Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/ranking-all-125-college-football-coaches-hot-seat-2013
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Coaches are always a hot topic during any college football season. And once the calendar turns to late October, replacements and potential firings will dominate the headlines even more.

There’s a difference between a coach on the hot seat and the overall pressure surrounding a coach. And it’s not always easy to tell the difference between the two categories. But Athlon Sports has tried to come up with a ranking of all 125 coaches with hot seat and overall pressure on the program in mind.

UNLV’s Bobby Hauck and USC’s Lane Kiffin are clearly on the hot seat entering 2013. Hauck has won just two games in each of his three seasons with the Rebels, while Kiffin – even though he received a vote of confidence from athletic director Pat Haden – can’t afford to have another 7-6 season. Connecticut’s Paul Pasqualoni and Eastern Michigan’s Ron English are also two coaches that need to show progress in order to stick around for 2013.

When it comes to pressure on a head coach from on a down year, look no further than Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham. Both coaches rank inside of the top 50 of the preseason 125 hot seat rankings, but neither coach is in any danger of losing their job. The ranking for those two coaches is more about the pressure on surrounding the program after a down year.

Ranking all 125 coaches when it comes to hot seat/pressure surrounding the program is an impossible task. Keep in mind, just because a coach ranks high on the list doesn’t mean we think he will be fired at the end of the year. Also, there’s really no separation from No. 28-100 on this list. So don’t get too caught up in the No. 55 or No. 76 ranked coach.


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

RkCoachTeamRecordAnalysis
1Bobby Hauck6-32 (3 years)Hauck has won just two games in each of UNLV's three seasons.
2Lane Kiffin25-13 (3 years)Kiffin got the vote of confidence from AD Pat Haden.
3Paul Pasqualoni10-14 (2 years)Defense has been good, but offense has struggled mightily.
4Ron English10-38 (4 years)EMU is one of the toughest jobs in college football.
5Mack Brown150-43 (15 years)Pieces are in place for Texas to make a Big 12 title run.
6Tim Beckman2-10 (1 year)Could he survive another 2-10 or 3-9 record?
7Dan Enos13-24 (3 years)Easy late season schedule helped CMU get bowl eligible last year.
8Don Treadwell8-16 (2 years)RedHawks haven't made much progress under Treadwell.
9Tony Levine6-7 (1+ year)With new stadium opening in 2014, Levine needs to show progress.
10Gary Pinkel90-61 (12 years)Good coach, but is Missouri falling too far behind rest of SEC?
11Jeff Quinn9-27 (3 years)Bulls won 3 out of last 4 games last year.
12Doc Holliday17-20 (3 years)Thundering Herd has talent to win C-USA in 2013.
13Steve Sarkisian26-25 (4 years)Huskies have three consecutive 7-6 seasons.
14Mike London16-21 (3 years)Recruiting well but has two losing seasons in three years.
15Kirk Ferentz100-74 (14 years)Huge buyout - in no danger of getting fired. 
16Randy Edsall6-18 (2 years)Terps need to show more progress for upcoming move to the Big Ten.
17Rich Ellerson17-32 (4 years)Went 12-13 in first two years. 5-19 in next two.
18Dave Christensen22-28 (4 years)Has two bowl appearances in four years.
19Norm Chow3-9 (1 year)Warriors have a ways to go under Chow.
20Charlie Weis1-11 (1 year)Talent improving thanks to addition of transfers.
21Charley Molnar1-11 (1 year)Tough job. Minutemen should show progress in 2013.
22Jim Grobe73-74 (12 years)No danger of getting fired but just 1 bowl game in last 4 years.
23Ron Turner1st yearQuestionable hire.
24Joey Jones25-15 (4 years)Will take some time for USA to compete for Sun Belt titles.
25Carl Pelini3-9 (1 year) 
26Skip Holtz1st yearWhich Holtz is Louisiana Tech getting? East Carolina or USF?
27Rick Stockstill43-44 (7 years)Rebounded last year after rough 2011.
28Kyle Whittingham71-32 (8 years)No danger of getting fired. But pressure to rebound after 5-7 record. 
29Bo Pelini49-20 (5 years)Nebraska is always a high pressure job. 
30Dan McCarney9-15 (2 years)McCarney should get UNT competitive in C-USA.
31Mike Leach3-9 (1 year)Cougars should be better in Leach's second year. 
32Dana Holgorsen17-9 (2 years) 
33David Bailiff30-44 (6 years)Rewarded with contract extension after 2012.
34Dan Mullen29-22 (4 years)Not an easy job. But needs to close gap with top teams in West.
35Kevin Wilson5-19 (2 years) 
36Larry Blakeney169-98-1 (22 years)Back-to-back losing records for first time at Troy.
37Mark Helfrich1st yearIs he the right choice to succeed Chip Kelly?
38June Jones31-34 (5 years)No danger of being fired. Four straight bowl games.
39George O'Leary60-55 (9 years) 
40Rod Carey0-1 (1st year)Can Carey build off what Dave Doeren leaves behind?
41Dave Clawson22-28 (4 years)Falcons will be in hunt for MAC East title this year.
42Kyle Flood9-4 (1 year) 
43Ruffin McNeill19-19 (3 years) 
44Garrick McGee3-9 (1 year) 
45Tommy Tuberville1st year 
46Paul Chryst6-7 (1 year)Up and down 2012. Should get better in next few years.
47Frank Beamer216-104-2 (26 years)Pressure to rebound after 7-6 mark in2 012.
48Bobby Petrino1st year 
49Terry Bowden1-11 (1 year)Struggled last year, but Zips should be improved in '13.
50Jim McElwain4-8 (1 year) 
51Dennis Franchoine23-24 (4 years)Has Texas State on the right track.
52Bryan Harsin1st yearA solid hire for the Red Wolves.
53Brian Polian1st yearReplacing a legend like Chris Ault won't be easy.
54Ron Caragher1st year 
55Matt Wells1st year 
56Paul Haynes1st year 
57Scott Shafer1st yearHas to guide Syracuse through ACC transition. 
58Sean Kugler1st year 
59Curtis Johnson2-10 (1 year)Green Wave on the right track.
60Bronco Mendenhall74-29 (8 years)Cougars play a challenging schedule this year. 
61Bob Davie4-9 (1 year) 
62Matt Rhule1st year 
63Rocky Long17-9 (2 years) 
64Al Golden13-11 (2 years)Will Miami finally win the Coastal this year?
65Todd Monken1st yearShould make USM fans forget Ellis Johnson. 
66Brady Hoke19-7 (2 years)Always pressure to win big at Michigan. 
67Ken Niumatalolo40-26 (5 years) 
68Mark Richt118-40 (12 years) 
69Dabo Swinney40-21 (4+ years) 
70Jimbo Fisher31-10 (3 years)Seminoles back on the rise under Fisher. 
71Bob Stoops149-37 (14 years)Has won at least 10 games in 6 out of last 7 years.
72Mark Dantonio51-28 (6 years) 
73Paul Johnson41-26 (5 years) 
74Frank Solich59-44 (8 years) 
75Jerry Kill9-16 (2 years) 
76Tim DeRuyter9-4 (1 year)Bulldogs should push Boise State for MW title. 
77P.J. Fleck1st yearMaking a splash on the recruiting trail. 
78Butch Jones1st yearCan Jones return Tennessee to SEC title contender status?
79Bret Bielema1st year 
80Mark Stoops1st yearStoops is doing a great job on the recruiting trail. 
81Gus Malzahn1st yearGreat fit at Auburn. 
82Mike MacIntyre1st yearNeeds time to rebuild roster.
83Matt Campbell10-4 (1+ year)One of the rising stars in the coaching ranks.
84Jim Mora9-5 (1 year) 
85Darrell Hazell1st yearCan he work a quick turnaround?
86Steve Addazio1st yearOff to a good start on the recruiting trail. 
87Larry Fedora8-4 (1 year) 
88Dave Doeren1st year 
89Sonny Dykes1st year 
90Rich Rodriguez8-5 (1 year) 
91Todd Graham8-5 (1 year) 
92Mike Riley81-67 (12 years) 
93Larry Coker12-10 (2 years) 
94Bill Blankenship19-8 (2 years) 
95Les Miles85-21 (8 years) 
96Pete Lembo15-10 (2 years)Another rising star to watch in 2013. 
97Todd Berry17-20 (3 years) 
98Justin Fuente4-8 (1 year)Tigers won three in a row to finish 2012.
99Brian Kelly28-11 (3 years) 
100Trent Miles1st yearGeorgia State made a great hire in Miles. 
101Gary Andersen1st year 
102David Cutcliffe21-40 (5 years)Will the Blue Devils become an annual bowl team?
103Will Muschamp18-8 (2 years) 
104Hugh Freeze7-6 (1 year) 
105Troy Calhoun47-31 (6 years) 
106Willie Taggart1st yearBest hire of the offseason. 
107Kliff Kingsbury1st yearFormer Texas Tech QB has returned to Lubbock.
108Paul Rhoads24-27 (4 years) 
109Doug Martin1st yearNo pressure as a FBS Independent this year. 
110Paul Petrino1st yearNo pressure as a FBS Independent this year. 
111Mark Hudspeth18-8 (2 years) 
112Kevin Sumlin11-2 (1 year) 
113James Franklin15-11 (2 years) 
114Charlie Strong25-14 (3 years) 
115Mike Gundy67-35 (8 years) 
116Gary Patterson116-36 (12 years) 
117Art Briles33-30 (5 years) 
118Bill O'Brien8-4 (1 year) 
119Steve Spurrier66-37 (8 years) 
120David Shaw23-4 (2 years) 
121Pat Fitzgerald50-39 (7 years) 
122Bill Snyder170-85-1 (21 years) 
123Chris Petersen84-8 (7 years) 
124Urban Meyer12-0 (1 year) 
125Nick Saban68-13 (6 years)Three championships (and counting) at Alabama


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The Top 100 Players of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
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Teaser:
Ranking All 125 College Football Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/will-johnny-manziel-repeat-heisman-winner-2013
Body:

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has been in the spotlight this offseason for his various off-the-field activities. While the sophomore has garnered some bad publicity since the Cotton Bowl, the season opener is just a few days away, and he is one of the frontrunners to claim the Heisman Trophy.

Although it’s uncertain if Manziel will be forced to miss any games due to the recent autograph scandal, he will have his hands full repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner. This is one of the deepest groups of contenders for the award in recent memory, and Manziel will have a difficult task repeating last year’s numbers.

Athlon’s editors debate Manziel's Heisman chances, along with the frontrunner for the ward in 2013. 

Will Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel Repeat as the Heisman Winner in 2013?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Even before the ongoing investigation into the autograph scandal, I thought it was going to be very difficult for Johnny Manziel to repeat as the Heisman winner. Manziel simply set the bar too high as a true freshman, throwing for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns, while adding 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. Repeating those numbers without receiver Ryan Swope and left tackle Luke Joeckel wasn’t going to be easy. And after entering 2012 with low expectations, Texas A&M was going into 2013 with a bullseye on its back. Also, plenty of SEC coaches spent the offseason trying to figure out a way to stop Manziel, and the rest of the SEC will be more prepared for the Aggies in 2013. Even if Manziel doesn’t repeat as the Heisman winner, he should still have an outstanding year and will be in the mix for first-team All-SEC honors once again.

As for my frontrunner, I have to go with Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. In the first season under coach Urban Meyer last year, Miller threw for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,271 yards and 13 scores. With a better supporting cast in place, look for the junior to see a significant increase in his passing yards. Miller should benefit from another offseason to grasp Meyer’s offense, and his Heisman campaign will certainly be helped by the Buckeyes’ run at a national title. But let’s not forget about South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The junior is college football’s best player, but will he get enough support as a defensive player to win the Heisman? 

Mark Ross
Even if Manziel had not been the subject of so many headlines, scrutiny and criticism during the spring and summer, I would not pick him to win the Heisman again. The not-so positive media coverage aside, the odds are pretty much stacked against Manziel to repeat. For starters, only one man has ever done so, and Archie Griffin accomplished this feat nearly 40 years ago. More recently, Tim Tebow had a shot at the rare repeat in 2008, and while he didn't have a horrible season by any means (42 total touchdowns), he still finished third in the Heisman voting.

Just like Tebow in 2008, this season Manziel not only has to, in essence, beat every other FBS player to win another Heisman, he also has to beat himself. Regardless of how gaudy the Texas A&M quarterback's statistics are this fall, if he doesn't top last year's record-breaking numbers (5,116 total yards of offense, responsible for 47 touchdowns), then it's hard for me to see him generating the same level of support from the Heisman voters. And unlike last year when be burst on the scene as a redshirt freshman, every one knows who Johnny Football is, which makes his job as a starting quarterback in the SEC — also known as the nation's toughest conference — that much harder.

