Articles By Braden Gall

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

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

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

3: Georgia quarterbacks to beat Florida three years in a row
The Bulldogs stayed alive in the SEC East championship hunt with a heated, hard-fought victory over rival Florida. The win was Georgia's third straight win over the Gators for the first time since Steve Spurrier arrived in Gainesville (1987-89). It was Murray's third win over Florida, making him the third quarterback in school history to win three in a row over the Gators. Buck Belue, who led Georgia to its last national championship, won three straight from 1979-81. Johnny Rauch, 1945-48, is the only Dawgs signal caller to ever win four straight in the series.

41-3: Team that rushes for more yards in the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry
The Spartans were one of Week 10's biggest winners nationally after dominating their in-state rival in record-setting fashion. Michigan State held Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing, the worst mark in Maize and Blue history. The Spartans were able to nearly quadruple the Wolverines in rushing — against an equally as stingy rushing defense — by totaling 142 yards on the ground. In the last 44 meetings between the Big Ten rivals, the team that has run for more yards is 41-3. Michigan totaled just 168 yards, but more on that in a second. The 29-6 win was the most lopsided victory for Sparty over the Wolverines since a 34-0 shutout in 1967.

43.4: Michigan State's yards rushing allowed per game
The Spartans allowed just 168 total yards of offense, two field goals and minus-48 yards rushing. With the dominant performance, Michigan State is on pace to become just the fourth team in the last 30 years to allow less than 50 yards rushing per game. TCU allowed 47.1 yards per game in 2008 and Michigan gave up 43.4 yards per contest in 2006. Only Arizona's Desert Swarm unit of 1993 (30.1 ypg) allowed fewer rushing yards per game over the last three decades than MSU's current pace. Additionally, Mark Dantonio's defense is leading the nation in total defense at 210.2 yards per game — second only to Alabama's elite national championship 2011 unit (183.6 ypg) since 2000.

116: Tajh Boyd all-time ACC total TD record
The Clemson quarterback threw for 377 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in an easy road win over Virginia. It gave Boyd 116 career total touchdowns, passing Philip Rivers' 112 for No. 1 all-time in ACC history. The Tigers gunslinger has 93 passing scores and 23 rushing touchdowns and is just three away from breaking Philip Rivers' ACC passing touchdown mark (95). Boyd has 10,673 career passing yards and 11,632 total yards of offense in his career, both of which are good for No. 2 all-time behind, you guessed it, Rivers (13,484 passing; 13,582 total offense). Interestingly, Russell Wilson is third all-time with 93 total touchdowns in ACC history — in just three seasons at NC State.

56.0: Arizona State points per game over their last four Pac-12 games
The Sun Devils limped out of Palo Alto with a bad loss and a tough schedule ahead. But Todd Graham's team has rallied in a big way, thanks in large part to its offense. It has scored at least 53 points in each of its four Pac-12 wins since losing to Stanford. Quarterback Taylor Kelly is playing his best football and is leading a team that has scored 27 touchdowns in four games for an average of 56 points per game. The Sun Devils now sit a full game up in the division over Arizona, UCLA and USC with looming games with each one.

5: Jameis Winston's career 300-yard games
EJ Manuel played in 43 games as a starting quarterback for Florida State, becoming just the second player in NCAA history to start and win four bowl games (Pat White). He had five career 300-yard passing efforts and was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Christian Ponder played in 35 games prior to Manuel and had just four career 300-yard passing games before getting picked 12th overall by the Vikings. In just eight career games, Winston has topped 300 yards five times and has yet to lose a game as a starter. Despite two bad interceptions, the Seminoles quarterback finished with 325 yards on 72.4-percent passing. He is No. 2 nationally to Bryce Petty with a 201.12 quarterback rating.

1: TCU three-game losing streaks under Gary Patterson
The Horned Frogs are headed in the wrong direction. TCU lost 20 yards on three plays before having to attempt a 62-yard field goal in the first overtime against West Virginia. The Mountaineers kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession to give the Frogs its third consecutive loss for the first time in the Gary Patterson era. Patterson is 119-41 in 13 seasons as the head coach in Fort Worth and after losing to Oklahoma State, Texas and WVU. The Frogs are 5-10 in conference play since entering the Big 12 in 2012.

3: Teams to win three straight as at least a TD underdog since 1980
According to ESPN/Grantland's R.J. Bell, only three teams since 1980 have won three consecutive games as a touchdown underdog. Minnesota defeated Indiana on the road as a 10-point underdog, giving it a third straight win as a double-digit dog after toppling Northwestern (+12.5) and Nebraska (+10.5). Arkansas in 1991 and Arizona in 2006 were the only two teams since 1980 to win three straight games as a TD underdog until the Gophers did it. Not only were they at least 10-point underdogs, but Minnesota has moved to 7-2 without head coach Jerry Kill. Defensive coordinator-turned-acting head coach Tracy Claeys is quietly turning the Gophers into one of the nation's best stories.

1990: Last time Arkansas lost six straight games
Guz Malzahn returned to his home state in impressive fashion by thumping Bret Bielema's Razorbacks 35-17 in Fayetteville. It gives Arkansas its sixth consecutive loss following a 3-0 start to the season — something that has never happened since joining the SEC in 1992. In fact, the last time Arkansas lost six straight games, it was a member of the Southwest Conference. The last four have been particularly painful and uncompetitive. The Hogs have been outscored 167-34 during that span and own the SEC's worst scoring offense at 20 points per game. Bielema has one chance at an SEC win left on the schedule: at Ole Miss, Mississippi State (Little Rock), at LSU.

29: Quinn Epperly NCAA-record consecutive completions
Princeton junior quarterback Quinn Epperly started the game against Cornell by completing the first 29 passes he threw. It broke Richie Williams' NCAA record for consecutive completions (28) set in 2004. He threw six touchdown passes for the second straight game and finished with 325 yards on 32-of-35 passing. East Carolina's Dominique Davis owns the FBS record with 26 straight completions against Navy in 2011.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 10
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:20
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What a wild week in the Big Ten. The three best teams in the league — Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin — won in convincing fashion but the rest of the conference was under cardiac arrest in the fourth quarter.

Indiana came storming back with 28 unanswered points only to watch Philip Nelson throw the game-winning touchdown pass. Christian Hackenberg led a game-tying drive at the end of regulation and then tossed the game winner in overtime. And Nebraska won on a Ron Kellogg III Hail Mary that will be remembered for decades to come in Lincoln.

More Post-Week 10 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (9-0, 5-0): The Buckeyes continue to earn style points with another huge blowout. This one was to be expected, however, as the league's best team crushed the league's worst by 56 points. Braxton Miller was excellent again, throwing four touchdown strikes. Urban Meyer moved to 21-0 as the head coach at Ohio State and is two games against Illinois and Indiana from the much awaited trip to Michigan. Next Week: at Illinois 
2.
 
 
(3)Michigan State (8-1, 5-0): The Spartans stayed perfect in the Big Ten by dominating the line of scrimmage against rival Michigan. The nation's leading defense held Michigan to a school-record minus-48 yards rushing thanks to seven sacks. Connor Cook made clutch throws when needed, and Jeremy Langford was productive enough to give the Spartans the most lopsided win over their in-state rival since 1967. Mark Dantonio gets two weeks to prepare for a road trip into Lincoln for a de facto Legends Division championship game. Next Week: Bye 
3.
 
 
 
(2)Wisconsin (6-2, 4-1): It wasn't pretty as both defenses stole the show in the first three quarters, but Wisconsin pulled away late for an important road win against rival Iowa. The Badgers defense, playing without leader Chris Borland, suffocated the Hawkeyes, holding Kirk Ferentz group to 289 yards of total offense and no touchdowns. The typically powerful UW running game will need to be better next week in an unusual nonconference game with BYU. The Cougars bring a similarly stingy defense to Madison. Next Week: BYU 
4.
 
 
(5)Nebraska (6-2, 3-1): A really bad week in the Pelini family ended as only it could — with a championship- and job-saving Hail Mary on the final play of the game against Northwestern. Both teams were held without an offensive touchdown in the second half until Ron Kellogg III heaved a final pass from the 49-yard line and Jordan Westerkamp snagged the tipped ball out of the air. The throw keeps the Huskers in Legends Division contention as the Big Red will face both Michigan schools over the next two weeks. Next Week: at Michigan 
5.
 
 
 
(4)Michigan (6-2, 2-2): Devin Gardner is going to see Spartans in his nightmares. He had no time to throw and the running game gave him no support as the Wolverines offensive line was obliterated by the Spartans defensive line. The team rushed for the lowest total in school history (minus-48 yards) and were tackled behind the line 18 times (11 TFL, seven sacks). Brady Hoke's team is 2-2 in the league and is three games behind their in-state rival Michigan State. Next Week: Nebraska 
6.
 
(6)Minnesota (7-2, 3-2): Philip Nelson had to be nervous as he watched his team give up four straight touchdowns to Indiana in the fourth quarter. But trailing by four with less than five minutes to go, Nelson delivered with the biggest throw of his career. His 50-yard TD pass won the game, and, after the defense recovered a juggled pitch on the Hoosiers' ensuing possession, Minnesota celebrated its third straight win. Jerry Kill is slowly inching his way back into control of the Gophers team — a welcomed sight for all Big Ten fans — but Tracy Claeys is no 3-0 as the interim head coach in what has quickly become one of the nation's best stories. Next Week: Penn State 
7.
 
(7)

Penn State (5-3, 2-2): Bill Belton nearly coughed up the game for the Nittany Lions, fumbling on the goal line down by three with less than four minutes to go. But his freshman quarterback and superstar wide receiver saved the day. Christian Hackenberg led a game-tying drive in the final minute and threw the game-winning touchdown to Kyle Carter in overtime. Allen Robinson caught 11 passes for 165 yards and made several critical catches in the waning moments. Belton's fumble nearly overshadowed a 200-yard rushing effort and, despite bowl sanctions, this team is one win away from being bowl eligible in each of Bill O'Brien's seasons at the helm. Next Week: at Minnesota

 
8.
 
 
 
(8)Iowa (5-4, 2-3): Trailing by five, quarterback Jake Rudock was knocked out of the game midway through the third quarter, and backup C.J. Beathard wasn't capable of getting anything going the rest of the way. The defense played valiantly against the powerful Wisconsin offensive line but simply couldn't move the ball on offense — and when it could, Iowa didn't finish drives with touchdowns. Kirk Ferentz's group will have to wait another week to get to bowl eligibility — which should happen next weekend. Next Week: at Purdue 
9.
 
(9)Indiana (3-5, 1-3): The Hoosiers had a chance at another critical win but might have watched their postseason chances disappear with a last minute fumble against Minnesota. Give Kevin Wilson and his team credit for battling back from a 35-13 deficit to take a late lead with 28 unanswered points, but IU couldn't finish when it had the chance inside the Gophers 10 yard-line with less than 30 seconds left in the game. The Tevin Coleman fumble likely knocks Indiana out of the postseason at it must win three of its final four: Illinois, at Wisconsin, at Ohio State and Purdue. Next Week: Illinois 
10.
 
(10)Northwestern (4-5, 0-5): Only a team on a four-game losing streak could lose in such heartbreaking fashion. Northwestern kicked a field goal with 1:20 left in the game to take a three-point lead over Nebraska on the road. Pat Fitzgerald needed one more play on defense to secure his first Big Ten win of the year and to stop his 2013 ship from officially sinking. But after watching the Huskers win on a Hail Mary, it's hard not to think that his particular Northwestern team is jinxed. Next Week: Bye 
11.
 
 
(11)Illinois (3-5, 0-4): Nathan Scheelhaase drove his team down the field on the road in the fourth quarter to take a lead in a Big Ten game in over a year. But the defense couldn't hold up, and, in overtime, Scheelhaase made a critical mistake to give the win to Penn State. His interception in the endzone ended the game and extended the Illini's Big Ten losing streak to 18 games. Next Week: at Indiana 
12.
 
(12)Purdue (1-7, 0-4): Ten first downs, 116 total yards of offense and zero points. That is what the Purdue offense mustered against Ohio State. 30 first downs, 640 yards of total offense and 56 points. That is what the defense allowed to the Buckeyes. This team is on pace to be Purdue's worst since a 1-10 squad in 1993. Next Week: Iowa 

Big Ten Week 10 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota

Nelson and the Gophers built a commanding 35-13 lead with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter. However, Indiana stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns to take a narrow lead late in the final frame. But Nelson answered back with a 50-yard scoring strike to Maxx Williams to give Minnesota a thrilling three-point win over Indiana. Nelson finished with 298 yards on 16-of-23 passing and four touchdowns and 11 yards rushing on seven carries.

Defensive Player of Week: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Any number of key contributors from Michigan State could be mentioned here. Denicos Allen (nine tackles, three TFL, two sacks) and Ed Davis (four tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) each had big games for the nation's best defense. Calhoun has become the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate, however, and his performance against Michigan was worthy of a headline. He posted six tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and is now leading the Big Ten in sacks this season (6.5). Nebraska's Avery Moss needs to get a mention as well for his performance against Northwestern. He posted four tackles, a tackle for a loss and returned his first career interception for a game-tying touchdown.

Team of Week: Michigan State
The Buckeyes earned a few more style points with a 56-0 win over Purdue on the road but no team was more impressive than Michigan State in Week 10. The nation's best defense held Michigan in check the entire afternoon, allowing just 168 yards of total offense and two field goals. The Spartans are unbeaten in Big Ten play and look like the top challenger to the Buckeyes. Connor Cook is making timely throws, and Jeremy Langford has emerged as a workhorse back. This team is averaging more than 30 points per game in Big Ten play and may be built to compete with Ohio State should it get past Nebraska in two weeks.

Coordinator of Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Who else could it be? The No. 1 defense in the nation showed the nation why it might be the only unit in the Big Ten that can stop Ohio State. The Wolverines posted a school-record low of minus-48 yards rushing as Narduzzi dialed up pressure all night long. Michigan State finished with seven sacks, 12 first downs allowed 168 total yards of offense. The 23-point win was the most lopsided victory since 1967 between the two in-state rivals. 

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The Penn State freshman has quickly proven he can handle himself in late-game pressure situations. For the second time in his young career, he drove his team down the field to tie the game in the final minute. And for the second time, he led his team to an overtime victory over a Big Ten foe. Hackenberg finished with 240 yards passing on 20-of-32 passing and two total touchdowns (one pass, one rush). He didn't turn the ball over and moved the Lions to even in the Big Ten this year. Hack still leads the Big Ten in passing (253 ypg).

Bonus: Play of the Year: Ron Kellogg III and Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska
With no time remaining and his job potentially on the line at home against Northwestern, Bo Pelini watched one of the most memorable plays in Nebraska history unfold before yet another sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium. Kellogg heaved the ball 49 yards where Westerkamp snatched the tipped pass out of the air for the game-winning touchdown. It was Westerkamp's first career TD and it kept the Huskers Big Ten title hopes alive. Kellogg-to-Westerkamp now belongs next to Kirk Cousins, Kordell Stewart, Doug Flutie, Drew Tate and Marcus Randall in Big Ten lore. 

Fifth Down

• Michigan State is giving up a nation-best 210.2 yards per game. Only 2011 Alabama has posted a better mark (183.6) since 2000. The Spartans are also just one of four teams in the last 30 years to allow less than 50 yards rushing per game (Arizona, 1993; Michigan, 2006; TCU, 2008).

• Minnesota's David Cobb is the first Gopher back to top 100 yards in three straight game since Amir Pinnix in 2006. He has 60 carries and 326 yards combined in wins over Nebraska and Indiana.

• Minnesota became just the third team since 1980 to win three straight games as at least a touchdown underdog. The Gophers were double-digit underdogs in each of the last three games.

• Bill Belton rushed for 201 yards in Penn State's win over Illinois. It was the first 200-yard effort by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson in 2002. He nearly cost his team the game with a fourth-quarter fumble but was outstanding on his other 35 carries.

• Without Chris Borland, Wisconsin turned to Marcus Trotter to fill the void at linebacker on the road against Iowa. Trotter had nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while holding Iowa to three field goals.

• Iowa entered play on Saturday leading the nation in rushing touchdowns allowed with two. They gave up two in a game for the second time in three weeks to Wisconsin.

• Michigan State's first offensive play from scrimmage was a busted throw back to the fullback. Trevon Pendleton rumbled 49 yards for the Spartans longest play of the season.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:20
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It was an odd weekend out West as Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Utah were all off. Certainly, all eyes in the Pac-12 — and the nation — will be on Palo Alto on Thursday evening when the Ducks visit Stanford.

