Articles By Braden Gall

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Utah Utes, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/utah-utes-complete-team-effort-embarrasses-michigan
Body:

The Utes used a narrow upset over a Michigan team that would eventually lose nine games to catapult itself to an unblemished 13-0 season to start 2008.

 

Kyle Whittingham is hoping that a similar outcome in the Ann Arbor could do something similar for his Utah squad again six years later. And after navigating an extended (try 2 hours and 24 minutes) lightning delay, Utah put an end to Michigan's sobering evening in front of a bizarrely empty Michigan Stadium.

 

The most encouraging aspect of the Utes impressive win in Ann Arbor is how complete this roster appears to be.

 

Travis Wilson, who has navigated numerous concussion issues during his time in Salt Lake City, again dealt with some minor problems after his helmet popped off and he landed awkwardly on his neck. But, under the tutelage of first year coordinator Dave Christensen, Wilson led his offense to three second-half scoring drives — which was plenty for Whittingham's defense.

 

The Utes were relentless on defense, forcing four Michigan turnovers, allowing just three offensive points and holding the Wolverines to a season-low 4.1 yards per play. 

 

While the defense was dominant and the offense was just good enough, what makes Utah's thorough victory the Big House so impressive was the third aspect of the game.

 

Kicker Andy Phillips drilled four field goals and two extra points for a perfect evening and has made 23 of his 24 total kicks this fall. Kick and punt return dynamo Kaelin Clay proved once again to be a mighty weapon. The electric senior from Long Beach, Calif., returned a punt 66 yards for his third return score of the season (the two others were on kickoffs).

 

This was a relatively easy and utterly complete road victory over a Big Ten blueblood. The importance of this workmanlike win for a team that has failed to reach the postseason since joining the Pac-12 in 2012 cannot be overstated. The Utes will be a factor in some capacity in the South Division race.

 

For Michigan, the glaringly empty and eerie 105,000-seat stadium following the weather delay told the entire story.

 

Teaser:
Utah's complete team effort embarrasses Michigan
Post date: Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 14:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-sooners-flex-big-12-muscle-against-west-virginia
Body:

If you are going to win the Big 12, you are going to have to beat Oklahoma.

 

This may have been an idea that most agreed with or believed to be true. But after a dominating second half performance against West Virginia along the offensive and defensive lines, it's likely a fact now. 

 

Trevor Knight wasn't perfect (16-of-29, 205 yards, 0 TD, INT), Keith Ford didn't play and Bob Stoops was just 6-7 in last 13 road night games.

 

So on a night where the Sooners had a lot working against them — not the least of which was a surging Mountaineers offense — the big uglies in the trenches took over in the second half and showed the Mountaineers what a complete team looks like.

 

The Sooners front seven got pressure throughout the second half, finishing with three turnovers, three sacks and countless knockdowns of WVU's Clint Trickett. Eric Striker (8 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack) and company did what you have to do against Dan Holgorsen's offense if you want to win — make it one dimensional. Oklahoma now leads the nation in interceptions (8) and is 16th in sacks (12.0).

 

On offense, Knight turned to a true freshman to carry the load in an effort to slow things down, keep the ball away from Trickett and allow the offensive line to impose it's will. Samaje Perine was the Sooners' No. 3 tailback entering the season but the 240-pound running back was the star of the show on Saturday night, carrying 34 times for 242 yards and four touchdowns in the win. It was the first 200-yard night for a Sooners runner since Adrian Peterson did it in 2004.

 

In a hostile environment, it was the physical domination of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball that was most impressive for Oklahoma. Once the game settled down in the second half — the Sooners outscored the Mountaineers 21-3 in the second half until a late score — Stoops' squad turned the game into a slugfest brawl in the trenches.

 

Which is exactly where opposing coaches don't want to find themselves against the Sooners. Entering this game, West Virginia had a chance to make a big statement and announce to the Big 12 it was going to be in the title mix. That didn't happen.

 

What happened was Oklahoma put a firm stake in the ground atop the Big 12 standings at 1-0 and if your favorite Big 12 team wants to be mentioned in contention for a conference title, the odds are they will have to beat Oklahoma head-to-head.

 

Good luck, with that.

 

Hear my interview with Oklahoma's Trevor Knight last night after the game. He credits the O-Line and the running backs for the big win over West Virginia:

Teaser:
Oklahoma Sooners flex Big 12 muscle against West Virginia
Post date: Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 14:15
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Wildcats, College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/anu-solomons-hail-mary-proves-arizona-must-see-tv-pac-12
Body:

In just four career games, Arizona redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon has established himself as a future star of college football.

 

Rich Rodriguez has always gotten dynamic and productive quarterback play ever since breaking into big time college football West Virginia. Pat White, Denard Robinson and Matt Scott are the legacy Solomon is now trying to surpass. 

 

And in just four career games, it appears like he might succeed. 

 

Solomon's final pass in a game in which he threw the ball 73 times will be one of the most memorable in Arizona football history and is arguably the greatest play of the young 2014 season. 

 

 

The improbable game-winning, 47-yard Hail Mary as time expired completed one of the most remarkable comebacks the Pac-12 has ever seen. Solomon led the Cats offense to a school-record 36 fourth-quarter points to beat an obviously improved Cal Golden Bears team at home. (Which, unfortunately for Sonny Dykes, will get lost amid the wild finish.)

 

He finished the game with 520 yards and five touchdowns on 47-of-73 passing while also leading the team in rushing as well with 46 yards on 16 carries. Of the Pac-12 record 106 plays from scrimmage, Solomon either threw it or carried it 89 times.

 

The young star quarterback for Arizona is second in the nation in total offense with 1,621 yards (1,454 pass, 167 rush) of total offense, trailing only Washington State's Connor Halliday (1,845) . Solomon is also third in the nation in passing touchdowns with 13, behind only Halliday (16) and Missouri's Maty Mauk (13).

 

Most importantly, Arizona got a win in the conference opener in what is shaping out to be a much deeper and more unpredictable Pac-12 South race.

Teaser:
Anu Solomon's Hail Mary proves Arizona is must-see TV in the Pac-12
Post date: Sunday, September 21, 2014 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-4-picks
Body:

I really wanted to take Mizzou (-10) and Washington (-14) last weekend but couldn’t pull the trigger and it cost me… again.

 

I am teetering around .500 and need a big week to bounce back. The good news is Mitch Light (27-18-1) has been crushing the Top 25 (below), while I have had a winning record each week in Top 25 picks (25-20-1).

 

I'm going to shake it up this week and only address the big games (and a few others) and see if it works.

 

Last Week: 3-4

Year-to-Date: 8-10

 

Florida (+15) at Alabama

The Tide is a better team; there is no arguing that. But this game would have to be pretty high scoring for Alabama to cover the spread. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel operates a type of offense that has worked against Bama in the past, and the Tide is 0-3 against the number this season. Alabama wins easily — by 10 points. Prediction: Florida +15

 

Oklahoma (-7) at West Virginia

This game has gotten a lot more run nationally than expected and lends me to believe that Oklahoma will be ready. The Sooners should dominate the line of scrimmage and has the secondary to slow down the WVU passing attack. Seven doesn’t feel like enough points here at all. Everyone is taking the Mountaineers, so I am going the other way. Prediction: Oklahoma -7

 

Listen to the Week 4 preview podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Mississippi St (+10) at LSU

Historically, State has struggled mightily in Baton Rouge and against LSU overall. But this is Dan Mullen’s best team and the Tigers are extremely young. Additionally, LSU hasn’t faced an opposing quarterback that is even in the same conversation as Dak Prescott. LSU wins with some Les Miles magic late but it will be a battle to the end. Prediction: Mississippi State +10

 

Indiana (+13.5) at Missouri

Very quietly, the Mizzou Tigers have blown out two quality opponents and covered the spread the last two weeks. Indiana is a nice team — better than the Sam Houston States of the world — but the Tigers operate on a different level along both lines of scrimmage and at quarterback. Mizzou big against an IU team that is winless against the number this year. Predictions: Mizzou -13.5

 

N. Illinois (+13.5) at Arkansas

There will be a lot of rushing yards in this game and the over is looking nice (65). Arkansas should dominate the line of scrimmage exactly the way it did last weekend against Texas Tech. Look for a similar score as well — something in that 49-28 range. Prediction: Arkansas -13.5

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden Gall Mitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Clemson (+16) at Florida St 
Oregon (-24) at Wazzu 
Florida (+15) at Alabama 
Oklahoma (-7) at W. Virginia 
Texas A&M (-33.5) at SMU 
Mississippi St (+10) at LSU 
E. Michigan (+45) at Michigan St 
Troy (+41) at Georgia 
S. Carolina (-21.5) at Vanderbilt 
Indiana (+13.5) at Missouri 
B. Green (+27) at Wisconsin 
Virginia (+14) at BYU 
Miami (+7) at Nebraska 
Last Week:9-7-1 7-9-16-10-17-9-1
YTD:25-20-1 27- 18-120-25-121-24-1

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 4 Picks
Post date: Friday, September 19, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-4-preview
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan previews the big games in the SEC, Oklahoma's visit to West Virginia, the ACC's turn to crush the Big Ten and much more. The guys also give their locks of the week against the spread in this Week 4 college football preview.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonSteven or email podcast@athlonsports.com. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

 

 

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 4 Preview
Post date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 09:58
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-4-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Most of the contenders are resting up this weekend out West. Last place (that’s right) Stanford is on a bye. USC is licking its wounds. And Arizona State and UCLA are tending to injured stars under center.

