Articles By Steven Lassan

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A rocky period in college football has recently passed. Conference realignment seemingly dominated the headlines since 2011, forcing changes in membership for every league.

The Big East and WAC are no more in football, and the SEC, ACC and Big Ten have all expanded to 14 teams.

BYU decided to go Independent in football, while Notre Dame joined the ACC as a partial member.

Those are just a few of the changes that have taken place over the last few years.

What has the last few seasons in college football brought in realignment and what is the impact for the future? Let’s take a look at the changes, impact and grades for each of the Power 5 leagues in realignment over the last few years.


Grading College Football’s Conferences in Realignment

 

ACC

The Changes: The ACC added Louisville (2014), Syracuse and Pittsburgh (2013). Maryland left for the Big Ten (2014). Notre Dame joined as a member in all sports but football and hockey.

The Impact: Maryland was a founding member of the ACC, and the decision to leave for the Big Ten caught some off guard. However, Louisville is a solid all-around addition to the conference and ranks higher on Athlon’s program ranking (No. 29 for Cardinals, No. 40 for Terrapins). Syracuse and Pittsburgh help the ACC increase its footprint in the Northeast.

As a 14-team league, along with the Notre Dame affiliation, the ACC has stabilized after a period of uncertainty. The conference also has a solid bowl setup, including an agreement with the Orange Bowl. Having a period of 10-15 years without any changes would help the conference continue to develop its identity. The divisional alignment has been a source of debate in recent years, and there could be changes to the Atlantic-Coastal setup.

What’s Next: Will the ACC stay as a 14-team league? Unless there is a major shift again in conferences, the ACC seems unlikely to expand. Of course, if the ACC wanted to expand, Notre Dame would be its first call to become a full-time member. UConn was mentioned with Louisville as a possible replacement for Maryland, and if the ACC wanted to expand to 16, the Huskies would likely be in the mix again.

Grade: B. Losing a founding member was a surprise, but the ACC added three solid programs in Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Most importantly, the rumors about Florida State and Clemson possibly leaving the conference never came to fruition.

Related Content: History of ACC Realignment

 

Big Ten

The Changes: The Big Ten hasn’t seen many changes in its conference history. Penn State officially joined the league for football in 1993, but prior to that, the last addition to the conference was Michigan State in 1950. However, there have been three changes to the league's membership in the last four years. Nebraska joined in 2011, and Maryland and Rutgers will debut in the Big Ten in 2014.

The Impact: The reaction to the Big Ten’s additions were mixed. Nebraska – a top 25 program – was a huge positive for the conference on the gridiron. Maryland and Rutgers? Not so much excitement among college football fans. Since 2000, the Terrapins are 93-80, and the Scarlet Knights are 86-86. While both programs have upside, neither is expected to make a huge impact in terms of winning a national championship on a consistent basis. Instead, the additions of Rutgers and Maryland are a key component for the Big Ten’s Northeast/East Coast expansion. Even though success on the field matters, realignment isn’t necessarily about wins and losses. Media markets and expanding the footprint can be just as valuable for a conference.

What’s Next: Much like the ACC, the next question for the Big Ten is to stay at 14 or expand to 16? If a 16-team set up is in the Big Ten’s future, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Grade: B. Again, not everything in conference realignment makes sense in terms of wins and losses. Adding Rutgers and Maryland adds two valuable media markets, along with a key recruiting area. Nebraska had one of the top dynasties of the Associated Press poll era and can be a consistent contender for the Big Ten title. Also, the additions of Rutgers and Maryland helped to align the Big Ten into an easier-to-remember East/West format. 

Related Content: History of Big Ten Realignment
 

Big 12

The Changes: The Big 12 has been reduced from 12 teams to 10. In 2011, Nebraska left for the Big Ten and Colorado departed for the Pac-12. Missouri and Texas A&M departed for the SEC in 2012. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12 to bolster the league’s lineup to 10 teams. 

The Impact: With Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri departing, the Big 12 has lost three top-30 programs. West Virginia and TCU are solid additions, but the conference no longer has some outstanding rivalry games between Texas A&M-Texas, Baylor-Texas A&M, Nebraska-Oklahoma and Missouri-Kansas. Not having a conference title game could hurt the Big 12 in the future, especially if that factors into the playoff committee’s criteria.  
What’s Next: Expect the debate about the Big 12 and a 10- or 12-team set up to continue. The conference continues to insist it's content with a 10-team setup, but realignment rumors will never go away – at least from the fans. If the Big 12 does decide to expand in the future, it’s all about adding value. So which programs could do that? BYU and UCF? South Florida? Cincinnati? Perhaps the Big 12 would make a run at teams like Florida State and Clemson (igniting old message board rumors again). Adding East Coast teams to bridge the gap from West Virginia to the rest of the conference would seem to be a top priority – if the Big 12 expands.

Grade: C. The Big 12 has two things going for it. The conference seems to be stable – for now – and Oklahoma and Texas are still in the conference. Losing Texas A&M, Missouri and Nebraska was a setback, but West Virginia and TCU are good additions, especially after both programs have time to adjust to their new conference. The Big 12 probably isn’t as powerful as it once was. However, as long as Oklahoma and Texas are top-20 teams on a consistent basis, the conference should be in good shape. 

Related Content: West Virginia Searches for Answers After Rocky Start in Big 12

 

Pac-12

The Changes: The Pac-12 didn’t lose a member and added Colorado and Utah to become a 12-team league in 2011.

 

The Impact: The Pac-12 is one of the biggest winners in college football over the last five years. Colorado and Utah haven’t experienced a ton of success so far, but the rest of the conference is on the rise. Thanks to an improved television deal, improved revenue and better facilities, the Pac-12 is now the No. 2 conference in college football. Expect Colorado and Utah to improve over the next few years, adding to what is one of the deepest conferences in the nation.

 

What’s Next: Further realignment seems unlikely, largely because there are few candidates that could join the conference. Remember the Pac-16 proposal that included Texas and Oklahoma? Maybe that’s a possibility in the future. However, the Pac-12 is stable and clearly entrenched as one of the premier conferences.

 

Grade: B+. We could easily upgrade this to an A. The Pac-12 has moved up the ladder in conference hierarchy, and Utah and Colorado will improve over time. Not much has gone wrong for the conference over the last few seasons.

 

SEC

The Changes: The SEC made its first changes in membership since 1991 by adding Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012. The league did not lose any members.

The Impact: The addition of the Aggies and Tigers gave the SEC two valuable media markets in Missouri (St. Louis/Kansas City) and Texas (Houston). And both programs also have experienced plenty of success over the last two years. Texas A&M is 20-6 since joining the SEC and had a Heisman winner in Johnny Manziel, while Missouri claimed the East Division title in 2013.


What’s Next: Just like the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12, the only question surrounding the SEC in the future is whether or not the conference will expand to 16 teams. If the SEC does expand to 16 teams, there has been plenty of discussion that teams in Virginia and North Carolina are the next targets.

Grade: A+. The SEC was the No. 1 conference in the nation prior to realignment and solidified its place at the top with the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri. The conference is deeper and has expanded its footprint into Texas – one of the nation’s most fertile recruiting areas. 

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College Football Realignment Winners and Losers for 2014
Post date: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/ball-state-adds-black-helmet-uniform-combinations-2014
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The offseason is an ideal time to unveil any new uniforms, helmets or logos for college football teams.

Ball State is the latest to showcase a new look for 2014, as the Cardinals unveiled on Friday a black helmet to go with their black jersey.

Here’s a look at the helmet, along with the full black uniform.

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Ball State Adds Black Helmet to Uniform Combinations for 2014
Post date: Friday, June 27, 2014 - 11:08
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-defensive-players-rise-2014
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College football’s 2014 season is still a few months away, but kickoff is fast approaching in late August. Now that the preseason magazines are on newsstands, it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming season.

The unpredictable nature of college football is challenging for any preseason prognostication. However, that’s also what makes this sport unique.

As fall practice approaches, Athlon will be identifying some of the key players on the rise or on the verge of a breakout season.

The list of defenders on the rise could span all 10 conferences and include plenty of players from the Independent ranks, but we had to limit the list to 20 and a few others to watch.

Players like Mississippi State’s Chris Jones and Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche were big-time recruits, so it’s no surprise they made this list. However, names like West Virginia’s Daryl Worley and Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas are probably not as well-known from across the nation.


20 Defensive Players on the Rise for 2014
 

Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

Had Alexander not suffered a groin injury in fall camp, it’s likely he would have played a major role in Clemson’s secondary last season. Alexander ranked as the No. 30 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100 and was widely considered one of the nation’s top freshmen on the defensive side. Although the groin injury prevented Alexander from getting involved last year, it allowed him extra time to learn the defense. The redshirt freshman is slated to crack the starting lineup for the opener against Georgia.


DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

New coordinator Don Pellum must replace two starters up front, but Buckner and junior tackle Arik Armstead are a solid duo to build around in 2014. Buckner played in 13 games as a true freshman in 2012 and recorded 29 tackles. He took a step forward in his development last year by playing in all 13 games and recording 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks. The Hawaii native shined in the spring game, forcing a fumble and recording a sack. One of Pellum’s priorities for 2014 is to find a way to slow down opposing rushing attacks after the Ducks allowed 175.9 rushing yards per game in Pac-12 play last year. At 286 pounds, Buckner’s size and ability should help Oregon win its share of battles at the point of attack.

 

Su’a Cravens, S, USC

In an offensive-minded conference like the Pac-12, you can never have enough elite defensive backs. USC already has one of the top cornerbacks in the conference in Josh Shaw, and it’s clear Cravens is poised to contend for All-America honors this year. The California native was the No. 5 recruit in the 247Sports Composite in the 2013 signing class and recorded 52 stops and four interceptions. New coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward helped to develop standouts at Washington like Desmond Trufant, Marcus Peters and Sean Parker. Expect both coaches to help Cravens reach his potential – which could be in 2014.

 

Durell Eskridge, S, Syracuse

Syracuse fans are certainly aware of Eskridge’s potential after he nearly declared for the draft following the 2013 season. However, it’s time for the rest of the nation to take notice. Eskridge led the team with 78 tackles and intercepted four passes last year. The Florida native also forced a fumble and was selected as a third-team All-ACC safety. The ACC has several all-conference contenders returning at defensive back, but Eskridge should be a lock for first- or second-team honors at the end of 2014.

 

Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia

New coordinator Jeremy Pruitt isn’t inheriting the same amount of proven talent as he did at Florida State in 2013, but the Bulldogs certainly aren’t hurting for defensive standouts. Pruitt’s experience at Alabama suggests he will implement a similar blueprint in Athens, especially once he has time to recruit. Floyd started eight games as a true freshman in 2013, recording 55 tackles (9.5 for a loss), 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The Georgia native also earned SEC All-Freshman honors. Floyd and Jordan Jenkins form a dynamic pair of pass-rushers off the edge, which should help Georgia cover for some of its concerns in the secondary. Expect Floyd to push for 10 sacks in Pruitt’s 3-4 approach. 


Markus Golden, DE, Missouri

Even though Missouri loses Michael Sam and Kony Ealy at defensive end, there’s not much concern in Columbia about the pass rush. Coordinator Dave Steckel has an intriguing group of options remaining, with Golden expected to make the jump to all-conference contention. In 14 games last season, Golden recorded 55 tackles (13 for a loss) and 6.5 sacks. Transitioning from a part-time position into a starter’s role with increased snaps, while maintaining (and increasing) his production will be a challenge for Golden. Line coach Craig Kuligowski’s has developed several standouts in his career at Missouri, and Golden is already on the radar as a potential first-round pick in the 2015 draft.


Darius Hamilton, DT, Rutgers

It’s a bit of a cliché, but to win in the Big Ten, you have to be solid on both lines of scrimmage. With the Big Ten brand to sell, it should help Rutgers on the recruiting trail, allowing the Scarlet Knights to add more talent to the trenches. While Rutgers may not match Ohio State or Michigan State’s defensive line, the cupboard isn’t bare for new coordinator Joe Rossi. Hamilton started 12 games in 2013 and recorded 48 tackles (11.5 tackles for a loss) and 4.5 sacks. His presence on the interior was also a key reason why Rutgers held opponents to just 3.3 yards per rush in American Athletic Conference games last year. The New Jersey native took a step forward in his development last season and should push for all-conference honors in 2014.

 

Alec James, DE, Wisconsin

The front seven of the Badgers’ defense is in need of a major overhaul with just three starters returning. Replacing key players like linebacker Chris Borland won’t be easy, but coordinator Dave Aranda and coach Gary Andersen should have this defense performing at a high level by midseason. James is expected to be a key cog in the rebuilding effort in Madison, as the Wisconsin native will slide from linebacker to defensive end to provide a speed rusher off the edge. James redshirted in his first season on campus and will be tested right away with a matchup against LSU in the opener.  


Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

Jones was a key pick up on the recruiting trail for coach Dan Mullen, ranking as the No. 18 overall player in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100. And the Mississippi native didn’t disappoint as a true freshman, recording 32 tackles (seven for a loss), three sacks and three pass breakups. Jones was at his best late in the year, recording three tackles for a loss and a sack against Ole Miss. After a solid freshman year, the best is yet to come from Jones. With a full offseason to work in the weight room and learn under coordinator Geoff Collins, Jones is expected to push for All-America honors.

 

Skai Moore, LB, South Carolina

South Carolina coordinator Lorenzo Ward is tinkering with his defense with the departures of linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles. The Gamecocks may use more 3-4 alignments to compensate for the losses in the trenches, especially with rising stars like Moore ready to step up in 2014. The Florida native made an instant impact as a true freshman last year, recording 56 tackles in 13 games. Moore started only four games but is expected to play in a full-time role in 2014.

 

Dadi Nicolas, DE, Virginia Tech

In a wide-open ACC Coastal Division, the one constant among the contenders is Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies have finished first or second in scoring defense (conference-only games) in the ACC for six consecutive seasons. With one of the conference’s top defensive backfields and lines in 2014, expect much of the same from the Hokies. Nicolas appears to be the next star on the front line for Virginia Tech, recording 32 tackles and four sacks in 13 games last year. The Florida native should easily shatter those totals in a full-time role in 2014.


Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

Yes, as the No. 1 recruit from the 2013 signing class, it seems obvious to mention Nkemdiche in this space. However, the Georgia native seemed to find his role late last year. Nkemdiche finished with 34 tackles (eight for a loss), two sacks and one forced fumble. Six of Nkemdiche’s 10 starts came at defensive end, with the other four coming at tackle. The Rebels will regain the services of end C.J. Johnson (missed most of last year due to injury), and the other end spot is expected to go to FIU transfer Fadol Brown. With Brown and Johnson anchoring the end positions, Nkemdiche should settle back into the interior. The sophomore played better as the season progressed in 2013 and should build off that momentum.

 

Darius Philon, DT, Arkansas

Running back Alex Collins garnered most of the freshman headlines in Fayetteville last season, but Philon quietly turned in an impressive campaign. The Alabama native appeared in all 12 games and finished with 46 tackles and three sacks. Nine of Philon’s tackles went for a loss. After starting the final five games of 2013 and earning SEC All-Freshman honors, Philon is poised to challenge for all-conference honors. The 283-pound defensive tackle can only get better with more snaps, but he has the talent to be a disruption in the backfield for new coordinator Robb Smith. 


Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU

Since 2010, six LSU defensive backs have been selected in the NFL Draft. The Tigers should have no trouble adding to that total in recent years, as cornerbacks Tre’Davious White and Robinson are future stars in Baton Rouge. White was named to Athlon’s preseason first-team All-SEC squad for 2014, while Robinson earned second-team honors. Robinson played in 12 contests last year, with both of his starts coming late in the season. He was instrumental in containing Texas A&M’s offense to just 10 points in late November and finished 2013 with 16 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups. After a NCAA clearinghouse issue delayed his arrival in Baton Rouge, Robinson will benefit from a full offseason to work under defensive backs coach Corey Raymond.

 

Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma

Sanchez was thrown into fire as a redshirt freshman and started all 13 games for Bob Stoops. The Texas native recorded 46 tackles, picked off two interceptions and tied for third in the Big 12 with 15 passes defended. With Aaron Colvin expiring his eligibility, Sanchez will assume the role as Oklahoma’s No. 1 cornerback. And as last year showed, Sanchez is ready for that assignment.


Vince Taylor, NG, Vanderbilt

New coach Derek Mason plans on shifting Vanderbilt’s defense to a 3-4 look. Transitioning from the 4-3 to a 3-4 can be challenging, but the Commodores have the personnel to make a successful (and swift) switch. As with any 3-4 scheme, there’s extra attention placed on the nose guard as the key cog on the interior. Taylor appears to be a perfect fit at nose guard, as his 6-foot-2 and 310-pound frame can handle the interior. The Mississippi native has just 44 tackles in his career and one fumble recovery. Don’t expect Taylor to impress on the stat sheet, but the senior should be a force in the middle for Mason’s defense.

 

Ranthony Texada, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett will be missed, but there’s optimism in Fort Worth that TCU’s secondary is still the best in the Big 12. The safety spots are in good hands with Sam Carter and Chris Hackett, and cornerback Kevin White is a second-team All-Big 12 selection by Athlon Sports for 2014. Texada was a spring standout for the Horned Frogs after redshirting in 2013, and the Texas native should team with White to help the defense ease the loss of Verrett.  

