Articles By Braden Gall

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True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Big Ten to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 13:

More Stats from Week 13: ACC | Big 12 Pac-12 |

296.3: Braxton Miller's total offense per game in Big Ten play
The Buckeyes' star quarterback missed two full games and most of a third in the non-conference season this fall. However, since returning to the lineup at the start of the Big Ten season, no player in the league has been more productive. In conference play, Miller leads the league in total offense (296.3) and passing efficiency (166.2). He has topped 300 yards of total offense in four of his last five games and has taken his game to another level of late, rushing for 338 yards in his last two games. He has 17 touchdown passes and five rushing scores with just three interceptions in seven Big Ten wins.

14: Combined consecutive 100-yard games from Ameer Abdullah and Jeremy Langford
Nebraska has surged to win three out of four since losing to Minnesota and much of the credit goes to running back Ameer Abdullah. He is leading the Big Ten in rushing yards (1,483) and yards per game (134.8) after his eighth consecutive 100-yard effort. Not to be outdone, Michigan State's Jeremy Langford posted his sixth consecutive 100-yard effort in a dominating, division-clinching win over Northwestern. His 15 rushing scores lead the Big Ten. Having said all of that, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde — who missed three games due to suspension early in the year — has more rushing yards (1,023) and TDs (13) in conference games than anyone else in the Big Ten.

24-7: Mark Dantonio’s Big Ten record over the last four seasons
Michigan State went 7-1 in 2010 and '11 in Big Ten play and won the Legends Division in the conference’s first year of divisional play. The Spartans came up just a few plays short of winning the Big Ten title over Wisconsin that year. After a 3-5 rebuilding year in 2012, Michigan State has reestablished itself as a Big Ten power. Dantonio’s team is 7-0 in the Big Ten and it gives him a third seven-win Big Ten season in four years. Michigan State has won the Legends Division two of the possible three seasons and will likely finish unbeaten in Big Ten play with Minnesota coming to town next weekend.

10: Straight wins for Wisconsin over Minnesota
On a blistering day in Minneapolis, the Badgers won the 10th straight battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe. The oldest rivalry in college football was once dominated by the Gophers but since Barry Alvarez took over in Madison, Wisconsin has owned the series. Since 1995, Wisconsin is 17-2 against Minnesota and it has closed the overall series to a near tie at 58-57-8. Additionally, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland forced his 14th career fumble, tying an all-time NCAA record.

7: Times Wisconsin has held an opponent to 10 points or fewer
With yet another suffocating defensive performance against Minnesota on the road, Wisconsin has now held seven of its 11 opponents to 10 points or fewer. Wisconsin pitched shutouts against UMass and Tennessee Tech to start the year. Purdue (10), Iowa (9), Minnesota (7), Northwestern (6) and Indiana all failed to score more than 10 points with the Boilermakers being the only team to score an offensive touchdown. Only Alabama (9) has more games with 10 points allowed or fewer than Wisconsin in the FBS ranks. Dave Aranda’s defense ranks No. 5 nationally in scoring defense (13.4 ppg) and No. 6 in yards allowed (278.5 ypg) in a league where Michigan State gets all of the headlines for leading the nation in defense.

18: Coldest temperature of an Iowa home football in history
The weather might have been the biggest storyline in the Big Ten this weekend. According to KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, the Iowa Hawkeyes played the coldest game in school history against Michigan on Saturday. Prior to last weekend, the coldest recorded temperature in Iowa home football history was 23 degrees (at kickoff) on Nov. 20, 1926 against Northwestern. At kickoff at noon eastern against Michigan on Saturday, the temperature was 18 degrees at Kinnick Stadium. And, oh by the way, has anyone noticed that Iowa could finish 8-4 this year?

20 and 5: Ryan Shazier total tackles and tackles for a loss against Indiana
Ryan Shazier posted a stat line for the ages in the crushing home win over Indiana. The Ohio State linebacker totaled 20 tackles, 5.0 tackles for a loss, one sack and a forced fumble in the victory. He is leading the Big Ten in tackles (109), tackles for a loss (20.5) and is third in sacks (6.5). Shazier has posted a sack in four straight games and is third nationally in tackles for a loss.

20: Illinois' Big Ten losing streak that was snapped this weekend
Ron Zook started 6-0 back in 2011 before losing six straight — all Big Ten games — to finish the year. He was removed from power and the reins of the Fighting Illini football program were given to Tim Beckman. Beckman proceeded to lose his first 14 Big Ten games. Illinois' 20-game Big Ten losing streak came to an end this weekend when the Illini topped Purdue 20-16 in a pillow fight between two teams that entered Saturday winless in conference play. Beckman’s team has shown improvement in his second year and it likely means he deserves a third trip through the Big Ten.

Teaser:
Amazing Big Ten College Football Stats from Week 13
Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfls-week-12
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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 Week 12 of the NFL season:

10-4: Tom Brady’s record against Peyton Manning
Among Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, only Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas have faced each other more times (16) than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (14). With one of the most epic comebacks in NFL history — down 24-0 three minutes into the third quarter — Brady moved his all-time record against Manning to 10-4. Manning posted the worst game of his season, throwing 19-of-36 passes for 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while Brady had arguably the best game of his season, completing 34-of-50 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. To cap off one of the most memorable games in NFL history, Bill Belichick elected to take the wind and give the ball to Peyton Manning to start overtime... and it worked.

11: Tony Romo fourth quarter/overtime game-winning drives since 2011
Since the start of the 2011 season, no quarterback in the NFL has more fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning drives than Tony Romo’s 11. Dallas got the ball back with 4:45 left in a tie game on the road against the surging Giants. Romo then led a 14-play, 64-yard drive in which he completed six of eight passes to set up Dan Bailey's game-winning 35-yard field goal. The win puts the Cowboys in first place by virtue of a tiebreaker over the Eagles in the NFC East (as it stands today). With 250 yards and two touchdowns, Romo became the only Dallas quarterback in history with 200 TD passes. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck are tied for second in the NFL with 10 game-winning fourth quarter or overtime drives since the start of the 2011 season.

1978 and 1987: Years Minnesota and Green Bay last posted a tie
The Packers and Vikings played 75 minutes of football on Sunday and accomplished absolutely nothing as the game ended in a 26-26 tie. It was the first tie for Minnesota since a 10-10 decision on Nov. 26, 1978 against… the Packers. The Vikings finished 8-7-1 in ’78 and actually won the NFC Central over the 8-7-1 Packers and made the playoffs based on the tie-breaking win over Green Bay earlier in the year. The Packers’ last tie came in a 17-17 affair with Denver on Sept. 20, 1987. Had the Pats-Broncos game ended in a tie (which it almost did), the NFL would have had two ties on the same day for the first time since Week 2 of 1973. There were seven ties in the ’73 season.

100: Career games for Adrian Peterson
All-Day Peterson rushed 32 times for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Packers in his 100th career game. He has 9,846 yards rushing in his career, giving him the third-most yards in NFL history for a player in his first 100 games. Only Eric Dickerson (10,818) and Jim Brown (10,403) had more yards rushing in their first 100 career games. His 86 rushing touchdowns are fifth-most all-time behind Emmitt Smith (103), LaDainian Tomlinson (102), Shaun Alexander (91) and Jim Brown (88) for a player in their first 100 games. It also marked Peterson’s seventh season with at least 10 rushing touchdowns, trailing only Tomlinson (9) and Smith (8) in that category.

11,019: Larry Fitzgerald's career receiving yards
With five receptions for 52 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals impressive 40-11 beat down of Indianapolis, Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 yards receiving. At 30 years and 85 days of age, Fitz passed Randy Moss’ previous record of 30 years and 222 days. A month ago, the Cardinals' star wide receiver also became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 800 career catches (30 years, 57 days). Fitzgerald’s 11,019 yards rank 29th all-time in NFL history.

93-12: Colts' combined halftime deficit over the last four games
The Colts were down 27-3 at halftime against Arizona and never had a chance in the second half. Unfortunately, trailing big at halftime is a developing trend in Indianapolis. Over the last four games, the Colts has given up 93 first-half points while scoring just four field goals. That’s an average halftime score of 23-3. The first quarter has been even worse, as the Colts have been outscored 42-3 in the first 15 minutes during the same span. The Colts' last first-half touchdown came with 10 seconds left in the second quarter against Denver in Week 7. The only saving grace for Andrew Luck and the boys in blue is that Indy has somehow figured out a way to win two of those four games. It is a trend that cannot continue if the Colts want to win the AFC South, much less a playoff game.

209.7: Cam Newton's passing yards per game over his last seven contests
The Carolina Panthers were trailing 16-3 on the road against the Dolphins with less than a minute left in the first half. Cam Newton led two second-half touchdown drives, including one that ended with a game-winning, one-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen with 43 seconds left to play. It was the Panthers' seventh straight win but what is more impressive is how Carolina is winning. Newton has only averaged 209.7 yards passing per game during the seven-game streak. In the modern era of passing, that 209.7 average would currently rank 30th in the NFL behind names like Chad Henne, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mike Glennon and Case Keenum.

6: Teams tied for the final AFC Wild Card position
The Chargers (Chiefs), Titans (Raiders) and Steelers (Browns) all won key road games to move to 5-6 in the standings. The Ravens (Jets) won at home to do the same while the Jets and the Dolphins lost to fall to 5-6. It means that all six teams are tied for the final AFC Wild Card spot with no hope of a second team from this group making the postseason. The Titans currently own the tiebreaker due to straight up wins over the Jets, Steelers and Chargers while Pittsburgh and Baltimore sit at seventh and eighth in the AFC respectively. To put into perspective how mediocre the AFC is in 2013, the Titans would be 11th in the NFC right now at 5-6.

5-1: Jacksonville's and Tampa Bay's combined record over the last three weeks
The Bucs and Jags began the season a combined 0-16 by dropping their first eight of the 2013 campaign. Since Week 10, the Bucs have beaten the AFC Wild Card-hopeful Miami Dolphins, the defending NFC South champion Falcons and the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions on the road to win three straight. The Jags' first win came against the Titans, who currently hold the final AFC Wild Card spot, in Week 10, and they just topped the defending AFC South champion Texans on the road this past Sunday. A few weeks ago these two teams were battling for historic NFL ineptitude and now the Falcons, Texans and Vikings would all be picking ahead of them in the May NFL Draft.

Teaser:
Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/top-25-rivalries-college-football-history
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Pep bands, cheerleaders, tailgating, student sections, cornhole and especially rivalries. All of which makes college football the greatest sport on the planet. With one of the best weeks of the calendar year upon us, the Athlon staff is giving thanks for the 25 best rivalry games in college football history.

1. Army-Navy (Navy leads 57-49-7)
Go ahead and try to attend this game without experiencing a surge of patriotism. If the Super Hornets’ flyover doesn’t get you, the Army paratroopers will. If you miss the parades of Cadets and Midshipmen, then the non-stop spirit videos on the big board will stir your senses. By game’s end, no matter what the score, America wins. That may seem hokey to some, but they haven’t been there. Trust us, Army-Navy is college football in its purest state. Today, that’s something worth celebrating. Fans of the teams thirst for victory, and so do the players, who are truly playing for their fellow students. Afterward, they rejoin their classmates in preparation for military service, not an NFL career. For 364 days of the year, Army and Navy are on the same team. For three hours on a chilled December afternoon, they represent every soldier or sailor who has ever donned a uniform, walked a post or sailed into the dark of night. The football has been pretty good over the years, too. Five Heisman winners have participated in the rivalry, and dozens of Hall of Famers have taken the field representing the academies. Though Navy has dominated the scoreboard over the past decade, the game remains a huge draw and a still thrills fans across the country. Most important, it pits future military and government leaders against each other as they fight for their Academies and provide the country with an afternoon of prideful competition.

2. Alabama-Auburn (Alabama leads 42-34-1)
When Bill Curry was coaching at Alabama, he went to a Birmingham elementary school one day to speak with children about football and life. Upon entering the classroom, he saw a boy standing in the corner, sobbing. Curry wondered what was going on, and a student told him, “Jason is an Auburn fan, and we took care of him.” Curry brought Jason out of the corner and told him it was all right to root for the Tigers, no doubt angering the young Crimson Tide supporters in the room. Truth be told, it isn’t all right to be an Auburn fan — if you follow the Tide. Tiger fans feel the same way about Bama. If you live in the state of Alabama, you have to choose; you either yell “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.” You’re either a fan of the big-brother Crimson Tide, or Auburn, which has its roots in agricultural education and resents the perceived arrogance of its rival. In a state with no major professional sports team, Auburn-Alabama football is a religion. Curry’s minister once told him it was more important. It has been that way from the game’s earliest days, which proved to be so contentious that the schools stopped playing each other for 41 years. Once they resumed hostilities, they did so at a geographically neutral site, in Birmingham, but Auburn fans groused for decades because Legion Field was the Tide’s home away from home. That changed when the game moved to campus, but the vitriol has not abated. Fans of both teams crave victory, and a loss means a full year of misery from friends, co-workers and even family members. It’s enough to make someone want to stand in a corner and cry. And for the first time in Iron Bowl history, an SEC West —and potential BCS national championship — hangs in the balance for these two college football powerhouses.

3. Michigan-Ohio State (Michigan leads 58-45-6)
Some think the story is a tall tale, but others swear it’s true. After his Ohio State team scored its final touchdown late in a 50–14 rout of Michigan at the end of the 1968 season, Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes elected to go for two points, instead of kicking the PAT. When asked afterward why he did that, Hayes reportedly said, “Because they ­wouldn’t let me go for three.” Hayes’ hatred for “that team up north,” as he referred to Michigan, was legendary. Rest assured that Wolverine fans harbor no affection for the Buckeyes, either. The schools have met every year but five (1913-17) since 1900 — the teams’ first game was in 1897 — and their contests have become appointment viewing for much of the country, late in November, usually under gun-metal gray skies with a hint of winter in the air. More important, Big Ten supremacy is usually at stake, especially since Bo Schembechler took over in Ann Arbor in 1969 to turn the U-M fortunes around and provide an irascible counterbalance to the cantankerous Hayes. Since that point, Michigan-Ohio State has been the nation’s most consistently competitive and heated rivalry. Because the games have so much significance and occur at season’s end, a loss can be doubly haunting. Not only does the vanquished team lose to a hated foe, but its season can be destroyed also. There may be games that match these schools’ animosity for each other, and there may be contests that are as consistently important. But none combines the two into such a volatile package.

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Texas leads 60-43-5)

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

5. USC-Notre Dame (Notre Dame leads 45-35-5)
The nation’s top intersectional rivalry owes a debt of gratitude to some unfriendly residents of Lincoln, Neb., and Bonnie Rockne’s love of warm California weather. At a time when traditional gridiron matchups are being torn asunder by the whirling conference kaleidoscope, Notre Dame and USC continue their annual hostilities, treating the nation to a classic matchup of iconic programs. The schools almost didn’t get together. But in 1925, after ND dropped a 17–0 decision at Nebraska, before an inhospitable crowd of Cornhusker fans, coach Knute Rockne and his wife were joined on the train back to Chicago by USC athletic director Gwynn Wilson and his wife, Marion. While Wilson tried to convince Rockne to ditch the burgeoning rivalry with Nebraska for an annual trip west, Marion Wilson and Bonnie Rockne became fast friends in another train compartment. Rockne resisted Wilson’s entreaties, but his wife was enthralled with the idea of Los Angeles in the late fall. She later convinced her husband to play the Trojans. The resulting rivalry has lasted 85 years and has filled the college football history books with dozens of classic tales. More Heisman winners have played in the Notre Dame-USC game than in any other rivalry, and many a national championship hope has been validated with a victory in the game. Though the teams alternate between their home sites, playing in late November in L.A. and mid-October in South Bend, the game retains a glamour that defines it and is a product of two of college football’s most storied programs.

6. Georgia-Florida (Georgia leads 49-40-2*)
The festivities begin at “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” around Tuesday, when the big boats start cruising up the St. John’s River in Jacksonville. By game time, everybody is in a festive mood – except the players. The Bulldogs and Gators have engaged in some classics over the years, from Georgia’s thrilling comeback in 1980 to Florida’s soggy 1993 triumph. Cheers! What's more special about this rivalry? These two programs can't even agree on how many times they've actually played. Florida claims the two have met 90 times while the Bulldogs have 91* outcomes in the record books. The Gators claim the 52-0 loss in 1904 doesn't count because they had not yet technically started playing football yet. 

7. Miami-Florida State (Miami leads 31-27)
For a while there during the 1990s, there was more talent on the field when the ‘Canes and ‘Noles met up than in some NFL stadiums. And everybody wanted to put on a show. This matchup lacks the tradition and history of other rivalries, but the hostility is just as high. And there have been some classics. FSU fans still wince when they hear the words “Wide Right,” while Miami backers still cringe at the 34-3 beating their heroes absorbed in ’84.

