Articles By Braden Gall

All taxonomy terms: Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, NFL
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-3
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NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 3 of NFL play: 

24: Total penalties in the Baltimore-New England showdown
On a Sunday with multiple overtime games and crazy endings across the league, the Patriots and Ravens previewed the AFC playoffs in rare fashion. There were 899 combined yards of total offense, 61 combined first downs, six lead changes, a game-winning field goal and one finable illegal contact penalty. The reason Bill Belichick decided to clutch and grab a referee following the loss? An extremely questionable performance by the replacement officials leading to 10 penalties for New England, 14 for Baltimore and a combined 218 yellow flag yards. A great atmosphere between two rivals, a last-second victory and a gut-wrenching, but memorable moment for Torrey Smith should be the reason fans are talking about Sunday night's showdown around the water cooler this week. However, the replacement officials seemed to lack control, waffled on questionable calls and eventually became the top story. Enough is enough, Roger.

332.8: average passing yards from AFC North quarterbacks in Week 3
Who says those North Division are black-and-blue, defensive clouds of dust? Big Ben (384), Joe Flacco (382) and Andy Dalton (328) had the first, second and fifth-best passing days of the week in the NFL through Sunday, while all three teams scored at least 30 points. Brandon Weeden added 237 of his own yards as well to what turned out to be huge day through the air in the AFC North.

4.0: Eagles turnovers per game
This one was a lay-up. Michael Vick was beaten all to hell in the desert on Sunday and his team turned the ball over three more times in the ugly loss to the Cardinals. The Eagles' 12 giveaways leads the NFL by a wide margin and the team is lucky to be 2-1. Meanwhile, Vick is lucky to be walking after Arizona teed-off on him all afternoon, sacking him five times and allowing six total points. This offense has a lot of big-play speed, but will it last the entire 16-game slate? Not if they keep giving the football to the other team four times per game.

43: Ken Whisenhunt career wins as Arizona Cardinals head coach
With the dominant win over the Eagles on Sunday, Whisenhunt became the all-time winningest coach in Cardinals franchise history. Three games into his sixth season with the organization, he has passed the great Don Coryell (42). The Cards are 3-0 for the first time since 1974 and have marquee wins over New England, Philadelphia and Seattle. Currently, Arizona has its second-longest home winning streak in team history with seven straight wins — and is currently in position to claim a bye week and home-field advantage. It's never too early to starting looking ahead because, with that defense, the Cardinals have tremendous staying power. Oh, and Larry Fitzgerald became the youngest player to ever catch 700 passes. Including that dude named Rice.

0: Total combined turnovers and sacks for Christian Ponder
The surprise story of the day has to be the performance of the developing Vikings quarterback against arguably the league's nastiest and toughest defense. Ponder led an incredibly efficient Minnesota squad in the huge upset win over the San Francisco 49ers. Not only did he not turn the ball over or get sacked, but he converted on both redzone attempts, his only fourth down attempt, 7-of-14 third downs and the Vikes had just one team penalty. Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers couldn't beat the Niners, but Ponder did — with a career-high 89.9 QB rating. The loss now puts Atlanta and Arizona one game up in the race for the NFC bye week.

2,092: Total yards of combined offense for Ponder, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker
The other three guys in the 2011 first-round QB class combined for 194 yards of total offense through three weeks of play last fall. All of it was Gabbert's as Locker and Ponder hadn't even taken an NFL snap at this stage of last season. Ponder (251.3 ypg) and Gabbert (163.3 ypg) have yet to throw an interception this year while Locker (282.7 ypg) provided the Titans with 413 yards of total offense in their first win of the year. There have been many doubters of this class of signal callers, some of which has to be tied directly to poor surrounding casts, but these three youngsters are beginning to acquit themselves rather well in relatively short order. Just for reference, their 2,092 yards of total offense is more than Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford combined (2,051).

18: Seconds it took Detroit to score two touchdowns to tie the game
A three-yard touchdown pass from Shaun Hill to Calvin Johnson cut the Tennessee Titans lead from to seven points with 18 seconds remaining. Detroit recovered the onside kick and two plays later connected on a Hill-to-Titus Young Hail Mary from the Titans 46-yard line as time expired. After a Titans field goal in overtime, all the Lions had to do was match with three of their own to keep the game going. But on a bizarre 4th-and-1 QB sneak call on the Tennessee seven-yard line, Hill was stopped well short and the game was over. As a bonus amazing stat, the Titans became the first team in NFL history to score five touchdowns of at least 60 yards or more (AP).

230: Difference in yards rushing from Week 2 to Week 3 for Jamaal Charles
The former Texas Longhorn has played in 52 career NFL games and his three yards rushing last weekend in the loss to Buffalo was his worst career showing as a professional. Charles bounced back in a big way with his second-best rushing day of his career with 233 yards in the road win over New Orleans. His 91-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter not only sparked the victory but turned out to be the longest play in franchise history. Most importantly, Kansas City avoids an 0-3 start while putting the embattled Saints in the nearly impossible position of being winless after three games.

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Amazing Stats From NFL Sunday: Week 3</p>
Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 06:40
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-4-power-rankings
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Big Ten fans have to be ecstatic that conference play is beginning this weekend. This has been a non-conference season from hell that can't end fast enough for most Midwestern college football fans. The league has two non-conference games left — Marshall at Purdue this weekend and Indiana at Navy on Oct. 20 — and its out of conference record includes a season sweep by Notre Dame (0-3), a 1-3 record against the archrival Pac-12 and three bad losses to the MAC. The Big Ten has a total of six wins over fellow AQ leagues, with Cal being the signature victory of a group that includes Temple, Vanderbilt, Boston College and Syracuse twice.

That said, 2012 has the makings of one the most dramatic Big Ten seasons in recent memory. Round robins in both divisions should be extremely competitive and virtually impossible to predict as conference play begins this weekend. 

Post-Week 4 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Stop me when you've heard this before. Ohio State starts slow against inferior competition until the best player on the field takes over the game and leads OSU to victory? He rushed for 64 yards and two more scores to go with 143 yards passing and no turnovers. He has accounted for 14 total touchdowns, thrown only two interceptions and is No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing.

2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - The Big Ten's most efficient passer (180.93 rating, 9 TD, 1 INT) led his team to 73 points this weekend on 9-of-13 passing for 165 yards and two scores. Nebraska boasts the league's No. 1 scoring offense, No. 1 total offense and No. 1 rushing offense.

3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State - The formula seems to be pretty clear. Give the ball to Bell as much as possible and Michigan State wins. He posted a career-high 253 yards on 36 attempts (No. 2 in his career) and his fifth score of the season in the win over Eastern Michigan. 


Post-Week 4 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - He didn't play like an elite talent in the first two games and PSU lost. But he has taken his game to a new level to get the Nittany Lions back to .500. He posted nine solo tackles and a forced fumble in the win over Temple and now is No. 2 in the league in tackles.  

2. Kawann Short, DL, Purdue - By process of elimination, Short is No. 2 without playing a game last weekend. He is still No. 2 in the league in sacks on what has been a solid Boilermakers front line. 

3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame - Yes, Will Compton, D.L. Wilhite, Ryan Shazier, Mike Taylor or Max Bullough could be listed here. But Big Ten fans need to bow to the most influential defensive player in the Big Ten thus far. Te'o posted 30 tackles, two interceptions, a fumble recovery, 2.0 tackles for loss, two passes defended and led his Irish defense to low-scoring wins over Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, in what could be the best three-game stretch of his decorated career.

 

Post-Week 4 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - Meyer has the best resume of the Big Ten unbeatens. He has the best player in the league and a chance to prove it all this weekend.

2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - Can you really blame Coach Fitz for playing at least one cupcake? There is no such thing as a bad 4-0 record in Evanston. Ill.

3. Bo Pelini, Nebraska - Nebraska is leading the league in scoring, rushing and total offense. They are leading the league sacks, tackles for loss and kickoff returns. This might be the best bowl-eligible team in the league.

 

Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (4-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 4 result: Beat UAB 29-15

UAB had more total yards, more first downs, was better on third downs and controlled the time of possession but lost the only stat that matters. Ohio State continues to show its warts, especially in the first quarter, as it took until the 6:31 mark of the second period to put points on the board. And then the story gets awfully familiar. Braxton Miller led Ohio State on a 21-3 scoring run in the second half to pull away and keep their perfect record intact. He has willed his team to victory with clutch throws and tough runs on more than one occasion this fall. But can he do the same thing against much more physical Big Ten defenses?
This week: at Michigan State (3-1)

2. Michigan State (3-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 4 result: Beat Eastern Michigan 23-7
The first weekend of Big Ten play will feature the top two teams in the Athlon Sports' Big Ten power rankings when Ohio State and College Gameday visit East Lansing on Saturday. Like the Bucks, Michigan State has to iron out some kinks. The offense is entirely too one-dimensional as Bell accounted for 253 of the 428 total yards of offense against Eastern Michigan. Quarterback play is still a big question mark, and Andrew Maxwell will be forced to beat the good teams in conference play as defenses stack the box against Bell. Otherwise, Sparty's defense should keep them in every game, as Mark Dantonio's unit leads the league in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense.  
This week: Ohio State (4-0) 

3. Michigan (2-2)
Previous rank: 2
Week 4 result: Lost to Notre Dame 13-6
The Notre Dame defense is as good advertised. Just ask Denard Robinson. The star quarterback turned the ball over five times in what was arguably his worst game as a starting quarterback at Michigan. He couldn't get his team into the end zone and totaled just 228 total yards of offense in the loss. So does the bye week come at exactly the right time or precisely the wrong time? Does Robinson and Michigan need to get back onto the field to remove the horrible memory of this loss, or will the extra time help this team prepare for a grueling Big Ten slate that begins with a road trip to Purdue? Only time will tell.
This week: Open Date

4. Nebraska (3-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 4 result: Beat Idaho State 73-7
Welcome back, Rex Burkhead (119 yards and two TDs). And Bo Pelini too for that matter. Certainly, it was a perfect storm for the poor Bengals of Idaho State and little was learned about the Cornhuskers in the lopsided victory. Taylor Martinez continues to blossom into one of the most efficient and dynamic passers in the country. The running game looks downright nasty with No. 22 atop a depth chart that also includes names like Abdullah, Heard and Cross. And the defense, while allowing yards, is starting to get its mojo back by leading the league in sacks and tackles for loss through four weeks. This team's big picture success has always been tied directly to Martinez' ability to play consistent football through the air. If he finishes the year as the Big Ten's top passer, odds are Nebraska is playing in Indianapolis.
This week: Wisconsin (3-1)

5. Northwestern (4-0)
Previous rank: 5
Week 4 result: Beat South Dakota 38-7 
Much like Nebraska, not much was learned about Northwestern in its win this weekend. The Wildcats breezed to an easy victory without turning the ball over, holding South Dakota to 240 total yards and putting the game out of question early on (28-0 at halftime). Perhaps the most important lesson to be gleaned from the one-sided win is the emergence of tailback Venric Mark. He scored his three touchdowns and 97 of 117 yards came in first half, giving Pat Fitzgerald what could be his first traditional running threat since Tyrell Sutton. A 5-0 start is likely for the purple Cats of Chicago.
This week: Indiana (2-1)

6. Purdue (2-1)
Previous rank: 6
Week 4 result: Off
After a bye in Week 4, the Boilers will play one of two remaining Big Ten non-conference games against Marshall this weekend. Additionally, for what it is worth, Purdue played Notre Dame the toughest of the three Big Ten teams. 
This week: Marshall (2-2)

7. Wisconsin (3-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 4 result: Beat UTEP 37-26
The Badgers offense looked much different this week, as it welcomed new starting quarterback Joel Stave and star wide receiver Jared Abbrederis to the starting lineup. Abbrederis was out last week, while Stave was making his first career start as a redshirt freshman former walk-on. And did it make a difference. After 207 total yards in the loss to Oregon State and 234 in the nail-bitter over Utah State, Wisconsin posted a season-high 423 yards of offense and a season-high 213 yards rushing. Most of which came without star tailback Montee Ball. While Stave played consistent football and Abbrederis immediately stretched the field, Ball was lost near the end of the second quarter with a head injury. Melvin Gordon and James White, however, filled in admirably by carrying 23 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns. This team is a far cry from last year's championship squad, but if the offense stabilizes, UW will push for a division crown, albeit by default.
This week: at Nebraska (3-1)

8. Minnesota (4-0)
Previous rank: 11
Week 4 result: Beat Syracuse 17-10
Fans of Minnesota who are clamoring for respect are getting closer and closer to getting it. A great defensive effort and newly discovered running game helped the Golden Gophers defeat what is clearly their toughest opponent to date. D.L. Wilhite and Ra'Shede Hageman applied pressure all night long to an offense that had been scoring over 32 points per game with the nation's No. 3-rated passing offense. On offense, Max Shortell was adequate in place of the injured MarQueis Gray, but Donnell Kirkwood was the workhorse, carrying 28 times for 99 yards and accounting for both Minnesota touchdowns. This was the first real test for Minnesota and it looks as though it will be nearly impossible to keep Goldy out of the postseason.
This week: at Iowa (2-2)

9. Illinois (2-2)
Previous rank: 8
Week 4 result: Lost to Louisiana Tech 52-24
This wasn't how Illinois wanted to welcome quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase back to the starting lineup. In fact, this loss not only epitomizes the Big Ten's poor showing out of conference this fall, but encapsulates Scheelhaase's career as well. He got his team out to a 7-0 lead with a scoring strike. But then the offense stalled, due in part to turnovers from Scheelhaase, and he left the game for good. The Bulldogs then went on to score three first quarter touchdowns and finished the game on a 52-17 run. The Illini turned the ball over six times and now lead the Big Ten in that category with 11 turnovers lost. A loss to a defending conference champion who averages 56 points per game wouldn't have been the end of the world. But getting destroyed at home in this fashion is completely unacceptable.

This week: Penn State (2-2)

10. Penn State (2-2)
Previous rank: 10
Week 4 result: Beat Temple 24-13
The Nittany Lions began the year with two brutal, heart-breaking losses to Ohio and Virginia. But this team, and quarterback Matt McGloin in particular, have shown obvious improvement under the leadership of Bill O'Brien. The junior under center has looked like an actual college quarterback, throwing for a career high 318 yards and accounting for all three PSU touchdowns in one of the league's five wins over an AQ school. This offense lacks playmakers but if the signal caller can rally the troops, this defense should be good enough to keep the Lions in most games. Don't sleep on Penn State University.

This week: at Illinois (2-2)

11. Iowa (2-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 4 result: Lost to Central Michigan 32-31
James Vandenberg connected with Kevonte Martin-Manley just 2:28 seconds into the game for the Hawkeyes first touchdown pass of 2012. For the next 57 minutes, however, Kinnick Stadium sat and watched its team choke away another win. Onside kicks, personal foul penalties, failed third downs and the play of Central Michigan gave the Big Ten one of its worst losses of the year. The crazy ending — nine CMU points in the final 45 seconds — overshadowed what should be one of the better stories in the league this year: walk-on Mark Weisman's 217 yards and fourth, fifth and sixth rushing touchdowns in two weeks. Kirk Ferentz needs to start winning games immediately.
This week: Minnesota (4-0)

12. Indiana (2-1)
Previous rank: 12
Week 4 result: Off
One has to wonder if two weeks to think about that loss to Ball State is good or bad for Kevin Wilson's bunch. 
This week: at Northwestern (4-0)


by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 4 Recap

ACC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Post-Week 4 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-4-power-rankings
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Oregon and USC used stellar defensive performances to get key home conference wins. Oregon State and Mike Riley shocked the country once again with an upset win over a ranked opponent — this time on the road — as the Beavers have added their name to the crowded North Division race. The Colorado Buffaloes got what could be its first and only win of the 2012 season in stunning fashion. But the most startling performance of the weekend has to go to Todd Graham and the Arizona State Sun Devils. The one-sided win over Utah was the most impressive showing by any one team this weekend, as the South Division race continues to get more interesting by the day.

Post-Week 4 Offensive Player of the Year Standings


1. De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon - Thomas got a career-high 12 rushing attempts in the big win over Arizona, but it was a 38-yard punt return that kickstarted the Ducks offense in a then-close contest. He is first in the league in scoring, second in punt returns and seventh in rushing...for the best team in the league.

2. Marqise Lee, WR, USC - There are too many options in this league (and on this team) to list just three, but Lee is leading the league in all-purpose yards (197.0 ypg), receiving yards (391) and receptions (9.7 rec./game). He caught 11 passes for 94 yards and two more touchdowns in the win over Cal. 

3. Brett Hundley, UCLA - Taylor Kelly, Marcus Mariota, Stepfan Taylor, Matt Barkley and Sean Mannion could all be listed here. But Hundley gets the nod after starting his career with three 300-yard efforts in his first four games. He is six passing yards behind Matt Scott for the league lead and has accounted for 11 total touchdowns. He is the reason UCLA has quickly returned to relevance.
 

Post-Week 4 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Michael Clay, LB, Oregon - There were a lot of deserving performances this weekend, but the heart and soul leader of the Ducks unit was the best. He posted 13 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble, as Oregon pitched a shutout against a team averaging 46 points per game.

2. Morgan Breslin, DL, USC - The Trojans got back on the winning track due in large part to a fantastic effort from the junior lineman. Breslin totaled six tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks as USC completely manhandled the Cal offense. Breslin is No. 2 in the Pac-12 with 5.0 sacks.

3. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - The most-improved unit in the league might be the Oregon State defense. Against the league's No. 1 offense and the nation's leading rusher, the sophomore defensive lineman was the star. He had six tackles, 3.0 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks in the road win over UCLA.


Post-Week 4 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks' defense decided it wanted in on the scoring fest that has been Oregon's 2012 season. A 49-0 whitewashing of Arizona is as impressive as any other win in the league this season. Yes, even Stanford's over USC.

2. David Shaw, Stanford - No one has ever lost to "BYE WEEK," so Shaw is still very much the top contender to Kelly for COY. His team will face another tough primetime test this weekend against Washington on the road on Thursday night.

3. Mike Riley, Oregon State - Jim Mora and Rich Rodriguez both experienced hard first losses of the season, with UCLA's coming at the hands of Coach Riley. The Oregon State coach won his school record-tying 74th game has two wins over ranked opponents thus far in two games.


Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (4-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 4 result: Beat Arizona 49-0 
On a team known for its big-play, quick-strike offense, it was the underrated Ducks' defense that did the job in Eugene. Well, until the offense finally got rolling. Nick Aliotti's 3-4 scheme pitched Oregon's first conference shutout since 2003, as the Ducks won a key Pac-12 opener. They forced five turnovers, scoring two of their own touchdowns on interception returns in the fourth quarter. They continually stopped the vaunted Wildcats no-huddle attack in the redzone, holding Arizona's offense to nearly 300 yards fewer than its average. Marcus Mariota was solid under center, while tight end Colt Lyerla added a new power element to the ground game (7 att., 63 yards, TD). Alabama is the only team that has looked better through four weeks of action.
This week: at Washington State (2-2)

2. Stanford (3-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 4 result: Bye Week
The Cardinal didn't play this week and will face a Washington team in primetime on Thursday night. Both teams should be well rested and well prepared for the short week.
This week: at Washington (2-1)

3. USC (3-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 4 result: Beat Cal 27-9
It wasn't a vintage Matt Barkley performance (192 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT), but the Trojans got back on track in impressive fashion this week against Cal. USC ran the ball 40 times for 296 yards and the game's first touchdown as all-everything center Khaled Holmes returned to the lineup. Both Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd topped the century mark, and the defense did the rest, holding Cal to just 77 yards rushing on 36 attempts and just three field goals. The Trojans registered seven sacks, two interceptions and just 250 total yards of offense allowed. It was an all-around effort from the Men of Troy and it got Lane Kiffin's squad back on the Pac-12 championship tracks. Even it Barkley had his second-straight multi-interception performance.
This week: Open Date

4. Oregon State (2-0)
Previous rank: 8
Week 4 result: Beat UCLA 27-20
Mike Riley has opened the season with arguably the best tandem of wins in the nation, a home victory over ranked Wisconsin and a road upset over ranked UCLA. Sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion threw two long touchdowns and finished with 379 yards, while the Beavers defense was once again the story. The much-improved unit held the powerful Bruins' rushing attack to 72 yards on 28 attempts, limiting the nation's leading rusher - Johnathan Franklin - to 45 yards on 12 carries. Unblemished Oregon State and its suddenly stingy defense has another tough road test this weekend against Rich Rodriguez.
This week: at Arizona (3-1)

5. UCLA (3-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 4 result: Lost Oregon State 27-20
Brett Hundley threw for a career-high 372 yards and rallied the Bruins to within one score of Oregon State, but the lack of a consistent running game cost UCLA its perfect record. Johnathan Franklin had been averaging 180.3 yards per game through three weeks but was completely shutdown by the revamped OSU defense. Hundley, who could be the best UCLA quarterback in over a decade, now has three straight 300-yard efforts in four career games, but will have to get his ground support back if Jim Mora expects to compete in the South. The same goes for a defense that entered the weekend as the Pac-12's No. 2 pass efficiency defense. It allowed the Beavers' Sean Mannion to throw for a career-high in yards to go with an 172.7 passer rating. UCLA isn't all the way back just yet.
This week: at Colorado (1-3) 

6. Arizona (3-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 4 result: Lost to Oregon 49-0
Yes, the score was 13-0 Oregon with seven minutes to go in the third quarter. Yes, the Wildcat defense played solid against one of the nation's top offenses. But at the end of the day, a 49-0 loss is as demoralizing as it gets. Not many expected this type of blowout but if Arizona wants to be taken seriously nationally, it will have to do a better job in the redzone. Six times Matt Scott led his team into the scoring zone and each time his team came away without any points. Four turnovers, a blocked field goal and a turnover on downs sealed the Cats fate in Eugene. Much like UCLA, this team is vastly improved under the new coach. and much like the Bruins, it still has a long way to go.
This week: Oregon State (2-0)


7. Washington (2-1)
Previous rank: 6
Week 4 result:
Bye Week

See Stanford above.
This week: Stanford (3-0)

8. Arizona State (3-1)
Previous rank: 10
Week 4 result: Beat Utah 37-7
Taylor Kelly had a career day throwing for a personal best 326 yards and three touchdowns to go with no turnovers, as Arizona State made the biggest statement of the weekend out West. Kelly and his versatile backfield jumped to a 21-0 first quarter lead and led 31-7 before the defense shutdown the Utes in the second half. While Kelly's efficiency and a stout defense won the game, Todd Graham's ability to get the football into many different hands is worth noting. Cameron Marshall touched the ball 10 times and scored twice. Both quarterbacks ran the ball seven times each. Speedster dynamo DJ Foster led the team with 70 rushing yards. Marion Grice caught a touchdown pass. And even returner/receiver Jamal Miles was given a handful of carries. The depth and versatility of Graham's running game is what could be the difference between a bowl game and conference contention.
This week: at Cal (1-3)

9. California (1-3)
Previous rank: 9
Week 4 result: Lost USC 27-9
Quarterback Zach Maynard was running for his life all day long and Cal failed to reach the endzone because of it. The Golden Bears surrendered seven sacks, turned the ball over twice, converted only 3-of-14 third downs and totaled 250 yards of offense. The Bears also couldn't get stops on defense, allowing USC to use its power rushing attack to wear down the Cal front seven. Cal is now 87th nationally in total defense at 430.3 yards allowed per game. With the surging Sun Devils and UCLA next on the schedule, a 1-5 start for Jeff Tedford is very much a possibility. 
This week: Arizona State (3-1)

10. Utah (2-2)
Previous rank: 7
Week 4 result: Beat Lost to Arizona State 37-7
In a week with plenty of disappointing performances — Arizona's offense, UCLA's rushing attack, Washington State at home — the Utes' lackluster butt-kicking suffered at the hands of Arizona State has to be the most discouraging. A defense that was lights out against BYU watched Sun Devils' quarterback Taylor Kelly torch its secondary, while the offense was downright pathetic. Jon Hays threw for 117 yards while John White rushed 14 times for 18 yards. Utah's offense finished with only 10 first downs, went 4-of-14 on third downs and finished with a paltry 209 yards of total offense (117 passing, 92 rushing). This team was one win against Colorado away from playing for the Pac-12 title last year. Now, it appears destined for fifth in the South Division. The off week couldn't come at a better time.
This week: Open Date

11. Colorado (1-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 4 result: Beat Washington State 35-34
Colorado won't finish the year winless after an improbable fourth quarter road rally in Pullman. The fans at Martin Stadium watched Jordan Webb lead the Buffaloes offense to three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of play to cap-off the unlikely victory for Jon Embree. Webb was the star of the day, completing 29-of-42 passes for 345 yards and four total touchdowns — the last of which was a game-winning four-yard dash into the endzone with nine seconds remaining on the clock. For a team that is 0-2 against the Mountain West and has lost to an FCS program, a road Pac-12 win cannot be overstated.
This week: at UCLA (3-1)

12. Washington State (2-2)
Previous rank: 11
Week 4 result: Lost to Colorado 35-34
There really is no excuse for the fourth-quarter performance Mike Leach's team put together this weekend. Connor Halliday threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns but that didn't mean anything when the game was on the line on Saturday. The Cougars defense couldn't get any stops late in the game and it led to one of the worst collapses of the year. Despite the success in the passing game and the 28-14 lead entering the final frame, Wazzu watched Jordan Webb and the Buffs go up and down the field to stun the crowd at Martin Stadium. Leach's team was outgained on the ground 186 to 50 and the lack of a consistent rushing attack will be a major issue for Washington State all season long.
This week: Oregon  (4-0)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 4 Recap

ACC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 4 Power
Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-betting-against-spread-week-4
Body:

Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.