Just because we won't see Manziel win back-to-back Heismans, that doesn't mean a dual-threat sophomore quarterback won't claim the famous stiff-armed trophy in 2013. Come December, I am picking Oregon's Marcus Mariota to finish ahead of Alabama's AJ McCarron and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Manziel doesn't even finish in the top five.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The odds are stacked heavily against Johnathan Manziel's favor. Sam Bradford, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Mark Ingram couldn't repeat, leaving just one winner in nearly 80 years as a two-timer. There is a reason Archie Griffin is the only two-time winner and that is because it is virtually and literally impossible. Defenses have more film to study and are focused more on stopping No. 2 and his supporting cast isn't nearly as experienced and capable. Johnny Football is wired to handle distractions and will be a pleasure to watch once again in 2013, but his off-the-field issues have to impact the rest of team somehow. The bottom line is Manziel produced one of, if not the, greatest statistical season in college football history. By definition, he won't be able to replicate that this fall. He will have a big season and maybe get back to New York. Give me Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota to win the stiff-armed trophy in 2013.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
If Tim Tebow couldn’t become the first two-time Heisman winner since Archie Griffin, I doubt many players could. Reigning Heisman winners not only have to be better than the field in a give season, they have to be demonstrably better than they were a season earlier. Johnny Manziel’s season was historic in 2012, nearly 90 yards of total offense better than Cam Newton’s 2010 season. And even if Manziel approaches his 400 yards of total offense per game and 47 total touchdowns, his offseason behavior and so-what demeanor will cause some voters to look for plausible alternatives — I don’t agree with this, but it’s a sentiment that’s out there. And plausible alternatives will be out there, unlike they were last season. Imagine if the Heisman vote were taken after the bowl games last season: How many would be voting for Manti Te’o and Collin Klein then? So that brings me to this season’s Heisman pick. The field is simply too crowded to feel strongly about anyone, especially how the last few Heisman winners were far from the preseason favorites. Braxton Miller is an easy preseason pick, though. Like recent Heisman winners, Miller is the clear focal point of his offense in the air and on the ground. He’ll play for a title contender and a name team, and he’ll have a chance for a late-season push against Michigan and probably a Big Ten title game.

Related College Football Content

College Football Bowl Projections for 2013
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Top 10 Darkhorses to Win the National Title
The Top 100 Players of the BCS Era
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Teaser:
Will Johnny Manziel Repeat as the Heisman Winner?
Post date: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 07:13
Path: /college-football/justin-worley-named-tennessees-starting-qb
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The Butch Jones era at Tennessee will kickoff this Saturday against FCS opponent Austin Peay. And Jones ended the offseason speculation by picking junior Justin Worley as his starting quarterback against the Governors.

With the departure of quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter to the NFL, Tennessee’s offense is expected to lean heavily on its ground attack and offensive line to win games in 2013.

Worley started three games in 2011 and has thrown for 738 yards and one touchdown during his nine career appearances. The junior has good size at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds, but Jones prefers to have some mobility from his quarterbacks, and Worley has -22 rushing yards in his career.

With a cast of new receivers stepping into playing time, it will take Tennessee’s offense some time to jell.

If Worley stumbles, redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman is expected to be the backup, while true freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson are No. 3 and No. 4 on the depth chart.

Teaser:
Tennessee Picks Justin Worley as its Starting QB
Post date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/usc-rb-silas-redd-wont-play-against-hawaii
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USC opens its 2013 season with a road trip to Hawaii on Thursday night. But it appears the Trojans won’t have one of their key offensive players in action.

According to the tweet below, USC running back Silas Redd won’t play in Thursday night’s game. Redd suffered a knee injury in the spring and isn’t quite 100 percent.

Although Redd is USC’s best running back, he won’t be missed against Hawaii. With Redd sidelined, sophomore Tre Madden and freshmen Justin Davis and Ty Isaac will pickup the slack on the ground.

Teaser:
USC RB Silas Redd Won't Play Against Hawaii
Post date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 08:45
Path: /college-football/oregon-state-picks-sean-mannion-its-starting-qb
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Oregon State coach Mike Riley let Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz compete for the starting job this offseason, and both players didn’t make it easy on their head coach. However, Riley has picked Mannion as the Beavers’ starting quarterback, with Vaz expected to serve in the backup role.

Mannion was Oregon State’s quarterback through the first four games of last season but was sidelined due to injury. In the first four games, Mannion had seven touchdowns and four interceptions and threw for 433 yards in a 38-35 win at Arizona.

Vaz started while Mannion was out, leading the Beavers to a road win at BYU and against Utah, but he also missed time later in the year due to injury.

The coaching staff let Mannion and Vaz compete for the starting job in the bowl game, with Vaz eventually getting the starting job. However, Vaz struggled against Texas’ defense, completing 15 of 28 passes for 194 yards and two interceptions.

Mannion needs to cut down on his mistakes, but the junior is the right answer for Oregon State’s offense. Mannion has more talent than Vaz was off to a good start prior to his injury last year.

But if Mannion struggles, the Beavers know Vaz is a capable option.
 

Teaser:
Oregon State Picks Sean Mannion as its Starting QB
Post date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/texas-am-qb-johnny-manziel-questioned-ncaa
Body:

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s busy offseason continued with a visit from the NCAA on Sunday. ESPN.com is reporting Manziel interviewed for six hours with the NCAA, and it’s not clear if it will have any effect on his playing status for Saturday’s game against Rice.

Needless to say, this story isn’t going away anytime soon. Here's some more info from ESPN.com writer Travis Haney on the latest surrounding Manziel.

 

Teaser:
Johnny Manziel Questioned by the NCAA
Post date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 07:55
Path: /college-football/10-players-who-will-decide-college-footballs-2013-national-title
Body:

Every college football team has personnel issues that will be a question mark going into the 2013 season. But some have national title implications.

Alabama has the nation’s best roster, but the Crimson Tide is replacing a couple of key starters on the offensive line. Ohio State’s defensive line lost all four starters from last season and will be relying on two sophomores to start at defensive end. Stanford won the Pac-12 title last year, but the Cardinal is picked behind Oregon in most preseason polls. If Stanford wants to win the national championship, it has to get more production from its passing attack.

What players could play a huge role in college football’s national championship picture? Athlon examined 10 key players to watch, along with a few extras to keep on the radar this year.

10 Players Who Will Decide College Football's 2013 National Title

1. Noah Spence/Adolphus Washington, DE, Ohio State
The Buckeyes are considered by most to be the top threat to Alabama this season. There are few questions about an offense that returns nine starters, but the defense will be a work in progress to start the year. The line was hit hardest by offseason departures, as the top four players from last season – John Simon, Nathan Willliams, Johnathan Hankins and Garrett Goebel – are gone. While it will be difficult for Ohio State to match last year’s production from the line, there’s no shortage of talent. Sophomore ends Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington were two of the top defensive linemen in the 2012 signing class and played sparingly last year. Spence recorded 12 stops in 11 games, while Washington had three sacks and nine tackles in 10 contests. The Buckeyes also need a big season from tackles Joel Hale and Michael Bennett, but Spence and Washington will be the key pieces in Ohio State’s chances of ranking in the top 15 of rush defense and averaging 2.5 sacks a game once again.

2. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
It’s no secret the Cardinal has one of the best defenses and offensive lines in college football. But the passing game is a concern, especially after the departure of tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo to the NFL. Quarterback Kevin Hogan should be better in his second year as a starter, but Stanford needs to find a few playmakers on the outside. Is Montgomery that player? After catching 24 passes (13 receptions over the final two games) in 2011, Montgomery appeared poised for a breakout year in 2012. However, injuries prevented the Texas native from getting on track, finishing with 26 catches for 213 yards. If Montgomery can stay healthy, he can be the threat Hogan needs on the outside to stretch opposing defenses. The Cardinal could also play a few young players at receiver, including Francis Owusu and sophomores Kodi Whitfield and Devon Cajuste.

3. Tommy Rees, QB, Notre Dame
After the summer departure of Everett Golson, Rees is set to be Notre Dame’s No. 1 quarterback once again. The senior has experienced plenty of ups and downs throughout his career in South Bend, throwing for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman and then 2,871 yards and 20 scores in 2011. Rees lost the starting job to Golson last year but played relatively well in relief, throwing for 436 yards and two scores. With one of the nation’s best defenses at his disposal, Rees doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards each week. However, the senior needs to limit his mistakes (24 interceptions on 634 career passes). If Rees is solid and cuts down on the turnovers, the Fighting Irish will be back in the hunt for the national title once again.

4. Julien Obioha, DE, Texas A&M
Entering the second offseason under coordinator Mark Snyder, the Aggies should have a better grasp of the defensive scheme for 2013. But the front seven is undergoing a little bit of renovation, as end Damontre Moore and interior players Jonathan Mathis and Spencer Nealy are gone. Texas A&M has recruited well, so there’s plenty of talent ready to step into the lineup. However, Snyder may have to rely on some true freshmen – Justin Manning, Isaiah Golden and Daeshon Hall – to contribute significant snaps. But all eyes will be on Obioha to star the year, especially with a year of experience under his belt. Last season, Obioha started 12 games and recorded 25 tackles and one sack. Replacing Damontre Moore’s 12.5 sacks is no easy task, but the Aggies hope Obioha spends a lot of time in opposing backfields this fall. 

5. LG Arie Kouandjio and RT Austin Shepherd, Alabama
The Crimson Tide coach staff should feel pretty good about three spots on their offensive line. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is a future NFL first-round draft pick, guard Anthony Steen has 25 starts in his career, and center Ryan Kelly impressed in limited action last year. But the other two spots were a concern this fall. Arie Kouandjio eventually settled at left guard and Austin Shepherd won the job at right tackle. Matching the dominance of last year’s offensive line will be difficult, and there’s a ton of pressure on the two new starters to perform at a high level right away. If Kouandjio and Shepherd are up to the task, Alabama’s offensive line will clear plenty of holes for the running backs, along with keeping quarterback AJ McCarron upright in the pocket. But if it struggles, Alabama becomes more vulnerable in key games against Texas A&M and LSU.

6. Mike Thornton, DT, Georgia
We could list a few defensive players here for Georgia, but the success of any 3-4 defense starts in the trenches at nose tackle. The Bulldogs have a huge void with the departure of John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers on the interior, and Thornton is slated to start at nose tackle in the season opener at Clemson. The junior checks in at 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds, which is a stark difference to the 6-foot-3 and 358-pound frame of Jenkins last year. However, Thornton is capable of holding down the middle of the line, and his quickness will allow him to create problems off the snap for opposing quarterbacks. If Thornton struggles, Georgia has plenty of linemen ready to rotate into the game. However, the coaching staff would like to see the junior anchor the line this year and lead a rush defense that needs to improve after allowing 182.1 yards per game on the ground last season.  

7. Tony Washington, DE/LB, Oregon
The Ducks return a loaded roster, so it’s hard to pinpoint a weakness for 2013. The defense does have a few holes to fill in the front seven, especially at linebacker/rush end where Dion Jordan is off to the NFL. Washington is slated to fill Jordan’s role, and the junior recorded 20 tackles in 13 contests last year. The junior isn’t as dynamic or athletic as Jordan is, but he is more than capable of keeping Oregon’s defense among the best in the Pac-12. 

8. Bashaud Breeland/Darius Robinson, CB, Clemson
The Tigers’ first depth chart of 2013 didn’t reveal much about the cornerback position. Garry Peters and Bashaud Breeland are listed as co-starters at one spot, while Darius Robinson and Martin Jenkins share the other side. Clemson’s pass defense is a concern heading into 2013, especially after finishing sixth in the conference last year. Sophomore safety Travis Blanks is a rising star, but the Tigers are still searching for the right mix at cornerback. True freshman Mackensie Alexander was slowed in fall camp due to an injury, so it may be a few weeks before he makes a significant impact. Whether it’s Breeland, Robinson, Jenkins or Peters, Clemson has to find two players it feels comfortable with to start at cornerback, especially with a huge test against Georgia in Week 1.

9. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
The Gamecocks finished 2012 ranked 13th in the SEC in rushing offense, and their leading rusher – running back Marcus Lattimore – left for the NFL after a season-ending injury against Tennessee. Quarterback Connor Shaw ranked second on the team with 435 rushing yards, while Davis finished last season with 275 yards and two touchdowns. Although Shaw has good mobility, South Carolina would like to keep him healthy for a full season, which means one of the running backs needs to step up. Davis was a big-time recruit for the Gamecocks in the 2012 signing class, ranking as a four-star prospect and the No. 63 overall player in the nation according to Rivals.com. Brandon Wilds will also see plenty of carries, but South Carolina needs Davis to be a go-to back that can handle 25 touches a game and take some of the pressure off of Shaw or Dylan Thompson at quarterback.