 

That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to watch in the Pac-12. Oregon, Washington State, Arizona and Cal will open up conference play while Utah, Oregon State, Washington and Colorado will wrap up non-conference play.

Week 4 Previews and Predictions:
ACC Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC


Pac-12 Week 4 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Oregon (-24) at Washington St
10:30 p.m., ESPN

It might not be the closest game in the Pac-12 this week but it should be the most entertaining. These two combined for 1,278 total yards of offense, 100 points scored, 67 first downs and eight turnovers while Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set an NCAA record with 89 pass attempts (much to Nick Aliotti’s chagrin) in last year’s meeting in Eugene. With Halliday and Marcus Mariota both back and humming on offense right now — the duo averages a combined 792.4 yards per game — fans on both sides should expect big-time fireworks. Even if the game gets out of hand in the second frame.

 

Listen to the Week 4 preview podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

2. Utah (+5) at Michigan
3:30 p.m., ABC

No one in Ann Arbor or Salt Lake City will forget what happened in The Big House in 2008 when Utah came to town. Brian Johnson and the Utes knocked off Michigan 25-23 behind a defensive effort that held the Wolverines to just 203 yards of offense. The Utes never lost that year while Michigan posted its worst season in program history (3-9). While Utah isn’t as talented or deep as it was then, Travis Wilson has led a resurgent Utes offense that is churning out 7.0 yards per play and 557.5 yards per game. Michigan bounced back last week with 34 points and 460 yards (against Miami-OHIO) after being totally embarrassed by Notre Dame. Expect something in between this week from the Wolverines' offense-in-progress.

 

3. Cal (+9) at Arizona
10 p.m., P12 Net

After another perfect non-conference record for Rich Rodriguez — he’s 11-0 since arriving in Tucson — and a very positive start for Cal that has provided more wins in two games than it did in all of 2013, the Bears and Wildcats will get Pac-12 play started. In what should be an entertaining offensive affair, quarterbacks Anu Solomon and Jared Goff look to match statistics on Saturday night. Solomon is second in the Pac-12 with 351.7 yards of total offense per game in just first three career games while Goff has completed 67.9 percent of his passes with only one interception in two wins for Cal. Both defenses rank in the top half of the Pac-12 but that is due in large part to the level of competition each has faced. This should be the first real defensive test for both.

 

4. San Diego St (+10) at Oregon St
10:30 p.m., FS1

The Aztecs have had two weeks to think about how they choked away a win at North Carolina. So this team is clearly capable of competing with Big 5 teams and that should have Oregon State on edge (who also has had two weeks to prepare). Especially, considering how the Beavers struggled to put away Portland State and Hawaii thus far in 2014. Sean Mannion was over 300 yards passing in each game and should be able to take advantage of a San Diego State defense that gave up plenty of big plays to the Tar Heels in the second half two weeks ago. Offensive balance will be key as is the case for all of Mike Riley’s good teams. Terron Ward and Storm Woods have each posted a 100-yard game on the ground and if both can get rolling along with Mannion, the Beavers should stay unbeaten.

 

5. Hawaii (+7.5) at Colorado
2 p.m., P12 Net

The Warriors will be happy to say goodbye to the Pac-12 as they will be facing their third such opponent in four weeks. Narrow losses on the Islands to Washington and Oregon State by a combined nine points should have Colorado focused, but this will be Hawaii’s first trip to the Mainland. Despite losing in its first game at Folsom Field last week to Arizona State, Colorado has increased its offensive production — both in yards per game and per play — in each of its first three games. The Warriors would be a sneaky outright upset pick if this game was in Honolulu but since this game is coming at home, Mike MacIntyre knows this is a must-win situation.

 

6. Georgia St (+35) at Washington
6 p.m., P12 Net

The Huskies played easily their most complete game last weekend in the blowout win over Illinois. Shaq Thompson is starting to get Heisman buzz and the offense has churned out 1,000 yards in two games with Cyler Miles under center. Georgia State should merely serve as a tune-up for a visit from Stanford in Week 5.

 

Off: Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, USC

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

 

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Oregon (-24) at WazzuOre., 51-27Ore., 44-20Ore., 56-27Ore., 55-28
Utah (+5) at MichiganMich., 28-27Utah, 30-27Utah, 27-21Mich., 27-24
Cal (+9) at ArizonaZona, 41-31Zona, 37-33Zona, 38-21Zona, 38-30
S. Diego St (+10) at Ore. StOSU, 34-27OSU, 33-24OSU, 35-31OSU, 34-24
Hawaii (+7.5) at Colo.Colo., 31-21Colo., 27-17Colo., 28-10Colo., 38-20
Ga. St (+35) at Wash.Wash., 38-7Wash., 41-3Wash., 51-17Wash., 55-17
Last Week:7-17-17-17-1
Year-to-Date:25-626-526-524-7

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 4 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-4-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Six of the 10 teams in this league are taking a break this weekend but that doesn’t mean that the Big 12 will be boring in Week 4.

 

No, it’s quite the opposite in fact, as two marquee matchups dot a very limited schedule.

 

Heck, even the Jayhawks have a shot at a win in what could be a competitive game with the MAC.

Week 4 Previews and Predictions
ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC


Big 12 Week 4 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Auburn (+8.5) at Kansas St
Thurs., 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Bill Snyder has never lost at home to a Big 5 non-conference opponent (4-0) but this Thursday night primetime showdown with the defending national runner-up figures to be his toughest test. The Tigers have won three straight true road games and 11 of the last 12 games overall. Snyder’s bunch — a group with an astounding 58 former or current walk-ons according to Dennis Dodd — will be faced with stopping a rushing attack that has topped 300 yards in five of the last seven games and has scored nine rushing touchdowns in two games in 2014. While the overmatched KSU defense should have issues with Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn’s defense should have issues with Jake Waters as well. The Wildcats quarterback is a tremendous leader and is averaging 327.5 yards of total offense per game. Look for both quarterbacks to make things happen on the ground and whichever defense can get stops on third down will win.

 

Listen to the Week 4 preview podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

2. Oklahoma (-8) at W. Virginia
7:30 p.m., FOX

Some pointed to this game as a potential trap for Oklahoma in the preseason but after the Mountaineers' performance in the first three weeks, this game has become a critical, must-win situation for the Sooners. According to ESPN’s Dane Beavers, Bob Stoops started out his career 9-0 in road night games but is an even 8-8 since, and Milan Puskar Stadium figures to be rocking on Saturday night. West Virginia will likely struggle to stop Trevor Knight and company on defense so the real battle will be waged when Clint Trickett is on the field. Oklahoma’s secondary is extremely talented (third nationally with six interceptions) and the front seven has been dominant (21st in sacks with 9.0). If Trickett has no time to get the ball to Kevin White and Mario Alford, it may not matter if they are open or not. If the WVU O-line can hold its own against the Eric Striker-led defensive front, fans could be in for a shootout in Morgantown.

 

3. C. Michigan (+4.5) at Kansas
3:30 p.m.

This could be a battle of offensive ineptitude — and that could make it quite entertaining. Charlie Weis needs a win badly after the horrendous showing last week against Duke when his offense mustered just 95 passing yards and went 4-of-17 on third downs in the 41-3 blowout. The passing yards have been a disturbing trend for Weis, as his offense has averaged less than 150 yards passing since he took over in Lawrence. Central Michigan, which ranks 119th nationally in total offense, has already knocked off one Big 5 school this year when it smoked Purdue two weeks ago. If Weis and the Jayhawks are not ready, the embarrassment at Kansas could continue this weekend.

 

Off: Baylor, Iowa St, Oklahoma St, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Auburn (-8.5) at KSUAub., 38-27Aub., 34-21Aub., 31-30Aub., 38-30
Okla. (-8) at W. VirginiaOkla., 38-27Okla., 30-23Okla., 42-31Okla., 38-24
C. Michigan (+4.5) at KansasKan., 18-17Kan., 17-14CMU, 24-17Kan., 24-20
Last Week:7-26-38-18-1
Year-to-Date:23-322-425-124-2

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 4 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-2014-week-3-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Athlon Sports has formed a Heisman Trophy committee. Each week, we will ask 13 members of the national college football media to rank their top candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

 

Each voter will rank their top five candidates, with each first-place vote getting five points and each last-place vote getting one point.

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota63112---
2.Todd Gurley4828111
3.Jameis Winston24-1513
4.Kenny Hill21-1251
5.Everett Golson12-12-2
6t.Taysom Hill8--121
6t.Amari Cooper8--121
8t.Ameer Abdullah4--1-1
8t.Shaq Thompson4---12
10.Bryce Petty2---1-
11.Demarcus Robinson1----1

Dropped out: none

 

Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:
 



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Top 3:

 

 
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

The Ducks quarterback wasn’t needed at all in the fourth quarter after leading Oregon to a big lead over Wyoming. He finished with a sterling line: 19-of-23 passing for 221 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers, 71 yards rushing and two more touchdowns. He’s got 962 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns in three games. A road trip to Washington State this weekend should provide big numbers and another big win for the Ducks.

 

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

The Dawgs took one on the chin in Columbia but it has only hurt Gurley’s Heisman stock slightly. He is still the only player in the same realm as Mariota. The Georgia workhorse finished with 131 yards and a touchdown (another one was called back) on 20 carries to go with four receptions as well. Maybe he should have gotten the ball around the goal line late in the fourth quarter? Gurley has 329 yards and four touchdowns rushing on 35 carries in just two games but the loss could eventually cost him the award. He shouldn't be needed much this weekend against Troy.

