Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-playoff-whats-biggest-unanswered-question

The BCS is no more, and college football will have a playoff beginning with the 2014 season. Although the new format and structure was officially announced on Tuesday, many questions remain for college football fans across the nation.

What's the Biggest Unanswered Question With College Football's New Playoff Format?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
I could start with questions of the composition of the selection committee or how the revenues are distributed and if any of those revenues will go to a player stipend. But all those questions are a little inside baseball at this point. I want to know what a college football season is going to look like once the playoff is in place. Oregon (ranked fifth) essentially was punished in the rankings last season for losing to LSU to open the season, compared to Stanford (ranked fourth, who lost to Ducks by 23 points at home). Will the new system encourage more marquee non-conference games or discourage them? If the system discourages them, what happens to perennial games like USC-Notre Dame or Florida-Florida State and so on? As for the remaining teams in the non-Big Six -- the Mountain West, MAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt -- will those teams be able to schedule enough quality non-conference opponents to make a run at a playoff should they go undefeated? Or will they be further designed to being second-class citizens?

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
It won't be the most important aspect for fans — that will be the selection committee, timing, the bowl sites or host cities — but the flow of revenue is easily the largest, most influential decision yet to be made. The 2011 BCS television contract was worth $174 million and the new TV deal could easily triple that figure in two years when this playoff party gets started in 2014. So over the course of the 12-year lifespan of the playoff contract, the TV agreement could be worth upwards of $6 billion dollars. How is that money divided? Who does the dividing? And what criteria will be used to determine where the money is shipped? So while fans will be consumed with the selection process, where games will be played or future expansion, the only thing the decision makers are concerned with is dollars and cents. And it is this flow of cash that will shape the future landscape of college football more than anything else.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The makeup of the selection committee is my biggest concern. Several options have been thrown out for the committee but none particularly stand out. Are we really sure former head coaches are knowledgeable about current teams? When you throw conference commissioners, university presidents and athletic directors onto the committee, bias and objectivity will be a major source of concern for the fans. The selection committee is going to be heavily scrutinized and rightfully so. The people choosing college football’s top four teams need to be knowledgeable about each team, as well as watching several games each week. I’m not sure former head coaches or athletic directors fit that qualification. Although a selection committee will probably work out fine, I think concerns will always exist over this aspect of the new playoff format. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
For me, it's the make-up of the selection committee. I would rather see some sort of formula that combines a poll (or polls) and a computer ranking. But that isn't happening, so it's time to focus on the committee: Who will be on it and how will they go about selecting the teams? This will be a much more difficult task than selecting the 68 teams for the NCAA Tournament in basketball. The sample size is far greater in hoops; you have 30-plus games to evaluate teams. In football, there are 12 or 13 games, and maybe only four or five of those games were against top-25 caliber teams. It will be far more difficult — and the ramifications much greater — to differentiate between teams No. 4 and No. 5 in football than it is to sort out teams No. 68 and No. 69 in basketball. I hope the selection committee is up to the task.

Mark Ross
To me the biggest question that remains is the one that will produce the most debate and scrutiny come December - choosing the four playoff teams. Because in the end, regardless of how the money ends up being distributed amongst the conferences and how the selection committee ends up looking, what matters most, to conferences, schools and fans alike, is which four teams get that shot at a national title?

For all its detractors and naysayers, the BCS system did its job. It identified the top two teams in all of college football using a formula made up of different pieces of information and measurements. One can find fault with the different components in the formula itself, but in the end, the BCS did what it was created to do. Now instead of two teams, the playoff selection committee will be tasked with identifying the top four teams, while also defending their reasoning for not picking the other 120. No pressure, right?

Related College Football Content

College Football Ditches Playoff for BCS
What Should the Composition of a Selection Committee Be?

Athlon's College Football Rankings for 2012
College Football's Top 25 Heisman Contenders for 2012

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

<p> College Football Playoff: What's the Biggest Unanswered Question?</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 04:45
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /news/did-college-football-get-it-right-four-team-playoff

College football will finally settle the championship on the field. No more BCS and computer polls deciding No. 1 vs. No. 2. Although the playoff is expected to be an improvement, is this the right move for college football?

Did College Football Get it Right With a Four-Team Playoff?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
In the barest sense, college football got it right by establishing a four-team playoff. It’s a system that presumably keeps the regular season relevant, enhancing it in some cases, while giving two more deserving teams a shot at a national title. However, I’m concerned about the unintended consequences -- how the selection committee selects its four teams could impact the regular season. Conference realignment already has devastated rivalries and led to awkward geographic partnerships. I worry the playoff may push those trends further. And the process of subjectively selecting four teams to play in bowl games -- the same outdated and sometimes corrupt ventures we've had for decades -- is hardly the ideal solution. A four-team playoff gives twice as many teams a chance to play for a title, but the system doesn’t look that much different to me if it proceeds in the same way the BCS did 14 years ago.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I will go to my grave fighting for an NFL-style, six-team playoff that features two bye weeks, two total extra games, home sites for every game with the exception of the rotating National Championship game. But alas, the powers that be in college football haven't asked me yet. So, for my money, the next best thing was a four-team playoff with a seeded bracket that features the four best teams in the nation. This has been our wish as college football junkies for more than a quarter of a century and now we have it. Money, selection process, TV contracts, bowl games, timing and site locations, while very important, are all secondary to the simple fact that we have a playoff in college football. The rest of the process will fall into place and will likely create dissension, but don't miss the forest through the trees. The second your eyes fall upon a Football Four bracket with Michigan-Alabama on one side and Texas-USC on the other, you will instantly understand who the biggest winner was in all of this: The Fans.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I have to admit, I never thought the BCS was that bad of a system. Sure, it had negatives, but what system doesn’t? There’s no perfect format for the college football postseason and controversy will exist every year. However, I think a four-team playoff is a good move. The college football regular season is easily the best in sports and there’s no reason to change that. I have concerns about the selection committee, but the real issues would start if college football expanded to an 8- or 16-team playoff. When you start expanding the field, that’s when the regular season will be devalued – and hopefully college football’s postseason format never gets bigger than four teams. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Well, I would have preferred to see an eight-team playoff, and I am not in favor of a selection committee, so it’s hard for me to say that college football “got it right.” But I believe that this is a big step in the right direction and will add a tremendous amount of excitement to what is already a great sports. If I had to give college football a grade, I’d go with a solid B+.

Mark Ross
Truthfully, I don't know if we'll know this answer until after the initial four playoff teams are chosen. I am very curious to see how the playoff selection committee is put together and what criteria they will use in determining the four-team field. That said, I do think replacing the BCS with a playoff is certainly a step in the right direction.

I am a big proponent of settling things on the field rather than through computer-generated formulas. It remains to be seen how much of a role "human error" will potentially play with the selection committee, but in the end four teams, and not two, will get a shot at winning the national title, and that's a good thing. Personally, I would like to see the field expanded to eight to allow more teams a chance, but four is a good start.

Related College Football Content

College Football Ditches Playoff for BCS
What Should the Composition of a Selection Committee Be?

Athlon's College Football Rankings for 2012
College Football's Top 25 Heisman Contenders for 2012

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

<p> Did College Football Get it Right With a Four-Team Playoff?</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 04:43
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Sun Belt teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-Sun Belt Team

First-Team Offense

QB Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State

RB Alonzo Harris, Louisiana-Lafayette

RB Kedrick Rhodes, FIU

WR Josh Jarboe, Arkansas State

WR Javone Lawson, Louisiana-Lafayette

TE Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky

C Sean Conway, Western Kentucky

OL Leonardo Bates, Louisiana-Lafayette

OL Caylin Hauptmann, FIU

OL Zack McKnight, Arkansas State

OL Adam Smith, Western Kentucky

First-Team Defense

DL Isame Faciane, FIU

DL Omar McLendon, MTSU

DL Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky

DL Tourek Williams, FIU

LB Winston Fraser, FIU

LB Nathan Herrold, Arkansas State

LB Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky

CB Jose Cheeseborough, FIU

CB Melvin White, Louisiana-Lafayette

S Jonathan Cyprien, FIU

S Brynden Trawick, Troy

First-Team Specialists

K Jack Griffin, FIU

P Will Atterberry, North Texas

KR John Evans, Western Kentucky

PR Darryl Surgent, Louisiana-Lafayette

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Sun Belt Team

  First Second Overall
Arkansas State 4 2 6
FAU 0 1 1
FIU 8 3 11
Louisiana-Lafayette 5 5 10
Louisiana-Monroe 0 4 4
MTSU 1 1 2
North Texas 1 5 6
South Alabama 0 0 0
Troy 1 4 5
Western Kentucky 6 1 7

Second-Team Offense

QB Blaine Gautier, Louisiana-Lafayette

RB Benny Cunningham, MTSU

RB Jyruss Edwards, Louisiana-Monroe

WR Brett Leonard, Louisiana-Monroe

WR Eric Thomas, Troy

TE Keavon Milton, Louisiana-Monroe

C Aaron Fortenberry, North Texas

OL Rupert Bryan, FIU

OL Jonathan Gill, Louisiana-Monroe

OL Cyril Lemon, North Texas

OL Jaron Odom, Louisiana-Lafayette

Second-Team Defense

DL Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State

DL Tony Davis, Troy

DL Gregory Hickman, FIU

DL  Brandon McCoy, North Texas

LB Jordan Hunt, FIU

LB Randell Johnson, FAU

LB Zachary Orr, North Texas

CB Jemarlous Moten, Louisiana-Lafayette

CB Bryan Willis, Troy

S Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky

S Don Jones, Arkansas State

Second-Team Specialists

K Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette

P Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette

KR Brelan Chancellor, North Texas

PR Justin Albert, Troy

Athlon's 2012 Sun Belt Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Sun Belt Predictions

Arkansas State MTSU
FAU North Texas
FIU South Alabama
Louisiana-Lafayette Troy
Louisiana-Monroe Western Kentucky

<p> 2012 Sun Belt All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 04:32
All taxonomy terms: Big 12, News
Path: /news/west-virginia-ready-its-move-big-12

July 1 is moving day in college football. West Virginia and TCU will officially become members of the Big 12, while Missouri and Texas A&M make the jump to join the SEC. Those moves were the biggest in the latest round of realignment and the July 1 date can’t get here fast enough for some teams.

West Virginia took the Big East to court to leave the conference a year early, and the Mountaineers will be expected to be a Big 12 title contender in 2012.

Work is already underway for West Virginia’s switch in conferences, as the turf at Milan Puskar Stadium is getting a bit of a makeover.

Here’s a look at the new Big 12 logo on West Virginia’s field - Tweeted by @GoldAndBlueZone

Here's a closeup of the new Big 12 logo on the field - Tweeted by @WVIllustrated

And here's a wider shot of the field - Tweeted by @Mountaineers22

Related West Virginia Content

West Virginia Mountaineers 2012 Team Preview
Big 12 Football All-Conference Team for 2012

2012 Big 12 Predictions

<p> West Virginia Is Ready For Its Move to the Big 12</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 16:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-what-should-makeup-and-process-be-playoff-selection-committee

The BCS is no more and college football is moving to a four-team playoff in 2014. Although many fans are finally getting what they have wanted for years, there are many details still be ironed out, and a playoff is far from a perfect system.

What Should the Makeup and Process Be For a Playoff Selection Committee?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
First of all, the process of deciding the college football playoff must be subject to public and media scrutiny. I’m not opposed to the idea of the BCS rankings on its face. Pulling together a wide group of opinions from across the country combined with objective computer rankings isn’t a terrible idea. The problem is coaches who don’t watch enough games to rank every team, Harris voters who aren’t sufficiently vetted and computer formulas and rankings that aren’t open to examination. I’d like to see a similar mix used in the football selection.

