Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-season-awards-and-all-conference-team
Body:

Certainly, Big 12 fans feel jilted by the inaugural College Football Playoff Committee.

 

Both TCU and Baylor were worthy candidates for the national championship tournament. But being left out of the bracket and the subsequent finger pointing has taken away from what was a remarkable season in the Big 12.

 

The 2014 season was one filled with remarkable comebacks, record-setting performances, historic storylines and a lot of purple.

 

2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Teams:
|  |  | 

 

Big 12 2014 Season Awards

 

Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson, TCU

In just three short seasons, Patterson took his program from the Mountain West to the top of the Big 12 ladder. After losing close game after close game and finishing 4-8 a year ago with no quarterback play, Patterson reinvented himself on offense by hiring two new coordinators. With a wide receiver playing quarterback and his best defensive player lost for the year in the summer months, all Patterson did was win a share of the Big 12 title. The Frogs were picked sixth in the Big 12.

 

Offensive Player of the Year: Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

What else can be said about Boykin’s remarkable season? He led the Big 12 with 3,714 yards passing, 30 passing touchdowns and was top 10 nationally in both categories. He also led the Big 12 and finished third nationally in total offense per game at 363.0 yards per game. Of the 11 players with at least 30 touchdown passes, Boykin was one of five with fewer than 10 interceptions. For good measure, he was 10th in the Big 12 in rushing and sixth in rushing touchdowns. This was a no-brainer.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

Brown was downright unstoppable this season for what turned out to be a bowl team in Austin. He anchored a unit that led the league in total defense and passing defense. The massive nose guard is a likely first-team All-American and finished his fine season with 62 total tackles, 12.5 for loss and 6.5 sacks to go with two forced fumbles. He was the most dominant defensive player in the league this year.

 

Newcomer of the Year: Tyreek Hill, AP, Oklahoma State

Hill was the No. 3-rated junior college prospect in the nation according to 247Sports and proved he was worth the lofty expectations. He finished second in the Big 12 with 150.9 all-purpose yards per game and made the biggest play of the Pokes season by tying The Bedlam Series with less than a minute away with his unforgettable punt return. Hill finished with 534 yards rushing on 102 attempts, 281 yards receiving on 31 catches and scored on three different returns (2 kick, 1 punt).

 

Freshman of the Year: Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

The burly true freshman carried his way into the NCAA record books this fall. Perine led the Big 12 with 240 carries, 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns. He posted three 200-yard games and set the NCAA single-game rushing record with 427 against Kansas. He was never the unquestioned starter but was asked to carry the load when Oklahoma dealt with injuries. The Texas native rose to the occasion and finished eighth nationally in rushing and was one of seven players to rush for at least 20 TDs.

 

Coordinator of the Year: Doug Meacham, TCU

He lost out on the Frank Broyles Award given to the nation’s top coordinator (Ohio State’s Tom Herman) but that shouldn’t diminish the work Meacham did in Fort Worth. The Broyles finalist, along with co-coordinator Sonny Cumbie, took an offense that ranked 106th in total offense (344.8) and 88th in scoring offense (25.1 ppg) and turned it into one of the most prolific units in the nation. TCU averaged 542.2 yards and 46.8 points per game, ranking fourth and second nationally, respectively.

 

Breakout Player of the Year: Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

Boykin pretty much deserves every award possible. He’s the offensive player of the year, he’s the most improved player of the year and is clearly the breakout player of the year. Entering the summer, Boykin was a long shot to start at quarterback and was more likely to be a first-team All-Big 12 wide receiver than Heisman Trophy signal-caller. It was a remarkable year for the TCU QB.

 

Big 12 2014 All-Conference Team
First-Team OffenseSecond-Team Offense
QB Trevone Boykin
TCU 
QB Bryce Petty
Baylor 
RB Samaje Perine
Oklahoma 
RB DeAndre Washington
Texas Tech 
RB Shock Linwood
Baylor 
RB Aaron Green
TCU 
WR Tyler Lockett
Kansas State 

WR Sterling Shepard

Oklahoma 

WR Kevin White
West Virginia 
WR Corey Coleman
Baylor 
TE E.J. Bibbs
Iowa State 
TE Jimmay Mudine
Kansas 
C B.J. Finney
Kansas State
C Joey Hunt
TCU 
OL Spencer Drango
Baylor 
OL Cody Whitehair
Kansas State 
OL Daryl Williams
Oklahoma 
OL Quinton Spain
West Virginia 
OL Le'Raven Clark
Texas Tech 
OL Tayo Fabuluje
TCU 
OL Mike Glowinski
West Virginia 
OL Tyrus Thompson
Oklahoma 
AP Tyreek Hill
Oklahoma State 
AP Aaron Wimberly
Iowa State 
  
First-Team DefenseSecond-Team Defense
DL Malcom Brown
Texas 
DL Andrew Billings
Baylor 
DL Shawn Oakman
Baylor 
DL Ryan Mueller
Kansas State 
DL Chucky Hunter
TCU 
DL Cedric Reed
Texas 
DL Emmanuel Ogbah
Oklahoma State 
DL Jordan Phillips
Oklahoma
LB Paul Dawson
TCU 
LB Eric Striker
Oklahoma 
LB Ben Heeney
Kansas 
LB Bryce Hager
Baylor 
LB Pete Robertson
Texas Tech 
LB Jonathan Truman
Kansas State 
CB Zack Sanchez
Oklahoma 
CB Quandre Diggs
Texas 
CB Sam Carter
TCU 
CB Nigel Tribune
Iowa State 
S Chris Hackett
TCU 
S Karl Joseph
West Virginia 
S Orion Stewart
Baylor 
S Jordan Sterns
Oklahoma State 
  
First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team Specialists
K Josh Lambert
West Virginia 
K Jaden Oberkrom
TCU 
P Trevor Pardula
Kansas 
P Spencer Roth
Baylor 
KR Alex Ross
Oklahoma 
KR Mario Alford
West Virginia 
PR Tyler Lockett
Kansas State 
PR Tyreek Hill
Oklahoma State 

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Season Awards and All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-final-2014-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Athlon Sports formed a Heisman Trophy committee that voted every week. Now that the season is over, who are they predicting wins the Heisman Trophy?

 

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

 

The Panel:

 

, FOX Sports

, Big Ten Network 

, CBS Sports

, SBNation

, Sports Illustrated

, NFL.com

, Big Ten Network

, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

, MrSEC.com

, Athlon Sports

Athlon Sports

, Athlon Sports

, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota6513----
2.Melvin Gordon46-93-1
3.Amari Cooper40-48--
4.Trevone Boykin22--272
5.Dak Prescott6---3-
6t.Scooby Wright5---13
6t.Tevin Coleman5---13
8t.J.T. Barrett3---11
8t.Cody Kessler3----3

Dropped out: None 

 

Listen to the College Football Playoff Committee podcast:



Subscribe: |

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

The Pac-12 title game wasn’t as much a must-win situation as it was a Heisman coronation. Mariota is the clear frontrunner for the 2014 Heisman Trophy and, frankly, it would be a huge upset if the Ducks didn’t win their first ever stiff-armed trophy. Mariota finished with 52 total touchdowns and just two interceptions and led the nation with 4,452 yards of total offense. Congrats to one of the good guys of college football.

 

Season Stats: 3,783 yds, 68.3%, 38 TDs, 2 INTs, 669 rush yds, 14 TDs

 

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

The only hope “MelGor” had to win the Heisman was to carry his team to an improbable Big Ten championship over the much more talented Buckeyes. However, Gordon was totally stuffed by Ohio State, finishing with just 76 yards on 26 carries with no touchdowns. Gordon still has an outside shot at Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record, needing 292 in the bowl game to set the record. He needs 231 to pass Kevin Smith for second all-time.

 

Season Stats: 309 att., 2,336 yds, 26 TDs, 17 rec., 151 yds, 3 TDs

 

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama

Cooper didn’t make the big play in the SEC title game, but he did set an SEC record with 12 receptions in the championship game. He was a constant decoy that allowed others to make plenty of big plays and it gave Alabama the SEC title. Cooper also set a new single-season SEC record with 115 catches (Jordan Matthews) and is just 84 yards from breaking Josh Reed’s SEC single-season yards record (1,740).

 

Season Stats: 115 rec., 1,656 yds, 14 TDs 

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Final 2014 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/no-college-football-doesnt-need-8-team-playoff
Body:

TCU and Baylor were deserving and they got left out of the College Football Playoff. That doesn’t mean the system is broken.

 

The season hadn’t even ended on Saturday evening before the ethos started clamoring for an eight-team playoff. Not one down of playoff football had been played — much less a bracket established — when social media exploded with screaming fans and media members alike opining for an eight-team playoff.

 

Just stop it.

 

Life isn’t fair and not everyone deserves a trophy.

 

The biggest concern when the four-team, bracket-style postseason format was initially announced 18 months ago was the devaluing of the regular season. Everyone was worried the playoff would ruin the excitement of the best regular season in sports.

 

After one of the most memorable and intense regular seasons in college football history, obviously nothing could have been further from the truth. Entering the final weekend of play, at least seven different teams still had a shot at landing in the national title playoff. Every region of the country was intensely focused on four championship games and one massive showdown in Waco, Texas. .

 

But you know what would devalue the regular season? Expanding the playoff to eight teams.

