Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
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Recruiting is a contact sport not meant for the weak-hearted. Al Golden knows this. But even with that in mind, Golden was startled by the level of malice he and his Miami Hurricanes staff encountered from fellow coaches last winter on the recruiting trail.

With the Hurricanes facing an NCAA investigation into impermissible benefits provided to athletes by rogue booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, opposing recruiters went after Miami like a piñata at a kids’ party.

Golden says his coaching counterparts “absolutely crushed” Miami with attacks that “entered the realm of vicious.”

Players pursued by Miami were warned, not only of imminent NCAA-imposed scholarship cuts and bowl bans, but also of a potential death penalty ruling, a possibility few take seriously.

“There was a lot of negative recruiting,” Golden says. “We don’t have a lot of Achilles’ heels. They saw a soft spot and they took it.”

Golden reacted to the low blows — not by complaining, but by getting even.

Despite looming NCAA sanctions, a 6–6 record in 2011 and the cut-throat tactics applied by competitors, Golden pulled in a recruiting class listed in virtually everyone’s top 10 and one that includes six players ranked among ESPN’s Top 150.

Golden responded to Miami’s talent haul by taking a victory lap while warning his program’s detractors “to get your licks in now.”

“What has everybody else worried is that we did this despite everything that was being used against us,” Golden says. “Basically we told everybody, ‘Here’s the tee and here’s the ball,’ and we still were able to get a top-10 recruiting class.”

Those who have followed Golden’s coaching career are not surprised at what the 43-year-old coach was able to accomplish despite the circumstances. Long-time recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBSSports/MaxPreps says Golden built a reputation as “one of the top four or five recruiters in the country” while serving as Al Groh’s defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2001-05.

That rep was further bolstered during six seasons as Temple’s head coach, as Golden turned what was arguably the nation’s most decrepit program into one of college football’s unlikeliest success stories.

Golden brought Temple back from the dead by attracting prospects who prior to his arrival would never have considered the Philadelphia school and by finding unheralded players like Muhammad Wilkerson, a 2-star defensive tackle who developed into a 2011 first-round draft pick of the New York Jets.

But Golden says that what faced him at Miami last winter made the situation at Temple look easy. The NCAA investigation that resulted in the suspension of eight key players and a self-imposed bowl ban had nothing to do with Golden, but he was left to put out the fire while school administrators hid behind carefully crafted statements.

The Shapiro story had more than its share of lurid elements — prostitutes, abortion and strip clubs, to name a few — and provided chum for Miami’s competitors in the shark-infested waters of recruiting. Golden’s approach was to attack the NCAA issues proactively.

“We went after guys that understood we weren’t responsible for it, but understand that we’re responsible enough to clean it up,” Golden says.

The message resonated with recruits. Not only did Golden keep most of his oral commitments after the scandal broke in August, but he also closed like Mariano Rivera, guaranteeing a top-10 class on Signing Day by getting Miramar cornerback Tracy Howard, ranked as the No. 18 prospect nationally by Athlon Sports, to change direction and sign with the Hurricanes instead of Florida.

“There aren’t many guys that can pull that off,” Lemming says. “Golden is a younger version of Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as a coach and a recruiter. Like Saban and Meyer, Golden never stops working. He has an uncanny knack for knowing what kids are looking for, which requires a lot of time and effort. That, combined with a work ethic that is second to none and a great personality, makes Golden unique. There’s only a few of them like him.”

The Hurricanes signed 33 players, but Brennan Carroll, Miami’s national recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, says the key pair were running back Randy “Duke” Johnson and defensive back Deon Bush, a couple of local area products.

Johnson, Florida’s 5A Player of the Year after leading Miami Norland to an undefeated season and state championship, committed to the Hurricanes as a junior in high school and didn’t budge despite the firing of coach Randy Shannon, two lackluster seasons, the NCAA investigation or the best attempts by other schools to sway him.

Bush, a consensus top-5 safety, committed to Miami a month before Signing Day, then worked hard to get Howard, his buddy and former teammate on a 7-on-7 all-star team, to ditch the Gators and stay in South Florida.

“Those were really two guys that were turning points for us — Duke Johnson, who was such a rock, and Deon Bush,” says Carroll, the son of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “They were the story. They got some other guys to say, ‘Let’s do it right here.’”

Of Miami’s 33 signees — nine enrolled in January and technically count toward the 2011 scholarship limit — more than half are from the South Florida area. Golden has made it a point to re-connect with local coaches, some of whom felt like their schools and players were ignored during Shannon’s four seasons in charge of the Canes program. Whether that’s a legitimate beef or not, Golden has doubled down in South Florida by assigning his entire nine-man staff to recruit the area and personally communicating to his high school counterparts that “interaction, trust and communication with the local coaches has got to be elite. It can’t be good.”

Whatever the formula, it seems to have worked with the 2011 class, which includes most of South Florida’s best talent.

“We’re going to be tough to beat down here,” Golden says. “And we should be.”

Golden, who signed an extension in November that runs through the 2019 season, has gotten off to a fast start toward building next year’s freshman class. As of early May, Miami had received commitments from five players, including two ranked in ESPN’s Top 150 and Ray Lewis III, son of the NFL great and Hurricanes legend.

With recruiting going very well, Golden sees sunny days ahead despite an impending date with the NCAA Committee on Infractions and an expected rebuilding season.

“We just need to weather the storm,” Golden says. “Don’t flinch and just have a stick-to-it-iveness and determination that’s going to be able to overcome it.

“We are undaunted by this. At the end of the day, it’s still one of the most special places in college football.”

This article appeared in Athlon's 2012 ACC Preview Annual

Related ACC Content

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

Miami Hurricanes 2012 Team Preview

College Football 2012 Rankings: No. 48 Miami

Teaser:
<p> Al Golden has the Miami Hurricanes back on track</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:58
Path: /college-football/unit-rankings-2012-big-east-wide-receivers
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Kickoff for the 2012 college football season is still two months away, but it's never too early to project how the year might play out. Athlon will be taking a look at how each position stacks up in the BCS conferences and nationally until the start of the season.

Each unit ranking was evaluated based upon how it will perform in 2012 - not how the team played in 2011.

Ranking the Big East's Receiving Corps for 2012

1. South Florida – The Bulls ranked second in the Big East in passing offense last season and could push for the conference lead in 2012. Quarterback B.J. Daniels threw for a career-high 2,604 yards last season, while tossing 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Daniels should eclipse those numbers in 2012, as South Florida returns nearly all of its pass catchers from last year. Despite missing four games due to injury, Sterling Griffin led the team with 43 catches for 530 yards. Griffin should push for All-Big East honors in 2012, and has plenty of help with the return of Victor Marc, Deonte Welch and Andre Davis. The wildcard to watch in the receiving corps will be Florida transfer Chris Dunkley. Tight end Evan Landi caught 29 passes last year and will be a dependable threat over the middle in 2012.

2. Rutgers – There’s really not a clear No. 1 receiving corps in the Big East, and a case could be made the Scarlet Knights should rank at the top. Mohamed Sanu departs after catching 115 passes last season, but the cupboard is far from bare for new coach Kyle Flood. Brandon Coleman finished 2011 on a tear, catching six passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Connecticut, while taking his only reception against Iowa State for 86 yards and a score. Joining Coleman as key contributors will be Mark Harrison, Quron Pratt and Tim Wright. Harrison caught only 14 passes last season after nabbing 44 receptions in 2010. If he returns to form and Coleman continues to emerge, Rutgers should be in great shape at receiver. Tight end D.C. Jefferson is another weapon to watch, and he has 22 receptions over the last two years.

3. Louisville – If there’s a group that could take a big step forward in 2012, look no further than Louisville. The Cardinals lose receiver Josh Bellamy and tight end Josh Chichester, but return a handful of talented youngsters. DeVante Parker only caught 18 passes as a freshman last year, but took six of those for scores and averaged 16.2 yards per reception. Eli Rogers also made a big impact as a freshman last season, leading the team with 41 receptions. Rogers and Parker will join fellow sophomore Michaelee Harris as the likely starters, while Jarrett Davis, Andrell Smith and Scott Radcliff will provide depth.

4. Syracuse – The Orange must replace running back Antwon Bailey, but the offense returns quarterback Ryan Nassib and All-Big East tackle Justin Pugh. Syracuse ranked fifth in the conference in total offense last year, so getting improvement from this unit will be crucial if the Orange want to return to a bowl game. Departing as key weapons in the receiving corps are receivers Van Chew and Dorian Graham and All-Big East tight end Nick Provo. Alec Lemon was the No. 1 target for Nassib last season and earned second-team All-Big East honors. He is once again expected to be the go-to target, while the receiving corps should receive a boost with the return of Marcus Sales, who missed all of 2011 due to a suspension. There’s not a ton of depth, but Syracuse should have one of the conference’s top duos with Sales and Lemon returning.

5. Pittsburgh – The Panthers didn’t suffer any huge losses from this group and with the arrival of offensive-minded head coach Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh could have one of the Big East’s most-improved offenses in 2012. Devin Street and Mike Shanahan are the headliners for this group and both players should be in the mix for All-Big East honors. Street led the team with 53 receptions and 754 yards last year. Cameron Saddler caught 19 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown in 2011 and is back in the mix as a No. 3 returner and weapon on special teams. Ronald Jones turned in a solid freshman campaign last year, catching 17 passes for 143 yards. Jones and Saddler will backup Street and Shanahan, but sophomore Darius Patton could work his way into playing time. Tight end Hubie Graham should have a breakout year in Chryst’s offense. 

6. Cincinnati – With quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead departing, 2012 figures to be a rebuilding year on offense for the Bearcats. Cincinnati also loses receiver DJ Woods, but returns Anthony McClung (49 catches in 2011) and Kenbrell Thompkins (44 catches). In addition to leading the team in catches, McClung paced Cincinnati receivers with 683 yards and six receiving scores. Sophomores Alex Chsium and Dyjuan Lewis are intriguing talents, while tight end Travis Kelce is back after catching 13 passes last year. Another option to watch will be converted quarterback Jordan Luallen, who made the switch to receiver in spring practice. Coach Butch Jones would like to see more consistency and fewer dropped passes from this group in 2012, but there’s plenty of options to keep this unit ranked among the best receiving corps in the Big East.

