Articles By Steven Lassan
Marshall plays at Tulsa on Thursday night, which is the 33rd anniversary of the plane crash that killed 75 people returning from a game against East Carolina in 1970.
To honor the 75 victims, Marshall will wear a special “75” decal on its helmets for Thursday night's game against Tulsa:
With Oregon’s loss to Stanford on Thursday night, Florida State is officially in the driver’s seat to play for the national title. And the Seminoles continued to win in impressive fashion, handling Wake Forest 59-3.
North Carolina and Syracuse picked up key wins for bowl eligibility on Saturday, while Boston College survived a strange late-season road trip to New Mexico State.
Virginia Tech knocked off Miami 42-24 to add another twist in the race to win the Coastal Division. The Hokies need some help from the Hurricanes in Week 12, as they travel to Durham to take on a Duke team that controls its destiny in the Coastal Division.
Pittsburgh picked up a 28-21 upset win over Notre Dame, which moved the Panthers one step closer to bowl eligibility.
ACC Week 11 Awards and Recap
Offensive Player of the Week: Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Thomas was on the hot seat after subpar performances against Duke and Boston College. However, with a Coastal Division title potentially on the line at Miami, the senior delivered one of his best performances of 2013. Thomas threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 42 yards on the ground against the Hurricanes. Thomas completed 80.6 percent of his throws on Saturday night, which is the second highest mark in his career, ranking just behind a 23 of 25 performance against Miami in 2011. While the 408 total yards was impressive, Thomas’ biggest contribution to the victory was a zero in the interception column.
Defensive Player of the Week: Ray Vinopal, S, Pittsburgh
Vinopal was a key cog in Pittsburgh’s upset victory over Notre Dame. The junior tied for the team lead with seven tackles, forced one fumble and picked off two passes. Vinopal’s interceptions came at key moments for Pittsburgh’s defense, with the first pick coming while Notre Dame was in the redzone, and the second led to the winning score for the Panthers.
Team of the Week: Virginia Tech
This award could go to a couple of different teams, but Virginia Tech gets the honor for Week 11. The Hokies rebounded after back-to-back losses with a 42-24 victory at Miami to stay alive in the Coastal Division. Virginia Tech forced two fumbles on special teams, which resulted in two scores and a 28-14 lead by halftime. The offense struggled in losses to Duke and Boston College, but quarterback Logan Thomas completed 25 of 31 throws for 366 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Trey Edmunds also had a solid performance, recording 74 yards and four scores on 14 rushing attempts. The Hokies’ defense limited Miami to only 28 rushing yards and sacked quarterback Stephen Morris three times. Virginia Tech needs some help to win the Coastal, but with games against Maryland and Virginia, a 9-3 final record is likely.
Coordinator of the Week: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
The Seminoles have a clear edge in talent against Wake Forest. However, even with a significant edge, it’s hard to ignore the performance of Florida State’s defense on Saturday. The Seminoles simply suffocated the Demon Deacons, allowing only 166 yards on 65 plays. Wake Forest averaged just 2.6 yards per play and lost seven turnovers. Quarterbacks Tyler Cameron and Tanner Price combined to throw six interceptions and only one drive for the Demon Deacons traveled into the redzone. With Florida State’s huge lead, Pruitt was able to empty the bench and gain valuable reps for some of the younger players, including linebackers Reggie Northrup and E.J. Levenberry. Since allowing 34 points to Boston College on Sept. 28, the Seminoles have allowed just 58 over their last five games. And with Pruitt and this defense getting more comfortable with each snap, Florida State can only get better on defense the rest of the season.
Freshman of the Week: DeVon Edwards, S, Duke
With Duke struggling to get its offense on track, the defense had to deliver a few big plays to seal the victory against NC State. And with the Blue Devils holding a slim 24-20 lead late in the fourth quarter, Edwards made two key plays that kept Duke alive in the Coastal Division title picture. The redshirt freshman picked off a Brandon Mitchell pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown, giving Duke a 31-20 lead. But that wasn’t Edwards’ last trip to the endzone, as he intercepted NC State quarterback Pete Thomas on the next offensive play and returned the pick 45 yards for a score. Edwards also scored on a 100-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. The freshman became the first FBS player to score three non-offensive touchdowns in 10 years.
ACC Post-Week 11 Power Rankings
|Rank||Team||LW||Record||This Week||Next Week|
|1||1||9-0, 7-0||W, Wake Forest 59-3||Syracuse|
|2||2||8-1, 6-1||Bye||Ga. Tech (Thursday)|
|3||4||7-2, 3-2||W, NC State 38-20||Miami|
|4||3||6-3, 5-2||Bye||at Clemson (Thursday)|
|5||7||7-3, 4-2||W, Miami 42-24||Maryland|
|6||3||7-2, 3-2||L, Va. Tech 42-24||at Duke|
|7||9||5-4, 2-3||W, Notre Dame 28-21||North Carolina|
|8||8||4-5, 3-3||W, Virginia 45-14||at Pittsburgh|
|9||6||5-4, 2-3||W, NMSU 48-34||NC State|
|10||10||5-4, 3-2||W, Maryland 20-3||at Florida State|
|11||11||4-6, 2-5||L, Florida State 59-3||Bye Week|
|12||12||5-4, 1-4||L, Syracuse 20-3||at Virginia Tech|
|13||13||3-6, 0-6||L, Duke 38-20||at Boston College|
|14||14||2-8, 0-6||L, N. Carolina 45-14||Bye Week|
It’s been a disappointing year in Gainesville, as Florida’s 34-17 loss to Vanderbilt likely means the Gators will be home for the bowl season. And barring an upset against South Carolina or Florida State, Florida is headed for a losing record.
However, if there was a bright spot during Saturday’s loss, freshman receiver Ahmad Fulwood made an impressive catch in the fourth quarter. Fulwood caught a deflected pass off a Vanderbilt defensive back’s foot, and the freshman got his feet down in the endzone just in time for the touchdown catch.
Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough made one of the top plays of Week 11, hurdling a Kentucky defender on a fourth-down run in the first half.
Hansbrough ended up with a 15-yard gain on the play, which was one of a few highlight reel plays by Missouri in the 48-17 victory over the Wildcats.
Minnesota is one of the best storylines of the 2013 season. The Golden Gophers improved to 8-2 with a 24-10 win over Penn State on Saturday, and coach Jerry Kill celebrated with the team in the locker room by showcasing a few dance moves.
Since returning to the team after a short medical leave, Kill has been coaching from the press box for the last few games. However, the formula continues to work, as Minnesota has won four consecutive contests:
Miami has a huge Coastal Division showdown against Virginia Tech on Saturday night, and the Hurricanes unveiled a new alternate uniform for the showdown:
Here's a closeup of the new helmet. pic.twitter.com/eMuCchcNHN— Miami Hurricanes (@hurricanesports) November 9, 2013
Eastern Michigan fired coach Ron English a day before the program’s matchup against Western Michigan. English was 11-46 in his tenure with the Eagles.
Although English’s record was 11-46, Eastern Michigan is arguably the toughest job in the nation. The Eagles went 6-6 in 2011, which was the program’s non-losing season since 1995.
English’s win/loss record certainly factored into his dismissal. However, audio from a recent team meeting was the final straw in his tenure.
Here’s the statement from the school:
There's also audio of English's rant that prompted his dismissal (contains some inappropriate language)
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota entered Thursday night’s game against Stanford as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. However, the sophomore left Stanford with a major dent in his resume.
Mariota completed 20 of 34 passes for 250 yards and two scores. However, most of his damage came after the result was no longer in doubt.
The sophomore did not throw an interception, which extended his mistake-free streak in 2013 to 259 passes.
However, a big problem for Mariota was his mobility against Stanford’s aggressive defense. Mariota rushed for -16 yards and never seemed comfortable when trying to escape the pressure.
Was Mariota dealing with a knee injury? It seems that was the case, as reports before the game indicated the sophomore has a partial sprain of his MCL.
Source with knowledge of situation tells me Marcus Mariota has a partial sprain of his MCL #GoDucks— Collin Harmon (@Collin_Harmon) November 8, 2013
With over a week to heal before a home game against Utah, Mariota should be fine for next Saturday’s game against Utah.
Assuming Mariota is 100 percent, Oregon should finish 11-1 and play in a BCS bowl.
SEC heavyweights Alabama and LSU will collide on Saturday night with conference and national title implications. The 2013 meeting between the Crimson Tide and Tigers will be the fifth straight matchup where both programs rank among the top 15 teams in the Associated Press poll.
Even though Alabama has managed to lose twice in November and win the national title in back-to-back seasons, the Crimson Tide’s margin of error is a little smaller this year. Florida State and Ohio State are unlikely to lose a game in the regular season, while Baylor crossed one hurdle in its quest to finish 12-0 by beating Oklahoma on Thursday night.
With two losses, LSU has a chance to play spoiler on Saturday night. The Tigers are out of the BCS title picture and need a lot of help just to get back into the SEC Championship discussion. The pressure to win is clearly with Alabama, while LSU can play with nothing to lose.
Since 2010, Alabama has lost only five games. However, two of those defeats came at the hands of LSU. The Tigers won 24-21 in Baton Rouge in 2010 and 9-6 in Tuscaloosa in 2011. Alabama coach Nick Saban is 4-3 against LSU during his tenure in Tuscaloosa.
In the overall series, Alabama holds a 47-25-5 edge over LSU.
LSU at Alabama
Kickoff: 8 ET
TV Channel: CBS
Spread: Alabama – 12.5
Three Things to Watch
LSU’s wide receivers vs. Alabama’s secondary
Alabama’s secondary had to replace two key players coming into 2013 (safety Robert Lester and cornerback Dee Milliner), but this unit is still holding opponents to 197 passing yards per game in SEC contests. The Crimson Tide allowed 464 passing yards and five touchdown tosses to Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. However, Alabama has allowed just one other touchdown pass in SEC play this season. Coach Nick Saban and coordinator Kirby Smart are still trying to find the right mix at cornerback, as sophomore Bradley Sylve is dealing with a high ankle sprain and may not play against LSU. If Sylve is out, Eddie Jackson and Cyrus Jones will fight to start opposite of senior Deion Belue. This will be the biggest challenge for Alabama’s secondary since the Texas A&M matchup. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham form one of the nation’s best receiver duos, catching 106 passes for 1,891 yards and 16 touchdowns this year. Just how valuable are Landry and Beckham? LSU quarterbacks have completed 153 passes this year. Landry and Beckham have caught 106 of their passes. If LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger has time to throw, Landry and Beckham should be able to make plays against Alabama’s secondary.
