Articles By Braden Gall

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Hosts Braden Gall and David Fox breakdowns all of the action from Week 13. The Big Ten West is down to two teams, the ACC title game is set, UCLA takes the lead in the Pac-12 South, more Jameis Winston discussion and Samaje Perine's record-setting performance highlight this week's edition. We debate it all and offer our playoff predictions on this week's edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @DavidFox615 or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 13 Recap
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 13:18
Path: /college-football/top-25-greatest-rivalries-college-football-history
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When tasked with deciding the best rivalries in college football there will be no avoiding offending someone.

 

So in an effort to avoid any hurt feelings, I need to say something to everyone out there who believes that their beloved rivalry is underrated, getting no respect or ranked way too low.

 

You're right.

 

College football is built on a foundation of tradition, history, community and lifelong-shared experiences that can turn two complete strangers into best friends in a matter of seconds. Every rivalry from Ohio State-Michigan to a game actually called "The Rivalry" means more to those involved than any outsider could possibly understand.

 

I appreciate and respect Lafayette-Lehigh as much as I do Oklahoma-Texas. It's what makes college football the greatest sport on the planet. It's what makes ranking the top 25 virtually impossible. Does the annual bout between the Mountain Hawks and Leopards have any impact on the big boy's national championship picture? Of course not. But it doesn't mean any less to those fans 17 miles apart in Pennsylvania than Alabama-Auburn does to those in the Yellowhammer State?

 

So with this in mind, here are the top 25 rivalries in college football.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.


College Football's Top 25 Rivalries

 

1. Army-Navy (Navy, 58-49-7)

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

 

2. Alabama-Auburn (Alabama, 42-35-1)

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

 

3. Michigan-Ohio St (Michigan, 58-46-6)

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

 

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Texas, 60-44-5)

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

 

Listen to the Week 13 recap and analysis podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

5. USC-Notre Dame (Notre Dame, 45-35-5)

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

 

6. Georgia-Florida (Georgia, 49-41-2*)

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

 

7. Miami-Florida State (Miami, 31-28)

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

 

8. Harvard-Yale (Yale, 66-57-8)

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

 

9. Florida-Florida St (Florida, 34-22-2)

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

 

10. Cal-Stanford (Stanford, 60-46-11)

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

 

11. Pittsburgh-West Virginia (Pitt, 61-40-3)

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

 

12. Texas-Texas A&M (Texas, 76-37-5)

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

 

13. Oregon-Oregon State (Oregon, 61-46-10)

The Civil War has come a long way since the Ducks and Beavers played to a 0–0 tie in 1983.

 

14. BYU-Utah (Utah, 57-34-4)

The Holy War might be the best name for any rivalry in the nation.

 

15. UCLA-USC (USC, 46-31-7)

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

 

16. Alabama-Tennessee (Alabama, 52-38-8)

The Third Saturday in October means only one thing to people in the South: Alabama vs. Tennessee.

 

17. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Oklahoma,  84-17-7)

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

 

18. Clemson-South Carolina (Clemson, 65-42-4)

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

 

19. Mississippi State-Ole Miss (Ole Miss, 61-43-6)

The Egg Bowl is often the only way to salvage a season for these two programs that have struggled to win consistently in the SEC.

 

20. Auburn-Georgia (Tied, 55-55-8)

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

 

21. Michigan-Michigan State (Michigan, 68-34-5)

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

 

22. Minnesota-Wisconsin (Minnesota, 59-56-8)

The winner of the Gophers vs. Badgers showdown takes home the prized Paul Bunyan Axe. It’s the most played rivalry in FBS football, dating back to 1890. None will be bigger than the 124th meeting when the Big Ten West championship will be decided by these two.

 

23. Michigan-Notre Dame (Michigan, 24-17-1)

These two traditional powers have only played regularly for the past three decades, but they produced a ton of memorable moments. Strike a pose, Desmond!

 

23. Georgia-Georgia Tech (Georgia, 64-40-5)

You know it’s a good rivalry when the book about the series is called Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

 

25. Lafayette-Lehigh (Lafayette, 78-67-5)

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

Teaser:
The Top 25 Rivalries In College Football History
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-13-picks
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I was 3-4 with top picks and 3-3 in trendy picks last week and it has dropped me below .500 for the first time all season. And I’m not sure where to go this weekend to make up for it.

 

You’ll notice one of two themes this weekend in college football. A) Huge point spreads in top 25 mismatches and B) Impossibly difficult to predict rivalry games with heavy title implications. This might be a good week to sit on the bench.

 

So I'm going to try the underdogs...

 

Last Week: 6-7

Year-to-Date: 44-45-1

 

Missouri (+4) at Tennessee

The Tigers are playing for a trip to the SEC Championship Game and Tennessee is missing its two most important leaders on defense (A.J. Johnson, Brian Randolph for the first half). Mizzou has won nine straight true road games outright and should be able to win the line of scrimmage battle on both sides. Prediction: Missouri +4

 

Ole Miss (-3) at Arkansas

The Rebels are a much more balanced offensive team than LSU and should be able to take advantage of the Hogs' defensive issues more so than the Tigers. Ole Miss is 6-3-1 against the number this year and Arkansas could be exhaling after finally winning an SEC game under Bret Bielema. Prediction: Ole Miss -3

 

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Maryland (+5.5) at Michigan

Laying 5.5 points means Michigan must score six to win and that has been easier said than done this year. The Wolverines scored 10 points against Northwestern, 11 against Michigan State and 18 against Penn State in three of the last four games. Look for a low-scoring affair in Ann Arbor. Prediction: Maryland +5.5

 

Boston College (+19.5) at Florida St

This was Florida State’s toughest game of the year last fall and while the game isn’t in Chestnut Hill and isn’t featuring Andre Williams, the points are still too much to pass up. The Noles don’t blow people out and are 3-7 against the spread this season. Prediction: Boston College +19.5

 

Stanford (-6) at Cal

Cal is 7-3 against the spread and is playing its archrival at home with a shot at going to a bowl game. The Bears need no more motivation than that. Stanford struggles to score and has struggled to cover (4-6 ATS this year). Take Cal to cover and possibly win outright. Prediction: Cal +6

 

Air Force (+5.5) at San Diego St

The Falcons have won four in a row, seven of their last eight overall and are posting big numbers on offense in the process (37.8 ppg in last four). The Aztecs have lost two of their last three and AFA could win outright. Prediction: Air Force +5.5

 

W. Michigan (+1) at C. Michigan

This is a pure trend pick as WMU is leading the nation with a 9-1 record against the spread. Central has a decent defense but is 5-6 against the spread this year and I’m not going against the trend. Play with caution. Prediction: W. Michigan +1

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Colorado (+32.5) at Oregon
B. College (+19) at Florida St
Vanderbilt (+30) at Miss. St
Indiana (+34.5) at Ohio St
Okla. St (+28.5) at Baylor
Ole Miss (-3) at Arkansas
USC (+3.5) at UCLA
Rutgers (+22) at Mich. St
Wash. St (+16) at Ariz. St
Arizona (+4) at Utah
Wisconsin (-10) at Iowa
Missouri (+4) at Tennessee
Kansas (+25) at Okla.
Minnesota (+10) at Nebraska
Georgia St (+40.5) at Clemson
Louisville (+3) at Notre Dame
Last Week:4-118-74-116-9
YTD:90-89-494-85-480-99-488-91-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 13 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-13-predictions
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan preview an interesting weekend of games in college football. USC visits UCLA, two potential SEC title contenders are on the road, some Big Ten games with coaching implications and much more on this Week 13 podcast. We also offer up some locks of the week against the spread.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonSteven or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 13 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:59
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-13-preview-and-predictions
Body:

TCU is still ahead of Baylor in the playoff rankings (for better or for worse) and will sit at home and watch this weekend.

 

But Baylor still controls its own destiny and has a chance to earn some style points against Oklahoma State. Not to be left out, Kansas State is still in the Big 12 title mix but has to win in Morgantown.

 

And when Kliff Kingsbury and Paul Rhoads get together in Ames, who knows what could happen.


