Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/uclas-eddie-vanderdoes-wins-appeal-will-play-2013
Body:

The transfer saga of former Notre Dame signee Eddie Vanderdoes appears to be finished. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the California native was granted a waiver to play in 2013 and will not have to sit out a season due to transfer rules.

Vanderdoes signed with Notre Dame in February but chose to leave the school this summer. The Fighting Irish would not release Vanderdoes from his scholarship, which meant the defensive lineman would have to sit out a year.

However, Vanderdoes’ appeal for immediate eligibility has been approved, which means UCLA is getting a player capable of making a big impact on the defensive line. Datone Jones expired his eligibility after last season, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa is recovering from offseason hip surgery. Even though Vanderdoes didn’t practice this spring with the Bruins, there’s a good chance he will be in the two-deep by the season opener.

Teaser:
UCLA's Eddie Vanderdoes Wins Appeal, Will Play in 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/floridas-jeff-driskel-undergoes-appendectomy
Body:

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel will miss the next two weeks of action, as the junior quarterback is recovering from an appendectomy.

Driskel is expected to return in time for the season opener against Toledo. While the junior is sidelined, Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg are likely to handle the bulk of the reps in practice.

Although Florida will have Driskel back for the opener, his absence is a huge loss for the offense at a critical time. The Gators enter fall practice looking for playmakers at receiver, and Driskel’s absence will slow the development and timing of the offense.

This is a small setback for Florida’s offense, but Driskel should be 100 percent by the opener. And if the Gators can give the junior passer more help in the receiving corps, he should finish 2013 as one of the top-five quarterbacks in the SEC.
 

Teaser:
Florida's Jeff Driskel Undergoes Appendectomy
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 10:14
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-breakout-players-2013
Body:

Every year, college football fans are introduced to a handful of players that become household names by the end of the season. Predicting which players will breakout any year is never an easy task.

The Big Ten has plenty of candidates to project for a breakout year, including Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, Purdue running back Akeem Hunt and Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence. Gardner has plenty of buzz across the nation, but the junior is entering his first full season as the Wolverines’ No. 1 passer. Hunt should see an increase in rushing attempts this year and has a similar skill set to Kent State running back Dri Archer. Spence and teammate Adolphus Washington will be in charge of keeping the Buckeyes’ defense near the top of the Big Ten, which won’t be easy with four new starters on the defensive line.

Defining what is a breakout player is nearly impossible. Everyone has a different perspective on how players are viewed around the conference and nationally. Athlon's list of breakout players for 2013 tries to take into account which names will be known nationally (not just within the conference) by the end of season. So while some of these players on this list are known to fans of a particular team, the rest of the conference or nation might not be as familiar. 

Big Ten Breakout Players for 2013

Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
If the Spartans are going to win the Big Ten Legends Division, it will have to be on the strength of their defense. Michigan State’s offense ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in points scored last year, and it’s hard to envision much improvement with the departure of running back Le’Veon Bell and tight end Dion Sims. The Spartans led the Big Ten in total defense last year, and with six starters back, this unit will be stingy once again. Junior Marcus Rush is an established performer at one end spot, but Michigan State is leaning on Calhoun to replace William Gholston. The New Jersey native impressed in limited action last season, recording six tackles and one sack in 13 contests. One of Calhoun’s top performances came in the bowl win over TCU, as he registered two tackles for a loss. The sophomore is still developing and will have to adjust to his first extended action this year. However, he could lead the Spartans’ defense in sacks and tackles for a loss in his first season as a starter.

Darian Cooper, DT, Iowa
Considering the Hawkeyes had three new starters on their defensive line last year, it was no surprise this unit ranked seventh in the Big Ten against the run and generated just 1.1 sacks per game. The line should be improved in 2013, especially with more depth across the end and tackle positions. Cooper started two games and appeared in all 12 contests last year, recording 34 tackles and one fumble recovery. The sophomore’s play got stronger as the year went on, and he should be an even bigger factor in the trenches with another offseason to work in the weight room and under coordinator Phil Parker.

Jon Davis, TE, Illinois
After a 2-10 season and some uncertainty on the depth chart, it’s not easy to get a read on the Fighting Illini this preseason. However, there are some signs to believe the offense will be better in 2013, especially with the addition of Bill Cubit as the playcaller. Davis caught 22 passes in 2011 but watched his numbers decline to just nine in '12. Cubit was effective at using the tight ends in the passing game during his tenure at Western Michigan, which bodes well for Davis’ chances at emerging as a factor in the offense this year.

Dan Feeney and Jason Spriggs, OL, Indiana
Feeney and Spriggs certainly aren’t unknown commodities to most teams in the Big Ten, but it’s time these two received some credit on the national level. Spriggs guarded the blindside for Indiana’s quarterbacks last fall, allowing just two sacks in 961 snaps. The Indiana native started all 12 games and was named to the Big Ten Network’s All-Freshman team. Feeney joined Spriggs as a key contributor as a true freshman, starting all 12 games and recording 54 knockdowns in 2012. Feeney did not allow a sack last year and is poised to emerge as one of the Big Ten’s top guards in 2013. As a former offensive lineman, coach Kevin Wilson certainly knows how to develop a unit capable of ranking among the best in the Big Ten. If Feeney and Spriggs build off their success, both players could be in the mix for All-American honors going into the 2014 season.

Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
With Devin Gardner set to assume the full-time quarterback job, the Wolverines will use more of a pro-style offense in 2013. Gardner proved he is ready to emerge as one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks after a strong finish to the year, and now Michigan needs to find a few dependable receivers this fall to complement Jeremy Gallon. Funchess could emerge as the team’s No. 2 target after catching 15 passes for 234 yards and five scores as a true freshman last year. The 6-foot-5 target should be a valuable weapon over the middle and in the red zone for Gardner and could easily double his 2012 numbers.

Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Considering his performance to close 2012, it’s a bit of a stretch to put Gardner on this list. Filling in for an injured Denard Robinson in the final five games, Gardner recorded 18 touchdowns during that span and threw for 314 yards in a win over Iowa. With Gardner now entrenched as the full-time starter, and Robinson playing in the NFL, the Wolverines will transition to more of a pro-style approach on offense. Michigan’s offensive line and receiving corps needs work, but Gardner will be one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks by the end of 2013.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Despite losing Montee Ball, the Badgers aren’t too worried about their rushing attack. With Gordon and James White returning, it’s easy to see why running back is near the bottom of concerns for new coach Gary Andersen. After rushing for 98 yards as a freshman in 2011, Gordon gashed opposing defenses for 621 yards on 62 attempts last fall, averaging 10 yards a carry. His best performance came against Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship, recording 216 yards on nine attempts. Gordon will split carries with White, but the junior should finish as the Badgers’ leading rusher this year.

Akeem Hunt, RB, Purdue
New Purdue coach Darrell Hazell developed Kent State’s offense into one of the nation's most productive rushing attacks last year, finishing 18th at 225.8 yards per game. With an unsettled quarterback situation, the Boilermakers need a big season from their ground game, which is likely to be headlined by Hunt. The 5-foot-9 back resembles Kent State standout Dri Archer, and Purdue hopes he has a similar impact in 2013. Hunt rushed for 335 yards, caught 13 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 22.2 yards on 39 kickoff returns last year. Expect Hunt to play a similar all-around role in 2013, but he also will see a significant increase in carries.

Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota
It’s easy to pick the quarterback in the breakout players column, but it’s also hard to ignore the progress that Nelson made in limited action last year. The Minnesota native was thrown into the fire as a true freshman in 2012 and finished the year with 873 passing yards and eight scores, along with 184 yards on the ground. Nelson was steady in the bowl game against Texas Tech, completing 7 of 16 passes for 138 yards. His best performance came against Purdue last year, as he threw three touchdown passes on 22 attempts. Nelson isn’t likely to challenge for All-Big Ten honors, but the sophomore should continue to make progress in his first full year as the No. 1 quarterback. Minnesota fans are familiar with Nelson’s potential, but the rest of the Big Ten should get a good look at his talents with a jump in production in 2013.

Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern
Even though Northwestern loses two starters on the defensive line, this unit could be just as effective in 2013. A big reason why the coaching staff has confidence in this group is the emergence of Odenigbo. A shoulder injury sidelined him after the third game of 2012, but the redshirt freshman is expected to be back at full strength in 2013. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Odenigbo has the size and speed to be one of the team’s top pass rushers, giving Northwestern a potent one-two end combination with the return of senior Tyler Scott on the other side.

James Ross III, LB, Michigan
With Jake Ryan recovering from a torn ACL and not expected to return until October, the Wolverines need the rest of the linebacking corps to step up this fall. And there’s plenty of help on the way from Ross, who was one of the Big Ten’s top freshmen defenders last year. In 13 contests in 2012, Ross recorded 36 tackles. The sophomore has excellent athleticism and instincts and is expected to man the weakside for coordinator Greg Mattison in 2013. There’s no question Michigan will miss Ryan’s play and leadership. However, Ross is more than capable of filling those voids until Ryan is ready to return.

David Santos, LB, Nebraska
With only one returning starter, Nebraska’s front seven is getting a facelift this fall. The coaching staff hopes the return of Zaire Anderson from injury will help ease the transition to the new starters, but there’s plenty of interest in the development of Santos. As a redshirt freshman last year, he played in a reserve role, recording 24 tackles and one forced fumble. With a full offseason to work as the starter, Santos should emerge as a leader for Nebraska’s linebacking corps.

Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State
Whether it’s Christian Hackenberg or Tyler Ferguson starting at quarterback for Penn State, the Nittany Lions will have a strong supporting cast. The offensive line developed into one of the Big Ten’s best last season, allowing just 21 sacks in 12 contests. Two starters must be replaced, but Penn State is counting on Smith to keep the line performing at a high level. The sophomore struggled with an injury early in the year but finished with nine starts. With another year to work under line coach Mac McWhorter, Smith is poised to take the next step in his development this year and has all of the tools to be a dominant left tackle for Penn State.

Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, DE, Ohio State
The Buckeyes have no shortage of talent on the roster, but the defensive line is a concern with four new starters stepping into the lineup. Spence and Washington are expected to be the new leaders for the line in 2013, as both players were top-30 recruits in the 2012 signing class and impressed in limited action last year. Spence recorded 12 tackles and one sack in 11 appearances, while Washington recorded nine tackles and three sacks in 10 games. The Big Ten is thin on proven talent at defensive end, but players like Spence and Washington could turn this position into a strength by October.

Jamal Turner, WR, Nebraska
With several new faces stepping into the starting lineup on defense, Nebraska may need to win a couple of shootouts this year. And with quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Ameer Abdullah and receiver Kenny Bell returning, there’s certainly no shortage of firepower in Lincoln. The offense could be even deadlier in 2013, as Turner is poised to take the next step in his development as a receiver. After beginning his career as a quarterback, Turner nabbed 15 receptions as a freshman and boosted his total to 32 catches for 417 yards and three scores in 2012. Don’t expect Turner to overtake Bell as the No. 1 receiver, but with another year to get acclimated to receiver, look for the junior to increase his reception totals and yardage in 2013.

Dan Vitale, TE, Northwestern
The Wildcats return 15 starters, so there’s not a ton of room for unproven players to find a major role on the team in 2013. Sophomore cornerback Nick VanHoose is due to raise his profile even more this year, but we’ll pick Vitale, who is flying under the radar after a solid freshman campaign. Last season, Vitale caught 28 passes for 288 yards and two scores, with 16 of his receptions coming in two of the final three games. Northwestern needs more consistency out of its receiving corps in 2013, and help for quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian could start with Vitale’s continued development.

Dan Voltz, C, Wisconsin
Developing All-Big Ten linemen wasn’t a problem under Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema, and that trend should continue under new coach Gary Andersen. After spending 2012 as a redshirt, Voltz is expected to start at center this season. Voltz has some big shoes to fill, as he replaces Travis Frederick – one of the Big Ten’s top linemen in 2012. Voltz was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals in the class of 2012 and all signs point to the Illinois native emerging as a future standout for the Badgers.

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Christian Hackenberg Could be a Program-Changer at Penn State
The Big Ten's Best Traditions
College Football's Top 10 Most-Improved Teams for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Teaser:
Big Ten Football Breakout Players for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 07:18
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

The Coastal Division is up for grabs in 2013, as Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami all have a strong case to be picked No. 1 this preseason.

The Hokies regressed from one of the ACC’s top title contenders to a 7-6 team last year. Virginia Tech also won three of its games in overtime, including a 13-10 victory over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

After being a model of consistency in the ACC, are the Hokies ready to return to the top? Or is Virginia Tech on the decline?

The answer to that question might reside on the hire of Scot Loeffler as the team’s new offensive coordinator. Loeffler’s one-year stint at Auburn was a struggle, but he did not have the talent to run a pro-style attack. Is Loeffler the right answer at Virginia Tech? Only time well tell, but Loeffler’s assignment isn’t easy, especially since the Hokies have question marks at each level of the offense in 2013.

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

Virginia Tech's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
John
Cassillo
Ryan
Tice
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
 
8/31 Alabama (Atlanta) 
9/7 Western Carolina 
9/14 at East Carolina 
9/21 Marshall 
9/26 at Georgia Tech 
10/5 North Carolina 
10/12 Pittsburgh 
10/26 Duke 
11/2 at Boston College 
11/9 at Miami 
11/16 Maryland 
11/30 at Virginia 
Final Projection9-39-39-39-310-29-3 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Was 2012 just a small speed bump for Virginia Tech or a sign of things to come? That’s the big question in Blacksburg this offseason, as the Hokies have won at least 10 games in eight out of the last nine years but struggled to get to a bowl game last season. With the return of nine starters on defense, a wide-open Coastal Division and no Florida State or Clemson on the schedule, Virginia Tech should be in the mix to play for the conference championship once again. For the Hokies to get back into ACC title contention, the offense has to show some signs of life. Was Scot Loeffler the right person to fix the offense and quarterback Logan Thomas? I’m not so sure. Although Thomas has to cut down on his interceptions, Virginia Tech needs to identify a couple of playmakers at receiver, find a No. 1 running back and stabilize the offensive line. Until the offense improves, expect the Hokies to lean prominently on the defense, especially in early-season matchups against Georgia Tech and North Carolina. I could see Virginia Tech finishing 8-4 with an upset loss at Virginia or even at home to North Carolina. However, I’m guessing the Hokies find just enough offense to finish 9-3 and push Miami for the Coastal title.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
The opener against Alabama could set a very bad tone for this season in Blacksburg, even with the rebound game against Western Carolina right after. Don't sleep on the back-to-back contests against Marshall and ECU, either -- the Herd and Pirates are two of the best teams in Conference USA and with powerful offenses, may simply be able to outscore the Hokies if the timing's right. Still, with that defense, Virginia Tech has ample opportunities to win all over this schedule. So long as the offense can score 25 (no guarantee), they should be in position to emerge victorious in most contests. But that's all up to Logan Thomas. Can he regain his 2011 form? We'll see.

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com
My confidence in Virginia Tech is based on the track records of Frank Beamer and Bud Foster more than anything. The defense returns nine starters, has talent in the front seven and boasts a potentially great ACC cornerback duo in Antone Exum, provided he is able to get fully healthy, and Kyle Fuller. The defense will also be aided by the return of inside linebacker Tariq Edwards, a 2011 starter who missed all of last year, and the reported offseason turnaround from defensive end J.R. Collins, who was an All-ACC honorable mention in 2011. While I do give Beamer and Foster the benefit of the doubt, I never thought quarterback Logan Thomas deserved all of the hype he got last summer and he showed to be the singal caller I thought he was last year. He has even less help this season than 2012, when he threw for 2,976 yards, 18 touchdowns and 16 picks. It’s up to inexperienced playmakers to step forward on offense. Playing at East Carolina will be tougher than it appears on the surface and winning at Georgia Tech on a short week is no easy task.


Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Logan Thomas is simply too talented and the Bud Foster led defense is simply too salty for this team to be as bad in 2013 as it was in 2012. Will it rebound to win the division and return to the title game with road games at Georgia Tech and Miami? I say no. But missing both Florida State and Clemson in crossover play gives this team as good a chance of winning the division as any other. The hiring of Scott Loeffler to run the offense is one of the most important hires of the offseason nationally and will go a long way to saving Thomas' legacy and returning Frank Beamer to coaching prominence.

Mark Ross
As disappointing a season as Virginia Tech had last year, the reality is the Hokies still went to (and won) a bowl game and have plenty of talent returning this fall. It will be up to quarterback Logan Thomas to bounce back in a new offensive system, but he can't do it all alone. The running game must be more consistent and playmakers need to step up and emerge in the passing attack.

Despite the many questions on offense, I still believe this team can win the ACC Coastal and contend for an ACC title because of its defense. A unit that finished in the top 20 nationally last season returns nine starters and adds some highly touted recruits to what will be without question the strength of this season's team. If the offense, led by Thomas, can even show marginal improvement, this team could win 10 games in the regular season.

Obviously opening up with defending national champion Alabama is a tough task, but it also could help prepare Frank Beamer's squad for the rest of its slate. In ACC play, the road games at Georgia Tech and Miami, along with the home dates with North Carolina and Pittsburgh appear to be the most important. This is especially the case considering last season the Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets by three points at home in overtime and lost to the Hurricanes, Tar Heels and Panthers by a combined 50 points.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
It’s tough to see Virginia Tech going 7-6 again, so I suppose I’ve given Frank Beamer the benefit of the doubt. The Hokies had their problems last season: Logan Thomas regressed, and Tech had three-game stretch at Clemson, at Miami and against Florida State that would have been tough for anyone. That’s why I’m picking a rebound year of sorts. The Hokies won’t beat Alabama, and Miami’s going to have one of the few offensive teams that can give the Hokies defense trouble. And why Maryland? Every ACC team will lose a game that makes little sense (Virginia Tech did it against Pitt last year). Maryland’s going to be better, provided the Terrapins make it to November with their quarterbacks intact.

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ACC Predictions for 2013
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Teaser:
Virginia Tech Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/ole-miss-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Coming off a 2-10 record, Ole Miss entered 2012 with low expectations. Despite beginning the season with question marks on both sides of the ball and a new coach in Hugh Freeze, the Rebels were one of the SEC’s biggest surprises, recording a 7-6 overall record, which led to one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.

The SEC West is one of the most challenging divisions in college football, so it won’t be easy for Ole Miss to take another step forward in 2013. The talent level is on the rise in Oxford, so the future looks bright for Freeze, especially as he looks to turn the Rebels into a consistent top-25 team.

With 15 starters back, Ole Miss is positioned to make another run at a winning record in 2013. However, the schedule isn’t easy, and the Rebels hope quarterback Bo Wallace is 100 percent after offseason shoulder surgery. 

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

Ole Miss' 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
SEC
Logo
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
Josh
Ward
 
8/29 at Vanderbilt 
9/7 SEMO 
9/14 at Texas 
9/28 at Alabama 
10/5 at Auburn 
10/12 Texas A&M 
10/19 LSU 
10/26 Idaho 
11/9 Arkansas 
11/16 Troy 
11/23 Missouri 
11/28 at Mississippi State 
Final Projection7-56-69-37-57-59-3 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There’s no question Ole Miss is on the right track under the direction of second-year coach Hugh Freeze. However, considering how challenging the schedule is, it’s possible the Rebels are a better team in 2013 than they were in 2012, but it may not show in the win column. The Rebels have road games at Vanderbilt, Texas, Alabama and Auburn, along with a season finale at Mississippi State. In addition to the schedule, quarterback Bo Wallace is coming off shoulder surgery, which did not go well for Missouri and James Franklin last year. Assuming Wallace can return to full strength, the Rebels offense will once again average over 30 points a game in 2013. With the addition of a top-notch recruiting class, Ole Miss should have more depth in the program, which is crucial to challenging the top three in the SEC West. Expect more improvement from the Rebels, but a tough schedule will prevent this program from surpassing last year’s win total.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Hugh Freeze has this program trending in the right direction after taking an 0-8 team and winning three SEC games last year. The long-term trajectory of the Rebels has to have fans excited about the future. However, one historic recruiting class doesn't close the gap between teams competing for national titles and one that couldn't even win a game two years ago. Depth is still a major concern if this team is expecting to compete with the big boys. I believe Ole Miss is good enough to pull an upset or two — and am calling for a win over LSU — but it also faces one of the toughest schedules in the league. Expect a similar year to last fall with expectations growing for the 2014 squad.

SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
2011: 2-10, fired Houston Nutt
2012: 7-6, Egg Bowl win and a bowl victory
2013: Top 10 recruiting class
Is it crazy to think this team can go 9-3?  Yes, yes it is. Last year they averaged 424 YPG and 31.5 PPG. It’s no doubt they can score, and a key to this year’s success will be returning starter Bo Wallace, one of the most underrated QBs in the SEC. Yes, Bo’s 17 INTs from last year scare me too. With all that fresh talent coming to Oxford, how does it translate to playing time on defense? I worry about growing pains. Name to remember: Denzel Nkemdiche, LB


Mark Ross
Ole Miss has a chance to make a huge opening statement by beating Vanderbilt on the road, which would greatly increase the Rebels' chances of surviving their early-season slate. Besides the Commodores, the Rebels also have to play Texas and Alabama on the road before the calendar turns to October. Hugh Freeze's team must find a way to not only build some momentum, but also stay healthy, through this stretch or it else it could be a long season in Oxford.

That said, with at least seven starters returning on both sides of the ball and a highly regarded recruiting class coming in, I think these Rebels right the ship starting in October and finish fairly strong. The key games are back-to-back home games with Texas A&M and LSU and of course the season-ending Egg Bowl at Mississippi State. Find a way to win at least two of these matchups and Ole Miss could be one of the SEC's biggest surprises in 2013.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
There are three critical games on Ole Miss’ schedule, and all are on the road: Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State. Vanderbilt is a coin-flip game that’s going to be a key momentum game for both teams (Ole Miss lost by 1 last season). Mississippi State is the obvious rivalry game and one the Rebels haven’t won in back-to-back seasons since 2002-04. And then Auburn is a swing game that will be a key gut-check, especially if Ole Miss loses to Texas and Alabama. The Rebels on paper are the better team, beating the Tigers 41-20 last season. But stuck in between Alabama and Texas A&M, that game could be a major problem. Despite all the optimism surrounding last season and the signing class, Ole Miss could start 1-6. I don’t think the Rebels will do that, but the schedule isn’t really conducive to a hot start.


Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
I see an up-and-down season coming for Ole Miss. The Rebels will be tested right out of the gate when they open on the road against Vanderbilt. Both teams are trying to capitalize on last year’s momentum. Ole Miss will begin a brutal five-game stretch on Sept. 14, starting with Texas on the road. I have Ole Miss winning two of those five games (at Auburn, LSU), which should make fans happy considering the level of competition. Ole Miss will have a chance for a strong finish. Like last year, the outcome of the Egg Bowl will greatly affect how the Rebels’ season is judged. That’s actually the case every year.

 

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Teaser:
Ole Miss Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/carlos-hydes-bar-fight-video-released
Body:

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde received some good news on Tuesday, as the Columbus police department indicated no charges would be filed in a recent bar incident. The woman involved in the fight declined to press charges against Hyde.

Hyde’s status is still uncertain for 2013, but it appears he will avoid a dismissal or major suspension.
 

With no charges filed, the video from the bar was released on Tuesday. It’s not easy to discern what happens in the incident, but it does not appear Hyde hits the woman after an argument.

Check out the video from Carlos Hyde's bar incident:

 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 16:25
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-30
Body:

One day closer to August, which means the start of the 2013 season isn't far away.

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


College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, July 30th

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

A Kentucky assistant coach had an interesting (and later deleted) tweet.

In case you missed it, Arizona picked up Texas quarterback transfer Connor Brewer.

Kevin McGuire takes a look at Cincinnati's victory in the great lobster feast at the American Athletic Conference's Media Days.

Patrick Hruby has some strong words for the NCAA and Mark Emmert on concussions.

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.

Georgia coach Mark Richt issues a strong defense of the Bulldogs' drug testing policy.

Here's an interesting analysis piece on no-huddle offenses and the impact on defenses.

All charges from a recent incident have been dropped against Maryland running back Wes Brown.

California's defense faces a tough transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3.

The strength of Syracuse's offense in 2013 will be its running back corps.

Wisconsin's secondary has some major question marks to address this fall.

Here's a preview of Louisville's defensive line for 2013.

What are the five biggest questions for Tennessee to answer this fall?

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. 

Saturday Down South takes a look at the coaching staffs in the SEC.

Awful Announcing takes a look at the Pac-12 Networks and the standoff with Direct TV. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear there will be an agreement anytime soon.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tra'Von Chapman has to serve three days in jail due after pleading guilty to an attempted assault charge.

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 30
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: Arizona Wildcats, College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/connor-brewer-transfers-arizona
Body:

Former Texas quarterback Connor Brewer has picked his next home. The redshirt freshman left Austin this summer and committed to play for Arizona and coach Rich Rodriguez on Monday night.

Brewer’s decision to transfer to Arizona comes as no surprise, as he played his high school ball in Chaparral, which is just outside of Tucson. Brewer was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals and ranked as the No. 9 quarterback prospect in the 2012 signing class by Athlon Sports.

Brewer isn’t a prototypical Rich Rodriguez quarterback, as he lacks the dynamic mobility of a Pat White or Denard Robinson. However, Brewer isn’t a statue in the pocket and certainly has the talent to be an effective quarterback for Arizona.

With Brewer’s decision to transfer to Arizona, the Wildcats are loaded with talent at the quarterback position. Former USC signal-caller Jesse Scroggins arrived on campus in the spring, and true freshman Anu Solomon is expected to push for the starting spot this fall. Senior B.J. Denker is expected to start, but Solomon and Scroggins will be in the mix.

It’s never a bad thing to have a couple of quarterbacks on the roster. Considering how difficult this position is to evaluate on the recruiting trail or the need to have a quality backup, Arizona’s decision to take Brewer in a transfer is one that could pay off for Rodriguez and his staff.

Teaser:
Connor Brewer Transfers to Arizona
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 10:02
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

The ACC Coastal is one of the toughest divisions to project in 2013. Miami is considered a slight favorite by most, but Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina aren’t far behind.

The Hurricanes are still searching for their first trip to the conference title game and haven’t recorded a season of double-digit wins since posting 11 victories in 2003.

Coach Al Golden seems to have Miami back on the right track, and the Hurricanes return 12 starters from last year’s 7-5 team. The cloud from the ongoing NCAA investigation still hangs over the program, but Miami should have a resolution on its penalties before kickoff on Aug. 30 against FAU.

There’s no question Miami’s offense should score plenty of points, but the defense is a major concern after allowing 30.5 points a game in 2012.

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


Miami's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
John
Cassillo
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
Ryan
Tice
David
Fox
8/30 FAU
9/7 Florida
9/21 Savannah State
9/28 at USF
10/5 Georgia Tech
10/17 at North Carolina
10/26 Wake Forest
11/2 at Florida State
11/9 Virginia Tech
11/16 at Duke
11/23 Virginia
11/29 at Pittsburgh
Final Projection9-310-29-39-310-210-2

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The ACC Coastal is one of the most wide-open leagues in college football this season. Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia Tech all have a strong case to be picked as the preseason favorite, and three of those teams (Miami, North Carolina and Georgia Tech) all tied for the top spot at 5-3 in conference play last year. The Hurricanes are still searching for their first ACC Coastal title, but there’s plenty of reasons to like this team in 2013. Assuming there’s a seamless transition to new coordinator James Coley, the offense should rank among the best in the ACC. Running back Duke Johnson has a standout line leading the way, while quarterback Stephen Morris should build off a solid 2012 campaign (3,345 yards, 21 touchdowns). Miami’s defense is in need of major repair after allowing 486.4 yards per game last year. However, this unit should get a boost with another set of offseason practices to develop some of the younger players like safety Deon Bush and linebacker Alex Figueroa. The schedule is manageable, as Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech visit Sun Life Stadium, and the Hurricanes play at North Carolina on 11 days of rest. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a tie atop the Coastal, but I’m taking Miami to represent the division in the conference championship game.

John Cassillo, (@JohnCassillo), Atlantic Coast Convos
Miami's schedule gives us ample opportunity to figure out who they are early on. The Hurricanes' matchups against Florida and Georgia Tech in their first five games should be the barometer. Beat Florida, we're looking at a top-10 squad. Lose to the Gators and beat Georgia Tech, maybe they're just another eight-win team. Obviously, Duke Johnson and Stephen Morris will lead this group, but it'll come down to whether the defense can improve from last year. If they don't, it could serve as their downfall once again, despite what should be an even better offense.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’m probably wildly optimistic about my projections on Miami’s season, mainly because in our previous game-by-game picks to pick the Canes to upset Florida and Florida State. Those are bold projections, particularly if Florida State’s Jameis Winston becomes a superstar and Miami’s defense shows little improvement from last season. That’s why I’ve picked Georgia Tech and North Carolina to defeat Miami this season. Few other teams on its schedule are as certain on offense as those two. Georgia Tech’s option is always trouble, and North Carolina has skill position talent that’s been in Larry Fedora’s system for a season.

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice), TheWolfpacker.com

Miami, which boasts 19 returning starters including 10 on offense, is looking for defensive improvements this year. However, they might be able to outscore the majority of their opponents regardless, thanks to the return of quarterback Stephen Morris, running back Duke Johnson, a solid wide receiving corps led by Phillip Dorsett and an experienced group up front. The schedule is also favorable with two of the three toss-up games — Florida, Florida State and Virginia Tech — on the slate coming at home. It’s possible they could even go 0-3 in that trio of games and still represent the wide-open Coastal Division in the ACC Championship game, as long as they take care of business the other nine weeks. The two most important games in the division race will be vs. Virginia Tech and at North Carolina. The ceiling for this season is extremely high in Coral Gables, which is probably why the Canes self-imposed sanctions and sat out last postseason for the second-straight year despite a possible trip to the ACC Championship contest on the line when the decision was made.

