Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/stanford-cardinal-vs-oregon-state-beavers-2013-preview-and-prediction

Oregon is considered a heavy favorite to win the Pac-12 North, but Stanford and Oregon State are still in the mix. The Cardinal’s national title hopes took a hit with a loss to Utah on Oct. 12, while the Beavers are still trying to recover in the polls from a defeat to Eastern Washington in the season opener.

It’s probably too early to say this is an elimination game for the North Division, but Stanford cannot afford another loss. The Cardinal had some help in the national title picture with an array of upsets last week. However, winning the Pac-12 and playing in a BCS bowl appears to be the more attainable goal.

Stanford has won four out of the last five meetings in this series. Oregon State’s last victory against the Cardinal came in 2009, winning a 36-28 matchup in Corvallis. 

Stanford at Oregon State

Kickoff: 10:30 ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Stanford -4

Three Things to Watch

Mannion to Cooks
What a difference a couple of months can make. Oregon State’s Sean Mannion wasn’t guaranteed to be the No. 1 quarterback in fall practice, but the junior leads the nation with an average of 427.4 passing yards per game. Mannion has just three interceptions and is completing 68.6 percent of his throws. His favorite target is Brandin Cooks, who has 76 receptions for 1,176 yards and 12 scores this year. Cooks and Mannion have been two of college football’s top players through the first half of the season, but Stanford’s defense will be their toughest opponent of 2013. The Cardinal rank sixth in the Pac-12 in pass defense efficiency, but this group is loaded with talent. Alex Carter and Wayne Lyons form a solid pair at cornerback, while safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards both have All-American potential. Richards has three picks this season, and Reynolds ranks second on the team with 50 stops. Can Cooks and Mannion be stopped? If any defense can find an answer for this duo, it should be the Cardinal, especially with a pass rush that has generated 19 sacks in 2013.

Oregon State’s rushing attack
With a prolific passing attack, Oregon State’s struggles on the ground have been overlooked. However, the numbers aren’t pretty. The Beavers are averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and 86 yards per game in Pac-12 games. Running back Storm Woods finished 2012 with 940 yards and 13 touchdowns, but the sophomore has just 193 yards in 2013. Although quarterback Sean Mannion has been sharp through the first seven games, Oregon State needs to have some balance to beat Stanford. But that’s easier said than done against the Cardinal, who leads the Pac-12 in rush defense at 99 yards per game in conference-only contests. One wildcard to watch: Keep an eye on Woods on swing passes out of the backfield.

Stanford’s offensive line
The Cardinal has one of the best offensive lines in the nation, and this unit will be under the microscope on Saturday night. Oregon State’s defense has improved since allowing 46 points to Eastern Washington in the opener, but the Beavers are still susceptible to the run. Utah gashed Oregon State for 260 yards and Stanford is averaging 4.8 yards per attempt. The Cardinal’s defense can hold their own against anyone in the nation but having a good offense – especially one that can play keep-away – could be the key to stopping Mannion and Cooks. If Stanford is able to get running back Tyler Gaffney going early on, it could be a long night for Oregon State's front seven.

Key Player: Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
In Stanford’s 27-21 loss to Utah, Hogan completed 15 of 27 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown. That performance is certainly enough to win most Pac-12 games, especially with the strength of Stanford’s defense. However, Oregon State’s offense has been on fire this year. A 45-41 shootout seems unlikely, but if the Beavers’ connection of Mannion to Cooks gets on track, Hogan’s play could be the difference between a Stanford win or second Pac-12 loss.

Final Analysis

If Oregon State knocks off Stanford, the Beavers could be 10-1 heading into the season finale at Oregon. However, the Cardinal is the better team and should leave Corvallis with the victory. Stanford’s balance on offense should be the difference in the game, while the defense does just enough to keep Mannion and Cooks below their season averages.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Oregon State 27

Stanford Cardinal vs. Oregon State Beavers 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/missouri-tigers-vs-south-carolina-gamecocks-2013-preview-and-prediction

In the preseason, Missouri-South Carolina appeared to be just a typical SEC contest. There was some upset talk surrounding this game, especially since this was slated to be the Gamecocks’ third consecutive road test. But fast forward to October, and the storylines have changed dramatically.

Missouri has quickly erased any bad feelings from last year’s 5-7 mark. The Tigers have a two-game lead on the rest of the division and with a matchup against 1-6 Kentucky still to come, Missouri can essentially clinch the SEC East with a win on Saturday.

Since the Tigers already have wins over Georgia and Florida, South Carolina might be the only team with a realistic shot at knocking Missouri from the top spot in the East. However, the Gamecocks’ division title hopes took a huge hit in last week’s loss to Tennessee. If South Carolina loses in Columbia on Saturday night, its hopes of winning the East Division are essentially finished.

These two teams have met only three times. Missouri owns a 2-1 series edge, but South Carolina has claimed the only victory as SEC opponents.

South Carolina at Missouri

Kickoff: 7 ET
TV Channel: ESPN 2
Spread: Missouri -2.5

Three Things to Watch

Backup Quarterbacks
Injuries have wrecked havoc on quarterbacks in the SEC East. After Saturday, only one team (Georgia) will have started the same player under center all year. With James Franklin sidelined indefinitely, redshirt freshman Maty Mauk will make his second start for Missouri. Against Florida last week, Mauk completed 18 of 36 passes for 295 yards and one touchdown. Florida’s defense is slightly better than South Carolina in terms of allowed yardage per game, but the Gamecocks lead the SEC in pass defense (conference games only). With Connor Shaw nursing an injured knee, Dylan Thompson will make his third career start for South Carolina. Last season, Thompson threw for 1,027 yards and 10 touchdowns in 11 appearances. Both quarterbacks will be under the microscope on Saturday night. With very little separating these two teams, any mistake will be magnified. Will it be Thompson or Mauk that delivers with a better performance?

South Carolina’s Offensive Line vs. Missouri’s Defensive Line
Missouri’s defensive line has been one of the biggest surprises in the SEC this year. After losing tackle Sheldon Richardson to the NFL, most preseason rankings had the Tigers’ line pegged for the bottom of the conference. However, behind the direction of line coach Craig Kuligowski, Missouri has been one of the SEC’s best in the trenches. The Tigers are allowing just 117.7 yards per game on the ground in SEC play, and opponents have scored just three rushing scores. Missouri also has 15 sacks against conference foes. End Michael Sam was a midseason All-American, and there’s plenty of depth and talent at the other three spots. Quality line play is always a priority in the SEC, but with both teams starting backup quarterbacks, it’s takes on even more importance this Saturday. South Carolina’s Dylan Thompson doesn’t have Connor Shaw’s mobility, and the Gamecocks need to give the junior time to throw and test a Missouri secondary that may not have standout cornerback E.J. Gaines. In addition to giving Thompson time to throw, South Carolina’s ground attack could be the difference in this game. Running back Mike Davis averages 119.4 yards per game  in 2013, but the Tigers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since the season opener. The Gamecocks’ front five averages 322.4 pounds a player, and the matchup against Missouri’s athletic, quick line will be the toughest test (so far) of 2013.

Jadeveon Clowney
Clowney is arguably the most-talented player in college football. However, the junior got off to a slow start in 2013, as injuries sidetracked his season. But in last week’s game against Tennessee, Clowney looked like the player everyone expected to see in the preseason, as he recorded five tackles, with 2.5 going for a loss. Was last Saturday’s performance the start of a strong second half for Clowney? He dominated the Missouri line for two sacks and four tackles last season, and a similar game could be enough for the Gamecocks to win.

Key Player: Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
Anytime a team has to turn to a backup quarterback, the immediate focus shifts to the running backs and offensive line to pickup the slack. Missouri has three running backs over 350 yards this season, but Josey leads the team with 494 yards. The junior missed all of 2012 recovering from a serious knee injury, but Josey hasn’t missed a beat, averaging six yards a carry on 83 attempts. Even though Mauk impressed in his first start last week, the Tigers need to have balance against a solid South Carolina defense.

Final Analysis

This matchup is a tossup. Missouri is one step away from essentially clinching the SEC East, while South Carolina desperately needs a win to keep its division title hopes alive. Mauk and Thompson are plenty capable, but turnovers and the supporting cast may have a bigger impact on the outcome. Running back Mike Davis should be the difference in this game for the Gamecocks, which finds a way to win a close matchup that should be decided in the final minutes.

Prediction: South Carolina 27, Missouri 24

Missouri Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/missouri-or-auburn-which-team-biggest-surprise-sec-2013

In the preseason, Missouri and Auburn were picked as borderline bowl teams. Missouri was coming off a 5-7 record last year, while Auburn went 3-9 in 2012 and had an offseason coaching change.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel was also tabbed for the hot seat after last year, but the Tigers are a surprising 7-0 and are the favorite to win the SEC East in 2013. Even though quarterback James Franklin was sidelined due to a shoulder injury, the offense hasn’t missed a beat under redshirt freshman Maty Mauk.

New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has made an immediate impact on the offense, as the Tigers average 494.3 yards per game and have scored at least 20 points in every contest this year.

With both teams poised to contend for a double-digit win total, Missouri and Auburn are two of the biggest surprise teams in college football for 2013. 

Missouri or Auburn: Which Team is the Biggest Surprise in the SEC in 2013?

Steven Lassan ()
This is a tough call, but I’d give a slight edge to Missouri. I thought Auburn had the talent in place to rebound back to a six or seven-win season. With Gus Malzahn returning to campus, and both sides of the ball possessing a ton of talent from top-15 recruiting classes, a bowl game and finishing fourth or fifth in the SEC West wasn’t out of the question. Missouri was a tougher team to get a read on in the preseason. Coach Gary Pinkel was tabbed for the hot seat, and the Tigers had a handful of key injuries that played a role in the 5-7 record from 2012. Although I expected Missouri to be better, I thought the projected win ceiling was lower than it was at Auburn. Regardless of how this season ends for Missouri, Pinkel deserves a lot of credit for getting the program back on track and showing Missouri can compete (and win) in the SEC.

David Fox ()
I’d still have to say Missouri. The Tigers are a win over South Carolina away from all but clinching the SEC East. That says as much about the SEC East and its injury issues than anything. But when Missouri entered the SEC, the Tigers never looked like a program that could win an SEC division at any time in the foreseeable future, much less in Year 2. This was a program that had to wait until it beat Kentucky to sell T-shirts celebrating its first SEC win. Missouri is not only sailing past the field in the SEC East, it’s doing so convincingly. The Tigers have a defense this season that is as good as any in the league. And it’s offense, with or without James Franklin, has been prolific. Auburn, more often than not, was going to have a competitive team in the SEC, even if this year’s turnaround is a surprise. I had misgivings about Missouri being able to say the same. At least this season, Missouri has proven doubters like me wrong.

Braden Gall ()
Both teams control their own destiny in their respective divisions and could meet in the SEC title game. And while it is shocking to see the Mizzou defensive line play so well without NFL star and first-round pick Sheldon Richardson, it's the Yellowhammer Tigers that have to be considered the bigger surprise. Historic injuries have only weakened the already inferior SEC East and Gary Pinkel is an established coach with an established program. Gus Malzahn is a first-year coach with a first-year quarterback in much tougher division taking over a program that was winless in the SEC last year. Both may lose games down the stretch but Auburn has been and likely will continue to be the much bigger surprise. At least, until the Iron Bowl.

Josh Ward, (), 
It has to be Missouri. The Tigers entered the season picked by the media to finish sixth in the SEC East. Reaching a bowl game would have been considered a successful season by most outsiders. Instead, Missouri has an undefeated record and two-game lead in the division after its first seven games. The Tigers have proven many doubters wrong. Just four weeks ago, several participants on an Athlon Sports roundtable – this writer included – denied Missouri was a contender in the SEC. The Tigers might not win their division, but they are certainly a contender to do so. Missouri’s offense has legitimate playmakers and its defense is disruptive. That doesn’t take away from Auburn’s 6-1 start. The Tigers have been terrific under first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, and last week’s win at Texas A&M provided a huge boost for the program. But Auburn was a popular pick to take a step forward this season. No one predicted Missouri would be ranked in the top five of the initial BCS standings. That’s where the Tigers find themselves heading into a big game against South Carolina.

Mark Ross
While Missouri has certainly earned my respect in getting off to a 7-0 start, I'm going to pick the Tigers that call the SEC West home, and no I don't mean LSU. What Gus Malzahn has done in his first season back on the Plains is nothing short of miraculous. Auburn won three games in 2012, and one of those was against a FCS team. Last season's Tigers barely managed 300 yards of offense a game. This season, with pretty much the same roster, they are averaging that many on the ground alone (300.5 rushing yards per game). The offense has done a complete 180, while the defense has played very well in its own right. The end result, bowl eligibility before the final game of October with a realistic shot at reversing 2012's 3-9 mark. In fact, if Auburn maintains its level of play it could enter the Iron Bowl against Alabama the final Saturday in November with a spot in the SEC Championship game on the line. While Missouri has just about clinched the SEC East title and has looked quite impressive in the process, those Tigers went 2-6 in conference play last season. The fact that Auburn could possibly go from 0-8 in the nation's toughest conference one season to dethroning Alabama the next is something that no one, including the most die-hard of Tiger fans, probably even dreamed of this year

Stephen Schindler ()
Auburn has the biggest surprise win, beating Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M at Kyle Field last week; however, the Missouri Tigers are the surprise team in the SEC. Last year, the Tigers finished 5-7, with just two SEC victories over Kentucky and Tennessee. They appeared overmatched in a superior conference, and Gary Pinkel was firmly on the hot seat coming into this year. While I didn’t think it would happen so fast, I knew the hiring of Gus Malzahn would lead to large improvements for Auburn. I don’t think many people thought a big improvement was in the cards for Missouri this year. James Franklin has had a resurgent year after a down 2012, and the defense looks fierce with Michael Sam terrorizing quarterbacks. Perhaps even more shocking is Missouri’s success without Franklin, as they look impressive with freshman Maty Mauk under center. If the Tigers can take down South Carolina on Saturday, the 8-0 start would best Pinkel’s 7-0 start with his 2010 Missouri team.