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


Big 12 Week 13 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Kansas St (+2) at West Virginia
Thur., 7 p.m., FS1

Still with just one conference loss, Kansas State is very much in the Big 12 championship race. Visiting Morgantown has been extremely difficult this season for everyone but Oklahoma and Bill Snyder’s bunch needs to win to keep pace with Baylor and TCU. Snyder is 2-0 against Dana Holgorsen since joining the Big 12 and his offense posted 55 points and 7.7 yards per play the last time the Wildcats visited Milan Puskar Stadium. Both offenses need to shake off some recent rust, as Kansas State managed just 34 yards rushing against TCU while WVU's Clint Trickett has posted his three worst passing totals in the last three games. Both have had two weeks to prepare and the chess match between Holgo’s offense and Snyder’s defense should be fun to watch.

 

Listen to the Week 13 preview podcast:



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2. Oklahoma St (+28) at Baylor
7:30 p.m., FOX

Many believe that Baylor should be ranked ahead of TCU, especially considering the outcome of the head-to-head meeting. But the Bears are still two spots behind the Horned Frogs. Art Briles knows that if his team can win its final three games — and look good doing it — that his Bears are likely to be the Big 12’s representative in the inaugural Playoff. TCU missed a shot to look good last weekend against Kansas and Baylor cannot afford to do the same against Oklahoma State. The Pokes have lost four straight and scored a total of 40 points in those losses and may be without starting quarterback Daxx Garman (concussion). Mason Rudolph would have to burn his redshirt to start in his place. The Bears have scored 108 points in their last two and have had two weeks to prepare for a team that embarrassed them in Stillwater last year in their only loss of the regular season.

 

3. Texas Tech (+1.5) at Iowa St
3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net

There is no reason for anyone outside of Ames and Lubbock to pay attention to anything that happens in Jack Trice Stadium this weekend. However, both head coach’s respective futures could hang in the balance. Amidst signal-gate, Kingsbury’s team has lost seven out of eight overall and have been victorious just once in its last 11 Big 12 games. Rhoads has lost six straight in the Big 12 and 14 of the last 16. Both are well-liked within their respective programs and neither is likely to get fired this season but both are in desperate need of a league win.

 

4. Kansas (+25) at Oklahoma
Noon, FS1

Bob Stoops has his team back in the Top 25 after a 35-point second half gave the Sooners a road win over Texas Tech. Without Trevor Knight, Samaje Perine reemerged with 213 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in the win. With Cody Thomas likely under center once again, look for Perine and company to exploit a Jayhawks rushing defense that has allowed a Big 12 opponent to rush for more than 200 yards three times this season. The good news for Kansas is Michael Cummings is beginning to blossom. He’s averaged 299.3 yards per game passing with seven total touchdowns and just one interception in his last three games.

 

Off: TCU, Texas

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
KSU (+2) at WVUKSU, 34-31WVU, 34-30KSU, 31-28KSU, 30-27
OSU (+28) at BaylorBU, 41-17BU, 41-17BU, 42-14 BU, 45-17
TT (+1.5) at ISUISU, 25-24ISU, 30-23TT, 28-17TT, 34-31
Kansas (+25) at Okla.OU, 45-17OU, 41-10OU, 38-10OU, 38-13
Last Week:3-03-03-03-0
YTD:55-954-1057-756-8

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 13 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-13-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The Week 13 slate across the country is pretty sad, but the Pac-12 Conference is here to save college football.

 

Four of the six Pac-12 games feature point spreads that are less than a touchdown and the other two feature teams that need to hold serve at home to keep their respective Pac-12 championship game hopes alive.

 

Most importantly, a historic rivalry in Los Angeles is likely to determine the Pac-12 South Division title.

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


Pac-12 Week 13 Game Power Rankings

 

1. USC (+3.5) at UCLA
8 p.m., ABC

You gotta love when a plan comes together, right? On what might be the worst weekend for college football nationally, the Pac-12 South Division title could hang in the balance between two powerful SoCal rivals. The Bruins control their own destiny and are two wins away from returning to the conference title game. A USC wins opens the door for a head-spinning number of outcomes. What’s even more exciting is the way both teams are playing currently. Over the last month, both Cody Kessler and Brett Hundley have been unstoppable. Hundley has been dynamic on the ground and has taken care of the football through the air while Kessler has methodically dissected every defense he’s faced with a plethora of talented weaponry.  Both against the run and on the scoreboard, the Trojans' defense has been tougher and more consistent but UCLA’s unit is rounding into form after holding Arizona and Washington’s passing games in check. Jim Mora is 2-0 against USC and a third straight win could keep the Bruins' College Football Playoff hopes alive.

 

Listen to the Week 13 preview podcast:



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2. Arizona (+4) at Utah
3:30 p.m., ESPN

Both teams were lucky to walk away with wins in Week 12 and both still cling to slim Pac-12 South Division title hopes (yes, a five-way tie is still possible). Utah will use a stingy defense, near-perfect special teams and home-field advantage to attempt to rattle Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon. After a blistering start, the depth and grind of a nine-game Pac-12 schedule is starting to take its toll on the young starter. He posted his worst showing of the season three weeks ago against UCLA and wasn’t much better last week against Washington — both of which bear similarities to Utah defensively. Look for another low-scoring game in which a late mistake by a flustered quarterback makes the difference. And if it goes to overtime, Kyle Whittingham’s bunch would be very comfortable.

 

3. Stanford (-5.5) at Cal
4 p.m., FS1

As wild as it sounds, The Big Game could decide bowl eligibility for both teams. Stanford visits UCLA next week while Cal hosts BYU, so the only guarantee for either team is the winner of the 117th meeting will go to the postseason. Stanford has won the last four meetings (David Shaw has never been defeated by Cal) but the Bears had their own run of dominance in the series, taking seven out of eight from 2002-09. A loss would punctuate a very disappointing season for Shaw while a win for Cal could earn Sonny Dykes Pac-12 Coach of the Year votes. It’s a classic offense vs. defense matchup between two long-standing rivals. Sit back and enjoy.

 

4. Colorado (off) at Oregon
4:30 p.m., P12 Net

The Ducks are two wins away from playing for a Playoff berth and possible Heisman Trophy. Which might be just the right amount of time to get the oft-injured offensive line healthy. Center Hroniss Grasu won’t play this weekend but Andre Yruretagoyena could return to action. Marcus Mariota — who has 10 touchdowns in two career games against Colorado — is playing as well as anybody in the nation and should have no issues with the 106th-ranked defense. Unfortunately for Colorado, rising star quarterback Sefo Liufau may be limited after suffering a concussion two weeks ago. Jordan Gehrke is ready if needed.

 

5. Washington St (+16) at Arizona St
1 p.m., P12 Net

Todd Graham’s team is down but not out of the Pac-12 South race as the Sun Devils will be rooting hard for USC this weekend. The Sun Devils gave up a season-high 247 yards rushing to Oregon State in the upset last weekend and will be facing a totally different offense Saturday. Led by backup QB Luke Falk, the Cougars have had two weeks to prepare since their own, much more successful trip to Corvallis two weeks ago. Falk threw for 471 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start, a win over the aforementioned Beavers.

 

6. Oregon St (+6.5) at Washington
10:30 p.m., P12 Net

The Beavers played easily their best and most complete game of the year in the win over then-No. 6 Arizona State. Sean Mannion was efficient and the running game posted a season-high 247 yards. Washington continues its downward fall, losing for the fourth time in five games, the latest in painful fashion in Tucson. In the preseason, this game was thought to determine second or third place in the North Division. Now, the loser is likely to finish in last.

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
USC (+3.5) at UCLAUSC, 34-31USC, 38-35UCLA, 28-24UCLA, 31-27
Zona (+4) at UtahUtah, 30-25Utah, 30-27Utah, 27-21AZ, 27-24
Stan. (-5.5) at CalStan., 30-28Cal, 34-20Cal, 28-14Stan., 31-30
Colo. at Ore.Ore., 49-17Ore., 47-17Ore., 49-21Ore., 50-17
WSU (+16) at ASUASU, 34-27ASU, 37-27ASU, 35-17ASU, 41-27
OSU (+6.5) at Wash.UW, 24-23UW, 23-20OSU, 28-21UW, 31-24
Last Week:2-22-23-12-2
YTD:56-2261-1762-1657-21

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-12-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Athlon Sports has formed a Heisman Trophy committee. Each week, we will ask 13 members of the national college football media to rank their top candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

 

Each voter will rank their top five candidates, with each first-place vote getting five points and each last-place vote getting one point.

