Articles By David Fox

Path: /college-football/big-12-week-12-awards-and-power-rankings

Andrew who?

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

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

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

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

Big 12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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


Big 12 Week 12 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 14:01
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-12-recap-auburns-miracle-oklahoma-states-statement

Fortune is strange in college football.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three and Out: College Football Week 12 Recap

Three Things We Learned from Auburn 43, Georgia 38

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

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

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

Three Things We Learned from Oklahoma State 38, Texas 13

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

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

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

Moving the Chains

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

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

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

False Starts

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

Related: Illinois coach Tim Beckman exchanges words with offensive coordinator

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

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

Heisman Movers

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

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

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

Stat Watch

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

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

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

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

Bowl Eligible
Boston College

Bowl Ineligible
NC State
West Virginia

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

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

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

Buried on the Depth Chart

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

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

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

Three Reasons for Fans to Go Bonkers

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

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

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

Three Big-Time Runners

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

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

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

College Football Week 12 Recap: Auburn's miracle, Oklahoma State's statement
Post date: Sunday, November 17, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-11-award-watch-2013

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

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

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

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

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

Doak Walker (Top running back)

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

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

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

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

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

Outland (Top interior lineman)

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

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Alabama’s C.J. Mosley

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

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Mosley

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

Butkus (Top linebacker)

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

Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard

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

Lou Groza (Top kicker)

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

Ray Guy (Top punter)

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

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

Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

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

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

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

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

Broyles Award (Top assistant)

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

College Football Post-Week 11 Award Watch 2013
Post date: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-all-injured-team-2013

The SEC East has been Injury Central this season with season-ending injuries derailing seasons for teams like Florida and Georgia. Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky haven’t exactly dodged the injury bug, either.

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

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

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

Athlon Sports 2013 All-Injured Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

College Football's All-Injured Team for 2013
Post date: Friday, November 15, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-12-preview-and-predictions-2013

Oklahoma State and Texas will meet this week in a game with Big 12 title implications at stake just as everyone projected back in August.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big 12 Week 12 Pivotal Players

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

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

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

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

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

Big 12 Week 12 Picks

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

College Football’s Coordinators on the Hot Seat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On this week’s podcast:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big 12 Stats to Know from Week 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Amazing Big 12 College Football Stats from Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:14
Path: /college-basketball/champions-classic-preview-kentucky-wildcats-vs-michigan-state-spartans

The convenient storyline of Kentucky’s matchup against Michigan State will be one of raw talent vs. college experience.

Kentucky started four freshmen in two games this season from a group that’s expected to challenge for the national championship and declare for the NBA Draft. Michigan State has built a team in a way that’s become common in East Lansing — develop its own pro talent over the course of three and four years while challenging for national championships.

Michigan State isn’t bereft of talent, to be sure. Senior Adreian Payne and sophomore Gary Harris elected to stay in school rather than go to the NBA Draft, but the Spartans’ four returning starters are accustomed to playing together and playing in tight situations where Kentucky is not.

The winner in Chicago will either remain No. 1 in Kentucky’s case or take over the No. 1 spot for Michigan State, but it’s far from an endgame.

“This is a big deal, but it’s November,” Kentucky coach Calipari said.

Kentucky vs. Michigan State

Team preview for No. 1 Kentucky
Team preview for No. 4 Michigan State
Whens and Wheres
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Site: United Center (Chicago)

Top Matchup: Kentucky’s Julius Randle vs. Michigan State’s Adreian Payne
Randle is in the freshman and player of the year conversations along with Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins. Randle showed why early, with 45 points and 30 rebounds in the first two games — against Northern Kentucky and UNC Asheville. He will have a much tougher matchup against the senior Payne, an athletic, veteran big man with a pro future himself. Payne will need to defend Randle without getting into foul trouble, though. The Kentucky freshman is 12 of 20 from the free throw line in two games.

Key Stat: 10 of 33/10 of 26
A small sample size, for sure, but 3-point shooting could be a storyline in this game. Kentucky is 10 of 33 from beyond the arc in two games while Michigan State was 10 of 26 in its only game this season. Credit both teams for knowing where their strengths lie, at least. Michigan State’s Gary Harris was the Big Ten freshman of the year last season despite a shoulder injury, but he’s healthy this year. He’ll be dangerous from 3-point range, but he’s also become an aggressive rebounder.

Kentucky's Key Storyline: Use of Alex Poythress
The sophomore was a McDonald’s All-American arriving at Kentucky, but he’s in a sort of no-man’s land where he didn’t leave for the draft as a one-and-done. Now he’s coming off the bench among Kentucky’s freshmen and sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein. His role and energy on Kentucky’s talented roster will be an intriguing storyline this season.

Michigan State's Key Storyline: Keith Appling’s improvement
Appling enters this season as one of the nation’s top point guards, but don’t forget that he struggled at times last season. Michigan State’s experience is an asset, but the Spartans’ national championship bid will be in question if Appling continues to be turnover prone.

Champions Classic Preview: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/champions-classic-preview-duke-blue-devils-vs-kansas-jayhawks

A star freshman. A sophomore expected to take the next step. A transfer at forward expected to play a major role. And all of it expected to come together for a national championship run.

Duke and Kansas aren’t exactly mirror images, except in the shorthand. Duke has freshman Jabari Parker, sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood. Kansas has freshman Andrew Wiggins, sophomore Perry Ellis and Memphis transfer Tarik Black.

Either way, both teams have several new pieces expected to come together for a major statement in the first week of the season. Perhaps it’s too easy to paint the game as a Wiggins vs. Parker matchup, but it’s not out of line to consider that this might not be the last time these teams meet.

Duke vs. Kansas

Team preview for No. 3 Duke
Team preview for No. 5 Kansas
Whens and Wheres
Time: 10 p.m.
Site: United Center (Chicago)

Top Matchup: Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins vs. Duke’s Jabari Parker
The pair might not be matched up against each other on a play-by-play basis, but the popular narrative will be how the star freshman small forwards fare in this game. Wiggins, who arrived at Kansas as a standout defender, will have his hands full against both Parker and Hood, who are both versatile offensive threats.

Key Stat: 61.9
Duke and Kansas shot a combined 61.9 percent from the field in their openers. Duke went 38 of 54 against Davidson while Kansas went 23 o 43 against ULM. Expect the defenses to tighten up in this matchup, but that’s still an impressive start.

Duke’s Key Storyline: Rebounding
Duke may miss Mason Plumlee a ton this season. Kansas brings Black and freshman Joel Embiid who bring muscle to the frontcourt, so players like Marshall Plumlee, Amile Jefferson, Parker and Hood will need to work the glass against Kansas.

Kansas’ Key Storyline: Naadir Tharpe’s improvement
Kansas’ Tharpe was a backup last season at point guard, a position that was a liability last season. Kansas’ national championship bona fides may be in question if Tharpe isn’t a solid point guard. He’ll be matched up with a solid veteran in Duke’s Quinn Cook.

Champions Classic Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs. Kansas Jayhawks
Post date: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-tipoff-marathon-preview

Although basketball season started Friday, tonight will mark the unofficial start of 2013-14.

ESPN will begin its 24-hour tip-off marathon at 11 p.m. Eastern when BYU visits Stanford with a handful of juicy matchups culminating in the marquee games Tuesday evening.

The final games in the marathon could easily be Final Four previews as Kentucky faces Michigan State and Kansas faces Duke in the Champions Classic in Chicago. The two matchups include four of the top five teams in Athlon Sports’ preseason top 25.

The rest of the featured teams in the marathon include five more Athlon top 25 teams (Florida, Wisconsin, Baylor, VCU, Wichita State), a Final Four team from 2013 (Wichita State) and the darling of last year’s NCAA Tournament (Florida Gulf Coast).

You may need a boost to get through the entire marathon, that’s why we’ve given each game a “caffeinated beverage rating” to help viewers push through.

College Basketball Tipoff Marathon Viewer’s Guide
*All times Eastern

Read previews of every top 25 team and more in the Athlon Sports College Basketball Preseason Rankings.
LSU at UMass (11 a.m., ESPN2)
Two proud programs have been quiet recently, but there’s plenty of reason to believe both will be interesting this season. LSU adds highly regarded freshman Jarell Martin to a frontcourt that already features Johnny O’Bryant. UMass adds Western Kentucky transfer Derrick Gordon to a backcourt that already includes Chaz Williams, who leads the Minutemen’s up-tempo offense and pressure defense.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Grande Coffee

West Virginia at Virginia Tech (1 p.m., ESPN)
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins added junior college transfers with hopes of avoiding the dysfunction of last season. Little hope is on the way for Virginia Tech, however.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Sugar-Free Red Bull

South Carolina at Baylor (3 p.m., ESPN)
Baylor has a roster with plenty of pro talent thanks to the return of Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson. The Bears need newcomers like Kenny Chery, Ishmael Wainright and Royce O’Neal to improve play in the defensive end. South Carolina is getting better under Frank Martin, but the roster rebuild is still in its early stages.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Diet Mountain Dew

NC State at Cincinnati (5 p.m., ESPN)
The Wolfpack enter this season with none of the fanfare from last season with almost every key player gone from last season. Maybe that will be a good thing for NC State. Cincinnati also has had little press in the offesason, but Mick Cronin returns Sean Kilpatrick and adds freshman Jermaine Lawrence on what should be an NCAA Tournament team.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Red Bull

VCU at Virginia (7 p.m., ESPN2)
VCU and Virginia share a state and little else in common. The Rams are among the most exciting teams in the country to watch due to their defense while Virginia, well, is not. Still, the Cavs' Joe Harris is a ACC player of the year candidate going up against a defensive team that will keep him on his toes.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Five-Hour Energy

Michigan State vs. Kentucky (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Full Game Preview
Tom Izzo’s veterans vs. Kentucky’s youth. Pro players everywhere.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Monster Energy Drink

Florida at Wisconsin (9 p.m., ESPN2)
Florida heads to Wisconsin with a depleted roster without Scottie Wilbekin, Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith. The Gators need Patric Young and Will Yeguete to take advantage of a Badgers frontcourt replacing three starters. Wisconsin guards Josh Gasser and Ben Brust will try to take advantage of a Florida team without its top perimeter defender.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Two espresso shots

Kansas vs. Duke (10 p.m., ESPN)
Full Game Preview

There’s no easing into the season as Andrew Wiggins faces Duke in his second career game.
Caffeinated beverage rating: Rockstar Energy Drink

College Basketball Tipoff Marathon Preview
Post date: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 17:18
Path: /college-football/post-week-11-bcs-rankings-and-analysis-2013

While Stanford and Baylor picked up signature wins, Alabama ended up as one of the big winners in Sunday’s release of the BCS rankings.

