Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-football/ranking-secs-college-football-stadiums
Body:

Fall Saturdays are special. Especially, in the South.

Small towns, huge crowds, tailgating, bands, cheerleaders and student sections are just a few of the reasons college football is the best sport on the planet. When campuses jump to life across the nation each weekend in the fall, college stadiums become a staging ground for history.

There are a variety of ways to evaluate the greatness of a stadium. Huge attendance numbers, home-field advantage in the win-loss column, ear-piercing decibels, rich traditions, picturesque landscapes and amenities are just a few of the aspects that must be considered to rank so many great college football cathedrals.

And there is no better collection of home stadiums than in the nation's best conference, so keep in mind that ranking this league's stadiums functions like recruiting rankings. Meaning, Arkansas may be seventh in the SEC but top 20 nationally.

With that in mind, here's how the stadiums in the SEC stack up.

1. Tiger Stadium, LSU
Opened: 1924
Capacity: 92,542
2012 Attendance: 92,626 (7th nationally)

Be it the vast and unique tailgating menu or Richter Scale-inducing fans, few places in the nation can send chills down your spine like a game at Tiger Stadium. As one of the loudest and most rabid atmospheres in the nation, LSU boasts one of the most daunting home-field advantages in college football — especially at night. Les Miles has three perfect home seasons and is 50-7 in Death Valley overall during his eight seasons as head coach. A $70 million renovation is underway to push Tiger Stadium’s capacity to 100,000, only furthering this hallowed ground reputation as one of the nation’s top venues. And, honestly, how many venues have a real live Bengal Tiger roaming the sidelines?

2. Sanford Stadium, Georgia
Opened: 1929
Capacity: 92,746
2012 Attendance: 92,703 (6th)

It may not be the SEC’s biggest or loudest stadium but it is the most beautiful. Named for late former university president Dr. Stedman Vincent Sanford, the Bulldogs' home stadium is located in the heart of the plush greenery of the gorgeous Athens campus. The famed privet hedges line the field and separate the Georgia fans and the action on the field with style that matches the dolled-up student section. Sanford’s Southwest corner is also home to a canine marble mausoleum in which the first eight generations of Bulldog mascots have been laid to rest. Uga IX currently resides in a permanent on-field, air-conditioned doghouse near the cheerleaders’ platform on Saturdays. Mark Richt is 63-13 “Between the Hedges” and has his team poised for another perfect home slate in 2013.

 

3. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee
Opened: 1921
Capacity: 102,455
2012 Attendance: 89,965 (8th)

Named for former head coach General Robert Reese Neyland, the biggest venue in the SEC has, at one time or another, been the biggest college football stadium in the nation. Recent renovations have transformed the once dilapidated exterior into a brick Big Orange cathedral. Towering over the winding Tennessee River and subsequent Vol Navy, Neyland’s double-deck, totally enclosed seating makes it one of the loudest places to watch a game in the nation. A recent run of horrendous win-loss records have impacted attendance in a big way, as thousands of empty upper deck seats have taken away from the once daunting home-field advantage. But the Pride of the Southland Marching band still form the famed Power-T before every game, and, when this program is surging, few places in the nation can match the pageantry and passion of Neyland Stadium.

4. Kyle Field, Texas A&M
Opened: 1904
Capacity: 82,589
2012 Attendance: 87,014 (11th)

If things progress the way Texas A&M faithful believe, Kyle Field is poised to become arguably the best football stadium in the SEC. Once the $450 million renovation is completed prior to the 2015 season, the Aggies' home stadium will be the largest in the SEC (102,500). That said, the home of the 12th Man is no joke today as it stands. Three towering decks of screaming fans urge their team on through choreographed cheering and rich traditions. And fall Saturdays actually begin the night before with Midnight Yell Practice in which thousands of Aggies fill the seats at Kyle to warm up their windpipes for the following day of action. The surrounding campus offers little in the way of sightseeing and the win-loss home record from 2000-12 leaves much to be desired (56-30). Once enclosed and with Kevin Sumlin still patrolling the sidelines, that number is sure to improve. Despite having hosted only half-a-dozen SEC games, Kyle Field is currently the oldest venue in the conference and averaged one of the highest attendance percentiles in the nation (105.3% capacity) a year ago.

5. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama
Opened: 1929
Capacity: 101,821
2012 Attendance: 101,722 (3rd)

Legendary head coach Bear Bryant and former university president George Denny team up to name one of college football’s most intimidating home venues. Alabama is 224-52-3 since opening the building in 1929 and Nick Saban is 29-6 at home during his tenure. In front of the most dedicated fans in the nation, the Crimson Tide routinely bring opponents to their knees with ear-shattering support and one appropriately named visitor’s locker room (“The Fail Room” after donor James Fail). A round of various multi-million dollar expansions completed in 2010 have made this football palace the No. 2 largest stadium in the SEC and one of the most luxurious places to watch a game.

6. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida
Opened: 1930
Capacity: 88,548
2012 Attendance: 87,587 (10th)

Coined by Steve Spurrier in the early 1990s, no stadium in the nation has a better nickname than “The Swamp.” And when the Gators are rolling, few places in the nation are as intimidating as a hot and humid Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Unique sightlines and design subtleties give BHGS plenty of character and gives the team a huge home-field advantage. From 1990 to 2009, the Gators had the best home field record in the nation at 113-13. When it comes to noise and success, The Swamp is among the game’s most preeminent locations to watch a game.

7. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Arkansas
Opened: 1938
Capacity: 72,000
2012 Attendance: 68,046 (23rd)

One of the most underrated home atmospheres lies just a few miles north of the Ozarks in Northwest Arkansas. After massive renovations in 2001, “DWRRS” grew to accommodate some of the most dedicated fans in the nation. The nation’s second largest video board (167 feet wide) was added just last year to the North end zone and additional planned renovations will push this stadium to 80,000 seats in the very near future. Arkansas’ all-time record at their home stadium is a solid but uninspiring 166-81-2 and the trademark “Woo Pig Sooie” chant can be heard echoing across campus during each home game in the fall.

8. Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn
Opened: 1939
Capacity: 87,451
2012 Attendance: 82,646 (14th)

The Tigers' football stadium is named after Shug Jordan, the winningest coach in school history, and Cliff Hare, a member of Auburn’s first-ever football team and former president of the Southern Conference. Beautiful and historic murals on the east-side exterior as well as freshly planted “War Eagle” flowers in the end zone give this venue plenty of character. And when “Nova” (War Eagle VII), the team’s live golden eagle mascot, flies into the friendly confines, the Auburn faithful explode into a pre-game frenzy. It takes a special fan base and venue to attract over 82,000 fans to watch a team that didn't win a single SEC game a year ago.

9. Williams-Brice Stadium, South Carolina
Opened: 1934
Capacity: 80,250
2012 Attendance: 80,001 (18th)

Recent upgrades to the tailgating areas and stadium itself have elevated Williams-Brice into the upper echelon of SEC venues. “The Cock Pit” has signature lighting high above the upper deck on either side of the field as the school continues to break attendance records — 85,199 in 2012 against Georgia. Each home game begins with the playing of the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey," giving South Carolina one of the best pre-game reputations in the nation. Formerly known as Carolina Stadium, the name was changed in 1972 to Williams-Brice after university benefactor Martha Williams-Brice. Steve Spurrier has built WBS into one of the impossible places to win, posting a 25-3 mark at home over the last four seasons.

10. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss
Opened: 1915
Capacity: 60,580
2012 Attendance: 57,066 (30th)

Can Ole Miss figure out a way to move The Grove inside Vaught-Hemingway? The world’s greatest pre-game tailgate takes place just a few yards away from the comparably small, but no less enjoyable, stadium. So while the third-oldest venue in the SEC hasn’t been all that daunting to opposing teams over the years, it does house what may be the most beautiful fan base in the nation. Everyone should attend at least one tailgate in Oxford, Miss.

11. Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State
Opened: 1914
Capacity: 55,082
2012 Attendance: 55,628 (35th)

The Bulldogs averaged more than 100-percent attendance a year ago and this is one of the reasons why Mississippi State has planned yet another expansion to Davis Wade Stadium. The $75 million work will take two years and will be completed before the 2014 season and will push capacity to 61,337 seats. The North end zone will be sealed off and a high-definition video board will be installed. Opposing fans and teams have grown to despise playing in front of the piercing collection of cowbells.

12. Memorial Stadium, Missouri
Opened: 1927
Capacity: 71,009
2012 Attendance: 67,476 (24th)

Missouri is doing everything it can to make its atmosphere and gameday experience match its big-time SEC rivals. In 2013, Mizzou faithful will be greeted with a brand new luxury suite tower to the West and tweaks to the historic north hill beyond the end zone. The famous rock “M” emblazoned hill was moved closer to the field to get fans closer to the action and create more concourse space. Additionally, a new project to build east-side suits and towers will expand the capacity to 77,000 over the next two years.

13. Commonwealth Stadium, Kentucky
Opened: 1973
Capacity: 67,692
2012 Attendance: 49,691 (41st)

From a percentage standpoint, the Wildcats posted the worst 2012 home attendance in the SEC. However, that had more to do with the poor play of the team than anything else. When this team is good, Big Blue Nation is as loud and passionate as any stadium with less than 70,000 seats in the nation. This venue has witnessed some historic moments — i.e., the Bluegrass Miracle — and Mark Stoops hopes his Spring Game attendance numbers (est. 50,381) are a preview of things to come this fall.

14. Vanderbilt Stadium, Vanderbilt
Opened: 1922
Capacity: 40,350
2012 Attendance: 37,860 (62nd)

The new brick façade and back-to-back winning seasons have helped build up the Dores' home atmosphere. However, the tiny alumni base and single-tiered stadium lacks the pageantry and passion of every other SEC venue. Vandy will always have a tough time selling out and competing in attendance numbers compared to the SEC's bluebloods. However, being located on beautiful West End with plenty to do within walking distance, there is still plenty to enjoy on gameday in Nashville. Of course, if James Franklin keeps winning nine games a season, all of this could change rapidly.

2013 SEC Team Previews

East DivisionWest Division
FloridaAlabama
GeorgiaArkansas
KentuckyAuburn
MissouriLSU
South CarolinaMississippi State
TennesseeOle Miss
VanderbiltTexas A&M


Related College Football Content

SEC All-Conference Team for 2013
SEC Predictions for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Teams for 2013
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 26-40
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 41-60
College Fooball Team Rankings for 2013: No. 61-80
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 81-100
College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 101-125
College Football's Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of BCS Era
College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of BCS Era
College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<p> Ranking the SEC's Football Stadiums</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-accs-football-stadiums
Body:

Fall Saturdays are special.

Small towns, huge crowds, tailgating, bands, cheerleaders and student sections are just a few of the reasons college football is the best sport on the planet. When campuses jump to life across the nation each weekend in the fall, college stadiums become a staging ground for history.

There are a variety of ways to evaluate the greatness of a stadium. Huge attendance numbers, home-field advantage in the win-loss column, rich traditions, picturesque landscapes and amenities are just a few of the aspects that must be considered to rank so many great college football cathedrals.

With that in mind, here's how the stadiums in the ACC stack up.

1. Memorial Stadium, Clemson
Opened: 1942
Capacity: 81,500
2012 Attendance: 81,427 (15th nationally)

There are only two atmospheres in the ACC that compare to the SEC's on Saturdays and Clemson Memorial Stadium is the best. Dubbed “Death Valley” by the late Presbyterian coach Lonnie McMillan after watching his teams get thumped by the Tigers for years, CMS has been home to historic moments and raucous crowds for more than 70 years. The fifth oldest venue in the ACC, this college football cathedral witnessed the first meeting between father and son head coaches (Bowden Bowl I) and is filled with timeless traditions. One of the most well known, of course, is the rubbing of “Howard’s Rock.” A notable Clemson alumnus brought the rock from Death Valley, Calif., and it has been affixed atop a pedestal in the East end zone for nearly 50 years. One legend has it that Memorial Stadium set the record for the loudest college football stadium at 133 decibels in 2007. Current Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney certainly likes the comforts of home. He is 25-4 at Memorial Stadium during his four years as Clemson's head coach.

2. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech
Opened: 1965
Capacity: 65,632
2012 Attendance: 65,632 (25th)

The only building in the ACC that can give Death Valley a run for its money is in Blacksburg, Va. Named after former Tech graduate and Board of Visitors member Edward H. Lane, the beautiful venue is the largest stadium in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Frank Beamer and his Hokies are 51-8 at home during his career and haven’t lost more than one game at home during any season since joining the ACC in 2004. Before moving to the ACC, Tech went 32-9 in Lane Stadium while a member of the Big East. The Highty Tighties, Marching Virginians and “Enter Sandman” get the crowd riled up before every home game as players rush out from the tunnel slapping a slab of Hokie Stone en route to the field. Aside from the boisterous crowd (and excellent football team), part of what makes this venue so intimidating is its altitude of 2,057 feet above sea level — making it the highest stadium in the Eastern United States.

3. Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State
Opened: 1950
Capacity: 82,300
2012 Attendance: 75,601 (19th)

Named after former Florida State president Doak S. Campbell, The Doak is known for its vicious football teams and gorgeous student section. Renamed in 2004 as Bobby Bowden Field, a nine-foot statue and three-story stained-glass window of the legendary coach were added to the facilities. The Noles are 260-86-4 all-time in the largest stadium in the ACC and, interestingly enough, the gorgeous brick façade makes DCS the largest continuous brick building in the United States. The cowgirls go crazy when Chief Osceola rides in on his steed and plants his flaming spear into the 50-yard line before each home game.

4. Kenan Memorial Stadium, North Carolina
Opened: 1927
Capacity: 62,980
2012 Attendance: 50,286 (38th)

One of the most picturesque places to watch a football game, Kenan Stadium was named after dairy farmer and 1894 UNC graduate William Kenan. It is the second-oldest football venue in the ACC, and could be, in the very near future, the ACC’s nicest as major renovations are underway. The “Blue Zone” will turn the horseshoe into a complete bowl with premium seating and innovative features while an upgrade of overall stadium facilities across the board will make the fan’s experience one of the best in the conference. The Tar Heels are 12-2 over their last two seasons in Kenan.

5. Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State
Opened: 1966
Capacity: 60,000
2012 Attendance: 54,106 (37th)

Originally named Carter Stadium after Harry and Wilbert Carter, Finley was added in 1978 after another major benefactor Albert Finley. Two unique aspects to CFS that add to its value is that fans are allowed to leave and re-enter the stadium — I wonder what they do in the parking lot? — and that it has the smallest clearance between the stands and the field in the ACC. The crowds are right on top of the field and it makes it difficult on opposing teams, as was evident in last October’s upset of previously unbeaten Florida State. Over the last three seasons, the Wolfpack have lost 15 games but only three have come at home (16-3).

6. Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech
Opened: 1913
Capacity: 55,000
2012 Attendance: 43,955 (54th)

The ACC’s oldest venue is located right in the heart of downtown Atlanta and was built for just $15,000 a century ago. Originally named Grant Field, Georgia Tech renamed the venue in 1988 as Bobby Dodd Stadium after the legendary Tech head coach. Many changes over time — Astroturf and the demolition of the South Stands and the 2003 expansion, for example — have made this stadium an ever-changing home for the Ramblin’ Wreck. And when the 1930 Ford Model A Sport coupe and Buzz the Yellow Jacket come flying across the field, the Bobby Dodd faithful erupt.

7. Scott Stadium, Virginia
Opened: 1931
Capacity: 61,500
2012 Attendance: 46,650 (46th)

Located on one of the most historic and culturally rich campuses in the nation, the Cavaliers' home is named after former university rector Frederic Scott. The signature white columns and grassy hill in the Northwest end zone are flanked by Monticello Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Scott Stadium has been witness to many historic ACC contests — namely, the Warrick Dunn goal-line stand. The Wahoos’ stadium is the seventh biggest and fourth oldest in the ACC.

8. Heinz Field, Pitt
Opened: 2001
Capacity: 65,050
2012 Attendance: 41,494 (58th)

From an amenities standpoint, few college stadiums can match the posh NFL home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Panthers' swanky digs, of course, come with the stigma of being the “other” team that plays at Heinz Field. While the venue has a great view of the Ohio River and features state-of-the-art technology, it isn’t located on campus, features roughly 20,000 empty seats each game and the home locker room doesn’t have Pitt Panthers logos plastered all over it.

9. Carrier Dome, Syracuse
Opened: 1980
Capacity: 49,262
2012 Attendance: 37,953 (61st)

If one can get past the fact that a dome named after a HVAC corporation doesn’t have air conditioning, the Orange’s home has plenty of character to offer. Nicknamed “The Loud House,” the Cuse’s home has a Teflon-coated, fiberglass inflatable roof that is one of the loudest in the nation. However, while it has been home to many historic showdowns and is the nation’s largest basketball arena, the Carrier Dome has seen better days and is failing to reach capacity on a regular basis.

10. Bryd Stadium, Maryland
Opened: 1950
Capacity: 54,000
2012 Attendance: 36,023 (64th)

Dr. H.C. Byrd was a multi-sport athlete and Terrapins alumni who went on to coach the football team and served as university president. It’s only fitting that the Terps' stadium was named after the prolific graduate.

11. Sun Life Stadium, Miami
Opened: 1987
Capacity: 80,120
2012 Attendance: 47,719 (44th)

The building is 25 minutes from campus and the fans don't exactly pack the bleachers to watch the 'Canes. While the building has the amenities of a stadium capable of hosting an NFL franchise and the BCS national title game, it lacks the connectedness most campus locations produce. It's a nice place to play a football game but it's distant, half-filled and devoid of character.

12. Alumni Stadium, Boston College
Opened: 1957
Capacity: 44,500
2012 Attendance: 37,020 (63rd)

The Eagles had been one of college football's most overachieving programs until recently. Not surprisingly, the team's struggles on the field have likewise resulted in a dip in attendance in the stands. Alumni Stadium can be a difficult place to play when it comes to big-time games (see College Gameday in 2009). However, it's tough to draw crowds to Chestnut Hill and when the team struggles, so does the stadium.

13. BB&T Field, Wake Forest
Opened: 1968
Capacity: 31,500
2012 Attendance: 28,912 (78th)

To Wake's fans' credit, there are typically never a ton of empty seats in BB&T and the recent round of upgrades have improved the fan's experience. However, failing to draw more than 30,000 fans per game in a major conference makes this venue inferior to the massive coliseums of the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12. The tailgating is picturesque and offers the quaintness of a homely, small-town college campus. But Wake Forest home games will never be confused with those in Columbus, Norman or Tuscaloosa.

14. Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke
Opened: 1929
Capacity: 33,941
2012 Attendance: 28,170 (79th)

Attendance has gotten better under the David Cutcliffe regime due in large part to winning more games. However, the stadium has seen its fair share of blowouts — and sparse crowds. The Duke faithful will pack Cameron Indoor long before filling Wallace Wade.

2013 ACC Team Previews

Atlantic Coastal
Boston College Duke 
Clemson Georgia Tech
Florida State Miami
Maryland  North Carolina
NC State  Pittsburgh
Syracuse Virginia
Wake Forest  Virginia Tech


Related College Football Content

2013 ACC All-Conference Team
ACC Predictions for 2013

College Football's Top 25 Teams for 2013

College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 26-40

College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 41-60

College Fooball Team Rankings for 2013: No. 61-80

College Football Team Rankings for 2013: No. 81-100

College Football's Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era

College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of BCS Era

College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of BCS Era

College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<p> Ranking the ACC's Football Stadiums</p>
Post date: Monday, June 10, 2013 - 10:45
Path: /mlb/baseballs-all-time-all-steroid-team
Body:

Steroids are as synonymous with baseball as hot dogs or cold beer. It's an unfortunate era of the game that fans of all ages must accept. Are the use of performance-enhancing drugs terrible for the body and a form of cheating? Yes, and this country should work diligently to combat their growth. But steroids are a part why the game survived during the '90s — aka the 1998 home run chase — and, unfortunately, don't seem to be going away any time soon.

ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has learned that MLB will look to suspend upwards of 20 players related to the Miami-based clinic run by Tony Bosch. Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are the marquee names but Gio Gonzalez, who is coming off of his best season, and Everth Cabrera, who is having his best year in '13, also stand out. Other big names like Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are mentioned as well. Many believe that baseball is looking for 100-game suspensions for several of the players reported to be associated with Bosch's clinic.

Should steroid users be in the Hall of Fame — alongside plenty of other great players who bent the rules? Who benefits more from PEDs: Hitters or pitchers? Will there ever be confirmation of who used what when? Since there will likely never be a definitive answer to these questions maybe baseball should build a “Steroid Wing” in Cooperstown and just lump everyone from 1990 to 2006 — when Bud Selig finally created the Joint Drug Prevention and Blunt Treatment Program.

How would that roster look? Here is the all-time steroid team made up of names who have been connected in one way or another to some sort of PED at some point. The starting lineup is a murderer’s row and the rotation has one of the all-time greats fronting it.

C: Pudge Rodriguez (1991-2011)
Key Stats: .296/.798, 2,844 H, 311 HR, 1,332 RBI
Awards: All-Star (14), Gold Glove (13), Silver Slugger (7), MVP

He is one of baseball’s all-time greatest catchers. He has more putouts (14,864) than any other catcher in history by a wide margin as his 21-season career would indicate. He hit over 20 home runs, however, just five times. They all came in consecutive seasons with the Rangers after playing three years with Jose Canseco. His 35-homer, 113-RBI MVP season is a clear outlier as Canseco claimed to have personally educated Rodriguez about steroid use. He never topped 30 home runs or 100 RBIs in any other season. Following the release of Canseco's inflammatory book, Juiced, the 215-pound catcher showed up at Tigers camp at 187 pounds and never hit more than 14 homers the rest of his career. Honorable Mention: Mike Piazza, Javy Lopez

1B: Mark McGwire (1986-2001)
Key Stats: .263/.982, 583 HR, 1,414 RBI
Awards: All-Star (12), Silver Slugger (3), Gold Glove (1), Rookie of the Year

McGwire is one of the few who has openly admitted that he used PEDs during his playing career. In fact, he dates his use of steroids back to as early as 1989 when he and Canseco won the World Series in Oakland — the modern birthplace for steroids. The Big Mac would have been a big bopper no matter what drugs he took, but breaking Roger Maris’ single-season home run record two years in a row seems highly unlikely. Especially considering he did it at age 34 (70 HR) and 35 (65). Honorable Mention: Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell

2B: Bret Boone (1992-2005)
Key Stats: .266/.767, 252 HR, 1,021 RBI
Awards: All-Star (3), Gold Glove (4), Silver Slugger (2)

Boone’s career stat sheet is one that steroid haters point to on a regular basis. How could a 5-foot-10, 180-pound second baseman who hit a total of 62 home runs in his first six seasons somehow blast 37 dingers and lead the league in RBIs (141) with a .331 average at age 32? His .950 OPS that year dwarfed his career .767 mark. In eight of 14 seasons, Boone hit 15 round trippers or less. But from 2001 to 2003, he hit 96 of his career 252 homers. Once again, it was Canseco’s book that fingered Boone as a potential steroid user. Honorable Mention: Brian Roberts, Chuck Knoblauch

3B: Alex Rodriguez (1994-present)
Key Stats: .300/.945, 647 HR, 1,950 RBI, 318 SB
Awards: All-Star (14), Silver Slugger (10), MVP (3), Gold Glove (2)

Playing in Seattle and Texas, two steroid hotbeds, AROD tested positive for PEDs in 2003 and eventually confessed to his use of banned substances from 2001-03. He has also seen his name mentioned prominently with more recent accusations hailing from the aforementioned Biogenesis clinic based in South Florida. He was an elite player with elite skills but his 40-40 season, multiple MVPs and historic numbers have all been called into question by his decision to cheat. His legacy is very much on the line as a result of his association with MLB's latest investigation in Miami. Honorable Mention: Ken Caminiti, Mike Lowell, Gary Sheffield

SS: Miguel Tejada (1997-2011, '13)
Key Stats: .285/.793, 306 HR, 1,289 RBI
Awards: All-Star (6), Silver Slugger (2), MVP (1)

Tejada was arguably the top shortstop in the game during a five-year stretch from 2000-04. He hit over 30 home runs in four out of five seasons, led the majors with 150 RBIs in 2004 and won the 2002 MVP as a key cog in the emergence of the "Moneyball" era in Oakland. But like many Bay Area players, the Latin star was fingered for steroid use by a variety of people. Rafael Palmeiro accused him of giving him tainted B-12 shots. Canseco accused him in his book. And then his name was featured prominently in the Mitchell Report. It all eventually led to a somber confession in 2009, as he was facing federal perjury charges, leaving little doubt that his career is tainted. Following a one-year absence in 2012, Tejada returned to the majors this season and is currently a utility player for the Royals.

OF: Barry Bonds (1986-2007)
Key Stats: .298/1.051, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 514 SB
Awards: All-Star (14), Silver Slugger (12), Gold Glove (8), MVP (7)

The most high-profile steroid user in the history of baseball also just happens to be its all-time home run champ. Everyone knows the number 755 but few know Bonds’ 762. This is all, of course, due to his miraculous late-career power surge. He never hit over 50 home runs in a season until he blasted 73 in 2002 at age 36. He hit over 40 dingers only three times in his career before topping 45 in five straight seasons from 2000 to 2004 — his 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th seasons. He was at the center of the BALCO scandal playing in a roided-up city during the peak of the steroid era. This one is a no brainer and it’s a shame, because he might have been one of the greatest hitters of all-time if he hadn't cheated. Honorable Mention: Ryan Braun, Gary Sheffield

OF: Sammy Sosa (1989-2007)
Key Stats: .273/.878, 609 HR, 1,667 RBI, 234 SB
Awards: All-Star (7), Silver Slugger (6), MVP (1)

This should be the only stat you need to know about Sosa and the steroid era: The Cubs' slugger broke Maris’ single-season home run record three times (1998, 1999, 2001) and never once led his league in homers. Think about that? He was a power hitter despite his 6-foot, 165-pound frame before 1998, but his numbers spiked dramatically during his historic home run chase with McGwire. He hit 207 HR in his first nine seasons and 292 long balls from 1998 to 2002. His 2005 Congressional hearing performance was one for the ages and he was fingered by The New York Times in an article stating Sosa tested positive for PEDs in 2003. Seriously, Baseball-Reference has him listed at 6-foot and 165 pounds… and he has 609 home runs? Honorable Mention: Jose Canseco, Juan Gonzalez

OF: Manny Ramirez (1993-2011)
Key Stats: .312/.996, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI
Awards: All-Star (12), Silver Slugger (9)

There weren’t many better right-handed hitters in all of baseball than Man-Ram in his prime. But that all came crashing down when he tested positive in 2009 for testosterone levels and was suspended 50 games. He then tested positive again in 2011 for a banned substance. All of this after he was fingered as a user back in the infamous 2003 drug test that reportedly also implicated Sosa, A-Rod and others. He was an elite hitter who delivered in the clutch and led his team to four different World Series. But he also quit on his team and earned the "Manny Being Manny" moniker after bizarre and often inexplicable on-field behavior. Honorable Mention: Brady Anderson, Melky Cabrera

DH: David Ortiz (1997-present)
Key Stats: .285/.928, 401 HR, 1,326 RBI
Awards: All-Star (8), Silver Slugger (5)

Big Papi has a strange career boxscore. In six seasons with the Twins, Ortiz slugged just 58 home runs — or less than 10 per season. But paired up with Man-Ram in Beantown for an organization that is willing to do anything to win and he became the greatest hitting DH of all-time. He has averaged 34 home runs per season in 10 full seasons with the Red Sox and topped out at a league-leading 54 in 2006. Ortiz, like so many others on this team, reportedly tested positive for steroids in 2003, information that finally came to light in 2009. To Ortiz' credit, he has maintained his production at the plate since the disclosure, as he averaged 30 home runs per season from 2009-11. Honorable Mention: Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui

SP: Roger Clemens (1984-2007)
Key Stats: 354 W, 4,916.2 IP, 4,672 K, 3.12 ERA
Awards: All-Star (11), Cy Young (7), MVP (1)

The Bonds of the mound, Clemens used PEDs to match the slugger's MVPs with seven Cy Young awards. He led the league in ERA seven different times, including a sterling 1.87 mark — his career best — at age 42 while pitching in a notorious steroid town (Houston) in 2005. The change in his career dates back to his move north of the border. After four middling years in Boston from 1993-96, he signed with Toronto and went 41-13 in 498.2 innings with a 2.33 ERA and 563 strikeouts — at age 34 and 35. He was then traded to New York and made more than $97.8 million from age 37 to 44. His name came up 82 times in the Mitchell Report and he has been fingered by former trainers and even teammates as a possible rule-breaker. Honorable Mention: Andy Pettitte, Kevin Brown, Jason Schmidt

RP: Eric Gagne (1997-2008)
Key Stats: 187 SV, 643.2 IP, 718 K, 3.47 ERA
Awards: All-Star (3), Cy Young (1)

Gagne was magical when he was at his best. He converted an MLB-record 84 straight saves and closed 152 games with 365 strikeouts and a 1.79 ERA in just 247.0 innings from 2002 to 2004. In his other seven seasons combined, he closed 35 games total. However, pitching on the West Coast during those years will raise major question marks and he was named prominently in the Mitchell Report complete with extremely incriminating evidence. He was never the same pitcher following his Tommy John surgery in 2005. Honorable Mention: John Rocker, Guillermo Mota

Note: This is simply for fun and not intended to cast official judgment of anyone named above nor is it investigative journalism.

Teaser:
<p> Major League Baseball's All-Steroid Team</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/top-10-oklahoma-football-teams-all-time
Body:

Oklahoma has one of the richest and most successful college football traditions in the nation. The NCAA's all-time longest winning streak, four coaches with at least 120 wins at the school — although, Bennie Owen's teams are ineligible for this exercise — and one of the classic gameday atmospheres in history. Clean uniforms, a simple, yet effective fight song, arguably the greatest rivalry game in college football and, of course, plenty of championships make the Sooners one of the sports' bluest blue bloods.

But how would Roy Williams and Torrance Marshall do against Billy Sims? What about a head-to-head battle between Lee Roy Selmon and Adrian Peterson? The Sooners have won at least a share of 40 conference championships and claim seven recognized national championships since the AP era began in 1934. But which team was the best? The fact of the matter is no one will ever know for sure, so trying to rank the best teams in Crimson and Cream history is virtually impossible. But we're going to try anyway.

1. 2000 (13-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
Few teams were more complete than the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners. Offensive whiz and Heisman finalist Josh Heupel led the offense at quarterback while one of the most talented defenses ever assembled posted arguably the best BCS title game performance in history. Starting No. 19 in the preseason polls, OU won road games against No. 2 Kansas State and No. 23 Texas A&M while defeating No. 1 Nebraska at home. Three neutral field wins over ranked opponents — No. 11 Texas, No. 8 Kansas State and eventually No. 3 Florida State — led to Oklahoma’s first national championship since 1985. Roy Williams, J.T. Thatcher, Torrance Marshall and Rocky Calmus are just a few of the standout names on the historic ’00 Sooner defense.