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota64121---
2.Melvin Gordon53112---
3.Amari Cooper23--532
4.Trevone Boykin16--234
5.JT Barrett15--233
6.Dak Prescott14--232
7.Jameis Winston4--1-1
8.Tevin Coleman3--1--
9.Shaq Thompson2---1-
10.Cody Kessler1----1

Dropped out: Duke Johnson, Gerod Holliman, Ameer Abdullah

 

Listen to the Week 12 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Mariota and the Ducks were on bye this weekend as 10 ranked teams, including No. 1 (Mississippi State), No. 6 (Arizona State) and No. 9 (Auburn), lost. With only Colorado and Oregon State remaining on the schedule, Mariota and Oregon are all but locked into the Pac-12 Championship Game. Should Mariota stay healthy and Oregon wins the Pac-12, he will be tough to beat in the Heisman Trophy race.

 

Season Stats: 2,780 yards, 67.1%, 29 TDs, 2 INTs, 524 rush yards, 8 TDs

 

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Melvin Gordon had arguably the best single-game performance of any running back in NCAA history. He carried 25 times for an NCAA-record 408 yards and four touchdowns in the Badgers' 59-24 win over Nebraska, arguably UW's biggest game of the Big Ten season. Gordon leads the nation in rushing at 190.9 yards per game and is averaging an astonishing 8.6 yards per carry.

 

Season Stats: 223 att., 1,909 yds, 23 TDs, 11 rec., 83 yds, 2 TDs

 

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama

Cooper was excellent in the Tide’s win over No. 1 Mississippi State. He caught eight passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. Cooper is leading the nation in receiving at 1,303 yards, is third with 87 receptions and tied for fourth with 11 touchdowns. Cooper has caught at least eight passes in all but one game and is shattering all of Alabama’s receiving records.

 

Season Stats: 87 rec., 1,303 yds, 11 TDs, 14 rush yds 

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 12 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 09:05
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-13
Body:

The original reality TV show is sports. No contrived setting where seven strangers living in a house or one bachelor searching for love can match the excitement the Iron Bowl delivered last fall.

 

The beauty of college football lies in its complete unpredictability and drama. Here are some outrageous predictions for Week 13.

 

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

 

Two ranked teams will lose this weekend

 

Last weekend, 10 ranked teams lost, including three of the top nine. However, only two ranked teams will lose in Week 13 and that’s only because they are playing against another ranked team. No. 13 Arizona visits No. 23 Utah and No. 25 Minnesota visits No. 16 Nebraska. Other than that, the 17 other ranked teams in action will all win. Mark it down.

 

At least two Big Ten coaches will be fired

 

When Illinois loses at home to Penn State, Tim Beckman will fall to 2-21 in the Big Ten with one game left in his third season. When Michigan loses at home to Maryland, Brady Hoke will fall to 6-10 in the Big Ten since losing to Ohio State in 2012 — just 12-14 overall since that game. Both won't survive the weekend and will join Will Muschamp in what should be a rapidly growing pool of guys looking for work. This speaks nothing of what could happen at Indiana (slight chance), Purdue (unlikely) or Iowa (way too expensive to make a move).

 

The Big Game will determine bowl eligibility

 

Just imagine uttering this statement in July. How outrageous would this have been? After going 1-11 in his first season, you're telling me Sonny Dykes and Cal would be 5-5 going into The Big Game? After winning back-to-back Pac-12 titles, you're also telling me David Shaw and Stanford would be 5-5 going into The Big Game? But it's true. Stanford visits UCLA in the season finale and Cal hosts BYU — both of which figure to be tough matchups — so the winner of The Big Game will likely head to a bowl game while the loser could be sitting at home during the holidays.

 

There will, in fact, be a meaningful SEC game

 

In Week 13, the SEC will face Eastern Kentucky (Florida), Charleston Southern (Georgia), South Alabama (South Carolina), Western Carolina (Alabama) and Samford (Auburn). Yet, there's a saving grace that could impact the SEC championship picture. Ole Miss visits Arkansas and Missouri makes the trip to Knoxville to play Tennessee. If the Tigers and Rebels lose, they are both eliminated from the SEC title game. If both win out and Alabama loses to Auburn next week, then Mizzou and Ole Miss would meet in Atlanta, thus making Week 13 one of the most important of the season (despite the complete garbage Mike Slive is putting on the field) for the SEC.

 

Pat Haden and Jeff Ulbrich will fight

 

USC at UCLA is arguably the biggest game (and maybe one of the only games worth watching) of the weekend and possibly the biggest game of the Pac-12 South's season. USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich have both had an interesting season on the sidelines and both are intense individuals. Look for fisticuffs between the two passionate rivals in Los Angeles.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 12
Post date: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/podcast-debate-who-will-be-florida-gators-new-head-coach
Body:

 

Will Muschamp is out as the Florida head coach. 

 

Braden Gall, David Fox, Mitch Light and Steven Lassan debate the Florida Gators head coaching vacancy in an Athlon Sports roundtable.

How good is the Florida job? Where does it rank nationally? What are the weaknesses?

 

In a PSA to Gators fans, we offer up the list the names they need to forget about... because they have no chance. Like, say, Steve Spurrier or Chip Kelly.


Who are the coaches with Florida ties and are any of them worthy candidates? Who among them would be interested in the job? Is this the time for Bob Stoops to jump? Are Larry Fedora or Doc Holliday even qualified?

 

Who are the top Mid-Major (Group of 5) head coaches who are viable candidates? Is Jim McElwain or Justin Fuente ready? Who are the top coordinators: Chad Morris or Pat Narduzzi? Is this the direction Jeremy Foley wants to go?

 

What Power 5 current head coaches make sense at Florida and which ones would actually be interested, including Mike Gundy, Dan Mullen, Hugh Freeze and many more. Who is the a home run?

 

And finally, our hosts give their top three dream candidates and their predictions for the job. They do not necessarily overlap. Each panelist makes a bold prediction as to who will be the next head football coach at Florida.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall @AthlonSteven @AthlonMitch or @DavidFox615 or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Podcast Debate: Who'll be the Florida Gators new head coach?
Post date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 12:21
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-12-pac-12
Body:

Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of Pac-12 football action:

 

0: Arizona State TDs scored in the third quarter since the UCLA game

Ironically, the last time Arizona State scored a point in the third quarter, it was against the Bruins. In the disappointing loss to Oregon State, the Beavers held the Sun Devils scoreless in the third quarter en route to outscoring ASU 21-3 in the second half. In the last six games since UCLA, Arizona State has been outscored 37-6 in the third quarter.

 

1: Active players with 1,500 career yards rushing and receiving

This stat comes to Athlon Sports from College Football Talk’s Fifth Quarter rewind. It was too good not to mention. Arizona State’s D.J. Foster is the only active player in the nation with more than 1,500 yards rushing and 1,500 yards receiving in his career. Foster has 1,866 yards rushing and 1,713 yards as a receiver and 25 total touchdowns. Illinois’ Josh Ferguson is the only other player in the nation with at least 1,500 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving.

 

1: Two-game losing streaks for David Shaw

Under David Shaw, Stanford had never lost back-to-back games before. In fact, Shaw was 10-0 following a loss in his 50-game head coaching career until Week 12. The 20-17 double-overtime loss to Utah at home marked the first time under Shaw that Stanford lost consecutive games.

 

1: Possessions in regulation that didn’t end in a punt for Utah

Utah had 11 possessions in regulation (not counting the kneel-down at the end of the fourth quarter) and 10 of them ended in a punt. The lone drive that didn’t end in a punt was a nine-play, 66-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter. Stanford wasn’t much better, punting on eight of its 11 possessions in regulation. That’s 18 punts in 22 possessions in 60 minutes of action.

 

1: Touchdowns scored by USC seniors

Thirteen players have scored a touchdown for USC this fall and tight end Randall Telfer is one of them. He caught a Cody Kessler touchdown this weekend against Cal, becoming just the first senior on the Trojans' roster to reach paydirt all season. In fact, more defensive players (2) have scored for USC than seniors. Nelson Agholor, who became the first Trojan to go for at least 200 yards receiving in back-to-back games, leads the team with 12 total touchdowns.