LSU’s rush defense
It’s a bit uncharacteristic to see LSU ranked No. 8 in the SEC (conference-only games) against the run. However, that’s what happens when ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo and tackle Bennie Logan leave early for the NFL, and seniors Lavar Edwards, Josh Downs and Chancey Aghayere expire their eligibility. The Tigers essentially have a new two-deep on the defensive line this year, and there’s not a senior in the rotation. Opponents are averaging 4.4 yards per carry against LSU this season, but this line has held offenses to just seven rushing scores. Alabama’s offensive line has started to jell over the last few games, and the Crimson Tide average 6.9 yards per carry in SEC-only games. Running back T.J. Yeldon is the workhorse, but Kenyan Drake, Derrick Henry and Jalston Fowler could all see time on Saturday night. Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage is always crucial when these two teams meet. Can LSU’s defense match Alabama’s strength at the point of attack?
LSU RB Jeremy Hill vs. Alabama’s rush defense
Alabama’s rush defense has been nearly impenetrable once again in 2013. The Crimson Tide are holding opponents to just 3.8 yards per carry and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns in SEC games. LSU’s offensive line is solid but has room to improve. The Tigers have allowed 12 sacks in SEC games, and the line has paved the way for rushers to average 4.2 yards per carry in conference-only matchups. Hill is the team’s leading rusher (922 yards), and it’s critical for the sophomore to help LSU’s offense stay out of long-distance situations on second or third down. If Hill is contained, the Tigers will have their hands full trying to move the ball on Alabama.
Key Player: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger is one of the nation’s most-improved quarterbacks this season. After throwing for 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, the senior is completing 65.4 percent of his passes and already has 19 passing scores. Mettenberger has just seven interceptions in 2013 but five picks have come in the last two games. In last year’s matchup, the senior threw for 298 yards and one touchdown. Can Mettenberger repeat that performance in 2013? LSU needs a similar output this year to have a shot at the upset.
Most of this preview has focused on LSU for one reason: the Tigers need a near-perfect effort to pull off the upset. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron should be able to take advantage of the Tigers secondary, which ranks ninth in SEC games by allowing 250.4 yards per game. With McCarron playing at a high level, and the Crimson Tide owning an edge in the trenches, LSU’s defense will have its hands full on Saturday night. The Tigers battle and trade a few punches with Alabama for a half. However, the Crimson Tide is the better team and pulls away in the second half.
Prediction: Alabama 31, LSU 20
Virginia Tech and Miami meet on Saturday night hoping to bounce back after disappointing results last week. The Hurricanes lost 41-14 to rival Florida State, and the Hokies lost 34-27 at Boston College. Despite both teams losing, the Coastal Division title outlook didn’t change much. Duke and Georgia Tech are within striking distance, but Miami can take command of the division with a win on Saturday.
Virginia Tech started the season with a loss to Alabama in Atlanta, but the Hokies rebounded with six consecutive victories. However, since beating Pittsburgh 19-9, Virginia Tech has lost its last two games. Turnovers have been a huge problem the last two weeks for the Hokies, but they will be taking on a Miami team shorthanded on offense with the loss of running back Duke Johnson. The sophomore suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Florida State last week and was on pace to easily rush for more than 1,000 yards in 2013.
For the first time since 1993-94, these two teams will meet in Miami for consecutive seasons. Virginia Tech lost 30-12 at Miami last year, but the Hokies have claimed five out of the last seven in this series.
Virginia Tech at Miami
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Miami -6.5
Three Things to Watch
Miami’s passing offense vs. Virginia Tech’s secondary
Through five ACC games, Virginia Tech’s secondary has been outstanding. The Hokies are allowing just 161.6 yards per game through the air, and opposing quarterbacks are completing just 47.7 percent of their throws. With Duke Johnson sidelined, the Hurricanes will ask more of quarterback Stephen Morris on Saturday night. The senior suffered an ankle injury early in the season, but he appears to be 100 percent after throwing for 192 yards and two scores against Florida State. In last year’s meeting, Morris threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns but completed only 46.4 percent of his passes. The Hokies are overflowing with depth in the secondary, especially with the return of senior Antone Exum from a knee injury. With Exum, Kyle Fuller and freshmen Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech has four cornerbacks that could start for a majority of the top 25 teams in the latest release of the BCS standings. Safeties Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett are steady performers and have four interceptions this year. Morris has been inconsistent at times in 2013, and he won’t have receiver Phillip Dorsett back from injury. Even though Dallas Crawford is a capable replacement for Duke Johnson, it’s fair to wonder if Morris might press a little with the absence of Miami’s top back. In a game with very little separating these two teams, any turnover from Morris will be costly.
Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas
Which Thomas will Virginia Tech have on Saturday night? Is it the version that tossed a combined six picks against Duke and Boston College? Or is it the quarterback that threw five touchdowns to zero interceptions in a three-game conference stretch earlier this year? Although Thomas has to play better, the senior needs more from his supporting cast. The Hokies are averaging only 2.3 yards per carry in ACC games, with Trey Edmunds leading the team with 447 yards in nine games. Receivers Demitri Knowles and Willie Byrn lead the team in receptions, but neither is averaging more than 13 yards per catch. Miami’s defense isn’t among the best in the ACC. However, this unit has improved since last season and has forced 21 turnovers this year. If the Hurricanes can force a couple of turnovers and put Thomas into third-and-long situations, it could be another long night for Virginia Tech’s offense.
Turnovers and special teams
With Virginia Tech’s struggles on offense, and Miami playing without running back Duke Johnson, both teams won’t have much margin for error. The Hurricanes rank second in the ACC with 21 forced turnovers, while the Hokies have lost 15 turnovers. Both starting quarterbacks have struggled at times with interceptions, and any mistakes by either could be costly. Johnson’s absence will also be felt on special teams, as the sophomore averaged 28.3 yards per return this year. Freshmen Stacy Coley and Artie Burns could fill Johnson’s role on kickoffs. Both teams have been inconsistent on field goals, as Matt Goudis has connected on 6 of 10 attempts for Miami this year, while Virginia Tech’s Cody Journell is 10 of 16. Don’t be surprised if a key play on special teams or late turnover decides this game.
Key Player: Dallas Crawford, RB, Miami
With Duke Johnson sidelined, Crawford will assume the No. 1 role in the Miami backfield. Crawford has been solid this year, averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 67 attempts. The sophomore faces a Virginia Tech defense allowing just 102.7 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Stephen Morris is solid, but the Hurricanes need balance on offense. Crawford won’t find a ton of running room against Virginia Tech. But the sophomore has to record at least 75 yards and needs to convert on any third-and-short situations for Miami’s offense.
The mission for Miami is simple: Win out and get a rematch with Florida State in the ACC Championship. The Hurricanes would be a significant underdog to the Seminoles in a rematch, but Miami has yet to play for the ACC Championship. It’s time for the program to take that step. Virginia Tech’s defense will keep this game close, but the Hokies’ offense sputters in the second half, allowing the Hurricanes to do just enough to score a key conference win.
Prediction: Miami 24, Virginia Tech 20
Ohio State was a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten in the preseason, and the Buckeyes are the only team from the conference ranked among the top 15 in the nation. The Big Ten is struggling nationally with only three ranked teams, and Michigan did not take the step forward some expected this year, while Northwestern has been a disappointment at 4-5 overall.
Michigan State and Wisconsin are vying to be the No. 2 team in the Big Ten this year, and there’s little separating the Badgers and Spartans.
Michigan State is 8-1, with its only loss coming at Notre Dame. Wisconsin has two setbacks, “losing” by two points to Arizona State and a seven-point defeat at Ohio State.
If both teams continue to win out, there’s a good chance the Big Ten will get a second team into the BCS bowls.
Ohio State is clearly the top team in the Big Ten. But after the Buckeyes, are the Spartans or the Badgers at No. 2?
Wisconsin or Michigan State: Who is the No. 2 team in the Big Ten Behind Ohio State?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Close call, but I will take Michigan State over Wisconsin for the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten. The Badgers have played a tougher schedule and impressed in a seven-point loss to Ohio State. But the Spartans own the Big Ten’s No. 1 defense, holding opponents to just 3.4 yards per play. Michigan State has allowed just 12 touchdowns all season, with Wisconsin one behind at 13. The Spartans have the edge on defense, while the Badgers get a slight nod on offense. Running backs Melvin Gordon and James White form an effective one-two punch, and quarterback Joel Stave is efficient (150.4 quarterback rating). After struggling early in the year, Michigan State’s offense is starting to find its rhythm, scoring at least 26 points in four out of the last five games. Quarterback Connor Cook only has three interceptions on 230 passes, and he’s surrounded by a solid supporting cast, including running back Jeremy Langford and receiver Bennie Fowler. Even though Wisconsin has a statistical edge on Michigan State’s offense, the Spartans have improved as the season progressed and significantly narrowed the gap in recent weeks. There’s not much separating these two teams, but I would give Michigan State a slight advantage.
While it's actually closer than I initially thought, I am still siding with Michigan State on this one. Wisconsin hung tough with Ohio State in The Shoe in late September and is getting it done on both sides of the ball, but I like Michigan State's defense just a little better. The Spartans are No. 1 in the nation in yards allowed at 210.2 per game. The Badgers aren't too far behind at sixth, but they are giving up 285.5 yards per contest, that's a difference of more than 75 yards per game. MSU has been next-to-impossible to run on, surrendering a paltry 43.4 yards rushing per game and just 1.6 yards per carry. When it comes to beating Ohio State, one of the keys will be slowing down the Buckeyes on the ground, both the running backs and dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller. I think Michigan State's defense is more than capable of doing just that. Even with their offensive issues and lack of explosive playmakers, I think the Spartans' defense will allow Mark Dantonio's squad to hang with pretty much any team in the country. To be honest, it's a shame we probably won't get to see Michigan State and Wisconsin play each other this season. Hopefully that won't be the case for a Spartans-Buckeyes matchup, which is what it looks like we are headed towards for the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.
Coach Bill Mallory, former head coach of Miami (Ohio), Colorado, Northern Illinois, Indiana and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I think Michigan State is a better team than Wisconsin at this point in the season. Michigan State has made tremendous strides offensively since the season began. Their defense has been dominant the entire season. I think that is where they are better than Wisconsin, and now that their offense is playing well, I would have to choose Michigan State over Wisconsin to be the No. 2 team behind Ohio State.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Michigan State. Wisconsin has played a slightly tougher schedule with Arizona State and Ohio State, but the Badgers lost both of those games. The Spartans boast the nation's best defense — one that is achieving at historic levels. But it's the development of the Spartans' offense that makes this team the second-best in the Big Ten. Sparty is averaging over 30 points per game in the Big Ten because of the play of quarterback Connor Cook, and the emergence of tailback Jeremy Langford. Wisconsin is an excellent team with excellent balance on both sides of the ball, but on a neutral field in a cornfield, I am taking the Spartans to win.