2. 1974 (11-0, 7-0)
Head Coach: Barry Switzer
The first of Switzer’s three national championship teams beat all but one opponent (Texas) by at least 14 points after starting the year as the preseason No. 1 team in the nation. The team boasted eight All-Americans and a stacked backfield that included Steve Davis, Joe Washington and Jim Littrell. This team set an NCAA record for rushing attempts as the Wishbone attack averaged 73.9 rushes per game and scored more than 60 points three times. The other side of the ball was led by the Selmon brothers, Lee Roy and Dewey, as well as All-American Rod Shoate and Jimbo Elrod. As the lone unbeaten team in the nation, OU claimed its fourth national championship.

3. 1955 (11-0, 6-0)
Head Coach: Bud Wilkinson
The middle team of the magical Wilkinson run in the mid-50s won games 20-30 of the famed 47-game winning streak. Led by NCAA Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald — who shockingly led the Sooners in passing, rushing AND receiving — Oklahoma went on to claim the national championship by dominating opponents. This defense pitched five shutouts, including four straight to end the regular season and a combined score of 73-0 against archrivals Texas and Oklahoma State. Beginning the year No. 3 in the polls, Oklahoma worked its way to No. 1 by Week 7 and defeated No. 3 Maryland 20-6 in the Orange Bowl to claim the national title.

4. 1956 (10-0, 6-0)
Head Coach: Bud Wilkinson
After winning back-to-back national titles and entering the season on a 30-game winning streak, Oklahoma went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the nation. The defense pitched six shutouts, including a combined 138-0 thrashing of Notre Dame, Texas and Oklahoma State. This team allowed 51 total points in 1956, gave OU its third consecutive national championship and pushed the Sooners' winning streak to 40 games. Quarterback Jim Harris took over admirably for Tommy McDonald and National Lineman of the Year Jerry Tubbs finished fourth in the Heisman voting.

5. 1975 (11-1, 6-1)
Head Coach: Barry Switzer
As the defending champs, Oklahoma entered the season ranked No. 1 in the polls and proceeded to destroy both Oregon and No. 15 Pitt 108-17 to start the year. This team, which boasted eight All-Americans and an Outland Trophy winner in Lee Roy Selmon, defeated four top-five opponents in Colorado (No. 2), Texas (No. 5), Nebraska (No. 2) and Michigan (No. 5) in the Orange Bowl as well as three other top-20 teams in Missouri (No. 18), Oklahoma State (No. 19) and Pitt. A bizarre 23-3 loss at home to Kansas was the only blemish on the ’75 resume and it took losses from both No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas A&M in their bowl games to give OU its fifth national championship.

6. 1985 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Barry Switzer
The Sooners began the season No. 2 in the polls and with Troy Aikman as the starting quarteback. However, after a loss to Miami in Week 4, Aikman was lost for the year. Jamelle Holieway took over and, with the help of a stacked roster, led Oklahoma to the national championship. He was surrounded by elite talents like Keith Jackson and Lydell Carr on offense and three All-Americans in Tony Casillas, Kevin Murphy and Butkus Award winner Brian Bosworth on defense. This team allowed more than seven points just four times all year and capped the season with a convincing 25-10 victory over No. 1 Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

7. 2008 (12-2, 7-1)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
When it comes to overall talent, few rosters in Oklahoma history can match the ’08 squad. Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy while leading Oklahoma to the Big 12 Championship and the BCS National Championship Game. Ryan Broyles, DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown, Jauquin Iglesias, Jermaine Gresham, Manuel Johnson, Trent Williams and Phil Loadholt also started on an offense that set the NCAA record for points scored (716) by a wide margin (Hawaii, 656). The defense wasn’t far behind on talent either, as Gerald McCoy, Jeremy Beal, Auston English, Travis Lewis, Nic Harris and Dominique Franks all started on that side of the ball. Even a 10-point loss to No. 5 Texas in the Red River Shootout wasn't enough to keep the Sooners out of the BCS title game. However, once Oklahoma got to Miami Gardens, Fla., it was a physical Florida Gators team that handed the Sooners a 24-14 defeat that ended OU’s hopes of an eighth national championship.

8. 1987 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Barry Switzer
A third consecutive defeat at the hands of No. 2 Miami and former assistant Jimmy Johnson in the Orange Bowl kept the Sooners from the national championship for the second straight year. On a team stacked with elite players like All-Americans Rickey Dixon (who also won the Thorpe Award), Mark Hutson, Keith Jackson, Dante Jones and Darell Reed, the Sooners rolled through the regular season unbeaten. The offense led the nation in seven statistical categories but was held to just 255 total yards in the heart-breaking 20-14 loss to Miami.

9. 1986 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Barry Switzer
For the second straight year the Sooners lost to No. 2 Miami, except this time it cost Switzer his fourth national championship. Led by Brian Bosworth, Steve Bryan, Dante Jones and Paul Migliazzo on defense, this team pitched five shutouts and led the nation in rushing, passing, total and scoring (6.8 ppg) defense. Keith Jackson and Spencer Tillman spearheaded the offense and Tillman capped the year by rushing for 109 yards and two scores in a forceful 42-8 drubbing of No. 9 Arkansas in the Orange Bowl.

10. 2004 (12-1, 8-0)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
Led by legendary true freshman tailback Adrian Peterson, the Sooners rolled through the regular season unbeaten and were poised to face the only team ranked ahead of them in the polls all season in USC in the Orange Bowl. The passing game featured Heisman winner Jason White (2003) and wideouts Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley and Travis Wilson. Stoops featured four future head coaches in Kevin Wilson (co-OC), Bo Pelini (DC), Chuck Long (co-OC) and Kevin Sumlin (TE) as well as Brent Venables (DC). A 55-19 beatdown at the hands of the No. 1 Trojans soured the season in the Orange Bowl to end the year.

Related: Top 10 Notre Dame Fighting Football Teams of All-Time
Related: Top 15 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Teams of All-Time
Related: Top 10 Oklahoma Sooners Teams of All-Time 

The best of the rest:

11. 1954 (10-0, 6-0)
Head Coach: Bud Wilkinson

Not many teams feature a Hall of Fame two-way lineman who finished second in the Heisman like the nasty Kurt Burris did for the unbeaten national champs in 1954. Oklahoma beat three ranked teams in Cal (No. 12), TCU (No. 20) and Texas (No. 15) to win the title. This team won games 10-19 of the famed 47-game win streak.

12. 1950 (10-1, 6-0)
Head Coach: Bud Wilkinson
Despite a loss to No. 7 Kentucky in the Sugar Bowl in the season finale, the Sooners claimed a share of their first national championship in school history. The offense was led in rushing and receiving by Billy Vessels, who would eventually claim the Heisman Trophy two years later.

13. 1973 (10-0-1, 7-0) Barry Switzer
14. 1979 (11-1, 7-0) Barry Switzer
15. 2003 (12-2, 8-0) Bob Stoops

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Teaser:
<p> Top 10 Oklahoma Football Teams of All-Time</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 07:35
Path: /news/7-reasons-tim-tebows-nfl-career-over
Body:

The Tim Tebow saga may be coming to a slow, painful end.

Reports surfaced recently that some in Tebow’s camp are admitting that the former Gators, Broncos and Jets “quarterback” is coming to grips with the reality that his career may be coming to an end.

Nothing is official and there has been no retirement letter filed with the NFL, so he may still be holding out hope.

But after two NCAA BCS National Championships at Florida and a miracle run with the Broncos two years ago, why has Tebow’s NFL career come to an end so abruptly?

Here are the top reasons why Tebow’s career is over:

1. He can’t complete passes
This is the main reason Tebow won’t be taking snaps from an NFL center anytime soon. He has been and will always be an inaccurate passer. It doesn’t matter how big, strong, fast, hard-working, dedicated or tough you are, if you cannot accurately pass the football, your career as an NFL QB will go the way of the Ryan Leaf bird. The bottom line is Tebow is a career 47.9-percent passer. That’s not getting the job done.

2. The media circus is too much
A professional sports locker room is an extremely delicate balance between trust, cohesion, respect, tension and talent. Outside distractions can cripple a team and its chances for a championship in any sport on any level. What Tebow brings to a locker room — leadership, commitment and work ethic — doesn’t outweigh what his persona brings to an organization. The media circus that follows his every move is too much for most teams to even consider hiring the polarizing player.

3. He refuses to change positions
Quarterbacks are egomaniacs and prima donnas just like head coaches. Tebow may not be an egomaniac but he has refused to switch positions in an effort to prolong his career. Could he be a H-back, tight end, fullback or even pass-rusher? Could he contribute on special teams? The odds are yes — he is too big, fast, strong and athletic not to make plays. But he thinks of himself as a quarterback only… and it will end his career.

4. Shahid Khan is stupid
Okay, Khan isn’t actually stupid as his $2.5 billion net worth would indicate. However, the Jaguars owner not offering Tim Tebow at least a roster spot years ago was just bad business. As tarps cover seats and TV blackouts abound in Jacksonville, the Jaguars have been looking for some sort of spark to inspire fans for years. The local boy who played high school and college football just down the road could have been a perfect remedy. Well, financially, at least.

5. Urban Meyer coaches at Ohio State
Meyer coached Tebow at Florida to two national championships and a Heisman Trophy before taking a year off from coaching. He resurfaced at Ohio State and led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record in his first season in Columbus. However, had he taken an NFL job instead of the Big Ten one, fans can bet Tebow would be on an NFL roster. Even if he is just a third QB — or designated locker room speech giver.

BONUS REASONS:

Everyone hates Skip Bayless
In an effort to remove Skip Bayless from the sports media, NFL executives are doing mankind a favor by not signing Tim Tebow. Once Tebow disappears from the NFL landscape, Bayless won't have anything to talk about. In fact, Tebow is only furthering his image as a man of the people by selflessly stepping away from the game. Ideally, this unified move from the NFL and Tebow will force Bayless to “fade into Bolivia.”

Teaser:
<p> 5 Reasons Tim Tebow's NFL Career is Over</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 12:45
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/top-10-lsu-tigers-football-teams-all-time
Body:

There is so much to love about the LSU Tigers. A real Bengal Tiger for a mascot. One of the loudest, most electric Saturday night atmospheres in the nation. And arguably the most diverse and delicious tailgating menus of all-time make the Bayou Bengals one of college football's greatest programs. Unfortunately, the success on the field has been few and far between for the current SEC powerhouse.

LSU won one national championship and just eight SEC titles in 70 years from the league's inception (1933) until Nick Saban's historic 2003 title run. But LSU hasn't missed a bowl since Saban's first season (2000) and has been a national title contender ever since.

But how would Billy Cannon to do against Glenn Dorsey or Ali Highsmith? Overall, the Tigers have claimed three national titles and at least a share of 11 SEC championships since the AP Era debuted in 1934. But which team was the best? The fact of the matter is no one will ever know for sure, so trying to rank the best teams in LSU history is virtually impossible.

But we're going to try anyway.

1. 2003 (13-1, 7-1)
Head Coach: Nick Saban

There is little doubt the 2003 LSU Tigers were the best collection of Bayou Bengals in school history. The offense was excellent, led by the likes of Matt Mauck, Michael Clayton, Devery Henderson, Stephen Peterman, Joseph Addai, Alley Broussard, Justin Vincent and Rimington winner Ben Wilkerson. But the defense was legendary as Chad Lavalais, Marcus Spears and Kyle Williams dominated the defensive line and Corey Webster and LaRon Landry patrolled the secondary. From a talent perspective, no team in LSU history can match Saban’s championship squad. And with LSU’s first national championship since 1958, this team will go down in LSU lore as the greatest team to ever play in Baton Rouge. A single 19-7 home loss to Florida early in the year was the season's only blemish and is the only thing keeping this team from joining a small pantheon of unbeaten BCS National Champs.

2. 1958 (11-0, 6-0)
Head Coach: Paul Dietzel

Despite not facing unbeaten and No. 4-ranked Aubun all season, the LSU Tigers won the SEC and National Championship in Paul Dietzel’s fourth season. It was his first winning record at LSU and it is still the school’s only unblemished season of the poll era. Future Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon led the offense and the defense held all but one team (Duke) to seven points or less.

3. 2011 (13-1, 8-0)
Head Coach: Les Miles

Despite the ugly way this season ended, the 2011 LSU Tigers is one of the most decorated, successful and talented teams to ever roam the Bayou. After posting wins over eight ranked opponents, including a memorable upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, LSU entered the national title game with a program-record 13 wins. It featured an elite defense stacked with a number of first-round picks, including a Thorpe Award winner in Morris Claiborne. Certainly, the BCS championship game performance was horrendous and left a bitter scar on the ’11 team’s resume. Still, no LSU team has had a better regular season and no LSU team has won more games than the 2011 squad.

4. 2007 (12-2, 6-2)
Head Coach: Les Miles

It is difficult to truly evaluate the 2007 LSU Tigers. They were exceptionally talented with names like Matt Flynn, Glenn Dorsey, Darry Beckwith, Ciron Black, Craig Steltz, Chevis Jackson, Ali Highsmith and Jacob Hester. They defeated seven ranked opponents and won the SEC and BCS national championships. However, what keeps this team from being the best of all-time was 93 points allowed to Arkansas and Kentucky in overtime losses. This is the only two-loss BCS champ and, like most teams, needed some good fortune (looking at West Virginia and Missouri) to land in the title game against Ohio State. This team was unbeaten in regulation in ’07 and was deserving of being called the best team in the nation, but it’s not in the same dominant category of the three LSU teams above it.

5. 1936 (9-1-1, 6-0)
Head Coach: Bernie Moore

The SEC champs tied at Texas in Week 2 and entered the Sugar Bowl game against No. 5 Santa Clara with a shot at the national championship. This defense allowed an unbelievable 4.9 points per game behind five shutouts but couldn’t stop the Broncos. The 21-14 Sugar Bowl loss was the season’s only blemish and it cost the Tigers a potential national title. LSU finished No. 2 in the final AP poll while Minnesota finished No. 1 and claimed the national championship.

6. 1961 (10-1, 6-0)
Head Coach: Paul Dietzel

In 1961 fans in Baton Rouge were left wondering what if had it not lost the season opener at Rice 16-3. After giving up 16 points in the season opener, LSU allowed a total of 41 points the rest of the season and finished with 10 straight wins. This run included victories over No. 6 Colorado in the Orange Bowl, No. 3 Georgia Tech and No. 2 Ole Miss. This is one of eight LSU teams to finish inside the AP top four at season’s end and it also won a share of the SEC championship.

7. 2001 (10-3, 5-3)
Head Coach: Nick Saban

Yes, this team was stacked with NFL talent. Yes, this team finished No. 7 in the final AP poll. But what made this team special was the championship drought this group ended for Bayou Bengal faithful. Led by Biletnikoff winner Josh Reed, this team defeated four straight ranked opponents to end the year as SEC champions — the school’s first conference title since 1988 and its first outright SEC crown since 1986. After three decades of irrelevance, this team signified the return of LSU football to prominence.

8. 1959 (9-2, 5-1)
Head Coach: Paul Dietzel

The team that followed the ’58 national champs won the school’s only Heisman Trophy when Billy Cannon returned to dominate college football. This team began as the No. 1 team in the nation until a loss at No. 13 Tennessee late in the year knocked them off the top slot. This team didn’t win the SEC (Georgia) and lost to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, but it is one of just seven teams to finish in the AP top three in LSU history.

9. 2006 (11-2, 6-2)
Head Coach: Les Miles

The 11-2 team was simply a glimpse of what was to come the following year and was just the fourth team in school history to reach 11 wins (1958, 2003, '05). This team ranked ninth nationally in scoring offense (33.7) and fourth nationally in scoring defense (12.6). This team was stacked with elite talents who would go on to win a national title the next year and losses to two top-five opponents on the road — at No. 3 Auburn and at No. 5 Florida — were the only thing keeping LSU from competing for a national title. The ’06 Tigers finished No. 3 in the AP poll after crushing Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

10. 1970 (9-3, 5-0) 
Head Coach: Charles McClendon

From 1936 to 1970, LSU won just two SEC titles, but head coach Charles McClendon returned the Tigers to SEC relevance in 1970 with a league championship. Consensus All-American defenders Tommy Cassanova and Mike Anderson led a defense that allowed just 9.4 points per game. This team defeated ranked opponents Auburn (No. 6), Alabama (No. 19) and Ole Miss (No. 16) and its losses came against No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Nebraska and Texas A&M. The SEC champs finished No. 7 in the AP poll.

Related: Top 10 Notre Dame Fighting Football Teams of All-Time
Related: Top 15 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Teams of All-Time

The best of the rest:

1986 (9-3) Head Coach: Mike Archer*
1987 (10-1) Head Coach: Mike Archer
2005 (11-2) Head Coach: Les Miles
1962 (9-1-1) Head Coach: Charles McClendon
1946 (9-1-1) Head Coach: Bernie Moore
1935 (9-2) Head Coach: Bernie Moore*
1988 (8-4) Head Coach: Mike Archer*
1996 (10-2) Head Coach: Gerry DiNardo
2010 (11-2) Head Coach: Les Miles
1969 (9-1) Head Coach: Charles McClendon

* - SEC champs

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Teaser:
<p> Top 10 LSU Tigers Football Teams of All-Time</p>
Post date: Monday, June 3, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/big-12s-top-heisman-contenders-2013
Body:

his role as the starting quarterback, but there are no guarantees that he will return to form. TCU can still be a very good team with Trevone Boykin at quarterback, but to be elite, the Horned Frogs need Pachall, the more gifted passer, to take the majority of the snaps in 2013.


2013 Big 12 Team Previews

BaylorOklahoma State
Iowa StateTCU
KansasTexas
Kansas StateTexas Tech
OklahomaWest Virginia

Best of the Rest:

 

Five Defensive Players to Watch:

Devonte Fields, DE, TCU
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas

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<p> The Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders in 2013</p>
Post date: Sunday, June 2, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/top-10-oregon-ducks-football-teams-all-time
Body:

No program in the nation has elevated themselves in the college football hierarchy over the last 15 years more than the Oregon Ducks. All eight double-digit win seasons in program history have taken place since 2000. Five of the school's eight conference championships have come since the turn of the millennium as well.

Much of this growth can be attributed to great coaching — and NIKE. Rich Brooks, Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly have been brilliant hires but Phil Knight’s overwhelming influence (and money) has gone a long way in building the Ducks into a national recruiting powerhouse.

But how would Joey Harrington’s team compete against Darron Thomas’ squad? Could the historic 1994 Rose Bowl team hang with the 2011 Rose Bowl champions? The Ducks have claimed eight conference championships since the AP Era debuted in 1934, but which was the best? And was the best team in school history one that didn't even win the league? The fact of the matter is no one will ever know for sure, so trying to rank the best teams in Ducks' history is virtually impossible.

But we're going to try anyway.

1. 2010 (12-1, 9-0)
Head Coach: Chip Kelly

The most dominant regular season in program history began with a 48-13 showcase in vaunted Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. Wins over three ranked Pac-10 teams later and the Ducks finished the regular season 12-0 as Pac-10 champions. Record-setting quarterback Darron Thomas and Doak Walker winner LaMichael James led an offense that scored a school-record 611 points (since broken). Names like Casey Matthews, Kenny Rowe, John Boyett and Brandon Bair led what has to be considered a very underrated defense. The Ducks lost a heart-breaker in the national championship game against Auburn 22-19, but this defense held Cam Newton and the Tigers to their second-lowest output of the year (17, Mississippi State). This team was one tackle or blocked kick away from winning the school’s first national championship.

Related: Top 10 Notre Dame Fighting Football Teams of All-Time
Related: Top 15 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Teams of All-Time

2. 2001 (11-1, 8-1)
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti

Led by Heisman Trophy finalist Joey Harrington, these Ducks rolled through the Pac-10 en route to the program's first outright conference championship since 1994 and just its second since 1957. A deep and talented offensive skill group — Maurice Morris, Onterrio Smith, Samie Parker — helped the Ducks defeat four ranked teams, including a 38-16 destruction of No. 3 Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl. In fact, if not for the national championship being played in Pasadena, Calif., this team likely would have captured Oregon's first Rose Bowl win since 1917. This offense scored 412 points, which was good for second all-time in school history at the time, and no Oregon team has finished higher in the final AP Poll than the ’01 squad (No. 2). A seven-point home shootout loss to a nine-win Stanford team was the only thing keeping this team from being the only unbeaten squad in Ducks history.

3. 2012 (12-1, 8-1)
Head Coach: Chip Kelly

Quarterbacked by Marcus Mariota, this Oregon team was never ranked outside of the AP's top 5. The offense also featured Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas and tied a school record for points scored with 645. The Ducks led the nation in turnover margin and destroyed five ranked teams en route to a tie for the best AP finish in school history (No. 2). A three-point overtime loss to Pac-12 and Rose Bowl champ Stanford not only kept the Ducks from winning the Pac-12 title, but also cost Oregon a chance at a second BCS National Championship game berth.

4. 2011 (12-2, 8-1)
Head Coach: Chip Kelly

A brutal neutral field loss to eventual SEC champ LSU in the season opener and bizarre home upset to USC were the only blemishes on the Pac-12 and Rose Bowl champions’ resume in ’11. This offense, led by Darron Thomas at quarterback and a three-headed monster at running back, set a school record for points scored with 645 (tied one year later). Wins over three ranked opponents, including No. 3 Stanford and No. 9 Wisconsin highlighted one of the best seasons in school history. One that ended with a No. 4 ranking in the final AP Poll, which is just one of four top-five finishes in program history.

5. 2000 (10-2, 7-1)
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti

A preview of things to come the following year, the 2000 team played six ranked opponents (beating four) and finished seventh in the final AP poll. A three-way tie atop the Pac-10 with Washington (win) and Oregon State (loss), resulted in the Huskies going to Pasadena, Calif., to play in the Rose Bowl while the Ducks flew south to San Diego to play in the Holiday Bowl against Texas. Harrington, Morris and Parker showed flashes of brilliance in 2000 before taking their play to the next level the following season (see No. 2). This team was the first in school history to win 10 games in a single season.

6. 2009 (10-3, 8-1)
Head Coach: Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly took over for Mike Bellotti as a relative unknown and proved in one year he was the right guy for the job. His team led the league in scoring offense and rushing en route to the school’s first Rose Bowl berth since 1994. The season got started in bad fashion with the “Blount Punch” and a loss to Boise State but ended with a Pac-10 championship. This team faced six ranked opponents, going 4-2, and finished 11th in the final AP Poll. Jeremiah Masoli and LaMicheal James were virtually unstoppable in the backfield for Kelly’s first team.

7. 2005 (10-2, 7-1)
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti

This team didn’t win the Pac-10 championship. It didn’t win its bowl game against Oklahoma. And it didn’t win any major awards or set any school records. But from a pure talent perspective, few Oregon teams can match the ’05 roster. A loss to No. 1 USC was the only regular season blemish and wins over ranked Fresno State, Arizona State and Cal dot the resume. The backfield featured Kellen Clemens and Dennis Dixon at quarterback with Jonathan Stewart, Terrence Whitehead and Jeremiah Johnson at running back. Demetrius Williams posted one of the greatest receiving years in school history and all-universe nose tackle Haloti Ngata spearheaded the defense. Depsite the loss to the Sooners to end the year, Oregon finished 12th in the final AP Poll.

8. 2008 (10-3, 7-2)
Head Coach: Mike Bellotti

Mike Bellotti’s final team was one of his best. The 2008 team had two 1,000-yard rushers in Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount as Jeremiah Masoli quarterbacked the first team to score 500 points in school history (545). Jeff Maehl, Terence Scott, Jaison Williams and Ed Dickson formed one of the best receiving corps in school history as well. But what made this team one of the best was the defense. In particular, the secondary was loaded with T.J. Ward, Jairus Bryd, Walter Thurmond III and Patrick Chung. This group went 2-1 against ranked opponents and finished the year as one of Oregon’s seven top-10 teams (AP No. 10).

9. 1994 (9-4, 7-1)
Head Coach: Rich Brooks

After decades of turmoil, Rich Brooks finally broke through with the school’s first conference championship in nearly 40 years. Non-conference losses to Hawaii and Utah early in the year were quickly turned into a 7-1 Pac-10 record — including wins over a ranked USC, Washington and Arizona. Danny O’Niel, Dino Philyaw and Ricky Whittle led the offense that returned Oregon to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1958.

10a. 1948: (9-2, 7-0)
Head Coach: Jim Aiken

Strangely, this Pacific Coast Conference co-champion team played seven of 11 games on the road but didn’t lose a game in league play. It finished No. 9 in the final AP Poll, which was the first and only top-10 finish for Oregon until the 2000 team finished seventh. The defense allowed just 9.4 points per game.

10b. 1957 (7-4, 6-2)
Head Coach: Len Casanova

It didn’t wow in the statistical or win-loss categories but this is one of just four teams in school history to play in the Rose Bowl. This team is also the only Ducks team to win a conference championship (PCC) between 1950 and 1993. It went 2-2 against four ranked opponents, including a narrow 10-7 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Oregon lost all four games by a grand total of 16 points and had three three-point losses.

The best of the rest:

1999 (9-3) Head Coach: Mike Bellotti
1998 (8-4) Head Coach: Mike Bellotti
2007 (9-4) Head Coach: Mike Bellotti
1995 (9-3) Head Coach: Mike Bellotti
1959 (8-2) Head Coach: Len Casanova

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Teaser:
<p> Top 10 Oregon Ducks Football Teams of All-Time</p>
Post date: Friday, May 31, 2013 - 08:40
All taxonomy terms: College World Series, MLB, News
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Michael Roth could run for office in Columbia, S.C. — and he would win in a landslide.

The former Gamecocks pitcher started back-to-back College World Series Championship-clinching games in 2010 and '11 before leading South Carolina back to Omaha in '12. The lefty starter was a ninth-round pick by the Los Angeles Angels last June and has already made his MLB debut.

LSU’s Kevin Gausman was a part of history in last year’s tournament as well. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft who has already made his Baltimore Orioles debut watched Stony Brook upset his Tigers in Baton Rouge Super Regional play last year in heart-breaking fashion.

Florida’s CWS run last year was spearheaded by names like Mike Zunino, Brian Johnson and Paco Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a second-round pick by the Dodgers, debuted last year and has become one of the more dependable relievers for the Boys in Blue. Zunino has crushed his way to AAA-Tacoma for the Seattle Mariners after being the third overall pick in the ’12 MLB Draft while Johnson also was taken in the first round by the Red Sox.

In all, eight College World Series teams produced 53 total MLB Draft picks in 2012. Five of those were first-round picks — Zunino, Johnson, Stony Brook’s Travis Jankowski, Florida State’s James Ramsey and UCLA’s Jeff Gelalich.

The point of all this information? The best players in college baseball will be on display in the NCAA Tournament over the next month and many will be starring for your favorite MLB team sooner rather than later. So with regionals set to get underway this weekend, they have some unfinished business. Who are the top prospects to watch in the tournament?

Potential Top 10 Picks:

Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma (6-4, 240)
With Mark Appel and Stanford left out of the bracket, Gray become the top pitching prospect to watch. The two-seeded Sooners will be visiting Blacksburg, Va., with a good chance at an upset because of Gray. The power righty was 16th nationally in earned run average (1.55 ERA) after allowing just 19 runs in 110.0 innings, while his 127 strikeouts were fourth overall. Gray has a powerful fastball that touches 98-99 and he also will throw a slider and a change-up.

Kris Bryant, 1B/3B, San Diego (6-5, 215)
There are thousands of college baseball players and only two hit more than 20 home runs this year. But only Bryant topped 30 as he blasted a nation's best 31 long bombs — which is more home runs than 225 of the 296 TEAMS in the nation. The massive prospect hails from Las Vegas originally and his huge frame and raw power project him as either a first or third baseman in the majors. The third-seeded Toreros will have to battle through the UCLA Bruins in the first round this weekend.

Colin Moran, 3B, North Carolina (6-3, 215)
Much like Bryant, Moran projects at either corner infield spot and this gives him some versatility. He also appears to be very “signable” and that could work in his favor come draft day. He led the nation with 83 RBIs and hit .376 while becoming the seventh Tar Heel to win ACC Player of the Year honors. He doesn’t have Bryant’s power but he has led North Carolina to the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.

Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas (6-4, 190)
If you are looking for an upset pick this tourney, take the Hogs and their excellent pitching staff. The two-seeded Razorbacks will visit host Kansas State this weekend and Stanek's four-pitch repertoire will be on full display. He has a quirky release, but features a powerful fastball (touching 97), a plus-slider and will mix in an improving change-up and adequate curve. He was a third-round pick two years ago and has clearly improved his stock. Pitching in the best league in the nation, his 1.40 ERA (90.0 IP) is 11th nationally.

Hunter Renfroe, OF, Mississippi State (6-1, 210)
The Bulldogs were gifted a regional host assignment and the SEC’s home run leader (15) will be the star of the show in Starkville. He also has played catcher and has an arm that might intrigue scouts as well. Will his versatility help his draft stock or does he lack a true position?

D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B/OF, New Mexico (6-1, 210)
The third-seeded Lobos won the Mountain West conference by a wide margin and Peterson was a huge part of that. His .411 average was third nationally and his 18 big flies finished third in the nation as well. The smooth swinging righty is one of the best pure hitters in the nation and will make New Mexico a tough out in the Cal-State Fullerton regional.


Related: 2013 College World Series and Regional Predictions


Other Potential First-Rounders:

Alex Balog, RHP, San Francisco (6-5, 210)
The big righty has been a late riser in the draft process and should slip into the first round. He will lead the three-seeded Dons into the Eugene Regional to face Rice, Oregon and South Dakota State.

Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida (6-2, 205)
The talented Gators arm blossomed on the 2012 CWS team as his no-hitter against Bethune-Cookman in the Gainesville Regional a year ago helped propel UF to Omaha. He has a plus fastball and three upside pitches

Ryan Eades, RHP, LSU (6-3, 200)
As one of two aces for the SEC tourney champs, Eades has a chance to make himself some money in this tournament. He has excellent command of all three upside pitches and will throw his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s. He struck out 75 batters in 93.2 innings.

Bobby Wahl, RHP, Ole Miss (6-3, 200)
The Virginia native won nine games with 76 strikeouts in 90.2 innings in the nation’s toughest league. He was No. 2 in the SEC in batting average against with a nasty .189 mark. He uses a solid fastball, upside slider and tricky change-up.

Jason Hursh, RHP, Oklahoma State (6-2, 200)
A redshirt sophomore who was a sixth-round pick in 2010 has a fastball that tops out at 97-98 and has an above-average slider. He missed all of last year after Tommy John surgery and will lead the Pokes into the Louisville Regional as a three-seed.

Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Vanderbilt (6-3, 190)
Led the best SEC team in history while leading the conference in strikeouts (106) and opponents batting average (.179). He was fourth in innings (105.1), third in wins (10) and posted a 2.05 ERA for the year.

Chad Pinder, 3B, Virginia Tech (6-2, 192)
The Hokies were 11th in RPI at season’s end and it earned them a spot as a Regional host. Pinder’s bat is a big reason as he has improved each year and has been above .300 his entire NCAA career. He has the size and athleticism to stick at third.

