Articles By Steven Lassan

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Another showdown of top-10 teams in the ACC resulted in another Florida State blowout victory. The Seminoles dominated Miami for a 41-14 lead, which certainly doesn’t hurt Florida State’s quest to be one of the top-two teams in the BCS standings.

The Florida State-Miami game stole the spotlight in the ACC, but Boston College’s 34-27 upset over Virginia Tech is another good sign in the rebuilding project for first-year coach Steve Addazio. The Eagles need two wins to get bowl eligible, which should be possible with their remaining schedule.

Elsewhere in the ACC, North Carolina beat NC State, Syracuse pitched a shutout against Wake Forest, Clemson hammered Virginia, and Georgia Tech knocked off Pittsburgh 21-10.

ACC Week 10 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Florida State’s offense had its way with Miami’s defense on Saturday night, as the Seminoles gashed the Hurricanes for 517 yards and punted only once. Quarterback Jameis Winston was steady as usual, but Freeman was the catalyst for Florida State’s high-powered attack. The Miami native rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 23 attempts, and the senior caught six passes for 98 yards and one score. In three career games against the Hurricanes, Freeman has 224 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kasim Edebali, DE, Boston College
The Eagles’ defense led the way in the 34-27 victory over Virginia Tech. The Hokies recorded 446 yards, but Boston College created four turnovers and sacked quarterback Logan Thomas four times. Edebali wrecked havoc against Virginia Tech’s line, recording eight tackles (three for a loss), two sacks and one pass breakup. Edebali also forced three fumbles, with the final turnover sealing the victory with just over a minute to go. Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald also had a huge effort on Saturday, but Edebali gets the edge in a winning effort.

Team of the Week: Florida State
Boston College scored an upset win over Virginia Tech, and North Carolina’s road victory over rival NC State was noteworthy, but Florida State gets the nod as the ACC’s team of the week. The Seminoles continued to establish their dominance over the rest of the conference with a 41-14 victory over Miami. Florida State scored over 40 points for the eighth consecutive time this year, and the offense averaged 7.1 yards per play against the Hurricanes. Quarterback Jameis Winston’s two picks resulted in Miami’s touchdowns, but the Seminoles limited the Hurricanes to just 275 overall yards. Winston’s supporting cast stepped up, as Devonta Freeman rushed for 78 yards and caught six passes for 98 yards and one score. Florida State is one of the top teams in the nation and should cruise to 11-0, with a date against Florida and then the Coastal Division champion the two biggest remaining obstacles on the schedule.

Coordinator of the Week: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
In his first year calling the plays for Florida State, Pruitt continues to push all of the right buttons. The Seminoles allowed 115 yards in Miami’s first two possessions, but the Hurricanes managed only 144 yards in its next six drives. Miami’s only points were scored off turnovers by Florida State’s offense, and the Hurricanes failed to have a drive longer than six plays in the second half. Pruitt’s defense held Miami to 4.8 yards per play and limited its offense to just 4 of 11 on third-down conversions. Considering all of the starters Florida State had to replace coming into this year and hasn’t missed a beat, Pruitt has been one of the top assistant hires for 2013.

Freshman of the Week: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Florida State’s Jameis Winson had another strong performance against Miami, but we’ll give the Week 10 honor to Boyd. In a losing effort against Georgia Tech, Boyd caught 11 passes for 118 yards and one score. The freshman’s longest catch went for just 15 yards, but his 12-yard catch in the third quarter helped Pittsburgh pull within four in the second half.

5th Down

• Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro is out four to six weeks with a collarbone injury. Campanaro suffered the injury during the first half of Saturday’s loss to Syracuse.

• Miami running back Duke Johnson suffered a broken ankle against Florida State and will miss the rest of the season.

• Boston College running back Andre Williams rushed for 166 yards in the 34-27 win over Virginia Tech. Williams has at least 166 yards in three out of his last four games.

• Florida State punted only one time against Miami.

• Georgia Tech held Pittsburgh to -5 rushing yards on Saturday night.

• After throwing six interceptions through the first seven games, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has six in his last two contests.

• NC State quarterback Brandon Mitchell accounted for 235 of the Wolfpack’s 388 yards against North Carolina.

• Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig has not thrown for more than 93 yards in each of his last two games.

• Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu had four tackles (three for a loss) and two sacks against Pittsburgh.

• Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley had a strong performance against Wake Forest, recording four tackles (one for a loss) and one sack.

• North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams led the Tar Heels with 51 rushing yards against NC State.

• NC State defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop had a solid game against North Carolina, recording five tackles (two for a loss) and one forced fumble.

• Virginia freshman Keeon Johnson led the team with five receptions for 77 yards against Clemson.

• Wake Forest averaged just three yards per play against Syracuse.

• Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins has 30 receptions over his last three games.

Teaser:
2013 ACC Week 10 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 11:49
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-rb-duke-johnson-suffers-broken-ankle-loss-florida-state
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Miami running back Duke Johnson was a key centerpiece of the offense against Florida State, rushing for 97 yards on 23 attempts. But the sophomore back suffered an ankle injury late in the game and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

Johnson is clearly one of the ACC’s top running backs and was on pace to shatter last year’s total of 947 yards. Prior to Saturday’s game at Florida State, the sophomore rushed for 823 yards and six touchdowns on 122 attempts.

With Johnson out, Miami will turn to backup Dallas Crawford and Gus Edwards. Crawford had 291 yards before the matchup against the Seminoles.

Crawford and Edwards are a capable duo, but there’s a clear drop off in talent without Johnson lining up in the backfield.

Miami provided no update on Johnson’s status for next week, but media reports indicated the sophomore is done for the year:

 

Teaser:
Miami RB Duke Johnson Injures Ankle in Loss to Florida State
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 00:53
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California lost 33-28 to Arizona on Saturday, but the Golden Bears showed some signs of life on both sides of the ball.

Receiver Kenny Lawler was California’s top performer on Saturday, catching six passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns.

Lawler caught this impressive one-handed touchdown grab in the third quarter, which cut Arizona’s lead to 26-21.

 

Teaser:
California WR Kenny Lawler Makes Awesome One-Handed TD Grab Against Arizona
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 00:34
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College football’s Week 10 slate wasn’t particularly deep with intriguing matchups, but there was plenty of intrigue.

Nebraska-Northwestern provided the weekend’s best finish, as the Cornhuskers scored on a 49-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game.

Quarterback Ron Kellogg barely got the pass into the endzone, but the ball was batted and caught by receiver Jordan Westerkamp for the touchdown.

Considering how much pressure coach Bo Pelini has been under the last few weeks, this win will help quiet some of his critics – at least until next Saturday.
 

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Nebraska Connects on Hail Mary TD Pass to Beat Northwestern
Post date: Sunday, November 3, 2013 - 00:24
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Last week, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah hurdled a Minnesota defender. This week, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde matched Abdullah with a hurdle of his own.

Check out Hyde hurdling this Purdue defender in Ohio State’s blowout win:
 

Teaser:
Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde Hurdles Purdue Defender
Post date: Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 16:15
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Wake Forest’s offense suffered a huge setback in Saturday’s loss to Syracuse, as receiver Michael Campanaro suffered a dislocated collarbone in the first half. Campanaro is the Demon Deacons’ top offensive performer and one of the top receivers in the ACC.

Campanaro is out indefinitely, which puts a damper on Wake Forest’s hopes to get bowl eligible.
 

 

Teaser:
Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro Dislocates Collarbone
Post date: Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 16:08
Path: /college-football/miami-hurricanes-vs-florida-state-seminoles-2013-preview-and-prediction
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For the first time since 2004, Florida State and Miami meet as top-10 teams. The Seminoles are squarely in the national title mix and a win over an unbeaten Miami team would be another notch on the resume for coach Jimbo Fisher’s team. Florida State is in a neck-and-neck battle with Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the polls, so winning and looking impressive is a priority for the Seminoles on Saturday night.

Miami has matched Florida State’s 7-0 mark, but the Hurricanes haven’t been quite as impressive on the stat sheet. Late comebacks were needed to beat Wake Forest and North Carolina, and quarterback Stephen Morris has already passed his interception total from 2012 (seven) this season (eight). 

Over the last few preseasons, the big question surrounding both programs was pretty simple: Is Miami (or Florida State) back? It may be hard for both teams to contend for the national title every year, but both programs are returning to their national prominence of the 1990s and 2000s. With the coaching staffs in place at Florida State and Miami, it’s hard to see these programs taking a step back. The Hurricanes have a little more work to do than the Seminoles in terms of rebuilding, but both teams are recruiting at a top-10 level. In other words, get ready for more top 10-15 showdowns between these two teams.

Florida State has won six out of the last eight games in this series and three in a row. Miami’s last win against the Seminoles came in 2009. Florida State has won two out of the last three games by at least 13 points.

Miami at Florida State

Kickoff: 8 ET
TV Channel: ABC
Spread: Florida State – 22

Three Things to Watch

Florida State’s run defense vs. Miami RB Duke Johnson
Miami’s gameplan on Saturday night is pretty simple: Don’t get into a shootout with Florida State. The Seminoles have too much firepower, and Jameis Winston will outplay Stephen Morris if this game becomes a back and forth affair. In order to keep this game close, Miami has to get running back Duke Johnson involved early and often. Johnson has at least 168 yards in two out of his last three games and averages 6.7 yards per carry. The sophomore is facing a Florida State defense that ranks third in the ACC but has allowed three rushers to reach 100 yards. The Seminoles have been vulnerable to power rushing games at times this year, and the Hurricanes with Johnson and an offensive line that averages 313.4 pounds per player will have an opportunity to churn out yards on the ground. If Miami can win the battle on first downs and put the offense in short-yardage situations on second down, the Hurricanes will have an opportunity to control the clock and keep Winston and Florida State’s offense on the sidelines.

Jameis Winston vs. Miami’s defense
How do you defend Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston? That’s the million-dollar question facing Miami coordinator Mark D’Onofrio. Blitzing Winston has not worked well for opposing defenses, and the Hurricanes seem unlikely to copy that strategy on Saturday night. Instead, Miami would be better off letting Florida State work its way down the field and not allow the Seminoles to hit on any big plays. Florida State has 16 plays in ACC games of 30 plus yards, and with Winston at the helm, is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. The Hurricanes ranked 11th in the ACC in total defense last year, holding opponents to 504.9 yards per game. But this unit has improved in 2013, as opposing offenses are recording 420.7 yards per contest (5.5 yards per play) this year. Miami is also better in the turnover department, forcing 19 through seven games this season. Stopping Winston isn’t going to be an easy task for D’Onofrio, especially with the Seminoles’ deep receiving corps and tight end Nick O’Leary. However, the Hurricanes need to force Florida State to work its way down the field in small chunks.

Florida State’s rushing attack vs. Miami’s front seven
Although quarterback Jameis Winston is one of the top players in the nation, Florida State’s offense isn’t just limited to the freshman. The Seminoles have one of the nation’s best offensive lines, three solid running backs, and a receiving corps that features four players averaging over 17 yards per reception. Receiver Rashad Greene is underrated nationally, leading Florida State with 39 receptions for 690 yards. Tight end Nick O’Leary is also among the nation’s best at his position, recording 17 receptions for 307 yards and six scores. Miami’s front seven is deeper and more talented than last season. However, the Hurricanes rank eighth in the ACC against the run, allowing 166.3 yards per game in conference games. Opponents are averaging 4.1 yards per carry, but Miami has managed to hold offenses to just five rushing scores in ACC contests. Florida State will use three running backs on Saturday night, which along with an offensive line that has been outstanding this year, will test Miami’s front seven.

Key Player: Stephen Morris, QB, Miami

The quarterback is always critical to the outcome of any game, but it’s even more important on Saturday night. Morris has not played at full strength for part of this season due to an ankle injury, but the senior has already tossed eight picks after throwing seven interceptions last year. Transitioning to new coordinator James Coley has also provided an adjustment period for Morris, but he has to play better, especially in a top-10 showdown. With Florida State owning one of the best defensive backfields in the nation, it’s important for Morris to have an efficient (and turnover free) performance.

Final Analysis

Even though this in-state rivalry is a top-10 matchup, Miami is a three-touchdown underdog. The Hurricanes are capable of keeping this game within striking distance if running back Duke Johnson is able to churn out the yards on the ground. If Florida State keeps the sophomore back under wraps, the Seminoles will jump out to a commanding lead. Having a healthy Stephen Morris under center should help Miami’s offense. However, Florida State’s defense presents a tough matchup, especially in the secondary. There’s no question the Hurricanes have to play a perfect game in order to win on Saturday night. Considering how impressive the Seminoles have been this year, it’s hard to see Miami leaving Tallahassee with a win. It wouldn’t be a total surprise to see the Hurricanes cover the spread or keep things interesting for three quarters, but Florida State is deeper and more talented – and on a mission to play for the national title.

