Articles By David Fox

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
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Rivalry week has lost its juice in the Big 12.

Thanks to conference realignment, Texas won’t face Texas A&M during the Thanksgiving holiday. No Missouri-Kansas, either. And thanks to no conference championship game, the Bedlam Game will wait until next week.

The key storyline, though, may still be an emotional one. Baylor and Texas can both win the Big 12, but both programs are coming off losses to Oklahoma State.

Texas will look to solve the Texas Tech passing game in a matchup that replaces the traditional Longhorns-Aggies game. Meanwhile, Baylor will try to solve its road woes with a trip to TCU.

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


Big 12 Week 14 Game Power Rankings
All times Eastern, All games Saturday unless noted.

1. Texas Tech at Texas (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Mack Brown will find out how much wind is still in the sails for his team this week. Oklahoma State sapped the momentum of a 6-0 start in conference play, particularly on defense. Texas can still win the Big 12’s BCS bid by defeating Texas Tech and Baylor plus an Oklahoma State loss to Oklahoma. Texas Tech knows a thing or two about how quickly a season can be derailed. The Red Raiders have lost four in a row since their 7-0 start. Texas Tech has been progressively worse against the run in each of the last four games, allowing 297.6 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry in the four losses. The Red Raiders head into another game where the quarterback hasn’t been settled. Baker Mayfield threw all but two of Texas Tech’s pass attempts in the loss to Baylor. Former starter Davis Webb hasn’t played since Mayfield replaced him against Kansas State.

2. Baylor at TCU (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Despite a loss to Oklahoma State, Baylor still has a handful of goals in its reach, including Big 12 championship with a Cowboys’ loss or a BCS at-large berth if the Bears win out. Baylor, though, still needs to overcome its road woes and its ongoing injury issues. Art Briles is optimistic either Lache Seastrunk or Glasco Martin could return this week, but Baylor will still be without middle linebacker Bryce Hager. The absence shook up the defensive alignment last week with safety Ahmad Dixon playing outside linebacker. Dixon should return to his safety position against TCU. Baylor won’t find any sympathy from TCU, who has seen player injuries, departures and suspensions derail the Horned Frogs in two seasons in the Big 12. The latest was the apparent departure of running back Waymon James, who had been suspended for the last two games, this week.

3. Kansas State at Kansas (noon, Fox Sports 1)
Kansas State has won the last four meetings by an average margin of 34.5 points per game. More of the same may be on the way even after Kansas State lost to Oklahoma last week. Meanwhile, Kansas followed its first Big 12 win in three years with a 34 blowout loss to Iowa State. Be prepared for a game with four quarterbacks as Kansas State rotates Jake Waters and Daniel Sims on will (and it works) while Kansas has started both Jake Heaps and freshman Montell Cozart (it hasn’t worked).

4. Iowa State at West Virginia (4 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
“Iowa State is the best 2-9 team in the country,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said this week. And at 4-7, he’s coaching the team with the better record. Both teams are looking to wrap up disappointing seasons, but for the sake of his job security, Holgorsen may not be able to afford to lose to Kansas and Iowa State to finish the season.

Big 12 Week 14 Pivotal Players

Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed, Texas
Texas Tech won’t surprise anyone by relying on the passing game. Texas will need an improved performance by its pass rush to slow down the Red Raiders. The Longhorns didn’t have a sack in the loss to Oklahoma State after recording 24 in the previous six games. Texas Tech ranks 23rd in the nation on taking sacks on four percent of pass plays.

Case McCoy, Texas
An off game by McCoy finally arrived the last time out against Oklahoma State. McCoy threw three interceptions and had his lowest efficiency rating of the season in the 38-13 defeat. Texas Tech’s defense is vulnerable with two true freshmen starting in the secondary, but Longhorns coach Mack Brown said he’d like to see McCoy make more plays by scrambling as he did earlier this season.

Texas Tech’s run defense
The Red Raiders run defense has allowed progressively higher rushing totals in each of the last seven games, from 53 yards against Kansas to 340 against Baylor on Nov. 16. Texas’ run defense is down a man without Johnathan Gray, but Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron have been able to shoulder the load as a duo.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
This is a little hard to believe: TCU beat Baylor 49-21 in Waco last season. A major reason was the play of Boykin, then the quarterback for the Frogs. Boykin completed 22 of 30 passes for 261 yards with four touchdowns against the Bears. Since quarterback Casey Pachall returned, Boykin has been a multi-faceted threat for the offense. He’s attempted one pass in the last three games, but that attempt was a touchdown against Kansas State.

Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Lockett may not be pivotal to a Kansas State win over the Jayhawks, but he may be fun to watch. Lockett has caught 20 passes for 401 yards with four touchdowns in the last two weeks while averaging 32.7 yards per kickoff return. Poor Kansas may be in trouble.

Big 12 Week 14 Picks

 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Texas Tech (+4.5) at TexasTexas 35-21Texas 34-31Texas 34-30Texas 37-21
Kansas St. (-16.5) at KansasKSU 42-14KSU 42-17KSU 38-17KSU 41-10
Baylor (-13) at TCUBaylor 35-10Baylor 37-20Baylor 41-20Baylor 49-28
Iowa St. (+9) at West Va.WVU 21-17WVU 27-20WVU 34-24WVU 28-20
Last Week0-31-21-21-2
This Season54-1457-1155-1355-13


 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 14 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-battle-4-atlantis-preview
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Battle 4 Atlantis Facts and Figures
Site: Paradise Island, Bahamas
TV: NBC Sports Network
Championship game: Saturday, 9:30 p.m.

First-round games
Villanova vs. USC (1 p.m.)
Kansas vs. Wake Forest (3:30 p.m.)
Xavier vs. Iowa (7 p.m.)
Tennessee vs. UTEP (9:30 p.m.)
The Battle 4 Atlantis, despite its clunky numerical shorthand and playing court inside a hotel ballroom, is quickly gaining on the Maui Invitational for top matchups for the Thanksgiving tournaments.

Granted, this year’s field isn’t as strong as the one last season that featured Louisville, Duke, Missouri, Memphis and VCU. Kansas is the only top-25 team in this years field.

But this is also where Minnesota gained a bit of notoriety last season by defeating Memphis on the way to the NCAA Tournament.

Andrew Wiggins’ matchups against talented competition may be the headline here, but a few notables in the rest of the bracket are trying to make statements for 2013-14. Xavier, Tennessee and Iowa all have the returning core of players to be top 25 teams this season, but those hopes never materialized this season.

Rather than powerhouses and household names, the upstarts may end up the big winners during the weekend.

Best potential matchup: Kansas vs. Iowa in the final
Kansas is the only ranked team in the field, but a matchup with a veteran, high-scoring Iowa team could be a key test for Kansas and key barometer for the depth of the Big Ten.

Player to watch: Perry Ellis, Kansas
It’s too easy to pick Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, a national player of the year contender. The field at Atlantis also includes other All-America contenders (Xavier’s Semaj Christon) and pro prospects (Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes). Might be better to keep an eye on Ellis, who is both of those things for a national title contender. This has been pinpointed as a breakout year for the sophomore, and so far he’s delivered with 16.8 points and seven rebounds per game.

Matchup to keep an eye on: Xavier’s Semaj Christon vs. Tennessee’s Jordan McRae
Again, it’s too easy to pick a Kansas player vs. anyone. Instead, keep an eye on Xavier’s Semaj Christon and Tennessee’s Jordan McRae, who could meet in the second round. Both are high-volume shooters who can carry their teams. Chris Mack and Cuonzo Martin probably need more from both supporting casts to return to the NCAA Tournament this season, but both Christon and McRae will get their points.

Most to gain: Iowa
Iowa is 5-0 but hasn’t played a tough schedule with blowouts against UNC-Wilmington, Omaha, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Abilene Christian and Penn. the Hawkeyes open with the best first-round game of the field against Xavier. Iowa could draw Tennessee in the second round and Kansas in a final. The Hawkeyes return the same core of players who went winless against ranked teams last year, so this could be a turning point.

Sleeper: Villanova
The Wildcats open with USC in Andy Enfield’s first game on a big stage. After that, Villanova likely draws Kansas in the second round. The Wildcats have five players averaging better than 14 points per game, but they’re shooting a pedestrian 45.5 percent from the field and even worse 25.5 percent from 3-point range. Much of this group proved to be giant-killers last year, though, with wins over Louisville, Syracuse and Georgetown.

Scheduling quirk: Xavier could play Tennessee for the second time this season and face a conference opponent.
Xavier defeated Tennessee 67-63 in Cincinnati on Nov. 12 and could Tennessee again 17 days later. With the right breaks, either in the winner’s bracket or loser’s bracket, Xavier also could face future Big East opponent Villanova.

Way Too Early Ranking of the Field
1. Kansas
2. Iowa
3. Villanova
4. Xavier
5. Tennessee
6. Wake Forest
7. USC
8. UTEP
 

Teaser:
College Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-14
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Rivalry week and Thanksgiving is upon us with a huge Iron Bowl matchup. Is Alabama unstoppable or does Auburn have a shot in its big moment? It's strength vs. strength, so anything is possible, says our hosts.

The Heisman race is as cloud as it's been all season. The clear leader on the field has major off-the-field issues, so our hosts look at the merits of Andre Williams vs. Ka'Deem Carey, Jordan Lynch vs. Derek Carr and if Tajh Boyd should re-enter the field.

Florida State is clearly ahead of Ohio State in the BCS, but should Ohio State's schedule get a second look? We're divided.

The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

 

Teaser:
Previewing the Iron Bowl, debating the Heisman and national championship resumes
Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 18:11
Path: /college-football/amazing-big-12-college-football-stats-week-13
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The Big 12 lost its only national championship contender and likely lost a chance at the Heisman Trophy in Week 13.

If there’s any silver lining, though, Saturday could have set up an interesting final week of the season in the league.

Texas and Baylor are in action during the Thanksgiving weekend, but if the Longhorns and Bears defeat Texas Tech and TCU, respectively, they’ll still be in the Big 12 hunt come Dec. 7.

Oklahoma State controls its path to the Fiesta Bowl, but the Cowboys face Oklahoma in the final week of the season, a game that is suddenly more intriguing after the Sooners defeated Kansas State. Baylor lost in convincing fashion to the Cowboys, but the Bears will be rooting for an Oklahoma State loss to keep the Bears in the BCS hunt.

The final week of the season will be compelling, but how we got here was just as interesting. Here’s how the stats told the story.

More Stats from Week 13: ACC Big Ten Pac-12

Key Numbers from around the Big 12 in Week 13

1. One-loss team whose defeat came to a team with a losing record
The most popular question as Oklahoma State built its lead against Baylor was how in the world did the Cowboys lose to West Virginia? Indeed, it’s an outlier for one-loss teams. Of the eight one loss teams, only Oklahoma lost to a team with a losing record. Michigan State is the only other team whose loss came to a team unranked in this week’s Associated Press poll — and that team was an 8-3 Notre Dame.


29:01. Baylor’s longest streak without a touchdown before Saturday
Baylor’s longest touchdown drought this season covered 29:01 of game time, starting with the final 6:03 in a lopsided win over Kansas and going into the first half against Oklahoma on Nov. 7. The touchdown-free streak was the longest for Baylor until...

45:32. Time before Baylor scored a touchdown against Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State pulled off what no team or even pair of teams have done this season by keeping Baylor out of the end zone for more than 45 minutes. Before Antwan Goodley caught a 25-yard touchdown pass for Bryce Petty with 14:28 to go, Baylor had been limited to a field goal in the first three quarters.

3. Teams to hold Art Briles-led Baylor teams to two or fewer touchdowns since 2010
Oklahoma State joined an interesting cast of teams that have held Baylor to two or fewer touchdowns since 2010, Robert Griffin’s sophomore year and the first bowl season under Briles. Oklahoma State did it Saturday, an undefeated TCU team held Baylor to one touchdown in 2010, and Illinois, coached by Ron Zook at the time, did it in the 2010 Texas Bowl.

3. 10-win seasons for Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy
The win over Baylor secured Oklahoma State a 10-win season for the third time under coach Mike Gundy, joining a 12-1 season in 2011 and 11-2 in 2010. The Cowboys have had only six 10-win seasons in their history and Gundy has been involved in five of them. Gundy was the quarterback for Oklahoma State’s 10-2 teams in 1987 and 1988. The Pokes also went 10-2 in 1984.

37. Consecutive road losses against ranked teams for Baylor
The Bears have rewritten their record book under Art Briles, but Baylor still has one more hurdle. The 49-17 loss to Oklahoma State was Baylor’s 37th consecutive road loss to a ranked team. The winless streak goes back to Baylor’s 21-14 defeat of then-No. 16 SMU on Oct. 12, 1985.

206. Receiving yards for Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett before halftime
The nation has had 21 200-yard receiving games this season. Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett joined that group before halftime against Oklahoma. Lockett had 206 of his school-record 278 yards before halftime. Lockett has the fifth (278 against Oklahoma) and eighth-highest (237 against Texas) receiving totals in a game this season

440. All-purpose yards for Lockett against Oklahoma, most in a game this season
Lockett added 162 yards on kickoff returns against Oklahoma to give him 440 all-purpose yards, the most in a game since Nov. 17, 2012 when Tavon Austin had 572 yards against Oklahoma and NC State’s Tobias Palmer had 496 yards Clemson.

48. Average yardage on second-quarter scoring plays in Oklahoma-Kansas State
Oklahoma eventually put the game away, but one of the highlights of the Sooners’ win in Manhattan was a 38-point second quarter that featured four touchdowns of at least 30 yards. OU freshman Trevor Knight scored on an eight-yard run, but then the floodgates opened. Lockett caught a 48-yard touchdown pass, followed by a 30-yard TD pass. Oklahoma’s Brennan Clay responded with a 64-yard touchdown run. Lockett scored the final TD of the quarter with a 90-yard touchdown catch.

24. Rushing yards for Kansas State, fewest since 2006
Where have you gone, Collin Klein? Kansas State rushed for 24 yards on 22 carries, the fewest since rushing for 23 yards on 25 carries against Texas on Nov. 11, 2006.

706. Rushing yards for Oklahoma since the loss to Baylor
The Sooners rushed for only 87 yards against Baylor, but since then, Oklahoma has been unstoppable in the ground game. OU rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries against Kansas State on Saturday and 405 yards and four touchdowns on 44 carries a week earlier against Iowa State.

1. Conference without a winless team in league play
Iowa State’s 34-0 rout of Kansas, a week after the Jayhawks defeated West Virginia, means the Big 12 is the only FBS conference in which every team has a league win. Orange slices for everyone.

 

Teaser:
Amazing Big 12 College Football Stats from Week 13
Post date: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 07:15
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According to precedent the BCS championship field is more or less set.

With only one exception (2007 LSU), the BCS championship game teams were ranked in the top four at this stage of the season. That’s good news for Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Auburn.

In each of the last three seasons, the top two teams with two weeks to go held on to play for the national title. That’s not great news for Ohio State and Auburn.

Those two teams, though, were the big winners this week thanks to Baylor’s loss. The Bears’ improving schedule strength down the stretch will be a moot point after Baylor lost to Oklahoma State on Saturday. And thanks to Oklahoma State’s loss to 4-7 West Virginia, the Cowboys are not a serious threat to join the top one-loss teams in the title discussion.
Moving Up


No. 3 Ohio State. The Buckeyes didn’t move up after being ranked third last week, but Baylor’s loss keeps Ohio State safely at the third spot. The possibility of a one-loss Auburn or Missouri passing undefeated Ohio State isn’t implausible since both could face No. 1 Alabama in the next two weeks. But Ohio State has a 0.0961 edge in the BCS average, a major hurdle at this stage of the season. No undefeated team from an automatic-qualifying conference has ever been passed for the BCS championship game by a one-loss team.