7. Connecticut – Quarterback play was a huge issue for the Huskies last year, but the receiving corps didn’t give the passers much help either. Connecticut loses Isiah and Kashif Moore (the top two receivers from last season), but this group could be improved in 2012. Michael Smith led the Huskies with 615 receiving yards and 46 catches in 2010 but missed 2011 due to academic suspension. Smith is back in the mix, and is joined by transfers Shakim Phillips (Boston College) and Bryce McNeal (Connecticut). Senior Nick Williams caught only 11 passes last season but averaged 21.5 yards per catch. Tight end Ryan Griffin caught 33 passes last year and is a steady performer for whichever quarterback wins the job.

8. Temple – With the departure of running back Bernard Pierce, Temple will have to lean a little more on its passing attack in 2012. Matt Brown is a capable rusher, but the Owls need more from quarterback Chris Coyer and the receivers. No Temple player caught more than 35 passes last season, and the top two statistical leaders (tight end Evan Rodriguez and receiver Joe Jones) from 2011 have departed. Deon Miller averaged 14.1 yards per reception on 18 catches and needs to play a bigger role in the offense. Seniors Malcolm Eugene and C.J. Hammond are expected to have prominent roles in 2012, but keep an eye on Jalen Fitzpatrick. The sophomore had a good spring and should provide some big-play ability to the offense. 

 

Athlon's 2012 Big East Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Big East Predictions

Cincinnati Rutgers
Connecticut South Florida
Louisville Syracuse
Pittsburgh Temple

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Ranking the Big East's Running Backs for 2012

Teaser:
<p> Big East 2012 Wide Receiver Unit Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 05:38
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-footballs-conferences-2012
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Once again, the SEC ranks as college football's best conference. LSU and Alabama are expected to be national title contenders, while Georgia and South Carolina should finish the year ranked as top-10 teams. While the SEC is college football's No. 1 conference, the Big 12 isn't too far behind. Oklahoma is the favorite to win the conference title, but Texas is on the rise, and the league welcomes West Virginia and TCU as new members in 2012. 

1. SEC
Favorite: LSU

The league has produced the national champion in each of the past six seasons. And while USC out of the Pac-12 is our preseason No. 1 team, there are four SEC schools in the top 10, so don’t be surprised if the league extends the streak to seven next January in Miami Gardens. The West will be a battle once again, with LSU and Alabama both well-positioned to make a title run. A favorable schedule — plus a talented roster — makes Georgia the favorite in the East, but don’t count out South Carolina, which welcomes back Marcus Lattimore. 

2. Big 12
Favorite: Oklahoma

The Big 12 isn’t as formidable as the SEC at the top — Oklahoma appears to be the only legit national title contender — but the league has great depth. Including OU, six league teams can be found in Athlon Sports’ preseason top 25, including newcomers West Virginia (No. 12) and TCU (No. 22).

3. Big Ten
Favorite: Michigan

If Michigan and Ohio State continue to recruit at their current rate, another ‘Ten Year War’ could soon be in store between these two traditional powers. Ohio State is ranked higher in the preseason top 25, but the Buckeyes aren’t eligible for postseason play and thus can’t play in the Big Ten title game. Nebraska and Michigan State figure to give Michigan a battle in the Legends Division, while Wisconsin poses the biggest threat to Ohio State in the Leaders.

4. Pac-12
Favorite: USC

The Pac-12 boasts two of the elite teams in the nation in USC and Oregon, but there is a significant drop-off after those two. Stanford figures to take a step back with Andrew Luck now with the Colts, but the Cardinal will still be strong. It should be a tight race for second place in the South. Utah is our pick, though UCLA should be improved under first-year coach Jim Mora.

5. ACC
Favorite: Florida State

Florida State once again looks rock-solid on paper, but we’ve been through this drill before. Is this the year the Seminoles finally break through? Clemson, the defending ACC champ, has the talent to return to a BCS bowl. Virginia Tech is once again the favorite in the Coastal Division.

6. Big East
Favorite: Louisville

West Virginia’s departure to the Big 12 makes Louisville the favorite in the Big East. Charlie Strong has done a masterful job in two short years and has his program well-positioned for the future. Rutgers and South Florida figure to be in the hunt as well, and don’t count out Pitt under new boss Paul Chryst.

7. Mountain West
Favorite: Boise State

Star quarterback Kellen Moore is gone, but Boise State remains the class of the Mountain West. The loss of TCU to the Big 12 will hurt, but the addition of Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State should add some beef to the middle of the league. This year, watch out for Wyoming, which returns 13 starters from a team that won eight games in 2011.

8. Conference USA
Favorite: UCF

Watch out for the usual suspects in the final year of Conference USA football as it’s currently configured. Houston and Tulsa are the favorites in the West, while UCF and East Carolina appear to be the teams to beat in the East.

9. MAC
Favorite: Ohio

Ohio is the easy pick to the win the MAC East, thanks to a talented roster and a schedule that does not include the top teams in the West. Western Michigan loses elite wideout Jordan White, but the Broncos’ attack should still be explosive with quarterback Alex Carder running the show. Toledo will also score a ton of points.

10. Sun Belt
Favorite: Arkansas State

Arkansas State, the defending Sun Belt champ, made big news in the offseason by hiring Gus Malzahn to replace Hugh Freeze. FIU should bounce back into contention after going 5–3 in the Sun Belt last year. And UL-Lafayette, which won nine games in ’11, will be strong again.

11. WAC
Favorite: Louisiana Tech

The WAC has been gutted in recent years, losing Boise State after the 2010 season and Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada after the ’11 campaign. Louisiana Tech is the best of the leftovers, followed by Utah State. 

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Teaser:
<p> Ranking College Football's Conferences for 2012</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 04:58
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-top-players-c-usa
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College fantasy football drafts will be heating up over the next few months and Athlon Sports has teamed with The College Fantasy Football Site to provide in-depth coverage for 2012. 

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

2012 Preseason Conference USA All-Fantasy Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starters

QB—David Piland, So. (Houston)

Last season:  Redshirted.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Rice, North Texas, UAB

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

QB—Rio Johnson, Jr. (East Carolina)

Last season:  Only 157 yards passing as QB #2 behind Dominique Davis.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; Memphis, @ UAB, Navy

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Tulane, Marshall

 

RB—Zach Line, Sr. (SMU)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,224 yards and 17 TDs, 15 receptions for 139 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; @ Tulane, Houston, Memphis.

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  So. Miss, @ Rice, Tulsa

 

RB—Charles Sims, Jr. (Houston)

Last season:  Rushed for 821 yards and 9 TDs, 51 receptions for 575 yards and 4 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 8-9-10; @ SMU, UTEP, @ ECU

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

RB—Orleans Darkwa, Jr. (Tulane)

Last season:  Rushed for 924 yards and 13 TDs, 37 receptions for 305 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 9-10-11; UAB, Rice, @ Memphis

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Memphis, ECU, @ Houston

 

WR—Darius Johnson, Sr. (SMU)

Last season:  79 receptions for a team-high 1,118 yards and 8 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; @ UTEP, @ Tulane, Houston

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  So. Miss, @ Rice, Tulsa

 

WR—Justin Hardy, So. (East Carolina)

Last season:  Led the team in receptions and receiving yards (64-658), 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 7-8-9; Memphis, @ UAB, Navy

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Tulane, Marshall

 

WR—Daniel Spencer, So. (Houston)

Last season:  12 receptions for 171 yards and 2 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Rice, North Texas, UAB

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

TE—Luke Willson, Sr. (Rice)

Last season:  29 receptions for 313 yards and 3 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Houston, @ Memphis, UTSA

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, SMU, @ UTEP

 

FLEX—Aaron Dobson, Sr. (Marshall)

Last season:  Led the team in receptions, yards, and TDs (49-668-12)

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 10-11-12; Memphis, @ UAB, Houston

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ UAB, Houston, @ ECU

 

K—Matt Hogan, Sr. (Houston)

Last season: 13 of 17 on FG attempts, 91 of 92 on extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 5-6-7; Rice, North Texas, UAB

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Tulsa, @ Marshall, Tulane

 

DEF/ST—Central Florida Knights

Last season:  No. 9 scoring defense and total defense, No. 16 rushing defense.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; ECU, So. Miss, @ Memphis

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ UTEP, @ Tulsa, UAB

 

Top 5 Reserves

QB—Cody Green, Jr. (Tulsa)

QB—Jonathan Perry, Jr. (UAB)

RB—Latavius Murray, Sr. (UCF)

WR—Deontay Greenberry, Fr. (Houston)

WR—Dewayne Peace, Jr. (Houston)


 

 

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)

 

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining The Top Players in C-USA</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 02:41
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College football isn't just about the FBS division and the BCS. The FCS division settles its national champion with a playoff and a familiar name tops the rankings for 2012.

1. Sam Houston State (14–1, 7–0 Southland)
After their perfect season was derailed in the national championship game, the Bearkats have one goal this year: Win it all. They return the Southland Player of the Year (running back Tim Flanders), Offensive Player of the Year (wide receiver Richard Sincere) and Defensive Player of the Year (safety Darnell Taylor). Quarterback Brian Bell is another of the 18 returning starters. Coach Willie Fritz’s squad will play Texas A&M and Baylor.

 2. Georgia Southern (11–3, 7–1 SoCon)
The only team more frustrated than Sam Houston State is Georgia Southern, which has been stopped in each of the last two national semifinals. To take the next step, the Eagles need a new quarterback — perhaps Jerick McKinnon — to be precise running the triple option. He will be sure  that backs Robert Brown and Dominique Swope get plenty of touches. Opposing offenses want no part of nose tackle Brent Russell. 