 

Getting into the College Football Playoff should be hard. It should be an extremely exclusive club with secret handshakes and passwords. . After all, not everyone deserves a trophy.

 

Listen to the College Football Playoff Committee podcast:



Subscribe: |

 

Had Alabama, Oregon or Florida State lost in their championship game or season-ending rivalry games, all three likely would have still made an eight-team playoff. Where’s the fun in that?

 

What about No. 7 Arizona?

 

The Wildcats were ahead of both Michigan State and Mississippi State before losing to Oregon and dropping to No. 10. The Spartans and Bulldogs are quality teams but neither won their respective division and both were on “bye” this weekend. Does Arizona deserve to be knocked out of the playoff because it won its division and had to play an extra game?

 

The same type of argument could be made for Georgia Tech, Missouri and Wisconsin as well. All three finished with the same record as the MSUs, but the Spartans and Bulldogs belong in an eight-team playoff because they weren't good enough to play in a championship game?

 

The committee’s final rankings say as much.

 

What about three rounds worth of neutral-site games? How stupid does that sound?

 

An easy solution to this problem is to play the first round of games at home sites. But does anyone have any faith in the powers that be making the correct decision instead of gifting playoff games (aka, money) to their buddies who run the bowls?

 

And, frankly, a better question to ask might be do we want our student athletes playing 17 football games in one season in the first place?

 

If college football wants to expand, it will happen. The money will be too big to turn down and the inclusive nature will make everyone happy.

 

I just don’t want college football turned into some middle school field day where everyone gets a ribbon for participating.

Teaser:
No, College Football Doesn't Need an 8-Team Playoff
Post date: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 08:40
Path: /college-football/college-football-podcast-debate-did-committee-get-playoff-right
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light debate the merits of the Selection Committee. Did they get the right four teams? What hurt the Big 12 the most? Who will be crowned the national champion when the dust settles? The guys break it all down and much more on this special Playoff Committee edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


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

Teaser:
College Football Podcast Debate: Did the Committee get the Playoff right?
Post date: Monday, December 8, 2014 - 11:59
Path: /college-football/playoff-committee-college-football-quit-whining-enjoy-it
Body:

Baylor is upset that it beat TCU head-to-head and won the Big 12 championship by any logical or rational definition and is sitting at home. TCU is upset because the Horned Frogs won a game 55-3 and dropped from third to sixth and finds itself out of the tournament.

 

Everyone is upset that Ohio State — a team with the worst loss, the fewest good wins and an injured Heisman caliber quarterback — is in the bracket at all.

 

Common sense is upset at Bob Bowlsby and the Big 12.

 

As much as I enjoy the role of contrarian, I can't really disagree with any of that. If I were a TCU fan, I'd be furious. If I was a Baylor fan, I'd be livid. There is some justified Texas-sized diaper rash in Waco and Fort Worth. Both teams were deserving.

 

But we expected this.

 

We knew the advent of a selection committee was going to create inherent doubt and endless debate. The top three were going to be obvious and a small number of teams, say two or three, were going to feel like they earned that fourth spot. It's the nature of the beast we now call the College Football Playoff.

 

But it's an extremely small price to pay for the end result: Two historic playoff showdowns in college football for the first time in history. The landmark four-team, three-game tournament is going to be extraordinary and I'm going to love every snap.

 

The likely Heisman Trophy winner is going to face the unbeaten defending national champs. The that everyone loves to watch versus the that America loves to hate. Marcus Mariota v. Jameis Winston. Need I say more?

 

Oregon-Florida State in Pasadena would be a outstandingly juicy matchup if it was the BCS national championship game. But college football gets another epic 60 minutes in New Orleans.

 

The sixth-winningest program in college football history (Ohio St) will face the in college football history (Alabama) in a game that features six combined BCS title game appearances. The undisputed king of the Big Ten will square off against the czar of the Southeastern Conference in football's modern embodiment of the North-South rivalry. Urban Meyer will match wits with Nick Saban in what amounts to their third national semifinal against one another in search of their combined seventh national title ring.

 

You'd have to be a corpse not to get excited.

 

Could I make a case that TCU looked like the best challenger with a reinvented offense and playmaking defense? Of course. Could I make a case that Baylor was, in fact, the one true champion of the Big 12 and was clearly the most deserving team in the conversation? Yes sir. Could I make the case that Ohio State is the most talented of the three, playing the best football of the three and would be the toughest out of the three? You bet.

 

But why waste all that time? These two playoff games are the first of their kind and will be remembered throughout college football history. When people talk about the 2014 season, they will always include "the first playoff games in college football history." It's a lot to live up to.

 

I am thankful that these two matchups will be deserving of such folklore.

Teaser:
Quit Whining, Enjoy the College Football Playoff
Post date: Monday, December 8, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/5-reasons-why-oregon-ducks-will-win-college-football-playoff
Body:

Oregon is in. And it's going to be a tough out.

 

Mark Helfrich has led his program to the Pac-12 Championship, the inaugural College Football Playoff and likely the school's first Heisman Trophy. But his team has much left to accomplish as it begins a month-long preparation for what will be the first of two possible playoff games.

 

The Ducks are playing as well as any team in the nation, winners of eight straight games by an average of 26 points per game. Here is how Oregon will win the national championship:

 

5 Reasons Why Oregon Will Win the CFB Playoff

 

1. Marcus Mariota stays healthy

It's not about Mariota protecting the football, being an efficient passer, making plays with his legs, handling the defensive pressure or any other traditional concern coaches have about quarterbacks heading into big games. Because no one can stop Marcus Mariota. The only concern fans should have with the likely Heisman Trophy winner is an injury. It might be the only thing that can keep Mariota from producing at a high level. That and maybe the Heisman buffet circuit.

 

2. Spread the wealth on offense

How can Helfrich keep Mariota upright and healthy? By spreading the ball around on offense to a developing collection of electric offensive weapons. Mariota isn't the only reason the Ducks offense is surging into the playoffs, and his supporting cast has gone from a question mark to coordinator's nightmare. In the win over Arizona, Oregon featured nine different ball carriers and four different players caught at least five passes. Helfrich has a power workhorse (Royce Freeman), a speedy deep threat (Devon Allen), a steady possession guy (Darren Carrington) and dynamic all-purpose threats (Byron Marshall, Charles Nelson). When all of these pieces are clicking, the Ducks can rip off huge chunks of yards and protect their star quarterback in the process.

 

Listen to the College Football Playoff Committee podcast:



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3. Waves of defensive linemen

The Ducks aren't a dominant defensive team by any means but have enough talent to cause plenty of problems in the playoff. Oregon is 21st nationally in both sacking the quarterback (34.0) and tackles for loss (85.0). Don Pellum's front seven tormented the Arizona offense in the Pac-12 championship game, holding RichRod's unit to just 25 yards at halftime. He had five different players register at least a portion of a sack (4.0 total) and finished with 7.0 tackles for loss as a team. This unit comes in waves as 14 different players have registered a sack this season. In order to win a national championship, this group has to play its best football of the season — or, at least, match what it accomplished against Arizona.

 

4. Avoid Alabama altogether

There is a chance Oregon won't have to face Alabama in order to win a national championship this season. The Tide is the most talented roster in the nation led by the best coach in the land and likely would be the Ducks toughest possible matchup. If Alabama loses in the Sugar Bowl to Ohio State, the Oregon Ducks immediately become the favorite in the national championship game — if, of course, they can get past the defending national champions in Pasadena. Speaking of the Rose Bowl...

 

5. Play games west of the Mississippi

Oregon enters the first college football tournament the No. 2 seed and picked as the top challenger to Alabama. Part of the reason the Ducks have the best chance to knock off No. 1 and win a championship is that Oregon will play both games west of the Mississippi. As far as logistics and travel are concerned, the current path to a title is about as fortunate a draw an Oregon head coach could ever ask for. A semifinal in Pasadena is the best possible location for the Ducks to land in any round and a national final in Arlington keeps the Pacific Northwest program on one half of the country throughout the tourney.

Teaser:
5 Reasons Why the Oregon Ducks Will Win the College Football Playoff
Post date: Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 15:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-championship-weekend-picks-2014
Body:

It's the final weekend of the regular season and I'm not going to lie to you. I don't feel good about it. 

 

I pick all of the championship games every season against the spread and will do the same again. (But am only going to count it towards my record if I do well.)

 

Listed below is every championship game prediction and the big one in the Big 12 as well. Enjoy!

 

Last Week: 2-3

Year-to-Date: 50-51-1

 

Alabama (-14.5) vs. Missouri (Atlanta)

This is a bad matchup for the Tigers, who have struggled with downhill, power-rushing teams. Maty Mauk has also been inconsistent all year. Mizzou is familiar with the situation but doesn't have the horses to compete with the Tide. Prediction: Alabama -14

 

Oregon (-14) vs. Arizona (Santa Clara)

The Ducks are cruising but this is a huge number against a team that beat them just two months ago. These two teams are a combined 21-3 this year overall but just 9-15 against the spread. It likely means stay away from this mess. But if you must, take Marcus Mariota to exact some revenge and definitely take the over. Prediction: Oregon -14

 

Florida State (-4.5) vs. Georgia Tech (Charlotte)

If we've learned anything this year, it's never take the 'Noles against the spread. Florida State is 3-9 against the mark this season and is facing a brutal matchup on defense. Tech is 5-1 against the spread away from home and could cover again — even if they lose. Prediction: Georgia Tech +4.5

 

Wisconsin (-4) vs. Ohio State (Indianapolis)

Whoever stops the run more effectively is likely to win this game. Ohio State is a better overall team by a wide margin but the one-game situation and no J.T. Barrett makes the Badgers the favorite. Take the team with more talent and more to play for in Ohio State. Prediction: Ohio State +4

 

Kansas State (+8) at Baylor

Both teams have been solid against the spread this year but Kansas State has been better. Baylor is 6-4-1 while KSU is 8-3. Art Briles has been excellent against Bill Snyder (3-1) but has a banged-up quarterback in Bryce Petty. Both teams are still eyeing a title in the Big 12 so a close game is likely. Prediction: Kansas State +7.5

 

Fresno State (+22) at Boise State

This is a huge number and Boise will win easily at home. But by how much? In a title game setting, I'd err on the side of caution.

