Articles By Braden Gall

Path: /college-football/its-time-nebraska-cornhuskers-fans-lower-expectations
Body:

Nebraska is the best job in the Big Ten West.

 

But it’s the fourth-best job in the Big Ten.

 

After seven consecutive seasons with at least nine wins, Nebraska has parted ways with head coach Bo Pelini. The fiery and often abrasive head football coach had plenty of moments that caused fans and administrators to shake their heads. But he also won 67 times in 94 games, including three division titles in two different conferences.

 

Only Alabama and Oregon join Nebraska with at least nine wins in each of the last seven seasons. But if Wisconsin and Michigan State can win Big Ten titles and Rose Bowls, why can’t the Cornhuskers?

 

Self-awareness is a highly underrated characteristic and, after firing a coach who won a lot of games, the question becomes does Nebraska know where it’s located in the college football hierarchy?

 

Nebraska has the biggest and baddest stadium in the division. It has the richest tradition and history of success in the division. And it has more financial resources than any school in the Big Ten West. Competing for and winning division titles is absolutely something Cornhuskers fans should expect nearly every season.

 

But long gone are the days of three national championships in four years. Nebraska is no longer a top 15 job and may never be a national power again.

 

The entire landscape of college football has been rapidly evolving for two decades and none of that evolution has helped Nebraska. The facilities arm race once dominated by Nebraska is nothing more than conducting business as architectural limits are being pushed in places like Oregon and Texas A&M. Nebraska was one of the first schools to understand the importance of strength and conditioning and now every major program employs five-star chefs and personal trainers.

 

Podcast: Who should be Nebraska's next head coach?



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Most importantly, recruiting is a totally different beast as technology has made the world a smaller place and given rise to layers of new programs. Nebraska used to be one of only a handful of programs that was on national television every weekend. Now, Rutgers is on national TV every Saturday. Would Mike Rozier (Camden, N.J.) or Rich Glover (Bayonne, N.J.) go to Nebraska if they were big-time prospects today? Would Florida native Tommie Frazier ever get out of the Southeast?

 

“The recruiting landscape is much more competitive today,” said Sean Callahan, publisher of HuskerOnline.com. “There really wasn’t a perennial West Coast power in the 90s like there is today with USC, UCLA and Oregon.

 

“Nebraska was a power in the state of Texas as well. Baylor, TCU and the SEC weren’t the recruiting powers in the state of Texas like they are today. Recruiting parity wasn’t a factor like it is today.”

 

Moving to the Big Ten was a financial and cultural windfall for the Cornhuskers, especially considering how weak the Big 12 appeared to be at the time. But it hasn’t helped recruiting. Population trends indicate that the Big Ten footprint is producing fewer and fewer big-time athletes and getting them to Lincoln is proving to be difficult.

 

The Johnny Rodgers and Dean Steinkuhlers of the world are no longer growing on in-state trees. According to 247Sports, Michael Decker of Omaha-North is the top prospect in The Cornhusker State in the Class of 2015. He’s ranked the 753rd-best prospect nationally.

 

“One of the biggest problems Nebraska faces today is getting recruits on unofficial visits,” said longtime recruiting guru Bill King, host on SiriusXM College Sports Nation Ch. 91. "The unofficial visit has become increasingly more important and you can’t get people to come to Lincoln on their own dime. They just don’t want to go.”

 

Nebraska has the tools and built-in support to compete at a high level in the Big Ten. Pelini wasn’t able to break through with a conference crown, was embarrassed in too many big games, never finished ranked in the top 10, never made it to a BCS bowl and his brutish personality never fit in the Midwest town.

 

But it may be unrealistic to expect more than nine wins a season from any coach at Nebraska.

 

“It’s very unlikely that the new hire wins more than Pelini. It probably will be a guy they like more but the end result isn’t likely to be better,” King said.

 

Said Callahan: “If you know what you are doing and have a plan in the place, you can routinely contend in the Big Ten West."

 

Both King and Callahan know what Nebraska fans need to accept. The days of competing for national championships are over in Lincoln.

