind the dual-threat abilities of Lynch. After the Boilers allowed nearly 400 yards rushing last week to Wisconsin, signs aren’t pointing towards the upset. This would be a devastating Homecoming loss to the MAC for Darrell Hazell.

4. Miami-Ohio (+24.5) at Illinois (Noon, BTN)
A game with the winless Redhawks is a perfect spot for Illinois’ star power to shine. The Big Ten’s leading passer is quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (294.7 yards per game) and he should get back on track after completing just 36.0 percent of his passes in the loss to Washington. On defense, the league’s top tackler is linebacker Jonathan Brown (12.7 tackles per game) and he should be able to lead a unit capable of shutting down the worst offense in the FBS (149.3 yards per game, 125th).

Big Ten Week 5 Pivotal Players

1. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
The All-American linebacker has been making big plays for the Badgers for years but stopping the Buckeyes' versatile offensive attack might be his tallest order. He constantly disrupts opposing backfields and makes big special teams plays — he even completed a 23-yard pass on a fake punt against Arizona State. Borland has missed two of the last three meetings with Ohio State but he posted 10 tackles in the historic 2011 Hail Mary game. Fans can bet the original Honey Badger will be fired up for this trip to Columbus.

2. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The hard-hitting linebacker was all over the field for the Buckeyes last year against Wisconsin. He registered 12 tackles, 3.0 tackles for a loss and forced a fumble in last year’s win over the Badgers. He’s right back at it again this season, topping the team in tackles (30). It will fall to the explosive junior to stop the three-headed monster in Wisconsin's backfield.

3. Joel Stave, QB, Wisconsin
The lanky Badger signal-caller was excellent in the first two games of the year against lowly UMass and Tennessee Tech (6 total TD, 72.0 percent passing). But Stave hasn’t been nearly as sharp in the last two games, completing just 50 percent of his passes against Arizona State and failing to throw a TD against Purdue. Now, he wasn’t needed against the Boilermakers but will be needed in a hostile road environment. The Buckeyes' secondary is loaded with talent and fans can bet Urban Meyer will be loading up to stop the run. Stave’s ability to make clutch second-half throws on third downs will determine the outcome of this showdown.

4. Iowa’s linebackers
Regardless of who plays quarterback for Minnesota (all signs point to Mitch Leidner), the talented Hawkeye linebackers will be asked to play well on the road. Gopher signal-callers Mitch Leidner and Philip Nelson have combined for 472 yards rushing and eight touchdowns this season. Anthony Hitchens (9.3 tackles per game), Christian Kirksey (7.5) and James Morris (5.8) are all top-25 tacklers in the Big Ten and will be asked to contain the much-improved Gopher running game.

5. Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota
The star defensive lineman has been stellar for the Gophers this season. In four games, Hageman has 16 total tackles, is leading the Big Ten with 5.5 for a loss, registered one sack, and has two blocked kicks. He had an extremely quiet game against the Hawkeyes last fall and will need to be ready to star against the burly and physical Iowa rushing attack.

Big Ten Week 5 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Wisconsin (+7) at Ohio StOhio St, 31-21 Ohio St, 34-24Ohio St, 34-27Ohio St, 35-28
Iowa (+1.5) at MinnesotaMinn., 31-27Iowa, 24-20Iowa, 27-24Minn., 21-17
N. Illinois (-3.5) at PurdueN. Illinois, 30-21N. Illinois, 33-24N. Illinois, 34-24N. Illinois, 28-24
Miami-OH (+24.5) at IllinoisIllinois, 34-17Illinois, 41-10Illinois, 38-13Illinois, 35-10
Last Week:10-09-110-08-2


Post date: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-5-episode-5-2013

In the Week 5 episode of the Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast, co-hosts Braden Gall and David Fox take a quick jog around the developments of a deceptively interesting Week 4 while taking a look at key games for Week 5.

In this week’s podcast:

• We quickly run down a few headlines from Week 4: Why Georgia Tech could wrap up its division in the ACC in short order, why or why not Tyler Murphy might be the answer at QB for Florida and how leigitimate is Derek Carr's Heisman candidacy.

• After some disagreement on how good Arizona State is, we look at the upcoming game between the Sun Devils and USC. Todd Graham and Co. need to win this one or we'll lose confidence.

• We don't know what to make of either Oklahoma or Notre Dame. OU's defense has impressed, but the Sooners haven't played a marquee game. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has not fully rebounded from a Michigan loss two weeks ago.

• This week's marquee matchup in the SEC will be in Athens when Georgia hosts LSU. The Tigers have been impressive on both sides of the ball, but this will be a "show-me" moment on the road for Zach Mettenberger and the defense.

• In this week's rapid fire, we ask who is the top quarterback in the state of Utah (yes, that's a thing), surprise 4-0 teams and who is a better Heisman dark horse between Derek Carr and Melvin Gordon.
The podcast can be found on, and .

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.


Thanks to for sharing their tunes for bumper music. Their new album Mountains Beaches Cities is now available.

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/amazing-pac-12-college-football-stats-week-4-2013
True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether its a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Pac-12 to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in week 4.
1942: Saturday was the first time since 1942 Washington, Washington State posted a shutout on the same day
With its 42-0 victory over Idaho, Washington State posted its first shutout since 2003, and its first home shutout since 1999. Meanwhile, in Seattle, Washington blanked Idaho State 56-0 for its first shutout since 2009. 
The Cougars and the Huskies registering a shutout in the same season is rare, much less the same day. Saturday was the first time since 1942 the two programs accomplished the feat — something they did in back-to-back weeks 71 years ago. 
On Sept. 26, 1942, Washington State was a 6-0 winner over Stanford, and followed with a 7-0 win against Oregon on Oct. 3. Washington was a 27-0 winner against Pacific on Sept. 26, and followed with a scoreless tie against USC on Oct. 3.
It was one of four shutouts for the Cougars that year, and six for the Huskies, including a scoreless tie when the teams met on Nov. 28.
While it was the first same-day shutouts for UW and WSU since 1942, it was also the first time since 1997 they even had a shutout in the same season. They have each had a shutout in the same season nine times, dating back to 1942 (1942, ’45, ’46, ’47, ’53, ’58, ’61, ’68, ’81 and ’97).
39: UCLA’s school-record 39 first downs lead to rout of New Mexico State 

UCLA racked up school records for yards (692) yards and first downs (39) on the way to a 59-13 victory against New Mexico State. The Bruins racked up 362 yards and three scores on first-down plays alone, and amassed 419 yards — not including penalties — to attain each first down. This is the first season since 2005 that the Bruins have opened with three straight 40-plus-point games, and the most points (158) they have scored in a three-game stretch since 1997 (172).
49: USC defense limits Utah State to 49 yards in final five drives to stay in contention for the win
After surrendering a game-tying, nine-play, 72-yard touchdown drive midway through the third quarter, the USC defense clamped down over the final 21:51 to hold on for the 17-14 win over Utah State.
The Trojans surrendered just 49 yards over the next 26 plays and five drives. They forced three punts, two turnovers on downs and never let the Aggies cross their own 47 after the score.
USC outside linebacker Morgan Breslin recorded three of his four tackles after the second touchdown, including a pair of 3-yard sacks of Chuckie Keeton on back-to-back possessions. Lamar Dawson, Leonard Williams and Kevon Seymour all posted tackles for loss after the last Aggie TD.
And the USC offense certainly needed this defense, as 17 points is an all-time low in the series with Utah State. The Trojans hold a 5-0 advantage in the series, but 40 was previously the low point total for USC.
28:  Utah among big-play leaders in the nation
Utah has 28 plays of 20 yards or more in four games after having just 15 in 2012. The Utes added five such plays in their 20-13 win over BYU. James Poole had rushes of 65 (career high) and 22 yards, while quarterback Travis Wilson connected on passes of 24, 26 and 74. Dres Anderson caught the 26- and 74-yarder — a career-long reception — on the way to his third straight 100-yard receiving game, and a career-high 141 yards on the day.
Utah had 25 plays of 20-plus yards in 2011 and 32 in 2010. Maryland leads the nation this season with 35 plays of 20-plus yards; Oregon is the top team in the Pac-12 with 34.
1-of-14: Utah downs rival BYU, despite just one third-down conversion
It was a good thing the Utes had those big plays to move down field, as the first three — Poole’s 65-yard run and Wilson-to-Anderson for 26 and 74 yards — led to two field goals and a touchdown in their 20-13 victory. Otherwise, Utah had trouble keeping drives alive. It converted just 1-of-14 third downs — the only conversion was on its eighth offensive play of the game. 
The only conversion was a Wilson-to-Anderson 9-yard pass on third-and-6, which ended with a punt three plays and nine yards later.
The Utes averaged third-and-6.8 on Saturday, including 12 yards to go on their first third-down attempt, and had third-and-12, 16 and 13 on their final three possessions. 
8: Eight different Huskies scored in blowout win over Idaho State
A lot of Huskies got a taste of the end zone in the 56-0 win over visiting Idaho State, and only one of the eight touchdowns scored came outside the 10-yard line. 
Bishop Sankey (3-yard run), Jesse Callier (8-yard run), Keith Price (1-yard run), Joshua Perkins (1-yard pass from Price), Austin Seferian Jenkins (6-yard pass from Price), John Ross (57-yard pass from Cyler Miles), and Deontae Cooper (4-yard run) all scored for UW. Travis Coons banged through all eight PATs to move to 17-of-17 on the year. 
The Huskies were 7-of-9 in the red zone in the win.
350: Mannion eclipses 350 yards passing for a fourth straight game
Sean Mannion, moved to the top of the nation in passing yards after he threw for 367 yards in Oregon State’s 34-30 win over San Diego State. He became the first player in the program’s history to throw for 350-plus yards in four consecutive games, extending his own school record. 
His three-touchdown effort against the Aztecs also gave him sole possession atop the nation in TD passes thrown this season (15).
43: Cooks’ torrid receptions pace continues for Beavers
Brandin Cooks has been on the end of many of those Mannion passes. The Oregon State receiver tied a school-record with 14 catches (for 141 yards) in the win against San Diego State. The junior leads the nation in catches, yards and touchdown receptions (43-639-7).  
The 14 catches tied Mike Hass’ school record, and made Cooks just the second player, along with Hass, with at least two 12-plus reception games. Cooks is on pace for 129 catches, for 1,917 yards and 21 TDs. All three would be school records (91-1,532-12).
23: Cardinal fend off Sun Devils’ rally to give Shaw 23rd win when leading at the half
Stanford moved to 23-2 under coach David Shaw when holding a halftime lead, and the Cardinal’s 29 first-half points in a 42-28 win over visiting Arizona State proved to be just enough. It was the first first-half shutout for Stanford since holding a 35-0 edge in last season’s 48-0 win at Colorado. 
The Cardinal, under Shaw, also moved to 11-0 when scoring 40-plus points, and 6-1 when allowing 20-29 points.
2: Arizona State’s second-half performance comes too late at Stanford
A second-half comeback in the 42-28 loss at Stanford only left Arizona State fans wondering, “what if?” What if the Sun Devils had put together just one solid drive in the first half? Well, they did not. 
Of the seven drives in the first half, just one crossed midfield, and it ended with a missed 45-yard field goal. The other six totaled 40 yards, and led to a 29-0 halftime deficit. 
The second half was a different story, as ASU outscored Stanford 28-13, including touchdown drives of 75, 75, 57 and 67 yards. The Sun Devils scored from the Stanford 2, 45, 27 and 6, and their seven second-half drives totaled 340 yards.


Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-qb-braxton-miller-expected-start-against-wisconsin-2013

Kenny Guiton has been nearly flawless in relief of Braxton Miller, throwing for 10 touchdowns and 491 yards in Ohio State’s last two games.

Although Guiton has been excellent, there’s no quarterback controversy at Ohio State. Miller suffered a MCL injury against San Diego State and has missed the last two games. However, the junior is expected to play this Saturday against Wisconsin and will reclaim the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Prior to his injury, Miller was one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy. 

Although Miller will return to the starting role, Guiton’s performance should give Ohio State plenty of confidence should its starting quarterback suffer another injury the rest of the year. And who knows, maybe coach Urban Meyer can find a way to get them both on the field at the same time.


Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-23-2013

Catching up on everything that happened in Week 4 and an early look at Week 5.

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. ()

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, September 23rd

has joined the SEC's offensive show.

takes a look at some of the key developments in the SEC in Week 4.

Sad news out of : One player was killed and two others were injured in a car accident on Saturday night.

Bruce Feldman rounds out the weekend with some , as well as a look at why Baylor's offense is so difficult to defend.

: SB Nation's Matt Hinton takes a look at some stats to know.

Washington running back is fine after suffering a shoulder injury against Idaho State.

Two players on suffered injuries against Tulane.

Hawaii won't replace the canceled Fresno State game on schedule.

Is set to be Pittsburgh's No. 1 running back the rest of the year?

Even when Taylor Martinez expires his eligibility, it appears is in good shape at the quarterback position.

Injuries will play a role in at Texas.

tells Sports Illustrated he took money on the side at Tennessee.  

BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley has been suspended five games for violating the school's honor code. But there's an to how Hadley was suspended.

Vanderbilt coach is dealing with a disgruntled running back.

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-4-2013
Alabama held on to the top spot in the Legends Poll, after a slate of lackluster games over the weekend. The first eight teams did not change order from last week's poll. No. 9 Texas A&M swapped positions with Georgia, overtaking the ninth position in this week's poll. No. 5 LSU looked impressive as they beat SEC rival Auburn at home 35-21. 
"LSU's running game and passing game looks more cohesive under their new coordinator, Cam Cameron," former Auburn coach Pat Dye said. "They have all the pieces to make a great football team. Their running back (Jeremy Hill) was outstanding today against Auburn. I put him up there with Georgia's running back, Gurley."
The teams from 11 to 19 remain unchanged with the exception of Michigan. Michigan continued to slide down the poll as it escaped another upset bid this week at Connecticut. The Wolverines had to come from behind in the 24-21 win. 
Texas Tech and Georgia Tech made their first appearance in the Legends Poll this season at No. 24 and 25, respectively. Arizona State and Auburn dropped out of the poll this week after falling from the ranks of the unbeaten.
To see the individual votes by coach, visit 
1AlabamaAlabama (14)3-03981
2OregonOregon (2)3-03862
4Ohio StateOhio State4-03374
7Florida StateFlorida State3-03017
9Texas A&MTexas A&M3-127410
11Oklahoma StateOklahoma State3-022111
13South CarolinaSouth Carolina2-120213
14Miami (FL)Miami (FL)3-019615
21Notre DameNotre Dame3-18420
22Ole MissOle Miss3-07022
24Texas TechTexas Tech4-024-
25Georgia TechGeorgia Tech3-014-

* 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

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-4-power-rankings-2013

LSU and Florida both recorded solid wins in league play, but neither team made a move in the post-week 4 SEC Power Poll. Missouri, which looked good in its win at Indiana, jumped from No. 12 to No. 9.

More Post-Week 4 Power Rankings:   | |

SEC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

11Alabama (3-0, 1-0):  It might not have been the thorough beating that most Alabama fans expected, but the Crimson Tide topped Colorado State 31-6 in their 2013 home opener. Bama pulled away in the fourth quarter, scoring first on a 30-yard pass from AJ McCarron to DeAndrew White and then, with 2:05 remaining, on a 14-yard toss from back-up Blake Sims to Chris Black. Alabama’s offensive numbers — 341 total yards — don’t look good at first glance, but keep in mind the Tide only had 48 offensive snaps. They averaged 7.1 yards per play. Next Week: Ole Miss
22Georgia (2-1, 1-0): Georgia found itself in an unexpected battle with North Texas midway through the third quarter. But a 21-21 game became a 45-21 victory thanks to a dominating second half by the Bulldogs. Georgia outgained the Mean Green 641-to-245 due in large part to a big day from quarterback Aaron Murray. The fifth-year senior completed 22-of-30 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns — including a school-record 98-yarder to Reggie Davis in the second quarter. Todd Gurley rushed for a game-high 91 yards but was held to a rather ordinary 4.3-yard average. Next Week: LSU
33LSU (4-0, 1-0): The Tigers continue to look like a legitimate SEC title contender. They ran their record to 4-0 with a solid 35-21 win over Auburn at a rainy Tiger Stadium. With tailback Jeremy Hill leading the way, LSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. The game never got out of hand, but LSU was never seriously threatened either. Hill finished with 184 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries, while quarterback Zach Mettenberger completed 14-of-22 passes for 229 yards with one touchdowns and one interception (his first of the season). Next Week: at Georgia
44Texas A&M (3-1, 0-1): The Aggies bounced back from their emotional loss to Alabama last week by disposing of former Southwest Conference rival SMU with ease. Johnny Manziel threw for 244 yards and added a game-high 102 yards on the ground en route to the 42-13 win. Aggie wideout Mike Evans only caught two passes, but they went for 57 yards, giving him 575 on the season (good for second in the nation). The A&M defense gave up 434 total yards, but SMU only scored one touchdown — early in the fourth quarter with the outcome already decided. Next Week: at Arkansas
55South Carolina (2-1, 1-1): The Gamecocks enjoyed a week off before their trip to Orlando to play UCF, a team that beat Penn State in Week 2. South Carolina has won four straight non-conference road (or neutral site) regular-season games. Next Week: at UCF
66Florida (2-1, 1-0): Florida overcame a series of injuries (and an ejection) to beat Tennessee for the ninth straight time. Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel went out with a season-ending ankle injury in the first quarter, forcing the Gators to turn to untested junior Tyler Murphy. The Connecticut native responded with an outstanding performance, throwing for 134 yards and rushing for 84 to lead the surprisingly potent Florida attack. The Gator defense forced five turnovers and limited Tennessee to 220 total yards. Next Week: At Kentucky
77Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0): The Rebels, off to their first 3-0 start since 1989, had the week off to prepare for their big trip to Tuscaloosa next week. Ole Miss has lost nine straight to Alabama and has not won at Bryant-Denny Stadium since 2004. Next Week: at Alabama.
88Auburn (3-1, 1-1): The Tigers have made tremendous strides under first-year coach Gus Malzahn, but winning in Baton Rouge was too tall of an order. After falling behind 21-0 in the second quarter, Auburn kept things interesting but was never able to cut the lead to one score. Nick Marshall had some trouble in the passing game (17-of-33 with two INTs), but the Tigers ran the ball well. Tre Mason led the way with 132 yards and two scores on 26 carries, while Marshall added 46 yards and Cameron Artis-Payne chipped in with 41 yards. Next Week: Bye
912Missouri (3-0, 0-0): Missouri played on the road for the first time this season, and the result was quite impressive. The Tigers feasted on a porous Indiana defense, rolling up 623 yards of offense in a 45-28 win in Bloomington. James Franklin threw for 343 yards, with two MU receivers topping the 100-yard mark — Dorial Green-Beckham (8 for 105) and Marcus Lucas (10 for 101). Russell Hansbrough led the Tigers’ rushing attack with 104 yards on 13 carries. Next Week: Arkansas State
109Vanderbilt (2-2, 0-2): The Commodores were a bit sluggish on both sides of the ball but still picked up a non-conference road win by beating UMass 24-7 at Gillette Stadium. UMass had allowed an average of 331.3 rushing yards in its first three games, but Vanderbilt managed only 166 on 39 attempts. The Commodores were relatively productive threw the air — Austyn Carta-Samuels completed 18-of-27 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Senior Jonathan Krause caught six passes for 105 yards and one touchdown — the first receiving score of his career. Next Week: UAB
1113Mississippi State (2-2, 0-1): The opponent was far from elite, but Mississippi State was one of the more impressive SEC teams of the week. The Bulldogs pounded Troy 62-7, outgaining the Trojans 574 to 177. Dak Prescott, making his third career start, threw for 233 yards and rushed for 53 to lead the MSU attack. In State’s 35-point second quarter, Prescott threw three TD passes and also caught a 36-yard TD from Jameon Lewis. The Bulldogs’ defense limited Troy quarterback Corey Robinson, the NCAA’s active leader in passing yards, to 105 yards on 25 attempts.  Next Week: Bye
1210Tennessee (2-2, 0-1): Butch Jones made a switch at quarterback, benching Justin Worley in favor of redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman. It didn’t work. Peterman, a native of Fruit Cove, Fla., committed three turnovers in the first half and was benched. Worley wasn’t much better in relief, completing only 10-of-23 passes and throwing two interceptions. The Vols had 220 yards of total offense en route their its ninth straight loss to Florida. Next Week: South Alabama
1311Arkansas (3-1, 0-0): Arkansas surged to a 24-7 lead at Rutgers on a Hunter Henry touchdown midway through the third quarter. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Razorbacks didn’t score again. Rutgers did, three more times — taking the lead for good with 6:01 remaining on a 4-yard toss from Gary Nova to Leonte Caroo. The Hogs’ tailback duo of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins combined to rush for 85 yards, 185 below their previous season average. Quarterback A.J. Derby, a former Iowa Hawkeye making his first start at Arkansas, completed 14-of-26 for 138 yards. Next Week: Texas A&M
1414Kentucky (1-2, 0-0): Kentucky had the week off to prepare for a grueling three-game stretch that includes home games against Florida and Alabama sandwiched around a trip to South Carolina. Next Week: Florida