Prediction: Florida State 45, Miami 20

Teaser:
Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida State Seminoles 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/minnesota-or-duke-which-team-bigger-surprise-6-2
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Minnesota and Duke are two of the biggest surprise teams in college football this season. The Golden Gophers and Blue Devils are 6-2 after eight games, and both teams are expected to play in a bowl for the second straight season.

Despite the absence of coach Jerry Kill on the sidelines, Minnesota has scored impressive wins over Northwestern and Nebraska. At 2-2 in Big Ten play, the Golden Gophers are a longshot, but still alive in the Big Ten Legends Division.

Duke scored its first win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last Saturday, giving the Blue Devils a four-game winning streak headed into the bye week.

Under coach David Cutcliffe, Duke has made progress each season and has an outside chance at winning the Coastal Division, especially with a matchup against Miami still remaining in November.

Minnesota or Duke: Which team is the bigger surprise at 6-2?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Both teams have been a great story this season, but I have to go with Duke. The Blue Devils have made steady improvement under coach David Cutcliffe and are likely to make back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history. Although Duke made a bowl last season, the combined win total of the Blue Devils’ five victories over BCS teams was just 24-36. Duke also closed out the season by losing five consecutive games, including three defeats by 18 points or more. Minnesota also finished 6-7 last year, but I thought the Golden Gophers were in better shape in terms of overall personnel. Quarterback Philip Nelson and six starters returned from a defense that ranked fifth in the Big Ten in fewest yards allowed. Considering both teams have already matched their win total from last year, 2013 is already a huge success for both Minnesota and Duke. And with one month to go in the season, the Golden Gophers and Blue Devils have a chance at eight victories this year.

Mark Ross
Before the season started, Athlon picked Duke to finish 5-7 with a 2-6 mark in the ACC. The Blue Devils (6-2, 2-2 ACC) have already surpassed that win total and are guaranteed of a second straight bowl game under David Cutcliffe, which is a first in program history. This season's team is statistically better than the 2012 6-7 squad across the board, but the improvement is visibly apparent on the defensive side. Last season, the defense finished 101st or worse in the nation in all four of the major categories — total, scoring, rushing and passing. This season, Duke is among the top 40 teams nationally in both points allowed and passing defense, and its lowest ranking in the four major categories is 69th in rushing defense. In 2012, the Blue Devils allowed nearly 470 yards and more than 36 points per game. This fall, those numbers have dropped to 384 yards and less than 23 points per contest. Cutcliffe is known more as an offensive-minded coach, highlighted by his close ties to Peyton and Eli Manning, but this season's Duke's team is well-rounded and getting the job done on both sides of the ball. The last time the Blue Devils won seven or more games in a season was nearly 20 years ago when Fred Goldsmith went 8-4. That also was the last time Duke went bowling, until last season. The Blue Devils are going bowling again in 2103 and still have four games to play before they find out where. Well done, Coach Cut.

David Fox
Any time Duke is bowl eligible before November, it’s a surprise. Certainly, Minnesota is a surprise given the adversity of the season with Jerry Kill’s absence and changing quarterbacks. But I think we expected Minnesota to have the personnel and defense to take the next step in the third year in Kill’s system. On the other hand, Duke is bowl eligible with half of those wins coming on the road. True, Memphis and Virginia aren’t very good, but Duke in the past would lose games like that. More than that, Duke is winning with a new quarterback who replaced Sean Renfree. Generally, you’d pick against a team starting like Duke replacing a productive veteran with not just one QB, but two (Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone). The biggest turnaround, though, is the defense. The defense kept Duke from winning more than six games a year ago. In 2013, though, the Blue Devils are holding opponents to 86 fewer yards per game than a year ago. That improvement gave Duke the edge against Virginia Tech and means Duke could win seven, eight or nine games during the regular season.

Teaser:
Minnesota or Duke: Which team is the bigger surprise at 6-2?
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/florida-gators-vs-georgia-bulldogs-2013-preview-and-prediction
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The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party could be the final hope for Georgia and Florida’s SEC East title hopes.

South Carolina’s win over Missouri last Saturday changed the outlook of the East Division title picture. The Tigers were on the verge of taking a commanding lead in the East Division, and with a game against Kentucky remaining, the race to win the SEC East was essentially over.

The Gamecocks' victory opened the door for Georgia and Florida, but the loser of Saturday’s game in Jacksonville is likely out of the mix for the East Division title.

Florida and Georgia were considered two of the top-15 teams in the nation this preseason, but both teams have been hit hard by injuries. The Bulldogs lost running back Keith Marshall and receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley for the season due to injuries, leaving the offense shorthanded with proven playmakers. The Gators lost quarterback Jeff Driskel with a leg injury against Tennessee, forcing unproven backup Tyler Murphy into the starting role. Defensive tackle (and likely All-American) Dominique Easley is also done for the year, while running back Matt Jones suffered a season-ending knee injury against LSU.

Florida owns a 48-40-2 series edge against Georgia. The Gators have won five out of the last eight meetings against the Bulldogs, but coach Mark Richt’s team has claimed the last two games in this series.

Florida vs. Georgia

Kickoff: 3:30 ET
TV Channel: CBS
Spread: Georgia – 3

Three Things to Watch

Georgia’s Wide Receivers vs. Florida’s Secondary
The Gators have been the toughest team in the SEC against the pass. Opponents are averaging just 178 yards per game in SEC play, and Florida has allowed just two touchdown passes. With a depleted receiving corps, can Georgia move the ball through the air? Quarterback Aaron Murray has completed 45 of 95 passes for 632 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions in his career against Florida. But Murray is facing perhaps his biggest task against the Gators, as the Bulldogs are thin on proven bodies at receiver. Junior Michael Bennett is slated to return after missing two games due to a knee injury. However, Chris Conley is likely out, which leaves Rhett McGowan and Rantavious Wooten (combined 75 career catches) as the top options. Is Bennett ready to handle a full snap count this week? Considering the options at receiver, Georgia would be wise to get tight ends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome more involved in the offense. With a secondary featuring three standout cornerbacks in Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and freshman standout Vernon Hargreaves III, Murray has to be precise with his passes, especially with an opportunistic defensive backfield ready to pounce.

Florida QB Tyler Murphy and RB Kelvin Taylor
Florida’s offense has struggled mightily this season. The Gators rank 13th in SEC-only games in total offense and yards per play, averaging just 306 yards per game and 4.6 yards per touch. This unit has not scored more than 17 points in its last two games and its 31 points scored against Tennessee was the high mark of 2013. Much like Georgia, injuries hindered the development of the offense for the Gators, but the offensive line remains a huge concern. Florida has allowed 13 sacks in SEC play and averages just 3.5 yards per rush. Quarterback Tyler Murphy has not passed for a touchdown in the Gators’ last two games, but the junior will have an opportunity to make plays against a Georgia secondary that is allowing opponents to complete 62.3 percent of its throws. Murphy has to play better, but he also needs more help from the supporting cast. Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor has provided a spark for the ground attack in the last two weeks, rushing for 126 yards and one touchdown on 22 attempts. After playing well in limited action, expect Taylor to see more opportunities on Saturday. For Florida to beat Georgia, Murphy and Taylor need to have one of their best games of the season.

The offensive lines
This position doesn’t have the glamour of the quarterback or skill position concerns in this game, but both Florida and Georgia’s offensive lines will be under fire on Saturday afternoon. As mentioned above, the Gators have experienced plenty of issues from their offensive line this season, but the Bulldogs front seven is a work in progress. With only three returning starters, Georgia ranks ninth in the SEC in total defense and if you include non-conference games from 2013 in the stat sheet, the Bulldogs rank last in the SEC in points allowed. While the overall production hasn’t been particularly impressive, Georgia has recorded 16 sacks in five SEC games. With the troubles of Florida’s offensive line, Bulldogs’ linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins (eight sacks, 28 quarterback hurries) could have a huge game. The Gators’ defensive line isn’t quite as intimidating without tackle Dominique Easley, but ends Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler are active off the edge.

Key Player: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Gurley has missed Georgia’s last three games with an ankle injury suffered against LSU. When healthy, the sophomore is arguably the top running back in the nation. Gurley has 450 yards and 71 carries this season, averaging 6.3 yards per rush. Florida leads the SEC against the run, holding opponents to just 100.7 yards per game on the ground. With Gurley back in the lineup, he should give the Bulldogs much-needed balance and will help to take some of the pressure off of quarterback Aaron Murray.

Final Analysis

Considering all of the injuries accumulated by both teams, a close, low-scoring game should be expected. Florida has the better defense, and the bye week should help quarterback Tyler Murphy get closer to full strength after a shoulder injury suffered against LSU. However, even with the Gators’ edge on defense, Georgia will find a way to win this game on the strength of senior quarterback Aaron Murray.

Prediction: Georgia 24, Florida 20

Teaser:
Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, November 1, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
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Just one month of the 2013 college football season....

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Thursday, October 31st

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw gets highlighted for his performance against Missouri last week.

Saturday Down South ranks the top five teams in the SEC.

Washington receiver Kasen Williams will miss the rest of the season due to a leg injury.

West Virginia's Oliver Luck is the frontrunner to be Texas' next athletic director.

Sports Illustrated visited with former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson.

Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson has been suspended indefinitely.

Will Auburn have quarterback Nick Marshall in the lineup this Saturday?

Kevin Gemmell of ESPN's Pac-12 Blog has a good story on Colorado first-year coach Mike MacIntyre.

Syracuse kicker Ryan Norton is suspended for Saturday's game against Wake Forest.

Mississippi State defensive tackle Quay Evans was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of driving without a license. 

Maryland tackle Mike Madaras has decided to leave the team.

Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner will miss the rest of the season due to an arm injury suffered against Oregon State.

With Antone Exum's return, Virginia Tech's secondary is loaded with options.

A thin secondary is getting worse for Rutgers: Nadir Barnwell was suspended after being charged with driving while intoxicated and careless driving.

Wyoming dismissed defensive coordinator Chris Tormey this week.

UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

What are the biggest takeaways in the SEC from last Saturday?

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: October 31
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 12:45
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-week-10-upset-predictions
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With the arrival of November, the final month of the regular season is officially here. And with just a month to go, the national title picture is just starting to clear, while there are several battles within all conferences for bowl positioning.

Athlon’s editors are back with another edition of the upset picks, and there are plenty of teams on alert this week.

Wake Forest, ULM and Minnesota are underdogs this week, but are three popular upset selections.

The favorites can't win every game each week, so it's no surprise one of the most popular discussion points every Saturday is upset picks. Each week on AthlonSports.com, the editors will give an upset pick for the upcoming week of action.

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

College Football Week 10 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Wake Forest (+3.5) over Syracuse
Earlier this season, Wake Forest looked like a team that was in danger of finishing without a win in ACC play. But the last three weeks have been different, as the Demon Deacons have improved significantly since starting the year 1-2. Coach Jim Grobe and his staff made a few tweaks to the offense, which resulted in Wake Forest beating NC State and Maryland and nearly scoring an upset win over Miami last week. Both Wake Forest and Syracuse are still in the mix for a bowl game, and this matchup is critical for both program’s hopes of getting to six wins. The Orange has one of the ACC’s best rushing attacks, but the defense has struggled to stop the pass. With Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro picking up their performance over the last three weeks, the Demon Deacons’ passing attack will be too much for Syracuse to overcome.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Minnesota (+9.5) over Indiana
Maybe it’s time to stop doubting Minnesota. The Gophers have won this season with two different coaches and two different quarterbacks. This team probably won’t go to the Big Ten championship game, but Minnesota has turned a corner of sorts. The offensive coaching staff has been one of the most creative in the league, but the Gophers haven’t gotten away from their bread-and-butter rushing attack. If we’ve learned one thing about the Indiana defense, it’s that the Hoosiers have trouble stopping the run. Navy, Missouri, Michigan State and Michigan all topped 230 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground against the Hoosiers. Three of them topped five yards per carry. This may end up being an up-and-down game, so I’d pick the team that has Ra’Shede Hageman to make the critical stop.

