Articles By Braden Gall

All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-outside-linebackers

It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best outside linebacker prospects:

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia (6-2, 240, Jr.)
The star Bulldog defender isn't a true outside linebacker in the 4-3 sense, but he is undoubtedly one of the most talented pass rushers in the nation. He is a perfect fit in the 3-4 as a hybrid James Harrison-type of player. He is a tenacious (just pop in the tape of the Missouri or Florida games from 2012) blitz backer who can play in space if need be. He isn't as big as some other hybrids of recent memory, but he makes up for it with elite level quickness and explosion. He can't really "grow" into a 4-3 defensive end and his strengths aren't suited for the traditional 4-3 OLB either, but his skill set is perfect for the outside 3-4 backer that is used off of the edge to make plays. If he can prove the health issues aren't reoccurring, he is a surefire starter in year one at the professional level. He posted back-to-back double-digit sack totals and led the nation in QB takedowns as only a sophomore.

2. CJ Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 230, Jr.)
Mosley is a traditional 4-3 outside backer who could really play anywhere in the linebacking corps — and in any system. Bama runs a 3-4 but is lined-up in a traditional 4-3 more than usual, so Mosley has experience in any scheme. He is quick, powerful, extremely well coached and has competed at the highest level, winning a national championship as a junior. Athlon Sports rated him as the No. 5 inside linebacker, so the movement on his stock should be intriguing as scouts decide where they like him best. Simply put, he makes plays. Constantly. 

3. Arthur Brown, Kansas State (6-1, 228, Sr.)
Some have Brown listed inside at middle linebacker, but he may not have the size to stick at the position. He does, however, have the instincts and pedigree to be successful at the next level. It took him a while to get started after transferring from Miami (Fla.) back home to Kansas State, where he has developed into a star on a team that has competed for league championships the two seasons Brown has started. He is a tremendous all-around athlete and competitor who, with a few extra pounds of strength, should be a lights-out defender on the next level. He could have entered the draft last year, but as KSU keeps winning, his stock continues to improve. 

4. Chase Thomas, Stanford (6-4, 250, Sr.)
When star middle linebacker Shayne Skov was lost for the season in 2011, it was Thomas who stepped in and became the centerpiece of the Cardinal defense. He constantly plays behind the line of scrimmage and has a huge, powerful frame. He has excelled in the traditional 4-3 outside position in college, but his size and instincts give him Clay Matthews-type of skills. He is a fundamentally sound athlete who rarely is out of position and has little downside after roughly 50 tackles for loss and over 23 sacks in his college career. All of that on the most physical, stingiest defensive front West of the Mississippi — one that has won a ton of games.

5. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (6-1, 230, Sr.)
Stable. Athletic. Fast. Dependable. And in the modern NFL world of speed and passing attacks, Greene's speed and athleticism make him an intriguing upside prospect. He played safety in his first two seasons and, after some added bulk, he shifted closer to the line of scrimmage to get his play-making talents around the football. He played on the league's top defense and if Greg Schiano wasn't already loaded with young linebackers, he wouldn't pass on the tackler he recruited and coached at Rutgers.

6. Anthony Barr, UCLA (6-4, 235, Jr.)
This is a talented upside prospect whose stock is going skyrocket during the offseason and in combine workouts. He is a freakish size and speed combination who could have been used at half a dozen positions at UCLA. He settled in as one of the Pac-12 most explosive pass rushers. He is more of a project and will likely need to develop, but his raw athletic ability is obvious. He is currently a hybrid 3-4 outside backer but Barr has the frame to potentially grow into a more traditional 4-3 end should the need arise. 

7. Sean Porter, Texas A&M (6-2, 230, Sr.)
Von Miller Porter is not. But he did have an excellent junior season filling the pass-rushing void left by Miller's departure. However, the Aggies shifted to a 4-3 under a new coaching staff and Porter was shifted into a more traditional 4-3 outside role. He simply isn't asked to rush the passer at all. Scouts will have to decide if his position experience is a good thing (meaning versatility) or a bad thing (limited to one thing). He has plenty of talent, but only time will tell how his position shift impacted his draft stock.

8. Trent Murphy, Stanford (6-6, 246, Jr.)
The first thing scouts will notice about Murphy is his raw size. He easily could develop into a defensive end should he exhibit the sturdiness needed to play against the run at the NFL level. His size allows him to project to multiple positions in multiple fronts and, should he test well at the combine, his stock could see significant growth. His defenses have been incredible at Stanford and his teams simply win. That said, he has been just a part of a loaded Stanford front that could feature at least two other NFL picks in the front seven.

9. Gerald Hodges, Penn State (6-2, 240, Sr.)
The Penn State tackler might be the last elite outside linebacker prospect. Hodges has defined the traditional outside linebacker position on a traditional 4-3 defense. He has excellent athletic ability and has been successful in all phases of the game — blitzing the passer, playing physical and disciplined against the run, and fluid and quick in space. Some added bulk and strength would push him up draft boards fairly quickly.

10. Jamie Collins, Southern Miss (6-3, 240, Sr.)
The undersized defensive end has been stellar in his time at Southern Miss to the point of being unblockable as a senior this fall. He is incredibly disruptive and constantly is playing behind enemy lines in the backfield, including on special teams. He likely won't be thought of as a true defensive end and instead could be destined for the hybrid role on the outside of a 3-4 scheme. He will have to overcome the level of competition criticism as Conference USA offensive tackles aren't exactly a proving ground of NFL talent. Does he have the athleticism to make the speed and position transition at the next level?

11. Travis Long, Washington State (6-4, 245, Sr.)
Hybrid rush end has been productive in the face of major locker room issues.

12. Jelani Jenkins, Florida (6-0, 238, Jr.)
Must display tremendous heart, toughness and physicality to play at his size. Tremendous athlete though.

13. Kyle Van Noy, BYU (6-3, 235, Jr.)
Dependable, physical, well-coached player who has little downside.

14. Jonathan Brown, Illinois (6-1, 235, Jr.)
Rated as the No. 11 inside linebacker, as he has seen his stock slip on a bad team.

15. Zavier Gooden, Missouri (6-2, 230, Sr.)
Freaky athlete who is extremely developed physically. Will be watched closely.

16. Travardo Williams, UConn (6-1, 235, Sr.)
17. Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6-3, 345, Jr.)
18. Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech (6-2, 240, Jr.)
19. Mike Taylor, Wisconsin (6-2, 225, Sr.)
20. James Morris, Iowa (6-2, 230, Sr.)
21. Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State (6-2, 230, Sr.)
22. Jake Knott, Iowa State (6-2, 240, Sr.)
23. Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas (6-0, 235, Sr.)
24. Cornelius Washington, Georgia (6-4, 265, Sr.)
25. DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina (6-2, 240, Sr.)

- by Braden Gall

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Outside Linebackers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /nfl/8-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-10

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 10 of NFL play:

37.9: Jay Cutler's NFL-worst first quarter QB rating
First of all, on a day dedicated to the countless servicemen and women who have fought and died for our personal freedoms, it is appropriate that Chicago and Houston — a combined 15-3 overall this year — did battle at Soldier Field. The Sunday night showdown came 86 years to the day from the time the Bears played their first game at Soldier Field. It could not have been an enjoyable experience for the Bears fans, however. On a cold and very wet evening in the Windy City, Jay Cutler threw another first quarter interception before leaving the game at halftime with a head injury. Unfortunately, his NFL-best fourth quarter QB rating of 135.0 was never put into use and the Bears lost for only the second time this fall. The Bears now have to travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. It is the beginning of a tricky second half of the schedule and Cutler needs to be on the field if the Bears are to hold off the charging Packers.

28-7: Cowboys outscored the Eagles over the final 15 minutes
Dallas was trailing 17-10 to Philadelphia when Tony Romo hit a diving Dez Bryant in the end zone on the final play of the third quarter. The 30-yard scoring strike tied the game. The Cowboys scored 1:25 later when Dwayne Harris returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown. One minute later, Brandon Carr returned a Nick Foles interception — who took the place of a concussed Michael Vick — 47 yards for a touchdown. Then after Phily scored to cut the lead to 31-23, the Cowboys scored another defensive touchdown when it recovered a Foles fumble in the end zone. The Eagles allowed 10 points and had a lead after 44 minutes of play before crumbling in the final frame. Andy Reid's fate might have been sealed in that fourth-quarter collapse, marking the first five-game losing streak Reid has had as the head coach in Philadelphia.

22: Games the Dolphins went without allowing a 100-yard rusher
The Titans Chris Johnson rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown in the surprising rout over Miami. The Dolphins entered the game boasting the NFL's longest active streak without allowing an opposing player to rush for more than 100 yards. The Tennessee defense, which was on pace to break the all-time points allowed record, was excellent against rookie passer Ryan Tannehill. The Titans allowed three points and forced three Tannehill interceptions. The Green Bay Packers now boast the longest active streak without allowing a 100-yard rusher at eight games.

11-0: The Patriots record against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium
New England has yet to lose at home to their division rival from Buffalo since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. The Patriots were tested more than most of the previous 10 meetings as the Bills racked up a team-record 35 first downs. It was also the most first downs a Pats team has ever allowed as well. Bill Belichick's defense surrendered 481 yards and 31 points in what has to be a concerning performance from the AFC East leaders. 

Nov. 16, 2008: The last time an NFL game ended in a tie
The Rams and 49ers played 75 minutes on Sunday and determined absolutely nothing. For the first time in four years (Philadelphia-Cincinnati, 2008), NFL fans will wake up in the morning and check the divisional standings and see that mysterious third number in the Win-Loss column. Alex Smith was lost to a concussion and Colin Kaepernick played well in the second half to keep San Francisco in control of the division. The tie could play a huge role since it was a division game and will keep the West from ending up in a tie. The status of Smith will be a huge story to follow this week.

147: Yards the Bucs were outgained by the Chargers
The San Diego Chargers moved up and down the field against Tampa Bay on Sunday, outgaining the home team 426 to 279. The Bucs had just 12 first downs, 23:19 time of possession, converted on only three (of nine) third downs and averaged 3.4 yards per carry on the ground. Yet, the Bucs still managed to score 34 points and win the game for first-year head coach Greg Schiano. Tampa Bay has won three straight games and is now 5-4 and smack dab in the middle of the NFC Wild Card hunt. Frankly, with all four losses coming within one possession, this team could easily have six or seven wins. 

101: Career TD catches for Tony Gonzalez
I already wrote about the greatness of Tony-G back when he played his final game in Arrowhead Stadium earlier in the season. Yet, even after missing only two contests in his extraordinary 247-game career, he continues to produce at an elite level — he caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. He passed Cris Carter for eighth all-time in NFL history with 13,955 yards and should pass James Lofton next week for 7th place. His 1,210 receptions rank behind only Jerry Rice all-time. And his 101st career receiving touchdown moved him into sole possession of sixth place all-time. He is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who fans need to enjoy for however much longer the tight end decides to play. More importantly, he has done it with class and grace the entire way. It's hard not to root for a guy like this to reach the Super Bowl, and on this Falcons team, he'll have as good a chance as ever before.

9-0: Home team's record in all-time series between Giants and Bengals
The Giants and Bengals have met nine total times in the long history of the two franchises. And the home team has won every game. The Giants entered the weekend on cruise control and in position to put a strangle-hold on the NFC East. Yet, despite outgaining the Bengals, Tom Coughlin's bunch never really looked competitive. Andy Dalton completed 70 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns while not taking a sack or throwing an interception. The Cincy defense sacked Eli Manning four times and forced four Giants turnovers in the alarming win.

- by Braden Gall

<p> 8 Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 10</p>
Post date: Monday, November 12, 2012 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-11-power-rankings

What a last few weeks it should be out West. UCLA and USC will square off this weekend with a trip to the Pac-12 championship game on the line. Oregon now has to face possibly its toughest two opponents of the season with Stanford and Oregon State to finish the year. Jeff Tedford is hanging by a thread in Berkeley. And all chaos is breaking out in Pullman. Put on your seat belts Pac-12 fans, it's going to be a wild ride these last three weeks — and it could end with the Oregon Ducks heading to its second national championship game in three seasons.

Post-Week 11 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

Marcus Mariota1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - Is 377 yards and 6 TD any good? Mariota now leads the nation in passing efficiency on what is the nation's best offense. He is clearly the most important Oregon Duck.

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC won a key game with another three Matt Barkley touchdown passes. This team now faces UCLA for the Pac-12 South title.

3. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon 
- Barner did very little to follow up his monster showing against USC last week. But he wasn't needed all that much. Which is good considering he dealt with a small hand/wrist injury early in the game. He returned and finished with 65 yards on 20 carries and no touchdowns.

Post-Week 11 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - He only posted a pair of tackles but he gets bumped to the top slot because his defense stymied the Beavers for the final 20 minutes of play and since his team won the key swing game, Thomas gets the nod over Jordan Poyer.

2. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The Beavers' top defender made five total stops including one for a loss and returned a couple of punts in the crushing road loss to Stanford. 

3. Anthony Barr, DL, UCLA - The Bruins' star defensive lineman had a huge game on the road against Washington State. He made eight total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and blocked a kick in the win. He now is leading the league in sacks (11.0) and TFL (17.0). 

Post-Week 11 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks rolled to another huge win with another huge offensive number. This is the best offense in the country.

2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - The Beavers are running out of steam and have quarterback issues, but the job he has done this year has been nothing short of remarkable.

3. Jim Mora, UCLA  - If he can somehow close the 50-point gap between his program and the Trojans that existed last year, he may shoot to the top of this list. 

Post-Week 11 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (10-0, 7-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 11 result: Beat Cal 59-17
Marcus Mariota was brilliant for the Ducks as Oregon won for the 28th time in 29 tries in Pac-12 play. The freshman quarterback completed 27-of-34 passes for 377 yards and six touchdowns as Cal set up to stop the run all game (holding Kenjon Barner in check).  The Ducks are leading the nation at 54.8 points per game on offense and set an NCAA record by scoring at least 30 points for the 23rd consecutive game. The second season in Oregon now begins in earnest with Stanford, Oregon State, a potential Pac-12 title game with either UCLA or USC and possibly a trip to Miami Gardens left on the slate. There is no chance the Ducks get left out of the national title game if they finish 13-0. 
This week: Stanford (8-2)

2. Stanford (8-2, 6-1)
Previous rank: 

Week 11 result:
 Beat Oregon State 27-23
Kevin Hogan led his team from behind to keep their Pac-12 championship hopes alive in his first career start for Stanford. He threw three touchdowns, including two late scores to give the Cardinal the lead for good in the fourth quarter, and 254 yards in the physical showdown on The Farm. David Shaw's team overcame four turnovers and continues to control its own destiny. However, their path is difficult as it comes with road trips to Oregon and UCLA to finish the year. This defense is the best in the league and is the most physical front seven that side of the Mississippi, so if anyone can slow down the Ducks, it might be Stanford.

This week: at Oregon (10-0)


3. Oregon State (7-2, 5-2)
Previous rank: 2
Week 11 result: Lost to Stanford 27-23
As it has done all season long, Oregon State put itself into a hole, this time down 14-0 after one quarter of play. The Beavers then rattled off 23 unanswered points to take a commanding two-score lead. But the defense couldn't get key stops and the offense couldn't convert on key fourth downs in the fourth quarter. The loss puts Mike Riley's bunch behind both Stanford and Oregon and all but eliminates OSU from the Pac-12 championship. They need some serious help and a win over the Ducks to win the North. Cody Vaz was dinged up late in the game and Sean Mannion was forced into action, so this will be again be the most watched position in Corvallis this week.
This week: Cal (3-8)

4. UCLA (8-2, 5-2)
Previous rank: 4
Week 11 result: Beat Washington State 44-36
The Bruins exploded for 30 points in the second quarter, taking a 37-7 lead into halftime. Three late touchdowns for the Cougars made the score look much closer than it actually was in Pullman. Having said that, the Bruins only needed 334 yards of offense to put away Mike Leach's embattled bunch — which is nearly 200 yards less than its average coming into the weekend (514.9 ypg). Brett Hundley threw the ball well (261 yards, 3 TD), but Johnathan Franklin will need to be better than 66 yards on 19 attempts if UCLA wants to defeat the Men of Troy this weekend and win the Pac-12 South.
This week: USC (7-3) 

5. USC (7-3, 5-3)
Previous rank: 5
Week 11 result: Beat Arizona State 38-17
One down, one to go. After getting embarrassed against Arizona State last year and Oregon last week, USC took care of business against an overmatched Sun Devils squad to move to within one win of a South Division title. And a potential rematch with Oregon (or Stanford for that matter). Matt Barkley keeps adding to his illustrious stats by throwing three more touchdowns and 222 yards as the Trojans pulled away in the final two quarters. Marqise Lee was his usual big-play self, catching 10 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, while tailback Curtis McNeal took advantage of an increased work load, rushing for 163 yards and two touchdowns. 
This week: UCLA (8-2)

6. Arizona (6-4, 3-4)
Previous rank: 6
Week 11 result: Beat Colorado 56-31
Matt Scott didn't play in the win over Colorado, but Ka'Deem Carey picked up the slack. And then some. The underrated sophomore rushed for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and scored five touchdowns — to go with 34 yards on two receptions as well — in the home win. Carey now has 1,381 yards and 18 rushing scores on the season. B.J. Denker completed 12-of-14 passes in place of Scott and tossed two touchdowns of his own. Rich Rodriguez got his team back on track but allowed 31 points and 437 yards at home to one of the worst scoring offenses in all of college football. 
This week: at Utah (4-6)

7. Washington (6-4, 4-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 11 result: 
Beat Utah 34-15 

The Huskies won their third straight game on the powerful and productive shoulders of running back Bishop Sankey. Steve Sarkisian has obviously made an effort to get his star tailback the ball, giving him a career high in carries for three consecutive weeks. He has carried 25, 29 and 36 times in the last three games for 443 yards and has scored at least two touchdowns in each game. The obviously improved Huskies defense did the rest, holding Utah to 188 total yards of offense and just 55 yards passing. With Colorado and Washington State left on the schedule, Coach Sark is almost assured of a 8-4, 6-3 record this fall.
This week: at Colorado (1-9)

8. Arizona State (5-5, 3-4)
Previous rank: 8
Week 11 result: Lost to USC 38-17
Arizona State took a 17-14 lead a few minutes into the third quarter against USC. The Trojans then scored the final 24 points of the game, taking advantage of a Sun Devils defense that has been downright atrocious of late. Todd Graham's defense, which couldn't cover Marqise Lee or stop Curtis McNeal, has now allowed 40.5 points per game over the course of its current four-game losing streak. ASU likely needs to win this weekend against Washington State at home to get to bowl eligibility as a win across the state in Tucson on the final weekend of the year might be asking too much of this defense. 
This week: Washington State (2-8)

9. Utah (4-6, 2-5)
Previous rank: 
Week 11 result: Lost to Washington 34-15
Welcome to Seattle Mr. Wilson. The young Utes quarterback had been respectable during Utah's modest two-game winning streak. He was baptized by a big time college defense, however, in Washington this weekend. He completed just 8-of-23 passes for 55 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He carried seven times for minus-13 yards, including three sacks. Kyle Whittingham's bunch now has to win its last two games to get to a bowl game for the 10th straight season. Colorado should be a win, but this weekend's home test with the Wildcats will be anything but easy.