Moving Down

No. 16 Fresno State. The Bulldogs slipped from No. 15 to No. 16, but Northern Illinois surprised by moving ahead of Fresno State to No. 14. Northern Illinois remains at least four spots behind Fresno State in both the coaches’ and Harris polls, but the Huskies moved from 12th in the computer rankings to No. 7. Fresno is 17th in the computer average. If NIU remains ahead of Fresno State, the Huskies would grab a BCS automatic bid. Fresno State finishes its season at San Jose State (5-6) and likely against Utah State (7-4) in the Mountain West title game. Northern Illinois finishes with Western Michigan (1-10) and either Buffalo (8-3) or Bowling Green (8-3) in the MAC Championship Game.

Quick BCS Projections

BCS Championship Game: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Florida State
Rose: No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 3 Ohio State
Orange: No. 6 Clemson* vs. No. 15 Wisconsin*
Sugar: No. 4 Auburn* vs. No. 19 UCF
Fiesta: No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 14 Northern Illinois
*at-large selections

Key Games This Week

No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn. With a loss by Baylor, one-loss Auburn remains a plausible national championship team. If the No. 4 Tigers defeat Alabama and either Missouri or South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game, Auburn climbs into the national title picture with a loss by either Florida State or Ohio State.

No. 6 Clemson at No. 10 South Carolina. The Tigers would all but clinch a BCS at-large berth if they can defeat South Carolina, something Clemson hasn’t done since 2008.

Minnesota at No. 11 Michigan State/Penn State at No. 15 Wisconsin. Both Michigan State and Wisconsin are strong candidates for an at-large BCS bid out of the Big Ten, but they need to win in the final week of the regular season. If Michigan State losses in the Big Ten title game, a two-loss Wisconsin may still be a more attractive BCS at-large team if eligible.

Other Observations

• Northern Illinois. The Huskies provided one of the surprises of the latest BCS release by jumping No. 16 Fresno State to No. 14. The Huskies defeated Ball State and Toledo, who have a combined record of 16-6, in the last two weeks. The team NIU defeated for its best win, Iowa, also defeated Michigan for a boost to its non-conference schedule.

• Wisconsin is an odds-on favorite for an at-large bid, but the Badgers still haven’t cracked the top 14 to be eligible for a BCS bid. Wisconsin still has a home game against Penn State, and teams ahead of the Badgers could lose — Michigan State, South Carolina and Arizona State all have difficult games in the final weeks of the season.

• The selection of at-large bids will be interesting. Baylor remained in the top 10 despite a loss to Oklahoma State and would be a strong candidate for an at-large if the Cowboys clinch the Fiesta Bowl. Three Pac-12 teams also remain in at-large contention with Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State all the top 15. A Clemson or Wisconsin loss would be a boon to the at-large hopes in the Pac-12 and Big 12.

Notes on BCS selection

• Automatic BCS bids go to the top two for the title game, the champions of the ACC (Orange Bowl), Big 12 (Fiesta), Big Ten (Rose), Pac-12 (Rose) and SEC (Sugar). The American’s automatic bid is not tied to a particular bowl.



• Notre Dame receives an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight.



• A champion from a non-automatic qualifying league (Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and non-Notre Dame independents) receive an automatic bid if it finishes in the top 12 of the standings or if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of a champion from a non-AQ conference.



• To be eligible for an at-large BCS bid, a team must have nine or more wins and finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings.



• Once automatic tie-ins are placed, the selection order for BCS bids goes as follows: 1. The bowl losing the BCS No. 1 team to the championship game, 2. The bowl losing the BCS No. 2 team, 3. The Orange Bowl, 4. The Sugar, 5. The Fiesta.

Teaser:
Post-Week 13 BCS Rankings and Projections
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 20:15
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-states-chelf-earns-athlon-player-week-honors
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The quarterback who rearranged the Big 12 wasn’t even in the lineup until the last five games.

As Baylor and Texas learned, Clint Chelf is in some ways the nation’s most unpredictable player.

Two weeks ago, Chelf, considered less of a running threat than teammate J.W. Walsh, rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns to defeat Texas in Austin.

But Saturday brought the biggest surprise as Chelf, not his Baylor counterpart, was the quarterback of the most explosive and efficient offense. Chelf completed 19 of 25 passes for 370 yards with three touchdowns to earn Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.

In defeating Baylor and Texas in the last two weeks, Chelf completed better than 70 percent of his passes and put Oklahoma State into the lead for the Fiesta Bowl.

Athlon Sports Week 13 National Awards

National Player of the Week: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State

The Cowboys’ offense has evolved through the course of the season, most notably with return to Clint Chelf as starting quarterback. Even though he’d shown marked improvement, an explosion like the one against Baylor was a shock. Chelf completed his first 11 passes as Oklahoma State built a commanding lead in the third quarter. Chelf, who has started the last five games, finished 19 of 25 for 370 yards with four total touchdowns.

National Defensive Player of the Week: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
There were a handful of standout defensive performances in the ACC in Week 13, with Donald narrowly beating Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan and North Carolina’s Kareem Martin for this week’s honor.  With bowl eligibility on the line, Donald and Pittsburgh’s defense held Syracuse to 16 points and 307 yards on 67 plays. The Orange recorded 148 rushing yards, which was 73 below their weekly average. Donald once again wrecked havoc against the offensive line, recording nine tackles (3.5 tackles for a loss) and two quarterback hurries. Donald also blocked an extra point after Syracuse’s first touchdown.

National Freshman of the Week: Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
Like Oklahoma State, the rival Sooners started the season with one quarterback, switched and now returned to the opening day starter. Oklahoma went back to redshirt freshman Trevor Knight this week out of necessity with Blake Bell out following a concussion. Knight responded by completing 14 of 20 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 41-31 road win over Kansas State. Knight added 82 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Coordinator of the Week: John Chavis, LSU
Chavis and his LSU defense did the impossible — shut down Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense. The Aggies’ 299 total yards were 279 below their season average and 187 below their previous season low (486 in the opener against Rice). Manziel completed only 16-of-41 passes for 224 yards — the fewest in any of his 10 starts this season — with one touchdown and two interceptions. Texas A&M also had its streak of 13 straight games with at least 40 points snapped. Not bad for a defense that had to replace eight starters from last season.

Athlon Sports Week 13 Conference Awards

ACC
Offense: Andre Williams, Boston College
Defense: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Freshman: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Coordinator: Blake Anderson, North Carolina

Big 12
Offense: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
Defense: Jeremiah George, Iowa State
Freshman: Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
Coordinator: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State

Big Ten
Offense: Jeremy Langford and Connor Cook, Michigan State
Defense: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Freshman: Michael Rose, Nebraska
Coordinator: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin

Pac-12
Offense: Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
Defense: Chris Young, Arizona State
Freshman: Scooby Wright, Arizona
Coordinator: Jeff Casteel, Arizona

SEC
Offense: Terrence Magee, LSU
Defense: Chase Garnham, Vanderbilt
Freshman: Reshard Robinson and Tre’Davious White, LSU
Coordinator: John Chavis, LSU

 

Teaser:
Oklahoma State's Chelf Earns Athlon Player of the Week Honors
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 14:28
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The Big 12 found a way to squeeze a ton of action into only three games this week.

The headline, of course, is Oklahoma State’s 49-17 rout of previously undefeated Baylor. The Cowboys’ win knocks the Big 12 out of the BCS championship picture and puts Oklahoma State in control of its fate for the Fiesta Bowl.

The Cowboys’ rout to the Big 12 title won’t be easy, though. Oklahoma defeated Kansas State 41-31 to quiet one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 and to ensure the Bedlam Game will be between ranked teams.

Even Iowa State picked up its first league win of the season with a 34-0 victory over Kansas.

Big 12 Week 13 Awards and Power Rankings

Offensive Player of the Week: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys’ offense has evolved through the course of the season, most notably with return to Clint Chelf as starting quarterback. Even though he’d shown marked improvement, an explosion like the one against Baylor was a shock. Chelf completed his first 11 passes as Oklahoma State built a commanding lead in the third quarter. Chelf, who has started the last five games, finished 19 of 25 for 370 yards with four total touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Jeremiah George, Iowa State
The Iowa State linebacker has been a bright spot in a forgettable season for the Cyclones. In the shutout of Kansas, George again stood out with 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.

Freshman of the Week: Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
Like Oklahoma State, the rival Sooners started the season with one quarterback, switched and now returned to the opening day starter. Oklahoma went back to redshirt freshman Trevor Knight this week out of necessity with Blake Bell out following a concussion. Knight responded by completing 14 of 20 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 41-31 road win over Kansas State. Knight added 82 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Team of the Week: Oklahoma State
Few teams have shown more improvement through the course of the season than Oklahoma State. The Pokes lost their Big 12 opener 30-21 at West Virginia in what hardly seemed like a major upset at the time. Now, it's a head-scratching loss. The Cowboys demolished Baylor and Texas by a combined score of 87-30 for both the Bears’ and Longhorns’ first conference losses of the season. The Pokes will head into the Bedlam Game in two weeks with a chance for their second Big 12 championship in three seasons.

Coordinator of the Week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
As impressive as Oklahoma State’s offense was against Baylor, Glenn Spencer’s defense was even more so. The Cowboys did what no other team could do this season by shutting down the Baylor offense, holding the Bears to merely a field goal through the first three quarters. Oklahoma State stifled the run game to 2.6 yards per carry and forced four three-and-outs.

Big 12 Post-Week 13 Power Rankings
 

RankTeamLWRecordResultThis Week
1210-1, 7-1W, Baylor 49-17Off
219-1, 6-1L, at Oklahoma State 49-17at TCU
337-3, 6-1OffTexas Tech (Thu.)
449-2, 6-2W, at Kansas State 41-31Off
556-5, 4-4L, Oklahoma 41-31at Kansas
667-4, 4-4Offat Texas (Thu.)
774-7, 2-6OffBaylor
884-7, 2-6OffIowa State
9102-9, 1-7W, Kansas 34-0at West Virginia
1093-8, 1-8L, at Iowa State 34-0Kansas State

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 13 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 13:14
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC, News
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College football in 2013, at least in Week 13, is a lesson in waiting your turn.

Ohio State’s case to remain next man up in the BCS championship race after Alabama and Florida State needed little statement on the Buckeyes’ part this week. Ohio State made easy work of Indiana, but Baylor cleared up any room for debate with a loss to Oklahoma State.

No doubt, Ohio State fans are pleased with this development, but the Buckeyes’ ability to secure the No. 3 spot for good was due to another actor sitting in wait in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf was a starter, then a backup, then a starter again. Now, he’s the quarterback who changed the national championship picture and Heisman race all while putting the Cowboys’ into the frontrunner spot in the Big 12.

And in the Heisman chase, AJ McCarron did nothing out of the ordinary against Chattanooga, but he’s almost the de facto leader as those around him this week — Bryce Petty, Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota, namely — struggled.

In a sport where patience isn’t always a virtue, waiting for a turn was this week's greatest teammate.

Three and Out: College Football Week 13 Recap

Three Things We Learned from LSU 34, Texas A&M 10

Johnny Manziel won’t repeat as Heisman winner. Archie Griffin’s singular achievement as the only two-time Heisman winner likely remains intact. If there’s any remaining hope for Manziel, it’s because nearly every other frontrunner faltered in recent weeks. LSU remains Manziel Kryptonite. The sophomore started 2 of 11 and never found running room against the Tigers. Manziel finished 16 of 41 for 224 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. In two meetings with LSU, Manziel is 45 of 97 for 500 yards with five picks against the Tigers in easily the two worst starts of his career. Manziel has been short on big wins this season, largely due to a suspect defense, but the sophomore also has six interceptions in Texas A&M’s three losses.

LSU’s defense has grown up. Defensive coordinator John Chavis may have the only blueprint to contain Manziel, but don’t forget he was essentially starting from scratch with the 2013 defense. The Tigers returned only three starters on defense and lost six underclassmen to the NFL Draft. The replacements are as talented as any LSU defense, but experience was at a premium. The Tigers young cornerbacks did their part bottling up Manziel and preventing extended drives for most of the first half. Now, LSU’s defense needs to prove it can do the same on the road when it faces Missouri next week.

LSU’s running back depth strikes again. Three LSU tailbacks carried 13 or 14 times, plus eight carries from a fourth. None was more productive than Terrence Magee. His 149 yards on 13 carries was a career high, highlighted by a five-play, 71-yard touchdown drive all on his shoulders. Before Saturday, his two 100-yard games had come against Furman and Kent State. But this highlighted the work of the entire corps of running backs as LSU held the ball for 40:19 and limited A&M to a season-low 59 plays.

Three Things We Learned from Oklahoma State 49, Baylor 17

Clint Chelf is one of the best stories this season. In a depleted quarterback class in the Big 12, Clint Chelf was the Athlon first-team All-Big 12 quarterback in the preseason. After three quarters of teh season, Chelf finally started to look like it. Gundy named Chelf the starter and benched him after six pass attempts in the opener against Mississippi State. J.W. Walsh held the job for a few games, but was ineffective in Big 12 play. Gundy went back to Chelf, and the move paid off. The unquestioned MVP of the rout of undefeated Baylor, Chelf completed 12 of his first 13 passes and finished 19 of 25 for 370 yards.

Glenn Spencer is Oklahoma State’s superstar coordinator. The offensive coordinator position at Oklahoma State has been a stepping stone for head coaches from Larry Fedora to Dana Holgorsen to Todd Monken. Even though Chelf was the star Saturday, the Cowboys’ defense has been the most consistent unit all season. Baylor’s offense has been all but unstoppable this season, but Oklahoma State prevented the Bears from scoring a touchdown until the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State followed the blueprint for stopping Baylor by stuffing the run game for 2.6 yards per carry and forcing Baylor to force plays in the passing game. Chelf completed 12 of his 13 passes as Oklahoma State built and insurmountable lead in the first half. If Oklahoma State needs a face of its incremental improvement this season, Chelf is it.

Baylor has little reason to sulk. Baylor was embarrassed on a national stage, particularly on a 78-yard fumble recovery for at touchdown just as the Bears started to build momentum. The soft schedule and video game numbers heading into this rout will provide plenty of fodder for people who want to dismiss Baylor as a fraud. The starters missing from the lineup — running back Lache Seastrunk, wide receiver Tevin Reese, offensive tackle Spencer Drango and linebacker Bryce Hager — certainly hurt, too. Baylor is out of the national championship hunt, and Bryce Petty’s Heisman bid is probably over. Still, Baylor is in the running for the Big 12 title with an Oklahoma State loss in the Bedlam Game. And even then, a one-loss Baylor would be an attractive team for the Cotton Bowl against an SEC team or a BCS at-large bid. Legitimacy hasn’t been lost.

Three Things We Learned from Arizona State 38, UCLA 33

Arizona State is undervalued and kind of showed why. The Sun Devils entered Saturday ranked 19th in the AP poll. That was one spot behind a three-loss LSU, three spots behind a Wisconsin team Arizona State beat (albeit under dubious officiating) and five spots behind UCLA. The Sun Devils looked every bit the underrated Pac-12 favorite as they built a 35-13 halftime lead. But UCLA turned this into one-score game in the second half with a sack ending a touchdown opportunity to go with two missed field goals. Arizona State clinched the Pac-12 South and could still host the Pac-12 title game with a win over Arizona, but the Sun Devils nearly let this one slip away.