 

In Tom Osborne’s prime, Nebraska was a one-of-a-kind program that dominated college football with advanced thinking and a fertile recruiting base. Now, the Huskers are just another solid Big Ten team and Osborne is busy trying to decide whether TCU or Baylor belongs in the College Football Playoff.

Teaser:
It's time for Nebraska Cornhuskers fans to lower expectations
Post date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/podcast-debate-who-should-be-nebraska-cornhuskers-new-head-coach
Body:

Bo Pelini is out as the Nebraska head coach. 

 

Braden Gall, David Fox and Mitch Light debate the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coaching vacancy in an Athlon Sports roundtable.

How good is the Nebraska job? Where does it rank nationally? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Is this still an elite job?

 

Are expectation levels too high in Lincoln or is it fair to compete for national championships on a regular basis at Nebraska?

 

Who are the coaches with Nebraska ties and are any of them worthy candidates? Who among them would be interested in the job? Is Craig Bohl qualified?

 

Who are the top Mid-Major (Group of 5) head coaches who are viable candidates? Is Jim McElwain heading to Florida or in the mix at Nebraska? Are Justin Fuente, Matt Wells or Troy Calhoun good fits? 

 

Who are the top coordinators: Pat Narduzzi or Scott Frost? Is Frost ready? Would Narduzzi be a home run?

 

Would any current Power 5 coaches be interested in the job? Would Jerry Kill, David Cutcliffe, Steve Addazio, Mark Richt or Kyle Whittingham have any interest?

 

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


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

Teaser:
Podcast Debate: Who should be the Nebraska Cornhuskers new head coach?
Post date: Monday, December 1, 2014 - 13:24
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/cover-2-college-football-podcast-week-14-recap-and-analysis
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and David Fox breakdown all of the action from Thanksgiving Weekend. Championship games are set in the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-12. Ohio State is dealing with a huge injury, the ACC wins the rivalry series with the SEC, Nebraska makes a coaching change and the Pac-12 South race ends in dramatic fashion. We debate it all and offer our playoff predictions on this week's edition of the Cover 2 Podcast.


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

Teaser:
Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Week 14 Recap and Analysis
Post date: Monday, December 1, 2014 - 12:16
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-14-picks
Body:

Happy Thanksgiving, college football fans. It's the best day and weekend of the sports calendar. According to me, at least.

 

It's also one of the toughest weeks to predict as historic rivalries dominate the landscape. Strange things happen in rivalry games, so none of my top picks are from traditional Power 5 Thanksgiving matchups.

 

Enjoy the holiday, be thankful and please don't burn your house down.

 

Last Week: 4-3

Year-to-Date: 48-48-1

 

Stanford (+4.5) at UCLA

Jim Mora is out for revenge and has three championships (division, conference, national) hanging in the balance against the Cardinal. Brett Hundley has been excellent in November, but it's the Bruins defense that should control the game against the below-average Stanford offense. Prediction: UCLA -4.5

 

Utah (-9) at Colorado

The Utes have been one of the best plays all season long, going 8-3 against the number. And of importance for this week's game: Utah is 5-0 against the number on the road. Colorado is overmatched here and may be without their starting QB. Prediction: Utah -9

 

Colorado St (-7) at Air Force

The Falcons are a solid team and could find some space to run but more is hanging in the balance for the Rams. Jim McElwain's group won't know where they stand in the Mountain West race until Saturday, so they have to take care of business on Friday. The Rams have been one of the best plays all year (8-3 ATS) and are even better on the road (4-1 ATS). Prediction: Colorado St -7

 

UL-Monroe (+14) at Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern is one of the better stories in college football this fall. The Eagles are unbeaten in the Sun Belt and are poised to win the league (if allowed). This team is also excellent against the spread, going 8-3 for the season and a tidy 4-0 ATS at home. Willie Fritz's club has had two weeks to prepare. Prediction: Georgia Southern -14

 

Syracuse (+11) at Boston College

The Eagles are playing well and Cuse is playing exactly the opposite of that. The Orange can't score right now, recording only 40 points in its last four games. Boston College is 7-4 against the spread and Cuse is 4-7 for the season. Take the Eagles to win big. Prediction: Boston College -11
 