3. North Dakota State (14–1, 7–1 Missouri Valley)
Coach Craig Bohl is confident that the loss of 11 starters won’t prevent the reigning national champs from challenging for back-to-back titles. Junior cornerback Marcus Williams was electrifying for last year’s stingiest defense in the FCS (12.7 ppg). Third-year quarterback Brock Jensen keeps improving for an offense that will be run-heavy behind 1,000-yard back Sam Ojuri.

4. Montana State (10–3, 7–1 Big Sky)
The Bobcats have some flash with junior quarterback DeNarius McGhee, but their program is more about flexing its muscles. Cody Kirk (1,351 rushing yards and 14 TDs) is the key cog offensively, and defensive linemen Brad Daly, Zach Minter and Caleb Schreibeis and linebacker Jody Owens form the nucleus of a dominant stop-unit.

5. James Madison (8–5, 5–3 CAA)
The Dukes believe they have solved recent inconsistency. Quarterback Justin Thorpe, who came back strong after a university suspension last season, will team with versatile running back Dae’Quan Scott (1,304 rushing yards, 13 total TDs) on an improved offense. The defense has a star in middle linebacker Stephon Robertson and an emerging standout in safety Dean Marlowe.

6. Old Dominion (10–3, 6–2 CAA)
Year 2 in the CAA should be as good as last year’s debut for the Monarchs. Taylor Heinicke fired 25 touchdown passes with only one interception over the final nine games of his true freshman season, and he has plenty back in the skill positions. Craig Wilkins flies around at linebacker, and the special teams are always outstanding.

7. Towson (9–3, 7–1 CAA)
Coach Rob Ambrose led the Tigers to a stunning CAA title after going a combined 3–29 in conference in the previous four seasons. There won’t be a letdown with the return of running back Terrance West, who scored an FCS-high 29 touchdowns as a freshman, and fellow All-CAA standouts Frank Beltre (defensive end) and Jordan Dangerfield (safety).

8. Appalachian State (8–4, 6–2 SoCon)
A senior-laden defense, featuring linebackers Brandon Grier and Jeremy Kimbrough and defensive backs Demetrius McCray (five interceptions) and Troy Sanders, will get to the ball in waves. Veteran coach Jerry Moore will need some new playmakers to develop for quarterback Jamal Jackson.

9. Youngstown State (6–5, 4–4 Missouri Valley)
The only team to beat FCS champion North Dakota State last season, the Penguins are primed for their first playoff appearance since 2006. All-MVC selections Kurt Hess (quarterback) and Jamaine Cook (running back), along with big-play receiver Christian Bryan, return from the most prolific offense in school history.

10. New Hampshire (8–4, 6–2 CAA)
The Wildcats seek to extend the longest active streak of playoff appearances (eight) in the FCS, behind senior linebacker Matt Evans, the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award recipient. The transition of new quarterback — Andy Vailas or James Brady — will be eased by wide receivers R.J. Harris and Joey Orlando.

11. Delaware (7–4, 5–3 CAA)
The FCS version of Quarterback U is looking for better production at the position this season. No matter what, coach K.C. Keeler will put the ball in the hands of junior running back Andrew Pierce (2,934 yards in two seasons). Linebacker Paul Worrilow leads the defense.

12. Eastern Washington (6–5, 5–3 Big Sky)
Decimated by injuries last season, the 2010 FCS champions seek significant improvement. SMU transfer quarterback Kyle Padron will replace another former SMU Mustang, Bo Levi Mitchell, the 2011 Walter Payton Award recipient. Padron will have three different 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal — Nicholas Edwards, Greg Herd and Brandon Kaufman.

13. Jacksonville State (7–4, 6–2 OVC)
Having underachieved in recent seasons, the talented Gamecocks hope to put it all together. Coach Jack Crowe is patching up the defense, but his offense will be outstanding with 1,000-yard back Washaun Ealey and quarterback Marques Ivory, who will share time with Coty Blanchard.

14. Indiana State (6–5, 4–4 Missouri Valley)
Catch him if you can: Junior tailback Shakir Bell averaged 7.3 yards per carry while amassing 1,670 yards. The Sycamores’ defense will be led by end Ben Obaseki and linebackers Aaron Archie and Jacolby Washington.

15. Illinois State (7–4, 5–3 Missouri Valley)
Snubbed out of a playoff berth last season, the Redbirds plan to leave no doubt this year. They have a superb passing combo in Matt Brown-to-Tyrone Walker and get after opposing quarterbacks with defensive end Nate Palmer and linebacker Evan Frierson.

16. Stony Brook (9–4, 6–0 Big South)
Two running backs are better than one. Miguel Maysonet (1,633 yards, 15 TDs) has a new tag-team partner in Iowa transfer Marcus Coker, the Big Ten’s second-leading rusher in 2011. The Seawolves may lead the FCS in scoring once again.

17. Montana (11–3, 7–1 Big Sky)
The offseason firing of coach Robin Pflugrad rocked a national semifinalist squad that had lost nine defensive starters already. The running game remains strong with the undersized duo of Peter Nguyen and Jordan Canada.

18. Eastern Kentucky (7–5, 6–2 OVC)
A dominant offensive line, featuring 6'6" tackles Aaron Adams and Patrick Ford, will pave the way for fourth-year quarterback T.J. Pryor and running back Matt Denham, who averaged 184.5 rushing yards over the final eight games of last season.

19. Wofford (8–4, 6–2 SoCon)
Fullbacks Eric Breitenstein (3,695 career rushing yards) and Donovan Johnson get into opponents’ defensive backfields, and linebacker Alvin Scioneaux (16 tackles for a loss) gets into opponents’ offensive backfields. The Terriers have led the FCS in rushing for two straight seasons.

20. Northern Iowa (10–3, 7–1 Missouri Valley)
This perennial FCS power must work in 11 new starters against a brutally tough September schedule that includes Wisconsin and Iowa. Running backs David Johnson and Carlos Anderson fuel a strong ground attack.

21. Murray State (7–4, 5–3 OVC)
The Racers believe they have the FCS’ best quarterback in Casey Brockman, who threw for 3,276 yards and 25 touchdowns last year. Linebacker and leading tackler Sam Small leads a defense that must replace several key pieces.

22. Harvard (9–1, 7–0 Ivy)
Each of the Crimson’s Ivy League wins was by double digits last season. Quarterback Colton Chapple and running back Treavor Scales work behind a veteran offensive line. Harvard’s 37.4 points per game set a school record.

23. Stephen F. Austin (6–5, 5–2 Southland)
Opponents probably can’t believe that veteran wide receivers Gralyn Crawford and Cordell Roberson haven’t graduated yet. Sack specialist Willie Jefferson leads the defense of a team that won its final five games.

24. Chattanooga (5–6, 3–5 SoCon)
The Mocs need to start winning the close games behind quarterback Terrell Robinson, the 2011 SoCon Freshman of the Year. The defense is stocked with end Josh Williams, linebacker Wes Dothard and cornerback Kadeem Wise.

25. Lehigh (11–2, 6–0 Patriot)
Senior quarterback Mike Colvin hopes to run the Mountain Hawks’ high-flying passing attack and will target All-America wide receiver Ryan Spadola (96 receptions for 1,614 yards). They haven’t lost a league game since 2009.
 

2012 Projected FCS Playoff Qualifiers

Appalachian State (at-large)

Bethune-Cookman (MEAC champ)

Bryant (Northeast champ)

Delaware (at-large)

Eastern Washington (at-large)

Georgia Southern (Southern champ)

Illinois State (at-large)

Indiana State (at-large)

Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley champ)

James Madison (CAA champ)

Lehigh (Patriot champ)

Montana State (Big Sky champ)

Montana (at-large)

New Hampshire (at-large)

North Dakota State (Missouri Valley champ)

Old Dominion (at-large)

Sam Houston State (Southland champ)

Stony Brook (Big South champ)

Towson (at-large)

Youngstown State (at-large)

Teaser:
<p> Sam Houston State ranks as Athlon's No. 1 team in the FCS poll for 2012</p>
Post date: Monday, July 2, 2012 - 01:43
Path: /college-football/college-football-realignment-winners-and-losers
Body:

It has been another busy year in college football realignment. The SEC and Big 12 made significant moves, while the Big East was one of the biggest losers in the latest round of realignment.

Which teams and conferences were the big winner or loser from the last year of realignment?

College Football 2012 Realignment Winners and Losers

Winners

Big 12 – At one point last year, it seemed appropriate to write an obituary for the Big 12. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State appeared to be on the verge of joining the Pac-12, while Texas A&M and Missouri decided to jump to the SEC. Fast forward to 2012 and the Big 12 has emerged from its deathbed to rank as college football’s No. 2 conference. The members have granted their television rights to the Big 12, which should ensure for some stability for the next 10 years. Although the conference lost two solid programs in Missouri and Texas A&M, West Virginia and TCU offer plenty in terms of football value. The Big 12 cashed in on a rich television contract and has positioned itself with the new “Champions Bowl” with the SEC. New commissioner Bob Bowlsby was a solid hire to keep the conference on stable footing, while deciding if it needs to expand to 12 teams, or stick with 10 for the immediate future.

Boise State – The Big East is not what it once was, but it’s still an upgrade for Boise State and its football program. The Broncos should see an increase in television revenue, and the Big East will help bring more exposure, especially with games against Louisville, South Florida and Rutgers. Automatic BCS bids are gone, but if Boise State can continue to reel off double-digit win seasons and claim the Big East title, this program will continue to find itself ranked among the top 10 teams in college football. And who knows, in 10-15 years, maybe the Pac-12 will come calling. The Big East is not a huge improvement, but this is another step up the ladder for the Broncos.

Conference USA defectors – SMU, UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis – Sure, it’s not a huge leap in terms of conference realignment, but the Big East is an upgrade for these five teams. Each school brings a solid television market, while Memphis is a boost for the basketball side with Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving. Although the BCS access is changing with the new championship format, SMU, UCF, Houston, SMU and Memphis will have a better shot at qualifying for the playoffs in the Big East than Conference USA. Although the Big East is losing West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, playing Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Connecticut is an upgrade over UTEP, Tulane, Rice and UAB.

