Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/kentucky-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Kentucky hit rock bottom with a 2-10 record last season. As a result of the dismal year, Joker Phillips was fired, and Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was hired to take over the top spot in Lexington.

Stoops hired an excellent coaching staff, which includes former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown, as well as Florida State assistant D.J. Eliot.

Stoops has a stellar recruiting class on the way, but Kentucky still lags behind the rest of the conference in overall talent. The Wildcats return 10 starters from last year’s team, but only end Bud Dupree, tackle Donte Rumph and linebacker Avery Williamson have garnered preseason all-conference consideration.

Kentucky faces an uphill battle in 2013, and progress may not be noticeable in the win column. A non-conference game against Western Kentucky in the season opener isn’t a guaranteed win, while crossover games with SEC West opponents Alabama and Mississippi State are likely losses.

While the future is bright in Kentucky, the Wildcats may struggle just to get to three or four wins in 2013.

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

Kentucky's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
SEC
Logo
8/31 Western Kentucky
9/7 Miami (Ohio)
9/14 Louisville
9/28 Florida
10/5 at South Carolina
10/12 Alabama
10/24 at Mississippi State
11/2 Alabama State
11/9 Missouri
11/16 at Vanderbilt
11/23 at Georgia
11/30 Tennessee
Final Projection3-92-102-103-93-9

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Mark Stoops has done everything right for Kentucky so far. But now comes the hard part. The Wildcats were outgained by 169 yards per game in SEC play last season and only one conference loss was by 10 points or less. Kentucky has some pieces to work with, including on defense with ends Bud Dupree, Jason Hatcher and Za’Darius Smith. But this unit doesn’t have the depth to consistently compete in the SEC in 2013. The offense will be better under the direction of new coordinator Neal Brown, and there are three promising candidates to start at quarterback. The biggest question mark on offense will be finding playmakers, especially at receiver where the top returning option is Demarco Robinson (28 catches). I have Kentucky finishing 3-9, but I could see this team winning one in SEC play. Stoops has an excellent recruiting class on the way, and it’s all about showing progress in 2013. Even if the Wildcats fail to win a game in the SEC, I expect this team will be more competitive against their conference brethren.

Mark Ross
Do I think Kentucky is headed in the right direction under Mark Stoops? Yes, but let's not kid ourselves here, this Wildcats program has a long way to go to return to the days of five straight bowl games from 2006-10. It will take Stoops some time to mold this program to his liking and, more importantly, gather the necessary talent and depth to compete in the SEC on a consistent basis. That's what happens when you lose two of your best offensive players (guard Larry Warford, wide receiver LaRod King) from a team that went 2-10 and your starting quarterback (Jalen Whitlow) accounted for a grand total of six touchdowns last season. The games with in-state foes Western Kentucky and Louisville make the non-conference schedule challenging to begin with and then SEC play opens with Florida, South Carolina and Alabama? Simply surpassing last year's win total and clawing out a win in conference should be considered a moral victory for this season. Better days are ahead for UK's football team, just not in 2013.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’ll buy stock in Mark Stoops for his long-term prospects at Kentucky, but not for 2013. Who put together this schedule? From Sept. 14-Oct. 12, Kentucky faces the defending national champs, the Sugar Bowl participants and a top-10 team on the road. Kentucky’s just doesn’t have the talent to compete in the SEC, and the real problem is that the Wildcats are really the only ones in this category. Vanderbilt has distanced itself from Kentucky in a big way. Mississippi State and Ole Miss (the latter of which isn’t on UK’s schedule) aren’t doormats anymore. Kentucky’s real statements are going to have to be against Western Kentucky (who defeated UK in overtime last season) and Miami (Ohio). Lose those games and Kentucky runs the risk of losing to every FBS team on the schedule. After that, Kentucky has to hope it has enough pieces like Bud Dupree and Donte Rumph up front to put a scare into Missouri or Vandy late in the season. Other than that, the season is pretty bleak.


Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
It’s been a successful offseason for Kentucky, which has put together one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for 2014. Unfortunately, none of those players are available. It will likely be a difficult season for Kentucky, which has a promising coaching staff but a depleted roster. Still, Kentucky fans shouldn’t give up hope. What if the Wildcats force a few turnovers at home against Louisville? Road games against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt won’t be easy, but they’re winnable. Missouri and Tennessee are both coming off losing seasons and have to travel to Lexington. Kentucky’s defense will rely on a strong line and one of the league’s top linebackers in Avery Williamson. If the Wildcats get consistent (and healthy) play at quarterback, they might surprise a team or two.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Good bye Joker. Hiring a defensive minded head coach like Mark Stoops is a step in the right direction for Kentucky. He is surprising on the recruiting trail for 2014, even giving the state of Ohio a run. Getting 50,000 people to your spring game, not too shabby. With all that said you are bringing back an offence that ranked 119th and a defense that was 86th in the nation last year. I don’t see success in Mark’s first year, but all the signs say he’s doing everything right. With four new head coaches in the SEC, someone has to rise to the top of the pile. Name to remember: Alvin Dupree, LB 
 

Related College Football Content

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Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Texas A&M Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Kentucky Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

The Big 12 is up for grabs in 2013. Without a clear frontrunner, this conference should be one of the most entertaining battles for the top spot in the nation this year.

 

A strong case could be made Oklahoma State is the team to beat in the Big 12, but like the rest of the teams in the conference, the Cowboys have question marks.

The offense should be among the best in the Big 12, but quarterback Clint Chelf needs to prove he can be effective for a full season, and the offensive line needs to find three new starters. The biggest area of concern has to be on defense.

 

Oklahoma State is thin on proven defensive ends, and the secondary ranked 110th nationally against the pass last year.

 

With a schedule that features home games against TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Baylor, it’s easy to see why Oklahoma State was picked during Big 12 Media Days as the early favorite.

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

Oklahoma State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mike
Perez
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Chris
Williams
Allen
Kenney
8/31 Mississippi State (Houston
9/7 at UTSA
9/14 Lamar
9/28 at West Virginia
10/5 Kansas State
10/19 TCU
10/26 at Iowa State
11/2 at Texas Tech
11/9 Kansas
11/16 at Texas
11/23 Baylor
12/7 Oklahoma
Final Projection10-211-111-110-29-311-1


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Under coach Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State has been a model of consistency. The Cowboys have won at least seven games in each of the last seven years, including a 23-3 stretch from 2010-11. There’s no question Oklahoma State has joined the ranks of the Big 12 elite, and despite a rebuilding year in 2012, managed to go 8-5 with three losses coming by seven points or less. The Cowboys are my pick to win the Big 12 this season, and with a schedule that features home games against Kansas State, TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma, the conference title will run through Stillwater. Senior quarterback Clint Chelf played well in limited action last season, and he will be surrounded by plenty of weapons at running back and receiver. The defense has to play better, but new coordinator Glenn Spencer could be what this unit needs to fix some of the issues from last year. Considering how close the top teams are in the Big 12, two losses will likely win the conference title.   


Mike Perez, (@OrangePowerCom), OrangePower.com
Oklahoma State has had four offensive coordinators during Mike Gundy's eight-year head coaching tenure (including Gundy himself) and each season the offense continues to churn like a well-oiled machine. Expect more of the same this season with Mike Yurcich becoming the newest offensive coordinator to take the reins. Once again, the determining factor of the Cowboys' season will be the level of play they can get from the defense. With linebacker coach turned defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer at the helm, expect to see a more aggressive defense on the field than in year's past. The Cowboys have the talent and experience to get through the non-conference portion of the schedule unscathed and with a relatively down year for the Big 12 I don't expect more than one or two losses for the season. If defensive NFL prospects Calvin Barnett and Justin Gilbert live up to expectations and the OSU defense is able to take advantage of the more aggressive scheme, the Cowboys very well may be a dark horse contender for the BCS Championship game.

Mark Ross

If there was ever a season for Oklahoma State to seize the Big 12, this would be it. With the quarterback uncertainty at Oklahoma and Texas, not to mention the Longhorns' recent "slide," Mike Gundy's team appears to be well positioned to win the conference. Offense has been Gundy's trademark since he took over in Stillwater, and even with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Yurcich and unproven starters in quarterback Clint Chelf and running back Jeremy Smith, this Cowboys team should score its fair share of points. The defense has seven starters returning, including experience at every level, and should be able to improve on last year's poor performance against the pass (110th in the nation).

 

The other thing Oklahoma State has going in its favor this fall is its schedule. The opener with Mississippi State in Houston will be tough, but otherwise the Cowboys should breeze through their non-conference slate. OSU gets five home Big 12 games, with the toughest road test by far coming in Austin, Texas, in the middle of November. However, even there the Cowboys get a break as that game is sandwiched between home dates with Kansas and Baylor. As long as the Pokes don't slip up when they have back-to-back road games in Ames, Iowa, and Lubbock, Texas, they will be in a position to take advantage of a home slate that features Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma. The Cowboys have gone 17-3 at Boone Pickens Stadium over the last three seasons. The bar has been raised in Stillwater, and as long as the offense does what it does and the defense can show some moderate improvement, there's a good chance that Oklahoma State just may be able to clear it this fall.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

Mike Gundy did a wildly underrated coaching job last season. The Cowboys lost Brandon Weeden and needed to start three different quarterbacks to replace him, and they still finished in the top 10 nationally in passing, yards per game and points per game. The 5-4 Big 12 record isn’t pretty, but Oklahoma State lost one-score games to Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor, the last two on the road. For 2013, I’ve picked Oklahoma State to lose two Big 12 games, which may be enough to win the league. The truth is, there’s not much that’s going to be predictable in this conference. Oklahoma State, though, benefits from a good home schedule, drawing rival OU, Baylor and TCU at home. The pick here that sticks out is the Texas Tech loss. The Red Raiders will be OK, and strange things happen to Big 12 frontrunners in Lubbock.

Chris Williams, (@ChrisMWilliams), CycloneFanatic.com
Oklahoma State is without question the safest pick to win the Big 12 in 2013 but I'm wondering if replacing four assistant coaches might not take its toll on Mike Gundy's program this season? Maybe it won't. After all, Gundy seems to do just fine as he loses offensive coordinators on an annual basis (it seems like it at least). OSU won't have any problems starting off 5-0 but that sixth game vs. TCU is a real swing game. I have TCU winning the league and that game as well, but should the Cowboys knock off the Horned Frogs, running the table until its road trip to Austin is very realistic. OSU's final three games are all tough. I see 10-2 as a best-case scenario for the Cowboys but 9-3 is the pick. 

Allen Kenney, @BlatantHomerismBlatantHomerism.com
Mike Gundy has done a fantastic job of growing Oklahoma St. from a middle-of-the-road program in the Big 12 that is consistently competing for the conference crown. In fact, I'm picking the Cowboys to win the league for the second time in three years. The experience at quarterback is a big plus in a year with so much turnover at the position throughout the conference, and Clint Chelf will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. The defense also boasts impact players at all three levels: Calvin Barnett up front, Shaun Lewis at linebacker and Justin Gilbert in the secondary.

 

To me, the big concern with OSU this year is the Pokes' tendency to take their eye off the ball. I'm betting one team that has no business beating OSU pulls it off. How about at Texas Tech? The Red Raiders have enough offensive firepower to at least put a scare into the Pokes, and they'll be playing their ninth game under new coach Kliff Kingsbury and his staff. That's enough time to get everything in place to spring an upset.

That lone loss will likely keep OSU out of the national championship game, but another BCS bowl should make for a nice consolation prize.

 

 

Related College Football Content

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West Virginia Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
College Football's Worst 25 Tenures of the BCS Era
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
Five Ways to Fix Texas Football

Teaser:
Oklahoma State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2013-all-name-team
Body:

With 125 teams in the FBS and around 100 players on a roster, there are certainly some interesting names that pop-up throughout the course of production for Athlon's 2013 college football magazine or online research.

