Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/iowa-state-breaks-out-awesome-throwbacks-iowa-game
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Some college football fans aren’t huge fans of the latest fashion crazes with different helmets and uniforms for several teams.

But even if you aren’t a huge fan of changing uniforms, you have to admit these throwback Iowa State outfits are a solid look.

The Cyclones will wear these uniforms against rival Iowa on Sept. 14.

 

Teaser:
Iowa State Breaks Out Awesome Throwbacks for Iowa Game
Post date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/northern-illinois-launches-heisman-campaign-jordan-lynch
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Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch went from an unknown commodity in the preseason to one of college football’s top quarterbacks last year.

Lynch finished seventh in the Heisman voting last season, and Northern Illinois hopes to help its quarterback’s stock a little more in 2013. 

The Huskies have launched a Heisman campaign for Lynch, which includes a twitter page (@LynchFor6), and the school has mailed promotional lunch bags to Heisman voters.

Check out Northern Illinois' campaign, as tweeted out by West Virginia beat writer Mike Casazza
 

Teaser:
Northern Illinois Launches Heisman Campaign for Jordan Lynch
Post date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 10:20
Path: /college-football/willie-taggart-brings-blue-collar-approach-usf
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Don’t adjust your vision – the photo below is of South Florida coach Willie Taggart.

No, Taggart isn’t heading out to change the oil in his car. Instead, the shirt is a symbol of the blue-collar approach Taggart plans to bring to South Florida.

With Taggart at the helm, expect the Bulls to be one of college football’s most-improved teams in 2013.

Teaser:
Willie Taggart Brings Blue-Collar Approach to USF
Post date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-darkhorse-national-title-contenders
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Predicting college football's national champion is never an easy task. In addition to combing through schedules, returning starters, players lost and statistics, there are several factors impossible to account for. Injuries and luck will have a major impact on the 2013 season - and neither can be projected. 

Most of college football's national title winners will come from within the top 10 of most preseason polls, but there are always a few darkhorses sneaking into the top 10 at some point during the season. 

What teams could be a darkhorse national title contender in 2013? Using Athlon's projected 125 for 2013, the criteria was simple - the teams must be ranked anywhere outside of the top 10 to qualify

College Football's Top-10 Darkhorse National Title Contenders

Arizona State
Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 8

Why Arizona State is a Title Contender:
Hiring Todd Graham paid immediate dividends for Arizona State last season. The Sun Devils improved their win total by two games and cut down on the mental mistakes that plagued this team in recent years. After closing out 2012 on a three-game winning streak, hopes are high in Tempe for Arizona State to win the Pac-12 South. Provided the offense develops a few playmakers at receiver, the Sun Devils could average over 40 points a game. The defense returns eight starters, including All-American tackle Will Sutton and linebacker Carl Bradford (11.5 sacks last year). The schedule isn’t easy, but allows for marquee victories by Arizona State. Games against Stanford and Notre Dame should be opportunities to pull upsets against top-10 teams.

Why Arizona State Isn’t a Title Contender:
Making the leap from an eight-win team to an 11 or 12-win team isn’t easy. Despite the talent in the front seven, Arizona State ranked 10th in the Pac-12 against the run. The Sun Devils also need to find more depth at cornerback this fall. While the schedule allows for some huge victories, winning at Stanford, UCLA and in a neutral site affair against Notre Dame won’t be easy. Arizona State is certainly a longshot to play for the national title, but Graham and his staff clearly has this program moving in the right direction.

Florida State
Returning Starters: Offense – 6, Defense – 4

Why Florida State is a Title Contender:
EJ Manuel was a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but there’s not much concern about quarterback play for the Seminoles. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is a potential superstar and even though there will have some growing pains, he is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC this year. Winston is surrounded by one of the nation’s top offensive lines, and there’s no shortage of weapons at running back and receiver. The defense lost a handful of players, but there’s talent waiting in the wings. Sophomore end Mario Edwards Jr. is due to become a prominent factor in the pass rush, while the secondary – despite the loss of Xavier Rhodes – will be stingy. Florida State’s national title hopes are certainly helped by a favorable schedule, as the Seminoles should be favored in at least 10 games this year.

Why Florida State Isn’t a Title Contender:
As mentioned above, the Seminoles have plenty of fresh talent waiting to step into the starting lineup. But what if it takes that talent longer to develop than some may expect? The coaching staff also has six new assistants, including defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Florida State cannot afford an injury on its offensive line, as there’s very little proven depth behind the starting five.

