Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-football/usc-ucla-wins-bring-pac-12-south-race-focus

The Pac-12 South race got a little clearer in Week 5.


UCLA took a two-game lead on Arizona State. USC fixed its defensive issues and sits atop the South at 2-0. Utah missed a huge opportunity to enter the fray by choking away a big lead at home against Washington State.


UCLA's impressive victory over Arizona State on the road cannot be overstated. Brett Hundley returned to the field and destroyed the defending division champs totally reworked defense. He looked as good as he has looked at any point during this season.


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The win gives Jim Mora the first big leg up on the race to Levi's Stadium. Arizona State, without Taylor Kelly, is essentially two games behind UCLA and doesn't look like a team that will be capable of jumping back into first place. The Sun Devils next three games are road trips to USC and Washington sandwiched around a home game with Stanford.


Frankly, the only hope ASU had of repeating was a win over UCLA at home and it wasn't even competitive. Todd Graham's bunch could be out of Pac-12 contention by the first week of October if it can't beat the Trojans this weekend.


Speaking of the Men of Troy, USC was extremely impressive on both sides of the ball against a team it should defeat if it wants to contend with the Bruins. Against Oregon State, the Trojans defense was suffocating, and Cody Kessler was masterful. When this team is healthy on defense and balanced on offense, it's capable of beating anyone in the nation.


Meanwhile, Kyle Whittingham missed a major opportunity to get his team into the conversation. Utah hasn't been to the postseason in either of its first two Pac-12 campaigns and a bowl game would quiet a lot of Whittingham doubters in Salt Lake City. With a 21-0 lead after one quarter, a 24-7 halftime lead and a 13-point fourth quarter advantage at home, the Utes should have entered Week 6 with a perfect record. However, Utah's bowl hopes may have disappeared as Connor Halliday threw two touchdowns in the final nine minutes to complete the shocking comeback.


Arizona, which was off this weekend, should figure into the mix as it has yet to play a divisional game yet. Rich Rodriguez won't have to wait long to find out if his young team can contender in the South, however. The Wildcats will face Oregon, USC, Washington State and UCLA in the next four weeks with all but the Cougars coming on the road. Odds are Arizona will pull an upset somewhere along the line but likely won't be capable of contending week in and week out in the South just yet.


No, after five weeks of play, all signs point to USC and UCLA duking it out for the Pac-12 South championship over the next eight weeks. The two will meet on Nov. 22 in Pasadena. UCLA has a heavy depth advantage and gets the key late season game at home but the Trojans have a significant schedule advantage. UCLA still has to face Oregon, Stanford, USC, Washington and Arizona.


After hosting the Kelly-less Sun Devils this weekend, USC faces just one ranked opponent in league play the rest of the season and that's the Bruins.

USC, UCLA wins bring Pac-12 South race into focus
Post date: Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 16:15
Path: /college-football/stanfords-defense-makes-statement-against-washington

A finished product Stanford is not, but David Shaw in the fourth quarter watched a defense that re-established the Cardinal’s Pac-12 credentials.


As the offense sputtered at times, the Stanford defense picked up two critical stops in the fourth quarter to pick up a 20-13 road win to keep alive the Cardinal’s opportunity to repeat as conference champs.


A loss to Washington would have eliminated Stanford from the College Football Playoff and would have made winning the North or the Pac-12 unlikely. Avoiding 0-2 was a must for Shaw's bunch to remain relevant in the national conversation.


The nation's top defense wasn't brilliant only in the final few minutes, though. Stanford held Washington to 179 total yards of offense and six offensive points — all in the second quarter. The Huskies offense averaged just 2.1 yards per carry and passed for merely 98 yards. Four of Washington's seven second-half possessions ended in punts while the other three ended on failed fourth down conversions. This came against a team that had scored at least 44 points in three consecutive games. It's why the Cardinal were able to overcome three costly turnovers.


In four games this season, Stanford's defense has allowed 19 total offensive points.


However, if Stanford is going to repeat as Pac-12 champs, quarterback Kevin Hogan needs to take the next step in his development process. While Stanford's dismal red zone statistics indicate that maybe hasn't happened fully, Hogan led the game-winning drive in the final minutes of play.


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With the help of a facemask penalty, the veteran quarterback marched his offense 47 yards on six plays to take the lead with 5:14 left in the game. Hogan ran the ball four times for 21 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown. He got the job done when Shaw needed him most and the offensive line was adequate (one sack allowed) against a defensive line that entered Saturday leading the nation in sacks.