Listen to the Rivalry Week predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

Top 25Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
Auburn (+9.5) at Alabama
Oregon (-20) at Oregon St
Florida (+7.5) at Florida St
Mississippi St (-2) at Ole Miss
Michigan (+21) at Ohio St
Baylor (-24.5) vs. Texas Tech
Stanford (+4.5) at UCLA
Georgia Tech (+12.5) at Georgia
Michigan St (-13) at Penn St
Kansas (+28) at Kansas St
Arizona St (NL) at Arizona
Minnesota (-9) at Wisconsin
Utah (-9) at Colorado
Notre Dame (+7) at USC
Arkansas (+2) at Missouri
South Carolina (+4.5) at Clemson
Nebraska (+1) at Iowa
Kentucky (+13) at Louisville
Last Week:8-85-1110-66-10
YTD:98-97-499-96-490-105-494-101-4
Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: College Football 2014 Week 14 Picks
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-2014-week-14-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The Eyes of Texas will be focused squarely on Austin Thanksgiving night. So, too, will the eyes of the nation.

 

TCU’s last big test of the season will take place Thursday night against the surging Longhorns and fans in Texas, the Big 12 and in places like Columbus and Starkville will be focused on The 40 Acres.

 

Fans can bet the Playoff Committee will be paying attention as well.

 

Elsewhere, Baylor and Kansas State should hold serve in preparation for their season-ending meeting next weekend.


Week 14 Previews and Predictions:
ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Week 14 Big 12 Game Power Rankings

 

1. TCU (-7.5) at Texas
Thur., 7:30 p.m., FS1

This is as dangerous a game as any national championship contender will have over the last two weeks of the season. Texas is one of the hottest teams in the nation, has one of the best defenses in the nation, is the most powerful program in the league and is a home underdog on Thanksgiving night. So the Horned Frogs will have to stop more than just a developing quarterback and surging running game on offense or even the top pass-rushing defense in the Big 12. A win would give Charlie Strong a four-game winning streak to end the year and a winning overall record — all after a 2-4 start. Trevone Boykin will have to play his best game of the year to get the win and keep pace with Baylor. Because if TCU plays like it did in its last two road trips to Morgantown or, worse, Lawrence, the Frogs could leave Austin with a loss they can't afford.

 

Listen to the Rivalry Week predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

2. Baylor (-24.5) vs. Texas Tech
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2, Arlington

By Saturday afternoon, Art Briles will know exactly what is at stake against Texas Tech. Baylor (and KSU) will be watching intently on Turkey Day evening, knowing a win by Texas gives the Bears a shot at the College Football Playoff and an outright league championship. Either way, Bryce Petty should have no issues moving up and down the field against Texas Tech. Last year, this game featured 97 points and 1,129 yards of total offense — 63 and 657 of which came from Baylor. Kliff Kingsbury finally got into the win column last weekend against Iowa State but nothing about this matchup indicates the Red Raiders have a chance to pull the upset.

 

3. West Virginia at Iowa St
Noon, FS1

This is likely Paul Rhoads' last shot at a Big 12 win with a road trip to TCU looming in the season finale. Iowa State has had plenty of close calls, however, losing to Kansas State, Texas and Texas Tech by a total of 10 points. The Mountaineers aren’t playing much better, losing three straight with a surprising lack of offense — with their three least efficient yards per play showings of the season (4.46, 4.98, 5.09). Much of that is due to level of competition and Clint Trickett’s third concussion in two seasons. Skyler Howard would get the nod under center should Dana Holgorsen do the right thing and protect his starting quarterback. The undersized sophomore has attempted 25 career passes for WVU.

 

4. Kansas (+28) at Kansas St
4 p.m., FS1

Win and advance is all that matters for Kansas State. That, and, spend Thanksgiving rooting hard for Charlie Strong. If TCU loses to Texas, Bill Snyder’s bunch is right back in the mix for an outright Big 12 championship. The Jayhawks were destroyed by Oklahoma's Samaje Perine last weekend and there is no reason to think the Sunflower State rivalry will turn out differently.