2012 Record Against The Spread: 15-10
Last Week: 5-3

I bounced back last week, despite possibly the worst pick of the season (thank you, Virginia Tech). We are going to try to keep the positive momentum rolling by adding a year Against The Spread rankings below my picks. Do with them what you may. Now, on to Week 4...

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Baylor (-7.5) at UL Monroe
The glass slipper won’t fit anymore. After using every ounce of fight to defeat Arkansas and nearly upset Auburn, Baylor catches ULM at the right time on a short week. The Bears have scored 107 points in two games and haven’t missed much of a beat since Robert Griffin III departed. Art Briles and Nick Florence have this offense rolling, so the clock should strike midnight on this mid-major Cinderella. Prediction: Baylor (-7.5)

Missouri (+10) at South Carolina
Three straight tough tests for Mizzou will prove to be too much for a team in transition. James Franklin will play but isn’t 100 percent and the same could be said for Connor Show. However, on the road in a physical contest against a massive SEC front seven? This seems like a tall order for Gary Pinkel’s bunch. Georgia’s offensive and defensive lines wore down the Tigers and eventually made the game a three-touchdown difference. Much of the same should be expected in this one. Prediction: South Carolina (-10)

Louisville (-13.5) at FIU
Where is T.Y. Hilton when you need him? Duke and UCF both defeated FIU with relative ease and the Panthers' only win thus far is a home overtime win over lowly Akron. Louisville, meanwhile is staring an unblemished 2012 record right in the face — with the added and all-important “revenge factor” after losing to FIU at home last season. Look for Teddy Bridgewater to continue his efficient play and for Charlie Strong to leave little doubt. Prediction: Louisville (-13.5)

LSU (-20.5) at Auburn
The road team in this series is normally not the pick. And Auburn has been strong at home in SEC games as the underdog (8-3 in last 11). So taking that all into consideration, there is no logical reason to pick Auburn here. The Yellowhammer Tigers are 0-3 against the spread this fall and haven't scored an offensive touchdown in SEC play in 171 minutes of action. LSU is way too strong and has a huge talent advantage at every position on the field. The embattled Auburn coaching staff will need to coach the best game of their lives to keep this one close. Auburn won’t be able to run and won’t be able to stop the run. This one will get ugly quick. Prediction: LSU (-20.5)

Miami (+14) at Georgia Tech
Tech is 3-0 against the spread this season and should stay unbeaten this weekend. Miami has been terrible on defense against FBS programs (32 points to Boston College, 52 points to Kansas State) and there is no reason to think it will slow down Tech. The Canes won a shocker last season and Paul Johnson hasn’t forgotten. He will lay the triple-option lumber on the young Miami team. Prediction: Georgia Tech (-14)

Army (+6.5) at Wake Forest
This one feels like classic market over-correction. Army was destroyed in Week 1 by San Diego State 42-7 and lost to Northern Illinois last weekend. Wake Forest was also destroyed, but by a motivated, angry, out-for-revenge Florida State team that could be in the BCS Championship game come January. The Demon Deacons have played two of the better teams in the ACC already and Jim Grobe should have his team ready to play its best game of the year thus far. Prediction: Wake Forest (-6.5)

BONUS ROUND: Road dogs I like…

Clemson (+14.5) at Florida State
The Noles are awesome on defense but the Tigers offense is first real test.

Utah (+7.5) at Arizona State
Defense is salty and Jon Hays might surprise some people with win outright.

Michigan (+5) at Notre Dame
Denard Robinson has never lost to the Irish and this game is always tight.

3-0 Against the Spread in 2012 0-3 Against The Spread in 2012
Ball State Arkansas
Fresno State Auburn
Georgia Tech Colorado
Northwestern Eastern Michigan
Purdue Houston
San Jose State Iowa
Texas Tech Miami, Ohio
Toledo Oregon
UCLA Virginia Tech
Utah State Washington St
Western Kentucky Wisconsin

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 4</p>
Post date: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 06:20
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-4-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Iowa and Penn State all bounced back in Week 3 with wins. The problem, however, is that Utah State was the best win of the bunch and it took a missed field goal as time expired for the Badgers to hold on to the win. 

Otherwise, the tragic story continues for the Big Ten as Michigan State got man-handled against Notre Dame in the marquee showdown of the weekend. It wasn't pretty and to top it all off, Ball State defeated Indiana to wrap up the week of action. 

This weekend does not offer a large slate of compelling games either as all but one team is at home and all but one is favored to win over middling competition. That one road team, however, is in for a nationally televised battle in the final noteworthy non-conference game of the year for the Big Ten.

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 4:

1. Denard Robinson vs. Notre Dame's front seven
Brian Kelly has clearly reinvented the Irish defense. Notre Dame enters the game ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense at 10.0 points per game allowed and has already held three solid opponents to less than 300 yards of offense per game (288.7 ypg, 18th nationally). Meanwhile, Robinson has bounced back from the loss to Alabama in fine fashion with 324 yards rushing and eight total touchdowns in two wins. Shoelace is 3-0 against ND (2-0 as a starter) and should be the best player on the field Saturday night. But staying on the field against that big, physical, nasty Irish front seven might be easier said than done. This is where the game figures to be won or lost.

2. Enjoy this great rivalry while you can
We all remember the way the this game finished last season. Robinson capped a miraculous final quarter with an improbable game-winning touchdown heave that made the 2011 edition of Michigan-Notre Dame one of the greats in the series' illustrious history. But for how much longer will these two Midwest rivals square off? The Irish recently joined the ACC in all of its other sports and could be playing its five-team ACC football schedule as soon as 2014. This could mean the end of Big Ten-ND play. This series is set to play until 2017 before a break — which could become a permanent one — to one of the great rivalries in college football. So enjoy it while you can.

3. Rex Burkhead returns to the field
Nebraska fans could not be more excited to welcome back starting tailback Rex Burkhead. He was back at practice on Monday and should get some snaps this weekend against lowly Idaho State. But don't expect a heavy workload as Bo Pelini, who also returns to the sidelines this weekend, will likely ease his running back into action. Get him some contact, maybe get him into the endzone, and then turn it over to the capable hands of Ameer Abdullah and Braylon Heard.

4. Who will start at quarterback?
Pick a Big Ten town, any Big Ten town. Wisconsin watched Danny O'Brien un-inspire his way to the bench and Joel Stave has taken the majority of first-team reps this week. Neither was good last week, but Stave has more upside and could kick-start the lethargic Badgers offense. Down in Chicago, Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter are having the opposite time under center than up in Madison. Both Northwestern signal callers have been productive and both are still battling for time. An MRI on Minnesota's MarQueis Gray's left leg revealed no damage to the knee but a high ankle sprain could press Max Shortell into action this week. He actually ignited the offense last week and should be able to find space in the Orange secondary. Finally, down at Illinois...

5. Nathan Scheelhaase expects to play 
If it were up to him, he would be the starting quarterback against "as good a team as we've seen." The quarterback hasn't played since Week 1 and is giving Louisiana Tech a healthy amount of respect. As he should with a team that has scored 112 points in two games. Head coach Tim Beckman hasn't announced who will start as of Thursday morning but he has admitted that his starting QB is "close to 100%." This is a tricky game for Illinois' defense and the Fighting Illini need No. 2 under center if they wish to emerge victorious against the defending WAC champs.

6. What is wrong with the Wisconsin offense?
Certainly, quarterback play has been less than adequate. Matt Canada's switch to Stave hopefully will help. But the offensive line has been as big, if not a bigger, issue for this unit. Bret Bielema made a switch after two games, firing Mike Markuson and elevating 27-year old Bart Miller to the position. The line was slightly better against Utah State than it was against Oregon State — but not by much. Four times this team failed to convert on third-and-2 or less and had four penalties (three holding, one false start). This defense has been solid, but dead last in the Big Ten in scoring (113th nationally) and total offense (276.0 ypg) is completely unacceptable in Madtown.

6. Big Ten tries to improve BCS record
The league's record against AQ teams and Notre Dame hasn't been pretty. Against BCS conference teams and the Irish, the Big Ten is a well-documented 4-8. And while Week 4 isn't a huge weekend in the Big Ten, there are some key match-ups that Big Ten faithful need to help them sleep. Illinois will be pushed to the limit by La. Tech, Penn State can't lose to Temple for the first time since 1941 and Minnesota will have its toughest test with Syracuse coming to town. And by the way, Michigan heads to South Bend. A 4-0 mark in those games would stabilize a league teetering on the brink of obscurity this fall.

7. Lots of work for Ohio State in final tune-up
The Bucks open up Big Ten play in Week 5 with a road trip to East Lansing before welcoming Nebraska to the Horseshoe the following week. This means that Urban Meyer needs to iron out several kinks this weekend against UAB. Jordan Hall and the running game has to get more consistent. The pass rush and secondary needs to build on its six-sack performance last weekend. And the defense has to tackle better. All of these issues will come to light in conference play, so this Saturday is the final chance to correct these problems. One thing Meyer doesn't have to fix? His quarterback. Braxton Miller refuses to allow the Buckeyes to lose.

8. Weisman for Heisman!
How can you resist not screaming that at the top of your lungs if you are in the stands at Kinnick Stadium this weekend? He pushed Iowa to victory last week by scoring three touchdowns — two more than any other Hawkeye this season... combined. The passing game is completely inept with no touchdown tosses in three games, and so the offense will likely lean once again on the ground game this weekend. The big fullback had two career rushing attempts before carrying the load 23 times for 113 yards in the win over Northern Iowa and should once again get plenty of touches even with Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon set to return from injury. Heck, three more touchdowns this week and this rhyme may not be that far-fetched.

Week 4 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 4 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
UTEP (+17.5) at Wisconsin Wisconsin, 30-20 Wisconsin, 24-10 Wisconsin, 38-13 Wisconsin, 21-10
C. Michigan (+16) at Iowa Iowa, 28-10 Iowa, 38-10 Iowa, 34-10 Iowa, 24-9
UAB (+37) at Ohio St Ohio St, 45-10 Ohio St, 44-3 Ohio St, 45-7 Ohio St, 42-14
S. Dakota at Northwestern N'Western, 45-10 N'Western, 41-13 N'Western, 41-7 N'Western, 35-10
Temple (+9) at Penn St Penn St, 21-14 Penn St, 24-13 Penn St, 24-20 Penn St, 28-17
Idaho St at Nebraska Nebraska, 41-7 Nebraska, 51-3 Nebraska, 51-7 Nebraska, 38-7
E. Michigan (+33) at Michigan St Mich. St, 41-10 Mich. St, 30-10 Mich. St, 45-13 Mich. St, 28-10
Michigan (+5.5) at Notre Dame Michigan, 28-27 Notre Dame, 24-21 Notre Dame, 27-24 Notre Dame, 35-28
Syracuse (+2) at Minnesota Syracuse, 34-28 Syracuse, 41-39 Syracuse, 31-27 Syracuse, 31-17
Louisiana Tech (off) at Illinois Illinois, 27-21 La. Tech, 31-23 Illinois, 27-24 La. Tech, 35-27
Last Week: 10-2 9-3 11-1 10-2
Yearly Totals: 40-8 37-11 42-6 39-9

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Week 4 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-4-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The Pac-12 is a really good football league. And while Arizona State and Cal barely missed huge upset wins on the road in the SEC and Big Ten respectively, the league is still nipping at the heels of the SEC for national supremacy.

But things are about to get real out West. Conference play is only one game old and it was an instant classic (unless you live in L.A.) and the rest of the Pac-12 opens up conference play across the board this weekend. It is a small slate of action as two teams are off this week (Washington, Stanford), but teams like Oregon State, Utah and Arizona will be thrown into the league fire this weekend.

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 4:

1. Is Arizona ready for big time college football?
The Wildcats are 3-0 and have been humming on offense under the leadership of Matt Scott and Rich Rodriguez. Even the defense has played improved football the last two weeks, slowing Oklahoma State enough to win and shutting out an FCS opponent last week. But this trip to Eugene is a totally different monster. Arizona hasn't come close to proving that it belongs with the league's elite, despite two quality wins over Toledo and the Pokes, and this weekend is a great chance to do that, even if it's simply a moral victory. It's difficult to see a scenario where Arizona walks in Autzen Stadium and hands the Ducks only their second home conference loss since 2007. 

2. Utah's quarterback play will be the difference this weekend
The Utes will face their third straight tough game and they better get used to it as the schedule doesn't appear to get any easier. Arizona State is markedly improved under Todd Graham, but home wins over Illinois and Northern Arizona leave much to be desired. Utah played extremely well last weekend against BYU and will have to get another huge performance from Star Lotulelei if it expects to stop the deep and versatile ASU backfield. That said, a key road win in the Pac-12 South race will likely fall to the Utah quarterback. Travis Wilson should get some reps under center as a change of pace, but Jon Hays played efficient against the Cougars and it led to an upset win. He tossed two scores and no interceptions and will have to continue his quality play to beat the Sun Devils. Of course, a better performance on the ground would help to — Utah rushed for 49 yards on 35 carries against BYU.

3. Beavers weird schedule heads to SoCal
Oregon State got its first game suspended in Week 1. Then the Beavers defeated No. 12 Wisconsin at home in what many believe to be the biggest non-conference home-win in program history (well, as long as UW doesn't implode). And then Mike Riley's squad road the pine again during a bye week last Saturday. So while UCLA will be playing its fourth game this weekend, the Beavers will only be playing their second game. Will the lack of field time negatively impact Riley's chances of going into Los Angeles and pulling off the upset? Only time will tell. This OSU defense could be the best UCLA has faced all season — it held Wisconsin to 207 total yards — and Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley has to have a rough game at some point. The bottom line in this game? If Oregon State can control the nation's leading rusher Johnathan Franklin like it did to Montee Ball, and force Hundley to beat them (and star covercorner Jordan Poyer), then this game will be much closer than Vegas believes. If not, it could be a long night for the Beavs.

4. Former Fresno State quarterbacks battle in The Coliseum
Cal is a tough-luck 1-2, but a losing record is a losing record — especially, for a embattled coach. USC is coming off the biggest loss of the year nationally through three weeks of play. Thus, the stakes could not be higher for either team or coach — two guys who both played quarterback at Fresno State. Jeff Tedford was under center for the Bulldogs from 1981-1982 and eventually took his first coaching job in 1992 at Fresno. Lane Kiffin was a quarterback at FSU from 1994-1996 and took his first job at his alma mater immediately following graduation. The Bears have expended a lot of energy in the first three weeks of the year and one can bet USC will be out for blood. 

5. How do you handicap the Offensive Player of the Year race?
De'Anthony Thomas, Stepfan Taylor or Johnathan Franklin? How about Brett Hundley, Marcus Mariota, Matt Scott or Matt Barkley? Robert Woods, Keenan Allen, Marquess Wilson or Marqise Lee? Oh, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be the best tight end in the nation. It is virtually impossible to peg who will be the top finalists for the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year by the end of the season. It's a testament to the level of athlete out west and indicator of the depth of the league this fall. Kick back and enjoy the show folks.

6. What would a 3-1 start mean for Washington State?
Mike Leach's team looked horrible on opening night against BYU, but has bounced back with two "solid" wins. But after starting 3-1 a year ago only to finish 1-7, a home game against the worst AQ team in the country is a must-win. This program hasn't had a winning program since 2003, hasn't even been .500 since 2006 and won a total five games in previous regime's first three seasons. The schedule gets much tougher, but if this team can win against Colorado and pull a couple of upsets along the way (Cal, UCLA, Washington at home, let's say), a five-win season is within reach. Leach is the reason fans in Pullman are excited about football again, and rightly so, he will win games. But if it to be a quick turn around, there is no space for error this weekend.

7. Eugene's race to 100
This week's highest total is Arizona-Oregon at 77.5 — give or take a half of a point. These are the top two scoring offenses in the Pac-12 and sit at No. 5 (Oregon) and No. 12 (Arizona) nationally. Through three games, they have combined to score 301 points — or more than 100 points per game (100.3 ppg). Temple-Penn State, in stark contrast, is the week's lowest total at 43. This should be quite an explosive way to wrap-up the fourth Saturday of the season.

Week 4 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 4 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Oregon St (+9.5) at UCLA UCLA, 27-20 UCLA, 34-21 UCLA, 38-23 UCLA, 28-21
Colorado (+19) at Washington St Wazzu, 34-14 Wazzu, 41-10 Wazzu, 55-20 Wazzu, 35-10
Cal (+15.5) at USC USC, 31-17 USC, 30-20 USC, 38-20 USC, 38-14
Utah (+7) at Arizona St Utah, 24-21 Arizona St, 24-17 Arizona St, 31-24 Arizona St, 31-21
Arizona (+23.5) at Oregon Oregon, 49-31 Oregon, 48-23 Oregon, 56-30 Oregon, 56-38
Last Week: 9-1 8-2 8-2 8-2
Yearly Totals: 26-8 25-9 25-9 23-11

Bye: Stanford, Washington

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 4 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-3
Body:

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A nine-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports voted this week for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point.

USC's Matt Barkley has fallen off of the top slot. After no touchdowns for the first time since 2010 and a loss to Stanford, the Trojans signal caller is no longer the front runner. Barkley was left off of only one ballot this week — direct your complaints/praise to @AthlonSnowman — but stayed safely in the top five. Only three players appeared on all nine ballots and 22 different players received votes.

I have been voting Geno Smith No. 1 each week, and now, the rest of the Athlon staff has seen the light. The West Virginia quarterback is now the top vote-getter for the stiff-armed trophy with seven of nine first-place votes.

Meanwhile, the rest of the nation has closed the gap across the board. There are dynamic quarterbacks like Braxton Miller, explosive running backs like De'Anthony Thomas and a few defenders like Jarvis Jones getting plenty of attention now that the race is wide open. Having said that, the blond-headed gunslinger from Southern California will still have plenty to say in the race to New York. 

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (seven first-place votes)
Season Stats: 
66-75, 734 yards, 9 TD, 0 INT, 10 att., 83 yards, TD
West Virginia still hasn't been tested by any quality competition, but its hard to do what Smith has done against air in practice. He is leading the nation in total offense at 422.7 yards per game and is No. 2 in passing efficiency at 209.81 (Casey Pachall, 242.37). The numbers are downright insane — he has as many touchdown passes as he does incompletions — and the level of competition will only continue to get better. West Virginia will play 10 BCS AQ teams the rest of the way. Next game: Maryland

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Geno Smith QB W. Virgina 87/90 7 1 1 - - 9/9
2. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 69/90 1 2 2 2 1 9/9
3. Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 65/90 - 2 3 1 2 9/9
4. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 59/60 1 2 1 2 1 8/9
5. Matt Barkley QB USC 40/90 - 1 1 1 1 8/9
6. Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford 26/90 - - - - 2 8/9
7. Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 25/90 - - - 1 - 5/9
8. Collin Klein QB Kansas St 19/90 - - - - 1 4/9
9. AJ McCarron QB Alabama 18/90 - 1 - - - 5/9
10. Marcus Lattimore RB S. Carolina 13/90 - - - 1 - 4/9
11. Le'Veon Bell RB Mich. St 11/90 - - - - - 3/9
12. Kolton Browning QB UL Monroe 10/90 - - - 1 - 2/9
13. Barrett Jones OL Alabama 9/90 - - - - 1 2/9
14. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 9/90 - - - - - 2/9
15. Aaron Murray QB Georgia 8/90 - - 1 - - 1/9

Also receiving votes: 16. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame, 17. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville, 18. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson, 19. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska, 20. Marqise Lee, WR, USC, 21. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona, 22. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

2. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 
13 att., 228 yards, 4 TD, 11 rec., 154 yards, 3 TD, 93 PR yards
Another six offensive touches and another 12 points on the scoreboard. He finished with 135 yards from scrimmage and 87 yards on four punt returns against Tennessee Tech. Through three games, Thomas has scored seven touchdowns on 24 total offensive touches. And while the level of competition has been fairly weak, Thomas has done all of his damage in the first half as Oregon's starters have been on the bench for the second half. Imagine what his numbers would be like if he received 20 touches per game for two halves of football? Of course, that could all change this weekend against Rich Rodriguez' squad. Next Game: Arizona

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
48-78, 611 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 56 att., 377 yards, 5 TD
Miller might be the most important player in the nation through three weeks of play. Without his gritty, explosive runs and clutch, big-play passes, Ohio State could be 1-2. The dynamic sophomore led the Buckeyes on two key fourth-quarter drives to give the OSU the lead both times, the last of which ended with a 72-yard game-winning touchdown strike with less than four minutes to play. He totaled 324 yards of offense and five total touchdowns in the win over Cal. There is one more cupcake left for Miller to pad the stats before things get really serious in East Lansing on Sept. 29. Next Game: UAB

4. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats: 66 att., 541 yards, 3 TD, 8 rec., 121 yards, TD
The Bruins are arguably the most improved team in the nation and Franklin's performance is a huge part of it. With help from new star quarterback Brett Hundley, Franklin is leading the nation in rushing (180.3 ypg) and all-purpose yards (222.3 ypg) — a stat normally reserved for players who also play a big role on special teams. In the 37-6 payback win over Houston, Franklin posted a "paltry" 168 yards from scrimmage and has now gone two games without scoring a rushing touchdown. Things will get much more difficult for the Bruins as Pac-12 play begins this weekend. Next Game: Oregon State

5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 66-109, 818 yards, 10 TD, 3 INT, 8 att., minus-51 yards
Give credit to David Shaw and his staff for a tremendous gameplan against arguably the top passing attack in the nation. Barkley was held without a touchdown for the first time since getting banged-up against Oregon State late in 2010. The Trojans Golden Boy faced pressure all day from a defense targeting a Khaled Holmes-less offensive line, sacking Barkley four times and intercepting him twice. The USC passer will get back on track this weekend — and a little help from his offensive and defensive lines would be nice. Next game: Cal

6. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Season Stats: 67 att., 338 yards, 3 TD, 10 rec., 89 yards, TD
The senior tailback was arguably the most valuable player of Week 3 nationally. He carried the ball, caught passes and scored two huge touchdowns in the marquee upset win over USC. He finished with 153 yards rushing on 27 carries and 60 yards receiving on five receptions and was featured heavily in the fourth quarter, wearing down the defense to clinch the win in the final minutes. Next Game: Open Date

7. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Season Stats: 17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT, 3 FF, 2 PBU
Jones didn't play against Florida Atlantic as a precautionary measure, but head coach Mark Richt is optimistic about his star linebacker's chances to play this week against Vanderbilt. He was the best player on the field against Mizzou and did it with a bad groin. Richt knows he needs Jones for the stretch run and resting him against FAU didn't help his Heisman campaign in the short term, but if it means an SEC title for the Dawgs, he is just fine with that. Next Game: Vanderbilt

8. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
 43-59, 609 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 46 att., 210 yards, 4 TD
Few players are easier to root for than CK7 from The Little Apple. He threw for 230 yards and rushed for 85, scoring three total times, in the win over North Texas. He is a gritty leader who gets another shot at his Heisman moment this weekend. An upset over Oklahoma — a team that beat KSU 58-17 last year — would vault Klein to the top of many Heisman ballots. Next Game: at Oklahoma

9. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 
36-56, 607 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT, 13 att., minus-42 yards
McCarron will never have the stats to compare to the rest of the Heisman vote-getters. However, he plays the most important position on the best team in the nation and he does it at an elite level. He is No. 3 nationally in passing efficiency and has led his team to easy wins over Michigan and Arkansas already. Next Game: FAU

10. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats:
48 att., 235 yards, 4 TD, 6 rec., 33 yards
The most talented runner in the nation hasn't been needed the last two weeks in easy wins for the Gamecocks. That will all change this weekend. Lattimore carried 23 times in a key SEC road win in Week 1 and has totaled 25 carries in two games since. Steve Spurrier is saving him, rightly so, for games like this weekend. Next game: Missouri

11. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Season Stats: 81 att., 357 yards, 4 TD, 11 rec., 75 yards

12. Kolton Browning, UL Monroe
Season Stats: 70-113, 649 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT, 30 att., 127 yards, 2 TD

13. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Season Stats (Alabama offense): 42.7 ppg, 399.0 total ypg, 186.7 rush ypg

14. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Season Stats:
63-86, 747 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT, 27 att., 75 yards

15. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Season Stats:
51-80, 842 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT, 15 att., minus-4 yards, 2 TD

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
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SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 3</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL
Path: /nfl/giants-tom-coughlin-bucs-greg-schiano-who-was-right
Body:

The NFL isn't college football, or baseball for that matter. It's grown men playing a physical game for millions of dollars. There was a dust-up at the end of the Giants-Bucs game in Week 2 that made some national news. Greg Schiano asked his team to go after the football on an Eli Manning kneel down to end the game. And Tom Coughlin didn't like it all that much. So we put it to the Athlon editors and Ralph Vacchiano, who covers the New York Giants for the NY Daily News,: Who was right in Kneel Down-gate?