Missouri – It will be a challenge to win the SEC title, but the positives outweigh the negatives in this move for Missouri. The Tigers left behind a league with stability question marks for one that is the most prestigious college football conference. While the concerns about Missouri winning the SEC title are legitimate, the last time the school won an outright conference crown was in 1960s, so it's not like the Tigers were winning championships in its former home (Big 12). 

New Conference USA Members - Louisiana Tech, FIU, North Texas, Charlotte, Old Dominion – Louisiana Tech has been a geographic misfit in the WAC for years and will be a much better fit with the teams in Conference USA. North Texas and FIU are making the jump from the Sun Belt Conference and are located near two key television markets – Dallas and Miami. Charlotte is starting its football program in 2013, while Old Dominion recently restarted its program in 2009.

Notre Dame – Another round of realignment and once again Notre Dame remains Independent. The Irish have no desire to join a conference, although rumors have persisted for months they may explore moving their non-football programs to another league. Notre Dame’s access to the best bowls and playoffs will remain the same, but challenging schedules could prevent the Irish from getting into the top four or five.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse – The decision to bolt from the Big East to the ACC was an easy one for both schools. With the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, joining a conference with more stability and a solid long-term television deal was a no-brainer. Syracuse has only 43 wins over the last 10 years, while the Panthers have won at least eight games in three out of the last four seasons. Neither team provides much of a boost for the football product, but landing in a stable conference and reigniting Big East rivalries with Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College is a victory for both Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

San Diego State – The Aztecs have played in back-to-back bowl games, and the program is poised to move from the Mountain West to the Big East. While San Diego State is a geographic misfit in the conference, they will see an increase in television revenue and exposure by leaving the Mountain West. Contending in the Big East will be more difficult, but this should end up being a good move for the Aztecs.

TCU – It’s been a long road for TCU since being left out of the initial Big 12 setup in 1995. The Horned Frogs played in the WAC, Conference USA and Mountain West but still emerged as an annual top-25 team under Gary Patterson. TCU has recorded at least 11 wins in six out of the last seven seasons. The competition is going to be tougher in the Big 12, so double-digit win totals won’t be easy to come by. However, TCU is a clear winner in realignment, as it has upgraded to one of the premier conferences in college football and can go head-to-head against former Southwest Conference rivals Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech.

Temple – After getting kicked out of the Big East in 2004, no one could have predicted the turnaround the Owls have experienced. After winning seven games from 2002-05, Temple has won at least eight contests in each of the last three years. Moving to the MAC and playing weaker competition certainly helped, but the Owls have emerged from college football’s deathbed to a spot in a BCS conference. It will be tough for Temple to compete for a bowl game in the Big East in 2012, but this program won’t slip back into the abyss that it fell in the 1990s.

Texas A&M – Moving to the SEC is a huge plus for Texas A&M. Although the Aggies will never be the top program in the state, playing in college football’s most prestigious conference should help Texas A&M move slightly out of Texas’ shadow. The Big 12 doesn’t appear to be in danger of breaking up as some anticipated last summer, but the SEC has more long-term stability. Competing for the SEC title won’t be easy, but the Aggies have only won outright conference championship since 1994, so just like Missouri, it's not like Texas A&M was dominating conference titles in the Big 12.

Texas State – Just like current WAC foe (and rival) UTSA, the Bobcats will experience a quick rise through the FBS ranks. Texas State is making its FBS debut this year and is ineligible to play in a bowl game. The Bobcats will be on the move again next season, as they will play in the Sun Belt Conference. Texas State will have an upgraded stadium, and with a prime location in Texas (near San Antonio and Austin), this program should emerge in a few seasons as a conference title contender in the Sun Belt.

UTSA – The Roadrunners have been on a meteoric rise over the last few seasons. UTSA just finished its first season of football and is moving to the WAC in 2012. The Roadrunners are making a short stop in the WAC, as they will join Conference USA in time for the 2013 season. UTSA needs some time to build the overall roster depth, but with the tremendous recruiting base, this is one of college football’s top rising programs in a non-BCS conference.

Utah State, San Jose State – With the defections of Boise State, Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State in recent years, the WAC is a sinking ship, and the remaining teams are all shopping for new homes. Utah State and San Jose State landed in a perfect conference in terms of geography, and with both teams on the rise, they can be a factor for the 2013 Mountain West title. Although the Mountain West’s television deal is a concern, finding a stable home is a huge plus for the Aggies and Spartans.

West Virginia – The Mountaineers had a messy departure from the Big East, but landing in the Big 12 is a win for the school. With the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, the Big 12 will provide more stability and more exposure. West Virginia should also see an increase in television revenue with the new Big 12 television contract. The Mountaineers are an odd geographic fit, but will bring a solid brand to the conference and will be a factor for a conference title race in 2012.

Related: The History of SEC Realignment
Related: The History of Big East Realignment
Related: The History of Big 12 Realignment

Losers

ACC - At least for now, commissioner John Swofford has managed to keep his conference intact. However, the rumors will continue to persist about Florida State and Clemson’s long-term future with the ACC, especially if the Big 12 looks to expand in the future. Also, the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse were good for basketball, but doesn’t move the needle on the gridiron. The ACC expected super-conferences to emerge when it added Pittsburgh and Syracuse, but instead of firing the first shot in realignment, the conference was left with two extra teams that aren’t doing much for its football product.

Big East – The departures of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia dealt the Big East a heavy blow to remain one of the power conferences in college football. The conference was reluctant to expand in previous years, but was forced to add six new members for 2013, while asking Temple to rejoin the league for 2012. The Big East picked up four members from Conference USA (Houston, SMU, UCF and Memphis), while adding San Diego State and Boise State from the Mountain West. Navy is scheduled to join the conference in 2015. While the Broncos are a national power, the conference as a whole is not as strong and could be in danger of losing more members as realignment continues across college football.

Conference USA – Realignment had been relatively quiet in Conference USA, as the league managed to keep the same 12-team alignment since 2005. However, Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis will depart for the Big East in 2013, with the conference replacing those four teams with Louisiana Tech, North Texas, UTSA, Charlotte and Old Dominion. While UTSA and North Texas are solid additions to add more value in Texas, Old Dominion (recently started its football program), and Charlotte (will start playing in 2015), don't add much to the league. Louisiana Tech is a program on the rise, but the depth of the league took a hit with the recent departures.

East Carolina – The Pirates desperately wanted to be a part of the Big East, but were passed over by Conference USA foes Houston, SMU, UCF and Memphis. East Carolina averaged over 50,000 fans per game last season, but does not have a major television market like Houston, Orlando or Dallas to bring to the conference. Although the Pirates bring solid fan support and a program that has five bowl games in the last six years, East Carolina is on the outside looking in – at least for now.

Idaho – Unless the WAC can find a handful of new members to make the jump (and fast) from the FCS ranks, Idaho and New Mexico State will likely spend 2013 in the Independent ranks. The Vandals made overtures to the Mountain West, but the conference is not interested in adding anyone other than Boise State or San Diego State into the mix. The Vandals have struggled lately and won’t bring much to the table in terms of television value. Idaho is hoping for a revamped WAC, but it could be forced to drop to the FCS ranks or hold out for an invitation to the Mountain West or Sun Belt.

Louisville – West Virginia was selected over Louisville as the Big 12’s No. 10 team, and the Cardinals were left with no other conference options. In a revamped Big East, Louisville should be one of the premier football programs, but expect the Cardinals to keep looking for a new home. The Big 12 has been rumored as a possible destination, especially as the conference looks to bridge the geographic gap to West Virginia. With Charlie Strong at the helm, Louisville is a program on the rise. However, the Cardinals are struggling to find an escape route from the Big East.

Mountain West – TCU, Utah, BYU and now Boise State. The Mountain West has lost some heavy hitters and while some of the replacements (Nevada, Fresno State, Hawaii Utah State and San Jose State) aren’t bad, the conference won’t have an annual BCS contender. The Mountain West is clearly the best of the conference outside of the BCS, but not having Boise State or TCU in the mix is a huge loss.

New Mexico State – Just like Idaho, the Aggies have been left out of the conference shuffle and now face an uncertain future. New Mexico State has expressed interest in the Mountain West and had in-state rival New Mexico pushing for its inclusion in the conference. However, the Mountain West is content to stick with 10 teams – at least until Boise State or San Diego State express interest in returning. Unless the WAC can quickly find new members, the Aggies will likely spend 2013 as an Independent.

Rivalry Games/Fans – Rivalry games are a huge part of college football, but conference realignment has ended some series for the immediate future. Texas-Texas A&M was among the top 15 rivalries in the nation, but the Longhorns have indicated to the Aggies their non-conference slate is full until 2018. Kansas is not interested in scheduling Missouri with the Tigers moving to the SEC. The Backyard Brawl between West Virginia-Pittsburgh is on hold, but both sides seem interested in continuing the series at a later date. Although new rivalries will pop up, it’s unfortunate to see long rivalries such as these disappear off the schedule.

WAC Conference – It’s fourth-and-long and the WAC needs a Hail Mary to survive. The defections of Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada in recent years, combined with the upcoming departures of Louisiana Tech, Texas State, UTSA, San Jose State and Utah State, has left the WAC with just two football members (Idaho and New Mexico State) for 2013. The conference is exploring potential expansion candidates, but has yet to announce any additions for next season. However, the conference appears to be on the verge of extinction, unless a handful of FCS teams want to make the move to the FBS ranks.
 

Incomplete

BYU – It’s still too early to know whether or not BYU’s move to Independence was a good or bad decision. The Cougars have a solid television deal with ESPN and sit in the driver’s seat for the next round of conference realignment. However, scheduling could get more difficult as more teams switch to a nine-game conference slate. Going Independent was a good move for the immediate future, but the long-term success will rest with how well BYU can schedule and if its access to bowls will improve.

SEC – There’s nothing wrong with adding Missouri and Texas A&M. Both are solid programs and add two new markets to the conference. However, neither addition is expected to provide much of a boost for the football product. Although the SEC will likely be able to reel in a few more dollars on a television contract, did the conference really get a lot better after the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M? 