 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
There are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about the Miami Hurricanes. This is a deep and competitive division, Miami is dealing with severe off-the-field turmoil, the defense was horrendous last year and the team is still very young. However, there is much to like about this team as well. Al Golden might be the best coach in the conference, all those young underclassmen are one year older and the despite being very competitive, the Coastal Division is very winnable. With Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech both coming to South Florida and Clemson noticeably absent from the schedule, the Canes are the pick to win the division and have an outside chance at 10 wins. Keep in mind, had this team played four easy non-conference games last year instead of Notre Dame and Kansas State on the road, it would have won nine games.

Mark Ross

Miami has re-entered the ACC championship discussion, although the NCAA could pull the rug out from under its feet before the season starts. Until then, however, the Hurricanes have to at least be considered a potential title contender with all-purpose dynamo Duke Johnson leading what could be an explosive offense. The 'Canes' success will likely come down to how much improvement a young defense, one that finished near the bottom of the national rankings in the main defensive categories last season, shows. The defense will be what holds Miami back from beating either Florida or Florida State and it also will cost them at least one ACC game. To that end, the key conference swing games to watch are on the road against North Carolina and Pittsburgh, along with home dates with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Even then, there is more than enough talent on both sides of the ball for Al Golden's team to contend for supremacy in the ACC Coastal division and its first trip to the conference championship game.

 

Related College Football Content

Bowl Projections for 2013
12 Steps to Fix ACC Football
ACC Breakout Players for 2013
Florida State Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Clemson Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013

ACC Predictions for 2013
ACC All-Conference Team for 2013
ACC's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013

Teaser:
Miami Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 07:20
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Oregon has been a model of consistency in the Pac-12 recently, winning 10 or more games in each of the last five years. The Ducks have been on the doorstep of playing for a national title and they finished last season with a 12-1 mark, with the only defeat coming to Stanford in mid-November.

Chip Kelly left for the NFL, and the keys to one of the nation’s top programs was handed to assistant Mark Helfrich. Oregon has had success by promoting from within, but there’s a lot of pressure for Helfrich to keep the program at the top of the Pac-12.

Even though 2013 will be a year of training for Helfrich, the Ducks are still in great shape to compete for a national title. 16 starters are back, including sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De’Anthony Thomas. The defense ranked third in the Pac-12 in points allowed and should boast one of the nation’s top defensive backfields with the return of junior Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

The schedule is manageable, but road dates against Washington and Stanford could decide whether or not Oregon plays for the national title in 2013.
 

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

Oregon's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
David
Fox
8/31 Nicholls State
9/7 at Virginia
9/14 Tennessee
9/28 California
10/5 at Colorado
10/12 at Washington
10/19 Washington State
10/26 UCLA
11/7 at Stanford
11/16 Utah
11/23 at Arizona
11/29 Oregon State
Final Projection11-111-112-011-1

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Mark Helfrich is stepping into one of the best situations for a first-year coach in 2013. Oregon suffered a few key personnel departures (Kenjon Barner, Dion Jordan and Kiko Alonso), but the Ducks are still one of the top-five national title contenders. Expect to see a few tweaks on offense, as Oregon may look to throw more with quarterback Marcus Mariota and a solid group of receivers returning. The defense will need some time to jell, but there’s not an offense that should threaten this team until Oct. 12 at Washington. And even though the front seven will have four new starters, the replacements have played plenty of snaps over the last few years. Coaching transition is never easy, and there may be a few bumps in the road for Oregon in 2013. However, the Ducks should win 10 or 11 games in the regular season this year, with the only loss coming at Stanford in early November. Even if Oregon loses to the Cardinal, I still expect the Ducks to be playing in a BCS bowl in January.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Oregon could easily produce another one-loss, top-five season despite the loss of prolific head coach Chip Kelly. And just like last year, that one loss will come to Stanford and once again cost the Ducks in a big way. With one slip-up, this team will not only miss out on a BCS National Championship berth but also a Pac-12 title. In fact, this team could be a top-five team nationally and not even win the division — just like a year ago. The Oregon offense could be the most dangerous in school history and the best in the nation, but the defense will take a major step back. With teams like Oregon State and Washington improving around them, in particular on defense, the Ducks will again barely miss out on the national title.

Mark Ross

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's the theme for Oregon's 2013 season, as Mark Helfrich replaces Chip Kelly as the head Duck and the team keeps on churning out wins, not to mention a bunch of yards and points. Helfrich's flock shouldn't break much of a sweat until the second week of October in Seattle against Washington, and even then I think the Ducks have too much firepower for the Huskies to match. No, Oregon's season will more than likely again come down to its matchup with Stanford. Even though this one takes place on The Farm, I think quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back De'Anthony Thomas and company learned their lesson from last season's heart-breaking 17-14 overtime loss at home to the Cardinal. This time the Ducks take care of business against their Pac-12 North rival and ride the momentum to an unbeaten regular season and potential BCS title game shot.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

Yeah, yeah. I know it’s boring to pick Oregon to go 11-1 with one loss on the road against its best opponent. Road trips to rivals Washington and Oregon State will be difficult, but the Ducks haven’t had trouble with them in the last three seasons. The coaching change is a question mark, but we’re still talking about a dominant team. Oregon was one of only two teams to defeat its home and road opponents each by at least three touchdowns (the other was Alabama). That doesn’t go away over night.

 

Related College Football Content

Pac-12 Football Predictions for 2013
Pac-12 2013 All-Conference Team
Washington Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Lane Kiffin's Last Stand at USC
The Pac-12's Top Heisman Contenders for 2013
A New Era Begins at Oregon with Mark Helfrich
College Football's All-Freshman Team for 2013
College Football's 2013 All-America Team

Teaser:
Oregon Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-july-29
Body:

Catching up from a busy weekend around the college football world. 


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


College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, July 29th
 

Saturday Down South looks at five scheme changes to watch in the SEC this year.

All signs point to Michael Dyer landing at Louisville this year.

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?

Here are five keys to West Virginia's season.

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

Florida should have one of the best defensive backfields in college football this year. Here's a breakdown of how the Gators will look in the secondary.

Texas A&M has announced a timeline on the renovations to Kyle Field.


Anthon Samuel talks about his decision to leave Bowling Green for FIU.

Syracuse needs to find a few more playmakers at receiver this fall.

Who will start at nose tackle for Georgia this year?


Temple has picked up a Maryland transfer that’s eligible to play this year.

Here are five key questions surrounding Minnesota in 2013.

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.

Saturday Blitz ranks Conference USA’s coaches for 2013.

 

Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: July 29
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 16:42
Path: /college-football/ul-lafayette-unveils-new-uniforms-2013
Body:

With games against Arkansas and Kansas State to open the 2013 season (and an excellent coach on the sidelines in Mark Hudspeth), UL Lafayette has a chance at a couple of high-profile upsets. And it certainly won’t hurt the Ragin’ Cajuns cause that the team unveiled some impressive uniforms for this year.

These photo tweeted by Eric Narcisse (@TDANarcisse) showcase UL Lafayette’s new uniforms, which feature white, black and red fleur-de-lis helmets, along with the traditional stacked Ragin’ Cajuns look.

Overall, this is a strong group of uniforms for UL Lafayette. Maybe the best-dressed team in the Sun Belt?





 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/video-tour-arkansas-new-football-facility
Body:

It’s a never-ending arms race in the SEC and for the rest of college football. With the television dollars flowing into each program, athletic facilities are getting facelifts, especially as teams try to keep up on the recruiting trail.

Arkansas recently opened the Fred W. Smith Football Center, and the new photos and video coming out of Fayetteville are impressive.

Here’s a short video tour of the new facility, which should be one of the best in the SEC this season:

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/auburn-wear-chrome-helmets-2013
Body:

South Carolina, Ole Miss and now Auburn. Chrome helmet concepts have made the internet rounds over the last couple of weeks for the Gamecocks and Rebels, and one for the Tigers popped up over the weekend.

It’s uncertain if this helmet will ever see the field for Auburn, but you have to admit, it’s a pretty cool concept. Chrome schemes seem to be one of the newest and hottest trends when it comes to helmets, so expect to see more of these designs over the next few years.

Should Auburn wear this helmet in 2013?

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/johnny-manziel-thrown-out-texas-frat-party-video
Body:

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has been in and out of the spotlight most of the offseason, and the sophomore quarterback was back in college football's TMZ news edition over the weekend.

As this video below shows, Manziel was tossed from a Texas frat party - I mean, it’s no surprise the Longhorns don’t want an Aggie on campus, right?

Before the Heisman Trophy winner was escorted from the party, he has beer cans tossed in his direction, as well as a few choice words. (Wouldn't it be awesome if we could settle the Longhorns-Aggies rivalry on the field again?)

Much has been made of Manziel’s offseason, but what happens in July means nothing for the upcoming college football season. The sophomore should still be one of the top players in college football this year, and all of his offseason travels and tweets will be forgotten once the season starts in August.

Note: Video contains some graphic language.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 08:15
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Urban MeyerWith the one-year bowl ban completed, Ohio State is loaded for a run at the national championship in 2013.

Despite having nothing to play for except pride last year, the Buckeyes went 12-0 in coach Urban Meyer’s first season, which included a win over Michigan and a 63-38 thrashing of Nebraska.

Ohio State is considered the biggest threat to the SEC’s national title streak in 2013, with the Buckeyes ranking No. 2 in Athlon’s projected final 125. Quarterback Braxton Miller is one of the top Heisman contenders, and his supporting cast should be better than it was last year.

If there’s a concern for Ohio State, it’s a defense that returns only four starters. The line was hit hard by departures, and cornerback Bradley Roby’s status is uncertain after an off-the-field incident in July.

The schedule is very manageable, but can the Buckeyes finish two straight seasons without a loss?