Missouri or Auburn: Which Team is the Biggest Surprise in the SEC in 2013?
Post date: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-2013-midseason-all-america-team

The 2013 college football season features an awkward 15 week schedule, which creates a few scheduling headaches for some teams.

Some programs – Florida State and Baylor – have played just six games. However, Missouri, Oregon, Alabama, Texas Tech and Ohio State have all played seven games. And winless Western Michigan has already played in eight contests.

So with no clear midpoint of the season, Athlon Sports waited a week after most midseason All-America teams circulated to give all teams a chance to play six games.

As expected, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is the top quarterback, but Florida State redshirt freshman Jameis Winston closed the gap with an impressive performance against Clemson.

While Mariota was a clear No. 1 selection at quarterback, some positions – wide receiver, defensive end, linebacker and safety – were more difficult to select the top players from.

College Football's 2013 Midseason All-America Team

 First TeamSecond Team
QBMarcus Mariota, Oregon Jameis Winston, Florida State
RBMelvin Gordon, Wisconsin Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
RBLache Seastrunk, BaylorMike Davis, South Carolina
WRBrandin Cooks, Oregon StateJordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
WRMike Evans, Texas A&MAllen Robinson, Penn State
TEJace Amaro, Texas TechEric Ebron, North Carolina
CHroniss Grasu, OregonGabe Ikard, Oklahoma
GCyril Richardson, BaylorGabe Jackson, Miss. State
GDavid Yankey, StanfordXavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
TJake Matthews, Texas A&MTyler Johnstone, Oregon
TCyrus Kouandjio, AlabamaJack Mewhort, Ohio State
DEVic Beasley, ClemsonShilique Calhoun, Michigan State
DEMichael Sam, MissouriLorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
DTAaron Donald, PittsburghDerrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech
DTLeonard Williams, USCTimmy Jernigan, Florida State
LBAnthony Barr, UCLAChris Borland, Wisconsin
LBC.J. Mosley, AlabamaKhalil Mack, Buffalo
LBKyle Van Noy, BYURyan Shazier, Ohio State
CBJason Verrett, TCUKyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
CBIfo Ekpre-Olomu, OregonLamarcus Joyner, Florida State
SDeone Bucannon, Wash. StateJimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
SCalvin Pryor, LouisvilleEd Reynolds, Stanford
Special Teams 
KMichael Hunnicutt, OklahomaAndy Phillips, Utah
PKirby Van Der Camp, Iowa StateZac Murphy, Miami (Ohio)
KRTy Montgomery, StanfordDuke Johnson, Miami
PRKevonte Martin-Manley, IowaBralon Addison, Oregon


College Football's 2013 Midseason All-America Team
Post date: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-october-24

Gearing up for another busy week of college football action...

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Thursday, October 24th

Vanderbilt will turn to at quarterback against Texas A&M with Austyn Carta-Samuels injured.

gets highlighted for his standout performance against Clemson.

The injuries are beginning to add up at USC: are done for the year.

A good read from Lost Lettermen:

What makes ? Here's a good breakdown from SB Nation's Football Study Hall.

Good reads from and on Louisville's decision to keep assistant Clint Hurtt. 

has been suspended indefinitely.

is out indefinitely with a back injury.

is slated to return to the lineup against Duke.

into assistant Joe DeForest after Sports Illustrated's story detailed possible infractions during his tenure at Oklahoma State. 

Why is not on the Mackey Award watchlist?

Here's a breakdown of - and it's not pretty.

is doubtful to play in Saturday's game against Nevada.

is out for the year after suffering an ACL tear against Michigan.

College Football's Link Roundup: October 24
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 14:59
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-week-9-upset-predictions

The final weekend of college football action in October is upon us, which means the 2013 season is about to enter the home stretch.

Conference play is in full swing, and as last week in the SEC showed, upsets can happen at any moment.

Athlon’s editors are back with another edition of the upset picks, and there are plenty of teams on alert this week.

Utah, Oregon State and Texas are underdogs this week, but are three popular upset selections.

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

Week 9 Previews and Predictions:   |  |  | 

College Football Week 9 Upset Predictions

Steven Lassan (): Utah (+6.5) over USC
Both teams enter this matchup with key injuries, so a low-scoring, ugly game isn't out of the question on Saturday. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson suffered a hand injury against Arizona last week but is expected to play against the Trojans. But the picture isn’t so promising in Los Angeles. USC’s injury report is lengthy, and the roster is simply depleted this week. Receiver Marqise Lee is nursing a knee injury and is questionable to play. Running back Justin Davis and linebacker Lamar Dawson are out for the year, while all three scholarship tight ends are injured and may not suit up against Utah. While both teams are dealing with injuries, USC’s problems are clearly more severe than the Utes. Even though Utah is 1-5 in its last six Pac-12 road games, with the Trojans dealing with a myriad of injuries and a struggling offense, the Utes’ defense should do just enough for Kyle Whittingham’s team to earn their fifth win of the season.

Braden Gall (): Oregon State (+4.5) over Stanford
The Beavers lost an emotion, physical battle with the Cardinal 27-23 in Palo Alto last season. Sean Mannion didn't play in that game other than one late fourth-quarter pass attempt, so this bout should look much different. The Cardinal are coming off a dominating performance over the UCLA Bruins at home, but Mannion is playing at an elite level and is at home. The Beavers have won six straight and have been blowing teams out by 30 and 40 points. Without a bizarre first week loss to Eastern Washington, this game might be viewed totally differently by the Vegas oddsmakers. This will be a test of strength (Stanford's front seven) on strength (Oregon State's dynamic passing attack) and the Corvallis crowd might play the deciding factor. Give me the Beavers.

David Fox (): Texas (+2) over TCU
Case McCoy joked this week that Texas is a favorite of TCU because of him. At least the younger McCoy has a self-deprecating sense of humor. As bad as Texas was early in the season, TCU has been almost as bad this year, only TCU’s offense has been as ineffective as the Longhorns’ defense was in September. TCU is averaging 4.5 points in the first half against FBS teams in 2013. The only teams worse? UMass and Georgia State, teams that have one win between them. The Horned Frogs’ defense is about where it was the last two seasons (but nowhere near where it was during the BCS runs). Still, Texas has improved enough since early in the season I’m willing to trust the Longhorns on the road against a halfway decent defense.

Mark Ross: Wyoming (+7) over San Jose State
These two teams are similar in many ways, as both have the same conference record (2-1) and are very close in several different statistical categories. Two departments in which Wyoming does have the edge over San Jose State, however, is scoring (35.4 to 24.0 ppg) and running the ball (202.7 to 119.7 ypg). The Spartans have fared better in stopping the run, but the Cowboys boast the Mountain West Conference's top pass defense. Wyoming is coming off a bad home loss to Colorado State last week, while San Jose State was on bye, but I still like the Cowboys on the road. Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith is among the most productive dual threats in the country, and I think he will be too much for the Spartans to handle, while the Cowboys' defense is able to limit the damage SJSU quarterback David Fales does through the air.

Stephen Schindler (): Boston College (+7) over North Carolina
It’s hard to see how a 3-3 Boston College team is an underdog to a 1-5 Tar Heels squad that has only beaten Middle Tennessee. The Golden Eagles’ three losses are against USC, Clemson and Florida State. They only lost to the Seminoles and Tigers by an average of just 11 points. The North Carolina defense allows over 30 points per game, while the offense has struggled to consistently run the ball. In a matchup of senior quarterbacks, I actually like Chase Rettig to play a cleaner game than Bryn Renner thanks to a superior rushing attack. Boston College RB Andre Williams, who is eighth in the country with 838 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the season, is the key to this game. Steve Addazio has brought a fresh energy to Chestnut Hill and should improve to 2-2 in ACC play.

2013 College Football Week 8 Upset Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:23
Path: /college-football/2013-acc-week-9-preview-and-predictions

After a week in the spotlight for the anticipated Florida State-Clemson matchup, the ACC lacks a marquee game for Week 9.

Florida State ranks No. 2 in the first release of the BCS standings, and the Seminoles look to stay unbeaten with NC State coming to Tallahassee this Saturday. The Wolfpack upset Florida State last season, but it seems unlikely NC State will make it two in a row.

Clemson looks to get back on track, traveling to College Park to take on Maryland for the final time as an ACC opponent. The Terrapins are reeling after back-to-back losses and have a plethora of injuries on both sides of the ball.

In a week without a game drawing national interest, matchups like Boston College-North Carolina and Duke-Virginia Tech get the nod as the top contests for Week 9. While neither will register on the national radar, there is some intrigue within the conference. The Blue Devils’ offense will give the Hokies a battle on defense. And the Boston College-North Carolina game is huge for both program’s bowl hopes.

Week 9 Previews and Predictions:  |  |  | 

ACC Week 9 Game Power Rankings

1. Boston College (+7) at North Carolina (3:30 ET, ACC RSN)
With a light week of action in the ACC, there’s not an easy pick for the No. 1 must-see game. However, this battle in Chapel Hill is crucial for both teams, as the jockeying for bowl positioning is underway. Boston College has made significant progress under first-year coach Steve Addazio, already surpassing last year’s win total (2) with three wins, and close losses to Clemson and Florida State. The Eagles have not defeated North Carolina since joining the ACC, and this is only the seventh meeting between these two schools. The Tar Heels nearly upset Miami last week, but coach Larry Fedora’s team is desperately in need of a win, as a 1-5 start has this team in danger of missing out on the postseason. North Carolina’s rush defense ranks last in the ACC (203.3 ypg) and will be challenged by Boston College running back Andre Williams, who leads the ACC with an average of 139.7 yards per game. The Tar Heels aren’t as explosive on offense as they were last season, but the emergence of freshman running back T.J. Logan should help this unit establish more balance. On paper, North Carolina’s offense should move the ball against Boston College’s defense, which is allowing 425.5 yards per game. However, the Eagles’ numbers are slightly skewed on defense after playing the ACC’s best offenses in Clemson and Florida State.

2. Duke (+13.5) at Virginia Tech (3:30 ET, ESPNU)
The Blue Devils enter Saturday’s contest against Virginia Tech riding a three-game winning streak. While Navy, Troy and Virginia certainly isn’t the toughest of schedules, Duke is one win away from securing its sixth win and likely back-to-back bowl trips for the first time in school history. But the Blue Devils may have to wait a week on their sixth victory, especially since they have never won in Blacksburg and five of the last six losses at Virginia Tech have been by 20 or more points. The Hokies aren’t setting the world on fire on offense, but quarterback Logan Thomas has not tossed an interception in three games and is completing 65.5 percent of his passes in ACC contests. Thomas faces a Duke defense allowing 383.1 yards per game (5.3 yards per play) and has held opponents to only 216.3 passing yards a contest. While the yardage totals indicate a struggling defense, the Blue Devils have stepped up in the second half the last two weeks, as they held Navy and Virginia without a point the final two quarters. Duke does most of its damage through the air with quarterback Anthony Boone, but an offensive line that has allowed just nine sacks deserves credit. Virginia Tech’s defense might be the best in the nation, and its secondary is expected to regain the services of cornerback Antone Exum, who has missed all of 2013 recovering from a torn ACL.

3. Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Navy (1 ET, CBS Sports Network)
Playing an option team with a week to prepare is no easy assignment, but Saturday’s trip to Annapolis could work out for Pittsburgh, especially with a conference game against Georgia Tech in Week 10. The Panthers struggled to put away Old Dominion last week, eventually winning 35-24. Injuries to running back James Conner and receiver Devin Street prevented both players from suiting up, but both are expected to return to the lineup against the Midshipmen. Navy already played one ACC opponent this season, losing 35-7 to Duke on Oct. 12. Pittsburgh’s rush defense ranks fifth in the ACC against the run, allowing just 3.8 yards per attempt and 136 yards per game. The Panthers have not played an option team since 2009, so there will be an adjustment period for this defense. Assuming Street and Conner are healthy, the Panthers should have no trouble moving the ball against Navy’s defense. The Midshipmen’s secondary is allowing 204.7 yards per game. However, against BCS competition (Indiana and Duke), Navy allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 63 of 82 throws for 658 yards and seven touchdowns. Pittsburgh’s best strategy is to score early and force the Midshipmen out of their element on offense.

4. Clemson (-14) at Maryland (3:30 ET, ESPN)
A week after a blowout loss to Florida State, Clemson heads to College Park looking to get back on track. Although the Tigers need a lot of help to win the Atlantic Division, a BCS bowl as an at-large selection is still within reach. In order for that to happen, Clemson has to win out. Three weeks ago, Maryland appeared to be the No. 3 team in the Atlantic Division. But injuries have decimated this team on both sides of the ball, with receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long suffering season-ending injuries in last week’s loss to Wake Forest. Quarterback play is also a concern for the Terrapins, as C.J. Brown was pulled last Saturday due to injury, and the junior has struggled in his last two outings (21 of 38, 219 yards and two picks). If Brown struggles or can’t go due to injury, backup Caleb Rowe is a capable option. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is coming off one of the worst performances in his career, as Florida State’s defense held the senior to just 156 passing yards, 45.9 completion percentage and forced two interceptions. Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins should find Maryland’s defense more accommodating, especially with the Terrapins down both starting cornerbacks from their preseason depth chart. 