8. Harvard-Yale (Yale leads 65-57-8)
The Crimson and Bulldogs may not have played the first-ever college football game, but both schools had hands in how the game developed into what we have today. The late-November meeting between the schools is a history lesson wrapped in a high-class tailgate party. Harvard and Yale no longer compete at college football’s highest level, but they remain forever linked to the sport’s earliest days.

9. Florida-Florida State (Florida leads 34-21-2)
For years, this was a big brother/little brother battle, with the establishment Gators looking down on the upstart Seminoles. Then, FSU started to win games – a lot of games – and things changed. This may lack the in-state hate of Auburn-Alabama, but don’t worry; the two sides harbor plenty of dislike for each other. During the past three decades, as both have competed for national laurels, their games have become more than just neighborhood brawls.

10. Cal-Stanford (Stanford leads 51-43-10)
To some, The Big Game is the province of the wine-and-cheese crowd, and the schools’ NoCal addresses reinforce that. But there can be no denying that these schools thirst to defeat each other. It’s a classic battle of private (Stanford) against public (Cal), and bragging rights go well beyond which side brings the best pinot to the pre-game party. Plus, what other rivalry can boast a game with a crazy ending as the 1982 contest: “The band is on the field!”

11. Pittsburgh-West Virginia (Pitt leads 61-40-3)
Only 75 miles separates the two combatants in the Backyard Brawl.  Unfortunately conference realignment (Pitt to the ACC, West Virginia to the Big 12) meant that last season this game didn't take place for the first time since 1942.

12. Texas-Texas A&M (Texas leads 76-37-5)
This Thanksgiving weekend tradition has been suspended, at least temporarily, with Texas A&M's move to the SEC. A Texas state legislator has introduced a bill that would require the two in-state teams to play each other.

13. Oregon-Oregon State (Oregon leads 60-46-10)
The Civil War has come a long way since the Ducks and Beavers played to a 0–0 tie in 1983.

14. BYU-Utah (Utah leads 53-31-4)
The Holy War might be the best name for any rivalry in the nation.

15. UCLA-USC (USC leads 46-29-7)
The Southern California showdown was dominated by UCLA from 1991-98, but the Bruins have just two victores (2006, '12) since.

16. Alabama-Tennessee (Alabama leads 51-38-8)
The Third Saturday in October means only one thing to people in the South: Alabama vs. Tennessee.

17. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Oklahoma leads 83-17-7)
T. Boone Pickens’ interest in the Oklahoma State program was piqued after the Pokes, 3–7 at the time, knocked OU out of the 2001 national title game with a 16–13 win.

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

19. Mississippi State-Ole Miss (Ole Miss leads 61-42-6)
The Egg Bowl is often the only way to salvage a season for these two programs that have struggled to win consistently in the SEC.

20. Auburn-Georgia (Auburn leads 55-54-8)
It’s the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and it dates back to 1892. Auburn holds the slimmest of margins, with a 54–52–8 edge in the series. The Prayer on the Plains from this year has only added to this historic battle's legacy.

21. Michigan-Michigan State (Michigan leads 68-33-5)
It pains MSU fans that Michigan’s biggest rival is Ohio State, but the “Little Brothers” from East Lansing have won the five of the last six in the series, including this year's most lop-sided Spartans win since the 1960s.

22. Minnesota-Wisconsin (Minnesota leads 59-57-8)
The winner of the Gophers vs. Badgers showdown takes home the prized Paul Bunyan Axe. It’s the most played rivalry in FBS football, dating back to 1890.

23. Michigan-Notre Dame (Michigan leads 24-16-1)
These two traditional powers have only played regularly for the past three decades, but they produced a ton of memorable moments. Strike a pose, Desmond!

23. Georgia-Georgia Tech (Georgia leads 63-40-5)
You know it’s a good rivalry when the book about the series is called Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

25. Lafayette-Lehigh (Lafayette leads 77-67-5)
The Rivalry, as it’s called, pits two small private schools located 17 miles apart in Eastern Pennsylvania. Lafayette and Lehigh have met 146 times, including every year since 1897.

Teaser:
The Top 25 Rivalries In College Football History
Post date: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-13
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:

3: SEC receiver tandems to top 1,000 yards in the same year
Only three times in SEC history has a team had two 1,000-yard pass catchers on the same team. LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. (1,101 yards) and Jarvis Landry (1,059 yards) became just the third set of wideouts to reach the milestone. In fact, the Tigers became just the second SEC team to boast such a duo as only Florida had accomplished the feat prior to 2013. 
Steve Spurrier did it with Chris Doering and Ike Hilliard in 1995 and again in 2001 with Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell. What's more impressive is how much of the load these two Bayou Bengals have carried this fall. These two have accounted for 123 of the 180 LSU completions, 2,160 of the 2,949 yards and 18 of 22 receiving touchdowns.

22-1: Les Miles' record at LSU following a loss
Johnny Manziel is virtually unstoppable unless you are Les Miles. The LSU Tigers swarmed the reigning Heisman winner all afternoon and came away with a dominant 34-10 win over Texas A&M in rainy Baton Rouge. It was Miles 22nd win in 23 tries following a loss. LSU won both lines of scrimmage with relative ease, likely using the horrendous showing in Tuscaloosa as motivation. The last time LSU lost back-to-back games under Les Miles was Nov. 22 and 28, 2008 in the final two games of Miles' worst season at the helm. Manziel has an un-Heisman-like 52 incomplete passes, 500 yards, one total touchdown, five interceptions and 2.8 yards per carry in two games against LSU — both losses.

246: Jordan Matthews' SEC record receptions
Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews was basically the only effective offensive player on the field in Knoxville this Saturday. He caught 13 passes for 133 yards in an ugly, low-scoring, mistake-filled conference win over in-state rival Tennessee. Matthews is already the SEC's all-time leader receiving in yards with 3,491 in his career. But he passed fellow Commodore Earl Bennett (236) as the SEC's all-time receptions leader as well. Matthews  has 246 catches with two games to play in his college career.

16: NCAA players to rush for 2,000 yards
Boston College's Andre Williams rushed for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries in yet another Eagles win. His performance against Maryland gives him 897 yards rushing over the last three weeks, 2,073 yards on the season and a nation's best 188.5 yards rushing per game. Williams posted the NCAA's second-best two-game stretch last week (634) and now has the all-time second-best three-game stretch in NCAA history behind only Barry Sanders (937). Sanders' NCAA single-season record of 2,628 yards isn't out of the question as Williams would need to keep this pace going at 287.5 over his last two games. He is the ACC's single-game and single-season rushing record holder.

158: Career wins for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, a school record
Barry Switzer won 157 games in 190 career tries in 16 seasons as the head coach in Norman. After a 41-31 win over Kansas State in Manhattan, Bob Stoops became the all-time winningest coach in Oklahoma history with 158 career victories. It took Stoops one less season (15) but seven more tries (197) to reach the milestone. More important, embattled coordinator and quarterback Josh Huepel and Trevor Knight put together the best offensive performance of the Sooners' season. Against a normally tough defense in a tough place to play, Oklahoma rushed for more than 300 yards behind excellent play-calling and efficient quarterback play. The Crimson and Cream now get two weeks to prepare for The Bedlam Game in Stillwater. Speaking of Stillwater…

12: Consecutive completions to start the game for Clint Chelf
In the biggest game of the year and the Big 12 championship hanging in the balance, Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf had the best game of his career. He completed his first 12 passes and sparked the Pokes to a 14-0 lead on previously unbeaten and No. 4 Baylor. By midway through the third quarter, he was 15-of-17 and held an insurmountable 28-3 lead over the Bears. He finished the 49-17 blowout 19-of-25 for a career-high 370 yards and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). This from a player who has averaged just 185.8 yards per game passing over his last six games since being put back in the lineup. Of course, Glenn Spencer and the Cowboys defense will get most of the headlines by holding the top scoring offense in the nation 47 points below its 61-point scoring average but Chelf was masterful in the win.

0: Completions and passing yards for Georgia Southern
No lower-division team has ever beaten Florida, and the 26-20 loss to Georgia Southern guarantees Will Muschamp will suffer the school's first losing season since 1979. What's more painful, the Eagles didn't even complete a pass. Georgia Southern didn't connect on any of their three total passing attempts, but the option team was able to run the ball at will. The 429 yards allowed on the ground were the most by a Florida team since Tommie Frazier and Nebraska rolled up 524 in the national championship showdown of 1995. Georgia Southern is the first team this season to defeat an FBS team without completing a pass.

9: Sacks by Arizona State against UCLA
With the Pac-12 South Division Championship within reach, Arizona State proceeded to cough up a 22-point lead to the Bruins. But the defensive line saved the day and clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game by pressuring Brett Hundley and holding on for a 38-33 win at the Rose Bowl. The defense finished with nine sacks and 10 tackles for loss on the day while holding UCLA to 3.7 yards per carry on 41 rushing attempts. It was the most sacks in a game for Arizona State since posting 12 quarterback takedowns against Washington State in 2009. Additionally, defensive end Carl Bradford got into the scoring column by snatching a Hundley pass out of the air and returning it 18 yards for a touchdown in the first half.

640: Brett Smith's Mountain West total offense record
Wyoming held on to defeat winless Hawaii in Laramie 59-56 in overtime. The Cowboys gained a school- and Mountain West-record 793 yards of offense while giving up 624 to Hawaii. Cowboys quarterback Brett Smith set the school and conference record while setting the season-high record for total offense in a game with 640 yards. He needed just 48 throws for 498 yards passing and seven touchdowns while adding 142 yards rushing and another touchdown on 19 carries on the ground. No one in college football this season has accounted for more touchdowns (eight) or produced more yards (640) in one game than Smith did on Saturday afternoon. This came on the same day that Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr threw for a school-record seven touchdowns and 527 yards against New Mexico.

2: ACC teams that scored 80 points
In 2012, the country played 15 full weeks of games and 35 bowls games and only once did a team score at least 80 points in a game. Oklahoma State in Week 1 of 2012 was the last FBS team to top the benchmark when it scored 84 on Savannah State. But in Week 13 of 2013, two teams in the same conference reached the 80-point plateau. North Carolina defeated Old Dominion 80-20 while Florida State beat Idaho 80-14, marking the first time a team has scored at least 80 points since the Cowboys did it in the '12 season opener. North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams threw for 409 yards and rushed for 60 more to set the Tar Heels single-game total offense record.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 13
Post date: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-13-awards-and-power-rankings
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If you don't where your team is in the Pac-12 standings, just wait a week and things will probably change. For the second straight week, the highest rated team and Pac-12 North leader lost on the road to a South Division team. Oregon fell in the desert, and with a convincing win in The Big Game, Stanford has clinched a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game. In the other division, the biggest game of the weekend out West featured a quarterback dual for the ages with Taylor Kelly outplaying Brett Hundley in a narrow division-clinching win in Pasadena for Arizona State. 

Needless to say, it was a Grand Canyon State weekend out West.

Offensive Player of the Week: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
In a week where star performances were plentiful — including Connor Halliday, Ty Montgomery and Taylor Kelly — it was the Wildcats who totally shook the apple cart out West by putting on a zone-read clinic against Oregon. Carey was once again the star of the show in what was arguably the biggest upset in the nation in Week 13. Carey posted his nation's best 14th straight 100-yard effort by carrying 48 times for 206 yards and four touchdowns. He is now second in the nation in rushing (155.9 ypg), first in the Pac-12 in rushing and tied for the league lead with 16 rushing TDs.

Defensive Player of the Week: Chris Young, LB, Arizona State
There were many defensive stars for Arizona State despite giving up 33 points. Carl Bradford had eight tackles, an interception her returned for a touchdown and registered one of ASU's nine sacks. Davon Coleman had five tackles and 2.5 of his own sacks. But the team's leading tackler Chris Young gets the nod for across the board production. He posted 13 tackles and three sacks in the division clinching road win over UCLA. This group will be challenged in a big way next weekend by Rich Rodriguez in a big-time Grand Canyon State showdown.

Team of the Week: The State of Arizona
Both Arizona schools posted monumental conference victories this weekend. Arizona's zone-read was too much for the Oregon Ducks as Rich Rodriguez' bunch rushed for 304 yards and forced three turnovers to top the No. 5 team in the nation. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils went into the Rose Bowl and clinched the South Division championship. Arizona State sacked Brett Hundley nine times and Taylor Kelly was excellent again (322 yards total offense, 2 total TD). These two will meet for the Duel in the Desert next week in not only a battle for the Territorial Cup but also home field advantage in the Pac-12 title game. Should ASU win next week, Sun Devil Stadium will host the championship while a loss means ASU must head back to Palo Alto for the second time this year.

Coordinator of the Week: Jeff Casteel, Arizona
The Wildcats entered Saturday ranked eighth in the Pac-12 in total defense, allowing 387.9 yards per game. And while Oregon posted 506 yards of offense, Jeff Casteel got critical stops when it needed to in order to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the nation this weekend. His defense forced three turnovers and allowed a season-low 16 points to an offense that was averaging more than 50 points per game. Arizona held the Pac-12's top rushing offense to nearly 100 yards less (198) than it had been averaging on the season (285.9 ypg). Another challenge awaits next weekend in the season finale.

Freshman of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
Wright joined one of college football's most exclusive clubs this weekend. He intercepted Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. He and teammate Shaquille Richardson are the only two players in the nation to have done that to the Ducks quarterback this year. Wright collected six tackles and one for a loss in the landscape shifting upset over Oregon. Wright is No. 2 among Pac-12 freshmen with 76 stops this season.
 

Pac-12 Post-Week 13 Power Rankings:

RankTeamLWRecordThis WeekNext Week
1(1)9-2, 7-2W, Cal, 63-13 Notre Dame
2(2)9-2, 6-2L, Arizona, 42-14Oregon St
3(3)9-2, 7-1W, UCLA, 38-33   Arizona
4(4)8-3, 5-3L, Arizona St, 38-33 at USC
5(5)9-3, 6-2W, Colorado, 47-29 UCLA
6(6)7-4, 4-4W, Oregon St, 69-27Washington St
7(7)6-5, 4-4L, Washington, 69-27at Oregon
8(8)6-5, 4-4W, Arizona, 24-17at Washington
9(9)7-4, 4-4W, Oregon, 42-16 at Arizona St
10(10)4-7, 1-7L, Washington St, 49-37at Washington 
11(11)4-7, 1-7L, USC, 47-29at Utah
12(12)1-11, 0-9L, Stanford, 63-13 Bye

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 13 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-13-awards-and-power-rankings
Body:

It was a throwback weekend in the Big Ten. Blistering temperatures and inclement weather impacted every game in the league and below freezing temperatures, gusting winds and even heavy snow played a role in Week 13.

That said, Ohio State and Michigan State weren't affected as both teams stayed unbeaten in conference play. The third Big Ten title game is now set as both the Spartans and Buckeyes have clinched their respective divisions.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 13 Superlatives:

Co-Offensive Players of the Week: Jeremy Langford and Connor Cook, Michigan State
Quarterback Connor Cook executed with precision on the road against Northwestern this weekend. With great ball-handling and accurate passing in windy Chicago, he orchestrated the Spartans offense to 464 yards and 30 points in the division-clinching win at Northwestern. He threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Langford was once again the workhorse for Mark Dantonio. He carried 25 times and caught three passes for 185 yards from scrimmage and two touchdown runs of at least 20 yards. It is Langford's sixth consecutive 100-yard rushing effort — something a Michigan State back hasn't done since the great Lorenzo White did it in 1985.

Defensive Player of the Week: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The Ohio State linebacker is battling with Chris Borland for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year — who had 12 tackles, two forced fumbles and a recovery against Minnesota. But Shazier posted a stat line for the ages. The hard-hitting Buckeye totaled 20 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble in the demolition of a once-respected Indiana offense. Shazier might have played his final game in the Horseshoe and he now is third nationally with 20.5 tackles for loss this year.

Team of the Week: Division Champions
Both teams won easily against inferior competition, but the Spartans and Buckeyes share Team of the Week honors after each clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State extended the nation's longest winning streak to a school-record 23 games in the snow-capped drubbing of Indiana at home. Meanwhile, Michigan State's No. 1-rated defense in the nation shut down an injured Northwestern offense while the underrated Spartans' offense executed masterfully on the road. Both teams are likely to finish perfect in league play in the final week and it sets up a perfect title tout in Indianapolis in two weeks.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin
Aranda is making a strong case as one of the top coordinators in the Big Ten. His team totally stuffed the surging Golden Gophers on the road in a rivalry win for the Badgers. Wisconsin allowed just 185 yards of offense and held an opponent under 10 points for the seventh time in 2013 — trailing only Alabama in that category nationally. In fact, Minnesota's only points came on a defensive interception return. The Gophers finished 3-of-13 on third downs, just 9-of-23 passing the ball as a team, tallied just 11 first downs, turned the ball over three times and averaged 3.2 yards per carry.