Debate: Should you adhere to the unwritten rules of the victory formation or is it okay for your team to play hard until the game is over?

Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN)
If you’re not going to play by the unwritten rules that everyone plays by, then you better let someone know you’ve changed them. The Giants had every right to expect that the Bucs would honor that. As a result, they were essentially in a defenseless position and their linemen or quarterback could’ve gotten seriously injured. What they did simply doesn’t happen in the NFL. Schiano’s actions reeked of a punk kid who shows up in a new class and thinks he knows better than everybody else and wants to teach them how they did things in his neighborhood. What he did was throw a sucker punch thrown just after the bell.

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
This might be a strange answer, and it’s not a cop-out, but neither coach is right and neither is wrong. Well, sort of. I don’t think Schiano should have his players diving at the knees of the opponent’s offensive line and quarterback, while Coughlin has to understand the Buccaneers have to do everything they can to win the game. There’s a middle ground here to find, as Schiano’s teams need to compete to the final snap but not to the extent where a serious injury could occur. I can’t fault Coughlin for being ticked, but I also have a hard time complaining at Schiano for making sure his team gives a full 60-minute effort every week.

 

Nathan Rush
Just because Greg Schiano was coaching in New Jersey against the Giants doesn't mean he should be excused for behaving as if he were still at Rutgers. Knocking down Eli Manning in the Victory Formation was a Little League move. It wasn't a "never say die" strategic play, it was an act of frustrated desperation by a sore loser -- who also happens to be a rookie squaring off against the defending champions. After taking a 27-13 lead in the third quarter, the young Bucs were outscored 28-7 by the G-Men down the stretch, before suffering an embarrassing 41-34 loss. Put the petty in perspective: Schiano has as many NFL games coached as Tom Coughlin has Super Bowl rings. It showed on Sunday.

 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I have no issue whatsoever with what Greg Schiano did and here is why. First, it was a one-score game and if there is a 1000th percent of a chance you can get the ball back, you do what it takes to win the game. If the lead had been two or three scores, I would be against it. Second, I also have an issue with Tom Coughlin, in particular, bitching about a little extra shoving. This isn't baseball, it's a big boy sport and the Giants coach is an abrasive, harsh, disciplinarian who grinds out wins and apologizes for nothing. He isn't going to hold hands and sing kumbaya with his wife and kids much less another head coach. The complaints ring hollow from a coach like him. I was taught to play the game until the final whistle and if the Giants weren't prepared for that, shame on them. "Hey man, you knocked Eli Manning over!" Come on, Tom. That said, if this is the strategy Schiano is going to employ, he better prepare his team to experience the same type of action in return.

 

Mark Ross
Let's see, a rookie coaching just his second career NFL game or a 17-year veteran with more than 140 wins and two Super Bowl rings on his resume. Which one are you going to side with in a battle of he said/he said? In the end, it doesn't really matter if Schiano was right or not in instructing his team to fight until the game is over, there's no way he's winning the battle of public opinion in this one. He can talk about that's the way he coached his players to play while he's at Rutgers, but that's the Big East and this is the NFL. It's football, sure, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think the rules are different when it comes to college and pro. It doesn't help Schano's case to say that "I don't know if that's not something that's not done in the National Football League," even if he is just two games into his professional coaching tenure. For now, I'm willing to chalk this up as a rookie mistake, especially considering Schiano could do little but watch as his team gave up a 14-point third quarter lead prior to the game-ending incident. The key will be how he handles losing, and how he instructs his team to do the same, moving forward.



Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I side with Tom Coughlin on the debate of rushing hard and/or low into a victory formation, although it hardly seems like a controversy. Greg Schiano and his Buccaneers were simply frustrated from blowing a big lead and giving up 25 fourth-quarter points, so they lost composure and were too aggressive on the last play. Schiano came up with some juvenile “play the full 60 minutes” reasoning right after the game, but that will change after cooling off. You can keep fouling while down 15 points in the last minute of a basketball game, but that doesn’t equal playing hard or a no-quit attitude. It just means you’re stubborn or stupid. This is the NFL, so accept your loss like a man when the other team is in victory formation.

 

Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster)
The neutering of the NFL continues unabated, as supposed tough guy Tom Coughlin called out Greg Schiano and the Bucs for playing contact football. That’s right — the Giants had their delicate feelings bruised because the Bucs hoped to force a turnover down by one score, and poor Eli Manning ended up on his backside. These objections, by the way, come from the franchise that gave us Joe Pisarcik and the Miracle in the Meadowlands, Exhibit A for the fact that a game isn’t over until it’s over. I have an idea: Let’s take all the NFL’s unwritten rules and either write them down or throw them out, starting with the notion that a tackle football game is somehow less than 60 minutes long. 

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Teaser:
<p> Who was right: The Bucs' Greg Schiano or Giants' Tom Coughlin?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/dick-vitales-weirdest-summer-tweets-2012
Body:

Dick Vitale is one weird dude. He tweets about 1,000 times per day and has lots to say. He has done loads of great work in support of the fight against cancer, loves his Tampa Bay Rays, Notre Dame football and, obviously, college hoops. 

But occasionally, the crazy train goes off the tracks, culminating in some very weird (and sometimes awesome) tweets. In fact, today he tweeted this random rant against one misunderstood Hollywood youth:

Sept. 18: The strangest Dickie-V tweet I've seen in months was today's random obsession with protecting the people of Southern Cal from the tortures of a Hollywood actress by the name of Amanda Bynes, who is a stunning 26-year-old beauty who has (apparently) acted a little weird of late. But isn't that part of living in Los Angeles?

 

Sept. 16: We know Mike Greenberg is a Jets fan, but NFL analysis packaged with celebrity dating insight combined with smack talk is priceless:

 

 

Aug: 24: The hoops legend is apparently starting his own dating service. And equally concerning, he is hanging out at Chili's:

 

Aug 23: I think many of us were sick to our stomachs when we read about this horrific story. Yet, sending your heart out to someone who is already passed on seems a bit odd. Am I wrong?

 

Sept. 16: Vitale is a man who likes a woman with a great...personality:

 

 

Aug 29: The old coach longing for swim trunks and acting like a pre-teen:

 

 

Sept. 11: Tweeting about the Rays is nothing special, but this is the only one that talked about a spoiled Italian dish: 

 

Sept. 6: This is our first known documentation of Dick Vitale's apparent obsession with Amanda Bynes — and the people of Southern California:

 

Aug 31: Dick Vitale complaing about money is like Jennifer Anniston complaing about aging well. It just doesn't work in my book: 

 

Aug 31: So glad he cleared this up for me, cause I thought for sure he was talking about What I Did Last Summer. Wait, am I thinking about Scream 1, 2, 3 or 4? Also, Wazzu should be 3-1 after this weekend. 

 

Aug 29: There is no chance THIS guy has ever been THIS club while there were other living beings inside. Just imagine DV at Aria in Vegas? Yup, made me laugh too:

 

Aug. 16: Dickie-V is jaded just like the rest of us with politics. However, nominating himself for President is a bit much for this American voter to take:

 

Aug 15: His take on domestic abuse is spot on. But as a man who has never resorted to physical violence towards women, I am not sure what "system" he is talking about. Unless, of course, he is talking about spending lots of time and money to impress women with nothing expected in return:

 

Aug 3: Uh, I have no idea what to tell you here:

 

June 8: From my count, Dickie V wished Magic Johnson and maybe one or two other people happy birthday this summer. Also on that list? The oft-troubled rapper/producer Kanye West — who has a long list of legal trouble:

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

After two concerning weeks of play in the Big Ten, the league watched many of its teams bounce back with easy wins. It finished 10-2 this week with losses to Notre Dame and Ball State, but what was the top win of Week 3? Ohio State inching past Cal? Wisconsin luckily topping Utah State? Or Nebraska over Arkansas State? The point being, it wasn't exactly a marquee slate and Michigan State failed the one national test the league was facing against the Irish. The truth of the matter is there is no BCS national title contender in the B1G this season. That much is obvious.

However, it doesn't mean there won't be plenty of excitement and drama. Both divisions appear to be wide open with at least legit contenders in each one. And quarterback play looks like it will be the key to success. Indiana has lost Tre Roberson. Illinois has been without Nathan Scheelhaase now for two weeks. Purdue looks to have lost Robert Marve (which could be a blessing). And now, both Minnesota and Wisconsin are makings switches — for two very different reasons.

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Is there anything this kid cannot do? Miller threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns, including two huge fourth-quarter strikes that won the game for the Buckeyes. He added another 75 yards rushing and his fifth touchdown on the ground as well. That's 12 total TDs thus far in three games.

2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan - The competition was pretty weak, but Robinson was up to his old tricks. He threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns while topping the century mark in rushing (106) and scoring again on the ground. These two dual-threats should battle for POY all season.

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - The junior QB bounced back from the loss to UCLA in excellent fashion. He completed 13-of-14 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns to go with 54 yards rushing and another score. He leads the league in passing yards and is No. 2 in efficiency to go with 176 yards rushing and two more scores.

 

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Will Compton, LB, Nebraska -
The Huskers defense got off the mat and played well in a bounce-back performance against a solid Arkansas State offense (286 total yards allowed). Compton posted seven tackles and another tackle for loss. He now leads NU in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. 

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - The Badgers struggled to defeat a solid Utah State team but Taylor was the main reason they held on to win. He was all over the field against the dynamic USU option attack. He is now second in the league in tackles after a 15-stop performance this week.

3. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State - The speedy Buckeye tackler stood out all day in the win over Cal. He made bone-crushing hits, posted 13 total tackles, two tackles for a loss and one of the Bucks' six sacks. He has all the skills needed to be the next great OSU linebacker.

 

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - The Buckeyes' head man gets the nod because A) His team hasn't lost yet B) He has the best team in the league C) And there are no other clear candidates for COY.

2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - Most of the coaches in the Big Ten are dealing with major adversity, so an unbeaten record against three consecutive BCS AQ teams makes Fitz a prime candidate (today, at least) for COY.

3. Pick a Name, State U - Mark Dantonio's team got man-handled (again) by Notre Dame. Jerry Kill is 3-0, but who have they beaten? Brady Hoke's team is going to be good but has some major weaknesses. There is no clearcut No. 3 candidate, but I have a feeling Bo Pelini will be back on this list after recovering from a health scare this weekend.

 

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (3-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 3 result: Beat Cal 35-28

The Buckeyes welcomed back starting tailback Jordan Hall and got six sacks from six different players in a game that was much tighter than expected. After taking a 20-7 commanding lead in the first half on the dynamic play-making ability of star quarterback Braxton Miller, Cal dominated the third period of play. It out-gained Ohio State 190-10 and eventually took the lead 21-20 a few minutes into the fourth quarter. But time after time, the Buckeyes turned to Miller to overcome the big-play punches by the Golden Bears. The star dual-threat QB led two long scoring drives to give OSU the lead twice in the final frame, the last of which ended on a game-winning 72-yard touchdown pass in which Miller scrambled right and found a wide open Devin Smith. After another 324 yards of total offense and five total touchdowns, Miller has placed himself squarely in the Heisman race with key completions and gritty runs. He has seven passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns on the season. Despite the play of Miller, Urban Meyer knows his team still has some issues. The running game got a boost from Hall (17 att., 87 yards), but was still lackluster. While his pass rush was clearly improved, the tackling was an issue all day as the defense allowed big plays in the running game that nearly cost OSU the win. There are plenty of kinks that need ironing out with one cupcake left to go before the Big Ten season begins in East Lansing.
This week: UAB (1-1)

2. Michigan (2-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat UMass 63-13
The Wolverines entered this weekend ranked 113th nationally against the run and Brady Hoke was undoubtedly hoping to rebuild those stats against lowly UMass. And while 112 yards isn't exactly what he was hoping for, it was 139 yards fewer than his team had been allowing. Otherwise, Denard Robinson and company got their reps in against a team that had no chance to win the game. Shoelace finished with four total touchdowns and 397 yards of total offense (291 pass, 106 rush) in a warm-up for what should be a monster game next weekend against Notre Dame. He will need his rushing attack against that Irish front seven and it showed up in Week 3 to the tune of 294 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in the win over the Minutemen. See the Michigan State Spartans to know exactly what the Maize and Blue will be facing next week against the Golden Domers.
This week: at Notre Dame (3-0)

3. Michigan State (2-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 3 result: Lost to Notre Dame 20-3
For the second straight season Michigan State got physically dominated by Notre Dame. Le'Veon Bell found no room to run (19 att., 77 yards), Andrew Maxwell was uninspiring (23-of-45, 187 yards, 0 TD) and the vaunted Spartans defense could not make the key play against a freshman quarterback. A combined score of 51-16 over the last two seasons clearly give the Irish's Brian Kelly an advantage over Mark Dantonio. It was a deflating performance that highlighted the weaknesses of a one-dimensional offense in East Lansing. The great news, however, is that Michigan State lost to ND last fall in ugly fashion and then went on to win the Legends Division. Sparty is still very much a top contender for the wide open Big Ten championship. 
This week: Eastern Michigan (0-3) 

4. Nebraska (2-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat Arkansas State 42-13

Nebraska took a 28-3 lead into halftime at Memorial Stadium, but when it came out to play the second half, Bo Pelini wasn't in the building. The head coach was taken by ambulance to Bryant West Hospital for precautionary reasons after falling ill in the first half. Huskers athletic director Tom Osbourne released a statement that Pelini is "doing fine" and "looks as though he's in pretty good shape." Arkansas State put together its rally in the third, cutting the lead to 28-13 before Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah willed their team to victory for "interim coach" and current DC John Papuchis. Martinez was brilliant, completing 13-of-14 passes and accounting for three touchdowns, while Abdullah was the workhorse Nebraska needed with Rex Burkhead sitting on the sidelines once again. The sophomore runner carried 30 times and caught two passes for 206 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. The defense also bounced back from its poor Week 2 showing by holding Ryan Aplin and Arkansas State to only 286 total yards. The four turnovers are concerning for NU, but this was an incredibly efficient performance by the Big Red: 10-of-13 on third down, 13-of-14 passing, 5.9 yards per carry and only four penalties. The head coach and star tailback likely won't be needed to defeat Idaho State next weekend, but a healthy Pelini and Burkhead would be a welcome sight for Nebraska fans.
This week: Idaho State (1-1)

5. Northwestern (3-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Boston College 22-13
It was frustrating at times for Northwestern but a win is a win, and now the Wildcats are the only team in the nation with three wins over BCS AQ teams. Pat Fitzgerald's offense drove into the redzone numerous times throughout this game but simply could not convert, settling for a career-high five field goals from Jeff Budzien. The ground game was the big difference for NW as three different players got at least 15 carries and the team nearly rushed for 300 yards. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian continue to split reps and both were effective this week. Will Coach Fitz have to pick one or can he continue to rotate passers deep into the Big Ten schedule? That remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the once-maligned Wildcats defense continues to show slight improvement, holding BC to 25 yards rushing on 21 carries while keeping them 20 points below their scoring average (33 ppg coming in). With South Dakota and Indiana up next, a 5-0 start is likely for a team that appears to have plenty of mental toughness. 
This week: South Dakota (1-1)

6. Purdue (2-1)
Previous rank: 9
Week 3 result: Beat Eastern Michigan 54-16
With just over nine minutes to go in the second quarter, Eastern Michigan kicked a field goal to cut the lead to four points at 13-9. Purdue then scored five straight touchdowns and outscored EMU 41-7 the rest of the way to win the first of a four-game home stand. Without having to look over his shoulder at Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush spread the wealth all over the field in West Lafayette. Six different Boilermakers scored seven offensive touchdowns and four players rushed for at least 47 yards. In fact, of Purdue's 576 total yards of offense, 392 came on the ground on an absurd per carry average of 9.3 yards. With a bye week coming next Saturday and stability under center, this rushing attack should have the Boilermakers 3-1 when Michigan heads to town on Oct. 6.
This week: Open Date

7. Wisconsin (2-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat Utah State 16-14
The Badger faithful need to head into Week 4 extremely thankful to be 2-1. After making a coaching change along the offensive line, Wisconsin's once-vaunted power rushing attack continues to be a shell of its former self (3.5 yards per carry on 45 attempts). It did show improvement from last week, and when needed, the Badgers drove the ball on the ground giving the football to Montee Ball six straight times for the go-ahead touchdown. That said, it took a huge third-quarter special teams touchdown from Kenzel Doe and a missed 37-yard yard field goal from Utah State as time expired to beat the Aggies. The biggest issue? Play-calling and quarterback play. Matt Canada continues to be lackluster as the architect and Danny O'Brien was so lost in the first half against a WAC team that he was benched at halftime. Joel Stave, a big 6-foot-5, 220-pound youngster, played the entire second half and showed a nice arm. But he wasn't asked to do much of anything (2-of-6 passing, 15 yards) and there are serious doubts about this passing game being able to complete big plays in key spots late in games. This team is nowhere near what it was last fall and games against Purdue, Illinois and Penn State are now complete toss ups in the race for the Leaders Division crown.
This week: UTEP (1-2)

8. Illinois (2-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 3 result: Beat Charleston Southern 44-0
Starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase sat out his second straight game, but this time around Reilly O'Toole was near perfect. And the defense did the rest. The back-up signal caller completed his first 10 passes for 106 yards and two scores to kickstart the Illini offense and he finished 26-of-31 for 333 yards and five touchdowns in the blowout win. The defense whitewashed the overmatched Buccaneers with relative ease as CSU finished 0-of-13 on third downs and totaled 125 yards of offense. It was a much-needed breather after the ugly West Coast trip to Arizona State last week. And in this league, any easy win is welcomed with open arms. Scheelhaase is questionable for the tricky test with the defending WAC champion Bulldogs next weekend.
This week: Louisiana Tech (2-0)

9. Iowa (2-1)
Previous rank: 8
Week 3 result: Beat Northern Iowa 27-16
The Hawkeyes needed to find offense from somewhere, but I doubt many believe walk-on fullback Mark Weisman would be the guy. He carried the ball 23 times for 113 yards and three short touchdown runs in place of the injured Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon. Weisman's three scores were three time the total number of touchdowns scored all season by the entire Iowa team in its first two games. Quarterback James Vandenberg played his best game as the Hawks battled with in-state upstart Northern Iowa for three quarters before eventually shutting out UNI in the final frame. The offense was better (429 total yards), but this team still does not have a passing touchdown on the season and played a third-straight tight game. Can I? Should I? Okay, why not: Weisman for Heisman!
This week: Central Michigan (1-1)

10. Penn State (1-2)
Previous rank: 10
Week 3 result: Beat Navy 34-7
Finally, Nittany Lion nation can breathe a sigh of relief. Bill O'Brien's team showed marked improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, but simply couldn't close the deal against Virginia in heart-breaking fashion. This Saturday, he made sure his team left no doubt as they rolled through the Naval Academy with relative ease. Without either of his top two tailbacks, quarterback Matt McGloin had the best games of his career (231 yards, 4 TD) in leading his team to a 34-0 lead before the Midshipmen finally got on the board for the first time with 10 minutes to go in the game. Wideout Allen Robinson continues to shine with another great game: 5 rec., 136 yards, 3 TD. There are few wins this weekend that mean as much and feel as good as Penn State's did Saturday as this program was in dire need of something positive to rally behind. And who knows, in this year's Big Ten Leaders Division that appears to be completely wide open, maybe the Nits will be a factor after all.
This week: Temple (0-2)

11. Minnesota (3-0)
Previous rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat Western Michigan 28-23
The Gophers were trailing 10-7 with four minutes to go in the second quarter when Marqueis Gray hurt his left ankle and leg. The Big Ten's most efficient passer after two weeks (yes, you read that right) was carted off the field and never returned. Never fear, however, as back-up Max Shortell reenergized the sputtering passing attack by completing 5-of-6 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half to give the Gophers a 21-10 halftime lead. The Broncos made it interesting in the final few minutes with a late touchdown but Minnesota held on for its first 3-0 start since 2008. Tailback Donnell Kirkwood helped his young quarterback by rushing for a career-high 123 yards on 23 attempts, including one key 26-yard run late in the game that all but sealed the win. Jerry Kill's three wins this year have already matched the win total in each of the previous two seasons in the Twin Cities.
This week: Syracuse (1-2)

12. Indiana (2-1)
Previous rank: 12
Week 3 result: Lost to Ball State 41-39
In what was likely the most entertaining game of the Big Ten Week 3 slate, Indiana lost a heart-breaking affair for the second straight season to Ball State. Without star quarterback Tre Roberson, the Hoosiers saw the lead change hands seven times including twice in the final 49 seconds. Cameron Coffman, in his first career start, threw for 251 yards and two scores before being pulled for true freshman Nate Sudfield. And in one quarter trailing by 13, Sudfield rallied Indiana with one big 70-yard touchdown throw and another 77-yard drive to take the lead with less than a minute left. He finished 13-of-20 for 172 yards and two scores. However, Ball State QB Keith Wenning was masterful in guiding his team on yet another scoring drive in the final 49 seconds to set up the game-winning 42-yard field goal. Unfortunately, Kevin Wilson's bunch might be done winning games in 2012.
This week: Open Date


by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 3 Recap

ACC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
Pac-12 East Post-Week 3 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 3 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:01
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-3-power-rankings
Body:

The Pac-12 continues to show its depth as the second-best league in the country. But it might have cost them a national championship contender. And Stanford was the culprit that both illustrates the strength of the league while also potentially knocking USC out of the BCS title game. The run the Cardinal are on against the Trojans is remarkable and will only make the North Division race that much more interesting. Meanwhile, the South Division just got extremely intriguing. UCLA and Arizona are clicking on an unprecedented number of cylinders while Utah won a key non-conference game against a very solid BYU team. Oh, and USC is trailing all of them in the division standings currently.

