Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/gus-malzahn-bret-bielema-trade-jabs-sec-media-days
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Remember the chatter about spread offenses and injuries from the SEC coach meetings in May? Well, things got a little more interesting on Wednesday, as Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema traded barbs over spread offenses.

Malzahn got things started off with a response for Bielema's comments about spread offenses causing more injuries:

 

 

Do spread offenses really create more injuries? That's up for debate. 

However, one thing is for certain: The Nov. 2 matchup between Auburn and Arkansas just got a lot more interesting.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 09:10
Path: /college-football/nebraska-football-game-game-predictions-2013
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Nebraska has won at least nine games in each of Bo Pelini’s five seasons in Lincoln. But the Cornhuskers have yet to play in a BCS bowl and have lost three consecutive postseason appearances.

Expectations are always high at Nebraska, so there’s plenty of pressure on Pelini and his staff to deliver a conference championship in 2013. The Cornhuskers have a favorable path to a return trip to Indianapolis, with their first road date coming on Oct. 12 against Purdue.

Nebraska’s schedule is backloaded, as its toughest competition for the division title – Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State – all take place in November. And of course, there’s a road date against Penn State on Nov. 23 that won’t be easy.

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

Nebraska's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
Brent
Yarina
Kevin
McGuire
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
8/31 Wyoming
9/7 Southern Miss
9/14 UCLA
9/21 South Dakota State
10/5 Illinois
10/12 at Purdue
10/26 at Minnesota
11/2 Northwestern
11/9 at Michigan
11/16 Michigan State
11/23 at Penn State
11/29 Iowa
Final Projection10-211-110-211-110-210-2



Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)
There’s plenty to like about Nebraska this fall. It all starts with a dynamic offense that returns playmakers Taylor Martinez, Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Bell, among others. It’s also difficult not to like a schedule that includes eight (!) home games – including five to open the season – plus a slate that doesn’t feature a truly dangerous road game until November 9 (at Michigan) or Leaders Division powers Ohio State and Wisconsin for the first time since joining the Big Ten. Oh, but then there’s the defense, a unit that surrendered 53.5 points and 595 yards in its four losses last season. This year’s defense is younger and more athletic, which should help, however it must show little learning curve because it’s going to decide what kind of season the Huskers have.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The Big Ten’s Legends Division should be one of college football’s most competitive title races in 2013. Four teams – Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern – have a strong case to be picked as the favorite. The Cornhuskers led the Big Ten in total offense last year, and it’s hard to see this group backtracking any with the return of quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Ameer Abdullah, receiver Kenny Bell and guard Spencer Long. While there’s little doubt the offense will score plenty in 2013, it’s the defense that will give coach Bo Pelini plenty of sleepless nights this offseason. Nebraska allowed 360.6 yards per game last year and ranked ninth in the Big Ten in points allowed. With just four starters back, Pelini and coordinator John Papuchis will have their hands full. However, with a favorable schedule, it’s very likely the Cornhuskers start 7-0 before a brutal November. I'm picking Nebraska to lose at Penn State, but I could easily see a second loss coming against Northwestern instead of Happy Valley. If Pelini finds the right mix on defense, Nebraska will win the Legends Division. However, I think the Cornhuskers lose two games in Big Ten play and fall just short of a return trip to Indianapolis.    

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Nebraska and senior quarterback Taylor Martinez, who has 9,449 career yards of total offense already, are eyeing a return trip to the Big Ten Championship game. And the schedule sets-up beautifully for that to happen again in 2013. Two late season road trips to league powers Michigan and Penn State might be the toughest games all year for the Big Red. UCLA in the non-conference is an intriguing game but will be in Lincoln. Key Legends Division games with Northwestern and Michigan State come at home as well and there is no Ohio State or Wisconsin from the Leaders. It means the November 9 trip to Ann Arbor could decide the division crown. That said, the Huskers could lose to Michigan and still make it to Indianapolis should the Maize and Blue slip-up just one time this fall. This will be a great division to watch all year.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), No2MinuteWarning.com and NittanyLionsDen.com
Did I really just predict Nebraska to go 11-1? I sure did but I can tell you right now it is the least comfortable 11-1 I have ever predicted. I really do not trust Nebraska enough to win all of the games they probably should, so a record of 10-2 or even 9-3 might be more realistic, but when push comes to shove right now I'll take a shot with this 11-1 mark. Nebraska's running game will be tough for most to shut down and it's not as though the defense could be much worse this year, right? I have called for Nebraska to reach the Big Ten championship game, coming out on top of a heated three-team race between the Huskers, Michigan and Michigan State with a serious run shown by Northwestern. But I have Nebraska defending home-field advantage this season against the Spartans and Wildcats to help them maintain the edge in the division race. The toss-up games for me are the home game against UCLA and the road game at Penn State. I just don't know what to make of Penn State right now, so I have to give the edge to Big Red right now. As for UCLA, the Bruins could be a Pac 12 (South) contender and could leave town with a big win, but I'll go with Nebraska to ind enough offense in another wild match-up.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’ve picked Nebraska to go 10-2, mainly because I wavered between 11-1 and 9-3. Nebraska has too many defensive questions to put up an 11-1 season, but the schedule is too favorable for Nebraska to slip below nine or 10 wins. Michigan is a key swing game, and on paper, Nebraska should be better than Penn State. But home field advantage for the Nittany Lions and a standout defense should be enough to pull an upset. I could just as easily see Nebraska defeating Michigan and Penn State and instead losing to Minnesota, Northwestern or UCLA. I love that Nebraska has won five of their last six one-score games, but the Cornhuskers have been vulnerable to a questionable upset (Northwestern at home) or a game getting away from them (Wisconsin, Ohio State).

