Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/texas-wr-mike-davis-takes-cheap-shot-against-iowa-state-db

Texas wide receiver Mike Davis might be hearing from the Big 12 over this dirty cheap shot in the first half against Iowa State. After a Texas touchdown (and the ball nowhere in sight), Davis decided to take a shot at Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield. 

Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Tennessee Volunteers, SEC
Path: /college-football/tennessee-football-will-volunteers-make-bowl-2013

As expected, Butch Jones’ first season at Tennessee has been a challenge.

The Volunteers opened the year with back-to-back wins against Austin Peay and Western Kentucky but lost by a combined score of 90-31 to Oregon and Florida.

Last week, Tennessee opened up a 31-7 lead on South Alabama, but the Jaguars rallied in the second half and had a chance to tie late in the fourth quarter.

Both sides of the ball are problematic for Tennessee, and help won’t arrive until February with the upcoming signing class.

The Volunteers don’t have an easy schedule the rest of the way, but this team could improve with more time to learn under Jones and his staff.

But will that be enough for Tennessee to get bowl eligible?

After a 3-2 Start, Will Tennessee Make a Bowl in 2013?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
In the preseason, I was more optimistic about Tennessee’s chances of making a bowl game. After five games under new coach Butch Jones, I think the Volunteers will fall short of reaching the postseason. Even with one of the nation’s best offensive lines and two solid running backs, Tennessee ranks last in the SEC in total offense. Quarterback play is a huge concern and isn’t likely to get much better the rest of the season. Things on the defensive side of the ball aren’t much better, as the Volunteers rank 12th in the SEC, allowing 5.8 yards per play and 26.8 points per game. The upcoming schedule won’t give Tennessee much of a break, as Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama are all likely losses. If the Volunteers are 3-5 heading into November as most expect, they would need to win three out of four games against this schedule: at Missouri, Auburn, Vanderbilt and at Kentucky. Considering Missouri and Auburn are improved from last season, it’s tough to find three wins on that schedule. Jones will do a good job at Tennessee, but I think the Volunteers will miss out on the postseason.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
No disrespect intended to Joey Jones, but the Volunteers have looked like a glorified Sun Belt team this year. The offense is borderline inept while the defense hasn't shown much improvement from a year ago. That said, the Vols will be 3-5 (as expected) entering the final month of the year. This leaves four swings games to determine the postseason fate of Tennessee: Auburn and Vanderbilt at home, Missouri and Kentucky on the road. A 2-2 record in that stretch won't be good enough to get the Vols to a bowl game. Three wins in that stretch doesn't feel doable for this team, so it will be the third straight season with no postseason for Big Orange Nation.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I don’t think Tennessee will make a bowl game this year. The Vols just have too many problems to fix. Their issues start at quarterback. Justin Worley has struggled as the starter, but coach Butch Jones has been reluctant to give an opportunity to one of the true freshmen. Will that problem get solved against Georgia, Alabama or South Carolina? The defense lacks depth and elite talent. That’s a problem that can only be solved through recruiting.

Tennessee will likely enter November with a 3-5 record, which will put pressure on the Vols to produce a winning record in the final month. I picked Tennessee to beat Missouri at the beginning of the season. Right now, Missouri looks like the better team. It will be difficult for Tennessee to beat Missouri if quarterback James Franklin stays healthy. Tennessee will play Auburn and Vanderbilt at home, but winning both of those games would be asking a lot. Tennessee could turn things around and finish with a 6-6 record. But that doesn’t look likely right now.  

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler)
No. Tennessee is definitely moving in the right direction with Butch Jones, but I don’t see a bowl appearance in the cards for the Vols. They have three wins already and need just three more to become bowl eligible. The problem is that they don’t have an SEC win and that’s exactly who is left on their schedule. Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama are all sure losses. Those losses will drop them to 3-5, which puts Tennessee in a position where they need to go 3-1 against Missouri, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. While I’d say Kentucky is likely to be a win, the other three games are toss-ups. Missouri and Auburn are much improved from 2012 and Vanderbilt has turned into a tough opponent. With so much uncertainty and inconsistency at quarterback, I just can’t see Tennessee running the table at the back end of their schedule. The Volunteers will miss a bowl game for the third straight season.

Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-6-upset-predictions-2013

With the arrival of October, most of the weekly action in college football is in conference play.

That’s the case in Week 6, as the biggest games are conference affairs.

Ohio State-Northwestern is the top game in the Big Ten this Saturday, while Georgia Tech takes on Miami, and Florida State hosts Maryland in ACC play.

In the Pac-12, Washington plays at Stanford, which is a huge game for the Huskies to see if they have closed the gap on the rest of the North Division.

With conference play starting, the potential for upsets may increase. Teams are more familiar with each other, and the competition is tougher.

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

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

College Football Week 6 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Tulane (+3) over North Texas
Under second-year coach Curtis Johnson, the Green Wave are quietly making progress and with a 3-2 record, need just three victories to get bowl eligible. Tulane opened the year with a win over Jackson State but stumbled in a surprising loss against South Alabama. However, the Green Wave has won two out of its last three games and play their next three contests at home. Saturday’s game against North Texas will be a tough matchup, but I like Tulane to pull off a slight upset. The Mean Green rank last in Conference USA in total and pass defense, which is a bad sign against Green Wave receiver Ryan Grant (33 catches, 461 yards, four touchdowns) and improving quarterback Nick Montana. Tulane’s defense also ranks second in Conference USA in fewest yards allowed, holding opponents to 4.9 yards per play. Expect a close one, but the Green Wave edge the Mean Green on Saturday.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Ohio State (-6.5) over Northwestern
Go big, or go home. The Wildcats have beaten the Buckeyes just once in the 29-game history of the series — in 2004 in Evanston. This is the most talented Northwestern team ever assembled, Ohio State is coming off an emotionally draining effort against Wisconsin and College Gameday is going to be in Evanston for the first time since 1995. Venric Mark could return to the field for Pat Fitzgerald, giving him his full compliment of weapons for the first time all season. The Cats have been extremely competitive against upper level Big Ten teams of late and now is the time for them to break through on the national stage.

Mark Ross: Nevada (+5) over San Diego State
San Diego State's lone win thus far came against New Mexico State, while it lost 40-19 to FCS member Eastern Illinois to open the season. Nevada got pounded by UCLA and Florida State (by a combined score of 120-27), but it also is 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference after beating Hawaii and Air Force the past two weeks. San Diego State is having problems both scoring (20.5 ppg) and keeping opponents from putting points on the scoreboard (33.0 ppg), while quarterbacks have just carved them up. Both Ohio State's Kenny Guiton and Oregon State's Sean Mannion posted decent numbers against the Aztecs. Enter Cody Fajardo, Nevada's dual-threat signal-caller who has thrown five touchdown passes and rushed for five more scores. Fajardo isn't a one-man band, either, and I just think Nevada has too much offense for the Aztecs to overcome.

David Fox: Illinois (+10.5) over Nebraska
Perhaps I should have learned my lesson that Illinois is not ready for the big time when the Illini lost 34-24 to Washington, a game that probably wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. But there aren’t many reasons to trust Nebraska — even at home — with that defense. If Taylor Martinez is out or limited for the Cornhuskers, Illinois will have a major edge in an up-and-down-the-field. We know the Illinois defense isn’t that great, but Nathan Scheelhaase is one of the most improved quarterbacks in the country. Illinois should be able to hold its own in a shootout.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Ball State (+5) over Virginia
Ball State is No. 10 in the country in passing offense and averages 40 points per game. Meanwhile, the Virginia offense struggled mightily last week against Pittsburgh. In fact, the Cavs managed just three points on 188 total yards and went 3 of 18 on third-down conversions. If Ball State’s offense is clicking, Virginia won’t be able to match them blow for blow. Mike London will rely on his defense to keep the Cavaliers in this game, but the Virginia offense has had trouble avoiding big mistakes. In all four games this year, Virginia has turned the ball over at least twice, including a four-turnover performance against Oregon. If this trend continues, I think it will make the difference as Ball State will be able to convert easy points out of some short drives.

Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/purdue-changes-qbs-danny-etling-start

After a 1-4 start, new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell is making a few changes to his lineup.

Quarterback Rob Henry has been benched in favor of true freshman Danny Etling, and the Boilermakers will have two weeks to prepare their new starter with a bye this Saturday.

Henry was off to a slow start in 2013, completing only 53.6 percent of his throws and throwing six interceptions to just four touchdowns.

Etling hasn’t been much better in limited action, completing 19 of 39 passes for 241 yards and two scores and two interceptions.

With Purdue’s offense struggling, this move makes a lot of sense. Etling is inexperienced, but Hazell and his staff need to know if he can be their quarterback of the future. And with a bye week to prepare, this is the right time to make a change.

Henry won’t be sitting on the bench for long, as the senior moved to safety in practice on Wednesday.

Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/alabama-safety-ha-ha-clinton-dix-suspended-indefinitely

Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely and won’t play in Saturday’s game against Georgia State.

Clinton-Dix is suspended due to a violation of team rules.

The junior ranks second on the team with 24 tackles and has two pass breakups this year.

Clinton-Dix was expected to be one of the SEC’s top defensive backs this season, and although it’s a huge loss for Alabama, the Crimson Tide’s upcoming schedule is very manageable. Alabama hosts Georgia State this Saturday, followed by games at Kentucky, then home contests against Arkansas and Tennessee.

Clinton-Dix will return at some point this year, but the Crimson Tide’s defense will be fine until he is back in the lineup.

Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/acc-week-6-preview-and-predictions-2013

Week 6 in the ACC is headlined by a huge matchup in both divisions.

In the Atlantic, Maryland travels to Florida State. The Terrapins have already matched their win total from last season, and their offense has improved with a healthy C.J. Brown under center.

The Seminoles have scored at least 40 points in all four of their games, and redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston will test a Maryland secondary that’s thin at cornerback.

In the Coastal, Georgia Tech travels to Miami. The Yellow Jackets lost to Virginia Tech last Thursday, dropping to 2-1 in ACC play. A win over the Hurricanes would put Georgia Tech back in the mix for the Coastal title.

Miami has yet to play an ACC game this year, but the Hurricanes picked up a key win over Florida in non-conference play.

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Week 6 Game Power Rankings

1. Georgia Tech (+5) at Miami (3:30 ET, ESPNU)
With North Carolina struggling and Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech both coming to Miami, the Hurricanes have moved into the driver’s seat for the Coastal title. But despite last week’s loss to the Hokies, the Yellow Jackets have a chance to jump back into the title picture this Saturday. Georgia Tech has lost four in a row to the Hurricanes, including the last two in Miami by a combined score of 57-24. However, due to an improved defense, the Yellow Jackets are a more complete team than they were in the last few seasons. New coordinator Ted Roof has led Georgia Tech to a No. 3 ranking in the ACC in total defense, with the secondary holding opponents to just three passing scores in four games. Miami’s offense will test the Yellow Jackets’ defense, especially with a healthy Stephen Morris at quarterback, and dynamic sophomore running back Duke Johnson. When Georgia Tech has the ball, controlling the time of possession and limiting turnovers will be crucial. Quarterback Vad Lee is likely the best passer coach Paul Johnson has had with the Yellow Jackets, but he has struggled at times with executing the option. The Hurricanes are deeper in the front seven this year, which will help to slow down Lee and Georgia Tech’s running backs. If Miami jumps out to an early lead, it will be tough for the Yellow Jackets to rally. However, if Georgia Tech controls the clock and forces the Hurricanes to play at its pace, this one won’t be decided until deep in the fourth quarter.

2. Maryland (+15.5) at Florida State (12 ET, ESPN)
Maryland is off to a fast start, but Saturday’s game at Florida State will be the Terrapins’ biggest test of the season. After winning just six games in coach Randy Edsall’s first two years, Maryland is 4-0 and is poised to post their first winning season since 2010. But how close are the Terrapins to Clemson and Florida State? That’s the big question. The Seminoles are also 4-0 and are ranked by most among the top-10 teams in the nation. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston continues to impress and averages 9.7 yards per play. Winston has one of the best supporting casts in college football, and his receiving corps will test a Maryland defense that loves to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks (17 sacks), but is without its top two cornerbacks due to injury. The Terrapins rank just behind Florida State in the ACC in total offense, averaging seven yards per play and 498.5 yards a contest. The return of quarterback C.J. Brown has made a huge difference for Maryland, and running back Brandon Ross has emerged as a reliable weapon on the ground (332 yards, two scores). The Seminoles have struggled at times against the run, which is no surprise considering the personnel lost from last year’s team, along with the transition to a new coordinator. With a showdown against Clemson coming on Oct. 19, this matchup against Maryland’s offense should help the Seminoles prepare for the Tigers.

3. North Carolina (+7.5) at Virginia Tech (12:30 ET, ACC Network)
Coming into 2013, most expected this game to play a key role in shaping the Coastal Division. Now, it appears to be a battle of two teams headed in opposite directions. Virginia Tech picked up a huge conference win at Georgia Tech last week, while North Carolina dropped to 1-3 with a loss against East Carolina. The Tar Heels are surprisingly off to a slow start on offense, ranking 10th in the ACC in yards per game (397) and 10th in scoring offense. A revamped offensive line has allowed nine sacks, and North Carolina has struggled to establish the run. Help could be coming on the ground for coach Larry Fedora’s team this week, as true freshman T.J. Logan may play this Saturday after recovering from a knee injury. However, against one of the nation's best defensive fronts, the Tar Heels will need a better effort from their line to win. Virginia Tech is holding opponents to just 103 yards per game on the ground, while generating 17 sacks through five contests. With a stout defense, the Hokies won’t need a dynamic offense, but quarterback Logan Thomas is coming off his best performance of the season. And that’s bad news for North Carolina, which ranks last in the ACC in total and scoring defense. 

4. Ball State (+5.5) at Virginia (12 ET, RSN)
Upset alert? The Cavaliers have played one of the toughest slates so far in the ACC, as BYU, Oregon and Pittsburgh are a combined 9-3. Ball State is one of the best teams in the MAC and went 9-4 last year, knocking off BCS teams Indiana and South Florida in non-conference play. Scoring points has been a problem for Virginia this year, but the Cardinals are averaging 40 points a game. The Cavaliers have a significant advantage on defense and are holding opponents to just 4.2 yards per play. One area Virginia should have an edge is in the trenches. Ball State has four new starters on the offensive line and has allowed seven sacks in five games. The Cavaliers have generated 13 sacks so far, and defensive tackle Brent Urban and end Eli Harold will be a handful for Ball State’s line. Virginia’s offense has struggled to get on track this year, and coach Mike London doesn’t want to get in a shootout against the Cardinals. Look for the Cavaliers to use their size advantage in the trenches, along with a heavy dose of running back Kevin Parks to take the pressure off of struggling quarterback David Watford.

5. NC State (-8.5) at Wake Forest (3:30 ET, RSN)
The home team has won the last five meetings in this series, but this could be the year where that streak ends. Wake Forest is averaging just 15.3 points a game against BCS competition this season and ranks last in the ACC in total offense. The main culprit of the Demon Deacons’ struggles has been the offensive line, which was a weakness in 2012 and has allowed 12 sacks through four games. NC State’s defense has nine sacks and 37 tackles for a loss so far this year and will be a tough matchup for Wake Forest’s line. The Demon Deacons have been unable to run the ball most of the season (104th nationally), which will force quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro to shoulder the offense. Wake Forest’s defense has struggled to stop the run this season (167.8) and will be tested by a trio of NC State running backs, along with quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (5.1 ypc).