At No. 1, the Crimson Tide have nowhere to go, but the win over LSU strengthened Alabama’s slot at No. 1. The Tide were a unanimous No. 1 in the Harris poll and got all but four first-place votes in the coaches’ poll. The win over LSU also returned Alabama to the No. 1 spot in the computer average after spending

Of course, all that really matters in the BCS is being in the top two spots. As expected, Florida State remained at No. 2 and tightened its grip on the championship game as Oregon slipped to No. 6 after the loss to Stanford.

Moving Up

Florida State. The conventional wisdom was that an undefeated Oregon would jump Florida State in the BCS standings. The Seminoles no longer have that concern. The Ducks’ 26-20 loss to Stanford on Thursday all but ensures FSU will be in the national championship game as long as it remains undefeated. The Crimson Tide and Seminoles are the only teams with a BCS average better than 0.900. For each of the three previous BCS rankings, three teams were better than 0.900.

Stanford. The win over Oregon not only kept Stanford in the national championship race, it helped the Cardinal stay ahead of undefeated Baylor despite the Bears' win over Oklahoma. One-loss Stanford is ranked one spot behind Baylor in both the coaches’ and Harris polls, but the computers have Stanford third. Baylor is fifth in the computer average.

Moving Down

Baylor. The Bears picked up their signature win of the season so far with a 41-12 victory over Oklahoma, but Baylor remaind behind Stanford. Baylor moved up from No. 6 to No. 5, but Stanford remained one spot ahead thanks to a stronger win over then-No. 2 Oregon. Stanford will not face a top-25 team until the Pac-12 championship game while Baylor still faces No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Texas. With a minuscule gap between the two, Baylor has little reason to worry about Stanford as long as the Bears remain undefeated.

Key Games this Week

No. 4 Stanford at USC. After Notre Dame’s loss to Pittsburgh, Stanford’s road trip against a hot USC team could be the toughest remaining matchup for the Cardinal. After facing the Trojans in Los Angeles, Stanford faces Cal and Notre Dame in Palo Alto.

No. 25 Georgia at No. 7 Auburn. The Tigers need this game to set up an Iron Bowl matchup for the SEC West. BCS-wise, Auburn could set itself up as an attractive at-large team if the Tigers beat Georgia and still miss out on the SEC championship game. If the Sugar Bowl loses Alabama to the title game, a two-loss Auburn would be a nice consolation prize.

Ball State at No. 15 Northern Illinois. The Huskies’ slim chance to start moving past Fresno State in the BCS standings begins Wednesday against their main challenger in the MAC West. Ball State is 9-1 overall and 6-0 in the league, but the odds of the Cardinals sneaking into the BCS as a one-loss MAC team (as NIU did last year) are remote. Ball State is unranked and its loss was to North Texas.

Other Observations

• Fresno State checked in at No. 14, one spot ahead of Northern Illinois and three spots ahead of American Athletic Conference leader UCF. The Bulldogs would be an automatic bid if the season ended today. However, Fresno State is creeping closer to the top 12, which would guarantee an automatic BCS bid no matter where the automatic-qualifying conference champions finish. The Bulldogs’ lead over the Huskies is also significant — Fresno has a BCS average of 0.4317 and NIU has a BCS average of 0.3505. The Huskies may have too much ground to make up against a Fresno team that may face Boise State in a Mountain West championship game.

• Five SEC teams remain eligible for a BCS at-large bid. After Alabama, they include No. 7 Auburn, No. 9 Missouri, No. 10 South Carolina and No. 11 Texas A&M. The Pac-12 has three (No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Oregon, No. 13 UCLA). No other league has more than two.

• UCF’s win over Houston was enough to put the Knights ahead of Louisville even though the Knights handed the Cardinals their only loss of the season. UCF’s biggest gains were in the in the computer average where the Knights moved from No. 23 to No. 16. Louisville remains ranked five spots ahead of UCF in both the coaches’ and Harris polls.

• Is Clemson iron-clad for a BCS bid? With Notre Dame out of the way and at-large teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 less attractive than Clemson, it’s looking more likely the Tigers could be an at-large BCS bid. With Clemson at No. 7 even a loss to South Carolina wouldn’t necessarily knock the Tigers out of the top 14. Clemson can ill-afford upsets in the ACC and Big Ten championship games, and, of course, a second ACC loss.

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.


Post-Week 11 BCS Rankings and Analysis
Post date: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 19:11
Path: /college-football/alabamas-mosley-earns-athlon-national-player-week-honors

As many of his teammates left school early to go to the NFL Draft, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley remained in Tuscaloosa for an extra year of seasoning.

That experience was apparent Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s biggest win of the season to date. Dominant defensive performances for Alabama aren’t rare, but Mosley led one of the Tide’s best efforts of the season in the 38-17 win over LSU.

Mosley led Alabama with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors. As the Alabama front seven kept the pressure on quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Mosley also played well in pass coverage with two pass breakups.

The veteran linebacker also made many of the key adjustments and calls on the field as Alabama bottled up the LSU run game for 43 yards.

“They did a good job of scheming all over,” LSU running back Jeremy Hill said. “They made the right adjustments when we made our checks. They just did a great job scheming us up tonight. They played physical at the line of scrimmage. They held on to our blocks, and when we got to the line of scrimmage they tried to get off those blocks.”

Athlon Sports Week 11 National Awards

National Player of the Week: C.J. Mosley, Alabama

Mosley was a force for an Alabama defense that limited LSU to a season-low 284 yards and two touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s 38-17 win in Tuscaloosa. Mosley, a senior linebacker, recorded a game-high 12 tackles (including 1.5 for a loss) and had two pass break-ups to spearhead the Bama defense. He leads the Tide in tackles with 71 — 23 more than anyone else on the team. 

National Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Marshall, Auburn
On the Tigers’ first possession against Tennessee, Gus Malzahn called four straight pass plays. The result was a punt. Wisely, Malzahn decided to let Marshall’s legs do the work. The electric quarterback rushed for 214 yards on only 14 carries (15.3 ypc) as the Tigers racked up 444 rushing yards in a 55-23 win in Knoxville. Marshall now has three games with a least 100 yards rushing and three games with at least 200 yards passing — including one when he accomplished both, at Texas A&M

National Freshman of the Week: Myles Jack, UCLA
In a key road division win, UCLA star freshman linebacker Myles Jack posted one of the most impressive stat lines of the season. He is 14th in the league in tackles and fourth among freshmen after posting eight tackles, one for loss, in addition to forcing fumble against a stellar Arizona rushing attack. But what made this performance special was the fact that he played both ways, rushing six times for 120 yards and a 66-yard touchdown. It was an old-school performance and maybe Jim L. Mora has found a stopgap for his depleted running back corps. Jack may have put himself in the lead for Pac-12 Freshman of the Year with his performance on the road Saturday night.

National Coordinator of the Week: Derek Mason, Stanford
If the Cardinal defense continues on its torrid pace over the final month of the season, Mason might be a lock for the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. Stanford totally stuffed the Ducks, holding Oregon scoreless for the first 50 minutes of play on Thursday night. Mason's unit held OU to less than 100 yards rushing (62) for the first time since LSU held the Ducks to 95 yards in the 2011 season opener. Stanford has 15 sacks in the last three games and has given up a total of 42 points to Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State combined over that span.

Athlon Sports Conference Players of the Week

Offense: Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Defense: Ray Vinopal, Pittsburgh
Freshman: DeVon Edwards, Duke
Coordinator: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State

Big 12
Offense: John Hubert, Kansas State
Defense: Desmond Jackson, Texas
Freshman: Shock Linwood, Baylor
Coordinator: Phil Bennett, Baylor

Big Ten
Offense: James White, Wisconsin
Defense: Randy Gregory, Nebraska
Freshman: Maxx Williams, Minnesota
Coordinator: John Papuchis, Nebraska

Offense: Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
Defense: Shayne Skov, Stanford
Freshman: Myles Jack, UCLA
Coordinator: Derek Mason, Stanford

Offense: Nick Marshall, Auburn
Defense: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Freshman: Maty Mauk, Missouri
Coordinator: Kirby Smart, Alabama

Alabama's Mosley earns Athlon National Player of the Week honors
Post date: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 15:26
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-11-awards-and-power-rankings

Week 11 in the Big 12 was an exercise in unexpected stars.

Baylor’s Shock Linwood and Texas’ Desmond Jackson were buried on the depth chart entering the week, but injuries forced both to take bigger roles in key games to preserve unblemished conference records.

And for Kansas State, John Hubert, a key player in the Collin Klein backfield of recent years, returned to form as the Wildcats have become one of the hottest teams in the league.

The breakouts earned all three weekly Big 12 honors, but the big winner was Baylor after answering its first test in the final five weeks with a 41-12 win over Oklahoma.

Big 12 Week 11 Awards

Offensive player of the week: John Hubert, Kansas State
The quarterbacks are starting to improve for Kansas State, and the receivers are starting to get healthy. That makes it easy to forget about running back John Hubert, though Hubert has done his part to fade into the background at times this season. The running back couldn’t be ignored against Texas Tech, though. Hubert rushed for a season-high 157 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in a 49-26 win at Texas Tech.