 

1: Times Chris Petersen has lost five games in a season

In his worst season at Boise State — last year — Chris Petersen lost four times in 12 tries. With the painful loss to Arizona this weekend, Petersen has lost five times in the same season for the first time in his career. His five conference losses are three worse than his worst conference record of his career as well — which was 6-2 last year.

 

Listen to the Week 12 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

3: Times Cody Kessler has thrown for 300 yards and 4 TDs while completing 70% of his passes

I have no idea if this is a record or not, but it has to be close. Kessler completed 31-of-42 passes (73.8 percent) for 371 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Cal. It marked the third time this year that he threw for at least 300 yards and at least four touchdowns while completing at least 73 percent of his passes. The other two happened against Colorado and Boston College.

 

16.5: Nate Orchard and Hau’oli Kikaha nation’s-leading sack total

Orchard posted 3.5 sacks against Stanford in the double overtime win and now has 16.5 sacks on the season. He pulled into a dead heat with Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha for the Pac-12 lead in QB takedowns. It just so happens that these two are also tied for the national lead as well. Who is in third place? Arizona’s Scooby Wright with 12.0, giving the Pac-12 the top three sack masters in the nation this fall.

 

34: Pac-12 games decided by one score or less

Last year, 28 Pac-12 games were decided by one score (eight points) or less. All four games in Week 12 were decided by eight points or less. With two full weeks left in the 2014 season, the league has flown past last year’s number and is approaching the 2012 benchmark of 36.

 

27-16: Road teams record in Pac-12 games

This one has been on the Amazing Stats column more than a few times this season due to the increased success of road teams out West. The home teams got off the mat this weekend and won three out of four games but are still well behind the road teams. With two weeks left, visiting teams have won nearly 63 percent of the time (62.8) in the Pac-12.

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 12 in the Pac-12
Post date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-12-recap
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and David Fox breakdown how a wild Week 12 in college football. Alabama takes control of the West, Mizzou and Georgia battle for the East and Florida is looking for a new coach. Melvin Gordon and JT Barrett star in the Big Ten, TCU struggles in the Big 12 and Arizona State opens up the Pac-12 South race. And Florida State survives yet another halftime deficit. We debate it all and much more this week's edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @DavidFox615 or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 12 Recap
Post date: Monday, November 17, 2014 - 12:45
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-12-picks
Body:

There is no way to sugar coat it. In the big games last weekend, I didn’t perform well, going 2-4 outright and 2-4 against the spread.

 

My top picks didn’t perform much better, going 1-2 in the “real-er” picks. It pushed my season record to 38-38-1. Needless to say, it’s been a down year. My only saving grace is another winning record in the Top 25 (8-6) and a tie with Mitch Light for the best record (86-78-4) among the Athlon pickers.

 

Last Week: 1-2

Year-to-Date: 38-38-1

 

Ohio St (-13) at Minnesota

The Gophers barely held on to beat Purdue and have lost to Illinois. Ohio State needs to be on letdown alert but otherwise there is nothing to like about this matchup for the Gophers. Urban Meyer’s team is 7-2 against the number this year and in desperate need of style points. Prediction: Ohio State -13.5

 

Clemson (-3) at Georgia Tech

To beat Paul Johnson’s triple option, you need a great defensive line and Clemson has just that. The Tigers are also getting QB DeShaun Watson back, one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league even though he's a true freshman. Clemson seems like the significantly better team. Prediction: Clemson -3

 

Indiana (+7) at Rutgers

The Knights have had two weeks to prepare and know that one more win gets them to a bowl game and therefore should be incredibly motivated. Rutgers is fifth in the Big Ten at 5.9 yards per play and should be able to get some points against the league’s second-worst scoring defense (32.3 ppg). Prediction: Rutgers -7

 

Virginia Tech (+4.5) at Duke

The Blue Devils are inching closer to a Coastal Division repeat but can’t afford to lose again with Georgia Tech and Miami breathing down its neck. Duke won last year outright in Blacksburg and the Hokies are playing horrible football. Take David Cutcliffe and his 7-2 record against the spread. Prediction: Duke -4.5

 

Listen to the Week 12 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Florida St (-2.5) at Miami

The Noles play with fire every weekend and it has cost gamblers all season (FSU sports a 2-7 record ATS). Miami is improved but should still be overmatched in what could be a heavy Seminole crowd in South Florida. Florida State will find a way to win again in the second half. Prediction: Florida St -2.5

 

Nebraska (+7) at Wisconsin

Nebraska feels like the better team and has a significant advantage at quarterback. Moving the ball with a less-than-healthy Ameer Abdullah against the very stout UW defensive front will be difficult but this feels like a big number. Prediction: Nebraska +7

 

Kentucky (+8) at Tennessee

I’ll venture away from the Big Ten and ACC for the first time this week. The Wildcats' defense has been atrocious of late, giving up over 300 yards rushing in three of the last four games. Tennessee is rested after the bye week and is at home. The Cats are terrible on the road and should struggle once again. Josh Dobbs and Jalen Hurd will have big games on the ground. Prediction: Tennessee -8    

 

Play the trends:

 

TCU and Western Michigan are the best two teams in the nation against the spread, as both sport an 8-1 mark. Both are laying large margins this weekend against Kansas (-28.5) and Eastern Michigan (-28) respectively. Don’t expect Gary Patterson, who needs style points, to let off the pedal too much.

 

SMU is 2-6 against the number and has been terrible in all phases of the game all year. South Florida is just 5-4 against the spread but should cover the 11-point spread. UTEP is 7-2 this season against the spread and is at home against North Texas laying 6.5 points. Take the Miners.

 

Two OSU’s from Stillwater and Corvallis have been terrible against the spread this season and both should lose at home this weekend. Oregon State is 2-7 against the spread and will find it difficult covering the 9-point number against Arizona State. Oklahoma State is 2-6-1 against the spread and is laying 2.5 points against Texas. Take the Sun Devils and the Horns.

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Mississippi St (+8) at Alabama
Florida St (-2.5) at Miami
TCU (-28.5) at Kansas
Arizona St (-9) at Oregon St
Ohio St (-13) at Minnesota
Auburn (+2.5) at Georgia
Michigan St (-12) at Maryland
Washington (+9) at Arizona
Nebraska (+7) at Wisconsin
LSU (+2) at Arkansas
Northwestern (+17.5) at Notre Dame
Clemson (-3) at Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech (+4.5) at Duke
Utah (+7.5) at Stanford
Missouri (+4.5) at Texas A&M
Last Week:8-611-37-76-8
YTD:86-78-486-78-476-88-482-82-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 12 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 14, 2014 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-12-predictions
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan preview a huge slate of action in the SEC, including a playoff showdown between Mississippi State and Alababam. The guys break down the marquee showdown in the Big Ten and ACC as well. We also offer up some locks of the week against the spread.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonSteven or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 12 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 11:12
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-12-preview-and-predictions
Body:

There is no way the Big 12's Week 12 slate will be able to match last weekend’s drama. TCU made a national statement, Baylor did something it’s never done in school history, Texas continued to right the ship and Kansas, well, acted all Kansas after beating Iowa State.

 

Yes, Texas’ visit to Stillwater should be plenty entertaining. But that’s about it in the Big 12 this weekend.

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


Big 12 Week 12 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Texas (-2.5) at Oklahoma St
7:30 p.m., FOX

Crowd-surfing Charlie Strong was literally riding high after an upset over West Virginia got the Longhorns back to even on the year. Texas is doing it the way Strong supporters have envisioned: Run the football on offense and play stifling defense. The Horns ran for 241 yards against Texas Tech and 227 against the Mountaineers while holding both high-powered passing attacks in check. While the Horns come to Stillwater riding their first two-game winning steak of the year, the Cowboys are looking to snap a three-game losing streak. Is two weeks of preparation enough to fix a team that has lost three straight by an average of 30 points per game? With road trips to Baylor and Oklahoma left, the Pokes are staring at a six-game losing streak to end the year if they can’t upset the Horns.