Taylor Kelly and Marion Grice is the best backfield no one talks about. Taylor Kelly rarely gets mentioned in the first breath of Pac-12 quarterbacks, but that needs to change. He’s worthy of second-team all-conference after Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Kelly completed 20 of 27 passes for 225 yards with a touchdown against UCLA, adding 99 rushing yards and a touchdown. Marion Grice had his typical two-dimensional day with 95 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards against the Bruins.

UCLA’s not there yet. UCLA made a game of it late, but two missed field goals and eight sacks held the Bruins back. Quarterback Brett Hundley picked up yards on the ground late in the game, but a slow start behind three freshman starters on the offensive line was too much to overcome. Hundley was sacked eight times as UCLA went 0 for 3 against ranked Pac-12 teams this season. Hundley went 55 of 84 for 509 yards with three touchdowns, six interceptions and 15 sacks combined against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State this season.

Moving the Chains

Wisconsin’s defense. The run game is the established face of the Badgers' program, but take a minute to admire the defense. If Wisconsin is an at-large BCS pick this season, Gary Andersen could credit his defense. The Badgers held Minnesota to 102 rushing yards, less than half of its season average. Minnesota entered the game averaging 4.7 yards per carry and averaged 3.2 against Wisconsin. A week earlier, Wisconsin held Indiana to 224 total yards and 3.7 yards per play. The Hoosiers are among the Big Ten leaders at 496.8 yards and 6.7 yards per play.

James Franklin’s return. The Missouri quarterback returned after missing four games with a should injury to complete 12 of 19 passes for 141 yards with an interception in a 24-10 win at Ole Miss. It wasn’t an overwhelming game for the quarterback, but Missouri remained in the lead for the SEC East. Ole Miss defeated LSU in Oxford and gave Texas A&M fits here. A two-touchdown win at Ole Miss is a good sign for a team that looked like it could fumble away the SEC East race after loss to South Carolina.

Oklahoma’s new backfield. Trevor Knight’s second act as starting quarterback was much better than his first. Knight began the season as the Sooners’ starter but injury and ineffectiveness gave Blake Bell the job after two games. A concussion for Bell gave the job back to Knight, who led a 41-31 win over a hot Kansas State team on the road. Knight wasn’t asked to take many risks in the passing game. Knight still went 14 of 20 for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 82 yards and a score. The tailback position also was undermanned with Damien Williams suspended. Brennan Clay carried the load with 200 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.

False Starts

Florida. Athletic director Jeremy Foley said earlier this week he’s “1,000 percent” committed to coach Will Muschamp, but that may be tested. Foley has fired only one football or men’s basketball coach as Florida athletic director and that coach, Ron Zook, never missed a bowl game nor lost to an FCS team. Muschamp accomplished both with a 26-20 loss to Georgia Southern, Florida’s first FCS loss and first nonconference home loss to a team other than Florida State or Miami since 1988. Botched clock management seemed to be a moot point, but it certainly didn’t help Muschamp’s cause. Muschamp sat on his timeouts on Florida’s final possession until the clock stopped in the final minute after an incomplete pass. Georgia Southern’s option befuddled Florida’s defense with 450 rushing yards. The Gators offense was listless as usual, allowing Georgia Southern to outgain Florida 450-271. The upset gave us this shocking quarterback comparison. Guess which quarterback won the game? Hint: It’s the one with all the zeroes.


Oregon. Two Ducks players earlier this week shrugged at the prospect of going to the Rose Bowl. Running back De’Anthony Thomas said “it’s not a big deal,” and receiver Josh Huff said he didn’t want to play in the Rose Bowl unless it’s for a national championship. Now, they’ll get a taste of the rest of the Pac-12’s bowl alignment. Oregon had its most un-Oregon-like game in years when it lost 42-16 to Arizona, the Ducks’ first loss to an unranked team since losing 51-42 to Stanford in 2009 and their most lopsided loss since losing 44-10 to USC in 2008. Marcus Mariota’s knee continues to limit the Oregon offense, but this was a team-wide effort to never really challenge Arizona.

Michigan and Northwestern. Michigan opened the season ranked 17th in the preseason polls. Northwestern was 22nd. Seems like ages ago, right? The Wolverines hit its lowest point of a disappointing season with a 24-21 loss to Iowa. The Wolverines were outscored 17-0 in the second half, amassed only  158 yards and managed to lose a game in which Iowa turned the ball over four times. Northwestern finally avoided losing in heartbreaking fashion by losing in a 30-6  blowout to Michigan State, the Wildcats’ seventh consecutive loss since what was billed as one of the biggest games in school history against Ohio State.

Heisman Movers

Andre Williams, Boston College. If a running back is going to crack the group of quarterbacks in the Heisman race, it will be Williams. The Boston College senior became the 16th player to crack 2,000 yards for a season and the first since Connecticut’s Donald Brown. Williams rushed for 263 yards in a 29-26 win over Maryland, giving him 897 in the last three games. Five of the previous 15 2,000-yard rushers won the Heisman (Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders, USC’s Marcus Allen, Nebraska’s Mike Rozier, Texas’ Ricky Williams, Colorado’s Rashaan Salaam).

AJ McCarron, Alabama. McCarron moves up by default thanks to losses by Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Bryce Petty. Jameis WInston has all the on-field credentials for the award, but the sexual assault investigation casts a shadow over the season. That leaves McCarron standing in the field of five contenders that separated itself.

Derek Carr, Fresno State. Carr put on a show in one of Fresno State’s few games on a Saturday afternoon. Against an overmatched New Mexico team, Carr completed 27 of 37 passes for 522 yards and seven touchdowns in a 69-28 rout. After close calls earlier this season, the Bulldogs have defeated Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico by lopsided margins in the last three weeks. Carr has topped 70 percent passing, 360 yards and three touchdowns in each game.

Stat Watch

353. Interception-free streak ended by Marcus Mariota.
Mariota’s ball security has been a thing of wonder as the quarterback has gone since Nov. 17, 2012 and 353 consecutive passes without an interception. That streak ended with a acrobatic, two-man interception from Arizona’s defense. Mariota added a second interception to give him a 27-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season, which is remains a remarkable statistic. Even in an injured state, it still takes a remarkable play to intercept Mariota:
 



80. Scoring total for two ACC teams. No team had scored 80 points in a game since Oklahoma State defeated Savannah State 84-0 on Sept. 1, 2012. Two ACC teams did it Saturday. Florida State defeated Idaho 80-14, but the more surprising result was North Carolina’s 80-20 win over Old Dominion. North Carolina scored all 80 before both teams agreed to play a 10-minute fourth quarter. Old Dominion is set to join Conference USA in 2015.

3-0. Vanderbilt’s record vs. Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. This isn’t Philip Fulmer’s Tennessee program, but the Commodores wrapped up the feat of going 3-0 against Florida, Georgia and Tennessee by defeating the Volunteers 14-10. Vanderbilt drove 92 yards down the field with a backup quarterback and a jump pass to seal the win.

Buried on the Depth Chart

Stud Receivers
Davante Adams, Fresno State
Ty Mongtomery, Stanford
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

Clinched Championship Games
Big Ten: Michigan State vs. Ohio State
Pac-12: Arizona State vs. Stanford

Bowl Eligible
North Carolina
Pittsburgh
UNLV

Bowl Ineligible
Florida
Indiana
Northwestern

Best Pre-Saturday Games Next Week
Texas Tech at Texas (Thu.)
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thu.)
Oregon State at Oregon (Fri.)

Best Games Next Saturday
Alabama at Auburn
Clemson at South Carolina
Texas A&M at Missouri
East Carolina’s nine wins. The Pirates have flown under the radar this season. Blame the diluted Conference USA lineup. Still, East Carolina has a good case to be the No. 2 team in North Carolina behind Duke. The Pirates demolished NC State 42-28 for their second win over an in-state ACC team on the road (ECU defeated North Carolina 55-31 on Oct. 28). Shane Carden is one of the nation’s unheralded quarterbacks after accounting for 24 total touchdowns in the last four games. East Carolina is 9-2 this season and 14-4 in the last 18 games under Ruffin McNeill.

Aaron Donald. The Pittsburgh defensive tackle has the least notoriety of any of the finalists for the Lombardi Award and Nagurski Trophy this season. He hasn’t received the attention of UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, Missouri’s Michael Sam or the others, but he’s been just as dominant. Donald had nine tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss in the 17-16 win over Syracuse to make Pittsburgh bowl eligible. Donald’s blocked extra point in the first quarter turned out to be the decisive play in the game.

Hawaii’s heartbreakers. Two weeks, two overtimes and Hawaii is still winless. The Warriors have come within minutes of picking up their first win of the season in each of the first two weeks only to see fourth quarter leads turn into overtime losses. Hawaii led Wyoming 48-42 to start the fourth quarter before losing 59-56 in overtime. Last week, Hawaii led San Diego State 21-14 in the fourth quarter before the Aztecs scored the final 14 points to win in overtime. A long season for Norm Chow keeps getting longer.

Three Signs of the Apocalypse

Duke wins nine games. Duke’s ninth win seemed inevitable, but Wake Forest at least made the Blue Devils work for it. Wake took a 14-0 lead and led by a  touchdown in the third quarter as Duke coughed up a fumble for a touchdown and went 3 of 11 on third down. Duke won 28-21 for its ninth win of the season, the most in Durham since 1941. To put that in perspective: The last coach to win nine games at Duke was Wallace Wade, who left Alabama to coach the Blue Devils. Voluntarily.

Washington State in a bowl. The Cougars ended the Pac-12’s longest bowl drought by defeating Utah 49-37 for their sixth win. In less than two seasons, Mike Leach has already exceeded his predecessor’s Pac-12 win total. With a 4-4 conference record this season, Leach is 5-12 in the league overall. Paul Wulff was 4-32 in four seasons.

Illinois wins a Big Ten game. Thankfully for Illinois, Purdue is on the schedule. The Big Ten’s other awful team gave Illinois the chance to end its 20-game Big Ten losing streak. Illinois defeated Purdue 20-16 for its first conference win since Oct. 8, 2011 despite four turnovers against the Boilermakers.

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College Football Week 13 Recap: Baylor and Manziel stumble in Key Games
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In the last week, Duke all but wrapped up the No. 1 signing class for 2014 by adding Justise Winslow (the No. 11 recruit in the nation) to a class that already included center Jahlil Okafor (No. 1) and point guard Tyus Jones (No. 5).

Duke fans, no doubt, are excited for the 2014 freshman class, but the 2013 class is already plenty of fun. Namely Jabari Parker.

Parker took the top spot this week in the freshman power rankings by continuing his all-around effort and highlight reel play through Duke’s first five games. He may stay here for a while. Or next week may bring a new No. 1. Such is the nature of this year’s freshman class.

Athlon Sports is keeping an eye on the year of the freshmen with a weekly power ranking of the top rookies around the country. Keep in mind, these power rankings are not meant as a reflection of how these guys are going to fall in the NBA Draft, nor is it meant to be an All-America team of sorts.

The weekly freshman power rankings is more of a ranking of who has the momentum and buzz in recent games.

Did we miss anyone? Think we got this wrong? Tweet us at @AthlonSports.

2013-14 Freshman Power Rankings: Nov. 22

1. Jabari Parker, Duke
Last week: 2
We knew when the season began Parker would be one of the nation’s top freshmen and a player of the year contender. Seeing this happen is a little different. If he was only scoring — Parker is the first player under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke to top 20 points in his first five carer games — he’d still be an All-American. But Parker is also averaging 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 65 percent from the field. Against East Carolina on Tuesday, Parker came out of nowhere to block six shots and throw in this coast-to-coast dunk for good measure.
 

2. Julius Randle, Kentucky
Last week: 1
Randle has had a double-double in all five games this season, averaging 20.8 points and 13.4 rebounds. Kentucky is still figuring out how to play as a team, but Randle is looking just about automatic. With games against Michigan State’s and Baylor’s frontcourts in the first month of the season, Randle will have earned all his accolades.

3. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Last week: 3
Wiggins has played fewer games than the Parker or Randle, but he’s been no less impressive. He scored 13 points with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals on Tuesday against Iona, Kansas’ only game since the Champions Classic win over Duke.

4. Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Last week: 7
Vonleh had double-doubles in each of his first four games going into Thursday’s matchup with Washington. Vonleh missed extending that streak by one rebound, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds. Vonleh was 13 of 21 from the field last week.

5. Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Last week: 6
Gordon hasn’t had the showcase of the other top freshmen this season, but he’s often mentioned in the same breath. In his marquee game — on the road against San Diego State — Gordon displayed his all-around game with 16 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists.

6. James Young, Kentucky
Last week: 5
Young shot 35.5 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range through the first four games of the season, but he responded from John Calipari’s criticism with 26 points against UT Arlington on Tuesday. Young was 8 of 14 from the field and 5 of 10 from beyond the arc against the Mavericks.

7. Joel Embiid, Kansas
Last week: NR
Embiid was quiet through the first two games of the season, though he had seven rebounds and five assists against Duke. The seven-foot freshman had his breakout Tuesday with 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting and 13 rebounds against Iona.

8. Ben Emelogu, Virginia Tech
Last week: 8
Elomogu proved his 22-point outburst against West Virginia was no fluke with 16 points against Western Carolina and 19 against VMI. A Friday matchup against Michigan State will be a key sign if the guard has the potential to stay on this list all season.

9. Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington
Last week: NR
Williams-Goss had a frustrating game in his first major matchup of his career against Indiana. The Huskies lost 102-84 as Williams-Goss finished with 13 points and four assists. Williams-Goss is averaging 13.5 points and five assists per game.

10. Amida Brimah, Connecticut
Last week: NR
The seven-footer has proven to be a shot-blocking menace in limited duty for the Huskies with 18 blocked shots in 74 minutes.

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The Heisman is but one award, and one award isn’t enough to contain the best of college football.

 While we love prognosticating who will win college football’s most coveted individual trophy, we also love the glut of postseason awards that go to each position, each with a nod to the game’s history from Davey O’Brien and Doak Walker to Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe to Ray Guy and Lou Groza.



Everyone tracks the progress in the Heisman race, but Athlon Sports will try to keep an eye on who will take home college football’s positional awards.



Here’s our look at the “other” trophies through the 12th week of the season.


Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel
The allegations against Jameis Winston are too much of a cloud over his season at this point. Manziel’s interception numbers are high (11 picks) for a national award winner, particularly against a field that includes Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty. But Manziel is third in the nation with 31 touchdown passes.
Others: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Baylor’s Bryce Petty, Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Boston College’s Andre Williams
Williams set an ACC record with 339 rushing yards against NC State last week. The Boston College running back leads the nation in yards (1,810) and yards per game (181).
Others: Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, South Carolina’s Mike Davis

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans
Evans is third in the nation with 1,263 yards to go with 12 touchdowns. The Aggies sophomore is one of two receivers with fewer than 60 catches and 1,000 yards.
Others: Fresno State’s Davante Adams, Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro finally received attention from the Mackey Award when he was selected as a semifinalist this week. Amaro is second in the nation with 92 receptions in 11 games. No other tight end has more than 49 receptions.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio
Kouandjio leads an Alabama offensive line that has improve as the season has progressed. The Crimson Tide rank ninth in yards per carry.
Others: Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Baylor’s Cyril Richardson, Florida State’s Byron Stork, Stanford’s David Yankey

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Alabama’s C.J. Mosley

The leader of Alabama’s defense has come on strong of late with 12 tackles against LSU and 10 against Mississippi State. The linebacker had three quarterback hurries in 20-7 win over Mississippi State.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley

Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Baylor’s Cyril Richardson, Missouri’s Michael Sam, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, Stanford’s David Yankey


Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard

Dennard had an interception and a forced fumble in Michigan State’s dominant defensive performance against Michigan.
Others: Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Texas’ Anthony Fera
The Longhorns’ kicker has converted 17 of 18 kicks this season, tied for the highest percentage for anyone with more than 14 attempts.
Others: Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt, NC State’s Niklas Sade



Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Tennessee’s Michael Palardy
Palardy averages 44.6 yards per punt as the Volunteers rank 18th in net punting.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Texas A&M’s Drew Kaser, Alabama’s Cody Mandell



Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston is second in the nation at 11.3 yards per attempt and second in passing efficiency, both behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty.
Others: Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, UCLA's Myles Jack

Coach of the year
Our leader: Baylor’s Art Briles

Baylor overcame an early deficit to defeat Texas Tech and now faces the biggest game in decades for the Bears. Baylor could finish the week at No. 3 in the BCS standings.