But just because the best two teams didn't play, didn't mean that things went according to plan. USC pulled a critical upset over Oregon State to give itself a fighting chance in the South. Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA all held serve in the South and now all four teams are tied with six wins.

Here are your Week 10 Pac-12 superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
USC's Javorius Allen (133 yards, three touchdowns) played well for the Trojans. Arizona's B.J. Denker (305 total yards, four touchdowns) was huge on the road against Cal. But it's hard to argue that the Sun Devils quarterback wasn't the best player in the league this weekend. Late on Thursday night on the road, Kelly accounted for seven touchdowns and more than 300 yards of total offense against Washington State. He threw for 275 yards and five scores while rushing for 66 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground while leading his offense to its fourth consecutive Pac-12 game with at least 50 points. Kelly is third in the league — ahead of Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley — with 313.9 yards per game in 2013.

Defensive Player of the Week: Devon Kennard, LB, USC
The former five-star recruit missed all of last year with an injury and it appears he is starting to round into all-conference form. Kennard posted a career-high two sacks in the upset of Sean Mannion and his potent Beavers passing attack. He added four total tackles. He has seven quarterback take downs on the season, trailing only Trent Murphy (9.5) and Tony Washington (7.5) in the Pac-12. The Trojans lead the league at 323.0 yards allowed per game. 

Team of the Week: USC
With an interim head coach and a depleted roster in a stadium where it hadn't won at in nearly a decade, the Trojans got an unexpected Pac-12 road win. The defense played excellent football against a high-flying Beavers offense without Morgan Breslin, Su'a Cravens and Anthony Brown. The running game and return of Marqise Lee delivered on offense despite missing Kevin Graf and Randall Telfer. USC won it's third straight Pac-12 game and became bowl eligible. Interim coach Ed Oregeron is now 3-0 in Pac-12 since taking over for Lane Kiffin and it puts USC squarely in the divisional race, one game behind Arizona State.

Coordinator of the Week: Clancy Pendergast, USC
Oregon State boasts one of the most potent passing attacks in the nation, and Pendergast's unit shut it down. On the road, the Trojans allowed just 277 yards passing to the No. 3-rated pass offense in the nation and only 92 yards on the ground. USC forced three Sean Mannion turnovers and held star wide receiver Brandin Cooks to just six receptions and 88 yards. USC is leading the Pac-12 in total defense (323.0 ypg) and has held Utah and Oregon State to a combined 570 yards after allowing over 500 to both Arizona State and Arizona.

Freshman of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
For the second week in a row, Wright gets top honors after a terrific showing in a Wildcats win on the road. Wright posted a career-high 11 total tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss in the five-point win over Cal. He is 11th in the Pac-12 in tackles (7.5 pg) and is No. 3 among freshman (Addison Gillam, Cameron Walker). The Wildcats are bowl eligible and one game back of the Sun Devils in the South Divison with games left with both UCLA and Arizona State at home. USC's Leon McQuay II gets a mention for six tackles and two pass break-ups against Oregon State in place of star freshman Su'a Cravens.

Fifth Down

• Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey rushed for more than 100 yards for the 11th consecutive game, rushing 32 times for 152 yards against Cal. B.J. Denker stole the show again, scoring four times and accounting for more than 300 yards of offense.

• USC's Javorius Allen (16) and Silas Redd (22) combined for 38 rushing attempts and 273 yards against Oregon State. Marqise Lee returned with five receptions, 105 yards and a touchdowns.

• UCLA's Devin Fuller touched the ball four times on offense and scored on three of them. He caught two touchdowns in three receptions and scored on his only rushing attempt. He totaled 107 yards from scrimmage.

• UCLA didn't have an injured Eric Kendricks, and tailback Jordan James returned to action. James carried six times for eight yards.

• UCLA's Brett Hundley was excellent against Colorado, throwing for 273 yards and rushing for 72 and accounting for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing). 

• The South Division went 3-0 against the North Division this weekend. 

• Oregon State's Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks lead the nation with 14 touchdown connections this season.

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 10 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 13:00
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What a wild week in the Big Ten. The three best teams in the league — Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin — won in convincing fashion but the rest of the conference was under cardiac arrest in the fourth quarter.

Indiana came storming back with 28 unanswered points only to watch Philip Nelson throw the game-winning touchdown pass. Christian Hackenberg led a game-tying drive at the end of regulation and then tossed the game winner in overtime. And Nebraska won on a Ron Kellogg III Hail Mary in Lincoln.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 10 Superlatives:

Offensive Players of the Week: Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota

Nelson and the Gophers built a commanding 35-13 lead with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter. However, Indiana stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns to take a narrow lead late in the final frame. But Nelson answered back with a 50-yard scoring strike to Maxx Williams to give Minnesota a thrilling three-point win over Indiana. Nelson finished with 298 yards on 16-of-23 passing and four touchdowns and 11 yards rushing on seven carries.

Defensive Player of Week: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Any number of key contributors from Michigan State could be mentioned here. Denicos Allen (nine tackles, three TFL, two sacks) and Ed Davis (four tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) each had big games for the nation's best defense. Calhoun has become the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate, however, and his performance against Michigan was worthy of a headline. He posted six tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and is now leading the Big Ten in sacks this season (6.5). Nebraska's Avery Moss needs to get a mention as well for his performance against Northwestern. He posted four tackles, a tackle for a loss and returned his first career interception for a game-tying touchdown.

Team of Week: Michigan State
The Buckeyes earned a few more style points with a 56-0 win over Purdue on the road but no team was more impressive than Michigan State in Week 10. The nation's best defense held Michigan in check the entire afternoon, allowing just 168 yards of total offense and two field goals. The Spartans are unbeaten in Big Ten play and look like the top challenger to the Buckeyes. Connor Cook is making timely throws, and Jeremy Langford has emerged as a workhorse back. This team is averaging more than 30 points per game in Big Ten play and may be built to compete with Ohio State should it get past Nebraska in two weeks.

Coordinator of Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Who else could it be? The No. 1 defense in the nation showed the nation why it might be the only unit in the Big Ten that can stop Ohio State. The Wolverines posted a school-record low of minus-48 yards rushing as Narduzzi dialed up pressure all night long. Michigan State finished with seven sacks, 12 first downs allowed 168 total yards of offense. The 23-point win was the most lopsided victory since 1967 between the two in-state rivals. 

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The Penn State freshman has quickly proven he can handle himself in late-game pressure situations. For the second time in his young career, he drove his team down the field to tie the game in the final minute. And for the second time, he led his team to an overtime victory over a Big Ten foe. Hackenberg finished with 240 yards passing on 20-of-32 passing and two total touchdowns (one pass, one rush). He didn't turn the ball over and moved the Lions to even in the Big Ten this year. Hack still leads the Big Ten in passing (253 ypg).

Bonus: Play of the Year: Ron Kellogg III and Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska
With no time remaining and his job potentially on the line at home against Northwestern, Bo Pelini watched one of the most memorable plays in Nebraska history unfold before yet another sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium. Kellogg heaved the ball 49 yards where Westerkamp snatched the tipped pass out of the air for the game-winning touchdown. It was Westerkamp's first career TD and it kept the Huskers Big Ten title hopes alive. Kellogg-to-Westerkamp now belongs next to Kirk Cousins, Kordell Stewart, Doug Flutie, Drew Tate and Marcus Randall in Big Ten lore. 

Fifth Down

• Michigan State is giving up a nation-best 210.2 yards per game. Only 2011 Alabama has posted a better mark (183.6) since 2000. The Spartans are also just one of four teams in the last 30 years to allow less than 50 yards rushing per game (Arizona, 1993; Michigan, 2006; TCU, 2008).

• Minnesota's David Cobb is the first Gopher back to top 100 yards in three straight game since Amir Pinnix in 2006. He has 60 carries and 326 yards combined in wins over Nebraska and Indiana.

• Minnesota became just the third team since 1980 to win three straight games as at least a touchdown underdog. The Gophers were double-digit underdogs in each of the last three games.

• Bill Belton rushed for 201 yards in Penn State's win over Illinois. It was the first 200-yard effort by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson in 2002. He nearly cost his team the game with a fourth-quarter fumble but was outstanding on his other 35 carries.

• Without Chris Borland, Wisconsin turned to Marcus Trotter to fill the void at linebacker on the road against Iowa. Trotter had nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while holding Iowa to three field goals.

• Iowa entered play on Saturday leading the nation in rushing touchdowns allowed with two. They gave up two in a game for the second time in three weeks to Wisconsin.

• Michigan State's first offensive play from scrimmage was a busted throw back to the fullback. Trevon Pendleton rumbled 49 yards for the Spartans longest play of the season.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 10 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 09:12
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Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. If you follow me on Twitter (of course you do), you'll know that I added Notre Dame to my locks last week early on Saturday morning. That saved my day and I broke even for the third straight week. Not winning is getting old, but not losing is always fun. Let's try to get back into the black this weekend.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 28-22-1 (3-3 last week)

Week 10 Picks of the Week:

Minnesota (+10) at Indiana
This is one of the odder lines of the weekend, so there must be something that Vegas knows that we don’t. Behind a power rushing attack, Minnesota is surging after back-to-back upsets over Nebraska and Northwestern. As a double-digit underdog in both cases. Look for the power running game to play another huge factor against a team like Indiana that struggles to stop the run. Prediction: Minnesota +10

Auburn (-8) at Arkansas

The Tigers are 6-2 against the spread this season and the Razorbacks are 2-6 against the number. The Hogs have been downright atrocious throughout their current five-game losing streak. Arkansas has scored 17 total points in the last three games combined and have been under 300 yards of offense in four of the last five. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is a game-time decision and should he play, the Tigers will cover easily. Prediction: Auburn -8

Georgia (-2.5) at Florida
Running back Todd Gurley returns to the field, giving quarterback Aaron Murray a complementary piece for the first time in weeks. And the once-dominant Florida run defense has completely fallen apart after Dominique Easley tore his ACL. The Gators have allowed 163.7 yards rushing per game and 4.7 yards per carry since they lost their star defensive tackle. Both teams still have an outside chance to win the SEC East and both are coming off a bye week, so expect a good game. Prediction: Georgia -2.5

USC (+3.5) at Oregon State
The Trojans don’t have a permanent head coach and are under 50 scholarship players for the third straight week. Oregon State is at home and should be angry after the poor offensive showing against Stanford last weekend. The Beavers have consistently been a thorn in the Trojans' side, winning three straight at in Corvallis and four of the last five. Those wins include victories over powerhouse USC teams in 2000, ‘06, ’08 and ’10. Prediction: Oregon State -3.5 

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
No. 7 Miami (+21.5) at No. 3 Florida St
No. 8 Ohio St (-31.5) at Purdue
No. 8 Clemson (-16.5) at Virginia
Tennessee (+10.5) at No. 9 Missouri
No. 11 Auburn (-8) at Arkansas
UTEP (+45.5) at No. 12 Texas A&M
Miss. St (+12) at No. 14 South Carolina
No. 18 Okla. St (+2.5) at No. 15 Texas Tech
Nevada (+20.5) at No. 16 Fresno St
No. 17 N. Illinois (-23.5) at UMass
Colorado (+27) at No. 20 UCLA
No. 21 Michigan (+5.5) at No. 22 Michigan St
No. 24 Wisconsin (-9.5) at Iowa
Navy (+16.5) at No. 25 Notre Dame
Last Week:9-1010-99-106-13
Year-To-Date:73-74-371-76-368-79-374-73-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 10 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/top-college-football-player-matchups-watch-week-10
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Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the best one-on-one matchups to watch in college football. Here are the most important games within the game to watch this weekend:

Duke Johnson, RB vs. Telvin Smith, LB (Miami vs. Florida St.)
The only chance Miami has to win is to use the power running game to keep the ball away from Jameis Winston. Johnson and backfield mate Dallas Crawford have saved the day the last two weekends for the Canes by pounding the rock in the fourth quarter. Smith and Christian Jones have been excellent at linebacker for Florida State this year. Smith (7.0) and Jones (5.5) are No. 1 and 3 in tackles for the Seminoles this year.

Justin Gilbert, CB vs. Davis Webb, QB (Oklahoma St. vs. Texas Tech)
The Red Raiders quarterback will need to be mindful of Gilbert, who has an interception in each of the last two games and four picks this season. Webb has been strong under center, throwing for at least 385 yards in each of the last three games. However, he also has thrown three interceptions during that span. Webb will have to be aware of where No. 4 is on the field.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Todd Gurley, RB vs. Antonio Morrison, LB (Georgia vs. Florida)
The Bulldogs expect to have their All-American back in the lineup after missing three games with a high ankle sprain. J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas did a nice job in relief, but Gurley is a true difference-maker who, when healthy, is one of the top two or three running backs in the nation. He will be running against a Florida defense that hasn’t been nearly as formidable since defensive tackle Dominique Easley went down with a season-ending injury. Linebackers Morrison and Michael Taylor are the top two tacklers for the Gators and will be charged with stopping the powerful running back. In the last three games, all without Easley, Florida has allowed 163.7 rushing yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.

Devin Gardner, QB vs. Max Bullough, LB (Michigan at Michigan St.)
It is cliché to point to quarterback play as the deciding factor in any game, but this in-state battle hinges on both signal-callers. Gardner is the Big Ten leader in total offense (328.4 ypg) by a wide margin over Braxton Miller (247.7) but he also has turned the ball over 14 times — a Big Ten-leading 10 interceptions and four lost fumbles. Bullough is the leader of the Spartans defense and will be in charge of getting his unit into position. If Gardner plays well against the nation’s best defense, Michigan can win. If he turns the ball over, they have no chance.

Josh Shaw, CB vs. Brandin Cooks, WR (USC at Oregon St.)
Like every other position on the field, the Trojans' secondary is seriously talented. Shaw, Su’a Cravens, Dion Bailey and Demetrius Wright are as gifted a starting group as there is in the nation. But they have dealt with nagging injuries and will be faced with stopping the nation’s No. 1 QB-WR duo in Sean Mannion and Cooks. On the road, this group will decide the Trojans' fate this weekend.

Josh Dobbs, QB vs. Andrew Wilson, LB (Tennessee at Missouri)
The true freshman from Georgia will make his first start on Saturday night at Missouri. Dobbs, who originally committed to Arizona State, was hand-picked by the new staff after its arrival in Knoxville last December. He is one of three freshman quarterbacks on the roster — two true and one redshirt — but most around the program believe Dobbs is the best fit for the offense. He’ll have an opportunity to display his skills in prime time on Saturday night against one of the hardest hitting linebackers in the game. Wilson is the Tigers' top tackler and will be in charge of slowing the Vols' dual-threat quarterback.

Derrick Hopkins, DT vs. Andre Williams, RB (Virginia Tech at Boston College)
Even with Boston College’s passing offense struggling to get on track last week, Williams still managed 172 yards in a 34-10 loss against North Carolina. The senior leads the ACC with an average of 144.3 yards per game, but Virginia Tech’s defensive line will be the toughest Boston College has faced this year. The Hokies have allowed just five rushing scores and opponents are managing only 2.6 yards per carry. Virginia Tech’s interior line is deep with tackles Hopkins and Luther Maddy, while ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins have combined for eight sacks. In order for the Eagles to have a shot at winning on Saturday, Williams has to get over 100 yards.

Teaser:
Top College Football Player Matchups to Watch in Week 10
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-10-preview-and-predictions
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For the second straight week, Ohio State and Minnesota took center stage with big conference wins. The Buckeyes proved once again they are the class of the league and the Gophers once again pulled an upset as a double-digit underdog.

That said, the last two weekends have been fairly lackluster in terms of matchups. That won’t be the case in Week 10. A critical Legends Division rivalry takes place in East Lansing. An embattled coach tries to keep his title hopes alive against a cornered Wildcat. And an old-school Big Ten rivalry gets renewed in Iowa City with more on the line than expected.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 10 Game Power Rankings:

1. Michigan (+5.5) at Michigan State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
The Wolverines have never taken this game as seriously as the Spartans but Brady Hoke’s squad better be focused this weekend or his season could unravel quickly. Michigan State won four straight before Hoke broke through in this rivalry last season in an ugly 12-10 home victory. Michigan is not the same team on the road as it is at home, averaging nearly 500 yards of offense per game in the Big House (489.4 ypg) and just 339 yards per game away from home. Now Devin Gardner and company must face the nation’s top-rated defense (215.5 ypg). In fact, both teams are excellent against the run, as each rank in the top 10 nationally. So whichever quarterback can limit turnovers — something Gardner hasn’t been able to do this year — and stretch the field vertically will have a huge advantage in this critical Legends Division showdown.