5. NC State (+31.5) at Florida State (3:30 ET, ABC/ESPN2)
After a huge road win over Clemson, it’s easy to pencil Saturday’s matchup against NC State as a trap game for the Seminoles. But there’s a different feeling surrounding Florida State this year. The Seminoles ranked No. 2 in the first release of the BCS standings, and this team is on track to win the Atlantic Division and finish with an unbeaten record in the regular season. Revenge should be on the mind for Florida State against NC State, especially after the Wolfpack won 17-16 in Raleigh last year. NC State has won two out of the last three meetings in this series but has lost three in a row at Tallahassee. The Wolfpack will have some reinforcements for their struggling offense this week, as quarterback Brandon Mitchell is slated to return from a broken foot. Mitchell was injured against Louisiana Tech and has missed the last five games. The senior is the best fit for NC State’s spread attack, but rust is an issue since he has not played since August. While the offense has struggled, the Wolfpack’s defense has been respectable, allowing 17 touchdowns through six games. But Saturday’s game against Florida State will be NC State’s toughest challenge of the season, as stopping quarterback Jameis Winston and the Seminoles’ plethora of skill players is something no defense has been able to do. And as if Florida State needed any extra motivation to have a good showing, former coach Bobby Bowden will make his return to Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday. 

6. Wake Forest (+23) at Miami (12 ET, ESPNU)
With a showdown looming against Florida State next week, is Miami on upset alert against an improving Wake Forest team? The Demon Deacons started 2-3 but has rebounded with back-to-back ACC victories, including a 34-10 blowout over Maryland last Saturday. Quarterback Tanner Price has led the turnaround for Wake Forest, throwing for 499 yards and four touchdowns over his last two games, with only one interception. Miami’s defense has improved after a disastrous 2012 campaign, but the Hurricanes are still allowing 5.6 yards per play and have managed only four sacks in ACC games. Price and receiver Michael Campanaro need to have a big game for the Demon Deacons to hang around, especially with Wake Forest’s struggling ground game (69 yards per game in ACC play). Miami quarterback Stephen Morris is off to a slow start and has already surpassed his interception total (seven) from last year with eight picks in six games. The Hurricanes hold a talent edge on the Demon Deacons’ defense, but Wake Forest has allowed only one opponent (Clemson) to score more than 13 points in three out of its last four games. This will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2008, and the last two matchups in this series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

7. Georgia Tech (-10) at Virginia (12:30 ET, ACC)
With four straight losses, Virginia is looking for something positive. Georgia Tech snapped a three-game losing streak last week and needs to beat the Cavaliers to keep its faint ACC Coastal title hopes alive. Virginia has won eight out of the last nine matchups against Georgia Tech in Charlottesville, including a 24-21 victory in 2011. Stopping the run is always critical with a matchup against the Yellow Jackets, and the Cavaliers are allowing just 108 yards per game in ACC contests this season. But the defense is shorthanded this week, as defensive tackle Brent Urban is expected to sit out Saturday’s game due to a lower extremity injury. Without Urban, Virginia will have its hands full against Georgia Tech, who is averaging 305.2 rushing yards per game in conference play. As if the defensive concerns weren’t enough, the Cavaliers have struggled mightily on offense. After three ACC games, Virginia has scored just five touchdowns and ranks 11th in the conference with an average of 17 points a game. Quarterback David Watford has played better recently, but Georgia Tech’s defense has been stingy under the direction of new coordinator Ted Roof, with only one ACC opponent scoring more than 20 points against the Yellow Jackets in 2013.

ACC Week 9 Pivotal Players

Takoby Cofield/Laken Tomlinson, OL, Duke
The Blue Devils’ offensive line has made significant improvement over the last few years, and this unit is a big reason why Duke is likely headed for another postseason appearance in 2013. Cofield and Tomlinson are two of the key cogs, combining for 54 career starts. Virginia Tech has one of the nation’s best defensive lines, with potential all-conference selections at end (James Gayle and J.R. Collins) and at tackle (Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy). For Duke to have a chance at winning, the front five needs to give quarterback Anthony Boone time to throw, along with opening up lanes for the Blue Devils’ backfield. 

Levern Jacobs, WR, Maryland
With Stefon Diggs and Deon Long out for the rest of the season, Jacobs has to assume the No. 1 role in Maryland’s receiving corps. The sophomore ranks fourth on the team with 13 catches for 245 yards and one touchdown, and he will have a chance to improve on those numbers Saturday against Clemson’s secondary that allowed 444 passing yards to Florida State last week. The Tigers are thin on depth in the defensive backfield, and even with some uncertainty at quarterback, Jacobs has a chance to make plays against the Tigers.

Brandon Mitchell, QB, NC State
NC State is a longshot to win at Florida State on Saturday, but there’s hope behind Mitchell’s return under center. In the opener against Louisiana Tech, Mitchell completed all three of his passes for 93 yards and rushed for 19 yards on five attempts. However, the senior suffered a broken foot and missed the Wolfpack’s next five games. If NC State has any shot at winning, Mitchell has to have a mistake-free performance, while providing a spark on offense.

Nikita Whitlock, DT, Wake Forest
Miami’s offensive line has played a big role in the team’s 6-0 start. The front five has helped rushers average 5.7 yards per carry, and Miami quarterbacks have been sacked just five times. Led by Whitlock – one of the nation’s most underrated defenders – Wake Forest’s front seven has held its own this year. Opponents are averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, and the Demon Deacons have allowed only five rushing scores. Controlling the line of scrimmage will be critical to Wake Forest’s upset bid. Whitlock has 13.5 tackles for a loss and seven sacks this year and will face a strong interior line for Miami, which features guard Jon Feliciano and center Shane McDermott. If Whitlock has a strong showing, the Demon Deacons will have a chance to keep quarterback Stephen Morris and running back Duke Johnson in check.   

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
The ACC’s leading rusher has to be licking his chops for a chance at North Carolina’s defense. The Tar Heels rank last in the ACC against the run, and opponents are averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Williams leads the ACC in rushing and has at least 140 yards in two out of his last three games. Boston College is 0-2 away from Chestnut Hill, but with a struggling Tar Heel rush defense, Williams has a chance to carry the Eagles to their fourth win of the season. 

ACC Week 9 Predictions

GameDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Wake (+23) at MiamiMiami 35-10Miami 35-17Miami 38-17Miami 27-17
Ga. Tech (-10) at VirginiaGa. Tech 28-10Ga. Tech 31-21Ga. Tech 31-20Ga. Tech 34-21
Pittsburgh (-5.5) at NavyNavy 28-21Pitt 41-31Pitt 31-24Pitt 28-20
Clemson (-14) at MarylandClemson 42-21Clemson 42-14Clemson 41-17Clemson 34-14
Duke (+13.5) at Va. TechVa. Tech 38-14Va. Tech 27-10Va. Tech 30-13Va. Tech 27-7
NC State (+31.5) at Florida StateFSU 35-14FSU 34-17FSU 45-17FSU 41-17
Boston College (+7) at N. CarolinaUNC 24-17UNC 31-20UNC 27-24UNC 21-20
Final Record54-1455-1355-1357-11


2013 ACC Week 9 Preview and Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/oregon-or-florida-state-which-team-should-be-ranked-no-2

With the first release of the BCS standings, the debate over who should play in the national championship has already started.

Alabama is a clear No. 1 in the BCS standings, but Florida State and Oregon aren’t separated by much for the No. 2 spot. The Seminoles are No. 2 after destroying Clemson 51-14 last Saturday, but the Ducks have ground to gain in the computer polls.

A lot can happen in college football over the next seven weeks, so it’s no guarantee the Seminoles and Ducks finish unbeaten. However, if those two teams and Alabama have a perfect record in December, it will be an intriguing debate to see who plays in Pasadena in early January.

Oregon or Florida State: Which Team Should be Ranked No. 2 Behind Alabama?

Steven Lassan ()
I would give a slight edge to Florida State for the No. 2 spot – for now. The Seminoles’ win over Clemson on Saturday was the most-convincing victory over a top-10 team so far this year. Florida State is no longer rebuilding when personnel departs for the NFL, as the Seminoles have better depth than at any point under coach Jimbo Fisher. Quarterback Jameis Winston is outstanding, but the defense deserves some credit, especially with a new coordinator and seven new starters stepping into the lineup this year. If you throw out the FCS opponents both teams have played, Florida State’s opponents have a tougher win/loss record 21-12 to 18-24 for Oregon. However, the upcoming schedule favors the Ducks, as Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA should all be ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation when they play Oregon. The Seminoles still have to play Miami and could rematch against the Hurricanes or face Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship, but there’s not another likely top-25 matchup, and rival Florida is struggling just to get bowl eligible. I’m not a huge fan of the playoff, but it would be a shame to see Florida State or Oregon get left out of the picture if both finish unbeaten this year. As I mentioned previously, the edge at No. 2 for now needs to go to Florida State. But at the end of the year, if both teams are unbeaten, the resume favors the Ducks.

Braden Gall ()
Right now, it’s understandable that Florida State is No. 2 in the BCS, and a great debate could be had as to which team is more talented, better coached, etc. But if both teams run the table and win their conference championships, then the Oregon Ducks deserve to be ahead of the Seminoles in the final standings. The Ducks play a dramatically more difficult schedule as games with UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State, Utah and Arizona still remain, while Florida State has Miami and a reeling Florida team. The quarterbacks are comparable. The head coaches are comparable. The offensive numbers and margins of victory are comparable. But the strength of schedule is not even close. Oregon went on the road and beat ACC foe Virginia 59-10 in Week 2 and that might be the 11th toughest game the Ducks play this season. Florida State has six "Virginias" on its schedule by the name of Boston College, Wake Forest, Syracuse, NC State, Pitt and Maryland.

David Fox ()
I am going to do some major equivocating here. Florida State deserves to be No. 2 right now. However, if both teams remain undefeated, Oregon won’t just have a claim to being No. 2, but a legitimate claim for the top spot. If you’re asking which team is the better one, it’s impossible to know at this point of the season. Certainly, we’ve seen this nucleus at Oregon succeed over a longer period of time than the one at Florida State. I may pick Oregon on a neutral field. That said, Florida State has achieved more this season so far than Oregon. The schedules are comparable, if Florida State’s hasn’t been a bit tougher so far. The Clemson win alone was more impressive than any single win by a title contender against another good team that we’ve seen this season. As much as Jameis Winston deserves accolades, the defense was just as dominant on the road against the Tigers. Oregon was just as dominant against rival Washington on the road, but the Huskies haven’t distinguished themselves since. That said, Oregon over the final five games faces five teams ranked in the top 30 of Jeff Sagarin’s predictor rankings (i.e., the rankings taking margin of victory into account, not the ranking used in the BCS). Florida State faces three of those teams all year. Provided every possible undefeated team stays that way at the end of the year, Oregon deserves that No. 1 spot as much as any ... just not No. 2 as of Oct. 23.

Mark Ross
No team was more impressive this past weekend in college football than Florida State. The Seminoles, behind redshirt freshman sensation Jameis Winston, completely and utterly dominated the then-No. 3 ranked Tigers in Death Valley. That said, I would still side with Oregon for the No. 2 position behind Alabama because the Ducks have been just as dominant as the 'Noles, and I think, the Pac-12 conference, top-to-bottom, is better when compared to the ACC this season. As good as Jimbo Fisher's team looked this past Saturday, they got a bit of a scare at Boston College a few weeks ago, eventually pulling away in the second half for a 48-34 win. Oregon's smallest margin of victory so far has been a 21-point win at then-No. 16 Washington. There are a lot of similarities between both of these teams (Heisman-contending, dual-threat quarterbacks, explosive offenses, solid, all-around defenses), so I don't think you can go wrong with either team at No. 2. Still, if I had to cast my vote, I would take Mark Helfrich and his high-flying Ducks.

Oregon or Florida State: Which team should be ranked No. 2?
Post date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/grading-college-footballs-2013-first-year-coaches-after-week-8

With eight weeks of the 2013 college football season in the books, it’s time to take a look at the new coaches and how they have performed so far this year.

While every coach wants to win big in his first season, it’s just not possible with some programs. Roster turnover, change in schemes, coaching transition and a lack of talent are four reasons most programs struggle in the first year under a new coach.

And in looking at the 31 new hires for 2013, it’s clear this is not shaping up to be a banner season for first-year coaches.

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich and Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen are the top-four hires after eight weeks of the season. Helfrich and Kingsbury are unbeaten, while Malzahn’s only loss came at LSU, and Andersen has defeats to Arizona State and Ohio State.

After those four names, Boston College’s Steve Addazio and Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey are the next in the rankings, while Tennessee’s Butch Jones is rising after an upset win over South Carolina.

