Articles By David Fox

All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/2013-14-college-basketball-comparing-top-25-and-picks
Body:

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.

AthlonLindy'sTSNUSATSI.comCoachesAP 
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
ACCDukeDukeDukeDuke
America EastVermontVermontVermontVermont
AmericanLouisvilleLouisvilleLouisvilleLouisville
Atlantic 10VCUVCUVCUVCU
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
ColonialTowsonTowsonNortheasternTowson
Conference USALa. TechSouthern MissLa. TechLa. Tech
HorizonGreen BayWright StateWright StateWright State
IvyHarvardHarvardPrincetonHarvard
MAACIonaCanisiusManhattanManhattan
MACBuffaloToledoAkron/ToledoToledo
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.
Pac-12ArizonaArizonaArizonaArizona
PatriotBoston U.Boston U.BucknellLafayette
SECKentuckyKentuckyKentuckyKentucky
SouthernElonDavidsonElonElon
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

 

Teaser:
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
Body:

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.

Teaser:
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
Body:

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.

Teaser:
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
Body:

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

 

Teaser:
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
Body:

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
 

 SouthMidwestEastWest
1Kentucky*Louisville*Duke*Michigan State*
2Oklahoma StateFloridaKansas*Arizona*
3SyracuseNorth CarolinaOhio StateMichigan
4CreightonMarquette*New Mexico*Notre Dame
5VCU*TennesseeMemphisUNLV
6BaylorWisconsinUCLAConnecticut
7Wichita State*Boise StateGonzaga*Harvard*
8IndianaSan Diego StateSaint LouisVirginia
9OregonLSUIowaColorado
10MissouriGeorgetownPittsburghVillanova
11CincinnatiIowa StateSt. John'sFlorida State
12New Mexico State*Louisiana Tech*PurdueArizona State
   UMassXavier
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

NIT FIELD

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

Teaser:
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
Body:

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 athlonsports.com, iTunes and our podcast RSS feed.

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

 

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

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

RankTeamLWAnalysis
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.

 

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

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.

PAUL ROGERS, THE VOICE

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.”



STEVE MASIELLO, THE OUTSIDER

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.”



DEREK ANDERSON, THE TRAITOR

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.”



TERRY MEINERS, THE JOKESTER

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.”



WINSTON BENNETT, THE FAVORITE SON

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.”

Teaser:
Louisville-Kentucky: Inside the Rivalry
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/post-week-10-bcs-rankings-and-analysis
Body:

The final year of the BCS standings will give fans of a handful of teams a chance to argue one last time.

Alabama, Oregon, Baylor and Stanford were all off Saturday, but Thursday will begin a week that will define the remainder of the season. On Thursday alone, Oregon faces Stanford and Baylor faces Oklahoma, either boosting undefeated teams or clearing paths for Florida State and Ohio State.

Elsewhere in the rankings, though, the machinations are on for other BCS slots. Fresno State has enjoyed an edge against fellow unbeaten Northern Illinois, but that may change in the coming weeks.
 

Moving Up

Florida State. The Seminoles chipped away at Alabama's and Oregon’s stranglehold on the top two spots. Florida State received three first-place votes in the coaches’ poll and two in the Harris after defeating Miami 41-14. FSU did not have any first-place votes a week earlier. At the same time, FSU also moved from second in the computer average to first. The Seminoles were first in only one computer ranking last week (Sagarin), but they were first in all but one (Billingsley) after defeating Miami 41-14.

Moving Down

Texas A&M. The Aggies aren’t in national title contention, but they’d be an attractive BCS at-large team if eligible thanks to an enthusiastic fanbase and the draw of Johnny Manziel. That’s why it’s probably troubling for the Aggies top drop from No. 12 to No. 15, one spot outside of the at-large threshold. A&M dropped after Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech while the Aggies faced UTEP. Texas A&M will have plenty of opportunities to get back into the BCS at-large mix when it faces LSU and Missouri on the road. The big winner for A&M falling out of BCS contention, though, would be the Cotton Bowl, which would salivate at a change to pit the Aggies against Texas or Baylor.

Key Games this Week

No. 3 Oregon at No. 5 Stanford (Thursday). Oregon may jump Florida State for good if the Ducks defeat Stanford and both teams remain undefeated. Florida State’s schedule takes a major hit against Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho and Florida while Oregon faces Utah, Arizona and Oregon State to round out the regular season. But let’s not forget about Stanford, which remains the highest ranked one-loss team despite a defeat to Utah. The Cardinal will be back in the title hunt if it can defeat Oregon.

No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor (Thursday). The schedule is holding Baylor back in a major way. The Bears rank ninth in the computer average, but they’ll finish the season against No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 25 Texas Tech, No. 14 Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas. An undefeated Baylor may have a stronger case than Ohio State or even Florida State. Whether the Bears have the mettle to go undefeated will be determined Thursday.

No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama. The Tide staying at No. 1 in the BCS standings seems to be a given. Alabama still has two top-15 games to play during the regular season, starting with this one against the Tigers.

Other Observations

• Fresno State got some breathing room over fellow non-automatic qualifying BCS contender Northern Illinois. The Bulldogs landed at No. 16 and would be an automatic bid by virtue of ranking ahead of No. 21 UCF if the season ended today. The No. 18 Huskies, though, just completed the softest portion of their schedule and will make up ground if they can defeat Ball State, Toledo and the MAC East champion.

