Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/who-favorite-win-big-12-after-week-3-2013

The Big 12 was the toughest BCS conference to predict in the preseason. A compelling case could be made for at least six teams to be picked No. 1, while Texas Tech was considered a sleeper to watch.

After three weeks, not much has changed in the Big 12.

Oklahoma found a quarterback in last week’s win over Tulsa, as quarterback Blake Bell threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns. Although the competition will get tougher, Bell’s performance was a good sign for the Sooners.

Oklahoma State is off to a 3-0 start, but two of the wins came against UTSA and Lamar.

Baylor’s offense has been lethal through its first two matchups, but the competition hasn’t been elite.

Now that three weeks are in the books, let’s evaluate the Big 12 once again.

Who is the Favorite to Win the Big 12 Title After Week 3?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Oklahoma State was my preseason pick to win the Big 12, and I’m sticking with the Cowboys after three weeks. I’ve been impressed with the Oklahoma defense and quarterback Blake Bell, but I think Oklahoma State is – at least for now – still the most complete team in the Big 12. The Cowboys have a favorable schedule, as Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State and TCU must visit Stillwater. And Oklahoma State’s road game at Texas doesn’t look as imposing as it did in the preseason. Quarterback J.W. Walsh is only going to get better with more snaps, and the Cowboys’ defense has allowed just five touchdowns through three games. I don’t see any Big 12 team finishing conference play unbeaten, but Oklahoma State has the most favorable path to the league championship.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
The state of Oklahoma and Baylor appear to have separated themselves as the teams to beat in the Big 12 — as much as that is possible before conference play begins in earnest. The round robin between the trio sends Oklahoma to play both in Waco and Stillwater while the Cowboys get both the Sooners and Bears at home. That said, I am taking the Sooners. Blake Bell quieted the doubters with a huge performance in his first career start, but it's the improved defense that will make OU the team to beat. Through three games, Bob Stoops' defense is allowing more than 100 yards less per game this year (291.3 ypg) than it did a year ago (399.5) and is playing with an attitude not seen in Norman in years. Baylor's offense is extremely impressive, but I don't think it can beat both Oklahoma schools so that likely leaves The Bedlam Series to decide the Big 12. And while the Pokes rolled the Crimson and Cream the last time they played in Stillwater (44-10), Oklahoma still owns this series. It has won nine of the last 10 overall and four of the last five in Boone Pickens Stadium. Either way, it should be an outstanding final weekend in the Big 12.

Mark Ross
I'm still sticking with Oklahoma State, but I think Oklahoma has narrowed the gap and could end up snatching the title away from their in-state rivals. The interesting thing to me is how the Big 12 race has already been shaped by the quarterback position. The Cowboys have settled on J.W. Walsh as their starter, while Blake Bell made huge strides of his own in his first career start Saturday against Tulsa. There's also the early season numbers Texas Tech's Baker Mayfield and Baylor's Bryce Petty have posted.

I liked TCU's chances of hanging around at the start of the season, but that was because of Casey Pachall's return to the lineup. Pachall was inconsistent at best when we was on the field, before suffering a forearm injury that will sideline him several more weeks. The Horned Frogs will be fine with Trevone Boykin leading the offense, I just think this team has taken a few steps back from the Oklahoma schools. In the end, I think the conference title will be decided on the last game of the regular season when the Sooners pay a visit to Stillwater to face the Cowboys. As I stated earlier, I like OSU's chances to win the Big 12, but if Bell continues to develop as a passer, the Sooners' perceived edge in the running game and on defense could be enough for Bob Stoops to claim another conference crown. We will find out a lot more about the Sooners' title aspirations in two Saturdays when they travel to South Bend, Ind., to play Notre Dame.

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Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:42
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Nebraska Cornhuskers
Path: /college-football/bo-pelini-trades-jabs-former-nebraska-qb-tommie-frazier-2013

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is already taking plenty of heat from the fanbase after Saturday’s loss to UCLA. But the criticism isn’t coming just from the fans, as former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier chimed in with his thoughts on Twitter. 

Before we take a look at the comments, let’s get this out of the way: What Frazier says doesn’t have an impact on Pelini’s job status or how the program should be viewed nationally. However, it does reflect poorly on Pelini with his comments about a program legend (see below) and represents the growing disconnect between the coaching staff and fans.

Nebraska’s defense allowed 115 points in the final two games of 2012, gave up 34 to Wyoming and 41 to UCLA. Against the Bruins, the Cornhuskers allowed an average of 6.5 yards per play and forced only one turnover. After three games, Nebraska ranks 11th in the Big Ten in total defense and last in scoring defense.

Pelini was regarded as one of the nation’s top defensive minds prior to his arrival at Nebraska. Considering the Cornhuskers finished seventh in the Big Ten in total defense last year and is off to another bad start in 2013, there’s good reason to be concerned about the direction of the team. Sure, there are a handful of young players in the mix on defense, but this team was badly outcoached in the second half against UCLA.

While there’s been plenty of bad feelings in Lincoln, Neb. after Saturday’s loss to UCLA, the upcoming schedule is very favorable. The Cornhuskers could be 6-1 heading into November, which includes games against Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.

There are high expectations at Nebraska, but Pelini has not won fewer than nine games in each of his five seasons. However, Pelini led the Cornhuskers to a spot in the Big Ten Championship last year, and Nebraska won or tied for the Big 12 North title from 2008-10.

Should there be concern over Pelini and the direction of this program? Absolutely. But let’s give Pelini and his staff some time to develop the young players on defense and judge this program after its November stretch.

Here's the full text from Tommie Frazier's tweet on Saturday:

After letting it sink in for about 4 hours I still struggling. It's time to get rid of the defensive play caller, the Dc, lb dl and db coaches. I hate saying this but this crap is getting old. How in the hell do you not make adjustments or put your players in the position to compete? If this is what is going to happen for the remainder of the season, count me out. I don't care if we lose a game but the way we are losing is just not what #Nebraska fans deserve. I have fought, bled, and cried over this program. I didn't do all that for the program to become what it has today. Time for change! I will comment about the offense this week on Tommie's X's and O's. Trust me you don't want to miss it. #Huskers

So this was Pelini's response on Monday:






Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, SEC
Path: /college-football/buy-or-sell-lsu-sec-title-contender-2013

LSU has three consecutive double-digit win seasons, but the Tigers were a bit of a mystery entering 2013.

With eight starters gone on defense, along with a new coordinator on offense, LSU was going to need some time to get all of the new faces acclimated to life in the SEC.

The Tigers have yet to play a conference game, but coach Les Miles’ team appears to be a threat to push Alabama for the SEC West title.

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks confident under new coordinator Cam Cameron, and the defense is allowing just 277.5 yards per game.

There’s a long ways to go in the 2013 season, but it’s never too early for Athlon’s staff to debate: Is LSU a SEC title contender?

Buy or Sell: Is LSU an SEC Title Contender for 2013?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I’m buying this LSU team as a contender in the SEC. As mentioned throughout the preseason, the defense was going to be solid despite eight new starters. However, it was the offense that was a concern. So far, the hire of Cam Cameron as the coordinator has made a big difference. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger looks like a different and more confident player this year, throwing six touchdowns and completing 62.7 percent of his throws. The senior is also averaging 10.5 yards per attempt, which ranks 12th nationally among FBS quarterbacks. Sure, the schedule will get tougher, but once LSU’s defense has more time to jell, the front seven will be a tough matchup for Alabama’s offensive line, especially if that unit continues to struggle. It’s early and a lot can change. However, I would put LSU just behind Alabama – and ahead of Texas A&M – in the SEC West standings.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
LSU will always be considered an SEC contender but that is mostly because the word "contender" casts a wide net. At the start of the year, I counted six legitimate SEC contenders: Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and LSU. After two weeks of play, three of those six have a loss while the other three really haven't been tested. TCU and Virginia Tech are solid competition but are uninspiring teams that haven't really shown us what either the Crimson Tide or Bayou Bengals will be in the SEC this fall.

