Articles By David Fox

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The Big 12 lost an undefeated team but re-gained another legitimate contender in the league race.

Oklahoma handed Texas Tech its first loss of the season with a 38-30 victory in Norman to give the Big 12 four teams tied in the win column with four league wins. Of course, Baylor and Texas continued to control their own path to the league title with unblemished league records, but the prospect of four teams contending for the Big 12 championship will give the league an exciting November.

Even Oklahoma State, at 3-1, can get back into the mix if the Cowboys can knock off Texas Tech on Saturday.

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

Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

RkTeamLWAnalysis
11Baylor (7-0, 4-0): The Bears started slow against Kansas, with two punts on the first two possessions, but they returned to form in characteristic fashion. Baylor reeled off four consecutive touchdown drives of 68 seconds, 51 seconds, 92 seconds and 41 seconds. The win — but more a loss by Missouri — vaulted Baylor into the Associated Press top five for the first time since 1953. The 59-14 Kansas win, the second-lowest scoring game of the season for the Bears, was the last game before Baylor begins the critical stretch of the season against Oklahoma on Nov. 7. This week: Off
23Texas (5-2, 4-0): A weather delay of more than three hours did little to slow Texas against TCU, keeping the Longhorns tied with Baylor for the Big 12 lead. The most notable development was the first appearance of heralded freshman Tyrone Swoopes. Burning his redshirt signals former starting quarterback David Ash may not return anytime in the next few weeks. Starting quarterback Case McCoy threw two interceptions and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes for the first time this season. Meanwhile, Texas’ defensive front had another standout day with six tackles for a loss. The Longhorns eight tackles for a loss per game in second only to TCU in conference play. This week: Kansas
34Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1): The Sooners had one of their most complete games of the season in the 38-30 win over Texas Tech, but it came at a price. Oklahoma lost fullback Trey Millard for the season to a torn ACL. Millard was one of the most valuable players on the offense thanks to his versatility in different formations. He’s the third key player OU has lost for the season, joining linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Leading tackler Frank Shannon also left the Texas Tech game with an injury early in the game. This week: Off
42Texas Tech (7-1, 4-1): On one hand, Texas Tech acquitted itself well in its first major test of the season on the road against Oklahoma. With a freshman quarterback and a first-time head coach, Texas Tech lost by only eight points and continued to threaten in the second half. But the Red Raiders still turned the ball over three times and went 5 of 14 on third down in a game full of missed opportunities. Freshman QB Davis Webb had his moments, completing 33 of 53 passes for 385 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but Texas Tech needed more out of a defense that gave up 7.3 yards per play. Tech also learned it would be without starting safety J.J. Gaines for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury. This week: Oklahoma State
55Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1): Clint Chelf returned to the starting quarterback job, but the biggest news for the offense was the performance of Desmond Roland. The junior rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns against Iowa State after entering the game with 147 yards so far this season. The passing game still stalled with Chelf, who completed 10 of 26 passes for 78 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Chelf still showed some impressive mobility — something that was supposed to be the strength of former starter J.W. Walsh — by rushing for 85 yards on nine carries. This week: at Texas Tech
66Kansas State (3-4, 1-3): The Wildcats had their best game of the season on both sides of the ball in a key win over West Virginia. Having receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson back healthy was a major boon for the offense as Jake Waters and Daniel Sams combined to complete 18 of 21 passes for 291 yards as the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points to end the game. This week: Iowa State
77West Virginia (3-5, 1-4): The Mountaineers lost their second consecutive game in which they led in the third quarter only to have the wheels fall off. Texas Tech scored the final 21 points last week, and Kansas State answered by scoring the last 28. At least the toughest part of the schedule is behind the Mountaineers. West Virginia will face Texas on Nov. 9 but otherwise faces the three teams ranked below. This week: at TCU
88TCU (3-5, 1-4): The good news is that TCU got a rare first-quarter touchdown. The bad news was the TD was all TCU got against Texas. Casey Pachall returned for the first time since the second game of the season, but he did little to spark the Horned Frogs offense. TCU crossed midfield only once in the final 41:31. This week: West Virginia
99Iowa State (2-5, 0-4): The Cyclones played wounded as leading rusher Aaron Wimberly missed the game with a hamstring injury. Quarterback Sam Richardson shined early, but suffered a neck and upper back injury to knock him out of the game. Backup quarterback Grant Rohach led a scoring drive, and backup tailback DeVondrick Nealy showed some explosiveness in the first half. In the second half, the injuries caught up with Iowa State as Oklahoma State outscored the Cyclones 30-7 after halftime. This week: at Kansas State
1010Kansas (1-6, 0-4): Kansas is still without linebacker Ben Heeney and running back Tony Pierson, the top two players on both sides of the ball. The Jayhawks were going to have trouble staying competitive anyway, but this is making matters worse. Charlie Weis has opted for a quarterback rotation with BYU transfer Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart, though neither was effective against Baylor. Kansas has been outscored 174-66 in conference play. This week: at Texas

Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Desmond Roland, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have been stumbling for answers at quarterback and running back all season. Roland may be one of the answers at tailback. The junior rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in the 58-27 win over Iowa State for the best day by an Oklahoma State running back since early 2010. Roland’s day was highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown run in which he broke a handful of tackles and spun away from Iowa State defenders.

Defensive player of the week: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
Texas Tech got its yards in the passing game, but the Sooners still led in the big play department in the 38-30 win over the Red Raiders. Cornerback Aaron Colvin finished with seven tackles and added an interception early in the first quarter. Colvin also recovered a Jace Amaro fumble that negated a key third down completion in the second quarter.

Freshman of the week: Shock Linwood, Baylor
The Bears redshirt freshman backup gets plenty of work spelling running back Lache Seastrunk, but his performance against Kansas was the best of the season. Linwood rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries in the 59-14 rout. Linwood’s seven rushing touchdowns this season is as much as Kansas has as a team.

Team of the week: Oklahoma
The Sooners still need to beat Baylor and watch Texas lose to have a shot at the Big 12 championship, but OU erased the malaise of the last few months with a 38-30 win over Texas Tech. Even if Oklahoma doesn’t win the league, a one-loss Sooners team would still be attractive to a BCS game. Against Texas Tech, the Sooners’ offense came alive in the final three quarters while the defense did enough to force three turnovers.

Coordinator of the week: Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
After several weeks of trying to find its way, the Oklahoma offense finally hit its stride against Texas Tech with a balanced attack. OU’s 277 rushing yards and 5.5 yards per carry were both the best for the Sooners since Sept. 7 against West Virginia. But the real improvement was in the passing game where Blake Bell had his best game of the season. The Sooners passed for 249 yards and averaged a season-high 11.3 yards per attempt.

Fifth Down

• Texas burned the redshirt of prized freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in the waning minutes against TCU. Swoopes replaced starter Case McCoy late in the fourth quarter. The move signaled former starter David Ash will be out for at least another week after suffering a concussion.

• Trevone Boykin started at quarterback for TCU, but Casey Pachall returned for most of the action against Texas. Pachall had is non-throwing arm heavily wrapped upon his return from a broken bone. He finished 13 of 34 for 139 yards with an interception.

• By defeating Kansas 59-14, Baylor set a school record with 11 consecutive wins.

• Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett returned from injury to catch eight passes for 111 yards with three touchdowns. Tremaine Thompson also returned to catch three passes for 53 yards with a score.

• Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops improved to 23-1 in the last 24 games in his first meeting against a fellow Big 12 coach.

• Oklahoma State started Clint Chelf at quarterback for the second time this season. Chelf started the opener before he lost the job to J.W. Walsh. Chelf regained the upper hand last week against TCU.

• Iowa State eventually ended up with an all-backup offensive backfield. Running back Aaron Wimberly missed the loss to Oklahoma State with a hamstring injury, and quarterback Sam Richardson left in the second quarter with a head and neck injury.

• Baylor accumulated 743 yards against Kansas, the fifth time Baylor topped the 700-yard mark this season, but Baylor’s 59 points was the second-lowest total of the year.

 

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Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings 2013
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See, Oregon fans, was that such a long wait?

Even as Florida State and Ohio State demolished their Week 9 opponents, Oregon still took the leap up to the No. 2 spot in the second BCS standings as expected. Oregon defeated UCLA 42-14 to begin a stretch that will give the Ducks an opportunity to build a national title resume, no matter what the Seminoles and Buckeyes do to finish the season.

The second BCS standings were released with few surprises other than perhaps a host of SEC teams jockeying for position for an at-large bid and two non-automatic qualifying teams creeping up the rankings.
 

Moving Up

Oregon. The predicted move up the rankings began in the second BCS standings as Oregon moved from No. 3 to No. 2 thanks to a win over a top-20 UCLA team. Oregon remained No. 2 in the coaches’ and Harris polls but predictably jumped two spots due to the computer rankings. Oregon moved from fourth in the computer rankings to give the Ducks a 0.0306 edge over Florida State.

South Carolina. The Gamecocks are still in the SEC East hunt after defeating Missouri in overtime, but they also moved from No. 21 to No. 14, the threshold for an at-large BCS bid. Missouri can still win the East, but South Carolina may end up the big winner as far as bowl selection is concerned. If Carolina has only two losses and defeats Clemson to finish the regular season, the Gamecocks would be a nice option for the Sugar Bowl if it loses Alabama to the title game.

Moving Down

Texas Tech. Not a shock, but Texas Tech dropped five spots from No. 10 to No. 15 after a loss at Oklahoma. The Red Raiders remain in the BCS hunt with the Big 12’s automatic bid. Otherwise, Texas Tech would head to the Cotton Bowl at best.

Key Games This Week

No. 7 Miami at No. 3 Florida State. Ohio State will root for Miami to knock off one of the teams blocking the Buckeyes from the top two in the BCS. Miami isn’t the strongest top-10 we’ve ever seen after the Hurricanes needed second-half comebacks to beat North Carolina and Wake Forest, but this will be the last chance for a big FSU win during the ACC season.

No. 21 Michigan at No. 22 Michigan State. Think an Ohio State Big Ten title is a given? Last year an unranked Wisconsin team won the conference title game. The two Michigan rivals are securely in the top-25, but one could become a Legends Division frontrunner Saturday.

No. 18 Oklahoma State at No. 15 Texas Tech. This is probably a Big 12 elimination game with both the Cowboys and Red Raiders sitting on a conference loss.

Other Notes

• Despite close calls — including Saturday against San Diego State — Fresno State would be an automatic BCS bid if the season ended today. The Bulldogs are ranked 16th and ahead of No. 23 UCF, which would claim the American’s automatic bid. Northern Illinois is just one spot behind at No. 17.

• Baylor continues to be hammered by the computer rankings. The Bears are fifth in the coaches’ poll and Harris poll but rank 10th or lower in four of six computers.

• Alabama has a sizable lead from the No. 1 spot, a lead that will only grow if the Crimson Tide win upcoming games against No. 11 Auburn and No. 13 LSU.

• No team ranked lower than eighth in the second BCS standings has reached the national title game. That’s at least a sign of hope for the two one-loss teams in the top eight: Stanford and Clemson.

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.

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If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State can keep this up, the Bedlam Game will be mighty interesting.

The Sooners and Cowboys remained among the nation’s one-loss teams this week, but more important, they showed they remain Big 12 title contenders thanks to finding answers on offense.

Oklahoma State still has quarterback issues, but the Cowboys may finally have a running back who can carry the load in Big 12 offensive player of the week Desmond Roland.

And against Texas Tech, Oklahoma started two possessions backed up inside its own 10-yard line, but Blake Bell marched down the field for a 97-yard touchdown drive that could help turn the season for the Sooners’ offense in a 38-30 win over the Red Raiders.

Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Desmond Roland, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have been stumbling for answers at quarterback and running back all season. Roland may be one of the answers at tailback. The junior rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries in the 58-27 win over Iowa State for the best day by an Oklahoma State running back since early 2010. Roland’s day was highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown run in which he broke a handful of tackles and spun away from Iowa State defenders.

Defensive player of the week: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
Texas Tech got its yards in the passing game, but the Sooners still led in the big play department in the 38-30 win over the Red Raiders. Cornerback Aaron Colvin finished with seven tackles and added an interception early in the first quarter. Colvin also recovered a Jace Amaro fumble that negated a key third down completion in the second quarter.

Freshman of the week: Shock Linwood, Baylor
The Bears redshirt freshman backup gets plenty of work spelling running back Lache Seastrunk, but his performance against Kansas was the best of the season. Linwood rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries in the 59-14 rout. Linwood’s seven rushing touchdowns this season is as much as Kansas has as a team.

Team of the week: Oklahoma
The Sooners still need to beat Baylor and watch Texas lose to have a shot at the Big 12 championship, but OU erased the malaise of the last few months with a 38-30 win over Texas Tech. Even if Oklahoma doesn’t win the league, a one-loss Sooners team would still be attractive to a BCS game. Against Texas Tech, the Sooners’ offense came alive in the final three quarters while the defense did enough to force three turnovers.

Coordinator of the week: Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
After several weeks of trying to find its way, the Oklahoma offense finally hit its stride against Texas Tech with a balanced attack. OU’s 277 rushing yards and 5.5 yards per carry were both the best for the Sooners since Sept. 7 against West Virginia. But the real improvement was in the passing game where Blake Bell had his best game of the season. The Sooners passed for 249 yards and averaged a season-high 11.3 yards per attempt.

Fifth Down

• Texas burned the redshirt of prized freshman quarterback Tyrone Swoopes in the waning minutes against TCU. Swoopes replaced starter Case McCoy late in the fourth quarter. The move signaled former starter David Ash will be out for at least another week after suffering a concussion.

• Trevone Boykin started at quarterback for TCU, but Casey Pachall returned for most of the action against Texas. Pachall had is non-throwing arm heavily wrapped upon his return from a broken bone. He finished 13 of 34 for 139 yards with an interception.

• By defeating Kansas 59-14, Baylor set a school record with 11 consecutive wins.

• Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett returned from injury to catch eight passes for 111 yards with three touchdowns. Tramaine Thompson also returned to catch three passes for 53 yards with a score.

• Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops improved to 23-1 in the last 24 games in his first meeting against a fellow Big 12 coach.

• Oklahoma State started Clint Chelf at quarterback for the second time this season. Chelf started the opener before he lost the job to J.W. Walsh. Chelf regained the upper hand last week against TCU.

• Iowa State eventually ended up with an all-backup offensive backfield. Running back Aaron Wimberly missed the loss to Oklahoma State with a hamstring injury, and quarterback Sam Richardson left in the second quarter with a head and neck injury.

• Baylor accumulated 743 yards against Kansas, the fifth time Baylor topped the 700-yard mark this season, but Baylor’s 59 points was the second-lowest total of the year.

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Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards
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The final Saturday of October gave us further examples of two truths of the soon-to-be-defunct BCS:

1. October is way too early to be frustrated about the BCS rankings.

2. October is a perfect time to be frustrated with the BCS rankings.

On the first point, Missouri and Texas Tech fans were probably too busy basking in the surprising seasons the Tigers and Red Raiders have put together to worry about the national title contention, but in any event, those hopes may be finished as both suffered their first loss of the season.

On the second, Alabama, Florida State and Oregon further proved why all three have legitimate claims to the top two spots in the BCS. Alabama and Florida State rolled over overmatched competition while Oregon won a signature game against UCLA. Ohio State, with a significantly weaker schedule than the other three, is forced to wait for one of the big three to lose to crack the top three.

All four, not to mention undefeated Baylor, have every reason to believe they’re national championship material, are stuck in a two-teams-take-all system.

Speaking of the postseason, Saturday was plenty of reason to celebrate for a handful of teams. College football powers may not get excited for any and all bowl bids, but teams like Duke, Buffalo and Tulane all became bowl eligible Saturday. UNLV is one game away.

Not every postseason is a source of frustration.

College Football Week 9 Recap: Three And Out

Three Things We Learned from Oregon 42, UCLA 14

Oregon has a defense, too. The Ducks did many of the same things Stanford did to UCLA and quarterback Brett Hundley. Like Stanford, Oregon held UCLA to four yards per play and intercepted Hundley twice. But defense is a calling card for Stanford in a way it isn’t for Oregon, despite the Ducks’ impressive numbers over the years under coordinator Nick Aliotti. Against the Ducks, UCLA got two touchdowns on drives that started inside Oregon’s 40 and little else. Hundley also was held to a mere 134 yards of total offense, a career low. Only Washington State has topped 400 yards this season against Oregon, and that was a game that was out of hand early.

No one goes from a tight game to lopsided finish like Oregon. The Ducks needed a full four quarters to get the comfortable finish they’re used to having, but it happened against UCLA. Oregon and UCLA were tied 14-14 in the fourth quarter in a game that was tight enough at one point that a 66-yard run on a fake punt was one of the few sparks for the Ducks. But Oregon, as usual, caught its stride to outscore UCLA 21-0 in 9:10 of game time. Heisman contending-quarterback Marcus Mariota continued to build his case by completing 10 of 10 passes in the second half.

It’s Oregon-Stanford in the Pac-12 again. The Pac-12 schedule did Washington and UCLA no favors with both facing Oregon and Stanford back-to-back. The two league powers in the Pac-12 North defeated Washington and UCLA by a combined score of 142-76. Throw in Stanford’s 42-28 win over Arizona State, and it’s further evidence the power in the league will reside in the Oregon-Stanford winner on Nov. 7.

Three Things We Learned from Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 30

Oklahoma is still in the thick of the Big 12 ... thanks to its offense. Blake Bell won’t make Oklahoma fans forget about Sam Bradford or even Landry Jones, but the Sooners quarterback started to come into his own in the final three quarters of the biggest game of the year. Backed up on his own 3 early in the second quarter, Bell led a long touchdown drive that could be the turning point for his season. Against Texas Tech, Bell completed 14 of 22 seasons for 249 yards with two touchdowns to go with 44 rushing yards. He’s been erratic as a passer but showed perfect touch on the next possession with a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. It’s been a rocky start for Bell in the Big 12 this season, but Saturday was as encouraging game as the quarterback has had this season.

Kliff Kingsbury has guts. The Texas Tech coach didn’t wilt in his first big road game against Oklahoma. After the Red Raiders kicked a field goal in the third quarter to close the margin to 21-17, Kingsbury called for an onside kick. Tech recovered and scored a go-ahead touchdown. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Texas Tech converted a fourth and 2 from its own 45 amid another Tech scoring drive.

Oklahoma lost even when it won. The Sooners offense took a handful of strides against Texas Tech, but they’ll have to overcome a major loss through the remainder of the season. Fullback Trey Millard, a threat as a runner and a receiver in addition to being a devastating blocker, was lost for the remainder of the season to a torn ACL. This was a guy voted first-team All-Big 12 by coaches while accounting for 535 yards from scrimmage last season. He’ll be impossible to replace this season.