 

3. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St

Florida State and Jameis Winston were off in Week 3 but will be the focal point of the voters in Week 4 as Clemson comes to town. This could be the toughest ACC game of the year for the Noles and another big performance from Winston could move him into contention with Mariota and Gurley. Winston has completed over 70 percent of his passes and has 626 yards through the air in two wins thus far in 2014.

Teaser:
Expert Poll: 2014 Week 3 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-4
Body:

The original reality TV show is sports. No contrived setting where seven strangers living in a house or one bachelor searching for love can match the excitement the Iron Bowl delivered last fall.

 

The beauty of college football lies in its complete unpredictability and drama. Here are some outrageous predictions for Week 4.

 

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

 
Duke Johnson and Ameer Abdullah will rush for more than their combined weight

 

Nebraska lists Ameer Abdullah as 195 pounds and Miami lists Duke Johnson at 206 pounds. While both of those numbers seem extremely suspect (both look a lot lighter than that), the explosive and exciting duo will combine to rush for more yards against each other's team than their combined weight of 401 pounds. This is a historic rivalry that has been played in three national title situations and these two electric tailbacks will make the 2014 version a memorable one.

 

Deshaun Watson will be the most productive QB in the Clemson-Florida State game

 

Jameis Winston and FSU topped a much better Clemson team last season 51-14 in Death Valley. It isn’t out of the question to think that Winston has 177 yards and one touchdown at halftime with a 50-point lead and no need to play in the second half. On the flip side of that, Cole Stoudt could easily be benched or, worse, injured by the halftime whistle. Instead look for Tigers freshman Deshaun Watson to have the most yards of total offense in this game. You heard it here first, folks.

 

Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

 

Mississippi State scores more points in the first half than LSU has allowed all season

 

LSU has given up 24 total points in three games this fall and has a current streak shutout streak going of 147 minutes and 24 seconds. When Mississippi State comes to town this weekend, Dak Prescott will bring his triple-threat ability to the bayou. LSU may still win the game but Prescott — and his 323 yards per game average — should lead his Bulldogs to 24 points in the first half alone. The Tigers have yet to face a legitimate quarterback all season and Prescott could open some eyes against LSU.

 

Marcus Mariota and Connor Halliday will combine for 1,000 yards of offense

 

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set an NCAA record a year ago against Oregon with 89 pass attempts. It netted him 557 yards in the 62-38 defeat to the Ducks. Meanwhile, Marcus Mariota rolled up 394 yards of offense (327 pass, 67 rush) in the win. These two will be prominently featured once again and could easily combine for 1,000 yards of total offense and 100 points.

 

Amari Cooper will post season lows against Florida

 

Cooper is off to an unreal start to the season for the Crimson Tide. He is leading the nation with 33 receptions and is third nationally in yards with 454 in three games. But he will be matched up with the best corner in the SEC this weekend when Vernon Hargreaves III and Florida come to town. The guess is Lane Kiffin will attack other areas of the Florida defense with great success and won’t let the Cooper-VH3 matchup dictate the direction of the offense.

 

 

BONUS: Clint Trickett will be the focal point of Bob Stoops' defense

 

If I had written that sentence last year, I might have been fired from my current position and relegated to restocking Dana Holgorsen's RedBull Frigidaire. Thus, making my bonus prediction totally outrageous and bizarre.

 

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 4
Post date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-3-pac-12
Body:

Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of Pac-12 football action:

 

452: Rushing yards allowed by USC

How is this not the most important number in the Pac-12 this weekend? The Trojans were outgained on the ground by Boston College by an astounding 452 to 20. This a week after the Eagles allowed over 300 yards rushing to Pitt. After leading 17-6 early in the second quarter, USC allowed 24 unanswered points. The Trojans didn’t score again until 4:32 left in the game, going 39:36 without a point.

 

14: Teams Shaq Thompson outscored

Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson turned in one of the top defensive performances of Week 3 by returning an interception 36 yards for a score and later scoring on a 52-yard fumble return. By scoring 12 points, Thompson outscored these teams in Week 3: Central Michigan, Kansas, UCF, Minnesota, Tennessee, Miami (Ohio), Kent State, Rutgers, Eastern Michigan, Southern Miss, Rice, Army, South Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe.

 

Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher
 

11.0: Sacks for Danny Shelton, Hau’oli Kikaha

Thompson isn’t the only defensive standout for the Huskies this fall. Washington is leading the nation with 15.0 sacks through three games due to the play of its dynamic D-line duo of Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha. Shelton is leading the nation with 6.0 sacks and Kikaha is third nationally with 5.0 of his own after posting 3.0 in the blowout win over Illinois.

 

206: D.J. Foster's yards from scrimmage

The biggest news in Tempe will be the health of quarterback Taylor Kelly and how soon he can return to the field. But in the meantime, enjoy watching tailback D.J. Foster. He rushed for 147 yards on 20 carries and caught four passes for 59 yards while scoring twice in the easy win over Colorado. Foster now leads the nation with 649 yards from scrimmage in three games (510 rush, 139 rec.) and has scored six times. UTEP’s Aaron Jones is second with 560 YFS.

 

0: Points Stanford allowed in games not against USC

The Cardinal lost 13-10 to USC in Week 2 but has been pretty much perfect otherwise. Stanford beat Army 35-0 in Week 3, pitching a second shutout in three weeks. Stanford has had 36 defensive possessions in three games and it has allowed one touchdown (and two field goals). It pitched one shutout from 2011-13. Stanford is leading the nation with 204.3 yards per game allowed as well.

 

18: Total margin of victory for UCLA in 2014

Without its star quarterback, UCLA figured out a way to beat Texas in Arlington 20-17. It gives the Bruins three wins in three tries by a grand total of 18 points after beating Virginia by eight points and Memphis by seven. In the modern playoff era, however, survive and advance may be all that matters and UCLA has done just that.

 

31.0: Tackles for a loss against UCLA

The Bruins are 127th nationally — second to last (UConn) in the nation with 31.0 tackles for a loss allowed. The Bruins allowed 10.0 tackles for a loss, including three sacks, in the win over Texas. It means that UCLA has allowed at least 10.0 tackles for a loss in each of its three games (Virginia had 11.0 and Memphis had 10.0).

 

119, 175, 1,465, 12: Connor Halliday’s nation’s leading passing stats

Washington State finally got into the win column this weekend with a victory over lowly Portland State. Connor Halliday completed 41-of-62 passes for 544 yards and six touchdowns. He is now leading the nation in completions (119), attempts (175), yards (1,465) and is tied with Maty Mauk and Brandon Doughty for the lead in TD passes with 12.

 

14-for-14: Colorado's opponents in the red zone this season

Of the 26 teams that have failed to make a red zone stop this season, none can match Colorado in opportunities to fail. The Buffaloes have allowed their opponents to score on all 14 trips inside the red zone — 12 of which have gone for touchdowns. Only Toledo (14) has allowed more red zone TDs this fall. Arizona State was 4-for-4 on Saturday.

 

4: Pac-12 teams who have scored on every trip into the red zone

Conversely, 27 teams are perfect on offense in the red zone. Four of those hail from the Pac-12. Washington (13), Cal (11), Arizona (10) and UCLA (7) are all perfect in the red zone on offense thus far in 2014.

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 3 in the Pac-12
Post date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-3-big-12
Body:

Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of Big 12 football action:

 

108: Plays West Virginia ran

The Mountaineers rolled up 694 yards of offense in the win over Maryland in College Park. They ran 108 plays to get those yards and are third in the nation with 273 offensive snaps in three weeks. It took five games for WVU to hit the same mark a season ago.

 

2: Times Texas kicked off to start a half

One of the oddest occurrences in any football game ever took place at the coin toss between Texas and UCLA. The Bruins won the toss and deferred to the second half. Texas then inexplicably decided to kickoff to start the game instead of taking the ball. Texas lost the coin toss and the game 20-17 in dramatic fashion.

 

Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

4: Consecutive losses by Texas to teams outside the state of Texas

After the painful and dramatic loss to UCLA in Arlington, Texas, has now lost five of its last seven games and four straight to opponents from outside of the state of Texas. The Longhorns have beaten Texas Tech and North Texas while losing to Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oregon, BYU and UCLA in their last seven contests.

 

6:05: Texas Tech’s time of possession in the second half

Arkansas gashed the Red Raiders defense for 438 rushing yards (6.4 ypc) and seven scores. Bret Bielema’s offense held the ball for 40:39, which limited the high-powered Texas Tech offense to just three second-half possessions. The Red Raiders only registered 6:05 in time of possession over the final two quarters. The Hogs had more rushing attempts (68) than passing yards (61).

 

293.7: Texas Tech’s rushing yards allowed per game over their last 9 games

After the drubbing at the hands of the Razorbacks, the Red Raiders' opponents have rushed for 293.7 yards per game in their last nine contests. Kliff Kingsbury’s record is 3-6 in those games.

 

2:42: Total time of TCU’s three touchdown drives

Each of TCU’s three touchdown-scoring drives against Minnesota took less than 1:12 worth of time. The Frogs scored a touchdown on drives that took 35 seconds, 55 seconds and 1:12 — all in the first half of the 30-7 win over Minnesota. Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham have implemented the Horned Frogs’ new up-tempo attack in short order.

 

61.6: Average yards of KD Cannon’s TD catches

In three games this year, Cannon has caught 14 passes for a nation’s best 471 yards and five scores. The true freshman is averaging 33.6 yards per catch, with his five touchdown catches averaging 61.6 yards per reception.