For what it's worth, Hogan is on pace to blow past his 2013 numbers. As a passer, he's increased his production (220.8 ypg vs. 188.2) and efficiency — improving on both his completion percentage (71 percent vs. 61 percent) and efficiency rating (167.57 vs. 151.64). Those are significant improvements since he's already faced two of the better Pac-12 defenses.


While Hogan is clearly taking the right steps forward, finishing drives is still a big problem for the Cardinal. Hogan was solid against Washington, getting points on four of his five trips into scoring territory. But even after that strong showing, Shaw's offense ranks dead last in the Pac-12 with a 63.2 percent red zone scoring percentage (12-of-19). This must improve as the schedule continues to get tougher.


While this Cardinal team is still searching for itself on offense to some extent, the gaping holes left by departures to the NFL and a defensive coordinator leaving for the SEC appear to have been filled. This team leads the nation in total defense (198.0 ypg), passing defense (74.0 ypg), scoring defense (6.5 ppg) and has allowed an opponent to drive into its red zone only three times all season — which, of course, leads the nation. 


As long as this defense continues to thrive, there will always be time for the offense to play catch up in September. However, October is here and the final two months bring road games against Notre Dame, Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA. There is no more time for catch up.


Things don't get any easier for Washington, either. The Huskies will face road games in three of their next four, including a trip to Oregon. Home tilts with Arizona State and UCLA loom over the next few weeks as well. After 179 yards, six points and not one trip into the Stanford red zone, Chris Petersen must acknowledge his program may not be ready to compete in the North yet.


Stanford is back in control of its own destiny in the North after a huge road win in Seattle. Its defense looks as good as ever and its quarterback appears to be coming into his own as the leader of the offense. 


Mark Helfrich and his woefully thin offensive line have been warned.

Stanford's defense makes statement against Washington
Post date: Sunday, September 28, 2014 - 15:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-5-picks

Finally, a winning record. I am still hovering around .500 and need to continue to post winning records to get above the break-even point.


Again, the good news is I hope you are looking at Mitch Light’s Top 25 picks. He is smoldering hot this season at 36-22-1 against the spread for all Top 25 games this season. (I am holding my own at 32-26-1.)


On to Week 5, which is loaded with a whole bunch of intriguing conference games. I’m taking you deep into the smaller leagues this weekend, so hold on…


Last Week: 3-2

Year-to-Date: 11-12


Baylor (-21) at Iowa St

The Bears are 3-0 against the number thus far in 2014 and it should cover once again. The Cyclones have played Baylor tough at home under Paul Rhoads but this is a different Bears squad — one that is getting healthy with names like Antwan Goodley returning to the lineup. This is Baylor’s toughest game to date but has won three times by 50.3 points. Prediction: Baylor -21


Notre Dame (-9) vs. Syracuse (East Rutherford, NJ)

Brian Kelly has had two weeks to prepare for the Orange and not having to play in the Carrier Dome will help as well. The Irish are a significantly more talented team and should be able to run away and hide with relative ease against an overmatched opponent. Prediction: Notre Dame -9


Middle Tennessee (+3.5) at Old Dominion

Old Dominion won its first C-USA game last weekend at Rice but now must face a MTSU team that can score big points of its own behind quarterback Austin Grammer. The Blue Raiders scored 61 in the opener and 50 against Western Kentucky and should be able to score in bunches against ODU. Prediction: MTSU +3.5


Nevada (-4.5) at San Jose St

The Wolf Pack has been very competitive against Pac-12 teams, so handling San Jose State shouldn’t be an issue for Nevada. Beating Wazzu and nearly beating Arizona indicates that this Nevada team is a darn solid team. Prediction: Nevada -4.5


Texas St (+3) at Tulsa

The Golden Hurricane have been really, really bad this year. They’ve lost to Oklahoma by 45 and to FAU by 29 — the latter being much more disturbing. Texas State has played Illinois and Navy tough in two losses and could easily win this one outright. Predictions: Texas State +3


Bonus: Take road dogs in important games


Missouri (+5.5) at South Carolina

Maty Mauk should be able to take advantage of the issues in South Carolina's secondary. Someone knows something about this line so I’ll take the smart money.


Arkansas (+9.5) vs. Texas A&M (Arlington, TX)

It’s not a true road game for the Hogs but their running game should be capable of challenging the Aggies' front seven. Take the over and the underdog to cover.