6. Clemson (-13.5) at Syracuse (3:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2)
After an 0-2 start, Syracuse has rebounded with back-to-back wins. Beating Wagner and Tulane isn’t going to wow most around in the ACC, but the Orange have some momentum entering this game. Syracuse’s offense found a spark behind quarterback Terrel Hunt, who completed 31 of 39 throws for 446 yards and seven scores in his first two starts. Hunt faces a tougher test in the ACC opener for the Orange, as Clemson is holding opponents to 17.2 points a game and has one of the conference’s most-active defensive lines (15 sacks). Hunt’s mobility is an x-factor for Syracuse, especially if he can avoid the Tigers’ pass rush and make plays downfield in the passing game. The Orange would prefer not to get in a shootout with Clemson, but it will be hard to keep the Tigers’ offense (43 ppg) under wraps. Syracuse’s secondary struggled in the first four games, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 63.1 percent of their throws.  

7. Army (+11.5) at Boston College (1 ET, ESPN3)
Due to the government shutdown, this game was in jeopardy of being canceled. However, on Thursday night, Army was given a green light to play this weekend. This will be the 28th meeting between these programs, with Boston College owning a 24-13 series edge. However, the Eagles lost 34-31 at West Point last year. Stopping the run is always critical when playing Army, and Boston College ranks 13th in the ACC in rush defense, allowing 170.5 yards per game. If the Eagles contain the Black Knights’ option attack, they should have a chance to take advantage of an Army defense that’s also struggling to stop the run. Running back Andre Williams has four 100-yard efforts through five games and should have another solid performance this week.

ACC Week 6 Pivotal Players

Anthony Chickillo, DE, Miami
Chickillo was active around the scrimmage in last year’s game against Georgia Tech, recording seven stops, three tackles for a loss and one sack. The Yellow Jackets are struggling at times to execute the option, but are still a handful to defend. Assignment football is an overused cliché at times, but it’s important for Chickillo and the other Miami defenders to not lose responsibility of their gaps. Georgia Tech’s offensive line struggled to block Virginia Tech last Thursday, and if Chickillo can disrupt the offense, the Hurricanes will contain quarterback Vad Lee.

James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
Hurst is the leader of a struggling North Carolina offensive line. The Tar Heels have allowed nine sacks and rank last in the ACC in rushing offense after four contests. With three new starters, North Carolina’s line was expected to be a work in progress in 2013. However, while the line is inexperienced, this group needs to have a good showing on Saturday against Virginia Tech’s defensive front. Hurst will be matched up against ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins, who have combined for 6.5 sacks in five contests.

Keon Lyn, CB, Syracuse
Syracuse’s secondary ranks 12th in the ACC against the pass and could be without cornerback Brandon Reddish against Clemson due to injury. Lyn is one of the leaders on defense, as he has 23 career starts and 14 tackles in four games this season. The senior and teammate Ri’Shard Anderson will be tasked with slowing down Clemson’s deep group of receivers, including standout junior Sammy Watkins.

Vad Lee, QB, Georgia Tech
Lee is coming off his worst performance of the season. Against Virginia Tech last Thursday, Lee completed just 7 of 24 passes for 144 yards and two interceptions. The sophomore didn’t factor much into the rushing attack, generating only 35 yards on 18 attempts. Lee and the Yellow Jackets’ offense will have their hands full on Saturday, as Miami’s defense is fast, athletic and has made improvement after an awful showing last year. If Georgia Tech is going to win at Miami, Lee needs to have his best game of the year.

William Likely/Isaac Goins, CB, Maryland
Likely and Goins have been pressed into action with injuries sidelining starting cornerbacks Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle. This duo has held up well so far, as Maryland is allowing 165.2 yards per game through the air. However, Florida State’s offense is its toughest opponent of the season. The Seminoles average 293.2 passing yards per game and have an athletic, deep and fast group of receivers, led by Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw.

ACC Week 6 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Ball State (+5.5) at VirginiaBall State 27-21UVA 31-24UVA 27-24UVA 24-20
Maryland (+15.5) at Florida StateFSU 35-21FSU 27-17FSU 38-24FSU 34-21
North Carolina (+7.5) at Va. TechVa. Tech 17-14Va. Tech 24-17Va. Tech 30-17Va. Tech 24-20
Army (+11.5) at Boston CollegeBC 35-17BC 27-20BC 31-20BC 34-13
Clemson (-13.5) at SyracuseClemson 41-14Clemson 38-21Clemson 45-20Clemson 37-17
Georgia Tech (+5) at MiamiGa. Tech 28-27Miami 28-24Miami 31-24Miami 27-24
NC State (-8.5) at Wake ForestNC State 35-10NC State 31-20NC State 30-20NC State 34-24
Season Record41-842-742-742-7


Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/united-airlines-offers-fly-air-force-navy-game-free

With the government shutdown threatening the cancellation of the annual Air Force-Navy game, United Airlines is prepared to step in. There is a question of whether the funds used for sporting activities are congressionally appropriated. While Navy uses non-appropriated funds for athletics, the U.S. Air Force Academy partially fund their athletics programs through appropriated funds. Lawyers are trying to determine whether non-appropriated funds might be used by the Air Force team to travel to Navy (at Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, in Annapolis, Md.). Amidst the uncertainty, United Airlines has stepped up and offered to fly the Falcons to the game for free.

The U.S. Naval Academy said in a statement that a decision will be made by noon Thursday about whether the Midshipmen will play Air Force. The football rivalry between Navy and Air Force dates to 1960, and they have played each other every year since 1972. Saturday's game is sold out.

Post date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 17:00
Path: /college-football/david-ash-ruled-out-game-against-iowa-state-head-injury

David Ash will miss his second game in the Longhorns' last three after sustaining another head injury in the first half of the Longhorns win over Kansas State two weeks ago. Ash originally suffered a head injury in the Week 2 loss to BYU and sat out the following week’s game against Ole Miss.  He returned as the starter for the Kansas State game but was not able to finish. Case McCoy has thrown for 330 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions this year and is expected to start on Thursday night. 

Post date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-most-improved-quarterbacks-2013

The 2013 college football season is only five weeks old, but there is plenty to learn from the first month of action.

Quarterback play is always under the microscope in any season. But performance under center is at an all-time high, especially as more teams continue to implement spread offenses.

Improved quarterback play is an easy solution for a struggling team, and after five weeks, there are a handful of programs poised to surpass their win total from last year, largely due to the performance under center.

Missouri’s James Franklin struggled with injuries last season but has rebounded with a strong start to 2013. Although the Tigers have yet to play in an SEC game in 2013, Franklin’s improvement should allow Missouri to return to the postseason.

Utah’s Travis Wilson, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase are all benefactors of coordinator changes. And Washington’s Keith Price has benefited from more consistency from his offensive line, while Oregon State’s Sean Mannion has settled into the starting role after sharing time with Cody Vaz last year.

To help illustrate the improvement by these quarterbacks, we examined their stats through the first four or five starts (however many that team has played this year) and compared it to their 2012 start.

College Football's Most-Improved Quarterbacks from 2012 to 2013

James Franklin, Missouri 

YearGamesCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp %TDINTAvg/GYards Per Comp 

Due to offseason shoulder surgery, Franklin was never 100 percent last year. In nine games, he threw for 1,562 yards and 20 scores and the dual-threat ability that made him one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the Big 12 in 2011 was gone (122 rush yards). The senior is off to a better start in 2013 and already has 14 passing plays of 20 yards or more after recording only 18 last year. Missouri has yet to play a SEC game in 2013, but Franklin looks like a different quarterback and as the numbers above indicate, he’s a big reason why this team is averaging 45.5 points a game. 

Zach Mettenberger, LSU

YearGamesCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp %TDINTAvg/GYards Per Comp

High expectations surrounded Mettenberger in his first season as LSU’s starting quarterback in 2012. However, the former Georgia passer struggled, finishing 2012 with 2,609 yards and 12 scores and just over 200 passing yards per game (200.7). So far, the hire of Cam Cameron has paid huge dividends for the Tigers. Through five games, Mettenberger leads all SEC quarterbacks with 28 completions of 20 yards or more and ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency. Although the senior’s completion percentage is down slightly, he is averaging almost four more yards per attempt. 

Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois

YearGamesCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp %TDINTAvg/GYards Per Comp

Much like LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Scheelhaase’s improvement can be directly tied to a change at coordinator. Bill Cubit was hired to coordinate Illinois’ offense after he was fired as Western Michigan’s head coach, and the veteran assistant has made a huge impact in just four games. Scheelhaase has raised his completion percentage by nearly five points and is averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game. The competition will get tougher, but Scheelhaase needs just one touchdown to surpass his total from last year.

Sean Mannion, Oregon State

YearGamesCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp %TDINTAvg/GYards Per Comp

Considering Mannion’s performance through five games, it’s hard to believe Oregon State had a quarterback battle in the spring. Injuries derailed Mannion’s 2012 campaign, but he has been one of college football’s top quarterbacks in September. The junior leads the nation with 2,018 passing yards and is completing 67.2 percent of his throws. Mannion also has 13 passing plays of 30 yards or more. With a struggling defense, Mannion and Oregon State’s offense may need to win a lot of shootouts in Pac-12 play. 

Keith Price, Washington

YearGamesCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp %TDINTAvg/GYards Per Comp

Price had an outstanding sophomore season, throwing for 3,063 yards and 33 touchdowns, while completing 66.9 percent of his passes. However, due largely to a struggling offensive line, Price wasn’t the same quarterback in 2012. In 13 games, he threw for 2,726 yards, 19 scores and tossed 13 picks. Price’s passing efficiency was nearly 40 points lower in 2012 after recording a 161.9 mark in 2011. Thanks to some tweaks on offense and better play by the line, Price has found his 2011 form. He ranks first in the Pac-12 and seventh nationally in 2013 with a 72.3 completion percentage. Price is more comfortable this season and as a result, Washington is poised to have its best season under coach Steve Sarkisian. 

Travis Wilson, Utah

YearGamesCompletionsAttemptsYardsComp %TDINTAvg/GYards per Comp

Note: For Wilson's 2012 stats, we used his first four starts.

The addition of Dennis Erickson as Utah’s offensive coordinator has made a huge difference for Wilson. In his first four starts last season, Wilson had a solid completion percentage (66.9%) but threw five picks and was averaging just 10.1 yards per completion. Wilson has been a different quarterback this year and ranks third in the Pac-12 in total offense per game (342.3). The sophomore also has five rushing scores and averages eight yards per carry. Utah missed out on a bowl last year but should return to the postseason, largely due to the emergence of Wilson in 2013.

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Post date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/texas-or-usc-which-better-college-football-job

Texas and USC are two of college football’s premier jobs, and by December, both programs are expected to be looking for a head coach. USC already fired coach Lane Kiffin, and Mack Brown’s future at Texas is iffy, which means there will be plenty of coaches lining up to interview at both schools.

When it comes to building a list of best jobs in college football, the list usually starts with Texas, and USC, Florida, Ohio State and Alabama aren’t far behind.

However, is USC a better job than Texas? It’s hard to complain about weather in Los Angeles, but some coaches wouldn’t want to put up with the extra media attention. Texas also has a similar situation with the Longhorn Network, but being able to have your pick of the elite recruits in Texas is never a bad thing.

Both schools have plenty of built-in advantages when it comes to recruiting and location. And oddly enough, both programs have struggled to establish consistent success.

Assuming both Texas and USC will be hiring a new coach in December, which job is more desirable?

USC or Texas: Which is a Better Job for College Football Coaches?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Texas and USC have stumbled in recent years, but let’s not forget these two programs won BCS championships and competed for the 2005 title in Pasadena, Calif. Even with a 5-4 combined record this season, there’s no doubt Texas and USC are two of the best jobs in college football, with Florida, Ohio State and Alabama rounding out the top five. I’d give Texas an edge over USC in this debate, as its prime location allows its pick of the elite recruits each year, and there’s no shortage of tradition and money flowing through the athletic department. With the Big 12 sticking with 10 teams for now, one could argue it’s easier to play for a national title in the Big 12 over the Pac-12. And in the current climate of the Pac-12 South, UCLA is on the upswing, and Arizona State and Arizona are improving. The Longhorn Network may scare a coach or two away from Austin, but Texas is clearly the best job in college football and will have its pick of elite coaches whenever Mack Brown decides to step aside.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
First, these are two of the top 5-8 jobs in the nation based on natural built-in advantages, financial power and championship upside. But Texas is the answer. The differences are subtle but extremely important aside from one being a public institution and one private. The development of high school football players in the state of Texas dwarfs all other states in the nation — including both Florida and California. The commitment and passion of the fans and administration is greater by a wide margin for the Longhorns and it's what makes Texas the most powerful athletic department in the nation. In Los Angeles, the Trojans must compete for attention with everything from Kobe Bryant to sushi restaurants to the beach in the most saturated college market in the country. The bottom line is that football is king in Texas and it's an afterthought in Hollywood. Would anyone actually CHOOSE to live in L.A. over Austin?

Mark Ross
Although everything is bigger in Texas, including expectations, I'll lean towards the Longhorns' job on this one. Both schools have won national championships during the BCS era and have seen sustained periods of substantial success. Resources and recruiting aren't really issues either, as each is one of the main national brands when it comes to the college football landscape. Texas still comes out as the winner of this two-horse race for me because while the pressure to win and win big in Austin is both prevalent and evident, the potential rewards when you do outweigh those at USC. By that I mean national championship-winning head coaches at Texas are beloved, even if they go through rough patches, and I just don't get that vibe from the Trojans' fan base. To put it another way: football is king in Austin, while there's a lot more competition for fame and notoriety in Los Angeles. Why would I want to compete with the movie stars and professional athletes when I could potentially be THE star in a state that eats, drinks and sleeps football?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Perhaps a few years ago, I may have said USC is the better job as the Trojans still basked in glitz of their run of Heisman winners and top-five finishes. I’m not convinced anymore. Pete Carroll remains the only USC coach to lead the Trojans to a top-five finish since 1976. The talent base is there, the tradition is there, the facilities and support are there, but for whatever reason Carroll is the only one since the 70s to fully capitalize on all those advantages. Perhaps we could say the same of Texas, with Mack Brown elevating the Longhorns out of the John Mackovic/David McWilliams era. But Texas has perhaps more talent in state and has had the better run of quarterbacks of late, not to mention all the resources that come with being the Longhorns coach. The Longhorn Network and other glad-handing obligations that come with being the UT coach may be a hassle, but it ensures constant support and interest. A wine-and-cheese crowd is still a crowd. I’d pick Texas, but is parsing between two luxury sports cars.

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College Football's Post-Week 5 Coaches on the Hot Seat
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College Football's Post-Week 5 Heisman Voting
Stats to Know from Week 5

Post date: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/deanthony-thomas-out-against-colorado-ankle-injury

Oregon will be without its biggest offensive threat on Saturday as they travel to Boulder to take on Pac-12 foe Colorado. The Ducks will be very careful with Thomas and see no need to rush him back against a Colorado team that got blown out 44-17 against Oregon State last week. Head coach Mark Helfrich would like to get Thomas healthy for their trip to Washington in two weeks. Thomas will be replaced in the lineup by sophomore Byron Marshall, who ran for a career-high 130 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/nebraska-qb-taylor-martinez-questionable-illinois

Before sitting out last Saturday's game against South Dakota State, Taylor Martinez made 32 consecutive starts. The streak, dating back to his freshman season, was ended due to a nagging turf toe injury. Martinez was replaced by the combination of redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong and senior Ron Kellogg III. The two led the Cornhuskers to more than 300 yards rushing and 300 passing for the first time in school history. Armstrong started the game and completed 12 of his 15 throws for 169 yards, while Kellogg connected on eight of nine passes for 136 yards. The Cornhuskers will certainly miss the FBS' second-leading active rusher; however, word is that Nebraska will bring Martinez along slowly. In fact, it appears Nebraska won't even let him practice until he is 100 percent healthy.

Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/texas-ad-deloss-dodds-retiring-mack-brown-next

College football’s coaching carousel is already spinning at warp speed, as USC fired Lane Kiffin on Sunday after losing to Arizona State, and UConn canned Paul Pasqualoni on Monday.