I love the Legends Poll. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. This group should be part of the process in some way -- even if it’s only to provide the committee with a tool to use during selection, similar to strength of schedule or RPI on the basketball committee. Let’s give the committee the composite ranking in addition to individual ballots. Let the committee manipulate the date. For example, if the committee wants to see the poll without Bobby Bowden’s vote on Florida State, let the committee have that tool at their disposal.

In addition, I’d like to see computer rankings, but only as a tool similar to the RPI. The problem with BCS computer rankings isn’t the rankings themselves. It’s that the formulas are secret and even the programmers themselves acknowledge they’re not perfect in part because of the lack of margin of victory. I don’t know how the rankings work, but I’d like the Jerry Palms of the world to be able to test the formulas and comment on their accuracy.

As for the committee itself, I’m fine with a makeup that works in men’s basketball -- perhaps with two athletic directors from each conference who hash out the playoff in a room, then present it to the public. With only four teams in the playoff, this committee must be able to explain why teams are in and why teams are out. Transparency hasn’t been college football’s strong suit, but if the sport is going to go the selection committee route, it’s going to have to be publicly accountable. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I am fully behind a playoff selection committee — if done correctly. Which, to me, means industry experts from the coaching, media and administration side from every region of the nation who have no other job description that to watch, evaluate and discuss college football teams. If this is what takes place, then I am in complete support of a selection committee. It allows for the eye ball test to correct for things like margin of victory, injuries, luck or scheduling. A selection committee process works in the other sports and should be just as effective in the greatest sport on the planet. So, where do I submit my resume?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There is really no perfect way to choose the four teams in college football’s playoff system. However, I like the idea of using the BCS standings and a selection committee to choose the teams. The BCS formula needs a few tweaks, including adding in strength of schedule, while exploring to see if it makes sense to add points for quality wins and conference championships. The selection committee can use the BCS formula as a starting point for discussion and adjust any oddities that may occur in the rankings to get the final four teams.

A lot of ideas have been tossed around about who should serve on a selection committee, but I would like to see it composed of entirely media members. Although former head coaches can bring some valuable insight, I think it’s fair to wonder how many games they actually watch throughout the year. Conference commissioners or school athletic directors also make sense, but do they have too much invested in their own school or conference to give an objective opinion?

My solution is simple: Find 12 media members who are watching games all day each Saturday (and throughout the week as necessary). While bias or objectivity concerns could be raised, I think 12 media members who cover college football for 365 days a year make the most sense. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
It’s tough for me to answer this question, because I am anti-selection committee. I favor some sort of formula that would be similar to the current BCS standings — a combination of a poll and computer rankings. But to specifically answer the question, I would form an 10-man committee consisting of five former coaches and five current administrators — either athletic directors or conference commissioners. And I would charge this group with selecting the four best teams in the nation with no specific instructions to include only conference champions. 

Mark Ross
Unlike the NCAA Tournament selection committees for both the men's and women's tournaments, I think conference commissioners and to a degree, athletic directors, have too much invested in determining the proposed four-team playoff field. Therefore, I can't consider them to be objective enough to have a say in choosing the said four teams.

Instead, I propose a 12-member selection committee made up of media representatives. I know that "objective" and "media" are words that rarely go together these days when it comes to public opinion, but the way I look at it is these are the ones who are paid to watch the games in the first place, meaning they will be paying attention throughout the season, and, in theory, they have no dog in the hunt as they say.

I would limit an entity's or organization's, for example ESPN or CBS Sports, representation on this committee to one member and the BCS commissioners and Notre Dame can be involved in the selection process to determine the committee's membership. Once the committee is put together, they will be tasked with evaluating all relevant teams throughout the season and then, similar to the NCAA Tournament committees, would get together at the end of the season to determine the field of four. The committee would be instructed to use all available data, including statistics, rankings, polls, strength of schedule, etc. to pick the four most deserving teams based on their performance during the regular season.

I'm not saying this is the perfect solution, if you will, but if I had my choice, I would rather leave this to the ones who are responsible for covering the playoffs, not those who stand to benefit the most from being in them.  

Related College Football Content

Athlon's 2012 College Football Rankings
Athlon's Top 25 Coaches for 2012

College Football Countdown to Kickoff

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

<p> College Football: What Should the Makeup and Process Be For a Playoff Selection Committee?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/wildfires-threaten-air-forces-football-stadium

The Air Force Academy's picturesque setting near the Rocky Mountains makes for a great view during home games each season. However, wildfires in the Western half of the United States are threatening Colorado Springs (and Falcon Stadium), forcing the academy to evacuate some of its cadets. 

There's still time to prevent the fire from spreading onto the Air Force's campus, but high temperatures and dry weather are making this a difficult job for firefighters.

There's some distance between the fires and Falcon Stadium, so it doesn't appear to be in immediate danger. However, the fires are inching closer to campus and will be something to monitor over the next few days.

<p> Wildfires Threaten Air Force's Football Stadium</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 05:56
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/missouri-football-introduction-to-the-sec

Missouri will officially become a SEC school on July 1, 2012. The Tigers join college football's premier conference as a member of the SEC's Eastern Division.

From a Missouri point of view, here's an introduction for SEC fans on the Tigers' tradition, history and what to expect when fans come to Columbia in the future.

Something tells me fans of The Almighty SEC aren’t exactly panicking about the addition of Missouri to their fine conference.

The SEC, after all, has won the last six national championships. That would be … let me do the math … exactly six more national championships than Mizzou has bagged in 122 seasons of intercollegiate football. Shoot, we haven’t even won a conference championship since 1969 — it was the Big Eight back then — though we did win the Big 12 North (and the opportunity to get spanked by Oklahoma in the conference title game) a couple of times not long ago.

We’re no stranger to the postseason, but we’re usually done by New Year’s Day. Of our 10 January bowl games, nine came before the Beatles split. Except for a Cotton Bowl win over Arkansas (of the SEC!) four years ago, Mizzou has dwelt in the realm of the Independence and Insight bowls of late.

Heismans? Don’t look in our trophy case, though we did have a guy finish third (Paul Christman, 1939) and another guy finish fourth (Chase Daniel, 2007). Then again, Alabama hadn’t won a Heisman until three years ago, and six SEC schools never have. So there.

Fine, the Missouri Tigers’ football history might not measure up to that of the Tigers of Auburn and LSU. But we’ve had our moments over the years — some of which you Southern folk might even recall — and we join the SEC on a bit of a roll.

Under coach Gary Pinkel, who arrived in Columbia in 2001 to rescue a program that had stumbled aimlessly through the better part of two decades, Mizzou is enjoying a seven-year run of bowl berths. We’ve won 48 games over the last five seasons, tied for the 13th-most in the nation in that span. In 2010, we even knocked off a No. 1-ranked team for the first time ever when ESPN’s “College GameDay” came to Columbia (another first), and the nation watched the Tigers beat Oklahoma to improve to 7–0. OK, we lost our next two games, but that was a Homecoming to remember. (Mizzou, by the way, invented Homecoming in 1911. If anyone says otherwise, they’re lying.)

What’s different? Better coaches — Pinkel’s staff has hardly changed since he arrived — and better players. You’ve seen a bunch of them in the NFL — first-rounders Jeremy Maclin, Blaine Gabbert, Aldon Smith, Sean Weatherspoon and Ziggy Hood — and this year Pinkel snagged the consensus No. 1 recruit in the country, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Eat your little piggy hearts out, Razorbacks.

No, we’re not an elite team yet. But we’ve been knocking on the door — particularly in 2007, when we reached No. 1 in the nation for a week before losing to OU in the Big 12 title game. Win that game and we’d have played for the national championship. I kid you not.

As successful as the Pinkel era has been, Mizzou’s glory years were the 1960s, when the Tigers were coached by Dan Devine — yeah, the cold-hearted Notre Dame coach who wouldn’t let Rudy suit up. But we remember him for his 93–37–7 record, two Big Eight titles and near-national championship in 1960.

Between Devine and Pinkel? Ouch. We went to mediocre bowls in the late ’70s and early ’80s, then descended into a netherlands where we couldn’t catch a break. Consider:

The Fifth Down Game (1990). We lost to Colorado when the officials gave the Buffs a fifth down on the last play of the game — a play on which Mizzou actually made the goal line stop, but the refs blew that call, too. Colorado went on to share the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech.

The Flea Kicker Game (1997). Another whiff by the zebras. On what would have been the last play of the game, a Huskers receiver illegally kicked a passed ball and another Husker caught it for a game-tying score. No flag, though, and Mizzou lost in overtime. The Huskers went on to share the national championship with Michigan.

But those years are behind us, and Mizzou joins the SEC a notch (maybe two) below the likes of Alabama, LSU and Florida, but on no less than even footing with the rest of the league. Led by junior quarterback James Franklin — not to be confused with the Vanderbilt coach of the same name — Mizzou is ready to mix it up with the big boys.

Oh, one last thing you should know about us. We hate Kansas. (It started as a Civil War thing. See: Wales, The Outlaw Josey.) The Hatfields and McCoys were like play pals compared to the Tigers and Chickenhawks, but KU is too scared to extend a rivalry that dates to 1891.

And so we enter the SEC without a natural rival, which probably is what we’ll miss most about the Big 12. Slapping Vanderbilt silly just won’t be the same.

Related SEC Content

Athlon's 2012 SEC Predictions
Athlon's 2012 All-SEC Team

Missouri Tigers 2012 Team Preview

SEC Football: An Introduction to Texas A&M

<p> Introducing Missouri to the SEC</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 05:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas A&M Aggies, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/sec-football-getting-know-texas-am

Texas A&M will officially become a SEC school on July 1, 2012. The Aggies join college football's premier conference as a member of the SEC's Western Division.

From a Texas A&M point of view, here's an introduction for SEC fans on the Aggies' tradition, history and what to expect when fans come to College Station in the future.

On behalf of the vast majority of Aggies — 50,000 current Texas A&M students, 345,000 living former students and maroon-blooded fans throughout Texas and beyond — thanks for allowing us to build our dream home in your prestigious neighborhood. We don’t plan on moving again. Ever.

Many of us have been enviously eyeing your well-manicured hedges, massive homes and incredible weekend block parties/tailgates for a couple of decades. In 1990, when Arkansas announced it was leaving the Southwest Conference, A&M coach R.C. Slocum and various high-ranking university administrators seriously discussed the possibility of becoming the 12th SEC member — even before South Carolina. “At that time, it was rumored Texas was most interested in the Pac-10,” Slocum recalled recently. “We decided within our little group that the SEC was a better fit for us culturally. I was totally for it.”

Unfortunately, some lawsuit-threatening state elected officials were not, and A&M was essentially forced to move into a less attractive subdivision. The Big 12 was an improvement, but it was not the cultural fit of the SEC. Like so many of you fine folks of the Deep South, we love Southern hospitality, good barbecue, cold beer, women in sundresses, pickup trucks, Saturday night games, dog mascots and dominating defenses.

We made some friends in our old stomping grounds, including our fellow movers from the “Show Me State.” But we had to endure the shenanigans of the most arrogant homeowner in college athletics.

He pushed us too far when he had a fling with Miss ESPN, took over the Big 12 Homeowners Association and flaunted it on his own TV network. He’s looked down his nose at us since 1894, and after about 117 years — we’re not always the quickest decision-makers — we realized it was time to part ways. We’re leaving a dysfunctional situation behind, and we’re extremely excited about the new digs.

