Articles By Mitch Light

Path: /college-football/2013-sec-post-week-10-power-rankings
Body:

With the favorite winning all four of the SEC games on Saturday, there wasn’t much movement in the weekly Power Rankings. Arkansas, which has lost six straight game, did fall from No. 13 to No. 14. 

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

SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (8-0, 5-0): Alabama had the week off before its huge showdown with LSU in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide, who have allowed 10 points or fewer in all but one game this season, lead the nation in scoring defense (9.8 ppg). Next Week: LSU
22

LSU (7-2, 3-2): After playing nine straight weeks, LSU had its first bye of the season leading up to next Saturday’s trip to Alabama. The Tigers have lost two of their last three on the road — at Georgia and Ole Miss, by three points each. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has thrown five interceptions in the last two games after throwing a total of two in his first seven games. Next Week: at Alabama

33Auburn (8-1, 4-1): Gus Malzahn is making a strong case for National Coach of the Year. Auburn improved to 8-1 overall with a relatively stress-free 35-17 win over Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Tigers only attempted nine passes, but they completed eight for 135 yards — an average of 14.8 yards per attempt. Tre Mason led a productive running attack with a career-high 32 carries for 168 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Nick Marshall added 59 yards rushing on nine attempts. Auburn’s offensive production is up by nearly 200 yards per game this season. Next Week: at Tennessee
44

Texas A&M (7-2, 3-2): It was a slow start on a late kickoff (8 p.m. local time), but the final result was no surprise: Texas A&M 57, UTEP 7. The Aggies only led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter but outscored the Miners 48-0 over the next 30 minutes to take control of the game. Johnny Manziel threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns and added 67 yards and two scores on the ground. Mike Evans, who was getting some recent Heisman talk, only had 46 yards on four receptions. UTEP was without starting quarterback Jameill Showers, who began his career at Texas A&M but transferred following the 2012 season. Showers was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Next Week: Mississippi State

55South Carolina (7-2, 5-2): The Gamecocks only had 307 yards of offense (on 54 snaps) and converted just 1-of-11 on third down yet had little trouble with Mississippi State in a 34-16 win in Columbia. Quarterback Connor Shaw, the hero in Carolina’s win at Missouri last week, threw for 148 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Mike Davis was terrific on the ground, rushing for 127 yards on an 8.5-yard average. He leads the SEC with 117.6 yards per game. The Gamecocks have next week off then close out their SEC season with a home against Florida. Next Week: Bye
66Missouri (8-1, 4-1): The Tigers bounced back from an excruciating overtime loss to South Carolina with an impressive 31-3 win over Tennessee. Mizzou controlled the line of scrimmage, which led to a productive night running the ball. Surprisingly, quarterback Maty Mauk was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 114 yards on 13 carries. Henry Josey, Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy combined for 179 yards on 31 carries. Mauk threw three touchdowns and did not have a pass intercepted, but he completed only 12-of-25 attempts. In his three starts, Mauk has completed 46.6 percent of his passes. Starting quarterback James Franklin could possibly return next week, but the Tigers may opt to keep him out another game since they have a bye following their trip to Kentucky. Next Week: at Kentucky 
77Georgia (5-3, 4-2): Georgia needed a big win to lift its spirits following consecutive losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt. Mission accomplished. The Bulldogs surged to a 20-0 lead on rival Florida but had to hold on for a 23-20 win — their third straight in the series. The final offensive numbers weren’t overwhelming (414 total yards), but the Bulldogs were terrific in the first half when they grabbed the big lead. The return of All-America tailback Todd Gurley was a big boost; he rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 87 yards, highlighted by a 73-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter. Wide receiver Michael Bennett, who missed two games with a knee injury, returned and caught five passes for 59 yards. Next Week: Appalachian State. 
88Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3): Ole Miss did not play. The Rebels are 5-3 overall after ending a midseason three-game slide with wins over LSU and Idaho. The Rebels are out of the SEC West race but are set up for a strong finish, with Troy and Missouri at home followed by a season-ending trip to Starkville for the Egg Bowl. An 8-4 regular season against a difficult schedule — not to mention a slew of key injuries — would be a huge accomplishment for Hugh Freeze’s team. Next Week: Troy
99Florida (4-4, 3-3): Give the Gators credit for a spirited comeback against Georgia in Jacksonville, but this is a team with a ton of problems right now — most notably on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators had only 319 yards against Georgia and have not topped the 400-yard mark in a game since beating Kentucky 24-7 on Sept. 28. Quarterback Tyler Murphy, who played well in his first three games after replacing Jeff Driskel, has completed only 50.6 percent of his passes and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt over the last three games. The Gators have now lost three straight games and have to win two of their final four games — Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, Georgia Southern, Florida State — to become bowl-eligible. Next Week: Vanderbilt
1011

Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4): The Commodores did not play last weekend. At 4-4, they need to win two of their final four games — at Florida, Kentucky, at Tennessee, Wake Forest — to become bowl-eligible for the third straight season. Vanderbilt has lost 22 straight games to Florida and has only won one time in Gainesville — in 1945, the first game between the two programs. Next Week: at Florida 

1110Tennessee (4-5, 1-4): The Vols lost 31-3 at Missouri in Josh Dobbs’ first start at quarterback. The true freshman threw for 240 yards and completed 61.9 percent of his passes, but he tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble. Marlin Lane ran well, averaging 6.2 yards on six carries, but Rajion Neal was limited to eight yards on eight attempts. The Vols had trouble slowing down Mizzou’s rushing attack, giving up 339 yards on 54 carries. Since upsetting South Carolina on Oct. 19, Tennessee has been outscored 76-13 in losses at Alabama and Missouri. Next Week: Auburn
1212Mississippi State (4-4, 1-3): Mississippi State outgained South Carolina 385-to-307 in Columbia and converted 6-of-13 on third down but never really threatened the Gamecocks because it lost the turnover battle 5-to-0. Dak Prescott did some nice things at quarterback (235 yards passing, 78 rushing), but he threw three interceptions. The Bulldogs are 2-7 in their last nine SEC games dating back to the middle of last season. Next Week: at Texas A&M
1314Kentucky (2-6, 0-4): Kentucky climbs out of last place in our weekly power rankings for the first time this season. The Cats rolled past FCS foe Alabama State 48-14 on Saturday, but their move to No. 13 has as much to do with Arkansas’ struggles as their improvement. UK used a balanced attack (233 yards rushing, 189 passing) to wear down Alabama State after a tight first quarter. Jalen Whitlow played most of the way at quarterback, throwing for 186 yards and two TDs and rushing for a game-high 101 yard and two more scores. Former Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell led Alabama State with 84 yards on 12 carries. Next Week: Missouri
1413

Arkansas (3-6, 0-5): Arkansas’ losing streak is now at six games after a 35-17 loss at home to Auburn. The Hogs did a decent job on the ground, with 222 rushing yards, but they continue to get subpar play from the quarterback position. Brandon Allen completed only 10-of-22 passes for 112 yards. In SEC games, Arkansas is averaging 138.2 passing yards per game (13th in the league) and has four touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Overall, the Hogs only have eight touchdowns in five SEC games; to put that in perspective, Texas A&M has 30 touchdowns in five conference games. Next Week: at Ole Miss

SEC Week 10 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
He doesn’t often get mentioned with some of other elite backs in the SEC, but Mason is enjoying a tremendous junior season under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. On Saturday night in Fayetteville, Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries to lead Auburn to a 35-17 win over Arkansas. In SEC play, Mason is averaging 117.8 yards per game with a league-best eight rushing touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Smith, a senior defensive end, had the most productive day of his career in a very important game for the Georgia program. The Atlanta native had nine tackles and was credited with 2.5 sacks (for 12 lost yards) in the Bulldogs’ 23-20 win over Florida — their third straight over their rivals from Gainesville. Georgia held the Gators 319 total yards and allowed only one drive that went for more than 50 yards. 

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs survived a spirited second-half comeback to edge Florida 23-20 in a battle of proud programs seeking a feel-good win. Georgia dominated the first half and appeared on its way to a lopsided win until one play — a lateral that tight end Arthur Lynch failed to pick up — changed the complexion of the game. Florida outscored the Dawgs 17-0 the rest of the way but came up just short and lost for the third straight time in the series. The win keeps Georgia in the hunt in the SEC East. The Bulldogs and South Carolina each have two losses. Missouri has one loss. The Tigers, however, still have to play Ole Miss on the road and Texas A&M at home. 

Coordinator of the Week: Mike Bobo, Georgia
It might seem odd to give Bobo the nod here since Georgia only scored 23 points and was shut out in the second half. But consider a few stats: The Bulldogs had 414 total yards and averaged 6.8 yards per play (only Missouri has done better against Florida this season), and Georgia averaged 9.9 yard per pass attempt — the most against Florida since October 2011. The Bulldogs also converted 7-of-12 on third down — their first game over 50 percent for the season — and ended the game on a 67-yard drive that ate up the final 8:17 of the game. 

Freshman of the Week: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
It was far from a banner week for the league’s freshman. We’ll give the nod to Taylor, who rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries against Georgia in his first career start. The son of former Florida star Fred Taylor has been forced into a prominent role due to injuries at the tailback position. He has rushed for 202 yards on 42 carries in the last three games.

5th Down

• Tyler Russell, Mississippi State’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, did not play a snap in the Bulldogs’ 34–16 loss at South Carolina. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was cleared to play “but if he didn’t have to play he wasn’t going to, which (will allow) him to be very healthy getting into next week.” Dak Prescott threw for 235 yards and rushed for 78 yards and two scores, but he threw three interceptions.

• South Carolina’s Connor Shaw has 17 touchdowns and only one interception in seven SEC games. Only two other quarterbacks have more than 10 TDs in league games — Johnny Manziel (15) and Aaron Murray (15).

• Missouri rushed for 339 yards in a 31-3 win against Tennessee, the Tigers’ highest single-game total in SEC play since joining the league last season. Mizzou was led by quarterback Maty Mauk, who had a career-high 114 yards on 13 attempts, and Henry Josey, who ran for 74 yards on 16 carries.

• Arkansas is averaging only 4.8 yards per passing attempt in SEC games. Only two teams nationally are worse in league play — Purdue (4.5 in the Big Ten) and Syracuse (4.1 in the ACC). Two years ago, in the final year of the Bobby Petrino era, the Hogs averaged a league-best 7.7 yards per pass attempt in SEC games.

• Auburn had a season-low 366 total yards (on a season-low 55 snaps) yet still beat Arkansas with ease, 35-17. The Tigers’ previous season low was 375 yards in a 30-22 win at home against Ole Miss. 

Teaser:
2013 SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/sec-week-10-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:

The Week 10 slate was highlighted by Georgia’s 23-20 win over Florida in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs surged to a 23-3 lead at the half but had to hold on for a three-point win. Elsewhere, South Carolina beat Mississippi State with ease despite struggling a bit on offense; Auburn pounded Arkansas in Gus Malzahn’s return to the Natural State; and Missouri had little trouble with Tennessee, which started true freshman Josh Dobbs at quarterback.  

SEC Week 10 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
He doesn’t often get mentioned with some of other elite backs in the SEC, but Mason is enjoying a tremendous junior season under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. On Saturday night in Fayetteville, Mason rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries to lead Auburn to a 35-17 win over Arkansas. In SEC play, Mason is averaging 117.8 yards per game with a league-best eight rushing touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Garrison Smith, Georgia
Smith, a senior defensive end, had the most productive day of his career in a very important game for the Georgia program. The Atlanta native had nine tackles and was credited with 2.5 sacks (for 12 lost yards) in the Bulldogs’ 23-20 win over Florida — their third straight over their rivals from Gainesville. Georgia held the Gators 319 total yards and allowed only one drive that went for more than 50 yards. 

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs survived a spirited second-half comeback to edge Florida 23-20 in a battle of proud programs seeking a feel-good win. Georgia dominated the first half and appeared on its way to a lopsided win until one play — a lateral that tight end Arthur Lynch failed to pick up — changed the complexion of the game. Florida outscored the Dawgs 17-0 the rest of the way but came up just short and lost for the third straight time in the series. The win keeps Georgia in the hunt in the SEC East. The Bulldogs and South Carolina each have two losses. Missouri has one loss. The Tigers, however, still have to play Ole Miss on the road and Texas A&M at home. 

Coordinator of the Week: Mike Bobo, Georgia
It might seem odd to give Bobo the nod here since Georgia only scored 23 points and was shut out in the second half. But consider a few stats: The Bulldogs had 414 total yards and averaged 6.8 yards per play (only Missouri has done better against Florida this season), and Georgia averaged 9.9 yard per pass attempt — the most against Florida since October 2011. The Bulldogs also converted 7-of-12 on third down — their first game over 50 percent for the season — and ended the game on a 67-yard drive that ate up the final 8:17 of the game. 

Freshman of the Week: Kelvin Taylor, Florida
It was far from a banner week for the league’s freshman. We’ll give the nod to Taylor, who rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries against Georgia in his first career start. The son of former Florida star Fred Taylor has been forced into a prominent role due to injuries at the tailback position. He has rushed for 202 yards on 42 carries in the last three games.

5th Down

• Tyler Russell, Mississippi State’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, did not play a snap in the Bulldogs’ 34–16 loss at South Carolina. Coach Dan Mullen said Russell, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was cleared to play “but if he didn’t have to play he wasn’t going to, which (will allow) him to be very healthy getting into next week.” Dak Prescott threw for 235 yards and rushed for 78 yards and two scores, but he threw three interceptions.

• South Carolina’s Connor Shaw has 17 touchdowns and only one interception in seven SEC games. Only two other quarterbacks have more than 10 TDs in league games — Johnny Manziel (15) and Aaron Murray (15).

• Missouri rushed for 339 yards in a 31-3 win against Tennessee, the Tigers’ highest single-game total in SEC play since joining the league last season. Mizzou was led by quarterback Maty Mauk, who had a career-high 114 yards on 13 attempts, and Henry Josey, who ran for 74 yards on 16 carries.

• Arkansas is averaging only 4.8 yards per passing attempt in SEC games. Only two teams nationally are worse in league play — Purdue (4.5 in the Big Ten) and Syracuse (4.1 in the ACC). Two years ago, in the final year of the Bobby Petrino era, the Hogs averaged a league-best 7.7 yards per pass attempt in SEC games.

• Auburn had a season-low 366 total yards (on a season-low 55 snaps) yet still beat Arkansas with ease, 35-17. The Tigers’ previous season low was 375 yards in a 30-22 win at home against Ole Miss. 

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/sec-week-10-previews-and-predictions-2013
Body:

The Week 10 SEC slate is highlighted by the annual Florida-Georgia showdown in Jacksonville. Both teams have struggled in recent weeks — due in large part to injuries — but this game is still very important to both programs.

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

SEC Week 10 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida (+2.5) vs. Georgia (3:30 ET, CBS)
As poorly as both of these teams have played in the past month, they both still have a shot at the SEC East title — thanks in large part to South Carolina’s comeback win over Missouri last weekend. A lot of things have to happen — most notably, both teams need to start playing better — but it’s possible that either Georgia or Florida could earn a trip to Atlanta with a 6–2 record in the league. Georgia, right now, seems like the candidate more likely to rebound. The Bulldogs are getting healthier — All-America tailback Todd Gurley should be back this week — and are much better at the quarterback position. Florida’s strength (its defense) was exposed in its last game, giving up 500 yards to Missouri, with a backup quarterback making his first start, in a 36–17 loss. Florida has no chance to finish strong unless its defense returns to form.

2. Tennessee (+11) at Missouri (7:00 ET, ESPN)
When you factor in the way the game was lost and what was at stake, no team in the nation has suffered a more painful loss than what Missouri had to deal with on Saturday night. Now, the Tigers must regroup to play a Tennessee team that is good enough to make them sweat. The Vols were manhandled last weekend in Tuscaloosa but beat South Carolina — the same team that defeated Missouri — the week before. Tennessee, however, will be starting a true freshman (Josh Dobbs) at quarterback. Dobbs was pressed into action at Alabama in the second half due to an injury to starter Justin Worley. Dobbs completed 5-of-12 passes for 75 yards and added 19 yards on the ground. Missouri’s defense isn’t quite as formidable as Alabama’s, but the Tigers are very good on the defensive line and feature one of the league’s top cornerbacks in E.J. Gaines. This will be a tough test for the young quarterback.

3. Auburn (-9) at Arkansas (6:00 ET, ESPN2)
How quickly things change in a year. Last October, Auburn — en route to an 0-8 SEC record — managed only 321 yards of offense in a 24–7 loss at home to an Arkansas team that only won one other SEC game. Now, the Tigers are 7-1 overall (3-1 in the SEC) and favored by nine points on the road at Arkansas. The offense, which ranked last in the SEC in 2012 with 305.0 yards per game, now ranks second (511.0 ypg) behind only Texas A&M. Starting quarterback Nick Marshall has been dealing with a shoulder injury and could be a game-time decision, according to coach Gus Malzahn. If he’s unable to play, the Tigers will turn to true freshman Jeremy Johnson. Things are not going well at Arkansas, where Bret Bielema’s first Razorback team has lost five straight games — the last two by a combined score of 104-7. The Hogs have some quality talent at running back and on the defensive line but are lacking top-flight SEC talent elsewhere.

4. Mississippi State (+13) at South Carolina (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
By virtue of its comeback win at Missouri last weekend, South Carolina is now in great position to represent the East Division in the SEC Championship Game. The Gamecocks, who now own the tie-breaker with Mizzou, close their league slate with home games against Mississippi State and Florida. Win those two, and Carolina likely will be playing in Atlanta. Mississippi State, on the other hand, is desperate for a quality win — something the program hasn’t had since beating Wake Forest in the 2011 Music City Bowl (and that’s a stretch). The Bulldogs are 4-3 overall, with wins over Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green and Kentucky — the last two by a combined seven points.

5. UTEP (+45.5) at Texas A&M (9:00 ET,  ESPN)
The only thing intriguing about this game was going to be the return of Jameill Showers to College Station. At one point, Showers was listed ahead of Johnny Manziel on the Aggies’ depth chart. Now, he is the starting quarterback at UTEP, where he has thrown for 1,263 yards and 11 touchdowns in six-plus games. Showers will not, however, be in the lineup this week due to a shoulder injury. So now, there’s really nothing that interesting about this game. Texas A&M will score a lot of points, and the Miners, who are 1-6, will not.

6. Alabama State at Kentucky (7:30 ET, CSS)
Kentucky is searching for win No. 2 on Saturday night. The Wildcats should get it without too much trouble, but it is worth noting that Alabama State is 6-2 and has won six straight games. The Hornets are led by tailback Isaiah Crowell, a former Georgia Bulldog who has rushed for 814 yards in seven games. Kentucky hopes to have sophomore Jalen Whitlow, who has been slowed by an ankle injury, back in the lineup at quarterback. If he is unable to play, it appears that true freshman Reese Phillips — not Maxwell Smith or Patrick Towles (a 4-star recruit) — will be pressed into duty.

5 Pivotal Players

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
The Bulldogs expect to have their All-American back in the lineup after missing three games with a high ankle sprain. J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas did a nice job in relief, but Gurley is a true difference-maker who, when healthy, is one of the top two or three running backs in the nation. He will be running against a Florida defense that hasn’t been nearly as formidable since defensive tackle Dominique Easley went down with a season-ending injury. In the last three games, all without Easley, Florida has allowed 163.7 rushing yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.

Florida secondary
The Florida run defense has taken a step back in recent weeks — see above — but the secondary was the biggest issue in the Gators’ 36-17 loss to Missouri two weeks ago. After having allowed no more than 165 yards in any of its previous six games, Florida gave up 295 yards on only 18 completions to a redshirt freshman making his first start. The Gators’ pass defense — led by the league’s best collection of cornerbacks — will need to be more effective against Georgia on Saturday.

Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
The true freshman from Georgia will make his first start on Saturday night at Missouri. Dobbs, who originally committed to Arizona State, was hand-picked by the new staff after its arrival in Knoxville last December. He is one of three freshman quarterbacks on the roster — two true and one redshirt — but most around the program believe Dobbs is the best fit for the offense. He’ll have an opportunity to display his skills in prime time on Saturday night.

Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
At first glance, it appears that Collins, one of the top running backs in the Class of 2013, has struggled against SEC competition. After all, he is averaging 120.3 yards per game in the Hogs’ four non-conference games and 79.0 yards in their four SEC games. But the dip in production is a product of fewer opportunities — he is averaging 13.8 carries against SEC teams and 21.5 against all others. In fact, Collins’ per-carry numbers are better in league games (5.8) than non-conference games (5.6). The Razorbacks need to establish the running game Saturday against Auburn and make sure their star freshman is a big part of the offense.