• Notre Dame is ranked 23rd, moving up from No. 25. The Irish need to be ranked eighth for an automatic berth. That seems unlikely. Notre Dame finishes at Pittsburgh, against BYU and at Stanford. The Irish will be hoping for losses by Northern Illinois and Fresno State to free up an at-large spot if Notre Dame finishes 14th.

• The coaches’ poll and Harris poll voters are stubborn when it comes to UCF. The Knights are ranked 21st in the BCS, one spot behind Louisville. UCF defeated Louisville head-to-head, not to mention Penn State on the road. The Knights are ranked five spots behind Louisville in the coaches’ and Harris polls but ahead of the Cards in every computer ranking.

Notes on BCS selection:


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



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



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



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



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

Teaser:
Post-Week 10 BCS Rankings and Analysis
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 20:41
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-10-recap-and-awards
Body:

Every league race is all about momentum. For sure, the Big 12 has packed a ton if it for only 10 teams.

Oklahoma State has it. So does Kansas State. Texas Tech doesn’t.

The Cowboys’ offense is starting to round into form just in time to contend for the Big 12 championship after defeating Texas Tech 52-34 on Saturday in the league’s key game of the week. Even if the Wildcats aren't conference contenders, Kansas State also kept its momentum going with its second consecutive lopsided win in Manhattan.

With Oklahoma and Baylor off in preparation of Thursday night’s showdown in Waco, Oklahoma State takes center stage this week in our Big 12 awards.

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.

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 10 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 13:58
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
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If Saturday seemed quiet, that was with good reason.

No Alabama. No Oregon. No Stanford. No Oklahoma. No Baylor.

In their place, Florida State and Ohio State took the opportunity in a less-crowded schedule to prove their mettle.

The Seminoles made the most of their opportunity with yet another rout this season, and another against a top-10 team. Florida State’s home win over Miami likely will be the last opportunity for the Seminoles to pick up a signature win before the final BCS rankings. The next three opponents are Wake Forest, Syracuse and Idaho. The regular season finale at Florida becomes less and less interesting every week, and now Miami is wounded as it tries to win Coastal Division title for a rematch with FSU in Charlotte.

The Buckeyes finished with another lopsided score, but it’s too little too late as long as two of the top three remain undefeated. A Purdue team that historically has given Ohio State fits in West Lafayette will have its worst seasons since before Joe Tiller arrived. And like Florida State, Ohio State can’t expect a major boost with its season-ending rivalry game on the road. Michigan, after Saturday, is simply looking to move the ball forward for a change.

College Football Week 10 Recap: Three and Out

Three Things We Learned from Florida State 41, Miami 14

There’s no reason to keep Florida State out of the title game. Jameis Winston threw two interceptions for the first time in his career, and the Seminoles still won by 27. That's just how FSU is handling opponents these days. In the last three weeks, Florida State defeated Clemson and Miami, both ranked in the top 10 at kickoff, by a combined score of 92-28. The Seminoles have scored at least 40 points in every game this season, and only one team (Boston College) has scored more than 17 against the Noles. Florida State has proven itself to be in a league with Alabama and Oregon right now, but the problem for the Noles is that Alabama and Oregon are equally deserving of title game slots.

It’s not all Jameis. The redshirt freshman quarterback has been the transformative figure for Florida State’s program under Jimbo Fisher, but the win over Miami proved how imposing the Seminoles’ supporting cast is. Running back Devonta Freeman did most of the work on a 49-yard touchdown on a screen pass, and the imposing 6-5, 234-pound Kelvin Benjamin seems to catch any pass remotely in his area. Throw in Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and tight end Nick O’Leary, and Winston may have the nation’s most impressive group of skill position players around him.

Stephen Morris needs to get better. And before Dec. 7. With Virginia Tech losing, Miami remains the favorite in the ACC Coastal. A rematch with Florida State is possible, but Stephen Morris will need perform better than he did Saturday. Morris was 16 of 29 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, both in a problematic second half. With top receiver Phillip Dorsett already hurting and running back Duke Johnson out with a broken ankle, the spotlight is on Morris if the Canes are going to win the Coastal.

Related: Duke Johnson suffers broken ankle in loss

Moving the Chains

Michigan State’s front seven. The nation’s top defense resides in East Lansing. After Saturday, it’s tough to argue otherwise. Michigan rushed for minus-48 yards in a 29-6 loss to Michigan State, setting a Wolverines record for futility in the run game. Most of the lost rushing yards came on sacks (seven sacks for a loss of 49 yards), but Michigan State stopped Michigan’s designed run plays at or behind the line of scrimmage eight times. The Wolverines had only two rushing plays longer than five yards and none longer than nine. Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Mark Dantonio’s defensive coordinator since 2004 at Cincinnati, could have one of the best defenses in recent decades. Since 2000, only 2011 Alabama allowed fewer total yards per game than Michigan State’s 210.2 so far. And in the last 30 years, only four teams have held opponents to fewer than 50 rushing yards per game. The Spartans are holding teams to 43.3 rushing yards per game and 2.1 yards per carry.

