Articles By Athlon Sports

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
Path: /nfl/fantasy-football-2013-waiver-wire-week-2

Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season is complete and the coaching staffs and the players aren’t the only ones taking a closer look at the initial results. Fantasy football general managers everywhere are undoubtedly scratching their heads over some of the things that transpired while also looking to their league’s waiver wire for answers.

Athlon Sports is here to help. The players listed in Athlon’s weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players worth grabbing.


Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Bradford took a step forward last season when he threw for 3,702 yards and posted a respectable 21:13 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Rams brought in even more weapons for their fourth-year quarterback during the offseason, and if the early results are any indication, it could be a big year for the No.1 overall pick of the 2010 draft. Bradford had 299 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception in Sunday’s 27-24 victory over Arizona. He connected with seven different receivers, as new weapons tight end Jared Cook and wide receiver Tavon Austin led the way with a combined 13 catches for 182 yards and two scores. It’s just one game, but certainly a promising start for someone still available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Cutler’s numbers weren’t extraordinary (242 yds., 2 TDs, INT), but perhaps the most important thing is he wasn’t sacked once by a Bengals defense that finished second in the NFL in that category last season. If the offensive line continues to afford Cutler that kind of protection, expect his numbers to go up, especially with tight end Martellus Bennett (3 rec., 49 yds., TD) and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (5-42-0) around to help Brandon Marshall (8-104-1) and Matt Forte (91 total yards, TD) carry the load.

Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
Make no mistake, the Raiders probably won’t win many games this season, but if Pryor can continue to put up 300 yards of total offense on a weekly basis, he will maintain fantasy relevancy. Yes, Pryor threw two picks against Indianapolis, but it’s his dual-threat ability that’s appealing, especially the 112 yards rushing he had against the Colts on just 13 carries. If you are going to take a chance on Pryor this week would be as good as any with Jacksonville on tap.

Running Backs

Joique Bell, Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush (191 total yards, TD) stole the show, but it was Bell who scored two touchdowns on the ground and also had five catches for 67 yards. Bush is the clear-cut No. 1 option, but he also got a little banged up on Sunday and in the Lions’ pass-happy offense (43 pass attempts by Matthew Stafford vs. the Vikings), there’s room for a guy like Bell. Don’t forget last season that Bell caught 52 passes and averaged five yards per carry. If anything, Bell is worthy of handcuff consideration for Bush owners.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
C.J. Spiller is the lead back, but it was the veteran Jackson who was more effective against New England on Sunday. Jackson out-rushed Spiller (67 yards to 41) and also did more damage in the passing game (4 rec., 41 yds. compared to Spiller’s 5, 14). Spiller is certainly more explosive and carries more upside, but if the Bills run the ball 34 times per game like they did against the Patriots and also give their running backs double-digit targets, then the opportunities should be there for both Spiller and Jackson to produce for fantasy owners.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball is the first-round pick, but until he gains the coaching staff’s (and Peyton Manning’s) trust when it comes to blocking assignments, his workload figures to be limited. Case in point on Thursday night when it was Moreno and not Ball or Ronnie Hillman who led the Broncos with nine carries. Moreno gained a total of 28 yards on those carries, but he also had three receptions for 37 yards. Thursday night showed just how explosive this Broncos offense can be, so if Moreno’s the back who continues to get the most carries, he figures to be the one with the most fantasy potential too.

Da’Rel Scott, New York Giants
Poor David Wilson. Another season opener, more fumbles and another seat on the bench. It took Wilson a while to escape Tom Coughlin’s doghouse last season, and although Andre Brown’s injury helps his case, it looks like the second-year running back could already be on a short leash this season too. Enter Scott, who was tabbed Wilson’s backup following Brown’s injury. Scott had just 23 yards rushing against Dallas on Sunday night, but he added five catches for 51 yards, while Wilson had just 19 yards rushing on seven carries. If Wilson stays in Coughlin’s bad graces, someone has to take the handoffs from Eli Manning, and for now that someone appears to be Scott.