Jameon Lewis, WR, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs will need some big plays from their top weapons to pull off the upset at South Carolina Saturday. Last week, Lewis, a junior wideout, scored on a 19-yard carry in the first quarter, a 17-yard reception in the second and tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Dak Prescott in the third. Now, it’s not likely that Lewis will duplicate this rare feet against South Carolina, but the Bulldogs will look to their top wide receiver (30 catches for 446 yards) to play a key role against a very good South Carolina defense.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Miss. St. (+13) at S. Carolina

S. Carolina 31-13S. Carolina 31-17S. Carolina 34-20S. Carolina 27-13

Florida (+2.5) vs. Georgia

Georgia 28-10
Georgia 28-24Georgia 24-20Georgia 27-20

Auburn (-9) at Arkansas

Auburn 24-10
Auburn 42-14Auburn 38-20Auburn 31-17

Tennessee (+11) at Missouri

Missouri 21-17Missouri 34-20Missouri 31-20Missouri 28-20

Alabama State at Kentucky

Kentucky 24-10Kentucky 33-20Kentucky 48-17Kentucky 31-10

UTEP (+45.5) at Texas A&M

Texas A&M 52-21Texas A&M 51-20Texas A&M 62-14Texas A&M 58-7
Last Week6-17-07-06-1
Season64-1363-1464-1361-16

 

Teaser:
SEC 2013 Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-sec-post-week-9-power-rankings
Body:

Alabama is the top ranked team in the nation and obviously the No. 1 team in the SEC. The Crimson Tide disposed of Tennessee 45-10 in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Missouri was the biggest move in the power rankings — in the wrong direction. The Tigers fell from No. 2 to No. 6 after losing at home to South Carolina.

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

SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (8-0, 5-0): Alabama beat Tennessee for the seventh straight time — and did so with remarkable ease. The Crimson Tide led 21-0 after one quarter and 35-0 at the half en route to the 45-10 win over the visiting Volunteers. AJ McCarron, as usual, was efficient throwing the ball, completing 19-of-27 passes for 275 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Kevin Norwood caught six passes for a career-high 112 yards to lead the Tide’s underrated crop of receivers. Alabama has allowed 10 points or less in all but one game this season. Next Week: Bye
23LSU (7-2, 3-2): LSU stepped out of SEC play to host Furman on Saturday night. The Paladins made it interesting for a while — they trailed 20-16 at the half — but were overwhelmed in the final two quarters of a 48-16 loss. The Tigers rolled up 672 yards of offense, with 300-plus through the air and on the ground. Tailbacks Jeremy Hill and Terrence McGee were unstoppable, combining for 251 yards and four touchdowns on only 21 carries. Furman, coached by longtime Vanderbilt assistant Bruce Fowler, managed only 198 yards. Next Week: Bye
34Auburn (7-1, 3-1): The Tigers cruised to a 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic in their final non-conference game of the season. Quarterback Nick Marshall was sidelined with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter, forcing the Tigers to turn to Jeremy Johnson, a true freshman who has started one game this season. Johnson was sharp, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Cameron Artis-Payne led a productive Auburn ground attack with 93 yards on 13 carries. Next Week: at Arkansas
46Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2): Kevin Sumlin was “hopeful’ that his star quarterback, bothered by a shoulder injury, would be available to play against Vanderbilt. Johnny Manziel said there was never any doubt. The 2012 Heisman Trophy Winner threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns to lead Texas A&M to a 56-24 win. Manziel was extremely sharp early, leading the Aggies on touchdown drives of 75, 66, 80 and 39 yards as they raced out to a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter. Texas A&M committed four turnovers — the most this season — but still won the game with relative ease. The Aggies’ defense, which entered the day ranked 120th in the nation, gave up a season-low 330 yards. Next Week: UTEP
55South Carolina (6-2, 4-2): The Gamecocks are back in the SEC East title chase after rallying to beat Missouri 27-24 in double-overtime on the road. Connor Shaw was the hero for Carolina, coming off the bench in the third quarter and throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks won despite netting only 75 rushing yards on 35 attempts. South Carolina is now only one game behind Mizzou in the loss column, and the Gamecocks own the tie-breaker between the two teams. Next Week: Mississippi State
62Missouri (7-1, 3-1): Missouri is 7-1 overall and alone in first place in the SEC East. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Tigers blew a golden opportunity to all but wrap up the division title by blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter to South Carolina on Saturday night. Maty Mauk, in his second career start, only completed 10-of-25 passes but those 10 completions went for 249 yards — thanks in part to a 96-yard catch-and-run by L’Damian Washington in the second quarter. The Mizzou defense did a great job against the run, holding South Carolina to 75 yards on 35 carries for a 2.1-yard average. However, the Gamecocks passed for 423 yards on 35 completions, including some huge throws from Shaw in the second half. Next: Tennessee
77Georgia (4-3, 3-2): The Bulldogs used the week off to get healthy — both physically and mentally — following their loss at Vanderbilt. Georgia hopes to have star tailback Todd Gurley back in the lineup. The All-American has missed three straight games due a high-ankle sprain. Next Week: vs. Florida
88

Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3): After a grueling three-week stretch that featured trips to Alabama and Auburn and a home game with Texas A&M, the Rebels stepped out of SEC play and cruised past Idaho 59-14 in Oxford. Ole Miss outgained Idaho 572-to-253 with a balanced attack that produced 280 yards passing and 292 yards rushing. Sophomore tailback I’Tavius Mathers led the way with 138 yards on 14 carries. Next Week: Bye

99Florida (4-3, 3-2): The Gators had a bye to regroup after their troubling 36-17 loss at Missouri two weeks ago. Will Muschamp’s team, which has dealt with a slew of key injuries on both sides of the ball, heads to Jacksonville next week to take on rival Georgia. The Gators have lost two straight in the series for the first time since the late 1980s. Next Week: vs. Georgia. 
1010Tennessee (4-4, 1-3): Tennessee’s hopes for an upset in Tuscaloosa ended well before halftime. The Vols trailed No. 1 Alabama 28-0 after four possessions and never threatened the rest of the way. The big story for Tennessee was the debut of true freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The staff was hoping to redshirt both true freshman — Dobbs and Riley Ferguson — but Butch Jones was forced to go to the bullpen when Justin Worley went down with a hand injury late in the first half. Dobbs made his debut in the third quarter and threw for 75 yards on 12 attempts. Tennessee has lost 10 straight SEC road games, dating back to November 2010. Next Week: at Missouri
1111Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-4): You might think that holding Johnny Manziel to a career-low 11 yards rushing would have been a positive development for the Vanderbilt defense. You would be wrong. Led by an extremely efficient passing attack — three A&M quarterbacks combined to throw for 377 yards and average 8.2 yards per attempt — Texas A&M rolled up 556 yards of offense in a 56-24 win over the Dores in College Station. Vanderbilt trailed 28-0 early in the second quarter but scored 17 straight points to cut the deficit to 11 points at the half. The fun ended on the first play of the third quarter when Howard Matthews stepped in front of a Patton Robinette pass and returned the ball 26 yards for a score. Robinette, making his first start, completed 15-of-28 passes for 215 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Next Week: Bye
1212Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2): It was a struggle, but Mississippi State picked up its first SEC win of the season, holding on to beat Kentucky 28-22 in Starkville on Thursday night. The Bulldogs dominated the game statistically — outgaining UK 447-to-325 — but needed a defensive stop in the last minute to preserve the win. Sophomore Dak Prescott, back as the starter at quarterback after giving way to Tyler Russell the previous week, threw for 268 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. State converted 10-of-18 on third down, did not commit a turnover and scored a touchdown on all three of its trips to the red zone. Next Week:
1313Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2): It was a struggle, but Mississippi State picked up its first SEC win of the season, holding on to beat Kentucky 28-22 in Starkville on Thursday night. The Bulldogs dominated the game statistically — outgaining UK 447-to-325 — but needed a defensive stop in the last minute to preserve the win. Sophomore Dak Prescott, back as the starter at quarterback after giving way to Tyler Russell the previous week, threw for 268 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. State converted 10-of-18 on third down, did not commit a turnover and scored a touchdown on all three of its trips to the red zone. Next Week:
1414Kentucky (1-6, 0-4): Kentucky put itself in position to record its first SEC win the of the season, but the Wildcats’ final drive stalled at the Mississippi State 29-yard line when Maxwell Smith’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete. The result was a 28-22 loss in Starkville — the Cats’ 12th-straight defeat in SEC play. With Jalen Whitlow slowed by an ankle injury, Smith got the start at quarterback. The sophomore did not throw an interception but threw for only 160 yards on 34 attempts. Whitlow played sparingly, completing his only passing attempt (for five yards) and rushing for 12 yards on four attempts. Raymond Sanders rushed for a season-high 86 yards on 15 carries. Next Week: Alabama State

SEC Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Shaw, nursing a knee injury, came off the bench in the third quarter with his team trailing 17-0. About two hours later, the Gamecocks walked off the turf at Faurot Field with an improbable 27-24 win in double-overtime. Shaw was the man most responsible for Carolina’s season-saving win. The senior completed 20-of-29 passes for 201 yards with three touchdowns  — despite not playing the entire first half. The Gamecocks tied the game when Shaw connected with Nick Jones on a 2-yard touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in regulation and sent the game into a second overtime when Shaw found Bruce Ellington for a TD on 4th-and-goal from the 15.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Quarles, one of the more underrated players in the SEC, was disruptive in the middle of the South Carolina defensive line. The junior from Hodges, S.C., recorded six tackles, including three for a loss (and two sacks) in the Gamecocks’ double-overtime win over Missouri. Quarles leads South Carolina with 10.0 tackles for a loss and 7.0 sacks — five more than his more famous teammate, Jadeveon Clowney.

Team of the Week: South Carolina
South Carolina kept its SEC East title hopes alive with an improbable comeback win at Missouri. The Gamecocks, who entered the day two games behind Mizzou in the loss column, rallied from 17-0 down in the fourth quarter and eventually won the game in the second overtime when MU’s Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal. South Carolina is now 4-2 in league play with games remaining at home against Mississippi State and Florida. Missouri, now 3-1, still has to play Tennessee and Texas A&M at home and Ole Miss and Kentucky on the road. Florida and Georgia both have two losses as well.  

Coordinator of the Week: Mark Snyder, Texas A&M
The SEC’s worst defense — at least statistically — had its best day of the season on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M, which had allowed an average of 532.0 yards in SEC action, limited Vanderbilt to 329 yards and only 4.3 yards per play. The Commodores were playing with a redshirt freshman quarterback (Patton Robinette) making his first start, but this was still an impressive performance by the Aggies’ defense. A&M had allowed at least 250 yards rushing in every SEC game this season — including 379 in the loss to Auburn two weeks ago — but held Vanderbilt to 95 on 44 attempts.

Freshman of the Week: Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
Johnson, a true freshman from Montgomery, Ala., was forced into action when Nick Marshall went down with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter. Johnson responded, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic. Johnson connected with Sammie Coates for a 36-yard TD on his first play of the game and then found Coates again for a 67-yard score later in the second quarter.

Fifth Down

• Johnny Manziel, playing through a shoulder injury, had career-lows in rushing yards (11) and rushing attempts (four) — and two of his attempts came on sacks. Prior to Saturday, Manziel’s fewest carries and yards both game in the 2013 season-opener against Rice, when he had 19 yards on six attempts in one half of action.

• Alabama has not allowed more than two touchdowns to an SEC team not named Texas A&M in the regular season since the 2010 Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. In the last two regular seasons, Alabama has given up 71 points in two games against Texas A&M and a total of 78 points in its other 11 SEC games.

• Missouri let a late lead slip away, but the Tigers continue to get solid play from their defensive line. Mizzou held South Carolina to only 75 yards rushing on 35 attempts for a 2.1-yard average. Mike Davis, who entered the day as the SEC’s leading rusher, was held to a season-low 51 yards on 19 carries. His previous low was 77 yards on 17 carries against Vanderbilt.

• It’s a small consolation for Tennessee — which lost 45-10 at Alabama — but the Vols had to be pleased with the play of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. The two combined for 90 yards on 19 carries (a 4.7-yard average) against the SEC’s top rushing defense. Neal leads the team with 763 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

• Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood had the first 100-yard game of his career on Saturday afternoon. The senior caught a season-high six passes for 112 yards in Bama’s win over Tennessee. 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/sec-week-9-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:

The only game with a significant impact on the SEC standings in Week 9 turned out to be a thriller. South Carolina, left for dead after trailing 17-0 entering the fourth quarter, rallied to beat Missouri to keep its SEC East title hopes alive. Elsewhere, Johnny Manziel was brilliant in Texas A&M’s win over Vanderbilt; Alabama rolled, as expected, over Tennessee; and Mississippi State outlasted Kentucky on Thursday night in Starkville.

SEC Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Shaw, nursing a knee injury, came off the bench in the third quarter with his team trailing 17-0. About two hours later, the Gamecocks walked off the turf at Faurot Field with an improbable 27-24 win in double-overtime. Shaw was the man most responsible for Carolina’s season-saving win. The senior completed 20-of-29 passes for 201 yards with three touchdowns  — despite not playing the entire first half. The Gamecocks tied the game when Shaw connected with Nick Jones on a 2-yard touchdown with 42 seconds remaining in regulation and sent the game into a second overtime when Shaw found Bruce Ellington for a TD on 4th-and-goal from the 15.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Quarles, one of the more underrated players in the SEC, was disruptive in the middle of the South Carolina defensive line. The junior from Hodges, S.C., recorded six tackles, including three for a loss (and two sacks) in the Gamecocks’ double-overtime win over Missouri. Quarles leads South Carolina with 10.0 tackles for a loss and 7.0 sacks — five more than his more famous teammate, Jadeveon Clowney.

Team of the Week: South Carolina
South Carolina kept its SEC East title hopes alive with an improbable comeback win at Missouri. The Gamecocks, who entered the day two games behind Mizzou in the loss column, rallied from 17-0 down in the fourth quarter and eventually won the game in the second overtime when MU’s Andrew Baggett missed a 24-yard field goal. South Carolina is now 4-2 in league play with games remaining at home against Mississippi State and Florida. Missouri, now 3-1, still has to play Tennessee and Texas A&M at home and Ole Miss and Kentucky on the road. Florida and Georgia both have two losses as well.  

Coordinator of the Week: Mark Snyder, Texas A&M
The SEC’s worst defense — at least statistically — had its best day of the season on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M, which had allowed an average of 532.0 yards in SEC action, limited Vanderbilt to 329 yards and only 4.3 yards per play. The Commodores were playing with a redshirt freshman quarterback (Patton Robinette) making his first start, but this was still an impressive performance by the Aggies’ defense. A&M had allowed at least 250 yards rushing in every SEC game this season — including 379 in the loss to Auburn two weeks ago — but held Vanderbilt to 95 on 44 attempts.

Freshman of the Week: Jeremy Johnson, Auburn
Johnson, a true freshman from Montgomery, Ala., was forced into action when Nick Marshall went down with a shoulder injury early in the second quarter. Johnson responded, completing 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic. Johnson connected with Sammie Coates for a 36-yard TD on his first play of the game and then found Coates again for a 67-yard score later in the second quarter.

Fifth Down

• Johnny Manziel, playing through a shoulder injury, had career-lows in rushing yards (11) and rushing attempts (four) — and two of his attempts came on sacks. Prior to Saturday, Manziel’s fewest carries and yards both game in the 2013 season-opener against Rice, when he had 19 yards on six attempts in one half of action.

• Alabama has not allowed more than two touchdowns to an SEC team not named Texas A&M in the regular season since the 2010 Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. In the last two regular seasons, Alabama has given up 71 points in two games against Texas A&M and a total of 78 points in its other 11 SEC games.

• Missouri let a late lead slip away, but the Tigers continue to get solid play from their defensive line. Mizzou held South Carolina to only 75 yards rushing on 35 attempts for a 2.1-yard average. Mike Davis, who entered the day as the SEC’s leading rusher, was held to a season-low 51 yards on 19 carries. His previous low was 77 yards on 17 carries against Vanderbilt.

• It’s a small consolation for Tennessee — which lost 45-10 at Alabama — but the Vols had to be pleased with the play of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. The two combined for 90 yards on 19 carries (a 4.7-yard average) against the SEC’s top rushing defense. Neal leads the team with 763 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

• Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood had the first 100-yard game of his career on Saturday afternoon. The senior caught a season-high six passes for 112 yards in Bama’s win over Tennessee. 

Teaser:
SEC Week 9 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 - 13:03
Path: /college-football/sec-week-9-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

It’s far from the most exciting slate of games in the SEC this week, but there are still some intriguing matchups. Missouri, the surprise of the nation, can all but clinch the SEC East with a win over South Carolina; Tennessee, fresh off its big win over the Gamecocks, heads to Tuscaloosa to battle the might Crimson Tide; and Mark Stoops takes his Kentucky Wildcats to Starkville for a Thursday night showdown with Mississippi State.

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

SEC Week 9 Game Power Rankings

1. South Carolina (+3) at Missouri (7:00 ET, ESPN2)
It’s the second annual Battle of Columbia — and it looks as though it might also be the battle of the backup quarterbacks. Missouri will once again go with Maty Mauk under center, and it appears that South Carolina will be without Connor Shaw, who injured his shoulder late in the loss at Tennessee. Shaw’s backup, Dylan Thompson, has plenty of experience, but this is a big blow to the Carolina offense. Shaw is a savvy senior leader who — up until the Tennessee game — had been playing extremely well. Mauk passed his first test, throwing for nearly 300 yards in the Tigers’ surprisingly easy win over Florida. Missouri is already two games up in the loss column in the SEC East; a win on Saturday will basically guarantee the Tigers a trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game. 

2. Tennessee (+28.5) at Alabama (3:30 ET, CBS)
Alabama has dominated this great Southern rivalry of late, winning the last six games against Tennessee — all but one by 20 points or more. The Vols have not scored more than 17 points in regulation against Bama since 2001, when they won 35-24 in Tuscaloosa. (They scored 51 in the five-overtime classic in 2003, but had only 20 points at the end of the fourth quarter). Based on the recent play of the Alabama defense, Tennessee will have a hard time scoring more than 10 points on Saturday afternoon. Since its 49-42 win at Texas A&M, Alabama has allowed an average of 212 yards and 3.2 points in five games. Colorado State is the only team during that span that averaged more than 4.0 yards per play. Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley has played relatively well in his last two games, completing 36-of-65 for 394 yards without an interception, but both of those games — vs. Georgia and South Carolina — were at home. This trip to Tuscaloosa will be far more challenging.

3. Kentucky (+10) at Mississippi State (7:30 ET, Thur., ESPN)
This is a pivotal game for Mississippi State, which is 3-3 and searching for three more wins to become bowl-eligible. The Bulldogs have lost to three teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the AP poll — Oklahoma State (19), LSU (13) and Auburn (11) — and defeated three non-AQ conference teams. State is expected to start Tyler Russell at quarterback for the second straight week, but sophomore Dak Prescott will also see significant time. Kentucky announced on Tuesday that Maxwell Smith, a sophomore, will get the start at quarterback. Jalen Whitlow, who injured his ankle in the loss to Alabama two weeks ago, will be available and could play. Kentucky, as expected, is struggling on offense. In SEC games, UK is averaging only 214.7 yards per game; nationally, only Purdue is averaging less yards per game in league play.

4. Vanderbilt (+18) at Texas A&M (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Vanderbilt and Texas A&M will meet for the first time ever. The Commodores are rejuvenated after rallying to beat Georgia in Nashville. The defense, which had really struggled in three previous SEC games, only gave up 221 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, Georgia was short-handed due to injury, but this was still a big step in the right direction for Vanderbilt. It looks as though the Dores will be without starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who went down with a knee injury in the second quarter against Georgia. Patton Robinette, a redshirt freshman, will make his first career start. Texas A&M must bounce back from a surprising loss at home to Auburn. The Aggie offense, as usual, was fantastic, but the defense continues to be a major concern. A&M ranks last in the league in total defense (494.4 ypg) and yards allowed per play (6.7). In league play, those numbers jump to 532.0 yards per game and 7.3 per play.

5. Florida Atlantic (+24.5) at Auburn (7:30 ET, FSN)
Auburn is perhaps the most improved team in the nation. The Tigers, 0-8 in the SEC last season — and outgained by an average of 214.3 yards in those eight games — are now 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the league after last week’s 45-41 win at Texas A&M. They already have more total yards in four SEC games (1,886) than they had last year in eight league games (1,881). Florida Atlantic is also much-improved, though the Owls only have two wins on their resume. Their last three losses have come by seven points in overtime at Middle Tennessee, by four points at Rice and by one point to Marshall.