 

Off: Oklahoma, Oklahoma St

 

Big 12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
TCU (-7.5) at TexasTexas, 24-23TCU, 28-20TCU, 28-14TCU, 27-24
BU (-24.5) at TTBU, 45-17BU, 47-13BU, 42-24BU, 48-24
WVU at ISUWVU, 34-31WVU, 33-13WVU, 35-17WVU, 34-27
KU (+28) at KSUKSU, 50-10KSU, 41-10KSU, 44-17KSU, 40-13
Last Week:3-12-24-04-0
YTD:58-1056-1261-760-8

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2014 Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2014-week-14-preview-and-predictions
Body:

It’s pretty simple for Pac-12 fans.

 

Oregon has clinched the North Division title regardless of what happens in The Civil War but need to win twice to lock up a spot in the first College Football Playoff.

 

Down South, UCLA is in control. Beat Stanford and Jim Mora’s bunch gets a rematch with the Ducks. A Bruins loss, however, makes this Territorial Cup arguably the most anticipated meeting in the desert in the history of the rivalry.


Week 14 Previews and Predictions:
ACC
| Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

 

Pac-12 Week 14 Game Power Rankings

 

1. Arizona St at Arizona
Fri., 3:30 p.m., FOX

Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez know each other extremely well as they enter what could amount to the most important Territorial Cup in history. This, of course, hinges on Stanford upsetting UCLA (see below), but even if this ends up just a battle for second place, it will be heated. It’s a great rivalry that is made better by the history between the two head coaches (Graham coached under RichRod at WVU and is 2-0 against his former boss) and the gravity of the situation. Both teams are eyeing a 10-win season and both will need their quarterback to overcome adversity to get there. Taylor Kelly hasn’t been particularly sharp since returning from injury, but was brilliant bringing his team back from a two-touchdown deficit against Washington State last weekend. Anu Solomon has been brilliant all season but is dealing with a foot issue that, if he is able to play, would likely limit one of his key assets – his mobility. With the Sun Devils' ability to attack the quarterback and create turnovers, Solomon — or backup Jesse Scroggins — will have to distribute the football quickly and accurately to beat their in-state rivals.

 

2. Stanford (+4.5) at UCLA
Fri., 3:30 p.m., ABC

Jim Mora has had issues with Stanford, losing all three meetings to David Shaw. But this is the best UCLA team he’s had since getting to Westwood, while Shaw brings with him to Pasadena the worst Stanford team of his head-coaching tenure. Brett Hundley is playing the best ball of his career, either topping 300 yards passing or 100 yards rushing in five consecutive games and throwing just one interception over his last four games. Stanford scored 38 in a win over Cal last weekend but don’t be fooled, the Cardinal still have major offensive issues. Holding USC (276) and Arizona (255) to season lows in total offense over the last three games is no easy feat, so UCLA should have a major advantage when its defense is on the field. With a Pac-12 title hanging in the balance, the Bruins might be the only team that can beat the Bruins this weekend.

 

Listen to the Rivalry Week predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

3. Notre Dame (+7.5) at USC
3:30 p.m., FOX

Any momentum USC built up with wins on the road over Utah and Washington State came to a screeching halt against UCLA last weekend. The Irish have been at a dead stop for what feels like a month, losing three straight and four out of five. Both defenses have shown elite talent among the starters, but their lack of depth has been exposed in November. This historic and normally important rivalry game is surprisingly lacking in national relevance but viewers should still tune in to watch the quarterback play. Cody Kessler is wildly underrated and has been excellent all year while no one knows what to expect from Everett Golson on any given snap. This feels like it could be a wild and memorable showdown despite the game meaning very little to the college football landscape.

 

4. Oregon (-20) at Oregon St
8 p.m., ABC

The Civil War has come a long ways since 0-0 but likely won’t be as exciting as the one-point thriller from last season. Marcus Mariota and the Ducks have clinched a spot in the Pac-12 title game but are still playing for a national title and a Heisman Trophy. Oregon's offense is clicking right now, rushing for between 264 and 269 yards in four straight games while scoring no fewer than 44 points during this span. The Beavers need to pull the upset to get bowl eligible and are at home, but too much is at stake for the Ducks to overlook their archrival.