-By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)

Related College Realignment Content

What's Next for College Football Realignment?
College Basketball Realignment Winners and Losers
Redrafting College Football's Conferences
Will Notre Dame Ever Join a Conference?
Was Independence a Mistake for BYU?
Introducing West Virginia to the Big 12
SEC Football: Getting to Know Missouri
SEC Football: Getting to Know Texas A&M
TCU Football Comes Home to the Big 12

Teaser:
<p> College Football 2012 Realignment Winners and Losers</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/whats-next-college-football-realignment
Body:

College football realignment has dominated the headlines throughout parts of the last two years. The biggest move before last season's moving day was Nebraska's decision to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten. On July 1, 2012, it will be a busy moving day across college football, as West Virginia and TCU will join the Big 12 and Missouri and Texas A&M become members of the SEC.

Although realignment may take a back seat for a couple of months, there's no question it will jump back in the headlines in the next few years. 

What’s Next in College Football Realignment?

1. Waiting on the Big 12: 10, 12 or 14? That’s the million-dollar question facing new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Will the Big 12 expand to 12 or 14 teams? Or will it stand pat at 10? Florida State and Clemson have been rumored as possible candidates to leave the ACC for the Big 12, but the No. 1 target is clearly Notre Dame. The Big 12 seems content with 10 teams, but a lot could change in the next couple of years. In addition to Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame, Louisville is also believed to be on the radar for Big 12 expansion. Although it’s not a necessity, the Big 12 should add another team or two to bridge the geographic gap to West Virginia. It may not happen in 2012 or 2013, but expect the Big 12 to explore expansion once again in the near future.

2. The Big East: Much has changed in the Big East over the last year. Pittsburgh and Syracuse decided to bolt the conference for the ACC, while West Virginia sued to leave for the Big 12 in 2012. The departures left the Big East with only five football members for 2013, and the conference restocked by adding Houston, SMU, Memphis, San Diego State, Boise State and UCF. Navy will join the Big East in 2015, and Temple was able to join for 2012, which keeps the conference at eight football members. While the Big East has some stability with these additions, it could be short lived. Boise State is struggling to find a home for its non-football sports and could be forced to return to the Mountain West. Also, the Broncos’ quest to find a home for its non-football sports will also have an impact on San Diego State’s conference alignment for 2013. Even if Boise State and the Aztecs join the Big East, the conference could be under siege once again in the coming years, especially if the ACC decides to expand to 16 teams. Some have already dismissed the Big East as a power conference, but getting Boise State to join and keeping Louisville in the mix will be crucial to its long-term success.

3. ACC Stability?: Rumors about Florida State and Clemson’s future with the ACC persisted throughout this offseason. The Big 12 has commented it is not interested in expanding, but that could change quickly. The ACC added Pittsburgh and Syracuse, giving the conference 14 teams in 2013. The Panthers and Orange won’t add much in terms of football value, but will help the ACC on the hardwood. The ACC may look to expand to 16 teams in the future, with Connecticut and Rutgers frequently mentioned as possible targets. Although Florida State and Clemson have underachieved at times, keeping these two programs in the mix is a must for the ACC. All signs point to both teams staying, but as we have seen with conference realignment, things can change in a hurry.

4. Impact of a Playoff: Could the news of the four-team playoff have an impact on conference realignment? The initial feeling is that the new postseason format won’t ignite a new round of changes. However, who knows what will happen after a couple of years in the new system. Adding more teams to a conference decreases the money for each member, and there has to be a concern about making the road too difficult to reach a national title game. This is one area that can’t be evaluated now, but is worth monitoring over the next five years.

5. Super conferences: Much has been made about super conferences and the future of college football. Could we see a 16-team league in the next few years? It’s certainly possible. However, let’s consider the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Are there really four new members that fit each conference? At this point, both leagues would be adding teams just for the sake of getting to 16 teams. The SEC doesn’t seem to be overly interested in expanding, but could look to add teams in the North Carolina or Virginia markets. Is that anytime soon? Probably not. Maybe the ACC or Big East will expand to 16 teams, but the talk of super conferences seems to be overblown.

Related College Football Realignment Content

College Football Realignment Winners and Losers
A History of Realignment in the Big 12 Conference
A History of Realignment in the SEC
A History of Realignment in the Big East

College Basketball Realignment Winners and Losers
Redrafting College Football's Conferences
Will Notre Dame Ever Join a Conference?
Was Independence a Mistake for BYU?
Introducing West Virginia to the Big 12
SEC Football: Getting to Know Missouri
SEC Football: Getting to Know Texas A&M
TCU Football Comes Home to the Big 12

Teaser:
<p> What's next in college football realignment?</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 05:29
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-football-will-irish-ever-join-conference
Body:

Notre Dame remains committed to Independence, but will that ever change? The BCS will be eliminated when a four-team playoff begins in 2014 and more realignment could happen in several BCS conferences. The Irish are the main target of expansion for the Big 12, ACC and Big Ten, but they do not appear interested in joining a conference - at least for now.

Will Notre Dame Football Ever Join a Conference?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
If college football is going to have a playoff, Notre Dame could certainly give up on independence. To be clear, it’s not going to happen immediately and it may end up being a matter of last resort. If the new playoff format diminishes Notre Dame’s ability to compete, I could see the Irish joining a league -- and of course, they would have no shortage of suitors. For now, Notre Dame still has the clout to be a part of the decision-making process of the playoff even if the Irish haven’t finished in the top four since 1993. At some point, especially if Notre Dame struggles to get over the eight-win mark, Notre Dame may need to move into a conference simply to recruiting -- meaning the Irish may look outside of Big Ten territory in order to gain a foothold in Texas or the South. I would never say Notre Dame will always remain independent, but something seismic, be it more realignment, a conference-champion only playoff system or more losing seasons, to force the hands of the Irish.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Swirling rumors right now are that Notre Dame will switch all of its Olympic sports to the Big 12 — a monumental move that means very little to the immediate layout of college football but will have far-reaching, long-term effects. It sets up Fighting Irish football for a potential move into a stable, lucrative power conference when it does finally need to join a league. This won't take place for years, maybe even decades, but eventually the Golden Domers will need to join a power conference for football and the Big 12 is a much more attractive option than the Big East. Notre Dame football will join a league at some point down the road or it will be left out of the big playoff pie that is coming down the pike. But it looks like the back-from-the-ashes Big 12 is the likely destination, not the Big East or Big Ten.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
In the next 5-10 years? No. At some point? Yes. I know Notre Dame values its Independence, but college football will change. A four-team playoff may morph into an 8 or 16-team tournament and there may be more of an incentive to join a conference. New presidents, athletic directors and other leaders in 25 years may feel differently about Independence. Also, if more leagues decide to go to nine conference games, scheduling could get more difficult. The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 have all been rumored as possible landing spots if Notre Dame wants to join a conference, and there’s no question the Irish are the biggest domino waiting to fall. The rumors will persist about Notre Dame joining a conference, but I think it will be a while before the Irish agree to give up Independence.  

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Ever is a strong word, but my guess is that Notre Dame will not join a conference in the next 10 years. With no barrier to entry into a four-team playoff, there really is no incentive for Notre Dame to join a league at this point. The Fighting Irish consistently play a schedule that is strong enough to warrant a bid into the postseason — assuming of course that they win enough games — so why would a school that has taken so much pride in its status as an Independent decide at this point to join a conference? It just doesn’t make sense. 

Mark Ross
I think Notre Dame will eventually join a conference, but when it does, it will definitely be on its terms. Notre Dame has been an independent since 1978 and while the Fighting Irish may not be the dominant football power they once were, they have been able to maintain their status as one. Look no further than the school's presence in the BCS.

Still, with the way the college football landscape has changed during the past few years and the fact that it will continue to evolve in the future, I believe the day will come when Notre Dame sees its in their best interests football-wise to join one of the so-called super conferences. Given its history, tradition and status, there's little doubt in my mind that any conference looking to make a statement or solidify its standing wouldn't give Notre Dame a serious look and/or roll out the red carpet for the Fighting Irish to come join them.

Not many schools can say they control their own fate when it comes to this game of conference musical chairs. But as the past 34 years have shown us, Notre Dame is in a class of its own when it comes to the college football landscape. 

Related College Football Content

Athlon's 2012 Top 25 Rankings: No. 20 Notre Dame
College Football Countdown to Kickoff

Notre Dame's Top 10 Players for 2012

Athlon's 2012 College Football Rankings

College Football's Top 25 Heisman Contenders for 2012

Teaser:
<p> Will Notre Dame Ever Join a Conference?</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /college-football/byu-football-independence-mistake-cougars
Body:

BYU is coming off a solid 10-3 season in its first year as an Independent. The Cougars played a soft schedule in the second half of 2011, which helped the team to rebound after a 1-2 start. Although BYU is a solid program, choosing the Independence route over a conference is an interesting debate for the next 15-20 years. 

Is Independence a Mistake for BYU?

David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Few schools could leave a conference -- particularly a non-power conference -- and improve their standing. BYU did. BYU’s recruiting base of Mormon athletes and/or athletes seeking the honor code is going to be attracted to Provo no matter the league. If anything, independence helps BYU’s recruiting cause by giving the Cougars a unique cachet. Utah goes to the Pac-12, BYU is independent. At least compared to its chief rival, BYU won't have to battle the perception problem of being in an inferior league. The Cougars will have trouble scheduling, but they’ll have their share of marquee games, too. BYU has played Florida State and Oklahoma, it has a series with Notre Dame and Texas, not to mention a handful of games against Pac-12 opponents. Moreover, BYU has more national exposure than it ever did as a team in the Mountain West. BYU was on an ESPN network just five times from 2006 to 2010. In one season as an independent, BYU was on an ESPN network 10 times. Will this be a long-term solution for BYU? Probably not. BYU eventually will end up wherever it can best compete for a national title. I assume that will be a conference. But for now, the Big 12 and Pac-12 aren’t interested. At least as an independent, BYU doesn’t have to deal with the revolving door of Mountain West membership.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
My instincts tell me that long-term Independence for BYU is a major mistake. The Cougars are a unique brand that plays nationally, attracts a very specific audience and will be just fine in the short-term. But Mark Emmert has openly spoken about his concerns about the growing gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" in college football. And to be one of those "haves," BYU will need to be in a power conference. Aside from not getting huge conference-based TV payouts each year, scheduling might be the most obvious issue. Finding good games in the early months won't be an issue, but getting quality opponents to come to Provo in late October and November will be virtually impossible. So if the Cougars are consistently playing Fresno State, Wyoming and New Mexico in the second half of the season, they will likely never land in the Top 4 at the end of the year. Which, in case you missed it, is the only thing any football office in America cares about now.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
For now, I think this is the right move for BYU. The Cougars are able to schedule nationally and have upgraded television exposure with an ESPN contract. I do have doubts about this decision as a long-term move. Scheduling will be more difficult if conferences continue to go to nine league games. A weak schedule also won’t help BYU’s hopes of getting into the four-team playoff or access into one of the premier bowls.