6. Idaho (+41) at Ole Miss (7:30 PM, CSS)
The Rebels step out of SEC play this week after an emotional win over rival LSU last Saturday night. This week’s opponent, quite simply, is not very good. Idaho, coached by Bobby Petrino’s brother (Paul), is 1-6 overall, and all but one of its losses have come by 10 points or more. Ole Miss shouldn’t have to break a sweat on Saturday night.

7. Furman (+47) at LSU (7:00 PM, PPV)
LSU must regroup after suffering its second loss of the season — a loss (27-24 at Ole Miss) that knocked the Tigers out of the national title race. The once-potent LSU offense has been held to an average of 357.5 yards and 20.5 points the last two weeks — not awful numbers but definitely down a notch from previous games. Furman is coached by Bruce Fowler, who served as the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt from 2002-10. While at Vanderbilt, Fowler faced LSU twice in Baton Rouge, holding the Tigers to 24 points in 2004 and 23 points in 2009.

5 Pivotal Players

Dylan Thompson, QB, South Carolina
With Connor Shaw sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Thompson will get his first start of the year. In his only significant action this season, Thompson completed 15-of-32 passes for 261 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in South Carolina’s 28-25 win at UCF. He will be facing a confident Missouri defense that limited Florida to 151 total yards last week in a 36-17 win in Columbia. Led by defensive end Michael Sam — a breakout performer in his senior season — the Tigers lead the SEC with 23 sacks. Thompson and the South Carolina offensive line will have to limit the negative plays (sacks, tackles for a loss) on Saturday night.

Missouri’s wide receivers
Missouri’s outstanding crop of big, physical and athletic receivers has been instrumental in the Tigers’ 7-0 start. This week, L’Damian Washington, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Murphy & Co. will face a South Carolina secondary that has held four of six opponents under 200 yards passing but gave up 300-plus to both Georgia and UCF. If the Tigers are able to stretch the field — they are averaging 8.5 yards per passing attempt in three SEC games — South Carolina could have trouble slowing down Mizzou’s balanced attack.

Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, Tennessee
So many things will have to go well for Tennessee to hang with Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa — chief among them will be the Vols’ ability to run the ball with consistency. Neal and Lane have combined to rush for 1,028 yards on 189 carries for a solid 5.4-yard average. Yards, however, will be more difficult to come by this weekend. Alabama has been dominant against the run this season, allowing an average of 98.3 yards per game and 3.26 yards per carry. Since losing at Texas A&M, Bama has allowed a total of 371 rushing yards in five games. Tennessee, in its two previous games against top-flight rushing defenses, picked up 178 yards on 38 carries against Oregon and 66 yards on 21 carries against Florida.

Raymond Sanders and Jojo Kemp, Kentucky
With Maxwell Smith starting over Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky loses the threat of the run from the quarterback position. That puts more pressure on the Wildcats’ primary tailbacks, Sanders and Kemp, to be productive. Kentucky’s struggles on offense haven’t allowed either back to get much work — Sanders has 52 carries, Kemp 44 — but they have been effective in limited touches. Mississippi State has been solid against the run, but Kentucky will need to find a way to get Sanders and Kemp involved in the offense. It’s tough to envision Kentucky winning this game if Smith is asked to throw the ball over 30 times.

Vanderbilt’s linebackers
The Commodores’ linebacking corps struggled in losses to South Carolina and Missouri. The unit played much better last week — thanks in part to Karl Butler’s return from injury — in a 31-27 win over Georgia. Jake Sealand, who is filling in for the injured Chase Garnham in the middle, played his best game of the season, and Darreon Herring, a first-year starter on the outside, led the team with 10 tackles and had three pass break-ups. This group will face the ultimate challenge on Saturday against Johnny Manziel (assuming he plays) and the Texas A&M offense. The entire defense will need to play well, but it’s especially important for the linebackers to be at their best against a quarterback who is equally adept at running and throwing. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Kentucky (+10) at Miss. St.Miss. State 21-14Miss. State 31-23Miss. State 31-20
 
Miss. State 21-10
Vanderbilt (+18) at Texas A&M 

Texas A&M 49-28

Texas A&M 44-31Texas A&M 45-30Texas A&M 44-31
Tennessee (+28.5) at Bama 

Alabama 38-7

Alabama 31-13Alabama 38-13Alabama 38-10
S. Carolina (+3) at Missouri 

Missouri 24-17

S. Carolina 30-24S. Carolina 24-20Missouri 27-20
Furman (+47) at LSU

LSU 56-7

LSU 52-7LSU 55-3LSU 41-0
FAU (+24.5) at Auburn

Auburn 49-6

Auburn 44-17Auburn 52-17Auburn 44-10
Idaho (+41) at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 35-7

Ole Miss 38-13Ole Miss 55-10    Ole Miss 48-0
Season58-1256-1457-1355-15

 

Teaser:
SEC Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-8-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:

It was one of the craziest weeks in years in the SEC. The favorite lost in five of the six league games, with only Alabama holding serve with a 52-0 win over Arkansas. Elsewhere, Vanderbilt beat Georgia in Nashville, Auburn stunned Texas A&M in College Station, Tennessee rallied to defeat South Carolina in Knoxville, and Ole Miss topped LSU with a late field goal in Oxford.

SEC Week 8 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Tre Mason, Auburn
Mason was one of the bright spots for Auburn during a dismal 2012 season, rushing for 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns on a healthy 5.9-yard average. Mason is once again having a fine season, but his play is being overshadowed by his team’s first-year coach (Gus Malzahn) and starting quarterback (Nick Marshall). On Saturday, Mason rushed for a career-high 178 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries to lead Auburn to a thrilling 45-41 win at Texas A&M. Mason’s lone touchdown, on a 5-yard run, put Auburn on top for good with 1:48 remaining.

Defensive Player of the Week: Michael Sam, Missouri
Missouri beat Florida 36-17 in Maty Mauk’s first start at quarterback, but the story of the day was the Tigers’ surprisingly dominant defense. Defensive end Michael Sam recorded three sacks — to increase his SEC-leading total to 9.0 — to spearhead a Mizzou defense that limited Florida to 151 yards of offense. Sam also leads the SEC with 13.0 tackles for a loss.

Team of the Week: Tennessee
After flirting with a breakthrough win two weeks against Georgia, Tennessee rallied to beat South Carolina in Knoxville, giving first-year coach Butch Jones his first signature win. The Vols’ offense struggled for much of the day — UT only averaged 4.2 yards per play — but they made a big play at the right time (see MarQuez North below) to win the game. Tennessee’s defense held South Carolina to 384 yards and three touchdowns, one week after the Gamecocks had 537 yards in a 52-7 win at Arkansas.

Coordinator of the Week: Bob Shoop, Vanderbilt
Yes, Georgia was short-handed due to injury, but Vanderbilt deserves credit for holding the Bulldogs to 221 yards of offense — their fewest since gaining 200 in a loss to Virginia Tech in the 2006 Chik-fil-A Bowl — and two offensive touchdowns in a 31-27 win in Nashville. The Commodores had allowed an average of 530.3 yards in their previous three SEC games. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who averaged 287.7 yards in his first three games against Vanderbilt, was held to 114 yards — the second-fewest of his career — on 28 attempts.

Freshman of the Week: Marquez North, Tennessee
Sometimes a game comes down to one player making a great play. And that’s what North did in Tennessee’s 23-21 win over South Carolina. With the Vols trailing 21-20 and facing a 3rd-and-10 from their own 35-yard line with under three minutes to go, North made a spectacular 48-yard catch (with one hand) down the sideline that set Tennessee up for the game-winning field goal. North, a true freshman, caught three passes for 102 yards — the first 100-yard game of his career.

Fifth Down

• Alabama has allowed one touchdown or less in five of seven games this season and in 40 of 61 games dating back to the beginning of the 2009 season.

• Last year, Auburn had a total of 1,881 yards in eight SEC games (235.5 ypg). This season, under first-year coach Gus Malzahn, the Tigers have 1,886 yards in four SEC games (471.5 ypg).

• LSU’s Zach Mettenberger threw three interceptions in the first half against Ole Miss; he had thrown a total of two in his first seven games.

• Florida averaged 2.5 yards per snap in its 36–17 loss at Missouri. The Gators have had seven games with under 4.0 yards per snap in Will Muschamp’s two-plus seasons as the head coach. They had three such games in 2010, Urban Meyer’s final season, and none from 2007-09.

• Bo Wallace threw for 346 yards in Ole Miss’ 27-24 win over LSU, and, more important, did not throw an interception in 39 attempts. Last year, Wallace threw for 310 yards but was intercepted three times in the Rebels’ 41-35 loss in Baton Rouge.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 11:18
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-7-power-rankings-2013
Body:

Georgia dropped five spots in the power rankings after losing at home to Missouri. The Bulldogs have some quality wins, but this is not the same team — due largely to injuries — that beat South Carolina and LSU earlier in the season. Missouri jumped from seventh to fifth after its win in Athens, and Arkansas dropped from 11th to 12th after losing badly at home to South Carolina. Meanwhile, LSU is now No. 2 after its impressive victory over Florida.

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

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11

Alabama (6-0, 3-0): Alabama was dominant in all phases during a 48-7 win over Kentucky in Lexington. After being held scoreless on their first three possessions (one punt and two lost fumbles), the Crimson Tide scored on their final eight drives, with six touchdowns and two field goals. AJ McCarron threw for 359 yards to lead an offense that rolled up 668 total yards and picked up 37 first downs. T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake each had over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama has now won 17 straight games away from home. Next Week: Arkansas

23LSU (6-1, 3-1): In a game that hearkened back to the SEC of 2010, LSU beat Florida 17-6 in a defensive struggle that featured only two touchdowns and a combined 568 yards of offense. The Tigers limited Florida to 238 yards (only 3.6 per play) and did not allow a drive longer than 50 yards after the first quarter. LSU scored both of its touchdowns in the second quarter, both on one-yard runs — by J.C. Copeland and Anthony Jennings. Jeremy Hill rushed for 121 yards on 19 carries, giving him four 100-yard games this season. LSU is now bowl-eligible for the 14th straight season. Next Week: at Ole Miss
34

Texas A&M (5-1, 3-1): The Aggies had to overcome an apparent knee injury to Johnny Manziel (don’t worry, he’s fine) and two fourth-quarter deficits but managed to escape Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with a 41-38 win over Ole Miss. Manziel played like a Heisman Trophy winner, completing 31-of-39 passes for 346 yards and rushing for a game-high 113 yards and two touchdowns. Texas A&M tied the game at 38-38 on a 6-yard run by Manziel with 3:41 remaining and won it on a 33-yard field goal by Josh Lambo as the clock expired. Next Week: Auburn

45South Carolina (5-1, 2-1): After a couple of less-than-satisfying wins in league play — at home over Vanderbilt and Kentucky — the Gamecocks no doubt feel great about their performance in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon. South Carolina fell behind 7-0 early in the first quarter but then scored the game’s final 52 points to cruise to the easy win. The Gamecocks outgained Arkansas 537-to-248 and had 32 to first downs to seven for the Hogs. Sophomore tailback Mike Davis, perhaps the nation’s most underrated offensive player, had another big game, rushing for 118 yards and 19 carries. Next Week: at Tennessee
57Missouri (6-0, 2-0): The Tigers followed up their dominating win at Vanderbilt with an impressive showing in Athens to remain undefeated, both overall and in league play. Missouri jumped out to a 28-10 lead at halftime and held on to beat Georgia 41-26 in a breakthrough SEC win for Gary Pinkel’s program. The Tigers, however, will have to play without star quarterback James Franklin for the foreseeable future. Franklin, who battled shoulder and knee issues last season, separated his shoulder in the second half on Saturday. Mizzou is very high on redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, but losing Franklin is a huge blow. Next Week: Florida
66Florida (4-2, 3-1): Florida became the first team to slow down LSU’s suddenly high-powered attack, but the Gators were unable to muster enough offense of their own to seriously challenge the Tigers in Baton Rouge. Florida had only 240 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown in a 17-6 loss. Tyler Murphy was decent at quarterback, but he averaged only 4.3 yards on his 27 attempts and did not have a completion longer than 20 yards. Florida fans got their first long look at true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor (son of Fred), who rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries. Next Week: at Missouri
72Georgia (4-2, 3-1): Maybe it was the injuries — or maybe Missouri was just better. But the result was a disheartening 41-26 loss at home that knocked the Bulldogs out of the national title race. Georgia had 454 yards of offense but committed four turnovers, including an Aaron Murray fumble on a sack in the second quarter that resulted in a Missouri touchdown. With Todd Gurley still out with an ankle injury, true freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas carried the rushing load, combining to run for 157 yards on 26 carries. Next: at Vanderbilt 
88Auburn (5-1, 2-1): As expected, Auburn had little trouble with Western Carolina, one of the worst FCS teams in the nation. The big story for the Tigers was Gus Malzahan’s decision to start true freshman Jeremy Johnson at quarterback. With starter Nick Marshall slowed by an injury, Malzahn went with Johnson, who had yet to play in a game, over sophomore Jonathan Wallace. In his debut, Johnson completed 17-of-21 passes for 201 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Marshall is expected back for next week’s trip to Texas A&M. Next Week: at Texas A&M
99Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3): For the second straight season, Ole Miss lost a fourth-quarter lead at home to Texas A&M. Last year, the Rebels led by 10 points for an eight-minute stretch only to watch Johnny Manziel lead A&M to two scores in the final seven minutes. On Saturday night, Ole Miss held leads of 31-24 and 38-31 but was unable to come up with a defensive stop when it mattered most. Bo Wallace played well at quarterback (throwing for 301 yards and two scores) but had a costly interception in the red zone. Barry Brunetti, the “running” option at quarterback, completed 3-of-4 attempts for 28 yards and his first two touchdown passes of the season. Next Week: LSU
1010Tennessee (3-3, 0-2): Tennessee did not play on Saturday. The Vols’ next four games includes home games against South Carolina and Auburn sandwiched around trips to Alabama and Missouri. Next Week: South Carolina
1112Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3): The Commodores had the week off after losing at home to Missouri. Over the next four weeks, James Franklin’s club plays Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida — the latter two on the road. Next Week: Georgia 
1211

Arkansas (3-4, 0-3): The good news: Arkansas led 7-0 after Alex Collins scored from six yards out on the opening possession of the game. The bad news: South Carolina proceeded to outscore the Hogs 52-0 the rest of the way. The final numbers were not pretty: Arkansas had 248 yards of offense (only 30 through the air) and picked up seven first downs. South Carolina, on the other hand, rolled up 537 total yards and had 32 first downs. The Razorbacks have had less 300 yards off offense in three of their last four games. Next Week: at Alabama

1313Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2): Dan Mullen’s team dodged the upset, holding on to beat Bowling Green 21-20 in Starkville. Dak Prescott only threw for 75 yards, but he led the Mississippi State rushing attack with 139 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Tyler Russell made his first start since opening day and completed 12-of-14 passes for 102 yards. In his two games since returning from a concussion, Russell is 19-of-25 for 248 yards. The Bulldogs completed their non-conference schedule with a 3-1 record. Next Week: Bye
1414Kentucky (3-4, 0-4): The Wildcats held No. 1 Alabama scoreless for one quarter — but not much else went well for Mark Stoops’ club. Kentucky managed only 170 yards of offense — the third time UK has had less than 200 yards in the past two seasons — en route to its 10th consecutive SEC loss. Starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return. Maxwell Smith played the rest of the way and completed 7-of-16 passes for 76 yards and one touchdown. Next Week: Bye

SEC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Not even a knee injury can slow down the most exciting football player in the nation. Manziel bounced back from what looked to be a serious injury in the first quarter to lead Texas A&M to a thrilling 41-38 win at Ole Miss. For the fourth time in his career, Manziel topped 300 yards passing (346) and 100 yards rushing (113) in the same game. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but he scored twice on the ground — on highlight-reel runs of five yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 377 yards per game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamin Barrow, LSU
There were many stars for an LSU defense that limited Florida to six points and 240 total yards. Barrow, a senior linebacker, led the way with a game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass break-up. Barrow leads LSU with 49 tackles – 13 more than any other player on the team.

Team of the Week: Missouri
Missouri is all alone in the SEC East with a 2-0 record after beating Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers were held to a season-low 375 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0, converted on 5-of-12 on third down and scored a touchdown on all three trips inside the red zone. Senior wide receiver La’Damian Washington was the offensive star for Mizzou with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The news, however, was not all good for the Tigers: Quarterback James Franklin, who was enjoying a banner senior season, went down with a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Steckel, Missouri
Missouri’s offense had been the talk of the SEC in the past week, but the Tigers can play a little defense as well. Mizzou held Georgia to three offensive touchdowns — the Dawgs’ fewest since last year’s SEC Championship Game — and made several huge plays in its huge 41-26 win in Athens. MU forced four turnovers, none bigger than Michael Sam’s 21-yards scoop-and-score after Shane Ray’s sack-and-strip of Aaron Murray late in the second quarter. Georgia still had 452 yards of offense but averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play.

Freshman of the Week: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
A true freshman from Texas, Robinson was a major force in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line on Saturday night in Lexington. He had six tackles and two sacks (for 14 lost yards) in the Crimson Tide’s 48-7 win over Kentucky. Robinson leads Alabama in both tackles for a loss (five) and sacks (six).

5th Down

• Arkansas only had 38 offensive plays in its 52-7 loss at home to South Carolina. The Razorbacks had 30 yards passing and were held to eight first downs.

• In LSU’s 17-6 win over Florida, Zach Mettenberger averaged less than 10 yards per attempt for the first time since Week 1 against TCU. LSU’s senior quarterback threw for a season-low 152 yards on 17 attempts for an 8.9-yard average.

• Aaron Murray threw two interceptions against Missouri on Saturday, marking only the second time in his career that he’s thrown more than one pick in a home game. Georgia’s senior quarterback threw three INTs in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State in 2011.

• South Carolina running back Mike Davis has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of six games this season. The sophomore tailback picked up 128 yards on 19 carries in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 win over Arkansas. He leads the SEC in rushing with 123.7 yards per game. 

• Auburn leads the SEC with seven offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Last season, the Tigers had a total of three such plays in 12 games.

Teaser:
2013 SEC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, October 14, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-7-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:

Missouri was the talk of the SEC during the daylight hours, but Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M grabbed the headlines late in the day with a last-second win against Ole Miss. Elsewhere, LSU topped Florida in an old-school defensive struggle, Alabama smothered Kentucky and South Carolina ruined homecoming at Arkansas.

SEC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Not even a knee injury can slow down the most exciting football player in the nation. Manziel bounced back from what looked to be a serious injury in the first quarter to lead Texas A&M to a thrilling 41-38 win at Ole Miss. For the fourth time in his career, Manziel topped 300 yards passing (346) and 100 yards rushing (113) in the same game. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but he scored twice on the ground — on highlight-reel runs of five yards in the third quarter and six yards in the fourth. Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 377 yards per game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamin Barrow, LSU
There were many stars for an LSU defense that limited Florida to six points and 240 total yards. Barrow, a senior linebacker, led the way with a game-high 13 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass break-up. Barrow leads LSU with 49 tackles – 13 more than any other player on the team.

Team of the Week: Missouri
Missouri is all alone in the SEC East with a 2-0 record after beating Georgia 41-26 in Athens. The Tigers were held to a season-low 375 total yards but won the turnover battle 4-to-0, converted on 5-of-12 on third down and scored a touchdown on all three trips inside the red zone. Senior wide receiver La’Damian Washington was the offensive star for Mizzou with seven catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The news, however, was not all good for the Tigers: Quarterback James Franklin, who was enjoying a banner senior season, went down with a separated shoulder that is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

Coordinator of the Week: Dave Steckel, Missouri
Missouri’s offense had been the talk of the SEC in the past week, but the Tigers can play a little defense as well. Mizzou held Georgia to three offensive touchdowns — the Dawgs’ fewest since last year’s SEC Championship Game — and made several huge plays in its huge 41-26 win in Athens. MU forced four turnovers, none bigger than Michael Sam’s 21-yards scoop-and-score after Shane Ray’s sack-and-strip of Aaron Murray late in the second quarter. Georgia still had 452 yards of offense but averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play.

Freshman of the Week: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
A true freshman from Texas, Robinson was a major force in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line on Saturday night in Lexington. He had six tackles and two sacks (for 14 lost yards) in the Crimson Tide’s 48-7 win over Kentucky. Robinson leads Alabama in both tackles for a loss (five) and sacks (six).