So the preseason breakdown on LSU still stands. The offense is loaded with talent at the skill positions and along the offensive line. The defense is still fairly young but also extremely talented. And the SEC schedule is might be the toughest in the conference. The remaining unknown piece to the puzzle is quarterback Zach Mettenberger and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Mettenberger was outstanding — against lowly UAB — but has yet to prove it against SEC competition (5 TD passes in 8 SEC games last year). Cameron looks like he is pushing the ball down the field, which is great, but still has yet to face an SEC defense. The Tigers look better than anticipated but nothing has changed dramatically after two weeks.

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I’m all in on LSU as an SEC and national championship contender, even after only two games. This is on two fronts: LSU looks like a new-and-improved version of itself and the SEC, for now, looks conquerable by a handful of teams. All the talk about NFL castoff Cam Cameron re-making Zach Mettenberger seems legitimate through two games. He’s averaging 10.5 yards per pass attempt so far. To put that in perspective: LSU hasn’t averaged better than eight yards per attempt since at least 2007. That 10 yards per pass rate will usually lead the country, so if Mettenberger is safely around eight yards per attempt with fewer turnovers, LSU’s offense will be formidable. The Tigers’ defense performed well against TCU to start, but considering all the new faces, I’ll take a defense that gave up only two sustained drives in the game. And then there’s the rest of the SEC. The East teams might beat themselves up all year, Texas A&M looks vulnerable on defense, and Alabama — at least against Virginia Tech — had its holes.

Nathan Rush
I'm buying the purple and gold SEC-title-contending stock. There's just enough Baton Rouge Celebration Grass for Les Miles to chew on LSU's schedule. The Tigers host Auburn, Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas in Death Valley. There's at least a 50-50 chance the Bayou Bengals win all four of those contests. The Tigers will, however, almost certainly hit a pot hole (or two) on road trips to Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. But LSU doesn't necessarily have to run the table to make it to the SEC title game, depending on how the other dominoes fall league-wide. If Zach Mettenberger can stay cool under fire and limit his mistakes in hostile environments, LSU's ground game, defense and special teams are capable of taking it to Atlanta. Stranger things have happened. Remember, Miles' Tigers won a longshot BCS crystal with two overtime losses.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler)
I’m going to have to be a hard sell on this one. It’s not so much a statement of the quality of LSU’s talent, but a testament to the difficulty of the Tigers schedule. LSU plays its normally tough SEC West schedule, but has the unenviable draw of cross-division games against East powerhouses Florida and Georgia. While the Tigers should get off to a 4-0 start, they endure two brutal stretches, including a trip to Alabama back-to-back with a home date against Texas A&M and three SEC road games within a four game span. The defense isn’t as good this year as it has been in the past, and I just can’t trust Zach Mettenberger and the offense to put up the kind of points LSU is going to need to keep up with Georgia, Alabama, or Texas A&M.

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Post date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 09:02
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-2-edition

USC and Texas were two of the biggest disappointments last Saturday, and the pressure on Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin went up a notch or two. Despite having a backfield full of options and a talented receiving corps, the Trojans’ offense continues to sputter. The Longhorns couldn’t stop BYU’s rushing attack, prompting Brown to fire coordinator Manny Diaz.

It’s only Week 2, so there is time to turn things around for Texas and USC. However, with conference play almost in full swing, both coaches are running out of time.

Kffin and Brown take the top two spots in Athlon’s post-Week 2 hot seat rankings, with Connecticut’s Paul Pasqualoni a close third.

UNLV’s Bobby Hauck, Miami (Ohio)’s Bobby Hauck and Central Michigan’s Dan Enos are the top coaches on the hot seat from the non-BCS conferences.

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Lane Kiffin1-1Time to right the ship, but offense is struggling.
2Mack Brown1-1Firing coordinators after Week 2 isn't a good sign.
3Paul Pasqualoni0-1Huskies face former coach Randy Edsall in Week 3.
4Bobby Hauck0-2Rebels off to 0-2 start, but schedule has been tough.
5Don Treadwell0-2RedHawks next two games: Cincinnati and Illinois.
6Dan Enos1-1Chippewas barely avoided loss to FCS team.
7Ron English1-1As expected, EMU overmatched against Penn State.
8Kirk Ferentz1-1 
9Norm Chow0-2Warriors will struggle to win more than two games.
10Charley Molnar0-2Umass lost to FCS opponent Maine in Week 2.
11Jeff Quinn0-2Bulls should make noise in MAC play.
12Carl Pelini0-2Owls have scored 19 points in two games.
13Ron Turner0-2FIU's offense is averaging 172 yards per game.
14Tony Levine2-0Cougars off to a solid 2-0 start.
15Tim Beckman2-0New OC Bill Cubit is making a big difference.
16Gary Pinkel2-0Can the Tigers get bowl eligible?
17Joey Jones1-1South Alabama picked up a good win at Tulane.
18Skip Holtz1-1 
19Doc Holliday2-0 
20Jim Grobe1-1Wake Forest's offense is struggling.
21Rich Ellerson1-1 
22Charlie Weis1-0Jayhawks snapped 11-game losing streak in Week 2.
23Mike London1-1 
24Rick Stockstill1-1 
25Dan Mullen0-1 
26Dana Holgorsen1-1WVU's offense searching for the right mix.
27Randy Edsall2-0Terrapins off to impressive start.
28Dave Christensen1-1 
29Steve Sarkisian1-0 
30Bo Pelini2-0 
31Kyle Whittingham2-0Utes offense looking better under Dennis Erickson.
32Dan McCarney1-1 
33David Bailiff0-1 
34Kevin Wilson1-1 
35June Jones1-1SMU also barely avoided loss to FCS team in Week 2.
36Rocky Long0-2Aztecs off to rough start.
37P.J. Fleck0-2Broncos lost to a bad FCS team in Week 2.
38Larry Blakeney2-0 
39Kyle Flood1-1 
40George O'Leary2-0 
41Frank Beamer1-1Still waiting to see improvement on offense.
42Garrick McGee0-2 
43Scott Shafer0-2Shafer should get first win in Week 3.
44Tommy Tuberville1-1 
45Terry Bowden1-1 
46Jim McElwain0-2 
47Bob Davie1-1 
48Sean Kugler0-1Lost debut in overtime to New Mexico.
49Curtis Johnson1-1 
50Bobby Petrino1-1Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers.
51Rod Carey1-0 
52Paul Chryst0-1 
53Mike Leach1-1Cougars making progress in Leach's second year.
54Mike Riley1-1 
55Ruffin McNeill2-0 
56Todd Monken0-2 
57Matt Rhule0-2 
58Mark Helfrich2-0Ducks continue to roll.
59Brian Polian1-1 
60Ron Caragher1-1 
61Dave Clawson2-0BGSU is the team to beat in the MAC East.
62Paul Haynes1-1 
63Bryan Harsin1-1 
64Dennis Franchoine2-0 
65Matt Wells1-1 
66Mark Richt1-1Georgia is frontrunner in SEC East.
67Mark Dantonio2-0Can the offense find a spark?
68Bronco Mendenhall1-1Big win over Texas.
69Dabo Swinney2-0 
70Jimbo Fisher1-0 
71Brady Hoke2-0 
72Bob Stoops2-0 
73Al Golden2-0Was the win over Florida the best of Golden's tenure?
74Frank Solich1-1 
75Jerry Kill2-0 
76Ken Niumatalolo1-0 
77Darrell Hazell1-1Wasn't pretty, but Boilermakers held off Indiana State.
78Willie Taggart0-2Expect more improvement from USF in future weeks.
79Mark Stoops1-1 
80Bill Blankenship1-1 
81Matt Campbell0-2 
82Paul Johnson1-0 
83Trent Miles0-2Miles has a tough road ahead at Georgia State.
84Troy Calhoun1-1 
85Paul Petrino0-2 
86Doug Martin0-2 
87Butch Jones2-0 
88Tim DeRuyter2-0 
89Gus Malzahn2-0 
90Bret Bielema2-0 
91Larry Fedora1-1 
92Jim Mora1-0 
93Steve Addazio2-0 
94Dave Doeren2-0 
95Sonny Dykes1-1 
96Rich Rodriguez2-0
97Todd Graham1-0
98Mike MacIntyre2-0
99Justin Fuente0-1
100Will Muschamp1-1
101Brian Kelly1-1
102Les Miles2-0
103Larry Coker1-1
104Pete Lembo2-0
105Todd Berry1-1
106Paul Rhoads0-1
107Gary Andersen2-0
108David Cutcliffe2-0
109Hugh Freeze2-0
110Kliff Kingsbury2-0
111Mark Hudspeth0-2
112Kevin Sumlin2-0
113James Franklin1-1
114Mike Gundy2-0
115Chris Petersen1-1
116Bill Snyder1-1
117Charlie Strong2-0
118Steve Spurrier1-1
119Gary Patterson1-1
120Art Briles2-0
121Bill O'Brien2-0
122David Shaw1-0
123Pat Fitzgerald2-0
124Urban Meyer2-0
125Nick Saban1-0