Moving the Chains

Ohio State’s rout. The Buckeyes needed to prove they could beat any Big Ten team by a significant margin. Ohio State followed through with a 63-14 rout of Penn State, the biggest Big Ten blowout under Urban Meyer. Still, it may be too little, too late. Without a marquee nonconference win and a weak slate against the Big Ten, Ohio State isn’t going to catch Alabama, Oregon or Florida State if any of them stay undefeated. The Buckeyes’ next three Big Ten opponents (Purdue, Illinois and Indiana) have one conference win among them.

Minnesota’s fight. The Gophers are bowl eligible before November, which is a major feat considering the adversity Minnesota has battled this season. Gophers coach Jerry Kill has been out of action for two games as he seeks to remedy the epileptic seizures that impacted two games this season. Acting coach Tracy Claeys led the Gophers to a 34-23 win over Nebraska to end a 16-game losing streak to the Cornhuskers dating back to 1960. The Gophers rushed for 271 yards and three touchdowns on 54 attempts, but also caught Nebraska off guard with tricky formations. In one drive in the third quarter, Minnesota had an offensive tackle line up as a receiver only to complete a 21-yard pass to tight end. Four plays later, Minnesota lined up in the Wildcat on the goal line only to have quarterback Philip Nelson motion from his receiver spot to take a QB sneak for a touchdown.

Michigan State. Maybe it’s time to start taking Michigan State more seriously as a Big Ten contender, and not just because Nebraska can’t play defense and Michigan is turnover-happy. A week before facing Michigan, the Spartans smashed Illinois 45-3, outgaining the Illini 477-128. Michigan State held Illinois to 1.2 yards per carry while rushing for 4.9 yards per carry itself. In addition, the efficiency numbers for Michigan State were through the roof as quarterback Connor Cook completed 15 of 16 passes for 208 yards with three touchdowns and the Spartans went 14 of 16 on third down.

False Starts

Missouri. This has been a magical season for Missouri that may end up in the SEC Championship Game, but Tigers fans can’t get out of a season without a dose of misery. Missouri gave up a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose 27-24 in double overtime in a game joining Colorado's Fifth Down and Nebraska's Flea Kicker in Missouri misery lore. Kicker Andrew Baggett was the goat of the moment when a 24-yard field goal from the left hashmark (and with a questionable hold with the laces out) bounced off the goal post in the second overtime. But the Missouri defense also gave up a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the first overtime. The Tigers were also on the wrong end of a gutty effort by Connor Shaw. The South Carolina quarterback wasn’t even supposed to play after sustaining a knee injury last week against Tennessee. Shaw entered the game to complete 20 of 29 passes for 201 yards with three touchdowns.

Northwestern’s collapse. Northwestern is falling apart in a way that would make Ron Zook’s final team at Illinois blush. The Wildcats lost 17-10 in overtime to Iowa (an overtime game completed in two hours, 50 minutes, no less) for their fourth loss in a row. Northwestern started 4-0 and was ranked as high as No. 16 in the AP poll, but now the Wildcats are in danger of missing a bowl game with Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois rounding out the Big Ten schedule. Most perplexing Saturday was Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald forgoing a timeout on Iowa’s final possession. The Hawkeyes ran the ball twice in side the Northwestern 40, but Fitzgerald didn’t call a timeout until fourth down. The Wildcats got the ball back win only seven seconds in regulation.

Oregon State’s pass protection. Sean Mannion was sacked eight times in the 20-12 loss to Stanford, nearly doubling how often he’d been sacked all season. The pressure contributed to Mannion’s 4.7 yards per attempt, a season-low by two yards, and only one touchdown. Mannion completed 42 of 58 passes for a mere 274 yards in the loss.

Heisman Movers

Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois. The Huskies quarterback accounted for four passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and a touchdown catch in a 59-20 win over Eastern Michigan. It’s going to be tough for him to crack the hold Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel have on the top three, but efforts like that might put him in the top five. Lynch was seventh in the voting last season.

Jameis Winston, Florida State. Winston completed 16 of 26 passes for 292 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and was lifted after the first possession in the third quarter. Probably not the last time that happens for the Seminoles' freshman.

Derek Carr, Fresno State. His team was not impressive in a 35-28 win in overtime against San Diego State. Even the key pass in overtime wasn’t anything special — it was an 11-yard shovel pass on third and 8. But it all happened after 2:30 a.m. Eastern, so some voters may just see an undefeated quarterback with a famous name who went 35 of 58 for 298 yards with two touchdowns.

Stat Watch

104. Alabama’s unanswered points streak when it ended. Alabama had outscored SEC opponents 104-0 going back to the second half against Kentucky before the unanswered scoring streak was broken in the most unlikely way. With Justin Worley injured, Tennessee burned the redshirt of freshman quarterback Josh Dobbs. Dobbs led the first scoring drive against Alabama in seven quarters and the first touchdown drive against the Crimson Tide in eight quarters. Alabama is still outscoring SEC opponents 170-17 since the Texas A&M game on Sept. 14.

3,172. Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews set the SEC’s career receiving record at 3,172 yards with at least four games to go in his senior season. Matthews passed Georgia wide receiver Terrence Edwards’ 3,093 career yards from 1999-2002. Matthews is the second Vanderbilt receiver to hold the SEC’s receiving record. The Commodores’ Boo Mitchell held the record from 1988 until he was passed by LSU’s Josh Reed in 2001.

40. Points allowed in three consecutive games by Penn State. That’s the first time that’s happened to Penn State since 1899, according to the Big Ten Network’s Dave Revsine. The teams that did that back in 1899: Yale, Penn and the Duquesne Athletic Club. Penn State’s 63 points allowed against Ohio State was the most since a 106-0 loss to Lehigh in 1889.

Buried on the Depth Chart

No Let Downs After Big Wins
Auburn
Ole Miss
UCF

Defensive Studs
Landon Collins, Alabama
Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota

Three Lonely Kickers
Andrew Baggett, Missouri
Cody Journell, VIrginia Tech
Seamus McMorrow, San Diego State

Outta Nowhere Heroes
Desmond Roland, Oklahoma State
Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Nick Sloan, Navy

Dang, They’re Good
Alabama
Florida State
Ohio State

Dang, They’re Bad
Connecticut
Southern Miss
Virginia

Best Games Next Week
Michigan at Michigan State
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Miami at Florida State
Houston’s 6-1 start. Has anyone been paying attention to Houston’s wild start? The Cougars demolished a turnover-prone Rutgers team 49-14 to continue a 3-0 start in the American Athletic Conference to eclipse last season’s win total. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for second-year coach Tony Levine, who lost starting quarterback David Piland earlier this season. Piland, whose career ended due to multiple concussions, has been replaced admirably by freshman John O’Korn. Of course, it helps O’Korn to have star wide receiver Deontay Greenberry. Greenberry, who backed out of a commitment to Notre Dame on signing day in 2012, caught eight passes for 168 yards with three touchdowns against Rutgers. Houston’s only loss this season is by one point in a wild game against BYU last week, but the Cougars' real test will be Nov. 9 (at UCF) and Nov. 16 (at Louisville.)

Receivers return for Kansas State. The Wildcats gave Baylor its toughest test of the season and came close to upsetting Oklahoma State, but they’ve been short on wins. Kansas State finally got a Big 12 victory thanks in part to the return of injured receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. The tandem combined for 11 catches for 164 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-12 win over West Virginia. Lockett alone had three touchdown catches.

SMU’s comeback. Garrett Gilbert saved SMU from embarrassment and kept the Mustangs in bowl contention with a furious comeback to beat Temple 59-49. Gilbert passed for a school record 538 yards and rushed for 97 yards as SMU needed 45 points in the second half to put away a 1-7 Temple team.

Three Telling Numbers from the ACC

35-0. Florida State’s first-quarter lead against NC State. The Seminoles continue to be head and shoulders above the ACC competition, jumping to a 35-0 lead against NC State. Jameis Winston was brilliant again, completing 11 of 14 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. Florida State has outscored its last three ACC opponents 163-31.

8. Combined interceptions in Duke-Virginia Tech. The Virginia Tech offense regressed to its early season form as tailbacks accounted for only 72 rushing yards and Logan Thomas threw four interceptions. Duke’s Anthony Boone threw four picks of his own, but Virginia Tech’s performance isn’t going to help the perception of whoever emerges from the Coastal Division.

2. Miami comebacks against lesser teams. Next week will feature a matchup between undefeated top-10 teams, but Florida State will obliterate Miami if the Hurricanes play like they did the last two weeks. Miami needed a touchdown in the final minute to beat Wake Forest 24-21 at home Saturday just nine days after scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put away North Carolina 27-23.

Hot Seat Watch

Bo Pelini, Nebraska. The heat on the Cornhuskers coach began anew Saturday after a 34-23 loss to Minnesota. The lackluster Nebraska defense made its return by allowing 430 yards and 6.1 yards per play to the Gophers. Nebraska legend Tommie Frazier tweeted his displeasure, possibly because this kind of loss is becoming routine. A ranked Nebraska team has lost to an unranked foe in each of the last five seasons under Pelini. That said, Nebraska barely cracked the top 25 this week, and one of the losses to an unranked team last season was in the Big Ten Championship Game.
 

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

Mike London, Virginia. Georgia Tech did everything it could to keep Virginia competitive, but the Cavaliers still found a way to lose 35-25. Virginia was plus-four in turnover margin, getting the ball on five Georgia Tech takeaways, yet the Cavs never led. The most egregious mistake came at the end of the first half when Virginia, without a timeout, ran the ball on second down at the Georgia Tech 1 in the final seconds to come up short in a critical scoring opportunity. Virginia is 2-10 in the ACC in the last two seasons under London.

Tim Beckman, Illinois. Turns out Illinois’ 3-1 start season was a product of the competition. Illinois lost to Michigan State 42-3, erasing any optimism about an offensive turnaround in Champaign. Illinois is 0-11 in the Big Ten under Beckman and has been outscored by an average of 25 points.

Three Unlikely Bowl-Bound Teams

Duke. The Blue Devils will go to a bowl game in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history after defeating Virginia Tech 13-10. The Blue Devils also defeated a ranked opponent for the first time since 1994 and beat a ranked opponent on the road for the first time since defeating a Rose Bowl-bound Stanford team in 1971.

Tulane. Bigger surprise? Tulane getting to 6-2 or defeating a 2-5 Tulsa team to do it? The Golden Hurricane reached bowl eligibility for the first time since 2002 by defeating Tulsa 14-7. Tulane and Rice are both 4-0 in Conference USA and have favorable schedules before a meeting on Nov. 30 that may decide a trip to the league title game.

Buffalo. The Bulls opened the season against two teams that remain undefeated (Ohio State and Baylor), but they earned bowl eligibility with one of the easiest six-game stretches in the country. Buffalo defeated Stony Brook in five overtimes and the defeated UConn (0-7), Eastern Michigan (1-7), Western Michigan (1-8), UMass (1-8) and Kent State (2-7) to get to six wins. Buffalo is bowl eligible for the first time since 2008 when the Bulls won the MAC under Turner Gill.

Teaser:
College Football Week 9 Recap: Oregon, Oklahoma still playing for high stakes
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 11:06
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/defensive-line-carries-missouri-surprising-start
Body:

National Signing Day 2012 was supposed to be a watershed day for Missouri football.

The Tigers won a recruiting battle that day with Arkansas for Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s No. 1 prospect. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound receiver from Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest would give quarterback James Franklin a big target in Missouri’s prolific spread offense.

More important, the signing showed Missouri would be able to grab recruits on par with their opponents in the SEC, the league the Tigers joined less than three months earlier.

That assumption was wrong.

Green-Beckham has been excellent as a sophomore, one of the key members of a standout receiving corps. But receivers aren’t always the foundation for SEC champions. Defensive linemen are.

In that way, Missouri’s key recruit for the surprising 2013 run was a lightly recruited defensive end who signed three recruiting cycles before Green-Beckham. Fifth-year senior Michael Sam, from Hitchcock, Texas, is a more typical example of how Missouri builds contenders. Green-Beckham is the outlier.

Now the SEC’s leader in sacks and tackles for loss, Sam was an undersized end in high school, playing on the mainland across from Galveston, Texas. Hitchcock High rarely produced Division I talent, and when it did, prospects went to Houston or Sam Houston State.

Recruited by Arizona State, Iowa State, Colorado State and Houston before signing with Mizzou, Sam has become one of the frontrunners for SEC defensive player of the year on the surprise team in the league. On Saturday, the 7-0 Tigers can all but seal the SEC East with a win over South Carolina.

With a defensive line comprised mostly of players passed on by Big 12 powers, Missouri has improved from 5-7 in the Tigers’ first season in the SEC to No. 5 in the initial BCS rankings.

“Missouri’s made a living off finding those guys that bigger programs didn’t want to waste their time on and turn them in prospects,” said Barton Simmons, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.

The top six players on Missouri’s defensive line include five recruits who were three-star prospects in the 247 Composite. Only one, Kony Ealy, was a four-star recruit out of high school.

Those kinds of recruiting numbers, for what they’re worth, is rare for an SEC contender.

“We have an evaluation system and we don’t have stars on it,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “We have a system and we believe in our system. That’s how we make our decisions.”

The system, at least this season, is to play zone and led pass rushers like Sam and Ealy work against the pass, Georgia coach Mark Richt said. His quarterback, Aaron Murray, threw two interceptions and took two sacks in the loss to the Tigers two weeks ago.

Missouri leads the SEC in sacks per game at 3.3. The next best teams, Auburn and Georgia, average 2.7. Only Alabama is allowing fewer than Missouri’s 3.6 yards per carry, and only Auburn averages more tackles for a loss per game.

“They play a lot of zone coverage and cover 2,” Richt said. “It’s difficult to throw the ball down the field against that look. They force you to be patient. They force you to try to get an eight-, nine-, 10-, 11-play drive and they figure someone will self-destruct along the way.”

Missouri’s secret weapon, for years, has been defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski. Kuligowski, who played one season under Nick Saban at Toledo in 1990, has been the line coach for Pinkel since 1996 at Toledo and on Pinkel’s staff since 1992.

Kuligowski helped develop some of these unearthed recruits into prized NFL prospects, including end Aldon Smith (seventh overall pick in 2011) and tackle Ziggy Hood (No. 32 pick in 2009).

“Craig Kuligowski is one of the best defensive line coaches in the country and he deserves recognition for how he develops players,” Pinkel said. “We develop kids as good or better than anyone in the country.”

Granted, Missouri may be benefitting from a league-wide drain on defensive talent as well. In the last two NFL drafts, a total of 16 defensive players from the SEC have been selected in the first round. But one of those 16 was Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Linebacker Zavier Gooden also followed in the third round.

Meanwhile, the SEC East has become injury central. This season, Missouri has caught a break as one of the healthiest teams in the division, even after starting quarterback James Franklin went down with a separated shoulder Oct. 12.

Georgia has played most, if not all, of the conference season without running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin-Scott Wesley. Missouri defeated the Bulldogs 41-26 in Athens.

By the time Missouri played Florida, the Gators were down five starters to injury and lost a sixth, defensive back Cody Riggs, to a targeting ejection on the first play of the game. Missouri won 36-17.

"Craig Kuligowski is one of the best defensive line coaches in the country and he deserves recognition for how he develops players. We develop kids as good or better than anyone in the country.”
-Missouri coach Gary Pinkel
This week, Missouri will face another SEC East contender in South Carolina without a starting quarterback when backup Dylan Thompson starts in place of Connor Shaw.

Put an asterisk on Missouri’s 7-0 start if you must, but the Tigers could wrap up a sweep of SEC East powers this week.

The question then becomes if a peculiar geographic fit in the SEC can become a consistent player.

When Missouri grabbed high-level recruits like Green-Beckham or Richardson, they tended to be within state lines. Missouri built a winner in the Big 12 by doing what most teams not named Oklahoma or Texas do — dip into the Lone Star State find under-recruited prospects or developmental projects.

Now in the SEC, Missouri is trying to do the same with a Southeastern approach.

For example, Missouri’s 2014 class includes six commitments from the state of Florida virtually ignored by Florida, Florida State, Miami and even UCF. Missouri’s two commitments from Nashville, Tenn., did not have offers from Tennessee or Vanderbilt. Three-star receiver commit Nate Brown was offered by Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt but not Georgia or Auburn.

“They’re getting good players, but they’re getting guys that the other SEC powers didn’t want,” Simmons said. “That’s a cause for concern if you’re any other program, but because of the track record Missouri has had there’s every reason to think they know what they’re doing.”

Teaser:
Defensive line carries Missouri to surprising start
Post date: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-8-award-watch
Body:

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 eighth week of the season.


Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota

Mariota had his first two turnovers since late last season with a pair of fumbles against Washington State. He still passed for 327 yards and two touchdowns in an easy win and remains in interception-free this season. Mariota completed 47 of 63 passes with five touchdowns against the Washington schools.
Others: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon
Gordon recovered from his 74-yard day against Ohio State by rushing for a combined 314 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries against Northwestern and Illinois. Ohio State is the only opponent to hold him to fewer than 140 rushing yards.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks
Cooks will face some heat from Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, but Cooks remains the leader here. Evans has the second-most receiving yards in the country to Cooks with 23 fewer receptions. Evans also has the advantage of playing in high-profile Aggies games while Cooks is more likely buried in the late-night portion of the schedule or on the Pac-12 Networks.
Others: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, Colorado’s Paul Richardson, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro is conspicuously absent from the official list of Mackey Award semifinalists. That’s due to Texas Tech’s previous coaching staff classifying him as a wide receiver with the Mackey folks, according to Fox Sports Southwest’s David Ubben. He doesn’t play in a three-point stance as much as other tight ends, but he’s far and away the most productive with 56 catches for 742 yards.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Baylor’s Cyril Richardson
Given stiff competition at quarterback, running back and receiver, Richardson may be Baylor’s best best for an individual award on offense despite the prolific numbers.
Others: Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard, Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio, Georgia Tech’s Shaq Mason, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, Stanford’s David Yankey

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: UCLA’s Anthony Barr

Barr did not have his greatest game against Stanford, who were able to run the ball to seal a 24-10 win. Barr finished with eight tackles and a tackle for a loss. A big showing against Oregon could be his moment for postseason award contention.
Others: Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Barr

Others: Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy


Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: Barr
Others: Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner

Joyner anchored Florida State in a defensive showcase against Clemson. Joyner had an interception, a sack and two forced fumbles as Clemson had its worst offensive game in more than a year
Others: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, TCU’s Jason Verrett



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt
The Sooners’ offense hasn’t been overwhelming, but Hunnicutt has been there to pick up field goals, converting 15 of 16 this season. Hunnicutt has made all 10 attempts in the last three games but missed an extra point against Kansas.
Others: Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez



Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 47.4 yards per kick on 6.7 punts per game.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Alabama’s Cody Mandell, Tennessee’s Michael Palardy



Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston may have to play himself out of being a Heisman finalist, much less then nation’s top freshman. His 201.41 pass efficiency rating is less than 21 points behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty, but it would nonetheless break Russell Wilson’s record at Wisconsin.
Others: Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

Coach of the year
Our leader: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel

Without starting quarterback James Franklin, Missouri still crushed Florida for its most embarrassing loss, statistically, in quite some time. Missouri has one of the best defensive lines in the SEC and is the odds-on favorite to win the East. Who saw that one coming?
Others: Baylor’s Art Briles, Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey, Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
Hard to believe Narduzzi hasn’t won the award before as the architect of some of the nation’s top defenses at Michigan State. The Spartans are allowing only 228 yards per game and 3.6 yards per play, which puts Michigan State in a class with 2011 Alabama, 2010 TCU, 2008 TCU and 2008 USC.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Utah’s Dennis Erickson, Maryland’s Mike Locksley, Texas’ Greg Robinson
 

Teaser:
Texas Tech's Amaro isn't on the Mackey list. He should be
Post date: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-9-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

The Big 12 needed some chaos in the SEC to help, but the league landed two teams in the first BCS standings.