SEC Week 4 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Jeremy Hill, LSU
The Tigers prefer to rotate through a stable of talented running backs, but there was no need for that against Auburn. Hill rushed for 183 yards on 25 carries in a rain-soaked 35–21 win over Auburn. Hill’s output was the most for an LSU running back since Alley Broussard rushed for a school-record 250 yards against Ole Miss in 2004. For the season, the Baton Rouge native has rushed for 350 yards on an 8.3-yard average. He missed the opener against TCU due to a suspension.

Defensive Player of the Week: Dante Fowler Jr., Florida
Fowler was a key cog on a Florida defense that limited Tennessee to 220 yards in a 31-7 Gator win in Gainesville. A sophomore “Buck” — a hybrid defense end/linebacker — Fowler recorded three tackles for a loss (including one sack) and forced two fumbles (recovering one). The Florida defense forced six turnovers and allowed only once touchdown.

Team of the Week: Florida
In a light week in the SEC, Florida made the biggest statement by proving it can win without its starting quarterback. Junior Jeff Driskel went down with a broken leg in the first quarter, forcing the Gators to turn to untested Tyler Murphy, a Connecticut native who had not thrown a pass in his three-plus years in Gainesville. Murphy, to everyone’s surprise, came off the bench and sparked what had been a stagnant Gator attack, throwing for 134 yards and rushing for 84 to lead Florida to a 31-17 win over Tennessee. With Driskel out for the season, Murphy must now prove he is not a one-hit wonder.

Coordinator of the Week: Josh Henson, Missouri
Missouri will not be the only team to post gaudy stats against Indiana this season, but Henson and the Tigers’ offense deserve credit for an outstanding performance in a 45-28 win in Bloomington. Mizzou rolled 623 yards of offense on 97 plays on its way to its third win of the season. The Tigers had a 300-yard passer (James Franklin), a 100-yard rusher (Russell Hansbrough) and two 100-yard receivers (Dorial Green-Beckham and Marcus Lucas).

Freshman of the Week: Reggie Davis, Georgia
Davis only caught two passes, but he is now in the Georgia record book for having the longest reception in school history. Aaron Murray connected with the true freshman on a 98-yard scoring strike on the first play of the second quarter in the Bulldogs’ 45-21 win over North Texas. Davis also caught a 36-yard pass, giving him 134 yards on two receptions in only the second game of his career.

5th Down

• Mississippi State scored five offensive touchdowns in the second quarter of a dominating 62-7 win over Troy. Four of the Bulldogs’ five second-quarter scoring drives went for at least 61 yards. Mississippi State did not punt in the game.

• Vanderbilt allowed UMass to complete 20-of-28 passes, but none of the Minutemen’s completions went for more than 10 yards. Vanderbilt beat UMass 24-7.

• Auburn lost for the first time of the Gus Malzahn era, but the Tigers’ offense enjoyed some success against LSU in Baton Rouge. Auburn had 437 yards of offense, with standout performances from running back Tre Mason (26 carries, 132 yards, 2 TDs) and wide receiver Sammie Coates (4 catches, 139 yards). The Tigers are averaging 439.5 yards of offense but have scored no more than 24 points in their two SEC games.

• T.J. Yeldon averaged 7.0 yards on his seven carries on Saturday, but Alabama’s four other tailbacks struggled in the Tide’s 31-6 win over Colorado State. Jalston Fowler, Altee Tenpenny, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake combined for only 24 yards on 11 carries. For the game, Alabama averaged 3.1 yards per carry (including two sacks). Colorado State had been allowing 4.3 yards per carry.

• Arkansas had only 283 yards in its xx loss at Rutgers. It was the first time the Razorbacks had less than 300 yards in a non-conference game since the 2010 Liberty Bowl, when they had 283 in a 20-17 overtime win over East Carolina.

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/8-amazing-college-football-stats-week-4-2013

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

297-14: Combined scores from Miami, Louisville, Baylor and Ohio State
The Buckeyes (76), Hurricanes (77), Bears (70) and Cardinals (72) each scored at least 70 points while both Ohio State and Louisville had shutouts on defense. Baylor was the only team, however, to do all of this against semi-legitimate competition. With all due respect to Savannah State, FIU and Florida A&M aren't in the same category as Louisiana-Monroe and Kolton Browning.

1930: Last time a team scored at least 60 points in its first 3 games
Baylor is leading the nation in total offense at 751.3 yards per game — nearly 80 yards more than No. 2 Oregon. Baylor leads the nation in yards per play at nearly 10 yards per snap (9.8) — just ahead of Oregon. And it tops all FBS schools with an absurd 69.7 point per game scoring average — 8.4 more point per game than second-place Oregon. Art Briles' team became the first team since LSU in 1930 to score at least 60 points in each of its first three games. Oregon is great but Baylor might be the best offense in the nation. Lache Seastrunk's nation-leading seventh consecutive 100-yard effort is almost an afterthought for the Bears.

18.9%: Florida's nation-leading third down defense
The Gators might have the best defense in the nation when all players are healthy. While other schools like Michigan State, USC or Stanford might argue who's the best, no one can argue which team is best at getting off the field. Florida leads the nation in third-down defense, having allowed just seven conversions in 37 attempts (18.9-percent). They forced six turnovers against Tennessee and now rank No. 2 in the nation in total defense (212.3 ypg) after the win.

239-58: Georgia Tech's second-half yardage advantage over North Carolina
North Carolina, behind a fast start from Bryn Renner, took an early 20-7 lead over Georgia Tech in Atlanta early on Saturday. But Paul Johnson made adjustments at half-time and watched his team completely dominate the second half against the Tar Heels. North Carolina ran 18 plays on four possessions for 58 total yards with three punts and an interception. Tech, on the other hand, ran 43 plays for 239 yards on five possessions, scoring twice to win the pivotal Coastal Division swing game in come from behind fashion.

0-1: SEC record at High Point Solutions Stadium
The SEC has never won a football game in Piscataway, N.J. Rutgers opened High Point Solutions Statdium in 1994 and were No. 2 in Big East attendance last season, despite being the sixth-biggest venue in the league this fall.  And no SEC had ever stepped foot on its field, much less won a game there until Arkansas visited the Scarlet Knights this weekend. Bret Bielema's Hogs controlled the game without starting quarterback Brandon Allen for the first 43 minutes. But Gary Nova, aided by a few big special teams plays by Janarion Grant, led a furious 21-point comeback over the final 17 minutes to give Rutgers the improbable win. It may be another 19 years before another SEC team returns to High Point.