David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Easy call on that one: Michigan State. And the only reason Michigan State is No. 2 to Ohio State is because the offense isn’t quite as dynamic as others in the league. That said, Michigan State is greatly improved on that side of the ball since the start of conference play. The Spartans are averaging 5.6 yards per play in conference games, a yard more than in the non-conference season. That’s mainly due to improvement in the passing game, but the defense is so good Michigan State can afford to have the seventh-best offense in Big Ten games. You want some perspective on Michigan State’s defense? The Spartans allow 210.3 total yards per game. Most teams allow more than that in just one phase of the game: 98 teams allow more passing yards per game alone; 19 teams, including three in the Big Ten, allow more than 210 yards per game rushing. Because of the defense, Michigan State is the clear No. 2 right now and the only team with a shot of knocking off Ohio State.
Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), CollegeFootballTalk.com and Crystal Ball Run
Michigan State seems to have found their offensive identity in recent weeks, which may put them over the edge right now in the battle for number two in the Big Ten. There is a lot to like about Wisconsin with their running game and their underrated defense, but right now the Spartans are the more complete package. No team in the Big Ten plays as good a defense as the Spartans. Michigan State has allowed just 12 touchdowns this season and they have forced 16 turnovers. When you have more turnovers than touchdowns allowed, that sort of speaks for itself at this point in the season, although the Badgers are not that far off (13 TDs allowed, 12 turnovers forced). Michigan State struggled on offense early on but now that they seem to be playing better on that side of the football, with Jeremy Langford leading the ground game and Connor Cook stabilizing the passing game recently, the Spartans are now the biggest threat to Ohio State’s undefeated championship plans.
Week 11 of the 2013 college football season should play a huge role in shaping the national title picture. With Oregon-Stanford and Oklahoma-Baylor on Thursday, and LSU-Alabama on Saturday, the top 10 could look quite a bit different on Sunday morning.
Even if there are no upsets in the big games this weekend, expect plenty of surprise outcomes from around the nation on Saturday.
Athlon’s editors are back with another edition of the upset picks, and there are plenty of teams on alert this week.
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.
College Football Week 11 Upset Predictions
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Nevada (+9.5) over Colorado State
There are few upset picks that I like this week, but the 9.5 spread caught my attention in this game. Nevada is struggling in the first year under coach Brian Polian, but is Colorado State really 10 points better? The Rams rank last in the Mountain West in pass defense, allowing 309.6 yards per game. Nevada should be able to take advantage of Colorado State’s secondary, especially with quarterback Cody Fajardo and a receiving corps that has three players over 39 catches. Nevada’s defense isn’t much better than Colorado State, as the Wolf Pack rank last in the Mountain West in total yards allowed. The Rams’ rushing offense will test Nevada’s front seven, which has been gashed for 6.4 yards per carry this year. Nevada has never won in Fort Collins, but with both teams averaging over 30 points a game in Mountain West play, this one should be much closer than the spread indicates. And I’ll give the Wolf Pack a slight edge, as Fajardo scores late for the victory.
Mark Ross: Oklahoma (+15) over Baylor
Baylor fans certainly can't say their team isn't getting any respect. A 15-point favorite over the No. 10 team in the nation? If anything, I am taking this one somewhat on principle, as I just don't see the Bears beating the Sooners by more than two touchdowns. While that doesn't mean I don't think Baylor can't beat OU, especially at home, I am going to take the Sooners here because of their defense. Oklahoma is 10th in the country in total defense and has had just one really bad game, the loss to Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Yes, Baylor is putting up ridiculous numbers on offense (first in the nation in yards, points and passing) and doing a very good job on defense (15.9 ppg), but the Bears haven't really played anyone either.
Baylor's toughest game so far was at Kansas State, which the Bears won by just 10 points. Including the Wildcats, Baylor's schedule has featured six FBS teams that have a collective average of 64.2 in terms of total offense national rankings. Contrast that to Oklahoma, who has played eight FBS teams that have a collective national offensive ranking of 39.9. Both teams have played and beaten Kansas, Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia. Baylor's other wins are against Buffalo, Iowa State and Kansas State, while Oklahoma claims victories over Tulsa, Notre Dame (on the road), TCU and Texas Tech. Baylor has yet to play the toughest part of its schedule and by the end of Thursday night, I think there will be one fewer undefeated team in college football.
David Fox (@DavidFox615): BYU (+7.5) over Wisconsin
Wow, this is an odd game. A big-time nonconference opponent heading into Big Ten territory in early November. In many ways, this is a game the Badgers don’t need right now. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and linebacker Chris Borland are banged up. Running back Melvin Gordon is coming off a season-low 62 yards against Iowa, a game the Badgers didn’t really pull away to win until Hawkeyes starting quarterback Jake Rudock was hurt. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is plenty familiar with BYU, but only to a degree (also, he’s 1-3 against Bronco Mendenhall). BYU has installed one of the fastest offenses in the country this season that’s just hitting its stride. The Cougars amassed 681 yards on 115 plays against Houston and 568 yards on 91 plays against Houston. Throw-in Kyle Van Noy on defense, and this is an awfully tough matchup on both sides of the ball for Wisconsin, possibly the toughest matchup since a loss to Ohio State.
Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Virginia Tech (+6.5) over Miami
The Hurricanes just lost their best offensive weapon in RB Duke Johnson for the season last week against Florida State. That will be disastrous for an offense that revolves around the No. 2 rusher in the ACC. Johnson has racked up 920 yards and six touchdowns on the season. While Dallas Crawford is a good replacement, he lacks the electric explosiveness of Johnson. The Hokies have lost two straight, but still boast a very good defense that is ninth in the country in points allowed at 16.9. Miami really doesn't enjoy a standard college homefield advantage, thus I don't expect the crowd noise to be a factor. Logan Thomas has been inconsistent this year, but he has played well against the Hurricanes in his career as he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the Hokies' 2011 win and rushed for over 100 yards last year. This is a huge game in the Coastal Division of the ACC and will likely determine who will play Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. I like Beamer Ball to come out on top in this one.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall): BYU (+7.5) at Wisconsin
The Badgers consistently struggled with talented and dual-threat quarterbacks. And BYU's Taysom Hill is right next to Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel in terms of raw physical ability. Wisconsin is welcoming back star linebacker Chris Borland but his nagging hamstring injury will be challenged by Hill's ability to run and throw. Additionally, coaches Bronco Mendenhall and Gary Andersen know each very well having coached against each other four times. BYU and Mendenhall won three of those. The Cougars have been challenged all season while the Badgers have played only a couple of tough games — both losses. And the crowd in Madison won't respect BYU like it should and could arrive late and find itself a non-factor.
It’s rare to see a Thursday night game with national title implications, but that’s the case this week, as Oregon travels to Stanford for a Pac-12 North showdown. The Ducks rank No. 3 in the latest BCS standings, and a win over the Cardinal could be enough to push Oregon back to No. 2. With Florida State looking more and more impressive, there’s some pressure on the Ducks to win impressively.
However, Stanford certainly isn’t going to go quietly, as the Cardinal is still trying to keep their faint BCS title hopes alive. With one loss, Stanford has no room for error the rest of the way.
Although the national title is the No. 1 goal for both teams, the winner of this game should lock up a spot in the Pac-12 title game.
These two teams met last season, with Stanford winning 17-14 in Eugene. The loss knocked the Ducks out of the national title picture and allowed the Cardinal to play (and win) the Pac-12 Championship in late November.
Stanford owns a 45-30-1 series edge over Oregon. The Ducks and Cardinal have each claimed two out of the last four meetings. However, Oregon has won nine out of the last 11 matchups, including two by a combined score of 105-61 from 2010-11.
Oregon vs. Stanford
Kickoff: 9 ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Oregon -10
Three Things to Watch
Controlling the tempo
The Ducks want to play fast, while the Cardinal want to slow things down. Which tempo will win out on Thursday night? In last year’s meeting, Stanford dominated the time of possession (37:05 to 22:55). Controlling the clock isn’t a necessity, but the Cardinal gained at least 30 yards in each of their final three possessions last season. Did Stanford wear down a defense that was depleted by injuries in the trenches? Oregon is in better shape in the injury department this season, and through five conference games is holding opponents to 131.6 yards per game. The Ducks are limiting rushers to just 3.4 yards per carry in Pac-12 action, and opponents have managed just four rushing scores. In order to Stanford to win, it has to establish the run and keep Oregon’s offense off the field. Running back Tyler Gaffney has three consecutive 100-yard efforts and averaged 7.8 yards per carry against the Ducks in 2011. Gaffney isn’t the only capable rusher for Stanford, as Anthony Wilkerson has 207 yards this year, and quarterback Kevin Hogan is a dual-threat option. Shortening the game by establishing the run is a huge key to Stanford’s win chances on Thursday night.
Oregon’s passing attack vs. Stanford’s secondary
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has been nearly flawless in 2013. The sophomore is considered by most to be the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy and has thrown for 2,281 yards and 20 touchdowns in eight games. Mariota has fumbled twice this year but has yet to throw an interception. The sophomore’s last interception came 293 attempts ago against Stanford last season. The Cardinal rank ninth in the Pac-12 (conference-only games) against the pass, but this unit has picked off eight passes and will present a challenge for Mariota and his receivers. Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards form one of the nation’s best safety duos, while cornerback Alex Carter is a budding star. The Ducks have six players with at least 11 receptions, with Josh Huff and Bralon Addison each averaging at least 16 yards per catch. And those totals don’t include running back De’Anthony Thomas, who has only six catches due to injury. Mariota is one of the nation’s most efficient passers, but this matchup will be his toughest test of the year. Stanford’s pass rush (27 sacks) will be disruptive, and top-notch secondary won’t allow Addison and Huff to run free.
Stanford’s defensive line
Disrupting Oregon’s offense starts at the line of scrimmage. The Cardinal are allowing only 85.3 rushing yards per game in Pac-12 action this season, but the Ducks’ bring an experienced (and talented) offensive line to the Farm on Thursday night. Stanford’s line depth took a hit with a season-ending arm injury to end Ben Gardner, but this unit should get senior Henry Anderson back in the mix. With Anderson, Josh Mauro and David Parry in the starting lineup, Stanford has more than enough talent to win the battle up front. However, depth is a concern here, and Oregon’s up-tempo attack can take a toll on opposing defenses. The Ducks average 317.2 rushing yards per game, and three running backs – De’Anthony Thomas, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall – will see time on Thursday night. Will Stanford’s defensive line win the line of scrimmage battle? Or will the Ducks’ rushing attack get on track after running backs Kenjon Barner and Thomas recorded only 109 yards in last year’s matchup?
Key Player: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
It’s easy to list the quarterback as a key player, but Stanford needs Hogan to be at his best on Saturday night. In last year’s matchup, he threw for 211 yards on 25 completions and ran for 37 yards. The Cardinal doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards, but Hogan has to eliminate any mistakes and needs to make a few plays with his legs. The sophomore didn’t play particularly well against Oregon State (88 yards), and a similar performance could spell trouble for Stanford. Receiver Ty Montgomery is a gamebreaker, but the Cardinal should regain the services of Devon Cajuste, who did not play against Oregon State due to injury. Having Cajuste back in the lineup will only help Hogan in the passing game.