Oklahoma State’s Big 12 hopes. A loss to West Virginia and an uneven offense have made Oklahoma State an overlooked one-loss team but not anymore. On Saturday, the Cowboys all but ended Texas Tech’s bid for the Big 12 title, and now the Pokes control their own fate after defeating the Red Raiders 52-34 in Lubbock. Oklahoma State still has games against Texas (Nov. 16 in Austin), Baylor (Nov. 23) and Oklahoma (Dec. 7) for a chance to win the league. On Saturday, Oklahoma State jumped to an early 21-0 lead on turnover and a blocked punt. The Cowboys never really let up even when Texas Tech narrowed the deficit to 4 at halftime. Credit the Oklahoma State offense that has stabilized with Clint Chelf and Desmond Roland in the backfield. In his second consecutive start, Chelf was 18 of 34 for 212 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 88 yards and two scores.

This play by Nebraska. The Cornhuskers’ chances to win the Big Ten Legends Division remain intact thanks to a miracle 49-yard touchdown Hail Mary from senior former walk-on Ron Kellogg off a deflection to mustached redshirt freshman receiver Jordan Westerkamp in the end zone. Nebraska never led after the midway point of the first quarter against Northwestern and gave up a 3-point lead in a field goal with 1:22 left before this highlight reel pass play to win 27-24.

False Starts

Virginia Tech’s ACC hopes. Two weeks ago, Virginia Tech had plenty of reason to believe the Coastal Division would come down to next week’s matchup against Miami. The defense was stout, and quarterback Logan Thomas had appeared to turn a corner. After losing back-to-back games to Duke and Boston College, Virginia Tech will fighting for a semi-respectable bowl berth. The defense is doing just fine, holding opponents to 18 of 40 passing 2 of 23 on third down in the last two games. But Thomas has been a mess the last two weeks. He threw two interceptions, including a pick six to BC’s Kevin Pierre-Louis to give the Eagles the lead. Thomas has eight turnovers in the last two games (six interceptions, two fumbles).

Florida’s composure. Florida finished its 23-20 in way that’s become all too typical for the Gators — with a momentum-sapping penalty. In the final moments, Florida stopped Georgia on a third and 5 to set up a 42-yard field goal, but a facemask penalty gave Georgia the game-clinching first down. In the third quarter, an illegal formation negated a long pass play into Georgia territory on a third-and-15 conversion. But the tone was set on Florida’s first possession when an 83-yard pass play to Quinton Dunbar, one of the rare long pass plays for the Gators this season, turned into a missed 40-yard field goal four plays later because of a personal foul. Florida finished with seven penalties, the 21st time in the last 34 games the Gators have been flagged seven or more times.

Texas Tech’s first quarter. The Red Raiders gave themselves little chance to bounce back from a loss to Oklahoma with a disastrous first quarter against Oklahoma State. Texas Tech had a three-and-out, a punt, a fumble and a blocked punt to spot the Cowboys a 21-0 lead from which Texas Tech never recovered in a 52-34 loss.

Heisman Movers

Mike Davis, South Carolina. Davis didn’t have his most prolific day of the season against Mississippi State, but he continued to be one of the most consistent performers of the year. Davis rushed for 128 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 26 yards, giving him 150 yards from scrimmage in his sixth game this season. Davis is averaging 7.1 yards every time he touches the ball on offense.

Sean Mannion, Oregon State. The Beavers’ quarterback still has 3,540 passing yards and 31 touchdowns in nine games, but his Heisman bid is probably up after running into two elite defenses for Stanford and USC. Mannion was 67 of 102 for 548 yards. Mannion averaged nearly nine yards per pass attempt in the first seven games but only 5.4 against Stanford and USC.

Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona. The Wildcats are a quiet 6-2 team, but Arizona’s running back should be ready to take center stage in the final month of the season. Carey rushed for 152 yards on 32 carries in the 33-28 win over Cal to give him 1,072 yards in seven games this season. Arizona finishes with UCLA, Washington State, Oregon and Arizona State.

Stat Watch

187. Snaps Purdue has taken since it last ran a play in the red zone. Purdue has an eight-game losing streak to FBS opponents and has lost its last three games by a combined score of 114-14. But the biggest sign of Purdue’s futility is the Boilermakers’ streak of 187 consecutive plays outside of the red zone, dating back to the Sept. 28 loss to Northern Illinois.

73. Times Tom Savage has been sacked in his career. It wasn’t a game many people watched, but Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage will have the bruises from a 21-10 loss to Georgia Tech. Savage was sacked five times, not a season high, but it highlights that he’s been sacked 24 times this season. The former Rutgers quarterback has played on three teams ranked 100th or worse in sacks allowed, giving him 73 sacks in 25 career games. Just for comparison, Alabama’s AJ McCarron has been sacked 44 times ... in 44 games.

119-14. Amount Ohio State is outscoring opponents since the first BCS standings. Two games, two routs since Ohio State was put at No. 4 in the BCS standings. The Buckeyes may post similar scores against Illinois and Indiana, but it remains unlikely for Ohio State to pass Alabama, Oregon or Florida State without a loss by one of those teams.