Michael Lorenzen, OF, Cal State Fullerton (6-3, 195)
He has a big arm and defensive skill to stick in center field. He’s been inconsistent at the plate but has led CSF to a national seed (No. 5) and a 48-8 record. He also doubles as a flame-throwing closer for the Titans.

Trevor Williams, RHP, Arizona State (6-3, 230)
He began his career in the pen and made the transition to the rotation with relative ease. He will lead the second-seeded Sun Devils into the Cal-State Fullerton Regional this weekend. He works quick and locates but won’t overpower hitters.

Kent Emanuel, LHP, North Carolina (6-4, 205)
Earned ACC Pitcher of the Year honors on the nation’s No. 1 team. He doesn’t have elite velocity but he has above-average command and knows how to win.

Others to watch:

Jared King, OF, Kansas State (5-11, 200)
Dillon Overton, LHP, Oklahoma (6-2, 170)
Daniel Gibson, LHP, Florida (6-3, 220)
Stuart Turner, C, Ole Miss (6-2, 220)
Colby Suggs, RHP, Arkansas (6-0, 225)
Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, Oregon (6-0, 175)
Zane Evans, C, Georgia Tech (6-2, 220)
Jacoby Jones, 2B, LSU (6-3, 200)

Teaser:
<p> First Round MLB Draft Prospects to Watch in the NCAA Tournament</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 08:30
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The California Golden Bears announced in September of 2010 that their baseball program would be cut because the school couldn’t afford it any longer. After a change of heart eight months later — mostly stemming from a huge influx of cash from supporters — the program was reinstated and became the darlings of the 2011 College World Series. The Bears even won a game in Omaha, saving the program.

Last year, little Stony Brook went into the toughest environment in the nation and beat LSU to earn a trip to Omaha. Kent State took two out of three at No. 5 Oregon in the Super Regionals to join the Seawolves as fan favorites in Omaha.

Over the last two seasons, 10 of the 16 College World Series participants were national, or top eight, seeds. Over the last five seasons, 24 of the 40 College World Series teams were national seeds. This means that five of the eight teams heading to New Rosenblatt Stadium this June will be national seeds.

But it also means three of the eight will be unexpected underdog upsets. In fact, two of the last three champions — Arizona a year ago and South Carolina in 2010 — were not national seeds.

So who is going to make that historic trip to Omaha for the College World Series in 2013? Here are our predictions:
 

North Carolina (1) over South Carolina
I wasn’t going to take the Tar Heels after they lost their last two ACC series of the regular season, however, North Carolina got the weakest regional draw of the tourney and should skate through to the Super Regionals. In-state rivals Clemson and South Carolina will battle in the Columbia Regional for a second straight season. The Cocks won this battle last year and the Tigers have lost five straight games, so South Carolina is poised to battle North Carolina in the Supers. Look for ACC Player and Pitcher of the Year Colin Moran and Kent Emanuel to lead the Tar Heels to the College World Series for the fifth time in eight years.
 

Vanderbilt (2) over Louisville
Both host teams will face intriguing tests as Vandy faces Golden Spikes candidate Kerry Doane on Friday night and a talented but slumping Georgia Tech team potentially on Saturday. However, the Dores are the best team in SEC history by record and should get to the second weekend with relative ease. Louisville has a much tougher path to the Super Regional as it will have to face both Miami and Oklahoma State in the first weekend. The Cardinals won 16 straight to end the regular season and their pitching should advance the Redbirds into a showdown with the Commodores. Tim Corbin’s deep lineup and nasty 1-2 punch atop the rotation — Kevin Ziomek and Tyler Beede — will get Vanderbilt to Omaha for the second time in three years.
 

Arkansas over Oregon State (3)
This is the best Beavers team since Pat Casey won back-to-back CWS championships in 2006 and '07. But having to host either Kansas State or Arkansas in the Supers is a tough draw for the No. 3 overall seed. The Razorbacks have elite pitching both in the rotation and the bullpen as ace Ryne Stanek leads the way. Dave Van Horn’s team made it to the College World Series last year by winning on the road twice against Rice and Baylor and I expect the SEC-tested and second-seeded Hogs to do it again this year. Arkansas upsets the Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan., and then takes down Oregon State in Corvallis to reach the CWS for the second consecutive season.
 

LSU (4) over Oklahoma
The second-seeded Sooners have to go through Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to get to the Bayou Bengals but ace Jonathan Gray should be up to the task. This team has won five straight and clinched the automatic berth by winning the Big 12 tournament last weekend. That said, the surging Sooners won’t pull a Stony Brook this year as their run will end in Alex Box Stadium. LSU is on a mission this year led by three Golden Spikes semifinalists — starter Aaron Nola, slugger Mason Katz and star freshman shortstop Alex Bregman — and won’t be denied a trip to Omaha.

 

Cal State Fullerton (5) over UCLA
No team in the nation lost fewer games than the Titans' eight this year, but CSF will be pressed by upstart New Mexico and fellow West Coast power Arizona State in the first weekend. Fullerton has been knocked out of the last two tournaments by Pac-12 teams Oregon (2012) and Stanford (2011) and will likely have to get through two in Arizona State and UCLA to get to Omaha for the first time since 2009. Head coach and alum Rick Vanderhook, who played on the 1984 national championship team, is looking to put his stamp on the historic program after both George Horton and Dave Serrano led the Titans to Omaha. This team might be the pick to win the whole thing if they can make it through the first two weekends.
 

Virginia (6) over South Alabama
The Wahoos have a nice draw in the first weekend and should be a lock to make it to the second weekend. South Alabama was the best team in an extremely underrated Sun Belt conference (four bids) and gets to play against a surprise host in Mississippi State. The Jaguars, who won 42 games this year, will shock the Bulldogs faithful at famed Dudy Noble in Starkville, Miss. However, look for the superior talent of the Cavaliers to overpower the lack of postseason experience for South Alabama as Brian O’Connor gets his squad to Omaha for the third time in five seasons.
 

Indiana over Alabama
The Big Ten regular-season and tournament champions could be this year’s surprise team in Omaha but they will have to earn their way into the finals. Austin Peay won 45 games and Florida is extremely talented so the first weekend could be tougher than the second for Indiana. Meanwhile in Tallahassee, Alabama might be the team to beat after giving Vanderbilt all it could handle in the final weekend of the regular season. Host Florida State is the most vulnerable national seed and a should a No. 2 seed end up making its way to Omaha, it seems most likely that it would come from this “pod” of action.
 

NC State over Oregon (8)
Ole Miss and NC State are both poised to make deep runs on the backs of aces Bobby Wahl and Carlos Rodon respectively. However, they’ll meet this weekend in Raleigh and only one can advance to the Super Regionals. Both are toying with starting Wahl and Rodon head-to-head on Saturday instead of Friday in the opener. It means a trip to Omaha could be on the line on the second day of the regional. Rodon has been downright nasty of late and has the stuff — 8-2, 3.48 ERA, 151 K, .199 BAA in 101 IP — to carry his team to New Rosenblatt Stadium.

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Post date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 15:40
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Greatness is defined in so many different ways. Statistical production, individual awards, team success, longevity, supporting cast, level of competition, raw talent and athletic ability all factor heavily in determining overall greatness. Sometimes, you simply know greatness when you see it.

So all factors were considered when trying to determine who the greatest tight ends of the BCS era have been. Here are the Top 30 tight ends since the BCS was implemented in 1998:

Agree or disagree with our ranking of College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era? Let us know on Twitter at @AthlonSports, using the hashtag #AthlonTE30.

1. Chase Coffman, Missouri (2005-08)
Stats: 247 rec., 2,659 yds, 30 TDs

It didn’t take long for Tigers fans to see what they had in Coffman as he earned first-team Freshman All-American honors in 2005. He then broke Mizzou tight end receiving records with 58 receptions, 638 yards and nine touchdowns as just a sophomore. After two straight All-Big 12 seasons, Coffman claimed the John Mackey Award as a senior as the nation’s top tight end after posting 90 receptions, 987 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008. Missouri went 22-6 over his final two seasons in what many believe to be the best two-year run in program history. And the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Coffman was a huge part of that success.

2. Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma (2006-09)
Stats: 111 rec., 1,629 yds, 26 TDs

Had the 6-foot-6, 260-pound star tight end stayed healthy and played his fourth season at Oklahoma, Gresham likely would have been the best player at his position during the BCS era. He scored 25 touchdowns in two seasons as the starter from 2007-08 — just eight shy of the NCAA tight end record (33). His All-American junior season features Sooners' tight end records for yards (950) and touchdowns (14) — one shy of Mark Clayton’s all-time single-season record regardless of position. He was arguably the top playmaker for a Big 12 champion and BCS National Championship runner-up that year as well. His season-ending knee injury prior to the start of his 2009 campaign left those in Norman wondering what could have been.

3. Heath Miller, Virginia (2002-04)
Stats: 144 rec., 1,703 yds, 20 TDs

Perhaps the greatest tight end in ACC history, Miller became the first player in league history to win the John Mackey Award in 2004. He wrote his name into the school and conference record books for receiving by a tight end, setting a new benchmark in all three major receiving categories despite only playing three seasons. However, it wasn’t just his elite receiving ability that made the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder one of the game’s best. Miller relished the blocking side of the game and his physicality and dependability is what has made the consensus All-American one of the NFL’s best tight ends for the last decade.

4. Dallas Clark, Iowa (2000-02)
Stats: 77 rec., 1,251 yds, 8 TDs

The walk-on began his career as a linebacker but quickly developed into a star at tight end. He earned All-Big Ten recognition as a sophomore and then became the nation’s top tight end as a junior in 2002. The John Mackey Award winner caught 43 passes for 742 yards and four touchdowns while helping Iowa (11-2) to a Big Ten co-championship and Orange Bowl berth. The dynamic in-state talent was a first-round pick and proved in the NFL that his college career was no fluke.

5. Aaron Hernandez, Florida (2007-09)
Stats: 111 rec., 1,382 yds, 12 TDs

The undersized but athletic playmaker came from Bristol (Conn.) Central originally, but proved quickly he had what it took to succeed in the deep South. All Hernandez did while at Florida is set school records for receptions in a season (68) and a career. And his elite 2009 campaign in which he posted 850 yards and five touchdowns made the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder the SEC’s first-ever John Mackey Award winner. He was a go-to target for Tim Tebow and was a big piece of the 2008 BCS National Championship squad. Florida went 26-2 over his last two years in Gainesville.

6. Marcedes Lewis, UCLA (2002-05)
Stats: 126 rec., 1,571 yds, 21 TDs

The red-zone touchdown machine improved his production each of his four seasons at UCLA, culminating with All-American and John Mackey honors as a senior in 2005. He set school records in all three major categories for a tight end that year and helped UCLA to its best record (10-2) since 1998. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound consensus All-American was a matchup nightmare for defenses and was the Pac-10’s best player at his position during the BCS era in a league known for its great tight ends.

7. Dennis Pitta, BYU (2004, '07-09)
Stats: 221 rec., 2,901 yds, 21 TDs

Few tight ends during the BCS era combine the statistical production, team success and overall NFL talent that Pitta did. He began his career as a freshman in 2004 before taking his Mormon mission and returning in 2007. His teams went 32-7 during his three-year starting career and few tight ends in the history of the sport have topped 200 catches, nearly 3,000 yards or 20 touchdowns — much less all three. He owns nearly every major receiving record at BYU for tight ends and is BYU’s all-time leading receiver with 221 receptions regardless of position. His 2,901 career receiving yards are an NCAA record for tight ends.

8. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin (2005-08)
Stats: 159 rec., 2,149 yds, 11 TDs

From a speed and agility standpoint, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound pass-catcher has few peers. One of the fastest and most dynamic tight ends in BCS history, Beckum switched to tight end as a sophomore and became a second-team All-American in just his first season playing the position. He posted back-to-back 900-yard seasons and saved his best games for the biggest competition (9 rec., 140 yds vs. Ohio State, 10 rec., 132 vs. Michigan State, for example). He was poised to set NCAA records for a tight end until a broken leg in Week 6 ended his college career. At a school known for elite All-American tight ends, Beckum was the most explosive, most talented and most productive.

9. D.J. Williams, Arkansas (2007-10)
Stats: 152 rec., 1,855 yds, 10 TDs

The star Razorback never had an 800-yard season, never caught more than 61 passes and never scored more than four times in a year, but Williams is one of the BCS’s best. His career numbers are excellent and he was extremely dependable for three full seasons for the Hogs. His career culminated in a John Mackey Award in 2010 and helped lead Arkansas to 10 wins and a Sugar Bowl berth.

10. James Casey, Rice (2007-08)
Stats: 157 rec., 1,914 yds, 17 TDs, 362 rush, 11 TDs, 2 TD passes

Affectionately known as “Thor,” no other tight end during the BCS era was as versatile and productive in two seasons as Casey. He didn’t face elite competition, obviously, but no tight end has ever put together a season like Thor did in 2008: 111 rec., 1,329 yards, 13 TDs, 241 yards rushing, 6 TDs, 14 punt returns for 112 yards and even two touchdown passes. He was the No. 1 overall college fantasy player in 2008 regardless of position (yes, that includes quarterbacks) and it has to be considered the best season for a tight end in NCAA history.

Related: The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era

11. Jeremy Shockey, Miami (2000-01)
Stats: 61 rec., 815 yds, 10 TDs

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was one of the most physically gifted players to ever play the position. He didn’t have the huge stats of other elite players but he was an All-American and helped Miami win the national title in 2001. He was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award before leaving school early to become a first-round NFL Draft pick.

12. Kellen Winslow, Miami (2001-03)
Stats: 119 rec., 1,365 yds, 9 TDs

Bizarre post-game interviews aside, Winslow was a monster on the field at Miami. He played a small role on the national championship team in 2001 and was a huge force — 57 rec., 726 yds, 8 TD — on the '02 team that was defeated by Ohio State in the title game. He was a consensus All-American and John Mackey Award winner despite just one touchdown catch in 2003.

13. Martin Rucker, Missouri (2004-07)
Stats: 203 rec., 2,175 yds, 18 TDs

The complementary piece to Coffman at Mizzou was Rucker, a star from St. Joseph’s (Mo.) Benton. Playing three years with Coffman, Rucker is one of the just five tight ends on this list who topped 200 receptions and one of just 10 names on this list with 2,000 yards. He was a consensus All-American and senior leader for a 12-2 Tigers team that finished fourth in the AP poll.

14. Jason Witten, Tennessee (2000-02)
Stats: 68 rec., 797 yds, 7 TDs

The numbers were never huge, but Witten is clearly one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the sport. He never missed a game during his three-year career at Tennessee and helped the Vols to a 27-11 record and an SEC East championship. From a dual-threat (blocking and receiving) perspective, Witten might be the best tight end to play the game during the BCS era.

15. Ron Gronkowski, Arizona (2007-08)
Stats: 75 rec., 1,197 yds, 16 TDs

The Gronk played just 20 career college games but was a touchdown machine in college well before setting NFL tight end touchdown records. Unfortunately, the 'Zona tight end missed all of the 2009 season after preseason back surgery after being named a preseason first-team All-American and the Mackey Award frontrunner.

16. Fred Davis, USC (2004-07)
Stats: 117 rec., 1,408 yds, 13 TDs

It took some time for Davis to develop, especially considering the wide receiver talent asking for the football at USC during his career. But when he made his mark as a senior in 2007 it was as the best tight end in the nation. He won the John Mackey Award that year and was an All-American. He played in two national title games, winning one as a freshman in 2004.

17. Zach Miller, Arizona State (2004-06)
Stats: 144 rec., 1,512 yds, 14 TDs

Miller gets a slight nod over fellow Sun Devil Todd Heap due to slightly better production and All-American recognition. He is the school’s all-time leading receiver at the tight end position and consistently made big plays for his offense. He was one of three Mackey finalists in 2006.

18. Todd Heap, Arizona State (1998-2000)
Stats: 112 rec., 1,658 yds, 10 TDs

Arguing between Miller and Heap is futile. Both were great players and Heap’s NFL career proved his school records were legitimate. The “Golden Retriever” was a two-time All-Pac-10 performer who was as dependable as any player at his position.

19. Dwayne Allen, Clemson (2009-11)
Stats: 93 rec., 1,079 yds, 12 TDs

A consensus All-American, Allen was one of the most clutch performers in the game during his time at Clemson. When the Tigers needed a big play on third down or in the red zone, Allen was the go-to target. He claimed the Mackey Award as a junior, was an All-American and helped Clemson win its first ACC title in two decades in 2010.

20. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (2011-present)
Stats: 109 rec., 1,396 yds, 13 TDs

There is some projecting with ASJ, but he has already broken most school tight end records and will make a push this fall for the John Mackey Award. He was the No. 1 TE recruit in the nation two years ago and is poised for one of the greatest careers in Huskies history.

Related: The Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era

21. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame (2008-10)
Stats: 90 rec., 1,032 yds, 8 TDs

22. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (2010-12)*
Stats: 140 rec., 1,840 yds, 11 TDs

23. Daniel Graham, Colorado (1998-2001)
Stats: 106 rec., 1,543 yds, 11 TDs

24. Matt Spaeth, Minnesota (2003-06)
Stats: 109 rec., 1,293 yds, 12 TDs

25. Vernon Davis, Maryland (2003-05)
Stats: 83 rec., 1,371 yds, 9 TDs

26. Tim Stratton, Purdue (1998-2001)
Stats: 190 rec., 1,976 yds, 15 TDs

27. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State (2005-08)
Stats: 112 rec., 1,450 yds, 9 TDs

28. Dustin Keller, Purdue (2004-07)
Stats: 142 rec., 1,882 yds, 16 TDs

29. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin (2008-10)
Stats: 78 rec., 1,160 yds, 8 TDs

30. Garrett Graham, Wisconsin (2007-09)
Stats: 121 rec., 1,492 yds, 16 TD

Related: The Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era  

The Next 30:

31. Zach Ertz, Stanford (2010-12): 112 rec., 1,434 yds, 15 TDs
32. Coby Fleener, Stanford (2008-11): 96 rec., 1,543 yds, 18 TDs
33. Ben Troupe, Florida (2000-03): 64 rec., 958 yds, 7 TDs
34. Bubba Franks, Miami (1997-99): 77 rec., 1,038 yds, 12 TDs
35. Garrett Mills, Tulsa (2002-05): 201 rec., 2,389 yds, 23 TDs
36. David Thomas, Texas (2002-05): 97 rec., 1,354 yds, 15 TDs
37. Ed Dickson, Oregon (2006-09): 124 rec., 1,557 yds, 12 TDs
38. Darius Hill, Ball State (2005-08): 158 rec., 2,473 yds, 31 TDs
39. Jacob Tamme, Kentucky (2004-07): 133 rec., 1,417 yds, 11 TDs
40. Owen Daniels, Wisconsin (2002-05): 62 rec., 852 yds, 8 TDs

41. Jonny Harline, BYU (2005-06): 121 rec., 1,788 yds, 17 TDs
42. Ibn Green, Louisville (1996-99): 217 rec., 2,830 yds, 33 TDs
43. Michael Egnew, Missouri (2008-11): 147 rec., 1,332 yds, 8 TDs
44. Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss (2005-08): 157 rec., 2,054 yds, 16 TDs
45. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (2010-12): 122 rec., 1,646 yds, 17 TDs
46. Ladarius Green, UL-Lafayette (2008-11): 148 rec., 2,202 yds, 22 TDs
47. James Whalen, Kentucky (1997-99): 120 rec., 1,324 yds, 13 TDs
48. Orson Charles, Georgia (2009-11): 94 rec., 1,370 yds, 10 TDs
49. Cody Slate, Marshall (2006-09): 199 rec., 2,619 yds, 23 TDs
50. Jared Cook, South Carolina (2006-08): 73 rec., 1,107 yds, 7 TDs

51. Leonard Pope, Georgia (2003-05): 65 rec., 1,044 yds, 10 TDs
52. Chris Cooley, Utah State (2001-03): 96 rec., 1,255 yds, 11 TDs
53. Gary Barnidge, Louisville (2004-07): 108 rec., 1,491 yds, 17 TDs
54. Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern (2007-11): 143 rec., 1,567 yds, 14 TDs
55. Dorin Dickerson, Pitt (2006-09): 63 rec., 708 yds, 12 TDs
56. George Bryan, NC State (2008-11): 126 rec, 1,323 yds, 17 TDs
57. Kory Sperry, Colorado State (2004-08): 141 rec., 1,763 yds, 20 TDs
58. Greg Olsen, Miami (2004-06): 87 rec., 1,215 yds, 6 TDs
59. Ben Watson, Georgia (2001-03): 65 rec., 852 yds, 6 TDs
60. Bennie Joppru, Michigan (1999-2002): 79 rec., 731 yds, 8 TDs

Top 50s of the BCS Era:

The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era
The Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era

The Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era


Agree or disagree with our ranking of College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era? Let us know on Twitter (@AthlonSports), using the hashtag #AthlonTE30

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 07:45
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/10-unlikely-stadiums-deserve-host-super-bowl
Body:

Miami and New Orleans have hosted more Super Bowls than any place else, with 10 each. Los Angeles has snagged seven Super Bowls. So 27 of the 47 NFL championships have been decided in just three cities. No other city has hosted more than four Super Bowls. Certainly, NOLA, South Beach and SoCal all have plenty to offer the fans, celebrities, athletes and corporate fat cats who descend upon Super Sunder.

But today the NFL announced its historic and prestigious Super Bowl L — or Super Bowl 50 for those who stopped using Roman numerals the second they graduated from elementary school — will be hosted by…

Santa Clara?

The 50th Anniversary Super Bowl will be played in a suburb 40 miles away with no current football stadium?

Okay, technically, it’s San Francisco’s Super Bowl. And the main reason it won the bidding is the $1.2 billion state-of-the-art stadium the city is building that will be the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. Levi’s Stadium, along with heavy financial backing from Silicon Valley powerhouses like Apple and Google, promises to deliver an unforgettable experience.

This will be just the second time a Super Bowl was hosted in the San Francisco Bay Area. Super Bowl XIX (19) was played in Stanford Stadium in 1985 when Joe Montana and the Niners defeated the Dolphins 38-16. Stanford, one of the best teams in college football the last two years, was 57th in the nation in average attendance at 43,343 in 2012. 

So it got me thinking — which is always dangerous — about my dream scenario for the greatest game of football played each year.

If I were in complete control and could pick any place in the world to play the Super Bowl, where would it be?

Here is what I came up with—and yes, I know some aren't stadiums but this is my dream, so deal with it—in no particular order:

1. Bristol Motor Speedway
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Capacity: 165,000
Host: NASCAR

It isn’t the biggest sports venue in the world — that honor belongs to the 400,000-seat Indianapolis Motorspeedway — but no other racing venue provides the sightlines and intimate atmosphere like Thunder Valley. There have long been rumors of college football powers Virginia Tech and Tennessee battling in Bristol, so why wouldn’t a Super Bowl work inside the massive half-mile track? There isn’t a bad seat in the house. Does the surrounding area lack in nightlife, places to eat, hotels and overall excitement? Yes. But the stadium itself would be a sight to behold.

2. Lambeau Field
Location: Green Bay, Wisc.
Capacity: 79,594
Host: Green Bay Packers

This will never happen because there aren’t enough front yards to park cars for an event like the Super Bowl. It might also be 12-degrees below zero during the month of February. But this cathedral of football is the most spectacular, most historic, most beloved stadium in the history of the NFL. The Frozen Tundra will never come close to hosting a game like the Super Bowl, but there is little argument that it’s not the best football stadium this country has ever constructed — and it would be bizarre to see Super Sunday invade the sleepy northern Wisconsin town.

3. Churchill Downs
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Capacity: 164,858
Host: The Kentucky Derby

There are few venues that combine to offer what the famed horse track can provide. Louisville is a centrally located city in the heart of the country with plenty to do and a blossoming downtown. Churchill Downs can seat nearly 165,000 people and is one of the most tradition-laden venues in all of sports. It has the infield for the common folk to party and Millionaire's Row for the glitz and glam of a Super Bowl.

4. Camp Nou
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Capacity: 100,001
Host: FC Barcelona

Wembley Stadium in London has history and already has hosted American football games, but Camp Nou is the largest European Stadium and is located in… well, Barcelona instead of London. Michael Jackson, U2, Bruce Springsteen and The Pope all played in front of 90,000-plus audiences at Camp Nou and the city is not only capable of hosting an event like the Super Bowl (see the 1992 Olympics) but it would blow fans away. One of the most beautiful, picturesque and oldest cities in the world would have something for all ages to enjoy. All of this on the Mediterranean coast? Sign me up please.

5. Tiger Stadium
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Capacity: 92,542
Host: LSU Tigers

Neyland Stadium in Knoxville is the biggest. Sanford Stadium in Athens is the most picturesque. Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa is the most successful. But for gameday atmosphere, there is nothing quite like Death Valley at night in the SEC. The food, culture, fans, smells and Richter Scale inducing noise echoing from LSU’s Tigers Stadium is second to none. Among the nation’s best college football venue’s, this one might be the best.

6. Wrigley Field
Location: Chicago, Ill.
Capacity: 102,500
Host: Chicago Cubs

Fenway Park would be great but doesn't have the same football ability that Wrigley brings to the table. Football is already being played there and recently approved upgrades will make this an excellent confluence of history, timeliness and amenities. Located in the heart of one of America's greatest cities, there is no reason to think this wouldn't be an extremely memorable Super Bowl.

7. Estadio Do Maracana
Location: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Capacity: 78,838
Host: Brazilian National Team

There is a reason that Rio is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world and why the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics have been awarded to the city. In 1950, this building held a world record 199,854 people for the championship game of the 1950 FIFA World Cup. The beaches, bikinis and unbelievable geography of one of the world’s largest cities is about as attractive a place to play a game of any kind as there is on the globe. I’m pretty sure all of the pro athletes and Hollywood stars would vote yes for Rio De Janeiro.

8. Dubai Sports City Stadium
Location: Dubai, U.A.E.
Capacity: 30,000
Host: Various

Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dabi roughly an hour down the road might be a better fit (60,000 capacity) but no city in the world is developing a reputation like Dubai. The city is becoming one of the most luxurious and awe-inspiring in the world and an event like the Super Bowl would marry the posh lifestyle of most Super Bowl attendents with the world’s most amazing hotels, island communities and burgeoning nightlife. And if DSC Stadium isn’t big enough to host the game, the NFL could always play a game on top of a hotel.

9. Ohio Stadium
Location: Columbus, OH
Capacity: 102,329
Host: Ohio State Buckeyes

The Horseshoe has everything an NFL Super Bowl would need. A massive, gorgeous historic venue. The biggest city in the state of Ohio certainly has the infrastructure to host the big crowds and the local bar and restaurant scene is as enjoyable as any in the nation. Few places in the nation combine the logistics and size of a huge city with the personality of a college town like Columbus would. And who wouldn’t want to see the dotting of the “I” on a Super Sunday?

10. Rungrado May Day Stadium
Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
Capacity: 150,000
Host: DPRK National Team

Located in the capital city of North Korea, Rungrado May Day Stadium is the world’s largest stadium. It has hosted numerous soccer matches and is home to both the Men’s and Women’s national “football” teams. It also hosts the Guinness Book of Records largest sporting event in the world when the “mass games” take place each year. Plus, wouldn’t it be cool to play the most capitalistic sporting event in the history of the world in the heart of North Korea?

Other possibilities:

Wembley Stadium (London, England) 105,000
Historic Hyde Park or O-2 Arena won’t work, but this awesome venue would.

Kyle Field (College Station, Texas) 102,500
Recent plans to renovate/expand make this venue one of the future gems of college football.

Yankee Stadium (New York, N.Y.)
Football has been played there before and New York is New York.

Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.) 92,746
There may not be a more beautiful setting in all of college football.

Olympic Stadium (Berlin, Germany) 74,228
A stat of the art facility owns the world baseball attendance record with roughly 110,000.

Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy) 50,000-70,000
Certainly some renovations would have to be made, but how cool would this be?

Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 109,901
The biggest stadium in the United States of any kind.

Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) 100,018
The rugby destination for Aussie football set a record with over 120,000 fans in 1970.

Daytona International Speedway (Daytona, Fla.) 167,785
Great weather, great seating, massive size, history, tradition, the beach.

Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Ore.) 54,000
Few stadiums pack as much punch than the Ducks home.

Teaser:
<p> 10 Unlikely Stadiums That Deserve To Host The Super Bowl</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 15:10
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-may-20
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2013 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire report every Monday. Our fantasy junkies cover the hottest hitters, best waiver wire pick ups, top starting pitching spot starts and sift through bullpens from around the league each week.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (May 13-19):

  Name Pos. Team R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Carlos Gonzalez OF COL 8 3 8 3 .375 1.364
2. Jason Kipnis 2B CLE 7 3 8 2 .417 1.398
3. David Ortiz 1B BOS 5 3 12 0 .458 1.352
4. Miguel Cabrera 3B DET 7 4 7 0 .429 1.448
5. Raul Ibanez* OF SEA 5 5 11 0 .308 1.193
6. Everth Cabrera 2B/SS SD 4 0 6 7 .357 .776
7. Daniel Murphy* 1B/2B NYM 7 2 5 1 .500 1.374
8. Joey Votto 1B CIN 7 2 5 0 .583 1.572
9. Elvis Andrus SS TEX 8 0 4 5 .345 .854
10. Adam Dunn* 1B/OF CWS 5 4 10 0 .320 1.273
11. Mitch Moreland* 1B TEX 5 4 10 0 .308 1.191
12. Paul Goldschmidt 1B ARI 6 3 5 0 .500 1.583
13. Jean Segura SS MIL 5 1 5 4 .387 .954
14. Alex Rios OF CWS 6 2 7 1 .407 1.282
15. Norichika Aoki OF MIL 7 0 3 2 .533 1.209
16. Adam LaRoche* 1B WAS 4 4 10 0 .308 1.148
17. Ryan Zimmerman 3B WAS 4 2 9 1 .385 1.102
18. Andrew McCutchen OF PIT 8 2 3 2 .308 1.033
19. Billy Butler 1B KC 4 1 10 0 .480 1.239
20. Howie Kendrick 2B LAA 6 1 6 1 .429 1.091
21. Matt Joyce* OF TB 5 2 8 1 .300 1.064
22. Dustin Pedroia 2B BOS 9 1 5 0 .375 1.089
23. David Wright 3B NYM 3 1 5 3 .393 .950
24. Adrian Beltre 3B TEX 6 1 5 0 .448 1.155
25. Mike Trout OF LAA 6 2 4 2 .238 1.004

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Weekly Waiver Wire:

Jurickson Profar, 2B, TEX (49% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
No doubt you've heard that the elite prospect has been called up to the majors to take Ian Kinsler's place (DL, ribs) on the roster. He may not be up for long but he is worth stashing as a future commodity. And in keeper leagues, he is a must-add. He was hitting .278/.807 with four dingers and six stolen bases at Triple-A Round Rock this season.