 

2: Trevor Knight 300-yard games against SEC teams

Oklahoma’s quarterback likes facing the SEC. He has two career 300-yard passing games and both have come against SEC foes after he threw for 308 yards in an easy win over Tennessee. His other such game was his 348-yard Sugar Bowl outing against Alabama. Knight averages 102.3 yards per game passing in 10 other career games.

 

3-1: Paul Rhoads record against Kirk Ferentz since 2011

The Cyclones kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to topple Iowa in Kinnick Stadium this weekend. It was the third win in four years for Iowa State and Paul Rhoads in the heated battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy. (Overall, Rhoads is 3-3 against Iowa.)

 

20.4: Yards per carry by Duke's Shaun Wilson against Kansas

There is a lot wrong with Kansas but its rushing defense was exposed this weekend in the embarrassing 40-3 loss to Duke. The Jayhawks allowed Duke true freshman running back Shaun Wilson to rush 12 times for a school-record 245 yards and three touchdowns for an astounding 20.4 yards per carry.

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 3 in the Big 12
Post date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/tuesday-talking-points-2014-week-3-georgia-misses-another-chance-pac-12-south-wide-open
Body:

Every Saturday night, Athlon Sports’ Braden Gall hosts The Scoreboard Show on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, Ch. 91. Every Tuesday, Athlon Sports will feature his take on the national conversation from fans to players to coaches.

 

The 2007 season is the benchmark for college football craziness, and while there is still more than two months left in the ‘14 campaign, comparisons are already being made to that wacky season seven years ago.

 

I bet Mark Richt remembers all about the '07 campaign.

 

We entered Week 3 with one marquee showdown in the SEC East and a bunch of so-so matchups throughout the rest of college football.

 

But as the day went along, it was obviously not going to be an average run of the mill Saturday afternoon.

 

West Virginia and Clint Trickett ran 108 plays for 694 yards to outlast Maryland, sending an unexpected shot across the Big 12 bow. Ruffin McNeill and East Carolina basically dominated a Virginia Tech team in Blacksburg that went into Columbus and won easily last weekend. Bowling Green scored with nine seconds left to give the Big Ten their third loss to the MAC. And Virginia won an ACC game for the first time in 672 days when it upset a ranked Louisville team at home.

 

And that was just the noon kickoffs. The real craziness took place in the SEC East and the Pac-12 South.

 

Georgia and South Carolina duked it out in true heavyweight fashion in a rainy but electric Williams-Brice Stadium. The Bulldogs had no answer on defense for the balanced and explosive South Carolina offense. Dylan Thompson waited his turn behind Connor Shaw for years for exactly this type of moment.

 

With the season hanging in the balance just three weeks into his senior season, the Gamecocks quarterback led an offense that dissected the UGA defense for 447 yards and 6.2 yards per play in what turned out to be the highest scoring game in the history of the SEC East series. 

 

Thompson finished with 271 yards passing and four total touchdowns. More importantly, Steve Spurrier’s bunch left Week 3 with what amounts to a two-game lead over Georgia in the East and a renewed sense of purpose. Do both the Dawgs and Cocks have glaring issues on the defensive side of the ball? Is the rest of the SEC East — considering how good Mizzou has looked — considerably more balanced and more difficult than expected in the preseason? Did Georgia once again miss an opportunity to make a championship statement in a huge moment under Mark Richt?

 

Yes. Yes. And yes. But, for now, South Carolina landed the first big SEC East blow.

 

One guy who didn’t miss his chance in the spotlight was UCLA backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel.

 

The Bruins have looked like anything but a College Football Playoff team with three victories over Virginia, Memphis and Texas by a grand total of 18 points. But Neuheisel, the son of former UCLA coach and QB Rick Neuheisel who was forced into action when Brett Hundley left in the first quarter with an arm injury, won’t ever forget what happened in Arlington on Saturday night.

 

With three minutes to go in the game and trailing by four points, Neuheisel dropped a gorgeous 33-yard touchdown pass into the waiting arms of Jordan Payton down the left sideline to give UCLA the win over Texas. He may never throw another pass on any level again in his career but he certainly won’t ever forget that one.

 

While the Bruins have struggled on the whole this season, UCLA is still unbeaten and is coming off its most complete game against its best opponent and did so without its Heisman Trophy candidate. It should give Jim Mora’s bunch some confidence heading into a bye week before traveling to Tempe to face Arizona State in a critical Pac-12 South showdown.

 

The key will be who is playing quarterback in that huge Thursday night showdown. Hundley is optimistic he can return for UCLA while the Sun Devils may not be as lucky. Arizona State’s star quarterback Taylor Kelly was on crutches in the waning moments of ASU’s win over Colorado on Saturday and appears to be out for 2-3 games.

 

It couldn’t come at a worse time for Todd Graham. Arizona State will get an off weekend in Week 4 but then have to face UCLA, USC, Stanford and Washington. The Sun Devils’ Pac-12 South hopes may now hinge on the inexperienced but very powerful right arm of junior Mike Bercovici.

 

If either Kelly or Hundley miss any amount of time — or aren’t playing at their usually elite level — one would think that would open the door for another team to step into the Pac-12 title picture.

 

It’s just hard to make the case that this team will be USC. The Trojans' win over Stanford was fortunate but there was nothing fluky about the way Boston College dominated the line of scrimmage against USC on Saturday night. Steve Sarkisian’s bunch was outrushed 452 to 20 in the massive upset. Seriously, read that previous sentence again.

 

No, it may actually be Arizona (3-0) or Utah (2-0) who might be ready to step into a challenger's role in the Pac-12 South rather than the Men of Troy.

 

Entering Week 3, the races in the SEC East and Pac-12 South were somewhat clear with Georgia and UCLA standing in control. While both the Bruins and Dawgs could still be considered the front-runners, each appears to be right in the heart of a much more heated race than originally expected.

 

Would it really shock anyone now if Missouri or Arizona won its respective division?

 

Saturday Conversation

 

Dylan Thompson, QB, South Carolina

The Gamecocks quarterback was extra motivated after hearing about how great Georgia was for two weeks and that helped his team pull off the upset at home.

 

 

Jerry Neuheisel, QB, UCLA

The UCLA quarterback had to step in for the injured Brett Hundley and he led the Bruins to a comeback win over Texas. He talks about his interview with his father, Rick, and being forced into the spotlight.

 

 

Tyler Murphy, QB, Boston College

The Eagles quarterback rushed for 191 yards and explained how his team was able to pull off the shocking upset over USC.

 

 

Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina

The head coach of the Pirates knew his team was prepared to compete with Virginia Tech but he explains how losing to South Carolina helped his team.

 

 

Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas

The Razorbacks quarterback explained how the SEC-Big 12 rivalry and difference in offensive styles helped the Hogs prepare for (and defeat) Texas Tech.

 

 

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina

The Gamecocks running back gives all of the credit for the ground game’s success to the offensive line after the big win over Georgia.

 

 

Greyson Lambert, QB, Virginia

The Cavaliers signal-caller explains how the locker room at Virginia is brimming with confidence following a big win over Louisville.

 

Teaser:
Tuesday Talking Points: Georgia Misses Another Chance, Pac-12 South Wide Open
Post date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-3-recap
Body:

 

The guys recap the big Georgia-South Carolina game and what it means for the SEC East. The Week 3 edition also features the quality showing from the Big 12, UCLA's comeback, the Big Ten's second rough weekend in a row and a couple of big upsets in the ACC - and what it means for the USC Trojans moving forward. 


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @DavidFox615 or email podcast@athlonsports.com. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

 

 

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 3 Recap
Post date: Monday, September 15, 2014 - 12:04
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-3-takeaways-taylor-kelly-brett-hundley-injured-wins-trojans-upset
Body:

The Pac-12 was 7-2 overall in Week 3. One of those losses was a conference game but the other was a horrendous road defeat for USC at the hands of Boston College.

 

But there were two other losses that could prove to be huge in the race for the Pac-12 South Division title. UCLA and Arizona State both finished costly wins with their star quarterbacks standing on the sidelines with could be significant injuries.

 

Here is what we learned from the Pac-12 in Week 3: 

 

USC has major questions

The road win over Stanford had fluky characteristics and the Trojans didn't get nearly as lucky against Boston College. Facing an Eagles team that allowed 302 yards rushing and mustered just 4.4 yards per play on offense in a loss to Pitt last weekend, USC was completely dominated in the trenches on Saturday. In one of the most bizarre stats of the year, the Trojans were outrushed 452 to 20 in the stunning upset loss. While allowing 7.4 yards per play on defense, USC managed only 4.8 yards per play on offense. The questionable coaching decisions against Stanford didn't cost the Men of Troy (due in large part to luck) but Steve Sarkisian clearly didn't have his team ready to compete and the staff didn't make adjustments against a team many believed wouldn't be a challenge.

 

Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

 

 

 

 

Taylor Kelly injury reshapes South race

Arizona State won on the road against Colorado in relatively easy fashion. But the win might be a costly one. Kelly, one of only two quarterbacks in college football to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 500 yards in each of the last two seasons (the other is that Manziel guy) was on crutches with his right foot in a boot on Saturday night. While no immediate prognosis is available, Kelly seemed awfully emotional and dejected on the sidelines. The defending South Division champs looked better than preseason pollsters projected but will face UCLA, USC, Stanford and Washington in the next four games. Even if Kelly can return for November, it's hard to see ASU surviving the next month of action still in Pac-12 contention. On a positive note, D.J. Foster is pretty much awesome. After another 206 yards from scrimmage and two more touchdowns, the Sun Devils tailback now has 510 yards rushing, 139 yards receiving and scored six times. No one in the nation has more yards from scrimmage than his 649 yards.