Mark Ross
Other than the rematch with UCLA in September, Nebraska doesn't really face a tough test until Northwestern comes calling the first Saturday in November. The Cornhuskers have more than enough offense to get by the Bruins at home and run out to a 7-0 start. While I think the Wildcats and Wolverines will be able to take advantage of an inexperienced defense, the Huskers' only remaining road game is against a Penn State team that lost a lot from last year's surprise team. As long as Bo Pelini can keep his temper in check and Taylor Martinez doesn't make too many mistakes, this team is capable of racking up 10 wins in the regular season alone.


Related College Football Content

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Big Ten's 2013 All-Conference Team
Ohio State and Michigan: The New Ten-Year War
The Big Ten's Best Traditions
Does Nebraska Still Believe in Bo Pelini?
5 First-Year Starting QBs Who Could Win College Football's National Title
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Teaser:
Nebraska Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-17
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SEC Media Days continues on Wednesday, but there's plenty of other news from around the college football world. 

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Wednesday, July 17th

Jon Cooper of Saturday Down South has an excellent recap of Tuesday’s events at SEC Media Days. 

Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger has a good rundown of Ole Miss’ coach Hugh Freeze comments from Tuesday, including an update on JUCO signee Nick Brassell.

How will College Football’s playoff selection committee look? The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes has a good breakdown of what’s to come.

Colorado has found a new athletic director.

Michigan's Jake Ryan is out indefinitely with a torn ACL, but the defense could get a boost from sophomore James Ross.

The SEC hopes to have 10 or 11 bowls when the new playoff format starts in 2014.

Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal posts an update on Kentucky’s depth chart for 2013.

Here's a preview of Michigan State's receiving corps for 2013. 

The Big 12 has released the 2013 preseason media all-conference team. For comparison's sake, here’s a look at Athlon’s All-Big 12 team for 2013.

Beginning in 2014, the Big Ten will play in a new bowl game in Detroit. The ACC is expected to be the Big Ten’s opponent.

Thanks to Tajh Boyd’s decision to return for his senior year, Clemson can expand its offense even more in 2013.

Minnesota has regained the services of receiver Andre McDonald for 2013.

Louisville’s first release of its fall depth chart had a few surprises and reasons to be concerned.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 17
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 14:32
Path: /college-football/jadeveon-clowney-calls-out-tajh-boyd-and-aaron-murray
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For the most part, conference media days are a cliché fest. However, from time-to-time, there are a few gems that resonate throughout the offseason.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney dropped one of the top soundbites from the first day of SEC Media Days on Tuesday, calling out Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Georgia’s Aaron Murray.
 



How did Boyd and Murray fare against South Carolina last season? Well, it wasn’t pretty. Murray went 11 of 31 for 109 yards and one interception, with Boyd completing 11 of 24 throws for 183 yards and two picks.

So is there truth to what Clowney was saying? I mean, who wouldn’t be intimidated by a 6-foot-6 defensive end with sub-4.6 speed?

Needless to say, Clowney’s comments should work well for bulletin board material at Georgia and Clemson, especially since those two matchups could be the toughest for South Carolina in 2013.

Teaser:
Jadeveon Clowney Calls Out Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 12:45
Path: /college-football/illinois-unveils-new-helmet-2013
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Illinois had a miserable 2012 season, recording a 2-10 mark in coach Tim Beckman’s first year in Champaign. But the offseason has been relatively positive for the Fighting Illini, especially with the commitment of Oklahoma State transfer quarterback Wes Lunt, who will be eligible to play for Illinois in 2014.