Fifth Down

• Arkansas only had 38 offensive plays in its 52-7 loss at home to South Carolina. The Razorbacks had 30 yards passing and were held to eight first downs.

• In LSU’s 17-6 win over Florida, Zach Mettenberger averaged less than 10 yards per attempt for the first time since Week 1 against TCU. LSU’s senior quarterback threw for a season-low 152 yards on 17 attempts for an 8.9-yard average.

• Aaron Murray threw two interceptions against Missouri on Saturday, marking only the second time in his career that he’s thrown more than one pick in a home game. Georgia’s senior quarterback threw three INTs in a 24-10 win over Mississippi State in 2011.

• South Carolina running back Mike Davis has rushed for 100 yards or more in five of six games this season. The sophomore tailback picked up 128 yards on 19 carries in the Gamecocks’ 52-7 win over Arkansas. He leads the SEC in rushing with 123.7 yards per game. 

• Auburn leads the SEC with seven offensive plays of at least 50 yards. Last season, the Tigers had a total of three such plays in 12 games.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 11:17
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Big 10, Big 12, College Football, Pac 12, SEC
Path: /college-football/sec-week-7-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

We’ll find out if a great defense (Florida) can stop a great offense (LSU) on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium. Elsewhere, undefeated Missouri heads to Athens to face banged up — but still talented — Georgia in a key SEC East battle, and Texas A&M takes its road show to Ole Miss to take on the struggling Rebels.

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big Ten |Big 12Pac-12

SEC Week 7 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida (+7.5) at LSU (3:30 ET, CBS)
Two of the hottest quarterbacks in the SEC will be on display Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Florida’s Tyler Murphy, a third-year sophomore who had not thrown a pass in college until three weeks ago, has been terrific in relief of injured starter Jeff Driskel. He is completing 72.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and only one interception. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger is thriving under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, leading the SEC in touchdown passes (15) and yards per attempt (11.1) while ranking third in yards per game (289.7) and fourth in completion percentage (68.2). This week, however, Mettenberger will be facing one of the nation’s elite secondaries. The Gators are allowing a league-low 152.0 passing yards per game, and opposing quarterbacks are averaging only 4.6 yards per attempt, third-lowest in the nation. Florida also excels at stopping the run, allowing a league-low 65.0 yards per game and 2.78 yards per attempt. This will be a huge challenge for the much-improved LSU offense.

2. Missouri (+8) at Georgia (12:00 ET, ESPN)
Missouri was extremely sharp on offense Saturday, scoring on its first eight possessions en route to a 51-28 win in Nashville. The Tigers feature one of the nation’s more underrated quarterbacks in James Franklin and have talent and depth at both running back and wide receiver. Going forward, this team’s challenge will be on defense. Are the Tigers good enough on that side of the ball to challenge in the SEC East? The guess right now is no, but that doesn’t mean this team can’t win nine or 10 games. This week, Mizzou heads to Athens to face a wounded Georgia team that will be without some of its key playmakers on offense. The Bulldogs will have to find a way to score some points, because the defense, to this point, has not proven it can slow down a quality offense.

3. Texas A&M (-6.5) at Ole Miss (8:30 ET ESPN)
The Rebels have been humbled the past two weeks, losing 25–0 at Alabama and 30–22 at Auburn. The offense, so efficient in the first three weeks of the season, has scored only two touchdowns in the last eight quarters. Bo Wallace, who did not throw an interception in the first two games, was picked off twice on Saturday. Hugh Freeze must get things fixed on offense in a hurry with Texas A&M rolling into town. The Aggies have some issues on defense, but this team has no trouble scoring points. Ole Miss will have to score at least 40 points to win this game.

4. South Carolina (-5.5) at Arkansas (12:21 ET SEC TV)
South Carolina bounced back from its loss at Georgia by winning three straight. But none of the three wins was particularly satisfying. The Gamecocks lost big leads in home wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky and had to overcome a slow start and poor finish to beat UCF by three points in Orlando. Steve Spurrier is eager to see his team play a complete game. Arkansas has struggled against the better teams on its schedule, with losses to Rutgers, Texas A&M and Florida the past three weeks. The Hogs are built to run the ball but only netted 101 yards against Rutgers and 111 against Florida. They were productive against a suspect Texas A&M defense but still lost by 12 points at home. Despite the Hogs’ deficiencies, this is a tough spot for South Carolina — with or without Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecocks are 2-8 at Arkansas since the two schools joined the SEC in 1991.

5. Bowling Green (+10.5) at Mississippi State (7:30 ET FSN)
Bowling Green is one of the top teams in the MAC, but the Falcons struggled in their only game to date against a team from an AQ conference, losing 42-10 at Indiana in mid-September. Mississippi State has played relatively well since laying an egg vs. Oklahoma State in Week 1 but doesn’t have much to show for it. The Bulldogs lost a late lead in a 24-20 loss at Auburn and battled LSU for three quarters on Saturday night before collapsing in the fourth. In between, MSU pounded Troy 62-7 in Starkville. This is a decent team that is going to have a tough time finding six wins against a very difficult schedule.

6. Alabama (-27.5) at Kentucky (7 ET ESPN2)
Kentucky has played three straight top-15 teams, and the results have been better than many Wildcats fans might have expected — a 14-point loss to Louisville, a 17-point loss to Florida and a seven-point loss to South Carolina. Now, however, the competition gets ramped up another notch as No. 1 Alabama comes to town. The Crimson Tide struggled to stop Texas A&M’s high-powered attack but have given up only one touchdown — on a 77-yard run in the opener vs. Virginia Tech — in its other four games. Kentucky will be fortunate to score more than 10 points in this game.

7. Western Carolina (+43.5) at Auburn (2 ET, PPV)
Auburn should have little trouble picking up win No. 6 this Saturday. Western Carolina is 1-5 overall, with its only win by seven points over Mars Hill, a Division II school. In fact, the Catamounts are 3-31 in their last 34 games with all three wins coming against Mars Hill.

5 Pivotal Players

Florida’s cornerbacks
The nation’s best set of cornerbacks will be tasked with slowing down arguably the top wide receiver duo in the nation. Florida lists Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson as its starters at corner, but true freshman Vernon Hargreaves III plays a ton and is considered by many to be the best in the bunch. LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are both averaging over 100 yards per game and have combined to catch 13 touchdown passes. It will be fun to watch these two elite units battle on Saturday afternoon.

Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Johnson has been a beast on the interior of the line for an LSU defense that is experiencing some growing pains in a year of transition. Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy has been a pleasant surprise since taking over for Jeff Driskel, but the Gators’ first priority will be to establish the run. Johnson and the rest of the LSU defensive front will try to take that away and force Murphy to make plays with his arm in one of the most hostile environments in college football.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
With his cast of healthy skill position players dwindling each week, Murray is being asked to play nearly flawless football to keep Georgia in the national title hunt. This week, he will have to be at his best because Georgia will have to score a bunch of points to beat red-hot Missouri. The Bulldogs have listed Todd Gurley atop the depth chart, but Mark Richt didn’t sound confident on Tuesday that his star tailback would be ready to play. That would leave true freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas to carry the rushing load. At receiver, the Dawgs will be without three of their top players, with Malcom Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett all sidelined with injuries.

Missouri’s WRs
James Franklin is grabbing the headlines for resurgent Missouri, but the Tigers boast a quality group of wideouts — all with good size — that puts a lot of pressure on the defense. This week, Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas, L’Damian Washington & Co. will face a Georgia defense that has struggled to stop the pass (against some very good offenses). Georgia ranks 12th in the SEC in pass defense (264.6 ypg) and is allowing a league-high 8.1 yards per passing attempt. If Mizzou’s wideouts can make plays down the field, the Tigers’ trio of smallish tailbacks will have plenty of room to operate.

Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss
For the first four games of his junior season, Bo Wallace did not throw an interception. But last week, the Bad Bo Wallace — the one who led the nation with 17 interceptions in 2012 — resurfaced in a 30-22 loss at Auburn. Wallace threw for a season-high 336 yards but completed only 52.1 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice. He will have to play very well on Saturday against a Texas A&M team that is averaging just under seven touchdowns per game. 

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Missouri at Georgia

Georgia 28-21

Georgia 34-31Georgia 34-27Georgia 47-40
S. Carolina at ArkansasS. Carolina 35-24S. Carolina 28-20S. Carolina 31-27Arkansas 28-20
W. Carolina at Auburn

Auburn 49-7

Auburn 44-7Auburn 52-3Auburn 54-0
Florida at LSU

LSU 24-17

LSU 27-21LSU 27-24Florida 24-21
Alabama at Kentucky

Alabama 42-10

Alabama 44-11Alabama 45-10Alabama 34-14
Bowling Green at Miss. St.Miss. St. 35-21Miss. St. 34-20Miss. St. 38-24Miss. St. 27-10
Texas A&M at Ole Miss

A&M 42-28

A&M 44-40A&M 45-38A&M 37-27
Last Week7-06-15-25-2
Season51-649-850-749-8

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/sec-week-6-recap-and-awards
Body:

There was high drama in Knoxville, where Georgia survived a scare in overtime at Neyland Stadium. Elsewhere, the SEC’s three teams named Tigers won in impressive fashion: Missouri at Vanderbilt, LSU at Mississippi State and Auburn at home vs. Ole Miss.

Week 6 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Mettenberger’s sensational senior season continues. The Tigers’ strong-armed quarterback completed 25-of-29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns — both to Odell Beckham — in LSU’s 59-26 win at Mississippi State. For the season, Mettenberger is completing 68.2 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. In the last two weeks, he has thrown for 712 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Carl Lawson, Auburn
One of the top recruits in the Class of 2013, Lawson enjoyed the finest game of his young career in Auburn’s 30-22 win over Ole Miss. The defensive end from Georgia recorded six tackles (including two sacks) to key an Auburn defense that limited Ole Miss to only two touchdowns.  

Team of the Week: Missouri
After rolling through its non-conference schedule with relative ease, Missouri made a statement in its SEC opener, drilling Vanderbilt 51-28 in Nashville. Led by senior quarterback James Franklin, the Tigers jumped out to leads of 20-0 and 30-7 in the first half and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Mizzou, which went 2-6 in its SEC debut in 2012, currently ranks seventh in the nation in total offense (543.8 ypg) and eighth in scoring offense (46.6 ppg). Franklin is completing 67.9 percent of his passes and has 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
He has outstanding personnel at his disposal, but Cameron has made a huge impact in his first season at LSU. On Saturday, the Tigers rolled up 563 yards of offense on an impressive 8.3 per-play average. LSU had 340 yards passing and 223 on the ground, and converted 6-of-11 on third down and 2-of-2 on fourth down.

Freshman of the Week: J.J. Green, Georgia   
Green, a true freshman tailback who had a total of five carries in the first four games, was forced into action due to injuries to Todd Gurley (last week) and Keith Marshall (in the first quarter). He responded with 129 yards on 17 carries in the Bulldogs’ 34-31 overtime win at Tennessee. Green’s biggest run of the day came on Georgia’s final possession in regulation, when he picked up 17 yards on a 3rd-and-1 at the Dawgs’ 34-yard line.

5th Down

• Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal rushed for 148 yards on 28 carries against Georgia and has 317 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. Neal’s previous two-game high was 255 yards, last season against Akron (151) and Georgia (104).

• Kentucky’s 28 points at South Carolina were the most for the Wildcats in an SEC road game since a 42-35 loss at Ole Miss in October 2010. On Saturday, UK scored three of its four touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  

• Ole Miss scored a total of 15 touchdowns in its wins over Vanderbilt, SE Missouri State and Texas but has managed only two touchdowns in losses to Alabama and Auburn.

• Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw for a season-low 93 yards but did plenty of damage with his legs. The former junior college transfer rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries to lead a ground attack that picked up 282 rushing yards.

• Jordan Matthews became Vanderbilt’s all-time leading receiver in the Commodores’ loss to Missouri. The senior now has 2,996 yards receiving and will soon become the fourth player in SEC history to top the 3,000-yard mark.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/sec-week-6-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

Ole Miss, humbled last week in its 25-0 loss at Alabama, hits the road again, travelling to Jordan-Hare Stadium to face an improved Auburn team that is coming off a bye. In Nashville, Missouri will finally play its first conference game, against a Vanderbilt team desperate for an SEC win after an 0-2 start. Elsewhere, Tennessee hosts surging Georgia; LSU visits Starkville; Florida returns home to face Arkansas; and South Carolina heads to Lexington to play Kentucky.

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12

SEC Week 6 Game Power Rankings

1. Ole Miss (-2.5) at Auburn (7 ET, ESPNU)
We learned last Saturday night that Ole Miss isn’t quite ready to contend for the SEC West title. But one loss — especially when that loss is at Alabama — should not derail the momentum the Rebels grabbed with their 3-0 start. This is still a very good team. Auburn is another program headed in the right direction, but the Tigers are still in the first year of their new regime. The offense, to no one’s surprise, is much improved with Gus Malzahn back in town. Through four games, the Tigers are averaging 439.5 yards and 28.5 points per game — up from 297.8 and 17.5 at the same point last year. This should be highly entertaining.

2. Missouri (+2) at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET, CSS)
Missouri has cruised to a 4-0 start against a relatively soft non-conference schedule. Now the fun begins for the Tigers, who play eight SEC games over the next nine weeks. On Saturday, Mizzou makes its first trip to Vanderbilt since 1957. Last year, the Tigers outgained the Dores by 100 yards but dropped a 19-15 decision in Columbia. James Franklin — the quarterback, not the coach — enjoyed early success in that game, leading the Tigers down the field with relative ease on two long drives that ended with short field goals. Franklin, however, went down with a knee injury shortly thereafter, and the MU offense struggled the rest of the night. Franklin is now healthy and will be eager to attack a Vanderbilt defense that has had trouble against mobile quarterbacks in recent years. The Commodores have been inconsistent on the offensive end but rolled up over 600 yards last week in a 52-24 win over UAB. 

3. Georgia (-10.5) at Tennessee (3:30 ET, CBS)
Georgia lost nine straight in this series from 1989-99 but has since won nine of the last 13, including three straight. And after looking at both teams’ performances through the first month of the season, there is no reason to believe that won’t be four straight after the Bulldogs’ trip to Neyland Stadium this weekend. Georgia has rebounded from its Week 1 loss at Clemson to post huge wins at home over South Carolina and LSU. The Dawgs haven’t looked great on defense — they are allowing 31.2 points per game — but few teams have played as difficult of an early season schedule. Plus, Tennessee, at this point of Butch Jones’ tenure, doesn’t possess the personnel on offense to put up a big number on most SEC defenses. Georgia must guard against a letdown, but the Bulldogs should win this game with relative ease.

4. Arkansas (+10.5) at Florida (7 ET, ESPN2)
So far so good for Tyler Murphy. One week after coming off the bench to lead Florida past Tennessee in Gainesville, Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Gators’ 24-7 win at Kentucky. Those numbers won’t get you in the discussion for All-SEC honors, but it’s probably more than most Florida fans expected from the former 2-star recruit. As we learned last season, the Gators don’t need gaudy stats from their quarterback to win games. Florida’s lack of a downfield passing attack remains a concern, but this is still a team that can challenge Georgia in the SEC East. Arkansas is in the midst of a brutal four-game stretch that includes home games with Texas A&M and South Carolina and road trips to Florida and Alabama.

5. LSU (-9.5) at Mississippi State (7 ET, ESPN)
LSU proved once again last week that it might be the most improved offensive team in the nation. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they proved it in a loss — despite scoring 41 points on the road. One loss will not eliminate LSU from the national title hunt, but this team no longer has any margin for error. The Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble getting back on track this week, even though they hit the road again. Mississippi State has feasted on inferior opponents but lost to Oklahoma State and Auburn in its only games against BCS conference opponents. Tyler Russell, who has missed the last three games after suffering a concussion against Oklahoma State, is expected back at quarterback for Mississippi State. Still, don’t be surprised to see heavy doses of sophomore Dak Prescott, a dual-threat who played well in relief.

6. Kentucky (+21) at South Carolina (7:30 ET, FSN)
Steve Spurrier was not pleased with his team’s start or finish last week in Orlando. The Gamecocks got the win — 28-25 over UCF — but it was not the type of performance that gave Spurrier confidence his team can compete with the powers in the SEC. He can’t, however, have many complaints about Mike Davis, his sophomore tailback. Davis leads the SEC in rushing with 127.0 yards per game and has done so on a healthy 7.2-yard average. In a surprise, the Gamecocks could have quarterback Connor Shaw, who injured his shoulder in the UCF game, back for Saturday's matchup. If Shaw can't go, Dylan Thompson is an experienced backup, but he completed less than 50 percent of his passes against UCF. Kentucky is struggling to get much going on offense in the first year of the Mark Stoops era. This team has some decent pieces on defense, but it’s hard to envision the Cats scoring enough to make Carolina sweat.

7. Georgia State (+55.5) at Alabama (12:21 ET, SEC TV)
Alabama steps out of SEC play for what should be little more than a scrimmage. Georgia State is 0-4, with three of the four defeats coming against teams from the FCS ranks — and all three of those games were at home. Now, the Panthers head to Tuscaloosa to play the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck.

SEC Week 6 Pivotal Players

Robert Nkemdiche/C.J. Johnson vs. Greg Robinson/Patrick Miller (Ole Miss at Auburn)
The super freshman Nkemdiche and veteran Johnson are a formidable duo on the edge of the Ole Miss defensive line. Charged with stopping them will be Auburn's sophomore tackle tandem of Robinson and Miller. The Tigers have been solid up front, allowing just 4.0 sacks in 2013, and the Rebels have struggled to get pressure (100th in sacks nationally). To hold serve on the road, the Rebs need to disrupt the quarterback and hold their ground against Tre Mason and the Tigers’ running game.

Alex Collins vs. Antonio Morrison (Arkansas at Florida)
Jonathan Williams will be a heavy factor in the backfield for the Hogs as well, but his carries have decreased in every game this season. Collins, a freshman from Florida, has quickly shown why he was so highly touted as his 119.4 rushing yards per game rank No. 2 in the SEC. He returns to his home state and gets to face one of the most vicious hitters in the nation in Antonio Morrison. The rest of the Gators’ front seven will be tough to move as well, but watching these two underclassmen battle all day will be fun for all parties involved.

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

Georgia St. at Alabama 

Alabama 63-3

Alabama 41-13

Alabama 59-3

Alabama 49-0

Georgia at Tennessee 

Georgia 35-14

Georgia 34-17

Georgia 38-20

Georgia 34-14

Arkansas at Florida 

Florida 21-14

Florida 27-10

Florida 27-13

Florida 27-20

LSU at Mississippi St. 

LSU 35-10

LSU 31-20

LSU 34-20

LSU 33-17

Ole Miss at Auburn 

Auburn 28-21

Auburn 31-30

Ole Miss 31-27

Ole Miss 31-21

Missouri at Vanderbilt  

Missouri 21-14

Vanderbilt 34-28

Vanderbilt 27-24

Vanderbilt 31-28

Kentucky at S. Carolina 

S. Carolina 35-7

S. Carolina 37-17

S. Carolina 38-13

S. Carolina 24-10
Last Week7-17-18-08-0
Season44-643-745-544-6

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/college-basketball-15-coaches-hot-seat-2013-14
Body:

Earlier this week, Athlon Sports broke down the top 50 coaches in college basketball for 2013-14.

This isn’t necessarily the flip side to that, but coaches certainly would rather be on that list than this one. The coaches on this list have been hot commodities at one point and all of have been successful. After all, they all had to get their current jobs before starting to feel the pressure.

And the pressure is clear for these 15 coaches as the enter the 2013-14 season.

Relatively speaking, this was a quiet season for coaching moves in the SEC and Pac-12 (outside of Los Angeles, that is). That means a handful of coaches in those leagues specifically are on the hot seat.

But the most intriguing hot seat may be that of Texas coach Rick Barnes. The overall coaching record for the Longhorns coach is impressive, despite a CBI appearance last season. But there's still a sense the program has underachieved for its talent in recent years. Will Barnes begin to feel the heat as his counterpart with the football program has?

Top 15 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013-14

Tony Barbee, Auburn
Two things have been constant in Barbee’s three seasons at Auburn: roster turnover and losing. The Tigers are 35–59 overall and 12–38 in the SEC under his watch and are picked to finish last in the league this season.

Rick Barnes, Texas
It’s tough to put a coach who led his school to 14 straight NCAA Tournament invites (1999-2012) on the hot seat, but Barnes is under pressure to win big at Texas. The Longhorns went 7–11 in the Big 12 last season and have won fewer than 10 league games in four of the last five seasons. He has coached 10 first-round NBA Draft picks since 2000 yet has only reached one Final Four at Texas.