10. Big 12 Quarterbacks
Yes, we are cheating just a bit with this selection. However, most of the Big 12 is dealing with uncertainty at quarterback this year. Will Clint Chelf hold off J.W. Walsh for the starting job at Oklahoma State ? Is it Casey Pachall or Trevone Boykin at TCU? Is Trevor Knight ready for the spotlight at Oklahoma? What about David Ash at Texas? There are question marks abound at the quarterback position in this conference, which is a big reason why no Big 12 team was picked in the top 15 of Athlon’s projected 125 for the 2013 season. If Knight, Chelf or Pachall has a big season, the Big 12 could have a team in the national title hunt.

Others to Watch

Dan Hicks/Mario Edwards, DE, Florida State
Hicks and Edwards will be tasked with replacing Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner.

Zach Mettenberger, QB LSU
Will Mettenberger thrive under new coordinator Cam Cameron?

Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
Can Florida find a go-to target for quarterback Jeff Driskel?

Jake Smith, C, Louisville
Smith has the tough task of replacing Mario Benavides at center this year.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan
Toussaint held off freshman Derrick Green for the starting job, but the senior is coming off a significant leg injury suffered late in the 2012 season.

Related College Football Content

College Football Bowl Projections for 2013
College Football's Top 35 Breakout Players for 2013
Top 10 Darkhorses to Win the National Title
The Top 100 Players of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Wide Receiver Corps for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Offensive Lines for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Defensive Lines for 2013
College Football's All-Name Team for 2013

Teaser:
10 Players Who Will Decide College Football's 2013 National Title
Post date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/redrafting-sec-rosters-2013
Body:

Fantasy drafts are a popular part of any offseason, but Athlon Sports (with a little bit of help from a few friends) took it to the next level when it came to the SEC.

College football’s premier conference is loaded with talent, so we thought it would be interesting to erase the rosters and conduct a redraft with 14 managers serving as the coaches of SEC programs.

The rules for the draft were simple: 22 overall picks, with 11 coming on offense and 11 on defense. Teams were allowed flexibility for schemes, as some managers chose to draft four receivers over a second running back or starting tight end.

What do the results of the draft tell us for 2013? It’s hard to glean much from a fantasy draft, but as expected, Alabama had the most players selected (40), while Kentucky had the fewest (12). Interestingly enough, Vanderbilt checked in tied at fourth with 25 players drafted. The Commodores ranked ahead of Texas A&M and South Carolina in the amount of players selected. Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel was the No. 1 overall pick, with South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney picked at No. 2. 

Note: Some players have been dismissed or left the team since the draft was conducted. Number after player indicates round in which he was selected. 

Redrafting the SEC's Rosters for 2013

Jon CooperJesse JohnsonMark Ross
SaturdayDownSouth.comVandySports.comAthlon Sports
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (1)QB Brandon Allen, Arkansas (20)QB Aaron Murray, Georgia (1)
RB Matt Jones, Florida (11)RB Mike Davis, So. Carolina (8)RB Jeremy Hill, LSU (13)
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (2)WR Malcome Kennedy, Texas A&M (13)RB Jeff Scott, Ole Miss (20)
WR Michael Bennett, Georgia (13)WR Demarcus Robinson, Florida (19)WR Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M (16)
WR Jaylon Denson, Auburn (21)TE Malcolm Johnson, Miss. State (15)WR Quan Bray, Auburn (21)
WR Jonathan Rumph, Georgia (22)TE Brian Vogler, Alabama (21)TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia (4)
OL Ryan Kelly, Alabama (5)OL Chris Burnette, Georgia (3)OL Travis Swanson, Arkansas (3)
OL Brey Cook, Arkansas (12)OL Kenarious Gates, Georgia (4)OL Tyler Moore, Florida (7)
OL Arie Kouandjio, Alabama (6)OL Austin Shepherd, Alabama (11)OL Darrian Miller, Kentucky (8)
OL Corey Robinson, So. Carolina (16)OL Alex Kozan, Auburn (18)OL Mitch Smothers, Arkansas (17)
OL Patrick Miller, Auburn (20)OL Isaac Luatua, Alabama (22)OL Pierce Burton, Ole Miss (18)
   
DL Ronald Powell, Florida (7)DL Jadeveon Clowney, So. Carolina (1)DL Walker May, Vanderbilt (5)
DL Mike Thornton, Georgia (9)DL Brandon Ivory, Alabama (6)DL Mister Cobble, Kentucky (11)
DL Kaleb Eulls, Mississippi State (14)DL Jared Morse, Vanderbilt (10)DL Dee Ford, Auburn (14)
DL Julien Obioha, Texas A&M (17)DL Stephen Weatherly, Vanderbilt (14)DL Nosa Eguae, Auburn (15)
LB Benardrick McKinney, Miss. State (4)LB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (2)LB Amarlo Herrera, Georgia (9)
LB/S Justin Garrett, Auburn (10)LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama (12)LB Andrew Wilson, MIssouri (12)
LB Dontavis Sapp, Tennessee (18)LB Darreon Herring, Vanderbilt (16)LB Tommy Sanders, Texas A&M (22)
DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (3)DB Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M (5)DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (2)
DB Brian Randolph, Tennessee (8)DB Nickoe Whitley, Miss. State (7)DB E.J. Gaines, Missouri (6)
DB Marcus Maye, Florida (15)DB Jalen Collins, LSU (9)DB Sheldon Dawson, Georgia (10)
DB Jamerson Love, Miss. State (19)DB Howard Matthews, Texas A&M (17)DB Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn (19)
Steven GodfreyNathan RushZac Ellis
SBNation.comAthlon SportsSports Illustrated
QB Bo Wallace, Ole Miss (2)QB AJ McCarron, Alabama (1)QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU (2)
RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (1)RB Kelvin Taylor, Florida (7)RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (1)
RB Brian Kimbrow, Vanderbilt (13)RB Wesley Tate, Vanderbilt (21)WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (6)
WR D. Green-Beckham, Missouri (4)WR Vince Sanders, Ole Miss (12)WR Javontee Herndon, Arkansas (12)
WR Chris Conley, Georgia (10)WR L'Damian Washington, Missouri (20)WR Demarco Robinson, Kentucky (20)
WR Robert Johnson, Miss. State (18)TE Jay Rome, Georgia (16)TE Rory Anderson, South Carolina (9)
OL John Theus, Georgia (5)OL Reese Dismukes, Auburn (6)OL Zach Fulton, Tennessee (5)
OL Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss (8)OL Brandon Shell, South Carolina (8)OL Mike Matthews, Texas A&M (8)
OL Joe Townsend, Vanderbilt (16)OL Greg Robinson, Auburn (14)OL Andrew Bridges, Vanderbilt (14)
OL Evan Swindall, Ole Miss (17)OL Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M (15)OL Patrick Junen, Ole Miss (17)
OL Clayton Stadnik, S. Carolina (21)OL Alex Bullard, Tennessee (18)OL Charles Siddoway, Miss. State (19)
   
DL Carl Lawson, Auburn (6)DL C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss (4)DL Chris Smith, Arkansas (3)
DL Ed Stinson, Alabama (7)DL Ego Ferguson, LSU (5)DL Gabe Wright, Auburn (10)
DL Quentin Thomas, LSU (14)DL Leon Orr, Florida (13)DL Za'Darius Smith, Kentucky (16)
LB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (3)DL Darren Lake, Alabama (22)DL DeMarcus Hodge, Arkansas (22)
LB Donnie Baggs, Texas A&M (11)DL Caleb Azubike, Vanderbilt (10)LB Lamin Barrow, LSU (3)
LB Kris Frost, Auburn (19)LB A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (2)LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee (11)
LB D.T. Shackelford, Ole Miss (22)LB Daunte Carr, Arkansas (17)LB Jarrett Lake, Arkansas (18)
DB Brian Poole, Florida (9)DB Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (3)DB Jaylen Watkins, Florida (7)
DB Trae Elston, Ole Miss (12)DB Victor Hampton, South Carolina (9)DB Javon Marshall, Vanderbilt (13)
DB Chaz Elder, South Carolina (15)DB Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (11)DB David Johnson, Missouri (15)
DB T.J. Gurley, South Carolina (20)DB Antonio Conner, Ole Miss (19)DB Chris Davis, Auburn (21)
Steven LassanJosh WardDavid Fox
Athlon SportsMrSEC.comAthlon Sports
QB Dylan Thompson, South Carolina (8)QB Tyler Russell, Miss. State (2)QB Jeff Driskel, Florida (2)
RB Brandon Williams, Texas A&M (20)RB Rajion Neal, Tennessee (12)RB Ben Malena, Texas A&M (11)
FB Jay Prosch, Auburn (19)WR Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt (8)RB Alfred Blue, LSU (21)
WR Chris Black, Alabama (13)WR Marcus Lucas, Missouri (13)WR Odell Beckham, LSU (5)
WR Trovon Reed, Auburn (21) WR Quinton Dunbar, Florida (18)WR Shaq Roland, South Carolina (17)
TE Trey Burton, Florida (15)WR Marquez North, Tennessee (22)WR Bud Sasser, Missouri (22)
OL Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (1)OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (1)OL Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee (3)
OL Gabe Jackson, Miss. State (2)OL Aaron Morris, Ole Miss (6)OL Jon Halapio, Florida (7)
OL La'el Collins, LSU (5)OL Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (10)OL Emmanuel McCray, Ole Miss (13)
OL Dillon Day, Miss. State (16)OL David Hurd, Arkansas (16)OL Chad Slade, Auburn (16)
OL Ethan Pocic, LSU (17)OL Zach West, Kentucky (17)OL Cody Waldrop, So. Carolina (20)
   
DL Donte Rumph, Kentucky (4)DL Kelcy Quarles, So. Carolina (3)DL Bud Dupree, Kentucky (4)
DL Jonathan Bullard, Florida (6)DL Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (4)DL Denico Autry, Miss. State (6)
DL Jermauria Rasco, LSU (11)DL Kyle Woestmann, Vanderbilt (9)DL P.J. Jones, Miss. State (9)
DL Issac Gross, Ole Miss (14)DL Chaz Sutton, South Carolina (14)LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (1)
LB Xzavier Dickson, Alabama (7)LB Avery Williamson, Kentucky (5)LB Karl Butler, Vanderbilt (12)
LB Kwon Alexander, LSU (12)LB Tahj Jones, LSU (15)LB Daniel McMillian, Florida (15)
LB Otha Peters, Arkansas (22)LB Deontae Skinner, Miss. State (20)LB Tim Kimbrough, Georgia (19)
DB Marcus Roberson, Florida (3)DB Jalen Mills, LSU (7)DB Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss (8)
DB Landon Collins, Alabama (9)DB Ronald Martin, LSU (11)DB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida (10)
DB De'Vante Harris, Texas A&M (10)DB Josh Holsey, Auburn (19)DB Jimmy Legree, South Carolina
DB Demetruce McNeal, Auburn (18)DB Justin Cox, Miss. State (21)DB Rohan Gaines, Arkansas (18)
SEC LogoMitch LightLouie Belina
SEC LogoAthlon SportsZone1150.com
QB Connor Shaw, So. Carolina (2)QB James Franklin, Missouri (8)QB Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky (22)
RB LaDarius Perkins, Miss. State (5)RB Henry Josey, Missouri (12)RB Tre Mason, Auburn (10)
WR Kenny Bell, Alabama (8)RB Raymond Sanders, Kentucky (19)WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (1)
WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama (10)WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (1)WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss (2)
WR Mekale McKay, Arkansas (15)WR LeKendrick Williams, Texas A&M (21)WR Laquvionte Gonzalez, Texas A&M (19)
TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn (13)TE OJ Howard, Alabama (11)WR Jaquay Williams, Texas A&M (20)
OL David Andrews, Georgia (4)OL Anthony Steen, Alabama (2)OL D.J. Humphries, Florida (5)
OL A.J. Cann, South Carolina (7)OL Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (4)OL Vadal Alexander, LSU (6)
OL Justin Britt, Missouri (16)OL Max Garcia, Florida (9)OL Evan Boehm, Missouri (11)
OL Jordan Swindle, Kentucky (20)OL Blaine Clausell, Miss. State (14)OL Josh Williford, LSU (13)
OL Alphonse Taylor, Alabama (22)OL Jake Bernstein, Vanderbilt (17)OL Max Copeland, Missouri (18)
   
