Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-8-recap-and-awards
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It wasn't supposed to be a big weekend of action in the Big Ten. No team was favored by single digits and only Wisconsin was a road favorite. That, however, didn't stop the league from generating plenty of excitement.

Iowa put quite a scare into the Buckeyes on the road. Michigan and Indiana set all types of records. Wisconsin cruised in a traditionally difficult rivalry game. And Minnesota won a game in Evanston that changed the complexion of the Legends Division race.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 8 Superlatives:

Offensive Players of the Week: Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon, Michigan
Gardner set Michigan records with 584 yards of total offense, 503 yards passing and five total touchdowns in the win over Indiana. Jeremy Gallon set a Big Ten record with 369 yards receiving on 14 catches, two of which went for touchdowns. His 369 yards are No. 2 in FBS history behind Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards 405 yards in 1998. Michigan rolled up a school-record 751 yards of offense and scored nine touchdowns. Gardner came up two yards shy of a Big Ten record for total offense (Illinois' David Wilson, 585, 1980).

Defensive Players of the Week: Max Bullough and Denicos Allen, Michigan State
The other school in Michigan wins games in a completely different style and fashion than the Wolverines. The Spartans linebackers played well all afternoon and combined on one huge play to give the Spartans the lead for good early in the tigher-than-expected win over Purdue. Bullough finished with 10 tackles, two for a loss and a forced a fumble on a sack that was scooped up by Allen and returned 45 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. Allen finished with eight tackles and the Spartans fifth defensive touchdown on the season.

Team of the Week: Minnesota
Without their head coach, the Gophers were a near two-touchdown underdog on the road against Northwestern. But with Jerry Kill watching from a private suite at Ryan Field, Minnesota proceeded to knock off the division rival Wildcats with an excellent defensive performance. The Gophers controlled time of possession, won the turnover battle (3-0), registered three sacks and held on for the three-point win. The victory was Minnesota's first conference win of the season and puts the Gophers one win away from getting bowl eligible.

Coordinator of the Week: Tracy Claeys, Minnesota

The defensive coordinator-turned-interim head coach deserves a ton of credit for what the Gophers accomplished on Saturday. Minnesota allowed just 328 yards of offense to Northwestern and forced three huge turnovers, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the third quarter that gave the Gophers the lead for good. Everyone is rooting for head coach Jerry Kill to get healthy and a win like this on the road over a good Wildcats team is something this fan base dearly needed.

Freshman of the Week: T.J. Simmons, Indiana
The freshman linebacker from Lakeland (Fla.) posted his fifth game of his career with at least seven tackles by making eight stops, two for a loss, a sack and a QB hurry against Michigan. Simmons is tied for 13th in the Big Ten in tackles and is leading all Big Ten freshman (49 total tackles, seven per game).

Fifth Down

• Ohio State pushed the nation's longest winning streak to 19 games with the win over Iowa.

• Brady Hoke has yet to lose a home game as the head coach at Michigan, winning his 19th straight in the Big House this weekend. It was also Michigan's 18th straight victory over Indiana.

• Northwestern's Lou Groza candidate Jeff Budzien set a Big Ten record with his 127th consecutive converted extra point.

• Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns in the road win over Illinois. Gordon is third nationally with 144.6 yards rushing per game, second with 1,012 yards rushing and trails only Arizona State's Marion Grice and Boise State's Jay Ajayi for the nation's lead in rushing TDs (12).

• The Badgers rushed for 289 yards on 46 carries against the Illini. It was the fifth time UW topped 280 yards rushing this year and the fifth time it rushed for more than 6.0 yards per carry in a game (6.3). As a team, it leads the Big Ten with 24 rushing touchdowns.

• Dueces were wild for Ohio State's Braxton Miller. He completed 22 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried 18 times for 102 yards on the ground. He had just five incomplete passes and didn't turn the ball over.

• Carlos Hyde chipped in with 149 yards and two rushing touchdowns for Ohio State on 24 carries in the win over Iowa.

• Iowa entered the weekend as the only team in the nation to have yet to allow a rushing TD. It gave up two to Ohio State in second half.

Teaser:
Big Ten Week 8 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 11:21
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-8-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. Whether you condone gambling or not, think of it as becoming a more informed fan.

After a shocking week of action, most gamblers are probably anxious to get back on the field this weekend. Conference play is in full swing and that means less predictability on the whole. So stay away from sucker lines (Baylor -33.5 against Iowa State), reactionary spreads (Arizona State -3 against Washington) and normally unpredictable rivalries (Wisconsin at Illinois).

2013 Record Against the Spread: 22-16-1 (3-2 last week)

Week 8 Picks of the Week:

Florida State (-3) at Clemson
It's too big of a game to avoid. These are two evenly matched teams with even levels of talent, even coaching and equally impressive stars under center. One has a senior quarterback playing at home while the other has a freshman coming into one of the toughest environments in college football. Look for the crowd and Death Valley to play a big role and the Tigers' defensive line to make just enough plays for the Tigers to win outright. The home team has won the last six games between these two so take the points and run. Prediction: Clemson +3

Iowa (+17) at Ohio State
The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes both had an extra week to prepare for this one. Iowa hasn’t won in the Horseshoe since 1991 and has only won one of the last 13 meetings overall. Ohio State is 4-1-1 against the spread this year and should improve that total against a team that will be dramatically outmatched on both sides of the ball. Prediction: Ohio State -17

Georgia (-7.5) at Vanderbilt
Both defenses have been atrocious this fall and both offenses can score points. The Dores have played well at home against Georgia in recent years and are well rested after the bye week. The Bulldogs are 1-4-1 against the spread this year and James Franklin’s bunch is desperate to get an SEC win and avoid an 0-4 SEC start. Look for a potential outright upset. Prediction: Vanderbilt +7.5

Oregon State (-10.5) at Cal
The Bears are 0-5-1 against the spread and Oregon State is coming off an impressive fourth-quarter showing against Washington State. Sean Mannion is the nation’s top passer and should have no issues with a Cal defense that is allowing more than 500 yards per game. The Beavers are undervalued after winning five straight and should easily make it six here. Prediction: Oregon State -10.5

BYU (-9.5) at Houston
The Cougars are unbeaten and have taken care of the ball all season. But Houston has yet to play a team like BYU. This is a physical, powerful team on both sides of the ball and quarterback Taysom Hill is finding his stride of late. These two teams aren't in the same category of talent, coaching or physicality. Take the Cougs on the road. Prediction: BYU -9.5

Auburn (+13) at Texas A&M
Auburn won't win the game as long as No. 2 is playing quarterback for the Aggies, but Guz Malzahn has this Tigers team pointed in the right direction and is poised to make some noise in the SEC West. Texas A&M can't stop anybody on defense and Nick Marshall is back under center for Auburn. Take the over and the Tigers to keep it close all night long — at least, before Johnny Manziel dances around for some sort of game-winning touchdown. Prediction: Auburn +13

Week 8 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
Arkansas (+28) at No. 1 Alabama
Wazzu (+39) at No. 2 Oregon
No. 5 Florida St (-3) at No. 3 Clemson
Iowa (+17) at No. 4 Ohio St 
No. 6 LSU (-9) at Ole Miss
No. 24 Auburn (+13) at No. 7 Texas A&M
UCF (+12.5) at No. 7 Louisville
No. 9 UCLA (+6) at No. 13 Stanford
No. 11 South Carolina (-7.5) at Tennessee
Iowa St (+33.5) at No. 12 Baylor
No. 22 Florida (-3) at No. 14 Mizzou
No. 15 Georgia (-7.5) at Vanderbilt
No. 16 Texas Tech (-6) at West Virginia
UNLV (+24.5) at No. 17 Fresno St
No. 18 Oklahoma (-23) at Kansas
No. 20 Washington (+3) at Arizona St
TCU (+8) at No. 21 Oklahoma St
No. 23 N. Illinois (-16) at C. Michigan
No. 25 Wisconsin (-13.5) at Illinois
Last Week:3-137-93-136-10
Year-To-Date:57-52-353-56-350-59-362-47-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 8 Picks
Post date: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-8-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Wisconsin made a big statement last weekend while both Michigan and Northwestern lost key crossover games. The door in the Legends Division is wide open for any and all of the teams in the division. In fact, the round-robin in that half of the Big Ten should be one of the most dramatic races in college football.

Just don’t expect any excitement in Week 8. Not one game in the Big Ten features a single-digit point-spread and all but one favorite is at home. So holding serve will be the theme in the Big Ten this weekend.

Penn State and Nebraska are off.

Week 8 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 8 Game Power Rankings:

1. Wisconsin (-11.5) at Illinois (8 p.m. ET, BTN)
The all-time series between these two is tied at 36-36-7 but the Badgers have owned this rivalry of late. Wisconsin has won seven of the last eight but the games always seem to be closer than anticipated, as four of the last five have been decided by 10 points or less. The only “blowout” was a 31-14 UW win last year in Madison. The Illini are 11th in the Big Ten in total defense and will find it difficult to slow down the powerful and surprisingly balanced Badgers offense. Therefore it falls to veteran quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (259.4 ypg, 12 TD, 4 INT) to keep his team in the mix on offense. This one should be closer than the experts think.

2. Indiana (+10) at Michigan (3:30 p.m., BTN)
Michigan is the far superior team when it comes to recruiting and overall talent, but the Wolverines are playing below average football. The Hoosiers had the top-rated offense in the league before visiting Michigan State last weekend, as they dropped to No. 2 after their worst output of the season (351 yards). Michigan and turnover-prone quarterback Devin Gardner (10 INT, 3 FL) is a much different team at home than it is on the road. In the Big House, Michigan is averaging 42.5 points and 424 yards per game. Indiana fans should expect another week of quality first-half football followed by a second-half blitzkrieg from a team in Michigan.

3. Iowa (+16.5) at Ohio State (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Urban Meyer’s quest for 25-0 continues this weekend as the nation’s longest winning streak goes back on the line. That said, the Buckeyes are well rested after the off weekend and haven’t lost to Iowa at home since 1991. In fact, Ohio State has dominated this matchup, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. The Hawkeyes, who are also rested after the bye, were completely stymied by Michigan State two weeks ago and will be facing a similar task in the Horseshoe. Look for Braxton Miller and the running game to run right at the talented Iowa linebackers.

4. Minnesota (+12.5) at Northwestern (Noon, ESPN2)
The Wildcats are beaten up and are in desperate need of their first Big Ten win after falling to Ohio State and Wisconsin. Minnesota is coming off a bye weekend after two of its own conference losses and is missing its head coach. So for two struggling teams, getting back to basics should be expected for both — and that means the running game. Northwestern has proven to be extremely vulnerable against the run after allowing 248 yards to the Buckeyes and 286 to Wisconsin while struggling to move the pile on offense (138 yards combined in the last two games). The Gophers are in an identical situation after rushing for 282.3 yards per game in their four wins to start the year and just 166 total rushing yards in their two losses. With injuries continuing to hinder Venric Mark and Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian needs to step into a bigger role.

5. Purdue (+26) at Michigan State (Noon, BTN)
The odds of the 121st offense in the nation moving the football and putting up enough points to win against the nation’s No. 1 total defense on the road is virtually none. But that is what Purdue is facing this weekend in East Lansing. The Spartans have won four straight in the series and haven’t lost to the Boilermakers since 2006. Look for a complete effort from Michigan State.

Big Ten Week 8 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox break down the big questions for each conference for the second half of the season in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois
The Illini quarterback has saved his best season for last as he struggled mightily in 2011 and '12. That said, the last time Scheelhaase was on the field he looked a lot more like the Scheelhaase of old. Against Nebraska, he completed just 50 percent of his passes for 135 yards and no touchdowns with one interception. He wasn’t great through the air last year against Wisconsin (178 yards, TD, INT) but was dynamic on the ground, rushing for 84 yards and a score. Look for more of a dual-threat game plan against UW this week, as efficient play from Illinois’ quarterback is the only chance for an upset.

2. Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
On defense for Illinois, the Big Ten’s top tackler (60 total, 12.0 per game) will be faced with one of the most difficult tasks a linebacker in this league can face. Wisconsin’s offense is No. 1 in the league because of its traditionally powerful and deep running game. Wisconsin boasts the league’s No. 1 (Melvin Gordon), No. 4 (James White) and No. 10 (Corey Clement) rushers. Brown may have 20 tackles in this game but if they are all six yards down the field, it will be a long day for Illinois.

3. Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
The sophomore quarterback is No. 2 in the Big Ten in passing (267.3 ypg) but has been inconsistent in conference play. He torched Penn State for 321 yards and two scores but was completely shut down by Michigan State (137 yards, 0 TD). On the road against Michigan, Sudfeld will be called upon to carry the offense in the second half — especially, if the ground game continues to struggle (98 yards against Mizzou, 92 yards against Michigan State).

4. Trevor Siemian, QB, Northwestern
With Kain Colter and Venric Mark day-to-day with ankle injuries, Siemian may be called upon to handle more of the offense for Pat Fitzgerald. And simply put, he has to be better throwing the football than he was last weekend against Wisconsin. Completing 38.2 percent (13-of-34) of your passes won’t win too many games in any league. Look for the Northwestern offense to bounce back at home against Minnesota because a third straight loss to start conference play would be crippling.

5. Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan
The best way to help a turnover-prone quarterback is to run the football and that responsibility to falls mostly to Toussaint. He rushed for 397 yards and seven touchdowns in the first five games but was completely ineffective against Penn State. He rushed for 1.0 yards per carry on 27 attempts, and the ground game should be the focus against an Indiana team that has allowed 238 yards rushing to Michigan State, 280 yards to Missouri and 444 yards to Navy.

Big Ten Week 8 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Wisconsin (-11.5) at IllinoisWisconsin, 31-27Wisconsin, 31-10Wisconsin, 38-20Wisconsin, 42-21
Indiana (+10) at MichiganMichigan, 34-21Michigan, 34-30Michigan, 38-27Indiana, 35-31
Iowa (+16.5) at Ohio StOhio St, 42-20Ohio St, 27-17Ohio St, 38-17Ohio St, 41-14
Minnesota (+12.5) at NorthwesternN'Western, 31-17N'Western, 33-14N'Western, 34-17N'Western, 31-24
Purdue (+26) at Michigan StMich. St, 31-7Mich. St, 34-0Mich. St, 41-10Mich. St, 28-3
Last Week:4-03-13-13-1
Year-to-date:50-951-852-749-10

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 8 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-8-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Things are starting to fall into place out West. Washington was humbled the last two weeks but has no chance to rest. Stanford found out first-hand how deep the South Division might be, but also has to regroup quickly. And Sean Mannion continues his assault on the record books.

Week 8 is a deep and intriguing weekend of action for the Pac-12. A rematch of last season's Pac-12 Championship game, a historic rivalry, a critical crossover elimination game and a big South Division showdown highlight what will be yet another exciting weekend of action West of the Rockies.

Week 8 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 8 Game Power Rankings

1. UCLA (+4.5) at Stanford (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
The unbeaten Bruins get the unenviable task of facing Stanford for the third time in less than a year. The Cardinal topped UCLA 35-17 in the season finale last year before beating them again a week later in the Pac-12 title game 27-24. The Bruins have lost five straight in the series and Stanford hasn’t lost at home in 12 straight or in back-to-back weeks since October 2009. Utah toppled Stanford last week in Salt Lake City and that should have David Shaw’s bunch fired up and focused. And they will need to be to stop Brett Hundley, who threw for a career-high 410 yards last week, the third-highest total in UCLA history. Hundley’s worst career game came in the first loss to Stanford last year (177 yards, INT) but he showed marked improvement the next weekend (329 yards, 3 TD). With a young and banged-up offensive line on the road against a nasty front seven, Jim Mora’s bunch will only stay unbeaten if Hundley has a special afternoon.

2. Washington (+3) at Arizona State (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Sun Devils have owned this series and the Huskies are teetering in Pac-12 play. Arizona State has won seven straight over Washington and U of W is coming off emotional and physical losses to Stanford and Oregon. The Sun Devils played their most complete game last week against Colorado by scoring 54 points, rolling up 532 yards and holding Colorado to just 268 yards. Despite out-gaining Stanford by a significant margin, Keith Price’s Huskies moved to 3-9 in true road games over the last three seasons when they lost their only true road game of the year thus far two weeks ago in Palo Alto. This showdown will feature the nation’s leading rusher in Bishop Sankey (149.8 ypg) and the nation’s leading scorer in Marion Grice (15.0 ppg). It falls to the bruised Huskies defense to stop quarterback Taylor Kelly (327.5 ypg) on the road.

3. USC (+3) at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m., NBC)
One of college football’s most heated and historic rivalries will be on display in South Bend for the 85th time in history. After USC won eight straight from 2002-09, Notre Dame has won two of the last three. Both teams enter this game surging to some degree after Ed Orgeron won his coaching debut against Arizona last week and the Irish topped Arizona State in Dallas in impressive fashion. Both teams will have extra rest after neither played on Saturday last weekend and that is good news for two inconsistent quarterbacks. Tommy Rees and Cody Kessler have both turned the ball over too much, but both have shown signs of life in the last few weeks. Kessler has set career highs in yards in each of his last two games with four touchdowns while Rees tossed three touchdowns against ASU. Whichever quarterback plays the best against two very stingy defenses will likely win the the historic rivalry game — one that is taking place nearly eight years to the day from the famed “Bush Push” (Oct. 15, 2005).

4. Utah (+5) at Arizona (10 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The first couple of seasons in the Pac-12 were rough for Utah, going 7-11 in the league. And while the Utes already have two losses, they are clearly improved and heading in the right direction, culminating in a huge upset over Stanford last weekend. Arizona never really challenged USC last Thursday night despite 508 yards of offense and a flurry of late scoring. Dual-threat quarterbacks will be on display as Travis Wilson (283 yards, 5 TD) and B.J. Denker (273 yards, 6 TD) are the league’s No. 2 and No. 3 most productive rushing quarterbacks. Both teams have eyes on a bowl game and whoever losses will leave Week 8 with three Pac-12 losses. The road team has won both Pac-12 meetings between these two.

5. Oregon State (-10.5) at Cal (10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Any game with Sean Mannion and Sonny Dykes should be extremely entertaining. The football won’t be handed off too much in this one as Cal is No. 3 nationally with 318 pass attempts and Oregon State is No. 4 with 301 attempts. The Beavers have won 11 of the last 14 meetings, including a 62-14 drubbing in Corvallis last season. Mannion threw for 325 yards and four scores in that game as he returned to the lineup after a major knee injury. Look for him to air it out again against a Golden Bears defense that is 123rd nationally at 518 yards allowed per game. In fact, don’t be surprised if the Oregon State quarterback sets the Pac-12 single-game passing record.