 

5. BYU (+4.5) at Cal
4:30 p.m., P12 Net

Sonny Dykes has done an excellent job this season in Berkeley but Cal missed a great shot at home against an archrival to get bowl eligible. Finishing the season with three Pac-12 wins was a solid step in the right direction but the Bears would likely be disappointed if they lost three straight chances to get to the postseason for the first time since 2011. A win over BYU would change the entire complexion of the offseason.

 

6. Washington (-3.5) at Washington St
10:30 p.m., FS1

The Apple Cup is a fantastic rivalry and has given fans some memorable moments over the past few seasons. While Mike Leach enters his third such meeting, Chris Petersen is enjoying his debut in the important Evergreen showdown. Leach catapulted his team into a bowl game in 2013 on the strength of a wild comeback victory in '12 while the 10-point win by Washington last year was Steve Sarkisian’s final game in Seattle. Petersen has his team playing better with excellent balance on offense — UW has been over 200 yards rushing and passing in three out of its past four games and its 8.2 yards per play last week was a season high by a large margin. Leach’s team, despite the loss to ASU, did play better last weekend, posting 622 yards on 100 offensive snaps. Anything can happen when these two get together.

 

7. Utah (+9) at Colorado
1 p.m., P12 Net

The Buffaloes are winless in the Pac-12 and will have to play arguably the best game of their season to beat the Utes in Boulder. Sefo Liufau didn’t start against Oregon but came on at the beginning of the second half once the game was out of hand. Jordan Gehrke is Mike MacIntyre’s backup option (he was 9-of-18 for 64 yards). Utah has lost three out of four and is trying to erase the memory of what was its worst showing of the season against Arizona last week. The 520 yards and 7.54 yards per play allowed against the Wildcats were the most the Utes had given up this season while the 42 points were the second most.

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

 Braden GallMitch LightDavid FoxSteven Lassan
ASU at ZonaASU, 34-30AZ, 28-23AZ, 38-28ASU, 34-30
Stan (+4.5) at UCLAUCLA, 31-13UCLA, 26-20UCLA, 27-17UCLA, 27-20
N. Dame (+7.5) at USCUSC, 40-20USC, 35-21USC, 24-21USC, 38-27
UO (-20) at OSUUO, 45-24UO, 41-21UO, 44-33UO, 45-24
BYU (+4.5) at CalCal, 33-31Cal, 34-20Cal, 28-20Cal, 38-34
UW (-3.5) at WSUUW, 30-28UW, 41-29UW, 35-19UW, 34-31
Utah (+9) ColoUtah, 31-17Utah, 33-21Utah, 27-13Utah, 34-20
Last Week:4-23-33-36-0
YTD:60-2464-2065-1963-21

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 2014 Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-2014-week-14-predictions
Body:

 

Hosts Braden Gall and Steven Lassan preview another historic week of Thanksgiving football. The Big Ten West, SEC West and East and Pac-12 South division championships hang in the balance. We also offer up some locks of the week against the spread and breakdown Turkey Day menus and traditions.


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

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 14 Predictions
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 17:54
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-2014-week-14
Body:

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

 

The beauty of college football lies in its complete unpredictability and drama. Here are some outrageous predictions for Week 14.

 

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

 

The ACC will win the season-ending series with the SEC

 

Clemson hasn’t beaten South Carolina since 2008, losing five straight in the heated in-state rivalry. Georgia Tech hasn’t beaten Georgia since 2008 and has lost 12 of the last 13 in the series known simply as Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. Tech has its best chance in years with a 9-2 record and ACC Coastal Division title already clinched. The only ACC team to hold its own in the critical season-ending round-robin has been Florida State — winners of three out of four against Florida. Look for all three ACC teams to win this weekend. More shocking? Only Tech over the Dawgs would be an upset.