This week: Arizona (6-4)

10. California (3-8, 2-6)
Previous rank: 10
Week 11 result: Lost to Oregon 59-17
Is it just a matter of time now for Jeff Tedford? Many are torn on the Tedford issues at Cal as he is one of — if not the — most decorated head coaches in Golden Bears history. He has been the driving force behind dramatic facilities and stadium upgrades in Berkeley. But his record is 15-21 over the last three years and he is experience his second losing campaign in three years. This weekend, without Zach Maynard or Keenan Allen, the Bears were totally overmatched and non-competitive. They allowed 575 yards of offense to the Ducks and now, due to a strangely placed bye week on the last week of the Pac-12 regular season, are set to wrap up the 2012 season next week at Oregon State. 
This week: at Oregon State (7-2)

11. Colorado (1-9, 1-6)
Previous rank: 11
Week 11 result: Lost to Arizona 56-31
The offense played well in the desert, holding the ball for 41:17 and gaining 437 yards of offense. Yet, the defense couldn't stop the record-setting Ka'Deem Carey. Colorado has allowed at least 42 points in six straight games and allowed more than 50 points for the fifth time this year. This team's point differential for the season is bordering on historically bad as the Buffs rank 115th in scoring offense (17.6 ppg) and are 120th in scoring defense (47.2 ppg) on the season. 
This week: Washington (6-4)

12. Washington State (2-8, 0-7)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to UCLA 44-36
The final score was not indicative of how lopsided this game really was. Washington State trailed 37-7 and 44-14 before scoring the last three touchdowns of the game. The story coming out of Pullman, however, had nothing to do with the eighth loss of the season. The story was Marquess Wilson's strange letter concerning the state of the Cougars locker room. Accusations of verbal and physical "abuse" have news outlets across the country eyeing Mike Leach. Is there a pattern of improper behavior from the coaching staff? Or is it simply the ramblings of a disgruntled star who has quit on his team because times were tough? This soap opera is far from over. 

This week: at Arizona State (5-5)

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 11 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 12, 2012 - 05:10
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-11-power-rankings

The Wisconsin Badgers have clinched a berth in the Big Ten championship game for the second year in a row. And even though it won't finish with the best record in the Leaders half of the league, UW could still finish 5-0 in the division. Games against Penn State and Ohio State technically don't mean anything, but Jim Delany would likely feel better if the Badgers could win out. 

Both Nebraska and Michigan won to maintain status quo, however, the Huskers are in the driver's seat to reach Indianapolis. Michigan needs Nebraska to lose and then has to beat both Iowa and Ohio State. It looks like another Big Red battle in the championship game.

Post-Week 11 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Miller was off this weekend as the Buckeyes rest up to finish the year with two tough tests: at Wisconsin and that school from up North at home.

2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He completed 12-of-20 passes for 168 yards and the game-winning touchdown pass to go with 15 carries and 104 yards rushing. He once again led his team to a key victory in the fourth quarter and has a clear path to the Big Ten title game.

3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin - The Badgers tailback had another huge game against Indiana, rushing for 198 yards and three scores in the division-clinching win. He has 1,226 yards and 16 rushing TDs in 2012.

Post-Week 11 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - He registered 10 total tackles and forced what should have been the game-winning fumble late in the second half. He has been an emotional, statistical and physical leader for Penn State all year.

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - The Badgers leader on defense helped clinch the division this weekend by shutting down the high-flying Hoosiers offense. He is fourth in the league in tackles and second in tackles for loss on the league's No. 1 rushing defense and No. 2 overall defense.

3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon was off this weekend. As was talented POY candidate Ryan Shazier.

Post-Week 11 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - His team has two tough tests to finish the year after this week's bye. Two wins would give Meyer his first undefeated season at a BCS program. 

2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - His team controlled the game in Lincoln until the final 10 minutes and came up just short in a hostile environment. He should at least split, however, to finish the year no worse than 7-5. Coach BoB would deserve heavy praise for his work in Happy Valley should they go 1-1 over the final two weeks. 

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - Bo Pelini may win the conference crown, but he just doesn't seem like Coach of the Year material for a variety of reasons. Kevin Wilson and Jerry Kill might get some votes as well. Coach Fitz gets the nod almost by default in what should be a two horse race between Meyer and O'Brien — two coaches ineligible to win the conference crown.

Post-Week 11 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 11 result: Off

The Buckeyes will head north to Madison to battle the Badgers following the bye week before finishing up their season at home against Michigan. An unbeaten record is within reach and the week off should have this team rested for the final stretch.
This week: at Wisconsin (7-3)

2. Nebraska (8-2, 5-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 11 result: Beat Penn State 32-23 
With just under 11 minutes to go in the game, Taylor Martinez connected with Jamal Turner to give Nebraska its first lead of the day. The Cornhuskers never looked back, outscoring Penn State 26-3 in the second half, and now have a strangle-hold on the Legends Division crown. Martinez, who had thrown seven interceptions in his previous four games, threw for 168 yards and added another 104 yards on the ground and didn't throw a pick in the key win. After defeating Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, the Huskers have done the heavy lifting in their quest for a Big Ten title. Now, if Bo Pelini could just settle down on the sidelines.
This week: Minnesota (6-4)

3. Michigan (7-3, 5-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 11 result: Beat Northwestern 38-31 (OT)
Denard Robinson missed his second consecutive game, and this weekend, it nearly cost the Wolverines the win. However, Devin Gardner, who nearly gave the game away with a bad interception late in the game, was able to miraculously tie the game on a 53-yard heave to Roy Roundtree with less than 10 seconds to play. Gardner then accounted for his fourth touchdown of the game in overtime and then watched his defense get one last stop. When Tyris Jones was tackled for no gain on 4th-and-2 in overtime, Michigan celebrated its fifth Big Ten win of the year and kept pace with Nebraska in the Legends Division.
This week: Iowa (4-6)

4. Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 11 result: Beat Indiana 62-14
Curt Phillips made his first career start count as his team scored 62 points and rolled up 605 yards of offense to clinch the Badgers' second consecutive trip to the Big Ten Championship game. The redshirt senior was a highly touted prospect with electric athletic ability, but three torn ACLs kept him from starting a game until his fifth year in Madison. He wasn't needed much, but he played well and was certainly the feel-good story of the day in Bloomington. Montee Ball led the UW rushing attack that totaled a school-record 564 yards on 64 attempts. The former Heisman finalist finished with 198 yards and his 75th, 76th and 77th career touchdowns. He is now No. 2 all-time in NCAA history in total touchdowns (77) and No. 2 all-time in rushing touchdowns (71) — both to Travis Prentice (78 total, 73 rushing). 
This week: Ohio State (10-0)

5. Penn State (6-4, 4-2)
Previous rank: 4
Week 11 result: Lost to Nebraska 32-23
Matt McGloin was solid in the first half as Penn State jumped out to a 20-6 halftime lead. The offense was stifled the rest of way, scoring only three points in the second half. McGloin completed less than half of his passes (18-of-37) for 240 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was unable to move the ball in the final quarter once the Big Red took the lead early in the fourth quarter. The Nittany Lions head home for the final two games of the regular season against Indiana and then Wisconsin. Bill O'Brien's team will be favored in both, but merely a split would give this team seven wins. A number many believed to be impossible considering the off-season in Happy Valley.

This week: Indiana (4-6)

6. Northwestern (7-3, 3-3)
Previous rank: 6
Week 11 result: Lost to Michigan 38-31 (OT)
Regardless of how Northwestern finished the final two weeks of the season, Pat Fitzgerald will have to wonder what if when looking back on 2012. His Wildcats held a double-digit lead against Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan and lost all three games. The Cats were leading by 10 late in the third quarter before it allowed Michigan to improbably finish the game on a 24-7 run. The most painful moment of the season came on the tip-drill heave from Devin Gardner that set up the game-tying field goal on the game's final play. Things aren't any easier this weekend against the Spartans.
This week: at Michigan State (5-5)

7. Michigan State (5-5, 2-4)
Previous rank: 7
Week 11 result: Off
The Spartans were off this week, giving them two weeks to watch the replays of the final drive against Nebraska. Painful stuff.
This week: Northwestern (7-3)

8. Minnesota (6-4, 2-4)
Previous rank: 10
Week 11 result: Beat Illinois 17-3
It wasn't pretty but the win over Illinois was a monumental one for Jerry Kill and the Golden Gophers. The road victory gets Minnesota to bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009. The passing game struggled — Philip Nelson threw for 78 yards and no touchdowns — but wasn't asked to do much as the ground game took care of business. Kill and company ran the ball 50 times for 233 yards and two second-half Donnell Kirkwood touchdown runs. With tough games against Nebraska and Michigan State left, this team is playing with house money now that it got its sixth win.
This week: at Nebraska (8-2)

9. Indiana (4-6, 2-4)
Previous rank: 8
Week 11 result: Lost to Wisconsin 62-14
So Indiana won't play in the Big Ten championship game after all. The Hoosiers fell behind quickly against the powerful Badgers rushing attack and was never competitive. The rushing defense was gashed all game long as Kevin Wilson found out his team still has a ways to go before it can compete in the division. The offense was held in check (294 total yards) as the defense has now allowed 83, 59 and 62 points to Wisconsin in the last three meetings. A split with Penn State and Purdue to end the season, however, would still give IU a five-win season in Wilson's second year at the helm.
This week: at Penn State (6-4)

10. Purdue (4-6, 1-5)
Previous rank: 11
Week 11 result: Beat Iowa 24-21 

Danny Hope snapped a five-game losing streak with a huge road win over Iowa. Robert Marve threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns and led the Boilermakers on the the game-winning drive with less than a minute left in the game. Hope, whose fate as the head coach could have been sealed with a loss, now has a good shot to get to bowl eligibility. Purdue will face Illinois and Indiana to finish the year and two wins gets the Boilers to the postseason.
This week: at Illinois (2-8)

11. Iowa (4-6, 2-4)
Previous rank: 9
Week 11 result: Lost to Purdue 24-21
James Vandenberg completed a one-yard pass on a key fourth-down with 47 seconds left in the game. The only problem was Iowa needed three yards to convert and the turnover on downs allowed Purdue just enough time to move down the field and hand the Hawkeyes their fourth consecutive loss. Such is life for the fans at Kinnick Stadium these days. Kirk Ferentz, who is making roughly $4 million per season, is fighting for his job in Iowa City, and $1 million per victory is completely unacceptable. With Michigan and Nebraska still left on the schedule, a 4-8 season is very possible. 
This week: at Michigan (7-3)

12. Illinois (2-8, 0-6)
Previous rank: 12
Week 11 result: Lost to Minnesota 17-3
Tim Beckman can't wait for recruiting season to begin. His team lost for the seventh straight time and it didn't look competitive. The Illini totaled 276 yards of offense, 13 first downs and three points as Minnesota (of all teams) held Illinois scoreless for the final 54 minutes of play. Nathan Scheelhaase continued his stunningly mediocre play at quarterback and one has to think a winless season in Big Ten play is likely in 2012. Illinois finishes with Purdue and Northwestern.
This week: Purdue (4-6)

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Big Ten Post-Week 11 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 12, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-betting-against-spread-week-11

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

2012 Record Against The Spread: 45-28
Last Week: 5-1

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Utah (-1.5) at Washington
Every now and then a line shocks you as an analyst. And a Washington team with wins over previously unbeatens Stanford and last week Oregon State as a home underdog to a team that is 4-5 makes no sense at all. Travis Wilson has been solid at quarterback for the Utes but he is a freshman going on the road into one of the nastiest road venues west of the Mississippi. Washington has allowed more than 17 points at home only once (to USC, 24) and is 4-1 at The Link. Washington will win outright — just like it did last year 31-14 in Salt Lake City. Prediction: Washington +1.5

Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn
Rumors are swirling on the Plains that Gene Chizik will be out after the Alabama game and the Dawgs must win to clinch the SEC East. This game was an absolute blood bath last season (45-7) and Auburn has only gotten worse. With so much on the line, despite some injuries on offense, Aaron Murray and Mark Richt won’t let the Tigers sneak up. Georgia rolls. Prediction: Georgia -14.5

UCLA (-15.5) at Washington State
Yes, the Bruins can be schizophrenic, especially on the road. But it feels like they have turned a corner under star freshman quarterback Brett Hundley — who trails only Johnny Manziel for total offense by a freshman. Washington State has totaled 76 yards rushing in six Pac-12 games, rushing for negative yards four times. They are historically bad and UCLA is surging after three straight quality wins. Prediction: UCLA -15.5

Arizona State (+9) at USC
I’m all over the West Coast this weekend. USC has many reasons to seek revenge this weekend. Arizona State embarrassed the Trojans last season on national television and the Ducks (as well as some sketchy reports following the game) did the same last weekend. USC could still win the conference and play in the Rose Bowl if it wins out, so Lane Kiffin will have his team focused against a defense that has allowed 124 points and 454.7 yards per game over its last three — all losses. Prediction: USC -9

Fresno State (-3) at Nevada
Other than Utah State’s unblemished record against the spread (10-0), the Bulldogs of Fresno State claim the nation’s next best mark of 9-1. Quarterback Derek Carr has been rolling of late as the offense has scored at least 42 points in three straight games. Nevada has a solid offense as well but has struggled of late to stop people. They allowed 39 points in a loss to San Diego State and 48 in a loss to Air Force in their last two. Prediction: Fresno State -3

Three road teams I like:

Louisville (-2.5) at Syracuse
Pitt (-3) at UConn
Northwestern (+10.5) at Michigan

- by Braden Gall

2012 Trends Against the Spread:

Undefeated ATS: Utah St (10-0)
Winless ATS: None

One Loss ATS: Fresno St (9-1), Kansas St (7-1-1), Northwestern (8-1)
One Win ATS: Idaho (1-8), Virginia (1-7-1)

Two Losses ATS: Ball St (8-2), Clemson (7-2), FAU (7-2), Kent St (7-2), Ole Miss (7-2), N. Illinois (8-2), Penn St (7-2), San Jose St (7-2), UNLV (8-2), Western Kentucky (7-2)

Two Wins ATS: Arkansas (2-7), Boston College (2-7), Central Michigan (2-7), Colorado St (2-7), UConn (2-5-2), Hawaii (2-6), Illinois (2-7), Iowa (2-7), Kentucky (2-8), UMass (2-7), Miami-OH (2-6-1), Nevada (2-7), NC State (2-6-1), USC (2-7), Southern Miss (2-7), Virginia Tech (2-7), West Virginia (2-6)

Related College Football Content

<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 11</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-11-preview-and-predictions

Week 11 should be a great weekend in the Big Ten. Northwestern heads to Ann Arbor to see if it belongs in the title discussion. Wisconsin visits Indiana in what could be a surprising Leaders Division elimination game. And the contrast of colors in Lincoln when Penn State comes to town should inspire any college football junkie.

Just don't tell any of this to the fans in Iowa City or West Lafayette.

Big Ten's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 11:

1. Taylor Martinez mistakes vs. big plays
Martinez is the Big Ten’s leading active passer — the injured Joel Stave is No. 1 — and is No. 2 in total offense behind only Braxton Miller. He contributed a pair of long touchdown runs (71 and 35 yards) as well as the game-winning drive against Michigan State. He also threw three interceptions. The Huskers quarterback giveth (12 TD in last four games) and taketh away (7 INT in last four games), and as usual, Nebraska’s Rose Bowl hopes hinge on their quarterback’s ability to make big plays. T-Mart struggled last year against Penn State (13-of-26, 143 yards, 0 TD, 18 carries, 56 yards) but still managed to eke out a 17-14 emotion-laden victory the first time Penn State took the field following the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

2. Penn State must run for 160 yards and at least one touchdown
One way to keep Taylor Martinez at bay will be for Penn State to run the ball. It seems simple, but when Penn State runs the ball effectively, it wins. In its three losses, PSU failed to score a rushing touchdown and averaged 81.7 yards on 30.7 attempts. Conversely, Penn State has rushed for at least 160 yards in all five Big Ten wins. Moreover, the Nits have scored 14 rushing touchdowns in wins and no touchdowns on the ground in their three losses. This offense goes as Matt McGloin goes, however, the ground game has been the difference between winning and losing for Bill O’Brien.

3. Leaders Division Championship Game
Wisconsin has Ohio State at home and Penn State on the road to finish the 2012 regular season. It is fair to say both of those teams are better than the Badgers. And since Bucky has to play in Beaver Stadium to end the Nittany Lions' season, it is hard to see Wisconsin winning either. Indiana also has to visit Happy Valley before finishing up with Purdue. So assuming UW loses both and the Hoosiers split, the showdown between the two this weekend suddenly becomes the next Leaders Division Championship Game. Should the Badgers win, they clinch the best eligible record in the division and a trip to Indianapolis. A win for IU and they would be a win over the Boilermakers in the regular-season finale from playing in the title game. 

4. Can Wisconsin get any production from the QB?
There has been some talk that the oft-injured but extremely talented Curt Phillips may get some looks at quarterback this weekend. That seems unlikely considering Danny O’Brien is healthy and Phillips' lack of experience. Either way, however, Wisconsin has to get production from its passing game it if wants to win this weekend. The Hoosiers have proven they can score and the Badgers offense will have to keep pace. However, this UW offense has been completely one-dimensional when Joel Stave has been out of the line up. With talented pass-catchers and an excellent running game, the throwing lanes should be available for whoever is under center for Bret Bielema. O’Brien just needs to be more efficient and accurate with the football. 

5. Who will play quarterback for Michigan?
Denard Robinson missed his first career game last weekend when Devin Gardner started against Minnesota. Shoelace is battling a reoccurring nerve issue in his throwing elbow and while he wasn’t needed in the easy win over the Gophers, one has to believe Northwestern provides a much tougher test. Gardner, who should be the starter for Brady Hoke next fall, was productive and efficient in the win. Hoke isn’t tipping his hand as to who will be under center for Michigan, so it has forced Pat Fitzgerald to prepare for both. Either way, Hoke and his quarterback have to get more help from its running game. Thomas Rawls got 16 carries and scored last week and should be worked into the mix more since Fitzgerald Toussaint has struggled this year (3.5 yards per carry on 109 attempts this year). If needed, look for Hoke to mix up his offensive line rotation in an effort to kick-start the running attack. 

6. How does Northwestern win on the road?
Run, run, run and run some more. Since Week 1, each time Northwestern has gotten to 190 yards rushing, they have won (6-0). Both times the Wildcats failed to reach 190 yards, they lost. This team rolled up 349 yards on the ground against Iowa two weeks ago and will turn to its two-headed monster to lead the offense. Venric Mark and Kain Colter both topped 160 yards rushing in the win over the Hawkeyes and both are ranked in the top 11 in the Big Ten rushing ranks. Michigan, after allowing 522 yards rushing in its first two games, has only allowed 109.6 yards per game since. This is where Northwestern can win the game. 

7. Gophers last chance at the postseason
The Golden Gophers finish the season at Nebraska and with Michigan State at home. Minnesota will be hard pressed to win either of those two contests, so Jerry Kill’s search for the postseason may end with the road trip to Illinois this weekend. For an extremely young team, a bowl game — and the extra month of practice time — would be invaluable. Illinois, who has allowed at least 31 points in six straight games (all losses), hasn’t been competitive in league play this fall. The Illini are losing Big Ten games by an average of 26.8 points per game and have not played a single conference game closer than two touchdowns (14 point loss to Indiana). Kill has to view this weekend as the opportunity to tangibly build the future of Minnesota football. A loss could be devastating to a young team.

8. Who survives the game in Iowa City?
No, the fans watching on either side likely won’t make it out of Kinnick Stadium alive. The phrase ‘bored to death’ comes to mind. However, there is some serious intrigue in what could be deemed The Pink Slip Bowl. Barring a three-game winning streak to end the season, it is unlikely Danny Hope returns to West Lafayette next fall. Kirk Ferentz is much safer at Iowa, but giving Hope his first and possibly only Big Ten win of the year will make the already restless fans in Iowa City that much more uncomfortable. With Michigan and Nebraska left for the Hawkeyes, a loss would likely mean a 4-8 overall record with six consecutive defeats to end the year. I’ll take Ferentz to survive what will be an unwatchable game of mediocrity. 

Week 11 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 11 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Wisconsin at Indiana Wisconsin, 30-28 Wisconsin, 31-26 Wisconsin, 34-27 Wisconsin, 21-14
Purdue at Iowa Iowa, 24-20 Iowa, 21-20 Iowa, 27-20 Iowa, 10-7
Northwestern at Michigan Michigan, 30-27 Michigan, 33-24 Michigan, 31-24 Northwestern, 28-21
Minnesota at Illinois Minnesota, 24-20 Minnesota, 27-23 Minnesota, 31-20 Minnesota, 38-20
Penn St at Nebraska Nebraska, 27-24 Nebraska, 31-21 Nebraska, 27-24 Nebraska, 31-21
Last Week: 5-0 5-0 4-1 5-0
Yearly Totals: 65-14 61-18 66-13 61-18

Bye Week: Ohio State, Michigan State

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Big Ten Week 11 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-11-preview-and-predictions

The race in the Pac-12 South continues to entertain. Arizona's loss to UCLA was costly, both in the standings and on the injury report. USC's loss to Oregon didn't end their title hopes as the two L.A. schools are now headed on a collision course for Nov. 17. But both need to take care of business this weekend against overmatched opponents to ensure next weekend's game sends the winner to Eugene in December. Otherwise, all eyes should be pointed northward to Palo Alto, where the Beavers come to town, and Seattle, where Utah is fighting for a bowl game.