Ben Braun, Rice
It’s not easy to win at Rice, but Braun has struggled to keep the Owls competitive in a bad Conference USA in recent years. After surging to an 8–8 league mark in ’11-12, the Owls slumped to 1–15 last season. He is 56–103 overall and 19–61 in the league in five seasons.

Ken Bone, Washington State
After winning big at Portland State, Bone appeared to be a good fit at Washington State. In Year 2, he won 22 games overall and went 9–9 in the league, but he is just 32–37 overall and 11–25 in the Pac-12 in the last two seasons.

Brad Brownell, Clemson
Brownell has a strong reputation and did well in stops at UNC Wilmington and Wright State, but the Tigers are trending in the wrong direction. After going 17–15 in the ACC in his first two seasons (including an NCAA invite in ’10-11), Clemson slumped to 5–13 last season and is picked to finish near the bottom of the league this year.

Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons showed some signs of life last season in Year 3 of the Bzdelik era, but a 6–12 record in the ACC won’t please a fan base that grew accustomed to annual trips to the NCAA Tournament in the 1990s and 2000s. Bzdelik is 11–39 in the ACC at Wake and 21–77 in league play in his last six seasons as a head coach, at Colorado and Wake.

Johnny Dawkins, Stanford
The numbers aren’t awful (93–73 overall, 39–51 Pac-12), but it’s hard to look past this damaging stat: Stanford made the NCAA Tournament 13 times in the 14 years before Dawkins was hired but has not been to the NCAAs in his five seasons on the job.

Mark Fox, Georgia
Fox has managed a .500 SEC record or better in two of his four seasons at Georgia, but he has yet to win a postseason game (one NCAA Tournament bid) and has a 28–38 mark in the league. Last year, he had the SEC Player of the Year (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) on his roster yet had a losing record.

Tom Pecora, Fordham
Pecora’s move from Long Island (Hofstra) to the Bronx (Fordham) hasn’t gone well. The Rams are 24–64 overall and 7–41 in the A-10 —with three straight 14th-place finishes — in his three seasons.

Buzz Peterson, UNC Wilmington
Peterson’s sixth stop as a head coach (including two stints at Appalachian State) could be his last. The former North Carolina Tar Heel is 33–57 overall and 17–37 in the Colonial in three seasons in Wilmington. The prospects for ’13-14 aren’t too bright.

Oliver Purnell, DePaul
Purnell has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game in 25 seasons as a Division I head coach. That dubious streak isn’t likely to end anytime soon. DePaul is 30–64 overall and 6–48 in the Big East in his three seasons as the head coach. The Blue Demons will have a tough time avoiding a last-place finish in the new-look Big East.

Eric Reveno, Portland
He’s a good follow on Twitter, but Reveno needs to start winning more games. The Pilots had a nice run in the late 2000s, but are 18–44 overall and 7–25 in the WCC over the last two seasons.

Keith Richard, Louisiana-Monroe
It’s never easy to fire an alum, but Richard has really struggled in his three seasons at Monroe, with an overall mark of 14–73 and a 7–45 record in the Sun Belt.

Craig Robinson, Oregon State
Oregon State is one of the toughest jobs in a high-major conference, but Robinson will need to show progress at some point. He is 31–59 in the Pac-12 in five seasons, with a high-water mark of 8–10 in Year 2.

Herb Sendek, Arizona State
Sendek has guided Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament only once in his seven seasons in Tempe. Expectations are high this season — if the ASU fails to make the NCAAs, Sendek could be out of a job.

Teaser:
College Basketball: 15 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013-14
Post date: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 07:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/2013-every-game-predictions-week-2
Body:

Week 2 in college football is highlighted by Notre Dame’s trip to Michigan, the South Carolina-Georgia clash in Athens and Florida’s visit to South Florida to play Miami.

Friday

No. 52 UCF at No. 120 FIU
FIU’s decision to hire Ron Turner, who had not coached in college since 2004, was very curious. His return to the collegiate sidelines did not go well; the Panthers lost at Maryland 43–10 in Week 1. Expect a similar result this week, even at home.
UCF 38-8

No. 68 Wake Forest at No. 83 Boston College
Wake Forest was dominant defensively in its opener, holding Presbyterian to 151 total yards in a 31-7 win. Boston College was trailing FCS foe Villanova 14-7 at the half but controlled the final two quarters and won in Steve Addazio’s debut, 24-14. These teams are evenly matched.
Boston College 20-17

Saturday

No. 88 San Diego State at No. 2 Ohio State
Ohio State fans might not have been thrilled with the play of their team in Week 1, but at least the Buckeyes won the game. San Diego State, on the other hand, lost at home to Eastern Illinois, 40-19. Aztec quarterback Adam Dingwell threw 36 incomplete passes in the game. That’s a lot.
Ohio State 41-10

No. 3 Oregon at No. 50 Virginia
It’s been three full years since the Ducks last played a game east of the Mississippi River. That day went well: Oregon blasted Tennessee 48–13 in Neyland Stadium, and it would be a significant surprise if the result was much different this weekend in Charlottesville.
Oregon 28-6

South Carolina State at No. 4 Clemson
Clemson is fresh off one of its biggest wins in the past three decades. Even if the Tigers are a bit sluggish, they will have no problem with South Carolina State. The Bulldogs lost to Coastal Carolina 27-20 last week.
Clemson 48-0

No. 5 South Carolina at No. 6 Georgia
Georgia missed a great opportunity last week in Clemson, but there is no shame in losing by three points on the road to a top-five team. Georgia is still explosive on offense — the Dawgs averaged 7.8 yards per play last week — and should be able to score enough to win this game.
Georgia 31-21

No. 60 San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford
Stanford lost three straight in this series from 1998-2000 but has since won nine of the past 10. Last year, however, the Cardinal had to sweat, holding on for a 20-17 win. San Jose State’s David Fales is a top-flight quarterback, but the Spartans don’t match up well at any other position.
Stanford 31-14

No. 108 UAB at No. 8 LSU
LSU was one of the most impressive teams, both in the SEC and nationally, in Week 1. The Tigers looked more dynamic on offense, and the new-look defense limited TCU to 259 total yards. Picked by many (including Athlon Sports) to finish third in the SEC West, LSU has the look of a team that can compete for the national title. UAB, on the other hand, lost in overtime to Troy in Week 1. This will not go well for the Blazers. 
LSU 41-0

Sam Houston State at No. 9 Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel gets the start for the first time this season. That’s about the only intrigue in this game. Sam Houston State is a pretty good team — the Bearkats played for the 2012 FCS national title and opened the ’13 season with a 78-0 win over Houston Baptist — but this shouldn’t be close.
Texas A&M 55-10

Eastern Kentucky at No. 10 Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater was brilliant in the Cards’ win over Ohio on Sunday. Bridgewater likely will be brilliant in every game this season. Partly because he’s a very, very good quarterback and partly because he won’t face too many quality defenses.
Louisville 41-13

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 13 Michigan
Notre Dame and Michigan meet for the last time for the foreseeable future. These two Midwest rivals have played in all but six seasons dating back to 1978, but due to Big Ten expansion (Michigan will begin playing nine conference games in 2014) and Notre Dame’s commitment to playing five ACC teams each season, this game no longer fits into either team’s schedule. Each of the last four meetings between these teams has been decided by seven points or less. This game should be no different.
Michigan 24-20

No. 12 Florida at No. 29 Miami (Fla.)
Miami plays host to the Gators for the first time since 2003, when Larry Coker and Ron Zook were roaming the sidelines for their respective schools. The Hurricanes won that game 38-33, and have won six of the past seven in the series. Florida, however, is the more talented team this season.
Florida 24-20

No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 105 UTSA 
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy will be facing his offensive coordinator during his playing days. Larry Coker, now the head coach at UTSA, was the O.C. at Oklahoma State from 1983-89. The pupil will beat the teacher. Badly.
Oklahoma State 51-14

No. 57 West Virginia at No. 16 Oklahoma
Credit Dana Holgorsen for being honest. Earlier this week, West Virginia’s coach said: “I’ve been asked a lot if I’m excited about playing Oklahoma Week 2 or if I’d rather play them Week 12. The truth is I’d rather play them never because they’re pretty good.” Holgorsen’s team, on the other hand, wasn’t very good last week. The Mountaineers beat William & Mary 24-17 in Morgantown — and it was as much of a struggle as the final score indicates.
Oklahoma 33-10

No. 17 Texas at No. 51 BYU
You like balance on offense? How about this: Texas had over 350 yards rushing and passing in its 56–7 win over New Mexico State. The Longhorns averaged 9.9 yards per snap en route to a school-record 715 total yards. Things won’t be quite as easy this week. BYU gave up only 223 yards in a 19–16 loss at Virginia.
Texas 24-7

Tennessee Tech at No. 18 Wisconsin
Three Badgers rushed for 100-plus yards in Wisconsin’s 45-0 win over UMass last week. The same three — Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement — should top the century mark once again.
Wisconsin 47-0

SE Louisiana at No. 20 TCU
TCU gets a breather after taking on LSU, one of the most talented teams in the nation, last week. The Frogs put up a good fight, but LSU was simply the better team. This time, TCU will be the better team — by a very wide margin.
TCU 40-13

No. 74 Syracuse at No. 21 Northwestern
Northwestern gave up nearly 600 yards in last year’s opener at the Carrier Dome but somehow found a way to beat the Orange, 42–41. The Wildcats are capable of scoring a bunch of points — they beat Cal 44–30 in the ’13 opener — but this rematch figures to feature fewer fireworks. Syracuse played well in its opener but lost to Penn State, 23–17, at the Meadowlands.
Northwestern 33-24

SE Missouri State at No. 22 Ole Miss
Hugh Freeze will remind his team that eight FCS teams beat FBS teams in Week 1. What he probably won’t tell the Rebels is that SE Missouri State lost to SE Louisiana 45–7 last week. This will not be difficult for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss 44-7

Cal Poly at No. 23 Fresno State
Fresno State gave up 51 points in Week 1 — and won. Quarterback Derek Carr set school and Mountain West records with 52 completions and 73 attempts while throwing for 456 yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers.
Fresno State 47-10

Tennessee-Martin at No. 25 Boise State
Boise State was humbled in a shocking 38-6 loss at Washington last week — the most lopsided defeat of the Chris Petersen era. We don’t know yet if the Broncos are down or if Washington is that good.
Boise State 30-13

No. 113 Southern Miss at No. 27 Nebraska
Nebraska gave up a staggering 602 yards (and 8.1 per play) in last week’s 37–34 win over Wyoming — a team that ranked 70th nationally in total offense. The Huskers have now allowed a total of 1,831 yards in their last three games.
Nebraska 37-20

No. 61 Washington State at No. 28 USC
It’s still early, but Washington State appears to be vastly improved. The Cougars had a chance to tie Auburn in the final five minutes, but Connor Halliday’s pass was intercepted in the end zone. The most positive sign? Washington State rushed for 120 yards on a healthy 5.2-yard clip. Not bad for a team that ranked last in the nation in rushing last year.
USC 27-13

Austin Peay at No. 30 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt needs a get-well game after the agonizing last-minute loss to Ole Miss last Thursday night. Austin Peay, which trailed Tennessee 42–0 at the half last week, should provide plenty of comfort. The Governors will be at a huge talent disadvantage at every spot on the field.
Vanderbilt 51-7

Western Carolina at No. 31 Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas will be able to pad his stats after completing 5-of-26 for 59 yards in the loss to Alabama. Western Carolina gave up 495 yards last week to Middle Tennessee in a 45-24 loss.

Virginia Tech 37-10

No. 94 South Florida at No. 32 Michigan State
Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Western Michigan 41-yard line on the opening possession of the season, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio elected to punt rather than see if his offense could pick up one yard against a MAC team. On the next possession, MSU punted on 4th-and-3 from the Western 48-yard line. That is mind-boggling.
Michigan State 31-14

No. 34 Cincinnati at No. 85 Illinois
Cincinnati was very impressive in the first game of the Tommy Tuberville era as the Bearcats recorded a surprisingly easy 42-7 victory over Purdue. With Munchie Legaux at quarterback, UC outgained the Boilermakers 425 to 226 and had four scoring drives of at least 75 yards en route to the decisive win. Illinois scored 42 points and had 464 total yards in the debut of Bill Cubit as the offensive coordinator. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Illini gave up 407 yards and had to sweat through a 42-34 win over Southern Illinois.
Cincinnati 20-10

No. 100 Buffalo at No. 35 Baylor
Baylor averaged 9.6 yards on its 72 plays in a 69-3 win over Wofford. The Bears will score a ton of points this year. Stopping Big 12 teams will be an issue. Stopping Buffalo, however, might not be too difficult.
Baylor 41-20

No. 118 Eastern Michigan at No. 36 Penn State
It looks as though Bill O’Brien made the right call at quarterback: True freshman Christian Hackenberg completed 22-of-31 for 278 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Nittany Lions’ 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Penn State 28-6

No. 37 Arizona at No. 104 UNLV
Arizona is only favored by 10.5 points — a line that seems a bit low considering that UNLV ranked 95th in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense last year. Arizona might struggle a bit on defense, but the Wildcats know how to score points.
Arizona 41-17

No. 97 Middle Tennessee at No. 38 North Carolina
Middle Tennessee quarterback Logan Kilgore is expected to play despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the Blue Raiders’ win over Western Carolina last week. He will need to be at close to full strength to give Middle Tennessee a chance to win.
North Carolina 38-20

Samford at No. 39 Arkansas
It didn’t get much attention nationally, but Arkansas was quite impressive in its 34–14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Brandon Allen was efficient throwing the ball (15-of-22 for 230 yards with three TDs and no picks) and two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for at least 130 yards. This was a very good win over a solid team. The test in Week 2 will not be as great — though Samford did beat Georgia State in Week 1.
Arkansas 31-0

Stephen F. Austin at No. 41 Texas Tech
It’s the home debut for the rookie head coach (Kliff Kingsbury) and the walk-on freshman quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in his first game. Expect more gaudy stats from Mayfield and the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech 51-17

Alcorn State at No. 42 Mississippi State
Mississippi State needs to build some confidence after struggling through a 21–3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The Bulldogs managed only 333 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. Alcorn State beat Edward Waters 63–12 last week.
Mississippi State 41-10

No. 59 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 43 Kansas State
Both teams were disappointing in Week 1. Louisiana-Lafayette lost at Arkansas 34–14, and Kansas State was shocked at home, 24-21, by North Dakota State. These teams last met in Lafayette in 2009, a game won by the Ragin’ Cajuns 17–15.
Kansas State 28-14

No. 103 Arkansas State at No. 44 Auburn
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I smell upset.
Arkansas State 27-21

No. 67 Western Kentucky at No. 45 Tennessee
There was nothing fluky about Western Kentucky’s 35–26 win against Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, who rolled up 216 yards rushing and 271 yards passing, were the better team. Now, however, the challenge becomes greater for Bobby Petrino’s club. Tennessee is rebuilding but is still far more talented than Kentucky — on both sides of the ball. The Vols feature an NFL-caliber offensive line and have some nice parts on what should be an improved defense. Expect to see heavy doses of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who combined for 179 yards on 22 carries against an overmatched Austin Peay team. Western Kentucky struggled to slow Kentucky’s rushing attack, especially in the first half (174 yards on 18 attempts). Tennessee will take advantage of this mismatch and run for 250-plus yards.
Tennessee 31-21

No. 77 Toledo at No. 46 Missouri
Missouri struggled in the first quarter but dominated Murray State the rest of the way en route to a 58–14 win. It’s dangerous to read too much into a game against an FCS opponent, but Gary Pinkel had to be pleased that his offense had over 300 yards rushing and passing. Despite struggling last week at Florida (against an elite defense), the Toledo offense figures to put some pressure on the Missouri defense. The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the SEC in most defensive categories last season, and it will not be a good sign if they give up a bunch of points to Toledo — a team that failed to score a touchdown against Florida.
Missouri 28-20

Old Dominion at No. 47 Maryland
The Terps are showing signs of significant life early in Year 3 of the Randy Edsall era. C.J. Brown, who missed last season with a torn ACL, completed 20-of-23 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns and added 105 yards and two scores on the ground in Maryland’s 43-10 win over FIU.
Maryland 41-24

Richmond at No. 48 NC State
Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell, who won the preseason quarterback derby at NC State, is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. Another transfer, Pete Thomas (Colorado State), will get the start this week when Richmond rolls into town.
NC State 30-13

Norfolk State at No. 49 Rutgers
This is the third meeting in the last seven years between these two schools. The first two did not go well for Norfolk State — the Spartans lost 59-0 in 2007 and 31-0 in 2010. The goal this season: Score a point.
Rutgers 41-3

Portland State at No. 53 California
There was some good and some bad in the Golden Bears’ 44-30 loss at home to Northwestern. Obviously, losing the game was not the desirable result. But true freshman Jared Goff showed some promise, completing 38-of-63 passes for 445 yards with two touchdowns and three INTs. The offense rolled up 548 yards, but that was on 99 offensive plays, and that translates to only 5.5 yards per play. That number needs to improve.
California 38-11

Weber State at No. 55 Utah
It got lost in some of the other games last Thursday — Ole Miss over Vanderbilt and Fresno State over Rutgers — but Utah picked up a quality win in Week 1, beating Utah State 30-26. Sophomore Travis Wilson threw for 302 yards and two TDs and did not throw an INT.
Utah 31-13

No. 66 Navy at No. 56 Indiana
Navy rallied from nine down midway through the fourth quarter to beat Indiana 31-30 in Annapolis last season. This year, the Hoosiers get the Middies at home — the first of five straight games in Bloomington for IU. Last week, Kevin Wilson’s club exploded for 632 yards in a 73-35 win over Indiana State. This is a very, very good offensive team.
Indiana 38-24

No. 58 Minnesota at No. 121 New Mexico State
Two years ago, in Jerry Kill’s home debut, Minnesota lost to New Mexico State 28-21 in one of the low points for Golden Gopher football in recent memory. It’s time for revenge!
Minnesota 33-17

No. 59 Utah State at No. 79 Air Force
This is a sneaky good game between two solid teams in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. Utah State lost its opener, by four points at Utah, but this is a very good team that has a seasoned quarterback in junior Chuckie Keeton.
Utah State 28-21

No. 119 Hawaii at No. 62 Oregon State
Surely, Oregon State can’t be as bad defensively as the Week 1 numbers indicate: The Beavers gave up 625 yards (448 through the air) in a stunning 49-46 loss at home to Eastern Washington. Expect Mike Riley’s team to play much better this weekend.
Oregon State 33-14

No. 63 Bowling Green at No. 101 Kent State
Bowling Green was the pick by Athlon Sports to win the MAC East, and the Falcons looked very good in a surprisingly easy 34-7 win over Tulsa last week. The defense was especially impressive, holding Tulsa to 273 total yards and only one score.
Bowling Green 28-7

No. 92 Colorado State at No. 64 Tulsa
Tulsa really struggled offensively in its loss to Bowling Green, with only 51 yards on the ground and 222 yards in the air. The Golden Hurricane should find yards easier to come by this week against Colorado State. The Rams were torched for 509 yards in the 41-27 loss to rival Colorado.
Tulsa 30-14

Gardner-Webb at No. 70 Marshall
Not many college fans realize that Marshall led the nation in both total offense (534.3 ypg) and scoring offense (40.9 ppg) last season. The Herd picked up where they left off, rolling to a 52-14 win over Miami (Ohio) that featured 591 total yards of offense.
Marshall 53-17

No. 71 Duke at No. 96 Memphis
This is an off-the-radar yet intriguing Week 2 game. Duke broke through and reached a bowl game in 2012 for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils need to keep the momentum going. Memphis was vastly improved in the first year of the Justin Fuente era. The Tigers can make a statement with a win over an ACC team.
Memphis 21-20

No. 112 Army at No. 72 Ball State
This is the fourth meeting between these two schools in the past five years. Ball State has won the past two, 48-21 in 2011 in Muncie and 30-22 last year in West Point. The Cardinals, under third-year coach Pete Lembo, should contend in the MAC West. Army, under fifth-year coach Rich Ellerson, will struggle to win more than three games.
Ball State 37-21

Missouri State at No. 76 Iowa
There’s no shame in losing to Northern Illinois, even at home, but Kirk Ferentz really, really needed to get off to a good start. Didn’t happen. The Hawkeyes should have little trouble breaking into the win column this week, but there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on Ferentz & Co. next week when they visit Iowa State.
Iowa 27-10