Top-10 matchups (see Florida State-Miami) don’t always live up to the hype. But this showdown between Oregon and Stanford should be a good one. The Ducks have revenge on their mind from last season and have to win to keep pace with Florida State in the national title picture. Stanford’s offense will control the tempo early on, but Mariota makes a couple of key plays in the fourth quarter that propels the Ducks to a huge road victory.
Prediction: Oregon 31, Stanford 24
Some conference title races are almost decided, but the battle to claim the Big 12 championship is just getting started. Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Thursday night in a crucial conference matchup, with the Bears also needing to impress to have any shot at playing for the national title. Baylor ranks No. 6 in the latest release of the BCS standings, so style points and winning big certainly wouldn’t hurt as coach Art Briles’ team attempts to close the gap on the top five.
Baylor has been on a steady climb under Briles, while Oklahoma has been one of the more consistent teams in the nation. The Sooners have at least 10 wins in six out of the last seven seasons and are 32-8 over the last three years.
This game doesn’t necessarily represent a changing of the guard in the Big 12, but Oklahoma has a 21-1 series edge against Baylor. The Bears have never won in Norman but claimed the 2011 matchup between these two teams. For the most part, the Sooners easily handled Baylor in the early 2000s. However, the last two meetings have been decided by eight points or less. Again, it’s unfair to say there’s a changing of the guard in the Big 12, but it’s clear Baylor is closing the gap on Oklahoma and Texas, and a win on Thursday night would be another huge moment in Briles’ tenure in Waco.
Just how excited are the fans in Waco? The tarp in the south endzone of Floyd Casey Stadium is gone, allowing around 3,500 more fans to attend Thursday night’s matchup. Considering Baylor had some of the worst teams of the BCS era under former coach Kevin Steele, a sold out stadium on a Thursday night with national title implications is a good indicator of how far this program has developed under Briles.
Oklahoma vs. Baylor
Kickoff: 7:30 ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1
Spread: Baylor -15
Three Things to Watch
Baylor’s rushing attack vs. Oklahoma’s rush defense
Injuries hit Oklahoma’s defense hard earlier this season, as defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson were lost for the year. Losing Nelson and Phillips hurt Oklahoma’s ability to stop the run in Big 12 games, as Texas recorded 255 yards on Oct. 12 and Kansas rushed for 185 yards on Oct. 19. After having their share of struggles on the ground in Big 12 play, the Sooners will have their toughest assignment of the season against Baylor. The Bears average 6.0 yards per carry in conference-only games and lead the Big 12 with an average of 294.8 yards per game on the ground. Running back Lache Seastrunk is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball (9.1 ypc, 11 TDs), but the Bears can also use Shock Linwood (8.1 ypc) and 230-pound battering ram Glasco Martin. Expect Baylor to attack the interior of Oklahoma’s rush defense, especially with an offensive line that averages 314 pounds per play. Guard Cyril Richardson is one of the best in the nation, and he will be clearing the way for Seastrunk and Martin to attack Oklahoma’s suspect run defense.
Oklahoma’s offense and controlling the clock
The Sooners are in transition on offense this season. Although former quarterback Landry Jones had his share of ups and downs, the passing attack just isn’t the same with Blake Bell at the helm. Bell seems to be getting more comfortable in Oklahoma’s offense with each start, but the junior has thrown just four touchdowns to three interceptions in Big 12 games. Baylor wants to get Oklahoma into a shootout, which clearly favors the high-scoring Bears’ offense. The Sooners will try to counter with a ball control approach that dominates the time of possession. In Big 12 games, Oklahoma ranks third in the conference in time of possession by averaging 31 minutes a game. Running backs Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch will test Baylor’s defense, which is allowing 160 yards per game on the ground. The Bears struggled to stop Kansas State earlier this year, which used a similar blueprint on offense.
Oklahoma’s secondary vs. Baylor’s receiving corps
While the Sooners have displayed a few leaks against the run, the secondary ranks No. 10 nationally against the pass. Oklahoma is allowing only 179.5 yards per game through the air, and Big 12 opponents have managed only six passing scores. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have played TCU, Texas and Kansas so far, but Oklahoma’s secondary gave Baylor fits last season. The Bears were held to 172 yards through the air, and quarterback Nick Florence completed only 12 of his 33 passes. New starter Bryce Petty doesn’t have Florence’s experience but is an upgrade in terms of talent. The junior is completing 69.3 percent of his throws and has only one interception on 176 attempts. Petty leads all FBS quarterbacks with 10 passing plays of 50 yards or more in 2013. And Baylor isn’t just Petty’s show, as receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese are each averaging over 20 yards per catch. This matchup will be the toughest one-on-one battle for Oklahoma’s secondary all year, with cornerbacks Zack Sanchez and Aaron Colvin under the microscope on Thursday night.
Key Players: Chuka Ndulue/Jordan Wade, DT, Oklahoma
If Oklahoma doesn’t win the battle at the point of attack, this one could get ugly. The Sooners don’t have to get pressure on Petty on every down, but the defense needs to prevent a repeat of what happened against Texas. Once the Longhorns were able to pound the rock, play-action passes opened up on the outside. Ndulue and Wade will have their hands full against a massive and effective Baylor offensive line. This duo has to keep Seastrunk in check, while disrupting Petty’s pocket when he drops back to pass.
Baylor is off to an easy 7-0 start, but the competition is about to increase. The Bears have yet to play a Big 12 team with a winning record, and Oklahoma had 10 days to prepare for Baylor’s high-powered offense. Will it make a difference? The Bears are better on defense this season, but the Sooners should be able to get their ground game on track. If Oklahoma dominates the line of scrimmage and controls the clock, the Sooners will be in good shape to leave Waco with a win. However, Baylor simply has too much firepower, and the defense – just like it did against Kansas State – makes enough timely plays to pull out the victory.
Prediction: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 34
The ACC dominated the college football spotlight last Saturday, as Florida State-Miami took center stage as a top-10 matchup. The Seminoles handled the Hurricanes with ease, essentially locking up the Atlantic Division.
Miami’s Coastal Division title hopes are still alive, with a key matchup against Virginia Tech ahead this Saturday. The Hurricanes won’t have running back Duke Johnson due to injury, which means the offense needs more from quarterback Stephen Morris. The Hokies have lost back-to-back games, and the offense has struggled to get consistent play from quarterback Logan Thomas.
Elsewhere in the ACC, Pittsburgh hosts Notre Dame in a key game for the Panthers’ bowl hopes. Duke needs a win over NC State to have a shot in the Coastal Division, while Syracuse-Maryland is crucial for both teams to reach the postseason.
Florida State should roll over Wake Forest, and Boston College will have little trouble with New Mexico State.
ACC Week 11 Game Power Rankings
1. Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Miami (7 ET, ESPN)
Despite Miami’s loss to Florida State, and Virginia Tech’s recent setbacks against Boston College and Duke, this matchup is still the game of the year in the Coastal Division. And for the second year in a row, the Hurricanes host the Hokies in Miami, but Virginia Tech has claimed three out of the last four in this series. With the Hurricanes losing running back Duke Johnson to an ankle injury for the rest of the year, and Virginia Tech struggling on offense, points could be at a premium on Saturday night. With Johnson sidelined, Miami will turn to capable backup Dallas Crawford (4.4 ypc) to lead the way on the ground. Quarterback Stephen Morris will also shoulder more of the workload, but the senior will be going against one of the top defensive backfields in the nation. Virginia Tech is holding opponents to just 161.6 yards per game through the air, and the secondary could get a boost with the return of Kyle Fuller from a groin injury. Crawford has played well in limited action, but the Hokies are holding opponents to just 3.4 yards per carry. Virginia Tech’s offense has scored over 20 points in just three out of the last seven games. Quarterback Logan Thomas has six interceptions in his last two starts, but the senior doesn’t have a strong supporting cast. Miami’s defense is allowing 5.9 yards per play against ACC teams, so there will be opportunities to make plays for Thomas. With both teams dealing with concerns on offense, this one could come down to which team wins the turnover battle or makes a key play on special teams.
2. Notre Dame (-4.5) at Pittsburgh (8 ET, ABC)
Close games have defined the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh series, with each of the last five meetings decided by five points or less. A similar result is expected on Saturday night, as the Panthers need a win to stay alive for the postseason, while the Fighting Irish have to win out to keep their BCS bowl hopes intact. Since losing to Oklahoma on Sept. 28, Notre Dame has won four in a row, including games over Michigan State and Oklahoma. The Fighting Irish aren’t as dominant on defense as they were in 2012, and this unit is dealing with a handful of injuries this week. Linebacker Ben Councell is out for the year with a knee injury, while linemen Sheldon Day and Louis Nix III are questionable, and Kona Schwenke is out with an ankle sprain. With a banged up defense, Pittsburgh will try to get its rushing game back on track. The Panthers were held to -5 yards against Georgia Tech, and freshman running back James Conner has only 32 yards in his last three games. The Fighting Irish are allowing 164.9 yards per game on the ground, but those numbers are skewed slightly by playing Air Force and Navy in back-to-back weeks. If Pittsburgh gets its ground game going, it should help take some of the pressure off of quarterback Tom Savage. The senior has been sacked 29 times this year and does not have a completion longer than 28 yards in his last three games. Notre Dame’s offense has scored 37 points or more in three out of the last four games, with balance a key part of the attack. Quarterback Tommy Rees is completing only 55.6 percent of his passes, but the senior has 22 touchdown tosses. The Fighting Irish have four players with at least 193 rushing yards, including freshman Tarean Folston who led the team with 140 yards last week. Considering the series trend, another nail-biter should be expected in the Steel City.
3. NC State (+9.5) at Duke (4 ET, ESPNU)
The Blue Devils are riding a four-game winning streak and have momentum from the Oct. 26 victory at Virginia Tech. With Miami losing to Florida State, Duke actually controls its destiny in the Coastal Division. The Hurricanes and Blue Devils meet in Durham next Saturday, but Duke still has one obstacle to clear before turning its focus to the Hurricanes. NC State is a team desperately looking for a win in ACC play. The Wolfpack are 0-5 in the conference in coach Dave Doeren’s first season. Quarterback Brandon Mitchell missed five games due to a foot injury, and the senior made his return to the lineup against Florida State. Mitchell rushed for 105 yards against North Carolina last week, but he has yet to throw for more than 130 yards in his last two starts and tossed four picks during that span. Junior Pete Thomas replaced Mitchell late in last week’s loss and may split time under center on Saturday. Duke’s defense doesn’t look particularly solid on the stat sheet (12th in the ACC in total defense), but this unit has allowed only 10 points in the second half in the last three games. With NC State’s struggles through the air, the Blue Devils should prepare to be tested on the ground. Duke’s offense has scored at least 30 points in four out of the last five games, and its balanced attack is a tough matchup for a Wolfpack defense allowing 30.8 points a game in ACC play. These two teams haven’t met since 2009, but NC State has won 11 out of the last 12 games in this series.