Pac-12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 11:

1. Stanford's nasty front against Oregon State's young O-Line
The Cardinal have the best front seven West of the Mississippi. They have allowed a grand total of minus-16 yards rushing in three wins since losing to Notre Dame, twice in a row holding the opposition to negative rushing yards. Stanford is also leading the nation in sacks after taking down the other team’s quarterback 17 times over the last two weeks. No, the Bears, Cougars and Buffaloes don’t offer the same type of challenge as the Beavers, but this will easily be the toughest test Oregon State’s offense will have faced all season. A young offensive line, a back up quarterback, and talented but diminutive skill players make this an awfully tough match up for Mike Riley. There is some good news, however, as…

2. Kevin Hogan makes first start against No. 2 defense
Oregon State trails only Stanford in pass efficiency, rushing and scoring defense in the Pac-12. So Hogan’s first career start won’t come easy as the Beavers have been outstanding at rushing the passer and stopping the run all season long. However, as points will be extremely tough to come by in this one for Oregon State, the pressure falls to Riley’s defense to play perfect football if it wants to get the road win. Hogan was extremely efficient last weekend in spot duty, completing 18-of-23 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns and nary a turnover. But that was Colorado — and this is Scott Crichton and Jordan Poyer (who should play after missing last week). This will be a physical, blue-collar slugfest. 

3. Revenge on the mind of the USC Trojans
Lane Kiffin’s bunch was 10-2 last fall with wins over Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon and Utah. And a eight-point overtime loss to Stanford and Andrew Luck is nothing to be ashamed of. However, allowing 43 points in a three-touchdown loss to a 6-6 Sun Devils team with a coach in his final season likely hasn’t sat well with Mr. Barkley and company. The USC quarterback had his worst game of the 2011 season against ASU, throwing for 227 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The embarrassing loss to Arizona State last fall, as well as the beatdown the Trojans defense took last weekend, should have this team ready to play. Arizona State has allowed 124 points and 454.7 yards per game during its current three-game losing streak. Best wishes to Todd Graham’s defense.

4. Can Travis Wilson handle Seattle?
Kyle Whittingham officially switched to touted freshman quarterback Travis Wilson four games ago. He kept his team competitive on the road against UCLA (21-14) and Oregon State (21-7) before breaking through the last two weeks. The Utes were scoring 20.1 points per game and were ranked 105th nationally before Wilson led his team to 49 points in each of the last two weekends. Certainly, the ground game has emerged and the defense has improved, but if Utah wants to win a third straight game and keep its bowl hopes alive, Wilson will have to handle the rowdy crowd in Seattle. It’s safe to say the Huskies are a different team at home. They are 4-1 at home with wins over previously unbeaten Stanford and Oregon State and have allowed more than 17 points only once (USC, 24). Good luck youngster. 

5. Oregon shooting for an NCAA record
Fresh off of a 62-point blasting of USC, Oregon sits tied with Oklahoma State (2010-12) and Hawaii (2006-07) with an NCAA-record 22 straight games with at least 30 points scored. LSU was the last team to keep the Ducks under 30 back in the 2011 season opener. Additionally, the Ducks have scored at least 34 points in 18 consecutive Pac-12 games, dating back to, you guessed it, a road trip to Cal in 2010. It was by far the best defensive effort Chip Kelly’s bunch faced en route to the BCS National Championship Game. So even though multiple scoring streaks are at stake, I am positive Kelly would take a guaranteed berth in the BCS title game if it meant another low-scoring two-point win this weekend.

6. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin must roll on the road
The Bruins quarterback (306.8 ypg) and running back (133.8) tandem trail only Matt Scott (357.4) and Ka’Deem Carey (112.8) in combined total offense in the Pac-12. And since they just obliterated the Wildcats duo 66-10, this could be considered the most productive QB-RB tandem in the league. In fact, only Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel produces more total offense nationally as a freshman than Hundley. With Washington State struggling at unprecedented levels — try 76 total yards rushing in six Pac-12 games — this should be a cakewalk for UCLA’s dynamic backfield. 

7. Matt Scott's health and Arizona’s ability to bounce back
The dynamic play-maker suffered a concussion against UCLA last weekend and is listed as questionable. He won’t be needed in this home game against Colorado, so I would expect to see Rich Rodriguez to play it safe with his star quarterback. Look for Ka’Deem Carey and a host of talented skill players to pick up the slack and abuse the Buffs with or without their quarterback. This will get ugly real quick and the only negative thing that could possibly happen is another injury to Scott. So keep him on the sideline RichRod.

Week 11 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 11 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Colorado at Arizona Arizona, 38-7 Arizona, 48-0 Arizona, 55-17 Arizona, 35-10
Arizona St at USC USC, 45-21 USC, 37-23 USC, 45-31 USC, 38-28
Oregon St at Stanford Stanford, 20-17 Stanford, 30-27 Stanford, 24-20 Stanford, 27-14
Utah at Washington Washington, 24-20 Washington, 33-10 Washington, 27-20 Washington, 35-10
UCLA at Washington St UCLA, 41-14 UCLA, 47-10 UCLA, 48-20 UCLA, 31-10
Oregon at Cal Oregon, 41-17 Oregon, 44-17 Oregon, 48-17 Oregon, 49-14
Last Week: 6-0 5-1 6-0 4-2
Yearly Totals: 51-15 51-15 50-16 45-21

Bye: None

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Pac-12 Week 11 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /nfl/seven-bold-second-half-nfl-predictions-2012

The second half is here and that means things are about to get interesting in the NFL. So I thought, in true Athlon Sports prognostication fashion, I would put on my predicting hat for the second half. Here are outlandish, outstanding and potentially out of touch bold predictions for the rest of the NFL season:

A rookie running back will lead the NFL in rushing
Doug Martin sits at No. 3 in the NFL in rushing with 794 yards after two huge games against Minnesota and Oakland. Alfred Morris is No. 4 in the league with 793 yards but hasn’t had a bye week yet. Trent Richardson has been solid and sits just outside the top ten in rushing with 575 yards. All three could finish in the top ten and Martin or Morris have a good shot at leading the league in rushing — Martin's 99.3 yards per game is No. 2 in the league. There is certainly a youth movement at the position this season as not just rookies but new starters (Stevan Ridley, C.J. Spiller) have been successful. At the midway point of the year, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews, Steven Jackson, Michael Turner and Matt Forte are all outside of the top 15 in rushing. What would be more shocking: A rookie leads the NFL in rushing or Chris Johnson leads the NFL in rushing?

The New Orleans Saints will have a winning record
The schedule is daunting, but the Saints (3-5) are playing their best football at the right time. Winners of three out of the last four, Who Dat nation is feeling cautiously optimistic about the second half. Yes, the Falcons (twice), 49ers and Giants are on the schedule, but two of those come at home. The coaching staff and defense are beginning to finally settle in after Bounty Gate and Replacement-a-palooza and Drew Brees is back carving up defenses. He leads the NFL in passing yards and should keep his team in every game. Every game is a must-win for New Orleans from here on out, but they should be favored against Oakland, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Dallas. A 2-2 mark against the big boys — SF, NYG and ATL — could give the Saints a 9-7 record and a potential Wild Card bid.

A team will win the Super Bowl without a 4,000-yard passer
Last fall, 10 players threw for at least 4,000 yards and 14 threw for at least 3,500 yards. Seven of the top nine passers made the playoffs while five of the six NFC playoff quarterbacks threw for at least 4,000 yards. This fall, 14 players are on pace for more than 4,000 yards and an astonishing 24 are slated to top 3,500 yards. The last time a team won the Super Bowl without a 4,000-yard passer was the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XLIII. The last time a team won the Super Bowl without a 3,000-yard passer was also Big Ben (XL). So with passing records getting smashed every week, it would come as a shock if the Super Bowl champions didn’t feature a high-flying passing attack, right? However, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Alex Smith and Joe Flacco are all ranked 15th or worse in yards per game and none are on pace for 4,000 yards. In case you didn’t notice, other than the Atlanta Falcons, those are the best four records in football.

Andy Reid will be coaching in 2013…in San Diego
The Eagles failed to score a touchdown in five trips inside the Saints' red zone on Monday night and Michael Vick was sacked seven times. Philadelphia moved to 3-5 after the team’s fourth straight loss — Reid’s longest such streak as the head coach of the Eagles. Vick is a huge part of the problem and it will likely cost Reid his job unless he can figure out a way to win games. Which will be hard to do with five games left in the division (Dallas twice, Washington twice, Giants). Unless this team wins at least six of its final eight, heads will roll in The City of Brotherly Love. And since Norv Turner has no business being an NFL head coach, there should be an opening in San Diego as well. With an established roster of veterans, Reid’s 129 wins and nine playoff appearances would fit nicely in SoCal.

A rookie quarterback will win a playoff game
Andrew Luck is special. He has set all types of rookie quarterback records and is already establishing himself as one of the NFL’s best passers — he is fourth in yards — and has his team leading the AFC Wild Card hunt right now. With a very favorable second-half schedule, it will be hard for the Colts not to finish with a winning record. And in the atrocious AFC, where only six teams have a winning record, Luck and the Colts have as good a shot as any to reach the postseason. In the NFC, Russell Wilson has the 5-4 Seahawks positioned to snag a Wild Card berth as well. Both have been much better at home, and although it is unlikely either will get to host a playoff game, both are clearly capable of an upset come January. They are both unflappable leaders who care only about winning.

Randy Moss will catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl
The 14-year veteran wide receiver sat out the 2011 season only to return to the field with the 49ers this fall. Many didn’t know what to expect when the future Hall of Famer took the field this season. While he hasn’t been the explosive weapon fans were accustomed to seeing throughout his career, he has been a meaningful part of the San Francisco offense. He has only caught 13 passes for 235 yards but has scored twice and has been used as a decoy on countless plays. On a team that looks like it could be the odds-on favorite to the win the NFC, Moss has a good chance to reach the big game for just the second time in his career. He caught five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown as a Patriot in Super Bowl XLII. He may not stuff the stat sheet, but Jim Harbaugh would figure out a way to get Moss involved in the offense should the 49ers make it to New Orleans.

Neither the Bears nor the Ravens will win their division
The Bears (7-1) and Ravens (6-2) have a combined record of 13-3 and are both sitting at least one game ahead in the NFC and AFC North Divisions. Yet, there is a good chance that neither will finish atop the standings. The Bears' second-half schedule is daunting and it begins with Houston and San Francisco before tests with Seattle, Green Bay, Minnesota (twice), Detroit and Arizona. Three of the final four are on the road, including the final two against teams that could be fighting for playoff bids (Cardinals, Lions). The visit from the Packers in Week 15 will likely determine the Monsters of the Midway’s fate in 2012. So if it comes down to Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler, that’s an easy one. In the AFC, the Ravens' defense is simply too depleted and still has to face the Steelers twice, face both Mannings as well as road trips to Washington, San Diego and Cincinnati.

-by Braden Gall

Related NFL Content:

<p> Seven Bold Second Half NFL Predictions for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:10
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-guards-and-centers

It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best interior lineman prospects:


1. Chance Warmack, Alabama (6-3, 320, Sr.)
War-Daddy is the phrase most used when dealing with Warmack. He isn’t the biggest blocker in the nation, but he might be the most physical and most consistent in all of the nation. Like teammate Barrett Jones (see below), he plays for the best coach in the land and has multiple National Championships. He has paved the way for a host of elite running offenses and will likely be a top ten NFL pick come next spring. There are no weaknesses in his game.

2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6-3, 310, Sr.)
The big Tar Heel blocker has long been considered one of the top players in the nation at his position. He is an extraordinary run blocker and has the size and make up to contribute at an early stage of his NFL career. He is the only other guard prospect with a shot at landing in the first round along with Warmack and his “luxury” of facing elite NFL prospects every day in practice has to have helped his stock. He is a complete player who is developing nicely as a pass blocker.

3. Larry Warford, Kentucky (6-3, 330, Sr.)
Kentucky has not been good in 2012 but it hasn’t been Warford’s fault. He has elite size and has long been considered one of the top blockers in the SEC. He faces elite defenses each and every weekend, including a few potential first rounders like Sheldon Richardson and Sharrif Floyd, and more than holds his own. His teams are generally overmatched, making his efforts even more impressive due to work ethic and toughness.

4. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (6-4, 320, Jr.)
One thing scouts will love about Jackson is his competition. LSU, Alabama and the rest of the SEC, along with his own elite defensive line in practice, have given Jackson plenty of barometer tests throughout his career. He is a mauler in the running game, consistently gets to the second level and has the size and toughness to play right away.

5. Cyril Richardson, Baylor (6-5, 330, Jr.)
He was listed as the No. 13 offensive tackle prospect in Athlon Sports’ rankings, but should see his stock rise if he lands as a guard. He is a massive prospect with a huge NFL frame that will be most effective in the ground game. He may not be athletic or quick enough to stick at tackle, but his shift to guard has proven to be a productive one for Baylor. He has shown improvement all season long with his new position and could be only scratching the surface on his upside at guard.

6. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee (6-5, 305, Sr.)
7. Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech (6-3, 300, Sr.)
8. Blaize Foltz, TCU (6-4, 310, Sr.)
9. Alvin Bailey, Arkansas (6-5, 319, Jr.)
10. Trey Hopkins, Texas (6-4, 300, Jr.)
11. Braden Hansen, BYU (6-5, 310, Sr.)
12. Travis Bond, North Carolina (6-6, 340, Sr.)
13. Jeff Baca, UCLA (6-3, 300, Sr.)
14. Marcus Hall, Ohio State (6-5, 317, Jr.)
15. Hugh Thornton, Illinois (6-4, 310, Sr.) 


1. Khaled Holmes, USC (6-3, 305, Sr.)
If nothing else, scouts should realize how important and talented Holmes is when he didn’t play against Stanford. The Cardinal abused the interior of the USC line while Holmes sat on the sideline and watched. He returned and battled with early NFL pick Star Lotulelei with a bum ankle — winning some and losing some against the Utes' powerhouse. Overall, Holmes has tremendous athletic ability, is a natural fit at center and has a large frame that could carry additional weight. He is a complete player who has started since he was a sophomore and his absence was noticeable along the line in 2012.

2. Barrett Jones, Alabama (6-5, 310, Sr.)
Jones' resume is remarkable. He entered his final season as a two-time National Champion as well as the reigning Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top offensive lineman. And he is playing his third position, earning All-SEC honors as both a guard and tackle. He still could end up at either guard or center, but his skills will play on the next level regardless. He is extremely intelligent, hard working, versatile and physical. He will need to prove he can handle the massive nose guards to stick at center, but no matter where he ends up, Jones should make an early impact on Sundays.

3. Mario Benavides, Louisville (6-4, 290, Sr.)
Other than a short three-game absence at the start of 2011, Benavides has been a stalwart at the center position for the Cardinals. He is a four-year starter and has watched the team develop from Big East also-ran to a potential BCS bowl team. He has adequate size, tremendous experience and has proven his mettle against NFL-laden defensive lines like North Carolina's. He isn’t a first-round selection, but at a position that normally falls to the middle rounds, he is as safe a bet as there is in 2013.

4. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin (6-4, 330, Jr.)
The burly Badger blocker may also end up at guard like Jones, but has shifted to center for the 2012 season. He has a huge frame, great power and strength and has been productive against top-notch competition. He may not have the overt quickness and athleticism the NFL demands at center. He is an excellent run-blocker who has upside at the position because he is still learning how to play at the pivot.

5. Braxton Cave, Notre Dame (6-3, 305, Sr.)
When it comes to experience against elite level competition, few have the resume that Cave boasts. He was a big-time recruit and has proven himself against the likes of Kawann Short, Mike Martin, Jerel Worthy, Stanford’s front seven, USC and many more. Notre Dame’s schedule is one of the toughest each season and has given scouts loads of film on the slightly undersized center.

6. Graham Pocic, Illinois (6-5, 310, Sr.)
7. Travis Swanson, Arkansas (6-5, 305, Jr.)
8. Dalton Freeman, Clemson (6-4, 290, Sr.)
9. Weston Richburg, Colorado State (6-4, 300, Jr.)
10. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma (6-3, 290, Jr.)
11. T.J. Johnson, South Carolina (6-5, 318, Sr.)
12. Dillon Ferrell, New Mexico (6-5, 290, Jr.)
13. Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (6-3, 300, Jr.)
14. Joe Madsen, West Virginia (6-4, 305, Sr.)
15. Ryan Turnley, Pitt (6-5, 320, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Guards and Centers</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-10

Each week, the Athlon editors and others who closely follow college football vote on the most prestigious award in the sport. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports and other publications cast their votes for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

Barrett Sallee:  Lead Writer ()
Jim Young:  ()
Blair Kerkhoff:  ()
Chris Level:  ()

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (12 first place votes)
 133-187, 1,875 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT, 139 att., 698 yards, 17 TD
The numbers weren't eye-popping, but CK7 was still extremely efficient and led his team to a big revenge win over a solid Oklahoma State team. He completed 16-of-22 passes for 245 yards and rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries and one total touchdown. He is now leading the nation in passing efficiency (174.39). Next Game: at TCU

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 129/130 12 1 - - - 13/13
2. (3) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 98/130 - 5 2 3 1 13/13
3. (2) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 91/130 1 1 4 2 3 13/13
4. (6) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 90/130 - 5 3 2 1 12/13
5t. (7) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 63/130 - - - 2 3 13/13
5t. (4) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 63/130 - 1 2 2 1 12/13
7. (9) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 48/130 - - 2 - 2 9/13
8. (9) Marqise Lee WR USC 39/130 - - - 2 1 10/13
9. (11) Giovani Bernard RB N. Carolina 16/130 - - - - - 6/13
10t. (8) Matt Barkley QB USC 15/130 - - - - - 4/13
10t. (5) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 15/130 - - - - - 7/13
12. (ur) Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville 11/130 - - - - - 6/13
13. (ur) Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 10/130 - - - - - 3/13
14. (12) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 6/130 - - - - 1 1/13
15. (16) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 4/130 - - - - - 1/13
16t. (20) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
16t. (20) DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (13) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (14) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (ur) Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 2/130 - - - - - 1/13
21. (ur) Seth Doege QB Texas Tech 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
124-218, 1,753 yards, 14 TD, 6 INT, 184 att., 1,166 yards, 13 TD
Miller saw little resistance against Illinois this weekend. He scored three total touchdowns with 226 yards passing and 73 yards rushing. He is leading the Big Ten in total offense at 291.9 yards per game, is fourth in rushing (116.6 ypg) and has two tough games left between himself and an undefeated season: at Wisconsin and Michigan at home. Next Game: Bye Week

3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (1 first place vote)
Stats: 87 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 5 INT, 1.5 sack, FR, 4 PBU
It was close and it took some lucky "bounces" but Notre Dame stayed unbeaten with the overtime win over Pitt. Te'o posted seven total tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and broke up a pass. The defense didn't play its best game, allowing 20 points in the first three quarters. Yet, the Irish defense bowed up and shutout the Panthers in the fourth quarter while the offense rallied. It also only allowed two field goals in three overtime possessions, which helped the Irish come away with a 9-0 record. Next Game: at Boston College
4. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Stats: 179 att., 1,295 yards, 19 TD, 15 rec., 184 yards, TD
Barner certainly put on a show in the high profile win over USC on the road, rushing for 321 yards and five touchdowns. He is now leading the nation in scoring (13.3 ppg) and the Pac-12 in rushing (143.9 ypg). Most argue it is the system that provides the numbers — as well as Chip Kelly's best quarterback and offensive line since arriving in Eugene in 2007 — but it is hard to argue with 40 touches, 347 yards from scrimmage and five scores in the season's biggest game. He has three more major hurdles to clear to get to New York, and possibly, Miami Gardens. Next Game: at Cal

5t. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Stats: 173-269, 2,216 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT, 117 att., 793 yards, 13 TD
The record-setting redshirt freshman is leading the SEC in rushing (102.4 ypg) and total offense (383.2 ypg) while leading his team to back-to-back SEC West road wins over Auburn and Mississippi State. He threw for his third 300-yard effort in nine career games while rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in the 38-14 win in Starkville. His showdown with fellow Heisman Trophy hopeful AJ McCarron and the No. 1 team in the nation will eliminate one of the two SEC West passers. 
Next Week: at Alabama

5t. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Stats: 136-204, 1,849 yards, 19 TD, 0 INT, 34 att., minus-44 yards, TD
McCarron struggled for the first time all season during his team's toughest test in Baton Rouge. But when a potential shot at a second straight national championship was on the line, as well as his Heisman Trophy candidacy, he delivered in a big way. He led the Tide down the field with less than two minutes to play and won the game on a brilliant five-play, 72-yard drive spanning 43 seconds. He finished with 165 yards passing and two total touchdowns with nary an interception. Next Game: Texas A&M

7. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
153-217, 1,787 yards, 22 TD, 5 INT, 72 att., 474 yards, 3 TD
Next Game: at Cal

8. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Stats: 88 rec., 1,286 yards, 12 TD, 23 KR, 677 yards, TD, 44 yards rushing 
Next Game: Arizona State

9. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Stats: 126 att., 930 yards, 10 TD, 32 rec., 319 yards, 3 TD, 12 PR, 249 yards, 2 TD 
Next Game: Georgia Tech

10. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Stats: 206-316, 2,750 yards, 30 TD, 10 INT, 21 att., minus-62 yards
Next game: Arizona State

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 10</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/nfl-2012-midseason-preview-and-predictions

In the 31st annual Athlon Sports NFL preview magazine, the Houston Texans were predicted to defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Green Bay Packers were slated to topple the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. We picked the Packers over the Texans in Super Bowl XLVII.

