Articles By Braden Gall

All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-11-picks
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Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. It took me a few weeks but I finally gained some ground last week thanks to Georgia, Minnesota and Auburn. I am going back to the SEC for my top pick this week.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 31-23-1 (3-1 last week)

Week 11 Picks of the Week:

Missouri (-14) at Kentucky
The Tigers have been consistently underrated throughout the season. Mizzou’s 7-1-1 record against the spread demonstrates this pretty clearly. Kentucky has yet to win in the SEC under Mark Stoops and simply doesn’t have enough good players to stay competitive with the Tigers. Could Gary Pinkel’s bunch be looking ahead to Ole Miss next week? Possibly. But Pinkel’s team also knows it controls its own destiny in the SEC East and won’t overlook anyone from here on out. Prediction: Missouri -14

BYU (+8) at Wisconsin
The Badgers consistently struggle with dual-threat quarterbacks and BYU’s Taysom Hill is one of the most explosive and talented in the nation. Additionally, this defense is physical and designed to stop a power rushing attack like Wisconsin's. BYU is extremely well coached, battled tested and head coach Bronco Mendenhall knows UW head coach Gary Andersen very well. He is 3-1 against Andersen in his career. The Badgers should still win but there is no reason to think this game won’t be close between two evenly matched teams. Prediction: BYU +8

Texas (-6.5) at West Virginia
The Longhorns lost to WVU last season at home but both teams are wildly different this year. Texas is staring at a 6-0 start in the Big 12 and has put itself into BCS bowl contention. But a win over the Mountaineers is a must. Defensively, this team is much improved under Greg Robinson, allowing just 40 total points in the last three games combined. West Virginia has won once since September and will struggle against a considerably more talented team. Prediction: Texas -6.5

Arizona State (-7) at Utah
The Sun Devils are cruising on offense, having scored at least 53 points in four straight Pac-12 games. Utah is much better at home than on the road but won’t have the offensive firepower to match Arizona State. Todd Graham knows this a must-win situation if he wants to keep his lead in the Pac-12 South so he will allow Taylor Kelly to air it out. Look for another 40-plus points from Sparky. Prediction: Arizona State -7

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

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
No. 13 LSU (+12.5) at No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Florida St (-35.5) at Wake Forest
No. 8 Missouri (-14) at Kentucky
No. 9 Auburn (-7.5) at Tennessee
Virginia Tech (+7) at No. 11 Miami
Kansas (+31) at No. 14 Oklahoma St
Mississippi St (+19.5) at No. 15 Texas A&M
No. 16 Fresno St (-10) at Wyoming
No. 19 UCLA (-2) at Arizona
Houston (+10.5) at No. 21 UCF
No. 22 Arizona St (-7) at Utah
No. 23 Notre Dame (-5) at Pitt
BYU (+8) at Wisconsin
Kansas St (+3) at No. 25 Texas Tech
Last Week:11-38-69-59-5
Year-To-Date:84-77-379-82-377-84-383-78-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 11 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/lsu-alabama-10-stats-you-need-know
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No. 13 LSU visits No. 1 Alabama in yet another installment of the “Game of the Century.” It marks the fourth meeting between the two SEC powerhouses in two calendar years to the week. This rivalry has elite national championship coaches, stacked rosters of future NFL stars and a rich history.

Before LSU and Alabama gets kicked off on 8 p.m. ET Saturday night (CBS), here is a tasty pregame meal in the form of important, bizarre and historic statistics:

6-1: LSU’s record in the last seven visits to Tuscaloosa
Alabama leads the overall series 47-25-5, has won two straight and four of the last six. However, LSU has won six of the last seven in Tuscaloosa in a series that has seen the road team achieve a bizarre level of success. In fact, the road team has won 11 of the last 17 meetings overall between these two SEC West powerhouses. LSU outlasted Alabama 9-6 in overtime the last time these two got together in Tuscaloosa (2011). Nick Saban is 4-3 against Les Miles since coming to Alabama.

78 and 115: Total TDs allowed by Alabama and LSU since 2009
Since the start of the championship era at Alabama under Nick Saban (2009), Alabama is leading the nation with 78 total touchdowns allowed on defense (62 games). LSU is No. 2 in the nation with 115 total touchdowns allowed on defense (62 games) over that same span. Over the last five seasons, that makes these the toughest two defenses to score on in the nation.

207.3: Odell Beckham Jr.’s SEC-leading all-purpose yards per game
Beckham has been a big-play machine for the Tigers all season and will be a pivotal player come Saturday night. He is second in the nation only to Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky (227.2 ypg) in all-purpose yards per game. Beckham averages 21.2 yards every time he touches the ball and he gets his hands on it 9.8 times per game. Against an Alabama secondary that has some holes, Beckham and fellow wideout Jarvis Landry will have to come up big in the vertical passing game. Beckham has caught 48 passes for 1,009 yards and eight touchdowns on 21.0 yards per catch and has over 700 yards in the return game — including this ridiculous play:

495.7: Yards allowed per game by LSU in road SEC games this year
LSU is No. 3 in the SEC and No. 22 nationally in total defense, allowing 351.7 yards per game in 2013. The Tigers are No. 5 in the SEC and 31st nationally in scoring defense at 21.9 points allowed per game. But in road SEC contests, this unit has been suspect to big plays and big yards. In three conference road games this year, the Bayou Bengals defense is allowing 495.7 yards per game and 32.3 points per game. Georgia and Ole Miss are solid offensive teams but LSU shouldn’t give up 468 yards to Mississippi State no matter where they play.

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

26: Points allowed by Alabama in six games since playing Texas A&M
The Crimson Tide has yet to allow more than 10 points in a game since giving up 42 to Johnny Manziel in College Station in Week 3. Nick Saban’s club shutout both Ole Miss and Arkansas while allowing 10 points to Tennessee, seven to Kentucky and six to Colorado State. Alabama has allowed two touchdowns in six games and is allowing 4.3 points per game since facing the Aggies.

57.8%: LSU’s SEC-leading third-down offense
Third downs will be critical for both teams, as usual, and the Tigers’ offense has been excellent on the important down all season. LSU is leading the SEC and is second nationally only to Louisville (63.4%) by converting 57.8 percent of its third down chances (57-of-99). It won’t be that easy for LSU, however, as Alabama is leading the SEC in third-down defense. It allows opposing teams to convert on third down just 29.5 percent of the time (seventh nationally). Meanwhile, Bama is No. 2 in the SEC in third-down offense (50.4%) while LSU is 61st nationally in third-down defense (38.4%).

33-2: AJ McCarron’s record as a starter
Alabama’s quarterback may never get the Heisman consideration he likely deserves but his ability to win games is unquestioned. He has won 12 straight games, including his second BCS national title last year. His .943 winning percentage is fourth all-time in NCAA history for quarterbacks with a minimum of 30 starts behind only Oklahoma’s Steve Davis (.956), Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949). Having said that, both of McCarron’s losses have come at home and one came at the hands of the LSU Tigers the last time they visited The Capstone. Overall in three games against the Tigers, the Bama signal-caller has thrown for 598 yards on 59.5 percent passing (53-of-89) with one game-winning touchdown pass and one interception.

177.07: Zach Mettenberger’s QB rating
Only Johnny Manziel (185.01) has been more efficient throwing the football this season in the SEC than Mettenberger. His 177.07 passer efficiency is a marked improvement from a year ago when he ranked 11th in the SEC at 128.34. His 276.9 yards passing per game are No. 2 to Manziel as well. However, he has struggled of late. Mettenberger has just one touchdown pass in his last two SEC games and has five interceptions in his last two games overall. With an advantage over Alabama on the outside with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Mettenberger becomes the most pivotal player on the LSU offense this weekend. He must play like he did against Georgia (372 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) not Ole Miss (274 yards, TD, 3 INTs).

0: Alabama and LSU players ranked in the top 10 in sacks in the SEC
Freshman A’Shawn Robinson is leading Alabama with 4.0 sacks on the season and is 11th in the SEC. Star nose tackle Anthony Johnson and cornerback Jalen Mills are tied for the LSU team lead with 3.0 sacks this season. It is almost shocking that neither team has a player ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in QB sacks. The Tigers, as a team, have been better at pressuring the quarterback, ranking fifth in the SEC with 20.0 sacks this year. Alabama, however, is 12th in the SEC with just 11.0 sacks on the season. This means Mettenberger may have some time to make big plays with his powerful right arm.

Minus-0.22: LSU’s turnover margin
The Tigers are 12th in the SEC, ahead of only Georgia and Arkansas, in turnover margin in 2013 at minus-0.22 per game. LSU is 88th nationally with just 12 forced turnovers (6 INT, 6 FR) and is 57th nationally with 14 giveaways on the season. Meanwhile, Alabama is No. 2 in the SEC with a plus-0.63 margin per game and No. 3 nationally with just seven turnovers all season. Bama has one turnover in its last two games while the Tigers have given the ball up six times in their last two games.

Teaser:
LSU at Alabama: The 10 Stats You Need To Know
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-11-preview-and-predictions
Body:

It will be hard to match the dramatics and excitement of last weekend for the Big Ten. A Hail Mary in Lincoln, overtime comeback in Happy Valley, in-state domination in East Lansing and a back-and-forth final minute in Bloomington made the Big Ten the most entertaining conference in the nation in Week 10.

So what can the league do as an encore presentation this week? How about a historic and critical showdown in Ann Arbor? An unusual and physical non-conference game in Madison? And the next chapter of a potentially magic storybook season in Minneapolis?

Ohio State, Northwestern and Michigan State are off this weekend.

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

Big Ten Week 11 Game Power Rankings:

1. Nebraska (+7) at Michigan (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
The luster has worn off what many thought could be the biggest Legends Division game of the season thanks to two losses by Michigan over the last three games. Nebraska still controls its own destiny in the division, however, after a Hail Mary saved the day against Northwestern last weekend. Taylor Martinez is once again unlikely to play and that could spell disaster for the Huskers on the road. The Wolverines are a different team in The Big House, averaging 46.6 points per game in Ann Arbor versus just 23.3 on the road. This includes a running game that averages twice as many yards at home (189.2) than on the road (97.7) — which also spells doom for a Black Shirts defense that has allowed 516 yards rushing the last two weeks. No matter where they play, the Maize and Blue have been excellent against the run, and with either Ron Kellogg III or Tommy Armstrong under center, Nebraska will need its running game this weekend more than ever.

2. BYU (+7.5) at Wisconsin (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
Wisconsin has hosted one non-conference game in November since 2006 (Cal Poly, 2008), so a visit from BYU this late in the year is unusual to say the least. This will be a much tougher test than the upset-minded Mustangs, however, as the Cougars bring a physical defense and play-making quarterback to Madtown. Quarterback Taysom Hill is sixth nationally in total offense, passing for 252.4 yards and rushing for 105.1 per game. Chris Borland is expected back in the lineup and will be charged with chasing down the dual threat. Quarterback Joel Stave will have to provide balance as the Cougars' front seven, led by star linebacker Kyle Van Noy, will be geared up to stop the explosive Badgers running game. This is a fantastic matchup of strengths between two excellent coaches who know a lot about each other. Bronco Mendenhall and Gary Andersen met four times when Andersen was at Utah State, with BYU taking three out of four from the Aggies.

3. Penn State (+2.5) at Minnesota (Noon, ESPN2)
The Golden Gophers haven’t gotten enough attention for what they have accomplished over the last month. After getting crushed by Iowa and Michigan, the Gophers have won three straight as more than a touchdown underdog. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson is coming off the best game of his career and returns home with a chance to stay in the Legends Division race on the back of a potent rushing attack. Penn State also has a young quarterback and powerful running game as Christian Hackenberg came through in the clutch and Bill Belton rushed for over 200 yards last week. The Nittany Lions have yet to win a true road game this year and should be prepared for a physical matchup in the Twin Cities. In a bizarre twist, this 12-game series has featured three four-game winning streaks, the most recent one belonging to PSU, who has won four straight since 2004. A win gives Minnesota eight wins for the first time since 2003.

4. Illinois (+10) at Indiana (3:30 p.m., BTN)
The Hoosiers have been stuck on three wins since Oct. 5 and the Illini have been at three wins since September. The combined seven-game losing streak has to come to an end this weekend as each team has few chances at victory the rest of the season. Both teams played well last weekend but lost in heart-breaking fashion. These are the worst two defenses in the league so both Nathan Scheelhaase and Nate Sudfeld should find success under center. Much like last weekend, whichever team has the ball last will get its long-awaited fourth win of the season.

5. Iowa (-15) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
Kirk Ferentz desperately needs to get to a bowl game and there will be no better chance for Iowa to get bowl eligible than against the Big Ten’s worst team. The Hawkeyes have struggled on offense for the better part of a month, topping 305 yards of offense just once in the last four games and being held to 17 points or fewer three times during that span. Having said that, it shouldn't take much to top the Boilermakers. Purdue has been outscored 114-7 over its last three games, including back-to-back shutouts in the last two.

Big Ten Week 11 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss the exciting Week 10 in the Big Ten and preview the huge slate of action for Week 11 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Frank Clark, DL, Michigan
The team leader in sacks and tackles for a loss needs to come up big against an excellent Nebraska rushing attack and inexperienced quarterback. He could singlehandedly disrupt the Huskers passing attack and will be asked to clog up lanes and take on blockers so his talented linebackers are free to make plays against Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Terrell Newby. Clark didn’t register a single tackle against Nebraska last season.

2. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Marcus Trotter played very well in place of Borland last weekend in Iowa City, but there is no replacement for one of the best players in school history. And with an explosive, dual-threat quarterback coming to town, Badgers fans better hope Borland’s hamstring is fully healthy. BYU’s Taysom Hill is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, has 953 yards of total offense in his last two games and is coming off a bye week. This will be a difficult challenge for the stingy Badgers defense.

3. Joel Stave, QB, Wisconsin
The Cougars boast an excellent front seven designed to play physical ball and stop the run. It should match up fairly well with Wisconsin’s power rushing attack. It has allowed just four rushing scores all season on the ground, so Stave will have to be efficient and productive in the passing game. Stave has at least two touchdown passes in four straight games and will need to find Jared Abbrederis and Jacob Pedersen to stretch the field.

4. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Gophers' nose tackle has had an excellent season thus far. He leads his team in tackles for a loss (9.0) and has clogged up the middle of the offensive line all season. But he is playing his best football over the last few weeks and that has coincided with the Gophers' three-game winning streak. The Nittany Lions are coming off one of their best rushing performances of the season after rushing for 250 yards and two scores against Illinois. Hageman will need to be big in the middle once again for Tracy Claeys and Co.

5. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Certainly, Bill O’Brien will look to run the football against Minnesota, but he must get efficient play from his quarterback as well. Hackenberg has yet to win on the road because he has made some poor decisions against Indiana and Ohio State. Playing within the offense and making the right read will be critical this weekend for this Nittany Lion.

Big Ten Week 11 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Nebraska (+7) at MichiganMichigan, 38-28Nebraska, 34-31Michigan, 34-27Michigan, 35-21
BYU (+7.5) at WisconsinWisconsin, 34-28Wisconsin, 38-28Wisconsin, 27-24 BYU, 28-24
Penn St (+2.5) at MinnesotaMinn., 31-28 Minn., 24-20Minn., 30-27Minn., 27-21
Illinois (+10) at IndianaIndiana, 42-35Indiana, 41-34Indiana, 41-34Indiana, 42-28
Iowa (-15) at PurdueIowa, 38-13Iowa, 30-10Iowa, 34-13Iowa, 31-7
Last Week:6-05-15-16-0
Year-to-date:63-1164-1065-963-11

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-week-11-preview-and-predictions
Body:

This is what we have all been waiting for. Oregon at Stanford has been targeted all year as arguably the most important game of the season regardless of conference and now it is upon us with all the fanfare and excitement of two top-five teams. And it’s on primetime TV on a Thursday night. Buckle up, folks.

Certainly, Ducks-Cardinal will be electric, but that isn’t the only game to keep an eye on out West this weekend. Both UCLA and Arizona State have tough road tests while Arizona and USC are looking to toss their hats into the Pac-12 South title ring.

Week 11 might be the most important weekend of action in the Pac-12 all season. Oregon State and Washington State are off this weekend.