Mark Ross: Louisiana-Monroe (+3) over Troy
Troy has one more win (5-3) than ULM (4-4), is at home and riding a three-game winning streak. The Trojans, not surprisingly, are getting it done on offense. Troy is 26th in the nation in total offense, thanks in large part to 325 passing yards (16th) per game. Offense has been a little harder to come by for the Warhawks, who are 99th in total offense and all the way down at 109th in scoring (19.9 ppg). So why am I taking the visiting team in this one? Two reasons, the first being Troy does not play defense. The Trojans are giving up 472 yards (110th in the nation) and 32.8 points (99th) per game. The second is because the Warhawks have their best player back, quarterback Kolton Browning. The senior dual-threat signal-caller missed the first two games in October because of a torn quad muscle that initially was believed to be a season-ending injury. He started last week against Georgia State and threw four touchdown passes in the easy win. Browning was responsible for more than 3,500 yards of offense and 36 total touchdowns last season. To put it simply, he is a difference-maker and the main reason why I think ULM will go on a late run and potentially vie for the Sun Belt title, starting with a victory over Troy on Halloween night.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Boston College (+5.5) over Virginia Tech
Neither team is having much success on offense, and the Hokies are coming off one of the worst showing in school history after losing to Duke at home. This was a seven-point game last year and the Eagles have shown improvement under first-year coach Steve Addazio. At home, BC is 3-1 this year with its only loss coming to Florida State — a game in which the Eagles fought valiantly (48-34). Logan Thomas is playing horrendous football right now, and the offense cannot move the ball consistently at all.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Michigan (+6) over Michigan State
This week, Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint talked about Michigan State's status as the Wolverines' little brother. Despite this, the Spartans are the favorites for this game in East Lansing, with the winner taking a stranglehold on the Big Ten Legends Division. This year's edition of the battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy pits Michigan's eighth-ranked scoring offense against the Spartans' stifling defense, which ranks third in points allowed. Behind quarterback Devin Gardner, Michigan has scored at least 40 points in five of its seven games this season. Gardner's biggest issue this year has been turnovers, which he will need to limit against a Michigan State defense that has a penchant for scoring itself as the unit leads the nation with five defensive touchdowns. I think Gardner is able to play smart football and get an early lead on the Spartans, forcing Connor Cook to beat the Wolverines with his arm. If Michigan can pile up a few touchdowns and put the pressure on Cook to make plays, Brady Hoke will walk out of Spartan Stadium with his first career win in East Lansing against the in-state rivals.

Teaser:
2013 College Football Week 10 Upset Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 11:32
Path: /college-football/2013-acc-week-10-preview-and-predictions
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The ACC is back under the national spotlight in Week 10. Florida State-Clemson was the marquee national game two weeks ago, but the Seminoles easily handled the Tigers in Death Valley.

Is the stage set for another Florida State blowout on Saturday night? The Seminoles are a three-touchdown favorite over in-state rival Miami, with the Hurricanes needing a couple of late comebacks to beat North Carolina and Wake Forest – a combined 6-9 this season.

A blowout victory against Miami would serve Florida State well in the national title picture, but the Hurricanes also have the chance at a rematch – assuming they win the Coastal – in the ACC Championship.

Elsewhere around the ACC, Clemson travels to Virginia, while Wake Forest and Syracuse meet in an important game for bowl positioning. Pittsburgh looks to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Navy, meeting Georgia Tech for the first time as ACC opponents.

Virginia Tech travels to Boston College, and North Carolina makes the short trip to in-state rival NC State.

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

ACC Week 10 Game Power Rankings

1. Miami (+22) at Florida State (8 ET, ABC)
Normally, a matchup of two top-10 teams and in-state rivals wouldn’t produce a point spread of nearly three touchdowns. But that’s the hurdle facing Miami on Saturday night, as Florida State has clearly showed its one of the top-three teams in the nation. The Hurricanes are also undefeated, but close victories over North Carolina and Wake Forest have raised plenty of doubts on whether or not this team is worthy of its top-10 ranking. Florida State has a talent advantage at nearly every position in this game. On offense, quarterback Jameis Winston is already one of the best signal-callers in the nation, and the Seminoles have surrounded the freshman with a strong supporting cast. Although Miami’s defense has improved since last year, it will have its hands full against Winston. The biggest area of concern for the Hurricanes is the secondary, which ranks eighth in the ACC games against the pass. If there’s one area of vulnerability for Florida State, the rush defense could be it. The Seminoles struggled to contain Boston College running back Andre Williams, and NC State’s Shadrach Thornton rushed for 172 yards last week, although some of that yardage came with the starters out of the lineup. Miami needs a big day from running back Duke Johnson, which would allow the Hurricanes to shorten the game and keep Florida State’s offense on the sidelines. Johnson has to be the workhorse for Miami, but quarterback Stephen Morris also has to play better (six interceptions in three ACC games). The Seminoles have won four out of the last five in this series, with Miami’s last victory in Tallahassee coming in 2009.

2. North Carolina (-3.5) at NC State (12:30 ET, ACC Network)
Even though the combined record of these two teams is just 5-9, this is a huge game for bragging rights in North Carolina and for recruiting within the state for both teams. North Carolina won its first ACC game last week, handling Boston College in a 34-10 victory. The Wolfpack is 0-4 in conference play, but first-year coach Dave Doeren’s team has been shorthanded with quarterback Brandon Mitchell missing five games due to a foot injury. Mitchell returned last week against Florida State and completed 17 of 33 throws for 128 yards. The senior’s return should give the Wolfpack offense much-needed balance. Running back Shadrach Thornton is coming off a 100-yard performance against the Seminoles (173), and the sophomore will test a North Carolina defense that ranks last in the ACC against the run. The Tar Heels have one of the ACC’s top passing offenses (305.9 ypg), but balance has been an issue with a struggling rushing attack. Neither team holds an edge in turnover margin (tied for seventh in the conference), so this game could come down to which quarterback can make the most plays and avoid a costly mistake. This rivalry has been a one-sided affair in recent years. NC State has won five out of the last six, but the Tar Heels claimed a 43-35 victory last season.

3. Pittsburgh (+10) at Georgia Tech (7 ET, ESPNU)
After losing to Navy last week, Pittsburgh gets another dose of the option offense at Georgia Tech on Saturday. This is the first meeting between these two schools since 1976 and the first as ACC opponents. After losing three consecutive games, the Yellow Jackets have won their last two games by a combined score of 91-25. The rushing offense has led the way for coach Paul Johnson, recording 394 yards in each of Georgia Tech’s last two games. Pittsburgh’s defense should have a good idea of what to expect from the Yellow Jackets after playing Navy last week, and the Panthers did a respectable job against the Midshipmen (4.7 ypc). However, Georgia Tech’s offense is even tougher to defend and will challenge Pittsburgh’s front seven, including standout tackle Aaron Donald. The Yellow Jackets’ defense has improved under first-year coordinator Ted Roof, but the secondary ranks 10th in the ACC against the pass. If the Panthers can protect quarterback Tom Savage (24 sacks this year), opportunities for big plays for receivers Devin Street and Tyler Boyd should be available. Pittsburgh also needs running back James Conner to rebound, as the freshman has just 56 yards in his last three games.

4. Virginia Tech (-4.5) at Boston College (Noon ET, ESPN/ABC)
Virginia Tech’s trip to Chestnut Hill last season nearly cost the Hokies a chance to go to a bowl. Virginia Tech needed overtime to beat the 2-10 Eagles, and the Hokies are headed back to Alumni Stadium once again this year. While these two teams are meeting in the same stadium for the second consecutive season, much has changed since last year. Boston College has improved under first-year coach Steve Addazio and is in good shape to make a bowl game. Virginia Tech lost to Duke last Saturday but still has a chance to win the Coastal Division. This matchup is a battle of strength versus strength, as Boston College running back Andre Williams leads the ACC with an average of 144.3 yards per game. But the Hokies lead the ACC in rush defense, allowing just 2.6 yards per game. With running room expected to be limited, the Eagles need more from quarterback Chase Rettig. The senior threw for just 57 yards against North Carolina last week. Quarterback play for Virginia Tech is also under the spotlight, as Logan Thomas is coming of his worst performance in an ACC game this year. Thomas tossed four picks and completed just 55.3 percent of his passes against Duke. Virginia Tech doesn’t need Thomas to throw for 300 yards, but the senior has to be more efficient. Expect a low-scoring game, with turnovers and quarterback play the deciding factors.

5. Wake Forest (+3.5) at Syracuse (12:30 ET, RSN)
With just one month left in the regular season, every game for teams on the bowl bubble like Wake Forest and Syracuse grow in importance. The Demon Deacons started the year 1-2 but rebounded with wins in two out of their last three games and nearly upset Miami last Saturday. Quarterback Tanner Price and a revamped approach on offense have led the turnaround for the Demon Deacons. In his last three games, Price has thrown for 801 yards and six touchdowns, with just two interceptions on 120 attempts. The senior quarterback and receiver Michael Campanaro are one of the top pass-catch combinations in the ACC. Syracuse has struggled to stop the pass this season, ranking last in the ACC by allowing 242 yards per game. While the Demon Deacons want to throw to win, the Orange need to lean on their ground attack. Quarterback Terrel Hunt has completed only 25 of his last 58 passes and does not have a touchdown pass in ACC play. Behind running backs Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley, Syracuse is averaging 253.3 rushing yards per game in conference action. Expect the Orange to challenge a Wake Forest defense that allowed 200 rushing yards to Miami last week.

6. Clemson (-17) at Virginia (3:30 ET, ESPN)
In a slight surprise, a matchup of a 7-1 team (Clemson) against a 2-6 squad (Virginia) doesn’t have the biggest point spread of the week. Regardless of the line, the Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble against Virginia. The Cavaliers have lost five in a row, and despite a few signs of life, the offense still ranks 10th in the ACC in passing and total yards per game. The problems for Virginia aren’t relegated to the offense, as the defense ranks 11th in the ACC (allowing 5.5 yards per play). Injuries have played a role in the defensive struggles, as tackle Brent Urban and cornerback Demetrious Nicholson have missed games due to injury. Urban and Nicholson are questionable for this week’s game. Clemson rebounded from its loss to Florida State with a 40-27 victory over Maryland last Saturday, and the Tigers should have the upper hand in this game. For Virginia to hang around, getting pressure on quarterback Tajh Boyd is a must. Clemson has allowed 21 sacks this year, so expect defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta to bring the pressure against Boyd. With the Cavaliers struggling on offense, an early 14-0 or 17-0 lead by the Tigers might be too much to overcome.

ACC Week 10 Pivotal Players

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Panthers weren’t terrible against the run in last week’s loss to Navy, holding the Midshipmen to 220 yards on 47 carries. The experienced gained by playing Navy and the option offense should pay off this week, as Pittsburgh travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. Donald is one of the top defensive tackles in the nation, and he’s been disruptive and tough to block all season. Stopping the option starts in the trenches. If the Panthers want to hold the Yellow Jackets’ ground game in check, Donald needs to dominate at the point of attack.

DreQuan Hoskey/Tim Harris, CB, Virginia
With Demetrious Nicholson questionable to play, Hoskey and Harris will be assigned the task of trying to slow down Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. Hoskey has six starts under his belt, recording 22 tackles and three pass breakups this year. Harris, a true freshman, has three starts and 13 tackles to his credit. Stopping Watkins and quarterback Tajh Boyd will be a difficult task, and it's up to Hoskey and Harris to eliminate any big plays from the Clemson passing attack.

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Florida State has one of the nation’s best offensive lines, but Miami isn’t too far behind. The Hurricanes have allowed only three sacks in ACC games, and Miami rushers are averaging 5.6 yards per carry. But the Florida State front seven is one of the best in the ACC, loaded with depth and talent at every position. Stopping the run has been an issue for the Seminoles at times this year, and the Hurricanes will likely lean on a heavy dose of running back Duke Johnson on Saturday night. Getting a good push from Jernigan would go a long ways to helping Florida State contain Miami’s ground game.

Stephen Morris, QB, Miami
Miami’s offense is averaging 32 points a game in conference play, but as strange as it sounds, the Hurricanes simply can’t afford to get into a high-scoring shootout with Florida State. Running back Duke Johnson should expect to see 25-30 carries, and quarterback Stephen Morris has to have his best game of the year if Miami is going to pull off the upset. Morris threw only seven picks in 2012 but has eight through seven games in 2013. The transition to new coordinator James Coley hasn’t been completely smooth for Morris, but the senior has also dealt with an ankle injury. Morris doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards on Saturday. However, against a Florida State secondary that is among the best in the nation, the senior’s margin for error is virtually non-existent.

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Even with Boston College’s passing offense struggling to get on track last week, Williams still managed 172 yards in a 34-10 loss against North Carolina. The senior leads the ACC with an average of 144.3 yards per game, but Virginia Tech’s defensive line will be the toughest Boston College has faced this year. The Hokies have allowed just five rushing scores and opponents are managing only 2.6 yards per carry. Virginia Tech’s interior line is deep with tackles Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy, while ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins have combined for eight sacks. In order for the Eagles to have a shot at winning on Saturday, Williams has to get over 100 yards.
 

ACC Week 10 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Va. Tech at Boston CollegeVa. Tech 28-10Va. Tech 20-17Va. Tech 27-17Va. Tech 24-20
UNC at NC StateNC State 14-10UNC 24-17UNC 31-27UNC 27-20
Wake Forest at SyracuseSyracuse 21-17Syracuse 24-23Wake 27-24Wake 30-17
Clemson at VirginiaClemson 42-10Clemson 41-10Clemson 44-17Clemson 41-10
Pittsburgh at Ga. TechGa. Tech 35-24Ga. Tech 34-30Ga. Tech 34-27Ga. Tech 38-28
Miami at Florida StateFSU 51-21FSU 42-20FSU 45-20FSU 34-17
Final Record60-1560-1560-1562-13

 

Teaser:
2013 ACC Week 10 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, FAU Owls, Conference USA, News
Path: /college-football/fau-coach-carl-pelini-resigns
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FAU coach Carl Pelini resigned on Wednesday, ending his tenure with the Owls. In two years with FAU, Pelini had a 5-15 record. 