I’ve always thought the move to Independence was a short-term decision as the program bides time until the next round of realignment hits college football. The Big 12 and Big East have been mentioned as possible landing spots, but the Cougars can take some time and pick their next home. It may take 10-20 years, but I expect BYU will join a conference again – whether it’s the Big East, Big 12 or a new league on the west coast with Boise State and the Cougars as the anchors. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
It depends what other legitimate options the school had at the time it made the move. I think being an Independent, for BYU, is favorable to being the Mountain West (as it is now constructed), but I believe the Big 12 would be a better solution than being an Independent. For BYU, and really for every school in the nation, it comes down to the following in the new landscape of college football: Is your schedule good enough to get you invited to the new four-team playoff. Right now, it’s debatable whether BYU’s 2012 schedule would be strong enough to put the Cougars in position to be a Final Four team (can we call it that?) even if it runs the table. There would be no worries if BYU was in the Big 12; the schedule in that league will always be strong enough to warrant inclusion in the postseason.

Mark Ross
As far as the here and now goes, I don't think BYU made a mistake by going independent in football. With a four-team playoff going into effect in 2014, the Cougars' independent status doesn't impact their chances of getting into the playoff any more than it would if they were still in the Mountain West or another mid-major conference. So as it stands right now, BYU has total control over its schedule, and, more importantly, doesn't have to share any of the revenue generated from its TV deal with ESPN. After all, this sort of arrangement has worked pretty well for Notre Dame and NBC, right?

Also, BYU's independent status should put them in prime position to capitalize on the next wave of conference expansion, if it chooses to do so. Chances are the move to a four-team playoff will do little, if anything, to put an end to the evolving landscape that college football conferences have become. If this movement continues and say the Pac-12 or Big 12 gets serious about adding more teams, then BYU should be one of the first schools to get a call. Should that happen, BYU doesn't have to worry about breaking its contract with any conference as it pertains to football, making any such transition basically seamless. The Cougars' other sports are participating in the West Coast Conference, but if we've learned anything during this latest wave of conference realignment and expansion it's that football is the straw that stirs the drink.

In the end, I would rather be wanted by someone than feeling like I have to make a move just for the sake of making one or because of other circumstances. The former is the position I see BYU in, meaning the school is in the driver's seat the next time the opportunity presents itself to find the Cougars a new home.

Related College Football Content

2012 College Football Rankings: No. 39 BYU
BYU Cougars 2012 Team Preview

Redrafting College Football's Conferences
College Football Realignment Winners and Losers

Teaser:
<p> Is Independence a Mistake for BYU?</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 04:17
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Georgia Bulldogs, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/georgia-football-isaiah-crowells-future-doubt-after-arrest
Body:

Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell’s future with the team is in doubt after an arrest early Friday morning on three weapons charges. The sophomore-to-be was arrested on charges of possessing a weapon in a school zone (a felony) and carrying a concealed weapon (a misdemeanor). The weapon Crowell had in possession had an altered identification mark, which is another felony. He was booked into Athens-Clarke County Jail, with bond set at $7,500.

As a result of his arrest and three charges, Crowell is facing an immediate suspension. Head coach Mark Richt has yet to issue a statement regarding the running back’s arrest.

Crowell’s incident isn’t the first bit of offseason trouble for Georgia. Cornerback Branden Smith was arrested on marijuana drug charges in March, while fellow corner Sanders Commings pled guilty to charges of battery and disorderly conduct. Commings is expected to miss the first two games of 2012.

In addition to the issues at cornerback, linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo are facing suspensions for violating team rules.

Crowell came to Georgia ranked as one of the top running backs in the 2011 recruiting class. He played in 12 games as a true freshman, rushing for 850 yards and five touchdowns. Although Crowell had a solid debut, he was suspended one game for a failed drug test and dealt with injuries throughout the second half of last year.

Considering Crowell’s inability to stay on the field last year, Georgia has experience using other running backs and wasn’t counting on him to carry the entire workload this year. Richard Samuel is moving to fullback in 2012, but rushed for 240 yards and one touchdown on 82 attempts in 2011. Ken Malcome closed out last season by rushing for at least 37 yards in each of the last four games. He recorded a season best 51 yards in the Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State.

Will Georgia’s SEC Title Hopes Suffer Without Crowell?

Crowell was a top talent, but Georgia’s SEC East title hopes remain intact. And frankly, losing Crowell isn’t a huge blow to the team. The Bulldogs return quarterback Aaron Murray, along with 10 starts on defense. The schedule is very favorable, as Georgia misses Alabama, Arkansas and LSU in crossover games with the West.

While Crowell’s playing career in Athens could be finished, the Bulldogs won’t miss a beat on the ground.

Coach Mark Richt recruited two highly-rated backs, with Keith Marshall ranking as the No. 15 overall prospect in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100, while Todd Gurley checked in as the No. 11 running back in the nation.

Marshall checks in at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, while Gurley is a bigger option at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds. Both backs have good speed and can contribute right away in 2012.

In addition to Marshall and Gurley’s arrival, Georgia has other potential contributors in Samuel and Malcome. Although neither player possesses the gamebreaking ability of the freshmen, both are expected to figure into the workload.  

The Bulldogs are the early favorites to win the SEC East in 2012, but it won't be easy to hold off South Carolina once again. The Gamecocks have some key losses on both sides of the ball, and running back Marcus Lattimore is returning from a torn ACL. However, quarterback Connor Shaw played well in the second half of 2011, and the defensive line is one of the best in college football.

Georgia’s biggest question mark is its offensive line, which loses center Ben Jones and tackles Cordy Glenn and Justin Anderson.

Considering this isn’t Georgia’s first incident this offseason, Crowell’s arrest should be a big deal for Richt. Although Crowell has five-star talent, Richt has to wonder if it’s really worth the trouble to keep him around.

Whether or not Crowell is on the team in 2012, it shouldn’t have a major impact on Georgia’s 2012 SEC and National Title hopes.  

Related Georgia Content

Georgia Bulldogs 2012 Team Preview
2012 SEC Predictions

Athlon's 2012 All-SEC Team

Teaser:
<p> Georgia Football: Isaiah Crowell's Future Doubt After Arrest</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 02:45
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-examining-best-players-big-east
Body:

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

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

2012 Preseason Big East All-Fantasy Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starters

 

QB—B.J. Daniels, Sr. (South Florida)

Last season:  Passed for 2,585 yards and 13 TDs, rushed for 601 yards and 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Chattanooga, @ Nevada, Rutgers

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Miami, @ Cincinnati

 

QB—Chris Coyer, Jr. (Temple)

Last season:  Passed for 463 yards and 6 TDs, rushed for 562 yards and 3 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 11-12-13; Cincinnati, @ Army, Syracuse

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Cincinnati, @ Army, Syracuse

 

RB—Lyle McCombs, So. (Connecticut)

Last season:  Rushed for 1,151 yards and 7 TDs, 19 receptions for 172 yards and TD.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5; @ Maryland, @ W. Michigan, Buffalo

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Pitt, Bye, @ Louisville

 

RB—Ray Graham, Sr. (Pitt)

Last season:  Rushed for 958 yards and 9 TDs, 30 receptions for 200 yards, missed five games (knee).

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 8-9-10; @ Buffalo, Temple, @ Notre Dame

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ UConn, Bye, Rutgers

 

RB—Matt Brown, Sr. (Temple)

Last season:  Rushed for 916 yards and 6 TDs as primary backup to Bernard Pierce.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3-4; Villanova, Maryland, Bye, @ Penn St

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Cincinnati, @ Army, Syracuse

 

WR—Alec Lemon, Sr. (Syracuse)

Last season:  Led the team with 68 receptions for 834 yards and 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 3-4-5-6; Stony Brook, @ Minnesota, Bye, Pitt

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Louisville, @ Missouri, @ Temple

 

WR—Brandon Coleman, So. (Rutgers)

Last season:  17 receptions for 552 yards and 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 8-9-10-11; @ Temple, Kent St, Bye, Army

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Army, @ Cincinnati, @ Pitt

 

WR—Anthony McClung, Jr. (Cincinnati)

Last season:  Led the team with 49 receptions for 683 yards and 6 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 6-7-8; Miami (OH), Fordham, @ Toledo

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  @ Temple, Rutgers, S. Florida

 

TE—Ryan Griffin, Sr. (Connecticut)

Last season:  33 receptions for 499 yards and 3 TDs.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; UMass, NC St, @ Maryland

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Pitt, Bye, @ Louisville

 

FLEX—Demetris Murray, Sr. (South Florida)

Last season:  Rushed for 503 yards and 8 TDs, 18 receptions for 205 yards.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Chattanooga, @ Nevada, Rutgers

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Miami, @ Cincinnati

 

K—Maikon Bonani, Sr. (South Florida)

Last season: 15-for-17 on FG attempts, 50-for-50 on extra points.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 1-2-3; Chattanooga, @ Nevada, Rutgers

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Bye, @ Miami, @ Cincinnati

 

DEF/ST—Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Last season:  No. 8 scoring defense, No. 9 passing defense, No. 14 total defense.