 

Without its star, UCLA finds balance

The biggest piece of news coming out of AT&T Stadium was Brett Hundley's arm injury. It certainly didn't appear to be as bad as Taylor Kelly's, but if the star quarterback is out for any extended period of time, UCLA could be in major trouble. The Bruins survived another scare with the gutty play from backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel. More importantly, the offense found some balance in the running game with 217 yards rushing (124 from Paul Perkins) and the Bruins played their most complete game without Hundley under center. Was Texas also depleted and not as good as its name brand indicates? Sure, but if the Bruins can consistently play games like they did against Texas and Hundley can return to the field, then UCLA clearly sit in the driver's seat in the South — even if it's looked like anything but a Playoff team.

 

Shaq Thompson is a Heisman candidate

If the Huskies can keep winning, it may have a legitimate defensive Heisman candidate in linebacker Shaq Thompson. The two-way star scored twice on defense this weekend against Illinois on a 36-yard INT return and a 52-yard fumble return. His absurd stat line through three games: 22 tackles, one INT, 1.0 sack, 82 yards rushing on 13.7 yards per carry and three total touchdowns. Hello, Charles Woodson.

 

Survive and advance

It goes without saying, but in a year that is feeling more and more like the wild and wacky 2007, winning is all that matters. UCLA, Washington, Arizona and Oregon State haven't looked like conference championship teams but those four are a combined 11-0 on the season. So while criticism is warranted for all four programs in how they struggled with lesser competition, they've remained unblemished and each appears to have started to iron out some of the early season kinks to enter conference play with perfect records. Additionally, Arizona State, Cal and Utah are a combined 7-0 as well. By comparison, the Pac-12 has more unbeaten teams left (8) as the Big Ten (2), Big 12 (4) and American Athletic Conference (1) combined and is tied with the SEC (8).

 

Pac-12 Power Rankings:

 

RkTeamRecordLast WeekWeek 2
1.3-0W, 48-14, Wyomingat Washington St
2.3-0W, 20-17, TexasBye
3.2-1W, 35-0, ArmyBye
4.3-0W, 38-24, ColoradoBye
5.2-1L, 37-31, Boston CollegeBye
6.3-0W, 35-28, NevadaCal
7.3-0W, 44-19, IllinoisGeorgia St
8.2-0ByeSan Diego St
9.2-0Byeat Michigan
10.2-0Byeat Arizona
11.1-2W, 59-21, Portland StOregon
12.1-2L, 38-24, Arizona StHawaii

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 3 Takeaways: Taylor Kelly, Brett Hundley Injured in wins, Trojans Upset
Post date: Monday, September 15, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-3-picks
Body:

I was feeling pretty good about my picks with about 19 minutes left in the Oregon game and about 19 seconds left in the Stanford game.

 

Then Marcus Mariota and Stanford’s red zone offense happened and I finished 2-3. Although, I did go 9-5 against the number in Top 25 games (see below), so I got that going for me.

 

It has not been a strong start for me, but I am feeling confident about rebounding in a very modest Week 3 slate.

 

Last Week: 2-3

Year-to-Date: 5-6

 

UTSA (pk) at Oklahoma St

According to Covers.com, two of their five sports books are offering this game as a pick-em while the other three are listing Oklahoma State as a 13-point favorite. If you can get in on this game as a straight-up pick-em, then this becomes my lock of the week. Prediction: Oklahoma State (pk)

 

Listen to the Week 3 preview podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Pitt (-25.5) at FIU

The Panthers have been one of the more impressive teams in the nation thus far and FIU has been the complete opposite. The Panthers are 2-0 against the number and I expect a huge day from the No. 5-ranked rushing team in the nation (355.5 ypg). Prediction: Pitt -25.5

 

Arkansas (+2) at Texas Tech

The Razorbacks are one of the most physical and powerful running games in the nation and Texas Tech is having issues all over the field. The Red Raiders can sling it around and will score points as well but most like the Hogs to win outright so take the points. Prediction: Arkansas +2

 

USC (-17) at Boston College

The Eagles allowed 302 yards rushing to Pitt last weekend so USC tailback Buck Allen (143.5 yards per game) should have a field day. And this speaks nothing of the elite passing game Cody Kessler and Coach Sarkisian have on offense as well. Prediction: USC -17

 

Indiana (-7) at Bowling Green

This was an upset special in the summer but now that Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson is out, the Falcons have looked like a different team. One of the Big Ten’s best offenses should be able to score at will against a BG defense that has allowed 445.0 yards passing per game in two contests. Prediction: Indiana -7

 

Kansas (+14.5) at Duke

The Jayhawks needed to hold off Southeast Missouri State for a narrow six-point win last week at home. Duke has scored 86 points in two games and is poised for another big offensive showing at home. The coaching differential is astounding in this one. Take the Blue Devils big. Prediction: Duke -14.5

 

Rice (+31.5) at Texas A&M

This pick breaks one of my rules of gambling and that is never to touch a spread of 30 or more points. But Texas A&M is just too good on offense and Rice was torched by Notre Dame in its only game (48-17). If you are okay with the big number, take the Aggies to win BIG in College Station. Prediction: Texas A&M -31.5

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Wyoming (+43) at Oregon
S. Miss (+48) at Alabama
Tennessee (+20.5) at Oklahoma
Georgia (-6.5) at S. Carolina
Rice (+31.5) at Texas A&M
Baylor (-35) at Buffalo
USC (-17) at B. College
ULM (+31) at LSU
Purdue (+28.5) at Notre Dame
UCLA (-8) vs. Texas
ULL (+27.5) at Ole Miss
Army (+28.5) at Stanford
Arizona St (-15.5) at Colorado
E. Carolina (+11) at Va Tech
UCF (+10) at Missouri
Louisville (-6.5) at Virginia
Kent St (+32) at Ohio St
Last Week:9-510-46-88-6
YTD:16-1320-914-1514-15

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 3 Picks
Post date: Friday, September 12, 2014 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-3-preview
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan previews all of the big action from Week 3 including Georgia-South Carolina, UCLA-Texas, an underrated Big 12 slate and plenty of conference games. The guys also give their locks of the week against the spread as well.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonSteven or email podcast@athlonsports.com. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

 

 

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 3 Preview
Post date: Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 11:29
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Many are talking about how weak the Week 3 slate looks nationally. While there’s only one Top 25 matchup in any conference, the Big 12 only has one “bad” game this weekend.

 

There’s an intense in-state rivalry. There are clashes of style with the SEC. There’s a top 10 team coming to The Lone Star State. There are three bouts with the Big Ten. And there’s Baylor. Even Kansas has an intriguing game this weekend.

Week 3 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC


Big 12 Week 3 Game Power Rankings

 

1. UCLA (-8) vs Texas
8 p.m., FOX, Arlington

While UCLA is looking for a complete performance from both sides of the ball (in the same game), Texas is looking for answers all over the roster. The Bruins are a known commodity with a proven playmaker at quarterback and several stars on defense. Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes wasn’t terrible in his debut against BYU but Texas still has glaring questions under center — and most every other position on the offense. The defense, supposed to be a strength, needs to play like it did in Week 1 (94 yds allowed) rather than how it did last weekend (41 pts). Both offensive lines are a concern and both defensive lines have future NFL players, so whichever team protects the quarterback better will leave Arlington a winner.

 

Listen to the Week 3 preview podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

 

 

2. Arkansas (+2) at Texas Tech
3:30 p.m., ABC

This is an awesome battle of tempo and style that should be exciting all the way to the wire. Arkansas will bring in one of the most powerful rushing attacks in the country at 324.0 yards per game after two weeks. Meanwhile, David Webb is sixth nationally with 730 yards passing in two games for Texas Tech. Kliff Kingsbury needs a more disciplined performance from his team as Tech’s 25 penalties rank 126th nationally and are last in the Big 12 in turnover margin (-3). If Tech doesn’t play a cleaner game and doesn’t get freshman running back Justin Stockton (12.4 ypc) the ball, the Hogs will physically dominate the trenches and leave Lubbock with a win. This is a critical test for a Red Raiders team that appears to have the same issues it did to end last season.

 

3. Tennessee (+20.5) at Oklahoma
8 p.m., ABC

The Volunteers have two wins but have yet to get any push up front on offense, ranking 91st in the nation in rushing. The Sooners have been excellent against the run and are playing elite defense, ranking 13th nationally in stopping the ground game. Trevor Knight obviously needs to play well against a much improved defense that has been excellent on third down (7-of-31), but the line of scrimmage figures to be the biggest factor and Oklahoma appears to have a major advantage in this department on both sides of the ball. Bob Stoops has been railing on the SEC because he knows his team should get a relatively easy win against one of the conference's lower-tier teams that still could wind up in a bowl game by season’s end. There is a reason the Vols are a three-touchdown underdog.

 

4. West Virginia (+3.5) at Maryland
Noon, BTN

This game has gotten dramatically more interesting after two weeks of play. The Terps, who will be wearing these uniforms, won this contest 37-0 a year ago and are coming off a hard-fought win over USF on the road. West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has been a different player this year, throwing for 713 yards and no interceptions in two games thus far. Fans on both sides are expecting a much closer battle this time around. In order to keep it close, the Mountaineers must be focused on stopping a host of talented Maryland playmakers, including quarterback C.J. Brown (6 total TD), receiver Stefon Diggs (12 receptions) and running backs Wes Brown and Brandon Ross.