4. Syracuse (+6) at Maryland (3:30 ET, RSN)
With Syracuse at 4-4 and Maryland at 5-3, Saturday’s game is crucial to both team’s bowl hopes. The Orange scored a key win against Wake Forest last Saturday, while the Terrapins have lost three out of their last four games. Syracuse’s defense rebounded after a bad showing against Georgia Tech (56 points) to shut out the Demon Deacons. But Maryland should present a tougher challenge. The Terrapins should regain the services of quarterback C.J. Brown, who had a bye to heal from injuries that forced the senior to miss the 40-27 loss to Clemson. Brown started the year by throwing seven touchdowns in his first four games but has yet to score in an ACC game this year. With receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long sidelined for the season, Brown will be throwing to an inexperienced group of weapons. But opportunities for plays in the passing game should be available, especially with a Syracuse secondary allowing 233.4 yards per game. When the Orange has the ball, expect a run-first attack. Syracuse averages 235.8 rushing yards per game in conference play and will test a Maryland defense hit hard by injuries. The Terrapins rank 10th in ACC-only games against the run, which should allow running backs Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley plenty of room to maneuver. Quarterback Terrel Hunt is also a threat on the ground, but the sophomore has to avoid mistakes through the air (six interceptions in 131 attempts). These two schools have a connection, as Maryland coach Randy Edsall played at Syracuse and coached there as an assistant. This is also the first meeting between these two teams since 1994.
5. Florida State (-35) at Wake Forest (Noon, ABC)
After handling Miami 41-14 last Saturday, the Seminoles jumped to No. 2 in the BCS standings. But Florida State’s stay there could be brief if Oregon beats Stanford on Thursday night. Regardless of what happens around the nation, the Seminoles need to win impressively the rest of the way. And even though Wake Forest has won four out of the last seven games in this series, Florida State should have little trouble with the Demon Deacons on Saturday. Wake Forest’s offense has struggled throughout 2013, and top receiver Michael Campanaro is likely out for the rest of the year. Just how valuable was Campanaro? The Demon Deacons had 184 completions through nine games, and Campanaro had 67 catches and six of the 13 touchdown receptions. With Campanaro sidelined, quarterback Tanner Price needs more help from receivers Matt James, Tyree Harris Jonathan Williams, Sherman Ragland III and Jared Crump. For Wake Forest to have any shot at the upset, the offense has to play keep away and limit Florida State’s possessions. However, the Seminoles are averaging eight yards a play, and even if the Demon Deacons have any success with their quick, short-yardage passing attack, it’s hard to see quarterback Jameis Winston and one of the nation’s best supporting casts have much trouble scoring points on Wake Forest’s defense.
6. Virginia (+13.5) at North Carolina (12:30 ET, ACC Network)
The Oldest Rivalry in the South has seen better days. Virginia limps into this game at 2-7 with a six-game losing streak, and North Carolina is fighting to get bowl eligible. The Tar Heels will have to play the rest of the season without quarterback Bryn Renner, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s win against NC State. However, backup Marquise Williams is a good fit for coach Larry Fedora’s spread attack and has one start (Virginia Tech) this year. Williams has led North Carolina’s offense in rushing in the last two games, but freshman back T.J. Logan averaged 8.6 yards per carry last week and should have a bigger role in the offense moving forward. Finding a spark on offense has been a season-long experiment for the Cavaliers. Quarterback David Watford completed just 16 of 35 throws last week and has tossed 10 picks to just seven scores. Watford will have a chance to rebound against North Carolina’s defense, which is allowing 423 yards per game. But the Tar Heels have showed signs of life on defense the last two weeks, holding Boston College to 10 points on Oct. 26 and NC State to 19 last week. North Carolina has claimed the last three meetings in this series by a combined score of 109-40.
7. Boston College (-24) at New Mexico State (3:30 ET, ESPN3)
In one of the strangest road trips of 2013, Boston College has to make a lengthy trek to Las Cruces, N.M. this weekend for a late-season non-conference game. This will be the first meeting between these two schools, which are separated by just over 2,300 miles. However, there is a connection for the two programs, as New Mexico State coach Doug Martin served as Boston College’s offensive coordinator in 2012. Even though this is an extended road trip for the Eagles, the Aggies shouldn’t put up much of a fight. New Mexico State is 1-8, with its only win coming against Abilene Christian. The Aggies are struggling on the stat sheet, ranking 85th nationally in total offense and 123rd nationally in scoring defense. Boston College running back Andre Williams has at least 149 yards in four out of his last five games and should have no trouble finding running room against a New Mexico State defense allowing 312.1 rushing yards per game.
ACC Week 11 Pivotal Players
Kelby Brown, LB, Duke
NC State’s passing attack has struggled the last two weeks, but quarterback Brandon Mitchell is capable of rushing for 100 yards. Mitchell could share time with Pete Thomas on Saturday, but the senior will still be utilized on the ground. In addition to Mitchell, running back Shadrach Thornton has rushed for at least 60 yards in each of NC State’s last three games. Duke’s defense ranks 12th in ACC-only games against the run, allowing 197.8 yards per game, but opponents have managed only five rushing scores. Considering the Wolfpack’s struggles with their passing game, the Blue Devils need to shut down the rushing attack and force Mitchell or Thomas to win this game through the air. Brown and linebacker mate David Helton were outstanding in the win over Virginia Tech and need another standout performance on Saturday.
Trey Edmunds, RB, Virginia Tech
Quarterback Logan Thomas has struggled with turnovers in each of his last two games, and the senior passer needs more help from his supporting cast. Edmunds is the top running back for Virginia Tech but has only 447 yards and five scores through nine games. Miami’s rush defense allowed 192 yards to Florida State last week, and ACC opponents are averaging 4.1 yards per carry against this unit in 2013. Edmunds has not recorded more than 14 carries in an ACC game this year. With Thomas coming off back-to-back sluggish performances, Edmunds needs to step up and give Virginia Tech’s offense a little balance.
Cory King, OG/Artie Rowell, C, Pittsburgh
The Panthers have struggled to get consistent production from their offensive line this year. Quarterback Tom Savage has been sacked 29 times this year, and Notre Dame’s defensive line could have reinforcements back this week, as Louis Nix III could return from a knee injury. Teammate Sheldon Day is questionable with an ankle injury, which makes Nix III and end Stephon Tuitt’s performance even more critical to Notre Dame’s defensive success on Saturday night. Pittsburgh’s line could hold the key to a victory, especially if the front five can get a good push on the Fighting Irish and open rushing lanes for running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett.
Stephen Morris, QB, Miami
With running back Duke Johnson sidelined for the rest of the year due to an ankle injury, the Hurricanes will probably ask Morris to shoulder more of the offensive workload. The senior completed 16 of 28 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State last week but also threw two interceptions. After struggling with an ankle injury earlier in the year, Morris looked closer to 100 percent in last week’s game. However, Morris has another tough assignment ahead this week, as Virginia Tech’s secondary ranks as one of the best in the nation. The Hokies are led by seniors in Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum at cornerback, but freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller have combined for nine picks this year. With Phillip Dorsett sidelined, Morris and receiver Allen Hurns should be the go-to combination against Virginia Tech’s suffocating secondary.
Sherman Ragland III, WR, Wake Forest
With Michael Campanaro out for the season with a collarbone injury, Ragland III and injured freshman receiver Tyree Harris have to pickup the slack in the passing game. Ragland III led the team with 10 receptions for 91 yards in last week’s game against Syracuse and should be the No. 1 option on Saturday. Florida State’s secondary is arguably the best in the nation, so Ragland III and quarterback Tanner Price won’t have much room for error. But if the Demon Deacons have any hope of scoring the upset, the passing attack has to keep the chains moving, especially with a lackluster rushing game.
ACC Week 11 Predictions
|Game||David Fox||Braden Gall||Steven Lassan||Mitch Light|
|FSU (-35) at Wake||FSU 38-14||FSU 45-17||FSU 51-10||FSU 41-7|
|Virginia (+13.5) at UNC||UNC 28-21||UNC 31-17||UNC 31-20||UNC 23-10|
|Boston College (-24) at NMSU||BC 35-10||BC 31-10||BC 41-17||BC 41-7|
|Syracuse (+6) at Maryland||Maryland 21-14||Maryland 31-28||Maryland 27-24||Maryland 24-20|
|NC State (+9.5) at Duke||Duke 31-13||Duke 34-24||Duke 31-24||Duke 30-24|
|Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Miami||Va. Tech 24-17||Miami 24-20||Miami 24-20||Miami 21-10|
|Notre Dame (-4.5) at Pittsburgh||ND 35-14||ND 34-24||ND 27-24||ND 30-21|
Baylor enters the final month of the season on the verge of a special year. The Bears won 18 games from 2011-12, but coach Art Briles has positioned this team for a run at the national championship.
Baylor has rolled to a 7-0 start, winning five games by 40 points or more. The offense has led the way, averaging 63.9 points and 717.3 yards per game.
But the defense has made improvement under coordinator Phil Bennett, which could hold the key to winning a Big 12 title.
Although Baylor is off to a 7-0 start, the schedule is about to get tougher. The Bears host Oklahoma on Thursday night, followed by a neutral site game against Texas Tech. Baylor will spend its next two games on the road, including a trip to Oklahoma State on Nov. 23. The Bears also close with Texas, which could be a defacto Big 12 title game.
Will Baylor Finish the 2013 Regular Season Unbeaten?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
While some of the conference title races are starting to wind down, the Big 12 is about to heat up. Baylor has to be considered the favorite to win the Big 12, but Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas – yes Texas – still have a chance to win the conference title. The Bears’ offense is simply lethal and the numbers are staggering through seven games. Baylor leads the nation with an average of 718.4 yards per game, averages 9.1 yards per play and ranks first nationally in passing and scoring offense. The defense has been overlooked, but this unit has made strides after allowing six opponents to score at least 40 points in 2012. The schedule hasn’t been overwhelmingly taxing, but Baylor leads the Big 12 in conference-only games by holding opponents to 330.3 yards per game. The Bears are one of only two teams in the Big 12 allowing less than five yards per play. Although Baylor’s offense is among the nation’s best, and the defense is making progress, I think the Bears will stumble once. Oklahoma State is the game that stands out on the schedule, especially since the Cowboys have started to find their rushing attack over the last few weeks. Baylor’s smallest margin of victory came at Kansas State – 35 to 25 – as the Wildcats rushed for 327 yards in that matchup. If Oklahoma State’s offense matches its performances from Iowa State and Texas Tech against Baylor, the Cowboys could end the Bears’ perfect record. While I think Baylor stumbles once, the Bears are still my pick to win the Big 12 title.