Freshman of the Week: Michael Rose, LB, Nebraska
The redshirt freshman from Kansas City is starting to see his role expanded on defense. He played in only two of the team's first six games but has made a big impact in the Huskers resurgent final month of the season. After eight tackles in an overtime win over Penn State on the road, Rose has now posted at least seven tackles in three straight games. His 5.7 tackles per game trails only Indiana's T.J. Simmons among Big Ten freshmen.
 
Big Ten Post-Week 13 Power Rankings:
 TeamLWRecordThis WeekNext Week
1.(1)11-0, 7-0W, Indiana, 42-14at Michigan
2.

(2)10-1, 7-0W, Northwestern, 30-6 Minnesota
3.

(3)9-2, 6-1W, Minnesota, 20-7Penn St
4.

(4)8-3, 4-3L, Wisconsin, 20-7 at Michigan St
5.

(5)8-3, 5-2W, Penn St, 23-20 (OT)Iowa
6.(7)7-4, 4-3W, Michigan, 24-21at Nebraska
7.

(6)

7-4, 3-4

L, Iowa, 24-21Ohio St
8.

(8)6-5, 3-4L, Nebraska, 23-20 (OT)at Wisconsin
9.

(9)4-7, 2-5L, Ohio St, 42-14Purdue
10.

(10)4-7, 0-7L, Michigan St, 30-6 at Illinois
11.

(11)4-7, 1-6W, Purdue, 20-16 Northwestern
12.

(12)1-10, 0-7L, Illinois, 20-16at Indiana

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 13 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-13-picks
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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. Vanderbilt and Baylor both scored late last week to give me two back door covers and it salvaged my weekend. The games I felt the best about — Kansas State and South Carolina — disappointed in a big way. For the season, however, I am still in the black.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 35-28-1 (2-3 last week)

Week 13 Picks of the Week:

Baylor (-9.5) at Oklahoma State
The Bears are clicking on all cylinders on offense. But so is Oklahoma State. These are the top two scoring offenses in the Big 12 and these two combined for nearly 1,200 yards of offense in last season's meeting. Baylor hasn’t won in Stillwater since 1939 and the Pokes are playing the best football of the season. Oklahoma State may not win outright but nearly 10 points at home for a Mike Gundy offense seems like way too much to me. Prediction: Oklahoma State +9.5

Utah (+1.5) at Washington State
The Utes are without star quarterback and offensive force Travis Wilson this weekend and likely for the rest of the season. Washington State is poised to make a bowl game for the first time in a decade in Mike Leach’s second season. Utah has lost four straight and has been competitive at home but has lost three Pac-12 road games by an average of 16 points. Take the Cougars’ underrated defense to cover this spread fairly easily. Prediction: Washington State -1.5

Michigan State (-7) at Northwestern
Northwestern is on the verge of utter and complete collapse and Michigan State is staring at a Big Ten Legends Division championship. Should the Spartans win, they would clinch the division and nothing about Northwestern’s struggling offense indicates it can score on the nation’s best defense. The tall grasses of Ryan Field actually help Sparty’s physical style of play and it means the Wildcats have no chance to win. Prediction: Michigan State -7

Hawaii (+5.5) at Wyoming
The Warriors haven’t won a game this season and this weekend won’t be the first. Hawaii is scoring 19.6 points per game on the road and giving up 38.4 on the road. The Cowboys have been crushed the last two weeks but that came against the best two teams in the Mountain West (Boise State and Fresno State) and that seems to have skewed the line. It will be cold in Laramie and Norm Chow’s bunch won’t be competitive. Prediction: Wyoming -5.5

Week 13 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
Idaho (+57) at No. 2 Florida St
Indiana (+34.5) at No. 3 Ohio St
No. 4 Baylor (-9.5) at No. 10 Oklahoma St
No. 5 Oregon at Arizona
No. 8 Missouri (-3) at No. 24 Ole Miss
Cal (+31.5) at No. 9 Stanford
No. 12 Texas A&M (+4.5) at No. 22 LSU
No. 13 Michigan St (-7.5) at Northwestern
No. 17 Arizona St (-1.5) at No. 14 UCLA
New Mexico (-31.5) at No. 15 Fresno St
No. 19 Wisconsin (-16.5) at No. 25 Minnesota
No. 20 Oklahoma (+4.5) at Kansas St
Memphis (+24.5) at No. 21 Louisville
No. 23 USC (-22.5) at Colorado
Last Week:8-8-17-9-17-9-110-6-1
Year-To-Date:99-92-495-96-494-97-4101-90-4

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 13 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 22, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/top-college-football-player-matchups-watch-week-13
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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:

Johnny Manziel, QB vs. Lamin Barrow, LB
Texas A&M at LSU


One of the game’s most explosive and entertaining players will make his debut in one of the game’s best venues. LSU’s defense, led by leading tackler Barrow, plays much better at home (283.8 ypg) than it does on the road (423.6 ypg). Manziel played the worst game of his short career in the loss to LSU at home last season, throwing for 276 yards and three interceptions on 29-of-56 passing while rushing for just 27 yards on 17 carries. It is the only career game in which he's failed to reach the end zone in some capacity. Barrow is averaging 7.5 tackles per game and is one of two SEC Butkus Award finalists. He registered 8.0 tackles and 1.0 for a loss in the win over the Aggies last season. This will be an electric showdown between two proud players, teams and coaches.

Marion Grice, RB vs. Anthony Barr, LB
Arizona State at UCLA


Arguably the top defensive prospect in the nation, Barr has quickly become the second-most popular Bruins linebacker. Myles Jack is getting all of the headlines (rightly so) for his play on both sides of the ball, however, Barr will be charged with stopping Taylor Kelly, Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. Last season, the Sun Devils' trio combined for 164 yards rushing and were responsible for all five ASU touchdowns (Kelly had four TD passes) in the 45-43 loss to the Bruins. Barr posted five total tackles and a sack in the win. Grice and Foster combine for 238.7 all-purpose yards per game in 2013 and it falls to the talented Bruins backer to make big plays in both the running and passing game.

Levi Norwood, WR vs. Justin Gilbert, CB
Baylor at Oklahoma State


The Cowboys' cornerback is making a bid for All-America consideration with six interceptions this season. His two picks against Texas last week, including an interception for a touchdown, essentially sealed the game for Oklahoma State. On Saturday, he’ll be facing Bryce Petty, one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country, plus a dynamic set of receivers. Norwood, a No. 3 receiver two weeks ago, caught seven passes for 156 yards for two touchdowns against Texas Tech last Saturday.

Michael Sam, DE vs. Laremy Tunsil, OT
Missouri at Ole Miss


Ole Miss has played Texas, Alabama and LSU, but Missouri might have the best defensive line the Rebels will see this season. The Tigers, led by senior end Michael Sam, lead the league in sacks with 34 and rank second in rushing defense (111.9 ypg). The Rebs’ offensive line will need to protect quarterback Bo Wallace, who has done a great job this season limiting his mistakes. Last season — his first as a starter — Wallace threw 17 interceptions in 13 games; this year, he has five in 10 games.

Week 13 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Will Sutton, DL vs. Myles Jack, LB
Arizona State at UCLA


Wait, how could a defensive lineman and a linebacker be going head-to-head? UCLA has been using Jack on offense as a running back, in particular around the goal line and in short yardage situations. Jack is a physical freak of an athlete as his five rushing touchdowns in two games can attest. It falls to Sutton, the leader of the Sun Devils' defensive line, to gear up to stop a bruising linebacker-turned-power runner if Arizona State wants to win the Pac-12 South.

Chris Borland, LB vs. David Cobb, RB
Wisconsin at Minnesota


A quiet hero of the Golden Gophers' storybook second half has been the junior from Killeen, Texas. Cobb has turned into a workhorse during the current four-game winning streak, carrying 26.8 times for 142 yards rushing per game. He has been over 100 yards in four straight games and has scored in back-to-back contests. To keep the Badgers off of the field, Cobb needs to give Philip Nelson and the offense some protection on the ground against a defense giving up just 98.8 yards rushing per game.

Ameer Abdullah, RB vs. Glenn Carson, LB
Nebraska at Penn State


Abdullah has posted seven straight 100-yard efforts and is in a battle with Wiconsin's Melvin Gordon for the Big Ten rushing championship. He was the first player to top 100 yards against Michigan State all season last weekend and will face another strong front this Saturday. Linebacker U has two excellent, experienced tacklers in Glenn Carson and Mike Hull. These two lead the team in tackles with 75 and 62 tackles respectively on the season. Against Nebraska’s star running back, Penn State’s linebackers will need to be disciplined and physical.

Jerron Seymour, RB vs. Daniel McCullers, DT
Vanderbilt at Tennessee


McCullers is a huge — as in 351 pounds — defensive tackle who is capable of being a difference-maker on a Tennessee defense that ranks last in the SEC in stopping the run. Vanderbilt has struggled at times against big run-stuffing tackles. Last week, Kentucky’s Donte Rumph had 10 tackles and was a big reason the Commodores’  two tailbacks (Seymour and Brian Kimbrow) only averaged 3.4 yards per carry. If McCullers can help slow down the rushing attack and make quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels uncomfortable in the pocket, Tennessee will have a great chance to win the game.

Teaser:
Top College Football Player Matchups to Watch in Week 13
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 10:07
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-13-preview-and-predictions
Body:

There isn’t a marquee showdown in the Big Ten this weekend but there are a host of interesting games. Michigan State can clinch the Legends Division, two NCAA blue bloods get together in Happy Valley, two coaching staffs fight for their lives in Iowa City, someone has to win in West Lafayette and the most-played rivalry in college football will feature two ranked teams.

Week 13 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 13 Game Power Rankings:

1. Wisconsin (-16) at Minnesota (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The oldest rivalry in college football history began back in 1890 and Minnesota holds a slight edge in the all-time series, which stands at 58-56-8. However, this Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe has been extremely one-sided of late. Wisconsin has won nine straight, 16 of the last 18 meetings and hasn’t won by less than 18 points since 2009. Despite head coach Jerry Kill remaining in the press box for the game, this appears to be the Gophers' best shot at ending the streak in some time. Minnesota’s running game has been nearly as potent as the Badgers', ranking 20th nationally with 218.5 yards per game. The key, however, won’t be stopping the Wisconsin running game (because no one can truly “stop” it), it will be moving the ball on the nation’s No. 6-rated total defense (287.8 ypg) and scoring points on the nation’s fifth-rated scoring defense (14.0 ppg). Philip Nelson will have to play a perfect football game under center and tailback David Cobb will have to continue to be the workhorse he’s developed into over the last month.

2. Michigan State (-7.5) at Northwestern (Noon, ESPN)
Connor Cook, Jeremy Langford and the nation’s No. 1 defense did something last week no MSU team has ever done — it beat Nebraska. Now, the Spartans can clinch the Legends Division title and secure a date with Ohio State in the Big Ten title game with a road win at Northwestern. The Wildcats simply need something positive to happen after losing six straight. A loss would knock Pat Fitzgerald out of the postseason for the first time since his second season in Evanston in 2007. In fact, Ryan Field has been a safe haven for the Spartans ever since Fitzgerald got to town. The Wildcats are 0-4 against Michigan State at home under Coach Fitz. With some of the most heart-breaking losses in the nation this year, it’s hard to tell if the ball should finally bounce the Cats way or if they are destined for a winless Big Ten campaign.

3. Nebraska (+2) at Penn State (3:30 p.m., BTN)
The visual contrast between Nebraska’s Big Red and the Nittany Lions’ navy blue is a sight to behold — even if the teams have combined for seven losses this year. The Huskers have won both Big Ten meetings between the two and have won four out of five dating back to 1983. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg is coming off his best game (152.64 rating) since a Week 3 loss to UCF (165.38) and has shown he is a much more efficient player at home. Nebraska lost for the first time without Taylor Martinez under center last week to Michigan State and Bo Pelini will need to rebuild the confidence of both Tommy Armstrong (9-of-21) and Ron Kellogg III (67 yards total offense) quickly to top Penn State in Happy Valley. Ameer Abdullah is locked in a heated battle with Melvin Gordon for the Big Ten rushing championship after topping 100 yards for the seventh straight game last week — the first back to top the century mark against the Spartans all season.

4. Michigan (+6) at Iowa (Noon, BTN)
Wolverines offensive coordinator Al Borges is feeling the heat after yet another lackluster offensive performance against Northwestern last week. Kirk Ferentz could end all hot seat discussions with two wins to end the season over rivals Michigan and Nebraska. Devin Gardner posted the best passing game of his career (until Indiana this year) in the blowout win over Iowa last fall but comes in struggling to move the ball. The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, have had two weeks to prepare after crushing Purdue on both sides of the ball. Both coaching staffs desperately need a win as the final two weeks will shape offseason perceptions of both programs dramatically. Nine wins looks totally different than seven in Ann Arbor while eight is a big jump from six in Iowa City.

5. Indiana (+34.5) at Ohio State (3:30 p.m., ABC)
This was an exciting 52-49 road win for the Buckeyes last season. And while it’s easy to root for Kevin Wilson and the upstart Hoosiers offense, there is just no way they will be as competitive this time around. Indiana allowed 554 yards on 11.1 yards per carry and six touchdowns on the ground to Wisconsin last week while Urban Meyer continues to ride his own power rushing attack. The only team better at running the ball than the Badgers in the Big Ten is Ohio State. The Bucks are fourth nationally with 315.1 yards rushing per game. Best of luck, Indiana. 

6. Illinois (-7) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
Someone has to win, right? Neither team has registered a Big Ten win in 2013 and both are nearing monumental lows in production. Illinois has lost 20 consecutive Big Ten games, including two close losses to the Boilermakers the last two seasons. Purdue meanwhile might be the worst power conference team in the nation, failing to come within one score of the opposition in eight of their nine losses (Notre Dame, 31-24). Nathan Scheelhaase, who leads the Big Ten in total offense at 290.5 yards per game, might be the only competent offensive weapon on the field this Saturday.

Big Ten Week 13 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Ohio State's BCS title hopes and preview Week 13 in this edition of Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
 1. Minnesota’s defensive line
The Badgers' offensive attack isn’t some secret mystery. They are going to run the football… a lot. Minnesota star defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman can’t do all the work alone, however, as he will need support from those around him to stop the powerful Wisconsin ground game. The Gophers defeated Nebraska, Indiana and Penn State despite giving up 202.0 yards rushing per game on 5.9 yards per carry over their last three. If Minnesota gives up six yards per rush to Wisconsin, this won’t be a close game.

2. David Cobb, RB, Minnesota
A quiet hero of the Golden Gophers' storybook second half has been the junior from Killeen, Texas. Cobb has turned into a workhorse during the four-game winning streak, carrying 26.8 times per game for 142 yards rushing per contest. He has been over 100 yards in four straight and has scored in back-to-back games. To keep the Badgers off of the field, Cobb needs to give Philip Nelson and the offense some protection on the ground against a defense giving up just 98.8 yards rushing per game.

3. Penn State’s linebackers
Linebacker U has two excellent upperclassmen tacklers in Glenn Carson and Mike Hull. These two lead the team in tackles with 75 and 62 respectively on the season. Against Nebraska star running back Ameer Abdullah, Penn State’s linebackers will need to be disciplined and physical. 

4. Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Before throwing for 504 yards against Indiana this year, Gardner’s top passing effort came in the 42-17 drubbing of Iowa in the Big House last season (314 yards, 3 TD). And more than just bragging rights or bowl pecking order is on the line, Gardner’s legacy hangs in the balance. He has failed to live up to expectations for much of the season and how he plays over the final two weeks will mold how Michigan is thought of heading into his senior season in 2014. He has finally eliminated the turnovers from his game but Iowa’s defense is opportunistic and will be looking to make plays at home.

5. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Calhoun is in a heated battle with Chris Borland, Randy Gregory and Ryan Shazier (among others) for Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Big Ten. Against a Northwestern team that is 117th in the nation in sacks allowed (3.4 per game) and with a chance to clinch the division, Calhoun has a chance to put together a season-defining performance on the road in Evanston.

Big Ten Week 13 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Wisconsin (-16) at MinnesotaWisconsin, 41-24Wisconsin, 38-15Wisconsin, 34-24Wisconsin, 35-24
Michigan St (-7.5) at N'WesternMich. St, 31-13Mich. St, 20-7Mich. St, 27-10Mich. St, 28-7
Nebraska (+2) at Penn StPenn St, 27-24Nebraska, 27-13 Nebraska, 27-24Penn St, 28-24 
Michigan (+6) at IowaIowa, 21-20Iowa, 17-10Iowa, 24-20Iowa, 21-17
Indiana (+34.5) at Ohio StOhio St, 51-31Ohio St, 55-21Ohio St, 54-27Ohio St, 49-21
Illinois (-7) at PurdueIllinois, 34-20Illinois, 34-21Illinois, 34-20Illinois, 38-24
Last Week:4-15-05-05-0
Year-to-date:71-1374-1074-1071-13

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 13 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-13-preview-and-predictions
Body:

USC is still very much in the Pac-12 South race after the upset of Stanford last weekend, but for all intents and purposes, Arizona State visiting UCLA will determine the division champion this weekend. But the Rose Bowl isn’t the only point of interest out West as Washington State tries to get bowl eligible, the North's bowl pecking order will be sorted out in Corvallis and both Oregon and USC try to avoid critical upsets.