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


Ohio State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions

GameSteven
Lassan
Brent
Yarina
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Kevin
McGuire
Mark
Ross
Kevin
Noon
8/31 Buffalo
9/7 San Diego State
9/14 at California
9/21 Florida A&M
9/28 Wisconsin
10/5 at Northwestern
10/19 Iowa
10/26 Penn State
11/2 at Purdue
11/16 at Illinois
11/23 Indiana
11/30 at Michigan
Final Projection12-012-011-111-112-012-012-0


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Finishing another regular season with an unbeaten record is going to be a tough assignment for Ohio State. However, I think the pieces are in place for the Buckeyes to run the table, especially with a favorable schedule. Keeping quarterback Braxton Miller is the top priority for coach Urban Meyer, but the junior signal-caller should have more help this year. The offensive line should be the best in the Big Ten, the receivers are deeper and improved and with or without Carlos Hyde, there's a solid stable of running backs. The defense still needs some work, as the line is littered with inexperience. There’s no question Ohio State has talent on defense, but it may take a few games for this unit to perform at a high level. If there’s a positive about the rebuilding effort on defense, it’s a favorable schedule that should give this unit plenty of time to get everything sorted out. Road games at Northwestern and Michigan, and the home Sept. 28 date against Wisconsin will be the toughest challenges for Ohio State. However, I think Meyer and his staff find a way to navigate the regular season with an unbeaten record once again, giving the Buckeyes a shot at Alabama in the national championship.

Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)
Ohio State is a popular preseason pick to make the BCS title game, and for good reason. There are three overwhelming reasons, to be exact: 1.) Urban Meyer; 2.) Braxton Miller; and 3.) a favorable schedule. And all three are equally important to Ohio State’s 2013 fate. Pretty much, all the elements seem to be in place for a very special season in Columbus, Ohio. Now, it’s all about the Buckeyes staying healthy and winning 13 games – including the Big Ten title game – all of which they’ll likely be favored to win. Not the easiest task, of course, but, remember, Ohio State has a two-time national championship coach and a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback to help it navigate its manageable slate. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I don't know for certain if it will be Northwestern, but I don't think Ohio State will run the table this fall. I think they lose one game along the way as the defensive line isn't going to be undefeated season-good just yet. This is an elite team that is the clearcut frontrunner — and my pick — to win the Big Ten, but to reach the BCS National Championship game as a non-SEC team, a perfect record is a must. With the margin for error virtually paper thin, I don't see Ohio State going 13-0. This team is the most talented in the league, has a Heisman Trophy candidate under center and a two-time national title winning head coach roaming the sidelines - but it will slip-up one time in 2013.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
On paper, Ohio State may have the best odds to go undefeated of any team in the country other than Louisville. Its toughest nonconference trip is to rebuilding Cal, and the Big Ten schedule, for the most part, is manageable. The toughest spot may be Wisconsin and Northwestern. The Badgers will be the first real test, and Northwestern will give Ohio State’s defense fits in Evanston. Don’t forget: Ohio State’s defense did not have a great October last season against Nebraska, Indiana, Purdue and Penn State. Ohio State won all four, of course, and I’ve picked the Buckeyes to do the same here with its first two Big Ten games. When it comes down to it, I’ve picked Michigan with homefield advantage and Heisman darkhorse Devin Gardner to spoil Ohio State’s title hopes.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), No2MinuteWarning.com and NittanyLionsDen.com
You don't have to over-think it when it comes to Ohio State this season. The Buckeyes went undefeated by finding every way needed to win last season, using defense one week and offense another. Whatever the situation was for Ohio State in 2012, they responded in spite of not being eligible for any postseason scenarios. You can credit a terrific coaching staff for much of that, but having a quarterback worthy of Heisman consideration in 2013 surely helps. Braxton Miller enters a junior season already with basically two years of starting experience behind him, and he could be better in 2013. One look at the schedule and it is easy for me to call Ohio State the favorite in every game in front of them, including the season finale at Michigan. There are two road games I think will test Ohio State, at California and Northwestern, but ultimately I think Ohio State has enough talent and drive to return home with victories to help them make a run for another undefeated regular season.

Kevin Noon (@Kevin_Noon), BuckeyeGrove.com
Even with the recent offseason turmoil the Buckeyes still have a schedule that is more than manageable and the right pieces to get through the season unscathed. With apologies to Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan the biggest foe the Buckeyes will have to face this year will be themselves. Will a combination of being told that "you are expected to win" along with the threat of any further off-the-field issues submarine Ohio State's plans to Pasadena? I don't believe that will be the case with Urban Meyer as the master motivator and a 3rd-year Braxton Miller at the helm of the ship. Ohio State needs to find some leadership however on-the-field, and in a hurry. This season won't be the cakewalk that some in scarlet and gray glasses are calling for but the Buckeyes will be left standing with zero losses at the end of November.

Mark Ross
I am very leery when it comes to predicting a team will go undefeated, but in Ohio State's case I'll make an exception. Recent turmoil aside, the Buckeyes are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, starting with quarterback Braxton Miller, and have had a year to get acclimated to Urban Meyer's spread offense. And don't forget this team went undefeated last season when they really had nothing to play for. This season won't be a cakewalk by any means, but when the toughest road game on the slate is in Ann Arbor to finish the regular season, it's hard for me to say where, if at all, these Buckeyes will slip up. Michigan will certainly be a tough test, especially in the Big House, but I'll take Meyer and company to find a way to come out with the win, especially if they are undefeated (and completely healthy) leading up to this one.

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

Teaser:
Ohio State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-bowl-projections-2013
Body:

Whether you hate or love the BCS, the bowl season is exciting time for college football fans. Although some believe there are too many bowl games, it's one last chance to see teams before the long offseason sets in. And considering how long the offseason is, maybe 35 bowl games isn't too many after all. 

With college football's new playoff format coming with the 2014 season, this will be the final year for many of the tie-ins with current bowls. And of course, the BCS format will morph into a four-team playoff, with a national championship site awarded to the highest bidder. With more bowl games expected in 2014 and beyond, we may see at least 40 postseason matchups starting next season.

Athlon has released its 2013 rankings but it's time to unveil where teams will be spending the postseason. 

Alabama and Ohio State are Athlon's prediction to play in the national title game, but who will play in college football's remaining 35 bowls?


College Football's 2013-2014 Bowl Projections
 

BowlDateTie-InProjection
New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWC Washington vs. Air Force
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCNevada vs. Bowling Green
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Fresno State
New Orleans BowlDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSALouisiana-Lafayette vs. MTSU
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAPittsburgh* vs. Louisiana Tech
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASan Jose State vs. East Carolina
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNorthern Illinois vs. Minnesota
Poinsettia Dec. 26Army vs. MWCArizona* vs. San Diego State
Military Dec. 27CUSA vs. ACCMarshall vs. Maryland
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big Ten TCU vs. Indiana
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12 BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. ACCRutgers vs. West Virginia
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCNorth Carolina vs. USF
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCCincinnati vs. Miami
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenBaylor vs. Northwestern
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. Navy Navy vs. Utah State
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECOle Miss vs. Georgia Tech
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Stanford vs. Oklahoma
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Arizona State vs. Kansas State
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECNC State vs. Auburn
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCVirginia Tech vs. UCLA
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSATulsa vs. Tennessee
Chick-fil-ADec. 31ACC vs. SECSouth Carolina vs. Florida State
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenVanderbilt vs. Michigan State
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSARice vs. Texas Tech*
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenTexas A&M vs. Wisconsin
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big Ten Florida vs. Nebraska
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCS Oregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOklahoma State vs. Boise State
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCS Georgia vs. Louisville
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12 Texas vs. LSU
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Notre Dame
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanMississippi State vs. UCF
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltULM vs. Ball State
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State


* According to our 2013 conference predictions, Army, the Big Ten and American will fail to fill their allotted slots.

Related College Football Content
 

ACC Predictions for 2013MAC Predictions for 2013
American Athletic Predictions for 2013Mountain West Predictions for 2013
Big Ten Predictions for 2013Pac-12 Predictions for 2013
Big 12 Predictions for 2013SEC Predictions for 2013
Conference USA Predictions for 2013Sun Belt Predictions for 2013

 

Teaser:
College Football Bowl Projections for 2013
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/which-college-football-conference-has-best-quarterbacks
Body:

Braxton MillerQuarterback play is the most scrutinized position in college football each season. The difference between winning a conference championship or just getting bowl eligible could all depend on the player under center. Last season, Texas A&M’s offense thrived under the direction of Johnny Manziel. However, on the other side of the coin, Michigan State regressed after the departure of Kirk Cousins. Had the Spartans received better quarterback play from Andrew Maxwell, they could have won the Big Ten Legends Division.

Considering how much of an impact quarterbacks play in determining the outlook of a team, it’s no surprise to see this position discussed prominently when it comes to preseason predictions.

Debating which league has the best quarterbacks isn’t as prevalent as which conference ranks second to the SEC in terms of overall strength, but the overall depth of leagues in terms of quarterback talent is an interesting preseason discussion.

The SEC ranks as Athlon’s No. 1 quarterback league, but the Pac-12 and Mountain West are also a strong overall group. The ACC and Big Ten have solid options at the top, but plenty of question marks remain in the middle. The Big 12 is usually one of college football's top quarterback leagues, but the conference has an inexperienced group of signal-callers returning for 2013.

Power Ranking the Conferences in Terms of Quarterback Strength


1. SEC

With three potential All-American signal-callers returning for 2013, the SEC gets the nod as the top quarterback conference. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel may have trouble repeating last year’s numbers, but the sophomore is still in line for another monster season. Alabama’s AJ McCarron isn’t going to match Manziel’s passing totals, but the senior has won back-to-back national titles and tossed just three picks on 314 attempts last year. Georgia’s Aaron Murray ranked second nationally in pass efficiency in 2012 and passed for a career-best 36 scores. There’s a drop off after the top three passers, but the next group – Connor Shaw, Tyler Russell and Bo Wallace – are all coming off solid seasons. Florida’s Jeff Driskel should be improved in his second year as the starter, while Missouri’s James Franklin is expected to be at full strength after playing at less than 100 percent from shoulder surgery in 2012. The bottom of the league has room to improve, but new coaches at Arkansas, Tennessee, Auburn and Kentucky should breathe some much-needed life into their offenses.

