Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/byu-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

BYU’s third season of independence features its most difficult schedule.

The Cougars play seven bowl teams from last season, including BCS bowl teams in Wisconsin and Notre Dame. BYU also takes on rival Utah in early September and an improving Virginia team in Week 1.

BYU returns 11 starters, including All-America linebacker Kyle Van Noy and rising star Taysom Hill at quarterback. The Cougars have a new offensive staff, which features the return of Robert Anae as coordinator.

If the Cougars improve on offense, the defense is strong enough to push for nine victories in 2013. 

What will BYU's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 


BYU's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

 

Game Steven
 Lassan
 Braden
 Gall
 Mark
 Ross
Jeremy
Mauss
David
Fox
8/31 at Virginia
9/7 Texas
9/21 Utah
9/27 MTSU
10/4 at Utah State
10/12 Georgia Tech
10/19 at Houston
10/25 Boise State
11/9 at Wisconsin
11/16 Idaho State
11/23 at Notre Dame
11/30 at Nevada
Final Projection  7-5   7-5   8-4   7-58-4


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The Cougars have a challenging, yet manageable slate. The first three games of the year will be a tough way for an offense with a new coordinator and quarterback to begin the season. However, BYU’s defense should still be solid despite the return of only four starters - especially with All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy back in Provo - and will keep this team in every game until the offense has a chance to find its footing. The schedule lightens just a bit in the second half of the season, as games against Houston, Idaho State and Nevada are more manageable than matchups against BCS foes.

If the offense improves, I can see BYU finishing with an 8-4 or even a 9-3 mark. The road opener against Virginia, the Holy War showdown against Utah and the Oct. 12 date against Georgia Tech are the biggest swing games on the schedule. The matchup against the Utes was a tossup, but I gave a slight edge to Utah since it has won four out of the last five in that series.  


Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Bronco Mendenhall has posted an 18-8 record over the last two seasons and has five 10-win campaigns in his last seven years. Quietly one of the better coached teams in the nation, BYU has survived independence. Can that continue this year, however, with massive college football blue bloods (Texas, Notre Dame, Wisconsin), solid tier two programs (Georgia Tech, Virginia, Utah) and elite mid-majors (Boise State, Houston, Nevada) dotting nearly every week of the schedule? There are maybe two or three sure-fire wins on this impossible slate but only two or three sure-fire losses. It will be a year of swing games for the disciplined Cougars and new star quarterback Taysom Hill.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Always tough picking games in July for a team hoping its rising star quarterback (Taysom Hill) will take the next step. I feel like we just did this with Jake Heaps. Anyhow, Hill and the new offensive approach are going to be the keys for BYU because the defense is going to be OK. If Robert Anae’s return to the coaching staff isn’t the answer, BYU may have more games like the 6-3 win over Utah State and 7-6 loss to Boise State last year. On top of the questions for BYU, two of the biggest swing games -- Utah State and Nevada -- feature new coaches. Those are big questions. For BYU, eight wins seems pretty safe for a program that rarely falls below that mark.


Jeremy Mauss, (@JeremyMauss), Mountain West Connection

BYU is in their third year of independence, and the schedule is much improved over the first two years. The Cougars have ridded themselves of WAC teams from the schedule, and in 2013 have one of their toughest schedules in school history.

While the first half of the Cougars schedule is difficult, it does set up nice for them to have a good start, as their first seven are winnable, even the home opener against Texas. 2013 will also be the last time that BYU will be playing Utah before the Holy War takes a brief hiatus, and the Cougars will be looking to stop their three-game losing streak to the Utes.

There are so many toss up games this season for BYU that it is possible that they could win as few as four games or could reach the double-digit mark. BYU's ultimate success will be determined by the uptempo offense brought in by new offensive coordinator Robert Anae.


Mark Ross 
As an Independent, BYU has one of the most intriguing schedules in the nation. Games with Boise State, Georgia Tech, Texas and of course, Utah, highlight the home slate, while road games at Notre Dame and Virginia are intriguing for different reasons. Even with a fairly difficult schedule like this, I like the talent the Cougars have on offense and defense and believe they have a legitimate shot at eight wins before bowl season. The key games related to this goal will be against the Utes and Yellow Jackets at home and the Cavaliers, Aggies and Wolf Pack on the road.

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Teaser:
BYU Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 12:16
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Maryland Terrapins, College Football, News
Path: /college-football/maryland-adds-houston-transfer-zeke-riser
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With the departure of A.J. Francis and first-team All-ACC selection Joe Vellano, Maryland’s defensive line has some holes to fill for 2013. The Terrapins are regaining the services of Andre Monroe, who missed all of 2012 due to a knee injury, but the line is still a concern for coordinator Brian Stewart.

However, it appears the Terrapins have some help on the way in the form of Houston transfer Zeke Riser. Stewart coached Riser in Houston in 2011, and his familiarity with Maryland’s 3-4 defense will be an advantage to easing the transition to College Park for 2013. Riser is eligible to play in 2013 after graduating from Houston in December.

In three seasons with the Cougars, Riser recorded 91 tackles and eight sacks. The senior isn’t expected to start, but he should provide valuable depth to a line that will miss Vellano and Francis in 2013. With the losses on the defensive line, this is a good move for Maryland. Riser may not be a star, but he can certainly help a defensive line that played a key role in finishing second in the ACC in rushing yards allowed last year.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 11:54
Path: /college-football/georgia-state-releases-new-uniforms-2013
Body:

Behind new coach Trent Miles, Georgia State is set to make its FBS debut in 2013.

The Panthers went 1-10 last year on the FCS level but return 12 starters, including standout receiver Albert Wilson.

While it will take some time for Miles and his staff to build Georgia State into a Sun Belt title contender, what better way to begin play on the FBS level than new uniforms?

The Panthers recently debuted their new look for 2013, and the redesigned uniforms look sharp.

Image below from Georgia State's official football site. Check out the full gallery of Georgia State's new uniforms.
 

Teaser:
Georgia State Releases New Uniforms for 2013
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: LSU Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/lsu-rb-jeremy-hills-fight-video-released
Body:

LSU’s Jeremy Hill had a standout freshman season, rushing for 755 yards and 12 scores on 142 attempts. The Baton Rouge native was supposed to be one of the top running backs in the SEC for 2013, but his status for the upcoming year remains in doubt.

The sophomore was involved in an off-the-field incident in April, and he pleaded guilty on Friday to simple battery. Hill was hit with two years of probation, but he is already on probation for an incident that occurred in high school in 2010.

According to NOLA.com, Hill will have a probation review on Aug. 16, and more about the sophomore’s status for 2013 could be known after that hearing.

After Friday’s sentencing, the video from Hill’s April fight was released. The short clip shows the running back punching someone in the parking lot of a bar, which is baffling considering Hill did not appear to be involved in the initial breakout of the fight.

Needless to say, coach Les Miles will probably hand out a suspension before Hill is allowed to return to the team. 


Warning: Video contains graphic language
 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 08:35
All taxonomy terms: LSU Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/lsu-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Zach MettenbergerLSU was considered one of the favorites to win the national title last season, but the Tigers came up just short, finishing 10-3 overall with two losses in SEC play by eight points or less.

Even though LSU didn’t win the SEC West or play for the national championship, 2012 marked the third consecutive season the Tigers have won at least 10 or more games.

And even with a handful of players departing from last year’s team, the cupboard is far from bare in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have recruited among the best in the nation, so talent won’t be an issue in 2013. However, coach Les Miles and his staff will have to quickly blend some new faces into the lineup, especially with the season opener against TCU and a key conference game on Sept. 28 at Georgia.

What will LSU's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

LSU's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

 

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
Mark
Ross
SEC
Logo
8/31 TCU (Arlington)
9/7 UAB
9/14 Kent State
9/21 Auburn
9/28 at Georgia
10/5 at Miss. State
10/12 Florida
10/19 at Ole Miss
10/26 Furman
11/9 at Alabama
11/23 Texas A&M
11/30 Arkansas
Final Projection9-38-48-49-310-29-3


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The off week situation makes me want to pick LSU to upset Alabama on the road or Texas A&M at home. LSU gets a bye before Alabama, then a bye after the Tide into the game against the Aggies. I picked against LSU in both, but I’d likely change my tune if we see the same old dominant defense and a more consistent Zach Mettenberger in the first two months of the season. But before LSU gets big eyes to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa again, they need to see how the Tigers fare against Florida and Ole Miss. The game between LSU and Florida may end up being the obligatory SEC game with a 7-3 final. Ole Miss has a ton of momentum, but are the Rebels the kind of team that’s going to beat LSU? I don’t know yet.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Even with all of the new faces stepping into the lineup, LSU is still a threat to contend for 10 wins and a BCS bowl. The Tigers have one of the toughest crossover schedules in the SEC, as they play at Georgia on Sept. 28 and host Florida on Oct. 12. The Bulldogs and Gators could both be preseason top-10 teams when they play LSU. A key swing game to watch will be the Oct. 19 matchup against Ole Miss, which comes one week after a home date against Florida.

Much of LSU’s season will hinge on the hire of Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator and quarterback Zach Mettenberger. With a solid offensive line and stable of running backs, it’s up to Mettenberger to take the offense to the next level. And while the defense is breaking in eight new starters, there’s very little reason to expect a drop off with John Chavis calling the plays.

If the transition goes as planned, 10 wins isn’t out of the question for Miles’ team. But much of LSU’s 2013 SEC West title hopes will rest on the right arm of Mettenberger and how the Tigers navigate a difficult crossover schedule. 

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
LSU has turned into an underrated team in the SEC thanks to the attention surrounding rivals Alabama and Texas A&M. LSU has to replace several key players from last year’s defense, but the Tigers have plenty of talent remaining for defensive coordinator John Chavis. Still, I predict a 9-3 record for LSU. Back-to-back games against Alabama and Texas A&M (with a bye week in between) will be key. LSU will likely find itself in the SEC championship game if it manages to win both of those games.

Mark Ross

LSU lost a lot of talent on defense and has plenty of questions on offense, starting with its quarterback, but some way, some how, Les Miles usually finds a way to get nine or more wins. I think this year's Tigers will match that benchmark, thanks to a couple of scheduling breaks, if you will. The season opener against TCU won't be a cakewalk, but LSU won't have to worry about stopping the Horned Frogs' best defender, Devonte Fields, as he will miss this game due to suspension. The road games at Georgia and Alabama will be extremely tough, but Florida and Texas A&M both have to come to Death Valley, and you have to figure at least one, if not both of these, will be at night. As long as LSU doesn't slip up against Mississippi State on the road, this team should have a shot at 10 wins in the regular season. Unfortunately, that probably won't be enough to wind up in Atlanta for the SEC title game, but it could keep Miles' squad in the BCS conversation.


Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Youth and inexperience in the front seven, mediocre quarterback play and the toughest schedule in the league means that LSU won't be competing for an SEC title this year. In fact, it will have to win key swing games with Florida, TCU and Mississippi State to get to eight wins. Road trips to Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss and a home game with Texas A&M give the Bayou Bengals arguably the toughest schedule in the league this fall. And with a head coach who has a track record of making in-game mistakes and tinkering with his offense, that doesn't bode well. This defense is talented but will be much better in 2014.


SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
LSU has arguably the hardest schedule in the entire nation.  The question, which Zach Mettenberger will answer the call?  Is it the one who threw 0 TD, 0 INT and 169 passing yards versus Auburn, or the one who threw 1 TD, 0 INT and 298 passing yards versus Alabama?  Two different games and two completely different QB’s.  But hey, it doesn't hurt to have a bye week before Texas A&M and Alabama. (Raise your hand if you are still freaked out seeing 2 bye weeks on an SEC schedule)  Fact:  Les Miles has never lost more than 5 games in his 12 years as a head coach.  Name to remember:  Odell Beckham  


Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
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SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
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Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Offensive Lines
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/west-virginia-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

West Virginia’s Big 12 debut was a roller-coaster ride in 2012.
 

The Mountaineers started 5-0 and appeared to be the favorite to win the Big 12 after a 48-45 victory at Texas on Oct. 6. However, the season went downhill from there.

West Virginia dropped its next five games to fall to 5-5, before defeating Kansas and Iowa State to finish 7-5. The Mountaineers capped off their Big 12 debut with a 38-14 loss at the hands of Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl.

With quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey departing, West Virginia is starting over on offense. Transfers Clint Trickett (quarterback) and Charles Sims (running back) should help to bolster the offense, but the defense still has question marks. After ranking 114th nationally in points allowed, the Mountaineers need major improvement from this unit to get bowl eligible in 2013. 


What will West Virginia's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

West Virginia's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
Chris
Williams
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
8/31 William & Mary
9/7 at Oklahoma
9/14 Georgia State
9/21 Maryland (Baltimore)
9/28 Oklahoma State
10/5 at Baylor
10/19 Texas Tech
10/26 at K-State
11/2 at TCU
11/9 Texas
11/16 at Kansas
11/29 Iowa State
Final Projection 6-6  5-7   4-8   6-66-6

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Considering West Virginia went 7-6 last year and loses its three best players, getting to a bowl game in 2013 will be a tough assignment. There are only two guaranteed wins on the Mountaineers’ schedule – Georgia State and William & Mary – and a handful of swing games, which include a neutral site matchup against Maryland and a home game against Iowa State on Nov. 29. West Virginia will also face an improved Kansas team on Nov. 16 and has four road games in Big 12 play against TCU, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma. I think the Mountaineers will get better as the season progresses, and the addition of Houston transfer Charles Sims adds another playmaker to the offense. For West Virginia to go bowling, it needs to pickup at least three wins in Big 12 play and beat Maryland on Sept. 21. It’s not going to be easy, but I think the Mountaineers find a way to get to 6-6.  

Related: College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
This team got some good news this offseason in the form of transfers Charles Sims and Clint Trickett. Sims will be a difference maker in the dynamic mold of Tavon Austin and should fit the Mountaineers offensive scheme perfectly. In fact, even with a new quarterback, this offense should be just fine. It is the defense that should be concerning after allowing nearly 40 points per game a year ago. There are plenty of experienced sophomores, so that should help West Virginia in Year No. 2 of Big 12 play. However, the road slate is daunting as the Mountaineers may only win one or two games away from Morgantown all season. An upset of Texas or Oklahoma State at home could dramatically change the narrative of this fall for WVU. 

 

Chris Williams, (@ChrisMWilliams), CycloneFanatic.com
West Virginia went 4-5 in its debut year in the Big 12 with Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey powering the nation’s 9th-best scoring offense.

The above trio is long gone along with three linemen and two other wide receivers out of the mix offensively as well.

Sure, the Big 12 has been and always will be an offense-first league. But as West Virginia and Baylor both proved last year, when your defense is as soft as a piece of wet tissue paper, you can only win so many football games.

West Virginia’s defense gave up 43.3 points per game in Big 12 play last season and while that number should improve this year under new coordinator Keith Patterson, the thought of that number dropping enough to compensate for the substantial losses on offense is hard to imagine, even with a more favorable travel schedule at hand.

I see a Sept. 21 road trip to Maryland as a major swing game for West Virginia. The Mountaineers proved last season that while they have Big 12 talent, they do not have Big 12 depth so stockpiling wins and going 3-0 in a non-conference with additional puff games against Williams & Mary and Georgia State is critical.

Big 12 games vs. Texas Tech, at Kansas and Iowa State are all toss-ups and important ones if this program wants to bowling in 2013. However, I just don’t see that happening. 



David Fox (@DavidFox615)
West Virginia is full of questions on both sides of the ball, so it’s going to be tough for the Mountaineers to build any sort of consistency. The schedule doesn’t do any favors, either. The Mountaineers’ season derailed not just because of a lackluster defense and an offense that had its cold snaps. I have to believe that those back-to-back trips to Austin and Lubbock to start October and then a double-overtime game to start November took its toll. West Virginia may find answers on offense, especially with Houston transfer Charles Sims, but it’s still tough to see the Mountaineers stealing wins on the road against Oklahoma, Baylor or TCU or beating Oklahoma State or Texas in Morgantown. The swing games are going to have to be against Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State and Maryland.

Mark Ross
West Virginia finished in the top 10 in the nation in scoring, passing and total offense last season yet went 7-6. To make matters worse, basically all of that offensive firepower is now in the NFL, which means the Dana Holgorsen and his staff is pretty much starting over from scratch. The reasonable goal for the Mountaineers this season is bowl eligibility, and this likely will come down to three games: a border battle with Maryland in Baltimore and Big 12 contests with Texas Tech and Iowa State. Barring an upset elsewhere, the Mountaineers need to go 3-0 in these games to go bowling, and I believe they will come up just short.

Related College Football Content

Big 12 Predictions for 2013
Big 12 2013 All-Conference Team
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
Five Ways to Fix Texas Football
Casey Pachall's Return is a Huge Boost for TCU
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, July 12, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/tennessee-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

After recording four seasons of at least 10 victories from 2000-07, Tennessee has failed to win more than seven games in each of the last five years. The Volunteers were slowed by having three head coaches in three years, and Derek Dooley’s decision to switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme backfired drastically in 2012.

Tennessee must replace three standout offensive players, but this team should have a chance to get bowl eligible in 2013. The defense can’t be any worse than it was last year, and the offense can afford to lean on its offensive line and rushing attack until Justin Worley, Joshua Dobbs or Nathan Peterman is ready at quarterback.

The schedule isn’t very forgiving, as Tennessee must play five potential top-10 teams in Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

With very little margin for error on the schedule, a 6-6 record would be a good debut for Butch Jones in Knoxville. 

What will Tennessee's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Tennessee's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
SEC
Logo
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
8/31 Austin Peay
9/7 Western
Kentucky
9/14 at Oregon
9/21 at Florida
9/28 South Alabama
10/5 Georgia
10/19 South Carolina
10/26 at Alabama
11/2 at Missouri
11/9 Auburn
11/23 Vanderbilt
11/30 at Kentucky
Final Projection6-65-76-65-75-7 6-6


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Butch Jones has brought some much-needed energy into the Tennessee program, and the Volunteers are on the right track with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for 2014. However, 2013 will be a struggle. Tennessee didn’t get any favors from the SEC on its schedule, which features crossover games against preseason national title favorite Alabama, along with an Auburn team that should show big improvement from last year’s dismal record.


I’m picking Tennessee to finish 6-6, but I could easily see this team finishing 5-7. With the departure of quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, the offense needs to lean heavily on one of the nation’s best offensive lines and a solid one-two punch at running back with Marlin Lane and Rajion Neal. The defense was awful last year but should be better with a switch back to a 4-3 scheme.

Matchups in non-conference play against Austin Peay, Western Kentucky and South Alabama and the SEC finale against Kentucky should be victories. However, games against Missouri, Auburn and Vanderbilt will decide whether or not Tennessee will go bowling. It won’t be easy, but I think the Volunteers find a way to get to 6-6 and return to the postseason in 2013.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Good thing Tennessee opens with Austin Peay and Western Kentucky because it’s going to get ugly in a hurry. Tough to find many teams with tougher back-to-back road trips than Eugene then Gainesville and then a three-game stretch like Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. If Tennessee isn’t completely demoralized by November, the Volunteers can steal some wins late in the schedule. Butch Jones is a positive guy, so that should serve Tennessee well. Missouri’s beatable but too close to that stretch against SEC powers. The return to Auburn is a good chance to salvage something. Tennessee’s young players should have their bearings by then. Vanderbilt at home would be a good rah-rah game that could define the season. I could see that going either way. Tennessee’s going to have to find a bedrock for its team, and it won’t be defense or the passing game. If the Volunteers become a ball control team behind that offensive line, I’d feel a lot better about the Vols stringing together some wins at the end of the year.


Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The offensive line is arguably the best in the nation, and fans can bet that Butch Jones will lean heavily on this group. This is mostly due to little experience elsewhere on the offense, especially the quarterback position. However, this is the one position Jones can impact the most with his offensive design and play-calling. The defense can only be better and has some intriguing pieces returning to all three levels of the unit, in particular, up the middle at tackle, linebacker and safety. The early schedule is extremely daunting with five top-15 teams in the first eight games. The goal will be to make it to November no worse than 3-5 with a shot at four swing games to end the season. This team will be either be much improved from playing so many quality opponents — or it will be battered and bruised.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Tennessee’s main objective is to reach a bowl game. The Vols haven’t been to one since 2010 and have failed to reach the postseason three of the past five years. A key opponent for Tennessee is Vanderbilt, which beat the Vols last season and is trying to become a bigger player for in-state recruits.


SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Let’s compare Tennessee to its other favorite SEC comrade, Alabama.  In the seasons prior to Nick Saban strolling into Tuscaloosa, Mike Shula managed a (10-23) record.  In the last 3 season's Dooley managed (15-21), sound familiar?  Sorry Vols, I will never mention his name again.  Saban lost to Louisiana–Monroe AT HOME and still managed a bowl win his first season.  To me that’s a pretty big goal for a Vols team returning 13 starters (5 offense, 8 defense), new QB, new coach, and new system.  They will move back to the 4-3 on defense after spending 2012 in the 3-4.  Stat to chew on, Tennessee had the worst Red Zone Defense in the SEC last year; opponents came away with points 91.5% of the time.  The season rides on 3 factors:  Justin Worley, Justin Worley, and Defense.  Did I mention Justin Worley? 


Mark Ross
Better days are ahead for Tennessee football with Butch Jones at the helm, but these Volunteers, and the fan base for that matter, better get ready for some growing pains. The trip to Oregon will be an early learning experience and the October slate is just brutal even with two of those games at home. Six wins is a reasonable benchmark for this season, but to get there Tennessee will have to get at least three in conference play. The Volunteers' bowl hopes will most likely rest on how they fare in November, meaning that Nov. 9 home game against Auburn is pretty much a must-win situation.

Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
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Ranking the SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Offensive Lines
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013

 

Teaser:
Tennessee Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 12, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-11
Body:

Under 50 days until kickoff.....

Feel free to contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Thursday, July 11th

Here's an interesting look at the first four seasons of Mississippi State under Dan Mullen, compared to how the Bulldogs fared under Jackie Sherrill from 1997-2000.

Mr. SEC examines five things that will not happen in the SEC this year. And here are five things that will happen in the SEC in 2013.

Saturday Down South ranks the SEC receivers for 2013.

Al.com's Brandon Marcello takes a look at the path to SEC jobs for Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze.

Two Kentucky players were dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules.

Tyree Robinson - one of Oregon's top recruits - is in some legal trouble after an off-the-field incident.

The Big Ten has released its conference schedules for 2016 and 2017.

Are no-huddle offenses really putting players at a greater health risk?

Colorado's athletic department needs to make a few budget cuts to make up for a $7.5 million shortfall. Sidenote: The Buffaloes are trying to raise money for football facility upgrades. 

The American Athletic Conference has agreed to a deal for 2014-19 to send a team to the Military Bowl.

A former Indiana receiver has left FAU due to academic issues.

As the ACC looks to gain a foothold in the New York market, the conference has signed a deal with YES Network will air some football and basketball games this year.

Teaser:
College Football Daily Link Roundup: July 11
Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 16:17
Path: /college-football/black-helmet-south-carolina
Body:

New uniforms, jerseys and helmets are always a summer craze, as teams release the new looks before the start of the upcoming season.
South Carolina wore a black helmet for the 2004 season, but could the Gamecocks bring it back for 2013?

Check out this tweet and photo from (@GamecockEquip) today: 

 


Pretty sharp isn't it?

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 10:48
Path: /college-football/florida-states-2013-sec-championship-ring
Body:

Thanks to former Florida State tackle Menelik Watson, we are finally getting a look at the Seminoles’ 2012 SEC Championship rings. Wait…what?

Watson picked up his championship ring at Florida State on Wednesday, but the ring has a major flaw. Instead of honoring the ACC Championship the Seminoles won, the ring lists Florida State as the SEC champion.
Oops.
Unfortunately for Watson, he appears to be the only player with the error on the ring. However, the school plans on replacing it with a correct ACC designation. 


Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 07:34
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-impact-transfers-2013
Body:

Transfers in college football are always a wildcard when making preseason predictions.

Some transfers have no trouble fitting in to their new home. But some players can take half a season or even longer to get acclimated.

Looking back to 2012, Kansas’ Dayne Crist and Wisconsin’s Danny O’Brien were expected to make a huge impact, but neither quarterback lived up to the preseason hype. On the flip side, Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk and Tulsa quarterback Cody Green made an instant impact.

There’s a plethora of players transferring to a new home in 2013, and with less than 50 days until kickoff, Athlon Sports takes a look at which transfers will make the biggest impact in 2013.


College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013

1. DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida (from Notre Dame)
Lynch was well on his way to becoming one of the nation’s best defensive ends when he decided to transfer from Notre Dame before the 2012 season. In one year in South Bend, Lynch recorded 33 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. With another offseason to work in the weight room, the sophomore is due to have a monster season. He will also have plenty of help from a talented South Florida line, which includes senior Ryne Giddins and tackles Luke Sager and Elkino Watson. Lynch could be one of the nation’s top defenders in 2013 and should be a first-team American Athletic Conference performer.

2. RB Charles Sims, West Virginia (from Houston)
Sims’ decision to leave Houston was a huge setback for the Cougars’ offense and a huge pickup for West Virginia. In three years with Houston, Sims rushed for 2,370 yards and 29 touchdowns, while catching 158 passes for 1,707 yards and eight scores. The senior is stepping into a crowded backfield, but his all-around ability (and excellent speed) should make him a candidate to fill in at running back and also contribute as a receiver. Expect Sims to make plenty of big plays for West Virginia’s offense this year.

3. QB Jake Heaps, Kansas (from BYU)
Heaps was the No. 1 quarterback in the 2010 signing class and started 16 games during his two seasons at BYU. As a freshman, he threw for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns but failed to build on those numbers in 2011, as he was benched in favor of Riley Nelson. There’s no question Heaps should be an upgrade over Kansas’ quarterbacks (Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings) from last season, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to contend for All-Big 12 honors. The Jayhawks also need to upgrade the weapons around Heaps for him to succeed in 2013.

4. QB Drew Allen, Syracuse (from Oklahoma)
With Ryan Nassib expiring his eligibility at the end of last year, Syracuse has a large void to fill under center. The Orange finished spring practice with very little clarity at quarterback, as Terrel Hunt, John Kinder and Charley Loeb all pushed for time. Allen arrived at Syracuse this summer, which should help him get a head start on learning the offense. However, even though Allen might be the most talented quarterback on the roster, he has very little experience. During his three years at Oklahoma, Allen completed only 18 of 30 throws for 160 yards and no touchdowns. Hunt finished the spring with a slight edge, but the competition is just beginning. As a pro-style passer, Allen will be a good fit for Syracuse. However, his lack of experience means there will be a learning curve early in the year.

5. QB Tom Savage, Pittsburgh (from Rutgers)
You have to rewind back to 2010 to find the last time Savage has played in a regular season game. The Pennsylvania native has bounced around over the last few years, after beginning his career with Rutgers in 2009. In two seasons with the Scarlet Knights, Savage threw for 2,732 yards and 16 scores. However, he transferred to Arizona before the 2011 season, only to leave the Wildcats after Rich Rodriguez was hired. Savage sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, but he is slated to replace Tino Sunseri as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback for 2013.

6. RB Brandon Williams, Texas A&M (from Oklahoma)
Williams was one of the nation’s top recruits in 2011, ranking as a five-star recruit by Rivals and the No. 7 running back by ESPN. In his only season at Oklahoma, Williams rushed for 219 yards on 46 carries, including 80 on 11 attempts against Iowa State. The Texas native faces stiff competition for carries in College Station, as Ben Malena returns after rushing for 808 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Texas A&M has one of the deepest backfields in the nation, so Williams won’t be asked to shoulder the entire workload. Expect a committee approach in Aggieland, but Williams will be another weapon for Texas A&M’s dangerous offense.

7. QB/WR Brandon Mitchell, NC State (from Arkansas)
Mitchell was a late pickup for Dave Doeren’s team, as he chose to leave Arkansas after spring practice. In three years with the Razorbacks, he completed 25 of 43 passes for 332 yards and three scores and caught 17 passes for 272 yards. Mitchell’s athletic ability is a good fit in NC State’s spread offense, but he will have to quickly learn the scheme, as Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker have the edge in practice reps at quarterback from this spring. Even if Mitchell doesn’t win the starting job, he can help NC State’s offense as a receiver or as a change-of-pace running quarterback.

8. OT Max Garcia, Florida (from Maryland)
The Gators are counting on Garcia and junior college (and former Nebraska player) Tyler Moore to bolster the offensive line in 2013. Garcia started 12 games at left tackle for Maryland in 2011 but is expected to slide to left guard this fall. At 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, Garcia should give Florida some added toughness in the trenches for 2013.

9. QB Jameill Showers, UTEP (from Texas A&M)
With Johnny Manziel entrenched as Texas A&M’s No. 1 quarterback, it was clear Showers wasn’t going to get much playing time in 2013. New UTEP coach Sean Kugler landed his biggest recruit of the offseason by getting Showers to play in El Paso, which should give the Miners a chance to push for a winning record in 2013. Showers was impressive during limited work in his career, completing 31 of 49 throws for 359 yards and two scores. The junior has yet to make his first career start, but all signs point to Showers being one of Conference USA’s top quarterbacks in 2013. And if he picks up where he left off at Texas A&M, the Miners could go bowling in Kugler’s first year in El Paso.

10. QB Scotty Young, Louisiana Tech (from Texas Tech)
The Bulldogs return only one starter on offense, but the cupboard isn’t bare for new coach Skip Holtz. Running back Kenneth Dixon should be one of the top rushers in Conference USA, and receiver D.J. Banks caught 33 passes for 434 yards last year. Young should be a good fit in Louisiana Tech’s spread attack, as he spent his first two seasons of eligibility at Texas Tech and was recruited by Mike Leach to Lubbock. The Texas native has yet to take a snap in college but was the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010.

11. QB Adam Kennedy, Arkansas State (from Utah State)
Ryan Aplin was one of the top quarterbacks from a non-BCS conference the last few years, leaving a large void for Arkansas State to fill this offseason. New coach Bryan Harsin appears to have found a capable replacement in Kennedy. With Chuckie Keeton entrenched at Utah State, playing time was expected to be sparse for Kennedy. In five starts in 2011, Kennedy went 4-1 and threw for 11 touchdowns during that span. Assuming he can quickly get acclimated to Harsin’s offense, Kennedy should be the Red Wolves’ No. 1 quarterback in 2013.

12. DE David Gilbert, Miami (from Wisconsin)
Gilbert’s football career was thought to be over in April, after he announced he would not play at Wisconsin due to foot injuries. However, the Florida native decided to transfer to Miami for his final year of eligibility this summer, giving the Hurricanes some much-needed talent on the line. During his career with the Badgers, Gilbert recorded 79 tackles and 8.5 sacks. If he can stay healthy, Gilbert should help bolster a pass rush that managed only 1.1 sacks a game last season.

13. QB Steven Bench, South Florida (from Penn State)
An injury to quarterback B.J. Daniels limited South Florida’s offense last year, and the Bulls finished 2012 by losing eight out of their last nine games. New coach Willie Taggart will have his hands full with the offense in 2013, as South Florida returns only three starters. Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd combined for zero touchdowns and five interceptions on 118 attempts last year, and neither was able to pull ahead for the top spot in the spring. Bench completed two of eight passes as a true freshman for Penn State last year and transferred after he fell behind in the quarterback competition with Tyler Ferguson and Christian Hackenberg this spring. Bench is short on experience, but he has a chance to earn the starting job this fall. However, he will be pushed by incoming freshman Mike White for time.

14. QB Clint Trickett, West Virginia (from Florida State)

With Jameis Winston expected to start for Florida State, it was an easy decision for Trickett to transfer in search of an opportunity to start. The Florida native is no stranger to Morgantown, as his father (Rick) coached at West Virginia from 1976-79 and 2001-06. Trickett threw for 947 yards and seven touchdowns in two years in Tallahassee, which included starts against Clemson and Wake Forest in 2011. The Mountaineers finished spring practice with Paul Millard and Ford Childress in a dead heat for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Trickett’s experience should help him in the quarterback battle, but Millard and Childress have a slight edge entering the fall to run Dana Holgorsen’s offense.