Best 3-game stretch of 2012:  Weeks 8-9-10-11; @ Temple, Kent St, Bye, Army

Playoff Weeks (11-12-13):  Army, @ Cincinnati, @ Pitt

 

Top 5 Reserves

QB—Teddy Bridgewater, So. (Louisville)

RB—Jawan Jamison, So. (Rutgers)

RB—George Winn, Sr. (Cincinnati)

WR—DeVante Parker, So. (Louisville)

WR—Devin Street, Jr. (Pitt)

 

 

By Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

 

 

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)
 

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Examining the Best Players in the Big East</p>
Post date: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 02:07
Path: /college-football/big-ten-football-2012-all-conference-team
Body:

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

Athlon's 2012 All-Big Ten Team
 
First-Team Offense
 
QB Denard Robinson, Michigan
 
RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
 
RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
 
WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
 
WR Keenan Davis, Iowa
 
TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
 
C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
 
OL Taylor Lewan, Michigan
 
OL Spencer Long, Nebraska
 
OL Chris McDonald, Michigan State
 
OL Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
 

First-Team Defense
 
DL William Gholston, Michigan State
 
DL Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
 
DL Kawann Short, Purdue
 
DL John Simon, Ohio State
 
LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
 
LB Gerald Hodges, Penn State
 
LB Mike Taylor, Wisconsin
 
CB Johnny Adams, Michigan State
 
CB Ricardo Allen, Purdue
 
S C.J. Barnett, Ohio State
 
S Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State
 
 
First-Team Specialists 
 
K Brett Maher, Nebraska
 
P Brett Maher, Nebraska
 
KR Raheem Mostert, Purdue
 
PR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
 
 
The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-Big Ten Team
 
  First Second Third Overall
Illinois 0 3 2 5
Indiana 0 0 3 3
Iowa 1 2 1 4
Michigan 2 2 5 9
Michigan State 4 4 2 10
Minnesota 0 0 2 2
Nebraska 4 3 5 12
Northwestern 0 2 3 5
Ohio State 4 6 1 11
Penn State 1 2 0 3
Purdue 3 1 0 4
Wisconsin 7 1 2 10
 
 
Second-Team Offense
 
QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
 
RB Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
 
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan
 
WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska
 
WR Roy Roundtree, Michigan
 
TE Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
 
C James Ferentz, Iowa
 
OL Dan France, Michigan State
 
OL Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
 
OL Brian Mulroe, Northwestern
 
OL Andrew Norwell, Ohio State
 

Second-Team Defense
 
DL Michael Buchanan, Illinois
 
DL Jordan Hill, Penn State
 
DL Akeem Spence, Illinois
 
DL Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska
 
LB Denicos Allen, Michigan State
 
LB Max Bullough, Michigan State
 
LB Jonathan Brown, Illinois
 
CB Micah Hyde, Iowa
 
CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
 
S Christian Bryant, Ohio State
 
S Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
 

Second-Team Specialists
 
K Drew Basil, Ohio State
 
P Cody Webster, Purdue
 
KR Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
 
PR Justin Brown, Penn State
 

Third-Team Offense
 
QB Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
 
RB Stephen Houston, Indiana
 
RB James White, Wisconsin
 
WR Demetrius Fields, Northwestern
 
WR Kofi Hughes, Indiana
 
TE Kyler Reed, Nebraska
 
C Graham Pocic, Illinois
 
OL Ed Olson, Minnesota
 
OL Patrick Omameh, Michigan
 
OL Bernard Taylor, Indiana
 
OL Patrick Ward, Northwestern
 

Third-Team Defense
 
DL David Gilbert, Wisconsin
 
DL Cameron Meredith, Nebraska
 
DL Craig Roh, Michigan
 
DL Marcus Rush, Michigan State
 
LB Will Compton, Nebraska
 
LB Kenny Demens, Michigan
 
LB James Morris, Iowa
 
CB Blake Countess, Michigan
 
CB Terry Hawthorne, Illinois
 
S Jordan Kovacs, Michigan
 
S Daimion Stafford, Nebraska
 
 
Third-Team Specialists
 
K Dan Conroy, Michigan State
 
P Ben Buchanan, Ohio State
 
KR Troy Stoudermire, Minnesota
 
PR Venric Mark, Northwestern

 

Athlon's 2012 Big Ten Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Big Ten Predictions

Leaders Legends
Indiana Iowa
Illinois Michigan
Ohio State Michigan State
Penn State Minnesota
Purdue Nebraska
Wisconsin Northwestern

Teaser:
<p> Big Ten Football 2012 All-Conference Team</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/west-virginia-football-introducing-mountaineers-big-12
Body:

West Virginia is packing its bags and moving from the Big East to the Big 12. The Mountaineers will fit in well in their new conference, especially with a high-powered offense led by quarterback Geno Smith.

Not familiar with West Virginia? Here's an introduction on the Mountaineers from a West Virginia point of view:

Consider this a primer on West Virginia athletics for Big 12 fans. A Mountain State 101, if you will. A “Mountaineers for Dummies” guide.

It should prove helpful — because WVU and its fans are different breeds.

Perhaps we should stop right there. If you ever feel inclined to call residents here in-breds or hillbillies, or crack jokes about teeth, outhouses or the state flower being a satellite dish, here’s some advice: Save it. Those here will yawn. We’ve heard it all. The jokes are as old as our hills. “Deliverance” was filmed in Georgia; we have wireless, dental plans and, yes, indoor plumbing.

Just don’t misunderstand. West Virginia isn’t North Carolina. It isn’t Ohio. It is different. Coal is king, yet WVU athletics are the passion, the maypole for the small state’s residents. When times are rough, residents rally around their Mountaineers. And times are plenty rough economically.

You might ask about reports of fans allowing their exuberance to get out of hand. You might ask if those reports are true. The answer: damn straight. There indeed have been couches burned in celebration. A team bus or two might have been shaken. And, yes, Bobby Bowden was hung in effigy and chased out as coach, pushed to Florida State. (How did that work out?)

Yet here’s the catch: Bowden still returns regularly. He loves the place. See, West Virginia is a place where people say hello on the street. Residents are known for their friendliness and hard work — as well as their sports passion.

One can trace much of that back to a man named Jack Fleming. He was the “Voice of the Mountaineers,” but a man you might remember as the radio voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still doesn’t ring a bell? This will: He made the call on the “Immaculate Reception.”

Fleming lived in Pittsburgh but made the hour trek each Saturday to call WVU games. He hated rival Pitt and allowed that to seep into his broadcasts. He hooked listeners with his passion and loyalty to the Mountaineers. On game day, Fleming’s voice echoed throughout the hills. One could walk the neighborhood and not miss a play. Every house was tuned in.

Yet there was something missing: success. In the late 1950s, WVU experienced tremendous hoops success via a skinny native kid named Jerry West. You might’ve heard of him. Dallied around with the NBA and Lakers. Did some modeling, I believe, to become the NBA’s logo.

However, after West became a real-life “Beverly Hillbilly,” Mountaineer fortunes steadily dropped. There was a serious lull. Even Bowden couldn’t pump life into the football program.

And then something happened. Former governor and current state senator Jay Rockefeller (yes, of those Rockefellers) helped WVU build a new stadium. John Denver was flown in to christen it by singing “Country Roads.” (If you live here, by the way, you hear that song as much as the national anthem.)

Also, a Bo Schembechler assistant named Don Nehlen was hired to take over the football program. And WVU sports haven’t been the same since.

At first, there was slow improvement. A team that went 2–9 in 1978 moved to 6–6 in Nehlen’s first season in 1980. The next season, the Mountaineers went 9–3 and defeated Florida, 26–6, in the Peach Bowl. It caught the attention of all WVU fans.

But the real birth of Mountaineer sports in the modern era took place smack in the middle of Big 12 country. In Norman, Okla., to be specific. While WVU was impressive in defeating Florida, the Gators weren’t of the Urban Meyer ilk. The Oklahoma Sooners were.

Set up as an opening day patsy in 1982 for OU coach Barry Switzer and new recruit Marcus Dupree, Nehlen and quarterback Jeff Hostetler stunned all with a 41–27 victory.

For the most part, the good times have rolled ever since. There were down years, but things started to crackle. A dazzling quarterback named Major Harris hit Morgantown and turned the place upside down, leading WVU to its first unbeaten, untied record and a 1988 national championship appearance in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. (WVU lost after Harris was injured early in the game.)

When Nehlen’s magic began to disappear, Rich Rodriguez returned to his home state and picked up the wand. Like Nehlen, he found a dazzling quarterback in Pat White. RichRod unearthed a keeper in tailback Steve Slaton. At the end of the 2005 season, WVU stunned  heavily favored Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. All of a sudden, West Virginia was the darling of a downtrodden Big East. The Mountaineers defeated Georgia Tech the next year in the Gator Bowl.

Then came the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows for WVU football. In 2007, the Mountaineers were on track for another national championship appearance. All they had to do was defeat a sub-par Pittsburgh team at home in the regular-season finale to secure a BCS title game berth.

But on a dark night in Morgantown, the Panthers stunned WVU, 13–9. It crushed the team. It crushed the fans. It is still regarded as one of the biggest chokes, if not the biggest, in college football history. It was a body blow that sent the program to the canvas. Rodriguez announced shortly afterward that he was leaving for Michigan.

A folksy assistant, however, took over in the aftermath. Bill Stewart became a home-state hero by leading the beleaguered team to a 48–28 win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Stewart was given the head coaching job. He led the team to three 9–4 records. And was summarily fired. It wasn’t enough. Stewart’s down-home act, which lifted the program in the Rodriguez aftermath, got stale.

Now, all is different. Oliver Luck, a slick businessman, ex-WVU quarterback and father of wunderkind Andrew Luck, is the athletic director. He hired the new breed of coach, Dana Holgorsen, who installed his “Air Raid” offense.

And the new breed is mixing well with WVU’s different breed of fans. When the Mountaineers scored 70 points on Clemson in last season’s Orange Bowl, Holgorsen became one of The Men.

He is not, however, The Man. There is another: basketball coach Bob Huggins.