Ranking the SEC Starters: (SEC predictions for 2013)

1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2. AJ McCarron, Alabama
3. Aaron Murray, Georgia
4. Connor Shaw, South Carolina
5. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
6. Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
7. Jeff Driskel, Florida
8. Zach Mettenberger, LSU
9. James Franklin, Missouri
10. Austyn Carta-Samuels, Vanderbilt
11. Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky
12. Justin Worley, Tennessee
13. Brandon Allen, Arkansas
14. Kiehl Frazier, Auburn
 

2. Pac-12

Even though Chip Kelly left for the NFL, Oregon’s offense should remain one of the best in the nation, largely due to the return of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The sophomore is poised to take another step in his development in 2013, and if the Ducks are in the national title hunt again, look for Mariota to jump into Heisman discussion. UCLA’s Brett Hundley totaled 4,095 yards and 38 scores in his freshman campaign last year, and Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly returns after finishing ninth in the nation in pass efficiency in 2012. Ranking the Pac-12 as the No. 2 quarterback conference will largely hinge on if Washington’s Keith Price can regain his form from 2011, along with the development of Stanford’s Kevin Hogan. This group could get even deeper if USC settles on a quarterback, and Sean Mannion or Cody Vaz seizes the job at Oregon State. Keep an eye on Utah’s Travis Wilson and California’s Zach Kline. Both quarterbacks could be in for a breakout season in 2013.

Ranking the Pac-12 Starters: (Pac-12 predictions for 2013)

1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2. Brett Hundley, UCLA
3. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
4. Keith Price, Washington
5. Kevin Hogan, Stanford
6. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
7. Max Wittek, USC
8. Connor Halliday, Washington State
9. Zach Kline, California
10. Travis Wilson, Utah
11. B.J. Denker, Arizona
12. Connor Wood, Colorado
 

3. Mountain West

The Mountain West has quietly assembled one of the nation’s top quarterback groups for 2013. Fresno State’s Derek Carr and San Jose State’s David Fales are on the radar for NFL scouts, and Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton shared first-team All-WAC honors last year. Nevada’s Cody Fajardo nearly had 4,000 yards of total offense in 2012, while Wyoming’s Brett Smith has 6,417 yards and 47 passing scores in two years in Laramie. Boise State’s Joe Southwick and UNLV’s Nick Sherry are set to improve in their second year as the No. 1 quarterback, with the bottom of the conference having potential with Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham (Hawaii) and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson.

Ranking the Mountain West Starters:
(Mountain West predictions for 2013)

1. Derek Carr, Fresno State
2. David Fales, San Jose State
3. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
4. Cody Fajardo, Nevada
5. Brett Smith, Wyoming
6. Joe Southwick, Boise State
7. Nick Sherry, UNLV
8. Adam Dingwell, San Diego State
9. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
10. Cole Gautsche, New Mexico
11. Kale Pearson, Air Force
12. Taylor Graham, Hawaii
 

4. ACC

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is one of the top-10 signal-callers in the nation, and North Carolina’s Bryn Renner is due for an increase in in passing yards and touchdowns in the second year under coach Larry Fedora’s offense. Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas was one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks in 2011, but he struggled in 2012 and will have a new coordinator (Scot Loeffler) this year. Miami’s Stephen Morris should build off a solid junior year (3,345), while Florida State’s Jameis Winston is poised for a breakout season. Wake Forest’s Tanner Price and Boston College’s Chase Rettig are solid, and Georgia Tech’s Vad Lee was impressive in limited action in 2012. For the ACC to climb higher on this list, the bottom of the conference has to improve. NC State’s Brandon Mitchell, Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage and Syracuse’s Drew Allen are three intriguing transfers to watch this year.

Ranking the ACC Starters: (ACC predictions for 2013)

1. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
2. Bryn Renner, North Carolina
3. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
4. Stephen Morris, Miami
5. Jameis Winston, Florida State
6. Tanner Price, Wake Forest
7. Vad Lee, Georgia Tech
8. Chase Rettig, Boston College
9. Tom Savage, Pittsburgh
10. Anthony Boone, Duke
11. Brandon Mitchell, NC State
12. C.J. Brown, Maryland
13. David Watford, Virginia
14. Drew Allen, Syracuse
 

5. Big Ten

The Big Ten boasts one of the nation’s top Heisman candidates (Braxton Miller), an improving senior (Taylor Martinez), and one of the year’s breakout candidates in Michigan’s Devin Gardner. While the top of the conference is strong, the rest of the Big Ten has much to prove. Northwestern’s Kain Colter is one of the nation’s top all-purpose players, but he splits time under center with Trevor Siemian. Indiana’s Tre Roberson missed most of last season with a leg injury, and Michigan State’s Andrew Maxwell was a disappointment in his first year as the starter. Two names to watch: Penn State true freshman Christian Hackenberg and Minnesota sophomore Philip Nelson. If Hackenberg lives up to his recruiting hype, and Nelson continues to improve, it will strengthen the Big Ten’s overall quarterback outlook.

Ranking the Big Ten Starters: (Big Ten predictions for 2013)

1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
2. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
3. Devin Gardner, Michigan
4. Kain Colter, Northwestern
5. Tre Roberson, Indiana
6. Joel Stave, Wisconsin
7. Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State
8. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
9. Philip Nelson, Minnesota
10. Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
11. Rob Henry, Purdue
12. Jake Rudock, Iowa
 

6. Big 12

Transition is the key word when it comes to Big 12 quarterbacks this year. There’s no clear No. 1 signal-caller for first-team all-conference honors. Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf played well over the final weeks of 2012, throwing for 14 touchdowns in the last six games. TCU’s Casey Pachall is back after missing most of last year due to a suspension. Oklahoma’s Blake Bell has played well in limited action but still has plenty to prove with his arm. Baylor’s Bryce Petty, Kansas State’s Daniel Sams and Texas Tech’s Michael Brewer are in for breakout years, while Kansas hopes Jake Heaps lives up to his recruiting hype. Texas’ David Ash improved from 2011 to 2012 and has the most career starts by a quarterback in the Big 12. Overall, this group is a weakness heading into the preseason. But by the end of 2012, the Big 12 could have a strong group of signal-callers.

Ranking the Big 12 Starters: (Big 12 predictions for 2013)

1. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
2. Casey Pachall, TCU
3. Blake Bell, Oklahoma
4. Bryce Petty, Baylor
5. David Ash, Texas
6. Michael Brewer, Texas Tech
7. Daniel Sams, Kansas State
8. Clint Trickett, West Virginia
9. Jake Heaps, Kansas
10. Sam Richardson, Iowa State
 

7. MAC

The MAC is in good shape at the top of the conference. Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch finished seventh in Heisman voting last season and is one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks. Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton and Ball State’s Keith Wenning both ranked in the top 50 nationally in total offense last year, while Toledo’s Terrance Owens returns after throwing for 2,707 yards and 14 scores last season. Western Michigan’s Tyler Van Tubbergen takes over for Alex Carder and has played well in limited action. The bottom of the conference has a lot of unknowns, especially with Central Michigan, Akron and UMass.

Ranking the MAC Starters: (MAC predictions for 2013)

1. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
2. Tyler Tettleton, Ohio
3. Keith Wenning, Ball State
4. Terrance Owens, Toledo
5. Matt Schilz, Bowling Green
6. Tyler Van Tubbergen, Western Michigan
7. Austin Boucher, Miami (Ohio)
8. Joe Licata, Buffalo
9. David Fisher, Kent State
10. Cody Kater, Central Michigan
11. Kyle Pohl, Akron
12. Tyler Benz, Eastern Michigan
13. Mike Wegzyn, UMass
 

8. American

Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, but the rest of the American Athletic Conference has room to improve. UCF’s Blake Bortles was solid in his first season as a starter last year, throwing for 3,059 yards and 25 touchdowns. However, after Bortles, that’s where the question marks begin. Brendon Kay stabilized the quarterback play for Cincinnati in the second half of 2012, but he will transition to a new offense under new coach Tommy Tuberville. After a solid start, Rutgers’ Gary Nova tossed 14 picks over the final seven games. SMU’s Garrett Gilbert has yet to live up to his five-star billing out of high school, and Connecticut’s Chandler Whitmer struggled (although he didn’t have much help around him) in his first season with the Huskies. The rest of the conference has quarterback question marks, but picking up Steven Bench as a transfer from Penn State should help stabilize USF’s play under center.

Ranking the American Starters: (American predictions for 2013)

1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
2. Blake Bortles, UCF
3. Brendon Kay, Cincinnati
4. Gary Nova, Rutgers
5. Garrett Gilbert, SMU
6. Chandler Whitmer, Connecticut
7. Steven Bench, USF
8. David Piland, Houston
9. Jacob Karam, Memphis
10. Connor Reilly, Temple
 

9. Conference USA

Marshall’s Rakeem Cato is one of the top non-BCS quarterbacks in the nation, and East Carolina’s Shane Carden is back after throwing for 3,116 yards and 23 scores last year. Tulsa’s Cody Green was solid in his first season with the Golden Hurricane, and Rice’s Taylor McHargue has been effective when he can stay healthy. The middle of Conference USA’s quarterback depth chart should get stronger this year, as Jameill Showers and Scotty Young are two of the top transfer signal-callers in the nation. UTSA’s Eric Soza impressed in the Roadrunners’ first season on the FBS level, and Tulane’s Nick Montana – yes, the son of the NFL Hall of Famer – should help keep the Green Wave’s offense averaging over 250 passing yards per game.

Ranking the Conference USA Starters: (C-USA predictions for 2013)

1. Rakeem Cato, Marshall
2. Shane Carden, East Carolina
3. Cody Green, Tulsa
4. Taylor McHargue, Rice
5. Jameill Showers, UTEP
6. Logan Kilgore, MTSU
7. Jake Medlock, FIU
8. Eric Soza, UTSA
9. Austin Brown, UAB
10. Scotty Young, Louisiana Tech
11. Nick Montana, Tulane
12. Derek Thompson, North Texas
13. Cole Weeks, Southern Miss
14. Melvin German III, FAU
 

10. Sun Belt

The Sun Belt’s quarterback play is top-heavy in 2013. ULM’s Kolton Browning and Louisiana’s Terrance Broadway are standout performers, and Troy’s Corey Robinson returns after throwing for 3,121 yards last year. Utah State transfer Adam Kennedy was a solid pickup for Arkansas State. However, the rest of the conference is filled with question marks under center this season.