We’re well-acquainted with some of you (we’ve played Arkansas 68 times and LSU 50), and we share many common bonds. Bear Bryant did an amazing job in College Station in the 1950s before “going home to Mama.” Emory Bellard and Jackie Sherrill coached in Aggieland before Mississippi State; and Tennessee legend Gen. Robert R. Neyland was a baseball letterman at A&M in 1911.

Former Tennessee All-American Herman Hickman, speaking to a gathering of Texans, once said: “Tennessee gave you Sam Houston and Davy Crockett; you gave us Bob Neyland. Now the score is even.”

Speaking of war heroes, A&M has a proud military history, and this is one of the most patriotic places in the country. But don’t be misled to believe this is still an all-male, military, cow college. 

In 1876, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas opened its doors as the first public institution of higher learning in Texas. For many decades afterward, participation in the Corps of Cadets was mandatory. That’s when many traditions at the all-male school began, such as yell leaders instead of cheerleaders. But don’t believe the negative recruiters from our old neighborhoods. You don’t have to be in the military or major in farming to attend A&M.

Since World War II hero Gen. James Earl Rudder made the landmark decision to allow female students in the mid-1960s, this 5,500-acre campus has taken on a far more curvaceous beauty. Today, the 2,100-member Corps represents four percent of the student body, while females comprise nearly half of the 50,000 students. The students are football fanatics, as A&M reserves an SEC-leading 30,284 student tickets at Kyle Field.

A&M is also now one of the nation’s top research institutions and a member of the Association of American Universities. And the best days are ahead — thanks in large part to the national exposure A&M is receiving as a member of the SEC.

We know competing in the SEC will be brutal, as A&M hasn’t beaten an SEC school in football since 1995. The Aggies have won national titles in women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track & field, men’s golf and women’s equestrian in recent years, but there hasn’t been a football national crown since “The Grapes of Wrath” was published in 1939.

But the right coach (Kevin Sumlin) may finally be in place, and hopefully the new neighborhood will be mutually beneficial for us all. We’ll bring a big media market (there are 24 million Texans), numerous traditions and passionate fans (2012 season tickets sold out in five minutes in March), and we’ll borrow from the SEC’s brand to recruit the best players in our state to the best conference in the country.

We vow to represent the SEC brand with class, and we look forward to hosting you all soon. It will take you a while to understand our quirky yells, but you’ll undoubtedly appreciate our friendly campus and acres of tailgaters.

Just don’t ever expect to beat us in an Internet poll, and don’t expect the hospitality to extend to the field. We’ve had tough times lately, but when the stars are aligned, Kyle Field — home of the heat index and the “12th Man” — is one helluva tough place for opponents.

Thanks to the new energy from our move to the SEC neighborhood, the stars may be aligning again, which means the Aggies could soon be as tough on the field as we are in Internet polls.

Related SEC Content

Athlon's 2012 SEC Predictions
Athlon's 2012 All-SEC Team

Texas A&M Aggies 2012 Team Preview

College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 32 Texas A&M

<p> Texas A&amp;M is packing its bags and moving from the Big 12 to the SEC.&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 05:34
Path: /college-football/college-football-ditches-bcs-playoff-key-questions-remain

Goodbye BCS, hello college football playoff. After months of debate and years of fans clamoring for it, college football will finally have a playoff. University presidents, conference commissioners and athletic directors gathered in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to officially stamp an expiration date on the BCS and unveil the basic details on college football’s new championship format.

The bowl system has been a source of frustration for several years. Although the BCS was an improvement on previous formats, a playoff format has been the most desired setup by fans across the nation. And those complaints didn’t go unnoticed, as the BCS will cease to exist following the 2013 season.

Some of the details regarding college football’s playoff are undecided, but here’s what we know:

- The new four-team playoff format will begin with the 2014 season, with the first championship game slated for Jan. 12, 2015.

- A selection committee will choose which four teams are chosen for college football’s playoff. Emphasis will be placed on win-loss record, conference champions, strength of schedule and head-to-head results.

- Six bowls will be picked to rotate as semifinal locations. The semifinals are expected to be played on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. The Rose, Cotton and Orange Bowls appear to be locks to be involved in the semifinal rotation, while the Chick-fil-A, Fiesta, Sugar and Capital One Bowl will be in the mix for the other spots.

- The host city of the National Championship will be placed up for bid.

- The new four-team playoff is a 12-year agreement, which will end in 2025.

The most important takeaway from Tuesday’s announcement has to be college football’s championship matchup will no longer be decided by a formula, but rather settled on the field. Although the committee may look at a BCS-style of rankings, no longer will a computer poll play a major role in selecting which team plays for a national title.   

Although the four-team playoff has been widely speculated for some time and officially announced on Tuesday, some key issues have yet to be resolved.

How will the money be divided?: This issue is expected to be one of the hot topics over the next few months. Expect the six BCS conferences to get the major portion of the money, but how much remains to be seen. What happens to the five non-BCS conferences and Independents like BYU or Army? Some criteria such as academic performance and success on the field have been mentioned as two elements to dividing up the money, but what else will factor into that?

Choosing the Selection Committee: One of the biggest opportunities for controversy has to be the selection committee. Is there really a way to avoid having people on the committee with ties to a school or conference? Adding former head coaches to the committee has been tossed around, but how much are old coaches keeping up with college football each week?

Access for teams outside of the BCS Conferences: The “BCS” designation will go away, but there is no question about the power conferences in college football: ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. Some have dismissed the Big East from that mix, but it is clearly ahead of the Mountain West and Conference USA in the next tier of conferences. The BCS system helped to get Boise State, Utah, Hawaii and TCU into big bowl games – will that access change for teams outside of the six power conferences? Or will this format help? With a selection committee involved in choosing the participants for the top six games, this may help access for some of the teams outside of power conferences.

Some final points to consider about the new playoff format:

Every system has its flaws: Although a playoff will help settle things on the field, anyone who expects this system to be perfect is wrong. No matter who is on the selection committee, it will be hard to avoid discussion about bias towards certain teams or conferences. What will happen the first time a second team (who is deserving) from the SEC gets left out? What happens when an undefeated Boise State is not selected for a four-team playoff? Could this create a bigger division between the six power conferences and the five non-BCS leagues? If you thought a playoff will solve all of the issues in college football, think again. Get ready for more controversy each year.

Will a four-team playoff get bigger?: The 12-year agreement will keep the four-team format in place until 2025. But what happens after that? Could we see eight teams in 2030? Extending the season is a concern for most presidents, while there’s also concern about how an eight-team playoff would impact the regular season.

The Regular Season Stays Intact: Although some of the pro-playoff crowd has dismissed any notion that changing the postseason will impact the regular season, you can’t make a change to something and expect things to stay the same. There’s no question college football has the best regular season of any sport. Why change that? It may take a few years to see the true impact of the playoff on scheduling, but a four-team tournament shouldn’t take away from the regular season. However, expanding to an 8 or 16-team format would create a negative impact on the regular season.

Success or failure?: Only time will tell if moving to a four-team playoff is the right move for college football. However, all signs suggest the new championship format should be a success, especially as teams get to settle it on the field starting in 2014.

Related College Football Content

Athlon's College Football Rankings for 2012
College Football's Top 25 Heisman Contenders for 2012

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

<p> College Football Ditches BCS For Playoff; Key Questions Remain</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 04:58
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-best-players-big-ten-2012

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for the Big Ten in terms of fantasy options for 2012:

2012 Preseason Big Ten All-Fantasy Team

Using a starting roster of 2-QB, 3-RB, 3-WR, FLEX, TE, K, Def/ST, All-Conference Fantasy Teams are projected using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)


QB—Denard Robinson, Sr. (Michigan)

Last season:  Passed for 2,173 yards and 20 TDs, rushed for 1,176 yards and 16 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; @ Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Northwestern, Iowa, @ Ohio St


QB—Braxton Miller, So. (Ohio State)

Last season:  Passed for 1,159 yards and 13 TDS, rushed for 715 yards and 7 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Miami (OH), UCF, Cal

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Wisconsin, Michigan


RB—Montee Ball, Sr. (Wisconsin)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 TDs, 24 receptions for 306 yards and 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; @ Oregon St, Utah St, UTEP

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Indiana, Ohio St, @ Penn St


RB—Rex Burkhead, Sr. (Nebraska)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,357 yards and 15 TDs, 21 receptions for 177 yards and 2 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; USM, @ UCLA, Arkansas St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Penn St, Minnesota, @ Iowa


RB—Le’Veon Bell, Jr. (Michigan State)

Last season:  Rushed for 948 yards and 13 TDs, 35 receptions for 267 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; @ C. Michigan, Notre Dame, E. Michigan

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, Northwestern, @ Minnesota


WR—Jared Abbrederis, Jr. (Wisconsin)

Last season:  55 receptions for a team-high 933 yards, 8 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; Illinois, @ Purdue, Minnesota

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Indiana, Ohio St, @ Penn St


WR—Keenan Davis, Sr. (Iowa)

Last season:  50 receptions for 713 yards and 4 TDs as WR#2 opposite Marvin McNutt.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; No. Illinois, Iowa St, No. Iowa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Purdue, @ Michigan, Nebraska


WR—Demetrius Fields, Sr. (Northwestern)

Last season:  32 receptions for 382 yards and 3 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; Boston College, South Dakota, Indiana

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Michigan, @ Michigan St, Illinois


TE—Jacob Pedersen, Jr. (Wisconsin)

Last season:  30 receptions for 356 yards and 8 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; Illinois, @ Purdue, Minnesota

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Indiana, Ohio St, @ Penn St


FLEX—Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jr. (Michigan)

Last season: Rushed for 1,041 yards and 9 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; @ Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Northwestern, Iowa, @ Ohio St


K—Brett Maher, Sr. (Nebraska)

Last season: 19-for-23 on field goals attempts, 43-for-44 on extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; Arkansas St, Idaho St, Wisconsin

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Penn St, Minnesota, @ Iowa


DEF—Michigan State Spartans

Last season:  No. 6 total defense, No. 10 scoring defense, 8 returning starters.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; @ C. Michigan, Notre Dame, E. Michigan

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, Northwestern, @ Minnesota


Top 5 Reserves

QB—Kain Colter, Jr. (Northwestern)

QB—Taylor Martinez, Jr. (Nebraska)

RB—Silas Redd, Jr. (Penn St)

RB—Jordan Hall, Sr. (Ohio St)

RB—James White, Jr. (Wisconsin)



By Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining the Best Fantasy Options in the Big Ten for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 02:39
Path: /college-football/acc-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-ACC teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR Conner Vernon, Duke

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

TE Matt Furstenburg, Maryland

C Dalton Freeman, Clemson

OL Oday Aboushi, Virginia

OL Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

OL James Hurst, North Carolina

OL Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech

First-Team Defense

DL James Gayle, Virginia Tech

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DL Joe Vellano, Maryland

DL Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

LB Steve Greer, Virginia

LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech

CB David Amerson, NC State

CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S Earl Wolff, NC State

First-Team Specialists

K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P Dalton Botts, Miami

KR T.J. Thorpe, North Carolina

PR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team

  First Second Third Overall
Boston College 0 1 1 2
Clemson 4 5 2 11
Duke 1 1 1 3
Florida State 3 4 3 10
Georgia Tech 1 4 2 7
Maryland 2 2 2 6
Miami 1 2 3 6
North Carolina 5 0 3 8
NC State 2 2 2 6
Virginia 2 2 1 5
Virginia Tech 3 2 5 10
Wake Forest 2 1 1 4