We took a look through the rosters for the 125 teams and pulled out some of the funniest and more interesting names in college football for the 2013 season.

College Football’s All-Name Team for 2013

Offense

Tyler Benz, QB, Eastern Michigan
Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass
Brandon Bourbon, RB, Kansas
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
B.J. Chitty, WR, Troy
River Cracraft, WR, Washington State
Gray Crow, QB, Miami
Christian Cumberlander, WR, San Diego State
Orleans Darkwa, RB, Tulane
Synjyn Days, QB, Georgia Tech
Duke DeLancellotti, QB, Texas State
Jordan Diamond, OL, Auburn
Standish Dobard, TE, Miami
Stevie Joe Dorman, QB, Colorado
Thor Eaton, LB, Colorado
Brisly Estime, WR, Syracuse
Spiffy EvansSpiffy Evans, WR, Boston College
Tunde Fariyike, OL, Auburn
Robert Godhigh, RB, Georgia Tech
Crusoe Gongbay, RB, New Mexico
Brynjar Gudmundsson, OL, South Florida
Rowdy Harper, OL, Houston
Win Homer, OL, Boston College
Gator Hoskins, TE, Marshall
Driphus Jackson, QB, Rice
Thor Jozwiak, OL, South Florida
Jazz King, WR, Marshall
Macgarrett Kings Jr., WR, Michigan State
Munchie Legaux, QB, Cincinnati
Grant Lingafelter, OL, West Virginia
Sterling Lovelady, OL, Florida State
Pharoh McKever, WR, NC State
Maverick Morris, OL, Clemson
Sunny Odogwu, OL, Miami
Leviticus Payne, WR, Cincinnati
Jazz Peavy, WR, Wisconsin
D.J. Polite-Bray, WR, Texas Tech
James Quick, WR, Louisville
Lucky Radley, RB, Utah
Boise Ross, WR, Buffalo
Blaze Ryder, OL, Navy
Diocemy Sainte Juste, RB, Hawaii
Kenneth Santa Marina, OT, Tulane
Konockus Sashington, RB, North Texas
Chandler Shakespeare, RB, Auburn
Dreamius Smith, RB, West Virginia
Jack Snowball, RB, Miami (Ohio)
Mackenzie Sovereign, QB, Duke
Demore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Washington
Altee Tenpenney, RB, Alabama
Poet Thomas, OL, Texas Tech
Sirgregory Thornton, RB, Arkansas State
Tanqueray Towns, WR, Utah
Charlie Will Tuttle, OL, Texas State
Stone Underwood, OL, West Virginia
Fudge Van Hooser, WR, Tulane
Wilson Van Hooser, WR, Troy
Stern Vile, OL, FAU
Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State
Lucky Whitehead, WR, FAU
Psalm Wooching, FB, Washington
Storm Woods, RB, Oregon State


Defense

Promise Amadi, CB, Boise State
Chi Chi Ariguzo, LB, Northwestern
Thurston Armbrister, LB, Miami
Will Barrow, DB, Tulsa
Necho Beard, DB, Nevada
Zeek Bigger, LB, East Carolina
Chief Brown, DB, Ole Miss
Terrance Bullitt, LB, Texas Tech
Keoni Bush-Loo, LB, Arizona
Blaze Caponegro, LB, Temple
Allen Champagne, DE, North Carolina
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Mister Cobble, DT, Kentucky
Wayland Coleman-Dancer, LB, Troy
Pudge Cotton, DB, Eastern Michigan
Blake Countess, DB, Michigan
Steele Divitto, LB, Boston College
Corn Elder, DB, Miami
Hugs Etienne, DB, Wisconsin
Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU
Maxx Forde, DE, Idaho
Holland Frost, S, Georgia Tech
BooBoo Gates, DB, Bowling Green
Houston Glass, DB, Buffalo
Brixx Hawthorne, DB, Texas State
King Holder, DB, San Diego State
Gunnar Holcombe, QB, Marshall
Chris Hummingbird, DE, Tulsa
Money Hunter, DB, Arkansas State
Sir Thomas Jackson, LB, Buffalo
Nehemie Kankolongo, LB, Wyoming
De’Niro Laster, LB, Minnesota
Tre’maine Lightfoot, LB, UL Lafayette
Dee Liner, DL, Alabama
Courtney Love, LB, Nebraska
Cassanova McKinzy, LB, Auburn
Finesse Middleton, DE, Louisville
Dusty Moore, LB, Kent State
Silverberry Mouhon, DL, Cincinnati
Noble Nwachukwu, DL, West Virginia
Gimel President, DE, Auburn
Jihaad Pretlow, DB, Temple
Johnny Ragin III, LB, California
Floyd Raven, DB, Texas A&M
Vin Rider, DL, Navy
Wave Ryder, DB, Navy
Prince Shembo, LB, Notre Dame
Aziz Shittu, DE, Stanford
Montavious Smoke, DB, Troy
Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma
Dwellie Striggles, DB, Buffalo
Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, DT, Boise State
Destiny Vaeao, DL, Washington State
Sir Calvin Wallace, DT, North Texas
Hershey Walton, DL, Temple
Mwanza Wamulumba, DL, Miami (Ohio)
Freedom Whitfield, LB, FAU
Chocolate Wilson, DB, Marshall
Beau Yap, DE, Hawaii


Special Teams

Chris Blewitt, K, Pittsburgh
Kyle Crofoot, LS, Florida
Stone Monarch, LS, Toledo
Brian Schmiedebusch, P, Bowling Green
Bobby Stonebraker, K, Oklahoma State
Chase Tenpenney, P, Nevada
Hunter Windmuller, P, Virginia Tech

Did we miss out on any names? Add your suggestions into the comments and we'll add them to the list.

Teaser:
College Football's 2013 All-Name Team
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 06:45
Path: /college-football/south-carolinas-jadeveon-clowney-flips-sled-practice
Body:

Football is back. Yes, we made it through a long offseason once again.

And what better way to announce that football season is back with a video of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney flipping one of the sleds in practice?

 

Teaser:
South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney Flips Sled in Practice
Post date: Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 12:14
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-best-july-29-august-2
Body:

It's been a busy week in the college football world.

In addition to the latest news, Friday's links will try to highlight some of the best posts of week - just in case you didn't catch our posts from earlier in the week.

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories From the Week of July 22-26


Five questions for Alabama as it opens fall practice.

And speaking of Alabama, a Crimson Tide fan got a very bad misspelled arm tattoo

Ole Miss cornerback/receiver Nick Brassell is no longer on the team.

Ranking the Mountain West quarterbacks for 2013 - which is one of the best conferences in the nation in terms of overall quarterback talent.

Rutgers will have a revamped offensive line in 2013.

Maryland running back Wes Brown has been suspended from school for the fall semester.

Florida running back Matt Jones is out indefinitely with a viral infection. 

Oklahoma quarterback Kendal Thompson is recovering from a foot injury suffered in fall practice.
 

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall spoke to the media on Wednesday and seems to have matured after missing most of last season due to a suspension.

The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released.

Another story out of TCU today, as starting tackle Tayo Fabuluje has decided to leave the team.

Here are five key questions West Virginia must answer in fall practice.

Kevin McGuire takes a look at the progress Memphis has made under second-year coach Justin Fuente.

John Pennington of Mr. SEC writes an open letter to Johnny Manziel.

Wake Forest running back Josh Harris' status is in limbo for 2013.

Rob Moseley previews Oregon's defensive line (which is in pretty good shape for 2013).

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde has been suspended for at least the first three games of 2013. But cornerback Bradley Roby's status for 2013 is still uncertain.

Saturday Down South ranks the defensive backfields in the SEC and looks at the contract details for the conference's first-round picks from the NFL Draft.

Big things are expected from Michigan receiver Amara Darboh in 2013.

Is Oklahoma considering some tweaks to its uniforms?

Does Clint Trickett hold the inside track to start at West Virginia?

Some sad news: Texas A&M's Polo Manukainiu and Utah's Gaius Vaenuku were killed in a car crash in New Mexico.

Arizona picked up Texas quarterback transfer Connor Brewer.

USA Today's Dan Wolken takes a look at Miami's Al Golden as he attempts to lead the program back to prominence.  

Georgia coach Mark Richt called South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney the best player on the planet.

Saturday Blitz takes a look at the rise of Stanford.

Big loss for Minnesota: Receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts has decided not to play football this year.

Florida State cornerback Nick Waisome helped to catch two suspects involved in a robbery at his apartment. 

Chris Williams of Cyclone Fanatic projects Iowa State's record for 2013.

Lost Lettermen looks at players with famous fathers in college football this year.

A good read from WVUPressbox.com on Dana Holgorsen: Is he building a foundation or a golden parachute?

Can Jeremy Johnson or Nick Marshall push Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace for the starting quarterback job at Auburn?

Where does Barry Sanders fit into Stanford's running back rotation? 

Current California coach Sonny Dykes is reaching out to the man he replaced - Jeff Tedford.

Ira Schoffel has an excellent Q & A with ACC commissioner John Swofford about Florida State athletics. 

Former Oklahoma State defensive end Naim Mustafaa is planning on attending Hawaii.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: Best of July 29-August 2
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 16:45
Path: /college-football/michael-dyer-transfers-louisville
Body:

Louisville’s high-scoring offense gained another valuable weapon on Thursday night, as former Auburn running back Michael Dyer decided to continue his college career with the Cardinals. USA Today’s George Schroeder first reported the news. Dyer is immediately eligible at Louisville and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Dyer rushed for 1,093 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman at Auburn in 2010. He was a key piece in the Tigers’ national championship run, which included 143 yards in the victory over Oregon in the title game.

Dyer’s numbers were even better as a sophomore, recording 1,242 yards and 10 scores on 242 attempts.

However, Dyer was suspended for Auburn’s bowl game in 2012 and decided to transfer to Arkansas State. But he was dismissed from the team after an off-the-field incident and enrolled at Arkansas Baptist. During his time at Arkansas Baptist, Dyer was mentored by former San Jose State coach Fitz Hill.

Dyer may need some time to knock off the rust and get back into football shape, but the former Auburn running back could be one of the top rushers in the American Athletic Conference this year. Louisville already returns two capable backs in Senorise Perry and Dominique Brown, but Dyer has the most talented out of that trio.

With quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Dyer leading the way, stopping Louisville’s offense is going to be a difficult task for opposing defenses this year.

And Dyer’s decision to transfer to Louisville could be the final piece in a run at an unbeaten season for the Cardinals.

Teaser:
Michael Dyer Transfers to Louisville
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 09:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/texas-am-commerce-has-massive-midfield-logo
Body:

They say everything is bigger in Texas. And that’s certainly the case when it comes to Texas A&M-Commerce’s new midfield logo for 2013.

The Lions have unveiled a gigantic lion logo on their field for 2013, which stretches from about 50 yards, starting on the 25-yard line.

Some won’t like the massive logo, but I think it’s a nice addition for Texas A&M-Commerce. If nothing else, it brought the school some attention, which certainly can't hurt when it comes to recruiting. And who knows, maybe Texas A&M-Commerce will start the next trend in college athletics.

 

Teaser:
Texas A&M-Commerce Has Massive Midfield Logo
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/louisville-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

After an 11-2 season, which featured a 33-23 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl, expectations are high in Louisville. The Cardinals rank as a top-10 team in Athlon's projected final top 25 for 2013.

Louisville returns 14 starters, including one of the nation’s top Heisman candidates in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Coach Charlie Strong also turned down coaching offers in the SEC to stay at Louisville, and the program will move to the ACC after the 2013 season.