Ranking the Sun Belt Starters:
(Sun Belt predictions for 2013)

1. Kolton Browning, ULM
2. Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette
3. Corey Robinson, Troy
4. Adam Kennedy, Arkansas State
5. Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
6. Ross Metheny, South Alabama
7. Tyler Arndt, Texas State
8. Ben McLane, Georgia State

Related College Football Content

College Football's 2013 Bowl Projections

College Football's Top 25 Impact Transfers for 2013
College Football's Top 10 Players Returning From Injury for 2013
What College Football Program is Closest to its First Title?
12 Steps to Fix ACC Football

ACC Breakout Players for 2013
College Football's Worst 25 Coaching Tenures of the BCS Era
College Football's Top 25 Traditions
College Football's Best Coaching Trees

Teaser:
Which College Football Conference Has the Best Quarterbacks?
Post date: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-best-july-22-26
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


Can Kliff Kingsbury replicate Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald's path?

The Big Ten Network's Brent Yarina conducted a player poll at media days. Some interesting answers here.

Bruce Feldman goes one-on-one with Boise State coach Chris Petersen.

The NCAA has finally reinstated Georgia offensive lineman Kolton Houston.

Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville is slated to go on trial in August in a civil securities fraud case.


Penn State and West Virginia are close to finalizing a home-and-home series.

BYU and Utah State have adjusted their future series, which adds one more matchup between these two teams.


Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops received a contract extension. What does Stoops' extension mean for the Sooners?

Saturday Down South ranks the cornerbacks in the SEC for 2013.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr played all of 2012 with an abdominal tear.
 

Texas receiver Cayleb Jones has decided to transfer.

Crystal Ball Run breaks down the latest in the Carlos Hyde saga at Ohio State.

Here's an excellent Q and A with Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.

S
outhern Miss coach Todd Monken had some interesting thoughts on an NCAA split.

Mike Leach blasts the new targeting rule.

A timeline has been set for the renovation of Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium.

How will Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin split the quarterback duties for TCU in 2013?

An Arizona safety was dismissed from the team after being charged with four felonies.

Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks had his request for a medical redshirt approved. 

Rob Moseley previews Oregon's depth chart at running back for 2013.

Kansas could be without one of its top linebacker recruits this season, and the status of receiver Nick Harwell is still unsettled.

UCLA safety Dietrich Riley will retire from football.

Syracuse and Maryland will likely play in a non-conference series once the Terrapins depart for the Big Ten.

Is Michael Dyer close to joining Louisville for the 2013 season?

Wake Forest could be without running back Josh Harris this year.

Wisconsin's incoming JUCO quarterback Tanner McEvoy was the victim of a robbery in Madison.

In case you missed it, no press release will top the one FIU had to send out on Friday.

A great feature from Lost Lettermen: Can Brady Hoke Match Urban Meyer?

What changes should be expected from LSU’s offense with Cam Cameron calling the plays?

West Virginia defensive lineman Korey Harris is no longer with the team. The defensive tackle was arrested on first-degree armed robbery charges earlier this month. (You have to read how he was identified by the victims).

Wake Forest has picked up a safety transfer from Air Force.


Could two redshirt freshmen start on Michigan’s offensive line this year?


Teaser:
College Football's Link Roundup: Best of July 22-26
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 17:08
Path: /college-football/rushel-shell-transfers-west-virginia
Body:

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is known for his passing attacks, but the Mountaineers picked up a key transfer to help the offense on the ground for 2014. Former Pittsburgh running back Rushel Shell has selected West Virginia as his next home. The Pennsylvania native will have to sit out 2013 due to NCAA transfer rules.

In his only season at Pittsburgh, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four scores, while catching nine passes for 103 yards. He originally selected UCLA as his transfer destination but decided against going to Los Angeles earlier this summer. Shell ranked as the No. 33 recruit in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100.

Although West Virginia will lean on its passing attack, Shell should see plenty of carries in 2014. The Pennsylvania native could be one of the top running backs in the Big 12 next season and will add to a backfield that features Dreamius Smith, Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.

Shell's addition is especially crucial with West Virginia facing an uncertain future at quarterback. The Mountaineers reeled in Clint Trickett from Florida State this spring, but Ford Childress and Paul Millard are also in the mix to start. If West Virginia struggles to get consistency from its quarterbacks - which would be a major surprise considering Holgorsen's track record - the Mountaineers may have to focus on the ground game more over the next two years. 

And it's never too early to look ahead, as West Virginia will face Alabama in Atlanta in its season opener in 2014.

 

Teaser:
Rushel Shell Transfers to West Virginia
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 14:39
Path: /college-football/south-carolina-wearing-chrome-helmets-2013
Body:

Is South Carolina the latest team to have a chrome helmet in the uniform rotation? It’s possible.

The team’s equipment staff tweeted out a photo of this chrome helmet, but also mentioned later on that South Carolina will be wearing its traditional white helmet in 2013.

So will this helmet see the field? Who knows. But it’s a pretty cool (and shiny) look for the Gamecocks.

Teaser:
South Carolina Wearing Chrome Helmets in 2013?
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/pat-haden-lane-kiffin-not-hot-seat
Body:

Most of college football’s preseason hot seat coach rankings list USC coach Lane Kiffin at the top or in the top five. But if you believe athletic director Pat Haden, there’s no reason for Kiffin to worry about his job security.

In a video posted by USC, Haden details the state of USC football, which is especially important timing with Pac-12 Media Days coming up on Friday.

During Haden’s remarks, he specifically addresses Kiffin’s status:

“I anticipate the media will ask me if our football coach is on the hot seat this year. Here is my answer, and will be my answer whenever I’m asked. He is not.”

Haden also comments he is “behind Lane Kiffin 100 percent.”

Of course, if USC’s season completely goes awry, it’s hard to believe Haden would keep Kiffin around.

However, the Trojans have the talent to win the Pac-12 South and won’t play Oregon or Washington in crossover play with the North.

While Kiffin has been a lightning rod for criticism, it’s also important to remember USC is still dealing with NCAA sanctions and is expected to have just 70 scholarship players on the roster this year. While the 7-6 record was a disappointment last season, the Trojans did go 10-2 in 2011. There's no question Kiffin deserves blame for what happened last year. But let's also remember he's not working with a full roster, and depth during the season has become a huge issue.

Kiffin has the potential to be a good coach, and credit to Haden for letting him grow into the job, as well as getting out front of the potential barrage of hot seat questions.

If USC goes 8-4 or 9-3, then some of the talk about Kiffin being on the hot seat will subside. However, a 6-6 regular season certainly wouldn’t sit well with many in Los Angeles, regardless of what Haden says in July.

Here’s the full video of Haden’s comments:

Teaser:
Pat Haden: Lane Kiffin is NOT on the Hot Seat
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 10:02
Path: /college-football/western-michigan-unveils-new-uniforms-2013
Body:

New Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck has brought some much-needed energy into the program, and the Broncos are already off to a good start on the recruiting trail for the 2014 signing class. And Fleck's task is to get Western Michigan back into the MAC West title picture, which won't be easy in 2013 with Northern Illinois, Toledo and Ball State all coming off bowl appearances last year. 

When trying to build some positive momentum for a program, it certainly doesn’t hurt for the Broncos to unveil a new jersey and helmet combination for 2013. This new look for Western Michigan isn’t quite as drastic at Miami (Ohio), but these are a pretty solid overall design for the Broncos.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the design is the “Ghost Bronco” logo on the helmets, along with the crossing oars as helmet stickers, which fits Fleck’s motto of “Row the Boat.”

Teaser:
Western Michigan Unveils New Uniforms for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/michigan-football-game-game-predictions-2013
Body:

Brady HokeMichigan’s last share of the Big Ten title occurred in 2004, but the Wolverines appear to be inching closer to a return to the top of the conference.

Coach Brady Hoke is assembling some of the nation’s top talent on the recruiting trail, while the offense should thrive under the leadership of junior quarterback Devin Gardner. The offensive line has a few holes to fill, but the return of tackle Taylor Lewan should allow the Wolverines to maintain a solid foundation in the trenches.

Hoke and coordinator Greg Mattison have some work to do on defense, especially on the line. Linebacker Jake Ryan’s status for 2013 is uncertain with a torn ACL, but sophomore James Ross is a future star and is due for a bigger role in the linebacking corps this year.

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


Michigan's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

GameSteven
Lassan
Brent
Yarina
David
Fox
Kevin
McGuire
Braden
Gall
Mark
Ross
8/31 Central Michigan
9/7 Notre Dame
9/14 Akron
9/21 at Connecticut
10/5 Minnesota
10/12 at Penn State
10/19 Indiana
11/2 at Michigan State
11/9 Nebraska
11/16 at Northwestern
11/23 at Iowa
11/30 Ohio State
Final Projection10-29-310-210-210-210-2

 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
With Nebraska, Michigan State, Northwestern and Michigan all capable of winning the division crown, the Legends Division will be one of the toughest leagues in the nation this year. I’m picking the Wolverines to win the division and play in a BCS bowl with a 10-2 record. However, there’s no question this will be a difficult road for Brady Hoke’s team. Even though the offensive line is a concern, promising redshirt freshman Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis could turn the interior into a strength with some seasoning early in the year. And true freshman running back Derrick Green could end up as one of the team’s top playmakers by midseason. With Hoke and Greg Mattison calling the shots, Michigan should finish in the top four of total and scoring defense in the Big Ten – even with six new starters stepping into the lineup. If the Wolverines can get by Notre Dame on Sept. 7, the Wolverines should be 7-0 going into November. However, the real test for Michigan comes in the final month, as road tests at Michigan State and Northwestern won’t be easy, along with home affairs against Nebraska and Ohio State. Assuming the Wolverines win the Legends Division, it could set up an interesting Big Ten Championship with the rival Buckeyes.
 

