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After spending most of the year out of the spotlight with few marquee matchups, the national focus in college football for Week 8 is in the ACC.

Clemson-Florida State is a matchup of two top-five teams, with the winner of this game staying alive in the national title picture. The Tigers have won five in a row at home over the Seminoles, but under coach Jimbo Fisher, the talent level is on the rise in Tallahassee, and Florida State won 49-37 over Clemson last season.

Outside of the huge matchup in Death Valley, Miami-North Carolina on Thursday night is an intriguing matchup. The Tar Heels won at Miami last season but are off to a 1-4 start this year.

Syracuse-Georgia Tech and Duke-Virginia are huge for bowl positioning, while Maryland looks to snap a three-game losing streak at Wake Forest. Pittsburgh steps out of conference for a matchup against Old Dominion.

Week 8 Previews and Predictions: Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Week 8 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida State (-3) at Clemson (8 ET, ABC)
This showdown in Death Valley is arguably the biggest game in ACC history. Clemson and Florida State are ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll, have Heisman Trophy contenders (Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd), and both programs are squarely in the national title picture. The winner of this game stays alive for the BCS Championship, while the loser is (most likely) eliminated. The Tigers have won five in a row in Death Valley over the Seminoles, but Florida State won 49-37 last season and has claimed three out of the last five meetings. The gap between these two programs is very narrow this year. Clemson could be slightly more battle-tested, especially with a win over Georgia in the season opener. But Florida State has been just as impressive, beating Pittsburgh 41-13 on the road in the opener and beating a solid Maryland 63-0 on Oct. 5. There’s no question Winston and Boyd will make plays in this game, so it’s up to the other units to decide this game. Will another receiver outside of Sammy Watkins step up for Clemson? Will Florida State’s offensive line block the Tigers’ defensive front? Clemson has been slightly better in the turnover department (+1.5), but Florida State isn’t far behind (0.80). The Tigers are aggressive on defense, recording 61 tackles for a loss in six games. However, Clemson’s defense has struggled against the run (64th nationally, and Florida State’s rushing attack is averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Homefield advantage is a huge boost for the Tigers. But in terms of personnel and matchups, a slight edge goes to the Seminoles.

2. Miami (-8.5) at North Carolina (Thursday, 7:45 ET, ESPN)
After a disappointing 1-4 start, the bye week and a Thursday night matchup against Miami couldn’t have come at a better time for North Carolina. The Tar Heels have played a tough schedule, but coach Larry Fedora’s team hasn’t emerged as the Coastal Division title contender some expected. Both sides of the ball share blame, especially a defense that ranks last in the ACC in yards allowed (435.8). With running back Giovani Bernard in the NFL, the rushing attack has been sluggish for North Carolina, but true freshman T.J. Logan could provide a spark after rushing for 25 yards on five attempts in his first collegiate appearance (Virginia Tech). And quarterback Bryn Renner is expected to return to the lineup after missing the game against the Hokies with an ankle injury. Backup Marquise Williams played well in relief and could see time in this matchup. Miami is a balanced offense (274.8 passing, 213.8 rushing) and averages 7.8 yards per play this season. The bye week should allow quarterback Stephen Morris to get healthy after struggling with an ankle injury against Georgia Tech. Unless North Carolina’s defense made significant progress over the bye week, the Hurricanes should be able to move the ball with ease on Thursday night.

3. Syracuse (+7) at Georgia Tech (12:30 ET, ACC Network)
Is Saturday’s meeting in Atlanta a case of teams headed in opposite directions? Syracuse has won three out of its last four games, including a 24-10 victory at NC State last Saturday. The Orange seems to be finding an identity on offense, recording 300 rushing yards in back-to-back games. But the passing attack is clearly a work in progress. Quarterback Terrel Hunt has thrown for just 126 yards and five interceptions in his last two games. Georgia Tech has lost three consecutive games but all to quality opponents. As expected, the Yellow Jackets lead the ACC in rushing (290.3 ypg), but like Syracuse, have struggled with the forward pass. Quarterback Vad Lee started the year 22 of 39 for 418 yards and seven scores. However, the sophomore is just 19 of 57 for 340 yards and four interceptions in his last three games. Lee has also struggled to execute the option at times and has lost three fumbles in 2013. Considering how both teams have struggled through the air, whichever team wins the battle up front and the turnover battle should emerge with the victory. In conference play, Syracuse ranks seventh in the ACC against the run, while Georgia Tech is sixth. Points could be at a premium with this battle of run-first teams.

4. Duke (+2.5) at Virginia (3:30 ET, RSN)
This matchup won’t draw much national attention, but within the ACC, this is a key game for both Duke and Virginia. The Blue Devils swept their non-conference schedule and need two wins to go bowling for the second consecutive season. The Cavaliers are reeling with three consecutive losses and need a win to keep their fading bowl hopes alive. Duke has won four out of the last five in this series, including a 42-17 victory in Durham last year. The Blue Devils got a spark on offense last week, as quarterback Anthony Boone returned from a collarbone injury and threw for 295 yards and three scores against Navy. But Boone’s return wasn’t the only storyline, as the Blue Devils’ defense held the Midshipmen to just seven points. Virginia’s offense has struggled through its first six games, but even after its performance against Navy last week, Duke ranks 11th in the ACC in yards allowed. The Blue Devils have been susceptible to the run, which should allow Cavaliers’ running back Kevin Parks to have a shot at his third straight 100-yard game. Considering there’s not much separation between these two teams, the turnover battle will be crucial. Virginia ranks last in the ACC with 14 lost turnovers, while Duke is even in the turnover margin in 2013.

5. Maryland (-6.5) at Wake Forest (3:30 ET, ESPNU)
Maryland’s farewell tour through the ACC continues in Winston-Salem this Saturday, a place where the Terrapins have struggled in recent years. Maryland is 0-3 in its last three trips to Wake Forest and has won only one ACC road game under coach Randy Edsall. The Demon Deacons found a spark on offense in its win over NC State on Oct. 5, as quarterback Tanner Price threw for 268 yards and three scores and added 82 yards and one touchdown on the ground. With a struggling offensive line and rushing attack, Price and receiver Michael Campanaro have to deliver big performances. Campanaro will test a Maryland secondary without its two starting cornerbacks from the preseason, and the pass rush took a hit this week, as linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil was lost for the year. Even with Cudjoe-Virgil gone, the Terrapins plan to blitz Price and test an offensive line that has allowed 12 sacks this season. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown is expected to start after missing last week’s game against Virginia with a concussion. And receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long will test a Wake Forest secondary allowing 262.3 yards per game in conference play.

6. Old Dominion at Pittsburgh (7 ET, RSN)
In a slight scheduling quirk, Pittsburgh steps out of conference for its next two games. Saturday’s matchup against Old Dominion will be the first meeting between these two programs, and this contest is a chance for the Panthers to rebound after a 19-9 loss against Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh’s offensive line was dominated last week, as quarterback Tom Savage was sacked eight times. If you remove Savage’s -29 rushing yards against the Hokies, the Panthers averaged just 2.0 yards per carry. The training room was busy this week in Pittsburgh, with running back James Conner and receiver Devin Street nursing shoulder injuries from last week’s game. The status of both players is uncertain for Saturday’s contest, but this is a game the Panthers could afford to allow Street and Conner to sit if necessary. The Monarchs led all FCS teams in total offense last season, averaging 548.3 yards per game. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke suffered a concussion on Oct. 5 against Liberty but is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday. Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled this season (367.6 ypg), so the Monarchs could have some success moving the ball. However, Old Dominion’s offensive line will have its hands full trying to block defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who has been one of the ACC’s top defenders in the first half of the season. After a physical game against Virginia Tech last Saturday, the Panthers may start slow but should pull away after halftime. 

ACC Week 8 Pivotal Players

Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson


Check out Athlon's first-half awards, along with second-half predictions for every ACC team.
There’s no doubt teammate Sammy Watkins is one of the best receivers in the nation. But if Clemson is going to win on Saturday night, Bryant could hold the keys to the offense. The talented, but inconsistent receiver has 17 catches for 316 yards and three scores this year. Florida State’s secondary is loaded with talent and is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 53.5 percent of their throws, while holding offenses to 10.8 yards per completion. The Seminoles could devote some extra attention to stopping Watkins, so it’s up to Bryant to give Clemson a solid No. 2 option.

Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
The 6-foot-6 junior is on the radar for NFL scouts, but Erving has been inconsistent at times. Saturday night should be a good showcase game for Erving, as he will be matched up against Clemson ends Corey Crawford and Vic Beasley. That duo has combined for 18 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks this year. If Erving keeps Beasley and Crawford away from quarterback Jameis Winston, Florida State is going to have its way with the Tigers’ secondary.

Adam Gotsis, DT, Georgia Tech
Gotsis is coming off a solid performance against BYU, recording five tackles (four for a loss) and two sacks. The sophomore played in all 12 games last season but recorded only five tackles and one sack. The Australian has developed into a solid interior option for the Yellow Jackets, and his emergence will be crucial on Saturday against Syracuse. The Orange has recorded at least 300 rushing yards in back-to-back games. Slowing down Jerome Smith, Prince Tyson-Gulley and quarterback Terrel Hunt starts up front, and Georgia Tech needs a big performance from Gotsis.

Kevin Parks, RB, Virginia
What’s the best medicine for a struggling quarterback? A good running game. The Cavaliers have lost four out of their last five games, but the offense has showed signs of life in the last two contests, scoring at least 26 points in those games. Quarterback David Watford needs to play better, but Virginia’s offense can lean on Parks against Duke this week. The junior has back-to-back 100-yard games and is on pace to set a career high in overall yardage this year. Duke ranks 13th in conference-only games against the run.

Tanner Price, QB, Wake Forest
Quarterback play is always under the microscope or pivotal for each team on Saturday. However, with a struggling offensive line and rushing attack, Price is even more valuable to his offense. The senior is coming off his most complete performance of the year, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 82 yards and one score on 18 attempts. The Demon Deacons need a similar effort on Saturday, if they want to win their fourth game in a row against Maryland in Winston-Salem.

ACC Week 8 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Miami (-8.5) at UNCMiami 35-21Miami 34-21Miami 38-27Miami 31-17
Syracuse (+7) at Ga. TechGa. Tech 24-14Ga. Tech 31-20Ga. Tech 27-20Ga. Tech 34-24
Duke (+2.5) at UVADuke 38-21Duke 34-31Duke 27-24Duke 21-20
Maryland (-6.5) at WakeMaryland 27-17Maryland 31-24Maryland 27-20Maryland 30-20
Old Dominion (NL) at PittsburghPitt 42-21Pitt 45-17Pitt 45-20Pitt 48-17
FSU (-3) at ClemsonClemson 35-31Clemson 35-31Clemson 38-34FSU 38-24
Final Record50-1251-1151-1152-10

 

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2013 ACC Week 8 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 07:16
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With the first half of the 2013 season finished, it’s time to take a peek at what the second half of the college football season has in store.

There’s no shortage of second-half storylines, as the coaching carousel will continue to spin and upsets are bound to happen, which will alter the national title picture.

The SEC has eight ranked teams in this week’s Associated Press poll. Will that continue? Alabama is a heavy favorite to win the national championship, but South Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Missouri would be a worthy challenger in the SEC title game.

Outside of the SEC, Ohio State and Oregon hope to finish unbeaten for a shot at the national championship. Both teams have already passed a huge test, while the Ducks have a showdown with Stanford coming up on Nov. 7.

Anything can happen in the next seven weeks, but here are 10 predictions for the second half of the season, as well as predicted champions for each conference.

Midseason Awards and Second-Half Predictions: ACC Big 12 |Big Ten | Pac-12 SEC Overall

10 Predictions for the Second Half of College Football’s 2013 Season

1. The SEC will win another title
It’s not exactly a ground-breaking revelation, but the odds are in favor of the SEC closing out the BCS era with an eighth consecutive national title. Alabama, while maybe not as dominant as last season, is still the best team in the nation. Not too far behind the Crimson Tide is LSU, Texas A&M and a four-team race in the SEC East. With a favorable schedule, South Carolina has to be the favorite in the East, but don’t count out Florida, Georgia or Missouri. The depth of the SEC could hurt its national title prospects if the East champion has one loss and beats Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship – assuming there are two unbeaten teams from BCS conferences. Oregon or Ohio State would be an intriguing matchup against Alabama, but the odds favor the Crimson Tide to make it eight in a row for the SEC.

2. Louisville will finish the regular season unbeaten
You can complain about the Cardinals’ strength of schedule, but let’s not lose sight of the fact this is one of the top 10-12 teams in the nation. Louisville has cruised to a 6-0 start and should finish the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record. Games against UCF and Cincinnati won’t be easy, but behind quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a defense allowing just 7.3 points a game, the Cardinals finish 12-0.

3. Miami will play for the ACC Championship
Finally. After joining the league in 2004, Miami will represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship this season. Despite a cloud of NCAA uncertainty, the Hurricanes have made steady progress under coach Al Golden. Miami is 5-0 heading into a Thursday night matchup against North Carolina, with two huge showdowns remaining against Florida State and Virginia Tech. A season-ending matchup against Pittsburgh in late November could be tough, but Miami’s schedule sets up for a 10 or 11-win season. Barring an upset loss or a defeat to Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes should represent the Coastal Division in Charlotte in early December.

4. No BCS bowl for Notre Dame
A year after playing for the national championship, Notre Dame will miss out on a BCS bowl. The Fighting Irish already have two losses, leaving no margin for error the rest of the year to get to 10-2 and back into BCS consideration. The upcoming schedule isn’t overwhelmingly difficult, but Notre Dame still has to play USC, Stanford, BYU and Pittsburgh. It’s unlikely the Fighting Irish escape those four games with a 4-0 mark. Although Notre Dame doesn’t have a direct bowl tie-in this year, it should have no trouble finding a landing spot, especially if (as projected by most) some of the BCS conferences fail to fill all of their allotted spots.

5. Mack Brown won’t return to Texas for 2014
Regardless of how Texas finishes this year, the Longhorns will have a new coach on the sidelines in 2014. After last week’s win against Oklahoma, Texas is in the driver’s seat to win the Big 12 title. But the Longhorns still have to play TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor. After losing to Ole Miss and BYU, along with barely escaping at Iowa State, it’s hard to bank on Texas playing the rest of the Big 12 slate with the same effort we saw against Oklahoma. With good friend and athletic director DeLoss Dodds stepping aside, it seems unlikely Brown would want to work for someone else and will call it quits at the end of 2013. 

6. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota will win the Heisman
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Florida State’s Jameis Winston will make a run at Mariota, but the sophomore will claim the first Heisman in Oregon’s program history. Through six games, Mariota is completing 60.6 percent of his throws, has 17 touchdown tosses with no interceptions and is averaging 287.3 passing yards a game. The sophomore also has 426 yards and eight scores on the ground. As long as Mariota keeps up his current pace and Oregon wins out, it’s hard to see another candidate passing him for the No. 1 spot this December.

7. Florida State’s Jameis Winston will get invited to New York for the Heisman
For the second year in a row, a freshman will get invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel made it last season, and Florida State’s Jameis Winston is on track to fly to the Big Apple in December. Even if the Seminoles finish 10-2 or 11-1, it’s hard to find a flaw in Winston’s resume. The freshman is already one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and can take Florida State from being a top-10 team to a national title contender in 2013 and in 2014.

8. There will be more than two unbeatens from BCS conferences
If you like chaos, then buckle up. There’s a good chance Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State all finish unbeaten this year, creating BCS chaos in December. But there’s more. The winner of Clemson/Florida State also has a chance to finish unbeaten, and Louisville is likely to finish 12-0. Alabama still has to play LSU and assuming they win the West Division, the champion from the East in the SEC title game. Ohio State’s schedule is very favorable, but the Buckeyes still need to get past rival Michigan (in Ann Arbor) in the season finale. Oregon passed one hurdle with a win at Washington and the trip to Stanford on Nov. 7 looms large in the national title picture. Upsets and injuries will happen, so it’s tough to predict what might happen in the next seven weeks. However, the guess here is Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State all finish unbeaten, creating a three-team discussion for the two spots in the national championship.