With a favorable schedule and plenty of talent returning, Louisville will be in the mix to play for the national championship. The Cardinals are the heavy favorite to win the remodeled American Athletic Conference, but road games against Kentucky, Cincinnati and South Florida won’t be easy.
What will Louisville's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates: 

Louisville's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
9/1 Ohio
9/7 Eastern Kentucky
9/14 at Kentucky
9/21 FIU
10/5 at Temple
10/10 Rutgers
10/18 UCF
10/26 at USF
11/8 at Connecticut
11/16 Houston
11/23 Memphis
12/5 at Cincinnati
Final Projection11-110-211-111-1

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Louisville has one of the most favorable schedules in the nation, but there are a few potential landmines for Charlie Strong’s team. The Cardinals will open with an Ohio team capable of pulling an upset. There’s a trip to Lexington to take on rival Kentucky on Sept. 14, which is a huge game for bragging rights in the Bluegrass State. New Wildcats’ coach Mark Stoops certainly has that date circled, as Kentucky looks to make a statement under its new regime. The other game that is a potential loss for Louisville is the season finale at Cincinnati. The Cardinals have a loaded roster, which includes a Heisman candidate in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and nine starters from a defense that ranked 23rd nationally in yards allowed. Louisville had two head-scratching losses last year, but this team is in better position from a depth and talent standpoint in 2013. Finishing with an unbeaten record is never easy. Whether it’s at Cincinnati or Kentucky, I think the Cardinals drop one game but still claim an American Athletic title.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Teddy Bridgewater is a special player but this team simply isn't deep or talented enough to be a national championship caliber team just yet. Charlie Strong is a highly respected leader for many reasons but this team got inexplicably hammered by Syracuse on the road and lost at home to UConn — let me repeat that, Louisville lost at home to Connecticut — in 2012. This team is building towards national title contention in the near future but it needs a few more recruiting classes to get there and it will be as a member of the ACC. This defense will be salty against a very mediocre schedule, but the margin for error is razor thin in 2013 and it will slip-up at least once.

Mark Ross
After an impressive win in the Sugar Bowl over Florida, Louisville appears to have all the pieces in place to remain in the national title discussion this season, provided the Cardinals go undefeated in the regular season. The "new" American Athletic Conference doesn't figure to be as rugged as the former Big East, at least on paper, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse gone to the ACC and Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF coming on board.

The Cardinals will follow the lead of Teddy Bridgewater, their dual-threat quarterback who could emerge as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate should he lead his team to a perfect regular season. The non-conference slate isn't that challenging, especially with in-state rival Kentucky rebuilding under Mark Stoops. Barring a slip up on the road or at home against say Rutgers or UCF, Louisville's national title hopes will most likely come down to the final game in Cincinnati. With no top-25 teams on the schedule and coming from what was the Big East, the only way Charlie Strong's team has any shot at playing in Pasadena, Calif., in January is if his Cardinals run the table.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The preseason consensus is that Louisville is the most likely team to go undefeated during the regular season. That means Louisville almost certainly will not go undefeated. I like so many things about Louisville from the way Charlie Strong has rebuilt the program to the gutty play of Teddy Bridgewater at the end of last season. But this is a team that had its flaws. Run defense was a problem at times as the Cards lost to Connecticut and Syracuse last season. Everyone points to the Sugar Bowl from last season, but Louisville needed to win six one-score games and two of those were over FIU and winless Southern Miss. Louisville’s going to win the AAC and should win most of their games with ease. But perfection is pretty tough.

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American Athletic Breakout Players for 2013
American Athletic Pivotal Players to a Championship

Teaser:
Louisville Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouri-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Missouri’s transition to the SEC didn’t go as smooth as it did for Texas A&M. The Tigers’ record dipped to 5-7, which was their first losing record since 2004.

Coach Gary Pinkel is starting to feel the heat, especially since Missouri cannot afford to fall too far behind in the SEC. Even though Pinkel’s overall record in Columbia is 90-61, the rest of the SEC is improving, and Missouri needs to show it can keep up with the rest of the East Division.

Despite last year’s 5-7 record, there are signs Missouri is ready to rebound in 2013. Quarterback James Franklin is healthy after an injury-plagued 2012 campaign. And the ground attack is expected to get a boost from the return of Henry Josey.

The schedule certainly isn’t easy for the Tigers. However, there’s still some talent on the roster. And Pinkel hasn’t had back-to-back losing seasons at Missouri since 2001-02.

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

Missouri's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
SEC
Logo
Braden
Gall
Blair
Kerkhoff
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
Ben
Frederickson
8/31 Murray State
9/7 Toledo
9/21 at Indiana
9/28 Arkansas State
10/5 at Vanderbilt
10/12 at Georgia
10/19 Florida
10/26 South Carolina
11/2 Tennessee
11/9 at Kentucky
11/23 at Ole Miss
11/30 Texas A&M
Final Projection6-66-65-77-54-85-76-66-6

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
With a year of SEC experience under its belt, Missouri should be back into contention for a bowl game in 2013. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that quarterback James Franklin is closer to 100 percent after shoulder surgery in 2012, and running back Henry Josey is back after missing all of last year with a significant knee injury. The offensive line was hit hard by injuries last season but should be stabilized with the return of four starters. The defense is the biggest question mark, especially as the Tigers look to replace tackle Sheldon Richardson. The schedule isn’t ideal, as Missouri catches Ole Miss and Texas A&M in crossover play, and non-conference games against Toledo and Indiana won’t be easy. Somehow, someway, I think the Tigers get bowl eligible and quiet some of the hot seat talk about coach Gary Pinkel.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The Tigers might have the most fascinating coaching situation in the SEC in 2013. Gary Pinkel is arguably the most important coach in school history but a second straight losing season in their new home could cost him his job. The offense should be improved as James Franklin and Henry Josey return to full health and Dorial Green-Beckham takes the next step in his development process. The offensive line should also be a strength. However, the defense lost some big pieces and will take a step back while still facing one of the nastiest schedules in the nation. Getting Ole Miss and Texas A&M is rough in crossover play. The only hope for Pinkel is a marquee home SEC East schedule as Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee all come to Columbia. I fall on the side of pessimism and think Mizzou struggles again in the more treacherous SEC waters. An early season road loss to a tricky Indiana team could derail this season quickly.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Mizzou and Texas A&M join the SEC, one steals the national spotlight and the other quietly goes 5-7 (2-6) just missing a bowl game. One good thing going for Mizzou is returning their starting quarterback James Franklin, who battled injury last season. I think he is setup to have a big statistical season, but I'm not sure that will turn into W's. The first 5 games are winnable: Murray State, Toledo, Bye, at Indiana, Arkansas State, and at Vanderbilt. They must win 4 out of 5 for a shot at a bowl game. If Gary Pinkel doesn't make a bowl game, I feel he is gone. Name to watch for: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR 

Mark Ross
Missouri is a hard team for me to get a handle on. The Tigers had a rough entry into the SEC last season, although they did play better late in the year. I still think Mizzou is a couple of recruiting classes away from collecting the talent necessary to compete in the country's toughest conference on a consistent basis. The defense lost its best player (Sheldon Richardson) and the offense is a bit of mystery considering quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey are both returning from injuries.

The non-conference schedule isn't a cakewalk, as Toledo is capable of pulling the upset in Columbia, and Missouri's October slate – at Vanderbilt and Georgia and home against Florida and South Carolina – is just nasty. Bowl eligibility seems a little too optimistic for 2013, but the Tigers will have a couple of chances to build some momentum for next season by picking up a SEC win or two in November. That also would be the easiest way for Gary Pinkel to prove he's still the best man for this job.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Sorry, Missouri, life in the SEC is going to be ugly. Perhaps things will turn around with more stability on the offensive line, a healthy Henry Josey and a settled quarterback situation, but Missouri’s still going to have trouble cracking the top three or four in the SEC East. The Tigers had a first-round draft pick on the defensive line and still gave up 30 points in half their games last season. That’s part of the reason why I’ve picked an upset in Bloomington. Indiana can move the ball, and we have yet to see if Missouri will have a functional offense.  After that, Missouri may need to beat Vanderbilt on Oct. 5 if the Tigers are going to get out of the month with a win.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Missouri will need to begin October with a 4-0 record if it hopes to have any success this season. We’ll see if Missouri is more prepared for the SEC this year when it begins conference play in October. It helps that quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey are back healthy. If wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham can take a big step, the offense could be explosive. It won’t be easy for Missouri to reach a bowl game, but the opportunity is there. I have Vanderbilt beating Missouri, but that’s a winnable game for the Tigers. Missouri catches South Carolina on its final trip of a three-game road stretch, which should help Missouri attempt to pull off the upset. Games against Kentucky and Tennessee will also be important as Missouri tries to erase the dreadful 2012 season from its memory.

Ben Frederickson, (@Ben_Fred), FoxSportsMidwest.com
Tiger fans are restless after their inaugural tour de SEC soured; last year was the team's first losing season since 2004. If quarterback James Franklin (he should be the starter, even if Gary Pinkel won't admit it) and his offensive line can avoid the injury bug, things should be better this year — barely. Maybe the Tigers start 4-0, win the conference games they should and sprinkle in a couple of upsets, shattering my somewhat low expectations. But I don't think this group skates through non-conference, and I am convinced Indiana at night in Bloomington is a legitimate threat. A string of losses will likely accompany SEC opponents, but the Tigers should have a chance to turn things around in November. Beat Tennessee and Kentucky, two must-wins, and the momentum could help dismount Ole Miss before Johnny Football crashes the party.

 

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Teaser:
Missouri Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-1
Body:

Fall camps starting up this week. The 2013 season is almost here.

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, August 1st


TCU quarterback Casey Pachall spoke to the media on Wednesday and seems to have matured after missing most of last season due to a suspension.

The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released.

Another story out of TCU today, as starting tackle Tayo Fabuluje has decided to leave the team.

Here are five key questions West Virginia must answer in fall practice.

Kevin McGuire takes a look at the progress Memphis has made under second-year coach Justin Fuente.

John Pennington of Mr. SEC writes an open letter to Johnny Manziel.

Michael Casagrande of the South Florida Sun Sentinel shares some observations on Miami's pre-fall practice depth chart.

Here are seven key position battles to watch as Michigan State opens fall practice.

Wake Forest running back Josh Harris' status is in limbo for 2013.

Here are four areas to watch for North Carolina this fall.

The ACC is weighing whether or not to launch a conference television network in the future.

BYU and Fresno State have agreed on a two-game series.

SMU coach June Jones has some high praise for running back Traylon Shead.

Rob Moseley previews Oregon's defensive line (which is in pretty good shape for 2013).

Wisconsin is searching for more playmakers at receiver this fall.

 

 

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 1
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 15:02
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouris-henry-josey-announces-return-haircut
Body:

Missouri’s Henry Josey was one of college football’s top running backs in 2011, but he suffered a significant knee injury late in the year and was forced to sit out all of 2012.

Although it’s uncertain if Josey will be the same player before his injury, the junior is ready to go for fall camp.

Josey is announcing his return to the college football world with an impressive haircut, which simply states, “I’m Back.”

If Josey is at full strength, he could be one of the SEC’s top running backs in 2013 and will help get Missouri back into contention for a bowl game.

 

Teaser:
Missouri's Henry Josey Announces Return With Haircut
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 09:50
Path: /college-football/western-michigan-coach-pj-fleck-walks-fire
Body:

New Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck certainly isn’t short on energy or interesting ideas.

The first-year coach revamped the Broncos’ uniforms for 2013 and recently walked on fire. No, really.

And if that wasn’t enough, Fleck and his staff walked on broken glass this summer.

Here’s a video and a photo showing Fleck’s offseason adventures.

 

Teaser:
Western Michigan Coach P.J. Fleck Walks on Fire
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 08:55
Path: /college-football/north-carolina-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

After serving a one-year postseason ban, North Carolina is poised to make a run at the ACC Coastal title in 2013.

The Tar Heels return 13 starters, including quarterback Bryn Renner and receiver Quinshad Davis. Even though guard Jonathan Cooper and running back Giovani Bernard must be replaced, North Carolina should have no trouble scoring points.