0:00: Time Duke led despite scoring 55 points
Duke scored more point on Saturday than ever before in school history by hanging 55 on the Pitt Panthers defense. The only problem was the Blue Devils, despite scoring eight touchdowns and churning out 532 yards of offense, never actually had a lead against Pittsburgh. Paul Chryst's Pitt offense scored early and often, totaling 58 points and 598 yards of its own. Quarterback Tom Savage connected with emerging star freshman wide receiver Tyler Boyd for three touchdowns and 154 yards. Savage tied an ACC record with six passing touchdowns on the day.

35.1: Taysom Hill's completion percentage in 2013
The talented and athletic Hill has started three games for the BYU Cougars and has yet to complete more than 37.5 percent of his passes in any game. That was his rate this weekend in an upset loss at home to rival Utah (18-of-18). He has thrown 74 incomplete passes and just 40 completions for the season with one passing touchdown and three interceptions in two losses and one win. 

18: Combined penalties in the Notre Dame-Michigan State game
The referees had a rough day in East Lansing on Saturday, calling 18 penalties for a combined 201 yards. The Spartans were charged 10 times for 115 yards, including multiple pass interference calls that kept Irish drives alive time and time again. Notre Dame was called for eight penalties and 86 yards. The Irish got a key victory despite mustering just 220 yards of total offense against the nation's No. 1 defense.

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Heisman Trophy
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-4-heisman-trophy-voting

Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's foremost college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five, and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, and so on. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.

Oregon's Marcus Mariota was off last weekend but was still able to hold on to his slim lead in the Athlon Heisman voting. Johnny Manziel, however, is closing the gap after yet another typical Johnny Heisman performance — albeit, against a lowly SMU defense. The big three still sit well above the rest of the nation when it comes to college football's most prestigious award.

Post-Week 4 Voting Results:

1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon56652--
2.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M49453--
3.(2)Tajh BoydQBClemson463352-
4.(6)Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville13--223
5t.(4)Todd GurleyRBGeorgia7---31
5t.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama7---31
7.(6)Brett HundleyQBUCLA5---13
8t.(8)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St3---11
8t.(ur)Jeremy HillRBLSU3--1--
10t.(9)Jadeveon ClowneyDESouth Carolina2----2
10t.(10)Chuckie KeetonQBUtah St2---1-
12t.(ur)Melvin GordonRBWisconsin1----1
12t.(11)Keith PriceQBWashington1----1

Heisman Headlines:

Tajh Slipping? Boyd dropped behind Manziel this week and I’m not sure why. Boyd played near flawless football on the road in a hostile environment with little support from his offensive line. He threw for 244 yards, ran the ball 13 times and scored three touchdowns without a turnover in a win over NC State. And yet, the voters weren’t impressed. Manziel threw for exactly 244 yards, ran the ball 12 times and scored three touchdowns. The big differences were Manziel threw an interception, rushed for more yards but did so at home against lowly SMU. It seems as if voters are already forgetting Boyd’s performance against Georgia and that the Aggies have already lost.

Running Backs Join the Party. Melvin Gordon has been arguably the best back in the nation. He leads the country with 156.0 yards per game, is averaging 11.8 yards per attempt and is No. 2 with seven rushing touchdowns. Jeremy Hill, fresh off his 183-yard, 3-TD performance against Auburn at home also joined the voting this week. Both are tremendously talented and both are deserving of being mentioned with Todd Gurley as the best in the nation.

Nobody Drops Out. There are a few new faces on the list — Gordon and Hill — but no one dropped out of the Heisman voting this week as the list grew by two. On a weekend with a fairly week slate of games, little movement was to be expected.

Week 5. This will be a huge weekend for the Heisman race. AJ McCarron could make another big statement over Ole Miss at home. Hill and Gurley will go head-to-head in Athens. Gordon will visit Columbus with the potential return of Braxton Miller highlighting the massive Leaders Division game. Chuckie Keeton has a showdown with David Fales and San Jose State. And Manziel, Jameis Winston and Jadeveon Clowney have interesting road tests. Buckle up because this could be the best weekend of action to date.

Others to Watch. Derek Carr of Fresno State could go unbeaten this year so check him out late Saturday night in Hawaii if you get a chance. Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson of Miami will go for the second leg of The Sunshine State sweep this weekend at USF. Oklahoma’s Blake Bell could join the Heisman mix with a huge performance on the road against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

The Voting Panel (click name for twitter accounts):

NameOrganizationWebsiteNo. 1
Big Ten NetworkMarcus Mariota
Pac-12 NetworkJohnny Manziel
Athlon SportsJohnny Manziel
Athlon SportsMarcus Mariota
SB NationTajh Boyd
Heisman PunditMarcus Mariota
Athlon SportsMarcus Mariota
Red Raider SportsTajh Boyd
Athlon SportsTajh Boyd
TexAgsJohnny Manziel
SB Nation/Solid VerbalMarcus Mariota
Mr. SEC/WNMLMarcus Mariota
ACC Sports JournalJohnny Manziel


Post date: Monday, September 23, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-18-2013

Week 4 is almost here...

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. ()

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Wednesday, September 18th

Would this year? Check out the answer to that topic and more in Sporting News' weekly exit poll column. 

Mr. SEC takes a look at the in the SEC this year. And here's another interesting stat article on the .

could sit out Saturday's game against Colorado State. 

Syracuse coach is dealing with hay fever.

takes a look at a few SEC players off to a slow start this year.

Bill Connelly of SB Nation has a good preview of between Clemson and NC State.

Florida is expected to get offensive lineman back in the lineup against Tennessee. 

Sports Illustrated's Peter King got a good look at against Army (plenty of good insight there). 

Despite the 1-2 start, is remaining positive. 

The status of Arkansas' quarterback is uncertain this Saturday.

Quarterback is close to returning for Texas Tech.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is confident in as the starting quarterback.

Here are three things we've learned about so far this year. And a few things about .

might be the most bizarre story of the season so far.

Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 16:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-4-waiver-wire-report-2013

Still feel like you are missing a couple of pieces to solidify your roster?  Check out this weeks’ Waiver Wire

College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 4 Waiver Wire Report

Ford Childress, QB-West Virginia
Childress threw for a West Virginia freshman record 359 yards on Saturday, but more importantly, solidified himself as the Mountaineers’ starter.

Blake Bell, QB-Oklahoma
In addition to the four touchdowns Bell threw on Saturday, he passed 413 yards, which were the most passing yards by a Sooners quarterback making their first career start.

Charles Ross, RB-Rice
Ross has turned in two workhorse performances this season, totaling 46 carries for 264 yards and scoring four touchdowns for the Owls.

Shaun Wick, RB-Wyoming
Wick’s rushing numbers may not be eye-popping, but the sophomore back has totaled 314 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns in three games.

Terron Ward, RB-Oregon State
Fellow running back Storm Woods (neck) is out indefinitely and Ward will start next week when the Beavers travel to San Diego State.

James Poole, RB-Utah
Poole shouldered 25 carries for 117 yards and added another 70 yards receiving in the Utes’ 51-48 overtime loss Saturday to Oregon State. It seems as if the sophomore has overtaken Kelvin York as the starting running back. 

Sterling Shepard, WR-Oklahoma
Now that the Sooners seem to have found themselves a quarterback, Shepard seems to be the receiver we thought he would be. The sophomore receiver hauled in eight passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns against Tulsa on Saturday.

Ty Montgomery, WR-Stanford
The tight ends usually dominate the Cardinal passing game, but the 6-foot-2 receiver has caught 10 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Kevin Hogan.

Jaydon Mickens, WR-Washington
Overshadowed by running back Bishop Sankey’s early season numbers, the sophomore receiver has been hauled in one-third of quarterback Keith Price’s 51 completions for 160 yards and a touchdown in the Huskies’ first two games.

Tyreese Russell, TE-Eastern Michigan
The Eagles should be playing from behind most of the season and Russell has already snagged 19 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown.

by Joe DiSalvo,
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Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 16:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/8-outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-4-2013

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama.

Last week, I claimed Mizzou would be the last unbeaten in the SEC East, Ole Miss would beat Texas worse than BYU and that AJ McCarron would out-pass Johnny Football. So far, so good. However, I also said the Big Ten would go 4-0 against the Pac-12, Andre Williams would outgain USC and that Vanderbilt's defensive line would play better than South Carolina's. Well, the Big Ten went 1-3 in those four and USC crushed Boston College.

Here are our outrageous Week 4 College Football predictions.

Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.

Texas will start 1-3 for the first time since 1956
Mack Brown is entering a critical game against arch-nemesis Bill Snyder and Kansas State this weekend. The Wildcats have won five straight over the Longhorns dating back to 2006 and Texas is 2-7 against KSU under Brown. After uncompetitive losses to BYU and Ole Miss, there is no reason to think Snyder’s squad won’t walk into Austin and win again. This would give Texas its worst start since 1956, when Edwin Price coached the Burnt Orange to a 1-9 mark.

Jeff Driskel will complete a pass longer than 50 yards
The Gator quarterback has played in 20 games in his career for Florida and in just two of those games has he completed a pass of more than 50 yards. Both of those games came early in the 2012 season in back-to-back weeks against Kentucky and, that’s right, Tennessee. In fact, his longest career pass of 75 yards came against the Vols last year and his 219 yards passing in that game was a career high until the loss to Miami (291 yards) earlier this month. With the Vols reeling on defense, look for Driskel to have his second coming out party.