15. QB Pete Thomas, NC State from Colorado State)
Thomas was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and started for Colorado State during the first two years of his tenure in Fort Collins. However, he left the program after Steve Fairchild was fired as the head coach, landing in Raleigh with two years of eligibility remaining. During his time with the Rams, Thomas threw for 4,269 yards, tossed 18 touchdowns and 21 picks. The junior finished spring practice with an edge in the quarterback battle, but the picture was muddied when Brandon Mitchell transferred in from Arkansas in May.

16. LB Michael Orakpo, Texas State (from Colorado State)
The brother of Washington Redskins’ linebacker Brian Orakpo, Michael was a standout performer for Colorado State’s defense from 2010-11. In two years with the Rams, he recorded 124 stops and registered one forced fumble. Orakpo ran into some off-the-field trouble at Colorado State, which led to his transfer. However, he will be an impact transfer and could be one of the Sun Belt’s top defenders in 2013.

17. LB Jeff Luc, Cincinnati (from Florida State)
Luc passes the eye test as one of Cincinnati’s most physically imposing players. And the Bearcats hope the Florida State transfer can live up to his recruiting hype in 2013. In two years with the Seminoles, Luc recorded 23 tackles, including three for a loss. Assuming Luc becomes an impact defender for Cincinnati, the Bearcats’ linebacker trio could be one of the best in the nation.

18. WR Justin McCay, Kansas (from Oklahoma)
Charlie Weis is banking heavy on transfers to rebuild Kansas’ offense in 2013. Quarterback Jake Heaps and receivers Nick Harwell (see below) and Justin McCay are all transfers from four-year schools. McCay was a four-star recruit by Rivals in 2010 and redshirted in his first year at Oklahoma. In 2011, the Missouri native played in three games with the Sooners but did not catch a pass. The Jayhawks are counting on McCay to emerge as a go-to threat for Heaps, and his emergence could be even more important if Harwell is unable to get eligible for 2013.

19. RB Josh Quezada, Fresno State (from BYU)
Robbie Rouse leaves big shoes to fill in Fresno State’s backfield after three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Quezada may not rush for 1,000 yards this year, but the BYU transfer will keep Fresno State’s rushing attack going strong in 2013.

20. DB Cortez Johnson, Oklahoma (from Arizona)
With the departure of Demontre Hurst, Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris, Oklahoma’s secondary has some holes to fill for 2013. Aaron Colvin will handle one cornerback spot, but the other could go to Johnson. The 6-foot-2 Arizona transfer played for Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops in Tucson, starting two games as a true freshman in 2011. The Louisiana native’s 6-foot-2 frame will give him a chance to be one of the Big 12’s most physical corners in 2013. 

21. TE Gerald Christian, Louisville (from Florida)
Another weapon for Teddy Bridgewater? That’s what Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson hopes to see out of Christian in 2013. In two years with the Gators, he only caught four passes for 72 yards and one score. However, the Florida native ranked as a four-star prospect by Rivals and played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Look for the 6-foot-3 junior to be another valuable receiving threat for the Cardinals in 2013.

22. DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor (from Penn State)
Baylor’s defense made progress in the final weeks of 2012, and with seven starters back, the Bears should continue that momentum into 2013. Chris McAllister and Terrance Lloyd form a solid duo at end, but Oakman will push for snaps. The Pennsylvania native did not play a down at Penn State but was regarded as a top-200 recruit coming out of high school. Oakman also has the necessary size (6-foot-9, 270 pounds) to be a disruptive force for Baylor’s defense.

23. RB Aaron Green, TCU (from Nebraska)
The Horned Frogs need to find a spark for their rushing attack, which ranked eighth in the Big 12 last year. An injury to Waymon James prevented the ground game from getting on track, but the offense also needs more help from the line. Green’s arrival should bolster the rushing attack, as he ranked as one of the top-10 running backs in the nation coming out of high school. In one year with Nebraska, Green rushed for 105 yards and two scores. He may not rush for 700 yards this year, but TCU will be counting on the sophomore to be a key cog in the backfield rotation.

24. LB Kellen Jones, Clemson (from Oklahoma)
Jones followed coordinator Brent Venables from Oklahoma to Clemson and will join a talented and improving Tigers linebacking corps this year. The Texas native played in 12 games and recorded 10 tackles as a freshman with the Sooners in 2011. Jones could see time at all three linebacker spots for the Tigers in 2013. 

25. CB Tyler Patmon, Oklahoma State (from Kansas)
It’s rare to see a player transfer within a conference for his senior year, but that’s the case with Patmon after spending three seasons at Kansas. The Texas native started all 12 games at cornerback for the Jayhawks in 2012 and made seven starts in ‘11. Patmon may not be an All-Big 12 performer for Oklahoma State, but his addition is a valuable one, especially in terms of depth in a secondary that must replace Brodrick Brown and ranked 110th nationally in pass defense last year.

Bonus: WR Nick Harwell, Kansas (from Miami, Ohio)
Harwell still has some work to do in order to be eligible at Kansas this fall. However, should the All-MAC receiver graduate from Miami (Ohio), he will give the Jayhawks’ offense a much-needed go-to receiver. In three years with the RedHawks, Harwell grabbed 229 passes for 3,166 yards and 23 scores. He tied the school record with 15 100-yard receiving games and ranked first in the MAC with an average of 96.7 yards per game in 2012. Assuming he’s eligible in 2013, Harwell will be a starter for the Jayhawks from the first snap of fall camp.

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College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
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College Football's Top 50 Running Backs of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 25 Defensive Heisman Candidates for 2013

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 05:54
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2013-big-ten-wide-receivers
Body:

The Big Ten had only four offenses average 30 points or more last season. Ohio State, Nebraska, Indiana and Northwestern reached that mark and each of those four teams should be among the conference’s best offenses for 2013.

The Hoosiers take the top spot in Athlon’s Big Ten wide receiver/tight end rankings for 2013, as they return their top six pass-catchers from last year. Shane Wynn led the team with 68 receptions in 2012, while Cody Latimer averaged 15.8 yards per catch. Both Wynn and Latimer could be All-Big Ten receivers in 2013.

There’s plenty of talent returning to the Big Ten at receiver for 2013, including Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Nebraska’s Kenny Bell and Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon. And if Michigan State can get consistent play from quarterback Andrew Maxwell, the Spartans could jump up on this list by the end of the year.

Kickoff for the 2013 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2013 - not how it played in 2012.

Big Ten Wide Receiver/Tight End Rankings

1. Indiana
After leading the Big Ten in passing offense in 2012, the pieces are in place for the Hoosiers to be even better in 2013. Quarterback Tre Roberson is back from injury, and the receiving corps returns two potential All-Big Ten selections in Shane Wynn and Cody Latimer. Latimer averaged 15.8 yards per reception last year, and Wynn led the team with 68 catches. Kofi Hughes and Duwyce Wilson are also back after each caught more than 20 passes in 2012. Tight end Ted Bolser is an Athlon Sports third-team All-Big Ten selection for 2013.

2. Nebraska
While the Hoosiers take the top spot in this ranking, Nebraska isn’t far behind. The Cornhuskers return their top three wide receivers from last year, including second-team All-Big Ten selection Kenny Bell. He caught 50 passes for 863 yards and eight scores, while averaging 17.3 yards per reception. Quincy Enunwa is a physical 6-foot-2 option for quarterback Taylor Martinez, and junior Jamal Turner is always a threat to score with the ball in his hands. There’s not much in the way of proven depth at receiver behind Bell, Enunwa and Turner, so there’s a lot of pressure on freshmen Jordan Westerkamp and Alonzo Moore to step up this fall. The Cornhuskers are starting over at tight end with the departure of Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton.

3. Penn State
The Nittany Lions were thin on proven receivers going into last year, but this unit emerged as a strength under the watchful eye of head coach Bill O’Brien and receivers coach Stan Hixon. Allen Robinson was the only Big Ten receiver to record over 1,000 receiving yards, and he led the conference with 77 receptions through 12 games. Robinson’s stats may drop some due to a new quarterback, but the junior should finish 2013 with first-team All-Big Ten honors. Senior Brandon Moseby-Felder, junior Alex Kenney and redshirt freshman Eugene Lewis are expected to flank Robinson as key targets at receiver for Penn State’s quarterback. The Nittany Lions have a deep group of tight ends at their disposal, including returning first-team All-Big Ten selection Kyle Carter, along with true freshman Adam Breneman — the No. 44 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100. Carter is the headliner, but sophomore Jesse James (15 receptions) and senior Matt Lehman (24 catches) shouldn’t be overlooked. 

4. Ohio State
The Buckeyes need a few more playmakers to emerge, but the receiving corps has made considerable progress over the last two years. Senior Corey Brown led the team with 60 catches for 669 yards and three scores last year. Junior Devin Smith was the unit’s top playmaker, averaging 20.6 yards per catch and turning six of his 30 receptions into scores. Junior Evan Spencer and sophomore Michael Thomas should grab the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in the receiving corps, but freshmen Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall will push for time. Jordan Hall played in only seven contests last year due to injury, but he is expected to play in a similar role to that of Percy Harvin under Urban Meyer at Florida. With Jake Stoneburner out of eligibility, Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett will take over at tight end.
 

5. Michigan
The Wolverines lose Roy Roundtree, but this unit could show improvement in 2013. Senior Jeremy Gallon is Devin Gardner’s favorite target after finishing 2012 with 49 receptions for 829 yards and four scores. Gallon averaged 16.9 yards per catch and recorded two 100-yard games over the last three contests. Senior Drew Dileo caught 20 passes in 2012, but sophomore Amara Darboh or freshman Jehu Chesson could surpass him as the No. 2 option. Darboh and Chesson are bigger receivers that will help Michigan’s passing attack inside the red zone. Tight end Devin Funchess is a rising star after catching 15 passes for 234 yards and five scores as a freshman last year.
 

6. Northwestern
The Wildcats return four of their top five leading receivers from last season, and this unit is poised to take a step forward in 2013. Christian Jones and Rashad Lawrence return after each caught just over 30 passes last year, with Jones leading the team with 412 yards. Demetrius Fields has expired his eligibility, leaving Tony Jones (11.6 yards per catch in 2012) and junior Kyle Prater with an opportunity to see a few more passes in their direction. Tight end/superback Dan Vitale is an underrated weapon and grabbed 28 passes for 288 yards and two scores last year. The sophomore caught 16 of his passes in two of the final three games, which is a good sign for Northwestern’s passing attack going into 2013. The Wildcats need this group to step up this fall, and there’s plenty of weapons for quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian.

7. Michigan State
Considering running back Le’Veon Bell (35 catches) was Michigan State’s top returning receiver last year, there was concern about how this group would jell with a new quarterback. The Spartans had their share of ups and downs in the passing attack, but the receiving corps performed well considering the struggles of quarterback Andrew Maxwell. Keith Mumphery and Bennie Fowler combined for 83 receptions in 2012, but all eyes were on Aaron Burbridge last year, as he caught 29 passes for 364 yards and two scores as a true freshman. Tight end Dion Sims must be replaced, but the Spartans return their top five receivers from last year.