2. Northwestern (+7) at Nebraska (3:30 p.m., BTN)
Pat Fitzgerald entered this season with eyes on a Big Ten title but is now looking at a tough road just to get to six wins and become bowl-eligible. Nebraska and embattled head coach Bo Pelini limp home to Lincoln after an extremely disappointing loss at Minnesota. This is a must-win for both coaching staffs in what has been entertaining games the last two seasons. The Big Red won in Evanston by one point last season but lost at home to the Wildcats by three two seasons ago. Taylor Martinez returned to the lineup last weekend but was clearly rusty as the offense posted a season-low 328 yards. Against a Northwestern defense that has been gashed by the running game (211.5 ypg allowed in Big Ten play), the Huskers should return to basics on offense. That means a heavy dose of Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Terrell Newby. On the flip side, expect the same game plan from the Cats after watching the Gophers successfully pound the ball against the Black Shirts.

3. Wisconsin (-9.5) at Iowa (Noon, ABC)
One of the more underrated rivalry games in the Big Ten was forced off the schedule when the league split into divisions. The road team has won the last two meetings and Wisconsin has won two of the last three in Iowa City. This old-school, Midwestern bout will feature two power rushing attacks and two great linebacking corps. Gary Andersen deploys a nasty 1-2 punch in the backfield while Iowa boasts one of the best trios of tacklers in the nation. The game within the game between Kirk Ferentz' defensive front and UW’s rushing attack is the matchup to watch. Iowa must hold the line of scrimmage on defense to give itself a chance to win. Otherwise, the Badgers will roll their way to a third straight Big Ten win. More on the individual matchup in a minute.

4. Minnesota (+9) at Indiana (3:30 p.m., BTN)
This has quietly turned into a very intriguing matchup between a surging team without its head coach and an explosive offense starved for a postseason appearance. The Gophers used a power rushing attack to defeat the Huskers at home last weekend after their opportunistic defense defeated Northwestern on the road two weeks ago. A win over Indiana would shift expectations in the Twin Cities to a division crown and a win for the Hoosiers puts a bowl game within reach. All three wins this season for IU have come at home and the Hoosiers have had two weeks to prepare for a team that, shockingly, it has not faced since 2008.

5. Illinois (+10) at Penn State (Noon, ESPN)
The Nittany Lions are reeling on defense after allowing at least 40 points in three straight games for the first time in school history. The 408 yards rushing, 686 total yards and 63 points at the hands of Ohio State were a new low for the proud program. A winnable battle with a teetering Illinois team in the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium might be just what this program needs. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg must be better than he was last weekend, but against an Illini team that has allowed 297.7 yards rushing per game in Big Ten play, fans should expect a heavy dose of handoffs in what should be a bounce-back win for Penn State.

6. Ohio State (-31.5) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
The best team in the Big Ten travels to take on the worst team in the league in what could be the most lopsided game this conference sees all season. West Lafayette has been a house of horrors for the Buckeyes of late, losing the last two and three of the last four in Ross-Ade Stadium, but there is nothing about these two teams that indicates this game will be anything but an ugly blowout.

Big Ten Week 10 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Bo Pelini's future and the big Michigan-Michigan State game in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Spartans are great on defense and can run the football like most Mark Dantonio teams. But this team can be a Big Ten title contender when Connor Cook is efficient and productive. He completed 15 of 16 passes last week against Illinois and has led Michigan State to more than 30 points per game in Big Ten play. The Wolverines are solid against the run so it will fall to Cook to make plays more so than usual. This is his first meeting against Michigan.

2. Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
It is cliché to point to quarterback play as the deciding factor in any game but this in-state battle hinges on both signal-callers. Cook is asked to be more of a game manager while Gardner is asked to do pretty much everything. He is the Big Ten leader in total offense (328.4 ypg) by a wide margin over Braxton Miller (247.7) but he also has turned the ball over 14 times — a Big Ten-leading 10 interceptions and four lost fumbles. If Gardner plays well against the nation’s best defense, Michigan can win. If he turns the ball over, they have no chance.

3. Randy Gregory and Avery Moss, DE, Nebraska
Gregory is fourth on the team in tackles (31.0) and is leading the Huskers in tackles for a loss (7.5) and sacks (3.5). Moss, the freshman, is No. 2 on the team in sacks (2.5) and tackles for a loss (4.5). The Northwestern offense puts a lot of pressure on strong edge play and this defense needs to be more physical after the Gophers ran it right down Big Red's throat last weekend.  

4. Iowa’s linebackers
There is no secret to Wisconsin’s offensive attack, be it Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema or Gary Andersen calling plays. Melvin Gordon is a special player with rare size, power and explosiveness while James White is as steady as it gets with the ball in his hands. Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey are as good a trio at linebacker as there is in the nation. It falls to this group to hold the Badgers' power running game in check and force UW to use the pass to beat them.

5. Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner, QB, Minnesota
Nelson has returned to the starting lineup in strong fashion. He completed over 70 percent of his passes against Northwestern, scored three total touchdowns against Nebraksa and didn’t throw an interception in either game. But backup Leidner hasn’t been eliminated from the game plan, scoring his sixth rushing touchdown last week. He has attempted 18 passes and carried the ball 11 times in those two games and both will likely be needed to play well to earn a win on the road against a porous Indiana defense. 

Big Ten Week 10 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Michigan (+5.5) at Michigan StMich. St, 24-21Mich. St, 24-14Mich. St, 27-24Mich. St, 24-17
Northwestern (+7) at NebraskaNebraska, 38-31Nebraska, 34-21Nebraska, 34-31Nebraska, 35-28
Wisconsin (-9.5) at IowaWisconsin, 35-21 Wisconsin, 31-17Wisconsin, 31-20Wisconsin, 38-17
Minnesota (+9) at IndianaMinn., 34-31Indiana, 30-27Indiana, 38-34Minn., 31-24
Illinois (+10) at Penn StPenn St, 34-17Penn St, 21-20Penn St, 38-24Penn St, 41-28
Ohio St (-31.5) at PurdueOhio St, 51-13Ohio St, 51-10Ohio St, 52-10Ohio St, 52-10
Last Week:2-23-13-13-1
Year-to-date:57-1159-960-857-11

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-10-preview-and-predictions
Body:

All things have fallen into place for the powers that be in the Pac-12. Oregon and Stanford have reached the “rematch” — but that won’t take place until next Thursday. Both the Ducks and Cardinal, as well as Utah and Washington, will be on bye this weekend with extra time to prepare for whatever may await in Week 11.

With those four quality teams not playing this weekend, the Pac-12 slate isn’t the juiciest fans have seen this season. That said, Larry Scott and company did an excellent job spreading the games out this weekend for viewers. Fans get three straight nights of Pac-12 football.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 10 Game Power Rankings

1. USC (+5) at Oregon State (Fri., 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The Trojans continue to battle with less than 50 scholarship players and no permanent head coach. Interim leader Ed Orgeron used a tremendous defensive effort to top Utah at home last week, but his roster is on life support as injuries continue to ravage the depth chart. Oregon State is coming off its worst performance of the season after allowing eight sacks to Stanford and posting a season-low 288 yards of offense. USC’s starting 22, when healthy, is dramatically more talented than the Beavers' starters, but with a rash of injuries and little depth, Oregon State’s potent offensive attack will stretch the Trojans defense to the limit. Mike Riley has been a thorn in the Trojans’ side for years, winning three straight at home and four of the last five in Corvallis — even against the mighty Trojans of 2000, '06, '08 and '10.

2. Arizona State (-11.5) at Washington State (Thurs., 10:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Sun Devils have to be buoyed by UCLA’s two-game losing streak but will be on upset alert in Pullman this weekend. Arizona State now leads the Pac-12 South but has to prove it can win away from Tempe, something it hasn’t done yet this season (0-2). Todd Graham’s squad has won two straight by scoring at least 53 points in both games with over 1,100 yards of offense. Conversely, Washington State has lost two straight and has allowed 114 points in the process. Both teams had an extra weekend to prepare for the Thursday night tilt and there is plenty on the line for both. The Cougars need to split in their final four to make a bowl game and ASU has eyes on a division title. If the Sun Devils can disrupt the line of scrimmage like it did against Washington (7.0 sacks, 12.0 TFL), then they should return to the desert with The Evergreen State sweep.

3. Arizona (-16) at Cal (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Sonny Dykes era began with big offensive fireworks. The Bears topped 500 yards of offense in four of the first five games and scored at least 30 points in each of the first three. However, quarterback Jared Goff has struggled mightily of late, as the offense has failed to score more than 17 in four of the last five. Meanwhile, behind the dynamic backfield duo of B.J. Denker and Ka’Deem Carey, 'Zona has won two straight in the league and finds itself in a cloudy Pac-12 race. Carey is leading the nation in rushing (153.3 ypg) and Denker is leading all Pac-12 quarterbacks in the same category (74.1 ypg). Against the nation’s 123rd-rated defense (540.0 ypg), Rich Rodriguez’ spread should have a field day.

4. Colorado (+27) at UCLA (7:30 p.m., FS1)
The Bruins learned what the Washington Huskies had learned a few weeks earlier. Stanford and Oregon are really good. The difference between the two, however, is UW had to play on the road against Arizona State following its two losses while UCLA gets a home game against the Buffaloes. While the Buffs are improving under Mike MacIntrye, they aren’t capable of scoring with Brett Hundley — who is dealing with his own off-the-field issues. Jim Mora’s offense has been totally shut down the last two weeks, so look for the Bruins to stretch their legs this Saturday at home against Colorado.

Pac-12 Week 10 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk about Oregon's move in the BCS, Stanford's defense and the Pac-12 South race in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
 1. USC's secondary
Like every other position on the field, the Trojans' secondary is seriously talented. Josh Shaw, Su’a Cravens, Dion Bailey and Demetrius Wright are as gifted a starting group as there is in the nation. But they have dealt with nagging injuries and will be faced with stopping the nation’s No. 1 QB-WR duo in Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. On the road, this group will decide the Trojans' fate this weekend.

2. Oregon State’s offensive line
On the flip side, Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion needs to be resilient in the face of another quality Pac-12 defense and he needs to get some help from his front line. After getting battered around by Stanford to the tune of eight sacks, the Beavers' offensive line needs to prove it can give Mannion a pocket and time to throw. Getting a running game that has watched its rushing totals drop from 120 yards four weeks ago to 17 last weekend would certainly help.

3. Osahon Irabor, CB, Arizona State
The top coverman and playmaker in the Sun Devils secondary will be faced with slowing down the Mike Leach Air Raid offense this weekend. He is the team’s No. 4 tackler (28.0) and will be used in blitz packages from time to time. Defensively, this team hasn’t played well away from Tempe and it falls to Irabor and the rest of the secondary to bend but not break this weekend against Wazzu’s No. 6-rated passing attack.

4. Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State
When Halliday throws more touchdowns than interceptions, the Cougars are 3-0 in 2013. Unfortunately, the Washington State signal-caller has been too turnover-prone of late. He has seven INTs in his last two games and Arizona State is too good to beat if he continues to turn the ball over. This has upset alert written all over it but Halliday must protect the ball if Wazzu is gonna have any chance to win.

5. B.J. Denker, QB, Arizona
If the Wildcats quarterback plays the way he has the last three games, Arizona won’t have any issue rolling past lowly Cal. He has averaged 345.0 yards of total offense per game and has led the zone-read attack to two straight victories. With an outside shot at a Pac-12 South division title, Denker must avoid a letdown in Berkeley.

Pac-12 Week 10 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
USC (+5) at Oregon StOre. St, 27-20Ore. St, 27-17 Ore. St, 31-24Ore. St, 31-24
Arizona St (-11.5) at WazzuAriz. St, 41-34Ariz. St, 41-14 Ariz. St, 45-30Ariz. St, 42-24
Arizona (-16) at CalArizona, 38-24Arizona, 48-13Arizona, 45-24Arizona, 31-13
Colorado (+27) at UCLAUCLA, 42-17UCLA, 41-7UCLA, 48-17UCLA, 38-14
Last Week: 5-04-14-14-1
Year-to-date:58-1256-1460-1055-15

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:14
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-9-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

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

Week 9 didn't feature any dramatic shifts in the Heisman voting. And rightly so, as there was no true marquee performance. The top contenders held serve, the middle of the pack performed admirably and a one mid-major performer continues his statistical assault.

Post-Week 9 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon6312-1--
2.(2)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St51-121--
3.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M3811821
4.(4)Bryce PettyQBBaylor21--271
5.(6)AJ McCarronQBAlabama9--122
6.(7)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois7---23
7.(5)Sean MannionQBOregon St2----2
8t.(7)Brandin CooksWROregon St1----1
8t.(7)Melvin GordonRBWisconsin1----1
8t.(10)Bishop SankeyRBWashington1----1
8t.(ur)Mike EvansWRTexas A&M1----1

Heisman Headlines:

Holding Serve. Marcus Mariota led his offense to an impressive and crushing performance over No. 12 UCLA. Jameis Winston dominated an extremely overmatched NC State squad at home. Bryce Petty destroyed the most inferior opponent in the Big 12. And Johnny Manziel stayed in the pocket and showed off his arm against a reeling Vanderbilt defense. Frankly, Mariota — whose numbers were “worse” than the others — is the only player of the group who should get a bump for their Week 9 showing.

Slow and Steady. AJ McCarron is 33-2 as a starter, has two BCS title rings and is leading the clear-cut, unbeaten No. 1 team in the nation. Against arch rival Tennessee, he did what he has done his entire career: Lead an efficient and flawless offensive performance in a blowout win. He completed at least 70 percent of passes for the fourth time this year and finished with 275 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. He is the ninth-rated passer nationally and hasn’t thrown a pick in four games (3 on the season). He may not have a chance to win it, but he WILL make it to New York if Bama is unbeaten.

No Love For Lynch. Northern Illinois may not slip into a BCS bowl this season but regardless of where the Huskies land in the postseason, Jordan Lynch deserves Heisman credit. After setting an NCAA record for rushing yards in a game by a QB last week (316), all Lynch did in Week 9 was complete 16 of 20 passes for 223 yards and four touchdowns, rush 18 times for 99 yards and one score and catch one pass for 17 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Bye Week Blues. Oregon, Stanford, LSU, Alabama, Baylor and Oklahoma will face each other in two weekends. So all six of them are on bye. Guess what else? Louisville, BYU, Washington and sort of Texas A&M (UTEP at home) are all on bye this weekend as well.

Watch To Watch. Jameis Winston gets by far the biggest Heisman “test” this weekend as unbeaten Miami comes to town in a huge ACC and rivalry showdown. However, FSU is favored by more than three touchdowns, so it’s almost a no-win situation — barring a massive performance. Manziel gets UTEP at home (snoozer) and Lynch gets to visit UMass (booooring). Watch out for Melvin Gordon against a stingy Iowa defense on the road, though, as the Badgers back could make a big statement as the nation's best running back. The massively underrated Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona could also come up huge against a bad Cal team.

The Voting Panel:

NameOrganizationWebsiteNo. 1
Tom DienhartBig Ten NetworkBigTenNetwork.comMarcus Mariota
Bryan FischerPac-12 NetworkPac-12.comMarcus Mariota
David FoxAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Braden GallAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Steven GodfreySB NationSBNation.comMarcus Mariota
Chris HustonHeisman PunditHeismanPundit.comMarcus Mariota
Steven LassanAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Chris LevelRed Raider SportsRedRaiderSports.comMarcus Mariota
Mitch LightAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Billy LiucciTexAgsTexAgs.comJohnny Manziel
Dan RubensteinSB Nation/Solid VerbalSolidVerbal.comMarcus Mariota
Josh WardMr. SEC/WNMLMrSEC.comMarcus Mariota
Jim YoungACC Sports JournalACCSports.comMarcus Mariota

 

Teaser:
College Football: Post-Week 9 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-10
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The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 10.

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

Florida State will miss a field goal wide right — and cover the spread vs. Miami
The Canes and Noles have had some historic and important meetings in the past. Not many have come in the past decade but 2013 looks to change that as both teams enter this weekend’s test unbeaten and ranked in the top 10. However, the Seminoles are a huge 21.5-point favorite and will cover the spread with relative ease. But there is a chance that Roberto Aguayo will miss his first field goal of the season — to the right, of course.