Can the Bears run the table in the Big 12? Put me in the "it's possible, but not likely" camp. Yes, Baylor has been pretty much unstoppable on offense, currently leading the nation in total yards, points and passing, and only one game has been decided by fewer than 31 points. However, the Bears also have taken advantage of a fairly easy schedule. Of the six FBS teams Baylor has defeated, only two of them have a winning record and those two are mid-majors Buffalo (6-2) and Louisiana-Monroe (5-4). The four Big 12 teams the Bears have destroyed - Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia - are a combined 11-22 overall and 4-17 in conference play. Needless to say, Baylor has done an excellent job of beating up the bottom of the Big 12. Now it's time to see how it matches up against the upper tier, starting with Thursday's home date with Oklahoma. If anything, we should find out in this game which defense is more legitimate in terms of its national ranking - No. 10 Oklahoma or No. 11 Baylor. Even if the Bears beat the Sooners there are still four tough games left to close out their conference slate. So one thing's for certain, should Art Briles' bunch finish the regular season undefeated, these Bears will have earned that automatic BCS bid.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
All of Baylor's work is still ahead of it and the run at a Big 12 title and unbeaten season begins Thursday night with a visit from Oklahoma. The Bears will be on their toes, rested and focused against a team that it has only beaten once in school history — the last time the Sooners came to town in 2011. Art Briles' bunch will top Oklahoma and then Texas Tech the following week at home, but will slip up once in the final three weeks. A trip to Stillwater is looking tougher and tougher as Oklahoma State continues to improve and a visit from the Longhorns in the season finale could be a de facto Big 12 championship game. Baylor is a really, really good team, but Briles knows all too well that strange things happen to unbeaten teams in November — in particular, on the road. An 11-1 season could still give Baylor its first Big 12 title and first BCS bowl bid but would knock them out of the national championship race. I think Bears fans would take that to the bank.
Coach Fisher DeBerry, former head coach of Air Force and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Baylor has played well but they have only played one tough game. Against Kansas State they scored only 35 points, which is about half the amount of the points they have been averaging in all their other games. The meat of their schedule starts with their next game on Thursday night against Oklahoma. I don't think they will be able to stay undefeated with all the tougher teams left on their schedule from the Big 12. Baylor could easily lose two games out of the next five games left on their schedule.
David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Baylor has done great things this season and may be the top team in the Big 12, but I’d expect the Bears to drop a game in the final five games. The question is where. Baylor’s offense has proven it can score even 35 points on a bad day. No offense in the league, except maybe Texas Tech, can really match that. My bigger question is the defense. Baylor’s numbers are impressive, but the Bears have played only one team ranked higher than 77th nationally in total offense. And that team was Kansas State, a team that didn’t start to round into form offensively until recent weeks. Meanwhile, we’re seeing teams like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas start to find a groove on offense. While it would be fun to see Baylor go undefeated and contend for a national title, I’d expect the Bears to get tripped up somewhere. Still, winning the Big 12 and going to the Fiesta Bowl would be a banner season for Art Briles and the Bears.
The SEC still reigns as college football’s premier conference in 2013. Alabama ranks as the No. 1 team in the BCS standings, and five other teams from the SEC are among the top 15 in the latest release.
While Alabama is clearly the No. 1 team in the SEC, there’s plenty of debate at No. 2.
Missouri, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina each have a legitimate argument for the No. 2 spot. And if healthy, Georgia deserves to be a part of the discussion.
LSU will have a chance to stake its claim to the No. 2 spot against Alabama this Saturday and in a late-season matchup against Texas A&M.
Auburn also has two huge opportunities in the coming weeks, as the Tigers still have to play Georgia and Alabama.
Who is the No. 2 Team in the SEC Behind Alabama?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s definitely no obvious answer to this question. I like the way Auburn is playing, but this team lost to LSU earlier this year. If these two teams played tomorrow, would the outcome be different? Perhaps. Texas A&M’s defense is too much of a liability to pick the Aggies at No. 2 – even with two of the best offensive players in the nation in quarterback Johnny Manziel and receiver Mike Evans. If the choice isn’t Auburn and Texas A&M, then the selection has to be LSU, Missouri or South Carolina. Considering the Gamecocks beat Missouri, LSU and South Carolina are the only two teams left to choose from. It’s essentially a tossup in this battle, but I give a slight edge to the Gamecocks. Even if Steve Spurrier’s team isn’t overwhelming on the stat sheet, there's still plenty to like about this squad. Running back Mike Davis is one of the best in the SEC, and quarterback Connor Shaw just finds a way to win. The defense, which is led by one of the nation's best defensive lines, ranks third in SEC only games in fewest yards allowed, and only one opponent has managed more than 30 points (Georgia) on this unit in 2013. And with three home games to finish the year, South Carolina should finish 10-2 and will have a chance to edge Missouri for the SEC East title. If Georgia was at full strength, I would take the Bulldogs over the Gamecocks. But South Carolina is healthier, and the combination of Davis and Shaw is tough to beat.
Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I’ll take LSU. The Tigers are flawed and don’t appear to be playing at the same level we’ve seen the last three seasons, but which team should be ranked higher than LSU? Georgia has dropped off since it beat LSU at home on Sept. 28. Auburn is playing at a high level, but LSU won the head-to-head matchup without too much trouble. Texas A&M will have a chance to show its better than LSU when the two teams square off in Baton Rouge later this month, but right now Texas A&M’s defense and two home losses hurt the Aggies’ resume. Missouri? Not yet. LSU still has elite talent on both sides of the ball and has the ability to score with anyone in the country if quarterback Zach Mettenberger takes care of the football. Alabama has looked like it’s clearly the No. 1 team in the SEC. LSU has spent the last two weeks hoping to prove otherwise. We’ll see on Saturday how wide that gap is between No. 1 and 2.
David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The best team in the SEC other than Alabama is South Carolina, and I don’t know if there’s much doubt. The funny thing about South Carolina is they’re not the best in the SEC in anything. They’re not even in the top two or three of most categories. South Carolina doesn’t have the offense of Texas A&M, the defense of Alabama or even the pass rush of Missouri. But Carolina is solid around the board. Steve Spurrier can count on Mike Davis to give him 150 yards from scrimmage in every game. He can count on Connor Shaw to play sound quarterback and grind out yards on the ground. And, though, Jadeveon Clowney had his question marks early in the year, Spurrier can count on his defense to give his team a chance to win. In this SEC this season, where injuries and bad defenses abound, that’s enough to be No. 2 behind Alabama.
LSU may have two losses in conference play already, but I think the Tigers are the second-best team in the SEC. Both of LSU's losses have come by three points and were on the road. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has thrived in first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's offense and even though the defense lost a lot of talent to the NFL, it's still a borderline top-20 unit nationally. As well as Missouri has played, I'm not sold on its defense and think those Tigers have benefited from an easier schedule and gotten some significant breaks along the way. South Carolina is in the conversation, but the Gamecocks have been too inconsistent for my tastes, while Auburn drops out by virtue of its earlier loss to LSU. That leaves the Bayou Bengals, who to me are the most talented SEC team on both sides of the ball not named Alabama, and I think that balance is what gives them the edge here. We'll see on Saturday how well these Tigers match up with the two-time defending BCS champs on their own home turf. No better way to prove you're No. 2 then by going toe-to-toe with No. 1, right?
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
None of the above? This is a great debate with literally half of a dozen answers. Auburn is playing the best football of any other team in the West right now but was defeated on the road early in the year in fairly convincing fashion by LSU. This isn't a vintage Auburn roster, either. The Bayou Bengals have the second-best roster in the West but aren't playing very well and have defensive issues. Texas A&M has the best player in the league but little else to support him. That leaves, in my opinion, Missouri and South Carolina battling for second best. Both are playing excellent football right now with the exception of the Tigers’ final 15 minutes against the Gamecocks two weeks ago. Both have storied coaches, great defenses and confident leaders under center. Frankly, all of these teams are about the same: Missouri, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M. In fact, a slightly healthier Georgia belongs in that conversation too. The good news is the answer will fall into our laps. Should Missouri go unbeaten the rest of the way by beating Ole Miss and Texas A&M, then Mizzou would be the clear-cut No. 2 team. If the Tigers lose and the Gamecocks get to Atlanta, then the answer is clearly South Carolina. And because Alabama will put both LSU and Auburn in their rightful places, the winner of the East would be my final answer. And for now, that is the Gamecocks due to a head-to-head victory on the road.
Midweek MAC games are one of the more entertaining parts of college football’s November schedule. However, the Buffalo-Ohio game from Tuesday night won’t be remembered for a quality game between two potential bowl teams. Instead, awful officiating will overshadow Buffalo’s 30-3 win.
Early in the second half, Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton was pressured out of the pocket and threw a pass to avoid a sack, which resulted in an intentional grounding call. However, the referees ruled Tettleton was in the endzone, and Buffalo was awarded a safety.
But there’s only one problem: Tettleton wasn’t in the endzone – he was on the four-yard line.
North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner suffered a shoulder injury against NC State and will miss the rest of the 2013 season.
Renner threw for 1,765 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and completed 65.8 percent of his throws.
Losing Renner is a setback to North Carolina’s bowl hopes, but the cupboard isn’t bare for coach Larry Fedora. Backup Marquise Williams started against Virginia Tech earlier this year and completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams may not be as polished of a passer as Renner, but the sophomore is a better runner and is a good fit in Fedora’s spread offense.
With Renner out for the year, it’s up to Williams to get North Carolina to a bowl, which isn’t out of the question with games against Virginia, Pittsburgh, Old Dominion and Duke remaining.
BREAKING: Sources confirm shoulder injury ends QB Bryn Renner’s UNC career. Link: http://t.co/AloNHriSr8— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) November 5, 2013
According to several media reports, Texas is set to hire Arizona State’s Steve Patterson as its next athletic director. Patterson graduated from Texas’ Law School in 1984 and edged West Virginia’s Oliver Luck for the job.
Patterson will replace DeLoss Dodds, who is set to retire in August 2014. At Arizona State, Patterson has helped to start a project for renovating Sun Devil Stadium and signed coach Todd Graham to an extension in early September.
Patterson was hired as Arizona State’s athletic director on March 28, 2012.
Patterson has experience in several different areas, including stints with the Texans (1997-2003) and in the NBA with the Rockets (1989-93) and in Portland (2003-07).
Although he has been successful at each stop, Patterson did not hire Graham at Arizona State and this will be his first experience hiring a collegiate coach. Considering Texas is the top job in the nation, Patterson should not have a shortage of interested candidates - provided Mack Brown does not return in 2013.
BREAKING: ASU's Steve Patterson will be next AD at Texas. "Done," says high ranking Texas official. http://t.co/GlcmY9D7fl— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) November 5, 2013
Life in the SEC is a challenge for any coach, and that's especially true when it comes to Florida's Will Muschamp. The SEC is the No. 1 college football conference, and there’s more pressure to perform at a higher level than anywhere in the nation.