Needless to say, the dominoes in what could be a very busy coaching cycle are beginning to fall.

According to, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds is expected to retire on Tuesday.

Dodds retirement could be the start of a busy couple of months at Texas. Coach Mack Brown is on the hot seat, and Dodds is one of his biggest supporters.

However, with Dodds stepping aside and a new athletic director coming in, Brown may be coaching his final season in Austin.

Of course, the next eight games will have a large role in determining Brown’s future. However, a 2-2 start certainly hasn’t helped his job status and finishing 8-4 would be a disappointment for a team that has arguably the most talent in the Big 12.

Is Brown the next domino to fall? Keep an eye on the Oct. 12 date against Oklahoma. The Sooners have dominated the Longhorns in back-to-back years and another blowout loss would not sit well in Austin.

Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Paul Pasqualoni
Path: /college-football/uconn-fires-paul-pasqualoni

After losing to Buffalo 41-12 on Saturday, UConn has fired coach Paul Pasqualoni. In three years with the Huskies, Pasqualoni was 10-18 and never reached a bowl.

Pasqualoni was an odd hire from the start and was never popular with fans.

Offensive line coach George DeLeone was also fired on Monday.

The Huskies had one of the best defenses in the Big East in 2011 and 2012, but the offense never managed to get on track.

UConn is 0-4 and still has to play Cincinnati, Louisville, UCF and Rutgers this year.

Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-5-edition

Who’s next? Even though the first month of the season just ended, college football’s coaching carousel is already in full effect.

USC pulled the plug on Lane Kiffin after Saturday’s loss to Arizona State, and UConn fired Paul Pasqualoni on Monday.

And USC and UConn could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of coaching changes, as Mack Brown is on the hot seat at Texas, which could create a domino effect when it comes to other coaches and job openings this offseason.

Outside of the BCS, Central Michigan’s Dan Enos, Miami (Ohio)’s Don Treadwell and Eastern Michigan’s Ron English are three coaches who could be out of a job by season’s end.
Each week, we will take a look at the hot seat/pressure on a program for all 125 coaches. Some new coaches will rank high due to poor performances but aren't in any danger of losing their job. 

And another important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top 20-30 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to continue to show the program is headed in the right direction.

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Mack Brown2-2DeLoss Dodds steps down - is Brown next?
2Dan Enos1-4CMU not competitive against BCS teams this year.
3Don Treadwell0-4RedHawks averaging only 174.5 ypg on offense.
4Ron English1-3 
5Ron Turner0-4 
6Norm Chow0-4Warriors showed signs of life against Fresno State.
7Bo Pelini3-1Schedule very favorable until November.
8Jim Grobe2-3Demon Deacons struggling mightily on offense.
9Bobby Hauck3-2UNLV snapped 23-game road losing streak.
10Doc Holliday2-2 
11Skip Holtz1-4Bulldogs struggling in Holtz's first year.
12Charley Molnar0-4 
13Charlie Weis2-1 
14Jeff Quinn2-2Added job security with win over UConn.
15Carl Pelini1-4 
16Matt Rhule0-4Will Temple win a game?
17Rich Ellerson2-3 
18Dana Holgorsen3-2Big win for WVU on Saturday.
19Tim Beckman3-1Fighting Illini already surpassed last year's win total.
20P.J. Fleck0-5Still searching for first win.
21Dan Mullen2-2 
22Tony Levine4-0Cougars making progress in Levine's second year.
23Kirk Ferentz4-1Hawkeyes have won four in a row.
24Gary Pinkel4-0Good start - but SEC play begins on Saturday.
25June Jones1-3Schedule will get easier.
26Mike London2-2 
27Kevin Wilson2-2 
28Rick Stockstill3-2 
29Rocky Long1-3 
30Randy Edsall4-0 
31Sean Kugler1-3 
32David Bailiff2-2 
33Joey Jones2-2USA gave Tennessee a battle.
34Larry Blakeney2-3 
35Dan McCarney2-2 
36Dave Christensen3-2 
37George O'Leary3-1 
38Garrick McGee1-3 
39Frank Beamer4-1Don't count out Hokies in Coastal Division.
40Scott Shafer2-2 
41Bobby Petrino3-2 
42Tommy Tuberville3-1 
43Bill Blankenship1-3Is Tulsa trending in the wrong direction?
44Jim McElwain2-3Already halfway to 2012 win total.
45Bob Davie1-3 
46Ron Caragher1-3Lost 3 games by 19 points or more.
47Kyle Flood3-1 
48Steve Sarkisian4-0 
49Kyle Whittingham3-1 
50Rod Carey4-0NIU 2-0 against Big Ten teams this year.
51Paul Chryst3-1 
52Curtis Johnson3-2Green Wave on the right track.
53Todd Monken0-4 
54Terry Bowden1-4 
55Willie Taggart0-4Taggart inherited a mess.
56Brian Polian3-2 
57Larry Fedora1-3UNC off to disappointing start.
58Darrell Hazell1-4 
59Paul Haynes2-3 
60Ruffin McNeill3-1Huge win against UNC in Week 5.
61Bryan Harsin2-3 
62Troy Calhoun1-4AFA down to third QB.
63Doug Martin0-5NMSU not an easy job.
64Mike Leach3-2 
65Mike Riley4-1OSU has rebounded since loss to EWU.
66Dave Clawson4-1 
67Mark Helfrich4-0 
68Dennis Franchoine3-1Texas State quietly 3-1.
69Matt Wells3-2 
70Mark Dantonio3-1 
71Brady Hoke4-0 
72Bronco Mendenhall2-2 
73Butch Jones3-2 
74Trent Miles0-4 
75Frank Solich3-1 
76Mark Richt3-1 
77Paul Petrino1-4Got first win on Saturday.
78Paul Johnson3-1 
79Jerry Kill4-1 
80Dabo Swinney4-0
81Jimbo Fisher4-0
82Bob Stoops4-0
83Mark Stoops1-3
84Ken Niumatalolo2-1
85Al Golden4-0
86Matt Campbell2-3
87Bret Bielema3-2
88Gus Malzahn3-1
89Justin Fuente1-2 
90Brian Kelly2-2
91Dave Doeren3-1
92Steve Addazio2-2
93Sonny Dykes1-3
94Rich Rodriguez3-1
95Todd Graham3-1
96Jim Mora3-0
97Will Muschamp4-1
98Todd Berry2-3
99Mike MacIntyre2-1
100Paul Rhoads1-2
101Tim DeRuyter4-0 
102David Cutcliffe3-2
103Larry Coker2-3
104Les Miles4-1
105Pete Lembo4-1
106Gary Andersen3-2
107James Franklin3-2
108Mike Gundy3-1
109Hugh Freeze3-1
110Mark Hudspeth2-2
111Kevin Sumlin4-1
112Kliff Kingsbury4-0
113Gary Patterson2-2
114Bill Snyder2-2
115Chris Petersen3-2
116Bill O'Brien3-1
117Charlie Strong4-0
118Steve Spurrier3-1
119Art Briles3-0
120David Shaw3-0
121Pat Fitzgerald4-0
122Urban Meyer5-0
123Nick Saban4-0
NREd Orgeron0-0
NRT.J. Weist0-0

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10 Coaches to Replace Paul Pasqualoni at Connecticut
10 Coaches to Replace Lane Kiffin at USC
ACC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-5-bowl-projections

West Virginia’s upset win over Oklahoma State on Saturday shook up the Big 12 power rankings, and also gave the Mountaineers a good chance to get bowl eligible. West Virginia doesn’t have a favorable schedule the rest of the way but still has to play Kansas and Iowa State – two games it should be favored in.

As West Virginia’s win over Oklahoma State illustrates, there’s a small margin of error when it comes to reaching six victories for some programs.

Another result from Week 5 that could have significant bowl implications was Notre Dame’s loss to Oklahoma. The Fighting Irish do not have a bowl tie-in for this season and were projected by most to reach a BCS game in 2013. However, with two losses, Notre Dame is unlikely to reach a BCS bowl. The Fighting Irish will find a spot as an at-large team, but they need some help from other conferences not filling all of their tie-ins.