 

Missouri will win the SEC East… again

 

Last year, South Carolina entered the final month of the season with a tie-breaker over Missouri, forcing the Tigers to win four straight to win the East. The Tigers did just that, including wins at Ole Miss and against Johnny Football at home. This year, Georgia entered the final month of the season with a tie-breaker over Mizzou needing just one slip up for an SEC East title. Well, after five straight wins, the Tigers are a victory over Arkansas at home away from repeating in exactly the same fashion. Mizzou beats Arkansas and shocks the country (again) by winning the East.

 

Listen to the Week 13 recap and analysis podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Territorial Cup will determine the Pac-12 South

 

UCLA is in control of its own destiny but is facing a bit of a nemesis in Stanford. The Cardinal have won six straight against UCLA, including all three while Jim Mora has been in Westwood. Should Stanford upset the Bruins, the winner of the Arizona State-Arizona rivalry game would claim the Pac-12 South crown and a berth in the conference title game. Both games will be happening at exactly the same time.
 

No one will break the NCAA’s single-game rushing record

 

Two weeks ago, Melvin Gordon broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s 15-year old NCAA single-game rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska. The year of the running back continued last weekend when, just five business days later, Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine broke Gordon’s record with 427 yards against Kansas. I’m going out on limb here and saying that no one will break Perine’s record… this week.

 

Texas will play a role in the Big 12 title… after all.

 

Baylor, Kansas State and TCU all have one league loss and all three have a shot at the Big 12 title. Baylor has the tie-breaker over TCU while TCU has the tie-breaker over Kansas State. The Wildcats will visit Baylor on Dec. 6. So where does Texas fit in, you ask? TCU visits a red-hot Longhorns team on Thanksgiving night and Texas is prepared to give Art Briles (or Bill Snyder) a huge serving of good fortune when they knock off the Horned Frogs in Austin. The College Football Playoff Committee would be extremely grateful.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions: 2014 Week 14
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/expert-poll-week-13-heisman-trophy-voting
Body:

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

 

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

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

 PlayerTeamPts1st2nd3rd4th5th
1.Marcus Mariota6513----
2.Melvin Gordon52-13---
3.J.T. Barrett20--351
4.Trevone Boykin19--423
5.Amari Cooper17--324
6.Dak Prescott10--212
7.Brett Hundley6---3-
8.Tevin Coleman4--1-1
9t.Shaq Thompson1----1
9t.Bryce Petty1----1

Dropped out: Cody Kessler, Jameis Winston

 

Listen to the Week 13 recap and analysis podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

In what is likely to be his final performance in Autzen Stadium, Marcus Mariota got a standing ovation. He accounted for four touchdowns, giving him a Pac-12-record 42 for the season, and rolling up nearly 400 yards of offense (396) in three quarters of work in the easy win over Colorado. It was his nation-leading eighth game this year with four total touchdowns and Mariota became one of just five players in NCAA history with 9,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards. 

 

Season Stats: 3,103 yds, 68.0%, 32 TDs, 2 INTs, 597 rush yds, 9 TDs

 

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

Unfortunately, Samaje Perine might have impacted the Heisman race as Melvin Gordon’s single-game rushing record stood for just seven days. However, in a road win over an always-stingy rival Iowa, Gordon was brilliant in the second half. He finished with 200 yards rushing, 64 yards receiving and two more touchdowns. He became the 17th player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards and did it faster than anyone ever (241 att.). His 2,109 yards are tied with Ron Dayne for the Wisconsin and Big Ten record with Minnesota coming to town next weekend.

 

Season Stats: 254 att., 2,109 yds, 25 TDs, 15 rec., 147 yds, 2 TDs

 

3. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

He’s a little late to the party and he wasn’t the best player on the field against Indiana (See: Jalin Marshall) but Barrett is making a strong Heisman push. The Buckeyes quarterback completed 25-of-32 passes for 302 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions to go with 20 carries and 78 yards rushing. With 33 touchdown passes and 3,507 yards of offense, Barrett has broken two significant, single-season school records. And did so while clinching the Big Ten East Division championship.

 

Season Stats: 2,658 yds, 64.8%, 33 TDs, 10 INTs, 849 rush yds, 9 TDs 

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 13 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-13-recap
Body:

 

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


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

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 13 Recap
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 13:18
Path: /college-football/top-25-greatest-rivalries-college-football-history
Body:

When tasked with deciding the best rivalries in college football there will be no avoiding offending someone.