Buried on the Depth Chart

Bowl eligible
Arizona
North Texas
USC

Dang, They’re Good
Clemson
Michigan State
Ohio State

Dang, They’re Bad
Kent State
NC State
Purdue

Best Midweek Games Next Week
Oklahoma at Baylor (Thursday)
Oregon at Stanford (Thursday)
Ohio at Buffalo (Tuesday)

Best Games Next Saturday
BYU at Wisconsin
Houston at UCF
LSU at Alabama
FAU upsets Tulane. Bowl-eligible Confernece USA contender Tulane is one of the biggest turnarounds this season with Curtis Johnson deserving of coach of the year mentions. FAU had one of the season’s major controversies when coach Carl Pelini was fired this week for illegal drug use, including accusations from one of his assistants of cocaine use. Naturally, FAU defeated Tulane 34-17 for the Green Wave’s first C-USA loss of the season.

Texas State is bowl eligible. Texas State has been one of the success stories of teams moving up to FBS after decades in the FCS/Division I-AA. In is third season in the FBS, Texas State is bowl eligible after defeating Idaho 37-21 to move to 6-3.

Tulsa’s fall. The defending Conference USA champions likely won’t go to a bowl game after losing 34-15 at home to slip to 2-6. Tulsa has missed a bowl game only twice since 2003.

Three Big-Time Runners

Todd Gurley, Georgia. Gurley was not at full speed in his first game since Sept. 28, leaving the game at times with stomach ailments. That’s a scary thought. Gurley rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and had a 73-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. On his first carry upon returning from the locker room in the second quarter, Gurley rushed for 30 yards.

David Cobb, Minnesota. Cobb, who rushed for 65 total yards in two seasons entering this season, continues to carry the Gophers run game. The junior from Killeen, Texas, rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries while catching two passes for 48 yards in Minnesota’s 42-39 win over Indiana. Cobb has rushed for 429 yards his last three games, all Big Ten wins for Minnesota.

Anthony LaCoste, Air Force. This has not been a shining season for Air Force, but LaCoste ended the seven-game losing streak with 263 rushing yards, second-most in school history, in a 42-28 win over Army.

Reasons You Should’ve Found Something Better to do Saturday Morning

Wisconsin 28, Iowa 9. The Badgers needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away, but Iowa never really posed a threat to Wisconsin. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was risk averse, to say the least. The Hawkeyes settled for three field goals of fewer than 30 yards (29, 22, 29) and even punted once from Wisconsin’s 35-yard line. The game was all but over when Iowa starting quarterback Jake Rudock was lost to a leg injury in the third quarter.

Penn State 24, Illinois 17 (OT). Illinois’ Big Ten losing streak extended to 18 games in excruciating fashion as the Illini coughed up a three-point lead in the final 51 seconds. Illinois bungled its clock management at the end of the first half, settling for a 20-yard field goal despite running three plays from inside the Penn State 10 in the final minute. Illinois also failed to capitalize on a Bill Belton fumble in the final two minutes of the game, giving Penn State the ball at 50 after a three and out.

Syracuse 13, Wake Forest 0. Even though Wake Forest gave Miami trouble last week, no one would have circled this ACC game on the schedule. This game lived up to its non-billing by featuring a combined 23 punts.

Has Anyone Noticed?

Notre Dame is quietly building a BCS case. The Irish will have to move from No. 25 into the top 14 to be eligible for an at-large bid (or No. 12 for an automatic bid), but Notre Dame is on its way to making that a possibility. Navy gave Notre Dame all it could handle in the Irish’s 38-34 loss, but the Irish are 7-2 with games remaining against Pittsburgh, BYU and Stanford. A 10-2 Notre Dame team fresh off a win over Stanford may crack the top 12. On Saturday, though, Navy had a chance to keep the game alive when it caught Notre Dame’s defense off guard with a fourth down reverse, but Shawn Lynch couldn’t beat the Irish D to the first down marker. The Irish played the last two games without standout defensive lineman Louis Nix, but Tommy Rees has played consistently in the last three games.

Boston College is 4-4. With a 34-27 win over Virginia Tech, Boston College improved to 4-4 in the first season under Steve Addazio. The Eagles haven’t won away from home, but they’ll have ample opportunities to get to bowl eligibility or more with games remaining at New Mexico State, against NC State, at Maryland and at Syracuse.

TCU has lost three in a row. The Big 12 is tougher, and TCU has had a slew of injuries and player departures the last two seasons. Still, Gary Patterson has seen better days. With a 30-27 loss in overtime to West Virginia, TCU has lost three in a row for the first time under Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs scored 10 points in the final 3:49 of the third quarter to force overtime, but collapsed in the extra frame to the point the Frogs attempted a 62-yard field goal (it failed). As TCU has lost three consecutive Big 12 teams, keep in mind this is a team that lost three games total from 2009-11.

The “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Awards

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have gone to three consecutive bowl games only twice in their history, including 2010-12 under Mullen. But the Mullen era has been marked by uncompetitive games against above-average teams. Saturday was another one of those games as the Bulldogs lost 34-16 to South Carolina. The Gamecocks — quarterback Connor Shaw, in particular — started slow, but Carolina scored 17 third-quarter points for a convincing win. In the last three seasons, Mississippi State is 4-15 against FBS teams with winning records, with those victories coming against Troy, Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. In order for Mississippi State to reach a fourth consecutive bowl game, the Bulldogs will need to score at least one major upset in the last four games (at Texas A&M, Alabama, at Arkansas, Ole Miss).