DL Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (1)DL Dante Fowler, Florida (6)DL Trey Flowers, Arkansas (3)
DL Montravius Adams, Auburn (18)DL Damien Jacobs, Florida (10)DL Kony Ealy, Missouri (8)
DL Jacques Smith, Tennessee (21)DL Vince Taylor, Vanderbilt (13)DL Robert Thomas, Arkansas (9)
LB Trey DePriest, Alabama (6)DL Sterling Bailey, Georgia (18)DL Lavon Hooks, Ole Miss (14)
LB Steven Jenkins, Texas A&M (11)LB Kendell Beckwith, LSU (15)LB Chase Garnham, Vanderbilt (4)
LB Reuben Foster, Alabama (12)LB Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn (22)LB Mike Marry, Ole Miss (12)
LB Michael Taylor, Florida (17)LB Josh Harvey-Clemons, Georgia (7)LB Jake Holland, Auburn (15)
DB Craig Loston, LSU (3)DB Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt (3)DB Byron Moore, Tennessee (7)
DB Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss (9)DB Deion Belue, Alabama (5)DB Jonathon Mincy, Auburn (16)
DB Justin Coleman, Tennessee (14)DB Micah Eugene, LSU (16)DB Cyrus Jones, Alabama (17)
DB Nick Perry, Alabama (19)DB Steven Clarke, Vanderbilt (20)DB Toney Hurd, Texas A&M (21)
Braden GallChris Childers 
Athlon SportsSiriusXM.com 
QB Hutson Mason, Georgia (20)QB Austyn Carta-Samuels, Vanderbilt (9) 
RB Derrick Henry, Alabama (14)RB Keith Marshall, Georgia (5) 
RB Kenyan Drake, Alabama (22)RB Jerron Seymour, Vanderbilt (21) 
WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (5)WR Jarvis Landry, LSU (6) 
WR Damiere Byrd, South Carolina (21)WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (14) 
TE Cam Clear, Texas A&M (12)WR Christian Jones, Alabama (19) 
OL Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (2)OL Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (2) 
OL James Stone, Tennessee (3)OL Chaz Green, Florida (10) 
OL Trai Turner, LSU (7)OL Dallas Lee, Georgia (11) 
OL Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M (10)OL Elliott Porter, LSU (13) 
OL Andrew Jelks, Vanderbilt (17)OL Spencer Pulley, Vanderbilt (20) 
   
DL Anthony Johnson, LSU (1)DL Dominique Easley, Florida (1) 
DL Garrison Smith, Georgia (8)DL Byran Jones, Arkansas (3) 
DL Danielle Hunter, LSU (11)DL Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama (7) 
LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (4)DL LaMichael Fanning, Alabama (17) 
LB Antonio Morrison, Florida (6)LB Darrin Kitchens, Florida (8) 
LB Denzel Devall, Alabama (16)LB Ryan Anderson, Alabama (12) 
LB Khalid Henderson, Kentucky (19)LB Ronnie Feist, LSU (18) 
DB Geno Smith, Alabama (9)DB Damian Swann, Georgia (4) 
DB Tray Matthews, Georgia (13)DB Jarrick Williams, Alabama (15) 
DB Eric Bennett, Arkansas (15)DB Tevin Mitchel, Arkansas (16) 
DB Bradley Sylve, Alabama (18)DB Tre'Davious White, LSU (22) 

How the first four rounds were selected:

Round 1Round 2
1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (Cooper)15. Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt (Childers)
2. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (Johnson)16. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee (Gall)
3. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (Ross)17. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss (Belina)
4. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama (Godfrey)18. Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama (Light)
5. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama (Rush)19. Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina (Logo)
6. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (Ellis)20. Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida (Fox)
7. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama (Lassan)21. Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State (Ward)
8. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (Ward)22. Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (Lassan)
9. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (Fox)23. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU (Ellis)
10. Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss (Logo)24. A.J. Johnson, LB, Tennessee (Rush)
11. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (Light)25. Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss (Godfrey)
12. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (Belina)26. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (Ross)
13. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU (Gall)27. Adrian Hubbard, LB, Alabama (Johnson)
14. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida (Childers)28. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (Cooper)
Round 3Round 4
29. Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida (Cooper)43. Damian Swann, DB, Georgia (Childers)
30. Chris Burnette, OG, Georgia (Johnson)44. Jordan Jenkins, LB/DE, Georgia (Gall)
31. Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas (Ross)45. Chase Garnham, LB, Vanderbilt (Belina)
32. Denzel Nkemdiche, LB, Ole Miss (Godfrey)46. Cedric Ogbuehi, T, Texas A&M (Light)
33. Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt (Rush)47. David Andrews, C, Georgia (Logo)
34. Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas (Ellis)48. Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky (Fox)
35. Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida (Lassan)49. Daniel McClullers, DT, Tennessee (Ward)
36. Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina (Ward)50. Donte Rumph, DT, Kentucky (Lassan)
37. Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee (Fox)51. Lamin Barrow, LB, LSU (Ellis)
38. Craig Loston, DB, LSU (Logo)52. C.J. Johnson, DE, Ole Miss (Rush)
39. Kenny Ladler, DB, Vanderbilt (Light)53. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri (Godfrey)
40. Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas (Belina)54. Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia (Ross)
41. James Stone, C, Tennessee (Gall)55. Kenarious Gates, T, Georgia (Johnson)
42. Byran Jones, DT, Arkansas (Childers)56. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State (Cooper)


Which team had the most players selected?
 

RankTeamPlayers Drafted
1Alabama40
2Florida28
3LSU27
4TVanderbilt25
4TGeorgia 25
4TAuburn 25
Texas A&M23
8Ole Miss22
9South Carolina19
10Arkansas18
11Mississippi State16
12Tennessee15
13Missouri13
14 Kentucky 12


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Teaser:
Redrafting the SEC Rosters for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 07:10
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-26
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It's game week. 

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 Monday, August 26th

Is Mack Brown hurting is legacy at Texas by sticking around?

Depth chart news from Alabama. And Kansas. And Northwestern. And Arkansas.

LSU coach Les Miles isn't saying much about the status of running back Jeremy Hill for the season opener. And it looks like guard Josh Williford's playing career is done.

Saturday Down South takes a look at the schedule posters in the SEC.

The Sporting News takes a look at some early elimination games for the national title race. And can Texas play for the national title?

Will Temple build an on-campus stadium?

Seantrel Henderson is not listed as a starter on Miami's depth chart.

Could Alabama's offense - not its defense - key another run to a national title?

Michigan, Notre Dame or USC could play in a future kickoff game in Atlanta.

California and Stanford could play their 2014 matchup in the 49ers' new stadium.

A good story on Syracuse coach Scott Shafer and some of the experiences that helped to shape him as a coach.

Georgia could be without safety Tray Matthews in its season opener against Clemson. 

Colorado has picked Connor Wood as its starting quarterback.

Here are 10 keys to Penn State's season.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 26
Post date: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 15:37
Path: /college-football/kansas-state-picks-jake-waters-start-quarterback
Body:

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder isn’t a fan of releasing a depth chart, but he did provide one crucial bit of information for Saturday’s opener against North Dakota State. Junior college transfer Jake Waters will start over Daniel Sams, but both quarterbacks are expected to play.

Sams was believed to be the frontrunner to start the opener, but the sophomore missed some practice time, which allowed Waters to pull ahead for the starting job.

Waters was a huge pickup on the recruiting trail for Kansas State. Last year at Iowa Western, he threw for 3,501 yards and 39 touchdowns, while tossing only three picks on 333 attempts. Waters also completed 73.7 percent of his throws.

Sams is the better athlete between the two quarterbacks, but Waters can move around in the pocket as well.

Could the starting spot change hands later in the year? It’s possible. However, for now, Waters will take the first snap. And Sams will play a handful of snaps in the opener in a backup role.

 

Teaser:
Kansas State Picks Jake Waters to Start at Quarterback
Post date: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 13:22
Path: /college-football/no-surprise-jameis-winston-florida-states-starting-qb
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As expected, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher named Jameis Winston the starting quarterback for the season opener against Pittsburgh.

Winston’s debut is one of the most intriguing storylines of Week 1, as the redshirt freshman ranked as the No. 15 overall recruit 2012 signing class and shined in Florida State’s spring game.

Winston is a dual-threat passer and is surrounded by a deep supporting cast. With four starters back, the offensive line is one of the best in the nation. James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman will be a solid one-two punch in the backfield, while the receiving corps is filled with talent and speed.

Opening up on the road is never an easy task for a redshirt freshman quarterback, but Winston has plenty of confidence and shouldn’t be rattled in the Steel City. After the opener against the Panthers, Florida State hosts Nevada and Bethune-Cookman, before ending the month of September at Boston College. 

If Winston lives up to the hype, Florida State has the schedule make a run at the national championship. And the biggest game of the ACC season – at Clemson on Oct. 19 – should give Winston plenty of time to get acclimated to being a starter on the FBS level.

Although Winston won the starting job, backup Jacob Coker had an impressive offseason and is a solid No. 2 quarterback. 
 

Teaser:
No Surprise: Jameis Winston is Florida State's Starting QB
Post date: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 09:00
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TCU-LSU is one of Week 1’s most-anticipated matchups. The Horned Frogs get quarterback Casey Pachall back after a suspension ended his 2012 season in October, but defensive end Devonte Fields is out for the first two games.

Regardless of whether TCU wins the opener or not, its alternate uniforms should certainly steal the show.

These uniforms feature red accents, which are to highlight the blood that horned frogs can shoot from their eyes. Read here for more information on TCU’s alternate uniform. 

Teaser:
TCU Unveils New Jerseys for Season Opener
Post date: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 07:55
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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.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston ranks as Athlon’s No. 1 breakout player for 2013, and even though there’s some key personnel departing on defense, the redshirt freshman is poised to keep the Seminoles in the national title picture. Michigan’s Devin Gardner and Baylor’s Bryce Petty are the only other quarterbacks listed in the top 10. Receiver Nelson Agholor is already off to a good start in fall camp and will help take some of the pressure off of Marqise Lee on the other side. Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson was a key reason why the Huskies improved on defense last year, and the sophomore is due for even bigger and better things in 2013.

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. 

College Football's Top 35 Breakout Players for 2013

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Considering Winston’s preseason buzz has reached meteoric levels, he might be a little too obvious to put on this list. However, the redshirt freshman has the talent to have a breakout year similar to what Texas A&M got from Johnny Manziel last season. Of course, a Heisman Trophy is simply too much to ask from Winston this year, but the Alabama native will be a difference maker for Florida State, especially with one of the ACC’s best supporting casts at his disposal. If Winston lives up to the hype, the Seminoles could match last year’s 12 wins.

2. 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.

3. Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
There’s no question that USC will miss Robert Woods, but the Trojans still have one of the nation’s top receiving corps. Marqise Lee is an Athlon Sports first-team All-American for 2013, and Agholor is poised to push for all-conference honors this year as well. As a true freshman last season, Agholor caught 19 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 17.9 yards per catch. The Tampa native had his best performance against Oregon, recording six catches for 162 yards and one score. With defenses aiming to stop Lee, look for Agholor to see more passes in his direction this year.

4. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Coach Art Briles certainly knows a thing or two about quarterbacks. After all, Robert Griffin III won the Heisman in 2011, and Nick Florence ranked second nationally in total offense last year. No pressure, Bryce Petty. The junior steps into the starting role after serving as an understudy over the last two years and hopes to continue Baylor’s recent run of successful passers. Petty has thrown only 14 passes in his career but has been impressive as the No. 1 quarterback this spring. There’s still plenty for the junior to prove in 2013, but considering Briles’ history of developing quarterbacks, the Bears have to feel good about Petty’s chances of emerging as a standout player this year.

5. Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
After a freshman year that saw him garner honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades, it’s time for the rest of the nation to take notice of No. 7 in Seattle. Thompson recorded 74 tackles, two sacks and three picks last season and ranked second on the team with 8.5 tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-2 linebacker’s speed and athleticism is crucial for Washington’s defense, especially when it comes to defending the spread offenses in the Pac-12. The Pac-12 already knows all about Thompson, but look for the sophomore to push for All-American honors this season.

6. Jordan Jenkins, LB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree are gone, leaving a huge void in the Georgia linebacker corps for 2013. Talent certainly isn’t an issue for coordinator Todd Grantham, as Jenkins was impressive as a freshman in limited action last year and is poised to be one of the new leaders for Georgia’s defense. In 14 games last season, Jenkins recorded 31 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble. Replacing Jones’ production on the outside won’t be easy, but Jenkins should easily push for 10 sacks this year.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. La’el Collins, OT, LSU
LSU fans are certainly familiar with Collins’ ability, but the rest of the nation needs to take notice. The SEC is stocked with talent at tackle, as Jake Matthews, Antonio Richardson and Cyrus Kouandjio are considered the frontrunners for first-team All-American recognition. And Tennessee’s Ja’Wuan James and Vanderbilt’s Wesley Johnson are solid players who shouldn’t be overlooked in 2013. Collins earned honorable mention All-SEC accolades last season after starting 13 games at left guard. The Baton Rouge native plans to move to left tackle this year, and at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Collins certainly has the size to move defenders in the run game or counteract edge rushers on passing downs. 