No. 115 Miami (Ohio) at No. 78 Kentucky 
The Mark Stoops era was going about as well as possible — until the games started. Kentucky was humbled by in-state rival Western Kentucky in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. The Cats’ defense had no answer for Western Kentucky’s balanced attack, allowing 215 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. UK went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback, but he was pulled after throwing for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, his replacement, was named the starter for Week 2. There was one bright spot: UK rushed for 216 yards on 32 carries, led by 98 yards on 14 attempts from tailback Raymond Sanders.
Kentucky 33-17

Central Arkansas at No. 80 Colorado
Mike McIntyre won his first game as the coach at Colorado — and did so in impressive fashion. The Buffs rolled up 509 yards of offense in a 41-27 win over rival Colorado State in Denver. Former Texas Longhorn Connor Wood played well at quarterback, and wideout Paul Richardson, who missed last season with a torn ACL, caught 10 passes for 208 yards.
Colorado 41-20

UC Davis at No. 81 Nevada
Cody Fajardo did his thing (106 yards rushing and 164 yards passing), but the Nevada defense had no answer for the UCLA offense (647 yards) in a 58-20 loss last week. The Wolf Pack should give new coach Brian Polian his first win this week.
Nevada 37-10

Grambling at No. 82 ULM
ULM managed only 166 yards of offense in its 34-0 loss at Oklahoma. Kolton Browning, the Warhawks’ outstanding quarterback, was limited to an average of 3.3 yards on his 39 attempts. Things should be a bit easier this weekend.
ULM 41-10

Indiana State at No. 84 Purdue
It’s tough to find many positives from the Boilermakers’ 42-7 loss at Cincinnati last Saturday. Purdue was outplayed in every phase of the game. The season is still young, but Darrell Hazell’s team needs to show significant improvement — and soon — if it hopes to reach bowl-eligibility.
Purdue 34-10

No. 123 Idaho at No. 86 Wyoming
Wyoming had 602 yards of total offense last week at Nebraska but fell just a bit short, losing 37-34. Brett Smith was sensational for the Cowboys, completing 29-of-43 passes for 383 yards with four touchdowns and one INT. The Pokes figure to have a relatively easy time with a pretty bad Idaho team.
Wyoming 37-10

South Dakota at No. 87 Kansas
We had to wait an extra week to watch Charlie Weis and the junior college-laden Jayhawks in action. Weis’ starting quarterback is Jake Heaps, who once was the No. 1 QB recruit in the nation. If Heaps plays well and some of the junior college transfers on the defensive side of the ball live up to the hype, KU should be significantly improved in 2013.
Kansas 17-10

No. 89 Houston at No. 93 Temple
Houston and Temple are in the same conference — as strange as that might seem. Houston pounded Southern with ease in Week 1 led by a rushing attack that picked up 372 yards on 50 carries. Temple faced a more difficult test and lost 28-6 at Notre Dame. This is a big barometer game for both programs.
Houston 27-20

No. 110 North Texas at No. 90 Ohio
Ohio won at Penn State in Week 1 of the 2012 season. In their ’13 debut, however, the Bobcats had no answer for Louisville and were never in the game. They return home to face a North Texas team that is feeling pretty good about itself after beating Idaho 40-6 last week. A lot of teams, however, will be feeling good about themselves after playing Idaho.
Ohio 30, North Texas 24

Montana State at No. 91 SMU
SMU outgained Texas Tech 490-to-461 last week but lost the game 41-23 due in part to struggles in the red zone. Texas Tech scored on all five trips inside the 20 (three TDs, two FGs); SMU scored on only three of five trips with only one touchdown.
SMU 41-20

Lamar at No. 95 Louisiana Tech
Skip Holtz lost to NC State 40-14 in his debut as the coach at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs, who lost a ton of weapons from last year’s nine-win team, could struggle in their first season in C-USA.
Louisiana Tech 41-17

No. 106 New Mexico at No. 99 UTEP
New Mexico showed signs of progress last season under Bob Davie, but the Lobos’ 2013 season got off to a rough start with a 21-13 loss at home to UTSA. New Mexico’s struggles in the passing game continued (6-of-17 for 84 yards), something that must be fixed if this team is going to take a step forward this fall. UTEP will be playing its first game under new coach Sean Kugler.
UTEP 20-13

Nicholls State at No. 102 Western Michigan
Western Michigan hosts a Nicholls State team that gave up 772 yards and 66 points last week to Oregon. The Broncos should have little trouble evening their record to 1-1.
Western Michigan 41-7

Savannah State at No. 107 Troy
Troy rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter to beat UAB last week. Corey Robinson had an efficient day, completing 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards with one TD and no interceptions.
Troy 30-10

No. 122 South Alabama at No. 109 Tulane
South Alabama lost at home last week 22-21 to Southern Utah. Tulane beat Jackson State 34-7 in the first start for Nick Montana (son of Joe) at quarterback. Montana only completed 6-of-14 passes, but he threw for 144 yards and two scores.
Tulane 27-20

Prairie View A&M at No. 111 Texas State
Texas State continued Southern Miss’ misery (12th straight loss) by beating the Golden Eagles 22-15 on the road last week.
Texas State 34-7

New Hampshire at No. 114 Central Michigan
Central Michigan was dominated on both sides of the ball last week at Michigan. The Chippewas will be tested by a New Hampshire team that won eight games last season.
Central Michigan 31-27

James Madison at No. 116 Akron
Akron returns home after losing badly at UCF last week. The Zips fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter en route to a 38-7 loss. James Madison beat Central Connecticut State 38-14 last Saturday.
James Madison 24-20

Maine at No. 124 UMass
Not a good sign for UMass: The Minutemen are a 3.5-point underdog at home to an FCS school. The 2013 season will not feature many wins for Charley Molnar’s team.
Maine 30-20

Chattanooga at No. 125 Georgia State
Georgia State hired a very good coach in Trent Miles, but the Panthers are a long way away from being competitive in the FBS ranks. Last week, they lost at home, 31-21, to Samford.
Georgia State 22, Chattanooga 20

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-week-2-sec-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

South Carolina’s trip to Georgia highlights the Week 2 slate in the SEC.  Also, Florida heads to South Florida to play at Miami, and Tennessee hosts Western Kentucky in an intriguing battle of first-year head coaches. In addition, two SEC coaches will be facing their former schools — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn plays host to Arkansas State, and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel takes on Toledo.

Other Week 2 Previews and Predictions

ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12


SEC Week 2 Game Power Rankings

1. South Carolina (+3) at Georgia (4:30 ET, ESPN)
Georgia received some bad (though not unexpected) news on Sunday when standout wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was diagnosed with a torn ACL. Mitchell, who played both ways last season, was expected to be a difference-maker on a great Georgia offense. The Bulldogs, however, still have plenty of talent — they averaged 7.8 yards per play in the loss to Clemson, which was higher than their 7.1 yards that led the nation in 2012. Don’t worry: This team will still score plenty of points. South Carolina was efficient in its weather-delayed 27–10 win over North Carolina. The Gamecocks showed some big-play ability — Connor Shaw hit Shaq Roland for 65 yards on USC’s first possession — and were productive on the ground. They will need to be balanced on offense against a Georgia defense that played relatively well in Week 1 against an elite Clemson offense. 

2. Florida (-3) at Miami (12 ET, ESPN)
Miami plays host to the Gators for the first time since 2003, when Larry Coker and Ron Zook were roaming the sidelines for their respective schools. Florida was terrific on defense in its 24–6 win over Toledo in Week 1. The Gators limited a very good (and very experienced) offense to 205 total yards and allowed the Rockets to convert only 1-of-13 on third down. Florida was underwhelming on offense, but it was clear the staff chose to keep things pretty basic. Jeff Driskel completed 17-of-22 passes but only threw for 153 yards and did not have a completion longer than 26 yards. Miami had no trouble with Florida Atlantic in its opener, rolling to a 34–6 win over the Owls. Duke Johnson rushed for 186 yards on 19 carries to lead a balanced attack.

3. Western Kentucky (+13.5) at Tennessee  (12:21 ET, SEC Network)

There was nothing fluky about Western Kentucky’s 35–26 win against Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, who rolled up 216 yards rushing and 271 yards passing, were the better team. Now, however, the challenge becomes greater for Bobby Petrino’s club. Tennessee is rebuilding but is still far more talented than Kentucky — on both sides of the ball. The Vols feature an NFL-caliber offensive line and have some nice parts on what should be an improved defense. Expect to see heavy doses of tailbacks Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane, who combined for 179 yards on 22 carries against an overmatched Austin Peay team. Western Kentucky struggled to slow Kentucky’s rushing attack, especially in the first half (174 yards on 18 attempts). Tennessee will take advantage of this mismatch and run for 250-plus yards.

4. Arkansas State (+13) at Auburn (7:30 ET, Fox Sports Net)
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Knighten is listed as a quarterback but has been used primarily as a tailback. He could see some Wildcat looks this week. Auburn opened the Gus Malzahn era with a 31–24 win over Washington State. Nick Marshall did some good things in his debut at quarterback, but he only averaged 3.0 yards per carry and 5.2 yards per passing attempt. Those numbers will have to improve.

5. Toledo (+17) at Missouri (3:30 ET, ESPNU)
Missouri struggled in the first quarter but dominated Murray State the rest of the way en route to a 58–14 win. It’s dangerous to read too much into a game against an FCS opponent, but Gary Pinkel had to be pleased that his offense had over 300 yards rushing and passing. Despite struggling last week at Florida (against an elite defense), the Toledo offense figures to put some pressure on the Missouri defense. The Tigers ranked near the bottom of the SEC in most defensive categories last season, and it will not be a good sign if they give up a bunch of points to Toledo — a team that failed to score a touchdown against Florida.

6. Miami (Ohio) (+17) at Kentucky (12, Fox Sports Net)
The Mark Stoops era was going about as well as possible — until the games started. Kentucky was humbled by in-state rival Western Kentucky in Nashville on Saturday afternoon. The Cats’ defense had no answer for Western Kentucky’s balanced attack, allowing 215 yards rushing and 271 yards passing. UK went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback, but he was pulled after throwing for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, his replacement, was named the starter for Week 2. There was one bright spot: UK rushed for 216 yards on 32 carries, led by 98 yards on 14 attempts from tailback Raymond Sanders.

7. UAB (+34.5) at LSU (7 ET, ESPNU)
LSU was one of the most impressive teams, both in the SEC and nationally, in Week 1. The Tigers looked more dynamic on offense, and the new-look defense limited TCU to 259 total yards. Picked by many (including Athlon Sports) to finish third in the SEC West, LSU has the look of a team that can compete for the national title. UAB, on the other hand, lost in overtime to Troy in Week 1. This will not go well for the Blazers. 

8. Sam Houston State (+48) at Texas A&M (7 ET, PPV)
Ordinarily this game would have been indistinguishable from the other SEC vs. FCS showdowns (see below), but the fact that Johnny Manziel is involved adds some intrigue to this game. Also, Sam Houston State is a pretty good team. The Bearkats played for the 2012 FCS national title and opened the ’13 season with a 74–0 win over Houston Baptist.

Note: Due to the poor quality of the opponents, it was impossible to rank the final four games on the SEC schedule, so they all tied as the ninth-most compelling game in the league this week.

T-9. Samford  (+32) at Arkansas (7 ET, PPV)
It didn’t get much attention nationally, but Arkansas was quite impressive in its 34–14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Brandon Allen was efficient throwing the ball (15-of-22 for 230 yards with three TDs and no picks) and two running backs (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for at least 130 yards. This was a very good win over a solid team. The test in Week 2 will not be as great — though Samford did beat Georgia State in Week 1.

T-9. Alcorn State (+43) at Mississippi State (3:30 ET, CSS)
Mississippi State needs to build some confidence after struggling through a 21–3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The Bulldogs managed only 333 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. Alcorn State beat Edward Waters 63–12 last week.

T-9. Austin Peay (+46.5) at Vanderbilt (7:30 ET, CSS)
Vanderbilt needs a get-well game after the agonizing last-minute loss to Ole Miss last Thursday night. Austin Peay, which trailed Tennessee 42–0 at the half last week, should provide plenty of comfort. The Governors will be at a huge talent disadvantage at every spot on the field.

T-9. SE Missouri State (+49) at Ole Miss (7 ET, PPV)
Hugh Freeze will remind his team that eight FCS teams beat FBS teams in Week 1. What he probably won’t tell the Rebels is that SE Missouri State lost to SE Louisiana 45–7 last week. This will not be difficult for Ole Miss.

Week 2 SEC Pivotal Players

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Not much hasn’t gone well for Aaron Murray in his time at Georgia. He’s been a four-year starter, won a bunch of games and played in the SEC Championship Game twice. But Murray — fair or not — has a label as a quarterback who can’t win the big game. And despite playing well last week at Clemson (20-of-29 for 323 yards, 1 INT), Murray failed to lead his team to victory. With South Carolina coming to town this weekend, the fifth-year senior will be under considerable pressure to play well — and, of course, win the game.

South Carolina’s linebackers
Georgia puts pressure on every part of a defense, but South Carolina’s inexperienced linebacker corps will be under intense scrutiny this week. This group will have to deal with Georgia’s elite tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and handle the play-action game that can be so difficult to slow down. Also, the Bulldogs feature two outstanding pass-catching tight ends, Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome.

Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
Easley was a key figure on a Florida defensive line that consistently had its way with the Toledo offensive front. The Rockets managed only 205 yards of offense and did not score a touchdown. The challenge will be greater this week for Easley and the Florida defense. Miami boasts an outstanding offensive line and one of the top running backs in the nation, Duke Johnson. If Easley plays well, the Gators’ defense will be productive. 

Tennessee’s secondary
The Vols’ struggles in the secondary last season are well-documented. This week, this unit will be tested for the first time this season. Western Kentucky isn’t loaded with top-flight talent, but the Hilltoppers are good enough to move the ball up and down the field — just ask Kentucky — and are as well-coached on offense as any team in the nation. Two true freshman cornerbacks — Cameron Sutton and Malik Foreman — will see significant time.

Maxwell Smith, QB, Kentucky
Smith, who threw for 280 yards in the opener against Louisville last season, seems to be a better fit for Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” offense, but the UK staff went with Jalen Whitlow in Week 1 because of his ability to make plays with his feet. Smith gets the start this week and will have an opportunity to secure the top job with a solid performance. Miami gave up 591 yards of offense, including 287 through the air, in a 52–14 loss to Marshall last week.


SEC Week 2 Predictions

 

David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Florida at Miami 

Florida 28-24

Florida 27-21Florida 24-20Florida 24-20
Miami (OH) at Kentucky 

Kentucky 21-17

Kentucky 31-13Kentucky 38-17Kentucky 33-17

WKU at Tennessee 

UT 28-24UT 30-27UT 30-27UT 31-21

Toledo at Missouri 

Mizzou 35-28

Mizzou 31-20Mizzou 38-31Mizzou 28-20

Alcorn at Miss St.

Miss. St. 35-7Miss. St. 44-10Miss. St. 38-0Miss. State 41-10

South Carolina at Georgia 

Carolina 27-21

Carolina 27-21Georgia 27-24Georgia 31-21

UAB at LSU 

LSU 42-10

LSU 41-10LSU 45-13LSU 41-0

Sam Houston at Texas A&M 

A&M 49-21

A&M 51-21A&M 58-27A&M 55-10

Samford at Arkansas 

Arkansas 41-14

Arkansas 41-20Arkansas 41-7Arkansas 31-0

SEMO at Ole Miss 

Ole Miss 49-7Ole Miss 42-13Ole Miss 52-7Ole Miss 44-7

Austin Peay at Vanderbilt 

Vanderbilt 52-7

Vanderbilt 51-10Vanderbilt 45-3Vanderbilt 51-7

Arkansas St. at Auburn 

Auburn 28-17

Auburn 31-14Auburn 34-27Arkansas St. 27-21
Last Week12-110-310-310-3
Season12-110-310-310-3

 

Teaser:
Georgia hosts South Carolina in key SEC East showdown
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/week-1-sec-power-rankings-2013
Body:

It’s only Week 1, but if the early indications are true, the SEC is deeper and better than 2012. LSU showcased the next wave of talent in a win over TCU, Ole Miss picked up a good road win over Vanderbilt, Arkansas handled Sun Belt favorite UL Lafayette, and Tennessee and Auburn scored victories under a new coaching staff.

Alabama didn’t have the best offensive outing against Virginia Tech, but the Crimson Tide are still the No. 1 team in the SEC and in the nation. 

South Carolina secured a solid non-conference victory over North Carolina on Thursday night, while Georgia lost by three points on the road to Clemson.

More Post-Week 1 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11

Alabama (1-0, 0-0): The beating was far less thorough than most anticipated, but Alabama was never really threatened in its 35-10 win over Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome. The Crimson Tide’s offense was underwhelming (206 total yards), but Bama scored two touchdowns on special teams and one on defense. Next Week: Bye

23

South Carolina (1-0, 0-0): The Gamecocks recorded a workmanlike 27–10 win over North Carolina on Thursday night. South Carolina flashed its big-play ability early when Connor Shaw hooked up with Shaq Roland on a 65-yard touchdown toss in the first quarter. From that point, Steve Spurrier leaned on his rushing attack; Mike Davis led the way with 115 yards (9.6-yard average), and Brandon Wilds chipped in with 64 yards on 12 rushes. Next Week: at Georgia 

32Georgia (0-1, 0-0): The Bulldogs missed a great opportunity to make a statement in Week 1. Georgia played well at times, but Mark Richt’s team made too many mistakes to beat a team as talented as Clemson on the road. Todd Gurley was sensational (154 yards on 12 carries), and Aaron Murray completed 20-of-29 for 323 yards, but the Georgia defense had no answer for the Clemson attack. Next Week: South Carolina 
45LSU (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers were very impressive in their 37–27 win  over TCU in Arlington, Texas. The offense, under the guidance of new coordinator Cam Cameron, picked up 448 total yards and converted 13-of-19 on third down. The new-look LSU defense held TCU to 259 yards. Next Week: UAB
54Texas A&M (1-0, 0-0): Johnny Manziel’s return from suspension and his subsequent behavior in the second half made national headlines, but the bigger story was the Texas A&M defense. Yes, the Aggies weren’t at full strength, but Rice rolled up 509 yards of total offense, including over 300 on the ground. That is not a good sign. Next Week: Sam Houston State
66Florida (1-0, 0-0): The Gators were dominant on defense, holding a potent Toledo offense to just over 200 yards and a pair of field goals. Jeff Driskel was efficient at quarterback, completing 17-of-22 for 153 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. The Gators will have to prove they can throw the ball down field as the schedule toughens up in the coming weeks. Driskel’s longest completion was to tight end Trey Burton for 26 yards. Next Week: At Miami (Fla.)
78Ole Miss (1-0, 1-0): The only team with an SEC win on the young season, Ole Miss showed some toughness by coming back from 11 points down in the second half to beat Vanderbilt in Nashville. After being held to 10 points in the first half, the Rebels scored four touchdowns in the final two quarters. Next Week: SE Missouri State.
87

Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1): The Commodores rallied for a late score to grab a 35-32 lead over Ole Miss with under two minutes to play, but the defense let Rebel tailback Jeff Scott scamper 75 yards for the winning score just two plays later. Senior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, making his first SEC start, threw for 300 yards, and All-America wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught 10 passes for 178 yards. Next Week: Austin Peay

913Arkansas (1-0, 0-0): The Hogs disposed of a solid UL Lafayette team with surprising ease, outgaining the Ragin’ Cajuns 522-to-274 en route to the 34-14 win. Brandon Allen, the new starting quarterback, threw for 230 yards, and two tailbacks (Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins) rushed for over 100 yards. Last year, Arkansas opened the season by losing at home to a Sun Belt team. Not this year. Next Week: vs. Samford
109Mississippi State (0-1, 0-0): Mississippi State looked good early but did not play well in the final three quarters of a sluggish 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State in Houston. The biggest surprise: The Bulldogs failed to score a touchdown against a defense that gave up well over 400 yards per game last season. Starting quarterback Tyler Russell was forced to leave the game with an apparent head injury in the second half. Next Week: vs. Alcorn State
1111Tennessee (1-0, 0-0): In arguably the biggest mismatch on the Week 1 slate (nationally, not just in the SEC), Tennessee shut out Austin Peay 45-0 in Butch Jones’ debut as the Vols’ head coach. UT jumped out to a 42-0 lead at the half and coasted through the final two quarters. Quarterback Justin Worley completed 11-of-13 for 104 yards and three touchdowns. Next Week: vs. Western Kentucky
12 12Missouri (1-0, 0-0): It was a bit of a struggle early — Murray State led Mizzou 14–13 after one quarter — but the Tigers dominated the final 45 minutes on their way to a 58–14 win. Missouri rolled up 694 total yards — 372 on the ground and 336 through the air. The highlight of the day: Henry Josey, making his first appearance since injuring his knee late in the 2011 season, rushed for 113 yards on 13 carries. Next Week: Toledo
1310Auburn (1-0, 0-0): The Tigers did a lot of good things in a 31–24 win over Washington State, but keep in mind that Wazzu was arguably the worst BCS conference team in the nation last season. The Cougars appear to be much improved, but we won’t know how to evaluate this Auburn win until we see more of Washington State. Still, a win is a win, and Auburn didn’t have too many of those last season. Next Week: Arkanas State
1414Kentucky (1-0, 0-0): The Mark Stoops era got off to a rough start with a 35-26 loss to Western Kentucky at LP Field in Nashville. And there was nothing fluky about this game: Western Kentucky was the better team. Kentucky went with Jalen Whitlow at quarterback. He did some good things with his legs but threw for only 78 yards on 15 attempts. Maxwell Smith, who appears to be a better fit for Neal Brown’s “Air Raid” offense, played relatively well off the bench. Next Game: Miami (Ohio)

SEC Week 1 Awards 

Offensive Player of the Week: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
His team came up short, but Matthews was sensational in Vanderbilt’s 39–35 loss to Ole Miss. The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown, highlighted by a 42-yard grab on 4th-and-18 in the final two minutes. That catch, in double-coverage, came just moments after Matthews threw up at midfield after taking a blow to the stomach. Earlier in the second half, he missed time while dealing with cramps. Matthews has averaged 121.6 yards receiving in his last 13 SEC games.