 

Northern Illinois (-6.5) vs. Bowling Green (Detroit)

The Huskies are the better team and BG has had QB issues. Take NIU to roll.

 

Louisiana Tech (+11) at Marshall

Rakeem Cato in his final game with a title on the line at home? Yes, please.

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Alabama (-14.5) vs Mizzou
Oregon (-14) vs Arizona
Iowa St (+34) at TCU
Florida St (-4.5) vs Georgia Tech
Wisconsin (-4) vs Ohio St
Kansas St (+8) at Baylor
Oklahoma St (+21) at Oklahoma
Fresno St (+22) at Boise St
N. Illinois (-6.5) vs Bowling Green
Louisiana Tech (+11) at Marshall
Last Week:10-89-97-119-9
YTD:108-105-4108-105-497-116-4103-110-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Championship Weekend Picks 2014
Post date: Friday, December 5, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/podcast-debate-who-should-be-michigan-wolverines-new-head-coach
Body:

 

Brady Hoke is out as the Michigan head coach. 

 

Braden Gall, David Fox, Steven Lassan and Mitch Light debate the Michigan Wolverines head coaching vacancy in an Athlon Sports roundtable.

How good is the Michigan job? Where does it rank nationally? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Is this still an elite job?

 

How does Michigan compare to Nebraska? How will having an interim AD impact the search?

 

Who are the "Michigan Men" and are any of them worthy candidates? Who among them would be interested in the job? The guys debate Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles.

 

Who are the top Mid-Major (Group of 5) head coaches who are viable candidates? Who are the top coordinators: Pat Narduzzi or Tom Herman?

 

Where do Greg Schiano and Dan Mullen fit into the equation?

 

And finally, our hosts make predictions for the job. Each panelist makes a bold prediction as to who will be the next head football coach at Michigan.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall @AthlonMitch @AthlonSteven or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, , and .

Teaser:
Podcast Debate: Who should be the Michigan Wolverines new head coach?
Post date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 12:55
Path: /college-football/cover-2-college-football-podcast-2014-championship-weekend-predictions
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan preview Championship Weekend in college football. Do any of the underdogs have a chance to pull an upset? Can Florida State avoid disaster? Can Baylor jump TCU in the playoff standings? Will Oregon get revenge on Arizona? The guys pick every major game of the final weekend of the college football season.


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

Teaser:
Cover 2 College Football Podcast: 2014 Championship Weekend Predictions
Post date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 11:12
Path: /college-football/pac-12-championship-preview-and-prediction-oregon-ducks-vs-arizona-wildcats-2014
Body:

After 14 weeks, 12 teams, nine conference games and three successful Hail Mary passes, the Pac-12 Championship Game is finally here.

 

And it couldn’t be any juicer. Not even in the mighty SEC.

 

Preseason favorite and Pac-12 goliath Oregon will do battle with upstart, freshman-led Arizona in the fourth annual conference championship game at brand-new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. — the first such contest held on a neutral field.

 

But don’t let the adjectives augment the reality of the situation. Arizona, more specifically Rich Rodriguez, has won two straight against the Ducks and has almost as much of a shot at landing in the College Football Playoff as Oregon.

 

In no other league title game this weekend is there a chance that both teams could win their way into the four-team national playoff tournament. Wisconsin, Missouri and Georgia Tech have virtually zero chance of winning their way into the playoff. When the committee moved Arizona to seventh in the latest rankings, they gave fans in Tucson hope.

 

RichRod's track record against Mark Helfrich gives them hope as well. Over the last 16 games, Oregon is 14-0 against everyone but Arizona and 0-2 against the Wildcats. Better yet, the Ducks are 24-1 in their last 25 games against all other teams and 0-2 against 'Zona.

 

The stakes are as high as it gets. The rivalry is reaching a fevered pitch. On one side, a grizzled veteran coach with a freshman quarterback and star linebacker. On the other, the Heisman Trophy front-runner and a coach desperately trying to prove himself.

 

What more do you need besides ?

Championship Week Preview and Predictions:
|  |  | 

 

Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats

 

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Oregon -14

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Mr. Brilliance vs. Scooby Hustle

There is no better individual matchup in college football this weekend than Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Marcus Mariota and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Scooby Wright on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage. Mariota hasn’t been at full speed in Oregon's two previous defeats to Arizona, posting his lowest offensive output of the year (277 total yds) this fall and throwing two interceptions against the Wildcats last season. Wright, meanwhile, has been sensational in two meetings against the Heisman front-runner. The Wildcats' defensive leader has 13 total tackles, two for a loss, a forced fumble, an interception and a sack in two games against the Ducks.

 

Listen to the Championship Week predictions podcast:



Subscribe: |

 

2. Oregon’s supporting cast on offense

The Ducks' offensive line wasn’t healthy for the previous meeting in early October but appears to be stabilizing. But it’s not just the improved O-line that should have RichRod and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel concerned. Since the Arizona game, Royce Freeman has established himself as a workhorse power back, Byron Marshall has been moved to receiver and is flourishing, and Dwayne Stanford has developed into a consistent threat on the outside. Not to mention Devon Allen’s ability to take the top off the defense, which has become a defensive coordinator's nightmare. Most will focus on the offensive line getting healthier and providing Mariota more time to operate — which is critical — but the rest of the offense around Mariota has become more dynamic since the last time these two met and 'Zona should be concerned.

 

3. Is the spotlight too big for the freshman?

In the first meeting, it was Mariota who was flustered and Anu Solomon who looked like the cagey vet in a hostile environment. Arizona’s freshman quarterback went on to produce 308.8 yards of total offense per game and 28 total touchdowns in just his first season on a college gridiron. But Solomon has dealt with nagging injuries in November and is at the end of a longer season than he's ever played — even in four state championship runs in high school. His completion percentage dipped late in the year before bouncing back against Arizona State. He should assume Oregon will attack him with waves of defenders from different formations in an effort to throw the rising star off kilter. He needs to handle the spotlight, manage the huddle and distribute the ball effectively to pull off the upset. He was capable in high school and it led to championships, so odds are he will be capable once again.

 

Final Analysis

 

These are two of the more dynamic offensive teams in the nation. Both teams like to the run the ball — try more than 5,000 yards combined this season — and both quarterbacks like to get out in space and make plays. The experience and talent edge lies heavily in Oregon’s favor, as does the motivational edge, making a third straight upset difficult to predict. However, the Wildcats have one significant advantage in Rich Rodriguez. He basically invented the Oregon offense and his 3-3-5 defense has proven to be effective against all types of spread offenses. Rodriguez claims “a couple of turnovers, great individual effort and a little bit of luck” are the reasons Arizona has topped Oregon the last two meetings. He will need plenty of all three to knock off the mighty Ducks on Friday night. 

 

Pac-12 Championship Predictions
 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Oregon (-14) vs. ArizonaUO, 45-35UO, 38-23UO, 49-28UO, 38-31
Last Week:4-35-25-24-3
Season Record:64-2769-2270-2167-24

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 Championship Preview and Prediction: Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona Wildcats 2014
Post date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-15-preview-and-predictions
Body:

There is one Power 5 league that is playing a semi-full slate of games this weekend and it’s the league embroiled with the most controversy.

 

TCU appears to be the better overall football team currently, as the College Football Playoff Committee clearly has stated. However, it shouldn’t sit well with anyone that Baylor could be THE Big 12 champion and own head-to-head bragging rights over TCU and still get left out in favor of the Frogs despite a virtually identical resume.

 

Both sides of the argument have a legitimate case but Baylor fans can wrap up this discussion with just a few words:

 

“Why do we even play the games then?”

 

With that in mind, bring on the final weekend.

Championship Week Previews and Predictions:
|  | 

 

Week 15 Big 12 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Kansas St (off) at Baylor
7:45 p.m., ESPN

The criticism the Big 12 is taking for lacking a “true champion” is complete nonsense. If the Baylor Bears win on Saturday, they will be the Big 12 champions. Technically, Kansas State is still alive as well but would need some serious help from Iowa State (don’t hold your breath). Either way, this is arguably the most critical game of the season for Baylor (after beating TCU, of course) and, like it or not, style points will matter. Sitting three spots behind the Frogs, Bryce Petty knows he needs to play extremely well just one week after sustaining a serious concussion. Jake Waters is a worthy adversary on the other side of the field, producing game-winning moments all season long. In four career meetings, Art Briles has defeated Bill Snyder three times, including a 52-24 victory the last time KSU came to Waco.