 

Matthew Thomas, LB, Florida State

The Seminoles have to retool at linebacker with the departures of Christian Jones and Telvin Smith. New coordinator Charles Kelly isn’t inheriting a bare cupboard, as Terrance Smith should push for All-ACC honors, and there’s plenty of talent waiting to emerge. Thomas played in four games last season but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. In limited action in 2013, Thomas recorded two tackles for a loss and a sack. At 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, the Miami native has the size to stop the run, while possessing the speed and explosiveness to get to the quarterback off the edge.

 

Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska

Nebraska’s defensive line will have three new starters in 2014, but the rebuilding effort is made easier with the return of end Randy Gregory and the emergence of Valentine, Maliek Collins and Aaron Curry at tackle. Valentine played in all 13 games in 2013 and recorded 21 stops (five for a loss) and one sack. The Illinois native had a breakout performance against Iowa in the regular season finale, recording five tackles and a sack. If Valentine picks up where he left off against the Hawkeyes, combined with Gregory’s continued dominance at end, Nebraska’s defensive line should emerge as one of the best in the Big Ten.


Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia

With an unsettled quarterback situation, the Mountaineers need to rely on their rushing attack and defense – at least early on – to help West Virginia return to a bowl. New coordinator Tony Gibson has not called the plays for a defense since 2000 at West Virginia Tech, but he will have help from veteran assistant Tom Bradley. Gibson and Bradley have pieces to work with, including six returning starters and an intriguing FCS transfer in Shaquille Riddick from Gardner-Webb to help the pass rush. But the player generating the most buzz this offseason might be Worley. The 6-foot-1 cornerback from Philadelphia played in 11 games in 2013 and made 45 tackles and broke up five passes. Considering the offensive firepower in the Big 12, having a shutdown corner with the size to matchup against big receivers is a valuable asset for any defense. With another year to progress, expect Worley to challenge for all-conference honors this year.  


Other Players to Watch
 

T.T. Barber, LB, MTSU

Barber earned first-team All-Conference USA honors after recording 119 tackles and three sacks last year. The junior is already on the radar for NFL scouts and should be one of the top defenders from outside the five power conferences in 2014.


Salamo Fiso, LB, Arizona State

Sun Devils were hit hard by departures on defense with just two returning starters. Fiso is one of the few returning commodities for coordinator Keith Patterson after ranking third on the team with 71 stops as a freshman.


Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Rated as one of the top defenders in the 2013 signing class, Foster appeared in nine games and recorded 12 tackles. With C.J. Mosley off to the NFL, Foster is expected to push for a starting job.


Jacoby Glenn, CB, UCF

UCF won’t have Blake Bortles to lean on in 2014, but the Knights should still be in the mix to win the American Athletic Conference. Look for the defense to take a step forward, and Glenn is an emerging star in the secondary. As a redshirt freshman, he earned American Athletic Conference first-team honors in 2013.
 

Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

Lawson played in 14 games as a true freshman and recorded 7.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He is expected to be a key piece in Auburn’s defensive front but recently underwent offseason knee surgery.


Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn

Melifonwu started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman last season and finished with 70 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He should be one of the key pieces in new coach Bob Diaco’s rebuilding effort at UConn in 2014.


Kevin Peterson, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert was selected by the Browns in the first round of the draft, but the Cowboys still have talent at cornerback with Peterson and Ashton Lampkin returning. Peterson recorded two picks and four pass breakups last year. He is a second-team All-Big 12 selection by Athlon Sports for 2014.


Max Redfield, S, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish already received a huge impact from one of their top freshmen in last year’s class (Jaylon Smith), and Redfield – a top-100 recruit – is poised to take on a bigger role. The California native played in 12 games (one start) and recorded nine tackles. Redfield is expected to start in 2014.
 

Reggie Spearman, LB, Iowa

The Hawkeyes must replace three starters at linebacker, including standout James Morris. Spearman was just one of four Iowa true freshmen to play in 2013 and recorded 10 tackles in 10 appearances. The sophomore is expected to start for coordinator Phil Parker.


Ben Weaver, LB, Boise State

Weaver shined in his redshirt freshman campaign by leading the Broncos with 89 stops. The sophomore should be an All-Mountain West performer this year.

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College Football's Top 20 Defensive Players on the Rise for 2014
Post date: Friday, June 27, 2014 - 07:15
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Projecting the outcome of a college football season is no easy task. Several factors go into predictions, including the schedule, returning starters, in-depth statistics, results from the previous year, breakout players and recruiting – just to name a few.

Experience and star power at quarterback is another factor that most would consider important for preseason predictions.

But is it time to rethink that theory?

Six of the last eight teams to play in the title game had a first-year starter at quarterback. Alabama’s Greg McElroy took home the title in 2009, while Auburn’s Cam Newton won the Heisman and national championship in 2011. Notre Dame’s Everett Golson took the Fighting Irish to the BCS title last season but lost to Alabama. The final BCS title game featured two first-year starters in Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Auburn’s Nick Marshall.
 

In the BCS era, 12 quarterbacks played for the national title in their first season:


1998: Tee Martin, Tennessee - W

1999: Michael Vick, Virginia Tech - L

2002: Craig Krenzel, Ohio State - W

2007: Matt Flynn, LSU - W; Todd Boeckman, Ohio State

2009: Greg McElroy, Alabama - W

2010: Cam Newton, Auburn - W; Darron Thomas, Oregon

2011: AJ McCarron, Alabama – W

2012: Everett Golson, Notre Dame – L
2013: Jameis Winston, Florida State – W; Nick Marshall, Auburn – L
 

Is the emergence of first-year quarterbacks as national champs a new trend in college football? Considering the unpredictability of teams and coaching from year-to-year, it’s hard to say if this trend will continue. However, the success of Winston, Marshall McElroy, Newton and McCarron show different options can lift a team to the title. Newton carried Auburn, while McElroy and McCarron were steady for Alabama team’s that boasted one of the nation’s best rushing attacks and defenses. Golson improved as the year progressed for Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish were simply overwhelmed by a better Alabama team in 2012. Winston was clearly the best player in college football last season and was instrumental in leading Florida State’s second-half comeback against Auburn. Marshall developed as the season progressed in 2013, but the Tigers’ rushing attack was the reason why Gus Malzahn’s team won the SEC title.
 

Will this trend continue in 2014? There is a reasonable possibility a first-year starter at quarterback will make it to the national title game in 2014. Which teams are the most likely to have a first-year starter at quarterback and play for the national championship? Here are five teams that fit the mold in 2014.

 

Top Five Contenders to Win National Title with a First-Year Starter at QB


(Note: To be considered a returning starter at quarterback, a player must have started seven overall games or the last six contests of last season)

 

1. Alabama – Jacob Coker

Much has been made about Alabama’s quarterback situation this offseason. Yes, the Crimson Tide struggled to execute the passing game in the spring, and this team needs to find an answer under center in the fall. But just how critical is quarterback play with a team that boasts the No. 1 backfield in the nation, a deep receiving corps and a defense that will rank among the best in college football once again? With the rest of the team in good shape, Alabama doesn’t need elite quarterback play to win the national title. After transferring in from Florida State this summer, Coker is the favorite to take the opening snap for the Crimson Tide against West Virginia. As a graduate transfer, Coker is eligible to play immediately. In two years with the Seminoles, he completed 21 of 41 passes for 295 yards and one touchdown. Coker is still largely unproven, but former coach Jimbo Fisher gave the Mobile native plenty of praise earlier this offseason. Fisher also has a strong track record of developing quarterbacks, as his last two starters at Florida State (EJ Manuel and Christian Ponder) were first-round draft picks, and Jameis Winston could be the No. 1 pick in 2015. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Coker has the physical traits coordinators want in a starting quarterback. And with key SEC games against Auburn and LSU late in the season, Coker will have plenty of time to learn on the job in the SEC.

 

2. Oklahoma – Trevor Knight

Knight enters 2014 as one of the nation’s most polarizing quarterbacks. Oklahoma won 11 games in 2013 – a year most would consider a rebuilding effort with just 11 returning starters heading into the opener. Knight and Blake Bell shared the quarterback duties for the Sooners last season, with Knight finishing the year on a high note by earning MVP honors against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. It’s hard to put a ton of stock in bowl games due to the extended layoff and motivation questions for some teams. Nearly half of Knight’s passing yards (819 for the season) came in the Sugar Bowl (348) against the Crimson Tide. Additionally, Knight tossed four touchdowns against Alabama and finished the year with just nine. While it’s easy to suggest Knight was a one-game wonder, there’s also evidence to suggest that’s not the case. Against Kansas State, Knight completed 14 of 20 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown and added 82 yards and one score on the ground. While it’s fair to doubt if Knight’s performance in the Sugar Bowl can be repeated on a consistent basis, let’s also note Oklahoma doesn’t need 400 yards from their passing attack each week. The Sooners have one of the nation’s top defenses, a solid offensive line and a favorable schedule. If Knight takes a step forward as a passer, continues to attack opponents with his mobility and limits his mistakes, Oklahoma should be a playoff team in 2014.
 

Listen to Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Quarterback Breakdown for 2014

 


3. Georgia – Hutson Mason

Bad luck and injuries played a huge part in Georgia’s 8-5 record last season. With better luck on the injury side, along with a solid performance from Mason in his first year as the starter, the Bulldogs could push for the SEC title. After waiting his turn to start, Mason was called upon earlier than expected due to a torn ACL to Aaron Murray against Kentucky last year. Mason threw for 189 yards against the Wildcats and followed up that performance with 299 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-34 win over rival Georgia Tech. Despite awful weather conditions in the Gator Bowl, Mason threw for 320 yards on 21 completions in a 24-19 loss to Nebraska. The sample size is limited, but Mason’s early returns are positive. The senior is surrounded by a deep supporting cast, including running back Todd Gurley and receivers Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley and Michael Bennett. Georgia’s defense is also expected to improve under the direction of first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Mason’s late-season experience should be valuable with games against Clemson and South Carolina to open the year.


4. South Carolina – Dylan Thompson

The gap between Georgia and South Carolina for the No. 1 spot in Athlon’s projected East standings is very small. The Bulldogs have a slight edge over the Gamecocks, but South Carolina still ranks as a top-10 team for 2014. Connor Shaw capped a solid career in Columbia with 2,447 passing yards and 24 touchdowns last year. Thompson is no stranger to the starting lineup, as he made one start in relief of Shaw in 2013 and two in 2012. The South Carolina native is 3-0 as a starter and has tossed 14 touchdowns over the last two years. Although Thompson tossed nearly as many interceptions (three) as touchdowns (four) last year, his career average on completions is a healthy 15.3 yards. The Gamecocks have one of the SEC’s top offensive lines, along with an all-conference running back in Mike Davis. Thompson needs to be more efficient as a passer (55 career completion percentage), but all signs point to a big senior year under coach Steve Spurrier.

 

5. LSU – Brandon Harris

We list Harris as the starter here, but sophomore Anthony Jennings finished spring with an edge for the No. 1 job. Whether it’s Jennings or Harris taking the first snap against Wisconsin, LSU will have a first-year starter under center. Jennings led the Tigers’ comeback against Arkansas after Zach Mettenberger was injured, finishing 4 of 7 for 76 yards and one score. Jennings started the bowl victory over Iowa and completed just 7 of 19 throws for 82 yards and one pick. As we mentioned under Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight, we have to be careful to put too much stock in bowl games, so it’s unfair to judge Jennings’ potential based on that performance. Harris ranked as the No. 75 prospect and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 247Sports 2014 Composite rankings. The Louisiana native enrolled in time to compete in spring practice and threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the Purple vs. White game. LSU will have a strong rushing attack and offensive line once again, which should allow Les Miles and coordinator Cam Cameron to ease their young quarterbacks into the season. There’s always plenty of talent in Baton Rouge. How quickly can the Tigers develop and find stability at quarterback?

 

5 Longshot National Title Contenders with a First-Year Starter at QB

 

Clemson (Cole Stoudt)

Even though the Tigers lose quarterback Tajh Boyd and receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, expect the offense to rank among the best in the ACC once again. If Stoudt continues to hold off touted freshman Deshaun Watson, he should push for all-conference honors. With road trips to Florida State and Georgia in 2014 and a home game against South Carolina, Clemson has three huge opportunities to earn marquee wins in 2014.

 

Missouri (Maty Mauk)

The defending SEC East Division champions return only eight starters, but in a wide-open division, don’t count the Tigers out for a repeat trip to Atlanta. Missouri has a strong track record of success at the quarterback spot under coach Gary Pinkel, and Mauk is the next standout passer. He threw for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns and started four games in relief of James Franklin in 2013.


Texas A&M (Kyle Allen)

After finishing 4-4 in the SEC with Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews, the Aggies and coach Kevin Sumlin will have their hands full in 2014. The schedule isn’t kind in conference action, as trading Vanderbilt for South Carolina in crossover play is just another obstacle for a team in rebuild mode. Kyle Allen and Kenny Hill are battling to replace Manziel, and both quarterbacks should be capable options for Sumlin. Allen – the No. 10 player in the 247Sports Composite – is the projected starter. Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem for the Aggies. However, the defense is still a major concern, and the overall youth on the roster suggests Texas A&M’s year to contend will be 2015.


Washington (Cyler Miles)

Miles rated as a four-star recruit in the 2012 signing class and spent his first year on campus learning behind Keith Price. And after an injury sidelined Price for a short stint last year, Miles played well in his first extended work at Washington. He threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns against UCLA and completed 15 of 24 throws for 162 yards and one touchdown against Oregon State. Miles was suspended for the spring, but new coach Chris Petersen reinstated the sophomore back onto the team this summer. Miles has to learn a new offense and missed valuable reps in the spring. However, the talent is certainly there, and if Miles is on the same page as new coordinator Jonathan Smith, Washington will be a sleeper to watch in the Pac-12 North.


Wisconsin (Tanner McEvoy?)

The Badgers were hit hard by personnel departures, but Gary Andersen’s team is Athlon’s pick to win the Big Ten West Division in 2014. Making the jump from division winner to Big Ten/national title contender is a huge hurdle for Wisconsin, especially with a potential date against Michigan State or Ohio State in the conference title game. For the Badgers to take a step forward in 2014, the coaching staff wants more out of the passing game. Of course, Wisconsin doesn’t need 300 yards a week from Tanner McEvoy or returning starter Joel Stave to win, as Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement combine for one of the nation’s top one-two duos at running back. McEvoy played safety last year but shifted back to quarterback in the spring. With Stave recovering a shoulder injury, McEvoy will have a chance to close the gap in the fall. 

Teaser:
5 First-Year Starting QBs Who Could Win College Football's National Title in 2014
Post date: Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kansas Jayhawks, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/ku-coach-charlie-weis-tweets-huge-crowd-photo-empty-seats
Body:

Kansas coach Charlie Weis isn’t incredibly active on Twitter. As of June 25, he has 570 tweets and follows 15 accounts.

The life of a college football coach is busy, so we certainly understand if he doesn’t know all of the ins and outs of Twitter.

However, Weis’ tweet from a June 25 camp at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is an odd one.

Here’s the tweet with photo attached:


So where do we start?

“Huge” turnout? It looks like there are less than 50 people in the picture.

Much greater than expected? So how many did he really expect?

Who knows, maybe Weis is trying to have a little fun. And at a football camp, he's not allowed to tweet photos of the recruits. However, we aren't sure that's the best photo to promote Kansas football. 

 

Here are a few tweets from the web:

 

Teaser:
KU Coach Charlie Weis Tweets "Huge" Crowd Photo of Empty Seats
Post date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 15:26
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Utah Utes, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/utah-finally-receives-good-news-qb-travis-wilson-cleared-play-2014
Body:

After some bad luck and injuries at the quarterback position in recent years, Utah finally received some good news. Travis Wilson, who missed the final three games of 2013 due to an intracranial artery condition, has been cleared to play in 2014. The announcement was made through Utah’s official athletic page.

In Wilson’s first full season as the Utes’ starting quarterback, he finished with 1,827 passing yards and 16 touchdowns and added 386 yards and five scores on the ground.

 

Wilson has deceptive mobility for a quarterback that checks in at 6-foot-6 but perhaps Utah will look to use Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson in a change-of-pace role. If Thompson is up to the task, his mobility will allow the Utes to limit some of the hits Wilson takes over the course of the season. Wilson’s health and playing in all 12 regular season games could be the difference between Utah making the postseason or missing out on a bowl.

What does Athlon Sports project for Utah in 2014? 

Adding another element of intrigue to Utah’s quarterback situation in 2014 is new coordinator Dave Christensen. The former Wyoming head coach and Missouri play-caller should help Utah’s offense take a step forward in 2014. The Utes have ranked near the bottom of the Pac-12 (conference-only) in yards per play in each of the last three seasons and averaged only 25.6 points per game during Pac-12 play last year.

Christensen’s first task this season is to help Wilson eliminate the interceptions. He tossed 13 picks over the final five games and failed to complete more than six passes in each of his last three starts.

