Articles By Steven Lassan

Path: /college-football/virginia-techs-frank-beamer-detailed-breakdown-coaching-tenure

Even though Virginia Tech has been one of the ACC’s most consistent programs over the last 10 years, there’s some uneasiness surrounding Frank Beamer’s team in 2013.


The Hokies finished 7-6 last season, which was the program’s first year under eight wins since 1997. Under Beamer, Virginia Tech has recorded a winning record in every season since 1993. Prior to 1993, the Hokies were just 24-40-2 under Beamer’s watch.

Virginia Tech has played in 26 bowl games during its program history, with 20 coming during Beamer’s tenure. Of course, there are more bowl games in 2013 than there were in 1993, but that statistic shows how much of an impact Beamer has had for Virginia Tech.

Is this program in decline or was 2012 just a one-year blip? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Analyzing Frank Beamer's Tenure at Virginia Tech

Win/Loss Record over the last 11 seasons

YearRecordConf. RecordFinish
200210-43-44th Big East
20038-54-34th Big East
200410-37-11st ACC
200511-27-11st Coastal
200610-36-22nd Coastal
200711-37-11st Coastal
200810-45-31st Coastal
200910-36-22nd Coastal
201011-38-01st Coastal
201111-37-11st Coastal
20127-64-44th Coastal


Virginia Tech’s win-loss record over the last 10 years has been solid. The Hokies have just two seasons under 10 wins during that span and played in five BCS bowls.

Virginia Tech also has finished in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll eight out of the last nine years, including a 10th place finish in 2009.

Something else to consider during Virginia Tech’s run in the Coastal: Miami. The Hurricanes have yet to win the Coastal Division and have not won more than nine games since 2003. Miami has significantly underachieved based on its program potential, which has helped the Hokies dominate the Coastal in recent years.

There’s room for both programs at the top of the Coastal, but Miami’s recent improvement under third-year coach Al Golden will have an impact on the rest of the teams in the division.

The win total history shows the program is trending down slightly, as the 7-6 mark featured three victories in overtime. 

Recruiting Breakdown

* Ranks using

YearNational RankConference Rank5* Signed4* Signed
201421st (as of Sept. 24)5th03


So far, Virginia Tech’s 7-6 record isn’t having a huge impact on recruiting. Of course, it’s only September, so it’s hard to judge where the Hokies will finish by signing day. However, the program’s recruiting classes ranked 21st in 2012 and '13, which was the second-highest ranking in the last seven years.

The amount of five-star and four-star prospects signed by Beamer and his staff has stayed about the same, as Virginia Tech has reeled in two five-star prospects in 2012-13, compared to one from 2009-11.

Has Virginia and fourth-year coach Mike London had any impact on Virginia Tech’s recruiting? In terms of top-10 prospects in the state of Virginia, the Hokies signed three in the 2010, '12 and '13 class. In that span, the Cavaliers signed five in 2011, four in '12 and two in '13. Virginia has a slight edge within the state’s top-10 prospects, but the bigger issue for Virginia Tech is the 2011 class, which included zero of the state’s top-10 prospects.

What to make of the recruiting data? Virginia Tech hasn’t slipped in the national ranks and has finished in the top four or five of the ACC in five out of the last six years. The Hokies aren’t bringing in elite talent, but Beamer and his staff continue to maintain a solid pace on the recruiting trail.

Performance on Offense

YearRushPassTotalScoringYards Per Play


The offensive numbers for Virginia Tech are not particularly impressive. The Hokies finished 35th nationally in total offense in 2011 but have regressed to 82nd in '12 and 102nd so far in '13. The offense has also watched its yards per play decline for three straight years, including a 4.7 mark thus far in 2013.

The rushing attack has been up and down, but nowhere near as bad as the passing offense. Virginia Tech has not finished higher than 64th nationally in passing offense since 2001, and the Hokies have five finishes of 90th or worse.

Offensive style is a big part of Virginia Tech’s statistics, but it’s clear this offense needs to be more aggressive and can use more help from its passing attack. 

Beamer has tried to jumpstart the offense by changing coordinators, but Bryan Stinespring and Mike O’Cain had similar success. And new play-caller Scot Loeffler? Needless to say, that hire didn’t inspire much confidence the offense can turn things around in 2013.

Final Verdict

Virginia Tech isn’t the best job in the ACC, but it’s among the top 25-30 in the nation. The Hokies have experienced a tremendous amount of success under Beamer, and the program is only one season removed from a BCS bowl.

As long as Beamer is on the sidelines at Virginia Tech, the formula for success will rely heavily on a strong defense, while the offense does just enough to win games. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster is one of the best in the nation, and the Hokies have one of the best defenses in the ACC in 2013.