6. Washington State (+38) at Oregon (10 p.m., FS1)
The Cougars are much improved and have a chance to pull a few upsets this year in the Pac-12 — like, say, against USC. But defeating Oregon in Eugene won’t be one of them. The Ducks are favored by more than five touchdowns for a reason. Quarterback Marcus Mariota might be the best player in the nation and Wazzu hasn’t allowed fewer than 43 points to Oregon since 2006.

7. Charleston Southern at Colorado (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Buffaloes don’t have too many more chances at wins this season so a win against a FCS opponent is a must. However, the Buccaneers are 7-0 and are looking for an opportunity to make a statement. This game wasn’t scheduled until Sept. 30 and Southern was the only team willing to come to Boulder on this weekend. Colorado’s game against Fresno State was canceled last month due to weather-related circumstances. The once high-flying CU offense needs to get on track after struggling mightily in Pac-12 play this year.

Pac-12 Week 8 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox break down the big questions for each conference for the second half of the season in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
There may be no more important player in the nation this weekend than Hundley. He struggled against the Cardinal in his first meeting last year but learned from the experience and played well in the Pac-12 title game. With a developing supporting cast and electric dual-threat ability, he has the talent to take over a game at any point (ask Bo Pelini). Against a Stanford front seven that is among the nation's best, he will have to play with great toughness to pull the upset.

2. Osahon Irabor, CB, Arizona State
The senior defensive back is no ordinary cornerback. Certainly, he is excellent in coverage as his two interceptions and return touchdown have shown. But he also plays well around the line of scrimmage and is disruptive in the backfield as his 4.5 tackles for a loss and one sack indicate. Against the Huskies' balanced and talented backfield duo, Irabor's ability to wreak havoc in the box on defense could be huge for Arizona State.

3. Cody Kessler, QB, USC
The USC quarterback might be finally rounding into form after setting a career high in passing yards each of the last two games. He threw for 297 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the big Thursday night win over Arizona but completed only 50 percent of his passes. On the road against a developing Irish defense, Kessler needs to be efficient and distribute the ball to his deep supporting cast.

4. Arizona's linebackers
This is a critical game for Rich Rodriguez and he has to be concerned with the trend in his defensive statistics. His team defense has allowed more yards every week than the week before for five straight games, culminating in 546 yards allowed to USC. Veterans Marquis Flowers and Jake Fischer as well as freshman Scooby Wright will be under pressure to contain Utah star dual-threat Travis Wilson and his 6-foot-6, 245-pound frame.

5. Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
He may deserve mention every week for the rest of the year as long as his assault on the Pac-12 record books continues. Cal has been downright atrocious on defense this year and the Beavers quarterback is lapping the field nationally in terms of passing production, while also leading the nation in yards and touchdowns by wide margins. There is a chance, after throwing for 493 yards last week, that he could threaten Andrew Walter's Pac-12 single-game passing record of 536 yards from 2002 this weekend.

Pac-12 Week 8 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
UCLA (+4.5) at StanfordStanford, 24-20UCLA, 28-24Stanford, 31-27UCLA, 28-27
Washington (+3) at Arizona StAriz. St, 38-35Wash., 31-30 Ariz. St, 38-34Ariz. St, 28-24
USC (+3) at Notre DameN. Dame, 24-21USC, 20-17N. Dame, 27-24 N. Dame, 27-21
Utah (+5) at ArizonaArizona, 30-27Arizona, 30-20Arizona, 30-27Utah, 31-14
Oregon St (-10.5) at CalOre. St, 49-28Ore. St, 41-14Ore. St, 51-24Ore. St, 49-28 
Washington St (+38) at OregonOregon, 51-13Oregon, 51-14Oregon, 58-20Oregon, 56-10
Charleston So. at ColoradoColo., 38-31Colo., 34-10Colo., 45-17Colo., 31-27
Last Week: 3-35-15-15-1
Year-to-date:46-1248-1049-946-12

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 8 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/2013-bcs-standings-historic-and-statistical-analysis
Body:

The BCS was implemented in 1998 and has worked to near perfection for 15 seasons.

Wait, what?

That’s right, the BCS worked to near perfection. Prior to the construction of the Bowl Championship Series, fans and experts alike were left to argue about multiple unbeatens who played irrelevant bowl games against grandfathered-in bowl opponents.

How quickly we forget that there were three split National Championships between 1990-97 and another year Penn State fans won't ever let anyone forget (1994). How absurd is the idea of a split national title? The BCS featured one such split title since going into effect in ’98 (2003) and has worked to near perfection.

The goal of the BCS was to pit the top two teams in the nation in a winner-take-all championship showdown. And it worked brilliantly when compared to the previous championship structure. Only twice in 15 seasons has a “BCS” conference (or automatic qualifying or Big 6 or power conference or whatever else you want to call it) team gone undefeated and not played for the national championship.

Those two teams were Auburn in 2004 and Cincinnati in '09. And since the Bearcats don’t really apply to this discussion, the '04 Tigers are really the only team with a legitimate gripe about being left out of the title game. Are there plenty of other teams who feel like they deserved a shot? Georgia in 2007? Ohio State in 1998? Texas in 2008? Yes, but had each of those teams not lost certain games, they too, would have played for the national title.

The final debut of the BCS standings is set to take place this weekend following monumental showdowns in Death Valley and Palo Alto. There will be upsets, shockers, butt-whippings and plenty of movement up and down the rankings between now and the final BCS standings in history — which are set to be released Sunday, Dec. 8.

So as the BCS is set to end, here are some historical facts to consider. Who has been ranked the least and the most during the BCS Era? Who has had the longest BCS droughts? And who could break through in the final season of BCS football?

There are some concerning and seriously long BCS droughts currently ongoing. Only three power conference teams have never made an appearance in the BCS at any point during the 15-year run: Vanderbilt, Indiana and Duke. However, other than those three, there are some once proud programs yearning for BCS recognition. 

Syracuse has the longest ongoing BCS drought in the automatic qualifying leagues. It hasn’t been ranked since Nov. 12, 2001. Syracuse has a long and storied tradition, as its 699 wins entering this season were the most among current ACC teams and 15th all-time (per NCAA), but it’s been over a decade since the Orange were relevant in college football.

Purdue is No. 2 on the BCS waiting list but hasn’t waited nearly as long. The Boilermakers last made an appearance on Oct. 25, 2004. From 1997-2004, Purdue went to eight straight bowl games. But since its last appearance in the BCS, it has been to just four bowls in nine seasons and is on its third head coach.

Boston College hasn’t been ranked since Nov. 22, 2004. The Eagles have consistently overachieved during the BCS era, however, having gone to a bowl game every year from 1999-2010. But this once proud program has fallen on hard times of late, going 9-21 since — although, Steve Addazio may be the answer.

A pair of Pac-12 programs in Colorado (Nov. 7, 2005) and Washington State (Oct. 29, 2006) round out the top five longest BCS droughts in college football’s major conferences. The Buffaloes won a share of the national championship less than 25 years ago but haven't had a winning season since 2005. Wazzu went to two Rose Bowls between 1997-2002 but haven’t had a winning season since '03. Both have found excellent coaches and both could break through in the near future.

Kentucky (Nov. 11, 2007) has only been ranked four times in the BCS and all four came from the memorable 2007 squad that pulled off the Bluegrass Miracle. The Wildcats have the sixth longest absence.

Virginia and Tennessee are tied, having last appeared in the BCS standings on Dec. 2, 2007. Both programs won at a high level in the '90s but have struggled to win games of late. In particular, the Vols’ absence is notable having won a national championship during the BCS era and ranking eighth all-time with 799 wins (prior to this season). Big Orange Nation is yearning for competitive football.

Minnesota and UConn round out of the top 10 BCS droughts having last appeared on Oct. 26, 2008. The other BCS deficiencies that likely won't come to an end in the system's final season come from North Carolina (14th-longest, Nov. 22, 2009), Cal (16th, Nov. 29, 2009), Pitt (17th, Dec. 6, 2009) and Iowa (21st, Nov. 21, 2010).

Who has a chance to end their drought this season? Maryland owns the 12th longest drought (Nov. 16, 2008) and could break through in the BCS’ final year. Ole Miss is 15th (Nov. 22, 2009) and has an outside chance to land in the rankings at some point this year. BYU is tied with Pitt at 17th (Dec. 6, 2009) and could land in the rankings if Taysom Hill continues to develop.

Miami is the lone top 20 BCS drought that will end on Sunday when the first BCS rankings of the 2013 season come out.

Fewest BCS Appearances* Most BCS Appearances* 
 TeamTotalLast  TeamTotalNo. 1's 
1.Vanderbilt0-|1.Texas1023 
1.Duke0-|2t.Florida927 
1.Indiana0-|2t.Oklahoma9220 
4.Iowa State1Oct. 24, 2012|4t.LSU8110 
5.Kentucky4Nov. 11, 2007|4t.Virginia Tech81- 
6.North Carolina5Nov. 22, 2009|6.Oregon774 
7.NC State5Nov. 21, 2010|7.Ohio State7615 
8.Syracuse5Nov. 12, 2001|8.Michigan75- 
9.Baylor7Dec. 4, 2011|9.Florida State727 
10.UConn7Oct. 26, 2008|10.USC7015 
11.Wake Forest8Nov. 9, 2008|11.Georgia69- 
12.Ole Miss9Nov. 22, 2009|12.Wisconsin65- 
13.South Florida10Nov. 8, 2009|13.Boise State64- 
14.Kansas10Oct. 18, 2009|14.Nebraska625 
15.Illinois11Oct. 16, 2011|15.Miami607 
16.Colorado13Nov. 7, 2005|16.Alabama5810 
17.Maryland13Nov. 16, 2008|17.Tennessee525 
18.Rutgers13Nov. 18, 2012|18t.Oklahoma State51- 
19.Northwestern13Dec. 2, 2012|18t.Penn State51- 
20.Purdue14Oct. 24, 2004|20.TCU50- 
21.Minnesota14Oct. 26, 2008|21.Kansas State491 
22.Washington17Nov. 18, 2012|22.Notre Dame483 
23.Arizona State18Oct. 30, 2011|23.West Virginia46- 
24.Mississippi State19Nov. 4, 2012|24.Auburn453 
25.Pitt20Dec. 6, 2009|25t.Texas A&M38- 
26.Cincinnati20Oct. 14, 2012|25t.Georgia Tech38- 

* - Does not include Temple, Memphis, SMU, Houston, UCF

Most Appearances By "Mid-Majors"
 TeamTimesLast
1.Boise State64Dec. 2, 2012
2.BYU29Dec. 6, 2009
3.Hawaii10Dec. 5, 2010
4.Bowling Green9Nov. 22, 2004
5.Southern Miss8Dec. 4, 2011
6.Ball State8Dec. 7, 2008
7.Northern Illinois7Dec. 2, 2012
8.Nevada7Dec. 5, 2010
9.Miami, Ohio7Dec. 7, 2003
10.Tulane7Dec. 6, 1998

 

Teaser:
2013 BCS Standings: A Historic and Statistical Analysis
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-7-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 race for the Heisman Trophy should get extremely interesting over the next few weekends. UCLA will play both Stanford and Oregon. Clemson hosts Florida State. LSU has to play Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M. Baylor still has battles with Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma State. But for now, the award is Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota's to lose. He got 11 first-place votes (of 13) this week for the highest point total of the season in Athlon's voting.

Post-Week 7 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon63112---
2.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M4828111
3.(2)Tajh BoydQBClemson32-2711
4.(5)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St22--361
5t.(8)AJ McCarronQBAlabama6--1-3
5t.(9)Sean MannionQBOregon St6--1-3
5t.(6)Bryce PettyQBBaylor6-1--2
8.(7)Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville4---2-
9t.(4)Aaron MurrayQBGeorgia2---1-
9t.(ur)Bishop SankeyRBWashington2---1-
9t.(ur)Anthony BarrLBUCLA2---1-
12t.(ur)Brett HundleyQBUCLA1----1
12t.(11)Zach MettenbergerQBLSU1----1

Heisman Headlines:

More Mariota, Please. After seven touchdowns against Colorado and four touchdowns with over 450 yards of offense on the road against Washington, the nation has finally acknowledged Mariota might be the best player in the country. Having said that, he will have a chance to prove it. Washington State, UCLA and Stanford are Oregon’s next three opponents and there is a chance that every one of the Ducks’ final six games could feature a team heading to a bowl game.

Boyd vs. Winston. Tajh Boyd was excellent in the final quarter against Boston College, as the Tigers' signal-caller finished with nearly 400 yards of offense and two critical touchdowns. While Boyd and Clemson struggled with BC, Florida State and Jameis Winston sat at home and rested. It sets up the next Game of the Century as the Seminoles head down to Death Valley on Saturday. Both QBs are good enough for this not to be a Heisman elimination game, but it will be hard for either player to lose this game and still win the stiff-armed trophy.

Manziel’s Magic. He made a few bad throws throughout the course of the game in Oxford. But the Ole Miss Rebels had no answer for the reigning Heisman winner in the final quarter. Manziel led three long scoring drives to bring his team from behind twice, and ultimately, set up the game-winning field goal. He posted his sixth career 300-yard game, ninth career 100-yard rushing game and ninth game with at least 400 yards of total offense. Watch out for Manziel as A&M gets four very winnable games at home in a row before finally visiting Baton Rouge. Auburn this weekend might be the best of the bunch actually.

Who is Sean Mannion? The Oregon State Beavers were supposed to have had a QB battle this summer but Mannion is making a mockery of that basic premise. Other than a bizarre opening weekend loss to Eastern Washington, Mannion’s Beavers have been perfect. He leads the nation in passing (418.5 ypg) and passing TDs (25) by a wide margin and is poised to set school and Pac-12 records in short order. That said, his Heisman candidacy hinges on marquee showdowns (and wins). Oregon State faces Stanford, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon in the final five weeks of the year. Stay tuned.

Bruins Dynamic Duo. The leader of the Bruins offense is quarterback Brett Hundley. The leader of the Bruins defense is Anthony Barr. They might be the best offensive-defense tandem in the nation and both entered the Heisman mix this weekend. Will it last? Voters won’t have to wait long as UCLA travels to Stanford and Oregon over the next two weeks. Barr might be the best defensive player in the nation but he will have his work cut out for him over the next two weekends.

Dropped Out. Only Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk dropped from the Heisman ranks this week. He failed to reach 100 yards for the first time in nine games in what was Baylor’s worst performance (and still a win) against Kansas State.

What to Watch. Florida State at Clemson? UCLA at Stanford? Auburn at Texas A&M? LSU at Ole Miss?  Those are all electric games to watch, but keep an eye on UCF at Louisville Friday evening. It might be Teddy Bridgewater’s toughest test of the year. Some Heisman contenders could fall this weekend.

The Voting Panel:

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

 

Teaser:
College Football: Post-Week 7 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-8
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. And Week 7 was the first upset-filled Saturday of action as Stanford, Oklahoma and Michigan fell from the ranks of unbeatens despite being favored by a combined 26 points. Things are only getting cranked up on the college gridiron, however, as huge showdowns this weekend highlight what should be a fantastic next month of action. Here's what might happen in Week 8.

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

Sean Mannion will set the single-game Pac-12 passing record
Arizona State’s Andrew Walter set the single-game passing record with 536 yards against No. 6 Oregon on Oct. 19, 2002. Mannion is lapping the nation when it comes to passing after 493 yards against Washington State — his fourth 400-yard game of the season. He is leading the nation at 418.5 yards per game and six more TD passes (25) than anyone else in the country. Against the 123rd ranked defense in the nation, Cal (518.0 ypg), there is a good chance Mannion sets the conference single-game passing record.

Texas A&M will score 60 points
Auburn is dramatically improved on both sides of the ball. It’s allowing just 18.8 points per game after allowing 28.3 last year. The offense is much better as well and should be able to move the ball against a porous Texas A&M defense. However, Auburn is still allowing roughly 400 yards per game on defense and Johnny Manziel still plays quarterback for the Aggies. Ole Miss did everything but win the game last week against TAMU but, still, Manziel won the day. The Aggies have scored at least 40 points in nine straight games and hung 63 on Auburn last year… on the road. Take the over, folks.

Three ranked SEC teams will lose on the road
No. 24 Auburn isn’t the only ranked SEC team playing on the road this weekend. No. 6 LSU visits Ole Miss, No. 11 South Carolina heads to Tennessee, No. 22 Florida goes to No. 14 Mizzou and No. 15 Georgia visits Vanderbilt. The Dawgs and Gators have been decimated by injuries and could easily fall to Eastern Division foes. The Gamecocks and Vols always play tough and Ole Miss might be the best home team of the bunch. Look for at least two upsets on the road this weekend to go with Auburn’s loss.

No one will watch the Big Ten
I don’t know what the TV ratings look like for an entire conference week-by-week, but I am willing to bet the viewership for the Big Ten this weekend will be as low as it’s ever been. Two major brands, Penn State and Nebraska, are on bye this week and not one of the five games in the league features a single-digit point spread. Indiana is a 10-point dog to Michigan and that might be the best game of the weekend in the Midwest. Or is it Wisconsin’s road trip to Illinois? Minnesota at Northwestern? Iowa at Ohio State? Purdue at Michigan State? I rest my case.

Stanford will lose back-to-back games for the first time since 2009
The Cardinal haven’t lost back-to-back games since losing at Oregon State and Arizona in October 2009. Stanford is 44-8 since that time and hasn’t lost two games in a row over that span. After falling to a quality Utah team on the road last weekend, Stanford hosts No. 9 UCLA and Heisman candidates Brett Hundley and Anthony Barr. The Cardinal’s offense hasn’t been nearly as strong as anticipated and UCLA has quickly rebuilt its skill positions. Look for UCLA to avenge both 2012 losses to Stanford by toppling the mighty Cardinal this weekend.

Ed Orgeron will get in a fight with The Leprechaun
Let’s be honest, everybody wants their mascot to fight the Notre Dame Leprechaun. But few would want their head coach to come to blows with the other team’s mascot. USC might be the exception. The infamously short-tempered Orgeron watched his team nearly cough up a 21-point fourth-quarter lead last Thursday against Arizona and one can only imagine what the locker room was like following the win. The excitable and bizarre defensive coordinator-turned-head coach doesn’t take too kindly to losing and/or taunting. In a heated rivalry game with Notre Dame, fans should expect the unexpected from Coach O. Or, at least, a guy can hope.