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

Pac-12 Week 11 Game Power Rankings

1. Oregon (-10.5) at Stanford (Thurs., 9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
This is the rematch the nation has been waiting for all season long and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota likely feels the same way. Mariota is 20-1 as a starter and hasn’t thrown an interception since the loss to Stanford last season. In fact, he has only gotten better with time, scoring 29 total touchdowns without an interception this season — and he’s leading the Heisman Trophy voting because of it. But he isn’t the only weapon the surging Cardinal defense — one that has 12 sacks in the last two games — will have to contend with on Thursday. De’Anthony Thomas appears to be healthy and Byron Marshall has been electric as the primary ball-carrier (8 TD in last three games). On the flip side, the Ducks defense is once again nationally underrated. It ranks eighth nationally in scoring defense (16.9 ppg) and sixth in takeaways (23) — both of which lead the Pac-12. Each team will run the football but will do so in a totally different fashion so it falls to Mariota and Kevin Hogan, who completed 70 percent of his passes in the road upset win last year, to make big plays down the field. This contest features the last four Pac-12 champs and will likely determine the winner again this season — and possibly much more. Oregon has won four of the last five in Palo Alto.

2. UCLA (-1.5) at Arizona (10 p.m., ESPN)
Once Saturday rolls around, the focus will shift from the North Division to the state of Arizona. The Wildcats and Bruins enter this game with identical records and identical expectations, making this a Pac-12 title elimination game. Rich Rodriguez’ team is surging after three straight wins on the legs of its elite backfield duo. B.J. Denker has posted 762 yards of total offense and five scores from under center in the last two games while Ka’Deem Carey is leading the nation in rushing (153.1 ypg) after 11 straight 100-yard games. Brett Hundley got his Bruins back on track against Colorado after two physical losses to the Ducks and Cardinal. He scored four times and racked up 345 yards of total offense last week. This was a 66-10 UCLA rout in L.A. last season but these two are much more evenly matched in Tucson this weekend.

3. Arizona State (-7) at Utah (4 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Utes play well at home and are in desperate need of another Pac-12 victory. But Arizona State is playing at another level on offense in the conference since losing to Stanford in Week 4. The Sun Devils have scored at least 53 points in four straight Pac-12 games and quarterback Taylor Kelly is playing the best football of his career after scoring seven times last week in Pullman. If Todd Graham's team wants to be considered the Pac-12 front-runner, this needs to be a workman-like, thorough victory for ASU. Especially, against a team that hasn’t beaten Sparky since 1976 (nine games).

4. USC (-16.5) at Cal (3 p.m., FOX)
Shockingly, the depleted Trojans are still very much in the Pac-12 South race after an unexpected road win over Oregon State and games with UCLA and Arizona looming. It means that Ed Orgeron’s squad can’t afford to slip up against teams like Cal. The Bears and their 124th-ranked defense (529.8 ypg) are reeling after losing their seventh straight game last week. Despite the injuries and offensive struggles, this should be an easy win for the Men of Troy. So, naturally, expect Sonny Dykes' team to play its best game of the year.

5. Colorado (+28) at Washington (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
After three straight losses, the Huskies bounced back with an easy 41-17 win over Cal at home. Keith Price (271.1 ypg passing) and Bishop Sankey (145.3 ypg rushing) were off last weekend and should have no issue rolling through the porous Buffaloes defense at home. Steve Sarkisian needs to put Colorado away early and get his team prepared for back-to-back road trips to UCLA and Oregon State. Staying healthy this Saturday is critical for a team that needs to win three of its last four to improve on three straight seasons of 7-6 football.

Pac-12 Week 11 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox preview the showdown between Oregon and Stanford as well as a solid undercard in the Pac-12 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
 Normally, I try to dig deep for more intriguing matchups from across the league. And while there are some interesting players to watch in the UCLA-Arizona (Jordan James, Scooby Wright) and Arizona State-Utah games (Trevor Reilly, Marion Grice), I find it more appropriate to focus on the gigantic Oregon-Stanford matchup in particular this week.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
There is no doubt the best player in the nation will be on full display against Stanford. Mariota’s Heisman and BCS national title hopes hang in the balance as he seeks revenge for the only loss in his career. His offense was held to regular-season lows in yards (405) and points (14) in last season's home loss to Stanford while he was held to a career-low one total touchdown. He must be better than 21-of-37 passing (207 yards, TD, INT) to win on The Farm. The Ducks will go as far as Mariota carries them.

2. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
Charged with stopping the Ducks' complex and diverse offense is the leader of the Cardinal defense. The team’s leading tackler (7.8 per game) posted 10 tackles and 1.0 TFL in the upset win in Eugene last year but means so much more to this team than just stats. His recognition skills will be tested the most by the zone-read-pass-run option Mariota brings to the table. One bad read and Oregon will make you pay in a big way. The pressure is on the Cardinal linebackers and Skov in particular this week.

3. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
Offensively, David Shaw wants to run the football and keep Oregon’s offense off the field. Everyone including Mark Helfrich knows this. Fans can bet that Nick Aliotti will scheme to stop Tyler Gaffney and the Cardinal O-line, forcing Kevin Hogan to make plays down the field. It falls to star wideout and big-play specialist Montgomery to stretch the defense. He has posted at least one catch of 30 yards or more in six of eight games and has two kickoff return touchdowns of at least 99 yards.

4. Ricky Havili-Heimuli and Wade Keliikipi, DT, Oregon
Tony Washington is having an excellent season rushing the passer off the edge, but it’s the heart of the Oregon defensive line that will be under fire this week. Stanford likes to line up with multiple tight ends and multiple fullbacks and run between the tackles, putting pressure on the heart of the defense. This means the 315-pound Havili-Heimuli, who is filling in for the injured Arik Armstead, and the 300-pound Keliikipi will need to play big up front. The duo played excellent football against UCLA, combining for 10.0 tackles in the win two weeks ago.

5. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
If Mariota and the rest of his electric backfield mates can make it past Trent Murphy and Shayne Skov, it falls to Reynolds to act as the last line of defense for Stanford. The All-American safety knows that being one foot out of place against Oregon can mean six points for the Ducks on any play, so his ability to fill against the run while piloting the secondary against an underrated passer like Mariota will be critical. He had six tackles against the Ducks last year.

Pac-12 Week 11 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Oregon (-10.5) at StanfordOregon, 27-21Oregon, 34-21 Oregon, 27-24 Oregon, 35-28 
UCLA (-1.5) at ArizonaUCLA, 38-34UCLA, 34-20 UCLA, 34-30 Arizona, 28-24 
Arizona St (-7) at UtahArizona St, 45-21 Arizona St, 28-10Arizona St, 45-24Arizona St, 38-28
USC (-16.5) at CalUSC, 24-13USC, 38-10USC, 38-17 USC, 31-13 
Colorado (+28) at WashingtonWash., 52-17Wash., 41-7Wash., 48-20Wash., 42-21
Last Week: 3-13-13-13-1
Year-to-date:61-1359-1563-1158-16

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 11 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-10-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's best college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, so on and so forth. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.

With five of the top 10 teams and seven and of the top 20 in the rankings off last weekend, nothing really changed in the Heisman standings. In fact, the top six didn't change at all in any way. The top two still stand above the rest as Marcus Mariota didn’t play and Jameis Winston was human (325 yards, TD, 2 INT) instead of superhuman against previously unbeaten Miami. Johnny Manziel posted huge numbers… against UTEP. And some small school stars continued to post huge numbers for their unbeaten teams.

Something tells me, however, that the Athlon Sports Heisman balloting could shift dramatically after Week 11.

Post-Week 10 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon6312-1--
2.(2)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St49-103--
3.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M4113711
4.(4)Bryce PettyQBBaylor17--162
5.(5)AJ McCarronQBAlabama9--122
6.(6)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois4----4
7t.(ur)Connor ShawQBS. Carolina2---1-
7t.(ur)Ka'Deem CareyRBArizona2---1-
7t.(ur)Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville2---1-
7t.(8)Brandin CooksWROregon St2---1-
7t.(ur)Derek CarrQBFresno St2----2
7t.(7)Sean MannionQBOregon St2----2

Heisman Headlines:

All. Bets. Are. Off. To quote one of the greatest movies ever made, all bets are off this weekend. Week 11 is where the Heisman Trophy should be won and lost. Oregon and Marcus Mariota visit No. 5 Stanford. AJ McCarron and Alabama host No. 13 LSU. Bryce Petty and the Bears get No. 10 Oklahoma at home. Mariota is 20-1 as a starter and hasn’t thrown an interception since losing to Stanford at home last November. McCarron has had two career-defining and BCS title-winning moments against the Tigers. Petty has played one tough game in his entire career and the battle with the Sooners is just the first in a month of brutal tests for the Bears' signal-caller. Sit back and enjoy Week 11, folks, it should be fun.

Tough as Nails. South Carolina’s Connor Shaw is an absolute pleasure to watch play. He is a leader, hard-nosed, fights through injury and is a winner. He is 23-5 as a starter and is coming off yet another stellar performance against Mississippi State. He threw four touchdowns in the blowout win over the Bulldogs and didn’t turn the ball over. It gives him 21 total touchdowns and only one interception on the season. He also has a signature Heisman moment by leading Carolina from behind on the road on one leg against Mizzou. The Carolina signal-caller deserves more Heisman mention if MAC and Mountain West players are getting votes.

Small School Stars. Derek Carr and Jordan Lynch are the prized gems of “mid-major” football this season as both Fresno State and Northern Illinois are unbeaten. Lynch threw for 160 yards, rushed for 119 yards and scored five total touchdowns in the blowout win over UMass. Carr threw for 487 yards and three touchdowns over Nevada. Lynch is fourth in the nation with 1,150 yards rushing and Carr is third in passing with 3,061 yards. Both have big showdowns looming against Ball State (Nov. 13) and Wyoming (Nov. 9) in the next 10 days. Lynch has been getting votes for most of the 2013 season but Carr appeared this week on two ballots.

New Faces. In addition to Connor Shaw and Derek Carr showing up, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey shows up this week. The Wildcats running back is leading the nation in rushing (153.1 ypg) and posted his 11th consecutive 100-yard game. Rich Rodriguez’ team has won three straight in the Pac-12 and two straight on the road. With UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State on the slate in November, Carey — and possibly quarterback B.J. Denker — could gain some Heisman notoriety.

Dropped Out. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon carried just 17 times for 62 yards while James White (130 yards, 2 TD) was the star of UW’s win over Iowa. Mike Evans caught just four passes for 46 yards and a TD against lowly UTEP. Washington’s Bishop Sankey was off and fell completely out of sight and mind.

The Voting Panel:

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

 

Teaser:
College Football: Post-Week 10 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-11
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 11.

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

Oregon will be the No. 1 team in the nation
The Ducks and Florida State Seminoles have been flip-flopping for No. 2 nationally ever since the first release of the BCS. However, after Oregon visits No. 5 Stanford on Thursday night, the Ducks will not only put the Noles in the rearview but No. 1 Alabama as well. The Ducks are better on both sides of the ball this year and Stanford has been wildly inconsistent on offense. It will be a great game but Oregon will pull away in the second half. Meanwhile, the Tide could struggle against LSU — a team that is 6-1 in its last seven trips to Tuscaloosa. Should Alabama struggle, or even lose to the Bayou Bengals, then Oregon has a chance to be the No. 1 team in the nation come Sunday evening.

Auburn will rush for 400 yards in Knoxville
The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing offense at 306.2 yards per game this season. The Volunteers are dead last in the SEC in rushing defense at 201.7 yards allowed per game. Put those two together and add a freshman quarterback for Tennessee and odds are Auburn rolls up a big number on the ground. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has been dinged up but tailback Tre Mason has picked up the slack. He carried a career-high 32 times for a career-high four touchdowns and posted his second-best career rushing total of 168 yards last week against Arkansas. Mason is leading the SEC in rushing TDs (13) and is No. 3 in rushing (921 yards). 

Oklahoma will hold Baylor to half its scoring average… and still lose
The Bears lead the nation in scoring and total offense with 63.9 points and 717.3 yards per game. Oklahoma is a top 10 team and has lost only once to Baylor in school history. That, of course, came in 2011 when Robert Griffin III won the Heisman by leading Baylor past the Sooners in dramatic fashion. Bryce Petty has a similar opportunity this Thursday night. Baylor will score no more than 31 points against the best defense it has faced all season but will still win as OU struggles to score once again. It won’t be enough to win Petty a stiff-armed trophy but it keeps Baylor in the national title hunt.

Arizona and UCLA will combine for 10 rushing TDs
Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker is fifth in the Pac-12 with 11 rushing touchdowns after scoring five times on the ground during Arizona’s three-game winning streak. His backfield mate Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher, is sixth in the league with 10 rushing scores. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is 11th in the Pac-12 with six rushing touchdowns and Bruins tailback Jordan James, who returned last week, is 13th in the league with five rushing scores. Don’t be shocked in a high-scoring game if these two teams don’t combine for double-digit rushing touchdowns.

Logan Thomas and Stephen Morris will throw eight INTs
Virginia Tech and Miami square off in Coral Gables this Saturday in a Coastal Division elimination game. Both have extremely talented signal-callers who have fallen on hard times. Thomas has turned the ball over eight times in the last two games — both Tech losses — including six interceptions. Morris has thrown eight interceptions in the last three games. Thomas leads the ACC with 12 INTs and Morris is tied for second with Virginia’s David Watford with 10 on the year. Together, they average 2.5 interceptions per game, but with two solid defenses, don’t be surprised if the duo combines for seven or eight turnovers.

Minnesota will be 8-2 this year
Seriously, read that again. With a win at home against a three-loss Penn State team this weekend, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will move to 8-2. Four of those wins will have come without the services of head coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers haven’t won eight games in a season since 2003 and haven’t posted a winning record since '08. This after starting Big Ten play with two losses to Iowa and Michigan by a combined score of 65-20. Read that headline again: Minnesota will be 8-2. Bill O’Brien must be asking himself: "In order to conquer him, I have to think like an animal, and whenever possible, to look like one. I got inside this dude’s pelt and crawl around for a few days. Who is the gopher’s eye?”

Houston will be the only unbeaten in AAC play
This would easily be one of the most outrageous predictions had it been made in the summer. Louisville has already been upset by UCF, leaving the Knights and the Cougars as the lone unbeatens in AAC play left this fall. And Houston will face the Knights this weekend in Florida. Houston has scored a point in all 32 quarters it has played this season and has scored at least 35 points in three consecutive games. Houston and star freshman quarterback John O’Korn will top Central Florida and Georgia O’Leary to remain as the league’s last unbeaten team in league play. The Cougars also will score in each quarter, pushing their miraculous streak to 36 quarters with at least one point.

Arizona State will score 50 points for the fifth straight Pac-12 game
The Sun Devils have been cruising on offense of late. Arizona State scored 62 against USC and got Lane Kiffin fired. It followed that up with 54 against Colorado, 53 against Washington and 55 against Washington State. In it’s last two home games, however, Utah has gone toe-to-toe with two of the best teams in the Pac-12 in UCLA and Stanford, including a win over the then-No. 5 Cardinal the last time the Utes played at home. Utah allowed just 260 yards of offense last weekend but won’t be able to stop ASU. Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly has been on a tear of late, scoring seven times last weekend, and torched the Utes for 326 yards and three touchdowns last season in Tempe. Look for ASU to impress on the road in a tough place to play against a solid defense.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 11
Post date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfls-week-9
Body:

Winning games and breaking records becomes secondary in short order when our loved one's health become a concern. So the most important stat from Week 9 in the NFL is that two NFL families — Denver and Houston — are focused on the health of their head coaches. The Broncos' John Fox will undergo heart valve replacement surgery and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season, at minimum. The Texans' Gary Kubiak had a scary episode at halftime of Sunday night's game with the Colts and was taken to the hospital. Both men are doing fine and should recover safely.