 

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

 

You're right.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy Thanksgiving.


College Football's Top 25 Rivalries

 

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

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

 

2. Alabama-Auburn (Alabama, 42-35-1)

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

 

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

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

 

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Texas, 60-44-5)

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

7. Miami-Florida State (Miami, 31-28)

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

 

8. Harvard-Yale (Yale, 66-57-8)

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

12. Texas-Texas A&M (Texas, 76-37-5)

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

 

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

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

 

14. BYU-Utah (Utah, 57-34-4)

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

 

15. UCLA-USC (USC, 46-31-7)

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

20. Auburn-Georgia (Tied, 55-55-8)

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Teaser:
The Top 25 Rivalries In College Football History
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/betting-against-spread-college-football-2014-week-13-picks
Body:

I was 3-4 with top picks and 3-3 in trendy picks last week and it has dropped me below .500 for the first time all season. And I’m not sure where to go this weekend to make up for it.

 

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

 

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

 

Last Week: 6-7

Year-to-Date: 44-45-1

 

Missouri (+4) at Tennessee

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

 

Ole Miss (-3) at Arkansas

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

 

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Maryland (+5.5) at Michigan

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

 

Boston College (+19.5) at Florida St

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

 

Stanford (-6) at Cal

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

 

Air Force (+5.5) at San Diego St

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

 

W. Michigan (+1) at C. Michigan

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

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

 

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

 

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


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


Big 12 Week 13 Game Power Rankings

 

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

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

 

Listen to the Week 13 preview podcast:



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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Off: TCU, Texas

 

Big 12 Predictions:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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


Pac-12 Week 13 Game Power Rankings

 

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

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

 

Listen to the Week 13 preview podcast:



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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Pac-12 Predictions:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

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

Dropped out: Duke Johnson, Gerod Holliman, Ameer Abdullah

 

Listen to the Week 12 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

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

 

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

 

2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin

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

 

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

 

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Two ranked teams will lose this weekend

 

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

 

At least two Big Ten coaches will be fired

 

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

 

The Big Game will determine bowl eligibility

 

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

 

There will, in fact, be a meaningful SEC game

 

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

 

Pat Haden and Jeff Ulbrich will fight

 

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

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

 

Will Muschamp is out as the Florida head coach. 

 

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

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

 

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

1: Two-game losing streaks for David Shaw

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

 

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

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

 

1: Touchdowns scored by USC seniors

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

 

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

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

 

Listen to the Week 12 recap podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

 

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

 

Last Week: 1-2

Year-to-Date: 38-38-1

 

Ohio St (-13) at Minnesota

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

 

Clemson (-3) at Georgia Tech

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

 

Indiana (+7) at Rutgers

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

 

Virginia Tech (+4.5) at Duke

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

 

Listen to the Week 12 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Florida St (-2.5) at Miami

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

 

Nebraska (+7) at Wisconsin

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

 

Kentucky (+8) at Tennessee

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

 

Play the trends:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Top 25 Picks ATS:

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

 

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

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


Big 12 Week 12 Game Power Rankings

 

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

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

 

Listen to the Week 12 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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


Pac-12 Week 12 Game Power Rankings

 

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

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

 

Listen to the Week 12 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

The Panel:

 

Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports

Dave Revsine, Big Ten Network 

Adam Zucker, CBS Sports

Steven Godfrey, SBNation

Zac Ellis, Sports Illustrated

Bryan Fischer, NFL.com

Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network

Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report, B/R Radio

Josh Ward, MrSEC.com

Mitch Light, Athlon Sports

David Fox, Athlon Sports

Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports

Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, SiriusXM

 

The Results:

 

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

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

 

Listen to the Week 11 predictions podcast:



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Top 3:

 
1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

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

 

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

 

2. Dak Prescott, Mississippi St

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

 

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

 

3. Trevone Boykin, TCU

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

 

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

Teaser:
Expert Poll: Week 11 Heisman Trophy Voting
Post date: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 09:00

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