However, the defense remains a question mark. North Carolina allowed 25.7 points a game in 2012 and must replace tackle Sylvester Williams and linebacker Kevin Reddick. The Tar Heels also struggled stopping opposing offenses late in the year, allowing 38 points to a Maryland team that was starting a linebacker at quarterback, and giving up 68 to Georgia Tech.

The ACC Coastal is a wide-open division. And the Tar Heels figure to be in the mix for the title, especially with a favorable crossover schedule against the Atlantic.

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

North Carolina's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
John
Cassillo
Ryan 
Tice
Tar Heel
Times
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
Matt
McClusky
David
Fox
8/29 at South Carolina
9/7 MTSU
9/21 at Georgia Tech
9/28 East Carolina
10/5 at Virginia Tech
10/17 Miami
10/26 Boston College
11/2 at NC State
11/9 Virginia
11/16 at Pittsburgh
11/23 Old Dominion
11/30 Duke
Final Projection8-410-28-49-38-48-49-39-3

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The more I look at North Carolina’s 2012 season, the more I am impressed with the job that Larry Fedora did in his first year. The Tar Heels had nothing to play for, yet went 8-4 and lost three games by five points or less. I’m giving Miami a slight edge to win the Coastal, but it wouldn’t shock me if North Carolina finishes at the top of the division. Provided the offensive line finds a replacement for standout guard Jonathan Cooper, the Tar Heels should rank near the top of the ACC in scoring. The defense is still in need of repair, but this unit should be better with another offseason to work with coordinator Vic Koenning. North Carolina has a favorable crossover slate, as it misses Clemson and Florida State in crossover play. However, the Tar Heels drew a tough road schedule, which includes trips to South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State and Pittsburgh.

Tar Heel Times (@TarHeelTimes) TarHeelTimes.com
The 2013 Tar Heels will be as good as their defense allows them to be. Despite an explosive, record-setting offensive performance in 2012, the UNC defense surrendered 26 points per game and seemed to have trouble at times adjusting to their new 4-2-5 scheme. If the defense can catch up with the offense in year two then the sky's the limit. However, the Tar Heels have a tough early-season slate with an opening-weekend visit to South Carolina and a trip to Georgia Tech, where they haven't won since 1997. If the defense can't adjust, then the Tar Heels will have plenty of offensive weapons to fall back on, despite some new faces on the offensive line. Quarterback Bryn Renner, tight end Eric Ebron, wide receiver Quinshad Davis, and running backs A.J. Blue and Romar Morris each have All-ACC caliber talent. UNC's trip to Virginia Tech will be problematic as will their Thursday night prime-time encounter with Miami in Chapel Hill, which is being dubbed "Zero Dark Thursday" and will feature UNC's black uniforms. The Heels also visit rival NC State, who boldly scheduled UNC as their homecoming game despite having a new coach and a first-year starting quarterback. UNC ends their regular season against Duke in Chapel Hill, which is always a close affair.
 

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
I'm sure I'm giving more credit to the Tar Heels than most, but look at that schedule. Outside of the dates against South Carolina and Miami (both losses in my book), are there really any games on this schedule where you truly doubt UNC? Both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are on the road, as is rival NC State, but each of those teams has their own respective reasons why they'll have some struggles this season. Expect Bryn Renner to be even more comfortable in Larry Fedora's offense this year, as he and A.J. Blue (who'll pick up right where Gio Bernard left off) lead this offense to one of the country's best scoring efforts.

 

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
The loss of running back Giovani Bernard to the NFL is a huge blow to the offense — both the ground and aerial attacks — as well as the punt return game. The Tar Heels have also lost some of their star offensive linemen, although left tackle James Hurst will be one of the ACC’s best. Quarterback Bryn Renner is back for his third year as the starter, receiver Quinshad Davis is a potential star in the making and tight end Eric Ebron is the league’s best at his position. However, the defense lost its best two players and that is the side that will really decide wins and losses after the Heels allowed nearly 400 yards of offense per game last season. In terms of the division race, the good news is that UNC gets 14 days to prepare for Georgia Tech on the road, and coaches always want as much time as possible to prepare for Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets. However, the schedule is a bear from that Sept. 21 date until Nov. 2 with an in-state rival that can’t be overlooked in East Carolina, a road game at Virginia Tech, a home tilt with division favorite Miami and then a road date at NC State following a breather against Boston College on Oct. 26.

Mark Ross

Outside of a blowout loss to Georgia Tech, North Carolina's three other losses last season came by a total of nine points. Yes, the Tar Heels lost key personnel on both sides of the ball, but there's plenty of talent coming back and both units should be even more comfortable in Larry Fedora's no-huddle spread attack and the unique 4-2-5 defensive scheme this fall.

The offense, with quarterback Bryn Renner, wide receiver Quinshad Davis and tight end Eric Ebron leading the way, should score plenty of points. The Tar Heels' season success will come down to how much better the defense plays, especially against the pass. Opening up on the road against South Carolina will not be easy, but as long as Renner emerges unscathed against Jedeveon Clowney and company, the Tar Heels should at least keep the ACC Coastal race interesting.

The key to this is finding a way to get some wins on the road (Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, NC State and Pittsburgh) and also beating Miami at home. Establishing some sort of a running game and cutting down on the big plays allowed on defense wouldn't hurt either.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

What stands out about North Carolina's schedule in the ACC this year is the toughness of the road slate. Few teams will play as tough a four-pack of games like at Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech, at NC State and at Pitt. A 1-3 record in that group might be considered a success. Bryn Renner is an underrated quarterback nationally, but the offense will have to replace loads of departed NFL talent. Quality quarterback play and a great offensive scheme gives UNC a chance to compete for a division crown. The Tar Heels will pull an upset or two — say, over Miami — but won't win enough on the road to get to Charlotte for the ACC title game.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
North Carolina’s going to be an interesting team to watch, especially on offense. Bryn Renner is going to need to take a greater lead of the offense with Giovani Bernard gone to the NFL. Offensive line may be a bit of a question, but the Heels have three starters back to a team that allowed less than one sack per game. I like the way the season ends for North Carolina. If the Tar Heels can get out of those first six games with a winning record, they could win the division. I’ve picked Carolina to lost to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have defeated Carolina in seven of the last eight meetings. After that, North Carolina needs to look for a split against the defensive power of the division (Virginia Tech) and the best offensive team in the division (Miami).

Matt McClusky, (@MatthewMcClusky), NunesMagician.com

Some things about North Carolina you may not realize: Butch Davis is long gone; Larry Fedora is in, and is heading for year two as coach. The Tar Heels' NCAA issues of the last few seasons are mostly over and this team was actually pretty good last year. The off-field turmoil is over and that means it's probably time to pay attention to North Carolina, especially with the return of Bryn Renner at quarterback and Quinshad Davis at wideout. The duo of Renner and Davis will be lighting up ACC defenses, which is good news for fans of big plays. Plus, anyone else excited to see the Tar Heels offense against South Carolina week one? A weak offensive line could make that game...interesting. The defense, which was an issue at points last season, does return six starters, but will likely still be a problem for Fedora. Which is another reason the Tar Heels, a sneaky team in the ACC, should be something of appointment viewing this fall. Close, high scoring games are always fun to watch.
 

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Teaser:
North Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-quarterback-battles-watch-fall-practice
Body:

With the turn of the calendar to August, fall practice is officially set to begin across the nation for all 125 college football teams.

Most teams are settled at quarterback, but there are a handful of programs still looking for the right answer heading into fall practice.

None of the top-10 teams in Athlon’s projected final top 25 will have a quarterback battle this fall, but top-25 teams like TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Wisconsin need to settle on a starter over the next few weeks.

Although quarterback battles aren’t necessarily bad if they extend into the season, most coaching staffs would prefer to find the right answer before the first game.

College Football's Top Fall Practice Quarterback Battles

Arizona
Matt Scott’s eligibility expired after the New Mexico Bowl, leaving a wide-open battle for Arizona’s job in the spring. B.J. Denker served as the backup last season and made one start (Colorado). Denker has the edge in experience, but he will be pushed by junior college transfer and former USC Trojan Jesse Scroggins, redshirt freshman Javelle Allen and true freshman Anu Solomon. Scroggins is recovering from a foot injury and is expected to be at full strength by the time fall practice opens. Solomon ranked as the No. 17 quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class by Athlon Sports. Denker’s edge in experience should pay off early in the year. However, the Wildcats could turn to Solomon or Scroggins by midseason.
Projected Starter for Opener: Denker

Auburn
Gus Malzahn’s return to Auburn was expected to benefit Kiehl Frazier — who was recruited to the Plains by Malzahn — and Jonathan Wallace, as both quarterbacks struggled in last season’s pro-style attack. However, midway through fall practice, the outlook for the Tigers' quarterback battle has changed. Junior college recruit (and former Georgia defensive back) Nick Marshall and true freshman Jeremy Johnson have ascended to the top of the depth chart. Marshall threw for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,095 yards and 19 scores at Garden City Community College in 2012. Adapting as a junior college recruit to SEC play is never easy, but Marshall’s athleticism could at least give him a role as a change-of-pace option in 2013. Frazier moved to safety, but Wallace is expected to be in the mix at quarterback if Johnson or Marshall stumbles.
Projected First Game Starter: Marshall


California
The Golden Bears opened spring practice with seven quarterbacks vying for the starting spot. Redshirt freshman Zach Kline, true freshman Jared Goff and junior Austin Hinder finished as the top three options, but none has thrown a pass at the FBS level. Kline ranked as the No. 4 quarterback in the nation by Athlon Sports in the 2012 signing class, while Goff impressed in his first semester on campus. Hinder ranked as a top-20 national quarterback recruit in the 2010 signing class and completed 5 of 9 passes for 87 yards in the spring game. Whichever quarterback wins the job will be the triggerman for an offense that has potential to score plenty of points under new coach Sonny Dykes and coordinator Tony Franklin
Projected First Game Starter: Kline


Kansas State
Despite losing quarterback Collin Klein, Kansas State’s offense is still in good shape. The offensive line is among the best in the Big 12, and running back John Hubert is back after rushing for 947 yards last year. The receiving corps has plenty of talent, including Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Daniel Sams served as Klein’s backup in 2012, rushing for 235 yards and three touchdowns in limited work. Battling Sams for the top spot is Jake Waters, who ranked as the top junior college quarterback in the nation, throwing for 3,501 yards at Iowa Western Community College in 2012. Waters also set a NJCAA national record for completion percentage (73.3) in 2012. While Klein will be missed, the Wildcats should be solid on offense with either Sams or Waters at the controls.
Projected First Game Starter: Sams


Michigan State
The Spartans sorely missed Kirk Cousins last year, as the offense averaged only 20 points per game and ranked ninth in the Big Ten with 359.3 yards per game. Andrew Maxwell started all 13 games last season but completed only 52.5 percent of his throws and averaged just 200.5 yards per game. Connor Cook gave Michigan State’s offense a spark in the bowl game and is in the mix, along with Tyler O’Connor and true freshman Damion Terry. Cook gives the offense more mobility from the quarterback spot, but Maxwell’s experience should give him the edge for the opener.
Projected First Game Starter: Maxwell


NC State
Mike Glennon expired his eligibility after the Music City Bowl, leaving Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker fighting for the top spot on the depth chart this spring. Thomas finished spring ball as the No. 1 quarterback, but coach Dave Doeren added another name to the mix for the fall – Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell. Although Mitchell doesn’t have a ton of game experience (43 passes) from his time in Fayetteville, he is the best fit for an offense that plans to show more spread looks in 2013. It’s not easy to pickup an offense in a few months, but Mitchell should edge Thomas and Stocker for the top spot.
Projected First Game Starter: Mitchell