And then there’s the helmet change. Illinois’ helmets weren’t awful, but this updated look for 2013 is an improvement.

According to CBSSports.com, here’s the new helmet for the Fighting Illini:


new Illinois Fighting Illini helmet

 

Teaser:
Illinois' Fighting Illini has a new helmet for 2013.
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/texas-am-provides-offseason-motivation-alabama
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The only blemish on Alabama’s resume last season came in a Nov. 10 29-24 loss to Texas A&M.

And Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban hasn’t let his team forget, especially with a rematch set for Sept. 14 in College Station.

As this photo from the (@TexAgs) forum shows, Alabama has last year’s game with the Aggies on the televisions in the weight room, along with the A&M logo on the stations.

Alabama really doesn’t need any motivation to be ready for Texas A&M, but this is just a subtle reminder about last year’s loss in Tuscaloosa and what’s ahead for the Crimson Tide in 2013.


Teaser:
Texas A&M Provides Offseason Motivation for Alabama
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-players-returning-injury-2013
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Injuries are a big part of any college football season. Just ask the coaching staffs at Maryland, Missouri or USC.The Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries last year, while the Tigers played 2012 without the services of standout running back Henry Josey. USC lost defensive end Devon Kennard in the preseason, which played a role in the Trojans’ defense finishing seventh in the Pac-12 in yards allowed.

With the 2013 season approaching, it’s time to take a look at how the return of injured players from 2012 will impact their team. Kennard, Josey and Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown are all expected to start in 2013, but there's no guarantee all three will be at full strength by the opening snap.

This list only includes players who missed all of last year – with one exception. So while players like Georgia’s Michael Bennett, Texas’ Jordan Hicks and Jackson Jeffcoat and TCU’s Waymon James missed significant snaps last year, each played in 2012, which made them ineligible for this article.

10 Key College Football Players Returning From Missing 2012 With Injury

Chris Black, WR, Alabama
After Amari Cooper had a breakout season last year, it’s not out of the question Alabama’s offense has another standout freshman receiver in 2013. Black was expected to play major snaps in 2012 but a shoulder injury in August sidelined him for 2013. The Jacksonville native ranked as the No. 2 receiver prospect by ESPN and was a top-100 recruit by Rivals. Black’s return will only add another weapon to Alabama’s deep (and improving) group of receivers for quarterback AJ McCarron.

C.J. Brown, QB, Maryland
Maryland was the victim of a handful of quarterback injuries last year, starting with Brown’s torn ACL in August. The Terrapins also lost Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Devin Burns to injuries, forcing converted linebacker Shawn Petty to step in at quarterback late in the season. Brown did not play in the spring game, and his last snap came in the 2011 season finale against NC State. The senior threw for 842 yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing for 574 yards and five scores in 2011. His best performance that season came against Clemson, recording 339 total yards and four scores. Junior college recruit (and former New Mexico signal-caller) Ricardo Young will push Brown for time this year, but the senior is the favorite to start, especially since his mobility will be an asset under coordinator Mike Locksley.

Dominique Brown, RB, Louisville
With quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a deep cast of receivers returning, Louisville should have one of the nation’s top offenses in 2013. And the Cardinals will be even more dangerous and balanced on that side of the ball this year, as Brown is returning from a knee injury that forced him to redshirt in 2012. The Ohio native rushed for 533 yards and four touchdowns in 2011 and is expected to split time with Senorise Perry in the Louisville backfield. Brown doesn’t need to be a 1,000-yard rusher for the Cardinals’ offense to thrive, but his return will help ease Perry back into the lineup while he also recovers from a knee injury, giving Louisville a solid one-two punch in the backfield.

Travis Carrie, CB, Ohio
The Bobcats saw their MAC East title hopes derailed by injuries last year, as several key players missed time due to various ailments. Carrie missed all of 2012 due to a shoulder injury but is poised to return as one of the MAC’s top defenders in 2013. In 2011, Carrie recorded 42 tackles and 13 passes defended, earning MAC second-team all-conference honors. Carrie is one of the Bobcats’ top defenders and will be expected to provide leadership as one of the team’s leaders in his final year in Athens.

Blake Countess, CB, Michigan
We are going to cheat a little on listing Countess in this article. Although he played in the opener, Countess suffered a torn ACL in the first quarter, so he was almost robbed of a full season. That counts right? Countess was one of the Big Ten’s top freshmen in 2011, recording 44 tackles and one forced fumble in 12 games. He also defended six passes and had a career-high eight stops in the bowl win over Virginia Tech. It may take a few games for Countess to knock off the rust, but the sophomore should be one of Michigan’s top defenders in 2013.

Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
Josey was one of the nation’s top running backs in 2011, but a knee injury against Texas in mid-November ended his season prematurely. Josey had 1,168 yards and nine scores, along with four consecutive 100-yard performances before his injury against the Longhorns. The Texas native’s knee injury was devastating, which included a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus, along with a patellar tendon rupture. Josey sat out all of 2012 to recuperate but returned to play in the 2013 spring game, rushing for 13 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. There’s no guarantee Josey returns at full strength, but his return should help Missouri’s ground attack. The Tigers ranked 12th in the SEC in rush offense and must replace Kendial Lawrence after he led the team with 1,025 yards last year. Josey is expected to open the season as Missouri’s No. 1 back.

Devon Kennard, DE, USC
Kennard has moved from defensive end and linebacker throughout his USC career, so new coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s 5-2 scheme should fit his talents. The Arizona native missed all of last year with a chest injury but all signs point to return to full health for 2013. Kennard recorded two sacks in 12 games in 2011 and has 135 tackles in his career. The senior has the size and athleticism to be a perfect fit as a hybrid rush end in USC’s new-look defense.

Stefan McClure, CB, California
After leading the Pac-12 in pass defense in 2011, California took a step back last year, finishing 11th in the conference and 104th nationally. McClure was expected to be one of the top contributors in the secondary for the Golden Bears last season, but he did not recover in time from a knee injury suffered late in 2011. As a freshman, McClure recorded 24 tackles, three passes defended and picked off one pass. With more than a year to recover, California’s defensive staff hopes to have the sophomore at full strength for 2013. And his health is important for a secondary that must replace safety Josh Hill and cornerbacks Steve Williams and Marc Anthony. If he’s healthy, McClure has the potential to be an all-conference performer.

Ronald Powell, DE/LB, Florida
Powell was ready to emerge as one of the SEC’s top defenders, but he suffered a torn ACL in spring practice before the 2012 season. The California native suffered a setback early in the fall, which forced him to end any shot at a comeback for 2012. Powell may not be the same player he was in 2011 early in 2013, but the junior will be a key cog in Florida’s defense. Powell recorded 32 tackles and six sacks as a sophomore and if he’s healthy, he could easily surpass those numbers in 2013. Even if Powell isn’t at 100 percent, his return will help to bolster one of the SEC’s best front sevens.

Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Very few things went Colorado’s way on offense last year. The Buffaloes struggled to find consistent quarterback play, and the offense finished 117th in points scored and 116th in yards per game (302.8). However, Colorado should be better on offense this year, as new coach Mike MacIntyre and coordinator Brian Lindgren did an outstanding job of developing San Jose State’s offense in 2012. Richardson’s return should also provide a boost for the Buffaloes, as the junior has the talent to be one of the Pac-12’s top receivers. In two seasons in Boulder, Richardson has caught 73 passes for 1,069 yards and 11 scores. He is also averaging 14.6 yards per reception for his career. Assuming Colorado can find some stability at quarterback, Richardson should push for All-Pac-12 honors after missing 2012 with a torn ACL.

 

Other Key Players Returning After Missing All of 2013 With Injury
 

Kelby Brown, LB, Duke
Jordan Canzeri, RB, Iowa
Khairi Fortt, LB, California
Hau’oli Jamora, DE, Washington
Tre Madden, RB, USC
Jacobbi McDaniel, DT, Florida State
Michaelee Harris, WR, Louisville
Barkley Hill, RB, Iowa
Andre Monroe, DL, Maryland
Mario Pender, RB, Florida State
D.T. Shackelford, LB, Ole Miss
Brandon Wilds, RB, South Carolina
Jarrick Williams, DB, Alabama
Lo Wood, CB, Notre Dame

Related College Football Content

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Teaser:
College Football's Top 10 Players Returning From Injury for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 07:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-16
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With SEC Media Days kicking off on Tuesday, the offseason has officially ended. Fall camps are just around the corner.

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, July 16th

If you are watching or listening to the press conferences in Hoover, Ala. the next few days, check out SBNation's SEC Media Days Bingo

Adam Jude of The Seattle Times takes a look at the decision facing Washington coach Steve Sarkisian on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. In case you missed it yesterday, Seferian-Jenkins pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge.

Why did Athlon Sports pick Syracuse to finish 4-8? What about the future of Scott Shafer and transfer quarterback Drew Allen? I discussed all of these topics and more with NunesMagician.com this week.

Nebraska's field has some new lettering on the sidelines this year, as showcased in this photo from the Big Ten Network.

Receiver (and Miami, Ohio transfer) Nick Harwell is still trying to get eligible to play at Kansas in 2013.