At the halfway point, we thought we would reshuffle the deck with what we have learned from the first nine weeks of action and predict how the second half will play out complete with projected records (and current records).

Projected AFC East Standings:

1. New England Patriots: 12-4 (5-3)
2. New York Jets: 8-8 (3-5)
3. Miami Dolphins: 7-9 (4-4)
4. Buffalo Bills: 5-11 (3-5)

The Pats are clearly the best team in this division and will be the only one making the postseason. A showdown with Houston on Dec. 10 could decide home field. The Jets finish with five winnable games against the Cards, Jags, Titans, Chargers and Bills. Miami still has to play New England twice as well as the Seahawks and 49ers and likely have to win one of these to get to 9-7. The only bright spot for the Bills and their 31st-rated rushing defense is four of the last five will come at home in frigid Buffalo.

Projected AFC North Standings:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5 (5-3)
2. Baltimore Ravens: 11-5 (6-2)*
3. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9 (3-5)
4. Cleveland Browns: 3-13 (2-7)

The injury-riddled Ravens will have to face the Steelers twice in three weeks (Weeks 11 and 13), along with tests against both Mannings and RGIII. This gives the Steelers, winners of three straight overall and six straight at home, the slight edge — especially with two against the Browns and games with Kansas City, San Diego and Cincinnati left on the schedule. Pittsburgh's running game has been rediscovered and this team will finish with three of four at home in the Steel City. The Bengals have lost four straight and face the Giants this weekend before wrapping up the season with road trips to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh before the season finale with Baltimore. The Browns locker room and front office is in a great state of transition at the moment and has one or two winnable games left on the schedule.

Projected AFC South Standings:

1. Houston Texans: 13-3 (7-1)
2. Indianapolis Colts: 9-7 (5-3)*
3. Tennessee Titans: 5-11 (3-6)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-14 (1-7)

The Texans are the class of the division and likely the NFL  — at least, until they visit the Patriots in Week 14. Trips to Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis could also be tricky, but the Texans should claim the best record in the AFC at season's end. The Colts have been excellent but one has to think this team will fade with road trips to New England and Detroit remaining as well as two of their final three coming against Houston. But with a few wins (JAC, BUF, TEN, KC), the Colts could snag a Wild Card berth with a 9-7 record. The Titans and Jags have been competitive at times this fall and have looked downright atrocious at others.

Projected AFC West Standings:

1. Denver Broncos: 12-4 (5-3)
2. San Diego Chargers: 8-8 (4-4)
3. Oakland Raiders: 6-10 (3-5)
4. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-15 (1-7)

Peyton Manning is on a roll and Denver has won three straight because of it. They now won't face a team with a winning record until Baltimore in Week 15. They are a near lock to win the West. The Chargers have a much harder schedule with road trips to Denver, Pittsburgh and the Jets as well as a home date with Baltimore. An upset or two and the Bolts may sneak into the playoffs, but is that really what Chargers fans want? Norv Turner and AJ Smith for another year? Oakland has some talent on offense and could easily play the role of spoiler throughout the second half as they face New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Denver and San Diego. Poor all season long.

Projected AFC Playoffs:

Bye Weeks: (1) Houston and (2) New England
Divisional Hosts: (3) Denver and (4) Pittsburgh
Wild Cards: (5) Baltimore and (6) Indianapolis

Projected NFC East Standings:

1. New York Giants: 11-5 (6-3)
2. Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8 (3-5)
3. Dallas Cowboys: 8-8 (3-5)
4. Washington Redskins: 6-10 (3-6)

The Giants normally wait until the second half to turn things on, so a strong start feels a bit out of place for the G-Men. The Steelers gave the league a blueprint on how to defeat the defending champs in Week 9 and it likely means a loss or two over a tough final two months that features four teams that made the playoffs last fall. The Eagles and Cowboys will square off twice over the next month and those two games should iron out the pecking order behind New York. Both have favorable second-half schedules that could get either or both to at least .500. The Redskins, according to Mike Shanahan, are apparently already looking ahead to 2013.

Projected NFC North Standings:

1. Green Bay Packers: 12-4 (6-3)
2. Chicago Bears: 12-4 (7-1)*
3. Detroit Lions: 7-9 (4-4)
4. Minnesota Vikings: 6-10 (5-4)

This division will likely come down to a Week 15 meeting between Green Bay and Chicago in the Windy City. The Packers can only get healthier while the Bears physically can't play any better than they are right now. The Bears have a brutal second-half schedule with Houston and San Francisco up next before games with Seattle, Green Bay and two with Minnesota. The Bears will play three out of their last four on the road including the final two weeks of the season against Arizona and Detroit (both of whom could be fighting for a Wild Card). When push comes to shove, Aaron Rodgers gets the nod over Jay Cutler in that key showdown at Soldier Field. Speaking of the Lions, two games with Green Bay and one each with Chicago, Atlanta and Houston make their playoff chances slim. Toss in road trips to Arizona and Minnesota with the Colts coming to town and the Lions seem unlikely to return to the playoffs. The Vikings are trending downward and finish with this nasty stretch of games: at CHI, at GB, CHI, at STL, at HOU and GB. Wow.

Projected NFC South Standings:

1. Atlanta Falcons: 15-1 (8-0)
2. Tampa Bay Bucs: 8-8 (4-4)
3. New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (3-5)
4. Carolina Panthers: 3-13 (2-6)

So where do the Falcons lose? At New Orleans, Carolina, Tampa Bay or Detroit? Possibly, but the Giants at home in Week 15 appear to be the most likely culprit. Either way, the Falcons should be the top seed in the NFC. The Bucs have been very competitive and have won three of four games. However, their second half has no easy games and could feature upwards of five or six swing games. This is going to be a fun team to watch down the stretch. The Saints have the talent to beat anyone and could easily win five or six games in the second half. A key road trip to Dallas in Week 16 could determine if either the Saints or Cowboys finish above .500. Carolina got a nice road win this weekend, but Cam Newton still has lots of growing up to do with four of the last six games coming on the road. 

Projected NFC West Standings:

1. San Francisco 49ers: 13-3 (6-2)
2. Seattle Seahawks: 9-7 (5-4)*
3. St. Louis Rams: 6-10 (3-5)
4. Arizona Cardinals: 5-11 (4-5)

Three division home games highlight a solid second half slate for Seattle that also features games against AFC East foes New York, Miami and Buffalo. Look for a playoff run from the Hawks. Arizona and St. Louis should battle it out for third place in Week 12 in the desert. After losing five straight, the Cardinals are in danger of losing out — unless they can beat the Rams at home. The Niners are clearly the class of the division and could easily be the best team in the NFC. Jim Harbaugh will have a chance to prove it with games against New England and Chicago as well as road trips to New Orleans and Seattle. 

Projected NFC Playoffs:

Bye Weeks: (1) Atlanta and (2) San Francisco
Divisional Hosts: (3) NY Giants and (4) Green Bay
Wild Cards: (5) Chicago and (6) Seattle

Super Bowl XLVII: Houston over San Francisco

-by Braden Gall

Related NFL Content:

<p> NFL 2012 Midseason Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/most-amazing-mid-season-nfl-stats-2012

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from the first half of the 2012 season:

0:00: Time Kansas City has held a lead in 2012 in regulation
Technically, the 1-7 Kansas City Chiefs haven't held a lead for any amount of actual game time because the game-winning overtime field goal against New Orleans stopped the clock the millisecond it went through the uprights. Otherwise, the Chiefs have never held a lead at any point in regulation of eight football games thus far in 2012. Matt Cassel's league-leading 18 turnovers (11 INTs, 7 fumbles in seven games) certainly haven't helped his team in this respect.

547.2: NFL record total points the Titans are on pace to allow
The 1981 Baltimore Colts allowed an NFL record 533 points to set the low water mark for defensive performance in a 16-game schedule over 30 years ago. The Titans are allowing 34.2 points per game and would finish well ahead of the Colts' ignominious record should things continue at this pace in the Music City. 

433: NFL single-game rookie passing record set by Andrew Luck
Any excuse to get the No. 1 overall pick into an article is a good one. By throwing for 433 yards in the win over Miami in Week 9, Andrew Luck locked up another rookie record by topping Cam Newton's previous NFL single-game passing record of 422 yards from a year ago. He is 5-3 as a rookie starter who wins on big fourth-quarter drives and poised pocket play. He is one of the single-most, game-ready, first-year players this writer has ever seen. Luck has now toppled two of his fellow four rookie starters (Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden), the only two such meetings of first-year signal callers to date. His 2,404 passing yards trail only Eli Manning and Tom Brady on the season, his 148 yards rushing leads all AFC quarterbacks and his three rushing touchdowns trail only Robert Griffin III and Newton. Speaking of...

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


754: Jason Witten's Dallas Cowboys career record for receptions
Jason Witten has 58 catches for 538 yards and one touchdown in 2012. But his seven-catch performance Sunday evening against the Falcons in Week 9 made him the Dallas Cowboys' all-time leading receiver with 754 career receptions, passing Michael Irvin's 750. His 8,447 career yards rank No. 2 all-time behind Irvin and his 42 touchdown catches rank No. 6 all-time in Cowboys' history. All of this from a tight end who has missed one game in his 151-game NFL career. He is an extraordinary talent who looks to be headed to Canton.

51: Drew Brees' record consecutive games with a TD pass
Not too many records in sports stand for more than 50 years. Hitting streaks and Major championships are the types of things that last more than five decades. That makes what Brees accomplished that much more impressive. He broke Johnny Unitas' NFL record for consecutive games played with a touchdown pass that has stood since 1960 in Week 5 against San Diego. In fact, Brees and Unitas are the only two to top 40 straight while names like Elway, Montana, Young, Aikman and Eli never even got to 20. Tom Brady's active streak is at exactly 40 and the Patriots QB should become No. 3 to top 40 in Week 10. Brett Favre, who went 36 straight from 2002-04 is the fourth longest string of games with a touchdown pass. Congrats to a fellow Westlake Chaparral on a remarkable record.

39-5: Gary Kubiak's record when Houston runs at least 30 times
The Texans ran the ball 32 times for 118 yards in the not quite as easy as expected win over Buffalo and the NFL's worst rushing defense in Week 9. When Houston runs the ball at least 30 times under Coach Kubiak, the Texans win 88.9 percent of the time (39-5). Arian Foster scored for the fifth straight game and carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards. It was Foster's 20th career 100-yard effort in 43 career games and his fourth trip over the century mark this season.

6-1: Houston Texans AFC-best record after Week 7
With the franchise's first-ever win over Baltimore (1-6 all-time) back in Week 7, the Texans claimed the best record in the AFC. Why is it so important to have the best record in the AFC after Week 7? Well, the team with the best record in the AFC after the seventh weekend of action has made it to the Super Bowl in five of the last six seasons. New England (2011, 2007), Pittsburgh (2010) and Indianapolis (2009, 2006) all claimed the top mark in the AFC after seven weeks and each time made it to the Super Bowl. The 2008 Tennessee Titans, who started the season 6-0, are the only team in the last six seasons to have the AFC's best record after seven weeks and not make it to the final contest. That's the good news for the Texans. The bad news for the Texans? The last four have lost the big game.

17: NFL record consecutive games the Patriots have topped 350 yards of offense
With 473 yards of offense in the 45-7 Week 8 win over the Rams (3-5) in London, the Patriots passed the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams for the all-time record for consecutive games of at least 350 total yards of offense. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win across the pond. It marked the 50th time Brady has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game, good for fourth all-time behind Brett Favre (72), Peyton Manning (69) and Dan Marino (62). Strangely enough, it was also his 50th career 300-yard passing game, good for seventh all-time. 

957: NFL-leading rushing yards from Adrian Peterson
Peterson is the planet's most physically gifted running back and his recovery from ACL surgery to lead the NFL in rushing is nothing short of miraculous. He has carried 168 times and has caught 26 passes in nine games — putting him on pace for roughly 300 carries and a career-high 46 receptions. His 106.3 yards per game average is his second-best per-game average to date (110.0 per game, 2008) and would put him on pace for 1,700 yards. Peterson has never rushed for fewer than 10 touchdowns in a season and with four more in 2012, he would keep that streak alive. It's safe to say A.D. is back. As a public service announcement, his given nickname for his entire life — All-Day Peterson — is why he should be called "A.D" not "A.P." So national talking heads, stop calling him A.P.

251: Doug Martin's Bucs single-game rushing record
After gaining just 31 yards in the first half against Oakland, Martin exploded for 220 and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters in Week 9. Martin finished with 251 yards on 25 carries (10 ypc), the most in a single game in Tampa Bay franchise history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history. Only Adrian Peterson (296, 2007) and DeMarco Murray (253, 2011) have had more rushing yards as a rookie in a game. Martin, who scored on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards, joined Denver's Mike Anderson as the only backs in NFL history with at least 250 yards rushing and four scores in a single game. This record-setting performance comes on the heels of last week's game in Minnesota, in which Martin compiled 214 total yards of offense (135 rush, 79 receiving) and two touchdowns in the Bucs' win over the Vikings. For those keeping score at home, that's 486 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in two games for Martin, who was taken by Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in April's draft.

Some Streaks to Consider:

15-0: Falcons record when Matt Ryan throws at least three TD passes.

17-0: Packers record (including playoffs) when Jordy Nelson has at least 75 receiving yards.

10-0: Giants record when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for 100 yards.

- by Braden Gall

<p> The Most Amazing Mid-Season NFL Stats of 2012</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-10-power-rankings

Bo Pelini and Nebraska might have turned a corner this weekend. After beating Michigan at home, the Cornhuskers went into East Lansing and snatched a victory from Michigan State to keep control of their Big Ten title hopes. With Michigan nipping at their heels, the Huskers' margin for error is slim, but Taylor Martinez overcame some miscues to lead his team down the field and potentially into the Big Ten championship game.

And what did I tell you about the Indiana Hoosiers? A win over Wisconsin next weekend at home could send Kevin Wilson to the title game as well.

Post-Week 10 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Miller completed 12 of his 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns to go with 73 rushing yards on 18 attempts and his 13th rushing touchdown of the season in the easy win over Illinois.

2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State - McGloin is playing the best football of his career after throwing for his fifth career 300-yard game (316, 2 TD) in the dominating road win over Purdue. His team's only Big Ten loss was to Miller and the Buckeyes. 

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He made some big mistakes (three interceptions) but also has moments of electricity that can be jaw-dropping. He rushed for 205 yards, threw for 160 yards and scored four times, including the game winner, in the huge road win over Michigan State.

Post-Week 10 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - He posted five total tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in the dominating road performance against Purdue — who was held to three points until the final play of the game.

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - Taylor was off this weekend

3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon registered one tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one pass deflected in the easy win over Illinois.

Post-Week 10 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - Meyer is now two wins away from his first undefeated season as a BCS head coach. He was unbeaten with Utah in the Mountain West and never went unblemished at Florida. With a sophomore QB and bowl ban, the job he has done in Columbus has been remarkable. 

2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - A sign of a well-coached team is learning from adversity. Penn State faced that last week in the bad home loss to Ohio State, but Coach BoB had his team ready to rebound this weekend against Purdue.

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - His Wildcats were off this weekend and will face two road trips to Michigan over the next two weeks, giving Coach Fitz a chance to contend with O'Brien and Meyer for this award. That is, if Kevin Wilson doesn't win the Leaders Division.

Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 10 result: Beat Illinois 52-22

Ohio State had 306 yards of offense, 16 first downs and 31 points at halftime against the overmatched Illini. Braxton Miller continues to make his case for a Heisman Trophy as he totaled 299 (226 passing, 73 rushing) yards of offense and three more touchdowns in the easy 30-point win — a win that gives Ohio State the only 10-0 record in the nation. Carlos Hyde also starred in the Ohio State backfield, rushing for 137 yards and three touchdowns on 18 attempts. A much-needed bye week, obviously OSU's first of the season, sets up Urban Meyer's run at a perfect record. The Buckeyes will face a tough two-game finale to the season: at Wisconsin and that team from up North at home on Nov. 24 so the bye comes at just the right time.
This week: Bye Week

2. Nebraska (7-2, 4-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 10 result: Beat Michigan State 28-24 
Taylor Martinez threw three interceptions, including one in the red zone in the fourth quarter. Yet, the dynamic play maker rallied his team with his legs (205 yards rushing, 2 TD) and his arm (160 yards, 2 TD) as he connected with Jamal Turner with six seconds left to win a huge road test in the Legends Division. Even without Rex Burkhead, Nebraska's top-rated rushing attack rolled up an impressive 313 yards against the league's stingiest run defense. Martinez was brilliant on the final drive of the game, converting on fourth and long and throwing the game winner. The weight of this road win as the frontrunner in the division cannot be overstated. This was a season-defining signature win for the junior quarterback. 
This week: Penn State (6-3)

3. Michigan (6-3, 4-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 10 result: Beat Minnesota 35-13
Brady Hoke kept his Big Ten title hopes alive with a road win and The Little Brown Jug will remain in Ann Arbor. And he did all of that without Denard Robinson. Converted wide receiver Devin Gardner, a former four-star quarterback prospect, moved back under center this weekend and he delivered an efficient performance in the Twin Cities. He completed 12-of-18 passes and ran the ball 10 times, accounting for three total touchdowns and 251 total yards of offense. Despite constantly dealing with nagging injuries, Robinson had never missed a game in his Michigan career until this weekend. His "undisclosed injury" is presumed ulnar nerve issue he has dealt with multiple times in his career. He should be back next weekend against Northwestern.
This week: Northwestern (7-2)

4. Penn State (6-3, 4-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 10 result: Beat Purdue 34-9
After arguably the worst showing of the season, Penn State put together one of its most complete efforts on the road against Purdue. Quarterback Matt McGloin was excellent, throwing for 316 yards and 2 TDs. It was his second consecutive 300-yard passing game (5 career) and his third in the last five games. He has topped the 280-yard mark in four straight games after topping that benchmark only three times in his entire career prior. The Nits showed excellent balance on offense as well, rushing for 191 yards on 39 attempts. The defense pitched a shutout over the final 58 minutes (until Purdue scored on the game's final play) in what was a tune-up for what should be an exciting road trip to Lincoln to face the league's best offense next weekend.