Athlon Sports will grade all of the new coaches at the end of the year, but for now, here’s a look at how all 31 new hires have performed so far in 2013.
Grading College Football's New Coach Hires for 2013 After Week 8

1Gus Malzahn




Auburn went 3-9 and was largely uncompetitive in SEC action last season. Malzahn has made a huge difference this year, as the Tigers have already won six games and could be 9-1 heading into rivalry contests against Georgia and Alabama. Auburn’s offense is one of the most improved units in the nation, averaging 35.9 points a game after mustering only 18.7 per contest in 2012. Malzahn inherited some nice talent, but he’s done a good job of blending the returning core with his up-tempo offense, along with breaking in a new quarterback in Nick Marshall. Auburn’s defense ranks 12th in yards allowed the SEC, but this unit has generated 19 sacks and is holding opponents to just 22 points a game.
2Kliff Kingsbury



The former Red Raider quarterback has returned to Lubbock, guiding Texas Tech to a 7-0 record and top-10 ranking in the first release of the BCS standings. Even though Kingsbury had no head coaching experience prior to this season, the 34-year-old head coach was the perfect hire for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders’ schedule will get tougher, starting on Saturday with a date at Oklahoma. But with Kingsbury (one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the nation), Texas Tech will be in the Big 12 title mix.
3Mark Helfrich



Chip who? The Ducks haven’t missed a beat with Helfrich in control, cruising to a 7-0 mark and spot among the top-three teams in the nation. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is the frontrunner to win the Heisman, and the offense has scored at least 40 points in every game in 2013. The biggest test of Helfrich’s tenure will come on Nov. 7, as Oregon travels to Stanford in a game that should decide the Pac-12 North champion. 
4Gary Andersen



Andersen inherited a program coming off three consecutive Rose Bowls, and the Badgers haven’t missed a beat under his watch. Wisconsin opened the year with blowout wins over UMass and Tennessee Tech and was robbed of a chance to win by poor officiating in the loss to Arizona State. The Badgers handled Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue in Big Ten play and only lost by seven to Ohio State. If Wisconsin wins out, Andersen’s first season could result in a BCS bowl.
5Steve Addazio



Addazio inherited a team that won just six games from 2011-12, but the Eagles have showed marked improvement in his first season. Boston College lost by only 14 to Florida State and by 10 to Clemson, and with a favorable schedule, the Eagles should make their first bowl appearance since the 2010 season. Addazio inherited a solid core of talent on offense, and running back Andre Williams ranks fifth nationally with an average of 139.7 yards per game. 
6Rod Carey



Carey stepped into a situation built for success, as the Huskies returned 10 starters – including standout quarterback Jordan Lynch – from last year’s team that finished 12-2 and played in the Orange Bowl. Northern Illinois is back in the mix for a BCS bowl once again, beating Iowa and Purdue in route to a 7-0 start. 
7Butch Jones



Even though Tennessee’s record is just 4-3, there are plenty of signs the program is on the right track. The Volunteers took Georgia to overtime on Oct. 5 and followed up that performance with an upset victory over South Carolina last Saturday. Tennessee’s offense is starting to show some signs of life, and the Volunteers rank second in the SEC with a +4 in turnover margin. The upcoming schedule isn’t easy, but Tennessee should play in a bowl this year.
8Mike MacIntyre



Colorado was downright awful last year. The Buffaloes lost to Sacramento State and had four defeats by 40 points or more. MacIntyre has made a big difference, as the Buffaloes have already won three games, which nearly exceeds the total this program had from 2011-12 (four). A bowl could be too much to ask for, but Colorado should be more competitive against its Pac-12 opponents than it was last season. 
9Bobby Petrino



Petrino’s first season at Western Kentucky started with a win over Kentucky, but the Hilltoppers lost their next two games, including a turnover-filled 52-20 defeat at Tennessee. Western Kentucky is 3-1 in its last four games and should be favored in its final five contests. After what transpired at Arkansas, a quiet start to the season isn’t a bad thing for Petrino.
10Tommy Tuberville



Tuberville was a nice catch for Cincinnati after Butch Jones left for Tennessee, and the veteran coach has the Bearcats positioned to finish with at least eight wins for the eighth time in nine seasons. Losing to Illinois and South Florida was surprising, but Cincinnati will likely be favored against SMU, Houston and Memphis, with games against Rutgers and Louisville presenting the biggest challenge the rest of the season. Tuberville’s first year with the Bearcats hasn’t received much national attention, but Cincinnati is quietly on its way to its seventh bowl game in eight years. 
11Matt Wells



With quarterback Chuckie Keeton lost for the season, it’s hard to give Wells a complete grade for his work through eight games. When Keeton was in the lineup, Utah State lost by four points to Utah and by three to USC, beat San Jose State by 28 points and Air Force by 32. With four winnable games to finish the year, Wells’ first season would be a success if he gets Utah State back to the postseason for the third consecutive year. 
12Bryan Harsin



Considering Harsin is Arkansas State’s fourth head coach in four seasons, some transition time is needed for the former Texas offensive coordinator. The Red Wolves won 20 games from 2011-12, but with four losses, the best this team can do is 9-4 – assuming it wins a bowl game. Arkansas State’s wins came against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Troy and Idaho, and its losses against Auburn, Missouri and UL Lafayette are nothing to be ashamed about. Ranking Harsin this high might be a bit generous, but then again, there aren’t many coaches behind him worthy of a promotion on this list.
13Bret Bielema



This is probably a little high for Bielema, but it’s not a particularly deep year for success among first-year coaches. Bielema didn’t inherit a ton of talent to work with, but the Razorbacks have been outscored 134-17 in their last three SEC games. Arkansas does have some promising pieces for the future, including freshmen running back Alex Collins, defensive tackle Darius Philon and offensive linemen Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper. With a bowl game nearly out of reach, Bielema’s top priority for the last four games is to build momentum for 2014, along with being more competitive against its conference foes.
14Willie Taggart



Taggart inherited a mess left behind by former coach Skip Holtz. South Florida went 8-5 in Holtz’s first season but finished 8-16 in the last two years, and the cupboard on offense was bare. As a result, the Bulls are averaging just 16.2 points a game. Six combined turnovers against McNeese State and FAU cost South Florida a chance at two winnable games and a likely bowl appearance. Taggart was a good hire and will get the program back on track. However, he will need some time to recruit and upgrade the talent level on offense. 
15Mark Stoops



Expectations were low for Stoops in his first year, and the Wildcats’ only victory came against one of the worst FBS teams in the nation (Miami, Ohio). On a positive note, Kentucky lost by only seven to South Carolina, and its margin of defeat against Louisville and Florida decreased from 2012. The Wildcats may only win one more game this season, but Stoops is bringing in a solid recruiting class, which should help immediately upgrade the talent next year in Lexington. 
16Dave Doeren



Similar to Utah State’s Matt Wells, Doeren has been dealing with a significant injury at quarterback. Arkansas transfer Brandon Mitchell broke his foot in the opener and has not played since, which significantly hampered NC State’s offense through the first six games. The Wolfpack are searching for their first win in the ACC but had a respectable showing in a loss to Clemson (26-14) and went 3-0 in non-conference play. Due to Mitchell’s injury, we will give Doeren a slight curve on his grade.
17Scott Shafer



Shafer’s first seven games have produced a mix bag of results. The Orange was impressive in non-conference wins against Wagner and Tulane and beat NC State 24-10 on the road in mid-October. However, Syracuse was outscored in conference play by Clemson and Georgia Tech by a combined score of 105-14. Stopping the pass on defense is a huge concern, and the Orange has been unable to get consistent play from Terrel Hunt or Drew Allen at quarterback. With home games against Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Boston College, Syracuse still has a chance to get bowl eligible. 
18Darrell Hazell



Hazell didn’t inherit a wealth of talent to work with on offense, and the Boilermakers have already turned the reigns over to freshman quarterback Danny Etling, which only adds to the growing pains in West Lafayette. Purdue’s only win came against Indiana State, but Hazell’s team lost by just 14 to Michigan State and by seven to Notre Dame. It’s hard to find a guaranteed win on the schedule the rest of the way for the Boilermakers, but Hazell went 5-7 in his first year at Kent State, only to rebound with an 11-3 mark the following season.  
19Ron Caragher



So far, the Spartans’ season has played out as most expected. San Jose State lost to Stanford, Minnesota and Utah State, while defeating Sacramento State, Colorado State and Hawaii. The Spartans won 11 games last season and returned 12 starters, including standout quarterback David Fales, leaving plenty of hope for this team to push Fresno State and Boise State for the conference title. San Jose State’s schedule is favorable over the final six games, and if Caragher guides this team to nine wins, the season will be a success. However, 7-5 or 6-6 would be a disappointment.
20Brian Polian



Much like his Mountain West counterpart Ron Caragher, Polian has played a difficult schedule in his first season. Nevada played BCS foes UCLA and Florida State, along with road games against conference foes San Diego State and Boise State. The Wolf Pack’s offense has remained explosive, averaging 34.3 points a game in conference action. However, Nevada’s defense is struggling and could prevent the Wolf Pack from making their ninth consecutive bowl.
21Sonny Dykes



In addition to dealing with a rash of injuries on defense and a true freshman starting at quarterback, the Golden Bears have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. With those three factors in play, it’s easy to see why California has just one win (Portland State). And with a tough schedule the rest of the way, the Golden Bears could be headed for their worst finish since an 0-11 record in 1999. Considering all of the factors working against California this year, this team would be a good candidate for a rebound in 2014. 
22Trent Miles



In fairness to Miles, we have to grade his first season on a curve. Georgia State is transitioning to the FBS level and doesn’t have the necessary talent to compete for a winning season. The Panthers lost to three FCS teams but have played better in their last two games, losing to Troy and Texas State by just a touchdown. Miles engineered quite a turnaround at Indiana State, and in time, he will do the same thing at Georgia State.  
23Paul Haynes



Haynes inherited 10 starters from a team that went 11-3 last season. And even with a tougher schedule, a bowl game was a reasonable expectation for the Golden Flashes. However, Kent State’s only wins this season came against an FCS team (Liberty) and winless Western Michigan. The Golden Flashes were competitive against Ball State and Northern Illinois, but this team needs to win out in order to play for a bowl in 2013. 
24Skip Holtz



The Bulldogs lost a plethora key players from last year’s team and only one starter returned from an offense that averaged 51.5 points a game in 2012. Louisiana Tech beat Lamar and UTEP this season and has chances to pickup wins against FIU and Southern Miss in its next two games. Holtz was a retread hire, looking to prove his 16-21 record at South Florida was a fluke. So far, the early returns haven't been positive. However, with the roster and league transition, it's unfair to blame Holtz for all of the struggles in 2013. 
25Paul Petrino



Much like New Mexico State’s Doug Martin, Petrino has a tough job in 2013 with Idaho competing as an FBS Independent. The Vandals managed to give Northern Illinois a fight (45-35), but Petrino’s team lost by 34 to North Texas, 24 to Arkansas State and 32 to Wyoming. Idaho’s only win came against Temple, which gives Petrino a slight edge over Matt Rhule in the midseason new coach grades. 
26Matt Rhule



Rhule started his tenure with six consecutive defeats, including a disappointing 30-29 loss to FCS opponent Fordham. The Owls broke into the win column with a 33-14 victory over Army on Saturday, and freshman quarterback P.J. Walker is a promising player for Rhule to build around. Temple won only four games last season and was picked near the bottom of the American Athletic Conference for 2013. Rhule didn’t have a total rebuild project on his hands, but he also didn’t inherit a ton of talent to work with. 
27Sean Kugler



Scoring points hasn’t been a problem for UTEP, ranking third in Conference USA with an average of 31.2 points a game. But stopping opposing offenses has been a real challenge for the Miners, as opponents are scoring 37.7 points a game against Kugler’s team. UTEP’s only win came against New Mexico State, but it has lost two games by a touchdown or less. Quarterback Jameill Showers and freshman running back Aaron Jones are two promising pieces for Kugler to build around for the second half of 2013. 
28Doug Martin



This is not an easy job. New Mexico State has only two winning seasons since 1995 and has not won more than four games since 2004. Martin needs time to upgrade the talent and change the culture in Las Cruces and moving to the Sun Belt next year will help. The Aggies lost by 20 or more points in six out of their seven losses, but the schedule lightens in the second half with games against Abilene Christian, Idaho and FAU. 
29Ron Turner



Firing Mario Cristobal for Ron Turner is still one of the biggest head-scratchers in recent coaching moves. The Panthers had a lot of roster turnover from last year, and it was expected this team would struggle against its BCS opponents. However, FIU was dominated by FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman, and if it wasn’t for a sloppy effort by Southern Miss, the Golden Panthers would be 0-6. The program is also struggling at the ticket office, as FIU ranks 122nd nationally with an average of 15,492 fans per game.
30Todd Monken



A once-proud program has fallen on hard times. Ellis Johnson was fired after losing all 12 games at Southern Miss last year, and Monken has been forced to clean up the mess. The Golden Eagles were dominated by Boise State, Nebraska, Arkansas and East Carolina and lost by a touchdown or less to Texas State and FIU. Losing to FIU – a team that lost to FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman earlier in the year – was inexcusable. Southern Miss has an 18-game losing streak headed into Week 9. 
31P.J. Fleck



Fleck brought some much-needed enthusiasm and energy to Western Michigan. However, the product on the field hasn’t quite matched the offseason buzz. The Broncos lost a few key players to injury – namely sophomore receiver Jaime Wilson – but are 0-8 and lost to FCS opponent Nicholls State in Week 2. Western Michigan has lost by 20 or more points five times in 2013. 


Grading College Football's First-Year Coaches After Week 8
Post date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-october-22

Gearing up for another busy week of college football action...

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, October 22nd

Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram will after ankle surgery.

, despite his inclusion in the NCAA's report against Miami.

takes a look at the five worst fanbases in college football.

Georgia could be getting a for the matchup against Florida in two weeks.

There could be 40 bowl games in 2014 and a

Will it be under center for Texas Tech this week?

is out for the rest of the year due to a knee injury.

has been ruled out of Saturday's game against TCU as he continues to recover from a concussion.

received the vote of confidence from his athletic director.

will miss the rest of the year due to a torn ACL.

, as Cody Green is dealing with an injury.

College Football's Link Roundup: October 22
Post date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 16:05
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/miami-football-dodges-major-ncaa-penalties-nevin-shapiro-case

After an investigation that spanned over two years, Miami has finally learned its fate from the NCAA in the Nevin Shapiro scandal.

The Division I Committee on Infractions found the university lacked institutional control by failing to monitor a major booster. The indicates most of the violations occurred over a 10-year period, involving 30 student-athletes. 

The Hurricanes won’t have to serve another bowl ban, but the football program will lose three scholarships in each of the next three seasons. The loss of three scholarships during that span isn’t a huge deal, especially since Miami is playing just under 80 players in 2013.

Miami also self-imposed a reduction in contact days in the 2012-13 period by 20 percent, reduced fall evaluations from 42 to 36 and cut paid official visits by 20 percent.

Avoiding a bowl ban in 2013 is significant, especially since Miami ranks No. 7 in the first release of the BCS standings. The Hurricanes are considered the favorite to win the Coastal Division, with a showdown against Virginia Tech looming in early November.