The talent is certainly there for Wilson, now it’s time for Christensen to harness the junior’s ability. And with weapons like running back Devontae Booker and receiver Dres Anderson, Wilson isn’t hurting for talent at the skill positions.  

Although Wilson’s announcement by the school indicated Thompson, redshirt freshmen Connor Manning and Brandon Cox, junior Adam Schulz and true freshman Donovan Isom are battling for the starting job, it would be a huge surprise if anyone other than Wilson takes the opening snap for Utah in 2014.

Teaser:
Utah Finally Receives Good News at QB: Travis Wilson Cleared to Play in 2014
Post date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 10:56
Path: /college-football/clint-trickett-named-west-virginias-starting-quarterback
Body:

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen has already answered one of the Mountaineers’ biggest question marks for the 2014 season by naming Clint Trickett as the team’s starting quarterback.

Trickett played in eight games for West Virginia in 2013 and completed 123 of 233 passes for 1,605 yards and seven touchdowns. Additionally, he completed only 52.8 percent of his throws and tossed seven picks.

Considering Trickett didn’t arrive on campus until after spring practice last year, it’s no surprise he struggled at times in Holgorsen’s pass-first offense. While Trickett needs to be more consistent, he led West Virginia to an upset win over Oklahoma State and threw for 356 yards in a 52-44 loss to Iowa State in the regular season finale.

Although this announcement isn’t too surprising, the timing is odd. It’s rare to see a team pick a starter in the summer. However, this move makes sense for West Virginia.

Outside of Trickett, there aren’t many proven options in Morgantown. Paul Millard threw for 1,119 yards and six touchdowns last season and wasn’t able to stake his claim for the job in the spring. Junior college recruit Skyler Howard appears headed for a redshirt year, and it’s uncertain if true freshman William Crest will be up-to-speed on the offense to factor onto the depth chart. Former walk-on Logan Moore is also in the mix and completed 10 of 21 passes for 109 yards in the spring game.

With limited options and a tough opener against Alabama ahead, having an experienced quarterback like Trickett is the right way to go for Holgorsen. Of course, that could change over the course of the season if Howard or Crest proves ready to play.

Although Trickett has been picked as the starter, a quarterback recovering from shoulder surgery isn’t guaranteed to have immediate success. Case study: Missouri’s James Franklin struggled in 2012 after having offseason shoulder surgery but rebounded in 2013.

Allowing Trickett the opportunity to prepare as the starter all summer should pay dividends for West Virginia. But how much will it make a difference in the win column? Probably not much. The Mountaineers have a brutal schedule, and quarterback play has to be the top concern for Holgorsen. And as surprising as this may sound, West Virginia's best offense might be its rushing attack this year - not the passing game that is a staple of Holgorsen's offenses at Houston and Oklahoma State.

There’s no downside for Holgorsen picking Trickett now and avoiding the ongoing questions or debate once camp opens for the fall.

However, West Virginia needs Trickett to be more efficient and effective than he was in 2013, especially as the depth chart isn’t overflowing with potential candidates ready to play in 2014. 

Teaser:
Clint Trickett Named West Virginia's Starting Quarterback
Post date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/ranking-secs-running-backs-2014
Body:

The SEC has been home to several of college football’s top running backs in recent years, and 2014 is another loaded group of rushers for the No. 1 conference in the nation.

Georgia’s Todd Gurley projects as Athlon’s No. 1 running back in the SEC for 2014, and the junior could be a Heisman candidate if he can stay healthy after an injury-riddled 2013 campaign.

Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry take two of the top-four spots, with South Carolina’s Mike Davis sandwiched between the Crimson Tide duo at No. 3. The underrated pair of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams round out the top six options in the SEC for 2014.

How were the rankings compiled? Something important to remember: This is not a career ranking heading into the 2014 season. Instead, several factors were considered. How the player projects in 2014, value to the team, overall talent level and production so far in his career. Past performance is critical, but a large portion of the rankings were based on what we think these running backs will do in 2014.


Ranking the SEC's Top 25 Running Backs for 2014

RankPlayerTeamNotes
1Todd GurleyInjuries limited Gurley in 2013, but he still averaged six yards per carry. Gurley has scored 27 rushing touchdowns in two years and is an underrated receiver out of the backfield.
2T.J. YeldonYeldon has recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and averages 6.1 yards per carry in his career. Expect Yeldon to see a similar workload once again in 2014, but Derrick Henry will be a bigger factor in Alabama's backfield.
3Mike DavisDavis missed one game due to injury in 2013 but finished with 1,183 yards and 11 scores. Davis started last year with seven 100-yard performances in his first nine games, including 167 yards against UCF. 
4Derrick HenryExpected to be one of the SEC's top breakout players in 2014. At 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds, Henry possesses a unique blend of size and power. Rushed for 100 yards on eight attempts against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
5Alex CollinsPrize recruit of Bret Bielema's first class led the way for the Razorbacks on the ground in 2013. Collins rushed for 1,026 yards and four scores but failed to record a 100-yard effort over the final seven games. Expected to team with Jonathan Williams to form one of the SEC's top duos at running back.
6Jonathan WilliamsExpected to share carries with sophomore Alex Collins in 2014. Williams rushed for 900 yards and four scores last season, including 104 yards on 15 attempts against Auburn. Sophomore Korliss Marshall is a name to remember this fall, giving Arkansas three solid options at running back.
7Kelvin TaylorPlayed sparingly through first five weeks of last season. Taylor was one of the few bright spots for the Gators, finishing 2013 with 508 yards and four scores. Also averaged 4.6 yards per carry behind a struggling offensive line. Expect Taylor to be more involved (and more productive) in the offense in 2014.
8Leonard FournetteRanked as the No. 1 player in the 247Sports Composite rankings in the 2014 signing class. With Jeremy Hill leaving, combined with LSU's standout offensive line, Fournette could have a huge season if he manages 175-200 carries. Easily could rank higher on this list by the end of 2014.
9Keith MarshallMarshall had a promising debut in 2012 by rushing for 759 yards and eight touchdowns. A torn ACL against Tennessee ended his 2013 campaign after only five games. If healthy, Marshall is one of the SEC's top-10 running backs.
10Kenyan DrakeDrake is the third Alabama running back to make this list for 2014. He recorded 694 yards and eight scores on just 92 attempts last season. With Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon leading the way, Drake may finish 2014 with under 100 carries. However, the talent is certainly there to be a feature back on any other team in the SEC.
11Jerron SeymourSeymour is one of the SEC's underrated running backs, finishing with 716 yards on 164 attempts in 2013. Despite his 5-foot-7 frame, Seymour was effective around the goal-line with 14 rushing scores. New coach Derek Mason is expected to lean on the rushing attack to help ease the pressure on new quarterback Stephen Rivers. Seymour and backup Brian Kimbrow are up to the task.  
12Cameron Artis-PayneArtis-Payne and Corey Grant are essentially co-starters in Auburn's quest to replace Tre Mason. In his first year with the Tigers, Artis-Payne rushed for 610 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. Expect to see Artis-Payne and Grant share the lead role, while Peyton Barber and Roc Thomas are two freshmen to watch in the fall.
13Corey GrantGrant is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He averaged 9.8 yards per carry in 2013 and tied for third in the SEC with five runs of at least 30 yards. It's unlikely Grant shoulders 25 carries a week, but his speed and playmaking ability will allow him to share carries with Cameron Artis-Payne, Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber in 2014.
14Terrence MageeMagee or Kenny Hilliard is expected to help spell Fournette in 2014. And of course, it's possible all three backs finish with the same amount of carries. Magee was impressive in limited work last year, averaging 6.6 yards per rush on 86 attempts. He also posted two 100-yard efforts in 2013. We are guessing Fournette handles the No. 1 role, but if Magee earns a split, he needs to be higher on this list.
15Tra CarsonCarson ranked fourth on the team in rushing yards last season, but all signs point to a breakout year in 2014. The Oregon transfer is regarded as Texas A&M's most versatile running back and scored seven rushing scores on 62 carries last season. 
16Russell HansbroughHansbrough finished second on the team with 685 rushing yards in 2013. With Henry Josey departing, the door is open for Hansbrough or Marcus Murphy to emerge as a No. 1 back. Expect both Hansbrough and Murphy to each surpass 700 rushing yards, but our guess is Hansbrough leads the team in rushing in 2014.
17Marlin LaneLane has been an effective option for the Volunteers in a timeshare with Rajion Neal the last two years. From 2012-13, Lane averaged 5.4 yards per carry and scored six rushing scores. With Neal out of eligibility, Lane will slide into the 1A role with freshman Jalen Hurd pushing for time. The talent is certainly there, but will Lane manage more than 120 carries in a season for the first time in his career?
18Marcus MurphyMurphy is one of the SEC's top all-around threats. He rushed for 601 yards and nine scores last year, averaged seven yards per punt return, caught 11 passes for 79 yards and averaged 22.2 yards on kickoff returns. Murphy is slated for an increased role in the backfield with Henry Josey departing. 
19Josh RobinsonLooking for a player who could have a breakout season in 2014? Look no further than Starkville, as Robinson is set to takeover for LaDarius Perkins as Mississippi State's No. 1 back. Robinson rushed for 459 yards on 78 attempts last year, including 101 in the 24-17 victory over Arkansas. Freshman Aeris Williams will be a name to watch in the fall.
20Braylon HeardHeard was a four-star recruit by 247Sports in the 2010 signing class and spent the first two years of his career at Nebraska. During his short stint with the Cornhuskers, Heard rushed for 462 yards and four touchdowns. And after sitting out 2013 due to transfer rules, Heard is poised to make an impact in Kentucky's backfield. The Ohio native rushed for 55 yards in the spring game.
21Jalen HurdHurd is expected to be one of the key pieces in Butch Jones' rebuilding effort on Rocky Top. The Tennessee native ranked as the No. 40 incoming freshman in the 247Sports Composite and rushed for 66 yards and one touchdown in the spring game. Expect Hurd to push Marlin Lane for carries in 2014.
22I'Tavius MathersThe Rebels are expected to employ a backfield-by-committee approach in 2014, with Mathers, Jaylen Walton and junior college transfer Akeem Judd battling for carries. Mathers edged Walton by 42 yards for the team rushing lead in 2013. Ole Miss has solid depth here and a true No. 1 workhorse isn't necessarily needed in Oxford this year.
23Jojo KempCombine Kemp's development with Braylon Heard's arrival and it's easy to see why Kentucky is expected to take a step forward on offense this year. As a true freshman in 2013, Kemp led the team with 482 yards. He also dealt with an ankle injury for most of his freshman campaign. With an offseason to heal, Kemp should be an even bigger part of the Wildcats' offense.
24Trey WilliamsWith Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans off to the NFL, the Aggies may lean a little more on their rushing attack in 2014. Tra Carson appears to be entrenched as the starter, but Trey and Brandon Williams will have a role in the backfield. Trey Williams is a big-play threat, averaging 7.1 yards per carry in 2013. He also averaged 25.2 yards per kickoff return.
25Jaylen WaltonWalton ranked second on the team with 522 yards behind I'Tavius Mathers last season and led all Rebels with 1,360 total yards. The Memphis native brings speed and elusiveness to the backfield and is a reliable pass-catcher (28 receptions in 2013).
Teaser:
Ranking the SEC's Running Backs for 2014
Post date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-quarterbacks-hot-seat-2014
Body:

The term “hot seat” is no stranger to college football fans. Hot seat talk usually revolves around coaches, but quarterbacks can be grouped into the same conversation. Without a good coach or quarterback, it’s not easy to win games on the FBS level.

Considering how valuable quarterbacks are to reaching a bowl game, conference title or national championship, let’s take a look at some of the signal-callers on the hot seat for 2014.

Something important to keep in mind: This list doesn’t necessarily reflect quarterbacks that are in danger of losing their job.

With different potential for teams, each quarterback has their own set of expectations for 2014. For instance, Georgia’s Hutson Mason is the clear No. 1 quarterback in Athens. If he’s just adequate, the Bulldogs are probably ticketed for No. 2 or even No. 3 finish in the SEC East. However, if Mason is an All-SEC candidate, Georgia could be a darkhorse in the national title picture. At Arkansas, Brandon Allen’s development will play a key role in determining whether or not the Razorbacks can win a game in SEC play in 2014. North Carolina's Marquise Williams played well in the final half of 2013. If he can pickup where he left off, expect the Tar Heels to finish near the top of the Coastal.


College Football's Top 20 QBs on the Hot Seat for 2014
 

Brandon Allen, Arkansas
The SEC West is college football’s toughest division, so a rebuilding Arkansas team will have trouble earning a win in conference play for the second year in a row. The Razorbacks’ backfield is among the best in the nation with Alex Collins, Jonathan Williams and Korliss Marshall leading the way. Allen started 2013 on a high note by completing 15 of 22 passes for 230 yards and three scores against UL Lafayette. However, Allen suffered a shoulder injury against Southern Miss and threw only eight touchdowns to nine interceptions over the final eight contests. In SEC play, Allen completed just 47.7 percent of his throws and only eight of his completions went for 30 yards or more. Arkansas’ receiving corps is still a work in progress, but sophomore tight end Hunter Henry is already among the best in the nation. With a potent ground attack and an emerging star at tight end, Allen’s development is critical for a team that needs to upgrade its passing game to push for a bowl in 2014.


Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
With Wisconsin losing a few key pieces from last year’s team, Nebraska and Iowa have a good chance to push for the division crown. The Cornhuskers do have their share of personnel concerns, including a rebuilt offensive line and secondary, but this team has talent at the skill positions with running back Ameer Abdullah and receiver Kenny Bell. Armstrong was thrown into the fire last year due to an injury to Taylor Martinez and performed well considering the circumstances. Armstrong finished 2013 with 966 passing yards and nine touchdowns and 202 yards on the ground. After learning on the job last season, Armstrong should be prepared for the week-to-week rigors of the Big Ten. And if the sophomore takes a step forward in his development, the Cornhuskers could emerge as the team to beat in the Big Ten’s West Division – and quiet some of the pressure on Bo Pelini. 

David Ash, Texas
Ash never had a chance to build off a promising 2012 season, as a concussion prematurely ended his 2013 campaign. In 2012, Ash completed 67.3 percent of his throws for 2,699 yards and 19 touchdowns. Talent is never a question mark at Texas, and Charlie Strong seems to be the right coach to develop elite recruiting classes into production. However, if the Longhorns want to challenge Baylor or Oklahoma in the Big 12, quarterback play has to improve. Ash’s injury history is a concern, especially as there’s little in the way of proven options on the depth chart, and Max Wittek did not graduate in time to transfer to Austin for 2014. The defense should improve under Strong’s watch this season, and the backfield could be among the best in the nation. The Longhorns don’t need a huge statistical season from Ash, but they definitely need him on the field for all 12 regular season games.

Jacoby Brissett, NC State
After five quarterbacks attempted a pass in a NC State uniform last season, second-year coach Dave Doeren is counting on Brissett to bring stability to the Wolfpack’s offense in 2014. Brissett ranked as a four-star recruit by 247Sports in the 2011 signing class and threw for 455 yards and three touchdowns in two years in Gainesville. With Jeff Driskel entrenched as the starter, Brissett transferred to Raleigh for more playing time. The junior should be a good fit in coordinator Matt Canada’s offense and will provide an immediate upgrade for the offense after NC State averaged only 221.6 passing yards per game in 2013. If Brissett struggles, it’s back to the drawing board for Doeren, as true freshman Jalan McClendon is slated to be the No. 2 option. 
 

Brandon Connette, Fresno State

Derek Carr leaves big shoes to fill in Fresno State, and the Bulldogs had three quarterbacks vying for the No. 1 spot in the spring. Brian Burrell and Zack Greenlee remain in the mix, with Myles Carr slated to move to receiver. Connette is eligible immediately after transferring from Duke and should have an impact for coach Tim DeRuyter. Connette’s best season with the Blue Devils came in 2013, as he threw for 1,212 yards and 13 touchdowns and added 14 scores on the ground. It’s never easy replacing someone like Carr, who exited his career as one of the top players in school history. Connette will be asked to throw it a little more than he was at Duke, but his experience should help to provide an easy transition to the starting lineup. If he picks up where he left off in Durham, Connette could lead Fresno State to another Mountain West title.


Jeff Driskel, Florida

Even though Driskel missed nearly all of last season due to injury, it’s still hard to fathom why Florida’s offense averaged only 312.5 yards and 19.9 points per game in SEC play. Change was necessary after a horrific year on offense, with coach Will Muschamp hiring Kurt Roper from Duke to call the plays in 2014. Roper’s first priority is to help Driskel (a five-star recruit by 247Sports in 2011) reach his potential. Driskel has displayed promise at times, and his dual-threat ability is an asset for a team struggling to find the right pieces up front. However, Driskel has only one performance of more than 220 passing yards and tossed three picks through the first two games last season. It’s unfair to blame Driskel for all of Florida’s offensive woes, especially since the receiving corps is thin on proven options. If Driskel thrives under Roper, Florida can easily double its win total from 2013. But if Driskel struggles, the Gators will have to turn to true freshman Will Grier or sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg – a move that will likely ensure someone other than Muschamp is on the Florida sideline in 2015.
 