The knock on the Big 12 this season has been a lack of elite teams, but that’s not the case this week in terms of ranking and record. With Baylor at No. 8 and Texas Tech at No. 10, the league has two top-10 BCS teams for the first time since Oct. 21, 2012 when Oklahoma and Kansas State were ranked that high.

Whether the Big 12 leaders Baylor and Texas Tech are products of weaker schedules will be determined soon. Baylor’s toughest games start in November, but Texas Tech’s moment is right now when the Red Raiders visit BCS No. 15 Oklahoma.

It’s a marquee game that’s going to either be a signature moment for Texas Tech or a statement that Oklahoma is still in the thick of the conference title race.

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

Big 12 Week 9 Game Power Rankings
All games Eastern, all games on Saturday unless noted.

1. Texas Tech at Oklahoma (3:30, Fox)
The Red Raiders opened the first BCS standings ranked 10th. That alone is a major victory for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury, but Texas Tech is the lowest ranked undefeated team from an automatic-qualifying conference. The culprit is a lackluster schedule. That changes this weekend when Tech tries to win in Norman on the second consecutive trip. Everything is breaking right for Texas Tech, but Oklahoma has struggled on both sides of the ball. That said, the Sooners remain 6-1 and ranked in the top 15 of the BCS. Oklahoma has been caught out of position on defense at times and struggled defending the run in three of the last four games. Tech may test OU’s wounded front seven, which is missing two starters, but the Sooners also haven’t faced a quality passing game like the Red Raiders’ all season. Oklahoma needs a strong defensive performance to reassert itself in the Big 12 race.

2. Texas at TCU (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Casey Pachall in inching his way back to playing quarterback for TCU, but it’s not likely to happen this week. TCU needs its former starting QB in the worst way as the offense has struggled mightily this season, especially early. TCU has averaged 4.5 points in the first half against FBS teams this season. The run game hasn’t been much better, averaging 121 yards and 3.5 yards per carry in the last four games. Texas quarterback Case McCoy is coming off the best game of the season, completing 13 of 21 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against Oklahoma. This week, he and his top receiver Mike Davis will face the top cover corner in the Big 12 and potential first-round draft pick Jason Verrett.

3. West Virginia at Kansas State (3:45 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Despite their 1-6 combined record in the Big 12, West Virginia and Kansas State have proven to be tough outs. But both need wins if they’re going to reach bowl games. Both offenses are starting to find their way after dismal starts to the season. Quarterback Clint Trickett continues to improve for West Virginia, and the run game was steady last week against Texas Tech thanks to the duo of Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims. For Kansas State, Daniel Sams, a dangerous runner, is splitting duties with Jake Waters. If Sams can limit turnovers, he may be K-State's best option.

4. Oklahoma State at Iowa State (noon, Fox Sports local)
The main thing worth watching for Oklahoma State will be moving parts on the Cowboys’ offense. Oklahoma State replaced starting quarterback J.W. Walsh with Clint Chelf after a pair of interceptions last week, reopening the competition for the job. Freshman running back Rennie Childs also gave the lackluster Oklahoma State run game a boost. For Iowa State, the Cyclones are trying to rebound from a 71-7 loss to Baylor and to rediscover some of the magic from the 2011 upset of Oklahoma State in Ames. For his part, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy a bit of an edge hopes his team has. “A lot of seniors made that trip,” Gundy told reporters. “As much as I tell them that doesn't play into it, I hope, deep down, they go up there feeling that something was taken from them last time.”

5. Baylor at Kansas (7 p.m., ESPNU)
The only game in which Baylor starters played into the fourth quarter occurred away from Waco. Playing on the road about the only question mark facing Baylor this season, but Kansas has shown little ability to slow down a team like Baylor this season. Even when the Jayhawks took early leads against Texas Tech and Oklahoma, they managed to lose each game decisively. Kansas’ defense has not been awful this season ranking sixth in the Big 12 in yards per play allowed. Expect that to change.

Big 12 Week 9 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk Miami sanctions, the BCS standings and preview Week 9 in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Texas Tech’s quarterbacks
Davis Webb has topped 400 yards in two Big 12 wins, but he’s still questionable as a starter if Baker Mayfield returns healthy this week. Either way, Texas Tech will be taking a freshman quarterback into Norman looking for an upset to preserve an undefeated season. Kliff Kingsbury has shown plenty of confidence in his quarterbacks this season. Expect that continue. The Mayfield/Webb duo leads the in passing attempts and completions per game this season and is second in yards per game only to Oregon State.

Blake Bell, Oklahoma
Oklahoma is averaging 22.5 points per game in Big 12 play this season, but it probably will take more than that to beat Texas Tech. Bell has been in a three-game slump, completing 57.3 percent of his passes and averaging 5.1 yards per attempt during that span. OU’s longest play against Kansas was a 49-yard pass from receiver LaColtan Bester to Sterling Shepard.

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

Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State
The pair of Kansas State receivers have missed nearly all of the last two games for the Wildcats, but they are expected to return against West Virginia. The K-State passing game has been lacking all season, but the return of these two should give the Wildcats a boost. Perhaps more of a concern for West Virginia is their contributions in the return game. The Mountaineers’ special teams have been suspect for most of the season.

B.J. Catalon, TCU
Catalon is the Horned Frogs’ most explosive offensive player. If TCU is going to make the Texas defense look like it did back in September, a big game from Catalon would help. The sophomore tailback is become the primary running back getting carries with Waymon James accounting for only 13 carries in the last three games.

Big 12 Week 9 Predictions
 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Okla St (-13) at Iowa StOSU 42-17OSU 31-20OSU 34-20ISU 27-24
Texas Tech (+6.5) at Okla.Tech 35-28OU 34-30OU 30-27OU 31-28
West Va. (+10.5) at KStateKSU 28-24KSU 31-27KSU 31-24KSU 28-14
Baylor (+35) at KansasBaylor 49-7Baylor 63-20Baylor 55-17Baylor 65-17
Texas (+2) at TCUTexas 28-10Texas 34-21Texas 24-20Texas 24-20
Last Week3-14-03-13-1
This Season38-840-639-739-7

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 9 Preview and Predictions 2013
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-college-football-podcast-week-9
Body:

Two big developments off the field have us talking NCAA and BCS, but we quickly get back to the games at hand during Week 9.

• Four years since Miami began its internal investigation and two years since Yahoo’s story on Nevin Shapiro, the Hurricanes finally had their day with the NCAA. Braden Gall and David Fox discuss if the punishment was what they expected and what happens forward.

• Florida State moved ahead of Oregon for the first BCS rankings, but who really deserves a championship spot if both are undefeated? And why was Ohio State the big loser in all of this (and why the Buckeyes may still be a big winner).

• The Pac-12 vs. SEC debate for top conference gets a run. One host unequivocally says the Pac-12 is better this year while another is an SEC holdout.

• Missouri’s rise continues to surprise, but the Tigers could all but wrap up the SEC East this week.

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:
Debating the top of the BCS rankings, plus news on Miami and Missouri
Post date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 14:19
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-8-power-rankings-2013
Body:

The BCS standings began Sunday with Baylor and Texas Tech representing the Big 12 in the top 10.

There have been many surprises this season, but that has to be pretty high on the list of shocking developments. Even though both teams have the toughest portion of their schedules ahead of them, there are enough reasons to believe the Bears and Red Raiders may end up playing for the Fiesta Bowl — or more.

Baylor and Texas Tech are Nos. 1 and 2 in the Big 12 in offense, as you’d expect, but the they also No. 1 and No. 2 in fewest yards allowed per play.

Strange times indeed.

More Post-Week 8 Power Rankings: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

RkTeamLWAnalysis
11Baylor (6-0, 3-0): The Bears returned to Waco and returned to their 70-point ways, defeating Iowa State 71-7. Baylor remains on pace to set records for points per game (64.7) and yards per play (9.0) among others, but the defense against deserves note this week for having its best game of the season in holding Iowa State to 174 yards and 2.9 yards per play. Baylor gets one more tuneup against a lower-tier Big 12 team before its gauntlet in November. This week: at Kansas
23Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0): More and more, it’s getting easier to be a believer in Texas Tech. The Red Raiders fell behind by 11 points in the second half on the road before scoring three unanswered touchdowns for an easy win. Freshman Davis Webb is 71 of 106 (67 percent) for 877 yards with five touchdowns and one interception since becoming the starter. Beat the Sooners in Norman, and the Texas Tech bandwagon will be at full capacity. This week: at Oklahoma
32Texas (4-2, 3-0): This may be a surprise: Texas is third in the Big 12 in total offense and fourth in yards per play. The Longhorns are at their best when Johnathan Gray is controlling the ground game, but they’ll face the top run defense in the league this week. This week: at TCU
44Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1): The Sooners defeated Kansas comfortably, but it’s hard to get too excited about Oklahoma’s long-term prospects. The defense continued to look vulnerable without tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson. Kansas had success in the run game, rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries. Blake Bell continued to struggle to stretch the field against the Jayhawks. He’s averaging five yards per pass attempt in Big 12, ranking 10th among league quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts. Against KU, receiver Lacoltan Bester had the longest pass play of the day with a 49-yard pass on a trick play. This week: Texas Tech
55Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1): After two weeks of sticking with struggling quarterback J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had seen enough after two interceptions, one in the end zone. Gundy yanked Walsh and replaced him with Clint Chelf, who immediately threw an interception of his own. Gundy stuck with Chelf after the turnover, and Chelf finished 10 of 25 for 178 yards. Oklahoma State may also have had a changing of the guard at tailback where freshman Rennie Childs rushed for 45 yards and a score on nine carries. Childs had six total carries prior to Saturday. This week: at Iowa State
66Kansas State (2-4, 0-3): The Wildcats may be a better team that the record indicates, but Kansas State still needs to pick up some wins to reach a bowl game. The good news is that four of the final six are at home, and one of the road trips is at Kansas. This week: West Virginia
77West Virginia (3-4, 1-3): The Mountaineers’ offense had its best game of the season, but it still went dormant late as Texas Tech railed back for 21 consecutive points to finish the game. Clint Trickett was 27 of 43 for 254 yards with a touchdown and Dreamius Smith and Charles Sims combined for 166 rushing yards on 31 carries. Yet West Virginia gained only one first down on the final five possessions. Visiting Kansas State could be a critical swing game for West Virginia’s bowl hopes. This week: at Kansas State
88TCU (3-4, 1-3): The Horned Frogs have been awful on offense, but never worse than in the first half. Oklahoma State became the third team to shut out TCU in the first half this season even though the Frogs intercepted OSU three times. TCU has five offensive touchdowns in the first half all season with two of those coming against Southeastern Louisiana. At one point, Gary Patterson was frustrated enough to pull starting quarterback Trevone Boykin. Freshman Tyler Matthews responded by fumbling his first snap. The target date for quarterback Casey Pachall’s return has been Nov. 2 against West Virginia. So that's good news. This week: Texas
99Iowa State (1-5, 0-3): After a close call with Texas and a competitive game against Texas Tech, Iowa State didn’t have anything left for Baylor. Iowa State didn’t score its first touchdown until the final 47 seconds. Giving up a ton of points to Baylor isn’t a shock, but Iowa State also gave up two special teams touchdowns (a punt return and a kickoff return following Iowa State’s only touchdown of the game). Aaron Wimberly, who had become the bread and butter of Iowa State’s offense, rushed for 21 yards on only five carries. This week: Oklahoma State
1010Kansas (2-4, 0-3): Kansas played without two of its top players in linebacker Ben Heeney (knee) and wide receiver Tony Pierson (head). Still, Kansas got off to a 13-0 start before another punt mishap, this time a blocked kick, opened the doors for Oklahoma to win decisively. Quarterback Jake Heaps also had one of the worst quarterback stat lines of the season, going 5 of 13 for 16 yards with a touchdown and three sacks. This week: Baylor

Big 12 Week 8 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
With a quarterback change in Stillwater, Josh Stewart remained the constant. The Cowboys struggled with passers again this season, but no matter who is taking snaps, the goal should be to get the ball to Stewart. The junior caught 10 passes for 141 yards, including a 27-yard pass from receiver Charlie Moore that set up a touchdown. Stewart flourished in his matchup with Jason Verrett and the standout TCU secondary, but he found the end zone on a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Defensive Player of the Week: Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
With starters Jordan Phillips and Corey Nelson out, Oklahoma has struggled at times to stop the run. Thanks to defensive end Charles Tapper, OU clamped down on Kansas after falling behind 13-0. Tapper finished with six tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss in a 34-19 win. With 15 yards passing and three sacks, Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps accounted for minus-3 yards of total offense.

Freshman of the Week: Davis Webb, Texas Tech
At this point, the Big 12 freshman of the week should be renamed the Baker Mayfield/Davis Webb freshman of the week award. Red Raiders quarterbacks have owned this spot this season. Webb completed 35 of 50 passes for 462 yards with two touchdowns in a 37-27 road win over West Virginia. Webb had a potentially game-turning fumble at the 1-yard line in the second quarter, but he rebounded to lead three unanswered scoring drives in the final 17:26.

Team of the Week: Texas Tech
The meat of Texas Tech’s schedule begins next week with a road trip to Norman, but the Red Raiders continue to answer the call. West Virginia led by 11 at home, but Tech scored the final 21 points to preserve a 7-0 start. In his first season, coach Kliff Kingsbury has matched Tommy Tuberville’s best regular season and has brought Texas Tech into the top 10 for the first time since the magical 2008 season.

Coordinator of the Week: Phil Bennett, Baylor
The Baylor offense had its fourth 70-point day of the season, a milestone that is quickly becoming routine in Waco. What wasn’t routine was Baylor’s defense. The Bears had their best defensive game of the season, holding Iowa State to 174 total yards and 2.9 yards per play. Both were season-bests for the Baylor defense. Iowa State didn’t find the end zone until the final 47 seconds.

Fifth Down

• Baylor’s 64-point win over Iowa State was the largest margin of victory for the Bears in a conference game, Big 12 or Southwest Conference.

• If Baylor defeats Kansas next week, it will have the longest win streak in school history at 11 games.

• Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty picked up his first red zone touchdown of the season with a four-yard score to Antwan Goodley in the first quarter.

• Texas Tech’s 7-0 start overall and 4-0 start in the Big 12 are both the best for the Red Raiders since 2008. Kliff Kingsbury is the first Big 12 coach to start his career 7-0.

• Texas Tech was ranked ninth in the coaches’ poll and 10th in the AP poll Sunday, the first time the Red Raiders have been in the top 10 since the 2008 season.

• TCU forced four turnovers and lost. The Horned Frogs are 35-2 in the last 37 when forcing at least three turnovers.

• Oklahoma allowed Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps to complete only 5 of 13 passes. The Sooners hadn’t allowed five or fewer passes since Chattanooga went 3 of 17 on Aug. 30, 2008. OU has allowed single-digit pass completions twice this season, giving up nine to Notre Dame.

 

Teaser:
Surprising Baylor, Texas Tech take top two spots
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Before everyone freaks out, this seems to be a good time to remind people that the top two teams in the first BCS standings have met in the championship just twice since 1998.

That doesn’t mean the odds are in the favor of Oregon and Ohio State, two teams that would like to stake a claim on the final BCS championship game. It just means an Alabama-Florida State matchup, historically speaking, is not likely.

Only in 2011 (Alabama-LSU) and 2005 (Texas-USC) did the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the first BCS rankings play for a title, and only the Longhorns and Trojans went wire to wire.

The Seminoles’ appearance in the top two was a bit of a surprise, especially given Oregon’s steadfast spot at No. 2 in the coaches’ and Harris polls. Florida State drilled Clemson 51-14 on the road, but ironically the computer rankings — which aren’t permitted to put weight on margin of victory — gave the Noles the boost they needed.
 

BCS StandingsCoachesHarrisComp.
1. Alabama112
2. Florida State331
3. Oregon224
4. Ohio State445
5. Missouri763
6. Stanford886
7. Miami6710
8. Baylor5512
9. Clemson10109
10. Texas Tech9911
11. Auburn17157
12. UCLA111114
13. LSU131215
14. Virginia Tech19198
15. Oklahoma201416
16. Texas A&M151318

Moving Up

Florida State. The Seminoles were the big winners in the first BCS standings. Florida State’s 51-14 win over Clemson was not enough to put the Seminoles into the top two in the coaches’ and Harris’ polls, but they were ranked No. 1 in the computer average. Four of the six BCS computers had Florida State No. 1.

The Seminoles’ lead isn’t particularly strong, though. Florida State is .0028 points ahead of Oregon (.9348 to .9320). Contrast that to the gulf between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State of 0.493.

Missouri. The Tigers opened strong at No. 5 in the BCS standings, thanks largely to a boost in the computer rankings. The Tigers were ranked seventh in the coaches’ poll and sixth in the Harris poll, but averaged a No. 3 ranking in the computer average.

Falling Down

Oregon. The No. 2 team in the human polls was fourth in the computers, leaving the Ducks out of the championship game scenario for the time being. The Ducks, however, will face No. 6 Stanford, No. 12 UCLA and No. 25 Oregon State during the regular season. The only BCS top 25 team remaining on the regular season schedule for Florida State is No. 7 Miami.

Ohio State. The Buckeyes are securely out of the top three, falling 0.0767 points behind No. 3 Oregon. While the Ducks will have plenty of opportunities to make up ground on FSU, Ohio State can’t say the same. No. 22 Michigan is the only top-25 remaining on Ohio State’s regular season schedule. The Buckeyes would need two of the top three teams to lose to get into a national championship scenario.

Key Games This Week

No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 15 Oklahoma. The Red Raiders’ computer ranking is lagging behind (11th) their ranking the human polls (ninth) thanks to strength of schedule. The game at Oklahoma will be Tech’s first game against a ranked foe this year. The Red Raiders might not catch up to Baylor with a win, but they’d be in the conversation with other undefeated teams from the five major conferences.