Post-Week 3 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - The opponent leaves much to be desired, but Scott has simply been unstoppable. He completed 30-of-36 passes for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing nine times for 61 yards and another score on the ground. His 395.0 yards of total offense per game is fourth nationally and leads the Pac-12.

2. De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon - There is no more dangerous and explosive player in the nation. Thomas carried three times for 62 yards and a TD. He caught three passes for a team-leading 72 yards and a touchdown. And he returned four punts for 87 yards. That is seven total TDs in 24 offensive touches in three games (really, just three first halves).

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA -  Hundley threw for his second-straight 300-yard effort and has eight passing touchdowns in three games. He leads the league's top offense as UCLA trails only Oklahoma State nationally in yards per game (622 ypg). Franklin's 168 yards from scrimmage (110 rushing) and no scores seems so paltry compared to his first two games, but still gives him the lead nationally in rushing (180.3 ypg).

Note: Don't worry, Matt Barkley will be back in the top three shortly, so I thought I would throw a bone to the rest of the loaded Pac-12

Post-Week 3 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah - The Utes totally shutdown the BYU Cougars for three quarters. He posted seven tackles, one tackle for loss and blocked the game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt with no time left on the clock. He is arguably the best defensive player in the league and was on full display Saturday night in one of the best rivalries in college football.

2. Jake Fischer, LB, Arizona - The Pac-12's leading tackler (11.0 per game) posted another six stops and a tackle for loss as the leader of a defense that pitched its first shutout in four seasons and allowed 154 total yards of offense.

3. Jordan Richards, DB, Stanford - Really the Defensive Human of the Week is Stanford DC Derek Mason, but Richards had a huge game against the best passing attack in the nation. He posted two interceptions, four tackles, a tackle for loss and four passes defensed — which gives him a Pac-12-best nine on the year.

Post-Week 3 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks have been so dominant that few of Kelly's starters have gotten any playing time in the second half. His offense is arguably the best in the nation and, now, he will be ranked ahead of a one-loss USC in the polls. His defense will get a test this weekend from Rich Rodriguez' Wildcats.

2. David Shaw, Stanford - Shaw's coaching staff deserves loads of credit for the game plan against Matt Barkley, both offensively and defensively. Shaw has never lost to Lane Kiffin and now is doing it without all-universe quarterback Andrew Luck. No doubt, Shaw is the national coach of the week this weekend.

3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA - Few teams in the nation have shown more improvement than UCLA and after another 567 total yards, 98 plays and 37 points, the Bruins are 3-0 and poised to challenge in the South. Is this the same team that lost eight games last fall?

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (3-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 3 result: Beat Tennessee Tech 63-14
Former Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers caught a touchdown pass for Tennessee Tech to make the score 7-0. Oregon then scored seven straight touchdowns and that was that for Chip Kelly. Most of the starters were out of the game by halftime as the high-flying offense continued its mastery of college football. Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes, De'Anthony Thomas touched the ball six times and scored twice and the defense allowed a total of 177 yards. This offense is such a machine that stud recruit Byron Marshall was the most used weapon, carrying 13 times for a game-high 125 yards and the Ducks' final touchdown. Tennessee Tech is obviously no challenge and the schedule only gets tougher for Oregon from here on out, however, Alabama might be the only team that has looked better than Kelly's bunch. This team has scored 162 points in three games with 125 coming in the first half — when the starters have been playing.  
This week: Arizona (3-0)

2. Stanford (3-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 3 result: Beat USC 21-14
The numbers are well reported. It is the fourth straight win for Stanford and the fifth in sixth years over USC. But this win, without Andrew Luck or Jim Harbaugh, has to be the most satisfying. Not only were the Trojans ranked No. 2 in the nation, but some of the David Shaw/Josh Nunes doubters have to pipe down for the time being. The defensive game plan from coordinator Derek Mason was brilliant as it shut down one of the nation's premiere offensive attacks. He attacked the Khaled Holmes-less offensive line up the gut and it knocked Matt Barkley completely out of rhythm. Then Nunes delivered on a handful of big passes and the power rushing attack took over the game. The underrated Stepfan Taylor carried the offense, rushing 27 times for 153 yards and a score on the ground to go with five receptions for 60 yards and another score through the air. Fans of other teams from around the Pac-12 can thank the Cardinal and Shaw for executing the precise blueprint for success over USC. Slow the game down and be physical. Stanford gets a well-desreved rest this weekend and it comes at a great time as the upcoming schedule doesn't get much easier: at Washington, Arizona, at Notre Dame and at Cal.
This week: Open Date

3. USC (2-1)
Previous rank: 1
Week 3 result: Lost to Stanford 21-14
Star center Khaled Holmes didn't play and the void left in the middle of the USC offensive line was likely the difference between an unbeaten season, and now, a vicious battle for the Pac-12 South title. Matt Barkley had little time to throw and the Trojans ground game had little space to run as Stanford consistently attacked the heart of the USC offense. The Heisman frontrunner is now a very Peyton Manning-esque 0-4 against Stanford for his career and won't get another shot unless the two squads rmeet again in the Pac-12 title game. He finished 20-of-41 for 253 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns for the first time since getting hurt against Oregon State two seasons ago. The dynamic wideout tandem of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee posted 37 receptions, 398 yards and eight touchdowns combined through two games. They caught no touchdowns and combined for 138 yards Saturday night. Lane Kiffin is now 0-2 against David Shaw and USC has lost four straight for the first time in the history of this rivalry. A conference crown and national title are still very much within reach and losing early isn't the worst thing that could happen to the Men of Troy. If they win out, there is still a good chance they land in the national title game. But make no mistake, the worst fears of Trojan supporters were realized: USC could have trouble stopping a power rushing attack in big games. Stanford out-rushed the Trojans 200 to 23 yards and Monte Kiffin's defense couldn't get any key stops in the fourth quarter.
This week: Cal (1-2)

4. UCLA (3-0)
Previous rank: 3
Week 3 result: Beat Houston 37-6
Houston defeated UCLA 38-34 last season in Houston and what a difference a year makes. Both teams have changed coaches and quarterbacks, and this time around, UCLA completely crushed the C-USA power. The No. 1 offense in the Pac-12 rolled-up 247 yards rushing and 320 yards passing and 37 points in the third straight win for the Bruins under Jim Mora. Eleven different players caught a Brett Hundley pass, including defensive line standout Datone Jones, who caught a touchdown pass to go with his four tackles and three tackles for loss. Led by Jones, the defense also played well, holding the once-stellar Cougar offense to zero points for the first 55 minutes of play. The statistical improvement from last year has been remarkable for UCLA. This team was 72nd in total offense last year nationally and sits at No. 2 nationally in 2012. This team was 88th in scoring at 23.1 points per game and are now scoring 40.7 per game this year. This team was 92nd in scoring defense at 31.4 points per game last fall and are now 40th at 20.0 per game this time around. This week: Oregon State (1-0) 

5. Arizona (3-0)
Previous rank: 5
Week 3 result: Beat South Carolina State 59-0
There was little to learn about Arizona against SCSU this weekend, but sandwiched around national games against Oklahoma State in Week 2 and a trip north to Oregon next weekend, the Wildcats had to take of business in Week 3. And take care of business was exactly what RichRod's team did. The defense pitched a shutout and allowed only 154 yards of total offense, stopping SCSU on all but two of its 13 third-down attempts. On offense, Matt Scott continued his brilliance. His offense ran 102 plays for 689 yards and registered 43 first downs in the blowout win. Ka'Deem Carey also scored his sixth touchdown of the season. This team is good, but how good won't be known until it attempts to head north to Eugene this weekend. There should be plenty of points, but is Zona ready for the big time? A 3-1 start is still good, right?
This week: at Oregon (3-0)


6. Washington (2-1)
Previous rank: 6
Week 3 result: Beat Portland State 52-13
Consider the wounds officially licked. However, the Huskies better rest up during the bye week because their journey only gets worse. After a brutal thrashing at the hands of LSU, and with Stanford, Oregon and USC the next three games, Portland State was exactly what Washington needed. Keith Price was effective and spread the ball around to his big-play receivers on the outside.  The running game was reestablished behind a great afternoon from Bishop Sankey. And the defense got third-down stops and the turned the ball over to its offense. It was a great confidence boost heading into arguably the toughest three-game stretch any team in the Pac-12 will play all season. Ideally, the trip to Baton Rouge was a learning experience because this league appears much deeper than believed.
This week: Open Date


7. Utah (2-1)
Previous rank: 10
Week 3 result: Beat BYU 24-20
The 12-year winning streak over Utah State that was snapped last week, and combined with the retirement of starting quarterback Jordan Wynn, fans in Salt Lake City were very nervous about The Holy War. Well, just because the Utes have issues on offense, doesn't mean the defense isn't still one of the league's best. Led by Star Lotulelei and a game-changing defensive touchdown, Utah won a quirky rivalry game to save its season. Late in the third quarter, BYU had a first down on the Utah 25 trailing 10-7. A bad snap and subsequent fumble was scooped up by Mo Lee and returned for a touchdown, capping a 17-point quarter. BYU came back with two fourth-quarter touchdowns but Lotulelei delivered the final blow, blocking a potential game-tying 51-yard field goal attempt as time expired. Quarterback play will be an issue for this team going foward — and the rushing game struggled against a quality defense — but this defense should keep the Utes in most games they play from here on out. Kyle Whittingham's bunch is still a major factor in the suddenly very interesting Pac-12 South race.
This week: at Arizona State (2-1)

8. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 7
Week 3 result: Bye Week
With two open dates in the first three weeks, intentionally or not, Oregon State now looks at 11 straight weeks of play. At least Mike Riley's bunch should be rested as they will play three of the next four on the road: at UCLA, at Arizona, Washington State and at BYU.
This week: at UCLA (3-0)

9. California (1-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 3 result: Lost to Ohio State 35-28
Coaches will never claim a moral victory but Cal fans have to be very pleased with the way their team played this weekend in the Horseshoe. After falling behind 20-7 at halftime, Cal dominated the third quarter 190-10 in yardage and eventually took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Behind big plays from freshman tailback Brendan Bigelow, Cal battled back into the game and nearly pulled off the upset. The Bears out-gained the Buckeyes by 100 yards (512 to 412) but Ohio State's star quarterback Braxton Miller and angry pass rush was too much to overcome on the road. Miller was unstoppable in the final frame making clutch throws and gritty runs on two huge scoring drives. The key breakdown coming on a 72-yard touchdown pass in which Cal allowed Devin Smith to stroll wide open down the right sideline. Zack Maynard and brother Keenan Allen played valiantly but could not overcome six sacks (Cal had none on defense) and eventually fell to the Big Ten power. Jeff Tedford, who seems to be getting some unfair levels of heat in Berkeley, now faces USC, Arizona State and UCLA in his next three. So while he criticism might be somewhat unwarranted, a 1-5 start to the season would likely be unacceptable.
This week: at USC (2-0)

10. Arizona State (2-1)
Previous rank: 8
Week 3 result: Lost to Missouri 24-20
The Sun Devils put themselves in a big hole, trailing 24-7 entering the fourth quarter. But Todd Graham's guys showed some fight and clawed back to within four and nearly overcame four turnovers on offense to defeat a James Franklin-less Missouri team. Quarterback Taylor Kelly has played well this season and led ASU on two fourth-quarter scoring drives which ended in two Marion Grice touchdown runs. However, a botched extra point attempt on the final score likely cost the Sun Devils a chance to send the game into overtime. Arizona State got the ball back with 1:58 left in the game in field goal range at the Mizzou 21. Three plays later, Kelly tossed his second interception in the endzone to thwart the comeback effort. Had the extra point not been missed, an ASU field goal could have tied the game. A bowl pecking order contest with Utah is not on tap for the Sun Devils.
This week: Utah (2-1)

11. Washington State (2-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 3 result: Beat UNLV 35-27
Back-up quarterback Connor Halliday is making a serious case to be the starting quarterback at Washington State. He made his second career start Friday night, throwing for four first-half touchdowns and 378 yards in a key road win for the Cougars. He already has two freshman passing records — 494 yards and four touchdowns coming off the bench to beat Arizona State last year — to his credit and starter Jeff Tuel has been unable to stay on the field for any extended period of time. These two factors alone could make Mike Leach's coming decision on who should start a bit more difficult. In the win over UNLV, the Air Raid offense looked its best thus far this season and receivers Marquess Wilson and Gabe Marks got on track, catching two long scoring strikes as Wilson finally looked like the preseason All-American experts believed him to be. Yet, there is still cause for concern. Wazzu allowed 460 yards of offense, needed a stop in its own territory as time expired to hold on for the win and lost the time of possession battle by more than 11 minutes (35:32 to 24:28). Not being able to run the football (83 yards on Friday) or convert on third down (5-of-14) or keep the flags off the field (12 penalties for 128 yards) against a team as bad as the 0-3 Rebels is a warning sign that this team might not be ready for postseason play just yet.
This week: Colorado (0-3)

12. Colorado (0-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 3 result: Lost to Fresno State 69-14
At this point, there isn't much to say. The Buffs are off to arguably the worst start in school history with losses to two "mid-majors" and an FCS program. But at least the first two were extremely competitive. That was not the case against Fresno State. Derek Carr led his team to a 35-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The first quarter. The Bulldogs out-gained the Buffaloes 665 yards to 278 and forced four Colorado turnovers in the lop-sided victory. An 0-12 season is very much a possibility.
This week: at Washington State (2-1)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 3 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /nfl/most-important-stats-nfl-sunday-week-2
Body:

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 2 of NFL play: 

Nov. 18, 2001: The last time the New England Patriots lost at home to an NFC West team
The last time New England lost at home to an NFC West team, the NFL only had six divisions. The St. Louis Rams were the last such team to go into the Pats' home stadium and win. It puts into perspective what the Arizona Cardinals accomplished on Sunday in their 20-18 win in Foxborough. In fact, only once since 2002 has any NFC team gone into Gillette Stadium and won — the 2011 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. The Green Bay Packers in '02 were the last NFC team before last year's Giants to win in New England. 

75: Total points allowed in two games by the New Orleans Saints
Against two teams that combined for a 11-21 record last fall, Washington and Carolina, the Saints allowed 40 and then 35 points in two bad losses to start 2012. The 75 total points allowed is worst in the NFL as the defense has allowed a league-worst 922 total yards of offense to start the year. Not having the leadership of Sean Payton has clearly had an impact on the Saints' playoff chances. A visit from the equally defensively inept Kansas City Chiefs should help in Week 3, but a trip to Green Bay and a home game against San Diego loom large before the bye week. The Chiefs are tied for last in the league with the Saints in points allowed, so there should be plenty of offense in the Superdome. Having said all of that, have no fear Who Dat? Nation because...

12%: The number of 0-2 teams that will make the playoffs
Since 1990, 12 percent of teams that begin the season 0-2 have gone on to make the playoffs. That is roughly one out of eight. The Saints are actually the only NFC team without a win thus far while the AFC claims the Titans, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders and Chiefs. There is obviously a chance none of those winless teams makes the postseason, but it seems pretty fair to assume that one and only one of those six will land in the promised land. And let's be honest, none of those other five teams appear capable of making any sort of playoff push, so if this year features an 0-2 playoff team, odds are it will be the Saints.

43:17: A Texans franchise record for time of possession
Houston held the ball for a franchise record 43:17 in the dominating 27-7 win over Jacksonville. The Texans also set a team record for total offensive plays with 83 and rushing attempts with 48. The 28 first downs were No. 2 all-time in team history. The defense set a few records for Jacksonville as well, by allowing a Jaguars team only 117 yards of total offense and a pathetic 16:43 minutes time of possession. While New England fell to Arizona, the Texans flexed some serious muscle on both sides of the ball. After two weeks of play, the Texans look like the best team in the AFC.

26-to-5: Alex Smith's TD-to-INT ratio under Jim Harbaugh
Smith has played 20 total games under Jim Harbaugh's leadership in San Francisco including the playoffs. He is 16-4 as the starter, with one of those losses coming in the NFC Championship game against the eventual champions last year. He hasn't throw an interception in a franchise-record 216 consecutive passes and has the 49ers 2-0 against two playoff hopefuls from the NFC North. To put these numbers into perspective, consider his win-loss record and TD:INT ratio prior to Harbaugh's arrival. Smith was 19-31 as a starter with 41 touchdowns and 53 interceptions. Now, under the tutelage of the QB Whisperer, Smith hasn't missed a start and is the leader of the best team in the NFL.

1: Total interceptions thrown by the five rookie quarterbacks
The five rookie quarterbacks making their debut in Week 1 combined to throw 11 interceptions and only four touchdowns in their first taste of NFL football. They went 1-4 as starters with Robert Griffin III and the Redskins getting the only win. This week, the quintet was dramatically improved, throwing only one interception (RG3) and accounting for 10 total touchdowns. The group improved to 3-2 as starters and three of the five now have a career 300-yard passing game as Brandon Weeden joined Griffin III and Andrew Luck with 322 yards against the Bengals.

12: NFL-record first-half receptions by Rams Danny Amendola
The stars of what was likely the best game of the day were certainly Sam Bradford and Robert Griffin III — and possibly the replacement refs, but that is for an entirely different reason. But the little St. Louis wideout tied an NFL record by catching 12 passes in the first half of the huge 31-28 over the Redskins. Bradford finished with 26 completions, 15 of which went to the former Texas Tech receiver, which tied a franchise record for catches in a game with Isaac Bruce and Willie Anderson (who went for a team-record 336 yards on his 15 receptions). Amendola finished with 160 yards and one touchdown after catching five total passes in 2011.

364: C.J. Spiller's total yards from scrimmage in two games
The NFL's leading rusher by a mile (292 yards) is the Bills third-year running back from Clemson. The all-purpose dynamo's 364 yards from scrimmage is the third-best two-game start to a season in Buffalo history (ESPN.com). Thurman Thomas (410, 1991) and O.J. Simpson (405, 1975) are the only other players in franchise history to gain more yards in the team's first two games. That is pretty good company for Spiller. He has topped 100-yards in both games and has scored three times — tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with three others (Arian Foster, Vernon Davis, Nelson Rosario). Most importantly, the Bills got the win in Week 2.

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Most Important Stats From NFL Sunday: Week 2</p>
Post date: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-betting-against-spread-week-3
Body:

Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.

2012 Record Against The Spread: 10-7
Last Week: 3-5

Let's just say, Week 2 was not my finest hour. Games that I decided not to include in the final minutes? Western Kentucky +40, Maryland +10, UCLA +5.5, Mississippi State -3 and Florida +2.5. Clearly, I made some bad decisions, but there is no rest for the weary and Week 3 features plenty of chances to bounce back.

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Virginia Tech (-10) at Pitt
No, Pitt isn't as bad as its 0-2 record suggests. But the reason the Panthers have played so poorly is due to lack of locker room cohesion and commitment. With four different coaches in three seasons, the players clearly lack identity. The Hokies, on the flip side, are a team built on 26 years of Frank Beamer's identity. And Logan Thomas has Va. Tech off to a hot start — something that Beamer and company rarely seem to enjoy at the start of the season. Defensively, the Panthers will find sledding extremely tough as some believe this could be the best Bud Foster unit ever. This one should get ugly very quickly and the line seems considerably off-base. Prediction: Virginia Tech (-10)

Western Michigan (+2.5) at Minnesota
Jerry Kill knows all about Western Michigan when he beat them twice while at Northern Illinois. Now he has a balanced Big Ten attack that rushes for 224.5 yards per game and passes for 220.5 yards per game. The Gophers are 2-0 behind key plays at key times from senior leader Marqueis Gray. He is fourth in the Big Ten in total offense at 273.0 yards per game and is leading the league in passing efficiency. The Broncos played better in Week 2 against Eastern Illinois after rushing for minus-6 yards against Illinois in the season opener. Kill has the Gophers playing better than they have in years, and while Alex Carder could keep WMU in the game, Gray and company should pull away in the fourth. Prediction: Minnesota (-2.5)

Houston (+16) at UCLA
The Bruins are one of the best stories in college football thus far and have been equally effective against the number (2-0). Houston beat UCLA last fall and revenge will absolutely be on the mind of Johnathan Franklin and company. Quarterback Brett Hundley has been near perfect in two career games, Franklin is leading the nation in rushing and this unit is playing with a toughness on defense fans haven't seen in Westwood in years. The Cougars, on the other hand, are 0-2, have allowed 86 total points and give up 521 yards of offense per game. If UCLA could toss 653 yards up on the Black Shirts of Nebraska, imagine what they could do this weekend? Predictions: UCLA (-16)

Texas A&M (-12) at SMU
The Mustangs allowed Baylor to roll-up 613 yards of total offense and 59 points two weeks ago in the opener, 220 of that came on the ground. Texas A&M might boast the best running game SMU will face all season and the TAMU offensive line should have its way with the over-matched Mustang front seven. The Aggies and new head coach Kevin Sumlin lost a gritty battle with Florida and this game should feel like practice after having to block the Gators defenders for sixty minutes. In search of his first win, Sumlin will allow his offense to make a statement. Prediction: Texas A&M (-12)

Boston College (+3.5) at Northwestern
The defensive performance by the Wildcats last week against Vanderbilt was one of the more surprising performances of the entire Week 2 slate. After getting destroyed on that side of the ball by Syracuse in Week 1, Pat Fitzgerald's bunch held the Dores completely in check. It also made Northwestern the only team in the nation with two BCS conference wins thus far. The purple Cats are 2-0 against the number as well and Boston College isn't in a position to challenge for the win on the road. Northwestern has played two totally different games thus far and this one should be somewhere in the middle. Prediction: Northwestern (-3.5)

Texas (-9) at Ole Miss
Had this game been played in Week 1, the Longhorns could have been a three touchdown favorite. Two relatively easy wins over bad competition for Ole Miss has brought this number down under 10. The issue, however, is that Texas has been better than anticipated as well. David Ash isn't turning the ball over, the defense is downright salty (shutting out New Mexico last week) and a host of elite play-makers on offense has Mack Brown's squad thinking Big 12 title. Keep a keen eye locked on freshman No. 27 Daje Johnson. In his first game of his college career, he touched the ball four times for 70 yards and a score. He will be used in a variety of ways and has special big-play talent. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace has played well to start his Rebel career, but has never seen anything like this Texas defensive front. Prediction: Texas (-9)

USC (-8) at Stanford
The Cardinal have won three straight and four out of five, but Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck are both gone. But Matt Barkley nearly upset the Luck-led Stanford team last fall and there isn't a defensive back on the team who can cover Robert Woods or Marqise Lee. Josh Nunes played better and Shayne Skov's returns is a big boost to the defense. But one team is a national title contender and the other may struggle to win eight games this year. This was a bizarre cover last year for Stanford with a two-point conversion in overtime giving the Cardinal the win outright and against the number. It shouldn't be that close this time around. Prediction: USC (-8)

Mississippi State (-16) at Troy
The Trojans of Alabama have had an impossible time getting stops on defense. Against UAB and UL Lafayette, Troy has allowed at least 29 points and 424.0 yards of offense per game. The Bulldogs have been extremely impressive in two easy wins, one of which came against Auburn last weekend. Tyler Russell is playing well, the defense is fundamentally sound and this team sees and opportunity to move up in the SEC West with Arkansas, Auburn and Texas A&M stumbling out of the gate. Hail State will roll big. Prediction: Mississippi State (-16)

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 3</p>
Post date: Friday, September 14, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Week 2 wasn't any better than Week 1 for Big Ten fans. In fact, it was much worse. As stated in the weekly Big Ten recap, the league is 2-7 against BCS conference teams and Notre Dame. Those two wins are Northwestern's victories over Syracuse and Vanderbilt.

The bruised Midwestern egos are hanging in the balance this Saturday, and for many, redemption is a must. Wisconsin, Penn State and Iowa all lost and all face tricky tests this weekend against teams they should beat. Don't be surprised if one trips up again. 

The best medicine for the Big Ten, though, would be a great showing from Michigan State against Notre Dame...