Week 13 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 13 Game Power Rankings

1. Arizona State (-2) at UCLA (7 p.m. ET, FOX)
The Pac-12 South Championship and a date with (likely) Oregon hangs in the balance in the Rose Bowl Saturday night. And it has all the makings of an instant classic: two great quarterbacks, a history of close games, two quality coaches and defensive star power. The last two meetings have been decided by a total of three points and the loser has averaged 35.0 points per game over the last three. Taylor Kelly (315 yards, 4 TD) and Brett Hundley (274 yards, 4 TD) were fantastic in this meeting last season in the Bruins' 45-43 win in Tempe. Arizona State has the significant edge on the defensive side of the ball as it leads the Pac-12 in total defense (338.4 ypg) and has allowed just 58.4 yards rushing during the five-game winning streak. Contrast that to UCLA, which has given up 442.4 yards per game over its last five. The X-factor will be two-way star freshman Myles Jack and his ability to pick up tough yards on the ground as a running back.

2. Oregon (-20.5) at Arizona (3:30 p.m., ABC)
The last time Oregon lost to Arizona was in November 2007 when it brought a Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback with a bum knee to the desert. The Ducks left Tuscon on the losing end of a 34-24 game and Oregon fans are praying an ugly re-injury like they saw with Dennis Dixon six years ago doesn’t happen again to their star signal-caller. Otherwise, the Ducks have rolled up big numbers in this series since that last loss to the Wildcats, scoring 50.4 points per game during the five-game winning streak. Marcus Mariota didn’t run much last week but proved he can win with his right arm, throwing for 288 yards and three touchdowns against Utah. The only chance Arizona has at another upset is to lean heavily on Ka’Deem Carey, who puts his 13-game, 100-yard rushing streak on the line. The Ducks held him to 79 yards on 21 carries in the 49-0 drubbing in Eugene last season.

3. Washington (+7) at Oregon State (10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
In the preseason, the “other” debate in the Pac-12 North was which team was the third-best in the division. This game will decide it once and for all, as both teams enter with 6-4 records. Bowl pecking order and pride is all that is on the line for these two programs and that should be enough for a great showing. Oregon State has lost three straight games and Sean Mannion hasn’t taken care of the football — seven interceptions in the last two games. Meanwhile, Keith Price’s status is uncertain after missing most of the UCLA game last Friday due to an injured throwing shoulder. If Price can’t go, expect highly touted redshirt freshman Cyler Miles to get the nod. Miles was solid in spot duty, throwing for two touchdowns and 149 yards against UCLA. The home team has won each of the last four meetings but the series has been dominated by the Beavers since 2003 with Oregon State winning seven of the last nine overall.

4. Utah (+1.5) at Washington State (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The second straight trip on the road against a North Division team for Utah has quickly become a critical game for both coaching staffs. Both programs have eyes on the postseason as Utah needs to win each of its remaining games to reach a bowl and Washington State is just one victory away from a postseason trip. The Utes have lost four straight games and six overall in the league but have been competitive in all but one (Oregon). Kyle Whittingham will be without quarterback Travis Wilson and sophomore Adam Schulz is listed atop the depth chart. All of Wazzu’s Pac-12 wins have come away from home and its only home wins have come over Southern Utah and Idaho this season. Utah has won two straight in Pullman and the Cougars' last win at home over the Utes came in 1984.

5. USC (-22.5) at Colorado (9:30 p.m., CBS Sports)
The letdown factor is certainly in full effect for the surging Trojans and cult hero head man Ed Orgeron. After topping Stanford at home in a physical heavyweight bout, USC must go into the Rockies and stay focused with the Pac-12 South title still within reach. Mike MacIntrye has the Buffs showing signs of life with freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau playing well. However, Colorado is going up against history as the Buffaloes have never beaten USC in seven tries. In fact, USC has outscored CU 190-47 all-time and has won the two conference meetings 92-23 since the Buffs joined the league.

6. Cal (+31.5) at Stanford (4 p.m., FS1)
It is a testament to the depth and quality of the Pac-12 that The Big Game is the least appealing contest in the league this weekend. It’s also an indictment of the current state of the Golden Bears' program. Sonny Dykes is a well-respected coaching mind but this rebuilding project is much worse than he anticipated. The Cardinal still have much to play for should Oregon slip up so don’t expect David Shaw’s bunch to take it easy on their cross-town rival.

Pac-12 Week 13 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox preview discuss Coach O's job status and preview ASU-UCLA on this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Arguably the top defensive prospect in the nation, Barr has quickly become the second-most popular Bruins linebacker. Myles Jack is getting all of the headlines (rightly so) for his play on both sides of the ball, however, Barr will be charged with stopping Arizona State's Taylor Kelly, Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. Last season, the Sun Devils' trio combined for 164 yards rushing and were responsible for all five ASU touchdowns (Kelly had four TD passes) in the 45-43 loss to the Bruins. Barr posted five total tackles and a sack in the win. Grice and Foster combine for 238.7 all-purpose yards per game in 2013 and it falls to the talented Bruins backer to make big plays in both the running and passing game.

2. Arizona State’s linebackers
Just as UCLA’s backers will be key for the Bruins, so too will the Sun Devils' corps. Senior Chris Young leads ASU in tackles (7.1 pg) and has posted 23 stops in the last two games. Freshman Salamo Fiso is third on the team in tackles and is coming off a career-best eight-tackle performance against Oregon State. Stopping a versatile quarterback like Brett Hundley and a physical specimen like Myles Jack falls to Todd Graham’s linebackers.

3. Oregon’s running backs
The best way to keep Marcus Mariota healthy is to get the ball out of his hands quickly. This means De’Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall will need to shoulder the offensive load in Tucson. These two only carried a total of 15 times last weekend for 77 yards and will need to be a bigger part of the offense this weekend if Oregon wants to escape a tricky upset situation. Thomas Tyner, Ayele Forde and Lane Roseberry should also get carries as well to help take pressure off Mariota. Should this group be successful, the Ducks will maintain their position atop the Pac-12 North.

4. Connor Halliday, QB, Washington
Mike Leach and the Cougars are trying to get bowl eligible for the first time since 2006. Should Halliday play like he did last week against Arizona, Washington State will be celebrating on Saturday night. Halliday was the Offensive Player of the Week in the Pac-12 after throwing for 319 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the road upset of the Wildcats. He only threw nine passes last year in the 49-6 loss to the Utes in Salt Lake City, but it's a safe bet that number will increase dramatically this time around.

5. Washington’s quarterbacks
If Keith Price starts, he won’t be fully healthy after leaving last week’s game with a injured throwing shoulder. If he can't play, redshirt freshman Cyler Miles will make his first career start in a hostile environment against a team that leads the Pac-12 in interceptions with 17. Price and/or Miles will have to play efficient football to top Oregon State on the road. In two career bouts against the Beavers, Price is 1-1 with 270 yards passing, one TD and two INTs.

Pac-12 Week 13 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Arizona St (-2) at UCLAUCLA, 38-31UCLA, 34-30Arizona St, 38-34UCLA, 28-17 
Oregon (-20.5) at ArizonaOregon, 42-21 Oregon, 44-17Oregon, 45-24Oregon, 38-21
Washington (+7) at Oregon StWash., 34-31Wash., 34-23Ore. St, 34-31Ore. St, 31-27
Utah (+1.5) at Washington StWazzu, 33-24 Wazzu, 27-24 Wazzu, 31-24Wazzu, 35-21
USC (-22.5) at ColoradoUSC, 31-17 USC, 38-6USC, 34-13USC, 38-14
Cal (+31.5) at StanfordStanford, 38-3 Stanford, 34-6Stanford, 45-13 Stanford, 42-10
Last Week: 4-24-24-24-2
Year-to-date:65-1463-1667-1261-18

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 13 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-12-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.

The 2013 Heisman race is quickly becoming one of the more bizarre battles in Heisman history. There are five clear-cut frontrunners who are all extremely deserving. And most of them have marquee, championship-type showdowns still to come. With little movement in Week 12, fans can bet Week 13 could be a huge Heisman weekend for more than a few candidates.

Post-Week 12 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(1)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St57742--
2.(2)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M4954121
3.(3)Bryce PettyQBBaylor38-283-
4.(4)Marcus MariotaQBOregon2813124
5.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama15--144
6.(ur)Andre WilliamsRBBoston College5---13
7.(6)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois3---11

Heisman Headlines:

Boring Week Behind Us. Any week that Johnny Manziel doesn’t play could be considered a boring Heisman weekend. But, on top of that, Jameis Winston, Bryce Petty and Marcus Mariota won by a combined 108 points and scored a total of 10 touchdowns. AJ McCarron didn’t play a great game (187 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) but he also led two critical scoring drives to beat an upstart Mississippi State team.

Top Two Will Hold Serve. McCarron and Alabama hosts Chattanooga while Winston and Florida State host Idaho. There is really nothing to see here with either team or player. In fact, it’s a lose-lose Heisman situation for both players this weekend. Week 13 should maintain BCS National Championship status quo for both teams. Let’s move on to the good stuff…

Manziel’s Showcase. Over the last two weeks, Johnny Manziel will have not one but two huge road SEC showcase games to make his Heisman case. It begins this weekend in Baton Rouge when Texas A&M battles LSU on the bayou. The Tigers have lost only one time in Tiger Stadium since Georgia beat LSU on Oct. 25, 2008 (Alabama, 2012). Manziel’s worst career game came against the Bayou Bengals last season in College Station — 29-of-56, 276 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, 17 attempts, 27 rush yards — and fans can bet that he will be motivated in a big way to get his revenge. LSU’s defense has struggled on the road but has been very salty at home. This one should be epic.

Bryce Leads Baylor. Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes not only hang in the balance this weekend in Stillwater but so do the Bears’ Big 12 and BCS national title hopes. Oklahoma State is surging after winning six straight in the league and hasn’t lost in Stillwater to Baylor since 1939. Petty has accounted for 34 touchdowns and just one interception all season and is leading the nation in passing efficiency (206.23). A road win over Oklahoma State not only could vault Petty to the top of Heisman ballots but possibly into the BCS title game.

Andre the Giant. Boston College has gone from two wins to six in one season under Steve Addazio with the help of workhorse tailback Andre Williams. The Eagles tailback has 634 yards over his last two games and now owns the ACC single-game (339 yards) and single-season rushing records (1,810). He still has three games to go and, if he keeps his recent pace, has an outside shot at making a push at Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season record (2,628 yards, 1988). He is the only non-QB on the ballot this weekend.

Arizona Upset Alert. Marcus Mariota leads the Pac-12 frontrunners into the desert this weekend to face the Wildcats. And Oregon fans are queasy for a reason.  The Ducks last lost in Tucson when an injured dual-threat Heisman candidate — Dennis Dixon — crippled his stiff-armed chances by re-injuring his torn-up knee in a loss to Arizona. Just reading that sentence should make Oregon fans nervous about this potential upset spot. Rich Rodriguez’ team is overmatched but will be amped up against the top team in the league.

The Voting Panel:

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

 

Teaser:
College Football: Post-Week 12 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-13
Body:

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 13.

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

Baylor will do something it hasn’t done since 1939
Oklahoma State is surging, winners of six straight including crushing Texas in Austin last Saturday. The Cowboys also have not lost to Baylor in Stillwater since 1939. That all ends this weekend as the Bears put their Big 12 and BCS title hopes on the line against Mike Gundy and the Pokes. Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes hang in the balance as well. This is easily the toughest test to date for Art Briles' bunch, but this Bears team is up to the task. Baylor defeated OSU last year 41-34, as the two teams combined for nearly 1,200 yards of offense. Look for a repeat performance from the Bears and a win in Stillwater for the first time in over 70 years.

Urban Meyer will have a 1,000-yard rusher
Meyer has won two BCS National Championships, four conference titles, is about to post his second undefeated regular season and coached 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. But he’s never had a 1,000-yard rusher on any of his teams. Carlos Hyde will change all of that this weekend against Indiana. The Hoosiers just allowed 554 yards rushing to Wisconsin and Hyde is coming off a 246-yard performance against Illinois. Meyer’s workhorse back is just 53 yards away from getting to 1,000 (947) and averages 135.3 yards per game. This one could happen in the first quarter.

Johnny Manziel and Zach Mettenberger will throw as many INTs as TDs
These two quarterbacks combined for zero touchdowns and four interceptions in LSU’s 24-19 win in College Station last year. It was Johnny Manziel’s worst game as a college player. Mettenberger, despite some recent struggles, has shown marked improvement from a year ago. And both Texas A&M and LSU have had defensive issues this fall. These are the Nos. 1 and 2 rated passers in the SEC to date, as the duo has combined for 51 touchdown passes thus far in 2013. But Manziel is leading the SEC in interceptions and Mettenberger has five picks in his last three games (and should have had 3-4 more against Alabama). Look for big numbers and big mistakes from both in what should be an instant classic in Baton Rouge.

Missouri will win at Ole Miss… with Maty Mauk under center
James Franklin is an excellent player and fans in both the Big 12 (2011) and SEC (2013) have seen how good he can be when fully healthy. But we’ve also seen how tough it is for him to stay healthy. He missed three games at three different times in 2012 and has missed the last four games due to injuries. He has proven to be brittle and is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend against Ole Miss. With the SEC East on the line for Gary Pinkel, he is turning back to his veteran for a big road win. And Pinkel will get the victory, however, it will be with Maty Mauk on the field. Mauk has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games and will be needed to win the game when (not if) Franklin gets banged up.

All five winless teams will stay winless
Everyone likes to focus on the unbeatens, and rightly so, as they play for championships. But keep an eye on those winless teams too. Five programs have yet to win a game in 2013 — UConn, Southern Miss, Miami (Ohio), Hawaii and Georgia State. And none of them will get into the win column this weekend. Georgia State (+23.5), Southern Miss (+23) and Miami (Ohio) (+24.5) are more than three-touchdown underdogs. UConn is a nine-point underdog to a one-win Temple team and Hawaii is only a seven-point dog to a Wyoming team that just got beat by 41 points. Still, no reason to not expect all five to lose again this weekend.

Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota will have winning Big Ten records
Had I said Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota would all have winning league records with one week to play in the conference in the summer months, I would have been laughed at. Loudly. But Iowa and Penn State sit at 3-3 in the Big Ten currently and Minnesota is 4-2. The Hawkeyes are a six-point favorite against powerful Michigan at home while the Nittany Lions are a two-point favorite over Nebraska at home. Minnesota is a 16-point underdog to arch rival Wisconsin. Iowa and Penn State will win while the Gophers will lose and all three will sit at 4-3 in the Big Ten with one week to play.

Bonus Prediction: Northwestern will enter the season finale winless (0-7) in the Big Ten.

NC State will go 0-4 in-state in 2013
Dave Doeren has a tougher task in front of him than expected. His team is 0-7 in the ACC and hasn’t won a game since topping Central Michigan in September. During that span the Wolfpack has lost to Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke within the state by a combined 41 points. NC State now has to face 8-2 East Carolina in Carter-Finley Stadium this weekend. The Pirates are heading towards a 10-win season if it can upset the Pack and has a history of playing very well against ACC teams. Take ECU to win and give Doeren an 0-for in the state in his first season.

Washington State will become bowl eligible
Sticking with the theme of things I never thought I’d hear this summer, the Cougars of Washington State will become bowl eligible this weekend. After upsetting both USC and Arizona on the road this year, Wazzu returns home against Utah with a chance to get to the postseason for the first time since 2003. A win also guarantees the Cougars' first .500 or better regular season mark for the first time since 2006 and gives Mike Leach’s squad an outside shot at its first winning record since ’03 as well.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 13
Post date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/amazing-big-ten-college-football-stats-week-12
Body:

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Big Ten to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 12:

More Stats from Week 12: ACC | Big 12 Pac-12 | SEC

11-25: Ohio State’s opposing Big Ten record
The Buckeyes scored 60 points against Illinois on the road and has topped at least 56 points in three straight games. Ohio State is 6-0 in Big Ten play but has only played one team with a Big Ten winning record (Wisconsin). In fact, the conference schedule the Buckeyes have played is against six teams with a combined 10-26 record. Three of those wins — Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois — are a combined 0-18 in the Big Ten this year. Overall, Wisconsin (8-2) and Buffalo (7-3) have the best two overall records on Ohio State’s schedule thus far. Indiana and Michigan, the two remaining Big Ten opponents for OSU, are a combined 5-6 in the Big Ten and 11-9 overall.