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Post date: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-9

Catching up after a busy weekend of games.

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, September 9th

Saturday Down South takes a look at what happened around the SEC last week.

Lost Lettermen wants to see Seven Nation Army retired from college football.

Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux will miss the rest of the season after a serious leg injury suffered against Illinois.

Duke quarterback Anthony Boone broke his collarbone against Memphis. 

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight is nursing an injured knee and won't play against Tulsa this Saturday. And cornerback Aaron Colvin was also injured against West Virginia.

South Carolina's linebackers were a reason why Georgia had no trouble establishing the run on Saturday afternoon.

Auburn remains cautious with defensive end Dee Ford.

Tulsa receiver Keyarris Garrett suffered a season-ending leg injury against Colorado State.

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is expected to miss eight weeks with an arm injury.

Ole Miss cornerback Charles Sawyer was arrested over the weekend.

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder is concerned about an upcoming Sports Illustrated article that will have some allegations of midconduct in his program.

Maryland cornerback Jeremiah Johnson is out eight weeks with a toe injury.

Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Trevor Knight
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-qb-trevor-knight-out-knee-injury-blake-bell-will-start

Oklahoma starting quarterback Trevor Knight suffered a knee injury against West Virginia and will miss the Sooners’ Week 3 contest against Tulsa. With Knight sidelined, Blake Bell will be Oklahoma’s starting quarterback on Saturday.

Knight wasn’t off to a good start this year, as the redshirt freshman completed just 21 of 48 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns through the first two games. Knight is a good runner (as evidenced by his 145 rushing yards so far), but he needs some work as a passer.

Bell played in a part-time role last season, rushing for 201 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, Bell has not proven he can be a consistent passer. But with an opportunity to start against Tulsa – and potentially more if Knight is out longer – Bell can claim the starting job for an extended period.

Kendal Thompson suffered a foot injury in fall practice and is expected to return to workouts this week. If Bell and Knight struggle, Thompson may eventually get a look in future games. However, Thompson has some ground to makeup, especially after missing most of fall practice.

Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/fresno-state-lets-offensive-lineman-score-td

With a commanding 20-0 lead against Cal Poly on Saturday night, Fresno State decided to have a little fun on offense.

After quarterback Derek Carr tosses a pass to receiver Davante Adams, offensive lineman Austin Wentworth trails and gets the pitch on a hook-and-ladder play.

Wentworth, a senior, is one of the Mountain West’s top offensive linemen, so it’s pretty cool to see the big tackle get a touchdown against Cal Poly.


Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 00:00
Path: /college-football/south-carolinas-coaches-fight-sideline

Even though South Carolina and Georgia played in Week 2, it’s a huge game for positioning in the SEC East title picture.

With everything on the line in Saturday’s game, it was no surprise to see the intensity for both teams at a high level.

In the third quarter, South Carolina’s defensive coaching staff had a disagreement on the sidelines, which nearly came to blows.

Check out defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, linebackers coach Kirk Botkin and line coach Deke Adams get into a confrontation on the sidelines:

South Carolina's Coaches Fight on Sideline
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 19:10
Path: /college-football/tennessees-marquez-north-makes-juggling-catch-against-wku

Tennessee freshman receiver Marquez North was one of the top recruits in coach Butch Jones’ first signing class on Rocky Top.

North has five receptions through the first two weeks, with his best catch coming against the Hilltoppers.

The freshman made a crazy, juggling catch against Western Kentucky in Week 2:

Tennessee WR Marquez North makes juggling catch against Western Kentucky
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 18:46
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-qb-braxton-miller-injures-knee-against-sdsu

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller left Saturday’s game against San Diego State with a MCL injury. According to the Buckeyes’ sports info department, Miller could return to the game, but coach Urban Meyer is expected to keep the junior quarterback on the sidelines.

Prior to his injury, Miller was 2 of 2 for 30 yards and rushed for five yards on one carry.

Backup Kenny Guiton was solid in relief in the first half and as last year’s performance against Purdue showcased, the senior is a capable option for Ohio State.

Keeping Miller healthy was a priority for Ohio State this season, which was supposed to be easier with a deeper group of weapons. Miller is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and is health is essential to the Buckeyes’ national title hopes.

Ohio State’s upcoming schedule isn’t daunting, but a road trip to California on Sept. 14 won’t be easy and a Sept. 28 matchup against Wisconsin is a huge game for the Leaders Division title race.

Ohio State QB Braxton Miller Injures Knee Against SDSU
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 16:43
All taxonomy terms: College Football, TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/tcu-qb-casey-pachall-injures-arm-against-se-louisiana

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall suffered an arm injury in the first half of Saturday’s game against SE Louisiana and won’t return to the game.

Pachall injured his non-throwing arm after starting 8 of 14 for 100 yards.

Backup Trevone Boykin has plenty of experience after taking over for Pachall last year and played extensively in the opener against LSU.

If Pachall is out for an extended amount of time, TCU’s offense will change slightly, as Pachall is clearly a better passer than Boykin. However, Boykin is the better runner and has improved as a passer since last year.

TCU has a short turnaround for Week 3, as they take on Texas Tech on Thursday night. After the game, coach Gary Patterson indicated Pachall would not play against the Red Raiders. However, it's uncertain how long the senior will be sidelined. 