Oklahoma
After playing a part-time role the last two seasons, Blake Bell is the heavy favorite to be Oklahoma’s No. 1 quarterback in 2013. Bell has rushed for 24 touchdowns in his career but has thrown only 20 passes. While Bell has a lead over redshirt freshman Trevor Knight and sophomore Kendal Thompson, this job is far from settled – at least according to coach Bob Stoops. Knight had an impressive spring and also brings dual-threat ability to the offense. Could Thompson or Knight see time as a short-yardage or change-of-pace quarterback assuming Bell wins the job? Even though Bell needs to prove he can consistently beat defenses with his arm, the junior should be the No. 1 quarterback for Oklahoma.
Projected First Game Starter: Bell


Oklahoma State

Coach Mike Gundy has indicated that Clint Chelf will open the year as the No. 1 quarterback. But this battle could extend into the season. Chelf finished 2012 as the starter, throwing for 13 touchdowns over the final five games. Wes Lunt opened last year as the starter as a true freshman, but injuries kept him out of the lineup for most of the season, and he transferred this summer to Illinois. If he doesn’t unseat Chelf, J.W. Walsh could see snaps in special packages if he’s not the starter. Although Gundy insists the quarterback job is open, it’s hard to envision the first snap going to someone other than Chelf.
Projected First Game Starter: Chelf 


Oregon State
The good news for coach Mike Riley is that the Beavers have two proven starting quarterbacks. The bad news? Neither played well enough last season or in spring practice to secure the top spot. Sean Mannion opened 2012 as Oregon State’s No. 1 quarterback, but a knee injury forced him out of action, which opened the door for Cody Vaz. Although Vaz isn’t as talented as Mannion, he seems to have the trust of the coaching staff and threw only three picks in 185 attempts. Mannion has the edge in talent and was voted as a team captain for 2013. Could that be a sign he is the preferred No. 1 quarterback for Oregon State?
Projected First Game Starter: Mannion


Penn State

Steven Bench, the most experienced quarterback on the roster (with eight attempts) left the program after spring practice, creating a two-way battle to replace Matt McGloin. Junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson and true freshman Christian Hackenberg — the No. 13 recruit in the 2013 Athlon Consensus 100 — will do their best to impress coach Bill O’Brien during the fall. If Hackenberg is as good as advertised, O’Brien won’t hesitate to let the freshman play. Considering O’Brien’s history of tutoring quarterbacks, the winner of this job should have a big season in Happy Valley.
Projected First Game Starter: Hackenberg


TCU
Casey Pachall was on track to be one of the Big 12’s top quarterbacks last season, but he was suspended for the season after an off-the-field incident in early October. Pachall threw for 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns as TCU’s full-time starter in 2011. Trevone Boykin performed well in his first extended look at quarterback last season, finishing the year with 2,054 yards and 15 touchdowns. Boykin is the better dual-threat option, but Pachall is more experienced and has a good grasp of the offense. The senior is also is the better passer, which will allow TCU to stretch the field more than it did last year. Expect Pachall to win the starting job, but don’t be surprised if both quarterbacks see playing time in 2013.
Projected First Game Starter: Pachall


Tennessee
New coach Butch Jones inherits a Tennessee offense that has one of the best offensive lines in the nation, but is lacking proven talent at receiver and doesn’t have an established quarterback. Justin Worley holds a slight edge over the competition, as he has nine games of experience under his belt, including three starts in 2011. Worley has thrown for 738 yards and one touchdown so far in his career. Freshman Nathan Peterman pushed Worley for time in the spring, but true freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson will factor into the mix. Dobbs is the best fit for Jones’ offense, but is he ready to start the season opener?
Projected First Game Starter: Worley


USC
Matt Barkley departs after throwing for 12,327 yards in his career, leaving true freshman Max Browne and sophomores Max Wittek and Cody Kessler competing for the No. 1 job. After Barkley suffered a shoulder injury against UCLA, Wittek started the final two games and completed just 28-of-60 passes. Kessler completed both of his attempts in mop-up duty last year, while Browne is one of the top quarterbacks in the 2013 signing class. Kessler had the better spring, but Wittek seems to be the preferred choice of the coaching staff. Regardless of whether it’s Wittek, Kessler or Browne under center, they will have one of the nation’s top receiving corps at their disposal.
Projected First Game Starter: Wittek

West Virginia
Junior Paul Millard (34 pass attempts), Florida State transfer Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Ford Childress are battling for the right to replace Geno Smith. Millard backed up Smith the last two years and most of his playing time was in mop-up duty. Childress is the son of a former NFL lineman and was ranked as the No. 18 quarterback in the nation by Athlon Sports in the 2012 signing class. Trickett joined the team following spring practice after three seasons in Tallahassee. He started two games in 2011, which included an impressive performance at Clemson (336 yards). Millard has the most experience in coach Dana Holgorsen’s system, but Childress might have more upside. However, the addition of Trickett has added another element to the battle, and the junior certainly wasn’t brought in to hold a clipboard.
Projected First Game Starter: Trickett

Wisconsin
Curt Phillips stabilized Wisconsin’s quarterback play last season after an injury sidelined Joel Stave and Danny O’Brien was benched due to ineffectiveness. But Phillips could be the odd man out this season, as Stave turned in a solid spring, and junior college recruit Tanner McEvoy is the best fit for new coach Gary Andersen’s offense. Stave threw for 1,104 yards and six scores last season but doesn’t offer anything on the ground. McEvoy is a dual-threat who could thrive in coordinator Andy Ludwig’s attack. However, he will need some time to learn the offense, as well as adjust to the competition level in the Big Ten.
Projected First Game Starter: Stave

Others to Watch

Houston
Houston’s offense took a step back last year after the departure of quarterback Case Keenum and coach Kevin Sumlin. Piland had a good performance against Louisiana Tech (580 yards) but finished the year with 12 picks and completed 57.1 percent of his throws. He will be pushed by JUCO recruit Billy Cosh, sophomore Bram Kohlhausen and incoming freshman John O’Korn.

Indiana
The Hoosiers have three quarterbacks capable of leading this team in 2013. Sophomore Tre Roberson missed most of last year due to a leg injury, while Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld played well in relief. Indiana ranked second in the Big Ten in total offense and regardless of which quarterback wins the job, should be one of the best in the conference once again.

Iowa
The Hawkeyes offense ranked 11th in the Big Ten in scoring last year, and none of the quarterbacks on the roster have played a snap in an Iowa uniform. Sophomore Jake Rudock is the favorite, but he will be pushed by junior Cody Sokol and redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard.

Kentucky
Coach Mark Stoops’ decision to hire Neal Brown as his offensive coordinator should pay dividends for Kentucky in 2013. But for Brown to move the Wildcats out of the SEC cellar in scoring offense, a quarterback needs to emerge. There’s no shortage of candidates, with sophomore Jalen Whitlow owning a slight edge over Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles heading into the fall.

Purdue
New coach Darrell Hazell wants to settle on a No. 1 quarterback this fall, with senior Rob Henry and freshmen Danny Etling and Austin Appleby vying for snaps. Henry has seven career starts at quarterback but none since 2010. Etling was one of Purdue’s top recruits and impressed in spring practice.

South Florida
After averaging just 20.6 points a game in 2012, there’s plenty of room for USF’s offense to improve this year. New coach Willie Taggart has attempted to bolster South Florida’s quarterback issues by adding Penn State transfer Steven Bench this summer. Bench will compete with senior Bobby Eveld, sophomore Matt Floyd and true freshman Mike White this fall.

Syracuse
Ryan Nassib won’t be easy to replace, but Syracuse has three intriguing candidates competing for time. Drew Allen is eligible immediately after transferring from Oklahoma, while sophomore Terrel Hunt adds a dual-threat option to the offense, and Charley Loeb was the backup to Nassib last year.

Texas Tech
Michael Brewer was considered a heavy favorite to win the job in the spring, but true freshman Davis Webb impressed the coaching staff. Is there really a battle here or is this a motivational tactic to push Brewer?

Virginia
Coach Mike London indicated sophomore David Watford will open fall camp as the No. 1 quarterback, but redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert is expected to push for time. Watford redshirted in 2012 after throwing for 346 yards as a true freshman in 2011.

Washington State
Junior Connor Halliday heads into the fall with an edge over redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca and true freshman Tyler Bruggman. Halliday threw for 1,874 yards in limited action last year, but he needs to cut down on his mistakes and complete a higher percentage of his passes.

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College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013
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College Football's Worst 25 Coaching Tenures of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 25 Traditions
College Football's Best Coaching Trees

Teaser:
College Football's Quarterback Battles to Watch in Fall Practice
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/penn-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
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Penn State is still dealing with NCAA sanctions, but the program appears to be on stable ground with second-year coach Bill O’Brien. The Nittany Lions rebounded from an 0-2 start to finish 8-4 last season, which included a win over Wisconsin in overtime and a 39-28 victory over Northwestern. A big part of Penn State’s eight-win season was the transformation of quarterback Matt McGloin into one of the Big Ten’s top passers, along with the leadership provided from defenders Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti and Jordan Hill.

Even though McGloin, Hodges, Mauti and Hill are gone, the Nittany Lions still have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. The offense needs to find a quarterback, which doesn’t figure to be an impossible task considering O’Brien’s work in the NFL and with McGloin in 2012. The defense has a new coordinator and must replace the heart and soul of the unit from last year.

With a bowl ban in place for 2013, Penn State is once again ineligible to compete for the postseason. However, O’Brien should have this team back in the mix for eight or more victories this year.

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

Penn State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Brent
Yarina
Kevin
McGuire
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
8/31 Syracuse (East Rutherford)
9/7 Eastern Michigan
9/14 UCF
9/21 Kent State
10/5 at Indiana
10/12 Michigan
10/26 at Ohio State
11/2 Illinois
11/9 at Minnesota
11/16 Purdue
11/23 Nebraska
11/30 at Wisconsin
Final Projection8-47-56-68-48-48-4

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Whether it’s Christian Hackenberg or Tyler Ferguson starting at quarterback, Penn State should be just fine on offense. There’s plenty of talent at the skill positions, and the offensive line is solid with the return of left tackle Donovan Smith and guard John Urschel. My biggest question mark for the Nittany Lions is a defense that loses linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, along with tackle Jordan Hill. Replacing the leadership and production those players provided won’t be easy. There’s also a new coordinator (John Butler), but Penn State doesn’t plan on drastically changing the scheme. The schedule certainly isn’t easy for the Nittany Lions, especially with crossover games against Michigan and Nebraska. Road trips against division foes Ohio State and Wisconsin are likely losses as well. I know it’s a longshot, but I have Penn State losing to Indiana. Maybe the Nittany Lions don’t lose to the Hoosiers, but I feel this is a 8-4 team.

Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)

We don’t know what Penn State has under center, we don’t know if Zach Zwinak is a true No. 1 back, we don’t know how the Penn State defense will perform without now-NFL linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges, so I’m thinking 7-5 is a fair prediction. The schedule doesn’t help, either, featuring arguably the Big Ten’s top four teams (Michigan; at Ohio State;  Nebraska; at Wisconsin) and one of the conference’s tougher nonconference slates. But, I will say this: it’s hard not to believe in Bill O’Brien and staff, who the players never quit on after last year’s 0-2 start and who turned Matt McGloin, a much-maligned and unsuccessful quarterback, and Allen Robinson, an unknown receiver, into the Big Ten’s premier pass-catch duo.
 

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), No2MinuteWarning.com and NittanyLionsDen.com

Penn State appears to have plenty of potential at quarterback, but it could get off to a rough start regardless of who is under center to start the season, be it JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson or blue chip quarterback Christian Hackenberg. I believe the defense will be solid enough to win most of their games and keep some others within reach, but despite having a strong running game and dependable tight ends, until we know just how quickly Hackenberg and/or Ferguson get adjusted to this level of play I think it is fair to have some legitimate concerns about Penn State's offense.