The State of Texas won’t lose
There are 12 FBS programs in Texas. Texas-San Antonio, UTEP and Texas are not playing this weekend, but the other nine will go unbeaten. Texas A&M and Baylor are heavy home favorites over Auburn and Iowa State. Texas Tech visits West Virginia. Rice plays at 0-6 New Mexico State, SMU visits 1-4 Memphis, Texas State hosts winless Georgia State and North Texas visits 2-4 Louisiana Tech. If TCU can somehow pull the upset over a beatable Oklahoma State team and unbeaten Houston can hold serve at home against an improving BYU team, the Lone Star State could go 9-0 this weekend.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 8
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfls-week-6
Body:

Certainly, no one expected the Jacksonville Jaguars to be any good in 2013, so their 0-6 record isn't very startling. But four combined wins and 18 combined losses for Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and the Giants? No one saw that coming. This is what makes the NFL so unpredictable... and popular.

With that in mind, here are the most important, interesting, historic and bizarre statistics from Week 6 of the NFL:

1934: Last time two teams in the same division started 6-0
Since the expansion of the NFL playoff structure in 1990, 27 of the 29 teams — or 93.1-percent — to start 6-0 in the NFL have made the playoffs. While the Saints went down in historic fashion to the Patriots, the Broncos and Chiefs stayed unbeaten with wins over Jacksonville and Oakland. It marks just the second time since the divisional structure was implemented in 1933 that two teams in the same division started 6-0. In 1934, the Lions and Bears both started 10-0.

1:13: Time left when the Patriots got the ball
Drew Brees led an impressive 10-play, 81-yard touchdown drive that ended with 3:29 left on the clock to take a one-point lead over the Patriots. After two wasted possessions by the Pats, the Saints kicked a field goal to take a four-point lead. Tom Brady finally got the ball back with 1:13 left on the clock on his own 30-yard line. Brady worked deftly down the field on his own 8-play, 70-yard drive that culminated in a brilliant game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins with just five ticks left on the clock. The scoring strike was Brady’s 342nd of his career, tying him with Fran Tarkenton for fourth all-time in NFL history.

24-0: Lions outscored the Browns in the second half
The Lions had seven possessions in the first half against the Browns on Sunday. Five of them ended in punts — three of which were three-and-out — one was a Matthew Stafford kneel down and one was a 58-yard touchdown drive. The Browns had six possessions and scored three times to take a commanding 17-7 halftime lead. Stafford and the Lions made some serious halftime adjustments and went on to outscore the Browns 24-0 in the second half. It was Stafford’s 13th game with at least three touchdown passes, setting a Lions team record (Bobby Layne, 12). Rookie tight end Joseph Fauria was the first player since 2005 to finish a game with three receptions and three touchdown catches.

98: Longest INT returned for a TD by a LB in NFL history
The Houston Texans are amidst one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. And St. Louis rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree put a stamp on the Rams' 38-13 win by returning a T.J. Yates pass 98 yards for a touchdown. It ties Tampa Bay’s Shelton Quarles for the longest INT return for a TD by a linebacker in NFL history (Oct. 7, 2001). It was the longest such return ever by a rookie linebacker, and Houston has now thrown a pick-six in five consecutive games. The Texans are 2-4 this year and are 3-7 in their last 10 regular season games.

24.1: Chiefs' NFL-leading third-down defense
Kansas City is unbeaten because of its defense. The Chiefs lead the NFL with a +12 turnover margin, rank fifth in the league at 306.3 yards allowed per game and are allowing an NFL-best 10.8 points per game. More importantly, no team in the NFL gets off of the field better than KC. It has allowed just 20-of-83 third-down conversions on defense through six games, leading the league with a sterling 24.1 percent rate.

0: Steelers total takeaways entering Week 6
Pittsburgh was winless and takeaway-less entering a huge Week 6 contest with the Jets. The Steelers were the only team in the league that had yet to force a turnover. Ryan Clark and Lawrence Timmons each intercepted New York rookie quarterback Geno Smith in the Steelers' first win of the season. Longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is now 16-2 against rookie quarterbacks after forcing Smith into an ugly quarterback rating of 48.8.

143.3: Cam Newton's career-high passer rating
Cam Newton played arguably his best game as an NFL passer in the convincing 35-10 road win over the Vikings. He completed 20-of-26 passes (76.9 percent) for 242 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a career-high 143.4 QB rating. It was only the fifth time he has thrown for three scores in a game and fifth time he had completed better than 70 percent of is passes in his 37-game career. Newton also added 30 yards rushing and a TD on the ground.

3.1: Yards per carry for Chris Johnson
There are only five players in the NFL who have gotten more rushing attempts than Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (106). However, the Titans back has no room to run and therefore has been incredibly ineffective. He is averaging a career-worst 3.1 yards per carry and hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown all season. He rushed 12 times for 33 yards (2.8 ypc) in the loss against Seattle this weekend. Through six games in 2013, Johnson has posted the fifth-worst (17 yards against Kansas City), eighth-worst (21 yards against NY Jets) and 15th-worst (33 yards against Seattle) rushing totals of his 85-game career.

23: Turnovers by the Giants
Houston and Arizona have both turned the ball over 15 times in 2013 and are tied for second-to-last in giveaways this season. They’ve lost a combined seven games, but pale in comparison to what the Giants have done in the giveaway category. After three more interceptions from Eli Manning, the Giants dropped to 0-6 after the loss to Chicago on Thursday night. The 23 turnovers lead the league by a wide margin and Manning’s 15 interceptions are as many as he threw in all of 2012. The G-Men are on pace for 61 turnovers this season, which would be two shy of the current NFL record of 63 held by the 1978 San Francisco 49ers.

Teaser:
Amazing Stats From The NFL's Week 6
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/big-ten-2013-second-half-predictions-and-midseason-review
Body:

The talk all summer long about the Big Ten was Ohio State, Ohio State, Ohio State. At the midway point, it’s already obvious that the Buckeyes are the best team in the league and are the only true national contender in the Big Ten. And despite two losses, it’s also clear that Gary Andersen was the right guy for the job in Madison.

What else have we learned, however? Embattled coaches across the league are still very much dealing with pressure situations to get to the postseason and need to win critical games in the second half to ensure future employment. Meanwhile, and more importantly, the Legends Division is completely wide open. Four teams have a legitimate chance to face Ohio State in the championship game — and none of them have played each other yet.

Buckle up, folks.

Midseason Awards and Second-Half Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 SEC

2013 Big Ten Midseason Awards and Second-Half Predictions

Coach of the Year: Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Almost by default, Meyer has to be the pick here. Bill O’Brien has a few nice wins, Gary Andersen has done an excellent job in his first season, Bo Pelini is winning without Taylor Martinez, and Mark Dantonio appears to have rejuvenated his offense. But Meyer’s team is clearly the best in the league and is the only unbeaten squad left in the Big Ten. Let’s face it, until Meyer losses a game at Ohio State, he is the Coach of the Year. He’s 18-0 thus far.

Offensive Player of the Year: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
With Braxton Miller and Taylor Martinez dealing with injuries, Gordon appears to be the clear-cut frontrunner for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He is leading the Big Ten in rushing and is third nationally at 145.0 yards per game. He is tied for the Big Ten lead with eight rushing touchdowns and is fourth nationally among running backs with an absurd 9.7 yards per carry average. Wisconsin might be the second-best team in the league and will continue to ride what might be the most talented running back to play in Madison.

Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier (47 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 FF) will battle with Borland for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors but no one has meant more to his team than the Badgers' linebacker. Borland is third in the league with 9.3 tackles per game, has 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and even completed a pass on a fake punt for 23 yards. Borland, who is tied for the NCAA’s all-time lead in fumbles forced, is the reason the Badgers defense is leading the league in points allowed (13.2 ppg) and is fifth nationally in total defense (267.3 ypg).

Newcomer of the Year: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The five-star all-everything recruit has quickly lived up to his lofty recruiting status as one of the most-touted signal callers to ever sign with the Big Ten. He has three 300-yard games in his first six career starts and is leading the Big Ten in passing with 278.7 yards per game. He is also asked to do more for his offense than any other quarterback, as he leads the league in completions (132) and attempts (226).

Midseason Disappointment: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Gardner is leading the Big Ten in total offense per game (285.8 ypg) and his team is 5-1. But most have to agree that his play has been a big disappointment thus far. He has thrown four more interceptions (10) than anyone else in the league and is leading the Big Ten in fumbles lost (3). Gardner has made big plays but has also made too many mistakes. With huge games looming in the Legends Division as well as Ohio State, he has plenty of time to turn his early season slump around.

Midseason Surprise: Michigan State’s offense
At first it looked like the Spartans would have yet another ugly season on offense. While 374.7 yards per game may not look like much at this point, Michigan State is looking much more like a balanced team than expected - one that could win the Legends Division. The Spartans are averaging over 30 points per game, and quarterback Connor Cook has elevated his play in the Big Ten. The Spartans just posted more yards (474) and points (40) in a win over Indiana than it had in a Big Ten game since 2010 (yards) and 2011 (points). With the No. 1 defense in the nation, all Cook has to do on offense is be respectable and Sparty could find itself in the title game again.

Three Things to Watch in the Second Half

Ohio State’s Quest for 25-0
After a 12-0 perfect season in Urban Meyer’s probated first year, the Buckeyes have yet to lose in 2013. And with two big hurdles already cleared in the form of Wisconsin and Northwestern, there is little left on the Buckeyes schedule. Penn State at home on Oct. 26 and a much anticipated road trip to Ann Arbor in the season finale appear to be the only two potential stumbling blocks. Should Ohio State finish the regular season unbeaten, it would be a Big Ten Championship Game win away from a perfect 25-0 start to Meyer’s Buckeyes career. It might also mean a fourth BCS National Championship game bid in 11 years. USC in 2004-05 was the last team to go unbeaten in back-to-back regular seasons.

Legends Division Round Robin
Ohio State has all but locked up the Leaders Division and one half of the Big Ten Championship Game. But to suggest that the Legends Division is anything by wide open would be foolish. Michigan (1-1), Michigan State (2-0), Nebraska (2-0) and Northwestern (0-2) have yet to play each other and all four will face the other three in the coming weeks. Nebraska might be in the best situation, as both Northwestern and Michigan State come to Lincoln, and the Huskers avoid Wisconsin and Ohio State altogether. Northwestern gets both Michigan and Michigan State at home but has three road games left with Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois and sits two games back already. The Wolverines still have three nasty road trips, as well as home games with the Huskers and Buckeyes. The Spartans also avoid Wisconsin and Ohio State but must visit Nebraska, Northwestern and Illinois. This should be a fun second half.

Bowl Eligibility
Indiana (3-3) has been to one bowl game (2007) since 1993. Illinois (3-2) has been to just two bowls since 2007. Iowa (4-2) hasn’t missed the postseason in back-to-back seasons since 1999-00. And Minnesota (4-2) is without its head coach for the indefinite future. All four could make it to a bowl game but all four will have to pull upsets to do so. Kevin Wilson, Tim Beckman and Kirk Ferentz are all sitting on warm coaching seats and all three desperately need to get to the postseason or post a winning record. The Hoosiers might be the best of the trio but will have to win games against the Gophers and Illini at home to have a chance.

Games to Watch

Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 30)
It’s the best rivalry in college football and more could be on the line in this year’s edition than ever before. A trip to the Big Ten Championship game for Michigan could be hanging in the balance in the season finale. But for Ohio State that will likely already have clinched the Leaders Division, a second straight perfect season and potential trip to the BCS National Championship game will be at stake.

Nebraska at Michigan (Nov. 9)
These two have met just twice in the regular season since the 1960s, and the home team has won both contests. As conference foes, Michigan won two years ago in Ann Arbor in convincing fashion, while the Huskers handled the Wolverines with ease in Lincoln last fall. There is a very real chance Nebraska is 4-0 in Big Ten play when they head North to battle Michigan the second weekend in November.

Michigan at Michigan State (Nov. 2)
An in-state rivalry once dominated by the Maize and Blue has recently swung in the favor of the Spartans. Mark Dantonio won four straight in the matchup before Brady Hoke broke through with a hard-fought 12-10 win last year in Ann Arbor. This is a must-win game for both teams if either wants to keep pace and top Nebraska in the Leaders Division.

Michigan State at Nebraska (Nov. 16)
These two teams combined for 551 yards rushing in a thrilling come-from-behind win for Nebraska in East Lansing last season. Should both teams survive the above tests with Michigan (and Northwestern, in Nebraska’s case) to get to this point, it would likely feature two unbeaten teams in Big Ten play — in which case, the division crown will be at stake.

Northwestern at Nebraska (Nov. 2)
The Wildcats get both Michigan and Michigan State at home in the month of November. But before facing either, the Wildcats will have to visit Nebraska to start the month. A loss would give Northwestern a minimum of three conference losses and no chance at a division crown. This was an epic 29-28 thriller in Evanston last year, and Huskers fans certainly haven’t forgotten about what happened the last time Pat Fitzgerald’s bunch came to Lincoln — the Cats scored 21 second-half points to win.
 

Big Ten 2013 Second-Half Predictions

(Logos are of projected winner for each game)
 

Leaders Division


1. Ohio State

IowaPenn Stateat Purdueat IllinoisIndianaat MichiganFinal Record
12-0


2. Wisconsin

at Illinoisat IowaBYUIndianaat MinnesotaPSUFinal Record
10-2


3. Penn State

at Ohio StateIllinoisat MinnesotaPurdueNebraskaat WisconsinFinal Record
8-4


4. Indiana

at MichiganMinnesotaIllinoisat Wisconsinat OSUPurdueFinal Record
6-6


5. Illinois

WisconsinMich. Stateat PSUat IndianaOSUat PurdueNWFinal Record
4-8


6. Purdue

at Mich. StateOSUIowaat Penn StateIllinoisat IndianaFinal Record
1-11

 

Legends Division

1. Nebraska

at MinnesotaNWat MichiganMich. Stateat PSUIowaFinal Record
9-3


2. Michigan State

Purdueat IllinoisMichiganat Nebraskaat NWMinnesotaFinal Record
9-3


3. Michigan

Indianaat Mich. StateNebraskaat NWat IowaOSUFinal Record
9-3


4. Northwestern

Minnesotaat Iowaat NebraskaMichiganMich. Stateat IllinoisFinal Record
7-5


5. Iowa

at OSUNWWisconsinat PurdueMichiganat NebraskaFinal Record
6-6


6. Minnesota

at NWNebraskaat IndianaPSUWisconsinat Mich. StateFinal Record
4-8

 

Teaser:
Big Ten 2013 Second-Half Predictions and Midseason Review
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 07:18
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-post-week-7-power-rankings
Body:

Wisconsin was easily the most impressive team of the Week 7 Big Ten slate. The Badgers completely and thoroughly dominated Northwestern and may be the second-best team in the league. Contenders Michigan State and Nebraska both made quality statements by handling Indiana and Purdue with relative ease.

However, Penn State stole the show this weekend as they outlasted Michigan in four overtimes in front of 110,000 whited-out Nittany Lions fans. It wasn't the prettiest overtime affair, but it continued 2013's dramatics.

More Post-Week 7 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 7 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (6-0, 2-0): After topping Wisconsin at home and Northwestern on the road, the Buckeyes got a well deserved week off. The Bucks will get Iowa and Penn State in the Horseshoe to finish off October. Next Week: Iowa 
2.
 
(3)Nebraska (5-1, 2-0): Taylor Martinez missed another game with his lingering turf toe injury, and the Huskers had to overcome three interceptions from his replacement freshman Tommy Armstrong. But the running game was excellent again, topping 250 yards rushing for the fifth time in six games (251 against Purdue). The defense has been solid in Big Ten play as well and it held Purdue to just 217 total yards and without a point until the final minutes of action. The Huskers will rest before traveling to Minnesota in two weeks. Next Week: Bye 
3.
 
(5)Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1): The Badgers were rested and it showed as they crushed Northwestern by four touchdowns. Joel Stave tossed three touchdowns while star tailback Melvin Gordon did the heavy lifting, rushing for 172 yards on 22 carries and one long TD. The defense, however, won the day by holding the Wildcats to just 242 total yards and nary a touchdown. This was as thorough a showing as Wisconsin has had all season and there is a real shot at an at-large BCS bowl bid should UW win out.  Next Week: at Illinois 
4.
 
(2)Michigan (5-1, 1-1): Devin Gardner played well but his coach didn't do him any favors in the four-overtime road loss to Penn State. The Wolverines coughed up a 10-point fourth quarter lead and scored six total points in four overtime possessions. Brady Hoke appeared to be coaching tentatively throughout the waning moments. The Wolverines have been living on the edge for the better part of a month, and it finally caught up with them in the form of special teams miscues and poor offensive execution. Next Week: Indiana 
5.
 
 
(4)Northwestern (4-2, 0-2): Kain Colter and Venric Mark were both banged up early, but it didn't matter as the Cats were outmatched at the point of attack by Wisconsin no matter who was in the backfield. Pat Fitzgerald's offense couldn't run the ball (25 att., 45 yards) and his defense couldn't stop it (51 carries, 286 yards). If the Wildcats want to compete for a division title — which remains possible — this unit will need to figure out a way to stop a power rushing attack. Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Iowa still loom. Next Week: Minnesota 
6.
 
 
(6)Michigan State (5-1, 2-0): The Spartans traded body blows with Indiana for much of the first half before Mark Dantonio's bunch pulled away thanks to the emergence of Jeremy Langford. The Michigan State running back carried 23 times for 109 yards and scored four total touchdowns on the afternoon (three rushing, on receiving). The league's best defense (MSU) held the league's best offense (IU) to 351 yards — or nearly 200 yards under their average. Sparty should be 4-0 in the Big Ten before a visit from Michigan on Nov. 2. Next Week: Purdue 
7.
 
(7)

Penn State (4-2, 1-1): Christian Hackenberg threw up a pair of prayers on the game's final drive and they were answered. In fact, the football gods must have been smiling on Happy Valley as the Nittany Lions needed multiple missed field goals to hold on for a thrilling four-overtime victory over Michigan. It wasn't pretty for either team and neither team was impressive in overtime, but in the end, however, Hackenberg overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and led the game-winning scoring drive in the fourth overtime. If the freshman signal caller continues to develop, his cult following will only continue to grow in State College. Next Week: Bye

 
8.
 