No. 12 UCLA at No. 3 Oregon. Could the Ducks leapfrog Ohio State as quickly as next week? It would seem that way as Ohio State hosts unranked Penn State.

No. 17 Fresno State at San Diego State. The Bulldogs opened the BCS rankings one spot ahead of Northern Illinois, but that gulf could widen if both remain undefeated. San Diego State has won three in a row, including two in the Mountain West. Northern Illinois is amidst a stretch against the worst of the worst in FBS (Akron, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, UMass). The Huskies will have midweek games against Ball State and Toledo to impress voters, but Fresno State is the clear frontrunner among the non-AQs.

Other Notes

• No teams from outside the six automatic-qualifying conferences are in position for an automatic bid in the first BCS standings, but Fresno State and Northern Illinois have reason to be optimistic even if neither meet automatic-qualifying criteria just yet. They’d need to be in the top 12 or in the top 16 provided they finish ahead of a major conference champion. That includes the American this season.

Both No. 17 Fresno State and No. 18 Northern Illinois are ranked ahead of American frontrunner No. 23 UCF.

• One of the biggest disparities between the human polls and the computer average was Baylor, not surprisingly. Baylor ranked fifth in both human polls and 12th in the computer average. Between the Bears’ light schedule and the computers eliminating the importance of lopsided final scores, Baylor’s resume right now is BCS poison.

• The other disparity is just the opposite: Auburn is at No. 11 in the BCS standings thanks to placing seventh in the computer polls. In a cruel repeat of history for Tigers fans, Auburn started the season unranked after going 3-9, contributing to a No. 17 rank in the coaches’ poll and No. 15 in the Harris. The Tigers’ only loss is to BCS No. 13 LSU on the road.

• The conference tally for the top 25 is as follows: SEC (6), ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 (4 each), Big Ten (3), American (2), Mountain West and MAC (2 each).

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:
Alabama starts where it finished last year at No. 1
Post date: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 20:44
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Week 8 was another typical week in an atypical year for the Big 12.

Baylor scored 70. Texas Tech kept winning. Oklahoma couldn’t stop the run. TCU couldn’t find an offense. Oklahoma State couldn’t find a quarterback. And Kansas took an early lead before losing decisively.

That about sums up the Big 12 in 2013, especially in a week when unpredictable Texas and scrappy Kansas State stayed at home.

Big 12 Week 8 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
With a quarterback change in Stillwater, Josh Stewart remained the constant. The Cowboys struggled with passers again this season, but no matter who is taking snaps, the goal should be to get the ball to Stewart. The junior caught 10 passes for 141 yards, including a 27-yard pass from receiver Charlie Moore that set up a touchdown. Stewart flourished in his matchup with Jason Verrett and the standout TCU secondary, but he found the end zone on a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Defensive Player of the Week: Charles Tapper, Oklahoma
With starters Jordan Phillips and Corey Nelson out, Oklahoma has struggled at times to stop the run. Thanks to defensive end Charles Tapper, OU clamped down on Kansas after falling behind 13-0. Tapper finished with six tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss in a 34-19 win. With 15 yards passing and three sacks, Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps accounted for minus-3 yards of total offense.

Freshman of the Week: Davis Webb, Texas Tech
At this point, the Big 12 freshman of the week should be renamed the Baker Mayfield/Davis Webb freshman of the week award. Red Raiders quarterbacks have owned this spot this season. Webb completed 35 of 50 passes for 462 yards with two touchdowns in a 37-27 road win over West Virginia. Webb had a potentially game-turning fumble at the 1-yard line in the second quarter, but he rebounded to lead three unanswered scoring drives in the final 17:26.

Team of the Week: Texas Tech
The meat of Texas Tech’s schedule begins next week with a road trip to Norman, but the Red Raiders continue to answer the call. West Virginia led by 11 at home, but Tech scored the final 21 points to preserve a 7-0 start. In his first season, coach Kliff Kingsbury has matched Tommy Tuberville’s best regular season and has brought Texas Tech into the top 10 for the first time since the magical 2008 season.

Coordinator of the Week: Phil Bennett, Baylor
The Baylor offense had its fourth 70-point day of the season, a milestone that is quickly becoming routine in Waco. What wasn’t routine was Baylor’s defense. The Bears had their best defensive game of the season, holding Iowa State to 174 total yards and 2.9 yards per play. Both were season-bests for the Baylor defense. Iowa State didn’t find the end zone until the final 47 seconds.

Fifth Down

• Baylor’s 64-point win over Iowa State was the largest margin of victory for the Bears in a conference game, Big 12 or Southwest Conference.

• If Baylor defeats Kansas next week, it will have the longest win streak in school history at 11 games.

• Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty picked up his first red zone touchdown of the season with a four-yard score to Antwan Goodley in the first quarter.

• Texas Tech’s 7-0 start overall and 4-0 start in the Big 12 are both the best for the Red Raiders since 2008. Kliff Kingsbury is the first Big 12 coach to start his career 7-0.

• Texas Tech was ranked ninth in the coaches’ poll and 10th in the AP poll Sunday, the first time the Red Raiders have been in the top 10 since the 2008 season.

• TCU forced four turnovers and lost. The Horned Frogs are 35-2 in the last 37 when forcing at least three turnovers.

• Oklahoma allowed Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps to complete only 5 of 13 passes. The Sooners hadn’t allowed five or fewer passes since Chattanooga went 3 of 17 on Aug. 30, 2008. OU has allowed single-digit pass completions twice this season, giving up nine to Notre Dame.

Teaser:
Josh Stewart rescues Oklahoma State offense still finding its way
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There’s nothing like the first reveal of the BCS standings to remind us that half a dozen teams are worthy of playing for two spots in the national title game.

Saturday evening ended with Florida State demolishing Clemson 51-14 on the road in a matchup of top five teams, putting FSU in a similar class as Alabama and Oregon. The Seminoles’ win was as complete as anything a national title contender has done to another top team this seasons, but FSU may have trouble getting into the coveted 1-2 scenario when the BCS is revealed Sunday night.

Alabama and Oregon have done nothing to be left out of the top two, but they were ranked higher earlier, so FSU may have to wait its turn.

If the eighth week of the season is any indication, though, the pecking order of top teams is anything but settled. Besides Clemson, top 10 teams Louisville and UCLA lost their first games of the season.

And that doesn’t touch on the carnage in the SEC. LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Georgia all lost unranked teams, showcasing either the weakness of top teams or the depth of the conference, depending on your perspective.

College Football Week 8 Recap: Three and Out

Three Things We Learned from Florida State 51, Clemson 14

This Florida State team is different. Feel free to file that statement away for when the Seminoles lose to NC State, Syracuse or Wake Forest. But Florida State looked like it’s finally ready to carry the weight of a team to bring the Seminoles back to glory. A good portion of the credit falls on Jameis Winston, who leads the team with a charisma rare in college football and even rarer for a redshirt freshman. It doesn’t hurt that Winston finished 22 of 34 for 444 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Florida State won every quarter and never showed a lapse that could have sparked an explosive offense like Clemson’s playing at home.

Florida State’s defense is nasty. Winston is a Heisman contender, for sure, but Florida State’s defense held Clemson down all night. First-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt with two first-year defensive assistants held Clemson and hotshot offensive coordinator Chad Morris to 326 yards of total offense and 3.8 yards per play. Clemson didn’t have a play of 20 yards, and Tajh Boyd wasn’t much of a factor with 164 yards of total offense with a touchdown and two interceptions. FSU defensive back Lamarcus Joyner finished with eight tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception and a sack.

Clemson still has hope. The Tigers don’t have much to salvage here. Clemson needed a touchdown in the final 30 seconds to avoid the first 40-point loss in the history of Death Valley to say nothing of a top-three team losing by 37 at home. This is a demoralizing loss that could wreck an entire season, especially with road trips against Maryland and Virginia in the next two weeks. But if Clemson returns to form through the remainder of the year, the Tigers can still be a strong candidate for at-large consideration in the BCS with a game at South Carolina to end the regular season. A top-10 finish for the first time since 1990 is still possible even if an ACC title and more are slim.

Three Signature SEC Moments

Butch’s big win. The Volunteers missed out on their big breakthrough under Butch Jones against Georgia when Pig Howard’s fumble at the goal line went out of the end zone for a critical touchback. When the second chance came, Tennessee pounced. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier burned his final two timeouts prior to a punt in the final three minutes, and Tennessee drove the ball 63 yards for the game-winning 19-yard field goal for a 23-21 win. Marquez North, a star in the making, had a one-handed 39-yard catch through tight coverage to set up the winning field goal. The victory was both Tennessee’s first win over a ranked team and first SEC win in October since a 31-13 defeat of South Carolina on Oct. 31, 2009 under Lane Kiffin.

SEC West offenses. The idea of Auburn going back and forth with the Texas A&M offense would have been unthinkable a year ago. Then, the Tigers lost 63-21 to the Aggies in 2012 and then went scoreless in final next two SEC games. On Saturday, the Aggies’ defense did its part in helping Auburn to a 45-41 win, but the turnaround is staggering. Auburn’s 251 points this season is 27 more than the Tigers scored all of 2012. Not a bad seven games for first-year coach Gus Malzahn. Auburn wasn't alone. Malzahn's pal Hugh Freeze led Ole Miss to 525 yards in a 27-24 upset of LSU. The Tigers hadn't allowed 500 yards in a game since giving up 533 in a win over a Geno Smith-led West Virginia in 2011. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace had his best game of the season, completing 30 of 39 passes for 346 yards. LSU's Zach Mettenberger reverted to his 2012 form, completing 19 of 33 passes with three interceptions.

Vanderbilt’s win over a ranked team. James Franklin has done many things to make Vanderbilt relevant in football from reaching bowl games and recruiting at an SEC level. But until Saturday, he’d never earned a win over a ranked team. The Commodores. Vanderbilt used a 17-point fourth quarter to upset No. 15 Georgia 31-17. The win ended the Commodores’ 17-game losing streak to ranked teams, going back to a win over No. 13 Auburn on Oct. 4, 2008. Georgia’s offense has been riddled with injuries, but so was Vanderbilt on Saturday. Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels left the game on crutches in the second quarter, but backup Patton Robinette led three scoring drives, going 9 of 15 for 107 yards with an interception and a rushing touchdown. Georgia helped Vanderbilt as two fumbles and a snap over the head of punter Colin Barber gave the Commodores the ball in Georgia territory three times in the fourth quarter.

Three Seasons Gone Awry

Florida. By Saturday afternoon, it was tough to believe Florida was an AP top 10 team in the preseason and a legitimate SEC East contender two weeks ago. The Gators had their worst all-around games in decades in the 36-17 loss to Missouri. The 151 yards on offense was the fewest in a game for the Gators since 1999, and the 500 yards was the most since the 2007 season against Michigan in the Capital One Bowl. For the second consecutive week, Florida's injury-riddled offensive line was mauled, contributing to 92 passing yards and six sacks. Making matters worse, Florida’s secondary, considered one of the best in the SEC, gave up long pass plays all day. Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk, who ascended to the starter’s job after an injury to James Franklin, averaged 8.2 yards per pass. With games remaining against Georgia, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State, the Gators may have trouble getting the two wins they need to be bowl eligible.

Northwestern. On Oct. 5, Northwestern was 4-0 and preparing for the biggest game in Evanston in years. Now, the Wildcats are wondering when they might find their first Big Ten win of the season. With Venric Mark and Kain Colter out, Northwestern lost to Minnesota 20-17, its third loss in a row. Northwestern’s offense was lost without its two starts, averaging 4.6 per play and turning the ball over three times. The Wildcats, once considered a Big Ten Legends contender, has no easy picks for a Big Ten win. The remaining schedule is at Iowa, at Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State and at Illinois.

Maryland. The Terrapins spent one week at No. 25 in the AP poll after starting 4-0. The good feelings were dashed in a 63-0 wake-up call to Florida State that including a thundering hit on C.J. Brown that kept the quarterback out for a week. The Terrapins escaped Virginia 27-26 a week later, but Maryland’s prospects for the remainder of the season are considerably dimmer. Brown has returned, but his standout receiving duo of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long were lost to season-ending injuries in a shocking 34-10 loss to Wake Forest. Diggs and Long had combined for 66 receptions for 1,078 yards. No one else for Maryland has more than 14 catches. Maryland (5-2) faces Clemson next week, but should be able to get a bowl game with home games against Syracuse and Boston College.

Moving the Chains

Stanford’s defense. The Cardinal may have a tough time getting back into the national championship race with a loss to Utah on the resume, but Stanford still has a defense good enough to win a title. The Cardinal held UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley to a career-low 219 yards of total offense, and the Bruins averaged 4.5 yards per play, down from 6.7 entering the game. Safety Jordan Richards had 10 tackles, two interceptions and a pass breakup while linebacker Shayne Skov corralled the UCLA run game.

South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney. The soap opera surrounding Clowney’s injuries and Steve Spurrier’s postgame frustration with the defensive end’s decision not to play against Kentucky has been a hot topic for talking heads. It should be put to rest after Saturday. Despite the loss to Tennessee, Clowney had his finest game of the season. In a matchup with one of the best tackles in the country in Antonio Richardson, Clowney finished with 2.5 tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries.

Ohio State’s backfield. The Buckeyes got a complete game from its starting backfield duo of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde just when they needed it. Miller missed three games with injury and struggled two weeks ago against Northwestern, a game in which Hyde lifted Ohio State with 168 rushing yards and three touchdowns. On Saturday, Hyde again displayed the physical run game and balance by running for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in a 34-24 win over Iowa. Miller also had his best game of the season, completing 22 of 27 passes for 222 yards with two touchdowns to go with 102 rushing yards. Ohio State needed every bit of it as Iowa flourished early in the passing game. The Buckeyes had already lost safety Christian Bryant to a season-ending injury, and cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected early due to a targeting penalty.

False Starts

Texas A&M’s defense. The defense finally put the Aggies into a position where Johnny Manziel couldn’t come to the rescue. The Aggies offense kept giving A&M leads, including as much as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the defense continuously opened the door for Auburn to answer. Even when field position was good, Auburn was able to drive down the field for four touchdown drives of 75 yards or more. Texas A&M gave up 379 rushing yards and 6.3 yards per carry in the 45-41 home loss. The Aggies gave up a total of 615 yards and have allowed at least 434 yards against each FBS opponent this season.

Washington. Is the top of the Pac-12 this good or is Washington drifting back into 7-6 territory? The Huskies will find out in the second half of the season, but after a 53-24 loss to Arizona State, it looks more like the latter. Washington played respectably in a loss to Stanford two weeks ago, but the Huskies have lost three in a row, the last two decisively. Arizona State outrushed Washington 314 to minus-5, thanks in part to six sacks of Huskies quarterback Keith Price and seven sacks overall. The Huskies already lost a chance at the Pac-12 North, but they’ll probably need to beat Colorado and Cal in the next two games to reach the elusive eight-win mark in the regular season.

SEC East injuries. The SEC East injury bug struck again. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw left the loss to Tennessee with what was described as a strained left knee, and Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels jogged to to the locker room in the second quarter but returned on crutches. Kentucky’s Jalen Withlow joined the injured list with an ankle injury earlier this week, and Missouri’s James Franklin missed his first start of the season. Georgia, already having lost No. 2 running back Keith Marshall and top two receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley, didn’t have Todd Gurley for the third consecutive week. And Florida has lost five starters to injury this season. The West wasn’t total immune either as Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri may be out for a significant amount of time with a knee injury.

Heisman Movers

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.
Manziel’s place in the Heisman race may be unmoved despite a 45-41 loss to Auburn. Manziel completed 28 of 38 pass for 454 yards with four touchdowns, and for the second consecutive week, he returned from an injury scare to lead a touchdown drive. With 48 rushing yards, Manziel had the fifth game of at least 500 yards in his career. If there is any knock on Manziel, it’s his two interceptions against Auburn.

Bryce Petty, Baylor. Brett Hundley, Tajh Boyd and Teddy Bridgewater all slipped in the Heisman race after this week’s action. Expect Petty to take their place. Petty had another ridiculous stat line in a 71-7 win over Iowa State: He completed 23 of 31 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 14 yards per pass attempt this season.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon. Mariota probably remains the frontrunner, but it's worth noting Mariota had his first turnovers of the season with two fumbles against Washington State. Mariota hadn’t had a turnover since throwing an interception in a loss to Stanford on Nov. 17, 2012. Mariota still finished 23-of-32 for 327 yards with two touchdowns in a 62-38 win over the Cougars.

Stat Watch

Three Teams Who Had to Sweat
Michigan State against Purdue
Oklahoma against Kansas
Pittsburgh against Old Dominion

Three More Ridiculously Good Receivers
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Marquez North, Tennessee

Three Scary Good Tight Ends
Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Nick O’Leary, Florida State

Interim coach records
Mike Bath, Miami (Ohio) (0-2)
Ed Orgeron, USC (1-1)
T.J. Weist, Connecticut (0-2)

Dang, They’re Good
Alabama
Baylor
Wisconsin

Dang, They’re Bad
Army
Syracuse
Virginia

Best Games Next Week
Texas Tech at Oklahoma
South Carolina at Missouri
Stanford at Oregon State
316. Rushing yards for Jordan Lynch. The Northern Illinois quarterback broke a 23-year-old record with 316 rushing yards in a 38-17 win over Central Michigan. The previous FBS record for rushing yards for a quarterback was held by Northern Illinois’ Stacey Robinson, who rushed for 308 yards against Fresno State in 1990. Somehow, this game was tied at halftime, and NIU led only by a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

115. Plays run by BYU in a 47-46 win over Houston. It was easy to overlook as the ranked SEC teams self-destructed Saturday afternoon, but BYU defeated previously unbeaten Houston in a wild 47-46 game. The Cougars ran 113 plays in a game decided in regulation. Bronco Mendenhall installed an up-tempo offense this season, running at least 90 plays against Virginia, Texas and Utah. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill accounted for 564 yards of total offense himself (421 passing, 143 rushing). Hill, who failed complete 40 percent of his passes in each of the first three games, is 79 of 121 (65.2 percent) in his last four.

751. Total yards for Michigan, a school record. The Wolverines needed every school record they set in a 63-47 win over Indiana. Jeremy Gallon set a Big Ten record with 369 receiving yards, the second-highest total in FBS history. Devin Gardner also set school records with 503 passing yards and 584 yards of total offense.

Buried on the Depth Chart

Connor Halliday’s record. Washington State’s quarterback set a dubious record with 89 pass attempts against Oregon, breaking Drew Brees’ record of 83 passes for Purdue in 1998. In a game settled early the third quarter, Halliday finished 58 of 89 for 557 yards with four touchdowns and four picks.