Devin Gardner, Michigan
Gardner’s first full year as Michigan’s starter had its share of ups and downs, which included a late-season foot injury that pressed Shane Morris into starting duty against Kansas State in the bowl game. On the surface, Gardner wasn’t bad last year. He threw for 2,960 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 483 yards and 11 scores. Gardner also led the Big Ten (conference-only games) with 269.9 passing yards per game and did not toss a pick in his final four starts. While his overall numbers were solid, Gardner needs to be more consistent. He threw for 97 yards and tossed two picks against UConn, which came one week after throwing three picks against Akron. Gardner went just 13 of 28 against Iowa (98 yards) and threw for only 196 yards on 18 completions against Nebraska. Of course, it’s unfair to blame Gardner for all of Michigan’s problems, as the offensive line, rushing attack and receiving corps each had their share of question marks. If Gardner plays with more consistency, the Wolverines will have a chance to win 10 games. But if the supporting cast struggles, and Gardner is up and down once again, the pressure will start to build even more on coach Brady Hoke.   
 

Hutson Mason, Georgia
Why so much pressure on a first-year quarterback? Even though the Bulldogs are coming off an 8-5 record from 2013, this team has the pieces to be a factor for a spot in college football’s new four-team playoff format. Georgia’s offense will have a healthy Todd Gurley at running back, along with receiver Malcolm Mitchell at full strength after missing nearly all of last year with a torn ACL. With Gurley and Mitchell back in the mix, combined with the addition of Jeremy Pruitt as the team’s defensive coordinator, the Bulldogs are poised to push for 10 wins. Of course, much of that depends on Mason. He showed plenty of progress in limited action last year, throwing for 320 yards in awful weather conditions against Nebraska and 299 yards in a victory against Georgia Tech. Georgia usually has no trouble developing solid quarterbacks. If Mason is as good as advertised this spring, the Bulldogs will be a factor in the mix for the SEC title. 
 

Listen to Athlon Sports Cover 2 Podcast: Quarterback Breakdown for 2014

 


Cyler Miles, Washington
Chris Petersen’s first spring in Seattle was somewhat eventful. Miles was suspended for the spring after an off-the-field incident, which allowed Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams to get an early start on learning the new offense. Miles was reinstated earlier this summer and is expected to win the No. 1 job by the season opener. The sophomore was solid in his first taste of FBS action last year, completing 37 of 61 passes for 418 yards and four touchdowns. Most preseason predictions have Washington as the No. 3 team in the Pac-12 North behind Stanford and Oregon. With the Cardinal visiting Seattle in 2014, the opportunity is there for the Huskies to surprise. But that largely depends on how quickly Miles can pickup the new offense and how fast Petersen can find a replacement for running back Bishop Sankey.

Gary Nova, Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights were a big winner in realignment by moving from the American Athletic Conference to the Big Ten, but it’s not an easy transition for a program coming off a 6-7 record in 2013. The hire of Ralph Friedgen as offensive coordinator was one of the top assistant additions by any FBS team and should help the offense improve after managing only 23 points per game in conference play last season. Nova was benched late in 2013 and has tossed 30 interceptions over the last two seasons. There’s not much in the way of proven options behind Nova for Friedgen, as Mike Bimonte and Chris Laviano have yet to complete a pass on the collegiate level. If Friedgen can help Nova limit his mistakes, Rutgers will have a chance to push for a bowl in its Big Ten debut. But if he struggles early in the year, Bimonte or Laviano will see plenty of playing time in 2014.
 

Kevin Olsen, Miami

Miami’s quarterback situation has already changed significantly since the start of spring practice. Ryan Williams was slated to replace Stephen Morris, but he suffered a torn ACL in the spring, and coach Al Golden added Kansas transfer Jake Heaps this summer. Olsen redshirted in his first season in Coral Gables last year and is on track to start the season opener at Louisville. Four-star recruit Brad Kaaya is set to join the battle this summer, and his development will be critical with Olsen’s inexperience and Heaps learning the offense after joining the team in June.  
 

Stephen Rivers, Vanderbilt

James Franklin set the bar high for new coach Derek Mason, and the first-year coach enters 2014 with a glaring question mark at quarterback. Mason hopes Rivers (a LSU transfer) is the answer under center, with redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary also pushing for time. Rivers has prototypical size for a quarterback (6-foot-7) and you may have heard of his brother (Philip) in NFL circles. Rivers played in only four games at LSU and misfired on both of his pass attempts. Making the junior’s job even tougher in 2014 is Vanderbilt’s receiving corps, which lost standout Jordan Matthews to the NFL. With a solid defense and rushing attack, Rivers won’t have to post All-SEC numbers for the Commodores to return to the postseason. However, for a program coming off 18 wins in the last two years and the departure of the team’s No. 1 player (Matthews), there’s extra pressure on the quarterbacks to perform in 2014.

Joel Stave, Wisconsin
The Badgers will once again own one of the nation’s top rushing attacks. Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement headline a backfield that is the best in the Big Ten and is capable of carrying Wisconsin to a Big Ten West Division title. While there are no concerns about the ground attack, coach Gary Andersen is hoping to jumpstart a passing attack that averaged only 201.9 yards per game in Big Ten games last season. Stave certainly wasn’t awful last year, completing 208 passes for 2,494 yards and 22 touchdowns. However, the staff would like more from its passing attack and is intrigued by Tanner McEvoy, a former junior college recruit who spent some time at safety in 2013. Stave missed part of spring practice due to a shoulder injury, which opened the door for McEvoy to state his case for the No. 1 spot. The Badgers must replace several key players, but the schedule is favorable and there’s a strong rushing attack to lean on. If Stave or McEvoy brings stability under center, Wisconsin can push for a final ranking among the top 10-15 teams in the nation.

 

Cole Stoudt, Clemson
After Florida State’s Jameis Winston, there is very little in the way of proven options in the ACC at quarterback for 2014. Stoudt is a darkhorse candidate for all-conference honors this year, especially under the direction of coordinator Chad Morris. The senior won a three-way competition in the spring to claim the starting job, which included touted freshman Deshaun Watson. In three years at Clemson, Stoudt has completed 86 of 119 passes for 742 yards and eight scores. If Stoudt successfully replaces Tajh Boyd, the Tigers should be the No. 2 team in the ACC and have a chance to win 10 games. But if he struggles early, expect to hear the calls for Watson increase.
 

Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
There’s very little separation among the top-six teams in the Coastal Division, so the difference between No. 1 and No. 6 could be just a game or two in the final standings. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has recorded at least a .500 mark in ACC play in each of the last six years, but there’s a lot of pressure on the coaching staff to produce after going 14-13 over the last two seasons. Vad Lee decided to transfer after last season, leaving Thomas as the clear No. 1 in Atlanta. Thomas is regarded as an excellent athlete and averaged 7.1 yards per carry in 2013. If Thomas runs Johnson’s offense and limits the turnovers, the Yellow Jackets should be in the mix to win the Coastal. However, if he struggles in the starter role, Georgia Tech could have a new coaching staff in 2015.


Dylan Thompson, South Carolina
Similar to Georgia’s Hutson Mason, Thompson isn’t in any danger of losing his starting job, but his play could be the difference in whether or not South Carolina wins the East. After throwing for 1,027 yards and 10 touchdowns in relief of Connor Shaw in 2012, Thompson wasn’t as sharp in 2013. He posted a better completion percentage in 2013 (58.4 percent after 52.0 in 2012), but his interception total increased by one on fewer attempts, and Thompson left room for improvement in his performances against Missouri and UCF. Coach Steve Spurrier has already anointed Thompson as the starter, so there’s little doubt about the depth chart. However, the Gamecocks hope a full offseason to work as the No. 1 quarterback helps Thompson produce like an All-SEC passer.

Clint Trickett, West Virginia
Considering West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is known for his pass-first offenses, it seems odd for the Mountaineers to enter the season with so much uncertainty at quarterback. However, that’s the scenario playing out in Morgantown this offseason, as none of the quarterbacks claimed the job in spring practice. West Virginia finished 2013 ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 (conference-only games) in passing offense, but the Mountaineers tossed 13 picks and threw just 12 touchdowns in nine league games. Trickett led the team with 1,605 yards and seven touchdown passes last season but was forced to miss spring workouts due to shoulder surgery. With West Virginia facing a tough non-conference schedule (Alabama and Maryland), and the pressure to rebound after a 4-8 mark in 2013, the Mountaineers need Trickett to be the answer under center. If he isn’t, junior college recruit Skyler Howard or Paul Millard will move into the starting lineup. True freshman William Crest is a wildcard to watch. 
 

Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
With the personnel losses at LSU and Texas A&M, Ole Miss has a chance to make some noise in the SEC West. The Rebels have made steady improvement under coach Hugh Freeze and a healthy year from Wallace should make a difference. After offseason shoulder surgery, Wallace watched his touchdown total dip from 22 in 2012 to 18 last season, while he averaged just 11.8 yards per completion in 2013. Quarterbacks that have shoulder surgery seem to need a full year before returning to 100 percent. If Wallace builds off his progress from the last two seasons and stays healthy, the Rebels could push for nine wins in 2014.

 

Marquise Williams, North Carolina
With victories in six out of their last seven games, North Carolina has momentum on its side in 2014. And there are many reasons to be optimistic about the offense, as coach Larry Fedora has recruited a wealth of talent at the skill positions, and Williams showed promise in a limited stint as the team’s starting quarterback last year. The Charlotte native is a good fit for Fedora’s offense, and his dual-threat ability is a valuable asset for a team with a rebuilding offensive line. The junior finished 2013 with 1,698 yards and 15 scores, but he was pushed for snaps in the spring by redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky. Williams is already feeling pressure on the depth chart to perform to hold onto his No. 1 spot. However, there’s added demands on Williams with North Carolina in position to win the Coastal. The good news for the Tar Heels: It seems like there are two quarterbacks Fedora feels comfortable with. The bad news: If Williams struggles, the quarterback battle will begin once again with Trubisky ready to claim the starting job. 
 

Justin Worley, Tennessee

Butch Jones enters his second season at Tennessee with a myriad of question marks, none bigger than who starts at quarterback for the opener against Utah State. The Volunteers finished spring with three quarterbacks fighting for snaps, but Riley Ferguson transferred, leaving Worley and Joshua Dobbs vying for the No. 1 spot. Worley started seven games in 2013 and threw for 10 touchdowns and 1,239 yards in 2013. However, a thumb injury ended his season in late October. With a challenging schedule ahead in 2014, finding a quarterback could be the difference in Tennessee making a bowl or missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive season.

Teaser:
College Football's Top 20 Quarterbacks on the Hot Seat for 2014
Post date: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-2014-all-america-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings, predictions for all 10 leagues and all-conference teams for 2014.

 

With the predictions and all-conference teams released, it’s time to take a look at the best players in the nation.

 

Athlon Sports continues its countdown to 2014 with our first, second, third and fourth All-America teams.

 

An important note on the All-America teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 All-America and all-conference teams are largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

Athlon's 2014 All-Conference Teams: ACC American Athletic | Big 12 Big Ten C-USA | MAC | MW | Pac-12 | SEC Sun Belt

Athlon Sports 2014 All-America Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QBJameis Winston
Florida State 
Marcus Mariota
Oregon 
Braxton Miller
Ohio State 
Bryce Petty
Baylor 
RBMelvin Gordon
Wisconsin 
Ameer Abdullah
Nebraska 
Mike Davis
South Carolina 
Karlos Williams
Florida State 
RBTodd Gurley
Georgia 
T.J. Yeldon
Alabama 
Duke Johnson
Miami 
Jeremy Langford
Michigan State 
WRNelson Agholor
USC 
Antwan Goodley
Baylor 
Tyler Boyd
Pittsburgh 
DeVante Parker
Louisville 
WRAmari Cooper
Alabama 
Rashad Greene
Florida State 
Laquon Treadwell
Ole Miss 
Jaelen Strong
Arizona State 
TENick O'Leary
Florida State 
O.J. Howard
Alabama 
Jeff Heuerman
Ohio State 
Ben Koyack
Notre Dame 
CHroniss Grasu
Oregon 
Reese Dismukes
Auburn 
B.J. Finney
Kansas State 
Isaac Seumalo
Oregon State 
GA.J. Cann
South Carolina 
Josue Matias
Florida State 
Alex Kozan
Auburn 
Shaquille Mason
Georgia Tech 
GTre' Jackson
Florida State 
Laken Tomlinson
Duke 
Quinton Spain
West Virginia 
Max Tuerk (C)
USC 
TCameron Erving
Florida State 
Cedric Ogbuehi
Texas A&M 
La'el Collins
LSU 
Le'Raven Clark
Texas Tech 
TAndrus Peat
Stanford 
Brandon Scherff
Iowa 
Laremy Tunsil
Ole Miss 
Spencer Drango
Baylor 
APTyler Lockett
Kansas State 
Stefon Diggs
Maryland 
Derrick Henry
Alabama 
Jamison Crowder
Duke 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team DefenseFourth-Team Defense
DEVic Beasley
Clemson
Shilique Calhoun
Michigan State 
Mario Edwards
Florida State 
Joey Bosa
Ohio State 
DELeonard Williams
USC 
Randy Gregory
Nebraska 
Ryan Mueller
Kansas State 
A'Shawn Robinson
Alabama 
DTMichael Bennett
Ohio State 
Luther Maddy
Virginia Tech 
Malcom Brown
Texas 
Carl Davis
Iowa 
DTChris Jones
Mississippi State 
Robert Nkemdiche
Ole Miss 
Danny Shelton
Washington 
Cedric Reed (DE)
Texas 
LBMyles Jack
UCLA 
Trey DePriest
Alabama 
Eric Kendricks
UCLA 
Leonard Floyd
Georgia 
LBShaq Thompson
Washington 
A.J. Johnson
Tennessee 
Hayes Pullard
USC 
Jake Ryan
Michigan 
LBRamik Wilson
Georgia 
Eric Striker
Oklahoma 
Jaylon Smith
Notre Dame 
Denzel Perryman
Miami 
CBIfo Ekpre-Olomu
Oregon 
Quandre Diggs
Texas 
Tre'Davious White
LSU 
KeiVarae Russell
Notre Dame 
CBVernon Hargreaves
Florida 
Kendall Fuller
Virginia Tech 
P.J. Williams
Florida State 
Trae Waynes
Michigan State 
SLandon Collins
Alabama 
Anthony Harris
Virginia 
Kurtis Drummond
Michigan State 
Sam Carter
TCU 
SJalen Ramsey
Florida State 
Cody Prewitt
Ole Miss 
Derron Smith
Fresno State 

Jordan Richards
Stanford 

 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team SpecialistsFourth-Team Specialists
KRoberto Aguayo
Florida State 
Marshall Morgan
Georgia 
Marvin Kloss
USF 
Andy Phillips
Utah 
PMike Sadler
Michigan State 
Drew Kaser
Texas A&M 
Cameron Johnston
Ohio State 
A.J. Hughes
Virginia Tech 
KRTy Montgomery
Stanford 
Carlos Wiggins
New Mexico 
Kermit Whitfield
Florida State 
DeVon Edwards
Duke 
PRRyan Switzer
North Carolina 
Jamison Crowder
Duke 
Nelson Agholor
USC
Venric Mark
Northwestern 

Conference Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-America Team

 First TeamSecond TeamThird TeamFourth Team
ACC
Offense: 4
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 3
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 4
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 2
American Athletic
Offense: 0 
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Big 12
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Big Ten
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 4
​Sp. Teams: 1
Mountain West
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Notre Dame
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Pac-12
Offense: 3
Defense: 4
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
SEC
Offense: 3
Defense: 4
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 4
Defense: 4
​Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 6
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
College Football 2014 All-America Team
Post date: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/eastern-michigan-unveils-new-gray-turf-2014
Body:

Eastern Michigan is arguably the toughest job in college football. Located in Ypsilanti, EMU is less than 10 miles from the University of Michigan, and the Eagles’ last winning season was in 1995. Eastern Michigan has just one bowl appearance in its history (1987).

New coach Chris Creighton was a good hire for Eastern Michigan, and the program is doing everything it can to raise its profile by announcing plans to use a gray field in 2014.

Much like Boise State’s blue field and Eastern Washington’s red turf, Eastern Michigan hopes to create some buzz about its program by adding a different look to its field.