Considering he had no ties to the area, Pelini was a strange fit at FAU and never seemed to be a good fit for the program.

One possible name for FAU is former FIU coach Mario Cristobal, who is currently serving as Alabama's offensive line coach. Cincinnati assistant Eddie Gran is another possibility for the Owls.

Assistant coach/offensive coordinator Brian Wright is expected to serve as the interim coach. 

Teaser:
FAU Coach Carl Pelini Resigns
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 15:08
Path: /college-football/northern-illinois-unveils-alternate-jerseys-game-against-ball-state
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Northern Illinois is in the mix for a bid to a BCS bowl once again this season, and the Huskies will play on Nov. 13 against Ball State with special military-themed uniforms.

The matchup with the Cardinals is Military Appreciation Night at Huskie Stadium, and Northern Illinois will add stars to the side of the jerseys, along with a red, white and blue logo on the helmet.

Ball State-Northern Illinois should be one of the top games in the MAC this season, and the military-themed jerseys are a solid look for the Huskies.
 

Teaser:
Northern Illinois Unveils Alternate Jerseys for Game Against Ball State
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/after-beating-missouri-south-carolina-favorite-sec-east
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With one month to go in the 2013 college football season, there’s still not much clarity in the SEC East. Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are still in the mix, and each team has been forced to navigate through the season with key injuries.

Missouri was on the doorstep of winning the East Division last week, but South Carolina rallied in the fourth quarter behind quarterback Connor Shaw. The Gamecocks are 4-2 in SEC play and have a favorable two-game stretch to finish their SEC slate with Mississippi State and Florida coming to Williams-Brice Stadium.

Georgia isn’t out of the mix, but the Bulldogs have to beat Florida and hope for two losses by Missouri.

Who will represent the East Division in Atlanta? Athlon’s experts debate the SEC East champion.

After Beating Missouri, is South Carolina the Favorite to Win the SEC East?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
South Carolina’s win over Missouri significantly changed the outlook of the East Division. Had the Tigers won on Saturday night, a division title and a trip to Atlanta would have been a near certainty for Gary Pinkel’s team. Instead, it’s back to square one. South Carolina has to be in the driver’s seat for the division crown, as its final two SEC games – Florida and Mississippi State – are at home. Missouri is the only team with one SEC loss in the East, but the Tigers have to go to Ole Miss and still have to play Texas A&M. Although Missouri is clearly improved from last season, I think this team stumbles once in its final two games. Georgia was my preseason pick to win the SEC East, but I’m not sure I can take the Bulldogs to win the division, especially with a road date at Auburn looming on Nov. 16. If healthy, Georgia might be the best team in this division. However, I think the Gamecocks have to be considered the favorite after Saturday’s win at Missouri. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
South Carolina is in the driver's seat now with the critical tiebreaker over Mizzou. The Gamecocks have two games left in the SEC, and both contests are winnable home matchups (Mississippi State, Florida). That puts South Carolina in the SEC East clubhouse at 6-2, while Missouri will have two games left to play. The Tigers should defeat both Tennessee at home and Kentucky on the road to reach 4-2 in SEC play. But the final two games — after Carolina is finished with SEC play — are extremely difficult. Gary Pinkel's bunch likely has to win out to get to Atlanta and its hard to see Mizzou defeating both Ole Miss on the road and Texas A&M at home. Odds are Mizzou is 6-1 with Johnny Manziel coming to town on the SEC's final regular season weekend, so how much fun is it that two "Big 12" teams could determine the SEC East on the final Saturday?

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
South Carolina certainly has an opportunity to win the SEC East, but I will stick with my original pick from the beginning of the season – Georgia. The Bulldogs will have to win out, which is very doable. I think Georgia will beat Florida this week, win at Auburn on Nov. 16 (the Tigers will be coming off consecutive road games) and take care of Kentucky to finish out SEC play. If that happens and Missouri loses two of its final four games (three of them are losable), Georgia will be back in Atlanta playing Alabama for the SEC title. South Carolina’s remaining schedule is very favorable and a Georgia stumble would put the Gamecocks in great position to win the division. But I think Georgia will win out and get the breaks it needs to once again win the SEC East.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Amazing how things have changed in the SEC East. A week ago, I was on the Missouri bandwagon, ready to see the Tigers head to Atlanta. This week, I’ve all but given up on Mizzou. Maybe it’s not a rational swing, considering the Tigers still have a lead in the division. But it’s tough to see Missouri regain the momentum to beat Ole Miss and Texas A&M to finish the season. If the Tigers held that 17-0 lead against South Carolina, they could have afforded a loss to the Rebels or Aggies. That’s not the case anymore. South Carolina has Mississippi State and Florida both at home and that’s it for the SEC. With Jadeveon Clowney rounding back into form and Connor Shaw proving he’s healthy, this may be the Gamecocks’ division to lose.

Teaser:
After beating Missouri, is South Carolina the favorite in the SEC East?
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-freshmen-2013-after-week-9
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Projecting which freshmen will make an impact in any college football season is no easy task. But after nine weeks, there's enough data to know how the top newcomers are playing, so it’s time to examine how some of the top true and redshirt freshmen have performed this year.

Florida State’s Jameis Winston is a special talent that could have started right away but took a redshirt in their first season. Not only is Winston one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy, but the freshman is already one of the top players in college football.

Winston’s performance through nine weeks in 2013, along with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel’s 2012 Heisman victory,illustrate what can happen when a special, elite freshman earns a starting spot under center.

But there’s another side to recruiting and incoming freshmen. Some players may take a couple of years to develop. And some players simply never live up to their lofty recruiting rankings.

Recruiting and talent evaluation is no exact science, which is why there are always a few names from outside of the top 100 or 200 of incoming freshmen that always seem to make an impact each year.

Athlon will update this list at the conclusion of 2013, but for now, here’s a look at the top freshmen nationally after nine weeks.

College Football's Top 25 Freshmen After Week 9

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Not only is Winston the top freshman in college football, he could make a strong case to be the No. 1 overall player. The Alabama native leads the ACC with an average of 311 passing yards per game, and his 11.9 yards per attempt ranks second nationally to Baylor’s Bryce Petty. Winston has tossed only four picks on 183 attempts and is completing 69.9 percent of his throws. Against ACC competition, Winston has thrown for at least three touchdowns in every game. As long as Famous Jameis continues at this pace, Florida State should finish unbeaten and in the mix for a spot in the national championship.

2. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida
Considering Florida already had Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson at cornerback, Hargreaves wasn’t necessarily guaranteed a prominent role in Florida’s secondary this year. However, the true freshman has been one of the Gators’ top defenders through the first seven games, recording 19 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass breakups. According to advanced data by GatorBait.net, Hargreaves has allowed just 10 catches on 36 targets this year. And another indication of how good Hargreaves has been this year was his recent selection as one of the 15 finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award.

3. Kendall Fuller/Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech
We usually list one player per slot, but Fuller and Facyson are almost interchangeable as key cogs in Virginia Tech’s secondary. With Antone Exum missing the first seven games recovering from knee surgery, the Hokies threw Fuller and Facyson into the fire. Both freshmen responded and played at a high level from the opening snap. Fuller has more tackles than Facyson (31 to 17) and owns a slight edge in interceptions (5 to 4). However, Facyson missed one game due to injury. Thanks in part to the performance of Fuller and Facyson, the Hokies rank second nationally against the pass and have allowed just six touchdown tosses in eight games. With Exum and Kyle Fuller expiring their eligibility at the end of the year, Fuller and Facyson will headline the secondary in 2014.

4. Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema brought the same run-first mentality to Fayetteville that he used at Wisconsin, and Collins has been a perfect fit in the new offense. The Florida native leads the Razorbacks with 797 yards and has four rushing scores on 141 attempts. Collins is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and his 797 yards rank third in the SEC. The freshman had four 100-yard efforts in his first five games and had a solid showing against Alabama (77 yards). Expect Collins to be one of the key pieces in Bielema’s rebuilding effort.

5. A’Shawn Robinson, DE, Alabama
Robinson has quickly emerged as one of Alabama’s top defensive linemen this season. In eight appearances, the true freshman has 23 tackles (five for a loss) and four sacks. Robinson also has four quarterback hurries. In Saturday’s win over Tennessee, Robinson started at nose guard and started at end against Georgia State. At 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, the Texas native certainly doesn’t resemble a true freshman, and he will only get better with another offseason in Alabama’s weight room.

6. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Hackenberg’s numbers aren’t as impressive as Florida State’s Jameis Winston, but the Penn State starter has been solid in his first season on campus. The true freshman has started all seven games for the Nittany Lions, throwing for 1,784 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hackenberg has eight interceptions but is averaging 254.9 passing yards per game. The Virginia native has not completed more than 54.5 percent of his passes in a Big Ten contest. However, Hackenberg will get better with more time under the tutelage of coach Bill O’Brien.

7. Su’a Cravens, S, USC
Cravens ranked as the No. 5 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100, and the California native is already one of USC’s top defenders. In eight games, Cravens has 37 tackles (1.5 tackles for a loss), three interceptions and one forced fumble. Cravens enrolled early at USC and the experience paid off, as he has started all eight games and will be one of the centerpieces for the Trojans’ new coach to build around in 2014.

8. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Treadwell was the top wide receiver recruit in the 2013 signing class and has been as good as advertised. In eight games, Treadwell has 41 catches for 385 yards and two scores. The freshman is averaging only 9.4 yards per reception, but his emergence at the start of the season was valuable for an offense that was dealing with the absence of Vince Sanders. If Donte Moncrief leaves for the NFL after this season, Treadwell will be the Rebels’ No. 1 target in 2014.

9. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
Ramsey’s versatility has already paid dividends for Florida State’s defense, as the Tennessee native started the season at cornerback and moved to safety after Tyler Hunter’s neck injury. In seven games, Ramsey has 29 tackles, one sack, one interception and a forced fumble. Florida State’s secondary boasts an impressive collection of speed, talent and athletic ability, and Ramsey has been a key reason why the Seminoles rank first nationally against the pass, allowing just 9.9 yards per completion this year.

10. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Boyd has been the perfect complement to No. 1 receiver Devin Street in the Steel City, and the true freshman has added another big-play element to Pittsburgh’s offense. Through seven games, Boyd has 34 catches for 526 yards and five touchdowns. The Pennsylvania native also has 106 rushing yards and one touchdown, while averaging 20.3 yards on kickoff returns. Boyd had three consecutive 100-yard games in September but has not topped 46 yards in each of his last three contests.

11. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
With Anthony Barr and Jack anchoring the outside linebacker spots in UCLA’s 3-4 scheme, the Bruins have a dynamic duo capable of getting to the quarterback on any play. Jack has six starts this season and has recorded 45 tackles (four for a loss), one interception and six pass breakups. The freshman had a strong performance in the Bruins trip to Oregon, forcing one fumble and blocking a punt in the first half. With Barr expiring his eligibility at the end of 2013, Jack will become an even bigger part of UCLA’s defense next year.

12. Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
LSU returned a veteran core for its offensive line this year, but this unit was forced to shuffle its starting five after guard Josh Williford ended his career before the 2013 season started. Hawkins has been a steady presence on the right side for coach Les Miles, starting all eight games, including one at left tackle against Furman. Hawkins played 87 snaps in the opener against TCU and has at least 60 in every SEC game this year.

13. Addison Gillam, LB, Colorado
The Buffaloes are in rebuild mode with first-year coach Mike MacIntyre, and Gillam should be one player Colorado’s new staff can build around. In six games, Gillam leads the team with 67 tackles (five for a loss), has two sacks and three pass breakups. If he continues at his current pace, the California native will set a Colorado record for tackles by a freshman. Gillam has been a key force on third downs and has started all six games at middle linebacker.

14. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss
There’s no denying Nkemdiche’s talent. The true freshman was the No. 1 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100 and was pegged for a huge role in Ole Miss’ defensive line rotation before the season started. Injuries have plagued the Rebels’ defense, including Nkemdiche, who suffered a hamstring injury in the narrow loss to Texas A&M. In six games, Nkemdiche has 15 tackles (four for a loss), two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry. Stats are always a misnomer for defensive players, and Nkemdiche’s impact goes beyond the box score. And when healthy, the freshman lineman would rank higher on this list.

15. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
The Rebels were forced to shuffle their offensive line after guard Aaron Morris was lost for the season in the opener against Vanderbilt. Tunsil was slated for a key role before Morris’ injury, but the coaching staff needed an even bigger contribution from the freshman. Tunsil has started five out of the last six games at left tackle and has been stellar in pass protection. Tunsil should anchor Ole Miss’ line for the next three seasons.