Oct. 26, 2008: The last time Minnesota was ranked in the BCS
The BCS Standings came out Sunday evening as usual and 8-2 Minnesota found itself ranked No. 25. It was the first time the Gophers have been in the BCS Standings since Oct. 26, 2008 when Tim Brewster led Minnesota to a 7-1 start to the season. Goldie then proceeded to lose five straight to end the season, including the Insight Bowl against Kansas. With Wisconsin and Michigan State left on the schedule, Minny fans should enjoy this week while they can.

554: Wisconsin's rushing yards against Indiana
Michigan State and Ohio State are on a collision course in the Big Ten Championship Game, but few teams in the nation are playing as well as Wisconsin. The Badgers rushed for 554 yards — 10 shy of the school record and the most by any FBS team in 2013 — against Indiana in a 51-3 romp in Camp Randall. It marked the third time this season Gary Andersen had three backs go over 100 yards rushing in the same game. James White (205 yards, TD), Melvin Gordon (146 yards, TD) and Corey Clement (108 yards, 2 TDs) led the way, while star wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was just 14 yards shy of joining them (three carries, 86 yards, 2 TD). Even more impressively, the Badgers held the Hoosiers' offense to 224 yards and three points. Indiana, who came into the weekend averaging 527.1 yards of offense and 43.1 points per game, had not scored fewer than 13 points in any half this year. Wisconsin shut out Indiana in the first half and allowed just a field goal in the second.

32.3: Michigan State's points per game in Big Ten play
Mark Dantonio’s team have been consistently knocked for being lackluster and boring on offense. His 2013 teams is actually averaging 32.3 points per game in Big Ten play. It is the highest total for a Dantonio team since leading the Big Ten in scoring in conference games since 2007 (34.8 ppg). That was his first year coaching in East Lansing, making his 2013 team his second-best Big Ten offense during his seven-year tenure. This turnaround comes after Michigan State posted Dantonio lows of 19.9 points per game against Big Ten teams and 20.0 overall last season.

81: Allen Robinson's single-season school receptions record
Last week, Robinson topped Bobby Engram as the all-time Penn State single-season receiving yard record holder. This week, he broke his own single-season Penn State receptions record with eight catches for 98 yards in the win over Purdue. He now has 81 receptions and 1,204 yards on the season and will only continue to push those numbers higher with two games left to play. Robinson might be the greatest wide receiver to ever play in Happy Valley.

5.3: Points per game Northwestern has lost by over the last four
Northwestern has lost six straight games — all six of which came in the Big Ten. But the last four have been particularly painful. Defensive touchdowns gave them a three-point loss to the Gophers at home. Iowa scored on third down in overtime. Of course, there was the historic Hail Mary loss to Nebraska. And this week, Michigan kicked a controversial field goal with a second left on the clock to send the game into overtime. Three OTs later, Michigan won by eight. Poor Pat Fitzgerald has lost five games in a row by a combined 21 points — or 5.3 per game.

246: Carlos Hyde's third-most rushing yards in Ohio State history
Ohio State scored 60 points but the road win against Illinois was tougher than expected. Hyde was the star of the day for the Buckeyes. He rushed 24 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns, including two fourth-quarter scoring runs of more than 50 yards (51, 55). He also caught two passes for 26 yards and a fifth touchdown through the air. His 246 yards rushing tied Archie Griffin for the third-highest single-game rushing total in school history behind only Eddie George (314) and Keith Byars (274).

15.5: Ryan Shazier's Big Ten-leading tackles for a loss
Hyde wasn’t the only Buckeyes star to post a huge stat line in the win over Illinois. Shazier, a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate, was simply unstoppable in Week 12. The junior posted 16.0 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and registered a safety against the Fighting Illini. He now has 15.5 tackles for a loss on the season, as he is leading the Big Ten in plays made behind the line of scrimmage.

Teaser:
Amazing Big Ten College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfls-week-11
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 Week 11 of the NFL season:

1: Undrafted rookie QBs to throw 3 TDs and 0 INTs in a single game
The Oakland Raiders had to start quarterback Matt McGloin, a rookie undrafted free agent from Penn State, against Houston on the road this weekend. McGloin, who completed just 57.4 percent of his passes in college, threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns, along with no turnovers, while leading his team to a 28-23 victory over the Texans. He became the first undrafted rookie quarterback in the common draft era (1967) to throw for at least three touchdowns and no interceptions in a game. It extended Houston’s franchise-record losing streak to eight. And, oh by the way, it was McGloin’s first career start and his performance has some talking about a quarterback controversy in Oakland.

0: Sacks or knockdowns of Peyton Manning by Kansas City
The Chiefs came into Week 11 leading the NFL in sacks (36.0) and Denver had allowed eight quarterback sacks in its last three games — wins over Washington and San Diego and a loss to Indianapolis. But on Sunday night in primetime with the AFC West hanging in the balance, the maligned Broncos' offensive line played flawless football. Peyton Manning wasn’t sacked and didn’t even touch the ground in the 27-17 win over previously unbeaten Kansas City. Manning finished with 323 yards passing and a touchdown in the key divisional win, which puts Denver back in control of AFC home-field advantage — with a road trip to Kansas City looming in two weeks.

209: London Fletcher's NFL-record consecutive starts by a linebacker
The Redskins fell to 3-7 with a crushing divisional loss to Philadelphia this Sunday. However, veteran linebacker London Fletcher made history. The Ironman tackler started his 209th consecutive game to pass Derrick Brooks for the all-time NFL record for a linebacker. It also was Fletcher’s 250th consecutive game played, trailing only Jeff Feagles (352), Brett Favre (299) and Jim Marshall (282) among the longest consecutive games played streaks in NFL history.

113: Minutes Baltimore and Chicago were delayed due to weather
In a critical game for both teams fighting for the playoffs, the Ravens' trip to Chicago was delayed for nearly two full hours due to severe weather in the middle of the first quarter. An estimated 70 tornadoes touched down in the Midwest Sunday afternoon and it made for a long and muddy afternoon at Soldier Field. Not only was the game delayed 113 minutes but Baltimore kicked a field goal with three seconds to go to send the contest into overtime. With 8:41 left in the extra period, Robbie Gould nailed a 38-yard field goal to give Chicago the win in a game that took five hours and 16 minutes to complete. Baltimore falls into last place in the AFC North while Chicago is now tied for the lead in the NFC North.

31: Second-quarter points for the Bengals
Cincinnati fell behind divisional rival Cleveland 13-0 at the end of the first quarter on Sunday. But two Andy Dalton touchdown passes, a blocked punt touchdown, fumble recovery touchdown and 41-yard Mike Nugent field goal gave the Bengals a 31-13 halftime lead. The 31-point second quarter was the most points scored in any quarter in the franchise’s history. The win keeps the Bengals unbeaten at home (5-0) and, coupled with the Browns' and Ravens' losses, gives them a 2.5-game lead in the AFC North.

16,005: Matthew Stafford's Lions franchise-record passing yards
Stafford threw for 362 yards in the painful road loss to the Steelers on Sunday. He’s third in the NFL this year behind only Peyton Manning and Drew Brees with 3,198 yards after topping at least 4,900 yards in each of the last two seasons. He passed Bobby Layne (15,710) to become the Detroit Lions' all-time career leader with 16,005 yards passing. It took Stafford just 55 games to top Layne, who needed 97 games to set the original benchmark. More importantly, with a chance to take full control of the NFC North, the Lions lost 37-27 to a Steelers team that had won just three times all year.

22-38: Last year's division champs record in 2013 (minus New England and Denver)
Of the eight division winners in 2012, only two — New England and Denver — are leading their division in 2013 and only three (along with San Francisco) are currently slotted into the playoffs. Houston and Atlanta are both 2-8 after going a combined 25-7 last year. The defending Super Bowl and AFC North champion Ravens are 4-6. Washington won the NFC East with a 10-6 record but is 3-7 this year. Green Bay went 11-5 and won the NFC North but is 5-5 and missing Aaron Rodgers. The Texans (8), Falcons (4), Packers (3), Redskins (2), 49ers (2) and Ravens (1) have lost a combined 20 games in a row. The eight division winners in 2012 combined to go 92-35-1 and those same eight teams are 38-42 this year — but 16 of those wins come from the Patriots (7-3) and Broncos (9-1).

413: Days since the Eagles last won at home
The Eagles had lost 10 consecutive home games in Lincoln Financial Field dating back to a 19-17 win over the Giants on Sept. 30, 2012. The Eagles were 3-1 at that time before proceeding to lose 11 of their last 12 games and making a coaching switch to Chip Kelly. It was also the last time Philadelphia had a winning record. After topping the Redskins 24-17 at home this weekend, both of those streaks have been snapped. Phily is above .500 and has a win in front of the home fans for the first time in 413 days. More importantly, the Eagles are alone atop the NFC East standings with huge games against NFC playoff hopefuls Arizona, Detroit, Chicago and Dallas over the final month — three of which will come at home.

7,923: Marques Colston's Saints franchise-record receiving yards
Maybe fantasy players undervalue Marques Colston but Saints fans and opposing coaches certainly do not. Colston is already the Saints' all-time leading receiver with 571 receptions and 60 touchdowns. But after five receptions for 80 yards in the critical come-from-behind 23-20 win over the 49ers, Colston has more receiving yards than any player in Saints history. He passed Eric Martin (7,854) with 7,923 yards career receiving yards — which also puts him in the top 100 in NFL history (91st).

Teaser:
Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-12
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:

Fourth and 18: Auburn's final offensive play of the game against Georgia
With more 30 seconds left on the clock and facing a fourth and 18 on his own 27-yard line, quarterback Nick Marshall dropped back and heaved the football down the field. Two Bulldogs collided and tipped the pass into the air and a streaking Ricardo Louis snatched it (with a bobble) out of the air and strolled into the endzone in front of a rabid Jordan-Hare Stadium. The play (watch it below) won the game and kept the Tigers SEC — and BCS — championship hopes alive for two more weeks before Alabama comes to town. For the first time in history the Iron Bowl is an SEC West winner-take-all situation when Alabama comes to visits Jordan-Hare in two weeks.

Bonus Bama Tidbit: AJ McCarron leads Alabama all-time with 8,146 yards of total offense and tied Jay Barker with 35 career wins.

29: Brandon Connette's Duke school-record rushing TD
In a crazy back-and-forth 48-30 win over Miami that featured 1,108 yards of offense and three lead changes, quarterback Brandon Connette led Duke to its sixth straight win and eighth victory overall this season. He scored four rushing touchdowns from 1, 2, 3 and 4 yards out and added a 22-yard scoring strike to Shaq Powell. Connette, who doesn't even start at quarterback, has scored more rushing touchdowns than any other player in Duke history. He has 12 rushing touchdowns this season, pushing his career total to 29 and isn't even the starter. Connette has 13 passing touchdowns and just six interceptions passing this year. With two games left — at Wake Forest and at North Carolina — the Blue Devils are alone atop the ACC Coastal Division.

27: Consecutive Big 12 games Kansas lost before Saturday
The Jayhawks last defeated a Big 12 team on Nov. 6, 2010 when Kansas topped Colorado in come-from-behind fashion 52-45. Since that day, Kansas had lost 27 straight conference games and had failed to be competitive in 2013 with anyone not named Louisiana Tech or South Dakota until the 31-19 win over West Virginia on Saturday. It's a huge win for embattled coach Charlie Weis. Running back James Sims posted a career-best 211 yards and three rushing touchdowns in the win. On the flip side, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen may be haunted by his team's performance in Lawrence. West Virginia is 6-11 in Big 12 play since joining the league, one year after winning the Big East and hanging 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

16: Turnovers forced by Vanderbilt during its last four games
After forcing just seven turnovers in the first seven games of the season, the Commodores defense has carried Vanderbilt to a third straight bowl game for the first time in school history. Vandy used a familiar narrative, topping Kentucky 22-6 by capitalizing on four Wildcats interceptions. In fact, Kentucky entered the game leading the nation with just two interceptions thrown all season before the 'Dores picked off Jalen Whitlow four times. The Commodores have won three out of four games and are now plus-9 on the season in turnover margin — good for second in the SEC and tied for fourth nationally.

465: Cartel Brooks NCAA single-game rushing record
A few weeks after Western Connecticut's Octavias McKoy set the NCAA single-game rushing record with 455 yards, Heidelberg University's Cartel Brooks put himself atop the all-division rushing record book. The junior tailback carried for 465 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Baldwin Wallace this weekend, setting the all-time NCAA single-game rushing record. The Heidelberg Student Princes — yes, that's right — are a Division-III school located in Tiffin, Ohio.

554: Wisconsin rushing yards against Indiana
Michigan State and Ohio State are on a collision course in the Big Ten championship game, but few teams in the nation are playing as well as Wisconsin. The Badgers rushed for 554 yards — 10 shy of the school record and the most by any FBS team in 2013 — against Indiana in a 51-3 romp in Camp Randall. It marked the third time his season Gary Andersen had three backs go over 100 yards rushing in the same games. James White (205 yards, TD), Melvin Gordon (146 yards, TD) and Corey Clement (108 yards, 2 TD) led the way, while star wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was just 14 yards shy of joining them (three carries, 86 yards, 2 TD). Even more impressively, the Badgers held the Hoosiers offense to 224 yards and three points. Indiana, who came into the weekend averaging 527.1 yards of offense and 43.1 points per game, had not scored fewer than 13 points in any half this year. Wisconsin shut Indiana out in the first half and allowed just a field goal in the second.

634: Andre Williams rushing yards over the last two weeks
Jim McElwain and Colorado State got to bowl eligibility by leaning on running back Kapri Bibbs for 603 yards and 10 touchdowns over the last two weeks. Except, Bibbs isn't even leading the nation rushing over that span. That honor goes to Boston College's Andre Williams, who rushed 40 times for a school- and ACC-record 339 yards and two touchdowns in an easy win over NC State. He has carried 72 times for 634 yards and four scores in the last two weeks, giving him the second-best two-week rushing total in NCAA history. Texas' Ricky Williams rushed for 668 yards in his Heisman campaign of 1998. Williams leads the nation in rushing at 181.0 yards per game and his 1,810 yards are already a new ACC and Boston College single-season rushing benchmark. He needs 364 more yards to top Montel Harris for the Eagles all-time career rushing lead (3,735). Most importantly, with the sixth win of the year, Steve Addazio has taken a team that won two games last year to the postseason in just his first season in Chestnut Hill.

3: Consecutive wins by Oklahoma State in Austin
Oklahoma State have played the Texas Longhorns 28 times and have lost 23 of them. However, with a commanding 38-13 win in Austin over Texas in Week 12, Mike Gundy has won three straight trips to Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. The Pokes win snapped the Longhorns six-game winning streak and knocked Texas out of Big 12 contention for the time being. Mack Brown finds himself quickly back in bad graces of the Burnt Orange fans in Austin as Texas has failed to beat a ranked team at home since 2008 — against Oklahoma State. Texas was held without a second half touchdown at home versus a Big 12 foe since 1999.

202: Points allowed by Texas Tech in a four-game losing streak
Kliff Kingsbury led his alma mater Texas Tech to seven straight wins to begin his coaching tenure in Lubbock. Things have gotten ugly quickly, however, as his team lost a fourth straight game this weekend when Baylor hung 63 points on the struggling Tech defense. The Red Raiders have allowed at least 38 points in every loss and more than 50 per game during the losing streak. The problems were exemplified on Saturday in Arlington. Texas Tech started hot by jumping out to a 20-7 lead with a few minutes left in the first quarter. But Baylor stormed back to boat race Tech's maligned defense 56-14 over the final three quarters. The Bears are on pace to break every major team offensive statistic in FBS history and Tech has allowed 202 points in four games.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 07:15
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One week after Oregon thought its title hopes were dashed, Coach O provided hope for more than just his USC Trojans. Ed Orgeron is quickly becoming the story of the conference after an upset win over Stanford at home in dramatic fashion. And it puts the Ducks back into the Pac-12 driver's seat.

Meanwhile, the South Division race got even more interesting with Arizona State and Washington holding serve while USC has officially tossed its name in the championship hat. With two weeks to play, this league is still completely wide open and its why it might be the best league in the nation.

There will be an obvious theme in this week's Pac-12 superlatives.

Offensive Player of the Week: Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State
Don't look now, but the Cougars are one win away from the postseason after winning their third Pac-12 game of the year — all on the road. Halliday completed 36 of his 53 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. He methodically worked his team down the field late in the fourth quarter and connected with Isiah Myers with 2:15 left in the game for a 25-yard game-winning touchdown strike. Halliday led his offense to 27 first downs and has his team poised to not only make a bowl game but potentially a winning record if Wazzu can top Utah at home and Washington on the road to end the year. Only Oregon State's Sean Mannion has more passing yards in the league than Halliday's 3,417.