9. A team from a non-BCS conference will make a BCS Bowl
Whether it’s Fresno State or Northern Illinois, the odds of a team from a non-BCS conference making a BCS bowl are high. In a projected BCS standing after Week 7, both Fresno State and Northern Illinois were in the top 20. The Bulldogs will have a slight edge in overall resume, especially if they have a rematch with Boise State in the Mountain West title game. The Huskies have a favorable path until November, but a home date against Ball State and a road trip to Toledo won’t be easy. If both finish unbeaten, the edge should go to Fresno State.

10. One SEC head coach job will be open in December
Maybe this is a bit crazy, but we will guess one SEC job will open this offseason. A few SEC coaches will be in demand (perhaps James Franklin for Texas or USC?) for other jobs, and the NFL will have interest in Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. Who knows, every coaching cycle seems to produce one surprise. Let the speculation begin…

Bonus: No team finishes with an unbeaten record in Big 12 games
Texas Tech, Texas and Baylor are the only three unbeaten teams in Big 12 play after Week 7. Considering how difficult this conference was to project in the preseason, it’s hard to envision any team finishing Big 12 without a loss (or two) in league play. Don’t be surprised if a 7-2 record in Big 12 action wins the league.

Projected Champions

ACC Coastal: Miami
ACC Atlantic: Clemson
ACC Champion: Clemson

American: Louisville

Big 12: Baylor

Big Ten Leaders: Ohio State
Big Ten Legends: Nebraska
Big Ten Champion: Ohio State

C-USA East: Marshall
C-USA West: Rice
Conference USA Champion: Marshall

MAC East: Bowling Green
MAC West: Northern Illinois
MAC Champion: Northern Illinois

MW Mountain: Boise State
MW West: Fresno State
Mountain West Champion: Fresno State

Pac-12 North: Oregon
Pac-12 South: UCLA
Pac-12 Champion: Oregon

SEC East: South Carolina
SEC West: Alabama
SEC Champion: Alabama

Sun Belt: UL Lafayette

BCS Championship: Alabama over Oregon
 

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10 Predictions for the Second Half of College Football’s 2013 Season
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Counting down the days until Clemson-Florida State.

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, October 16th

Maryland linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil is out for the rest of the season.

The Sporting News takes a look at the 10 best moments of the BCS era. And a look at the unbeatens so far this year.

Saturday Down South takes a look back at what happened in the SEC during Week 7.

Check out this Alabama Volkswagen Beetle...is it street legal? 

Oklahoma receiver Trey Metoyer has been suspended indefinitely after being charged with two felony counts.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has the support of his athletic director.

The Tennessee-Virginia Tech game at Bristol Motor Speedway could equal a lot of cash for both teams.

Will Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota enter the NFL Draft this spring? He won't talk about it until after the season.

Is former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith a candidate at USC?

Arkansas defensive tackle Robert Thomas is out for the rest of the year with a leg injury.

Lost Lettermen has a good read on Michigan and whether the Wolverines are truly "back."

When will Missouri quarterback James Franklin return to the lineup?

A good story on the ACL rehab of Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum.

Who is the favorite in the Big Ten Legends Division?

Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips is out for the rest of the year with a back injury.

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is getting closer to a return to action after suffering a broken arm earlier this year.


Rutgers cornerback Ian Thomas (a starter) has quit the team to play baseball. 

Michigan is considering more changes for its struggling offensive line.

A film review of Florida State QB Jameis Winston's passing plays this season.

How did Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and his staff grade in evaluations? 

New Mexico is dealing with some injuries at quarterback.

Boston College running back Andre Williams was highlighted for his performance against Army.

Texas A&M and Arizona State are in discussions to play a game in Houston in 2015.

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College Football's Link Roundup: October 16
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 11:51
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The first half of the 2013 college football season is officially in the books. And at the midpoint of 2013, it’s time to look back at the first seven weeks, examine preseason predictions and take a glimpse at what the second half of the season has to offer.

Alabama is still the favorite to win the national championship, but Oregon, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State and LSU are in the mix. The Ducks still need to navigate a tough road date at Stanford before thinking about an unbeaten season. Ohio State won’t have the strength of schedule of Oregon, so the Buckeyes need some help in order to get to the No. 2 spot. The winner of Florida State-Clemson will remain in the national title mix, but both teams face key tests against SEC rivals in late November.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is our pick as the midseason Heisman winner, while Missouri’s Gary Pinkel takes coach of the year honors.

Much will change in the second half of the year, but here’s our first-half awards for 2013.

Midseason Awards and Second-Half Predictions: ACC Big 12 |Big Ten | Pac-12 |SEC

2013 College Football First-Half Awards

Heisman frontrunner/Offensive POY: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
A strong case could be made for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel here, but the edge for now goes to Mariota. The sophomore has simply been flawless through the first six games, guiding the Ducks to a 6-0 start and easing the transition from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich. Mariota has thrown for 1,724 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 426 yards and eight scores. The sophomore has not thrown an interception in 165 attempts this year and ranks fifth nationally in passing efficiency at 182.4.

Next Three Candidates After Seven Weeks:

2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
3. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
4. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Barr is a lock to be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft, and the senior continues to wreck havoc on opposing Pac-12 offenses. In five games, Barr has 26 tackles (10 for a loss), four sacks and three forced fumbles. The senior’s best performance of the year came against Nebraska, forcing three fumbles and recording 11 tackles. Barr’s explosive ability off the edge is a big reason why UCLA ranks third in the Pac-12 in total defense and is holding opponents to just 18.2 points a game. 

Honorable Mention:

Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Michael Sam, DE, Missouri
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU

Coach of the Year: Gary Pinkel, Missouri
From the hot seat to coach of the year. That’s the season it has been for Pinkel. Missouri finished 5-7 in its first year in the SEC but is off to a 6-0 start, which includes road wins over Vanderbilt and Georgia. The Tigers are clearly improved in 2013, and Pinkel has pushed the right buttons on both sides of the ball. Missouri’s schedule will get tougher, and it will be difficult to win the East Division without quarterback James Franklin. However, even if the Tigers finish 7-5 or 8-4, it would be quite a turnaround after Missouri’s offseason was filled with questions about whether or not 2013 could be Pinkel’s last in Columbia.

Honorable Mention:

Art Briles, Baylor
Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Mark Helfrich, Oregon
Curtis Johnson, Tulane
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Best Coaching Hire: Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Malzahn has made quite a difference in just six games. Auburn finished 3-9 last year and failed to win a SEC game. However, the Tigers are clearly improved, sporting a 5-1 record heading into a showdown at Texas A&M. The win column isn’t the only place where Auburn has showed marked improvement, as the Tigers are drastically better on the stat sheet. After averaging just 305 yards and 18.7 points a game last season, the Tigers average 474.2 yards and 34.3 points a game in 2013. The defense has improved under coordinator Ellis Johnson and leads the SEC with 49 tackles for a loss. Games against Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama will provide a better barometer of how far this team has come since last season. But even if Auburn loses those three games, an 8-4 record would be a solid finish in Malzahn’s first season.

Honorable Mention:

Steve Addazio, Boston College
Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Mark Helfrich, Oregon
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

Biggest surprise: Tulane
Missouri is certainly a worthy candidate here, but let’s give this honor to Tulane. The Green Wave is quietly 5-2, with one of their losses coming by just two points against South Alabama. Beating Jackson State, ULM and North Texas may not have raised too many eyebrows, but Tulane’s victory over East Carolina last Saturday showed this team has made considerable progress under second-year coach Curtis Johnson. And at 3-0 in conference play, it’s not unreasonable to think this team can make a run at the Conference USA West Division title, especially with winnable games against Tulsa, FAU, UTSA and UTEP remaining. With one more victory, Tulane will be bowl eligible and should play in its first postseason game since 2002. The Green Wave won’t overwhelm on the stat sheet but are +9 in turnover margin and are holding conference opponents to 23 points a game.

Honorable Mention:

Missouri
Houston
Texas Tech

Most-Improved Player: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Under the direction of new coordinator Cam Cameron, Mettenberger looks like a completely different player than the one that finished 2012. Through seven games, the senior has thrown for 1,890 yards, 15 touchdowns and just two picks. Mettenberger is completing 66.7 percent of his passes and averages 16.3 yards per completion. And Mettenberger has been sharp in some of LSU’s biggest tests, as he completed 39 of 69 for 623 yards and four touchdowns against Georgia and TCU combined. Mettenberger’s continued growth at quarterback should allow LSU to push Alabama for the SEC West title in November.

Biggest disappointment: North Carolina
The Tar Heels have faced a difficult schedule (South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech), but this isn’t the same team that finished in a three-way tie atop the Coastal Division in 2012. Both sides of the ball have been problematic for coach Larry Fedora. The offense, which was expected to be one of the best in the ACC, is ranked ninth in the conference in total yards per game. Replacing three starters on the offensive line and running back Giovani Bernard has been a challenge, as the Tar Heels rank last in the ACC in rushing offense. The defense has allowed at least 20 points in every game this season, and opponents are averaging 5.6 yards per play. An easier schedule in the second half will allow North Carolina to make up some ground on the rest of the Coastal. However, the Tar Heels – as some predicted in the preseason – won’t challenge for the division title in 2013.

Honorable Mention:

TCU
Tulsa
USC
Vanderbilt

Top Freshman: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
After five games, it’s clear Winston is already one of the best quarterbacks in college football. The redshirt freshman opened his career with an impressive performance at Pittsburgh, completing 25 of 27 throws for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, Winston’s play hasn’t slipped any, as he has only two picks this year and has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in four out of Florida State’s five games. Winston ranks fourth nationally in yards per play (9.9) and second in passing efficiency (213.9).

Honorable Mention:

Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech
Addison Gillam, LB, Colorado
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Coach on the Hot Seat: Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan might be the toughest job in college football. The Eagles have just one winning season since 1990 and one bowl appearance in program history. English guided Eastern Michigan to a 6-6 mark in 2011, but the program has regressed, as the Eagles are just 3-15 over their last 18 games. Despite the difficulty of coaching in Ypsilanti, Eastern Michigan should be more competitive, and unless the Eagles make progress over the second half, it’s hard to envision English returning for 2014.

Honorable Mention:

Mack Brown, Texas
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
Mike London, Virginia

Top JUCO Transfer: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
The Arizona State coaching staff was counting on Strong to be a significant contributor in the passing attack, and so far, the junior hasn’t disappointed. Through six games, Strong has 42 receptions for 678 yards and four scores. Strong has five consecutive 100-yard games, including a standout performance against Stanford, catching 12 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown. Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory deserves a mention in this space too.

Head Coach on the Rise: Pete Lembo, Ball State
If you are looking for a coach that could be quite popular this offseason, take a look in Muncie, Ind. Lembo is in his third season at Ball State and has guided the Cardinals to a 21-11 mark during that span. Ball State stumbled on the road against North Texas earlier this year but defeated Virginia 48-27 on Oct. 5. Under Lembo, the Cardinals have four wins over BCS teams and with a favorable schedule the rest of the way, could finish 11-1 or 10-2. Lembo’s success isn’t limited to Ball State, as he went 44-14 at Lehigh and 35-22 at Elon.

Honorable Mention:

Dave Clawson, Bowling Green
Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State
Mark Hudspeth, UL Lafayette
Curtis Johnson, Tulane

Top-10 Must-See Games

Florida State at Clemson (Oct. 19)
Miami at Florida State (Nov. 2)
Oregon at Stanford (Nov. 7)
Virginia Tech at Miami (Nov. 9)
LSU at Alabama (Nov. 9)
Florida at South Carolina (Nov. 16)
Texas A&M at LSU (Nov. 23)
Florida State at Florida (Nov. 30)
Clemson at South Carolina (Nov. 30)
Michigan at Ohio State (Nov. 30)

The Next Group:

Florida at Missouri (Oct. 19)
UCLA at Stanford (Oct. 19)
Michigan State at Nebraska (Nov. 16)
Michigan at Michigan State (Nov. 2)
UCLA at Oregon (Oct. 26)
South Carolina at Missouri (Nov. 16)
Florida vs. Georgia (Nov. 2)
Oklahoma at Baylor (Nov. 7)
Louisville at Cincinnati (Dec. 5)
Texas at Baylor (Dec. 7)

Non-BCS Games to Watch:

Toledo at Bowling Green (Oct. 26)
Fresno State at Wyoming (Nov. 9)
Ohio at Bowling Green (Nov. 12)
Ball State at Northern Illinois (Nov. 13)
Wyoming at Boise State (Nov. 16)
Northern Illinois at Toledo (Nov. 20)
East Carolina at Marshall (Nov. 29)
Bowling Green at Buffalo (Nov. 29)
Tulane at Rice (Nov. 30)
Army vs. Navy (Dec. 14)

Teaser:
College Football 2013 Midseason Awards and Recap
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/baylor-or-oregon-which-team-has-best-offense-college-football
Body:

Baylor and Oregon have been putting on quite a show this season.

The Bears and Ducks own the top two spots in terms of total offense rankings after seven weeks, and the numbers are quite mind-boggling.

Baylor is averaging 9.4 yards per play, while the Ducks reel off 8.1 yards a play. Considering both teams are averaging nearly a first down every time they touch the ball, it shows just how dynamic these offenses are.

Those numbers are just a small sample of how dynamic both offenses have been this season. And with those numbers in mind, it’s not easy to pick the best offense in the nation.

However, that’s the question Athlon’s editors were tasked with answering, as the Bears and Ducks look to continue their current pace in Week 8.

Baylor or Oregon: Which Team has the Best Offense in College Football?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)

I’m tempted to say Baylor here, but I have to stick with Oregon. And before I explain my position, I think it’s worth pointing out there’s no wrong answer here. Both teams are two of the best offenses in the nation and will continue to post ridiculous numbers. The Bears have the better coach and have a slight advantage in the trenches. However, the Ducks take the edge largely due to quarterback Marcus Mariota. The sophomore should be the frontrunner to win the Heisman after Week 7 and has a year of experience on Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. The Bears can match Oregon’s depth at running back, and the receivers might be more explosive, but again, it’s hard to pick against a quarterback like Mariota. Also, I think we have to give the Ducks some credit so far this season, as they have played a tougher schedule, with matchups against BCS teams like Tennessee, Virginia, Colorado, California and Washington. Baylor gashed West Virginia, but I’m curious to see if this offense can continue its current pace against teams like Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State. 

Coach Fisher DeBerry, former head coach of Air Force and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I would hate play either one because they put so much pressure on your defense. They don't give your defensive team time to catch their breath. Your defense is scrambling to keep up with their pace. Both have had incredible quarterback play. I would say Oregon has a little bit of an edge over Baylor just for the fact they have played a little tougher schedule to date. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Baylor is running plays at an unprecedented rate — both in yards and time. The Bears’ offensive line is the unheralded unit, as the hog mollies in Waco might be the best collection in the Big 12 and is making all of this production possible. However, we saw how human the Bears can be in Manhattan, Kansas. Oregon has been scoring in the 60s before Art Briles moved to Waco, it has better overall talent and has been doing it against better competition. Marcus Mariota is, for my money, is the best player in college football — he's 18-1 as a starter with 63 career touchdowns and six career interceptions — and once De'Anthony Thomas is healthy, there is no better offense in the nation than the Oregon Ducks. These are both elite offenses operating at historic clips. You can't go wrong with either, but I'll take the one from Eugene.