This week: at Nebraska (7-2)

5. Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 10 result: Off
Fans in Madison better hope the bye week has helped new-old quarterback Danny O'Brien. This offense has been totally one-dimensional and uninspiring whenever Joel Stave is on the sideline. And Stave is now gone for the year with a broken collarbone. The Leaders Division champion is likely to come from the winner of the Wisconsin-Indiana game next Saturday. 
This week: at Indiana (4-5)

6. Northwestern (7-2, 3-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 10 result: Off
The Wildcats were off this weekend and now face back-to-back road trips into the state of Michigan.  
This week: at Michigan (6-3)

7. Michigan State (5-5, 2-4)
Previous rank: 7
Week 10 result: Lost to Nebraska 28-24
Mark Dantonio has had a rough season in East Lansing. Heart-stopping endings have been a regular part of the Sparty diet this season and the loss to Nebraska in the final seconds will go down as the toughest to swallow. A long fourth-down conversion and questionable pass interference call set up the game-winning touchdown for the Huskers and left Dantonio scratching his head. Le'Veon Bell had a solid game, rushing for 188 yards and two scores on 36 carries, but the struggles once again on offense stem from quarterback play. Andrew Maxwell completed just nine of his 27 attempts. His play has been the overriding problem for the Spartans all season, however, the Big Ten's No. 1-rated rushing defense needs to take its share of blame this weekend. They allowed 313 yards to the Huskers — more than 220 yards above its season average. The bye week will be a long two weeks in East Lansing.
This week: Bye week

8. Indiana (4-5, 2-3)
Previous rank: 11
Week 10 result: Beat Iowa 24-21
The Indiana Hoosiers are now in complete control of their destiny in the Big Ten Leaders Division with three to play. Quarterbacks Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld completed 31-of-48 passes with Cameron providing most of the production through the air. The sophomore threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and led three huge drives in the final period. Coffman threw the game winner with just over 12 minutes to play and then chewed up the clock with two long, eight-play drives — one that went for 58 yards and the other that used up 4:25 of the final 4:43 left on the clock. Wisconsin comes to town next weekend well rested after the bye week, however, starting quarterback Joel Stave won't be playing due to a broken collarbone. With Purdue still on the schedule and Wisconsin having to face Ohio State and Penn State still, there is a legitimate chance Indiana will play in the Big Ten Championship Game.
This week: Wisconsin (6-3)

9. Iowa (4-5, 2-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 10 result: Lost to Indiana 24-21
Iowa couldn't get its defense off of the field in the fourth quarter and it cost the Hawkeyes the win. After taking the lead early in the final frame, Indiana possessed the ball and converted on third downs  — something Iowa couldn't do all game (5-of-14). Indiana easily out-gained the Hawks 473 to 347, giving Kirk Ferentz his third straight loss. The good news for the people of Iowa City is Purdue visits Kinnick Stadium next weekend. The bad news is Iowa will have to beat either Michigan on the road or Nebraska at home to get to bowl eligibility. Both seem like tall orders for this team.
This week: Purdue (3-6)

10. Minnesota (5-4, 1-4)
Previous rank: 9
Week 10 result: Lost to Michigan 35-13
Golden Gophers fans will need to wait one more week to get bowl eligible after losing at home to a Denard Robinson-less Michigan squad. Minnesota heads to Illinois next weekend in what is likely its final shot to get to the postseason as Jerry Kill's team will face Nebraska on the road and Michigan State at home to finish the year. Philip Nelson failed to accomplish much of anything on offense after the game's first touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The offense finished with just 275 total yards and was outscored 35-6 after the scoring strike. The Gophers lost The Little Brown Jug for the 15th consecutive time at home and the 21st time in the last 22 meetings against the Maize and Blue overall.
This week: at Illinois (2-7)

11. Purdue (3-6, 0-5)
Previous rank: 10
Week 10 result: Lost to Penn State 34-9

The Boilermakers kicked a field goal with two minutes into the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead on Penn State. Danny Hope's team then watched the Nittany Lions rattle off 34 unanswered points to give Purdue a fifth straight loss. Neither quarterback was very effective on offense and the defense allowed at least 29 points for the sixth straight game. A road trip to Iowa will likely keep the losing streak alive, however, an upset win over the Hawkeyes keeps the bowl hopes alive in West Lafayette as Purdue finishes the year at Illinois and hosting Indiana.
This week: at Iowa (4-5)

12. Illinois (2-7, 0-5)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to Ohio State 52-22
Urban Meyer may think Tim Beckman will have a great career at Illinois, but his first season atop the Illini program will be one to forget. His team was abused by the Buckeyes, allowing 570 yards rushing and 32 first downs to Braxton Miller and company. It was the fifth straight game in which the not-so-Orange Crush defense allowed at least 31 points and was the fourth time this year the opposition scored at least 45 points. On offense, Nathan Scheelhaase threw for only 96 yards on 34 pass attempts as the Illini totaled just 170 yards of offense. 

This week: Minnesota (5-4)

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-10-power-rankings

The Oregon Ducks cleared their first big hurdle with style and grace. Defensively, USC was able to move the football plenty, but simply couldn't stop what could be the best offense in the nation. However, due to a monster performance across town from UCLA over Arizona, USC sits back in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South Division championship. And a trip to Eugene could be just as entertaining as this weekend's offensive showcase in Los Angeles.

Post-Week 10 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - He scored more touchdowns (4) than he threw incompletions in the big win over USC. He accounted for exactly 400 yards of offense and was extremely poised under pressure in L.A. 

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC isn't out of the mix in the South and Barkley is still posting huge numbers. He threw for 484 yards and five touchdowns and scored 51 points on the No. 2 team in the nation. He is No. 2 in the league in passing efficiency and yards and is first with 30 total touchdowns.

3. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon 
- There are lots of deserving candidates for this award but Barner had a huge game and is settling as the best back in the league. He carried 38 times for 321 yards and 5 scores — giving him the Pac-12 league in both categories (1,295 and 19).

Post-Week 10 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The star corner didn't play this weekend but doesn't get knocked off the top slot.

2. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - He didn't stuff the stat sheet this weekend but his team held Colorado to minus-1 yard rushing and zero points as Stanford now claims the No. 1 rushing defense in the nation.

3. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - Posted five tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a pass broken up in the huge win over Arizona State. He is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and sacks.

Post-Week 10 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - His offense is operating on a different level than anyone else in the nation. The fast tempo, the unique design, the elite talent and the power running game makes this the best team in the nation not named Alabama.

2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - There were some anxious first-half moments, but Oregon State won again coming from behind against a solid opponent. A massive showdown with Stanford looms this weekend. 

3. Jim Mora, UCLA  - The Bruins made a large statement this weekend, getting to seven wins with a dominating performance against Arizona. It gives Mora complete control of his own destiny in the South. 

Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (9-0, 6-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 10 result: Beat Colorado 62-51
Who was better? A quarterback who completed 20 of his 23 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 96 yards on 15 carries. Or the running back who rushed for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns? I tend to lean towards the QB actually, but either way, the Ducks offense was unstoppable in the statement win over USC in The Coliseum. Marcus Mariota was calm and poised while Kenjon Barner ran hard — he touched the ball 40 times — and picked up key first downs all night. This was the first of four big hurdles Oregon must clear to return to the BCS National Championship game. Stanford, Oregon State and the potential Pac-12 title game (and technically a road trip to reeling Cal) are all that is left between Oregon and Miami Gardens. 
This week: at Cal (3-7)

2. Oregon State (7-1, 5-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 10 result: Lost Beat Arizona State 36-26
The Beavers fell behind 19-10 with 13 minutes to go in the second quarter. But Cody Vaz, who gifted the Sun Devils with a touchdown on a turnover early in the game, led Oregon State on a 26-0 run until Arizona State mustered a final touchdown with 22 seconds left in the game. After the miscue, Vaz, who is filling in for starter Sean Mannion, rebounded to finish with 267 yards and three touchdowns as Oregon State got back into the win column. Mike Riley will have a huge decision on his hands this weekend in what might be OSU's toughest test to date. Mannion or Vaz on the road trip to Stanford?
This week: at Stanford (7-2)

3. Stanford (7-2, 5-1)
Previous rank:

Week 10 result:
 Beat Colorado 48-0
This was ugly from the first whistle. And it's exactly how David Shaw wanted to see his team play this weekend. His defense once again proved it claims the best, most physical front seven west of the Mississippi. Stanford created three turnovers, forced nine punts, allowed just six first downs and sacked the quarterback five times while allowing a ridiculous 76 total yards of offense (minus-21 rushing). After the offense, led by back up Kevin Hogan (18-of-24, 184 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) jumped out to a 35-0 halftime league and then allowed the defense to suffocate what little life the Buffaloes had left in the final 30 minutes. 

This week: Oregon State (7-1)


4. UCLA (7-2, 4-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 10 result: Beat Arizona 66-10
The Bruins raced to a 28-0 lead to begin the game and went into halftime up 42-3 — and that was that in the Pac-12 South elimination game. Johnathan Franklin needed 21 yards to become UCLA's all-time leading rusher, so his 167 yards (and 2 TD) pushed him well past Gaston Green as the top rusher in Bruins history. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley continued his stellar play, throwing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. He added 10 carries and another touchdown on the ground. While the record-setting offensive performances might steal the headlines, the defense gets tons of credit for the huge divisional win. Holding Arizona to 10 points, 257 total yards, four sacks and four forced fumbles is no easy task. UCLA now controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South.
This week: at Washington State (2-7) 

5. USC (6-3, 4-3)
Previous rank: 4
Week 10 result: Lost to Oregon 62-51
It is hard to win football games when you allow 730 yards of offense and 37 first downs to the opponent. Matt Barkley once again posted huge numbers through the air — 484 yards and five touchdowns — but his defense couldn't get stops against the high-powered Ducks when it mattered most (a bad call on an onside kick didn't help either). All is not lost, however, as games against UCLA and Arizona State still carry enough weight to keep the Trojans in the division title race.
This week: Oregon (8-0)

6. Arizona (5-4, 2-4)
Previous rank: 6
Week 10 result: Lost to UCLA 66-10 
A letdown might have been expected but this was downright ugly. Matt Scott and the Wildcats offense had by far their worst day of the season against UCLA. Their 257 total yards of offense were easily a season low, marked the first time they failed to reach 300 yards and marked only the second time they didn't reach at least 500 yards. Scott set personal season lows in rushing attempts (3), passing yards (125), in addition to completing just 15 passes (second-fewest this season) and not accounting for a single touchdown. The loss gives RichRod four in the league and pretty much eliminates Arizona from the Pac-12 championship.
This week: Colorado (1-8)

7. Washington (5-4, 3-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 10 result: 
Beat Cal 21-13

Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed the nation why some believe he is the most talented tight end in college football. He caught eight passes for 152 yards and what proved to be the game-winning touchdown from 29 yards out with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. Running back Bishop Sankey put the finishing touches on the road win by scoring his 11th rushing touchdown of the season late in the game. He finished with 189 yards and two scores on 28 carries giving defensive line coach and Cal grad Tosh Lupoi a happy homecoming. Star freshman Shaq Thompson, who signed with Washington instead of Cal once Lupoi was hired away from Berkeley shortly before National Signing Day, intercepted a key Zach Maynard pass late in the game to give the Huskies their first road in more than a year.
This week: Utah (4-5)

8. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 10 result: Lost to Oregon State 36-26
Arizona State got off to a hot start courtesy of nine gift points from Oregon State, but the Sun Devils' offense was shut down for the final 40 minutes of the game. Todd Graham's offense was inefficient, converting on 4-of-17 third downs and completing only 22-of-41 passes. It was the third consecutive loss to a Pac-12 contender for ASU, reminding fans this team has a ways to go before it is considered a contender on its own merits. The Devils, which were ranked No. 1 in the league three weeks ago, allowed 124 points in the those three losses. Things don't get any easier this weekend.
This week: at USC (6-3)

9. Utah (4-5, 2-4)
Previous rank: 
Week 10 result: Beat Washington State 49-6
Behind a rejuvenated John White, the Utes have inched closer to a postseason bowl bid for the second straight week. The star tailback finished with 101 yards rushing and 2 TDs and has back-to-back 100-yard efforts and four rushing scores in the two-game winning streak. The switch to the young and talented Travis Wilson is beginning to pay off as well. He was 17-of-21 passing for 171 yards and 2 TDs. This team has two tough games against Washington in Seattle and Arizona in Salt Lake City before the season wraps up with Colorado. Utah will crush the Buffaloes, so one upset over the next two weeks puts Utah into a bowl for the 10th consecutive season. 

This week: at Washington (5-4)

10. California (3-7, 2-5)
Previous rank: 10
Week 10 result: Lost to Washington 21-13
Star wideout Keenan Allen is likely lost for the season and didn't play in the sloppy loss to Washington. Things only got worse for Cal when quarterback Zach Maynard left the game in the fourth quarter. The offense moved the football (450 yards, 23 first downs) but four turnovers and the injuries cost Jeff Tedford a trip to the postseason for the second time in three years. Since 2009, Tedford is 23-25 and is staring at a nine-loss season. New facilities or not, it may be time for a changing of the guard in the Bay Area. Certainly watching Cal alum Tosh Lupoi roam the visitor's sideline coaching for a team that features former Cal commit Shaq Thompson has to drive the knife in even deeper.
This week: Oregon (9-0)

11. Colorado (1-8, 1-5)
Previous rank: 11
Week 10 result: Lost to Stanford 48-0
This is getting out of hand. Stanford raced to a 35-0 halftime lead as the fans in Boulder had little to root for as their team gained 28 yards in the first half. In fact, in the last 14 quarters, Colorado has been outscored 199-20. The Las Vegas odds makers have allotted Jon Embree's team roughly 115 points in the last three games against USC (+41), Oregon (+46) and Stanford (+28) and Colorado failed to cover in all three instances. Normally, I side with the conservative stance on making head coaching changes but this team isn't even close to being competitive. It's unfortunate, but there isn't anything else to be learned about the current regime. Six first downs and minus-21 yards rushing is completely unacceptable.
This week: at Arizona (5-4)

12. Washington State (2-7, 0-6)
Previous rank: 12
Week 10 result: Lost to Utah 49-6
For the sixth time in six games, Mike Leach failed to get his first Pac-12 win as the Cougars' head coach. And it seems like things are getting worse as his team was pushed around by a team that has five losses of its own. After keeping the score close with Stanford and Oregon State, Washington State failed to show up against Utah. Leach's team trailed 39-0, converted only one third down in 11 tries and had minus-13 yards rushing at the end of the third quarter. Wazzu finished the game 2-of-15 on third down and posted a negative rushing total for a staggering fourth time this season (minus-4). With Arizona State, UCLA and Washington left on the slate, the chances Washington State wins a single Pac-12 game are starting to look more unlikely. 

This week: UCLA (7-2)

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /nfl/7-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-9

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 9 of NFL play:

0: Interceptions thrown by Russell Wilson at home
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown eight interceptions in his first nine games as a pro quarterback. None of them have come at CenturyLink  Field in Seattle. Not surprisingly, the Seahawks are 4-0 at home in 2012. And his opponents were no joke, beating New England, Green Bay (sort of), Dallas and Minnesota. He has nine touchdown passes to go with those zero interceptions at home while only tossing four touchdowns against eight picks in his five road games. The Hawks have a 1-4 road record this fall.

433: NFL single-game rookie passing record set by Andrew Luck
Any excuse to get the No. 1 overall pick into the article is a good one. By throwing for 433 yards in the win over Miami on Sunday, Andrew Luck locked up another rookie record by breaking Cam Newton's 422 from a year ago. He is 5-3 as a rookie starter who wins on big fourth-quarter drives and poised pocket play. He is one of the single-most, game-ready, first-year players this writer has ever seen. Luck has now toppled two of his fellow four rookie starters (Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden), the only two such meetings of first-year signal callers to date.

15-to-1: Aaron Rodgers TD:INT ratio over the last four games
The Packers are on a four-game winning streak and much of it can be attributed to a rejuvenated Aaron Rodgers. He threw four touchdown passes in the win over Arizona this Sunday, which is topped only the six he threw in the primetime win over the previously undefeated Houston Texans in Week 6. Even more impressive, Rodgers has been doing it without Greg Jennings for the last month and Jordy Nelson for the second straight game. Additionally, the Packers registered two sacks, giving them an NFL-best 28.0 sacks on the season. Bears fans are certainly feeling good after a 7-1 start, but that one loss came courtesy of Green Bay, 23-10. The NFC North should be fun to watch in the second half.

306: Combined rushing yards by Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch
The league's top two rushers were on the field in Seattle this weekend and neither disappointed. Peterson entered the weekend as the NFL's leading rusher and after 182 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries — yes, that is over 10 yards per carry against Seattle — All-Day maintains his hold upon the rushing crown with 957 yards. Lynch is still No. 2 in the rushing standings with 881 yards thus far. Peterson is the planet's most physically gifted running back and his recovery from ACL surgery to lead the NFL in rushing is nothing short of miraculous. As a public service announcement, his given nickname for his entire life — All-Day Peterson — is why he should be called "A.D" not "A.P." So national talking heads, stop calling him A.P.

39-5: Gary Kubiak's record when Houston runs at least 30 times in a game
The Texans ran the ball 32 times for 118 yards in the not quite as easy as expected win over Buffalo and the NFL's worst rushing defense. When Houston runs the ball at least 30 times under Coach Kubiak, the Texans win 88.9 percent of the time (39-5). Arian Foster scored for the fifth straight game and carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards. It was Foster's 20th career 100-yard effort in 43 career games and his fourth trip over the century mark this season. 

1980: The last year the Bears scored at least 51 points
There were many different amazing stats that led to the Bears starting 7-1 this fall after the 51-20 win over the Titans. The Bears scored a franchise record 28 points in the first quarter. Charles Tillman forced four fumbles — no, that isn't a typo. Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown, giving the Bears seven INT return touchdowns on the season. The Bears scored 61 points on Dec. 7, 1980 in a win over Green Bay.

41.7%: Eli Manning's completion percentage against the Steelers
In 129 career games, only nine times has Manning thrown for a lower completion percentage than his 10-of-24 performance in the home loss to Pittsburgh. Only one of those nine outings has taken place since 2007 — he was 9-of-27 in 2011 against the Jets. He is completing 62.6 percent of his passes this season and hasn't completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes in a season since 2007. He is a career 58.7 percent passer. Needless to say, it was a rough night for Manning and it cost them a key game against Pittsburgh.

251: Tampa Bay single-game franchise rushing record set by rookie Doug Martin
After gaining just 31 yards in the first half against Oakland, Martin exploded for 220 and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters of the Buccaneers' 42-32 road win over the Raiders. Martin finished with 251 yards on 25 carries (10 ypc), the most in a single game in Tampa Bay franchise history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history. Only Adrian Peterson (296, 2007) and DeMarco Murray (253, 2011) have had more rushing yards as a rookie in a game. Martin, who scored on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards, joined Denver's Mike Anderson as the only backs in NFL history with at least 250 yards rushing and four scores in a single game. This record-setting performance comes on the heels of last week's game in Minnesota, in which Martin compiled 214 total yards of offense (135 rush, 79 receiving) and two touchdowns in the Bucs' win over the Vikings. For those keeping score at home, that's 486 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in two games for Martin, who was taken by Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in April's draft.