 

Listen to the Week 12 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

2. Oklahoma (-17) at Texas Tech
3:30 p.m., ESPN

For the first time in his career, Bob Stoops is starting to take some heat in Norman. While that might be completely irrational, the facts are Oklahoma has slipped over the last half-decade. Stoops is facing a four-loss season for the first time since 2005 and has been outplayed in convincing fashion in two lopsided losses to Baylor. The Sooners have a manageable final few weeks but have to win their final road game against a team that has had two weeks to prepare. If Oklahoma can take care of business against an overmatched Red Raiders squad in Lubbock, the Sooners will likely finish 9-3 and would still be very attractive to bowl executives. This season can only be described as disappointing, and it could get worse with Stoops one bad upset away from his worst campaign in a decade.

 

3. TCU (-28) at Kansas
3 p.m., FS1

Gary Patterson clearly understands the art of politicking (see postgame comments about Sterling Shepard) and that could make for a rough weekend for Kansas. TCU is ahead of Baylor in the playoff rankings, but with a head-to-head loss on its resume, how long will that last? Trevone Boykin was brilliant on the ground and the Horned Frogs' defense was stellar against Kansas State so will the Jayhawks even be competitive? Don't expect Patterson to call off the dogs, not when his team is in desperate need of style points over the final few weeks of the season.

 

Big 12 Predictions:
 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Texas (-2.5) at OSUTexas, 30-24Texas, 17-14Texas, 21-13Texas, 27-17
Okla. (-17) at T. TechOkla., 44-21Okla., 41-20Okla., 38-17Okla., 45-20
TCU (-28) at KansasTCU, 49-10TCU, 44-17TCU, 41-7TCU, 45-10
Last Week:1-33-11-31-3
YTD:52-951-1054-753-8

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-12-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Survive and advance would be the theme of a rather uninspiring weekend of action on tap in the Pac-12.

 

The Ducks are at home resting for their final two tests of the regular season with the North Division all but wrapped up. But in the South, the name of the game in Week 12 is don’t slip up. USC, Arizona and Arizona State all still have a shot at the Pac-12 title game and all three are double-digit favorites this weekend.

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


Pac-12 Week 12 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Washington (+9) at Arizona
3:30 p.m., FOX

The Wildcats still control their own destiny with a home date versus Arizona State looming in the season finale. So holding serve at home against a team it should beat is obviously critical. Anu Solomon got back on track last weekend with a huge game against Colorado but he will face a much more physical and disruptive front seven this week. Washington is second in the league in sacks and tackles for a loss but struggled to stop Brett Hundley last weekend. The Huskies will have to win on defense because Chris Petersen’s offense isn’t capable of keeping pace with Rich Rodriguez' if this turns into a shootout.

 

Listen to the Week 12 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

2. Arizona St (-10) at Oregon St
10:45 p.m., ESPN

Despite dominating the overall history of the series (26-13-1), Arizona State has struggled mightily with the Beavers recently. The Sun Devils have lost four of the last six overall and three straight in Corvallis. That said, Oregon State has lost six straight home Pac-12 games. Something has to give. Sean Mannion has gotten back on track in the last two games, throwing for 739 yards in losses to Washington and Cal. The same could be said for Taylor Kelly, who had his best game since returning from injury in the win over Notre Dame. As long as Todd Graham’s rebuilt defense stays aggressive and can attack a Beavers offensive line that ranks last in the league in sacks allowed (3.11 per game), Arizona State should return home unscathed.

 

3. Cal (+14.5) at USC
Thur., 9 p.m., ESPN

When Cal has the ball, this will be a battle of strength on strength as the Bears rank No. 2 in the league at 41.9 points per game and USC ranks No. 2 at 22.6 points per game allowed. When USC has the ball, this will be a battle of strength on weakness. USC, led by the sterling play of Cody Kessler, is scoring 34.9 points per game while Sonny Dykes' defense ranks dead last in the league at 39.9 points allowed per game. At home with a division crown still very much within reach, USC’s defense should be the difference. Cal’s only shot at the two-touchdown road upset is Jared Goff, the Bears' incredibly impressive second-year starting quarterback.  While the Trojans defense leads the Pac-12 with 11 interceptions and has been stingy on the scoreboard, it hasn’t pressured opposing QBs and has allowed plenty of yards through the air. Goff must be brilliant if Cal wants to pull the upset and get to bowl eligibility.

 

4. Utah (+7) at Stanford
6 p.m., P12 Net

Two of the best defenses and two of the most painful offenses to watch will do battle in Palo Alto this weekend. Stanford (4.11 ypp) and Utah (5.09) hold opponents to the lowest yards per play in the Pac-12 and both offenses rank 75th or worse nationally in yards per game. Utah, despite taking major strides forward this season, has lost close games and probably feels like it should be in the Pac-12 South mix rather than staring at three straight losses. Stanford can’t seem to build any momentum, alternating wins and losses in six straight games. Whichever struggling quarterback can protect the football against a nasty pass rush will give his team the best chance to win. Home field advantage and the revenge factor gives Stanford an edge entering this weekend.

 

Pac-12 Predictions:
 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Wash (+9) at ZonaZona, 34-28Zona, 40-30Zona, 34-23Zona, 31-27
ASU (-10) at OSUASU, 38-27ASU, 44-20ASU, 28-17ASU, 38-20
Cal (+14.5) at USC USC, 40-20USC, 34-30USC, 28-20USC, 41-30
Utah (+7) at StanfordStan., 21-17Stan., 20-17Utah, 14-10 Stan., 24-20
Last Week:3-23-24-13-2
YTD:54-2059-1559-1555-19

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 12 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-11-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Athlon Sports has formed a Heisman Trophy committee. Each week, we will ask 13 members of the national college football media to rank their top candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

 

Each voter will rank their top five candidates, with each first-place vote getting five points and each last-place vote getting one point.

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota6513----
2.Dak Prescott49-1111-
3.Trevone Boykin33-2631
4.Melvin Gordon28-1541
5.Amari Cooper13--134
6.J.T. Barrett4----1
7.Duke Johnson2---1-
8t.Ameer Abdullah1----1
8t.Jameis Winston1----1
8t.Gerod Holliman1----1

Dropped out: Shaq Thompson, Everett Golson, Nick Marshall, Tevin Coleman

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Possibly the last big road test for Mariota took place this weekend in Salt Lake City and the Ducks quarterback was brilliant once again. He threw for 239 yards, rushed for 114 yards and accounted for four touchdowns in the 51-27 win. It was his seventh game with at least four touchdowns, which leads the nation, and his 184.56 QB rating still leads the nation by a wide margin. On the year, he’s scored 37 touchdowns and thrown just two interceptions.

 

Season Stats: 2,780 yards, 67.1%, 29 TDs, 2 INTs, 524 rush yards, 8 TDs

 

2. Dak Prescott, Mississippi St

Mississippi State sort of played a football game in Week 11. Prescott didn’t play the entire game but still posted solid numbers in a 45-16 win over UT-Martin. The Bulldogs signal-caller threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns while rushing six times for 54 yards and another score on the ground. Prescott leads the SEC in total offense with 3,010 yards

 

Season Stats: 2,231 yards, 61.1%, 18 TDs, 7 INTs, 779 rush yards, 11 TDs

 

3. Trevone Boykin, TCU

The TCU quarterback has slowly but surely worked his way into the top three. And it’s warranted after his performance against a very good Kansas State team. In the Horned Frogs' 41-20 win over KSU, Boykin threw for 219 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions, but he did most of his damage on the ground. He rushed 17 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Boykin is fourth nationally with 359.7 yards of total offense per game.

 

Season Stats: 2,691 yards, 58.0%, 23 TDs, 4 INTs, 546 rush yards, 7 TDs  

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 11 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-12
Body:

The original reality TV show is sports. No contrived setting where seven strangers living in a house or one bachelor searching for love can match the excitement the Iron Bowl delivered last fall.

 

The beauty of college football lies in its complete unpredictability and drama. Here are some outrageous predictions for Week 12.

 

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

 

A QB will score the game-winner in Madison

 

Nebraska heads to Wisconsin this weekend in a critical Big Ten West elimination game. It will feature two of the best running backs in the nation as Ameer Abdullah (138.9 ypg) and Melvin Gordon (166.8) will battle in Madison. But with all eyes focused on two Heisman tailbacks, one of the two quarterbacks will make the game-winning play. Joel Stave is showing signs of life and Tommy Armstrong has scored five times in his last two games.