Mitch Moreland, 1B, TEX (54%)
Moreland's career high in home runs was 16 two years ago in 464 at-bats. But it appears his power is rounding into form. He is on pace to blow past his career high and should provide solid production across the board in that lineup.

Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B, NYM (56%)
He won't ever be a huge producer in the power or speed categories, but he is a pro hitter. He hit .500 last week and Terry Collins is toying with the idea of hitting him fourth or fifth to give his bat more RBI chances. He won't help much at 1B but has plenty of value at 2B or MI.

Yonder Alonso, 1B, SD (19%)
Only 19 percent of Yahoo! leagues have rostered the talented second-year first baseman so I will continue to push the Padres slugger. He hit .381 last week and will blow past all of his career totals before the All-Star break. He won't be an elite player but has the pedigree to continue to develop into a dependable fantasy option who won't hurt your lineup in any category.

Last Week:

Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN: .370/.851, 2 R, 5 RBI

Jhonny Peralta, SS, DET: .350/1.058, 3 R, HR, RBI
James Loney, 1B, TB: .261/.637, 3 R, RBI
Chris Carter, 1B, HOU: .238/.571, 2 R, RBI

 

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Chris Sale CWS 24.0 2 24 0.38 0.54
2. Justin Masterson CLE 23.0 3 27 1.17 0.78
3. Shelby Miller STL 14.2 1 19 0.00 0.41
4. Matt Harvey NYM 23.1 1 22 1.54 0.56
5. Jon Lester BOS 16.0 2 10 1.13 0.56
6. Scott Feldman* CHC 19.2 2 15 0.46 0.97
7. Clayton Kershaw LAD 15.2 1 15 0.57 0.77
8. James Shields KC 24.0 0 23 1.50 0.79
9. Hiroki Kuroda NYY 22.2 2 9 1.59 0.79
10. Cliff Lee PHI 22.0 2 16 1.64 0.95
11. Jordan Zimmerman WAS 22.2 2 18 1.59 1.10
12. Brandon McCarthy ARI 23.1 1 13 1.16 0.90
13. Mike Minor ATL 19.2 2 20 1.83 1.12
14. Adam Wainwright STL 15.0 1 15 1.80 0.67
15. Andrew Cashner* SD 21.1 2 13 1.69 0.98
16. Travis Wood CHC 20.2 2 13 1.74 0.97
17. Ubaldo Jimenez* CLE 16.2 2 25 2.70 1.20
18. Patrick Corbin ARI 13.1 2 9 0.68 1.05
19. Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 14.0 2 13 2.57 0.86
20. Bronson Arroyo* CIN 19.1 2 18 1.86 1.19

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

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

1. Jose Fernandez, MIA: (Tues.) Philadelphia (49% owned)
Stop me when you've heard this before: the extremely talented rookie is owned in less than half of Yahoo! leagues and I have no idea why. He's 2-0 with five earned runs, 21 strikeouts and six walks over his last three starts.

2. Andrew Cashner, SD: (Sat.) at Arizona (38%)
The highly touted youngster is 2-0 with 13 strikeouts and just four earned runs allowed over his last three starts. He has the pedigree to be much more than just a spot starter so keep him on your watch list all season.

3. Bronson Arroyo, CIN: (Fri.) Chicago Cubs (26%)
Arroyo has been downright nasty the last two times out. He has tossed 14.1 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts, just 13 base runners and two wins in his last two starts. And he gets the Cubs on Friday.

4. A.J. Griffin, OAK: (Sat.) at Houston (52%)
The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder has allowed just seven earned runs over his last four starts with 21 strikeouts and two wins. He has settled down and should be able to handle Houston — a team he posted this line against earlier in the year: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 K.

5. Tommy Milone, OAK: (Fri.) at Houston (56%)
The soft-tossing lefty has had his ups and downs this year — four games with 4 ER or more and three with 1 ER or less — but has an excellent set of ratios. His 3.47 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 49:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio plays in any league. And especially against the Astros.
 

Closing Morsels:

The Dodgers' Kenley Jansen picked up a save on May 14. With Brandon League struggling, Jansen was on audition this week and didn't perform. He has allowed four earned runs in 2.1 innings with two losses. The big fella should be the closer but it may take some more time... The D-Backs' closer Heath Bell has finished off five of his last six chances without a blemish. He did blow one save in the middle of his recent run but that is to be expected with the aging reliever. Take the good with the bad for now... The Indians' Chris Perez has pitched twice since complaining of shoulder pain last week. He blew his second save of the year and still doesn't appear to be 100 percent... Junichi Tazawa didn't allow a run in 3.0 IP last week but he's allowed two hits per outing in his last four trips to the mound. That doesn't bode well long-term once Andrew Bailey returns — who is back throwing simulated innings... Keep an eye on Ryan Madson with the Angels as Ernesto Frieri is still allowing too many runs. He's still getting the job done and has tons of strikeouts but this a situation to watch.

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

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: May 20</p>
Post date: Monday, May 20, 2013 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-50-wide-receivers-bcs-era
Body:

Greatness is defined in so many different ways. Statistical production, individual awards, team success, longevity, supporting cast, level of competition, raw talent and athletic ability all factor heavily in determining overall greatness. Sometimes, you simply know greatness when you see it.

So all factors were considered when trying to determine who the greatest wide receivers of the BCS era have been. Here are the Top 50 wideouts since the BCS was implemented in 1998:

Agree or disagree with our ranking of College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era? Let us know on Twitter at @AthlonSports, using the hashtag #AthlonWR50.

1. Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh (2002-03)
Stats: 161 rec., 2,677 yds, 34 TD

Few players have ever been as impossible to cover as the star from Richfield (Minn.) Holy Angels. After redshirting, Fitz dominated college football for two full seasons. He became the first Pitt Panther to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, owns the school record with 34 touchdowns (in just 26 games) and owns the NCAA record for consecutive games with a touchdown reception (18). As a sophomore in his final season at Pitt, he caught 92 passes for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns, winning Big East Player of the Year honors and the Walter Camp and Biletnikoff awards. His second-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting is the highest by any wide receiver during the BCS era and he is the only one in to finish in the top three.

2. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech (2004-06)
Stats: 178 rec., 2,927 yds, 28 TD, 40 rush, TD

Appropriately nicknamed Megatron, no player has combined the size and speed Johnson brought to the Ramblin Wreck offense. The Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek prospect was the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2004 before earning back-to-back All-American honors in 2005-06. He owns school records for receiving yards and touchdowns during his time at Tech and claimed the Biletnikoff Award as well as ACC Player of the Year honors in 2006. He is one of 13 wide receivers to finish in the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy voting during the BCS era (10th). He is simply a freak of nature.

3. Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (2007-08)
Stats: 231 rec., 3,127 yds, 41 TD

No player has been as productive in two seasons as the Dallas, Texas native. As a redshirt freshman, Crabtree set NCAA records for receptions (134), yards (1,962) and touchdowns (22) and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wideout. He also won Big 12 Newcomer and Offensive Player of the Year honors. He became the first player in NCAA history to win a second Biletnikoff Award when he caught 97 passes for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns for the 11-2 Red Raiders the next year. He finished fifth in the Heisman balloting in ’08 — one of just four wide receivers to finish in the top five during the BCS era. Certainly, Mike Leach’s system inflated the two-time consensus All-American’s numbers, but the 6-foot-2, 215-pound wideout was — and still is — easily the most talented Texas Tech receiver in program history.

4. Peter Warrick, Florida State (1995-99)
Stats: 207 rec., 3,517 yds, 32 TD, 188 rush, 4 TD, 937 ret. yds (6)

The phrase all-purpose wasn’t en vogue when Warrick broke onto the scene so the Bradenton (Fla.) Southeast superstar might deserve credit for the invention. And if not for an incident at Dillard’s Department Store that resulted in a two-game suspension, Warrick likely would have won the Heisman Trophy. The two-time consensus All-American could do it all. His joystick, open-field moves made him dynamic in the passing game, special teams and he was one of the first wideouts used in the running game. His Sugar Bowl MVP performance — and touchdown catch — in the 1999 National Championship game (six rec., 163 yds, three total TDs) will go down as one of the greatest national title performances in NCAA history.

5. Percy Harvin, Florida (2006-08)
Stats: 133 rec., 1,929 yds, 13 TD, 1,852 rush, 19 TD

If Warrick invented the all-purpose position, Harvin glorified it. A true dual-threat offensive talent, Harvin burst onto the scene as the SEC Freshman of the Year. He played a key role in the 2006 BCS National Championship run, totaling 82 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown against Ohio State. He capped his college career with 14 touches for 171 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in the 2008 BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma. Few have combined speed, strength, production and winning like Harvin did. He nearly topped 2,000 yards both rushing and receiving, and, if not for nagging injuries his entire career, the Virginia Beach prospect might have been more decorated nationally.

6. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (2009-11)
Stats: 252 rec., 3,564 yds, 40 TD, 136 rush, TD

Similarly to Crabtree, Blackmon’s numbers are inflated due to an elite offensive system. But make no mistake, he is the one of the greatest pass-catchers to ever play. He posted back-to-back seasons with at least 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns, earning consensus All-American honors twice. The Ardmore (Okla.) Plainview product also became just the second player in NCAA history to claim two Biletnikoff Awards. Blackmon won Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2010 and capped his illustrious career with a Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl MVP performance against Stanford. At a program with a long track record of elite wideouts, Blackmon has to be considered the best. He is one of just four wide receivers to finish in the top five for the Heisman Trophy (5th, 2010).

7. Braylon Edwards, Michigan (2001-04)
Stats: 252 rec., 3,541 yds, 39 TD

Not many players have three consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns but that is what the Detroit native did at Michigan. He was uncoverable during his time at Ann Arbor, setting school records in every major receiving category. His 39 career touchdowns remain a Big Ten record. Edwards claimed Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors and claimed the Biletnikoff Award as a senior in 2004. The consensus All-American finished 10th in the Heisman voting that season as well.

8. Torry Holt, NC State (1995-98)
Stats: 191 rec., 3,379 yds, 31 TD, 119 rush

One of the greatest receivers to ever play the game on any level, Holt capped his outstanding Wolfpack career with an ACC Player of the Year award in the first year of the BCS. Over his final two seasons in Raleigh, the Gibsonville (N.C.) Eastern Guilford receiver caught 150 passes for 2,703 yards and 27 touchdowns (he also threw a 45-yard TD pass), finishing eighth in the Heisman voting in 1998. Holt set all types of NC State and ACC records during his college career and he went on to become one of the NFL’s greatest wide receivers.

9. Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2009-12)
Stats: 288 rec., 3,413 yds, 29 TD, 1,031 rush, 6 TD, 2,840 ret. yds, 5 TD

Be it through the air, on the ground or in the kicking game, Austin was downright unstoppable. The diminutive talent won’t ever be confused with prototypical physical outside receivers, but with the ball in his hands, few were as productive. The Baltimore prospect was a two-time All-American and two-time Big East Special Teamer of the Year. He posted back-to-back 100-catch/1,000-yard seasons and was a 1,000-yard rusher for his career. In fact, Austin’s signature performance came as a running back against Oklahoma as senior when he nearly set an NCAA record for all-purpose production with 572 yards (344 rushing, 82 receiving, 146 kick return). He scored four different ways during his unbelievable senior season and finished eighth in the Heisman voting.

10. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (2008-11)
Stats: 349 rec., 4,586 yds, 45 TD, 97 rush, TD, 1,307 ret. yds, 2 TD

No one in NCAA history caught more passes than the smallish local star from Norman, Okla. And it didn’t take long for him to become a star, catching seven passes for a freshman school record 141 yards in his first collegiate game. He posted three straight seasons of at least 80 catches, 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led the nation in both receptions (131) and punt returns (34) as a junior and is the Big 12’s all-time leading receiver in all three major categories. Broyles was a two-time consensus All-American.

Related: The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era 

11. Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech (1996-98)
Stats: 280 rec., 4,352 yds, 50 TD, 447 rush, 6 TD

From a stats perspective, no player during the BCS era was as productive as Edwards — and he did it prior to the spread offense explosion. At one time, Edwards owned the NCAA record for receptions (140), yards (1,996) and touchdowns (27) in a single season to go with NCAA single-game records for receptions (21) and yards (405). His 27 scores and 405 yards against Nebraska in 1998 are both still NCAA records. He was a consensus All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award that season.

12. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (2008-11)
Stats: 271 rec., 3,686 yds, 37 TD, 30 rush, TD

The physical monster from famed Cretin-Derham Hall is the all-time leading receiver in Notre Dame history. He owns every major freshman, single-season and career benchmark in the Irish’s record book. If not for nagging injuries and a small off-the-field issue, Floyd’s numbers might be on par with the likes of Edwards or Broyles.

13. Mike Williams, USC (2002-03)
Stats: 176 rec., 2,579 yds, 30 TD

Fans in Los Angeles may always wonder what could have been had Williams not pressed NFL Draft eligibility rules. In his two underclass seasons for USC, Williams was extraordinary. As a true freshman, the massive 6-foot-5, 240-pounder caught 81 passes for 1,265 yards and 14 TDs. He returned to top those numbers as a sophomore with 95 receptions, 1,314 yards and 16 scores in 2003. He was a consensus All-American and finished eighth in the Heisman voting. Had the NFL allowed sophomores to enter the draft, he would have been a top-ten pick.

14. Roy Williams, Texas (2000-03)
Stats: 241 rec., 3,866 yds, 36 TD, 243 rush, 3 TD

Right out of the gate, Texas knew they had a great one in the massive 6-foot-3, 218-pound star from Odessa, Texas. He was a three-time All-Big 12 selection and left school with the records for receptions, yards and touchdowns. “The Legend” never caught fewer than seven touchdowns or 800 yards in any of his four NCAA seasons.

15. Marqise Lee, USC (2011-present)
Stats: 191 rec., 2,864 yds, 25 TD, 139 rush, 1,141 ret. yds, 2 TD

With one more year in school and one more season left in the current BCS structure, Lee is poised to become one of the era’s best. As just a sophomore, Lee has already won the Biletnikoff Award, been given consensus All-American honors, won the Pac-12 Player of the Year Award and broke multiple USC and Pac-12 receiving records. He is one of just two wideouts in BCS history to finish in the top four of the Heisman voting and should easily move into the top 10 on this list with another solid season in L.A.

16. Charles Rogers, Michigan State (2001-02)
Stats: 125 rec., 2,551 yds, 25 TD, 110 rush, TD

The in-state product from Saginaw played just two seasons for the Spartans but was an All-Big Ten performer both years. He posted back-to-back seasons with at least 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning consensus All-American and Biletnikoff honors in 2002. He set an NCAA record with 13 straight games with a TD catch (since broken) and owns just about every Michigan State receiving record.

17. AJ Green, Georgia (2008-10)
Stats: 166 rec., 2,619 yds, 23 TD, 105 rush

Based on raw talent alone, Green is the one of the greatest receivers to play the game. In a league not known for big passing numbers, Green led the SEC in yards and touchdowns as a true freshman. His rare blend of size, speed, vertical ability and red zone ball skills makes him one of the game’s most uncoverable targets.

18. Jeremy Maclin, Missouri (2007-08)
Stats: 182 rec., 2,315 yds, 22 TD, 668 rush, 6 TD, 2,626 ret. yds, 5 TD

He only played two seasons but was outstanding from the first time he stepped onto the college gridiron. He was a consensus All-American both years, topped 1,000 yards receiving in both years, scored at least 10 total touchdowns in both seasons and topped 1,000 return yards in both seasons. He set an NCAA freshman all-purpose yardage record with 2,776 total yards for a 12-2 Tigers team. He posted 5,609 all-purpose yards in just two seasons and might be the most underrated wideout of the BCS era.

19. Dwayne Jarrett, USC (2004-06)
Stats: 216 rec., 3,138 yds, 41 TD

A two-time consensus All-American, Jarrett was a touchdown machine. He scored 13, 16 and 12 receiving touchdowns respectively while helping USC reach  back-to-back BCS National Championship games. His 2005 campaign was his best — 91 rec., 1,274 yds, 16 TD — but he finished ninth in the Heisman voting as a junior in 2006 before turning pro. In the red zone, few players have ever been as dominant.

20. Golden Tate, Notre Dame (2007-09)
Stats: 157 rec., 2,707 yds, 26 TD, 227 rush, 3 TD, 1,196 ret. yds, TD

The all-purpose dynamo from Nashville, Tenn., was explosive all over the field for Notre Dame. After rarely playing as a freshman, Tate exploded onto the national scene as a junior. He won the Biletnikoff Award after 93 receptions, 1,496 yards, 15 touchdowns, 186 yards rushing, two more touchdowns and one punt return score. He finished 10th in the Heisman balloting in ’06 before leaving early for the NFL.

Related: The Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era

21. Troy Walters, Stanford (1996-99)
Stats: 245 rec., 3,995 yds, 26 TD

Walters had as complete a final season as any player on this list. He won Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, was a consensus All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award in 1999. The same year he helped Stanford win the league championship and play in the Rose Bowl. He is still the Pac-12's all-time leading receiver.

22. Jordan Shipley, Texas (2006-09)
Stats: 248 rec., 3,191 yds, 33 TD, 162 rush, 843 ret. yds, 4 TD

Colt McCoy’s go-to target made big plays in big games and was as dependable as any receiver in Big 12 history. He was a consensus All-American in 2009 when he caught 116 passes for 1,485 yards and scored 15 total touchdowns for an unbeaten Texas team that lost to Alabama in the national championship game.

23. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State (2007-09)
Stats: 147 rec., 2,425 yds, 29 TD, 574 ret. yds, 3 TD

He may not have Blackmon’s numbers, but Bryant might be the most talented Pokes wideout of all-time. He was named an All-American after 87 receptions, 1,480 yards and 21 total touchdowns as just a sophomore. Had he not been suspended for most of the 2009 season, his numbers would’ve rivaled anyone’s on this list.

24. Rashuan Woods, Oklahoma State (2000-03)
Stats: 293 rec., 4,414 yds, 42 TD

Oklahoma State has one of the best wide receiver traditions in the nation and Woods was one of the first high-profile stars. Three seasons with at least 77 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns makes him one of the most prolific receivers in BCS history. And his NCAA-record seven touchdowns against SMU still stands.

25. Josh Reed, LSU (1999-2001)
Stats: 167 rec., 3,001 yds, 17 TD, 63 rush, TD

The numbers weren’t huge for Reed, but he was the nation’s best in 2001. He was a consensus All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner after catching 94 passes for 1,740 yards and seven touchdowns. He is one of the SEC’s greatest wide receivers and is the conference’s only Biletnikoff winner.

26. Julio Jones, Alabama (2008-10)
Stats: 179 rec., 2,653 yds, 15 TD, 139 rush 2 TD

From a talent standpoint, there may not be a more gifted name on this list than the superstar from Alabama. The school’s most talented pass-catcher helped lead Alabama to a national championship in 2009 and played on three teams that went 36-5 overall.

27. Antonio Bryant, Pittsburgh (1999-2001)
Stats: 161 rec., 2,805 yds, 26 TD

Two average years sandwiched around one spectacular season made Bryant one of the best offensive weapons in the nation. He won the Biletnikoff Award and Big East Player of the Year honors in 2000 when caught 68 passes for 1,302 yards and 11 scores. At one point, he scored in 13 straight games.

28. Mike Hass, Oregon State (2003-05)
Stats: 220 rec., 3,924 yds, 20 TD

He may not be the most talented wideout to play during this era but Hass is one of the best. He was the first Pac-10 receiver in history to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and left school with the best single game in league history with 293 yards against Boise State in 2004. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 2005 as the nation’s best wide receiver.

29. Lee Evans, Wisconsin (1999-2003)
Stats: 172 rec., 3,382 yds, 26 TD

Despite missing extended time with a torn ACL, Evans is the best wide receiver to play at Wisconsin since Al Toon. His two-year run was as good as any in Big Ten history, posting a league record 1,545 yards in 2001. He came back after the knee injury and nearly duplicated his numbers with 1,213 yards and 13 TDs in 2003. His 10-catch, 258-yard, 5-TD game against Michigan State might have been the best single performance by any Badger.

30. Robert Woods, USC (2010-12)
Stats: 250 rec., 2,933 yds, 32 TD, 142 rush, 1,547 ret. yds, TD

Lee gets all the national hype as far as USC receivers go, but don't forget those school and conference records he set were mostly owned by Woods. His 111-catch, 1,292-yard campaign in 2011 is one of the best seasons for a Pac-12 receiver in history. He, also like Lee, was a dynamic return man as well.

31. Santana Moss, Miami (1997-2000)
Stats: 143 rec., 2,547 yds, 19 TD, 277 rush, 3 TD, 655 ret. yds, 4 TD (7)

Much like Warrick, Moss was an all-purpose dynamo well ahead of his time. He could do everything as his overall statistical production indicated. He was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 2000 with this versatile stat line: 45 rec., 748 yds, 5 TDs, 201 rush, 2 TDs, 655 punt return yards, 4 TDs. 

32. David Boston, Ohio State (1996-98)
Stats: 191 rec., 2,855 yds, 34 TD

Suspicions of performance enhancers will always hang around Boston's resume so it is difficult to evaluate where he ranks. While on the field at Ohio State, he was dominant. He caught 27 touchdowns over his last two seasons and was the superstar — 85 rec., 1,435 yds, 13 TD — for the '98 team that likely should have played Tennessee for a National Championship.

33. DeSean Jackson, Cal (2005-07)
Stats: 162 rec., 2,423 yds, 22 TD, 199 rush, TD, 671 ret. yds, 6 TD

Knucklehead behavior aside, Jackson was a big-play waiting to happen throughout his college career. It was his All-American sophomore season that wowed the nation, however. He caught 59 passes for 1,060 yards and nine scores but delivered on special teams in a big way. He scored on four of his 25 punt returns and averaged over 18 yards per return. He missed time with an injury and off-the-field issues as a junior or he might have been higher on this list.

34. Roddy White, UAB (2001-04)
Stats: 163 rec., 3,112 yds, 26 TD

The career numbers aren't huge and the level of competition was suspect, however, White was an elite big-play machine well before he got to Atlanta. He led the nation in receiving as a senior (1,452 yds) and averaged 19.1 yards per catch for his career. His overall NFL talent makes him arguably the most gifted "mid-major" receiver of the era.

35. Reggie Williams, Washington (2001-03)
Stats: 238 rec., 3,536 yds, 22 TD

Similar to his Williams counterpart at Texas, Reggie Williams was one of the first massive outside physical targets. He posted 183 catches, 2,563 yards and 19 touchdowns over his last two seasons, including a consensus All-American sophomore year in 2002.
 
36. Greg Jennings, Western Michigan (2002-05)
Stats: 238 rec., 3,539 yds, 39 TD, 1,462 ret. yds, 2 TD

White is the most talented "mid-major" wide receiver of this era but Jennings is a close No. 2. The 2005 MAC Offensive Player of the Year caught at least 11 touchdowns and topped 1,000 yards receiving for three consecutive seasons. He led the nation with 98 receptions in '05 and was also an explosive return man as well.

37. Mark Clayton, Oklahoma (2001-04)
Stats: 220 rec., 3,236 yds, 31 TD, 221 ret. yds, TD

Jason White's No. 1 target helped Oklahoma play in two national championship games. The Sooners had many elite wideouts but Clayton might have been the most dynamic (possibly, more so than Broyles even). His unstoppable junior season gets him onto this list alone: 83 rec., 1,425 yds, 15 TD.

38. Kendall Wright, Baylor (2008-11)
Stats: 308 rec., 4,004 yds, 30 TD, 425 rush, 2 TD

There are just 15 receivers with 4,000 yards in their college careers and there are just 10 wideouts with at least 300 catches. There are just three such players with both (Ryan Broyles, Jordan White). Wright's offensive system certainly helped but he was as versatile, dependable and explosive as any player during this era.

39. Reggie Wayne, Miami (1997-2000)
Stats: 173 rec., 2,510 yds, 20 TD

Based on sheer talent alone, Wayne is one of the greatest wide receivers to play the game. His college stats aren't gaudy — mostly because he shared the ball with Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and Edgerrin James — but consistent production at Miami was merely a glimpse of his elite overall ability.

40. Dwayne Bowe, LSU (2003-06)
Stats: 154 rec., 2,403 yds, 26 TD

Much like White or Wayne, Bowe's raw talent makes him one of the greatest of his generation. He played sparingly on the '03 championship team but was a scoring machine the rest of his career — catching all 26 touchdowns in three SEC seasons.

41. James Rodgers, Oregon State (2007-11) 
Stats: 222 rec., 2,578 yds, 19 TD, 1,410 rush, 9 TD, 2,385 ret. yds, 2 TD  

42. Terrence Edwards, Georgia (1999-2002)
Stats: 204 rec., 3,093 yds, 30 TD, 285 ret. yds

43. Wes Welker, Texas Tech (2000-03)
Stats: 259 rec., 3,069 yds, 21 TD, 562 rush, 2 TD, 2,102 ret. yds, 8 TD

44. Jarett Dillard, Rice (2005-08)
Stats: 292 rec., 4,138 yds, 60 TD

45. Plaxico Burress, Michigan State (1998-99)
Stats: 131 rec., 2,155 yds, 20 TD

46. Antonio Brown, Central Michigan (2007-09) 
Stats: 305 rec., 3,199 yds, 22 TD, 531 rush, 4 TD, 3,434 ret. yds, 5 TD

47. T.Y. Hilton, FIU (2008-11)
Stats: 229 rec., 3,531 yds, 24 TD, 498 rush, 7 TD, 3,469 ret. yds, 6 TD

48. Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati (2008-09)
Stats: 168 rec., 2,467 yds, 22 TD, 26 rush, TD, 2,477 ret. yds, 5 TD

49. Terrance Williams, Baylor (2009-12)
Stats: 201 rec., 3,294 yds, 27 TD, 979 ret. yds

50. Trevor Insley, Nevada (1996-99)
Stats: 298 rec., 5,005 yds, 35 TD

The Next 50:

51. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers (2009-11): 210 rec., 2,263 yds, 12 TD, 653 rush, 9 TD, 207 pass, 4 TD
52. Jordy Nelson, Kansas State (2005-07): 206 rec., 2,822 yds, 20 TD, 267 ret. yds, 3 TD 
53. Eric Page, Toledo (2009-11): 306 rec., 3,446 yds, 25 TD, 52 rush, TD, 2,549 ret. yds, 5 TD
54. Sidney Rice, South Carolina (2005-06): 142 rec., 2,233 yds, 23 TD 
55. Jerricho Cotchery, NC State (2000-03): 200 rec., 3,119 yds, 21 TD, 102 rush, TD, 300 ret. yds, TD 
56. Michael Thomas, Arizona (2005-08): 259 rec., 3,231 yds, 22 TD, 395 rush, 3 TD, 1,354 yds, 2 TD
57. Derek Hagan, Arizona State (2002-05): 258 rec., 3,939 yds, 27 TD 
58. Jabar Gaffney, Florida (2000-01): 138 rec., 2,375 yds, 27 TD 
59. Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame (2003-06): 179 rec., 2,593 yds, 27 TD, 19 rush, TD 
60. Andre Johnson, Miami (2000-02): 92 rec., 1,831 yds, 20 TD, 594 ret. yds

61. Davone Bess, Hawaii (2005-07): 293 rec., 3,610 yds, 41 TD
62. D’Wayne Bates, Northwestern (1995-98): 210 rec., 3,370 yds, 26 TD
63. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt (2005-07): 236 rec., 2,852 yds, 20 TD, 586 ret. yds
64. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia (2010-12): 210 rec., 3,218 yds, 41 TD
65. Austin Collie, BYU (2004-08): 215 rec., 3,255 yds, 30 TD, 1,288 ret. yds
66. Vincent Marshall, Houston (2003-06): 272 rec., 3,770 yds, 26 TD, 299 rush, 2 TD, 693 ret. yds, TD
67. Sammy Watkins, Clemson (2011-present ): 139 rec., 1,927 yds, 15 TD, 331 rush, TD, 1,106 ret. yds, TD
68. Keenan Allen, Cal (2010-12): 205 rec., 2,570 yds, 17 TD, 230 rush, 2 TD, 658 ret. yds, TD
69. DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson (2010-12): 206 rec., 3,020 yds, 27 TD
70. Aaron Kelly, Clemson (2005-08): 232 rec., 2,733 yds, 20 TD, 417 ret. yds

71. Dwayne Harris, East Carolina (2007-10): 268 rec., 3,001 yds, 20 TD, 526 rush, 6 TD, 2,855 ret. yds, 3 TD
72. Eric Decker, Minnesota (2006-09): 227 rec., 3,119 yds, 24 TD, 114 rush, TD
73. Dennis Northcutt, Arizona (1996-99): 217 rec., 3,186 yds, 24 TD, 382 rush, 2 TD
74. Titus Young, Boise State (2007-10): 204 rec., 3,063 yds, 25 TD, 350 rush, 8 TD, 1,525 ret. yds, 2 TD
75. Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (2007-09): 219 rec., 3,240 yds, 31 TD, 37 rush, TD, 651 ret. yds, TD
76. Robert Meachem, Tennessee (2004-06): 125 rec., 2,140 yds, 17 TD
77. Ron Johnson, Minnesota (1998-2001): 196 rec., 2,931 yds, 31 TD
78. Dorien Bryant, Purdue (2004-07): 292 rec., 3,548 yds, 21 TD, 421 rush, 6 TD, 2,250 ret. yds, 3 TD
79. D.J. Hall, Alabama (2004-07): 194 rec., 2,923 yds, 17 TD
80. Darius Watts, Marshall (2000-03): 272 rec., 4,031 yds, 47 TD, 188 rush, 254 ret. yds

81. Jason Hill, Washington State (2003-06): 148 rec., 2,704 yds, 32 TD
82. Geoff McArthur, Cal (2000-04): 202 rec., 3,188 yds, 20 TD
83. Freddie Mitchell, UCLA (1998-2000): 110 rec., 1,955 yds, 9 TD
84. Patrick Edwards, Houston (2008-11): 291 rec., 4,507 yds, 43 TD, 947 ret. yds, 2 TD 
85. Shaun McDonald, Arizona State (2000-02): 152 rec., 2,806 yds, 24 TD, 54 rush, TD, 389 ret. yds, TD 
86. James Hardy, Indiana (2005-07): 191 rec., 2,740 yds, 36 TD 
87. Michael Clayton, LSU (2001-03): 182 rec., 2,582 yds, 21 TD 
88. Kenny McKinley, South Carolina (2005-08): 207 rec., 2,781 yds, 19 TD
89. Taylor Stubblefield, Purdue (2001-04): 316 rec., 3,433 yds, 19 TD 
90. Marvin McNutt, Iowa (2008-11): 170 rec., 2,861 yds, 28 TD 

91. Craig Yeast, Kentucky (1995-98): 208 rec., 2,899 yds, 28 TD, 125 rush
92. John Standeford, Purdue (2000-03): 249 rec., 3,618 yds, 27 TD
93. Steve Smith, USC (2003-06): 190 rec., 3,019 yds, 22 TD
94. Todd Blythe, Iowa State (2004-07): 176 rec., 3,096 yds, 31 TD 
95. Conner Vernon, Duke (2009-12): 283 rec., 3,749 yds, 21 TD, 570 ret. yds 
96. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M (2009-12): 252 rec., 3,117 yds, 24 TD 
97. Kenny Britt, Rutgers (2006-08): 178 rec., 3,043 yds, 17 TD, 75 rush, TD
98. Arnold Jackson, Louisville (1997-2000): 300 rec., 3,670 yds, 31 TD 
99. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (2010-present ): 149 rec., 2,283 yds, 17 TD, 61 rush, TD 
100. Jordan White, Western Michigan (2007-11): 306  rec., 4,187 yds, 32 TD, 462 ret. yds

Top 50s of the BCS Era:

The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era
The Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era


Agree or disagree with our ranking of College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era? Let us know on Twitter (@AthlonSports), using the hashtag #AthlonWR50

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 50 Wide Receivers of the BCS Era</p>
Post date: Monday, May 20, 2013 - 07:55
Path: /nfl/top-25-young-athletes-most-likely-be-hall-famers
Body:

To suggest that any player in any sport after just a few seasons is a lock to make the Hall of Fame is ridiculous. But it is always fun to look at athletes who have had instant success and try to extrapolate long-term potential.