Kansas State
Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 2

Why Kansas State is a Title Contender:
Two words: Bill Snyder. Never count out Kansas State in the Big 12 title picture as long as Snyder is on the sidelines. The Wildcats have to replace quarterback Collin Klein and linebacker Arthur Brown, but haven’t we heard this story before when it comes to Kansas State? Key players leave, new stars emerge. The Wildcats have a quarterback battle between Daniel Sams and Jake Waters set to begin this fall, but the offense should be in good shape regardless of which player starts. The skill players are solid, and the offensive line could be the best in the Big 12. Road trips to Texas and Oklahoma State won’t be easy, but Kansas State can make up some ground in the Big 12 with November home dates against Oklahoma, TCU and Iowa State.

Why Kansas State Isn’t a Title Contender:
Although Sams and Waters appear capable of leading this offense, Klein’s leadership and play will be missed. A slight drop off on offense should be expected. But the bigger question mark for Kansas State has to be a defense that must replace a handful of key contributors. Linebacker Arthur Brown, cornerback Nigel Malone, defensive ends Meshak Williams and Adam Davis won’t be easy to replace. Brown’s departure is huge, but the return of Tre Walker and Blake Slaughter has eased the concerns about the linebackers. With a wide-open Big 12, can the champion of the conference climb high enough in the polls to make a run at the national title? There’s a ton of parity in the league this year, so a 9-3 or 10-2 record might win the conference title.

Michigan
Returning Starters: Offense – 5, Defense – 5

Why Michigan is a Title Contender:
After an 11-2 mark in coach Brady Hoke’s first season in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines took a step back in the win column last year. A tougher schedule resulted in an 8-5 mark in 2012, with three losses by a touchdown or less. The future looks bright at Michigan, especially as Hoke continues to reel in elite talent. The Wolverines return only 10 starters, but there’s plenty of capable players waiting to step into the lineup. Quarterback Devin Gardner shined after taking over for an injured Denard Robinson last year and should be even better in 2013 with an offseason to work as the starter. Gardner is a better fit than Robinson for what Michigan wants to do on offense, and there’s some potential in the receiving corps with sophomore Amara Darboh and senior Jeremy Gallon. The defense finished 13th nationally in yards allowed last season and even though a handful of players must be replaced, the Wolverines have the talent to rank near the top of the Big Ten. The pass defense will get a boost with the return of cornerback Blake Countess, who missed nearly all of 2012 with a knee injury.

Why Michigan Isn’t a Title Contender:
With most of the roster slated to return in 2013, Michigan may be a year away from contending for a national title. And even though there’s talent stepping into the lineup, it may take some time for it to perform at an All-Big Ten level. The offensive line should be solid with the return of tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, but the interior will feature three new starters. Linebacker Jake Ryan is also out until at least October with a torn ACL. The schedule is backloaded, which isn’t a bad thing for a team breaking in a handful of new starters. However, Michigan has to make trips to Michigan State and Northwestern – two of its top contenders in the Legends Division. 

Nebraska
Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 4

Why Nebraska is a Title Contender:
Offense, offense and offense. The Cornhuskers led the Big Ten in total offense at 460.8 yards per game last season. And the same cast of characters returns for 2013. Quarterback Taylor Martinez made significant strides last year, and running back Ameer Abdullah filled in admirably for an injured Rex Burkhead. Nebraska has one of the Big Ten’s top receiving corps, and the offensive line is solid with the return of three starters. Considering the Cornhuskers have a handful of players to replace on defense, the offense may have to win some shootouts in Big Ten play this year. The biggest factor working in Nebraska’s favor is the schedule. If the Cornhuskers get by UCLA on Sept. 14, they could be 7-0 going into November. The final month isn’t easy, but Northwestern and Michigan State – two of the top contenders in the Legends Division – will visit Lincoln.

Why Nebraska Isn’t a Title Contender:
There’s no question Nebraska’s offense will be outstanding in 2013. However, the defense is littered with concerns. The Cornhuskers allowed 115 points over their final two games last year and return only four starters. The front seven needs to be revamped, and several young players could be pressed into action. Kicker Brett Maher won’t be easy to replace, which is a concern as Nebraska heads into a difficult November schedule.