 

5. Iowa State (+10) at Iowa
3:30 p.m., ESPN

One of the more underrated in-state rivalries in college football began back in 1894 and has been played 61 times. Paul Rhoads is 2-3 against Kirk Ferentz but won the last trip into Iowa City in ugly fashion 9-6. Both teams have struggled in the early going this fall, as Iowa has needed late heroics to reach 2-0. Iowa State played much better football against Kansas State than it did in Week 1 but still couldn’t score in the fourth quarter. This is a classic rivalry that could go either way depending on quarterback play and third-down defense — two areas where Iowa appears to have a significant advantage. Even the campus Police Departments are getting into fray.

 

6. Minnesota (+14.5) at TCU
4 p.m., FS1

The Gophers are one of the few Big Ten teams that have looked solid in both outings this fall, as the running game has averaged 233.0 yards per game. Normally, the defense gets the headlines for Gary Patterson but the TCU coach is drawing attention for his QB depth chart instead. Trevone Boykin — who threw for over 300 yards in the season opener — is a co-starter with Matt Joeckel. It appears this battle is far from over and whoever plays better against a well-coached but potentially overmatched Minnesota squad this weekend could take control of the job. Stopping UM tailback David Cobb is the key for TCU on Saturday.

 

7. UTSA (off) at Oklahoma State
7 p.m.

Daxx Garman played well (over 15 yards per completion) in backup duty last weekend and appears to have a better skill set for Mike Gundy’s offense than J.W. Walsh. Texas-San Antonio has played excellent defense, due in large part to a stout defensive line, against Arizona and Houston as the Roadrunners figure to be a much better test for Garman (or whomever plays QB) than Southwest Missouri State. Many are suggesting Garman should be the unquestioned starter but the fact remains he needs to prove himself against more legitimate competition before he’s handed the keys to Gundy’s Air Raid attack. UTSA is a solid step up for OSU but shouldn’t pose a threat for the Pokes in Stillwater.

 

8. Baylor (-34) at Buffalo
Fri., 8 p.m., ESPN

Bryce Petty’s vertebrae are the only real story in what should be a very lopsided Bears win. Petty will start after missing all of last week’s game and the offense didn’t miss a beat. Art Briles' top concern this weekend should be keeping his QB upright and returning home healthy.

 

9. Kansas (+15) at Duke
3:30 p.m., ESPN3

Charlie Weis and David Cutcliffe know each other quite well. The Kansas coach hired the Duke coach while at Notre Dame but the two never coached together due to health complications for Cutcliffe. This time, Cutt appears to be the boss, as his Duke team is surging after two easy wins. Stopping Anthony Boone will be a tall order for the Jayhawks on the road.

 

Off: Kansas State

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
UCLA (-8) vs. TexasUCLA, 31-17UCLA, 24-10UCLA, 35-10UCLA, 27-13
Ark. (+2) at T. TechArk., 30-27Ark., 34-30Ark., 42-38Ark., 38-34
Tenn. (+20.5) at Okla.Okla., 38-17Okla., 33-13Okla., 35-14Okla., 38-13
W. Virginia (+3.5) at Mary.Mary., 34-31Mary., 27-24WVU, 35-24WVU, 34-31
Iowa St (+10) at IowaIowa, 31-21Iowa, 21-10Iowa, 21-17Iowa, 27-17
Minn. (+14.5) at TCUTCU, 27-20Minn., 24-21TCU, 17-10TCU 30-20
UTSA (off) at Okla. StOSU, 31-17OSU, 30-17OSU, 35-28OSU 38-24
Baylor (-34) at BuffaloBaylor, 49-10Baylor, 41-0Baylor, 56-10Baylor 52-20
Kansas (+15) at DukeDuke, 43-15Duke, 34-10Duke, 28-10Duke, 38-17
Last Week:8-08-08-08-0
Year-to-Date:16-116-117-016-1

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 3 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Washington State and Colorado notwithstanding, the Pac-12 has had a very successful first two weeks of the season.

 

Oregon looks like a national title team, all of the other contenders have survived and stayed unblemished in the non-conference (UCLA, Oregon State, Washington) and the rest of the league (Arizona State, Arizona, Cal, Utah) has looked better than anticipated.

 

This weekend should feature much of the same as some teams look to survive key road non-conference games and contenders aim to hold serve at home against overmatched opponents.

Week 3 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC


Pac-12 Week 3 Game Power Rankings

 

1. UCLA (-8) vs Texas
8 p.m., FOX, Arlington

While UCLA is looking for a complete performance from both sides of the ball (in the same game), Texas is looking for answers all over the roster. The Bruins are a known commodity with a proven playmaker at quarterback and several stars on defense. Longhorns quarterback Tyrone Swoopes wasn’t terrible in his debut against BYU but Texas still has glaring questions under center — and most every other position on offense. The defense, supposed to be a strength, needs to play like it did in Week 1 (94 yds allowed) rather than how it did last weekend (41 pts). Both offensive lines are a concern and both defensive lines have future NFL players, so whichever team protects the quarterback better will leave Arlington a winner.

 

Listen to the Week 3 preview podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

 

 

2. Nevada (+14.5) at Arizona
11 p.m., P12 Net

These two have only played once since World War II, but the 2012 New Mexico Bowl was one for the ages. The 49-48 showdown was an epic, back-and-forth affair between two great offenses and that figures to be the case once again this weekend. Arizona won a hard-fought game against UTSA in San Antonio last Saturday and has had extra time to prepare for a Wolf Pack defense that was excellent against Washington State in Week 2. Anu Solomon (358.5 ypg) and Cody Fajardo (290.5 ypg) are two of the most entertaining quarterbacks in the nation and both should deliver fireworks late night on Saturday. Look for Rich Rodriguez’ defense to get key stops in the second half, pushing his non-conference record in Tucson to a perfect 11-0.

 

3. USC (-17) at Boston College
8 p.m., ESPN

Anytime the Trojans play on the East Coast, it’s must-see TV. That said, the Eagles' defensive front better be ready for a heavy dose of Buck Allen and Justin Davis. Boston College allowed 302 yards rushing — 213 to James Conner — against Pittsburgh last weekend and show no signs of being able to stop USC's powerful rushing attack. Allen has been excellent on the ground, averaging 6.4 yards per carry and 143.5 yards per game in the early going. This says nothing of the elite collection of wideouts Cody Kessler has at his disposal. The late kickoff should help USC stave off any remaining jet lag from the cross-country journey.

 

4. Illinois (+13) at Washington
4 p.m., FOX

The Huskies defense will be without star cornerback Marcus Peters this weekend against what is developing into one of the Big Ten’s better passing attack. Neither team has looked good against inferior competition but both quarterbacks exploded last week with big numbers. Wes Lunt threw for 456 yards in a narrow win over Western Kentucky while Cyler Miles scored four times and led his team to 59 points in his season debut. The biggest difference between these two should be the play of UW’s front seven on defense. If this group is effective, Washington should win easily.

 

5. Arizona St (-15.5) at Colorado
10 p.m., ESPNU

The conference opener for both should be closer than the first two meetings between Todd Graham and the Buffaloes. Taylor Kelly and Graham have scored over 50 points and rolled up more than 530 yards in each of their two games against Colorado. Tailback D.J. Foster has given Kelly a tremendous counterpart, as the star tailback is averaging an absurd 10.7 yards per carry on 34 attempts (363 yds, 4 TD). Meanwhile, the Buffs haven’t looked good in either game despite adequate play from sophomore quarterback Sefo Luifau (559 yds, 5 TD, INT). Look for Luifau to target that reworked ASU secondary with talented peripheral weapons Nelson Spruce (17 rec., 249 yds, 4 TD) and Shay Fields. Mike MacIntrye has to hope to outscore Arizona State — which is much easier said than done.

 

6. Army (+28.5) at Stanford
5 p.m., P12 Net

The story coming out of Palo Alto last weekend wasn’t that Stanford lost, it was how they lost. In 2014, the Cardinal has made 11 trips into the red zone that have resulted in a total of three touchdowns. That has to change against Army this Saturday. The good news is the Stanford defense is picking up right where it left off by allowing just one total touchdown in 25 defensive possessions. The long trip out West for the Knights doesn’t help their chances either.

 

7. Wyoming (+43) at Oregon
2 p.m., P12 Net

The only thing the Cowboys can hope for here is a complete and total letdown of focus for the Ducks after their huge win over Michigan State. Wyoming is unbeaten but topped Montana by just five points and needed 10 fourth quarter points to beat Air Force by four last week. Oregon scored almost as many points in the final 19 minutes against Sparty (28) as the Cowboys have scored in two games (34). This will be ugly.

 

8. Portland St at Washington St
8 p.m., P12 Net

After two weeks, there are few teams in the nation more disappointing than the Cougars. The defense was atrocious in Week 1 and the offense was ineffective in Week 2. With eight (maybe nine) potential bowl teams left on the schedule, this is the last “guaranteed” win on Wazzu's schedule.

 

Off: Oregon State, Utah

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

 

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
UCLA (-8) at TexasUCLA, 31-17UCLA, 24-10UCLA, 35-10UCLA, 27-13
Nevada (+14.5) at ArizonaZona, 34-20Zona, 41-24Zona, 41-14Zona 41-30
USC (-17) at B. CollegeUSC, 41-17USC, 30-20USC, 35-14USC, 34-17
Illinois (+13) at Wash.Wash., 44-24Wash., 33-27Wash., 42-28Wash., 45-31
Ariz. St (-15.5) at Colo.ASU, 45-21ASU, 37-17ASU, 42-10ASU, 45-17
Army (+28.5) at Stan.Stan., 33-7Stan., 31-10Stan., 28-14Stan., 34-17
Wyo. (+43) at OregonOregon, 51-7Oregon, 41-7Oregon, 56-10Oregon, 55-7
Port. St at WazzuWSU, 34-14WSU, 41-17WSU, 35-7WSU, 48-13
Last Week:9-210-19-28-3
Year-to-Date:18-519-419-417-6

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 3 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-2-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Athlon Sports has formed a Heisman Trophy committee. Each week, we will ask 13 members of the national college football media to rank their top candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

 

Each voter will rank their top five candidates, with each first-place vote getting five points and each last-place vote getting one point.