Big Ten's Top 10 Storylines to Watch in Week 3:

1. Which Andrew Maxwell shows up this weekend?
If Michigan State is going to pull the upset over Notre Dame, its junior quarterback is going to have to play efficient and consistent football. That means the player who threw for 275 yards, two scores and no interceptions in Week 2 needs to be under center. Not the guy who threw three interceptions and no touchdowns in Week 1. Certainly, Boise State had something to do with his struggles, but Mark Dantonio is going to have to get big plays - and not turnovers - from Maxwell in order to beat a Notre Dame team that has allowed three touchdowns all season. Don't forget that Notre Dame handled the Spartans with relative ease last season, winning 31-13. This game features two of the best front-sevens in football and which first-year starter under center plays the most mistake-free football will likely win. 

2. Bret Bielema and staff need to look in the mirror
Everyone knew losing offensive coordinator Paul Chryst was going to be extremely difficult for Wisconsin to overcome. But many glossed over the fact that Bielema had to completely rebuild his coaching staff this offseason as a total of six assistants left for jobs elsewhere. The UW staff didn't waste much time evaluating the new hires either. After the pathetic showing against Oregon State last weekend, Bielema replaced offensive line coach Mike Markuson. While two games doesn't feel like the right amount of time to accurately judge his staff, one thing is certain, offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been overmatched. His gameplans have lacked creativity and the numbers have been startling. Try 207 total yards from the Big Ten's most potent offense a year ago against Oregon State. However, it's not just one guy's fault. The offensive line needs to play better, Montee Ball has looked uninspired and Danny O'Brien looks nothing like the player he was as a freshman at Maryland. There is no need to panic (Oregon State is a much improved team this year and UW was closer to an 8-4 team anyway), but the schedule is only getting tougher and a visit from upstart 2-0 Utah State isn't what the doctor ordered. Two non-conference wins before heading to Nebraska to begin Big Ten play is essential for the once-powerful Big Red of Madison.

3. Kirk Ferentz is coaching for his job every weekend
One could make the case Iowa should be 0-2 heading into its Week 3 showdown with Northern Iowa. Wait, a game against an FCS opponent and a Big Ten power is a "showdown?" With the way the Hawkeyes offense has played in two games — 24 total points, 112th in total offense (286.0 ypg) and six sacks allowed — the answer is most assuredly yes. James Vandenberg is a shell of his 2011 self, the offensive line isn't blocking and the skill players aren't making plays. And no one will forget how Northern Iowa nearly beat Wisconsin in Week 1 — or the last time these two met. In 2009, Iowa barely defeated its upstart in-state competition 17-16. Do not overlook the fact that a majority of the Northern Iowa roster likely grew up wishing for a chance to play for the Hawkeyes. Ferentz' job security seems tenuous and every week is important. A loss this Saturday could be nearly impossible to overcome.

4. Weekly Rex Burkhead injury update
The star tailback's injured knee will be one of the biggest storylines of the year if he cannot return soon. This week, he won't be needed against Arkansas State, but he was certainly missed in last week's upset loss to UCLA. Ameer Abdullah has been playing well enough that the Huskers should roll over the Red Wolves this weekend, but head coach Bo Pelini has been hush-hush about his stud running back. He is day-to-day and even if he does return, the plan should be to ease him back into action. Upcoming conference games with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State are all vastly more important than Saturday's contest versus Arkansas State. Look for Pelini to do the right thing here and make sure No. 22 is fully healthy before bringing him back onto the field. He can claim all he wants that Burkhead's absence didn't cost Nebraska the UCLA game, but it is hard to believe the All-American running back isn't worth at least six points.

5. Bill O'Brien still looking for first win of his career
Penn State played well last weekend against a well-coached Virginia team. The Nittany Lions were/are shorthanded and they played well above their heads in the heart-breaking loss. If O'Brien wants to galvanize the fan base and notch a few wins this fall, he needs to do some damage over the next month, starting with Navy at home on Saturday. The betting public has its reservations, however, as the line opened at 8.5 in favor of PSU over the Midshipmen, but has since dropped to 5.5. With Temple coming up next weekend, the Lions have a chance to equal their record at 2-2, but a win over Navy is imperative for the psyche of this program.

6. Big Ten bounces back in a big way
Okay, so "big" might be pushing it. However, anytime six teams in a 12-team league lose non-conference games like the league did last week, any victory is big. Purdue lost a heart-breaker and one of its quarterbacks to Notre Dame. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois all return home from the West Coast with their tails between their legs and mid-major programs coming to town. Penn State's chances of winning this weekend have been documented above and Iowa is in complete disarray at the moment. All 12 Big Ten teams are at home this weekend and all 12 are favored to win. A 12-0 week would be just what Jim Delany needs to cure his heartburn.

7. 3-0 against BCS competition
Northwestern faces Boston College at home this weekend. The Wildcats are the only Big Ten team with two wins over BCS conference competition thus far and would obviously be the only team with three such wins if Pat Fitzgerald's bunch can topple the Eagles. No, none of the wins are marquee victories over top 25 competition, but beating an SEC bowl team, an ACC team and Big East team to start the season for a team of Northwestern's stature is nothing to overlook. The defense showed massive improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 and Coach Fitz' squad should be able to handle BC at home. 

8. How will Ohio State's secondary play against Cal's passing attack
The cross-country trip to Columbus has Cal more than a two-touchdown underdog to Ohio State. But if there is one area of concern for Urban Meyer this Saturday, it will come on the arm of Zach Maynard and the Golden Bears' passing attack. Through two games, the Buckeyes are ranked 96th nationally against the pass (281.0 ypg). Some of that can be attributed to the two teams trailing in both games, but UCF and Miami (Ohio) aren't exactly world beaters. Cal has a trio of pass-catchers that will stretch the field vertically as Keenan Allen, Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper are talented and over-looked in a league loaded with receiving talent. This might be Cal's only hope to pull off a miraculous upset over Ohio State. Because that Braxton Miller guy could easily run for another 150-plus yards and score four more times.

9. Could it be? Minnesota and Indiana a combined 6-0?
The Gophers and Hoosiers won a combined four games last fall, and through two weeks, they have already matched that total. And there are no signs that anything will change this weekend as Minnesota hosts Western Michigan and Indiana hosts Ball State. However, both of these MAC teams are more than capable of competing, so if both coaches expect to prove to the rest of the league that their starts are less fluke and more sustained growth, these are two games they have to win. This will be much tougher for IU now that starting quarterback Tre Roberson is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season after breaking his leg last weekend. The injury could not have come at a worst time and the Hoosiers must move forward with Cameron Coffman as their starter.

10. Michigan's Achilles Heel is pretty obvious
It won't mean much this weekend against the dramatically overmatched UMass Minutemen, but the yardage being surrendered by the Wolverines' front seven is concerning. Alabama and Air Force took whatever they wanted in the first two weeks and it nearly resulted in an 0-2 start for predicted Big Ten frontrunner Michigan. Certainly, the triple-option will skew stats but 261.0 yards rushing allowed per game is atrocious. Again, it won't play a role in what should be a blowout win over UMass, but this is easily the storyline to track for Brady Hoke's bunch in Week 3.

Week 3 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 3 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
W. Michigan (+2.5) at Minnesota Minnesota, 31-20 Minnesota, 28-20 Minnesota 31-27 Minnesota, 21-17
Arkansas St (+24.5) at Nebraska Nebraska, 41-24 Nebraska, 37-20 Nebraska 40-24 Nebraska, 35-28
Cal (+17) at Ohio St Ohio St, 45-24 Ohio St, 28-14 Ohio St 34-20 Ohio St, 28-14
E. Michigan (+24) at Purdue Purdue, 31-10 Purdue, 37-15 Purdue 38-13 Purdue, 21-10
Charl. Southern at Illinois Illinois, 34-10 Illinois, 41-10 Illinois 45-7 Illinois, 31-14
Navy (+5.5) at Penn St Penn St, 17-14 Penn St, 17-13 Penn State 27-20 Penn St, 28-14
UMass (+46.5) at Michigan Michigan, 45-10 Michigan, 51-0 Michigan 52-7 Michigan, 42-7
N. Iowa at Iowa Iowa, 21-17 Iowa, 20-17 Iowa 27-20 Iowa, 21-14
BC (+3.5) at Northwestern N'Western, 30-20 N'Western, 30-21 N'Western 31-24 N'Western, 31-17
Ball St (+2.5) at Indiana Indiana, 24-20 Indiana, 21-20 Ball State 31-27 Indiana, 24-17
Utah St (+14) at Wisconsin Wisconsin, 30-21 Utah St, 24-23 Wisconsin 34-27 Wisconsin, 35-21
Notre Dame (+6) at Michigan State Mich. St, 21-14 Mich. St, 23-21 Mich. St 24-20 Mich. St, 28-21
Last Week: 9-3 9-3 8-4 8-4
Yearly Totals: 20-4 19-5 20-4 19-5

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 3 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 3 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 3 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 3 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 3 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 3 Upset Picks

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Athlon previews the coming week of gridiron action in the Big Ten Conference.</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-3-preview-and-predictions
Body:

After two weeks of action, it has become clear that the Pac-12 is much better than originally believed. Week 2 featured landmark victories over major powers from the Big Ten (Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois) and Big 12 (Oklahoma State) as well as victories over the ACC (Duke) and Big East (Syracuse). However, the same couldn't be said for Pac-12 contender wanna-be's Washington and Utah — both of whom now need to pick themselves off the mat after crushing defeats.

Pac-12's Top 10 Storylines to Watch in Week 3:

1. Can USC clear first real hurdle?
Stanford, under Jim Harbaugh, was a thorn in the side of USC. The Cardinal have won three straight over the Trojans and four of the last five. Harbaugh is now coaching what might be the best football team on the planet across the bay and Andrew Luck is a Colt. Lane Kiffin's group made a long trip East to New Jersey last week and were sluggish at times in the win over Syracuse. Meanwhile, Stanford welcomed back defensive leader Shayne Skov and showed marked improvement from Week 1. But can Josh Nunes play turnover-free, efficient enough football to hang with the SoCal powerhouse? Can the offensive line open up holes for Stepfan Taylor therefore keeping Matt Barkley on the sideline? Can Skov, and the secondary in particular, slow down the dynamic duo of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee — a tandem who scored five touchdowns last week? The Farm needs to be a factor as well if Stanford expects to pull the upset at home over the nation's preseason No. 1.

2. The Holy War's extra implications
It might be the best-named rivalry game in all of college football and, unfortunately, fans will be without an annual BYU-Utah tilt for the near future. The longtime in-state rivals are scheduled to play in 2013 in Provo, but after that they are not slated to not meet again until 2016. Beyond that, the future of this intense battle is completely up in the air. Will BYU join a conference and how would that impact scheduling? Does the nine-game 
conference slate of the Pac-12 spoil what is one of the nation's top rivalries? To top it all off, Utah is reeling and needs a win bad while the Cougars have looked very impressive on both sides of the ball in two wins. What is worse, Utah will be without its starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

3. Familiar quarterback concerns at Utah, Washington State
The Utes will battle with BYU this weekend in desperate need of a win and will be doing so without Jordan Wynn. The oft-injured passer who created balance in Week 1 for the Utes announced his retirement from the game after a serious injury to his left shoulder. Jon Hays, who was rather ineffective as a passer but went 6-3 in place of Wynn last season, will likely battle with rising star Travis Wilson for the right to quarterback this team. Hays brings experience and a veteran resume while Wilson has outstanding raw athletic ability and obvious upside. Kyle Whittingham will likely play both, but Wilson is clearly the future of this team. Up in Pullman, another familiar story dotted the boxscore last week: Jeff Tuel left the game with an injury. Tuel had a brace on his knee while watching practice this week and it appears he won't be ready to go for the UNLV game. Expect Connor Halliday — who threw for almost 800 yards in two starts last season — to get the nod in the Cougars' final non-conference tilt of the season.

4. Is Arizona State for real?
A win is a win. But Arizona State's 2-0 record and 108 total points scored will be brought into focus this weekend when the Sun Devils head to Missouri. The 45-14 win over Illinois was impressive, but the Illini were without starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and ASU took advantage. The backfield for Todd Graham has been stellar with two quarterbacks and three runners all playing well to this point. But Mizzou will easily be the toughest test of the year for Arizona State and fans will have a much clearer picture of what this team really is after this weekend. If Graham can lead his team into Columbia and pull off the upset, all bets are off on this team's potential. If the Tigers, who are coming off one of their worst fourth quarters in recent memory against Georgia, roll up another 501 yards of offense and 30 points like they did against ASU last year, the Devils will return to the desert with their first loss of the year.

5. Is this Colorado's last chance for a win in 2012?
The Buffs have gotten off to one of the worst starts in program history and arguably the worst start of any BCS conference team in the nation. A loss to the Mountain West and FCS doesn't bode well for Jon Embree's chances at improvement this fall. Now, Colorado is a two-touchdown underdog to Fresno State — and it might be the best chance it has to get a win in 2012. That's right, CU faces nine Pac-12 opponents the rest of the way and won't be close to being favored in any of them. A road trip to Washington State next week is the only game fans can point to with any confidence at all. The Buffaloes will host UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford, Washington and Utah while visiting USC, Oregon and Arizona. An 0-12 season is a definite possibility.

6. Can Cal's passing attack take advantage of Ohio State's secondary?
The cross-country trip to Columbus has Cal more than a touchdown underdog to Ohio State. But if there is one chance for the Golden Bears to keep the game within reach, it will come on the arm of Zach Maynard. Through two games, the Buckeyes are ranked 96th nationally against the pass (281.0 ypg). Some of that can be attributed to teams trailing in both games, but Maynard has a trio of pass-catchers that will stretch the field vertically. Keenan Allen, Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper are talented and over-looked in a league loaded with receiving talent and they might be Cal's only hope to pull off a miraculous upset over Ohio State.

7. Surging Bruins are looking for revenge
Houston compiled 469 total yards of offense in the 38-34 win over UCLA last fall. Gone is Kevin Sumlin, gone is Case Keenum and gone is the Cougars' competitive edge. This team is 0-2 with ugly losses to Texas State and Louisiana Tech thus far while UCLA has been one of the more improved teams in the nation through two weeks. And even though Jim Mora Jr., his coaching staff and quarterback Brett Hundley weren't a part of last year's season-opening defeat to UH, fans can bet that Johnathan Franklin, the nation's leading rusher at 215.5 yards per game, hasn't forgotten. Look for the Bruins to roll up a big number against the Cougs and continue their early season success.

8. Cupcake City comes at right time
Playing Tennessee Tech really serves no purpose for Chip Kelly and Oregon whatsoever, but Washington and Arizona need the "break" this week. The Huskies returned from Baton Rouge to lick their wounds after LSU dominated the Dawgs 41-3. Keith Price was beaten up and had little time to do anything. Portland State should offer no such trouble and will give Price and company a chance to get right. Meanwhile, Arizona is coming off a big upset over Oklahoma State and is in prime let-down alert position. However, Arizona should have no such issues with South Carolina State this weekend.

9. The Beavers get rare unlucky bye week
After having their first game against Nicholls State postponed until the final week of the regular season, Oregon State won a massive game over a top-15 team in Wisconsin in Week 2. So with an open date this week, Mike Riley's team will enter Week 4 having played one game. It will be interesting to see if it helps or hurts OSU's momentum heading into back-to-back road games against UCLA and Arizona.

10. Heisman Trophy Tracker off the charts in Pac-12
USC has three legitimate Heisman candidates in Barkley, Lee and Woods. Oregon has three legit contenders in Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota. UCLA has the best new quarterback in the nation in Hundley and the country's top rusher in Franklin. The explosive offensive talent in this league is extraordinary and Heisman voters need to make sure they are staying up late on Saturdays. And I didn't even mention Keith Price, John White, Keenan Allen, Marquess Wilson or Stepfan Taylor. There is a reason five of the top 20 scoring teams in the nation through two weeks hail from the Pac-12.

Week 3 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 3 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Washington St (-8.5) at UNLV Wazzu, 24-17 Wazzu, 27-13 Wazzu 38-13 Wazzu, 28-14
Cal (+17) at Ohio St Ohio St, 45-24 Ohio St, 28-14 Ohio St 34-20 Ohio St, 28-14
Tennessee Tech at Oregon Oregon, 56-10 Oregon, 54-10 Oregon 62-10 Oregon, 70-7
Portland St at Washington Wash., 45-7 Wash., 41-10 Wash. 45-10 Wash., 42-17
Arizona St (+6.5) at Missouri Mizzou, 34-24 Mizzou, 32-24 Mizzou 34-27 Mizzou, 31-17
USC (-7.5) at Stanford USC, 35-21 USC, 38-24 USC 38-20 USC, 35-21
Colorado (+14) at Fresno St Fresno, 31-20 Fresno, 30-17 Fresno 34-17 Fresno, 21-14
BYU (-4) at Utah Utah, 21-20 BYU, 24-14 BYU 30-17 BYU, 35-21
South Carolina St at Arizona Arizona, 45-13 Arizona, 44-10 Arizona 55-7 Arizona, 56-10
Houston (+17) at UCLA UCLA, 41-17 UCLA, 38-24 UCLA 48-27 UCLA, 38-21
Last Week: 8-4 7-5 7-5 6-6
Yearly Totals: 17-7 17-7 17-7 15-9

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 3 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 3 Previews and Predictions

Big Ten Week 3 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 3 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 3 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 3 Upset Picks

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 3 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /college-football/pac12-post-week-2-power-rankings
Body:

Saturday was a celebration of Pac-12 football. Its electric, powerful high-flying offenses are clearly impossible to stop. The league went 6-0 against the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Big East over the weekend as defense was, once again, an after thought for the West Coast league. Five teams cracked the 40-point mark and UCLA was four points from being the sixth. The quarterback position is alive and well even after losing names like Luck, Thomas, Foles and Oswieler to the NFL. Sean Mannion, Brett Hundley and Matt Scott all led their teams to major upsets while Matt Barkley, Marcus Mariota, Jeff Tuel and Taylor Kelly each earned key victories as well.

Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC -
The Heisman front-runner didn't have big yardage numbers this weekend (187) but he did tie a school and personal best with six touchdown strikes. It was the third time he has thrown six touchdown passes in the last six games.

2. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - As a two-touchdown underdog to a team that scored 84 points last week, Scott was a monster. He posted his second straight 300-yard passing effort to go with 55 yards rushing, three total touchdowns and nary a turnover in the upset win over Oklahoma State. He is second nationally in total offense (418.0 ypg).

3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA - For the second straight week, it is virtually impossible to pick between the Bruins uber-talented dual-threat freshman quarterback and veteran workhorse tailback. Franklin topped 200 yards again and Hundley added 358 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jake Fischer, Arizona - The leader of the Arizona defense added 14 total tackles and a forced fumble in the upset win over one of the most powerful offenses in all of the nation. He is leading the Pac-12 in tackles at 13.5 per game through two weeks.

2. Dion Bailey, LB, USC - The sophomore All-American candidate had a big day in New Jersey. Bailey posted eight total tackles, one for a loss and intercepted two passes. He is USC's leading tackler with 15 total tackles in two wins for the Trojans.

3. J.P. Hurrell, LB, Cal - Some bigger names (Datone Jones for example) might have played just as well against bigger competition, but few players will ever have a statistical performance like Hurrell did. He posted six total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in a must-win situation for Jeff Tedford. He leads the league in sacks after two weeks.

Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Lane Kiffin, USC -
It was not nearly as smooth as the USC head man would have liked but his team stayed undefeated, scored at least 38 points in its seventh straight games and found a power running game. All of which is a scary thought for the rest of the Pac-12.

2. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns in the relatively easy win over Mountain West contender Fresno State. The four fumbles — three lost — will likely make for a tense film session, however.

3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA and Rich Rodriguez, Arizona - Both have started their new careers 2-0 with major upset victories over BCS powerhouses. Both have dual-threat quarterbacks who seem to fit their schemes perfectly. Both have workhorse tailbacks in the backfield. And both have defenses that appear to be greatly improved.

Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

1. USC (2-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 2 result: Beat Syracuse 42-29
It was a sluggish, neutral-field performance for the Trojans, but USC emerged unscathed. And that is all Lane Kiffin cares about. Matt Barkley celebrated his 22nd birthday by tossing six touchdown passes and leading his offense to at least 40 points in six of the last seven games. As good as the USC quarterback was, Robert Woods was better. The junior wideout caught 10 passes, totaled 200 all-purpose yards, scored two touchdowns and gifted USC two others via punt return and on an end around. Woods was so good that a guy who caught 11 passes and three touchdowns of his, Marqise Lee, was totally overshadowed. Kiffin also found a power running game as his balanced attacked rushed for nearly eight yards per carry on 33 attempts (7.8 ypc, 258 yards). This defense will need to improve to win the Pac-12, but it doesn't appear any defense, not even Stanford's this weekend, will be able to slow this Trojan offense.
This week: at Stanford (2-0)

2. Oregon (2-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 2 result: Beat Fresno State 45-25
The Ducks have looked national championship good in the early going and will give USC everything they can handle come November 3. But this team cannot afford any more key injuries. Safety John Boyett is lost for the year with potential knee surgery and will be a huge loss to the Oregon secondary. On the offensive line, guard Carson York (knee) and tackle Kyle Long (leg) both are banged-up as well as wideout Josh Huff. This team has proven to be as deep as any in the nation, but a few more key injuries could lower this team's national upside. In other news, De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are unstoppable. Thomas touched the ball 11 times on offense, scoring twice and piling-up 128 yards from scrimmage. That gives him five touchdowns in two games. Barner was the workhorse, carrying 34 times for 201 yards and three rushing touchdowns. 
This week: Tennessee Tech (2-0)

3. UCLA (2-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 2 result: Beat Nebraska 36-30
The UCLA Bruins are one of college football's best surprises through two weeks of action. The talent has always been there for the Bruins but unlucky quarterback injuries and a lack of leadership have led to overwhelming underachievement for the better part of a decade. Names like Datone Jones, Joseph Fauria and Anthony Barr are beginning to realize some of their always apparent potential. The credit has to go to Jim Mora Jr and his deep coaching staff. They have instilled toughness and work ethic that is obvious in the way UCLA has played this year. To top it all off, Brett Hundley has the makings of the best thing to happen under center at Westwood since Cade McNown of the late 90s. He has been dynamic, efficient and protective of the football - all of which has opened up gashes for senior tailback Johnathan Franklin to run through. Last fall, this team ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense (376.6 ypg) and scoring (23.1 ppg). After two games, this offense is ranked No. 1 in a league that also boasts Oregon and USC.
This week: Houston (0-2)

4. Stanford (2-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 2 result: Beat Duke 50-13
This is how the Stanford defense should look in 2012. Shayne Skov returned to the line-up with authority after a one-game suspension with five tackles. Safety Ed Reynolds intercepted his second and third passes of the season to go with his four stops. And Duke was held to 27 yards rushing on 23 carries, while quarterback Sean Renfree was kept in check (0 TD, 2 INT). More importantly, however, quarterback Josh Nunes was dramatically more comfortable in the pocket, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout. This team showed considerable improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 but will need to continue its development if it expects to compete with the Men of Troy this Saturday.
This week: USC (2-0)

5. Arizona (2-0)
Previous rank: 8
Week 2 result: Beat Oklahoma State 59-38
The offenses were expecting to be the star of this bout in the desert, but most believed it would be the Cowboys of Oklahoma State putting up nearly 60 points and over 500 yards of offense. But Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey continued their electric start to the Rich Rodriguez tenure in Tucson by dominating the boxscore. Scott finished with 375 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns without a single turnover and is No. 2 nationally in total offense after two weeks. Carey did his best Steve Slaton impersonation by touching the ball 30 times for 154 yards and four of his own trips to paydirt. The defense still has issues but appears to be improved enough to give the offense a chance to outscore the opponent each and every week. Both UCLA and Arizona are in a heated race in the South and have gotten off to great starts. Both should start the year 3-0. 
This week: South Carolina State (1-1)