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech. Odds are Beamer gets to decide when he steps aside from the Virginia Tech program he built whenever he wants, but the last two weeks were reminiscent of another legendary ACC coach near the end of his tenure. Virginia Tech is 13-11 overall and 7-6 in the ACC since a 2011 loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. In 2006-07, Bobby Bowden went 14-12 with a 7-9 ACC record. Bowden remained at Florida State until 2009, but Jimbo Fisher was hired as offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting in 2007.

Will Muschamp, Florida. Injuries have played a major role in the Gators’ 4-4 start this season. That may save Muschamp from a similar fate to another third-year Gators coach with a similar record. Former Florida coach Ron Zook went 23-14 overall and 16-8 in the SEC from 2002-04 while Muschamp is 22-12 overall and 13-9 in the SEC. Even if Muschamp gets the benefit of the doubt for missing five starters, plus a handful of backups, due to injury this season, he’s still the first Florida coach since Galen Hall to have two three-game losing streaks on his resume. Muschamp is also 0-3 against Georgia. If Florida doesn’t win two of its final four (against Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State), the Gators will miss a bowl for the first time since 1990.

Teaser:
College Football Week 10 Recap: Noles more than just Winston
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 11:24
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-9-award-watch-2013
Body:

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

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



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



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


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

Mariota completed all 10 of his pass attempts in the second half as Oregon pulled away from UCLA last week. Mariota has 20 touchdown passes without an interception. No quarterback since at least 2007 has finished a season with 20 touchdowns and fewer than three picks.
Others: Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Baylor’s Bryce Petty

Doak Walker (Top running back)

Our leader: Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey
Carey is quietly carrying Arizona’s offense single-handedly, leading the nation with 153.3 rushing yards per game. With four touchdowns against Colorado, Carey has 10 scores in six games.
Others: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

Our leader: Texas A&M’s Mike Evans
Oregon State’s Brandon Cooks still leads every receiving category, but Evans is second with 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns ... on 37 fewer receptions. Evans also averages 22.9 yards per catch, most for any receiver with more than 40 catches.
Others: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, Baylor’s Antwan Goodley, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, Colorado’s Paul Richardson, Penn State’s Allen Robinson

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

Amaro had a fumble against Oklahoma, but he remains the nation’s most productive tight end. He has caught at least eight passes in seven consecutive games and at least 119 in the last three.
Others: North Carolina’s Eric Ebron

Outland (Top interior lineman)

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

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: Stanford’s Trent Murphy

Anthony Barr and Michael Sam are coming off losses, and Kyle Van Noy had two tackles against Boise State. In that case, it’s a good time to take a look at Murphy. The Stanford linebacker has anchored the defense with 10 tackles for a loss in the last four games, including dominant defensive performances against UCLA and Oregon State.
Others: UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Clemson’s Vic Beasley, Missouri’s Michael Sam, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Murphy

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


Butkus (Top linebacker)

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


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner

Joyner is one of the nation’s most versatile DBs, recording an interception, three forced fumbles and four tackles for a loss this season. He’ll have a chance to shine again this week against Miami.
Others: Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller, TCU’s Jason Verrett



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

Our leader: Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt
The Sooners’ kicker has made 12 of his last 13 field goals and 16 of 18 for the season.
Others: Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin, Maryland’s Brad Craddock, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez



Ray Guy (Top punter)

Our leader: Miami (Ohio)’s Zac Murphy
Murphy leads the nation at 48.1 yards per kick on 6.8 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 is leading a national championship contending team while making a case for the Heisman. Winston continued FSU’s hot starts by completing his 11 of 14 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns against NC State ... in the first quarter.
Others: Arkansas’s Alex Collins, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III

Coach of the year
Our leader: Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher

Florida State has been dominant whether its facing NC State, Maryland or Clemson. The Seminoles are poised to have their best season since the Bobby Bowden glory years.

Others: Baylor’s Art Briles, Miami’s Al Golden, Tulane’s Curtis Johnson, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, Houston’s Tony Levine, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

Our leader: Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi
The Spartans are allowing 54.9 rushing yards per game. No other team is allowing fewer than 80 yards on the ground per game. Michigan State also leads the nation with 215.5 yards allowed per game, nearly 30 fewer than the next best team.
Others: Baylor’s Phil Bennett, LSU’s Cam Cameron, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt, Texas’ Greg Robinson, Alabama’s Kirby Smart
 

Teaser:
A&M's Mike Evans making push for top receiver honors
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-10-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

Oklahoma-Baylor is a week away, so this week the Big 12 action will boil down to a game between the other Oklahoma school and the other pass-happy surprise team in Texas.

Oklahoma State and Texas Tech meet both with one conference loss in a game that will all but eliminate the loser from Big 12 championship contention.

The Cowboys were the preseason favorite in the league, but the Cowboys have struggled all season to find an identity on offense. From a changing starting quarterback to changing ball-carriers, Oklahoma State is hardly reminiscent of past Pokes’ teams.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech is coming off its first loss of the season with a 38-30 defeat at Oklahoma. With a high-powered passing game, Texas Tech doesn’t lack for offensive identity, but the Red Raiders need to find a run defense in a hurry.

Outside of the matchup in Lubbock, you’d be hard-pressed to find an intriguing game in the Big 12 this week with OU and Baylor out of action.