Wide Receivers

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Percy Harvin’s injury opened the door for another Seahawk wide receiver to step through, and Baldwin took full advantage of the opportunity on Sunday. Russell Wilson posted his first career 300-yard passing game, as Baldwin led the way with seven catches for 91 yards. Baldwin also led the team with eight targets, while starters Golden Tate and Sidney Rice combined for six receptions on 10 total targets. Wilson probably won’t throw for 300 yards every game, especially with San Francisco next up on the schedule, but Baldwin is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Jacoby Jones is out four to six weeks with a knee injury, presenting Brown with a golden opportunity. The undrafted rookie from Georgia impressed during the preseason and carried that over to his first NFL game. Following Jones’ freak injury, Brown caught four of the six passes Joe Flacco threw his way for 65 yards and a touchdown. If Brown can continue his good work, he could find himself lined up opposite Torrey Smith as the Ravens’ other starting wide receiver.

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Danny Amendola did his part (10 rec., 104 yds., nine of those going for first downs), but it was Edelman and not hotshot rookie Kenbrell Thompkins (4 rec., 42 yds.) or tight end Zach Sudfeld (1 target, 0 rec.) who came up big for Tom Brady against the Bills. Edelman caught two touchdown passes and had seven total catches in helping the Patriots escape Buffalo with a win. Brady obviously trusts Amendola, but for now it appears Edelman is second on the list.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
Lost in the interest of Mike Wallace joining the Dolphins as a free agent, was the re-signing of Hartline, who enjoyed a breakout 2012 season with 74 receptions for 1,083 yards. The only knock on Hartline was he had just one touchdown catch all of last season, a total he has already tied after just one game. Hartline led the Dolphins in targets (15), catches (nine) and receiving yards (114) in Miami’s win in Cleveland on Sunday, while Wallace had just one grab for 15 yards. If Ryan Tannehill is to take that next step as a quarterback in Year 2 he needs both Wallace and Hartline to produce, and there’s no question which wideout is getting the job done right now.

Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings
Greg Jennings was signed as a free agent to try and replace Percy Harvin’s production, but the former Packer managed just three catches for 33 yards in his Vikings’ debut on Sunday. Meanwhile it was Simpson who was Christian Ponder’s favorite and most productive target, catching seven passes for 140 yards. The jury is still out on whether or not  Ponder can be a consistent, productive passer in the NFL. If he does get there, it will be with plenty of help from Simpson.

Tight Ends

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
If not for Peyton Manning’s record-tying seven touchdown passes against Baltimore, Thomas probably would have been the story of the first game of the 2013 NFL regular season. The third-year pro out of Portland State had a coming out party against the Ravens, catching five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. His athleticism and upside were on full display on primetime TV, and as long as he takes care of his other duties when he’s on the field, the sky is seemingly the limit for the latest former collegiate hoops player who found new life on the gridiron.

Kellen Winslow, New York Jets
Winslow led the Jets with seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown in Geno Smith’s NFL debut against Tampa Bay. The Jets’ rookie quarterback will need all the help he can get from veterans like Winslow, who may finally be healthy enough and in the right opportunity to contribute to a fantasy team again. It’s definitely a bit of a risk to take your chances on Winslow, given Smith’s rookie status, the Jets’ offensive issues, and other factors, but the potential reward could pay off handsomely in the end.

Defense/Special Teams

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys had six takeaways against the Giants in their Sunday night win, obviously a very positive opening statement for Monte Kiffin’s defense. For one game at least, the Dallas defenders seemed very comfortable in Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme, especially defensive linemen DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. Even though the Cowboys gave up 31 points to the Giants, consider that all of last season they produced a total of 16 takeaways. If anything, Kiffin’s attacking, aggressive system should provide the opportunity for plenty more as the season goes along.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week3-episode-3-2013

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

In this week’s podcast:

• Georgia changes direction on its season after a major win over South Carolina. Now, we ask if there’s anything we should be worried about when it comes to the Gamecocks and Jadeveon Clowney.