 

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2. Oklahoma St (+19.5) at Oklahoma
3:30 p.m., FS1

Never before has The Bedlam Series meant less to college football or the Big 12. In recent years, with league championships hanging in the balance, this rivalry had elevated itself to near-Red River Shootout status. But after eight combined losses and multiple injuries to multiple quarterbacks, this game has left little to be desired. Unless, your name is Samaje Perine or Mason Rudolph. The promising young freshmen offer some optimism for both teams, especially the Cowboys who need to pull off a massive road upset to get to a ninth consecutive bowl game. Mike Gundy is 1-8 against Bob Stoops in this rivalry and even a tremendous performance from Rudolph is unlikely to help the Pokes pull off the upset.

 

3. Iowa St (+34) at TCU
Noon, ABC

This game certainly matters on a national level as TCU can only hurt itself this weekend against the Cyclones. Anything other than a dominating performance could cause the Playoff Committee to reevaluate its current Big 12 pecking order. The Horned Frogs do not control their own destiny in the Big 12, despite what Bob Bowlsby will tell you, so Gary Patterson needs some help from Kansas State to win a league championship. Although, it may not need that help to get a shot at winning a national championship.

 

Off: Kansas, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
KSU at BaylorBU, 38-35BU, 37-27BU, 35-31BU, 38-34
OSU (+19.5) at OUOU, 40-20OU, 30-17OU, 48-21OU, 38-17
ISU (+34) at TCUTCU, 51-13TCU, 41-10TCU, 48-7TCU, 45-13
Last Week:3-14-04-04-0
YTD:61-1160-1265-764-8

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 15 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-championship-weekend
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 15.

 

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

 

Two top 5 teams will lose

 

Something crazy always happens on Championship Weekend in college football. Four 10-win teams will face four top-six teams in championship games and Baylor hosts Kansas State. With six teams vying for four spots, the committee should be rooting hard for two top-five teams to lose this weekend. Never fear, it will happen. (My bet is Baylor and Ohio State).

 

There will be no controversy with the final four

 

Yup, the most outlandish of all predictions is that there will be no story when the Playoff Committee announces the final four. Should two of the top five lose (as I’m predicting), then the committee will have an easy job picking the top four. And as I predicted at the beginning of the season, the only story when the tournament is set is that there won’t be a story.

 

The Big 12 will have one true champion

 

No matter who wins the Baylor-Kansas State game, the Big 12 will have one true champion. Tiebreakers have been a part of determining championships in sports for a century and why should it change now? If Baylor wins, it will have played everyone in the Big 12 and won the league fair and square. If Kansas State wins, TCU will have played everyone in the Big 12 and won the league fair and square. Give the Big 12 a break, it’s not like some other leagues…

 

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The American Athletic Conference will have three "true" champions

 

Unlike the Big 12, the AAC will have a tie atop their conference standings but won’t have a clear-cut tiebreaker. Memphis is in the clubhouse at 7-1 and UCF will likely beat ECU to finish 7-1 as well. Cincinnati needs to beat Houston at home to also join the mix at 7-1. Unfortunately, UCF didn’t play either Memphis or Cincy so there is no way to know who the true champion is in the AAC. A three-way tie without tiebreakers is the real joke, not the Big 12.
 

A Heisman preseason front-runner will win the Trophy at a school that’s never won the award

 

This is outrageous because a true preseason front-runner hasn’t won the Heisman Trophy in years (Ricky Williams? Ron Dayne?). When Marcus Mariota exacts his revenge upon Arizona this Friday, look for the Oregon Ducks to win their first-ever Heisman Trophy. Mariota was the preseason favorite and has gone essentially wire-to-wire as the best player in the game.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Championship Weekend
Post date: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-14-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:

 

, FOX Sports

, Big Ten Network 

, CBS Sports

, SBNation

, Sports Illustrated

, NFL.com

, Big Ten Network

, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

, MrSEC.com

, Athlon Sports

Athlon Sports

, Athlon Sports

, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota6513----
2.Melvin Gordon51-121--
3.Amari Cooper36-1101-
4.Trevone Boykin21--271
5t.Scooby Wright6---14
5t.Tevin Coleman6---14
7.Dak Prescott4---2-
8.J.T. Barrett3---11
9.Cody Kessler3----3

Dropped out: Bryce Petty, Brett Hundley 

 

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The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Mariota is playing on another planet. With a national title hanging in the balance on the road against an archrival, Mariota accounted for six touchdowns and more than 400 yards of total offense. Among all players, his 9.31 yards per play is No. 2 nationally (New Mexico's Jhurell Pressley), his 342.2 yards per game is No. 5, his 36 passing touchdowns are No. 2 and his 190.2 passer rating is No. 1. Should he exact revenge on Arizona in the Pac-12 title game, the Heisman Trophy will land in Eugene for the first time in history.

 

Season Stats: 3,470 yds, 68.6%, 36 TDs, 2 INTs, 636 rush yds, 11 TDs

 

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

In a winner-take-all situation against an archrival, Gordon was excellent once again. In fact, in the most critical situations, Gordon was dominant in the final three weeks of the regular season against Nebraska (408 yds, 4 TD), Iowa (200 yds, 2 TD) and Minnesota (151 yds, TD). He is leading the nation in rushing yards (2,260) and rushing touchdowns (26). He needs 368 yards to break Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record and has two games to do it. In any other year, Gordon would have locked up the Heisman over the last three weeks.

 

Season Stats: 283 att., 2,260 yds, 26 TDs, 17 rec., 151 yds, 2 TDs

 

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama

With a trip to the College Football Playoff on the line, Cooper posted the best game of his career. The Crimson Tide wideout was the difference-maker for Alabama against Auburn in the second half, catching 13 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He is third nationally with 103 receptions, second with 1,573 yards and second with 14 touchdowns. Should Cooper finish among the top three in Heisman voting, it would be the highest showing by a wide receiver since Larry Fitzgerald was the runner-up in 2003.

 

Season Stats: 103 rec., 1,573 yds, 14 TDs 

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 14 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/its-time-nebraska-cornhuskers-fans-lower-expectations
Body:

Nebraska is the best job in the Big Ten West.

 

But it’s the .

 

After seven consecutive seasons with at least nine wins, Nebraska has parted ways with head coach Bo Pelini. The fiery and often abrasive head football coach had plenty of moments that caused fans and administrators to shake their heads. But he also won 67 times in 94 games, including three division titles in two different conferences.

 

Only Alabama and Oregon join Nebraska with at least nine wins in each of the last seven seasons. But if Wisconsin and Michigan State can win Big Ten titles and Rose Bowls, why can’t the Cornhuskers?

 

Self-awareness is a highly underrated characteristic and, after firing a coach who won a lot of games, the question becomes does Nebraska know where it’s located in the college football hierarchy?

 

Nebraska has the biggest and baddest stadium in the division. It has the richest tradition and history of success in the division. And it has more financial resources than any school in the Big Ten West. Competing for and winning division titles is absolutely something Cornhuskers fans should expect nearly every season.

 

But long gone are the days of three national championships in four years. Nebraska is no longer a top 15 job and may never be a national power again.

 

The entire landscape of college football has been rapidly evolving for two decades and none of that evolution has helped Nebraska. The facilities arm race once dominated by Nebraska is nothing more than conducting business as architectural limits are being pushed in places like Oregon and Texas A&M. Nebraska was one of the first schools to understand the importance of strength and conditioning and now every major program employs five-star chefs and personal trainers.

 

Podcast: Who should be Nebraska's next head coach?



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Most importantly, recruiting is a totally different beast as technology has made the world a smaller place and given rise to layers of new programs. Nebraska used to be one of only a handful of programs that was on national television every weekend. Now, Rutgers is on national TV every Saturday. Would Mike Rozier (Camden, N.J.) or Rich Glover (Bayonne, N.J.) go to Nebraska if they were big-time prospects today? Would Florida native Tommie Frazier ever get out of the Southeast?

 

“The recruiting landscape is much more competitive today,” said , publisher of HuskerOnline.com. “There really wasn’t a perennial West Coast power in the 90s like there is today with USC, UCLA and Oregon.

 

“Nebraska was a power in the state of Texas as well. Baylor, TCU and the SEC weren’t the recruiting powers in the state of Texas like they are today. Recruiting parity wasn’t a factor like it is today.”

 

Moving to the Big Ten was a financial and cultural windfall for the Cornhuskers, especially considering how weak the Big 12 appeared to be at the time. But it hasn’t helped recruiting. indicate that the Big Ten footprint is producing fewer and fewer big-time athletes and getting them to Lincoln is proving to be difficult.

 

The Johnny Rodgers and Dean Steinkuhlers of the world are no longer growing on in-state trees. According to , Michael Decker of Omaha-North is the top prospect in The Cornhusker State in the Class of 2015. He’s ranked the 753rd-best prospect nationally.

 

“One of the biggest problems Nebraska faces today is getting recruits on unofficial visits,” said longtime recruiting guru , host on SiriusXM College Sports Nation Ch. 91. "The unofficial visit has become increasingly more important and you can’t get people to come to Lincoln on their own dime. They just don’t want to go.”

 

Nebraska has the tools and built-in support to compete at a high level in the Big Ten. Pelini wasn’t able to break through with a conference crown, was embarrassed in too many big games, never finished ranked in the top 10, never made it to a BCS bowl and his brutish personality never fit in the Midwest town.