Young star players give franchises hope of long-term success and, even greater still, young Olympians can give entire nation's reasons to cheer. How do you think Chinese fans felt about the remarkable performance of Tianlang Guan at Augusta National this spring? Or how proud Canadian fans are of Sydney Crosby's accomplishments in his first few seasons?

Needless to say, projecting future Hall of Famers are virtually impossible. But Athlon Sports has taken its best stab at which young professionals — ones who have debuted since 2010 — are the most likely to do so in their respective sports.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis
The Colts were 2-14 in 2011 and it landed them Mr. Luck. All the rookie QB did was win 11 games and return the franchise to the postseason. And he shattered every important rookie passing record along the way. His 4,374 yards, 627 attempts and six 300-yard passing efforts were all NFL rookie records. His 339 completions and 23 touchdown passes are second all-time for an NFL rookie. His set the single-game rookie passing record with 433 yards against Miami. He is the first QB taken No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft to make the playoffs as a rookie and his 11 wins were the most ever by a No. 1 pick as a rookie. His 54 attempts were an NFL rookie playoff record and his 268 yards passing against the eventual Super Bowl champs was second-best ever by a rookie. He was an elite top-100 recruit when he signed with Stanford. He was second in the Heisman voting two years in a row. And he just posted one of the best rookie seasons by an NFL QB ever. Canton might as well get the bust ready now.

2. Brad Keselowski, Penske Racing
At age 29, Keselowski isn't a spring chicken, however, his rookie season was just three years ago in 2010 and his instant success is impossible to ignore. The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Penske Ford Fusion finished 25th in the points standings in his first season, fifth in his second year and became the defending Sprint Cup Champion after edging Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson for the title in just his third full season. Keselowski posted 24 top-five finishes and nine wins in just three full seasons in Sprint Cup competition. His refreshing yet old-school attitude as a driver is magnetic to the fans, media and, at times, other cars on the track. However, his raw driving talent is painfully obvious and is the reason for such lofty expectations. He is one of just three drivers to win the points championship in the last eight years. The list of potential future HOFers in NASCAR begins and ends with Brad-K, and should he continue to achieve at his current rate, an induction into the newly created NASCAR Hall of Fame is well within reach.

3. Buster Posey, C, San Francisco
There are few players who have ever had a better start to a career than Mr. Posey. He claimed NL Rookie of Year honors in 2010 and led the Giants to their first World Series championship since 1954. Then, after missing all but 162 at-bats of 2011 with an injury, he led the Giants to a second World Series title and claimed the NL MVP trophy last season. He is a career .312 hitter with an .887 OPS and just 203 strikeouts in 1,122 at-bats. He is the consummate professional and the face of a franchise that is positioned to make another run at the World Series and he was recently rewarded with a 9-year, $164 million contract.

4. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington
The only reason Harper's own rookie season gets marginalized was Mike Trout's performance in the American League. Harper, who played all of last season at the age of 19, posted one of the best inaugural seasons in recent memory as well. He was an All-Star and earned NL Rookie of Year honors. He finished with 22 home runs, 18 stolen bases, 98 runs scored, 59 RBIs and a .270/.817 split at the plate. And to start his second season, Harper went deep twice on Opening Day. He is well on his way to destroying his rookie marks in 2013 and should play in his second All-Star game still at the age of 20 years old. Harper could easily lead the majors in home runs or OPS as just a second-year player. It's Hall of Fame or bust for a player who made his Sports Illustrated cover debut at 16 and made his second appearance before turning 21.

5. Missy Franklin, US Swimming
Mark Spitz set the world record when we won seven Gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics. A mark he held until Michael Phelps took home eight Gold medals in the 2008 summer games in Beijing. At age 17, Franklin won four Golds and five total medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. With those four Golds, she is already tied for 50th all-time in total Gold medals won in Olympic history and a repeat performance in 2016 would make her one of just 12 athletes all-time to land eight Golds. Phelps has set himself apart from the rest of his Olympic peers with his all-time world record of 18 Golds medals. Franklin could easily make a run at that record and would finish no worse than second all-time in Gold medals earned with two more productive summer games. She will have the opportunity to compete in three more Summer Olympics before she turns 30.

6. Mike Trout, OF, LA Angels
What else is there to be said of Trout's rookie season in the majors? He was an All-Star, he won the AL Rookie of the Year award, led the league in runs (129) and stolen bases (49), earned a Silver Slugger honor and finished second in MVP voting behind the first Triple Crown winner in more than 50 years. He finished with a .326 average, .963 OPS, hit 30 home runs and drove in 83. With a 10.0 WAR, it was the greatest rookie season in the history of the sport — right ahead of Joe Jackson's 9.7 WAR in 1911. And, oh by the way, he did all of this at age 20. Yeah, his ticket might already be punched for Cooperstown.

7. Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans
The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder entered the NBA as the consensus can’t-miss No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. After posting the No. 3-rated freshman season in the history of college basketball, Davis and his trademarked unibrow debuted for the Hornets in style. He posted 21 points and seven rebounds in his first NBA game against Sacramento. He finished his first full season starting 60 of the 64 games he played, shooting 51.6-percent from the floor and 75.1-percent from the line. His per game rookie stat line is one of the best in recent memory: 13.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.8 bpg, 1.2 spg on 10.6 shots per game. Efficiency and defense is the name of game for this potential Hall of Famer.

8. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston
From pizza boy tight end to Big Ten Rose Bowl star to first-round NFL Draft pick to NFL rookie of the year candidate to NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That is the career trajectory for the massive defensive end. The former Wisconsin Badgers end has started all but one of 32 possible career NFL games and made history by returning an interception for a touchdown in his first postseason game (which helped produce Houston’s first-ever postseason win). He led the NFL in sacks with 20.5 a year ago and made his first Pro Bowl (where he caught a touchdown as a wide receiver). Through two seasons, he has 149 total tackles, 26.0 sacks, 20 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and been a part of two division championships.

9. Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland
Coming out of St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder was one of the nation’s top five prospects. He was electric in the first eight games of his Duke career, leading the team in scoring, before hurting his right foot. Irving returned for the NCAA Tournament, scoring 28 points in his final game against Arizona. He left Duke after 11 career games to be the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft on a LeBron-less Cavaliers team. After averaging 18.5 points on 46.8 percent shooting to go with 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 51 games, Irving claimed 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year honors. And after an equally impressive second year, Irving appears to only be getting better. He finished this season by averaging 22.5 points on 45.9 percent shooting to go with 5.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. And he just turned 21 in March.

10. Tianlang Guan, Golf
The 14-year old phenom captured the hearts of golf fans all over the world this spring at The Masters. Guan (14 years, five months) shattered Matteo Manassero's PGA Tour record (16 years, two months) for the youngest player to ever make a cut. And he did so at the world's toughest course in Augusta National. Tiger Woods and others have praised the young golfer's poise and calm demeanor. As long as he grows out of his slow style of play, there is no reason to think Guan won't be the next young superstar on the PGA Tour.

11. AJ Green, WR, Cincinnati
Few players have ever started their career like Green. The superstar talent from Georgia was one of the most coveted pass-catchers in the nation as both a recruit and draft pick. He was one of the SEC's all-time bests and all he has done in two NFL seasons is catch 162 passes for 2,407 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Bengals have reached the postseason in each of his two seasons and Green made the Pro Bowl both times. He is an elite red zone target, can stretch the field and has tremendous open field ability as well. He is the complete package at wide receiver.

12. Damian Lillard, PG, Portland
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound floor leader from Oakland, Calif., was a proven commodity the second he stepped on a college court. He led Weber State to a conference title as a freshman before earning Big Sky Player of the Year honors twice in his career. It led to the Trail Blazers selecting him with the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He promptly posted a double-double (23 pts, 11 asts) in his rookie debut and was excellent throughout his first NBA season. Lillard was Rookie of the Month six times and was a runaway Rookie of the Year winner in 2012-13. He started all 82 games and finished with this statline: 17.8 ppg, 6.0 apg, 2.9 rpg, 0.8 spg on 42.9 percent shooting.

13. Julio Jones, WR Atlanta
Forever linked with A.J. Green as fellow 2008 five-star recruits to sign in the SEC, Jones is just as athletic and talented as the Bengals pass-catcher. He helped lead Alabama to a national championship as a sophomore in 2009 and forced the Falcons to trade away multiple picks across two drafts to trade up and get Jones with the sixth overall pick. He has caught 133 passes for 2,157 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first two seasons earning his first Pro Bowl invite in 2012. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Jones is a special talent and is poised for a long and productive career with Matt Ryan throwing him passes.

14. Matt Kalil, OT, Minnesota
The top tackle taken in the 2012 NFL Draft has played from Game 1 for the much-improved Vikings. The former USC All-American started all 16 games as a rookie and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl because of it. He paved the way for Adrian Peterson's run at Eric Dickerson's all-time rushing record and helped return the Vikings to the postseason. He was a coveted prospect in high school, had a great college career and appears to be a lockdown bookend tackle for Minnesota. Having an All-Pro older brother (Ryan) and professional football father (Frank) has certainly helped as well. According to Football Outsiders, Kalil allowed just two sacks in his first 721 NFL snaps.

15. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta
He is the most dominant major league reliever on the planet. The flame-throwing Braves closer won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2011 and is the only player in MLB to have posted at least 40 saves in each of the last two seasons — a feat he should accomplish again in 2013. He allowed just 25 earned runs in his first two seasons as Atlanta's closer (139.2 IP, 1.61 ERA). The 25-year old (May 28) is a two-time All-Star who finished ninth and fifth respectively in the Cy Young voting the last two seasons and was eighth in the MVP race a year ago.

16. Blake Griffin, PF, LA Clippers
It took the Oklahoma Sooner an extra year to get to the NBA court after sitting out his first season with a knee injury, but he has quickly become one of the most dominant forces in the league. His athletic ability is second to none as massive dunks and demoralizing blocks are a part of his regular routine. He averaged a double-double in his first two seasons — 22.5 ppg, 12.1 rpg and 20.7 ppg, 10.9 rbg — and this season helped lead the Clippers to their first postseason berth since 2005 and only the franchise's second playoff run since 1996. His numbers dropped a touch in his third consecutive All-Star season — 18.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg — but his career stat line is still absurd. Through 228 career games Griffin is averaging 20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 52.9 percent shooting.

17. Taylor Hall, LW, Edmonton
The can't-miss No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Hall posted back-to-back 20-goal seasons in his first two years in the pros — at age 19 and 20. In his third season this year, Hall finished ninth in the league in points (50), seventh in assists (7), fifth in power play goals (15) and seventh in points per game (1.11). He has helped the Oilers improve their winning percentage in each of his three seasons (.378 to .451 to .469).

18. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington
Ever since Bob Costas called his memorable, nationally hyped debut with 14 strikeouts over seven innings against Pittsburgh, Strasburg has been a star. Despite missing all but five starts of his second season due to Tommy John surgery, Strasburg has been virtually perfect. His first three seasons featured only 45 starts but his numbers are electric: 21-10, 2.94/1.09, 251.1 IP, 313 K. He even won a Silver Slugger award during that span as well. The flame-thrower has done nothing but live up to his extremely lofty expectations as the No. 1 overall pick out of San Diego State in 2009.

19. Matt Harvey, SP, NY Mets
The only other pitcher creating as much buzz as Strasburg is the Mets' flame-throwing righty from the University of North Carolina. Through 18 career starts, Harvey has a career ERA of 2.10 and 132 strikeouts in 115.2 innings. He has an effortless motion, excellent mechanics, a great mound demeanor and a filthy four-pitch arsenal. He has 12 quality starts in 18 trips to the bump and has allowed more than three runs in a start just once in his career.

20. Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics
Much like Franklin, Douglas earned her way into the hearts and minds of the nation following her impressive performance in London's 2012 Summer Olympics. At age 16, she became the first American woman gymnast to win the Gold medal for individual all-around competition and the first woman of color from any nationality to win the all-around Gold. She also helped lead the US to a team Gold in London and has posted gold podium finishes in the 2011 Tokyo World Championships and 2012 Pacific Rim Championships as well. She is poised for two more US Olympic showings before she turns 25.

21. Tyler Seguin, C, Boston
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft (Taylor Hall), Seguin took little time developing into one of the game's best. The All-Star centerman helped lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup title as just a rookie in 2010-11 and exploded for 67 points as a second-year player the following season. He played in all 48 games this season and has finished second (+34) and seventh (+23) in Plus/Minus rating the last two seasons. Seguin has never missed the playoffs in his brief three-year career.

22. Mike Iupati, OG, San Francisco
The Niners have seen a remarkable turnaround under head coach Jim Harbaugh. Much of that can be attributed to what might be the best offensive line in the league. Iupati, taken 17th overall in the 2010 draft, has started every single game of his NFL career and has watched the 49ers' rushing attack flourish. After averaging 103.6 yards per game in 2010, SanFran rushed for 127.8 yards per game in 2011 and finished No. 4 in the NFL in rushing in 2013 (155.7). The 6-foot-5, 330-pound mauler helped the 49ers return to the Super Bowl and should be a mainstay in the Bay Area for years to come.

23. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington
The biggest issue with RG3 won’t be his accuracy, ability to protect the football, win games or produce big numbers. It will be his ability to stay healthy long enough to earn Hall of Fame status. He, like Luck, is a great leader who sets an example for all of those around him. Yet, his style of play has already proven to be a concern as he takes entirely too many hits. He has already missed time due to a concussion as well as a twisted knee. Despite these injuries, he led the Skins to a 10-6 mark and postseason berth last season, breaking Cam Newton's rookie QB rushing record in the process.

24. Kyle Larson, Earnhardt-Ganassi
The 20-year old phenom won the K&N Pro Series East in just his first full year racing stock cars in 2012 after growing up in the cockpit of all things open-wheel. The EGR developmental driver has quickly moved his way up the pro ranks, leap-frogging the Camping World Truck Series, and landing directly in the Nationwide Series in 2013 for Turner Scott Motorsports. In just eight races in the No. 32 Turner Chevrolet Camaro, Larson is 12th in the points — due mostly to two crashes — has posted three top 10s and finished runner-up at hallowed Bristol Motorspeedway. His meteoric rise through the sport could land him in a full-time ride at the highest level in a matter of months rather than years.

25. Mark McMorris, Snowboarding
Throwing some love to the alternative sports, McMorris has taken the snowboarding world by storm of late. The 19-year old Canadian is the two-time reigning Winter X Games Slopestyle Gold Medalist (2012-13) and also claimed the 2012 Big Air Gold at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., last year. He has defeated Shaun White by executing unprecedented tricks and wowing fans around North America, garnering comparisons to the Hall of Fame American rider. He won the Slopestyle Silver at the 2013 FIS Snowboarding World Championships.

Best of the Rest (alphabetically):

Harrison Barnes, G, Golden State (NBA)
Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs (MLB)
Aroldis Chapman, RP, Cincinnati (MLB)
Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing (NASCAR)
Ty Dillon, Richard Childress Racing (NASCAR)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England (NFL)
Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Florida (NHL)
Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina (NFL)
Gabriel Landeskog, W, Colorado (NHL)
Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore (MLB)
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NY Giants (NFL)
Aldon Smith, DE, San Francisco (NFL)
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis (NHL)

Related Content:

5 Young NASCAR Drivers Who Could be Hall of Famers
15 Young NFL Players Who Could be Hall of Famers

10 Young MLB Players Who Could be Hall of Famers

10 Young NBA Players Who Could be Hall of Famers

 

Teaser:
<p> Top 25 Young Athletes Most Likely to be Hall of Famers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 14:55
Path: /mlb/clone-fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-may-13
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2013 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire report every Monday. Our fantasy junkies cover the hottest hitters, best waiver wire pick ups, top starting pitching spot starts and sift through bullpens from around the league each week.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (May 6-12):

  Name Pos. Team R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Evan Longoria 3B TB 8 3 11 0 .464 1.495
2. Paul Goldschmidt 1B ARI 5 4 9 0 .348 1.293
3. Will Venable* OF SD 5 2 4 3 .368 1.113
4. Alex Gordon OF KC 5 3 8 0 .393 1.165
5. Joe Mauer C/1B MIN 10 0 4 0 .533 1.433
6. Vernon Wells* OF NYY 4 3 7 1 .360 1.080
7. Jean Segura SS MIL 5 2 2 2 .500 1.495
8. Chris Carter* 1B/OF HOU 4 3 8 0 .375 1.438
9. Ryan Doumit* C/OF MIN 7 3 7 0 .250 .977
10. Hunter Pence OF SF 7 2 3 2 .286 .904
11. Dustin Pedroia 2B BOS 5 1 3 1 .483 1.186
12. James Loney* 1B TB 5 2 5 1 .308 .994
13. Jhonny Peralta* SS DET 8 1 1 1 .438 1.300
14. Justin Morneau* 1B MIN 5 0 9 0 .407 .905
15. Jose Bautista OF TOR 4 2 7 0 .360 1.158
16. Marco Scutaro* 2/3/SS SF 4 1 5 0 .467 1.234
17. Ian Desmond SS WAS 4 2 6 0 .389 1.283
18. Jose Altuve 2B HOU 4 1 3 2 .364 .920
19. Dan Uggla* 2B ATL 9 2 3 0 .240 .905
20. Shane Victorino OF BOS 6 2 2 0 .393 1.076
21. Adrian Beltre 3B TEX 4 2 7 0 .308 .948
22. Matt Dominguez* 3B HOU 4 2 6 0 .333 1.000
23. Nick Swisher 1B/OF CLE 6 2 4 0 .308 1.071
24. Edwin Encarnacion 1B TOR 3 2 6 1 .269 .875
25. Manny Machado 3B BAL 5 0 3 1 .444 .983

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Weekly Waiver Wire:

Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN (57% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
I have been going to the Twins waiver wire well for a couple of weeks now and Morneau is the next name to add — as could Ryan Doumit and his "C" eligibility. The former MVP is on a eight-game hitting streak that raised his average from .250 to .285. He won't ever return to big-bopper, MVP form, but he is very serviceable in more than one category on a team that seems to be improving.

James Loney, 1B, TB (27%)
I told fantasy GMs to add the light-hitting first baseman two weeks ago and Loney has delivered in a big way. He has five three-hit games and eight multi-hit performances in his last 14 starts, raising his average to .376. He won't hit for power but he should hit for average and drive in runs. If you need help at the corner spot, there is plenty to like on the wire this week.

Chris Carter, 1B, HOU (21%)
Carter too is appearing for the second time on this list. He must always be mentioned with a warning label for a low average and no speed. But he simply keeps producing this year. He is a last-resort option but if you need power, Carter is worth a look after three dingers last week. That's 25 HRs in his last 104 games.

Jhonny Peralta, SS, DET (48%)
The aging middle infielder makes the list due to his position alone. He won't maintain his .315 average as a career .266 hitter with three of his four seasons producing sub-.255 rates. However, his .299 in 2011 was extremely useful. He will help most rosters at his position and plays for one of the best offenses in the league. Don't expect too much but Peralta can be a stopgap until, say, Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez return.

Last Week:

Yonder Alonso, 1B, SD: 5/20, R, 3 RBI, SB
Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL: 3/20, R, 2B
Ryan Raburn, 2B/OF, CLE: 4/16, 1 R, 2 2B, RBI
A.J. Pollock, OF, ARI: 6/19, 2 R, 4 2B, 2 RBI

 

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Chris Sale CWS 23.1 2 19 1.16 0.64
2. Scott Feldman* CHC 22.0 2 21 1.23 0.68
3. Max Scherzer DET 23.1 3 25 3.09 0.69
4. Ubaldo Jimanez* CLE 18.2 3 20 1.45 0.86
5. Shelby Miller STL 15.0 2 18 0.60 0.60
6. Jordan Zimmerman WAS 15.0 2 15 0.60 0.73
7. James Shields KC 23.0 1 21 1.57 0.78
8. Felix Hernandez SEA 16.0 2 21 0.56 0.75
9. Matt Harvey NYM 21.1 0 23 1.27 0.80
10. Justin Verlander DET 19.0 2 24 1.89 1.16
11. Derek Holland TEX 15.0 2 15 0.60 1.13
12. Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 14.0 2 14 1.93 0.86
13. Scott Kazmir* CLE 12.0 2 17 2.25 0.92
14. Hector Santiago* CWS 12.1 1 14 0.73 0.81
15. Jose Fernandez* MIA 17.0 2 20 2.65 1.06
16. A.J. Burnett PIT 14.0 1 18 1.93 0.86
17. Hiroki Kuroda NYY 21.2 2 12 1.66 1.06
18. Jeremy Guthrie* KC 15.0 2 6 0.60 1.00
19. Patrick Corbin ARI 13.1 2 11 1.35 1.05
20. Kyle Kendrick* PHI 21.0 2 15 2.57 1.00

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

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

1. Tony Cingrani, CIN: (Thur.) at Miami (73% owned)
He hasn't been elite in his last two starts, but he still boasts a pretty tasty line: 28.0 IP, 2-0, 2.89/1.00, 37 K, 7 BB. And the Miami Marlins should pose little to no threat for a surging team (7-2). Look for the rook to get back on track this week.

2. Wade Miley, ARI: (Sun.) at Miami (72%)
The young lefty had two rough starts in a row (9.1 IP, 0-1, 4 ER, 10 BB) before bouncing back last time out. He tossed 7.2 innings against the Dodgers, allowing two earned runs while striking out four with no walks. Against the Marlins, Miley is all systems go.

3. Jose Fernandez, MIA: (Thur.) Cincinnati (44%)
The extremely talented rookie is owned in less than half of Yahoo! leagues and I have no idea why. The elite prospect will have his rough outings but has way too much natural ability. Over his last two starts, The Cuban defector is 2-0 with three earned runs allowed and 16 strikeouts in 13.0 innings.

4. Travis Wood, CHC: (Sun.) NY Mets (52%)
Wood has been the Cubs team MVP to this point, posting awesome 2.33/0.93 ratios over 46.1 innings and is 7-for-7 in quality starts. Against the Mets this weekend, that streak should continue. 

5. Trevor Cahill, ARI: (Fri.) Philadelphia (59%)
The Reds and D-Backs — who each face Miami this week — are a good place to look for pitching. Cahill hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in four straight starts with two wins. He isn't great in K:BB leagues but should be on target against the lowly Marlins this weekend.
 

Closing Morsels:

Joel Hanrahan will soon undergo flexor tendon surgery, ending his 2013 season while Andrew Bailey is targeting a late-week return. In the mean time, stay away from Boston's pen. Koji Uehara has allowed four baserunners and two runs in his last three innings while Junichi Tazawa has given up at least two hits and one run in each of his last two outings. Bailey can't return fast enough ... Cleveland closer Chris Perez has been excellent in his few chances this year. However, he complained of shoulder soreness this weekend and was held out of the save chance in the ninth on Sunday. Monitor ... I don't like the idea, but Heath Bell might need to be added. If desperate, the current D-Backs closer is a worth a look. As expected, he has three saves and two blown saves in his eight outings. But he's got the ninth for now. Keep David Hernandez close by... Brandon League has allowed 10 ER in his last 11.1 IP. Is it time for Kenley Jansen in the ninth? It worked well last year ... The Royals went 1-6 last week and didn't have many chances but Greg Holland only pitched one inning after his blow-up last Monday. It was spotless and featured two Ks so it looks like owners will keep getting saves — but at what price? Aaron Crow's line: 9.1 IP, ER, SV, 6 HLD, 7 K, 0.96/0.86 ... Toronto's Sergio Santos and Los Angeles' Ryan Madson are scheduled to return in the next week. Keep an eye on both as they could be primary setup men and potential stopgap closers in case of injury.

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

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: May 13</p>
Post date: Monday, May 13, 2013 - 12:45
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-greatest-dynasties-ap-era
Body:

Dynasty is a word that gets tossed around all too liberally by fans and media members alike. However, there are periods of time in sports where the term is not only applicable but completely accurate. The NFL had the Packers of the '60s, the Steelers of the '70s, the 49ers of the '80s, the Cowboys of the '90s and the Patriots of the '00s. The NBA has the Celtics, Lakers, Bulls and soon-to-be Heat dynasties. Baseball has the Yankees and… the Yankees. And John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins basketball program might be the greatest sports dynasty of all-time.

Defining a "dynasty" can be done many different ways and, for the most part, lies in the eye of the beholder. Generally speaking, elite level dominance over a period of time — ideally, the longer the better with championships to show for it — is how "dynasty" is defined. Awards, NFL talent, championships and statistical records are all considered as well. 

College football fans around the nation are just a few months away from the final season of the BCS era. When the season kicks off August 28 in Nashville, Tenn., the University of Alabama will be attempting the first-ever three-peat in BCS history and is looking for its unprecedented fourth national championship in five years.

The 2013 season aside, Nick Saban’s recent run with the Crimson Tide must be considered one college football’s greatest dynasties. But it is No. 1?

Athlon Sports ranks the Top 25 greatest college football dynasties since the AP Poll debuted in 1934:

1. Oklahoma Sooners (1948-58): 107-8
Legendary head coach Charles “Bud” Wilkinson began a miraculous run in his second season at Norman. Over this 11-year span, Oklahoma had four undefeated seasons, six with just one loss and only one year (1951, 8-2) in which it lost more than one game. The Sooners claimed three national championship (1950, '55, '56), all 11 conference championships and one Heisman Trophy winner (Billy Vessels, 1952). The most impressive aspect of this dynasty? Two of the top 10 longest winning streaks in NCAA history, including the the all-time mark of 47 straight victories from 1953-57. Oklahoma also won 31 straight from 1948-50, which ranks 10th all-time in the record books. Oklahoma's historic run in the 1950s was the most dominant dynasty in college football history.

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1993-97): 60-3
Is winning more than 95 percent of your games a good thing? That is what Tom Osborne did at Nebraska over his final five seasons. Led by arguably the greatest college quarterback of all-time in Tommie Frazier, the Big Red posted four unbeaten regular seasons, all of which culminated in a trip to the national championship game. One loss to Florida State in the ’93 Orange Bowl is the only thing that kept the Huskers from four national championships in five seasons. A huge upset in the inaugural Big 12 title game to Texas was one of just three losses during this stretch. This Nebraska run produced the 19th longest winning streak in NCAA history with 26 straight wins from 1994-96.

3. Miami Hurricanes (1986-92): 78-6
On the heels of Howard Schnellenberger’s 1983 championship, Miami returned to the promised land under Jimmy Johnson in 1987 and Dennis Erickson in 1989 and '91. Over this seven-year span, the Canes lost less than one game per season, moved into the Big East and won two Heisman Trophies with Vinny Testaverde (1986) and Gino Torretta (1992). The 29-game winning streak that was snapped by Alabama in what was Miami’s fifth national title game appearance in seven years is the 13th longest streak in NCAA history. From 1983-92, Miami posted a record of 107-14.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide (2008-present): 61-7
There is more than one dynasty in Crimson Tide history, but it’s tough to argue that Saban’s run isn’t the most impressive. After nearly 20 years without a title and against the most ruthless conference ever built, Alabama claimed the national championship and the school’s first-ever Heisman Trophy in 2009. The undefeated ’09 team is arguably the most talented Alabama team ever constructed. Then, after a 10-3 year in 2010, the defense and quarterback A.J. McCarron have dominated college football’s biggest stage with a combined 63-14 drubbing of LSU and Notre Dame in the past two BCS National Championship Games. A narrow loss in the 2008 SEC title game to Tim Tebow and Florida after a 12-0 regular season is the only thing keeping Alabama from going for its fifth title in six years. The most interesting tidbit about this five-year dynasty? Alabama has won more national championships (3) than SEC titles (2).

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1941-49): 75-7-6
Led by the great Frank Leahy — who took a two-year leave to serve in the U.S. military — Notre Dame won four national championships (1943, '46, '47, '49) and posted five unbeaten seasons during this remarkable nine-year window. From 1946-49, Notre Dame didn’t lose a game and only tied twice — costing the Irish a fifth national title in 1948. Leahy coached three Heisman Trophy winners in Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack and Leon Hart during this dynasty.

6. USC Trojans (2002-08): 82-9
Led by Pete Carroll, the USC Trojans won seven straight Pac-10 conference championships, won two national championships (2003, '04), claimed three Heisman Trophy winners (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush), put countless players into the NFL Draft and tied Miami for the longest modern winning streak. The 34-game run from 2003-05 is sixth all-time and ended when Vince Young scampered around the right end in the greatest game ever played. The Men of Troy never won fewer than 11 games for seven straight years. Was this team tainted by an NFL agent wannabe scandal well after the fact? To some degree, however, it wasn't a recruiting violation that impacted a competitive advantage. No matter how you view the Reggie Bush issues, this USC dynasty was one of the best in college football history. 

7. Miami Hurricanes (2000-03): 46-4
Butch Davis built it and Larry Coker finished it off. On what many believe to be the best team ever assembled — as its 17 first-round picks indicate — Miami won four straight Big East championships and one unbeaten national title in 2000. This team came up one pass interference call against Ohio State from back-to-back national crowns, and, at one point, rattled-off 34 straight wins. The winning streak was the longest since Wilkinson’s 47-gamer in the late '50s and is still tied for the sixth-best in NCAA history.

8. Alabama Crimson Tide (1961-66): 60-5-1
In Bear Bryant’s fourth season (1961), the historic coach returned Alabama to the top of college football’s hierarchy with an 11-0 national title. He went on to lose just five games over the next five seasons, including two more national championships (1964, '65) and another unbeaten season (1966). Hall of Famer Joe Namath, the “greatest player [Bear Bryant] ever coach,” spearheaded this team for three years (1962-64) to a 29-4 record as a starter. This remarkable six-year run — with three national and four SEC crowns — built the foundation for legend that is Bear Bryant.

9. Army Black Knights (1944-49): 49-2-4
Under historic head coach Earl “Red” Blaik, the U.S. Army dominated college football for the better part of the decade. While the nation was captivated by the ongoing World War in Europe, the Knights steamrolled college football. This team won three consecutive national titles (1944-46) led by an All-Heisman backfield of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis. Blaik posted five unbeaten seasons in six years.