FSU's Jameis Winston will have more yards in the 1st quarter than Miami has all game
Stephen Morris enjoyed a fantastic breakout season in 2012 for Miami. While he has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury, Morris isn’t close to the same player this fall. And he has struggled mightily of late, throwing four interceptions in a near defeat to North Carolina and just 191 yards in another near defeat to Wake Forest. FSU's Jameis Winston, however, has been Hall of Fame good in his first seven games. He is averaging 311.0 yards passing per game and is coming off a game in which the Noles outscored NC State 35-0 in the first quarter. As a three-touchdown favorite, Winston should post more yards in the first quarter than Miami will have all game.

Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn won’t shake hands
There is no long-standing feud between the two newly minted SEC West head coaches. However, there is little doubt that these two abrasive, hard-nosed coaches don’t get along. Bielema has been open about how much he hates the up-tempo style of teams like Auburn and there have been some rumors of doctored game film Auburn sent to the Hogs this week. (Auburn, in turn, complained that Arkansas didn’t send them any touchdowns. Because, you know, they’ve scored two TDs in their last three games). And considering how poorly Arkansas has played, there is a good chance Malzahn runs up the score this weekend. Don’t expect a cordial handshake at the end of the game. In fact, a Schwartz-Harbaugh incident wouldn’t be shocking.

Western Kentucky won’t be allowed to leave the Georgia Dome
Bobby Petrino unceremoniously left the Atlanta Falcons for the Arkansas job by leaving post-it notes in his players lockers as he bolted out the back door of the Georgia Dome. After winning big in Fayetteville and getting fired for an illicit affair, Petrino landed at Western Kentucky for the 2013 season. His team has lost two straight games as it heads into that very same Georgia Dome to face winless Georgia State. Don’t be surprised if the doors are locked with a little note from Falcons owner Arthur Blank telling him, “Not this time, BP.”

Florida's Kelvin Taylor will run for 150 yards in his first career start
In what could one of the lamest World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail parties in recent memory, five-star running back prospect Kelvin Taylor will make his first start for Florida. The son of Fred Taylor has been a prep star in the state of Florida for years and he finally scored his first career touchdown two weeks ago against Missouri. Against a Georgia defense that allowed 197 yards rushing to Clemson, 226 yards to South Carolina, 189 to Tennessee and 142 to Missouri, Taylor has a chance to play a pivotal roll. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry on the season and could easily be the Gators' top playmaker this weekend.

Bo Pelini will not be the head coach at Nebraska on Monday
Northwestern is 0-4 in the Big Ten this year and hasn’t shown signs of life whatsoever. However, the last time the Wildcats went to Lincoln it came away an upset winner 28-25 in 2011. After a horrendous loss to Minnesota on the road, Bo Pelini returns home with a month of must-win situations to keep his job at Nebraska. If Northwestern goes into Memorial Stadium and wins, Pelini could step down or be let go in a matter of hours not days. The embattled head coach cannot afford to lose more than one game the rest of the season.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 10
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:14
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
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There is a reason the Cleveland Browns have been to the playoffs one time since re-joining the NFL in 1999 and only twice since '89. And it’s the same reason any team wins or loses games in the modern NFL.

Quarterbacks.

The Browns lost their third consecutive game on Sunday, falling to 3-5 after briefing leading the AFC North a few weeks ago. Jason Campbell got his first career start for Cleveland, making him the third different starting quarterback in 2013 already.

Campbell got the start because both Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer have gotten injured this year. Which means, since 1999 Cleveland has started 20 different quarterbacks. Over that time the Browns have won 76 games, lost 156, posted two winning seasons and are now on their sixth head coach.

Three of those 20 quarterbacks were first-round picks and fans in America’s Comeback City should expect a fourth in May. The 2014 NFL quarterback class might be the deepest and most versatile group the league has seen in decades and the Browns own two first-round picks. Veteran pocket passers like AJ McCarron and Derek Carr fit the pro-style systems perfectly. Dynamic senior gunslingers like Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd have the ability to stay in the pocket but can also move around if needed. And explosive underclass dual-threats like Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Braxton Miller and Brett Hundley might actually be the most coveted of the bunch.

Regardless of who Cleveland wants, it makes no sense for the Browns not to go early on a QB in the draft — especially, in the modern rookie salary cap era. But Manziel might be the best fit. He has the attitude and makeup to succeed anywhere in the country, but it takes a special persona to win in a town like Cleveland. He is tough as nails, is the most entertaining player in the college game and would instantly help boost ticket sales. Sure, there are questions marks surrounding his ability to be an accurate NFL passer, but he definitely moves the needle in a big way. Which is something that has been missing under center in Cleveland since Bernie Kosar left town.

How badly do the Browns need a star quarterback? Take a look at who Cleveland has had throwing passes since 1999:

NameYearsW/LYardsTDINT%
Tim Couch*1999-0322-3711,131646759.8
Ty Detmer19990-25484251.6
Spergon Wynn20000-11670146.1
Doug Pederson20001-71,0472855.7
Kelly Holcomb2001-044-83,438262163.3
Luke McCown20040-46084749.0
Jeff Garcia20043-71,73110957.1
Trent Dilfer20054-72,321111259.8
Charlie Frye2005-076-133,490142362.5
Ken Dorsey2006-080-33700746.7
Derek Anderson2006-0916-187,083464552.9
Brady Quinn*2007-093-91,90210952.1
Bruce Gradkowski20080-1260333.3
Jake Delhomme20102-28722762.4
Seneca Wallace2010-111-61,2616457.2
Colt McCoy2010-126-154,388212058.3
Thaddeus Lewis2011-120-12041168.8
Brandon Weeden*2012-pres.5-144,539192356.2
Brian Hoyer2013-pres.3-06155359.4
Jason Campbell2013-pres.0-12992057.5

* - First-round pick

Some stats to consider:

• Brian Hoyer is the only starting Browns quarterback since 1999 with a winning record. He was 3-0 this year before getting hurt.

• In just 19 starts, Brandon Weeden is third amongst Browns quarterbacks with 4,539 yards, behind only Tim Couch and Derek Anderson during that span.

• Four players have only one career start for the Browns. Spergon Wynn, Bruce Gradkowski, Thaddeus Lewis and Jason Campbell. They have combined for three touchdowns and five interceptions. Campbell will get his second start on Sunday.

• Seven of the 20 QBs to start for Cleveland since 1999 failed to win a single game. Two others won only one game.

• Only four Cleveland quarterbacks have completed more than 60 percent of their passes (the league average is 61 percent): Kelly Holcomb, Thaddeus Lewis, Charlie Frye and Jake Delhomme.

• The Green Bay Packers have started three quarterbacks since 1992. Brett Favre (253 games started), Aaron Rodgers (85) and Matt Flynn (1).

Teaser:
Cleveland QB History Lesson: Why the Browns Will Draft Johnny Manziel
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 17:50
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
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The Chiefs continue to do things that no other team in NFL history has ever done. A wide receiver had one of the most dominant days in league history. Historic quarterbacks continue to shine (and win). Another signal-caller appears to be growing into championship form. All while one first-year coach is struggling to find someone to run his offense.

Here are the most important, interesting, historic and bizarre statistics from Week 8 of the NFL:

329: Calvin Johnson's receiving yards
Megatron is widely regarded as the most talented wide receiver in the game today. After watching him bring in a career-high 14 receptions for 329 yards in a thrilling comeback win over Dallas, it’s hard to make a case for anyone else. He fell just seven yards shy of topping the NFL single-game record set by Flipper Anderson in 1989 (336). He is now one of just five players who have ever topped 300 yards receiving in a single game. Anderson, Johnson and three other household names: Stephone Paige, 309, 1985; Jim Benton, 303, 1945; Cloyce Box, 302, 1950. Johnson had more receiving yards on Sunday than 16 other teams had total offense in Week 8. For the record, Charles Rogers, another wide receiver Detroit took with the second overall pick of the NFL Draft (2003), had 440 career receiving yards for the Lions in three seasons.

2-54: Record of NFL teams with a minus-4 turnover margin
It wasn’t just Johnson who set records in the Lions 31-30 victory over Dallas. The Lions turned the ball over four times without forcing a single turnover, becoming just the second team in NFL history to win a game with a minus-4 turnover margin. Fifty-five times an NFL team had posted a minus-4 turnover margin prior to Detroit’s win against the Cowboys. Only the "perfect" Patriots of 2007 were able to post a victory in that situation, beating the 1-14 Dolphins 28-7 two days before Christmas.

93: Terrelle Pryor's NFL-record longest TD run by a QB
On the first snap of the game, Pryor pulled the ball away from Darren McFadden on a zone-read and sprinted around the right end 93 yards for a record-setting touchdown run. It was the longest scoring scramble by a QB in NFL history. It topped Bo Jackson’s 92-yard run for the longest in Raiders history as well. More importantly, Oakland won the game 21-18 and have moved to 3-4 on the season — one game behind the wild card-leading and AFC West divisional foe San Diego. Pryor finished with 106 yards rushing on nine carries, giving him his second 100-yard rushing effort on the season. According to Elias, he is just the fourth QB since 1970 to have multiple 100-yard rushing games in the same season (Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Bobby Douglass).

60%: 8-0 teams that make it to the Super Bowl
The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Cleveland Browns 23-17 to move to 8-0 on the season. Andy Reid’s bunch became the 20th team during the Super Bowl era to start with eight straight wins and the first after having the worst record in the league the year before. All 20 of those teams made the playoffs and 12 of the 20 (60 percent) made it to the Super Bowl. Eight of those 12 went on to win the Lombardi Trophy. The Chiefs became just the fourth team since 1970 to allow 17 points or fewer in each of the first eight games and quarterback Alex Smith became the first QB over that span to win his first eight games to start a season with a new team.

343: Career TD passes thrown by Drew Brees and Tom Brady
The Saints quarterback threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns in a convincing 35-17 win over Buffalo at home this weekend. It was an NFL-record eighth game for Brees with at least five touchdown passes. The Patriots quarterback threw for just 116 yards and one score but New England also won a key divisional game 27-17 over Miami after outscoring the Dolphins 24-0 in the second half. Both quarterbacks now have 343 career passing touchdowns, as both passed Fran Tarkenton (342) for fourth all-time in NFL history. Brees turns 35 in January and Brady just turned 36 in August, so this will be an interesting battle to track over the next few seasons. Each is 77 away from third all-time (Dan Marino, 420).

344.7: Andy Dalton average yards passing over his last three games
After the first five games of the season, the Bengals were 3-2 and Dalton was averaging just 243 yards passing per game with five TDs and five INTs. Over his last three games, however, Dalton has looked like a championship quarterback. He threw for 325 yards and five scores in the dismantling of the Jets on Sunday, giving Cincy a four-game winning streak and a commanding 2.5-game lead in the AFC North. The Bengals quarterback has topped 300 yards in three straight games, is averaging more than 100 yards per game (344.7) and has thrown 11 touchdowns against only two interceptions during that span. The last three games were just Dalton’s sixth, seventh and eighth 300-yard games of his career.

141.4: Packers' yards rushing per game
The Packers have dealt with major injuries in their receiving corps as Aaron Rodgers is without Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley for the time being. Mike McCarthy has turned to, of all things, the power running game to save the day. The Packers ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns in the breezy win over the Vikings on Sunday night. Green Bay is now fourth in the NFL at 141.4 yards rushing per game. It is by far the most productive a running game as Rodgers has had in his career. The Packers have never been ranked better than 14th in the NFL in rushing or averaged more than 117.8 yards per game during Rodgers six seasons as the starter. To the right is a look at the Packers' rushing attack with Rodgers under center.

109: Cordarrelle Patterson’s record-tying longest play in NFL history
The explosive rookie wide receiver for the Vikings took the opening kickoff against the Packers 109 yards for a touchdown Sunday night. It tied for the longest play in NFL history and they both happened in the Metrodome, which will be torn down following this season. As a member of the Chargers, Antonio Cromartie returned a missed Vikings field goal 109 yards for a touchdown in 2007. The 109-yarder topped 108-yard returns by Jacoby Jones (2012) and Randall Cobb (2011) as the longest kickoff return in NFL history.

239: Eagles' yards per game of total offense over the last two
Through six games, Chip Kelly’s offense was setting NFL records for offensive production in terms of yards. The Eagles were 3-3 and were posting 451.7 yards per game on offense. After totaling just 200 yards of offense, Phily lost to a Giants team that didn’t score a touchdown and was 0-6 not six days ago. It totaled just 278 in last week’s loss to the Cowboys at home. That’s 10 total points, 478 total yards and two home NFC East divisional losses. Kelly’s quarterback issues are obvious as his three options have combined for five interceptions and no touchdown passes in the last two games.

Teaser:
Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 8
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 07:15
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Ohio State and Minnesota stole the show again this week in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes need to win out and do so in convincing fashion — and likely get some help — to get into the BCS title game and a 49-point win over Penn State was just that for Urban Meyer.
Meanwhile, the Gophers won a second straight game as a double-digit underdog in the division as they toppled Nebraska in impressive fashion at home. This team is clearly rallying around head coach Jerry Kill and their two wins have opened up the Legends Division in short order.

More Post-Week 9 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (8-0, 4-0): Urban Meyer knows he needs to win big the rest of the season and get some help to make it to the national title game. Style points mean more for the Buckeyes than anyone else in the nation, so the 49-point win over Penn State was an important one. The Bucks jumped out to a big lead over the Nittany Lions and never looked back. Braxton Miller threw for 261 yards, rushed for 68 more and accounted for five total touchdowns. Next Week: at Purdue 
2.
 
(3)Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1): Wisconsin bounced back from a loss to Ohio State in impressive fashion over Northwestern and Illinois. But the final month won't be easy for the Badgers with two road trips to rivals Iowa and Minnesota as well as home games with BYU, Penn State and Indiana. There is a wide range of outcomes in Madison. Next Week: at Iowa 
3.
 
 
 
(5)Michigan State (7-1, 4-0): The Spartans trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter before scoring two touchdowns in each of the next three quarters. The defense did the rest by shutting down Illinois' offense. Connor Cook was fantastic, completing 15-of-16 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns while the rushing attack posted 269 yards on the ground. Sparty had 14 third-down conversions and 29 first downs to Illinois' three conversions and eight total first downs. The nation's No. 1 defense only improved its resume this weekend. With Nebraska losing, Mark Dantonio's bunch has taken over as the frontrunner in the Legends Division ... with Michigan coming to town. Next Week: Michigan 
4.
 
(4)Michigan (6-1, 2-1): Two weeks to prepare for a visit from in-state little brother Michigan State and the nation's top defense is a huge blessing. In fact, the next two games for the Wolverines will decide their fate in the Legends Division. Nebraska comes to town in Week 11. Next Week: at Michigan State 
5.
 
 
(2)Nebraska (5-2, 2-1): The Huskers should have carried a lot confidence into a road meeting with Minnesota. Taylor Martinez returned to the lineup, Nebraska hadn't lost to the Gophers in more than five decades and it was the clear frontrunner in the Legends Division. But Bo Pelini's defensive woes reared their ugly head once again as Minnesota pounded the Huskers defense for nearly 300 yards rushing. The offense got going in the second half but it was never enough to threaten. A home game with the Wildcats next week becomes a must-win. Next Week: Northwestern 
6.
 
(7)Minnesota (6-2, 2-2): For the second consecutive weekend, the Golden Gophers rallied to win as a double-digit underdog without their head coach on the sidelines. Acting coach Terry Claeys moved to 2-0 after dominating the Nebraska defense with 271 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries. It was the first win over the Huskers for Minnesota since 1960 and the victory makes the Gophers bowl eligible for the second straight season. More important, two straight wins over divisional contenders has vaulted Goldie into Legends Division contention. Next Week: at Indiana 
7.
 
(6)

Penn State (4-3, 1-2): Bill O'Brien was fighting an uphill battle by heading into the Horseshoe this weekend but he likely didn't see a 63-spot coming. His star freshman quarterback has serious long-term upside, but Christian Hackenberg looked like a first-year player making his first start in Columbus as he threw two interceptions. Ohio State jumped all over the Lions early and never really gave PSU a chance to compete. It marks the first time in school history that Penn State has allowed 40 points in three straight games. Next Week: Illinois

 
8.
 
 
 
(10)Iowa (5-3, 2-2): It wasn't pretty, but Kirk Ferentz squad moved to within one win of the postseason when Jake Rudock connected with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz in overtime. The Hawkeyes, much like Northwestern, had plenty of chances to win the game in regulation late but could never finish a drive with points. Iowa won with 19 first downs, went 6-of-14 on third downs and totaled just 305 yards of offense. Ferentz's team will have to be better than that to defeat the Badgers next weekend. Next Week: Wisconsin 
9.
 