So no matter how important, interesting, historic and bizarre thet stats are from Week 9, two is the biggest number of the weekend. However, here are some others to consider:

7: Nick Foles' NFL single-game record TD passes
Seven also is the number of quarterbacks in NFL history who have ever thrown seven touchdown passes in a game. Foles was electric against the Raiders, throwing for 406 yards, those seven scoring strikes and only six incompletions in the 49-20 win over Oakland. And he played in just one series in the fourth quarter. Foles joins Sid Luckman (1943), Adrian Burk (1954), George Blanda (1961), Y.A. Tittle (1962), Joe Kapp (1969) and Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players in history to accomplish the 7-TD trick. So after 43 seasons without a single seven-touchdown game, the 2013 season has featured two such performances. Seven also is the same number of passing touchdowns the Raiders have through eight games this season.

3: Overtime NFL safeties
The Dolphins, who had lost four straight since a 3-0 start, were leading 17-3 late in the third quarter on Thursday night. Andy Dalton and the Bengals rallied to send the game into overtime tied at 20. With 6:38 left in the extra frame, star end Cameron Wake made the play of the season for the Fish when he sacked Dalton in the end zone to end the game with a walk-off safety. Wake finished with 5.0 tackles, 2.0 TFL and 3.0 sacks. It was just the third such overtime safety in NFL history. The Bears beat the Titans 19-17 in 2004 and the Vikings topped the Rams 23-21 in 1989. Dalton finished with 338 yards passing, his fourth consecutive and eighth career 300-yard effort.

55 and 610: Steelers franchise-record points and yards allowed
The depleted Patriots offense has struggled for most of the 2013 season. New England hadn’t scored more than 30 points in any game and had failed to reach 300 yards of offense in three of its last four. Yet, against a historically stingy Steelers defense, the Pats exploded for 55 points and 610 yards of offense. It was the most points and yards a Pittsburgh team had allowed in franchise history. The Steelers (2-6) haven’t been ranked outside of the Top 20 in points allowed in a season since 1991 when they gave up 21.5 per game. It is currently 23rd in scoring defense at 26.0 ppg. Since Dick LeBeau took over as defensive coordinator in 2004, the Steelers have finished outside of the top six in points allowed just twice — 11th in 2006 and 12th in '09.

22-4: Tony Romo's career record in November
The Cowboys got the ball with 2:44 left in the game, trailing Minnesota by three. Romo led a nine-play, 90-yard touchdown drive to defeat the Vikings. It was his 22nd career win in 26 career starts in the month of November — the best record for a quarterback in the Super Bowl era (min. 20 starts). He finished with 337 yards passing and two touchdowns in the critical, come-from-behind win. Romo is fifth in the NFL in passing with 2,553 yards and third in touchdown passes with 20, while no one has attempted more passes than his 346.

8-33: Record of teams the Panthers have defeated
Cam Newton and the Panthers are 5-3 and poised to compete for a playoff spot this fall. Yet, the Panthers have yet to beat a team with a winning record, as the five teams Carolina has defeated are a collective 8-33. Tampa Bay (0-8), Minnesota (1-7), Atlanta (2-6) and the Giants (2-6) have combined to win four games in 27 tries. Only the Rams have more than two wins this fall (3-6). The record of teams the Panthers have lost to is a much more impressive 15-11, but even then the Panthers have played only one team with a winning record all season (Seattle).

21: Largest point deficit Seattle has ever overcome
With just over two minutes left in the first half, the winless Buccaneers had a 21-0 lead on the road against Seattle — due in large part to one of the plays of the year. Russell Wilson wasn’t fazed, however, as he led five scoring drives over the final 32 minutes of play to give the Seahawks their largest comeback victory in franchise history. The win gave Seattle its first-ever 8-1 start to a season and was Wilson’s 12th win in 12 home games. He is one of four players since the 1970 merger to start a career with 12 consecutive home wins.

$13.2 million: Josh Freeman and Matt Flynn combined 2013 salaries
According to spotrac.com, Josh Freeman will count for $8.43 million towards Tampa Bay’s salary cap this season and $2.83 million towards Minnesota’s. Matt Flynn is hitting Oakland’s cap for $1.2 million and Buffalo’s for $715,000. Both were healthy and able to play for the Vikings and Bills this weekend but neither took a snap. Instead, Jeff Tuel started for the Bills and Christian Ponder started for the Vikings. Tuel was 18-of-39 for 229 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a QBR of 16.8. Ponder was 25-of-37 for 236 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble and was sacked twice. That’s over $13 million worth of healthy quarterbacks sitting on the bench. There is a reason the Bills and Vikings are a combined 4-13 this season. To make matters worse, the Bills released Flynn on Monday, which means the team's investment in him was for naught.

0-5: Rob Ryan’s record against twin brother Rex
Rob Ryan has been coaching in the NFL since 1994. His twin brother, Rex, started coaching in the NFL the same year. After two decades, one is the head coach of the Jets and the other is the defensive coordinator for the Saints. They met for the fifth time this weekend where the Jets used a 17-point second quarter and motivated ex-Saint Chris Ivory (18 att., 139 yards, TD) to upset the Saints on Sunday in the New Meadowlands. With the win, Rex Ryan remained unbeaten in five games against his twin brother and has his Jets squarely in the AFC wild-card hunt. New York has alternated wins and losses in each of the first nine games, and with a loss next week, would become the first team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses in the first 10 games of a season.

10: Career game-winning drives led by Andrew Luck
In just his 24th career game, Luck performed yet another second-half miracle. The Colts' signal-caller threw three touchdown passes to T.Y. Hilton over the final 15:05 of game time to erase an 18-point Texans lead to earn the divisional road victory and give Luck his 10th career game-winning drive. That is one game-winning drive every 2.4 games played and puts Luck on pace to shatter the NFL record in less than eight seasons. Let’s put his fourth-quarter heroics into perspective by looking at the NFL's all-time leaders in game-winning drives. These are literally the greatest to ever play the game — and Luck's pace is obliterating all of them:

 NameGSGWDAvg.
1t.Peyton Manning232514.5
1t.Dan Marino240514.7
3.John Elway231465.0
4.Brett Favre298456.6
5.Tom Brady170394.4
6.Warren Moon203375.5
7.Fran Tarkenton239347.0
8t.Vinny Testaverde214336.5
8t.Joe Montana164334.9
10.Drew Brees177325.5
 Andrew Luck24102.4

 

Teaser:
Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 9
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-10
Body:

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

3: Georgia quarterbacks to beat Florida three years in a row
The Bulldogs stayed alive in the SEC East championship hunt with a heated, hard-fought victory over rival Florida. The win was Georgia's third straight win over the Gators for the first time since Steve Spurrier arrived in Gainesville (1987-89). It was Murray's third win over Florida, making him the third quarterback in school history to win three in a row over the Gators. Buck Belue, who led Georgia to its last national championship, won three straight from 1979-81. Johnny Rauch, 1945-48, is the only Dawgs signal caller to ever win four straight in the series.

41-3: Team that rushes for more yards in the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry
The Spartans were one of Week 10's biggest winners nationally after dominating their in-state rival in record-setting fashion. Michigan State held Michigan to minus-48 yards rushing, the worst mark in Maize and Blue history. The Spartans were able to nearly quadruple the Wolverines in rushing — against an equally as stingy rushing defense — by totaling 142 yards on the ground. In the last 44 meetings between the Big Ten rivals, the team that has run for more yards is 41-3. Michigan totaled just 168 yards, but more on that in a second. The 29-6 win was the most lopsided victory for Sparty over the Wolverines since a 34-0 shutout in 1967.

43.4: Michigan State's yards rushing allowed per game
The Spartans allowed just 168 total yards of offense, two field goals and minus-48 yards rushing. With the dominant performance, Michigan State is on pace to become just the fourth team in the last 30 years to allow less than 50 yards rushing per game. TCU allowed 47.1 yards per game in 2008 and Michigan gave up 43.4 yards per contest in 2006. Only Arizona's Desert Swarm unit of 1993 (30.1 ypg) allowed fewer rushing yards per game over the last three decades than MSU's current pace. Additionally, Mark Dantonio's defense is leading the nation in total defense at 210.2 yards per game — second only to Alabama's elite national championship 2011 unit (183.6 ypg) since 2000.

116: Tajh Boyd all-time ACC total TD record
The Clemson quarterback threw for 377 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in an easy road win over Virginia. It gave Boyd 116 career total touchdowns, passing Philip Rivers' 112 for No. 1 all-time in ACC history. The Tigers gunslinger has 93 passing scores and 23 rushing touchdowns and is just three away from breaking Philip Rivers' ACC passing touchdown mark (95). Boyd has 10,673 career passing yards and 11,632 total yards of offense in his career, both of which are good for No. 2 all-time behind, you guessed it, Rivers (13,484 passing; 13,582 total offense). Interestingly, Russell Wilson is third all-time with 93 total touchdowns in ACC history — in just three seasons at NC State.

56.0: Arizona State points per game over their last four Pac-12 games
The Sun Devils limped out of Palo Alto with a bad loss and a tough schedule ahead. But Todd Graham's team has rallied in a big way, thanks in large part to its offense. It has scored at least 53 points in each of its four Pac-12 wins since losing to Stanford. Quarterback Taylor Kelly is playing his best football and is leading a team that has scored 27 touchdowns in four games for an average of 56 points per game. The Sun Devils now sit a full game up in the division over Arizona, UCLA and USC with looming games with each one.

5: Jameis Winston's career 300-yard games
EJ Manuel played in 43 games as a starting quarterback for Florida State, becoming just the second player in NCAA history to start and win four bowl games (Pat White). He had five career 300-yard passing efforts and was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Christian Ponder played in 35 games prior to Manuel and had just four career 300-yard passing games before getting picked 12th overall by the Vikings. In just eight career games, Winston has topped 300 yards five times and has yet to lose a game as a starter. Despite two bad interceptions, the Seminoles quarterback finished with 325 yards on 72.4-percent passing. He is No. 2 nationally to Bryce Petty with a 201.12 quarterback rating.

1: TCU three-game losing streaks under Gary Patterson
The Horned Frogs are headed in the wrong direction. TCU lost 20 yards on three plays before having to attempt a 62-yard field goal in the first overtime against West Virginia. The Mountaineers kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession to give the Frogs its third consecutive loss for the first time in the Gary Patterson era. Patterson is 119-41 in 13 seasons as the head coach in Fort Worth and after losing to Oklahoma State, Texas and WVU. The Frogs are 5-10 in conference play since entering the Big 12 in 2012.

3: Teams to win three straight as at least a TD underdog since 1980
According to ESPN/Grantland's R.J. Bell, only three teams since 1980 have won three consecutive games as a touchdown underdog. Minnesota defeated Indiana on the road as a 10-point underdog, giving it a third straight win as a double-digit dog after toppling Northwestern (+12.5) and Nebraska (+10.5). Arkansas in 1991 and Arizona in 2006 were the only two teams since 1980 to win three straight games as a TD underdog until the Gophers did it. Not only were they at least 10-point underdogs, but Minnesota has moved to 7-2 without head coach Jerry Kill. Defensive coordinator-turned-acting head coach Tracy Claeys is quietly turning the Gophers into one of the nation's best stories.

1990: Last time Arkansas lost six straight games
Guz Malzahn returned to his home state in impressive fashion by thumping Bret Bielema's Razorbacks 35-17 in Fayetteville. It gives Arkansas its sixth consecutive loss following a 3-0 start to the season — something that has never happened since joining the SEC in 1992. In fact, the last time Arkansas lost six straight games, it was a member of the Southwest Conference. The last four have been particularly painful and uncompetitive. The Hogs have been outscored 167-34 during that span and own the SEC's worst scoring offense at 20 points per game. Bielema has one chance at an SEC win left on the schedule: at Ole Miss, Mississippi State (Little Rock), at LSU.

29: Quinn Epperly NCAA-record consecutive completions
Princeton junior quarterback Quinn Epperly started the game against Cornell by completing the first 29 passes he threw. It broke Richie Williams' NCAA record for consecutive completions (28) set in 2004. He threw six touchdown passes for the second straight game and finished with 325 yards on 32-of-35 passing. East Carolina's Dominique Davis owns the FBS record with 26 straight completions against Navy in 2011.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 10
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-post-week-10-power-rankings
Body:

What a wild week in the Big Ten. The three best teams in the league — Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin — won in convincing fashion but the rest of the conference was under cardiac arrest in the fourth quarter.

Indiana came storming back with 28 unanswered points only to watch Philip Nelson throw the game-winning touchdown pass. Christian Hackenberg led a game-tying drive at the end of regulation and then tossed the game winner in overtime. And Nebraska won on a Ron Kellogg III Hail Mary that will be remembered for decades to come in Lincoln.

More Post-Week 10 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (9-0, 5-0): The Buckeyes continue to earn style points with another huge blowout. This one was to be expected, however, as the league's best team crushed the league's worst by 56 points. Braxton Miller was excellent again, throwing four touchdown strikes. Urban Meyer moved to 21-0 as the head coach at Ohio State and is two games against Illinois and Indiana from the much awaited trip to Michigan. Next Week: at Illinois 
2.
 
 
(3)Michigan State (8-1, 5-0): The Spartans stayed perfect in the Big Ten by dominating the line of scrimmage against rival Michigan. The nation's leading defense held Michigan to a school-record minus-48 yards rushing thanks to seven sacks. Connor Cook made clutch throws when needed, and Jeremy Langford was productive enough to give the Spartans the most lopsided win over their in-state rival since 1967. Mark Dantonio gets two weeks to prepare for a road trip into Lincoln for a de facto Legends Division championship game. Next Week: Bye 
3.
 
 
 
(2)Wisconsin (6-2, 4-1): It wasn't pretty as both defenses stole the show in the first three quarters, but Wisconsin pulled away late for an important road win against rival Iowa. The Badgers defense, playing without leader Chris Borland, suffocated the Hawkeyes, holding Kirk Ferentz group to 289 yards of total offense and no touchdowns. The typically powerful UW running game will need to be better next week in an unusual nonconference game with BYU. The Cougars bring a similarly stingy defense to Madison. Next Week: BYU 
4.
 
 
(5)Nebraska (6-2, 3-1): A really bad week in the Pelini family ended as only it could — with a championship- and job-saving Hail Mary on the final play of the game against Northwestern. Both teams were held without an offensive touchdown in the second half until Ron Kellogg III heaved a final pass from the 49-yard line and Jordan Westerkamp snagged the tipped ball out of the air. The throw keeps the Huskers in Legends Division contention as the Big Red will face both Michigan schools over the next two weeks. Next Week: at Michigan 
5.
 
 
 
(4)Michigan (6-2, 2-2): Devin Gardner is going to see Spartans in his nightmares. He had no time to throw and the running game gave him no support as the Wolverines offensive line was obliterated by the Spartans defensive line. The team rushed for the lowest total in school history (minus-48 yards) and were tackled behind the line 18 times (11 TFL, seven sacks). Brady Hoke's team is 2-2 in the league and is three games behind their in-state rival Michigan State. Next Week: Nebraska 
6.
 
(6)Minnesota (7-2, 3-2): Philip Nelson had to be nervous as he watched his team give up four straight touchdowns to Indiana in the fourth quarter. But trailing by four with less than five minutes to go, Nelson delivered with the biggest throw of his career. His 50-yard TD pass won the game, and, after the defense recovered a juggled pitch on the Hoosiers' ensuing possession, Minnesota celebrated its third straight win. Jerry Kill is slowly inching his way back into control of the Gophers team — a welcomed sight for all Big Ten fans — but Tracy Claeys is no 3-0 as the interim head coach in what has quickly become one of the nation's best stories. Next Week: Penn State 
7.
 
(7)

Penn State (5-3, 2-2): Bill Belton nearly coughed up the game for the Nittany Lions, fumbling on the goal line down by three with less than four minutes to go. But his freshman quarterback and superstar wide receiver saved the day. Christian Hackenberg led a game-tying drive in the final minute and threw the game-winning touchdown to Kyle Carter in overtime. Allen Robinson caught 11 passes for 165 yards and made several critical catches in the waning moments. Belton's fumble nearly overshadowed a 200-yard rushing effort and, despite bowl sanctions, this team is one win away from being bowl eligible in each of Bill O'Brien's seasons at the helm. Next Week: at Minnesota

 
8.
 