The non-conference schedule is not the easiest. For now, I have Syracuse winning the week one match-up and Central Florida sneaking out of State College with a win. Penn State could just as easily be 4-0 or 3-1 heading in to conference play but I'll take a cautious approach and call for a split. The Big Ten schedule includes three games I think for now are most likely losses. Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska are all losses to keep in line with my previous picks, and I think playing at Wisconsin in the final game of the season could be a loss right now. All in all, six wins avoids a losing record, which I think is a solid victory for Bill O'Brien right now. O'Brien still has Penn State heading in a positive direction overall, which may not be indicative just by watching the win total at the end of the season.

Mark Ross
Give credit to Bill O'Brien and his coaching staff for what they were able to accomplish while dealing with so much adversity last season. This fall the task will be to maintain the momentum despite having to start over at quarterback and fill some sizable holes on defense. Getting Michigan and Nebraska in Big Ten crossover play only adds to the degree of difficulty, but I am a believer in O'Brien. It also helps that the returning offensive players, starting with Big Ten Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson, have had a full season to adapt to the new system, which should only help the new quarterback. It may not be as special as last season's run, but look for the Nittany Lions to match 2012's win total, despite the ongoing bowl ban.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Bill O'Brien has some big holes to fill on defense, in particular in the leadership department. The linebacking corps and defensive line will be the key to success for the Lions this fall. However, the offense returns largely intact and is ready for the arrival of Christian Hackenberg. The non-conference schedule is very manageable and should provide four victories. Division play also offers plenty of wins as well, but crossover play will be nasty with Michigan and Nebraska coming to town. However, is Penn State pulls one upset in a game in which it isn't favored, it could easily get to nine wins. The Lions will win the ones they are supposed to and lose the ones they are supposed to.
 

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Penn State is going to be tough to pick. Christian Hackenberg is the future, but he’s operating without a net. Bill O’Brien worked miracles with Matt McGloin, but McGloin was still a senior with starting experience. I’m looking toward those early games against UCF and Indiana — two teams with quality offenses — to be key indicators of how Penn State will do on defense. The Nittany Lions lost some good seniors. I’ve picked Penn State to win both, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nittany Lions split those games. My eye-popping picks are probably a loss to Minnesota on the road and a win over Nebraska at home. More than anything, I think those possibilities illustrate what kind of up-and-down season this could be for a program with a freshman quarterback, limited depth and no hope for a postseason.

 

Related College Football Content

Big Ten 2013 Predictions
Big Ten's 2013 All-Conference Team
Michigan 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
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The Big Ten's Best Traditions
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Teaser:
Penn State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
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Fall camps starting up this week. The 2013 season is almost here.

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 Wednesday, July 31st


Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde has been suspended for at least the first three games of 2013. But cornerback Bradley Roby's status for 2013 is still uncertain.

And in case you missed it yesterday, this feature on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is excellent.

As expected, Tennessee's fall depth chart doesn't give much insight into the quarterback battle.

Saturday Down South ranks the defensive backfields in the SEC and looks at the contract details for the conference's first-round picks from the NFL Draft.

Big things are expected from Michigan receiver Amara Darboh in 2013.

Is Oklahoma considering some tweaks to its uniforms?

Does Clint Trickett hold the inside track to start at West Virginia?

Iowa receiver (and JUCO recruit) Damond Powell is slated to arrive in Iowa City soon.

Recruiting isn't an issue for Gary Anderson at Wisconsin.

Syracuse's offensive line has some big holes to fill in 2013.

A potential starter on Michigan State's offensive line has retired due to injuries.

Maryland's receiving corps should be among the best in the ACC. Here's a good breakdown of that group, along with what to expect from touted JUCO recruit Deon Long.

What can Florida State expect out of defensive end Dan Hicks in 2013?

Missouri's offensive line was hit hard by injuries last year. Here's a preview of what should be expected out of that unit for 2013.

 

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 31
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 15:20
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The transfer saga of former Notre Dame signee Eddie Vanderdoes appears to be finished. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the California native was granted a waiver to play in 2013 and will not have to sit out a season due to transfer rules.

Vanderdoes signed with Notre Dame in February but chose to leave the school this summer. The Fighting Irish would not release Vanderdoes from his scholarship, which meant the defensive lineman would have to sit out a year.

However, Vanderdoes’ appeal for immediate eligibility has been approved, which means UCLA is getting a player capable of making a big impact on the defensive line. Datone Jones expired his eligibility after last season, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa is recovering from offseason hip surgery. Even though Vanderdoes didn’t practice this spring with the Bruins, there’s a good chance he will be in the two-deep by the season opener.

Teaser:
UCLA's Eddie Vanderdoes Wins Appeal, Will Play in 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:30
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Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel will miss the next two weeks of action, as the junior quarterback is recovering from an appendectomy.

Driskel is expected to return in time for the season opener against Toledo. While the junior is sidelined, Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg are likely to handle the bulk of the reps in practice.

Although Florida will have Driskel back for the opener, his absence is a huge loss for the offense at a critical time. The Gators enter fall practice looking for playmakers at receiver, and Driskel’s absence will slow the development and timing of the offense.

This is a small setback for Florida’s offense, but Driskel should be 100 percent by the opener. And if the Gators can give the junior passer more help in the receiving corps, he should finish 2013 as one of the top-five quarterbacks in the SEC.
 

Teaser:
Florida's Jeff Driskel Undergoes Appendectomy
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:14
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-breakout-players-2013
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Every year, college football fans are introduced to a handful of players that become household names by the end of the season. Predicting which players will breakout any year is never an easy task.

The Big Ten has plenty of candidates to project for a breakout year, including Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, Purdue running back Akeem Hunt and Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence. Gardner has plenty of buzz across the nation, but the junior is entering his first full season as the Wolverines’ No. 1 passer. Hunt should see an increase in rushing attempts this year and has a similar skill set to Kent State running back Dri Archer. Spence and teammate Adolphus Washington will be in charge of keeping the Buckeyes’ defense near the top of the Big Ten, which won’t be easy with four new starters on the defensive line.

Defining what is a breakout player is nearly impossible. Everyone has a different perspective on how players are viewed around the conference and nationally. Athlon's list of breakout players for 2013 tries to take into account which names will be known nationally (not just within the conference) by the end of season. So while some of these players on this list are known to fans of a particular team, the rest of the conference or nation might not be as familiar. 

Big Ten Breakout Players for 2013

Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
If the Spartans are going to win the Big Ten Legends Division, it will have to be on the strength of their defense. Michigan State’s offense ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in points scored last year, and it’s hard to envision much improvement with the departure of running back Le’Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims. The Spartans led the Big Ten in total defense last year, and with six starters back, this unit will be stingy once again. Junior Marcus Rush is an established performer at one end spot, but Michigan State is leaning on Calhoun to replace William Gholston. The New Jersey native impressed in limited action last season, recording six tackles and one sack in 13 contests. One of Calhoun’s top performances came in the bowl win over TCU, as he registered two tackles for a loss. The sophomore is still developing and will have to adjust to his first extended action this year. However, he could lead the Spartans’ defense in sacks and tackles for a loss in his first season as a starter.

Darian Cooper, DT, Iowa
Considering the Hawkeyes had three new starters on their defensive line last year, it was no surprise this unit ranked seventh in the Big Ten against the run and generated just 1.1 sacks per game. The line should be improved in 2013, especially with more depth across the end and tackle positions. Cooper started two games and appeared in all 12 contests last year, recording 34 tackles and one fumble recovery. The sophomore’s play got stronger as the year went on, and he should be an even bigger factor in the trenches with another offseason to work in the weight room and under coordinator Phil Parker.

Jon Davis, TE, Illinois
After a 2-10 season and some uncertainty on the depth chart, it’s not easy to get a read on the Fighting Illini this preseason. However, there are some signs to believe the offense will be better in 2013, especially with the addition of Bill Cubit as the playcaller. Davis caught 22 passes in 2011 but watched his numbers decline to just nine in '12. Cubit was effective at using the tight ends in the passing game during his tenure at Western Michigan, which bodes well for Davis’ chances at emerging as a factor in the offense this year.

Dan Feeney and Jason Spriggs, OL, Indiana
Feeney and Spriggs certainly aren’t unknown commodities to most teams in the Big Ten, but it’s time these two received some credit on the national level. Spriggs guarded the blindside for Indiana’s quarterbacks last fall, allowing just two sacks in 961 snaps. The Indiana native started all 12 games and was named to the Big Ten Network’s All-Freshman team. Feeney joined Spriggs as a key contributor as a true freshman, starting all 12 games and recording 54 knockdowns in 2012. Feeney did not allow a sack last year and is poised to emerge as one of the Big Ten’s top guards in 2013. As a former offensive lineman, coach Kevin Wilson certainly knows how to develop a unit capable of ranking among the best in the Big Ten. If Feeney and Spriggs build off their success, both players could be in the mix for All-American honors going into the 2014 season.

Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
With Devin Gardner set to assume the full-time quarterback job, the Wolverines will use more of a pro-style offense in 2013. Gardner proved he is ready to emerge as one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks after a strong finish to the year, and now Michigan needs to find a few dependable receivers this fall to complement Jeremy Gallon. Funchess could emerge as the team’s No. 2 target after catching 15 passes for 234 yards and five scores as a true freshman last year. The 6-foot-5 target should be a valuable weapon over the middle and in the red zone for Gardner and could easily double his 2012 numbers.

Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Considering his performance to close 2012, it’s a bit of a stretch to put Gardner on this list. Filling in for an injured Denard Robinson in the final five games, Gardner recorded 18 touchdowns during that span and threw for 314 yards in a win over Iowa. With Gardner now entrenched as the full-time starter, and Robinson playing in the NFL, the Wolverines will transition to more of a pro-style approach on offense. Michigan’s offensive line and receiving corps needs work, but Gardner will be one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks by the end of 2013.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Despite losing Montee Ball, the Badgers aren’t too worried about their rushing attack. With Gordon and James White returning, it’s easy to see why running back is near the bottom of concerns for new coach Gary Andersen. After rushing for 98 yards as a freshman in 2011, Gordon gashed opposing defenses for 621 yards on 62 attempts last fall, averaging 10 yards a carry. His best performance came against Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship, recording 216 yards on nine attempts. Gordon will split carries with White, but the junior should finish as the Badgers’ leading rusher this year.

Akeem Hunt, RB, Purdue
New Purdue coach Darrell Hazell developed Kent State’s offense into one of the nation's most productive rushing attacks last year, finishing 18th at 225.8 yards per game. With an unsettled quarterback situation, the Boilermakers need a big season from their ground game, which is likely to be headlined by Hunt. The 5-foot-9 back resembles Kent State standout Dri Archer, and Purdue hopes he has a similar impact in 2013. Hunt rushed for 335 yards, caught 13 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 22.2 yards on 39 kickoff returns last year. Expect Hunt to play a similar all-around role in 2013, but he also will see a significant increase in carries.

Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota
It’s easy to pick the quarterback in the breakout players column, but it’s also hard to ignore the progress that Nelson made in limited action last year. The Minnesota native was thrown into the fire as a true freshman in 2012 and finished the year with 873 passing yards and eight scores, along with 184 yards on the ground. Nelson was steady in the bowl game against Texas Tech, completing 7 of 16 passes for 138 yards. His best performance came against Purdue last year, as he threw three touchdown passes on 22 attempts. Nelson isn’t likely to challenge for All-Big Ten honors, but the sophomore should continue to make progress in his first full year as the No. 1 quarterback. Minnesota fans are familiar with Nelson’s potential, but the rest of the Big Ten should get a good look at his talents with a jump in production in 2013.

Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern
Even though Northwestern loses two starters on the defensive line, this unit could be just as effective in 2013. A big reason why the coaching staff has confidence in this group is the emergence of Odenigbo. A shoulder injury sidelined him after the third game of 2012, but the redshirt freshman is expected to be back at full strength in 2013. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Odenigbo has the size and speed to be one of the team’s top pass rushers, giving Northwestern a potent one-two end combination with the return of senior Tyler Scott on the other side.