8. Wisconsin
The Badgers have one of the conference’s top receivers at their disposal in senior Jared Abbrederis. However, there’s not much else in the way of proven talent to flank him on the outside. Abbrederis caught 49 passes for 837 yards and five scores last year and is an Athlon Sports first-team All-Big Ten selection for 2013. The coaching staff would like to see sophomore Jordan Fredrick, junior Kenzel Doe or sophomore Reggie Love step into the No. 2 role to take some of the pressure off of Abbrederis this year. While the Badgers are still looking for a No. 2 option at receiver, there’s plenty of talent at tight end. Jacob Pedersen ranked second on the team with 27 catches for 355 yards and four scores last year. Seniors Brian Wozniak and Brock DeCicco will help to spell Pedersen, as well as contribute in Wisconsin’s two-tight end sets.

9. Purdue
The Boilermakers have to replace Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross, but a steady group of options returns for new coach Darrell Hazell. Senior Gary Bush is the team’s top returning receiver after catching 41 passes for 360 yards and seven scores last year. Junior Dolapo Macarthy also is back after catching 28 passes last season, and he is expected to be a bigger part of the passing attack in 2013. Raheem Mostert is a valuable weapon on special teams, but he has yet to record a catch in two seasons at Purdue. Senior Gabe Holmes is expected to start at tight end and could be a bigger factor in the offense under new coordinator John Shoop.

10. Iowa
The Hawkeyes’ offense was one of the Big Ten’s biggest disappointments last season. Quarterback James Vandenberg never got on track under first-year coordinator Greg Davis, and Iowa finished 114th nationally in total offense. With another offseason to pickup Davis’ offense, the Hawkeyes should show some improvement. However, there’s a new quarterback taking over, and Keenan Davis has expired his eligibility after catching 47 passes last year. Kevonte Martin-Manley will be the top target for the Hawkeyes, but he needs help from sophomore Tevaun Smith, senior Jordan Cotton and junior Damond Powell. C.J. Fiedorowicz should be one of the Big Ten’s top tight ends after catching 45 passes for 433 yards and a touchdown.

11. Illinois
The Fighting Illini ranked 11th in the Big Ten in passing offense last year, so there’s plenty of room to improve. Coach Tim Beckman made a good hire by bringing in former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit to direct the offense. However, Cubit has very little to work with at receiver. Running back Donovonn Young led the team with just 38 receptions, while receiver Ryan Lankford recorded 37 catches last year. Fellow senior Spencer Harris (21 receptions) needs to have a big season if Illinois’ passing attack is to improve. Junior college recruit Martize Barr is expected to contribute right away, while the coaching staff hopes sophomore Justin Hardee builds off his 17-catch season. Tight end Jon Davis could have a breakout year in the new offense if he can stay healthy. 

12. Minnesota
Behind sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson, the Golden Gophers should continue to make strides on offense this year. The passing attack finished ninth in the Big Ten in 2012 and there’s hope for more improvement, especially if the receiving corps takes a step forward this offseason. No returning Minnesota receiver caught more than 20 passes last season, with Isaac Fruechte leading the team with 19 receptions. Senior Derrick Engel averaged 20.8 yards per catch last year but posted only 18 receptions. Junior Devin Crawford-Tufts, sophomore KJ Maye and freshman Jamel Harbison round out the key contributors. Harbison played in only one game due to injury last year. Tight end Drew Goodger returns after catching 13 passes in 2012. Minnesota desperately needs a player that can stretch the field to emerge this fall. 

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2013 All-America Team

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 05:45
Path: /college-football/alabama-installs-waterfall-locker-room
Body:

A few weeks ago, there was some talk from recruits about Alabama adding a waterfall to its locker room. And it appears that chatter was correct.

The first photo of the waterfall has surfaced, which is a part of Alabama's renovated football facilities.

Check out this picture of the waterfall (tweeted out by @SEC_Logo)

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 17:13
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-10
Body:

Under 50 days until kickoff...but still so far away.

Feel free to contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)


College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, July 10th

Quarterback Connor Brewer has decided to transfer from Texas. The redshirt freshman is already receiving interest from other schools, including Notre Dame, Duke and Alabama.

Washington receiver Kasen Williams ran into some off-the-field trouble earlier this offseason. 

The American Athletic Conference will likely have a bowl game at Marlins Park in 2014.

Receiver (and Miami, Ohio transfer) Nick Harwell still has some work to do in order to be eligible at Kansas this year.

Lost Lettermen ranks Conference USA's running backs for 2013

Everett Golson discusses his future with Notre Dame.

The Pac-12 is planning to expand its reach into China. 

Saturday Down South examines: Is the SEC the villain of college football?

Center Jake Jenkins is one of Oklahoma State's key players for 2013.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Tyler Ferguson will play for Penn State in 2013

Speaking of the Nittany Lions, they are set to play UCF in a game in Ireland in 2014.

Tennessee self-reported a couple of secondary violations.

Which college football teams get the most from their recruiting expenses?

Should Clemson consider bringing in former Auburn running back Michael Dyer?

John Cassillo of Atlantic Coast Convos takes a look at Pittsburgh safety Jason Hendricks for 2013.

NC State has picked up a JUCO transfer that will be eligible to compete this fall.

Former Hawaii receiver Trevor Davis will transfer to California. He will be eligible to play in 2014.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 10
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 16:53
Path: /college-football/louisville-unveils-new-cleats-2013
Body:

As the countdown to kickoff for the 2013 season continues, more teams are releasing photos of new uniforms, helmets or anything else that will be worn on Saturdays this year. 

Louisville has already upgraded its turf in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium this offseason, and now the team is getting an upgraded look in the uniform department. Sort of. 

Here's a photo from Louisville coach Charlie Strong's twitter account for the new shoes Cardinals will wear in 2013:

 

Teaser:
Louisville Unveils New Cleats for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 16:20
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football
Path: /college-football/clemson-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Clemson is coming off the best two-year stretch in school history, but the program’s sights are set even higher in 2013.

With quarterback Tajh Boyd turning down the NFL for one more year in Death Valley, the Tigers are the preseason favorite to win the ACC title. In addition to Boyd, Clemson returns 12 other starters, including receiver Sammy Watkins and a handful of key defenders.

With a favorable schedule, the Tigers are positioned to make a run at the national title. A Florida State team that’s reloading on both sides of the ball will be Clemson’s toughest ACC opponent, while Georgia and South Carolina are in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

If Clemson can navigate its schedule for a 13-0 mark, this team should be in a good position to play for the national title. With games against potential top-10 teams in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State, the Tigers have opportunities for quality wins.


What will be Clemson’s record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Clemson's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven LassanBraden GallJohn CassilloMark RossDavid
Fox
Mitch
Light 
Anson
Whaley
8/31 Georgia
9/7 So. Carolina State
9/19 at NC State*
9/28 Wake Forest*
10/5 at Syracuse*
10/12 Boston College*
10/19 Florida State*
10/26 at Maryland*
11/2 at Virginia*
11/14 Ga. Tech*
11/23 The Citadel
11/30 at S. Carolina
Final Projection11-1 11-111-111-19-310-210-2

* Indicates ACC game.
 

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
If you're an ACC team, this is exactly how you need to lay out your schedule in order to compete for a National Championship. The Georgia and South Carolina bookends keep you top-of-mind for the media at both the start and end of the season, making it very likely the Palmetto State will be hosting ESPN's College Gameday multiple times this season, too. Clemson also received a gift with a couple weeks or so in between each of the four real challenges on this slate (Georgia, Florida State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina). I see Clemson going 1-1 against the two SEC teams, and while I picked them to beat UGA and lose to SC, you could easily flip that around, too. Unsure which is better for the team's title hopes, though: losing in the first or the last game. But with Tajh Boyd at quarterback, they may not have to worry about losing either contest.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The opener against Georgia is a toss-up, but the Bulldogs have a checkered past with some of these high-profile opening games (see: Boise State and Oklahoma State). I like Clemson at home with the Bulldogs missing safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. Hard to believe Clemson hasn’t lost back-to-back games to Florida State in more than a decade, but I’ll take FSU coming off the bye week. The big surprise may be a loss to Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets give Clemson fits, handing the Tigers their first loss of 2011. Paul Johnson is 3-2 against Dabo Swinney, and Clemson has won seven of the last 10 overall.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Clemson might boast the best offense in the nation with an elite quarterback-wide receiver combination, a veteran offensive line and innovative play-caller pulling the strings. This team should be playing for an ACC title on Championship Saturday regardless of what happens in the two huge SEC bookends. The Tigers beat two such opponents last year — LSU and Auburn — and will have to do it again if it wants to be in the national title mix in 2013. While that seems unlikely, a one-loss, ACC title, BCS bowl bid campaign would have to be viewed as a major success.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Clemson has to be considered one of the top-10 teams to have a chance to win the national championship this year. Even though Florida State has plenty of time to reload on both sides of the ball by Oct. 19, I don’t see the Tigers losing in conference play. And if Clemson runs the table in the ACC, it essentially sets up a two-game schedule to stay in the national title picture. With Georgia’s defense breaking in a handful of new starters, the Tigers are playing the Bulldogs at the right time in the season opener. However, Clemson has lost four straight to South Carolina, and I think the Gamecocks make it five in a row in 2013. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Nothing too surprising out of my projections for Clemson this season. I don't believe the Tigers will go a perfect 8-0 in league play during the regular season, but I had trouble identifying which game (or games) they will lose. If you are looking for a potential upset, watch out for the trip to Maryland in late October. The opener against Georgia is obviously a huge game for both teams. It's a good time to play Georgia — the Dawgs will be breaking in a bunch of new starters on defense and will be without linebacker/safety Josh Harvey-Clemons — but it will hard for the Clemson defense to slow down the Georgia offense, which can be devastating on the ground and through the air. 


Mark Ross
I like Clemson a lot this season, especially on offense. The ACC Atlantic Division will most likely come down to the Tigers and Seminoles, and I am giving Clemson the edge based on the game with FSU being at home. Clemson's national title hopes will come down to the two non-conference games against the SEC, which just so happen to bookend its regular season. I think it's too much to ask of this Tigers team to beat both SEC powerhouses, as I have some skepticism of just how improved Brent Venables' defense will be. So I am going to play it safe and give Clemson a split against Georgia and South Carolina with the win coming over the hated, in-state rival Gamecocks. I know that's how Dabo Swinney would want it if he had to choose between the two.


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5 First-Year Starting QBs That Could Win the National Title
College Football's Top 15 Winners From Conference Realignment
College Football's Top 50 Defensive Linemen of the BCS Era
College Football's All-Freshmen Team for 2013
College Football's All-America Team for 2013

 

Teaser:
Clemson Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/floridas-jeff-driskel-signs-red-sox
Body:

If football doesn't work for Jeff Driskel, the Florida signal-caller has a solid Plan B. Driskel was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round of the MLB Draft and signed with the team this week.