(9)Indiana (3-4, 1-2): Kevin Wilson needs three wins in the final five games to reach the postseason. With road trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State still looming, the Hoosiers must win all three home contests. It starts with two in a row against beatable opponents — Minnesota for Homecoming this week and Illinois the following Sautday.  Next Week: Minnesota 
10.
 
(8)Northwestern (4-4, 0-4): Kain Colter returned to the starting lineup, but it made no difference to Pat Fitzgerald's bunch as Northwestern dropped its fourth straight Big Ten game. The Cats had chances to win the game in regulation but couldn't make critical plays in the final quarter. Colter played well in his return but could muster only two scoring drives all afternoon. The Wildcats are in a complete free fall and have Nebraska, MIchigan and Michigan State next on the slate.  Next Week: at Nebraska 
11.
 
 
(11)Illinois (3-4, 0-3): The Illini lost its 17th consecutive Big Ten game at home in ugly fashion this Saturday. Michigan State walked into Memorial Stadium and abused Illinois in all three phases of the game. Nathan Scheelhaase and the offense totaled 128 yards, eight first downs and three points while the defense couldn't stop a balanced Spartans' attack. Things are starting to slip away for head coach Tim Beckman. Next Week: at Penn State 
12.
 
(12)Purdue (1-6, 0-3): One look at the Boilermakers schedule and it's easy to see why they have one win. Unfortnately, there aren't many chances left for Ws: Ohio State, Iowa, at Penn State, Illinois and at Indiana. Two wins would be impressive (but not unreasonable) in that bunch. Next Week: Ohio State 

Big Ten Week 9 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Urban Meyer needs style points, and his star quarterback delivered in a big way. Against Penn State, Miller was efficient, completing 18-of-24 passes for a personal-best 252 yards and three touchdowns passes while rushing for 68 yards on 11 carries and two more touchdowns. He led his offense to season highs in points (63) and total yards (686) while posting the best passing game of his career.

Defensive Player of Week: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Facing the Nebraska rushing attack, Hageman was going to play a huge role in the outcome no matter how he played. But he had one of his best games of the season, disrupting the line of scrimmage and playing in the Huskers backfield all game long. He finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss and his second sack of the season. Hageman and the Gophers held Nebraska to its second-lowest rushing output of the season and its lowest total yardage output of the year (328 yards).

Team of Week: Minnesota
For the second straight week the Gophers are the team of the week in the Big Ten after pulling an upset as a double-digit underdog. This time it netted the Gophers its first win over old-time rival Nebraska since 1960 — giving the school its second straight win over a division contender. Not only had the Gophers lost 16 straight against Nebraska but it hadn't had a lead over Nebraska since 1969.

Coach of Week: Matt Limegrover, Minnesota
Acting head coach Tracy Claeys did another fantastic defensive job on a high-powered divisional foe but Limegrover's offensive gameplan was the biggest difference maker in Week 9. Minnesota ran the ball 54 times and threw just 17 passes and outgunned the Huskers by more than 100 yards (430-328). Limegrover didn't ask Philip Nelson to make many plays with his arm but put him in good positions all while pounding the rock for five yards per carry. Minnesota simply took the action to the Huskers' defense and the Blackshirts couldn't handle it.

Freshman of the Week: Tyvis Powell, DB, Ohio State
With Christian Bryant out for the season, Urban Meyer will need some younger players to step into the secondary and provide support. The 6-foot-3 Powell is one of those players. He posted seven tackles in the blowout win over Penn State at home. The Buckeyes defense allowed 357 yards of offense and forced three turnovers as the secondary forced bad decisions from Christian Hackenberg all night.

Fifth Down

• Minnesota took the lead against Nebraska for the first time since 1969 when it went up 14-10 with three minutes to go in the second quarter. The Gophers never trailed the rest of the way. Minnesota has created five total turnovers without giving it up once over the last two games against Northwestern and Nebraska combined.

• For the third straight week, Penn State allowed more than 40 points in a game, the first time it's happened since the turn of the century — the 20th century.

• The Spartans scored 42 points in the road win over Illinois. Michigan State is averaging 31 points per game in Big Ten play this year. Connor Cook completed 15 of his 16 passes.

• Iowa's James Morris and Anthony Hitchens combined for 17 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
• Minnesota's David Cobb carried a 31 times for 138 yards, both career highs, in the Gophers win over Nebraska. He had 11 career carries entering 2013.

• Ohio State won its national-best 20th consecutive game.

• Northwestern lost to Iowa in overtime 17-10. It was the Wildcats fourth consecutive Big Ten loss in four 2013 Big Ten games.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 07:18
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Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

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

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

23-1: Bob Stoops' record in first meetings with a coach in Big 12 games since 2000
The Red Raiders handed the game over to the Sooners on Saturday in Norman by turning the ball over three times in critical spots. At home, veteran coach Bob Stoops and his team capitalized on Texas Tech's mistakes by outscoring Kliff Kingsbury's team 17-7 over the final 16 minutes. It was Kingsbury's first loss as a head coach and Stoops' 23rd victory in his first meeting with a coach in a Big 12 game during his tenure at Oklahoma. He won his first Big 12 meeting with Art Briles, Bill Snyder, Gary Pinkel, Mike Gundy, Gary Patterson, Mike Leach, Tommy Tuberville and now Kliff Kingsbury (among many others).

1: Teams that have outscored every opponent by at least 15 points
Missouri and Oregon entered the weekend as two of the 10 remaining unbeatens in college football. They were the only two teams in the nation who had yet to play a "close" game because they were the only two teams to have defeated every opponent by at least 15 points. Mizzou collapsed against South Carolina in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Gamecocks gave the Tigers their first loss of the season. Meanwhile, the Ducks scored 28 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes of play to crush UCLA 42-14. Oregon is now of the only team left in college football to have defeated every team its played by more than two touchdowns.

5: Scoring drives led by Connor Shaw in the fourth quarter and OT
The Gamecocks touched the ball five times in the fourth quarter and overtime against Missouri and scored on all five possessions after whiffing on their first 10 drives. Connor Shaw led five scoring drives by completing 17-of-25 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the final period and extra time. He didn't turn the ball over, ran three times for 23 yards and was battling a less-than-perfect left knee. The Gamecocks need to win their final two SEC games against Mississippi State and Florida at home and get one loss from Mizzou to make just their second trip to Atlanta as SEC East champs.

1960: Last time Minnesota defeated Nebraska before this past Saturday
The Golden Gophers and Cornhuskers have actually been longtime rivals. The two programs have played 53 times overall with Nebraska dominating the series for more than 50 years. Prior to Saturday's meeting in Minneapolis, the Gophers hadn't beaten the Huskers since 1960 — a streak of 16 consecutive losses. In fact, the Big Red had dominated the series so much that Minnesota hadn't even had a lead in the series since 1969. It was the first Big Ten loss of the season for Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers. Speaking of... 

7: Ranked Bo Pelini teams who have lost to unranked opponents
A ranked Nebraska team has lost to an unranked foe in each of the last five seasons under Pelini and seven times overall. The final month of the season — Northwestern, at Michigan, Michigan State, at Penn State, Iowa — will determine his fate as the Nebraska head coach.

 Ranked Nebraska losses to unranked teams
Oct. 26, 2013Minnesota def. No. 25 Nebraska 34-23
Dec. 1, 2012Wisconsin def. No. 14 Nebraska 70-31 (Big Ten Championship Game)
Sept. 8, 2012UCLA def. No. 16 Nebraska 35-30
Nov. 5, 2011Northwestern def. No. 9 Nebraska 28-25
Dec. 30, 2010Washington def. No. 17 Nebraska 19-7 (Holiday Bowl)
Oct. 7, 2010Texas def. No. 5 Nebraska 20-13
Oct. 17, 2009Texas Tech def. No. 15 Nebraska 31-10


6: Cities in which Duke has defeated Virginia Tech
The 13-10 road win for Duke over the Hokies features a plethora of interesting stats. It was the first road win over a ranked opponent for Duke in 42 years. The Blue Devils sixth win makes Duke bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The two starting quarterbacks, Anthony Boone and Logan Thomas, combined for eight interceptions and zero passing touchdowns. In fact, Duke didn't complete a pass in the second half and was 0-11 on third downs for the game. Lastly, it was Duke's first ever win in Blacksburg, giving the Blue Devils a win over the Hokies in six different cities. Duke has beaten Tech in Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Norfolk, Roanoke and, now, Blacksburg.


3,173: Jordan Matthews' SEC-record receiving yards
Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel crushed Vanderbilt 56-24, but Vanderbilt star wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught eight passes for 92 yards. He passed Georgia's Terrence Edwards' 3,093 yards (1999-02) for No. 1 all-time in SEC history. Matthews is one of just four players to top 3,000 yards receiving (Alshon Jeffery, Josh Reed). He has 216 career receptions, trailing only fellow Commodore Earl Bennett's all-time SEC record of 236 receptions. If Vandy doesn't make a bowl game, Matthews needs to average just under eight receptions per game to pass Bennett. Only six players in SEC history have ever caught more than 200 passes (Craig Yeast, Kenny McKinley, Edwards, Keith Edwards). Finally, Matthews has 22 career touchdown receptions — 11 behind the SEC's all-time record of 31 set by Florida's Chris Doering.


28: Quarters Houston has scored a point in 2013
Houston is 6-1 after an impressive 49-14 road win over Rutgers. They have played 28 quarters of football and have scored in every frame of the season. Houston needed a safety against BYU in the third quarter to keep the streak alive in Week 8, the lowest total of any quarter this season for the Cougs. Houston is still perfect in the American Athletic Conference and control its own destiny with games against Louisville and UCF looming in coming weeks.


455: Octavius McKoy NCAA all-division single-game rushing record
TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson owns the FBS single-game rushing record when he rolled up 406 yards against UTEP in 1999. But Marietta College's Dante Brown actually owns the all-division mark with 441 yards in 1996. That record has fallen as Western Connecticut's tailback Octavius McKoy rushed for 455 yards on 43 carries to an all-division NCAA single-game record. Western Connecticut is a Division III program.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 9
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-9-recap-and-awards
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Stanford and Oregon handled their business in impressive fashion against Oregon State and UCLA, respectively. The Ducks blew past UCLA with a high-powered offense and better-than-advertised defense while the Cardinal used a typically physical defensive approach to outlast and ground the Beavers normally explosive offensive approach.

The two wins set up one of the most important matchups of the season in two weeks. Both teams will get an off weekend before the primetime Thursday night showdown in Palo Alto, and the outcome could determine half of the BCS championship game.

Here are your Week 9 Pac-12 superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
After a monster performance against UCLA at home, Gaffney backed it up with another stellar showing against a team that had yet to lose in Pac-12 play. On the road against Oregon State, Gaffney carried 22 times for 145 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He accounted for all of Stanford's scoring in Corvallis and is now third in the Pac-12 in rushing (894 yards, 111.8 ypg). His 12 touchdowns are tied for the lead in the conference.

Defensive Player of the Week: Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford
Murphy, much like the rest of the Cardinal defense, was all over the field against Oregon State. Murphy posted eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against the nation's leading passer. He leads the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss after back-to-back stellar showings against UCLA and Oregon State. The Cardinal's defensive performance — holding the Beavers to a season-low 288 yards — on the road was a championship-style performance. 

Team of the Week: Oregon
Just like it did against Washington, Oregon played a relatively tight game against UCLA for the better part of three quarters. And just like it did against the Huskies, the Ducks put their foot on the gas pedal for the final quarter and pulled away from a ranked team in impressive fashion. Oregon scored 28 unanswered points to make a 14-14 game a blowout. Oregon has scored at least 42 points in every game and produced another 555 yards of total offense. The win for the Ducks and Stanford's subsequent victory over Oregon State has set up the Thursday night battle in Palo Alto between the last two Pac-12 champs.

Coordinator of the Week: Derek Mason, Stanford
After dominating at home last week against UCLA by holding the Bruins to a season-low in yards and points, Mason's bunch was at it again. Against yet another elite offensive attack, this time on the road, Stanford dominated the Oregon State front line. The Cardinal registered eight sacks against the nation's leading passer in Sean Mannion and held the nation's most productive wide receiver to a season-low 90 yards. The Cardinal defense appears to be well past its early season "slump" and has produced two of the most impressive showings in the nation the last two weekends.

Freshman of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
Arizona moved to within a game of bowl eligibility and got its second conference win with a victory over Colorado on the road. Wright posted nine total tackles and helped the Wildcats hold the Buffs to just 349 yards of offense and only 3.3 yards per carry. He is Arizona's leading tackler and is third among Pac-12 freshmen in tackles for the season.

Fifth Down

• Washington's Bishop Sankey got back on track against Cal by rushing for a career-high 241 yards on 27 carries for a sturdy 8.9 yards per carry.

• Arizona's B.J. Denker and Ka'Deem Carey combined for 311 yards and four touchdowns on the ground against Colorado. Carey scored all four touchdowns, and Denker averaged 12.8 yards per carry (192 yards).

With less than 50 scholarship players, USC defeated Utah 19-3. The Trojans allowed 201 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers.

• Byron Marshall rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon in the win over UCLA. He also caught a pass for 23 yards.

• Sean Mannion was averaging more than 400 yards passing per game. He attempted 57 passes in the loss to Stanford and managed just 271 yards for a 4.8-yard per attempt average.

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 11:42
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Body:

Ohio State and Minnesota stole the show again this week in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes need to win out in convincing fashion — and get some help from Florida State, Oregon and Alabama — to get into the BCS title game. A 49-point win over Penn State is a start for Urban Meyer.

Meanwhile, the Gophers won a second straight game as a double-digit underdog in the division as they toppled Nebraska in impressive fashion at home to open up the Legends Division in short order.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 9 Superlatives:

Offensive Players of the Week: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Urban Meyer needs style points, and his star quarterback delivered in a big way. Against Penn State, Miller was efficient, completing 18-of-24 passes for a personal-best 252 yards and three touchdowns passes while rushing for 68 yards on 11 carries and two more touchdowns. He led his offense to season highs in points (63) and total yards (686) while posting the best passing game of his career.

Defensive Player of Week: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Facing the Nebraska rushing attack, Hageman was going to play a huge role in the outcome no matter how he played. But he had one of his best games of the season, disrupting the line of scrimmage and playing in the Huskers backfield all game long. He finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss and his second sack of the season. Hageman and the Gophers held Nebraska to its second-lowest rushing output of the season and its lowest total yardage output of the year (328 yards).

Team of Week: Minnesota
For the second straight week the Gophers are the team of the week in the Big Ten after pulling an upset as a double-digit underdog. This time it netted the Gophers its first win over old-time rival Nebraska since 1960 — giving the school its second straight win over a division contender. Not only had the Gophers lost 16 straight against Nebraska but it hadn't had a lead over Nebraska since 1969.

Coach of Week: Matt Limegrover, Minnesota
Acting head coach Tracy Claeys did another fantastic defensive job on a high-powered divisional foe but Limegrover's offensive gameplan was the biggest difference maker in Week 9. Minnesota ran the ball 54 times and threw just 17 passes and outgunned the Huskers by more than 100 yards (430-328). Limegrover didn't ask Philip Nelson to make many plays with his arm but put him in good positions all while pounding the rock for five yards per carry. Minnesota simply took the action to the Huskers' defense and the Blackshirts couldn't handle it.

Freshman of the Week: Tyvis Powell, DB, Ohio State
With Christian Bryant out for the season, Urban Meyer will need some younger players to step into the secondary and provide support. The 6-foot-3 Powell is one of those players. He posted seven tackles in the blowout win over Penn State at home. The Buckeyes defense allowed 357 yards of offense and forced three turnovers as the secondary forced bad decisions from Christian Hackenberg all night.

Fifth Down

• Minnesota took the lead against Nebraska for the first time since 1969 when it went up 14-10 with three minutes to go in the second quarter. The Gophers never trailed the rest of the way. Minnesota has created five total turnovers without giving it up once over the last two games against Northwestern and Nebraska combined.

• For the third straight week, Penn State allowed more than 40 points in a game, the first time it's happened since the turn of the century — the 20th century.

• The Spartans scored 42 points in the road win over Illinois. Michigan State is averaging 31 points per game in Big Ten play this year. Connor Cook completed 15 of his 16 passes.

• Iowa's James Morris and Anthony Hitchens combined for 17 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

• Minnesota's David Cobb carried a 31 times for 138 yards, both career highs, in the Gophers win over Nebraska. He had 11 career carries entering 2013.