James Ross III, LB, Michigan
With Jake Ryan recovering from a torn ACL and not expected to return until October, the Wolverines need the rest of the linebacking corps to step up this fall. And there’s plenty of help on the way from Ross, who was one of the Big Ten’s top freshmen defenders last year. In 13 contests in 2012, Ross recorded 36 tackles. The sophomore has excellent athleticism and instincts and is expected to man the weakside for coordinator Greg Mattison in 2013. There’s no question Michigan will miss Ryan’s play and leadership. However, Ross is more than capable of filling those voids until Ryan is ready to return.

David Santos, LB, Nebraska
With only one returning starter, Nebraska’s front seven is getting a facelift this fall. The coaching staff hopes the return of Zaire Anderson from injury will help ease the transition to the new starters, but there’s plenty of interest in the development of Santos. As a redshirt freshman last year, he played in a reserve role, recording 24 tackles and one forced fumble. With a full offseason to work as the starter, Santos should emerge as a leader for Nebraska’s linebacking corps.

Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State
Whether it’s Christian Hackenberg or Tyler Ferguson starting at quarterback for Penn State, the Nittany Lions will have a strong supporting cast. The offensive line developed into one of the Big Ten’s best last season, allowing just 21 sacks in 12 contests. Two starters must be replaced, but Penn State is counting on Smith to keep the line performing at a high level. The sophomore struggled with an injury early in the year but finished with nine starts. With another year to work under line coach Mac McWhorter, Smith is poised to take the next step in his development this year and has all of the tools to be a dominant left tackle for Penn State.

Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, DE, Ohio State
The Buckeyes have no shortage of talent on the roster, but the defensive line is a concern with four new starters stepping into the lineup. Spence and Washington are expected to be the new leaders for the line in 2013, as both players were top-30 recruits in the 2012 signing class and impressed in limited action last year. Spence recorded 12 tackles and one sack in 11 appearances, while Washington recorded nine tackles and three sacks in 10 games. The Big Ten is thin on proven talent at defensive end, but players like Spence and Washington could turn this position into a strength by October.

Jamal Turner, WR, Nebraska
With several new faces stepping into the starting lineup on defense, Nebraska may need to win a couple of shootouts this year. And with quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Ameer Abdullah and receiver Kenny Bell returning, there’s certainly no shortage of firepower in Lincoln. The offense could be even deadlier in 2013, as Turner is poised to take the next step in his development as a receiver. After beginning his career as a quarterback, Turner nabbed 15 receptions as a freshman and boosted his total to 32 catches for 417 yards and three scores in 2012. Don’t expect Turner to overtake Bell as the No. 1 receiver, but with another year to get acclimated to receiver, look for the junior to increase his reception totals and yardage in 2013.

Dan Vitale, TE, Northwestern
The Wildcats return 15 starters, so there’s not a ton of room for unproven players to find a major role on the team in 2013. Sophomore cornerback Nick VanHoose is due to raise his profile even more this year, but we’ll pick Vitale, who is flying under the radar after a solid freshman campaign. Last season, Vitale caught 28 passes for 288 yards and two scores, with 16 of his receptions coming in two of the final three games. Northwestern needs more consistency out of its receiving corps in 2013, and help for quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian could start with Vitale’s continued development.

Dan Voltz, C, Wisconsin
Developing All-Big Ten linemen wasn’t a problem under Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema, and that trend should continue under new coach Gary Andersen. After spending 2012 as a redshirt, Voltz is expected to start at center this season. Voltz has some big shoes to fill, as he replaces Travis Frederick – one of the Big Ten’s top linemen in 2012. Voltz was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals in the class of 2012 and all signs point to the Illinois native emerging as a future standout for the Badgers.

Related College Football Content

Big Ten 2013 Predictions
Big Ten's 2013 All-Conference Team
Michigan 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
Ohio State 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
Nebraska 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
Christian Hackenberg Could be a Program-Changer at Penn State
The Big Ten's Best Traditions
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Teaser:
Big Ten Football Breakout Players for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 07:18
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The Coastal Division is up for grabs in 2013, as Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami all have a strong case to be picked No. 1 this preseason.

The Hokies regressed from one of the ACC’s top title contenders to a 7-6 team last year. Virginia Tech also won three of its games in overtime, including a 13-10 victory over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

After being a model of consistency in the ACC, are the Hokies ready to return to the top? Or is Virginia Tech on the decline?

The answer to that question might reside on the hire of Scot Loeffler as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Loeffler’s one-year stint at Auburn was a struggle, but he did not have the talent to run a pro-style attack. Is Loeffler the right answer at Virginia Tech? Only time well tell, but Loeffler’s assignment isn’t easy, especially since the Hokies have question marks at each level of the offense in 2013.

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

Virginia Tech's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
John
Cassillo
Ryan
Tice
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
 
8/31 Alabama (Atlanta) 
9/7 Western Carolina 
9/14 at East Carolina 
9/21 Marshall 
9/26 at Georgia Tech 
10/5 North Carolina 
10/12 Pittsburgh 
10/26 Duke 
11/2 at Boston College 
11/9 at Miami 
11/16 Maryland 
11/30 at Virginia 
Final Projection9-39-39-39-310-29-3 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Was 2012 just a small speed bump for Virginia Tech or a sign of things to come? That’s the big question in Blacksburg this offseason, as the Hokies have won at least 10 games in eight out of the last nine years but struggled to get to a bowl game last season. With the return of nine starters on defense, a wide-open Coastal Division and no Florida State or Clemson on the schedule, Virginia Tech should be in the mix to play for the conference championship once again. For the Hokies to get back into ACC title contention, the offense has to show some signs of life. Was Scot Loeffler the right person to fix the offense and quarterback Logan Thomas? I’m not so sure. Although Thomas has to cut down on his interceptions, Virginia Tech needs to identify a couple of playmakers at receiver, find a No. 1 running back and stabilize the offensive line. Until the offense improves, expect the Hokies to lean prominently on the defense, especially in early-season matchups against Georgia Tech and North Carolina. I could see Virginia Tech finishing 8-4 with an upset loss at Virginia or even at home to North Carolina. However, I’m guessing the Hokies find just enough offense to finish 9-3 and push Miami for the Coastal title.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
The opener against Alabama could set a very bad tone for this season in Blacksburg, even with the rebound game against Western Carolina right after. Don't sleep on the back-to-back contests against Marshall and ECU, either -- the Herd and Pirates are two of the best teams in Conference USA and with powerful offenses, may simply be able to outscore the Hokies if the timing's right. Still, with that defense, Virginia Tech has ample opportunities to win all over this schedule. So long as the offense can score 25 (no guarantee), they should be in position to emerge victorious in most contests. But that's all up to Logan Thomas. Can he regain his 2011 form? We'll see.

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
My confidence in Virginia Tech is based on the track records of Frank Beamer and Bud Foster more than anything. The defense returns nine starters, has talent in the front seven and boasts a potentially great ACC cornerback duo in Antone Exum, provided he is able to get fully healthy, and Kyle Fuller. The defense will also be aided by the return of inside linebacker Tariq Edwards, a 2011 starter who missed all of last year, and the reported offseason turnaround from defensive end J.R. Collins, who was an All-ACC honorable mention in 2011. While I do give Beamer and Foster the benefit of the doubt, I never thought quarterback Logan Thomas deserved all of the hype he got last summer and he showed to be the singal caller I thought he was last year. He has even less help this season than 2012, when he threw for 2,976 yards, 18 touchdowns and 16 picks. It’s up to inexperienced playmakers to step forward on offense. Playing at East Carolina will be tougher than it appears on the surface and winning at Georgia Tech on a short week is no easy task.


Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Logan Thomas is simply too talented and the Bud Foster led defense is simply too salty for this team to be as bad in 2013 as it was in 2012. Will it rebound to win the division and return to the title game with road games at Georgia Tech and Miami? I say no. But missing both Florida State and Clemson in crossover play gives this team as good a chance of winning the division as any other. The hiring of Scott Loeffler to run the offense is one of the most important hires of the offseason nationally and will go a long way to saving Thomas' legacy and returning Frank Beamer to coaching prominence.

Mark Ross
As disappointing a season as Virginia Tech had last year, the reality is the Hokies still went to (and won) a bowl game and have plenty of talent returning this fall. It will be up to quarterback Logan Thomas to bounce back in a new offensive system, but he can't do it all alone. The running game must be more consistent and playmakers need to step up and emerge in the passing attack.

Despite the many questions on offense, I still believe this team can win the ACC Coastal and contend for an ACC title because of its defense. A unit that finished in the top 20 nationally last season returns nine starters and adds some highly touted recruits to what will be without question the strength of this season's team. If the offense, led by Thomas, can even show marginal improvement, this team could win 10 games in the regular season.

Obviously opening up with defending national champion Alabama is a tough task, but it also could help prepare Frank Beamer's squad for the rest of its slate. In ACC play, the road games at Georgia Tech and Miami, along with the home dates with North Carolina and Pittsburgh appear to be the most important. This is especially the case considering last season the Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets by three points at home in overtime and lost to the Hurricanes, Tar Heels and Panthers by a combined 50 points.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
It’s tough to see Virginia Tech going 7-6 again, so I suppose I’ve given Frank Beamer the benefit of the doubt. The Hokies had their problems last season: Logan Thomas regressed, and Tech had three-game stretch at Clemson, at Miami and against Florida State that would have been tough for anyone. That’s why I’m picking a rebound year of sorts. The Hokies won’t beat Alabama, and Miami’s going to have one of the few offensive teams that can give the Hokies defense trouble. And why Maryland? Every ACC team will lose a game that makes little sense (Virginia Tech did it against Pitt last year). Maryland’s going to be better, provided the Terrapins make it to November with their quarterbacks intact.

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Clemson Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013

ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013
ACC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Virginia Tech Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/ole-miss-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Coming off a 2-10 record, Ole Miss entered 2012 with low expectations. Despite beginning the season with question marks on both sides of the ball and a new coach in Hugh Freeze, the Rebels were one of the SEC’s biggest surprises, recording a 7-6 overall record, which led to one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.

The SEC West is one of the most challenging divisions in college football, so it won’t be easy for Ole Miss to take another step forward in 2013. The talent level is on the rise in Oxford, so the future looks bright for Freeze, especially as he looks to turn the Rebels into a consistent top-25 team.

With 15 starters back, Ole Miss is positioned to make another run at a winning record in 2013. However, the schedule isn’t easy, and the Rebels hope quarterback Bo Wallace is 100 percent after offseason shoulder surgery. 

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

Ole Miss' 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
SEC
Logo
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
 
8/29 at Vanderbilt 
9/7 SEMO 
9/14 at Texas 
9/28 at Alabama 
10/5 at Auburn 
10/12 Texas A&M 
10/19 LSU 
10/26 Idaho 
11/9 Arkansas 
11/16 Troy 
11/23 Missouri 
11/28 at Mississippi State 
Final Projection7-56-69-37-57-59-3 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s no question Ole Miss is on the right track under the direction of second-year coach Hugh Freeze. However, considering how challenging the schedule is, it’s possible the Rebels are a better team in 2013 than they were in 2012, but it may not show in the win column. The Rebels have road games at Vanderbilt, Texas, Alabama and Auburn, along with a season finale at Mississippi State. In addition to the schedule, quarterback Bo Wallace is coming off shoulder surgery, which did not go well for Missouri and James Franklin last year. Assuming Wallace can return to full strength, the Rebels offense will once again average over 30 points a game in 2013. With the addition of a top-notch recruiting class, Ole Miss should have more depth in the program, which is crucial to challenging the top three in the SEC West. Expect more improvement from the Rebels, but a tough schedule will prevent this program from surpassing last year’s win total.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Hugh Freeze has this program trending in the right direction after taking an 0-8 team and winning three SEC games last year. The long-term trajectory of the Rebels has to have fans excited about the future. However, one historic recruiting class doesn't close the gap between teams competing for national titles and one that couldn't even win a game two years ago. Depth is still a major concern if this team is expecting to compete with the big boys. I believe Ole Miss is good enough to pull an upset or two — and am calling for a win over LSU — but it also faces one of the toughest schedules in the league. Expect a similar year to last fall with expectations growing for the 2014 squad.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
2011: 2-10, fired Houston Nutt
2012: 7-6, Egg Bowl win and a bowl victory
2013: Top 10 recruiting class
Is it crazy to think this team can go 9-3?  Yes, yes it is. Last year they averaged 424 YPG and 31.5 PPG. It’s no doubt they can score, and a key to this year’s success will be returning starter Bo Wallace, one of the most underrated QBs in the SEC. Yes, Bo’s 17 INTs from last year scare me too. With all that fresh talent coming to Oxford, how does it translate to playing time on defense? I worry about growing pains. Name to remember: Denzel Nkemdiche, LB


Mark Ross
Ole Miss has a chance to make a huge opening statement by beating Vanderbilt on the road, which would greatly increase the Rebels' chances of surviving their early-season slate. Besides the Commodores, the Rebels also have to play Texas and Alabama on the road before the calendar turns to October. Hugh Freeze's team must find a way to not only build some momentum, but also stay healthy, through this stretch or it else it could be a long season in Oxford.