Driskel is still eligible to play for Florida this season, marking his second year as the Gators' No. 1 signal-caller. 

Considering the personnel losses Florida suffered on defense, the Gators need Driskel to show improvement for the team to match its win total for 2013. However, the quarterback also needs help from a struggling receiving corps and revamped offensive line. 

Here's what Driskel had about his Red Sox contract on Twitter this week:

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 17:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/arkansas-releases-hype-video-2013
Body:

After last season's 4-8 record, there's a lot of excitement for the change in Arkansas football behind new coach Bret Bielema.

Bielema comes to Fayetteville from Wisconsin and should have the Razorbacks back in contention for a bowl in 2013.

With over 50 days until kickoff, Arkansas has released a video to get its fans ready for the 2013 college football season. 

It's worth a couple minutes of your time to check out this video. However, you are warned: It will just make you wish kickoff for the 2013 season was tomorrow. 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 17:44
Path: /college-football/rutgers-billboard-preps-b1g-ten-move
Body:

Rutgers was one of the biggest winners in college football’s recent round of realignment, as the Scarlet Knights will be moving from the American Athletic Conference to the Big Ten.

Rutgers will formally move to the Big Ten in 2014, but the promotion for the switch in conferences has already begun.

This photo tweeted out by Jason Baum (@JasonBaumRU) showcases the promotion for the move to the Big Ten for 2014.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 00:02
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-west-virginia-renew-rivalry
Body:

With an emphasis on strength of schedule in college football’s new postseason format, most teams are beginning to add more games against BCS competition for 2014 and beyond.

West Virginia and Virginia Tech announced on Friday they have scheduled two games to renew their rivalry, with matchups slated for 2021 and 2022.

Virginia Tech will travel to Morgantown on Sept. 18, 2021, while West Virginia will play in Blacksburg on Sept. 24, 2022.

West Virginia holds the overall series edge at 28-22-1, but the last matchup occurred in 2005. The series has been on hiatus after Virginia Tech moved to the ACC.  

Both teams will play for the Black Diamond Trophy, which was created in 1997 due to the region’s history with coal.

Who knows how good both teams will be by then, but this is a good scheduling move for West Virginia and Virginia Tech. 

Now that the Mountaineers have a game scheduled against the Hokies, maybe the school can get an agreement with Pittsburgh to renew the Backyard Brawl?

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 10:10
Path: /college-football/chrome-helmet-way-washington
Body:

New uniforms and helmets are the biggest craze in college football.

Teams are unveiling different looks throughout the offseason, and it seems one of the newest variations is a chrome helmet.

Baylor unveiled a gold helmet earlier this year, and Washington could be joining the crowd with a chrome look for 2013.

The school hasn’t officially announced anything about the helmet, but the chrome variation would be a sharp look for the Huskies. 

Here's a look at the chrome helmet, tweeted by @TysonLossness

Personally, I love the chrome helmet. A big part of the helmet/uniform craze is to help catch the attention of recruits, and there's no question this look would be a sharp addition to one of the Pac-12's best uniform combinations

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 00:08
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2013-sec-offensive-lines
Body:

Most of college football’s preseason hype surrounds high-profile quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. But arguably the most important position – the offensive line – usually doesn’t garner much attention. However, the play of the offensive line could be the difference between contending for a conference championship or fighting just to get bowl eligible.

The SEC is loaded with talent on the offensive line in 2013. Led by future NFL first-round draft pick Antonio Richardson, Tennessee ranks as the No. 1 group for 2013. The Volunteers allowed only eight sacks in 2012 and return four starters this year.

Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama round out the top four offensive lines in the SEC for 2013. The Bulldogs have upside with all five starters back, while the Crimson Tide must replace Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker.

Kickoff for the 2013 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2013 - not how it played in 2012.

Ranking the SEC Offensive Lines for 2013

1. Tennessee
With a new quarterback and a revamped receiving corps, Tennessee will lean heavily on its offensive line to carry the offense in 2013. The line is anchored by future NFL first-round pick Antonio Richardson. He started all 12 games and earned second-team All-SEC honors last year. Joining Richardson in the starting lineup as returning starters will be center James Stone (27 career starts) and seniors Zach Fulton and Ja’Wuan James (37 consecutive starts). Senior Alex Bullard and junior Marcus Jackson are battling to replace departed guard Dallas Thomas. This unit must adapt to a new coach, but Tennessee should still have one of the best offensive lines in the nation.


2. Texas A&M
The Aggies’ offensive line was a big reason for the success of the offense last year. The final totals indicated this unit gave up 23 sacks but cleared the way for Texas A&M to average 5.9 yards per carry. And a mobile quarterback like Johnny Manziel can often inflate the sack totals of an offensive line, as it’s not easy for the front five to hold their blocks while the quarterback scrambles. Left tackle Luke Joeckel left for the NFL, but the Aggies plan to move Associated Press 2012 third-team All-American Jake Matthews from right tackle to the left side. And Cedric Ogbuehi will slide from guard to right tackle to replace Matthews. The guard spots will be manned by Jarvis Harrison and Germain Ifedi, while Mike Matthews – brother of left tackle Jake Matthews – will slide into the center spot. Joeckel will be missed, but Texas A&M has plenty of talent returning to keep this offensive line among the best in the nation.


3. Alabama
Much like Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide have a few holes to plug up front before 2013. Center Barrett Jones – arguably one of the best offensive linemen of the BCS era – and 2012 first-team All-American Chance Warmack have expired their eligibility. Right tackle D.J. Fluker earned second-team All-American honors last season, and he decided to leave early for the NFL. Despite the departure of three key performers from last year, the cupboard is far from bare. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is primed to emerge as one of the top linemen in the nation, with senior Anthony Steen anchoring the right side at guard. The other three spots are up for grabs, with juniors Arie Kouandjio (left guard) and Austin Shepherd (right tackle) owning a slight edge for snaps going into the fall. Sophomore Ryan Kelly is expected to replace Jones at center. This unit will be under the direction of a new position coach in former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal.

Related: Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Wide Receivers


4. Georgia
With only three returning starters on defense, the Bulldogs will need their offense to carry the team through a difficult September schedule. With quarterback Aaron Murray, running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, along with receiver Malcolm Mitchell returning, the firepower is certainly there to win the SEC in 2013. However, Georgia’s offense will only go as far as its line will allow. The good news? All five starters are back, including promising sophomore left tackle John Theus. The rest of the starting five could feature three seniors with Dallas Lee, Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates, with David Andrews anchoring the interior at center. This unit gave up 27 sacks last year – including a miserable performance in a 35-7 loss against South Carolina. Considering the talent, depth and experience returning to Athens, it would be a big surprise if the Bulldogs fail to find improvement on the offensive line in 2013.


5. LSU
Josh Dworaczyk and center P.J. Lonergan must be replaced, but the Tigers should remain one of the SEC’s best offensive lines in 2013. Anchoring the line at tackle will be rising star La’el Collins. The Louisiana native earned honorable mention all-conference SEC honors last season and started 13 games at guard. Collins is expected to slide to left tackle this year. Sophomore Vadal Alexander will join Collins as the bookends, with senior Josh Williford and sophomore Trai Turner expected to start at guard. Elliott Porter is slated to take over at center, but he will be pushed by Ethan Pocic. LSU allowed 32 sacks last season, but the line paved the way for rushers to average 4.3 yards per carry in 2012.


6. Florida
With the personnel losses on defense, the Gators need more help from the offense in 2013. And there’s plenty of good news with the return of quarterback Jeff Driskel, and the offensive line could be one of the most-improved groups in the conference. Seniors Jonotthan Harrison and guard Jon Halapio are back as returning starters, and the group is expected to get a boost from the arrival of transfers Tyler Moore (Nebraska) and Max Garcia (Maryland). Left tackle D.J. Humphries ranked as the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100 last year. If Humphries, Moore and Garcia quickly acclimate to the starting lineup, the Gators will easily cut last season’s sack total (39) in 2013.


7. Mississippi State
With four starters back, this unit should be a strength for the Bulldogs. Anchoring the line will be one of the nation’s best guards in senior Gabe Jackson (a third-team All-American by Athlon Sports for 2013). Joining Jackson on the interior will be promising junior Dillon Day, who has made 22 starts during his career. The tackle spots are expected to be manned by Blaine Clausell and Charles Siddoway, and the coaching staff would like to see both players step up their performance in 2013. The right guard spot is up for grabs, with sophomore Justin Malone and junior Archie Muniz battling for time. The Bulldogs allowed only 19 sacks last year and could lower that number in 2013.


8. Vanderbilt
Under the direction of line coach Herb Hand, the Commodores have made significant progress in the trenches over the last couple of seasons. And this group is poised to take another step forward in 2013, especially with senior Wesley Johnson returning at left tackle and center Joe Townsend anchoring the interior. Junior Andrew Bridges could be pushed for time by redshirt freshman Andrew Jelks, while the guard spots should go to Jake Bernstein and Spencer Pulley. This unit was a key reason why the Commodores averaged 166.3 rushing yards per game last year, and with three solid returning starters in place, Vanderbilt should be able to cut its sacks allowed from last year (24).


9. Ole Miss
The Rebels allowed 34 sacks and ranked fifth in the SEC with an average of 173.9 rushing yards per game last year. With four starters returning, Ole Miss should be able to improve on those totals in 2013. Seniors Emmanuel McCray and Pierce Burton anchor the line from the tackle spots, while guard Aaron Morris is a second-team All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports for 2013. Center Evan Swindall provided steady play last year and started all 13 contests. The one open spot on the line comes at right guard, where the vacancy is likely to be filled by a senior – Patrick Junen or Jared Duke. Ole Miss also has help on the way in the form of incoming freshman Laremy Tunsil. Even if Tunsil doesn’t replace McCray and Burton, he will provide valuable depth for a line that hopes to use more bodies in 2013.

Related: Hugh Freeze Has Ole Miss on the Rise


10. Auburn
Much like many of the other units for Auburn in 2013, the Tigers could easily outperform this ranking by the end of the year. There’s no shortage of talent up front for coach Gus Malzahn, starting with junior Reese Dismukes at center. Dismukes has 23 career starts coming into 2013 and could emerge as one of the SEC’s best centers by the end of the year. The coaching staff is counting on sophomore Greg Robinson to guard the blindside for whichever quarterback wins the job, while redshirt freshman Alex Kozan is expected to slide into the lineup at left guard. Junior Chad Slade (right guard) and sophomore Patrick Miller (right tackle) will likely round out the starting lineup. However, junior college transfer Devonte Danzey could push for time as a starter at guard this year.  