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Amari Cooper will jump over Dak Prescott on Heisman ballots

 

Dak Prescott was sensational in the back-to-back-to-back wins over Top 10 teams. And his numbers are better than anything Starkville has ever seen under center. However, Alabama’s defense has been dominant all season and will shut down Prescott in a home win over the No. 1 Bulldogs this weekend. Instead, the star of the show will be Bama’s wide receiver Amari Cooper. State has given up big yards through the air this season as UAB (435), LSU (341), Texas A&M (365) and Kentucky (401) each topped 300 yards passing against MSU. Cooper has been unstoppable and will torch the questionable Mississippi State secondary en route to a huge SEC West victory.

 

Todd Gurley will go beast mode on Auburn’s defense

 

Gurley has rushed for 154.6 yards per game this fall and is back on the field for the Dawgs after serving a four-game suspension. And he will be motivated and extremely productive against an Auburn defense that has allowed at least 469 yards of total offense and at least 31 points in four straight games. Against the Tigers, Gurley will blow past his career high of 208 yards rushing. Georgia is upset after the way they lost to Auburn last year and is still eyeing a trip to Atlanta. Beware, Auburn.

 

A made field goal will win the Miami-Florida State game

 

When these two programs were both surging, this meeting was one of the greatest rivalries in college football. And it resulted in some seriously dramatic finishes. Three wide right missed field goals (1991, 1992, 2000) and a wide left missed kick (2002) have cost both teams critical wins in the past. However, this game will be decided by a made field goal. Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo is arguably the best kicker in the nation and Miami’s Michael Badgley has made all but one attempt this year (7-of-8). Watch for a successful attempt to be the difference in this one.

 

Arkansas will win an SEC game

 

Arkansas has lost 16 consecutive SEC games and this is the weekend they get into the win column. LSU is a better team. There is no doubt. However, Arkansas is improved from last year and this Razorbacks team nearly topped the Tigers in Baton Rouge last fall. The Tigers expended a lot of energy in the physical overtime loss to Alabama last weekend and a hangover is likely. 

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 12
Post date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-11-pac-12
Body:

Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of Pac-12 football action:

 

Nov. 30, 1985: Last time Notre Dame allowed 55 points

Arizona State blitzed and rattled Everett Golson en route to five turnovers, seven sacks and a critical top-10 win over Notre Dame. The Sun Devils scored 55 points — 34 unanswered — against the Irish. It marked the first time that Notre Dame allowed that many points since Miami hung 58 points on the Irish on Nov. 30, 1985.

 

5: Head coaches to beat Notre Dame at two schools

Todd Graham is the 34th head coach in college football history to oppose Notre Dame at two different schools. Only five of them have beaten the Irish with two different programs. Graham now has wins over Notre Dame with Arizona State and Tulsa (2010) along with a loss while at Pitt (2011). The other four — Nick Saban, Dennis Erickson, Johnny Majors, Howard Jones — all have national championships.

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



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100: Joe Walker’s fumble return touchdown

Kaelin Clay was already celebrating a would-be 14-0 Utah lead early in the second quarter. After catching what would have been an 80-yard touchdown, Clay dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. Oregon’s Joe Walker scooped up the ball (after his own team had fumbled it again) and rumbled easily 100 yards for a touchdown. Instead of a 14-point lead, it turned out to be a 14-point swing.

 

7: Games in which Marcus Mariota has accounted for at least four TDs

Mariota was brilliant once again in leading another 51-point effort. He threw for 239 yards, ran for 114 and accounted for four total touchdowns while leading a 24-point fourth-quarter scoring spree. Mariota now leads the nation with seven games with at least four total touchdowns. The Ducks have scored at least 42 points in five straight games and in all but two contests (WSU, Arizona) this year.

 

6-0: UCLA’s record away from the Rose Bowl

Brett Hundley is rounding into form as the leader of the UCLA offense and he is playing extremely well on the road. He threw for 302 yards and accounted for four touchdowns in the win over Washington in Seattle. It was his third straight game without a turnover and his sixth win away from Pasadena, including victories over Arizona State, Texas, Virginia, Cal and Colorado. Hundley also became UCLA's all-time leader with 70 career touchdown passes.

 

138: Yards rushing by linebackers in Seattle

Washington and UCLA have two-way stars with Shaq Thompson and Myles Jack respectively. Thompson posted his second straight 100-yard rushing game and made four tackles in the loss. Jack carried four times for 38 yards and scored his third rushing touchdown while registering six tackles on defense for the victorious Bruins.

 

6.5: Anu Solomon's yards per touch

After losing in ugly fashion to UCLA in Week 10, Arizona and Solomon got back on track with an easy home win over Colorado. Solomon was unstoppable. He posted a career-high 115 yards rushing on just 12 carries, added 211 yards passing on 38 attempts and threw four touchdowns. He averaged 6.5 yards per offensive play on 50 plays (326 total yards) in the 38-20 win.

 

1-0: Luke Falk’s career starting record

Most of college football was saddened when Connor Halliday was lost for the season with an injury. But redshirt freshman Luke Falk took advantage of his opportunity by winning his first career start against Oregon State, on the road no less. He threw 61 passes for 471 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the 39-32 victory.

 

2: Washington St games without a turnover under Mike Leach

Falk not only won the game with efficient passing but he also protected the ball. It was just the second time in 35 games as the head coach at Washington State that Mike Leach’s Cougars didn’t turn the ball over. In fact, Leach went 30 games into his career in Pullman before playing a turnover-free game. Wazzu didn’t turn the ball over against Cal last month.

 

6: Oregon State consecutive Pac-12 losses at home

After losing to Washington State at home, Oregon State has now lost four straight games, five out of six and has posted six consecutive home losses against Pac-12 opponents. A win over Colorado on Sept. 28, 2013 was the last time the Beavers won a conference home game.

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 11 in the Pac-12
Post date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-11-recap
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and David Fox breakdown how Week 11 impacted the playoff picture. TCU vs. Baylor? Can Florida State survive with one loss? Does a two-loss SEC champ get the nod over a one-loss champ? How good is Ohio State? We debate it all and much more on a spirited edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @DavidFox615 or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 11 Recap
Post date: Monday, November 10, 2014 - 12:09
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-11-picks
Body:

A 5-4 record last week got me into the black for the season and I am going to screw it all up this week by picking the six massive national showdowns.

 

I will toss in a few top picks, as usual, but this week is too big not to take a shot at greatness by trying to beat the best.

 

Additionally, I've taken a small lead among Athlon Sports editors picking every Top 25 game against the spread. (I am very proud.)

 

Last Week: 5-4

Year-to-Date: 37-36-1

 

Ohio St (+3.5) at Michigan St

Of all of the biggest games this weekend, I like the Spartans more than anyone else. JT Barrett has struggled against the two best defenses he’s faced this year (Va. Tech, PSU) and will do the same against Michigan State. Both teams are strong against the number but this seems like a small number. Prediction: Michigan State -3.5

 

Kansas St (+6) at TCU

This is actually a bad matchup for the Horned Frogs. Kansas State is physical and tough and will run downhill on both sides of the ball while TCU plays more of a finesse game these days. The Wildcats are 6-2 against the number and could win outright. Prediction: Kansas State +6

 

Alabama (-6.5) at LSU

Where on the field does LSU have better personnel than Alabama? Kicker? Punter? Maybe a few O-linemen? Other than being played in Baton Rouge, nothing about this game says LSU can win. Being just under seven points gives me the confidence to take the Tide to roll. Prediction: Alabama -6.5

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Notre Dame (+2.5) at Arizona St

The Irish may be a touch underrated and the Sun Devils appear to be overrated in the rankings. Notre Dame won this meeting last year against a better ASU team with Tommy Rees under center. Everett Golson is the difference maker. Take the Irish to win outright. Prediction: Notre Dame +2.5

 

Oregon (-8) at Utah

This feels like a big number, Utah is among the nation’s best teams against the spread (7-1) and they are at home. And the Utes' defensive line is one of the best in the nation. So why am I taking the Ducks? Call it a gut feeling about the team that might be playing the best football in the nation. Prediction: Oregon -8

 