Defensive player of the week: Desmond Jackson, Texas
West Virginia scored 40 points, but the scoreboard was a bit deceiving. The Mountaineers had fewer than 400 yards and amassed 4.8 yards per play, the third-lowest average of the season. With defensive tackle Chris Whaley hurt, Jackson picked up the slack with eight tackles, three tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Freshman of the week: Shock Linwood, Baylor
The redshirt freshman entered the game against Oklahoma with only eight carries in the first half this season, largely due to his role in mop up duty for Baylor. Linwood didn’t get the bulk of first-half carries against the Sooners, but the Bears needed him to deliver in a critical spot with Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin unavailable. Linwood rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, mostly in the second half, to secure the win over Oklahoma.

Team of the week: Baylor
Baylor answered its first test against a national power this season in a similar fashion to other games this season. Even though Baylor started slow against Oklahoma, the Bears still won decisively 41-12. Despite injuries to Tevin Reese and Lache Seastrunk, Baylor still had four touchdown drives of less than two minutes in the rout of Oklahoma.

Coordinator of the week: Phil Bennett, Baylor
Baylor didn’t score its first touchdown until the 7:02 mark of the second quarter, giving the Baylor defense a chance to shine in the 41-12 win over Oklahoma. Baylor became the third opponent to hold Oklahoma to fewer than 100 rushing yards in the last three seasons, joining 2012 Notre Dame and 2011 Texas. The Sooners averaged 3.4 yards per play and threw two interceptions.

Big 12 Week 11 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWRecordLast WeekNext Week
118-0, 5-0W, Oklahoma 41-12Texas Tech
227-2, 6-0W, at West Virginia 47-40 (OT)Oklahoma State
348-1, 5-1W, Kansas 42-6at Texas
437-2, 4-2L, at Baylor 41-12Iowa State
565-4, 3-3W, at Texas Tech 49-26TCU

7-3, 4-3

L, Kansas State 49-26at Baylor
774-6, 2-5L, Texas 47-40 (OT)at Kansas
884-6, 2-5W, at Iowa State 21-17at Kansas State
991-8, 0-6L, TCU 21-17at Oklahoma
10102-7, 0-6L, at Oklahoma State 42-6West Virginia


Big 12 Week 11 Awards and Power Rankings
Post date: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 13:21
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-11-recap-alabama-mccarron-impose-will-lsu

The stretch from Thursday evening to Saturday night was perhaps one of the most meaningful stretches for the national championship and Heisman races we've seen this season.

The three days and three key games also showed that meaningful doesn’t always go with dramatic.

Baylor started slow Thursday against Oklahoma before the Sooners’ mismanagement of the end of he second quarter allowed the Bears to pile on a pair of touchdowns. Baylor won by 29.

Alabama and LSU played tight in the first half, but the Crimson Tide again leaned on its line and efficient offense to put away LSU by 21.

Stanford did the same against Oregon while stifling quarterback Marcus Mariota to rearrange the Heisman race. The Ducks blocked a punt in the fourth quarter and recovered an onside kick for a six-point margin, but Thursday’s game was never really that close.

Even if the week didn’t bring wild, back-and-forth action from the top games, teams like Texas and Arizona State got all they could handle on the road in victories that will keep their conference championship hopes alive.

Three and Out: Week 11 Recap

Three Things We Learned from Alabama 38, LSU 17

The Alabama defense is as good as ever. Maybe we didn’t need any more confirmation of Alabama’s defense, considering the Tide entered Saturday allowing 36 total points to teams without Johnny Manziel at quarterback. Still, the Alabama defense further proved why the Tide remain the national title favorite. Linebacker Tana Patrick had the play of the game early by stripping J.C. Copeland at the goal line in the first quarter at least until the next play of the game when the defense held LSU to four-and-out after Odell Beckham’s 82-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. LSU’s tailbacks rushed for only 74, and Alabama battered quarterback Zach Mettenberger for four sacks.

McCarron will be the story, but this was Yeldon’s game. AJ McCarron played himself into the Heisman mix if he wasn’t there already by completing 14 of 20 passes for 179 yards with three touchdowns. T.J. Yeldon had just as important a game. Yeldon rushed for 133 yards on 25 carries, with 104 yards of that and two touchdowns in the second half. McCarron may be the Heisman contender, but Yeldon and the Alabama offensive line — considered a liability in the preseason — took over as the Tide opened their lead in the second half.

Saban got a little crazy. Alabama coach Nick Saban may have tipped his hand that LSU is his major prize during the season. Saban reacted with unbridled joy (for him) by jumping into the arms of McCarron after the game, but the signs that LSU was a little different for Saban were clear early on. Alabama called for a fake punt from its own 41 when the game was tied in the third quarter. After the conversion, Alabama took the lead for good. The Tide also tried to build on the lead with a flea flicker that fell incomplete. This wasn’t the highest form of football trickery, but it was out of character for Alabama.

Related: What We Learned from Baylor, Stanford Wins

Moving the Chains

Wisconsin. The Badgers entered the week at No. 24 in the BCS, a ranking that looks more and more preposterous each week. The Badgers shoul continue to move up after defeating BYU 27-17 in an odd November non-conference game against the independent Cougars. After a slow start against Iowa last week, Wisconsin did what it does best against BYU: James White and Melvin Gordon rushed for a combined 227 yards and two touchdowns while the defense was only the second this season to hold BYU to fewer than 400 yards in a game.

Arizona State in the fourth quarter. The big question coming out of Thursday night was how could Stanford lose to Utah? Arizona State found out how as the Utes nearly took out another Pac-12 title hopeful. Arizona State trailed 19-7 entering the fourth quarter as Utah sacked quarterback Taylor Kelly six times. Kelly came back to lead two long scoring drives in the fourth quarter, and the defense intercepted Travis Wilson on the final two possessions to stay in the lead for the Pac-12 South.

Ed Orgeron, USC. The Trojans demolished Cal 62-28 to move to 4-1 under interim coach Ed Orgeron as USC remains in the Pac-12 South race. USC, who lost 62-41 to Arizona State in Lane Kiffin’s final game, trails the Sun Devils by a game in the South, but both teams still have to face UCLA. The Trojans’ offense is much improved, but USC also tied an NCAA record with three punts returned for touchdowns against the Bears. Against Cal, quarterback Cody Kessler completed 14 of 17 passes giving him an 81.5-percent completion rate in the last two games. Orgeron may not be the next USC coach, but he may get a second crack at a head coaching job after his dismal tenure at Ole Miss.

False Starts

Miami. No Duke Johnson, no Phillip Dorsett and no indications of a team that started 7-0. After losing in a rout to Florida State and losing its top offensive player last week, Miami looked deflated in a 42-24 loss to Virginia Tech that opens up the ACC Coastal Division. Miami’s special teams were a disaster as the Hurricanes fumbled on a punt return and a kickoff return and turned the ball over when punter Pat O’Donnell was down on a low snap. Virginia Tech scored on each gaffe. Without Johnson, Miami rushed for 28 yards in the loss.

Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s slim hope of winning 10 games and getting into the BCS mix ended with a 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh as the Panthers finished the job from 2012. Tommy Rees had two second-half interceptions as Pittsburgh outscored the Irish 21-7 after halftime.

Michigan’s run game ... again. Someone needs to remind Michigan the cloud of dust is supposed to move three yards forward. A week after Michigan State pushed Michigan back 48 yards on the ground, Nebraska did the same for 21 yards, giving Michigan minus-69 rushing yards in the last two games. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has been sacked 14 times in two weeks but outside of those sacks, Michigan has rushed for 30 yards on 50 carries in the last two games.

Heisman Movers

Marcus Mariota, Oregon. Hobbled by a knee injury, Mariota was less mobile in the 26-20 loss to Stanford, but even a healthy Mariota would have had trouble against the Cardinal defense Thursday night. Mariota finished 20 of 34 for 250 yards with two touchdowns, but he fumbled three times, losing one. The loss and his off game reshuffles the Heisman race for the remainder of the season.

Bryce Petty, Baylor. Petty was out of sync early against the Oklahoma pressure, but he still finished with five total touchdowns, including two rushing touchdowns. Petty had a season-low 249 yards of total offense, but he finished where it counted with an unblemished record.

Myles Jack, UCLA. Let’s go ahead and put him on a dark horse list for 2014 or 2015. The Bruins’ freshman linebacker was a treat for anyone who stayed up late on the East Coast. Jack finished with eight tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble, but the twist was an offensive package that resulted in a 66-yard touchdown run in UCLA’s 31-26 win over Arizona. Jack led UCLA in rushing with 120 yards on six carries.

Stat Watch

6. Interceptions thrown by Wake Forest against Florida State. Florida State needed little out of Jameis Winston this week thanks to the Wake Forest quarterbacks. Tanner Price and Tyler Cameron threw six interceptions in their first 10 attempts in a 59-3 loss to FSU. Wake added a seventh turnover when freshman Jalen Ramsey returned a fumble for a touchdown.

11. Completed passes/offensive touchdowns for Auburn in the last two weeks. Say this for Auburn: The Tigers know their offensive identity. In  SEC road routs of Arkansas and Tennessee, Auburn has had as many offensive touchdowns as completed passes (11). Auburn rushed for 444 yards against Tennessee, led by quarterback Nick Marshall’s 214 yards and running back Tre Mason’s 117. Marshall only needed to complete 3 of 7 passes for 35 yards for Auburn to beat Tennessee 55-23.

Plus-1. Houston’s turnover margin against UCF. Even in a 19-14 loss to UCF, Houston managed to stay on the right side of the turnover margin as the Cougars have in every game this season. Houston quarterback John O’Korn threw two interceptions, but UCF had turnovers on its first two possessions and a second fumble in the third quarter. Houston’s plus-2.33 mark per game would rank fourth all-time if the season ended today.

Buried on the Depth Chart

Kapri Bibbs’ 300-yard day. Colorado State all-name running back Kapri Bibbs rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-17 win over Nevada. Bibbs’ 312-yard effort is the second most in a game this season and most for a tailback. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch rushed for 316 against Central Michigan on Oct. 19.

Bad English. Eastern Michigan coach Ron English was fired for the rare offense of “inappropriate language” Friday. Under interim coach Stan Parrish, the Eagles defeated Western Michigan 35-32 the next day.