6. Washington (1-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 2 result: Lost to LSU 41-3 
The Washington Huskies are getting better. They have improved their coaching staff and upgraded the level of talented across the roster in Seattle. But Steve Sarkisian's group is not prepared for the national spotlight just yet. LSU's powerful offensive line, with the help of one of the deepest and nastiest defensive lines in the nation, out-rushed Washington 242-26. The twitter-sphere started feeling bad for Keith Price, who ran for his life most of the game, completing less than 50% of his passes, got sacked four times and was unable to get his team into the endzoe. Washington will have time to lick its wounds with Portland State and the bye week coming up, but this barometer test clearly indicates the Huskies aren't ready to content with Oregon or USC just yet. After the off week, U of W will face Stanford, Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks.
This week: Portland State (1-1)


7. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 10
Week 2 result: Beat Wisconsin 10-7
Mike Riley knew how big this game was and he coached for his life in one of the biggest wins in program history. While this Wisconsin team isn't an elite Badger unit, the Beavers still knocked off a top 15 non-conference opponent in dominating fashion. The offense wasn't perfect by any means, but Sean Mannion connected with Markus Wheaton and the speedy Brandin Cooks time and time again in key situations throughout the second half. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Mark Banker should get DC of the Week nationally for the job he did against the Badgers offense. Montee Ball was completely ineffective, Jared Abbrederis was knocked out of the game and Danny O'Brien had no where to go with the football. The ceiling for this team may still be an unknown, but 3-9 should be a distant memory in Corvallis.
This week: Open Date

8. Arizona State (2-0)
Previous rank: 9
Week 2 result: Beat Illinois 45-14
The Sun Devils have put 108 points on the board in two wins under Todd Graham, and what is scary is that it could have been better if not for some miscues in the redzone. Taylor Kelly won his second start and was efficient once again throwing the football. He was 18-of-24 for 249 yards and a touchdown and has yet to throw an interception this fall. The deep and talented backfield did the rest. Cameron Marshall got 12 carries and scored his 21st rushing touchdown in his last 15 games. Freshman D.J. Foster continues to show his versatility by leading the team in receiving (72 yards) as well as scoring for the second time in as many career games on nine rushing attempts. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase didn't play and the Illini put up little opposition without their leader under center. That said, the Sun Devils have been impressive thus far and will be facing their toughest test of the young year this weekend in Columbia.
This week: at Missouri (1-1)

9. California (1-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 2 result: Beat Southern Utah 50-31
The Golden Bears rushed for 176 more yards this week (289) than it did in the opening loss to Nevada (113). Still, consistency will be the lesson from the embattled Jeff Tedford this week. Cal was sluggish once again out of the gate, being outscored 3-0 in the first quarter. Then again coming out of halftime, Southern Utah won the third quarter 7-0. It meant that SUU took a lead into the second quarter and trailed only by three when the final frame began. Explosive second and fourth periods in which Cal outscored Southern Utah 20-7 and 30-14 respectively gave Tedford the much-needed win. But inconsistent play from both side of the ball will be an issue against Pac-12 foes. Also concerning is allowing exactly 31 points in each game - good for dead last in the league in scoring defense. And now they have to stop Braxton Miller.
This week: at Ohio State (2-0)


10. Utah (1-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 2 result: Lost to Utah State 27-20 (OT)
The Battle of the Brothers went the way of the little brother this time around. Utah State is a developing into one of the better mid-major programs out west and a signature win over an in-state rival on national TV cannot be undervalued. So the intense overtime battle shouldn't have come as a huge shock. However, Utes fans had to have a sense of deja vu when they watched starting quarterback Jordan Wynn leave the game with a shoulder injury and Jon Hays step under center. Wynn's X-rays were negative but Kyle Whittingham hasn't made any official statements about the future of his starting quarterback. Hays was terrible last fall but showed some growth in the second half against the Aggies. He threw for 154 yards and led the Utah offense to 17 second-half points to get the game into overtime. Either way, having quarterback issues getting ready for BYU's defense in what could be the last Holy War for the foreseeable future makes a 1-2 start very possible for Utah.
This week: BYU (2-0)

11. Washington State (1-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 2 result: Beat Eastern Washington 24-20
On the surface, it looks like Washington State played cupcake and struggled to win Mike Leach's first game of the year. However, Eastern Washington already has one FBS win this season in impressive fashion, is one of the top west coast FCS programs, boasts a former June Jones SMU disciple at quarterback and likely sports an entire roster of players who dreamed of playing football in the Pac-12. The defense gave up a lot of yards (469) and will struggle all season but the offense scored 24 first-half points and the defense made it stand up. Jeff Tuel was much more effective than he was against BYU throwing two touchdowns, but a twisted knee forced the oft-injured starting quarterback to the bench. Connor Halliday finished the game and would be the starter should Tuel miss any extended time. 
This week: at UNLV (0-2)

12. Colorado (0-2)
Previous rank: 12
Week 2 result: Lost to Sacramento State 28-20
Where to start? Colorado is one of only six BCS conference teams to begin the year 0-2. Pitt, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Penn State and Syracuse are the others. Only PItt, however, joins the Buffs with a loss to an FCS opponent. What's worse is Sacramento State didn't look overmatched. It out-passed Colorado nearly 2-to-1, it out-rushed Colorado and held the Buffaloes to seven second-half points in the upset win. With nine conference games and a trip to Fresno State this weekend left on the slate, Jon Embree's team won't be favored the rest of the 2012 season, meaning they will have to pull an upset to win a single game this fall. 
This week: Fresno State (1-1)

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 2 Recap

ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power
Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/6-stats-sunday-week1
Body:

NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each and every NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. 

And new statistics. 

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 1 of NFL play:

123.4: Mark Sanchez' QB rating against the Bills
Sanchez completed 19-of-27 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and didn't get sacked in the 48-28 destruction of Buffalo. It was the highest scoring output of the Sanchez era in New York and it was the second-highest single-game QB rating of Sanchez' career. So by definition, he has played one better game in his entire career— a 124.3 rating back in Week 2 of the 2010 season against New England. The former USC quarterback was brilliant in arguably the most pressure-packed atmosphere of his entire career as back-up Tim Tebow looked on from the sidelines. Tebow didn't attempt a pass and rushed five times for 11 yards. Although, I am sure that Tebow was the catalyst behind Sanchez' play, and therefore, deserves all of the credit.

 

8-8: Consecutive completions for Robert Griffin III to start his career
The No. 2 overall pick in the spring draft made his debut in New Orleans by completing his first eight passes for 149 yards and an 88-yard scoring strike. The long touchdown pass was the second-longest scoring strike by any quarterback making their debut, trailing on Charlie Batch's 98-yard scoring throw to Johnnie Morton back in 1998 for the Lions. Griffin III took a 20-14 road lead over New Orleans into halftime with a perfect 158.3 QB rating, something that has never been done (10 att.). By the game's end, Washington had defeated the Saints on the road and scored the most points, 40, of any Mike Shanahan-coached team in D.C. He threw for 320 yards as one of an NFL-record five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday. He and Andrew Luck, who threw for 309 yards in his debut, were only the third and fourth players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in Week 1 of their rookie season (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton).

 

22: Games in which New England has had one 100-yard rusher
Second-year back Stevan Ridley rushed for 123 yards in the 34-13 mauling of the Tennessee Titans. It is only the second 100-yard rushing effort for the Patriots in its last 22 games. BenJarvus Green-Elllis back in Week 5 last season was the only Patriot to top the century mark rushing since December of 2010. The former LSU workhorse touched the ball 23 times for 152 yards from scrimmage and one hard-nosed touchdown. The Pats won their NFL-best ninth straight season opener and actually look better than the Super Bowl runner-up squad from a year ago. Ridley brings a physical presence to the backfield and his continued success would make stopping the New England offense virtually impossible.

 

:14 Seconds it took Minnesota to tie the game
The Minnesota Vikings scored to take the lead against the Jaguars with 9:42 seconds left in the third quarter. The Vikes led the entire rest of the game until, with 20 seconds left to play, Blaine Gabbert connected on what was all but sure to be the game-winning touchdown pass. But Christian Ponder took over at his own 31 yard line and proceeded to complete three passes for 32 yards in a drive that lasted 14 seconds and ended with a 55-yard game-tying field goal from rookie kicker Blair Walsh. 

 

8: Total interceptions thrown by Cleveland and Philadelphia
Rookie Brandon Weeden was making his first career start against one of the NFL's top secondaries. He has some excuses for throwing four interceptions on Sunday, but Michael Vick doesn't have too many for his four interceptions. The Eagles won a sloppy, ugly game in which Vick threw a career-high 56 passes and neither team looked like it belonged in the playoffs. At the end of the day, Vick made the big plays he needed to in order to win, but he knows everyone in a Eagles uniform will have to improve. The Browns, who weren't really concerned with a playoff seed, have now lost 13 of its last 14 season openers.

 

5, 53, 1: Tony Gonzalez' catches, yards and touchdowns in Arrowhead Stadium
If you polled everyone who claims to be at least a casual NFL fan, how many would know that Tony Gonzalez is No. 2 all-time with 1,154 receptions? It's Jerry Rice and then Gonzo. A total of 916 of those catches came in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform and 95 of those have gone for touchdowns — of which, only one will ever be scored in Arrowhead Stadium in a uniform that isn't red and gold. So when No. 88 stood in the KC endzone on Sunday, clad in the black and red colors of Atlanta, and dunked the football over the crossbar like he did 76 times as a Chief, was a surreal image for this diehard football fan. Gonzalez has posted eight straight seasons of at least 70 catches and his clutch play on Sunday indicates he isn't slowing down just yet. He will own every KC and NFL tight end receiving records in the book and will be only the second player to ever catch 1,200 passes. And the only number he really cares about? The 40-24 final score. The second he gracefully steps away from the game in the coming years, those boos you heard at Arrowhead on Sunday will instantly return to an overwhelming ovation. And rightly so, few deserve it more than Gonzalez. 

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> 6 Most Important Stats from Week 1 of the NFL</p>
Post date: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 05:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /node/12201
Body:

Every Friday for entertainment purposes only, I will bring you my top college football picks against the spread. I do not condone, approve or encourage gambling on sports in any way. But if you are a fan of football — college or pro — and you don't think gambling has played a huge role in the growth and popularity of the sport, then you are simply being ignorant. And behind closed doors, the powers that be understand the impact betting has had on the game of football.

2012 Record Against The Spread: 7-2
Last Week: 7-2

Ohio State and Baylor were double-digit favorites last week and both provided easy covers while ACC teams Miami and Clemson provided winners as well in key season openers. Iowa State was the only BCS team facing a mid-major at home that was an underdog — and they won by two touchdowns. Alabama was an easy pick and Louisville was very impressive. The Big Ten supplied my two losses as Michigan State won outright but missed the cover while Penn State's emotional season debut ended in defeat.

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Louisiana Tech (-3.5) at Houston
There may not have been a worse season debut than Houston’s 30-13 loss to Texas State. There is no Case Keenum, no Kevin Sumlin and the result ended up being 326 total yards of offense against a team that joined the FBS ranks this year. The Bulldogs are loaded on offense, are used to winning (reigning WAC champs), and went 11-2 last season against the spread. They have also had two weeks to prepare as their tough opener against Texas A&M was postponed last week. Prediction: Louisiana Tech (-3.5)

Georgia (-2) at Missouri
The Dawgs and Mark Richt fully understand what this game means to their SEC championship hopes. A trip to South Carolina is the only tougher road game facing UGA all season and Mizzou is making its SEC debut. These two offenses are led by stellar quarterbacks in Aaron Murray and James Franklin, but one team possesses a vastly superior defense. The second this line dropped below the field goal benchmark, I jumped on a team that was 3-1 against the spread as a road favorite last season. Prediction: Georgia (-2)

Vanderbilt (-3.5) at Northwestern
One of these two teams can play defense. One of these two teams is physical at the point of attack. One of these teams plays in the SEC. Vandy should overpower the Wildcats after the Northwestern defense allowed nearly 600 total yards last week to Syracuse. Vandy should be able to score at will and could pull away comfortably in the end. Northwestern was 0-3 as a home dog against the spread last season. Prediction: Vanderbilt (-3.5)

NC State (-4.5) at UConn
The Wolfpack secondary was under fire last weekend against the Vols, however, there might not be a player on the UConn offense (other than Lyle McCombs) that would start for Tennessee. And the one area that played well for NC State last weekend was the rushing defense. This is a great match-up for NC State’s strengths and quarterback Mike Glennon should bounce back this weekend. Prediction: NC State (-4.5)

UCF (+18) at Ohio State
If you throw out the 2011 season, the Buckeyes are 13-2 against the spread as home favorites since 2009. This includes doubling the 23-point spread last week in a 46-point win over Miami, Ohio. Yes, UCF scored 56 points last week but it was against lowly Akron. Ohio State is a far superior football team and will roll to another win this weekend. Prediction: Ohio State (-18)

Wisconsin (-7) at Oregon State
When the Beavers came to Madison last fall, no one gave them a chance to win. Montee Ball ran for 118 yards and two scores in the 35-0 win over Oregon State. After Wisconsin struggled breaking in new offensive pieces last weekend, bettors have brought this line down from 11 to 7 points. The Badgers will be on edge this weekend and Oregon State is walking into this game without the benefit of a warm-up against Nicholls State — a game that got postponed last weekend. Prediction: Wisconsin (-7)

UL Lafayette (+3) at Troy
Mark Hudspeth and ULL started their 2012 season with a 40-0 win over Lamar and look to clear their first big conference hurdle of the season this weekend. Quarterback Blaine Gautier didn’t even play much in this battle last fall that ended with an easy 31-17 Rajin Cajuns’ win. Gautier is back this time around he should be able to make big plays as the Troy defense allowed 459 yards and 29 points to UAB last weekend. Look for ULL to win a close, high-scoring game, so the points feel like a gift. Prediction: UL Lafayette (+3)

Washington (+24) at LSU
Since winning the 2007 BCS national title, LSU and Les Miles are 8-14-1 as home favorites against the spread. So for a team in Washington that has an explosive offense and veteran quarterback, 24 points seems like entirely too many. There is no chance LSU loses the game outright, but winning by four touchdowns for an offense that still has to iron out some kinks feels like a lot to ask. Predictions: Washington (+24) 

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 2</p>
Post date: Friday, September 7, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-2-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The story in the Pac-12, at least until Nov. 3, will be attempting to compare Oregon and USC. These were arguably two of the best looking teams in the nation last weekend and, if anything, fans in Eugene should actually be more confident in their quarterback situation. While Chip Kelly and Lane Kiffin are seemingly on a collision course, four new head coaches attempted to kickstart their new tenures. Arizona State and UCLA obliged with force while Arizona slipped past Toledo in overtime, only further muddling the mix of teams behind the Men of Troy in the South. Meanwhile, Wazzu fans weren't so lucky. 

Pac-12's Top 10 Storylines to Watch in Week 2:

1. New Huskies defense heads to the Bayou
It was only one game, but the totally reworked Washington defense played well in Week 1. A totally new coaching staff — along with some talented newcomers — held a normally potent offense to 12 points and 327 total yards while providing three turnovers and four sacks. LSU will be a slightly different beast than the Aztecs, as the Huskies enter Death Valley as a three-touchdown underdog. One of the most powerful offensive lines and deepest running back corps in the nation will put the new U of W defense to the test early and often. There are no such thing as moral victories, but if Washington can keep it close into the fourth quarter, fans will have to be happy about the potential for success against physical Pac-12 offenses like Oregon, USC and Stanford — all of which Washington will face before Oct. 13.

2. Week 1 duds look for critical rebounds in Week 2
I will be the first to stand up and be counted. I felt strongly that Washington State was going to give BYU a tough run for their money last weekend. That certainly wasn't the case as Wazzu completely wet the bed in Provo. The Cougars weren't the only team to disappoint out West, however, as Colorado and Cal were upset by Colorado State and Nevada respectively. All three head coaches desperately need to win in Week 2 and all three face FCS opponents. These three should go 3-0 this weekend, but Eastern Washington — who beat Idaho on the road last week — won't be an easy out for Washington State.

3. Is Brett Hundley, UCLA ready for a marquee upset?
Nebraska comes to town Saturday night in what might be the best match-up of the weekend in the Pac-12. UCLA looked great under Hundley's leadership as the Bruins offense showed toughness and balance. Nebraska gained as much confidence as any team in the nation last weekend and heads to Pasadena with Big Ten title aspirations. That said, if superstar tailback Rex Burkhead is ready to go, the Huskers have the clear advantage and an upset is less likely. However, Burkhead is currently listed as questionable and his ability to contribute this weekend seems doubtful. If the very talented, but at times underachieving, front seven of UCLA can stack the box and force Taylor Martinez to make tough throws on the road, Jim Mora Jr., could begin his tenure 2-0. If the Huskers walk into L.A. and roll on offense, fans will know the road back to respectability for UCLA is a long and winding one.

4. New offenses set to duel in the Desert
While Nebraska-UCLA is likely the most marquee and competitive game of the weekend, Arizona and Oklahoma State could be the most entertaining. True freshman Wes Lunt led the Cowboys to an 84-0 win over Savannah State last weekend while first-year starter Matt Scott executed Rich Rodriguez' zone-read to near perfection in Week 1. The Cats signal caller's 461 yards of total offense are second nationally and, more importantly, Arizona held on to beat a tough Toledo team. The Pokes are heavily favored but fans should not be shocked to see this one finish much closer than expected as two of the best offensive minds in the game go head-to-head in Tucson. This should be an extremely fast-paced game with lots of points and a high enjoyment factor. Well, for everyone but the defensive coordinators.

5. Primetime Battle of the Brothers
Washington and Stanford were picked by many to be the top challengers to Oregon and USC in the race for the Pac-12 crown. However, Utah might actually be the No. 3 team in the league. Jordan Wynn returned to the line-up last week and was effective enough to create balance on offense while the power running game and stingy defense performed as expected. Against in-state rival Utah State on the road in primetime, however, Kyle Whittingham better have his team ready to compete. Gary Andersen has an explosive offense led by a three-headed rushing attack and dynamic sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton. The Aggies won 34-3 with 569 yards of offense over Southern Utah in Week 1 and most of the USU roster likely grew up wanting a scholarship from the Utes. Guys in Vegas know it will be close, as Utah is only a 7.5-point favorite.

6. How long is Josh Nunes' leash?
Nunes and Brett Nottingham battled throughout the spring and summer for the right to replace Andrew Luck. Nunes won the job but poor play across the board nearly cost Stanford its opener against lowly San Jose State. The senior didn't look particularly comfortable in the 20-17 nail-bitter, completing 16-of-26 passes for 125 yards and one very ugly touchdown throw. While the ground game should still be effective — especially against Duke this weekend — one has to wonder how long David Shaw will allow his quarterback to struggle. He has options waiting in the wings, so Nunes needs to prove he deserves to the be starter. 

7. The Big Ten comes to town
LSU provides a huge opportunity for Washington and Utah has an intriguing battle with Utah State, but the trio of Big Ten/Pac-12 match-ups offer some interesting bragging rights. Illinois visits Arizona State, Nebraska visits Westwood and Wisconsin will head to Corvallis to face Oregon State in three key intersection contests. UCLA is looking for vindication, Arizona State wants to prove Week 1's 63-point outburst was no fluke and Oregon State is making no bones about what this game will mean to Reser Stadium...

8. Reser Stadium hosts biggest non-conference game ever?
Mike Riley began his press conference this week by explaining he believed this weekend's visit from Wisconsin is the biggest non-conference home game in program history. While not too many ranked non-conference foes visit Corvallis, the Oregon State Beavers are making sure everyone involved understands what a win would mean. The Badgers struggled against Northern Iowa last week and will be facing a team making its season debut after last week's opener was postponed. This game wasn't close last year in Madison, but OSU is expected to be improved and UW is clearly not the same team without star quarterback Russell Wilson, offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and three first-team All-Big Ten blockers.

9. Oregon defense gets a second test
The Ducks looked like the well-oiled machine fans have come to expect from Chip Kelly teams. Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota (MAR-e-o-TAH) was as difficult to stop as his name is to pronounce. The Ducks were up 50-3 with seven minutes to go in the second quarter. While Fresno State isn't going to stop Oregon anytime soon, Derek Carr and the new uptempo Tim DeRuyter offense could provide another interesting test for Nick Allioti and company. Carr completed 20-of-25 passes for 298 yards and two scores in the blowout win over Weber State and will test a group that allowed 34 points and 341 yards of offense to Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin.

10. USC travels 2,700 miles to New York
The Matt Barkley Heisman campaign won't be this close to Radio City Music Hall until December as USC heads across the country to face Syracuse. The game shouldn't be close as the Cuse defense has major issues, but as the clear preseason favorite for the stiff-armed trophy, every snap of every game will be under heavy scrutiny. Anything but a blowout with big numbers will be disappointing for the Trojans.

Week 2 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 2 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Utah (-7.5) at Utah St Utah, 31-14 Utah, 28-20 Utah, 27-24 Utah, 31-17
Southern Utah at Cal Cal, 31-10 Cal, 38-6 Cal, 48-7 Cal, 35-7
Sacramento St at Colorado Colorado, 27-10 Colorado, 37-13 Colorado, 45-10 Colorado, 28-10
E. Washington at Washington St Wash. St, 34-20 Wash. St, 27-10 Wash. St, 45-20 Wash. St, 27-14
USC (-26) at Syracuse USC, 55-17 USC, 41-14 USC, 48-20 USC, 42-14
Wisconsin (-8) at Oregon St Wisconsin, 27-17 Wisconsin, 28-17 Wisconsin, 34-24 Wisconsin, 21-14
Fresno St (+34.5) at Oregon Oregon, 51-21 Oregon, 44-17 Oregon, 55-24 Oregon, 49-21
Washington (+23.5) at LSU LSU, 38-20 LSU, 30-17 LSU, 34-13 LSU, 28-14
Nebraska (-5.5) at UCLA UCLA, 24-21 Nebraska, 27-21 Nerbraska, 31-27 Nebraska, 35-28
Illinois (+3.5) at Arizona St Arizona St, 24-21 Arizona St, 30-24 Arizona St, 30-27 Illinois, 28-14
Duke (+15) at Stanford Stanford, 28-14 Stanford, 27-17 Stanford, 31-20 Stanford, 27-10
Oklahoma St (-11) at Arizona Okla. St, 34-31 Okla. St, 34-20 Okla. St, 38-31 Okla. St, 35-14
Yearly Totals: 9-3 10-2 10-2 9-3

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 05:50
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-2-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Things didn't exactly play out the way most expected in Week 1 of the Big Ten season. Penn State's emotional roller coaster continued and doesn't look to be slowing anytime soon. Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Indiana and Minnesota escaped upset bids. And Michigan was thoroughly man-handled by the defending champions. More importantly, however, some key injuries could shape the Big Ten landscape for weeks to come.

Big Ten's Top 10 Storylines to Watch in Week 2:

1. Will Rex Burkhead play and will it cost the Huskers a win?
Other than possibly Ohio State, no team in the Big Ten gained more confidence about its 2012 championship hopes than Nebraska. Taylor Martinez was excellent and the defense did just enough to breeze past reigning C-USA champ Southern Miss while Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa struggled. However, some key injuries could impact the Big Red's Week 2 outlook. Star tailback Rex Burkhead left the game with a knee issue and is listed as questionable for the UCLA game as of Thursday morning. UCLA looked outstanding under new coach Jim Mora Jr. and new quarterback Brett Hundley provided a much-needed spark on offense. The Bruins have had a long week to prepare for Nebraska and stand a much better chance of winning at home than previously expected. If Burkhead plays, Nebraska should win a close one. If the heart and soul of the Big Red offense does not play, all bets are off.

2. How will the bruised Michigan run defense handle the option?
More than just the Maize and Blue egos got bruised last weekend in Dallas. Taylor Lewan left the game with a knee injury (but should be back) and starting corner Blake Countess is out for the season. Michigan's defensive line was the major concern heading into this season and Alabama's 232-yard performance on the ground only highlighted those issues. Now, Greg Mattison's defense is charged with stopping Air Force's triple-option offense that rolled-up 484 yards rushing last week. Idaho State certainly isn't Michigan, but the option always causes trouble to those who are unaccustomed to facing it. The Wolverines should win fairly easily as Denard Robinson should get back on track, but keep a close eye on how the front seven plays this Saturday.