Defensive Player of the Week: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
The Auburn defense intercepted a total of two passes during the entire 2012 season. Therezie matched that number by himself on Saturday night. The junior safety intercepted Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday to thwart a drive at midfield in the first quarter and then delivered arguably the play of the game when he picked off a pass in the end zone in the final five minutes with Auburn ahead by seven points. Therezie also added seven tackles.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Christion Jones, Alabama
Jones scored three touchdowns — one on a punt return, one a kickoff return and one on offense — to lead Alabama to a 35–10 win over Virginia Tech. The junior wideout is the second player in the past 10 years to score on a punt and kick return in the same game. His third touchdown came on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter. 
 
Team of the Week: LSU
The Tigers were perhaps the most impressive SEC team of the opening weekend. Les Miles’ club looked good on both sides of the ball, outgaining TCU 448-to-259 en route to a 37–27 win over the Horned Frogs in Arlington, Texas. LSU has now won 42 consecutive non-conference games.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
There wasn’t much not to like in Cameron’s debut as the play-caller at LSU. The Tigers rolled up 448 yards of offense against a TCU team that led the Big 12 in total defense last season. LSU showed nice balance (251 yards passing, 197 yards rushing), was tremendous on third down (13-of-19) and only committed one turnover. Zach Mettenberger had some nice moments, but the senior quarterback only completed 50 percent of his passes — a number that Cameron would like to see increase in coming weeks.

Freshman of the Week, Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
There were some freshmen with gaudier stats, but none had a bigger impact on his team’s win than Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver recruit. After catching only one pass in the first half, Treadwell set the tone for the Ole Miss offense in third quarter by catching eight passes on the Rebels’ two long scoring drives. He capped off the second drive with a 2-point conversion that cut the Vanderbilt lead to 28–25. The 6-3, 215-poud Illinois native ended the game with nine catches for 82 yards.

5th Down

Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak to Vanderbilt. The Rebels had lost six of the last eight against the Commodores.
• It shouldn’t be a surprise, but Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in Bret Bielama’s debut. Jonathan Williams gained 151 yards on 18 carries, and freshman Alex Collins chipped in with 131 yards on 21 rushes.
• Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron completed 10-of-23 for 110 yards against Virginia Tech. It was the fewest completions for McCarron as a starter against an FBS opponent and it was only the second time in his career he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He went 12-of-25 against Florida as a sophomore in 2011.
• Mississippi State, which lost to Oklahoma State 21–3, failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. The Bulldogs have now lost six of their past seven games, with each loss coming by at least 14 points.
• Florida held Toledo to 205 total yards in its 24–6 win in Gainesville. The Rockets returned nine starters from an offense that averaged 445.2 yards per games a year ago. It was Toledo’s worst offensive showing since gaining 183 yards in a 41–2 loss to Arizona in Week 1 of the 2011 season.

 

Teaser:
SEC 2013 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 07:11
Path: /sec-week-1-recap-and-awards-2013
Body:


Ole Miss topped Vanderbilt in the only Week 1 matchup between SEC teams, but there were several other schools that made a statement in the first weekend of the season. LSU picked up a solid non-conference win over TCU in Arlington; Florida looked great on defense in its win over Toledo; and Auburn knocked off an improved Washington State team in the first game of the Gus Malzahn era.

Offensive Player of the Week: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
His team came up short, but Matthews was sensational in Vanderbilt’s 39–35 loss to Ole Miss. The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown, highlighted by a 42-yard grab on 4th-and-18 in the final two minutes. That catch, in double-coverage, came just moments after Matthews threw up at midfield after taking a blow to the stomach. Earlier in the second half, he missed time while dealing with cramps. Matthews has averaged 121.6 yards receiving in his last 13 SEC games.

Defensive Player of the Week: Robenson Therezie, Auburn
The Auburn defense intercepted a total of two passes during the entire 2012 season. Therezie matched that number by himself on Saturday night. The junior safety intercepted Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday to thwart a drive at midfield in the first quarter and then delivered arguably the play of the game when he picked off a pass in the end zone in the final five minutes with Auburn ahead by seven points. Therezie also added seven tackles.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Christion Jones, Alabama
Jones scored three touchdowns — one on a punt return, one a kickoff return and one on offense — to lead Alabama to a 35–10 win over Virginia Tech. The junior wideout is the second player in the past 10 years to score on a punt and kick return in the same game. His third touchdown came on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter. 
 
Team of the Week: LSU
The Tigers were perhaps the most impressive SEC team of the opening weekend. Les Miles’ club looked good on both sides of the ball, outgaining TCU 448-to-259 en route to a 37–27 win over the Horned Frogs in Arlington, Texas. LSU has now won 42 consecutive non-conference games.

Coordinator of the Week: Cam Cameron, LSU
There wasn’t much not to like in Cameron’s debut as the play-caller at LSU. The Tigers rolled up 448 yards of offense against a TCU team that led the Big 12 in total defense last season. LSU showed nice balance (251 yards passing, 197 yards rushing), was tremendous on third down (13-of-19) and only committed one turnover. Zach Mettenberger had some nice moments, but the senior quarterback only completed 50 percent of his passes — a number that Cameron would like to see increase in coming weeks.

Freshman of the Week, Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
There were some freshmen with gaudier stats, but none had a bigger impact on his team’s win than Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver recruit. After catching only one pass in the first half, Treadwell set the tone for the Ole Miss offense in third quarter by catching eight passes on the Rebels’ two long scoring drives. He capped off the second drive with a 2-point conversion that cut the Vanderbilt lead to 28–25. The 6-3, 215-poud Illinois native ended the game with nine catches for 82 yards.

5th Down

Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak to Vanderbilt. The Rebels had lost six of the last eight against the Commodores.
• It shouldn’t be a surprise, but Arkansas had two 100-yard rushers in Bret Bielama’s debut. Jonathan Williams gained 151 yards on 18 carries, and freshman Alex Collins chipped in with 131 yards on 21 rushes.
• Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron completed 10-of-23 for 110 yards against Virginia Tech. It was the fewest completions for McCarron as a starter against an FBS opponent and it was only the second time in his career he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes. He went 12-of-25 against Florida as a sophomore in 2011.
• Mississippi State, which lost to Oklahoma State 21–3, failed to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to LSU 19–6 in September 2011. The Bulldogs have now lost six of their past seven games, with each loss coming by at least 14 points.
• Florida held Toledo to 205 total yards in its 24–6 win in Gainesville. The Rockets returned nine starters from an offense that averaged 445.2 yards per games a year ago. It was Toledo’s worst offensive showing since gaining 183 yards in a 41–2 loss to Arizona in Week 1 of the 2011 season.

 

Teaser:
SEC Week 1 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, September 1, 2013 - 11:59
Path: /college-football/sec-week-1-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

The showdown at the Georgia Dome Saturday night between Georgia and Clemson highlights the Week 1 action in the SEC. The only league game, Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, takes place Thursday night in Nashville. 

SEC Week 1 Game Power Rankings

1. Georgia (-2) at Clemson (8 ET, ABC)
The marquee matchup of Week 1 pits two teams with legitimate national title aspirations. Clemson is known for its explosive attack — and rightfully so — but Georgia was actually the more efficient offensive team last season. The Bulldogs led the nation in yards per play (7.09) and ranked second in passing efficiency. Clemson compiled more yards (512.7 ypg) than Georgia (467.6 ypg) because the Tigers ran about 15 more plays per game. Georgia’s defense has been singled out as a cause of concern due to heavy personnel losses, but we can’t forget that this was not a particularly good defense (by Georgia standards) last season. The Dawgs gave up 31 points or more four times and ranked sixth in the league in both total defense and scoring defense. The next wave of Bulldog defenders is ready to emerge, and Georgia — even without standout linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-Clemons in the lineup (suspended) — will field a more talented defense than Clemson. The Dawgs will give up some points — no team will shut down Tajh Boyd & Co. — but don’t assume the Georgia defense will be a weakness in Week 1. 

2. Ole Miss (-3) at Vanderbilt (Thursday, 9:15 ET, ESPN)
This is a crucial game for two up-and-coming programs that would like nothing more than to start the season with an SEC win in Week 1. Ole Miss dominated this series from the 1950s through the mid-2000s, but Vanderbilt has won six of the last eight (including three straight) against the Rebels. Last year, the Commodores rallied from 17 down in the second half to knock off Ole Miss 27–26 in Oxford despite giving up over 400 yards passing. This year, the teams appear to be evenly matched once again. The focus will be on both quarterbacks. Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace will be playing his first game since undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason. The reports have been positive, but we won’t know if Wallace, a native of Middle Tennessee, is completely healthy until he faces a live defense. Vanderbilt will turn to fifth-year senior Austyn Carta-Samuels, who started for two years at Wyoming before transferring to Vanderbilt. Both quarterbacks will be without their No. 2 receivers — Ole Miss’ Vince Sanders is injured; Vanderbilt’s Chris Boyd is suspended. Should be a great game in Nashville. 

3. LSU (-4) vs. TCU (Arlington, Texas) (9 ET, ESPN)
Two offseason developments reduced TCU’s chance of knocking off LSU Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium. First, Devonte Fields, the Horned Frogs’ All-America defensive end, was suspended for the first two games for a “violation of university and team policy.” Then, just a few weeks ago, starting linebacker Joel Hasley decided to quit football. The Frogs will still be stout on defense — when aren’t they? — but few teams can afford to be without two of their top players. LSU will be playing its first game under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who is hoping to diversify the Tigers’ attack, which has leaned heavily on the run in recent years. Zach Mettenberger had his moments last year (298 yards vs. Alabama), but the former Georgia Bulldog was a bit of a disappointment in his first season as the starter at LSU. A solid game from Mettenberger against TCU would be a great sign for the Tigers. 

4. Alabama (-19.5) vs. Virginia Tech (Atlanta) (5:30 ET, ESPN)
Virginia Tech has been hit hard by injuries in preseason camp — not a good sign when Alabama, the defending national champs and the preseason No. 1 team, is on the schedule in Week 1. Virginia Tech shook up its offensive staff in the offseason after the ’12 Hokies scored 17 points or less in four of their final six games. Scott Loeffler, who spent last season at Auburn, is now calling the plays in Blacksburg. He has a talented quarterback (Logan Thomas) at his disposal but few other proven playmakers. The projected starting running back, J.C. Coleman, isn’t expected to play against Alabama due to injury, and none of the wide receivers on the roster caught more than 20 passes last year. Oh, and have we mentioned the offensive line is banged up? This is a tough spot for Frank Beamer’s club. An upset is highly unlikely. 

5. North Carolina (+11.5) at South Carolina (6 ET, ESPN)
South Carolina opens the season in a familiar spot — on national television on Thursday night. Last year, the Gamecocks escaped Nashville with a 17–13 Week 1 win at Vanderbilt. This year, the opener figures to be a bit less stressful. North Carolina is a solid team, but this looks to be a bad matchup for the Tar Heels. North Carolina’s biggest area of concern is on the offensive line, and the Heels will have three new starters making their debut against one of the top defensive fronts in the nation. Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles & Co. could make life very difficult for quarterback Bryn Renner. Defensively, North Carolina is replacing its top two players (linebacker Kevin Reddick and tackle Sylvester Williams) from a unit that gave up 33 points or more in six games. The secondary, despite the return of four players who started at least eight games last season, is a big concern.

6. Mississippi State (+12.5) vs. Oklahoma State (Houston) (3:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2)
Oklahoma State is the pick by many (including Athlon Sports) to win the Big 12 title, but very few expect the Cowboys to be a factor in the national title race. The offense will have a new play-caller as Mike Yurcich takes over for Todd Monken (now the coach at Southern Miss), but it will be a surprise if the Pokes aren’t among the national leaders in total yards. Quarterbacks Clint Shelf and J.W. Walsh will be throwing to an elite crop of wide receivers that is led by junior Josh Stewart. This looks to be a favorable matchup on both sides of the ball for Oklahoma State. The Pokes will look to attack a Mississippi State defense that will feature two new starters at cornerback. And on the other side of the ball, the strength of the Oklahoma State defense is the interior of the line. This could present some problems for Mississippi State tailback LaDarius Perkins and force quarterback Tyler Russell to throw the ball to a receiving corps that has some talent but is largely untested. 

7. Western Kentucky (+4.5) vs. Kentucky (Nashville) (7 ET, ESPNews)
Perhaps the lowest point of Kentucky’s 2012 season came in Week 3 when the Wildcats lost 32–31 at home in overtime to Western Kentucky. Now energized by a new coaching staff, UK will be seeking revenge when these two in-state rivals get together in Nashville. The key for Kentucky will be to slow down tailback Antonio Andrews, who rumbled for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries in the Toppers’ win in Lexington last season. Bobby Petrino is known for his passing attacks, but he realizes that with a new quarterback (junior Brandon Doughty), his best bet is to lean heavily on Andrews and the ground game.

8. Washington State (+16) at Auburn (7 ET, ESPNU)
One of the more underrated storylines of the 2013 season is the quarterback situation at Auburn. Gus Malzahn has tabbed Nick Marshall, a former defensive back at Georgia who threw 20 interceptions in junior college last season, as the starter. Marshall is an incredible athlete, but at some point he will have to prove he can consistently throw the ball down the field. Washington State is in Year 2 of the Mike Leach era. The Cougs figure to be better — most notably on the offensive line — but Auburn has the decided talent advantage.

9. UL Lafayette (+10.5) at Arkansas (4 ET, Fox Sports Net)
Bret Bielema’s first game as the boss in Fayetteville will not be easy. UL Lafayette returns seven starters from an offense that averaged more than 450 yards and 35 points last season. Quarterback Terrance Broadway, in only nine starts, set single-season school records for total offense (3,616 yards) and completion percentage (65.4). This offense will move the ball. Arkansas will counter with an attack that will feature heavy doses of tailback Jonathan Williams. A former 4-star recruit from Texas, Williams hasn’t received a ton of pub in the preseason, but the sophomore will be the feature back on a Bielema-coached offense. Translation: He will run for well over 1,000 yards.

10. Toledo (+23.5) at Florida (12:21 ET, SEC Network)
The Gators opened the 2012 season at home against a team from the MAC, and it turned out to be quite a struggle. Florida and Bowling Green were tied 14–14 midway through the third quarter before the Gators pulled away late for the 27–14 win. Toledo stacks up favorably to last year’s Bowling Green team. The Rockets are far more potent on offense but won’t present too much resistance defensively. Only two starters return from a Toledo defense that gave up 473.2 yards per game last season. It will be a significant cause for concern if the Florida offense has trouble scoring points on Saturday.

11. Rice (+27.5) at Texas A&M (1 ET, ESPN)
Johnny Manziel will miss the first half of the season-opener, becoming the first returning Heisman winner to be suspended at any point in the following season (according to Chris Huston, the Heisman Pundit). Manziel will return to the lineup in the second half, and by that point his Aggies should be in complete control.

12. Murray State at Missouri (7 ET, PPV)
Missouri should barely break a sweat against a Murray State team that lost at Florida State 69–3 in the 2012 opener. This game will mark the return of tailback Henry Josey, who hasn’t played since suffering a devastating knee injury in November 2011. At the time of his injury, Josey ranked fifth in the nation in rushing with 127.7 yards per game. He could be a pivotal player for a much-improved Mizzou offense.

13. Austin Peay at Tennessee (6 ET, PPV)
The Butch Jones era begins with a tune-up against one of the worst FCS programs in the nation. Austin Peay went 2–9 in 2012 (one of the wins came against Culver-Stockton) and ranked 107th in the nation in total offense. Don’t put much stock into anything you might see in this box score.

5 Pivotal Players for Week 1

Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
The former 4-star recruit steps into the role as the No. 1 back at South Carolina — a position held by Marcus Lattimore (when healthy) the past three years. Davis, a 5-9, 215-pound sophomore, ran for 275 yards on 52 carries last season as a true freshman. South Carolina has been known as a run-first team in recent years, but the Gamecocks ranked last in the SEC in 2012 by averaging only 3.67 yards per carry (a stat that was not helped by the team’s 260 yards lost due to sacks). Davis’ emergence as an All-SEC-caliber back would be a nice boost to the South Carolina offense.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Murray has won a bunch of games and thrown for a ton of yards during three years as the starter at Georgia, but despite leading his team to two straight SEC title games, the senior quarterback has been — at times — underwhelming on the big stage. Georgia is 2–7 vs. ranked opponents during the Murray era — a stat he is well aware of. “I gotta win the big games,” Murray told the Macon Telegraph. “I’ve gotta step it up and play better when it comes to big-time games. I know that. And that’s something I’m looking forward to this year, is taking that next step and taking on those bigger teams.” He will have an opportunity to “step it up” this weekend when the Bulldogs head to Clemson.

Jonathan Krause, WR, Vanderbilt
Krause put up some decent numbers (24 receptions for 243 yards) as a true freshman in 2009 on a bad Vanderbilt offense. In the past two seasons, however, he combined to catch only 34 passes for 240 yards. He has been a nice weapon as a punt returner but a non-factor in the passing game. Now, however, with Chris Boyd out (suspended), Krause will have an opportunity to shine as the Commodores’ No. 2 receiver.

Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
The nation’s consensus No. 1 incoming freshman, Nkemdiche played his way into the starting lineup during preseason camp. The 6-5, 294-pound defensive end will be on a national stage Thursday night against a Vanderbilt offensive line that features one of the more underrated tackles in the nation, senior Wesley Johnson. The Ole Miss staff will no doubt try to create some mismatches and give Nkemdiche a chance to make plays in his first college game.

Mississippi State’s cornerbacks
The Bulldogs must replace one of the top cornerback tandems in the nation, Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay. Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun are the new starters, and they won’t have time to ease into their new roles. Oklahoma State, the Week 1 opponent, has ranked in the top 10 in the nation in passing offense in each of the last three seasons, and the 2013 Pokes feature an elite corps of wide receivers. The Mississippi State secondary will have to play well to give the Bulldogs a chance to win this game.