Old Dominion’s FBS win. Old Dominion, set to join Conference USA in 2015, defeated its first FBS opponent with a 59-38 win over Idaho. The Monarchs have one of the best passing attacks at the FCS level as junior quarterback Taylor Heinicke passed for 533 yards against the Vandals.

Three Old Names that Suddenly Became Relevant

First-Year Coaches Doing Good Work
Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Scott Shafer, Syracuse

First-Year Coaches With a Ton of Work Ahead
Dave Doeren, NC State
Sonny Dykes, Cal
Brian Polian, Nevada

Bowl Eligible
Middle Tennessee
Utah State
Western Kentucky

Bowl Ineligible

Dang, They’re Good
Florida State
Oklahoma State

Dang, They’re Bad
Iowa State

Best Non-Saturday Games Next Week
Ball State at Northern Illinois (Wednesday)
Georgia Tech at Clemson (Thursday)
Washington at UCLA (Friday)

Best Games Saturday
Stanford at USC
Oklahoma State at Texas
Michigan State at Nebraska
Tony Dungy. Minnesota defeated Penn State 24-10 to seal the Gophers’ first four-game winning streak in the Big Ten since 1973. On that 1973 Minnesota team was a freshman quarterback named Tony Dungy.

Emmitt Smith. The NFL’s all-time rushing leader was a sophomore at Florida the last time the Gators lost to Vanderbilt. To find a name on the last Vanderbilt team to win in Gainesville, you’d have to find a figure more obscure: How about Vanderbilt coach Doby Bartling, who led the Commodores to their last win there in 1945. Vanderbilt defeated Florida 34-17 on Saturday to end a 20-game winless streak at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Danny Wuerffel. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw two touchdown passes against Appalachian State to move ahead of the former Florida quarterback in career touchdown passes in the SEC. Murray holds SEC career records for passing touchdowns (115), passing yards (12,568) and total offense (12,896).

Still Alive for Conference Titles

Texas. True, Texas would have remain in Big 12 contention if the Longhorns lost in Morgantown, but maintaining an unblemished league record has to be good for Texas’ psyche. The Longhorns defeated West Virginia 47-40 in Texas’ second overtime game in school history to set up another key game next week against Oklahoma State. Texas had five takeaways, sacked West Virginia quarterbacks six times and knocked starting QB Clint Trickett out of the game, but still ended up in overtime. West Virginia had three touchdown drives of less than 60 yards to threaten Texas’ undefeated Big 12 record.

Nebraska. This hasn’t been a fun year for Bo Pelini at Nebraska between the loses to UCLA and Minnesota, leaked audio disparaging Nebraska fans and his brother being fired at FAU. But Nebraska can still reach the Big Ten title game after slogging its way to a 17-13 win over Michigan. The Cornhuskers defense has struggled for most of the season, but they took advantage of Michigan’s inept run game. The story, though, may be Tommy Armstrong, who started again in place of beat up starting quarterback Taylor Martinez. Armstrong went 11 of 19 for 139 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions as he moved to 4-0 in the Big Ten as a starter.

Duke. The Blue Devils remain in contention for the ACC Coastal after a 38-20 win over NC State. The Wolfpack took a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter, but Duke scored 21 points in 26 seconds thanks to freshman safety DeVon Edwards returning a pair of interceptions (from two different quarterbacks) for touchdowns. Duke is 3-2 in the ACC with a matchup against slumping Miami next week.

Three Teams that Will Be Fun to Watch Down the Stretch

Auburn. Not even the most optimistic Auburn fan could have pegged the Tigers at 9-1 with the SEC West still up for grabs in the middle of November. Auburn rushed for 444 yards and five touchdowns in the 55-23 win over Tennessee to give the Tigers a chance to win the West against rivals Georgia and Alabama in the final two games of the season.

Kansas State. Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State are in Big 12 title contention, and all played Kansas State early in the season. That’s not a coincidence. Kansas State has recovered from its shaky start to the season, which included a loss to North Dakota State. After a 49-26 win at Texas Tech, Kansas State is playing as well as any team in the Big 12. No matter the quarterback, Kansas State had a vintage Bill Snyder performance. K-State only needed 76 passing yards to beat Texas Tech, instead running for 292 yards and five touchdowns against the Red Raiders. John Hubert had his best game of the season (23 carries, 258 yards, one touchdown), and the defense capitalized on three turnovers. With home games against TCU and Oklahoma and road date with Kansas remaining, an eight-win regular season isn’t out of the question.

Minnesota. The Gophers are still in contention for the Big Ten Legends division, and there’s plenty of reason to take Minnesota seriously. The Gophers are off next week but finish with Wisconsin (Nov. 23) and at Michigan State (Nov. 30). Credit the hot streak to the backfield of quarterback Philip Nelson and David Cobb. Nelson has accounted for 10 total touchdowns and no interceptions in the last four games, and Cobb has rushed for 566 yards in that span.

It’s Going to Get Worse Before it Gets Better

Florida. On paper, Florida’s easiest route to a bowl game was to defeat Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern to get to six wins. With a 34-13 loss to the Commodores, the Gators need to get two wins against Georgia Southern, South Carolina and Florida State to extend their bowl streak to 23 seasons. Florida last missed a bowl game in 1990 when the Gators were under NCAA sanctions. Florida is also looking at its first losing season since going 0-10-1 in 1979.

Texas Tech. The 7-0 start is a distant memory. The Red Raiders won’t play in Lubbock again until next season, closing out the home schedule with losses to Oklahoma State and Kansas State by a combined score of 101-60. The freshman quarterbacks, impressive to start the season, have struggled the last two weeks. Coach Kliff Kingsbury benched Davis Webb (13 of 20, 79 yards) for Baker Mayfield, who threw two interceptions and was sacked twice against K-State. The defense has been a mess as well, not a good sign when the final two games are against Baylor in Arlington and Texas in Austin.

Arkansas. In some ways, things may be getting better for Arkansas as the Razorbacks scored 17 points against Auburn and 24 points against Ole Miss on Saturday. Before that, the Razorbacks scored 17 points combined against Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. Still, Arkansas has lost seven in a row and started 0-6 in the SEC, the Hogs’ first 0-6 start in league play since doing so in the Southwest Conference in 1990.

College Football Week 11 Recap: Alabama, McCarron impose will on LSU
Post date: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 11:29
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-10-award-watch-0

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

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

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

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

Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston
Oregon’s Marcus Mariota was ailing against Stanford, but Stanford’s pass rush was suffocating. Winston may finish the week as the Heisman and Davey O’Brien frontrunner after the out-of-character game by the Oregon quarterback. Of course, Winston is plenty deserving. He’s second in the nation to Bryce Petty passing efficiency and yards per attempt.
Others: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Florida State’s Marcus Mariota, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey
Carey has rushed for 1,072 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games as Arizona is a surprise at 6-2. Carey is the only player in the country averaging better than 150 rushing yards per game.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, South Carolina’s Mike Davis, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans
Both Evans and Brandin Cooks have had two sub-100-yard games in the last two weeks. Evans did so in two lopsided games (and still had five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns against Vanderbilt) while Cooks and the Oregon State passing game has struggled. Evans has 1,147 yards and 12 touchdowns on 52 catches.
Others: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

The Mackey Award still hasn’t acknowledged Amaro due to his 2012 classification as a receiver. However, Amaro is third in the nation with 79 receptions along with 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

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

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Stanford’s Shayne Skov

Skov is the leader of one of the nation’s best defenses (other than the one at Michigan State). In a Thursday night game against Oregon’s prolific offense, Skov took control, pressuring Marcus Mariota and forcing a fumble at Stanford’s 3 to end an Oregon scoring opportunity.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Skov

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

Butkus (Top linebacker)

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

Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard

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

Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Niklas Sade, NC State
Sade is 17 of 19 on field goals this season, including 5 of 6 between 40 of 49 yards.
Others: Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez, Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt

Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 48 yards per kick on 6.6 punts per game.

Others: Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell, Tennessee’s Michael Palardy, Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp

Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

Winston had two bad throws for interceptions against Miami, but the Seminoles still won 41-14. Winston completed 21 of 29 passes for 325 with a touchdown on a long screen pass.
Others: Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

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

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

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

Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi may have one of the best defenses of the BCS era with numbers that stack up with 2011 Alabama, 2008 TCU and 2008 USC. Michigan State pushed Michigan back for minus-48 yards rushing to improve its rush defense to 43.4 per game. No one else averages less than 80.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Texas’ Greg Robinson, Alabama’s Kirby Smart

College Football Post-Week 10 Award Watch
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-college-basketball-comparing-top-25-and-picks

Like most hardcore college basketball fans, those of us around the Athlon Sports office like to contrast and compare.

Sure, we have strong feelings about our top 25 and league picks — and we hope we’re right — but we like picking up the other magazines and checking how other publications evaluated the same information.

Here’s how Athlon compared with other major college basketball publications including Lindy's, The Sporting News (TSN), USA Today (USA Today), Sports Illustrated, and the coaches' and Associated Press polls. Of course, Kentucky’s a popular pick, but there are plenty of places we have differences of opinion.