Joe Southwick’s broken ankle. Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick suffered a broken ankle on his first snap against Nevada. Once backup Grant Hendrick settled in, Boise State was just fine. The junior completed 18 of 21 passes for 150 yards with an interception and gave the Broncos a different dimension at the quarterback position with 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. Boise State will need more of that as Southwick probably won’t return anytime soon.

Kent State’s 2-6 start. The Golden Flashes were on the verge of an automatic BCS bid last year before losing to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game last season. Now Kent State is on the verge of missing a bowl game. Kent State lost 38-21 to South Alabama to start 2-6 in Paul Haynes’ first season. South Alabama, though, is having a nice season for a second-year FBS program. The Panthers, who gave Tennessee fits three weeks ago, are 3-3 with the bulk of the Sun Belt schedule remaining. South Alabama went 2-11 in its first FBS season last year.

Three Surprise Undefeated Teams

Missouri (7-0). Texas A&M proved it would be a factor in the SEC last season, and now it’s Missouri’s turn. The Tigers moved to 3-0 in the SEC East after defeating Florida and Georgia in back-to-back weeks. Granted, the Bulldogs and Gators are beset by injuries, but Missouri knows as well as any team how injuries can derail a season. The Tigers had their own issues in a 5-7 season in 2012, including quarterback James Franklin’s shoulder injury. Franklin is hurt again, but that didn’t stop Missouri from starting 7-0 for the first time since 2010 when the Tigers upset a top-ranked Oklahoma team in Columbia. The reason for the start this season has been defense led by end Michael Sam, who’s had nine sacks the last four games.

Texas Tech (7-0). For a moment, Texas Tech looked like it would finally fall back to earth. About to go up by 17, the Red Raiders fumbled at West Virginia’s 1-yard line. The Mountaineers scored off the turnover and rallied to a 27-16 lead in the third quarter. But freshman Davis Webb, Texas Tech’s second rookie starting quarterback this season, led the way back for a 37-27 win. Webb was 36 of 50 for 462 yards with two touchdowns, and Jace Amaro, a matchup nightmare at 6-5 and 260 pounds, caught nine passes for 136 yards with three touchdowns. Texas Tech faces Oklahoma next week.

Miami (6-0). The moment the ACC has been seeking since expansion has finally happened. Miami and Florida State are both unbeaten and in the top 10 deep in to October. To say Miami deserves more skepticism than Florida State would be an understatement. The Hurricanes endured injuries to Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett and four interceptions from Stephen Morris to defeat North Carolina 27-23 on Thursday. The UM defense surrendered 500 yards to a 1-5 North Carolina team, but the bigger issue is turnovers. The Hurricanes have coughed the ball up 12 times in the last three games and have been minus-four in turnover margin during that span.

Teaser:
Winston leads title-contending FSU team, the SEC flips the script on wild Saturday
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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 sixth week of the season.


Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota

Mariota had his Heisman moment in a demolition of the Washington defense last week. Mariota completed a season-high 77.4 percent of his passes and threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns against the Huskies. He has 25 total touchdowns and no turnovers this season
Others: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Georgi’a Aaron Murray, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Washington’s Bishop Sankey
Sankey rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against Oregon. He leads the nation in 149.8 rushing yards per game.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks
The other end of Sean Mannion’s bid for a Pac-12 passing record, Cooks is tied for the national lead in receptions (63) and leads in receiving yards (944) and touchdown catches (11).

Others: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Colorado’s Paul Richardson, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro is tied for seventh nationally with 47 receptions this season for 606 yards. He’s a big target, but he only has one touchdown catch this season. Still, no other tight end has more than 28 catches.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Baylor’s Cyril Richardson
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he’d never seen a team establish the line of scrimmage like Baylor did on the way to scoring 73 points two weeks ago. Richardson is a mauler who could be another high draft pick off the Baylor offensive line.
Others: Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, Georgia Tech’s Shaq Mason, Stanford’s David Yankey

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Clemson’s Vic Beasley

Beasley has saved Clemson in a pair of close games this season against Boston College and NC State. With 12 tackles for a loss and nine sacks, Beasley is having the kind of season many envisioned for the defensive end at the other South Carolina school.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy


Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Beasley

Others: UCLA’s Vic Beasley, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, USC’s Leonard Williams


Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: UCLA’s Anthony Barr
Barr has recorded 10 tackles for a loss, four sacks and four forced fumbles in four games this season. Up next: A two-game road stretch against Stanford and Oregon.
Others: Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller

Fuller picked up his second interception of the season against North Carolina two weeks ago and continued to be a lockdown corner in the back end of the Hokies’ defense. Fuller helped hold Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage to 44.8 percent passing and 187 yards last week.
Others: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, TCU’s Jason Verrett



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt
The Sooners’ offense hasn’t been overwhelming, but Hunnicutt has been there to pick up field goals, converting 14 of 15 this season. Hunnicutt has made all nine attempts in the last three games.
Others: Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, NC State’s Niklas Sade



Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 47.7 yards per kick on 7.3 punts per game.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Memphis’ Tom Hornsey, Alabama’s Cody Mandell



Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston is making a legitimate bid for the Heisman after leading a 63-0 rout of Maryland two weeks ago. The redshirt freshman set season highs in yards (393) and touchdown passes (five) on 23-of-32 passing against the Terrapins. The season-defining moment may be this week’s matchup with Clemson.
Others: Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

Coach of the year
Our leader: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel

No one gave Missouri much of a chance this season in the SEC East, but the Tigers upset an injury-ravaged Georgia team to move to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the league. The Tigers will attempt to navigate the loaded back end of the schedule without quarterback James Franklin for a few weeks.
Others: Baylor’s Art Briles, Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey, Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: LSU’s Cam Cameron
Zach Mettenberger didn’t have his best game of the season against Florida, but the LSU quarterback still leads the SEC in pass efficiency and yards per attempt.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, Utah’s Dennis Erickson, Maryland’s Mike Locksley, Clemson’s Chad Morris, Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi, Texas’ Greg Robinson, Oklahoma’s Mike Stoops
 

Teaser:
College Football Post-Week 7 Award Watch 2013
Post date: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 07:14
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-7-award-watch
Body:

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 sixth week of the season.


Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota

Mariota had his Heisman moment in a demolition of the Washington defense last week. Mariota completed a season-high 77.4 percent of his passes and threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns against the Huskies. He has 25 total touchdowns and no turnovers this season
Others: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Georgi’a Aaron Murray, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Washington’s Bishop Sankey
Sankey rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against Oregon. He leads the nation in 149.8 rushing yards per game.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks
The other end of Sean Mannion’s bid for a Pac-12 passing record, Cooks is tied for the national lead in receptions (63) and leads in receiving yards (944) and touchdown catches (11).

Others: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Colorado’s Paul Richardson, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro is tied for seventh nationally with 47 receptions this season for 606 yards. He’s a big target, but he only has one touchdown catch this season. Still, no other tight end has more than 28 catches.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

Our leader: Baylor’s Cyril Richardson
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he’d never seen a team establish the line of scrimmage like Baylor did on the way to scoring 73 points two weeks ago. Richardson is a mauler who could be another high draft pick off the Baylor offensive line.
Others: Oregon’s Hroniss Grasu, Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, Georgia Tech’s Shaq Mason, Stanford’s David Yankey

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Clemson’s Vic Beasley

Beasley has saved Clemson in a pair of close games this season against Boston College and NC State. With 12 tackles for a loss and nine sacks, Beasley is having the kind of season many envisioned for the defensive end at the other South Carolina school
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy


Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Beasley

Others: UCLA’s Vic Beasley, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, USC’s Leonard Williams


Butkus (Top linebacker)

Our leader: UCLA’s Anthony Barr

Barr has recorded 10 tackles for a loss, four sacks and four forced fumbles in four games this season. Up next: A two-game road stretch against Stanford and Oregon.
Others: Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Boston College’s Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller

Fuller picked up his second interception of the season against North Carolina two weeks ago and continued to be a lockdown corner in the back end of the Hokies’ defense. Fuller helped hold Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage to 44.8 percent passing and 187 yards last week.
Others: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, TCU’s Jason Verrett



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt
The Sooners’ offense hasn’t been overwhelming, but Hunnicutt has been there to pick up field goals, converting 14 of 15 this season. Hunnicutt has made all nine attempts in the last three games.
Others: Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, NC State’s Niklas Sade



Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 47.7 yards per kick on 7.3 punts per game.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Memphis’ Tom Hornsey, Alabama’s Cody Mandell



Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston is making a legitimate bid for the Heisman after leading a 63-0 rout of Maryland two weeks ago. The redshirt freshman set season highs in yards (393) and touchdown passes (five) on 23-of-32 passing against the Terrapins. The season-defining moment may be this week’s matchup with Clemson.
Others: Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

Coach of the year
Our leader: Missouri’s Gary Pinkel

No one gave Missouri much of a chance this season in the SEC East, but the Tigers upset an injury-ravaged Georgia team to move to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the league. The Tigers will attempt to navigate the loaded back end of the schedule without quarterback James Franklin for a few weeks.
Others: Baylor’s Art Briles, Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey, Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: LSU’s Cam Cameron
Zach Mettenberger didn’t have his best game of the season against Florida, but the LSU quarterback still leads the SEC in pass efficiency and yards per attempt.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, Utah’s Dennis Erickson, Maryland’s Mike Locksley, Clemson’s Chad Morris, Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi, Texas’ Greg Robinson, Oklahoma’s Mike Stoops
 

Teaser:
College Football Post-Week 7 Award Watch
Post date: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-pac-12-preview
Body:

The two new Los Angeles coaches may be the most interesting offseason storyline for the Pac-12, but don't be surprised if schools outside the Golden State make the most news in the Pac-12.

Thanks a core of juniors and sophomores and the league’s best signing class, Arizona may be the Pac-12’s best Final Four threat since the last time time the Wildcats reached the Elite Eight three years ago.

Elsewhere, a major storyline is the rise of Oregon and Colorado as Pac-12 title contenders. Dana Altman’s hire in Eugene was met with shrugs, but he’s led the Ducks to steady improvement, ending last season with a hard-fought loss to national champion Louisville in the Sweet 16. Tad Boyle, meanwhile, has taken the Buffaloes to an unprecedented three consecutive postseasons.

That’s not to say the Los Angeles schools can be overlooked. Steve Alford takes over at one of basketball’s most storied programs at UCLA. He has a roster that can contend for the league crown.

USC is a bigger challenge for new coach Andy Enfield, who knows a thing or two about doing the impossible by taking Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16.

Pac-12 Predicted Order of Finish

ALL-PAC-12 FIRST TEAM
G Jahii Carson, Arizona State
G Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
G Jordan Adams, UCLA
G C.J. Wilcox, Washington
F Dwight Powell, Stanford

ALL-PAC-12 SECOND TEAM
G Justin Cobbs, California
G/F Kyle Anderson, UCLA
F Aaron Gordon, Arizona
F Josh Huestis, Stanford
F Mike Moser, Oregon

ALL-PAC-12 THIRD TEAM
G Jabari Bird, California
G Damyeon Dotson, Oregon
G Nick Johnson, Arizona
F Josh Scott, Colorado
F Travis Wear, UCLA
1. ARIZONA (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Elite Eight
Sean Miller lost some key pieces, but the Wildcats always have plenty of firepower. Freshman Aaron Gordon is a stud.

2. UCLA (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
Steve Alford has championship talent to work with, a rarity for an incoming coach.

3. COLORADO (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 64
The Buffaloes will try to go 3-for-3 in NCAA Tournament appearances since joining the Pac-12.

4. OREGON (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 64
Dana Altman has once again pieced together a roster that will compete in the Pac-12.

5. ARIZONA STATE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 64
Jahii Carson and the Sun Devils have the talent to give Herb Sendek a much-needed NCAA bid.

6. CAL
Postseason projection:
NIT
The roster isn’t overflowing with talent, but Mike Montgomery rarely misses the NCAA Tournament.

7. STANFORD
Postseason projection:
NIT
Johnny Dawkins has a veteran lineup that needs to produce. The Cardinal haven’t played in the NCAAs since the Trent Johnson era.

8. OREGON STATE
Postseason projection:
NIT
The Beavers have size, scorers and experience, so why aren’t they more feared?

9. WASHINGTON
Postseason projection:
NIT
Long-range bomber C.J.Wilcox can’t do it alone, but he might have to on a roster that lacks elite talent.

10. USC
New coach Andy Enfield and his model wife were meant for Los Angeles. The Trojans’ talent is far more questionable.

11. WASHINGTON STATE
Ken Bone will be coaching his last season in Pullman unless the Cougars exceed expectations.

12. UTAH
The other Coach K, now in Year 3, will be given lots of latitude to rebuild an undermanned program.

Pac-12 Awards

Player of the Year: Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Carson ranked second in the league at 18.5 points per game last season, adding 5.9 assists per game to the mix. He’s a lightning quick guard who could carry the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Defensive Player of the Year: Josh Huestis, Stanford
The 6-7 senior may be undersized, but he’s a relentlessly aggressive defender. Huestes averaged 10.5 points and 9.0 rebounds last season.

Most Underrated: Askia Booker, Colorado
Andre Roberson was a draft pick, and Spencer Dinwiddie may follow him this season. But let’s give some credit to Booker, who can heat up as a scorer in a hurry. He averaged 12.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

Newcomer of the Year: Aaron Gordon, Arizona (full list of key newcomers in the Pac-12)
The jewel of Arizona’s incoming class and the top recruit Sean Miller has landed with the Wildcats, Gordon could be the piece that helps Arizona reach the Final Four. He’s a versatile forward who could play wing or closer to the basket.

Top coach: Sean Miller, Arizona (top 50 coaches for 2013-14)

Coach on the hot seat: Ken Bone, Washington State (full list of hot seat coaches)

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Pac-12 Preview
Post date: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-8-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

A few questions in the Big 12 were answered last week as Baylor answered the call in its first road test and Texas reentered the conversation for top team in the conference.

This week, Texas Tech is up in the spotlight.

The Red Raiders are 6-0 and 3-0 in the league, but they haven’t garnered the same attention as Baylor, Oklahoma or Texas. There's good reason. The schedule has been light, for certain, and Texas Tech hasn’t left the state other than to face Kansas.

This week, Kliff Kingsbury’s team will take the longest road trip in the Big 12 when Tech visits West Virginia, where the Mountaineers defeated preseason favorite Oklahoma State 30-21 in September. The last time we saw West Virginia, the Mountaineers were drilled by Baylor, but after an off week and at home, West Virginia promises to be a different team.

In other action around the league, Oklahoma State will seek any sign it can remain a league contender against TCU. Meanwhile, the Pokes’ Bedlam rival will try to correct their issues from the Texas game by facing Kansas.

Week 8 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12SEC

Big 12 Week 8 Game Power Rankings
All times Saturday. All times Eastern.


1. Texas Tech at West Virginia (noon, Fox Sports 1)
Among the 3-0 teams in Big 12 play, Texas Tech is the X-factor. The Red Raiders have played the two worst teams in the league (Kansas and Iowa State) and had questionable officiating in its win over a mid-level team (TCU). The Mountaineers aren’t contending for the Big 12 title, but Texas Tech making the long road trip to Morgantown, where West Virginia defeated Oklahoma State, could be telling. West Virginia is averaging 467 yards per game at home compared to 318.7 yards away from Morgantown. Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield returned to practice this week, but it’s not clear if he will be able to start against West Virginia. In his place, freshman Davis Webb passed for 415 yards with three touchdowns and an interception against Iowa State.

2. TCU at Oklahoma State (noon, Fox)
Oklahoma State was off last week as Texas turned around the Big 12 race by defeating Oklahoma. This will be a chance for the Cowboys, the preseason favorite, to show they’re still a contender. The loss to West Virginia on Sept. 28 ago, though, means there’s little margin for error in Stillwater. At fewer than six yards per play, Oklahoma State’s offense hasn’t been as productive as Mike Gundy is used to seeing as the Pokes prepare for a team that leads the Big 12 in interceptions (10) and tackles for a loss (52). TCU needs any sign its luck is turning. TCU is averaging 5.4 points in the first half against FBS teams, a number that needs to turn if the Frogs are going to win a major conference road game.

3. Iowa State at Baylor (7 p.m., ESPNU)
Even in a loss, Kansas State had a typical Kansas State performance against Baylor, controlling the ball and capitalizing on two Baylor mistakes with a turnover and blocked punt. Iowa State must follow that script to have any chance in Waco. The Cyclones offense, however, went dormant last week at Texas Tech, rushing for 143 yards and completing 15 of 39 passes. If there’s any consolation for the Iowa State defense, the Cyclones have allowed five passing plays of 30 yards or more, the fewest in the Big 12.

4. Oklahoma at Kansas (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
Oklahoma played its worst all-around game of the season last week, but the Sooners get the most welcome sight in the Big 12 in these situations — a game against Kansas. Bob Stoops says there aren’t any plans to make a chance at quarterback after Blake Bell’s struggles against the Longhorns, but if another QB makes an appearance against Kansas, it wouldn’t be the first time Stoops this season has been coy about his offense. Any improvement from Bell will be key in Lawrence as Bell struggled with decision-making against the Longhorns and holding onto the ball too long, contributing to four sacks.

Off: Kansas State, Texas

Big 12 Week 8 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox break down the big questions for each conference for the second half of the season in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
Stewart has one game under his belt after sustaining a concussion against West Virginia, but he had only two receptions against Kansas State. The Cowboys’ top receiver will need to be at his best in his matchup against Thorpe Award contender Jason Verrett, one of the top cover corners in the country. Stewart caught six passes for 120 yards against TCU a year ago.

Brandon Carter, TCU
After Carter caught six touchdown passes and averaged 16.4 yards per catch in 2012, he appeared to be heading for a breakout season as a junior. Instead, he’s regressed. Carter has muffed punts, picked up personal foul penalties and landed in Gary Patterson’s doghouse. If the Horned Frogs are going to compete in the Big 12, Carter must return to form to help a lackluster offense.

Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia
The Mountaineers could get one of their top linebackers back in time to face Texas Tech. Kwiatkoski had 29 tackles in the first four games, including 2.5 tackles for a loss. The Mountaineers’ defense looked like one of the most improved units in the conference before facing Baylor two weeks ago. Texas Tech’s foundation on offense in the passing game, but the Red Raiders have proven they can run the ball, especially around the goal line. A healthy inside linebacker Kwiatkoski could put more pressure on a freshman quarterback to make plays on the road.

Jeremiah George, Iowa State
The Cyclones’ top defensive player will be tasked with stopping Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk, who has his eye on starting a new streak of 100-yard rushing games. Seastrunk rushed for 54 yards on 12 carries against Kansas State, and Glasco Martin was marginally more effective (14 carries, 70 yards). Even if Bryce Petty still got his long touchdown passes, the Baylor offense stalled more than it has all season with the run game having its worst day of the year at less than three yards per carry.

Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma
Alexander had 19 tackles against Texas, 10 more than he had in the previous five games combined. The Sooners are looking for a spark among the line and linebackers after defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson were lost for the season. The freshman has had the lapses coaches would expect from a rookie, but with the injury situation, he’ll have to grow up quickly.

Big 12 Week 8 Predictions

GamesDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
TCU (+7) at Oklahoma StOSU 35-14OSU 27-21OSU 31-20OSU 27-24
Texas Tech (-6) at West Va.WVU 28-24Tech 31-20WVU 30-27WVU 31-30
Oklahoma (-23) at KansasOU 42-14OU 45-17OU 48-10OU 41-10
Iowa State (+34) at BaylorBaylor 56-17Baylor 45-21Baylor 51-20Baylor 51-23
Last Week2-23-13-13-1
This Season35-736-636-636-6

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 8 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/advanced-stats-become-integral-part-basketball-scouting-evaluation
Body:

Russ Smith has a perception problem.

The Louisville guard has the reputation of a player who takes risks, plays recklessly and takes shots without conscience. All of those statements are true. He’s also awfully good. He led the national championship Cardinals in scoring, and his pressure spearheaded one of the best defensive teams in the country.

The “Russdiculous” label coach Rick Pitino gave him two seasons ago was out of love, but also frustration. Last season, the tag came more out of admiration. Still, Louisville’s most dynamic player on both sides of the court garnered only third-team All-America honors.

He’s also the kind of player you’d expect to be hammered by the statheads.

 
This story appears in the 2013-14 Athlon Sports College basketball annual. This year’s edition previews every team in the country and includes everything you need to now to prepare for the upcoming season. The annual is available online and on newsstands near you.

College basketball’s most prominent stathead, though, will have no part of the traditional evaluations. Ken Pomeroy and his numbers saw what the national discussion missed.

Pomeroy, whose tempo-free statistics and advanced analytics have become indispensable to coaching staffs across the country, named Smith his National Player of the Year when most other services picked Michigan’s Trey Burke.

The reason Pomeroy diverged from popular opinion had to do with a word not often thrown around with Russ Smith: Efficiency.

The basics of Pomeroy’s metrics are not complicated: Every possession in a basketball game can either end well (a made shot or free throw) or poorly (a missed shot or a turnover). But the number of possessions in a game is not fixed, based on the tempo of the teams involved. His statistics attempt to evaluate, simply put, the rate of possessions that end up with a positive result.

Smith ranked 22nd nationally in Pomeroy’s offensive rating metric, and just as important, Smith had a usage rate of 32 percent. So what does that mean? Let’s start with usage: Smith was responsible for the way 32 percent of Louisville offensive possessions ended, either in a shot from the field, a free throw or turnover. Only 10 players nationally ranked higher. The offensive rating determined Smith accounted for 109 points for every 100 possessions he ended.

For detractors, Smith can say the statistics know what kind of player he is even if they don’t.

“The numbers say you don’t know what you’re talking about if you’re saying I’m inefficient,” Smith says.

And as for Smith’s reputation, Pomeroy writes on his blog, making rational decisions is perhaps an overrated character trait.

More kindly, the traditional metrics of points per game, rebounds per game and field goal percentage are a nice snapshot, but they’re not entirely accurate.

In the last 5-10 years, college coaching staffs have adapted to this way of thinking. Tempo-free statistics have become one piece in the scouting puzzle for assistants across the country. And outside the film room, increased media exposure has made the tempo-free approach and other advanced metrics mainstream among hardcore basketball fans.

Following the lead of Major League Baseball and the NBA, college basketball has immersed itself in advanced statistics and tempo-free analytics.

“(Tempo) can have a profound effect on the stats that are out there,” says Pomeroy, who began publishing his statistics on the internet in 2004. “Scoring stats per game is profoundly effected by how many possessions you have in a game. The tempo-free approach takes out that factor and compares teams on an even playing field.”

Pomeroy owns some debt to Dean Oliver and his Four Factors, which have become one of the foundations of modern statistical analysis on the basketball court. Oliver, ESPN’s director of production analytics and former director of quantitative analysis for the Denver Nuggets, named four distinct statistics which are now essential to determining efficiency:

1. Effective field goal percentage (which puts added weight on 3-point baskets)
2. Turnover percentage (turnovers per possession)
3. Offensive rebounding percentage (percentage of rebounds claimed by the offense)
4. Free-throw rate

Related: The Keys to Becoming a Smarter Fan

Oliver, a former Division III basketball player at Caltech, began charting statistics for his team in 1989 before venturing into graduate school at North Carolina and conducting advance scouting for the Lakers. Oliver wrote for a handful of analytical publications before landing on they payroll of NBA teams as a consultant and then a full-time employee.

“I don’t think it’s underground anymore,” Oliver said. “Some of the stats are part of coaching lingo, where they weren’t 25 years ago.”

The NBA has been several years ahead of the college game in statistical analysis beyond tempo-free, but the most high-profile coaching hire in the pro ranks had an analytical angle to it when the Boston Celtics hired Butler’s Brad Stevens.

Stevens already was considered one of the top minds in college basketball after leading Butler to back-to-back national championship games, but he also was a full-fledged devotee of advanced analytics from an early stage. Last season, Stevens took things further than Pomeroy’s kenpom.com rankings. The Bulldogs coach hired Drew Cannon, a Duke graduate in statistics and Butler MBA student, to conduct statistical research and scouting. When the Celtics hired Stevens, he brought the 23-year-old Cannon with him.

While Cannon was a high-profile statistics expert on a basketball staff, he wasn’t the first to bring advanced analytics to the bench.

In 2010, Mike Lepore was a singular sight in college basketball. Sitting between players and assistants on the Wake Forest bench, Lepore kept his eyes on his laptop. Then the assistant director of basketball operations under Dino Gaudio, Lepore tracked many of the same things Cannon eventually would as well: plus-minus ratings on specific lineups, success rates on offensive sets, key stats on defense. Lepore brought a printer with him on the road to give Gaudio all the data he needed at halftime. However, Lepore eventually gave up the laptop when he learned having it on the bench could result in a technical foul (Cannon kept notes with pen and paper on Butler’s bench).

“I was probably the only person in the country with a computer on the bench,” says Lepore, who is now the director of basketball operations at Saint Louis. “It was really good, detailed information. That’s great information.”

With live, in-game analysis limited, these statistics are most valuable in scouting and evaluation.

On the way to winning the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, Miami, like most schools, made checking kenpom.com a critical part of its preparation. It was one of the first things assistant Chris Caputo read as he evaluated an opponent.

“We try to get a little bit of their DNA statistically,” Caputo says.

“I don’t think it’s underground anymore. Some of the stats are part of coaching lingo, where they weren’t 25 years ago.”
-Dean Oliver
As in any league, the ACC featured an array of styles of play last season. North Carolina was one of the fastest teams in the country at 71.8 possessions per game. Virginia was one of the slowest at 61.5. Nationally, the amount of possessions per game ranged from 58.7 (Western Illinois) to 75 (Central Arkansas).

With that kind of variance, it’s easy to see why points per possession is a more valuable number to a coach than points per game.

Consider this: Team A likes to get up and down the court and score in transition. Team B prefers a more methodical approach, walking the ball up the court and milking the shot clock.

Points per game says Team A has a better offense, but tempo-free statistics tell us Team B is far more effective at running its offense. (And in fairness, the numbers will tend to say Team B, with fewer possessions in its games and thus fewer points, has the more effective defense. Team B might not.)

And then consider two teams from last season: North Carolina ranked 16th nationally in scoring at 76.7 points per game, and they ranked in the top five in shot attempts and made field goals per game.

But were the Tar Heels any good offensively? Not especially. North Carolina averaged 107 points per 100 possessions, ranking 56th in the country. North Carolina was Team A, a team that ran more plays but wasn’t necessarily efficient. The Tar Heels made only 46.3 percent of their two-point baskets, a figure that ranked 224th nationally, according to teamrankings.com.

On the other hand, Florida averaged 71.4 points per game, a figure that ranked 75th nationally. The Gators, though, ranked seventh in Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency rating and eighth in points per possession. The reason for the discrepancy: Florida took its time. The Gators averaged 62.9 offensive possessions per game, ranking 311th nationally. But Florida was more efficient, ranking in the top 30 in shooting percentage from both 2-point and 3-point range.

Virginia assistant Ritchie McKay, who became enamored with tempo-free stats while the head coach at New Mexico from 2002-07, now uses the numbers to dispel inaccuracies about the Cavaliers’ offense. Under head coach Tony Bennett, Virginia is one of the most deliberate teams in the country.

The Cavs ranked 11th in the ACC in points per game at 64.2, but take tempo out of the mix, and the Cavaliers don’t look so inept. Virginia ranked sixth in the league at 1.04 points per possession.

“If I told you we average 66 points per game or 63 you’d think, ugh,” McKay says. “But if you look at our numbers and the product we’re putting out on the floor offensively, our percentages, we’re decent in terms of national rank.”

None of this is new. Legendary North Carolina coach Frank McGuire noted points per possession in the 1950s. Dean Smith was also a per-possession analysis adopter.

While tempo-free concepts have been around for decades, what has changed is access.

Pomeroy was a meteorologist (the kind that works for the National Weather Service, not the kind that works on television) when he started running basketball box scores and play-by-play data through computer code, first for sports-ratings.com then his personal site.

By 2005, media mentions in Sports Illustrated and elsewhere brought new eyes to his efficiency numbers. In the subscription-based portion of his site, Pomeroy presents further in-depth game-by-game statistics to the coaches who pay. And pay they do.

“When I first start getting ready for a team, I’m using that to give me a road map or a broad picture of strengths and weaknesses relative to all the other teams in the country,” says Kevin Kuwik, an assistant at Dayton and former video coordinator at Ohio State. “That’s one piece of it. I’m using that to pick out some tendencies on how that team might play.”

Kuwik will watch film on opponents’ recent games like any scout. But through kenpom.com, he’s looking at statistics for tempo, indicating how much of a factor transition defense might be. Or he’ll look at assist-to-field goal rate, which may indicate whether a team likes to go one-on-one or prefers to pass. Pomeroy’s statistics also may indicate games in which the opponent struggle in offensive or defensive efficiency earlier in the season.

Then it’s on to the video where Kuwik, like many scouts, turns to Synergy Sports. A video service with archives of college and NBA games, Synergy allows scouts to break down film by player or by situation to isolate habits or tendencies.

Over the course of the season and into the NCAA Tournament, those little edges can make a big difference.

Related: How to use Advanced Stats like an expert

Iowa State has been one of college basketball’s best overachievers in the last two seasons, which have included two NCAA Tournament appearances and two top-four finishes in the Big 12 standings. A major reason is fourth-year coach Fred Hoiberg, who is well-versed in advanced analytics due to his time as Vice President of Basketball Operations with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Hoiberg’s main focus has been shot selection on both sides of the floor. Naturally, it makes sense to attempt high-percentage shots while forcing an opponent to take low-percentage shots, but Hoiberg and his staff throw some statistical weight behind it. The most valuable shots in basketball are around the rim and 3-point shots. The least valuable is a mid-range 2-pointer — it’s a tough 2-pointer to make and it lacks the reward of a 3-pointer to make it worthwhile.

While NBA teams are installing cameras in arenas in order to analyze the data of how efficient individual players are from certain areas from the court, Hoiberg is adapting the same concepts, albeit at a lower budget.

“We chart what the highest true percentage shot is,” Hoiberg says. “In the NBA it’s the corner three. You want to create as many corner threes as possible because that’s the shortest 3-point shot on the floor. In college it’s not the corner three, but if you can get an uncontested catch-and-shoot three or a shot at the rim, you know you’re accomplishing what your offense is supposed to get you.”

Still, there’s a human element. Hoiberg is reluctant to declare certain areas of the floor off-limits, but charting shots helps him tailor practices and workouts.

“Some guys go strictly by the stats,” Hoiberg says. “If you shoot a low-percentage in the mid-range, they just flat out say you can’t shoot that shot. I don’t go that far with it because I don’t want to take a player’s confidence away.”

Coaches also use advanced stats to play on another human trait: Motivation.

Once Caputo assembles his own data and scouting report for Miami coach Jim Larranaga, he’ll condense a few key points for the players.

“There’s nothing stronger than showing them not only that number, but where that number ranks in the country,” Caputo says. “That’s key. When you can say they’re No. 3 in offensive rebounding percentage, you’re not just telling them they’re a great offensive rebounding team, you’re telling them that they’re one of the best in the country, which means hopefully your guys will be more aware that the emphasis needs to be on blocking out or whatever your game plan is.”

The integrated approach has been perhaps one of the reasons basketball — both pro and college — hasn’t had the protracted battle between stats and scouts as Major League Baseball did during the Moneyball era.

Not only has advanced analysis been in use in MLB and the NBA for several years, in college there’s not a rift between the people doing the scouting and the people emphasizing statistics. It’s more a product of function than culture.

“First and foremost, the assistants are the ones who have to do the deep dive and call out every significant little nugget,” Kuwik says. ”As it’s become more prevalent, the assistants were the ones who used it the most. You have some younger head coaches who are a little more aligned to when that started happening in the last couple of years. You’re going to see more and more head coaches be attuned to it.”

That’s the certainly the case for Kuwik and other Ohio State colleagues. Thad Matta’s staffs are an example: Stevens worked under Matta at Butler. Kuwik’s boss at Dayton, Archie Miller, coached under Matta at Ohio State. Illinois’ John Groce, another former Ohio State assistant, is a believer. So is the new Butler coach, Brandon Miller, who worked for both Stevens and Matta over the years.

The use of statistics has spread so much that Pomeroy left his day job to concentrate on analysis full-time.

One the one hand he has his subscription-based site, but he’s also consulted for a handful of college teams including Iowa State and Baylor, plus the Houston Rockets.

“Three or four years ago, it became mainstream enough to see it on graphics in an ESPN broadcast where they don’t have to explain those numbers and exactly what they mean,” Pomeroy says. “That’s when the corner got turned.”

The emphasis is there and it’s spreading. But the prospect of Drew Cannons at every school is a long way off.

“In college you don’t have a front office,” Hoiberg says. “It’s the coaching staff. That’s a pretty big difference.”

The budget to hire a statistical expert on the staff may be the least of the barriers to advanced stats in college basketball. Data collection and play-by-play and shot-tracking data, especially for mid- to low-major programs is not as consistent as that in the NBA. The sample size of 82 games each year in the NBA versus 30 or so games in college gives the pro ranks a reliable sample size.

Another Drew Cannon may be the most accessible part of the equation.

“You’re going to see more and more schools doing it — I’m positive you are,” Oliver says. “Frankly, students are not very expensive. You have colleges with computer science departments, stat departments, math departments, kids who love basketball and they want to contribute.”

For now, knowledge of the numbers and analytics is a skill for a coach, not all that different from drawing up a play or recruiting.

“You can find that one advantage that’s going to help you to win close games you wouldn’t win otherwise,” Hoiberg says. “Is it the ultimate factor? No. But it certainly is a piece of the puzzle when you’re putting everything together.”

Teaser:
Advanced stats become integral part of basketball scouting, evaluation
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/tempo-free-and-advanced-college-basketball-stats-guide
Body:
 
This story appears in the 2013-14 Athlon Sports College basketball annual. This year’s edition previews every team in the country and includes everything you need to now to prepare for the upcoming season. The annual is available online and on newsstands near you.

Some stats lie. Just as on-base percentage, OPS and WAR have become chic among baseball fans, basketball fans have a chance to impress their friends with statistics. Here’s a quick guide:

Replace points per game with...
Points per possession (a.k.a. offensive and defensive efficiency).
Different teams have different styles of play. A faster offense will yield more possessions on both sides of the court, a more deliberate offense will yield fewer possessions. Points per game does not accurately reflect how effectively a team plays offense or defense. A possession ends on a made field goal attempt, a missed shot rebounded by the defense, free throws or a turnover, thus points per possession more accurately measures how often a team gets a favorable result when it runs its offense. The median college team scored 1.01 points per possession last season (or 101 points per 100 possession, as it is sometimes noted).

Related: Tempo-free stats make their way out of the underground

Replace rebound margin with...
Offensive and defensive rebounds and rebound percentages.
“One of the interesting things we found when we people started doing analytics on basketball is that on a team level, offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding are really a separate skills and they’re not really related,” Ken Pomeroy says. Minnesota, for example, led the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, but was 10th in defensive rebounds last season. Team rebound margin combines the two, creating a misleading stat. The more accurate stat separates the two and determines the rates at which the defense or offense claims a missed shot. Team A’s offensive rebound percentage equals Team A’s offensive rebounds divided by (Team A offensive rebounds plus Team B defensive rebounds). The same principle applies to defensive rebounding percentages, or the rate of available missed shots rebounded by the defense.

Replace field goal percentage with...
Two-point percentage and three-point percentage or effective field goal percentage.
A similar concept to the rebounding rule above. Three-point shooting rate is often used as a stand-alone statistic in college basketball, but the poor 2-pointer doesn’t get the same luxury. Shooting at a lower percentage, but making more threes isn’t necessarily inefficient. “If you’re a guy or a team that takes a lot 3-pointers, your field goal percentage is not going to look as good as it should,” Pomeroy says. “But if you’re making those shots, you’re making three points, obviously.” Effective field goal percentage gives the added weight to a 3-pointer, as it is worth 50 percent more. The formula is: (0.5 x made 3-pointers + total made field goals) divided by total field goals attempted.

Teaser:
Tempo-Free and Advanced College Basketball Stats: A Guide
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-football/who-votes-college-football-harris-poll
Body:

Only in college football does an NFL general manager, a Heisman winner, a handful of retired sportswriters, disgraced athletic directors and United States Olympic Committee and PGA staffers have a voice in the postseason pairings.

With all the handwringing about the new College Football Playoff selection committee, fans may forget there’s one more year of the BCS picking the teams that will play for the national championship and eligible for major bowl games.

The first Harris Interactive top 25 was released Sunday, bringing the sport one step closer to the first BCS standings of the season. The voting results from the 105-member Harris panel have the same weight as the coaches’ poll or the average of the six computers, but few are familiar with the voters.

Part of the BCS since 2005 when the Associated Press pulled its rankings out of the formula, the Harris poll is comprised of 105 current and former media members and former college players, coaches and administrators. Originally, each of the then-11 FBS conference submitted a pool of potential voters to Harris Interactive, who then randomly selected 10 voters from each. The independents received three voters from their submitted candidates.

The number has fluctuated over the years, and with the disintegration of the WAC, the 2013 panel is the smallest at 105 voters. Since last season, 22 voters left the poll, replaced by 13 new voters for 2013.

Harris Interactive releases the names of each voter on the panel a week before the first top 25, and the organization will release all 105 final ballots after the BCS standings are released in December. However, Harris has never released any biographical information about panelists, their connection to college football or which conference “nominated” the voters in the first place.