Oklahoma
Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 4

Why Oklahoma is a Title Contender:
The talent level may have slipped just a tad in recent years, but the Sooners remain a dangerous team in the national title picture. The Big 12 is wide-open, with no clear preseason favorite. Quarterback Blake Bell has yet to prove he can be an every-down option, but the junior has upside and could develop into one of the Big 12’s top offensive players with more experience. Oklahoma also has one of the nation’s best offensive lines, along with a deep receiving corps and a talented group of backs. The defense is a work in progress, but coordinator Mike Stoops should be able to find some answers this fall. The schedule isn’t easy, although the Sooners will have an opportunity to earn a marquee non-conference win at Notre Dame in late September.

Why Oklahoma Isn’t a Title Contender:
Defense. Even though Mike Stoops is a good coordinator, the Sooners are thin on proven talent (and bodies) on the defensive line. Cornerback Aaron Colvin is one of the Big 12’s best defense players, but the secondary is a concern with the departure of safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Demontre Hurst. The schedule isn’t overly challenging. However, matchups at Baylor, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State are all potential losses.

Oklahoma State
Returning Starters: Offense – 5, Defense – 7

Why Oklahoma State is a Title Contender:
Considering how wide open the Big 12 is, you could list the predicted top six teams for 2013 in this article. Oklahoma State is Athlon’s projected Big 12 champion this season, but the Cowboys are picked to finish outside of the top-10 in the final poll before bowl games. New offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich should keep Oklahoma State’s offense among the best in the Big 12, and running back Jeremy Smith is a capable replacement for Joseph Randle. The defense returns seven starters, including one of the Big 12’s top linebacking corps. With Glenn Spencer promoted to coordinator, the Cowboys expect a more aggressive defense in 2013. And a secondary that ranked 110th nationally against the pass will be improved.

Why Oklahoma State Isn’t a Title Contender:
The uncertainty at the top of the league certainly makes for an interesting title race, but it could also hurt the champion of the Big 12. Too much parity could hurt the conference in the polls, leaving the champion on the outside of the top five. While quarterback Clint Chelf played well in limited action, can he handle the starting job for a full season? While the pass defense should be better, Oklahoma State is thin on depth and proven talent at defensive end. A road game at Texas could decide the Big 12 championship.

TCU
Returning Starters: Offense – 4, Defense – 8

Why TCU is a Title Contender:
As expected, the transition from the Mountain West to the Big 12 wasn’t easy. And despite losing quarterback Casey Pachall early in the year due to a suspension, the Horned Frogs finished a respectable 7-6. With Pachall returning to the team, TCU’s passing attack will be more dangerous in 2013. The Horned Frogs have a good group of receivers returning, while the ground game will get a boost with Waymon James back at full strength from a knee injury. Nebraska transfer Aaron Green is expected to help James and B.J. Catalon shoulder the workload in the backfield. Defense is always a strength under coach Gary Patterson, and TCU allowed the fewest yards per game in conference play last year (323.9). Nine starters are back on defense, including the Big 12’s top secondary.   

Why TCU Isn’t a Title Contender:
While the return of Pachall and James will help the offense, the line is a major concern. Tackle Tayo Fabuluje quit the team in the summer, leaving the Horned Frogs with just two starters returning up front. Although the defense should be one of the best in the Big 12, end Devonte Fields is suspended for the first two games, which will leave the pass rush shorthanded against LSU. If TCU wins the Big 12, it will certainly earn it, as road trips to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are brutal.

Texas
Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 9

Why Texas is a Title Contender:
The Longhorns are the most difficult team to figure out this preseason. There’s no question coach Mack Brown has assembled elite talent, but Texas is just 22-16 over the last three years. Did this team turn a corner in the bowl win over Oregon State? For Texas to top last year’s nine victories, it all starts at the quarterback position. David Ash showed progress last season, but is he ready to make the jump to be an elite quarterback in the Big 12? The Longhorns don’t need Ash to be Colt McCoy, especially with one of the nation’s deepest backfields at his disposal. The offensive line has made progress in recent years and all five starters are back. The defense underachieved in 2012 but nine starters are back, and linebacker Jordan Hicks returns after missing most of last season with an injury. Texas also has one of the most favorable schedules in the Big 12, as Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech all visit Austin.