The NCAA decision is also huge for the Hurricanes’ current recruiting class. Miami ranks No. 5 in 247Sports, and there’s plenty of momentum building for this program after the 6-0 start to the season. A significant loss of scholarships or postseason ban could have forced recruits to look at other schools.

Former Miami assistant coaches Clint Hurtt and Aubrey Hill received two-year show cause penalties. Hill is not coaching on the collegiate level in 2013, but Hurtt is Louisville’s defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. Hurtt ranked as the No. 2 recruiter in the American Athletic Conference by 247Sports last season.

While Miami avoided any additional sanctions, it’s important to note this program did not escape the Nevin Shapiro scandal completely free. The Hurricanes served a two-year bowl ban from 2011-12 and could have played in the ACC Championship last season if they were eligible for the postseason. Losing out on the exposure of the postseason, as well as the money from bowl games was a huge blow to the program.

Miami has recruited two top-15 recruiting classes in the last two years, but considering the uncertainty surrounding this program, it may have played an impact on the Hurricanes’ recruiting efforts.

The NCAA decision is also huge for Miami coach Al Golden. Had the Hurricanes suffered huge scholarship reductions and another postseason ban, it’s possible Golden would have left for another job this offseason. Instead, the New Jersey native should be around in Coral Gables to continue his rebuilding project in 2014.

Miami is not expected to appeal the NCAA’s decision, which closes the book on the two-year investigation into the program. 

Miami Football Dodges Major NCAA Penalties in Nevin Shapiro Case
Post date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 10:53
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-8-bowl-projections-2013

With eight weeks in the books, college football’s bowl picture is starting to clear.

Florida State’s dominating victory over Clemson placed the Seminoles squarely in the national championship mix. Florida State ranks No. 2 in the first release of the BCS standings, but the Seminoles will have to contend with Oregon, who has room to move in the computer polls.

For now, we project the Ducks to pass the Seminoles for the No. 2 spot and play Alabama for the national championship. However, as Week 8 showed us, nothing in college football is guaranteed and another upset or two this year wouldn’t be a surprise.

Even though Clemson was dominated by Florida State, the Tigers are still in good shape to play for a BCS bowl. Coach Dabo Swinney’s team should be favored in its next four games, with the season finale at South Carolina a tossup.

Missouri is projected as the second SEC team in a BCS bowl, but don’t count out South Carolina, LSU or Texas A&M.

The bowl season doesn’t start until December, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like.

The post-Week 8 bowl projections are a mixture between projections for the next few weeks, how things would look if the season ended today, and the results from the first eight weeks of action. Expect more changes over the next few weeks.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including West Virginia, Minnesota, NC State, Utah and North Carolina from BCS conferences. And Texas State, Buffalo, Toledo and Arkansas State from the non-BCS ranks.

As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections for 2013

New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCWyoming vs. Arizona
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Colorado State
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCUtah State vs. Washington
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSAUL Lafayette vs. Tulane
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSAOhio* vs. MTSU
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASJSU vs. North Texas
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNo. Illinois vs. Indiana
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCNotre Dame* vs. Boise State
MilitaryDec. 27CUSA vs. ACCECU vs. B. College
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenTCU vs. Iowa
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Rutgers vs. K-State
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCCincinnati vs. Ga. Tech
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCLouisville vs. Va. Tech
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenOkla. State vs. Michigan
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. NavySDSU vs. Navy
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECDuke vs. Ole Miss
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Texas Tech vs. UCLA
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Arizona State vs. Oklahoma
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECMaryland vs. Vanderbilt
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCPitt vs. Oregon State
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSATennessee vs. Marshall
Chick-fil-ADec. 31SEC vs. ACCMiami vs. So. Carolina
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenGeorgia vs. Michigan State
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSARice vs. N'Western
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenAuburn vs. Nebraska
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenWisconsin vs. Texas A&M
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOhio State vs. Stanford
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSFresno State vs. Baylor
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSMissouri vs. Clemson
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12LSU vs. Texas
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSFlorida State vs. UCF
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanFlorida vs. Houston
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBGSU vs. WKU
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Oregon

* Indicates conference is not expected to fill its alloted bowl slots, leaving an at-large spot available.

Related College Football Content

College Football's Post-Week 8 Bowl Projections for 2013
Post date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-8-edition

The coaching carousel was quiet once again in Week 8. USC, Miami (Ohio) and Connecticut are the only three openings, but more jobs will open over the next few weeks. And the carousel will only get more active if jobs like Texas open, especially as coaches at other BCS programs look to move to Austin.

Virginia’s Mike London has been on a quick rise through the hot seat ranks over the last few weeks. The Cavaliers went 4-8 last season and are off to a sluggish 2-5 start – with one win over VMI – in 2013. London received a vote of confidence from athletic director Craig Littlepage last week, but can the fourth-year coach return if Virginia finishes 2-10?

Another coach on the rise is Florida’s Will Muschamp. Take out last season’s 11-2 record, and the Gators are just 11-9 under Muschamp’s watch. The offense has been hit hard by injuries, but Florida recruits at too high of a level for this unit to struggle as much as it has through the first seven games. If this offense continues to struggle, will Muschamp be forced to make staff changes?

Each week, we will take a look at the hot seat/pressure on a program for all 125 coaches. Some new coaches will rank high due to poor performances but aren't in any danger of losing their job.

And another important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top 10-15 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to continue to show the program is headed in the right direction.

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Ron English1-6EMU's struggling defense gets NIU next week.
2Mike London2-5Cavs likely headed for 2-10 finish.
3Charlie Weis2-4Jayhawks passed for just 16 yards against Oklahoma.
4Mack Brown4-2QB David Ash still out for Longhorns.
5Norm Chow0-6Hawaii is 1-11 in conference play under Chow.
6Ron Turner1-5La. Tech is winnable game for FIU this week.
7Dana Holgorsen3-4WVU in danger of missing out on bowl.
8Charley Molnar1-6Minutemen have scored only 55 points in 2013.
9Dan Enos3-5Chippewas have favorable November schedule.
10P.J. Fleck0-8WMU an underdog to UMass this week.
11Bo Pelini5-1QB Taylor Martinez should return this Saturday.
12Bobby Hauck4-3Rebels still have chance to make a bowl.
13Tim Beckman3-3Fighting Illini 0-10 in Big Ten play under Beckman.
14Doc Holliday4-2 
15Skip Holtz2-5Has scored 20 or more points just twice this year.
16Todd Monken0-6USM riding 18-game losing streak.
17Matt Rhule1-6Freshman QB P.J. Walker is a promising player.
18Sean Kugler1-5UTEP's only win in 2013 was New Mexico State.
19June Jones2-4Can the Mustangs rally for a bowl?
20Rich Ellerson3-5Very little margin for error to make bowl this season.
21Doug Martin0-7 
22Carl Pelini2-5 
23Dan Mullen3-3Bulldogs still have to play three ranked opponents.
24Randy Edsall5-2Terrapins decimated by injuries on offense.
25Jim Grobe4-3Wake quietly improving after slow start.
26Kevin Wilson3-4Hoosiers struggling mightily on defense.
27Troy Calhoun1-6 
28Kirk Ferentz4-3Hawkeyes gave Ohio State all it could handle.
29Jeff Quinn5-2Bulls riding five-game winning streak.
30Garrick McGee2-4 
31Rick Stockstill3-4 
32Joey Jones3-3 
33Bill Blankenship2-4Can Tulsa rally to make a bowl?
34Rocky Long3-3 
35Tony Levine5-1 
36Terry Bowden2-6Zips two wins in 2013 equals the total from 2011-12.
37Dave Christensen4-3Lost Border War rivalry to Colorado State by 30 points.
38Larry Fedora1-5UNC not out of bowl picture just yet.
39Bob Davie2-5 
40Paul Haynes2-6 
41Paul Petrino1-6 
42Will Muschamp4-3Gators' offense a disaster.
43Ron Caragher3-3 
44Kyle Flood4-2 
45Brian Polian3-4Boilermakers could finish 1-11 this year.
46Darrell Hazell1-6 
47Scott Shafer3-4Awful performance for Syracuse against Georgia Tech.
48Bobby Petrino4-3 
49Sonny Dykes1-6Injuries adding up for Bears.
50Mike Leach4-4 
51Jim McElwain3-4 
52Tommy Tuberville5-2 
53Ruffin McNeill5-2 
54Paul Johnson4-3 
55Paul Chryst4-2 
56Dennis Franchoine4-3 
57Bryan Harsin3-3 
58Trent Miles0-7GSU showing improvement in last two games.
59Matt Wells4-4 
60Larry Blakeney4-3 
61David Bailiff5-2 
62George O'Leary5-1Knights projected to play in BCS bowl.
63Dan McCarney4-3 
64Brady Hoke6-1
65Frank Solich5-2
66Jerry Kill5-2 
67Willie Taggart2-4
68Mark Stoops1-5 
69Dave Doeren3-3
70Steve Sarkisian4-3
71Mark Richt4-3
72Bret Bielema3-5
73Justin Fuente1-5
74Dave Clawson5-2
75Curtis Johnson5-2
76Ken Niumatalolo3-3
77Bob Stoops6-1
78Mark Dantonio6-1
79Kyle Whittingham4-3
80Dabo Swinney6-1 
81Butch Jones4-3 
82Matt Campbell4-3 
83Mark Helfrich7-0Ducks in good shape to play for national title.
84Larry Coker2-5 
85Rod Carey7-0 
86Todd Berry3-4 
87Paul Rhoads1-5 
88Bronco Mendenhall5-2 
89Al Golden6-0 
90Brian Kelly4-2 
91Gary Pinkel7-0 
92Rich Rodriguez4-2 
93Jimbo Fisher6-0FSU is really back this time.
94Gus Malzahn6-1Malzahn could be national coach of the year.
95Steve Addazio3-3 
96Todd Graham5-2
97Jim Mora5-1
98Mike MacIntyre3-3
99Frank Beamer6-1
100Les Miles6-2
101Mike Riley6-1
102James Franklin4-3
103Hugh Freeze4-3
104David Cutcliffe5-2
105Tim DeRuyter6-0
106Gary Andersen5-2
107Mike Gundy5-1
108Pete Lembo7-1
109Mark Hudspeth4-2
110Bill O'Brien4-2
111Kevin Sumlin5-2
112Gary Patterson3-4 
113Bill Snyder2-4 
114Pat Fitzgerald4-3 
115Charlie Strong6-1Louisville needs a lot of help to win conference title.
116Steve Spurrier5-2 
117Chris Petersen5-2Broncos lost QB Joe Southwick in win over Nevada.
118David Shaw5-1Stanford back on track after win over UCLA.
119Kliff Kingsbury7-0 
120Art Briles6-0Baylor clearly the favorite in the Big 12.
121Urban Meyer7-0 
122Nick Saban7-0 
NREd Orgeron1-1 
NRT.J. Weist0-2 
NRMike Bath0-2RedHawks 0-2 under Bath.


Related College Football Content

College Football's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings: Post-Week 8 Edition
Post date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/boise-state-qb-joe-southwick-breaks-ankle-against-nevada-could-return-2013

Boise State had a costly 34-17 win over Nevada on Saturday, as quarterback Joe Southwick suffered a broken ankle in the first quarter and is out indefinitely.

In his absence, backup Grant Hedrick filled in admirably, completing 18 of 21 passes for 150 yards, while rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Hedrick has thrown 57 passes in his Boise State career, but Saturday’s game against Nevada was his first extended action.

Southwick could return later this season, but his comeback could largely depend on what bowl Boise State plays in.

Hedrick’s task will get tougher this week, as Boise State plays at BYU on Friday night.

Boise State QB Joe Southwick Breaks Ankle Against Nevada; Could Return in 2013
Post date: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 12:03
Path: /college-football/2013-pac-12-post-week-8-power-rankings

The favorites held serve in the Pac-12 for Week 8.

Washington State gave Oregon a battle for a half, but the Ducks simply had too much firepower on offense for the Cougars. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday set a FBS record for pass attempts, but the Cougars were unable to run the ball and committed five turnovers.

Stanford got back into the win column with a solid 24-10 win over UCLA. The Cardinal showed no ill-effects from last week’s upset loss at the hands of Utah, as quarterback Kevin Hogan and a strong defensive effort erased any hopes the Bruins had of winning.

Arizona State got a huge win against Washington, while Oregon State handled California to improve to 6-1.

USC lost at Notre Dame, but Arizona knocked off Utah and Colorado beat Charleston Southern 43-10.