Here’s a picture from the school’s instagram account:

 

Teaser:
Eastern Michigan Unveils New Gray Turf for 2014
Post date: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 13:27
Path: /college-football/mac-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second and third All-MAC teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: MAC 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 MAC Team Previews
 


Athlon's 2014 All-MAC Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team Offense
QBMatt Johnson
Bowling Green 
Kyle Pohl
Akron 
Joe Licata
Buffalo 
RBTravis Greene
Bowling Green 
Jahwan Edwards
Ball State 
Akeem Daniels
Northern Illinois 
RBKareem Hunt
Toledo 
Jawon Chisholm
Akron 
Bronson Hill
Eastern Michigan 
WRTitus Davis
Central Michigan 
Corey Davis
Western Michigan 
Zach D'Orazio
Akron 
WRAlonzo Russell
Toledo 
Tommylee Lewis
Northern Illinois 
Tajae Sharpe
UMass 
TETyreese Russell
Eastern Michigan 
Jordan Williams (WR)
Ball State 
Alex Welch
Miami (Ohio) 
CJacob Richard
Ball State 
Alex Huettel
Bowling Green 
Andrew Ness
Northern Illinois 
GGreg Mancz
Toledo 
Andre Davis
Buffalo 
Aidan Conlon
Northern Illinois 
GAndy Phillips
Central Michigan 
Jeff Myers
Toledo 
Jake Hurcombe
Eastern Michigan 
TTyler Loos
Northern Illinois 
Willie Beavers
Western Michigan 
Steven Bell
Ball State 
TLincoln Hansen
Eastern Michigan 
Josh Hendershot
Toledo 
Jacob Bennett
Bowling Green 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team Defense
DETarell Basham
Ohio 
Bryson Albright
Miami (Ohio) 
Nordly Capi
Akron 
DEJason Meehan
Northern Illinois 
Nick Miles 
Ball State 
Bryan Thomas
Bowling Green 
DTAntwan Crutcher
Ohio 
Nate Terhune
Kent State 
Pat O'Connor
Eastern Michigan 
DTTreyvon Hester
Toledo 
Leterrius Walton
Central Michigan 
Kristjan Sokoli
Buffalo 
LBJamaal Bass
Northern Illinois 
Ben Ingle
Ball State 
Justin Cherocci
Central Michigan 
LBJunior Sylvestre
Toledo 
Kent Kern
Miami (Ohio) 
D.J. Lynch
Bowling Green 
LBJatavis Brown
Akron 
Gabe Martin
Bowling Green 
Adam Redden
Buffalo 
CBDevin Bass
Ohio 
Heath Harding
Miami (Ohio) 
Cortney Lester
Buffalo  
CBDonald Celiscar
Western Michigan 
Cheatham Norrils
Toledo 
Marlon Moore
Northern Illinois 
SRyland Ward
Bowling Green 
Jordan Italiano
Kent State 
Brian Jones
Ball State 
SDechane Durante
Northern Illinois 
Justin Currie
Western Michigan 
Josh Kristoff
Ohio 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team Specialists
KJeremiah Detmer
Toledo 
Scott Secor
Ball State 
Tyler Tate
Bowling Green 
PZach Paul
Akron 
Anthony Melchiori
Kent State 
Tyler Grassman
Buffalo 
KRDevin Campbell
Buffalo 
Trey Dudley-Giles
UMass 
Paris Logan
Northern Illinois 
PRRyan Burbrink
Bowling Green 
Trey Dudley-Giles
UMass 
Titus Davis
Central Michigan 
 FirstSecondThird
Akron
Offense: 0
Defense: 1 
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Ball State
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Bowling Green
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Buffalo
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Central Michigan
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Eastern Michigan
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Kent State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Miami (Ohio)
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Northern Illinois
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Ohio
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Toledo
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
UMass
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 2 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Western Michigan
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
MAC Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second and third American Athletic All-Conference teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: American Athletic 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 American Athletic Team Previews
 

 

2014 American Athletic All-Conference Team
 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team Offense
QBShane Carden
East Carolina 
________________
John O'Korn
Houston 
________________
P.J. Walker
Temple 
________________
RBWilliam Stanback
UCF 
Ralph David Abernathy IV
Cincinnati 
Kenneth Farrow
Houston 
RBHosey Williams
Cincinnati 
________________
Breon Allen
East Carolina 
________________
Kenneth Harper
Temple 
________________
WRDeontay Greenberry
Houston
Geremy Davis
UConn 
Andre Davis
USF 
WRJustin Hardy
East Carolina 
J.J. Worton
UCF 
Chris Moore
Cincinnati 
TESean McQuillan
UConn 
________________
Mike McFarland
USF 
________________
Darius Joseph
SMU 
________________
CAustin Reiter
USF 
Taylor Lasecki
SMU 
Bryce Redman
Houston
GParker Ehinger
Cincinnati 
Quinterrius Eatmon
USF 
Thor Jozwiak
USF 
GTorrian Wilson
UCF 
Rowdy Harper
Houston

Deyshawn Bond (C)
Cincinnati 

TIke Harris
East Carolina 
Garrett Stafford
Tulsa 
Sean Donnelly
Tulane 
TEric Lefeld
Cincinnati 
Darrell Williams
USF 
Kris Weeks
SMU 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team Defense
DEMartin Ifedi
Memphis 
Derrick Alexander
Tulsa 
Beau Barnes
SMU 
DE

Silverberry Mouhon
Cincinnati 

Royce LaFrance
Tulane 
Thomas Niles
UCF 
DTJoey Mbu
Houston 
Julian Campenni
UConn 
Derrick Calloway
USF 
DTTerry Williams
East Carolina 
________________
Derrick Luetjen
Tulsa 
________________
Matt Ioannidis
Temple 
________________
LBTyler Matakevich
Temple 
Zeek Bigger
East Carolina 
Jeff Luc
Cincinnati 
LBDerrick Mathews
Houston 
Efrem Oliphant
Houston 
Nico Marley
Tulane 
LBTerrance Plummer
UCF 
________________
Nick Temple
Cincinnati 
________________
Stephon Sanders
SMU 
________________
CBLorenzo Doss
Tulane 
Byron Jones
UConn 
Bobby McCain
Memphis 
CBJacoby Glenn
UCF 
Darion Monroe
Tulane 
Obi Melifonwu (S)
UConn 
SClayton Geathers
UCF 
Demarco Nelson
Tulsa 
Adrian McDonald
Houston 
STrevon Stewart
Houston 
Sam Scofield
Tulane 
Michael Mudoh
Tulsa 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team Specialists
KMarvin Kloss
USF 
Shawn Moffitt
UCF 
Jake Elliott
Memphis 
PMattias Ciabatti
USF 
Peter Picerelli
Tulane 
Caleb Houston
UCF 
KRDemarcus Ayers
Houston 
Joe Craig
Memphis 
Chris Dunkley
USF 
PRJustin Hardy
East Carolina 
Chris Dunkley
USF 
Keiwone Malone
Memphis 

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 American All-Conference Team
 FirstSecondThird
Cincinnati
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Connecticut
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
East Carolina
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Houston
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2 
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Memphis
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 2
SMU
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
South Florida
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Temple
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Tulane
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Tulsa
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
UCF
Offense: 2
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
American Athletic 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second, third and fourth All-Pac-12 teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: Pac-12 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 Pac-12 Team Previews
 
National
Rank:
4516767165312714542456


Athlon's 2014 All-Pac-12 Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QBMarcus Mariota
Oregon 
________________
Brett Hundley
UCLA 
________________
Taylor Kelly
Arizona State 
________________
Sean Mannion
Oregon State 
________________
RBJavorius Allen
USC 
D.J. Foster
Arizona State 
Jordon James
UCLA 
Barry Sanders
Stanford 
RBByron Marshall
Oregon 
________________
Thomas Tyner
Oregon 
________________
Tre Madden
USC 

________________
Storm Woods
Oregon State 
________________
WRNelson Agholor
USC 
Austin Hill
Arizona 
Dres Anderson
Utah 
Vince Mayle
Washington State 
WRJaelen Strong
Arizona State 
Ty Montgomery
Stanford 
Chris Harper
California 
Kasen Williams
Washington 
TEConnor Hamlett
Oregon State 
________________
Thomas Duarte
UCLA 
________________
Pharaoh Brown
Oregon 
________________
Randall Telfer
USC 
________________
CHroniss Grasu
Oregon 
Isaac Seumalo
Oregon State 

Max Tuerk
USC 

Jake Brendel
UCLA 
GJosh Garnett
Stanford 
Dexter Charles
Washington 

Malcolm Bunche
UCLA 

Cayman Bundage
Arizona 
GAlex Redmond
UCLA 
Daniel Munyer
Colorado 
Vi Teofilo
Arizona State 
Christian Westerman
Arizona State 
TMickey Baucus
Arizona 
Jamil Douglas
Arizona State 
Micah Hatchie
Washington 
Fabbians Ebbele
Arizona 
TAndrus Peat
Stanford 
Tyler Johnstone
Oregon 
Kyle Murphy
Stanford 
Jake Fisher
Oregon 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team DefenseFourth-Team Defense
DEHenry Anderson
Stanford 

Kenneth Clark (DT)
UCLA 

DeForest Buckner
Oregon 
Arik Armstead
Oregon 
DELeonard Williams
USC 
Eddie Vanderdoes
UCLA 
Owa Odighizuwa
UCLA 
Nate Orchard
Utah 
DTHau'oli Kikaha (DE)
Washington 
David Parry
Stanford 
________________
Xavier Cooper
Washington State 
Alex Balducci
Oregon 
DTDanny Shelton
Washington 
________________
Addison Gillam (LB)
Colorado 
 
Josh Tupou
Colorado 
________________
Antwaun Woods
USC 
________________
LBMyles Jack
UCLA 
Hayes Pullard
USC 
Michael Doctor
Oregon State 
Salamo Fiso
Arizona State 
LBEric Kendricks
UCLA 
A.J. Tarpley
Stanford 
Derrick Malone
Oregon 
Jalen Jefferson
California 
LBShaq Thompson
Washington 
________________
Tony Washington
Oregon 
________________
Darryl Monroe
Washington State 
________________
Scooby Wright
Arizona 
________________
CBIfo Ekpre-Olomu
Oregon 
Alex Carter
Stanford 
Fabian Moreau
UCLA 
Greg Henderson
Colorado 
CBMarcus Peters
Washington 
Josh Shaw
USC 
Steven Nelson
Oregon State 
Jonathan McKnight
Arizona 
SSu'a Cravens
USC 
Randall Goforth
UCLA 
Ryan Murphy
Oregon State 
Brian Blechen
Utah 
SJordan Richards
Stanford 
Eric Rowe
Utah 
Damarious Randall
Arizona State 
Jared Tevis
Arizona 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team SpecialistsFourth-Team Specialists
KAndy Phillips
Utah 
Zane Gonzalez
Arizona State 
Jordan Williamson
Stanford 
Will Oliver
Colorado 
PTom Hackett
Utah 
Darragh O'Neill
Colorado 
Sean Covington
UCLA 
Ben Rhyne
Stanford 
KRTy Montgomery
Stanford 
John Ross
Washington 
Ishmael Adams
UCLA 
Khalfani Muhammad
California 
PRNelson Agholor
USC 
Barry Sanders
Stanford 
Geoffrey Norwood
Utah 
Marvin Hall
Washington 
Related Content: 2014 Pac-12 Predictions

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-Pac-12 Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Arizona
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Arizona State
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
California
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Colorado
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Oregon
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Oregon State
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Stanford
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
UCLA
 
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
USC
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Utah
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Washington
Offense: 0
Defense: 4
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Washington State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense:  2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second and third All-Mountain West teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: Mountain West 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 Mountain West Team Previews
 
National
Rank:
10546746211882106831031014994


Athlon's 2014 All-Mountain West Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team Offense
QBChuckie Keeton
Utah State 
Cody Fajardo
Nevada 
Garrett Grayson
Colorado State 
RBJay Ajayi
Boise State 
Jarrod Lawson
San Jose State 
Joe Hill
Utah State 
RBDonnel Pumphrey
San Diego State 
Shaun Wick
Wyoming 
Joey Iosefa
Hawaii 
WRDevante Davis
UNLV 
Josh Harper
Fresno State 
Ezell Ruffin
San Diego State 
WRMatt Miller
Boise State 
Rashard Higgins
Colorado State 
Dominic Rufran
Wyoming 
TEKivon Cartwright
Colorado State 
Billy Freeman
San Jose State 
Richy Turner (WR)
Nevada 
CRobert Waterman
UNLV 
Matt Galas
Nevada 
Michael Husar
Air Force 
GLaMar Bratton
New Mexico 
Jake Jones
Wyoming 
Ben Clarke (OT)
Hawaii 
GCody Wichmann
Fresno State 
Rees Odhiambo (OT)
Boise State 
Jamal Price (OT)
New Mexico
TBrett Boyko
UNLV 
Terry Poole
San Diego State 
Justin Northern
Fresno State 
TTy Sambrailo
Colorado State 
Kevin Whimpey
Utah State 
Kyle Roberts
Nevada 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team Defense
DETyeler Davison
Fresno State 
B.J. Larsen
Utah State 
Joe Kawulok
Colorado State 
DEBrock Hekking
Nevada 
Brett Bowers
New Mexico 
Gabe Perez
Boise State 
DTEddie Yarbrough (DE)
Wyoming 
Beau Yap (DE)
Hawaii 
Patrick Mertens
Wyoming 
DTTravis Raciti
San Jose State 
Sam Meredith
San Diego State 
Armand Nance
Boise State 
LBEjiro Ederaine
Fresno State 
Jake Fely
San Diego State 
Max Morgan
Colorado State 
LBKyler Fackrell
Utah State 
Cory James
Colorado State 
Christian Tago
San Jose State 
LBZach Vigil
Utah State 
Ben Weaver
Boise State 
Kyrie Wilson
Fresno State 
CBDonte Deayon
Boise State 
Charles Garrett
Nevada 
Blair Burns
Wyoming 
CBJ.J. Whittaker
San Diego State 
Tajh Hasson
UNLV 
Ne'Quan Phillips
Hawaii 
SJeremy Ioane
Boise State 
Brian Suite
Utah State 
Christian Spears
Air Force 
SDerron Smith
Fresno State 
Peni Vea
UNLV 
Darian Thompson
Boise State 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team Specialists
KJared Roberts
Colorado State 
Austin Lopez
San Jose State 
Will Conant
Air Force 
PGarrett Swanson
Fresno State 
Ethan Wood
Wyoming 
Hayden Hunt
Colorado State 
KRCarlos Wiggins
New Mexico 
Marcus Sullivan
UNLV 
Bryan Douglas
Boise State 
PRShane Williams-Rhodes
Boise State 
JoJo Natson
Utah State 
Tyree Simmons
Colorado State 
Related Content: 2014 Mountain West Predictions

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-MW Team
 FirstSecondThird
Air Force
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense:  1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Boise State
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Colorado State
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 2
Fresno State
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Hawaii
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Nevada
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
New Mexico
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
San Diego State
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
San Jose State
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
UNLV
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Utah State
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Wyoming
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Teaser:
Mountain West Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/kansas-qb-jake-heaps-transfers-miami
Body:

Miami’s quarterback situation is one of the biggest mysteries in the ACC for 2014, and coach Al Golden has added another option to start in Kansas transfer Jake Heaps. The addition of Heaps was announced through Miami’s official site.

Heaps was regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2010 signing class and played two seasons at BYU. In 2010, Heaps started 10 games with the Cougars and finished with 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns. After a solid freshman season, Heaps failed to build on that momentum as a sophomore and did not finish 2011 as the starter.

Heaps transferred to Kansas and sat out the 2012 season due to NCAA rules. And after a year to learn under Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks’ coaching staff, Heaps was expected to showcase some of the talent that earned him a spot among the nation’s top quarterback recruits. However, Heaps struggled in 2013 and finished with just 1,414 passing yards and a 49 percent completion percentage.

Once Montell Cozart was named Kansas’ starter in the spring, the writing was on the wall for Heaps’ future in Lawrence.

Since Heaps will have his degree from Kansas in June, he is eligible to participate at Miami in 2014. Although Heaps has struggled in recent years, this is a key pickup for Golden and his staff in terms of overall quarterback depth.

Ryan Williams was expected to start, but he suffered a torn ACL in spring practice and is out indefinitely. Williams is expected to return during the 2014 season. However, an official timetable or target date has not been set for his return.

If Williams doesn’t return until late in the season and Olsen struggles, Heaps would provide another option if true freshman Brad Kaaya isn’t ready.

Heaps certainly hasn’t played up to his recruiting hype, and it’s unlikely he will make a huge impact with Miami in 2014.

Considering the Hurricanes’ top quarterbacks (Olsen and Kaaya) are freshmen, adding an experienced arm like Heaps doesn’t hurt. However, does the decision to bring in Heaps signal anything about how the coaching staff feels about their quarterback options going into fall practice?

Although quarterback play is a huge concern for Miami, the offense has one of the top running backs in the nation in Duke Johnson, along with a solid offensive line. Expect to see Johnson and incoming freshman Joseph Yearby have a heavy workload early in the 2014 season.

When you combine a tough crossover with the Atlantic Division (Louisville and Florida State) and the uncertainty at quarterback, it’s just a small showcase of why Miami's spot in the Coastal Division is tough to pick. The Hurricanes have talent at the skill positions and on the offensive line, but this team still has major concerns at quarterback and on offense. 

2014 is shaping up to be a critical year for Al Golden. By no means is Golden on the hot seat, but Miami is still looking for its first appearance in the ACC Championship. With the rest of the Coastal also saddled with personnel concerns, the Hurricanes should be in the mix to win the division.

Of course, that all depends on quarterback play. And that brings us back to the addition of Heaps. Is this a move for depth? Or a reason to be concerned about Olsen or Kaaya?

Only time will tell.