 

But it may be unrealistic to expect more than nine wins a season from any coach at Nebraska.

 

“It’s very unlikely that the new hire wins more than Pelini. It probably will be a guy they like more but the end result isn’t likely to be better,” King said.

 

Said Callahan: “If you know what you are doing and have a plan in the place, you can routinely contend in the Big Ten West."

 

Both King and Callahan know what Nebraska fans need to accept. The days of competing for national championships are over in Lincoln.

 

In Tom Osborne’s prime, Nebraska was a one-of-a-kind program that dominated college football with advanced thinking and a fertile recruiting base. Now, the Huskers are just another solid Big Ten team and Osborne is busy trying to decide whether TCU or Baylor belongs in the College Football Playoff.

Teaser:
It's time for Nebraska Cornhuskers fans to lower expectations
Post date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/podcast-debate-who-should-be-nebraska-cornhuskers-new-head-coach
Body:

Bo Pelini is out as the Nebraska head coach. 

 

Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light debate the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coaching vacancy in an Athlon Sports roundtable.

How good is the Nebraska job? Where does it rank nationally? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Is this still an elite job?

 

Are expectation levels too high in Lincoln or is it fair to compete for national championships on a regular basis at Nebraska?

 

Who are the coaches with Nebraska ties and are any of them worthy candidates? Who among them would be interested in the job? Is Craig Bohl qualified?

 

Who are the top Mid-Major (Group of 5) head coaches who are viable candidates? Is Jim McElwain heading to Florida or in the mix at Nebraska? Are Justin Fuente, Matt Wells or Troy Calhoun good fits? 

 

Who are the top coordinators: Pat Narduzzi or Scott Frost? Is Frost ready? Would Narduzzi be a home run?

 

Would any current Power 5 coaches be interested in the job? Would Jerry Kill, David Cutcliffe, Steve Addazio, Mark Richt or Kyle Whittingham have any interest?

 

And finally, our hosts give their top three dream candidates and predictions for the job. They do not necessarily overlap. Each panelist makes a bold prediction as to who will be the next head football coach at Nebraska.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email . The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, , and .

Teaser:
Podcast Debate: Who should be the Nebraska Cornhuskers new head coach?
Post date: Monday, December 1, 2014 - 13:24
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/cover-2-college-football-podcast-week-14-recap-and-analysis
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and David Fox breakdown all of the action from Thanksgiving Weekend. Championship games are set in the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-12. Ohio State is dealing with a huge injury, the ACC wins the rivalry series with the SEC, Nebraska makes a coaching change and the Pac-12 South race ends in dramatic fashion. We debate it all and offer our playoff predictions on this week's edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


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

Teaser:
Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Week 14 Recap and Analysis
Post date: Monday, December 1, 2014 - 12:16
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-14-picks
Body:

Happy Thanksgiving, college football fans. It's the best day and weekend of the sports calendar. According to me, at least.

 

It's also one of the toughest weeks to predict as historic rivalries dominate the landscape. Strange things happen in rivalry games, so none of my top picks are from traditional Power 5 Thanksgiving matchups.

 

Enjoy the holiday, be thankful and please don't burn your house down.

 

Last Week: 4-3

Year-to-Date: 48-48-1

 

Stanford (+4.5) at UCLA

Jim Mora is out for revenge and has three championships (division, conference, national) hanging in the balance against the Cardinal. Brett Hundley has been excellent in November, but it's the Bruins defense that should control the game against the below-average Stanford offense. Prediction: UCLA -4.5

 

Utah (-9) at Colorado

The Utes have been one of the best plays all season long, going 8-3 against the number. And of importance for this week's game: Utah is 5-0 against the number on the road. Colorado is overmatched here and may be without their starting QB. Prediction: Utah -9

 

Colorado St (-7) at Air Force

The Falcons are a solid team and could find some space to run but more is hanging in the balance for the Rams. Jim McElwain's group won't know where they stand in the Mountain West race until Saturday, so they have to take care of business on Friday. The Rams have been one of the best plays all year (8-3 ATS) and are even better on the road (4-1 ATS). Prediction: Colorado St -7

 

UL-Monroe (+14) at Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern is one of the better stories in college football this fall. The Eagles are unbeaten in the Sun Belt and are poised to win the league (if allowed). This team is also excellent against the spread, going 8-3 for the season and a tidy 4-0 ATS at home. Willie Fritz's club has had two weeks to prepare. Prediction: Georgia Southern -14

 

Syracuse (+11) at Boston College

The Eagles are playing well and Cuse is playing exactly the opposite of that. The Orange can't score right now, recording only 40 points in its last four games. Boston College is 7-4 against the spread and Cuse is 4-7 for the season. Take the Eagles to win big. Prediction: Boston College -11
 

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Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Auburn (+9.5) at Alabama
Oregon (-20) at Oregon St
Florida (+7.5) at Florida St
Mississippi St (-2) at Ole Miss
Michigan (+21) at Ohio St
Baylor (-24.5) vs. Texas Tech
Stanford (+4.5) at UCLA
Georgia Tech (+12.5) at Georgia
Michigan St (-13) at Penn St
Kansas (+28) at Kansas St
Arizona St (NL) at Arizona
Minnesota (-9) at Wisconsin
Utah (-9) at Colorado
Notre Dame (+7) at USC
Arkansas (+2) at Missouri
South Carolina (+4.5) at Clemson
Nebraska (+1) at Iowa
Kentucky (+13) at Louisville
Last Week:8-85-1110-66-10
YTD:98-97-499-96-490-105-494-101-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 14 Picks
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-14-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The Eyes of Texas will be focused squarely on Austin Thanksgiving night. So, too, will the eyes of the nation.

 

TCU’s last big test of the season will take place Thursday night against the surging Longhorns and fans in Texas, the Big 12 and in places like Columbus and Starkville will be focused on The 40 Acres.

 

Fans can bet the Playoff Committee will be paying attention as well.

 

Elsewhere, Baylor and Kansas State should hold serve in preparation for their season-ending meeting next weekend.


Week 14 Previews and Predictions:
|  |  | 

 

Week 14 Big 12 Game Power Rankings

 

1. TCU (-7.5) at Texas
Thur., 7:30 p.m., FS1

This is as dangerous a game as any national championship contender will have over the last two weeks of the season. Texas is one of the hottest teams in the nation, has one of the best defenses in the nation, is the most powerful program in the league and is a home underdog on Thanksgiving night. So the Horned Frogs will have to stop more than just a developing quarterback and surging running game on offense or even the top pass-rushing defense in the Big 12. A win would give Charlie Strong a four-game winning streak to end the year and a winning overall record — all after a 2-4 start. Trevone Boykin will have to play his best game of the year to get the win and keep pace with Baylor. Because if TCU plays like it did in its last two road trips to Morgantown or, worse, Lawrence, the Frogs could leave Austin with a loss they can't afford.

 

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2. Baylor (-24.5) vs. Texas Tech
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2, Arlington

By Saturday afternoon, Art Briles will know exactly what is at stake against Texas Tech. Baylor (and KSU) will be watching intently on Turkey Day evening, knowing a win by Texas gives the Bears a shot at the College Football Playoff and an outright league championship. Either way, Bryce Petty should have no issues moving up and down the field against Texas Tech. Last year, this game featured 97 points and 1,129 yards of total offense — 63 and 657 of which came from Baylor. Kliff Kingsbury finally got into the win column last weekend against Iowa State but nothing about this matchup indicates the Red Raiders have a chance to pull the upset.

 

3. West Virginia at Iowa St
Noon, FS1

This is likely Paul Rhoads' last shot at a Big 12 win with a road trip to TCU looming in the season finale. Iowa State has had plenty of close calls, however, losing to Kansas State, Texas and Texas Tech by a total of 10 points. The Mountaineers aren’t playing much better, losing three straight with a surprising lack of offense — with their three least efficient yards per play showings of the season (4.46, 4.98, 5.09). Much of that is due to level of competition and Clint Trickett’s third concussion in two seasons. Skyler Howard would get the nod under center should Dana Holgorsen do the right thing and protect his starting quarterback. The undersized sophomore has attempted 25 career passes for WVU.

 

4. Kansas (+28) at Kansas St
4 p.m., FS1

Win and advance is all that matters for Kansas State. That, and, spend Thanksgiving rooting hard for Charlie Strong. If TCU loses to Texas, Bill Snyder’s bunch is right back in the mix for an outright Big 12 championship. The Jayhawks were destroyed by Oklahoma's Samaje Perine last weekend and there is no reason to think the Sunflower State rivalry will turn out differently.

 

Off: Oklahoma, Oklahoma St

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
TCU (-7.5) at TexasTexas, 24-23TCU, 28-20TCU, 28-14TCU, 27-24
BU (-24.5) at TTBU, 45-17BU, 47-13BU, 42-24BU, 48-24
WVU at ISUWVU, 34-31WVU, 33-13WVU, 35-17WVU, 34-27
KU (+28) at KSUKSU, 50-10KSU, 41-10KSU, 44-17KSU, 40-13
Last Week:3-12-24-04-0
YTD:58-1056-1261-760-8

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-14-preview-and-predictions
Body:

It’s pretty simple for Pac-12 fans.

 

Oregon has clinched the North Division title regardless of what happens in The Civil War but need to win twice to lock up a spot in the first College Football Playoff.