Mark Ross
That's kind of like asking which luxury car is better or, more appropriate here, which high-end sports car is faster? OK, I'll bite. Baylor has more yards and points, but I'll take Oregon. Chip Kelly may have left Eugene for Philadelphia, but new head Duck Mark Helfrich has made the transition, just like Kelly did in 2009, from offensive coordinator to head coach seamlessly.

Last season, Oregon finished fifth in the nation in total offense with 537.4 yards and 49.5 points per game. Through six games this season, these Ducks sit in second place (behind Baylor) in both categories with 630.5 yards and 56.8 points per contest. Last week, Oregon piled up 631 total yards in its convincing 45-24 win over then-No. 16 Washington. The Huskies came into this game allowing 3.9 yards per play, the Ducks doubled that.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is a Heisman contender who had 454 total yards and four touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush) against Washington. He's taking efficient quarterbacking to another level, as his last interception came nine games ago. His versatility is one of the signatures of this offense, which has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to explosive, dynamic skill players. Case in point, five different Ducks have carried the ball at least 20 times this season and all five are averaging well over five yards per carry, including Mariota (10.4).

No disrespect to what Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk, Tevin Reese and company are accomplishing at Baylor, but when it comes to offensive firepower I'll take the dynamic Ducks over Art Briles' Bears. We still have a long ways to go, but would anyone care to guess what the over/under would be should Baylor and Oregon end up playing each other in a bowl game? Now that would be must-see TV.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

I had gone back and forth on this until last week, but Saturday probably erased any doubt. Part of me wants to say Baylor — out of respect for Art Briles, out of the possibilities of an underdog and out of interest in what is new and shiny (with those helmets last week, quite literally shiny). But the answer is Oregon right now. The Ducks are simply more proven this season and have more options on offense, as they proved at Washington without De’Anthony Thomas and Colt Lyerla. Marcus Mariota is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, if not the best. Bryce Petty will have a fine season and may end up a Heisman finalist, but Mariota is magical. Lache Seastrunk may be better than any individual Oregon back, scary considering he was once there for a time, but the Ducks are too deep at that position from Thomas to Byron Marshall to Thomas Tyner. The receivers may be a wash, and both teams have impressive offensive lines. But until I see Baylor tested through the course of the season, we all have to defer to Oregon.
 

Teaser:
Baylor or Oregon: Which Team has the Best Offense in College Football?
Post date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/nebraska-og-spencer-long-expected-miss-rest-2013-knee-injury
Body:

Nebraska guard Spencer Long is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury suffered in Saturday’s win over Purdue.

Long was one of the best linemen in the Big Ten and was a preseason All-American selection by Athlon Sports.

The senior had 33 career starts prior to Saturday’s injury.

Junior Mike Moudy is listed as Long’s backup at right guard, but with a bye week, Nebraska may evaluate the entire line and shuffle this group before playing at Minnesota on Oct. 26.
 

Teaser:
Nebraska OG Spencer Long Expected to Miss Rest of 2013 With Knee Injury
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 13:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/florida-rb-matt-jones-out-season-knee-injury
Body:

Injuries are taking a toll on the contenders in the SEC East, and Florida suffered another setback this week, as running back Matt Jones was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Jones missed time in the preseason due to an illness and had 339 yards and two scores on 79 attempts through five games.

However, Jones was Florida’s go-to back, with Mack Brown contributing as a capable No. 2 option.

With Jones sidelined, Brown will return to the No. 1 role, with true freshman Kelvin Taylor expected to see his playing time increase.
 

Teaser:
Florida RB Matt Jones Out for Season With Knee Injury
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 10:16
Path: /college-football/acc-2013-second-half-predictions-and-midseason-review
Body:

The ACC has been a little off the national radar for most of this season, but at least for one weekend (Oct. 19), the spotlight will be on this conference. Clemson-Florida State is a huge top-five showdown and should be one of the best games of the second half of the 2013 season.

The winner of Saturday’s showdown in Death Valley should win the Atlantic Division, while Virginia Tech-Miami on Nov. 9 should decide the Coastal. The Hokies have quietly won six in a row after losing to Alabama in the season opener, while the Hurricanes are off to a 5-0 start.

The top four teams in the ACC are clear, but there’s a host of programs vying to working their way into the next tier. Maryland is clearly improved after a 4-8 record last season, while Pittsburgh is 3-2 in its first year in the ACC.

Syracuse, Boston College, Wake Forest and NC State are all 3-3, with Georgia Tech, Duke and North Carolina also in bowl contention. The Yellow Jackets started 3-0 but have lost three straight games.

The ACC has a drop in overall strength after the top four teams, but this league seems to be a little deeper than it has been in recent years.

Midseason Awards and Second-Half Predictions: Big 12 |Big Ten | Pac-12 SEC

ACC 2013 Midseason Review and Second-Half Predictions

Coach of the Year: Randy Edsall, Maryland
This award could go to a couple of different coaches, but we’ll give the nod to Edsall at the midpoint of 2013. After winning just six games through his first two years, Maryland is off to a 5-1 start. The Terrapins haven’t faced the nation’s most challenging slate, but Edsall’s team has clearly made progress after a dismal 2-10 campaign in 2011. Injuries have started to take a toll on Maryland’s defense, and quarterback C.J. Brown missed last week’s game against Virginia with a concussion. However, even with a few pieces missing on defense, the Terrapins should make a run at an 8-4 final record. Boston College's Steve Addazio is another name to consider here.

Newcomer of the Year: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
After five games, it’s clear Winston is already one of the best quarterbacks in college football. The redshirt freshman opened his career with an impressive performance at Pittsburgh, completing 25 of 27 throws for 356 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, Winston’s play hasn’t slipped any, as he has only two picks this year and has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in four out of Florida State’s five games. Winston ranks fourth nationally in yards per play (9.9) and second in passing efficiency (213.9).

Offensive Player of the Year: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
It’s a close call between Boyd and Winston for this honor, but let’s give the nod to the senior. Boyd has Clemson positioned for its second ACC title in three years, throwing for 1,783 yards, 15 scores and only two interceptions. The senior is completing 66.5 percent of his throws and averages 9.6 yards per attempt, which ranks ninth nationally. Boyd also has 187 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground. In Clemson’s win over Georgia, Boyd threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns and didn’t throw a pick on 30 attempts. Outside of throwing for 169 yards in a blowout win over South Carolina State, Boyd has topped at least 270 yards in every game this year. 

Defensive Player of the Year: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Beasley has grabbed the headlines in the ACC, but let’s not forget about Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Virginia Tech defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins. Through six games, Beasley has 23 tackles (12 for a loss) and nine sacks. The junior also has five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one defensive touchdown. Beasley’s nine sacks rank first nationally, and his 12 tackles for a loss rank third. And the junior’s play so far this year is a big reason why Clemson ranks fourth in the ACC in total defense (5.1 yards per play).

Midseason Disappointment: North Carolina
The Tar Heels have faced a difficult schedule (South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech), but this isn’t the same team that finished in a three-way tie atop the Coastal Division. Both sides of the ball have been problematic for coach Larry Fedora. The offense, which was expected to be one of the best in the ACC, is ranked ninth in the conference in total yards per game. Replacing three starters on the offensive line and running back Giovani Bernard has been a challenge, as the Tar Heels rank last in the ACC in rushing offense. The defense has allowed at least 20 points in every game this season, and opponents are averaging 5.6 yards per play against this unit. An easier schedule in the second half will allow North Carolina to make up some ground on the rest of the Coastal. However, the Tar Heels – as some predicted in the preseason – won’t challenge for the division title in 2013.

Midseason Surprise: Boston College
Don’t let the 3-3 record fool you: Boston College is a much-improved team. New coach Steve Addazio has brought back a brand of tough football to Chestnut Hill, and the Eagles have leaned on a veteran core of players, which features running back Andre Williams, receiver Alex Amidon and quarterback Chase Rettig. Boston College’s wins – Army, Villanova and Wake Forest – aren’t particularly overwhelming. However, the Eagles lost to a talented USC team and were defeated by 14 points to Florida State and 10 to Clemson – clearly the top-two teams in the ACC. With winnable games against New Mexico State, North Carolina, NC State, Maryland and Syracuse remaining, Boston College should make a bowl in 2013.

Three Things to Watch in the Second Half

Atlantic and Coastal Division title races
The Atlantic Division could be decided on Saturday in Death Valley, as Clemson hosts Florida State in a battle of two top-five teams. The Coastal Division picture may take a while to clear, at least until Miami and Virginia Tech meet on Nov. 9. Will any of these four teams suffer an upset loss? Or will the top four teams in the ACC at the midpoint finish that way in December? For a conference that has struggled to earn respect at times, the race to win both divisions should be among the top storylines to watch in the national landscape.

The ACC vs. SEC
In terms of the overall ACC title picture, this storyline means nothing. However, the ACC wants national respect and games against the SEC are a perfect opportunity to make a statement. So far, ACC teams are 2-2 against the SEC this year. And four games remain between these two conferences: Florida State-Florida, Wake Forest-Vanderbilt, Clemson-South Carolina and Georgia-Georgia Tech. Can the ACC earn a split in these games? If Florida State beats Florida and Clemson beats South Carolina, it would be a huge boost for the perception of the ACC.

How many bowl teams?
The ACC has eight bowl tie-ins and could have more eligible teams than available spots. Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Miami are locks for the postseason, while Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech should be in good shape. But how many other teams will get to six wins? Syracuse, Boston College, Wake Forest and NC State all have three wins, and Duke needs two to return to the postseason. Even though North Carolina is 1-4, don’t count out the Tar Heels reaching six wins. And here’s the other wildcard: Can the ACC get two teams into the BCS?

Bonus: Brandon Mitchell’s return for NC State
The Wolfpack started 3-1 but has lost back-to-back games against Wake Forest and Syracuse. A big problem for NC State has been the offense, which is averaging just 12.3 points a game in conference play. Quarterback Brandon Mitchell suffered a foot injury in the season opener and has not played in the last five games. The senior is the best fit for NC State’s spread offense and would be an upgrade over Pete Thomas. It’s not too late for the Wolfpack to make a run at bowl eligibility, and Mitchell’s return should be a boost for this offense.

Top Five Games in the Second Half

Florida State at Clemson (Oct. 19)
Jameis Winston vs. Tajh Boyd. Two top-five teams. National spotlight. This game has it all. Virginia Tech and Miami are solid teams, but the winner of this game should win the conference title and will stay alive in the national title conversation. Clemson has won the last five against Florida State in Death Valley.

Miami at Florida State (Nov. 2)
Bragging rights in the Sunshine State are always on the line when these two teams face off. This game is crucial for both in recruiting, and for Miami to show the gap with Florida State is closing. The Seminoles have won four out of the last five in this series, including a 33-20 win at Miami last year. This matchup is important for the Hurricanes, but maybe not as key as the next one…

Virginia Tech at Miami (Nov. 9)
If Florida State-Clemson on Oct. 19 is the defacto ACC Atlantic championship game, this game is the defacto Coastal Division title matchup. This contest features one of the league’s best offenses (Miami), against perhaps the best defense in the nation (Virginia Tech). The Hokies have won five out of the last seven in this series, but the Hurricanes won 30-12 last year.

Clemson at South Carolina (Nov. 30)
This space is usually reserved just for conference games, but it’s hard to ignore how important this matchup is for the ACC. If Clemson beats Florida State, the Tigers should be unbeaten going into this game, and a win over South Carolina would be a huge resume boost for the Tigers in the national title picture. The Gamecocks have dominated this series in recent years, winning four in a row, all by 10 points or more.

Florida State at Florida (Nov. 30)
As we mentioned above, this space is normally reserved for conference games, but Florida-Florida State could have national title implications. The winner of the Clemson-Florida State game should be unbeaten heading into Nov. 30, and a victory over SEC rival Florida wouldn’t hurt the Seminoles’ case for a BCS title bid. The Gators have won seven out of the last nine in this series.

ACC 2013 Second-Half Predictions

(Logos are of projected winner for each game)
 

Atlantic Division
 

1. Clemson

Florida Stateat Marylandat UVAGa. TechCitadelat So. CarolinaFinal Record
11-1


2. Florida State

at ClemsonNC StateMiamiat WakeSyracuseIdahoat FloridaFinal Record
10-2


3. Maryland

at WakeClemsonSyracuseat Va. TechBCat NC StateFinal Record
8-4


4. Boston College

at UNCVa. Techat NMSUNC Stateat Marylandat SyracuseFinal Record
6-6

 

5. NC State

at FSUUNCat Dukeat BCECUMarylandFinal Record
6-6


6. Syracuse

at Ga. TechWakeat MDat FSUPittsburghBCFinal Record
4-8


7. Wake Forest

MDat Miamiat SyracuseFSUDukeat VandyFinal Record
3-9


Coastal Division

1. Miami

at UNCWakeat FSUVa. Techat DukeUVAat PittFinal Record
11-1


2. Virginia Tech

Dukeat BCat MiamiMDat UVAFinal Record
10-2


3. Georgia Tech

Syracuseat UVAPittsburghat ClemsonAlabama A&MUGAFinal Record
6-6


4. Pittsburgh

ODUat Navyat Ga. TechNDUNCat SyracuseMiamiFinal Record
7-5


5. North Carolina

MiamiBCat NC StateUVAat PittODUDukeFinal Record
6-6


6. Duke

at UVAat VTNC StateMiamiat Wakeat UNCFinal Record
6-6


7. Virginia

DukeGa. TechClemsonat UNCat MiamiVa. TechFinal Record
4-8

 

Teaser:
ACC Second-Half Predictions and Midseason Review
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2013-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-7-edition
Body:

College football’s coach carousel didn’t spin into motion as some may have expected in Week 7.

Texas was a heavy underdog to Oklahoma in the annual Red River Rivalry, but the Longhorns stunned the Sooners. Coach Mack Brown is still on the hot seat, and the victory against Oklahoma probably doesn’t change anything in the overall picture for Texas. However, the Longhorns aren’t finished in the Big 12 title landscape, and the win over the Sooners has Brown’s team in position to push Baylor for the top spot.

Eastern Michigan is arguably the nation’s most difficult job. However, the Eagles have backtracked since going 6-6 in 2011, winning just three games in their last 18 contests. English faces long odds to return for 2014.

Other coaches moving up the hot seat watch include Kansas’ Charlie Weis and Virginia’s Mike London.

Each week, we will take a look at the hot seat/pressure on a program for all 125 coaches. Some new coaches will rank high due to poor performances but aren't in any danger of losing their job.

And another important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top 10-15 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to continue to show the program is headed in the right direction.