 
 
(8)Iowa (5-4, 2-3): Trailing by five, quarterback Jake Rudock was knocked out of the game midway through the third quarter, and backup C.J. Beathard wasn't capable of getting anything going the rest of the way. The defense played valiantly against the powerful Wisconsin offensive line but simply couldn't move the ball on offense — and when it could, Iowa didn't finish drives with touchdowns. Kirk Ferentz's group will have to wait another week to get to bowl eligibility — which should happen next weekend. Next Week: at Purdue 
9.
 
(9)Indiana (3-5, 1-3): The Hoosiers had a chance at another critical win but might have watched their postseason chances disappear with a last minute fumble against Minnesota. Give Kevin Wilson and his team credit for battling back from a 35-13 deficit to take a late lead with 28 unanswered points, but IU couldn't finish when it had the chance inside the Gophers 10 yard-line with less than 30 seconds left in the game. The Tevin Coleman fumble likely knocks Indiana out of the postseason at it must win three of its final four: Illinois, at Wisconsin, at Ohio State and Purdue. Next Week: Illinois 
10.
 
(10)Northwestern (4-5, 0-5): Only a team on a four-game losing streak could lose in such heartbreaking fashion. Northwestern kicked a field goal with 1:20 left in the game to take a three-point lead over Nebraska on the road. Pat Fitzgerald needed one more play on defense to secure his first Big Ten win of the year and to stop his 2013 ship from officially sinking. But after watching the Huskers win on a Hail Mary, it's hard not to think that his particular Northwestern team is jinxed. Next Week: Bye 
11.
 
 
(11)Illinois (3-5, 0-4): Nathan Scheelhaase drove his team down the field on the road in the fourth quarter to take a lead in a Big Ten game in over a year. But the defense couldn't hold up, and, in overtime, Scheelhaase made a critical mistake to give the win to Penn State. His interception in the endzone ended the game and extended the Illini's Big Ten losing streak to 18 games. Next Week: at Indiana 
12.
 
(12)Purdue (1-7, 0-4): Ten first downs, 116 total yards of offense and zero points. That is what the Purdue offense mustered against Ohio State. 30 first downs, 640 yards of total offense and 56 points. That is what the defense allowed to the Buckeyes. This team is on pace to be Purdue's worst since a 1-10 squad in 1993. Next Week: Iowa 

Big Ten Week 10 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota

Nelson and the Gophers built a commanding 35-13 lead with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter. However, Indiana stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns to take a narrow lead late in the final frame. But Nelson answered back with a 50-yard scoring strike to Maxx Williams to give Minnesota a thrilling three-point win over Indiana. Nelson finished with 298 yards on 16-of-23 passing and four touchdowns and 11 yards rushing on seven carries.

Defensive Player of Week: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Any number of key contributors from Michigan State could be mentioned here. Denicos Allen (nine tackles, three TFL, two sacks) and Ed Davis (four tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) each had big games for the nation's best defense. Calhoun has become the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate, however, and his performance against Michigan was worthy of a headline. He posted six tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and is now leading the Big Ten in sacks this season (6.5). Nebraska's Avery Moss needs to get a mention as well for his performance against Northwestern. He posted four tackles, a tackle for a loss and returned his first career interception for a game-tying touchdown.

Team of Week: Michigan State
The Buckeyes earned a few more style points with a 56-0 win over Purdue on the road but no team was more impressive than Michigan State in Week 10. The nation's best defense held Michigan in check the entire afternoon, allowing just 168 yards of total offense and two field goals. The Spartans are unbeaten in Big Ten play and look like the top challenger to the Buckeyes. Connor Cook is making timely throws, and Jeremy Langford has emerged as a workhorse back. This team is averaging more than 30 points per game in Big Ten play and may be built to compete with Ohio State should it get past Nebraska in two weeks.

Coordinator of Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Who else could it be? The No. 1 defense in the nation showed the nation why it might be the only unit in the Big Ten that can stop Ohio State. The Wolverines posted a school-record low of minus-48 yards rushing as Narduzzi dialed up pressure all night long. Michigan State finished with seven sacks, 12 first downs allowed 168 total yards of offense. The 23-point win was the most lopsided victory since 1967 between the two in-state rivals. 

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The Penn State freshman has quickly proven he can handle himself in late-game pressure situations. For the second time in his young career, he drove his team down the field to tie the game in the final minute. And for the second time, he led his team to an overtime victory over a Big Ten foe. Hackenberg finished with 240 yards passing on 20-of-32 passing and two total touchdowns (one pass, one rush). He didn't turn the ball over and moved the Lions to even in the Big Ten this year. Hack still leads the Big Ten in passing (253 ypg).

Bonus: Play of the Year: Ron Kellogg III and Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska
With no time remaining and his job potentially on the line at home against Northwestern, Bo Pelini watched one of the most memorable plays in Nebraska history unfold before yet another sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium. Kellogg heaved the ball 49 yards where Westerkamp snatched the tipped pass out of the air for the game-winning touchdown. It was Westerkamp's first career TD and it kept the Huskers Big Ten title hopes alive. Kellogg-to-Westerkamp now belongs next to Kirk Cousins, Kordell Stewart, Doug Flutie, Drew Tate and Marcus Randall in Big Ten lore. 

Fifth Down

• Michigan State is giving up a nation-best 210.2 yards per game. Only 2011 Alabama has posted a better mark (183.6) since 2000. The Spartans are also just one of four teams in the last 30 years to allow less than 50 yards rushing per game (Arizona, 1993; Michigan, 2006; TCU, 2008).

• Minnesota's David Cobb is the first Gopher back to top 100 yards in three straight game since Amir Pinnix in 2006. He has 60 carries and 326 yards combined in wins over Nebraska and Indiana.

• Minnesota became just the third team since 1980 to win three straight games as at least a touchdown underdog. The Gophers were double-digit underdogs in each of the last three games.

• Bill Belton rushed for 201 yards in Penn State's win over Illinois. It was the first 200-yard effort by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson in 2002. He nearly cost his team the game with a fourth-quarter fumble but was outstanding on his other 35 carries.

• Without Chris Borland, Wisconsin turned to Marcus Trotter to fill the void at linebacker on the road against Iowa. Trotter had nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while holding Iowa to three field goals.

• Iowa entered play on Saturday leading the nation in rushing touchdowns allowed with two. They gave up two in a game for the second time in three weeks to Wisconsin.

• Michigan State's first offensive play from scrimmage was a busted throw back to the fullback. Trevon Pendleton rumbled 49 yards for the Spartans longest play of the season.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:20
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It was an odd weekend out West as Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Utah were all off. Certainly, all eyes in the Pac-12 — and the nation — will be on Palo Alto on Thursday evening when the Ducks visit Stanford.

But just because the best two teams didn't play, didn't mean that things went according to plan. USC pulled a critical upset over Oregon State to give itself a fighting chance in the South. Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA all held serve in the South and now all four teams are tied with six wins.

Here are your Week 10 Pac-12 superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
USC's Javorius Allen (133 yards, three touchdowns) played well for the Trojans. Arizona's B.J. Denker (305 total yards, four touchdowns) was huge on the road against Cal. But it's hard to argue that the Sun Devils quarterback wasn't the best player in the league this weekend. Late on Thursday night on the road, Kelly accounted for seven touchdowns and more than 300 yards of total offense against Washington State. He threw for 275 yards and five scores while rushing for 66 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground while leading his offense to its fourth consecutive Pac-12 game with at least 50 points. Kelly is third in the league — ahead of Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley — with 313.9 yards per game in 2013.

Defensive Player of the Week: Devon Kennard, LB, USC
The former five-star recruit missed all of last year with an injury and it appears he is starting to round into all-conference form. Kennard posted a career-high two sacks in the upset of Sean Mannion and his potent Beavers passing attack. He added four total tackles. He has seven quarterback take downs on the season, trailing only Trent Murphy (9.5) and Tony Washington (7.5) in the Pac-12. The Trojans lead the league at 323.0 yards allowed per game. 

Team of the Week: USC
With an interim head coach and a depleted roster in a stadium where it hadn't won at in nearly a decade, the Trojans got an unexpected Pac-12 road win. The defense played excellent football against a high-flying Beavers offense without Morgan Breslin, Su'a Cravens and Anthony Brown. The running game and return of Marqise Lee delivered on offense despite missing Kevin Graf and Randall Telfer. USC won it's third straight Pac-12 game and became bowl eligible. Interim coach Ed Oregeron is now 3-0 in Pac-12 since taking over for Lane Kiffin and it puts USC squarely in the divisional race, one game behind Arizona State.

Coordinator of the Week: Clancy Pendergast, USC
Oregon State boasts one of the most potent passing attacks in the nation, and Pendergast's unit shut it down. On the road, the Trojans allowed just 277 yards passing to the No. 3-rated pass offense in the nation and only 92 yards on the ground. USC forced three Sean Mannion turnovers and held star wide receiver Brandin Cooks to just six receptions and 88 yards. USC is leading the Pac-12 in total defense (323.0 ypg) and has held Utah and Oregon State to a combined 570 yards after allowing over 500 to both Arizona State and Arizona.

Freshman of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
For the second week in a row, Wright gets top honors after a terrific showing in a Wildcats win on the road. Wright posted a career-high 11 total tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss in the five-point win over Cal. He is 11th in the Pac-12 in tackles (7.5 pg) and is No. 3 among freshman (Addison Gillam, Cameron Walker). The Wildcats are bowl eligible and one game back of the Sun Devils in the South Divison with games left with both UCLA and Arizona State at home. USC's Leon McQuay II gets a mention for six tackles and two pass break-ups against Oregon State in place of star freshman Su'a Cravens.

Fifth Down

• Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey rushed for more than 100 yards for the 11th consecutive game, rushing 32 times for 152 yards against Cal. B.J. Denker stole the show again, scoring four times and accounting for more than 300 yards of offense.

• USC's Javorius Allen (16) and Silas Redd (22) combined for 38 rushing attempts and 273 yards against Oregon State. Marqise Lee returned with five receptions, 105 yards and a touchdowns.

• UCLA's Devin Fuller touched the ball four times on offense and scored on three of them. He caught two touchdowns in three receptions and scored on his only rushing attempt. He totaled 107 yards from scrimmage.

• UCLA didn't have an injured Eric Kendricks, and tailback Jordan James returned to action. James carried six times for eight yards.

• UCLA's Brett Hundley was excellent against Colorado, throwing for 273 yards and rushing for 72 and accounting for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing). 

• The South Division went 3-0 against the North Division this weekend. 

• Oregon State's Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks lead the nation with 14 touchdown connections this season.

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 10 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-week-10-recap-and-awards
Body:

What a wild week in the Big Ten. The three best teams in the league — Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin — won in convincing fashion but the rest of the conference was under cardiac arrest in the fourth quarter.

Indiana came storming back with 28 unanswered points only to watch Philip Nelson throw the game-winning touchdown pass. Christian Hackenberg led a game-tying drive at the end of regulation and then tossed the game winner in overtime. And Nebraska won on a Ron Kellogg III Hail Mary in Lincoln.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 10 Superlatives:

Offensive Players of the Week: Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota

Nelson and the Gophers built a commanding 35-13 lead with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter. However, Indiana stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns to take a narrow lead late in the final frame. But Nelson answered back with a 50-yard scoring strike to Maxx Williams to give Minnesota a thrilling three-point win over Indiana. Nelson finished with 298 yards on 16-of-23 passing and four touchdowns and 11 yards rushing on seven carries.

Defensive Player of Week: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Any number of key contributors from Michigan State could be mentioned here. Denicos Allen (nine tackles, three TFL, two sacks) and Ed Davis (four tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) each had big games for the nation's best defense. Calhoun has become the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year candidate, however, and his performance against Michigan was worthy of a headline. He posted six tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and is now leading the Big Ten in sacks this season (6.5). Nebraska's Avery Moss needs to get a mention as well for his performance against Northwestern. He posted four tackles, a tackle for a loss and returned his first career interception for a game-tying touchdown.

Team of Week: Michigan State
The Buckeyes earned a few more style points with a 56-0 win over Purdue on the road but no team was more impressive than Michigan State in Week 10. The nation's best defense held Michigan in check the entire afternoon, allowing just 168 yards of total offense and two field goals. The Spartans are unbeaten in Big Ten play and look like the top challenger to the Buckeyes. Connor Cook is making timely throws, and Jeremy Langford has emerged as a workhorse back. This team is averaging more than 30 points per game in Big Ten play and may be built to compete with Ohio State should it get past Nebraska in two weeks.

Coordinator of Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Who else could it be? The No. 1 defense in the nation showed the nation why it might be the only unit in the Big Ten that can stop Ohio State. The Wolverines posted a school-record low of minus-48 yards rushing as Narduzzi dialed up pressure all night long. Michigan State finished with seven sacks, 12 first downs allowed 168 total yards of offense. The 23-point win was the most lopsided victory since 1967 between the two in-state rivals. 

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
The Penn State freshman has quickly proven he can handle himself in late-game pressure situations. For the second time in his young career, he drove his team down the field to tie the game in the final minute. And for the second time, he led his team to an overtime victory over a Big Ten foe. Hackenberg finished with 240 yards passing on 20-of-32 passing and two total touchdowns (one pass, one rush). He didn't turn the ball over and moved the Lions to even in the Big Ten this year. Hack still leads the Big Ten in passing (253 ypg).

Bonus: Play of the Year: Ron Kellogg III and Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska
With no time remaining and his job potentially on the line at home against Northwestern, Bo Pelini watched one of the most memorable plays in Nebraska history unfold before yet another sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium. Kellogg heaved the ball 49 yards where Westerkamp snatched the tipped pass out of the air for the game-winning touchdown. It was Westerkamp's first career TD and it kept the Huskers Big Ten title hopes alive. Kellogg-to-Westerkamp now belongs next to Kirk Cousins, Kordell Stewart, Doug Flutie, Drew Tate and Marcus Randall in Big Ten lore. 

Fifth Down

• Michigan State is giving up a nation-best 210.2 yards per game. Only 2011 Alabama has posted a better mark (183.6) since 2000. The Spartans are also just one of four teams in the last 30 years to allow less than 50 yards rushing per game (Arizona, 1993; Michigan, 2006; TCU, 2008).

• Minnesota's David Cobb is the first Gopher back to top 100 yards in three straight game since Amir Pinnix in 2006. He has 60 carries and 326 yards combined in wins over Nebraska and Indiana.

• Minnesota became just the third team since 1980 to win three straight games as at least a touchdown underdog. The Gophers were double-digit underdogs in each of the last three games.

• Bill Belton rushed for 201 yards in Penn State's win over Illinois. It was the first 200-yard effort by a Nittany Lion since Larry Johnson in 2002. He nearly cost his team the game with a fourth-quarter fumble but was outstanding on his other 35 carries.

• Without Chris Borland, Wisconsin turned to Marcus Trotter to fill the void at linebacker on the road against Iowa. Trotter had nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while holding Iowa to three field goals.

• Iowa entered play on Saturday leading the nation in rushing touchdowns allowed with two. They gave up two in a game for the second time in three weeks to Wisconsin.

• Michigan State's first offensive play from scrimmage was a busted throw back to the fullback. Trevon Pendleton rumbled 49 yards for the Spartans longest play of the season.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 10 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 09:12
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
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Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. If you follow me on Twitter (of course you do), you'll know that I added Notre Dame to my locks last week early on Saturday morning. That saved my day and I broke even for the third straight week. Not winning is getting old, but not losing is always fun. Let's try to get back into the black this weekend.