1. Kentucky211211 
2. Louisville733133 
3. Duke344444 
4. Michigan State122322 
5. Kansas465565 
6. Arizona1157956 
7. Florida81267810 
8. Oklahoma State910101012t8 
9. Syracuse1289137t8 
10. North Carolina5--11111112 
11. Ohio State6111281011 
12. Michigan1078697 
13. Marquette--2022201717 
14. New Mexico----18172023 
15. Notre Dame1921--242221 
16. Creighton23--1721---- 
17. Tennessee--192125---- 
18. VCU211814231514 
19. UNLV------------ 
20. Memphis131613151313 
21. Connecticut162215141918 
22. Wisconsin--14--162120 
23. UCLA2515--182322 
24. Baylor22--------25 
25. Wichita State15--16--1616 
-- Boise State------22---- 
-- Colorado24--19------ 
-- Gonzaga181720191415 
-- Indiana202523--24-- 
-- Iowa17--24------ 
-- Oregon--13------19 
-- Virginia142425122524 

Comparing all conference championship picks

 AthlonLindy'sTSNUSA Today
America EastVermontVermontVermontVermont
Atlantic SunFla. Gulf CoastFla. Gulf CoastFla. Gulf CoastMercer
Big 12KansasKansasKansasKansas
Big EastMarquetteCreightonMarquetteMarquette
Big SkyMontanaWeber StateWeber StateMontana
Big SouthHigh PointHigh PointHPU/CSUCharleston So.
Big TenMichigan StateMichigan StateMichigan StateMichigan State
Big WestUC IrvineUC IrvineLong Beach St.UC Irvine
Conference USALa. TechSouthern MissLa. TechLa. Tech
HorizonGreen BayWright StateWright StateWright State
MEACNorfolk StateNorfolk StateNorfolk StateNorfolk State
Missouri ValleyWichita StateWichita StateWichita StateWichita State
Mountain WestNew MexicoNew MexicoNew MexicoNew Mexico
NortheastLIU BrooklynLIU BrooklynMount St. Mary'sLIU Brooklyn
Ohio ValleyEastern Ky.Eastern Ky.EKU/SEMOEastern Ky.
PatriotBoston U.Boston U.BucknellLafayette
SouthlandNorthwestern St.Northwestern St.Northwestern St.Northwestern St.
SummitNorth Dakota St.North Dakota St.North Dakota St.North Dakota St.
Sun BeltWestern Ky.UL LafayetteWestern Ky.Georgia St.
SWACSouthernAlabama A&MTexas SouthernJackson St.
WACNew Mexico St.New Mexico St.New Mexico St.New Mexico St.
West CoastGonzagaGonzagaGonzagaGonzaga


2013-14 College Basketball: Comparing Top 25 and Picks
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketballs-top-15-early-season-games

Let’s get this out of the way: College basketball’s opening day is a dud. It doesn’t have the pageantry of baseball or the pent-up anticipation for football. For the most part, the matchups are lackluster. Not even every team starts on the same day.

That said, college basketball may have the most interesting first two months. Showcase games on neutral courts. Non-conference games in opposing gyms. And preseason tournaments that give us unexpected matchups.

The best part is that they all mean something. These are the games that will show up in NCAA Tournament resumes come March.

These are the best games of the early portion of the season or at least through December when the conference challenges begin.

1. Michigan State vs. Kentucky (Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
*in Chicago (Champions Classic)
The talk of Kentucky becoming the first undefeated team in college basketball since 1975-76 Indiana will be ramped up if the Wildcats can defeat Michigan State. The Wildcats’ freshmen are supremely talented, but this will still be their fifth game together against a veteran Michigan State team with national title ambitions of their own.

2. Duke vs. Kansas (Nov. 12, 9:30 p.m.m ESPN)
*in Chicago (Champions Classic)
Gobs of talent for both teams, but a ton of newcomers who haven’t played together before. For most, this will be the first time we see the Jayhawks’ Andrew Wiggins in a college uniform (Kansas opens with Louisiana-Monroe today). Wiggins have is work cut out for him on both ends of the court against Duke’s versatile small forwards — Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood and freshman Jabari Parker — who will be making their first big splashes, too.

3. Ohio State at Marquette (Nov. 16, 1 p.m., Fox)
How good would this game be if Deshaun Thomas and Vander Blue — both of whom left school early and didn’t make NBA rosters — stayed in school. Even so, Ohio State and Marquette have plans to win their respective conferences. Marquette’s Davante Gardner will face a team still finding its way on the glass while Ohio State’s Aaron Craft will be up against a freshman point guard.

4. Florida at Wisconsin (Nov. 12, 9 p.m., ESPN2)
Wisconsin never played at full strength last season as Josh Gasser missed all year with an injury. Meanwhile, the Gators have major roster concerns. Dorian Finney-Smith, Damontre Harris and Scottie Wilbekin are suspended. Will Yeguete and Eli Carter are hurt. Michael Frazier is sick with mono. That leaves perhaps only four scholarship players visiting the Kohl Center.

Best potential games
• Michigan vs. VCU (Puerto Rico Tipoff semifinal, Nov. 22)

• Connecticut vs. Indiana (2K Sports Classic final, Nov. 22)

• Oklahoma State vs. Michigan State (Coaches vs. Cancer final, Nov. 23)

• North Carolina vs. Louisville (Hall of Fame Tipoff final, Nov. 24)

• Baylor vs. Gonzaga (Maui Invitational semifinal, Nov. 26)

• Baylor vs. Syracuse (Maui Invitational final, Nov. 27)

• Arizona vs. Duke (NIT final, Nov. 29)

• Kansas vs. Tennessee (Battle 4 Atlantis final, Nov. 30)

• Creighton vs. Marquette (Wooden Legacy final, Dec. 1)
5. Arizona at San Diego State (Nov. 14, 10 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Arizona has a young team, led by freshman Aaron Gordon, but the Wildcats believe they can contend for the Final Four. San Diego State is rebuilding without do-it-all guard Jamaal Franklin, but the Aztecs bring in a big-time transfer in Josh Davis from Tulane who should keep San Diego State in Mountain West contention.

6. Colorado vs. Baylor (Nov. 8, 10 p.m. Fox Sports Net)
*in Dallas
Two non-traditional teams meet for the real gem of college basketball’s opening night. Colorado has hopes for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance even without rebounding machine Andre Roberson. The absence of Roberson will be an intriguing storyline against 7-foot-1 Baylor sophomore Isaiah Austin and senior Cory Jefferson.

7. Marquette at Arizona State (Nov. 25, 9 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Arizona State may be a bubble team this season, but the Sun Devils will have one of the Pac-12’s most dynamic players in Jahii Carson. This continues an interesting first month for Marquette before it tries to win the reconfigured Big East. Buzz Williams has been able to replace key players with great success before, but he’ll have a good idea of where he stands this season before Thanksgiving.

8. Georgetown vs. Oregon (Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
*in Pyeongtaek, South Korea
It’s a shame both teams won’t be close to full strength when the Hoyas and Ducks face each other in the Armed Forces Classic in South Korea. Oregon point guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter will miss nine games due to NCAA violations. Georgetown lost Greg Whittington to a torn ACL in July. Still, Oregon recently learned Houston transfer Joseph Young will be able to play immediately along with UNLV transfer Mike Moser.

9. St. John’s vs. Wisconsin (Nov. 8, 7 p.m., Big Ten Network)
*in Sioux Falls, S.D.
St. John’s returns nearly its entire roster from last season while adding five-star freshman Rysheed Jordan and getting God’sgift Achiuwa back from a redshirt. The Red Storm are considered a dark horse in the Big East, but they won’t be under the radar if they can defeat Wisconsin on the first day of the season.

10. Arizona State at UNLV (Nov. 19, 10 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
UNLV is rebuilding without No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett plus mainstay Anthony Marshall and transfer Mike Moser. There’s still plenty of talent for Dave Rice to make a run in a depleted Mountain West. Keep an eye on two quick point guards: Carson for Arizona State and junior college transfer Deville Smith for UNLV.

11. Iowa State at BYU (Nov. 20, 9:30 p.m., ESPNU)
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has another team that could be led by a transfer with the arrival of Marshall statsheet-stuffer DeAndre Kane. BYU’s Tyler Haws will be one of the nation’s leading scorers (and lip-synchers).

12. Purdue vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 28, noon, ESPN2)
*Old Spice Classic
The Old Spice Classic starts with a matchup between and Oklahoma State team with Final Four potential against a Purdue team trying to work its way up the Big Ten standings.

13. Tennessee at Xavier (Nov. 12, 9 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
A lack of quality non-conference wins hurt Tennessee’s bid to be in the NCAA Tournament under Cuonzo Martin. Xavier might not be a major trophy, but it’s not a game the Volunteers would like to have on the NCAA resume.

14. Xavier vs. Iowa (Nov. 28, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network)
*Battle 4 Atlantis
Xavier and Iowa missed the NCAA Tournament last season, but both expect to be in the field in 2014. Semaj Christon (Xavier) and Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa) are names you need to know.

15. VCU at Virginia (Nov. 12, 7 p.m., ESPN2)
VCU’s havoc faces Virginia’s plodding offense and Joe Harris. A nice clash of styles early in the season.

College Basketball's Top 15 Early Season Games
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/thursday-night-recap-baylor-title-chase-stanford-impresses

Thursday night drama never really occurred until Oregon blocked a field goal in the fourth quarter agains Stanford. Before that, the drama was a sloppy first half in Waco.

The biggest drama Thursday night offered was an upending the 2013 landscape.

A national championship contender was born.

Another championship contender fell out of contention.

The Heisman favorite stumbled.

And one team still is kicking itself for losing to Utah.

Three Things We Learned from Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12

Baylor is in the BCS title mix. Baylor won its first test against a ranked team this season and did so with ease after the first 22 minutes or so. No question, the Bears’ schedule right now pales in comparison to Alabama, Ohio State or even Stanford. But on Thursday Baylor proved opportunistic on offense, solid on defense and grinding in the run game when it was necessary. No, it wasn’t pretty early. Bryce Petty was out of sorts in the first quarter, and Baylor trailed 5-3 at one point. But after Oklahoma mismanaged the end of the first half, Baylor rolled, even with with backup personnel. The Sooners’ attempt to throw Baylor off guard with a quarterback platoon of Blake Bell and Trevor Knight was a disaster, helped by the Baylor defense. The Bears held Oklahoma to 3.4 yards per play and picked up two turnovers. With Oregon’s loss and Ohio State’s lackluster competition this season, Baylor deserves to be in the BCS championships discussion as long as the Bears are undefeated.

End-of-half management doomed the Sooners. Aggressive playcalling may have spelled the end for Oklahoma. Trailing 10-5, Oklahoma got the ball with 7:02 left in the first half and starting running an up-tempo offense. Two minutes of game time later, Oklahoma moved the ball only 34 yards and punted. Baylor scored in less than two minutes. On the ensuing drive, Blake Bell was intercepted on the first play from scrimmage. Baylor scored again to take a 24-5 halftime lead. Between that and the decision to rotate Bell and Knight, expect Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel to face questions for the remainder of the season.