- by Braden Gall

<p> 8 Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 9</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-betting-against-spread-week-10

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

2012 Record Against The Spread: 40-27
Last Week: 5-2

Note: All lines are as of date of publication

Penn State (-3.5) at Purdue
The Nittany Lions have to get off of the mat this weekend after Ohio State played its best game of the season at Beaver Stadium. Yet, Penn State is still 6-2 against the spread this fall and Purdue has been downright atrocious of late. The Boilermakers have allowed nearly 300 yards rushing per game over the last four — all Big Ten losses. They have also allowed at least 38 points in four of the last five games and at least 29 in five straight. Penn State is simply the better team and this game could get ugly very quickly. Prediction: Penn State -3.5

Washington (+4.5) at Cal
Huskies ace recruiter and stellar defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi returns to his alma mater after defecting this offseason. His addition, along with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, has helped the Washington defense make dramatic improvement. On the other side, Cal, who just lost its best player when wide receiver Keenan Allen injured his knee, is coming off its worst showing of the season against Utah. Washington should win outright so take the points and run. Prediction: Washington +4.5

Stanford (-28) at Colorado
Colorado is bad. I mean, really bad. The Buffaloes have been outscored 171-37 in the last three games and is ranked dead last in the nation in scoring defense (46.0 points allowed per game). That means Colorado, who is 1-7 against the spread this season, didn't cover the 41-point spread against USC or the 46-point spread against Oregon the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the offense has been nearly as bad, posting 290 yards of total offense per game over the last four. Stanford claims the league's most physical, most talented defensive front and the league's most physical rushing attack. Look for Stepfan Taylor to get at least 25 carries as Stanford should cruise past the reeling Buffs. Prediction: Stanford -28

Virginia (+10) at NC State
I will keep going back to this well. The Cavs are the only team without a win against the spread this fall and have lost six straight games overall. This includes consecutive losses to Wake Forest, Maryland, Duke and Louisiana Tech. NC State can score points in bunches and quarterback Mike Glennon has been on a roll of late. He has thrown 13 touchdowns in the last four games, including a 467-yard, 5-TD performance last weekend. He also led the Wolfpack to a 28-14 road win over the Wahoos last fall. Look for a big win from Tom O'Brien's bunch. Prediction: NC State -10

Texas State (+26) at Utah State
Utah State is the only team left in the nation unbeaten against the spread. So even though the spreads keep creeping upwards on the Aggies, I will keep picking them to cover. This team has scored at least 41 points in three straight and shouldn't be slowed by a team that hasn't been competitive against New Mexico, Nevada and San Jose State of late. Look for Chuckie Keeton and company to roll up another big number this weekend. Prediction: Utah State -26

Arizona State (+4) at Oregon State
I am all over the West coast this weekend. Arizona State has given up over 600 yards rushing and 88 points in two straight losses to Oregon and UCLA. And those came at home in the desert. A visit to Corvallis to face the angry Beavers, who should be refocused after a tough, turnover-filled loss to Washington, isn't what the doctor ordered. Cody Vaz has been more than capable at quarterback and will start in place of Sean Mannion. Look for Mike Riley, whose team is 5-2 against the spread this fall, to exploit the hurting rush defense of ASU this weekend. Prediction: Oregon State -4

Picking some of the big games:

Oregon (-8.5) at USC
The Trojans have a lot to play for and should keep it close. Take the points.

Alabama (-9.5) at LSU
The Tigers' will could be crushed early if the passing game can't create balance. Roll Tide.

Ole Miss (+14) at Georgia
LETDOWN ALERT! I'll take the Dawgs to win but Ole Miss can score and should keep it close.

Oklahoma State (+7.5) at Kansas State
Collin Klein will not be denied, especially the way this one ended last fall. KSU rolls big.

Clemson (-12.5) at Duke
The Noles abused the Blue Devils last week and the Tigers will do the same this week.

Pitt (+16.5) at Notre Dame
Another Letdown Alert as the Irish return home against a sneaky Panthers team. 

- by Braden Gall

2012 Trends Against the Spread:

Undefeated ATS: Utah St (9-0)

Winless ATS: Virginia (0-7-1)

One Loss ATS Fresno St (8-1), Kansas St (6-1-1), Kent St (7-1), Ole Miss (7-1), Northwestern (8-1), Western Kentucky (7-1)
Two Losses ATS Arizona St (5-2-1), Ball St (7-2), Clemson (6-2), Florida Atlantic (6-2), Florida (6-2), UL Monroe (6-2), Northern Illinois (7-2), Oregon St (5-2), Penn St (6-2), San Jose St (6-2), Texas St (5-2), Texas Tech (6-2), UNLV (7-2)
One Win ATS Colorado (1-7), Idaho (1-7)
Two Wins ATS Arkansas (2-6), Army (2-6), Auburn (2-6), Boston College (2-6), Central Michigan (2-6), Colorado St (2-6), UConn (2-5-1), Hawaii (2-5), Illinois (2-6), Iowa (2-6), Kentucky (2-7), UMass (2-6), Miami-OH (2-6), Nevada (2-7), NC State (2-5-1), USC (2-6), Southern Miss (2-6), Virginia Tech (2-6), West Virginia (2-5)

Related College Football Content

<p> College Football Betting Against the Spread: Week 10</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-cornerbacks

It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best cornerback prospects:

1. Dee Milliner, Alabama (6-1, 199, Jr.)
The only lock to be taken in the first round should be this Crimson Tider. The former five-star prospect has developed into one of the most complete prospects in the nation. He can cover, has excellent overall athleticism, can tackle, play physical football and has been extremely well-coached. He has the size and speed to be an elite player. Is he as good as Morris Claiborne? Probably not, but he is close.

2. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (6-1, 185, Sr.)
Banks, who has a great length to his frame, is just a great all-around football player. He could remind scouts of a poor-man’s Antoine Winfield in his ability to make open field tackles and fill against the run. He has a nose for the football and makes big plays for a defense that puts him on an island. He needs to add some bulk and toughness, but he has the frame to be an NFL regular. Otherwise, he has little to no weaknesses to his game.

3. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (6-2, 215, Jr.)
When it comes to size and experience, few players top Rhodes’ resume. He has elite size for a corner. In fact, his frame may prompt a move to safety much like an Antrel Rolle or Patrick Peterson. But scouts know what coaches do: You can’t throw at him. He is a leader for Florida State and has outlasted names that fans expected to be better, like a Greg Reid. His eventual upside may be tied to his ability to stick at corner.

4. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (6-0, 190, Sr.)
The Beavers' star defender is a great competitor – on defense and special teams. He has created turnovers, led a defensive renaissance in Corvallis in 2012, and has been a big-play machine in the return game. He may not be an elite talent at any one thing, but he is really solid at everything. He is a tremendous member of any locker room and will be a contributor on the next level in a variety of ways. Poyer is the front-runner for 2012 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

5. David Amerson, NC State (6-3, 185, Jr.)
The Wolfpacker began the year as the nation’s top coverman after leading the nation and setting an ACC record for interceptions last fall. After a few poor performances in big games against elite wideouts, Amerson has dropped down the big board a few slots. He has a long, rangy frame that NFL scouts will crave and his agility and speed will test fine. Yet, the performance straight up against names like Justin Hunter have hurt his stock. He can help himself and his draft stock a lot during the combine season.

6. Terry Hawthorne, Illinois (6-0, 190, Sr.)
The speedster is a converted wide receiver so he should have excellent ball skills. He has outstanding overall athletic ability, speed, agility and quickness. He has progressed nicely at the position over time and should only continue to get better as he continues to learn the nuances of playing cornerback at the next level. Overcoming a serious head injury sustained in 2012 will be key.

7. Nickell Robey, USC (5-8, 170, Jr.)
This smallish Trojan is similar to dismissed defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. The biggest differences between the two? Robey can cover wide receivers and he hasn’t been kicked off his team for repeatedly breaking team rules. The Trojan is much smaller than typical NFL covermen, but he plays bigger, consistently is around the football and can make an impact on special teams as a return man. Look for Robey, who is one of the best pure covermen in the nation, to sneak up draft boards based on his effort and toughness despite his overall lack of size.

8. Tharold Simon, LSU (6-2, 190, Jr.)
One guy that isn’t lacking for elite NFL size is Simon. He was used in 2011 as a coverman as Mathieu was pushed into a nickel role on passing downs. He has a huge frame that is long and extremely athletic. He will need plenty of polish before he can start on the next level, but make no mistake about the Bayou Bengal's tremendous raw upside. Few players have more athleticism and size than LSU’s top coverman.

9. Carrington Byndom, Texas (6-0, 180, Jr.)
The Texas defensive backfield was supposedly loaded with elite talent like Kenny Vacarro and Quandre Diggs. But many believe that Byndom is the top coverman of the group. He is charged with stopping the top targets of the Big 12 — which are elite in their own respects. And no, the defense in Austin hasn’t played well in 2012. However, Byndom has the size, speed and overall athleticism to be a quality pro prospect.

10. Sanders Commings, Georgia (6-2, 215, Sr.)
Brandon Smith was the name getting all the preseason buzz this summer, but in a league with massive down the field wide receivers, Commings' rangy frame will undoubtedbly appeal to scouts. He is one of the biggest corners in the nation and will need to prove he has the quickness, burst and speed to hang with NFL pass catchers.

11. Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma (6-0, 181, Jr.)
12. Leon McFadden, San Diego State (5-10, 190, Sr.)
13. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, UConn (6-2, 190, Sr.)
14. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (6-0, 190, Jr.)
15. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 195, Jr.)
16. Johnny Adams, Michigan State (5-11, 180, Sr.)
17. Desmond Trufant, Washington (6-0, 185, Sr.)
18. Logan Ryan, Rutgers (6-0, 190, Jr.)
19. Micah Hyde, Iowa (6-1, 185, Sr.)
20. Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech (6-0, 190, Sr.)

Best of the Rest:

Darius Slay, Mississippi State (6-1, 190, Sr.)
Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma (5-10, 185, Sr.)
Nigel Malone, Kansas State (5-10, 185, Sr.)
EJ Gaines, Missouri (5-10, 195, Jr.)
Travis Howard, Ohio State (6-1, 195, Sr.)
Branden Smith, Georgia (5-11, 185, Sr.)
Melvin White, UL-Lafayette (6-3, 190, Sr.)
Adrian Buchell, Louisville (5-11, 185, Sr.)
BW Webb, William & Mary (5-11, 180, Sr.)
Marc Anthony, Cal (6-0, 200, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Cornerbacks</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, NFL
Path: /college-football/alabama-crimson-tide-could-never-beat-nfl-team

The Alabama Crimson Tide is the best team in college football.

In fact, this Alabama team might be Nick Saban’s best since arriving in Tuscaloosa. Considering he has two BCS National Championships in the last three seasons, that is quite a statement. Yet, this is his first team constructed entirely of players he has recruited. This roster is his and his alone — and they are clearly the best team in the nation. Some believe this is one of the deepest college football rosters ever assembled.

And Alabama would still get crushed by any team in the NFL.

So when Steve Spurrier said on "The Dan Patrick Show" that Alabama might be favored over a couple of NFL teams this week, he was sorely mistaken — or talking with an agenda, as is the case most of the time with the Ol’ Ball Coach.

Those in Vegas have reported that Alabama would be a 24-point underdog to both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs if they played on a neutral field today.

I would lay the points.

Both NFL teams would win by more than five touchdowns. Or worse.

The talent differential is simply too vast. Take into consideration the Crimson Tide’s remarkable performance in the NFL Draft the last three seasons. Saban has had 19 players drafted off of his team over the last three seasons, 10 of which were taken in the first round. So on what many consider to be the best defense ever assembled in college football — the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide — six are now playing in the NFL.

What about the other 40 defensive players on that team who will never sniff an NFL roster?

So while Alabama might be the most talented team in the nation with the most NFL players of any team in the nation, they still pale in comparison to an ACTUAL NFL team. One is full of teenage children going to ECON 201 classes learning about Supply and Demand for the first time. And the other is grown adult men paying their mortgages with a six- or seven-figure paycheck.

It’s simple math. If he’s lucky, 20 percent of Saban’s roster would be constructed of NFL players. The Chiefs, who have yet to hold a lead in regulation in any game this season, are constructed of 100 percent NFL players.

So even if the Chiefs are the worst team in the league with the worst roster in the league, most every player on the team would start for Alabama.

With the possible exception of Matt Cassel.

-by Braden Gall

<p> Alabama Crimson Tide Could Never Beat an NFL Team</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 12:41
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-10-preview-and-predictions

The Little Brown Jug. A battle of bests in East Lansing with a championship on the line. Ohio State's continued pursuit of perfection. And the Indiana Hoosiers are favored at home over Iowa? Yes, those Hoosiers could actually be a factor in the Big Ten title race. No, I am not kidding around.

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

1. Can Nebraska handle the driver’s seat?
Whether Denard Robinson played the entire game or not, Nebraska emerged from last weekend’s tilt with Michigan as the frontrunner in the Legends Division. There is no rest for the weary, however, as the Huskers travel to East Lansing this weekend to take on Michigan State. The Spartans are an enigmatic team that went on the road and beat Wisconsin last weekend with little to no offensive production from the quarterback position. Bo Pelini can work himself into a frenzy on the sidelines at times and he will need to portray an image of calm, cool and collected this weekend. A potential return trip to Pasadena is in the cards if they can handle the pressure of being the hunted on the road this weekend.

2. The league’s best offense vs. the league’s best defense
Taylor Martinez and the Huskers are leading the Big Ten in scoring offense (39.3 ppg), total offense (489.1 ypg) and rushing (264.1 ypg). Michigan State and William Gholston are leading the Big Ten in total defense (267.4 ypg), scoring defense (15.0 ppg) and rushing defense (91.2 ypg). Talk about strength on strength. Something will have to give on Saturday night and if Nebraska wants to be taken seriously as a Big Ten title contender under Bo Pelini, this is a game it has to win.

3. The Battle for the Little Brown Jug
The earthenware jug originally used by Michigan’s Fielding Yost is what is up for grabs each time Minnesota and Michigan get together on the football field. The Wolverines hold a commanding 67-22-3 record in the series, including winning 20 of the last 21 meetings. Strangely enough, the Gophers' last two wins over Michigan have come in Ann Arbor with their last home win in the series coming in 1977. This Michigan team is still very much alive for the conference championship and a win over Minnesota is a must for a team with Ohio State still looming on the schedule. Of course, that would be much easier if…

4. Denard Robinson plays the entire game
The re-aggravation of the nerve injury in his throwing elbow cost Robinson and Michigan any chance of competing with Nebraska last weekend. Shoelace is expected to play and start this weekend for Brady Hoke but how long will he last? Devin Gardner — a former elite high school quarterback prospect turned wide receiver — has been taking most of the reps in practice. This is a change from what took place last weekend when Russell Bellomy was called into duty when Robinson got hurt. Needless to say, the Bellomy experiment didn’t work. Gardner gives this team the best chance to win should Robinson miss any time. Ideally, however, Gardner will just be catching passes this weekend and not throwing them.

5. Could Indiana actually be a Division contender?
No, I can’t believe I just wrote that. And no, I am not kidding (on either statement, really). Indiana has Iowa and Wisconsin at home over the next two weekends before road trips to Penn State and Purdue to finish the year. A win over Iowa this weekend gets the Hoosiers to two wins with destiny firmly in hand. Wisconsin lost its starting quarterback Joel Stave for the season and still must face Ohio State and Penn State as well. Is it all that crazy to think Indiana wins two of the next four to get to 3-5? And should one of those wins come over the depleted Badgers at home, they would own the tiebreaker. Am I picking Indiana to win the division at this point? Of course not. But in the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, I'm just saying there’s a chance.

6. Division road test for Penn State
After rattling off five straight wins, Penn State was put in its place last weekend by Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes. To rebound, Bill O’Brien must take his team on the road within the division. Normally, that would be a scary task but with the way Purdue is playing, a loss to the Boilermakers would be a tremendous disappointment. Look for the running game, which was completely dormant against Ohio State (32 yards on 28 carries), to bounce back nicely this weekend. Purdue has lost four straight games and has allowed 283.8 yards rushing per game over that span. Another performance like that this weekend from Purdue and…

7. Danny Hope could be looking for employment after this weekend
No, Hope won’t get fired this weekend, even if Purdue gets crushed by Penn State. But this team has completely crumbled under Hope’s leadership and despite a bowl appearance last fall, things appear headed in the wrong direction. The good news is the schedule lightens up for the Boilers with Illinois and Indiana to finish the year. But irreparable damage could be already be done by then as the Nittany Lions come to town this weekend before Purdue heads to Iowa on Nov. 10. 

8. Braxton and the Buckeyes pursuit of perfection
Illinois is the worst team in the league and Ohio State is the best. There is a reason the Buckeyes are favored by four touchdowns. But there is still plenty to watch in Columbus as Braxton Miller continues to build his Heisman resume and Urban Meyer is pursuing an unblemished record — something he failed to accomplish at Florida despite two national championships. His only unbeaten season as a head coach took place in 2004 when an Alex Smith-led Utah squad finished 12-0.  

Week 10 Big Ten Predictions:

Week 10 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Michigan (-12) at Minnesota Michigan, 34-21 Michigan, 31-20 Michigan, 34-20 Michigan, 28-17
Iowa (+1.5) at Indiana Indiana, 30-27 Indiana, 27-24 Iowa, 27-24 Indiana, 28-21
Illinois (+27.5) at Ohio State Ohio St, 42-14 Ohio St, 44-7 Ohio St, 45-10 Ohio St, 52-14
Penn St (-3.5) at Purdue Penn St, 31-14 Penn St, 31-24 Penn St, 31-17 Penn St, 35-14
Nebraska (-2) at Michigan St Nebraska, 24-21 Nebraska, 20-13 Nebraska, 24-20 Nebraska, 21-17
Last Week: 4-2 4-2 5-1 4-2
Yearly Totals: 60-14 56-18 62-12 56-18

Bye Week: Wisconsin, Northwestern

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Big Ten Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:04
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-10-preview-and-predictions

It's here! November 3 has been a day circled by many West coast football fans since the season ended last January. And had Arizona not gone and screwed everything up, this Oregon-USC showdown would still carry national title implications for both teams. Instead, there's a national title hanging in the balance for just one team. The Oregon Ducks. All eyes will be focused on The Coliseum, but Pac-12 fans have a full holiday menu this Saturday. There will be plenty of tricks and treats for some (Utah? Washington? Oregon State?) and freakish ghouls for others (Cal? Arizona State? Colorado?).

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

1. Oregon’s National Championship is on the line
The SEC has its own Game of the Year in Baton Rouge, but the West Coast's version has just as much intrigue. And plenty more fireworks. While Alabama and LSU play for the right to represent the SEC West in Atlanta with what should be little to no offensive production, Chip Kelly and Lane Kiffin will duke it out in Los Angeles armed with two of the most explosive offenses in the nation. And a chance to host the Pac-12 title game is on the line for USC (or just play in the title game). The stakes are slightly higher for the Ducks as they sit (disrespectfully) at No. 4 in the polls. A road win over USC, as well as three more, should push Oregon to No. 2 regardless of what happens in Manhattan, Kan., or South Bend, Ind., from here on out. I wonder who Larry Scott is rooting for?

2. Matt Barkley could still play in the Rose Bowl
USC still has to be considered the favorite to win the South — but by a much slimmer margin now than last week. That said, three wins to end the year over Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA and the Trojans would land in the Pac-12 title game. In fact, even with a loss to Oregon this weekend, USC could still play for the league crown. All Barkley needs is a chance. If he can get to the Pac-12 Championship Game, his team will have a chance to play in the ever-elusive Rose Bowl. Barkley has played in one bowl game during his tenure at Heritage Hall — an Emerald Bowl win over Boston College — but a trip to Pasadena would likely justify his decision to return to college for his senior year.

3. Will Arizona-UCLA decide the Pac-12 South?
The Trojans likely hold a slight edge in the current race for the South Division title, but Arizona’s visit to UCLA could determine who USC’s chief rival will be down the stretch. Assume a USC loss to Oregon this weekend, Arizona then controls its own destiny. But a loss to UCLA gives the Wildcats a fourth conference loss and likely knocks them out of the race. A win and Rich Rodriguez could be playing for a championship in year one. Jim Mora could say the same thing this weekend with a win — and UCLA doesn’t need any help. A win over Arizona at home puts the Bruins in control of the South with a home date with USC still looming on Nov. 17. Should UCLA defeat Arizona this weekend, the crosstown City of Lights winner will claim the South. 