Baylor (+5.5) at Oklahoma

Oklahoma has never lost at home to Baylor (0-11) and is looking for revenge after getting embarrassed last season. Look for the Sooners to blitz like crazy and put as much pressure on Bryce Petty as possible and Oklahoma should have the upper hand against a depleted Bears’ offensive line. Prediction: Oklahoma -5.5

 
Other, real-er top picks:

 

Duke (-3.5) at Syracuse

The Blue Devils are rolling right now and the Cuse is struggling. Duke is 6-2 against the number and has back-to-back ACC Coastal Division crowns squarely in its sights. Take the lowest ranked one-loss Big 5 team in the nation to win big in the Carrier Dome. Prediction: Duke -3.5

 

Penn St (-6.5) at Indiana

The Hoosiers' offensive has come to a screeching halt since losing QB Nate Sudfeld and PSU is one of the best defenses in the nation. And the Penn State offense might actually be able to move the ball against the lowly Indiana defense. Prediction: Penn State -6.5

 

Iowa (pk) at Minnesota

Iowa's offensive balance gives the Hawkeyes a slight edge despite being the visiting team. The Golden Gophers might be too one-dimensional for an Iowa team that played arguably its best game of the year last weekend. Prediction: Iowa

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Virginia (+19) at FSU
Texas A&M (+21.5) at Auburn
Oregon (-8) at Utah
Alabama (-6.5) at LSU
Kansas St (+6) at TCU
Ohio St (+3.5) at Mich. St
N. Dame (+2.5) at Arizona St
Baylor (+5.5) at Oklahoma
UCLA (-4.5) at Washington
Colorado (+17) at Arizona
Georgia (-10.5) at Kentucky
Duke (-3.5) at Syracuse
W. Virginia (-4) at Texas
Georgia Tech (-3.5) at NC State
Last Week:8-77-85-106-9
YTD:78-72-475-75-469-81-476-74-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 11 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 7, 2014 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-11-predictions
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan preview the big games of Week 11. Huge showdowns in East Lansing, Fort Worth, Norman, Salt Lake City, Baton Rouge and Tempe highlight a critical weekend in college football. We pick every big game and also offer up some locks of the week against the spread. 


Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonSteven or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes, Stitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: 2014 Week 11 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 11:10
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-11-preview-and-predictions
Body:

All offseason long, the Big 12 pointed to Nov. 8 as its season-defining weekend, featuring a showdown of epic proportions that will likely decide the league championship and a possible College Football Playoff berth.

 

We all just thought that game would be taking place in Norman rather than Fort Worth. Kansas State visiting TCU is a matchup of two top 10 teams and could not only end up deciding the Big 12 this fall, but the winner also has an inside track on a spot in the inaugural playoff. Baylor-Oklahoma still has plenty of juice and will be equally as entertaining — as does West Virginia's trip to Austin — but all eyes will be focused on two shades of purple in Amon Carter Stadium.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Big 12 Week 11 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Kansas St (+6) at TCU
7:30 p.m., FOX

This is why you join the Big 12. TCU has played big games in Fort Worth before but none like what will take place on Saturday. There couldn't be more on the line for both teams and this matchup will feature two great signal-callers and two historic coaches. Jake Waters and Bill Snyder bring a blue-collar approach and toughness into the battle while Gary Patterson and Trevone Boykin are winning with a finesse offense. Boykin posted season lows in most categories against WVU last weekend and now faces the Big 12's top scoring (18.6 ppg) and total defense (321.0 ypg). This is a unit that has stuffed Auburn and Oklahoma so Boykin will need to be at his best against a very physical front seven. On the flip side, the Wildcats will line up and run downhill against a TCU front that has given up some yards on the ground (169.2) in league play. Both teams have excelled against ranked teams this fall and won't shy away from the big stage. Kansas State appears to be the better team, but the buzz on campus should buoy the Horned Frogs. Snyder is 2-0 against Patterson in the Big 12. Pick your shade of purple and sit back and enjoy, folks.

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



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2. Baylor (+5) at Oklahoma
Noon, FS1

Certainly, some luster has been removed from this meeting after three combined losses in the first 10 weeks, but the Bears' trip north is still must-see TV. Baylor, who is clearly "Ready for OU," has never won in Norman in the history of the program (0-11) but has gained significant ground in the series by winning two of the last three overall. Traditionally, this rivalry has been an offensive affair with the winner topping 40 points in four straight and 30 in the past 15 meetings. But both defenses could take center stage, as each unit gets after the quarterback and create turnovers. So as expected, Bryce Petty and Trevor Knight will have to protect the football, make quick decisions and possibly make plays outside of the pocket.

 

3. West Virginia (-3.5) at Texas
3:30 p.m., FS1

Defense will be the name of the game in Austin. West Virginia and its 3-3-5 defense has done an excellent job stopping big-time offenses of late after holding both TCU (389 yds) and Baylor (27 pts, 318 ids) to season-low performances. Texas has held five of its last six opponents to less than 400 yards of offense and 5.0 yards per play allowed. And both quarterbacks are coming off lackluster showings. Clint Trickett posted season lows in yards (162), attempts (26), completions (15) and passer rating (107.34) in the loss to TCU, while Tyrone Swoopes was very efficient but didn't make many plays (224 total yards) in the win over Texas Tech. The good news for Texas, aside from being at home, is the running game posted its best outing of the year last weekend with 241 yards on the ground. If the Horns can find room on the ground, it could neutralize the Mountaineers' effective 3-3-5.

 

4. Iowa St (-4) at Kansas
3:30 p.m.

Someone has to win a Big 12 game, right? Both teams are in desperate need of a victory and this is likely the best chance for either to get into the win column in the Big 12. Iowa State has had some painful final scores, losing by four to Kansas State and Texas. Kansas hasn't been nearly as competitive, losing only once all year by only one score (Oklahoma State). With three elite games in the Big 12 holding national implications and Paul Rhoads relatively safe in Ames despite the record, it's hard to make any case whatsoever to keep an eye on this game. Other than the loser likely goes winless in the Big 12.

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
KSU (+6) at TCUKSU, 34-30TCU, 33-24TCU, 28-21TCU 30-27
Baylor (+5) at Okla.OU, 31-24BU, 34-27OU, 35-31OU, 34-31
WVU (-3.5) at TexasTexas, 30-28Texas, 23-20WVU, 27-20WVU 27-24
Iowa St (-4) at KansasISU, 40-28ISU, 27-13ISU, 14-10ISU, 34-24
Last Week:5-05-05-05-0
YTD:51-648-953-452-5

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-11-preview-and-predictions
Body:

Three contenders have huge showdowns in Week 11 out West, two of which will be on the road. Oregon, after abusing Stanford, must travel to Utah while UCLA, after totally shutting down Arizona, must travel to Washington.

 

Elsewhere, out in the desert, Arizona State and Arizona are in must-win situations against two totally different opponents. The Sun Devils battle a top 10 foe while the Wildcats should land their first South Division win.

Week 11 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

 

Pac-12 Week 11 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Oregon (-8.5) at Utah
10 p.m., ESPN

Playing a team like Stanford normally would provide plenty of body blows, making victory the following week that much more difficult. The question is how many body blows did Oregon really take in its relatively easy win over the Cardinal last week and how will that impact the trip to Salt Lake City? Utah, which is leading the nation at 4.9 sacks per game, will get after the Ducks' offensive line with a myriad of pressure packages and formations. Marcus Mariota has grown accustomed to dancing away from oncoming defenders but his running game has come to his rescue of late. The Ducks are averaging over 250 yards rushing per game since getting left tackle Jake Fisher back four games ago. The Utes will have to stop the run as well as pressure Mariota to stand a chance at the upset. Utah will turn once again to co-starters at quarterback with both Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson competing for snaps. Wilson struggled last week in the overtime loss to Arizona State but has done an “exceptional job” protecting the football while Thompson gives Kyle Whittingham a more dynamic athlete. Expect the hot hand to get the bulk of the workload against the mighty Ducks.