The Baylor offense is a thing of beauty. Boy, this was ugly early. Once it got going, though, Baylor proved it could obtain and hold a lead in a variety of ways even with secondary personnel. Petty completed only half of his passes, but he rushed for 49 yards with two touchdowns on top of three passing touchdowns, and this was with Tevin Reese out for much of the game with a wrist injury. With Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin sidelined, third-string running back Shock Linwood ran out the clock with ease, rushing for 180 yards and 23 carries and showing the moves of a top-flight running back.

Three Things We Learned from Stanford 26, Oregon 20.

Stanford is cursing Pac-12 expansion. After the first quarter one thing was clear: Utah’s 27-21 win over Stanford on Oct 12 is the most puzzling score of the season. If Stanford doesn’t lose for the remainder of the regular season it will be as out-of-left-field a loss as Oklahoma State’s loss to Iowa State in 2011 or West Virginia’s loss to Pittsburgh in 2007. Oregon made things interesting with a blocked field goal and a recovered fumble on the ensuing kickoff in the fourth quarter, but otherwise this was as impressive a win over a quality team as we’ve seen this season. Simply put, Stanford is Oregon Kryptonite now. Even with the late flurry, Oregon has scored 34 points on Stanford in two seasons. Only LSU in 2011 has held the Ducks to fewer in a single game in the last three seasons.

Marcus Mariota wasn’t himself, and Stanford’s defense helped. Oregon’s offense has had its setbacks. Tight end Colt Lyerla left the team. Wide receiver Josh Huff was hurt through the course of the loss to Stanford. And Marcus Mariota with a knee injury never looked comfortable. He ran the ball only six times, including three sacks, and fumbled twice. Playing without defensive end Ben Gardner, though, Stanford’s front seven was furious. Linebackers Shayne Skov and A.J. Tarpley kept Mariota in the pocket and off balance all night as the rest of the defense didn’t let Oregon’s offense get free in the open field. Oregon didn’t have a play longer than 26 yards Thursday after having 35 plays of 30 or more yards this season.

Stanford’s identity is its offensive line. Stanford had one of the best offensive lines in the country when Andrew Luck was there, and replenished that with outstanding recruits. This season, the experience showed. Stanford has four seniors on its line, plus one of those star recruits in left tackle Andrus Peat. Kevin Hogan made plays when he needed, completing 7 of 13 passes for 103 yards, but the run game was the star of Thursday night. Tyler Gaffney kept the Oregon offense off the field late by rushing for 157 yards on a school-record 45 carries. Behind Outland contender David Yankey, Stanford converted 14 of 21 third downs.

Thursday Night Recap: Baylor in title chase, Stanford impresses
Post date: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 00:30
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-11-preview-and-predictions-2013

Thursday night will set the tone for the remainder of the season in the Big 12 and perhaps the BCS race, but it won’t be the only important action in the Big 12 this week.

Not all of the four teams in Big 12 contention will be challenged this week — Oklahoma State faces Kansas — but Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas State all will be worth keeping an eye on.

Texas, 5-0 in the Big 12, will make its first trip in school history to Morgantown, where West Virginia already defeated Oklahoma State this season. This may be the Longhorns’ toughest test since defeating Oklahoma on Oct. 12 and the last game against an unranked team before facing Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor to finish the season.

In Lubbock, Texas Tech is just hanging on after losing to the Oklahoma schools in back-to-back weeks. The Red Raiders will face a Kansas State team that is only a shadow of the team that lost in Week 1 to North Dakota State.

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

Big 12 Week 11 Game Power Rankings
All times Eastern, All games Saturday unless noted.

1. Oklahoma at Baylor (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Baylor is gearing up for perhaps the biggest month in school history or at least the biggest month since the late 1970s. But the rest of November won’t mean nearly as much if the 7-0 Bears don’t defeat Oklahoma for only second time in school history. Baylor’s first seven opponents were a combined 28-31 and 4-17 in the Big 12. The last five are 20-12 overall and 18-9 in the Big 12 with only a 3-6 TCU dragging those numbers down. Oklahoma’s defense has been inconsistent this season, in part because of season-ending injuries to linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. The Sooners, though, expect to have leading tackler Frank Shannon back after the linebacker missed the win over Texas Tech. The key may be to keep the Baylor offense off the field with long drives on offense: In Baylor’s only close game this season, the Bears amassed 58 plays against Kansas State (Baylor averages 79.4 plays per game). Oklahoma’s opponents are averaging a league-low 65.5 plays per game. Of course, if the OU defense can’t guard against the big play, it won’t matter how many drives Blake Bell and the offense sustain.

2. Kansas State at Texas Tech (noon, ABC regional)
The matchup in Lubbock will be an exercise in momentum. Kansas State has it. Texas Tech doesn’t. The Wildcats have won two in a row and played well in two previous losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor. Texas Tech has lost two in a row and didn’t look pretty in its last win at West Virginia. Kansas State’s passing game has rounded into shape in the last two weeks as quarterback Jake Waters and Daniel Sams are averaging 12.5 yards per attempt. The return of receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson helps, but Waters and Sams are also playing turnover-free. The Wildcats are plus-3 in turnover margin in the last two games after being minus-9 in the first six. Meanwhile, Texas Tech’s defense has slipped in recent weeks, against the run, in particular. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both topped 270 yards and five yards per carry against the Red Raiders.

3. Texas at West Virginia (7 p.m., Fox)
West Virginia got perhaps the key win toward bowl eligibility by defeating TCU last week (the Mountaineers have four wins and still have Kansas and Iowa State to play). Defeating Texas would upset the Big 12 race and be a mark of legitimacy for West Virginia’s season. The Longhorns offense under Case McCoy has stabilized in recent weeks thanks to the running back tandem of Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown. West Virginia, who is tied for the Big 12 lead in takeaways, held TCU to 60 rushing yards and 2.1 yards per carry last week.

4. TCU at Iowa State (noon, Fox Sports regional)
The hits keep coming for both teams. Iowa State has been eliminated from bowl contention, and TCU appears to be headed in the same direction after losing four of the last five. The Horned Frogs suspended running back Waymon James this week and lost receiver Brandon Carter to a leave of absence a week earlier. Meanwhile, Iowa State is down a starting linebacker, Luke Knott. Iowa State is continuing to have a issues at quarterback where freshman Grant Rohach may start in place of Sam Richardson.

5. Kansas at Oklahoma State (4 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
During the Big 12 season: Kansas trailed Texas 14-6 at halftime, led Oklahoma 13-0 at one point, tied TCU 10-10 at halftime and led Texas Tech 10-0 after the first quarter. The Jayhawks have lost those four games by a combined score of 150-65. If there’s a way for Kansas to make Big 12 futility a little more painful, maybe that’s it. Oklahoma State, with Clint Chelf at quarterback, is starting to look more and more like a Big 12 contender. Easily dispatching Kansas would further prove that.

Big 12 Week 11 Pivotal Players

Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox discuss Oklahoma-Baylor and more in Week 11 this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Kansas State held Seastrunk to 59 rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry, both season lows. Not coincidentally, Baylor was held to nearly 20 points off its scoring average for the year. Oklahoma’s run defense has been gouged at times this season, most notably against Texas. Seastrunk isn’t Baylor’s only weapon in the Bears’ prolific offense, but he does set the tone.

Aaron Colvin and Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
Even if Oklahoma contains Seastrunk, Baylor can still sneak its speedy receivers behind opposing defensive backs. Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley both average better than 23 yards per catch with eight touchdowns apiece. Colvin is the savvy veteran while the redshirt freshman Sanchez has been a revelation this season as an intimidating hitter in the secondary.

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Amaro’s ability to catch the ball is not in question. He has 79 receptions in nine games, including 15 last week against Oklahoma State. Maybe it’s just bad luck, but Amaro also has two fumbles the last two weeks. Amaro fumbled a third-and-11 conversion last week, which was converted into an Oklahoma State touchdown. A week earlier, Amaro fumbled a third-and-3 conversion which Oklahoma converted into a 76-yard touchdown pass on the next play.

Charles Sims, West Virginia
The Houston transfer Sims had his best game of the season last week against TCU. Sims rushed for 154 yards and added 35 receiving yards in a two-touchdown day against TCU. Texas’ porous run defense appears to be a thing of the past, but you never know...

Casey Pachall, TCU
Pachall still has plenty of padding wrapped around his non-throwing arm, the one that was broken against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 7. But his other arm is just fine as he completed 40 of 58 passes for 394 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions against West Virginia. Pachall also found some good passer-receiver chemistry with his former backup QB, Trevone Boykin, who caught 11 passes against West Virginia. Pachall may be TCU’s only chance to be a respectable foe for the final months of the season.

Big 12 Week 11 Picks

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Oklahoma (+13) at BaylorBaylor 35-28Baylor 38-31Baylor 41-34Baylor 38-30
Kansas St (+3) at Texas TechKSU 31-27KSU 34-28Tech 34-31Tech 37-30
TCU (-7.5) at Iowa StTCU 14-10TCU 24-21TCU 27-17TCU 21-20
Kansas (+31) at Okla. StOSU 42-7OSU 52-17OSU 48-13OSU 48-3
Texas (-6.5) at West Va.Texas 28-17Texas 34-21Texas 31-24Texas 30-20
Last week3-12-22-23-1
This season45-1047-846-946-9


Big 12 Week 11 Preview and Predictions 2013
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-ncaa-tournament-projections

It’s difficult enough to build a bracket in mid-March when conference tournaments are starting, the RPI is available and strength of schedule is established.

That won’t stop Athlon from taking an attempt to build the bracket in November as the first games begin at the end of the week. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for the next Florida Gulf Coast or Wichita State.

We’ll be back looking at the bubble and seedings in February, but for now, here’s our first Bracket Breakdown, including team previews for much of the field.