2013 Record Against the Spread: 28-22-1 (3-3 last week)

Week 10 Picks of the Week:

Minnesota (+10) at Indiana
This is one of the odder lines of the weekend, so there must be something that Vegas knows that we don’t. Behind a power rushing attack, Minnesota is surging after back-to-back upsets over Nebraska and Northwestern. As a double-digit underdog in both cases. Look for the power running game to play another huge factor against a team like Indiana that struggles to stop the run. Prediction: Minnesota +10

Auburn (-8) at Arkansas

The Tigers are 6-2 against the spread this season and the Razorbacks are 2-6 against the number. The Hogs have been downright atrocious throughout their current five-game losing streak. Arkansas has scored 17 total points in the last three games combined and have been under 300 yards of offense in four of the last five. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is a game-time decision and should he play, the Tigers will cover easily. Prediction: Auburn -8

Georgia (-2.5) at Florida
Running back Todd Gurley returns to the field, giving quarterback Aaron Murray a complementary piece for the first time in weeks. And the once-dominant Florida run defense has completely fallen apart after Dominique Easley tore his ACL. The Gators have allowed 163.7 yards rushing per game and 4.7 yards per carry since they lost their star defensive tackle. Both teams still have an outside chance to win the SEC East and both are coming off a bye week, so expect a good game. Prediction: Georgia -2.5

USC (+3.5) at Oregon State
The Trojans don’t have a permanent head coach and are under 50 scholarship players for the third straight week. Oregon State is at home and should be angry after the poor offensive showing against Stanford last weekend. The Beavers have consistently been a thorn in the Trojans' side, winning three straight at in Corvallis and four of the last five. Those wins include victories over powerhouse USC teams in 2000, ‘06, ’08 and ’10. Prediction: Oregon State -3.5 

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
No. 7 Miami (+21.5) at No. 3 Florida St
No. 8 Ohio St (-31.5) at Purdue
No. 8 Clemson (-16.5) at Virginia
Tennessee (+10.5) at No. 9 Missouri
No. 11 Auburn (-8) at Arkansas
UTEP (+45.5) at No. 12 Texas A&M
Miss. St (+12) at No. 14 South Carolina
No. 18 Okla. St (+2.5) at No. 15 Texas Tech
Nevada (+20.5) at No. 16 Fresno St
No. 17 N. Illinois (-23.5) at UMass
Colorado (+27) at No. 20 UCLA
No. 21 Michigan (+5.5) at No. 22 Michigan St
No. 24 Wisconsin (-9.5) at Iowa
Navy (+16.5) at No. 25 Notre Dame
Last Week:9-1010-99-106-13
Year-To-Date:73-74-371-76-368-79-374-73-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 10 Picks
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:15
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Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the best one-on-one matchups to watch in college football. Here are the most important games within the game to watch this weekend:

Duke Johnson, RB vs. Telvin Smith, LB (Miami vs. Florida St.)
The only chance Miami has to win is to use the power running game to keep the ball away from Jameis Winston. Johnson and backfield mate Dallas Crawford have saved the day the last two weekends for the Canes by pounding the rock in the fourth quarter. Smith and Christian Jones have been excellent at linebacker for Florida State this year. Smith (7.0) and Jones (5.5) are No. 1 and 3 in tackles for the Seminoles this year.

Justin Gilbert, CB vs. Davis Webb, QB (Oklahoma St. vs. Texas Tech)
The Red Raiders quarterback will need to be mindful of Gilbert, who has an interception in each of the last two games and four picks this season. Webb has been strong under center, throwing for at least 385 yards in each of the last three games. However, he also has thrown three interceptions during that span. Webb will have to be aware of where No. 4 is on the field.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Todd Gurley, RB vs. Antonio Morrison, LB (Georgia vs. Florida)
The Bulldogs expect to have their All-American back in the lineup after missing three games with a high ankle sprain. J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas did a nice job in relief, but Gurley is a true difference-maker who, when healthy, is one of the top two or three running backs in the nation. He will be running against a Florida defense that hasn’t been nearly as formidable since defensive tackle Dominique Easley went down with a season-ending injury. Linebackers Morrison and Michael Taylor are the top two tacklers for the Gators and will be charged with stopping the powerful running back. In the last three games, all without Easley, Florida has allowed 163.7 rushing yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.

Devin Gardner, QB vs. Max Bullough, LB (Michigan at Michigan St.)
It is cliché to point to quarterback play as the deciding factor in any game, but this in-state battle hinges on both signal-callers. Gardner is the Big Ten leader in total offense (328.4 ypg) by a wide margin over Braxton Miller (247.7) but he also has turned the ball over 14 times — a Big Ten-leading 10 interceptions and four lost fumbles. Bullough is the leader of the Spartans defense and will be in charge of getting his unit into position. If Gardner plays well against the nation’s best defense, Michigan can win. If he turns the ball over, they have no chance.

Josh Shaw, CB vs. Brandin Cooks, WR (USC at Oregon St.)
Like every other position on the field, the Trojans' secondary is seriously talented. Shaw, Su’a Cravens, Dion Bailey and Demetrius Wright are as gifted a starting group as there is in the nation. But they have dealt with nagging injuries and will be faced with stopping the nation’s No. 1 QB-WR duo in Sean Mannion and Cooks. On the road, this group will decide the Trojans' fate this weekend.

Josh Dobbs, QB vs. Andrew Wilson, LB (Tennessee at Missouri)
The true freshman from Georgia will make his first start on Saturday night at Missouri. Dobbs, who originally committed to Arizona State, was hand-picked by the new staff after its arrival in Knoxville last December. He is one of three freshman quarterbacks on the roster — two true and one redshirt — but most around the program believe Dobbs is the best fit for the offense. He’ll have an opportunity to display his skills in prime time on Saturday night against one of the hardest hitting linebackers in the game. Wilson is the Tigers' top tackler and will be in charge of slowing the Vols' dual-threat quarterback.

Derrick Hopkins, DT vs. Andre Williams, RB (Virginia Tech at Boston College)
Even with Boston College’s passing offense struggling to get on track last week, Williams still managed 172 yards in a 34-10 loss against North Carolina. The senior leads the ACC with an average of 144.3 yards per game, but Virginia Tech’s defensive line will be the toughest Boston College has faced this year. The Hokies have allowed just five rushing scores and opponents are managing only 2.6 yards per carry. Virginia Tech’s interior line is deep with tackles Hopkins and Luther Maddy, while ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins have combined for eight sacks. In order for the Eagles to have a shot at winning on Saturday, Williams has to get over 100 yards.

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Top College Football Player Matchups to Watch in Week 10
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 12:00
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For the second straight week, Ohio State and Minnesota took center stage with big conference wins. The Buckeyes proved once again they are the class of the league and the Gophers once again pulled an upset as a double-digit underdog.

That said, the last two weekends have been fairly lackluster in terms of matchups. That won’t be the case in Week 10. A critical Legends Division rivalry takes place in East Lansing. An embattled coach tries to keep his title hopes alive against a cornered Wildcat. And an old-school Big Ten rivalry gets renewed in Iowa City with more on the line than expected.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Week 10 Game Power Rankings:

1. Michigan (+5.5) at Michigan State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
The Wolverines have never taken this game as seriously as the Spartans but Brady Hoke’s squad better be focused this weekend or his season could unravel quickly. Michigan State won four straight before Hoke broke through in this rivalry last season in an ugly 12-10 home victory. Michigan is not the same team on the road as it is at home, averaging nearly 500 yards of offense per game in the Big House (489.4 ypg) and just 339 yards per game away from home. Now Devin Gardner and company must face the nation’s top-rated defense (215.5 ypg). In fact, both teams are excellent against the run, as each rank in the top 10 nationally. So whichever quarterback can limit turnovers — something Gardner hasn’t been able to do this year — and stretch the field vertically will have a huge advantage in this critical Legends Division showdown.

2. Northwestern (+7) at Nebraska (3:30 p.m., BTN)
Pat Fitzgerald entered this season with eyes on a Big Ten title but is now looking at a tough road just to get to six wins and become bowl-eligible. Nebraska and embattled head coach Bo Pelini limp home to Lincoln after an extremely disappointing loss at Minnesota. This is a must-win for both coaching staffs in what has been entertaining games the last two seasons. The Big Red won in Evanston by one point last season but lost at home to the Wildcats by three two seasons ago. Taylor Martinez returned to the lineup last weekend but was clearly rusty as the offense posted a season-low 328 yards. Against a Northwestern defense that has been gashed by the running game (211.5 ypg allowed in Big Ten play), the Huskers should return to basics on offense. That means a heavy dose of Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Terrell Newby. On the flip side, expect the same game plan from the Cats after watching the Gophers successfully pound the ball against the Black Shirts.

3. Wisconsin (-9.5) at Iowa (Noon, ABC)
One of the more underrated rivalry games in the Big Ten was forced off the schedule when the league split into divisions. The road team has won the last two meetings and Wisconsin has won two of the last three in Iowa City. This old-school, Midwestern bout will feature two power rushing attacks and two great linebacking corps. Gary Andersen deploys a nasty 1-2 punch in the backfield while Iowa boasts one of the best trios of tacklers in the nation. The game within the game between Kirk Ferentz' defensive front and UW’s rushing attack is the matchup to watch. Iowa must hold the line of scrimmage on defense to give itself a chance to win. Otherwise, the Badgers will roll their way to a third straight Big Ten win. More on the individual matchup in a minute.

4. Minnesota (+9) at Indiana (3:30 p.m., BTN)
This has quietly turned into a very intriguing matchup between a surging team without its head coach and an explosive offense starved for a postseason appearance. The Gophers used a power rushing attack to defeat the Huskers at home last weekend after their opportunistic defense defeated Northwestern on the road two weeks ago. A win over Indiana would shift expectations in the Twin Cities to a division crown and a win for the Hoosiers puts a bowl game within reach. All three wins this season for IU have come at home and the Hoosiers have had two weeks to prepare for a team that, shockingly, it has not faced since 2008.

5. Illinois (+10) at Penn State (Noon, ESPN)
The Nittany Lions are reeling on defense after allowing at least 40 points in three straight games for the first time in school history. The 408 yards rushing, 686 total yards and 63 points at the hands of Ohio State were a new low for the proud program. A winnable battle with a teetering Illinois team in the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium might be just what this program needs. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg must be better than he was last weekend, but against an Illini team that has allowed 297.7 yards rushing per game in Big Ten play, fans should expect a heavy dose of handoffs in what should be a bounce-back win for Penn State.

6. Ohio State (-31.5) at Purdue (Noon, BTN)
The best team in the Big Ten travels to take on the worst team in the league in what could be the most lopsided game this conference sees all season. West Lafayette has been a house of horrors for the Buckeyes of late, losing the last two and three of the last four in Ross-Ade Stadium, but there is nothing about these two teams that indicates this game will be anything but an ugly blowout.

Big Ten Week 10 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Bo Pelini's future and the big Michigan-Michigan State game in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
1. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
The Spartans are great on defense and can run the football like most Mark Dantonio teams. But this team can be a Big Ten title contender when Connor Cook is efficient and productive. He completed 15 of 16 passes last week against Illinois and has led Michigan State to more than 30 points per game in Big Ten play. The Wolverines are solid against the run so it will fall to Cook to make plays more so than usual. This is his first meeting against Michigan.

2. Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
It is cliché to point to quarterback play as the deciding factor in any game but this in-state battle hinges on both signal-callers. Cook is asked to be more of a game manager while Gardner is asked to do pretty much everything. He is the Big Ten leader in total offense (328.4 ypg) by a wide margin over Braxton Miller (247.7) but he also has turned the ball over 14 times — a Big Ten-leading 10 interceptions and four lost fumbles. If Gardner plays well against the nation’s best defense, Michigan can win. If he turns the ball over, they have no chance.

3. Randy Gregory and Avery Moss, DE, Nebraska
Gregory is fourth on the team in tackles (31.0) and is leading the Huskers in tackles for a loss (7.5) and sacks (3.5). Moss, the freshman, is No. 2 on the team in sacks (2.5) and tackles for a loss (4.5). The Northwestern offense puts a lot of pressure on strong edge play and this defense needs to be more physical after the Gophers ran it right down Big Red's throat last weekend.  

4. Iowa’s linebackers
There is no secret to Wisconsin’s offensive attack, be it Barry Alvarez, Bret Bielema or Gary Andersen calling plays. Melvin Gordon is a special player with rare size, power and explosiveness while James White is as steady as it gets with the ball in his hands. Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey are as good a trio at linebacker as there is in the nation. It falls to this group to hold the Badgers' power running game in check and force UW to use the pass to beat them.

5. Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner, QB, Minnesota
Nelson has returned to the starting lineup in strong fashion. He completed over 70 percent of his passes against Northwestern, scored three total touchdowns against Nebraksa and didn’t throw an interception in either game. But backup Leidner hasn’t been eliminated from the game plan, scoring his sixth rushing touchdown last week. He has attempted 18 passes and carried the ball 11 times in those two games and both will likely be needed to play well to earn a win on the road against a porous Indiana defense. 

Big Ten Week 10 Prediction Grid:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
Michigan (+5.5) at Michigan StMich. St, 24-21Mich. St, 24-14Mich. St, 27-24Mich. St, 24-17
Northwestern (+7) at NebraskaNebraska, 38-31Nebraska, 34-21Nebraska, 34-31Nebraska, 35-28
Wisconsin (-9.5) at IowaWisconsin, 35-21 Wisconsin, 31-17Wisconsin, 31-20Wisconsin, 38-17
Minnesota (+9) at IndianaMinn., 34-31Indiana, 30-27Indiana, 38-34Minn., 31-24
Illinois (+10) at Penn StPenn St, 34-17Penn St, 21-20Penn St, 38-24Penn St, 41-28
Ohio St (-31.5) at PurdueOhio St, 51-13Ohio St, 51-10Ohio St, 52-10Ohio St, 52-10
Last Week:2-23-13-13-1
Year-to-date:57-1159-960-857-11

 

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:15
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All things have fallen into place for the powers that be in the Pac-12. Oregon and Stanford have reached the “rematch” — but that won’t take place until next Thursday. Both the Ducks and Cardinal, as well as Utah and Washington, will be on bye this weekend with extra time to prepare for whatever may await in Week 11.

With those four quality teams not playing this weekend, the Pac-12 slate isn’t the juiciest fans have seen this season. That said, Larry Scott and company did an excellent job spreading the games out this weekend for viewers. Fans get three straight nights of Pac-12 football.

Week 10 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Week 10 Game Power Rankings

1. USC (+5) at Oregon State (Fri., 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The Trojans continue to battle with less than 50 scholarship players and no permanent head coach. Interim leader Ed Orgeron used a tremendous defensive effort to top Utah at home last week, but his roster is on life support as injuries continue to ravage the depth chart. Oregon State is coming off its worst performance of the season after allowing eight sacks to Stanford and posting a season-low 288 yards of offense. USC’s starting 22, when healthy, is dramatically more talented than the Beavers' starters, but with a rash of injuries and little depth, Oregon State’s potent offensive attack will stretch the Trojans defense to the limit. Mike Riley has been a thorn in the Trojans’ side for years, winning three straight at home and four of the last five in Corvallis — even against the mighty Trojans of 2000, '06, '08 and '10.

2. Arizona State (-11.5) at Washington State (Thurs., 10:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Sun Devils have to be buoyed by UCLA’s two-game losing streak but will be on upset alert in Pullman this weekend. Arizona State now leads the Pac-12 South but has to prove it can win away from Tempe, something it hasn’t done yet this season (0-2). Todd Graham’s squad has won two straight by scoring at least 53 points in both games with over 1,100 yards of offense. Conversely, Washington State has lost two straight and has allowed 114 points in the process. Both teams had an extra weekend to prepare for the Thursday night tilt and there is plenty on the line for both. The Cougars need to split in their final four to make a bowl game and ASU has eyes on a division title. If the Sun Devils can disrupt the line of scrimmage like it did against Washington (7.0 sacks, 12.0 TFL), then they should return to the desert with The Evergreen State sweep.

3. Arizona (-16) at Cal (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
The Sonny Dykes era began with big offensive fireworks. The Bears topped 500 yards of offense in four of the first five games and scored at least 30 points in each of the first three. However, quarterback Jared Goff has struggled mightily of late, as the offense has failed to score more than 17 in four of the last five. Meanwhile, behind the dynamic backfield duo of B.J. Denker and Ka’Deem Carey, 'Zona has won two straight in the league and finds itself in a cloudy Pac-12 race. Carey is leading the nation in rushing (153.3 ypg) and Denker is leading all Pac-12 quarterbacks in the same category (74.1 ypg). Against the nation’s 123rd-rated defense (540.0 ypg), Rich Rodriguez’ spread should have a field day.