(8)Minnesota (4-2, 0-2): The Gophers needed the off weekend after Jerry Kill took an indefinite leave of absence due to epileptic seizures that have impacted two games this season. Minnesota gets back on the field in Evanston against what should be an angry Wildcats. Next Week: at Northwestern 
9.
 
(9)Indiana (3-3, 1-1): The Hoosiers top-rated offense made a few big plays in the first half against the nation's No. 1 defense but simply couldn't match the Spartans physicality for 60 minutes. Kevin Wilson's bunch was outrushed 238-92 and the Hoosiers couldn't stop the Jeremy Langford show. Things don't get any easier for IU as it will return to the state of Michigan next weekend. Next Week: at Michigan 
10.
 
(10)Iowa (4-2, 1-1): The Hawkeyes have had two weeks to stew over the Homecoming loss to Michigan State. However, no amount of rest and preparation will help Iowa as they head to Columbus this weekend. Next Week: at Ohio State 
11.
 
 
(11)Illinois (3-2, 0-1): The Illini had the week off after getting handled with ease on the road against Nebraska. Tim Beckman now gets two upset chances at home and may need to win one if his team wants to go bowling. Next Week: Wisconsin 
12.
 
(12)Purdue (1-5, 0-2): Freshman quarterback Danny Etling got his first career start, but the change under center did little to impact the Boilermakers troubling season. The defense forced some turnovers but couldn't stop the Cornhuskers explosive rushing attack and didn't muster a point until 39 seconds left in the game. Things won't get any easier as Michigan State on the road and Ohio State at home are the next two up for Darrell Hazell's squad. Next Week: at Michigan State 

Big Ten Week 7 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State 
Melvin Gordon powered the Wisconsin rushing attack, and Christian Hackenberg led an extraordinary comeback. But Jeremy Langford single-handedly defeated the Hoosiers. The junior tailback had 58 career rushing attempts coming into the game against Indiana but turned in a career performance. Langford rushed 23 times for 109 yards, caught one pass for 11 yards and scored four total touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving). He matched Indiana's 28 points by himself.

Defensive Player of the Week: C.J. Olaniyan, DE, Penn State
The soft-spoken defensive end had a coming out party of sorts on Saturday night against Michigan. The senior was a disruptive force all night against the Wolverines, sacking Devin Gardner 2.5 times and forcing a key fumble. He also added eight total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Olaniyan is third in the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss on the season.

Team of the Week: Wisconsin
Despite the excitement in Happy Valley, the Badgers were the league's premier team in Week 7. Wisconsin dismantled Northwestern in every aspect of the game. Gary Andersen's squad was balanced on offense — throwing for 241 yards and rushing for 286  — and didn't allow a touchdown on defense. Northwestern mustered just six points, 10 first downs, 241 yards and were held to 2-of-17 on third downs. This might be the second-best and most complete team in the Big Ten.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin
Northwestern came into the weekend averaging 39 points and 474 yards per game on 6.4 yards per play. Aranda's unit dominated the dynamic and explosive WIldcats offense by physically imposing its will along the line of scrimmage. The Badgers held Northwestern to 44 yards rushing on 25 carries and knocked both Venric Mark and Kain Colter out of the game (Colter returned). Wisconsin ranks fifth nationally in both total defense (267.3 ypg) and scoring defense (13.2 ppg).

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
It took unlikely completions on the game's final drive in the game's final minute against Michigan, but Hackenberg wrote the first chapter of what could be a stellar career. He posted his third 300-yard effort in six career starts and accounted for four touchdowns in the thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Wolverines. He completed 23 of his 44 passes and leads the Big Ten in passing at 278.7 yards per game.

Fifth Down

• Penn State has won four straight games over Michigan.

• Michigan State kept the Old Brass Spittoon by defeating Indiana for the fifth consecutive time. The Spartans haven't lost at home to the Hoosiers since 2001. MSU outscored IU 28-14 over the final 30:37 of game time.

• After 10 more flags, the Spartans are last in the Big Ten with 45 penalties and 122nd nationally with 78.8 penalty yards given up per game.

• Nebraska moved to 5-1 on the year and 5-1 when Ameer Abdullah rushes for at least 100 yards. He carried 20 times for 126 yards against Purdue and his lowest total of the season thus far was 98 yards against UCLA.

• Melvin Gordon leads the Big Ten in rushing (145.0 ypg) and is third nationally, just two yards behind Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews (147.0) and less than five behind Washington's Bishop Sankey (149.8).

• Wisconsin's Joel Stave is third in the Big Ten in passing efficiency (146.65) and fourth in passing (216.2 ypg). He set a career high with 295 yards last game against Ohio State and tied a career high this week against Northwestern with three TD passes.

• Wisconsin is the only team in the Big Ten averaging more than 220 yards rushing and passing per game in 2013.

• Venric Mark left the game against Wisconsin on Saturday for X-rays on a leg injury. Wisconsin star wideout Jared Abbrederis also left the game early with a head injury.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/2013-amazing-college-football-stats-week-7
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: Ranked teams that lost in Week 7
Three powerhouses fell from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday as seven ranked teams lost in Week 7. Oklahoma was favored by 14 and lost in humiliating fashion to arch rival Texas. Michigan lost a four-overtime thriller to Penn State that was equal parts ugly and exciting. And Stanford was outplayed by Utah on the road. Additionally, No. 17 Florida and No. 19 Northwestern lost physical games against division foes on the road while No. 7 Georgia and No. 16 Washington both lost critical divisional showdowns at home. All in all, the AP Top 25 went 11-7 and only 14 teams are left unbeaten on the season.

92-3: Alabama scoring margin in the second quarter
The Crimson Tide entered the second period against Kentucky tied 0-0 but headed into halftime in complete control. After a 24-point second quarter in Commonwealth Stadium, Alabama has outscored opponents 92-3 in the second quarter this season. The Tide hasn't given up a second-quarter point since a field goal by Virginia Tech in Week 1. Since then, Alabama has outscored its competition 78-0, including a huge 21-0 quarter over Texas A&M in Week 2. Bama has won 43 straight over unranked opponents.

8:13: Time Johnny Manziel needed to lead three fourth-quarter scoring drives
Against Ole Miss, the reigning Heisman winner was magical, leading three scoring drives in the final 8:13. He got the ball inside his own 30 yard line each time and each time led a scoring drive of at least 56 yards. In fact, he ran 22 plays for 206 total yards and 17 points over the final 10 minutes or so of action — twice leading his team from behind to tie the game. Manziel threw for 346 yards, rushing for 124 yards and accounted for two second-half touchdowns. It was his seventh career 300-yard passing effort, ninth career 100-yard rushing effort, ninth game with at least 400 yards of offense and the fourth time he topped both the 300-yard passing and 100-yard rushing plateau in the same game.

154: Wins by Mack Brown and Bob Stoops at Texas and Oklahoma
Texas and Oklahoma have met in the Red River Riv… Shootout 108 times. Mack Brown has coached in the contest 16 times while Bob Stoops has been a head coach 15 times in the rivalry. Stoops owns a 9-6 edge against Brown after the Crimson and Cream was stomped by the Horns 36-20 in Dallas. The win was Brown's 154th as the head coach of Texas, matching Stoops exact win total at Oklahoma. For the first time in series history, Texas had two running backs — Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown — go over the 100-yard mark rushing. The Longhorns now sit at 3-0 in the Big 12 with wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State and Iowa State. TCU, Kansas and West Virginia are the Horns next three opponents, so a 6-0 start is well within reach.

43.6: Oregon points per game against Washington since 2003
The Ducks fans chanted "10 more years" in the stands at Husky Stadium as Oregon dominated the fourth quarter of yet another Pacific Northwest showdown with Washington. The Ducks topped the U of W 45-24 on the road for the 10 straight win in the series. Oregon has averaged 43.6 points per game against the Huskies during the winning streak. The performance on Saturday was the sixth time in seven games with Washington that Oregon has scored at least 43 points. Marcus Mariota was simply unstoppable once again.

Plus-2.8: Houston's best turnover margin per game in the nation
Has anyone noticed that the Cougars are 5-0 on the season? Tony Levine's team forced four turnovers and gave the ball up just once in the 25-15 win over Memphis to stay unbeaten this weekend. The plus-3 turnover performance only extended Houston's national lead in turnover margin to a plus-2.8 per game average. Houston has yet to lose the turnover battle in any game this fall and is lapping the field nationally when it comes to turnovers. Oregon is No. 2 nationally at plus-1.8 per game, barely half the pace the Cougars are on after five games. Only Florida State (three) has turned the ball over fewer times than the Cougs (four) and only Tulane and Middle Tennessee State (20) have forced more turnovers than Houston (18). For the record, Houston will visit Louisville on Nov. 16.

6-11: Aaron Murray's career record against ranked opponents
Murray went 0-3 against ranked teams as a freshman, losing to No. 24 South Carolina, No. 12 Arkansas and No. 2 Auburn. He then lost to No. 5 Boise State and No. 12 South Carolina to start his sophomore season 0-2 overall — and 0-5 against his first five against ranked teams. He finished up his second season with wins over No. 24 Auburn and No. 25 Georgia Tech before losing to No. 1 LSU and No. 12 Michigan State in the SEC Championship and Outback Bowl respectively. He split as a junior against ranked teams, losing to No. 6 South Carolina and No. 2 Alabama while beating No. 3 Florida and No. 23 Nebraska. After his injury-riddled team turned the ball over four times against No. 25 Mizzou, Murray moved to 2-2 against ranked teams as a senior.

304: Terry Baggett's Army school rushing record
Army toppled Eastern Michigan 50-25 this weekend behind a record-setting performance by running back Terry Baggett. The junior from Chicago rushed 18 times for an Army single-game record 304 yards for a per-carry average of 16.9 yards. He scored twice in the first quarter to start the scoring and twice in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. His final TD run put a nail in EMU's coffin when he galloped 96 yards with nine minutes to go in the third frame. 

1-6: Combined SEC record for Vanderbilt and Ole Miss
These two locked horns in Week 1 in a thrilling 39-35 primetime Thursday night kickoff showdown, giving the Rebels the only SEC win in seven tries for either team. And other than a solid road win for Ole Miss over Texas in Week 3, neither team has accomplished much of anything all season. The rest of their combined six wins have come over SE Missouri State, Austin Peay, UMass and UAB. The Dores and Rebs combined to win 16 games a year ago and both went bowling. It wouldn't be a surprise if one or both missed the postseason this time around.

Teaser:
2013 Amazing College Football Stats Week 7
Post date: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-7-recap-and-awards
Body:

Wisconsin was the most impressive team of the Week 7 Big Ten slate. The Badgers completely and thoroughly dominated Northwestern and may be the second-best team in the league. Contenders Michigan State and Nebraska both made quality statements by handling Indiana and Purdue with relative ease.

However, Penn State stole the show this weekend as the Nittany Lions outlasted Michigan in four overtimes in front of 110,000 whited-out Nittany Lions fans. It wasn't the prettiest overtime affair, but it continued 2013's dramatics.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 7 Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State 
Melvin Gordon powered the Wisconsin rushing attack, and Christian Hackenberg led an extraordinary comeback. But Jeremy Langford single-handedly defeated the Hoosiers. The junior tailback had 58 career rushing attempts coming into the game against Indiana but turned in a career performance. Langford rushed 23 times for 109 yards, caught one pass for 11 yards and scored four total touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving). He matched Indiana's 28 points by himself.

Defensive Player of the Week: C.J. Olaniyan, DE, Penn State
The soft-spoken defensive end had a coming out party of sorts on Saturday night against Michigan. The senior was a disruptive force all night against the Wolverines, sacking Devin Gardner 2.5 times and forcing a key fumble. He also added eight total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Olaniyan is third in the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss on the season.

Team of the Week: Wisconsin
Despite the excitement in Happy Valley, the Badgers were the league's premier team in Week 7. Wisconsin dismantled Northwestern in every aspect of the game. Gary Andersen's squad was balanced on offense — throwing for 241 yards and rushing for 286  — and didn't allow a touchdown on defense. Northwestern mustered just six points, 10 first downs, 241 yards and were held to 2-of-17 on third downs. This might be the second-best and most complete team in the Big Ten.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin
Northwestern came into the weekend averaging 39 points and 474 yards per game on 6.4 yards per play. Aranda's unit dominated the dynamic and explosive WIldcats offense by physically imposing its will along the line of scrimmage. The Badgers held Northwestern to 44 yards rushing on 25 carries and knocked both Venric Mark and Kain Colter out of the game (Colter returned). Wisconsin ranks fifth nationally in both total defense (267.3 ypg) and scoring defense (13.2 ppg).

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
It took unlikely completions on the game's final drive in the game's final minute against Michigan, but Hackenberg wrote the first chapter of what could be a stellar career. He posted his third 300-yard effort in six career starts and accounted for four touchdowns in the thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Wolverines. He completed 23 of his 44 passes and leads the Big Ten in passing at 278.7 yards per game.

Fifth Down

• Penn State has won four straight games over Michigan.

• Michigan State kept the Old Brass Spittoon by defeating Indiana for the fifth consecutive time. The Spartans haven't lost at home to the Hoosiers since 2001. MSU outscored IU 28-14 over the final 30:37 of game time.

• After 10 more flags, the Spartans are last in the Big Ten with 45 penalties and 122nd nationally with 78.8 penalty yards given up per game.

• Nebraska moved to 5-1 on the year and 5-1 when Ameer Abdullah rushes for at least 100 yards. He carried 20 times for 126 yards against Purdue and his lowest total of the season thus far was 98 yards against UCLA.

• Melvin Gordon leads the Big Ten in rushing (145.0 ypg) and is third nationally, just two yards behind Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews (147.0) and less than five behind Washington's Bishop Sankey (149.8).

• Wisconsin's Joel Stave is third in the Big Ten in passing efficiency (146.65) and fourth in passing (216.2 ypg). He set a career high with 295 yards last game against Ohio State and tied a career high this week against Northwestern with three TD passes.

• Wisconsin is the only team in the Big Ten averaging more than 220 yards rushing and passing per game in 2013.

• Venric Mark left the game against Wisconsin on Saturday for X-rays on a leg injury. Wisconsin star wideout Jared Abbrederis also left the game early with a head injury.

Teaser:
Big Ten Week 7 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 10:08
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-7-recap-and-awards
Body:

Upset Saturday was in full effect in the Pac-12, but it didn't come from Husky Stadium as some believed. No, Oregon controlled Washington with relative ease, putting them away in the final quarter in impressive fashion. It was the Stanford Cardinal who came crashing down from the ranks of the unbeaten at the hands of the Utah Utes.

In what feels like a small sidenote, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State and USC all won too.

Here are your Pac-12 Week 7 Awards and Superlatives: 

Offensive Player of the Week: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Ducks quarterback was brilliant again, this time on the road against a ranked divisional foe and rival. Mariota led the Ducks to an easy 45-24 win over Washington by completing 24-of-31 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He added 88 yards rushing on 13 carries and another touchdown on the ground. He is now 18-1 as a starter with 63 career total touchdowns and just six interceptions. Mariota hasn't thrown a pick in 233 attempts.

Defensive Player of the Week: Nate Orchard, LB, Utah
Fellow defensive linemates Trevor Reilly and Tenny Palepoi have made more plays and garnered more headlines through five games, but Saturday night's upset of Stanford was Orchard's coming out party. He registered his second and third sack of the season and forced two huge fumbles for a Utah defense that simply outplayed the Cardinal for most of the game. He finished with five total tackles on the night and was a big part of the final minute goal-line stand that won the game for the Utes.

Team of the Week: Utah 
The Utes shocked the college football world by handling the Stanford Cardinal with relative ease. The 27-21 win over the No. 5 team in the nation wasn't a fluke as Utah outgained Stanford, won the turnover battle, were penalized just four times and won the time of possession game. Travis Wilson was solid (234 yards, two touchdowns, interception, 33 rush yards) at quarterback and the running game carried the offense (39 carries, 176 yards) while the defense capitalized on two critical fumbles. It was the first win for Utah in Rice-Eccles Stadium over a top-five team.

Co-Coordinator of the Week: Dennis Erickson and Kalani Sitake, Utah
The defense played well for Utah under the leadership of coordinator Kalani Sitake, holding Stanford to just 21 points and 389 yards of offense while forcing two critical turnovers and holding Stanford to a season-low 13 first downs. Offensively, the Utes might have been even more impressive. Erickson's squad, led by quarterback Travis Wilson, averaged 5.7 yards per play, the worst number allowed by Stanford all season. The Utes rushed for 181 yards against the vaunted Cardinal front seven, a number only topped by Army's triple option (284 in Week 3). Wilson completed 67.6-percent of his passes.

 

Freshman of the Week: Andy Phillips, K, Utah
The freshman placekicker has been literally perfect all season for the Utes and he came up big in the upset win over Stanford. While Stanford missed its one field goal chance, Phillips made drilled two second-half field goals, including a long 48-yarder, that eventually gave Utah its margin of victory. He made all three extra points and has yet to miss a kick of any kind all season. In fact, no kicker in the nation has made more field goals without missing than Phillips (11-for-11) and he is 27-for-27 on extra points.

 

Fifth Down

 

• Despite the loss, Washington's Bishop Sankey continues to shine. He rushed for 167 yards and two scores against Oregon and is leading the nation in rushing at 149.8 yards per game. Sankey has scored a rushing TD in at least eight straight games and has scored multiple touchdowns in nine of his last 17 games.

 

• Arizona State's Taylor Kelly failed to throw for at least 300 yards (233) for the first time all season. But the ASU fans will take it, as the Sun Devils rolled Colorado 54-13.

 

• Brett Hundley continued his Heisman season for UCLA by throwing for a career-high 410 yards. It was his first 400-yard game of his career.

 

• After holding Cal to just 320 yards, the Bruins have now allowed between 320 and 387 yards of total offense in every game. The number was a season low for Sonny Dykes' Golden Bears.

 

• With 4:50 to go in the third quarter, Washington State was leading Oregon State 24-17. The Beavers scored five unanswered touchdowns over the final 16 minutes of play to post an easy road win over Wazzu.

 

• Oregon State's Sean Mannion threw for 493 yards and four touchdowns. Mannion (51) and WSU's Connor Halliday (49) combined for exactly 100 pass attempts in the Beavers' 52-24 win.

 

• De'Anthony Thomas was active for the game against Washington but didn't play. He should be back on the field by next week.

 

• Silas Redd returned to the field for USC against Arizona. He rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries but many of those yards came on critical carries late in the game.