Related: College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013


11. South Carolina
With four starters returning, the Gamecocks are hoping for significant improvement in the trenches. The line struggled at times last year, allowing 38 sacks (102nd nationally) and rushers averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. Although the line has four players back, there’s also the concern of replacing one of the SEC’s top centers in T.J. Johnson. Redshirt freshman Cody Waldrop is slated to fill Johnson’s shoes at center. For the line to take the next step, the Gamecocks need a big year from sophomore Brandon Shell at right tackle and left guard A.J. Cann to become an all-conference performer. For South Carolina to win the East Division, the offensive line’s development could hold the key to the season.


12. Arkansas
The Razorbacks’ offensive line will be led by senior center Travis Swanson, an Athlon Sports’ second-team All-American for 2013. Having Swanson back in the lineup is a huge asset for new coach Bret Bielema, especially since three starters departed, and the offense is switching to a new scheme under coordinator Jim Chaney. Senior David Hurd is expected to start at left tackle after making 11 starts last year. Guards Brey Cook and Mitch Smothers have potential, while the right tackle spot is expected to be up for grabs between Grady Ollison and Austin Beck. Incoming freshmen Dan Skipper, Denver Kirkland and Reeve Koehler could all push for time this fall. Line coach Sam Pittman did an excellent job of molding Tennessee’s line into a strength, and this unit should be significantly improved by the end of 2013.


13. Missouri
Injuries and inconsistent play hindered this group’s performance last year. The Tigers allowed 29 sacks and led the way for running backs to average only 3.7 yards per carry. While last season was a transition year for this group as it adjusted to life in the SEC, Missouri should be hopeful about its offensive line prospects for 2013. Evan Boehm could blossom into one of the nation’s top sophomore offensive linemen by the end of the season, and he is expected to slide to center after playing guard in 2012. Senior Justin Britt has 22 career starts and will anchor the line from the left tackle spot. Senior Max Copeland is expected to join him at left guard, while junior Mitch Morse is likely to start at right tackle.


14. Kentucky
The Wildcats suffered some significant losses in this group, as All-SEC guard Larry Warford and center Matt Smith have expired their eligibility. Also, the line must adapt to a different scheme and a new coach in John Schlarman. Although two key starters must be replaced, this unit isn’t in total disarray. Left tackle Darrian Miller started all 12 games last year and will be joined by promising sophomore Zach West at guard. Senior Kevin Mitchell is slated to move from tackle to guard to help replace Warford. Proven depth is a concern in the trenches for Schlarman, especially for an offense that plans to pay at a faster pace in 2013. 
 

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College Football's Top 50 Quarterbacks of the BCS Era
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College Football's Top 30 Tight Ends of the BCS Era

Teaser:
Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Offensive Lines
Post date: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 06:26
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-top-players-pac-12-2013
Body:

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with the college fantasy football site to provide in-depth coverage for 2013. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for Pac-12 in terms of fantasy options for 2013:

All draft values are based on a 12-team, 20-round draft using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)

Starters

QB—Marcus Mariota, So. (Oregon)

Last season:  Passing—2,677 yards, 32 TD-6 INT; Rushing—752 yards, 5 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; Nicholls St, @ Virginia, Tennessee

Fantasy Draft Value:  Chip Kelly is gone, but the Ducks will still play fast and return nine offensive starters.  On draft day, Mariota will likely disappear late in round 1 or early in round 2.

 

QB—Brett Hundley, So. (UCLA)

Last season:  Passing—3,740 yards, 29 TD-11 INT; Rushing—355 yards, 9 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:   Weeks 4-5-6-7; NM St, BYE, @ Utah, Cal

Fantasy Draft Value:  We’re thinking the experience gained as a freshman will help reduce the number of sacks in 2013 (50-plus in 2012), which should boost his rushing totals.  Hundley is projected as a mid-to-late second-round draft selection.

 

RB—Ka’Deem Carey, Jr. (Arizona)

Last season:  Rushing—1,929 yards, 23 TD; Receiving—36 rec. for 303 yards, TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:   Weeks 1-2-3; No. Arizona, @ UNLV, UTSA

Fantasy Draft Value:  The Wildcats return three starters on the offensive line that helped Carey rush for nearly 2,000 yards in 2012.  The junior running back will likely be the first running back selected in this year’s draft.

 

RB—De’Anthony Thomas, Jr. (Oregon)

Last season:  Rushing—701 yards, 11 TD; Receiving—45 rec. for 445 yards, 5 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; Nicholls St, @ Virginia, Tennessee

Fantasy Draft Value:  Thomas’s role should expand even more now that Kenjon Barner is no longer around.  However, sophomore running back Byron Marshall and incoming freshman Thomas Tyner are likely to earn a fair share of carries.  The electrifying junior should be targeted in rounds 2-3.

 

RB—Bishop Sankey, Jr. (Washington)

Last season:  Rushing—1,439 yards, 16 TD; Receiving—33 rec. for 249 yards

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ Illinois, Idaho St, Arizona

Fantasy Draft Value:  The Huskies return their starting quarterback, top two receivers, and four starters on the offensive line.  The pieces are in place for another solid year from Sankey and the junior running back is a lock to disappear before round 2 concludes.

 

WR—Marqise Lee, Jr. (USC)

Last season:  Receiving—118 rec. for 1,721 yards, 14 TD; Return—856 yards, TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3-4; @ Hawaii, Washington St, Boston College, Utah St

Fantasy Draft Value:  We are still uncertain about who will start under center for the Trojans in 2013, but Lee will undoubtedly make their transition a lot easier.  We believe that Lee is the best receiver in the country and should get strong consideration as a first-round pick.

 

WR—Brandin Cooks, Jr. (Oregon State)

Last season:  67 receptions for 1,151 yards and 5 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; E. Washington, Hawaii, @ Utah

Fantasy Draft Value:  Things are still unsettled at quarterback, but the Beavers offense returns virtually intact.  Gone is receiver Markus Wheaton, so Cooks will be called upon to shoulder the load in the passing game.  Fantasy owners should consider drafting Cooks in rounds 4-5, especially if they have not selected a receiver up until that point.

 

WR—Chris Harper, So. (California)

Last season:  41 receptions for 544 yards and 2 TD

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 11-12-13; Arizona, USC, @ Colorado

Fantasy Draft Value:  Harper is only one of three returning starters on an offense that finished 91st in the nation in scoring last year.  However, the sophomore receiver’s numbers should go up in new head coach Sonny Dykes’ pass-oriented attack and Harper should be considered in rounds 8-10.

 

TE—Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr. (Washington)

Last season:  69 receptions for 850 yards and seven touchdowns.

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ Illinois, Idaho St, Arizona

Fantasy Draft Value:  Seferian-Jenkins and teammate Kasen Williams form one of the best pass-catching duos in the PAC-12.  If your league requires a tight end, Seferian-Jenkins may come off the board as early as round 5.  If not, the junior tight end should still post solid WR3 numbers and must be considered in rounds 8-10.

 

FLEX—Storm Woods, So. (Oregon State)

Last season:  Rushing—940 yards, 13 TD; Receiving—38 rec. for 313 yards

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; E. Washington, Hawaii, @ Utah

Fantasy Draft Value:  Woods separated himself from a stable of running backs early in the 2012 season.  The sophomore back is joined by an experienced offensive line in 2013, which catapults him into the top four rounds of the fantasy draft.

 

K—Andre Heidari, Jr. (USC)

Last season:  10-16 FG; 69 points

 

DEF—Stanford Cardinal

Schedule Sweet Spot:  Weeks 1-2-3; San Jose St, @ Army, Arizona St

Fantasy Draft Value:  Eight starters return on a defense that ranked first in the PAC-12 in scoring defense, rushing defense, and total defense.

 

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)
 

Related College Football Content

2013 College Fantasy Quarterback Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Running Back Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Tight End Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Kicker Rankings
2013 College Fantasy Defense Rankings

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 14:54
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-15-winners-conference-realignment
Body:

Realignment has dominated the college football headlines for a couple of years, resulting in a vastly different landscape across the nation.

The changes resulted in the death of one football conference (WAC), with the ACC, Big Ten and SEC inching closer to the much-discussed 16-team superconferences in the near future.

Some teams – notably Texas A&M and Louisville – finished conference realignment as a clear winner. While some other teams (UConn and Cincinnati) were on the other side of the coin.

Realignment in college football isn’t over. But with the recent changes, the landscape should remain relatively stable, at least for the next couple of seasons.

With things seemingly quiet, Athlon takes a look at the top 15 winners from college football’s most recent round of conference musical chairs.

College Football's Top 15 Winners From Conference Realignment

1. Texas A&M
The move to the SEC was supposed to be difficult. After all, Texas A&M had a new coaching staff, quarterback and a conference to learn. However, the Aggies made an immediate splash, winning double-digit games for the first time since 1998 and produced a Heisman winner in Johnny Manziel. While realignment isn’t just about what happened last year, Texas A&M can win big in the SEC. The program has excellent resources and can use its SEC leverage to recruit against its in-state brethren. The Aggies will have their share of ups and downs in the SEC in the future, but with coach Kevin Sumlin on the sidelines, the program is well-positioned to succeed in the upcoming seasons.


2. Louisville
There wasn’t much that went wrong for Louisville’s football program last season. The Cardinals shared the Big East title, won the Sugar Bowl over Florida, managed to keep coach Charlie Strong in Louisville despite multiple overtures from the SEC, and were invited to join the ACC in 2014. The Cardinals have one of the best all-around athletic programs in the nation and will immediately be a factor in the ACC. And with 14 returning starters from last year’s 11-2 team, Louisville will have a chance to push for the national title in its final season in the Big East/American Athletic Conference.


3. Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights are one of the biggest winners in conference realignment. Sure, competing in the Big Ten will be a step up in competition, but Rutgers has made a significant step up on the conference hierarchy ladder. The Scarlet Knights have jumped from the sixth- or seventh-best conference in college football to arguably one of the top three. Moving to the Big Ten also will increase exposure and the ability to recruit for Rutgers, especially with the added games on the Big Ten Network.


4. TCU
The competition in the Big 12 is much tougher than what TCU faced in the Mountain West. But the Horned Frogs are positioned to remain a factor in the top half of the Big 12 on a regular basis, especially with a renovated stadium and the built-in advantage of having one of the nation’s best recruiting bases in their own backyard. Also, TCU has one of the nation’s top coaches in Gary Patterson, and it held its own in the Big 12 last year after losing starting quarterback Casey Pachall in early October. With Texas A&M, Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado leaving the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have a chance to quickly emerge as an annual contender.


5. SEC
The SEC didn’t expand just to expand. Instead, the conference landed two programs in new attractive television markets, which should help the SEC when it comes time to launch its conference network in 2014. Although realignment isn’t about success in one season, the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri will pay dividends. The Aggies bring a chunk of the Texas market – something the SEC wanted to tap into – and a program capable of consistently ranking among the top 10-15 teams in the nation. The Tigers will find life a little tougher in the SEC than the Big 12, but the program will benefit from the extra money. And once Missouri has a chance to find its footing in the SEC, the Tigers should be a consistent bowl team. In the SEC’s case, the rich are getting a little richer.