We have collected and confirmed the biographical information here.

Among the new voters are two former athletic directors who lost their jobs under less than ideal circumstances. Keith Tribble resigned from UCF in 2011 amid an NCAA investigation into recruiting practices in the schools football and men’s basketball programs. He is under an NCAA show cause penalty.

Damon Evans resigned from Georgia after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. His situation worsened when it was revealed he was in the car with a woman who was not his wife and he attempted to use his position to garner favor with authorities. Evans now works with IMG College assisting schools with fundraising.

Also among the new voters is recently retired Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips. Phillips’ inclusion gives the Tigers a visible presence among the 105 ballots with former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden also voting in the poll.

Perhaps the most intriguing voter in the panel is not a new addition, but his new job description is worth a mention. John Dorsey was hired this season as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Dorsey, a former player at Connecticut, joined the panel when he was the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers.

The breakdown of voters includes:

32 former players. This includes 1958 Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.

30 former administrators. Among them is former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, who is considered one of the founders of the BCS.

28 current and former media members, not including the former players and coaches who entered broadcasting careers after retirement. Some of the media members include members of school’s official broadcasting teams, such as Rutgers’ Chris Carlin, Baylor’s J.J. Joe, Navy’s Pete Medhurst and Notre Dame’s Allen Pinkett.

11 former coaches. Notable former coaches include Tommy Bowden (Clemson), Rich Brooks (Oregon, Kentucky), Lloyd Carr (Michigan), Joe Novak (Northern Illinois) and Jackie Sherrill (Pittsburgh, Texas A&M and Mississippi State).

4 in the “other category.” This includes Bob Condron (a former director of media services for the United States Olympic Committee for 28 years), Tim Millis (the former executive director of the NFL Referees Association and former Big 12 supervisor of officials) and Jack White (a former player for Bear Bryant at Alabama who works with the PGA).

Here is every voter in the 2013 Harris poll and their desciption:

VoterDescription
*Denny AldridgeTexas player 1966-68
Bob AndersonArmy player 1956-60
James BatesFlorida player 1993-96, Fox Sports South broadcaster
Sammy BattenReporter, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
*Joe BiddleFormer columnist, The Nashville Tennessean
*Blaine BishopBall State player 1990-92, Radio host, WGFX in Nashville
Tommy BowdenTulane coach 1997-98, Clemson coach 1999-2008
Dave BraineGeorgia Tech AD 1997-2006, Virginia Tech AD 1988-97, Marshall AD 1985-87
Gil BrandtNFL.com analyst, Former Cowboys director of player personnel
Rich BrooksOregon coach 1977-94, Kentucky coach 2003-09
Chip BrownReporter, Orangebloods.com
Grant BurgetOklahoma player 1970-74
Chris CarlinOklahoma player 1970-74
Lloyd CarrMichigan coach 1995-2007
*Charlie CavagnaroUNLV AD 1995-2001, Memphis AD 1982-95
Pete CavenderBoise State player 2003-07, radio analyst BSU Sports Radio Network
Angelique ChengelisReporter, The Detroit News
Tony CollinsEast Carolina player 1977-80
Bob CondronUSOC dir. of media services 1984-2012, former SID at Texas Tech and SMU
Gene CorriganNotre Dame AD 1981-87, Virginia AD 1971-80, ACC commissioner 1987-97
Dick CrumNorth Carolina coach 1978-87, Kent State coach 1988-90
Fran CurciMiami coach 1971-72, Kentucky coach 1973-81
*Pete Dawkins1958 Heisman winner at Army
Gene DeFilippoVillanova AD 1997-97, Boston College AD 1998-2010
Mark DienhartMinnesota AD 1995-2000
John DorseyKansas City Chiefs general manager, Connecticut player 1980-83
Herb DromediCentral Michigan coach 1978-93
Bob DunlevyWest Virginia player 1963-65
Chuck EaleyToledo player 1969-71
Jack EblingRadio host WVFN in Lansing, Mich.
Damon EvansGeorgia AD 2003-10
Rondo FehlbergBYU AD 1995-99
Robert GagliardiReporter, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Richard GianniniSouthern Miss AD 1999-2011
Bob GoinCincinnati AD 1997-2005, Florida State AD 1990-94
Joe GottfriedSouth Alabama AD 1984-2009
Doug GraberRutgers coach 1990-95
*Bob GrimOregon State player 1964-66
Lee GrosscupUtah player 1957-58
Mark HermannPurdue player 1977-80
*Tommy HicksColumnist, Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register
Ron HigginsColumnist, New Orleans Times-Picayune
Mike HogewoodBroadcaster, ACC Digital Network
David HorningN.C. State administrator 1984-2010
*David HouselAuburn AD 1990-2004
Todd HusakStanford player 1996-99
J.J. JoeBaylor player 1990-93; Radio analyst, Baylor
Scott JohnsonFresno State AD 2001-05
Adam JudeReporter, Seattle Times
*Blair KerkhoffReporter, The Kansas City Star
*Mike KernReporter, The Philadelphia Daily News
Shaun KingTulane player 1995-98
*Roy KramerSEC Commissioner 1990-2002
Nate KreckmanRadio host, KXDP in Denver
*Bobby LeachSMU player 1981-84
Jeff LoganOhio State player 1974-77
*Mike LudeAuburn AD 1992-93, Washington AD 1975-91
*Tom LuicciReporter, Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger
Kelly LyellReporter, Fort Collins (Colo.) Coloradoan
John MalloryWest Virginia player 1965-67
Bob MarcumKansas AD 1978-82, South Carolina AD 1982-88, Marshall AD 2002-09
Derrick MayesNotre Dame player 1992-95
*Mike McGeeDuke coach 1971-78, Cincinnati AD 1979-84, USC AD 1984-93
Pete MedhurstRadio reporter and host, Navy Radio Network
Tim MillisFormer NFL Referees Association exec. director, former Big 12 supervisor of officials
Eric MizellTroy player 1990-91
*Craig MortonCal player 1962-64
Joe NovakNorthern Illinois coach 1996-2007
Jim OakesLouisiana Tech AD 1994-2008
Denny O'BrienReporter on East Carolina for Bonesville.net
Steve OrsiniUCF AD 2002-06, SMU AD 2006-12
David PaschallReporter, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Free-Press
Terry Don PhillipsClemson AD, 2003-13, Oklahoma State AD 1995-2002
Allen PinkettNotre Dame player 1982-85; Radio analyst, Notre Dame
Doug PlankOhio State player 1972-74
*Steve PreeceOregon State player 1966-68
Michael ReghiFormer host, WKNR in Cleveland, Ohio
*Pat RichterWisconsin AD 1989-2004
*Kenny RodaFormer host WKNR 850 in Cleveland, Ohio
Gary SandersFormer radio broadcaster, UAB
*Terry R. SchmidtBall State player 1971-73
Jackie SherrillPitt coach 1977-81, Texas A&M coach 1982-88, Mississippi St coach 1991-2003
Corky SimpsonFormer columnist, The Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen
Riley SkinnerWake Forest player 2006-09
Joe SmigielArizona player 1992-94
Adam SparksReporter, The Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News Journal
Fred StableyFormer Central Michigan sports information director
Don StrockFlorida International coach 2002-06
David TeelReporter, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press
Mel ThomasFormer TCU administrator and assistant coach
Darrell ThompsonMinnesota player 1986-89
Keith TribbleUCF AD 2006-11
Charlie TrotmanAuburn player 1977-79
*Max UrickIowa State AD 1983-93, Kansas State AD 1993-2001
*Roger ValdiserriFormer Notre Dame sports information director
Jeff Van NoteKentucky player 1966-68
Tommy VardellStanford player 1988-91
Jim VrugginkFormer Purdue sports information director
Jim WaldenIowa State coach 1987-94, Washington State coach 1978-86
Jay WalkerRadio host, KPEL in Lafayette, La.
John WaltersWriter, MediumHappy.com
Jack WhiteAlabama player 1971, former director for PGA Tour's Shotlink
Dwayne WoodruffLouisville player 1976-78
Rick WrightReporter, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal
*Hugh YoshidaHawaii AD 1992-2002
 Bold indicates new voters for 2013
 * indicates voters who have participated in every Harris poll since 2005

 

Teaser:
Ex-Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is one of the 105 Harris voters
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-big-ten-preview
Body:

Derided for its low-scoring games and slow pace of play, Big Ten basketball enjoyed a long-awaited return to must-see college basketball TV last season.

While the sport as a whole fell into a scoring slump, two of the best offensive teams in the nation resided in the Big Ten in conference champion Indiana and national runner-up Michigan. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers, Ohio State and Michigan State all ended up in the top 10 of the RPI.

The follow-up to 2012-13 might not be as exciting as last season when every week brought a game of national importance, but there’s still a lot to like about the Big Ten. Indiana lost its top two players to the NBA Draft, but Michigan and Michigan State bring back key players who could have declared to the NBA Draft. Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III are back for the Wolverines after starring during the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State loses another star player (Deshaun Thomas) and hopes another scorer (Laquinton Ross) will take his place.

Will the Big Ten have the depth it did last season? Well, that’s up to teams like Iowa, Purdue and Illinois.

Big Ten predicted order of finish

All-Big Ten First Team
G Aaron Craft, Ohio State
G Gary Harris, Michigan State
F LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
F Mitch McGary, Michigan
C Adreian Payne, Michigan State

All-Big Ten Second Team
G Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
G Tim Frazier, Penn State
F Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
F Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
F Aaron White, Iowa

All-Big Ten Third Team
G Andre Hollins, Minnesota
G Noah Vonleh, Indiana
G Branden Dawson, Michigan State
G/F Drew Crawford, Northwestern
C A.J. Hammons, Purdue
1. MICHIGAN STATE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Final Four
Gary Harris and Adreian Payne bypassed the NBA Draft to win the Big Ten title — and perhaps another title in April.

2. OHIO STATE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Sweet 16
The Buckeyes will replace Deshaun Thomas with a deeper bench and a more balanced attack. They always defend.

3. MICHIGAN (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Sweet 16
The Wolverines made a great NCAA run, but they lost two great guards — Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.

4. WISCONSIN (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
The Badgers have finished no worse than tied for fourth for 12 straight seasons. Sam Dekker and Ben Brust will keep the streak alive.

5. INDIANA (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
Replacing four 1,000-point scorers won’t be easy, but Tom Crean has a veteran point guard (Yogi Ferrell) and a dazzling group of freshmen.

6. IOWA (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 64
This is the year the Hawkeyes return to the NCAA Tournament — and with five starters back they’re a threat to make a nice run.

7. PURDUE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA round of 64
If A.J. Hammons reaches his potential as the league’s best big man, the Boilermakers will be much improved.

8. ILLINOIS
Postseason projection: NIT

John Groce is upgrading the talent and competing for better recruits, but the Illini are a year away from returning to the first division.

9. MINNESOTA
Postseason projection:
NIT
The Big Ten can be an unforgiving place for a rookie coach (Richard Pitino) at a program that lost its only two rebounders.

10. PENN STATE
Looking for a sleeper? Here is your team. With a healthy Tim Frazier and solid D.J. Newbill, the Nittany Lions have a top backcourt.

11. NORTHWESTERN  
A healthy Drew Crawford will help Chris Collins establish his system, but the Wildcats lost 11 of their last 12 games.

12. NEBRASKA (bonus team preview)
The new Pinnacle Bank Arena should help Tim Miles build momentum but he still needs more talent.

Big Ten Awards

Player of the Year: Gary Harris, Michigan State
Harris could be an NBA lottery pick when he elects to leave for the Draft, but for now he’ll try to lead Michigan State back to the Final Four. The Big Ten freshman of the year will aim to be a more formidable threat around the basket after shooting 41.1 percent from 3-point range last season.

Best Defensive Player: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Craft has been one of the nation’s best on-ball defenders since his freshman year. He’s already the nation’s top floor general. Now, his offensive game is gaining more consistency.

Most Underrated Player: Aaron White, Iowa
White’s numbers in Big Ten play went up as the junior forward averaged 13.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in conference games. He’ll look to average a double-double per game in a breakout season for the Hawkeyes.

Newcomer of the Year: Noah Vonleh, Indiana (full list of key newcomers around the Big Ten)
Vonleh steps into the shoes of big man Cody Zeller, and he may be up to the task sometime down the line. Unlike Zeller, Vonleh is only 6-foot-9, but he is an athlete forward 7-4 wingspan.

Top coach: Tom Izzo (full rankings of Big Ten coaches)

Teaser:
Payne, Spartans aim to make the Big Ten appointment viewing again
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 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-8
Body:

It's Midseason Madness on this week's podcast. Our hosts tackle big second-half questions for the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC before offering up picks for the midseason coach of the year. Here are the key storylines Braden Gall and David Fox tackled for each conference:

• ACC: Who blinks first, Florida State and Clemson? The Seminoles have the freshman quarterback, but the Tigers have needed to be bailed out by the defense recently. And why should or shouldn’t Miami have a bandwagon for the Coastal.

• Big 12: Yep, we’re arguing who has a better chance to go undefeated in the Big 12. One team is Texas. One is Baylor.

• Big Ten: The Legends Division round robin is a madhouse between wildly flawed teams. Is it fascinating or just ugly?

• Pac-12: Can UCLA do what Washington failed to do? The Bruins schedule is brutal down the stretch.

• SEC: Where to start in the East? South Carolina has emerged more and more as the injury bug has decimated the division. And does anyone stand to challenge Alabama in the West?

• And finally, Braden and David go through their coach of the year picks for Art Briles, Gary Pinkel and Curtis Johnson.

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:
Rounding up questions for the second half of the season
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 14:15
Path: /college-football/big-12-2013-second-half-predictions-and-midseason-review
Body:

The Big 12 entered the midpoint for 2013 the same way it ended 2012 — without a top 10 team. The last time a Big 12 team was in the top 10 was Dec. 2 when Kansas State was seventh in the Big 12 poll.

Oklahoma had its chance to move into the top 10, starting last week at No. 12 before a surprising loss to Texas.

In many ways, the Big 12 season is playing out the way Athlon Sports envisioned the race in the preseason — four or five imperfect teams bunched up near the top. Two conference losses may be enough to win a bid to the Fiesta Bowl.

But there’s also the unexpected: Baylor so far has the Big 12’s most complete team. Yes, the offense is on record-breaking pace, but the defense has been among the league’s best. A light schedule with only one road game, though, is enough reason to keep the Baylor national championship bandwagon empty at this point.

Beyond Baylor, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has delivered on the optimism surrounding his homecoming to Lubbock by leading the Red Raiders to a 6-0 start. And even mighty Texas can be a success story as a 3-0 start in the league looked unattainable in the first three weeks of the season.

Midseason Awards and Second-Half Predictions: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 SEC

2013 Big 12 Midseason Review and Second Half Predictions

Coach of the Year: Art Briles, Baylor
The Bears won’t keep up the 70 points per game pace they had earlier this season, but Briles has Baylor in position for its first conference title since 1980. Hard to believe that Baylor has just become more productive after losing Robert Griffin III and then the school’s single-season passing leader in the last two seasons. Briles is the nation’s top offensive coach, but the Bears have a strong team in the trenches and the 12th-ranked defense in yards per play.

Newcomer of the Year: Texas Tech quarterbacks
Kliff Kingsbury has a knack for coaching freshman quarterbacks. After working with Johnny Manziel last season, Kingsbury needed to rookie quarterbacks to step in for an injured Michael Brewer. As a duo, redshirt freshman walk on Baker Mayfield and true freshman Davis Webb are second in the nation in passing at 2,453 yards.

Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Petty, Baylor
With Baylor’s run game bottled up in the Bears’ toughest game of the season, Petty rose to the occasion by leading Baylor to two fourth quarter scoring drives against Kansas State. Petty has attempted only four passes in the red zone this season (4 for 4), but the entire field is Petty’s red zone. He has seven touchdown passes from inside his own 40 yard line.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Verrett, TCU
Verrett doesn’t have a ton of eye-popping statistics, but he’s the top lockdown cornerback in the Big 12. In the loss to Texas Tech, Verrett kept Red Raiders receiver Eric Ward from catching a pass. Verrett has 2.5 tackles for a loss and 10 pass break ups this season.

Midseason Disappointment: Oklahoma State’s run game
The Cowboys caught Mississippi State off guard in the opener by replacing starting quarterback Clint Chelf with J.W. Walsh and running out of the diamond formation. Otherwise, the Cowboys have been unimpressive in the run game, averaging 3.2 yards per carry since then. Oklahoma State’s 144.8 rushing yards per game would be its lowest average since 2001.

Midseason Surprise: Greg Robinson
Robinson wasn’t on anyone’s radar back in early September. The former Syracuse coach and Michigan defensive coordinator was breaking down film for Mack Brown. But then BYU rushed for 550 yards against the Longhorns. Texas replaced one-time defensive hotshot Manny Diaz with a retread who had struggled everywhere he’d been since he left Texas the first time. Robinson’s defense though held Oklahoma to 263 yards last week. The Longhorns have held Big 12 opponents to 3.7 yards per carry in the 3-0 start in the league.

Three things to watch in the second half:

Baylor’s championship bid
Baylor is 33 years removed from its last conference championship in the Southwest Conference. With Texas’ defensive woes and Oklahoma’s lackluster offense, this would seem to be the perfect season to take advantage. That, and Baylor’s offense is really, really good. The meat of Baylor’s schedule isn’t until November when the Bears face Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas in succession in November.

Is Texas for real?
The Longhorns sure looked the part of a Big 12 title contender in dismantling Oklahoma on Saturday, but Texas fans have to wonder if the Mr. Hyde from the BYU and Ole Miss games will return down the stretch. Daje Johnson hasn’t lost a step since returning from injury, and Case McCoy is growing into his role as starting quarterback. The next question is if this is indeed Mack Brown’s final question if he’ll leave Texas with a Big 12 championship trophy. The Longhorns have already ended futility against the Sooners and Kansas State.

Oklahoma’s quarterback situation
Blake Bell was dreadful against Texas, completing 12 of 26 passes for 133 yards with two interceptions. Bell lost the starting quarterback job in the preseason, and it’s a legitimate question if he could lose it again. Texas proved that by ganging up on the run game Bell couldn’t win with the passing game.

Top five games in the second half

Oct. 26 Texas Tech at Oklahoma
The Red Raiders have built their undefeated start against opponents that have gone a combined 6-11, including the bottom two teams in the Big 12 (Iowa State and Kansas). Even against a wounded OU team, Texas Tech could prove its legitimacy in the Big 12 race in Norman.

Nov. 7 Oklahoma at Baylor
The shine on this Thursday night game has dulled a bit after Oklahoma lost to Texas. The Sooners may need to win this game to get back into the Big 12 race.