Muschamp is an interesting case study. The third-year coach entered 2013 with an 18-8 record.
In Muschamp’s first season, the Gators went 7-6 and failed to beat a team with a winning mark. However, Florida rebounded back into the national title picture last season, recording 11 victories, including seven in SEC play.
Injuries have ravaged the Florida lineup in 2013, with quarterback Jeff Driskel, running back Matt Jones and defensive tackle Dominique Easley all suffering season-ending injuries.
Even though Muschamp is one year removed from an 11-2 record, should already be on the hot seat?
Should Florida's Will Muschamp be on the Hot Seat?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Is Will Muschamp in any danger of losing his job this offseason? No. But if Florida finishes 2013 at 6-7 or 7-6, he will head into next season on shaky ground. Injuries have played a large role in the Gators’ struggles this season, which is why Muschamp gets somewhat of a pass for this year. Perhaps what’s most puzzling about Florida is the talent on offense. According to 247Sports, the Gators had top-five recruiting classes in 2012 and 2013 and ranked No. 11 overall in 2011. This team has struggled mightily on offense since leading the SEC in yards per game (457.9) in 2009. Florida has ranked 10th or worse in the SEC in total offense in each of the last four years, including last in the conference in 2013. Why hasn’t the talent on offense developed? Even though Muschamp wants to build a team on defense and running the ball, the Gators aren’t getting it done, and the blame has to fall on the coaching staff. Offensive assistants Brent Pease (coordinator) and Tim Davis (line coach) have received the most criticism, and both could be coaching for their job in the final month of the season. The lack of talent development on offense is baffling for a program that recruits at such a high level, and Muschamp’s tenure in Gainesville could hinge on fixing that unit this offseason.
From a share of the SEC East division title to the hot seat in less than a year? Such is life in the nation's toughest football conference, especially if you are the head coach at a school used to competing not only for conference tiles, but national ones too. Gator fans no doubt are not enjoying watching their team struggle while former head coach Urban Meyer is in the midst of a 21-game winning streak at Ohio State. In Muschamp's defense, he doesn't have Braxton Miller as his quarterback (or even Kenny Guiton for that matter), as Jeff Driskel was lost for the season after just three games. The defense also has suffered some key injuries and the end result is a Florida team that is at .500 entering November. Bowl eligibility shouldn't be a problem, not with games against Georgia Southern and Vanderbilt remaining, but Muschamp really could use a win against South Carolina or in-state rival Florida State to take some of the pressure off of him. I don't think Muschamp should be on the hot seat, not with all of the injuries he's had to deal with this season, but it's never a good thing when Gator fans start referring to you as "Ron Zook 2.0" either.
Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Right now, no. Will Muschamp is only a year removed from winning 11 games at Florida and coming close to winning the SEC East. Muschamp’s SEC record (13-9) doesn’t look good, especially when it’s compared to Ron Zook’s (16-8) record during his three seasons in Gainesville. Overall, Muschamp hasn’t had enough success. But the results in 2012 show he can win at a high level at Florida. The Gators have been tormented by injuries this season, which have kept Florida from being able to compete with the best teams in the conference. The roster just isn’t good enough right now with so many players missing. But there won’t be any excuses next season. Muschamp will go through the offseason on every hot seat list in the country. He will be expected to have it all turned around by next year. If he doesn’t, the hot seat talk will be more than fair.
With 10 weeks in the books, college football’s bowl picture is starting to clear.
The third release of the BCS standings saw another change at the top. Florida State passed Oregon for the No. 2 spot behind Alabama. However, if both teams win out, the Ducks should pass the Seminoles and play in the national championship.
For now, we project Oregon to edge Florida State for the No. 2 spot. However, there’s a month to play and upsets and changes at the top of the BCS standings will happen.
Even though teams like Texas A&M, LSU and Wisconsin are out of the national title picture, the next month of the season will be important for their hopes of earning an appearance as an at-large team in the BCS. The Badgers rank No. 24 in the latest BCS standings and should be favored to win their final four games. However, coach Gary Andersen’s team needs some help, especially with Clemson having an opportunity for a marquee win (and BCS positioning) against South Carolina in the season finale. Big Ten foe Michigan State is also in the mix for an at-large spot, with the Spartans improving to No. 17 in the BCS standings.
West Virginia worked its way back into the bowl projections after beating TCU on Saturday. With games against Kansas and Iowa State remaining, the Mountaineers should be able to get to six victories.
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 10 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 10 weeks of action. Expect more changes over the next few weeks. With several teams projected to be right around the six-win mark, more at-large spots in bowls should open in the next month.
A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Maryland and Syracuse from BCS conferences. And Texas State, UTSA, Buffalo, Bowling Green, ULM, Arkansas State and Troy from the non-BCS ranks.
College Football's Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections for 2013
|New Mexico||Dec. 21||Pac-12 vs. MWC||Colo. State vs. Oregon State|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 21||MAC vs. MWC||UNLV vs. Ball State|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 21||Pac-12 vs. MWC||Boise State vs. USC|
|New Orleans||Dec. 21||Sun Belt vs. CUSA||UL Lafayette vs. Tulane|
|Beef 'O' Brady's||Dec. 23||American vs. CUSA||Ohio* vs. MTSU|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||MWC vs. CUSA||SJSU vs. Rice|
|Little Caesars Pizza||Dec. 26||MAC vs. Big Ten||No. Illinois vs. North Carolina*|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 26||Army vs. MWC||SDSU vs. Utah*|
|Military||Dec. 27||CUSA vs. ACC||E. Carolina vs. Boston College|
|Texas||Dec. 27||Big 12 vs. Big Ten||K-State vs. Iowa|
|Fight Hunger||Dec. 27||BYU vs. Pac-12||BYU vs. Arizona|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||American vs. Big 12||Rutgers vs. West Virginia|
|Belk||Dec. 28||American vs. ACC||Houston vs. Duke|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||American vs. ACC||Louisville vs. Miami|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Dec. 28||Big 12 vs. Big Ten||Texas vs. Nebraska|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 30||MWC vs. Navy||Navy vs. Utah State|
|Music City||Dec. 30||ACC vs. SEC||Ga. Tech vs. Ole Miss|
|Alamo||Dec. 30||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Oklahoma State vs. UCLA|
|Holiday||Dec. 30||Pac-12 vs. Big 12||Arizona State vs. Texas Tech|
|AdvoCare V100||Dec. 31||ACC vs. SEC||Pittsburgh vs. Vanderbilt|
|Sun||Dec. 31||Pac-12 vs. ACC||Va. Tech vs. Washington|
|Liberty||Dec. 31||SEC vs. CUSA||Tennessee vs. Marshall|
|Chick-fil-A||Dec. 31||SEC vs. ACC||Clemson vs. Auburn|
|Gator||Jan. 1||SEC vs. Big Ten||Georgia vs. Minnesota|
|Heart of Dallas||Jan. 1||Big Ten vs. CUSA||North Texas vs. Notre Dame*|
|Outback||Jan. 1||SEC vs. Big Ten||Michigan vs. Missouri|
|Capital One||Jan. 1||SEC vs. Big Ten||Mich. State vs. S. Carolina|
|Rose||Jan. 1||BCS vs. BCS||Ohio State vs. Stanford|
|Fiesta||Jan. 1||BCS vs. BCS||Fresno State vs. Baylor|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||BCS vs. BCS||Texas A&M vs. UCF|
|Cotton||Jan. 3||SEC vs. Big 12||LSU vs. Oklahoma|
|Orange||Jan. 3||BCS vs. BCS||Florida State vs. Wisconsin|
|BBVA Compass||Jan. 4||SEC vs. American||Florida vs. Cincinnati|
|GoDaddy||Jan. 5||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Toledo vs. Western Kentucky|
|National Title||Jan. 6||BCS vs. BCS||Alabama 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
ACC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
College Football Week 10 Recap
Stats to Know from Week 10
College football’s coach on the hot seat carousel took an odd turn last week, as FAU’s Carl Pelini resigned over illegal drug use. Pelini’s resignation was the fourth coaching change of 2013, and the first since Miami (Ohio) parted ways with Don Treadwell.
Pelini’s dismissal certainly won’t be the last opening of 2013, but the carousel has been surprisingly quiet. But with several high-profile jobs hanging in the balance, December could see several changes among BCS jobs.
Eastern Michigan’s Ron English ranks as the No. 1 coach in Athlon’s hot seat rankings after Week 10. English has perhaps the toughest job in college football, but the Eagles have failed to make much progress under his watch.
Virginia’s Mike London ranks as the top coach from a BCS conference in this week’s hot seat watch. London has received the vote of confidence from his athletic director, but can he survive a 2-10 record? The Cavaliers made a bowl and finished 8-5 in London’s second season (2011). However, Virginia is just 6-15 over the last two years and is likely headed for a 2-10 finish.
After a last-second Hail Mary touchdown pass to beat Northwestern, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini slides down the hot seat rankings this week. Was the win over the Wildcats enough to save Pelini’s job? It’s possible, but let’s consider the Cornhuskers’ remaining schedule: at Michigan, Michigan State, at Penn State and Iowa. Getting to 8-4 or 9-3 should be enough for Pelini to save his job. However, a 7-5 or 6-6 finish would spell trouble.
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
|1||Ron English||1-8||Only two wins over FBS teams in last two years.|
|2||Mike London||2-7||2-10 finish appears likely for Cavaliers.|
|3||Charlie Weis||2-6||Jayhawks likely headed for winless Big 12 season.|
|4||Norm Chow||0-8||Warriors have allowed at least 30 points in every game.|
|5||Charley Molnar||1-8||Minutemen had no answer for Jordan Lynch.|
|7||Tim Beckman||3-5||Fighting Illini's struggles in Big Ten play continue.|
|8||Dan Enos||3-5||CMU has been off since Oct. 19.|
|9||Bo Pelini||6-2||Hail Mary TD a job saver for Pelini?|
|11||Garrick McGee||2-6||Blazers play Marshall and ECU in back-to-back games.|
|12||Dana Holgorsen||4-5||Win over TCU was huge for bowl hopes.|
|13||Kevin Wilson||3-5||Hoosiers need upset to play in a bowl.|
|16||Dave Christensen||4-4||Will defensive coordinator change help?|
|23||Dan Mullen||4-4||Five turnovers too much to overcome.|
|27||Will Muschamp||4-4||Will the Gators make a bowl game?|
|28||Bob Davie||2-6||Davie needs time to rebuild at New Mexico.|
|30||Paul Haynes||2-8||Disappointing year for Golden Flashes.|
|31||Joey Jones||3-5||All five losses have been by a touchdown or less.|
|34||Jim Grobe||4-5||WR Michael Campanaro a big loss for Wake.|
|39||Kyle Flood||5-3||Good rebound game by QB Gary Nova.|
|40||Matt Rhule||1-8||Temple playing better in recent weeks.|
|42||Terry Bowden||3-7||Zips making slow progress under Bowden.|
|48||Trent Miles||0-9||GSU making progress in Miles' first season.|
|50||Paul Chryst||4-4||Panthers have to protect QB Tom Savage better.|
|51||Willie Taggart||2-6||Bulls have found a QB in Mike White.|
|52||Bryan Harsin||4-4||Red Wolves still in mix for bowl.|
|55||Scott Shafer||4-4||Bowl hopes still alive with win over Wake Forest.|
|57||Brady Hoke||6-2||Wolverines simply dominated by Michigan State.|
|61||Larry Fedora||3-5||Tar Heels in good position to make bowl game.|
|67||Frank Beamer||6-3||Hokies need win over Miami to stay in Coastal mix.|
|74||Jerry Kill||7-2||Kill and Claeys have Golden Gophers on a roll.|
|77||Mike MacIntyre||3-5||Buffaloes more competitive under MacIntyre.|
|82||Larry Coker||4-5||Coker doing a great job of building UTSA.|
|104||Pat Fitzgerald||4-5||Injuries taking a toll on the Wildcats.|
|113||Bill Snyder||4-4||Wildcats seem to be putting the pieces together.|
|NR||Brian Wright||1-0||FAU could finish 6-6 this year.|
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With Northwestern needing two more wins to get bowl eligible, the Nov. 16 game against Michigan will be huge for its postseason hopes.