10. Chris Black, WR, Alabama
Amari Cooper emerged as one of the SEC’s top receivers last season, and Alabama’s receiving corps is poised to get another boost in 2013 with the addition of Black. The Jacksonville native was regarded as one of the top receiver prospects in the 2012 signing class and was expected to be a factor in the Crimson Tide’s passing attack last year. However, Black suffered a shoulder injury in August, which forced him to redshirt. The redshirt freshman is now healthy, and his emergence will provide quarterback AJ McCarron with one of the nation’s deepest receiving corps.

11. Brendan Bigelow, RB, California
Injuries have hindered Bigelow throughout his career, but if can stay healthy, the junior is a threat to rush for 1,000 yards in coach Sonny Dykes’ wide-open offense. On 44 attempts last year, Bigelow recorded 431 yards and three scores. He also averaged 23 yards per kickoff return and caught seven passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Bigelow is a dynamic playmaker when he has the ball in his hands, so expect Dykes and coordinator Tony Franklin to get him at least 20 touches a game – provided he can avoid the pesky injury bug.

12. Vad Lee, QB, Georgia Tech
Fans of the ACC are certainly familiar with Lee, but the rest of the college football world should take notice of the sophomore in 2013. The North Carolina native did not record a start under center but played in 12 of Georgia Tech’s 14 contests. Lee threw for 596 yards and four touchdowns and showcased his athleticism by averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 96 attempts. He scored nine times on 96 attempts and had a 79-yard run against Presbyterian. Lee doesn’t have to be a dynamic thrower in Georgia Tech’s option attack, but he should be an upgrade in the passing attack over Tevin Washington.

13. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
With four starters returning, Stanford’s offensive line is expected to be one of the best in college football in 2013. But what’s even scarier for the opposition: This unit still has room to improve, especially at left tackle. There’s where Peat comes into play. As a freshman in 2012, the Arizona native didn’t make a start but played in 13 games. With David Yankey sliding back to guard, Peat is poised to step into the lineup and solidify Stanford’s left tackle position.

14. Jermauria Rasco, DE, LSU
Despite having to replace a handful of key players from last year’s defense, LSU’s defense is expected to remain near the top of the SEC once again. The line will miss Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, but Rasco and Danielle Hunter aren’t short on talent and will be a handful for opposing linemen this season. Rasco was a five-star recruit in the 2011 signing class and has played in 22 games in his first two years at LSU. Although he doesn’t have a start under his belt, Rasco has 27 tackles and two sacks during that span. The junior is expected to anchor one of the end spots for coordinator John Chavis and could earn All-SEC honors at the conclusion of 2013.

15. Quinshad Davis, WR, North Carolina
The Tar Heels sped up the tempo in coach Larry Fedora’s first season in Chapel Hill, averaging 40.6 points per game and finishing 14th nationally in total offense (485.6 yards per game). Quarterback Bryn Renner is back in 2013, and the entire offense has a full offseason to learn under Fedora and his staff. Even though the Tar Heels have to replace running back Giovani Bernard and top offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper, this offense could improve upon its yards and points per game. Renner’s go-to target in the passing game should be Davis, who turned in an impressive freshman season with 61 catches for 776 yards and five scores. Davis played well late in the year, catching 32 passes over the final three games, including 16 in a win against Virginia. Expect the sophomore to be one of the ACC’s leading receivers in 2013.


16. Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
Arizona State had three running backs record over 100 carries last season, but with Cameron Marshall expiring his eligibility, Grice is due for an increase in touches. In his first year after transferring in from a junior college, Grice rushed for 679 yards and 11 scores and caught 41 passes for 425 yards and eight touchdowns. The Texas native came on strong at the end of the year, gashing Arizona for 156 yards and three scores and Navy for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Although DJ Foster will see plenty of work, Grice should be Arizona State’s leading rusher and could push for All-Pac-12 recognition in 2013.

17. Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
In an offensive-minded league like the Pac-12, it’s not easy for any true freshman to step onto the field at cornerback. However, Carter did just that last year, earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors in the process. In 14 games (with eight starts), the Virginia native recorded 46 tackles and three forced fumbles. With another offseason under his belt, Carter should continue to develop into one of the Pac-12’s top cornerbacks this season.

18. Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
There’s no question the Crimson Tide will miss center Barrett Jones, guard Chance Warmack and tackle D.J. Fluker this year. However, with the return of left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and guard Anthony Steen, a solid foundation in place. Kelly is slated to replace Jones at center, and the Ohio native already has plenty of game action under his belt. With Jones hobbled by a foot injury last season, Kelly played in nine contests and impressed in limited action. Equaling the accolades and performance Jones had during his four years in Tuscaloosa is nearly impossible, but Kelly should ensure Alabama’s offensive line remains one of the nation’s best.


19. Daniel Sams/Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State
It’s a bit of a cop out to list Sams and Waters here, but both players are capable of keeping Kansas State in the Big 12 title race. Sams is a dynamic athlete, recording 235 yards and eight rushing touchdowns on 32 attempts in 2012. He only threw eight passes last year but completed six throws for 55 yards. Waters comes to Kansas State after two years at Iowa Western Community College. The Iowa native had a huge 2012 season, earning NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year honors after throwing for 3,501 yards and 39 scores. Although Waters isn’t as dynamic on the ground as Sams, the junior isn’t a statue in the pocket. There’s no question Collin Klein will be missed this year. However, the Wildcats’ offense shouldn't fall off much with Sams or Waters leading the way.

20. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
The nation’s No. 1 recruit in the 2012 signing class had a relatively quiet debut. Green-Beckham was suspended for one game and finished the year with just 28 receptions for 395 yards and five scores. However, Green-Beckham’s performance picked up late in the season, catching 21 passes over the final five games, with a touchdown catch coming in each of the last three contests. With quarterback James Franklin closer to 100 percent after shoulder surgery last year, Missouri’s passing attack is poised to improve in 2013. All signs point to Green-Beckham having a good offseason, which should translate into more production.

21. Jeremy Smith, RB, Oklahoma State
It might be a little too obvious to list Smith in this article, but after playing behind Joseph Randle and Kendall Hunter, it’s his time to shine. In his first three years in Stillwater, Smith has rushed for 1,439 yards and 25 touchdowns. Smith’s best performance in his career came against Grambling in 2009, recording 160 yards and one score on 15 attempts. However, the Tulsa native has played well in Big 12 action, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns against Texas in 2011. With Randle playing in the NFL, this is Smith’s job to lose, and the senior should rank near the top of the Big 12 in rushing yards this year.

22. Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
New coach Mark Stoops played a key role in turning around Florida State’s defense, and Big Blue Nation hopes he can develop Dupree and junior college transfer Za’Darius Smith into All-SEC ends. Dupree played last season as the rush end in Kentucky’s 3-4 scheme, but he will slide exclusively into one of the end spots in 2013. The Georgia native recorded 91 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season and should continue to develop with a defined role coming off the edge. Double-digit sacks isn’t out of the question for Dupree this year.

23. Dontre Wilson, RB/WR, Ohio State
If Ohio State wants to play for a Big Ten title, keeping quarterback Braxton Miller healthy is priority No. 1. Miller took a pounding last season, and coach Urban Meyer would like to see the supporting cast take a bigger role in the offense. Thanks to top-notch recruiting, Meyer appears to have found a big-time playmaker for Miller. Wilson is a 5-foot-10, 174 pound running back/receiver that will be a dangerous option for Ohio State’s offense. The Texas native shined in fall practice and could fill the “Percy Harvin position” that Meyer wants to establish. With running back Carlos Hyde suspended for the first three games, Wilson should expect to see plenty of carries and passes in his direction in the early part of the year.    


24. Mario Edwards Jr., DE, Florida State
The Seminoles lose four key players from a defensive line that played a significant role in finishing first in the ACC in rush defense, along with ranking sixth nationally in points allowed. While ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine will be missed, there’s no shortage of talent returning to Tallahassee. The next star on Florida State’s line should be Edwards, who was pressed into action after an early-season injury to Brandon Jenkins. Although it was a small sample size, Edwards showcased why he was one of the top recruits in the 2012 signing class, recording 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss. With a full offseason to work in the weight room and learn under new ends coach Sal Sunseri, Edwards is primed for a breakout year in Tallahassee.

25. Robbie Rhodes, WR, Baylor
The Bears know what they have in senior receiver Tevin Reese, and Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood are back after combining for 57 receptions last year. But the receiving corps could use another gamebreaker to help ease the loss of Terrance Williams. Could Rhodes be that player? The true freshman has been one of the stars of fall camp, catching four passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in the team’s second scrimmage. Rhodes was rated as the No. 4 receiver in the 2013 recruiting class by Athlon Sports, and all signs point to a big season from the true freshman.

26. Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
New coach Bret Bielema had one of the nation’s top rushing attacks under his direction at Wisconsin and is building a run-first mentality in Fayetteville. Sophomore Jonathan Williams is expected to open the year as the starter at running back, but Collins will see plenty of action. The Florida native ranked as the No. 13 running back in the nation by Rivals.com and earned Broward County Player of the Year honors after rushing for 1,786 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2012. As Bielema’s offenses showed at Wisconsin, there’s plenty of carries available for two running backs. And even though he may not open the year as the starter, Collins will make it difficult for the coaching staff to keep him on the sidelines for long.


27. Deontay Greenberry, WR, Houston
Even with the departure of running back Charles Sims, Houston should have one of the American Athletic Conference’s top offenses in 2013. The Cougars averaged 32.4 points a game last year despite inconsistent quarterback play, and coach Tony Levine’s decision to hire Doug Meacham as co-offensive coordinator should pay dividends. Greenberry was a huge catch on the recruiting trail for Levine, and he didn’t disappoint as a true freshman, grabbing 47 receptions for 569 yards and three scores. The sophomore should approach 60-70 catches in 2013 and is an Athlon Sports second-team American Athletic Conference selection for this season.

28. Byron Marshall, RB, Oregon
Replacing Kenjon Barner is likely to be a three-man task in Oregon’s backfield. Junior De’Anthony Thomas is a dynamic all-around threat but won’t handle 25-30 carries a week. True freshman Thomas Tyner will see plenty of time, but the Ducks’ workhorse could be Marshall. As a true freshman last season, he recorded 447 yards and four touchdowns. Marshall had one 100-yard effort in 2012, gashing Tennessee Tech for 125 yards on 13 attempts. Expect the California native to factor prominently into Oregon’s ground attack this year.

29. Deon Bush, S, Miami
Finding answers on defense is the top priority for Miami coach Al Golden this offseason. The Hurricanes ranked last in the ACC in rushing, pass and total defense, and coordinator Mark D’Onofrio will have seven new full-time starters stepping into the lineup. Bush was one of the few bright spots for Miami last year, as he recorded 34 stops, three forced fumbles and one tackle for a loss. Even though he’s only a sophomore, Bush should be a leader in Miami’s secondary in 2013 and is expected to push for All-ACC honors.

30. Taysom Hill, QB, BYU
With Riley Nelson battling a back injury last year, BYU was forced to hand the reins of the offense to Hill in his first season with the Cougars. The Idaho native responded by throwing for 235 yards and one touchdown and recording 80 yards on the ground in a 6-3 win over Utah State. Hill also recorded 255 yards and two touchdowns against Hawaii. A knee injury ended Hill’s season prematurely but is not expected to hinder his sophomore campaign. Robert Anae has returned to Provo to coordinate the offense, and BYU is hoping to speed up the tempo this year. Although Hill is still growing as a passer, his dual-threat ability should allow him to make plenty of plays in 2013.

31. 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.

32. 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.

33. Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Even though there's a new starting quarterback in Norman, the Sooners will continue to have one of the Big 12’s top offenses in 2013. And both passers have plenty of weapons at their disposal, including Jalen Saunders, Trey Metoyer and rising star Sterling Shepard. Saunders, Justin Brown and Kenny Stills overshadowed Shepard’s play last year. However, as a true freshman, he caught 45 passes for 621 yards and three scores. Shepard did not have a touchdown reception over the final five games, but he caught at least three passes in each of the last six contests. Saunders is clearly Oklahoma’s No. 1 target. However, expect Shepard to be an even bigger factor in the Sooners’ attack this year.