Athlon Week 1 SEC Predictions

 

David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light

N. Carolina (+11.5) at S. Carolina 

S. Carolina 24-14

S. Carolina 28-13

S. Carolina 31-23

S. Carolina 28-14

Ole Miss (-3) at Vanderbilt

Ole Miss 28-21

Vanderbilt 31-24

Vanderbilt 24-20

Vanderbilt 30-27

Toledo (+23.5) at Florida 

Florida 28-17

Florida 31-13

Florida 34-20Florida 37-20

Rice (+27.5) at Texas A&M 

Texas A&M 48-10

Texas A&M 61-13

Texas A&M 48-10Texas A&M 51-7

Miss. State (+12.5) vs. O-State 

Okla. St 31-21

Okla. St 30-21

Okla. St 34-24Okla. St 38-24

UL Lafayette (+10.5) at Arkansas 

UL Lafayette 24-21

Arkansas 31-28

Arkansas 31-27Arkansas 34-30

Alabama (-19.5) vs. Va. Tech

Alabama 41-14

Alabama 41-14

Alabama 34-13Alabama 34-14

Austin Peay at Tennessee 

Tennessee 35-7

Tennessee 34-13

Tennessee 59-7Tennessee 47-0

W. Kentucky (+4.5) vs. Kentucky 

WKY 35-17

WKY 21-20

Kentucky 27-24Kentucky 23-13

Washington St (+16) at Auburn

Auburn 24-14

Auburn 35-20

Auburn 38-20Auburn 30-13

Murray State at Missouri 

Missouri 35-10

Missouri 38-10

Missouri 48-14Missouri 41-10

Georgia (-2) at Clemson 

Clemson 38-35

Georgia 34-31

Georgia 38-34Geeorgia 34-27

LSU (-4) vs. TCU (Arlington)

LSU 21-14

LSU 27-17

LSU 27-20

LSU 24-10

 

Teaser:
Georgia's trip to Death Valley Highlights Weekend Slate
Post date: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/vanderbilt-commodores-2013-spring-football-preview
Body:

James Franklin has taken Vanderbilt where few thought it was possible for the program to go — to the middle of the pack in the SEC. After showing significant improvement in Franklin’s first season — the Dores won six games in 2011, two more than the previous two years combined — the program took an even bigger step forward in 2012. The Commodores went 9–4 overall and 5–3 in the SEC. The nine wins were the most since 1915, and the winning record in the league was the school’s first since 1982. Vanderbilt ended the season on a seven-game winning streak, with five of the seven victories coming by 14 points or more. There was nothing fluky about Vanderbilt’s breakthrough season — the Commodores ranked fifth in the league in total defense and a respectable eighth in total offense.  And while there are a few key personnel losses on both sides of the ball, there is more than enough returning talent to keep the Commodores relevant in the nation’s most difficult conference.

Vanderbilt Commodores 2013 Spring Preview

2012 Record: 9-4 (5-3)

Spring practice dates: March 15-April 13

Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 6

Returning Leaders:

Passing: Austyn Carta-Samuels, 14 of 25, 208 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Brian Kimbrow, 66 car., 413 yards, 3 TDs
Receiving: Jordan Matthews, 94 rec., 1,323 yards, 8 TDs
Tackles: Kenny Ladler, 90
Sacks: Kyle Woestmann, 6
Interceptions: Kenny Ladler and Andre Hal, 2

Redshirts to Watch: CB Brandon Banks, DT Ladarius Banks, P Colby Cooke, OL Barrett Gouger, OL Andrew Jelks, CB Torren McGaster, DE Stephen Weatherly, QB Patton Robinette

Early Enrollees to Watch: OL Sean Dowling, QB Johnny McCrary

JUCO Transfers to watch: TE Brandon Vandenburg

2013 Schedule

Aug. 29 Ole Miss
Sept. 7 Austin Peay
Sept. 14 at South Carolina
Sept. 21 at UMass
Sept. 28 UAB
Oct. 5 Missouri
Oct. 19 Georgia
Oct. 26 at Texas A&M
Nov. 2 Bye Week
Nov. 9 at Florida
Nov. 16 Kentucky
Nov. 23 at Tennessee
Nov. 30 Wake Forest

Offensive Strength: Vanderbilt boasts the SEC’s best pair of starting wide receivers in Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Matthews earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior after catching a league-best 94 passes for 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns. Boyd’s numbers weren’t as gaudy (50 catches for 774 yards), but he has tremendous hands and is considered a legitimate NFL prospect.

Offensive Weakness: Vanderbilt is unproven at the quarterback position after losing Jordan Rodgers to graduation. Austyn Carta-Samuels, who started for two seasons at Wyoming, is the favorite, though redshirt freshman Patton Robinette will get a long look.

Defensive Strength: The Commodores feature three defensive ends who could play for any team in the league — a statement that can’t often be made with conviction. Senior Walker May is a bit undersized (6-5, 250) but has been a consistent playmaker for the past two seasons. Junior Kyle Woestmann was perhaps the best player on the defense in the latter half of the season, with six sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss in the final seven games. And sophomore Caleb Azubuike recorded 4.5 sacks as a true freshman.

Defensive Weakness: Vanderbilt lacks depth at defensive tackle, with only three players returning who logged meaningful snaps at the position in 2012. To build some depth, the staff moved highly touted offensive lineman Adam Butler, a redshirt freshman, to defensive tackle in the spring, and also is looking at moving Azubuike inside on passing downs.

Spring Storylines Facing the Commodores

1. Replacing Jordan Rodgers. After a slow start, Jordan Rodgers enjoyed an outstanding senior season running the Vanderbilt offense. The biggest issue in the offseason is identifying Rodgers’ successor. Austyn Carta-Samuels, a two year-starter at Wyoming and the 2009 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, is the favorite. Carta-Samuels is a dual-threat who threw for 3,655 yards and rushed for 578 in his two seasons at Wyoming. He started one game last year for Vanderbilt, throwing for 195 yards in an easy win over Presbyterian. Carta-Samuels will be challenged by Patton Robinette, a redshirt freshman from East Tennessee who was once committed to North Carolina. Josh Grady, who was moved from quarterback to wide receiver last spring, is back at quarterback (for now). True freshmen Johnny McCrary and Chad Kanoff are long shots to play right away.

2. Sorting out the running back situation. Zac Stacy finished his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher. The Commodores will replace his production with a three-man committee — senior Wesley Tate and sophomores Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow. Tate emerged as a consistent No. 2 back last year after spending the 2011 season at wide receiver. He had 10 carries or more five times in the last eight games and scored one touchdown in six of the last seven games. He has decent size and good speed but did not have a run longer than 25 yards in 2012. Kimbrow, a highly touted recruit, was the Commodores’ second-leading rusher as true freshman, though more than half of his 413 yards came against Presbyterian and UMass. He has tremendous speed but lacks the size to be an every-down back. Seymour sat out last season as a redshirt while recovering from an injury. He was Stacy’s primary backup as a true freshman in 2011. Don’t be surprised if Seymour leads Vanderbilt in rushing next fall.

3. Finding a No. 2 cornerback. The Commodores have received strong play from the cornerback position in Bob Shoop’s two seasons as the defensive coordinator. Andre Hal, a second-team All-SEC pick in 2012, is back for his second season as the starter, but Vanderbilt must find a replacement for Trey Wilson. Steven Clarke, the primary nickel back last fall, and redshirt freshmen Torren McGaster and Brandon Banks are the top candidates. Shoop loves to bring pressure, so it’s important that he is comfortable leaving his cornerbacks in man coverage.

4. Colby Cooke’s leg. One of the underrated aspects of Vanderbilt’s breakthrough season was the play of the kicking specialists. Placekicker Carey Spear rebounded from a disappointing sophomore season to convert 20-of-24 as a junior, and punter Richard Kent was consistently strong all season long. Spear is back for one more season, but Kent, a three-year starter, must be replaced. Colby Cooke, the successor, has a big leg but has yet to prove himself in a game. The Commodores need him to be solid in 2012. 


Related College Football Content

Ranking the SEC Coaching Jobs for 2013
Ranking All 125 College Football Jobs for 2013

College Football's Top 5 Wide Receivers on the Rise for 2013

College Football's Top 5 Running Backs on the Rise for 2013

College Football's Top 5 Quarterbacks on the Rise for 2013

College Football's Top 15 Spring Quarterback Battles

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013

Teaser:
<p> Vanderbilt Commodores 2013 Spring Football Preview</p>
Post date: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 07:45
Path: /college-basketball/2013-acc-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big 12.

ACC TOURNAMENT
Starts: Thursday
Final: Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. (ESPN)
First-round games:
No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech
No. 5 NC State vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech
No. 7 Maryland vs. No. 10 Wake Forest
No. 6 Florida State vs. No. 11 Clemson

Byes to the quarterfinals:
No. 1 Miami
No. 2 Duke
No. 3 North Carolina
No. 4 Virginia

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Atlantic 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Big TenMountain West | Pac-12 | SEC

THE FAVORITE: Duke
The Blue Devils did not win the ACC regular-season title, but Duke looks like the best team in the league at this point of the season. Ryan Kelly’s return to the lineup has made the Blue Devils much more difficult to guard, and the senior forward also adds a presence on defense. Duke is 18-0 with Kelly in the lineup, holding opponents to 37.9 shooting in games with Kelly. Duke’s opponents shot 45 percent with Kelly out.

DARK HORSE: Florida State
Florida State has been a disappointment this season, but this is still a talented team with some strong veteran leadership. The Seminoles evened their league record at 9–9 by beating Virginia and NC State in the final week of the season. The Seminoles aren’t the defensive team they’ve been in the past, but Michael Snaer is one of the nation’s best in crunch time. Snaer has hit six game-winning shots in the last two seasons.

ATHLON’S PICK: Miami
Don’t forget about the Hurricanes, the 2013 ACC regular-season champs. Just two weeks ago, Miami lost at Duke by only three points even though starting center Reggie Johnson failed to score a point. The ‘Canes snapped out of a late-season funk by defeating Clemson 62-49 thanks to 23 points and 12 rebounds from Kenny Kadji and a late burst from Shane Larkin. When Miami has all its pieces working, the Hurricanes are a Final Four threat.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Duke, Miami, NC State, North Carolina

BUBBLE TEAM:
Virginia
The Cavaliers’ NCAA tournament case is one of the strangest for bubble teams. The Cavs are 4-2 against the top 50, including wins over Duke, North Carolina and NC State, plus Wisconsin on the road. Virginia also lost to three Colonial teams, including Old Dominion (5-25). Virginia’s late-season losses to Boston College and Florida State means the Cavs probably need to beat NC State and Miami in the ACC Tournament -- at least -- to be in the field.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 ACC Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 09:55
Path: /college-basketball/2013-big-ten-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big Ten.

BIG TEN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: Thursday
Final: Sunday in Chicago (CBS)
First-round games (All Thursday):
No. 8 Illinois vs. No. 9 Minnesota
No. 5 Michigan vs. No. 12 Penn State
No. 7 Purdue vs. No. 10 Nebraska
No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 11 Northwestern

Byes to the quarterfinals
No. 1. Indiana
No. 2 Ohio State
No. 3 Michigan State
No. 4 Wisconsin

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
ACC | Atlantic 10 | Big 12 | Big East | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


THE FAVORITE: Indiana
The Hoosiers captured the outright Big Ten title in thrilling fashion, rallying to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor on the final day of the regular season. Indiana spent most of the season as the most efficient offensive team in the country. The Hoosiers still lead the nation with 1.15 points per possession, but they’ve struggled late in the season. Indiana shot less than 40 percent against Iowa and Ohio State and needed time to wake up in a 72-71 win over Michigan. The Hoosiers are averaging less than a point per possession in the last three games.

DARK HORSE: Illinois
Illinois is capable of making a surprising run to the Big Ten title if it shoots the ball well from the perimeter. Illinois won the Maui Invitational to start the season, defeating Butler in the final after cruising past USC and Chaminade. Tournament time worked well for first-year Illini coach John Groce, who won two MAC Tourneys in four years at Ohio.

ATHLON’S PICK: Michigan State
There are so many good teams in this league. All things being equal, you can never go wrong picking a Tom Izzo-coached team to win in March. The Big Ten could have a Final-Four caliber field, and a neutral court could be a great equalizer among the league's top five. If Keith Appling is playing at a high level, Michigan State will win plenty of postseason games.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Minnesota
The Gophers faded down the stretch after defeating Indiana on Feb. 26. Minnesota lost at Nebraska and at Purdue to fall to the ninth seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That may end up being a blessing. By drawing No. 8 seed Illinois, Minnesota won’t have a bad loss to diminish their Tournament hopes. With a top-25 RPI, Minnesota would have one of the highest ratings to be left out of the NCAA Tournament, but how much would you trust a team that lost three in a row before the Tourney? That is, if Minnesota loses to Illinois. The Gophers split the season series against Illinois and potential second-round opponent Indiana this season.

Iowa
With a strength of schedule ranked outside of the top 100 and an RPI outside of the top 75, Iowa doesn’t have an NCAA resume despite being the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten. Defeating Michigan State in the quarters and Ohio State in the semis might set up a compelling case for the Hawkeyes.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 Big Ten Conference Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 09:50
Path: /college-basketball/2013-pac-12-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Pac-12.

PAC-12 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 13
Final: March 16 in Las Vegas (ESPN)
No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 9 Arizona State
No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 Oregon State
No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Utah
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Washington State

First-round byes:
No. 1 UCLA
No. 2 Cal
No. 3 Oregon
No. 4 Arizona

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Big 12 | Big East
| Mountain West | SEC

THE FAVORITE: UCLA
It hasn’t been the smoothest ride, but UCLA captured the outright Pac-12 title with a 13–5 record. The Bruins have a ton of talent, even if it hasn’t been the most cohesive group in the league. UCLA won the league outright, but the Bruins were hardly immune from the inconsistency throughout the league. In only the final week, the Bruins sleep walked through a loss to Washington. Facing a hungry Stanford or Arizona State team in the quarterfinals could be problematic.

DARK HORSE: USC
The Trojans played well after Bob Cantu took over for Kevin O’Neill on an interim basis in late January. In the 7-7 stretch under Cantu, USC has wins over UCLA and Stanford on the road and Washington and Arizona at home. The key is the play of Eric Wise. The senior went 9 of 12 in an upset of Arizona on Feb. 27 but went 4 of 16 with 14 points combined in back-to-back losses to the Washington schools to end the regular season.

ATHLON’S PICK: Cal
The Golden Bears ended the season on a down note — a home loss to rival Stanford — but had previously won seven straight games. Pac-12 player of the year Allen Crabbe is capable of carrying his team to the title. Fellow guard Justin Cobbs finished the season on a hot streak, but he must cut his turnovers.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Arizona State/Stanford: The five teams projected to be in the bracket for the Pac-12 appear to be pretty safe even if Cal, Colorado and Oregon lose their conference tournament openers. Arizona State and Stanford are marginal bubble teams, who will eliminate the other when they face each other in the first round. Things could get interesting if the Arizona State-Stanford winner knocks off No. 1 seed UCLA in the quarterfinal.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 Pac-12 Conference Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 11:20
Path: /college-basketball/2013-big-12-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big 12.

BIG 12 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 13
Final: March 16 in Kansas City (ESPN)
First-round games:
No. 8 West Virginia vs. No. 9 Texas Tech (Wednesday)
No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 TCU (Wednesday)
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Iowa State (Thursday)
No. 1 Kansas vs. West Virginia/Texas Tech (Thursday)
No. 2 Kansas State vs. Texas/TCU (Thursday)
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Baylor (Thursday)

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Big East | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC


THE FAVORITE: Kansas
Kansas has stubbed its toe on several occasions this season, but Bill Self’s club still managed to grab a share of the Big 12 title for the ninth straight season. Point guard will be worth watching as it has been all season. Elijah Johnson has scored 29 total points in three games since his 39-point outburst against Iowa State.

DARK HORSE: Baylor
Despite its 9–9 Big 12 record, Baylor might have the league’s most talented roster. The Bears showed what they are capable of on Saturday, rolling past Kansas 81–58 in the season-finale in Waco. We could see Pierre Jackson, Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson reach the final... or just as easily lose to Oklahoma State in a rout.

ATHLON’S PICK: Kansas
Oklahoma State and Kansas State are both very good, but Kansas is a veteran team — the Jayhawks start four seniors — that will be playing for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The exception in the KU starting lineup may be the best freshman in the country in Ben McLemore.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Oklahoma
The Sooners were close to lock status back in mid-February, but it might be warranted to worry about OU. The Sooners lost on Feb. 27 at Texas in overtime and then joined Kansas as the only Big 12 teams to lose to TCU. A loss to Iowa State won’t knock the Sooners out, but two wins over Iowa State in the final weeks of the season would be a compelling case if OU ends up on the bubble.

Iowa State
The Cyclones picked up a resume-boosting win by defeating Oklahoma State on March 6. Like Oklahoma, Iowa State may be a Tournament team no matter what happens in its quarterfinal game against the Sooners, but the winner Thursday should feel secure while the loser will have to hope it doesn’t get caught in a number crunch.

Baylor
It was easy to give up on Baylor after the Bears lost to Texas on March 4 to fall below .500 in the league. Scott Drew’s team still needs to win a few games in the Big 12 Tournament to get into the field, but Baylor’s 81-58 win over Kansas on Saturday reinforced this team has the talent to make a run.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> Can Kansas claim another Big 12 Tournament title? Will Oklahoma or Iowa State pick up a crucial win?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 11:15
Path: /college-basketball/2013-mountain-west-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Mountain West.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 12
Final: March 16 in Las Vegas (CBS)
First-round games:
No. 8 Wyoming vs. No. 9 Nevada (Tuesday)
No. 3 UNLV vs No. 6 Air Force (Wednesday)
No. 2 Colorado State vs. No. 7 Fresno State (Wednesday)
No. 1 New Mexico vs. Wyoming/Nevada (Wednesday)
No. 4 San Diego State vs. No. 5 Boise State (Wednesday)

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Big East


THE FAVORITE: New Mexico
The Lobos won the regular-season title by two full games, an impressive feat considering that five of the nine teams in the league are expected to make the NCAA Tournament. Kendall Williams had the 46-point explosion against Colorado State, but Alex Kirk has been more consistent down the stretch (17.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg in the last five).

DARK HORSE: Boise State
The Broncos are playing their best ball of the season, with wins in five of their last six games. They are well-coached under former Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice and have two outstanding scorers — Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks.

ATHLON’S PICK: UNLV
New Mexico had the best team during the regular season, but UNLV is blessed with the most talented roster. The Rebels didn’t always play like it, though. Perhaps losing at home to Fresno State in the regular season finale was a wake-up call. The Rebels also have to the advantage of playing the tournament on their home floor.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV

BUBBLE TEAM:
Boise State
The Broncos look pretty good for a bid after closing the season on a 5-1 run. During that span, Boise State defeated San Diego State and Colorado State at home. If the Broncos can add a second win over the Aztecs, this time on a neutral site, lock up their bid.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 Mountain West Conference Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 12:30
Path: /college-basketball/2013-big-east-conference-tournament-preview
Body:

March Madness is just getting started as the college basketball season shifts to the conference tournaments. Titles will be won, NCAA Tournament spots will be clinched or lost all over the country. Here’s what to watch in the Big East.

BIG EAST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Starts: March 12
Final: March 16 in New York (ESPN)
First-round games:
No. 12 Seton Hall vs. No. 13 USF (Tuesday)
No. 11 Rutgers vs. No. 14 DePaul (Tuesday)
No. 8 Providence vs. No. 9 Providence (Wednesday)
No. 5 Syracuse vs. Seton Hall/USF (Wednesday)
No. 7 Villanova vs. No. 10 St. John’s (Wednesday)
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. Rutgers/DePaul (Wednesday)

Byes to the quarterfinals:
No. 1 Georgetown
No. 2 Louisville
No. 3 Marquette
No. 4 Pittsburgh

Full Bracket: (.pdf)

Other conference tournament previews:
Mountain West


THE FAVORITE: Georgetown
The Hoyas, led by unanimous All-Big East first teamer Otto Porter, won 13 of their final 14 games — capped off Saturday’s 61–39 win over rival Syracuse. Georgetown’s prowess on defense will make it hard to beat at Madison Square Garden. The Hoyas are also playing for a potential No. 1 seed if they can win their first Big East Tournament since 2007.

DARK HORSE: Villanova
Any team that can claim wins over Louisville, Syracuse, Marquette and Georgetown has to be considered a threat to win the Big East Tournament. A word of caution: Most of the Wildcats’ impressive wins this season have come at home.

ATHLON’S PICK: Louisville
The Cardinals have recovered from their puzzling late-January three-game slide. Louisville won 10 of its last 11 games, with the only setback coming at Notre Dame in five overtimes. Gorgui Dieng averaged 11.2 points and 10.8 rebounds in Big East play compared to 6.8 and 6.7 before his injury.

Related: Top Buzzer Beaters for 2012-13 (so far)

NCAA TOURNAMENT LOCKS:
Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

BUBBLE TEAMS:
Villanova
The Wildcats are awfully close to lock territory with the marquee wins this season. Losses to Columbia, Providence (twice) and Seton Hall earlier this season mean Villanova needs to avoid a loss to 10th-seeded St. John’s in the first round.

Cincinnati
The Bearcats looked all but certain to be in the field to start February, but Cincinnati finished on a 3-6 slide. Cincinnati dodged a resume-killing loss to USF in the regular-season finale in overtime. Now the Bearcats have to prove they can defeat Providence. Through the Friars aren’t an at-large candidate, they have defeated Cincinnati already this season in addition to beating Notre Dame and Villanova.

Related: All 2013 postseason college basketball coverage

Teaser:
<p> 2013 Big East Conference Tournament Preview</p>
Post date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 12:07

Pages