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only five weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. But with conference play right around the corner, we should be able to get a better grasp on what teams will be able to reach the six-win mark.

With little data to work with, the post-Week 5 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Boston College, Virginia, Mississippi State, Washington State, Arkansas and Illinois from BCS conferences. And Texas State, Arkansas State and Toledo from the non-BCS ranks.
As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 5 Bowl Projections for 2013

New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCUtah vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Nevada
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Fresno St
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSAUL Lafayette vs. Tulane
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAOhio* vs. MTSU
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASan Jose State vs. Rice
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenN Illinois vs. Minnesota
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCNotre Dame* vs. Boise St
MilitaryDec. 27CUSA vs. ACCMarshall vs. N Carolina
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenTCU vs. Iowa
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. Arizona
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Cincy vs. West Va.
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCRutgers vs. Ga Tech
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCUCF vs. Va Tech
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Nebraska
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. NavyUtah State vs. Navy
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECPittsburgh vs. Auburn
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Okla. State vs. UCLA
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Wash vs. Texas Tech
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECNC State vs. Tennessee
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCArizona St vs. Maryland
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSAMissouri vs. E Carolina
Chick-fil-ADec. 31SEC vs. ACCMiami vs. Ole Miss
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenFlorida vs. Michigan St
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSAKansas State vs. Tulsa
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenS Carolina vs. Wisconsin
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenN'western vs. A&M
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSStanford vs. Oklahoma
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSGeorgia vs. Florida State
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12LSU vs. Baylor
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Louisville
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanVanderbilt vs. Houston
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBGSU vs. Western Ky
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State

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10 Coaches to Replace Paul Pasqualoni at Connecticut
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ACC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings
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SEC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/arizona-state-unveils-new-flame-helmets-game-against-notre-dame

Arizona State takes on Notre Dame in a huge non-conference showdown this Saturday, and the Sun Devils unveiled a new helmet for their Week 6 contest.

Whether you love or hate this look, you have to say this is one of the more interesting designs released in recent years.

The pitchfork is still there, but Arizona State has added a few flames to go with its helmet this weekend.

Check out the Sun Devils’ new helmet:


Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/10-coaches-replace-paul-pasqualoni-uconn

UConn became the second BCS school with a job opening this year, as coach Paul Pasqualoni was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2013 season.

The Huskies are off to an 0-4 start and was soundly defeated 41-12 by Buffalo in Week 5.

Despite his successful record at Syracuse (1991-2004, 107-59-1) Pasqualoni wasn’t a popular hire at UConn, especially since he was out of the college game for six years.

UConn is a solid job that should attract plenty of attention from candidates.

The Huskies were left behind in realignment but have the resources necessary to consistently compete for the American Athletic title.

Who will replace Pasqualoni at UConn? Here are 10 candidates, along with a few longshots to watch over the next few months.

10 Coaches to Replace Paul Pasqualoni at UConn

Rob Ambrose, head coach, Towson
Ambrose is a familiar name to UConn, as he served as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator from 2002-08 under Randy Edsall. Prior to his stint at UConn, Ambrose worked at Catholic for one season and served as Towson’s wide receiver coach from 1993-00. Ambrose took over as Towson’s head coach in 2009 and went 3-19 in his first two years. However, the Tigers are 21-7 in the last three seasons and won at UConn earlier this year. Towson is also ranked No. 3 in the FCS Top 25 after Week 5.

Don Brown, defensive coordinator, Boston College
Whether he’s been a coordinator or head coach, Brown has had plenty of success in his coaching career. The Massachusetts native began his career at Dartmouth in 1982 and spent one season with the Big Green, before working as a defensive coordinator at Mansfield (1983), then Dartmouth again from 1984-86, followed by a stop at Yale from 1987-92. Brown’s first head coaching gig was with Plymouth State, and he recorded a 25-6 mark from 1993-95. After serving as an assistant with Brown and UMass, Brown was hired as Northeastern’s head coach in 2000, recording a 27-20 mark in four seasons. In 2004, Brown was hired at UMass and went 43-19 and led the Minutemen to a FCS title appearance in 2006. The 57-year-old coach worked under Paul Pasqualoni from 2011-12 as UConn’s defensive coordinator.

Dave Clawson, head coach, Bowling Green
Clawson gets a bad rap for his one season as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, but the New York native has been a successful head coach at three different stops. After starting 3-19 at Fordham, Clawson recorded three consecutive winning seasons and led the Rams to a playoff berth in 2002. Clawson was 29-20 in four seasons at Richmond and is 26-29 with two bowl appearances at Bowling Green. Clawson also has a background on offense, which should be attractive for UConn considering its recent struggles on that side of the ball.

Mario Cristobal, offensive line coach, Alabama
Cristobal was surprisingly fired at FIU after last season, but the Miami native should be a head coach again in the near future. In six years with the Panthers, Cristobal inherited an academic disaster and turned FIU into a Sun Belt contender, which included two bowl appearances. Even though Cristobal has spent most of his career in Miami, he worked at Rutgers from 2001-03 as an assistant under Greg Schiano. Despite his record at FIU, Cristobal is a good coach and is regarded as a strong recruiter.

Bob Diaco, defensive coordinator, Notre Dame
Diaco was one of the key masterminds behind Notre Dame’s run to the national championship game last season, as the Fighting Irish’s defense allowed only 12.8 points a game. For his work with the Notre Dame defense in 2012, Diaco earned the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach. The New Jersey native played at Iowa from 1992-95 and in addition to his tenure in South Bend, has stops as an assistant at Western Illinois, Iowa, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Virginia and Cincinnati. Diaco has no head coaching experience.

Turner Gill, head coach, Liberty
Gill didn’t work out at Kansas (5-19 from 2010-11), but he was regarded for his tenure at Buffalo, which included a MAC title in 2008. Gill’s final record with the Bulls was just 20-30 in four seasons, but the 8-6 mark in 2008 was Buffalo’s only winning year since 1997. Gill is 9-7 in two years with Liberty and the Flames nearly beat Kent State in the opener this season. The former Nebraska quarterback has ties to UConn, as athletic director Warde Manuel hired Gill at Buffalo.

Pete Lembo, head coach, Ball State
Lembo has been a successful head coach at three different stops and is due for a promotion to a BCS job. In five years at Lehigh, Lembo went 44-14 and had two playoff appearances. Lembo left for Elon in 2006 and guided the Phoenix to a 35-22 mark, with one playoff appearance in 2009. In three years with Ball State, Lembo is 19-11 and led the Cardinals to a bowl game last season. Is UConn a big enough jump for Lembo? Or will he hold out for a spot in the Big Ten?

Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State
Narduzzi is one of the early favorites to succeed Pasqualoni. The 47-year-old coach is a Connecticut native and is ready for a chance to run his own program. Narduzzi spent part of his playing career at Rhode Island and coached as an assistant with the Rams from 1993-99. Narduzzi has worked as a defensive coordinator since 2003, making stops with Miami (Ohio), Cincinnati and Michigan State. Under his watch, the Spartans have been one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. Narduzzi has no prior head coaching experience, but his ties to the area and resume make him a strong candidate.

Bob Shoop, defensive coordinator, Vanderbilt
Shoop wouldn’t be a big-name hire, but the Pennsylvania native is a name to watch in UConn’s coaching search. Shoop has spent most of his career in the Northeast, starting at Yale in 1989 and continuing with stops as an assistant at Virginia, Northeastern, Villanova, Army, Boston College, UMass and William & Mary. Shoop was Columbia’s head coach – a program without a winning record since 1996 – from 2003-05 and went 7-23 in three seasons. Under Shoop, Vanderbilt’s defenses have been among the best in the SEC, finishing fifth in the conference in yards allowed in 2012 and sixth in 2011.