 

Down South, UCLA is in control. Beat Stanford and Jim Mora’s bunch gets a rematch with the Ducks. A Bruins loss, however, makes this Territorial Cup arguably the most anticipated meeting in the desert in the history of the rivalry.


Week 14 Previews and Predictions:
|  |  | 

 

Pac-12 Week 14 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Arizona St at Arizona
Fri., 3:30 p.m., FOX

Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez know each other extremely well as they enter what could amount to the most important Territorial Cup in history. This, of course, hinges on Stanford upsetting UCLA (see below), but even if this ends up just a battle for second place, it will be heated. It’s a great rivalry that is made better by the history between the two head coaches (Graham coached under RichRod at WVU and is 2-0 against his former boss) and the gravity of the situation. Both teams are eyeing a 10-win season and both will need their quarterback to overcome adversity to get there. Taylor Kelly hasn’t been particularly sharp since returning from injury, but was brilliant bringing his team back from a two-touchdown deficit against Washington State last weekend. Anu Solomon has been brilliant all season but is dealing with a foot issue that, if he is able to play, would likely limit one of his key assets – his mobility. With the Sun Devils' ability to attack the quarterback and create turnovers, Solomon — or backup Jesse Scroggins — will have to distribute the football quickly and accurately to beat their in-state rivals.

 

2. Stanford (+4.5) at UCLA
Fri., 3:30 p.m., ABC

Jim Mora has had issues with Stanford, losing all three meetings to David Shaw. But this is the best UCLA team he’s had since getting to Westwood, while Shaw brings with him to Pasadena the worst Stanford team of his head-coaching tenure. Brett Hundley is playing the best ball of his career, either topping 300 yards passing or 100 yards rushing in five consecutive games and throwing just one interception over his last four games. Stanford scored 38 in a win over Cal last weekend but don’t be fooled, the Cardinal still have major offensive issues. Holding USC (276) and Arizona (255) to season lows in total offense over the last three games is no easy feat, so UCLA should have a major advantage when its defense is on the field. With a Pac-12 title hanging in the balance, the Bruins might be the only team that can beat the Bruins this weekend.

 

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3. Notre Dame (+7.5) at USC
3:30 p.m., FOX

Any momentum USC built up with wins on the road over Utah and Washington State came to a screeching halt against UCLA last weekend. The Irish have been at a dead stop for what feels like a month, losing three straight and four out of five. Both defenses have shown elite talent among the starters, but their lack of depth has been exposed in November. This historic and normally important rivalry game is surprisingly lacking in national relevance but viewers should still tune in to watch the quarterback play. Cody Kessler is wildly underrated and has been excellent all year while no one knows what to expect from Everett Golson on any given snap. This feels like it could be a wild and memorable showdown despite the game meaning very little to the college football landscape.

 

4. Oregon (-20) at Oregon St
8 p.m., ABC

The Civil War has come a long ways since 0-0 but likely won’t be as exciting as the one-point thriller from last season. Marcus Mariota and the Ducks have clinched a spot in the Pac-12 title game but are still playing for a national title and a Heisman Trophy. Oregon's offense is clicking right now, rushing for between 264 and 269 yards in four straight games while scoring no fewer than 44 points during this span. The Beavers need to pull the upset to get bowl eligible and are at home, but too much is at stake for the Ducks to overlook their archrival.

 

5. BYU (+4.5) at Cal
4:30 p.m., P12 Net

Sonny Dykes has done an excellent job this season in Berkeley but Cal missed a great shot at home against an archrival to get bowl eligible. Finishing the season with three Pac-12 wins was a solid step in the right direction but the Bears would likely be disappointed if they lost three straight chances to get to the postseason for the first time since 2011. A win over BYU would change the entire complexion of the offseason.

 

6. Washington (-3.5) at Washington St
10:30 p.m., FS1

The Apple Cup is a fantastic rivalry and has given fans some memorable moments over the past few seasons. While Mike Leach enters his third such meeting, Chris Petersen is enjoying his debut in the important Evergreen showdown. Leach catapulted his team into a bowl game in 2013 on the strength of a wild comeback victory in '12 while the 10-point win by Washington last year was Steve Sarkisian’s final game in Seattle. Petersen has his team playing better with excellent balance on offense — UW has been over 200 yards rushing and passing in three out of its past four games and its 8.2 yards per play last week was a season high by a large margin. Leach’s team, despite the loss to ASU, did play better last weekend, posting 622 yards on 100 offensive snaps. Anything can happen when these two get together.

 

7. Utah (+9) at Colorado
1 p.m., P12 Net

The Buffaloes are winless in the Pac-12 and will have to play arguably the best game of their season to beat the Utes in Boulder. Sefo Liufau didn’t start against Oregon but came on at the beginning of the second half once the game was out of hand. Jordan Gehrke is Mike MacIntyre’s backup option (he was 9-of-18 for 64 yards). Utah has lost three out of four and is trying to erase the memory of what was its worst showing of the season against Arizona last week. The 520 yards and 7.54 yards per play allowed against the Wildcats were the most the Utes had given up this season while the 42 points were the second most.

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
ASU at ZonaASU, 34-30AZ, 28-23AZ, 38-28ASU, 34-30
Stan (+4.5) at UCLAUCLA, 31-13UCLA, 26-20UCLA, 27-17UCLA, 27-20
N. Dame (+7.5) at USCUSC, 40-20USC, 35-21USC, 24-21USC, 38-27
UO (-20) at OSUUO, 45-24UO, 41-21UO, 44-33UO, 45-24
BYU (+4.5) at CalCal, 33-31Cal, 34-20Cal, 28-20Cal, 38-34
UW (-3.5) at WSUUW, 30-28UW, 41-29UW, 35-19UW, 34-31
Utah (+9) ColoUtah, 31-17Utah, 33-21Utah, 27-13Utah, 34-20
Last Week:4-23-33-36-0
YTD:60-2464-2065-1963-21

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-14-predictions
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan preview another historic week of Thanksgiving football. The Big Ten West, SEC West and East and Pac-12 South division championships hang in the balance. We also offer up some locks of the week against the spread and breakdown Turkey Day menus and traditions.


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

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 14 Predictions
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 17:54
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-14
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 14.

 

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

 

The ACC will win the season-ending series with the SEC

 

Clemson hasn’t beaten South Carolina since 2008, losing five straight in the heated in-state rivalry. Georgia Tech hasn’t beaten Georgia since 2008 and has lost 12 of the last 13 in the series known simply as Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. Tech has its best chance in years with a 9-2 record and ACC Coastal Division title already clinched. The only ACC team to hold its own in the critical season-ending round-robin has been Florida State — winners of three out of four against Florida. Look for all three ACC teams to win this weekend. More shocking? Only Tech over the Dawgs would be an upset.

 

Missouri will win the SEC East… again

 

Last year, South Carolina entered the final month of the season with a tie-breaker over Missouri, forcing the Tigers to win four straight to win the East. The Tigers did just that, including wins at Ole Miss and against Johnny Football at home. This year, Georgia entered the final month of the season with a tie-breaker over Mizzou needing just one slip up for an SEC East title. Well, after five straight wins, the Tigers are a victory over Arkansas at home away from repeating in exactly the same fashion. Mizzou beats Arkansas and shocks the country (again) by winning the East.

 

Listen to the Week 13 recap and analysis podcast:



Subscribe: |

 

The Territorial Cup will determine the Pac-12 South

 

UCLA is in control of its own destiny but is facing a bit of a nemesis in Stanford. The Cardinal have won six straight against UCLA, including all three while Jim Mora has been in Westwood. Should Stanford upset the Bruins, the winner of the Arizona State-Arizona rivalry game would claim the Pac-12 South crown and a berth in the conference title game. Both games will be happening at exactly the same time.
 

No one will break the NCAA’s single-game rushing record

 

Two weeks ago, Melvin Gordon broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s 15-year old NCAA single-game rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska. The year of the running back continued last weekend when, just five business days later, Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine broke Gordon’s record with 427 yards against Kansas. I’m going out on limb here and saying that no one will break Perine’s record… this week.

 

Texas will play a role in the Big 12 title… after all.

 

Baylor, Kansas State and TCU all have one league loss and all three have a shot at the Big 12 title. Baylor has the tie-breaker over TCU while TCU has the tie-breaker over Kansas State. The Wildcats will visit Baylor on Dec. 6. So where does Texas fit in, you ask? TCU visits a red-hot Longhorns team on Thanksgiving night and Texas is prepared to give Art Briles (or Bill Snyder) a huge serving of good fortune when they knock off the Horned Frogs in Austin. The College Football Playoff Committee would be extremely grateful.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 14
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-13-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:

 

, FOX Sports

, Big Ten Network 

, CBS Sports

, SBNation

, Sports Illustrated

, NFL.com

, Big Ten Network

, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

, MrSEC.com

, Athlon Sports

Athlon Sports

, Athlon Sports

, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota6513----
2.Melvin Gordon52-13---
3.J.T. Barrett20--351
4.Trevone Boykin19--423
5.Amari Cooper17--324
6.Dak Prescott10--212
7.Brett Hundley6---3-
8.Tevin Coleman4--1-1
9t.Shaq Thompson1----1
9t.Bryce Petty1----1

Dropped out: Cody Kessler, Jameis Winston

 

Listen to the Week 13 recap and analysis podcast:



Subscribe: |

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

In what is likely to be his final performance in Autzen Stadium, Marcus Mariota got a standing ovation. He accounted for four touchdowns, giving him a Pac-12-record 42 for the season, and rolling up nearly 400 yards of offense (396) in three quarters of work in the easy win over Colorado. It was his nation-leading eighth game this year with four total touchdowns and Mariota became one of just five players in NCAA history with 9,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards. 