TCU QB Casey Pachall Injures Arm Against SE Louisiana
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 14:52
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-2-power-rankings-2013


Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings for 2013
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:18
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-fighting-irish-vs-michigan-wolverines-2013-preview-and-prediction

Thanks to conference realignment, Michigan and Notre Dame are only scheduled to play one more matchup after this season. The Fighting Irish had to cancel the 2015-17 scheduled games with the Wolverines due to their decision to play five games with ACC members. With the Big Ten moving to nine conference games in the future, Michigan may also have been forced to rethink its non-conference slate – even with an emphasis on schedule strength in the playoffs.

Although new rivalries were created from realignment, it’s a shame these two teams may not play for a significant period of time. But let’s forget about assigning blame and focus on the game this Saturday.

Michigan and Notre Dame cruised to easy victories in Week 1. The Wolverines dominated Central Michigan 59-9, while the Fighting Irish won 28-6 over Temple.

Even though it’s early, this game could play a key role in shaping where these two teams are positioned for bowl bids later this year. Michigan and Notre Dame expect to be in the mix for an at-large BCS spot in December and an early loss certainly isn’t crippling, but it doesn’t leave much room for error the rest of the year.

Three Things to Watch

Michigan’s OL versus Notre Dame’s DL
The Wolverines’ offensive line is in transition this year. Three new starters stepped into the lineup last week against Central Michigan and allowed only one sack to the Chippewas. Left tackle Taylor Lewan is one of the best in the nation, while right tackle Michael Schofield has 24 starts under his belt. But the interior is a concern for Hoke and coordinator Al Borges. Left guard Graham Glasgow, center Jack Miller and right guard Kyle Kalis have just three combined starts – all from last week’s win over Central Michigan. Notre Dame’s defensive line is one of the best in the nation, anchored by 357-pound nose guard Louis Nix III and future first-round pick Stephon Tuitt at end. The Fighting Irish allowed 134 rushing yards in the opener against Temple but should have a better effort on Saturday. How well Michigan’s new starters on the line perform will play a large role in deciding the outcome of this game.

Who steps up at running back?
The Fighting Irish lost Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood this offseason, but replacements George Atkinson III, Amir Carlisle, Cam McDaniel and Greg Bryant combined for 179 yards against Temple last week. Notre Dame may not have a true No. 1 but there are playmakers. Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint returned to action after suffering a broken leg late last year and rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts in the opener. However, the postgame buzz in Ann Arbor last week was all about Derrick Green. The freshman rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown against Central Michigan and is poised to take a bigger role in the backfield this Saturday. It’s not necessarily important for either team to have one rusher get to 100 yards, but both coaching staffs would like to see a back get the hot hand and produce.

Which Tommy Rees shows up?
Rees has experienced a roller-coaster ride in his two extensive appearances against Michigan. In 2011, Rees threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, including a 29-yard score with 30 seconds left. However, Michigan scored on a pass from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree with two seconds left to steal the victory. Last year, Rees came on to relieve a struggling Everett Golson and finished with 115 yards on eight completions. With Golson out of the picture in 2013, Rees is the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback in South Bend. Michigan allowed 144 passing yards to Central Michigan in the opener, but Rees should have opportunities to make plays against this secondary. The senior is coming off a good appearance last week (346 yards) and failed to throw an interception on 23 attempts. Yards are important, but Rees’ No. 1 priority on Saturday will be limiting the turnovers.

Key Player: Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
The Wolverines already lost one key receiver for 2013 with Amara Darboh suffering a foot injury late in fall camp. Senior Jeremy Gallon was Devin Gardner’s favorite target last Saturday, recording 47 yards on four catches. Funchess is a breakout candidate for Michigan in 2013, and the sophomore grabbed two passes for 47 yards in the opener. Although Notre Dame’s back seven is experienced, Funchess needs to be a big part of Michigan’s gameplan.

Final Analysis

The last four meetings in this series have been decided by seven points or less, including the 35-31 thriller in 2011.

Michigan has won three consecutive meetings over Notre Dame in Ann Arbor and should have a slight edge to make it No. 4 on Saturday.

Notre Dame’s defense is clearly one of the best in the nation and should be in midseason form after holding Temple to just six points last year. But Gardner outduels Rees, and the Wolverines create a late turnover to pull off a close victory. 

Prediction: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20

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Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/georgia-bulldogs-vs-south-carolina-gamecocks-2013-game-preview-and-prediction

Georgia and South Carolina have combined to win the last three SEC East titles, and Saturday’s game will play a key role in determining the division champion this year.

After losing to Clemson last Saturday, the Bulldogs have to win against the Gamecocks to keep their national title hopes alive. And while a loss to South Carolina wouldn’t put Georgia out of contention to win the East title, the Gamecocks have a much easier path to the division crown.

South Carolina fared better than Georgia in Week 1, handling North Carolina 27-10 on Thursday night. The Gamecocks allowed the Tar Heels to move the ball some (293 yards), but the defense held North Carolina without a touchdown in the second half.

South Carolina has claimed the last three meetings in this series, including a dominating 35-7 win last year. The last Bulldogs’ victory came in 2009. Dating back to last season, the Gamecocks have won six in a row, while the Bulldogs have claimed seven victories in their last nine games.

Three Things to Watch

Georgia’s offensive line
Even though the Bulldogs have a potential All-SEC quarterback in Aaron Murray and two standouts at running back (Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall), the offensive line holds the key to winning on Saturday night. Clemson recorded four sacks against Georgia’s front five last week and generated consistent pressure on Murray throughout the second half. In last year’s meeting with the Bulldogs, South Carolina had only two sacks, but the defensive line clearly dominated the line of scrimmage. Now that Georgia’s offensive line has a game under its belt, along with the motivation of last year’s performance hanging in their heads, can this unit give Murray time to throw? And it’s not like the Gamecocks are just a one-man show (Jadeveon Clowney). Senior Chaz Sutton and freshman Darius English are two other threats off the edge, while tackles J.T. Surratt and Gerald Dixon will present plenty of problems for the offensive line.

South Carolina running back Mike Davis
In last week’s win over North Carolina, Davis had a breakout performance, rushing for 115 yards and one touchdown on 12 attempts. The sophomore’s 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter ended any hope the Tar Heels had of a comeback. Davis will share carries with Brandon Wilds, but he will be the Gamecocks’ feature back. Clemson rushed for 197 yards against Georgia, so there will be opportunities for Davis to have a big performance. The Bulldogs are getting safety/linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons back after a one-game suspension. Will Harvey-Clemons make a big difference in the rush defense? Or will South Carolina’s massive offensive line dominate the line of scrimmage? Georgia needs a better effort from its front seven to win on Saturday.

Field goals
Even though most of the spotlight in this game will be on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, don’t overlook the special teams department. The Bulldogs will be without kicker Marshall Morgan, who is suspended for two games due to an off-the-field incident. With Morgan sidelined, Patrick Beless is expected to attempt field goals and extra points. Beless connected on all five extra points against Clemson but did not attempt a field goal. The Gamecocks broke in a new kicker last week, with Elliott Fry connecting on both of his attempts. With a close game expected, the inexperience at kicker could play a significant role in determining the outcome of this game.

Key Player: Michael Bennett/Justin Scott-Wesley, WR, Georgia
With Malcolm Mitchell sidelined for the rest of the year due to a torn ACL, it’s up to Bennett and Scott-Wesley to emerge as go-to receivers for quarterback Aaron Murray. Bennett returned from a season-ending knee injury in 2012 to catch five passes for 60 yards in the opener, while Scott-Wesley grabbed four passes for 55 yards. Even though Mitchell will be missed, Bennett and Scott-Wesley are a capable duo, and Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a huge opportunity for both players.