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 7 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 09:58
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-7-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Stanford snuck past Washington last weekend and neither team has time to dwell on what happened in Palo Alto. The Huskies return home and get to try to stop the Oregon Ducks while the Cardinal have a testy road trip to Salt Lake City.

While those two tilts are easily the league’s top showdowns in Week 7, there is plenty else to keep an eye on in the Pac-12. The Beavers-Cougars North Division matchup is basically a pick 'em with large bowl implications and Ed Orgeron makes his USC coaching debut against Rich Rodriguez on Thursday night.

Arizona State and UCLA aren’t technically on bye this week but both should steamroll their inferior competition.

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 7 Game Power Rankings

1. Oregon (-14) at Washington (4 p.m. ET, FS1)
Steve Sarkisian’s team proved it belonged on the field with Stanford last weekend by nearly doubling the Cardinal in total offense. The Huskies get no breaks as they return home and prepare for a Ducks offense operating on unprecedented levels. Marcus Mariota has played flawless football all season long and he picked up the slack for the injured De’Anthony Thomas last week in a big way by accounting for seven touchdowns. Thomas isn’t likely to be back this weekend but that might not mean much for Washington, as it will still have to deal with Byron Marshall (448 yards, 4 TDS) and Thomas Tyner (204 yards, 5 TDS). So it falls to Keith Price to put up points in a big way, something he’s struggled to do in each of his two meetings against Oregon as the starter. The U of W quarterback hasn’t topped 145 yards in either game and has four interceptions and just two scores in the last two meetings. If Coach Sark wants to compete in the Pac-12 North, he can’t go 0-2 against the Cardinal and Ducks on back-to-back weeks.

2. Stanford (-9) at Utah (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
After taking care of business last weekend against Washington at home, Stanford must avoid a major letdown when it travels to Salt Lake City for just the first time since 1995 and the second time since 1902. The home team has never won in this series and if that trend is to change Utes quarterback Travis Wilson, who threw six interceptions last week, must protect the football against arguably the nation’s most vicious front seven. On the flip side, it will fall to Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, who has yet to lose as a starter (10-0), to keep his team focused and driven in an obvious upset alert situation on the road. This will be a battle of strength-on-strength all game long and should be as physical as any game in the Pac-12 all season.

3. Oregon State (+1) at Washington State (ESPNU)
The 98th meeting between the Beavers and Cougars should feature plenty of excitement. Led by quarterback Sean Mannion, Oregon State is second only to Baylor in passing offense nationally (420.6 ypg). Mike Leach’s Cougars aren’t far behind, ranked eighth nationally at 359.7 yards per game. And with the way these defenses have been playing, four figures worth of passing yardage isn’t out of the question. Washington State gave up 521 yards to Cal through the air last week while Oregon State allowed 625 yards to Eastern Washington and 539 to Utah. These two teams are No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pac-12 in interceptions, so one of these secondaries will make a big second half stop, right?

4. Arizona (+6) at USC (Thurs., 10:30 p.m., FS1)
The Coliseum’s first-ever non-Thanksgiving/non-bowl Thursday game will also be interim head coach Ed Orgeron’s first in charge of the Trojans. So very little is known about what this USC team will look like after an abrupt coaching change and fans on both sides should expect the unexpected. Ka’Deem Carey is one of the few proven commodities on either side and the Wildcats star tailback will be leaned on to loosen up the talented and aggressive Trojans defense. These two have split their last four, including a split in the last two in L.A. Either way, this should be a close contest as each of the last six meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer.

5. Colorado (+25) at Arizona State (10 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Sun Devils are in dire need of a tune-up game. Consistency has been a huge issue in their last four games — three of which ASU basically lost. Taylor Kelly has thrown for over 300 yards in every game this fall but couldn’t deliver on key fourth-quarter drives against Notre Dame. That type of clutch play shouldn’t be necessary this week, however, as Arizona State has never lost to Colorado (4-0). The Sun Devils have outscored the Buffaloes 99-31 in two years as division foes. Mike MacIntyre’s team hasn’t been competitive since Week 2.

6. Cal (+25) at UCLA (10:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Brett Hundley and UCLA survived Salt Lake City last Thursday night but it wasn’t pretty. The Bruins committed 13 penalties and two turnovers and needed 10 fourth-quarter points to topple the mistake-prone Utes. Should UCLA get back to playing fundamentally sound football, Cal should pose no threat in the Rose Bowl. The Bears threw the ball 63 times for 521 yards last weekend and lost by 22 at home to Washington State.

Pac-12 Week 7 Pivotal Players:

1. Washington’s front seven
The Huskies allowed 299 yards rushing on 52 attempts in the 52-21 blowout at the hands of Oregon last season. Additionally, Washington has allowed 199 yards and 179 yards rushing and four total rushing touchdowns to Arizona and Stanford respectively in its last two games. Even without DAT, stopping Oregon’s running game is virtually impossible. Washington's defense needs to slow the Ducks down on the ground just enough to give its offense a chance to put together some long drives.

2. Keith Price, QB, Washington
In two games as the starter against Oregon, Price has been anything but productive. He threw for 145 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions last year and totaled 143 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in 2011. His 87.68 rating against Oregon last year was his second-worst efficiency mark of the season while his 110.32 rating was his worst game of the ’11 season. This is a legacy-defining game for a long-term starter like Price.

3. Trevor Reilly and Tenny Palepoi, DL, Utah
The Utes are leading the Pac-12 in sacks (3.6 per game) and are No. 2 in tackles for a loss per game (7.6). Reilly and Palepoi have combined for 4.5 sacks and 10.0 TFL thus far, but the duo was held nearly completely off the board last weekend against UCLA (0.0 sacks, 0.5 TFL). Stanford boasts arguably the best offensive line in the nation and will be the toughest test Utah’s defensive front will face all season long. These two must play well to pull the upset.

4. Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
The star tailback is averaging 143.7 yards per game in three games in 2013, good for fifth nationally. He carried 28 times for 119 yards and a TD in last year’s win over USC at home. Only one other time last year did Carey carry the ball more (29, Washington) and he has had two weeks to recover from his career-high 30 carries against the Huskies. He will need to be fresh as the Trojans boast the Pac-12’s No. 1 rushing defense (99.6 ypg) and are allowing just 3.5 yards per carry this season.

5. Oregon State’s secondary
The Beavers (8) rank behind only Washington State (9) in interceptions this season in the Pac-12 and Mike Riley will needs his defensive backfield to be prepared this weekend against Leach’s Air Raid. Steven Nelson is tied for the nation’s lead in picks (4) while Tyrequek Zimmerman is the team’s leading tackler. Along with Ryan Murphy and Rashaad Reynolds, the Oregon State secondary must continue its solid play from last game. Riley’s bunch allowed just 146 yards on 41.2 percent passing to Colorado the last time OSU was on the field.

Pac-12 Week 7 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Oregon (-14) at WashingtonOregon, 41-28Oregon, 48-28 Oregon, 38-31Oregon, 42-21
Stanford (-9) at UtahStanford, 34-20Stanford, 38-24 Stanford, 34-13Stanford, 35-17
Oregon St (+1) at Washington StWazzu, 38-34Oregon St, 37-34Oregon St, 34-31Oregon St, 49-38
Arizona (+6) at USCArizona, 30-27USC, 28-20USC, 27-24USC, 21-14
Colorado (+25) at Arizona StArizona St, 41-20Arizona St, 38-13Arizona St, 48-24Arizona St, 38-21 
Cal (+25) at UCLAUCLA, 51-17UCLA, 41-17UCLA, 55-24UCLA, 49-17
Last Week: 3-23-24-13-2
Year-to-date:43-943-944-841-11

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-7-preview-and-predictions
Body:

After taking Ohio State to the wire last weekend at home, Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats have the unenviable task of traveling to Wisconsin. The Cats need a breakthrough win against the big boys of the Big Ten and this weekend offers that opportunity.

However, there are two other sneaky good contests to keep an eye on. Michigan visits Penn State in a blue-blooded matchup of NCAA powerhouses while both Indiana and Michigan State look to build upon quality victories last weekend.

Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois are off this weekend.

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 7 Game Power Rankings:

1. Northwestern (+10) at Wisconsin (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
One look at the point spread should tell fans in Evanston all they need to know about what Northwestern is facing this weekend in Madison. Ohio State turned to a power rushing attack to put the Wildcats away last weekend and Pat Fitzgerald’s squad has an even harder task this weekend on the road. The Badgers boast the No. 1 (Melvin Gordon), No. 5 (James White) and No. 8 (Corey Clement) rushers in the Big Ten and Gary Andersen isn’t afraid to lean on them — especially, after an extra week of rest. The Cats are consistently a thorn in Wisconsin’s side (4-3 in the last seven meetings) but hasn’t won in Camp Randall since 2000. This should once again be a fierce battle of Brains vs. Brawn. Look for Fitzgerald to get his star running back Venric Mark even more involved after 21 touches against the Buckeyes in his return to action.

2. Michigan (-3) at Penn State (5 p.m., ESPN)
From a historical and chromatic standpoint, it doesn’t really get any better than the Wolverines and Nittany Lions. After nine straight wins for Michigan from 1997-07, Penn State has owned the Maize and Blue of late, winning three straight since. Brady Hoke and Bill O’Brien have never met before as head coaches and this likely means a feeling out process. Especially, when you add a tentative Devin Gardner and inexperienced Christian Hackenberg into the equation. Michigan played an extremely clean game against Minnesota by converting on third down (10-of-13), staying out of the penalty box (two penalties) and taking care of the football (no turnovers). The Lions, meanwhile, couldn’t run the ball (38 att., 70 yards) or stop the Hoosiers in the second half. The wild card is PSU’s superstar wide receiver Allen Robinson, who is torching opposing defenses for 124.2 yards and more than seven catches per game in 2013. This should be an epic blue-collar showdown — both literally and figuratively.

3. Indiana (+9.5) at Michigan State (Noon, ESPN2)
Both the Hoosiers and Spartans are surging into this game based on huge wins last weekend over Penn State and Iowa respectively. Historically, the Spartans own the series, winning 13 of the last 15 meetings with Indiana’s last win coming in 2006. More relevant to 2013 is a matchup of the Big Ten’s top offense and the Big Ten’s top defense. Indiana averages 535.0 yards per game and hung 44 points on Penn State last weekend while Michigan State allows just 203.8 yards per game on defense and held Iowa to 23 yards rushing last week. A 2-0 start in Big Ten play is on the line for both and the Hoosiers need to prove they can match the physicality of the Spartans in the trenches to have any shot at pulling the unlikely road upset.

4. Nebraska (-14) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
The Huskers and Boilermakers have met only once in history — a 28-0 Purdue win in 1958. The score could be similar this time around but odds are Nebraska will be the winner. Quarterback Taylor Martinez, who hasn’t played since the debacle against UCLA at home in Week 3, is still questionable to play this weekend. With a bye coming next week, it makes sense for Bo Pelini to rest his star signal-caller, especially considering how Tommy Armstong and his running game have played of late. Look for one of the best third-down offenses in the nation (Nebraska, 49.2 percent) to take advantage of one of the nation’s worst third-down defenses (Purdue, 46.4).

Big Ten Week 7 Pivotal Players

1. Kain Colter, AP, Northwestern
The Wildcats' do-everything talent might be the most dynamic player on the field for either team this weekend against Wisconsin. He was on full display last weekend by completing all 12 of his passes and scoring as both a runner and receiver. Colter will need to play that type of triple-threat game out in space against a Badgers defense that prefers physical interior football.

2. Northwestern’s linebackers
The Wildcats' top three tacklers are Pat Fitzgerald’s trio of experienced linebackers. Chi Chi Ariguzo (8.2 tackles per game), Damien Proby (7.2) and Collin Ellis (7.0) got pushed around last weekend by Carlos Hyde, and Wisconsin’s running game is even more powerful. The Badgers have a long track record of massive offensive lines and talented runners and the 2013 version might be one of the deepest and most talented running games ever seen at UW. Northwestern’s backers will need to play better than it did last week to get a win in Madtown.

3. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Hackenberg broke his own freshman passing record last week with 340 yards (and 3 TDs) in a loss to Indiana. His running game gave him zero support against Indiana and it may fall to the young signal-caller to once again carry his offense against rival Michigan. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is virtually uncoverable and will feature heavily into PSU's game plan. Hackenberg will be asked to play flawless football — which he is capable of doing — to defeat the Wolverines at home.

4. Indiana’s offensive line
The Spartans' front seven is one of the best in the nation with big run-stuffers (Tyler Hoover), edge pass-rushers (Shilique Calhoun), physical linebackers (Max Bullough) and general playmakers (Denicos Allen). And if the Hoosiers can neutralize this group, there is a lockdown cover corner to deal with (Darqueze Dennard). The Hoosiers' offensive line will face its toughest test of the season this weekend and will have to play near perfect football if IU wants to pull the upset.

5. DaQuan Jones, DL, Penn State
The Nittany Lions defensive lineman will have his hands full this weekend against the physical Spartans offensive line. Jones is leading the team in tackles for a loss and sacks and is No. 2 in tackles — from his interior line position. Holding his ground against the run and disrupting Connor Cook in the passing game should give the rest of the talented PSU front seven a chance to make plays.

Big Ten Week 7 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Northwestern (+9.5) at WisconsinWisconsin, 31-27Wisconsin, 31-27Wisconsin, 34-31Wisconsin, 38-24
Michigan St (+3) at Penn StPenn St, 28-27Michigan, 30-17Michigan, 34-27Michigan, 35-10
Indiana (+9.5) at Michigan StMich. St, 24-21Mich. St, 24-17Mich. St, 34-27Mich. St, 21-17
Nebraska (-14) at PurdueNebraska, 42-17Nebraska, 48-17Nebraska, 45-13Nebraska, 49-14
Last Week:3-24-14-14-1
Year-to-date:46-948-749-646-9

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: Baylor Bears, College Football
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-7
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Week 6 delivered in a big way for college football fans. Games in Evanston and Palo Alto lived up to expectations. Baylor and Oregon continued record-setting paces on offense. Aaron Murray led yet another fourth-quarter, game-deciding drive. Texas and UCLA both got seriously lucky on Thursday night. And the Ol' Ball Coach was in rare form. I can only hope that Week 7 can match last weekend.

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

Texas will trail by four touchdowns at halftime against Oklahoma
The Sooners have won the last three Red River Shootouts but the last two, in particular, have been ugly. The Sooners have jumped out to huge early leads in both games, leading 36-2 at halftime in 2011 and 34-10 at the break last year. The Sooners have scored 118 points in the last two Shootouts and there is nothing about this Texas defense that would indicate anything new will happen this year. The Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 in total defense (465.4 ypg), rushing defense (248.4 ypg) and second-to-last in scoring defense (28.4 ppg). Oklahoma, on the other hand, leads the Big 12 in scoring (13.0 ppg) and total defense (281.6 ypg).

Baylor will not score 70 points
Normally, this would not be an outlandish statement to make. But the Bears have scored at least 70 points in three straight games and have scored at least 69 points in every game of the year. Needless to say, the trip to Manhattan to face Kansas State will be the toughest test to date for Art Briles' bunch. In fact, Baylor has never won in The Little Apple in four trips and there will be an added air of revenge on the minds of the Wildcats. Last year, the roles were reversed as an unbeaten KSU traveled to Waco as a heavy favorite and was beaten. I’m not suggesting anything that outrageous will happen, but this should be the closest game the Bears have played all season.

Bonus Prediction: Gus Johnson's head will explode at some point during the third quarter. The game will be carried on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET, marrying the game's fastest offense with TV's most excitable play-by-play man.

Jadeveon Clowney will make a play
A sack or forced fumble or tipped pass... anything. The star defensive end’s (presumed) final season in Columbia is turning into a bona fide soap opera. One game a stomach virus slowed him while a foot issue hampered him another game. Last week, he told the South Carolina coaches just hours before kickoff that he couldn’t play because his ribs were hurting, sparking a public tongue-lashing from head coach Steve Spurrier. Widely regarded as the nation’s best player entering the season, Clowney is facing a legacy defining stretch of road games over the next few weeks. The end had 23.5 TFL and 13.0 sacks last year and has 3.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks this season. The competitor in Clowney has to come out this weekend, right?

Tyler Murphy has more total offense than Zach Mettenberger
Mettenberger is the far superior and experienced passer in the major Florida-LSU showdown this weekend. One is a senior former five-star recruit in his second full season as an SEC starter — and playing extremely well, at that. The other is a two-star recruit from Connecticut who is making his third career start in Death Valley. Yet, it is the Tigers (367.0 ypg, 24.7 ppg) who have defensive weaknesses not the Gators (217.0 ypg, 12.2 ppg), who boast the nation’s best secondary. Murphy is the third-rated passer in the SEC, ahead of Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, Connor Shaw, James Franklin and Bo Wallace, and he will out-gain Mettenberger because of his legs (24 att., 135 yards, 2 TD in three games rushing). The Gators' chance at victory lies in Murphy’s ability to make plays and not turn the ball over.

Johnny Manziel will double his 2012 passing output against Ole Miss
The closest win the Aggies had in 2012 wasn’t on the road against Alabama (five points). It was a 30-27 home win over Ole Miss. A big reason was Johnny Manziel’s below average passing performance: 191 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. And since the Rebels should play well at home against a porous Aggies defense, it falls to Manziel to post big numbers in the passing game. The Rebels haven’t allowed anyone to throw for more than 196 yards since Week 1 so Manziel will have to be his old Heisman self in Oxford.

Aaron Murray will lead the Bulldogs in rushing
Georgia’s longest run since Todd Gurley bolted 75 yards against Clemson in Week 1 was Murray’s 57-yard parting of the orange sea last weekend against the Vols. It was by far the longest run of his career and with the decimated Bulldogs backfield, don’t be surprised if Mark Richt calls on No. 11 to use his legs more this weekend. Murray rushed for 167 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman and has the ability to move the sticks on the ground — as his 12 career rushing touchdowns will attest. He simply hasn’t been asked to run, but without Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall against Mizzou, don’t be surprised if Murray is the top rusher on the team.

Nebraska won’t fail on third down
The Cornhuskers are second in the Big Ten to Michigan and 23rd nationally by converting 49.2 percent of third down chances on offense. This week’s opponent, Purdue, is the last-ranked power conference team in the nation in getting stops on third down. The Boilermakers are allowing an absurd 46.4 percent conversion rate, which ranks 109th nationally. With or without star quarterback Taylor Martinez, Nebraska should have no trouble picking up first downs this weekend in West Lafayette.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /nfl/9-amazing-stats-nfls-week-5
Body:

Everyone needs to take a deep breath after the fifth weekend of NFL action. Denver and Dallas posted one of the highest scoring games in NFL history. A couple of embattled quarterbacks tossed critical interceptions. An ageless wonder continued to amaze — even if no one saw it. A historic record came to an end. And the Lions' ineptitude in The Badger State knows no bounds.