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Ron English1-5EMU is 3-15 in last 18 games.
2Charlie Weis2-3KU likely to go winless in Big 12 play.
3Mack Brown4-2Win over OU doesn't change much.
4Mike London2-4Has vote of confidence…
5Norm Chow0-6UH lost by 10 points or less in last 3 games.
6Ron Turner1-5Lost to UAB by three on Saturday.
7Bo Pelini5-1Huskers in control of Legends Division?
8Charley Molnar1-5Minutemen break into win column.
9Dan Enos3-4Solid road victory at Ohio for the Chips.
10Matt Rhule0-6Army may be only chance at a win this year.
11P.J. Fleck0-7WMU outscored 80-20 in last two games.
12Jim Grobe3-3 
13Dana Holgorsen3-3Bye week came at good time for WVU.
14Bobby Hauck4-2Hauck has Rebels moving in right direction.
15Doc Holliday4-2Herd the frontrunner in C-USA East?
16Skip Holtz2-4 
17Tim Beckman3-2 
18Todd Monken0-5No guaranteed win on schedule for USM.
19Dan Mullen3-3Tough job, but fanbase getting restless.
20Kirk Ferentz4-2Hawkeyes can still make run at bowl.
21Rich Ellerson3-4Already surpassed win total from 2012.
22Jeff Quinn4-2Bulls have won four in a row.
23Carl Pelini2-5 
24June Jones1-4 
25Sean Kugler1-5Miners on road in five of last six games.
26Garrick McGee2-4 
27Rick Stockstill3-4Blue Raiders have lost three in a row.
28Terry Bowden1-6Zips gave NIU all it could handle.
29Joey Jones2-3 
30Randy Edsall5-1Terps one win away from bowl eligibility.
31Kevin Wilson3-3 
32Bill Blankenship2-4 
33Rocky Long3-3Aztecs back on track.
34Tony Levine5-0Soft schedule, but Cougars 5-0.
35Jim McElwain2-4 
36George O'Leary4-1 
37David Bailiff4-2 
38Troy Calhoun1-6AFA off to worst start since 1993.
39Dave Christensen4-2 
40Bob Davie2-4 
41Larry Fedora1-4Can UNC get back on track?
42Ron Caragher3-3 
43Kyle Flood4-2 
44Brian Polian3-3 
45Darrell Hazell1-5 
46Dan McCarney3-3Mean Green should be in mix for winning record.
47Larry Blakeney4-3 
48Bobby Petrino4-2 
49Paul Haynes2-5 
50Doug Martin0-6 
51Paul Petrino1-6 
52Paul Johnson3-3Yellow Jackets have lost three in a row.
53Tommy Tuberville4-2 
54Ruffin McNeill4-2 
55Scott Shafer3-3Syracuse coming off first ACC win.
56Paul Chryst3-2 
57Dennis Franchoine3-3 
58Bryan Harsin3-3 
59Mike Leach4-3 
60Matt Wells3-4 
61Trent Miles0-6 
62Frank Solich4-2 
63Butch Jones3-3 
64Jerry Kill4-2 
65Brady Hoke5-1 
66Willie Taggart2-4 
67Mark Stoops1-5 
68Dave Doeren3-3 
69Steve Sarkisian4-2 
70Gary Pinkel6-0Mizzou firmly in SEC East title discussion.
71Bret Bielema3-4 
72Dave Clawson5-2 
73Curtis Johnson5-2Green Wave one step closer to bowl.
74Ken Niumatalolo3-2 
75Bob Stoops5-1 
76Mark Richt4-2 
77Sonny Dykes1-5 
78Mark Dantonio5-1 
79Rod Carey6-0Huskies back in BCS bowl contention.
80Justin Fuente1-4 
81Kyle Whittingham4-3Win over Stanford is Utah's biggest in the Pac-12.
82Dabo Swinney6-0 
83Matt Campbell3-3 
84Al Golden5-0 
85Mark Helfrich6-0Ducks on path to play for national title.
86Brian Kelly3-2 
87Jimbo Fisher5-0 
88Will Muschamp5-2 
89Larry Coker2-5 
90Frank Beamer6-1Hokies quietly riding six-game win streka.
91Gus Malzahn5-1 
92Bronco Mendenhall4-2 
93Todd Berry3-4 
94Rich Rodriguez3-2 
95Steve Addazio3-3BC clearly improved under Addazio.
96Todd Graham4-2 
97Jim Mora5-0 
98Mike MacIntyre2-3 
99Paul Rhoads1-4 
100Mike Riley5-1 
101James Franklin3-3Will the Commodores go bowling?
102Hugh Freeze3-3 
103David Cutcliffe4-2 
104Tim DeRuyter5-0 
105Les Miles6-1 
106Gary Andersen4-2 
107Mike Gundy4-1 
108Pete Lembo6-1 
109Mark Hudspeth3-2 
110Bill O'Brien4-2 
111Kevin Sumlin5-1 
112Gary Patterson3-3 
113Bill Snyder2-4 
114Pat Fitzgerald4-2 
115David Shaw4-1 
116Chris Petersen4-2 
117Kliff Kingsbury6-0 
118Charlie Strong6-0 
119Steve Spurrier5-1 
120Art Briles5-0Baylor should be the favorite in the Big 12.
121Urban Meyer6-0 
122Nick Saban6-0 
NREd Orgeron1-0Trojans showing signs of life under Orgeron.
NRT.J. Weist0-1Lost debut to USF.
NRMike Bath0-1Lost to UMass in first game.

Related College Football Content

Stats to Know From Week 7
ACC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings

Teaser:
College Football's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings: Post-Week 7 Edition
Post date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-7-bowl-projections-2013
Body:

With seven weeks in the books, college football’s bowl picture is starting to clear. Stanford’s loss to Utah was a huge setback to the Cardinal’s national title hopes, while Oregon took a step forward with its win against Washington.

Alabama still looks like the team to beat in the SEC, while Ohio State should be a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten. Baylor takes over as the No. 1 team in the Big 12 with Oklahoma’s loss to Texas.

The bowl season doesn’t start until December, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. Even at the midpoint of the 2013 season, it's still hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with nearly two months of conference games still remaining.

The post-Week 7 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including West Virginia, Washington State, Duke and NC State from BCS conferences. And Texas State, Buffalo, Tulsa, North Texas and Arkansas State from the non-BCS ranks.

As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 7 Bowl Projections for 2013

BowlTie-InDateProjection
New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCUtah vs. SJSU
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Wyoming
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOreg. State vs. Boise State
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSAUL Lafayette vs. Tulane
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAOhio* vs. MTSU
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSANevada vs. Arizona*
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNo. Illinois vs. Indiana
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCNotre Dame* vs. SDSU
MilitaryDec. 27CUSA vs. ACCECU vs. B. College
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenTCU vs. N'Western
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Cincinnati vs. K-State
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCRutgers vs. Pittsburgh
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCUCF vs. Virginia Tech
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Nebraska
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. NavyUtah State vs. Navy
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECGa. Tech vs. Missouri
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Texas Tech vs. UCLA
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Washington vs. Okla. State
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECUNC vs. Tennessee
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCAriz. State vs. Maryland
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSAOle Miss vs. Marshall
Chick-fil-ADec. 31SEC vs. ACCMiami vs. Georgia
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenAuburn vs. Michigan
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSARice vs. Iowa
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMich. State vs. Florida
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenWisconsin vs. Texas A&M
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOhio State vs. Stanford
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSFresno State vs. Baylor
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSSo. Carolina vs. FSU
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12LSU vs. Oklahoma
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Louisville
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanVanderbilt vs. Houston
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBGSU vs. WKU
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Oregon


* Indicates conference is not expected to fill its alloted bowl slots, leaving an at-large spot available.

Related College Football Content

Stats to Know From Week 7
ACC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings

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Week 7 was a table-setter for the rest of the ACC season.

Clemson avoided an upset bid by Boston College, which sets up a huge showdown against Florida State next week. The Tigers and Seminoles are both national title contenders, and the matchup in Death Valley should be one of the best games in the ACC for 2013.

Virginia Tech recorded its sixth straight victory with a 19-9 win against Pittsburgh. The Hokies aren’t flashy on offense, but the defense might be the best in college football.

Duke beat Navy, which improved the Blue Devils to 4-2 and positions coach David Cutcliffe’s team for a chance to make another bowl game.

Maryland survived without quarterback C.J. Brown, Georgia Tech lost on the road to BYU, and Syracuse’s ground attack led the way for a 24-10 victory over NC State.

More Post-Week 7 Power Rankings: Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Post-Week 7 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Clemson (6-0, 4-0): Boston College gave Clemson all it could handle, but the Tigers found a way to win, setting up a huge showdown with Florida State next Saturday. Clemson’s offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders against the Eagles but still managed 496 yards. The Tigers’ defense helped to pickup some of the slack, as Boston College was held to 4.8 yards per play, and end Vic Beasley scored on a 13-yard fumble return for the final dagger. Clemson can certainly play better, and it’s fair to wonder if this team was looking ahead to the matchup against Florida State next Saturday. However, a similar effort next week against the Seminoles would spell trouble for the Tigers. Next Week: Florida State
22Florida State (5-0, 3-0): The Seminoles were on bye in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday at Clemson. Florida State has cruised to a 5-0 start so far and crushed Maryland 63-0 in Week 6. The Seminoles have lost five straight in Death Valley but defeated Clemson 49-37 in Tallahassee last season. And barring a collapse, the winner of next week’s game should claim the Atlantic Division title. Next Week: at Clemson
33Miami (5-0, 1-0): The Hurricanes had a bye in Week 7 and return to action on Thursday at North Carolina. Miami lost 18-14 against the Tar Heels last season but has won two out of the last three games in this series. The off date came at a crucial time for the Hurricanes, as quarterback Stephen Morris was dealing with a leg injury in last week’s win against Georgia Tech and clearly wasn’t 100 percent. Next Week: at North Carolina (Thursday) 
44Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0): It wasn’t necessarily pretty against Pittsburgh, but the Hokies won 19-9 and now have six consecutive victories heading into the bye week. Virginia Tech’s offense managed only 315 yards, with quarterback Logan Thomas carrying the load. The senior threw for 239 yards and one score and led the team in rushing for the second time in three games. Running backs J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds combined for just 38 yards on 15 attempts. The Hokies’ defense continues to carry the team, dominating the line of scrimmage against the Panthers with eight sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. After an opening week loss to Alabama, Virginia Tech has rallied behind a stout defense and timely offense. And this team has its sights set on a Nov. 9 showdown at Miami for the Coastal Division title. Next Week: Bye 
55Maryland (5-1, 1-1): Quarterback C.J. Brown was forced to miss Saturday’s game with a concussion, but the Terrapins used a solid performance from backup Caleb Rowe (332 yards) to hold off Virginia. In addition to Rowe, running back Brandon Ross also delivered a key performance, recording 88 rushing yards and two scores, while catching three passes for 81 yards. After holding its opponents to 41 points through the first five games, Maryland has allowed 89 in its last two contests. With the Terrapins moving to the Big Ten next season, this was the last scheduled matchup against rival Virginia. Next Week: at Wake Forest 
66Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2): The Yellow Jackets suffered their third consecutive defeat, losing 38-20 at BYU. The Cougars jumped out to a 24-13 lead at halftime, but Georgia Tech’s defense stepped up in the second half, limiting BYU to just 88 yards in the final two quarters. However, the Yellow Jackets’ offense had two fourth quarter turnovers, including an interception return to give the Cougars a 31-13 edge. Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee threw for 133 yards and added 41 on the ground, but the sophomore tossed a costly interception and averaged only two yards a rush. The Yellow Jackets had a difficult schedule over the last three weeks, and the slate is considerably lighter for the rest of October. Next Week: Syracuse
77Pittsburgh (3-2, 2-2): The Panthers had their three-game winning streak snapped in Blacksburg. Pittsburgh’s offensive line was a huge concern entering Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech, and the unit was simply manhandled by the Hokies’ defensive front. Virginia Tech recorded eight sacks and 10 tackles for a loss, and the Panthers recorded only 23 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Running back James Conner and receiver Devin Street both suffered shoulder injuries against the Hokies, and their status for next week’s game is uncertain. Next Week: Old Dominion
88Boston College (3-3, 1-2): Coach Steve Addazio won’t take any solace in moral victories, but the Eagles have nearly scored upsets against the top two teams in the power rankings. Boston College lost 48-34 to Florida State on Sept. 28, and the Eagles gave Clemson all it could handle on Saturday, losing 24-14. Boston College held a 7-3 halftime lead, but the offense never got on track in the second half. Quarterback Chase Rettig had a costly fumble that was returned for a score in the fourth quarter, and running back Andre Williams was held to 70 yards. Even though Boston College didn’t win at Clemson, losing by 10 points to the No. 1 team in the ACC is a good sign for Addazio’s rebuilding effort in Chestnut Hill. Next Week: Bye
913Duke (4-2, 0-2): It won’t register on many national radars, but the Blue Devils’ 35-7 win over Navy was impressive. Duke’s offense got a spark from the return of quarterback Anthony Boone, who completed 31 of 38 passes for 295 yards and three scores. The defense was the bigger storyline for coach David Cutcliffe, as the Blue Devils allowed 230 rushing yards to the Midshipmen but forced three turnovers and did not allow a point in the second half. With four wins in non-conference play, Duke needs just two more wins to get bowl eligible for the second consecutive season. Next Week: at Virginia
1010North Carolina (1-4, 0-2): The Tar Heels were on bye in Week 7 and return to action against Miami on Thursday night. North Carolina has been one of the biggest disappointments in the ACC through the first half of the season, but coach Larry Fedora’s team has a chance to turn things around. The schedule is easier in the second half of 2013, and the Tar Heels play five out of their next seven games at home. Next Week: Miami (Thursday)
1114Syracuse (3-3, 1-1): With a struggling passing attack, the Orange leaned on the ground attack against NC State, and running backs Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley responded with a huge effort. Smith recorded 140 yards and one score, while Tyson-Gulley chipped in 132 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Terrel Hunt only threw for 74 yards, but he added 92 yards on the ground. Syracuse averaged 9.1 yards per carry against the Wolfpack. The Orange turned in one of their top defensive efforts of the season on Saturday, as NC State’s offense managed just 3.7 yards per play and 2.9 yards per carry. The win over the Wolfpack was Syracuse’s first victory in ACC play. Next Week: at Georgia Tech
1211Virginia (2-4, 0-2): Close, but not good enough. That sums up Virginia’s upset bid against Maryland, as the Cavaliers missed a last-minute field goal to win in College Park. Virginia’s offense has struggled against FBS competition, but quarterback David Watford posted a solid stat line against the Terrapins, throwing for 263 yards on 27 completions. Running back Kevin Parks also chipped in 112 yards and one score, while the defense forced three turnovers. While Saturday’s loss was a valiant effort, Virginia’s schedule isn’t going to get any easier, which only increases the pressure on coach Mike London’s hot seat. Next Week: Duke
1312Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2): The Demon Deacons were on bye in Week 7 and return to action against Maryland next Saturday. Wake Forest went into the off week with some momentum after a 28-13 victory over NC State on Oct. 5. The Demon Deacons need to find three wins to get bowl eligible this year, which won’t be easy with a schedule that features Maryland, Miami, Florida State and Vanderbilt in the second half of the season. Next Week: Maryland
149NC State (3-3, 0-3): The bad news: The Wolfpack is now 0-3 in conference play after losing to Syracuse 24-10. The good news: Quarterback Brandon Mitchell will return to the lineup against Florida State on Oct. 26. After averaging just 3.7 yards per play against the Orange, it’s clear NC State’s offense desperately needs a spark. The Wolfpack has not scored more than 14 points in an ACC contest this season, and quarterback Pete Thomas has thrown eight interceptions. Another concern for NC State has to be its rush defense. After allowing just 107.6 rushing yards per game coming into Week 7, the Wolfpack were gashed by Syracuse for 362 yards on the ground. NC State is off to an 0-3 start in conference play, but Mitchell’s return will help this team make a run at a bowl eligibility. Next Week: Bye

ACC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Anthony Boone, QB, Duke
Still recovering from a collarbone injury, Boone wasn’t guaranteed to start Saturday’s game against Navy. However, Brandon Connette was injured after practice on Thursday and was ruled out just before kickoff. Boone was Duke’s starter prior to his injury against Memphis on Sept. 7, and the junior was sharp in his return to the starting lineup. Boone completed 31 of 38 throws for 295 yards and three scores. The junior did not throw an interception, and the 295 passing yards were the best by Boone in his three starts in 2013.

Defensive Player of the Week: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Beasley gets the nod for the second week in a row as Athlon’s ACC defensive player of the week. The junior recorded five tackles (two for a loss), one pass breakup and one sack in a 24-14 win over Boston College. Those numbers are solid, but Beasley’s biggest contribution came in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Tony Steward forced a fumble from Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, which Beasley picked up and returned for a 13-yard touchdown. The score gave Clemson a 10-point cushion, which was enough to hold off the Eagles’ upset bid.