Oregon State (+9.5) at USC

This game is always close and USC has major depth and defensive issues. Sean Mannion should be able to exploit this depleted defense and it seems like too many points.


Duke (+7.5) at Miami

The Blue Devils are a quality team and the atmosphere won’t be challenging at all. This number seems way too high for a defending division champ.


Maryland (+4.5) at Indiana

Yes, this is a sneaky meaningful game in the Big Ten and the Terps are surging on offense. Take the over and the Terps to cover. 


Top 25 Picks ATS:


Top 25Braden Gall Mitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Florida St (-19) at NC State 
La. Tech (+32.5) at Auburn 
Arkansas (+9.5) vs Texas A&M 
Baylor (-21) at Iowa St 
Notre Dame (-9) at Syracuse 
Wyoming (+31) at Michigan St 
Memphis (+19) at Ole Miss 
Tennessee (+17) at Georgia 
Missouri (+5.5) at S. Carolina 
Stanford (-8) at Washington 
N. Mex. St (+42.5) at LSU 
Oregon St (+9.5) at USC 
USF (+34) at Wisconsin 
Illinois (+20) at Nebraska 
Cincinnati (+15) at Ohio St 
UTEP (+26) at Kansas St 
Last Week:7-6 9-46-77-6
YTD:32-26-1 36-22-126-32-128-30-1


Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 5 Picks
Post date: Friday, September 26, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-5-preview


Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan previews the big games of Week 5. The Pac-12 takes center stage with a deep slate of action while the SEC has three marquee showdowns. Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State all have interesting tests as well. The guys also offer up some locks of the week against the spread.

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

Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 5 Preview
Post date: Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 11:18
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-5-preview-and-predictions

The slate of action last weekend in the Pac-12 was seriously lacking but that didn’t stop the West Coast from entertaining the college football world thoroughly.


After a wild Hail Mary in Tucson and an intense back-and-forth affair in Pullman, both Oregon and Arizona deserve a week off. Cal and Washington State, however, must get off the mat and get back to work.


Conference play begins in earnest this weekend with a marquee showdown in both the South Division on Thursday night and the North on Saturday evening. In fact, they might be the two biggest games of the weekend nationally.

Week 5 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Game Power Rankings for Week 5


1. UCLA at Arizona St
Thurs., 10 p.m., FS1

First things first. Taylor Kelly isn’t going to play for Arizona State and, despite Jim Mora playing it coy, most would be shocked if Brett Hundley wasn’t on the field. The Sun Devils will start Mike Bercovici, who has spent three years in Todd Graham’s offense and has a powerful right arm, but has only attempted 24 career passes. While all eyes will focus on the quarterbacks (rightly so), the most critical matchups will take place in the trenches. UCLA will have to stop one of the nation’s most productive players in D.J. Foster, a guy who is averaging 216.3 yards from scrimmage per game. On the other side, Arizona State’s rebuilt defense will have a shot to get after one of the worst offensive lines in the league. If the Bruins can protect Hundley, UCLA should be able to move the ball against a defense that is still an unknown. If the most sacked QB in the nation the last three years has no time to throw, the Sun Devils have the offensive weapons to win at home. For what it’s worth, in two games between Mora and Graham, the home team is 0-2 and has scored at least 33 points in both games.


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2. Stanford at Washington
4:15 p.m., FOX

Few games in the Pac-12 will have as much importance attached or will be played with as much physicality as this one. Stanford lost the last time it visited Seattle in dramatic fashion on a Thursday night. While the names on the field and on the sideline have changed plenty since that game, the identity of each program has not. Stanford still plays nasty defense, allowing under five points per game this fall and will pressure quarterback Cyler Miles in a big way. The Huskies currently lead the nation in sacks and will make life miserable for Kevin Hogan while looking to pound the football on offense. Hogan has played in this game and has already battled USC’s front seven this fall but the very talented Miles is still largely unproven. He is completing nearly 68 percent of his passes and hasn’t thrown an interception, but he also hasn’t faced anything like what he will get from this Stanford defense on Saturday. David Shaw’s team is a proven commodity with a fairly distinct identity and it falls to the Huskies to stop them on both sides of the ball. Chris Petersen’s team has been schizophrenic but has the talent to win at home. Few games in this league will feature the talent in the trenches as this nationally televised North Division bout.