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota62103---
2.Todd Gurley53382--
3.Kenny Hill22-1341
4.Jameis Winston21-1324
5.Everett Golson13--15-
6t.Taysom Hill7--1-4
6t.Amari Cooper7--2-1
8.Ameer Abdullah6--1-3
9.Bryce Petty4---2-

Dropped out: Christian Hackenberg, Melvin Gordon, Brett Hundley, Tyreek Hill

 

Listen to the Week 2 recap podcast:

 

The Top 3:

 

 
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Saturday’s game against Michigan State cannot be understated. The Ducks' quarterback turned in arguably his most brilliant performance of his career, whirling in and around Spartan defenders for 318 yards passing, 42 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. He is only the second quarterback (Dayne Crist, 2010) since 2010 to throw for over 300 yards against a Pat Narduzzi-coached team. Mariota put his team on his back, surrounded by freshmen, and carried Oregon to the biggest win of the non-conference season.

 

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

The Dawgs were off in Week 2 but will play in arguably the biggest game of the Week 3 slate. Look for Gurley to post another big statline in a critical SEC East showdown against South Carolina in Columbia. In two games against the Gamecocks, Gurley has been dominant (30 att., 132 yds, TD) in a win and stymied (13 att., 39 yds) in an ugly 35-7 loss.

 

3. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M

Hill has one of the biggest wins of the season under his belt when he set records in front of a national audience against South Carolina. After 511 yards in 60 attempts in a real game, Hill attempted just 26 passes (completing 17) for 283 yards and four touchdowns against Lamar in Week 2. That’s 794 yards, seven TDs and no interceptions on 70.9 percent passing in two starts for Hill. 

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 2 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-3
Body:

The original reality TV show is sports. No contrived setting where seven strangers living in a house or one bachelor searching for love can match the excitement the Iron Bowl delivered last fall.

 

The beauty of college football lies in its complete unpredictability and drama. Here are some outrageous predictions for Week 3.

 

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

 

Todd Gurley will rush for less than 40 yards

The Georgia running back is a freak of nature and ran all over the Gamecocks last year (132 yds). But he was held to just 39 yards on 13 carries in a 35-7 loss the last time UGA visited South Carolina. Look for Steve Spurrier to focus on Gurley, forcing Hutson Mason to make plays (and the Dawgs will still win).

 

Only one Top 25 team will lose

And the only reason one Top 25 team will lose is because both Georgia and South Carolina are ranked. This week’s slate is extremely lacking in anything juicy as Florida State, Auburn, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kansas State and Clemson are off and only one game features two ranked teams. Only UCLA (Texas), Virginia Tech (ECU) and Mizzou (UCF) should even be worried in the slightest in what should be a weekend full of blowouts.

 

Tennessee won’t gain positive rushing yards

The Vols rank 91st in the nation in rushing (139.0 ypg) and are 11th in the SEC. However, Tennessee has struggled mightily to get any push against Utah State and Arkansas State and will be without its starting left tackle. Against an Oklahoma Sooners defense that has allowed 148 yards on 63 carries (2.4 ypg) and no touchdowns in two games, there is a chance the Vols have a negative rushing total in Week 3.

 

Twitter will break when Maryland takes the field

Whether you like or hate the new wave of alternate uniforms, I am willing to bet you will have something to say when Maryland takes the field against West Virginia this weekend. Not only has it turned into an interesting game, but Maryland also will be dressed like this:

 

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions 2014: Week 3
Post date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/how-big-ten-will-make-college-football-playoff
Body:

The Big Ten already has losses to the Pac-12 (twice), SEC, ACC and Notre Dame — not to mention two losses to the MAC.

 

Many, including myself, are writing the Big Ten off as a playoff contender. It’s not that there won’t be some good teams in the league but more that so many things would have to fall into place for a Big Ten team to get into the four-team tournament.

 

Here is what would have to happen for the Big Ten to reach the postseason:

 

1. Either Nebraska goes unbeaten or a one-loss Michigan State wins the Big Ten. First and foremost, this has to happen above all else. It’s possible an unbeaten Penn State or Maryland could face an unbeaten Iowa but those schedules and rosters aren’t good enough to earn a playoff spot. No, the Big Ten champ would have to be a 13-0 Cornhuskers team with wins over Michigan State, Miami, Wisconsin and Iowa or a 12-1 Michigan State squad with two wins over an otherwise unbeaten Nebraska as well as Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland.

 

2. Notre Dame and BYU need to lose somewhere along the way. The margin for error in the Big Ten is minuscule and a perfect Irish (definitely) or Cougars (maybe) squad might get the nod over a one-loss Big Ten champ.

 

3. Jameis Winston gets suspended by Florida State due to a Title IX investigation. The Noles — two years too late — have finally opened a Title IX investigation into the Winston sexual assault investigation.  Should any complications arise, Winston could easily find himself suspended and standing on the sidelines. That would give Clemson, Louisville, Notre Dame, Florida or the ACC Coastal Division champion a shot at knocking FSU from the ranks of the unbeatens. Winston would have to miss significant time because Florida State would have to lose twice.

 

4. A multiple-loss team from the state of Mississippi has to win the SEC. Should Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, Mizzou or South Carolina win the SEC with two losses, that champion is still going to get the nod into the playoffs over a one-loss Big Ten champ. But a two- or three-loss champion that isn’t a traditional power — Ole Miss, Mississippi State — might not have the same clout as a one-loss Big Ten champ. A two-loss Rebels team would likely still earn a bid over the Big Ten but since the Bulldogs don’t play anyone in the non-conference and crossover play is with Vanderbilt and Kentucky, the B1G needs Hail State to win the SEC.

 

5. Stanford beats Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA. UCLA beats USC and Oregon. Arizona State beats UCLA and Stanford. Arizona beats Arizona State. Most importantly out West, however, Oregon has to lose three times. So in addition to losing to UCLA and Stanford, Oregon would also have to lose again — likely at Oregon State. The schedules in the Pac-12 are nasty but a two-loss champ is a must for the Big Ten to get into the playoff. Unless that champ is Oregon, in which case, it likely has to lose three times.

 

6. Bryce Petty never returns to the field and Trevor Knight misses significant time with an injury. Petty didn’t play in Week 2 and Knight was constantly banged up a year ago. Baylor and Oklahoma are the clear-cut title contenders in the Big 12 and the only way one of those two doesn’t win the crown with one or fewer losses will be the loss of a star QB for an extended period of time.

 

By this point, the words running through your head right now should be “yeah, right.” That is the point of this exercise. The Big Ten is a solid league with some great coaches and solid teams but a lot of unlikely things have to happen for its champion to earn a spot in the playoff. 

 

All hope is not lost, however. The Big Ten has a better shot at the playoff than the best team from the American Athletic Conference. So there's that.

Teaser:
How the Big Ten Will Make the College Football Playoff
Post date: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 13:30
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-2-pac-12
Body:

Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of Pac-12 football action:

 

9: Stanford drives inside the USC 35-yard line

The Cardinal took all nine of their drives to at least the USC 32-yard line but managed only 10 points for an ugly 1.1 points per trip inside the 40. Stanford missed two field goals, lost two fumbles, punted twice and was stopped on a fourth down conversion. Stanford outgained USC 413-291 but simply couldn’t finish drives.

 

Listen to the Week 2 recap podcast:

 

59: Plays run by USC

A week after setting a Pac-12 record with 105 offensive plays, USC set a Pac-12 season-low with just 59 offensive snaps against Stanford. The Trojans averaged 4.9 yards per play for 291 yards of offense and still managed to win on the road. For what it’s worth, USC (164) now trails Arizona for total offensive plays run in 2014 (170).

 

2: Number of 300-yard passers allowed by Michigan State since 2010

Marcus Mariota was Athlon Sports’ Player of the Week for a reason. He was outstanding against a defense that normally never allows anything outstanding to take place. He threw for 318 yards and only Dayne Crist of Notre Dame (369) has thrown for more yards on a Michigan State defense since 2010.

 

287: Yards of offense for Oregon freshmen

Oregon totaled 491 yards of total offense. Of that 491 yards of offense, three freshmen — Royce Freeman, Devon Allen and Darren Carrington — accounted for 287 of it. Freeman (89 rush, 22 rec), Allen (110 rec) and Carrington (66 rec) scored four of the team’s six touchdowns, as the trio of first-year athletes have established themselves quickly as go-to talents for Mark Helfrich.


19: Combined losses for Virginia and Memphis in 2013

UCLA has won two games in two totally different ways in 2014 by a grand total of 15 points. The Bruins' margin of victory over 'Virginia and Memphis is less than the total number of combined losses the Cavaliers (10) and the Tigers (9) experienced last fall. Both teams are improved in 2014 but UCLA hasn’t looked anything like a Playoff contender in two weeks.

 

11: Combined TDs from QBs in the Washington game

Chris Petersen and Washington welcomed Cyler Miles back to the huddle in Week 2 and they needed him. Miles ran for three touchdowns and threw for another as Washington outlasted Eastern Washington 59-52 in Seattle. That’s because EWU quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 475 yards and seven touchdowns. The two QBs combined for 729 yards of total offense and 11 total touchdowns in the shootout.