However, a struggling offense isn’t getting much better, and the Coastal Division is improving. Miami is back in the top 25, and North Carolina seems to be trending in the right direction under Larry Fedora. The addition of Pittsburgh only adds to the competition in the Coastal.

While the stats don’t clearly show a decline, it’s clear Virginia Tech is not the same program that went 22-6 from 2010-11.

Beamer isn’t in any danger of being on the hot seat, but the 2013 and '14 seasons will be critical. Can Virginia Tech return to being an ACC power? Or are the Hokies in danger of slipping like Florida State did in the 2000s or what Texas is going through now?


Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer: A Detailed Breakdown of Coaching Tenure
Post date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 07:30
Path: /college-football/ncaa-reduces-scholarship-sanctions-penn-state-2013

The NCAA’s Executive Committee has decided to reduce the scholarship sanctions on Penn State, giving the football program five more scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year. The announcement was made after George Mitchell, former U.S. Senator and independent Athletics Integrity Montior for Penn State, indicated Penn State was making progress in implementing the Athletics Integrity Agreement.

And in another bit of good news for Penn State, there’s a possibility these sanctions can be reduced even more in the future.

The postseason ban will remain in place for now, and coach Bill O’Brien is still dealing with a limited roster for the next few years.

However, Penn State can now offer 20 scholarships for the 2014-15 year, with that number set to increase to 25 by 2015-16. The Nittany Lions will also have a full allotment of scholarship players (85) by 2016-17.

Check out the full release from the

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-post-week-4-bowl-projections-2013

Michigan is one of the toughest teams to gauge after four weeks of the college football season. The Wolverines have a good win over Notre Dame but barely beat Akron and Connecticut. Turnovers have been an issue for quarterback Devin Gardner, but the defense is allowing just 311 yards per game. Although Michigan hasn’t looked like a Big Ten title contender the last two weeks, the Wolverines still make the BCS projections after Week 4. Michigan’s schedule is manageable until November, and coach Brady Hoke’s team is still Athlon’s pick to win the Big Ten Legends Division. So while things aren’t particularly well in Ann Arbor, finishing 10-2 or even 11-1 in the regular season isn’t out of the question.

The rest of our BCS projections after Week 4 are similar to the first few weeks, as there have been few changes at the top of the rankings. Alabama-Ohio State is remains Athlon’s pick to play for the national title, while Clemson, Louisville, Oklahoma State and Oregon are projected to win their conferences.

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only four weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. But with conference play right around the corner, we should be able to get a better grasp on what teams will be able to reach the six-win mark.

With little data to work with, the post-Week 4 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Boston College, Virginia, Mississippi State, Arkansas and Illinois from BCS conferences. And Ohio, Arkansas State and Toledo from the non-BCS ranks.

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

College Football's Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections for 2013

New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Nevada
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCArizona vs. Fresno State
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSAUL Lafayette vs. Rice
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSACincinnati vs. MTSU
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSASan Jose State vs. Utah*
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNorthern Illinois vs. Indiana
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCWash. State* vs. Boise State
MilitaryDec. 27CUSA vs. ACCEast Carolina vs. Pittsburgh
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenKansas State vs. Iowa
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Notre Dame* vs. TCU
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCRutgers vs. North Carolina
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCUCF vs. Georgia Tech
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Nebraska
Armed ForcesDec. 30MWC vs. NavyUtah State vs. Navy
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECMaryland vs. Auburn
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Oklahoma vs. UCLA
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Washington vs. Texas Tech
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECNC State vs. Tennessee
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCArizona State vs. Va. Tech
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSAMissouri vs. Marshall
Chick-fil-ADec. 31SEC vs. ACCTexas A&M vs. Miami
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenOle Miss vs. Michigan State
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSAMinnesota vs. Tulsa
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenFlorida vs. Northwestern
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenSouth Carolina vs. Wisconsin
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSStanford vs. Oklahoma State
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSGeorgia vs. Florida State
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12LSU vs. Baylor
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Louisville
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanVanderbilt vs. Houston
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBowling Green vs. W. Kentucky
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State

* Indicates we do not expect a conference to fill its tie-ins. An at-large team will be selected for conferences that do not meet their required teams for bowl eligibility. 

Related College Football Content

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-4-edition-2013

Texas’ coach Mack Brown is still on the hot seat, but the Longhorns snapped a two-game losing streak with a 31-21 victory over Kansas State on Saturday. The win over the Wildcats won’t do much to quiet the cries for change in Austin. However, Texas still has a chance to win the Big 12 title and should be 2-0 in conference play before the huge Oct. 12 showdown against Oklahoma.

Connecticut nearly upset Michigan, but Paul Pasqualoni climbs back to the No. 1 spot in the hot seat rankings. The Huskies’ offense continues to struggle, managing only 3.6 yards per play against the Wolverines on Saturday. Connecticut’s schedule won’t get any easier this week, as a road date at Buffalo will be a challenge, and the Huskies must play Cincinnati and UCF in October.