Defensive Player of the Week: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
USC's Dion Bailey made the defensive play of the weekend with his late red zone interception of Kevin Hogan, but the legend of Myles Jack is growing in Westwood after another two-way performance in a critical home win over Washington. The freshman linebacker collected five tackles and a pass broken up on defense to go with 13 rushing attempts, 59 yards rushing and four offensive touchdowns. He has 179 yards rushing and five scores in two games as a two-way player. This is the team's No. 2 tackler we are talking here. He has vaulted himself to the top of the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year conversation with his last two games and has a chance for another signature moment against Arizona State with the division title on the line next weekend.

Team of the Week: USC
The Trojans have done it again, moving to 5-0 in the Pac-12 since switching coaches after a gutsy 20-17 win over Stanford at home. It was as physical a game as fans will see in the league all season and the much-depleted Men of Troy traded blows with the top ranked team in the conference for 60 minutes and came out victorious. USC allowed just two sacks, Stanford's lowest total in four games, and passed for more yards than the Cardinal had allowed in six weeks. The Trojans defense got big stops in its own territory on defense in the second half and forced two critical second-half Kevin Hogan interceptions. The Trojans are now tied with UCLA for second play in the South and still have an outside chance at playing for a Pac-12 title.

Coordinator of the Week: Ed Orgeron, USC
No, he technically isn't a coordinator. But the elevated defensive assistant-turned-interim head coach deserves to be credited with the remarkable turn around at USC. The Trojans topped Stanford for their fifth straight league win since Orgeron was named head coach and his late-game fourth-down gamble led to USC's first win over Stanford in five tries. His offense has been averaging over 30 points per game and his defense is one of the Pac-12's best. Orgeron doesn't deserve mention as a candidate to get the USC job full-time but he has done an excellent job and his players would "run through a wall for that man," as Cody Kessler said after the game. Colonel Reb is no longer crying.

Freshman of the Week: Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado
The freshman quarterback from Tacoma, Wash., got Colorado into the Pac-12 win column for the first time in 2013. Liufau had the best game of his young career, by completing 23-of-36 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout 41-24 win over Cal. He set a career high for yards and touchdowns while tying his career high for pass attempts. Only Cal quarterback Jared Goff has more yards of total offense in the league this year among freshman than Liufau — and the Buffs just beat Goff head to head.
 

Pac-12 Post-Week 12 Power Rankings:

RankTeamLWRecordThis WeekNext Week
1(2)9-1, 6-1W, Utah, 44-21 at Arizona
2(1)8-2, 6-2L, USC, 20-17Cal
3(3)8-2, 6-1W, Oregon St, 30-17  at UCLA
4(4)8-2, 5-2W, Washington, 41-31Arizona St
5(6)8-3, 5-2W, Stanford, 20-17at Colorado
6(5)6-4, 3-4L, UCLA, 41-31at Oregon St
7(7)6-4, 4-3L, Arizona St, 30-17 Washington
8(9)5-5, 3-4W, Arizona, 24-17Utah
9(8)6-4, 3-4L, Washington St, 24-17 Oregon
10(10)4-6, 1-6L, Oregon, 44-21at Washington St
11(11)4-6, 1-6W, Cal, 41-24USC
12(12)1-10, 0-8L, Colorado, 41-24 at Stanford

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 14:00
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Fans in the Big Ten need to start getting used to — and excited about — the idea of a Michigan State and Ohio State showdown in the Big Ten title game. Both teams stayed unbeaten in conference play with key road victories over division foes. The nation's best defense against a team that hasn't lost a game in two years coached by a two-time BCS national champion?

Yes, please.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 12 Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Ohio State scored 60 points but the road win against Illinois was tougher than expected. Hyde was the star of the day for the Buckeyes. He rushed 24 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns, including two fourth-quarter scoring runs of more than 50 yards (51, 55). He also caught two passes for 26 yards and a fifth touchdown through the air. Braxton Miller had a huge day as well (150 passing yards, 2 TD, 184 rushing yards, TD), but Hyde was once again the workhorse of the offense. His 246 yards tied Archie Griffin for the third-highest rushing total in school history (Eddie George, 314; Keith Byars, 274).

Defensive Player of the Week: Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State
The Spartans remain on a path headed for Indianapolis with another excellent defensive performance on the road by forcing five turnovers against Nebraska. Drummond was responsible for two of them with an interception and forced fumble in a key Legends Division game. The junior defensive back and team's leading tackler collected 10 total tackles. With a win in either of its last two games or a Minnesota loss in either of its games (they face each other in the season finale), the Spartans will clinch the division.

Team of the Week: Michigan State
The Spartans haven't officially clinched the Legends Division title — they need one more win in either of their last two games (or a Minnesota loss) — but the 41-28 win in Lincoln all but sealed a trip to Indianapolis for Mark Dantonio's bunch. The defense forced five turnovers, Connor Cook provided timely passing for the offense (193 yards, TD, 0 INT) and tailback Jeremy Langford went over 100 yards for the fifth straight time (32 carries, 151 yards, 3 TD). It was a thorough, across the board win for the Spartans and it keeps Michigan State on track to meet Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game — what would be Dantonio's second division title in three seasons.
Coordinator of the Week: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin
The Indiana Hoosiers came into Madison knowing it had to win to make a bowl game. And with an offense averaging 527.1 yards and 43.1 points per game — both second to only Ohio State in the Big Ten — Kevin Wilson thought he had a chance. Aranda's unit made sure that wasn't the case. The Badgers defense held Indiana to just a season-low 224 yards and season-low three points. Indiana had scored no fewer than 13 points in any half all season but were shutout in the first half and kicked just the lone field goal in the second. Wisconsin now boasts the sixth-rated total defense (287.8 ypg) and fifth-rated scoring defense (14.0 ppg) in the nation.

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

The true freshman got his team to six wins for the second straight season under Bill O'Brien. Hackenberg completed 16-of-23 passes for 212 yards with two total touchdowns in the 45-21 win over Purdue at home. After the Boilermakers closed the gap to seven points to start the second half, the star quarterback led three scoring drives in four possessions to put the game out of reach for the Nittany Lions. That is two non-losing seasons for a team under heavy NCAA sanctions.
 
Big Ten Post-Week 12 Power Rankings:
 TeamLWRecordThis WeekNext Week
1.(1)10-0, 6-0W, Illinois, 60-35Indiana
2.

(2)9-1, 6-0W, Nebraska, 41-28 at Northwestern
3.

(3)8-2, 5-1W, Indiana, 51-3at Minnesota
4.

(5)8-2, 4-2Bye Wisconsin
5.

(4)7-3, 4-2L, Michigan St, 41-28at Penn St
6.(6)7-3, 3-3W, Northwestern, 27-19 (OT)at Iowa
7.

(7)

6-4, 3-3

ByeMichigan
8.

(9)6-4, 3-3W, Purdue, 45-21Nebraska
9.

(8)4-6, 2-4L, Wisconsin, 51-3at Ohio St
10.

(10)4-6, 0-6L, Michigan, 27-19 (OT) Michigan St
11.

(11)3-7, 0-6L, Ohio St, 60-35 at Purdue
12.

(12)1-9, 0-6L, Penn St, 45-21Illinois

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
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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. The Texas Longhorns made me sweat last week but salvaged a .500 record for me with a tremendous fourth quarter and overtime (thanks). Mizzou I felt the best about and sure enough they crushed Kentucky. The Tigers might still be underrated despite all the big SEC wins thus far. BYU and Arizona State didn't help me much last weekend.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 33-25-1 (2-2 last week)

Week 12 Picks of the Week:

TCU (+10.5) at Kansas State
Few teams in the nation are playing better football than the Wildcats right now. Bill Snyder’s team has won three straight by outscoring its opponents 125-45 and is averaging more than 250 yards rushing over its last four games. TCU has scored more than 21 points only twice in its last six games and one of those (27) came against lowly Kansas. The Wildcats are 6-3 against the spread this year and TCU is a miserable 2-8. At home, this could get ugly. Prediction: Kansas State -10.5

Stanford (-3.5) at USC
Both teams play excellent defense, both teams can pressure the quarterback and both teams have elite-level talent. However, Stanford has eyes on the BCS national title and won’t be napping on a surging USC offense. The lack of depth will play a huge roll for the Trojans this weekend in what should be the most physical game of the season. Stanford's Kevin Hogan, Tyler Gaffney and a powerful offensive line shouldn’t have any issues moving the ball while USC's Cody Kessler will likely be running for his life much of the evening. Prediction: Stanford -3.5

Texas Tech (+27) vs. Baylor
The Red Raiders are reeling and the last thing they want to do is try to stop Baylor — neutral field or not. In AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Baylor will keep its BCS and Big 12 title hopes alive by abusing a team that is lacking in confidence and discipline. The Bears are 7-1 against the spread this year and Tech has given up 139 points in its last three games. There is nothing to indicate this team will be competitive against Art Briles — especially, without a true No. 1 starter at quarterback. Prediction: Baylor -27

Florida (-13.5) at South Carolina
Steve Spurrier’s alma mater is circling the drain right now and he would like nothing more than to bury his SEC East brethren. The Gators are coming off one of the worst home losses in school history, can’t score on offense and are on the road against a team with two weeks to prepare. Carolina has its sights set on Atlanta and posting a 6-2 SEC mark puts them in the lead in the clubhouse. The Gators are 3-6 against the number this season and are down to their third quarterback with Tyler Murphy out. Predictions: South Carolina -13.5

Kentucky (+12.5) at Vanderbilt
The Dores have owned Kentucky under head coach James Franklin, beating the Cats 78-8 over the last two seasons. Vandy is riding high after one of the most dominant defensive performances of the season in Gainesville last weekend. The Commodores have covered the spread in each of its last two games with SEC East opponents and should be able to shut down the Wildcats' offense. If Vanderbilt can get to 24 points, it should cover the spread easily — especially, with bowl eligibility on the line on Saturday. Prediction: Vanderbilt -12.5

Week 12 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. 1 Alabama (-25.5) at Mississippi St
Syracuse (+38) at No. 2 Florida St
No. 3 Ohio St (-32) at Illinois
No. 4 Stanford (-3.5) at USC
Texas Tech (+27) at No. 5 Baylor
Utah (+26.5) at No. 6 Oregon
No. 25 Georgia (+4.5) at No. 7 Auburn
Florida (+13.5) at No. 10 South Carolina
No. 12 Oklahoma St (-3) at No. 24 Texas
Washington (+2.5) at No. 13 UCLA
No. 16 Michigan St (-6.5) at Nebraska
No. 17 UCF (-16.5) at Temple
Iowa St (+24.5) No. 18 Oklahoma
Oregon St (+13) at No. 19 Arizona St
Houston (+16) at No. 20 Louisville
Indiana (+23) at No. 22 Wisconsin
No. 23 Miami (-3) at Duke
Last Week:7-79-510-48-6
Year-To-Date:91-84-388-87-387-88-391-84-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 12 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 07:15
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There is no marquee top-five showdown out West like last weekend, but Week 12 features critical survival games for much of the league’s contenders. Oregon must survive against upset-minded Utah with their star quarterback’s health in question. UCLA must hold serve at home against a very talented Huskies squad. The same for both Arizona and Arizona State in the desert against two excellent passing attacks.

But the Stanford Cardinal will have the toughest task of the week now as the top team in the league. One loss will send Oregon to the Pac-12 title game and a road trip to USC is the final Pac-12 test for David Shaw’s squad (no disrespect to Cal).

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

Pac-12 Week 12 Game Power Rankings

1. Stanford (-3.5) at USC (8 p.m. ET, ABC)
Ed Orgeron has done some great things with USC since taking over for Lane Kiffin, but this will be by far his toughest challenge to date. His offense has been scoring nearly 40 points per game in four Pac-12 wins but must face the hottest defense in the nation. The Cardinal have posted 15.0 sacks and forced five turnovers against UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon over the last three weeks. Cody Kessler has shown marked improvement but will need to distribute the football quickly to a host of talented weapons because he won’t have much time to throw — USC ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed (23.0). Without Jim Harbaugh or Pete Carroll here to spark the rivalry, this matchup has lost some luster, but Orgeron is making sure the Trojans go down swinging this year. An upset win over Stanford puts USC right in the heart of the Pac-12 South race at 5-2. Look for another heavy dose of Tyler Gaffney from Stanford, who posted a school-record 45 carries last week in the upset of Oregon.

2. Washington (+3) at UCLA (Fri., 9 p.m., ESPN2)
The Rick Neuheisel Bowl carries some serious weight for both coaching staffs. Jim Mora still has eyes on the Pac-12 South title as games with Arizona State and USC loom large in the final two weeks. And Steve Sarkisian needs to prove he can do better than 7-6. Both teams found out the hard way how good Stanford and Oregon were but both have bounced back nicely with back-to-back conference wins. Two red-hot quarterbacks will go head-to-head and should steal the headlines Friday night. Washington’s Keith Price has two consecutive 300-yard passing games and hasn’t thrown a pick in three games, while UCLA’s Brett Hundley has seven total touchdowns in his last two games. Both defenses have star power, both teams play physical football and both teams desperately need a win. Sounds like a recipe for a primetime thriller.

3. Oregon State (+13.5) at Arizona State (9:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Strangely enough, Mike Riley’s team might actually be excited about playing on the road this weekend. The Beavers are 4-0 on the road and just 2-3 in Corvallis in 2013. However, OSU should be careful what it wishes for as Arizona State is one of the best home teams in the nation. The Sun Devils are averaging 51.2 points and 544 yards of offense in five home games as opposed to 34.3 points and 423.5 yards per game away from Sun Devils Stadium. Oregon State has won four out of five in this matchup but lost its last trip to Tempe, 35-20 in 2011. Quarterback play will be the difference. Sean Mannion, the nation’s leading passer, has struggled of late, failing to reach 300 yards each of the last two games. Taylor Kelly, meanwhile, has scored two rushing touchdowns in three straight games and has a 10:2 TD:INT ratio during the four-game winning steak. More importantly, he led his team on two long, fourth-quarter scoring drives to come from behind last weekend in Salt Lake City. With an extra week, expect the Beavers to be ready to play, but Mannion will have to be flawless to pull the upset.

4. Utah (+25) at Oregon (4 p.m., FS1)
Want to know how important Marcus Mariota is to the Ducks? Oregon is a 25-point favorite if he plays and a seven-point favorite if he doesn’t. The star quarterback is worth roughly three touchdowns and his partially torn left MCL is all anyone is talking about in Eugene. Mariota claims he is “for sure” ready to go against Utah but he clearly wasn’t the same player against Stanford as he had been all season. He posted a career-low minus-16 yards on the ground in the loss. The Ducks still have a very real shot at the Pac-12 title should Stanford slip up this weekend on a tough road trip to USC. Utah is fighting for its postseason life and continues to come up short. Last week's 20-19 defeat at the hands of Arizona State was the Utes' third Pac-12 loss by one score or less. Travis Wilson will have to play the best game of his young career to have a chance to upset Oregon — Mariota or not.

5. Washington State (+13) at Arizona (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
After three straight wins, the Wildcats came up five points short of entering the Pac-12 South championship mix last week against UCLA. A win over Wazzu this weekend is a must if Rich Rodriguez wants to post a winning record in 2013 — Arizona gets Oregon and Arizona State in the final two weeks. His dynamic backfield of B.J. Denker and Ka’Deem Carey will be on full display against a Cougars defense that has allowed 665 yards rushing in its last two games. The bye week won’t be enough time for Mike Leach to stop Washington State’s three-game losing streak.

6. Cal (+3) at Colorado (5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Someone has to win, right? The Buffs and Bears are a combined 0-13 in Pac-12 play this season under first-year head coaches thus far. Neither team has really challenged anyone in the league but both Mike MacIntyre and Sonny Dykes are well-respected offensive minds. This is likely the only chance for either to get a conference win.

Pac-12 Week 12 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox preview discuss where Stanford should be ranked and Marcus Mariota's Heisman hopes on this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. USC’s offensive line
The Trojans haven’t been able to protect the quarterback this year, ranking 83rd nationally in sacks allowed per game (2.3 spg). Stanford’s loaded front seven is surging right now, ranking fourth nationally in sacks per game (3.3 spg). Stanford has allowed just 153 combined rushing yards to UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon the last three weeks, so the Trojans' offensive line will have to play its best game of the season to 1) protect the quarterback and 2) run the football effectively. 

2. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
The forgotten man on the Stanford offense will be called upon to make plays against a USC defense that has been excellent this season, particularly at home. USC is seventh nationally with 30.0 sacks on the season and is giving up just 86 yards rushing per game at home. So if the Men of Troy are geared up to stop workhorse Tyler Gaffney, it becomes Hogan’s responsibility to make plays through the air — something he hasn’t needed to do of late. Hogan has just 15 completions over the last two games.

3. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
One of the hottest names in college football could be in for yet another big performance against Washington. Jack is a star freshman linebacker with 63 total tackles this season but Mora has decided to give him a look on offense with his depleted depth chart. Jack answered the call with 120 yards rushing and a key TD last week in Arizona. The freshman two-way star has elite athletic ability, so keep an eye on No. 30 all night.

4. Washington’s linebackers
Shaq Thompson, Princeton Fuimaono and John Timu are the top three tacklers for the Huskies this season. They have faced Marcus Mariota, Taylor Kelly, Nathan Scheelhaase, B.J. Denker and Kevin Hogan already and UCLA’s Brett Hundley is as good as any of them. Reading run-pass quickly and effectively will be huge for U of W this weekend against a team lacking in skill position talent.

5. Will Sutton, DL, Arizona State
If the Sun Devils can stop the run and get pressure on quarterback Sean Mannion, they will win going away at home against the Beavers. Oregon State has lost two straight due in large part to ineffective pass protection and a lack of any balance. The Beavers have allowed 10.0 sacks and rushed for 109 combined yards in two straight losses. Sutton is coming off one the best games of his season after 9.0 tackles, 1.0 for a loss and a critical interception in the one-point win over Utah.

Pac-12 Week 12 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Stanford (-3.5) at USCStanford, 31-13USC, 24-20Stanford, 27-20Stanford, 28-17 
Washington (+3) at UCLAUCLA, 34-31 UCLA, 37-30UCLA, 34-30UCLA, 31-21 
Oregon St (+13.5) at Arizona StArizona St, 45-21Arizona St, 28-20Arizona St, 41-31 Arizona St, 42-31
Utah (+25) at OregonOregon, 42-17Oregon, 31-17Oregon, 45-17Oregon, 31-13
Washington St (+13) at ArizonaArizona, 41-28Arizona, 38-23Arizona, 41-27Arizona, 35-21
Cal (+3) at ColoradoColorado, 42-38Cal, 37-30Colorado, 38-34Colorado, 32-28
Last Week: 4-14-14-13-2
Year-to-date:65-1463-1667-1261-18

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 07:15
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The Legends Division championship hangs in the balance this weekend in Lincoln as Michigan State visits Nebraska. Certainly, the Golden Gophers may still be in the mix, but for all intents and purposes, the winner in this game will represent the division against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Otherwise, there isn’t a whole lot to watch in the Big Ten this weekend. Minnesota and Iowa are off and will get to watch the Spartans-Huskers game from the couch.

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

Big Ten Week 12 Game Power Rankings:

1. Michigan State (-6.5) at Nebraska (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
The biggest star of a thrilling 28-24 Nebraska win in East Lansing last season won’t be available for Bo Pelini in this winner-take-all Legends Division showdown. Quarterback Taylor Martinez, who is likely out for the rest of the year, rushed for 205 yards, threw for 160 and scored all four Huskers touchdowns in a big-time, fourth-quarter comeback last season. Having said that, Pelini is 5-0 this season when Martinez doesn’t start. Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg III will likely split time against what is statistically the best defense in the nation. Michigan State has had two weeks off since holding Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing and has allowed just nine points in their last three games. Look for either Nebraska signal-caller to lean heavily on the Big Ten’s leading rusher, Ameer Abdullah (134.8 ypg). The Black Shirts defense, however, will likely be the deciding factor, having posted its best performance in years against Michigan in Ann Arbor last weekend (175 yards allowed). The Spartans are 0-7 all-time against Nebraska.

2. Michigan (+3) at Northwestern (3:30 p.m., BTN)
Both teams in this game are reeling and teetering on the brink of complete collapse. Michigan has lost only once since 2000 to the Wildcats but this is a must-win situation for Pat Fitzgerald if he wants to return to the postseason. Northwestern has had two weeks to stew over a painful Hail Mary defeat in Lincoln and should be healthier than it has been all season. Meanwhile, the Wolverines have combined for minus-69 yards rushing the last two weeks and offensive coordinator Al Borges is on the hot seat after 343 yards of offense and 19 total points over the last two games. Michigan has lost three out of four and is in danger of losing out the rest of the way. The Maize and Blue have to visit Iowa and host Ohio State to cap the year. Quarterback Devin Gardner is still leading the Big Ten in total offense but has been tentative and inefficient lately, so Borges needs to get his signal-caller back on track.

3. Indiana (+21.5) at Wisconsin (Noon, ESPN2)
The Hoosiers rank 122nd in total defense (519.1 ypg), 109th in rushing defense (217.4 ypg) and 113th in scoring defense (37.4 ppg). This is the defense Kevin Wilson is taking with him to Madison to face one of the nation’s most powerful rushing attacks. Melvin Gordon and James White are both top five in the Big Ten in rushing and quarterback Joel Stave has played just well enough to give UW plenty of balance. To reach a bowl game for just the second time since 1993, Wilson likely has to figure out a way to upset the Badgers as Indiana needs two wins over its final three with a road trip to Ohio State looming next week.

4. Ohio State (-32) at Illinois (Noon, ESPN)
The last time Illinois topped Ohio State, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the nation and Juice Williams led the Illini to an improbable 28-21 win in the Horseshoe. Otherwise, OSU has owned this series, winning 13 of the last 16 overall dating back to 1995. There is no chance at a similar upset this time around as Tim Beckman has lost every Big Ten game he has coached in over his first two campaigns. Illinois has lost 18 straight conference games overall. Nathan Scheelhaase posted nearly 500 yards of offense last weekend against Indiana and the Illini still couldn’t get a win. So how will this team even be competitive against the No. 3 team in the nation?

5. Purdue (+21.5) at Penn State (Noon, BTN)
This is exactly what the doctor ordered in Happy Valley. Penn State has alternated wins and losses for eight weeks in a row, and after losing to Minnesota on the road last weekend, all signs points to an easy win in Week 12. With Nebraska and Wisconsin looming in the final two weeks, a home win over a completely uncompetitive Purdue team is a must if Bill O’Brien wants to get his team to “bowl eligibility” — even if the Lions are not allowed to play in one. A win over the Boilermakers guarantees that O’Brien won’t have a losing record in either of his first two seasons in Happy Valley — an impressive thought considering the heavy-handed NCAA sanctions. 

Big Ten Week 12 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss the winner-take-all matchup between Nebraska and Michigan State and debate where Ohio State should be ranked in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
The Huskers' defensive lineman exploded for 3.0 sacks last week in the upset win over Michigan on the road. He leads the league in sacks and will be counted on once again this weekend to pressure the quarterback. Michigan State brings a balanced attack on offense, topping 200 yards rushing and passing in two of the last four games. If Connor Cook has time to throw, it could be a long day for the improving but spotty Nebraska defense.

2. Nebraska’s offensive line
Sparty gets after the quarterback and will shut down the running game, so it falls to the Nebraska front line to protect an inexperienced quarterback and generate running lanes for Ameer Abdullah. The Big Ten’s leading rusher has come up big in huge spots over the last two weeks for the Huskers, but he and his offensive line will have their toughest test of the season. Michigan State is giving up 43.4 yards per game rushing, 210.2 yards per game of offense and 11.6 points per game. Meanwhile, Nebraska is in the top 30 nationally in both rushing offense (246.8 ypg, 15th) and sacks allowed (12.0, 27th).

3. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State
The Spartans' running back has developed into one of the top workhorses in the Big Ten, posting four straight 100-yard games over the last month. He has scored six rushing touchdowns over that span and has carried the ball 95 times. Nebraska is coming off of its best defensive effort in years, after holding Fitzgerald Toussaint to just six yards on nine carries last weekend. Look for Langford to once again be the focal point of the Spartans offense this weekend.

4. Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Let’s not overthink this one. Gardner is easily the most important player in the Michigan-Northwestern battle. He leads the Big Ten in total offense but has failed to produce during the Wolverines' two-game losing streak. He posted a season-low 164 yards of offense against Michigan State and then posted exactly 164 yards again in the home loss to Nebraska. He has eliminated his turnovers — just one over the last three games after 14 in the first six — but simply hasn’t produced (0 total TDs in last two games). Gardner produced in a critical spot last year against Northwestern and might have to again to save Michigan’s season.

5. Michigan’s offensive line
Northwestern posted 4.0 sacks against Nebraska in the soul-crushing loss in Lincoln and has had two weeks to prepare for an offense that is clearly lacking at the moment. It falls to Taylor Lewan and company to pick up the slack for a running game that is in shambles. The Wildcats have been punished on the ground in key spots during their five-game losing streak — giving up 208.2 yards rushing per game in Big Ten play.

Big Ten Week 12 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Michigan St (-6.5) at NebraskaMich. St, 27-20Mich. St, 24-20 Mich. St, 27-20Mich. St, 21-17
Michigan (+3) at NorthwesternN'Western, 34-30Michigan, 31-28Michigan, 31-27Michigan, 24-17 
Indiana (+21.5) at WisconsinWisconsin, 45-24Wisconsin, 44-17 Wisconsin, 48-24Wisconsin, 56-28 
Ohio St (-32) at IllinoisOhio St, 52-13 Ohio St, 48-0Ohio St, 55-10Ohio St, 42-14
Purdue (+21.5) at Penn StPenn St, 31-13 Penn St, 28-7Penn St, 34-13Penn St, 35-10
Last Week:4-15-04-14-1
Year-to-date:67-1269-1069-1067-12

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-12
Body:

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 12.

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

No Heisman front-runner will throw a pass in the fourth quarter
Jameis Winston, AJ McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty are the top five names in this week’s Heisman voting. And not one of them will attempt a pass in the fourth quarter this weekend. Mariota has played in only four fourth quarters this year and Oregon will roll Utah at home. Winston has played in just five fourth quarters and Florida State should crush Syracuse at home. Petty has played in just three fourth quarters and Texas Tech should pose no threat this weekend in Waco. And McCarron’s Tide should roll over Mississippi State in the first three quarters. Manziel and Texas A&M are off — so not one of the current five Heisman finalists will throw a pass in the fourth quarter this weekend.

Oklahoma State will win three straight in Austin
The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have been the big dog on the Big 12 block for years. The Horns are 23-4 all-time against Oklahoma State and are still tied atop the conference standings at 6-0. However, the Pokes will go into Austin and win for the third straight time because of a power rushing attack and a banged-up Texas depth chart. Okie State rushed for 342 yards and 281 yards in its last two road trips — at Iowa State and at Texas Tech respectively — while Texas will be without a variety of key players on both sides of the ball. Take the Cowboys to win an unthinkable three straight on the 40 Acres. The real question might be will new Texas AD Steve Patterson interview Mike Gundy before the Pokes head back to Stillwater?

Cody Kessler will be sacked 10 times
The USC Trojans have played extremely well since switching coaches from Lane Kiffin to Ed Orgeron. In fact, the Men of Troy are 4-0 in the Pac-12 and are scoring nearly 40 points per game. But USC hasn’t protected the QB this year, ranking 93rd in the nation in sacks allowed (23.0). Stanford is fourth in the nation at pressuring the QB, ranking fourth in the nation in sacks per game (3.3 pg). The Cardinal have 15.0 sacks in the last three games and against a depleted USC front, this defense could sack Cody Kessler 10 times.

Will Muschamp will attack a Gamecock
South Carolina will be up by three touchdowns late in the third quarter against Florida and the Gators' offense will turn the ball over... again. And when it does, Muschamp will lose his cool and attack someone, anyone, in Garnet and Black. It may be a player, a coach, a cheerleader or even Cocky the Gamecock. Muschamp’s teams play with a lack of discipline and fierce intensity that reflects their coach’s personality. And staring at a 4-6 record will make Muschamp snap like a twig. I just don’t want to be around him when it happens.

Myles Jack will out-rush Bishop Sankey
UCLA's Jim Mora decided to give his star freshman linebacker a chance to play offense last weekend and Jack responded in a big way. Jack, who has collected 63 tackles this season, carried six times for 120 yards and a touchdown on the road in a key divisional win over Arizona last week. This weekend, Washington and star tailback Bishop Sankey come to town in yet another keep-pace-with-Arizona-State game for UCLA. Sankey is rushing for 145 yards per game but will be held in check by those elite Bruins linebackers, and when Mora gives the ball to Jack (and he will), expect the talented first-year, two-way player to do major damage with his superior athletic ability.

Duke will be in first place in the ACC's Coastal Division by the end of this weekend
The Blue Devils have won five straight games and host division front-runner Miami this weekend in Durham. The Canes are missing Duke Johnson and Duke’s defense is playing as well as it ever has in school history. Both teams sit at 3-2 in the ACC so a win over Miami puts Duke in the driver's seat in the division with two to play. David Cutcliffe’s team won’t have to travel very far, however, as games at Wake Forest and North Carolina are just down the road. It's winner-take-all in Durham this weekend and Duke could be your unlikely front-runner after Week 12.

Wisconsin will have three 100-yard rushers against Indiana
Melvin Gordon is No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing (128.9 ypg) and James White is No. 4 (105.7 ypg) but third-stringer Corey Clement is no slouch either. He has rushed for 407 yards and five scores in six games this year, including two 100-yard games of his own. The Hoosiers have been gashed by the running game all season, ranking 109th nationally at 217.4 yards allowed per game (11th in the Big Ten). Look for a huge number from all three Badgers backs on a team with eyes on a BCS bowl bid.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 12
Post date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 07:17
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-11-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.

As expected, Week 11 was a big one for the Heisman Trophy race. Marcus Mariota was shut down by Stanford but an MCL injury clearly played a big role. Johnny Manziel posted five more touchdowns and a boatload of yards but three more turnovers. Bryce Petty stayed unbeaten in a big way. But Alabama's AJ McCarron and his three touchdowns stole the show by crushing rival LSU Saturday night.

Post-Week 11 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(2)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St55741-1
2.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M5054211
3.(4)Bryce PettyQBBaylor33-238-
4.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon2611316
5.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama25-2413
6.(6)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois3---11
7.(ur)Blake BortlesQBUCF2---1-
8.(7)

Ka'Deem Carey

RBArizona1----1

Heisman Headlines:

Stanford Shutdown. Marcus Mariota was grounded for the second straight year by the Stanford Cardinal and it has knocked him out of the Heisman lead. A partially torn left MCL certainly slowed him down as well, but Mariota’s Heisman hopes took a huge hit this weekend. That said, he threw for 250 yards and two scores without turning the ball over on one knee against the No. 5 team in the nation on the road. One loss from the Cardinal and the Ducks are right back in the Pac-12 title driver’s seat.

AJ Shines Again. While the numbers will never be there for McCarron, the Alabama signal-caller has proven that he is much more than just a game-manager. He makes most of the offensive play calls from the line of scrimmage and was excellent again against LSU. He is now 34-2 as a starter and has been at his best against three ranked teams: 693 yards passing, 7 TDs, 1 INT against Texas A&M, Ole Miss and LSU. He is so much more of a leader and architect than fans give him credit for and it should get him to New York in December.

Petty’s Month. The final month of the year has been targeted for Baylor all season. The Bears' back-loaded schedule got started for Petty in a big way after Baylor cruised past No. 10 Oklahoma. Petty accounted for five total touchdowns in the blowout win over the Sooners. Petty is now leading the nation in passing efficiency (210.65) and fifth nationally in total offense (346.9 ypg). Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas remain on the Bears' schedule.

Johnny Manziel Debate. Has Manziel been better in 2013? His passing stats are improved from a year ago: 331.3 ypg this year versus 285.1 last year, 73 percent completion rate this year versus 68 percent last year and 3.1 TD passes per game versus 2.0 last. However, he already has more INTs (11) than he did last year (9) and is averaging significantly less production on the ground: 61.1 ypg and eight TDs this year versus 108.5 ypg and 21 TDs last year. If Manziel doesn’t repeat, however, it will be his mistakes in big games that will cost him. He has four interceptions and four sacks in two home losses thus far.

Dropped Out. Oregon State's duo of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks both got left out this week. Fresno State's Derek Carr, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and South Carolina's Connor Shaw dropped out as well.

What to Watch. Jordan Lynch gets one of his hardest tests Wednesday night against Ball State. This is a great matchup that most of the nation will forget to watch. McCarron goes on the road to take on Mississippi State. Both Petty and Winston will host teams with a winning record in Texas Tech and Syracuse respectively, but nether should be tested. Mariota gets back on the field at home against Utah while Manziel is off this weekend. Barring a monumental upset, this weekend shouldn’t shake up the Heisman race too much. Watch out for Shaw this week as South Carolina hosts Florida. The Gamecocks could finish their SEC season at 6-2.