4. Colorado (+27) at UCLA (7:30 p.m., FS1)
The Bruins learned what the Washington Huskies had learned a few weeks earlier. Stanford and Oregon are really good. The difference between the two, however, is UW had to play on the road against Arizona State following its two losses while UCLA gets a home game against the Buffaloes. While the Buffs are improving under Mike MacIntrye, they aren’t capable of scoring with Brett Hundley — who is dealing with his own off-the-field issues. Jim Mora’s offense has been totally shut down the last two weeks, so look for the Bruins to stretch their legs this Saturday at home against Colorado.

Pac-12 Week 10 Pivotal Players:


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk about Oregon's move in the BCS, Stanford's defense and the Pac-12 South race in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
 1. USC's secondary
Like every other position on the field, the Trojans' secondary is seriously talented. Josh Shaw, Su’a Cravens, Dion Bailey and Demetrius Wright are as gifted a starting group as there is in the nation. But they have dealt with nagging injuries and will be faced with stopping the nation’s No. 1 QB-WR duo in Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. On the road, this group will decide the Trojans' fate this weekend.

2. Oregon State’s offensive line
On the flip side, Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion needs to be resilient in the face of another quality Pac-12 defense and he needs to get some help from his front line. After getting battered around by Stanford to the tune of eight sacks, the Beavers' offensive line needs to prove it can give Mannion a pocket and time to throw. Getting a running game that has watched its rushing totals drop from 120 yards four weeks ago to 17 last weekend would certainly help.

3. Osahon Irabor, CB, Arizona State
The top coverman and playmaker in the Sun Devils secondary will be faced with slowing down the Mike Leach Air Raid offense this weekend. He is the team’s No. 4 tackler (28.0) and will be used in blitz packages from time to time. Defensively, this team hasn’t played well away from Tempe and it falls to Irabor and the rest of the secondary to bend but not break this weekend against Wazzu’s No. 6-rated passing attack.

4. Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State
When Halliday throws more touchdowns than interceptions, the Cougars are 3-0 in 2013. Unfortunately, the Washington State signal-caller has been too turnover-prone of late. He has seven INTs in his last two games and Arizona State is too good to beat if he continues to turn the ball over. This has upset alert written all over it but Halliday must protect the ball if Wazzu is gonna have any chance to win.

5. B.J. Denker, QB, Arizona
If the Wildcats quarterback plays the way he has the last three games, Arizona won’t have any issue rolling past lowly Cal. He has averaged 345.0 yards of total offense per game and has led the zone-read attack to two straight victories. With an outside shot at a Pac-12 South division title, Denker must avoid a letdown in Berkeley.

Pac-12 Week 10 Predictions:

GameBraden GallMitch LightSteven LassanDavid Fox
USC (+5) at Oregon StOre. St, 27-20Ore. St, 27-17 Ore. St, 31-24Ore. St, 31-24
Arizona St (-11.5) at WazzuAriz. St, 41-34Ariz. St, 41-14 Ariz. St, 45-30Ariz. St, 42-24
Arizona (-16) at CalArizona, 38-24Arizona, 48-13Arizona, 45-24Arizona, 31-13
Colorado (+27) at UCLAUCLA, 42-17UCLA, 41-7UCLA, 48-17UCLA, 38-14
Last Week: 5-04-14-14-1
Year-to-date:58-1256-1460-1055-15

 

Teaser:
2013 Pac-12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:14
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-9-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

Each week of the college football season, Athlon Sports will poll some of the nation's best college football people from every region of the country. Each voter offers up a top five and each first-place vote is worth five points. A second-place vote is worth four points, so on and so forth. With 13 voters, a perfect ballot — i.e., 13 first-place votes — would give a player 65 total points.

Week 9 didn't feature any dramatic shifts in the Heisman voting. And rightly so, as there was no true marquee performance. The top contenders held serve, the middle of the pack performed admirably and a one mid-major performer continues his statistical assault.

Post-Week 9 Voting Results:

 LWPlayerPos.TeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.(1)Marcus MariotaQBOregon6312-1--
2.(2)Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St51-121--
3.(3)Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M3811821
4.(4)Bryce PettyQBBaylor21--271
5.(6)AJ McCarronQBAlabama9--122
6.(7)Jordan LynchQBN. Illinois7---23
7.(5)Sean MannionQBOregon St2----2
8t.(7)Brandin CooksWROregon St1----1
8t.(7)Melvin GordonRBWisconsin1----1
8t.(10)Bishop SankeyRBWashington1----1
8t.(ur)Mike EvansWRTexas A&M1----1

Heisman Headlines:

Holding Serve. Marcus Mariota led his offense to an impressive and crushing performance over No. 12 UCLA. Jameis Winston dominated an extremely overmatched NC State squad at home. Bryce Petty destroyed the most inferior opponent in the Big 12. And Johnny Manziel stayed in the pocket and showed off his arm against a reeling Vanderbilt defense. Frankly, Mariota — whose numbers were “worse” than the others — is the only player of the group who should get a bump for their Week 9 showing.

Slow and Steady. AJ McCarron is 33-2 as a starter, has two BCS title rings and is leading the clear-cut, unbeaten No. 1 team in the nation. Against arch rival Tennessee, he did what he has done his entire career: Lead an efficient and flawless offensive performance in a blowout win. He completed at least 70 percent of passes for the fourth time this year and finished with 275 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. He is the ninth-rated passer nationally and hasn’t thrown a pick in four games (3 on the season). He may not have a chance to win it, but he WILL make it to New York if Bama is unbeaten.

No Love For Lynch. Northern Illinois may not slip into a BCS bowl this season but regardless of where the Huskies land in the postseason, Jordan Lynch deserves Heisman credit. After setting an NCAA record for rushing yards in a game by a QB last week (316), all Lynch did in Week 9 was complete 16 of 20 passes for 223 yards and four touchdowns, rush 18 times for 99 yards and one score and catch one pass for 17 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Bye Week Blues. Oregon, Stanford, LSU, Alabama, Baylor and Oklahoma will face each other in two weekends. So all six of them are on bye. Guess what else? Louisville, BYU, Washington and sort of Texas A&M (UTEP at home) are all on bye this weekend as well.

Watch To Watch. Jameis Winston gets by far the biggest Heisman “test” this weekend as unbeaten Miami comes to town in a huge ACC and rivalry showdown. However, FSU is favored by more than three touchdowns, so it’s almost a no-win situation — barring a massive performance. Manziel gets UTEP at home (snoozer) and Lynch gets to visit UMass (booooring). Watch out for Melvin Gordon against a stingy Iowa defense on the road, though, as the Badgers back could make a big statement as the nation's best running back. The massively underrated Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona could also come up huge against a bad Cal team.

The Voting Panel:

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

 

Teaser:
College Football: Post-Week 9 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-10
Body:

The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 10.

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

Florida State will miss a field goal wide right — and cover the spread vs. Miami
The Canes and Noles have had some historic and important meetings in the past. Not many have come in the past decade but 2013 looks to change that as both teams enter this weekend’s test unbeaten and ranked in the top 10. However, the Seminoles are a huge 21.5-point favorite and will cover the spread with relative ease. But there is a chance that Roberto Aguayo will miss his first field goal of the season — to the right, of course.

FSU's Jameis Winston will have more yards in the 1st quarter than Miami has all game
Stephen Morris enjoyed a fantastic breakout season in 2012 for Miami. While he has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury, Morris isn’t close to the same player this fall. And he has struggled mightily of late, throwing four interceptions in a near defeat to North Carolina and just 191 yards in another near defeat to Wake Forest. FSU's Jameis Winston, however, has been Hall of Fame good in his first seven games. He is averaging 311.0 yards passing per game and is coming off a game in which the Noles outscored NC State 35-0 in the first quarter. As a three-touchdown favorite, Winston should post more yards in the first quarter than Miami will have all game.

Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn won’t shake hands
There is no long-standing feud between the two newly minted SEC West head coaches. However, there is little doubt that these two abrasive, hard-nosed coaches don’t get along. Bielema has been open about how much he hates the up-tempo style of teams like Auburn and there have been some rumors of doctored game film Auburn sent to the Hogs this week. (Auburn, in turn, complained that Arkansas didn’t send them any touchdowns. Because, you know, they’ve scored two TDs in their last three games). And considering how poorly Arkansas has played, there is a good chance Malzahn runs up the score this weekend. Don’t expect a cordial handshake at the end of the game. In fact, a Schwartz-Harbaugh incident wouldn’t be shocking.

Western Kentucky won’t be allowed to leave the Georgia Dome
Bobby Petrino unceremoniously left the Atlanta Falcons for the Arkansas job by leaving post-it notes in his players lockers as he bolted out the back door of the Georgia Dome. After winning big in Fayetteville and getting fired for an illicit affair, Petrino landed at Western Kentucky for the 2013 season. His team has lost two straight games as it heads into that very same Georgia Dome to face winless Georgia State. Don’t be surprised if the doors are locked with a little note from Falcons owner Arthur Blank telling him, “Not this time, BP.”

Florida's Kelvin Taylor will run for 150 yards in his first career start
In what could one of the lamest World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail parties in recent memory, five-star running back prospect Kelvin Taylor will make his first start for Florida. The son of Fred Taylor has been a prep star in the state of Florida for years and he finally scored his first career touchdown two weeks ago against Missouri. Against a Georgia defense that allowed 197 yards rushing to Clemson, 226 yards to South Carolina, 189 to Tennessee and 142 to Missouri, Taylor has a chance to play a pivotal roll. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry on the season and could easily be the Gators' top playmaker this weekend.

Bo Pelini will not be the head coach at Nebraska on Monday
Northwestern is 0-4 in the Big Ten this year and hasn’t shown signs of life whatsoever. However, the last time the Wildcats went to Lincoln it came away an upset winner 28-25 in 2011. After a horrendous loss to Minnesota on the road, Bo Pelini returns home with a month of must-win situations to keep his job at Nebraska. If Northwestern goes into Memorial Stadium and wins, Pelini could step down or be let go in a matter of hours not days. The embattled head coach cannot afford to lose more than one game the rest of the season.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: Week 10
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:14
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/cleveland-qb-history-lesson-why-browns-will-draft-johnny-manziel
Body:

There is a reason the Cleveland Browns have been to the playoffs one time since re-joining the NFL in 1999 and only twice since '89. And it’s the same reason any team wins or loses games in the modern NFL.

Quarterbacks.

The Browns lost their third consecutive game on Sunday, falling to 3-5 after briefing leading the AFC North a few weeks ago. Jason Campbell got his first career start for Cleveland, making him the third different starting quarterback in 2013 already.

Campbell got the start because both Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer have gotten injured this year. Which means, since 1999 Cleveland has started 20 different quarterbacks. Over that time the Browns have won 76 games, lost 156, posted two winning seasons and are now on their sixth head coach.

Three of those 20 quarterbacks were first-round picks and fans in America’s Comeback City should expect a fourth in May. The 2014 NFL quarterback class might be the deepest and most versatile group the league has seen in decades and the Browns own two first-round picks. Veteran pocket passers like AJ McCarron and Derek Carr fit the pro-style systems perfectly. Dynamic senior gunslingers like Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd have the ability to stay in the pocket but can also move around if needed. And explosive underclass dual-threats like Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Braxton Miller and Brett Hundley might actually be the most coveted of the bunch.

Regardless of who Cleveland wants, it makes no sense for the Browns not to go early on a QB in the draft — especially, in the modern rookie salary cap era. But Manziel might be the best fit. He has the attitude and makeup to succeed anywhere in the country, but it takes a special persona to win in a town like Cleveland. He is tough as nails, is the most entertaining player in the college game and would instantly help boost ticket sales. Sure, there are questions marks surrounding his ability to be an accurate NFL passer, but he definitely moves the needle in a big way. Which is something that has been missing under center in Cleveland since Bernie Kosar left town.

How badly do the Browns need a star quarterback? Take a look at who Cleveland has had throwing passes since 1999:

NameYearsW/LYardsTDINT%
Tim Couch*1999-0322-3711,131646759.8
Ty Detmer19990-25484251.6
Spergon Wynn20000-11670146.1
Doug Pederson20001-71,0472855.7
Kelly Holcomb2001-044-83,438262163.3
Luke McCown20040-46084749.0
Jeff Garcia20043-71,73110957.1
Trent Dilfer20054-72,321111259.8
Charlie Frye2005-076-133,490142362.5
Ken Dorsey2006-080-33700746.7
Derek Anderson2006-0916-187,083464552.9
Brady Quinn*2007-093-91,90210952.1
Bruce Gradkowski20080-1260333.3
Jake Delhomme20102-28722762.4
Seneca Wallace2010-111-61,2616457.2
Colt McCoy2010-126-154,388212058.3
Thaddeus Lewis2011-120-12041168.8
Brandon Weeden*2012-pres.5-144,539192356.2
Brian Hoyer2013-pres.3-06155359.4
Jason Campbell2013-pres.0-12992057.5

* - First-round pick

Some stats to consider:

• Brian Hoyer is the only starting Browns quarterback since 1999 with a winning record. He was 3-0 this year before getting hurt.

• In just 19 starts, Brandon Weeden is third amongst Browns quarterbacks with 4,539 yards, behind only Tim Couch and Derek Anderson during that span.

• Four players have only one career start for the Browns. Spergon Wynn, Bruce Gradkowski, Thaddeus Lewis and Jason Campbell. They have combined for three touchdowns and five interceptions. Campbell will get his second start on Sunday.

• Seven of the 20 QBs to start for Cleveland since 1999 failed to win a single game. Two others won only one game.

• Only four Cleveland quarterbacks have completed more than 60 percent of their passes (the league average is 61 percent): Kelly Holcomb, Thaddeus Lewis, Charlie Frye and Jake Delhomme.

• The Green Bay Packers have started three quarterbacks since 1992. Brett Favre (253 games started), Aaron Rodgers (85) and Matt Flynn (1).

Teaser:
Cleveland QB History Lesson: Why the Browns Will Draft Johnny Manziel
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 17:50
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/amazing-stats-nfls-week-8
Body:

The Chiefs continue to do things that no other team in NFL history has ever done. A wide receiver had one of the most dominant days in league history. Historic quarterbacks continue to shine (and win). Another signal-caller appears to be growing into championship form. All while one first-year coach is struggling to find someone to run his offense.

Here are the most important, interesting, historic and bizarre statistics from Week 8 of the NFL:

329: Calvin Johnson's receiving yards
Megatron is widely regarded as the most talented wide receiver in the game today. After watching him bring in a career-high 14 receptions for 329 yards in a thrilling comeback win over Dallas, it’s hard to make a case for anyone else. He fell just seven yards shy of topping the NFL single-game record set by Flipper Anderson in 1989 (336). He is now one of just five players who have ever topped 300 yards receiving in a single game. Anderson, Johnson and three other household names: Stephone Paige, 309, 1985; Jim Benton, 303, 1945; Cloyce Box, 302, 1950. Johnson had more receiving yards on Sunday than 16 other teams had total offense in Week 8. For the record, Charles Rogers, another wide receiver Detroit took with the second overall pick of the NFL Draft (2003), had 440 career receiving yards for the Lions in three seasons.

2-54: Record of NFL teams with a minus-4 turnover margin
It wasn’t just Johnson who set records in the Lions 31-30 victory over Dallas. The Lions turned the ball over four times without forcing a single turnover, becoming just the second team in NFL history to win a game with a minus-4 turnover margin. Fifty-five times an NFL team had posted a minus-4 turnover margin prior to Detroit’s win against the Cowboys. Only the "perfect" Patriots of 2007 were able to post a victory in that situation, beating the 1-14 Dolphins 28-7 two days before Christmas.

93: Terrelle Pryor's NFL-record longest TD run by a QB
On the first snap of the game, Pryor pulled the ball away from Darren McFadden on a zone-read and sprinted around the right end 93 yards for a record-setting touchdown run. It was the longest scoring scramble by a QB in NFL history. It topped Bo Jackson’s 92-yard run for the longest in Raiders history as well. More importantly, Oakland won the game 21-18 and have moved to 3-4 on the season — one game behind the wild card-leading and AFC West divisional foe San Diego. Pryor finished with 106 yards rushing on nine carries, giving him his second 100-yard rushing effort on the season. According to Elias, he is just the fourth QB since 1970 to have multiple 100-yard rushing games in the same season (Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Bobby Douglass).