Stefon Diggs will top 300 all-purpose yards
Maryland's Diggs is one of the most explosive and versatile players in the nation. He is 13th nationally with 176.7 yards per game — 387 receiving, 38 rushing and 105 on kickoffs in three contests. The Mountaineers are 77th in the nation in covering kicks and their inflated defensive statistics will surely return to normal after playing both Diggs and emerging star quarterback C.J. Brown.

Texas A&M will score 100 points
The Aggies are third nationally with 609.3 yards per game and fourth nationally at 53.0 points per game. Johnny Manziel is likely fuming over the seven-point loss to Alabama at home last Saturday and will take it out on this week's in-state opponent SMU. Through two games, the Mustangs are ranked 105th nationally in scoring defense (35.5 ppg) and 84th in total defense (419.5 ypg). I wouldn’t want to be the Pony Express this weekend.

Both Holy War quarterbacks will top 100 yards rushing
The best-named rivalry in college football — The Holy War — takes place this weekend in Provo and it will feature two of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the nation. BYU’s Taysom Hill is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds and is fifth in the nation in rushing (150.1 ypg) at an astounding 10.8 yards per carry. Utah’s Travis Wilson is even more imposing at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds. Wilson is averaging 81.3 yards per game rushing at a 10.2-yard clip and has scored 12 total touchdowns. Best of luck to the linebackers trying to tackle nearly 500 pounds of dual-threat quarterback in this one.

Chuckie Keeton will throw more TD passes on Saturday than USC has all season
Max Wittek and Cody Kessler have completed just 43 passes in three games this season and just three of those have gone for touchdowns. Meanwhile, Keeton, Utah State’s , is averaging 3.0 TD passes per game after tossing five scoring strikes in each of the last two games. Don’t be shocked if Keeton’s right arm leads the Aggies to an upset over the Trojans.

Vad Lee will out pass Bryn Renner
North Carolina has a star quarterback with back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons under his belt and Larry Fedora calling the plays. Georgia Tech has the triple option. So how could it be that Lee would out-duel Renner? Because Vad Lee is no ordinary Paul Johnson quarterback. Lee threw four touchdown passes last week — a first for a quarterback under Johnson — only furthering the rumors that Lee is the most talented passer Johnson has ever coached. This was a 68-50 barnburner a year ago in Chapel Hill and the key Coastal Division elimination game could once again be an offensive showcase. However, it will be Lee, not Renner, who shines through the air this weekend.

Clemson won’t Clemson itself
“Clemsoning” isn’t defined by the Tigers losing marquee showdowns, it’s reserved for major upsets that everyone assume the Tigers will win. This week's visit to NC State is one of the dates many circled in the preseason as one of those potential "upset" games. But come Thursday night, Clemson will dominate. Two years ago, the last time Clemson played in Raleigh, the Wolfpack upset Clemson 37-13 after the Tigers had started the year 8-0. This one is too early in the year, the Tigers are coming off a bye and hung 62 points on NC State last season.

Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 16:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-post-week-3-heisman-trophy-voting-2013

Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's foremost college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five, and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, and so on. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.

The Game of the Century this past weekend featured not one, but two Heisman Trophy-caliber quarterbacks. And while Johnny Manziel likely proved he is the most unstoppable player in the nation, he didn't lead his team to victory like AJ McCarron did — who was one of this week's biggest movers. That said, however, it was another quarterback who torched an SEC defense last week that now sits atop the Heisman voting.

Post-Week 3 Voting Results:

1.(2)Marcus MariotaQBOregon536412-
2.(1)Tajh BoydQBClemson50355--
3.(5)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M474431-
4.(4)Todd GurleyRBGeorgia12--141
5.(11)AJ McCarronQBAlabama8--21-
6t.(3)Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville7--12-
6t.(ur)Brett HundleyQBUCLA7---15
8.(6)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St5---13
9.(8)Jadeveon ClowneyDESouth Carolina3----3
10.(ur)Chuckie KeetonQBUtah St2---1-
11.(ur)Keith PriceQBWashington1----1

Heisman Headlines:

Super Mariota. The Oregon Ducks star quarterback is now atop the Heisman voting. Marcus Mariota threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns on 69.7-percent passing and nary a turnover in Oregon's cakewalk win over SEC member Tennessee. He’s fourth nationally in total offense per game (383.7), has accounted for 11 touchdowns and hasn’t thrown an interception since Nov. 17, 2012.

The Top 3. Are we starting to finally see some separation in the Heisman race? Following the third week, three names stand well ahead of the rest of the nation. Mariota (53 points), Tajh Boyd (50) and Johnny Manziel (47) took 150 of the possible 195 voting points and each got first-place votes. Todd Gurley is fourth in the voting with a measly 12 points.

Manziel vs. McCarron. One quarterback had better numbers, one team won the game on the road and one team is the two-time defending champion. But AJ McCarron can’t seem to overcome the highlight-reel factor Johnny Manziel brings to the table as voters jumped back on Johnny Heisman’s bandwagon. However, McCarron outplayed Manziel in College Station as he basically had run-pass options at the line the entire game — meaning Nick Saban let his QB call the game — while Manziel made two critical mistakes. Bama has yet to play at home this season and already has two quality wins, so for McCarron to be on just three of 13 ballots seems a tad ridiculous.

No Braxton. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller entered the season as the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy. After a sprained MCL in Week 1, Urban Meyer has decided to play it cautiously with his signal-caller. Kenny Guiton started against Cal last weekend and was excellent. Had Miller gotten those 276 yards passing, 92 yards rushing and four total touchdowns, fans can bet he would still be on Heisman ballots everywhere.

West Coast Love. The three new faces in the Athlon Sports Heisman ballot are all quarterbacks from the West Coast. Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton, Washington’s Keith Price and UCLA’s Brett Hundley all got votes following their performances over the weekend. Keeton will play at USC this weekend while Price makes his second appearance in the voting after a second straight quality win. Hundley was arguably the player of the week nationally for his performance against Nebraska in Lincoln.

Dropped Out. Miller, Devin Gardner, Lache Seastrunk and Bryce Petty dropped from the rankings this week. Interestingly, Miller and the two Baylor Bears didn’t play a snap this past weekend. Gardner turned the ball over four times and nearly lost to Akron at home. This voting panel is a tough crowd.

The Voting Panel (click name for twitter accounts):

NameOrganizationWebsiteNo. 1
Big Ten NetworkMarcus Mariota
Pac-12 NetworkJohnny Manziel
Athlon SportsJohnny Manziel
Athlon SportsMarcus Mariota
SB NationTajh Boyd
Heisman PunditMarcus Mariota
Athlon SportsMarcus Mariota
Red Raider SportsTajh Boyd
Athlon SportsTajh Boyd
TexAgsJohnny Manziel
SB Nation/Solid VerbalJohnny Manziel
Mr. SEC/WNMLMarcus Mariota
ACC Sports JournalMarcus Mariota


Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 16:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-big-ten-college-football-stats-week-3-2013
True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether its a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Big Ten to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference.
4-for-4 for 28: Ohio State turns four fourth-down conversions into 28 points
Ohio State was successful on all four fourth-down attempts against host California Saturday, turning all four conversions into scores. All four were successful fourth-and-1 conversions.
Two of them were direct scores on fourth down as Kenny Guiton found Chris Fields for a one-yard TD pass in the first quarter. Jordan Hall scored from the one-yard line in the second quarter. The next two conversions led to scores as Guiton’s 33-yard run to the five-yard line setup Hall’s second one-yard score, and a Hall six-yard rush kept a drive alive in the third that turned into a Guiton-to-Corey Brown six-yard TD pass five plays later. 
The Buckeyes also tacked on a 39-yard field goal from Drew Basil on fourth-and-14 in the first quarter.
15 and 7:44: Iowa’s longest drive of the season is game winner over rival Iowa State
A one-yard touchdown run from Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock in the fourth quarter not only capped off the longest drive of the season for the Hawkeyes but also helped them claim the Cy-Hawk trophy with a 27-21 win against rival Iowa State Saturday.
Rudock’s touchdown was the last for Iowa as it built a 27-7 lead and survived a late rally by the Cyclones. The 73-yard drive lasted 15 plays and 7:44 — both season highs for the Hawkeyes — and consisted of two third-down conversions and 14 run plays for 67 yards, including Rudock’s one-yard score on third-and-goal.
4-for-6… kind of: Michigan State’s Calhoun comes up with fourth turnover of the season turned into Spartan points 
Michigan State defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun did not get his fourth touchdown of the season, but his play did lead to an immediate score during the Spartans’ 55-17 rout of visiting Youngstown State Saturday.
Calhoun, who entered the day sixth in scoring in the Big Ten after returning two fumbles and an interception for scores, was held off of the scoreboard but did get his nation-leading third fumble recovery of the season. His recovery late in the second quarter at the Youngstown State 24 was instantly followed by a Connor Cook-to-Macgarrett Kings 24-yard touchdown pass, and 28-10 lead.
14:35-:25: Michigan State possesses the ball for all but 25 seconds in fourth quarter
Youngstown State did not even get any garbage-time production in the fourth quarter during its 55-17 loss to Michigan State Saturday, thanks to the Spartans possessing the ball for 14:35 of the final 15 minutes.
Following a 16-play, 77-yard, 8:58 drive — all game-highs — which ended with a Kevin Muma 20-yard field goal, the Spartans recovered the ensuing kickoff. They used four plays and 2:11 to turn the fumble into another Muma three-pointer — this one from 22. MSU followed by forcing a 25-second three-and-out and milked the final 4:57 of the game with eight plays.
Altogether, the Spartans held on to the ball for 25:30 of the second half after Youngstown State was ahead 16:21-13:39 in the first half.
80 for 21: Three consecutive 80-yard scoring drives spark Indiana rout
Indiana scored on three 80-yard drives in four possessions Saturday to turn a four-point lead into a 32-point win as the Hoosiers defeated visiting Bowling Green 42-10.
From the 4:54 mark of the second quarter to the 14:23 mark of the fourth quarter (20:31), IU ran 21 plays for 244 yards — only a two-play, four-yard drive to run out the first half interrupting the scoring streak — and 21 points. The Hoosiers averaged just over two minutes on each of the scoring drives, scoring from the 8, 33 and 1.
Four of the Hoosiers’ final five scoring drives were for at least 73 yards. Preceding the three straight 80-yard drives was an eight-play, 73-yard drive that was finished off by a Kofi Hughes eight-yard touchdown catch from Nate Sudfeld to retake the lead and begin the 35-0 run.
Despite five scoring drives of at least 73 yards, Indiana was still on the wrong end of time of possession as Bowling Green won that battle 35:13-24:47.
22 in 10: Minnesota’s 10-minute, 22-point spurt helps fend off Western Illinois upset bid
A touchdown, four punts, a fumble and an end-of-the-half kneel down is how Minnesota offense spent the first 39:08 of its game against visiting Western Illinois Saturday. Then the next 10:23 happened. 
The result was three straight touchdown drives for the Gophers and 22 unanswered points to comeback from a 12-7 second-half deficit against the Leathernecks. Minnesota converted third-and-1s on back-to-back scoring drives after having gone 2-of-6 on the money down previously.
0-for-6: Cornhuskers’ struggles on third down lead to second-half implosion 
Nebraska’s second-half collapse and eventual 41-21 loss against visiting UCLA Saturday came in part to their performance on third downs in the second half. 
Holding a 21-10 lead at halftime, Nebraska converted just one third down in the second half — an eight-yard pass from Taylor Martinez to Jake Long on third-and-6 on the opening possession. The drive eventually stalled three plays later on a Martinez incompletion.
It kicked off an 0-for-6 finish on third down in the final 27:02 of the game, which included Martinez going 0-for-3 passing, a nine-yard loss on a sack and his eight-yard rush on the Cornhuskers’ longest third down of the second half — third-and-11. Altogether, Nebraska faced an average of third-and-7 in the second half and came away with zero yards.
They were 3-for-14 on third down for the entire game, including 2-of-7 in the first half for 28 yards on an average of third-and-7.9.
151 for 8 for 51: No team has faced more passes in the nation and collected more interceptions in the nation than Northwestern.
In three games, the Wildcats have seen 151 attempts and picked off eight of them. Northwestern saw 41 attempts against Western Michigan, 45 against Syracuse and 65 against California. 
The Wildcats have either scored on or converted seven of the eight interceptions into scoring drives for 51 of their 130 points.
In Saturday’s 38-17 win over Western Michigan, it was Ibraheim Campbell collecting Northwestern’s eighth pick of the season — and his fifth straight game with an interception. 
Campbell’s interception against the Broncos was converted into a score seven plays later, as QB Kain Colter scored on a four-yard rush. The four interceptions against Syracuse led to two five-play scoring drives and a three-play TD drive. Collin Ellis returned two of the three against Cal for scores, and Campbell’s pick against the Bears led to a 91-yard TD drive.
507 and 34: The 507 yards of offense and the 34 points Central Florida gained against Penn State Saturday were both rare allotments from a Nittany Lions defense. 
The 507 yards was the most allowed in a regular season game since Michigan State gained 542 in a 42-37 Penn State win on Nov. 24, 2001.
The 34 points allowed were the most in a non-conference home game since PSU joined the Big Ten. Miami scored 33 in a 33-7 win to open the 2001 season, and was also the last non-conference opponent to post more than 500 yards against Penn State (602).
2: Nineteen years after its first game at Soldier Field, Illinois took to the Chicago Bears’ home field to play host to another Washington team. Both games resulted in defeats.
On Saturday it was a 34-24 loss to Washington. On Sept. 1, 1994, it was a 10-9 loss to Washington State — Illinois' first college game in then 70-year history of Soldier Field.
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/amazing-pac-12-college-football-stats-week-3-2013
True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether its a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Pac-12 to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference.
Sean Mannion18: Red zone perfection remains for Oregon State in overtime victory
Oregon State remained a perfect 18-for-18 in the red zone after its 51-48 overtime win at Utah Saturday — the first win for the Beavers in Salt Lake City since 1968.
Twenty-two FBS teams are perfect in the red zone this season, but OSU’s 18 appearances are the most. The Beavers have scored 11 passing touchdowns, three rushing and kicked four field goals inside the 20. They were 6-for-6 in the Utah win, scoring four passing touchdowns and two field goals.
8: UCLA’s Hundley outduels Nebraska’s Martinez in the second half — again
It has been a tale of two halves in the last two meetings between UCLA and Nebraska. And just like last year, it was the second half that was the difference maker for the Bruins.
In Saturday’s 41-21 victory in Lincoln — including 38 unanswered points — Bruins’ QB Brett Hundley bounced back from a 7-of-15 first half to go 8-of-8 for 143 and three touchdown passes in the second half. Hundley also completed eight second-half passes in last year’s 36-30 win. As a freshman, he was 8-of-14 for 104 yards in the second half, and his last pass was the game-winner with 2:13 left in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Cornhuskers’ QB Taylor Martinez has faltered in the second half both times. On Saturday, Martinez was 5-of-6 for 25 yards on the first drive of the second half (ending in a punt from the UCLA 41) before finishing 4-of-13 for 56 yards and three carries for one yard. In 2012, Martinez was 4-for-14 in the second half with 30 yards passing — completing no passes in the Huskers’ last six possessions — and 11 yards rushing. 
UCLA has combined to outscore Nebraska 43-6 in the second half of the last two meetings. 
22: Time of possession just a number for Oregon offense
It does not take long for Oregon to be one of the best scoring teams in the nation. While the Ducks are second in the nation in scoring (61.3) and yards per game (672), they are last in the FBS in time of possession at just 22 minutes a game. Being third in the nation in turnover margin certainly helps as Oregon has seven turnovers gained to none lost.
The Ducks have had 43 possessions, scored on 29 of them — 26 TDs, three field goals — and no scoring drive has taken longer than 3:15. No drive has taken longer than Oregon’s last one on Saturday — a 4:25 possession that ended in a punt while already leading Tennessee 59-14 with 2:46 left in the game. The Ducks have scored at least eight touchdowns for a third straight week.
USC32: From Marcus to Madden as USC running back has historic day
USC running back Tre Madden became the first Trojan to start a season with three straight 100-yard rushing games in 32 years.
The sophomore ran for 102 yards and his first-ever touchdown in USC’s 35-7 home win against Boston College, to go along with games of 151 and 109, making him the first Trojan back to open a season with three century games since Marcus Allen’s 1981 Heisman Trophy season. Allen, who wore No. 32, eclipsed 200 yards in his first five games.
200: Welcome to the Huskies’ 200-club, Sankey
Bishop Sankey rushed for a career-high 208 yards on 35 carries in Washington’s 34-24 win over Illinois at Soldier Field, and entered an exclusive UW club.
Sankey’s second 200-yard performance in three games — he had 205 in December’s MAACO Bowl Las Vegas — and joined Napoleon Kaufman, Corey Dillon and Louis Rankin as the only Huskies to rush for 200 yards in a game more than once. Kaufman accomplished the feat three times in the 90s, Dillon twice in 1996 and Rankin twice in 2007.
The chances Sankey goes 3-for-4 and joins Kaufman this week might be tough as UW faces Idaho State and its FCS third-best rushing defense (63.5 YPG).
3: Cardinal the best-behaved team in the nation
Stanford is the least penalized team in the nation through its first two games. The Cardinal have committed just three penalties for 40 yards. 
Stanford received a 15-yard facemask penalty on offense Saturday against Army but still scored a TD on the following play. In the opener against San Jose State, the Cardinal was hit with a 15-yard pass interference and a 10-yard holding penalty. The Spartans went on to score on both flagged drives.
Arizona State is just behind Stanford with four penalties in two games, and the Sun Devils lead the nation with just 20 penalty yards. That’s the third-best start for ASU since 2006.
438.7 and 99.7: Pac-12 teams lead nation in passing and pass defense
Oregon State and California lead the nation in passing with identical 438.7 yards per game averages over the first three games. Both teams have passed for 1,316 yards. The Beavers are 99-of-138 with an interception; the Bears are 104-of-169 with four picks. 
On the pass defense side of the ball, Washington State is the only FBS team holding opponents under 100 yards per game in the air (99.7). The Cougars have allowed the opposition 299 yards on 43-of-71 passing in the first three games.
1-2: Cal, Oregon State quarterbacks are FBS’ most productive
California quarterback Jared Goff and Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion are 1-2 in the nation in total offense per game, passing yards per game, completions.
Goff is tops in total offense (429.7), passing yards per game (435.3) and completions (103). Mannion is averaging 404 yards per game of total offense, 412.3 in passing yards per game and has 95 completions.
15: Wildcats have reached the end zone in all but one quarter
Arizona has scored a touchdown in 15 of 16 quarters in each of its three games this season, and scored in all 16 quarters.
The Wildcats have scored 17 touchdowns — five in the first quarter, six in the second, three in the third and three in the fourth. Quarterback B.J. Denker has been a part of all five first-quarter scores — two TD passes and three TD runs — as Arizona has outscored its opponents 38-3 in the first quarter.
The only non-touchdown quarter was in the third against UNLV last week with Jake Smith’s 29-yard field goal being the only points in the 15-minute span.
3: A rare postponement for Buffaloes’ program
The postponement of Saturday’s Colorado-Fresno State game due to flooding in Colorado is the third football game in CU history to be postponed. 
A 1963 game with Air Force in Colorado Springs was delayed two weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Buffaloes were scheduled to play at Washington State in 2001, but the 9-11 terrorist attacks postponed all games. The CU-WSU game was eventually made up in 2004 in Seattle.
Colorado lost the Air Force game, 17-14, and won the Washington State game, 20-12.
Arizona State21: Sun Devils enjoy having FBS’ stingiest first-down defense for now
Arizona State has surrendered an FBS-best 21 first downs — eight on the ground, 13 through the air and none via penalty — through two games.  
Granted, 15 of them came during Saturday’s wild 32-30 win over Wisconsin, it was the 15th one that made the difference in the win. Joel Stave’s kneel down with 15 seconds left in the game on first-and-10 from the ASU 13 was the play that the clock expired on.
The Sun Devils held Sacramento State to six first downs in the season-opening, 55-0 shutout. Five of the Hornets first downs came on its opening drive. 
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/byu-utah-announce-two-game-series-2013