34. Eli Harold, DE, Virginia
It’s an overused cliché, but Virginia’s defense should be more aggressive in 2013. Jon Tenuta joins the Cavaliers’ staff from NC State, and the veteran coordinator has promised to turn up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks this year. Harold should benefit from the change in schemes and is expected to be the unit’s top pass-rusher. In 12 games last year as a true freshman, Harold recorded 36 stops, two sacks and one forced fumble. At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, the Virginia native has the athleticism to be a standout pass-rusher and could easily triple his sack total from last season under Tenuta’s direction.

35. Jeff Luc, LB, Cincinnati
With Greg Blair and Nick Temple returning, Cincinnati’s linebacking corps was already set to be the best in the American Athletic Conference this year. And this group could be among the top groups in the nation, provided Luc lives up to the hype in 2013. Luc played in 19 games with Florida State, recording 23 tackles and three tackles for a loss. The Florida native was regarded as a top-100 recruit coming out of high school.

 

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Teaser:
College Football's Top 35 Breakout Players for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-football-2013-win-total-projections
Body:

The 2013 college football season is officially here. With kickoff on Thursday night, it’s time to make those final preseason predictions and projections. 

Even if you don't place any wagers on sports, the lines/projections from the good folks in Vegas are always something to check out before each season and before each week of games. Not only is it interesting content, but Vegas has a good pulse on the teams and is often one of the most accurate sources of predictions.
To get ready for the upcoming college football season, Athlon took a look at how its predictions matched up against a couple of sports books.

Athlon and the sports books in Vegas largely agreed the win totals for teams, as there weren't many large variations in projections. However, below are a few props we like heading into 2013, as well as a few that should be avoided. 

College Football's Win Total Projections for 2013

Team5 DimesCantorLVHBovadaThe GreekSportsbookAthlon
Air Force6.5  6.5  6
Akron2.5     2
Alabama11.510.51111111112
Arizona7.5  7.57.587
Arizona State9.5887.58 8
Arkansas5.5  5.5  5
Arkansas State7.5     6
Army4.5  4.5  3
Auburn6.5  6.57 6
Ball State9.5     9
Baylor7.5  88 8
Boise State10.59.59.510109.511
Boston College4.5  4.5  4
Bowling Green8.5     8
Buffalo5.5     5
BYU8.5 7.58 7.57
California4.5  4  4
Central Michigan4.5     3
Cincinnati9.5  9.5  9
Clemson10.59.59.59.59.59.511
Colorado3.5  3.5  3
Colorado State5.5     5
Connecticut5.5  5.5  5
Duke5.5  5.5  5
East Carolina7.5     7
Eastern Michigan2.5     1
FAU3.5  2.5  3
FIU2.5  3  2
Florida9.5999999
Florida State10.5101010.5101010
Fresno State10.510 10  10
Georgia9.59.59.59.59.59.510
Georgia State2.5     1
Georgia Tech8.5  88.5 8
Hawaii3.5  3.5  1
Houston5.5  5.5  5
Idaho1.5  1.5  1
Illinois3.5  3.5  4
Indiana5.5  5.5  6
Iowa5.5  5.56 4
Iowa State5.5  5.5  5
Kansas3.5  3.5  3
Kansas State8.5 787.57.58
Kent State5.5     6
Kentucky3.5  4.5  4
Louisiana Tech5.5     7
Louisville10.51110.51110.510.511
LSU9.58.58.5998.59
Marshall9.5     8
Maryland6.5  6.5 77
Memphis4.5  4.5  4
Miami9.58.58.5998.59
Miami (Ohio)4.5     4
Michigan9.58.58.58.58.58.510
Michigan State8.58.58.5 8.58.57
Minnesota5.5  5.5  6
Mississippi State5.5  66 6
Missouri5.5  66 5
MTSU5.5     7
Navy6.5  6.5  7
NC State6.5  77 7
Nebraska9.59.59.59.59.59.59
Nevada6.56.565.5 66
New Mexico4.5     4
New Mexico State2.5     2
North Carolina9.5  99 8
North Texas5.5     3
Northern Illinois9.5  9.5  9
Northwestern8.5 7.58.5 7.59
Notre Dame9.598.58.58.58.510
Ohio9.5     9
Ohio State11.510.510.511111112
Oklahoma9.58.599999
Oklahoma State10.59.59.59.59.59.510
Ole Miss8.5 7.5887.57
Oregon10.5111110.5111111
Oregon State8.5 88.5888
Penn State8.5  88 8
Pittsburgh5.5  5.56 6
Purdue5.5  5.5  4
Rice7.5     8
Rutgers6.5  77 7
San Diego State7.5  7.5  7
San Jose State7.5     7
SMU5.5  5.5  4
South Alabama2.5     3
South Carolina9.59.59.59.59.59.510
South Florida5.5  5.5  7
Southern Miss5.5     5
Stanford9.59.59.59.59.59.510
Syracuse4.5  4.5  4
TCU9.5888888
Temple4.5  4.5  4
Tennessee5.5  66 6
Texas9.59.59.59.59.59.59
Texas A&M9.59.59.59.5  10
Texas State5.5     4
Texas Tech7.5  7.5  7
Toledo8.5     8
Troy5.5     6
Tulane5.5     4
Tulsa8.5     9
UAB5.5     5
UCF8.5  8  7
UCLA8.576.57778
UL Lafayette8.5     9
ULM7.5     7
UMass1.5  1.5  1
UNLV4.533.5  3.53
USC10.59.59.59.59.5 9
Utah5.5 5.55.5 5.55
Utah State7.5  5.5  7
UTEP4.5     5
UTSA2.5     1
Vanderbilt7.5  7.57 8
Virginia4.5  4.5  4
Virginia Tech9.58.5 8.58.5 8
Wake Forest5.5  5.5  6
Washington7.5 7.57.57.57.57
Washington State4.5  4.5  4
West Virginia5.5  66 6
Western Kentucky6.5     7
Western Michigan5.5     6
Wisconsin8.5999999
Wyoming5.5     7

Over Totals We Like

Alabama
With a win total of 11 or 11.5, you have to bank on the Crimson Tide not losing a game. Considering there’s no Georgia, Florida or South Carolina on the schedule, LSU visits Tuscaloosa and Virginia Tech doesn’t look like much of a threat in the opener, Alabama’s chances of going unbeaten in the regular season seem pretty likely. Of course, there’s a huge contest against Texas A&M on Sept. 14, but it’s pretty safe to assume we will see a motivated Crimson Tide squad out for revenge in that game.

Boise State
In a bit of a surprise, most of the win projections have the Broncos at 10 or 9.5 victories. In a “rebuilding year” last year, Boise State went 11-2 and both losses were by four points or less. The Broncos have some key personnel departures, but quarterback Joe Southwick is back and the front seven should be one of the best in the Mountain West. Games at Washington, Fresno State, Utah State and San Diego State won’t be easy, but Boise State should be hitting double-digit victories once again.

Clemson
This is one projection that’s right on the line. The Tigers are projected by most to hit 9.5-10 wins, while Athlon has Clemson finishing with 11 in the regular season. Although the Tigers have a reputation of underachieving, this team has finished 21-6 over the last two years. The schedule is favorable in conference play, with the toughest games (Georgia Tech, Florida State) in Death Valley. Assuming Clemson sweeps ACC play, its win total essentially comes down to two games against SEC opponents – Georgia and at South Carolina. With the Bulldogs rebuilding their defense, Clemson has a good chance to knock off another opponent against the SEC.

Indiana
Athlon has the Hoosiers at six victories, while two other projections have the over/under for Kevin Wilson’s team set at 5.5 We like the over for Indiana. The Hoosiers have a challenging non-conference slate, but while matchups against Navy, Bowling Green and Missouri aren’t guaranteed victories, Indiana should get at least two wins out of that trio. In conference play, the Hoosiers will be favored to beat Minnesota, Illinois and Purdue. If Wilson’s team gets through non-conference play with three victories, Indiana should hit six or seven wins in 2013.

Kansas State
It’s easy to find reasons not to pick the Wildcats to finish among the top four or five teams in the Big 12 this year. Quarterback Collin Klein must be replaced, and the defense only has two returning starters. However, bet against coach Bill Snyder at your own risk. Kansas State always finds a way to reload under Snyder, and the new quarterbacks (Jake Waters and Daniel Sams) will keep the offense performing at a high level. The schedule also sets up in the Wildcats’ favor, especially with swing games against Iowa State, TCU and Oklahoma coming later in the year, giving Snyder plenty of time to get the new faces acclimated to life in the Big 12.

Louisville
With a loaded roster and favorable schedule, there’s a good chance the Cardinals finish with 11 or 12 wins this year. A couple of projections have Louisville at 10.5 on the over/under, but where are the two losses coming from? Maybe the Cardinals won’t go unbeaten. However, it’s hard to find two guaranteed defeats on this schedule.

Michigan
The Wolverines finished 8-5 with a difficult schedule last season, but three losses came by a touchdown or less. Although quarterback Denard Robinson is gone, Michigan should be able to increase its win total in 2013. Quarterback Devin Gardner is a better fit for coach Brady Hoke’s pro-style offense, and the defense has more depth due to some good recruiting in recent years. The schedule features games against Notre Dame, Penn State and a difficult November stretch against the Legends Division frontrunners – Nebraska, Michigan State and Northwestern. We like Michigan to win at least nine games this year, so the 8.5 over/under seems a little low.

Northwestern
Coming off a 10-3 season, Northwestern has its sights set on contending for a Big Ten title. And with quarterback Kain Colter, running back Venric Mark and seven starters coming back on defense, the Wildcats are poised to push for 10 wins once again. Northwestern does have a challenging schedule, which features Ohio State and Wisconsin in crossover play with the Leaders Division. However, the non-conference slate should result in four wins, and the Wildcats host Michigan and Michigan State. Even if Northwestern loses to Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Nebraska, taking the over in 8.5 seems favorable.

South Florida
The Bulls were one of the Big East’s biggest disappointments last year, finishing 3-9 with only one victory in conference play. South Florida should be improved in 2013, largely due to the hire of new coach Willie Taggart. The Bulls need to find a new quarterback and a go-to running back, but the defense is strong enough to carry this team to a bowl. Non-conference games against Michigan State and Miami are likely losses, and beating Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers and UCF will be difficult. However, the rest of the schedule is manageable, and South Florida could pull off an upset if Matt Floyd stabilizes the quarterback position. Taggart is one of the offseason’s top hires, and he should make a big impact with the Bulls in 2013.

UCLA
The Bruins have represented the Pac-12 South Division in the last two conference championship games, but Jim Mora’s team may have trouble making it three in a row. The schedule is challenging, which features crossover games against North Division foes Oregon, Stanford and Washington, along with a non-conference matchup against Nebraska. Even if UCLA loses against Oregon, Stanford and Nebraska and at USC in the regular season finale, the over at 6.5 or 7 is one we like.


Take the Under

Iowa
Coming off a 4-8 season, it’s hard to see the Hawkeyes making a significant jump in wins for 2013. Quarterback James Vandenberg must be replaced, and Iowa needs to find a few more playmakers at receiver. Non-conference games against Northern Illinois and Iowa State aren’t guaranteed wins, and the Hawkeyes have to play Ohio State and Wisconsin in crossover play. Six wins on the over/under is too high.

North Carolina
Nine wins isn’t out of the question, but the Coastal Division is tough to sort out with Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and the Tar Heels all having legitimate conference title hopes. The Tar Heels open at South Carolina and have tricky road dates at NC State and Pittsburgh. This is one projection that’s just too close to call.

Ole Miss
With road games against Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, along with home dates versus Texas A&M and LSU, it’s easy to see why Ole Miss may have trouble matching last year’s win total. Even though the Rebels have a top-notch recruiting class coming, just getting to eight wins would be a good season.

USC
The Trojans have one of the most talented rosters in the Pac-12, but Lane Kiffin’s team is coming off a disappointing 7-6 season. With a new quarterback and defensive scheme, can this team make a three or four game improvement in the win column? Although Athlon has USC at nine victories, taking the over at 10.5 or 9.5 is risky.

Virginia Tech
The Hokies were one of the ACC’s biggest disappointments last year. Three of Virginia Tech’s victories came in overtime and they needed a 17-14 win over Virginia just to get bowl eligible. Although the defense might be the best in the ACC, the offense will struggle once again. The line struggled in the preseason, and the rushing attack is still searching for a No. 1 back. Anything above eight victories is too much.

 

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Teaser:
College Football 2013 Win Total Projections: Athlon vs. Vegas
Post date: Monday, August 26, 2013 - 07:14
Path: /college-football/mtsu-unveils-new-white-helmet
Body:

MTSU has worn a silver helmet since 1979, but the Blue Raiders introduced a black matte helmet last season and will break out a white alternate for 2013. These helmets could be worn in a few games this year and one variation will feature an American flag inside the team logo on Nov. 9. 