60%: 8-0 teams that make it to the Super Bowl
The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Cleveland Browns 23-17 to move to 8-0 on the season. Andy Reid’s bunch became the 20th team during the Super Bowl era to start with eight straight wins and the first after having the worst record in the league the year before. All 20 of those teams made the playoffs and 12 of the 20 (60 percent) made it to the Super Bowl. Eight of those 12 went on to win the Lombardi Trophy. The Chiefs became just the fourth team since 1970 to allow 17 points or fewer in each of the first eight games and quarterback Alex Smith became the first QB over that span to win his first eight games to start a season with a new team.

343: Career TD passes thrown by Drew Brees and Tom Brady
The Saints quarterback threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns in a convincing 35-17 win over Buffalo at home this weekend. It was an NFL-record eighth game for Brees with at least five touchdown passes. The Patriots quarterback threw for just 116 yards and one score but New England also won a key divisional game 27-17 over Miami after outscoring the Dolphins 24-0 in the second half. Both quarterbacks now have 343 career passing touchdowns, as both passed Fran Tarkenton (342) for fourth all-time in NFL history. Brees turns 35 in January and Brady just turned 36 in August, so this will be an interesting battle to track over the next few seasons. Each is 77 away from third all-time (Dan Marino, 420).

344.7: Andy Dalton average yards passing over his last three games
After the first five games of the season, the Bengals were 3-2 and Dalton was averaging just 243 yards passing per game with five TDs and five INTs. Over his last three games, however, Dalton has looked like a championship quarterback. He threw for 325 yards and five scores in the dismantling of the Jets on Sunday, giving Cincy a four-game winning streak and a commanding 2.5-game lead in the AFC North. The Bengals quarterback has topped 300 yards in three straight games, is averaging more than 100 yards per game (344.7) and has thrown 11 touchdowns against only two interceptions during that span. The last three games were just Dalton’s sixth, seventh and eighth 300-yard games of his career.

141.4: Packers' yards rushing per game
The Packers have dealt with major injuries in their receiving corps as Aaron Rodgers is without Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley for the time being. Mike McCarthy has turned to, of all things, the power running game to save the day. The Packers ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns in the breezy win over the Vikings on Sunday night. Green Bay is now fourth in the NFL at 141.4 yards rushing per game. It is by far the most productive a running game as Rodgers has had in his career. The Packers have never been ranked better than 14th in the NFL in rushing or averaged more than 117.8 yards per game during Rodgers six seasons as the starter. To the right is a look at the Packers' rushing attack with Rodgers under center.

109: Cordarrelle Patterson’s record-tying longest play in NFL history
The explosive rookie wide receiver for the Vikings took the opening kickoff against the Packers 109 yards for a touchdown Sunday night. It tied for the longest play in NFL history and they both happened in the Metrodome, which will be torn down following this season. As a member of the Chargers, Antonio Cromartie returned a missed Vikings field goal 109 yards for a touchdown in 2007. The 109-yarder topped 108-yard returns by Jacoby Jones (2012) and Randall Cobb (2011) as the longest kickoff return in NFL history.

239: Eagles' yards per game of total offense over the last two
Through six games, Chip Kelly’s offense was setting NFL records for offensive production in terms of yards. The Eagles were 3-3 and were posting 451.7 yards per game on offense. After totaling just 200 yards of offense, Phily lost to a Giants team that didn’t score a touchdown and was 0-6 not six days ago. It totaled just 278 in last week’s loss to the Cowboys at home. That’s 10 total points, 478 total yards and two home NFC East divisional losses. Kelly’s quarterback issues are obvious as his three options have combined for five interceptions and no touchdown passes in the last two games.

Teaser:
Amazing Stats from the NFL's Week 8
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-big-ten-post-week-9-power-rankings
Body:

Ohio State and Minnesota stole the show again this week in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes need to win out and do so in convincing fashion — and likely get some help — to get into the BCS title game and a 49-point win over Penn State was just that for Urban Meyer.
Meanwhile, the Gophers won a second straight game as a double-digit underdog in the division as they toppled Nebraska in impressive fashion at home. This team is clearly rallying around head coach Jerry Kill and their two wins have opened up the Legends Division in short order.

More Post-Week 9 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (8-0, 4-0): Urban Meyer knows he needs to win big the rest of the season and get some help to make it to the national title game. Style points mean more for the Buckeyes than anyone else in the nation, so the 49-point win over Penn State was an important one. The Bucks jumped out to a big lead over the Nittany Lions and never looked back. Braxton Miller threw for 261 yards, rushed for 68 more and accounted for five total touchdowns. Next Week: at Purdue 
2.
 
(3)Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1): Wisconsin bounced back from a loss to Ohio State in impressive fashion over Northwestern and Illinois. But the final month won't be easy for the Badgers with two road trips to rivals Iowa and Minnesota as well as home games with BYU, Penn State and Indiana. There is a wide range of outcomes in Madison. Next Week: at Iowa 
3.
 
 
 
(5)Michigan State (7-1, 4-0): The Spartans trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter before scoring two touchdowns in each of the next three quarters. The defense did the rest by shutting down Illinois' offense. Connor Cook was fantastic, completing 15-of-16 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns while the rushing attack posted 269 yards on the ground. Sparty had 14 third-down conversions and 29 first downs to Illinois' three conversions and eight total first downs. The nation's No. 1 defense only improved its resume this weekend. With Nebraska losing, Mark Dantonio's bunch has taken over as the frontrunner in the Legends Division ... with Michigan coming to town. Next Week: Michigan 
4.
 
(4)Michigan (6-1, 2-1): Two weeks to prepare for a visit from in-state little brother Michigan State and the nation's top defense is a huge blessing. In fact, the next two games for the Wolverines will decide their fate in the Legends Division. Nebraska comes to town in Week 11. Next Week: at Michigan State 
5.
 
 
(2)Nebraska (5-2, 2-1): The Huskers should have carried a lot confidence into a road meeting with Minnesota. Taylor Martinez returned to the lineup, Nebraska hadn't lost to the Gophers in more than five decades and it was the clear frontrunner in the Legends Division. But Bo Pelini's defensive woes reared their ugly head once again as Minnesota pounded the Huskers defense for nearly 300 yards rushing. The offense got going in the second half but it was never enough to threaten. A home game with the Wildcats next week becomes a must-win. Next Week: Northwestern 
6.
 
(7)Minnesota (6-2, 2-2): For the second consecutive weekend, the Golden Gophers rallied to win as a double-digit underdog without their head coach on the sidelines. Acting coach Terry Claeys moved to 2-0 after dominating the Nebraska defense with 271 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries. It was the first win over the Huskers for Minnesota since 1960 and the victory makes the Gophers bowl eligible for the second straight season. More important, two straight wins over divisional contenders has vaulted Goldie into Legends Division contention. Next Week: at Indiana 
7.
 
(6)

Penn State (4-3, 1-2): Bill O'Brien was fighting an uphill battle by heading into the Horseshoe this weekend but he likely didn't see a 63-spot coming. His star freshman quarterback has serious long-term upside, but Christian Hackenberg looked like a first-year player making his first start in Columbus as he threw two interceptions. Ohio State jumped all over the Lions early and never really gave PSU a chance to compete. It marks the first time in school history that Penn State has allowed 40 points in three straight games. Next Week: Illinois

 
8.
 
 
 
(10)Iowa (5-3, 2-2): It wasn't pretty, but Kirk Ferentz squad moved to within one win of the postseason when Jake Rudock connected with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz in overtime. The Hawkeyes, much like Northwestern, had plenty of chances to win the game in regulation late but could never finish a drive with points. Iowa won with 19 first downs, went 6-of-14 on third downs and totaled just 305 yards of offense. Ferentz's team will have to be better than that to defeat the Badgers next weekend. Next Week: Wisconsin 
9.
 
(9)Indiana (3-4, 1-2): Kevin Wilson needs three wins in the final five games to reach the postseason. With road trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State still looming, the Hoosiers must win all three home contests. It starts with two in a row against beatable opponents — Minnesota for Homecoming this week and Illinois the following Sautday.  Next Week: Minnesota 
10.
 
(8)Northwestern (4-4, 0-4): Kain Colter returned to the starting lineup, but it made no difference to Pat Fitzgerald's bunch as Northwestern dropped its fourth straight Big Ten game. The Cats had chances to win the game in regulation but couldn't make critical plays in the final quarter. Colter played well in his return but could muster only two scoring drives all afternoon. The Wildcats are in a complete free fall and have Nebraska, MIchigan and Michigan State next on the slate.  Next Week: at Nebraska 
11.
 
 
(11)Illinois (3-4, 0-3): The Illini lost its 17th consecutive Big Ten game at home in ugly fashion this Saturday. Michigan State walked into Memorial Stadium and abused Illinois in all three phases of the game. Nathan Scheelhaase and the offense totaled 128 yards, eight first downs and three points while the defense couldn't stop a balanced Spartans' attack. Things are starting to slip away for head coach Tim Beckman. Next Week: at Penn State 
12.
 
(12)Purdue (1-6, 0-3): One look at the Boilermakers schedule and it's easy to see why they have one win. Unfortnately, there aren't many chances left for Ws: Ohio State, Iowa, at Penn State, Illinois and at Indiana. Two wins would be impressive (but not unreasonable) in that bunch. Next Week: Ohio State 

Big Ten Week 9 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Urban Meyer needs style points, and his star quarterback delivered in a big way. Against Penn State, Miller was efficient, completing 18-of-24 passes for a personal-best 252 yards and three touchdowns passes while rushing for 68 yards on 11 carries and two more touchdowns. He led his offense to season highs in points (63) and total yards (686) while posting the best passing game of his career.

Defensive Player of Week: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Facing the Nebraska rushing attack, Hageman was going to play a huge role in the outcome no matter how he played. But he had one of his best games of the season, disrupting the line of scrimmage and playing in the Huskers backfield all game long. He finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss and his second sack of the season. Hageman and the Gophers held Nebraska to its second-lowest rushing output of the season and its lowest total yardage output of the year (328 yards).

Team of Week: Minnesota
For the second straight week the Gophers are the team of the week in the Big Ten after pulling an upset as a double-digit underdog. This time it netted the Gophers its first win over old-time rival Nebraska since 1960 — giving the school its second straight win over a division contender. Not only had the Gophers lost 16 straight against Nebraska but it hadn't had a lead over Nebraska since 1969.

Coach of Week: Matt Limegrover, Minnesota
Acting head coach Tracy Claeys did another fantastic defensive job on a high-powered divisional foe but Limegrover's offensive gameplan was the biggest difference maker in Week 9. Minnesota ran the ball 54 times and threw just 17 passes and outgunned the Huskers by more than 100 yards (430-328). Limegrover didn't ask Philip Nelson to make many plays with his arm but put him in good positions all while pounding the rock for five yards per carry. Minnesota simply took the action to the Huskers' defense and the Blackshirts couldn't handle it.

Freshman of the Week: Tyvis Powell, DB, Ohio State
With Christian Bryant out for the season, Urban Meyer will need some younger players to step into the secondary and provide support. The 6-foot-3 Powell is one of those players. He posted seven tackles in the blowout win over Penn State at home. The Buckeyes defense allowed 357 yards of offense and forced three turnovers as the secondary forced bad decisions from Christian Hackenberg all night.

Fifth Down

• Minnesota took the lead against Nebraska for the first time since 1969 when it went up 14-10 with three minutes to go in the second quarter. The Gophers never trailed the rest of the way. Minnesota has created five total turnovers without giving it up once over the last two games against Northwestern and Nebraska combined.

• For the third straight week, Penn State allowed more than 40 points in a game, the first time it's happened since the turn of the century — the 20th century.

• The Spartans scored 42 points in the road win over Illinois. Michigan State is averaging 31 points per game in Big Ten play this year. Connor Cook completed 15 of his 16 passes.

• Iowa's James Morris and Anthony Hitchens combined for 17 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
• Minnesota's David Cobb carried a 31 times for 138 yards, both career highs, in the Gophers win over Nebraska. He had 11 career carries entering 2013.

• Ohio State won its national-best 20th consecutive game.

• Northwestern lost to Iowa in overtime 17-10. It was the Wildcats fourth consecutive Big Ten loss in four 2013 Big Ten games.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 07:18
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-9
Body:

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

23-1: Bob Stoops' record in first meetings with a coach in Big 12 games since 2000
The Red Raiders handed the game over to the Sooners on Saturday in Norman by turning the ball over three times in critical spots. At home, veteran coach Bob Stoops and his team capitalized on Texas Tech's mistakes by outscoring Kliff Kingsbury's team 17-7 over the final 16 minutes. It was Kingsbury's first loss as a head coach and Stoops' 23rd victory in his first meeting with a coach in a Big 12 game during his tenure at Oklahoma. He won his first Big 12 meeting with Art Briles, Bill Snyder, Gary Pinkel, Mike Gundy, Gary Patterson, Mike Leach, Tommy Tuberville and now Kliff Kingsbury (among many others).

1: Teams that have outscored every opponent by at least 15 points
Missouri and Oregon entered the weekend as two of the 10 remaining unbeatens in college football. They were the only two teams in the nation who had yet to play a "close" game because they were the only two teams to have defeated every opponent by at least 15 points. Mizzou collapsed against South Carolina in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Gamecocks gave the Tigers their first loss of the season. Meanwhile, the Ducks scored 28 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes of play to crush UCLA 42-14. Oregon is now of the only team left in college football to have defeated every team its played by more than two touchdowns.

5: Scoring drives led by Connor Shaw in the fourth quarter and OT
The Gamecocks touched the ball five times in the fourth quarter and overtime against Missouri and scored on all five possessions after whiffing on their first 10 drives. Connor Shaw led five scoring drives by completing 17-of-25 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the final period and extra time. He didn't turn the ball over, ran three times for 23 yards and was battling a less-than-perfect left knee. The Gamecocks need to win their final two SEC games against Mississippi State and Florida at home and get one loss from Mizzou to make just their second trip to Atlanta as SEC East champs.

1960: Last time Minnesota defeated Nebraska before this past Saturday
The Golden Gophers and Cornhuskers have actually been longtime rivals. The two programs have played 53 times overall with Nebraska dominating the series for more than 50 years. Prior to Saturday's meeting in Minneapolis, the Gophers hadn't beaten the Huskers since 1960 — a streak of 16 consecutive losses. In fact, the Big Red had dominated the series so much that Minnesota hadn't even had a lead in the series since 1969. It was the first Big Ten loss of the season for Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers. Speaking of... 

7: Ranked Bo Pelini teams who have lost to unranked opponents
A ranked Nebraska team has lost to an unranked foe in each of the last five seasons under Pelini and seven times overall. The final month of the season — Northwestern, at Michigan, Michigan State, at Penn State, Iowa — will determine his fate as the Nebraska head coach.

 Ranked Nebraska losses to unranked teams
Oct. 26, 2013Minnesota def. No. 25 Nebraska 34-23
Dec. 1, 2012Wisconsin def. No. 14 Nebraska 70-31 (Big Ten Championship Game)
Sept. 8, 2012UCLA def. No. 16 Nebraska 35-30
Nov. 5, 2011Northwestern def. No. 9 Nebraska 28-25
Dec. 30, 2010Washington def. No. 17 Nebraska 19-7 (Holiday Bowl)
Oct. 7, 2010Texas def. No. 5 Nebraska 20-13
Oct. 17, 2009Texas Tech def. No. 15 Nebraska 31-10


6: Cities in which Duke has defeated Virginia Tech
The 13-10 road win for Duke over the Hokies features a plethora of interesting stats. It was the first road win over a ranked opponent for Duke in 42 years. The Blue Devils sixth win makes Duke bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The two starting quarterbacks, Anthony Boone and Logan Thomas, combined for eight interceptions and zero passing touchdowns. In fact, Duke didn't complete a pass in the second half and was 0-11 on third downs for the game. Lastly, it was Duke's first ever win in Blacksburg, giving the Blue Devils a win over the Hokies in six different cities. Duke has beaten Tech in Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Norfolk, Roanoke and, now, Blacksburg.