10. Florida State Seminoles (1992-2000): 99-11-1
Few teams have ever dominated a conference like the Seminoles did in the ACC during the 1990s. Bobby Bowden’s team never finished outside of the AP top four and won all nine ACC championships during this span. His team played in five national titles games, winning the whole thing in 1993 and '99 behind eventual Heisman winners Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke respectively.

11. Oklahoma Sooners (1973-80): 73-7
The Sooners' second dynasty took place just a decade later when Barry Switzer took over in 1973 as head coach. He began his tenure with eight consecutive conference titles, two national championships (1974, '75) and a Billy Sims Heisman Trophy (1978). During this span, OU never lost more than two games in a season and posted a 28-game winning streak, which ranks 15th all-time in NCAA history.

12. Alabama Crimson Tide (1971-79): 97-11
Bear Bryant’s second dynasty began seven years after his last one ended. Alabama won eight SEC titles in nine years and claimed the 1973, '78 and '79 national championships. Alabama’s school-record 28-game winning streak began in ’78 and ended three seasons later in 1980 — most of which took place during this dynasty. The 1979 championship featured the best record in school history (at that time) at 12-0 and gave Bryant his third and final unblemished campaign.

13. USC Trojans (1967-79): 122-23-7
One of the longer dynasties on this list, these Trojans were led first by John McKay (1967-75) and then John Robinson (1976-79). The tandem won four national championships (1967, '72, '74, '78), nine conference crowns and two Heisman Trophies (O.J. Simpson, Charles White) over the 13-year period of time.

14. Florida Gators (2006-09): 48-7
Urban Meyer posted three 13-1 records in a four-year span and the only time he didn’t win 13 games, Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy (2007). This dynasty featured two national titles in 2006 and '08 and came up one game shy in 2009 of what would assuredly have been a third championship.

15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1964-73): 69-15-4
The Ara Parseghian era got started with a bang when the first-year coach won the 1964 national championship as John Huarte won the Heisman. The Irish would go on to win two more titles (1966, '73) before the legendary coach would step down following the 1974 season.

16. Texas Longhorns (1961-70): 89-17-2
The Longhorns won three national championships and six conference titles under Darrell K. Royal during the '60s. This team also won 30 straight games, good for 12th all-time in NCAA history. Royal had seven seasons of one loss or less during this span.

17. Minnesota Golden Gophers (1934-41): 54-9-1
Starting right when the AP Poll debuted, the Golden Gophers were one of the first true dynasties in college football. Hallowed coach Bernie Bierman won five national championships and lost just nine games during the eight-year span. Minnesota won all but one Big Ten crown from 1934-41.

18. Oklahoma Sooners (2000-08): 102-19
Head coach Bob Stoops led the Sooners back to the promised land in just his second season by claiming the 2000 BCS national title. During this nine-year run, Oklahoma played in four national title games, won five conference championships and claimed two Heisman Trophies.

19. Ohio State Buckeyes (2002-10): 99-17
Jim Tressell returned Ohio State to the pinnacle of college football with an unbeaten 2002 team. He then won six more Big Ten titles and a Heisman Trophy (Troy Smith) over the next seven years while playing in two more BCS title games.

20. Michigan Wolverines (1940-48): 68-13-2
Coached mostly by Herbert “Fritz” Crisler, Michigan won four Big Ten championships and two national titles during the 1940s. This team rattled off 25 straight wins from 1946-49 and posted two unbeaten seasons — coached by Crisler and Beenie Oosterbaan (1948).

21. Texas Longhorns (2004-09): 69-9
Over this six-year span, Texas averaged more than 11 wins per year and played in two national championship games — including winning the greatest game ever played in 2005. Mack Brown lost one bowl game during this span.

22. Ohio State Buckeyes (1954-70): 118-34-5
Woody Hayes had two five-loss seasons during this span but few coaches can claim five national championships in any amount of time much less 17 seasons.

23. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1969-72): 42-4-2
Head coach Bob Devaney won two national titles, posted a 23-game winning streak and lost just four games in his last four years in Lincoln.

24. Georgia Bulldogs (1980-83): 43-4-1
Vince Dooley had one of the best four-year runs in SEC history when he lost just four games, won three SEC championships and claimed the 1980 national title.

25. BYU Cougars (1979-85): 77-12
LaVell Edward’s high-flying, revolutionary offense rolled through opponents until the pollsters finally awarded BYU with the 1984 national championship.

Best of the Rest:

Clemson Tigers (1981-91): 100-24-5
Danny Ford and Ken Hatfield combined for a national title and six ACC crowns.

Tennessee Volunteers (1949-52): 36-4-2
General Robert Neyland led the Vols to two national titles and just four losses in four years.

LSU Tigers (2003-07): 56-10
Nick Saban and Les Miles combined for two national championships, returning LSU to prominence.

Michigan State Spartans (1950-53): 35-2
Head man Biggie Munn led the Spartans to two titles and just two losses in four seasons.

Boise State Broncos (2006-11): 73-6
Constantly beat the big boys — Okla., Oregon (twice), Georgia, Virginia Tech, Utah (twice), Oregon St (twice) and TCU. Won four WAC titles with two unbeaten seasons.

Virginia Tech Hokies (1999-2011): 132-39
Posted 11 10-win seasons, won five conference titles and played in the BCS title game in '99.

TCU Horned Frogs (2008-11): 47-5
Claimed three MWC championships while also beating Stanford, Wisconsin and Boise State (twice).

 

RELATED LINKS:

Ranking All 125 College Football Head Coaches for 2013

Ranking the Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era

College Football's Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 25 Greatest Dynasties of the AP Era</p>
Post date: Monday, May 13, 2013 - 07:45
Path: /college-football/top-25-national-broadcasting-jobs-sports
Body:

If you could have any national sports broadcasting job in sports, what would it be? Do you want to be at the games and travel all over the country? Do you want to be a studio host with a more stable work schedule? Do you want to become extremely popular in one niche field or cover a wide range of all sports? Are ratings more important than content?

There are many different ways to value sports broadcasting jobs, but Athlon Sports has tried to rank the best national sports broadcasting jobs in the industry today.

1. Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Who: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya

Preceded by “Football Night in America” with Bob Costas and Dan Patrick, NBC is home to the best broadcast job in sports. The NFL is the biggest dog on the block and Sunday night is the biggest night in television viewing. Put them together and you get the best gig in sports broadcasting — both as a studio show and play-by-play booth.

2. PGA Tour on CBS
Who: Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, David Feherty, Gary McCord, Peter Kostis

There are plenty more names who broadcast the PGA Tour for both CBS and others like ESPN. But CBS gets two of the four Majors — namely Sunday at The Masters — as well as more than a dozen other key tournaments. Doing play-by-play for one or two holes each year at Augusta alone makes this job one of the best in the business.

3. Monday Night Football (ESPN)
Who: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters

“MNF” used to be the top job in the business. However, Sunday Night viewing has taken over and the inability of flex scheduling has taken the edge off of the final broadcast of any NFL weekend. It is still clearly one of the most highly sought after jobs in the business — just look at Gruden’s contract with ESPN.

4. ESPN’s College Gameday
Who: Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit

The best college football show in the business began as a small studio show in 1987 and has blossomed into the weekly traveling circus that it is today. There is no preview show for any sport that comes close to the pageantry, fan interaction, entertainment value and insightful commentary that "College Gameday" can deliver. And its why Corso (1987), Fowler (1990) and Herbstreit (1996) have been together for more than 15 years.

5. SEC Game of the Week (CBS)
Who: Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Holly Rowe

The biggest sport in this country outside of the NFL is college football. And the best conference in college football is clearly the best in the nation. So when CBS plucks the best game each weekend for its 3:30 PM ET Saturday afternoon game, the entire nation tunes in. This is arguably the most high-profile non-NFL booth in sports.

6. NFL on FOX
Who: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver

Generally speaking, the best non-primetime game in the NFC is reserved for FOX’s top broadcast trio. This normally involved the Dallas Cowboys. That said, even the second, third and fourth NFL on FOX games are elite broadcasting positions. Other greats like Thom Brennaman, Dick Stockton, Chris Myers and Gus Johnson are assigned to call lower-tier games.

7. NFL on CBS
Who: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Steve Tasker

This is identical to the NFL on FOX across the board with one possible exception. The NFC is loaded and FOX gets most of those games while the AFC is much weaker and CBS gets most of their games. The NFL TV ratings dwarf all other sports and even lower-tiered games from the weaker conference still pull huge audiences. Greg Gumbel, Marv Albert, Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan join Nantz and Simms on CBS.

8. Saturday Night Football (ABC)
Who: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Lisa Salters

The second-biggest non-NFL booth would be the ABC Saturday Night Football team. This spot on the TV dial was largely ignored due to low ratings but ABC/ESPN jumped in with two feet as the college game continued to grow and has been home to one of the top college games each Saturday evening since 2006.

9. Fox Sports Radio
Who: Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr, JT The Brick, etc

The first non-TV entry on the list begins with the international sports radio network from FOX and Premiere Radio Network. With over 400 affiliates and simulcasts on satellite radio and DirecTV (owned by FOX), few radio teams put as many resources into their product. Founded in 2000, huge industry names like Dan Patrick, JT The Brick, Petros & Money as well as comedian Jay Mohr have built FSR into a media goliath with coveted broadcasting positions.

10. NCAA Tournament (CBS)
Who: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr

CBS purchased the NCAA Tournament in 1982 and has never relinquished control over the massive month-long ratings bonanza. And it’s why the great Jim Nantz has broadcast 23 straight Final Fours. The addition of extra channels from Turner Broadcasting System have only added to the viewership and profile of CBS’ March Madness.

11. ESPN Radio
Who: Mike Greenberg, Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt

Launched back in 1992, ESPN realized the power of nationally syndicated sports talk radio quickly. Some of the industries biggest names have been discovered because of ESPN Radio — many of whom began on the TV screen. The list of powerhouse radio personalities that used the power of ESPN Radio to launch their careers is long and distinguished.

12. The Morning Drive (Golf Channel)
Who: Gary Williams, Damon Hack, Kelly Tilghman, Ahmad Rashad, Holly Sonders

Available in over 100 million households worldwide, anything on the Golf Channel has sneaky upside. Since launching in 1995, The NBC-owned Golf Channel has been home to a dedicated and extremely affluent audience. And the launch of the daily morning show has given this team of broadcasters an elite time slot. You've seen the women who work on this channel, right?

13. NASCAR on FOX
Who: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds

Debuting at Daytona in 2001 — may he rest in peace — the Emmy-award winning NASCAR on FOX has been a staple for race fans. Roughly the first half of each season is on FOX and their deep and talented team of broadcasters has made it one of the best in programs in sports. The play-by-play booth, the Hollywood Hotel and the Pit Reporters offer a variety of great broadcasting jobs.

14. CBS Sports Radio
Who: Doug Gottleib, Jim Rome, John Feinstein

Along with ESPN Radio and FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio offers 24/7 nationally syndicated sports talk. Think the money isn’t good in this field? Jim Rome’s radio show alone nets him $30 million in earnings each year. Simply because it launched just a few months ago (Sept. 2012), CBS Sports radio checks in slightly behind ESPN and FSR among the radio entities.

15. Baseball on FOX
Who: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Ken Rosenthal

This team traditionally only has to work one game per week (Saturdays) before the postseason starts. For broadcasting purists, baseball calls are the some of the sports world’s best as historic names have filled the airwaves with ageless memories (Vin Scully, Jack Buck). When October rolls around, there are few places broadcasters would rather be than in the booth during the World Series.

16. WGN-TV Cubs
Who: Len Kasper, Jim Deshaies, Keith Moreland

There aren’t many local or regional teams who get national broadcasts but the Cubs are one of them. Do you think walking to Wrigley Field to broadcast baseball games from the friendly confines 81 times per year sounds like fun?

17. SportsCenter (ESPN)
Who: John Anderson, Lindsay Czarniak, John Buccigross, Steve Levy, et al

This program has lost most of its luster as over-produced, sponsor-heavy broadcasts have diminished the product since its heyday in the late '90s. Still, many a sports broadcasting career has begun on the primetime (6 PM ET, 11 PM ET) slot of nightly sports highlights.

18. YES Network Yankees
Who: Michael Kay, Bob Lorenz, Ken Singleton

Much like the Cubs on WGN or to a much lesser extent the Braves on TBS, the Yankees broadcast nationally on the YES Network. With supporting programming and the world’s biggest TV market part of the package, calling Yankee games 162 times a year has to be considered one of the industry’s best gigs.

19. Inside the NBA (TNT)
Who: Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal

Few studio shows outweigh the actual in-game broadcast but TNT’s Emmy Award-winning pre- and post-game show is just that. Airing since 1988, Inside the NBA is one of the longest running studio programs in all of sports. I would rather watch this show than the game itself any day.

20. Pardon The Interruption
Who: Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser

The time slot isn’t elite and it lasts for just 30 minutes but the format is brilliant and the show has staying power. For any broadcaster who is opinionated, passionate and likes to argue, few jobs would be more fun and offer more breadth of subjects than PTI.

21. NFL Total Access
Who: Rich Eisen, Fran Charles, Andrew Siciliano

When the NFL Network launched in 2003, it hired the face of the brand by luring Rich Eisen from ESPN. He hasn’t given up the lead anchor job on the channel’s flagship program because it has extreme staying power and stability is valued in this business. Powered by huge NFL dollars, the NFL Network has little chance of ever being kicked off the air.

22. NHL on NBC
Who: Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire

If this was a ranking of the best broadcasters in sports, Mike “Doc” Emrick might be No. 1. Since partnering with NBC, the NHL has been making a slow and steady return to American living rooms. This is the top broadcasting position for anyone in the hockey realm and its why Emrick is the voice fans hear nearly every night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

23. NFL Countdown (ESPN)
Who: Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, et al

A long standard in the industry, NFL Countdown has been a big part of Sunday morning since 1985. It has seen better days but still claims seven Sports Emmys and five CableACE Awards. It’s such a great gig, stalwart broadcast personality Chris Berman may never quit.

24. SiriusXM Radio
Who: Tim Brando, Pat Kirwen, Chris Russo, Pete Pistone, Casey Stern, et al

It’s a late bloomer and it has taken time to grow (and one massive merger) but national satellite radio is here to stay. Huge signings like Tim Brando prove the medium is viable and offers fans niche programming for every major sport. If you are an MLB expert there is no better place to work than MLB Radio. If you are a college sports expert, there is no better place to work in radio than College Sports Nation.

25. MLB Tonight
Who: Brian Kenny, Matt Vasgersian, et al

MLB Network’s nightly program is one of the more unique broadcasts in all of sports. It acts as a pre- and post-game studio show as well as a “Live Look-in” show that gives viewers the chance to listen in on local broadcasts they may not normally get to hear.

Best of the Rest:

26. FOX NFL Sunday: Curt Menefee
27. The NFL Today (CBS): James Brown
27. ProFootballTalk (NBC): Erik Kuselias, Mike Florio
28. NFL Redzone (DirecTV): Andew Siciliano
29. NFL/College Football Live (ESPN): Trey Wingo, Rece Davis
30. Sunday Night Baseball (ESPN): Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk, Buster Olney

Teaser:
<p> Top 25 National Broadcasting Jobs in Sports</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Clemson Tigers, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/top-10-clemson-tigers-football-teams-all-time
Body:

The Clemson Tigers are a proud program that has had some excellent decades — see the 1980s — as well as some times of struggle (1992-2010). But this is a program with loads of potential, committed fans, a great gameday atmosphere and has tasted the top of the mountain once upon a time. Unlike many programs the Tigers have one team that stands above the rest. However, Clemson has recruited elite athletes of late. So does the evolution of the modern athlete level the playing field? Or would the old guard still reign supreme?

Could Jeff Davis stop C.J. Spiller? Could Terry Kinard cover Sammy Watkins or DeAndre Hopkins? How would Danny Ford gameplan against Chad Morris and Tajh Boyd? Clemson has won 16 conference titles since the AP era began in 1934 but only one of those also produced a national championship. Trying to rank the best teams in Clemson history is virtually impossible, but the historic 1981 squad seems like the right place to begin.

1. 1981 (12-0, 6-0)
Head Coach: Danny Ford

There is little doubt which team is the greatest, most heralded group in Clemson history. The undefeated Tigers romped through the regular season, including three wins over top 10 opponents Georgia (4), at North Carolina (8) and Nebraska (4) in the Orange Bowl, for the school’s lone national championship. First-team All-ACC quarterback Homer Jordan and record-setting first-team All-American wideout Perry Tuttle led an offense that averaged nearly 30 points per game. ACC MVP and two-time All-American linebacker Jeff Davis and all-everything corner Terry Kinard spearheaded a defense that led the nation in scoring (8.8 ppg). Ford won National Coach of the Year honors and became the youngest coach (33) to ever win the national title. No other team in Tigers lore can compare to the ’81 champs.

2. 1978 (11-1, 6-0)
Head Coach: Charley Pell

Charley Pell didn’t coach very long at Clemson and his “influence” was felt for years following his departure, but his teams won a lot of games (18-4-1). His 1978 ACC championship team was the highest-scoring team in Clemson history until the 2001 squad came along. Dual-threat quarterback Steve Fuller and the running back tandem of Lester Brown and Marvin Sims spearheaded a dynamic rushing attack that helped the Tigers win the ACC. The only loss came in Week 2 against SEC power Georgia, and, after a Gator Bowl win over No. 20 Ohio State, Clemson posted its second-best final AP poll finish in school history with a No. 6 ranking. Pell left before the bowl game to take the Florida job and Clemson was eventually hit with NCAA sanctions stemming from his coaching tenure, but the ’78 squad was one of the program’s best.

3. 2012 (11-2, 7-1)
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney

From a talent perspective, few teams in program history can compare to the 2012 squad led by Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Dalton Freeman on offense. This is the only team in school history to top 500 points (533) and its No. 11 final AP ranking was the best since 1990 (No. 9). This team lost just one game on the road against No. 4 Florida State, who won the ACC crown. The Tigers were one of the few ACC teams to hold its own against the vaunted SEC, by defeating LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and Auburn in the Kickoff Classic. This team wasn’t decorated like other championship-winning teams, but this might be the most talented roster ever assembled in Death Valley and is why the Tigers are the 2013 frontrunner in the ACC.

4. 1950 (9-0-1, 3-0-1)
Head Coach: Frank Howard

One of just three Clemson teams of the AP era to go unbeaten, the Tigers played only four conference games and therefore didn’t win the Southern Conference title despite not losing a game and finishing as the highest rated SoCon team in the polls. This team outscored its opponents 344-76 and was the first team in history to top 300 points. The ’50 unbeaten team is one of just six Clemson groups to finish in the top 10 of the AP poll (No. 10).

5. 1948 (11-0, 5-0)
Head Coach: Frank Howard

Playing in the much weaker Southern Conference at the time, legendary coach Frank Howard posted one of just three perfect records during the AP era (1934). The defense allowed an astonishing 6.9 points per game, leading to a 274-76 scoring margin for the year. It topped just one ranked opponent (Wake Forest) as the schedule was dotted by Presbyterian, Duquesne, Alabama Polytechnic and conference foes Furman and The Citadel. This lack of competition is what led the unbeaten Tigers to just an 11th place finish in the polls. The Tigers did not play No. 3-ranked and unbeaten conference rival North Carolina that year.

6. 1982 (9-1-1, 6-0)
Head Coach: Danny Ford

Following Clemson’s first and only national championship, Clemson was not eligible to play in the postseason due to probation stemming from former head coach Charley Pell’s tenure. That didn’t keep the Tigers from defending their ACC championship with a perfect record in the league. The season began with a loss to No. 7 Georgia and a tie with Boston College but ended with nine straight wins and No. 8 postseason ranking — good for third-best in school history. Quarterback and national title winner Homer Jordan was flanked by Cliff Austin, Chuck McSwain and Jeff McCall in a loaded Tigers backfield.

7. 1988 (10-2, 6-1)
Head Coach: Danny Ford

No team in Clemson history started higher in the AP poll than the 1988 team beginning the year as the No. 4-ranked team in the nation. With a No. 9 final ranking following a Citrus Bowl win over Oklahoma, it is one of just six teams to finish in the top 10 as well. Rodney Williams paced the passing attack while Terry Allen rushed for 1,192 yards and 10 touchdowns for the ACC champions. This team played one of the school’s toughest schedules, beating three ranked opponents and losing to two others. In an age of offense, this team was fourth in the nation in scoring defense and is one of the best Clemson teams ever assembled. This was the second of four straight 10-2 Tigers teams.

8. 1959 (9-2, 6-1)
Head Coach: Frank Howard

In his 19th season, famed head coach Frank Howard won his fifth conference title and third in the ACC. He lost to a ranked SEC team in Georgia Tech as well as Maryland to give this team a final AP ranking of 11th. This team allowed just 9.4 points per game on defense while pitching five shutouts through the season. Wins over a ranked No. 12 North Carolina and No. 7 TCU in the Bluebonnet Bowl capped the ACC championship season. Six different players rushed at least 40 times while Harvey White led both the passing and rushing attack from under center.

9. 1987 (10-2, 6-1)
Head Coach: Danny Ford

Ford began a magical run of ACC championships in 1986 but started a four-year streak of 10-2 records in 1987. This team was ranked in the AP top 10 for all but three weeks of the season, as it capped the ACC championship season with a win over a ranked Joe Paterno Penn State team in the Citrus Bowl. Losses to NC State by two points and at No. 12 South Carolina kept the Tigers from competing for a second national title. The backfield tandem of Rodney Williams and Terry Allen gave fans a glimpse of what was to come the following year.

10. 2011 (10-4, 6-2)
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney

If the 2012 team is the most talented ever assembled in school history, the 2011 ACC championship team can’t be too far behind. Tajh Boyd and company were are all in the starting lineup except Sammy Watkins was the National Freshman of the Year instead of a No. 2 WR and Dwayne Allen starred at tight end. The defense wasn’t up to snuff, allowing nearly 30 points per game, but wins over four ranked opponents (Auburn, Florida State, Virginia Tech twice) and the school’s first ACC title in two decades make it one of the greatest Clemson Tigers teams.

Related: Top 10 Notre Dame Fighting Football Teams of All-Time
Related: Top 15 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Teams of All-Time

The best of the rest:

11. 1990 (10-2, 5-2) Ken Hatfield
12. 1989 (10-2, 5-2) Danny Ford
13. 1991 (9-2-1, 6-0-1) Ken Hatfield
14. 2009 (9-5, 6-2) Dabo Swinney
15. 1986 (8-2-2, 5-1-1) Danny Ford 

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Teaser:
<p> Top 10 Clemson Tigers Football Teams of All-Time</p>
Post date: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 06:50
Path: /nascar/5-young-nascar-drivers-who-could-be-hall-famers
Body:

To suggest that any player, athlete, coach or driver in any sport after just a few seasons is a lock to make the Hall of Fame is ridiculous. But it is always fun to look at guys who have had instant success and try to extrapolate long-term potential. Limiting the scope to the last three rookie classes, here are the most likely future NASCAR Hall of Famers.

Related: Top 15 Young Future NFL Hall of Famers

1. Brad Keselowski
Team: Penske Racing

At age 29, Keselowski isn't a spring chicken, however, his rookie season was just three years ago in 2010 and his instant success is impossible to ignore. The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Penske Ford Fusion finished 25th in his first season, fifth in the points in his second year and became the defending Sprint Cup Champion after edging Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson for the title in just his third full season. Keselowski has nine wins and 28 top-five finishes in just 135 starts. His refreshing yet old-school attitude as a driver is magnetic to the fans, media and, at times, other cars on the track. However, his raw driving talent is painfully obvious and is the reason for such lofty expectations. He is one of just three drivers to win the points championship in the last eight years. This list of potential HOFers begins and ends with Brad-K, and should he continue to achieve at his current rate, an induction into the newly created NASCAR Hall of Fame is well within reach.

2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Team: Roush Fenway Racing

The 25-year-old is making his debut in the Sprint Cup series this year and already expectations are soaring for the driver of the historic No. 17 Roush Ford Fusion. The Olive Branch, Miss., native was a dominant force in the Nationwide Series, winning back-to-back championships the last two seasons before making the full-time jump to Cup racing. He posted eight wins and 35 top-five finishes in his last 67 races during his championship seasons and has proven in short order that he can compete on the next level. He finished no worse than 18th in his first four races of the 2013 season and currently sits 16th in the points, just outside of the Chase with only two finishes outside of the top 20. In fact, in 15 career Sprint Cup races, Stenhouse has finished worse than 20th only four times, including one engine failure. His high-profile relationship with Danica Patrick will only help raise his national awareness. He is the best young talent to enter the sport full-time since Keselowski.

3. Kyle Larson
Team: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing

The 20-year old phenom won the K&N Pro Series East in just his first full year racing stock cars in 2012 after growing up in the cockpit of all things open-wheel. The EGR developmental driver has quickly moved his way up the pro ranks, leap-frogging the Camping World Truck Series, and landing directly in the Nationwide Series in 2013 for Turner Scott Motorsports. In just eight races in the No. 32 Turner Chevrolet Camaro, Larson is 12th in the points — due mostly to two crashes — has posted three top 10s and finished runner-up at hallowed Bristol Motorspeedway. His meteoric rise through the sport could land him in a full-time ride at the highest level in a matter of months rather than years.

Related: Top 10 Young Future MLB Hall of Famers

4. Ty Dillon
Team: Richard Childress Racing

One of two star grandsons of famed NASCAR stallwart Richard Childress, the younger Dillon has all the talent to be an elite driver in the Sprint Cup Series. At 20 years of age, Dillon earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Camping World Truck Series in 2012 after finishing fourth in the points. He posted 17 top tens, seven top fives and got his first career win in a memorable battle with Kyle Busch at Atlanta. He made just three Nationwide starts a year ago and finished in the top 10 all three times. He will compete full-time in the No. 3 Childress Chevrolet Silverado while getting more than a few chances in a Nationwide ride. Expect Dillon to jump to the Nationwide series in 2014 with a Cup ride following close behind. Some believe that he might actually be more talented than his future-star older brother...

5. Austin Dillon
Team: Richard Childress Racing

The older grandson of Mr. Childress has flown through the NASCAR ranks much like his younger brother Ty. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2008 in the K&N Pro Series East before claiming a Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011. He moved up to the Nationwide series in 2012 and finished third in the points as a rookie. Dillon posted a ridiculous 27 top tens, 16 top fives and his first two victories during the 33-race schedule. The driver of the No. 3 Childress Chevrolet Camaro is one of the frontrunners for a championship this season. He has five Sprint Cup starts under his belt, including his Daytona 500 debut last month and is poised to drive in the Sprint Cup series full-time next season for his grandfather in the famed No. 3 Chevy Camaro. He is immensely talented and likely has the maturity and appreciation to revive the famous RCR car number.

Related: Top 10 Young Future NBA Hall of Famers

The Top Prospects to Watch:

Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports)
Son of past champion Bill Elliott drives for the best team in the business.

Ryan Blaney (Penske Racing)
Son of Sprint Cup driver Dave Blaney is polished and mature beyond his 19 years.

Teaser:
<p> 5 Young NASCAR Drivers Who Could Be Hall of Famers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 13:30
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-may-6
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2013 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire report every Monday. Our fantasy junkies cover the hottest hitters, best waiver wire pick ups, top starting pitching spot starts and sift through bullpens from around the league each week.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (Apr. 29-May 5):

  Name Pos. Team R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Carlos Gomez OF MIL 8 3 5 5 .462 1.495
2. Starling Marte OF PIT 7 4 8 3 .333 1.260
3. Ryan Raburn* 2B/OF CLE 5 4 9 0 .591 1.773
4. Miguel Cabrera 3B DET 8 3 10 0 .423 1.391
5. Mike Trout OF LAA 7 3 10 1 .313 1.121
6. Mark Trumbo 1B/3B/OF LAA 5 5 8 0 .286 1.286
7. Michael Saunders* OF SEA 8 3 6 1 .280 1.037
8. Prince Fielder 1B MIL 5 3 10 0 .333 1.122
9. Jason Kipnis 2B CLE 6 2 7 2 .308 1.049
10. Manny Machado 3B BAL 7 3 5 1 .333 1.108
11. Justin Ruggiano* OF MIA 8 3 5 1 .296 1.091
12. Carlos Gonzalez OF COL 6 2 4 1 .458 1.385
13. Nolan Arenado* 3B COL 5 3 8 0 .357 1.129
14. Matt Holliday OF STL 8 3 7 0 .259 .926
15. Jean Segura SS MIL 5 3 7 1 .286 1.043
16. Andy Dirks* OF DET 7 2 3 1 .385 1.140
17. Juan Pierre* OF MIA 6 0 1 5 .320 .734
18. Alfonso Soriano* OF CHC 5 2 7 0 .391 1.200
19. Allen Craig 1B/OF STL 6 1 7 0 .379 1.021
20. Adrian Beltre 3B TEX 5 2 7 0 .360 1.025
21. Mark Reynolds 1B/3B CLE 5 2 7 0 .348 .994
22. Yonder Alonso* 1B SD 4 2 8 1 .280 .841
23. David Wright 3B NYM 6 3 4 0 .333 1.257
24. Lorenzo Cain OF KC 5 0 5 2 .400 1.029
25. Michael Cuddyer 1B/OF COL 5 2 7 0 .333 1.060

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Weekly Waiver Wire:

Yonder Alonso, 1B, SD (20% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Guys with big-time pedigrees generally find their way onto my roster and if you need first base or batting average help, Alonso is a good place to look. He won't hit 30 bombs but he should be the top RBI man in San Diego and is on pace to blow past his rookie numbers from a year ago.

Ryan Rayburn, 2B/OF, CLE (27%)
The versatile two-sacker has always had spurts of fantasy greatness — try 45 homers in just over 1,000 at-bats from 2009-11 — but has never gotten a full season of action. His 387 ABs in 2011 were a career high. While he is in the lineup he is worth owning, especially with second-base eligibility.

Nolen Arenado, 3B, COL (49%)
True fantasy baseball geeks have known about the star Rockies third base prospect for some time now. But after 10 hits and three home runs in his first seven games, the whole world should know about Arenado. He is a big-time talent and while he is likely to hit his slumps, he is worth adding blindly if you need help at the corner infield position.

A.J. Pollock, OF, ARI (32%)
Last week I suggested an Arizona outfielder and Gerrardo Parra has six hits, a triple, home run and three RBIs in his last five games. This week, I am going back to the Diamondbacks' well with Pollock, one of manager Kirk Gibson's fill-in options until Adam Eaton (elbow) is ready. Pollock is a viable play in standard mixed leagues until Eaton returns, which still appears to be about a month away. Pollock won't give you much help in power departments — roughly one minor league HR per 100 at-bats — but he has always hit (.303 MiLB career BA) and can run. Sitting atop the D-Backs batting order makes him one of the hottest waiver wire names.