Brent Yarina, Big Ten Network, (@BTNBrentYarina)
When it comes to Michigan this season, 9-3 sounds right. Brady Hoke has the Wolverines trending in the right direction (take a look at his recruiting success), but it looks like he’ll have to wait at least one more season to play for his first Big Ten title. While Michigan figures to be in the race for the Legends Division crown, along with Nebraska and Northwestern, its schedule is more daunting than the Huskers, arguably its top competition. That said, there’s plenty of talent in Ann Arbor, so if highly touted freshman RB Derrick Green makes an immediate impact, the revamped defensive line provides some kind of pass rush and stud linebacker Jake Ryan returns from a torn ACL sooner than later, Michigan could be much better than this prediction.


David Fox (@DavidFox615)

It’s tough to find one of these game-by-game picks pieces that I’ve flip-flopped on more than Michigan. First, I changed my mind on Ohio State. I'd bet Carlos Hyde and Bradley Roby are playing in that game, but I'm not as bullish on Ohio State as I once was. I’m a bit worried about overrating a team walked the tightrope for most of 2012. But back to Michigan: The Wolverines are good enough to defeat each team on the schedule, but not every game on the schedule. I like Michigan to defeat Notre Dame early in the season even though that defense is going to be a major test for Devin Gardner. Notre Dame’s still putting the offense on Tommy Rees shoulders, at least at this stage of the year. I picked the two losses — Michigan State and Northwestern — simply because someone has to defeat Michigan this season. Michigan State lost 12-10 in Ann Arbor and will be a tough out on defense. We all know what Northwestern can do on offense with Venric Mark and Kain Colter. The Michigan game last year was one of many Northwestern had right in its grasp.

Kevin McGuire (@KevinonCFB), No2MinuteWarning.com and NittanyLionsDen.com
Michigan returning to a more traditional offensive style this season should serve the Wolverines well, but don't be totally fooled by a good start to the season. Devin Gardner as the full time quarterback from the start of the season will keep things balanced but the Wolverines will have to find a rhythm on offense. The defense was ranked second in the Big Ten last season but there is still room to improve before the Wolverines become a lock-down defense that suffocates the opposing offense. In 2013 they should have enough to pull together a nice first half, highlighted by a home victory over Notre Dame and a road win at Penn State. The question will be what kind of state are they in for the second half, which I predict will be somewhat painful down the stretch. If they are not careful, the Northwestern game could easily slip away from them. The same goes for Nebraska.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

The Legends Division crown will most likely be decided on November 9 in Ann Arbor when Nebraska comes to town. However, the rest of Nebraska's schedule is nothing like Michigan's. So even if Michigan defeats the Big Red, it still likely needs to be at 10 or even 11 wins heading into the season finale with Ohio State to win a trip to Indianapolis. The offense under Devin Gardner won't be an issue at all but the defense needs to prove it has the depth and toughness to beat teams like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska. There are too many tricky road upset alerts on this schedule — at Michigan State, Penn State and Nothwestern — to pick this team to be in the top 10.

Mark Ross
If Michigan takes care of business at home against Notre Dame, the Wolverines should then be sitting pretty entering November. A trip to Happy Valley won't be easy, but this is not the same Penn State team that opened many eyes last fall. Michigan's Big Ten season likely comes down to the Nov. 9 showdown with Nebraska in the Big House. I'll give the Maize and Blue the edge because of home field, although I do think they will be a little flat the following Saturday in Evanston. Regardless, the win over the Cornhuskers should be enough to help Brady Hoke's team claim the Legends Division title, which will take some of the sting out of a season-ending loss at home to Ohio State. Fret not Wolverine fans, if everything goes according to plan, your beloved team will get another shot at the hated Buckeyes the very next week. Only this time the game will be Indianapolis and the stakes could be even higher.

 

Related College Football Content

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

Teaser:
Michigan Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 07:21
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oklahoma Sooners, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-football-game-game-predictions-2013
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2013 is shaping up to be an interesting year in the Big 12. Six or seven teams have a case to be picked No. 1, so this could be one of the more entertaining (and wide-open) conference title races in the nation.

Oklahoma has won at least 10 games in six out of the last seven years, but the Sooners won’t start out as the favorite to win the Big 12 title. For most, that distinction belongs to their in-state rival Oklahoma State or a Texas team that finally seems to be pointed in the right direction.

Although the Sooners weren’t picked at media days as the preseason conference favorite, Bob Stoops’ team will be in the thick of the Big 12 title discussion this year. New quarterback Blake Bell will have his growing pains, but the junior should be solid once he gets more experience under his belt. The defense has to be concerned about the lack of depth in the trenches, but there’s still plenty of talent to help keep Oklahoma in the mix for 10 or more wins in 2013.

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


Oklahoma's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
 

GameSteven
Lassan
Chris
Williams
Allen
Kenney
Braden
Gall
David
Fox
Mark
Ross
8/31 ULM
9/7 West Virginia
9/14 Tulsa
9/28 at Notre Dame
10/5 TCU
10/12 Texas (Dallas)
10/19 at Kansas
10/26 Texas Tech
11/7 at Baylor
11/16 Iowa State
11/23 at Kansas State
12/7 at Oklahoma State
Final Projection9-39-39-310-210-210-2


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Anything from 8-4 to 11-1 is possible with Oklahoma this year. With the rest of the Big 12 also in transition, the Sooners shouldn’t slide too much in the win column after finishing 10-3 last season. Oklahoma’s Big 12 title hopes will rest on the development of quarterback Blake Bell, along with a defense that ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rush yards allowed and 50th nationally in points allowed in 2012. The defense isn’t short on talent, but the Sooners have to be concerned with the depth in the trenches, along with how three new starters in the secondary blend together. Until the defense finds its footing, Oklahoma will need to lean on an offense that has one of the nation’s top lines, along with a deep group of receivers and running backs. Bell has to prove he can be more than just a specialty package quarterback, but games against ULM, Tulsa and West Virginia will give him an opportunity to get comfortable as the starter, especially before key contests against Notre Dame, TCU and Texas. And it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Big 12 title is decided on Dec. 7 in the Bedlam series with Oklahoma State.

Chris Williams, (@ChrisMWilliams), CycloneFanatic.com

This is a team that will go as far as its quarterback allows it to go in 2013. While I’m assuming that Blake Bell (assuming he wins the job) isn’t Landry Jones, I also don’t see him as a bust either. Due to the fact that Norman has, is and always will be one of the toughest places to play in all of college football, that sure helps mask the fact that Bob Stoops has to replace one of the best signal-callers in program history along with a load of defensive players. I see the Sooners getting through its first five games unscathed with a loss to Texas in the Red River Shootout. But should OU pull that rivalry game off then watch out. All in all, I see this a very Bob Stoops-like season in 2013 for the Sooners in route to a solid 9-3 finish.


Allen Kenney, @BlatantHomerismBlatantHomerism.com
Oklahoma appears to have hit a plateau as of late, and I don't think that changes this year. The Sooners will be breaking in a new quarterback - most likely Blake Bell - and have some serious work to do in getting their defense back up to par. On top of that, they have one of the most difficult schedules in the country, catching almost all of their best opponents away from Norman.

Six games look like coin flips to me: at Notre Dame, TCU, Texas, at Baylor, at Kansas St. and at Oklahoma St. I'd peg the Sooners to go 3-3 in that stretch; the harder part is figuring out which of those are Ws and which are Ls. No matter where the losses come from, I don't see this team winning the conference.

Bob Stoops might get a bounce in the public opinion polls with a bowl win. Still, you can bet that the debate about his ability to get the Sooners back to the top of the college football world will only intensify with that kind of season.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

Bob Stoops is playing it coy about his starting quarterback, but there is no reason the uber-talented Blake Bell won't be a star this year in Norman. The offensive line is strong and the playmakers are a-plenty so the offense should be in great shape. However, it is the defense that is trending in the wrong direction and returns only four starters. But when in doubt, go with Stoops over most any other coach in the Big 12. The key to a league title for Oklahoma will be what happens in the Big 12 and whether or not an 8-1 record be good enough to win the league. The Sooners could easily win the league even with a loss to Oklahoma State. This will be one of the most wide-open conferences in the nation and it means the Crimson and Cream could lose to Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and the Pokes — or run the table and finish unbeaten in the league.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)

The most important game on Oklahoma’s schedule may be the TCU game. The early part of the schedule isn’t easy. ULM, West Virginia and Tulsa will all test the Oklahoma defense, though I’d expect the Sooners to handle all three. A trip to South Bend will be tough and the first major test for the new Oklahoma QB. TCU, though, will set the tone for the rest of the Big 12 season. The Horned Frogs are legitimate conference contenders. Like Notre Dame, TCU has a defensive front that matches up with Oklahoma’s strength on the offensive line. With that game back in Norman, I’m taking the Sooners. After that, I’m picking Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout until Texas proves me wrong. For the final month of the season, Oklahoma will have to avoid a Big 12 road loss, something that’s been tough for the Sooners in recent years. Baylor may be the tougher matchup for Oklahoma than Kansas State in 2013, but I’ve picked OU to win both. That may set up a de facto Big 12 title game against Oklahoma State. Why did I pick the Cowboys? This season, I think we can consider the rivals on equal footing, and I’ll go with the home team if we’re going to make these picks in July.

Mark Ross

Oklahoma is somewhat hard to figure out since they have an unproven starting quarterback in Blake Bell and only four starters returning on defense. That said, there is no lack of talent in Norman on either side of the ball, which is why I think Bob Stoops will find a way to get 10 wins in the regular season.

This victory total includes beating Notre Dame in South Bend, although I do have the Sooners falling at home to TCU the next week. OU will rebound nicely against Texas in the Red River Shootout and finish out strong, losing only to Oklahoma State to close the regular season out.

As optimistic as I am on this seemingly mysterious team, I will say that the Sooners' margin of error is probably as small as it has been since Stoops has been in charge. By that I mean, 10-2 could easily end up being 8-4 or worse, especially if Bell doesn't pan out as a passer and the defense experiences sustained stretches of growing pains.


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Oklahoma Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2013
Post date: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 07:15

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