3. Oregon St at USC
10:30 p.m., ESPN

Was two weeks enough to fix the issues USC had on defense against Boston College? Trying to stop Sean Mannion, the Beavers' all-time leading passer, figures to be a good test to find out just how depleted that Trojans defense really is. The OSU quarterback has been excellent (301.0 ypg) but what Justin Wilcox and Steve Sarkisian have to be worried about is the Beavers' running game. Storm Woods and Terron Ward have combined for 424 yards and six scores in three games, as the duo has added balance to the Oregon State offense. Cody Kessler is playing excellent football but the Trojans' ground attack needs to be more consistent after just 20 yards on 29 carries against BC. This matchup has been a sneaky good rivalry as Mike Riley has consistently been a thorn in the side of the Men of Troy. A win in L.A. for Oregon State would be a crippling blow to USC’s title hopes.


4. Washington St at Utah
8 p.m., P12 Net

After a great win in Ann Arbor last weekend, Kyle Whittingham’s bunch has a great shot to continue that momentum into league play with Wazzu coming to town. Salt Lake City has been a tough place for league foes, as six of Utah's nine Pac-12 wins since joining the league in 2011 have come at home. Washington State got after Marcus Mariota last week (7.0 sacks) but both sides of the ball have been wildly inconsistent for Mike Leach. This is a huge chance for Whittingham to move one win closer to the postseason. Look for Utah’s excellent special teams to play a huge role again this weekend.


5. Colorado at Cal
4 p.m., P12 Net

The Buffs and Bears combined for one Pac-12 win and five total victories last year. Four weeks into the season, these two have already registered four wins. The one league win last year was Colorado’s 41-24 win over Cal when Mike MacIntrye’s team produced more yards (485) than in any other league game. Sefo Liuafau threw for 364 yards and will undoubtedly target the league’s top receiver Nelson Spruce in a big way this weekend. Cal will turn to Jared Goff (and some Luke Rubenzer) to match the Buffs on offense, as the Bears try to erase the awful taste in their mouth from the debacle in the desert last weekend. Sonny Dykes' team is clearly improved and is a two-touchdown favorite at home so Cal could give Dykes his first career Pac-12 win.


Off: Oregon, Arizona


Pac-12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
UCLA (-3.5) at Ariz. StUCLA, 33-30UCLA, 27-23UCLA, 28-10UCLA, 30-24
Stanford (-8) at Wash.Stan., 28-21Stan., 24-20Stan., 24-14Stan., 27-24
Ore. St (+9.5) at USCOSU, 31-30USC, 30-20USC, 38-31USC, 34-24
Wazzu (+13.5) at UtahUtah, 40-30Utah, 41-30Utah, 27-21Utah, 38-30
Colo. (+13.5) at CalCal, 38-30Cal, 34-24Cal, 42-38Cal, 34-27
Last Week:5-16-06-05-1


Pac-12 2014 Week 5 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-5-preview-and-predictions

It was an extremely light week in Big 12 action despite two contenders (Kansas State and Oklahoma) playing critical nationally televised games last weekend.


Things return to normal somewhat in Week 5 as this league gets back into full scale play with three conference tilts, a North Texas rivalry and… UTEP.

Week 5 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC


Big 12 Week 5 Game Power Rankings


1. Texas Tech at Oklahoma St
Thurs., 7:30 p.m., ESPN

The Red Raiders haven’t won in Stillwater since 2001, have lost five straight to the Cowboys overall and will need to show marked improvement coming off an ugly 21-point loss to Arkansas at home if they want to win their Big 12 opener. Kliff Kingsbury is also replacing his defensive coordinator after Matt Wallerstedt stepped down during the off week. Former alum Mike Smith is now in charge of the defense — one that has to stop Mike Gundy’s improving Air Raid. But while Daxx Garman has been a solid fit in replacing J.W. Walsh, it’s Glenn Spencer’s defense that has the Pokes ahead of the perceived rebuilding schedule in Stillwater. Ok-State has been excellent in the red zone on defense and held UTSA to just 206 yards and 3.2 yards per play the last time out. Davis Webb and company cannot make the mistakes that have plagued this team — Tech is last in the Big 12 in turnover margin (-4) and penalties (10.0/game) — or Oklahoma State will run away with its first league victory.


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2. Baylor at Iowa St
8 p.m., FOX

The Cyclones may not be considered a Big 12 title contender but they are easily the toughest competition Baylor has faced all season. Iowa State is 2-0 under Paul Rhoads against Baylor at home while holding the Bears to just 31 total points in the two victories. That said, the Bears have run through the Big 12 since losing in Ames in 2012 and will be getting top playmaker Antwan Goodley back on the field this weekend. Bryce Petty may never return to full strength this season, so protecting the quarterback will be key for Art Briles. This was a 64-point win for Baylor in Waco last season and, while this is the Bears’ toughest test to date, it’s hard to see ISU closing the gap enough to compete for four quarters.