Teaser:
Miami's Uncertainty at QB Continues with Addition of Jake Heaps
Post date: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second, third and fourth All-Big 12 teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: Big 12 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 Big 12 Team Previews

 
National
Rank:
1066782043739174167


Athlon's 2014 All-Big 12 Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QBBryce Petty
Baylor 
________________
Trevor Knight
Oklahoma 
________________

Jake Waters
Kansas State 
________________

Davis Webb
Texas Tech 
________________
RBMalcolm Brown
Texas 
Desmond Roland
Oklahoma State 
Keith Ford
Oklahoma 
Johnathan Gray
Texas 
RBShock Linwood
Baylor 
________________
Aaron Wimberly
Iowa State 
________________
B.J. Catalon
TCU 
________________
Rushel Shell
West Virginia 
________________
WRAntwan Goodley
Baylor 
Quenton Bundrage
Iowa State 
Jakeem Grant
Texas Tech 
Nick Harwell
Kansas 
WRTyler Lockett
Kansas State 
Sterling Shepard
Oklahoma 
Bradley Marquez
Texas Tech 
Levi Norwood
Baylor 
TEE.J. Bibbs
Iowa State 
________________
Jaxon Shipley
Texas (WR) 
________________
Jhajuan Seales (WR)
Oklahoma State 
________________
Kevin White (WR)
West Virginia 
________________
CB.J. Finney
Kansas State 
Tom Farniok
Iowa State 
Dominic Espinosa
Texas 
Ty Darlington
Oklahoma 
GQuinton Spain
West Virginia 
Desmine Hilliard
Baylor 
Mark Glowinski
West Virginia 
Sedrick Flowers
Texas 
T/GLe'Raven Clark
Texas Tech (OT) 
Daniel Koenig
Oklahoma State (OG) 
Ngalu Fusimalohi
Kansas (OG)
Boston Stiverson
Kansas State (OG) 
TSpencer Drango
Baylor 

Troy Baker
Baylor 

Devin Davis
Oklahoma State 
Jacob Gannon
Iowa State 
TCody Whitehair
Kansas State 
Daryl Williams
Oklahoma 
Tyrus Thompson
Oklahoma 
Desmond Harrison
Texas 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team DefenseFourth-Team Defense
DERyan Mueller
Kansas State 
Devonte Fields
TCU 
Shawn Oakman
Baylor 
Jimmy Bean
Oklahoma State 
DECedric Reed
Texas 
Charles Tapper
Oklahoma 
Jamal Palmer
Baylor 
Branden Jackson
Texas Tech 
DTMalcom Brown
Texas 
Andrew Billings
Baylor 
Jordan Phillips
Oklahoma 
Travis Britz
Kansas State 
DTChucky Hunter
TCU  
________________
James Castleman
Oklahoma State 
________________
Davion Pierson
TCU 
________________
Desmond Jackson
Texas 
________________
LBBryce Hager
Baylor 
Dominique Alexander
Oklahoma 
Jordan Hicks
Texas 
Sam Eguavoen
Texas Tech 
LBBen Heeney
Kansas 
Nick Kwiatkoski
West Virginia 
Pete Robertson
Texas Tech 
Brandon Golson
West Virginia 
LBEric Striker
Oklahoma 
________________
Jonathan Truman
Kansas State 
________________
Ryan Simmons
Oklahoma State 
________________
Michael Reynolds
Kansas 
________________
CBQuandre Diggs
Texas 
Kevin Peterson
Oklahoma State 
Randall Evans
Kansas State 
Dexter McDonald
Kansas 
CB

Zack Sanchez
Oklahoma 

Kevin White
TCU 
Daryl Worley
West Virginia 
Xavien Howard
Baylor 
SKarl Joseph
West Virginia 
Dante Barnett
Kansas State 
Quentin Hayes
Oklahoma 
Mykkele Thompson
Texas 
SSam Carter
TCU 
Chris Hackett
TCU 
Isaiah Johnson
Kansas 
Derrick Kindred
TCU 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team SpecialistsFourth-Team Specialists
KMichael Hunnicutt
Oklahoma 
Jaden Oberkrom
TCU 
Ryan Bustin
Texas Tech 
Josh Lambert
West Virginia 
PSpencer Roth
Baylor 
Nick O'Toole
West Virginia 
Trevor Pardula
Kansas 
Ethan Perry
TCU 
KRTyler Lockett
Kansas State 
B.J. Catalon
TCU 
Tyreek Hill
Oklahoma State 
JaCorey Shepherd
Kansas 
PRDaje Johnson
Texas 
Cameron Echols-Luper
TCU 
Levi Norwood
Baylor 
Jarvis West
Iowa State 

Related Content: 2014 Big 12 Predictions

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-Big 12 Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Baylor
Offense: 4
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Iowa State
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Kansas
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Kansas State
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Oklahoma
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Oklahoma State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
TCU
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 3
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Texas
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Texas Tech
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
West Virginia
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Teaser:
Big 12 Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second and third All-Conference USA teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: Conference USA 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 C-USA Team Previews

 
National
Rank:
91127112409086116871151091178992


Athlon's 2014 All-Conference USA Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team Offense
QBRakeem Cato
Marshall 
________________
Taylor Heinicke
Old Dominion 
________________
Jaquez Johnson
FAU 
________________
RBKenneth Dixon
Louisiana Tech 
Aaron Jones
UTEP 
Leon Allen
WKU 
RBJordan Howard
UAB 
________________
Jordan Parker
MTSU 
________________
Antoinne Jimmerson
North Texas 
________________
WRTommy Shuler
Marshall 
William Dukes
FAU 
Kam Jones
UTSA 
WRJordan Taylor
Rice 
Jamarcus Nelson
UAB 
Antonio Vaughan
Old Dominion 
TEJonnu Smith
FIU 
________________
Eric Tomlinson
UTEP 
________________
Mitchell Henry
WKU 
________________
CChris Jasperse
Marshall 
Nate Leonard
UTSA 
Josh Mann
Old Dominion 
GScott Inskeep
UTSA 
Nico Carlson
Rice 
Jordan Budwig
FIU 
GCyril Lemon
North Texas 
Mason Y'Barbo
North Texas 
Sebastian Johansson
Marshall 
TCameron Clemmons
WKU 
Darius Johnson
MTSU 
Antonio Johnson
North Texas 
TCody Harris
UTSA 
Caleb Williams
Rice 
Clint Van Horn
Marshall 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team Defense
DEHouston Bates
Louisiana Tech 
Ra'Shawde Myers
Marshall 
Vontarrius Dora
Louisiana Tech 
DERobert Singletary
UTSA 
Diaheem Watkins
UAB 
Gavin Rocker
WKU 
DTChristian Covington
Rice 
Brandin Bryant
FAU 
Trevon Coley
FAU 
DTJames Rouse
Marshall 
________________
Ashaad Mabry
UTSA 
________________
Rakeem Nunez-Roches
Southern Miss 
________________
LBDerek Akunne
North Texas 
Alan Howze
Southern Miss 
Stefan Houston
Marshall 
LBT.T. Barber
MTSU 
Andrae Kirk
FAU 
Jake Ganus
UAB 
LBJermaine Holmes
Marshall 
________________
Evan McKelvey
Marshall 
________________
James Radcliffe
Rice 
________________
CBD'Joun Smith
FAU 
Bryce Callahan
Rice 
Le'Vander Liggins
Louisiana Tech 
CBCam Thomas
WKU 
Bennett Okotcha
UTSA 
Daryl Roberts
Marshall 
SKevin Byard
MTSU 
Lairamie Lee
North Texas 
A.J. Leggett
Marshall 
STriston Wade
UTSA 
Damian Parms
FAU 
Xavier Woods
Louisiana Tech 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team Specialists
KTy Long
UAB 
Kyle Fischer
Louisiana Tech 
Garrett Schwettman
WKU 
PHunter Mullins
UAB 
Tyler Williams
Marshall 
James Farrimond
Rice 
KRAutrey Golden
UTEP 
Deandre Reaves
Marshall 
Reggie Whatley
MTSU 
PRDeandre Reaves
Marshall 
Bryce Callahan
Rice 
Jalen Richard
Southern Miss 
Related Content: 2014 Conference USA Predictions

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All C-USA Team
 FirstSecondThird
FAU
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
FIU
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Louisiana Tech
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Marshall
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 2
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
MTSU
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
North Texas
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Old Dominion
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Rice
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Southern Miss
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
UAB
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
UTEP
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
UTSA
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
WKU
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
Conference USA Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports continues its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second and third All-Sun Belt teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: Sun Belt 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.

 

2014 Sun Belt Team Previews

 
National
Rank:
123931221261251288411310860110


Athlon's 2014 All-Sun Belt Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team Offense
QBTerrance Broadway
UL Lafayette 
________________
Fredi Knighten
Arkansas State 
________________
Tyler Jones 
Texas State 
________________
RBMichael Gordon
Arkansas State 
Marcus Cox
Appalachian State 
Jay Jones
South Alabama 
RBAlonzo Harris
UL Lafayette 
________________
Elijah McGuire
UL Lafayette 
________________
Robert Lowe
Texas State 
________________
WRDezmon Epps*
Idaho 
Rashon Ceaser
ULM 
Bryan Holmes
Troy 
WRJamal Robinson
UL Lafayette 
J.D. McKissic
Arkansas State 
Shavarez Smith
South Alabama 
TEWes Saxton
South Alabama 
________________
Darion Griswold
Arkansas State 
________________
Keith Rucker
Georgia State 
________________
CMike Marboe
Idaho 
Bryce Giddens
Arkansas State 
Valerian Ume-Ezoke
New Mexico State 
GDrew Dearman
South Alabama 
Isaiah Folasa-Lutui
New Mexico State 
Tommy Stephens
Troy 
GDaniel Quave
UL Lafayette 
Ben Risenhoover
ULM 
Terry Johnson
UL Lafayette 
TTerrence Jones
Troy 
Joseph Treadwell
ULM 
Kendall Lamm
Appalachian State 
TChris May
South Alabama 
Ucambre Williams
South Alabama 
Mykhael Quave
UL Lafayette 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team Defense
DETyler Roberts
Troy 
Maxx Forde
Idaho 
Ronald Blair
Appalachian State 
DEChris Stone
Arkansas State 
Joey Gautney
ULM 
Shawayne Lawrence
Georgia State 
DTQuayshawne Buckley
Idaho 
Gerrand Johnson
ULM 
Dexter Blackmon
Arkansas State 
DTJustin Hamilton
UL Lafayette 
________________
Jerome McClain
South Alabama 
________________
Lonnie Gosha
Troy 
________________
LBQushaun Lee
Arkansas State 
Maleki Harris
South Alabama 
Edwin Jackson
Georgia Southern 
LBDavid Mayo
Texas State 
Joseph Peterson
Georgia State 
Ray Stovall
ULM 
LBMichael Orakpo
Texas State 
________________
Dominique Tovell
UL Lafayette 
________________
Mark Wilson
Troy 
________________
CBRocky Hayes
Arkansas State 
Montell Garner
South Alabama 
Artez Brown
Arkansas State 
CBCraig Mager
Texas State 
Corey Trim
UL Lafayette 
Qudarius Ford
South Alabama 
SSean Thomas
UL Lafayette 
Terrell Brigham
South Alabama 
Cordero Smith
ULM 
SSterling Young
Arkansas State 
Mitch Lane
ULM 
Trevence Patt
South Alabama 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team Specialists
KAleem Sunanon
South Alabama 
Jason Dann
Texas State 
Maxwell Johnson
New Mexico State 
P

Justin Manton
ULM 

Austin Rehkow
Idaho 
Matt Hubbard
Georgia State 
KRJ.D. McKissic
Arkansas State 
Brandon Smith
Texas State 
Adam Shapiro
New Mexico State 
PRBryan Holmes
Troy 
J.D. McKissic
Arkansas State 
Rashon Ceaser
ULM 
 * Epps was dismissed from Idaho in July.
Related Content: 2014 Sun Belt Conference Predictions

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-SBC Team
 FirstSecondThird
Appalachian State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Arkansas State
Offense: 1
Defense: 4
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 4
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Georgia Southern
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Georgia State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Idaho
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
New Mexico State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 2
South Alabama
Offense: 3 
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 4
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Texas State
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Troy
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
UL Lafayette
Offense: 4
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 0 
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 0
ULM
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
​Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 3
Defense: 3
​Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
​Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
Sun Belt Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports kicks off its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second, third and fourth All-Big Ten teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: Big Ten 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 Big Ten Team Previews
     
 
National Rank:685826483211522951322807315


Athlon's 2014 All-Big Ten Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QBBraxton Miller
Ohio State 
________________
Christian Hackenberg
Penn State 
________________
Connor Cook
Michigan State 
________________
Devin Gardner
Michigan 
________________
RBAmeer Abdullah
Nebraska 
Jeremy Langford
Michigan State 
Tevin Coleman
Indiana 
David Cobb
Minnesota 
RBMelvin Gordon
Wisconsin 
________________
Venric Mark
Northwestern 
________________
Ezekiel Elliott
Ohio State 
________________
Mark Weisman
Iowa 
________________
WRStefon Diggs
Maryland 
Kenny Bell
Nebraska 
Tony Lippett
Michigan State 

Christian Jones
Northwestern 

WRDevin Funchess
Michigan 
Shane Wynn
Indiana 
Devin Smith
Ohio State 
Kevonte Martin-Manley 
Iowa 
TEJeff Heuerman
Ohio State 
________________
Tyler Kroft
Rutgers 
________________
Maxx Williams
Minnesota 
________________
Dan Vitale
Northwestern 
________________
CJack Allen
Michigan State 
Brandon Vitabile
Northwestern 
Austin Blythe
Iowa 
Dan Voltz
Wisconsin 
GJake Cotton
Nebraska 
Zac Epping
Minnesota 
Kyle Costigan
Wisconsin 
Ted Karras
Illinois 
GPat Elflein
Ohio State 
Kaleb Johnson
Rutgers 
Dan Feeney
Indiana 
Jordan Walsh
Iowa 
TRob Havenstein
Wisconsin 
Taylor Decker
Ohio State 
Jack Conklin
Michigan State 
Alex Lewis
Nebraska 
TBrandon Scherff
Iowa 
Donovan Smith
Penn State 
Jason Spriggs
Indiana 
Tyler Marz
Wisconsin 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team DefenseFourth-Team Defense
DEShilique Calhoun
Michigan State 
Joey Bosa
Ohio State 
Theiren Cockran
Minnesota 
Frank Clark
Michigan 
DERandy Gregory
Nebraska 
Noah Spence
Ohio State 

Andre Monroe
Maryland 

C.J. Olaniyan
Penn State 
DTMichael Bennett
Ohio State 
Louis Trinca-Pasat
Iowa 
Darius Hamilton
Rutgers 
Austin Johnson
Penn State 
DTCarl Davis
Iowa 
________________
Adolphus Washington
Ohio State 
________________
Warren Herring
Wisconsin 
________________
Vincent Valentine
Nebraska 
________________
LBChi Chi Ariguzo
Northwestern 

Taiwan Jones
Michigan State 

Cole Farrand
Maryland 
Derek Landisch
Wisconsin 
LBMike Hull
Penn State 
Steve Longa
Rutgers 
Josh Perry
Ohio State 
Mason Monheim
Illinois 
LBJake Ryan
Michigan 
________________
James Ross III
Michigan 
________________
David Santos
Nebraska 
________________
Michael Rose
Nebraska 
________________
CBBlake Countess
Michigan 
Doran Grant
Ohio State 
Desmond King
Iowa 
Eric Murray
Minnesota 
CBTrae Waynes
Michigan State 
Jordan Lucas
Penn State 
Sojourn Shelton
Wisconsin 
Nick VanHoose
Northwestern 
SIbraheim Campbell
Northwestern 
Adrian Amos
Penn State 
John Lowdermilk
Iowa 
Michael Caputo
Wisconsin 
SKurtis Drummond
Michigan State 
Corey Cooper
Nebraska 
Tyvis Powell
Ohio State 
Cedric Thompson
Minnesota 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team SpecialistsFourth-Team Specialists
KMichael Geiger
Michigan State 
Brad Craddock
Maryland 
Sam Ficken
Penn State 
Kyle Federico
Rutgers 
PMike Sadler
Michigan State 
Cameron Johnston
Ohio State 
Will Hagerup
Michigan 
Peter Mortell
Minnesota 
KR

William Likely
Maryland 

Kenny Bell
Nebraska 
Raheem Mostert
Purdue 

Dontre Wilson
Ohio State 

PRVenric Mark
Northwestern 
Kevonte Martin-Manley
Iowa 
V'Angelo Bentley
Illinois 
Macgarrett Kings Jr.
Michigan State 


Related Content: 2014 Big Ten Conference Predictions


Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-Big Ten Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Illinois
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Indiana
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Iowa
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Maryland
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Michigan
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Michigan State
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Minnesota
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Nebraska
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Northwestern
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Ohio State
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 4
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Penn State
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Purdue
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Rutgers
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Wisconsin
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
Big Ten Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/sec-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

 

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

 

Athlon Sports kicks off its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second, third and fourth All-SEC teams for 2014.