Others: Duke’s David Cutcliffe, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi may have one of the best defenses of the BCS era. Michigan State ranks first in the nation in total defense and second in pass efficiency defense
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama’s Kirby Smart
 

 

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My, how times change.

When the Big 12 began, Oklahoma State reeled off nine consecutive wins over Baylor. And for the most part, these weren’t good Oklahoma State teams.

On Saturday, the Big 12 may come down to Oklahoma State and Baylor. The former has become one of the top programs in the Big 12 in recent years, and the latter has become an offensive juggernaut with national championship implications.

It’s not often the conference title runs through Waco and Stillwater, so soak it up in Week 13.

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

Big 12 Week 13 Game Power Rankings
All games Saturday. All times Eastern.

1. Baylor at Oklahoma State (8 p.m., ABC)
This game could end up the de facto Big 12 championship game and a referendum on Baylor’s spot in the national picture. A win likely moves Baylor ahead of Ohio State in the BCS standings and cements Bryce Petty among the top Heisman contenders. To achieve that, Petty and a wounded Baylor offense will need to overcome a ball-hawking Oklahoma State defense. The Cowboys have forced a turnover in 18 consecutive games, including three interceptions against Texas last week. Petty has thrown one interception all season and none since Oct. 5. The quarterback has been the constant for the Baylor offense which has lost Lache Seastrunk (groin), Glasco Martin (knee) and Tevin Reese (wrist) to injury. Only Reese has been ruled out for this game. The Bears haven’t missed a step despite the injuries. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has found a lineup that works in recent weeks with Clint Chelf at quarterback and Desmond Roland at running back. Baylor leads the Big 12 in yards per game in November while Oklahoma State is fourth.

2. Oklahoma at Kansas State (noon, Fox Sports 1)
Oklahoma’s season is an interesting spot to say the least. The Sooners finish up with road trips against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, OU’s offense is in a state of flux. Trevor Knight will replace Blake Bell as starting quarterback, the Oklahoman reported. Knight began the season as the starter but has seen more playing time in the last two games against Baylor and Iowa State. A concussion for Bell has handed the job to Knight against the Wildcats. Knight rushed for 123 yards on 10 carries against Iowa State while completing 8 of 14 passes for 61 yards. Running back Damien Williams and Lacoltan Bester are also expected to miss the Kansas State games with suspensions. Kansas State remains one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 — outside of Baylor and Oklahoma State — with four consecutive wins.

3. Kansas at Iowa State (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Could Kansas be on the verge of its first Big 12 win streak since 2008? Kansas didn’t just scrape by West Virginia last week. The Jayhawks grabbed a lead and led comfortably thanks to 211 yards form James Sims. Iowa State has been more competitive at home, including a 31-30 loss to Texas and 21-17 loss to TCU.

Big 12 Week 13 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Baylor-Oklahoma State and preview Week 13 in this edition of Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys cornerback is making a bid for All-America consideration with six interceptions this season. His two picks against Texas, including an interception for a touchdown, essentially sealed the game for Oklahoma State. On Saturday, he’ll be facing one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country, plus a dynamic set of receivers. Levi Norwood, a No. 3 receiver two weeks ago, caught seven passes for 156 yards for two touchdowns against Texas Tech.

Pat Colbert, Baylor
Not all of Baylor’s injury issues on offense have been limited to the skill positions. Starting left tackle Spencer Drango will under surgery for a ruptured disk in his back, leaving the position to first-time starter Colbert. Oklahoma State’s starting defensive ends, Tyler Johnson and Jimmy Bean, have combined for 6.5 sacks this season.

Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
Baylor has had mixed results in defending the quarterback run game, which has become a key once Chelf has taken over. Kansas State’s Daniel Sams rushed for 199 yards against Baylor while the Oklahoma duo of Trevor Knight and Blake Bell combined for 22 yards. Chelf has been solid as a passer, with or without top receiver Josh Stewart. Stewart did not play against Texas, and Mike Gundy has declined to give injury updates on his top downfield threat.

Brennan Clay, Oklahoma
A new quarterback and no Damien Williams may put more on the shoulders of Brennan Clay against Kansas State. Clay has worked in committee at running back this season, but he’s shown plenty of ability to break the big run. He’s averaged better than 12 yards per carry against TCU and Iowa State this season.  Kansas State allows a Big 12-low 122.1 rushing yards in conference games.

Dylan Schellenberg, Kansas State
The Wildcats have allowed both of its last two opponents to pass for at least 70 percent. One was Texas Tech (understandable). The other was TCU (less understandable). Four-year starting safety Ty Zimmerman spent the end of last week’s game against the Horned Frogs on crutches with a right leg injury. Oklahoma’s passing game is suspect, but it’s hard to imagine the Sooners not testing an unknown at safety in Schellenberg.

Big 12 Week 13 Picks
 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Oklahoma (+4) at Kansas StKSU 24-17KSU 34-30KSU 31-27KSU 24-20
Kansas (+5.5) at Iowa StKU 28-24ISU 27-20ISU 27-24ISU 20-13
Baylor (-9) at Oklahoma StBaylor 42-35Baylor 41-38Baylor 38-34Baylor 48-38
Last Week4-14-14-13-2
This Season54-1156-954-1153-12

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 13 Preview and Predictions 2013
Post date: Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 07:15
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Star power will not be lacking in college basketball this season. The star-studded freshman class and the return of Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Russ Smith and so on made that clear in the preseason.

The first two-plus weeks of the season only confirmed it.

Heck, even Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminksy scored 43 points Tuesday night. It was against North Dakota in a rare 100-point outburst for the Badgers, but Kaminsky is about the fifth-most well-known player on Wisconsin’s roster.

Not anymore.

As we move into the 2013-14 basketball season, we’ll take a look all the good and bad in the weekly honor roll and dishonor roll. Here goes the first look around the season so far.

Honor Roll

Power Rankings: Nov. 20
1. Michigan State
2. Kansas
3. Kentucky
4. Louisville
5. Duke
6. Oklahoma State
7. Ohio State
8. Arizona
9. Syracuse
10. VCU
11. Wisconsin
12. Gonzaga
13. Michigan
14. Oregon
15. Iowa State
16. Connecticut
17. Wichita State
18. New Mexico
19. Florida
20. Villanova
21. Iowa
22. UCLA
23. Baylor
24. Creighton
25. Arizona State
Marcus Smart. The freshmen at Kentucky, Duke and Kansas made their statement last week, and Michigan State established itself as a top team in the Champions Classic. This Tuesday, it was Smart’s turn. The Oklahoma State guard had a career day with 39 points on 11 of 21 shooting, plus five rebounds, five steals and two blocks in a 101-80 win. Anyone who was quick to hand the Big 12 to Kansas and national player of the year to a rookie got a good look at who might be a frontrunner at this point. Smart's all-around game was on full display against Memphis.

Shabazz Napier. The Connecticut guard is off to a torrid start, including a triple-double against Yale on Nov. 11. With six assists and seven rebound in every game this season, Napier might not have had his last triple-double of the season. The Huskies are 4-0 and continue an intriguing non-conference schedule with Boston College (Thursday), Florida (Dec. 2), Stanford (Dec. 18), at Washington (Dec. 22) and Harvard (Jan. 8). Napier’s 9.5 rebounds per game are great, but no other Huskies player has more than four per game. That could be a problem.

Jabari Parker. The Duke freshman proved he was as good as anticipated in the Champions Classic more than a week ago, but he’s finding new ways to impress. Parker has topped 21 points in all four games this season, including double-doubles in the last two. Against overmatched UNC Asheville, Parker finished 8 of 13 with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists — in only 19 minutes. He threw in six blocks Tuesday night against East Carolina.

The “other” freshmen. The Champions Classic was a chance for Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle to shine, unfortunately at the expense of other freshmen off to hot starts. Noah Vonleh has become the first freshman since Kansas State’s Michael Beasley to record double-doubles in four consecutive games. Aaron Gordon is doing just fine at Arizona, too, with 13.3 points and 9.5 rebounds.

The state of Iowa. Iowa State’s 77-70 win over Michigan was one of the basketball highlights of the week, indicating the Cyclones might be a factor in the Big 12 race rather than a bubble team. Melvin Ejim returned to score 22 points with nine rebounds, and transfer DeAndre Kane is doing the same things he did at Marshall by averaging 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists. Meanwhile, rival Iowa has played an easy schedule, but the Hawkeyes are demolishing opponents. The Hawkeyes have topped 100 points in back-to-back games and have shown impressive depth so far this season. Fran McCaffery’s team will be a fun one to watch in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Indiana State. Like Iowa State, Indiana State picked up a major upset over the weekend over an established team when the Sycamores upset Notre Dame 83-70. The only loss for Indiana State was 96-95 to Belmont, a loss that doesn’t look quite so bad after the Bruins defeated North Carolina on the road Sunday (In a schedule quirk, Indiana State will face Belmont again on Dec. 29 in Terre Haute). Let’s step back, though, and look what Greg Lansing has built at Indiana State. In the post-Creighton Missouri Valley, Indiana State may be the most logical challenger for Wichita State. The Sycamores have played in the postseason every season with Jake Odum on the roster, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011.

Dishonor Roll

The ACC. The hits keep coming for the ACC, which was supposed to be the best conference in the country this season. The league is still going to be better than the SEC and a few other powers, but the depth hasn’t been there so far this season. Maryland’s one-point loss to Connecticut wasn’t embarrassing, but at home to Oregon State, a team that lost to Coppin State, is. Also over the weekend, Belmont defeated a suspension-depleted North Carolina team, adding to the Tar Heels' early struggles. Virginia, a fringe top 25 team, continued to have trouble in the non-conference, albeit against VCU. And Boston College, an NCAA Tournament dark horse, has a three-point win over FAU as the high point this season. Even Syracuse limped to a 56-50 win over St. Francis (N.Y.). The conference will be in recovery mode when the ACC-Big Ten Challenge rolls around.

Marquette. It’s really tough to overstate how bad Marquette was at home against Ohio State. Marquette was 10 of 53 from the field (18.9 percent), 1 of 18 from 3-point range), 20 turnovers, four assists. Ohio State had 10 steals and eight blocks. Marquette managed to lose a game in which its opponent was 3 of 18 from the free throw line and 5 of 15 from 3-point range. Buzz Williams is just on the cusp of elite coaches, and Marquette was the preseason favorite in the Big East. Davante Gardner was a non-factor in the paint, and new point guard Derrick Wilson looked lost. After Saturday’s struggles, Marquette looked nothing like a team ready to contend for a league title in any conference.

Michigan. We may need to promise not to overreact to the Wolverines’ 77-70 loss at Iowa State. After all, this was a road game against a probable NCAA Tournament team. Mitch McGary was limited in his first game back from a sore back, coming off the bench to contribute nine points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. But Caris LeVert fell back to Earth and point guard Derrick Walton had his freshman moments with three turnovers and two assists.

Memphis. Few teams would have been able to handle Marcus Smart on Tuesday night, and Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the toughest venues to play when the place is rocking. The Tigers, though, flopped against Oklahoma State. Memphis entered the game a top 15 team and looked more the part of a Conference USA also-ran than a contender in the American Athletic Conference. The starting backcourt went 5 of 26 from the field and 0 for 7 from 3-point range. The lack of big wins for Josh Pastner is starting to add up. The Memphis coach is winless against ranked teams with too many of those games finishing with lopsided scores like the game against Oklahoma State.

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College Basketball Honor Roll and Dishonor Roll: Nov. 20
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Johnny Manziel vs. LSU is the top game this week despite more meaningful action around the country. A conference title is on the line in the Big 12 and divisions are up for grabs in the SEC East, Pac-12 South and Big Ten Legends. Braden Gall and David Fox talk Les Miles vs. Johnny Football while taking stock of Baylor-Oklahoma State, Arizona State-UCLA and more.

On this week’s podcast:

• Gall and Fox trade reactions on the wild catch at the end of the Auburn-Georgia game. One of the all-time great plays sets up a wild Iron Bowl, but that game is still a week away. We took a second to talk about Auburn anyway and if the Tigers have a chance to beat Alabama.

• How much should the off-field allegations concerns Jameis Winston impact Heisman voting? That answer is complicated.

• After USC’s win over Stanford and a 5-0 record under Ed Orgeron, how serious a candidate should Coach O be for the Trojans. Not very is the consensus.

• The most important game of the week for national championship implications is Baylor’s road trip to Oklahoma State. For all the storylines on offense, Fox is looking more at defensive plays.

• In talking about UCLA’s Myles Jack, Fox learns how to pronounce Paul Hornung before moving on to pick a winner in the Pac-12 South.

• Then moving on to the game with the greatest potential for chaos, Fox and Gall talk about LSU’s defensive dominance at home against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

• And finally in the rapid fire, a ranking of the coaches at smart people schools and picking the year’s disappointments.

The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 13
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 17:42
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Perhaps the most telling number for Week 13 in the Big 12 is the two teams that aren’t involved in the most important game in the league this year.

Baylor at Oklahoma State is the biggest game in the Big 12 this season (so far), meaning Oklahoma and Texas are nowhere to be found.

The Cowboys have been on the national scene for some time now, but this will be the first time in nearly 60 years Baylor has played in a game involving two top 10 teams.

Surely, that game will give us plenty of fodder for next week’s key numbers in the league thanks to the up-and-down offenses for both teams. The numbers in Week 12, though, still told interesting stories from Baylor and Oklahoma State’s big wins, to Kansas first Big 12 win in a long time and Oklahoma’s record-tying win for its coach.
More Stats from Week 12: ACC | Big Ten Pac-12 | SEC


Key Numbers from the Big 12 from Week 12

0.0013. BCS average separating Ohio State and Baylor
The margin between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Baylor in Sunday’s BCS standings is razor-thin. The Buckeyes have the edge in the coaches’ and Harris polls to give Ohio State a 0.8869 BCS average. Baylor moved up in the computer component this week, giving the Bears a 0.8856 BCS average. Here’s a primer on how the two stack up in the BCS components, plus other rankings:



1:45. Average time for a Baylor scoring drive this season
1:58. Average time for an Oklahoma State scoring drive this season

In other words, expect an up-and-down game for Baylor and Oklahoma State this week.

1956. The last time Baylor played in a game involving two top-10 teams
This week’s matchup between No. 3 Baylor and No. 10 Oklahoma State will be the first time Baylor has played in a game involving Associated Press top-10 teams since Oct. 3, 1956. That day, No. 8 Baylor lost 19-13 to No. 7 Texas A&M, a team coached by Bear Bryant.