With that in mind, here are the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the NFL through Week 5:

8-7: Quarterbacks' record when throwing for 500 yards
Tony Romo threw for a Cowboys franchise-record 506 yards and five touchdowns in the painful loss to the Broncos. He was the 15th player to ever top the 500-yard mark in NFL history and, strangely, was the seventh player to lose at the same time. He is only the fifth player in NFL history to throw for 500 yards and five touchdowns in the same game. Unfortunately, Romo threw another back-breaking interception late in the game, giving Peyton Manning and the Broncos a win in the fourth-highest scoring contest in NFL history. Here are the most yards passing in a loss in NFL history:

 PlayerTeamYardsYearOpponent
1.Dan MarinoMiami5211988NY Jets
2.Matthew StaffordDetroit5202012Green Bay
3.Phil SimmsNY Giants5131985Cincinnati
4.Drew BreesNew Orleans5102006Cincinnati
5.Vince FerragamoLA Rams5091982Chicago
6.Tony RomoDallas5062013Denver
7.Elvis GrbacKansas City5042000Oakland

90%: Teams that start 5-0 who make the playoffs
Since the expansion of the NFL playoffs in 1990 to the current 12-team format, 40 teams have started the season 5-0. Only four failed to wind up with a postseason berth, meaning 90 percent of those 5-0 teams played beyond the regular season. Denver, Kansas City and New Orleans are the lone unbeatens left in the league at 5-0.

1,341 and 933: Eagles' passing and rushing yards
One of the top headlines this summer heading into the season was Chip Kelly’s prolific college offense coming to the NFL. Despite the Eagles' struggles to win games through five weekends, the offense has done something no other NFL team has ever done. Kelly’s team became the first in history to throw for at least 1,300 yards and rush for at least 900 yards in the first five games of the year. Philadelphia is scoring 27.0 points per game, good for eighth in the league. The problem for the 2-3 Eagles, however, is they rank next to last in total defense (434.0 ypg) and 30th in scoring defense (31.8 ppg).

4: Matt Schaub's NFL record for consecutive games with a pick-6
Just 1:30 into the game against the 49ers, Houston’s Schaub set an NFL record by throwing an interception that was returned for a TD in a fourth consecutive game. Schaub threw three total interceptions in the beatdown against San Francisco, moving the Texans two games back of the Colts in the AFC South. His nine interceptions trail only Eli Manning’s 12 in the NFL this fall. The Texans are 3-6 over their last nine regular season games.

52: Tom Brady’s consecutive games with a TD
Drew Brees’ record is safe. Last Oct. 7, the Saints quarterback broke a 50-year-old record set by Johnny Unitas (47 games) by throwing a touchdown pass in 54 straight games. Brady was scheduled to tie Brees’ record this Sunday against, you guessed it, the Saints. However, the Bengals spoiled the party by holding Brady to 18-of-38 passing for 197 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. The next longest active streak is Peyton Manning’s 28 straight games with a touchdown pass, which is tied for sixth all-time.

28: NFL-record point spread between Denver and Jacksonville
Depending on where you look for point spreads, the Denver Broncos will be favored by roughly four touchdowns. According to RJ Bell, it is the largest point spread in NFL history. To date, the largest NFL point spread was the Steelers' 26-point spread over Tampa Bay on Dec. 5, 1976 — the year the Buccaneers went 0-14.


2:39 a.m.: Time (ET) the Chargers-Raiders game ended
The Raiders won their second game of the season on Sunday night/Monday morning in a nip-and-tuck victory over the Chargers. Terrelle Pryor led his team to a divisional win by completing 18-of-23 passes for 221 yards and two scores without an interception. The game ended when Philip Rivers, who threw for 411 yards, tossed a critical interception in the end zone trailing by seven points with less than a minute to play. It was an entertaining game, however, did anyone see it? The game kicked-off a 11:35 p.m. ET because of a scheduling conflict with the Oakland A's who are in the MLB playoffs and ended at 2:39 a.m. ET.

13: Charles Woodson's NFL record for defensive touchdowns
With a few minutes left in the third quarter — say, around 2 a.m. ET — Woodson scooped up a Danny Woodhead fumble and returned it 25 yards for his 13th career defensive touchdown (11 INT, 2 FR). He tied his namesake Rod Woodson (12 INT, 1 FR) and Darren Sharper (11 INT, 2 FR) for the all-time NFL record. In the win over San Diego, the 37-year-old posted four total tackles, a fumble recovery and yet another clutch interception. It was his 56th career pick, tying him with Lem Barney and Pat Fischer for 17th all-time. Aeneas Williams and Ronde Barber have 12 defensive touchdowns and DeAngelo Hall has 11.

22: Lions' consecutive losses in the state of Wisconsin
The Lions were without Calvin Johnson but two Megatrons might not have been enough to end Detroit’s road woes against the Packers. Green Bay played its best defensive game of the year, giving up just 286 yards to Matthew Stafford and company, and welcomed rookie Eddie Lacy back to the backfield (23 att., 99 yards). The Packers won their 22nd straight “home” game over their division rival. It is the longest road losing streak by any team against another in NFL history. The Lions last beat the Packers in Wisconsin on Dec. 15, 1991.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/9-amazing-college-football-stats-week-6
Body:

<p>Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.</p><p>Some fall on the sabermetric&nbsp;side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol&#39; 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.</p><p>With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:</p><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong><img alt="" src="http://images.athlonsports.com/d/30287-1/AaronMurray300.jpg" style="margin: 3px; float: right; width: 250px; height: 327px;" />11,625: Aaron Murray&#39;s SEC-record career passing yards</strong></span><br />He has started every game of his career (45) and has proven he can lead his team to victory from behind in the fourth quarter. And his name now stands alone atop the SEC passing record book. With a modest 196 yards against Tennessee, he passed fellow Georgia passer David Greene (11,528) for No. 1 all-time in SEC history. He is a few games away from breaking Danny Wuerffel&#39;s all-time SEC TD record (114), Tim Tebow&#39;s all-time SEC total offense record (12,232) and would finish one win behind Greene&#39;s all-time SEC wins record should he win every game the rest of the season. It would make him the SEC&#39;s most prolific quarterback by a wide margin and the NCAA&#39;s No. 5 winningest signal caller in history (41 wins) behind only Boise State&#39;s Kellen Moore (50), Texas&#39; Colt McCoy (45), TCU&#39;s Andy Dalton (42) and Greene. For what it&#39;s worth, however, only Dalton appears to have any NFL upside whatsoever.</p><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>6-0: Kevin Hogan&#39;s record against ranked teams</strong></span><br />There may not be a better clutch performer at quarterback than Stanford&#39;s Kevin Hogan. He has never lost a game as a starter in his career (10-0), including six wins over ranked opponents. His first four career starts came against No. 13 Oregon State, No. 1 Oregon on the road, No. 15 UCLA on the road and No. 17 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship Game. He won them all. He has continued to improve in his first full season under center, topping No. 23 Arizona State easily and outlasting No. 15 Washington this weekend. It&#39;s a good thing he can handle the pressure because the Cardinal&#39;s schedule the rest of the way is brutal &mdash;&nbsp;road trips to Utah, Oregon State and USC to go with home games against No. 2 Oregon, No. 12 UCLA and Notre Dame. Stanford has won 13 straight games and Hogan has lead the charge in most of them.</p><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>202: Consecutive Marcus Mariota passes without an INT</strong></span><br />Not to be outdone in the Pac-12 North, Mariota is making a case that he is the nation&#39;s best player. He scored seven total touchdowns (five passing, two rush rushing) and accounted for 398 total yards of offense (355 passing, 43 rushing). That gives the Oregon quarterback 59 total career touchdowns (46 passing, 12 rushing, one receiving) in just 18 career games. More impressive, he has just six interceptions in those 18 games and has yet to throw a pick in 2013. In fact, he hasn&#39;t thrown an interception in his last 202 pass attempts. And while that might be three games worth of play-calling for Cal or Washington State, it&#39;s eight games for Oregon. Mariota is 17-1 as a starter, and his last interception came in the only loss of his career&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;the 17-14 OT loss to Stanford last season. Nov. 7 cannot get here soon enough.</p><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>864: Baylor&#39;s Big 12 record yards of total offense</strong></span><br />If the Ducks are the nation&#39;s best offense, the Bears aren&#39;t too far behind. The list of superlatives this team is acquiring is astounding. Art Briles&#39; bunch posted 458 yards rushing and 396 yards passing for a Big 12 record 864 yards of total offense. That <strong><a href="http://athlonsports.com/college-football/college-football-week-6-recap-ohio-state-stanford-survive">would be a record</a></strong> in every other conference in the nation except the Pac-12. Baylor has scored at least 70 points in three straight games and has the three top yardage totals of the year nationally: 864 against West Virginia, 781 against UL Monroe and 781 against Buffalo. Quarterback Bryce Petty is leading the nation in efficiency (229.61) at a clip that would obliterate the NCAA single-season record (Russell Wilson, 191.8). Last but not least, tailback Lache Seastrunk has a nation&#39;s best eight consecutive 100-yard games and is No. 2 in the nation at 147.3 yards per game.</p><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>63: Largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent</strong></span><br />Jameis Winston and the Seminoles put on a show in Doak Campbell this weekend against the Terrapins. They announced their national title aspirations with authority by posting the worst defeat of a ranked team in AP Poll history. The 63-0 blanking of No. 25 Maryland ties UCLA&#39;s 66-3 pounding of No. 11 Texas in 1997 for the largest margin of victory over a ranked team. Winston was magical, completing 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. Remember this is just his fifth start and marquee Heisman moments loom against Clemson, Miami and Florida. But just for fun, take at look at this<strong> <a href="http://athlonsports.com/college-football/college-football-week-6-recap-ohio-state-stanford-survive" target="_blank">interesting comparison</a>&nbsp;</strong>through five games:</p><table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 1px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 1px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); line-height: inherit; border-collapse: collapse; -webkit-border-horizontal-spacing: 0px; -webkit-border-vertical-spacing: 0px; width: 700px; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><tbody style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><tr style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">&nbsp;</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Comp. %</strong></td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Pass yds</strong></td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">TD-INT</strong></td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Rush yds-TD</strong></td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Total off.</strong></td></tr><tr style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Jameis Winston, 2013</strong></td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">73.1</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">1,440</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">17-2</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">135-2</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">1,575</td></tr><tr style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Johnny Manziel, 2012</strong></td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">69.3</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">1,285</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">11-2</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">495-7</td><td style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 5px; padding-right: 5px; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-left: 5px; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: top; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-right-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-bottom-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); border-left-color: rgb(221, 221, 221); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">1,780</td></tr></tbody></table><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><br /><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>17 and 18: The nation&#39;s longest losing and winning streaks</strong></span><br /><img alt="" src="http://images.athlonsports.com/d/23298-1/OSUTeam300.jpg" style="margin: 3px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 219px;" />Southern Miss lost yet another heartbreaker after winless FIU kicked a game-winning field goal with just under seven minutes to play on Saturday. The loss pushes the nation&#39;s longest active losing streak to 17 games with little hope for Eagles fans to look forward to in 2013. <strong><a href="http://www.covers.com/pageLoader/pageLoader.aspx?page=/data/ncf/teams/schedule/team58.html" target="_blank">According to Covers.com</a></strong>, the only game Southern Miss might be favored in is a home game with North Texas coming in three weeks. There is a chance at a second consecutive winless season. On the flip side, Ohio State outlasted Northwestern to extend the nation&#39;s longest active winning streak to 18 games. Coincidentally, Michigan owns the nation&#39;s longest home winning streak at 18 games as well. Should both continue to win, the Wolverines&#39; 20-game home winning streak would come face to face with the Buckeyes&#39; 23-game overall winning streak on the season&#39;s final weekend in Michigan Stadium.</p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><br /><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>1-16: Indiana&#39;s record against Penn State</strong></span></p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Kevin Wilson lost a critical swing game with Navy and was uninspiring at home against Missouri, so he needed a marquee victory for his resume. His offense scored 21 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and pulled away in impressive fashion against nemesis Penn State. The two programs have played 17 times with every one coming in conference play since PSU joined the league in 1993. Saturday&#39;s convincing 44-24 victory was Indiana&#39;s first-ever against the Nittany Lions. Wilson&#39;s squad has been excellent on one side of the ball, leading the Big Ten in total offense (535.0 ypg) and trailing only Ohio State in scoring (44.4 ppg). That said, this game merely keeps IU&#39;s bowl hopes alive with more survival games directly ahead &mdash;&nbsp;four of the next six will come on the road against Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><br /><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>0: Teams that have beaten USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks</strong></span></p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; ">Arizona State had plenty of chances to beat Notre Dame on Saturday in AT&T Stadium but came up short. After a dominating offensive performance from Taylor Kelly and Marion Grice last weekend against USC, the Sun Devils committed critical turnovers in the final quarter of the 37-34 loss. It was the 12th time a team had to face the Trojans and the Irish on back-to-back weekends and none have ever beaten both. Only three, including the Sun Devils, even won the first half of the difficult duo of games. Todd Graham&#39;s team continues to play inconsistent football and, frankly, should have three losses already.</p><p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><br /><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial; "><img alt="" src="http://images.athlonsports.com/d/25936-1/SammyWatkinsinset.jpg" style="margin: 4px; padding: 0px; outline-width: 0px; outline-style: initial; outline-color: initial; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: transparent; line-height: inherit; cursor: default; float: right; width: 200px; height: 285px;" /></strong><strong><span style="font-size:16px;">17: Unbeaten teams left in college football</span></strong><br />The beauty of college football lies in its simplicity. Win all of your games and you probably will play for the national championship. From the BCS automatically-qualifying conferences, only Auburn in 2004 and Cincinnati in 2009 were perfect and left out of the BCS title game. So who is left after six weeks of play? Clemson (5-0), Miami (5-0) and Florida State (5-0) are a formidable unbeaten trio in the ACC but could play a complete round robin by season&#39;s end. Louisville (5-0) won&#39;t be the only team to give Houston (4-0) a loss this year in the AAC. Michigan (5-0) and Ohio State (6-0) are the lone remaining perfect teams in the Big Ten. Oklahoma (5-0), Texas Tech (5-0) and Baylor (4-0) all have yet to face each other in the Big 12. Top 12 teams Oregon (5-0), Stanford (5-0) and UCLA (4-0) give the Pac-12 tremendous depth at the top of the league. And Alabama (5-0) and upstart Mizzou (5-0) are the last standing unbeatens in the SEC. After six weeks of the best tournament in sports, college football is down to just 15 power conference teams left without a loss. And all but two&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;Alabama-Missouri and Clemson-Miami &mdash;&nbsp;are guaranteed to face each at some point during the regular season. For the record, Fresno State (5-0) and Northern Illinois (5-0) have established themselves quickly as the top two BCS Busters in 2013.</p>

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-6
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:

11,625: Aaron Murray's SEC-record career passing yards
He has started every game of his career (45) and has proven he can lead his team to victory from behind in the fourth quarter. And his name now stands alone atop the SEC passing record book. With a modest 196 yards against Tennessee, he passed fellow Georgia passer David Greene (11,528) for No. 1 all-time in SEC history. He is a few games away from breaking Danny Wuerffel's all-time SEC TD record (114), Tim Tebow's all-time SEC total offense record (12,232) and would finish one win behind Greene's all-time SEC wins record should he win every game the rest of the season. It would make him the SEC's most prolific quarterback by a wide margin and the NCAA's No. 5 winningest signal caller in history (41 wins) behind only Boise State's Kellen Moore (50), Texas' Colt McCoy (45), TCU's Andy Dalton (42) and Greene. For what it's worth, however, only Dalton appears to have any NFL upside whatsoever.

6-0: Kevin Hogan's record against ranked teams
There may not be a better clutch performer at quarterback than Stanford's Kevin Hogan. He has never lost a game as a starter in his career (10-0), including six wins over ranked opponents. His first four career starts came against No. 13 Oregon State, No. 1 Oregon on the road, No. 15 UCLA on the road and No. 17 UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship Game. He won them all. He has continued to improve in his first full season under center, topping No. 23 Arizona State easily and outlasting No. 15 Washington this weekend. It's a good thing he can handle the pressure because the Cardinal's schedule the rest of the way is brutal — road trips to Utah, Oregon State and USC to go with home games against No. 2 Oregon, No. 12 UCLA and Notre Dame. Stanford has won 13 straight games and Hogan has lead the charge in most of them.

202: Consecutive Marcus Mariota passes without an INT
Not to be outdone in the Pac-12 North, Mariota is making a case that he is the nation's best player. He scored seven total touchdowns (five passing, two rush rushing) and accounted for 398 total yards of offense (355 passing, 43 rushing). That gives the Oregon quarterback 59 total career touchdowns (46 passing, 12 rushing, one receiving) in just 18 career games. More impressive, he has just six interceptions in those 18 games and has yet to throw a pick in 2013. In fact, he hasn't thrown an interception in his last 202 pass attempts. And while that might be three games worth of play-calling for Cal or Washington State, it's eight games for Oregon. Mariota is 17-1 as a starter, and his last interception came in the only loss of his career — the 17-14 OT loss to Stanford last season. Nov. 7 cannot get here soon enough.

864: Baylor's Big 12 record yards of total offense
If the Ducks are the nation's best offense, the Bears aren't too far behind. The list of superlatives this team is acquiring is astounding. Art Briles' bunch posted 458 yards rushing and 396 yards passing for a Big 12 record 864 yards of total offense. That would be a record in every other conference in the nation except the Pac-12. Baylor has scored at least 70 points in three straight games and has the three top yardage totals of the year nationally: 864 against West Virginia, 781 against UL Monroe and 781 against Buffalo. Quarterback Bryce Petty is leading the nation in efficiency (229.61) at a clip that would obliterate the NCAA single-season record (Russell Wilson, 191.8). Last but not least, tailback Lache Seastrunk has a nation's best eight consecutive 100-yard games and is No. 2 in the nation at 147.3 yards per game.