Second-Team Offense

QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RB Perry Jones, Virginia

RB Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech

WR Rashad Greene, Florida State

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

TE Nick O'Leary, Florida State

C Camden Wentz, NC State

OL Emmett Cleary, Boston College

OL Brandon Linder, Miami

OL R.J. Mattes, NC State

OL Morgan Moses, Virginia

Second-Team Defense

DL Anthony Chickillo, Miami

DL J.R. Collins, Virginia Tech

DL Malliciah Goodman, Clemson

DL Bjoern Werner, Florida State

LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

LB Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland

LB Kenny Tate, Maryland

CB Merrill Noel, Wake Forest

CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

S Rashard Hall, Clemson

S Isaiah Johnson, Georgia Tech

Second-Team Specialists

K Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson

P Sean Poole, Georgia Tech

KR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

PR Jamison Crowder, Duke

Third-Team Offense

QB EJ Manuel, Florida State

RB Mike James, Miami

RB Kevin Parks, Virginia

WR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech

TE Brandon Ford, Clemson

C Andrew Miller, Virginia Tech

OL Bennett Fulper, Maryland

OL Seantrel Henderson, Miami

OL Will Jackson, Georgia Tech

OL Laken Tomlinson, Duke

Third-Team Defense

DL Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech

DL Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

DL Kareem Martin, North Carolina

DL Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

LB Christian Jones, Florida State

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College

CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

CB Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech

S Brandan Bishop, NC State

S Matt Robinson, Maryland

Third-Team Specialists

K Casey Barth, North Carolina

P Wil Baumann, NC State

KR Dyrell Roberts, Virginia Tech

PR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson


Athlon's 2012 ACC Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 ACC Predictions 

Atlantic Coastal
Boston College Duke
Clemson Miami
Florida State Georgia Tech
Maryland North Carolina
NC State Virginia
Wake Forest Virginia Tech

<p> 2012 ACC Football All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:48
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-Mountain West teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-Mountain West Team

First-Team Offense

QB Brett Smith, Wyoming

RB Chris Nwoke, Colorado State

RB Robbie Rouse, Fresno State

WR Chris McNeill, Wyoming

WR Matt Miller, Boise State

TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

C Weston Richburg, Colorado State

OL Chris Barker, Nevada

OL Jason Kons, Air Force

OL Charles Leno, Boise State

OL Jeff Nady, Nevada

First-Team Defense

DL Michael Atkinson, Boise State

DL Paipai Falemalu, Hawaii

DL John Froland, Colorado State

DL Mike Purcell, Wyoming

LB Shaquil Barrett, Colorado State

LB Travis Brown, Fresno State

LB J.C. Percy, Boise State

CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State

CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State

S Luke Ruff, Wyoming

S Duke Williams, Nevada

First-Team Specialists

K Parker Herrington, Air Force

P Pete Kontodiakos, Colorado State

KR Marcus Sullivan, UNLV

PR Mitch Burroughs, Boise State

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Mountain West Team

  First Second Overall
Air Force 2 1 3
Boise State 6 4 10
Colorado State 5 3 8
Fresno State 2 4 6
Hawaii 1 4 5
Nevada 3 2 5
New Mexico 0 1 1
San Diego State 2 2 4
UNLV 1 2 3
Wyoming 4 3 7

Second-Team Offense


QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

RB D.J. Harper, Boise State

RB Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada

WR Josh Harper, Fresno State

WR Colin Lockett, San Diego State

TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State

C Nick Carlson, Wyoming

OL Brett Boyko, UNLV

OL Joe Kellogg, Boise State 

OL Tyler Strong, Wyoming

OL Austin Wentworth, Fresno State

Second-Team Defense

DL Reggie Ellis, New Mexico

DL Patrick Mertens, Wyoming

DL Jack Reynoso, Nevada

DL Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State

LB Art Laurel, Hawaii

LB Alex Means, Air Force

LB James Skelton, Colorado State

CB Jerrell Gavins, Boise State

CB John Hardy-Tuliau, Hawaii

S Nat Berhe, San Diego State

S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State

Second-Team Specialists

K Nolan Kohorst, UNLV

P Alex Dunnachie, Hawaii

KR Mike Edwards, Hawaii

PR Momo Thomas, Colorado State

Athlon's 2012 Mountain West Team Previews

Related Content: 2012 Mountain West Predictions

Air Force Nevada
Boise State New Mexico
Colorado State San Diego State
Fresno State UNLV
Hawaii Wyoming

<p> Mountain West Football 2012 All-Conference Teams.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:41
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-best-players-sec

College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

Here's a look at the best of the best for the SEC in terms of fantasy options for 2012:

2012 Preseason SEC All-Fantasy Team

Using a starting roster of 2-QB, 3-RB, 3-WR, FLEX, TE, K, Def/ST, All-Conference Fantasy Teams are projected using the following scoring system:

Passing—25 pass yds = 1 point, Passing TD = 4 points, INTs = -1 point

Rushing—10 rushing yards = 1 point, Rushing TDs = 6 points

Receiving—.5 points per reception, 10 receiving yards = 1 point, Receiving TDs = 6 points

Kicking—Extra Point = 1 point, FG 0-39 yards = 3 points, 40-49 yards = 4 points, 50+ = 5 points

Defense/ST—Defense, KR, and PR TDs = 6 points, Safety = 2 points, Fumbles and INTs = 3 points, Sack = 1 point, Points allowed (0 = 15 points, 2-6 = 10 points, 7-10 = 7 points, 11-13 = 5 points, 14-21 = 4 points, 22-28 = 2 points, 29-24 = 0 points, 35+ = -2 points)


QB—Aaron Murray, Jr. (Georgia)

Last season:  Passed for 3,149 yards and 35 TDs, rushed for 111 yards and 2 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; FL-Atlantic, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Auburn, GA Southern, Georgia Tech


QB—James Franklin, Jr. (Missouri)

Last season:  Passed for 2,865 yards and 21 TDs, rushed for 1,145 yards and 15 TDs

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 11-12-13; @ Tennessee, Syracuse, @ Texas A&M

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Tennessee, Syracuse, @ Texas A&M


RB—Marcus Lattimore, Jr. (So. Carolina)

Last season:  Ran for 818 yards and scored 11 TDs before suffering a season-ending knee injury in week seven.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; ECU, UAB, Missouri

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Arkansas, Wofford, @ Clemson


RB—Knile Davis, Jr. (Arkansas)

Last season:  Missed the entire season with a broken ankle.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9-10; Kentucky, Bye, Ole Miss, Tulsa

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ So. Carolina, @ Miss. St, LSU


RB—Eddie Lacy, Jr. (Alabama)

Last season:  Rushed for 674 yards and 7 TDs as Trent Richardson’s backup.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 4-5-6-7; FAU, Ole Miss, Bye, @ Missouri

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Texas A&M, W. Carolina, Auburn


WR—Cobi Hamilton, Sr. (Arkansas)

Last season:  Caught 34 passes for 542 yards and 4 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Jacksonville St, LA-Monroe, Alabama

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ So. Carolina, @ Miss. St, LSU


WR—Justin Hunter, Jr. (Tennessee)

Last season:  Lost for the season after tearing his ACL in week three (17-314-2).

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 2-3-4; Georgia St, Florida, Akron

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Missouri, @ Vanderbilt, Kentucky


WR—Ryan Swope, Sr. (Texas A&M)

Last season:  Led all A&M receivers with 89 receptions, 1,207 yards, and 11 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ SMU, So. Carolina St, Arkansas

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Alabama, Sam Houston St, Missouri


TE—Chris Gragg, Sr. (Arkansas)

Last season:  Caught 41 passes for 518 yards and 2 TDs

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Jacksonville St, LA-Monroe, Alabama

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ So. Carolina, @ Miss. St, LSU


FLEX—Zac Stacy, Sr. (Vanderbilt)

Last season:  Set the school’s single-season rushing record with 1,193 yards and scored 15 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 9-10-11; UMass, @ Kentucky, @ Ole Miss

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Ole Miss, Tennessee, @ Wake Forest


K—Drew Alleman, Sr. (LSU)

Last season:  Made 16-of-18 FG attempts and 62-of-63 extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; No. Texas, Washington, Idaho

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Mississippi St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas


DEF—LSU Tigers

Last season:  No. 2 in the nation in total defense, scoring, and turnover margin.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; No. Texas, Washington, Idaho

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Mississippi St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas


Top 5 Reserves

QB—Tyler Bray, Jr. (Tennessee)

QB—Tyler Wilson, Sr. (Arkansas)

RB—Christine Michael, Sr. (Texas A&M)

WR—Da’Rick Rogers, Jr. (Tennessee)

WR—Tavarres King, Sr. (Georgia)



By Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining the Best Players in the SEC</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 04:38
Path: /college-football/big-east-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Big East teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-Big East Team

First-Team Offense

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

RB Ray Graham, Pittsburgh

RB Lyle McCombs, Connecticut 

WR Sterling Griffin, South Florida

WR Alec Lemon, Syracuse

TE Ryan Griffin, Connecticut

C Mario Benavides, Louisville

OL Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers

OL Adam Masters, Connecticut

OL Mark Popek, South Florida

OL Justin Pugh, Syracuse

First-Team Defense

DL Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

DL Ryne Giddins, South Florida

DL Scott Vallone, Rutgers

DL Trevardo Williams, Connecticut

LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

LB DeDe Lattimore, South Florida

LB Sio Moore, Connecticut

CB Adrian Bushell, Louisville

CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers

S Jarred Holley, Pittsburgh

S Hakeem Smith, Louisville

First-Team Specialists

K Maikon Bonani, South Florida

P Pat O'Donnell, Cincinnati

KR Ralph David Abernathy IV, Cincinnati

PR Nick Williams, Connecticut

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Big East Team

  First Second Third Overall
Cincinnati 2 4 2 8
Connecticut 6 2 4 12
Louisville 4 4 2 10
Pittsburgh 3 3 4 10
Rutgers 4 5 1 10
South Florida 5 2 7 14
Syracuse 2 3 4 9
Temple 0 3 2 5

Second-Team Offense

QB B.J. Daniels, South Florida

RB Matt Brown, Temple

RB Jawan Jamison, Rutgers

WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

WR DeVante Parker, Louisville

TE Hubie Graham, Pittsburgh

C Ryan Turnley, Pittsburgh

OL Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati

OL Zack Chibane, Syracuse

OL Chris Jacobson, Pittsburgh

OL John Miller, Louisville

Second-Team Defense

DL Dan Giordano, Cincinnati

DL Jesse Joseph, Connecticut

DL Marcus Smith, Louisville

DL Walter Stewart, Cincinnati

LB Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers

LB Preston Brown, Louisville

LB Marquis Spruill, Syracuse

CB Kayvon Webster, South Florida

CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut

S Drew Frey, Cincinnati

S Duron Harmon, Rutgers

Second-Team Specialists

K Ross Krautman, Syracuse

P Brandon McManus, Temple

KR Jeremy Deering, Rutgers

PR Matt Brown, Temple

Third-Team Offense

QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

RB Dominique Brown, Louisville

RB Demetris Murray, South Florida

WR Anthony McClung, Cincinnati

WR Devin Street, Pittsburgh

TE Evan Landi, South Florida

C Macky MacPherson, Syracuse

OL Danous Estenor, South Florida

OL R.J. Dill, Rutgers

OL Quinterrius Eatmon, South Florida

OL Martin Wallace, Temple

Third-Team Defense

DL Levi Brown, Temple

DL Deon Goggins, Syracuse

DL Roy Philon, Louisville

DL Elkino Watson, South Florida

LB Sam Barrington, South Florida

LB Maalik Bomar, Cincinnati

LB Jory Johnson, Connecticut

CB Dwayne Gratz, Connecticut

CB K'Waun Williams, Pittsburgh

S Jon Lejiste, South Florida

S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse

Third-Team Specialists

K Kevin Harper, Pittsburgh

P Cole Wagner, Connecticut

KR Nick Williams, Connecticut

PR Ronald Jones, Pittsburgh

Athlon's 2012 Big East Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Big East Predictions

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut South Florida
Louisville Syracuse
Pittsburgh Temple

<p> Big East Football 2012 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/tcu-football-horned-frogs-come-home-big-12

It really wasn’t that long ago when TCU football was barely a topic of discussion around Fort Worth.