3,173: Jordan Matthews' SEC-record receiving yards
Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel crushed Vanderbilt 56-24, but Vanderbilt star wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught eight passes for 92 yards. He passed Georgia's Terrence Edwards' 3,093 yards (1999-02) for No. 1 all-time in SEC history. Matthews is one of just four players to top 3,000 yards receiving (Alshon Jeffery, Josh Reed). He has 216 career receptions, trailing only fellow Commodore Earl Bennett's all-time SEC record of 236 receptions. If Vandy doesn't make a bowl game, Matthews needs to average just under eight receptions per game to pass Bennett. Only six players in SEC history have ever caught more than 200 passes (Craig Yeast, Kenny McKinley, Edwards, Keith Edwards). Finally, Matthews has 22 career touchdown receptions — 11 behind the SEC's all-time record of 31 set by Florida's Chris Doering.


28: Quarters Houston has scored a point in 2013
Houston is 6-1 after an impressive 49-14 road win over Rutgers. They have played 28 quarters of football and have scored in every frame of the season. Houston needed a safety against BYU in the third quarter to keep the streak alive in Week 8, the lowest total of any quarter this season for the Cougs. Houston is still perfect in the American Athletic Conference and control its own destiny with games against Louisville and UCF looming in coming weeks.


455: Octavius McKoy NCAA all-division single-game rushing record
TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson owns the FBS single-game rushing record when he rolled up 406 yards against UTEP in 1999. But Marietta College's Dante Brown actually owns the all-division mark with 441 yards in 1996. That record has fallen as Western Connecticut's tailback Octavius McKoy rushed for 455 yards on 43 carries to an all-division NCAA single-game record. Western Connecticut is a Division III program.

Teaser:
Amazing College Football Stats from Week 9
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-9-recap-and-awards
Body:

Stanford and Oregon handled their business in impressive fashion against Oregon State and UCLA, respectively. The Ducks blew past UCLA with a high-powered offense and better-than-advertised defense while the Cardinal used a typically physical defensive approach to outlast and ground the Beavers normally explosive offensive approach.

The two wins set up one of the most important matchups of the season in two weeks. Both teams will get an off weekend before the primetime Thursday night showdown in Palo Alto, and the outcome could determine half of the BCS championship game.

Here are your Week 9 Pac-12 superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
After a monster performance against UCLA at home, Gaffney backed it up with another stellar showing against a team that had yet to lose in Pac-12 play. On the road against Oregon State, Gaffney carried 22 times for 145 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He accounted for all of Stanford's scoring in Corvallis and is now third in the Pac-12 in rushing (894 yards, 111.8 ypg). His 12 touchdowns are tied for the lead in the conference.

Defensive Player of the Week: Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford
Murphy, much like the rest of the Cardinal defense, was all over the field against Oregon State. Murphy posted eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against the nation's leading passer. He leads the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss after back-to-back stellar showings against UCLA and Oregon State. The Cardinal's defensive performance — holding the Beavers to a season-low 288 yards — on the road was a championship-style performance. 

Team of the Week: Oregon
Just like it did against Washington, Oregon played a relatively tight game against UCLA for the better part of three quarters. And just like it did against the Huskies, the Ducks put their foot on the gas pedal for the final quarter and pulled away from a ranked team in impressive fashion. Oregon scored 28 unanswered points to make a 14-14 game a blowout. Oregon has scored at least 42 points in every game and produced another 555 yards of total offense. The win for the Ducks and Stanford's subsequent victory over Oregon State has set up the Thursday night battle in Palo Alto between the last two Pac-12 champs.

Coordinator of the Week: Derek Mason, Stanford
After dominating at home last week against UCLA by holding the Bruins to a season-low in yards and points, Mason's bunch was at it again. Against yet another elite offensive attack, this time on the road, Stanford dominated the Oregon State front line. The Cardinal registered eight sacks against the nation's leading passer in Sean Mannion and held the nation's most productive wide receiver to a season-low 90 yards. The Cardinal defense appears to be well past its early season "slump" and has produced two of the most impressive showings in the nation the last two weekends.

Freshman of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
Arizona moved to within a game of bowl eligibility and got its second conference win with a victory over Colorado on the road. Wright posted nine total tackles and helped the Wildcats hold the Buffs to just 349 yards of offense and only 3.3 yards per carry. He is Arizona's leading tackler and is third among Pac-12 freshmen in tackles for the season.

Fifth Down

• Washington's Bishop Sankey got back on track against Cal by rushing for a career-high 241 yards on 27 carries for a sturdy 8.9 yards per carry.

• Arizona's B.J. Denker and Ka'Deem Carey combined for 311 yards and four touchdowns on the ground against Colorado. Carey scored all four touchdowns, and Denker averaged 12.8 yards per carry (192 yards).

With less than 50 scholarship players, USC defeated Utah 19-3. The Trojans allowed 201 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers.

• Byron Marshall rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon in the win over UCLA. He also caught a pass for 23 yards.

• Sean Mannion was averaging more than 400 yards passing per game. He attempted 57 passes in the loss to Stanford and managed just 271 yards for a 4.8-yard per attempt average.

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 11:42
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-9-recap-and-awards
Body:

Ohio State and Minnesota stole the show again this week in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes need to win out in convincing fashion — and get some help from Florida State, Oregon and Alabama — to get into the BCS title game. A 49-point win over Penn State is a start for Urban Meyer.

Meanwhile, the Gophers won a second straight game as a double-digit underdog in the division as they toppled Nebraska in impressive fashion at home to open up the Legends Division in short order.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 9 Superlatives:

Offensive Players of the Week: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Urban Meyer needs style points, and his star quarterback delivered in a big way. Against Penn State, Miller was efficient, completing 18-of-24 passes for a personal-best 252 yards and three touchdowns passes while rushing for 68 yards on 11 carries and two more touchdowns. He led his offense to season highs in points (63) and total yards (686) while posting the best passing game of his career.

Defensive Player of Week: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Facing the Nebraska rushing attack, Hageman was going to play a huge role in the outcome no matter how he played. But he had one of his best games of the season, disrupting the line of scrimmage and playing in the Huskers backfield all game long. He finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss and his second sack of the season. Hageman and the Gophers held Nebraska to its second-lowest rushing output of the season and its lowest total yardage output of the year (328 yards).

Team of Week: Minnesota
For the second straight week the Gophers are the team of the week in the Big Ten after pulling an upset as a double-digit underdog. This time it netted the Gophers its first win over old-time rival Nebraska since 1960 — giving the school its second straight win over a division contender. Not only had the Gophers lost 16 straight against Nebraska but it hadn't had a lead over Nebraska since 1969.

Coach of Week: Matt Limegrover, Minnesota
Acting head coach Tracy Claeys did another fantastic defensive job on a high-powered divisional foe but Limegrover's offensive gameplan was the biggest difference maker in Week 9. Minnesota ran the ball 54 times and threw just 17 passes and outgunned the Huskers by more than 100 yards (430-328). Limegrover didn't ask Philip Nelson to make many plays with his arm but put him in good positions all while pounding the rock for five yards per carry. Minnesota simply took the action to the Huskers' defense and the Blackshirts couldn't handle it.

Freshman of the Week: Tyvis Powell, DB, Ohio State
With Christian Bryant out for the season, Urban Meyer will need some younger players to step into the secondary and provide support. The 6-foot-3 Powell is one of those players. He posted seven tackles in the blowout win over Penn State at home. The Buckeyes defense allowed 357 yards of offense and forced three turnovers as the secondary forced bad decisions from Christian Hackenberg all night.

Fifth Down

• Minnesota took the lead against Nebraska for the first time since 1969 when it went up 14-10 with three minutes to go in the second quarter. The Gophers never trailed the rest of the way. Minnesota has created five total turnovers without giving it up once over the last two games against Northwestern and Nebraska combined.

• For the third straight week, Penn State allowed more than 40 points in a game, the first time it's happened since the turn of the century — the 20th century.

• The Spartans scored 42 points in the road win over Illinois. Michigan State is averaging 31 points per game in Big Ten play this year. Connor Cook completed 15 of his 16 passes.

• Iowa's James Morris and Anthony Hitchens combined for 17 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

• Minnesota's David Cobb carried a 31 times for 138 yards, both career highs, in the Gophers win over Nebraska. He had 11 career carries entering 2013.

• Ohio State won its national-best 20th consecutive game.

• Northwestern lost to Iowa in overtime 17-10. It was the Wildcats fourth consecutive Big Ten loss in four 2013 Big Ten games.

Teaser:
Big Ten Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-week-9-picks
Body:

Like it or not, Las Vegas rarely gets it wrong, so tracking betting lines should always be a big part of each football weekend — even if there are no bets on the line. Last week, I played my hand at the big game and missed in a big way — by taking Clemson. So, as you will see below, I haven't learned my lesson. (Is there such a thing as Rebound Alert?) I was all over two of the big SEC upsets, however, as I advised taking both Auburn and Vanderbilt. My 3-3 week kept me six games above .500 for the season, and therefore, am still making money (if I gambled).

This week, I am going after five road teams — three favorites and two dogs. Enjoy...

2013 Record Against the Spread: 25-19-1 (3-3 last week)

Week 9 Picks of the Week:

Clemson (-14) at Maryland
Three weeks ago the Terrapins were unbeaten and ranked in the top 25. After a 63-0 drubbing by Florida State, a one-point win over Virginia and a 24-point defeat at the hands of Wake Forest, Maryland has fallen apart. Quarterback C.J. Brown is banged up and both of his star wideouts — Stefon Diggs and Deon Long — are out for the season. Clemson, meanwhile, should be extremely upset about how it played last weekend against the Seminoles. Tajh Boyd wins big. Prediction: Clemson -14

Utah (+7) at USC
Depth is starting to hurt the Trojans in a big way on both sides of the ball and across all positions. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was injured last weekend but is back in the lineup for this road trip to L.A. Southern Cal is 2-5 against the spread and still has a glorified defensive line coach in Ed Orgeron leading the way on the sidelines. I’ll take the road dog to cover — and possibly win outright. Predictions: Utah +7

Baylor (-34.5) at Kansas
Normally, any number over 30 is dangerous and should be avoided, but Baylor is a different story. The Bears are averaging over 700 yards of offense and Kansas threw the ball for 16 yards last week against Oklahoma. Baylor has reached 70 points in four games this year and 69 in another, so the odds of the lowly Jayhawks stopping this offense in any way would be shocking. The Bears are 5-1 against the spread in 2013. Prediction: Baylor -34.5

Fresno State (-8) at San Diego State
The Bulldogs haven’t scored less than 38 points all season long while the Aztecs have topped 30 points this year only once (Nevada). San Diego State also needed big late comebacks to beat New Mexico State and Air Force — who are a combined 1-13 this year. Fresno knows this win likely clinches the Mountain West Conference's West Division and will be focused. SDSU is 99th nationally in scoring defense and has little chance to stop Derek Carr and company. Prediction: Fresno State -8

Texas (+2.5) at TCU
The Horned Frogs haven’t topped 380 yards of offense in four straight weeks and haven’t scored more than 27 points in any of their last three. Meanwhile, Texas is playing its best ball of the season on both sides, having won three straight by scoring at least 31 points in each game. More importantly, new coordinator Greg Robinson and his defense have had two weeks to prepare for TCU’s reeling offense after playing their best game of the year against Oklahoma. TCU is 2-5 against the spread this year. Prediction: Texas +2.5

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Top 25 Picks Against the Spread:

Note: games with FCS opponents won't be included each week

Top 25 GamesMitch LightBraden GallSteven LassanDavid Fox
Tennessee (+28) at No. 1 Alabama
NC State (+32) at No. 2 Florida St
No. 12 UCLA (-22.5) at No. 3 Oregon
Penn St (+14.5) at No. 4 Ohio St 
No. 21 South Carolina (+3) at No. 5 Mizzou
No. 6 Stanford (-4.5) at No. 25 Oregon St
Wake Forest (+23.5) at No. 7 Miami
No. 8 Baylor (-34.5) at Kansas
No. 9 Clemson (-14) at Maryland
No. 10 Texas Tech (+7) at No. 15 Oklahoma
FAU (+24) at No. 11 Auburn
Duke (+13.5) at No. 14 Virginia Tech
Vanderbilt (+17) at No. 16 Texas A&M
No. 17 Fresno St (-8.5) at San Diego St
E. Michigan (+30) at N. Illinois
No. 19 Oklahoma St (-12.5) at Iowa St
No. 20 Louisville (-20) at USF
UConn (+22.5) at No. 23 UCF
No. 24 Nebraska (-10.5) at Minnesota
Last Week:7-128-119-106-13
Year-To-Date:64-64-361-67-359-69-368-60-3

 

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 9 Picks
Post date: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/top-college-football-player-matchups-watch-week-9
Body:

Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the best one-on-one matchups to watch in college football. Here are the most important games within the game to watch this weekend:

Ed Reynolds, S vs. Brandin Cooks, WR (Stanford vs. Oregon State)
“Wow” is all Stanford coach David Shaw had to say about Cooks’ play this season. The Beavers wide receiver has been uncoverable all season and is leading the nation in receptions (76), yards (1,176) and touchdowns (12). He has a comfort level with quarterback Sean Mannion and will be called upon to play his best this weekend against a front seven that will likely shutdown the Oregon State rushing attack. It falls to All-American safety Ed Reynolds to play physical but disciplined football on the backend of the Cardinal defense.

Allen Robinson, WR vs. Bradley Roby, CB (Penn State at Ohio State)
Robinson is the best wideout in the Big Ten and Roby might be the best coverman in the nation. So a head-to-head duel should be a sight to see for 60 minutes in the Horseshoe on Saturday night. Robinson is leading the Big Ten in receptions per game (7.2) and is 10th nationally in yards per game (117.5). Roby will be tasked with guarding A-Rob all game long and fans can bets NFL scouts will be watching.

Week 9 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 Big Ten Pac-12 SEC

Anthony Barr/Myles Jack vs. Marcus Mariota/De’Anthony Thomas (UCLA at Oregon)
UCLA’s linebackers are extremely talented and versatile. Jack, a freshman, has starred in open space and in pass coverage while Barr is an elite pass-rusher and disruptive force.  Thomas returns to the field after missing the last four games and will be tested by Jack’s raw athletic ability. Meanwhile, Mariota and Oregon’s zone-read will be focused on No. 11 in blue all game long. Sit back and enjoy.

Victor Hampton, CB vs. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR (South Carolina vs. Missouri)
Missouri’s outstanding crop of big, physical and athletic receivers has been instrumental in the Tigers’ 7-0 start. This week, Green-Beckham (and L’Damian Washington) will face a South Carolina secondary that has held four of six opponents under 200 yards passing but gave up 300-plus to both Georgia and UCF. Hampton is the most physically talented of the group and gets matched up with the opposing team’s best pass-catcher usually. He is leading Carolina in interceptions and will be guarding either Green-Beckham or Washington all game long.

Jace Amaro, TE vs. Gabe Lynn, DB (Texas Tech at Oklahoma)
Amaro is enough of a matchup problem that it’s going to take a handful of Oklahoma defenders to limit his catches, something only a first-half suspension against SMU has done this season. Some of the focus will be on Lynn, a hard-hitting safety, but expect outside linebacker Dominique Alexander, safety Quentin Hayes and nickel back Julian Wilson to all play roles in trying to handle the 6-5, 260-pound junior.

Jay Ajayi, RB vs. Kyle Van Noy, LB (Boise State at BYU)
The Broncos' back is quietly having one of the best seasons in the nation at his position. He is third nationally with 12 total touchdowns and is coming off a career-high 222 yards against Nevada. Van Noy is a well-known commodity for his disruptive and big-play ability. He is second on the Cougars with 43 tackles, is 10th nationally with 10.5 tackles for a loss and has 4.0 sacks on the year. This should be a good matchup.

Jeremy Langford, RB vs. Jonathan Brown, LB (Michigan State at Illinois)
The Spartans tailback is seventh in the Big Ten in rushing at 78.7 yards per game, but has quickly developed into one of the league’s best backs. He has back-to-back 100-yard games against Indiana and Purdue with four total touchdowns in the two wins. Jonathan Brown is leading the Big Ten in tackling (11.0 pg) and is seventh nationally. He and Langford will go head-to-head all game long.

Teaser:
Top College Football Player Matchups to Watch in Week 9
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:25

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