 

Season Stats: 3,103 yds, 68.0%, 32 TDs, 2 INTs, 597 rush yds, 9 TDs

 

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Unfortunately, Samaje Perine might have impacted the Heisman race as Melvin Gordon’s single-game rushing record stood for just seven days. However, in a road win over an always-stingy rival Iowa, Gordon was brilliant in the second half. He finished with 200 yards rushing, 64 yards receiving and two more touchdowns. He became the 17th player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards and did it faster than anyone ever (241 att.). His 2,109 yards are tied with Ron Dayne for the Wisconsin and Big Ten record with Minnesota coming to town next weekend.

 

Season Stats: 254 att., 2,109 yds, 25 TDs, 15 rec., 147 yds, 2 TDs

 

3. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

He’s a little late to the party and he wasn’t the best player on the field against Indiana (See: Jalin Marshall) but Barrett is making a strong Heisman push. The Buckeyes quarterback completed 25-of-32 passes for 302 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions to go with 20 carries and 78 yards rushing. With 33 touchdown passes and 3,507 yards of offense, Barrett has broken two significant, single-season school records. And did so while clinching the Big Ten East Division championship.

 

Season Stats: 2,658 yds, 64.8%, 33 TDs, 10 INTs, 849 rush yds, 9 TDs 

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 13 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 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-13-recap
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and David Fox breakdowns all of the action from Week 13. The Big Ten West is down to two teams, the ACC title game is set, UCLA takes the lead in the Pac-12 South, more Jameis Winston discussion and Samaje Perine's record-setting performance highlight this week's edition. We debate it all and offer our playoff predictions on this week's edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


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

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 13 Recap
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 13:18
Path: /college-football/top-25-greatest-rivalries-college-football-history
Body:

When tasked with deciding the best rivalries in college football there will be no avoiding offending someone.

 

So in an effort to avoid any hurt feelings, I need to say something to everyone out there who believes that their beloved rivalry is underrated, getting no respect or ranked way too low.

 

You're right.

 

College football is built on a foundation of tradition, history, community and lifelong-shared experiences that can turn two complete strangers into best friends in a matter of seconds. Every rivalry from Ohio State-Michigan to a game actually called "The Rivalry" means more to those involved than any outsider could possibly understand.

 

I appreciate and respect Lafayette-Lehigh as much as I do Oklahoma-Texas. It's what makes college football the greatest sport on the planet. It's what makes ranking the top 25 virtually impossible. Does the annual bout between the Mountain Hawks and Leopards have any impact on the big boy's national championship picture? Of course not. But it doesn't mean any less to those fans 17 miles apart in Pennsylvania than Alabama-Auburn does to those in the Yellowhammer State?

 

So with this in mind, here are the top 25 rivalries in college football.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.


College Football's Top 25 Rivalries

 

1. Army-Navy (Navy, 58-49-7)

Go ahead and try to attend this game without experiencing a surge of patriotism. If the Super Hornets’ flyover doesn’t get you, the Army paratroopers will. If you miss the parades of Cadets and Midshipmen, then the non-stop spirit videos on the big board will stir your senses. By game’s end, no matter what the score, America wins. That may seem hokey to some, but they haven’t been there. Trust us, Army-Navy is college football in its purest state. Today, that’s something worth celebrating. Fans of the teams thirst for victory, and so do the players, who are truly playing for their fellow students. Afterward, they rejoin their classmates in preparation for military service, not an NFL career. For 364 days of the year, Army and Navy are on the same team. For three hours on a chilled December afternoon, they represent every soldier or sailor who has ever donned a uniform, walked a post or sailed into the dark of night. The football has been pretty good over the years, too. Five Heisman winners have participated in the rivalry, and dozens of Hall of Famers have taken the field representing the academies. Though Navy has dominated the scoreboard over the past decade, the game remains a huge draw and a still thrills fans across the country. Most important, it pits future military and government leaders against each other as they fight for their Academies and provide the country with an afternoon of prideful competition.

 

2. Alabama-Auburn (Alabama, 42-35-1)

When Bill Curry was coaching at Alabama, he went to a Birmingham elementary school one day to speak with children about football and life. Upon entering the classroom, he saw a boy standing in the corner, sobbing. Curry wondered what was going on, and a student told him, “Jason is an Auburn fan, and we took care of him.” Curry brought Jason out of the corner and told him it was all right to root for the Tigers, no doubt angering the young Crimson Tide supporters in the room. Truth be told, it isn’t all right to be an Auburn fan — if you follow the Tide. Tiger fans feel the same way about Bama. If you live in the state of Alabama, you have to choose; you either yell “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.” You’re either a fan of the big-brother Crimson Tide, or Auburn, which has its roots in agricultural education and resents the perceived arrogance of its rival. In a state with no major professional sports team, Auburn-Alabama football is a religion. Curry’s minister once told him it was more important. It has been that way from the game’s earliest days, which proved to be so contentious that the schools stopped playing each other for 41 years. Once they resumed hostilities, they did so at a geographically neutral site, in Birmingham, but Auburn fans groused for decades because Legion Field was the Tide’s home away from home. That changed when the game moved to campus, but the vitriol has not abated. Fans of both teams crave victory, and a loss means a full year of misery from friends, co-workers and even family members. It’s enough to make someone want to stand in a corner and cry. And for the first time in Iron Bowl history, an SEC West and trip to the BCS national championship hung in the balance last year when the Tigers won with the most improbable play in college football history.

 

3. Michigan-Ohio St (Michigan, 58-46-6)

Some think the story is a tall tale, but others swear it’s true. After his Ohio State team scored its final touchdown late in a 50–14 rout of Michigan at the end of the 1968 season, Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes elected to go for two points, instead of kicking the PAT. When asked afterward why he did that, Hayes reportedly said, “Because they ­wouldn’t let me go for three.” Hayes’ hatred for “that team up north,” as he referred to Michigan, was legendary. Rest assured that Wolverine fans harbor no affection for the Buckeyes, either. The schools have met every year but five (1913-17) since 1900 — the teams’ first game was in 1897 — and their contests have become appointment viewing for much of the country, late in November, usually under gun-metal gray skies with a hint of winter in the air. More important, Big Ten supremacy is usually at stake, especially since Bo Schembechler took over in Ann Arbor in 1969 to turn the U-M fortunes around and provide an irascible counterbalance to the cantankerous Hayes. Since that point, Michigan-Ohio State has been the nation’s most consistently competitive and heated rivalry. Because the games have so much significance and occur at season’s end, a loss can be doubly haunting. Not only does the vanquished team lose to a hated foe, but its season can be destroyed also. There may be games that match these schools’ animosity for each other, and there may be contests that are as consistently important. But none combines the two into such a volatile package.

 

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Texas, 60-44-5)

One of the most unique characteristics about Dallas’ Cotton Bowl is that the teams’ locker rooms empty into a common corridor, so that players take the field through the same tunnel. On more than one occasion, as Texas and Oklahoma have prepared to charge onto the hallowed stadium’s turf, they have encountered each other in a highly charged, emotional moment that could have ignited an inferno. Instead, they decided to enjoin the fight on the gridiron, in front of 95,000-plus fans divided evenly into crimson and burnt orange enclaves. Rarely has the flame from the ensuing collision failed to heat the passions of all in attendance. While the Texas State Fair rollicks on around them, and vendors offer to fry anything that doesn’t move — and some things that do — the Longhorns and Sooners offer a mid-season football feast that dates back to 1900, when Oklahoma wasn’t even a state and Texas was just beginning to tap into the huge oil reserves deep below its surface. The neighbors harbor a significant dislike for each other, and tempers have boiled over many times on nights before the game. It doesn’t help that many OU grads now live in Texas, lured south by jobs in the petroleum industry. And plenty of Lone Star football talent has headed north to Norman, especially when Barry Switzer was pillaging the state’s top programs for all-stars. The action on the field rarely disappoints. Although there have been several blowouts over the years, including 2011’s 55–17 Sooner wipeout, the action is usually taut and has national implications. Though the game is played in October, several championship runs have been spawned by a victory in Dallas, and several high hopes have been dashed.

 

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Subscribe: |

 

5. USC-Notre Dame (Notre Dame, 45-35-5)

The nation’s top intersectional rivalry owes a debt of gratitude to some unfriendly residents of Lincoln, Neb., and Bonnie Rockne’s love of warm California weather. At a time when traditional gridiron matchups are being torn asunder by the whirling conference kaleidoscope, Notre Dame and USC continue their annual hostilities, treating the nation to a classic matchup of iconic programs. The schools almost didn’t get together. But in 1925, after ND dropped a 17–0 decision at Nebraska, before an inhospitable crowd of Cornhusker fans, coach Knute Rockne and his wife were joined on the train back to Chicago by USC athletic director Gwynn Wilson and his wife, Marion. While Wilson tried to convince Rockne to ditch the burgeoning rivalry with Nebraska for an annual trip west, Marion Wilson and Bonnie Rockne became fast friends in another train compartment. Rockne resisted Wilson’s entreaties, but his wife was enthralled with the idea of Los Angeles in the late fall. She later convinced her husband to play the Trojans. The resulting rivalry has lasted 85 years and has filled the college football history books with dozens of classic tales. More Heisman winners have played in the Notre Dame-USC game than in any other rivalry, and many a national championship hope has been validated with a victory in the game. Though the teams alternate between their home sites, playing in late November in L.A. and mid-October in South Bend, the game retains a glamour that defines it and is a product of two of college football’s most storied programs.