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



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2. Notre Dame (+2.5) at Arizona St
3:30 p.m., ABC

Is Arizona State overrated? Is Notre Dame underrated? All of that will be sorted out on Saturday afternoon when two of the more hotly discussed teams in the latest playoff rankings meet in Tempe. The Irish won a back-and-forth high-scoring affair in Arlington last season in which Tommy Rees (sort of) out-dueled Taylor Kelly (362 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT) for the 37-34 win. Now, Everett Golson is under center and will be much tougher to stop than Rees despite the fact he has thrown an interception in five straight games. Jaxon Hood, the Sun Devils’ most veteran defensive player, will not be on the field for ASU so coordinator Keith Patterson will have to get creative in trying to pressure and stop Golson. For all intents and purposes, this is a playoff elimination game for both teams and whoever has the ball last could be the victor. And whichever quarterback protects the ball is likely to be on the field last.

 

3. UCLA (-5) at Washington
7 p.m., FS1

Last week broke some trends for both UCLA and Washington. For most of this season, the Bruins' defense has struggled to get off the field on third downs, create turnovers or pressure the quarterback. In the win over Arizona, UCLA did all three, sacking Arizona three times and stopping the Wildcats on 14-of-20 third down tries. Washington has struggled on offense all season but posted a season-best 7.5 yards per play last week and rolled up the most yards in a game (442) since beating Illinois in Week 3. Two-way star Shaq Thompson is proving to be extremely effective on offense (215 yards from scrimmage last week) and is expected to play on both sides of the ball against the Bruins. For UCLA, it was the offense and Brett Hundley that slogged through the win over Arizona last week and will now be facing one of the more physical front sevens in the league. On the road in a hostile environment, the Bruins' offensive line may have a tough time stopping a unit that is second in the league in sacks (37.0) and tackles for a loss (67.0).

 

4. Colorado (+16) at Arizona
8 p.m., P12 Net

Rich Rodriguez’ offense had the worst game of the coach’s short tenure in the desert against UCLA last weekend. Fans should expect a down game from a redshirt freshman every now and then, but seven points and 30 incompletions is unacceptable. Solomon has a great chance to get back on track this weekend against a defense that allows 6.5 yards per play (121st nationally) and 444.1 yards per game (98th). Sefo Liufau and his 304.2 yards of offense per game will try to keep pace on the road but the Buffs will be hard-pressed to match Arizona's output.

 

5. Washington St (+8) at Oregon St
4 p.m., P12 Net

Most Pac-12 fans felt the pain Cougars nation felt when watching Connor Halliday’s career end last weekend. Luke Falk stepped in and threw for 370 yards in roughly three quarters against USC and will be charged with keeping Mike Leach’s offense churning. Few games are as winnable for Wazzu as Oregon State and the Pac-12’s all-time leading passer Sean Mannion are struggling in a big way. The Beavers have lost three straight and four out of five but will get four of their last five games at home, starting with the Cougars.

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Ore. (-8.5) at UtahOre., 38-28Ore., 34-13Ore., 42-20Ore., 34-24
ND (+2.5) at ASUASU, 34-31ASU, 24-17ASU, 21-14ND, 34-31
UCLA (-5) at Wash.Wash., 27-24Wash., 26-21UCLA, 35-31UCLA, 27-24
Colo. (+16) at ZonaZona, 40-24Zona, 41-24Zona, 28-13Zona, 40-27
WSU (+8) at OSUOSU, 40-31OSU, 47-35OSU, 35-10OSU, 41-30
Last Week:5-15-15-16-0
YTD:51-1856-1355-1452-17

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-11
Body:

The original reality TV show is sports. No contrived setting where seven strangers living in a house or one bachelor searching for love can match the excitement the Iron Bowl delivered last fall.

 

The beauty of college football lies in its complete unpredictability and drama. Here are some outrageous predictions for Week 11.

 

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

 

A quarterback in East Lansing will enter the Heisman race

 

Connor Cook and JT Barrett will square off in the biggest and most pivotal Big Ten game of the year this weekend in East Lansing when Ohio State visits Michigan State. Cook and Barrett are the top two QBs in the Big Ten in terms of efficiency and are posting great numbers. Cook (1,868 yds, 17 TDs, 5 INTs, 44 rush, 2 TDs) is one of the most underrated players in the nation and Barrett (1,856 yds, 23 TDs, 7 INTs, 496 rush, 6 TDs) has posted some big numbers of his own. One of these two will be squarely in the Heisman race following this weekend (my bet is Cook).

 

Marcus Mariota will have the worst game of his season… and will still win

 

Marcus Mariota will have the worst game of his season this weekend on the road against Utah and the nation’s best sack-masters (39.0 sacks). Mariota will throw for a season-low in yards (currently 210), post a season-low in total offense (277) and account for a season-low in terms of total touchdowns (two), but the Ducks will still win. Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall will literally carry Oregon to a critical road win over the Utes.

 

24 points will win the Baylor-Oklahoma game

 

The winner of the Oklahoma-Baylor game has scored more than 40 points in four consecutive games and six of the last seven. In fact, the winner of this tilt (mostly Oklahoma) has scored more than 30 points in every meeting since 1998. So with that information, the winner this season will only need to score three touchdowns (and maybe a field goal) to get the win. Both teams are better on defense than outsiders think. Take the under.

 

Listen to the Week 10 recap podcast:



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Trevone Boykin and Jake Waters will account for a combined 10 TDs

 

I missed on the Boykin-Clint Trickett showdown last weekend, as both defenses showed up in Morgantown. I’m going back to the Big 12 QB well this week, as both Jake Waters (18 total TDs) and Boykin (26 total TDs) are set for a purple-clad battle in Fort Worth. Both defenses are solid, but this league has shown the nation how to play offense in the big games. Look for both QBs to get going both on the ground and through the air much like all of TCU’s other big games (SEE: Oklahoma, Baylor).

 

LSU will score more than 20 points against Alabama… and will still lose

 

Nick Saban has won three straight in the series against LSU and has done so in convincing fashion. Over that span, Alabama has outscored LSU 80-34. Even in LSU’s last win in 2011, the Tigers failed to score double-digit points. The Tigers' offense has gotten on track of late, scoring a total of 81 points in three straight wins. LSU may not win this weekend against the Tide at home but it will score at least 20 points against Alabama for the first time since 2010.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 11
Post date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 08:30
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-10-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Athlon Sports has formed a Heisman Trophy committee. Each week, we will ask 13 members of the national college football media to rank their top candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

 

Each voter will rank their top five candidates, with each first-place vote getting five points and each last-place vote getting one point.

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota64121---
2.Dak Prescott521111--
3.Melvin Gordon23--621
4.Trevone Boykin12-1121
5.Amari Cooper11--221
6.Everett Golson9--122
7t.Ameer Abdullah6--111
7t.Nick Marshall6--111
8.Jameis Winston5---13
9.Shaq Thompson4---12
10.Duke Johnson2---1-
11.Tevin Coleman1----1

Dropped out: None

 

Listen to the Week 10 recap podcast:



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The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

The Oregon quarterback exorcized some demons against archrival Stanford and landed all but one first-place vote this week because of it. He completed 19-of-30 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns, one interception in the air while rushing nine times for 85 yards and two more scores in the blowout win over the Cardinal. He’s 10th nationally at 327.9 yards per game and is tops nationally with a 187.21 rating.

 

Season Stats: 2,541 yards, 68.1%, 26 TDs, 2 INTs, 410 rush yards, 7 TDs

 

2. Dak Prescott, Mississippi St

Prescott threw for a career-high 331 yards while running for 61 yards in Week 10. However, he also threw two interceptions and barely defeated Arkansas at home. This gave Mariota a slight edge entering Week 11 over the Bulldogs quarterback. With Tennessee-Martin on the slate this week, Prescott can only hurt his Heisman case before visiting Alabama in two weeks.

 

Season Stats: 2,025 yards, 61.1%, 16 TDs, 7 INTs, 725 rush yards, 10 TDs

 

3. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

The Badgers' star tailback rolled up his sixth consecutive game with at least 122 yards rushing by carrying 19 times for 128 yards and two more touchdowns in the easy win over Maryland. He is second nationally at 162.0 yards per game (just 0.5 yards per game behind Tevin Coleman) and is second nationally with 18 rushing touchdowns. Among the top 17 players in terms of rushing attempts, his 7.5 yards per carry is the best.

 

Season Stats: 173 att., 1,296 yards, 7.5 ypc, 18 TDs, 8 rec., 39 yards, 1 TD  

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Expert Poll: Week 10 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 08:00

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