 

Related Content: SEC 2014 Conference Predictions

 

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

2014 SEC Team Previews
 
National
Rank:
263523870193325189423444


Athlon's 2014 All-SEC Team

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QBNick Marshall
Auburn 
________________
Bo Wallace
Ole Miss 
________________
Maty Mauk
Missouri 
________________
Dak Prescott
Miss. State 
________________
RBTodd Gurley
Georgia 
Alex Collins
Arkansas 
Derrick Henry
Alabama 
Leonard Fournette
LSU
RBT.J. Yeldon
Alabama 
________________
Mike Davis
South Carolina 
________________
Kelvin Taylor
Florida 
________________
Jonathan Williams
Arkansas 
________________
WRAmari Cooper
Alabama 
Sammie Coates
Auburn 
Jameon Lewis
Miss. State 
Malcome Kennedy
Texas A&M 
WRLaquon Treadwell
Ole Miss 
Malcolm Mitchell
Georgia 
Marquez North
Tennessee 
Shaq Roland
South Carolina 
TEO.J. Howard
Alabama 
________________
Hunter Henry
Arkansas 
________________
Evan Engram
Ole Miss 
________________
Malcolm Johnson
Miss. State 
________________
CReese Dismukes
Auburn 
David Andrews
Georgia 
Evan Boehm
Missouri 
Ryan Kelly
Alabama 
GA.J. Cann
South Carolina 
Jarvis Harrison
Texas A&M 
Vadal Alexander
LSU 
Denver Kirkland
Arkansas 
GAlex Kozan
Auburn 
Aaron Morris
Ole Miss 
Chad Slade
Auburn 
Arie Kouandjio
Alabama 
TCedric Ogbuehi
Texas A&M 
La'El Collins
LSU 
Corey Robinson
South Carolina 
Mitch Morse
Missouri
TLaremy Tunsil
Ole Miss 
Austin Shepherd
Alabama 
John Theus
Georgia 
Dan Skipper
Arkansas 
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team DefenseFourth-Team Defense
DEDante Fowler
Florida 
Trey Flowers
Arkansas 
Alvin Dupree
Kentucky 
Ray Drew
Georgia 
DEA'Shawn Robinson
Alabama 

Markus Golden
Missouri 

Carl Lawson
Auburn 
Danielle Hunter
LSU 
DTChris Jones
Miss. State 
Jonathan Bullard
Florida 
Darius Philon
Arkansas 
Christian LaCouture
LSU 
DTRobert Nkemdiche
Ole Miss 
________________
Gabe Wright
Auburn 
________________
Vince Taylor
Vanderbilt 
________________
Brandon Ivory
Alabama 
________________
LBTrey DePriest
Alabama 
Leonard Floyd
Georgia 
Serderius Bryant
Ole Miss 
Caleb Azubike
Vanderbilt 
LBA.J. Johnson
Tennessee 
Jordan Jenkins
Georgia 
Benardrick McKinney
Miss. State 
Denzel Devall
Alabama 
LBRamik Wilson
Georgia 
________________
Skai Moore
South Carolina 
________________
Cassanova McKinzy
Auburn 
________________
Amarlo Herrera
Georgia 
________________
CBVernon Hargreaves III
Florida 
Deshazor Everett
Texas A&M 
Taveze Calhoun
Miss. State 
Cam Sutton
Tennessee 
CBTre'Davious White
LSU 
Rashard Robinson
LSU 
Damian Swann
Georgia 
Jonathan Mincy
Auburn 
SLandon Collins
Alabama 
Tony Conner
Ole Miss 
Braylon Webb
Missouri 
Brian Randolph
Tennessee 
SCody Prewitt
Ole Miss 
Robenson Therezie
Auburn 
Jermaine Whitehead
Auburn 
Kwon Alexander (LB)
LSU 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team SpecialistsFourth-Team Specialists
KMarshall Morgan
Georgia 
Colby Delahoussaye
LSU 
Elliott Fry
South Carolina 
Andrew Baggett
Missouri 
PDrew Kaser
Texas A&M 
Sam Irwin-Hill
Arkansas 
Landon Foster
Kentucky 
Jamie Keehn
LSU 
KRChristion Jones
Alabama 
Trey Williams
Texas A&M 
Andre Debose
Florida 
Darrius Sims
Vanderbilt 
PRChristion Jones
Alabama 
Marcus Murphy
Missouri 
Speedy Noil
Texas A&M 
DeMarco Robinson
Kentucky 

Related Content: SEC 2014 Conference Predictions

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-SEC Team
 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Alabama
Offense: 3
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Arkansas
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Auburn
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Florida
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Georgia
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Kentucky
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
LSU
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 1
Mississippi State
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Missouri
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Ole Miss
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
South Carolina
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Tennessee
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Texas A&M
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Vanderbilt
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1

 

Teaser:
SEC Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/acc-football-2014-all-conference-team
Body:

The 2014 college football season kicks off on Aug. 27 and concludes in Dallas with the first four-team playoff in the FBS ranks on January 12, 2015. Since it’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming college football season, Athlon Sports has already released its projected rankings for 2014, as well as conference predictions.

With the predictions released, it’s time to take a look at the best players by conference.

Athlon Sports kicks off its release of preseason all-conference teams with a look at our first, second, third and fourth All-ACC teams for 2014.

Related Content: ACC 2014 Conference Predictions

An important note on the all-conference teams: These are based on how players will perform in 2014. Career statistics and awards matter in the evaluation, but choosing players for the 2014 all-conference team is largely based on predicting and projecting the best for the upcoming year.
 

 
2014 ACC Team Previews
   
 
National
Rank:
642138147283031653661722785

                                                  
Athlon's All-ACC Team for 2014

 First-Team OffenseSecond-Team OffenseThird-Team OffenseFourth-Team Offense
QB
 
Jameis Winston
Florida State
________________
Marquise Williams
North Carolina
________________
Anthony Boone
Duke
________________
Cole Stoudt
Clemson
________________
RBDuke Johnson
Miami
Kevin Parks
Virginia
James Conner
Pittsburgh
T.J. Logan
North Carolina
RBKarlos Williams
Florida State
________________
Shadrach Thornton
NC State
________________
Michael Dyer
Louisville
________________
Myles Willis
Boston College 
________________
WRTyler Boyd
Pittsburgh
Jamison Crowder
Duke
Stacy Coley
Miami
Phillip Dorsett
Miami 
WRRashad Greene
Florida State
DeVante Parker
Louisville
Quinshad Davis
North Carolina
Charone Peake
Clemson 
TENick O'Leary
Florida State
________________
Braxton Deaver
Duke
________________
Gerald Christian
Louisville
________________
Clive Walford
Miami 
________________
CAndy Gallik
Boston College
Jake Smith
Louisville
Shane McDermott
Miami
Ryan Norton
Clemson
GTre' Jackson
Florida State
Josue Matias
Florida State
Jon Feliciano
Miami
Matt Rotheram
Pittsburgh
GLaken Tomlinson
Duke
Shaquille Mason
Georgia Tech
Bobby Vardaro
Boston College
Landon Turner
North Carolina
TCameron Erving
Florida State
Ereck Flowers
Miami
Jamon Brown
Louisville
Isaiah Battle
Clemson
TBobby Hart
Florida State
Sean Hickey
Syracuse
Rob Crisp
NC State
Jonathan McLaughlin
Virginia Tech
 First-Team DefenseSecond-Team DefenseThird-Team DefenseFourth-Team Defense
DEVic Beasley
Clemson
Eli Harold
Virginia
Corey Crawford
Clemson
Anthony Chickillo
Miami 
DEMario Edwards Jr.
Florida State
Lorenzo Mauldin
Louisville
Dadi Nicolas
Virginia Tech
Norkeithus Otis
North Carolina 
DTGrady Jarrett
Clemson
Eddie Goldman
Florida State
Mehdi Abdesmad
Boston College
N. Lawrence-Stample
Florida State 
DTLuther Maddy
Virginia Tech
________________
Adam Gotsis
Georgia Tech
________________
T.Y. McGill
NC State
________________
Darryl Render
Pittsburgh 
________________
LBStephone Anthony
Clemson
Kelby Brown
Duke
Steven Daniels
Boston College
James Burgess
Louisville 
LBDenzel Perryman
Miami
Dyshawn Davis
Syracuse
Cameron Lynch
Syracuse
Brandon Chubb
Wake Forest 
LBTerrance Smith
Florida State
________________
Quayshawn Nealy
Georgia Tech
________________
Matthew Thomas
Florida State
________________
David Helton
Duke 
________________
CBKendall Fuller
Virginia Tech
Ronald Darby
Florida State
Tracy Howard
Miami
Charles Gaines
Louisville 
CBP.J. Williams
Florida State
Brandon Facyson
Virginia Tech
Demetrious Nicholson
Virginia
Kevin Johnson
Wake Forest 
SAnthony Harris
Virginia
Jeremy Cash
Duke
Kyshoen Jarrett
Virginia Tech
Deon Bush
Miami 
SJalen Ramsey
Florida State
Durell Eskridge
Syracuse
Isaiah Johnson
Georgia Tech
DeVon Edwards
Duke 
 First-Team SpecialistsSecond-Team SpecialistsThird-Team SpecialistsFourth-Team Specialists
KRoberto Aguayo
Florida State
Niklas Sade
NC State
John Wallace
Louisville
Ross Martin
Duke 
PA.J. Hughes
Virginia Tech
Thomas Hibbard
North Carolina
Will Monday
Duke
Alec Vozenilek
Virginia 
KRKermit Whitfield
Florida State
DeVon Edwards
Duke
Duke Johnson
Miami
T.J. Logan
North Carolina 
PRRyan Switzer
North Carolina 
Jamison Crowder
Duke
Jamal Golden
Georgia Tech
Stacy Coley
Miami 


Related Content: ACC 2014 Conference Predictions

 

Team-by-Team Breakdown of Athlon's 2014 All-ACC Team

 FirstSecondThirdFourth
Boston College
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams:
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Clemson
Offense: 0
Defense: 3
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 4
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Duke
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Florida State
Offense: 7
Defense: 4
Sp. Teams: 2
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Georgia Tech
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Louisville
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Miami
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 3
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 2
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
North Carolina
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 2
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 1
NC State
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Pittsburgh
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Syracuse
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Virginia
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 1
Virginia Tech
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 1
Offense: 0
Defense: 1
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 1
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Wake Forest
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 0
Sp. Teams: 0
Offense: 0
Defense: 2
Sp. Teams: 0

 

Teaser:
ACC Football 2014 All-Conference Team
Post date: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2014-predictions
Body:

2014 Big 12 Predictions

 Big 12Overall
1. Oklahoma (No. 4)8-111-1
2. Baylor (No. 10)7-210-2
3. Texas (No. 17)7-29-3
4. Kansas State (No. 20)6-38-4
5.  Oklahoma State (No. 37)5-47-5 
6. TCU (No. 39)4-57-5
7. Texas Tech (No. 41)4-57-5
8. Iowa State (No. 66)2-74-8
9. West Virginia (No. 67)2-73-9
10. Kansas (No. 78)0-92-10

With Oklahoma coming off a huge Sugar Bowl win against Alabama, Baylor emerging as a national title contender under Art Briles, and Texas trending in the right direction under new coach Charlie Strong, the Big 12 appears poised to take a step forward as a conference. With Texas struggling to compete for league titles in recent years, the Big 12 was struggling to find its place among the SEC, Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten for conference supremacy. While the Big 12 still has a ways to go, the conference is moving in the right direction.

Oklahoma is Athlon’s projected Big 12 champion for 2014. However, there doesn’t appear to be much separation between the Sooners and Baylor. 

Oklahoma finished 11-2 in 2013, in a year largely considered a rebuilding effort by most in the Big 12. The Sooners return 13 starters, and quarterback Trevor Knight is expected to take a step forward in his development after a standout performance in the Sugar Bowl. Nine returning starters lead a stout defense, and Oklahoma hosts Baylor in what could be a de facto Big 12 championship game.
 

The Bears are loaded on offense, but the defense – a key part of last year’s Big 12 title team – needs to reload with just four returning starters. Quarterback Bryce Petty is Athlon’s projected first-team all-conference quarterback, and Baylor has depth, speed and talent at the skill positions. If the defense plays up to last year’s totals, the Bears will be a playoff contender.
 

There’s a gap between Oklahoma and Baylor to Texas and Kansas State, but the Longhorns and Wildcats both rank inside of Athlon’s projected final top 25 for 2014. The Longhorns have loads of talent for new coach Charlie Strong and should be among the Big 12’s best on defense with the return of seven starters. Quarterback play is Strong’s biggest concern, especially since David Ash missed most 2013 due to a concussion. The Wildcats always seem to be underrated under Bill Snyder, and this will be a dangerous team once again in 2014. Kansas State returns quarterback Jake Waters, and standout defensive end Ryan Mueller anchors a defense that returns five starters.
 

After Texas and Kansas State, there’s a bit of a drop until the projected No. 5 team in Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have been a reliable pick for a spot among the top-25 teams in the nation in recent years under Mike Gundy. However, there’s a significant rebuilding effort underway in Stillwater for 2014. 
 

TCU and Texas Tech could both surprise this year, but both teams also have question marks. The Horned Frogs need to take a step forward on offense, while the Red Raiders have concerns on defense. 


It’s a close call for No. 8 between Iowa State and West Virginia, but the Cyclones had a small edge over the Mountaineers in Athlon’s prediction meeting. Iowa State made a huge staff upgrade by hiring Mark Mangino to coordinate the offense, and the Cyclones have a scheduling advantage by hosting West Virginia.

Kansas should show improvement in Charlie Weis’ third season, but the Jayhawks are still projected to finish in the cellar.
 

Prep for the 2014 season, follow Athlon Sports and its college football editors on Twitter: @AthlonSports, Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), David Fox (@DavidFox615) and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Inside the War Room: Key Questions That Shaped Athlon's 2014 Predictions
 

How close was the pick for No. 1 between Oklahoma and Baylor?

It was very close. There is a lot to like about Baylor. The offense returns only four starters — and there are some concerns on the offensive line — but there is no doubt that the Bears will again roll up a ton of yards and score a bunch of points. That’s a given. There are some concerns on a defense that loses three first-team All-Big 12 performers. This group has come a long way under Phil Bennett in recent years, but the Bears gave up 34 points or more in four of their final five games, including 52 to UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. Baylor’s schedule is also a concern; the Bears play both Oklahoma and Texas — two of their chief competitors in the league — on the road. The last time we saw Oklahoma, the Sooners were putting the finishing touches on a shockingly easy 45–31 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. We don’t want to put too much stock in a bowl game, but the Sooners were very, very impressive against an elite Alabama team. OU welcomes back 16 starters from that team, most notably nine on a defense that figures to be the best in the league. Offensively, we need to see more consistency from quarterback Trevor Knight, but he showed — on a big stage — what he is capable of in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma, unlike Baylor, has a favorable league schedule. The Sooners host Baylor and Kansas State and play Texas, as usual, on a neutral site. – David Fox (@DavidFox615)

 

How close are Texas and Kansas State to the “Big Two” in the Big 12?

Texas is always tough to evaluate. The Longhorns are never short on talent but have underachieved in recent years due in large part to problems at quarterback. If David Ash can stay healthy — a big if — Texas could compete for a league title. The Longhorns should be strong on the offensive line and have a nice stable of running backs. With seven starters back, the defense should be improved despite some key losses on the line. The biggest difference in Austin, however, will be the coaching. The arrival of Charlie Strong and his staff has re-energized the program and should allow the Longhorns to play to their potential. Strong engineered a quick turnaround at Louisville, and we expect the same at Texas. We also like Kansas State in 2014 — a lot. The Wildcats closed the ’13 season with six wins in their last seven games, highlighted by a dominant performance against Michigan in the bowl game. They lost to the top four teams in the Big 12, but all four games were competitive. With Jake Waters firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback and two All-Big 12 offensive linemen back, the offense should be improved this fall. If the defense can remain among the best in the league, Kansas State could emerge as a dark horse contender in the Big 12. – David Fox (@DavidFox615)

 

Why is West Virginia picked ninth when most expect the Mountaineers to improve?

We have West Virginia at No. 9 and projected to have only three wins, which would be a huge disappointment in Morgantown. Admittedly, three wins could be low for this team. But even if the Mountaineers improve, the schedule is one of the toughest in the nation. West Virginia is staring at two non-conference losses against Alabama and Maryland and swing conference games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Iowa State are on the road. Also, the Mountaineers have a significant question mark at quarterback, and the defense is under the direction of new coordinator Tony Gibson. Make no mistake: West Virginia has talent. The backfield and receivers will give quarterback Clint Trickett plenty of options. However, if the defense allows 33.3 points a game once again, and Trickett is unable to solidify the quarterback position, a tough schedule will keep the Mountaineers out of the bowl picture once again. – Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)

 

Oklahoma State has emerged as one of the most consistent programs in the league. Why don’t the Cowboys get the benefit of the doubt?

The Pokes have been very good of late and have recruited well under Mike Gundy. Still, this team figures to take a small step back in 2014. The losses on defense — including four All-Big-12 players on the front seven and a first-team all-conference cornerback — are too great to ignore. There is still some firepower on offense, but the Cowboys no longer have the type of depth at quarterback that made them so strong in recent years. J.W. Walsh is the last man standing from the three-headed monster that began the 2012 season. Junior Daxx Garman will be given a look in the fall, and true freshman Mason Rudolph is highly touted, but this position is not as strong as in recent years. The Pokes will still be good — we are forecasting a 5–4 Big 12 record — but we just don’t see this team as a legitimate contender in 2014. – David Fox (@DavidFox615)

 

Texas Tech or TCU: Which is more likely to surprise in 2014?