Related: College Football Conference Realignment: Tracking the Changes


6. Big 12
At one point during college football’s realignment craze, there was some thought the Big 12 would go extinct. Instead, the conference has rebounded and appears healthy for the next 10-15 years, largely thanks to the grant of rights for each team’s television deal. Losing Nebraska and Texas A&M was a tough blow to the Big 12, but the additions of West Virginia and TCU helped to soften the blow. New commissioner Bob Bowlsby seems to be doing a good job of keeping the peace within the conference, and barring any unforeseen issues arising, the Big 12 should be secure for the immediate future. The only question? 10 or 12? Will the Big 12 have to expand once again? If the conference has to add, which programs get the call to be No. 11 and No. 12?


7. Notre Dame
Much like their Independent brethren (BYU), the Fighting Irish are a winner in the latest round of expansion. There was some thought Notre Dame would be forced to join a conference, but the Fighting Irish were able to remain Independent and upgraded with a partnership with the ACC. Notre Dame also struck an agreement with the Orange Bowl, and access to other postseason games should be better in the partnership with the ACC. Who knows, in 50 years, maybe the Fighting Irish will have to join a conference. However, it’s pretty clear – for now – that Notre Dame’s place as an Independent is secure for the foreseeable future.


8. ACC
The ACC is losing Maryland to the Big Ten, but the additions of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville are enough to keep this conference in the winner category. The conference also was able to stave off any additional departures – at least for the foreseeable future – as the teams have signed a grant of rights deal, which makes it very difficult for any program to leave. The ACC is gaining one of the top college programs in the nation in Louisville, and two members to bolster its presence on the Eastern side of the United States. Pittsburgh is on the right track under second-year coach Paul Chryst, and Syracuse made strides under former coach Doug Marrone. The ACC needs both programs to continue making progress to bolster the conference’s overall depth. And of course, the ACC landed a significant partnership with Notre Dame, which will help improve each team’s non-conference schedule, along with making the conference more attractive for bowl partners.


9. Boise State
Obviously, the Broncos would like to jump into the Pac-12 or Big 12, but staying in the Mountain West – instead of joining the American Athletic Conference – is the right move. One of the driving forces behind Boise State’s decision to stay in the Mountain West was a new television contract, which will allow the program more exposure than the conference’s current television deal and bonus money with broadcast games on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX. The Broncos also remain in the conference that’s the best fit for the program in terms of geography, especially since California and Texas are two key areas for recruiting. With Louisville and Rutgers departing after 2013, the American Athletic Conference isn’t much of an increase in terms of competition anymore.


10. BYU
There was some skepticism when BYU decided to go Independent. And while the Cougars are just three years into this experiment, the results have been positive so far. BYU has secured a solid television deal with ESPN and has won 25 games over the last three years. The Cougars will play a good schedule in 2013, which features matchups against Virginia, Texas, Boise State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame and has future games scheduled with Texas, Michigan, Nebraska, USC and West Virginia. Securing solid bowl opportunities for the next 15-20 years and contending for a spot in the playoffs are the next challenges ahead, but BYU is well-positioned to succeed in college football’s new landscape.


11. Utah State/San Jose State
The Aggies and Spartans were handed a lifeline out of the sinking WAC, landing in the Mountain West, the best league outside of the six BCS conferences. Both programs have been on the rise in recent years, especially since both teams finished in the top 25 of the final BCS standings last season. As long as the new coaches (Matt Wells, Utah State and Ron Caragher, San Jose State) work out as well as Gary Andersen and Mike MacIntyre did, Utah State and San Jose State will continue to be a factor in the MWC.  


12. New American Athletic Conference Teams
Sure, the American Athletic Conference isn’t as strong with Louisville, Rutgers, West Virginia and Syracuse departing. However, for teams like Memphis, SMU, Temple, UCF, East Carolina, Tulsa, Tulane and Houston, it’s an opportunity to emerge as an annual contender in a new league. East Carolina has excellent fan support, Tulane and Houston are building new stadiums, while Temple, UCF and SMU are located in fertile recruiting areas and should be an annual factor in the new conference. And Tulsa has won 10 games in four out of the last six years. For teams like Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida, the new American Athletic Conference may be a disappointment. But for teams like East Carolina, Tulsa and the rest of the newcomers, it’s a chance to upgrade their own brands as it relates to the college football landscape.


13. UTSA
No program in college football has experienced quite the ascension that UTSA has over the last few years. The Roadrunners played 2011 as an I-AA Independent and jumped to the WAC for '12. UTSA was impressive in its first season on the FBS level, winning eight games – with victories over New Mexico State, Idaho, and Texas State. The Roadrunners are on the move once again, as Larry Coker’s team is joining Conference USA. UTSA will need time to build depth and get acquainted to its new league members, but the Roadrunners have a rich recruiting area, along with a good fan base to help ease the transition to life as a full-time FBS member.  


14. Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs were a geographic misfit in the WAC but should be a perfect fit in a revamped Conference USA. With the change in conferences, Louisiana Tech is in a much better league in terms of developing geographic rivals, which includes North Texas, Rice, UTEP, UTSA and Southern Miss. The Bulldogs should find life in Conference USA a little easier when it comes to recruiting; and with no established mid-majors like Boise State, Utah State or Fresno State to worry about in their new league, Louisiana Tech has a chance to become one of the premier programs in C-USA.


15. Mid-American Conference
What realignment? That’s what the MAC is saying after avoiding any major departures of their own members. The conference could stand to add a 14th team to balance the divisions, but avoiding a massive exodus was a huge boost for weeknight MACtion. 

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College Football's Top 15 Winners From Conference Realignment
Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, News
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After seven consecutive national championships, the SEC is reigns supreme as college football’s premier conference for 2013. The bottom of the conference isn’t its strength this year, but Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Florida are all national title contenders for 2013.

The SEC is clearly ahead of the rest of the conferences, but the Pac-12 boasts two top-10 teams in Oregon and Stanford. The South Division is a wide-open battle between Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and USC. Helping the Pac-12’s case as the No. 2 conference should be the bottom of the league, as Colorado, Washington State, Utah and California should continue to improve as the season progresses.

The Big Ten and Big 12 round out the top four conferences, with the ACC and Mountain West running just behind. The Big 12 doesn’t have a clear frontrunner in 2013, but the league has solid depth. 

Ranking College Football's Conferences for 2013

1. SEC

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Alabama

The SEC increased its run of national championships to seven straight thanks to Alabama’s dominating win over Notre Dame in the BCS title game. The Crimson Tide are our pick to win it all again, but Texas A&M, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Florida could all play their way into the national title discussion. Texas A&M is loaded once again, but the Aggies will have to deal with huge expectations. LSU lost a ton of key personnel on defense but still has one of the most talented rosters in the nation. Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, two up-and-coming programs, are just outside the top 25.

2013 SEC Predictions
 

2. Pac-12

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Oregon

Oregon lost its leader — head coach Chip Kelly — but the Ducks have enough pieces in place to win the Pac-12 title for the fourth time in the past five seasons. New coach Mark Helfrich will lean on sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota and a talented corps of skill players. Stanford will remain among the elite in the Pac-12 thanks to an outstanding defense and one of the nation’s top offensive lines. The South Division race should be intriguing. Our pick is Arizona State — which returns quarterback Taylor Kelly and eight starters on defense — but you could make a case for USC, UCLA or Arizona.

2013 Pac-12 Predictions
 

3. Big Ten

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Ohio State

The Big Ten boasts a legitimate national title contender in Ohio State, which returns 13 starters from a team that went 12–0 in Urban Meyer’s inaugural season in Columbus. Wisconsin, under new leadership with Gary Andersen, and Penn State should both be solid, but neither figures to pose too much of a threat to Ohio State in the Leaders Division. The Legends race, however, should be tight. Our pick is Michigan to edge Nebraska, but always-underrated Northwestern will be a factor.

2013 Big Ten Predictions
 

4. Big 12

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Oklahoma State

The Big 12 features quality depth but lacks star power at the top. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 16 in our preseason top 25 — the lowest spot for the preseason favorite in the 18-year history of the league. There was heavy debate for the next three spots. Oklahoma, despite its concerns at the quarterback position — Can the Belldozer be a weapon in the passing game? — got the nod over Texas and TCU. The Longhorns have plenty of talent, but they must show significant improvement on defense. TCU will be a legitimate title threat if quarterback Casey Pachall returns to form.

2013 Big 12 Predictions
 

5. ACC

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Clemson

Led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wideout Sammy Watkins, Clemson is the favorite to win its second ACC title in the past three seasons. The Tigers have won 21 games over the last two years and are in the midst of shedding their label as chronic underachievers. Florida State appears to be the only worthy challenger to Clemson in the Atlantic Division. There are four teams capable of winning the Coastal Division. Miami is our pick, followed by Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

2013 ACC Predictions


6. Mountain West

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Boise State

The Mountain West, now up to 12 teams and two divisions, is stronger than ever. Boise State is the team to beat in the Mountain Division, though league newcomer Utah State, which went 6–0 in the WAC in 2012, should be a factor in the division race. The return of quarterback Derek Carr makes Fresno State the easy choice in the West Division. The Bulldogs should score a ton of points. The West has solid depth, with San Jose State, San Diego State and Nevada each likely to play in a bowl game.

2013 Mountain West Predictions
 

7. American Athletic

Favorite: Louisville

The league formerly known as the Big East continues its descent down the college football food chain, but that doesn’t mean the league is without quality teams. Louisville, fresh off its BCS bowl win over Florida, is capable of running the table in the regular season. Cincinnati, now under Tommy Tuberville’s watch, returns 13 starters (including all five O-linemen) from a 10-win team. Rutgers will have to fight off  league newcomer UCF for third.

2013 American Athletic Predictions
 

8. MAC

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Northern Illinois

Last season, the MAC sent its first team to a BCS bowl (Northern Illinois) and had four different schools ranked nationally at some point. This year, the power remains in the West, where NIU has the edge over Ball State and Toledo. Bowling Green is the pick in the East, but it’s not wise to count out Ohio and coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats have won three division titles under Solich but have not won the outright MAC title since 1968.

2013 MAC Predictions
 

9. Conference USA

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: Tulsa

Conference USA is up to 14 teams, but the league is weaker in 2013 due to the loss of UCF, Houston and SMU (among others) to the American Athletic Conference. Tulsa, which will make the move to the American in 2014, is a strong favorite to win its second straight C-USA crown. The race in the East should be intriguing. Our pick is Marshall over East Carolina.

2013 Conference USA Predictions
 

10. Sun Belt

Athlon's 2013 Favorite: UL Lafayette

The Sun Belt lost four teams to Conference USA but did retain the defending league champ (Arkansas State) and two of the three teams (UL Lafayette and ULM) that tied for second place. Moving forward, ULL has a great opportunity to claim its first outright league title since winning the Gulf States Conference in 1970. 

2013 Sun Belt Predictions


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Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 06:12

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