• Ohio State won its national-best 20th consecutive game.

• Northwestern lost to Iowa in overtime 17-10. It was the Wildcats fourth consecutive Big Ten loss in four 2013 Big Ten games.

Teaser:
Big Ten Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-9-picks
Body:

Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. Last week, I played my hand at the big game and missed in a big way — by taking Clemson. So, as you will see below, I haven't learned my lesson. (Is there such a thing as Rebound Alert?) I was all over two of the big SEC upsets, however, as I advised taking both Auburn and Vanderbilt. My 3-3 week kept me six games above .500 for the season, and therefore, am still making money (if I gambled).

This week, I am going after five road teams — three favorites and two dogs. Enjoy...

2013 Record Against the Spread: 25-19-1 (3-3 last week)

Week 9 Picks of the Week:

Clemson (-14) at Maryland
Three weeks ago the Terrapins were unbeaten and ranked in the top 25. After a 63-0 drubbing by Florida State, a one-point win over Virginia and a 24-point defeat at the hands of Wake Forest, Maryland has fallen apart. Quarterback C.J. Brown is banged up and both of his star wideouts — Stefon Diggs and Deon Long — are out for the season. Clemson, meanwhile, should be extremely upset about how it played last weekend against the Seminoles. Tajh Boyd wins big. Prediction: Clemson -14

Utah (+7) at USC
Depth is starting to hurt the Trojans in a big way on both sides of the ball and across all positions. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was injured last weekend but is back in the lineup for this road trip to L.A. Southern Cal is 2-5 against the spread and still has a glorified defensive line coach in Ed Orgeron leading the way on the sidelines. I’ll take the road dog to cover — and possibly win outright. Predictions: Utah +7

Baylor (-34.5) at Kansas
Normally, any number over 30 is dangerous and should be avoided, but Baylor is a different story. The Bears are averaging over 700 yards of offense and Kansas threw the ball for 16 yards last week against Oklahoma. Baylor has reached 70 points in four games this year and 69 in another, so the odds of the lowly Jayhawks stopping this offense in any way would be shocking. The Bears are 5-1 against the spread in 2013. Prediction: Baylor -34.5

Fresno State (-8) at San Diego State
The Bulldogs haven’t scored less than 38 points all season long while the Aztecs have topped 30 points this year only once (Nevada). San Diego State also needed big late comebacks to beat New Mexico State and Air Force — who are a combined 1-13 this year. Fresno knows this win likely clinches the Mountain West Conference's West Division and will be focused. SDSU is 99th nationally in scoring defense and has little chance to stop Derek Carr and company. Prediction: Fresno State -8

Texas (+2.5) at TCU
The Horned Frogs haven’t topped 380 yards of offense in four straight weeks and haven’t scored more than 27 points in any of their last three. Meanwhile, Texas is playing its best ball of the season on both sides, having won three straight by scoring at least 31 points in each game. More importantly, new coordinator Greg Robinson and his defense have had two weeks to prepare for TCU’s reeling offense after playing their best game of the year against Oklahoma. TCU is 2-5 against the spread this year. Prediction: Texas +2.5

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
Tennessee (+28) at No. 1 Alabama
NC State (+32) at No. 2 Florida St
No. 12 UCLA (-22.5) at No. 3 Oregon
Penn St (+14.5) at No. 4 Ohio St 
No. 21 South Carolina (+3) at No. 5 Mizzou
No. 6 Stanford (-4.5) at No. 25 Oregon St
Wake Forest (+23.5) at No. 7 Miami
No. 8 Baylor (-34.5) at Kansas
No. 9 Clemson (-14) at Maryland
No. 10 Texas Tech (+7) at No. 15 Oklahoma
FAU (+24) at No. 11 Auburn
Duke (+13.5) at No. 14 Virginia Tech
Vanderbilt (+17) at No. 16 Texas A&M
No. 17 Fresno St (-8.5) at San Diego St
E. Michigan (+30) at N. Illinois
No. 19 Oklahoma St (-12.5) at Iowa St
No. 20 Louisville (-20) at USF
UConn (+22.5) at No. 23 UCF
No. 24 Nebraska (-10.5) at Minnesota
Last Week:7-128-119-106-13
Year-To-Date:64-64-361-67-359-69-368-60-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 9 Picks
Post date: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/top-college-football-player-matchups-watch-week-9
Body:

Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the best one-on-one matchups to watch in college football. Here are the most important games within the game to watch this weekend:

Ed Reynolds, S vs. Brandin Cooks, WR (Stanford vs. Oregon State)
“Wow” is all Stanford coach David Shaw had to say about Cooks’ play this season. The Beavers wide receiver has been uncoverable all season and is leading the nation in receptions (76), yards (1,176) and touchdowns (12). He has a comfort level with quarterback Sean Mannion and will be called upon to play his best this weekend against a front seven that will likely shutdown the Oregon State rushing attack. It falls to All-American safety Ed Reynolds to play physical but disciplined football on the backend of the Cardinal defense.

Allen Robinson, WR vs. Bradley Roby, CB (Penn State at Ohio State)
Robinson is the best wideout in the Big Ten and Roby might be the best coverman in the nation. So a head-to-head duel should be a sight to see for 60 minutes in the Horseshoe on Saturday night. Robinson is leading the Big Ten in receptions per game (7.2) and is 10th nationally in yards per game (117.5). Roby will be tasked with guarding A-Rob all game long and fans can bets NFL scouts will be watching.

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Anthony Barr/Myles Jack vs. Marcus Mariota/De’Anthony Thomas (UCLA at Oregon)
UCLA’s linebackers are extremely talented and versatile. Jack, a freshman, has starred in open space and in pass coverage while Barr is an elite pass-rusher and disruptive force.  Thomas returns to the field after missing the last four games and will be tested by Jack’s raw athletic ability. Meanwhile, Mariota and Oregon’s zone-read will be focused on No. 11 in blue all game long. Sit back and enjoy.

Victor Hampton, CB vs. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR (South Carolina vs. Missouri)
Missouri’s outstanding crop of big, physical and athletic receivers has been instrumental in the Tigers’ 7-0 start. This week, Green-Beckham (and L’Damian Washington) will face a South Carolina secondary that has held four of six opponents under 200 yards passing but gave up 300-plus to both Georgia and UCF. Hampton is the most physically talented of the group and gets matched up with the opposing team’s best pass-catcher usually. He is leading Carolina in interceptions and will be guarding either Green-Beckham or Washington all game long.

Jace Amaro, TE vs. Gabe Lynn, DB (Texas Tech at Oklahoma)
Amaro is enough of a matchup problem that it’s going to take a handful of Oklahoma defenders to limit his catches, something only a first-half suspension against SMU has done this season. Some of the focus will be on Lynn, a hard-hitting safety, but expect outside linebacker Dominique Alexander, safety Quentin Hayes and nickel back Julian Wilson to all play roles in trying to handle the 6-5, 260-pound junior.

Jay Ajayi, RB vs. Kyle Van Noy, LB (Boise State at BYU)
The Broncos' back is quietly having one of the best seasons in the nation at his position. He is third nationally with 12 total touchdowns and is coming off a career-high 222 yards against Nevada. Van Noy is a well-known commodity for his disruptive and big-play ability. He is second on the Cougars with 43 tackles, is 10th nationally with 10.5 tackles for a loss and has 4.0 sacks on the year. This should be a good matchup.

Jeremy Langford, RB vs. Jonathan Brown, LB (Michigan State at Illinois)
The Spartans tailback is seventh in the Big Ten in rushing at 78.7 yards per game, but has quickly developed into one of the league’s best backs. He has back-to-back 100-yard games against Indiana and Purdue with four total touchdowns in the two wins. Jonathan Brown is leading the Big Ten in tackling (11.0 pg) and is seventh nationally. He and Langford will go head-to-head all game long.

Teaser:
Top College Football Player Matchups to Watch in Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:25
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The coaching, level of athlete, commitment from athletic departments and, frankly, Larry Scott, have turned the Pac-12 into must-see TV every weekend and Week 9 is no different.

In fact, the two most important games in college football will likely take place in the Pac-12. And the North Division to be exact.

Arizona State and Washington State are on bye this weekend.

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 9 Game Power Rankings

1. UCLA (+22.5) at Oregon (8 pm. ET, ESPN)
The Bruins are trying to avoid finding out what Washington has just learned the hard way — that Stanford and Oregon are really, really good. The Bruins posted their worst offensive output of the season by a wide margin with just 266 yards and 10 points in the physical loss to the Cardinal last weekend. What was worse was the season-high 419 yards allowed by the UCLA defense. This unit now has to face the best offense in college football, one that is averaging 643.1 yards per game, 8.3 yards per play and 57.6 points per game. If stopping the Heisman Trophy frontrunner isn’t already enough, Oregon is welcoming back all-purpose dynamo De’Anthony Thomas, who has missed the last three games with an ankle issue. A loss could send the Bruins from unbeaten top-10 team to second place in the Pac-12 South in just two weeks, so the stakes are painfully obvious for Jim Mora.

2. Stanford (-4.5) at Oregon State (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
Oregon and Stanford still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 (and maybe more) but so does Oregon State after winning six straight games (4-0 Pac-12) since a bizarre opening weekend loss to Eastern Washington. Hosting the Cardinal will be the toughest test to date for Mike Riley’s bunch, however, after Stanford posted its most complete game of the year by shutting down UCLA’s star quarterback Brett Hundley. Shayne Skov and company now set their sights on another record-setting quarterback in Sean Mannion. The Beavers starter threw only one pass in the emotional 27-23 loss to Stanford in Palo Alto last year and will look to find Brandin Cooks, the nation’s leading receiver, early and often on Saturday. The ability to get pressure on Mannion and limit the big plays from Cooks will be paramount for David Shaw’s team. On defense, Oregon State should expect a similar game plan for the second straight week from Stanford — a smash-mouth, ground and pound approach that netted Tyler Gaffney his best game of the year (171 yards, 2 TD). It’s just the second home game since Sept. 7 for the Beavers, so the crowd at Reser Stadium should play a factor.

3. Utah (+7) at USC (4 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
These new Pac-12 South rivals have met just seven times total with USC winning all but one meeting — the Utes’ Las Vegas Bowl victory in 2001. As divisional foes, the Trojans have won both contests over the last two years by at least two scores. Both offenses are coming off brutal performances in painful defeats last week as USC totaled 10 points and 330 yards of offense against Notre Dame while Utah posted its lowest yardage output of the year (329) against Arizona. Utah’s developing star quarterback Travis Wilson injured his throwing hand in the loss but has vowed to be on the field for this critical game. The coaching battle between former head coaches Ed Orgeron and Dennis Erickson should be fun to watch.

4. Arizona (-14.5) at Colorado (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Both teams enter this contest riding high after a win last weekend and both have an outside chance at a bowl game. However, this game is critical for both if either expects to reach the postseason. Rich Rodriguez’ offense ran for 300 yards last week, including Ka’Deem Carey’s ninth straight 100-yard game (172 yards, 3 TD). The Buffaloes, behind the running of freshman tailback Michael Adkins II (137 yards, 4 TD), posted its best rushing game of the season (218 yards, 5 TD). More importantly for Mike MacIntyre, his defense posted its best effort of the year as well. Yes, it was against Charleston Southern, but the Buffs will need all the confidence they can get in a legitimate upset opportunity against Zona.

5. Cal (-24) at Washington (11 p.m., FS1)
Someone has to win this game, right? Two teams with very different expectations and talent levels are both experiencing the perils of playing in what could be the nation’s top conference. Washington has lost three straight in brutal fashion against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State and has a quarterback who has taken a beating during that span. Cal has lost five straight by allowing nearly 50 points per game (47.4) since a win over Portland State in Week 2. Keith Price should play but he is banged up and Bishop Sankey, formerly the nation’s leading rusher, should get back on track after being totally stuffed last weekend (22 yards). Look for the Huskies to get healthy against the 123rd-rated total defense in the nation.

Pac-12 Week 9 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk Miami sanctions, the BCS standings and preview Week 9 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Tony Washington, LB, Oregon
The junior hybrid defensive end has picked up right where former first-round pick Dion Jordan has left off. He has registered at least half of a sack in four straight games and is coming off one of his best career games against Washington State (6.0 tackles. 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks). He will be charged with tracking down UCLA star quarterback Brett Hundley this weekend.

2. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
David Shaw turned to his power running game last weekend to outlast UCLA and Tyler Gaffney rewarded him. However, on the road against one of the highest scoring and most productive passing offense in the nation, Hogan will likely have to make more plays. Hogan has topped 200 yards in each of the last two games and completed 72 percent (18-of-25) of his passes last week against the Bruins. He will need to continue his strong play in Corvallis.

3. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
“Wow” is all Stanford coach David Shaw had to say about Cooks’ play this season. The Beavers wide receiver has been uncoverable all season and is leading the nation in receptions (76), yards (1,176) and touchdowns (12). He has a comfort level with quarterback Sean Mannion and will be called upon to play his best this weekend against a front seven that will likely shut down the Oregon State rushing attack.

4. Cody Kessler, QB, USC
The USC passer showed signs of life after setting back-to-back career highs in passing and beating Arizona two weeks ago. However, he returned to mediocrity last weekend against Notre Dame by throwing for just 201 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. The Trojans need the redshirt freshman to return to form quickly at home this weekend against Utah.

5. Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
The nation’s leading rusher for the second straight season has posted nine consecutive 100-yard efforts dating back to 2012. He went for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the big win over Utah last weekend and his streak is back on the line this weekend against Colorada. He should have another big day in what should be an easy win — if he is slowed, give the Buffs a chance at the upset.

 

Pac-12 Week 9 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
UCLA (+22.5) at OregonOregon, 45-24Oregon, 48-20 Oregon, 48-24Oregon, 49-24
Stanford (-4.5) at Oregon StStanford, 31-24Ore. St, 31-28 Stanford, 27-24Stanford, 28-21
Utah (+7) at USCUSC, 34-27USC, 21-10 Utah, 24-20 Utah, 27-17
Arizona (-14.5) at ColoradoArizona, 41-31Arizona, 47-17Arizona, 45-27Arizona, 31-24
Cal (-24) at WashingtonWash., 42-17Wash., 41-17 Wash., 45-20Wash., 38-21 
Last Week: 7-04-37-05-2
Year-to-date:53-1252-1356-951-14

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-9-preview-and-predictions
Body:

It wasn’t supposed to be a dramatic weekend in the Big Ten. There wasn’t a single-digit favorite on the board but that didn’t stop a few teams from upsetting the apple cart.

Iowa put a scare into Ohio State on the road and Michigan set all sorts of records against Indiana. But the big news came in Evanston where Minnesota won one for The Gipper in a big upset over Northwestern. It all but eliminated the Wildcats from division contention and leaves the Michigan schools and Nebraska still standing — two of which will be on upset alert this weekend.

Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue are off this weekend.

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 9 Game Power Rankings:

1. Penn State (+14.5) at Ohio State (8 p.m. ET, ABC)
Two of college football’s most historic programs will meet in the Horseshoe on Saturday night with the Buckeyes’ 19-game winning streak on the line. Penn State has won just two of the last seven meetings but both victories have come in the Nittany Lions’ last three trips to Columbus (2011, '08). Braxton Miller is coming off the best game of his season in the tight win over Iowa last weekend while PSU and star freshman Christian Hackenberg have had two weeks to celebrate the upset win over Michigan. Miller struggled to throw the ball against the Lions a year ago, completing just seven passes. But he was his usual electric self on the ground, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the 35-23 win. The talented Penn State linebacking corps will have to stop more than just Miller, however, as Buckeyes tailback Carlos Hyde has rushed for 402 yards and five scores in three Big Ten games.

2. Michigan State (-10.5) at Illinois (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)
The Illini and head coach Tim Beckman need a marquee win and the Spartans offer one of their best remaining chances in 2013. Illinois has lost 16 consecutive Big Ten games and 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Spartans. Mark Dantonio’s team comes to town with the nation’s top defense and an offense that is back to puzzling the fans in East Lansing. Sparty mustered only 294 yards of offense last weekend at home against lowly Purdue and Connor Cook will have to be better against an improved Nathan Scheelhaase. The Orange Crush quarterback is No. 2 in the Big Ten in passing (257.7 ypg) and No. 2 in efficiency (157.98), so MSU should be forced to score some points on the road. These two haven’t met since 2010 when State intercepted Scheelhaase three times in the 26-6 home win for the Spartans.