Mr. SEC takes a look at who is most likely to cause a stir at SEC Media Days.

Colorado quarterback Shane Dillon has decided to transfer to play basketball at another college. Dillon's transfer leaves former Texas quarterback Connor Wood as the Buffaloes' likely starter for 2013.

Here's a good look at Missouri's pre-fall camp depth chart.

Who will start at quarterback for Southern Miss this year?

Want to be a NCAA official? Check out this test from the Big Ten Network.

Clemson heads into fall practice with uncertainty at tight end

One of Oklahoma's incoming freshmen is headed to junior college instead of Norman.

Two Pittsburgh players won't return to the team for 2013.

Crystal Ball Run previews the top-10 non-conference games in the SEC for 2013.

Some details have emerged about the dismissal of FIU running back Kedrick Rhodes.

A preview of California's young (but talented) receiving corps for 2013.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 16
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 16:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/will-muschamp-takes-shot-ohio-state
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Remember the stories about Ohio State turning in Florida for recruiting violations?

Well, Gators’ coach Will Muschamp had a few words for the Buckeyes (who were banned from a bowl game in 2012 due to NCAA violations) during his media day session on Tuesday. 

 

Teaser:
Will Muschamp Takes a Shot at Ohio State
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 14:26
Path: /college-football/renovated-husky-stadium-looks-awesome
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Washington’s Husky Stadium was demolished after the 2011 season, forcing the Huskies to spend a year at the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field for 2012.

However, Husky Stadium is rebuilt and ready to go for kickoff on Aug. 31 against Boise State. Don’t believe me? Check out the photo below.

Husky Stadium’s official twitter account (@HuskyStadium) posted this photo recently, showcasing the rebuilt and improved stadium for 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 11:14
All taxonomy terms: Baylor Bears, College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/baylor-intentionally-posts-wrong-score-bowl-ring
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It’s not too often we see a misprint on a championship ring on purpose. But that’s exactly the case with Baylor, as the Bears recorded their victory over UCLA as 49-19 on a bowl ring  – not 49-26 as evidenced by the final scoreboard in San Diego in late December.

So why the misprint?

UCLA scored a touchdown in the game’s final seconds, and despite replay clearly showing the receiver did not score, the review was not overturned, which made the final score 49-26.

Considering the touchdown shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place, it seems only fair Baylor got the correct score on its bowl ring. 

Photo from (@BUFootball)


Teaser:
Baylor Intentionally Posts Wrong Score on Bowl Ring
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 10:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/sec-updates-championship-trophy-2013
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Just in time for SEC Media Days, the conference has released its updated championship trophy for 2013.

There’s not too much of a difference between the old and the new version, which appeared in this photo last year after Alabama's victory over Georgia.

A simple trophy isn’t always bad thing. And the SEC got it right by not changing anything noticeable on the postseason hardware.


Teaser:
SEC Updates Championship Trophy for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 10:34
Path: /college-football/florida-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
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Jameis WinstonClemson is the heavy favorite to win the ACC Atlantic title, but Florida State isn’t too far behind in the division pecking order. The Seminoles return 10 starters, including one of the best offensive lines in the ACC, and a plethora of talented skill players at running back and receiver. The defense returns only four starters, but there’s no shortage of talented options stepping into the lineup.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is expected to be one of college football’s top breakout players for 2013, and the first-year starter could be an All-ACC quarterback by the end of the season. If Winston quickly settles into the starting role, and the coaching staff meshes with six new assistants, Florida State could be in position for a BCS bowl at the end of the year. 

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


Florida State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
John
Cassillo
David
Fox
Matt
McClusky
Mark
Ross
9/2 at Pittsburgh
9/14 Nevada
9/21 Bethune-Cookman
9/28 at Boston College
10/5 Maryland
10/19 at Clemson
10/26 NC State
11/2 Miami
11/9 Wake Forest
11/16 Syracuse
11/23 Idaho
11/30 at Florida
Final Projection10-210-210-210-210-210-2