63: Largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent
Jameis Winston and the Seminoles put on a show in Doak Campbell this weekend against the Terrapins. They announced their national title aspirations with authority by posting the worst defeat of a ranked team in AP Poll history. The 63-0 blanking of No. 25 Maryland ties UCLA's 66-3 pounding of No. 11 Texas in 1997 for the largest margin of victory over a ranked team. Winston was magical, completing 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. Remember this is just his fifth start and marquee Heisman moments loom against Clemson, Miami and Florida. But just for fun, take at look at this interesting comparison through five games:

 

Comp. %

Pass yds

TD-INT

Rush yds-TD

Total off.

Jameis Winston, 2013

73.1

1,440

17-2

135-2

1,575

Johnny Manziel, 2012

69.3

1,285

11-2

495-7

1,780

17 and 18: The nation's longest losing and winning streaks

Southern Miss lost yet another heartbreaker after winless FIU kicked a game-winning field goal with just under seven minutes to play on Saturday. The loss pushes the nation's longest active losing streak to 17 games with little hope for Eagles fans to look forward to in 2013. According to Covers.com, the only game Southern Miss might be favored in is a home game with North Texas coming in three weeks. There is a chance at a second consecutive winless season. On the flip side, Ohio State outlasted Northwestern to extend the nation's longest active winning streak to 18 games. Coincidentally, Michigan owns the nation's longest home winning streak at 18 games as well. Should both continue to win, the Wolverines' 20-game home winning streak would come face to face with the Buckeyes' 23-game overall winning streak on the season's final weekend in Michigan Stadium.

1-16: Indiana's record against Penn State

Kevin Wilson lost a critical swing game with Navy and was uninspiring at home against Missouri, so he needed a marquee victory for his resume. His offense scored 21 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and pulled away in impressive fashion against nemesis Penn State. The two programs have played 17 times with every one coming in conference play since PSU joined the league in 1993. Saturday's convincing 44-24 victory was Indiana's first-ever against the Nittany Lions. Wilson's squad has been excellent on one side of the ball, leading the Big Ten in total offense (535.0 ypg) and trailing only Ohio State in scoring (44.4 ppg). That said, this game merely keeps IU's bowl hopes alive with more survival games directly ahead — four of the next six will come on the road against Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State. 

0: Teams that have beaten USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks

Arizona State had plenty of chances to beat Notre Dame on Saturday in AT&T Stadium but came up short. After a dominating offensive performance from Taylor Kelly and Marion Grice last weekend against USC, the Sun Devils committed critical turnovers in the final quarter of the 37-34 loss. It was the 12th time a team had to face the Trojans and the Irish on back-to-back weekends and none have ever beaten both. Only three, including the Sun Devils, even won the first half of the difficult duo of games. Todd Graham's team continues to play inconsistent football and, frankly, should have three losses already.

17: Unbeaten teams left in college football
The beauty of college football lies in its simplicity. Win all of your games and you probably will play for the national championship. From the BCS automatically-qualifying conferences, only Auburn in 2004 and Cincinnati in 2009 were perfect and left out of the BCS title game. So who is left after six weeks of play? Clemson (5-0), Miami (5-0) and Florida State (5-0) are a formidable unbeaten trio in the ACC but could play a complete round robin by season's end. Louisville (5-0) won't be the only team to give Houston (4-0) a loss this year in the AAC. Michigan (5-0) and Ohio State (6-0) are the lone remaining perfect teams in the Big Ten. Oklahoma (5-0), Texas Tech (5-0) and Baylor (4-0) all have yet to face each other in the Big 12. Top 12 teams Oregon (5-0), Stanford (5-0) and UCLA (4-0) give the Pac-12 tremendous depth at the top of the league. And Alabama (5-0) and upstart Mizzou (5-0) are the last standing unbeatens in the SEC. After six weeks of the best tournament in sports, college football is down to just 15 power conference teams left without a loss. And all but two — Alabama-Missouri and Clemson-Miami — are guaranteed to face each at some point during the regular season. For the record, Fresno State (5-0) and Northern Illinois (5-0) have established themselves quickly as the top two BCS Busters in 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 17:16
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-6-picks
Body:

Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. Whether you condone gambling or not, think of it as becoming a more informed fan.

Texas A&M delivered in a big way for me last weekend, although it looked tight as those in Vegas expected. Washington also took care of business in a sloppy slugfest against Arizona — setting up a possible skewed line with Stanford this weekend. But the Tennessee Volunteers totally ruined the weekend after going up 31-7 and having to intercept a pass in its own end zone to beat South Alabama. Give Joey Jones' guys lots of credit for fighting back in the second half.

Looking ahead to Week 6, it seems that there are entirely too many teams favored by 10-ish points. Georgia, Florida, Nebraska and others are in that 9-to-11-point range and that makes me think it could be a big weekend for upsets.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 17-10-1 (2-2 last week)

Week 6 Picks of the Week:

Georgia (-10.5) at Tennessee
There has to be something Vegas knows that we don't. Georgia just defeated South Carolina and LSU by scoring 85 points while Tennessee barely slipped past South Alabama at home last weekend. Traditionally, the Vols play tough against the Dawgs but the talent differential seems far too great for Butch Jones' squad to overcome. As long as the letdown factor isn't too powerful for UGA, Aaron Murray should be able to shred this defense. Prediction: Georgia -10.5

LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State
This is traditionally a close content but LSU is a significantly better team than the Bulldogs and should be fired up after the near miss against Georgia last weekend. Zach Mettenberger and his elite wide receivers should have no issues moving the ball through the air while Jeremy Hill won't be met with much resistance. And the LSU defense gets to deal with an MSU team starting a quarterback, Tyler Russell, who hasn't played since Week 1. Prediction: LSU -9.5

Washington (+7.5) at Stanford
Revenge will be on the minds of a Stanford team that dominated the Huskies last year but still lost in primetime in heart-breaking fashion. The last time Washington came to Palo Alto, the Cardinal scored 65 points. After the extremely impressive showings (and covers) against Arizona State and Washington State the last two weeks, look for Stanford to make a statement in this critical Pac-12 North showdown. Prediction: Stanford -7.5

Arizona State (-5.5) vs. Notre Dame (Arlington, Texas)
Notre Dame and Tommy Rees, in particular, have really been struggling on offense. Meanwhile, Arizona State has played a very difficult schedule and is clicking on all cylinders on offense. Taylor Kelly has topped 300 yards in every game this year, Marion Grice is leading the world in scoring (12 TDs) and Jaelen Strong might be the newcomer of the year in the Pac-12. On a fast track in AT&T Stadium, the Irish's struggles on both sides of the ball will be amplified. Prediction: Arizona State -5.5

TCU (+10) at Oklahoma
The Sooners defense has been markedly improved by dominating on that side of the ball this season. They are one of the nation's best at 299.5 yards per game while TCU has struggled to score against quality competition, namely LSU and Texas Tech. Blake Bell is one of the nation's top rated passers since taking over the starting job, and at home, the Sooners should roll in a critical must-win situation for the Crimson and Cream. Prediction: Oklahoma -10

Texas Tech (-16.5) at Kansas
Despite being ranked in the Top 25, this Tech squad might be underrated due to its sneaky solid defense. The Jayhawks offense is one of the worst in the league, posting just 352 yards and less than five yards per play. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders are trailing only prolific Baylor in total offense at 520 yards per game. This one could get ugly quickly. Prediction: Texas Tech -16.5

Week 6 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
Georgia St (+54.5) at No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Oregon (-39) at Colorado
No. 3 Clemson (-13.5) at Syracuse
No. 4 Ohio St (-7) at No. 16 Northwestern 
No. 15 Washington (+7.5) at No. 5 Stanford
No. 6 Georgia (-11) at Tennessee
No. 7 Louisville (-33) at Temple
No. 25 Maryland (+15) at No. 8 Florida St
No. 10 LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi St
TCU (+10.5) at No. 11 Oklahoma
Kentucky (+21) at No. 13 South Carolina
Georgia Tech (+5.5) at No. 15 Miami
West Virginia (+27) at No. 17 Baylor
Arkansas (+11) at No. 18 Florida
Minnesota (+19) at No. 19 Michigan
No. 20 Texas Tech (-17.5) at Kansas
Kansas St (+14) at No. 21 Oklahoma St
No. 22 Arizona St (-5.5) vs. Notre Dame*
No. 23 Fresno St (-26) at Idaho
No. 24 Ole Miss (-3) at Auburn
Last Week:7-6-28-5-26-7-210-3-2
Year-To-Date:42-31-334-39-340-34-344-29-3

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-6-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Big Ten conference play really opens up across the league this Saturday after a teaser last weekend. Ohio State is in commanding early position in the Leaders Division but has another huge test on Saturday — this time on the road. All eyes will once again be on the Buckeyes.

However, unlike last weekend, the rest of the conference — except Wisconsin and Purdue, who are on bye — will be tangled up in big-time divisional matchups. Let the race for the Roses begin.

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 6 Game Power Rankings:

1. Ohio State (-6.5) at Northwestern (8 p.m. ET, ABC)
College Gameday is making just its second appearance in Evanston and its first since Pat Fitzgerald was a player in 1995. Ohio State welcomed back Braxton Miller in style last weekend in an emotional, hard-fought home win over a quality Wisconsin team. Urban Meyer now has to get his team ready for an equally talented but totally different Wildcats squad. Coach Fitz is hoping to get running back Venric Mark, a key cog in his spread option offense, back on the field for the first time since Week 1. Mark helps the Cats' two-quarterback spread system to flourish but how healthy will he be? This is the most talented Northwestern team ever assembled with Big Ten championship aspirations but must battle history this weekend. The Wildcats have beaten Ohio State just once in the last 29 tries and is hoping to shake up the Big Ten with the entire college football world watching on Saturday night.

2. Michigan State (+1.5) at Iowa (Noon, ESPN2)
This game got a lot more interesting with Iowa’s convincing and somewhat shockingly easy road win over Minnesota. These two teams are built in similar fashions as each will play physical defense and pound the football on offense. Normally, home field offers an advantage but, in this series, the road team has won three of the last four meetings. Quarterback play will be a major issue for both: Iowa is 94th in passing offense and 63rd in passing efficiency nationally while the Spartans are even worse ranking 115th in passing offense and 109th in efficiency. This will be a throwback, bruising, Big Ten slugfest and whichever defensive line holds its ground the best will escape with a hard-earned victory.

3. Penn State (-4.5) at Indiana (Noon, BTN)
This was targeted as a critical pecking order game in the Leaders Division and both teams had two weeks to prepare. Kevin Wilson enters Big Ten play with two losses and can’t afford not to hold serve at home in winnable games. However, the Hoosiers have never beaten the Nittany Lions in 16 tries and have only stayed within one score once in the last five meetings. These are two of the top three passing attacks in the league so fans should expect plenty of aerial fireworks, but the ground game may be the deciding factor. Indiana couldn’t run the ball against Missouri in the blowout loss two weeks ago while the Lions are coming off a 287-yard, 3-TD performance against Kent State. Penn State has a significant talent advantage but the team that can be more balanced on offense will come away with a significant win.

4. Illinois (+10.5) at Nebraska (Noon, ESPNU)
Taylor Martinez is listed as questionable for Nebraska’s first-ever Big Ten meeting with Illinois. The Huskers are 7-2-1 against the Illini as non-conference foes and haven’t met since back-to-back Nebraska drubbings in 1985-86. This one could be much tighter than those Big Red blowouts as quarterback play appears to be huge for both teams. Nathan Scheelhaase has been a revelation as a senior under Bill Cubit, completing 67.2-percent of his passes for nearly 300 yards per game, 12 TDs and just three interceptions. Bo Pelini, however, could be without Martinez, his star quarterback, once again. The senior signal-caller hasn’t practiced yet this week and it doesn’t sound like he will play much, if at all, this weekend. That leaves freshman Tommy Armstrong and senior Ron Kellogg III to split time under center. If Scheelhaase doesn’t turn the ball over, the Illini have a chance to hang around against a questionable Black Shirts defense.

5. Minnesota (+20) at Michigan (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN)
The Gophers were surprisingly inept in all phases of the game in the one-sided home loss to Iowa in Week 5 and things don’t appear to be getting any better for Jerry Kill in the Battle for the Little Brown Jug. Quarterback Philip Nelson returned to the starting lineup for Minnesota but played his worst game of the year. Meanwhile, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has had two weeks to stew over his below average play (seven turnovers) against Akron and UConn. Look for both teams to get their reeling running games back on track, but a win for the Gophers over the nation’s No. 6-rated rushing defense seems unlikely. Minnesota has only won the Jug once since 1986, however, that memorable win came in Ann Arbor in 2005.

Big Ten Week 6 Pivotal Players

1. Tyler Scott, DE, Northwestern
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound senior will be under a microscope this weekend. He leads the Wildcats in tackles for a loss (4.0) and sacks (3.0) but will be in for his toughest challenge this weekend against Braxton Miller. It goes without saying the goal for Scott and the Cats defensive line will be to contain Miller in the pocket but, moreover, they need to punish the oft-injured Buckeye star every chance they get. The more physical the game gets, the better chance Northwestern has at an upset.

2. Corey Brown, S, Ohio State
In theory, both Corey Brown’s will play a pivotal role in Ohio State’s trip to Northwestern. But the senior safety Brown is stepping in for injured safety Christian Bryant. He has plenty of experience after starting the opener in place of C.J. Barnett and is fifth on the team in tackles (4.2 pg). But Brown is now charged with manning the safety spot for the rest of the year and it starts on the road against the diverse and complex Northwestern spread that welcomes back its star tailback this weekend.

3. Jake Rudock, QB, Iowa
Yards will be tough to come by on the ground in the Spartans-Hawkeyes boxing match this weekend and it falls to Rudock to make things happen. In a game with elite linebackers on both sides, two great running games and very little scoring, anything Rudock or Michigan State’s Connor Cook can provide in the passing game will make a significant impact. Quarterback is the one area Iowa may have a significant advantage over Sparty and Rudock needs to provide a second offensive dimension.

4. Indiana’s Front Seven
After a pathetic showing in the season opener against Syracuse (38 att., 57 yards, 0 TD), the Penn State running game has exploded. The Lions have averaged 244.7 yards per game over their past three contests with 11 rushing touchdowns. It falls to a Hoosiers front seven that allowed 280 yards and three scores to Missouri the last time out to stop the Lions' physical rushing attack. If not, PSU will move to 17-0 all-time against IU.

5. Tommy Armstrong/Ron Kellogg III, QB, Nebraska
Illinois is much improved but if Bo Pelini can get anything out of his backup quarterback duo, the Huskers should win going away. Both Armstrong (12-of-15, 169 yards, TD) and Kellogg (8-of-9, 136 yards, TD) were solid against South Dakota State but battling Jonathan Brown and the Illini is a totally different task. Another 335 yards rushing would go a long way in helping the quarterback tandem play efficient football. If these two protect the ball, Nebraska should begin its Big Ten slate with a win.

Big Ten Week 6 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Ohio St (-6.5) at NorthwesternN'Western, 34-31 Ohio St, 27-23Ohio St, 34-27Ohio St, 38-24
Michigan St (+1.5) at IowaMich. St, 20-17Iowa, 13-10Mich. St, 24-20Iowa, 21-17
Penn St (-4.5) at IndianaPenn St, 38-30Indiana, 31-30Penn St, 34-31Penn St, 35-21
Illinois (+10.5) at NebraskaNebraska, 34-24Nebraska, 37-30Nebraska, 38-31Illinois, 28-24
Minnesota (+20) at MichiganMichigan, 34-20Michigan, 41-17Michigan, 34-17Michigan, 27-14
Last Week:3-14-04-03-1
Year-to-date:43-744-645-542-8

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-6-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

Last weekend was an eventful one out West. Stanford made another big statement in the Pac-12 North, Sean Mannion has the Beavers turned around, Washington got a big home win and, oh by the way, USC fired Lane Kiffin.

The stories emanating from Heritage Hall has drowned out the rest of the news in the Pac-12 — which is plentiful. UCLA should be on upset alert, Arizona State is trying to do something no team in NCAA history has ever done and the Huskies-Cardinal game carries major championship import.

It’s just another weekend in the nation’s second-best league. 

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 6 Game Power Rankings

1. Washington (+7) at Stanford (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The last time these two hooked up, the Huskies pulled a physical and surprising upset at home on a Thursday night last season. However, the last time these two hooked up in Palo Alto, the Cardinal dropped 65 points on an extremely uncompetitive Washington squad. These two defenses have been two of the nation’s best thus far in 2013 and fans can bet this will be as physical a game as the Pac-12 sees all season. The onus of victory then falls to the offensive lines and quarterback play. Kevin Hogan and Keith Price aren’t posting the same monster numbers of others in the league, but they are leading offenses averaging roughly 40 points per game and have great running games to lean on. The loser will find it hard to win the North, so this showdown is a de facto divisional elimination game.

2. Arizona State (-5) vs. Notre Dame (7:30 p.m., NBC, Arlington)
No team in NCAA history has ever defeated USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks. Eleven teams have tried and all 11 have failed. That said, the Sun Devils have a great shot at making history. After scoring 62 on the Trojans last week, Taylor Kelly and Marion Grice, the nation’s leading scorer, are riding a wave of renewed confidence against a defense lacking in killer instinct. The fast track in AT&T Stadium gives the Devils a speed edge on Saturday. The Irish were embarrassed at home by Oklahoma and quarterback Tommy Rees appears to be losing his grip on the starting job. He has five interceptions in losses to Michigan and Notre Dame and none in Notre Dame’s three wins. Rees has to take care of the ball if the Irish want to have a chance of pulling the upset.

3. UCLA (-4.5) at Utah (Thurs., 10 p.m., FS1)
The Utes have only beaten the Bruins twice in 11 tries but both came in the last two visits from UCLA. In fact, the Bruins haven’t even been competitive in SLC, losing by a combined 75-12. That said, last year’s meeting was a 21-14 victory for UCLA in Los Angeles. Look for both offenses to excel in this mid-week meeting as two of the best in the nation are spearheaded by elite signal-callers. Utah’s Travis Wilson is seventh nationally in total offense (342.3 ypg) while UCLA’s Brett Hundley is 11th (335.0 ypg). The difference will be Jim Mora’s defense. UCLA hasn’t allowed more than 353 yards in any game this year while Utah is giving up 473.7 yards per game against FBS opponents (three games). The Bruins need to be on serious upset alert but can prove themselves as the South Division front-runner with a convincing road win.