Photo tweeted by (@UniWatch)

 

Teaser:
MTSU Unveils New White Helmet
Post date: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/trevor-knight-named-oklahomas-starting-quarterback
Body:

Surprise, surprise. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has picked his starting quarterback. And it isn’t the passer most expected to win the job after spring practice. Redshirt freshman Trevor Knight was selected as the Sooners’ No. 1 quarterback, edging junior Blake Bell this fall.

Bell was widely considered the frontrunner to replace Landry Jones, especially since he played in a specialty role in the offense over the last two years. Bell recorded 24 rushing scores from 2011-12 but threw only 20 passes during that span.

Although Bell showed he is a good runner, there were doubts about his passing ability.

Bell is expected to continue playing in a specialty role, which will give Oklahoma a dangerous threat around the goal-line once again.

What does Knight bring to the table? Since he hasn’t taken a snap, the redshirt freshman is largely a mystery. However, Knight was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and helped Oklahoma’s defense plan for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel by imitating the Heisman winner on the scout team.

Knight has good mobility, but even though the media hasn’t had much of a chance to watch him in practice, the redshirt freshman is regarded for having a good arm and is capable of making all of the throws to thrive in this offense.

Oklahoma should be a factor in the Big 12 title picture. And if Knight ends up being a special player as some think he may turn out to be this year, the Sooners could finish the year as a top-10 team. However, as with every first-year starting quarterback, there will be bumps in the road.

Teaser:
Trevor Knight Named Oklahoma's Starting Quarterback
Post date: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-22
Body:

This time next week we can officially get into single digits for hours until kickoff.

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 22nd

Oklahoma State has picked up a quarterback transfer from Connecticut

Can Marcus Mariota break the Oregon quarterback curse?

Did Johnny Manziel become college football's villain?

Will Texas Tech play two freshmen quarterbacks in its season opener?

Former four-star recruit Matt Davis has decided to transfer from Texas A&M.

Georgia Tech center Jay Finch is dealing with a shoulder injury.

NC State running back Shadrach Thornton was given deferred prosecution for his recent arrest. He is suspended for the season opener.

Iowa State has landed South Florida transfer receiver D'Vario Montgomery.

USA Today profiles Bobby Petrino's return to coaching at Western Kentucky.

Minnesota is dealing with injuries to running back Berkley Edwards and cornerback Derrick Wells.

Notre Dame and Everett Golson have a plan before he returns to the team after this year.

Alabama continues to shuffle its offensive line to find the right mix.

Baylor has good depth at defensive end.

Junior college recruit Kevin White continues to stand out at receiver for West Virginia.

San Jose State has added BYU, Oregon State and Auburn to its future schedules.

BC Interruption takes a look at which freshmen might play for first-year coach Steve Addazio in 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 17:08
Path: /college-football/northwestern-wear-white-helmets-against-california
Body:

With 15 starters back, hopes are high for Northwestern to contend for the Big Ten title. The Wildcats open the year on the road at California and plan to wear an alternate white helmet in that road contest.

For the first time since 1980, a white helmet will be atop the Wildcats’ uniform – at least for the season opener. Maybe these will make an appearance or two later in the year? Overall, not a bad look for Northwestern.

Teaser:
Northwestern to Wear White Helmets Against California
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 15:26
Path: /college-football/mississippi-state-unveils-new-uniforms-egg-bowl
Body:

The battle for bragging rights in Mississippi is one of the SEC’s top rivalry games each season. Mississippi State-Ole Miss play in the annual Egg Bowl in late November, and the rivalry has gone up a notch in recent years, especially with the arrival of Dan Mullen and Hugh Freeze on the sidelines.

Mississippi State unveiled a new jersey for the rivalry game this week, featuring gloves with the state of Mississippi, along with gold numbers and cleats that have “Hail” on the left side and then “State” on the right.

Overall, a very solid look for the Bulldogs.

 

 

Teaser:
Mississippi State Unveils New Uniforms for Egg Bowl
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 12:48
All taxonomy terms: College Football, TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/tcu-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

As expected, transitioning to the Big 12 wasn’t an easy task for TCU. Of course, it didn’t help the Horned Frogs had to play nearly all of 2012 without one of the conference’s top quarterbacks. Despite an early-season suspension to Casey Pachall, TCU finished 7-6 in its Big 12 debut, which included a win at Texas on Thanksgiving night.

The Big 12 has no clear frontrunner for 2013, which should make for a wide-open title race this year.

TCU returns 12 starters this season, and the defense should be the best in the Big 12. End Devonte Fields is suspended for the first two games of this year, but the sophomore is a second-team All-American by Athlon Sports. The secondary is loaded with talent and will be a valuable asset in an offensive-minded conference.

Pachall’s return will strengthen an offense that has playmakers at running back and receiver but needs to address a line that returns only two starters.

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

TCU's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Dave
Bartoo
8/31 LSU (Arlington)
9/7 SE Louisiana
9/12 at Texas Tech
9/28 SMU
10/5 at Oklahoma
10/12 Kansas
10/19 at Oklahoma State
10/26 Texas
11/2 West Virginia
11/9 at Iowa State
11/16 at Kansas State
11/30 Baylor
Final Projection8-49-37-58-4

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Considering all that transpired at TCU last season, a 7-6 record was a good outcome. In addition to increased competition from joining the Big 12, the Horned Frogs lost starting quarterback Casey Pachall to a suspension in October. TCU went 4-5 in conference play in 2012 but lost to Oklahoma and Texas Tech by a touchdown or less. With Pachall back in the fold, the Horned Frogs are back in the mix to win the Big 12. The offense is loaded with playmakers, and TCU led the Big 12 in rush and total defense last year. The biggest question mark with the personnel is an offensive line that was shaky last season and returns only two starters. Defensive end Devonte Fields is also suspended for the first two games of 2013. Speaking of the schedule, it’s perhaps the most challenging aspect of TCU’s Big 12 title hopes. The Horned Frogs have five road games, including trips to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Ouch. The Horned Frogs are talented and will improve their win total, but the schedule prevents this team from claiming the conference title.

Mark Ross
With one season in the Big 12 under its belt, I think TCU is primed to take a big, well, hop forward this fall. Gary Patterson has enough talent and experience on both sides of the ball and the Horned Frogs showed last season that they can hang with the conference's big dogs. The opener at LSU will be tough, especially since All-American candidate Devonte Fields won't be manning his defensive end position, but he's far from a one-man show. If Casey Pachall gets his starting quarterback job back, this offense could be one of the Big 12's most productive, especially if the line jells.

TCU's not without its question marks and the conference slate includes trips to Norman and Stillwater in the Sooner State, as well as Manhattan, Kan., but the new kid on the block also has as much a talent as any of its Big 12 peers. There's no reason these Frogs can't hop, I mean move, up the conference standings this fall, perhaps all the way to the top.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
We’ve already done a handful of Big 12 game predictions, and I’m a little surprised I’ve ended up with TCU going 7-5. The Horned Frogs are better than that, especially if Casey Pachall is the rising star we thought he was in 2011. If Jeremy Hill were suspended for LSU against TCU, I’d be tempted to pick the Frogs. That would be an equalizer as TCU will miss defensive end Devonte Fields. I could go back and pick TCU to defeat Texas and Kansas State, but clearly the Frogs aren’t helped by facing both Bedlam teams, perhaps the two best teams in the Big 12, on the road.

Related College Football Content

Big 12 Breakout Players for 2013
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Big 12's Impact Freshmen for 2013
Key Schedule Stretches in the Big 12 for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Running Back Units for 2013
Big 12 Coaches Anonymously Talk About Conference Foes for 2013
Kliff Kingsbury Returns Home to Texas Tech
Big 12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
TCU Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 11:11
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, NC State Wolfpack, News
Path: /college-football/nc-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

NC State went 24-15 over the last three years, but that wasn’t enough for coach Tom O’Brien to keep his job. O’Brien was canned after the regular season finale, and athletic director Debbie Yow turned to Dave Doeren to take the program to the next level.

Doeren comes to NC State after a successful two-year run at Northern Illinois. The Huskies were 23-4 under his watch and played in the 2013 Orange Bowl after running through the MAC with an unbeaten conference record last year.

Not only is NC State going through a coaching transition this year, but the Wolfpack only have eight returning starters. The offense has a new scheme and starting quarterback, while the defense suffered significant losses in the back seven.

Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker competed to win the starting quarterback job in the spring, and Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell joined the battle this summer. Mitchell is the best fit for the new offense, but he has very little game experience from the past three years at Arkansas.

Although dealing with transition and personnel losses won’t be easy, NC State has one of the ACC’s most favorable schedules this year. The Wolfpack won’t have to play Virginia Tech, Miami or Georgia Tech in crossover play. And rival North Carolina must come to Raleigh on Nov. 2.

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

NC State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Anson
Whaley
John
Cassillo
8/31 Louisiana Tech
9/7 Richmond
9/19 Clemson
9/28 Central Michigan
10/5 at Wake Forest
10/12 Syracuse
10/26 at Florida State
11/2 North Carolina
11/9 at Duke
11/16 at Boston College
11/23 East Carolina
11/30 Maryland
Final Projection7-56-66-68-45-7

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Clemson and Florida State are clearly the top-two teams in the ACC Atlantic. But it’s anybody’s guess after that. The Wolfpack are one of the ACC’s most intriguing teams to watch in 2013. If the pieces fall into place, this team could make a run at eight victories. Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell should be this team’s quarterback, as he is a good fit to run coach Dave Doeren’s spread offense. Mitchell is surrounded by a good receiving corps, and running backs Shadrach Thornton and Tony Creecy are a solid one-two punch. The defense was hit hard by departures in the back seven, but the line should be one of the best in the ACC. One of the biggest reasons to buy into NC State this year is the schedule. The Wolfpack only have to leave the state of North Carolina two times and swing games against Syracuse and Maryland are in Raleigh. Doeren was an excellent hire for this program, and his debut should result in another bowl appearance for NC State.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
I know, I know... this is well under where most predict State. But honestly, what do people see in this team? They lost their entire secondary, more or less. Mike Glennon is gone. Nearly all of the receivers are new, and same goes for the offensive line. We still don't know who the quarterback is. There are only four starters coming back on the defense overall. Need I go on? They also have a brand new head coach in Dave Doeren, who's going to want to transition to his pistol offense eventually. Maybe they snag another win or two and get to 7-5 (not impossible given how closely matched teams three through seven in the Atlantic are), but that seems just as likely as 5-7 from my vantage point.

Anson Whaley, Founder and Editor of Cardiac Hill@AnsonWhaley
The thing that stands out about North Carolina State is the significant imbalance in home/road games on their schedule. With only four road games, NC State is set up for success. Despite a win over Florida State last season, I'm not convinced they'll be able to compete with the heavyweights in the conference this year. But with a favorable schedule and very winnable non-conference games, eight wins seems manageable.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
It’s tough to figure out what to expect from NC State in Dave Doeren’s first season. The Wolfpack lack frontline players right now — NC State had no players on Athlon’s All-ACC first- or second-teams. The defensive line will be OK with two returning tackles. That’s not a bad foundation, but I don’t know how NC State will move the ball. The Wolfpack have a good receiving corps, but it put up mediocre results in the passing game with a third-round draft pick at quarterback.


Mark Ross
Dave Doeren was a great hire by NC State, but he doesn't have Mike Glennon, or Jordan Lynch for that matter, at quarterback this fall and he will quickly find out the MAC and the ACC are two entirely different animals. I think Doeren will do a solid job in Raleigh over time, but with a lack of proven playmakers on offense and a defense that's basically starting over, Wolfpack fans should be very happy if their first-year coach finds a way to scratch and claw his way to six wins.

Related College Football Content


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12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
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College Football's Top 25 Running Back Corps for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Wide Receiving Corps for 2013
College Football's Top 25 Offensive Lines for 2013
ACC's Top 25 Games to Watch in 2013

ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013

Teaser:
NC State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 11:10
Path: /college-football/wisconsin-wear-red-helmet-2013
Body:

Wisconsin hasn’t had many uniform changes in recent years, but the Badgers plan to wear an alternate helmet in 2013.

Instead of the white helmet with the red logo, Wisconsin plans to reverse the colors for at least one game. The Badgers will wear this red helmet against Tennessee Tech, and there’s a chance it makes an appearance or two later in the year.

Thumbs up for Wisconsin on this red helmet.

 

Teaser:
Wisconsin to Wear Red Helmet in 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 10:08
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-25-defensive-back-units-2013
Body:

The SEC is known for its defense, so it should be no surprise that two of college football’s top four defensive backfields hail from that conference. Florida takes the top spot in Athlon’s 2013 secondary rankings, as the Gators have a stellar one-two punch at cornerback with Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson. Alabama isn’t far behind, but the Crimson Tide will be without Geno Smith for the season opener and need to find a replacement for Dee Milliner. Ohio State will miss cornerback Bradley Roby for one game due to a suspension. However, the Buckeyes have improved their depth from 2012 to 2013 and should have one of the Big Ten’s top pass defenses this year.