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
For a team that will start a redshirt freshman quarterback, has six new assistant coaches and must replace a handful of key players on defense, the Seminoles drew the perfect schedule for 2013. Sure, there’s potential for road upset losses at Wake Forest or Pittsburgh, but it’s hard to see Florida State losing three games this year. Road dates at Clemson and Florida will be the toughest on the schedule, and the home Nov. 2 matchup against Miami will be a challenge. The Seminoles should get better as the year progresses and having five games before playing Clemson is a huge advantage for their ACC Atlantic title hopes. However, the Tigers have won five consecutive matchups against Florida State in Death Valley and should hold the edge in this contest for 2013. With a favorable schedule and a potential superstar in Jameis Winston taking over at quarterback, the Seminoles could use 2013 as a stepping stone to an even bigger 2014.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
The question is for Florida State is, as always, if the Seminoles are going to get tripped up against an opponent they should defeat soundly. It’s really tough to pinpoint one for 2013. NC State has won two of the last three, but both of those victories were in Raleigh. The opener against Pittsburgh seems like a good upset-bait kind of game, but the Panthers might not be good enough to pull that off early in the season. If Florida State is going to stumble, my guess is that it comes around the Miami or Wake Forest games. Miami has lost three in a row in the series, but the Hurricanes usually play well in Tallahassee. As for the Florida game — unless Jameis Winston turns out to be a game-breaking quarterback by the regular season finale. That’s going to be a defensive slugfest.


Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
This is a really, really talented Florida State team that can absolutely win the league. That said, two factors may keep this team from winning back-to-back ACC championships. Starting quarterback Jameis Winston will be a superstar eventually, but he will be making his first 12 appearances on a college gridiron this season. And the Clemson game will be in Death Valley. Otherwise, there is little standing in the way of another 10-win season for Jimbo Fisher. The annual bout with Miami comes in Doak Campbell and may be the only other ACC game the Seminoles aren't heavily favored in.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
Florida State's defense will be fine once again, so don't expect a drop-off on that side of the ball at all. Where there may be some concern, however, is with the quarterback situation. I believe redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is the real deal, but his ability to jump right into the starting passer role is imperative to the Seminoles' success this year. The schedule, of course, lays out nicely for a nine-win season at the very least. But whether Winston's ready for the spotlight will be the deciding factor in tough matchups with Clemson, Miami and Florida, respectively.


Matt McClusky, (@MatthewMcClusky), NunesMagician.com
It's been an interesting few months since last we saw Florida State beat down Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl. Gone is most of the defense, starting quarterback, and six assistant coaches. But Jimbo Fisher's squad still has more than enough young talent to hang around the top of the ACC this season. Freshmen Jameis Winston, likely heir to EJ Manuel's QB throne, shined in the spring, and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, a Nick Saban disciple, should have an immediate impact. Game one at Pittsburgh could be a season-definer, if only because of its meaning for the Panthers, playing their first ever ACC game against a top-tier team. Lose here and it's a season wasted for Florida State. I say Seminoles survive and then fatten up on cupcakes before a mid-October showdown with Clemson. Personally, I think the Tigers are a sleeper for the BCS title game, meaning Florida State isn't leaving Death Valley on good terms. The only other L out there for the Seminoles should be at Florida to close the year, but you have to wonder if there is another boneheaded loss out there, a la N.C. State in 2012? If not it will be another respectable 10 wins in Tallahassee and a bowl sponsored by a product you've actually heard of. Not exactly the national championship, but there's always next year, 'Noles fans! Actually, 2014 could be the year you've been waiting for.

Mark Ross
EJ Manuel is in the NFL, but redshirt freshman Jameis Winston should become the next great Seminole signal-caller. Winston will have the weapons to do some damage on offense and also benefits from not having to face the FSU defense. That said, he is still young and inexperienced, and I think the growing pains will be on full display in the 'Noles' two toughest games of the season - at Clemson and at Florida. Outside of these two, I think Jimbo Fisher's team has a great shot at 10 wins in the regular season, although even that may not be enough for the Noles to get a chance to defend their ACC crown.


Related College Football Content

12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
Clemson Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013

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ACC All-Conference Team for 2013
ACC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
College Football's Top 15 Winners From Conference Realignment
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013
College Football's Top 50 Offensive Linemen of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
Virginia Tech's Struggling Offense Gets a Makeover

Teaser:
Florida State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/american-athletic-football-breakout-players-2013
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Every year, college football fans are introduced to a handful of players that become household names by the end of the season. Predicting which players will breakout any year is never an easy task.

The American Athletic Conference is a league in transition for 2013, as Pittsburgh and Syracuse left for the ACC, and UCF, Houston, SMU and Memphis have joined from Conference USA. With all of the change coming to the conference, there's no question it will take some time for all of the new players and teams to get acclimated to one another in 2013.

Defining what is a breakout player is nearly impossible. Everyone has a different perspective on how players are viewed around the conference and nationally. Athlon's list of breakout players for 2013 tries to take into account which names will be known nationally (not just within the conference) by the end of season. 
 