3. Northwestern (+4) at Iowa (Noon, BTN)
The wheels have officially come off the Wildcats bandwagon. After an excellent start to the year, Northwestern has lost three straight Big Ten games. Losses to more talented and more physical Ohio State and Wisconsin are understandable, but the way the Cats played against Minnesota last week has to baffle Pat Fitzgerald. And things aren’t getting any easier as Coach Fitz takes his team to Iowa City to face yet another solid defense and power rushing attack. And he will be without star tailback Venric Mark once again. Kirk Ferentz' squad limps home after a valiant but losing effort against Ohio State in the Shoe last week. Look for the Hawkeyes to take advantage of Northwestern’s inability to stop the run by feeding Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman the football on the ground. Iowa won every meeting between the two from 1974-94 but has since watched Fitzgerald level the playing field. The Cats won 28-17 last year and have taken four of the last five.

4. Nebraska (-10.5) at Minnesota (Noon, ESPN)
The Gophers are riding high off a surprising road victory over Northwestern while Nebraska finds itself squarely in the Legends Division driver’s seat. Star quarterback Taylor Martinez returned to practice this week but his status for this game is still uncertain. He’s been out for five weeks and the Huskers are 3-0 during that span, as they have turned to freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. and senior Ron Kellogg III. The Cornhuskers haven’t lost without Martinez but neither backup has the same type of ability as the 43-game starter. Minnesota, still without head coach Jerry Kill, was outgained by Nothwestern but used a plus-3 turnover margin to win on the road. Martinez is 2-0 against Minnesota with 470 yards passing, 74 yards rushing, no interceptions and three touchdowns in two blowout wins over the Gophers.

Big Ten Week 9 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk Miami sanctions, the BCS standings and preview Week 9 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The Big Ten’s leading passer will have to be at his best if Penn State is going to win in C-Bus this weekend. He has obvious special ability as the true freshman is leading the league in passing at 278.7 yards per game, completions (132) and attempts (226). Additionally, Hackenberg and head coach Bill O’Brien have had two weeks to prepare for the talented Buckeyes defense. Near perfection will be needed to pull an upset and both are talented enough to deliver that type of a performance.

2. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State
The Spartans tailback is seventh in the Big Ten in rushing at 78.7 yards per game, but Langford has quickly developed into one of the league’s best backs. He has back-to-back 100-yard games against Indiana and Purdue with four total touchdowns in the two wins. With Connor Cook back to his mediocre ways under center, Langford should play a huge role against an Illinois team that just allowed 289 yards on the ground to Wisconsin.

3. Iowa’s linebackers
Northwestern will be without tailback Venric Mark but that doesn’t make the Wildcats offense any less diverse. Anthony Hitchens leads the Big Ten in tackles (70), James Morris (55) is seventh and Christian Kirksey is 13th (49). Pat Fitzgerald’s offense puts a lot of pressure on linebackers with multiple sets and versatile play-calling, so this trio of tacklers will need to come up big for the Hawkeyes.

4. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The All-Big Ten defensive lineman registered his first career interception last week in the big upset of Northwestern. He is a stalwart in the middle of the Gophers' defensive line and is tied for fifth in the league in tackles for a loss (6.5). He will be tasked with slowing down a Nebraska rushing attack that is multifaceted with Ameer Abdullah — No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing — as well as power backs Imani Cross (8 TDs) and Terrell Newby (5.8 ypc). Hageman will have to play extremely well if Minnesota wants to pull the upset.

5. Iowa’s running backs
The blueprint for beating Northwestern has been pretty clear to this point. The Wildcats have been pummeled by power rushing attacks, in particular, in the second half of games. They have allowed 248, 286 and 176 yards rushing during the three-game losing streak and will face the tandem of Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman this weekend. Kirk Ferentz should lean on these two at home against the Cats.

Big Ten Week 9 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Penn St (+14.5) at Ohio StOhio St, 34-28Ohio St, 31-20Ohio St, 38-20Ohio St, 35-13
Michigan St (-10.5) at IllinoisMich. St, 27-17Mich. St, 21-10Mich. St, 31-13Mich. St, 24-10
Northwestern (+4) at IowaN'Western, 34-27 Iowa, 24-21Iowa, 31-30Iowa, 27-21
Nebraska (-10.5) at MinnesotaNebraska, 38-24Nebraska, 33-13Nebraska, 34-17Nebraska, 38-28
Last Week:5-05-05-05-0
Year-to-date:55-956-857-754-10

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 07:14
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-post-week-8-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

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

There are two names now standing above the rest in the race for college football's most prestigious award. Oregon's Marcus Mariota was brilliant in yet another win but Florida State's Jameis Winston made a Heisman statement in Death Valley by single-handedly crushing No. 3 Clemson. With contenders dropping like flies all over the nation, it may be a two-horse race to the finish.

Post-Week 8 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon6312-1--
2.(4)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St491101-1
3.(2)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M37-29-1
4.(5)Bryce PettyQBBaylor19-1144
5.(5)Sean MannionQBOregon St14---62
6.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama7--112
7t.(ur)Brandin CooksWROregon St2---1-
7t.(ur)Melvin GordonRBWisconsin2---1-
7t.(ur)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois2----2
10.(9)Bishop SankeyRBWashington1----1

Heisman Headlines:

Winston’s Statement. The basic belief is that every Heisman winner needs a Heisman moment to win the award. Well, redshirt freshman Jameis Winston had his on Saturday night against Clemson. He threw for 444 yards and scored five total touchdowns on the road against the No. 3 team in the nation. He has vaulted himself to No. 2 in the balloting and has created a two-horse race for the stiff-armed trophy. He got his first first-place vote and 10 second-place votes to separate himself from the rest of the field as the top challenger to Marcus Mariota.

Beavers and Ducks. Billy Bob Thornton would be proud, because this state is producing at elite levels. Marcus Mariota is still the frontrunner to win the award after eight weeks of action. He was magical again, scoring three more touchdowns, throwing for 327 yards and rushing for 67 on the ground. But there are other guys playing excellent football in the state of Oregon. Oregon State’s quarterback Sean Mannion is leading the nation in passing (427.4 ypg) and passing touchdowns (29) while wide receiver Brandin Cooks is leading the nation in receptions (76), yards (1,176) and touchdowns (12). And both are on this week’s Heisman ballot. The Beavers, who have won six straight, get to host No. 6 Stanford this weekend, while Oregon gets No. 12 UCLA at home.

Baylor Buzz. Another big Heisman winner this weekend was Baylor’s quarterback Bryce Petty. He led his offense to 700 yards of offense and 70 points for the fourth time this season in the 71-7 crushing win over Iowa State. Petty is leading the nation in passing efficiency at 221.83, which would obliterate the NCAA single-season record, and has the Bears perfect and No. 8 in the BCS.

Boring 'ol Bama. AJ McCarron has been on the Athlon Heisman ballot every single weekend but never seems to get much attention. He is 32-2 as a starter and completed 15-of-21 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in yet another blowout SEC win this weekend. He’s the eighth-rated passer in the nation and don’t be surprised if McCarron makes it to New York based on consistency and win-loss record. As contenders fall by the wayside each week, McCarron keeps on plugging away.

Dropped Out. Aaron Murray lost his third game and didn’t get a vote this week. Tajh Boyd played one of the worst games of his career and has plummeted completely out of the voting after being in the top three for most of the year. The same could be said about Zach Mettenberger, Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel, who all lost critical games in Week 8. Only Manziel lost and still got votes this week.

What to Watch. Oregon State hosts No. 6 Stanford this weekend and it should give the best QB-WR duo in the nation (Mannion to Cooks) a chance to showcase themselves. The Ducks get No. 12 UCLA at home in a potential Pac-12 championship preview. Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel and Jordan Lynch get easy home games while Bryce Petty travels to lowly Kansas.

The Voting Panel:

NameOrganizationWebsiteNo. 1
Tom DienhartBig Ten NetworkBigTenNetwork.comMarcus Mariota
Bryan FischerPac-12 NetworkPac-12.comMarcus Mariota
David FoxAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
Braden GallAthlon SportsAthlonSports.comMarcus Mariota
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Teaser:
2013 College Football: Post-Week 8 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-9
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. As I predicted last week, ranked SEC teams on the road were in serious danger of being upset, and, sure enough, four of them lost.  Here's what might happen in Week 9.

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

Three more unbeatens will go down
In each of the last two weeks, at least three previously undefeated teams lost. That could happen again in Week 9. No. 10 Texas Tech goes on the road this weekend to face Oklahoma in its toughest test to date. No. 5 Missouri has to host an angry South Carolina team. No. 3 Oregon has its toughest test to date against UCLA. No. 4 Ohio State hosts Big Ten rival Penn State at home. No. 1 Alabama is facing an arch rival who is showing marked improvement. And No. 17 Fresno State has a tricky road test against San Diego State. There is a very good chance three of the aforementioned unbeatens will lose this weekend (no, it won't be Bama or Ohio State).

Clemson will win by five touchdowns
Tajh Boyd is coming off arguably the worst performance of his career after watching the Seminoles abuse his Tigers in all aspects of the game on Saturday night. So fans should expect to see an angry Boyd and focused Clemson team this weekend on the road against Maryland. The Terps have an injured quarterback in C.J. Brown and lost its top two playmakers for the year last week in Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. This was a 45-10 Clemson win in Death Valley last year and fans should expect much of the same this time around.

Marcus Mariota will become the 8th 400-100 player in NCAA history
BYU’s Taysom Hill became just the seventh player in NCAA history to throw for at least 400 yards (417) and rush for at least 100 (128) in the same game against Houston last weekend. Oregon's quarterback could become the eighth this weekend in a much bigger stage against much better competition. Mariota is fifth nationally in total offense (363.4 ypg) and has been electric all season long both through the air (181.72 rating) and on the ground (70.4 rypg). The Bruins just gave up their most yards this fall (419) against Stanford and have never faced the Ducks' outstanding quarterback. With De’Anthony Thomas back on the field, there should be plenty of open space for Mariota.

Baylor will challenge Georgia Tech’s scoring record
The Yellow Jackets famously defeated Cumberland College 222-0 on Oct. 7, 1916. It is the current, single-game NCAA scoring record. But if any team will ever tio challenge the record, or more reasonably, score 100 points for the first time since Houston beat Tulsa 100-6 in 1968, it would be this weekend in Lawrence. Baylor has scored 70 points four times in six games (and 69 points in another contest) and has topped 700 yards of offense in four of those contests. Kansas, who threw for 16 total yards last week against Oklahoma, has allowed 115 points in three Big 12 games this year. Charlie Weis’ squad will have no answer for the Bears on Saturday and don’t be shocked to see a third digit on the scoreboard.

Sean Mannion will throw more than 1 pass against Stanford
After losing the starting job last year to Cody Vaz due to a knee injury, Mannion got to throw one pass in the emotional 27-23 road loss to Stanford. As the nation’s leading passer, it’s safe to assume that Mannion (427.4 ypg) will attempt more than one pass against the Cardinal at home this weekend. He is No. 2 in the nation with 334 attempts, leads the nation in TDs (29) and is No. 2 in completions (229). Stanford better be ready.

Illinois will end its 16-game Big Ten losing streak
The 6-1, 3-0 Michigan State Spartans are coming to town to play Illinois and their on-going, 16-game conference losing streak. Why is this the week the streak comes to an end? Despite showing signs of life, the Spartans' offense returned to normalcy last weekend against lowly Purdue by gaining just 294 yards and managing one touchdown. The Illini were blown out by Wisconsin but still scored 32 points and gained nearly 400 yards against one of the highest-ranked defenses in the Big Ten. Look for Tim Beckman and Nathan Scheelhaase to have a signature moment at home this weekend.

Someone will win the Kentucky-Mississippi State game
Yes, I know, it’s far fetched, but true. Someone will actually have to win the Kentucky-Mississippi State Thursday night game. The Wildcats have lost four straight overall and 11 straight SEC games while the Bulldogs have lost six of their last seven conference games. So these two are a combined 1-13 in their last 14 SEC games with the only win coming against Arkansas. State has won four straight in the series overall against the Wildcats.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 9
Post date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/9-amazing-stats-nfls-week-7
Body:

A rookie quarterback is quickly establishing himself as a star in a massive media market. An embattled Lone Star gunslinger may finally be winning over his fan base. The next generation in Indianapolis showed the old generation how it’s done. A former Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick is lost for the year — for the third time in his career. And a few NFL records highlight an exciting Week 7 weekend of action.

With that in mind, here are the most important, interesting, historic and bizarre statistics from Week 7 of the NFL:

27,485: Tony Romo's NFL record for passing yards in first 100 career games
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo might be the most maligned player in the NFL and it has bordered on inappropriate at times. Romo made his 100th career start this weekend in Philadelphia and passed for 317 yards in the 17-3 critical road divisional game. Romo has passed for 27,485 yards in those 100 starts, setting an NFL record for the most passing yards by a player in his first 100 career starts. Dallas sits one game up in the NFC East.

17-1: 49ers', Seahawks' and Broncos' combined record against teams other than the Colts
Andrew Luck accounted for four total touchdowns as the Colts knocked off the previously unbeaten Broncos in Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis. Luck has now led his team to wins over San Francisco in Week 3, Seattle in Week 5 and Denver on Sunday night. Luck accounted for seven total touchdowns and no turnovers in those three wins as his Colts sit two games ahead in the AFC South. What’s more impressive, the 49ers, Seahawks and Broncos are a combined 17-1 against all other teams not named the Colts.

2: Players to ever top 100 yards from scrimmage and score a TD in the first 7 games of a season
Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles rushed for 86 yards , posted 37 yards receiving and scored a touchdown in the Chiefs win over Houston. Charles has topped 100 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown in each of the first seven games in this season. He is just the second player in NFL history to accomplish this feat. O.J. Simpson is the only other player to top 100 yards from scrimmage and score a touchdown in each of his team’s first seven games when he did it in 1975 for the Bills. Charles has rushed for 561 yards and caught 36 passes for 337 yards with eight total touchdowns in seven games.

25: Games Sam Bradford will have missed over the last five season by the end of 2013
Few players are as unlucky or injury-prone as the Rams' Sam Bradford. He tore his ACL this weekend in the 30-15 loss to Carolina on the road and will be lost for the rest of the season. Bradford will miss the final nine games of the season and it will give him 25 missed starts over the last five seasons, dating back to his final collegiate campaign. In 2009, his final year at Oklahoma, Bradford missed 10 of the Sooners' 13 games with a major shoulder injury after winning the Heisman Trophy the previous year. Then in 2011, Bradford missed six games due a serious high ankle sprain. And now, he will miss nine more games in 2013. By the year’s end, Bradford will have missed 25 of his last 77 starts.

4: Geno Smith's game-winning, fourth-quarter or overtime drives
The second-round pick from West Virginia has had his ups and downs in his brief NFL career. But it’s safe to say the rookie is comfortable in the waning moments of games. On Sunday, the Jets' quarterback threw for 233 yards, scored two touchdowns and led his team on the game-winning drive in overtime over Tom Brady and the Patriots. Smith has now led four game-winning, fourth-quarter or overtime drives in his first seven starts — becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

20: Devin Hester's NFL record for career return touchdowns
The great Hall of Famer Deion Sanders returned an NFL record 19 punts and kicks for touchdowns in his illustrious 13-year career. Hester returned a punt 81 yards in the Bears shootout loss to Washington this weekend, giving him 20 return touchdowns for his career. He also extended his own NFL record with 13 punt-return touchdowns. This is just Hester’s eighth NFL season and he could easily put the record out of reach with a few more big plays. Especially, considering the direction the league is heading when it comes to kickoff returns.

158: Jay Cutler’s Bears franchise record for being sacked
Jim Harbaugh played for the Bears 1987-93 and was sacked 157 times. Jay Cutler came into this weekend’s game with the Redskins tied with Harbaugh as the most sacked quarterback in Chicago franchise history. In the second quarter, Washington sacked Cutler to move him past Harbuargh in this dubious distinction. But it also was a costly sack for the team, as Cutler left the game with a groin injury and will be out at least four weeks while it heals. Washington won 45-41 as the Bears dropped to 4-3 and into a second-place tie in the NFC North with Detroit.

11: Points scored at home by Jacksonville this year
The Jaguars are 0-7 on the season and 0-3 at home after losing 24-6 to San Diego this weekend. Jacksonville scored two points in the 28-2 loss to Kansas City in Week 1, scored just three points against Indianapolis in Week 4 and then six points against the Chargers. That’s a safety and three field goals in three games at home this fall with a combined 89-11 margin of defeat for the fans in Jacksonville.