16. John O’Korn, QB, Houston
Houston has experienced quite a turnaround in coach Tony Levine’s second season. After a 5-7 mark in 2012, the Cougars are 6-1 and will be in the mix for the American Athletic Conference title. O’Korn’s emergence has been huge for the offense, especially after starter David Piland was forced to retire due to concussions. In seven games, O’Korn has 1,858 yards and 19 scores, while tossing just four picks on 220 attempts. The freshman is coming off his best performance of the season, completing 24 of 30 passes for 364 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-14 win over Rutgers.

17. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish’s defense isn’t quite as dominant as the 2012 version, but Notre Dame is still holding opponents to just 21.6 points a game. Smith ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100, and the Indiana native hasn’t disappointed. Smith has started all eight games for the Fighting Irish, recording 39 tackles (4.5 for a loss), one interception and one forced fumble.

18. Alex Redmond, OG, UCLA
Injuries and roster turnover have prompted a handful of freshmen to see immediate playing time for the Bruins’ offensive line. Redmond ranked as the No. 228 overall prospect in the 2013 signing class by 247Sports and has started all seven games at right guard in 2013. UCLA’s line is anchored by standout Xavier Su’a-Filo, but Redmond has been a key cog in a unit that is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 469.1 yards per game this season.

19. Davis Webb, QB, Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have been forced to start two true freshmen at quarterback this year, and both players (Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield) have performed well in their first collegiate action. Webb has started the last three games for Texas Tech, throwing for at least 385 yards in each start. The true freshman’s season high for yardage (462) came against West Virginia, but throwing for 385 yards and two touchdowns on the road against Oklahoma is a solid showing as well.

20. Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights have struggled to stop the pass this year, but largely due to the front seven, this defense ranks 12th nationally against the run. Longa leads all Rutgers defenders with 69 tackles, and the redshirt freshman has six tackles for a loss, three sacks, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles. If Longa continues at his current pace, he could be a first- or second-team all-conference selection at the end of the season.

21. Montravius Adams/Carl Lawson, DL, Auburn
Adams and Lawson were two of Auburn’s top pickups on the recruiting trail and have combined for three sacks so far this year. With Dee Ford and Nosa Eguae expiring their eligibility at the end of 2013, Adams and Lawson should move into starting roles in 2014.

22. Darian Claiborne, LB, Texas A&M
There’s a youth movement for the Texas A&M defense this season. The Aggies only list four seniors on the defensive two-deep, with two freshmen listed as starters for Saturday’s game against UTEP. Claiborne has made five consecutive starts at middle linebacker and ranks third on the team with 49 stops. The freshman also has six tackles for a loss and one interception. With all of the new faces stepping into key roles, Texas A&M’s defense has struggled, allowing four of its five SEC opponents to score at least 30 points. However, the experienced gained for Claiborne in 2013 should help this unit improve in '14 and '15.

23. Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
The Wildcats had one of the Pac-12’s worst defenses in 2012, ranking 11th or 12th in the four major categories. But with nearly everyone back from last season, and the emergence of young talent, Arizona has improved, ranking fifth in the Pac-12 in total defense. Wright has added athleticism to the linebacking corps and leads all Wildcat defenders with 49 tackles.

24. Tony Conner, LB/DB, Ole Miss
Conner is another true freshman with a prominent role for Ole Miss. In eight games, Conner has 40 tackles (two for a loss), one sack and one interception. Conner is also credited with two quarterback hurries and four pass breakups. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound hybrid safety/linebacker is improving with every snap, and his presence has been critical for a defense that is short on depth due to injuries.

25. Daquawn Brown, CB, Washington State
Mike Leach is in rebuild mode at Washington State, and the Cougars have promising young talent on both sides of the ball. Brown has already proven he is one of the key cogs for the future, starting three games this season, including on the road at USC and Oregon. In eight overall appearances, Brown has 45 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups. Look for Brown to emerge as one of the top cornerbacks in the Pac-12 over the next three seasons.

Other Top Freshmen

Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
Athletic, quick linebacker has 40 tackles in eight games.

Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State
Has played in all eight games and recorded 18 tackles and two sacks.

Stacy Coley, WR, Miami
Will be a future star for the Hurricanes and has 17 receptions for 278 yards and three touchdowns in six games this year.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
Rushed for 326 yards through first three games but has just 56 in last three appearances.

Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Pass-rush specialist for the Bulldogs, recording four sacks and 13 quarterback hurries in seven games.

Jacoby Glenn, CB, UCF
Tied for American Athletic Conference lead with 11 passes defended.

Jared Goff, QB, California
Goff has thrown for 2,592 yards this season, but the true freshman has tossed seven picks and has only one touchdown toss in his last three games.

Isaiah Golden, DT, Texas A&M
Never easy starting as a true freshman at defensive tackle in the SEC, but Golden has 19 stops in seven games.

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Ranks second on the team with 17 catches for 318 yards and one score.

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Has played in all eight games and has caught 10 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.

Germain Ifedi, OG, Texas A&M
Ifedi has started eight games at right guard for the Aggies this year.

Eddie Jackson, CB, Alabama
Has played in nine games (with three starts), recording nine tackles and one interception.

Ryan Janvion, S, Wake Forest
Redshirt freshman leads the team with 59 tackles.

Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State
Will be a future star for the Bulldogs. Has 17 tackles and five quarterback hurries in seven games.

Desmond King, CB, Iowa
True freshman has grabbed a starting role in Iowa’s secondary, recording 43 tackles and four pass breakups.

Hardy Nickerson, LB, California
Ranks second on the defense with 51 stops and has one forced fumble in eight games.

Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor
All-name team selection and top backup to Lache Seastrunk. The freshman has 443 yards and seven touchdowns on 55 attempts.

Johnny Mundt, TE, Oregon
The Ducks haven’t missed a beat with Colt Lyerla’s departure, as Mundt has picked up the slack. Mundt has 12 catches for 216 yards and two scores in eight games.

Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Already the Volunteers’ No. 1 receiver, made key grabs in the win over South Carolina.

Caleb Peterson, OG, North Carolina
Peterson has started all seven games for the Tar Heels in 2013.

Darius Philon, DT, Arkansas
Pressed into starting role after injury to Robert Thomas, recording 26 tackles (six for a loss) and three sacks in eight games this year.

Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma
Redshirt freshman has started all eight games for the Sooners, recording 31 tackles and 10 pass breakups. Sanchez has been a key player in Oklahoma’s secondary, which ranks ninth nationally against the pass.

Dan Skipper/Denver Kirkland, OG, Arkansas
Freshmen duo has started in each of the last four games for the Razorbacks.

Sojourn Shelton, CB, Wisconsin
Has started all seven games for the Badgers, recording 20 tackles and three interceptions thus far.

Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee
Sutton was only a three-star prospect but has been a key piece in Tennessee’s secondary this year. He returned an interception for a touchdown against Western Kentucky and has 25 tackles and five pass breakups in eight appearances.

Thomas Tyner, RB, Oregon
Tyner will be a standout performer for Oregon in time, but playing time is limited with Byron Marshall and De’Anthony Thomas ahead on the depth chart. The true freshman has played in seven games, rushing for 437 yards and eight touchdowns. Tyner also has nine catches for 105 yards.

Ben Weaver, LB, Boise State
Leads all Boise State defenders with 72 tackles.

Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
White could be the next in LSU’s run of standout defensive backs. The true freshman has 39 tackles, one interception and six pass breakups in 2013.

Dontre Wilson, RB, Ohio State
Dynamic playmaker averaging 9.6 yards per touch.

Teaser:
College Football's Top 25 Freshmen in 2013 After Week 9
Post date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-9-edition
Body:

After a flurry of activity in late September/early October, the college football coach carousel has been quiet in the last few weeks. But is a period of calm signaling a busy offseason? It’s not out of the question.

Texas’ Mack Brown ranked No. 1 in the hot seat rankings just a few weeks ago, but the Longhorns have rallied with four consecutive victories. Although Texas has made some improvement, the schedule is going to get tougher, including a date at Baylor in the regular season finale.

Charlie Weis didn’t inherit a roster full of talent at Kansas, but the Jayhawks haven’t made much progress in his two seasons. The Jayhawks have lost 25 Big 12 games in a row and appear unlikely to win a conference matchup in 2013.

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini rebounded from a non-conference loss against UCLA with three consecutive victories, and the pressure on the program was on the way down. But a loss at Minnesota has Pelini back under the spotlight, as the Cornhuskers are 6-2 and have yet to play the toughest portion of their schedule.

Each week, we will take a look at the hot seat/pressure on a program for all 125 coaches. Some new coaches will rank high due to poor performances but aren't in any danger of losing their job.

And another important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top 10-15 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Indiana's Kevin Wilson – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to continue to show the program is headed in the right direction.

Ranking All 125 CFB Coaches on Hot Seat/Pressure on Program to Win in 2013

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Ron English1-7Eagles have eight-game losing streak.
2Mike London2-6Schedule only getting tougher for Cavaliers.
3Charlie Weis2-5Jayhawks have lost 25 Big 12 games in a row.
4Bo Pelini5-2Will Pelini coach at Nebraska in 2014?
5Norm Chow0-7Warriors have lost four in a row by 10 points or less.
6Dana Holgorsen3-5WVU rebuilding, but missing bowl would not sit well.
7Charley Molnar1-7Minutemen have won just two games under Molnar.
8Ron Turner1-6Panthers headed for dismal 1-11 season.
9Dan Enos3-5Easy upcoming schedule could help save Enos' job.
10Tim Beckman3-4Fighting Illini have lost 17 straight Big Ten games.
11Doc Holliday4-3Season finale against ECU will decide C-USA East.
12Todd Monken0-7USM has lost 55-14 in back-to-back weeks.
13Mack Brown5-2Pressure has cooled with four consecutive victories.
14Skip Holtz3-5 
15P.J. Fleck1-8Finally broke into the win column. 
16Matt Rhule1-7Freshman QB P.J. Walker continues to impress.
17Garrick McGee2-5Blazers just 5-14 in two years under McGee.
18Sean Kugler1-6 
19Doug Martin1-7Barely avoided bad loss against Abilene Christian.
20June Jones3-4Can the Mustangs rally for a bowl?
21Rich Ellerson3-5
22Randy Edsall5-3Bye week should help Terps' regroup.
23Carl Pelini2-6Forced to resign this week.
24Bill Blankenship2-5Golden Hurricane in danger of missing bowl.
25Kevin Wilson3-4Can the Hoosiers find answers on defense?
26Dave Christensen4-4Loss to SJSU hampers Wyoming's bowl hopes.
27Bobby Hauck5-3Win over Nevada was program's first since 2004.
28Dan Mullen4-3
29Troy Calhoun1-7
30Rocky Long3-4
31Terry Bowden2-7Zips improving, but still a ways off.
32Paul Petrino1-7
33Joey Jones3-4
34Bobby Petrino4-44-4 record a disappointment for WKU.
35Kyle Flood4-3Scarlet Knights struggling with turnovers.
36Brian Polian3-5
37Jim Grobe4-4 
38Rick Stockstill4-4
39Jeff Quinn6-2Favorable schedule, but Bulls have won six in a row.
40Tony Levine6-1Quite a turnaround for Levine and Houston in 2013.
41Kirk Ferentz5-3
42Paul Haynes2-7
43Will Muschamp4-3
44Bob Davie2-5
45Sonny Dykes1-7
46Darrell Hazell1-6
47Scott Shafer3-4
48Bryan Harsin3-4
49Larry Fedora2-5
50Mike Leach4-4
51Trent Miles0-8
52Paul Chryst4-3
53Jim McElwain4-4McElwain has Rams moving in the right direction.
54Ron Caragher4-3
55Paul Johnson5-3
56Matt Wells4-4
57Bret Bielema3-5Bielema vs. Malzahn should be interesting this week.
58Willie Taggart2-5Taggart searching for answers on offense.
59Mark Stoops1-6UK playing hard for Stoops.
60Dave Doeren3-4
61Dennis Franchoine5-3Bobcats one win away from bowl eligibility.
62Ruffin McNeill5-2
63George O'Leary6-1
64David Bailiff6-2
65Dan McCarney5-3Quietly doing a good job in third season. 
66Tommy Tuberville5-2
67Larry Blakeney5-3
68Brady Hoke6-1
69Frank Solich6-2
70Jerry Kill6-2
71Steve Sarkisian5-3
72Mark Richt4-3
73Justin Fuente1-5
74Dave Clawson5-3
75Butch Jones4-4
76Dabo Swinney7-1
77Kyle Whittingham4-4
78Ken Niumatalolo4-3
79Paul Rhoads1-6
80Larry Coker3-5
81Mark Dantonio7-1
82Curtis Johnson6-2Johnson in mix for national coach of the year.
83Bob Stoops7-1
84Matt Campbell5-3
85Todd Berry4-4QB Kolton Browning back in the lineup.
86Steve Addazio3-4
87Rod Carey8-0
88Brian Kelly6-2
89Gary Pinkel7-1
90Mark Helfrich8-0Strong showing in second half for Helfrich.
91Al Golden7-0
92Rich Rodriguez5-2
93Todd Graham5-2
94Jim Mora5-2
95Mike MacIntyre3-4
96Bronco Mendenhall6-2
97Frank Beamer6-2
98Les Miles7-2
99Gus Malzahn7-1
100Mike Riley6-2
101James Franklin4-4
102Hugh Freeze5-3
103Tim DeRuyter7-0
104Gary Andersen5-2
105Jimbo Fisher7-0
106David Cutcliffe6-2Should make bowl for second consecutive season.
107Mike Gundy6-1
108Pete Lembo8-1
109Mark Hudspeth5-2
110Bill O'Brien4-3
111Gary Patterson3-4
112Pat Fitzgerald4-4
113Kevin Sumlin6-2
114Bill Snyder3-4
115Charlie Strong7-1
116Steve Spurrier6-2
117Chris Petersen5-3
118David Shaw7-1
119Kliff Kingsbury7-1
120Art Briles7-0
121Urban Meyer8-0
122Nick Saban8-0
NREd Orgeron2-1
NRT.J. Weist0-3
NRMike Bath0-3

Related College Football Content

Stats to Know from Week 9
ACC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

Teaser:
College Football's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings: Post-Week 9 Edition
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/will-bo-pelini-coach-nebraska-2014
Body:

After a loss to UCLA in early September, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini started to feel the temperature on his seat increase by a few degrees. However, the Cornhuskers rebounded by winning three games – albeit against overmatched opponents – and had some momentum going into a road date at Minnesota.