Coordinator of the Week: Jim Knowles, Duke
Duke’s defense has received plenty of criticism over the last two years, as the Blue Devils finished 11th in the ACC in total defense last season and allowed 36 points a game. And in the first five games of 2013, Duke ranked 12th in the ACC in total defense, allowing 400 yards per game. However, the Blue Devils turned in one of their best defensive performances against a FBS team in recent years, as Navy was held to seven points and 230 rushing yards. The Midshipmen did not score a point in the second half and lost three turnovers. The seven points allowed by Duke was the fewest against a FBS team since holding Vanderbilt to just seven points in 2008. Although the Blue Devils have struggled at times on defense, Knowles and the defensive staff deserve a lot of credit for the performance against Navy.

Team of the Week: Virginia Tech
The pickings are slim here, but let’s give a tip of the cap to Virginia Tech. The Hokies used another strong defensive effort to beat Pittsburgh on Saturday, moving to 6-1 on the season. Last year, Virginia Tech won six games in the regular season and needed a bowl victory over Rutgers to get to 7-6. The offense is still a work in progress, averaging only 328.4 yards per game. However, quarterback Logan Thomas has not thrown an interception in three games. The Hokies are holding opponents to just 256 yards per game and only one opponent has scored more than 20 points in a contest this year.

Freshman of the Week: Jack Tocho, CB, NC State
Tocho made his first start of the season against Syracuse and made an instant impact for NC State’s defense. The true freshman recorded three tackles and picked off Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt twice. Tocho also added one pass breakup. The three-star recruit injured his shoulder against the Orange but made a solid contribution for NC State’s defense when he was on the field.

5th Down

• Pittsburgh averaged just 3.8 yards per play against Virginia Tech.

• Maryland linebacker L.A. Goree turned in a strong performance against Virginia, recording 15 stops (with one tackle for a loss).

• In Saturday’s game against Clemson, Boston College running back Andre Williams was held under 100 yards for only the second time this season.

• Virginia Tech’s defense recorded eight sacks against Pittsburgh, with three coming from Dadi Nicolas.

• Virginia quarterback David Watford threw for a season-high 263 yards against Maryland.

• Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald recorded three tackles for a loss and two sacks against Virginia Tech.

• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last three games.

• Syracuse scored its first ACC win by beating NC State 24-10 on Saturday.

• Georgia Tech defensive tackle Adam Gotsis recorded four tackles for a loss and two sacks against BYU.

• For the first time since 2011, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has not tossed an interception in three consecutive games. 

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The national title picture was altered by Utah’s 27-21 win over Stanford on Saturday. The Cardinal’s first loss of the season is early enough to rebound back into the BCS title contention, but Stanford still has to play Oregon and UCLA.

Utah’s win over Stanford was arguably its biggest since it joined the Pac-12 and should be enough for the Utes to get back to a bowl game.

USC had a solid showing in the first game of the post-Lane Kiffin era, defeating Arizona 38-31.

Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon State scored blowout victories, while Oregon picked up a huge 45-21 win at Washington.

More Post-Week 7 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | SEC

Pac-12 Post-Week 7 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Oregon (6-0, 3-0): With Stanford losing to Utah, it’s clear the Pac-12 title runs through Eugene. The Ducks passed their biggest test of the season with a 45-24 victory over Washington on Saturday. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was simply flawless against the Huskies, throwing for 366 yards and three scores and rushing for 88 yards and one touchdown on 13 attempts. The Ducks’ defense delivered with some timely stops, recorded five sacks and seven tackles for a loss, and held Washington quarterback Keith Price to just 182 passing yards. Assuming Oregon beats Washington State this Saturday, the Ducks’ national title hopes could hinge on a two-game stretch of a home game against UCLA and a road date at Stanford. Next Week: Washington State
24UCLA (5-0, 2-0): Thanks to Stanford’s loss at Utah, the Bruins climb to the No. 2 spot in the Pac-12 power rankings. The Bruins defeated California 37-10 on Saturday, improving to 5-0 for the first time since 2005. Although it was a comfortable 27-point win, UCLA shouldn’t be satisfied with its performance. The rushing attack had only 78 yards, and California exploited the offensive line for eight tackles for a loss and two sacks. The Bruins are favorite to win the Pac-12 South, but this team’s toughest tests of 2013 have yet to come. Next Week: at Stanford 
32Stanford (5-1, 3-1): The Cardinal’s national title hopes took a huge hit with a 27-21 loss in Salt Lake City. Stanford trailed Utah 27-14 early in the fourth quarter but rallied with a touchdown pass from quarterback Kevin Hogan to receiver Devon Cajuste. The Cardinal had a chance to take the lead with less than a minute to go, but Hogan’s pass fell incomplete on fourth and goal, giving the Utes a huge upset win. Utah outgained Stanford 415 to 389, and the Utes’ defensive line outplayed the Cardinal’s offensive line. If Stanford wants to get back into the national title picture, it will have a chance in the next three weeks with games against UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon. Next Week: UCLA
4 Washington (4-2, 1-2): The Huskies are 1-2 in Pac-12 play, but we have to give some credit in terms of overall schedule difficulty. Washington held its own against Stanford last week and traded punches with Oregon, trailing only 31-24 going into the fourth quarter. The Huskies have closed the gap in the Pac-12 North, but coach Steve Sarkisian still has more work to do. Washington’s road in conference play won’t get any easier this week, as a trip to Tempe awaits. Next Week: at Arizona State  
5 Arizona State (4-2, 2-1): As expected, the Sun Devils didn’t have much trouble with Colorado. Arizona State led 47-6 at halftime against the Buffaloes and cruised to an easy 54-13 victory. The Sun Devils finished with 532 overall yards, which included a solid performance from running back Marion Grice (88 yards, two scores). Arizona State’s defense feasted on Colorado’s offensive, recording four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and forcing four turnovers. The Sun Devils are chasing UCLA for the top spot in the Pac-12 South, with the Nov. 23 date looking like a de facto division title game. Next Week: Washington
6 Oregon State (5-1, 3-0): The Beavers have been on fire since losing to Eastern Washington, recording five straight victories. Oregon State’s offense has led the way, as the Beavers average 506.8 yards per game, and quarterback Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks are one of the top pass-catch combinations in the nation. The defense has struggled at times this year but stepped up with six turnovers in the 52-24 win over Washington State. Assuming Oregon State beats California next Saturday, the Oct. 26 showdown against Stanford will have huge Pac-12 North title implications. Next Week: at California
79Utah (4-2, 1-2): The Utes’ No. 7 ranking in the power rankings shows just how deep the Pac-12 is this season. Utah pulled off one of the biggest upsets of 2013 by defeating Stanford 27-21 on Saturday. Both sides of the ball delivered for the Utes, as quarterback Travis Wilson threw for 234 yards, and running back Bubba Poole chipped in 111 yards on the ground, while recording seven receptions for 75 yards. The defense had only two sacks but made plays at key times, including a fourth and goal in the final minute. Another sign of how good Utah has been this year: The Utes lost by seven to UCLA and just by three to Oregon State. Beating Stanford was no fluke. Next Week: at Arizona
810USC (4-2, 1-2): The Trojans looked like a different team in Thursday night’s win over Arizona. With Ed Orgeron now in control, USC seemed to play loose and it clearly showed on the field. The offense recorded 546 yards (7.3 yards per play), including two 60-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter. Running back Silas Redd made his 2013 debut, rushing for 80 yards on 19 attempts. The defense gave up 508 yards to the Wildcats, but it’s easier for USC to win games when the offense scores 38 points and wins the time of possession battle by seven minutes. The Trojans have a tough schedule in the second half of the season, but if the same effort against Arizona is there in the next six games, USC will find a way into a bowl. Next Week: at Notre Dame
97Arizona (3-2, 0-2): After a 3-0 start, the Wildcats have dropped their last two games. However, losses to Washington and USC are nothing to be ashamed about. In Thursday night’s defeat at USC, Arizona’s passing attack showed signs of life after struggling early in the year, as quarterback B.J. Denker threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns. The Wildcats will have a chance to gain some ground over the next few weeks, as they will likely be favored to beat Utah, Colorado and California. Next Week: Utah
108Washington State (4-3, 2-2): Although the final scoreboard read 52-24, Saturday’s loss to Oregon State wasn’t quite as one-sided as the score would indicate. The Cougars were tied with the Beavers going into the fourth quarter, but turnovers on five consecutive drives allowed Oregon State’s offense to pull away in the final 15 minutes. Washington State has clearly made progress in coach Mike Leach’s second season and need two wins to get bowl eligible. However, the schedule isn’t kind, and the Cougars have to do a better job of holding onto the ball after losing 20 turnovers through the first seven games. Next Week: at Oregon
1111Colorado (2-3, 0-3): The Buffaloes dropped their third consecutive game, losing 54-13 to Arizona State. Colorado was simply overmatched against the Sun Devils, falling behind 47-6 by halftime and being outgained 532 to 268. Freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau made his debut on Saturday, completing 18 of 26 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown. There’s no denying this is a rebuilding year for the Buffaloes, so getting Liufau some experience in the final seven games is a good idea as Colorado builds to 2014. Next Week: Charleston Southern
1212California (1-5, 0-3): After four consecutive losses, the Golden Bears are reeling in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season. Several factors are to blame for the struggles, but the defense, which is dealing with a plethora of injuries, has been the primary culprit. California held UCLA to 37 points on Saturday, but the Golden Bears have lost by 20 points in three consecutive games. Quarterback Jared Goff only threw for 215 yards against UCLA, but the freshman passer didn’t have much help from a rushing attack that managed 2.8 yards per carry. The schedule isn’t getting any easier for California, as Oregon State, Washington, Arizona and USC are its next four games. Next Week: Oregon State

Pac-12 Week 7 Awards

by Braden Gall

 

Offensive Player of the Week: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Ducks quarterback was brilliant again, this time on the road against a ranked divisional foe and rival. Mariota led the Ducks to an easy 45-24 win over Washington by completing 24-of-31 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He added 88 yards rushing on 13 carries and another touchdown on the ground. He is now 18-1 as a starter with 63 career total touchdowns and just six interceptions. Mariota hasn't thrown a pick in 233 attempts.

Defensive Player of the Week: Nate Orchard, LB, Utah
Fellow defensive linemates Trevor Reilly and Tenny Palepoi have made more plays and garnered more headlines through five games, but Saturday night's upset of Stanford was Orchard's coming out party. He registered his second and third sack of the season and forced two huge fumbles for a Utah defense that simply outplayed the Cardinal for most of the game. He finished with five total tackles on the night and was a big part of the final minute goal-line stand that won the game for the Utes.

Team of the Week: Utah 
The Utes shocked the college football world by handling the Stanford Cardinal with relative ease. The 27-21 win over the No. 5 team in the nation wasn't a fluke as Utah outgained Stanford, won the turnover battle, were penalized just four times and won the time of possession game. Travis Wilson was solid (234 yards, two touchdowns, interception, 33 rush yards) at quarterback and the running game carried the offense (39 carries, 176 yards) while the defense capitalized on two critical fumbles. It was the first win for Utah in Rice-Eccles Stadium over a top-five team.

Co-Coordinator of the Week: Dennis Erickson and Kalani Sitake, Utah
The defense played well for Utah under the leadership of coordinator Kalani Sitake, holding Stanford to just 21 points and 389 yards of offense while forcing two critical turnovers and holding Stanford to a season-low 13 first downs. Offensively, the Utes might have been even more impressive. Erickson's squad, led by quarterback Travis Wilson, averaged 5.7 yards per play, the worst number allowed by Stanford all season. The Utes rushed for 181 yards against the vaunted Cardinal front seven, a number only topped by Army's triple option (284 in Week 3). Wilson completed 67.6-percent of his passes.

 

Freshman of the Week: Andy Phillips, K, Utah
The freshman placekicker has been literally perfect all season for the Utes and he came up big in the upset win over Stanford. While Stanford missed its one field goal chance, Phillips made drilled two second-half field goals, including a long 48-yarder, that eventually gave Utah its margin of victory. He made all three extra points and has yet to miss a kick of any kind all season. In fact, no kicker in the nation has made more field goals without missing than Phillips (11-for-11) and he is 27-for-27 on extra points.

 

Fifth Down

 

• Despite the loss, Washington's Bishop Sankey continues to shine. He rushed for 167 yards and two scores against Oregon and is leading the nation in rushing at 149.8 yards per game. Sankey has scored a rushing TD in at least eight straight games and has scored multiple touchdowns in nine of his last 17 games.

 

• Arizona State's Taylor Kelly failed to throw for at least 300 yards (233) for the first time all season. But the ASU fans will take it, as the Sun Devils rolled Colorado 54-13.

 

• Brett Hundley continued his Heisman season for UCLA by throwing for a career-high 410 yards. It was his first 400-yard game of his career.

 

• After holding Cal to just 320 yards, the Bruins have now allowed between 320 and 387 yards of total offense in every game. The number was a season low for Sonny Dykes' Golden Bears.

 

• With 4:50 to go in the third quarter, Washington State was leading Oregon State 24-17. The Beavers scored five unanswered touchdowns over the final 16 minutes of play to post an easy road win over Wazzu.

 

• Oregon State's Sean Mannion threw for 493 yards and four touchdowns. Mannion (51) and WSU's Connor Halliday (49) combined for exactly 100 pass attempts in the Beavers' 52-24 win.

 

• De'Anthony Thomas was active for the game against Washington but didn't play. He should be back on the field by next week.

 

• Silas Redd returned to the field for USC against Arizona. He rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries but many of those yards came on critical carries late in the game.

 

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It’s been a while since a college football coach had a good rant.

Thankfully, LSU coach Les Miles was feeling a little feisty after Saturday’s win against Florida.

Miles was asked about a hammer and nails in relation to last year’s loss at Florida….and his response was priceless:

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With Florida State and Miami on bye, Week 7 was off the radar in terms of national attention. However, Saturday’s games set the table for what should be an interesting second half of the season in the ACC.

Clemson survived an upset bid by Boston College, while Virginia Tech won its sixth consecutive game by defeating Pittsburgh 19-9.

Duke and Syracuse scored key victories, which should help both teams in the race to get bowl eligible .

Elsewhere around the ACC, Georgia Tech lost its third consecutive game, while Maryland defeated Virginia 27-26 without starting quarterback C.J. Brown.

ACC Week 7 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Anthony Boone, QB, Duke
Still recovering from a collarbone injury, Boone wasn’t guaranteed to start Saturday’s game against Navy. However, Brandon Connette was injured after practice on Thursday and was ruled out just before kickoff. Boone was Duke’s starter prior to his injury against Memphis on Sept. 7, and the junior was sharp in his return to the starting lineup. Boone completed 31 of 38 throws for 295 yards and three scores. The junior did not throw an interception, and the 295 passing yards were the best by Boone in his three starts in 2013.

Defensive Player of the Week: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Beasley gets the nod for the second week in a row as Athlon’s ACC defensive player of the week. The junior recorded five tackles (two for a loss), one pass breakup and one sack in a 24-14 win over Boston College. Those numbers are solid, but Beasley’s biggest contribution came in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Tony Steward forced a fumble from Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, which Beasley picked up and returned for a 13-yard touchdown. The score gave Clemson a 10-point cushion, which was enough to hold off the Eagles’ upset bid.

Coordinator of the Week: Jim Knowles, Duke
Duke’s defense has received plenty of criticism over the last two years, as the Blue Devils finished 11th in the ACC in total defense last season and allowed 36 points a game. And in the first five games of 2013, Duke ranked 12th in the ACC in total defense, allowing 400 yards per game. However, the Blue Devils turned in one of their best defensive performances against a FBS team in recent years, as Navy was held to seven points and 230 rushing yards. The Midshipmen did not score a point in the second half and lost three turnovers. The seven points allowed by Duke was the fewest against a FBS team since holding Vanderbilt to just seven points in 2008. Although the Blue Devils have struggled at times on defense, Knowles and the defensive staff deserve a lot of credit for the performance against Navy.