For 38 years — from 1960 to 1997 — the Horned Frogs had seven winning seasons and three bowl appearances. Oh, sure, there were a few moments of glory. The ’65 team went 6–5 and earned a Sun Bowl berth. The ’67 team won at Texas. In 1984, after 12 consecutive losing seasons, TCU finished 8–4 and earned a trip to the Bluebonnet Bowl under coach Jim Wacker. But for every high point, there were 20 lows. For a 10-year stretch — from 1974 to 1983 — a third of the Frogs’ wins (five of 15) came against Rice, the Southwest Conference doormat. Otherwise, TCU was the doormat. The Frogs went 1–20–3 in road games from 1979 to 1983.

When Dennis Franchione left New Mexico to take over TCU in 1998, he inherited a 1–10 team. The lone win was Pat Sullivan’s last at TCU, a regular-season finale against SMU in front of 19,000 indifferent fans in a “rivalry” game.

From Albuquerque, Franchione brought with him a little-known defensive coordinator. Three years later, when Franchione bolted for the job at Alabama in December 2000, that coordinator, Gary Patterson, was named TCU’s coach before the Frogs played Southern Miss in the Mobile Alabama Bowl.

Patterson wasn’t a unanimous choice, either. Although his defense led the nation in 2000, he was unpolished, and some at TCU weren’t sure if he was ready for a head coaching job after a less-than-stellar interview. Finally, one major donor spoke up and declared that TCU didn’t need somebody who interviewed well, but someone who knew how to coach. Patterson, then a 40-year-old who had coached at 10 other places before arriving at TCU, was their man.

Now, with 109 wins and 10 bowl appearances since he was hired on a full-time basis, Patterson has become something of a mythical figure in the eyes of Frog fans, who have watched their team go from upstart, to conference juggernaut, to legitimate BCS contender in 12 years. Young fans weren’t even alive when TCU was left for dead when the Southwest Conference broke up in 1995 to form the Big 12.

“The omission, sort of being left out of the club, was a kick in the pants,” says former player and longtime TCU radio analyst John Denton. “It got people’s attention. The alums and the school realized we weren’t as well positioned, nor did we know what was going on. Our reputation and how people looked at us from the outside in was poor, and it wasn’t just football. The entire program needed to be looked at.”

So the school set out on a 12-year conference affiliation odyssey, beginning with the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. TCU joined Conference USA in 2001 and then the Mountain West in 2005. After undefeated regular seasons in 2009 and 2010, TCU accepted an invitation to the Big East, an awkward geographic fit, but no more so than trips to San Diego State and UNLV in the MWC.

When conference realignment started up again in the summer of 2011, an invitation to the Big 12 came to fruition and TCU, finally, was asked back into the club with Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor.

“I’d like to welcome you home,” Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told a packed ballroom full of TCU administrators, donors and alumni on Oct. 10.

The return “home” wasn’t just a result of winning, although that undoubtedly had a positive effect. It was also a culmination of a rededication to the football program, including facilities and coaching salaries, that began with the hiring of Franchione.  

Until then, TCU football was given little consideration.

“The entire athletic department was a backburner operation,” Denton says of the ’70s and ’80s. “It was part of the university, but it wasn’t invested in.”

About the time Texas’ Darrell Royal and Arkansas’ Frank Broyles began to ratchet up the importance of their programs in the early 1960s, TCU began to slowly fade to the background, only occasionally fielding a competitive team. In one brutal stretch from 1974-76, the Frogs won two games.

“The leaders of the university just decided they weren’t going to get caught up in the arms race,” Denton says. “Texas and Arkansas kind of took the Southwest Conference to a new level and kind of left TCU, SMU and Baylor behind. They ruled the roost for the better part of 20-25 years starting in the early ’60s.”

A turning point came in Franchione’s first year in 1998. After a 1–10 season the year before, TCU won its last two regular-season games, both on the road, to earn a trip to the Sun Bowl against USC. The Frogs upset the Trojans 28–19 for their first bowl win since the 1957 Cotton Bowl.

In the next two years, TCU continued to improve, winning a share of the WAC title and earning a bowl bid each season. Since taking over, Patterson has led his team to a bowl in 10 of 11 seasons, including two BCS bowls — the Fiesta Bowl after the 2009 season, and the Rose Bowl after the 2010 season. TCU defeated Wisconsin in the Rose to cap a 13–0 season, its first undefeated campaign since 1938.

People are talking TCU football now. The school will unveil its $164 million renovations to Amon G. Carter Stadium during the season opener Sept. 8 against Grambling State. A brand new locker room, training room, and equipment room are set to open in July. A state of the art weight room opened last fall.

The Frogs are the talk of the town again. They sold a record 22,000 season tickets in 2011 and hope to reach 30,000 in 2012. Pretty impressive for a school with an enrollment of about 9,500.

Only two programs — Alabama and Oregon — rank ahead of TCU in average final Associated Press ranking since 2008. Patterson’s next win will make him the all-time leader in TCU history, surpassing Frog legend Dutch Meyer, who went 109–79–13 from 1934-52. Patterson has lost only 30 times and has shepherded a defense that has led the nation five times since 2000.

The move from the Mountain West to the Big 12 will test TCU’s depth and athletic ability at nearly every position. But compared to the travels the team has been on since 1995, the move back “home” feels right.

Patterson often spoke during spring practice of the challenge the Big 12 would pose for his team. After the team’s last practice in April, his encapsulation of his team’s progress stood also as a metaphor for his program.

“We grew the team up,” Patterson said. “We still have a long way to go to be what we want to be, but we’re not where we were.”

Related Big 12 Content

Athlon's 2012 Big 12 Predictions
Athlon's 2012 All-Big 12 Team

Athlon's College Football Top 25 for 2012
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 26-35
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 36-45
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 46-60
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 61-80
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 81-100
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 101-124

<p> TCU football has made quite a climb in recent years.</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:26
Path: /college-football/mountain-west-football-2012-predictions

The Mountain West will have yet another new look in 2012. The ever-changing conference lost TCU — which went 48–7 during its seven-year stay — to the Big 12 and added Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii from the WAC. Next year, it will be time for another makeover when Boise State and San Diego State make their move to the Big East.

For now, the MW is a 10-team league that features one top-25 team (Boise State), a solid second tier (Nevada and Fresno State), and four other teams (Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force and San Diego State) that are good enough to play in a bowl game.

Boise State is in rebuilding mode after losing seven first-team All-Mountain West picks, most notably record-setting quarterback Kellen Moore and first-round NFL draft pick tailback Doug Martin. Still, the Broncos remain the team to beat. Junior Joe Southwick is next in line at quarterback, and he will spread the ball around to a talented group of skill players led by tailback D.J. Harper and wide receivers Matt Miller and Mitch Burroughs. The defense, which returns only one starter, is the biggest concern for coach Chris Petersen’s club.

Nevada, which went 19–4 in its final three seasons in the WAC, will lean on sophomore quarterback Cody Fajardo, who earned 2011 WAC Freshman of the Year honors after throwing for 1,707 yards and running for 694 out of Chris Ault’s Pistol attack. The Wolf Pack have a favorable league schedule, with both Fresno State and Boise State visiting Reno in November.

For the first time since 1996, Pat Hill will not be roaming the sidelines at Fresno State. The Bulldogs are now under the control of Tim DeRuyter, who spent three years (2007-09) in the MWC as the defensive coordinator at Air Force before taking over the same position at Texas A&M in ’10. Fresno State will feature two of the league’s top offensive players — quarterback Derek Carr (26 TDs in 2011) and tailback Robbie Rouse (1,549 yards).

Wyoming was the biggest surprise in the MWC in 2011. Led by true freshman quarterback Brett Smith (2,622 yards passing, 710 rushing), the Cowboys went 5–2 in the league, with the only losses to TCU and Boise State.  After struggling through its third straight 3–9 season, Colorado State fired Steve Fairchild (a former CSU quarterback) and hired Jim McElwain, who picked up two national title rings as the offensive coordinator at Alabama. The Rams’ offense will feature tailback Chris Nwoke, a second-team All-MWC pick last year after rushing for 1,130 yards.

Air Force, as usual, has major holes to fill. The Falcons must replace quarterback Tim Jefferson (a four-year starter) and halfback Asher Clark, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher. A big key for Air Force will be on defense, where it ranked 109th in the nation in stopping the run in 2011. San Diego State is coming off back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time as a Division I program. To make it three straight, the Aztecs will need a productive season from quarterback Ryan Katz, a post-graduate transfer from Oregon State who will step in for Ryan Lindley.

Hawaii is now under the leadership of Norm Chow, a longtime offensive coordinator who is getting his first opportunity to run his own program. The Warriors figure to struggle due in large part to the loss of eight players who received either first- or second-team All-WAC honors in 2011. With a 4–21 record in two seasons, Bobby Hauck will need to show some significant improvement at UNLV this fall. The Rebels’ 10 losses in 2011 came by an average of 30.1 points. Not good.

The train wreck known as the Mike Locksley era at New Mexico mercifully ended late last September. It’s up to former Notre Dame boss Bob Davie to pick up the pieces. Davie, who went 35–25 in five seasons with the Fighting Irish, has been out of coaching since 2001.

Athlon's 2012 Mountain West Team Previews

Air Force Nevada
Boise State New Mexico
Colorado State San Diego State
Fresno State UNLV
Hawaii Wyoming

Athlon's 2012 College Football Rankings

Athlon's College Football Top 25 for 2012
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 26-35
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 36-45
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 46-60
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 61-80
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 81-100
Athlon's College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 101-124

<p> Mountain West 2012 Team Predictions</p>
Post date: Monday, June 25, 2012 - 05:20
Path: /college-football/pac-12-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Pac-12 teams for this season.