14. Players responsible for Oklahoma State’s 18-game takeaway streak
The Cowboys have had a takeaway in each of the last 18 games for one of the longest such streaks in the nation. One of the most interesting parts of the streak is the 14 players who have combined for the 39 forced turnovers. Leading the way is cornerback Justin Gilbert, who had three interceptions Saturday against Texas. Gilbert’s six interceptions is the most takeaways for any Oklahoma State player during the 18-game stretch.

0. Plays of 30 yards for Oklahoma State against Texas
Oklahoma State’s longest two plays from scrimmage against Texas both went for 29 yards, yet the Cowboys still won 38-13. The only other team this season to keep Oklahoma State from breaking a 30-yard play this season was Lamar. Go figure.

26. Average scoring deficit for Kansas during the 27-game Big 12 losing streak
Perhaps the most surprising of Kansas’ 31-19 win over West Virginia on Saturday was the relative ease of the victory that ended the Jayhawks’ 27-game Big 12 losing streak. Kansas’ last three Big 12 wins — spanning five years — were by a touchdown or less. Since defeating Colorado 52-45 on Nov. 6, 2010, Kansas had been outscored by an average of 26 points per game in Big 12 play.

5. Big 12 coaches to lose to Kansas since 2008
The last Big 12 coach to lose to Kansas was fired three days later. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen will at least beat that mark set by Colorado’s Dan Hawkins in 2008. Still, the list of Big 12 coaches who have lost to Kansas since 2008 is not a good one. Only Holgorsen and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel remain employed. Hawkins and Iowa State coach Gene Chizik did it twice, and Kansas State’s Ron Prince did it once. Chizik went on to coach a national championship team at Auburn in 2010 but was fired before last season.

6-13. West Virginia’s record since Oct. 6, 2012
On Oct. 7, 2012, West Virginia was 5-0 and fifth in the Associated Press poll. Seems like an eternity ago, right? After three consecutive wins over Maryland, Baylor and Texas then, quarterback Geno Smith was the Heisman frontrunner. West Virginia’s fall since has been staggering with a 6-13 record and 4-11 in the Big 12. With an embarrassing 31-19 loss to Kansas, West Virginia has lost to every Big 12 team except Iowa State at least once. The Mountaineers face the Cyclones on Nov. 30.

2. Bowl streaks spanning at least eight years ended in the Big 12 last week
With West Virginia and TCU both losing their seventh game of the season, two of the top 12 longest bowl streaks in the nation were ended on the same day. Entering the season, only seven programs had a longer bowl streak than West Virginia's 11 consecutive years in the postseason. TCU had been in a bowl game every year since 2005. The longest bowl streak in the Big 12 belongs to Oklahoma (since 1999), now followed by Oklahoma State (since 2006).

4. Big 12 teams that will be led by their all-time wins leader
Bob Stoops won his 157th game at Oklahoma on Saturday, tying Barry Switzer for the most victories in school history. By the end of the season, four Big 12 teams will be led by their school’s all-time wins leader with Stoops joining Kansas State’s Bill Snyder (176), TCU’s Gary Patterson (120) and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (76).

318. Difference in rushing yards for Oklahoma from Week 11 to 12
The Sooners went from one of the worst rushing performances of the Bob Stoops era against Baylor last week (87 yards, 2.56 yards per carry) to the best against Iowa State (405 yards, 9.2 yards per carry). The Sooners’ running performance against the Cyclones was the best for OU since rushing for 411 in 1997 against Louisville. Three Oklahoma players — running backs Damian Williams and Brennan Clay and quarterback Trevor Knight — topped 12 yards per carry.

Teaser:
Amazing Big 12 College Football Stats from Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:15
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So begins the Ohio State vs. Baylor debate.

What started last week as a three-team discussion between Ohio State, Baylor and Stanford is down to two, and the margin is getting slimmer. A little more than a thousandth of a point in the BCS separates undefeated Ohio State and Baylor in a debate between the Big Ten and the Big 12, the traditional power and the upstart.

But the debate seems moot at this point for a couple of reasons:

• If Alabama and Florida State remain undefeated, Baylor and Ohio State are out of the championship game picture. The gulf between the top two and the rest is all but impenetrable. The Crimson Tide and Alabama claim the top two spots in both polls and every computer.

• If Baylor beats Oklahoma State next week, the Bears will move ahead of Ohio State in the BCS. Baylor has a road team against the No. 10 Cowboys compared to Ohio State’s matchup with a team that just lost 51-3.

Post-Week 12 BCS Rankings and Projections
Moving Up

No. 4 Baylor. The Bears only moved up one spot in the BCS standings thanks to Stanford’s loss to USC. Baylor remains behind No. 3 Ohio State, but the gap keeps closing. The Bears are fourth in the coaches’ and Harris polls, both a spot behind Ohio State. The 63-34 win over Texas Tech, though, moved Baylor from No. 5 in the computer average to No. 3, making the computers the only place where Baylor has an edge over Ohio State ... for now.

Moving Down

No. 3 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are hanging on to No. 3 by a fingernail, thanks to the edge in the human polls. Ohio State dropped from fourth to fifth in the computer average after the 60-35 win over Illinois. This week, just 0.0013 of a point separates Ohio State from Baylor in the BCS average. A Baylor win over Texas Tech narrowed the gap, so a Baylor win over Oklahoma State road would seem to put the Bears ahead of Ohio State for good, if both remain undefeated. If there’s any hope for Ohio State, potential Big Ten championship game opponent Michigan State rocketed up from No. 16 to No. 13 after a win over Nebraska.

Quick BCS Projections

BCS Championship Game: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Florida State
Rose: Oregon vs. Ohio State
Orange: Clemson* vs. Wisconsin*
Sugar: Auburn* vs. UCF
Fiesta: Baylor vs. Fresno State
*at-large selection

Key Games this Week

No. 16 Northern Illinois at Toledo (Wednesday). The Huskies actually dropped a spot despite their biggest win of the season over Ball State. Thank Michigan State for that. The Spartans moved from No. 16 to No. 13 after defeating Nebraska. Another win over a quality MAC opponent on national television is mandatory for Northern Illinois to remain a BCS contender. A loss by No. 15 Fresno State, though, is looking like the only way NIU gets a BCS bid.

No. 4 Baylor at No. 10 Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State’s win over Texas last week makes this the Big 12 championship game of the week. The Cowboys will be highest-ranked team Baylor will face for the remainder of the season and the only road game against a bowl team.

No. 19 Wisconsin at No. 25 Minnesota. With Notre Dame and a second team from the Pac-12 unlikely for the BCS, Wisconsin is a strong candidate for an at-large bid to a BCS game as long as the Badgers move up five spots into at-large consideration. The Badgers face a Minnesota team that has won four in a row and still controls its own destiny for the Big Ten title game.

Other Observations

• Does Auburn have reason to worry? The Tigers would appear to be a no-brainer for the Sugar Bowl if Alabama wins the Iron Bowl and goes to the national championship game. One lingering concern would be Missouri at No. 8. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Missouri beats Ole Miss and Texas A&M, loses to Alabama in the SEC title game and remains at No. 4 thanks to upsets in the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten in the final weeks. Such a finish would garner an automatic BCS bid.

• Wisconsin seems to be a favorite for an at-large BCS spot, but a loss to Minnesota would end that bid. Teams like Baylor, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and UCLA are hoping for a Badgers slip up.

• The computers love Auburn and Arizona State. The computers don’t love Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

Notes on BCS selection:


• Automatic BCS bids go to the top two for the title game, the champions of the ACC (Orange Bowl), Big 12 (Fiesta), Big Ten (Rose), Pac-12 (Rose) and SEC (Sugar). The American’s automatic bid is not tied to a particular bowl.



• Notre Dame receives an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight.



• A champion from a non-automatic qualifying league (Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and non-Notre Dame independents) receive an automatic bid if it finishes in the top 12 of the standings or if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of a champion from a non-AQ conference.



• To be eligible for an at-large BCS bid, a team must have nine or more wins and finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings.



• Once automatic tie-ins are placed, the selection order for BCS bids goes as follows: 1. The bowl losing the BCS No. 1 team to the championship game, 2. The bowl losing the BCS No. 2 team, 3. The Orange Bowl, 4. The Sugar, 5. The Fiesta.

Teaser:
Post-Week 12 BCS Rankings and Projections
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 21:17
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Not long ago, Boston College has one of the most consistent programs in the country. The Eagles reached 12 consecutive bowl games from 1999-2010, including a streak of eight consecutive wins.

Thanks to Andre Williams, those streaks have a chance to start anew.

Williams entered the week perhaps as one of the most underrated running backs in the country. After rushing for an ACC-record 339 yards in a 38-21 win over NC State, Williams will be overlooked no more.

In one day, Williams made Boston College bowl eligible for the first time in three seasons, set the ACC single-season rushing record and earned Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.

Williams leads the nation in total rushing yards (1,810) by nearly 400 yards and yards per game (181) by more than 30 yards per game.

“He's certainly, without a doubt, one of the more dominant players in college football,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “He's an unselfish guy who realizes that he has a great offensive line in front of him and he realizes that this is a team game.”

Athlon Sports Week 12 National Awards

National Offensive Player of the Week: Andre Williams, Boston College
Boston College continued its impressive first season under new coach Steve Addazio, as the Eagles defeated NC State to 38-21 to improve to 6-4 overall. Williams has carried the offense this season, and the senior gashed the Wolfpack defense for 339 yards and two touchdowns. The 339 yards were an ACC single-game record. Williams has 634 yards in his last two games and has rushed for at least 166 in each of his last four contests. Even though Williams is considered a power back, he has at least one run of 56 yards or longer in each of his last four games. The senior has 1,810 yards in 2013, which is a Boston College single-season record. With three games left, Williams has a chance to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark.

National Defensive Player of the Week: K.J. Morton, Baylor
Last week, Baylor’s run defense was the key to the victory over Oklahoma. Against Texas Tech, a defensive back was the key defender. The dreadlocked Morton finished with the wild stat line of nine tackles, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, a sack and an interception. His athletic, leaping pick of Baker Mayfield on a corner blitz was one of the highlights of the game and a key turning point.

National Freshman of the Week: Myles Jack, UCLA
USC's Dion Bailey made the defensive play of the weekend with his late red zone interception of Kevin Hogan, but the legend of Myles Jack is growing in Westwood after another two-way performance in a critical home win over Washington. The freshman linebacker collected five tackles and a pass broken up on defense to go with 13 rushing attempts, 59 yards rushing and four offensive touchdowns. He has 179 yards rushing and five scores in two games as a two-way player. This is the team's No. 2 tackler we are talking here. He has vaulted himself to the top of the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year conversation with his last two games and has a chance for another signature moment against Arizona State with the division title on the line next weekend.

National Coordinator of the Week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State

The moving parts on Oklahoma State’s offense have been the key storyline for the Cowboys’ season, but the one constant has been the defense and its ability to force turnovers. Against Texas, Oklahoma State extended its streak of 18 consecutive games with a takeaway. The Cowboys’ three interceptions led Oklahoma State in the 38-13 win over Texas that kept the Pokes in Big 12 contention. Star cornerback Justin Gilbert was the star for Spencer’s D Saturday with two interceptions, including a 48-yard pick six.

Athlon Sports Week 12 Conference Awards

ACC
Offense: Andre Williams, Boston College
Defense: Kareem Martin, North Carolina
Freshman: Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
Coordinator: Kurt Roper, Duke

Big 12
Offense: James Sims, Kansas
Defense: K.J. Morton, Baylor
Freshman: Shock Linwood, Baylor
Coordinator: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State

Big Ten
Offense: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Defense: Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
Freshman: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Coordinator: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin

Pac-12
Offense: Connor Halliday, Washington State
Defense: Myles Jack, UCLA
Freshman: Myles Jack, UCLA

SEC
Offense: Aaron Murray, Georgia
Defense: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Freshman: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
Coordinator: Bob Shoop, Vanderbilt

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Boston College's Andre Williams earns National Player of the Week honors
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Andrew who?

For a day, Kansas football took center stage in Lawrence as the Jayhawks ended three years of Big 12 futility with their first conference win since Nov. 6, 2010.

Kansas had been in close games during the 0-27 stretch before, but the Jayhawks finally found a game they could close out against a wounded and lackluster West Virginia team.

James Sims led the way with 211 rushing yards, earning Athlon’s Big 12 offensive player of the week honors, but he wasn’t the only standout in key games this week.

Offensive numbers were huge this week in the league, but key defensive performances earned mention for Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Big 12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings

Offensive player of the week: James Sims, Kansas
For the first time in a long time, Kansas gets a tip in on the football side with an easy choice for Big 12 offensive player of the week. Sims rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries in the 31-19 win over West Virginia, a victory that ended the Jayhawks’ 27-game Big 12 losing streak. Powered by a 68-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Sims’ effort was the best rushing day by a Kansas player since 2001.

Defensive player of the week: K.J. Morton, Baylor
Last week, Baylor’s run defense was the key to the victory over Oklahoma. Against Texas Tech, a defensive back was the key defender. The dreadlocked Morton finished with a wild stat line of nine tackles, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, a sack and an interception. His athletic, leaping pick of Baker Mayfield on a corner blitz was one of the highlights of the game and a key turning point.
 

Freshman of the week: Shock Linwood, Baylor
Linwood stepped in last week for an injured Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin last week against Oklahoma, but against Texas Tech, he carried the load from the start. The redshirt freshman rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries against a regressing Texas Tech run defense. Linwood has rushed for 100 yards in three consecutive games and has only 76 fewer rushing yards than Seastrunk.

Team of the week: Oklahoma State
The question last week was how did Stanford lose to Utah. The question this week is how did Oklahoma State lose to West Virginia. The Cowboys needed two months to round into form, but that loss on 30-21 in Morgantown robs the Big 12 of an undefeated team and an even juicier matchup this week against Baylor. In any event, Oklahoma State looked every bit the part of a Big 12 championship contender by taking care of Texas before halftime in Austin. Clint Chelf suddenly made the Texas defense look vulnerable against mobile quarterbacks again with 95 rushing yards, and the Oklahoma State D held the Longhorns to 4.5 yards per play.

Coordinator of the week: Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
The moving parts on Oklahoma State’s offense have been the key storyline for the Cowboys’ season, but the one constant has been the defense and its ability to force turnovers. Against Texas, Oklahoma State extended its streak of 18 consecutive games with a takeaway. The Cowboys’ three interceptions led Oklahoma State in the 38-13 win over Texas that kept the Pokes in Big 12 contention. Star cornerback Justin Gilbert was the star for Spencer’s D Saturday with two interceptions, including a 48-yard pick six.
 

RankTeamLWRecordResultThis Week 
119-0, 6-0W, Texas Tech 63-34at Oklahoma State 
239-1, 6-1W, at Texas 38-13Baylor 
327-3, 6-1L, Oklahoma State 38-13Off 
448-2, 5-2W, Iowa State 48-10at Kansas State 
556-4, 4-3W, TCU 33-31Oklahoma 
657-4, 4-4L, Baylor 63-34Off 
784-7, 2-6L, at Kansas State 33-31Off 
874-7, 2-6L, at Kansas 31-19Off 
9103-7, 1-6W, West Virginia 31-19at Iowa State 
1091-9, 0-7L, at Oklahoma 48-10Kansas 

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
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Fortune is strange in college football.

The last time Georgia encountered Nick Marshall, the Bulldogs had dismissed the then-cornerback and two teammates. Marshall went to junior college and reinvented his career as a quarterback before Auburn decided to take another chance on a JUCO signal caller cut loose by an SEC school.