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

Big 12 Week 10 Game Power Rankings
All games Saturday, All times Eastern

1. Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (7 p.m., Fox)
The Cowboys will try to repeat what they did last week against Iowa State in the run game when Desmond Roland more than doubled his rushing output for the season by running for 219 yards against Iowa State last week. That's a key development for a running game that struggled to find a top ball-carrier all season. Freshman Rennie Childs also showed flashes this season, but he carried only twice last week against Cyclones. Part of the success in the run game may be credited to an offensive line that is finding consistency after starting six different combinations this season. Keeping the Texas Tech offense off the field — as Oklahoma did last week — will be a key for the Cowboys. Texas Tech needs to do its part to stay on the field, too, after finishing minus-6 in turnover margin the last three games. Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb will need to mindful of Oklahoma State quarterback Justin Gilbert, who has an interception in each of the last two games and four picks this season.

2. Iowa State at Kansas State (3:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Kansas State ended its three-game losing streak by defeating West Virginia 35-12 last week. With home dates against the Mountaineers, Iowa State and TCU in a four-game span, Kansas State should push closer to bowl eligibility. Iowa State visits Manhattan a wounded team. Aaron Wimberly, the Cyclones’ breakout tailback, likely will miss his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Quarterback Sam Richardson also missed part of last week’s loss to Oklahoma State after taking a shot to the head. His status is day-to-day. Kansas State, meanwhile, is getting healthier and more consistent. Wide receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson returned last week as the K-State defense picked up three takeaways against West Virginia.

3. West Virginia at TCU (3:30 p.m., ESPNU)
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall returned from a broken arm, but the return of the former starter did little to boost the offense on the scoreboard. TCU coach Gary Patterson said Pachall’s leadership hadn’t diminished and he wasn’t rusty despite sitting since the second game of the season. Pachall was 13 of 34 for 169 yards with an interception against Texas, but if there’s a chance for him to get back into the groove, it will be against West Virginia. The Mountaineers are last in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense. West Virginia has allowed the last three opponents (Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas State) to complete 71.2 percent of their passes for an average of 11 yards per attempt.

4. Kansas at Texas (3:30 p.m., Longhorn Network)
Texas is making good on its optimism to save the season by winning the Big 12. Texas is 4-0 in the league with upcoming games against Kansas and West Virginia. Thank the defense, which has picked up 16 total sacks in four games against Big 12 competition. Kansas could get a boost of its own on defense with the return of linebacker Ben Heeney. The Jayhawks’ top defensive player was given an extra week of recovery time last week before facing Texas’ above-average running game. Kansas running back Tony Pierson’s return, however, remains a mystery after he felt dizzy after three plays against Baylor last week.

Off: Baylor, Oklahoma

Big 12 Week 10 Pivotal Players


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk Bo Pelini, Oklahoma State-Texas Tech, Miami-Florida State and more Week 10 action in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
Oklahoma State passers
Texas Tech made Blake Bell look like a Heisman contender last week as Oklahoma’s quarterback averaged 11.3 yards per attempt against the Red Raiders. No other opponent had topped 6.5 yards per attempt against Texas Tech this season. Like Oklahoma has in Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma State has a receiver who can break open a game in Josh Stewart. That said, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf are completing only 46.8 percent of their passes with five touchdowns with six interceptions in Big 12 play this season.

Texas Tech’s run defense
The Red Raiders have allowed 603 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in the last three games. Of those three opponents, only Oklahoma ranks in the top five in the Big 12 rushing. Texas Tech’s play up front will need to improve in a hurry when as the Red Raiders enter the toughest part of their schedule.

West Virginia’s offensive line
West Virginia’s offensive line has been a mess all season with injuries and ineffective play. The latest was an ankle injury to veteran center Pat Eger. Guard Quinton Spain had his best game of the season against Kansas State, but the Mountaineers will need to find a way to stop a TCU pass rush that leads the Big 12 in total sacks.

Montell Cozart, Kansas
With quarterback Jake Heaps struggling, Kansas has started to give freshman Montell Cozart a look. He split snaps with Heaps last week, completing 4 of 14 passes for 69 yards against Baylor, but he’ll get more playing time this week. For the second time in two seasons, Charlie Weis has backed off a high-profile transfer (Dayne Crist and Heaps) to give reps to a freshman quarterback. Michael Cummings eventually became the starter over Crist last season, but Cummings has attempted only four passes as a sophomore.

DeVondrick Nealy, Iowa State
The Cyclones running back had one of the highlights of last Saturday by leaping over an Oklahoma State safety into the end zone. Nealy will need more than highlight reel plays against Kansas State. With Wimberly out, Nealy and Shontrelle Johnson will take the bulk of the carries for an Iowa State team that has struggled to find a consistent run game.

Big 12 Week 10 Picks
 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
West Va. (+13) at TCUWVU 14-10TCU 27-17TCU 27-20TCU 24-20
Iowa St (+17) at Kansas StKSU 28-10KSU 34-21KSU 38-17KSU 38-17
Kansas (+28) at TexasTexas 35-7Texas 38-13Texas 45-10Texas 41-7
Okla. St (+2.5) at Texas TechTech 38-24Tech 41-38Tech 34-31OSU 34-30
Last Week4-15-05-04-1
This Season42-945-644-743-8

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 10 Preview and Predictions 2013
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-games-november
Body:

College football’s best month of the year begins Friday.

The national title contenders have been established, the Heisman field has been narrowed and many of the seasons that have gone wrong are still salvageable thanks to rivalry games at the end of the month.