3. Texas at Kansas
4 p.m., FS1

Charlie Strong is in desperate need of some good news and a quality performance on the road in his Big 12 opener would be just that. Even if it is against Kansas. Fans in Austin know that Texas cannot take a trip to Lawrence lightly, as the Jayhawks nearly upset the Horns in 2012. Tyrone Swoopes showed a lot of promise in losses to BYU and UCLA, but this will be his first true road start of his career. If he is as efficient (70.6 percent) throwing the ball as he was against the Bruins, the Longhorns should be able to move the chains consistently. Kansas’ offense, led by quarterback Montell Cozart and tailback Corey Avery, needs to show up against quality competition. Against SEMO and Central Michigan, Kansas posted 826 yards of offense and 5.8 yards per play. Against the only Big 5 team it’s played (Duke), it accounted for just 297 yards and 3.9 yards per play. Look for Texas’ defensive line to control the tempo and get off the field on third downs.


4. UTEP at Kansas St

Bill Snyder’s bunch desperately needs to get back onto the field after self-inflicted wounds cost Kansas State a shot at a major upset over Auburn. The defense was excellent, in particular, against the Tigers' rushing attack. The Cats will need to bring the same type of intensity to the trenches again this week, as UTEP averages 315 yards rushing per game on 6.1 yards per carry. If K-State can regroup (easier said than done after the letdown last Thursday), then the home team should roll big. Jake Waters and the offense likely had a sobering week of practice and should be able to move the ball effectively against UTEP.


5. TCU at SMU
Noon, CBS Sports

The Battle for the Iron Skillet won’t be nearly as heated as its name would indicate. SMU is in rough shape under interim head coach Tom Mason after allowing 9.8 yards per play in the 52-point loss to Texas A&M last weekend. Gary Patterson’s squad, meanwhile, has had two weeks to prepare for its crosstown rival after rolling through both Samford and Minnesota in the first two weeks. Trevone Boykin looks like he’s settled in as the starting quarterback and should direct a similar attack to the one the Aggies just used to crush the Mustangs. It’s going to be a long year for the Pony Express.


Off: Oklahoma, West Virginia


Big 12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
T. Tech (+14) at Okla. StOSU, 42-28OSU, 34-28OSU, 35-21OSU, 41-30
Baylor (-21) at Iowa StBay., 49-21Bay., 48-17Bay., 56-14Bay., 55-20
Texas (-14) at KansasTexas, 30-17Texas, 31-10Texas, 21-13Texas, 30-13
UTEP (+26) at Kansas StKSU, 45-7KSU, 34-16KSU, 35-10KSU, 41-17
TCU (-31.5) at SMUTCU, 40-10TCU, 41-0TCU, 42-7TCU, 45-10
Last Week:3-03-02-13-0


Big 12 2014 Week 5 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-5

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


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


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

Mike Bercovici will throw for more yards than Brett Hundley


The Sun Devils' backup quarterback is stepping into a starring role this Thursday against No. 12 UCLA having thrown just 24 career passes. But the strong-armed righty has plenty of experience in this offense, as he battled with Taylor Kelly for starting duties two years ago. Bercovici will chuck it around all night while UCLA will turn to the running game.


Arkansas will rush for more yards than Texas A&M will pass


Much like the Arkansas-Texas Tech game two weeks ago, this meeting in Arlington, Texas, will feature an exciting battle of tempo and scheme. The Razorbacks have been unstoppable on the ground, rushing for 324.5 yards per game. The Aggies, behind Kenny Hill, have averaged 405.0 yards passing per game. If Bret Bielema wants to win, he will have to control the clock so look for more yards rushing from the Hogs than passing from the Ags.


Bonus: Also, keep an eye on Western Kentucky and Navy this weekend. The Hilltoppers are No. 2 nationally in passing offense (486.3 ypg) while the Midshipmen rank No. 4 nationally in rushing (345.0 ypg).


Shaq Thompson will lead the Huskies in tackles and rushing


Washington and Stanford have played two physical and epic showdowns the last two seasons with each team winning a close one at home. The Huskies will turn to the best player on the field for either team in two-way star Shaq Thompson to carry them this weekend. Thompson will lead the Huskies in rushing against the most physical defense in the Pac-12 while also leading the Huskies in tackles against the most physical offense in the Pac-12. It should be another brutal battle for the lead in the Pac-12 North.