Marshall’s transformation into a top-notch SEC quarterback has been evident for several weeks, but the lucky bounces off the hands of a Georgia defensive back — a member of his former position group, mind you — will set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl for the SEC West.

On the other side of the country, fortune favored Ed Orgeron in ways also only seen in college football. At Ole Miss in 2007, a failed fourth-and-1 gamble in the fourth quarter of the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State resulted in a loss that ultimately spelled the end for the colorful Orgeron in Oxford.

Six years later, Orgeron only became a head coach again because his boss at USC, Lane Kiffin, had been fired midseason. Orgeron, who was 3-21 in the SEC, reinvented his coaching career with an undefeated start at USC, but, like Marshall, his career came full circle Saturday.

Faced with a fourth-and-2 at Stanford’s 48, Orgeron and USC called for a pass play to the hobbled receiver Marqise Lee. Orgeron’s team, this time, converted, setting up the game-winning field goal attempt that delivered a thrilling win that had become all too rare at USC.

As Auburn’s win set up the most anticipated Iron Bowl since at least the Cam Newton era and probably decades before that, USC’s win changed the national championship race.

Stanford is out of the discussion as the top one-loss team, and Oregon is back in control of the Pac-12 North. Thanks to a coach that a was more or less a cartoon character a month ago.

As we saw yet again in this sport, fortune is strange.

Three and Out: College Football Week 12 Recap

Three Things We Learned from Auburn 43, Georgia 38


This was the play of the year. Marshall’s Miracle. The Prayer on the Plains. Ricardo’s Ricochet. Hail Aubie. Whatever nickname it gets, Ricardo Louis’ 73-yard touchdown catch off the hands of two Georgia defenders will be one of the most memorable plays in Auburn history. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall had thrown 16 passes in the previous three games combined as the Tigers dominated with the ground game. Winning a game on a pass play never seemed likely. But in a year when Auburn went from 3-9 to 10-1, anything his possible.
 



The Iron Bowl is going to be wild. The state of Alabama has two weeks to contemplate the possibilities of a winner-take-all Iron Bowl for the SEC West with Alabama’s national championship hopes on the line. The win sets up the first Alabama-Auburn game with both teams in the top six since 1994 when No. 4 Alabama defeated No. 6 Auburn 21-14. The two teams haven’t met as top-five opponents since 1971. It’s going to be tough to remember Alabama has a game next week. Sorry, Chattanooga.

Aaron Murray’s career has been heartbreaking. Murray will finish his career as the most productive SEC quarterback in a handful of categories. He’s won his share of games, but he’ll always be tied to this game and other close calls. That’s unfortunate because Murray led a great fourth-quarter performance as the Bulldogs battled from down 20 in the final 9:35 on the road. This season has been marked by a rash of injuries on the Bulldogs' offense that caught up with Georgia in losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt, less than a year after an ill-fated final series on the goal line against Alabama in SEC Championship Game. Murray's career will end with records and the Georgia quarterback on the other end of signature moments for other teams.

Three Things We Learned from Oklahoma State 38, Texas 13

Oklahoma State is still a ball-hawking defense. A sign the Cowboys are indeed back to contending for the Big 12 championship is the ball-hawking defense that led the 2011 team. On Saturday, the back end of Oklahoma State’s defense kept Texas quarterback Case McCoy guessing all afternoon. McCoy threw three interceptions, including two picks to Justin Gilbert. A pro prospect at corner, Gilbert returned one of those for a back-breaking 43-yard touchdown.

Clint Chelf has transformed the offense. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy hasn’t handled quarterback conundrums with the most deft touch with the media over the years, but it’s tough to argue he’s made the wrong decisions. Clint Chelf started the opener for Oklahoma State before he was pulled for J.W. Walsh early in the opener. Walsh handled the job for a bit, then struggled, and Gundy gave it back to Chelf against TCU on Oct. 19. Chelf, declared off limits to the media weeks ago due to constant questions about the quarterback derby, looks like he won’t give up the job for the rest of the senior year. In Chelf, Oklahoma State finally has the dual threat it needs — previously Walsh had been labeled the “runner” and Chelf the “passer.” Against Texas, Chelf completed 16 of 22 passes for 197 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while leading the Pokes in rushing (95 yards, two touchdowns). And he did this without his top receiver, Josh Stewart.

Texas’ found something it couldn’t rebound from. The Longhorns came back from two embarrassing losses to BYU and Ole Miss, questions about Mack Brown’s job status and injuries to linebacker Jordan Hicks and quarterback David Ash. Two injuries, though, caught up to the Longhorns this week. The middle of the field was open for Chelf in the run game, thanks in part to the absence of defensive tackle Chris Whaley. And the Texas run game without Johnathan Gray was pedestrian. Texas rushed for 151 yards and averaged 3.5 yards per carry against the Cowboys.

Moving the Chains

Baylor’s depth. Before the last two weeks, Levi Norwood and Shock Linwood were featured players in Baylor’s mop-up efforts in the second half. Now, they are indispensible in Baylor's Big 12 title bid. Norwood entered the game with 19 catches this season, though he did star on punt returns. He did both as Baylor easily erased an early two-touchdown deficit in the 63-34 win over Texas Tech. Linwood, taking a bigger role due to the absence of Tevin Reese, caught seven passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns while adding a punt return for a score. With Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin out for a second game, Linwood rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

Cody Kessler and Marqise Lee, USC. The Trojans offense has been growing to this moment at Stanford, but the transformation from the team that lost to Washington State early in the season remains stark. Then, the passing game was inept, and defending Biletnikoff winner Marqise Lee was all but invisible. On Saturday, USC coach Ed Orgeron put the game in their hands, even though Lee was hobbled when he was kicked in the shin earlier in the game. The Stanford run defense was dominant as usual, holding the Trojans to 23 yards on the ground, so it had to come down to the passing game. Kessler was 25 of 37 for 288 yards with a touchdown, including the key fourth-down pass to Lee that set up the game-winning field goal.

Duke’s miracle season. It’s two weeks before Thanksgiving and Duke controls its own fate for the ACC championship game. The Blue Devils defeated Miami for the first time since 1976 with a 48-30 victory that went back-and-forth until the final quarter. David Cutcliffe’s incredible turnaround at Duke is well-established, but here are a few more notables: Duke has won eight games for only the 14th time in school history. And with road trips to Wake Forest and North Carolina to round out the season, Duke could win 10 games during the regular season. The Blue Devils have never won more than nine games in school history. The only coach to win nine games at Duke was Wallace Wade in the 30s and 40s.

False Starts

Ohio State. No, it might not be fair to be critical of a team that won 60-35, but Urban Meyer has been careful to show us how dominant the Buckeyes can be in routs of Penn State and Purdue. It's time to highlight an Ohio State team that was far from perfect. A better team than Illinois on Saturday may have been able to take advantage of Ohio State’s miscues. Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller opened the game with a 70-yard touchdown run as Ohio State scored the first 28 points. Illinois narrowed the lead to two touchdowns in the third quarter. Ohio State built another big lead, but Illinois again narrowed the game to a two-score game with 8:49 to go. The game turned into a rout, but Ohio State was happy to leave the door open.

Related: Illinois coach Tim Beckman exchanges words with offensive coordinator

Nebraska’s turnovers. The Cornhuskers crawled back in the second quarter against Michigan State, narrowing a 20-7 halftime deficit to 27-21 entering the fourth. The undoing for Nebraska wasn’t its defense, for once. Instead, it was five turnovers (four fumbles and an interception) as Michigan State never gave the ball away in a 41-28 win that kept the Spartans in control of the Big 12 Legends.

The Big 12’s imports. Texas A&M and Missouri have been major success stories in the SEC. Their replacements in the Big 12 have not. West Virginia and TCU went 0-for-the state of Kansas on Saturday, with both ending bowl streaks. The Mountaineers will miss the postseason for the first time since 2001 thanks to an embarrassing loss to Kansas, and TCU lost 33-31 to Kansas State to miss a bowl for the first time since 2004. Both teams have dealt with injuries and key losses, but identical 6-11 records in the Big 12 probably aren’t what they had in mind. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was particularly frank:
 

Heisman Movers

Jameis Winston, Florida State. The investigation surrounding a sexual assault complaint against Winston will continue to cast a shadow over the quarterback. On the field, though, Winston had a rebound game of sorts, completing his first 10 passes in the 59-3 rout of Syracuse. Winston completed 19 of 21 passes for 277 yards and was interception-free for the first time in five games.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon. The performance Saturday says Mariota’s knee is still an issue. The Ducks quarterback carried only four times for 11 yards against Utah, but he rebounded from the loss to Stanford with a standout passing day. Mariota completed 19 of 26 passes for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Despite the injury, Mariota is maintaining a ludicrous 25-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ration. Helping his case is the possibility of getting into the Pac-12 championship game thanks to the Stanford loss.

Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois. When the Huskies faced Ball State on Thursday, Northern Illinois hadn’t faced a bowl-bound team since the opener against Iowa. Lynch answered the call in a marquee game against another MAC contender by completing 26 of 32 passes for 345 yards with two touchdowns and rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Lynch led two unanswered scoring drives to give NIU a 48-27 win. Lynch has completed 80 percent of his passes with 14 total touchdowns in his last three games.

Stat Watch

It Can’t Get Much Worse, Right?
Colorado 41, Cal 24
FAU 41, Southern Miss 7
Memphis 23, USF 10

Three Close Calls
Alabama 20, Mississippi State 7
Louisville 20, Houston 13
South Carolina 19, Florida 14

QB Recruits Who Can’t Arrive Soon Enough
David Blough, Purdue
William Crest, West Virginia
Will Grier, Florida

Three Angry Coaches
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Will Muschamp, Florida
Mark Richt, Georgia

Bowl Eligible
Boston College
Maryland
Vanderbilt

Bowl Ineligible
NC State
TCU
West Virginia

Best Games Next Week
Arizona State at UCLA
Texas A&M at LSU
Baylor at Oklahoma State
2 of 18. Michigan’s third-down performance in a win over Northwestern. In another sign of all the things that could go wrong for Northwestern this season, Michigan was 2 of 18 on third down and was stopped from the 4 on a fourth-down attempt against the Wildcats. The Wolverines still managed to beat Northwestern 27-19 in triple overtime for the Wildcats’ sixth consecutive loss.

1,118. Wisconsin rushing yards against Indiana the last two seasons. The most lopsided series in the Big Ten in recent years? Why not Wisconsin-Indiana. The Badgers rushed for 554 yards in a 51-3 win over Indiana on Saturday, giving the Badgers 1,118 rushing yards against the Hoosiers in the last two meetings. Four different Badgers have had a combined five 100-yard games against Indiana the last two years.

228.3. Nebraska’s rushing average the last three years against Michigan State. For whatever reason, Michigan State’s stifling run defense hasn’t been able to corral Nebraska since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten. Michigan State allowed 182 rushing yards to Nebraska on Saturday, nearly twice as much as the season-high against the Spartans all year. Nebraska is the only opponent in the last 15 games to top 100 yards rushing against the Spartans, and the Cornhuskers have done it twice.

Buried on the Depth Chart

Cincinnati in AAC contention. The Bearcats quietly remain in contention for the American’s BCS bid after demolishing Rutgers 56-17 to move to 5-1 in the league. The Bearcats’ passing game is peaking at the right time as three Cincinnati passers combined to pass for 507 yards and six touchdowns against the Scarlet Knights. Cincinnati finishes the season against Houston and Louisville and does not face UCF this season. The Bearcats would have loved to watch UCF lose to Temple on Saturday, but Cincinnati should kick itself for losing by 6 to lowly USF on Oct. 5. In the event of a two-way tie between UCF and Cincinnati, the highest-ranked team in the BCS would get the automatic bid. That assumes a Bearcats win over Louisville in the season finale.

North Carolina. On balance, the season will be a disappointment for North Carolina after the Tar Heels started 1-5. Still, North Carolina is alive for the postseason after defeating Pittsburgh 34-27 for its fourth consecutive win. The game-winning touchdown came in unorthodox fashion as Ryan Switzer returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown — his second of the game — with 4:46 to go. The Tar Heels will get to six wins if they can beat either Old Dominion or Duke.

Washington State. The Cougars picked up their third Pac-12 road win of the season with a 24-17 victory over Arizona on Saturday, putting Wazzu one win away from bowl eligibility. This season has become, more or less, what a handful of preseason pickers (including Athlon) thought 2012 would be for Mike Leach at Washington State. On Saturday, Arizona was sloppy with two fumbles and two missed field goals, but Washington State finally looked like a competent team on both sides of the ball. The Cougars will need to beat either Utah at home or Washington on the road to reach a bowl game for the first time since 2002.

Three Reasons for Fans to Go Bonkers

Kansas’ long wait for a Big 12 win. After a 31-19 win over West Virginia, Kansas students stormed the field. For many, it was the first time they had seen the Jayhawks beat a Big 12 team. The win ended Kansas’ 27-game losing streak to Big 12 teams and was the first KU win over a team in the current Big 12 lineup since Oct. 10, 2009 against Iowa State. The Jayhawks have watched early leads and competitive games slip away this year, but this one wasn’t even close. Kansas led by 10 at halftime, rushed for 315 yards and led by as much as 24 until the final five minutes.

Maryland in a bowl game. Terrapins coach Randy Edsall jumped around on the field after quarterback C.J. Brown ran in a touchdown in overtime, reveling with good reason. Maryland’s 27-24 win over Virginia Tech makes the Terrapins bowl eligible for the first time during a star-crossed tenure under Edsall. The Terps went 2-10 in his first season and had so many quarterback injuries last year that a linebacker finished the year at the position. The issues continued this year when the productive receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long were lost for the season in the same game against Wake Forest against Oct. 19. Maryland probably hoped to be more of a factor in the ACC this season, but an eight-win regular season isn’t out of the question with remaining games against Boston College at home and NC State on the road.

This Catch from UCF. The Knights, who remain in the lead for the American’s automatic BCS bid, really had no business having to fight for a win over a one-win Temple team. But that’s the way it ended up as Temple took a 36-29 lead with 2:04 left. Blake Bortles completed this miracle 30-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Worton to tie the game with 1:06 remaining. After Temple’s quick three-and-out, UCF got the ball back and completed a 64-yard pass play to set up the 24-yard field goal to win 39-36.
 

Three Big-Time Runners

Andre Williams, Boston College. Williams’ season has been under-the-radar for anyone outside of ACC territory. That should change. Williams rushed for 339 yards and two touchdowns on 42 carries in the 38-21 win over NC State on Saturday, giving him an ACC-record 1,810 rushing yards this season. With three regular season games and a bowl to play, Williams is going to shatter the previous ACC record held by Virginia’s Thomas Jones (1,798 yards in 1999).

Carlos Hyde, Ohio State. Hyde rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries against Illinois, becoming the fifth tailback to top 200 yards against the Illini defense. Hyde joins Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Penn State’s Bill Belton, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Washington’s Bishop Sankey. That list includes 200-yard backs in three consecutive games.

Dominique Brown, Louisville. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have an overwhelming performance, so it was up to a former Louisville quarterback to carry the day against Houston. Now a running back, Brown rushed for a career-high 137 yards and two touchdowns, including a huge third quarter. The effort kept Louisville among the one-loss ranks with a 20-13 win over Houston.

Teaser:
College Football Week 12 Recap: Auburn's miracle, Oklahoma State's statement
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 07:00
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The Heisman is but one award, and one award isn’t enough to contain the best of college football.