That said, with at least seven starters returning on both sides of the ball and a highly regarded recruiting class coming in, I think these Rebels right the ship starting in October and finish fairly strong. The key games are back-to-back home games with Texas A&M and LSU and of course the season-ending Egg Bowl at Mississippi State. Find a way to win at least two of these matchups and Ole Miss could be one of the SEC's biggest surprises in 2013.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
There are three critical games on Ole Miss’ schedule, and all are on the road: Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State. Vanderbilt is a coin-flip game that’s going to be a key momentum game for both teams (Ole Miss lost by 1 last season). Mississippi State is the obvious rivalry game and one the Rebels haven’t won in back-to-back seasons since 2002-04. And then Auburn is a swing game that will be a key gut-check, especially if Ole Miss loses to Texas and Alabama. The Rebels on paper are the better team, beating the Tigers 41-20 last season. But stuck in between Alabama and Texas A&M, that game could be a major problem. Despite all the optimism surrounding last season and the signing class, Ole Miss could start 1-6. I don’t think the Rebels will do that, but the schedule isn’t really conducive to a hot start.


Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I see an up-and-down season coming for Ole Miss. The Rebels will be tested right out of the gate when they open on the road against Vanderbilt. Both teams are trying to capitalize on last year’s momentum. Ole Miss will begin a brutal five-game stretch on Sept. 14, starting with Texas on the road. I have Ole Miss winning two of those five games (at Auburn, LSU), which should make fans happy considering the level of competition. Ole Miss will have a chance for a strong finish. Like last year, the outcome of the Egg Bowl will greatly affect how the Rebels’ season is judged. That’s actually the case every year.

 

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Teaser:
Ole Miss Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/carlos-hydes-bar-fight-video-released
Body:

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde received some good news on Tuesday, as the Columbus police department indicated no charges would be filed in a recent bar incident. The woman involved in the fight declined to press charges against Hyde.

Hyde’s status is still uncertain for 2013, but it appears he will avoid a dismissal or major suspension.
 

With no charges filed, the video from the bar was released on Tuesday. It’s not easy to discern what happens in the incident, but it does not appear Hyde hits the woman after an argument.

Check out the video from Carlos Hyde's bar incident:

 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 16:25
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-30
Body:

One day closer to August, which means the start of the 2013 season isn't far away.

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 30th

Some sad news from last night, as Texas A&M's Polo Manukainiu and Utah's Gaius Vaenuku were killed in a car crash in New Mexico.

A Kentucky assistant coach had an interesting (and later deleted) tweet.

In case you missed it, Arizona picked up Texas quarterback transfer Connor Brewer.

Kevin McGuire takes a look at Cincinnati's victory in the great lobster feast at the American Athletic Conference's Media Days.

Patrick Hruby has some strong words for the NCAA and Mark Emmert on concussions.

USA Today's Dan Wolken takes a look at Miami's Al Golden as he attempts to lead the program back to prominence.  

Georgia coach Mark Richt called South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney the best player on the planet.

Saturday Blitz takes a look at the rise of Stanford.

Georgia coach Mark Richt issues a strong defense of the Bulldogs' drug testing policy.

Here's an interesting analysis piece on no-huddle offenses and the impact on defenses.

All charges from a recent incident have been dropped against Maryland running back Wes Brown.

California's defense faces a tough transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3.

The strength of Syracuse's offense in 2013 will be its running back corps.

Wisconsin's secondary has some major question marks to address this fall.

Here's a preview of Louisville's defensive line for 2013.

What are the five biggest questions for Tennessee to answer this fall?

Big loss for Minnesota: Receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts has decided not to play football this year.

Florida State cornerback Nick Waisome helped to catch two suspects involved in a robbery at his apartment. 

Saturday Down South takes a look at the coaching staffs in the SEC.

Awful Announcing takes a look at the Pac-12 Networks and the standoff with Direct TV. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear there will be an agreement anytime soon.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tra'Von Chapman has to serve three days in jail due after pleading guilty to an attempted assault charge.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 30
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Wildcats, College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/connor-brewer-transfers-arizona
Body:

Former Texas quarterback Connor Brewer has picked his next home. The redshirt freshman left Austin this summer and committed to play for Arizona and coach Rich Rodriguez on Monday night.

Brewer’s decision to transfer to Arizona comes as no surprise, as he played his high school ball in Chaparral, which is just outside of Tucson. Brewer was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals and ranked as the No. 9 quarterback prospect in the 2012 signing class by Athlon Sports.

Brewer isn’t a prototypical Rich Rodriguez quarterback, as he lacks the dynamic mobility of a Pat White or Denard Robinson. However, Brewer isn’t a statue in the pocket and certainly has the talent to be an effective quarterback for Arizona.

With Brewer’s decision to transfer to Arizona, the Wildcats are loaded with talent at the quarterback position. Former USC signal-caller Jesse Scroggins arrived on campus in the spring, and true freshman Anu Solomon is expected to push for the starting spot this fall. Senior B.J. Denker is expected to start, but Solomon and Scroggins will be in the mix.

It’s never a bad thing to have a couple of quarterbacks on the roster. Considering how difficult this position is to evaluate on the recruiting trail or the need to have a quality backup, Arizona’s decision to take Brewer in a transfer is one that could pay off for Rodriguez and his staff.

Teaser:
Connor Brewer Transfers to Arizona
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 10:02
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

The ACC Coastal is one of the toughest divisions to project in 2013. Miami is considered a slight favorite by most, but Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina aren’t far behind.

The Hurricanes are still searching for their first trip to the conference title game and haven’t recorded a season of double-digit wins since posting 11 victories in 2003.

Coach Al Golden seems to have Miami back on the right track, and the Hurricanes return 12 starters from last year’s 7-5 team. The cloud from the ongoing NCAA investigation still hangs over the program, but Miami should have a resolution on its penalties before kickoff on Aug. 30 against FAU.

There’s no question Miami’s offense should score plenty of points, but the defense is a major concern after allowing 30.5 points a game in 2012.

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


Miami's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
John
Cassillo
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
Ryan
Tice
David
Fox
8/30 FAU
9/7 Florida
9/21 Savannah State
9/28 at USF
10/5 Georgia Tech
10/17 at North Carolina
10/26 Wake Forest
11/2 at Florida State
11/9 Virginia Tech
11/16 at Duke
11/23 Virginia
11/29 at Pittsburgh
Final Projection9-310-29-39-310-210-2

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The ACC Coastal is one of the most wide-open leagues in college football this season. Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia Tech all have a strong case to be picked as the preseason favorite, and three of those teams (Miami, North Carolina and Georgia Tech) all tied for the top spot at 5-3 in conference play last year. The Hurricanes are still searching for their first ACC Coastal title, but there’s plenty of reasons to like this team in 2013. Assuming there’s a seamless transition to new coordinator James Coley, the offense should rank among the best in the ACC. Running back Duke Johnson has a standout line leading the way, while quarterback Stephen Morris should build off a solid 2012 campaign (3,345 yards, 21 touchdowns). Miami’s defense is in need of major repair after allowing 486.4 yards per game last year. However, this unit should get a boost with another set of offseason practices to develop some of the younger players like safety Deon Bush and linebacker Alex Figueroa. The schedule is manageable, as Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech visit Sun Life Stadium, and the Hurricanes play at North Carolina on 11 days of rest. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a tie atop the Coastal, but I’m taking Miami to represent the division in the conference championship game.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
Miami's schedule gives us ample opportunity to figure out who they are early on. The Hurricanes' matchups against Florida and Georgia Tech in their first five games should be the barometer. Beat Florida, we're looking at a top-10 squad. Lose to the Gators and beat Georgia Tech, maybe they're just another eight-win team. Obviously, Duke Johnson and Stephen Morris will lead this group, but it'll come down to whether the defense can improve from last year. If they don't, it could serve as their downfall once again, despite what should be an even better offense.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’m probably wildly optimistic about my projections on Miami’s season, mainly because in our previous game-by-game picks to pick the Canes to upset Florida and Florida State. Those are bold projections, particularly if Florida State’s Jameis Winston becomes a superstar and Miami’s defense shows little improvement from last season. That’s why I’ve picked Georgia Tech and North Carolina to defeat Miami this season. Few other teams on its schedule are as certain on offense as those two. Georgia Tech’s option is always trouble, and North Carolina has skill position talent that’s been in Larry Fedora’s system for a season.

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com

Miami, which boasts 19 returning starters including 10 on offense, is looking for defensive improvements this year. However, they might be able to outscore the majority of their opponents regardless, thanks to the return of quarterback Stephen Morris, running back Duke Johnson, a solid wide receiving corps led by Phillip Dorsett and an experienced group up front. The schedule is also favorable with two of the three toss-up games — Florida, Florida State and Virginia Tech — on the slate coming at home. It’s possible they could even go 0-3 in that trio of games and still represent the wide-open Coastal Division in the ACC Championship game, as long as they take care of business the other nine weeks. The two most important games in the division race will be vs. Virginia Tech and at North Carolina. The ceiling for this season is extremely high in Coral Gables, which is probably why the Canes self-imposed sanctions and sat out last postseason for the second-straight year despite a possible trip to the ACC Championship contest on the line when the decision was made.

 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
There are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about the Miami Hurricanes. This is a deep and competitive division, Miami is dealing with severe off-the-field turmoil, the defense was horrendous last year and the team is still very young. However, there is much to like about this team as well. Al Golden might be the best coach in the conference, all those young underclassmen are one year older and the despite being very competitive, the Coastal Division is very winnable. With Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech both coming to South Florida and Clemson noticeably absent from the schedule, the Canes are the pick to win the division and have an outside chance at 10 wins. Keep in mind, had this team played four easy non-conference games last year instead of Notre Dame and Kansas State on the road, it would have won nine games.

Mark Ross

Miami has re-entered the ACC championship discussion, although the NCAA could pull the rug out from under its feet before the season starts. Until then, however, the Hurricanes have to at least be considered a potential title contender with all-purpose dynamo Duke Johnson leading what could be an explosive offense. The 'Canes' success will likely come down to how much improvement a young defense, one that finished near the bottom of the national rankings in the main defensive categories last season, shows. The defense will be what holds Miami back from beating either Florida or Florida State and it also will cost them at least one ACC game. To that end, the key conference swing games to watch are on the road against North Carolina and Pittsburgh, along with home dates with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Even then, there is more than enough talent on both sides of the ball for Al Golden's team to contend for supremacy in the ACC Coastal division and its first trip to the conference championship game.

 

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Bowl Projections for 2013
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ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013
ACC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Miami Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 07:20

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