• Fox and Gall debate if Florida is good or not. Gall says the Gators are still a top team despite a turnover-filled loss to to Miami. Fox says the turnovers make Florida a bad team despite its dominant defense.

• Michigan’s win over Notre Dame proved that Devin Gardner is indeed a star, and so is his “tiny” receiver. Should Notre Dame be more worried about its defense than Tommy Rees?

• In moving onto Week 3, the podcast takes a look at four intriguing Big Ten-Pac-12 matchups, plus picks for the showdown in College Station.

• In a not-so-cleverly named segment, our hosts each pick overlooked games for Week 3 they’re going to watch, plus rapid fire picks on backup QBs and surprise teams.
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: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins
Path: /college-football/jim-mora-storms-out-nick-pasquale-press-conference-2013

On the heels of the tragic news that UCLA freshman WR Nick Pasquale died after being stuck by a car on Monday, the media gathered to hear Mora speak about his former player. However, a local media member (a TV technician) interrupted the session by talking on the phone in the back corner. This drew a death stare and a walkout from an irate Mora.


Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 15:00
Path: /college-football/arizona-state-honor-yarnell-firefighters-helmet-decal-2013

This week, against Wisconsin, the Arizona State will pay tribute to nation's biggest loss of firefighters in a wildfire in 80 years. This summer, a wildfire broke out in the tiny mountain town of Yarnell, Arizona. More than 200 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze; however, 19 firefighters were fatally trapped by the wind-driven wildfire. The 19 who died were members of an elite wildfire specialist unit called the Hotshots.


Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/texas-qb-david-ash-questionable-ole-miss

After a bad weekend in Provo against BYU, things may not get much better for Texas this Saturday.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was canned, and the injury report for the Longhorns is growing.

Quarterback David Ash is dealing with a head and a shoulder injury and is questionable to play against Ole Miss. However, running back/wide receiver (and playmaker) Daje Johnson is out with an ankle injury.

If Ash cannot go, the Longhorns will turn to Case McCoy as the No. 1 quarterback.

With Johnson sidelined, expect to see Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron utilized more against the Rebels.

Considering all that has transpired over the last few days for the Longhorns, Saturday’s game against Ole Miss is a good opportunity to turn things around. However, a blowout loss would be damaging to Texas before Big 12 play starts.


Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Cheerleaders, College Football
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-cheerleaders-week-2

A look at our favorite cheerleaders from week 2 of the college football season. They can cheer for us anytime!

College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections for 2013 2013-09-10 08:00:08

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only two weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games.
With very little data to work with, the post-Week 2 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Boston College, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Illinois from BCS conferences. And Ohio, San Diego State, Arkansas State and Toledo from the non-BCS ranks.

As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Nevada
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCFresno State vs. Arizona
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSARice vs. UL Lafayette
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSALa. Tech vs. West Virginia*
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSAEast Carolina vs. San Jose State
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNorthern Illinois vs. ULM
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCBoise State vs. Notre Dame*
Military Dec. 27CUSA vs. ACCPittsburgh vs. MTSU
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenTCU vs. Indiana
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Kansas State vs. Rutgers
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCNC State vs. Cincinnati
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCNorth Carolina vs. UCF
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Northwestern
Armed Forces Dec. 30MWC vs. NavyNavy vs. Utah State
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECGeorgia Tech vs. Auburn
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Oklahoma vs. Arizona State
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Texas Tech vs. Washington
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECMaryland vs. Arkansas
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCVirginia Tech vs. UCLA
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSAMarshall vs. Tennessee
Chick-fil-ADec. 31ACC vs. SECMiami vs. Texas A&M
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMichigan State vs. Ole Miss
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSAMinnesota vs. Tulsa
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenNebraska vs. Florida
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenWisconsin vs. South Carolina
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOklahoma State vs. Stanford
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSGeorgia vs. Florida State
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12Baylor vs. LSU
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Louisville
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanHouston vs. Vanderbilt
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBowling Green vs. Western Kentucky
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State

Related College Football Content

Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-washington-redskins-preview-and-prediction-0

The first Monday night game of the 2013 NFL season will take place in our nation’s capital when the Philadelphia Eagles square off against the Washington Redskins at 6:55 p.m. ET on ESPN. This Week 1 matchup is all about firsts for both teams. Not only is this the first game of the season for both teams, it marks Chip Kelly’s debut as the Eagles’ head coach and Robert Griffin III’s first game back since injuring his knee in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle in January.