American Athletic Conference Breakout Players for 2013

Ralph David Abernathy IV, RB, Cincinnati
Cincinnati fans are aware of how dangerous Abernathy IV can be with the ball in his hands. Now it’s time for the rest of college football to take notice. The Georgia native rushed for 366 yards and three touchdowns last year, while catching 28 passes for 341 yards and four scores. Abernathy IV also has one kickoff return for a touchdown in his career. With George Winn expiring his eligibility, the Bearcats will likely turn to Abernathy IV to carry more of the workload in the backfield. At 5-foot-7, 161 pounds, the junior isn’t likely to record 250 carries. However, he should see an increased role on offense this year.

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

Jalen Fitzpatrick, WR, Temple
With the switch to a pro-style attack in 2013, Temple will be looking to throw more than it did over the last two years. Fitzpatrick was the Owls’ leading receiver, catching 30 passes for 363 yards and two scores last year, including six for 55 yards against Pittsburgh in late October. At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Fitzpatrick isn’t the biggest receiver, but he is the team’s top playmaker and should utilize his speed to make big plays in Temple’s new offense.

Deion Green, DE, UCF
Green made a strong debut last year, recording 18 tackles and four sacks in 12 contests. The Orlando native made only one start but was named to Conference USA’s All-Freshman Team. UCF is counting on Green to be a major contributor at defensive end, especially with first-team All-Conference USA performer Troy Davis expiring his eligibility at the end of 2012.

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

Savon Huggins, RB, Rutgers
Huggins ranked as the No. 28 overall player in the 2011 Athlon Consensus 100, but the junior is still looking for his breakout season. Jawan Jamison shouldered the load for Rutgers over the last two years, and he decided to move onto the NFL at the end of 2012. With Jamison gone, 2013 should be Huggins’ time to shine. He rushed for 179 yards on 41 attempts against Cincinnati last year and recorded 48 yards on 18 attempts in the bowl loss against Virginia Tech. Huggins could be the American Athletic Conference’s top running back in 2013.

Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
With the departure of Steve Beauharnais and Khaseem Greene, Rutgers’ linebacking corps must be rebuilt. But new coordinator Dave Cohen has plenty to work with, including senior Jamal Merrell who should be in the mix for all-conference honors this year. Longa will fill Beauharnais’ shoes on the interior, and he is one of the defense’s most promising players for 2013, ranking as one of New Jersey’s top 10 high school prospects in 2012. 

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

Keiwone Malone, WR, Memphis
The Tigers return six starters from an offense that averaged 318.3 yards per game last season, so this unit has room to improve in the first year of play in the American Athletic Conference. Quarterback Jacob Karam settled into the starting role last year, but he will be pushed by Paxton Lynch and Eric Mathews for snaps. With more expected from the quarterbacks, Malone should have an opportunity to build off a solid sophomore campaign. He caught 44 passes for 476 yards and three scores, including 10 catches for 102 yards against MTSU. If Memphis continues to improve its quarterback play, Malone could make a push for all-conference honors.

Lorenzo Mauldin/Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville
With few glaring holes and the return of nine starters, much of the focus this offseason for Louisville’s defense was on upgrading the rush defense and pass rush. The Cardinals ranked 78th nationally in sacks per game (1.7) last year and allowed 148 rush yards per contest. Mauldin and Smith will play a key role in both areas this season, as both players combined for 8.5 sacks and 51 stops in 2012. If Smith and Mauldin raise their game up a notch, the Cardinals should show improvement on the stat sheet and rank as one of the top defensive lines in the American Athletic Conference.

Breshad Perriman, WR, UCF
The last name Perriman is no stranger to the wide receiver position, as Breshad’s father Brett played 10 years in the NFL. And Breshad is set to emerge as a household name in the American Athletic Conference in 2013. As a freshman last season, Perriman caught 26 passes for 388 yards and three scores, with his best performance coming in the bowl victory over Ball State (five receptions for 90 yards). With a full offseason to work with quarterback Blake Bortles, Perriman could be UCF’s leading receiver and top big-play threat in 2013. 

Shakim Phillips, WR, Connecticut
After struggling mightily on offense under George DeLeone, coach Paul Pasqualoni hired T.J. Weist to spice things up in Storrs this year. Weist plans on implementing a spread attack, but the Huskies have to play better on the line for the offense to improve. With the switch in play-callers and scheme, Phillips is expected to be involved more in the offense. The Boston College transfer caught 32 passes for 399 yards and one score in his debut with Connecticut last year.

Sean Price, TE, South Florida
As a true freshman last year, Price tied for third on the team with 21 catches and ranked fourth with 209 receiving yards. Price’s 2013 season is even more impressive when you consider he didn’t catch a pass through the first six weeks of the year, and South Florida lost quarterback B.J. Daniels to an injury late in the season. Price’s best performance came against Cincinnati, grabbing five receptions for 29 yards. At Western Kentucky, new USF coach Willie Taggart’s top two tight ends combined for 66 receptions last year. Expect Price to be heavily involved in the Bulls’ passing attack in 2013.