Final Analysis

Everything seems to point to a South Carolina win. The Gamecocks have the momentum and own three consecutive victories in this series. South Carolina’s defensive line also has a sizeable advantage over Georgia’s offensive line, especially with last year’s meeting in mind.

However, Georgia didn’t play terrible in the opener and only lost by three points to a top-five team. The Bulldogs will only get better on defense with more snaps for the young players, and Harvey-Clemons’ return will help slow down South Carolina’s offense.

Even though some are down on the Bulldogs after Week 1, the guess here is Murray delivers with a solid performance to knock off South Carolina to take an early lead in the SEC East standings.

Georgia 27-24

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions


Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks 2013 Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 09:11
Path: /college-football/arizona-state-has-awesome-pat-tillman-entrance

Arizona State recently made some renovations to Sun Devil Stadium, and the Tillman Tunnel is now one of the best entrances in college football.

Here’s a full album of the Tillman Tunnel from Arizona State’s official site, but the image below is a glimpse into what the Sun Devils will see before they take the field each week.

Simply, there’s not a better way for Arizona State to honor Pat Tillman or for the team to remember his legacy than have No. 42 lead the way to the field.


Arizona State Has Awesome Pat Tillman Entrance
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 16:53
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-2-2013-upset-predictions

The Week 2 college football slate is relatively light with elite matchups. Florida-Miami, Notre Dame-Michigan and Georgia-South Carolina are the must-see games, but there’s not much else to get excited about. Of course, college football is on television, so at least there’s something to watch. 

With a chunk of FBS teams playing opponents from FCS or BCS versus non-BCS conference matchups, the pool for upsets appears to be small this week. BYU hosts Texas in an intriguing non-conference game, and receiver Cody Hoffman is expected to return after missing last week due to a hamstring injury. Hoffman's return is huge for an offense that struggled to move the ball through the air last week.

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

Other Week 2 Previews and Predictions
ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

College Football Week 2 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Wake Forest (+3) over Boston College
I realize this isn’t much of an upset in terms of point spread, but just as I mentioned in Week 1, there’s not much to like with the odds early in the year. Western Kentucky over Tennessee is very tempting, but I’m giving the Volunteers a slight edge in that one. Wake Forest and Boston College both played FCS opponents in Week 1, so this will be a better test of where both teams stack up in the ACC. Both squads have plenty of kinks to work out over the next few weeks. The Demon Deacons have a shaky offensive line, and the Eagles are adjusting to new schemes on both sides of the ball. Boston College also needs to find another receiver or two to pair with potential All-ACC target Alex Amidon. This game is a tossup, but I like Wake Forest to leave Chestnut Hill with a three-point win. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Notre Dame (+4.5) over Michigan
These two have split the last two meetings since both Brady Hoke and Brian Kelly entered the series with the home team taking each of the last two meetings. Last season was the lowest scoring meeting between the two since 1909 and the Irish defense will once again take center stage. If Tommy Rees is even half of the player he was in Week 1, he should be able to move the ball effectively against a Michigan defense that is still a recruiting class or two away from being championship caliber. Look for the ND defensive line to pressure Devin Gardner into a few mistakes and that will lead to an upset in one of the most "historic, traditional" rivalry games in college football.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): BYU (+7) over Texas
A home underdog raises eyebrows, for sure. I also wonder if we’ve overcompensated for Week 1. After stalling early, Texas throttled New Mexico State as it should, but BYU had a bizarre game against Virginia, delay for more than two and a half hours by lightning. A Western team going East, a rain delay and two Virginia drives starting in the red zone due to a turnover and a blocked punt leads me to believe we might see the real BYU team this week. I like the Cougars pass rush against David Ash, who threw two first-half picks against New Mexico State.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Arkansas State (+11.5) over Auburn
It’s possible that Auburn’s Week 2 opponent (Arkansas State) has more talent than its Week 1 opponent (Washington State). The Red Wolves are solid at quarterback with Adam Kennedy, a transfer from Utah State, and outstanding at tailback with David Oku, a former Tennessee Vol. The wild card on offense could be Fredi Knighten, who ran for 101 yards (one of four Red Wolves to top the 100-yard mark) and two touchdowns on three carries against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I smell upset.

Mark Ross: James Madison (+3) over Akron
As this season has already shown us, FCS teams are more than capable of not only hanging with big brother, but also beating them on occasion. While the mighty Zips of Akron, who got manhandled 38-7 by UCF in their opener, aren't exactly on the same level as Oregon State or Kansas State, they are still an FBS team. Akron struggled in all facets of the game last week, but was particularly bad against the pass, giving up nearly 17 yards per completion to the Knights.

JMU isn't known for throwing the ball all over the field, but what the Dukes do have is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in Michael Birdsong and the confidence that comes with the success the program has enjoyed under coach Mickey Matthews. JMU also has experience as a giant-killer, as the Dukes defeated in-state powerhouse Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2010. Three years later, lightning strikes again for JMU, but this time in Ohio, as the Dukes produce just enough offense and make a key play on defense late to add another W to the FCS' win total against FBS teams this season.

Stephen Schindler (@SteveSchindler): Washington State (-15.5) over USC
Lane Kiffin is a mess. The USC quarterback situation is a mess. And the Trojans looked spotty in their victory over a very mediocre Hawaii squad last week. Washington State almost stole a game at Auburn with quarterback Connor Halliday throwing for over 300 yards. Mike Leach is still one of the best offensive minds in the game. Expect the Cougars to spread USC out and pass upwards of 60 times. While Marqise Lee is an unquestionable talent, the Trojans still don’t know who will be throwing him the ball. If Washington State can protect Halliday and he can protect the football, Washington State will get its first win in LA since 2000.

College Football Week 2 2013 Upset Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 11:22
Path: /college-football/acc-2013-week-2-preview-and-predictions

Week 1 was a good debut for most of the teams in the ACC. North Carolina was handled by South Carolina on the road, but Virginia knocked off BYU, and Clemson scored a huge non-conference victory over Georgia.

Although non-conference wins aren’t necessarily a good indicator of depth for any league, it certainly helps the national perception of the ACC.

This week, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia will have opportunities for non-conference wins. The Hurricanes host Florida, the Cavaliers welcome Oregon to Charlottesville, and the Orange travel to Northwestern.

There’s only one conference matchup this Saturday, as Wake Forest plays at Boston College.

The rest of the schedule is full of one-sided affairs, including Virginia Tech against Western Carolina and Clemson versus South Carolina State.

Other Week 2 Previews and Predictions
Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC Week 2 Game Power Rankings

1. Florida (-3) at Miami (noon ET, ESPN) 
Week 2 doesn’t feature many marquee matchups, but this meeting between Sunshine State rivals should be one of the must-see games this Saturday. The Hurricanes are making progress under coach Al Golden, and a win over Florida certainly wouldn’t hurt the rebuilding efforts for this coaching staff. The battle in the trenches will be worth watching, as the Gators’ defensive line is one of the best in the nation, and Miami’s offensive line ranked in the top 10 of Athlon’s preseason rankings. Quarterback Stephen Morris and a solid group of receivers will test a Florida secondary that ranked 17th nationally against the pass last season and is led by future NFL cornerbacks in Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson. Running back Duke Johnson is explosive and is due for a heavy workload after recording 19 carries in the opener. Miami’s defense was one of the worst in the ACC last year but showed improvement - albeit against FAU - in Week 1. Stopping Florida's offense will be a bigger challenge for the 'Canes, especially with quarterback Jeff Driskel improving, and a solid duo of running backs in Matt Jones and Mack Brown. If the Hurricanes can slow down the Gators’ rushing attack, it’s a good sign for a defense that was shredded for 217.9 yards per game on the ground last year.