TCU. Despite missing out on the postseason with a 4-8 mark last year, the Horned Frogs were much closer to a winning record in Big 12 play than some may realize. TCU lost four games by a touchdown, including a three-point defeat to Baylor and a three-point loss at Oklahoma. Coach Gary Patterson will always have one of the Big 12’s top defenses, but the offense has to improve for TCU to take the next step. Hiring Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham as co-offensive coordinators should help the offense improve, while senior transfer Matt Joeckel will push Trevone Boykin for the starting job. With an improved offense, the Horned Frogs should be able to turn a couple of close losses into wins in 2014. – Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
 

2014 Big 12 Team Previews

BaylorOklahoma State
Iowa StateTCU
KansasTexas
Kansas StateTexas Tech
OklahomaWest Virginia

 

 

 

Big 12 Notebook

by John Helsley (@jjhelsley)


Parity on Parade

The Big 12 is developing a roll call of champions for football. And hands are rising outside the usual places. Over the past five seasons, five different programs have claimed the conference championship: Baylor (2013), Kansas State (2012), Oklahoma State (2011), Oklahoma (2010) and Texas (2009).

 

So when league coaches talk about parity, it’s not just babble. It’s real. The five different champions, representing half the Big 12’s membership, are the most among the power conferences. Since 2009, here’s how many teams have won league titles elsewhere: four of 14 in the ACC; three of 12 in the Big Ten; three of 14 in the SEC; and two of 12 in the Pac-12.

 

A year ago, the Big 12 was one of only three leagues — and the only one among the power conferences — to have every team win at least one league game.

 

Upon his arrival at Texas, new coach Charlie Strong acknowledged the challenges ahead, complimenting Oklahoma and coach Bob Stoops and recognizing the league’s reputation for high-powered offenses.

 

“There are some great offenses (in the Big 12),” Strong says. “You look at what Coach (Mike) Gundy has there at Oklahoma State. You look at Coach (Art) Briles at Baylor… It’s a track meet out there. Guys are up and down the field, touchdown after touchdown, so it will be a big challenge for us.”
 

Non-Conference Notice

So much for soft starts in the Big 12. The non-conference schedule features a combined 11 bowl teams from a year ago, highlighted by programs responsible for the past three national championships and both participants from last year’s BCS title game.

 

Oklahoma State takes on defending national champ Florida State in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Kansas State hosts last year’s runner-up, Auburn, in one of the biggest non-conference games ever in Manhattan. West Virginia and Alabama meet in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff.

 

For all three, it means they’ll each face three teams that appeared in BCS games last winter, since Baylor played in the Fiesta and Oklahoma played in the Sugar.

 

For the Cowboys, who are rebuilding on defense, getting FSU in the season opener represents an immediate wake-up call.

 

“We can debate scheduling that game,” says OSU coach Mike Gundy, who saw athletic director Mike Holder sign off on the matchup. “We have to go play that game.”



Athlon's Cover 2 Podcast Previews the College Football Playoff:
 

 

 

Quarterback Quotient

Once snapped, the ball should be in good hands this fall. Every Big 12 team returns at least one quarterback with starting experience, led by Baylor’s Bryce Petty, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and a Heisman Trophy candidate.

 

A year ago, several schools were in transition at the position, with quarterback competitions and even controversies carrying throughout preseason and the season in some cases. That does not mean all jobs are closed entering this season, but most league coaches have reason to feel good about the position.

 

Eight of the top 10 league leaders in passing efficiency return from last season. One of those — Oklahoma’s Blake Bell — has moved to tight end, but he has been replaced by exciting sophomore Trevor Knight, coming off a breakout performance against Alabama in the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl victory.
 

Star Power

Until Oklahoma delivered a statement win over Bama, the Big 12’s national appeal had taken a hit in 2013, with the conference far removed from national title talk. The slip was at least partly due to a lack of star power in a year of transition across the league. The conference should be trending back up.

 

The Big 12 returns its Offensive Player of the Year (Petty), Defensive Lineman of the Year (Ryan Mueller, Kansas State), Special Teams Player of the Year (Tyler Lockett, Kansas State) and a long list of underclassmen who have already made an impact on the league and are now poised for greater breakthroughs.

 

Big 12 Coordinator Carousel 

by Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
 

Iowa State: Offensive Coordinator

Old: Courtney Messingham;

New: Mark Mangino

Messingham was fired after five seasons at Iowa State, the final two as the offensive coordinator. Mangino, the former head coach at Kansas, was the tight ends coach at Youngstown State last year.
 

Kansas: Offensive Coordinator

Old: Charlie Weis; 

New: John Reagan

Weis, the head coach at Kansas, no longer has the title of offensive coordinator. Reagan, an assistant at KU from 2005-09, had been the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at Rice. Reagan will call the plays.
 

TCU: Offensive Coordinator

Old: Jarrett Anderson, Rusty Burns;

New: Sonny Cumbie, Doug Meacham

Anderson and Burns are still on the TCU staff, though their roles have yet to be determined. Meacham was the offensive coordinator at Houston last season. Cumbie was the quarterbacks coach and offensive co-coordinator at Texas Tech, his alma mater. Meacham will call the plays.
 

Texas: Offensive Coordinator

Old: Major Applewhite, Darrell Wyatt;

New: Shawn Watson, Joe Wickline

Applewhite and Wyatt, both members of Mack Brown’s staff, were not retained by Charlie Strong. Watson, who has the title of Assistant Head Coach for Offense, made the move from Louisville with Strong. Wickline was the offensive line coach at Oklahoma State. Watson will call the plays.
 

Texas: Defensive Coordinator

Old: Greg Robinson;

New: Vance Bedford

Robinson rejoined the Texas coaching staff in September as the defensive coordinator. He was not retained by the new staff and accepted a position as the coordinator at San Jose State. Bedford was the defensive coordinator at Louisville under Charlie Strong.
 

Texas Tech: Offensive Coordinator

Old: Sonny Cumbie, Eric Morris;

New: Eric Morris

Cumbie left his alma mater to accept a similar position at TCU. Morris has the title of offensive coordinator, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury calls the plays.
 

West Virginia: Defensive Coordinator

Old: Keith Patterson;

New: Tony Gibson

Patterson left to take a similar position at Arizona State. Gibson was promoted from his position as the safeties coach after Patterson departed. He was the defensive coordinator at West Virginia Tech from 1999-2000 and then served as West Virginia’s defensive backs coach under Rich Rodriguez from 2000-07. 

Teaser:
Big 12 Football 2014 Predictions
Post date: Monday, June 9, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-conference-football-2014-predictions
Body:
2014 American Athletic Predictions
 American AthleticOverall
1. Cincinnati7-19-3
2. East Carolina7-18-4
3. UCF6-28-4
4. Houston5-38-4
5. South Florida5-36-6
6. UConn3-55-7
7. SMU3-54-8
8. Memphis3-55-7
9. Tulane2-63-9
10. Temple2-63-9
11. Tulsa1-72-10

After a few years of instability and changes, the American Athletic Conference seems to be on solid footing entering the 2014 season. Although the league has been bumped from the power conference designation, the American Athletic Conference still boasts a handful of top-50 programs and teams like Cincinnati, Houston, East Carolina and UCF are each capable of winning their way into a spot in one of college football’s top bowl games in 2014.
 

The race to win the American Athletic Conference is a wide-open battle in 2014. Four teams – Cincinnati, UCF, East Carolina and Houston – all received consideration for the No. 1 spot in Athlon’s prediction meeting.


Cincinnati is Athlon’s favorite to win the league, as the Bearcats have won at least eight games in seven out of the last eight seasons. Tommy Tuberville made a few changes to his defensive staff in the offseason, and with seven starters back, this should be one of the American Athletic Conference’s top defenses. The offense is guided by Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel at quarterback, the skill positions are loaded with the return of running back Ralph David Abernathy IV and receiver Chris Moore. Three starters headline an offensive line that should be the best in the conference.

A huge reason to like Cincinnati as the preseason favorite is the schedule. The Bearcats host East Carolina and Houston and won’t have to play UCF this year.
 

The Knights will take a small step back without quarterback Blake Bortles, two all-conference linemen and running back Storm Johnson, but George O’Leary’s team is still loaded with enough talent to win the league. With eight starters back, expect UCF’s defense to improve in 2014. One potential pitfall: UCF went 7-1 in one-score games last season – a number not easy to repeat.
 

2014 American Team Previews
CincinnatiTemple
East CarolinaTulane
HoustonTulsa
MemphisUConn
SMUUCF
South FloridaNavy (2015)

East Carolina makes the switch from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference and is picked No. 2 in the league behind Cincinnati. The Pirates are explosive on offense, but the defense returns only four starters. Quarterback Shane Carden threw for over 4,000 yards last season, and he will have the services of Justin Hardy (114 catches, 1,284 yards in 2013) at receiver. The Dec. 4 date at home against UCF could decide which team finishes higher in the conference standings.
 

Houston went 5-7 in Tony Levine’s debut in 2012, but the Cougars made a nice rebound to 8-5 and held their own against Louisville, UCF and Cincinnati. The departure of offensive coordinator Doug Meacham to TCU was a big loss, but new play-caller Travis Bush should provide an easy transition. Quarterback John O’Korn needs to play better against the league’s top teams, and he should have plenty of help from a deep receiving corps, including potential All-American Deontay Greenberry. The Cougars had a +25 turnover margin last season, which won’t be easy to repeat. However, there’s plenty of talent returning to expect a run at the conference title.
 

South Florida should be the most improved team in the American Athletic Conference in 2014. The Bulls are a team on the rise under the direction of Willie Taggart and inked the league’s No. 1 recruiting class. Sophomore quarterback Mike White showed promise in limited action last year, and South Florida as a team played better down the stretch. Look for the Bulls to take a step forward in 2014.
 

First-year coach Bob Diaco inherits a UConn team that won its final three games in 2013. The Huskies have a promising quarterback in Casey Cochran, and five starters return from a defense that should develop under Diaco’s watch. UConn has talent, but how much of a difference will the new coaching staff make in 2014? The biggest concern is an offensive line that returns only one starter.
 

SMU and Memphis are two teams with sleeper potential in 2014. The Mustangs need to replace quarterback Garrett Gilbert, but Neal Burcham and Matt Davis are intriguing options. And as usual under June Jones, there is talent at the skill positions. A brutal schedule awaits SMU, and there’s very little margin for error to get to a bowl.

American Athletic
Bowl Tie-Ins for 2014

 

Military Bowl: 
American vs. ACC


Miami Beach Bowl:
American vs. BYU

Birmingham:
American vs. SEC

Armed Forces Bowl:
American vs. Army/Big 12

St. Petersburg:
American vs. ACC



Memphis is making steady progress under Justin Fuente, and the Tigers could surprise in 2014. Quarterback Paxton Lynch needs to take a step forward for Memphis to reach the postseason, but the defense will be among the best in the league.
 

Tulane is coming off a bowl appearance in Curtis Johnson’s second season, but the Green Wave will have trouble repeating last year’s seven wins. The schedule is tougher, and Tulane needs to find a quarterback, replace standout receiver Ryan Grant and nose guard tackle Chris Davenport. Johnson has the program on the right track, but Tulane may have to take a step back to take a step forward in 2015.
 

Temple and Tulsa are projected to be the No. 10 and No. 11 teams in the American Athletic Conference. However, both teams should be better than they were in 2013. The Owls have a rising star at quarterback in P.J. Walker and had several close losses last year. If Temple can address its defense and give Walker time to throw, the Owls should easily exceed the three-win projection.
 

Tulsa will have to rely on its defense to exceed last year’s three-win mark. The Golden Hurricane lost running back Trey Watts, and quarterback Dane Evans struggled last season.

Teaser:
American Athletic Conference Football 2014 Predictions
Post date: Monday, June 9, 2014 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-2014-football-predictions
Body:
2014 C-USA Predictions 
East DivisionC-USAOverall 
1. Marshall (No. 40)8-013-0 
2. MTSU (No. 90)6-27-5 
3. FAU (No. 91)5-36-6 
4. WKU (No. 92)4-45-7 
5. UAB (No. 109)2-64-8 
6. Old Dominion (No. 116)2-64-8 
7. FIU (No. 127)0-82-10 
West DivisionC-USAOverall 
1. North Texas (No. 86)6-27-6 
2. Rice (No. 87)6-27-5 
3. UTSA (No. 89)6-27-5 
4. Louisiana Tech (No. 112)3-54-8 
5. Southern Miss (No. 115)2-64-8 
6. UTEP (No. 117)2-63-9 
C-USA Championship   
Marshall over North Texas 

Conference USA enters 2014 with more changes in its league roster, adding WKU and Old Dominion to replace East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa to have a 13-team format for one season. UNC Charlotte will join the league in 2015 to give Conference USA 14 teams and seven teams in each division.
 

While the future of the league appears to be stable, could 2014 be a special season for Marshall? The Thundering Herd will be favored in every game and return dynamic senior quarterback Rakeem Cato. With 13 overall starters returning and MTSU, FAU and Rice visiting Huntington, Marshall has a good shot at an unbeaten record, as well as the opportunity to be the No. 1 team from outside of the five power conferences. If the Thundering Herd finishes 2014 unbeaten and rank as the top team from outside of the power leagues, Marshall would play in one of college football’s top bowl games.
 

MTSU, FAU and WKU are the top challengers to Marshall in the East. The Blue Raiders return only three starters on offense, but the schedule is favorable. MTSU does not play one of the predicted top-three teams from the West.
 

New FAU coach Charlie Partridge inherits a team that won its final four games to finish 6-6. The Owls have talent, and Partridge is a noted recruiter in Florida. However, this will be Partridge’s first head coaching position, and the Owls have question marks on the offensive line. FAU’s strength should be a defense that ranked No. 1 in Conference USA against the pass and No. 1 in fewest yards allowed in 2013.
 

WKU has a tough schedule to navigate in its Conference USA debut, featuring road trips to MTSU, FAU and Marshall, along with a crossover game against UTSA. The Hilltoppers must replace standout running back Antonio Andrews, but junior Leon Allen is a capable replacement, and quarterback Brandon Doughty should improve his second year under center. WKU's biggest concern is a defense that returns only two starters.
 

UAB, Old Dominion and FIU round out the East Division predictions, with the Blazers picked at No. 5, the Monarchs at No. 6 and the Panthers at No. 7. New UAB coach Bill Clark is the right man for the job in Birmingham, but the Blazers lack experience at quarterback. Old Dominion should have no trouble scoring points behind quarterback Taylor Heinicke, but the defense is a huge issue. FIU struggled in Ron Turner’s debut and has several question marks to address before escaping the cellar of the division.
 

There’s not much separating the top three teams in the West. North Texas, Rice and UTSA are all contenders for the division title, with the Mean Green checking in as Athlon’s pick to win the West.
 

North Texas has plenty of personnel losses on offense, but the line will be a strength with four starters back. And even though the Mean Green return only four starters on defense, there’s plenty of optimism this unit will remain near the top of the conference.
 

Rice might have the most favorable schedule in the West, as North Texas and UTSA play at Rice Stadium in 2014. Of course, the Owls also have to play at Marshall in crossover play. If new quarterback Driphus Jackson picks up where he left off in a reserve role in 2012, Rice could push Marshall for the No. 1 spot in the conference.
 

UTSA is loaded with 17 starters back in 2014. The Roadrunners have a senior-laden depth chart and won’t have to play Marshall during the regular season. Coach Larry Coker and his staff built UTSA into a Conference USA title contender in just four years. Even with the talent in the San Antonio area, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and UTEP round out the predictions for the West Division.
 

The Bulldogs struggled in Skip Holtz’s debut, and offensive line concerns could keep Louisiana Tech out of the postseason once again. Running back Kenneth Dixon should be a 1,000-yard rusher, and the addition of Manny Diaz as coordinator should help the defense. But in addition to the concerns on the line, Louisiana Tech needs to find a quarterback.
 

Southern Miss has been on a surprising decline over the last few seasons, but it appears the program is headed on the right track. Second-year coach Todd Monken finished 2013 with a little momentum, and sophomore quarterback Nick Mullens is a promising prospect.
 

UTEP has a dangerous offense, but the Miners ranked near the bottom of the nation in scoring and total defense. With Jameill Showers back at quarterback and two solid running backs in Aaron Jones and Nathan Jeffery, UTEP has potential to average 30 points a game. However, the Miners may need to win a lot of shootouts to exceed last year’s two-win mark.


2014 Conference USA Team Previews

 Conference USA Bowl Tie-Ins for 2014


New Mexico: C-USA vs. MW

Hawaii: MW vs. C-USA

Heart of Dallas: C-USA vs. Big Ten

Boca Raton: C-USA vs. MAC

New Mexico: MW vs. C-USA


East DivisionWest Division
FAULouisiana
Tech
FIUNorth
Texas
MarshallRice
MTSUSouthern
Miss
Old
Dominion
UTEP
UABUTSA
Western
Kentucky
 

Athlon's Cover 2 Podcast Previews the College Football Playoff:

Teaser:
Conference USA 2014 Football Predictions
Post date: Friday, June 6, 2014 - 07:15

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