Nov. 23 Baylor at Oklahoma State
In Baylor’s first road trip, the Bears played a tight game for the first time this season. This game against the preseason Big 12 favorites will be the toughest road test this year.

Dec. 7 Texas at Baylor
What will the Bears have left for their final game after going through the gauntlet in November? This could be a de facto Big 12 championship game...

Dec. 7 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
...Or the Bedlam Game could decide the conference. The Cowboys were the preseason favorite and OU looked the part of a Big 12 frontrunner just a week ago. There’s plenty of time for this to become the key game again in the Big 12 race.

Big 12 2013 Second-Half Predictions

(Logos are of projected winner for each game)

1. Baylor

ISU at KansasOUTTUat OK Stateat TCUTexasFinal Record
 11-1


2. Texas

at TCUKansasat WVUOK StateTTUat BaylorFinal Record
8-4


3. Oklahoma State

TCUat ISUat TTUKansasat TXBaylorOUFinal Record
9-3


4. Oklahoma

at KansasTTUat BaylorISUat K-Stateat OK StateFinal Record
9-3


5. Texas Tech

at WVUat OUOK StateK-StateBaylorat TXFinal Record
8-4


6. Kansas State

WVUISUat TTUTCUOUat KansasFinal Record
6-6


7. TCU

at OK StateTXWVUat ISUat K-StateBaylorFinal Record
6-6


8. West Virginia

TTUat K-Stateat TCUTexasat KansasIowa StateFinal Record
6-6


9. Iowa State

at BaylorOSUat K-StateTCUat OUKansasat WVUFinal Record
2-10

 

10. Kansas

OklahomaBaylorat Texasat OSUWVUat ISUK-StateFinal Record
2-10

 

Teaser:
Big 12 2013 Second-Half Predictions and Midseason Review
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-sec-preview
Body:

As the SEC rules college football, the question remains: What happened to this league as a basketball conference?

The SEC produced at least five NCAA Tournament teams every season from 1997-2008, but the league matched that only once since then. The expanded SEC produced only three NCAA Tournament teams last season, and Ole Miss needed to win the league tournament to erase any doubt.

Just about anywhere besides Lexington and Gainesville has a basketball program that’s seen better days. Florida, a two-time national champion when the SEC was in a position of strength, has reached the NCAA regional final the last three seasons.

And despite a loss in the NIT, Kentucky fans have been optimistic for 2013-14 since it became clear last season just wasn’t working out.

Kentucky landed the top recruiting class in history with six of the top 15 players who are already being loaded up with national championship expectations.

For the sake of SEC perception, it couldn’t hurt if Kentucky delivers on those projections.

SEC Predicted order of finish

All-SEC First Team
G Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
G Jordan McRae, Tennessee
F Johnny O’Bryant, LSU
F Julius Randle, Kentucky
C Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

All-SEC Second Team
G Scottie Wilbekin, Florida
G Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss
G Trevor Releford, Alabama
F Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
C Patric Young, Florida

All-SEC Third Team
G Jordan Clarkson, Missouri
G Michael Frazier, Florida
G Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
F Dorian Finney-Smith, Florida
F Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee
1. KENTUCKY (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA champion
Arguably the best recruiting class in history will have the Cats in the national title hunt.

2. FLORIDA (team preview)
Postseason projection: NCAA Elite Eight
Transfers Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech) and Damontre Harris (South Carolina) bolster the Gators’ roster.

3. TENNESSEE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA round of 32
Vols will need a big contribution from transfer Antonio Barton and a healthy season from Jeronne Maymon.

4. LSU (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA round of 64
An influx of high-level talent will join Johnny O’Bryant on what should be one of the league’s most-improved teams.

5. MISSOURI (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA round of 64
Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown will key the Tigers’ perimeter attack.

6. ALABAMA
Postseason projection:
NIT
With one NCAA invite in four years, pressure is starting to mount on Anthony Grant.

7. ARKANSAS
Postseason projection:
NIT
Hogs lost their two best players (B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell) but the roster still stocked with talent.

8. OLE MISS
Postseason projection:
NIT
Key losses in the frontcourt will be tough to overcome — even if Marshall Henderson behaves.

9. TEXAS A&M
Postseason projection:
NIT
Aggies will be balanced, but replacing Elston Turner’s scoring will be a huge issue.

10. SOUTH CAROLINA
Frank Martin continues his slow rebuild in Columbia. The Gamecocks will be painfully young in ’13-14.

11. GEORGIA
Losing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a crushing blow to the Georgia program.

12. VANDERBILT
Brutal offseason saw the Dores lose two starters (Kedren Johnson and Kevin Bright) and a key reserve (Sheldon Jeter).

13. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Rick Ray is recruiting the Bulldogs out of the abyss, but it will take some time.

14. AUBURN
Tony Barbee’s tenure at Auburn has not gone well. Too much roster turnover and not enough talent.

SEC Awards

Player of the Year: Julius Randle, Kentucky
It may be tough for one player to stand above the fray in Kentucky’s unprecedented recruiting class, but Randle has the ability to do so. He’s a 6-9 power forward who’s impressive as an athlete and has drawn comparisons to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for his competitiveness.

Best Defensive Player: Scottie Wilbekin, Florida
Marshall Henderson isn’t the only SEC guard in his coach’s doghouse. Wilbekin remains “partially suspended” for a violation of team rules, but when he plays, he’s the top perimeter defender on the best defensive team in the league.

Most Underrated Player: Shavon Coleman, LSU
Coleman will round out an top-notch frontcourt for LSU. The 6-5 wing averaged 5.9 rebounds last season for the Tigers. He’s a key glue guy for a team looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

Newcomer of the Year: Julius Randle, Kentucky (complete look at key newcomers in the SEC)
Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1 prospect in the country and only added to his legend by holding out until the spring to make his college on decision. Randle, though, was right there as one of the top prospects in the country.

Top coach: John Calipari, Kentucky (full SEC coach rankings)

Hot seat: Tony Barbee, Auburn (full list of hot seat coaches)

Teaser:
Who can keep up with Kentucky in SEC?
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-7-power-rankings-2013
Body:

The seventh week of the season shook up the Big 12 race, making Baylor’s offense and Oklahoma’s defense look vulnerable for the first time all season.

Texas’ dominant win over Oklahoma shows the Longhorns can be a realistic contender for the league crown. Kansas State’s performance against Baylor in a 35-25 loss makes the Longhorns’ 3-0 start in Big 12 look a little stronger.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, looked nothing like a team ready to compete for a conference title Saturday. Texas moved the ball with ease on the Sooners’ 3-3-5 and could have have won by a more significant margin if not for overthrown passes on deep routes.

In Manhattan, Baylor’s fate was up in the air deep into the fourth quarter, a time when the Bears’ starters haven’t even played this season. Kansas State may have given a blueprint to upsetting Baylor, controlling the clock with the run game led by a mobile quarterback and stifling Lache Seastrunk in the run game.

The Big 12 race appeared to be a hotly contested competition among flawed teams in the preseason, and Week 7 only further proved that perception.

More Post-Week 7 Power Rankings: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
12Baylor (5-0, 2-0): The Bears learned there’s a big difference between facing overmatched teams in Waco and facing a quality team on the road. Baylor needed two fourth quarter touchdowns to defeat a Kansas State team that wouldn’t go away in the second half. The Wildcats were able to limit Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin in the run game, and Antwan Goodley dropped a couple of passes. Still, Baylor was able to win by 10 points on the road thanks to its explosive passing game. Bryce Petty averaged 15.5 yards per pass attempt, raising his season average to 14.8. One major concern: Kansas State’s run game was able to keep the Baylor offense off the field. Baylor ran only 59 plays against the Wildcats after entering the game averaging 81 plays per game. This week: Iowa State
25Texas (4-2, 3-0): The Longhorns finally played like a Big 12 contender for the first time all season. The Longhorns were physical up front on both sides of the ball and flummoxed quarterback Blake Bell. Reaction to Greg Robinson’s elevation to defensive coordinator was lukewarm at best, but it’s tough to argue the switch didn’t help. Texas has allowed only 3.7 yards per carry in the last three games after allowing 6.0 in the first three. And keep in mind: This is without standout linebacker Jordan Hicks in the last two games. This week: Off
33Texas Tech (6-0, 3-0): It seems Kliff Kingsbury can plug and play any freshman quarterback with Davis Webb becoming the second rookie to hit the 400-yard mark this season for the Red Raiders. One thing not to overlook: Texas Tech has a quality run game, rushing for 251 yards against Iowa State and a total of seven rushing TDs in the last two games. Why isn’t Texas Tech higher in the power rankings? The Red Raiders’ opponents are a combined 6-11. No team in one of the five major conferences has faced a weaker schedule in terms of raw wins and losses. This week: at West Virginia
41Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1): The Sooners felt the absence of defensive tackle Jordan Thomas and linebacker Corey Nelson. And in the 3-3-5 alignment, Oklahoma can afford few letdowns in the front six. Just as disconcerting was the play of Blake Bell, who had his worst game of the season. With the run game ineffective, Bell completed only 12 of 26 passes for 133 yards with two interceptions and four sacks. The Sooners have had only four offensive touchdowns in Big 12 play this season. If Bell’s struggles continue, will Bob Stoops go back to Trevor Knight or give Kendal Thompson a shot? This week: at Kansas
54Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1): The Cowboys are in the mix for the Big 12 title as much as any team, but the Pokes have little margin for error after losing to West Virginia. Oklahoma State’s run game is averaging 3.2 yards per carry since the season-opening win against Mississippi State. This week: TCU
66Kansas State (2-4, 0-3): That record isn’t pretty, but does any really want to face Kansas State in the Big 12? Despite the loss, Kansas State still proved to be an opportunistic team, converting a blocked punt and a fumble for touchdowns.  Daniel Sams is becoming more comfortable at quarterback, especially as a runner. He rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards with an interception, sharing the passing duties with Jake Waters. This week: Off
77West Virginia (3-3, 1-2): The Mountaineers needed the off week in the worst way after a 73-42 loss to Baylor. Coach/quarterback/receiver communication has been major hurdle for Clint Trickett, who transferred from Florida State during the summer. Meanwhile, the defense has been beset by injuries all season. This week: Texas Tech
8 TCU (3-3, 1-2): The Horned Frogs beat Kansas 27-17, but their slow starts on offense persisted. TCU ended the first half tied 10-10 thanks to three turnovers (two Trevone Boykin interceptions and a Waymon James fumble). The Horned Frogs finished with five total turnovers. During the same week TCU learned Devonte Fields would be lost for the season, the Horned Frogs may have found a new defensive stud in linebacker Paul Dawson. The junior college transfer amassed 17 tackles and three tackles for a loss. This week: at Oklahoma State
99Iowa State (1-4, 0-2): Give Iowa State credit: The Cyclones wouldn’t go away against Texas Tech. The offense struggled mightily, but Jarvis West kept Iowa State in the game with standout play in the return game. Still, Aaron Wimberly managed only 65 yards on 19 carries and quarterback Sam Richardson missed 11 consecutive passes at one point. This week: at Baylor
1010Kansas (2-3, 0-2): Yet another game for Kansas where the Jayhawks are competitive in the first half but watch things fall apart in the second. Kansas had one sustained drive all day against TCU, but it ended in an interception. At least basketball practice has started. This week: Oklahoma

Big 12 Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Tevin Reese, Baylor
With Baylor’s run game struggling, Tevin Reese made sure the Bears still had big-play potential in the 35-25 win over Kansas State. Reese finished with five receptions for 184 yards and two touchdown catches. Reese had an 83-yard touchdown catch early, but snuck behind the Kansas State secondary for a 54-yard go-ahead touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.

Defensive player of the week: Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
Despite the loss, Kansas State’s Mueller was the best defensive player on the field. Mueller turned in one of the best plays of the game with a sack, strip and fumble recovery on Bryce Petty in the third quarter. Mueller finished with seven tackles and two tackles for a loss.

Freshman of the week: Davis Webb, Texas Tech
Another week and another freshman quarterback thriving for Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. Webb replaced an injured Baker Mayfield and didn’t miss a beat, completing 35 of 56 passes for 415 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in a 42-35 win over Iowa State.

Team of the week: Texas
Tough to argue with a Longhorns team that changed the fortunes of its entire season with a 36-20 win over Oklahoma. Texas is 3-0 in the Big 12 and finally played to its talent level, particularly on defense. Texas held Oklahoma to 276 total yards. Oklahoma managed to convert only 2 of 13 third downs. The Longhorns, in bad shape after losses to BYU and Ole Miss, could build quite the Big 12 resume against TCU, Kansas and West Virginia in the next three games.

Coordinator of the week: Major Applewhite, Texas
The defense was off to a bad start for Texas, but the offense has been nearly as disjointed this season for Texas. Not against Oklahoma. Quarterback Case McCoy missed some open deep throws, but he still finished 13 of 22 for 190 yards. They key for Applewhite’s offense though was third down conversions (13 of 20) and a two-headed rushing attack from Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray that combined for 253 yards on the ground.

Fifth Down


• Not only did Texas pick up its first win over Oklahoma since 2009, the Longhorns got their first lead over OU in four years. The Longhorns took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and led for the final 48:25.

• Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray became the first duo in Texas history to rush for 100 yards apiece against Oklahoma.

• Oklahoma’s 147 yards in penalties against Texas was the sixth-highest total in school history.

• Oklahoma gave up a punt return for a touchdown for the first time since 2002 when Colorado’s Jeremy Bloom ran one back for 80 yards against the Sooners. Texas’ Daje Johnson returned a punt 85 yards for a score against OU.

• Kansas State held Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk to 56 rushing yards on 12 carries, the first time Seastrunk failed to rush for 100 yards in 10 games.

• Baylor didn’t have a three-and-out in its first four games, but K-State held Baylor to two of them Saturday.

• Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro caught nine passes for 143 yards, giving him five consecutive games with eight receptions.

• Texas Tech rushed for 251 yards, the most for the Red Raiders since the pre-Mike Leach days with a 257-yard performance against Iowa State in 1999.

• TCU’s 27-17 win over Kansas was the Horned Frogs first Big 12 win at home.

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings 2013
Post date: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 07:18
All taxonomy terms: Mountain West, College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-2013-14-mountain-west-preview
Body:

The Mountain West enjoyed the best season in its history in 2012-13. The fun, though, stopped when New Mexico was crowed MWC tournament champion.

The Lobos were on the wrong end of an NCAA Tournament upset to 13th-seeded Harvard. If that wasn’t enough, San Diego State became the first team to lose to a No. 15 seed in the round of 32, sending Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16.

With Boise State, Colorado State and UNLV, the Mountain West had a league-record five teams in the field, but none of them reached the second weekend of the Tournament. Then, the lone coaching change in the conference was an unexpected once as UCLA plucked Steve Alford from New Mexico.

The Mountain West moves on with longtime assistant Craig Neal taking over the league’s most consistent program plus two new teams that have had success in the WAC (Utah State and San Jose State).

New Mexico has enough pieces left to win the league title, and San Diego State and UNLV have the talent on the roster to absorb the losses of Jamaal Franklin and No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett, respectively.

Mountain West Predicted Order of Finish

All-Mountain West First Team
G Kendall Williams, New Mexico
G Deonte Burton, Nevada
G Derrick Marks, Boise State
C Jarred Shaw, Utah State
C Alex Kirk, New Mexico

All-Mountain West second team
G Preston Medlin, Utah State
G/F Anthony Drmic, Boise State
F Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico
F Khem Birch, UNLV
F Josh Davis, San Diego State

All-Mountain West third team
G Tyler Johnson, Fresno State
G Bryce Dejean-Jones, UNLV
F Winston Shepard, San Diego State
F Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming
F Chris Cunningham, San Jose State
1. NEW MEXICO (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Sweet 16
Lobos hope turning up the tempo under new coach Craig Neal will lead to more postseason success. Neal has two great building blocks in Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams.

2. UNLV (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
Rebels lost a ton of experience and talent from a team that underachieved last season. Dave Rice will hope a changing of the guard is beneficial.

3. BOISE STATE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
The Broncos return all five starters from a team that surprised the league to reach the First Four. The high-scoring duo of Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic won’t catch anyone off guard.

4. SAN DIEGO STATE (team preview)
Postseason projection:
NCAA Round of 32
Jamaal Franklin did everything for the Aztecs last year. Steve Fisher needs Tulane transfer Josh Davis and sophomore Winston Shepard to pick up the slack if the Aztecs are to reach a fifth consecutive Tournament.

5. UTAH STATE
Postseason projection:
NIT
The Aggies had an uneven season in their final year in the WAC, a league that rarely challenged Stew Morrill’s crew. Utah State brings three key returners to a tougher Mountain West slate.

6. FRESNO STATE
The Bulldogs will look to Oklahoma State transfer Cezar Guerrero to improve their woeful point guard play. Look for the Bulldogs to approach the .500 mark in Rodney Terry’s third season.

7. COLORADO STATE
Larry Eustachy had it made as a first-year coach with a veteran-laden roster that ended up as the best rebounding team in the country. His second season will be a rebuilding year around guard Daniel Bejarano, the MWC’s Sixth Man of the Year.

8. NEVADA
The WAC champions were Mountain West also-rans last season. Deonte Burton is a Mountain West star, but he’ll need help from a rebuilt frontcourt.

9. WYOMING
The Cowboys may have missed a window last season, finishing the season in an 8-14 stretch. Three players who averaged double figures are gone, leaving coach Larry Shyatt to rebuild around Larry Nance Jr.

10. AIR FORCE
The Falcons had enough firepower last season to put a scare into the best Mountain West teams. With five seniors gone and one returning starter, Air Force will slip back to the bottom of the standings.

11. SAN JOSE STATE
The Spartans have a new coach (Dave Wojcik), a new conference and a new floor. Expect the same meager results for now.

Mountain West Awards

Player of the Year: Kendall Williams, New Mexico
Williams returns after earning Mountain West Player of the Year honors. He averaged 13.3 points on a balanced team, but his breakout performance (46 points, 10 3-pointers) against Colorado State was impossible to ignore.

Best Defensive Player: Khem Birch, UNLV
The reigning MWC Defensive Player of the Year averaged three blocks per game after his transfer from Pittsburgh.

Most Underrated Player: Jeff Elorriaga, Boise State
The Broncos’ duo of Drmic and Marks get more attention, but Elorriaga is the Boise State’s best 3-point threat. He averaged 10.2 points per game while shooting 44.7 percent from long range (84 of 188).

Top Newcomer: Josh Davis, San Diego State
The Tulane transfer will be an immediate impact player for the Aztecs after averaging 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds last season. He’ll be expected to be in double-double territory for San Diego State, too.

Top coach: Steve Fisher, San Diego State (full rankings of MWC coaches)

Coach on the hot seat: David Carter, Nevada (full list of coaches on the hot seat)

*photo courtesy of Karsen King Welch/UNM

Teaser:
College Basketball: 2013-14 Mountain West Preview
Post date: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 07:00

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