The Voting Panel:

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

 

Teaser:
College Football: Post-Week 11 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfls-week-10
Body:

Week 10 of the 2013 NFL season is in the books. And as usual, the league wasn’t short on drama. Tampa Bay and Jacksonville earned their first wins of 2013, leaving the NFL with no winless teams and just one unbeaten (Kansas City). Health issues sidelined Denver coach John Fox, but the Broncos survived San Diego’s upset bid. Houston’s Gary Kubiak was also sidelined with health issues, and the Texans’ comeback bid against Arizona fell short. 

Here are the most important, historic, interesting and bizarre stats from Week 10:

151: Total yards of offense for San Francisco
The Carolina Panthers defense made a big statement on Sunday in its 10-9 road win over the 49ers. San Francisco posted just 151 yards of total offense, the lowest total of the Jim Harbaugh era in the Bay (41 games). It marked just the second time Niners were held under 200 yards of offense under Harbaugh (170 versus Baltimore in 2011). Carolina sacked Colin Kaepernick six times and allowed just 2-of-13 third-down conversions. It was the biggest win of Ron Rivera’s coaching tenure with the Panthers and it was the team’s fifth straight win. Additionally, the one-point win was first close win of Cam Newton’s career. In games decided by three points or less, Newton had been 0-5 before Sunday’s win.

63: Calvin Johnson Detroit franchise record TD receptions
Herman Moore has long been the greatest wide receiver in Lions franchise history. He has caught more passes (670) for more yards (9,174) and more TDs (62) than anyone in Detroit football history. Until yesterday. Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the huge road win over divisional rival Chicago. He now has 63 career TD receptions and should pass Moore in both yards and receptions in the very near future. Johnson has 8.740 career yards receiving, trailing only Lance Alworth (9,019) for the most by any player in their first 100 games. Johnson’s career average of 87.4 yards per game is No. 1 all-time in NFL history. More importantly, the Detroit Lions are alone in first place in the NFC North for the first time since Week 5 of 2005.

1: Mark Ingram career 100-yard games
Ingram rushed for 3,261 yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons at Alabama. He won the school’s first ever Heisman Trophy and led his team to a national championship — both as a sophomore. He was a first round pick by the Saints in 2011 for a reason (28th overall). However, 29 games into his NFL career, Ingram had yet to rush for 100 yards. Against Dallas in a classic Superdome beat down, Ingram rushed 14 times for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Saints posted an NFL-record 40 first downs in the win. In fact, it was just the fourth time in his entire career that Ingram has rushed for at least 80 yards. New Orleans is 4-0 when Ingram rushes for at least 80 yards. Drew Brees threw for a Week 10-high 392 yards and four touchdowns in the 49-17 win as the Saints moved to 5-0 at home. 

314: Tavon Austin all-purpose yards against Indianapolis
The No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has been largely irrelevant through the first nine weeks of the season. But the Rams do-everything dynamo showed on Sunday why he was so highly touted coming out of West Virginia in the shocking 38-8 win over the Colts. He caught two passes for 138 yards, returned four punts for 145 yards, returned a kick for 27 yards and ran once for four yards. He scored on a 98-yard punt return, an 81-yard reception and a 55-yard reception. Before Sunday, he had 207 career receiving yards. At age 22, Austin became just one of three players 22 years or younger to score three times from at least 50 yards away in the same game (Gale Sayers in 1965 and Randy Moss in 1998).

10-0: Nick Foles TD-INT ratio over the last two games
One week after throwing seven touchdowns, Nick Foles responded with three more scoring strikes in the key road win over the Packers. It gives Foles 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions over that span, making him only the second play in NFL history to post a 10-to-0 TD-to-INT ratio over a two game stretch. The only player to match that feat was Tom Brady in 2007 when he threw five touchdowns against Dallas in Week 6 and then six touchdown passes in Week 7 without throwing a pick in either game. More importantly, Chip Kelly’s Eagles are tied for the NFC East lead despite an 0-4 home record. Foles is eighth in the NFL with 16 TDs on the season — more than Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Big Ben, Eli Manning or Robert Griffin III — and has yet to throw an interception.

371: Broncos NFL record for scoring in first 9 games
This is one that everyone has been tracking each weekend since Peyton Manning tossed seven touchdowns in Week 1. But the Broncos have set a new record for points scored (371) in a team’s first nine games. Denver is averaging 41.2 points per game after topping San Diego 28-20 on Sunday. The NFL record is 589 points set by the unbeaten Patriots in 2007, which accounts to 36.8 per game. Denver would blow past the previous record and finish with 659 points at their current pace. The previous record for points scored in the first nine games was the 1950 Rams with 358 (39.8) and actually scored more per game that year (38.8) than the ’07 Pats. 

6: Consecutive games Andre Brown has scored a rushing TD
The Giants won their third straight game this weekend by topping Oakland 24-20 in the New Meadowlands. Brown returned to the field for the first time in 2013 since breaking his leg in the final preseason game. He carried 30 times for 115 yards and scored a rushing touchdown in his sixth consecutive game (dating back to 2012). It is the longest active streak in the league and only the fourth such streak in the NFL since 2010 (Stevan Ridley 2012, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson 2011). After starting the season 0-6, the Giants are now just two games behind the division-leading Cowboys and Eagles.

4: Players to start at QB for Green Bay since 1992
Brett Favre’s first start was Sept. 27, 1992 in a 17-3 win over Pittsburgh. He started 253 consecutive games until Aaron Rodgers took over in 2008. Rodgers had started 86 out of 88 possible games before breaking his collarbone against the Bears two weeks ago. Matt Flynn got the other two starts (one each in 2010 and 2011) and was just the third player to start at QB for Green Bay since 1992 until Seneca Wallace got the start on Sunday against the Eagles. He lasted five passes before getting hurt. Wisconsin product Scott Tolzien played all but one series in the second straight home loss for the Packers. If the Packers do not find another option (which could be Flynn, actually), then the Packers will have as many starting quarterbacks in the last three games as they had in the previous 22 years combined.

Teaser:
Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 10
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/amazing-big-ten-college-football-stats-week-11
Body:

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Big Ten to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 11:

More Stats from Week 11: ACC | Big 12 Pac-12 | SEC

Minus-69: Michigan's total rushing yards in the last two games
Michigan posted a school-record minus-48 yards rushing last weekend in the ugly road loss to in-state rival Michigan State. That isn't all that shocking considering how good the Spartans defense has been all year. However, against a Nebraska defense that had allowed 516 rushing yards in its last two games, Michigan once again was held to negative rushing yards. The Maize and Blue totaled minus-21 yards rushing in the 17-13 loss to the Cornhuskers. The loss not only knocks Michigan completely out of the Legends Division race but it snapped the nation's longest home winning streak. Brady Hoke had won 20 consecutive games in The Big House until the Huskers upset the Wolverines on Saturday.

29.0: Nebraska’s Big Ten-leading sacks
The Cornhuskers' Randy Gregory recorded 3.0 sacks against Michigan this weekend and is now leading the Big Ten (6.5) in that category. In fact, Nebraska’s maligned defense is now leading the conference in sacks and is 10th nationally with 29.0 (3.22 per game) after posting 7.0 against the Wolverines. Nebraska has 11.0 sacks in its last two games — critical wins over Northwestern and Michigan.

5-0: Nebraska without Taylor Martinez
Taylor Martinez is the all-time total offense leader in Nebraska school history. And coming into his senior year, he had a chance to put himself into rarefied NCAA statistical air when it comes to dual-threat quarterbacks (7,258 yards passing, 2,975 rushing). But turf toe has limited him to just four games this season so far. Nebraska is 2-2 when Martinez starts and is 5-0 when he doesn’t. Certainly, Ron Kellogg III or Tommy Armstrong Jr. aren’t capable of producing like Martinez, but each player has led a game-winning drive in the waning moments of each of the last two games.

2003: Last year Minnesota won eight games
The Golden Gophers haven’t won eight games since Glen Mason won 10 and led Minnesota to the Sun Bowl in 2003. But with head coach Jerry Kill sidelined with health concerns, the 2013 Gophers squad is becoming one of the feel-good stories in the nation. Minnesota stymied Penn State 24-10 at home for the first win over the Nittany Lions since 2003 and its eighth win of the season. It gives Goldie four straight Big Ten wins after beating Northwestern, Nebraska, Indiana and Penn State — its first four-game winning streak in the Big Ten since 1973. Brutal games with rival Wisconsin and division frontrunner Michigan State loom large after the bye week.

46: James White career total TDs
James White rushed 23 times for 147 yards and scored three total touchdowns in the key win over BYU this weekend. He now has 4,147 career yards from scrimmage and 46 total career touchdowns — good for ninth all-time in Big Ten history — and has never really been the starter. Melvin Gordon is the star of the Badgers' backfield this season. He is a projected early-round NFL Draft pick and is eighth in the nation in rushing (128.9 ypg). The two seasons prior, Montee Ball set NCAA records with two Heisman finalist campaigns while the year before Ball and John Clay starred. White is a career backup and could finish as one of the top 10 most productive running backs in Big Ten history.

1,106: Allen Robinson's Penn State single-season receiving record
Penn State’s Biletnikoff Award candidate caught seven passes for 63 yards against Minnesota, pushing his 2013 totals to 73 receptions and 1,106 yards. Bobby Engram held the previous school record when he posted 1,084 yards in 1995. Wisconsin’s Lee Evans (2001) owns the Big Ten single-season record for receiving yards with 1,545 yards. Robinson would need to average 147 yards per game the rest of the way to set the Big Ten mark.

1,262: Totals yards of offense between Illinois and Indiana
The Hoosiers defeated Illinois 52-35 in Bloomington to give Illinois its 19th consecutive Big Ten loss. Indiana posted a season-high 650 yards of offense while the Illini put up 612 yards. Indiana running back Tevin Coleman rushed for a career-high 215 yards — the most by a Hoosier in 10 years — while wideout Cody Latimer set career highs with 11 receptions and 189 yards receiving. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase totaled 495 yards of total offense (450 pass, 45 rush) but it wasn’t good enough as head coach Tim Beckman fell to 0-13 in Big Ten play. Kevin Wilson and IU need to win two of their last three games to get to a bowl.

318: Iowa's season-high rushing yards
The Hawkeyes and Kirk Ferentz desperately needed to get to a bowl game in 2013 and the 38-14 win over Purdue gave Iowa its sixth win of the year. In true Ferentz fashion, Iowa pounded the football for a season-high 318 yards rushing and season-high 509 total yards of offense. Sophomore tailback Jordan Canzeri was the star of the show, rushing for a career-high 165 yards on 20 carries. Iowa finishes the season with Michigan and Nebraska.

Teaser:
Amazing Big Ten College Football Stats from Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-11
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:

7,997: AJ McCarron's Alabama school-record passing yards
The most underrated two-time national championship quarterback of all time now has the statistics his critics always points to. He passed John Parker Wilson (7,924) on Saturday against LSU to become Alabama's all-time leading passer. With his perfect play against the Tiger (179 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions), McCarron moved to 34-2 all-time as a starter and to within one win of Alabama's all-time wins leader (Jay Barker, 35). He has the stats, he has the wins and he has the talent — he should be the highest drafted Alabama quarterback in May since Richard Todd went in the first round in 1976. Nothing about AJ McCarron says "game manager," and it's time people started acknowledging it. Some more tidbits from Bama's impressive 38-17 win over LSU: Alabama moved to 71-3 under Nick Saban when leading at halftime and to 58-0 since 2008 when rushing for at least 140 yards.

62: Rushing yards by Oregon against Stanford
The Ducks entered Thursday night's showdown with Stanford averaging 301.6 yards rushing per game on 6.7 yards per carry in 2013. But for the second straight season, a stacked Cardinal front seven baffled the dynamic and explosive Ducks rushing attack. Oregon mustered just 62 yards rushing on 2.6 yards per carry in the 26-20 loss on The Farm. It was the first time since the season opener against LSU in 2011 the Ducks have been held to fewer than 100 yards rushing (95). Oregon posted season lows in total yards (312), yards per play (5.4), points scored (20) and first downs (17). News broke just minutes before the game on Thursday that quarterback Marcus Mariota had suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee, so the injury played a huge role in Oregon's struggles. Mariota is now 20-2 as a starter at Oregon with both losses coming at the hands of David Shaw and Stanford.

320: Auburn rushing yards per game in 2013
After 53 rushing attempts, 444 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in a blowout win over Tennessee in Knoxville, Auburn now ranks third in the NCAA with 320.0 yards rushing per game. That is 15 more yards rushing per game under Gus Malzahn this season than the entire offense posted per game last season. Auburn totaled 305.0 yards of offense per game last year, ranking 118th nationally — out of 124 teams. Quarterback Nick Marshall carried for 214 yards against UT, posting the third-best rushing total by an Auburn quarterback in school history behind only Travis Tidwell (222 in 1946) and Cam Newton (217 in 2010). Marshall completed just three passes for 35 yards in the win and Auburn has now completed as many passes as offensive touchdowns scored (11) over the last two games. After scoring 55 against the Vols, Auburn is 17th nationally in scoring offense at 38.6 points per game after scoring just 18.7 per game a year ago — good for 114th nationally. Auburn controls its own destiny with games against Georgia and Alabama looming in the next few weeks.

Minus-69: Michigan rushing yards in the last two games
Michigan posted a school record minus-48 yards rushing last weekend in the ugly road loss to in-state rival Michigan State. That isn't all that shocking considering how good the Spartans defense has been all year. However, against a Nebraska defense that had allowed 516 rushing yards in its last two games, Michigan once again was held to negative rushing yards. The Maize and Blue totaled minus-21 yards rushing in the 17-13 loss to the Cornhuskers. The loss not only knocks Michigan completely out of the Legends Division race but it snapped the nation's longest home winning streak. Brady Hoke had won 20 consecutive games in The Big House until the Huskers upset the Wolverines on Saturday.

115: Aaron Murray SEC-record TD passes
Murray threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-6 cake walk over Appalachian State. He now how thrown more touchdown passes than any player in SEC history, passing Danny Wuerffel (114) for No. 1 all time. Murray is now the all-time SEC leader in passing touchdowns (115), passing yards (12,568) and total offense (12,885). The biggest thing left unfinished on Murray's resume is an SEC Championship. And with a little help from Ole Miss or Texas A&M (one of whom needs to beat Missouri) and a win over Auburn and Kentucky in the next two weeks, Murray will likely get his revenge match in the SEC Championship Game with Alabama.

1945: Last year Vanderbilt won in The Swamp
In fact, the 7-0 Vanderbilt win over Florida in 1945 was the first meeting between the two schools and, before Saturday's 34-17 victory, was the only time Vanderbilt had won in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Commodores hadn't topped the Gators anywhere since 1988 (22 games) and are only 9-35-2 all-time against the Gators. Vanderbilt has now beaten Georgia and Florida in the same season for the first time in school history and it could be devastating for Will Muschamp. The Gators are 4-5 and in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 1990. Florida must win two of the last three games: at South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State. The Dores have to win only one of three to make it to an unprecedented third consecutive bowl: Kentucky, at Tennesse and Wake Forest.

1994: Last year Duke had a winning record
David Cutcliffe took Duke to a bowl game last season for the first time since 1994. With an impressive home win over NC State 38-20, Duke moves to 7-2 on the year and is guaranteed a winning record for the first time since… 1994. The Blue Devils will go to back-to-back bowls for the first time in school history, and after winning five straight, has a chance to win the Coastal Division. Duke won't leave the state the rest of the regular season as it hosts Miami and visits Wake Forest and North Carolina to finish the year. Cutcliffe needs to be mentioned among Art Briles, Gus Malzahn and Gary Pinkel as a National Coach of the Year candidate.

1: Frank Beamer QBs to throw for 300 yards in back-to-back games
Beamer has coached at Virginia Tech for 27 years and has won 222 games, lost 107 times and tied twice. He has coached in 20 consecutive bowl games, has won seven conference championships and has had multiple Offensive Players of the Year under center (Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Bryan Randall, Jim Druckenmiller). But until Saturday's whipping of Miami, he had never had a quarterback throw for at least 300 yards in back-to-back games. And off all the great quarterbacks he has had, it's the embattled and turnover-prone Logan Thomas who got it done by throwing for 386 yards in the 42-24 win over the Canes. He threw for 391 yards in the road loss to Boston College last weekend. The race in the ACC Coastal is now wide open as four teams are tied with two conference losses with three weeks to play.

37.5: USC Pac-12 scoring offense under Ed Orgeron
In three years as a head coach at Ole Miss, Ed Orgeron's offense scored 30 points or more once (38, Northwestern State). In four Pac-12 games as the interim head coach at USC, Orgeron's team has scored at least 30 points three times and is averaging 37.5 points per game. Orgeron is unbeaten in conference play (4-0) as the head coach after topping Cal 62-28 this weekend. The Trojans posted 499 yards of offense and scored three times on special teams. USC sits at 4-2 in the league and is one game behind Arizona State in the Pac-12 South standings.

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Amazing College Football Stats from Week 11
Post date: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 07:15

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