Team of the Week: Virginia Tech
The pickings are slim here, but let’s give a tip of the cap to Virginia Tech. The Hokies used another strong defensive effort to beat Pittsburgh on Saturday, moving to 6-1 on the season. Last year, Virginia Tech won six games in the regular season and needed a bowl victory over Rutgers to get to 7-6. The offense is still a work in progress, averaging only 328.4 yards per game. However, quarterback Logan Thomas has not thrown an interception in three games. The Hokies are holding opponents to just 256 yards per game and only one opponent has scored more than 20 points in a contest this year.

Freshman of the Week: Jack Tocho, CB, NC State
Tocho made his first start of the season against Syracuse and made an instant impact for NC State’s defense. The true freshman recorded three tackles and picked off Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt twice. Tocho also added one pass breakup. The three-star recruit injured his shoulder against the Orange but made a solid contribution for NC State’s defense when he was on the field.

5th Down

• Pittsburgh averaged just 3.8 yards per play against Virginia Tech.

• Maryland linebacker L.A. Goree turned in a strong performance against Virginia, recording 15 stops (with one tackle for a loss).

• In Saturday’s game against Clemson, Boston College running back Andre Williams was held under 100 yards for only the second time this season.

• Virginia Tech’s defense recorded eight sacks against Pittsburgh, with three coming from Dadi Nicolas.

• Virginia quarterback David Watford threw for a season-high 263 yards against Maryland.

• Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald recorded three tackles for a loss and two sacks against Virginia Tech.

• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last three games.

• Syracuse scored its first ACC win by beating NC State 24-10 on Saturday.

• Georgia Tech defensive tackle Adam Gotsis recorded four tackles for a loss and two sacks against BYU.

• For the first time since 2011, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has not tossed an interception in three consecutive games. 

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Post date: Sunday, October 13, 2013 - 13:23
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouri-qb-james-franklin-separates-shoulder-against-georgia
Body:

Missouri staked its claim in the SEC East on Saturday with a huge road victory over Georgia.

However, the win was costly for the Tigers, as quarterback James Franklin suffered a separated shoulder in the second half and is out indefinitely. The school has not released how long Franklin will be sidelined, but various reports indicate the senior will likely miss six weeks.

Franklin was injured throughout the 2012 season, which was a big reason why Missouri finished 5-7. However, Franklin looked 100 percent this season and had 14 touchdowns and only three picks prior to his injury.

With Franklin sidelined, redshirt freshman Maty Mauk will start under center. Prior to the game against Georgia, Mauk had thrown only three passes in his career.

Mauk will have his hands full the next few weeks, as Missouri hosts Florida, South Carolina in back-to-back games. The redshirt freshman has a tough assignment, but the experience will be valuable as he should be the Tigers’ quarterback in 2014.

There’s no question Franklin will be missed, and his injury is a huge setback for a Missouri team off to a 6-0 start.

 

Teaser:
Missouri QB James Franklin Separates Shoulder Against Georgia
Post date: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 19:02
Path: /college-football/texas-qb-case-mccoy-gets-destroyed-oklahomas-eric-striker
Body:

Texas quarterback Case McCoy was destroyed by Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker in the first half of the Red River Rivalry.

Check out this hit, which might be one of the biggest of the 2013 season:

Teaser:
Texas QB Case McCoy Gets Destroyed by Oklahoma's Eric Striker
Post date: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 13:27
Path: /college-football/missouri-tigers-vs-georgia-bulldogs-2013-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Missouri versus Georgia is suddenly a big game in the SEC. The Tigers are clearly improved in their second season in the SEC, and a win over the Bulldogs would put coach Gary Pinkel’s team in the mix with Florida and South Carolina for the top spot in the East Division.

The Tigers haven’t played the most challenging schedule but are 5-0 and handled Vanderbilt in their SEC opener. Missouri also has a solid road win at Indiana and has scored at least 38 points in every game this season.

Georgia’s path to a 4-1 record featured one of the most difficult slates in the nation. The Bulldogs lost at Clemson in the opener but rebounded with four consecutive wins. In addition to a victory over North Texas, Georgia defeated South Carolina 41-30 and LSU 44-41 and survived an upset bid by Tennessee 34-31 in overtime last week. 

These two teams have met only twice, with Georgia winning both matchups. Prior to last season’s game, the only previous matchup between these two schools was in the 1960 Orange Bowl.

Missouri vs. Georgia

Kickoff: 12 ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Georgia -8

Three Things to Watch

How will Georgia stop Missouri QB James Franklin?
What a difference a year makes. After battling various ailments and recovering from offseason shoulder surgery last season, Franklin looks like a different quarterback in 2013. The senior has thrown for 1,407 yards and 13 touchdowns and is completing 67.9 percent of his throws. Franklin has also rushed for 278 yards and two scores and has already surpassed his total offense total (1,684) from last season. Georgia’s defense returned only three starters this season, and this unit is still a work in progress after five games. The Bulldogs rank 10th in the SEC in yards allowed 12th in pass defense. In addition to stopping Franklin, Missouri has a strong supporting cast, led by receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and running backs Russell Hansbrough and Henry Josey. Franklin’s dual-threat ability will be a huge test for Georgia’s defense, especially after the Bulldogs allowed Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd to record 312 yards and five scores in the opener.

Aaron Murray’s supporting cast
Injuries have decimated Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray’s supporting cast. Running back Todd Gurley did not play in last week’s win over Tennessee due to a sprained ankle and is not expected to play against Missouri. The Bulldogs also lost running back Keith Marshall for the season with a torn ACL last week, which means freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas will shoulder the workload on the ground. Green has been a capable option in limited action (8.8 ypc), and the coaching staff may pull the redshirt off of A.J. Turman this week. As if the injuries at running back weren’t enough, Georgia is shorthanded at receiver. Malcolm Mitchell was lost for the year in the opener due to a torn ACL, and Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley were injured against Tennessee last week. Bennett is out indefinitely, while Scott-Wesley will miss the rest of the season. Senior Rhett McGowan and junior Chris Conley are capable options at receiver, but depth is a concern. Expect the Bulldogs to involve tight ends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome more in the passing game this week. Murray is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, but how much transition time will it require with the changes in his supporting cast?

Missouri’s DL vs. Georgia’s OL
Missouri’s defensive line was considered by most to be a weakness this preseason. But the Tigers have been strong in the trenches so far, as end Michael Sam is tied for the SEC lead with six sacks, and opponents are managing just 118.6 rushing yards per game this season. Sam isn’t the only player off to a good start on the line, as end Kony Ealy has two sacks and tackles Lucas Vincent and Matt Hoch have combined for 19 stops. Only one player (Toledo’s David Fluellen) has rushed for more than 100 yards on Missouri’s defense so far this season. Georgia’s offensive line allowed four sacks in the opener against Clemson but allowed just three in the other four games. Will Sam continue his hot start to the season? Or will Georgia’s offensive line control the line of scrimmage? This battle will be a matchup to watch on Saturday.

Key Player: J.J. Green, RB, Georgia
With Gurley not expected to play and Keith Marshall out for the season, Green has to carry the ground attack against Missouri. The Tigers rank third in the SEC against the run, holding opponents to 118.6 yards per game. Prior to last week’s game against Tennessee, the freshman had only five carries in his career. Against the Volunteers, Green stepped up with the game on the line, recording 129 yards on 17 attempts. Considering the depth issues here, Green will be needed for 25-30 rushes on Saturday, which will surpass the 22 he has through five appearances this year. Quarterback Aaron Murray is one of the best in the nation, but he can’t win this game on his own. Will Green give the Bulldogs 100 yards on Saturday?  

Final Analysis

With all of its injuries, Georgia will have its hands full with a much-improved Missouri team. The Tigers shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball against the Bulldogs, but Georgia’s athletic and fast defense will be the best the Tigers have faced this season. The Bulldogs pass-rush duo of Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd should be able to exploit Missouri’s offensive line, which has allowed 11 sacks through five games. Quarterback James Franklin threw for 269 yards against the Bulldogs last year and will need over 300 total yards for the Tigers to win on Saturday.

Missouri shows its 5-0 start is no fluke with a strong performance in Athens. However, Georgia is the better team and once again, will find a way to win.

Prediction: Georgia 34, Missouri 27

Teaser:
Missouri Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 07:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-7-upset-predictions-2013
Body:

Conference play is officially underway across all 10 college football leagues.

And with conference play starting, the potential for upsets has increased. Teams in the same league have a certain level of familiarity and recruit a lot of the same players.

Although college football has yet to see a huge upset among the top-10 teams, it’s still likely to happen at some point this season.

Athlon’s experts are back with another week of upset predictions. South Florida, Michigan and Miami (Ohio) are popular picks as underdogs this week.

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

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: ACC |Big Ten | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

College Football Week 7 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): South Florida (+5.5) over Connecticut
The Huskies may find a spark under interim coach TJ Weist, but I think the Bulls are the better team and have momentum after last week’s win over Cincinnati. Connecticut made a quarterback change during the bye week, as freshman Tim Boyle has replaced Chandler Whitmer in the starting lineup. However, the Huskies still have major problems on the offensive line and average just 1.4 yards per rush. South Florida’s offense hasn’t been much better, but the Bulls are coming off a season-high 26 points against Cincinnati last week. Quarterback Steven Bench and running back Michael Shaw are questionable due to injuries, but South Florida’s defense should be enough to win a close, ugly affair in Storrs this week.


Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Penn State (+3) over Michigan
The Nittany Lions are coming off a horrendous showing at Indiana, losing to the Hoosiers for the first time in 17 tries. Michigan has had its issues (see UConn and Akron) and simply isn't as good as their perfect record and top 20 ranking indicate. Brady Hoke's group played a near perfect game against Minnesota last week and cannot be expected to play that cleanly every week. The Maize and Blue haven't beaten Penn State since 2007 and have lost three straight in the series. A home game against a brand like Michigan would begin to create the legend of Christian Hackenberg in Happy Valley. And no one has proven to have an answer for Penn State receiver Allen Robinson this season.


Mark Ross: Miami (Ohio) (+3.5) over UMass
This is the farthest thing from a marquee matchup on this week's slate, and not just because this is a Mid-American Conference (MAC) game. Don't get me wrong, the MAC has some strong teams, led by No. 23-ranked Northern Illinois. It also has some not-so-great teams, which is where the RedHawks and Minutemen come in. Neither has yet to win a game, with the closest defeat being a 10-point loss by UMass to FCS member Maine. Miami (Ohio) has already fired its head coach, and combined these two teams have scored 79 points in 10 games. Baylor is averaging more than 70 points PER game. But the Bears aren't playing in this game, and either the RedHawks or the Minutemen are going to finally get in the win column, if anything because there are no ties in college football. For no reason other than entertainment purposes, I'll pick Miami to pull the road upset. After all, what would be more fitting than RedHawks interim head coach Mike Bath getting one (the Gatorade variety) in his first game?


David Fox (@DavidFox615): Missouri (+8) over Georgia
Not a lot of obvious upset bait this week. I thought of picking Bowling Green over Mississippi State, but it’s tough to forget Indiana’s rout of the Falcons. Missouri may not be a realistic SEC East contender, but the Tigers may be good enough to beat a wounded Georgia team on the road. This may be the week for Georgia to stumble, if it wasn’t last week. Too many injuries on the offensive side of the ball mean a lot of new players working with the offense, not to mention the emotional toll by all those injuries. Mizzou may sense a chance to pounce. With all the great quarterbacks in the SEC this season, James Franklin is overlooked. He could change that a major performance in Athens.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, TCU Horned Frogs
Path: /college-football/tcu-de-devonte-fields-out-season-foot-injury
Body:

TCU’s defense suffered a blow on Wednesday, as end Devonte Fields will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

Fields was the Big 12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year last season and was selected as the Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

In 13 games last year, Fields recorded 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks.

However, Fields never got on track in 2013, as he was suspended for the first two games and only recorded four tackles (two for a loss) in his limited snaps.

Although Fields will be missed, TCU’s defense is still one of the best in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs rank fourth in the conference in total defense after five games and shouldn’t slip too far with Fields sidelined for the year.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football
Path: /college-football/acc-week-7-preview-and-predictions-2013
Body:

There isn't a huge game with national interest in the ACC this Saturday, but there is no shortage of intrigue.

Pittsburgh has quietly improved to 3-1 after losing its opener, and the Panthers have a chance to stake their claim in the Coastal Division race with a win at Virginia Tech this week.

Georgia Tech is reeling just a bit after back-to-back losses, and the Yellow Jackets won’t get a break with a trip to BYU this Saturday. Georgia Tech’s offense will have its hands full against the Cougars’ active front seven.

Virginia-Maryland, Syracuse-NC State and Boston College-Clemson are the other contests within conference play this week. Due to realignment, this is the last scheduled matchup between the Terrapins and Cavaliers. The Wolfpack and Orange are both searching for a win after losing last week, while the Tigers are a heavy favorite against Boston College.

Duke steps out of conference play for a tough matchup against Navy this Saturday. The Blue Devils will be fighting just to get bowl eligible this year, so beating the Midshipmen is a must if this team wants to get to six wins.

Week 7 Previews and Predictions: Big Ten | Big 12Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Week 7 Game Power Rankings

1. Pittsburgh (+9) at Virginia Tech (12 ET, ESPNU)
After six weeks, the Coastal Division looks like a two-team race between Virginia Tech and Miami. But is it time to add Pittsburgh to the top tier of the division? Saturday’s game in Blacksburg is a good measuring stick for the Panthers, as coach Paul Chryst’s team has rebounded with three wins in a row after losing to Florida State in the opener. Led by their defense, the Hokies have won five in a row, but the offense is starting to show some signs of life. Quarterback Logan Thomas isn’t putting up huge numbers. However, the senior hasn’t thrown an interception in two games and has completed at least 67 percent of his passes in the last two contests. Without a consistent running game, much of Virginia Tech’s offensive success will rest on No. 3’s shoulders. Despite returning eight starters, Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled this year. The Panthers rank 10th in the ACC in total defense and have forced just seven turnovers and nine sacks in four games. While the defense has struggled, Pittsburgh’s offense averages 6.4 yards per play and freshmen Tyler Boyd (WR) and James Conner (RB) have provided a boost for this unit. But the big concern for the Panthers against Virginia Tech will be an offensive line that has allowed 13 sacks this season. The Hokies lead the ACC in total defense (263.7 ypg) and have generated 19 sacks and 16 turnovers. Pittsburgh beat Virginia Tech last season, but the Panthers will have their hands full against the Hokies’ defense.

2. Georgia Tech (+7) at BYU (7 ET, ESPN2)
After back-to-back games against Virginia Tech and Miami, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets travel to Provo, Utah on Saturday to play BYU – a team they lost 41-17 to last season. The Cougars have lost both of their games this season by a combined 10 points and have won two in a row after a 1-2 start. Winning the battle in the trenches is crucial for both teams on Saturday. Georgia Tech’s rushing attack averages 300 yards per game, but BYU’s front seven is loaded with talent, including senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who has seven tackles for a loss this year. The Yellow Jackets could be shorthanded on the offensive line, as tackles Ray Beno and Morgan Bailey may not play due to injury. The Cougars are holding opponents to just 3.5 yards per rush this year, so it’s critical for Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee to loosen up the front seven with the passing game. Lee has struggled in the last two games after a fast start, completing just 10 of 37 passes for 207 yards and two interceptions in the last two games. Georgia Tech’s defense allowed 45 points to Miami last week but ranks fourth in the ACC in total defense (330.6 ypg). BYU’s offense is led by dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill, but running back Jamaal Williams and receiver Cody Hoffman are also dangerous options. 