Bobby Wilder, head coach, Old Dominion
Wilder hasn’t gotten enough credit for his work at Old Dominion, but he could be a name that pops up for job openings this offseason. The Monarchs restarted football after a 69-year absence in 2009, and Wilder was picked as the program’s coach. Under his watch, Old Dominion is 40-12 and made back-to-back playoff appearances from 2011-12. The Monarchs are transitioning to the FBS level and will join Conference USA in 2014. Prior to his tenure at Old Dominion, Wilder worked as an assistant at Maine from 1990-2006. Considering UConn’s recent offensive struggles, Wilder has to be an intriguing candidate if he’s interested. The Monarchs have averaged over 30 points a game in each of Wilder’s four seasons and led the FCS with an average of 45.2 points a contest last year.

Four Longshots

Joe Moorhead, head coach, Fordham
Moorhead is unlikely to get a call from UConn, but he has done a good job in two years at Fordham. The Rams were 6-16 in the two years prior to his arrival and are 10-5 under Moorhead’s watch. Fordham won at Temple earlier this season.

Tim Murphy, head coach, Harvard
Murphy’s name came up in connection with the Penn State job two years ago, and more FBS programs should take notice of the job he’s done at Harvard. The Crimson is 130-61 under Murphy’s watch and finished in the final FCS Top 25 poll five times. Before taking over at Harvard, Murphy was a head coach at Maine and Cincinnati.

Danny Rocco, head coach, Richmond
Rocco is an under-the-radar name to watch. From 2006-11, he guided Liberty to a 47-20 record and is 10-6 in two years with Richmond. The Spiders finished 18th in last year’s FCS poll and nearly upset NC State earlier this season. Rocco also has experience from stops as an assistant at Colorado, Tulsa, Boston College, Texas, Maryland and Virginia.

Greg Schiano, head coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Schiano is on the hot seat in Tampa Bay and may not return for a third season in 2014. If he doesn’t return to the Buccaneers, Schiano should get a look for college openings. From 2001-2011, Rutgers went 68-67 and recorded six bowl appearances under Schiano’s watch.

10 Coaches to Replace Paul Pasqualoni at UConn
Post date: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 13:45
Path: /college-football/arkansas-coach-bret-bielema-slips-and-falls-during-pregame-walk

The weather wrecked havoc in a couple of college football games on Saturday, and rain was prominent throughout the Arkansas-Texas A&M matchup.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema found out the hard way about the wet conditions on Saturday, as the first-year coach slipped and fell during the pregame walk.

However, Bielema rallied and quickly regained his stride as he headed to the stadium.


Post date: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: Boise State Broncos, College Football
Path: /college-football/boise-state-pulls-fumblerooski-against-southern-miss

Boise State has pulled off some impressive trick plays in recent years, and Saturday’s fumblerooski against Southern Miss was another highlight.

The Broncos were tied with the Golden Eagles in the first quarter but scored on this 10-yard touchdown run by receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes.

Quarterback Joe Southwick calmly handed the ball to Williams-Rhodes while the rest of the offense gave the appearance of still trying to get its alignment set for the play.

Post date: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 07:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/10-coaches-replace-fired-lane-kiffin-usc

The Lane Kiffin era is over at USC. Kiffin was fired after the Trojans’ 62-41 loss to Arizona State on Saturday night.

Kiffin finished his tenure at USC with a 28-15 record, including a 10-8 mark over the last two years. The Trojans had a 10-2 record in 2011 but were never able to match the high expectations that surrounded this team going into 2012.

Although it’s early to make a coaching move, USC is making a good decision to change coaches.

With other high-profile searches expected to take place this offseason, the Trojans are getting a head start on the rest of college football.

10 Possible Replacements for Lane Kiffin at USC

Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator, Denver Broncos
Could USC follow a similar path to UCLA by hiring a former NFL coach? It’s possible. Del Rio compiled a 68-71 record nine years as Jacksonville’s head coach and led the Jaguars to the playoffs twice. Although Del Rio had some success, he had only three winning seasons and was fired after a 3-8 start in 2011. Del Rio wouldn’t be a high-profile hire, but he’s an alum, and USC could surround him with a strong staff of assistants to help with recruiting and ease the transition back to the college game.

Tim DeRuyter, head coach, Fresno State
DeRuyter is a California native and is due for a promotion after his work with Fresno State. In two years with the Bulldogs, DeRuyter is 12-4 and has positioned Fresno State for a run at a BCS bowl this year. Prior to taking over at Fresno State, DeRuyter was an assistant at Air Force, Ohio, Navy, Nevada and Texas A&M. There’s no question DeRuyter is one of the rising stars in the coaching ranks. However, is he a big enough name for USC?

Jeff Fisher, head coach, St. Louis Rams
As a USC alum, Fisher could be a target for athletic director Pat Haden. Fisher has not coached on the college level, but he has been a NFL head coach at two different stops. From 1994-2010 with the Titans, Fisher compiled a 142-120 record. In two years with the Rams, he is 8-11. Fisher’s lack of college experience is a concern, but similar to Jack Del Rio, USC could pay big to surround him with an excellent staff of assistants to ease the transition back to college.

James Franklin, head coach, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is the toughest job in the SEC, but Franklin has led the Commodores to back-to-back bowl games. The Pennsylvania native is an offensive-minded coach, which would fit well at USC and in the Pac-12. Franklin is also an excellent recruiter and would energize a fanbase that was turned off by Kiffin. Prior to taking over at Vanderbilt, Franklin worked as an assistant at Maryland, Washington State and Kansas State and spent one year in the NFL with the Packers.

Al Golden, head coach, Miami
Golden inherited a mess at Miami with the ongoing NCAA investigation, but the Hurricanes are 17-11 under his watch and are back in the top 25 this season. Prior to coming to Miami, Golden transformed Temple from one of the worst programs in college football to a respectable team, as the Owls went 17-8 in his final two years. Golden is an East Coast guy, and it’s hard to envision him taking over a program short on scholarships after dealing with the situation at Miami.

Hue Jackson, running backs coach, Cincinnati Bengals
Jackson was surprisingly fired after just one season as the Raiders’ head coach in 2011. The California native has a wealth of experience as an assistant, including stops in college with Pacific, Cal State-Fullerton, Arizona State, California, USC. In the NFL, Jackson has coached with the Raiders, Bengals, Falcons, Redskins and Ravens. Jackson wouldn’t be a big-name hire, but he has NFL and collegiate experience and brings an offensive background to the table.

Chris Petersen, head coach, Boise State
Petersen’s name always comes up with high-profile jobs every offseason. However, no program has managed to lure him away from Boise State. Will USC entice him this December? Petersen is a California native, but the extra attention and scrutiny at USC is a drawback. In eight years at Boise State, Petersen is 87-10 and led the Broncos to BCS bowls in 2006 and 2009. Petersen is one of college football’s top-10 coaches. It’s unlikely Petersen will leave Boise State, but USC has to try to lure him to Los Angeles.

Mike Riley, head coach, Oregon State
Riley is the anti-Kiffin and would be a good fit at USC. However, Riley isn’t eager to leave Oregon State and would be a longshot to be the Trojans’ next coach. Riley was USC’s offensive coordinator from 1993-96 and was a head coach in the NFL with the Chargers from 1999-2001. In two stints with the Beavers, Riley has a record of 85-68. If he wants to leave Oregon State, USC should be interested. However, most believe the 60-year-old coach isn’t looking to depart Corvallis anytime soon.

Steve Sarkisian, head coach, Washington
Sarkisian is a former USC assistant and made Washington a factor in the Pac-12 once again. The Huskies were 4-21 in the two seasons prior to his arrival, and after going 5-7 in 2009, Washington has won seven games in each of the last three years. The Huskies are off to a 4-0 start in 2013 and ranked in the top-15 of the Associated Press poll after Week 5. As a California native and a former USC assistant, Sarkisian would be a great fit for the Trojans. However, he’s building a solid program in Washington and would he want to deal with another rebuilding project at USC? Sarkisian’s profile could get even higher if the Huskies finish with an 8-4 or 9-3 record in 2013.