 

6. Georgia-Florida (Georgia, 49-41-2*)

The festivities begin at “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” around Tuesday, when the big boats start cruising up the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. By game time, everybody is in a festive mood – except the players. The Bulldogs and Gators have engaged in some classics over the years, from Georgia’s thrilling comeback in 1980 to Florida’s soggy 1993 triumph. Cheers! What's more special about this rivalry? These two programs can't even agree on how many times they've actually played. Florida claims the two have met 90 times while the Bulldogs have 91* outcomes in the record books. The Gators claim the 52-0 loss in 1904 doesn't count because they had not yet technically started playing football yet. 

 

7. Miami-Florida State (Miami, 31-28)

For a while there during the 1990s, there was more talent on the field when the ‘Canes and ‘Noles met up than in some NFL stadiums. And everybody wanted to put on a show. This matchup lacks the tradition and history of other rivalries, but the hostility is just as high. And there have been some classics. FSU fans still wince when they hear the words “Wide Right,” while Miami backers still cringe at the 34-3 beating their heroes absorbed in ’84.

 

8. Harvard-Yale (Yale, 66-57-8)

The Crimson and Bulldogs may not have played the first-ever college football game, but both schools had hands in how the game developed into what we have today. The late-November meeting between the schools is a history lesson wrapped in a high-class tailgate party. Harvard and Yale no longer compete at college football’s highest level, but they remain forever linked to the sport’s earliest days.

 

9. Florida-Florida St (Florida, 34-22-2)

For years, this was a big brother/little brother battle, with the establishment Gators looking down on the upstart Seminoles. Then, FSU started to win games – a lot of games – and things changed. This may lack the in-state hate of Auburn-Alabama, but don’t worry; the two sides harbor plenty of dislike for each other. During the past three decades, as both have competed for national laurels, their games have become more than just neighborhood brawls.

 

10. Cal-Stanford (Stanford, 60-46-11)

To some, The Big Game is the province of the wine-and-cheese crowd, and the schools’ NoCal addresses reinforce that. But there can be no denying that these schools thirst to defeat each other. It’s a classic battle of private (Stanford) against public (Cal), and bragging rights go well beyond which side brings the best pinot to the pre-game party. Plus, what other rivalry can boast a game with a crazy ending as the 1982 contest: “The band is on the field!”

 

11. Pittsburgh-West Virginia (Pitt, 61-40-3)

Only 75 miles separates the two combatants in the Backyard Brawl.  Unfortunately conference realignment (Pitt to the ACC, West Virginia to the Big 12) meant that last season this game didn't take place for the first time since 1942.

 

12. Texas-Texas A&M (Texas, 76-37-5)

This Thanksgiving weekend tradition has been suspended, at least temporarily, with Texas A&M's move to the SEC. A Texas state legislator has introduced a bill that would require the two in-state teams to play each other.

 

13. Oregon-Oregon State (Oregon, 61-46-10)

The Civil War has come a long way since the Ducks and Beavers played to a 0–0 tie in 1983.

 

14. BYU-Utah (Utah, 57-34-4)

The Holy War might be the best name for any rivalry in the nation.

 

15. UCLA-USC (USC, 46-31-7)

The Southern California showdown was dominated by UCLA from 1991-98, but the Bruins have just two victores (2006, '12) since.

 

16. Alabama-Tennessee (Alabama, 52-38-8)

The Third Saturday in October means only one thing to people in the South: Alabama vs. Tennessee.

 

17. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Oklahoma,  84-17-7)

T. Boone Pickens’ interest in the Oklahoma State program was piqued after the Pokes, 3–7 at the time, knocked OU out of the 2001 national title game with a 16–13 win.

 

18. Clemson-South Carolina (Clemson, 65-42-4)

These two schools were bitter rivals well before they started playing football in the 1890s. South Carolina has won four straight, but Clemson holds a 65–41–4 advantage in the all-time series.

 

19. Mississippi State-Ole Miss (Ole Miss, 61-43-6)

The Egg Bowl is often the only way to salvage a season for these two programs that have struggled to win consistently in the SEC.

 

20. Auburn-Georgia (Tied, 55-55-8)

It’s the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and it dates back to 1892. Auburn holds the slimmest of margins, with a 54–52–8 edge in the series. The Prayer on the Plains only added to this historic battle's legacy.

 

21. Michigan-Michigan State (Michigan, 68-34-5)

It pains MSU fans that Michigan’s biggest rival is Ohio State, but the “Little Brothers” from East Lansing have won the five of the last six in the series, including this year's most lop-sided Spartans win since the 1960s.

 

22. Minnesota-Wisconsin (Minnesota, 59-56-8)

The winner of the Gophers vs. Badgers showdown takes home the prized Paul Bunyan Axe. It’s the most played rivalry in FBS football, dating back to 1890. None will be bigger than the 124th meeting when the Big Ten West championship will be decided by these two.

 

23. Michigan-Notre Dame (Michigan, 24-17-1)

These two traditional powers have only played regularly for the past three decades, but they produced a ton of memorable moments. Strike a pose, Desmond!

 

23. Georgia-Georgia Tech (Georgia, 64-40-5)

You know it’s a good rivalry when the book about the series is called Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

 

25. Lafayette-Lehigh (Lafayette, 78-67-5)

The Rivalry, as it’s called, pits two small private schools located 17 miles apart in Eastern Pennsylvania. Lafayette and Lehigh have met 146 times, including every year since 1897.

Teaser:
The Top 25 Rivalries In College Football History
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-13-picks
Body:

I was 3-4 with top picks and 3-3 in trendy picks last week and it has dropped me below .500 for the first time all season. And I’m not sure where to go this weekend to make up for it.

 

You’ll notice one of two themes this weekend in college football. A) Huge point spreads in top 25 mismatches and B) Impossibly difficult to predict rivalry games with heavy title implications. This might be a good week to sit on the bench.

 

So I'm going to try the underdogs...

 

Last Week: 6-7

Year-to-Date: 44-45-1

 

Missouri (+4) at Tennessee

The Tigers are playing for a trip to the SEC Championship Game and Tennessee is missing its two most important leaders on defense (A.J. Johnson, Brian Randolph for the first half). Mizzou has won nine straight true road games outright and should be able to win the line of scrimmage battle on both sides. Prediction: Missouri +4

 

Ole Miss (-3) at Arkansas

The Rebels are a much more balanced offensive team than LSU and should be able to take advantage of the Hogs' defensive issues more so than the Tigers. Ole Miss is 6-3-1 against the number this year and Arkansas could be exhaling after finally winning an SEC game under Bret Bielema. Prediction: Ole Miss -3

 

Listen to the Week 13 preview podcast:



Subscribe: |

 

Maryland (+5.5) at Michigan

Laying 5.5 points means Michigan must score six to win and that has been easier said than done this year. The Wolverines scored 10 points against Northwestern, 11 against Michigan State and 18 against Penn State in three of the last four games. Look for a low-scoring affair in Ann Arbor. Prediction: Maryland +5.5

 

Boston College (+19.5) at Florida St

This was Florida State’s toughest game of the year last fall and while the game isn’t in Chestnut Hill and isn’t featuring Andre Williams, the points are still too much to pass up. The Noles don’t blow people out and are 3-7 against the spread this season. Prediction: Boston College +19.5

 

Stanford (-6) at Cal

Cal is 7-3 against the spread and is playing its archrival at home with a shot at going to a bowl game. The Bears need no more motivation than that. Stanford struggles to score and has struggled to cover (4-6 ATS this year). Take Cal to cover and possibly win outright. Prediction: Cal +6

 

Air Force (+5.5) at San Diego St

The Falcons have won four in a row, seven of their last eight overall and are posting big numbers on offense in the process (37.8 ppg in last four). The Aztecs have lost two of their last three and AFA could win outright. Prediction: Air Force +5.5

 

W. Michigan (+1) at C. Michigan

This is a pure trend pick as WMU is leading the nation with a 9-1 record against the spread. Central has a decent defense but is 5-6 against the spread this year and I’m not going against the trend. Play with caution. Prediction: W. Michigan +1

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Colorado (+32.5) at Oregon
B. College (+19) at Florida St
Vanderbilt (+30) at Miss. St
Indiana (+34.5) at Ohio St
Okla. St (+28.5) at Baylor
Ole Miss (-3) at Arkansas
USC (+3.5) at UCLA
Rutgers (+22) at Mich. St
Wash. St (+16) at Ariz. St
Arizona (+4) at Utah
Wisconsin (-10) at Iowa
Missouri (+4) at Tennessee
Kansas (+25) at Okla.
Minnesota (+10) at Nebraska
Georgia St (+40.5) at Clemson
Louisville (+3) at Notre Dame
Last Week:4-118-74-116-9
YTD:90-89-494-85-480-99-488-91-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 13 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 09:00

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