First-Team Offense

QB Matt Barkley, USC

RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

RB John White, Utah

WR Keenan Allen, California

WR Robert Woods, USC

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

C Khaled Holmes, USC

OL David Bakhtiari, Colorado

OL John Fullington, Washington State

OL Kevin Graf, USC

OL David Yankey, Stanford

First-Team Defense

DL Wes Horton, USC

DL Dion Jordan, Oregon

DL Travis Long, Washington State

DL Star Lotulelei, Utah

LB Dion Bailey, USC

LB Michael Clay, Oregon

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford

CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State

CB Nickell Robey, USC

S John Boyett, Oregon

S T.J. McDonald, USC

First-Team Specialists

K Andre Heidari, USC

P Jeff Locke, UCLA

KR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

PR Jamal Miles, Arizona State

AP De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Pac-12 Team

  First Second Third Overall
Arizona 0 0 2 2
Arizona State 1 2 3 6
California 1 2 2 5
Colorado 1 1 1 3
Oregon 6 3 3 12
Oregon State 1 1 3 5
Stanford 2 6 1 9
UCLA 1 1 3 5
USC 9 2 2 13
Utah 2 1 1 4
Washington 1 5 3 9
Washington State 2 2 2 6


Second-Team Offense

QB Keith Price, Washington

RB Isi Sofele, California

RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford

WR Marqise Lee, USC

WR Marquess Wilson, Washington State

TE Joseph Fauria, UCLA

C Drew Schaefer, Washington

OL Nick Cody, Oregon 

OL Evan Finkenberg, Arizona State

OL Cameron Fleming, Stanford

OL Matt Summers-Gavin, California

Second-Team Defense

DL Scott Crichton, Oregon State

DL Ben Gardner, Stanford

DL Taylor Hart, Oregon

DL Hau'oli Jamora, Washington

LB Jon Major, Colorado

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

LB Shayne Skov, Stanford

CB Damante Horton, Washington State

CB Desmond Trufant, Washington

S Brian Blechen, Utah

S Sean Parker, Washington

Second-Team Specialists

K Jordan Williamson, Stanford

P Jackson Rice, Oregon

KR Jamal Miles, Arizona State

PR Drew Terrell, Stanford

Third-Team Offense

QB Jeff Tuel, Washington State

RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

RB Cameron Marshall, Arizona State

WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

WR Kasen Williams, Washington

TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford

C Kyle Quinn, Arizona

OL Josh Andrews, Oregon State

OL Marcus Martin, USC

OL Xavier Su'a Filo, UCLA

OL Carson York, Oregon

Third-Team Defense

DL Deandre Coleman, California

DL Devon Kennard, USC

DL Will Pericak, Colorado

DL Josh Shirley, Washington

LB Kiko Alonso, Oregon

LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA

LB Chris McCain, California

CB Osahon Irabor, Arizona State

CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon

S Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Arizona

S Deone Bucannon, Washington State

Third-Team Specialists

K Coleman Petersen, Utah

P Josh Hubner, Arizona State

KR Kevin Smith, Washington

PR Jordan Poyer, Oregon State

Athlon's 2012 Pac-12 Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Pac-12 Predictions

North South
California Arizona
Oregon Arizona State
Oregon State Colorado
Stanford UCLA
Washington USC
Washington State Utah

<p> Pac-12 Football 2012 All-Conference Team.</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/wac-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-WAC teams for this season.

First-Team Offense

QB Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech

RB Hunter Lee, Louisiana Tech

RB Kerwynn Williams, Utah State

WR Noel Grigsby, San Jose State

WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech

TE Ryan Otten, San Jose State

C Tyler Larsen, Utah State

OL David Quessenberry, San Jose State

OL Kevin Saia, Louisiana Tech

OL Eric Schultz, Utah State

OL Davonte Wallace, New Mexico State

First-Team Defense

DL Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech

DL IK Enemkpali, Louisiana Tech

DL Travis Johnson, San Jose State

DL Donte Savage, New Mexico State

LB Bojay Filimoeatu, Utah State

LB Robert Siavii, Idaho

LB Keith Smith, San Jose State

CB Aaron Grymes, Idaho

CB Jumanne Robertson, Utah State

S Chad Boyd, Louisiana Tech

S McKade Brady, Utah State

First-Team Specialists

K Matt Nelson, Louisiana Tech

P Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech

KR Lyle Fitte, Louisiana Tech

PR Justin Veltung, Idaho

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-WAC Team

  First Second Total
Idaho 3 5 8
Louisiana Tech 10 2 12
New Mexico State 2 1 3
San Jose State 5 5 10
Texas State 0 5 5
UTSA 0 2 2
Utah State 6 6 12


Second-Team Offense

QB Chuckie Keeton, Utah State

RB De'Leon Eskridge, San Jose State

RB Terrence Franks, Texas State

WR Matt Austin, Utah State

WR Kam Jones, UTSA

TE Chase Harper, Texas State

C Stephen Warner, Louisiana Tech

OL Nicholas Kaspar, San Jose State

OL Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech

OL Oscar Molina-Sanchez, Utah State

OL Thaddeus Watkins, Texas State

Second-Team Defense

DL Al Lapuaho, Utah State

DL Anthony Larceval, San Jose State

DL Benson Mayowa, Idaho

DL Travis Raciti, San Jose State

LB Joplo Bartu, Texas State

LB Alexander LaVoy, New Mexico State

LB Conrad Scheidt, Idaho

CB Nevin Lawson, Utah State

CB Darryl Morris, Texas State

S James Orth, San Jose State

S Gary Walker, Idaho

Second-Team Specialists

K Trey Farquhar, Idaho

P Bobby Cowan, Idaho

KR Kenny Harrison, UTSA

PR Kerwynn Williams, Utah State

Athlon's 2012 WAC Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 WAC Predictions

Idaho Texas State
Louisiana Tech UTSA
New Mexico State Utah State
San Jose State  

<p> WAC Football 2012 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Friday, June 22, 2012 - 03:25
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, NC State Wolfpack, News
Path: /college-football/nc-state-football-can-wolfpack-win-acc-2012

NC State finished 2011 by winning four out of their final five games. The Wolfpack return quarterback Mike Glennon, and a secondary that could be one of the best in the ACC. 

Is NC State an ACC Title Contender in 2012?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
As strange as it may seem, we may figure out how seriously to take NC State after the first two weeks of the season when the Wolfpack face Tennessee and Connecticut both away from Raleigh. Granted, these two teams each finished 5-7. If the Wolfpack is going to contend for the ACC, it should handle the rebuilding Volunteers. The Vols’ biggest strength on offense -- Tyler Bray and his receivers -- faces NC State’s greatest strength with David Amerson leading four returning starters. Connecticut should be easy work, but that’s a road game. Like Tennessee, Connecticut has some key players returning from injury, but Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon should feast against that secondary. If NC State wins both games comfortably, watch out.

We’re going to hear a ton about Amerson’s 13 interceptions for good reason, but turnover margin is fluky. NC State ranked sixth nationally in that category at plus-14. As much as Tom O’Brien would love for his veteran secondary to repeat its 27 interceptions, he can’t depend on it. That means every other position group is going to need to step up, starting with the run game (11th in the ACC) and offensive line (10th in the ACC in sacks allowed). And of course, there’s Glennon, whose name is unfairly linked to Russell Wilson. He’s one of the ACC’s best quarterbacks and finished last season on a tear with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions in the last three games against Clemson, Maryland and Louisville. He’ll be the key. Florida State and Clemson have proven they’re not immune to letting good things slip away. NC State could be a team ready to pounce.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
I am very high on NC State and think they can absolutely compete for an ACC crown in 2012. This is due entirely to how it is constructed. An excellent offensive line, a tremendously talented veteran quarterback, a solid defense and hard-nosed head coach. These are the most important aspects to any football team when trying to pinpoint sleepers in any league. The Wolfpack has tremendous leadership with Mike Glennon under center in his second full season as the starter and steely-eyed ACC stalwart Tom O'Brien steering the entire ship. And Wolfie will be stout up front at the point of attack – both offensively and defensively - as Athlon has ranked the O-line No. 2 in the league and the D-line No. 3 in the ACC.

Clemson and Florida State are the top picks in the Atlantic Divison, but NC State gets a few scheduling breaks in 2012. First, the Seminoles must visit Raleigh in what could be a decisive ACC bout. Second, there is no Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech on the schedule at all. And with the recent domination of instate rival North Carolina - O'Brien hasn't lost to the Tar Heels as the Wolfpack headman – NC State should feel optimistic about its ACC crossover play. It also finishes with three of the final four conference games at home.

Yes, the one road game in Novmeber is a trip down to Death Valley on November 17, but if that game turns into an Atlantic Division title game, well, just ask Tigers fans what happened when these two met last year. NC State 37, Clemson 13.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I think Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State are the best teams in the ACC, but NC State isn’t too far behind. The Wolfpack got off to a 2-3 start last season, but rallied to win four out of their final five games. However, while NC State had an impressive finish, it also lost to Boston College and needed a furious second-half rally to beat Maryland.

There are a lot of positives for this team going into 2012, especially with Mike Glennon returning under center. The Wolfpack has one of the conference’s best offensive lines, but playmakers need to be found in the receiving corps. Running back James Washington was steady last season, and has plenty of help on the ground from sophomore Anthony Creecy and Mustafa Greene.

The defense allowed 24.7 points a game last season, but forced 39 turnovers and ranked eighth nationally with 3.1 sacks a game. With seven starters returning, this unit should be solid once again. Cornerback David Amerson is among the best in college football at his position, while solid depth has been established on the defensive line. Although the Wolfpack may give up some yards, if they can continue to force turnovers and sacks, they should keep this team in the hunt for the ACC title.

Will NC State win the ACC in 2012? I’d be surprised if it did. However, I could see this team finishing with nine wins and pulling off an upset against Florida State in Raleigh on Oct. 6. The Wolfpack catch a break in the crossover opponents, as they miss Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. Considering NC State was 5-5 heading into the final three games of last year, it’s a testament to how much this team improved in the last half of 2011 and should better in 2012.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
I believe NC State will be among the top three or four teams in the league, but I don’t know if I’d call the Pack a true ACC contender because they play in the more difficult Atlantic Division, home to both Florida State and Clemson.

There is, however, a ton of positive momentum in Raleigh after State won four of its last five games in 2011, highlighted by the dominating 37–13 victory over Clemson. Mike Glennon is poised to have a big senior season after throwing 31 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. The defense, solid last year, should be strong once again. There are some concerns at linebacker, but the secondary, led by David Amerson, should be among the best in the league.

Barring a surprising rash of injuries — which has happened to this team in the past — Tom O’Brien’s club figures to win eight or nine games overall and finish over .500 in the ACC. 

Mark Ross
No. Don't get me wrong, I expect NC State to win about eight games once again this and go to its third straight bowl game under head coach Tom O'Brien. But as far as the ACC race goes, I see the Wolfpack finishing third, possibly second, in the Atlantic division.

This is a well-balanced football team with an offense led by quarterback Mike Glennon and a defense led by All-American cornerback David Amerson and the rest of the secondary, but the sum of these parts doesn't beat the strengths of the top two teams in the Atlantic - Clemson and Florida State. Clemson has the best offense in the ACC while Florida State has the best defense, and each of these units rank up there when it comes to the best in the nation.

To be an ACC title contender, NC State will have to go through both Clemson and Florida State. The last time the Wolfpack beat the Tigers and Seminoles in the same season was 2002, and I don't see that changing in 2012. This year's NC State team is a good team, but not an ACC title contender.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
Tom O’Brien’s club has a great shot at eight or nine overall wins, but I do not see the Wolfpack as a major contender for the league title. Clemson and Florida State project as the top two teams in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, and NC State looks like a clear third. To be better than that, the Wolfpack will need to be more consistent across the board. The Mike Glennon-led offense was awesome in the last three games (37, 56 and 31 points) of last season, but scored only 10, 13, and 0 in the three prior contests. The defense was great against Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia but faltered badly versus Wake Forest, Cincinnati and Florida State.

Glennon and a veteran offensive line will give the NC State attack a chance to put up big numbers, especially if Tobias Palmer and Bryan Underwood can become big-time targets at the receiver position. The defense, a group that produced 39 takeaways in 2011, may be the key to contending in the ACC. The secondary is excellent and brings back all four starters who helped lead the nation with 27 interceptions last year. The line should be solid, but there are some holes to fill with the linebacker unit.