2. Oregon (-22) at Virginia (3:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2)
After a last-minute win against BYU last Saturday, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Virginia in Week 2. Even without Chip Kelly calling the plays, the Ducks didn’t miss a beat on offense against Nicholls State. Oregon recorded 66 points and 772 yards on less than 20 minutes on time of possession last week. Virginia struggled to generate much offense against the Cougars last Saturday (223 yards), but its defense limited BYU to only 175 passing yards. The Ducks are more explosive and deeper on offense than the Cougars, which presents an even bigger challenge for the Cavaliers. Although the Cavaliers need to get stops on defense, they need to play keep away on offense. The running back trio of Kevin Parks, Khalek Shepherd and freshman Tiquan Mizzell has to have success on early downs, as Virginia hopes to wear down Oregon’s defense. Even if the Cavaliers defense manages to limit quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks have other weapons, including running back De’Anthony Thomas and receiver Josh Huff.

3. Syracuse (+12) at Northwestern (6 ET, Big Ten Network)
Even though the Orange suffered a loss to Penn State in the opener, all is not lost in Syracuse. A new coaching staff and quarterback is a lot to overcome in the first week of the season, so Syracuse has plenty of room to grow over the next few contests. But the Orange will have their hands full on Saturday night. Northwestern’s offense recorded 508 yards in last week’s win over California – and that was with top quarterback Kain Colter and running back Venric Mark sidelined due to injuries. Both players are expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday. The Wildcats should have no trouble scoring, so it’s up to Syracuse’s offense to improve after recording only 260 yards against Penn State. Quarterback Drew Allen was 16 of 37 for 189 yards in his first start, but he will have an opportunity to throw against a Wildcats’ secondary that allowed 455 passing yards to California.

4. Wake Forest (+3) at Boston College (Friday, 8 ET, ESPN2)
Although both Wake Forest and Boston College were victorious in Week 1, it’s hard to glean too much from playing FCS opponents. However, both teams had to be pleased with some of the individual performances in their early tune-up. Take out Presbyterian’s 66-yard run in the first half, and the Blue Hose managed only 85 yards on 42 plays against Wake Forest’s defense. The Eagles trailed 14-7 in the first half but rallied behind the steady play of quarterback Chase Rettig, and a defense that held Villanova without a point in the final two quarters. Boston College’s defense was aggressive against the Wildcats (four sacks), which will test a Demon Deacon offensive line that struggled mightily last year. After a good showing against Presbyterian, this matchup against a balanced Boston College offense should give the rest of the ACC a better idea of where Wake Forest’s defense stacks up in 2013.

5. Old Dominion (+18) at Maryland (4 ET, ESPNEWS)
Outside of Clemson and Florida State, the ACC’s most impressive team of Week 1 had to be Maryland. Even though FIU is one of the worst teams in the nation, the Terrapins seem to have the right pieces in place on both sides of the ball. Quarterback C.J. Brown was sharp in his return from a torn ACL, recording 386 total yards and five touchdowns. And a defense with only four returning starters allowed just 171 yards to the Panthers. Old Dominion is transitioning to the FBS level and features a high-scoring offense, led by quarterback Taylor Heinicke (338 yards last week against East Carolina). While the Monarchs can move the ball on offense, the defense gave up 6.3 yards per play against the Pirates last week and ranked 94th nationally in total defense among FCS teams in 2012. Old Dominion will make Maryland sweat more than it did against FIU, but the Terrapins should be 2-0 heading into Week 3.

6. Duke (-6) at Memphis (4:30 ET, ESPN3)
Although it’s only Week 2 of the college football season, it’s never too early to start thinking about bowl eligibility. If Duke wants to make a return trip to the postseason, it has to win this game. Memphis is a team headed in the right direction under coach Justin Fuente, and the Tigers closed out 2012 by winning three consecutive games. Duke easily handled North Carolina Central in its opener, recording its first shutout since 1989 in a 45-0 win. Memphis is a mystery team after a bye in Week 1, and redshirt freshman Paxton Lynch unseated Jacob Karam in the quarterback battle this fall. Memphis’ defense returns eight starters, so this should be a good test for Duke quarterback Anthony Boone in his third career start.

7.  MTSU (+17.5) at North Carolina (12:30 ET, ESPN3)
The Tar Heels lost to South Carolina 27-10 last Thursday night, but there were a few positives for coach Larry Fedora to build on this week. A rebuilt offensive line held its own, and after struggling early, the defense held the Gamecocks to just seven points in the second half. The Blue Raiders defeated Western Carolina 45-24 last Thursday, but the win came at a price. Quarterback Logan Kilgore suffered a shoulder injury against the Catamounts and may be at less than full strength against the Tar Heels. With Kilgore at less than 100 percent, North Carolina should expect a heavy dose of sophomore running back Jordan Parker (156 yards last week), especially after struggling to stop South Carolina’s ground attack. Even if MTSU can move the ball, the Tar Heels simply have too much firepower and should take advantage of a Blue Raider defense that allowed 440 yards per game last year. With Georgia Tech up next, it’s important for North Carolina’s defense to have a good outing to build confidence for the ACC opener.

8. Richmond (+23) at NC State (6 ET, ESPN3)
New NC State coach Dave Doeren had an impressive debut last week, and the first-year coach should start off with a 2-0 mark with Richmond coming to down on Saturday. The Wolfpack handled Louisiana Tech 40-14 in Week 1, but the win was costly. Quarterback Brandon Mitchell suffered a foot injury and will miss at least four weeks. With Mitchell sidelined, Pete Thomas is expected to be the No. 1 quarterback, and the coaching staff can use this game to get him acclimated to the new offense, especially with a date against Clemson on Sept. 19. The Spiders won’t be a pushover, as they rank No. 15 in the FCS poll and are led by former Virginia quarterback Michael Strauss.

9. South Carolina State (+52.5) at Clemson (12:30 ET, ESPN3)
After a huge victory over a ranked opponent, it’s always a good idea to put for the winning team to be on letdown alert the next week. But there should be little concern for Clemson this Saturday. The Tigers take on South Carolina State in Week 2, a team that went 5-6 in 2012 and ranked 101st nationally in scoring offense last year. Don’t expect quarterback Tajh Boyd to play more than a half for the Tigers, but this matchup is a good opportunity to pad his stats for Heisman voters. Expect Clemson to get plenty of young players a handful of snaps in this game.

10. Western Carolina (+42) at Virginia Tech (1:30 ET, ESPN3)
As expected, Virginia Tech was handled by Alabama in Atlanta last Saturday. The Hokies managed only 212 yards of total offense – with 77 coming on Trey Edmunds’ touchdown run. The defense held the Crimson Tide to just 206 yards, and Bud Foster’s unit will have to carry this team until the offense gets on track. With a struggling Western Carolina team (2-20 from 2011-12), this should provide the perfect opportunity for Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas to gain some confidence. Thomas was just 5 of 26 against Alabama but should have no trouble against the Catamounts. The Hokies should regain the services of running back Joel Caleb (suspended for the opener), while J.C. Coleman is still on the mend from a preseason ankle injury.

ACC Week 2 Pivotal Players

Drew Allen, QB, Syracuse
It’s easy to list the quarterbacks in this section, but Syracuse’s offense managed just 17 points in last week’s loss to Penn State. With a matchup against Northwestern’s high-scoring offense ahead this Saturday, the Orange need a better effort from their passing attack. In his first start, quarterback Drew Allen threw for 189 yards on 16 completions and tossed two picks. Northwestern’s secondary struggled to stop California last week, and with Allen having another week to jell with the rest of the offense, expect a better performance on Saturday.