 While we love prognosticating who will win college football’s most coveted individual trophy, we also love the glut of postseason awards that go to each position, each with a nod to the game’s history from Davey O’Brien and Doak Walker to Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe to Ray Guy and Lou Groza.



Everyone tracks the progress in the Heisman race, but Athlon Sports will try to keep an eye on who will take home college football’s positional awards.



Here’s our look at the “other” trophies through the ninth week of the season.


Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Winston remains in contention for major awards at the end of the season, including the Heisman. While his on-field performance is among the country’s best, the redshirt freshman was revealed this week to be the subject of a sexual battery allegation dating back to late 2012.
Others: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Florida State’s Marcus Mariota, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey
Carey has rushed for at least 119 yards in every game this season, including a 28-carry, 149-yard mark against UCLA last week.
Others: Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, South Carolina’s Mike Davis, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans
Evans continued to build on his lead for top receiver honors by catching five passes for 116 yards against Mississippi State. Evans is one of two receivers with 50 receptions averaging better 20 yards per catch.
Others: Fresno State’s Davante Adams, Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro still wins the Mackey Award on the Athlon ballot even though the award committee considers him a receiver by his 2012 classification.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Stanford’s David Yankey
The Cardinal’s grinding run game took control against Oregon last week as Stanford rushed for 274 yards on 66 carries behind Yankey and the Stanford line.
Others: Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Baylor’s Cyril Richardson

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Alabama’s C.J. Mosley

The leader of Alabama’s defense had perhaps his best game of the season with 12 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and two pass breakups against LSU. Mosley’s 71 tackles is 33 more than anyone else on Alabama’s defense and leads the Tide with seven tackles for a loss.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley

Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy


Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard

Dennard had an interception and a forced fumble in Michigan State’s dominant defensive performance against Michigan. After an off week, Michigan State faces a Nebraska team without veteran quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Others: Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Niklas Sade, NC State
Sade has converted 19 of 22 field goals this season, the second-highest rate for anyone who has attempted 20. Only one miss was less than 48 yards.
Others: Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt



Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami’s Pat O’Donnell
O’Donnell leads the nation at 47.9 yards per kick as Miami is fourth nationally in net punting.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Miami (Ohio)‘s Zac Murphy, Tennessee’s Michael Palardy



Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston is coming off a season-low 5.7 yards per attempt in the 59-3 rout of Wake Forest. The Seminoles freshman has five interceptions in his last four games and a new host of distractions.
Others: Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III, UCLA's Myles Jack

Coach of the year
Our leader: Baylor’s Art Briles

Baylor has only won one of its toughest four games down the stretch, but defeating Oklahoma, especially in a game where the offense started slow, signaled Baylor is as much of a national championship contender as Ohio State. Yes, that Baylor.

Others: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, North Texas’ Dan McCarney, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi may have one of the best defenses of the BCS era with numbers that stack up with 2011 Alabama, 2008 TCU and 2008 USC. Michigan State pushed Michigan back for minus-48 yards rushing to improve its rush defense to 43.4 per game. Louisville is the only other team that averages fewer than 80 rushing yards per game.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Texas’ Greg Robinson, Alabama’s Kirby Smart
 

Teaser:
College Football Post-Week 11 Award Watch 2013
Post date: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 07:00
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The SEC East has been Injury Central this season with season-ending injuries derailing seasons for teams like Florida and Georgia. Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky haven’t exactly dodged the injury bug, either.

That division isn’t alone, of course. It’s mid-November and plenty of teams sending players to the training room or worse, the operating room.

A quick look around players who have suffered season-ending injuries reveals a pretty darn good team.

Here are the top players fans won’t have the joy of watching for the remainder of the year.

Athlon Sports 2013 All-Injured Team

QB Chukie Keeton, Utah State (knee)
One of the most dynamic players in the Mountain West saw his season end on Oct. 5 with torn knee ligaments sustained against BYU. Keeton led Utah State to a WAC title last season and had accounted for 20 total touchdowns (18 passing, two rushing) in six games in 2013. The injury not only cuts into the star power of the MWC, but it could also have BCS implications with Fresno State facing Boise State or a Keeton-less Utah State in the conference title game.
Others: David Ash (Texas), Austyn Carta-Samuels (Vanderbilt), Jeff Driskel (Florida), Taylor Martinez (Nebraska), Bryn Renner (North Carolina)

RB Duke Johnson, Miami (ankle)
Miami’s ACC championship hopes weren’t ended with a 41-14 loss to Florida State, but Johnson’s broken right ankle made winning the Coastal much tougher. Johnson had rushed for 960 yards and six touchdowns through seven games. The Hurricanes lost their first game without Johnson 42-24 to Virginia Tech.
Others: Johnathan Gray (Texas), Matt Jones (Florida), Venric Mark (Northwestern), Keith Marshall (Georgia)

FB Trey Millard, Oklahoma (knee)
Millard, an All-Big 12 selection last season, was a do-it-all threat for Oklahoma. He could run, catch and line up in a handful of formations for the Sooners. In the second game without Millard, the Sooners mustered only one offensive touchdown in a 41-12 loss to Baylor.

WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland (leg)
The explosive sophomore receiver was supposed to be one of the key players to turn around the Terrapins this season, but those hopes were dashed after sustaining a broken right leg on Oct. 19. Making matters worse, second-leading receiver Deon Long also sustained a broken leg the same day. Diggs still had 236 more all-purpose yards than anyone else for Maryland.

WR Tevin Reese, Baylor (wrist)
One of Baylor’s two standout receivers, Reese sustained a dislocated wrist in the rout of Oklahoma on Thursday. Antwan Goodley is still leading the receiving corps, but Baylor, for all of its offensive production this season, does not have another receiver with 20 catches.
Others: Deon Long (Maryland), Malcolm Mitchell (Georgia), Justin Scott-Wesley (Georgia), Kasen Williams (Washington)

TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss (ankle)
A member of Ole Miss’ star-studded signing class, Engram saw his season end with an ankle injury on Oct. 19. Engram had caught 20 passes for 265 yards with three touchdowns.


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron in the Heisman race, where Stanford stands in the title race and make picks for Week 12 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
OL Devin Davis, Oklahoma State (knee)
A projected starter at left tackle, Davis was lost to a torn ACL before the season. The injury prompted a season-long shuffle on the Oklahoma State offensive line.

OL Chaz Green, Florida (shoulder)
A returning starter, Green was lost for the season due to a torn labrum. The Green injury, among others, cut into the depth of a suspect Gators offensive line.

OL Dan Feeney, Indiana (foot)
Feeney, a freshman All-American last season, was one of two starting linemen lost for Indiana the season, joining tackle Peyton Eckert.

OL Spencer Long, Nebraska (knee)
Nebraska lost its most experienced lineman on Oct. 15 when Long, a three-year starter at guard, suffered a season-ending knee injury.

OL Josh Williford, LSU
The veteran lineman’s career ended before the season started when he sustained his second concussion in a year during an August practice. Williford had started 19 games in his career and was slated to be a full-time starter at left guard.
Others: Kyle Lichtenberg (Iowa State), Ralph Oragwu (Houston)

DL Devonte Fields, TCU (foot)
The Big 12’s defensive freshman of the year started the season under a suspension and attempted to play through a foot injury when he returned. Fields, who had 10 sacks as a rookie, elected to have season-ending foot surgery on Oct. 9.

DL Dominique Easley, Florida (knee)
Easley was in the running for SEC Defensive Player of the Year before he suffered a torn ACL after three games. The junior elected to complete his eligibility and declare for the draft during his recovery.

DL Chris Whaley, Texas (knee)
Whaley had become one of the top defensive linemen for a Texas defense that had turned its fortunes since two early losses. He had five tackles for a loss and two defensive touchdowns when he was lost for the season to a knee injury last week.

DL Ben Gardner, Stanford (pectoral)
A scary thought for Oregon is that Stanford demolished the Ducks’ offense without one of its most experienced players. The fifth-year senior Gardner was lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle sustained against Oregon State on Oct. 26.
Others: Kirby Ennis (Texas A&M), Junior Onyeali (Texas), Jordan Phillips (Arizona State)

LB Morgan Breslin, USC (hip)
One of the leaders on USC’s defense, Breslin was lost for at least the remainder of the regular season to a hip injury on Nov. 6. The defensive end/outside linebacker had eight tackles for a loss despite missing two games this season.

LB Jordan Hicks, Texas (Achilles)
Once considered the key player in Texas’ run defense, Hicks suffered a season-ending injury for the second time in two seasons.

LB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma (pectoral)
Nelson was the second-leading tackler on the top defense in the Big 12 when he suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle against TCU on Oct. 5.
Others: Michael Doctor (Oregon State), Luke Knott (Iowa State), Antonio Morrison (Florida)

DB Christian Bryant, Ohio State (ankle)
The Buckeyes veteran safety suffered a broken ankle on the second-to-last snap of Ohio State’s biggest win of the season against Wisconsin. Bryant was considered one of the top leaders on the Buckeyes’ defense.

DB Tyler Hunter, Florida State (neck)
Florida State has had one of the top defensive backfields in the country, largely without the services of the starting safety Hunter. The junior suffered a bulging disk Sept. 21 against Bethune-Cookman.

DB Dexter McDougle, Maryland (shoulder)
Maryland’s injury issues started early this season when starting cornerback McDougle suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after recording eight tackles and an interception against Connecticut on Sept. 12

DB Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (knee)
Sunseri was off to a great start this season with two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first two games of the season. Sunseri suffered torn knee ligaments against Arkansas on Oct. 19, opening the door for star sophomore Landon Collins.
Others: Stefan McClure (Cal)

Teaser:
College Football's All-Injured Team for 2013
Post date: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 07:00
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Oklahoma State and Texas will meet this week in a game with Big 12 title implications at stake just as everyone projected back in August.

It just wasn’t pegged that way back in September.

Back on Sept. 28, Oklahoma State had lost to West Virginia and looked unimpressive on offense. A week earlier, Texas had defeated Kansas State for its first win after the embarrassment of lopsided losses to BYU and Ole Miss.

In other words, neither team looked like it would head into Nov. 16 playing a game of significance. But both programs adjusted. Mack Brown changed a defensive coordinator by choice and changed a quarterback by chance, and Mike Gundy shuffled his backfield.

Now Oklahoma State’s trip to Austin, where the Cowboys have won their last two meetings, is of utmost importance in the Big 12 championship race.

Week 12 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big TenPac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Week 12 Game Power Rankings
All times Eastern, All games Saturday

1. Oklahoma State at Texas (3:30 p.m., Fox)
In the week before one of its most important games of the season, Texas this week may have been dealt its biggest blow since the back-to-back losses against BYU and Ole Miss in September. The Longhorns needed overtime to beat West Virginia, but lost defensive tackle Chris Whaley and running back Johnathan Gray in the process. Desmond Jackson stepped in for Whaley to pick up eight tackles, three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble, and the running back position has experienced depth. But the losses could be a momentum-stopper. On defense, the Longhorns have already lost linebacker Jordan Hicks for the season. Oklahoma State isn’t without its injury issues, too, as top receiver Josh Stewart was sidelined early in the week with a foot injury. Clint Chelf passed for a season-high 265 yards with three touchdowns despite no catches from Stewart last week, but that came against Kansas.

2. Texas Tech vs. Baylor in Arlington (7 p.m., Fox)
At one point, Baylor hoped this game would boost the Bears’ late-season schedule. Instead, Texas Tech is fighting to stay relevant after three consecutive losses. For a Bears team with national championship aspirations, maybe Texas Tech’s decline isn’t such a bad thing at this point of the year. Baylor came out of the Oklahoma game licking its wounds with Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin hurt (the pair of running backs are day to day) and a regular season-ending injury to Tevin Reese (dislocated wrist). In place of Seastrunk and Martin, redshirt freshman Shock Linwood did fine in his first extended duty of the season with 182 yards on 23 carries against the Sooners. Meanwhile, Texas Tech has its own questions. The Red Raiders pulled starting quarterback Davis Webb to return Baker Mayfield to the role. Mayfield completed 34 of 44 passes for 276 yards with two interceptions in his first action since Oct. 5.

3. TCU at Kansas State (3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net)
Kansas State’s run game has asserted itself during its three-game winning streak, but the Wildcats’ opponents (West Virginia, Iowa State and Texas Tech) during that span all allow at least 170 rushing yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. TCU has the top run defense in the Big 12 at 125.2 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry. For TCU, the Horned Frogs’ offense has been boosted by the return of quarterback Casey Pachall, which has enabled former starting QB Trevone Boykin to become a multi-faceted threat on offense. Boykin rushed for three touchdowns in the win over Iowa State and had 100 receiving yards in the loss to West Virginia.

4. Iowa State at Oklahoma (noon, Fox Sports 1)
Facing an opponent like Iowa State at home comes at a good time for Oklahoma. The Sooners are feeling the heat after an uncompetitive 41-12 loss to Baylor on Thursday. The offense is again under the microscope after putting up a combined three offensive touchdowns and four interceptions against Texas and Baylor. All signs point to Blake Bell remaining the starting quarterback, but Trevor Knight entered the game for a handful of running plays. Sophomore Kendal Thompson, who competed for the job in the preseason, also has not seen the field this season. Expect the Sooners' run game to rebound more than anything against the 103rd-ranked run defense in the country.

Related: OU's Heupel is among the top coordinators on the hot seat

5. West Virginia at Kansas (noon, Fox Sports Net)
West Virginia is fighting for bowl eligibility against the two teams winless in conference play in Kansas and Iowa State. The Mountaineers have been beat up in the last two weeks, splitting a pair of overtime games against TCU and Texas. West Virginia, though, hopes to get Clint Trickett back after the starting quarterback was knocked out of the loss to Texas with a shoulder injury. West Virginia is 1-4 away from Morgantown with opponents outscoring the Mountaineers 188-91.

Big 12 Week 12 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss where Baylor should fall in the rankings and make picks for Oklahoma State-Texas in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Oklahoma State’s offensive line
Two key reasons Oklahoma State and Texas recovered from early missteps to compete for a Big 12 championship is line play. The Longhorns are averaging a Big 12-best four sacks per game in conference play. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ offensive line has come together after speed bumps early in the season, starting when projected starter Devin Davis was lost to injury during the preseason. With an established six-man rotation, the line has helped stabilize the run game in recent weeks for the Cowboys. This will be the Cowboys' toughest test up front since rushing for fewer than 100 yards against Kansas State and TCU.

Case McCoy, Texas
The absence of Johnathan Gray puts more on who’s left at running back, but also on McCoy. Texas is probably better off when McCoy is attempting fwer than 30 passes, but the Longhorns needed him to complete 27 of 49 passes to beat West Virginia in overtime last week. The senior has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions in his last four games. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State ranks second in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense, thanks in part to 12 interceptions in six conference games.

Levi Norwood, Baylor
Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese have 77 catches between them this season. No one else for Baylor has more than 19. With Reese out until the postseason, junior Levi Norwood is the top inside receiver. Norwood came up big against Oklahoma with a 17-yard touchdown catch to give Baylor a 31-5 lead in the third quarter.

Paul Dawson, TCU
Dawson has been the breakout player for the TCU defense this season, leading the Horned Frogs with nine tackles for a loss. He had four stops behind the line in the last two weeks against West Virginia and Iowa State, but Kansas State’s run game and offensive line has hit its stride in recent games. The Wildcats will bring three legitimate run threats against TCU in running back John Hubert, who rushed for a season-high 157 yards last week, and quarterbacks Daniel Sams and Jake Waters.