How did we come up with these rankings? A couple of factors were considered. Depth, overall talent, production, level of competition and projected output in 2013 all factored into the rankings for the backfield. While some teams may have experienced a down year last season, having a different quarterback or a change of scheme can make a huge difference.

They’re the teams within the team — those cohesive little units bound together by their shared responsibilities within the larger team context. 

Whether it’s the offensive linemen firing off time after time into those familiar blocking sleds, or the defensive linemen drilling repeatedly on how to shed blockers, or the defensive backs breaking on ball after ball — these teams in miniature hone their tasks on the practice field until those tasks become second nature. 
 
Whether or not these units function as one can make the difference between winning and losing, and a single unit can carry a team to New Year’s Day — or beyond.
 
It’s entirely fitting, then, for us to honor the best of the best at each position with our 13th annual Athlon Awards. 

 

Ranking the Top 25 Defensive Back Units for 2013

1. Florida
Safeties Matt Elam and Josh Evans are gone, but Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson, along with the arrival of top recruit Vernon Hargreaves III, could give Florida the nation’s top cornerback trio. Jaylen Watkins recorded 39 tackles and three picks at cornerback last year, but he will shift to safety in 2013. The Gators ranked second nationally in pass efficiency defense last year and allowed only seven passing touchdowns while grabbing 20 INTs.

2. Ohio State 
The Buckeyes ranked a disappointing 76th nationally against the pass last year. However, there was improvement late in the year, and three potential All-Big Ten selections are back for 2013. Bradley Roby could be the top cornerback in the nation after breaking up 17 passes and recording two picks last year. However, Roby is suspended for the opener due to an off-the-field incident. Sophomore Armani Reeves will start in Roby’s place against Buffalo. Doran Grant and Tyvis Powell will replace Travis Howard at the other cornerback spot. C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant are experienced and dependable safeties.

3. Oregon 
Considering the offenses in the Pac-12, it’s a testament to the strength of Oregon’s secondary to finish 15th nationally in pass efficiency defense. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was all over the field for the Ducks last season, recording 63 tackles and intercepting four passes. Despite not having an interception, Terrance Mitchell was just as effective on the other side. Brian Jackson, Erick Dargan and Avery Patterson are a steady trio at safety.

4. Alabama 
Even with Dee Milliner and Robert Lester departing, the Crimson Tide remain a top-five secondary for 2013. Deion Belue was solid in his first season from the junior college ranks, but sophomore Geno Smith might be Alabama’s top cornerback by season’s end. Smith will miss the season opener due to an off-the-field incident, which will force John Fulton, Bradley Sylvie and converted receiver Cyrus Jones into more action against Virginia Tech. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix impressed in his first year as a starter and has the talent to be the Crimson Tide’s next star in the secondary. Former top recruit Landon Collins will join Clinton-Dix and Vinnie Sunseri as key contributors at safety.

5. Stanford 
With one of the best front sevens in college football, Stanford’s secondary is often overlooked. However, that may change in 2013. Three starters return from a unit that ranked 25th nationally in pass efficiency defense. Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards form one of the top safety combinations in the nation. Cornerback Alex Carter garnered honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a true freshman, and Usua Amanam thrives in the nickel role. Junior Wayne Lyons is expected to start opposite of Carter at cornerback, but seniors Barry Browning and Devon Carrington will see plenty of snaps.

6. Florida State
Despite the departure of Xavier Rhodes to the NFL, Florida State’s secondary is still one of the deepest in the nation. Lamarcus Joyner earned first-team All-ACC honors at safety last year but is expected to switch to cornerback for 2013. The other corner spot is currently held by sophomore P.J. Williams, but sophomore Ronald Darby will see a lot of action. Junior Nick Waisome and freshman Jalen Ramsey will provide depth. Senior Terrence Brooks and junior Tyler Hunter will start at safety, but junior Karlos Williams is a name to watch. The Noles finished first nationally in pass defense last year, and this unit should rank near the top once again.

7. TCU
With all five starters returning, TCU’s secondary will be among the nation’s best in 2013. The Horned Frogs finished 42nd nationally against the pass last year but ranked second in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense. Cornerback Jason Verrett had a standout 2012 season, recording 63 tackles, six interceptions and 16 passes broken up. He is an Athlon Sports second-team preseason All-American. Kevin White made 37 tackles in 13 games last season and is slated to start at the other cornerback spot. Sam Carter earned second-team All-Big 12 honors last season and leads a deep group of safeties that includes Elisha Olabode and Chris Hackett.

8. Virginia Tech
The Hokies’ secondary will be shorthanded to start the season, as cornerback Antone Exum is sidelined with a knee injury. Exum will play at some point this year (likely October), which means Virginia Tech will have to rely on true freshman Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson more in the early part of 2013. Senior Kyle Fuller (two interceptions in 2012) will start at the other cornerback spot. Juniors Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner are expected to start at the safety positions with Desmond Frye and Der’Woun Greene providing depth. Virginia Tech finished 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense last season.

9. Michigan State
Three starters return from a secondary that ranked ninth nationally against the pass and allowed only 10 scores through the air last year. There’s no question coordinator Pat Narduzzi will miss cornerback Johnny Adams, but senior Darqueze Dennard is a first-team All-Big Ten selection by Athlon Sports for 2013. Sophomore Trae Waynes has been impressive in limited action and should replace Adams at the other corner spot. Junior Kurtis Drummond and senior Isaiah Lewis are expected to start at safety. Sophomore RJ Williamson and freshman Demetrious Cox provide quality depth.

10. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish had to replace both starting cornerbacks last season, yet still finished 25th nationally against the pass. In addition to the turnover in the secondary, cornerback Lo Wood (an expected starter) was lost before the opener due to an Achilles tear, and safety Jamoris Slaughter (a starter) played in only three games due to injury. Senior Bennett Jackson and sophomore KeiVarae Russell held the starting cornerback jobs for all 13 games last year and will hold onto those roles for 2013. Russell was impressive as a freshman, recording 58 tackles and two interceptions. Zeke Motta must be replaced at safety, but Matthias Farley and Elijah Shumate should be a solid duo by season’s end. Highly touted true freshman Max Redfield may not start, but he will be a valuable member of the secondary.

11. Vanderbilt
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 14th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 6th nationally

12. Texas
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 36th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 64th nationally

13. Nebraska
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 4th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 9th nationally

14. LSU
Returning Starters: 2
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 28th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 11th nationally

15. Oklahoma
Returning Starters: 2
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 29th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 12th nationally

16. Pittsburgh
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 20th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 21st nationally

17. Oregon State
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 49th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 20th nationally

18. Louisville
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 16th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 47th nationally

19. South Carolina
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 21st nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 34th nationally

20. Texas A&M
Returning Starters: 2
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 86th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 39th nationally

21. USC
Returning Starters: 2
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 52nd nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 41st nationally

22. Virginia
Returning Starters: 4
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 33rd nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 51st nationally

23. Arizona State
Returning Starters: 2
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 3rd nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank: 10th nationally

24. Ole Miss
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 80th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 78th nationally

25. Oklahoma State
Returning Starters: 3
Pass Defense Rank in 2012: 110th nationally
Pass Efficiency Defense Rank in 2012: 44th nationally

 

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Teaser:
College Football's Top 25 Defensive Back Units for 2013
Post date: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-21
Body:

Less than 10 days until kickoff.

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, August 21st

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr was injured in practice but should be fine for the season opener.

Cincinnati's starting center suffered a knee injury in practice this week.

Will Trevor Knight win the quarterback battle at Oklahoma?

Alabama cornerback Geno Smith is suspended for the season opener.

Smoking Musket previews West Virginia's loaded backfield for 2013.

Arizona freshman quarterback Anu Solomon may redshirt this year.

Texas junior college recruit Desmond Harrison is back at practice after an issue over an academic issue.

Indiana lost a key offensive lineman for the year this week.

Washington should have Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper available to backup Bishop Sankey at running back.

Fitzgerald Toussaint is clearly Michigan's starter at running back. But the Wolverines will be without receiver Amara Darboh this year.

Oregon State plans to use Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion at quarterback in the season opener.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tra'Von Chapman's status with the team is still uncertain.

A handful of newcomers are expected to play for Oklahoma in 2013.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 21
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 15:49
Path: /college-football/arizona-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

UCLA has represented the South Division in the Pac-12 Championship in each of the last two seasons. But the Bruins face stiffer competition for the top spot in 2013, as USC is due to rebound, and Arizona State is a team on the rise.

The Sun Devils finished 8-5 last year and a two-point loss to UCLA was all that separated coach Todd Graham’s team from playing in the conference title game. Graham’s hire made a big difference in Tempe, as Arizona State lost two of its games by four points or less, defeated rival Arizona and crushed Navy 62-28 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

With 14 starters back and plenty of star power on both sides of the ball, Arizona State is one of college football’s top 25 teams for 2013. The offense averaged 38.4 points per game last year and should be even better this year with another offseason for quarterback Taylor Kelly to learn under coordinator Mike Norvell. The one-two punch of Marion Grice and DJ Foster at running back is one of the best in the nation. On defense, tackle Will Sutton is an All-American, and linebacker Carl Bradford is one of the Pac-12’s most underrated players.

Arizona State has a favorable schedule this year, missing Oregon in crossover play with the North Division, while Arizona and USC come to Sun Devil Stadium.

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

Arizona State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Mark
Ross
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Dave
Bartoo
9/5 Sacramento State
9/14 Wisconsin
9/21 at Stanford
9/28 USC
10/5 Notre Dame (Arlington)
10/12 Colorado
10/19 Washington
10/31 at Washington State
11/9 at Utah
11/16 Oregon State
11/23 at UCLA
11/30 Arizona
Final Projection9-39-39-39-36-6

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Arizona State is my pick to win the Pac-12 South this year. The Sun Devils return 14 starters and showed improvement under coach Todd Graham last season. The offense needs a new go-to receiver to emerge, but quarterback Taylor Kelly and running backs Marion Grice and DJ Foster should keep this unit performing at a high level. Arizona State ranked second in the Pac-12 in total defense and first against the pass last season, and there’s little reason to expect a drop-off. The front seven is loaded with talent, including tackle Will Sutton, linebacker Carl Bradford and sophomore nose tackle Jaxon Hood. Last year, Arizona State eliminated some of the silly mental mistakes that plagued this team in recent seasons and was one Pac-12 win away from playing for the conference title. With Oregon off the schedule and USC and Arizona visiting Sun Devil Stadium, the Pac-12 South title should run through Tempe this year.

Mark Ross
With 14 starters returning, including linchpins on offense (quarterback Taylor Kelly) and defense (tackle Will Sutton), this could be a special season in Tempe. Todd Graham appears to have all the pieces his offense needs to be explosive and the defense returns plenty of talent and experience in addition to Sutton, the conference's reigning defensive player of the year. With non-conference matchups against Wisconsin at home and Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, the Sun Devils should more than ready for the rigors of Pac-12 play. Road games at Stanford and UCLA won't be easy, but there's no Oregon on the schedule either. As long as everyone stays healthy and this team doesn't lose focus, the Pac-12 South title is there for the taking, as well as a potential Rose Bowl appearance.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
There are few teams in the Pac-12 as complete on both sides of the ball as the Sun Devils. This team has two marquee non-conference games and both are very winnable. Wisconsin should be a win at home early in the year and the fast track in Arlington will allow for Arizona State to fly around the field against Notre Dame. The Sun Devils could win both and enter BCS bowl talks by the first weekend of October. That said, the conference slate is downright nasty with road trips to Stanford and UCLA to go with home games against USC, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona. The good news? There is no Oregon. The bad news? If ASU can go 1-1 against the Bruins and Trojans, they should win the South, and then possibly get to play Oregon.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Arizona State will be in good shape if the Sun Devils can figure out how to win the close game. Arizona State is 4-15 in one-score games in the last five seasons. Perhaps Todd Graham helped turn the tide when the Sun Devils defeated Arizona 41-34 on the road to cap the regular season last year. Cutting the drive-killing penalties that marked the Dennis Erickson era certainly helped.  I have a few bold picks here, namely an Arizona State win over Notre Dame. That may be a defensive struggle, but the Sun Devils have the offense to break a key play or two. As for the late-season losses, Oregon State generally surges late in the season, and the Beavers are good enough to win in Tempe. UCLA was my vote to win the Pac-12 South, but that game in Pasadena could be the deciding factor.

Related College Football Content

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Pac-12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2013

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The Pac-12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Arizona State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 11:34

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