The Beehive State is overjoyed as BYU and the University of Utah have agreed to a home-and-home series for 2017 and 2018. Under the new contract, the Cougars will play in Provo on Sept. 9, 2017 and in Salt Lake City on Nov. 24, 2018. BYU and Utah will now play the Deseret First Duel four times in the next six years — 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

It was previously announced BYU and Utah would not play in 2014 or 2015, ending a 67-year straight "Holy War" matchup. While games were scheduled for 2013 and 2016, the future of this tense rivalry was up in the air, as conference realignment has complicated things for the two schools. Since BYU officially began playing football in 1922, the Cougars and Utes have played 88 times. Utah holds the overall series record of 53-31-4.

Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/syracuse-names-terrel-hunt-starting-qb-against-tulane-2013

Sophomore Terrel Hunt will make his first start at quarterback for Syracuse on Saturday against Tulane in the Carrier Dome. Scott Shafer's decision comes on the heels of the Orange's 54-0 blowout of Wagner, in which Hunt relieved starter Drew Allen and completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Hunt has been incredibly effective this year, leading Syracuse to touchdowns on each of his seven series. While Allen will likely see some playing time against the Green Wave, the job appears to be Hunt's moving forward.

guiding five first-half touchdown drives to carry the Orange to a 54-0 rout of FCS foe Wagner at home. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. - See more at: guiding five first-half touchdown drives to carry the Orange to a 54-0 rout of FCS foe Wagner at home. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.  guiding five first-half touchdown drives to carry the Orange to a 54-0 rout of FCS foe Wagner at home. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. guiding five first-half touchdown drives to carry the Orange to a 54-0 rout of FCS foe Wagner at home. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
ophomore Terrel Hunt will start at quarterback for Syracuse on Saturday against Tulane in the Carrier Dome. - See more at:
Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-4-episode-4-2013

In the Week 4 episode of the Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast, co-hosts Braden Gall and David Fox recap the key developments of Week 3 and take a quick look ahead at Week 4.

In this week’s podcast:

• The final score may have been unpredictable, but the way Alabama and Texas A&M got to 49-42 was by the numbers for the Tide. Braden wants to know if A&M is still in the title race, but David is having none of it. As for Alabama, should Ole Miss and LSU see signs of weakness?

• After assessing blame in the fiasco at the end of Arizona State's win over Wisconsin, we take a look at the Sun Devils' important matchup this week against Stanford.

• Nebraska's defense fell apart, but what does that mean for Bo Pelini? Braden sees a repeat of past games for the Huskers, but David is entertaining the possibility that UCLA is just that good.

• Auburn-LSU is the more interesting SEC matchup this week, but the two hosts take a second to talk about Braden's alma mater (Tennessee) facing David's (Florida).

• In this week's rapid fire, we ask which of the Big Ten losing teams from last week have the best chance of getting to the Rose Bowl, potential for crazy in Week 4 and a hypothetical for Urban Meyer.
The podcast can be found on, and .

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.

Thanks to for sharing their tunes for bumper music. Their new album Mountains Beaches Cities is now available.

Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:31
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NC State Wolfpack, SEC
Path: /college-football/8-outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-3-2013

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama.

Who would have thought NC State would have converted on four fourth-downs to hand Florida State it's first and only ACC loss of the year last fall? Did anyone see Oregon scoring just 14 points at home and losing to Stanford? Who picked Baylor to beat undefeated Kansas State by four touchdowns? What about two years ago, when Wisconsin basically missed a shot at the national championship game because of not one but two Hail Mary's and Oklahoma State missed out because of a road loss to Iowa State?

Certainly, no one picked a three-star recruit-turned-redshirt freshman quarterback from Texas A&M to win the Heisman Trophy?

With that in mind, here are out our outrageous Week 3 College Football predictions.

Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.

Missouri will be the last unbeaten in the SEC East
This one is sort of a layup, but had anyone uttered the above statement in the preseason they would have been laughed out of the room. Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all have lost in marquee showdowns with quality opponents while Vanderbilt and Kentucky lost to Ole Miss and Western Kentucky already, respectively. That leaves Tennessee and Mizzou left unbeaten in the SEC East. And since the Volunteers are heading west to Eugene to face Oregon this weekend and the Tigers are off, Gary Pinkel's squad will be the final unbeaten SEC East team entering the fourth weekend of the season.

Ole Miss will have more yards against Texas than BYU
The Cougars produced 679 yards of total offense last week against Texas, including a school record for both the BYU offense and the Texas defense with 550 rushing yards. Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and hired in-house analyst Greg Robinson, but don't expect a dramatically different outcome this weekend. Ole Miss comes to town with a load of playmakers, a great offensive scheme and tons of confidence. The Rebels rolled up 489 yards of offense on the road in the season opener against an SEC defense before hanging 532 yards on poor little Southeast Missouri State last week. This was a game that featured 97 total points and 1,075 total yards of offense last year in Oxford. Expect much of the same this weekend.

AJ McCarron will out-pass Johnny Manziel
To show how outlandish this one is, Manziel enters the game with 520 yards passing in six quarters while his roommate at the Manning Passing Academy has just 110 yards in four. Of course, this says nothing of broken-play, Houdini rushing yards Manziel will have to create in order to defeat Alabama, but, through the air, McCarron will have the better day in College Station. This after McCarron's worst game of his career on offense against Virginia Tech (10 of 23). While Bama has one of the best defenses in the nation, the Aggies have been on their heels defensively against the likes of Rice and Sam Houston State. Texas A&M ranks 94th on that side of the ball at 449.5 yards allowed per game and has given up 59 points in two games. Look for Amari Cooper and Co. to find plenty of space in the Texas A&M secondary this weekend.

The Big Ten will go 4-0 against the Pac-12
The Pac-12 is the better league both at the top and in the middle of the league as compared to the Big Ten. Yet, after this weekend, the Big Ten could have Rose Bowl-esque bragging rights. Ohio State's defense will be tested by Jared Goff and Cal but should win handily in Berkeley. Nebraska has enough offensive firepower to take advantage of UCLA's rebuilt secondary at home in Lincoln despite its own defensive short-comings. Wisconsin, the three-time defending Big Ten champion, has the most daunting task by heading southwest to Tempe, but it has yet to allow a point in back-to-back six-touchdown blowouts to start the year. Not to mention the Badgers' back-to-back games with thee different 100-yard rushers. And Illinois' neutral site bout with Washington in Chicago has gotten dramatically more interesting as Illini offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and quarteback Nathan Scheelhaase appear to be perfectly suited for one another. Don't be that shocked if the Big Ten goes unbeaten against the Pac-12 this weekend.

Andre Williams will outgain the entire USC offense
USC should should score more points than Boston College this weekend, but the Eagles running back likely will be the most productive offensive player on the field. Williams has rushed for 318 yards — good for third in the nation — and two touchdowns on 58 carries in two games for BC. USC has a total 557 yards of offense in two games, making them the 115th-rated unit in the nation. Both the Eagles (300.5 ypg, 29th nationally) and Trojans (226.5 ypg, 11th) are salty on defense and will be on display in what should be yet another low-scoring, ugly affair. Williams could be the difference.

Lane Kiffin will burn Max Browne's redshirt
This one will be on this list for the entire season — or until it happens. Max Wittek and Cody Kessler are clearly not getting the job done for one of the worst passing offenses in the nation — ranked 114th nationally (113.0 ypg). Max Browne was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the nation last cycle and is being redshirted. But should the Trojans lose to Boston College at home to start the year 1-2, Browne could be forced into action much sooner than anticipated.