The Wolfpack will need to at least split with tough division foes FSU and Clemson to contend in the conference. They avoid Virginia Tech in the Coastal, but road games at Miami and North Carolina as well as hosting a scrappy UVA bunch will not be easy. If NC State gets production from its front seven on defense and develops some outside threats on offense, then O’Brien’s club will be a tough out in ACC play.

Related ACC Content

Athlon's 2012 ACC Predictions
2012 NC State Team Preview

College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 28 NC State

ACC Expansion: No Buyer's Remorse

<p> Can NC State contend for the ACC title?</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 05:49
Path: /college-football/conference-usa-football-2012-predictions

Editor's Note: Athlon's 2012 predictions were completed before UCF's postseason ban was announced.

After eight seasons of stability, Conference USA will be ripped apart in 2013 when Memphis, UCF, Houston and SMU bolt for the Big East. There will still be some solid programs in the league — Southern Miss, Tulsa and East Carolina stand out — but the conference will never be the same.

So who takes the title in the final season of the current 12-team, two-division format? UCF and East Carolina are the teams to beat in the East Division, while Houston and Tulsa appear to be the class of the West.

UCF slumped to 3–5 in the league last season after winning the East with a 7–1 mark in 2010. The ’11 record, however, was a bit deceiving; the Knights lost four league games by seven points or less and actually outgained C-USA foes by an average of 39.7 yards per game. UCF boasts a solid quarterback in sophomore Blake Bortles, but George O’Leary’s team will lean on the running game with a deep corps of tailbacks (Latavius Murray, Storm Johnson and Brynn Harvey) and a veteran offensive line. Although the Knights should be improved in 2012, the NCAA has placed a one-year postseason ban on the program.

East Carolina made a dramatic improvement on defense last season, jumping 64 spots in the national rankings from 120th in 2010 to 56th in ’11. The Pirates will have to be solid on D once again, because they must replace standout quarterback Dominique Davis, who threw for over 7,000 yards in two seasons at ECU.

Defending C-USA champ Southern Miss is under new leadership, as former South Carolina assistant Ellis Johnson steps in for Larry Fedora, now the head coach at North Carolina. Johnson inherits a team that is losing a three-year starter at quarterback (Austin Davis) and several key pieces on defense.

Marshall continues to take small steps forward under third-year coach Doc Holliday. The Thundering Herd have the personnel to finish in the top half of the East, but a tough schedule — they play both Houston and Tulsa from the West — will be difficult to overcome. UAB and Memphis both made coaching moves. Garrick McGee, the former offensive coordinator at Arkansas, is the new boss in Birmingham, while Justin Fuente, the co-offensive coordinator at TCU the past three seasons, takes over at Memphis.

Houston will attempt to defend its C-USA West crown with a new quarterback (David Piland takes over for Case Keenum) and a new coach (Tony Levine replaces his former boss, Kevin Sumlin). The Cougars, who were 12–0 in 2011 before a loss to Southern Miss in the C-USA title game, still have a ton of talent at the skill positions and will be tough to beat.

Bill Blakenship guided Tulsa to an impressive 7–1 record in the league in his first season as a collegiate head coach. Quarterback G.J. Kinne is no longer around, but the Golden Hurricane have a quality replacement, former Nebraska Cornhusker Cody Green.

SMU went 5–3 last year, but the Mustangs lost three league games by at least 24 points and didn’t beat a C-USA team that had a winning conference record. With major concerns on both the offensive and defensive line, it might be tough for June Jones’ club to contend in 2012.

UTEP, Rice and Tulane will battle for the final three spots in the West. The Miners welcome back quarterback Nick Lamaison and four starters on the offensive line, but they have a very tough C-USA slate (at ECU, at Southern Miss, vs. UCF). Rice has struggled on the offensive end since its breakthrough 2008 season that ended with a win in the Texas Bowl. David Bailiff is under to pressure to win. Tulane is under new leadership, with former Saints assistant coach Curtis Johnson taking over for Bob Toledo. Johnson will lean on senior quarterback Ryan Griffin and junior tailback Orleans Darkwa.

Athlon's 2012 Conference USA Team Previews

East West
East Carolina Houston
Marshall SMU
Memphis Rice
Southern Miss Tulane
UAB Tulsa

<p> 2012 Conference USA Football predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 05:47
Path: /college-football/sec-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-SEC teams for this season.

Related: Athlon Sports All-SEC Team As Recruits

Athlon's 2012 All-SEC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Aaron Murray, Georgia

RB Knile Davis, Arkansas

RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

WR Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas

WR Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee

TE Chris Gragg, Arkansas

C Barrett Jones, Alabama

OL Alvin Bailey, Arkansas

OL Alex Hurst, LSU

OL Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

OL Larry Warford, Kentucky

First-Team Defense

DL Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

DL Corey Lemonier, Auburn

DL Sam Montgomery, LSU

DL Barkevious Mingo, LSU

LB Jon Bostic, Florida

LB Nico Johnson, Alabama

LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia

CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

CB Tharold Simon, LSU

S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia

S Eric Reid, LSU

First-Team Specialists

K Caleb Sturgis, Florida

P Brad Wing, LSU

KR Andre Debose, Florida

PR Dustin Harris, Texas A&M


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-SEC Team

  First Second Third Overall
Alabama 2 4 3 9
Arkansas 4 2 3 9
Auburn 1 3 1 5
Florida 3 3 2 8
Georgia 3 0 5 8
Kentucky 1 0 0 1
LSU 6 3 1 10
Mississippi State 1 3 1 5
Missouri 0 1 0 1
Ole Miss 0 0 2 2
South Carolina 2 2 1 5
Tennessee 1 1 2 4
Texas A&M 2 3 2 7
Vanderbilt 0 1 3 4


Second-Team Offense

QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama

RB Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt

WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee

WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M

TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn

C T.J. Johnson, South Carolina

OL Chris Faulk, LSU

OL Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State

OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

OL Chance Warmack, Alabama

Second-Team Defense

DL Josh Boyd, Mississippi State

DL Shariff Floyd, Florida

DL Bennie Logan, LSU

DL Devin Taylor, South Carolina

LB Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas

LB Jelani Jenkins, Florida

LB Sean Porter, Texas A&M

CB E.J. Gaines, Missouri

CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

S Matt Elam, Florida

S Robert Lester, Alabama

Second-Team Specialists 

K Drew Alleman, LSU

P Steven Clark, Auburn

KR Tre Mason, Auburn

PR Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

Third-Team Offense

QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee

RB Onterio McCalebb, Auburn

RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M

WR Odell Beckham, LSU

WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

TE Jordan Reed, Florida

C Travis Swanson, Arkansas

OL Chris Burnette, Georgia

OL D.J. Fluker, Alabama

OL Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt

OL Xavier Nixon, Florida

Third-Team Defense

DL Abry Jones, Georgia

DL Rob Lohr, Vanderbilt

DL Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

DL Jesse Williams, Alabama

LB Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State

LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama

LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia

CB Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee

CB Trey Wilson, Vanderbilt

S Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss

S Shawn Williams, Georgia

Third-Team Specialists

KR Zach Hocker, Arkansas

P Tyler Campbell, Ole Miss

KR Dennis Johnson, Arkansas

PR Ace Sanders, South Carolina

Athlon's 2012 SEC Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 SEC Predictions

East West
Florida Alabama
Georgia Arkansas
Kentucky Auburn
Missouri LSU
South Carolina Mississippi State
Tennessee Ole Miss
Vanderbilt Texas A&M

<p> 2012 SEC All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 06:23
Path: /college-football/mac-football-2012-all-conference-team

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first and second All-MAC teams for this season.

Athlon's 2012 All-MAC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Tyler Tettleton, Ohio

RB Branden Oliver, Buffalo

RB Anthon Samuel, Bowling Green

WR Nick Harwell, Miami (Ohio)

WR Bernard Reedy, Toledo

TE Garrett Hoskins, Eastern Michigan

C Zac Kerin, Toledo

OL Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

OL Eric Herman, Ohio

OL Dann O'Neill, Western Michigan

OL Brian Winters, Kent State

First-Team Defense

DL Austin Brown, Miami (Ohio)

DL Chris Jones, Bowling Green

DL Roosevelt Nix, Kent State

DL Sean Progar, Northern Illinois

LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

LB Dan Molls, Toledo

LB Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green

CB Travis Carrie, Ohio

CB Dayonne Nunley, Miami (Ohio)

S Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan

S BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green

First-Team Specialists

K Matthew Sims, Northern Illinois

P Brian Schmiedebusch, Bowling Green

KR BooBoo Gates, Bowling Green

PR Demarius Reed, Eastern Michigan

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-MAC Team

  First Second Total
Akron 0 1 1
Ball State 0 4 4
Bowling Green 6 1 7
Buffalo 2 2 4
Central Michigan 2 1 3
Eastern Michigan 2 2 4
Kent State 2 1 3
Miami 3 0 3
Northern Illinois 2 4 6
Ohio 3 3 6
Toledo 3 3 6
UMass 0 0 0
Western Michigan 1 4 5

Second-Team Offense

QB Alex Carder, Western Michigan

RB Jawon Chisholm, Akron

RB David Fluellen, Toledo

WR Perez Ashford, Northern Illinois

WR Cody Wilson, Central Michigan

TE Jordan Thompson, Ohio

C Skyler Allen, Ohio

OL Dominic Flewellyn, Bowling Green

OL Jordan Hansel, Ball State

OL Gokhan Ozkan, Buffalo

OL Logan Pegram, Northern Illinois

Second-Team Defense

DL Freddie Bishop, Western Michigan

DL T.J. Fatinikun, Toledo

DL Steven Means, Buffalo

DL Nathan Ollie, Ball State

LB Justin Cudworth, Eastern Michigan

LB Travis Freeman, Ball State

LB C.J. Malauulu, Kent State

CB Marlon Pollard, Eastern Michigan

CB Lewis Toler, Western Michigan

S Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan

S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

Second-Team Specialists

K Matt Weller, Ohio

P Scott Kovanda, Ball State

KR Tommylee Lewis, Northern Illinois

PR Bernard Reedy, Toledo

Athlon's 2012 MAC Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 All-MAC Team

East West
Akron Ball State
Bowling Green Central Michigan
Buffalo Eastern Michigan
Kent State Northern Illinois
Miami Toledo
Ohio Western Michigan

<p> MAC Football 2012 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 04:38
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-worst-head-coaches-2012

Whether a college football coach is entering his first season or coming off a national championship, all are under heavy scrutinty. And just like the best coaches in the NCAA, the record isn't always a true indicator of success or bad coaching. As the 2012 season inches closer, Athlon continues its spring preview with a look at the 10 worst coaches in college football. Although some of these coaches are unproven, their resume is unproven and on paper, a bad hire for the program. If we had to make a head coaching hire tomorrow, these 10 coaches would be at the bottom of our list. 

College Football’s Top 10 Worst Coaches

1. Carl Pelini, FAU (First Year)
Considering FAU has watched its win total decline in each of the last four seasons, hiring Pelini to rebuild the program is a curious move. Pelini has no head coaching experience on the collegiate level and one has to wonder how much control he had over the defense at Nebraska despite the title of defensive coordinator the last four years. Pelini also has no ties to the Florida area, which is certainly a concern for the Owls in recruiting. Although he has yet to coach a game, it’s hard to find reasons to think Pelini will work out as FAU’s head coach.