But any momentum Nebraska had was lost on Saturday, as the Cornhuskers lost 34-23 to the Golden Gophers.

The Cornhuskers have problems on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Taylor Martinez now has a hip pointer and is questionable to play in Week 10. If Martinez doesn’t start, freshman Tommy Armstrong will take the No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

While the offense is a concern, the defense is a bigger issue for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are allowing 5.8 yards per play and have allowed 20 or more points in four games.

Pelini is feeling the heat once again after losing to Minnesota. Even at 5-2, Pelini can’t be too confident about his job status, especially with a brutal November slate that features games against Northwestern, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State and Michigan.

Will Bo Pelini Coach at Nebraska in 2014?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
After losing to Minnesota, Bo Pelini is coaching for his job in the final month of the season. Under Pelini, Nebraska has won at least nine games in every season but doesn’t have a BCS bowl appearance and has just one top-15 finish (2009) in the final Associated Press poll. And the defense – Pelini’s strong suit – ranks ninth in the Big Ten in yards allowed. It’s fair to wonder if the expectations in Lincoln are a tad too high, especially as the program transitions to the Big Ten. However, this is Nebraska and championships are expected. The Cornhuskers could be without quarterback Taylor Martinez this Saturday against Northwestern, and the schedule won’t get easier with games against Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Iowa to close out the year. None of those five games are guaranteed victories for Nebraska. Even though Pelini seems to be losing ground, I think he will be back for another year in 2014. However, that’s banking on the Cornhuskers getting to eight or nine wins in 2013. And if Pelini returns next year, expect him to be on a short leash in terms of job security.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’d imagine the only way Bo Pelini remains at Nebraska is if the Cornhuskers win the Big Ten and reach the Rose Bowl. That’s still a possibility, of course. The Huskers still have games to play against Michigan and Michigan State for the division, and 7-1 in the Legends would be a pretty big feat. But the reality is that things look pretty dire for Pelini. The program has plateaued, and part of that plateau the last five seasons has included ranked Nebraska teams losing to unranked opponents. The defense, supposedly Pelini’s strong suit, isn’t getting any better, and the Huskers are looking at a new quarterback in 2014. Pelini has put the program on steadier footing since the Bill Callahan era, but there’s no momentum left. If Pelini is still the coach in 2014 and he doesn’t have a Big Ten title, it’s going to be awfully difficult for him to recruit or keep the support of people outside the program. Nebraska may not want to look for a coach when USC and potentially Texas are open, but the Huskers may have no choice.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Needless to say, the next five weeks are critical for Bo Pelini's future at Nebraska. Best case scenario, the Huskers win four of the final five games, finish 9-3, clinch the Legends Division title and get crushed in the Big Ten title game by Ohio State. That would give Pelini his fourth division crown, an 0-4 record in conference title games and a sixth consecutive season with at least four losses. That might be the BEST case scenario for a team that just got run (literally) out of the building by Minnesota. That situation would offer one of the more unique coaching resumes ever constructed: Four division crowns and 24 losses in six seasons. Frankly, that is difficult to do and it would mean a major decision has to be made in Lincoln. However, odds are the much-maligned Nebraska defense costs the Huskers more than just one game the rest of the way, and Pelini misses out on the Big Ten title game altogether. That’s not good news for a coach who already has a tenuous relationship with his fanbase, administration and media. It feels like both parties might be benefit from an amicable divorce.

Mark Ross
Make no mistake, Saturday's road loss to Minnesota did Pelini no favors, but Nebraska still is very much in the hunt for the Legends Division title. That was the Cornhuskers' first conference setback with games against Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Iowa left. If Big Red runs the table then guess who's going to Indianapolis? I know this may seem far-fetched right now, but the only two road games are in Ann Arbor and State College. The rest, including the pivotal meeting with the Spartans in the middle of November, are at home. At worst, Nebraska looks to have a reasonable shot at nine wins, either before or including the bowl game, which is what Pelini has done ever since he took over in 2008. I know that Husker fans have lofty expectations, and Pelini has had his share of inexplicable losses, head-shaking moments and stuck his foot in his mouth on more than one occasion. However, the bottom line is he is 54-22 overall and 31-12 in conference play as Nebraska's head coach. Does it really make sense to fire someone who has won more than 70 percent of his games? Can you guarantee me that this program will be better off in 2014 with someone other than Pelini? You would certainly be hard-pressed to find someone as colorful, that's for sure.

Teaser:
Will Bo Pelini Coach at Nebraska in 2014?
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-9-bowl-projections-2013
Body:

With nine weeks in the books, college football’s bowl picture is starting to clear.

The second release of the BCS standings saw an expected change, as Oregon passed Florida State for the No. 2 spot. The Ducks have the edge in strength of schedule for the second half of the season, which should help Mark Helfrich’s team hold onto the No. 2 position over the Seminoles – assuming both teams win out.

The SEC’s East Division continues to be a nightmare to sort out. Missouri lost to South Carolina, which puts the Gamecocks back in the mix for the division crown. And the bowl bids for the SEC will be a battle, especially to be the team that replaces Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU, Missouri and South Carolina all have a case to be projected for that spot, but a slight edge goes to the Aggies for now.

With the Big 12 likely short on bowl-eligible teams, a spot should open for Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Fighting Irish do not have a guaranteed bowl spot for 2013, but the Fighting Irish won’t be left out of the postseason.

The bowl season doesn’t start until December, but with one month to go in the season, it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like.

The post-Week 9 bowl projections are a mixture between projections for the next few weeks, how things would look if the season ended today, and the results from the first nine weeks of action. Expect more changes over the next few weeks.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including West Virginia, TCU, NC State and Boston College from BCS conferences. And Texas State, Buffalo, Toledo, Western Kentucky and Arkansas State from the non-BCS ranks.

As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 9 Bowl Projections for 2013

BowlTie-InDateProjection
New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCColorado State vs. USC
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBowling Green vs. UNLV
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCBoise State vs. Arizona
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSAUL Lafayette vs. Tulane
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAOhio* vs. MTSU
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASJSU vs. Rice
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNo. Illinois vs. N'Western
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCSDSU vs. North Carolina*
MilitaryDec. 27CUSA vs. ACCMarshall vs. Maryland
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenK-State vs. Indiana
Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. Washington
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Rutgers vs. Notre Dame*
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCHouston vs. Duke
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCLouisville vs. Clemson
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenOkla. State vs. Nebraska
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. NavyNavy vs. Utah State
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECGa. Tech vs. Ole Miss
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Texas Tech vs. UCLA
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Arizona State vs. Texas
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECPittsburgh vs. Vanderbilt
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCVa. Tech vs. Oregon State
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSATennessee vs. E. Carolina
Chick-fil-ADec. 31SEC vs. ACCMiami vs. Auburn
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenGeorgia vs. Iowa
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSANorth Texas vs. Minnesota
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMichigan vs. Missouri
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMich. State vs. S. Carolina
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOhio State vs. Stanford
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSFresno State vs. Baylor
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSTexas A&M vs. UCF
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12LSU vs. Oklahoma
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSFlorida State vs. Wisconsin
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanFlorida vs. Cincinnati
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBall State vs. Troy
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Oregon

* Indicates conference is not expected to fill its alloted bowl slots, leaving an at-large spot available.

Bold indicates team has accepted bid to bowl.


Related College Football Content

Stats to Know from Week 9
ACC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

Teaser:
College Football's Post-Week 9 Bowl Projections
Post date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/texas-tech-unveils-new-uniform-lone-survivor-game
Body:

When Texas Tech and Kansas State meet on Nov. 9, the Red Raiders will be wearing an alternate jersey, which was created to bring awareness for the Lone Survivor Foundation. The foundation helps wounded service members and their families with various areas of support.

The Red Raiders’ jerseys from the matchup on Nov. 9 will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Lone Survivor Foundation.

This is a sharp look for Texas Tech for a great cause:
 

 

 

Teaser:
Texas Tech Unveils New Uniform for "Lone Survivor Game"
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 16:07
Path: /college-football/houston-unveils-halloween-themed-uniforms
Body:

Houston is off to a 6-1 in the second year under coach Tony Levine, and the Cougars’ only loss is a one-point defeat to BYU. Levine's team also has momentum after a 49-14 blowout victory at Rutgers last week.

The Cougars have a key American Athletic Conference game on Halloween night, and Levine unveiled new uniforms for the Thursday matchup.

But in the spirit of Halloween, Levine had a nice trick planned for his players. Check out this video from the jersey unveiling and the photo just below of the actual jerseys:



Teaser:
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 12:47
Path: /college-football/rutgers-unveils-new-helmets-hurricane-sandy-relief
Body:

Rutgers will have a new helmet for Saturday’s game against Temple, as coach Kyle Flood unveiled a new look to support the relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and the helmet features the Rutgers “R” logo on the state of New Jersey.

This is the second tribute Rutgers has done this year to promote the relief efforts. In the spring game, Rutgers wore these special jerseys and helmets.

Teaser:
Rutgers Unveils New Helmets for Hurricane Sandy Relief
Post date: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 12:27
Path: /college-football/2013-acc-post-week-9-power-rankings
Body:

The ACC was short on intriguing matchups for Week 9. Florida State suffered no letdown from its win against Clemson, dominating NC State for a 49-17 victory. The Tigers got back into the win column with a 40-27 win at Maryland.

Miami needed another late comeback, this time against Wake Forest. The Hurricanes trailed 14-3 to the Demon Deacons but rallied behind running back Duke Johnson.

Duke didn’t do much on offense, but it was enough to upset Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The loss against the Blue Devils isn’t too damaging to the Hokies, as the November showdown against Miami will decide the Coastal Division.

Also in ACC action, Georgia Tech beat Virginia 35-25, and North Carolina defeated Boston College 34-10.

Pittsburgh suffered a loss at Navy, which dropped the Panthers to 4-3 overall.