2013-14 NCAA Tournament Projections
*indicates projected conference champion

1Kentucky*Louisville*Duke*Michigan State*
2Oklahoma StateFloridaKansas*Arizona*
3SyracuseNorth CarolinaOhio StateMichigan
4CreightonMarquette*New Mexico*Notre Dame
7Wichita State*Boise StateGonzaga*Harvard*
8IndianaSan Diego StateSaint LouisVirginia
11CincinnatiIowa StateSt. John'sFlorida State
12New Mexico State*Louisiana Tech*PurdueArizona State
13Western Kentucky*Buffalo*Iona*Green Bay*
14North Dakota State*Boston U*Towson*UC Irvine*
15Eastern Kentucky*Florida Gulf CoastElon*Montana*
16Northwestern State*LIU Brooklyn*Southern*High Point*
 Norfolk State*Vermont*  

NCAA Tournament Field by Conference

ACC (7): Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia
America East: Vermont
American (4): Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Memphis
Atlantic 10 (3): Saint Louis, UMass, VCU
Big 12 (4): Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State
Big East (6): Creighton, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John’s, Villanova, Xavier
Big Sky: Montana
Big South: High Point
Big Ten (7): Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Big West: UC Irvine
Colonial: Towson
Conference USA: Louisiana Tech
Horizon: Green Bay
Ivy: Harvard
MAAC: Iona
MAC: Buffalo
MEAC: Norfolk State
Missouri Valley: Wichita State
Mountain West (4): Boise State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV
Northeast: LIU Brooklyn
Ohio Valley: Eastern Kentucky
Pac-12 (5): Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
Patriot: Boston University
SEC (5): Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Tennessee
Southern: Elon
Southland: Northwestern State
Summit: North Dakota State
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
SWAC: Southern
WAC: New Mexico State
West Coast: Gonzaga


ACC: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, NC State
American: SMU, Temple
Atlantic 10: Dayton, La Salle, Rhode Island
Big 12: Kansas State, Oklahoma
Big East: Providence, Seton Hall
Big Ten: Illinois, Minnesota
Colonial: Drexel
MAC: Akron
Missouri Valley: Bradley, Indiana State, Northern Iowa
Mountain West: Utah State
Pac-12: Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington
SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
West Coast: BYU, Saint Mary’s

2013-14 NCAA Tournament Projections
Post date: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/athlon-sports-cover-2-college-football-podcast-week-11

The Thursday we’ve all be waiting for is here as Oregon visits Stanford and Oklahoma visits Baylor. On this week’s edition of the Cover 2, hosts Braden Gall and David Fox prepare you for Thursday plus action for Saturday.

On this week’s podcast:

• In a a quick review of last week, Braden was impressed with exciting finishes in the Big Ten, but David is still fuming at a decision to put by Iowa.

• We take one quick look at the “Jameis Winston is human” storyline, focusing on Florida State’s outstanding offensive line. FSU’s biggest concerns remains the lack of help the Seminoles will get from Florida, Miami and Virginia Tech and others.

• On to Thursday: David is worried Oregon will run away with this meeting while Braden has more faith in the Stanford defense.

• In Waco, Oklahoma will try to keep Baylor off the field, but both hosts agree it may not matter against Bryce Petty.

• Moving on to LSU-Alabama, will this be the hotly contested matchup we’ve come to expect or is LSU not ready to go to toe-to-toe with the Tide?

• Lastly, Gall and Fox take a quick look off the field at the new athletic hire at Texas and why the job is more than just making decisions around the football coach.

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

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


Athlon Sports Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Week 11
Post date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 15:51
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-10-power-rankings-2013

Finally, in the first week of November, the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 started to look the part.

Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech 52-34 in Lubbock in its most complete game of the season, just in time for the Cowboys’ toughest part of the year. Like Baylor, Oklahoma State’s schedule is backloaded against Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma — all of which are ranked ahead of the Pokes in the power rankings for now.

But the Big 12 is shaping up as Athlon and others predicted it with four teams with realistic expectations to reach the Fiesta Bowl or more. Texas Tech all but bowed out of the race, but Oklahoma State gladly stepped into its place.

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

Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

11Baylor (7-0, 4-0). Baylor had the week off as it prepares for the toughest portion of its schedule. The Bears’ final five opponents are 30-12 combined and 18-9 in the Big 12. Five of those league losses belong to TCU. Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU all rank in the top 25 nationally in fewest yards per play. This week: Oklahoma
22Texas (6-2, 5-0). This week was another game in which Texas controlled both ends of the ground game. Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray combined to rush for 187 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries while Kansas rushed for 140 yards on 36 carries. The Longhorns are third in the Big 12 in run defense in conference games, both in yards per game and yards per carry. Texas’ run game game been tough to stop at home (232.8 rushing yards per game in Austin, 5.5 yards per carry), but the Longhorns go on the road to face a West Virginia team that has played well in Morgantown this year. This week: at West Virginia
33Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1). A stat to note: Oklahoma’s defense has done a good job of keeping opponents off the field. The Sooners’ defense has been on the field for 63.8 plays per game, the fewest in the Big 12. Baylor is averaging 79.4 plays per game. This week: at Baylor
45Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1). There are probably a handful of reasons Oklahoma State’s offense is starting to find some consistency: Clint Chelf has taken hold of the quarterback job, improving his passing output from 78 yards in his second start to 211 in his third. Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs have become the most reliable run threats. Coordinator Mike Yurcich also has adapted to his new job and personnel after moving up from Division II. Let’s also consider that Oklahoma State had the same starting lineup on offense in consecutive games for the first time all season. This week: Kansas
54Texas Tech (7-2, 4-2). The Red Raiders’ defense has returned to Earth after building a 7-0 start against TCU, Kansas and Iowa State. The Red Raiders allowed 526 yards to Oklahoma and 492 yards to Oklahoma State, the two highest totals of the season against Texas Tech. The offense hasn’t helped with six turnovers in two games (plus a blocked punt). Texas Tech is minus-7 in turnover margin this season while leading the Big 12 in penalties. This week: Kansas State
66Kansas State (4-4, 2-3). Kansas State has been much improved the last two weeks, defeating West Virginia and Iowa State by a combined score of 76-19. Granted, both wins were in Manhattan, and neither were against Big 12 contenders. The Wildcats will get an idea of where they stand this week when they visit Texas Tech. Jake Waters and Daniel Sams have continued to improve the the two quarterback system, helped by the return of top receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Against West Virginia and Iowa State, the quarterback duo has combined to complete 31 of 39 passes for 512 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. They’ve added combined 160 yards rushing in that span. This week: at Texas Tech
77West Virginia (4-5, 2-4). The Mountaineers won a key game for their bowl hopes by holding off TCU 30-27 in overtime. West Virginia must score two wins over Texas, Kansas and Iowa State to reach the postseason for 12th consecutive season. Charles Sims had his best game of the season in his return to Texas, rushing for 154 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Sims also caught three passes for 35 yards with a score. This week: Texas
88TCU (3-6, 1-5). The Horned Frogs finally got the offensive production they needed, especially early when the took a 17-3 lead on West Virginia. Casey Pachall returned to form by completing 40 of 58 passes for 394 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, including a furious comeback in the final four minutes to send the game to overtime. Meanwhile, former starting quarterback Trevone Boykin became Pachall’s top target with 11 catches for 100 yards. But TCU still had its setbacks, starting with the 30-27 loss and continuing with the ongoing absence of receiver Brandon Carter. With three games remaining against Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor, the Frogs' bowl hopes are slim. This week: at Iowa State
99Iowa State (1-7, 0-5). The news keeps getting worse for struggling Iowa State. Running back Aaron Wimberly missed his second consecutive game with injury. Linebacker Luke Knott, who missed the last two games, is now out for the season. Both quarterbacks Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach were similarly ineffective against Kansas State , combining to go 17 of 36 with three interceptions. This week: TCU
1010Kansas (2-5, 0-5). As it did against Texas Tech and Oklahoma, Kansas was competitive for a time against Texas before losing by a significant margin. If there’s a silver lining, linebacker Ben Heeney returned to lead Kansas with nine tackles. This week: at Oklahoma State

Big 12 Week 10 Awards and Recap

Offensive player of the week: Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
Chelf may have had the rug pulled out from under him when J.W. Walsh replaced him as the starter in the second game of the season, but the senior is making the most of his return to the lineup. Chelf completed 18 of 34 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the road win over Texas Tech. For the second consecutive game, Chelf produced in the run game with 88 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.

Defensive player of the week: Will Clarke, West Virginia
The Mountaineers defense has struggled away from Morgantown, but they came up with a solid effort against feisty TCU in Fort Worth. Clarke led the way with four tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. The defensive end played a key role in West Virginia’s 24-0 run with a sack and a forced fumble that gave West Virginia the ball in the red zone. The Mountaineers capitalized by taking a 27-17 lead.

Freshman of the week: Daikiel Shorts, West Virginia
Shorts has developed into West Virginia’s top receiver, a position group reeling from the loss of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Shorts finished the game with six receptions for 98 yards against a strong TCU secondary. Shorts leads the Mountaineers in receptions (37) and yards (430).

Team of the week: Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State had been a flawed team even through a 6-1 start, but the Cowboys are starting to round into shape just in time for the critical part of the Big 12 schedule. With 58 points against Iowa State in Ames and 52 points against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Oklahoma State has scored 50 points in consecutive road games for the first time in school history.

Coordinator of the week: Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State
The coordinator Mike Gundy plucked from Division II Shippensburg is starting to feel his way through the Big 12. The Cowboys had their most complete offensive game of the season, rushing for 281 yards and passing for 221. Oklahoma State also converted both of its fourth down attempts. Texas Tech entered the game holding opponents to 379 per game before Oklahoma State amassed 502.

Fifth Down

• Chris Whaley became the first defensive tackle in Texas history to have two defensive touchdowns in the same season. Whaley scored on a 40-yard interception return against Kansas on Saturday and a 31-yard interception return earlier this season against Oklahoma.

• Oklahoma State became the first team to beat Texas Tech three times in a row in Lubbock since Nebraska in 1994, 1996 and 2000.

• TCU has lost three games in a row for the first time in 12 years under Gary Patterson.

• Former starting quarterback Trevone Boykin was TCU’s leading receiver against West Virginia, catching 11 passes for 100 yards. Boykin’s 11 catches is the most for anyone under Patterson.