Trey Edmunds, RB, Virginia Tech
The Hokies are searching for answers on offense after last week’s 35-10 loss to Alabama. With Western Carolina up this week, Virginia Tech shouldn’t have to sweat much to break into the win column. However, we are listing Edmunds here with eye to the rest of the season. In the opener, Edmunds rushed for 132 yards – 77 on one carry – on 20 attempts. The Hokies struggled to find a No. 1 back last year and desperately need to find someone to take the pressure off of quarterback Logan Thomas. While this game will be a one-sided affair, Edmunds can solidify his place on the depth chart with a big performance.

Ereck Flowers/Seantrel Henderson/Jon Feliciano, OT, Miami
Florida’s front seven is among the best in the nation. The Gators held an explosive Toledo offense to just six points and 205 yards, while recording two sacks against quarterback Terrance Owens. If Miami’s offense is going to get on track, it has to give quarterback Stephen Morris and running back Duke Johnson room to operate. All three tackles will be under the spotlight, especially as they try to slow down the pass rush from Ronald Powell, Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard.

Wake Forest’s offensive line
The Demon Deacons had one of the ACC’s worst offensive lines last year. This unit allowed 2.3 sacks per game, while rushers averaged just three yards per carry. Although Presbyterian isn’t the toughest of opponents, there were encouraging signs in Week 1. Wake Forest’s offensive line allowed just one sack and rushers averaged 3.5 yards per carry. After recording four sacks against Villanova, Boston College’s front seven should provide a good litmus test for this unit.

David Watford, QB, Virginia
With one of the nation’s most prolific offenses coming to Charlottesville this weekend, the Cavaliers need to score more than 19 points they recorded against BYU to have a chance at an upset against the Ducks. Watford was just 18 of 32 for 114 yards and one touchdown against BYU, and he won’t get any breaks against an Oregon defense that has one of the best cornerback tandems in college football. The sophomore doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards but avoiding turnovers, while making plays with his legs will be crucial to Virginia’s upset hopes.


ACC Week 2 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Wake Forest (+3) at Boston CollegeBC 24-14Wake Forest 24-21Wake Forest 27-24BC 20-17
Florida (-3) at MiamiFlorida 28-24Florida 27-21Florida 24-20Florida 24-20
SC State (+52.5) at ClemsonClemson 52-7Clemson 38-10Clemson 62-3Clemson 48-0
MTSU (+17.5) at North CarolinaUNC 38-14UNC 45-24UNC 45-20UNC 38-20
Western Carolina (+42) at Va. TechVa. Tech 21-10Va. Tech 38-3Va. Tech 48-7Va. Tech 37-10
Oregon (-22) at VirginiaOregon 49-14Oregon 45-17Oregon 41-20Oregon 28-6
Old Dominion (+18) at MarylandMaryland 31-17Maryland 40-17Maryland 45-24Maryland 41-24
Duke (-6) at MemphisMemphis 21-17Duke 31-20Duke 31-17Memphis 21-20
Syracuse (+12) at NorthwesternNW 35-14NW 34-24NW 34-20NW 33-24
Richmond (+23) at NC StateNC State 28-14NC State 41-13NC State 38-20NC State 30-13
Season Record12-111-211-211-2


ACC 2013 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, USC Trojans, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/usc-expected-start-cody-kessler-qb-week-2

USC opened the season with a 30-13 victory over Hawaii, but the Trojans struggled to get anything going through the air. And it appears the quarterback battle will continue into Week 2. All reports out of Los Angeles this week seem to signal Cody Kessler will get the start this Saturday, but Max Wittek is expected to play.

Kessler started at quarterback and completed 10 of 19 throws for 95 yards and one touchdown. However, he also tossed one pick.

Wittek played in relief, completing 5 of 10 throws for 77 yards. The sophomore also averaged more yards per attempt (7.7).

Although neither took a step forward in the quarterback battle, USC can win a lot of games this year without a dynamic passing attack. The defense was solid in the opener and will get better with more time to adjust to new coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s system. Also, the team can lean on a deep group of running backs to carry the offense until a quarterback emerges.

USC faces an improving Washington State team this Saturday, which should provide a good test for Kessler and Wittek as the quarterback battle continues to play out for the Trojans.

USC Expected to Start Cody Kessler at QB in Week 2
Post date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 12:52
Path: /college-football/rutgers-changes-helmets-week-2

After a tough loss to Fresno State in Week 1, Rutgers returns home to play Norfolk State. The Scarlet Knights are a heavy favorite and should have no trouble erasing the bad memories from last week’s loss.

Rutgers will also break out a new helmet this week, changing from the gray chrome scheme to a white variation.

Pretty sharp look for the Scarlet Knights.


Rutgers Changes Helmets for Week 2
Post date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 12:39
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-4

One day closer to games. 

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Wednesday, September 4th

Here's a weird story: NCAA players are not allowed to have game balls until their eligibility has expired.

LSU coach Les Miles isn't saying much about the status of running back Jeremy Hill.  

Matt Hayes goes around the nation in his weekly first-and-10 column.

Steven Godfrey of SB Nation spent some time with the Mississippi State coaching staff before and after the Oklahoma State loss.

What is Mississippi State's identity as a football program

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is already considering a few changes to his defense.

Will Devonte Fields play for TCU this weekend?

Rutgers' defensive line is dealing with a handful of issues so far. 

Bucky's 5th Quarter takes a look at Wisconsin's offensive line and special teams. 

Matt Brown of Sports on Earth takes a look at whether or not it's time to panic or show patience on a few teams after Week 1. 

Auburn's coaching staff is planning to open up the offense a little more this week. 

Alabama will spend the bye week addressing fundamental issues. 

Freshman Derrick Green is now Michigan's No. 2 running back. 

California coach Sonny Dykes has a solution for the fake injury concerns.

LSU running back Alfred Blue was effective, but tenative against TCU on Saturday night.

UCLA's young offensive line had a solid debut against Nevada. 

Linebacker Curt Maggitt is close to returning for Tennessee. 


College Football's Link Roundup: September 4
Post date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 07:27
All taxonomy terms: ACC, 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, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2013-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-1-edition

Week 1 of the 2013 college football season is in the books, and a few coaches are feeling the pressure after their opening week performance.

Connecticut’s Paul Pasqualoni takes the top spot in Athlon’s hot seat rankings after Week 1. The Huskies turned in an awful performance against Towson, losing to the FCS opponent on Thursday night. Considering Connecticut had very little margin for error to earn a winning record, losing to Towson might seal Pasqualoni’s fate.

UNLV’s Bobby Hauck topped Athlon’s preseason rankings, but he slides to the No. 2 spot after Connecticut’s awful loss.

USC had a so-so debut at Hawaii, and coach Lane Kiffin still has a quarterback question mark. Is it Max Wittek or Cody Kessler? The Trojans have a key Pac-12 game against Washington State this Saturday.

Rounding out the top five for the post-week 1 rankings is Miami (Ohio)’s Don Treadwell and Illinois’ Tim Beckman.