More Post-Week 8 Power Rankings:  | |  |

Pac-12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

11Oregon (7-0, 4-0): Quarterback Marcus Mariota is a little human after all. The sophomore committed his first turnovers of the season in Saturday’s 62-38 win over Washington State, but Mariota still finished with 327 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with 67 yards and one score on the ground. Oregon’s defense gave up 559 yards but a good chunk of that total came with the outcome no longer in doubt. The Ducks played without running back De’Anthony Thomas for the third consecutive game. However, the junior is expected to return for the Week 9 matchup against UCLA. Next Week: UCLA
23Stanford (6-1, 4-1): After an upset loss at Utah, the Cardinal bounced back into the win column with a 24-10 victory over UCLA. Stanford’s defense held the Bruins to just 10 points and 266 yards, well below the Bruins’ season averages of 45.8 points and 547 yards per game. Quarterback Kevin Hogan and running back Tyler Gaffney led the Cardinal’s offensive effort, but the highlight of the day was provided by receiver Kodi Whitfield on a 30-yard touchdown catch. Stanford travels to Corvallis to take on Oregon State this Saturday, followed by a Pac-12 North showdown against Oregon on Nov. 7. Next Week: at Oregon State
35Arizona State (5-2, 3-1): The 53-24 win over Washington was the best victory Arizona State has recorded under second-year coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils dominated the Huskies – a team that nearly beat Stanford in early October – by averaging 6.3 yards per play on offense, and limiting Washington’s offense to just 212 yards. Arizona State’s defense has struggled to stop the run this year but held Bishop Sankey to just 22 yards on 13 carries. The Sun Devils’ offense gashed the Huskies for 585 yards, with running back Marion Grice rushing for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Arizona State heads into the bye with momentum, but a Nov. 23 showdown against UCLA looms large for the Pac-12 South title. Next Week: Bye Week 
42UCLA (5-1, 2-1): The Bruins lost to Stanford for the third time in less than a year. UCLA’s offense was held in check by the Cardinal defense, managing just four yards a play and converting only 5 of 15 third-down attempts. Quarterback Brett Hundley was harassed all night by Stanford’s defense and finished with 192 passing yards on 24 completions. UCLA’s offensive line has been hit hard by injuries, and this group suffered another setback with Simon Goines and Conor McDermott unable to finish against Stanford. The Bruins have to quickly regroup, as a trip to Eugene awaits this team on Saturday night. Next Week: at Oregon
56Oregon State (6-1, 4-0): If it wasn’t for the loss against Eastern Washington in the season opener, there’s a good chance the Beavers would be ranked among the top 10-15 teams in the nation. Oregon State won its sixth game in a row with a 49-17 victory at California on Saturday night. Quarterback Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks connected 13 times for 232 yards and one score against the Golden Bears, and both have been among the top-10 players in the Pac-12 this season. The schedule will get tougher for Oregon State, but this team has rebounded nicely after the opening week loss to Eastern Washington. Next Week: Stanford
65Washington (4-3, 1-3): The Huskies have played one of the toughest three-game stretches in the nation, and the cumulative effect of matchups against Oregon and Stanford might have caught up to Washington in Saturday’s loss at Arizona State. The Huskies were outgained 585 to 212 by the Sun Devils, with running back Bishop Sankey managing only 22 yards and one score on 13 attempts. Quarterback Keith Price was sacked seven times and left the game early with a thumb injury. Back-to-back games against California and Colorado should allow Washington to get back into the win column, but the November schedule features games against UCLA, Oregon State and a matchup against rival Washington State. Next Week: California
78USC (4-3, 1-2): The Trojans move up a spot in the power rankings, but it’s by default, as they deserve to be ranked a spot ahead of Arizona after beating the Wildcats on Oct. 10. USC had plenty of chances to knock off Notre Dame on Saturday night, but the Fighting Irish found a way to hold on to a 14-10 victory. The Trojans did not convert a third down after the opening drive, and kicker Andre Heidari missed two field goals. As if the loss wasn’t enough, the Trojans’ injury report continues to grow, as receiver Marqise Lee was injured once again and tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble won’t play next Saturday. Next Week: Utah
89Arizona (4-2, 1-2): The Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-24 win over Utah. Running back Ka’Deem Carey led the way for Arizona’s offense, recording 236 yards and one touchdown on 40 attempts. Quarterback B.J. Denker was efficient, completing 18 of 30 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown. The Wildcats’ defense also held Utah to 157 passing yards and forced two turnovers. With Colorado and California up next, Arizona has a chance to build momentum before playing UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State in November. Next Week: at Colorado
97Utah (4-3, 1-3): A week after an upset win over Stanford, the Utes fell short on the road in a 35-24 loss to Arizona. Not only was the defeat costly to the Utes’ bowl hopes, quarterback Travis Wilson suffered a hand injury and his status for Week 9 is uncertain. Utah’s defense entered Week 8 ranked third in the Pac-12 against the run, but the Wildcats ran for 300 yards on 58 attempts. The Utes play three of their next four games on the road, including matchups against USC and Washington State that will likely decide whether this team gets to six wins or finishes at 5-7. Next Week: at USC
1010Washington State (4-4, 2-3): It was a record-setting night for the Cougars in Eugene. But breaking records isn’t always a good thing. Washington State managed to hang with Oregon for a half, but the Ducks pulled away in the final two quarters for a 62-38 win. Quarterback Connor Halliday set a FBS record with 89 pass attempts, but the junior tossed four picks, including one that was returned for a touchdown. The Cougars have lost three out of their last four games and were outscored in back-to-back matchups against teams from Oregon by a combined score of 114-62. Next Week: Bye Week
1111Colorado (3-3, 0-3): The Buffaloes cruised to an easy 43-10 win over Charleston Southern, in a game that was scheduled due to the canceled Fresno State contest from Sept. 14. Freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau was solid in his first start, completing 14 of 20 passes for 198 yards and one score. Liufau wasn’t the only freshman making an impact, as running back Michael Adkins rushed for 137 yards and four scores on 13 attempts. The Buffaloes need three wins to get bowl eligible, but the schedule isn’t easy the rest of the way. Next Week: Arizona
1212California (1-6, 0-4): The Golden Bears dropped their fifth straight game on Saturday, suffering a 49-17 loss to Oregon State. California’s offense hasn’t struggled to move the ball this season, but turnovers and the rushing attack has been a huge issue. Against the Beavers, the Golden Bears committed four turnovers and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. The defense remains a work in progress with injuries and transition, and California has allowed every opponent to score at least 30 points this year. With Washington, Arizona, USC, and Stanford remaining, the Golden Bears’ best shot at a victory could be the Nov. 16 date at Colorado. Next Week: at Washington

Pac-12 Week 8 Recap and Awards

- by Braden Gall

Offensive Player of the Week: Tyler Gaffney, Stanford
In a time of need, Stanford coach David Shaw turned to his power rushing attack to get his team back on track against No. 9 UCLA. And the senior tailback rewarded his coach in a big way by rushing 36 times for 171 yards and two critical second-half touchdowns. Stanford is still in control of its own destiny, and Kevin Hogan got excellent production from his entire supporting cast on offense against the Bruins.

Defensive Player of the Week: Jordan Richards, Stanford
The Cardinal defense was physical and disruptive all afternoon against Brett Hundley and the Bruins. The junior defensive back intercepted the all-everything quarterback twice to help lead Stanford to a big win. Richards added 10 tackles and another pass break up to his stat sheet as well. 

Team of the Week: Stanford

The Cardinal bounced back in a big way after falling to Utah last weekend by getting back to basics against previously unbeaten UCLA. The defense was suffocating and the offense ran the football with aggressiveness and physicality. It was a typical Cardinal performance and the in re-establishes Oregon and Stanford are still the top two teams out West.

Coordinator of the Week: Derek Mason, Stanford

UCLA's Heisman-contending quarterback Brett Hundley came into the game 11th in the nation in passing efficiency (165.0) and eighth nationally in total offense (345.8 yards per game). The Bruins were fifth nationally in total offense (547.0 yards per game) and seventh in scoring offense (45.8). Mason's physical defense held UCLA to just 10 points and 266 yards of offense, and, in particular, made life miserable for Hundley. The Bruins quarterback threw two interceptions, was sacked four times and mustered just 219 yards of offense.

Freshman of the Week: Michael Adkins II, Colorado
The Buffaloes haven't had many chances at wins, but Mike MacIntyre's bunch took advantage by topping an unbeaten Charleston Southern with relative ease. Adkins has seen his work load increase over the last few weeks and he had his best performance against the Buccaneers. He rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns in Colorado's third win of the season.

Fifth Down

• Bishop Sankey, the nation's leading rusher entering Week 8, was held to a season-low 22 yards on 13 carries by Arizona State. It dropped him to eighth nationally in rushing. As a team, Washington rushed for minus-5 yards against the Sun Devils.

• Arizona State's Marion Grice, the nation's leading scorer at 15.0 points per game entering Week 8, extended his lead by scoring three touchdowns in the win over Washington. He carried 21 times for 158 yards and caught four passes for 37 yards.

• Washington State's Connor Halliday set an NCAA record with 89 attempts, passing Drew Brees' previous records of 83 set in 1998. His 58 completions tied an NCAA mark he now shares with Andy Schmitt of Eastern Michigan (2008). Halliday also threw for a Pac-12 record 557 yards, breaking Andrew Walter's mark of 536 yards set in 2002.

• Sean Mannion (481 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions) gets most of the headlines but wide receiver Brandin Cooks is the best player no one knows about. He caught 13 passes for 232 yards and his 12th touchdown of the season. His 76 receptions are nine ahead of No. 2 nationally (Justin Hardy, 67), his 1,176 yards are 152 yards ahead of No. 2 nationally (Mike Evans, 1,024) and his 12 receiving touchdowns lead the nation as well. 

• Utah's Travis Wilson injured his right hand late in the first half in the road loss to Arizona. His replacement Adam Shulz threw for 142 yards and a TD.

• Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey rushed 40 times for 236 yards and a game-clinching 44-yard touchdown over Utah.

• Oregon State has won six straight games and is 4-0 in the Pac-12 since losing to Eastern Washington at home after crushing Cal 49-17 on the road.

• Oregon's Marcus Mariota threw another 32 passes and scored another three times without throwing an interception. Mariota has scored 28 total touchdowns without an interception in 2013.

• USC lost in South Bend for the first time since 2001 after winning five straight over Notre Dame on the road. The two teams didn't a score a point in the final 31 minutes of action.


2013 Pac-12 Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 07:16
Path: /college-football/2013-acc-post-week-8-power-rankings

Florida State is back. After the Seminoles’ 51-14 victory over Clemson, it’s clear the ACC Championship runs through Tallahassee.

The Seminoles dominated the Tigers on Saturday night and made a statement in the national title picture.

While all of the focus in the ACC was in Death Valley on Saturday night, there was other action in the conference.

Miami barely dodged North Carolina’s upset bid on Thursday night to remain unbeaten. The Hurricanes and Virginia Tech are on a collision course in early November to decide the Coastal Division.

Georgia Tech dominated Syracuse, Duke won at Virginia, and Wake Forest handled Maryland 34-10.

Pittsburgh scored a non-conference win over Old Dominion on Saturday night.