These long-time NFC East division rivals have met 158 times with Washington holding an 81-71-6 lead in the all-time series. The Redskins swept both meetings last season, winning by a combined score of 58-26. This will be the first time the Redskins and Eagles have opened the season against each other since 1996. Philadelphia won that game, which was played at RFK Stadium, 17-14 behind 269 yards passing and two touchdowns from Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete.

Four Things to Watch

RG3’s Knee
There has been no more talked about, analyzed and scrutinized body part in the NFL this offseason than the surgically repaired right knee that belongs to Robert Griffin III. He sustained the second significant injury to his right knee late in the Redskins’ 24-14 Wild Card game loss to the Seahawks back on Jan. 6. RG3 has already proven what he can do returning from major knee surgery, as he won the Heisman Trophy two years after tearing his ACL as a sophomore at Baylor, but the degree of difficulty and the stakes have been raised. Everyone, from the player to his head coach to his doctor, are saying RG3 is ready, but no one will know for sure until we see how No. 10 handles his first snap, his first drop back, and, perhaps most importantly, his first scramble out of the pocket.

Can the Eagles’ offense fly like Kelly’s Ducks?
Chip Kelly made his reputation first as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and then later the Ducks’ head coach. In four seasons as the head Duck, Kelly’s Oregon teams piled up the yards and points, finishing in the top five in the nation in both total and scoring offense in each of the past three years. Can Kelly’s immensely successful and equally entertaining offensive system, not only work, but also thrive in the NFL? Only time will tell, but everyone can’t wait to find out.

Washington’s Secretary of Defense
The Redskins’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL last season in yards allowed and fared even worse (30th) against the pass. This unit was impacted greatly by several key injuries, and perhaps no loss was more important than when linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with a torn left pectoral muscle. The injury cost the two-time Pro Bowler 14 games last season, and the results without Orakpo on the field speak for themselves. Having Orakpo back out there is not a cure-all for the Redskins’ defensive issues, but his presence in the starting lineup shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Putting the “D” in Philadelphia?
Compared to Washington’s defense, Philadelphia’s wasn’t near as bad statistically speaking, with the exception of one category. The Eagles were tied for 29th in points allowed (27.8 ppg), although the offense’s propensity to turn the ball over should take some of the blame here. Regardless, Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis basically started over from scratch as free agency brought in five new starters. The secondary alone is pretty much brand new and will be the center of attention considering the Eagles’ surrendered an NFL-worst 33 touchdown passes in 2012. The defense’s performance during the preseason can be characterized as uneven, but all that matters now is how well this unit plays from here out.

Philadelphia Key Player: Michael Vick, QB
As important as running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the Eagles’ two-tight end sets are to Kelly’s offense, the motor that makes everything hum is the quarterback. Kelly’s Oregon teams had productive quarterbacks from Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas to Marcus Mariota. Vick, 33, beat out the younger competition during training camp and wants to prove to everyone that he can still be a productive, reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. Early success running Kelly’s offense would not only go a long ways towards building the Eagles’ confidence, but also improving Vick’s future outlook, especially considering he’s signed for just this season.

Washington Key Player: Fred Davis, TE
The last two seasons have been interesting for Davis. The tight end was on his way to a potential Pro Bowl invite in 2011 before he was suspended the final four games for failing repeated drug tests. Then last season he played in just seven games before a torn Achilles tendon ended things in October. When fully healthy and focused, Davis has shown himself to be a valuable weapon in the passing game. His size (6-4, 247) and athleticism can help open things up for Pierre Garcon and the other Redskin receivers and also give Robert Griffin III even more reason to stay in the pocket, which is a good thing considering this is his first game back from a serious injury.