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

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Paul Pasqualoni0-1Moves to No. 1 after bad loss to Towson.
2Bobby Hauck0-1Rebels are improving but need more wins. 
3Don Treadwell0-1RedHawks dominated in loss to Marshall.
4Lane Kiffin1-0Can Kiffin find a quarterback?
5Tim Beckman1-0A win...but too close for comfort against Southern Illinois.
6Dan Enos0-1Chippewas simply overwhelmed against Michigan.
7Ron English1-0A good start to the season for EMU. 
8Kirk Ferentz0-1Huge contract, so he's not going anywhere.
9Tony Levine1-0Good test for Houston at Temple this Saturday.
10Mack Brown1-0'Horns impressive, but better test against BYU this week.
11Norm Chow0-1Schedule not going to get any easier for Warriors.
12Jeff Quinn0-1Bulls will be a factor in the MAC East. 
13Gary Pinkel1-0Pinkel's old job (Toledo) visits Columbia this Saturday.
14Doc Holliday1-0 
15Joey Jones0-1Bad loss for South Alabama on Thursday night.
16Carl Pelini0-1On fourth down, you aren't supposed to spike the ball.
17Skip Holtz0-1 
18Ron Turner0-1 
19Rich Ellerson1-0 
20Charlie Weis0-0 
21Charley Molnar0-1 
22Dave Christensen0-1Cowboys had good showing in Nebraska.
23Mike London1-0 
24Steve Sarkisian1-0Washington had one of Week 1's most impressive wins.
25Randy Edsall1-0FIU is bad - but Terrapins impressive in Week 1. 
26Jim Grobe1-0 
27Rick Stockstill1-0 
28Bo Pelini1-0Cornhuskers still trying to find the right pieces on defense.
29Kyle Whittingham1-0 
30Dan Mullen0-1Mullen looking for answers on offense this week. 
31Dana Holgorsen1-0 
32Dan McCarney1-0 
33Mike Leach0-1 
34David Bailiff0-1Owls played well in loss to Texas A&M.
35Kevin Wilson1-0Hoosiers impressive in win over Indiana State.
36Larry Blakeney1-0 
37June Jones0-1 
38Kyle Flood0-1Rutgers-Fresno State one of the best games for Week 1.
39George O'Leary1-0 
40Rocky Long0-1Disappointing loss for Aztecs against Eastern Illinois.
41Mike Riley0-1Has lost two FCS games in three years. 
42Frank Beamer0-1 
43Ruffin McNeill1-0 
44Garrick McGee0-1 
45Terry Bowden0-1 
46Jim McElwain0-1 
47Bob Davie0-1 
48Paul Chryst0-1 
49Tommy Tuberville1-0 
50Bobby Petrino1-0Can Petrino make it two in a row over the SEC this week?
51Mark Helfrich1-0So far, so good for Helfrich.
52Rod Carey1-0Big win for NIU against Iowa. 
53Dave Clawson1-0Impressive showing against Tulsa. 
54Brian Polian0-1 
55Ron Caragher1-0 
56Matt Wells0-1 
57Paul Haynes1-0 
58Scott Shafer0-1 
59Sean Kugler0-0 
60Bryan Harsin1-0 
61Dennis Franchoine1-0
62Bronco Mendenhall0-1  
63Curtis Johnson1-0  
64Mark Richt0-1 
65Todd Monken0-1 
66Matt Rhule0-1 
67Brady Hoke1-0 
68Ken Niumatalolo0-0 
69Al Golden1-0 
70Dabo Swinney1-0Swinney continues to elevate the program.
71Jimbo Fisher1-0Jameis Winston: He's the real deal. 
72Bob Stoops1-0 
73Mark Dantonio1-0 
74Frank Solich0-1 
75Jerry Kill1-0 
76P.J. Fleck0-1 
77Darrell Hazell0-1Boilermakers will get better. 
78Willie Taggart0-1Bad debut, but plenty of time to turn things around.
79Mark Stoops0-1Needs to keep recruiting class together as losses pile up.
80Bill Blankenship0-1 
81Matt Campbell0-1 
82Paul Johnson1-0 
83Tim DeRuyter1-0 
84Butch Jones1-0 
85Gus Malzahn1-0 
86Bret Bielema1-0 
87Larry Fedora0-1 
88Trent Miles0-1 
89Jim Mora1-0 
90Steve Addazio1-0 
91Dave Doeren1-0 
92Sonny Dykes0-1Impressive even in losing effort.
93Rich Rodriguez1-0 
94Mike MacIntyre1-0MacIntyre will make a big difference this year. 
95Todd Graham0-0 
96Les Miles1-0 
97Larry Coker1-0 
98Pete Lembo1-0 
99Todd Berry0-1 
100Justin Fuente0-0 
101Brian Kelly1-0 
102Paul Petrino0-1 
103Paul Rhoads0-1 
104Troy Calhoun1-0 
105Gary Andersen1-0 
106David Cutcliffe1-0 
107Will Muschamp1-0 
108Hugh Freeze1-0 
109Kliff Kingsbury1-0 
110Doug Martin0-1 
111Mark Hudspeth0-1 
112Kevin Sumlin1-0 
113James Franklin0-1 
114Chris Petersen0-1 
115Bill Snyder0-1 
116Charlie Strong1-0 
117Mike Gundy1-0 
118Gary Patterson0-1 
119Art Briles1-0 
120Bill O'Brien1-0 
121Steve Spurrier1-0 
122David Shaw0-0 
123Pat Fitzgerald1-0 
124Urban Meyer1-0 
125Nick Saban1-0 

Related College Football Content

Post-Week 1 ACC Power Rankings
Post-Week 1 Big Ten Power Rankings
Post-Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings
Post-Week 1 Pac-12 Power Rankings
Post-Week 1 SEC Power Rankings
College Football Post-Week 1 Recap
9 Amazing Stats from Week 1
National Awards for Week 1

College Football's 2013 Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings: Post-Week 1 Edition
Post date: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-1-bowl-projections-2013




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. Big 12Rutgers 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


Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 17:08
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-september-3

Plenty of news from the first weekend of the season.

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, September 3rd

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell is not expected to play in Week 2 due to a concussion. Here's an interesting look at the Bulldogs' offenses under coach Dan Mullen.

Saturday Down South takes a look at what happened in the SEC in Week 1.

Lost Lettermen has a look at the top 10 biggest hits in college football history. And why it's time for replacements on ESPN's College Gameday.

Receiver Kenny Bell has decided to leave Alabama.

CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman has an excellent recap of Week 1. 

Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche and guard Aaron Morris are dealing with injuries suffered in the Week 1 win over Vanderbilt.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has a new contract. 

Oklahoma State is searching for an identity on offense.

Auburn expects have defensive end Dee Ford in a couple of weeks.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday wasn't impressed with Auburn's Nick Marshall.

Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Jadeveon Clowney are among the players on the watch list for the award going to the collegiate best player in South Carolina or player from the state playing at another university.

Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen may have a high ankle sprain.

Kent State running back Dri Archer plans on playing this week after suffering an ankle injury against Liberty.

College Football's Link Roundup: September 3
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 16:41
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-state-sticks-jw-walsh-qb

After one game, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is making a change at quarterback. Clint Chelf has been benched in favor of J.W. Walsh.

In Saturday’s win over Mississippi State, Walsh was the better quarterback, throwing for 135 yards and adding 125 yards and one score on the ground.

Chelf closed out 2012 on a tear but struggled to find his rhythm in the opener and was just 3 of 6 for 11 yards.

Although Walsh has passed Chelf on the depth chart, don’t be surprised if both quarterbacks see action. Walsh isn’t as polished as a passer, and Chelf’s arm could be needed once Big 12 play arrives.

Oklahoma State Sticks With J.W. Walsh at QB
Post date: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 12:11