2. Kevin Wilson, Indiana (1-11, 1 year)
Indiana is not an easy place to win, but Wilson’s first season in Bloomington was not pretty. The Hoosiers lost to Ball State and North Texas, with their only victory coming against South Carolina State (38-21). Indiana did not win a Big Ten game for the first time since 1995 and only one conference game was decided by seven points or less. The Hoosiers played a handful of young players last year, so there’s plenty of hope for 2012 and beyond. Wilson still has plenty to prove, as this is his first head coaching gig on the college football level, and the Hoosiers may have been the worst BCS team last year.

3. Dan Enos, Central Michigan (6-18, 2 years)
Enos inherited a program that won at least eight games in each of the last four seasons prior to his arrival and claimed three MAC titles during that span. Instead of building upon that success, Enos has led the program to a disappointing 6-18 record and finds himself squarely on the hot seat in 2012. Although Enos came to Mount Pleasant after the departure of some key players (quarterback Dan LeFevour and wide receiver Antonio Brown), Central Michigan has underachieved the last two years and will struggle to finish higher than fourth in the MAC West in 2012.

4. Bobby Hauck, UNLV (4-21, 2 years)
Hiring a coach from Montana hasn’t exactly turned out well for a couple of FBS programs. Mick Dennehy compiled a 39-12 record with the Grizzlies, but went 19-37 in five years with Utah State. Joe Glenn went 39-6 in three years with Montana, but went 30-41 in six seasons with Wyoming. Hauck followed Glenn in Missoula and posted an 80-17 record, but has experienced very little success since coming to UNLV. Although the cupboard was less then full when Hauck inherited the team, the Rebels have failed to show much progress and was blown out by FCS opponent Southern Utah last year. Hauck will be allowed a few years to right the ship, but there’s little to suggest UNLV will post a winning mark in 2012.

5. Frank Spaziani, Boston College (20-19, 3 years)
Boston College has been trending in the wrong direction over the last three seasons, and Spaziani will likely need a winning record to return in 2012. The Eagles won 20 games in two seasons under Jeff Jagodzinski, but Spaziani has been unable to continue that momentum, and Boston College’s win total has declined over the last three years. Jagodzinski didn’t exactly leave a full cupboard for Spaziani, but the Eagles have shown little progress under his watch and a very challenging 2012 schedule will make it difficult for this team to get bowl eligible. 

6. Joker Phillips, Kentucky (11-14, 2 years)
Thanks to the victory over Tennessee in the season finale, Phillips may have bought himself a little more time in Lexington. However, there’s definitely some uneasiness over the direction of the program. Phillips inherited a team that was coming off four consecutive bowl appearances, but the win total has declined over the last two years. Although Kentucky ended up with five victories last season, there were close calls against Western Kentucky and Central Michigan and a 30-point loss to Vanderbilt in SEC play. Unless Phillips gets the Wildcats back in a bowl in 2012, Kentucky could be looking for a new coach in December. 

7. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo (5-19, 2 years)
Wins have been difficult to find at Buffalo, as the Bulls have only two winning records since 1996. Success has also eluded Quinn during his two years with Buffalo, as he has just three wins in MAC play. Another 2-10 or 3-9 season could spell the end of Quinn’s tenure with the Bulls, but there are reasons to believe Buffalo could be better in 2012. Running back Braden Oliver should be the MAC’s leading rusher and seven starters are back on defense. If Quinn can get Buffalo to four or five wins this year, he should be safe and easily move off this list for 2013. 

8. David Bailiff, Rice (23-38, 5 years)
Bailiff has experienced some high points during his career, but has mostly been a .500 or worse coach. He led Texas State to a 5-6 record in 2004 and followed that up with an 11-3 record in 2005. Despite a 5-6 mark with the Bobcats in 2006, he was hired to follow Todd Graham at Rice. Bailiff went 3-9 in his first year with the Owls, but posted an impressive 10-3 mark in 2008. However, the last three years have been mediocre, as Rice is just 10-26 during that span. Unless Bailiff shows progress, the Owls will likely have a new coach roaming the sidelines in 2012.

9. Curtis Johnson, Tulane (First Year)
With its last winning season in 2002, the Green Wave is desperately needs a shot of energy and someone who can rebuild Tulane into a consistent bowl team. Johnson brings some positives to Tulane, as he is a native of New Orleans and is regarded as a good recruiter. However, Johnson has never been a head coach or coordinator and his last stop in college was in 2005 with Miami. Just like Carl Pelini, it’s hard to judge anyone that has yet to coach a game. However, Johnson’s resume leaves a lot to be desired and plenty of doubts about whether he can rebuild Tulane.

10. Norm Chow, Hawaii (First Year)
Chow is a well-respected assistant, and is returning home to Hawaii as the Warriors make the jump from the WAC to the Mountain West. However, his offenses the last few years have been so-so, especially as his style and scheme did not mix with UCLA and Rick Neuheisel’s pistol attack. The biggest question surrounding Chow is why he is getting his first head coaching opportunity at age 65. Chow’s background makes him a perfect fit at Hawaii, but this being his first head coaching opportunity this late in his career is certainly troubling.

Ranking the Coaches: Top 25 Nationally
Ranking the Coaches: ACC
Ranking the Coaches: Big East
Ranking the Coaches: Pac-12
Ranking the Coaches: Big 12
Ranking the Coaches: Big Ten
Ranking the Coaches: SEC

<p> Athlon ranks the 10 worst coaches in college football.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 04:19
Path: /college-football/big-12-football-2012-all-conference-team-2

The 2012 college football season is just around the corner, and Athlon continues its countdown to kickoff with a look at our first, second and third All-Big 12 teams for this season.

Related: Athlon All-Big 12 Team As Recruits

Athlon's 2012 All-Big 12 Team

First-Team Offense

QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

RB Malcolm Brown, Texas

RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State

WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

WR Stedman Bailey, West Virginia

WR Kenny Stills, Oklahoma

C Joe Madsen, West Virginia

OL Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma

OL Cyril Richardson, Baylor

OL Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State

OL LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech

First-Team Defense

DL Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

DL Stansly Maponga, TCU

DL Alex Okafor, Texas

LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State

LB Jordan Hicks, Texas

LB A.J. Klein, Iowa State

LB Jake Knott, Iowa State

CB Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State

CB Quandre Diggs, Texas

S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas


First-Team Specialists

K Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State

P Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State

KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

PR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Big 12 Team

  First Second Third Overall
Baylor 1 3 2 6
Iowa State 2 1 0 3
Kansas 0 2 2 4
Kansas State 2 3 3 8
Oklahoma 3 8 4 15
Oklahoma State 5 1 6 12
TCU 1 2 3 6
Texas 6 2 4 12
Texas Tech 1 2 0 3
West Virginia 5 2 2 9

Second-Team Offense

QB Collin Klein, Kansas State

RB Eric Stephens, Texas Tech

RB Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma

WR Josh Boyce, TCU

WR Darrin Moore, Texas Tech

WR Terrance Williams, Baylor

C Ivory Wade, Baylor

OL Tyler Evans, Oklahoma

OL Blaize Foltz, TCU

OL Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas

OL Mason Walters, Texas

Second-Team Defense

DL David King, Oklahoma

DL Toben Opurum, Kansas

DL R.J. Washington, Oklahoma

DL Meshak Williams, Kansas State

LB Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State

LB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma

LB Tom Wort, Oklahoma

CB Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma

CB Nigel Malone, Kansas State

S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

S Terence Garvin, West Virginia

Second-Team Specialists

K Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma

P Kirby Van Der Camp, Iowa State

KR Tavon Austin, West Virginia

PR Quandre Diggs, Texas


Third-Team Offense

QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma

RB Waymon James, TCU

RB Trey Millard, Oklahoma

WR Tracy Moore, Oklahoma State

WR Tevin Reese, Baylor

WR Jaxon Shipley, Texas

C BJ Finney, Kansas State

OL Jeff Braun, West Virginia

OL Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

OL Nick Puetz, Kansas State

OL Duane Zlatnik, Kansas


Third-Team Defense

DL Will Clarke, West Virginia

DL Ashton Dorsey, Texas

DL Vai Lutui, Kansas State

DL Nigel Nicholas, Oklahoma State

LB Kenny Cain, TCU

LB Steve Edmond, Texas

LB Alex Elkins, Oklahoma State

CB Carrington Byndom, Texas

CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

S Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State

S Bradley McDougald, Kansas


Third-Team Specialists

K Aaron Jones, Baylor

P Tress Way, Oklahoma

KR Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

PR Brandon Carter, TCU


ALSO CHECK OUT Big 12 2012 All-Conference Team As Recruits

Athlon's 2012 Big 12 Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Big 12 Predictions

Baylor Oklahoma State
Iowa State TCU
Kansas Texas
Kansas State Texas Tech
Oklahoma West Virginia

<p> 2012 Big 12 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 06:01
Path: /college-football/sun-belt-football-2012-predictions

With the defections in the WAC, the Sun Belt is no longer college football’s worst conference. The addition of South Alabama brings the Sun Belt to 10 football members for 2013, and this conference will undergo a bit of a makeover next year, as North Texas and FIU will be moving to Conference USA, with Texas State and Georgia State picked as replacements.

Arkansas State will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch outside of the BCS. Former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is taking over as head coach, and has the perfect triggerman for his spread attack in quarterback Ryan Aplin. The senior should post monster numbers under Malzahn’s watch, but the Red Wolves have to replace two all-conference performers on the line. The defense also suffered some key departures, as seven starters are gone from last season’s unit.

Arkansas State is Athlon’s projected Sun Belt champion for 2012, but FIU and Louisiana-Lafayette aren’t far behind. The Golden Panthers must replace quarterback Wesley Carroll and receiver T.Y. Hilton, but should have the Sun Belt’s best defense. Mark Hudspeth proved to be a terrific hire for Louisiana-Lafayette last year, and the Ragin’ Cajuns will be in the mix to earn another bowl trip.

There’s a drop off after the top three teams in the projected standings, but Louisiana-Monroe, Western Kentucky, North Texas and Troy are all capable of pushing for a fourth-place finish and a winning record. The Warhawks are led by junior quarterback Kolton Browning, who should be healthy after dealing with a sternum injury most of the 2011 season. The Hilltoppers are on the rise, but must replace star running back Bobby Rainey. The Mean Green is in a similar position to Western Kentucky, as they have to replace running back Lance Dunbar, but should have an improved passing attack in 2012. Troy was the conference’s biggest disappointment last year and need a big year from quarterback Corey Robinson to get back in the mix for the conference title.

MTSU has watch its win total decline over the last two years, and the pressure is starting to build on coach Rick Stockstill. Only eight starters return, but quarterback Logan Kilgore will be surrounded by a handful of playmakers. The Blue Raiders struggled on defense last season and brought in former Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix to help solve some of the problems.

FAU and South Alabama are expected to finish at the bottom of the conference in 2012. Legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger retired at the end of 2011, and the school picked Nebraska assistant Carl Pelini to be its next head coach. Pelini is a curious fit at FAU and will have his hands full with an offense that averaged just 248.8 yards per game last year. South Alabama is one of four new FBS teams this season and has recorded an impressive 23-4 record in three seasons under coach Joey Jones.

Athlon's 2012 Sun Belt Team Previews

Arkansas State MTSU
FAU North Texas
FIU South Alabama
Louisiana-Lafayette Troy
Louisiana-Monroe Western Kentucky

<p> Sun Belt Football 2012 predictions.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 04:04