3. The battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy
Week 2 in the Big Ten features many intriguing interconference match-ups, but none will carry as much emotion as the Iowa State-Iowa showdown in Iowa City. The Cyclones haven't won on the road in this series since 2002 but this Saturday will provide their best chance in years. Iowa's offense was rather inept last week against Northern Illinois while ISU scoffed at Vegas' odd-makers who pinned Tulsa as a 1.5-point favorite last week (Iowa State won 38-23). This game was a thrilling 3-OT victory by State in Ames last season and this season's meeting could feature another tight finish. 

4. No rest for the weary Nittany Lions
It was a tough weekend for Penn State fans. Their embattled football program took a 14-3 halftime lead and Matt McGloin looked like a real quarterback. But then starting tailback Bill Belton got hurt and Ohio signal caller Tyler Tettleton went to work. Unfortunately, there is no rest for Bill O'Brien in Week 2 as a trip to Charlottesville looms large. Virginia has been markedly improved over the past few seasons and the Cavaliers defeated Richmond 43-19 in their opener last weekend. The two-headed backfield monster of Kevin Parks and Perry Jones helped UVa pile up 545 yards of offense, so PSU will have to be even better on offense this week than it was in the loss to Ohio. A tall order against a well-coached team that, as shocking as this sounds, simply has more talent.

5. Will Nathan Scheelhaase play against the Sun Devils?
The second major injury to keep track of this week will be that of Illinois' starting quarterback. He looked sharp in the early going last Saturday but left the game in the third quarter and the Illini offense came to a screeching halt. Tim Beckman said his QB needed to practice by Wednesday in order to play, but as of Wednesday evening, Scheelhaase's status was still up in the air. Meanwhile, Arizona State dropped 63 points and 554 yards of offense under new head coach Todd Graham and new quarterback Taylor Kelly. The Xs and Os match-up of the nation's No. 1 rushing defense that held Western Michigan to minus-6 yards and the Sun Devils' three-headed ground attack should be fun to watch. Keep an eye on ASU freshman DJ Foster, who touched the ball 12 times for 99 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in his first college game. That said, coaching may not matter if Beckman is forced to go to battle with Riley O'Toole under center.

6. Notre Dame begins Big Ten schedule with Boilermakers
The Fighting Irish looked as good as they have in six years in their 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin, Ireland last weekend. However, the schedule gets much tougher for ND as it begins a three-week Big Ten slate this weekend against Purdue. A quarterback controversy could be brewing in West Lafayette as Caleb TerBush returns from suspension this week after watching Robert Marve carve up the Eastern Kentucky defense in Week 1. Settling on a signal caller has to be a top priority for Danny Hope if he expects to pull the upset. Keep an close eye on how these two QBs play this week against a nasty ND front seven. On defense, the Boilers struggled to stop the Irish rushing attack in the 38-10 loss last year as they allowed 287 yards on the ground to Brian Kelly's bunch. Eastern managed only 190 yards of total offense last weekend against Purdue, giving the Boilermakers the top total defense in the Big Ten after one week. But while Purdue is improved on defense, there is a reason Notre Dame is a two-touchdown favorite. 

7. SAT Bowl eligibility
Northwestern and Vanderbilt are two of the most prestigious academic institutions in this great country. But, of late, these two programs are achieving on the football field at unprecedented levels. So as two rising programs scrap and claw for bowl eligibility each year, a win this weekend over the other could be the difference between playing in the postseason or sitting at home during Christmas. Vandy endured a tough home SEC loss to South Carolina in the rain last Thursday while the Wildcats overcame an atrocious second-half collapse to beat Syracuse on the road. Both offenses have big-time play-makers, so offense should be plentiful in this key swing contest.

8. Big Ten heads out to the West Coast
Notre Dame and Virginia offer some interesting East Coast non-conference tests for Big Ten teams, but most fans will be watching the Western seaboard this Saturday. Illinois heads to Arizona State, Nebraska heads to UCLA and Wisconsin heads to Oregon State in a trio of Pac-12/Big Ten showdowns. All three games could be toss-ups and one league could exit Week 2 with a decided head-to-head advantage. The Huskers and Badgers have Big Ten title hopes and have to show well in these type of road tests if they expect to be in Indianapolis at season's end.

9. Look for improved play from Andrew Maxwell
Le'Veon Bell was a workhorse. The defense was stout. Now, Mark Dantonio needs the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place. New quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw three interceptions and no touchdowns in 38 pass attempts in his first game as the Spartans starter. Certainly, Dantonio doesn't want his first-year starter throwing the ball that much, but when he does, Maxwell needs to be more efficient. Against a Central Michigan team that allowed 27 points against Southeast Missouri State last week, he should be able to find more windows to throw. It could be a long day for the Chippewas.

10. Minnesota, Indiana should start 2-0
The Golden Gophers and Hoosiers combined for four total wins last season. After two weeks of action, these two could easily match that total. With a win over UMass, Kevin Wilson would double his win total from last year while New Hampshire should pose little threat to Minnesota. These four wins wouldn't mean postseason play is in sight this fall, but it would be a sign of progress for both.

Week 2 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 2 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
New Hampshire at Minnesota Minnesota, 31-17 Minnesota, 34-20 Minnesota, 34-24 Minnesota, 28-17
Penn St (+10) at Virginia Virginia, 28-13 Virginia, 27-14 Virginia, 27-17 Virginia, 27-10
UCF (+18) at Ohio St Ohio St, 41-17 Ohio St, 31-14 Ohio St, 38-13 Ohio St, 35-10
Indiana (-14) at UMass Indiana, 24-17 Indiana, 28-7 Indiana, 38-10 Indiana, 21-7
Iowa St (+5) at Iowa Iowa, 27-21 Iowa St, 21-20 Iowa, 27-24 Iowa St, 21-17
Purdue (+14) at Notre Dame Notre Dame, 35-24 Notre Dame, 28-17 Notre Dame, 31-20 Notre Dame, 24-21
Air Force (+21) at Michigan Michigan, 38-20 Michigan, 37-17 Michigan, 40-17 Michigan, 28-13
Michigan St (-22) at C. Michigan Mich. St, 35-3 Mich. St, 38-10 Mich. St, 38-10 Mich. St, 42-10
Wisconsin (-8) at Oregon St Wisconsin, 27-17 Wisconsin, 28-17 Wisconsin, 34-24 Wisconsin, 21-14
Nebraska (-5.5) at UCLA UCLA, 24-21 Nebraska, 27-21 Nebraska, 31-27 Nebraska, 35-28
Vanderbilt (-3.5) at Northwestern Vanderbilt, 41-38 Vanderbilt, 34-24 Vanderbilt, 34-27 Vanderbilt, 38-35
Illinois (+3.5) at Arizona St Arizona St, 24-21 Arizona St, 30-24 Arizona St, 30-27 Illinois, 28-14
Yearly Totals: 11-1 10-2 12-0 10-2

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 05:50
All taxonomy terms: NFL, NFL
Path: /nfl/10-greatest-quarterback-seasons-nfl-history
Body:

The word "great" is thrown around the sports arena entirely too liberally. Too many coaches, players, games or teams are considered great. Instead, the word should be reserved for the truly remarkable. Therefore, defining greatness becomes the key, and since there are infinite ways to describe the best, beauty lies solely in the eye of the beholder. Any of the memorable season's produced by the quarterbacks listed below could make a legitimate case to be No. 1.

Heart, toughness, statistical production, winning championships, clutch performances, leadership and overall physical ability are just a few of the ways to quantify greatness. It is using a combination of all these factors — NFL records, team records, wins and losses, championships and personal awards — that Athlon ranks the greatest complete NFL seasons a quarterback has ever had—from Week 1 through Super Sunday.

1. Steve Young, San Francisco, 1994
There hasn't been a more complete NFL season than the year Young and offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan put together in 1994. The 49ers finished the regular season with the best record in the league at 13-3 while Young set an NFL single-season record for efficiency with a 112.8 QB rating, breaking the previous record set by former mentor Joe Montana. He also came 0.3 percentage points from breaking Ken Anderson's NFL mark for completion percent at 70.6 percent (Young's 70.3 percent still sits at No. 4 all-time). He started all 16 games, finished with 3,969 yards and an NFL-best 35 touchdowns against only 10 interceptions. Additionally, Young led the team in rushing touchdowns with seven as he compiled 293 yards on 58 carries. For all of this he earned the NFL MVP, but what made the '94 campaign special is what took place following the regular season. The Niners steam-rolled the Bears, Cowboys and Chargers en route to Young's first Super Bowl — a win commemorated by a record six touchdown passes, 325 yards passing, the MVP trophy and Gary Plummer's famous monkey exorcism. Oh, and No. 8 was the game's leading rusher as well. Young posted 623 yards passing, 128 yards rushing, 11 total touchdowns and nary an interception in San Francisco's three playoff games. It was the finest season a quarterback has ever seen.

2. Kurt Warner, St. Louis, 1999
Part of what makes Warner's '99 campaign so memorable is how the Northern Iowa signal caller ended up a Super Bowl champion and NFL MVP. The undrafted rookie finally broke into the league four years after graduating from UNI and led the inept Rams to the best record in the NFC (13-3) as a first-year starter. The 28-year-old led the NFL in touchdown passes (41), completion rate (65.1 percent), yards per attempt (8.7) and QB rating (109.2) while finishing with a franchise-record 4,353 yards passing. He then proceeded to complete over 81 percent of his passes for 391 yards and five touchdowns in his first career playoff start — a 49-37 win over Minnesota. By the end of Super Bowl XXXIV, Warner had thrown for 414 yards and two touchdowns to earn his second MVP trophy of the season. The huge numbers, the sheer improbability and ultimate victory combined to produce what was nearly the greatest season in history. 

3. Tom Brady, New England, 2007
Today's sports culture values the championship and quarterbacks rarely disagree. So had Brady finished his magical romp through the NFL in 2007, he would be sitting at No. 1 on this list. He is only one of two QBs to ever finish a regular season 16-0 and eventually worked the record to 18-0 before the show-stopping loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII . Brady threw for a franchise record 4,806 yards, good for third all-time in NFL history at the time. His QB rating of 117.2 was second all-time in NFL history and he became the first and only player to ever throw 50 touchdown passes in one season. He threw only eight interceptions and led the league in 11 passing categories. In the postseason, Brady and the Pats took care of business against Jacksonville in the Divisional Round, but the Michigan grad struggled in his final two games of the year. He threw three interceptions and had his second-worst yardage day of the year (209 yards) in the AFC title game win over San Diego. He capped his MVP season with an underwhelming performance against the extraordinary Giants defensive line, costing him his fourth Super Bowl ring and the unbeaten immortality of 19-0.

4. Dan Marino, Miami, 1984
Marino was well ahead of his time back in only his second year in the league. He set an NFL record for passing yards (5,084) that would stand for nearly 30 years and an NFL record for touchdowns (48) that would stand for 20 years. He led the Dolphins to the best record in the AFC at 14-2, claimed the MVP trophy and returned Miami to the Super Bowl where they fell just short of defeating the 18-1 Joe Montana-led 49ers. The Pitt Panther threw for 1,001 yards and eight scores in three postseason games. The 23-year-old with a lightning quick release led the NFL in completions, attempts, QB rating and yards per attempt in a season that totally changed the way the game of football was played. He paved the way for what we see today on Sunday and came up 22 points short of a championship.

5. Joe Montana, San Francisco, 1989
The Golden Domer wasn't ever the most talented or fastest or strongest quarterback on the field, but his 13 regular-season games — and subsequent playoff run — during the 1989 season were as brilliant as most's 16-game seasons. Montana completed 70.2 percent of his passes, led the NFL at 270.8 yards per game and finished with a then-NFL record 112.4 QB rating. His completion rate was second all-time to only Ken Anderson and is still one of only five seasons with a completion rate of better than 70 percent in history. The 49ers finished 11-2 in his 13 starts and 14-2 overall and Montana was the MVP of the league. Montana threw for 3,521 yards, 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He also added 227 yards rushing and three more scores on the ground. However, what made No. 16's '89 campaign one of the greatest in history was his thorough destruction of the NFC and Denver Broncos in the postseason. He completed 65 of his 83 passes (78.3 percent) for 800 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero picks, finishing his historic season with arguably the most dominant Super Bowl performance to date by crushing John Elway and company 55-10. Three more games puts Montana over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns and moves him ahead of Marino and Brady on this list.

6. Drew Brees, New Orleans, 2009
One could argue Brees' 2011 season was better, but I am guessing if you ask him which year was better, he would take 2009 everyday and twice on Sunday. He led the NFL in completion rate (70.6 percent), breaking the aforementioned Anderson's NFL single-season record. He also topped the charts in touchdown passes (34) and QB rating (109.6) en route to a 13-3 final record. He finished with 4,388 yards and only 11 interceptions. He then capped the magical New Orleans resurrection with 732 yards passing, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three playoff wins. His performance in the Super Bowl XLIV win over the Colts and Peyton Manning gave the Saints franchise their first championship. Brees completed 82.1 percent of his passes and claimed the game's MVP honors.

7. Drew Brees, New Orleans, 2011
It is hard to argue that from a statistical perspective, no quarterback has ever had a better regular season than Brees last fall. He set NFL records for completions (468), passing yards (5,476) and completion rate (71.2 percent) while leading the Saints to a 13-3 record. He then proceeded to throw for 928 yards and seven touchdowns in two playoff games. His defense let him down in the postseason and he contributed two of the team's costly five turnovers in the loss to the 49ers.

8. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 2006
Much like Brees, Manning has had many elite seasons, but two stand above the rest. One in which he broke an NFL record and played at unprecedented levels (see 2004 below) and the other ended with a Super Bowl championship. Much like Brees, the ring gives Manning's '06 campaign the slight edge. He threw for 4,397 yards on 65.0 percent passing and a league-leading 31 touchdown passes. It was also the only year in which No. 18 threw fewer than 10 interceptions (9). His 101.0 QB rating also led the NFL that season and he added four rushing scores for good measure. Manning led his Colts to four postseason wins that year (16-4 overall) and the 29-17 Super Bowl XLI win over Chicago in which he claimed the game's MVP trophy.

9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 2011
In a season in which three passers topped 5,000 yards and numerous NFL records were broken, Rodgers' season can get lost in the shuffle. Yet, the Packers passer set every major franchise passing record and led a team that finished 15-1 in the regular season. The year ended with a whimper with Rodgers sitting out the season finale and then losing to the Giants in the first playoff game. But his 4,643 yards, 10.5 yards per attempt and absurd 45:6 TD:INT ratio gave No. 12 the most efficient season in NFL history (122.5 QB rating) — and it earned him the league's MVP trophy. Had he posted Matt Flynn's (480 yards passing, 6 TDs) numbers in the final week of the regular season, he would have hit 50 TDs and topped 5,000 yards. That said, Packers fans will always look at '11 with "what-if" memories.

10. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis, 2004
Many believe this season was Manning's best. Statistically speaking it was as he finished the regular season with an NFL-record 49 touchdown passes and 121.1 QB rating to go with 4,557 yards and a 67.6 percent completion rate. The league's MVP was 12-4 and appeared to be headed to his first Super Bowl title until New England completely dominated the Colts in the AFC Divisional round 20-3. Manning's remarkable season ended with only 238 yards passing, no touchdowns and an interception in the disheartening loss to the Patriots.

Others to consider:

Dan Fouts, San Diego, 1981 (10-6, Postseason: 1-1)
Stats: 4,802 yds (NFL record), 33 TD, 17 INT, 90.6 QB rating

Warren Moon, Houston, 1990 (8-7, Postseason: None)
Stats: 4,689 yds, 33 TD, 13 INT, 96.8 QB rating, 215 rush yds, 2 TD

Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia, 1990 (10-6, Postseason: 0-1)
Stats: 3,466 yds, 30 TD, 13 INT, 91.6 QB rating, 118 att., 942 yds, 5 TD

Brett Favre, Green Bay, 1996 (13-3, Postseason: 3-0) MVP, Super Bowl
Stats: 3,899 yds, 39 TD, 13 INT, 95.8 QB rating, 136 rush yds, 2 TD

Michael Vick, Atlanta, 2004 (11-4, Postseason: 1-1)
Stats: 2,313 yds, 14 TD, 12 INT, 78.1 QB rating, 120 att., 902 yds, 3 TD

Michael Vick, Atlanta, 2006 (7-9, Postseason: None)
Stats: 2,474 yds, 20 TD, 13 INT, 75.7 QB rating, 123 att., 1,039 yds, 2 TD

Brett Favre, Minnesota, 2009 (12-4, Postseason: 1-1)
Stats: 4,202 yds, 33 TD, 7 INT, 107.2 QB rating

Michael Vick, Philadelphia, 2010 (8-3, Postseason: 0-1)
Stats: 3,018 yds, 21 TD, 6 INT, 100.2 QB rating, 100 att., 675 yds, 9 TD 

Eli Manning, NY Giants, 2011 (9-7, Postseason: 4-0) Super Bowl
Stats: 4,933 yds, 29 TD, 16 INT, 92.9 QB rating

Tom Brady, New England, 2011 (13-3, Postseason: 2-1)
Stats: 5,235 yds, 39 TD, 12 INT, 105.6 QB rating, 109 rush yds, 3 TD

Cam Newton, Carolina, 2011 (6-10, Postseason: None)
Stats: 4,051 yds, 21 TD, 17 INT, 84.5 QB rating, 126 att., 706 yds, 14 TD

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related 2012 NFL Content:

Athlon Sports NFL Kickoff Power Rankings: Pre-Week 1
Rankings the NFL's Starting Quarterbacks From Best to Worst
Athlon Debate: Which rookie starting QB will win the most games in 2012?
The NFL's Five Biggest Busts of Training Camp
Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez: Who should start for the Jets? 
The NFL Hot Seat: Which Coaches Need to Win Now?
Athlon Debate: Did being on Hard Knocks help or hurt the Dolphins?

Teaser:
<p> The 10 Greatest Quarterback Seasons in NFL History</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-voting-post-week-1
Body:

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A nine-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports will vote for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every Wednesday of the regular season.

Voting: Each first place vote gets 10 points. A second place vote gets nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th place vote getting one point.

USC's Matt Barkley did little to hurt his Heisman Trophy campaign with his big win over Hawaii and will remain atop the polls entering Week 2. On the flip side, names like Denard Robinson, Montee Ball, Landry Jones and others took major steps back after struggling on opening weekend.

Only three players landed on all nine ballots and those three names claim the top three spots. Otherwise, this week's voting features plenty of new names after a huge first week of games. Fans can expect more volatility over the next couple of weeks with it leveling out somewhere in the second month of the year.

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (7 first place votes)
Season Stats: 23-38, 372 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT
The preseason frontrunner is almost guaranteed a spot in New York come December and throwing for nearly 400 yards and four scores in the Trojans' first blowout victory is the type of weekly output that will all but lock Barkley in as a finalist. The Athlon votes didn't change whatsoever as seven of the nine cast their first place vote for the senior signal caller from USC. And the other two (of which, I am one) gave Barkley second-place votes. Next Game: at Syracuse

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Matt Barkley QB USC 88/90 7 2 - - - 9/9
2. Geno Smith QB West Virginia 78/90 2 6 - - - 9/9
3. Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina 55/90 - - 4 - 2 9/9
4. Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan St 47/90 - - 3 1 1 8/9
5. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin 34/90 - - - 2 1 6/9
6. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 28/90 - - 1 1 1 5/9
7. Marqise Lee WR USC 25/90 - - - 1 - 7/9
8. Andre Ellington RB Clemson 25/90 - - 1 1 1 5/9
9. Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 21/90 - - - 1 - 6/9
10. Barrett Jones OL Alabama 14/90 - 1 - - - 2/9
11. Braxton Miller QB Ohio State 13/90 - - - 1 - 4/9
12. Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas 11/90 - - - - - 4/9
13. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 10/90 - - - - 1 2/9
14. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 7/90 - - - 1 - 1/9
15. Logan Thomas QB Virginia Tech 6/90 - - - - 1 1/9

Also receiving votes: 16. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama (5 pts), 17. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (5 pts), 18. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (5 pts), 19. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia (4 pts), 20. Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio (4 pts)

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (2 first place votes)
Season Stats: 32-36, 323 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT, 8 att., 65 rush yds, TD
For the second straight week, I have voted the Mountaineers quarterback as my No. 1 pick to win the famed stiff-armed trophy. Against an archrival in the season opener, Smith was in midseason form as he scored more touchdowns (5) than he had incompletions. He has more raw ability than Barkley, plays in a more pass-happy system and has one of the only receiving corps that can match the talent and depth of USC's. And the smart money is never on the preseason favorite. Next Game: at James Madison

3. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats: 23 att., 110 yds, 2 TD, 3 rec., 21 yds
The most talented running back in the nation was back on the field for the first time since last October, but he didn't look like he missed a beat. He was up to his usual gyrating, impossible-to-tackle tricks that eventually led to the Gamecocks only scores against SEC East foe Vanderbilt. Steve Spurrier leaned on him in the second half and Lattimore delivered with the game-winning touchdown and more than a few key third down runs. He, like Smith and Barkley, was on all nine Athlon Heisman ballots. Next Game: East Carolina

4. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michgian State
Season Stats: 44 att., 210 yds, 2 TD, 6 rec., 55 yds
The Michigan State tailback was easily the highest mover on this list and rightly so as he carried his team to one of the biggest wins nationally in Week 1. He also had a mini-Heisman moment when he scored the game-winning touchdown late in the game on national television against a ranked Boise State team. And he shattered his career statistical highs in the process. His previous career highs: 20 attempts, 141 yards, 5 receptions, 49 receiving yards — all of which he broke in one game. Next Game: at Central Michigan

5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Season Stats: 32 att., 120 yds, TD, 3 rec., 21 yds
It wasn't a vintage Badger offensive performance, but Ball was still the workhorse. On an offense that clearly misses its quarterback, coordinator and three offensive lineman from last season, Ball's 35 touches stabilized the new-look offense and allowed Wisconsin to hold on for a tight win over Northern Iowa. Next Game: at Oregon State

6. De'Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 3 att., 64 yds, TD, 4 rec., 55 yds, 2 TD, 6 PR yds
The Black Mamba was up to his old tricks by scoring three times on seven total offensive touches. He is arguably the most dynamic player in the game today and should see his workload increase as the competition gets tougher. Next Game: Fresno State

7. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats: 10 rec., 197 yds, 1 KR, 100 yds, TD
Lee was often overshadowed by his counterpart Robert Woods last season, but the super sophomore made a big statement in Week 1. He scored on the first play of the game and then again on a 100-yard kickoff return. His 297 all-purpose yards currently lead the nation. Next Game: at Syracuse

8. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Season Stats: 25 att., 228 yds, 0 TD
The oft-injured tailback was at his best on Saturday night in a huge win over the Auburn Tigers. He is leading the nation in rushing and, should he stay healthy, could be a huge factor in the Heisman race. Next Game: Ball State

9. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Season Stats: 26-34, 354 yds, 5 TD, 0 INT, 6 att., 10 yds
Martinez was at his all-time best this weekend and it could not have happened at a better time. Nebraska could be without star tailback Rex Burkhead for a few games, which means the offensive onus will fall to T-Mart. His 212.46 QB-rating currently leads the Big Ten. Next Game: at UCLA

10. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Season Stats: 232.0 rush ypg, 41.0 ppg, 2.0 sacks allowed per game (Alabama offense)
Okay, there aren't really any great stats to use for offensive lineman, but how about this. Jones is the best player on the best team who played the best against the best competition this weekend. And he is doing it all at his third position. Next Game: Western Kentucky

11. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 14-24, 207 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 17 att., 161 yds, TD

12. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Season Stats: 19-27, 367 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 att., minus-2 yds

13. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats: 15 att., 214 yds, 3 TD, 1 rec., 4 yds

14. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Season Stats: 21-36, 222 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 3 att., minus-19 yds

15. Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Season Stats: 21-38, 230 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT, 15 att., 40 yds

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Related College Football Content

Three and Out: Week 1 Recap

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Pac-12 East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings 

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 1</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2012-nfl-week-1-power-rankings
Body:

The NFL season officially kicks off tonight with the New York Giants taking on the Dallas Cowboys. To celebrate, Athlon Sports is bringing you the first of many weekly looks at all 32 NFL franchises and where they fall in the most recent Power Rankings:

2012 Athlon Sports NFL Power Rankings and Team Previews:

1. Green Bay Packers (Week 1: SF)
Only question is depth on defense and losing Desmond Bishop hurt. Still led by the best player in the game.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Week 1: at GB)
Gritty defense packaged with stellar OL and caretaker QB. Home field in the NFC is on the line this Sunday.