Neither Minnesota nor Michigan will complete a pass (to their own team)


Michigan’s offensive struggles have reached epic proportions, scoring just three points on offense against Big 5 teams this year. The Wolverines rank 100th in passing offense and both Devin Gardner and Shane Morris threw interceptions last weekend. Meanwhile, Minnesota ranks 124th in passing offense and backup quarterback Chris Streveler completed just one pass a week ago against San Jose State. The battle for The Little Brown Jug could set the forward pass back two decades if these two aren’t careful.


Duke will win an ACC game in Miami


Duke and Miami have played just 11 times, including the last nine as members of the ACC Coastal Division. The Blue Devils defeated the Canes 48-30 in Durham last season and won the first-ever meeting between these two back in 1976 in Miami (non-conference). The Hurricanes have won every other meeting (9-2) between those two games. That will change this weekend when Duke posts its first-ever ACC win at Miami. The four previous conference meetings in South Florida saw the Devils outscored by an average of 27 points.

Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 5
Post date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-4-heisman-trophy-voting

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


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


The Panel:


Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer,

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward,

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM


The Results:


1.Marcus Mariota6312-1--
2.Todd Gurley41-911-
3.Amari Cooper31126--
4.Kenny Hill20-2222
5.Ameer Abdullah15--241
6.Dak Prescott6---14
7.Taysom Hill5---21
8.Everett Golson4--1-1
9t.Jameis Winston2---1-
9t.Melvin Gordon2---1-
9t.Bryce Petty2---1-
12t.Nick Marshall1----1
12t.Shaq Thompson1----1
12t.Shane Carden1----1
12t.James Conner1----1

Dropped out: Demarcus Robinson


Listen to the Week 4 recap podcast:

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

The Top 3:

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Mariota was brilliant late on Saturday evening against an upstart Washington State squad. Without two starters along his offensive line, the Oregon quarterback ran for his life all game long, as the Cougars consistently forced him out of the pocket. He finished 21-of-25 passing (84 percent) for 329 yards and five touchdowns while rushing 13 times for 58 yards in the seven-point win. In four games, Mariota has 1,135 yards passing, 214 yards rushing, 16 total touchdowns and no interceptions.


2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

The UGA tailback wasn’t needed much in the 66-0 win over Troy. Gurley carried six times for 73 yards and didn’t reach the end zone in extremely limited time. He still leads the SEC in rushing yards per game (134.0 ypg, 10th nationally) but is third behind Alex Collins (490) and Josh Robinson (485) when it comes to yards alone.


3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

There is no doubt Lane Kiffin has made a huge difference with the Alabama offense and no one is more appreciative than Cooper. The Bama wideout caught 10 passes for 201 yards and three huge touchdowns against Florida in a marquee win in Alabama’s SEC opener. He is leading the nation with 43 receptions (10.8 pg) and receiving yards at 655 (163.8 pg) and has scored five times. He is on pace for 129 receptions, 1,965 yards and 15 touchdowns — all of which would be school records.

Expert Poll: Week 4 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 07:45
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-4-pac-12

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


44: Yards allowed in the second half by Washington

One of the most shocking halftime scores of Week 4 was the Huskies trailing 35-point underdog Georgia State 14-0. Washington had allowed 219 yards of offense in the first quarter. In the second half, the Dawgs stiffened up, outscoring the Panthers 45-0 and holding them to just 44 yards of total offense.


0: Interceptions thrown by Cyler Miles this season

Part of the reason Washington stormed back to beat GSU was creating four Panthers turnovers while not giving the ball up once. Quarterback Cyler Miles has a model citizen on the field when it comes to protecting the ball. Miles has 71 pass attempts for 525 yards in three games and has yet to throw an interception. He has scored eight total touchdowns.


36: Points Scored by Arizona in Fourth Quarter Against Cal

The Golden Bears led the Wildcats 31-13 at the end of the third quarter. One quarter later, the shootout everyone expected finally started. The Wildcats and Golden Bears combined for 50 points in the fourth quarter, with Arizona recording a school-record 36 in a crazy 49-45 victory.


47-of-73: Anu Solomon school records for completions and attempts

Quarterback Anu Solomon is a burgeoning star in the Pac-12 for Arizona. He set school records for both completions (47) and attempts (73) attempts in the wild, come-from-behind win over Cal at home. He finished with 520 yards passing and led the team in rushing with 46 yards. Solomon is second in the nation with 1,621 yards of total offense.