Stephon Sanders, LB, SMU
The Mustangs’ defense will miss the playmaking ability of Ja’Gared Davis and Taylor Reed, but the return of Sanders and Randall Joyner should keep this defense performing at a high level. Sanders made 12 starts last year and recorded 48 tackles in 13 games. The Texas native also recorded one interception and broke up five passes in 2012. Sanders will anchor the outside of the linebacking corps, and he will be counted on to help replace some of the pass rush departing from Davis and Reed.

Traylon Shead, RB, SMU
SMU’s Zach Line was one of the most productive running backs in college football over the last four years, rushing for 4,185 yards and 47 touchdowns in his Mustang career. Line expired his eligibility after the Hawaii Bowl, which opens the door for Shead to become SMU’s new starting running back. The junior college recruit began his career at Texas but transferred in search of more playing time. Shead was a four-star recruit by Rivals and rushed for 10,291 yards in his high school career. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Shead has the size to be a three-down back and a goal-line presence for the Mustangs in 2013. 

Related College Football Content

American Athletic Predictions for 2013
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Which Schools are Most Likely to Win their First Heisman?
College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-Freshman Team
College Football's Best Coaching Trees

 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/butch-jones-ready-start-tennessee-video
Body:

New Tennessee coach Butch Jones is ready for the start of 2013. Need proof? Check out this advertisement he filmed for Tennessee's ticket office.

Teaser:
Butch Jones is Ready to Start at Tennessee (Video)
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 15:36
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-15
Body:

Catching up from a busy weekend in the college football world. Getting closer to kickoff with the start of media days this week. 

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, July 15th

It's official: Penn State and UCF will play in Ireland in 2014. Very cool.

What did South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney run in the 40-yard dash? Here's a scoop: It's ridiculous.

What exactly happened to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel this weekend? Sports Illustrated's Peter King has a good take in his Monday Morning Quarterback. And Manziel pleaded guilty on Monday to a misdemeanor from 2012.

Kentucky running back Josh Clemons was injured in a workout late last week. He is expected to miss all of the 2013 season.

The Big Ten is taking a tough stance on hits above the shoulders in 2013.

Can Penn State reduce its recent NCAA sanctions

An interesting read from NunesMagician.com on some of the differences from the Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer eras at Syracuse.

Should Arkansas take a chance on former Auburn running back Michael Dyer? But could Dyer end up at South Florida?

Former Notre Dame receiver Justin Ferguson has transferred to Western Michigan.

Jon Solomon has an interesting look at SEC schedules and a historical perspective for this season.

Saturday Down South ranks the SEC offensive linemen for 2013. Lots of potential NFL first-round talent in this group.

How is the committee for college football's new playoff coming along?

NFL cornerback Darrelle Revis had some words of advice for Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

Auburn has lost an incoming recruit due to academic issues.

A preview of Texas Tech's outside linebackers for 2013.

Former Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey was acquitted on armed robbery and conspiracy charges. The former Green Wave player could be granted a waiver to play his final year of eligibility for 2013.

Here's a good preview of UCLA's offensive line for 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 14:51
Path: /college-football/byu-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

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

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

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

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

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


BYU's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

 

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


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

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


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

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


Jeremy Mauss, (@JeremyMauss), Mountain West Connection

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

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

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


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

Related College Football Content

College Football's Top 10 Independent Heisman Contenders
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
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College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013
College Football 2013: Comparing Preseason Rankings and Picks

Teaser:
BYU Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, July 15, 2013 - 12:16
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Maryland Terrapins, News
Path: /college-football/maryland-adds-houston-transfer-zeke-riser
Body:

With the departure of A.J. Francis and first-team All-ACC selection Joe Vellano, Maryland’s defensive line has some holes to fill for 2013. The Terrapins are regaining the services of Andre Monroe, who missed all of 2012 due to a knee injury, but the line is still a concern for coordinator Brian Stewart.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Warning: Video contains graphic language
 

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

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

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

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

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

LSU's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

Mark Ross

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


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


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


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Best and Worst Times to be a LSU Fan
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Unit Rankings: 2013 SEC Offensive Lines
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013

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

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

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

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

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


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

West Virginia's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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Big 12 Predictions for 2013
Big 12 2013 All-Conference Team
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College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tennessee's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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

Related College Football Content

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

 

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

Under 50 days until kickoff.....

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

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

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

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

Saturday Down South ranks the SEC receivers for 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Pretty sharp isn't it?

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 10:48

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