While many nationally see Huggins as a grump, West Virginians love the guy. After John Beilein lifted WVU, much like Rodriguez, and then left for Michigan, much like Rodriguez, Huggins saved the day by leaving Kansas State to return to his alma mater.

While Beilein took the Mountaineers to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, Huggins took them to the Final Four. Today, WVU’s athletic fortunes are as healthy as ever.

How do WVU fans feel about leaving the Big East for the Big 12? Well, thrilled in football and skeptical in basketball.

There is also an unfamiliar feel. Those here haven’t followed Baylor football or Iowa State basketball. It’s, well, weird. No Backyard Brawl? No visits from Syracuse?

But West Virginians will follow their Mountaineers with fervor. That’s a promise. They’ll turn their attention west instead of north and south.

And, yes, if need be, re-position those satellite dishes.

Related Big 12 Content

Athlon's 2012 Big 12 Predicitons
Athlon's 2012 All-Big 12 Team
Athlon's Top 25 for 2012: No. 12 West Virginia

Is Geno Smith the Big 12's Best Quarterback?

Teaser:
<p> Introducing West Virginia to the Big 12</p>
Post date: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 05:59
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-playoff-whats-biggest-unanswered-question
Body:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

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

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

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

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

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

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

Athlon's 2012 All-Sun Belt Team

First-Team Offense

QB Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State

RB Alonzo Harris, Louisiana-Lafayette

RB Kedrick Rhodes, FIU

WR Josh Jarboe, Arkansas State

WR Javone Lawson, Louisiana-Lafayette

TE Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky

C Sean Conway, Western Kentucky

OL Leonardo Bates, Louisiana-Lafayette

OL Caylin Hauptmann, FIU

OL Zack McKnight, Arkansas State

OL Adam Smith, Western Kentucky


First-Team Defense

DL Isame Faciane, FIU

DL Omar McLendon, MTSU

DL Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky

DL Tourek Williams, FIU

LB Winston Fraser, FIU

LB Nathan Herrold, Arkansas State

LB Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky

CB Jose Cheeseborough, FIU

CB Melvin White, Louisiana-Lafayette

S Jonathan Cyprien, FIU

S Brynden Trawick, Troy


First-Team Specialists

K Jack Griffin, FIU

P Will Atterberry, North Texas

KR John Evans, Western Kentucky

PR Darryl Surgent, Louisiana-Lafayette


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

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


Second-Team Offense

QB Blaine Gautier, Louisiana-Lafayette

RB Benny Cunningham, MTSU

RB Jyruss Edwards, Louisiana-Monroe

WR Brett Leonard, Louisiana-Monroe

WR Eric Thomas, Troy

TE Keavon Milton, Louisiana-Monroe

C Aaron Fortenberry, North Texas

OL Rupert Bryan, FIU

OL Jonathan Gill, Louisiana-Monroe

OL Cyril Lemon, North Texas

OL Jaron Odom, Louisiana-Lafayette


Second-Team Defense

DL Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State

DL Tony Davis, Troy

DL Gregory Hickman, FIU

DL  Brandon McCoy, North Texas

LB Jordan Hunt, FIU

LB Randell Johnson, FAU

LB Zachary Orr, North Texas

CB Jemarlous Moten, Louisiana-Lafayette

CB Bryan Willis, Troy

S Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky

S Don Jones, Arkansas State


Second-Team Specialists

K Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette

P Brett Baer, Louisiana-Lafayette

KR Brelan Chancellor, North Texas

PR Justin Albert, Troy


Athlon's 2012 Sun Belt Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 Sun Belt Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related West Virginia Content

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

2012 Big 12 Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

College Football Countdown to Kickoff

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related SEC Content

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

Missouri Tigers 2012 Team Preview

SEC Football: An Introduction to Texas A&M

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related SEC Content

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

Texas A&M Aggies 2012 Team Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some final points to consider about the new playoff format:

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

Athlon's 2012 College Football Predictions

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

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

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

2012 Preseason Big Ten All-Fantasy Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starters
 

QB—Denard Robinson, Sr. (Michigan)

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

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

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

 

QB—Braxton Miller, So. (Ohio State)

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

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

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

 

RB—Montee Ball, Sr. (Wisconsin)

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

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

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

 

RB—Rex Burkhead, Sr. (Nebraska)

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

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

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

 

RB—Le’Veon Bell, Jr. (Michigan State)

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

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

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

 

WR—Jared Abbrederis, Jr. (Wisconsin)

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

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

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

 

WR—Keenan Davis, Sr. (Iowa)

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

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

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

 

WR—Demetrius Fields, Sr. (Northwestern)

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

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

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

 

TE—Jacob Pedersen, Jr. (Wisconsin)

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

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

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

 

FLEX—Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jr. (Michigan)

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

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

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

 

K—Brett Maher, Sr. (Nebraska)

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

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

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

 

DEF—Michigan State Spartans

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

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

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

 

Top 5 Reserves

QB—Kain Colter, Jr. (Northwestern)

QB—Taylor Martinez, Jr. (Nebraska)

RB—Silas Redd, Jr. (Penn St)

RB—Jordan Hall, Sr. (Ohio St)

RB—James White, Jr. (Wisconsin)

 

 

By Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe DiSalvo on twitter (@theCFFsite)
 


Related Content: Athlon's 2012 College Fantasy Football Rankings

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

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

Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team

First-Team Offense

QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

RB Andre Ellington, Clemson

WR Conner Vernon, Duke

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

TE Matt Furstenburg, Maryland

C Dalton Freeman, Clemson

OL Oday Aboushi, Virginia

OL Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

OL James Hurst, North Carolina

OL Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech


First-Team Defense

DL James Gayle, Virginia Tech

DL Brandon Jenkins, Florida State

DL Joe Vellano, Maryland

DL Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

LB Steve Greer, Virginia

LB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

LB Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech

CB David Amerson, NC State

CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

S Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

S Earl Wolff, NC State


First-Team Specialists

K Dustin Hopkins, Florida State

P Dalton Botts, Miami

KR T.J. Thorpe, North Carolina

PR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest


The Breakdown of Athlon's 2012 All-ACC Team
 

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


Second-Team Offense

QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RB Perry Jones, Virginia

RB Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech

WR Rashad Greene, Florida State

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

TE Nick O'Leary, Florida State

C Camden Wentz, NC State

OL Emmett Cleary, Boston College

OL Brandon Linder, Miami

OL R.J. Mattes, NC State

OL Morgan Moses, Virginia


Second-Team Defense

DL Anthony Chickillo, Miami

DL J.R. Collins, Virginia Tech

DL Malliciah Goodman, Clemson

DL Bjoern Werner, Florida State

LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

LB Demetrius Hartsfield, Maryland

LB Kenny Tate, Maryland

CB Merrill Noel, Wake Forest

CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

S Rashard Hall, Clemson

S Isaiah Johnson, Georgia Tech


Second-Team Specialists

K Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson

P Sean Poole, Georgia Tech

KR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

PR Jamison Crowder, Duke


Third-Team Offense

QB EJ Manuel, Florida State

RB Mike James, Miami

RB Kevin Parks, Virginia

WR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech

TE Brandon Ford, Clemson

C Andrew Miller, Virginia Tech

OL Bennett Fulper, Maryland

OL Seantrel Henderson, Miami

OL Will Jackson, Georgia Tech

OL Laken Tomlinson, Duke


Third-Team Defense

DL Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Tech

DL Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

DL Kareem Martin, North Carolina

DL Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

LB Christian Jones, Florida State

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College

CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

CB Rod Sweeting, Georgia Tech

S Brandan Bishop, NC State

S Matt Robinson, Maryland


Third-Team Specialists

K Casey Barth, North Carolina

P Wil Baumann, NC State

KR Dyrell Roberts, Virginia Tech

PR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

 

Athlon's 2012 ACC Team Previews

Related Content: Athlon's 2012 ACC Predictions 

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

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

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

Athlon's 2012 All-Mountain West Team

First-Team Offense

QB Brett Smith, Wyoming

RB Chris Nwoke, Colorado State

RB Robbie Rouse, Fresno State

WR Chris McNeill, Wyoming

WR Matt Miller, Boise State

TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

C Weston Richburg, Colorado State

OL Chris Barker, Nevada

OL Jason Kons, Air Force

OL Charles Leno, Boise State

OL Jeff Nady, Nevada


First-Team Defense

DL Michael Atkinson, Boise State

DL Paipai Falemalu, Hawaii

DL John Froland, Colorado State

DL Mike Purcell, Wyoming

LB Shaquil Barrett, Colorado State

LB Travis Brown, Fresno State

LB J.C. Percy, Boise State

CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State

CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State

S Luke Ruff, Wyoming

S Duke Williams, Nevada


First-Team Specialists

K Parker Herrington, Air Force

P Pete Kontodiakos, Colorado State

KR Marcus Sullivan, UNLV

PR Mitch Burroughs, Boise State


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

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


Second-Team Offense

 

QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

RB D.J. Harper, Boise State

RB Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada

WR Josh Harper, Fresno State

WR Colin Lockett, San Diego State

TE Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State

C Nick Carlson, Wyoming

OL Brett Boyko, UNLV

OL Joe Kellogg, Boise State 

OL Tyler Strong, Wyoming

OL Austin Wentworth, Fresno State


Second-Team Defense

DL Reggie Ellis, New Mexico

DL Patrick Mertens, Wyoming

DL Jack Reynoso, Nevada

DL Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State

LB Art Laurel, Hawaii

LB Alex Means, Air Force

LB James Skelton, Colorado State

CB Jerrell Gavins, Boise State

CB John Hardy-Tuliau, Hawaii

S Nat Berhe, San Diego State

S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State


Second-Team Specialists

K Nolan Kohorst, UNLV

P Alex Dunnachie, Hawaii

KR Mike Edwards, Hawaii

PR Momo Thomas, Colorado State
 

Athlon's 2012 Mountain West Team Previews

Related Content: 2012 Mountain West Predictions

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

Teaser:
<p> Mountain West Football 2012 All-Conference Teams.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 05:41

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