7.0: Sacks allowed by Oregon

The Ducks won on Saturday evening but there are some glaring concerns about the Oregon offensive line moving forward. With two starters missing up front, Marcus Mariota was running for his life and was sacked seven times. Oregon gave up a total of 18 sacks last year and had allowed just three in three games this season entering Week 4. Now, the Ducks are 11th in the Pac-12 with 10 sacks allowed (UCLA, 11).


11,339: Sean Mannion career passing yards

Oregon State’s quarterback threw for 275 yards in the 28-7 win over San Diego State. For his career, Mannion has thrown for 11,339 yards, passing Derek Anderson (11,249) this weekend for No. 1 all-time in school history. Mannion is seven touchdowns behind Anderson’s school record of 79.


0: Trips allowed into the red zone by Utah

Michigan has some major offensive issues and Utah exploited them this weekend in the easy 26-10 win in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines had 12 offensive possessions and didn’t advance into the Utes’ red zone one time. Technically, Utah’s defense allowed just three points since UM’s only score came on defense. Additionally, Kyle Whittingham is 2-0 in The Big House.


3: Kaelin Clay return touchdowns

Clay returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against Michigan this weekend. It was his second punt return for a touchdown this year and his third return for a score overall. Only Vanderbilt’s Darius Sims has two return scores this fall, so Clay leads the nation with three.


8.0: Yards per play for Cal

The Golden Bears choked away a chance at a quality road win in the Pac-12 in Tucson this weekend. That ugly fourth quarter shouldn’t overshadow the fact that this team is clearly improved. This offense averaged just 5.2 yards per play a year ago (98th nationally) but posted 8.0 yards per play against Arizona. In three games, Cal is averaging 6.8 yards per play (28th).


518: Nelson Spruce receiving yards

The Colorado Buffaloes' star wide receiver has quickly replaced Paul Richardson in Boulder. Spruce caught 13 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown in the win over Hawaii. He is now third in the nation with 518 yards (Amari Cooper, Kevin White) and is leading the nation with seven receiving touchdowns.

10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 4 in the Pac-12
Post date: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-4-big-12

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


359: Yards allowed by Kansas State

Kansas State lost an ugly one to the Tigers on Thursday night but not for a lack of effort. Bill Snyder’s bunch held Auburn to a Gus Malzahn-low 359 yards of total offense. Only four other times has a team held a Malzahn-coached Auburn team to less than 400 yards of offense: Alabama (393), Arkansas (366) and Washington State (394) are the only other teams to keep the Tigers under 400 yards of offense in the Malzahn era.


2.0: Points per trip inside the 40 for Kansas State

Points per trip inside the opponent’s 40 is a great way to calculate a team’s ability to finish drives effectively. And the Wildcats mustered just 2.0 points (14) per trip inside the Auburn 40-yard line (7). To put this into perspective, FIU was last in the nation last year in this category with 2.36 points per trip inside the 40.


0: Kansas State penalties

While big miscues cost the Wildcats in a big way — missed field goals and turnovers namely — Kansas State still managed to stay off the stat sheet in one important category. The Cats weren’t penalized one time against Auburn and currently lead the Big 12 with just 13 penalties in three games (14th nationally). They have been hit with 92 yards of yellow flags — good for sixth nationally.


Listen to the Week 4 recap podcast:

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4-8: Big 12 record against Big 5 schools

Counting the independent BYU Cougars as a “Big 5” school leaves the Big 12 with a 4-8 record in 2014 against power conference teams. The wins? Oklahoma over Tennessee and a 3-0 mark against the Big Ten (Minnesota, Iowa, Maryland). Losses to Alabama (WVU), Florida State (OSU), Auburn (KSU) and UCLA (Texas) were at least competitive. There are no more games left with the Big 5 for the league.


152: Samaje Perine’s Big 12 rushing lead

After rushing for 242 yards — the most by any Sooner since DeMarco Murray in 2010 — on 34 carries and scoring four times against West Virginia, Oklahoma’s freshman tailback is now leading the Big 12 in rushing with 419 yards. In fact, he’s 152 yards ahead of No. 2, the Mountaineers' Rushel Shell (267). Additionally, both Shell (4.1 ypc) and Perine (6.4) have 66 rushing attempts this season.


8: Oklahoma interceptions this season

After two more interceptions this weekend, the Sooners are leading the nation with eight picked off passes. Oklahoma’s plus-6 turnover margin is tops in the Big 12 and tied for sixth nationally.