4. Washington State (pk) at Cal (4 p.m., FS1)
Cal is leading the league in plays at a ridiculous 95.0 snaps per game on offense. Washington State is third in the league with 349 offensive snaps in 2013. Yet, both offenses have struggled to score relative to the rest of the Pac-12 — they rank 10th and 11th in scoring offense. This might be in part to questions at quarterback. After an electric start to his career, Cal’s Jared Goff was benched last week after just seven attempts against Oregon. He split time with touted redshirt Zach Kline in practice this week and both will likely see snaps. Meanwhile, Connor Halliday was beaten and bruised by Stanford last weekend but is apparently ready to go against the Bears. Whichever offense has the ball last gets the win.

5. Oregon (-38) at Colorado (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Mike MacIntrye is a well respected rising star in the coaching ranks but the Buffaloes are in over their heads in this one. The Ducks are clicking on all cylinders despite the loss of electric running back De’Anthony Thomas to an ankle injury. Thomas won’t play this weekend in an effort to be healthy for a large trip to Seattle next weekend. The Ducks haven’t scored fewer than 55 points this year and haven’t lost to Colorado since 1998. The Marcus Mariota Heisman freight train will roll through Boulder with little opposition this weekend.

Pac-12 Week 6 Pivotal Players:

1. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
Hogan’s ability to move around both inside and out of the pocket is what coach David Shaw thinks will be the difference. The Cardinal offense, led by Josh Nunes at the time, mustered just 13 points and 238 total yards — the lowest yardage output of the Shaw era — against UW last season. Hogan is coming off his best game of the year after 286 yards passing, 34 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Washington State. Against one of the nation’s nastiest defenses, the Stanford quarterback will have to make plays in all phases of the game. Hogan is 9-0 as the starter for Stanford.

2. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
On the other side of the ball, Steve Sarkisian’s balanced offensive attack will put major pressure on Stanford’s extremely talented linebacking corps, led by its senior anchor on the inside. The Washington offensive line was decimated last year and Stanford took advantage with three sacks and seven tackles for a loss. This unit is much healthier this time around and has been churning out yards on the ground and protecting Keith Price. Skov will literally go head-to-head with Bishop Sankey, who broke a game-changing 61-yard touchdown run last year on the final play of the third quarter, in what could be one of the most physical games of the year.

3. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Stopping a 6-foot-6, 240-pound quarterback is a daunting task — even for a freakish 6-foot-4, 245-pound outside linebacker like Barr. Wilson has been dynamic for Utah, rushing for 251 yards and five touchdowns to go with his 279.5 yards passing per game. Barr has the quickness, power and athletic ability to mirror Wilson everywhere he goes. This could be one of the best individual matchups of the entire weekend.

4. Arizona State’s offensive line
Running back Marion Grice is leading the nation in scoring with 12 touchdowns. Jaelen Strong is developing into one of the nation’s best wideouts. And Taylor Kelly has thrown for at least 300 yards in all four games. Against Notre Dame’s struggling but talented defensive line, the onus of paving the way, protecting and providing time for those ASU stars will be the Sun Devils' offensive line. The Irish have just four sacks in five games and Todd Graham needs that trend to continue this weekend if he wants to make history in Jerry's World.

5. UCLA’s offensive line
The Bruins have been average up front along the offensive line as two young tackles are learning by fire. This team is 62nd nationally in sacks allowed per game (1.67) and 86th in tackles for a loss allowed per game (6.3). Utah has been excellent at disrupting the line of scrimmage, ranking fifth nationally in sacks per game (3.8) and 14th in tackles for a loss (7.8 pg). If the Utes can control the line of scrimmage they will make life miserable for Brett Hundley in a hostile environment.

Pac-12 Week 6 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Washington (+7) at StanfordStanford, 27-20Stanford, 27-17 Stanford, 30-20Stanford, 35-21
Arizona St (-5) at Notre DameAriz. St, 31-24Ariz. St, 28-20 Ariz. St, 31-24Ariz. St, 31-21
UCLA (-4.5) at UtahUCLA, 34-31UCLA, 30-17UCLA, 38-27UCLA, 35-24
Washington St (pk) at CalCal, 38-31Cal, 38-30Wazzu, 34-31Cal, 41-35 
Oregon (-38) at ColoradoOregon, 51-17Oregon, 51-10Oregon, 58-17Oregon, 63-14 
Last Week: 5-05-05-05-0
Year-to-date:40-740-740-738-9

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/8-outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-6
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Week 5 was a huge weekend of action across the nation. Lessons were learned in Athens, Tuscaloosa, Tempe, Columbus and South Bend to name a few. Ole Miss did lose by more than three touchdowns and Zach Mettenberger did out-pass Aaron Murray as I predicted last week. Arkansas topped 200 yards rushing and lost and Brandin Cooks had a monster game for Oregon State. In a week without a marquee showdown and lots of quality conference matchups, Week 6 could be equally as entertaining.

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

Either Texas or UCLA will lose on Thursday
Strange things happen in Ames, Iowa and Salt Lake City, Utah. Especially, in October. Just ask Oklahoma State about traveling to Ames. The Cyclones and Utes will host NCAA blue bloods Texas and UCLA on Thursday evening and one of them will pull an upset. Texas is clearly a questionable team at best despite a win over Kansas State at home two weeks ago. Utah is a far superior opponent than Iowa State with Travis Wilson running Dennis Erickson’s offense to near perfection. After an off weekend, Utah is just a 4.5-point underdog and could easily pull the home upset.

Every SEC favorite will win
Alabama and South Carolina are big favorites over Georgia State and Kentucky but LSU, Florida and Georgia are all picked by Vegas to win by roughly 10 points each over Mississippi State, Arkansas and Tennessee respectively. LSU and Georgia, fresh off an emotional showdown last weekend, have to go on the road. The two real swing games are Ole Miss (-2.5) at Auburn and Missouri at Vanderbilt (-1.5). There won’t be a single upset in the nation’s best conference this weekend. And as a side outrageous prediction, Ole Miss will do something it hasn’t done since 1952 — beat Auburn in two straight seasons.

Wake Forest will finish the week as the only 0-3 BCS team in conference
Heading into Week 6, there are four teams in one of the “BCS” conferences that sit at 0-2. Vanderbilt, Duke, Southern Cal and Wake Forest are the only teams with two conference losses already. Both Duke and USC are off this weekend, and since I’m picking Vanderbilt to win at home over Missouri, that leaves the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest is a 10-point underdog at home against NC State this weekend. With a loss and a Vandy win, Wake would become the nation’s first automatic qualifier to start the year 0-3 in league play. 

The first team to 14 points will win the Stanford-Washington game
Yards, first downs and points will be tough to come by in this key Pac-12 North game in Palo Alto between the Cardinal and Huskies. Washington is leading the league in yards allowed per game (288.8 ypg), yards per play allowed (3.8 ypp), passing defense (156.8 ypg) and, most importantly, scoring defense (10.8 ppg). The Huskies are fourth nationally in points allowed per game and Stanford isn’t too far behind at 19.5 per game (34th nationally). Stanford’s defense is fresh off of a crushing performance against Washington State on the road and appears to have finally settled into form. The first team (if any) to score a second touchdown should win this one.

Baylor and West Virginia won’t score 19 touchdowns
The Bears and Mountaineers combined for 1,237 passing yards, 270 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns in the 70-63 West Virginia win last season in Morgantown. While Art Briles has inserted Bryce Petty at quarterback and not missed a beat at Baylor, Dana Holgorsen has had much less success under center. In fact, his team has fewer passing yards (1,196) in five games this season than the Baylor-WVU game featured last year. (Okay, picking two teams to score less than 19 TDs in a game isn’t that outrageous, after all).

Bonus Prediction: Lache Seatrunk will register his nation's-best eighth straight 100-yard rushing effort.

Arizona State will become the first team to beat USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks
Only 12 times has a team ever played USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks and Arizona State in 2013 is one of them. Of those 12 only three, including the Sun Devils, have won the first leg of the historic double-dip. South Carolina in 1983 and Michigan State in 1987 are the only other teams to win the front end of the two-game stretch over USC before both getting crushed by Notre Dame. ASU demolished USC last weekend and is a 5.5-point favorite over the Irish in Arlington, Texas, this weekend.

Northwestern will beat Ohio State for the second time ever
Ohio State is 28-1 all-time against Northwestern with the only win coming in Evanston in 2004 under the late Randy Walker. This is the most talented Northwestern team ever assembled, Ohio State is coming off of an emotionally draining effort against Wisconsin and College Gameday is going to be in Evanston for the first time since 1995 (just its second such appearance on campus). Venric Mark could return to the field for Pat Fitzgerald, giving him his full complement of weapons for the first time all season. The Cats have been extremely competitive against upper level Big Ten teams of late and now is the time for them to break through on the national stage.

Neither Jameis Winston or C.J. Brown will throw a TD pass
Winston and Brown are nipping at Tajh Boyd’s heels for ACC Player of the Year but both will be slowed this weekend by excellent defenses. Winston has been a star for FSU but is facing a Terps defense that is leading the nation with just one passing TD allowed. Florida State is fourth in the nation in passing defense by allowing a measly 136.0 yards per game. Look for both defenses to shine in this ACC Atlantic showdown. For the record, Maryland has never won in Tallahassee and it likely won’t this weekend either.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers
Path: /college-football/10-stats-you-need-know-about-georgia-vs-lsu-2013
Body:

No. 6 LSU visits No. 9 Georgia on Saturday in what is the biggest game of college football's Week 5 slate. Each team has national championship aspirations, and this is a critical game for both teams moving towards Atlanta. Les Miles and Mark Richt are two of the winningest active SEC coaches, and this weekend their paths will cross in a big way. 

Here are the 10 stats you need to know about the matchup:

2-2: Les Miles and Mark Richt head-to-head record
Miles and Richt have faced each other just four times in their esteemed careers, all four of which coming in the SEC. The two have met twice in the regular season with Richt winning a shootout 52-38 in Baton Rouge in 2008 and LSU returning the favor 20-13 in Athens in '09. The other two meetings took place in Atlanta in the SEC Championship game. Richt and the Dawgs won the 2005 SEC title with ease 34-14 while Miles’ Tigers dominated 42-10 to win the conference title in '11. This is clearly a rubber match of sorts for these two quality coaches.

9-7: Les Miles' record against the SEC East
Miles is 48-17 all-time in SEC play, including the win over Auburn last weekend. Seven of those 17 losses have come against the SEC East. Under Miles, LSU is 4-4 against the Florida Gators, split with Kentucky and Georgia (1-1), beat South Carolina once and is 2-1 against the Tennessee Volunteers. On top of his 9-7 record with the East in the regular season, Miles is 2-1 in SEC Championship Games against the East (2005, '07, '11).

16-12-1: LSU’s all-time series lead over Georgia
LSU leads the all-time series with Georgia, winning 16 times to the Bulldogs 12 with one 13-13 tie in 1950. These two have played just six times in the regular season since the divisional split in 1992 with UGA winning four of those six. Strangely, these two played just twice (1978-79) between 1953 and 1986 — a void that will never happen again between two conference foes.

55th: Highest-rated offense LSU has faced this year
The LSU defense has always been salty under Miles and John Chavis’ leadership. The Tigers are ranked 24th nationally with 310.0 yards allowed per game at a tidy 4.6 yards per play. That said, Auburn’s 55th-ranked offense is the best unit the Bayou Bengals have faced in 2013. UAB currently ranks 69th in total offense, TCU is 94th and Kent State is 120th. It is safe to say that Aaron Murray and Georgia will easily be the toughest offense LSU has faced all season. More on that in a second…

7.8: Offensive yards per play by Georgia
The Dawgs are sixth in the nation — trailing only Texas A&M in the SEC — with 574 yards of offense per game. They rank seventh nationally at 7.8 yards per play this season after leading the nation in yards per play in 2012 (7.1 ypp). Georgia averaged 7.8 yards per play against Clemson (70 plays, 545 yards) and 7.1 yards per play against South Carolina (76 plays, 536 yards). Both of those would have led the nation a year ago.

7.5: Offensive yards per play by LSU
Georgia’s offense is outstanding but LSU’s unit has been nearly as effective through the first month of the season. LSU ranks just 33rd in total offense (480.3 ypg) but is nearly as efficient as the Bulldogs per play, averaging 7.5 yards per snap this fall. That is ninth nationally and well ahead of offensive teams like UCLA, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State.

116.6: Zach Mettenberger's passer rating in conference play in 2012
The biggest turn around for LSU this season will be the development of quarterback Zach Mettenberger. He was 84th nationally among all quarterbacks in conference play with a 116.6 rating last season. He was ahead of only Missouri’s James Franklin in SEC play with a 54.9-percent completion rate, 205.3 yards passing per game and just five touchdowns in eight SEC games. After four games (one SEC) under the tutelage of Cam Cameron, Mettenberger is sixth nationally in passing efficiency (193.6) with a 64.8 completion percentage and 256.5 yards per game. That said, his only interception of the season came last week against Auburn and he posted his lowest yardage total (229) of the year.

197.5: All-purpose yards per game by Odell Beckham Jr.
A big reason why Mettenberger and Cameron have been successful through the air has been the play of LSU’s wide receivers. Odell Beckham Jr., in particular, has been dynamic for the Tigers by leading the SEC in all-purpose yards with nearly 200 yards per game. He has 389 receiving yards, 33 rushing yards, 78 punt return yards and 190 kick return yards with five total touchdowns in four games. Packaged with Jarvis Landry, who has 24 catches for 364 yards and six touchdowns, the Bayou Bengals may boast the best WR tandem in the SEC. No one else on the team has more than three catches.

242.7: Rushing yards per game for Todd Gurley and Jeremy Hill
Todd Gurley ranks first in the SEC and 11th nationally with 125.7 yards rushing per game. Jeremy Hill ranks third in the SEC and 18th nationally with 117.0 yards rushing per game. Even more impressive, Gurley is averaging a healthy 6.0 yards per carry while Hill is posting an astounding 8.4-yard clip. The duo might be the two of the most physically gifted runners in the nation and have combined for 11 total touchdowns in 2013.

39.2%: Georgia’s third-down conversion rate
For all of their offensive prowess and one big play to Justin Scott-Wesley, the Bulldogs have not been very good on third downs this fall. Georgia has converted just 16-of-41 attempts, ranking 76th nationally and 11th in the SEC — the 16 third-down conversions rank 96th nationally. LSU has been much better on the critical down, ranking 10th nationally with a 56.6-percent rate on third downs (26-of-46).

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 08:01
Path: /college-football/7-outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-5
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama.

With a horrid week of action behind us, college football fans can look forward to a Week 5 that features a dozen great matchups. Huge divisional games in the Pac-12 South, Big Ten Leaders, SEC West and ACC Coastal highlight what could be the best weekend of the year. And then there's that exciting (maybe, too exciting) game going down in Athens, Ga. Kick back and enjoy, folks.

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

Ole Miss will lose by more than three touchdowns
The Rebels have beaten Alabama only twice since 1988 and are 16.5-point underdogs to the Crimson Tide. Suggesting that the No. 1 team in the nation will win at home over a team barely ranked in the top 25 isn’t close to outrageous. However, Ole Miss is much improved and appears better suited to battle with Nick Saban than ever before. That said, the Rebels have lost the last four meetings — since Saban won his first BCS title at Bama — by an average of 24 points per game (130-34).

Arkansas will rush for 300 yards and lose
Under Bret Bielema, the Razorbacks have quickly become one of the nation’s best running teams. The Hogs rank third in the SEC and 24th nationally at 246.0 yards per game,and feature the SEC’s No. 2 rusher in freshman Alex Collins. Meanwhile, Texas A&M is dead last in the league in total defense after allowing 475.3 yards per game over the first four contests. Arkansas will run the ball effectively this weekend but it won’t matter because it won’t be able to stop Johnny Manziel. He torched the Hogs defense for 453 yards passing and 104 yards rushing in last year’s 58-10 loss.

Cal and Oregon will run 200 offensive plays
Sonny Dykes’ Golden Bears are No. 2 in the nation in offensive plays per game with 94.6 snaps per game. The Ducks have been in the top 11 nationally in total plays run in each of the last three seasons. In 2013, Oregon has run 72.0 plays per game without being tested in three games. This game features two of the nation's most productive quarterbacks in Jared Goff (428.0 ypg, No. 1) and Marcus Mariota (383.7 ypg, No. 5). Needless to say, both defenses better be in shape.

Zach Mettenberger will be more efficient than Aaron Murray
The former teammates in Athens will face each other for the first time since standing on the same Georgia practice field in 2009. Murray, as expected, has been excellent this season, ranking first in the SEC in passer rating (201.78). But the LSU signal-caller has been a huge surprise as the SEC’s No. 2 (193.61) passer. Mettenberger, who transferred to LSU from UGA by way of junior college, has fewer interceptions and more touchdowns in roughly the same amount of pass attempts (91 to Murray’s 82). And it’s the Bulldogs defense that has some question marks, not LSU’s.

Jameis Winston will not throw an incompletion
Through three career games, Winston has tossed just 14 incompletions and accounted for 10 total touchdowns. On the road against a Boston College defense that made USC's Cody Kessler look like Joe Montana, Winston may not see any of his passes hit the ground. The Seminoles' signal-caller is second nationally in passing efficiency (210.49) while the Eagles sit at 91st in pass efficiency defense.

Washington State will rush for negative yards
If you are a Cougars fan, you have heard those words entirely too much. Sixteen times an FBS team rushed for negative yardage last year and Wazzu was responsible for four of them (and one other game in which it gained one yard). Meanwhile, the two best defensive performances against the run last year came from Stanford — minus-21 yards against Colorado and minus-18 yards against, you guessed it, Washington State. Mike Leach’s team has improved only mildly from last year, ranking 121st nationally in rushing offense thus far in 2013 (63.0 yards per game). Three weeks ago, Washington State rushed for seven yards on 22 carries against USC.

Paul Richardson and Brandin Cooks will catch 30 passes
Four players in the nation are averaging more than 10 receptions per game, and two will be on the same field in Corvallis on Saturday. Oregon State’s Cooks is leading the nation by a wide margin with 43 receptions (10.8/game) while Colorado’s Richardson is No. 2 with 10.5 receptions per game. Only Fresno State’s Devante Adams (10.3) and SMU’s Darius Joseph (10.3) top the double-digit reception mark each game. To top it all off, Richardson and Cooks are No. 1 (208.5 ypg) and No. 2 (159.8 ypg) in receiving yards per game as well. Both quarterbacks should have a field day in this one, so take the over (60.5).

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 08:00

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