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

ACC Post-Week 9 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Florida State (7-0, 5-0): No letdown here. After a big win at Clemson, it was easy to think the Seminoles might not follow up last week’s victory with the same effort against NC State. Florida State quickly erased any doubts, as the offense scored 35 points in the first quarter and cruised to a 49-17 victory. While NC State scored 17 points in the second half, the bigger takeaway for coach Jimbo Fisher was the valuable snaps for his backups. Quarterback Jameis Winston continued to make his case for the Heisman, throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns on 16 completions. Barring a huge turnaround by Florida, Florida State’s last ranked opponent until the ACC Championship will be Miami next Saturday. Next Week: Miami
22Clemson (7-1, 5-1): The final score may have been a little closer than some expected, but Clemson erased a few of the bad feelings from last week’s 51-14 loss to Florida State with a 40-27 victory at Maryland. The Tigers’ committed three turnovers, which allowed the Terrapins to hang around. But quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 304 yards and one score, while running back Roderick McDowell delivered his best performance of the year with 161 yards and two touchdowns on 30 attempts. The defense allowed a 71-yard touchdown in the first quarter but held Maryland out of the endzone again until just under six minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Clemson still has a chance to make a BCS bowl as an at-large selection. However, the Tigers’ likely need to go 11-1 for that to happen, which means they need to win at South Carolina in the regular season finale. Next Week: at Virginia
33Miami (7-0, 3-0): With Florida State up next, the Hurricanes may have looked past Wake Forest. Whether it was a case of overlooking the Demon Deacons or not, Saturday’s performance didn’t inspire much confidence that Miami can win at Tallahassee next week. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 191 yards, but the difference maker was running back Duke Johnson, who rushed for 168 yards and two scores. For the second consecutive game, Miami scored the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining. Next Week: at Florida State 
44Georgia Tech (5-3, 4-2): Despite five turnovers, the Yellow Jackets scored a 10-point victory at Virginia to earn their fifth win of the season. Georgia Tech’s offense recorded 507 yards, gashing the Cavaliers for 7.6 yards per carry. Virginia recorded 32 first downs, but the Yellow Jackets held the Cavaliers to just 4.8 yards per play. Safety Jemea Thomas was a bright spot for Georgia Tech’s defense, recording 15 stops and two pass breakups. After losing three consecutive games, the Yellow Jackets have won two in a row and host Pittsburgh next Saturday in a key game for positioning within the Coastal Division. Next Week: Pittsburgh
58Duke (6-2, 2-2): It wasn’t pretty, but style points matter little for Duke coach David Cutcliffe. The Blue Devils upset Virginia Tech 13-10, earning their first win in Blacksburg. Also, the victory was Duke’s sixth of the season, which should ensure this team is back in a bowl game. The stat sheet was a one-sided affair in favor of the Hokies. The Blue Devils didn’t convert a third down, and quarterback Anthony Boone failed to complete a pass in the second half. However, Duke simply found a way to win, with its defense stepping up in the final two quarters for the second week in a row. The Blue Devils have a bye to regroup, and with the way Cutcliffe’s team is playing, it could easily win any of their final four games. Next Week: Bye Week
64Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1): It’s hard to envision a loss when you hold a team to just 198 yards and force four turnovers. But that’s what transpired in Blacksburg on Saturday, as Virginia Tech lost 13-10 to Duke. The Hokies easily outgained the Blue Devils (387 to 198) and didn’t allow a third-down conversion, but it wasn’t enough to win. Duke’s four turnovers resulted in only two field goal attempts by Virginia Tech, and the Hokies struggled to get any production from their running backs. Quarterback Logan Thomas tossed four picks, including one with less than five minutes to go, which sealed the victory for Duke. Although the loss is a setback for Virginia Tech, this team remains alive in the Coastal Division – assuming it doesn’t lose next week at Boston College. Next Week: at Boston College
76Pittsburgh (4-3, 2-2): With a second-half schedule that features Miami, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, the Panthers have very little room for error after losing to Navy on Saturday afternoon. Pittsburgh’s offense averaged 5.2 yards per play, but the rushing attack was largely held in check (3.6 ypc, 135 overall yards), while quarterback Tom Savage didn’t connect on a pass longer than 28 yards. The defense forced four three-and-outs in the first three quarters, but Navy’s final three drives resulted in 17 points and each spanned longer than 10 plays. The only good news for Pittsburgh is playing the Midshipmen will prepare this team for next week’s matchup against Georgia Tech. Next Week: at Georgia Tech
811North Carolina (2-5, 1-3): A disappointing start to the season has cooled some of the momentum on coach Larry Fedora’s tenure, but the Tar Heels took out some of their early-season frustration with a 34-10 victory against Boston College on Saturday. The win over the Eagles was North Carolina’s first in conference play in 2013. A struggling run defense allowed Boston College running back Andre Williams to rush for 172 yards. However, the Tar Heels held the Eagles’ passing attack to just 59 yards. A bright spot for North Carolina’s offense was backup quarterback Marquise Williams, who threw for one touchdown and ran for 55 yards and one score. Next Week: at NC State 
97Boston College (3-4, 1-3): After starting 2-1, the Eagles have dropped four out of their last five games. A tough schedule has contributed to the recent struggles, as there’s no shame in losing at USC, Clemson and North Carolina, along with a home defeat to Florida State. As expected, Boston College was able to run on North Carolina (202 yards), but the passing attack struggled. Quarterback Chase Retting threw for only 57 yards on 20 attempts. The Eagles’ defense limited the Tar Heels to 5.4 yards per play, but despite four sacks, was unable to force a turnover. After next week’s game against Virginia Tech, the schedule lightens in the final four games, which should allow Boston College to get bowl eligible. Next Week: Virginia Tech
109Wake Forest (4-4, 2-3): The Demon Deacons had their two-game winning streak snapped with a last-minute loss at Miami. Behind a steady diet of short passes from quarterback Tanner Price, Wake Forest jumped out to a 14-3 lead. However, Miami rallied in the second half, scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes to win 24-21. Although the Demon Deacons lost, it’s clear Jim Grobe and his coaching staff have made the right adjustments after a sluggish 1-2 start. Wake Forest needs two wins to get bowl eligible and with Syracuse, Duke and Vanderbilt left, this team will have a chance to get to six wins. Next Week: at Syracuse
1110Maryland (5-3, 1-3): The Terrapins’ midseason slide continued with a 40-27 loss to Clemson. Injuries have taken a toll on both sides of the ball for Maryland, and it clearly showed on Saturday. Backup quarterback Caleb Rowe threw for 282 yards but completed just 19 of 45 passes. The defense did a good job of holding the Tigers to field goals in the first half. However, Clemson pulled away in the second half, with quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Roderick McDowell leading the way. Considering all of the injuries that Maryland has suffered, next Saturday's bye week is timely and should allow this team to regroup for its final four games. Next Week: Bye Week 
1212Syracuse (3-4, 1-2): The Orange had a bye in Week 9 and return to action on Nov. 2 against Wake Forest. Syracuse needs three wins to get bowl eligible, and three home games will give coach Scott Shafer a chance to earn a postseason trip in his first season. The Orange play Wake Forest on Saturday and finish the season with back-to-back home games against Pittsburgh and Boston College. Next Week: Wake Forest
1314NC State (3-4, 0-4): As expected, the Wolfpack were simply outmanned against Florida State. The Seminoles didn’t suffer any letdown after beating Clemson a week ago, gashing NC State for 35 points in the first quarter. The Wolfpack were able to score 17 points on the Seminoles’ backups in the second half, and quarterback Brandon Mitchell made his return to the lineup. The senior missed five games due to a foot injury and showed some rust in the loss to Florida State (17 of 33, 128 yards). Although the loss in Tallahassee wasn’t pretty, NC State has a favorable schedule in the final month of the season and still has a shot at bowl eligibility. Next Week: North Carolina
1413Virginia (2-6, 0-4): The Cavaliers’ miserable season continued with a 35-25 loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Virginia’s defense forced five turnovers, but the offense was unable to score any points off the Yellow Jackets’ mistakes. Quarterback David Watford threw for 376 yards and two scores. However, the rushing attack went nowhere, as running back Kevin Parks managed just 54 yards and one touchdown on 13 attempts. After five consecutive losses, the heat on coach Mike London is starting to build. Although London got a vote of confidence from athletic director Craig Littlepage, it’s tough to imagine he can survive if the final record is 2-10. Next Week: Clemson

 

ACC Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
For the second week in a row with the game in doubt, Miami turned to its ground attack to earn the victory. And the Hurricanes’ running backs and offensive line delivered once again, as the Miami scored with less than a minute remaining to beat Wake Forest 24-21. Running back Duke Johnson was the difference in the game for the Hurricanes, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 30 rushes. And it was a gutty performance from the sophomore, as he appeared to be less than 100 percent in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes will need a similar performance from Johnson in next week’s huge showdown against Florida State.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelby Brown, LB, Duke
Brown and fellow linebacker David Helton anchored Duke’s strong defensive effort against Virginia Tech. Brown recorded 14 stops, which ranked second on the team behind Helton’s 19. One of Brown’s tackles for a loss, but his biggest contribution was an interception with less than five minutes remaining, which sealed the victory for Duke. Brown ranks third on the team with 61 stops this season and has recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss. The junior missed 2012 due to injury but has been a key contributor for Duke’s defense in 2013.

Coordinator of the Week: Jim Knowles, Duke
The Blue Devils’ defense had some help from a sluggish Virginia Tech offense, but for the second week in a row, Duke’s defense has stepped up when it mattered. The Blue Devils didn’t allow a point in the second half of last Saturday’s victory over Virginia and held the Hokies to just 55 yards in the fourth quarter, which was just enough for Duke to score a 13-10 win in Blacksburg. The Blue Devils forced four interceptions off Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and generated four tackles for a loss. Duke has held its last three opponents to five yards or less per play, and only one team in the last three games against the Blue Devils has scored more than 10 points. Knowles has pushed the right buttons this season, and the key stops on defense are a key reason why Duke is 6-2.

Team of the Week: Duke
Despite four turnovers, 198 yards of offense and zero third-down conversions, Duke defeated Virginia Tech 13-10. Saturday’s win in Blacksburg was the first in school history, and the Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the second straight year. Duke’s defense has taken a lot of criticism over the last few years, but this unit has delivered with the game on the line in back-to-back weeks. The Blue Devils did not allow a point in the second half of last Saturday’s win against Virginia, and this unit held Virginia Tech to just 24 yards on its final two drives to secure the win. It wasn’t pretty, but the victory in Blacksburg shows how far Duke has progressed under David Cutcliffe. After going 6-18 from 2010-11, the Blue Devils are 12-9 in their last 21 games. And Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech was the program’s first on the road over a ranked team since 1971.

Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
A tip of the cap needs to go to Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, who recorded three picks in Saturday’s loss to Duke. However, this award should take permanent residence in Tallahassee this season. Winston did most of his damage in the first half against NC State and finished with 16 completions for 292 yards and three scores. The freshman tossed just two passes in the second half against the Wolfpack and has at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive games.

5th Down

• Clemson running back Roderick McDowell rushed for 161 yards on 30 carries against Maryland. The 100-yard effort was his first since the season opener.

• In Saturday’s win at Virginia Tech, Duke did not convert a third down or complete a pass in the second half.

• Wake Forest freshman safety Ryan Janvion led the defense with 14 tackles in Saturday’s loss to Miami.

• Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand recorded 23 tackles in Saturday’s loss against Clemson.

• After missing five games due to a foot injury, quarterback Brandon Mitchell returned to the lineup for NC State. Mitchell completed 17 of 32 passes for 128 yards.

• Pittsburgh receiver Devin Street caught nine passes against Navy, giving him 186 career receptions. Street’s 186 career receptions are a school record.

• Freshman linebacker E.J. Levenberry led Florida State with eight tackles.

• Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins set a single-game school record with 14 catches in Saturday’s win over Maryland.

• Georgia Tech had three players – Zach Laskey, Robert Godhigh and David Sims – rush for 100 yards against Virginia.

• Florida State has averaged at least seven yards per play in every game this year.

• Duke did not complete a pass in the second half in Saturday’s 13-10 victory over Virginia Tech.

• Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro has three consecutive games of at least 10 catches.

• Pittsburgh’s defense allowed 17 points on Navy’s final three possessions, which was just enough for the Midshipmen to score a 24-21 upset.

• Virginia receivers Darius Jennings and Tim Smith became the first duo in school history to catch at least 10 passes in the same contest.

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Stanford and Oregon are the Pac-12’s only options for a team in the national championship game, and with both programs avoiding an upset loss in Week 9, the stage is set for a huge showdown on Nov. 7.

The Ducks were tied with UCLA at halftime but used a strong second half from running back Byron Marshall to pull away from the Bruins. Even with a struggling offense, Stanford was able to keep Oregon State’s high-powered offense out of the endzone until the final minute of the third quarter.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, USC’s depleted roster had just enough talent remaining to beat Utah 19-3. Arizona knocked off Colorado 44-20, and Washington beat California 41-17.