• TCU wide receiver Brandon Carter, a breakout candidate who struggled for most  of the season, did not play against West Virginia due to a family issue.

• Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro had a prolific day, even for his standards. Amaro caught 15 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown, but he had his second fumble in two games.

• Kansas State running back John Hubert had his second 100-yard rushing day of the season with 105 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against Iowa State. His season-high is 118 against UMass.

• Sam Richardson started at quarterback for Iowa State after a head injury scare last week against Oklahoma State. Richardson was 6 of 12 for 38 yards with an interception before he was relieved by Grant Rohach in the second quarter.


Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings 2013
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-basketball/louisville-kentucky-inside-rivalry

As much as their fans don't want to admit it, the two basketball powers of the Commonwealth have more in common than the last two national championships. Probably too much for comfort.

When Louisville claimed the 2013 national championship, the Cardinals ensured that the trophy wouldn’t leave the state after Kentucky’s 2012 title. During the last four seasons — since John Calipari’s arrival at Kentucky — the two programs have combined for 233 wins and four Final Four appearances.

The fanbases always have shared close quarters, especially with the state’s population center Louisville supplying students and basketball players to Lexington, and UK sending them back. The Cardinals’ hire of Rick Pitino in 2001 meant that the two programs shared a coach as well. And as Pitino hired some of his former UK players and staff to work with him at U of L, he ensured that fan favorites would become rivals.

Kentucky and Louisville are once again poised to be two of the premier teams in 2013-14. With the Wildcats’ freshman class — considered to be the best crop of newcomers in the history of the sport — and Louisville’s title-winning veterans, this showdown may not be completely settled until NCAA Tournament time (again).

Pitino isn’t the only key figure who has had to walk the line between the two rivals. In anticipation of the Bluegrass State ruling college basketball this season, Athlon Sports wanted to learn the perspective of the souls whose rooting interests are divided — or not so divided as it seems.


Rogers grew up in Louisville, graduating from Eastern High in 1969 before going on to the University of Kentucky. He returned to Louisville 40 years ago to work in sports broadcasting for WHAS. He’s been the play-by-play voice of Louisville football since 1992 and Louisville basketball since 1995 in addition to calling events at Churchill Downs.

“I grew up a Kentucky fan. I followed Louisville, but Kentucky was my team. That’s very common here. People consider it to be half and half, but in recent years it’s grown to be more pro-Louisville. There are definitely a lot more Kentucky fans in Louisville than Louisville fans in Lexington, though.

“It’s my 40-year anniversary at the station. I came here after college and worked here ever since. I’ve heard, ‘He’s really a Kentucky fan.’ But I’ve been with Louisville long enough where sometimes when people hear I went to Kentucky, they’re surprised to hear that. With the younger generation, they know less about your past than your present.

“If I ever say anything halfway critical of Louisville or halfway complimentary of Kentucky, there will always be a few people out there who know about my background who will say, ‘You know he’s really a Kentucky fan.’ But it’s not a major issue. I can’t recall pissing the other side off, though I’m sure from time to time I have.

“One of the weirdest experiences I’ve had was two years ago when we were playing in Lexington, we were setting up at the (broadcast) table. We hadn’t gone on the air yet. We do a 90-minute pregame, so it was at least a couple of hours before the game. Things were really quiet. This guy walks up to me and says, ‘Are you Paul Rogers?’ I said yes. And he said, ‘I’m from Eastern Kentucky. I hate Louisville. I hate the school. I hate everything about it. But I think you’re the best announcer I ever heard.’ It floored me.”


As a kid, Masiello was a ball boy for the New York Knicks while Rick Pitino was an assistant under Hubie Brown. After high school, he walked on at Kentucky for Pitino with intentions of getting into coaching. He graduated as a co-captain under Tubby Smith in 2000. His major break as an assistant came at Louisville in 2005, where he stayed before taking a head-coaching job in his home state at Manhattan in 2011.

“It’s really different as an outsider, someone not from the state of Kentucky. When I was at Kentucky as a player you didn’t realize the impact it had on the fans and the alumni. You knew it was a big game and you knew you were supposed to hate them because that’s what you’re told.

“When I was at Louisville, we came out and we knew we were hated but you didn’t realize how hated until you walk out into Rupp Arena. That’s hatred at its highest. When I was a player at Rupp and Louisville came in, you knew it was a big game, but I didn’t remember it being that way. I think the Coach Pitino factor has a lot to do with it, but I remember the first time walking into Rupp against Rajon Rondo’s team. I was an assistant at Louisville. I’ve never seen anything like that in anything. You really thought these people personally hated you. They might have. That may have been the case.

“When you’re a player, the players hang out. I had friends who played at Louisville, and when I was an assistant at Louisville, our guys were friends with the Kentucky players.

“You could never win. To the Louisville fans, I was always a Kentucky player. To the Kentucky fans, I was a traitor. But those four years I spent at Kentucky were probably the best four years of my life. The six years I spent at Louisville were probably the most important of my professional career, so I hold both places very dear to my heart.

“That Final Four game (in 2012), I recruited a lot of those players (at Louisville), and I worked with Richard Pitino and Coach Pitino. I had some really close relationships and bonds with those guys. I was pulling for Louisville. If you were to ask me years from now — and Rick Pitino’s not the coach of Louisville and none of the players are there — will I still cheer for Louisville, probably not as much.”


Anderson starred at Louisville (Ky.) Doss High but left the Commonwealth to sign with Ohio State. After two seasons, he returned to his home state to play for Kentucky and coach Rick Pitino. He started for the Wildcats’ 1995-96 national championship team and had his final season in 1996-97 cut short by injury. Anderson retired from the NBA in 2008 and started the Derek Anderson Foundation, based in Louisville, to aid abused women and underprivileged children.

“I love Coach Pitino. I’ll always wish him well, but I’ll never cheer for him at Louisville. He understands that.

“Everybody was mad that I didn’t go to Louisville, but that was Louisville’s fault. ... I always wanted to play for Louisville as a kid. That’s where I wanted to go, but Denny Crum didn’t recruit me and didn’t do what he was supposed to. My whole thing was about loyalty. ... I went to Ohio State, but Coach Pitino told me he didn’t have any scholarships, but he wanted me to come. He respectfully told me he would let me walk on. At least there was respect enough to tell me.

“(At Kentucky) we played against (Louisville) twice and beat them twice by 20 points. I loved it. The first game was at Rupp, and the second game was in Louisville, but I don’t remember if I got booed because I was so focused, I zoned out. Four of my first five buckets were all dunks. I don’t remember if the crowd cheered or not. I couldn’t care less at that point.

“I’m happy for (Pitino’s) success. When he first got to Louisville, I used to go work out with his players. I lived in Louisville, so I went over there a lot. I never thought anything of it. I’ve always supported him and I always will, but I’ll never cheer for Louisville.

“They always say I should have (gone to U of L), but they all like me now because they know me as a person and not as an athlete. My foundation is still in Louisville, people just embrace me as Derek from Louisville, not that I didn’t go to Louisville.”


Meiners grew up in Louisville, attended Kentucky in the mid 1970s and later took courses at U of L. He returned to the Derby City 33 years ago to work in radio. He’s hosted his afternoon drive-time program on WHAS for 28 years, where he’s used his platform to parody Rick Pitino, Joe B. Hall, Kentucky fans and Louisville fans over the years. He’s also built a strong friendship with Pitino. Meiners also has hosted Pitino’s weekly television show.

“I went to Kentucky. I loved UK, but I had pictures of Louisville players in my dorm room. It’s my hometown. I grew up here. I’ve sold Pepsis in Freedom Hall. When I was a little kid, I lived a block or so from the arena. I had an affection for Louisville. When I went to college, it wasn’t like my memory banks were cleared.

“In Louisville, I do a radio show every afternoon, and we do parodies and voices. When Pitino was hired at Kentucky, we had a guy with a thick New York accent, and a guy doing a real thick Southern accent, and they had trouble understanding each other. The Kentucky (sports information director) heard about it and asked for tapes, and Rick called and asked (me) to go on a trip with them, a road trip to Georgia. Tubby Smith was the coach at the time, and we’ve been friends ever since.

“I get a certain amount of smack talk for both sides. I always remember what one guy said to me after Rick had been here a few years. A guy walked up to me at a mall, and I thought he was going to shake my hand. He walked up to me and said, ‘You used to be a Wildcat, but now you’re an a**hole.’ He was just so offended that I went to UK and worked so closely with Louisville.

“What people don’t realize is that I was the last guy in Rick’s house in Lexington begging him not to take the Celtics job. I was begging him to not take the job and an hour later he’s at a press conference, so that’s the influence I had.”


A graduate of Louisville (Ky.) Male High, Bennett was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1983. He elected to play for Kentucky despite the Wildcats’ lingering reputation of racial strife, where he spent two seasons under Joe B. Hall and two under Eddie Sutton. After spending some time in the NBA, he returned as an assistant at Kentucky from 1995-97.

“It’s hard to live in Louisville at that time, especially as a minority, and not be a Louisville fan. Most of the time you heard a lot about Kentucky being prejudiced during the Rupp era, so there was a black cloud over Kentucky at the time.

“As an eighth grader I was a ball boy for the University of Louisville. Darrell Griffith was kind of our Michael Jordan for the young kids of Louisville. All that meant a lot to me. As I continued to progress, I began to hear a lot about Kentucky, and I had parents who wanted me to experience my own life and (said), ‘Why don’t you check it out yourself.’ And that’s what sold me on Kentucky.

“There were some upset people during that time, as you would imagine. The recruiting war got a little hostile. My father drove around town — once I chose Kentucky — in a big, blue Wildcat van. He did carpet cleaning, so he worked out of his van. He’d be bold enough to ride around in this big, blue van. It was kind of throwing salt in the wound of some of the Louisville fans, and even some of our extended family.

“I root for both teams except for when they play each other, then I go with the team where I spent my blood, sweat and tears and that’s Kentucky. Other than that, I’m a huge Louisville fan.”

Louisville-Kentucky: Inside the Rivalry
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:00