4. Backfield duos will win the day in L.A.
Matt Scott and Ka’Deem Carey have been electric all season for RichRod. But so has Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin for Jim Mora. The UCLA combo is slightly more traditional but has been no less effective. Scott and Hundley are first and second in the league in total offense while Franklin and Carey are first and third in rushing. Both defenses will have their hands full with these two backfields come Saturday afternoon. Arizona must put an end to its road woes this weekend if it wants to stay in the South race. The Cats are 0-2 on the road this fall and have allowed at least 49 points in both games. The defense must step up this weekend or the Wildcats will limp home to the desert with a fourth conference loss.

5. Cody Vaz is back under center for Oregon State
The junior from Lodi, Calif., hadn’t started a game since high school when he took over for the injured Sean Mannion three weeks ago. He was more than effective, throwing for 332 yards in the relatively easy road win over BYU and 174 yards in the equally easy home win over Utah. However, Mike Riley went back to Mannion for last week’s visit to Washington and the sophomore might have been rushed back into action. Mannion threw four interceptions and the Beavers lost their first game of the year. With Arizona State coming to town this weekend, Riley has gone back to Vaz. The junior will get his third collegiate start as Mannion will watch from the sidelines. The best thing for Vaz? If Oregon State can turn to the ground game against an Arizona State defense that has allowed 618 yards rushing over the last two weekends. Speaking of…

6. Arizona State’s hot start will come crashing down
The ASU defense was ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 two weeks ago, but 88 points allowed and two losses later, the Sun Devils are staring at a second-half collapse. Okay, so “collapse” might be a bit harsh for a team that dramatically overachieved during the first half. But there is a good chance Arizona State finishes the year on a 1-5 losing streak as three of the four will be on the road against Oregon State, USC and Arizona. Washington State at home should be a win, but otherwise, there could be little to like about this squad over the final month.

7. Homecoming highlights Washington's road trip
The Huskies played arguably the toughest five-week stretch of any team in the nation. Road trips to Eugene and Tucson sandwiched between home games with Stanford, USC and Oregon State made Washington’s first-half slate virtually impossible (not to mention a visit to Death Valley). But the Huskies emerged with home wins over the Cardinal and Beavers. The next step for Steve Sarkisian’s improved defense is to take that tenacity on the road. To Berkeley, more specifically. There should be plenty of motivation on both sides as prized recruiter and defensive line dynamo Tosh Lupoi returns to his alma mater. He was lured from Cal to Seattle by Coach Sark this offseason and the move paid instant dividends on the recruiting trail and along the defensive front. The egos on both sides haven’t forgotten.

8. Does a loss end Jeff Tedford’s tenure at Cal
A loss to Washington at home would be painful enough. But the loss would come at the hands of a former assistant and would push the Bears’ record to 3-7. Needless to say, an amicable divorce is pending should the Bears fall at home to U of W. 

9. Wait, Utah can still make it to a bowl game?
Yes, it is true. Somehow the Utes can still go bowling this fall. With a very favorable schedule left — Washington State, at Washington, Arizona at Colorado — Utah needs to finish 3-1 in its final four to get to bowl eligibility for the 10th consecutive season. That makes a win over Wazzu at home this weekend imperative. Take care of the Cougars and people around Salt Lake City will begin to believe. 

Week 10 Pac-12 Predictions:

Week 10 Pac-12 Games Braden Gall Mitch Light Steven Lassan David Fox
Washington (+4.5) at Cal Washington, 20-17 Cal, 24-20 Washington, 31-24 Washington, 24-17
Stanford (-28) at Colorado Stanford, 38-10 Stanford, 38-10 Stanford, 41-10 Stanford, 42-10
Washington St (+11.5) at Utah Utah, 30-24 Utah, 24-17 Utah, 31-17 Wazzu, 24-21
Oregon (-7.5) at USC Oregon, 40-34 Oregon, 44-30 Oregon, 41-34 Oregon, 42-21
Arizona (+3.5) at UCLA UCLA, 35-31 UCLA, 41-37 UCLA, 38-35 Arizona, 38-31
Arizona St (+4) at Oregon St Oregon St, 30-20 Oregon St, 27-21 Oregon St, 30-27 Oregon St, 24-7
Last Week: 5-0 5-0 4-1 5-0
Yearly Totals: 45-15 46-14 44-16 41-19

Bye: None

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Pac-12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:03
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Heisman Trophy
Path: /college-football/2012-heisman-trophy-contenders-post-week-9

Each week, the Athlon editors and others who closely follow college football vote on the most prestigious award in the sport. A 13-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports and other publications cast their votes for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the results will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point. Here are Athlon's guest voters:

Barrett Sallee:  Lead Writer ()
Jim Young:  ()
Blair Kerkhoff:  ()
Chris Level:  ()

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State (12 first place votes)
Season Stats:
 117-165, 1,630 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT, 122 att., 634 yards, 16 TD
For the third time in four games, Klein led his team to at least 55 points against a ranked opponent. The KSU quarterback scored four total touchdowns, passed for 233 yards and rushed for 83 yards. He has now rushed for at least two scores in four straight games and hasn't thrown an interception since Week 3. CK7 is the No. 2-rated passer in the nation at 175.47, trailing only A.J. McCarron. Next Game: Oklahoma State

  Last Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. (1) Collin Klein QB Kansas St 129/130 12 1 - - - 13/13
2. (3) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 108/130 1 6 3 2 1 13/13
3. (2) Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 101/130 - 3 6 2 2 13/13
4. (6) A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 82/130 - 1 2 5 2 12/13
5. (4) Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 64/130 - 1 - 2 3 12/13
6. (5) Kenjon Barner RB Oregon 54/130 - 1 1 2 1 10/13
7. (10) Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M 49/130 - - - - - 12/13
8. (7) Matt Barkley QB USC 21/130 - - - - 1 6/13
9t. (ur) Marcus Mariota QB Oregon 20/130 - - 1 - - 5/13
9t. (ur) Marqise Lee WR USC 20/130 - - - - - 8/13
11. (12) Giovani Bernard RB N. Carolina 19/130 - - - - 2 4/13
12. (9) Barrett Jones OL Alabama 13/130 - - - - 1 4/13
13. (14) De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 7/130 - - - - - 2/13
14t. (8) Seth Doege QB Texas Tech 5/130 - - - - - 3/13
14t. (22) Jordan Lynch QB N. Illinois 5/130 - - - - - 3/13
16t. (ur) Matt Scott QB Arizona 4/130 - - - - - 2/13
16t. (17) Aaron Murray QB Georgia 4/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (15) Jadeveon Clowney DE S. Carolina 3/130 - - - - - 1/13
18t. (ur) Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 3/130 - - - - - 2/13
20t. (12) DeAndre Hopkins WR Clemson 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (17) E.J. Manuel QB Florida St 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (ur) Colby Cameron QB Louisiana Tech 1/130 - - - - - 1/13
20t. (17) Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M 1/130 - - - - - 1/13

2. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame (1 first place vote)
Season Stats: 80 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 5 INT, 1 sack, FR, 3 PBU
The Irish held the Sooners to their lowest scoring (13 points) and yardage (379) outputs of the season. And Te'o played a huge role. In fact, should Te'o win the stiff-armed trophy, it will be his performance in the spotlight on the road against Oklahoma that won him the award. He posted 11 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, one monster sack, and one outstanding, diving, game-clinching interception. There is much left to be accomplished in South Bend, but this was a signature performance from the star linebacker. Next Game: Pitt

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
112-198, 1,527 yards, 12 TD, 6 INT, 166 att., 1,093 yards, 12 TD
After a huge hit that cost him the fourth quarter against Purdue and resulted in a trip to the hospital, Miller was up to his old tricks again this weekend. He rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the easy win over Penn State and the Ohio State quarterback now leads the Big Ten in rushing (121.4 ypg). It was his sixth 100-yard effort of the season. He also threw for 143 yards and another touchdown through the air as well. Next Game: Illinois

4. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 122-177, 1,684 yards, 18 TD, 0 INT, 31 att., minus-51 yards
McCarron continues to play flawless football. Against unbeaten Mississippi State who was leading the nation in turnover margin, the Bama quarterback kept his record-setting interception-less streak intact. He completed 16-of-23 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-7 win over the Bull-puppies. He is leading the nation in passing efficiency at 182.40 and has his team poised for its second straight national title. A win on the road against LSU would likely lock McCarron into a trip to NYC at season's end. Next Game: at LSU

5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Season Stats: 
216-291, 2,414 yards, 26 TD, 2 INT, 35 att., 56 yards, TD
The numbers are still elite level for the Mountaineers' passer and hopefully the bye week gave Smith and company some time to regroup and rebuild their lost confidence. There is still much to play for with five conference games remaining. Next game: TCU

6. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Season Stats: 141 att., 974 yards, 14 TD, 13 rec., 158 yards, TD
Next Game: at USC

7. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Season Stats: 173-269, 2,216 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT, 117 att., 793 yards, 13 TD
Next Week: at Mississippi State

8. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 
171-262, 2,266 yards, 25 TD, 8 INT, 27 att., minus-56 yards
Next game: Oregon

9. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Season Stats: 
133-194, 1,483 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT, 57 att., 378 yards, 3 TD
Next Game: at USC

10. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats: 76 rec., 1,129 yards, 10 TD, 15 KR, 426 yards, TD, 44 yards rushing 
Next Game: Oregon

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 9</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/2013-nfl-draft-rankings-middle-linebackers

It is never too early to begin looking ahead to next year's NFL Draft. Each year a unique set of prospects enters the professional ranks with a chance to make an immediate impact on the country's most powerful sport. The 2013 NFL Draft won’t be any different.

Today, we rank college football's best middle linebackers prospects:

1. Manti Te’o, Notre Dame (6-2, 245, Sr.)
This guy pretty much sells himself as the best player at his position in the 2013 Draft — even in a draft class that is extremely deep at the position. He was likely a first-round pick last year and has put together a Heisman-caliber season as a senior. He also dropped a few pounds for 2012, which has given him elite quickness and burst to go with tremendous strength, tackling skill, physicality, intangibles, leadership and size. He is a sure-fire NFL prospect who will likely start right away.

2. Alec Ogletree, Georgia (6-3, 235, Jr.)
Physical. Explosive. Can play in any system. Has faced the nation’s top programs. Ogletree has had some issues off the field but they have been relatively minor and shouldn’t keep him out of the first round. The raw upside on Ogletree makes him one of the most intriguing players in the upcoming draft at any position. If he stays clean off the field, his speed, instincts and overall productivity should make him a first rounder.

3. Kevin Minter, LSU (6-2, 240, Jr.)
On a team with little depth and talent around him at linebacker, Minter has played excellent football in 2012. He has good size, is the leader of the LSU defense, makes plays all over the field and has elite level toughness. He has played behind elite defensive lineman, so scouts will want to see him in traffic more often. The good news for Minter is he has saved his best season for his last and it will help him come Draft Day.

4. Shayne Skov, Stanford (6-3, 242, Sr.)
Off the field issues — injuries and a DUI — have slowed Skov’s career over the last few seasons. Yet, his impact was immediate when he stepped on campus. He leads one of the best front sevens in the game with elite size and physicality. He is an extremely tough player with tremendous instincts and tackling ability. If healthy and focused, he might be one of the most talented players in the nation at his position.

5. CJ Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 235, Jr.)
Mosley could easily end up as an outside linebacker, but for now, he is one of the nation’s elite interior tacklers. He plays well in space and on the inside and continually makes plays against both the run and the pass. He has one national title ring and is the leader of one of the nastiest defenses in the nation this fall. He has speed, power, toughness and fundamentals. Look for Mosley to grade out highly at either outside or inside linebacker.

6. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (6-3, 240, Sr.)
A slow senior season has cost Reddick some money this fall. He still has excellent size, speed and strength for the interior of any defense. He possesses NFL speed and size,  but hasn’t made enough big plays to be considered an elite prospect. However, he has the skills needed to be a productive player at the next level.

7. Michael Mauti, Penn State (6-2, 235, Sr.)
The steady veteran has all but locked up Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012 with stellar leadership this fall. Especially considering what Penn State has gone through this season. He isn’t overly talented at any one thing but is extremely consistent and physical. Think Sean Lee, Dan Connor or a slightly less talented version of Paul Posluszny.

8. Nico Johnson, Alabama (6-3, 245, Sr.)
There is a lot to like about this senior’s resume. He has two national championships already and has been a big part of one of the nation’s top defenses. He is excellent against the run and can play inside or out. Yet, he has had long stretches of relatively quiet play. Is that a sign of steady production no matter the situation or a sign of less than elite consistency?

9. Jon Bostic, Florida (6-1, 245, Sr.)
In the midst of a semi-disappointing senior year (from an NFL scouting standpoint), Bostic has become a focal point and leader for one of the nation’s elite defenses. He is a tough hitter and can make big plays from all over the field. He has the size and toughness to start inside on the NFL level, but will need to prove his overall talent before the draft.

10. Chris Borland, Wisconsin (5-11, 245, Jr.)
The original Honey Badger is an elite competitor. He has a motor that never quits and he can be used in a variety of ways. He has played inside, outside and exclusively as a pass rusher on third downs this fall. He consistently makes big plays (blocked kicks, forced fumbles, sacks, tackles for loss) and will remind many scouts of Cleveland's D'Qwell Jackson — short but stout.

11. Jonathan Brown, Illinois (6-1, 235, Jr.)
12. Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech (6-2, 245, Sr.)
13. A.J. Klein, Iowa State (6-2, 245, Sr.)
14. Kiko Alonso, Oregon (6-3, 245, Sr.)
15. Tom Wort, Oklahoma (6-0, 235, Jr.)
16. Kenny Demens, Michigan (6-1, 240, Sr.)
17. Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers (6-2, 230, Sr.)
18. Uona Kaveinga, BYU (5-11, 235, Sr.)
19. Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky (6-1, 260, Jr.)
20. Will Compton, Nebraska (6-2, 230, Sr.)
21. James Morris, Iowa (6-2, 230, Jr.)
22. Christian Robinson, Georgia (6-2, 235, Sr.)
23. Steve Greer, Virginia (6-2, 235, Sr.)
24. Vince Williams, Florida State (6-0, 240, Sr.)
25. Shaq Wilson, South Carolina (5-11, 225, Sr.)

Other names to watch:

Doug Rippy, Colorado (6-3, 245, Sr.)
Jake Johnson, South Alabama (6-1, 240, Sr.)
Dwayne Beckford, Purdue (6-1, 235, Sr.)
Herman Lathers, Tennessee (6-0, 230, Sr.)
Kenny Cain, TCU (6-1, 225, Sr.)
Tenarius Wright, Arkansas (6-1, 250, Sr.)
Tanner Brock, TCU (6-3, 250, Sr.) 

- by Braden Gall

Related NFL Draft Rankings By Position:

<p> 2013 NFL Draft Rankings: Middle Linebackers</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-9-power-rankings

Michigan and Wisconsin entered the weekend as the odd-on favorites to play in the Big Ten title game at season's end. After two huge injuries to both programs' starting quarterbacks, each left Week 9 with a loss. The Badgers would have to lose out (including to Indiana) in order to miss the trip to Indianapolis from the Leaders Division. However, the Wolverines' loss to Nebraska has thrown the Legends Division into complete upheaval. It should make for a fun final month in the Midwest.

Post-Week 9 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State - Just seven days after visiting the hospital for a scary head and neck injury against Purdue, Miller was up to his old tricks in Happy Valley. He threw for 143 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 134 yards and two more scores while keeping Ohio State unbeaten. He is now leading the Big Ten in rushing and total offense.

2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State - The Nittany Lions were outmatched against unbeaten Ohio State, but McGloin posted some big numbers. He threw for a personal best 327 yards and two touchdowns in PSU's first Big Ten loss of the year.  

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska - He wasn't elite — 166 yards, TD, INT passing and 58 yards rushing on 14 attempts — but he was good enough to beat the Wolverines on a bad wheel. This might have gone from a two-horse race to a one-horse race. It's Miller's award to lose at this point.

Post-Week 9 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State - Mauti posted 13 total tackles against the most dynamic player in the league. Even though Penn State lost and couldn't really keep up with the Buckeyes, Mauti will be tough to beat here. He is No. 3 in the league in tackling to go with three interceptions and 2.5 sacks.

2. Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin - Taylor led a defense that kept Michigan State to three points for nearly 60 minutes. He had eight tackles (1 TFL) and is No. 2 in the Big Ten in tackling and tackles for a loss.

3. John Simon, DL, Ohio State - Simon got one of the Buckeyes' four sacks this weekend, he also posted a tackle for loss and defelected a pass. Ryan Shazier might make bigger plays, but Simon is the leader of the defense. Most importantly, his team hasn't lost yet.

Post-Week 9 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State - There is only one team in the nation with a 9-0 record and it's Meyer's Buckeyes. His squad played arguably their best game of the year in the whitewashing of Penn State on the road. An unbeaten season gives Meyer the Big Ten Coach of the Year award.

2. Bill O'Brien, Penn State - The relatively easy win for Ohio State doesn't eliminate BoB from Coach of the Year consideration by any means. It doesn't diminish his overall accomplishments in Happy Valley. A 3-1 mark to finish at 6-2 in league play might give O'Brien the COY award.

3. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern - His Wildcats blitzed the over-matched Hawkeyes in impressive fashion this weekend. He has his best rushing attack since arriving in Evanston and has an outside shot at nine wins.

Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 9 result: Beat Penn State 35-23

The talk around Columbus this week was the health of Heisman candidate Braxton Miller. Well, it turns out he is just fine. The Buckeyes' star quarterback got his Heisman candidacy back on track with another big day on the ground. Ohio State out-gained Penn State 234 yards to 32 on the ground, led by Miller's two touchdowns. Two late touchdowns made this game look closer than it really was as the Buckeyes defense played arguably its best game of the year, sacking Matt McGloin four times and forcing two turnovers on the road. The Bucknuts are the only 9-0 team in the nation.
This week: Illinois (2-6)

2. Nebraska (6-2, 3-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 9 result: Beat Michigan 25-9
Obviously, there is a rather large asterisk next to Nebraska's win over Michigan. The Huskers easily handled the Maize and Blue once Denard Robinson left the game. The Huskers defense hasn't looked like the Black Shirts much this fall, but once Shoelace left the game, Nebraska dominated on that side of the ball. They held Michigan to a season low 188 yards of offense for the game and only three points once Robinson departed (and those came with lots of help from NU penalties). The Huskers now control their own destiny in the Legends Division after back-to-back wins over Northwestern and Michigan. However, Nebraska could face four "bowl-eligible" teams to finish the year: Michigan State, Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa.
This week: at Michigan State (5-4)

3. Michigan (5-3, 3-1)
Previous rank: 2
Week 9 result: Lost to Nebraska 25-9
Big Ten fans got robbed of what could have been a truly great match-up in Lincoln. Michigan fans likely feel worse. Denard Robinson left the game in the second quarter when Bake Steinkuhler awkwardly hit his throwing arm as Michigan was going in to score. Dealing with re-aggravated nerve damage in his throwing arm, Shoelace was unable to return and replacement Russell Bellomy was left to deal with the Black Shirts. He was like a deer in headlights, starting 0-for-10 passing and leading the offense to only three points in the final 33 minutes of play. Michigan was held to a season low 188 total yards, 38 of which came from Bellomy (on 16 passes and five rushes). Brady Hoke has stated he isn't concerned with his star quarterback's availability for next Saturday's Battle for the Little Brown Jug.
This week: at Minnesota (5-3)

4. Penn State (5-3, 3-1)
Previous rank: 4
Week 9 result: Lost to Ohio State 35-23
Matt McGloin threw for a career-best 327 yards and a couple of late scores to make the outcome much closer than it should have been. The Penn State ground game had averaged 180.5 yards per game with no fewer than 161 yards in each of the previous four games. Against Ohio State, it mustered only 32 yards on 28 carries as the Nits trailed 28-10 with 10 minutes to go in the game. The schedule isn't that difficult — Purdue, Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin — and a 3-1 finish would give Penn State an eight-win season. In Happy Valley this fall, eight wins has to be considered a modern miracle.