Part of the fun of every season is late-season games that no one anticipated being important in September may define the entire year.

That’s not the case with the top game of the final full month of the season, but who would’ve anticipated the Iron Bowl being as important as LSU-Alabama, if not moreso? Who would’ve tabbed Baylor-Texas Tech as one of the key games for the Big 12?

From in-state and conference rivals to surprise matchups and key games in the Heisman race, November should shape up to be another wild month. Here's why:

Top 20 College Football Games in November

1. Nov. 7 Oregon at Stanford (Thursday)
Stanford’s offense is still trying to find consistency without the wealth of tight ends the Cardinal had for the last three seasons. The defense, though, is just as stifling. Stanford will need another standout defensive performance after forcing the Ducks to punt eight times in last year’s 17-14 win in Eugene. Meanwhile, Oregon is looking to hold off Florida State and Ohio State in the BCS standings while Stanford is trying to remain the first one-loss team in the pecking order for the title game.

2. Nov. 30 Alabama at Auburn
Has Auburn replaced LSU as the Crimson Tide’s toughest game before the SEC Championship Game? A rivalry game on the road against a team that has lost one game on the road to LSU sure makes it look that way. The Tigers have lost by a combined score of 91-14 to Alabama post-Cam Newton. This Iron Bowl might not be as lopsided.

3. Nov. 7 Oklahoma at Baylor (Thursday)
By defeating Texas Tech on Saturday, Oklahoma made sure this Thursday night matchup — the same day as Oregon-Stanford, no less — will still be meaningful. The Sooners held Texas Tech to 2.9 yards per carry, but just as important, OU finally got a complete game out of its passing attack. Even if Baylor doesn’t approach 70 points in this game, Oklahoma can’t expect a low-scoring affair.

4. Nov. 2 Miami at Florida State
The last meeting between undefeated teams before bowl season had a wet blanket thrown on it by a three-touchdown point spread. Florida State has been dominant, outscoring ACC opponents by 34.8 points per game, and Miami has needed second-half comebacks against North Carolina and Wake Forest. Still, this is a rivalry game between top-10 opponents and perhaps Florida State’s toughest game for the remainder of the season.

5. Nov. 9 LSU at Alabama
Arguably the most intriguing SEC series of the last five years, Alabama has a 4-2 edge since the Crimson Tide returned to power in the SEC West. Three of the last four have been decided by less than a touchdown, the exception being the 21-0 Alabama win in the BCS championship game rematch following the 2011 season. Both quarterbacks, AJ McCarron and Zach Mettenberger, have had among the finest games of their careers in this series.

6. Nov. 30 Ohio State at Michigan
Barring a shocking Big Ten upset, Ohio State will visit Ann Arbor undefeated, possibly with national title hopes in the mix. Michigan may need this game to win the Legends Division with a chance for a rematch with the Buckeyes for the Big Ten championship game. Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke have stoked the rivalry, but stakes like that will give this game a dimension it hasn’t had since 2006.

7. Nov. 30 Clemson at South Carolina
Clemson-South Carolina may have passed Florida State-Florida as the top ACC-SEC rivalry to end the regular season. Both teams have had setbacks this season, but this should be a top-10 matchup provided both teams win out. South Carolina has won the last four, but both teams may have BCS at-large implications at stake in Columbia. Jadeveon Clowney had 4.5 sacks in this game last season.

8. Nov. 30 Florida State at Florida
A month before the meeting in the Sunshine State, this game doesn’t appear to be competitive. Florida’s offense has backtracked while Florida State looks like it could score 42 points on an off day. Still, it would be intriguing for a national title-contending Florida State team to face Florida in the last week of the regular season and potentially Miami in the ACC Championship Game.

9. Nov. 23 Texas A&M at LSU
Johnny Manziel’s worst career game came against the LSU defense last season when the Aggies quarterback was 29 of 56 for 276 yards with three interceptions. Manziel in front of a raucous Baton Rouge crowd will be a key game in his bid to win a second Heisman Trophy.

10. Nov. 16 Baylor vs. Texas Tech (in Arlington, Texas)
The Big 12’s two surprising contenders in the Big 12 meet at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, the fourth consecutive meeting on a neutral site. That’s been a good move for offensive numbers, as both teams have scored at least 38 points in each of the last three meetings. Expect another offensive showcase.

11. Nov. 13 Ball State at Northern Illinois (Wednesday)


Listen to Athlon Sports writers Braden Gall and David Fox talk Bo Pelini, Michigan-Michigan State, Miami-Florida State and more Week 10 action in this week's Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast.
November football wouldn’t be complete without high-stakes midweek MAC football. Ball State, under rising star coach Pete Lembo, may be the biggest threat to Northern Illinois’ undefeated regular season. A loss here and NIU might not even win the MAC West.

12. Nov. 29 Oregon State at Oregon
Stanford bottled up Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion, but the Pac-12 passing record hopeful will get another crack at top team in Eugene.

13. Nov. 23 Arizona State at UCLA
The Sun Devils and Bruins are a combined 0-3 against Oregon and Stanford, but the Pac-12 South is still up for grabs. The winner here likely wins the division ... and another meeting with either Stanford or Oregon.