Why Texas Isn’t a Title Contender:
Can Texas be trusted? That’s the key question when it comes to preseason picks in the Big 12. The Longhorns have the most-talented roster in the conference, but questions still remain about this team’s ability to take the next step. Ash doesn’t have to be one of the nation’s top quarterbacks for Texas to win the Big 12, but he also has to cut down on his mistakes (seven interceptions in eight Big 12 games). Not only does the defense have to get tougher against the run, it has to eliminate some of the mental mistakes, including a plethora of missed tackles last year. The best barometer of Texas will likely come on Oct. 12 against Oklahoma. The Longhorns have lost 118-38 in their last two meetings against the Sooners.

USC
Returning Starters: Offense – 8, Defense – 7

Why USC Is a Title Contender:
Last year was a huge disappointment for USC. But there’s no question the Trojans have plenty of talent on the roster to make a quick rebound. If Max Wittek or Cody Kessler settles into the starting quarterback role, the offense should rank in the top half of the Pac-12 once again. Silas Redd is capable of rushing for 1,000 yards, and the receiving corps is loaded at the top with the return of Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor. The defense struggled last year, but coach Lane Kiffin’s decision to hire Clancy Pendergast as the coordinator should pay dividends. USC does not have to play Oregon this year and UCLA, Arizona and Stanford all come to the Coliseum.

Why USC Isn’t a Title Contender:
Even though athletic director Pat Haden gave Kiffin a vote of confidence, what happens if things start to go bad early in the year? The Trojans fell apart in the bowl loss to Georgia Tech and have to regain the form that saw this team finish 10-2 in 2011. Although Kessler and Wittek are talented quarterbacks, USC needs to settle on one and not go through an entire season of changing starters. The offensive line has to play better, which will be a challenge with the departure of center Khaled Holmes. The Trojans are thin in the secondary, but the additions of freshmen Su’a Cravens and Leon McQuay should help.

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Teaser:
College Football's Top-10 Darkhorse National Title Contenders
Post date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 07:20
Path: /college-football/wisconsin-football-game-game-predictions-2013
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Wisconsin enters 2013 with a hint of mystery surrounding the team. The Badgers have played in three consecutive Rose Bowls, but there’s a new coach on the sideline and different schemes on both sides of the ball.

New coach Gary Andersen comes to Madison from Utah State, where he recorded a 26-24 record in four seasons. Although Andersen’s record wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive, the Aggies were 6-30 in three seasons prior to his arrival. Andersen clearly improved Utah State, but his task at Wisconsin won’t be about rebuilding – at least in 2013. With 11 starters back, the Badgers can make a run at the Leaders Division title and 10 wins this year.

The biggest question mark surrounding Wisconsin is quarterback play, especially with the addition of junior college recruit Tanner McEvoy. The defense is switching to a 3-4 scheme, but the Badgers have plenty of talent in the front seven to weather the transition.

Wisconsin’s schedule isn’t too challenging, but a road trip to Ohio State on Sept. 28 could decide who wins the Leaders Division.

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

Wisconsin's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Brent
Yarina
Kevin
McGuire
Mike
Fiammetta
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Mark
Ross
8/31 UMass
9/7 Tennessee Tech
9/14 at Arizona State
9/21 Purdue
9/28 at Ohio State
10/12 Northwestern
10/19 at Illinois
11/2 at Iowa
11/9 BYU
11/16 Indiana
11/23 at Minnesota
11/30 Penn State
Final Projection9-310-29-311-19-39-39-3

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Wisconsin hit a home run by hiring Gary Andersen to replace Bret Bielema. Andersen elevated Utah State to a conference title contender during his time in Logan and inherits a Badgers’ team that’s capable of finishing in the 10-15 range in the final BCS poll. The biggest question marks for Wisconsin rest at quarterback and how this team transition to new schemes on both sides of the ball. Joel Stave would seem to have a slight edge on Curt Phillips and Tanner McEvoy for the starting quarterback spot, but all three could see playing time this year. Moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme in one offseason could present some headaches, but Wisconsin has enough talent to handle the transition. The biggest issue on defense is the secondary, which will have three new starters for 2013. The Badgers have a favorable schedule, but road trips to Arizona State and Ohio State won’t be easy. I also have Wisconsin stumbling at Iowa, but I’d keep a close eye on the Oct. 12 matchup against Northwestern.


Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)
I hate to simplify things this much, however one can argue Wisconsin’s season comes down to two games: at Ohio State (Sept. 28) and vs. Northwestern (Nov. 12). Yes, at Arizona State is hardly a walk in the park, but it’s a nonconference game. We’re talking about Wisconsin, the program that’s represented the Big Ten in the last three Rose Bowls. Pasadena is the goal, and it’s a possibility again—especially if the Badgers show up in the aforementioned marque games. Seriously, take away the Ohio State and Northwestern dates, and Wisconsin will be the heavy favorite in its other six Big Ten games. Considering the manageable schedule and the talent the Badgers return, both on offense (James White, Melvin Gordon, Jared Abbrederis, Jacob Pedersen) and defense (Chris Borland, Ethan Armstrong, Beau Allen, Dezmen Southward), a 10-win regular season could be in the cards.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), No2MinuteWarning.com and NittanyLionsDen.com
Wisconsin may have won a Big Ten championship last season, but let's not forget the Badgers actually finished third in the Leaders Division in 2012 behind Ohio State and Penn State, losing the head-to-head match-ups to each. That said, the Badgers figure to have a team worthy of giving the Buckeyes a bit of a tussle this year in the race to Indianapolis if things fall according to plan. Though Wisconsin loses Monte Ball, a player that never really got the attention he probably should have, the Badgers will rely on a strong running game behind a proven James White. The Badgers also have one of the Big Ten's top wide receivers in Jared Abbrederis, so it's time once again to ask the annual question; Does Wisconsin have a quarterback? I think they do with Joel Stave, but we'll see which way new head coach Gary Andersen goes with this. One thing I do feel confident in with Wisconsin is their defense. The Badgers had a defense that was pretty overlooked last season despite finishing third in the Big Ten in total and scoring defense. I suspect Andersen and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will keep that theme moving forward in Madison with a guy like linebacker Chris Borland anchoring things in the middle of the field.

Wisconsin should get off to a fast start against some weak opponents but a road trip to Arizona State looks very dangerous. BYU also looks to be a real difficult non-conference game, and who knows what the season will look like for either team when that game comes around in November. I'll give Wisconsin a split in those two, and I'm putting the Badgers on upset alert at Iowa right now. I look for Wisconsin to finish strongly though. If the Buckeyes stumble, Wisconsin can take advantage.

Mike Fiammetta, (@B5Q), Buckys5thquarter.com
With a coaching staff that's entirely new outside of two retained assistants and questions at quarterback, receiver and in the secondary, Wisconsin's one of the hardest teams to pick in the Big Ten. That's probably true for all of college football, as well. A few things are certain, however. The Badgers return a ton of all-Big Ten-worthy talent, including running backs James White and Melvin Gordon, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, linebacker Chris Borland and safety Dezmen Southward. The schedule is also incredibly soft, with non-conference play presenting only one threat (at ASU, though BYU could be considered a challenge) and the Big Ten slate having just one game in which Wisconsin will clearly be an underdog (at Ohio State). The early returns on the Gary Andersen era have been remarkably positive, though of course things could always not gel for the problem areas, namely receiver, offensive line and the secondary. If it does, though, the Badgers very well could find themselves in Indianapolis fighting for a fourth straight Rose Bowl berth.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Not many new head coaches step into a "BCS" job for a team looking to become a four-time defending champion but that is what Gary Andersen has done in Madison. The Badgers have won three-straight Big Ten titles and have a roster — and schedule — capable of competing for another one in 2013. Road games with Ohio State and Arizona State early will really test the rebuilt secondary and efficiency of whoever is playing quarterback. Other tricky tests like Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern at home or rivalry road games with Iowa and Minnesota could all provide slip-ups for a team with new leadership. Most everyone in the industry respects Andersen and the Badger way of winning is proven. But it will be hard-pressed to win a division in which Ohio State resides.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I don’t know if Wisconsin is going to be dramatically better than it was last season, but the season I’ve picked (9-3 in the regular season) is two games better than the Badgers were last year (7-5). The Badgers’ record wasn’t great, but they were awfully close in the losses — three in overtime and the other three away from Madison by six points or less. More competent quarterback play could be the difference, even though the Badgers move on without Bret Bielema. The Arizona State game will be interesting, but that doesn’t set up well for Wisconsin: A decimated secondary against a veteran quarterback, a redshirt freshman center against defensive tackle Will Sutton and an untested quarterback on the road. The experience issues will get better, which is why Wisconsin can hope for a hot finish. Northwestern could shape up to be a key game. The Badgers’ quarterback and offensive line could be in good shape by that point of the year, but the Badgers are still going to have a tough time stopping teams that can throw the ball.