Last Week:

Nate McLouth: 3/19, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB
Gerrardo Parra: 4/19, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Oswaldo Arcia: 6/16, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Yuniesky Betancourt: 6/24, 3 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI, BB

 

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Felix Hernandez SEA 22.0 3 23 0.41 0.77
2. Jordan Zimmerman WAS 17.0 2 12 0.00 0.24
3. Justin Verlander DET 21.0 2 21 0.86 0.95
4. Kevin Slowey* MIA 21.0 1 21 1.71 0.62
5. Clayton Kershaw LAD 20.0 1 22 1.35 0.85
6. Clay Buchholz BOS 14.2 2 18 1.23 0.89
7. Tony Cingrani CIN 19.0 1 25 2.84 0.63
8. Jaime Garcia* STL 21.2 3 9 1.25 0.97
9. Jeremy Guthrie* KC 15.2 2 8 0.00 0.89
10. Jeff Locke* PIT 18.0 2 13 1.50 0.83
11. Lance Lynn STL 14.0 2 14 1.29 0.86
12. Kyle Kendrick* PHI 16.0 2 10 1.13 0.81
13. Yu Darvish TEX 19.0 2 34 3.32 1.11
14. Anibal Sanchez DET 14.0 1 26 1.93 0.93
15. Chris Tillman* BAL 20.2 2 13 1.31 1.02
16. Phil Hughes* NYY 21.0 1 24 1.71 1.05
17. Scott Feldman* TEX 15.2 2 14 2.30 0.83
18. Cole Hamels PHI 22.0 1 20 2.05 0.91
19. Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 18.0 1 24 1.50 1.11
20. Max Scherzer DET 20.1 3 24 3.98 1.03

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

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

1. Hyin-Jin Ryu, LAD: Sat., Miami (75% owned)
Ryu at home in three starts this year: 18.2 IP, 2-1, 16 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 23 K. Additionally, he has 20 strikeouts, three earned runs and just six hits allowed in his last two starts prior to Sunday's trip to the Bay. With at least eight punch-outs in each of his four starts prior to pitching against the World Champs on Sunday, the Marlins should pose no threat to the Korean import.

2. Patrick Corbin, ARI: Thur., Philadelphia (59%)
I went to the Corbin well last week and it netted me this: 7.0, W, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. Thursday's opponent will certainly be tougher than San Diego but Corbin has been lights out all year: 4-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.08 WHIP.

3. Jose Fernandez, MIA: Fri., at LA Dodgers (33%)
Wins won't be easy for the young Cuban star, but he should still be able to help any rotation when he has his best stuff. He just got his first win at Philadelphia — no easy park to pitch in — by retiring 21 of the 23 batters he faced (7.0, H, B, 0 ER, 9 K). He has nasty stuff and is scheduled to face a HanRam-less Dodgers lineup the end of this week.

4. Kyle Kendrick, PHI: Tues., at San Francisco, Sun., at Arizona (43%)
Getting two starts against two solid teams isn't an elite option but Kendrick has been consistent for most of the year. In six starts since his first, he hasn't allowed more than two earned runs and has posted between four and six strikeouts in each game. He is also 3-0 in those trips to the mound. Two-start pitchers are always worth a look, especially in weekly leagues.

5. Jhoulys Chacin, COL: (Sat.) at St. Louis (47%)
His return from the DL was acceptable with five earned allowed over seven innings against Tampa Bay on Sunday. The year-to-date numbers (2.56/1.04), however, have been excellent and the Rockies have provided their pitching staff with the most run support in the majors.

Closing Morsels:

The Dodgers could be facing a developing situation in their pen. Brandon League has been the designated closer for the season and his eight saves are near the league leaders. Yet, he has allowed a run in four of his five outings and isn't striking people out. Paging Kenley Jansen (frankly, I never liked the League move anyway)... Arizona also has an issue brewing in its pen. Kirk Gibson gave J.J. Putz the dreaded vote of confidence this week after Putz blew his fourth save of the season. Putz has allowed six runs in 12.2 innings and has allowed a home run in three of his last seven outings. David Hernandez and Matt Reynolds appear to be the watch list names... Former set-up man turned closer turned set-up man Kyuji Fujikawa began his rehab assignment on Sunday and is close to returning. He will come back as Kevin Gregg's eighth inning guy for the time being. Gregg has yet to allow a run and is 4-for-4 in save chances through 7.0 innings this year.

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

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: May 6</p>
Post date: Monday, May 6, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /nfl/ranking-fantasy-footballs-top-rookies-2013
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Doug Martin (1,454) and Trent Richardson (950) were No. 2 and 3 among all rookie NFL running backs last year in rushing yards. They were both first-round picks and played as such in their first season.

Alfred Morris (1,613) led all rookies after being drafted in the sixth round. Vick Ballard (814) was a fifth-round pick and was No. 4 among all rookies. Bryce Brown (564) was fifth among all rookie runners and he was a seventh-round selection.

Justin Blackmon (865 yds, 5 TD), Kendall Wright (626 yds, 4 TD) and Michael Floyd (562 yds, 2 TD) were No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5 in receiving yards among rookies and all were first-round picks. But T.Y. Hilton (861 yds, 7 TD) and Chris Givens (698 yds, 3 TD) were No. 2 and 3 respectively as third- and fourth-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The point of this exercise is to prove that fantasy production doesn’t always come from first-round picks.

So who are the top 15 fantasy rookies from the 2013 NFL Draft?

1. Montee Ball, RB, Denver
The Wisconsin running back was the most productive college fantasy running back ever. No player in the history of the sport scored more touchdowns — 77 rushing and 83 total — than the Badgers back. And now Peyton Manning is his quarterback and he will be running behind, much like in college, one of the best O-lines in the game. Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and/or Willis McGahee are not concerns as none have the workhorse skill set of Ball — and his 983 career NCAA touches. 

2. Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis
The most dynamic weapon in the draft this year was easily the speedster from West Virginia. Is workload and durability a concern for the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder? Certainly, but his speed, big-play ability and chance to play right away are fantasy gold. He will run the ball and return kicks as well as catch passes, so his chances of starting right away are all but assured.

3. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati
Bernard might be the most talented running back in the draft not named Marcus Lattimore. In just two college seasons — which means there is plenty of tread left on the tires — Bernard proved he could do it all. He rarely takes a big hit, is an excellent receiver, has elite open field speed and quickness, can return kicks and picks up the blitz. It means he should get upwards of 200 touches as the Bengals phase out the aging BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

4. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
The Clemson product has a big frame and is in a perfect situation. Is he overly explosive with game-changing speed? No, but he is productive and will be learning from one of the game’s greatest in Andre Johnson. The “situation” is perfect as the running game and other receivers (namely, Johnson) will take most of the focus from the defense. Hopkins should be in the starting lineup in Week 1 and that should provide adequate low WR2, high WR3 numbers.

5. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego
Few pure outside wide receivers are as polished and talented as the junior from Cal. An elite five-star prospect from North Carolina, Allen was an instant star as a freshman. He posted big numbers despite getting little support from quarterback and half brother Zach Maynard (58.2 percent completion rate, 37 career INT). He has elite ball skills, a natural understanding of the position, prototypical size and Philip Rivers throwing him passes instead of his sibling. Vincent Brown, Robert Meachem, Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd are nice players but Allen is the most gifted wideout on the roster the second he shows up to camp.

6. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay
The Alabama running back steps into a great situation because he won’t be asked to carry the load. That is a good thing in that defenses will focus on No. 12 in Green Bay but it limits his fantasy upside because he is more likely to be in the 200-touch range as opposed to the 270-touch range. That said, he should get the first and second down carries as well as goal line looks. Had Johnathan Franklin not been added later in the draft, Lacy might have been No. 1 on this list.

7. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh
From a situational standpoint, few rookies step into a bigger workload than Bell. He appears to be the starter right away in Pittsburgh and will be playing behind a solid offensive line and quality quarterback. Yet, the issue that will keep Bell’s fantasy value down might be his overall lack of talent. He isn’t overly explosive or quick and will have to work for every yard he gets. A sub-4.0 yards per carry and 6-8 touchdowns feels about right. A quality RB3.

8. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati
A shot was certainly fired across Jermaine Gresham's and Orson Charles' bow with this first-round pick. The clear-cut most talented and productive tight end in the draft lands in a great situation as Andy Dalton and his deep and talented supporting cast of receivers will take away focus. Look for plenty of two-tight end packages in Cincinnati making Eifert a fringe weekly starter in deeper leagues.

9. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Arizona
Taylor was wildly underrated on “draft day” and could be a sneaky good fantasy play in 2013. He has workhorse talents inside and out of the tackles, can catch passes, pick up the blitz and rarely makes mistakes. He won’t get the start right away but he will force his way onto the field with his overall dependability.

10. Johnathan Franklin, RB, Green Bay
Few “third down” backs have first and second down capabilities but that is what Franklin can do. The Mayor of L.A. has speed, toughness, hands, leadership, productivity and overall play-making skill. He will be a change-of-pace back for Lacy at first but could force Mike McCarthy to split the carries more evenly. UCLA’s all-time leading rusher should be a late-round target for everyone.

11. EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo
Heady, hard-working dual-threat is the only QB with fantasy upside in 2013.

12. Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo
Undersized but elite talent with huge numbers in college and should play right away.

13. Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas
Polished player should finish the year as clear-cut No. 2 to Dez Bryant. Great situation.

14. Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh
Dynamic do-everything type who will be used all over the field right out of the gate.

15. Josh Boyce, WR, New England
Big-play threat can play inside or out. Is much more talented/dynamic than Aaron Dobson.

Honorable Mention: Marcus Lattimore, RB, San Francisco
For you keeper GMs, there will be no such thing as too early for Lattimore. He likely won’t play much in 2013 but could be activated to contribute late in the season. When healthy, he is easily the most talented runner in this class and the Niners were the perfect landing spot for him to rehab and, eventually, explode in 2014.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota
Geno Smith, QB, NY Jets
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia
Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas
Matt Barkley, QB, Philadelphia

Teaser:
<p> Ranking Fantasy Football's Top Rookies in 2013</p>
Post date: Friday, May 3, 2013 - 12:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-50-running-backs-bcs-era
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Greatness is defined in so many different ways. Statistical production, individual awards, team success, longevity, supporting cast, level of competition, raw talent and athletic ability all factor heavily in determining overall greatness. Sometimes, you simply know greatness when you see it.

So all factors were considered when trying to determine who the greatest running backs of the BCS era have been. Here are the Top 50 ball carriers since the BCS was implemented in 1998:

Agree or disagree with our ranking of College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era? Let us know on Twitter at @AthlonSports, using the hashtag #AthlonRB50.

1. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (2004-06)
Stats: 747 att., 4,045 yds, 41 TD, 24 rec., 198 yds, TD

The BCS version of Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson was the three-year star from Palestine (Texas) High. A three-time first-team All-Big 12 runner finished No. 2 in the Heisman Trophy voting as a true freshman in 2004. His 1,925 yards was an NCAA record for a true freshman and it earned him unanimous All-American honors. Despite missing chunks of time with injuries in each of his next two seasons, “All Day” Peterson still topped 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. His natural blend of power, speed, size and balance has never been duplicated during the BCS era. He rushed for 970 yards for the Vikings in 2011 in a season shortened by a torn ACL, the only time since high school that A.D. hasn’t rushed for at least 1,000 yards. He is the Sooners No. 3 all-time leading rusher.

2. Ricky Williams, Texas (1995-98)
Stats: 1,011 att., 6,279 yds, 72 TD, 85 rec., 927 yds, 3 TD

One of Williams’ spectacular seasons took place during the BCS era so he is eligible. The power back from San Diego gave fans in Austin a preview of things to come when he rushed for 990 yards as a true freshman fullback. His two-year run as an upperclassmen may never be matched as he posted back-to-back seasons with at least 1,800 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. Williams was a two-time consensus All-American, a two-time Doak Walker Award winner, a two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and claimed the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Heisman Trophy as a senior. He left school as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (since broken) and he is one of four players to ever score at least 70 rushing touchdowns.

3. Ron Dayne, Wisconsin (1996-99)
Stats: 1,220 att., 7,125 yds, 71 TD, 31 rec., 304 yds

Williams’ NCAA rushing record didn’t last for very long as the New Jersey native came along the next year to break the record held by Williams and, before that, by Pitt's Tony Dorsett and Ohio State's Archie Griffin. Dayne is the only player in history with 7,000 yards rushing and is one of four players to score at least 70 rushing touchdowns. He carried the ball more than any player in history (1,220) and he owns multiple BCS bowl rushing records with his two Rose Bowl MVP performances. He capped his illustrious career with a 2,000-yard Heisman Trophy and Big Ten championship season. The consensus All-American won Big Ten Player of the Year, Maxwell, Walter Camp and Doak Walker recognition in his final season in Madison.

4. Darren McFadden, Arkansas (2005-07)
Stats: 785 att., 4,590 yds, 41 TD, 46 rec., 365 yds, 2 TD (2, 2)

When it comes to pure breakaway speed and big play ability, few can match Run-DMC’s talent. The North Little Rock prospect finished second in Heisman balloting in back-to-back seasons, coming up just short to Troy Smith in 2006 and Tim Tebow in 2007. McFadden won the Doak Walker and SEC Offensive Player of the Year awards in both consensus All-American seasons. His 4,590 yards is No. 2 all-time in SEC history to only Herschel Walker. He helped lead Arkansas to the SEC Championship Game in 2006 but came up short against eventual national champion Florida.

5. LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU (1997-00)
Stats: 943 att., 5,387 yds, 43 TD, 43 rec., 267

Tomlinson might be the greatest NFL running back in history so some may feel he is getting slighted for being No. 5 on this list. The mid-level recruit from Rosebud (Texas) Waco had one of the greatest careers in NCAA history. After two solid but uneventful seasons, L.T. took over the national scene as a junior with 1,974 yards and 20 touchdowns, including the NCAA single-game rushing record of 406 yards against UTEP. He backed that up with another 2,158 yards and 22 scores, winning the Doak Walker, his second WAC Offensive Player of the Year award, consensus All-American honors and a fourth place finish in the Heisman voting. He scored 162 TDs in his NFL career.

6. Reggie Bush, USC (2003-05)
Stats: 433 att., 3,169 yds, 25 TD, 95 rec., 1,301 yds, 13 TD, 2,081 ret. yds, 3 TD

The superstar recruit from La Mesa (Calif.) Helix brought a unique skill set to the evolving running back position. Sort of a first of his kind, the all-purpose talent was unstoppable with the ball in his hands. He played a prominent role on the 2003 National Championship team before providing 908 yards rushing, 509 yards receiving, nearly 1,000 return yards and 15 total touchdowns during USC’s 2004 romp to a second national title. He exploded as a junior, rushing for 1,740 yards on a ridiculous 8.7 yards per carry and scoring 19 total touchdowns, coming up just short of his third national title. He earned his second consecutive Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award as well as the Doak Walker, Walter Camp and Heisman Trophy. His career 7.3 per carry average is fourth all-time and his legacy is only vaguely tarnished by the scandal that put USC on probation and caused him to "return" his Heisman.

7. Darren Sproles, Kansas State (2001-04)
Stats: 815 att., 4,979 yds, 45 TD, 66 rec., 609 yds, 2 TD, 1,224 ret yds, TD

Few players have ever been as valuable to their school as the diminutive Sproles was to Kansas State. The all-purpose dynamo rushed for at least 1,300 yards in three straight seasons and he helped lead the Wildcats to an improbable Big 12 championship in 2003. His 323 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns against Oklahoma in the title game will go down in history as arguably the greatest single game performance by any Wildcat in history. The Sunflower State native finished fifth in the Heisman voting that year and has proven himself by carving out an extremely productive niche in the NFL as an all-purpose talent.

8. Ray Rice, Rutgers (2005-07)
Stats: 910 att., 4,926 yds, 49 TD, 37 rec., 334 yds, TD

Much like Sproles, Rice meant more to his team and university than most everyone else on this list. He rushed for nearly 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in three years after back-to-back seasons with at least 335 carries, 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is second all-time in rushing yards and carries in Big East history and has developed into one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. A stout lower body has allowed the smaller back from unlikely New Rochelle (N.Y.) High to withstand the punishment of being a true workhorse, making him one of the game’s most talented players.

9. Montee Ball, Wisconsin (2009-12)
Stats: 924 att., 5,140 yds, 77 TD, 59 rec., 598 yds, 6 TD

Ball won’t be confused with the most talented running backs of the BCS era but few have been as successful and productive. No one player in the history of the sport has scored as many touchdowns (77 rushing, 83 total) as the Missouri native. He also finished fourth in the Heisman balloting as a junior and won the Doak Walker as senior while leading the Badgers to three straight Big Ten championships. His 39 touchdowns in 2011 tied Barry Sanders for the all-time single-season record and Ball earned consensus All-American honors in both seasons.

10. DeAngelo Williams, Memphis (2002-05)
Stats: 969 att., 6,026 yds, 55 TD, 70 rec., 723 yds, 5 TD, 824 ret yds

Not many players have claimed three conference player of the year honors but the Wynne (Ark.) High prospect did so in Conference USA for Memphis. He finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting in 2005 after his second straight 1,900-yard season. He is one of only three players with at least 6,000 yards rushing and he scored 60 total touchdowns during his career. Only once (2003) did Williams not average more than 6.0 yards per carry.

Related: The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era

11. Cedric Benson, Texas (2001-04)
Stats: 1,112 att., 5,540 yds, 64 TD, 69 rec., 621 yds, 3 TD (6, 6)

The Longhorns running back is one of the most productive running backs in history. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting two separate times and is one of only six players to score at least 60 rushing touchdowns. The Midland (Texas) Lee star posted four season of at least 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns while in Austin.

12. Trent Richardson, Alabama (2009-11)
Stats: 540 att., 3,130 yds, 35 TD, 68 rec., 730 yds, 7 TD, 720 ret. yds, TD (3)

Richardson is one of the most physically imposing running backs to ever play the game. The Pensacola product only started for one season but became the only SEC running back to rush for 20 touchdowns in a season. He won two national titles and is one of the rarest combinations of size, speed and agility.

13. Mark Ingram, Alabama (2008-10)
Stats: 572 att., 3,261 yds, 42 TD, 60 rec., 670 yds, 4 TD

Ingram is the only Heisman winner in Alabama’s storied history, and he might not have been the best back on his own team. From Flint, Mich., Ingram led Bama to the national championship in 2009 with 1,658 yards and 17 scores. It was his only 1,000-yard season while in Tuscaloosa. No Bama player has scored more rushing touchdowns than Ingram.

14. C.J. Spiller, Clemson (2006-09)
Stats: 606 att., 3,547 yds, 32 TD, 123 rec., 1,420 yds, 11 TD, 2,621 ret. yds, 8 TD

Versatility and explosiveness are the words that come to mind when dealing with Spiller. With elite burst and big-play ability, Clemson used Spiller as a multi-faceted weapon. He is No. 2 in ACC history in yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns and is the NCAA’s all-time leader with seven kickoff return touchdowns.

15. LaMichael James, Oregon (2009-11)
Stats: 771 att., 5,082 yds, 53 TD, 51 rec., 586 yds, 4 TD

Few players accomplished more in three seasons than James. Three straight 1,500-yard campaigns, a Doak Walker Award, consensus All-American honors and a trip to the BCS title game make the speedy and allusive back one of the BCS era’s greatest tailbacks. The Texarkana, Texas, native finished third in the Heisman voting in 2010 and 10th in 2011.

16. Steven Jackson, Oregon State (2000-03)
Stats: 743 att., 3,625 yds, 39 TD, 66 rec., 680 yds, 6 TD

From a pure talent standpoint, Jackson is the best Oregon State player of all-time and is one of the most talented runners of the BCS era. The Las Vegas native led the nation in rushing two straight seasons and owns the OSU single-season rushing record. He has eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL for a team that rarely pressed for the postseason.

17. Larry Johnson, Penn State (1999-02)
Stats: 460 att., 2,953 yds, 26 TD, 65 rec., 681 yds, 7 TD, 1,181 ret. yds, 3 TD (3)

The State College  prospect only started for one season, but that one year was special. He rushed for 2,087 yards and 20 touchdowns on 7.7 yards per carry in '02, earning consensus All-American honors as well as winning the Doak Walker, Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy race and brought elite size and speed to the backfield.

18. Toby Gerhart, Stanford (2006-09)
Stats: 671 att., 3,522 yds, 44 TD, 39 rec., 395 yds

The Norco (Calif.) High prospect had just 515 yards and one touchdown entering his junior year. In two years as the starter, Gerhart posted 43 rushing touchdowns and over 3,000 yards in his final two seasons. He won the Doak Walker and Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year awards and earned consensus All-American honors by leading the nation in rushing touchdowns (28), attempts (343) and yards (1,871).

19. Quentin Griffin, Oklahoma (1999-02)
Stats: 714 att., 3,842 yds, 43 TD, 154 rec., 1,282 yds, 7 TD

A steady performer in both the running and receiving game, Griffin blossomed as a superstar in his senior season. He rushed for 783 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching 45 passes for the unbeaten 2000 National Champions before exploding in his final season in 2002. He finished 10th in the Heisman voting after 1,884 yards rushing and 18 total touchdowns in 2002. 

20. Shaun Alexander, Alabama (1996-99)
Stats: 727 att., 3,565 yds, 41 TD, 62 rec., 798 yds, 8 TD

Alexander was a steady, four-year player at Alabama. The Florence, Ky., talent is the all-time leading rusher in Alabama history and he capped his career with an SEC Offensive Player of the Year season when he scored 23 total touchdowns and rushed for a career high 1,383 yards rushing in 1999.

21. Steve Slaton, West Virginia (2005-07)
Stats: 664 att., 3,923 yds, 50 TD, 65 rec., 805 yds, 5 TD (4)

The mid-level recruit from Pennsylvania showed college coaches around the nation what they missed on by rushing for at least 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns in each of his three seasons. His speed and big-play potential fit perfectly in Rich Rodriguez’s zone read scheme, and had he not left early for the NFL, would have rewritten the WVU record books.

22. Kevin Jones, Virginia Tech (2001-03)
Stats: 616 att., 3,475 yds, 35 TD, 24 rec., 229 yds 

Jones was one of the most important signings of the Frank Beamer era out of Chester, Pa. His talent was obvious from day one as he nearly topped 1,000 yards in three straight seasons. His 1,647-yard, 21-TD junior year earned him consensus All-American honors and led him to depart early for the NFL. Jones was the first in a long line of elite Hokies running backs.

23. Avon Cobourne, West Virginia (1999-02)
Stats: 1,023 att., 5,039 yds, 42 TD, 57 rec., 459 yds

The Big East’s all-time leading rusher burst onto the scene with a 1,138-yard, 10-TD season as a true freshman in 1999. The Camden, N.J., prospect capped his stellar four-year starting career with a 1,710-yard, 17-TD season as a senior. The short but burly back was a true workhorse who still sits atop the Mountaineers all-time rushing list.

24. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma (2007-10)
Stats: 759 att., 3,685 yds, 50 TD, 157 rec., 1,571 yds, 13 TD, 1,462 ret. yds, 2 TD

An underrated talent from Las Vegas, Murray was as productive across the board as any player in Sooners history. He is sixth in school history in rushing, first in total touchdowns, fixth in receptions and No. 1 in all-purpose yards.

25. Chris Perry, Michigan (2000-03)
Stats: 794 att., 3,657 yds, 39 TD, 64 rec., 569 yds, 2 TD

Perry capped a solid Michigan career with an elite Doak Walker-winning, Heisman finalist season in 2003. He claimed Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors and was a consensus All-American. Perry touched the ball 382 times on offense for 2,041 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final season.

26. Marshawn Lynch, Cal (2004-06)
Stats: 490 att., 3,230 yds, 29 TD, 68 rec., 600 yds, 6 TD, 744 ret yds 

Beast mode started back in Berkeley where Lynch averaged 6.6 yards per carry over a three-year college career. He never had one elite season but his 1,684-yards from scrimmage, 15-total touchdown season led to a Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award in 2006. His power and speed was obvious ever since he signed with Cal out of Oakland (Calif.) Technical.

27. Cadillac Williams, Auburn (2001-04)
Stats: 741 att., 3,831 yds, 45 TD, 45 rec., 342 yds, TD, 911 ret. yds 

He never got the ball all to himself and that likely keeps him from being in the top 25. He topped out in 2003 with 1,307 yards and 17 touchdowns before his second 1,000-yard season during the unbeaten 2004 campaign. He has scored more rushing touchdowns than anyone in school history and is No. 2 to only Bo Jackson in rushing. 

28. Michael Turner, Northern Illinois (2000-03)
Stats: 940 att., 4,941 yds, 43 TD, 43 rec., 451 yds, 3 TD, 646 ret. yds, 2 TD

Turner the Burner was a star in DeKalb before blossoming as an NFL workhorse. He had three seasons with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage and at least two with 1,900 yards from scrimmage. He isn’t the MAC’s all-time leading rusher, but he is the league’s most talented running back alum.

29. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State (2008-10)
Stats: 788 att., 3,877 yds, 46 TD, 151 rec., 1,056 yds, 5 TD

Little “Quizz” defied logic by producing at workhorse levels despite his 5-foot-7 stature. He carried at least 250 times in all three seasons and never rushed for less than 1,184 yards. He also averaged over 50 receptions per season and won the 2008 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award.

30. Ken Simonton, Oregon State (1998-01)
Stats: 1,023 att., 4,959 yds, 58 TD, 58 rec., 472 yds, TD

A four-year starter who rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each season prior to his senior year. He set the school's single-season rushing record (since broken) and is the all-time leading rusher at a program known for its running backs.

Related: The Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era

31. Maurice Jones-Drew, UCLA (2003-05)
Stats: 481 att., 2,503 yds, 26 TD, 64 rec., 819 yds, 7 TD, 1,366 ret. yds, 6 TD
Formerly Maurice Drew, the UCLA tailback was a consensus All-American in 2005, yet never rushed for more than 1,007 yards in any season. An all-around talent.

32. Anthony Thomas, Michigan (1997-00)
Stats: 867 att., 4,230 yds, 52 TD, 79 rec., 762 yds, TD
Michigan's No. 4 rusher with three straight seasons with at least 15 rushing TDs. Was a big part of the Wolverines unbeaten national title as a freshman.

33. Michael Hart, Michigan (2004-07)
Stats: 1,015 att., 5,040 yds, 41 TD, 67 rec., 566 yds, 2 TD
Michigan's all-time leading rusher was a consistent overachiever. The hard worker got the most of his ability led his team to two Rose Bowls.

34. Kevin Smith, UCF (2005-07)
Stats: 905 att., 4,679 yds, 45 TD, 55 rec., 444 yds, TD
Posted the NCAA's No. 2 season with 2,567 yards on an NCAA record 450 carries to go with 29 rushing touchdowns. Level of competition is only knock.

35. Thomas Jones, Virginia (1996-99)
Stats: 823 att., 4,065 yds, 37 TD, 72 rec., 578 yds, 4 TD
A consensus All-American who finished eighth in the Heisman voting ('99) and is Virginia's all-time leading rusher.

36. Willis McGahee, Miami (2001-02)
Stats: 349 att., 2,067 yds, 31 TD, 28 rec., 355 yds
One-year starter who was a consensus All-American, conference player of the year and finished fourth in the Heisman while leading Miami to a second BCS title game in a row.

37. Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois (2004-06)
Stats: 807 att., 5,164 yds, 52 TD, 58 rec., 588 yds, 5 TD
Explosive tailback who posted career LOWS of 242 carries, 1,580 yards and 16 TDs (all in 2005). Could have been an all-time great had he not left early.

38. Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (2009-12)
Stats: 843 att., 4,300 yds, 40 TD, 97 rec., 778 yds, 5 TD
Workhorse back who is Stanford's all-time leading rusher after three straight seasons with at least 250 touches. Is No. 1 all-time in total touchdowns scored (45) at Stanford.

39. Shonn Greene, Iowa (2005-08)
Stats: 376 att., 2,228 yds, 22 TD, 11 rec., 72 yds
Posted one elite Doak Walker-winning season after having to leave Iowa for community college for one year. A consensus All-American and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.

40. LenDale White, USC (2003-05)
Stats: 541 att., 3,159 yds, 52 TD, 31 rec., 331 yds, 5 TD
Leads USC all-time in rushing touchdowns and was the perfect compliment to Reggie Bush for two national championship teams.