14. Nov. 2 Michigan at Michigan State
If Devin Gardner can limit turnovers, Michigan will have a chance in this critical Big Ten Legends matchup. If he can’t, this could get ugly.

15. Nov. 9 Virginia Tech at Miami
Virginia Tech found a way to lose to Duke at home, and Miami may be coming off a loss to Florida State. The winner of this game likely heads to the ACC Championship Game, however.

16. Nov. 30 Texas A&M at Missouri
One last showcase for Manziel against a standout Missouri defensive line and potential national defensive player of the year Michael Sam. The Tigers may be fighting for an SEC East title at this point.

17. Nov. 9 Nebraska at Michigan
If Michigan defeats Michigan State, this will be a key game for the Big Ten Legends Division. Bo Pelini is in must-win territory for the division and perhaps his job.

18. Nov. 16 Michigan State at Nebraska
The Spartans could be 8-1 heading into this meeting in Lincoln after an off week. If Nebraska drops a game to Michigan, the Spartans could come close to wrapping up the Legends division in this game.

19. Nov. 30 Notre Dame at Stanford
Notre Dame could enter this game with a chance to finish the season 10-2, which would be a major feat for at team that lost quarterback Everett Golson before the season started.

20. Nov. 16 Georgia at Auburn
Like many of Auburn’s traditional rivalries, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry hasn’t been competitive in the last two seasons. That will change thanks to a former Georgia cornerback (Nick Marshall) playing QB for Auburn.

Teaser:
College Football's Top 20 Games in November
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News
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The college football season enters November with a less-than-stellar week of games, but hosts Braden Gall and David Fox try to make the best of it.

On this week’s podcast:

• Reviewing wins by Oregon and Stanford, setting up a major Thursday meeting next week. Fox and Gall explain why Oregon’s defense is perpetually overlooked.

• Breaking down the heartbreak at Missouri and why the Tigers are no longer an SEC East frontrunner despite behind ahead in the standings.

• The Minnesota loss may be another referendum on the tenure of Bo Pelini at Nebraska. We outline what he’s achieved and what he hasn’t and if it’s time for Nebraska to make a change.

• In this week’s games, why Michigan may be in for a world of hurt against Michigan State and why Texas Tech is still more impressive after a loss than Oklahoma State has been all season.

• And finally, in the big game this week, why Duke Johnson may be the only hope for Miami in Tallahassee.

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

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

Teaser:
Athlon Sports Cover 2 College Football Podcast: Week 10
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 16:01
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-9-power-rankings-2013
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The Big 12 lost an undefeated team but re-gained another legitimate contender in the league race.

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

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

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

Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

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

Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards

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

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

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

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

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

Fifth Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings 2013
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 07:15
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See, Oregon fans, was that such a long wait?

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

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

Moving Up

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

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

Moving Down

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

Key Games This Week

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

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

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

Other Notes

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

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

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

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

Notes on BCS selection:


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



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



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



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



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

Teaser:
Post-Week 8 BCS Rankings and Analysis
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 19:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
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If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State can keep this up, the Bedlam Game will be mighty interesting.

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

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

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

Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards

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

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

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

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

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

Fifth Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 14:40
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The final Saturday of October gave us further examples of two truths of the soon-to-be-defunct BCS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not every postseason is a source of frustration.

College Football Week 9 Recap: Three And Out

Three Things We Learned from Oregon 42, UCLA 14

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

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

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

Three Things We Learned from Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 30

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

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

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

Moving the Chains

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

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

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

False Starts

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

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

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

Heisman Movers

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

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

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

Stat Watch

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

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

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

Buried on the Depth Chart

No Let Downs After Big Wins
Auburn
Ole Miss
UCF

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

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

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

Dang, They’re Good
Alabama
Florida State
Ohio State

Dang, They’re Bad
Connecticut
Southern Miss
Virginia

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

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

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

Three Telling Numbers from the ACC

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

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

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

Hot Seat Watch

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

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

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

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

Three Unlikely Bowl-Bound Teams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That assumption was wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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


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

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

Doak Walker (Top running back)

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

Biletnikoff (Top wide receiver)

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

Mackey (Top tight end)

Our leader: Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro

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

Outland (Top interior lineman)

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

Nagurski/Bednarik (Defensive player of the year)

Our leader: UCLA’s Anthony Barr

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

Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)

Our leader: Barr

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


Butkus (Top linebacker)

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


Thorpe (Top defensive back)

Our leader: Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner

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



Lou Groza (Top kicker)

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



Ray Guy (Top punter)

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

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



Freshman of the year

Our leader: Florida State’s Jameis Winston

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

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

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



Broyles Award (Top assistant)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big 12 Week 9 Pivotal Players


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

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

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

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

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

Big 12 Week 9 Predictions
 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strange times indeed.

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

Big 12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

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

Big 12 Week 8 Recap and Awards

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

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

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

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

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

Fifth Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teaser:
Surprising Baylor, Texas Tech take top two spots
Post date: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/post-week-8-bcs-rankings-and-analysis
Body:

Before everyone freaks out, this seems to be a good time to remind people that the top two teams in the first BCS standings have met in the championship just twice since 1998.

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

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

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

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

Moving Up

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

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

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

Falling Down

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

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

Key Games This Week

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

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

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

Other Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Notes on BCS selection:


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



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



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



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



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

Teaser:
Alabama starts where it finished last year at No. 1
Post date: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 20:44

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