And the Wildcats will play that game with a new uniform combination, which helps to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
Here’s a look at the uniform combination Northwestern will wear on Nov. 16 against the Wolverines:
#B1GCats Football (@NUFBFamily) November 4, 2013
Following the game, uniforms will be auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. pic.twitter.com/l2Pg1SAiwB— #B1GCats Football (@NUFBFamily) November 4, 2013
With 10 weeks in the books, Florida State has clearly separated itself from the rest of the ACC. The Seminoles have dominated the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in Athlon’s weekly ACC power rankings and jumped into the No. 2 spot in the release of the latest BCS standings.
After Florida State, Clemson and Miami are entrenched as the next two teams. The Tigers have an edge over the Hurricanes.
Georgia Tech and Duke are set as the No. 4 and No. 5 teams, but after that is anyone’s guess.
Boston College was dominated by North Carolina last Saturday, but the Eagles rebounded with a win over Virginia Tech in Week 10. Despite Boston College’s loss to the Tar Heels, we give a slight nod to the Eagles for the No. 6 spot over North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Syracuse makes a small jump in the rankings after beating Wake Forest 13-0.
ACC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings
|1||1||Florida State (8-0, 6-0): The Seminoles continued to distance themselves from the rest of the ACC with an impressive 41-14 victory over Miami. Quarterback Jameis Winston tossed two picks, which led to the Hurricanes only scores of the night. However, Winston finished with 325 passing yards and one touchdown, while running back Devonta Freeman recorded 176 total yards and three touchdowns. Florida State limited Miami’s offense to just 4.8 yards per play and only 120 yards in the second half. Both sides of the ball were impressive for coach Jimbo Fisher, and there’s a good chance these two teams rematch in Charlotte for the ACC title in early December. The Seminoles have an easy path to 11-0 with Wake Forest, Syracuse and Idaho up next. And then there’s the rivalry game against Florida on Nov. 30 which is the biggest obstacle left in the regular season. Next Week: at Wake Forest|
|2||2||Clemson (8-1, 6-1): As expected, the Tigers had little trouble in a 59-10 win over Virginia. The offense gashed the Cavaliers for 610 yards, and the defense held a struggling Virginia offense to 277 yards. Clemson averaged 6.9 yards per play, with quarterback Tajh Boyd throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers’ defense held the Cavaliers to 10 three and outs and forced three turnovers. Overall, it was a complete performance for Clemson, and coach Dabo Swinney has his team playing at a high level entering the bye week. After the bye, the Tigers host Georgia Tech and Citadel, then play rival South Carolina in the finale. Next Week: Bye Week|
|3||3||Miami (7-1, 3-1): The Hurricanes dropped their first game of the year, losing 41-14 in Tallahassee to Florida State. Miami held its own (sort of) for a half, but the offense managed its only scores after picking up two turnovers. The Hurricanes’ offense never sustained a drive for a score in the second half and was limited to 4.8 yards per play. Miami’s defense forced only one punt and recorded only one sack on Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. Despite the loss, the Hurricanes are in the driver’s seat to win the Coastal Division. However, they will have to do it without running back Duke Johnson, who suffered a broken ankle against the Seminoles and is out for the rest of the season. Next Week: Virginia Tech|
|4||4||Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2): The Yellow Jackets earned their third consecutive victory with an efficient 21-10 win over Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech’s offense generated 360 yards, with 276 coming on the ground. Running back David Sims led the team with 94 yards, while Robert Godhigh was the big-play threat, averaging 14.8 yards per carry. The Yellow Jackets held the Panthers to 228 total yards and sacked quarterback Tom Savage five times. Georgia Tech’s win over Pittsburgh ensured the Yellow Jackets would be bowl eligible for the 17th consecutive season. Next Week: Bye Week|
|5||5||Duke (6-2, 2-2): The Blue Devils had a bye in Week 10 and return to action next Saturday against NC State. Duke has two ACC losses, but coach David Cutcliffe’s team is still alive in the Coastal Division, especially with a game against Miami remaining on Nov. 16. Next Week: NC State|
|6||9||Boston College (4-4, 2-3): After Duke, the next three spots in the power rankings are up for grabs. Boston College lost one week ago to North Carolina, but the Eagles deserve a bump after beating Virginia Tech. First-year coach Steve Addazio continued his impressive debut with the Eagles’ 34-27 victory over Virginia Tech. Boston College’s offense recorded only 289 yards, but the Eagles scored 17 points off four Hokies’ turnovers, which was just enough for Addazio’s team. Running back Andre Williams posted another strong effort, gashing one of the ACC’s best defenses for 166 yards and two scores on 33 attempts. The Eagles need just two wins to get bowl eligible, which should be attainable with New Mexico State, NC State, Maryland and Syracuse remaining. Next Week: at New Mexico State|
|7||6||Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2): The blame for back-to-back losses for the Hokies has to fall on the offense. In Saturday’s loss against Boston College, Virginia Tech had no trouble moving the ball (446 yards, 6.4 yards per play). However, the Hokies had four turnovers and managed only 55 yards on the ground. Quarterback Logan Thomas has six interceptions in his last two games, which is problematic for an offense that isn’t built to score 30 points a game. The Hokies aren’t out of the Coastal Division title mix, but Thomas and the offense has to quickly figure things out with a trip to Miami on Saturday night. Next Week: at Miami|
|8||8||North Carolina (3-5, 2-3): For the first time since 2005-06, the Tar Heels have a two-game winning streak over their in-state rival. Saturday’s victory over NC State didn’t start out according to plan, as North Carolina fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter. But the Tar Heels battled and took the lead for good with just under 10 minutes to go in the second quarter. The two-quarterback system of Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams combined to complete 23 of 37 passes, with tight end Eric Ebron serving as the main target (nine caches for 70 yards). The Tar Heels’ defense stepped up in the second half, holding NC State to three possessions of three yards or fewer in the final two quarters. Next Week: Virginia|
|9||7||Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-3): The Panthers lost 21-10 to Georgia Tech on Saturday, giving Pittsburgh its first losing streak of 2013. Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled in recent weeks, scoring only 20 points once in its last four games. Quarterback Tom Savage completed 25 of 37 throws for 233 yards against the Yellow Jackets, but the senior was sacked five times and tossed one pick. The rushing attack never got on track, as Georgia Tech held the Panthers to -5 yards on 21 attempts. One bright spot for Pittsburgh was defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who recorded 11 tackles (six for a loss) and two forced fumbles. Next Week: Notre Dame|
|10||12||Syracuse (4-4, 2-2): The Orange scored a key victory for their bowl hopes, defeating Wake Forest 13-0 on Saturday. Quarterback Terrel Hunt guided an efficient offense (4.6 yards per play), as he completed 18 of 30 throws for 144 yards. Syracuse averaged 4.1 yards per carry, with Prince-Tyson Gulley leading the way with 85 yards on 13 attempts. The Orange defense pitched their second shutout of the year and held Wake Forest to just 213 yards. After a 56-0 loss to Georgia Tech two weeks ago, Saturday’s 13-0 win was a solid rebound effort by Syracuse. Next Week: at Maryland|
|11||10||Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4): The Demon Deacons’ bowl hopes took a hit with a 13-0 loss at Syracuse. And the loss was costly from the injury department, as receiver Michael Campanaro suffered a broken collarbone against the Orange and is likely to miss the rest of the regular season. With Campanaro sidelined, Wake Forest struggled to get anything going on offense. The Demon Deacons finished with just 213 yards (three yards per play) and only one drive in the second half went longer than 20 yards (23). Next Week: Florida State|
|12||11||Maryland (5-3, 1-3): The Terrapins had a much-needed off date in Week 10. After a 4-0 start, Maryland is just 1-3 in its last four games. The Terrapins have been outscored 74-37 in their last two contests. Injuries have ravaged the offense, including top receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. Maryland should be able to get to a bowl, but it certainly won’t be easy with the injuries on both sides of the ball. Next Week: Syracuse|
|13||13||NC State (3-5, 0-5): The Wolfpack jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but North Carolina rallied to take home a 27-19 victory and bragging rights within the state until next year’s game. NC State’s offense got a spark from quarterback Brandon Mitchell on the ground (105 yards), but the senior struggled through the air (two interceptions, 130 yards). Momentum in the first half also shifted after NC State had a fake punt that was stopped for a loss of a yard on the 30-yard line, which allowed the Tar Heels a short field on a touchdown drive. The Wolfpack has lost four out of their last five games and still need three wins to get bowl eligible. With matchups against Duke, Boston College, East Carolina and Maryland remaining, the postseason isn’t out of the question for NC State. However, this team has to get more from Mitchell in the passing game in future weeks. Next Week: at Duke|
|14||14||Virginia (2-7, 0-5): The Cavaliers dropped their six consecutive game with a 59-10 defeat against Clemson. With a struggling offense, Virginia couldn’t afford to fall behind early. The Tigers jumped out to a 35-7 lead by halftime, which was simply too much for coach Mike London’s team to overcome. The final stat sheet wasn’t pretty for Virginia, as the Cavaliers’ offense managed only 277 total yards (3.3 yards per play), and the defense allowed 610 to Clemson. After recording 16 plays on its first two drives, Virginia had nine straight possessions of five plays or less. The Cavaliers are still looking for their first win in ACC action, and with North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech remaining, coach Mike London’s team is staring at a 2-10 final record. Next Week: at North Carolina|
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.
• 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.