3. Houston Texans (Week 1: MIA)
Health on offense might be the only concern this team should have entering what could be a landmark 2012 season.

4. New England Patriots (Week 1: at TEN)
Tom Brady has a stacked collection of pass-catchers and the best head coach in the game upgraded the defense.

5. New York Giants (Week 1: DAL)
Can the defending champs stay on top of a league with so many questions on defense?

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 1: at DEN)
The running game needs to be healthy, but Big Ben and aggressive defense still lead the charge.

7. Baltimore Ravens (Week 1: CIN)
Will the preseason offensive philosophy translate to the regular season? Only time will tell.

8. Atlanta Falcons (Week 1: at KC)
Explosive offense could be one of the league's best, so can Mike Nolan improve the defense?

9. Chicago Bears (Week 1: IND)
Jay Cutler and Matt Forte return to the line-up with a loaded defense — which needs a healthy Brian Urlacher.

10. Detroit Lions (Week 1: STL)
Record-setting offense is championship caliber. Has the defense joined the party yet?

11. Denver Broncos (Week 1: PIT)
Could be good enough to earn a bye in the playoffs and has enough holes to finish third in the AFC West.

12. Dallas Cowboys (Week 1: at NYG)
Might be optimistic for a team with issues swirling all over the roster. Can Tony Romo hold them together?

13. New Orleans Saints (Week 1: WAS)
What sort of impact does off-season have on Drew Brees and the Saints playoff hopes?

14. Philadelphia Eagles (Week 1: at CLE)
Michael Vick must stay healthy for this team to make a playoff push. And that has only happened once in his career.

15. Cincinnati Bengals (Week 1: at BAL)
Fundamentally sound, uninpiring team will prove to be very competitive week-in and week-out.

16. San Diego Chargers (Week 1: at OAK)
Norv Turner begins a critical season needing a playoff berth to save his job in San Deigo.

17. Tennessee Titans (Week 1: NE)
Can sneaky good defensive line make up for young, inexperienced offense in Nashville?

18. Buffalo Bills (Week 1: at NYJ)
Defense should be markedly improved, so can offense stay consistent for 16 weeks?

19. New York Jets (Week 1: BUF)
You have to have (Tim Tebow) thick skin to pick this team (Tim Tebow) to make the playoffs (Tim Tebow).

20. Carolina Panthers (Week 1: at TB)
Will all of that talent translate into wins...or just statistics? The defense should only get better.

21. Seattle Seahawks (Week 1: at ARI)
Is Russell Wilson ready to lead a team with a developing defense into the playoff mix?

22. Washington Redskins (Week 1: at NO)
The Skins should be better with RG3, but how much better? He needs some help.

23. Oakland Raiders (Week 1: SD)
An intriguing team with some upside — if the coaching staff develops quickly.

24. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 1: ATL)
Like the rest of the West: A team with nice pieces and interesting upside but lots of question marks.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1: CAR)
Josh Freeman and a host of young players will attempt to ease Greg Schiano into pro game.

26. Arizona Cardinals (Week 1: SEA)
Offensive line issues could end this season before it begins while solid defense is wasted.

27. Indianapolis Colts (Week 1: at CHI)
Already up a few spots from the preseason due to quick development of stellar rookie class.

28. Miami Dolphins (Week 1: at HOU)
A completely non-descript team that will have loads of growing pains. Both on and off the field.

29. St. Louis Rams (Week 1: at DET)
The offense should be healthier and more talented, but this team will struggle.

30. Cleveland Browns (Week 1: PHI)
Can rookie backfield help the Browns out of the cellar? Only time will tell.

31. Minnesota Vikings (Week 1: JAC)
All-Day Peterson is back but this team has major issues on defense.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 1: at MIN)
Getting MoJo Drew back was huge, but it will be a long year in Jacksonville.

-by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Relate 2012 NFL Content:

Rankings the NFL's Starting Quarterbacks From Best to Worst
Athlon Debate: Which rookie starting QB will win the most games in 2012?

The NFL's Five Biggest Busts of Training Camp

Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez: Who should start for the Jets? 

The NFL Hot Seat: Which Coaches Need to Win Now?

Athlon Debate: Did being on Hard Knocks help or hurt the Dolphins?

Teaser:
<p> <em style="font-size: 14px; ">Athlon Sports weekly look at all 32 NFL franchises and where they fall in the most recent Power Rankings</em></p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, Fantasy
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-sept-3
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2012 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire every Monday.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (8/27-9/3):

  Name Team Pos. R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Pedro Alvarez* PIT 3B 7 4 8 0 .417 1.545
2. Rickie Weeks* MIL 2B 9 1 2 4 .423 1.146
3. Torri Hunter* LAA OF 8 1 6 1 .536 1.281
4. Chase Headley SD 3B 3 2 12 1 .407 1.096
5. Josh Donaldson* OAK C/3B 5 4 8 1 .304 1.277
6. Delmon Young* DET OF 5 3 10 0 .385 1.314
7. Bryce Harper WAS OF 7 3 8 0 .333 1.042
8. Chris Heisey* CIN OF 6 2 6 1 .500 1.500
9. Ryan Braun MIL OF 5 2 6 2 .379 1.128
10. Carlos Gomez* MIL OF 6 2 6 3 .261 .901
11. Chris Carter* OAK 1B 6 3 6 0 .421 1.429
12. David Murphy* TEX OF 6 2 5 0 .524 1.535
13. Mark Reynolds* BAL 1B/3B 6 4 7 0 .280 1.200
14. Martin Prado ATL 2/3/OF 4 2 6 2 .375 1.093
15. Josh Reddick OAK OF 5 2 10 0 .355 .977
16. B.J. Upton TB OF 5 2 4 3 .308 .910
17. Coco Crisp* OAK OF 7 2 2 3 .280 1.078
18. Brandon Moss* OAK 1B/OF 6 2 7 0 .412 1.326
19. Jimmy Rollins PHI SS 5 2 5 2 .310 .996
20. Garrett Jones PIT 1B/OF 6 2 4 0 .455 1.318
21. Cliff Pennington* OAK 2B/SS 5 1 3 2 .444 1.111
22. George Kottaras* OAK C 4 2 8 0 .444 1.722
23. Adrian Beltre TEX 3B 5 3 4 0 .375 1.275
24. John Mayberry* PHI 1B/OF 5 2 5 0 .393 1.148
25. Angel Pagan* SF OF 8 1 4 2 .258 .859

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Oakland A's

Of the top 25 hitters of last week, seven of them were Oakland Athletics. This means that seven of the nine hitters in the batting order landed on this Top 25 list and Josh Reddick is the only one owned by more than 70 percent of leagues. So which ones should you add? Chris Carter at first is a must-add for anyone who needs some pop in their line-up. He has 14 homers in 166 at-bats this season. Coco Crisp is No. 2 on the must-add list with his roto friendly stat line (55 R, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 31 SB in 383 at-bats). The sneaky add would be "C-1B" Josh Donaldson. He has been on a major kick of late and as a catcher, brings major value to most line-ups. He might also be the one most likely to cool off. Proceed with caution. 

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Kris Medlen ATL 24.0 3 28 0.00 0.75
2. Max Scherzer DET 22.0 3 26 0.82 0.82
3. Brett Anderson* OAK 20.0 3 15 0.90 0.70
4. Marco Estrada* MIL 18.0 2 27 0.50 0.94
5. Hisashi Iwakuma* SEA 19.0 2 16 0.47 1.00
6. James Shields TB 22.0 2 20 2.78 0.84
7. Bronson Arroyo* CIN 20.0 2 9 2.25 0.65
8. Eric Stults* SD 13.0 2 9 0.00 0.85
9. R.A. Dickey NYM 16.0 2 9 0.56 0.88
10. Cliff Lee PHI 20.2 2 19 1.31 1.11
11. Yu Darvish TEX 14.0 2 16 1.96 0.86
12. Zach Britton* BAL 14.2 2 16 1.84 0.89
13. Felix Hernandez SEA 24.0 2 17 1.88 1.04
14. Zack Greinke LAA 14.2 2 12 1.84 0.95
15. Jhoulys Chasin* COL 18.0 2 9 1.50 1.00
16. Chris Tillman* BAL 16.2 2 14 2.70 0.96
17. Ryan Dempster TEX 12.0 2 14 1.50 1.25
18. Miguel Gonzalez* BAL 7.0 1 9 0.00 0.71
19. Edwin Jackson* WAS 14.0 1 18 1.93 1.07
20. Gio Gonzalez WAS 15.0 1 15 1.80 1.00

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Top 5 Spot Starts for the Week (Mon. - Sun.):

1. Brett Anderson, OAK: at Sea (Sat.) 54% owned
The former ace of the staff is finally back on the mound after two years of injuries and he has been effective. He has allowed two earnies in 20.0 innings with 15 strikeouts and only three walks.

2. Jeff Samardzjia, CHC: at Pit (Sat.) 52% owned
The Shark has been downright nasty of late. He has 41 strikeouts in his last five starts (33.0 IP) and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of those five starts. 

3. Ross Detwiler, WAS: Mia (Sat.) 36% owned
Since returning to the rotation at the end of June, Detwiler has been strong by not allowed more than four runs in any start since. He tossed seven scoreless innings for his third win in four starts on Monday.

4. Tommy Milone, OAK: at Sea (Sun.) 44% owned
The soft tosser got hit around a bit by the Angels on Labor Day but he should bounce back against the Mariners this weekend. He had two awesome starts before Monday and has been lights out against Seattle.

5. Patrick Corbin, ARI: at SD (Sun.) 10% owned
This one is a bit of a flier but the match-up feels right and Corbin has provided big strikeout numbers all year long. Take the risk against the Padres this weekend.

Top 20 fantasy Relief Pitchers of last month:

  Name Team IP W SV K HLD ERA WHIP
1. Greg Holland* KC 13.1 2 9 15 0 0.68 1.05
2. Jim Johnson BAL 10.2 0 10 9 0 0.00 0.38
3. Aroldis Chapman CIN 11.1 1 9 15 0 0.79 0.71
4. Jason Motte STL 13.0 0 10 18 0 2.77 0.85
5. Joe Nathan TEX 9.0 0 7 14 0 0.00 0.56
6. Fernando Rodney TB 12.2 0 9 12 0 0.71 0.95
7. Rafael Soriano NYY 12.2 0 9 14 0 2.13 0.79
8. Sergio Romo SF 10.0 1 4 11 6 0.90 0.50
9. Jonathan Papelbon PHI 12.2 1 7 14 0 2.84 0.87
10. Ernesto Frieri LAA 9.1 2 4 14 0 2.89 0.64
11. Grant Balfour OAK 9.1 0 8 11 0 2.89 0.54
12. Tyler Clippard WAS 11.0 0 8 11 0 1.64 0.91
13. Jake McGee* TB 8.2 2 0 9 2 0.00 0.35
14. Glen Perkins* MIN 10.0 0 4 8 0 0.00 0.50
15. Rafael Betancourt COL 11.0 0 10 5 0 1.64 1.18
16. Casey Janssen* TOR 11.0 0 6 12 0 2.45 0.73
17. Wilton Lopez* HOU 13.2 3 1 14 0 2.63 1.02
18. J.J. Putz ARI 12.0 0 8 16 0 2.25 1.25
19. Ryan Cook* OAK 10.0 2 2 15 2 1.80 1.00
20. Luke Gregerson* SD 13.0 0 3 12 8 1.38 0.69

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Keep up to date all season long with Athlon Sports' Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid

- by Braden Gall

@bradengall

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: Sept. 3</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 11:24
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-1-power-rankings
Body:

The Big Ten had a few marquee showdowns in Week 1 and a whole schedule of mid-major opponents and FCS snoozers. However, this weekend was anything but boring for the Big Ten.

Penn State's first time back on the field since Joe Paterno's passing was emotional but ended in a crushing defeat at the hands of Ohio. Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota all survived brutal tests against inferior competition. Indiana and Illinois struggled at times but won their openers. Northwestern turned to its back-up quarterback to stave off a furious fourth-quarter rally from Syracuse that was nearly one of the worst collapses in Wildcats' history.

And the quarterbacks from the state of Michigan struggled in the two biggest games of the weekend.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State - Bell literally carried the Spartans to the biggest victory of the weekend for the Big Ten. On a night that saw Andrew Maxwell throw three interceptions in his first start for Kirk Cousins, Bell set personal bests in basically every important offensive statistic. Bell had never carried the ball more than 20 times and entered the opener against Boise Sttae with four career 100-yard rushing efforts. Friday night, he carried 44 times for a career-high 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His six receptions and 56 yards in the passing game were also career bests.

Braxton Miller, Ohio State - Urban Mayer hasn't hid his affections for the sophomore signal caller and in Week 1 Miller showed the country why the new Buckeyes coach has been so excited. Miller topped the 200-yard mark for only the second time in his career by completing 14 of his 24 attempts for 207 yards, two scores and no interceptions. Where he really shined, however, was on the ground, rushing for a career-high 161 yards on 17 carries and a third trip to daydirt. 

Taylor Martinez, Nebraska - The Huskers' ability to be balanced on offense could be the difference between another four-loss season or a potential run at a Big Ten title. Yes, it was against a rebuilt Southern Miss team, but Martinez was T-Magic. He completed 76.5 percent of his passes for a personal best 354 yards and five touchdowns. More importantly, he didn't have to rely on his legs, carrying only six times for 10 yards. 

 

Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

Will Compton, Nebraska -
The Huskers held Southern Miss to 260 yards of offense and only three second-half points behind the play of the talented linebacker. He tallied 12 total tackles, a tackle for loss and one sack in the victory. 

Ashante Williams, Illinois - Without their starting quarterback, the Illini needed a big defensive spark and the senior linebacker gave it to them in the form of a fourth-quarter 60-yard interception return touchdown. The score put the game out of reach. Williams finished with nine tackles on the night.

Larry Black, Jr., Indiana - The Hooisers needed their defense in the second half to get the win over Indiana State and Black was a huge part of it. He posted four tackles, two sacks and two tackles for a loss in the tightly-played 24-17 win over the Sycamores.



Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State -
The Spartans headman might be the best coach in the league and his team posted the best win of the weekend in the 17-13 victory over Boise State. Without Cousins to stablize the offense, he turned to his power tailback and veteran offensive line. They delivered 461 yards of offense while the defense did their job, holding the Broncos to a paltry 206 total yards. 

Bo Pelini, Nebraska - Four straight seasons with four losses has Nebraska nation on edge heading into 2012. Against the reigning C-USA champion Southern Miss Golden Eagles, the Huskers could have struggled. Instead, Martinez was brilliant and the defense played well enough. BIg Red outgained USM 632 yards to 260.

Urban Meyer, Ohio State - The prodigal son returned to the state of Ohio in style. He has the best team in the league and they looked like it on Saturday. His offense started slowly, but the Buckeyes offensive line and receivers eventually began to gel. 



Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (1-0)
Preseason rank: 1
Week 1 result: Beat Miami (Ohio) 56-10
The Urban Meyer era at Ohio State got off to a slow start as the Redhawks took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter. But Miller and the offense began to click, scoring 35 unanswered points in the eventual rout. Miller set an Ohio State rushing record for a quarterback with 161 yards and Meyer ran his record to 4-0 in coaching debuts. The 56 points was the second-highest total for an Ohio State coaching debut as well. The offensive line paved the way to 294 yards rushing on 53 carries and Corey "Philly" Brown caught seven passes for 87 yards and a touchdown — giving the Bucks some optimism surrounding two areas of concern. If this offense can gel quickly and begin to compete on the same level as the defense, the rest of the Big Ten could be in big trouble.
This week: UCF (1-0)

2. Nebraska (1-0)
Preseason rank: 3
Week 1 result: Beat Southern Miss 49-20
Few teams improved their national perception in Week 1 like the Huskers did. Beating the defending Conference USA champs 49-20 isn't all that alarming, 
but it was how the Big Red did it — combined with the struggles of fellow Big Ten contenders — that has fans excited about football in Lincoln. That is, if the Huskers can stay healthy. Taylor Martinez was excellent as the highest rated passer in the Big Ten after one week of action and the defense was strong enough to stymie a team known for its offensive prowess. But if Nebraska wants to go on the road and beat a talented UCLA team this weekend it will need its full complement of offensive weapons. Rex Burkhead had an MRI on Sunday and Bo Pelini confirmed their initial concerns that the star tailback had suffered a sprained MCL. He is questionable for the trip to Pasadena and it looks like sophomore Ameer Abdullah would get first crack at the starting job after carrying 15 times for 81 yards on Saturday. Additionally, senior wideout Tim Marlowe is out for at least six weeks after breaking his clavicle and tight end Ben Cotton is dealing with his own rib issues. 
This week: at UCLA (1-0)

3. Michigan (0-1)
Preseason rank: 2
Week 1 result: Lost to Alabama 41-14
Settle down Michigan fans. The sky isn't falling and the season isn't over. Yes, Alabama was the far superior team and now the Wolverines will play the rest of the season without starting cornerback Blake Countess. But the Big Ten championship is still very much in front of them and star tackle Taylor Lewan appears set to play this weekend after leaving the game Saturday night with a right leg issue. Michigan will be very good this season, but this weekend's outcome should not have come as a surprise. The defending national champs are simply operating on a level the Maize and Blue has yet to reach. The good news is Michigan won't face a better team all season long, no matter where it ends up at the end of year. The front line for Michigan's defense will get another test this weekend after allowing 232 yards on the ground to 'Bama but Brady Hoke should be able to exact some revenge. And he gets Fitzgerald Toussaint back this week.
This week: Air Force (1-0)

4. Michigan State (1-0)
Preseason rank: 5
Week 1 result: Beat Boise State 17-13
Bell was the star of the show Friday night when the Spartans outlasted the upstart Broncos. He carried an offense that clearly missed Kirk Cousins and his deep receiving corps of last fall as Michigan State overcame four turnovers to hold on for the win. Bell touched the ball 50 times and scored the game-winner with just more than eight minutes left in the game. The Spartans nasty defense did the rest as Boise got only one possession for the rest of the game. Mark Dantonio will have to get better play from quarterback Andrew Maxwell, but he knows he can lean on a defense that didn't allow an offensive touchdown and held a normally powerful offense to 206 total yards — easily the lowest total of the Chris Petersen era at Boise State. 
This week: at Central Michigan (1-0) 

5. Wisconsin (1-0)
Preseason rank: 4
Week 1 result: Beat Northern Iowa 26-12
Danny O'Brien is not Russell Wilson. Matt Canada is not Paul Chryst (although, he had a rough start too), and three first-team All-Big Ten blockers are gone from the offense. And it all showed against Northern Iowa, albeit one of the winningest FCS programs in the nation. The ground game had a tricky time getting rolling and the defense allowed big plays at critical moments and it nearly cost UW a big fourth-quarter lead. The normally powerful offense was held to just 387 yards and Montee Ball averaged only 3.8 yards per carry on 32 attempts. That said, Wisconsin held the ball for nearly 40 minutes of time and O'Brien was efficient (19-of-23, 0 INT). Choke it up for first game jitters against a team accustomed to winning. But fans need to realize this isn't an elite UW team, just a really good one. 
This week: at Oregon State (0-0)

6. Illinois (1-0)
Preseason rank: 9
Week 1 result: Beat Western Michigan 24-7
Tim Beckman's debut was off to a roaring start as the Illini had a 17-0 lead in the third quarter. But quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase left the game with an injured ankle and the game came to a screeching halt. The Broncos cut the lead to 10 before a long interception return ended the upset bid and gave Beckman a win in his first game on the Illinois sideline. Scheelhaase, who finished with 126 yards passing, 21 yards rushing and two total touchdowns practiced on Sunday but isn't going to be fully healthy for the Arizona State game. The defense won't be underrated for much longer if it can completely stop opposing rushing attacks like it did against WMU — try minus-6 yards on 19 attempts.
This week: at Arizona State (1-0)

7. Northwestern (1-0)
Preseason rank: 7
Week 1 result: Beat Syracuse 42-41
The day certainly belonged to the quarterbacks in the Carrier Dome this weekend. Syracuse's Ryan Nassib completed 44 of his 65 total attempts for 470 yards and four touchdowns while the Wildcats' duo of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian combined to score four touchdowns. After Colter sustained a slight shoulder injury, Pat Fitzgerald turned to the back-up Siemian and the sophomore delivered a nine-yard scoring strike to Demetrius Fields with 44 seconds left to win the game. Colter is listed as the starter for the Vanderbilt game this weekend but keep an eye on this position moving forward. This defense was a major question mark heading into the season and the Cuse's four unanswered touchdowns to erase a 22-point Northwestern second-half lead only further highlights the issues.
This week: Vanderbilt (0-1)

8. Iowa (1-0)
Preseason rank: 8
Week 1 result: Beat Northern Illinois 18-17
Iowa was 12th in the Big Ten in rushing last season and has dealt with major attrition at the running back position since the end of the 2011 season. The Hawkeyes rushed for 2.8 yards per carry on 49 attempts and nearly lost to Northern Illinois. However, Damon Bullock provided a huge boost to the ground game and made the definitive play of the game. The sophomore, who totaled 10 carries and 20 yards for the entire '11 campaign, carried 30 times for 150 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes to go in the game. The scored capped a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback for Kirk Ferentz on a day in which James Vandenberg struggled mightily. This was a huge win for a coach who cannot afford losses to MAC teams. Be it the defending champs or not.
This week: Iowa State (1-0)

9. Purdue (1-0)
Preseason rank: 10
Week 1 result: Beat Eastern Kentucky 48-6
Danny Hope's got himself a quarterback battle folks. Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve are listed as co-starters for Saturday's huge test against Notre Dame. TerBush was suspended for the opener and Marve took full advantage by completing 30-of-38 passes for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Hope returned Purdue to the postseason last fall and will need to settle on a quarterback if he expects to do so again in 2012. Of course, a sneaky good defense would go a long way in getting the Boilers into the Leaders Division race — and they allowed only 190 yards of total offense against Hope's former employer.
This week: at Notre Dame (1-0)


10. Penn State (0-1)
Preseason rank: 6
Week 1 result: Lost to Ohio 24-14
It was an emotional day for Penn State fans. At first, the emotion aided Penn State in building a 14-3 lead. Matt McGloin was crisp, the offense looked well-designed and Bill Belton was very effective out of the backfield. Then Belton was lost for the game with an ankle injury and the offense came to a grinding halt. Tyler Tettleton took advantage and produced 371 total yards (324 passing, 47 rushing) and three total touchdowns en route to arguably the biggest win in Ohio history. A day that should have been about of progress and unity quickly turned into a very real reminder of the state of the Nittany Lion perspective.
This week: at Virginia (1-0)

11. Minnesota (1-0)
Preseason rank: 11
Week 1 result: Beat UNLV 30-27 (3 OT)
It took a full four quarters, but MarQueis Gray finally played well when it counted. The senior quarterback threw two overtime touchdown passes on the road to keep his team out of the upset column. A sloppy regulation ended uneventfully at 13-13 before the fireworks started popping off in Las Vegas. The two teams combined for 18 penalties and five turnovers while Minnesota out-gained the inferior competition 478 to 275.
This week: New Hampshire

12. Indiana (1-0)
Preseason rank: 12
Week 1 result: Beat Indiana State 24-17
Tre Roberson was effective and poised in only the second win of the Kevin Wilson era at Indiana. The sophomore dual-threat finished with a career-high 280 yards passing, 26 completions and 38 attempts to go with a pair of touchdowns. His first win as the starter snapped the nine-game losing streak and gives Hoosiers fans a reason to believe once again. With UMass and Ball State coming up, IU has a chance to triple its win total from a year ago if it continues to get sound quarterback play. 
This week: at UMass (0-1)


by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:57

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