 

73: Combined rushing yards for Shaq Thompson and Myles Jack

Washington and UCLA both have superstar linebackers in Shaq Thompson and Myles Jack. Both rank in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in tackles (18 and 19 respectively) but both got into the action on offense this weekend. Jack (3 att., 7 yards, TD) and Thompson (3 att., 66 yards, TD) combined for 73 yards rushing on six carries and each scored a touchdown. Heisman voters love this stuff.

 

2008: Last time a Utah QB threw 5 TDs

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson threw five touchdowns in Saturday’s win over Fresno State. The last time the Utes had five passing scores in a game was 2008 (Brian Johnson). Utah is 2-0 and has scored 115 points in two games after averaging 29.2 ppg a season ago.

 

26: Oregon State penalties in two games

Through two weeks, the Beavers are leading the nation in breaking the rules. Oregon State has been penalized 26 times for 218 yards in two narrow wins over lowly foes Portland State and Hawaii.

 

2: Wins for Cal

This one is pretty simple but deserves to be mentioned. Cal won just one time in Sonny Dykes' first season last fall and, after just two weeks, has already improved that total after beating Sacramento State 55-14 this weekend. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 229 yards and four touchdowns and has seven scoring strikes and just one interception on the young season. 

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2 in the Pac-12
Post date: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-2-big-12
Body:

Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of Big 12 football action:

 

81-28: Texas-BYU score the last two years

Fans in Austin were appalled (rightly so) when its team allowed nearly 700 yards of offense in a 40-21 loss to BYU in Provo, Utah, a year ago. It wasn’t supposed to get worse in 2014 with Charlie Strong running the ship but it did. Texas lost 41-7 on Saturday night and gave up 429 yards of offense in the worst home defeat since 1997 (UCLA, 66-3). If you’re counting at home, that’s 1,108 yards of offense and 81 points in two losses to BYU.

 

Listen to the Week 2 recap podcast:

 

58.2: Baylor's yards per TD pass

No Bryce Petty? No problem. Baylor’s offense maintained its big-play ability with Seth Russell at the controls, as the sophomore completed 16 of 25 passes for 438 yards and five scores. Russell’s five touchdown tosses averaged 58.2 yards per completion, with three of those going to freshman standout KD Cannon. The Bears averaged 9.2 yards per play overall on offense.

 

0.82: Yards per carry allowed by Baylor

The Bears are leading the nation in yards per carry allowed at 0.82 yards per carry. Most of this is helped by their nation’s best 11 sacks in two games. Baylor’s opposition has rushed 66 times for 54 yards in two games.

 

51: Jake Waters yards rushing the final drive

Kansas State got the ball with 3:01 remaining in the game against Iowa State and trailing on the road by two points. Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters then took over the game and willed his team to victory. He led a seven-play, 80-yard drive in which he rushed four times for 51 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He also completed a 23-yard pass to Tyler Lockett. It was tremendous performance from the Iowa native.

 

3: Ways Jarvis West scored a TD

Iowa State receiver Jarvis West had a standout all-around performance against Kansas State. He threw a 29-yard touchdown, caught eight passes for 77 yards and one score and returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. According to STATS LCC, he’s only the fourth player since 1996 to score on a pass, catch and punt return in a single game.

 

Sept. 4, 2010: Last time West Virginia pitched a shutout

The Mountaineers surrendered 33.3 points per game last year and 38.1 points per game in 2012. Playing Towson isn’t anything special but West Virginia pitched its first shutout since Sept. 4, 2010 when it blanked Coastal Carolina 31-0.

 

15.3: Yards per completion for Daxx Garman

J.W. Walsh injured his foot against Southwest Missouri State on Saturday night but Daxx Garman played well in his absence. He completed 16-of-26 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 15.3 yards per completion. Garman may be a better fit as a passer for Mike Gundy’s offense than Walsh and Garman may have a chance to prove it.

 

25: Texas Tech penalties in two games

The Red Raiders are 2-0 but have struggled mightily against lowly foes Central Arkansas and UTEP. Tech has won both games by a combined 11 points and has committed 25 penalties for 204 yards. Only Oregon State (26) has been more penalized in two weeks thus far.

 

300: Sterling Shepard yards in two games against Tulsa

Shepard set career highs with eight receptions, 123 yards and two touchdowns against Tulsa last season. He broke those benchmarks this weekend by catching eight passes for 177 yards and a touchdown. That’s 16 receptions, 300 yards and three scores in two games against the Hurricane.

 

3: Career TDs for Geneo Grissom

Oklahoma’s outside linebacker Geneo Grissom snatched a Dane Evans pass midway through the third quarter and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. According to ESPN, Grissom became the first Sooners defensive lineman or linebacker to score three defensive touchdowns — all of which have happened in the last 10 games.

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2 in the Big 12
Post date: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/tuesday-talking-points-2014-week-2-big-ten-whiffs-oregon-shines
Body:

Two weeks in and the Big Ten is finished.

 

Okay, that might be a touch dramatic but it’s not too far from the reality.

 

The Big Ten entered 2014 in desperate need of some brand equity — i.e., regular season wins against quality non-conference opponents. But after two weeks, every major contender in this league — with the possible exception of Penn State — have already lost critical showcase games against high-level competition.

 

Michigan State played well but was Oregon-ed in Autzen Stadium in the fourth quarter. Michigan looked as bad as Michigan has ever looked. And Ohio State was pushed around at home by a Hokies team that lost five times last year.

 

Not only did the Big Ten miss out on an opportunity to prove it’s worth on a national stage, it was embarrassed as Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State lost by a combined 64 points. In fact, it was the first time since Sept. 17, 1988 that the Buckeyes, Spartans and Wolverines each lost on the same day.

 

This is to say nothing of Wisconsin, Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Rutgers and Purdue. All of which have either lost already or looked bad in wins.

 

So is it really that farfetched to suggest that the Big Ten has already been eliminated from the College Football Playoff?

 

Maybe, we should ask Pat Haden?

 

His USC Trojans won on Saturday in ugly fashion against a really good Stanford team in Palo Alto. No one, however, is talking about the gutty play of quarterback Cody Kessler one week after surgery or the Trojans' suffocating red-zone defense. No, the conversation has centered around Haden’s bizarre behavior on Saturday when the USC AD, prompted by a text message from a staffer, left his suite, jogged to the sideline and had an emotional exchange with the officials.

 

It was inappropriate and should never happen again. Is a discussion about active members of the college football community being on the committee that decides which teams get into the playoffs a legitimate one? Yes. But the Pac-12 has fined Haden $25,000 so talk of Haden being removed from the Playoff Committee for his actions this weekend is simply absurd.

 

Unfortunately for Mark Helfrich and Marcus Mariota, the conversation centering on Haden is so loud that the Oregon Ducks' performance in the fourth quarter against Michigan State is almost being overlooked.

 

The Spartans were leading deep into the third quarter in Eugene before Mariota turned in what might have been the most brilliant performance of his career. He consistently escaped pressure and executed to near perfection leading Oregon to 28 unanswered points to cap the big win. In what might have been a playoff elimination game, Oregon did what Oregon normally does to teams who appear to be competitive in the third quarter. It rolled to a relatively easy fourth quarter win.

 

For all of the depression running rampant through Big Ten territory and the large withdrawal from Haden’s bank account there is good news for fans in East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Palo Alto or Columbus.

 

At least they’re not Texas Longhorns fans.

 

Taysom Hill should be in Heisman conversations and is one of the most entertaining players in the nation. BYU is extremely well coached and could run the table unbeaten, forcing the Committee to look outside of the Big 5 for its four-team bracket.

 

But losing at home by 34 points is completely unacceptable at Texas. Charlie Strong’s rebuilding project looks like it will be much more difficult and slower moving than originally anticipated and he appears to be cleaning house with a morale compass pointed in the right direction. But this team looked worse against the Cougars at home on Saturday than it did in the record-breaking loss in Provo last fall.

 

Clearly, Strong has a lot of work to do and things don’t get any easier with UCLA coming to the Lone Star State this weekend.

 

Listen to the Week 2 recap podcast:

 

Saturday Conversation

 

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

The Ducks' cornerback made a signature All-American play to help seal the deal for Oregon this weekend. When asked about the atmosphere in Autzen Stadium, Ekpre-Olomu put the win over Michigan State in "the top three" of his career.

 

 

Michael Brewer, QB, Virginia Tech

The Tech quarterback led an impressive road win over Ohio State in Columbus. Brewer credited the great fans from Blacksburg for showing up and staying loud the entire game.

 

 

Cody Riggs, DB, Notre Dame

Riggs was only playing in his second game for the Irish, but he knew all about how big the rivalry was between Notre Dame and Michigan.

 

 

Andre Heidari, K, USC

After kicking his second game-winner against Stanford, the humble Heidari gave all of the credit to his offense, defense and fellow special teamers for the big win against Stanford.

 

Teaser:
Tuesday Talking Points: Big Ten Whiffs, Oregon Shines, USC Stuns
Post date: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-2-recap
Body:

 

Week 2 is in the books and the Big Ten should be worried. Hosts David Fox and Braden Gall recap all of the action from Week 2, including the Big Ten's struggles, the Ducks marquee win, the Hokies huge upset and Pat Haden's behavior. Was the Pac-12 a winner this weekend or a loser? That and much more on this edition of the Cover 2 podcast.

 

Have a question or comment? Contact us at podcast@athlonsports.com or on Twitter at @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 2 Recap
Post date: Monday, September 8, 2014 - 11:39

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