Mark Ross
Wisconsin made a great hire in luring Gary Andersen away from Utah State to replace the departed Bret Bielema. Although it may take a couple of seasons for the Badgers to be completely Andersen's team, I'm not expecting much of a drop off in terms of results our of Madison this fall. UW won't break a sweat until heading out west to the desert to face Arizona State and even though the opening of its Big Ten slate could be somewhat rocky, the rest of the schedule shakes out nicely. The Badgers get a break by not having to face either Michigan, Nebraska or Michigan State from the Legends Division, and the toughest conference road date by far is against Ohio State. The Buckeyes will more than likely win the Leaders Division, but the Badgers should be able to claim second and at least match last season's win total before their bowl game.

 

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Teaser:
Wisconsin Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-august-5
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Fall camps already underway. The 2013 season is almost here.

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


College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, August 5th

Here's the latest in the ongoing saga surrounding Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. 

Interested in hearing more about Athlon's picks for 2013? Check out this podcast I did with Sports Week Live this weekend, as we talked about each of the BCS conferences, national championship and some Heisman implications. 

Saturday Down South takes a look at the top 25 players in the SEC for 2013.

LSU running back Jeremy Hill has avoided jail time from a recent off-the-field incident.

Ole Miss receiver Vince Sanders suffered a broken collarbone in practice.

How did South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney get his childhood nickname? It's an interesting story to say the least.

Andy Bitter takes a look at some key position battles to watch as Virginia Tech opens fall practice. And here's a look at the Hokies' updated depth chart.

A potential starter on Georgia's defense will undergo thumb surgery.

Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning will miss some practice time after having knee surgery.

Tomahawk Nation answers some key questions surrounding Florida State's fall practice.

NC State running back Shadrach Thornton is facing a court date for misdemeanor assault charge.

Adam Jude of the Seattle Times takes a look at five key questions facing Washington this fall.

Bucky's 5th Quarter takes a look at three freshmen who could play key roles for Wisconsin in 2013.

All signs point to Tom Savage winning Pittsburgh's starting quarterback job.

Will California's offensive line improve in 2013?

Here are five question marks to watch as Penn State opens fall practice.

Ohio State should have more weapons than just quarterback Braxton Miller in 2013.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: August 5
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 13:45
Path: /college-football/texas-tech-unveils-new-uniforms-2013
Body:

Texas Tech is making some slight tweaks to its football uniforms for 2013. The Red Raiders have added a red stripe to the helmets and made a few changes to the jerseys.

But is that all? Remember this photo circulating back in the spring, it appears the school may have a few more uniforms to unveil for this season. And according to VivatheMatadors.com, Texas Tech could have a gray jersey for 2013.

 

 

And here's a video of the big reveal:
 

Teaser:
Texas Tech Unveils New Uniforms for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 13:30
Path: /college-football/byu-breaks-out-royal-blue-jerseys-2013
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The BYU-Utah matchup is always one of the top rivalry games in college football each year. The series will be on hiatus for 2014 and 2015, so this season’s game will have a little extra meaning.

BYU is planning a slight uniform tweak for the 2013 matchup against the Utes, as the Cougars will wear their royal blue scheme.

Here’s a look at athletic director Tom Holmoe modeling the jersey, along with a shot from Nike:

 


 

Teaser:
BYU Breaks Out Royal Blue Jerseys for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-unveils-jerseys-shamrock-series
Body:

Notre Dame has unveiled a new uniform for 2013. No, it’s not an entire revamp of the Fighting Irish’s uniforms, but rather a one-time change for the Shamrock Series game against Arizona State on Oct. 5.

Notre Dame’s uniforms are one of the most classic looks in college football each year. However, these Shamrock Series uniforms are pretty sharp.


Teaser:
Notre Dame Unveils Jerseys for Shamrock Series
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 10:28
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/texas-am-qb-johnny-manziel-under-ncaa-investigation
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The ongoing saga that is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s offseason continued on Sunday, as ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is under NCAA investigation.

The report alleges Manziel agreed to sign memorabilia for an autograph broker in Miami in January. Manziel was reportedly paid five figures for the signatures, but witnesses never saw an exchange of money.