Final Analysis

With apologies to Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, Chip Kelly's debut on the NFL sidelines tonight is arguably the most anticipated one by a former college coaching superstar since Steve Spurrier did the same for the Redskins back in 2002. Spurrier won his first game, 31-23 over Arizona at FedEx Field, and Kelly will try to do the same on the very same turf, but as the visiting team. While a lot of attention will be paid to how Kelly's offense fares, just as many eyes will be focused on Robert Griffin III and how fluid he is on his surgically repaired knee.

In the end, however, I think it will be another Redskin offensive player, running back Alfred Morris, who will determine the outcome of this one. Morris finished second in the NFL in rushing last season as a rookie, and I believe he will be too much of a load for Philadelphia's new-look defense. With Morris leading the way on the ground, RG3 will be able to stay in the pocket and look for the open man. The Eagles do make a little noise of their own on offense, but the defense can't get enough stops to help Kelly collect his first NFL win.

Washington 27, Philadelphia 21

Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NCAA football
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-2-power-rankings-2013

In a league filled with questions in the preseason, Big 12 teams are getting answers, but few of them are satisfactory.

Texas’ run defense is somehow getting worse, much worse. In a sign of desperation, the Longhorns will shuffle their defensive coaching staff after firing Manny Diaz, who was considered a rising star only two years ago.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma and West Virginia have learned they can’t rely on their passing games. TCU has an answer to its quarterback quandary, but that’s only because Casey Pachall’s season was cut short for the second time in two seasons.

For TCU and Texas, there’s little time for recovery after eventful Saturdays as the Horned Frogs catch Texas Tech’s high-powered offense and the Longhorns play host to Ole Miss, a team with SEC talent, if not experience and depth.

Oklahoma State and West Virginia also will deal with off-field concerns as a (though they are outside of the NCAA’s statute of limitations) in Stillwater. A West Virginia assistant who used to work at Oklahoma State, Joe DeForest, will be named in the report.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

1.1Oklahoma State (2-0, 0-0): The Cowboys’ defense may be a concern at first blush. Oklahoma State allowed 35 points and 504 yards to UTSA, but much of that was on four long touchdown drives in the third and fourth quarters. Perhaps a bigger concern should be the run game. Oklahoma State averaged only 2.7 yards per carry on 32 attempts. The Cowboys averaged 7.2 yards per carry against Mississippi State, so maybe this was an aberration. This week: Lamar
2.5Baylor (2-0, 0-0): The Bears are running their offense with brutal efficiency despite a starting quarterback in Bryce Petty who was untested to start the season. Baylor has only one TD drive that exceeded two minutes (2:07 against Wofford). The Bears will have a chance to build upon their gaudy numbers against ULM, West Virginia, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas before the Big 12 gauntlet in November. This week: Off
3.2Oklahoma (2-0, 1-0): Oklahoma briefly benched starting quarterback Trevor Knight, who was 10 of 20 for 119 yards with a TD and two third-quarter interceptions. Blake Bell directed to second half possessions, but only accounted for three plays himself (one incomplete pass, two carries for 21 yards), but that may be enough to signal a . This week: Tulsa
4.4TCU (1-1, 0-0): TCU will carry on again with Trevone Boykin as the starting quarterback as with a broken arm. Boykin went 3-6 as a starter last season, but three of those loses were decided by a touchdown or less. Boykin brings athleticism to the position, but now that speed is confined to quarterback. He had been logging time at receiver as well this season. The TCU defense has been vulnerable to the big play in two games this season, an interesting storyline entering the first conference game. This week: at Texas Tech (Thursday)
5.6Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0):  How much do we really know about Texas Tech and quarterback sensation Baker Mayfield? Texas Tech has defeated a mediocre FCS opponent and an SMU team that gutted out a 31-30 win over Montana State the following week. Kliff Kingsbury’s high-powered offense faces its toughest challenge of the year against TCU. This week: TCU (Thursday)
6.3Texas (1-1, 0-0): Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after the debacle in Provo, but Texas’ problems run deeper than one playcaller on defense. The addition of Greg Robinson to the staff is a curious one, but he led a top-25 defense at Texas in 2004 before his failed tenure at Syracuse. The offense could be an issue as well as quarterback David Ash and running back Daje Johnson are evaluated for injuries. This week: Ole Miss
7.7Kansas State (1-1, 0-0): This was the Kansas State we’re used to seeing, if only in the win column. The Wildcats defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 48-27, but they threw an uncharacteristic 34 passes. Kansas State was on the wrong end of the turnover margin (minus-1) and allowed 370 yards. After UMass this week, Kansas State goes on the road for back-to-back games against Texas and Oklahoma State. This week: Massachusetts
8.8West Virginia (1-1, 0-1): West Virginia stuck with quarterback Paul Millard despite an ugly game for the Mountaineers’ offense (three fumbles, one interception). West Virginia averaged seven yards per carry, but that was buoyed by a 75-yard touchdown run by Dreamius Smith in the first quarter. The Mountaineers have a game against Georgia State to work out some issues before a stretch against Maryland, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State and TCU. This week: Georgia State
9.10Kansas (1-0, 0-0): Let’s move Kansas out of the cellar for at least a week after the Jayhawks ended their 11-game losing streak. Despite its high-profile quarterback transfers, KU will be anchored by its run game. James Sims and Darrian Miller led a 280-yard (5.6 yards per carry) effort against South Dakota. Seeking its first FBS win in 21 games, Kansas faces a Rice team that beat the Jayhawks 25-24 in Lawrence last year. This week: at Rice
10.9Iowa State (0-1, 0-0): Iowa State had the week off to prepare for Iowa with hopes of avoiding an 0-2 start against in-state programs. This week: Iowa