5: Yards Clint Trickett is shy of matching his 2013 total

Through four games, few players in the nation are as improved as West Virginia’s Clint Trickett. He has 1,600 yards passing in four games, two of which came against teams ranked in the top five. His grand passing total from 2013: 1,605 yards.


9: Kevin White's fewest receptions in a game this season

With another 10 receptions for 173 yards in the loss to Oklahoma, West Virginia wideout Kevin White kept pace with Alabama’s Amari Cooper. He’s is second in the nation in both receptions (42) and yards (633) to only Cooper and has caught at least nine passes in each of the four games he’s played in this fall.


16.3: Tony Pierson yards per touch this season

In the 24-10 win over Central Michigan, Pierson ran three times for 77 yards and caught three passes for 12 yards. On the season, the Jayhawks' top playmaker has 245 yards from scrimmage (121 rush, 124 rec.) on just 16 total touches for a per-touch average of 16.3 yards. It might make sense to get him as involved in the offense as possible.


2: Times Charlie Weis has had a winning record at Kansas after Week 1

Kansas has won each of its season openers under Charlie Weis, so the Jayhawks had a winning record after Week 1 in each of the last three seasons. But other than Week 4 of last year, the Jayhawks haven’t had a winning record after Week 1 under Weis until beating Central Michigan this weekend (2-1). In fact, this is the latest in the calendar year Kansas has been above .500 under Weis.

10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 4 in the Big 12
Post date: Monday, September 22, 2014 - 16:22
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-4-recap


The guys recap the big weekend of action in the SEC, including Florida-Bama, Mississippi State-LSU and Missouri's lose to Indiana. The Big Ten deserves credit with the exception of Michigan, so what does the lose to Utah mean for Brady Hoke? The ACC struggled in Week 4 and the guys break down all of the action from Florida State-Clemson and the rest of the ACC. And Week 4 ended with some serious fireworks from the Pac-12. 

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

Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 4 Recap
Post date: Monday, September 22, 2014 - 11:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Utah Utes, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/utah-utes-complete-team-effort-embarrasses-michigan

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Good luck, with that.


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

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

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


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


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


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



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


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


Listen to the Week 4 recap podcast:

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


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

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

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


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


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


Last Week: 3-4

Year-to-Date: 8-10


Florida (+15) at Alabama

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


Oklahoma (-7) at West Virginia

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


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Mississippi St (+10) at LSU

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


Indiana (+13.5) at Missouri

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


N. Illinois (+13.5) at Arkansas

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


Top 25 Picks ATS:


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


Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 4 Picks
Post date: Friday, September 19, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-4-preview
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 4 Preview
Post date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 09:58
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-4-preview-and-predictions

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


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

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

Pac-12 Week 4 Game Power Rankings


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Off: Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, USC


Pac-12 Predictions:


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


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

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


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


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

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

Big 12 Week 4 Game Power Rankings


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


Big 12 Predictions:


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


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

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


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


The Panel:


Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer,

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward,

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM


The Results:


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

Dropped out: none


Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher


The Top 3:


1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

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


2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

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


3. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Amari Cooper will post season lows against Florida


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



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


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


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

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


452: Rushing yards allowed by USC

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


14: Teams Shaq Thompson outscored

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


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11.0: Sacks for Danny Shelton, Hau’oli Kikaha

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


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

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


0: Points Stanford allowed in games not against USC

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


18: Total margin of victory for UCLA in 2014

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


31.0: Tackles for a loss against UCLA

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


108: Plays West Virginia ran

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


2: Times Texas kicked off to start a half

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


61.6: Average yards of KD Cannon’s TD catches

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


2: Trevor Knight 300-yard games against SEC teams

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Saturday Conversation


Dylan Thompson, QB, South Carolina

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



Jerry Neuheisel, QB, UCLA

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



Tyler Murphy, QB, Boston College

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



Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina

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



Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas

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



Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina

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



Greyson Lambert, QB, Virginia

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


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


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

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



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

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


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


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


USC has major questions

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


Listen to the Week 3 recap podcast:

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Taylor Kelly injury reshapes South race

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


Without its star, UCLA finds balance

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


Shaq Thompson is a Heisman candidate

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


Survive and advance

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


Pac-12 Power Rankings:


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


Pac-12 2014 Week 3 Takeaways: Taylor Kelly, Brett Hundley Injured in wins, Trojans Upset
Post date: Monday, September 15, 2014 - 09:00