Paul Richardson will top 200 yards for the third straight game
The Colorado Buffaloes have taken to new coach Mike MacIntrye's system in short order. Richardson, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, has posted two career games in a row after 208 yards on 10 receptions against Colorado State in Week 1 and 209 yards on 11 catches last week against Central Arkansas. The Buffs will face Fresno State, a team that ranks 109th in scoring defense after allowing 76 points to Rutgers and Cal Poly. There could easily be 1,000 total yards and 100 total points scored in this one. Don't look away.

Vanderbilt will have more sacks than South Carolina
Yes, that includes Jadeveon Clowney. The loser of the Vanderbilt-South Carolina game in Columbia this weekend will start the year in an 0-2 SEC hole. And offensive line play will be huge. The Carolina defensive line might be the best in the nation, despite giving up big yards to a powerful Georgia, but it is the Commodores who lead the SEC in sacks (fourth nationally) after two games. The Dores have eight sacks thus far with four coming against rising SEC contender Ole Miss in the opener. On the flip side, Vandy's offensive line has allowed just one QB sack this season, good for eighth nationally. Could the Commodores' D-Line out-play the Gamecocks' D-Line?

Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 09:03
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans
Path: /college-football/usc-or-texas-will-either-team-turn-their-season-around-2013

Through two weeks of the college football season, USC and Texas might be the nation’s biggest disappointments.

The Longhorns were dominated by BYU last Saturday, allowing the Cougars to rush for 550 yards in a 40-21 defeat. As a result of the poor showing in Provo, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired, and former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson will call the plays this Saturday against Ole Miss.

USC’s defense is one of the best in the Pac-12, but the offense is a disaster. The Trojans recorded only 54 passing yards against Washington State and had two costly turnovers.

It’s only Week 2, so there’s plenty of time to turn things around. However, Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin are running out of time. And considering both teams face tough opponents in Week 3, it may get worse before it gets better.

USC or Texas: Will Either Team Turn Their Season Around?

Steven Lassan ()
Even though both USC and Texas are coming off bad showings in Week 2 losses, there’s still plenty of time for a rebound. It’s only Week 3 after all. And I do find it odd that both programs are experiencing problems with a side of the ball that’s traditionally been a strength. I give Texas a slight edge over USC to have a chance to salvage its season. The offense was the Longhorns’ biggest question mark going into the season, but this unit is averaging 7.4 yards per play, and quarterback David Ash is off to a good start (62.9 completion percentage and 594 yards). Texas’ schedule isn’t going to get any easier with Ole Miss and Kansas State visiting Austin the next two weeks, but the rest of the Big 12 is still wide open. And Oklahoma State – the frontrunner for the conference title – has to visit Texas on Nov. 16. The late-season matchup should give Mack Brown and Greg Robinson plenty of time to fix a few of the issues on defense. I wouldn’t totally sell USC at this point, especially with one of the Pac-12’s best defenses. However, the quarterback play may not get much better.

Braden Gall ()
Both teams have loads of talent in the starting 22 and both teams could make quick turnarounds and make the postseason. That said, I lean towards Texas for a variety of reasons. First, the Longhorns roster is dramatically deeper and Texas appears to have a functioning offense, two things USC lacks in a big way. Second, a road loss to a very good and well-coached BYU is much easier to swallow than an atrocious home loss to a Washington State team that didn't score an offensive touchdown. Third, the Big 12 is a significantly more wide open and therefore easier league to win than a conference with Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington. Finally, Mack Brown is much more of a proven commodity than Lane Kiffin as Brown's resume is substantially more impressive than Kiffin. All signs point to Texas bouncing back and still contending while the Men of Troy look doomed in 2013.

David Fox ()
Can I say neither? Both seem fairly doomed. For Texas, this is two years of dreadful run defense. Maybe a change will help, but one coach isn’t the cause of a 550-yard outburst. And now the offense is dealing with injuries. USC’s quarterback situation is a mess. What has to happen for freshman Max Browne to get a chance? After deciding to redshirt Browne, does USC even want to go down that road? I don’t see either of the situations at USC or Texas getting a quick fix unless something drastic happens. If the bulk of the Big 12 is evenly matched or better than Texas right now, and if USC can’t beat Washington State at home despite allowing no defensive touchdowns, what hope do either have to finish the season with seven or eight wins?

Nathan Rush
Texas. The Big 12 remains wide open. Oklahoma State has a black cloud hanging over the program, which could derail a promising Pokes team. Oklahoma has quarterback issues and "Big Game Bob" Stoops' nickname has turned from deferential to sarcastic. A Red River Rivalry win — which would be the first for UT since 2009 — would turn the Horns' season around, at least as far as Burnt Orange Nation and Texas Exes are concerned. But even that might not be enough. After the OU game, Texas' shaky defense has to face TCU, West Virginia, O-State, Texas Tech and Baylor. The lone cupcake down the stretch is Kansas, a team the Horns struggled to beat 21–17 last season.

Stephen Schindler ()
I’d say neither, but if forced to pick one, give me the Texas Longhorns. While I don’t agree with Mack Brown’s decision to let go of Manny Diaz, I do trust the longtime Texas coach over the underwhelming Kiffin. At least the Texas offense will put some points on the board and keep things competitive. Texas does have five games left against ranked teams to the Trojans three, but the quality of coaching and instability at quarterback leads me to believe that USC is more likely to continue its losing ways. 

Related College Football Content

Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 09:01
Path: /nfl/nfl-power-rankings-week-1

1. 49ers (1-0) By land or by air, Colin Kaepernick owns Green Bay.

2. Broncos (1-0) Peyton Manning throws seven TDs in opening win.

3. Saints (1-0) Sean Payton marches back victorious in N’Awlins.

4. Seahawks (1-0) Russell Wilson rallies Hawks with big fourth quarter.

5. Packers (0-1) Clay Matthews lays late hit in loss at San Fran.

6. Texans (1-0) Shock Chargers with 21-point comeback victory.

7. Patriots (1-0) Tom Brady improves to 20–2 all-time vs. Buffalo.

8. Falcons (0-1) Roddy White limited by ankle injury in loss at Saints.

9. Eagles (1-0) Chip Kelly debuts high-flying Philly offense in win.

10. Bears (1-0) Marc Trestman’s play-calling impresses Jay Cutler.

11. Cowboys (1-0) Finally beat Big Blue at $1.2 billion stadium in Big D.

12. Giants (0-1) Six turnovers, no run game results in loss at Dallas.

13. Redskins (0-1) RG3 rusty in first game back from knee surgery.

14. Bengals (0-1) A.J. Green says Charles Tillman “one of the best.”

15. Ravens (0-1) Jacoby Jones out 4-6 weeks with sprained MCL.

16. Colts (1-0) Andrew Luck leads eighth comeback win of career.

17. Titans (1-0) Year starts with fluke safety on opening kick return.

18. Steelers (0-1) Maurkice Pouncey out for season with knee injury.

19. Chiefs (1-0) Andy Reid era starts with a bang in Jacksonville.

20. Chargers (0-1) Philip Rivers “sick” that Bolts unable to beat Texans.

21. Lions (1-0) Eminem, Brent Musburger both happy with big win.

22. Vikings (0-1) Adrian Peterson scores 78-yard TD on first carry.

23. Rams (1-0) Defeat Cards on 48-yard FG with 40 seconds left.

24. Cardinals (0-1) Palmer-to-Fitzgerald connect for two TDs in loss.

25. Dolphins (1-0) Mike Wallace unhappy with role despite victory.

26. Panthers (0-1) Cam Newton quiet (125 pass yards, TD) in defeat.

27. Raiders (0-1) Terrelle Pryor breaks team QB rushing record in loss.

28. Bills (0-1) Fall to 1–19 in last 20 meetings with New England.

29. Jets (1-0) Mark Sanchez to seek second opinion on shoulder.

30. Buccaneers (0-1) Late hit out of bounds sets up game-winner for Jets.

31. Browns (0-1) Have lost 14-of-15 season openers since returning.

32. Jaguars (0-1) Blaine Gabbert ruled out for Week 2 at Oakland.

Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 19:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans
Path: /college-football/lane-kiffin-picks-cody-kessler-qb-will-uscs-offense-improve-2013

USC’s offense has struggled mightily through the first two games of the season. The Trojans are averaging just 278.5 yards per game and only four yards per play.

Quarterback play is at the root of USC’s problems, as neither Cody Kessler or Max Wittek have done enough to secure the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Kessler has thrown for 136 yards and one touchdown in two games, while Wittek is just 8 of 18 for 90 yards and one interception.

And after Saturday’s offensive debacle against Washington State, it was clear coach Lane Kiffin had to do something about the quarterback play. Instead of going into the week with uncertainty under center, Kiffin – announcing via YouTube – has picked Kessler as his starting quarterback for this Saturday’s game against Boston College.

Kessler reportedly outplayed Wittek throughout fall camp, so it was a bit of a surprise to not see the sophomore named as the No. 1 quarterback before the opener.

Will it make a difference? Maybe. But Kiffin also needs to open up the offense and allow Kessler to take some shots down the field. USC’s quarterbacks are averaging just 4.5 yards per attempt this season. For a team that has weapons like Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor at receiver, the Trojans have to be more aggressive.

There’s still plenty of time for Kiffin to turn things around at USC, but the Trojans are running out of time. Boston College is improving, and Utah State will give USC all it can handle in two weeks. After playing Utah State, the Trojans play at Arizona State for their second Pac-12 game.

If Kessler can stabilize the quarterback situation, USC’s defense is good enough to win eight or nine games this year.


Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:00