Tyler Anderson, West Virginia
In the continuing story of injuries for West Virginia, linebacker Jared Barber, who was second on the team with 71 tackles, is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Fifth-year senior Tyler Anderson, who has two career starts, likely takes some of his snaps inside. Kansas is struggling on offense, but the Jayhawks returned running back/wide receiver Tony Pierson, their top player, last week.

Big 12 Week 12 Picks
 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
West Virginia (-6.5) at KansasWVU 28-10WVU 34-10WVU 38-20WVU 41-17
Iowa State (+24) at OklahomaOU 31-13OU 34-10OU 45-17OU 31-21
Oklahoma State (-3) at TexasOSU 27-17OSU 38-30OSU 34-30Texas 27-24
TCU (+10.5) at Kansas StateKSU 27-14KSU 34-10KSU 34-20KSU 30-20
Texas Tech (+27) vs. BaylorBaylor 49-24Baylor 54-20Baylor 55-31Baylor 58-30
Last Week5-05-04-14-1
This Season50-1052-850-1050-10

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 12 Preview and Predictions 2013
Post date: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-freshman-power-rankings-nov-13
Body:

If Tuesday’s Champions Classic proved anything, it’s that the 2013-14 season is going to be a year for freshmen.

Not since the Kevin Durant/Greg Oden season in 2006-07 have so many great freshmen on top teams has college basketball seen the same fervor around rookies.

Now that we’ve seen most of the top freshmen all in one night thanks to Duke, Kansas and Kentucky in action in the unofficial tipoff to the college basketball season Tuesday night. Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, and he was the only top freshman to finish the doubleheader with a win.

But he may not have been the most impressive for a day.

Starting today, Athlon Sports is going to keep an eye on the year of the freshmen with a weekly power ranking of the top rookies around the country. Keep in mind, these power rankings are not meant as a reflection of how these guys are going to fall in the NBA Draft, nor is it meant to be an All-America team of sorts.

The weekly freshman power rankings is more of a ranking of who has the momentum and buzz in recent games. Here goes the first attempt:

Did we miss anyone? Think we got this wrong? Tweet us at @AthlonSports.

1. Julius Randle, Kentucky
Randle wrapped up his first week in college by averaging 24 points and 14.3 rebounds in three games. His key moment, though, came during Kentucky’s comeback against Michigan State. From the time Kentucky trailed by 13 in the second half to tie the game at the 4:41 mark, Randle had 13 points and five rebounds during a 20-7 run. Michigan State’s Adreian Payne missed time with foul trouble, but Randle was unstoppable for stretches agains the Spartans.

2. Jabari Parker, Duke
If there was a single-play highlight from the Champions Classic, it was probably Parker’s one-handed alley-oop. Parker was near-flawless as Duke built the early lead. The rookie finished with a stat line that reflected his reputation of a do-everything player: 27 points, 9 of 18 from the field, 4 of 7 from 3-point range and nine rebounds

3. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Wiggins had almost a quiet 22 points and eight rebounds against Duke, if such a thing is possible in one of two premier games Tuesday night. Wiggins played 25 minutes due to first-half foul trouble, but he hit mid-range jumpers and added a key dunk late in the game. After the game, Kansas coach Bill Self told reporters Wiggins begged to guard Parker for the night, but the coach was concerned about foul trouble.

4. Wayne Selden, Kansas
Overlooked because of the glut of freshmen Tuesday night, Selden won’t be overlooked for much longer. The Jayhawks shooting guard finished 5 of 10 from the floor with four assists and six rebounds in a 15-point effort against Duke.

5. James Young, Kentucky
Through three games, Kentucky has struggled shooting from outside. Young isn’t immune. He was 3 of 11 from 3-point range against Michigan State, but he was Kentucky’s second-leading scorer in the Champions Classic. He scored 19 points against the Spartans thanks to go 4 of 5 from inside the arc. Young is averaging 11.7 points in three games this season.

6. Aaron Gordon, Arizona
The Wildcats forward picked up double-doubles in two games this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Cal Poly and 14 points and 10 board against Long Beach State. His first major test will be Thursday against San Diego State.

7. Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Like the rest of the Hoosiers, Vonleh has had his growing pains the first week of the season, specifically a 73-72 close call with LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday. Vonleh has had double-doubles in both games this year, but he’s shooting 9 of 22 from the floor.

8. Ben Elomogu, Virginia Tech
Wins will be tough to come by in Blacksburg without Erick Green this season, but at least Elomogu gave the Hokies an early spark by helping Virginia Tech come back from a 17-point deficit to beat West Virginia. Elomogu scored 22 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer at half time to cut the deficit to five. Virginia Tech defeated the Mountaineers 87-82.

9. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
The Orange aren’t counting on Syracuse to fill up the scoresheet. That’s C.J. Fair’s job. Jim Boeheim is counting on him to get Syracuse into good scoring opportunities, though. Syracuse will probably take a 12-to-2 assist-to-turnover ratio in the early going even if it’s against Cornell and Fordham. Ennis added 15 points and 8 of 10 free throws against the Rams.

10. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
Both Harrisons showed room for improvement after the loss to Michigan State, but Andrew Harrison has averaged 10.7 points in three games. He’s also shooting 81.3 percent from the free throw line, which could turn out to be an important number for the Wildcats.

Teaser:
College Basketball Freshman Power Rankings: Nov. 13
Post date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 15:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coordinators-hot-seat
Body:

Head coaches are usually the ones who receive most of the credit or most of the blame when things go right or wrong in college football.

They’re the ones with most say over players and team personnel. They’re the ones out front with the media.

But in college football, no one escapes scrutiny. Behind every coach under pressure is usually a coordinator or assistant under pressure, too.

These are those coordinators who have earned fan vitriol in recent weeks or seasons. When staff shakeups come in December, these may be the names to watch.

College Football’s Coordinators on the Hot Seat

Brent Pease, Florida
Will Muschamp has not had much success with offensive coordinators at Florida. Charlie Weis stayed for one middling season before he was replaced by Pease from Boise State. The Gators offense has been one-dimensional at best under Pease and inept at its worst. Florida ranks last in the SEC in yards per play and ranked 12th in 2012 before injuries set in.

Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
One way a former national championship quarterback slips from being universally beloved is to be a coordinator of a struggling offense. OU has its most unstable quarterback situation of Bob Stoops’ tenure, contributing to an offense that ranks sixth in the Big 12 in yards per play. Even with Landry Jones, Oklahoma ranked no higher than fourth in yards per play during Heupel’s tenure as coordinator.

Al Borges, Michigan
This was supposed to be the season Michigan transitioned from the spread personnel Rich Rodriguez left to a pro-style attack. Instead, Devin Gardner has been turnover-prone, the run game minus Gardner is non-existent, and the offensive line beyond Taylor Lewan has struggled.

Jarrett Anderson/Rusty Burns, TCU
The Horned Frogs offense has had many issues: The transition to the Big 12, unexpected departures, injuries, and both that have claimed most of the last two seasons for Casey Pachall. Most of that isn’t in the control of the TCU coaching staff, but the Horned Frogs offense hasn’t been the same without Justin Fuente, who is now at Memphis. TCU ranks last in the Big 12 in rushing and ranked eighth last season.

Doug Mallory/William Inge, Indiana
Indiana’s not likely to have one of the top defenses in the Big Ten, though the Hoosiers do have one of the league’s top offenses. Indiana has ranked last in the Big Ten in total defense in three consecutive seasons, but 519.1 yards per game is a different story. The Hoosiers’ defense helped turn games against Navy, Michigan and Minnesota into shootouts.

Todd Grantham, Georgia
Defense is down throughout the SEC this season, and injuries on offense altered Georgia’s season. But the Bulldogs have failed to put together a top-30 defense the last two seasons.

Tim Banks, Illinois
Banks’ boss, Tim Beckman, is on the hot seat, but if Beckman gets another year, he’ll be under pressure to find another Bill Cubit. The former Western Michigan coach upgraded the Illinois offense, especially during the 3-1 start. On the other side of the ball, Illinois is last in the Big Ten in run defense and pass efficiency defense.

John Papuchis, Nebraska
Defense has been a calling card for coach Bo Pelini and Nebraska until recent years. The Cornhuskers defense has been a liability going back to the end of last season. If Pelini hangs on for another season, staff changes may follow.

John Butler, Penn State
The Nittany Lions have depth issues due to NCAA sanctions, but Penn State allowed 40-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time since the turn of the 20th century.

Teaser:
College Football's Coordinators on the Hot Seat
Post date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-podcast-week-12
Body:

Last week gave us plenty of news to break down on this week’s podcast. Alabama tightened its grip on No. 1, Baylor took another step to national title legitimacy and Stanford rearranged the championship and Heisman races. Co-hosts Braden Gall and David Fox dive into the debates while looking ahead to Saturday.

On this week’s podcast:

• Gall and Fox dive right into the Thursday night results and what they mean for the national championship race. Fox doesn’t mind people ranking Stanford ahead of Baylor and Ohio State for now, but that should change if Baylor beats Oklahoma State and Texas. Gall believes Stanford should remain on the same footing as undefeated Baylor and Ohio State.

• Marcus Mariota’s injury and performance against Stanford toppled a quarterback who was securely in the lead for the Heisman, what does that mean for the field after Jameis Winston?

• Gall and Fox have come to the same conclusion about where Johnny Manziel belongs in the race, but took two different routes to get there based on what he’s done right and what he’s done wrong.

• Fox then goes on a quick rant about how AJ McCarron is the new “system quarterback” and that hurts him in the Heisman race.

• And then in a look at this week’s game, our pickers are riding the hot hands for Auburn, Oklahoma State, UCLA and more.

• Lastly, a quick look at Hot Seat or Not Hot Seat. Who is on the hot seat in 2013 and who gets a chance to go into 2014 scorching?

The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

Please send any comments, questions and podcast topics to @AthlonSports, @BradenGall and @DavidFox615 on Twitter.
 

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Week 12
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 15:58
Path: /college-football/amazing-big-12-college-football-stats-week-11
Body:

The first number to know for this week’s Big 12 stats of the week is probably three. As in three contenders for Big 12 coach of the year.

All three superb coaching jobs were on display last week. First, there’s Art Briles, who has Baylor in the thick of the national championship race after picking up its key win of the season so far against Oklahoma.

Then there’s Bill Snyder, who started the season with an inexperienced team and four early losses, but he has led Kansas State to three consecutive wins, the latest on the road against Texas Tech.

Lastly, Texas’ Mack Brown could stake a legitimate claim at league coach of the year if the Longhorns remain undefeated in league play. Granted, Brown had to fire a coordinator he hired to help usher in the defensive rebound, but Texas has also dealt with a handful of key injuries through a 6-0 start in Big 12 play.

More Stats from Week 11: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 SEC

Big 12 Stats to Know from Week 11

3.4. Oklahoma’s yards per play against Baylor
Perhaps lost in Baylor’s win over Oklahoma on Thursday was how dominant the Bears’ defense was. The Bears held Oklahoma to 3.4 yards per play, the lowest average for the Sooners since a loss to TCU on Sept. 3, 2005. Baylor has held three Big 12 opponents to fewer than four years per play this season (Iowa State, Kansas and Oklahoma).

89.3. Rushing yards per game for Baylor redshirt freshman Shock Linwood
The Baylor redshirt freshman is second only to teammate Lache Seastrunk in in the Big 12 in rushing yards per game despite carrying the ball only 15 times in the first half all season. With Seastrunk and Glasco Martin hurt, Linwood got his most extended action of the season, rushing for 182 yards on 23 carries against Oklahoma. Linwood is seventh in the Big 12 in total rushing yards despite having 46 fewer carries than any non-Baylor player ahead of him.

2. All-time overtime games for Texas
Texas needed overtime to defeat West Virginia 47-40 on Saturday, but the most most shocking part of the game was that this was only Texas’ second game to end in overtime. The other overtime game was a 30-27 loss to Oklahoma in 1996, the season the format was established. Texas and Kansas State have played the fewest overtime games for current Big 12 teams at two apiece.

All-time overtime games for Big 12 teams
13 TCU
12 West Virginia
10 Baylor
9 Oklahoma State
9 Texas Tech
8 Iowa State
8 Kansas
4 Oklahoma
2 Kansas State
2 Texas

6. Consecutive Texas wins
Another surprising number from Texas: The Longhorns have won six games in a row for the first time since winning 17 in a row from Nov. 8, 2008 to Dec. 5, 2009. That win streak was ended by Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

4. Starters for Texas in the opener now injured
Texas announced this week that defensive tackle Chris Whaley (knee) and running back Johnathan Gray (ACL) will miss the remainder of the season with injuries. The Longhorns already lost linebacker Jordan Hicks for the season, and former starting quarterback David Ash has no timetable for a return from a head injury.

24. Sacks for Texas since Greg Robinson took over
Texas’ defense is better in a handful of ways since the Longhorns fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and replaced him with Greg Robinson. The biggest difference was in the pass rush. Texas sacked West Virginia six times Saturday. That included four sacks on starting quarterback Clint Trickett, who only attempted four passes before leaving with an injury. After recording no sacks in losses to BYU and Ole Miss, Texas has 24 in six conference games. No one else in the Big 12 averages better than 2.8 sacks in league play.

175. Career wins for Bill Snyder, all at Kansas State
With a 49-26 win over Texas Tech, Bill Snyder became the 46th coach to win 175 career games by only the 11th to win 175 at only one school.

Most FBS/major college football wins at only one school
Joe Paterno, Penn State (298-136-3)
LaVell Edwards, BYU (257-101-3)
Tom Osborne, Nebraska (255-49-3)
Chris Ault, Nevada (233-109-1)
Vince Dooley, Georgia (201-77-10)
Dan McGugin, Vanderbilt (197-55-19)
John Vaught, Ole Miss (190-61-12)
Carmen Cozza, Yale (179-119-5)
Frank Kush, Arizona State (176-54-1)
Shug Jordan, Auburn (176-83-6)
Bill Sndyer, Kansas State (175-89-1)

Plus-6. Kansas State’s turnover margin in the last three games
Part of Kansas State’s turnaround in the last three weeks has been a Snyder staple of winning the turnover battle. Kansas State was minus-9 through its 2-4 start this season, but was plus-1 against West Virginia, plus-2 against Iowa State and plus-3 Saturday against Texas Tech, all comfortable wins. The Wildcats are still minus-3 for the season, but they haven’t finished in the red for a season since 2008 under Ron Prince.

Minus-22. Texas Tech’s turnover margin at home in the last three seasons
Lubbock used to be one of the best home field advantages in the Big 12, but that trend has reversed. The Red Raiders are minus-22 in turnover margin at home in the last three seasons, including a minus-10 mark in 2013. (Hat tip to @AaronDickens)

3. Offensive categories where TCU’s Trevone Boykin contributes
One of the major differences in TCU’s offense following the return of starting quarterback Casey Pachall has been the use of former starting quarterback Trevone Boykin. The sophomore lined up under center at times in the win at Iowa State but never threw a pass. Instead, he rushed for 29 yards and three touchdowns on five carries. A week earlier, Boykin caught 11 passes for 100 yards from Pachall. That gives him the unique stat line for 1,176 passing yards, 303 rushing yards and 165 receiving yards.

6. Starting quarterbacks for Iowa State under Paul Rhoads
Iowa State has had trouble finding a starting quarterback since Austen Arnaud’s career ended due to injury during his senior season. On Saturday against TCU, Grant Rohach became the sixth different starting quarterback Rhoads had had at Iowa State since 2009, joining Sam Richardson, Steele Jantz, Jerome Tiller and Arnaud.

 

Teaser:
Amazing Big 12 College Football Stats from Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:14

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