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

Pac-12 Post-Week 9 Power Rankings 

RankLWTeamAnalysis
11Oregon (8-0, 5-0): With the score tied at 14 at halftime, Saturday’s game against UCLA was the biggest test of the Mark Helfrich era. If there were any doubts about Helfrich’s leadership for the Ducks, they should have been answered in the second half. Oregon outscored the Bruins 28-0 in the final two quarters, cruising to a 42-14 win. The final yardage (555) wasn’t as eye-popping as some of the Ducks’ previous totals, but it was more than enough. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was steady, while running back Byron Marshall led the way on offense with 133 yards and three touchdowns. The Ducks’ defense held UCLA to 64 passing yards and sacked quarterback Brett Hundley three times. Next Week: Bye Week
22Stanford (7-1, 5-1): With the offense struggling, Stanford’s defense delivered. The Cardinal held Oregon State to just 288 yards of offense (3.6 yards per play), and the Beavers scored only one touchdown in a 20-12 Stanford victory. The connection of quarterback Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks is one of the best in the nation, but the Cardinal held Cooks to just nine receptions for 80 yards, while Mannion was sacked eight times. Stanford’s performance on offense left a lot to be desired, but the bye week should allow coach David Shaw and his staff an opportunity to regroup. Next Week: Bye Week
33Arizona State (5-2, 3-1): The Sun Devils were off on Saturday and a trip to Pullman for a Thursday night matchup against Washington State is on tap this week. Arizona State is in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 South title, but three of its final five games are on the road, including a Nov. 23 date at UCLA. The Sun Devils lost 37-27 in their last trip to Washington State in 2011. Next Week: at Washington State (Thursday)
44UCLA (5-2, 2-2): For a half, the Bruins gave Oregon its toughest test of the season. But the final two quarters were a different story. UCLA did not score a point in the second half, losing to the Ducks 42-14. The Bruins’ passing attack was stuck in neutral against Oregon, and no UCLA drive in the second half amassed more than 37 yards. Quarterback Brett Hundley threw for just 64 yards, which was the lowest total in his career. One bright spot for UCLA was the play of senior linebacker Anthony Barr, who recorded two sacks and one forced fumble. Next Week: Colorado
55Oregon State (6-2, 4-1): Despite losing to Stanford, the Beavers maintain their No. 5 spot in the power rankings. Oregon State’s high-powered offense was held in check by the Cardinal, as quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 271 yards, and receiver Brandin Cooks was held under 100 yards (80). The Beavers have struggled to establish a consistent rushing attack this year and managed only 17 yards against Stanford. But the biggest concern for coach Mike Riley has to be a line that allowed eight sacks. Oregon State doesn’t have a ton of time to regroup with a date against USC on Friday night. Next Week: USC (Friday)
66Washington (5-3, 2-3): After three consecutive losses, the Huskies needed a rebound performance before the bye week. Mission accomplished. Washington jumped to a 17-0 lead over California in the first quarter and pulled away for a 41-17 victory. Quarterback Keith Price showed no ill-effects from a thumb injury, completing 20 of 32 passes for 376 yards. Running back Bishop Sankey was held in check by Arizona State, but the junior gashed the Golden Bears for 241 yards and two scores. The Huskies should be favored to beat Colorado and Washington in November. However, can Washington beat UCLA or Oregon State to get over seven wins for the first time under coach Steve Sarkisian? Next Week: Bye Week 
77USC (5-3, 2-2): Despite a shorthanded roster, the Trojans managed to do just enough to beat Utah 19-3. USC had only 40-50 players available for this game due to NCAA sanctions and injuries, but the patchwork roster held together. The Trojans’ defense limited Utah to just 201 yards and forced four turnovers. USC quarterback Cody Kessler was sacked five teams but completed 21 of 32 throws for 230 yards. The Trojans have combined for just 29 points in their last two games, and this unit has a quick turnaround with a date next Friday at Oregon State. However, USC is just one win away from bowl eligibility, and with a week to heal, the Trojans could get some of their injured players back for Week 10. Next Week: at Oregon State (Friday)
88Arizona (5-2, 2-2): The Wildcats started 0-2 in Pac-12 play but have rebounded with back-to-back wins. Colorado battled Arizona, but the Wildcats simply had too much on offense and pulled away in the second half for a 44-20 victory. Arizona took advantage of a struggling Colorado rush defense, gashing the Buffaloes for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Ka’Deem Carey recorded 119 yards on 23 attempts, and the junior now has nine consecutive 100-yard efforts. The Wildcats’ defense was a trouble spot last season but has held five of their seven opponents under 25 points this year. Next Week: at California 
99Utah (4-4, 1-4): Since the upset victory over Stanford on Oct. 12, things have been trending in the wrong direction for the Utes. Utah lost 35-24 to Arizona last week and suffered a 19-3 defeat at USC on Saturday. The loss to the Trojans is puzzling considering the injury issues for USC. Utah’s offense never got on track, averaging a paltry 2.9 yards per carry. Quarterback Travis Wilson has showed flashes of promise, but the sophomore has tossed 12 interceptions in five Pac-12 games. Wilson hasn’t been 100 percent, and the bye next Saturday should help this offense regroup before the final stretch of the season. Next Week: Bye Week 
1010Washington State (4-4, 2-3): The Cougars had a bye in Week 9 and return to action on Thursday night against Arizona State. Washington State has made strides in coach Mike Leach’s second season in Pullman, but the Cougars still need two wins to get bowl eligible. With Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and Washington on the schedule, Washington State may need an upset or two in order to reach the postseason. Next Week: Arizona State (Thursday)
1111Colorado (3-4, 0-4): A 24-point loss is never a good thing, but the Buffaloes managed to hang around for three quarters against Arizona. That last statement may not seem like much, but under new coach Mike MacIntyre, it’s clear Colorado is improving. Freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau threw for 212 yards and one touchdown on 17 completions, while receiver Paul Richardson grabbed seven passes for 132 yards and one score. The Buffaloes’ biggest issue is their defense, which was gashed for 405 yards and four touchdowns against the Wildcats. Colorado’s schedule won’t get any easier in the next few weeks, as road trips to UCLA and Washington are up next. Next Week: at UCLA
1212California (1-7, 0-5): The Golden Bears continued to struggle in Pac-12 play with a 41-17 loss against Washington. California’s offense recorded 483 yards against the Huskies, as quarterback Jared Goff completed 32 of 54 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown. But the Golden Bears’ biggest trouble spot is the defense, which allowed the Huskies to average 8.2 yards per play. Injuries and inexperience have been a driving force behind California’s struggles, and the schedule isn’t going to get any easier in the final month of the season. Next Week: Arizona 

Pac-12 Week 9 Recap and Awards

by Braden Gall

Offensive Player of the Week: Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
After a monster performance against UCLA at home, Gaffney backed it up with another stellar showing against a team that had yet to lose in Pac-12 play. On the road against Oregon State, Gaffney carried 22 times for 145 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He accounted for all of Stanford's scoring in Corvallis and is now third in the Pac-12 in rushing (894 yards, 111.8 ypg). His 12 touchdowns are tied for the lead in the conference.

Defensive Player of the Week: Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford
Murphy, much like the rest of the Cardinal defense, was all over the field against Oregon State. Murphy posted eight tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks against the nation's leading passer. He leads the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss after back-to-back stellar showings against UCLA and Oregon State. The Cardinal's defensive performance — holding the Beavers to a season-low 288 yards — on the road was a championship-style performance. 

Team of the Week: Oregon
Just like it did against Washington, Oregon played a relatively tight game against UCLA for the better part of three quarters. And just like it did against the Huskies, the Ducks put their foot on the gas pedal for the final quarter and pulled away from a ranked team in impressive fashion. Oregon scored 28 unanswered points to make a 14-14 game a blowout. Oregon has scored at least 42 points in every game and produced another 555 yards of total offense. The win for the Ducks and Stanford's subsequent victory over Oregon State has set up the Thursday night battle in Palo Alto between the last two Pac-12 champs.

Coordinator of the Week: Derek Mason, Stanford
After dominating at home last week against UCLA by holding the Bruins to a season-low in yards and points, Mason's bunch was at it again. Against yet another elite offensive attack, this time on the road, Stanford dominated the Oregon State front line. The Cardinal registered eight sacks against the nation's leading passer in Sean Mannion and held the nation's most productive wide receiver to a season-low 90 yards. The Cardinal defense appears to be well past its early season "slump" and has produced two of the most impressive showings in the nation the last two weekends.

Freshman of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona
Arizona moved to within a game of bowl eligibility and got its second conference win with a victory over Colorado on the road. Wright posted nine total tackles and helped the Wildcats hold the Buffs to just 349 yards of offense and only 3.3 yards per carry. He is Arizona's leading tackler and is third among Pac-12 freshmen in tackles for the season.

Fifth Down

• Washington's Bishop Sankey got back on track against Cal by rushing for a career-high 241 yards on 27 carries for a sturdy 8.9 yards per carry.

• Arizona's B.J. Denker and Ka'Deem Carey combined for 311 yards and four touchdowns on the ground against Colorado. Carey scored all four touchdowns, and Denker averaged 12.8 yards per carry (192 yards).

With less than 50 scholarship players, USC defeated Utah 19-3. The Trojans allowed 201 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers.

• Byron Marshall rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon in the win over UCLA. He also caught a pass for 23 yards.

• Sean Mannion was averaging more than 400 yards passing per game. He attempted 57 passes in the loss to Stanford and managed just 271 yards for a 4.8-yard per attempt average.

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The ACC was short on marquee games for Week 9, but the conference provided some intrigue.

Duke upset Virginia Tech to earn bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season.

Florida State and North Carolina cruised to easy victories, while Miami needed another late comeback to stay unbeaten.

Pittsburgh suffered an upset loss to Navy, which puts the Panthers’ bowl hopes in jeopardy.

ACC Week 9 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
For the second week in a row with the game in doubt, Miami turned to its ground attack to earn the victory. And the Hurricanes’ running backs and offensive line delivered once again, as the Miami scored with less than a minute remaining to beat Wake Forest 24-21. Running back Duke Johnson was the difference in the game for the Hurricanes, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 30 rushes. And it was a gutty performance from the sophomore, as he appeared to be less than 100 percent in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes will need a similar performance from Johnson in next week’s huge showdown against Florida State.

Defensive Player of the Week: Kelby Brown, LB, Duke
Brown and fellow linebacker David Helton anchored Duke’s strong defensive effort against Virginia Tech. Brown recorded 14 stops, which ranked second on the team behind Helton’s 19. One of Brown’s tackles for a loss, but his biggest contribution was an interception with less than five minutes remaining, which sealed the victory for Duke. Brown ranks third on the team with 61 stops this season and has recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss. The junior missed 2012 due to injury but has been a key contributor for Duke’s defense in 2013.

Coordinator of the Week: Jim Knowles, Duke
The Blue Devils’ defense had some help from a sluggish Virginia Tech offense, but for the second week in a row, Duke’s defense has stepped up when it mattered. The Blue Devils didn’t allow a point in the second half of last Saturday’s victory over Virginia and held the Hokies to just 55 yards in the fourth quarter, which was just enough for Duke to score a 13-10 win in Blacksburg. The Blue Devils forced four interceptions off Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and generated four tackles for a loss. Duke has held its last three opponents to five yards or less per play, and only one team in the last three games against the Blue Devils has scored more than 10 points. Knowles has pushed the right buttons this season, and the key stops on defense are a key reason why Duke is 6-2.

Team of the Week: Duke
Despite four turnovers, 198 yards of offense and zero third-down conversions, Duke defeated Virginia Tech 13-10. Saturday’s win in Blacksburg was the first in school history, and the Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the second straight year. Duke’s defense has taken a lot of criticism over the last few years, but this unit has delivered with the game on the line in back-to-back weeks. The Blue Devils did not allow a point in the second half of last Saturday’s win against Virginia, and this unit held Virginia Tech to just 24 yards on its final two drives to secure the win. It wasn’t pretty, but the victory in Blacksburg shows how far Duke has progressed under David Cutcliffe. After going 6-18 from 2010-11, the Blue Devils are 12-9 in their last 21 games. And Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech was the program’s first on the road over a ranked team since 1971.

Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
A tip of the cap needs to go to Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, who recorded three picks in Saturday’s loss to Duke. However, this award should take permanent residence in Tallahassee this season. Winston did most of his damage in the first half against NC State and finished with 16 completions for 292 yards and three scores. The freshman tossed just two passes in the second half against the Wolfpack and has at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive games.

5th Down

• Clemson running back Roderick McDowell rushed for 161 yards on 30 carries against Maryland. The 100-yard effort was his first since the season opener.

• In Saturday’s win at Virginia Tech, Duke did not convert a third down or complete a pass in the second half.

• Wake Forest freshman safety Ryan Janvion led the defense with 14 tackles in Saturday’s loss to Miami.

• Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand recorded 23 tackles in Saturday’s loss against Clemson.

• After missing five games due to a foot injury, quarterback Brandon Mitchell returned to the lineup for NC State. Mitchell completed 17 of 32 passes for 128 yards.

• Pittsburgh receiver Devin Street caught nine passes against Navy, giving him 186 career receptions. Street’s 186 career receptions are a school record.

• Freshman linebacker E.J. Levenberry led Florida State with eight tackles.

• Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins set a single-game school record with 14 catches in Saturday’s win over Maryland.

• Georgia Tech had three players – Zach Laskey, Robert Godhigh and David Sims – rush for 100 yards against Virginia.

• Florida State has averaged at least seven yards per play in every game this year.

• Duke did not complete a pass in the second half in Saturday’s 13-10 victory over Virginia Tech.

• Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro has three consecutive games of at least 10 catches.

• Pittsburgh’s defense allowed 17 points on Navy’s final three possessions, which was just enough for the Midshipmen to score a 24-21 upset.

• Virginia receivers Darius Jennings and Tim Smith became the first duo in school history to catch at least 10 passes in the same contest.

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