Kevin Sumlin, head coach, Texas A&M
Let’s get this out of the way: It’s unlikely Sumlin leaves Texas A&M. However, USC – much like when it comes to Chris Petersen – has to at least inquire. Sumlin is 50-20 in his coaching career (Houston and Texas A&M) and has stops as an assistant at Minnesota, Washington State, Purdue and Oklahoma. Sumlin led the Aggies to a top-five finish in the final polls last season and has Texas A&M on the rise in the SEC West. Even though Sumlin seems content in College Station, it’s hard to make progress with Alabama and LSU in the same division. Could Sumlin be enticed by arguably an easier path to a national title? Unlikely, but again, USC has to try.


Pat Fitzgerald, head coach, Northwestern
Fitzgerald is a Northwestern alum and the Wildcats have improved under his watch. However, Northwestern is not an easy place to win. If Fitzgerald wants to win a national title, USC is arguably one of the top-five jobs in college football. It’s unlikely Fitzgerald leaves, but the Trojans would be wise to inquire.

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson
Morris is considered one of college football’s top assistants and is due for a shot to run a program. Even though Morris is an excellent offensive coordinator, he has no collegiate head coaching experience, and it’s unlikely USC would hire an unproven commodity as its next coach.

Gary Patterson, head coach, TCU
Patterson is 118-38 in his tenure at TCU and guided the Horned Frogs through a conference transition from the Mountain West to the Big 12. Don’t expect Patterson to leave, but his name will come up. If there’s a job that could entice Patterson, it could be Texas.

Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
Much like Chad Morris, Roman is due for a chance to run his own program. The New Jersey native has interviewed for college head coaching jobs in recent years but has remained a coordinator. Most of Roman’s experience has been in the NFL, starting with the Panthers in 1995, continuing with the Texans in 2002, the Ravens in 2006 and the 49ers in 2011. Roman worked with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford from 2009-10. Roman will be a head coach, but it’s unlikely USC will hire an assistant with no experience at the top spot.

10 Coaches to Replace Fired Lane Kiffin at USC
Post date: Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 18:51
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football
Path: /college-football/acc-week-5-recap-and-awards

A light week in the ACC didn’t produce many highlights, but Thursday night’s Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech showdown was huge for positioning in the Coastal Division.

The Hokies didn’t have a huge night on offense, quarterback Logan Thomas was efficient and carried the rushing attack. And Virginia Tech’s defense did a good job of slowing the Yellow Jackets’ option attack.

Pittsburgh, Florida State and Clemson scored conference wins in Week 5, while Miami, Duke and NC State picked up victories in non-conference play.

North Carolina was the most disappointing team of Week 5, as the Tar Heels lost 55-31 to East Carolina.

ACC Week 5 Awards and Recap

Offensive Player of the Week: Brandon Connette, QB, Duke
This award could easily go to Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd or Florida State’s Jameis Winston, but let’s give a little credit to Connette. With starter Anthony Boone sidelined, Connette has been pressed into action. In Saturday’s 38-31 win over Troy, he threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 55 yards and two scores. The junior has back-to-back 300-yard games and has completed at least 60 percent of his throws in four out of his five appearances in 2013. With Duke’s defense allowing 400 yards per game, Connette (until Boone returns) and his receivers will be asked to carry the Blue Devils in ACC play.

Defensive Player of the Week: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Virginia’s offense is struggling, but the Panthers’ defense turned in their best effort of the season on Saturday. Donald wrecked havoc on the Cavaliers’ offensive line, recording three tackles (two for a loss), two sacks and one forced fumble. The senior’s performance was a big reason why Virginia managed only 188 total yards and 65 on the ground.

Coordinator of the Week: Bud Foster, Virginia Tech
Despite having a short week to prepare against a tough offense, Virginia Tech and coordinator Bud Foster turned in one of the best efforts by a defense in Week 5. Georgia Tech entered Thursday night’s contest averaging 431.8 yards and 36.5 points a game, but the Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to 273 yards and just 10 points on 66 plays. Georgia Tech also managed only 4.1 yards per play, which was its lowest output since averaging just 3.3 yards per snap against BYU last year. In Virginia Tech’s last two matchups against the Yellow Jackets, Foster’s defense held Georgia Tech to just 280.5 yards and 13.5 points a game.

Team of the Week: Virginia Tech
The Hokies have experienced an up and down start to the season, but coach Frank Beamer’s team reminded the rest of the ACC on Thursday night that this team is still a contender for the conference title. Virginia Tech lost to Alabama 35-10 in the opener and has rebounded with four consecutive victories. After barely escaping against East Carolina and Marshall, Virginia Tech scored a huge road win against Georgia Tech. The Hokies’ offense is still a work in progress, but quarterback Logan Thomas delivered a huge performance against the Yellow Jackets, accounting for 279 total yards and two scores. Virginia Tech’s defense did its part, holding Georgia Tech to 273 yards, forcing three turnovers and recording seven tackles for a loss. The Hokies should be favored in their next four games, with a date at Miami on Nov. 9 looming large for the Coastal Division title.

Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Florida State got off to a slow start against Boston College, but the Seminoles rallied behind Winston for a 48-34 victory. Winston completed 17 of 27 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns and added 67 yards on the ground. The redshirt freshman added another play to his highlight reel, as he escaped Boston College’s pass rush on the final play of the first half and hit Kenny Shaw for a 55-yard touchdown. Winston has thrown for 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions on 91 attempts this year.

5th Down

• Miami had three players record at least 10 carries against South Florida. Duke Johnson led the team with 14 carries, Gus Edwards recorded 10 touches, while Dallas Crawford had 10. Freshman receiver Stacy Coley continues to emerge as another weapon for quarterback Stephen Morris, catching four passes for 96 yards and two scores against USF.

• Pittsburgh freshman receiver Tyler Boyd caught seven passes for 111 yards against Virginia, which was his third consecutive 100-yard game in 2013.

• Virginia freshman linebacker Max Valles recorded 2.5 sacks against Pittsburgh.

Boston College running back Andre Williams has three 100-yard efforts through the first four games of 2013.

• Virginia Tech freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson had a standout performance against Georgia Tech, recording three tackles, one forced fumble, an interception and a fumble recovery.

• The Hokies also got a huge performance on Thursday night from defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins, who dominated the interior of Georgia Tech’s offensive line

• Clemson WR Daniel Rodriguez – a United States Army veteran – caught three passes for 10 yards against Wake Forest.

Post date: Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans
Path: /college-football/usc-fires-lane-kiffin

After Saturday night’s loss at Arizona State, USC decided to fire coach Lane Kiffin.

In his fourth season at USC, Kiffin had a record of 28-15, including a 10-2 mark in 2011. However, the 10-2 year was flanked by a disappointing 8-5 record in 2010 and a 7-6 mark in 2012.

USC is one of the premier jobs in college football, but the job may not be as attractive this coaching cycle, as sanctions have limited the Trojans on scholarships.

However, firing Kiffin now allows USC to get a head start on its coaching search. And there should be plenty of high-profile names interested in the job.

USC is on bye until Oct. 10, when it will host Arizona.

Athlon Sports will have more about potential Kiffin replacements in the coming days.

Post date: Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Georgia Bulldogs
Path: /college-football/georgia-rb-todd-gurley-injures-ankle-against-lsu

Georgia running back Todd Gurley gashed LSU for 73 yards on eight carries in the first half, but the sophomore running back left the game early due to an ankle injury.

Gurley is not expected to return against the Tigers.

Backup Keith Marshall is one of the SEC’s best running backs, but the loss of Gurley is huge for Georgia. The sophomore brings more of a physical presence on the ground and is one of the best running backs in the nation.

It’s uncertain how long Gurley will be out, but reports during the CBS broadcast indicated the injury did not appear to be a long-term issue.

Post date: Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 19:00
Path: /college-football/florida-state-qb-jameis-winston-throws-hail-mary-td-against-boston-college

It seems every week Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston makes a play worthy of highlight reel status on Saturday night.

This week was no different, as Winston connected with receiver Kenny Shaw on a 55-yard touchdown to end the first half. Shaw’s catch was solid, but Winston’s escape of the Boston College pass rush was quite an effort.

Check out Winston’s Hail Mary touchdown pass:


Post date: Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 19:00