3. Virginia (+7) at Maryland (3:30 ET, ESPNU)
Due to realignment, this is the last scheduled meeting between these two programs. Maryland and Virginia have met every year since 1957, with the Terrapins owning a 43-32-2 series edge. Both teams enter Saturday’s game reeling after disappointing losses last week. The Cavaliers were upset 48-27 by Ball State, while Maryland was dominated in a 63-0 defeat at Florida State. Terrapins’ quarterback C.J. Brown suffered a concussion against the Seminoles, and his status for Saturday’s game is uncertain. If Brown doesn’t start, Maryland’s offense is in good hands with Caleb Rowe, who started one game last season. The Cavaliers’ defense struggled to stop Ball State and Oregon, but in its other three games, Virginia’s opponents combined for just 30 points. While the Cavaliers’ defense is capable of keeping this one close, the offense remains a huge concern. Virginia showed some signs of life against Ball State (5.5 yards per play) but ranks 12th in the ACC in total offense and is last in the conference in yards per play (4.3). With injuries knocking out its top two cornerbacks, Maryland likes to bring pressure to protect its secondary, recording 18 sacks in five games. The Cavaliers have won three in a row in College Park, but will have trouble earning the victory in this one if the offense doesn’t play better.

4. Navy (+3) at Duke (12:30 ET, ACC Network)
Getting back to a bowl game isn’t an easy task for Duke, which is why this week’s game against Navy is a must-win matchup. The Blue Devils trail in the overall series to the Midshipmen (20-14-5) but have won the last two meetings. There should be no shortage of points on Saturday, and Duke could have quarterback Anthony Boone back in the lineup after missing the last three games with a collarbone injury. If Boone can’t play, the Blue Devils’ offense is in good hands with backup Brandon Connette, who ranks sixth in the ACC in total offense (249.2). Duke will need all of the points it can get on Saturday, especially since its defense ranks 10th in the ACC against the run and 12th in scoring defense. Navy averages 403.5 yards per game on the ground, with quarterback Keenan Reynolds the catalyst for the option attack. Preparing for a triple-option offense is never easy, but the Blue Devils have had two weeks to get ready. A bad sign for Duke: Georgia Tech rushed for 344 yards against the Blue Devils in their matchup earlier this season.

5. Syracuse (+6.5) at NC State (3:30 ET, RSN)
Syracuse and NC State are looking to get back in the win column after both teams suffered losses last week. The Orange was simply overmatched in a 49-14 loss against Clemson, while NC State was upset 28-13 by Wake Forest. The Wolfpack are hoping to get quarterback Brandon Mitchell back in the lineup this Saturday, but the senior’s status is likely a gametime decision after suffering a broken foot in the season opener. Syracuse is also looking for answers at quarterback, as Terrel Hunt played well against Wagner and Tulane but completed just 8 of 24 throws (with three interceptions) against Clemson last Saturday. With both teams dealing with some uncertainty at quarterback, the ground attack will be crucial on this week. Syracuse ranks fifth in the ACC in rushing offense, while NC State is sixth. Jerome Smith leads the way for the Orange (342 yards), while the Wolfpack has seven players with at least 100 rushing yards this season. NC State holds an edge on defense, limiting opponents to five yards a play and ranks second in the ACC against the run. NC State owns a 6-0 series edge against Syracuse, but these two teams have not played since 1998.

6. Boston College (+24.5) at Clemson (3:30 ET, ESPN2/ABC)
With a huge showdown against Florida State next Saturday, this matchup has to be designated as a potential trap game for Clemson. Boston College has improved significantly under new coach Steve Addazio, already surpassing its win total from 2012 after five games. Running back Andre Williams leads the ACC with 153.6 rushing yards per game and faces a Clemson defense ranked 12th in the conference against the run. Opponents are averaging 4.2 yards per rush against the Tigers, so Williams should expect to see a heavy workload on Saturday, especially as Boston College looks to keep Clemson’s offense on the sideline. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has been sharp for the Tigers this year, completing 66 percent of his throws and averaging 289.8 yards per game. Boston College’s defense will have its hands full against Clemson’s offense, as this unit has allowed at least 27 points in each of its last three games, including 48 to Florida State. Coordinator Don Brown loves to blitz, but the Eagles could be vulnerable to the big play against the Tigers’ receiving corps. If Boston College gets Williams on track, it has a chance to shorten this game and hang around until the fourth quarter. But the Eagles’ biggest nightmare would be an early 17-0 or 21-0 lead by Clemson, as they just aren’t built to rally from a huge deficit. 

ACC Week 7 Pivotal Players

Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh
The Panthers are tied for the most sacks allowed in the ACC with 13 after four games. Quarterback Tom Savage is a talented drop-back passer, but the senior doesn’t have much mobility. Virginia Tech’s defensive line is deep and talented, recording 19 sacks in six games and limiting opponents to just 263.7 yards per game. Bisnowaty will be matched against ends James Gayle or J.R. Collins, and the freshman will have a tough time trying to slow down the Hokies’ dynamic pass-rush duo.

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
If Pittsburgh can protect quarterback Tom Savage, the Panthers will have a chance to make plays downfield with receivers Tyler Boyd and Devin Street. The Hokies will counter with a deep secondary, with senior Kyle Fuller (21 tackles, 2 INT, 7 PBU) and freshmen Kyle Fuller and Brandon Facyson also in the mix. Virginia Tech’s secondary could get even deeper this week, as senior Antone Exum is close to returning from a knee injury. The matchup between Boyd/Street and the Hokies’ pass defense will be one of the top individual battles in the ACC this year.

Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
Boston College would like to control the clock and limit the possessions by Clemson’s offense this Saturday. In order for the Eagles to accomplish that, running back Andre Williams needs to have another big game. The senior is averaging 153.6 yards per game this season and faces a Clemson defense allowing 171.2 yards per game. Jarrett is crucial to slowing down Williams, as the junior needs to win the battle on the line of scrimmage. 

Vad Lee, QB, Georgia Tech
After starting the year 22 of 39 for 418 yards and seven touchdowns, Lee has completed just 12 of 37 passes for 207 yards and three interceptions in his last two games. And the sophomore is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry with only three touchdowns this season. BYU’s secondary hasn’t played the strongest group of quarterbacks this year, but this unit was hit hard by injuries in the preseason. Lee needs to execute the option better and has to hit a few plays in the passing game against the Cougars. However, BYU’s front seven is stout, led by senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy and 305-pound nose tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna.

Kevin Parks, RB, Virginia
With quarterback David Watford struggling to get on track this year, the Cavaliers need more production from the rushing attack. Parks is averaging 79.6 yards per game but rushed for only 34 yards in Virginia’s only ACC contest this year. Maryland ranks third in the ACC against the run (115.4 ypg) and features underrated nose tackle Darius Kilgo anchoring the line. Parks needs to have at least 100 yards for the Cavaliers to win on Saturday.

ACC Week 7 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Pittsburgh (+9) at Va. TechVa. Tech 28-21Va. Tech 34-30Va. Tech 27-20Va. Tech 24-17
Navy (+3) at DukeNavy 35-28Navy 24-23Navy 34-30Duke 27-17
Syracuse (+6.5) at NC StateNC State 24-21NC State 31-28NC State 31-24NC State 24-17
Virginia (+7) at MarylandMaryland 35-10Maryland 34-13Maryland 31-17Maryland 34-20
Boston College (+24.5) at ClemsonClemson 35-10Clemson 44-17Clemson 45-20Clemson 41-17
Georgia Tech (+7) at BYUBYU 38-31BYU 34-31BYU 27-24BYU 28-20
Record46-1047-947-947-9

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 08:00
Path: /college-football/tennessee-virginia-tech-play-bristol-motor-speedway-2016
Body:

In what has been rumored for years, Tennessee and Virginia Tech have finally agreed to a game at Bristol Motor Speedway. The game will take place in 2016, but no date has been officially announced.

The Hokies and Volunteers should draw a huge crowd for the game, as both programs are located less than two hours from NASCAR's fastest half-mile track.



 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 18:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-october-9
Body:

Almost at the halfway point of the 2013 season.

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, October 9th

Stanford coach David Shaw wasn't pleased with Washington coach Steve Sarkisian's accusation the Cardinal were faking injuries in last week's game.

Some great news for the College All Star Bowl, as the game has been picked up by CBS Sports Network and will air in February. 

Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield did not suffer any ligament damage in a knee injury against Kansas last week. However, his status for this Saturday's game is uncertain.

Florida State safety Tyler Hunter's season is over after neck surgery.

College Football's Playoff will announce its committee next week. 

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn't happy with his punt returns...so he might ban his players from returning punts the rest of the year?

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is ready to go against Northwestern after suffering a knee injury against Ohio State.

Saturday Down South takes a look at attendance across the SEC this year.

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson wasn't feeling well prior to last week's game against UCLA.

Duke quarterback Anthony Boone could play (collarbone injury) in Saturday's game against Navy.

Why isn't Oklahoma State's offense running at a faster pace this year?

Some small tweaks to Missouri's offense have helped the Tigers rebound this season.

Two East Carolina receivers are suspended for this week's game against Tulane.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/washington-unveils-new-helmet-game-against-oregon
Body:

Washington takes on Oregon in one of the biggest games of Week 7 this Saturday. The Huskies unveiled a new gold helmet earlier this year and have released a black matte helmet for Saturday's matchup against the Ducks.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC
Path: /college-football/injuries-mounting-georgia-still-favorite-sec-east
Body:

Georgia opened the 2013 season with a loss to Clemson, but the Bulldogs have won four in a row, including key SEC matchups against South Carolina and LSU.

Despite Georgia’s winning streak, trouble could be lurking.

Running back Keith Marshall and receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell are all out for the year due to injury. And receiver Michael Bennett is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury against Tennessee.

With injuries mounting, the Bulldogs hold on the SEC East is starting to fade.

Georgia has already crossed two huge hurdles with South Carolina and LSU, but Florida, Missouri and Auburn remain.

With Injuries Mounting, Will Georgia Win the SEC East?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I still like Georgia as the favorite in the SEC East. There’s no question the injuries to receiver Michael Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley, along with running back Keith Marshall are going to be difficult to overcome. However, the Bulldogs have one of the nation’s best quarterbacks (Aaron Murray) at their disposal, along with running back Todd Gurley and an experienced offensive line. While Georgia ranks last in the SEC in scoring defense, this unit will only get better with more experience. Games against Missouri, Auburn and Florida represent the biggest challenges for the Bulldogs in the regular season. Even if Georgia loses once, will Florida make it through SEC play with just one defeat or an unbeaten record? And for South Carolina to get back into the division title picture, the Bulldogs have to lose twice. Anything is possible, but even if Georgia loses a game in SEC play, I still think Mark Richt’s team represents the East in Atlanta this season. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I picked South Carolina to win the East in the summer and Florida to finish second. That put Georgia in third in my preseason ballot. All three were basically considered equal with different areas of strength. However, those areas have shifted after one month of play. Florida's quarterback woes are no more as Tyler Murphy has been excellent, efficient and productive under center. South Carolina's defense isn't nearly as... focused, let's say, as we anticipated, but the offense is better. Aaron Murray has shredded the idea he can't deliver in the clutch against big-time competition but has done so while the rest of his supporting cast crumbles around him. The defense is still young and road games at Vanderbilt, Auburn, Georgia Tech and a neutral site game against Florida still loom. So after one month of play, I will stick with my predicted order of finish from the summer: 1. South Carolina 2. Florida 3. Georgia — but it could easily be a three-way tie with the BCS sending the Gamecocks to Atlanta.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Georgia’s hold on the SEC is tenuous for sure. If I had to pick again today, I’d go with South Carolina or Florida in the East. That’s as much because of Georgia’s new rash of injuries along with a few revelations in the division. We’ll find out Saturday if Tyler Murphy is a long-awaited answer at quarterback when the Gators visit LSU. The Gators’ defense is good enough to win any league. Meanwhile, South Carolina could have a secret weapon if Jadeveon Clowney ever returns to form. And then there’s Missouri and to a lesser extent Tennessee. The Tigers may not as good as other 5-0 teams, but they may be good enough to sneak up and upset Florida, Georgia or South Carolina. Mizzou doesn’t have to beat all three to upset the whole division.

Mark Ross
I still think Georgia is the favorite, but the Bulldogs' margin of error seems to be shrinking with every passing day. Even though Mark Richt's team did what it needed to do to escape Knoxville with a win last Saturday, it didn't come without a cost. Running back Keith Marshall and wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley join wideout Malcolm Mitchell as those key players who will miss the rest of the season because of injury. The Bulldogs' offensive skill position depth will certainly be tested, but I think they can survive, provided running back Todd Gurley returns from his ankle injury soon and that it doesn't impact his production the rest of the way.

Georgia will certainly need to bring its "A" game this Saturday against Missouri, but the big contest that looms, of course, is the one with Florida the following weekend. That will be the true test of Georgia's offensive depth, as the Gators have one of the top defenses in the country. The winner of that game will be in the driver's seat to play in Atlanta in December for the SEC championship. The difference in that game may very well come down to quarterback play, and while Florida has had to go to its backup quarterback because of a season-ending injury to Jeff Driskel, Georgia can lean on Aaron Murray. The senior stepped up against Tennessee this past Saturday when his team needed him the most. That just reinforces the fact that, despite the litany of injuries Georgia has suffered, Murray is the one player who must stay healthy if the Bulldogs want to chase their championship dreams. As long as he can avoid the injury bug that's wreaking havoc on the depth chart, I like Georgia's chances to win the East.

Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I think Georgia has earned the “team to beat” title with its wins over South Carolina and LSU in the first month of the season. Still, Georgia has major concerns because of the amount of injuries the Bulldogs have suffered. Quarterback Aaron Murray has been terrific this season. Can he keep it up with limited options around him? Georgia has plenty of questions on defense as well. Teams will be able to score on the Bulldogs. Georgia’s schedule is more favorable than what Florida and South Carolina face the rest of the way, but games against Missouri, Florida and Auburn will be tough outs for Georgia. I’ll stick with my preseason prediction that Georgia will win the East. But I don’t feel as strongly about it as I did a week ago.

Related College Football Content

Post-Week 6 Heisman Voting
College Football's Post-Week 6 Bowl Projections
College Football's Post-Week 6 Coaches on the Hot Seat
Inside the Numbers: Baylor's Offense on Record-Setting Pace
The Top 100 College Football Players of the BCS Era

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Post date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 08:00
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With three college football coaches fired by early October, the timetable for picking a new coach this year is already shrinking.

Whenever an athletic director decides to make a change, they usually aren’t making the decision without much background or information on the potential replacements. Most football administrations likely know if a coach is interested in a particular job before making a change.

With coaching moves already happening and more likely to come in the next few weeks, it’s time to take a look at the coaches that will be in demand in December.

Baylor’s Art Briles, Boise State’s Chris Petersen and TCU’s Gary Patterson are always discussed when any high-level BCS job opens. But will they actually leave this offseason? That’s the million-dollar question.

Assuming no program can hire one of those three coaches, the focus in coaching searches will likely turn to Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, Ball State’s Pete Lembo or Ohio State’s Tom Herman.

Here’s a look at 10 names who will be targeted in coaching searches this offseason, along with a few coordinators from BCS programs and head coaches on the rise.
 

Head Coaches…Always in Demand

These three coaches will be discussed with seemingly every big BCS vacancy this offseason. But will any of them actually leave their current school?

Art Briles, Baylor
Prior to his arrival at Baylor, the Bears struggled just to escape the cellar of the Big 12 South. From 1997-2007, Baylor went 31-94 with no bowl appearances and lost at least eight games in 10 out of those 11 seasons. In six years under Briles, Baylor has been molded into a top-25 program with three consecutive bowl appearances. Baylor won 10 games in 2011, which was the school’s first double-digit win total since 1980. Briles has spent his entire coaching and playing career in the state of Texas, spending time in the high school ranks as an assistant at Sundown High School in 1979, followed by a stop at Sweetwater (1980-84), before serving as a head coach at Hamlin (1984-86), Georgetown (1986-88) and Stephenville (1988-99). Briles worked as an assistant at Texas Tech from 2000-03 and was hired as Houston’s head coach in '03. Briles is also regarded as an outstanding offensive coach and has done a good job of identifying and developing talent at Baylor. With his background in Texas, Briles would be a good fit to replace Mack Brown. However, with a new stadium opening at Baylor next season, it’s hard to see the Texas native taking over in Austin.