More Post-Week 8 Power Rankings:  | |  |

ACC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings

12Florida State (6-0, 4-0): Total domination. That’s the easiest way to sum up the Seminoles’ 51-14 win over Clemson on Saturday night. Florida State’s defense set the tone by forcing a fumble on the Tigers’ first offensive play and swarmed quarterback Tajh Boyd all night, holding the senior to just 156 passing yards on 17 completions. Clemson’s defense provided little resistance to the Seminoles, as quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns, and the offense averaged a ridiculous 7.7 yards per play on 73 snaps. The 51-14 win not only puts Florida State in the driver’s seat for the ACC title but places the Seminoles squarely in the national title discussion. Next Week: NC State 
21Clemson (6-1, 4-1): The Tigers were simply defeated by a better team on Saturday night, as Florida State cruised to a 51-14 romp in Death Valley. Clemson’s high-powered offense never got on track, recording only 3.8 yards per play and committing four turnovers. The Tigers were gashed through the air on defense, with the Seminoles accumulating 444 passing yards on 22 completions. Although Clemson will have a hard time winning the division with Florida State in full control of the Atlantic, the Tigers still have plenty to play for. A BCS bowl is a strong possibility, and there’s a huge showdown against South Carolina for in-state bragging rights in late November. Next Week: at Maryland 
33Miami (6-0, 2-0): It was a sloppy effort, but the Hurricanes still found a way to win on Thursday night in Chapel Hill. Quarterback Stephen Morris had an off night, tossing four picks on 35 attempts. Running back Duke Johnson was injured in the first half, but Dallas Crawford picked up the slack on the ground, gashing the Tar Heels for 137 yards on 33 carries. And Crawford’s performance was the difference in the game, especially in the fourth quarter where he recorded two rushing scores to give Miami the victory. Miami’s defense allowed 500 yards but created a key turnover in the fourth quarter and held the Tar Heels to just six points in the second half. Next Week: Wake Forest
44Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0): The Hokies had a bye in Week 8 and return to action on Saturday against Duke. After getting thumped by Alabama 35-10 in the opener, Virginia Tech has won six in a row. Quarterback Logan Thomas isn’t posting prolific totals, but the senior has not thrown an interception in three games. With an elite defense, the offense doesn’t need to score 30 points each week, but this unit needs to get more production from its running backs. With the Blue Devils up next and a date against Boston College on Nov. 2, the Hokies have a favorable path to setup a showdown against Miami on Nov. 9 for the Coastal Division title. Next Week: Duke
56Georgia Tech: After three consecutive defeats, the Yellow Jackets got back into the win column with a 56-0 rout over Syracuse. With a rushing attack averaging 5.9 yards per carry, Georgia Tech attempted only five passes. Quarterback Vad Lee threw for 88 yards and one score and rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Four Yellow Jackets had at least 10 carries, including backup quarterback Justin Thomas, who averaged 9.5 yards per carry. Georgia Tech’s defense forced three turnovers and held the Orange’s rushing attack – which had back-to-back 300-yard games – to just 75 yards. Next Week: at Virginia
67Pittsburgh (4-2, 2-2): It wasn’t pretty, but the Panthers beat Old Dominion 35-24 on Saturday night. Receiver Devin Street and running back James Conner sat out due to injuries, and the offense managed only 370 yards on 63 plays. However, Isaac Bennett was a capable replacement for Conner at running back, as he gashed the undersized Monarchs’ defense for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Tom Savage finished with 104 yards and one touchdown. Pittsburgh’s defense has been a source of concern all season, and Old Dominion had plenty of success moving the ball. The Panthers step out of conference again next week, before rejoining ACC play on Nov. 2. Next Week: at Navy 
78Boston College (3-3, 1-2): The Eagles had a bye in Week 8 and return to action at North Carolina in Week 9. Boston College needs three wins to get bowl eligible in coach Steve Addazio’s first season, and the schedule is favorable enough to get to six victories. The Eagles play four of their next six games on the road, but matchups against North Carolina, NC State, Maryland and Syracuse are winnable, while a trip to New Mexico State should be an easy victory. Next Week: at North Carolina
89Duke (5-2, 1-2): After falling behind 22-0, the Blue Devils scored 35 unanswered points to beat Virginia 35-22 on Saturday. The win over the Cavaliers was huge for Duke’s bowl prospects, and the Blue Devils need just one victory in their final five games to make back-to-back postseason trips. For the second week in a row, Duke’s defense stepped up. The Cavaliers averaged only 4.7 yards per play, and had only two drives in the second half of more than five plays. The Blue Devils’ offense also pitched in, with quarterback Anthony Boone throwing for 245 yards and two scores. Duke’s schedule will get tougher, but coach David Cutcliffe quietly has this team back in the mix for a spot in the postseason. Next Week: at Virginia Tech
913Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2): After a sluggish 1-2 start to the season, the Demon Deacons are quietly building momentum to a run at six wins and a postseason trip. A 34-10 win over Maryland improved Wake Forest to 4-3 overall and just two wins short of bowl eligibility. The Demon Deacons were outgained by the Terrapins, but coach Jim Grobe’s team didn’t have a turnover and had a huge performance from quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro. Price caught a touchdown from Campanaro and threw for 231 yards and one score on 26 completions. Campanaro grabbed 11 receptions for 122 yards and owns the school record for career catches with 217. Next Week: at Miami
105Maryland (5-2, 1-2): What was once a promising start to the season is now in danger of taking a turn in the wrong direction for Maryland coach Randy Edsall. The Terrapins have lost two out of their last three games, and the injuries are starting to take a toll on this team. In Saturday’s 34-10 loss against Wake Forest, receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long were lost for the season. The defense is also battered with injuries in the back seven, which is bad news with a date against Clemson ahead. Next Week: Clemson
1110North Carolina (1-5, 0-3): A disappointing season in Chapel Hill continued with a 27-23 heartbreaking defeat to Miami on Thursday night. North Carolina had Miami on the ropes in the fourth quarter, leading 23-13 with just over 14 minutes to go. However, the Tar Heels’ defense struggled to stop the Hurricanes’ rushing attack, including 10 carries on the ground on the final drive, which culminated in a three-yard touchdown by Dallas Crawford to seal the victory for Miami. North Carolina might be the ACC’s biggest disappointment, but the Tar Heels still have a chance to make a bowl with an easier second-half schedule. Next Week: Boston College
1211Syracuse (3-4, 1-2): The Orange followed up a promising 24-10 win over NC State with a complete dud. Syracuse was thoroughly dominated in a 56-0 loss at Georgia Tech, which was the program’s worst defeat since a 59-0 defeat at Miami in 2001. Quarterback Terrel Hunt struggled (7 of 14, 68 yards) and was pulled in favor of Drew Allen, but he did not fare much better (6 of 15, 65 yards). The Orange struggled to get their rushing attack going, and the defense forced Georgia Tech into only eight third-down situations. At 3-4, Syracuse still has a chance to get bowl eligible and upcoming games against Wake Forest, Maryland and Pittsburgh will be critical in order to get to six wins. Next Week: Bye Week 
1312Virginia (2-5, 0-3): The Cavaliers simply collapsed in their 35-22 defeat against Duke. Virginia jumped out to a 22-0 lead, largely due to the play of running back Kevin Parks, who had a role in all three Cavaliers’ touchdowns. After struggling for most of the first half, the Blue Devils came alive in the second half and outscored Virginia 28-0 over the final two quarters. Quarterback David Watford tied his season high of 263 passing yards, but the rushing attack mustered only 2.6 yards per carry. The Cavaliers’ defense shares blame in the loss, failing to force a punt by Duke in the second half. Coach Mike London got a vote of confidence from athletic director Craig Littlepage before Saturday’s game against Duke. But one look at Virginia’s upcoming schedule shows there’s not a guaranteed win, and 2-10 is a realistic outcome for the Cavaliers this year. Next Week: Georgia Tech
1414NC State (3-3, 0-3): The Wolfpack had a bye on Saturday and return to action at Florida State in Week 9. NC State has lost three out of its last four games, with its only victory in that stretch coming against Central Michigan. NC State has yet to win a game in ACC play and each conference loss has been by at least 12 points. But the Wolfpack could have some additional help on Saturday, as quarterback Brandon Mitchell could be ready to return to the lineup. Mitchell suffered a broken foot against Louisiana Tech and has missed the last five games. Next Week: at Florida State

ACC Week 8 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
A crowd of over 83,000 and a top-five showdown on the road was nothing to Winston. The freshman completed 22 of 34 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns in the 51-14 blowout over Clemson. Winston also rushed for a four-yard score in the third quarter and had a 94-yard toss to tight end Nick O’Leary that nearly resulted in a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The freshman’s only interception was the result of a miscommunication by the coaching staff, which is just his third pick on the season.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State
Florida State’s entire defense had a strong effort against Clemson, but Joyner gets the nod as the ACC’s top defensive player of the week. The senior switched from safety to cornerback in the offseason and is having an All-American-caliber year. Joyner set the tone for the Seminoles’ defense on Saturday, as he forced a fumble on Clemson’s first play and later forced another turnover that was returned for a touchdown by Mario Edwards Jr. Joyner finished the night with eight tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception and one sack.

Coordinator of the Week: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
Pruitt was a bit of a mystery coming into the season. After serving as Alabama’s secondary coach for three seasons, Pruitt was hired to replace Mark Stoops as Florida State’s defensive coordinator. In his first year calling the defense, Pruitt has been a big reason why the Seminoles haven’t missed much of a beat, despite returning only four starters. Clemson came into Saturday’s showdown against Florida State averaging 514.5 yards and 40.8 points a game. The Seminoles held the Tigers to 14 points and 326 yards, with Clemson’s offense managing just 3.8 yards per play. And with all of the new faces stepping into key roles this year, Florida State’s defense will only get better the rest of the season.

Team of the Week: Florida State
The question of whether or not Florida State is truly back was answered on Saturday night. The Seminoles thoroughly dominated Clemson 51-14 (ranked No. 3 nationally in Week 8) in Death Valley. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak in Death Valley and moved Florida State into the national title conversation. The Seminoles outgained Clemson 565 to 326, punted only twice and committed just one turnover. The 51-14 was arguably the biggest of Jimbo Fisher’s tenure and has the Seminoles positioned to play for the ACC Championship for the third time in four seasons.

Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
For this season, it’s almost time to rename the ACC Freshman of the Week honor in favor of Winston. The Florida State signal-caller threw for a career-high 444 yards and added four overall scores in the 51-14 victory over Clemson. In every game against BCS competition this season, Winston has completed at least 63 percent of his throws. The Alabama native ranks second nationally with a quarterback rating of 210.4 and sixth nationally in completion percentage (71.3).

5th Down

• Miami quarterback Stephen Morris threw seven interceptions on 421 attempts last season but already has eight on 129 attempts in 2013.

• Pittsburgh running back rushed for a career high 240 yards against Old Dominion.

• Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price is only the second player in ACC history to throw, run and catch a touchdown in a game.

• Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett suffered a MCL injury against North Carolina and will miss four to six weeks. Dorsett ranks third on the team with 13 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns.

• Georgia Tech linebacker Quayshawn Nealy recorded only two tackles against Syracuse but recovered one fumble and picked off a pass.

• North Carolina’s Eric Ebron set a school record by a tight end with 199 receiving yards against Miami.

• After running for 100 yards in back-to-back games, Virginia running back Kevin Parks was held to just 50 on 15 attempts against Duke.

• Georgia Tech completed only three passes in its 56-0 win over Syracuse.

• Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro caught 11 passes against Maryland, which gave him the school record for career receptions with 217.

2013 ACC Post-Week 8 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, October 21, 2013 - 07:15
Path: /college-football/2013-acc-week-8-recap-and-awards

The much-hyped showdown in ACC turned out to be a one-sided affair.

Florida State and Clemson was only the fourth meeting with two ACC teams ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll, but the Seminoles simply dominated the Tigers in a 51-14 rout.

Florida State sweeps the Athlon awards this week, as quarterback Jameis Winston gashed Clemson for 444 passing yards and three touchdowns to earn offensive and freshman of the week honors. The Seminoles held the Tigers to 14 points – the lowest scored by Clemson since a 34-13 defeat to South Carolina in 2011.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Wake Forest stunned Maryland, Georgia Tech blew out Syracuse and Duke picked up a key road win at Virginia.

Miami escaped Chapel Hill with a narrow win over North Carolina on Thursday night to stay among the ranks of the unbeaten.

ACC Week 8 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
A crowd of over 83,000 and a top-five showdown on the road was nothing to Winston. The freshman completed 22 of 34 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns in the 51-14 blowout over Clemson. Winston also rushed for a four-yard score in the third quarter and had a 94-yard toss to tight end Nick O’Leary that nearly resulted in a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The freshman’s only interception was the result of a miscommunication by the coaching staff, which is just his third pick on the season.

Defensive Player of the Week: Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State
Florida State’s entire defense had a strong effort against Clemson, but Joyner gets the nod as the ACC’s top defensive player of the week. The senior switched from safety to cornerback in the offseason and is having an All-American-caliber year. Joyner set the tone for the Seminoles’ defense on Saturday, as he forced a fumble on Clemson’s first play and later forced another turnover that was returned for a touchdown by Mario Edwards Jr. Joyner finished the night with eight tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception and one sack.

Coordinator of the Week: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
Pruitt was a bit of a mystery coming into the season. After serving as Alabama’s secondary coach for three seasons, Pruitt was hired to replace Mark Stoops as Florida State’s defensive coordinator. In his first year calling the defense, Pruitt has been a big reason why the Seminoles haven’t missed much of a beat, despite returning only four starters. Clemson came into Saturday’s showdown against Florida State averaging 514.5 yards and 40.8 points a game. The Seminoles held the Tigers to 14 points and 326 yards, with Clemson’s offense managing just 3.8 yards per play. And with all of the new faces stepping into key roles this year, Florida State’s defense will only get better the rest of the season.

Team of the Week: Florida State
The question of whether or not Florida State is truly back was answered on Saturday night. The Seminoles thoroughly dominated Clemson 51-14 (ranked No. 3 nationally in Week 8) in Death Valley. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak in Death Valley and moved Florida State into the national title conversation. The Seminoles outgained Clemson 565 to 326, punted only twice and committed just one turnover. The 51-14 was arguably the biggest of Jimbo Fisher’s tenure and has the Seminoles positioned to play for the ACC Championship for the third time in four seasons.

Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
For this season, it’s almost time to rename the ACC Freshman of the Week honor in favor of Winston. The Florida State signal-caller threw for a career-high 444 yards and added four overall scores in the 51-14 victory over Clemson. In every game against BCS competition this season, Winston has completed at least 63 percent of his throws. The Alabama native ranks second nationally with a quarterback rating of 210.4 and sixth nationally in completion percentage (71.3).

5th Down

• Miami quarterback Stephen Morris threw seven interceptions on 421 attempts last season but already has eight on 129 attempts in 2013.

• Pittsburgh running back rushed for a career high 240 yards against Old Dominion.

• Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price is only the second player in ACC history to throw, run and catch a touchdown in a game.

• Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett suffered a MCL injury against North Carolina and will miss four to six weeks. Dorsett ranks third on the team with 13 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns.

• Georgia Tech linebacker Quayshawn Nealy recorded only two tackles against Syracuse but recovered one fumble and picked off a pass.

• North Carolina’s Eric Ebron set a school record by a tight end with 199 receiving yards against Miami.

• After running for 100 yards in back-to-back games, Virginia running back Kevin Parks was held to just 50 on 15 attempts against Duke.

• Georgia Tech completed only three passes in its 56-0 win over Syracuse.

• Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro caught 11 passes against Maryland, which gave him the school record for career receptions with 217.

ACC Week 8 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 13:50
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Maryland Terrapins, News
Path: /college-football/maryland-wrs-deon-long-and-stefon-diggs-suffer-season-ending-injuries

Injuries took a toll on Maryland’s quarterbacks last year, with converted linebacker Shawn Petty finishing the season as the starting quarterback. The injury bug has continued into 2013 for the Terrapins, this time affecting the receiving corps.

In Saturday’s 34-10 loss to Wake Forest, receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long both suffered leg injuries and will miss the rest of the 2013 season.

Diggs and Long formed one of the top receiving duos in the nation, and their absence will be felt by Maryland’s offense.

With Diggs and Long sidelined, Levern Jacobs, Malcolm Culmer, Nigel King and Amba Etta-Two are the Terrapins’ top receiving options. Needless to say, none of those players are as established a receiving option as Diggs or Long.

Maryland still needs one more win to get bowl eligible, and there’s not a guaranteed victory on the schedule.

And without Diggs and Long, the Terrapins’ will have a tough time just getting to the six-win mark.


Maryland WRs Deon Long and Stefon Diggs Suffer Season-Ending Injuries
Post date: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 19:56
Path: /college-football/stanford-wr-kodi-whitfield-makes-ridiculous-td-catch-against-ucla

Stanford freshman receiver Kodi Whtifield might have made one of the top plays of the 2013 season with an unbelievable one-handed touchdown grab against UCLA.

Stanford WR Kodi Whitfield Makes Ridiculous TD Catch Against UCLA
Post date: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 18:28
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/georgia-de-ray-drew-ejected-playing-football-against-vanderbilt

It’s safe to say college football’s new targeting rules aren’t popular among fans, coaches and players. And after Week 8, there should be no doubters about how ridiculous the penalties actually are. There were a couple of questionable ejections, and the 15-yard penalty that still stands even if the ejection is overturned is ridiculous.

In perhaps the worst targeting call of 2013, Georgia defensive end Ray Drew was ejected for this hit on Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.

Perhaps Drew’s hit was roughing the passer, but in no way should that be a targeting penalty. And the worst part of this play? It was upheld on replay.