This week: at Purdue (3-5)

5. Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2)
Previous rank: 3
Week 9 result: Lost to Michigan State 16-13 (OT)
Much like Michigan, Badgers fans have to feel robbed this fall. Both league losses have come without starting quarterback Joel Stave and now Bret Bielema will be without his signal caller for the rest of the year. The redshirt freshman walk-on was 9-of-11 for 127 yards and a touchdown when he left the game with a broken collarbone. Former Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien led the offense to 43 total yards in the second half and overtime. The defense played excellent football, but finally broke down in the final minutes of play when the Spartans drove the length of the field to tie the game with 1:25 left to play. This team is still very much in the driver's seat for the Leaders Division default crown, but without Stave, an upset win in Indy is highly unlikely. 
This week: Off

6. Northwestern (7-2, 3-2)
Previous rank: 6
Week 9 result: Beat Iowa 28-17
This was a huge game for a team that believes it is ready to compete for a Big Ten title. While finishing 6-2 in the league is highly unlikely (at Michigan, at Michigan State and Illinois after the bye), a shot at nine wins was realized with the win this weekend. A game Northwestern dominated. Opening up a 28-3 lead behind the best rushing attack Pat Fitzgerald has ever had in Evanston (237.6 ypg, 15th nationally), the Wildcats held on for the easy home win over reeling Iowa. Kain Colter and Venric Mark both topped 160 yards on the ground as Northwestern finished with 349 yards on the ground.  
This week: Off

7. Michigan State (5-4, 2-3)
Previous rank: 7
Week 9 result: Beat Wisconsin 16-13 (OT)
The Spartans were teetering after a brutal last-second loss to rival Michigan last weekend. But the most maligned member of the Spartans' football program answered the bell when he had to this weekend and Sparty got off the schneid. Andrew Maxwell completed 8-of-9 passes and even rushed for a first down on MSU's final drive of the game that ended in the game-tying touchdown pass to Le'Veon Bell. He then tossed the game-winner in overtime on third-and-eight from the Wisconsin 12-yard line. It was easily Maxwell's best clutch performance of his brief and challenged career. The Spartans now return home for two tough games against Nebraska and Northwestern.
This week: Nebraska (6-2)

8. Iowa (4-4, 2-2)
Previous rank: 9
Week 9 result: Lost to Northwestern 28-17
It was too little too late for Kirk Ferentz. For the second straight week, the Hawkeyes appeared to be completely unprepared to play a football game. After falling behind 38-0 to Penn State last weekend, Iowa fell behind Northwestern 28-3 before scoring a couple of second half touchdowns. This type of overall erosion is unacceptable in Iowa City. Certainly, Northwestern is as talented as it has been in over a decade, but there is no excuse for Iowa to fall behind 66-3. It is up to the head coach to have his team better prepared to compete.
This week: at Indiana (3-5)

9. Minnesota (5-3, 1-3)
Previous rank: 10
Week 9 result: Beat Purdue 44-28
This was a huge statement win for Jerry Kill and the Gophers. No, a win over Purdue isn't something you normally put in your trophy case, but it keeps Minnesota on pace for a potential bowl bid and gives an extremely young offense loads of confidence. Freshman Philip Nelson played flawless football in leading his team to a 44-7 lead halfway through the third quarter. He finished with 246 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing and no interceptions. He also added 37 yards rushing as Gophers fans have to be excited about the future of the quarterback position in Minneapolis. Kill's bunch has three brutal games left (Michigan, at Nebraska and Michigan State) and one game that should give them a trip to a bowl game (Illinois). Any upsets along the way would guarantee a winning season for the first time since 2008.
This week: Michigan (5-3)

10. Purdue (3-5, 0-4)
Previous rank: 8
Week 9 result: Lost to Minnesota 44-28
After a strong non-conference showing, Danny Hope's bunch was poised to compete in the depleted Leaders Division. That is, until Big Ten play started.
With just over eight minutes to go in the third quarter, Purdue had scored seven points and was trailing by 37 to Minnesota. Purdue has lost four straight games and has allowed nearly 40 points per game since Big Ten play started. The offense hasn't helped much either, averaging less than 300 yards per game during the four-game losing streak. Hope needs to win down the stretch to keep his job — probably three times, which isn't all that far-fetched with one of the easiest final months in the league: Penn State, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana.
This week: Penn State (5-3)

11. Indiana (3-5, 1-3)
Previous rank: 12
Week 9 result: Beat Illinois 31-17
A win over a 2-6 team that has looked completely inept wouldn't normally be a signature victory, but for Kevin Wilson and the Hoosiers, that is exactly what this weekend's win was for the fans in Bloomington. The two-touchdown road win was the first Big Ten win for the Wilson regime, and frankly, they made it look easy. After falling behind 14-7 early in the second quarter, Indiana out-scored Illinois 24-3 the rest of the way. Wilson's bunch is just a couple plays away from being 5-3 after heart-breaking losses to Ball State and Navy. It was the first league victory for IU since Nov. 2010.
This week: Iowa (4-4)

12. Illinois (2-6, 0-4)
Previous rank: 11
Week 9 result: Beat Lost to Indiana 31-17
The Illini finally won something this weekend. However, of course, no one wants to be called the "Worst Team in the League." But that is what Tim Beckman's bunch has earned in his first season at Illinois after losing at home by two touchdowns to a team that hasn't won a Big Ten game since November 2010. This team is horrendous in all three phases. It's ranked last in the Big Ten in total offense, scoring offense and sacks allowed. It is last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. And it's even last in punt returns and 11th in kick returns. 

This week: Ohio State (9-0)

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-9-power-rankings

And then there was one. Most didn't believe Oregon State or USC could make it to the BCS National Championship game, however, they both just kept winning. No more. After tough road losses this weekend, the Oregon Ducks are flying above the rest of the Pac-12 as the lone remaining national title contender. The depth of the league was once again on full display as programs like Arizona, UCLA and Washington prove that the middle of this league is as strong as any league in the nation.

Post-Week 9 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - As the unquestioned leader of the best team in the league and arguably the best offense in America, Mariota is my vote. After three more touchdowns and another 70 points on offense, Mariota is now leading the league in completion rate (68.8 percent), is leading the league in rushing yards by a QB and has thrown the fewest interceptions of any of the regular starters in the league. Many will vote for Kenjon Barner or De'Anthony Thomas, but Mariota has been the most important piece to the Chip Kelly offensive puzzle.

2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - USC could still win the league and so Barkley could still easily win POY. He threw for 493 yards and three touchdowns — giving him a Pac-12 best 25 total touchdowns — and is No. 2 in passing efficiency out West. A win next week and he is back at No. 1.

3. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona 
- Maybe now Scott will finally get some national consideration for his efforts in the desert. He nearly posted more yards against USC than any player in the long and storied history of the Trojan program. He piled up 469 yards and four scores in the big win over the Men of Troy.

Post-Week 9 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State - The Beavers lost for the first time but it wasn't the defense's fault. Keith Price failed to throw a touchdown and finished with 194 yards. Poyer had five tackles and returned one punt.

2. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford - Fellow LB Shayne Skov deserves some love as well as the team's middle backer and leading tackler. However, Thomas has been a complete player with 50 total tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and an interception.

3. Scott Crichton, DL, Oregon State - He didn't do that much in the loss to Washington (3 total tackles) but it wasn't his side of the ball that cost Oregon State its unblemished season. He is No. 2 in the league in sacks and tackles for a loss. 

Post-Week 9 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon - His team had the 46-point spread covered with eight minutes left to go in the second quarter. This team is clearly the best team out West — despite replacing its starting quarterback, Heisman trophy finalist running back and losing its defensive captain in John Boyett. 

2. Mike Riley, Oregon State - He drops from 1b. to 2. with the first loss of the season. He is still having a remarkable year despite the tough road loss to Washington. 

3. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona  - Thanks to the Wildcats for making me look good after placing both Scott and RichRod in the top three for Coach and Offensive Player of the Year standings. His Cats have lost three games to three teams that are a combined 20-3. 

Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Oregon (8-0, 5-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 9 result: Beat Colorado 70-14
Oregon continued its first half dominance again this weekend as it won its 26th Pac-12 game in 27 tries. The Ducks had scored two touchdowns before the Buffs even had one offensive snap and eventually held a 56-0 halftime lead. Oregon's starters — on either side of the ball — have rarely played a single down in the second half of the year. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett has scored eight touchdowns in eight games thus far. After taking care of business — and watching five unbeatens go down from around the nation — the Ducks are set up for a huge showdown in Los Angeles next weekend. 
This week: at USC (6-2)

2. Oregon State (6-1, 4-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 9 result: Lost to Washington 20-17
Oregon State spotted Washington a 10-0 halftime lead, but worked itself back into play with a great third quarter. The well-known script of owning the second half and suffocating opposing offenses appeared to be right on schedule until Sean Mannion threw two of his four interceptions on consecutive drives early in the fourth quarter and Washington won the day. The quarterback has tossed seven interceptions in his last two games and fans have to wonder if he was rushed back from knee surgery. With Stanford and Cal remaining before The Civil War, Oregon State still controls its own destiny but has loads of heavy lifting still to go.
This week: Arizona State (5-3)

3. Stanford (6-2, 4-1)
Previous rank: 

Week 9 result:
 Beat Washington State 24-17
Another week, another hard-fought, physical Pac-12 win for David Shaw and the Cardinal. However, this one wasn't supposed to be close or hard-fought. Josh Nunes and his receivers continued to struggle mightily, but were once again bailed out by a dominant defensive performance. The Cardinal posted 10 sacks, allowed minus-16 yards rushing and returned one key interception for a touchdown to hold off the Cougars at home. As a three-touchdown favorite, this was clearly an imperfect performance by the offense. Stanford totaled 256 yards of offense against Wazzu and averaged only 3.2 yards per carry. Nunes' unit will have to be better with Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA still left on the schedule.

This week: at Colorado (1-7)

4. USC (6-2, 4-2)
Previous rank: 2
Week 9 result: Lost to Arizona 39-36
Matt Barkley put up huge numbers and Marqise Lee was on a different planet on Saturday. But it wasn't enough to overcome a tremendous game from Arizona quarterback Matt Scott. The Trojans defense allowed four straight touchdowns on four straight possessions late in the third and early in the fourth quarter. It was enough for the Wildcats to hold on for the huge upset in the desert. USC can still win the league as games against Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State loom over the next three weeks. But a chance at a national title or Heisman trophy likely fell by the wayside this weekend.
This week: Oregon (8-0)

5. UCLA (6-2, 3-2)
Previous rank: 5
Week 9 result: Beat Arizona State 45-43
Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give UCLA a second straight key South Division win. Quarterback Brett Hundley played well in his return home, he is from nearby Chandler, Ariz., totaling 301 yards of offense and four total touchdowns in the huge road win. Johnathan Franklin chipped in 164 yards rushing and two scores as the senior tailback is now just 20 yards away from becoming UCLA's all-time leading rusher. Jim Mora's team is still very much in the thick of the South Division race with huge games against Arizona and USC coming up over the next three weeks. The defense needs to play better but Noel Mazzone's dynamic offense continues to impress (I bet they would like that Cal game back, eh?).
This week: Arizona (5-3) 

6. Arizona (5-3, 2-3)
Previous rank: 6
Week 9 result: Beat USC 39-36
Strange things happen out in the desert late in the season and Week 9 was a perfect example. Trailing by 15 points halfway through the third quarter, RichRod and Matt Scott rallied the troops by scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions. The redshirt senior quarterback was incredible, rushing for 100 yards on 15 carries and throwing for 369 yards on 50 attempts. He totaled four touchdowns as the Wildcats finally held on to win a close game. With close losses to Stanford and Oregon State (and a blowout loss to Oregon), Arizona's three losses have come to teams with a combined record 20-3. Is this the best three-loss team in the nation? Zona has to feel good about its chances in the South as games with UCLA, Utah, Colorado and Arizona State are all still ahead of them.
This week: at UCLA (6-2)

7. Washington (4-4, 2-3)
Previous rank: 8
Week 9 result: 
Lost Beat Oregon State 20-17

The Huskies finished one of the nastiest month-long stretches of action any team in America will face this fall with a 2-3 record. And Steve Sarkisian's bunch should feel proud of their performance. Losses to Oregon, USC and Arizona don't feel nearly as bad now that the Huskies have wins over Stanford and Oregon State. It was the second win over a top 10 team at home as this Washington defense continues to show marked improvement from a year ago. The offense still has major issues on third down, but it took advantage of four OSU turnovers to score 10 fourth quarter points. Things get much easier for U of W from here on out: Cal, Colorado, Utah, Washington State 
This week: at Cal (3-6)

8. Arizona State (5-3, 3-2)
Previous rank: 7
Week 9 result: Lost to UCLA 45-43
The Sun Devils were unbeaten in conference play just two weeks ago. After allowing 43 and 45 points respectively to Oregon and UCLA, the Devils' Will Sutton-less defense is back on its heels. Arizona State now finishes the year with three of four on the road, with trips to Oregon State, USC and Arizona sandwiched around a home game with Washington State. Anything better than 6-6 would have to be considered a successful season, despite the early optimism in Tempe.
This week: at Oregon State (6-1)

9. Utah (3-5, 1-4)
Previous rank: 
Week 9 result: Beat Cal 49-27
The Utes ended a four-game Pac-12 losing streak by scoring three touchdowns on defense and special teams, including two Reggie Dunn 100-yard kickoff returns. The defense forced three turnovers as Utah raced to a 42-6 lead midway through the third quarter. It keeps hope alive that a 10th straight season of postseason play in Salt Lake City is still possible. Could Kyle Whittingham's bunch win three of its final four and make a bowl game? With Washington, Washington State, Arizona and Colorado left on the schedule, it is entirely possible.

This week: Washington State (2-5)

10. California (3-6, 2-4)
Previous rank: 9
Week 9 result: Lost to Utah 49-27 
Losing to Stanford or USC is one thing. Losing to a winless-in-the-Pac-12 Utah team by 22 points is something else entirely. And it might have cost Jeff Tedford his job in Berkeley. Cal's special teams were terrible and the offense turned the ball over. It was a microcosm of Cal's last few seasons. Score nearly 30 points with over 400 yards of offense and watch a skill player set school records (Keenan Allen became Cal's all-time leading receiver with 205 receptions) but inefficient quarterback play and sloppy special teams cost the Bears again. This time it was an ugly showing against a 2-5 Utah squad. 
This week: Washington (4-4)

11. Colorado (1-7, 1-4)
Previous rank: 11
Week 9 result: Lost to Oregon 70-14
For the second straight week, Colorado was given more than 40 points by the wise guys in Las Vegas and for the second straight week, it wasn't enough help. Jon Embree's team trailed by 56 points at halftime and allowed 425 yards rushing to Oregon. It was the third straight game this team has allowed at least 50 points. Offensively, this team mustered only 95 yards passing. Is enough enough in Boulder?
This week: Stanford (6-2)

12. Washington State (2-6, 0-5)
Previous rank: 12
Week 9 result: Lost to Stanford 24-17
This was Mike Leach's chance to make a statement. Leach watched his defense play its best game of the season by allowing lows in total yards (256) and passing yards (139). Yet, with the game tied at 17 with just more than six minutes to play, he watched his quarterback throw a costly interception that Stanford returned for the game-winning touchdown. The Cougars rushed for minus-16 yards, the third time Wazzu has rushed for a negative total. The rest of college football has five such games. There were some positives Leach can pull from his trip to Palo Alto, but his team is still the lone team winless in Pac-12 play.

This week: at Utah (3-5)

by Braden Gall

Related College Football Content

<p> Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/8-amazing-stats-nfl-sunday-week-8

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

Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 8 of NFL play:

12-of-16: Detroit's conversion rate on third down
The Seahawks (4-4) couldn't get off the field on third down when it had to and it allowed the Lions (3-4) to save its season. Matthew Stafford and company converted on 75% of its third down attempts, including three such conversions on the game-winning drive. To put into perspective the alarming rate of success on such a key down, only the Steelers are converting on third down more times than not (52%). Stafford finished 34-of-49 for 352 yards while accounting for four touchdowns in the big come-from-behind win. Sunday marked his ninth career fourth-quarter game-winning drive and the third such drive this season. Detroit has three wins this fall.

6: Consecutive drives Atlanta scored to open the game
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (7-0) scored on their first six possessions, giving the NFL's last unbeaten team a commanding 30-10 lead three seconds into the final quarter. With 5:24 left in the fourth, an Atlanta drive ended in something other than points when the Falcons had to punt for the first time. It was Ryan's 50th career win in 69 career starts — tying him with Ben Roethlisberger as the second fastest quarterback in history to win 50 games (Tom Brady, 65). The Falcons are unbeaten when Ryan throws at least three touchdowns (15-0) and the 7-0 mark is the best start in franchise history. Bonus Stat: The Eagles lost following a bye week for the first time in 14 years. The 13-year win-after-a-bye-week streak was the longest in NFL history since the advent of the off week.

6: Interceptions returned for TDs by the Chicago Bears defense
Trailing by five points with less than seven minutes to go in the game, Cam Newton floated one to the left sideline into the waiting arms of Tim Jennings. He ran the short 25 yards into the endzone and gave the Bears (6-1) the lead over the Panthers (1-6). In seven games, the Bears defense has allowed eight total offensive touchdowns, while scoring six of their own. And two of those eight were a fake field goal by Green Bay and an offensive fumble recovery by Carolina. Newton is now 7-16 as a starter in the NFL while the Bears have won five straight. 

14-3: Jets record when Mark Sanchez attempts 25 or fewer passes
The Jets' Mark Sanchez attempted the second-most passes of his career with 54 passes thrown on Sunday in the loss to the Dolphins (4-3). New York (3-5) is 7-11 when Sanchez throws at least 35 passes in a game. When he isn't needed to throw much, the Jets win at an startling rate. The J-E-T-S have never lost (6-0) when he throws fewer than 20 passes in a game and are 14-3 — including 3-0 in the playoffs — when throwing 25 or fewer attempts.

17: NFL record consecutive games the Patriots have topped 350 yards
With 473 yards of offense in the 45-7 win over the Rams (3-5) in London, the Patriots (5-3) passed the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams for the all-time record for consecutive games of at least 350 total yards of offense. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win across the pond. It marked the 50th time Brady has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game, good for fourth all-time behind Brett Favre (72), Peyton Manning (67) and Dan Marino (62). Strangely enough, it was also his 50th career 300-yard passing game, good for seventh all-time. 

7.7: Points allowed per game during Pittsburgh's six-game home winning streak
The Steelers (4-3) have won two straight games, three out of four and six straight at home. During the six-game home winning streak the defense has been absolutely stifling for Mike Tomlin, allowing less than eight points per game. Dating back until Week 13 of last fall, Pittsburgh hasn't allowed more than 14 points to any opponent. After holding Robert Griffin III and the Redskins (3-5) to 12 points, one offensive touchdown and 255 yards of offense, Tomlin has his team one game back of the depleted Baltimore Ravens. 

1: Career games missed by Jason Witten
Despite the rough home loss to the division leading New York Giants (6-2), Jason Witten proved once again why he is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game. The last time Witten missed a game was Week 14 of his rookie season back in 2003 with a broken jaw. The Cowboys (3-4) tight end has played in 150 of 151 possible career games, starting 140 of those. He caught a career-high 18 passes for a career-high 167 yards in the loss and moved to within three catches of Dallas' all-time record holder Michael Irvin (750). Witten has 747 career receptions. It was his 16th 100-yard receiving effort.

.571: Andrew Luck's record rookie winning percentage
Through eight weeks of the season, no rookie No. 1 overall quarterback has ever posted a higher winning percentage than Andrew Luck's .571 (4-3). My weekly Bro-mance with Mr. Luck isn't diminishing anytime soon. Quite the contrary, it's only getting more ridiculous. Luck led the Colts on an 80-yard, 14-play, seven-minute drive that culminated in the game-tying touchdown with just more than three minutes left on the clock. Then on the first drive of overtime, Luck led another 80-yard drive, this time on nine plays over five minutes, to win the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Vick Ballard. He finished with 325 yards of total offense and the game-winning touchdown. The Titans have lost seven out of eight overall and seven of the last 10 in Nashville against the Colts. 

- by Braden Gall

<p> Amazing Stats from NFL Sunday: Week 8</p>
Post date: Monday, October 29, 2012 - 05:50