41. Travis Prentice, Miami (OH) (1996-99)
Stats: 1,138 att., 5,596 yds, 73 TD, 54 rec., 522 yds, 5 TD

42. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (2010-12)
Stats: 555 att., 2,677 yds, 38 TD, 74 rec., 767 yds, 3 TD

43. Kevin Faulk, LSU (1995-98)
Stats: 856 att., 4,557 yds, 46 TD, 53 rec., 600 yds, 4 TD

44. Ian Johnson, Boise State (2005-08)
Stats: 752 att., 4,184 yds, 58 TD, 60 rec., 642 yds, 1 TD

45. Knowshon Moreno, Georgia (2007-08)
Stats: 498 att., 2,734 yds, 30 TD, 53 rec., 645 yds, 2 TD

46. J.J. Arrington, Cal (2003-04)
Stats: 396 att., 2,625 yds, 20 TD, 42 rec., 299 yds, 3 TD

47. Chris Brown, Colorado (2001-02)
Stats: 493 att., 2,787 yds, 35 TD, 11 rec., 76 yds

48. Doug Martin, Boise State (2007-11)
Stats: 617 att., 3,431 yds, 43 TD, 67 rec., 715 yds, 4 TD, 739 ret. yds, TD

49. Javon Ringer, Michigan State (2005-08)
Stats: 843 att., 4,398 yds, 34 TD, 96 rec., 719 yds, TD

50. Damien Anderson, Northwestern (1998-01)
Stats: 925 att., 4,336 yds, 37 TD, 54 rec., 490 yds

The Next 50:

51. Taurean Henderson, Texas Tech: 587 att., 3,241 yds, 50 TD, 303 rec., 2,058 yds, 19 TD
52. Luke Staley, BYU: 418 att., 2,493 yds, 41 TD, 86 rec., 1,000 yds, 7 TD
53. Matt Forte, Tulane: 833 att., 4,265 yds, 39 TD, 103 rec., 985 yds, 5 TD
54. Chris Johnson, East Carolina: 624 att., 2,982 yds, 32 TD, 125 rec., 1,296 yds, 10 TD, 2,715 ret. yds, TD
55. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina: 423 att., 2,481 yds, 25 TD, 92 rec., 852 yds, 6 TD
56. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA: 788 att., 4,403 yds, 31 TD, 58 rec., 517 yds, 3 TD
57. Laurence Maroney, Minnesota: 660 att., 3,933 yds, 32 TD, 21 rec., 197 yds, TD, 667 ret. yds, TD
58. Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona: 394 att., 2,354 yds, 29 TD, 51 rec., 506 yds, 3 TD, 565 ret. yds
59. Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky: 895 att., 4,542 yds, 35 TD, 80 rec., 682 yds, 5 TD, 1,682 ret yds 
60. Lee Suggs, Virginia Tech: 535 att., 2,767 yds, 53 TD, 15 rec., 171 yds, 3 TD
61. Donald Brown, UConn: 698 att., 3,800 yds, 33 TD, 48 rec., 276 yds, 2 TD
62. Edgerrin James, Miami: 497 att., 2,960 yds, 32 TD, 42 rec., 595 yds, 3 TD
63. Jamaal Charles, Texas: 533 att., 3,328 yds, 36 TD, 49 rec., 539 yds, 3 TD
64. LeSean McCoy, Pitt: 584 att., 2,816 yds, 35 TD, 65 rec., 549 yds, TD
65. Ryan Mathews, Fresno State: 534 att., 3,280 yds, 39 TD, 19 rec., 268 yds, 2 TD
66. Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State: 910 att., 3,994 yds, 42 TD, 56 rec., 449 yds, 4 TD 
67. Chris Wells, Ohio State: 585 att., 3,382 yds, 30 TD, 15 rec., 84 yds
68. Bernard Pierce, Temple: 663 att., 3,570 yds, 53 TD, 19 rec., 178 yds, TD
69. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: 403 att., 2,132 yds, 30 TD, 26 rec., 289 yds, 2 TD
70. Jamal Lewis, Tennessee: 487 att., 2,677 yds, 17 TD, 39 rec., 475 yds, 4 TD
71. Ronnie Brown, Auburn: 513 att., 2,707 yds, 28 TD, 58 rec., 668 yds, 2 TD
72. Brock Forsey, Boise State: 813 att., 4,045 yds, 50 TD, 101 rec., 1,175 yds, 18 TD, 1,113 ret. yds
73. Travis Henry, Tennessee: 556 att., 3,078 yds, 26 TD, 20 rec., 99 yds 
74. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State: 708 att., 4,181 yds, 37 TD, 63 rec., 519 yds, 2 TD
75. Kenjon Barner, Oregon: 582 att., 3,623 yds, 41 TD, 54 rec., 591 yds, 7 TD, 1,634 ret. yds, 2 TD
76. Chris Barclay, Wake Forest: 840 att., 4,032 yds, 40 TD, 62 rec., 381 yds, 517 ret. yds
77. Brian Calhoun, Colorado/Wisconsin: 619 att., 2,760 yds, 27 TD, 90 rec., 909 yds, 4 TD
78. Michael Bush, Louisville: 435 att., 2,508 yds, 39 TD, 50 rec., 651 yds, 2 TD
79. Maurice Clarett, Ohio State: 222 att., 1,237 yds, 16 TD, 12 rec., 104 yds, 2 TD
80. Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech: 517 att., 3,226 yds, 35 TD, 15 rec., 263 yds, TD 
81. David Wilson, Virginia Tech: 462 att., 2,662 yds, 18 TD, 37 rec., 363 yds, 5 TD, 1,324 ret. yds, 2 TD
82. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon: 516 att., 2,891 yds, 27 TD, 49 rec., 334 yds, 4 TD, 1,664 ret. yds, 2 TD
83. Felix Jones, Arkansas: 386 att., 2,956 yds, 20 TD, 39 rec., 383 yds, 3 TD, 1,760 ret. yds, 4 TD
84. James Davis, Clemson: 753 att., 3,881 yds, 47 TD, 51 rec., 441 yds, 2 TD
85. Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt: 581 att., 3,143 yds, 30 TD, 46 rec., 415 yds
86. Andre Ellington, Clemson: 621 att., 3,436 yds, 33 TD, 59 rec., 505 yds, 2 TD, 645 ret. yds, TD 
87. Robbie Rouse, Fresno State: 898 att., 4,647 yds, 37 TD, 110 rec., 794 yds, 5 TD
88. Damion Fletcher, Southern Miss: 1,009 att., 5,302 yds, 44 TD, 109 rec., 904 yds, 2 TD
89. Yvenson Bernard, Oregon State: 876 att., 3,862 yds, 38 TD, 118 rec., 790 yds, 3 TD
90. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska: 635 att., 3,329 yds, 30 TD, 60 rec., 507 yds, 5 TD
91. Anthony Davis, Wisconsin: 908 att., 4,676 yds, 42 TD, 22 rec., 198 yds
92. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State: 564 att., 3,085 yds, 40 TD, 108 rec., 917 yds, 3 TD
93. Noel Devine, West Virginia: 729 att., 4,317 yds, 29 TD, 98 rec., 710 yds, 2 TD, 736 ret. yds
94. Marion Barber, Minnesota: 575 att., 3,276 yds, 35 TD, 21 rec., 190 yds, 1,029 ret. yds
95. William Green, Boston College: 501 att., 2,974 yds, 33 TD, 31 rec., 343 yds, 2 TD
96. Evan Royster, Penn State: 686 att., 3,932 yds, 29 TD, 61 rec., 562 yds, 3 TD
97. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State: 545 att., 2,850 yds, 30 TD, 52 rec., 428 yds
98. Chester Taylor, Toledo: 803 att., 4,646 yds, 55 TD, 61 rec., 554 yds, 5 TD
99. Lamont Jordan, Maryland: 807 att., 4,147 yds, 36 TD, 76 rec., 737 yds, TD
100. Dontrell Moore, New Mexico: 1,028 yds, 4,973 yds, 51 TD, 92 rec., 857 yds, 8 TD


Agree or disagree with our ranking of College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era? Let us know on Twitter (@AthlonSports), using the hashtag #AthlonRB50

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 07:45
Path: /mlb/fantasy-baseball-bests-busts-and-waiver-wire-april-29
Body:

Stay tuned each week to Athlon Sports for a 2013 Fantasy Baseball Weekend Waiver Wire report every Monday. Our fantasy junkies cover the hottest hitters, best waiver wire pick ups, top starting pitching spot starts and sift through bullpens from around the league each and every week.

Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (Apr. 22-Apr. 28):

  Name Pos. Team R HR RBI SB BA OPS
1. Nate McLouth* OF BAL 10 1 6 4 .545 1.433
2. Edwin Encarnacion 1B TOR 8 5 8 0 .308 1.264
3. David Ortiz 1B BOS 7 2 9 0 .478 1.413
4. Omar Infante* 2B DET 7 2 5 1 .526 1.603
5. Giancarlo Stanton OF MIA 6 3 8 0 .364 1.280
6. Josh Donaldson* 3B OAK 4 0 10 1 .545 1.497
7. Russell Martin* C/1B PIT 5 4 6 0 .375 1.333
8. Ryan Howard 1B PHI 5 2 10 0 .308 .950
9. Manny Machado 3B BAL 5 0 5 2 .433 1.118
10. Alex Gordon OF KC 5 2 7 1 .318 1.011
11. Nelson Cruz OF TEX 4 2 9 0 .360 1.107
12. Justin Upton OF ATL 6 3 5 0 .333 1.250
13. Miguel Cabrera 3B DET 5 1 8 0 .450 1.228
14. Starling Marte OF PIT 5 0 0 5 .333 .829
15. Howie Kendrick 2B LAA 4 2 6 0 .375 1.131
16. Buster Posey C/1B SF 3 2 6 0 .429 1.310
17. Dustin Pedroia 2B BOS 5 0 4 2 .370 .971
18. Pedro Alvarez* 3B PIT 4 2 6 0 .360 .970
19. Evan Longoria 3B TB 5 2 5 0 .345 1.008
20. Carl Crawford OF LAD 5 3 4 1 .217 .889
21. Yuniesky Betancourt* 1/2/3B MIL 3 2 8 0 .333 .958
22. Alcides Escobar SS KC 4 1 3 2 .381 1.077
23. Kyle Seager 2B/3B SEA 5 2 5 0 .346 1.010
24. Robinson Cano 2B NYY 5 2 4 1 .296 .938
25. Carlos Gomez OF MIL 5 1 2 1 .450 1.292

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

Weekly Waiver Wire:

Nate McLouth, OF, BAL (48% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
McLouth has been driving fantasy GMs nuts for years. This is a guy who is capable of huge fantasy success — try 113 R, 26 HR, 94 RBI and 23 SB in 2008 — but has been a huge disappointment ever since — 38 homers in four seasons. He showed signs of life last season, smacking seven bombs and stealing 12 bases in just 209 at-bats. Now, with 17 games in the leadoff spot for the Orioles, McLouth is hitting .382 with 21 runs scored and eight stolen bases. His power is well behind him but he should produce as long as he remains in the one-hole. He is worth a shot at this point if you are desperate for runs and stolen bases.

Gerardo Parra, OF, ARI (32%)
Parra always teases fantasy owners, and while GMs will have to deal with noticeable swoons, the gritty outfielder has the talent to explode from time to time. He hit .417 last week and has a tidy roto line thus far in 2013: 18 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, .320/.864. No, it's not overwhelming but it's very helpful in more than one category. As long as Adam Eaton is on the DL, Parra will get playing time atop the D-Backs order.

Oswaldo Arcia, OF, MIN (1%)
Not many Twins are worthy of regular playing time in mixed leagues but Arcia might be worth a look in deeper situations. He hit .316 over 1,449 minor league at-bats with 56 home runs. The 6-foot, 220-pounder has the ability to hit for power — he hit two dingers and drove in six runs last week — and should he work his way up the order (six games batting seventh, two batting sixth and one batting third), he could provide some value. Arcia is also a great keeper option. Aaron Hicks, by the way, has a modest five-game hitting streak going. 

Yuniesky Betancourt, 1B/2B/3B, MIL (37%)
I love guys who can play multiple positions and Betancourt can help at three different positions. That said, I am staying away from the pesky Brewer. He won't slug enough to be a play at first and he isn't going to help in the speed category at all. Would his .274 average and .788 OPS help at second base or middle infield? Possibly. But that is all fantasy owners can expect from the career journeyman.

Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:

  Name Team IP W K ERA WHIP
1. Felix Hernandez SEA 22.0 2 28 0.82 0.77
2. Matt Moore TB 20.2 3 25 1.74 0.82
3. Tony Cingrani* CIN 18.0 2 28 1.50 0.89
4. Yu Darvish TEX 13.0 2 21 0.00 0.85
5. Jordan Zimmerman WAS 23.0 2 14 1.96 0.61
6. Kyle Kendrick* PHI 22.0 1 15 0.82 0.77
7. Lance Lynn STL 19.0 3 21 2.37 1.00
8. Kevin Correia* MIN 22.0 3 12 1.64 1.00
9. Doug Fister DET 21.0 2 18 2.14 0.86
10. A.J. Burnett PIT 18.0 2 21 2.00 0.94
11. Homer Bailey CIN 21.0 0 24 1.29 0.81
12. Justin Grimm* TEX 13.0 2 13 0.69 0.92
13. Wei-Yin Chen* BAL 14.0 2 7 0.64 0.79
14. Ervin Santana* KC 14.0 2 12 1.29 0.86
15. Roy Halladay PHI 13.0 1 14 2.08 0.54
16. Mat Latos CIN 14.0 1 14 0.64 0.86
17. Adam Wainwright STL 15.1 2 13 1.76 0.98
18. Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 17.0 0 21 1.06 0.94
19. Alex Cobb TB 15.2 2 10 1.72 0.96
20. Jeremy Hellickson* TB 20.0 1 23 3.15 0.85

* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues

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

1. Tony Cingrani, CIN: at Chicago Cubs (Sat.) 60% owned
The fill-in for Johnny Cueto has been electric since being called up. Last week he tossed seven innings with nine strikeouts, no walks and just two earned in a no-decision against the Cubs. Cingrani followed that up with a win on the road against the Nationals with 11 Ks and no earned runs. With 28 whiffs in 18.0 innings and a 1.50 ERA, there is no reason not to take a chance against the lowly Cubbies this week.

2. Tim Hudson, ATL: NY Mets (Sun.) 76% owned
The savvy veteran has allowed more than three earned runs in just one start so far this season and posted a quality start (at least 6 IP, 3 ER or less) in three of his first five outings. On Sunday, he's scheduled to take the mound at home against the Mets. In his career, Hudson is a 15-10 with a respectable 3.60 ERA in 27 career starts against the Braves' division rival.

3. Ervin Santana, KC: Tampa Bay (Thur.) 60% owned
I have never been a big supporter of Santana and his overrated career 4.27/1.29 rate. But he does have his moments of brilliance. In 2013 so far, the righty is sporting a 31:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has allowed just four earned runs over his last four starts. He won three of those and pitched at least seven innings in each one. Tampa Bay isn't a great matchup but it's at home and he is too hot to ignore.

4. Wade Miley, ARI: at San Diego (Fri.) 75% owned
He was a bit wild over the weekend — seven walks in 4.1 against the Rockies — but the Padres should pose much less of a threat this week. Miley didn't allow a run in that shortened start and still boasts a 2.37 ERA with nearly one strikeout per inning. Look for a bounce back start from the young D-Back.

5. Patrick Corbin, ARI: at San Diego (Sat.) 45% owned
I added the young lefty for his start against the Rockies and ended up with a win and five strikeouts with two earned runs. In fact, Corbin has 12 strikeouts and no walks over his last two starts (14.0 IP) while allowing just four earned runs. His 1.91/1.06 ratio plays in any park, but especially PETCO.

Closing Morsels:

Kevin Gregg is the Cubs closer, for now. He is 3-for-3 in save chances and hasn't allowed a run in five appearances this year. Which means he is likely to blow up in your face shortly but there are few other options on the waiver wire if you are desperate... Jose Valverde could be a God-send for the Tigers. He has yet to allow a base runner in three innings and has worked two perfect saves. Add, plug and play... No, Matt Reynolds isn't going to close many games for the Diamondbacks. J.J. Putz was unavailable and David Hernandez blew his chance in the ninth last week. Yet, he may be worth owning in holds leagues. He hasn't allowed a run, has two saves and one hold. There could be some value there... Huston Street has pitched three straight scoreless innings and picked up three saves last week. All is well with the aging veteran. Get him back in your lineup. (But keep Luke Gregerson and Dale Thayer on your watch list though)... Edward Mujica, Jim Henderson and Andrew Bailey all had great weeks and appear to locking themselves into the ninth inning for their respective clubs.

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

Teaser:
<p> Fantasy Baseball Bests, Busts and Waiver Wire: April 29</p>
Post date: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/early-2014-nfl-draft-rankings
Body:

The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books.

Some fans, in Minnesota and St. Louis for example, should be ecstatic about their new toys (Sharrif Floyd, Tavon Austin) while others, in Cleveland, Dallas or Oakland perhaps, might be wondering what just happened in New York. So while more than 250 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed prospects prepare for the long summer trek from being a draft pick to making an NFL roster, the next wave of college stars are already preparing themselves for the 2014 NFL Draft.

And so is Athlon Sports.

With a solid 2013 season on the field and, ideally, an uneventful year off of it, another crop of prospects will hear their name called in Radio City Music Hall in April 2014.

Here are the top 75 prospects to watch on the college gridiron this fall:

* - underclassmen with eligibility remaining

1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (6-6, 272)*
Many believe that if the freakish Gamecocks defensive end would have come out this year, he would have been the top pick in the draft. His size, speed and ability to dominate makes him all but a sure-thing on the next level. He was the unanimous No. 1 recruit in the nation who was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2011 before earning the Hendricks Award as the nation’s top pass-rusher in 2012. He enters his third and, all but certain, final season in college with 86 career tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 21.0 sacks and seven forced fumbles — and one earth-shattering hit on that poor Michigan Wolverine.

2. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama (6-6, 310)*
The only player who might be able to push Clowney for top billing is AJ McCarron’s bookend left tackle. The only player considered more important and more valuable than an elite pass-rusher is the guy who can neutralize him — as the top two picks of the 2013 draft indicated. The star left tackle trailed only Clowney in the recruiting rankings two years ago as incoming freshman and both have clearly lived up to the hype. This prototype blocker could play three years at Alabama and walk away with three national championships.

3. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame (6-6, 303)*
Few defensive ends can match the size and power of those prototypical left tackles — like Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher — but Tuitt has the goods. The Monroe (Ga.) High prospect was an elite recruit and has proven that his freakish size was the real deal by playing most of his freshman season and blossoming into a star as just a sophomore last fall. He led an unbeaten team in sacks (12.0) while posting 47 tackles, 13.0 for loss and forcing three fumbles. And just pop in the tape of the 300-pounder returning a fumble 77 yards for a touchdown against Navy to see how well the big fella moves in space. The scouts will fall in love with the talented Golden Domer.

4. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305)
He isn’t as big or as talented as Joeckel, his former teammate, but he isn’t far behind. He has the pedigree as the son of NFL O-line legend Bruce Matthews and it didn’t take long for the star recruit to make an impact. He was named to the Big 12's all-freshman team in 2010 before leading the way in the SEC for Texas A&M’s prolific offense last season. He possesses the toughness, killer instinct and polished technique most players his age lack, undoubtedly from being coached by an NFL Hall of Famer since he first put on a helmet.

5. Marqise Lee, WR, USC (6-0, 195)*
He is undersized but doesn’t lack for big-play ability. The speedster likely would have been the first wide receiver taken had he been able to come out early this spring. He broke all kinds of school and conference records as a sophomore when he led the nation in receptions (118), was second in yards (1,721) and third in all-purpose yards (2,683). He has scored 27 times in just two seasons. Yes, he is undersized but Tavon Austin just proved a smallish all-purpose dynamo can land in the top 10 of the draft.

6. C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama (6-2, 232)
He doesn’t have the ideal frame for a linebacker taken this high in the draft but no player in this class can come close to matching the production, leadership and overall athletic ability of the Theodore (Ala.) High prospect. He is looking for his third national championship in 2013 after a breakout junior season last fall where he tallied 107 tackles, 8.0 for loss, 4.0 sacks, two interceptions and one touchdown. He is the leading tackler and heartbeat at a leadership position on the best team in the nation coached by Nick Saban. Enough said.

7. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6-7, 308)
The eccentric blocker from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral has elite size and athleticism to go with loads of experience. He enters his final season with 35 starts under his belt and a chance to land in the top 10 of the 2014 draft with another solid season this fall. Under Brady Hoke, Michigan has gone pure pro-style on offense and Lewan has benefited. Now with Devin Gardner under center, Hoke’s offense should flourish with the All-American protecting the blindside.

8. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (6-3, 215)*
The elite recruit from South Florida powerhouse Miami (Fla.) Northwestern is poised for a run at a national championship this fall. The versatile quarterback earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman before leading the Cardinals to an 11-2 record, a co-Big East title and high-profile win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl. He is efficient — career 66.9 percent completion rate and 27:8 TD:INT rate last year — and has shown the necessary growth as a passer in two year to warrant a top 10 selection. His offensive system won’t allow him to throw for huge numbers but no quarterback in next year’s class combines leadership, efficiency, football IQ, toughness and upside like Bridgewater.

9. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU (6-3, 304)*
The consensus No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in 2011, Johnson earned Freshman All-American honors by multiple media outlets after providing support on that excellent LSU defense. Last year, the New Orleans native produced solid numbers backing up four NFL Draft picks along the D-line. His stats — 30 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks — could triple now that he is a starter and the unquestioned leader of the Bayou Bengals defense.

10. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (6-4, 245)
DeMarcus Ware comes to mind when watching Barr except the San Pedro (Calif.) Loyola product might be quicker and more athletic. Barr was a five-star recruit who had no position when he got to campus, but in 2012 under Jim Mora, he developed into a freakish edge rusher with an elite combo of size and burst. The All-American posted 21.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks to go with 83 stops. There is no replacement for big-time production at a coveted position against big-time competition. Look for Barr to have a second All-American campaign in 2013.

Related: Grading every pick of the 2013 NFL Draft first round

11. Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame (6-3, 340)
Nix has uncoachable size and power. He is the heart and soul of the interior defensive line for a team that was undefeated in the regular season a year ago. He got very little help from his back seven against Alabama and he will have a year to erase the memory of what took place in the Orange Bowl. He is an active nose guard who fits into multiple defensive schemes and has an excellent understanding of the game. He posted 50 tackles, 7.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks from his tackle position last year. The interior defensive line class looks especially deep in 2014 and this massive Floridian is a big reason why.

12. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (6-3, 210)*
If fans are looking for the next Robert Griffin III, look no further than the Ohio State quarterback. While he isn’t as polished a passer as the Redskins quarterback, he exudes toughness, leadership and freaky athletic ability like RG3. He takes care of the football — 10 interceptions in 411 attempts — and is just now entering his junior season. He willed his team to an unbeaten record last year and has the Buckeyes poised for a national championship run in 2013. He has the frame, toughness and athletic ability to start in the NFL, and should he refine his in-pocket passing skills, he could press Bridgewater as the top quarterback available.

13. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (6-1, 210)*
Do the Crimson Tide and former defensive back Nick Saban produce quality NFL prospects in the secondary? Mark Barron, Dee Milliner, Dre Kirkpatrick, Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson would say so. Like Barron, Milliner and Kirkpatrick, Clinton-Dix was a five-star Southern-bred prospect who has developed into one of the nation’s best during his time at Alabama. He has the speed and quickness to play in the slot and over the top and the size and toughness to fill against the run and play around the line when needed. “Ha-Ha” will give Saban yet another first-round defensive back on his resume.

14. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (5-11, 195)*
The Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge prospect doesn’t have elite height like recent first-rounders Dee Milliner or Xavier Rhodes, but Roby will more than hold his own in man coverage. He enters his third year as a starter after 110 tackles, 6.0 for loss, five interceptions and 23 passes broken up over the last two seasons. He has great football instincts, excellent quickness and an uncanny knack for making big plays around the football. At the new glamour position, Roby could easily be the top option in next year’s draft.

15. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington (6-6, 266)*
The junior from Fox Island (Wash.) Gig Harbor is as good a tight end prospect as the draft has seen in years. He broke all kinds of freshman receiving records for the Huskies before posting an All-Pac-12 season (69 rec., 850 yards, 7 TDs) a year ago. He has elite size, great hands, excellent athletic ability and will be used in the running game as a blocker. He is a complete tight end prospect in the mold of Tony Gonzalez.

16. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama (6-3, 195)
Hideous chest tattoo aside, there is little to not like about McCarron’s resume. He has size, accuracy, poise, footwork, toughness, leadership and is arguably the most successful quarterback in NCAA history when it comes to winning. Yes, he has played on loaded rosters but he also led the nation in passing efficiency and has three national championship rings — two as a starter — and is targeting a fourth. In the modern age of dual-threat athletes under center, McCarron is as traditional as they come.

17. David Yankey, OL, Stanford (6-5, 311)
Where scouts project Yankey on the next level will determine if he is a early or late first-round pick. If the NFL thinks he will stick at tackle, his toughness, leadership and overall size will push him up draft boards. Otherwise, his consensus All-American talents for a team known for producing elite blockers could make him the top interior lineman in the ’14 class. He was voted as the Pac-12's best O-lineman by his defensive line peers a year ago — which includes ’13 first-round names like Star Lotulelei and Datone Jones.

18. Tim Jernigan, DT, Florida State (6-2, 298)*
Just behind Johnson in the recruiting rankings was this Lake City (Fla.) Columbia prospect. Cut from the Sharrif Floyd mold in terms of size and skill, Jernigan was an elite performer for the ACC champs a year ago despite only starting twice. He posted 45 tackles, 8.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks behind 2013 draft picks Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, and he should explode on to the national scene as a full-time starter and leader of the Seminoles' defensive line.

19. Aaron Lynch, DE, USF (6-6, 275)*
Lynch, from Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast was never a fit off the field at Notre Dame and it led to a transfer closer to home at South Florida during the 2012 season. On the field, however, Lynch led the Irish in sacks (5.5) as just a true freshman. He finished the year with 33 tackles, 14 QB hurries and 7.0 tackles for loss. He is an absolute monster and should dominate the American Athletic Conference as a third-year player this fall. He may not be running with the Bulls too long.

20. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (6-1, 205)*
Few true freshmen have ever had a season like Watkins had two years ago in 2011. The National Freshman of the Year was unstoppable as a receiver, return man and occasional running back, posting 1,219 yards receiving, 826 return yards and 231 rushing yards to go with 14 total touchdowns. His burst and explosiveness makes him a much bigger and stronger version of Tavon Austin. That said, he has dealt with off-the-field hurdles that aren’t too worrisome when taken individually but create a track record of poor decision-making. He is an elite big-play machine when focused and healthy, and ideally, 2013 will be a bounce-back campaign.

21. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State (6-2, 225)*
Few players in the nation are as explosive around the football and hit as hard as the Ohio State tackler. He is undersized and will need to prove he can play against linemen more than 100 pounds heavier, but he has speed to burn and plays extremely well in space. After 115 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and 11 passes deflected as just a sophomore last year, the Plantation (Fla.) High prospect is eyeing a national title run in 2013.

22. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (6-1, 227)
Boyd could have been a first-rounder had he come out after his 46-touchdown junior season. He is a pocket passer with some added mobility and fits the ideal dual-threat mold the NFL is looking for (think Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers, not Cam Newton or Michael Vick). He has a big arm, plays in a complex scheme, has posted huge numbers and will be looking for a championship in 2013. A run at an ACC — or national — title will push Boyd up draft boards.

23. Iko Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon (5-10, 190)*
Much like Roby, Ekpre-Olomu isn’t overly tall or lengthy, but he has elite speed, better than advertised toughness and bulk and an instinctual nose for the football. He consistently makes big plays in a league stacked with elite passing attacks. The Chino Hills (Calif.) High product finished his sophomore season with 63 tackles, four interceptions (one touchdown) and 16 pass break ups.

24. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford (6-2, 205)
The Floridian who went across the nation for college is a well-coached and savvy competitor who brings excellent size and instincts to the back end of the secondary. In his first full season as the starter, Reynolds posted 47 tackles and six interceptions that he returned for 301 yards. He is a leader of a defense that is one of the stingiest and most disciplined in the nation.

25. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (6-1, 210)*
The undersized gunslinger has been compared to Drew Brees ever since he overcame a broken leg in high school to lead his powerhouse prep team at Tampa (Fla.) Plant to the state title. When it is all over at Georgia, Murray will be the most prolific passer in SEC history (yards, TDs). If he can eliminate the eight quarters of bizarro atrocious play each season and finish the year with a win in Atlanta, he could hear his name called in the top 20. The numbers, intangibles, winning and passing ability equates to NFL starter but the Dawgs signal caller will have to overcome his lack of size.

26. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas (6-5, 245)
Had the star defensive end not been injured for the year against Oklahoma a year ago, he might have entered the draft as a junior. Few players are refined and polished with prototypical NFL size as the son of former NFL star Jim Jeffcoat. He earned a starting spot as just a true freshman three years ago and has been a starter for the Longhorns ever since. He has 117 total tackles, 38.0 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks entering his final season.

27. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU (6-3, 235)
A second outside linebacker from BYU could find his way into the first round in 2014. Van Noy is a much more polished, albeit smaller and slightly less athletic version of former teammate Ezekiel Ansah. He had an all-everything junior season in which he posted 53 tackles, 22.0 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and two blocked kicks. He is undersized to play along the line (think Jarvis Jones) but few players are as productive as the star from Reno, Nevada.

28. Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida (6-1, 190)*
The star coverman from Pensacola (Fla.) Pine Forest has never missed a game in his two-year Gators career. In a scheme designed to put the corners on an island, Purifoy uses his elite length, size and quickness to lockdown receivers. He has 78 tackles through two seasons and rarely gets tested by anything but the best of quarterbacks. Look for Purifoy to blossom into an All-American in 2013.

29. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee (6-6, 332)*
Size and athleticism is unteachable and Richardson has the goods in that department. He has developed into a leader on one of the best offensive lines in the nation and will have a chance to improve his stock significantly with a great season in 2013. He has good feet, prototypical size and has flashed the ability to compete with the games best (pop in the South Carolina tape last year). "Tiny" Richardson could easily work his way into the top 10 with a stellar '13.

30. Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (5-10, 199)*
He may not look like a workhorse but he plays like one. Carey, as just a sophomore, led the nation in rushing (1,929), set a Pac-12 single game rushing record (366) and scored 24 total touchdowns — all in his first season as the starter. He can play on all three downs and is right at home between the tackles. Packaged with great hands, excellent speed and huge production, Carey is a can't-miss prospect. However, he has dealt with some off-the-field issues (domestic abuse, campus police) and will need to prove he can be a professional to be drafted in the first round.

31. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (6-4, 211)*
Quiet feet, poised, athletic and leadership are the most common words used to describe the redshirt sophomore to be. Mariota plays the game like a fifth-year senior and has exactly what new NFL schemes are looking for — say, Chip Kelly, perhaps. He led the nation in road passing efficiency, proving his unflappable demeanor. Mariota scored 37 total touchdowns in just his first year on a college gridiron and will be one of the reasons fans in Eugene won't miss Kelly in 2013.

32. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon  (5-9, 176)*
He won't ever be a full-time running back in the NFL so landing in the first round might be a reach, but no player in the nation is more of a big-play threat than The Black Mamba. Although, St. Louis just used the No. 8 overall pick to draft someone with virtually identical skills. In two seasons, Thomas has scored 18 rushing touchdowns on 147 carries, 14 touchdowns on 91 receptions and four total return touchdowns. Used in the right role — think Darren Sproles — his home run ability will play on Sundays for years.

The Second Round:

33. Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama (6-6, 252)*
34. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State (6-3, 260)*
35. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (6-0, 200)*
36. Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas (5-10, 200)*
37. Aaron Colvin, DB, Oklahoma (6-0, 185)
38. Will Sutton, DL, Arizona State (6-1, 290)
39. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor (6-5, 335)
40. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (6-3, 210)
41. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (6-3, 205)
42. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (5-10, 210)
43. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (6-3, 225)*
44. Morgan Breslin, DE, USC (6-2, 250)
45. Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (6-4, 320)
46. Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford (6-6, 260)
47. James Hurst, OT, North Carolina (6-7, 305)
48. Josh Shirley, OLB, Washington (6-3, 230)*
40. Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma (6-6, 260)*
50. Lemarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State (5-9, 195)
51. A.J. Johnson, LB, Tennessee (6-2, 240)*
52. Chaz Green, OT, Florida (6-5, 310)*
53. Dion Bailey, OLB/S, USC (6-1, 210)
54. Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma (6-3, 298)
55. Christian Jones, OLB, Florida State (6-4, 232)
56. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida (6-2, 285)
57. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia (6-1, 195)*
58. Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida (6-0, 180)*
59. David Fales, QB, San Jose State (6-3, 220)
60. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State (6-3, 245)*
61. Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon (6-5, 250)*
62. Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina (6-4, 295)*
63. Deshazor Everett, CB, Texas A&M (6-0, 185)*
64. Craig Loston, S, LSU (6-2, 205)

The Next 11:

65. Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA (6-3, 305)*
66. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (6-0, 200)
67. Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech (6-6, 260)
68. Cassius Marsh, DL, UCLA (6-4, 270)
69. Trey DePriest, OLB, Alabama (6-2, 245)*
70. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford (6-3, 245)
71. Bryan Stork, C, Florida State (6-4, 312)
72. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota (6-6, 310)
73. Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia (6-5, 260)
74. Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama (6-3, 310)
75. Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame (6-4, 280)

Teaser:
<p> Athlon takes a very early look at who could have their name called in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.</p>
Post date: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 11:30

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