We are all for player safety. But a little common sense is needed with this rule. Unfortunately, college football is stuck with this until the end of the season.

Georgia DE Ray Drew Ejected For Playing Football Against Vanderbilt
Post date: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 17:30
Path: /college-football/tennessee-wr-marquez-north-makes-clutch-one-handed-catch-against-south-carolina

Tennessee scored a huge upset victory over South Carolina on Saturday, and freshman receiver Marquez North made a couple of crazy catches to help the offense keep the chains moving throughout the game.

North delivered with his most important catch of the day with just under three minutes remaining, as Tennessee needed to convert a third and 10 with the game on the line. Despite a heavy pass rush, quarterback Justin Worley tossed a perfect pass to North on the sideline, which the freshman reeled in with a nifty one-handed grab.

Tennessee WR MarQuez North Makes Clutch One-Handed Catch Against South Carolina
Post date: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 17:07
Path: /college-football/florida-state-seminoles-vs-clemson-tigers-2013-game-preview-and-prediction

The ACC is home to college football’s premier matchup for Week 8, as Florida State travels to Clemson for a huge conference showdown with national title implications. With both teams ranked inside of the top five in the latest Associated Press poll, this matchup could be the biggest in the history of the ACC. Prior to Saturday’s game, only three times have two ACC teams met when they were ranked among the top five nationally in the Associated Press poll.

Last season’s meeting between these two schools decided the Atlantic Division champion, and the winner of this game should decide who represents the division in Charlotte this December. But the stakes on Saturday night aren’t limited to just team goals. Quarterbacks Tajh Boyd (Clemson) and Jameis Winston (Florida State) are squarely in the Heisman mix, and both players can inch closer to Oregon’s Marcus Mariota or Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel for the No. 1 spot in the early straw polls.

Most of the pregame hype will focus on this year’s matchup, but there’s an underlying theme of program trajectory at work. With a senior quarterback (Boyd), a receiver likely to leave for the NFL (Watkins), and an offensive coordinator (Chad Morris) expected to be in the mix for head coach jobs this offseason, this is Clemson’s best shot to play for the national title, at least for the next couple of seasons. For Florida State, one could argue the program is slightly ahead of schedule. The Seminoles had quite a bit of roster turnover in the offseason, so most expected 2013 would be a rebuilding year, with an eye on 2014. However, Florida State hasn’t suffered a setback this season and is clearly one of the top-10 teams in the nation.  

This annual Atlantic Division matchup has blossomed into one of the ACC’s best rivalries. Florida State has won three out of the last five, but Clemson has claimed five in a row in Death Valley. The last time the Seminoles won at Clemson was 2001. Florida State won last year’s contest 49-37, but two out of the last three meetings in this series have been decided by five points or less.

Florida State at Clemson

Kickoff: 8 ET
TV Channel: ABC
Spread: Florida State -3

Three Things to Watch

Florida State’s Offensive Line vs. Clemson’s Defensive Line
A classic battle in the trenches is shaping up on Saturday night. Florida State’s offensive line returned four starters this season and has allowed just nine sacks through six games. Clemson’s defensive front is aggressive, as evidenced by its 61 tackles for a loss, which ranks No. 1 nationally. The Tigers rank second nationally in sacks, recording 24 through six contests. End Vic Beasley is the headliner, recording 12 tackles for a loss and nine sacks, as well as a touchdown on a fumble recovery. But Clemson’s defensive line isn’t just limited to Beasley. Tackle Grady Jarrett is an underrated player, and there’s depth at end with junior Corey Crawford and freshman Shaq Lawson. There’s no easy way to slow down Florida State’s offense with Jameis Winston at the helm. However, getting pressure on Winston is crucial, as he is capable of scrambling and hitting big plays downfield when things break down in the pocket. If the Tigers don’t get to Winston, he will hit big plays in the passing game. Coordinator Brent Venables and coach Dabo Swinney have to be concerned about their secondary, especially after Garry Peters was ruled out for this week's game with a foot injury.

Clemson’s Other Playmakers
It’s no secret Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins is one of the best in the nation. But what about Clemson’s No. 2 and No. 3 options? Florida State’s pass defense has allowed only four passing plays of 30 yards or more, which is tied for third nationally. The Seminoles have allowed only six passing scores, and opposing quarterbacks are completing just 53.5 percent of their throws against this defense. Even with the departure of cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the NFL, this unit hasn’t missed a beat. Senior Lamarcus Joyner is the headliner, and freshman Jalen Ramsey is having a standout season, but sophomore P.J. Williams and senior safety Terrence Brooks also deserve plenty of credit for the performance of the secondary. Considering Florida State will devote some extra attention on Watkins, Clemson needs big performances from receivers Adam Humphries and Martavis Bryant. Humphries ranks second on the team in receptions (24), and while Bryant has been inconsistent at times, he’s a big play waiting to happen (18.6 ypc). Watkins will have his opportunities to make plays, but will Bryant and Humphries deliver? 

The Quarterback Duel
It’s a little obvious, but we’d be remiss if we don’t highlight the duel between Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Florida State’s Jameis Winston. If you were to make a list of the top 10-20 players in the nation so far, both Boyd and Winston should be on it. Winston doesn’t have an All-American at receiver, but the freshman might have a deeper overall group than Boyd. Kenny Shaw, Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin are averaging at least 17 yards per catch, while tight end Nick O’Leary has five touchdown grabs. Boyd is completing 66.5 percent of his throws and has tossed only two picks in 185 attempts. The senior was sharp against Georgia, completing 18 of 30 passes for 270 yards and three scores. An underrated part of Boyd’s game is his mobility, especially in short-yardage situations. Through six games, Boyd has five touchdowns and 187 yards on 66 attempts. As with any big game, mistakes will be magnified. Which quarterback will blink? Or will both players play a mistake-free game? Either way, the stage is set for one of the best quarterback duels in college football for 2013.

Key Players: Roderick McDowell, RB, Clemson/Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
We usually focus on one player in this section, but this week, let’s highlight the running backs for both teams. Clemson’s Roderick McDowell has only one 100-yard effort (Georgia) but averages 4.9 yards per attempt. Freeman leads Florida State with 54 attempts and 385 yards, but Karlos Williams and James Wilder Jr. will contribute. Freeman is an underrated pass blocker, and Wilder Jr. should be ready for a bigger role after dealing with a shoulder injury earlier this year. Both teams have been susceptible to the run at times. Can McDowell or Freeman get on track on Saturday night? If they can, it could be the difference in the game.

Final Analysis

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: This game should live up to the hype. Clemson and Florida State are two of the nation’s top-10 teams, and there’s very little separation between these two programs right now. And despite the small gap between these two teams, the loser of this game is likely done in terms of national title aspirations.

Both offenses will have their share of highlights, with quarterbacks Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston making a handful of huge plays. But which defense will make the play that turns the game? Clemson’s pass rush has been better, and the Tigers have forced more turnovers than Florida State (15 to 7).

On paper, Florida State is the better team. However, homefield advantage and the aggressive front four on defense is the difference for Clemson.

Prediction: Clemson 38, Florida State 34

Florida State Seminoles vs. Clemson Tigers 2013 Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/michigan-nebraska-or-michigan-state-who-wins-legends-division-2013

At the midpoint of the 2013 college football season, the Big Ten’s Legends Division is still one of the toughest leagues to predict.

Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State are considered the frontrunners, with Northwestern slightly off the radar with an 0-2 start in conference play.

Nebraska has experienced a roller-coaster ride this season, losing to UCLA 41-21 in early September, which created a firestorm of criticism on coach Bo Pelini. However, an easy schedule has helped the Cornhuskers get back on track, as Nebraska is 5-1 and is back on track to have a top-25 finish in the final polls.

Michigan and Michigan State have also experienced their share of struggles. Michigan barely beat Akron and UConn and lost to Penn State last Saturday. Michigan State’s offense struggled mightily early in the year but has found a spark behind quarterback Connor Cook.

With the first half of the season in the books, let’s turn the page to the second half of 2013. Athlon’s editors debate: Who will win the Legends Division?

Michigan, Nebraska or Michigan State: Who Wins the Legends Division?

Steven Lassan ()
After seven weeks, there’s not much clarity to the Legends Division. Michigan was my preseason pick, but after losing to Penn State, I think the Wolverines will finish out of the top spot. There’s not much separation between Nebraska and Michigan State right now, as both teams suffered a non-conference loss in September and are 2-0 in Big Ten action. Deciding between these two teams is essentially a coin flip, but I give a slight edge to the Cornhuskers. Nebraska has one more tune up (at Minnesota) before its brutal November schedule. All five games in November will be tough for the Cornhuskers, but three – Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa are all at home. Trips to Michigan and Penn State are winnable. However, playing on the road in the Big Ten is never easy. Even if Nebraska loses two games in conference play and beats Michigan State, that should be enough – provided the Spartans lose once (Michigan or at Northwestern). After a rough showing against UCLA and talk of coach Bo Pelini being on the hot seat, what a turnaround it would be for Nebraska to play for the Big Ten title.

Braden Gall ()
I had Nebraska winning the division in the preseason so I will stick with the Cornhuskers. They avoid Wisconsin and Ohio State altogether this season and get both Northwestern and Michigan State at home. The road trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan will be brutal, but with the Wolverines already having a conference loss and have remaining games at Michigan State, at Northwestern and Ohio State at home still. So even a loss to Michigan likely won't hurt the Huskers too much. Nebraska's defense has shown marked improvement since entering Big Ten play and Taylor Martinez' turf toe should be close to 100-percent by the time November rolls around and Nebraska is faced with its first tough conference game (Northwestern, Nov. 2). This is one of the quietest one-loss teams in the nation.

Coach Bill Mallory, former head coach of Miami (Ohio), Colorado, Northern Illinois, Indiana and current voting member of the :
Out of those three teams, the one that surprised me recently, was Michigan State.  They have been playing really good defense but struggling on offense.  Against Indiana this past weekend, their young quarterback, Connor Cook, came into his own. I would not count them out of the race to win their division. They played an impressive game and look to be headed towards being the team to beat.

David Fox ()
This is going to be a wild finish, but I’d tend to favor the two teams that are already 2-0 in the division, Nebraska and Michigan State. The Cornhuskers took plenty of criticism for their bad defense early in the season, but Nebraska allowed fewer yards to Illinois and Purdue combined as it did to Wyoming. Purdue’s offense is awful, but Illinois’ is not. Let’s give a little bit of credit here. The Huskers have their injury concerns with Taylor Martinez’s toe and the season-ending injury for offensive lineman Spencer Long. But Ameer Abdullah has proven capable of carrying the Nebraska offense for the time being. Nebraska also has the most beneficial schedule of the four big contenders, facing only Minnesota and Michigan on the road.

Mark Ross
I was a big Northwestern supporter before the season started, but the Wildcats already have two conference losses and a rough November ahead of them. That leaves the Michigan schools and Nebraska. The Wolverines lost last week to Penn State in four overtimes and their season finale with Ohio State puts them at a disadvantage in my opinion. That brings us to the Spartans and Cornhuskers. One team has offensive issues, the other has defensive flaws. Too bad we can't combine them into one squad. That said, as hard as it may be to believe, it looks like Bo Pelini's team is sitting in the catbird's seat here. While the Cornhuskers still have to go to Ann Arbor, they get the Spartans (and the Wildcats) at home. Take care of business in Lincoln and then in University Park, Pa., against Penn State the following week, and Pelini will have plenty to say to all those who were calling for his head earlier this season. Then again, the Spartans could muster up enough offense to win the division, or the Wolverines could put it all together at the right time. Even Northwestern, despite its 0-2 conference mark, isn't completely out of it yet, not with three games in a row in November against the aforementioned trio. The Big Ten may have lost some of its luster this season, but the last month of conference play is shaping up to be, well, legendary.

Kevin McGuire (), and
As we reach mid-October the Big Ten Legends Division looks fairly wide open to me, and I do not feel overly confident about any of the options to choose from in this one. With Northwestern having already dug a hole in the division, I don't like their chances with games against Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State still to come. I think Iowa keeps things interesting but ultimately I expect them to fall back at some point in the race. For me it is a three-team race between Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State. I have no faith in Michigan State's offense but do believe they have the best defense. Michigan has failed to impress me even before that loss to Penn State. I'm going with my preseason pick in the division, Nebraska, even though I may like their schedule the least.

Road games at Michigan and Penn State could go either way, but I think a split for the Huskers is all they will need out of those two games. Getting Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa at home will turn out to be pivotal for the Huskers this season and help them maneuver their way to the top of the Big Ten Legends Division.

Nebraska, Michigan or Michigan State: Who Wins the Legends Division?
Post date: Friday, October 18, 2013 - 07:17
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-link-roundup-october-17th

Week 8 starts with an ACC matchup between North Carolina and Miami tonight. Should be the start of an interesting weekend...

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Thursday, October 17th

West Virginia quarterback will miss the rest of the seasond due to injury.

is also out for the rest of the season and will apply for a medical redshirt for 2013.

gets highlighted for his Week 7 performance against Ole Miss.

Virginia will be without for Saturday's game against Duke.

takes a look at the improvement on defense at Auburn and Texas Tech.

USC could regain the services of cornerback this weekend.

Pittsburgh needs a healthy at running back.

is getting close, but isn't ready to return to action this Saturday.

says he will return to the team next year and not enter the NFL Draft.

provides some insight into the Sooners' offensive struggles against Texas.

takes a look at the top freshmen from around the SEC at the midpoint of the season.

is out for the remainder of the season due to injury.

Increasing the offensive tempo helped against Bowling Green last Saturday.

College Football's Link Roundup: October 17th
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 13:54
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-wear-pink-helmets-against-washington-state

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and similar to the NFL, several college football teams have added pink to their uniform. That will continue on Saturday, as Oregon plans to wear a pink helmet against Washington State. 

Oregon to Wear Pink Helmets Against Washington State
Post date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 10:32