3-8: Texans' record in their last 11 regular-season games
Case Keenum started this weekend in place of the injured Matt Schaub against the unbeaten Chiefs on the road. The Texans fought hard but lost, mustering just three points in the second half in Arrowhead Stadium. It was Houston’s fifth consecutive loss this season and its eighth overall in the regular season during a stretch that goes back to Week 14 of last season. After starting the 2012 season 11-1, the Texans dropped three of their last four to end the season and sit at 2-5 in 2013 ahead of only Jacksonville in the AFC South.

Teaser:
9 Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 7
Post date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/10-worst-nfl-teams-expansion-2002
Body:

The Seattle Seahawks own the 16-game NFL record for fewest points scored with 140 in 1992. Seattle also owns the all-time mark for fewest yards in a game when it totaled minus-7 against the L.A. Rams in 1979. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers set the modern NFL mark for worst point differential by being outscored by 287 points in 1976. The Baltimore Colts allowed an NFL-record 533 points back in 1981. The Houston Oilers claim the NFL mark for most interceptions thrown in a single season with 48 picks tossed in 1962. And the Philadelphia Eagles own the NFL’s single-season sacks allowed mark with 104 back in 1986.

Needless to say, there are many ways to measure NFL ineptitude. But the Jacksonville Jaguars might be redefining the term. The Jaguars lost 24-6 at home to the Chargers on Sunday to move to 0-7 in this season. What's worse, is how this team is losing. Jacksonville has scored 11 total points in three home games. It scored just a safety against Kansas City in a 28-2 defeat at home. It mustered three points in a 37-3 home loss to the Colts. So relatively speaking, Sunday's two field goals against the Chargers were a relative offensive explosion for the home team at EverBank Stadium.

Jacksonville is last in the NFL in yards per play (4.5), has thrown the fewest passing touchdowns (3) and are last in the league in rushing offense (63.0). The Jags might win a game somewhere along the way, but this team is making a strong case as one of — if not THE — worst NFL team during the expansion era. That won't be decided until after this season is over, however. Here is the current roster of the worst NFL teams since expansion in 2002.

1. 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16)
Point Differential: -249 (268 PF, 517 PA)
Offense (total, scoring): 30th (268.3 ypg), 27th (16.8 ppg)
Defense (total, scoring): 32nd (404.4 ypg), 32nd (32.3 ppg)

No other team has ever gone winless in the modern NFL era (16-game regular season), which means the Detroit Lions must be considered the worst team due in large part to the massive "0" in the win column. Winning is all that really matters in sports and the Lions failed in truly epic fashion. Top it off with the worst defense of the expansion era, as this team fell just 16 points shy of setting an NFL record for points allowed (533). This team posted an NFL-worst four interceptions on defense, was next to last in sacks allowed (52.0) and finished 14th in the NFC in turnover differential. Dan Orlovsky led a five-man QB platoon that featured 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions and a combined 71.3 QB rating.

2. 2009 St. Louis Rams (1-15)
Point Differential: -261 (175 PF, 436 PA)
Offense: 29th (279.4 ypg), 32nd (10.9 ppg)
Defense: 29th (372.8 ypg), 31st (27.3 ppg)

This team redefined the term offensive struggles as its 175 points were only 35 away from the NFL mark set by Seattle (140) in 1992. It is the all-time low for a Rams team that played 16 games while the 261-point differential is the worst in franchise history as well. Marc Bulger was the leading passer with 1,469 yards, 5 TDs and 6 INTs. The team itself finished with 12 total TD passes and 21 INTs and a collective passer rating of 64.0. The Rams were shutout twice and scored 10 or fewer points in nine games. St. Louis also finished 31st in the NFL in turnover margin (-13) and 30th in team sacks (25.0). Steven Jackson was the lone bright spot on a team that won only once — against Detroit. The Rams were one of only three teams since 2002 to win one or fewer games.

3. 2009 Detroit Lions (2-14)
Point Differential: -232 (262 PF, 494 PA)
Offense: 26th (299.0 ypg), 27th (16.4 ppg)
Defense: 32nd (392.1 ypg), 32nd (30.9 ppg)

While the '09 Rams set offensive football back two decades, the '09 Lions continued to show its lack of defensive prowess. The Rams did defeat the Lions (17-10) that year, but for the season, Detroit scored nearly 100 more points and won twice as many games (over Washington and Cleveland). This Lions team also finished dead last in turnover margin (-18) and No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford missed the final six games of the season. The Lions went 0-6 after Stafford was lost. 

4. 2007 Miami Dolphins (1-15)
Point Differential: -170 (267 PF, 437 PA)
Offense: 28th (287.5 ypg), 26th (16.7 ppg)
Defense: 23rd (342.2 ypg), 30th (27.3 ppg)

This version of the Fish lost the first 13 games of the season before winning their only game of the year over Baltimore. Cleo Lemon was 1-6 as the starter, John Beck went 0-4 and Trent Green was 0-5. The trio combined to throw 12 touchdown passes, 16 fewer than the opposition. Ronnie Brown led the team in rushing after playing only seven games (602 yards) while Jesse Chatman actually got the most carries (128). The only shot Cam Cameron has had to be a head coach in the NFL was his one-win season at the helm of the Dolphins.

5. 2008 St. Louis Rams (2-14)
Point Differential:
-233 (232 PF, 465 PA)
Offense: 27th (287.3 ypg), 31st (14.5 ppg)
Defense: 28th (371.9 ypg), 31st (29.1 ppg)

The 233-point scoring differential was a franchise record at the time and would still be the Rams' worst-ever scoring season had it not been for the 2009 team that came along the next year. This team lost the final 10 games of the year and scored only 19 offensive touchdowns all season (11 pass, 8 rush). In fact, this offense was the most scored upon OFFENSE in the NFL. That is right, the Rams offense had seven turnovers returned for touchdowns, a number that tied for the league lead.

6. 2011 St. Louis Rams (2-14)
Point Differential:
-214 (193, 407)
Offense: 31st, (283.6 ypg), 32nd (12.1 ppg)
Defense: 22nd (358.4 ypg), 26th (25.4 ppg)

If not for the 2008 and '09 teams, this team would have been the most outscored Rams team in history. The 193 total points scored are the second-worst in team history for one that played 16 games. Losing Sam Bradford to an injury after 10 games certainly didn't help the offense as the team finished with nine touchdown passes and a paltry 53.2 percent completion rate. St. Louis also led the league in sacks allowed with 55.0 while the rushing attack contributed only seven scores of its own. The 28.1 percent third-down rate was the worst ratio in the NFL as well.

7. 2010 Carolina Panthers (2-14)
Point Differential:
-212 (196 PF, 408 PA)
Offense: 32nd (12.3 ypg), 32nd (258.4 ppg)
Defense: 18th (335.9 ypg), 26th (25.5 ppg)

The offense did little to contribute to this football team whatsoever. Not only were the 196 total points scored the worst in the 17-year history of the franchise, but this season also was the only time the Panthers failed to reach 250 points. Jimmy Clausen (1-9), Matt Moore (1-4) and Brian St. Pierre (0-1) combined for a nasty 9:21 TD:INT ratio while finishing 30th in 3rd downs (30.4 percent) and 25th in turnover margin. To top it off, the 408 points allowed were third worst in franchise history on the defensive side of the ball.

8. 2011 Indianapolis Colts (2-14)
Point Differential: -212 (196 PF, 408 PA)
Offense: 32nd (12.3 ypg), 32nd (258.4 ppg)
Defense: 18th (335.9 ypg), 26th (25.5 ppg)

Obviously, without Peyton Manning, the Colts experienced its worst season since 1998, No. 18's rookie year. If not for a torrid 2-1 finish to the year, the Colts were in danger of challenging the Lions of 2008. In the first 13 losses, Indy allowed less than 23 points only one time. The total points scored, which included only 14 total touchdown passes (or 12 less than Manning's career low), and point differential were the worst numbers for the Colts since the 1993 season. The top ball carrier, Donald Brown, led the team in rushing despite making just two starts all year (645 yards).

9. 2004 San Francisco 49ers (2-14)
Point Differential:
-193 (259, 452)
Offense: 26th (286.6 ypg), 30th (16.2 ppg)
Defense: 24th (342.6 ypg), 32nd (28.3 ppg) 

San Francisco was two games worse than every other team in the NFL that year, and, technically, the 49ers were winless in regulation as both wins came in overtime. The Niners were 30th in the NFL in points scored and dead last in points allowed while finishing 31st in turnover margin (-19). Tim Rattay (1-8) and Ken Dorsey (1-6) were equally ineffective, throwing for 16 touchdowns against 21 interceptions and completing only 57.9 percent of their passes. The ground game was led by the great Kevan Barlow, who rushed for 822 yards at 3.4 yards per clip. The Niners finished 30th in the NFL in rushing at just over 90 yards per game. The 452 points allowed were one point shy of the franchise record set in 1999 (453) and the 193-point differential was an organizational record.

10. 2005 Houston Texans (2-14)
Point Differential: -171 (260, 431)
Offense: 30th (253.3 ypg), 26th (16.3 ppg)
Defense: 31st (364.0 ypg), 32nd (26.9 ppg)

There were some bad Texans team and David Carr paid a big price. After getting sacked a league-worst 76 times as a rookie, Houston once again led the league in sacks allowed in 2005 with 68. This franchise will be playing in just its 12th season this fall, but the '05 team set the benchmark for fewest wins, points allowed and point differential, all of which led to the firing of Dom Capers. Carr started every game and averaged a pathetic 155.5 yards passing per game, threw only 14 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions and fumbled 17 times.

The...Worst of the Rest?

2012 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
This team was outscored by nearly 200 points (minus-189), yet beat the Tennessee Titans as well as a shocking early season upset of the Colts. This team ranked 29th in total offense and 30th in total defense in 2012.

2004 Cleveland Browns (4-12)
Began 3-3 before losing nine straight in which they scored more than 15 points only one time. Trailed only the Niners for worst record. The offense was led by Jeff Garcia for 10 games, Luke McCown for four and Kelly Holcomb for two.

2002 Houston Texans (4-12)
The lowest scoring team in franchise history (213 pts) finished last in total offense as well as sacks allowed with 76. The first year of the Texans was salvaged by two strange wins over playoff teams (NYG, PIT) and is the only thing keeping this team out of the top ten.

2011 Tampa Bay Bucs (4-12)
The Bucs led the league in turnovers (40) and posted the worst turnover margin (-16) in 2011. After starting 4-2, Tampa Bay crumbled down the stretch with 10 straight losses and set a franchise mark with 494 points allowed (keep in mind, that is a BUCCANEERS franchise record).

2008 Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
This team couldn't get off the field in 2008 as it was the worst 3rd down team in the league (47.4 percent) and dead last in sacks (10). It finished 31st in total defense and the 440 points allowed and -149-point differential are Chiefs single-season records.

2006 Oakland Raiders (2-14)
The Silver and Black defense was good enough to keep them out of the top ten, but the offense was nearly historic in its struggles. The 168 points scored were 28 away from the all-time NFL mark, these Raiders finished dead last in sacks allowed (72), turnover margin (-20) and both scoring and total offense. Oakland was also 31st in the league with 23 interceptions thrown.

Teaser:
Yes, the Jacksonville Jaguars will probably make the list at season's end.
Post date: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 20:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-8
Body:

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

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

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

369: Jeremy Gallon Big Ten single-game receiving record
The Michigan Wolverines topped the Indiana Hoosiers 63-47 in Ann Arbor this weekend in remarkable fashion. Jeremy Gallon caught 14 passes for a school and Big Ten record 369 yards and two touchdowns. The 369 receiving yards is No. 2 all time in NCAA history behind only Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards 405 yards in 1998. Quarterback Devin Gardner set a Michigan record with 504 yards passing and 584 yards of total offense and five total touchdowns. Gardner was two yards shy of tying the Big Ten's all-time single-game total offense record set by Illinois' David Wilson (586) in 1980. Michigan set a school record with 751 yards of offense.

36: Combined straight losses to ranked teams by Tennessee and Vanderbilt 
Tennessee had lost 19 consecutive games to ranked opponents dating back to 2009 when it defeated No. 21 South Carolina 31-13 at home on Halloween. Vanderbilt had lost 17 consecutive games to ranked foes dating back to 2008 when the Commodores beat No. 13 Auburn 14-13 at home. Both dreadful streaks came to an end this weekend. The Vols topped No. 11 South Carolina and the Dores upset No. 15 Georgia. Both games were thrillers as both UT and Vandy needed final minute drives to defeat a ranked team. The losses by the Dawgs and Cocks within the division have tossed the SEC East into complete chaos.

349: Yard differential between Mizzou and Florida
The Gators had not allowed more than 327 yards in any game in 2012. It hadn't allowed 400 yards of offense in a game since Furman posted 446 yards in 2011 and hadn't allowed 500 yards since the 2008 Capital One Bowl against Michigan (524). But Maty Mauk, in his first career start for Missouri, led his offense to 500 yards of total offense, the worst allowed under Will Muschamp during his time in Gainesville. On the flip side, the Gators totaled just 151 yards of offense against the nasty Tigers defense. This means that Mizzou outgained the Gators by 349 yards, more than the Gators had allowed in any game this season.

89: Connor Halliday NCAA record for pass attempts
Purdue's Drew Brees threw the ball an NCAA record 83 times against Wisconsin in 1998. Against an Oregon team with a big lead for most of the night, Washington State's Connor Halliday threw the ball an NCAA record 89 times. Halliday also tied the NCAA mark for completions with 58 (Andy Schmitt, Eastern Michigan) and set the Pac-12 single-game passing benchmark with 557 yards (Andrew Walter, 536). And much like Brees that night back in '98, Wazzu lost in part because of multiple interceptions. Halliday threw four interceptions to go with his four touchdowns in the 62-38 loss to the Ducks.

316: NCAA single-game rushing record for a quarterback

The best single-game rushing performance by a quarterback in NCAA history belonged to Northern Illinois' Stacey Robinson set in 1990. So it's appropriate that another Huskies quarterback set a new rushing record when Jordan Lynch totaled 316 yards on the ground in NIU's win over Central Michigan. Lynch is fourth in the nation in rushing with 932 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games after finishing fourth nationally in rushing a year ago with 1,815 yards.

Nov. 21, 2009: The last time LSU lost to an unranked opponent
The Ole Miss Rebels finally won a home game against a marquee opponent when it took down LSU 27-24 in dramatic fashion with a game-winning field goal. Les Miles and the Tigers had won 23 straight games over unranked opponents, last losing on Nov. 21, 2009 to, you guessed it, the Ole Miss Rebels. The 25-23 loss in Oxford was highlighted by Miles' bizarre end-game gaffes. It may not have impacted the outcome of this battle, but Miles once again handled the final 30 seconds in strange fashion, electing to wait until three seconds left to call a timeout instead of saving the final half minute.

Minus-5: Rushing yards by Washington
The Huskies were one of the bigger stories in college football during the first month. But after getting trounced by Arizona State 53-24 on the road this weekend, the Huskies are embroiled in a very disappointing three-game Pac-12 losing streak. A big reason for the UW's struggles this weekend was its lack of rushing offense. Bishop Sankey came into the weekend leading the nation in rushing at 149.8 yards per game and was held to just 22 yards on 13 carries. On the day, Washington rushed for minus-5 yards on 25 carries, including seven sacks by the Sun Devils.

13-plays, 75-yards, 3:46 of time: Auburn's game-winning drive
Auburn got the ball back with 5:05 left on the clock and trailing Johnny Manziel and No. 7 Texas A&M by three points. Nick Marshall, who was brilliant all game long, led a 13-play, 75-yards drive that covered 3:46 worth of time. Guz Malzahn and Marshall stuck with the Tigers' bread and butter, running the ball on 10 of the 13 plays en route the game-winning touchdown. After going 0-8 in the SEC a year ago, Auburn is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC.

16: Consecutive Big Ten losses for Illinois
The 2011 Fighting Illini, then coached by Ron Zook, began the season 6-0. Illinois hasn't won a Big Ten game since in 16 tries, however. The Orange Crush lost the final six games of conference play that year and fired Zook after the season. Tim Beckman stepped in and promptly went 0-8 in the Big Ten in his first year, going 2-10 overall. And while this team has shown some improvement, already topping its overall win total from a year ago (3-3), an unimpressive 56-32 loss to Wisconsin at home gives Illinois an 0-2 start in the league and its 16 consecutive Big Ten loss.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 8
Post date: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 08:00

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