Big 12 Week 2 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Brennan Clay, RB, Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s 16-7 win over West Virginia wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t anything near the aerial showdown last year’s meeting was. As the Sooners sorted through their quarterback situation, Bob Stoops put the offense on the back of the run game. Brennan Clay rushed for a career-high 170 yards on 22 carries to lead a 316-yard rushing day for the Sooners.

Defensive player of the week: Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State
Kansas State’s mainstay at safety ended any momentum Louisiana-Lafayette hoped to build in the second half. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored a touchdown on a kickoff return and then on a Terrance Broadway run in less than two minutes to cut a 34-3 lead to 17 points. On UL Lafayette’s next possession, Zimmerman took an interception back 32 yards for a touchdown to effectively put the game away in a 48-27 victory.

Freshman of the week: Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech
The Texas Tech walk-on continued his torrid start to the season by completing 21 of 30 passes for 367 yards with three touchdowns in a 61-13 win over Stephen F. Austin. Mayfield’s 780 passing yards and and seven touchdown passes in two games both rank third in the country.

Team of the week: Baylor
In the first two weeks of the season, Baylor has put on a quick-strike spread offense showcase that only Oregon can match. Baylor’s 70 points against Buffalo was the most for the Bears since 1929. With 501 yards in the first half, Baylor extended its streak of 400-yard games to 29 consecutive games going back to the 2010 Texas Bowl against Illinois. First-year quarterback Bryce Petty completed 13 of 16 passes for 338 yards with two touchdowns, averaging an astounding 21.1 yards per pass attempt.

Coordinator of the week: Del Miller, Kansas State
Kansas State’s offense stalled last week against North Dakota State, particularly in the run game. The Wildcats opened things up against UL Lafayette with an uncharacteristic 34 pass attempt to 37 rushing attempts. Kansas State topped 30 pass attempts only four since 2011. All four were either high scoring shootouts or games in which K-State played from behind; all four were losses. Jake Waters completed 22 of 31 passes for 278 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for Kansas State’s first win with at least 30 pass attempts since Nov. 22, 2008 against Iowa State.

Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 08:00