Gary Patterson, TCU
Patterson has been instrumental in TCU’s rise to Big 12 membership, and the Kansas native is one of the top defensive minds in college football. Patterson worked under Dennis Franchione at Texas State and New Mexico and was promoted to the top spot at TCU in 2000. Under his direction, the Horned Frogs are 118-39, which includes an undefeated season in 2010 and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. Patterson will be tough to pry away from TCU – if at all – but programs like Texas or USC will certainly try.

Chris Petersen, Boise State
It seems Petersen’s name is connected every time a high-level BCS job is open. However, the California native hasn’t been tempted to leave Boise State. And who can blame him? The Broncos are 87-10 under his watch, recorded four top-10 finishes in the Associated Press poll and have played in two BCS games. There’s pressure to win at Boise State, but nothing like the pressure of taking over a program like USC or Texas. It may be tough for the Broncos to replicate the 38-2 mark it accumulated from 2008-10, but Petersen should still have this program in the mix for a spot among the top 25 teams in the nation every year. 

The Next 10

Dave Clawson, head coach, Bowling Green
Clawson gets a bad rap for his one season as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, but the New York native has been a successful head coach at three different stops. After starting 3-19 at Fordham, Clawson recorded three consecutive winning seasons and led the Rams to a playoff berth in 2002. Clawson was 29-20 in four seasons at Richmond and is 27-29 with two bowl appearances at Bowling Green. While Clawson has a background on offense, it was his defense that led the MAC in fewest yards allowed last season and ranks No. 1 after six games in 2013. 

Tim DeRuyter, head coach, Fresno State
Pat Hill had a solid stint at Fresno State, but the program seemed to grow stale at the end of his tenure. DeRuyter inherited good talent and has elevated the Bulldogs into BCS bowl contention this year. Fresno State went 9-4 in DeRuyter’s first season and is off to a 5-0 start this season. Prior to taking over at Fresno State, DeRuyter made stops as an assistant at Ohio, Navy, Nevada, Air Force and Texas A&M. Could the California native replace Lane Kiffin at USC?

James Franklin, head coach, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is one of the toughest BCS jobs in the nation. From 1983-2008, the Commodores had only one winning year and just four bowl trips in the school’s history prior to Frankin’s arrival. However, under Franklin, Vanderbilt has back-to-back bowl appearances and went 9-4 last season – the best record by the Commodores since 1982. Franklin also has a wealth of experience as an assistant from stops at James Madison, Washington State, Maryland, Kansas State and in the NFL with the Packers. The Pennsylvania native is regarded as an excellent recruiter, and his background on offense will be attractive for programs looking for a jumpstart on that side of the ball. Franklin has to be near the top of Pat Haden’s list at USC, but his name will likely come up in connection with several jobs. 

Tom Herman, offensive coordinator, Ohio State
Herman is a genius. Literally. The Ohio native is a member of MENSA – the national high-IQ society – and directs one of the top offenses in college football. The Buckeyes led the Big Ten in scoring offense last season, averaging 37.2 points a game. In 2013, Ohio State has been even better, averaging 46.8 points per contest and averaging 492.8 yards per game. Prior to joining coach Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State, Herman worked as an assistant at Sam Houston State and was the offensive coordinator at Texas State, Rice and Iowa State. In 2008, the Owls averaged 41.3 points a game and ranked fifth nationally in passing offense.

Mark Hudspeth, head coach, UL Lafayette
Hudspeth isn’t short on intensity, and it won’t be long before he’s in charge of a BCS program. The Mississippi native has stops as an assistant at Central Arkansas, Delta State, Navy and Mississippi State, along with a successful run as North Alabama’s head coach from 2002-08. Under his watch, the Lions went 66-21 and made five playoff appearances. Hudspeth inherited a program that went 3-9 in the season prior to his arrival, but the Ragin’ Cajuns are 21-10 under his watch and have back-to-back bowl wins. With his experience in the South, Hudspeth would be a good fit in the SEC. However, will there be a job vacancy this offseason in college football’s premier conference?

Pete Lembo, head coach, Ball State
It was somewhat of a surprise Lembo didn’t receive much attention for open jobs last offseason, but that should change this year. Lembo has been successful at three different stops. From 2001-05, Lembo went 44-14 at Lehigh and led the Mountain Hawks to two playoff appearances. Lembo moved on to Elon in 2006 and stayed there until 2010, recording a 35-22 mark. In three seasons at Ball State, Lembo is 20-11 and has four wins over BCS teams, including an impressive 48-27 victory at Virginia last Saturday. Lembo is due for a promotion in the near future, and programs like Connecticut would be wise to inquire about his interest. However, would Lembo hold out for a job in the ACC or Big Ten?

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson
Morris has no head coaching experience on his resume, but he will generate plenty of interest from athletic directors this offseason. The Texas native worked as a high school head coach from 1994-2009, including a successful 32-0 stint at Lake Travis from 2008-09. Morris was hired to replace Gus Malzahn as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator in 2010, and the Golden Hurricane averaged 505.6 yards per game under his watch. His work at Tulsa caught the attention of Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, and after three seasons, it’s clear this hire has worked out well for Clemson. The Tigers have increased their yards and points per game average in each of Morris’ three years in Death Valley and set a single-season record with 533 points in 2012. There’s no question Morris knows offense, and it’s only a matter of time before he has a chance to run his own program.

Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State
Narduzzi’s name has already circulated for the Connecticut job, but the 47-year-old coach could be coveted by any open BCS vacancy this offseason. Narduzzi started his coaching career in 1990 as a graduate assistant at Miami (Ohio) and made stops as an assistant at Rhode Island and Northern Illinois, before taking over as a defensive coordinator with the RedHawks in 2003. Narduzzi left Miami (Ohio) to be the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati in 2004 and followed coach Mark Dantonio to Michigan State in 2007. Under Narduzzi’s watch, the Spartans ranked in the top 10 nationally in total and scoring defense in 2011-12 and led the nation in total defense in 2013. Narduzzi doesn’t have head coaching experience, but he’s one of the best defensive coordinators in college football.

Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama
Nick Saban plays a large role in shaping Alabama’s defense, but Smart is still held in high regard among coaching circles and will be the next Saban assistant to take a head coach job. Smart is well-versed in life in the SEC, as he played defensive back at Georgia and worked at LSU, Georgia and now Alabama as an assistant. The Alabama native also spent one season with the Dolphins in 2006. In five seasons calling the defensive signals for the Crimson Tide, Smart’s defenses have never ranked outside of the top 10 in scoring and total defense. Considering Alabama is loaded with talent for the next few years, Smart’s defense will continue to be ranked among the nation’s elite, and he can be selective in choosing his first head coaching gig.

Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator, Washington
In just two seasons, Wilcox has transformed Washington’s defense from one of the worst to one of the best in the Pac-12. The former Oregon defensive back started his coaching career at Boise State in 2001 as a graduate assistant and after a three-year stint at California, he returned to coordinate the Broncos’ defense in 2006. Wilcox directed Tennessee’s defense under Derek Dooley from 2010-11 and returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2012. Washington ranked 106th nationally in total defense and allowed 35.9 points a game in the year prior to Wilcox’s arrival, but the Huskies finished 31st nationally in yards allowed in 2012 and held opponents to just 24.2 points a game. And after five games in 2013, Washington leads the Pac-12 in total defense. Wilcox is only 36, but he’s ready for a chance to be a head coach. Could he be a possible replacement in Boise if Chris Petersen decides to leave?

Other Coordinators to Watch

Mike Bobo, offensive coordinator, Georgia
Opinions on Bobo seemed to be mixed from around the SEC, but the former Georgia quarterback has coordinated some very successful offenses. The Bulldogs have ranked in the top 40 of total offense in three out of the last five seasons and are averaging 530 yards per game in 2013. Bobo may need to take a non-BCS head coach job first, but he’s been a solid coordinator and deserves a promotion to run his own program. 

Bob Diaco, defensive coordinator, Notre Dame
Diaco played under Hayden Fry at Iowa and has quickly ascended the coaching ranks. He made stops as an assistant at Western Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Virginia, before taking the Cincinnati defensive coordinator position in 2009. Diaco followed Brian Kelly to Notre Dame in 2010, and from 2010-12, the Fighting Irish improved their total defense numbers, including a No. 7 finish nationally last season. Diaco does not have any prior head coaching experience.

D.J. Durkin, defensive coordinator, Florida
Durkin was promoted to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn left for the NFL after the 2012 season. The Ohio native is highly regarded among coaches in the SEC and has spent time at Bowling Green, Florida, Notre Dame and Stanford as an assistant. Durkin has learned from some of the best coaches in college football during the BCS era, working under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green and Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.

Scott Frost, offensive coordinator, Oregon
Frost is this year’s Kliff Kingsbury. The 38-year-old Nebraska native is piloting one of the nation’s top offensive attacks and will eventually be a head coach. Frost went 24-2 in his two years as Nebraska’s starting quarterback from 1995-97 and had a short career in the NFL as a safety. Frost started his coaching career at Kansas State in 2006 and was hired as an assistant at Northern Iowa in 2007. He worked with the Panthers for two seasons, including a stint as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2008. Frost was hired by Chip Kelly at Oregon in 2009 and worked as the team’s wide receivers coach until Kelly left for the NFL. So far, Oregon’s offense hasn’t missed a beat under Frost’s direction, averaging 630.4 yards and 59.2 points a game.

Brian Lindgren, offensive coordinator, Colorado
Looking for the next rising star in the offensive coordinator ranks? Look no further than Boulder, Colo. Lindgren is a former Idaho quarterback who started his coaching career at Redlands in 2005. He left for Northern Arizona in 2006 and stayed with the Lumberjacks until 2011, serving as the offensive coordinator from 2009-11. Under Lindgren’s watch, Northern Arizona finished 5th, 42nd and 14th nationally in total offense. Lindgren was hired by Mike MacIntyre as the offensive coordinator at San Jose State in 2012, and the Spartans finished sixth nationally in passing and averaged 34.8 points per game. In four games this season, Colorado is averaging 402 yards per game in 2013, which is a 100-yard improvement from '12.

Seth Littrell, offensive coordinator, Indiana
Littrell is another Mike Leach disciple. He played under Leach at Oklahoma and joined Texas Tech’s staff in 2005 as a running backs coach. Littrell worked at Arizona under Mike Stoops from 2009-11, spending the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator. The Wildcats ranked ninth nationally in passing offense in 2010 and improved to No. 3 nationally in '11. In one season with the Hoosiers – and having to use three different quarterbacks – Littrell guided the offense to a No. 33 finish nationally and averaged 30.8 points a game.

Derek Mason, defensive coordinator, Stanford
Mason is the architect behind one of the nation’s best defenses. The Arizona native was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011, and the Cardinal finished second in the Pac-12 in total defense that season, followed by a No. 1 finish in 2012. Mason has never been a head coach and has worked as an assistant on both sides of the ball, including a stop as a wide receivers coach at Utah in 2002.  

Philip Montgomery, offensive coordinator, Baylor
Montgomery doesn’t get enough national credit for his work as Baylor’s offensive coordinator. The Texas native has worked under coach Art Briles since 2003, and both have been critical in developing the Bears’ offense into one of the best in the nation. Montgomery calls the plays for Baylor, guiding the Bears to an average of 572.2 yards per game in 2012 and a whopping 779.5 yards per game this season. Baylor also set or tied or set 101 school records in 2011, with quarterback Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman Trophy.

Mike Norvell, offensive coordinator, Arizona State
Looking for the next Chad Morris? Look no further than Tempe, Ariz. Norvell is only 31 and coordinates one of the Pac-12’s top offenses at Arizona State. The Sun Devils averaged 38.4 points a game last season and are tied for 16th nationally after five games this year, averaging 42.2 points a contest. Prior to Arizona State, Norvell worked for Arizona State coach Todd Graham at Tulsa and with Pittsburgh in 2011. Norvell isn’t in any hurry to leave Tempe, but he should get a chance to be a head coach in the next few years.  

Doug Nussmeier, offensive coordinator, Alabama
Nick Saban is known for his defenses, but his assistant tree has produced a couple of head coaches from the offensive side. Jimbo Fisher and Jim McElwain are the most recent head coach hires, and Nussmeier could be next. The former Idaho quarterback has stops as an assistant in the CFL and in the NFL, before coordinating offenses at Fresno State, Washington and Alabama. In Nussmeier’s first season as the Crimson Tide’s play-caller in 2012, Alabama averaged 35.7 points a game and ranked second in the SEC in rushing offense.

Brent Venables, defensive coordinator, Clemson
Venables played under Bill Snyder and coached under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma – it doesn’t get any better than that when it comes to experience. The Kansas native left Oklahoma for Clemson after Mike Stoops returned to Norman to call plays in 2011. The move has paid dividends for the Tigers, as their defense showed improvement at the end of 2012 and is holding opponents to 16.6 points a game this fall.

Three More Head Coaches on the Rise

Matt Campbell, Toledo
Campbell is one of college football’s youngest head coaches and played at ultra-successful Mount Union College. The Ohio native spent time as an assistant at Mount Union, Bowling Green and Toledo, and was promoted to  the Rockets' head coach after Tim Beckman left for Illinois. Campbell led Toledo to a bowl win over Air Force in 2011 and is 12-7 in his first two full seasons.

Curtis Johnson, Tulane
Johnson had no assistant or head coaching experience prior to taking over at Tulane. But after 18 career games, Johnson clearly has the Green Wave on the right track. Tulane finished 2-10 in 2012, but the Green Wave are 4-2 and should make their first bowl game since 2002 this year.

Justin Fuente, Memphis
After a horrible two-year stint under Larry Porter, Memphis made the right move to hire Fuente. In the three years prior to Fuente’s arrival, the Tigers went 5-31. However, Fuente went 4-8 last season, which included a three-game winning streak to close out the season. Memphis is 1-3 this year, with losses by seven points to a solid UCF team, along with a two-point defeat to MTSU and a 28-14 loss against Duke. It’s clear Fuente has Memphis moving in the right direction. And it won’t be long before athletic directors around the country start to take notice. 

Non-BCS Coordinators Poised for a Promotion

Mike Elko, defensive coordinator, Bowling Green
The MAC is home to a handful of explosive offenses, but Bowling Green has been winning with defense. The Falcons led the MAC in total, scoring, rush and pass defense last season and rank No. 1 after six games in 2013. Elko’s defense held opponents to just 296.6 yards per game last season and generated 2.9 sacks a game in 2012.

Lincoln Riley, offensive coordinator, East Carolina
Riley is a Mike Leach disciple, spending 2003-09 in Lubbock with the Red Raiders, then followed Ruffin McNeill to East Carolina in 2010. Under his direction, the Pirates averaged 414.3 yards and 31.6 points per game from 2010-12 and rank second in Conference USA in scoring offense this season.

Nick Rolovich, offensive coordinator, Nevada
Rolovich has an interesting background of offensive styles in his coaching career, as he worked at Hawaii with the Run and Shoot offense under Greg McMackin from 2008-11 and joined Nevada’s staff in '12, picking up the Pistol offense from Chris Ault. Rolovich briefly left for Temple last offseason but decided to remain in Reno. Under his direction, Nevada led the Mountain West in total offense last year and is averaging 435.2 yards per game in 2013.

Related College Football Content

Post-Week 6 Heisman Voting
College Football's Post-Week 6 Bowl Projections
College Football's Post-Week 6 Coaches on the Hot Seat
Inside the Numbers: Baylor's Offense on Record-Setting Pace

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 08:00

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