An interesting tidbit in the report was the authentication companies and the Manziel items on the internet. According to ESPN.com’s report, PSA/DNA and JSA have authenticated the autographs, and the items are numbered sequentially. And Outside the Lines also mentions large quantities and numbered autographs are generally done for sale.

What Does This Mean for Texas A&M?

Right now, nothing. As the past few months have showed, the NCAA’s investigative arm doesn’t have the best reputation (see the Miami case).

Being under investigation doesn’t mean a suspension is coming, but this is something that will play out over the next few weeks. And considering all of the factors in play, it may take some time for the NCAA to sort this out.

Needless to say, Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel have to hope for a quick investigation, especially with the season just a few weeks away. 

What if Johnny Manziel is Suspended?

Again, it’s too early to know if Manziel will be suspended. But if the sophomore quarterback is ruled ineligible, the consequences on Texas A&M’s 2013 season are huge. The Aggies are picked in the top 10 of most preseason polls and were projected to be one of the teams in the mix for a BCS bowl.

There have been similar cases in recent years, as Georgia’s A.J. Green was suspended for four games in 2010 for selling a jersey, and six Ohio State players were suspended under Jim Tressel for trading memorabilia for tattoos.

What if Manziel is suspended four games? He would be forced to sit out contests against Rice, Sam Houston State, Alabama and SMU.

Obviously, the Sept. 14 matchup against Alabama is expected to shape the national title picture and is one of the most-anticipated SEC contests for 2013. But games against Rice, Sam Houston State and SMU are winnable without Manziel. A six-game suspension would be a bigger problem for Texas A&M, as road games at Arkansas and Ole Miss won’t be easy.

If Manziel misses a bigger portion of the schedule, Texas A&M’s SEC West title hopes are finished.

What’s Next?

The waiting game. It’s important to note that Manziel is simply under investigation, and none of the allegations have been proven as fact. And it's entirely possible this investigation could turn up nothing, and Manziel won't have to miss any games. 

Obviously, Texas A&M has to prepare for the worst. With fall practice starting, Matt Joeckel and Matt Davis will be under extra scrutiny by the coaching staff.

Although Manziel has spent plenty of time in the headlines this offseason, none of the previous stories, photos or tweets had any impact on Texas A&M’s season. But with a NCAA investigation hanging over Manziel, a season that looked so promising in Aggieland in April has begun to erode.


Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
Pivotal Players to Determining a SEC Championship
South Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Texas A&M Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel Under NCAA Investigation
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/nevada-unveils-new-uniforms-2013
Body:

It’s a new era for Nevada football in 2013. Gone is coach Chris Ault and in is former Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian. The Wolf Pack has won at least six games in each of the last eight years and should be in the mix for a bowl in 2013.

Nevada already released a new white helmet for this year and unveiled all-new uniforms for 2013.

Perhaps the biggest change is the helmet. The Wolf Pack’s white helmet will replace the blue one as the primary look.

Here's a gallery of Nevada's new uniforms for 2013.

Teaser:
Nevada Unveils New Uniforms for 2013
Post date: Monday, August 5, 2013 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/kentucky-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kentucky's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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

 

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

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


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


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

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

Related College Football Content

SEC Predictions for 2013
SEC 2013 All-Conference Team
Pivotal Players to Determining a SEC Championship
South Carolina Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Florida Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Texas A&M Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Georgia Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Getting to Know the SEC's New Coaches for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team
SEC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Oklahoma State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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


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


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

Mark Ross

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

 

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

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Related College Football Content

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

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

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

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

College Football’s All-Name Team for 2013

Offense

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


Defense

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


Special Teams

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


Five questions for Alabama as it opens fall practice.

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

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

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

Rutgers will have a revamped offensive line in 2013.

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

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

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

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

The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Oklahoma considering some tweaks to its uniforms?

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

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

Arizona picked up Texas quarterback transfer Connor Brewer.

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

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

Saturday Blitz takes a look at the rise of Stanford.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Louisville's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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American Athletic Pivotal Players to a Championship

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missouri's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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


College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Thursday, August 1st


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

The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisconsin is searching for more playmakers at receiver this fall.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Carolina's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

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

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

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

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

 

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

Mark Ross

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

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

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

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

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

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

Matt McClusky, (@MatthewMcClusky), NunesMagician.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

College Football's Top Fall Practice Quarterback Battles

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


Oklahoma State

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


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


Penn State

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


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


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


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

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

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

Others to Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Post date: Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 07:15

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