USC’s Lane Kiffin has led his team to back-to-back wins after a loss to Washington State, but the Trojans remain a work in progress on offense. Kiffin could help cool his seat with a win at Arizona State this Saturday.

Outside of the top 10, the biggest riser in this week’s rankings is West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers were handled by Maryland in a 37-0 loss, dropping West Virginia to 2-2 overall. The schedule will only get tougher from here, and the Mountaineers could miss out on a bowl in 2013.

An important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top 20-30 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Indiana’s Kevin Wilson – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to continue to show the program is headed in the right direction.

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Paul Pasqualoni0-3UConn gave Michigan all it could handle.
2Mack Brown2-2Texas still has a chance to turn season around.
3Dan Enos1-3CMU allowing 37.2 points a game.
4Lane Kiffin3-1USC's offense still a work in progress.
5Don Treadwell0-3RedHawks hung around against Cincinnati.
6Ron English1-3EMU one of the toughest jobs in the nation.
7Ron Turner0-4Performance against Louisville was embarrassing
8Bobby Hauck2-2Back-to-back wins for UNLV first time since '08.
9Norm Chow0-3Hawaii could be headed for a winless year.
10Bo Pelini3-1Huskers should be 6-1 going into November.
11Doc Holliday2-2Nearly upset Va. Tech in Blacksburg.
12Jeff Quinn1-2 
13Jim Grobe2-2Win over Army snapped two-game losing streak.
14Charley Molnar0-4Minutemen played Vanderbilt tough.
15Dana Holgorsen2-2Mountaineers could miss out on bowl this year.
16Skip Holtz1-3La. Tech fumbled away win on Saturday.
17Rich Ellerson1-3 
18Tim Beckman2-1 
19Charlie Weis2-1Win on Saturday was first vs. FBS since Sept. 10, 2011
20Carl Pelini1-3 
21Tony Levine3-0Changes on staff paying off for Levine.
22Kirk Ferentz3-1Iowa's offense has run the most plays in Big Ten.
23Dan Mullen2-2Dak Prescott has impressed as starter.
24Gary Pinkel3-0Pinkel tied for 2nd most wins in school history.
25Joey Jones2-1 
26Mike London2-1 
27Rick Stockstill3-1 
28P.J. Fleck0-4Rough first year for Fleck.
29June Jones1-2Four-year bowl streak could be in jeopardy.
30Kevin Wilson2-2 
31Matt Rhule0-3 
32Randy Edsall4-0Terrapins 4-0 for the first time since 2001.
33Rocky Long0-3Aztecs lost heartbreaker against Oregon State.
34David Bailiff1-2 
35Larry Blakeney2-2 
36Sean Kugler1-2Miners 1-2 in Kugler's debut season.
37Frank Beamer3-1Offense not looking much better.
38Dan McCarney2-2UNT on the right track.
39Dave Christensen3-1QB Brett Smith leading MWC in total offense.
40George O'Leary3-0 
41Garrick McGee1-2 
42Scott Shafer2-2Syracuse has won two in a row.
43Bobby Petrino2-2 
44Tommy Tuberville3-1 
45Jim McElwain1-3Rams gave Alabama a good battle.
46Kyle Flood3-1 
47Bob Davie1-2 
48Steve Sarkisian3-0 
49Kyle Whittingham3-1Utah has won four in a row over BYU.
50Curtis Johnson2-2 
51Rod Carey3-0NIU avoided loss to FCS team in Week 4.
52Paul Chryst2-1 
53Terry Bowden1-3 
54Todd Monken0-3 
55Bill Blankenship1-2Can Tulsa still win C-USA?
56Willie Taggart0-3USF needs to find some offense.
57Ruffin McNeill2-1 
58Brian Polian2-2Nevada won with 3rd string QB in Week 4.
59Ron Caragher1-2 
60Paul Haynes1-3 
61Bryan Harsin1-3 
62Mike Leach3-1 
63Mike Riley3-1 
64Dave Clawson3-1 
65Mark Helfrich3-0 
66Dennis Franchoine2-1 
67Matt Wells2-2 
68Troy Calhoun1-3AFA's defense struggling.
69Doug Martin0-4 
70Mark Richt2-1 
71Mark Dantonio3-1 
72Bronco Mendenhall1-2 
73Brady Hoke4-0 
74Paul Petrino0-4 
75Butch Jones2-2 
76Trent Miles0-4Georgia State a difficult job.
77Darrell Hazell1-3 
78Frank Solich3-1 
79Dabo Swinney3-0 
80Jimbo Fisher3-0 
81Bob Stoops3-0 
82Jerry Kill4-0 
83Al Golden3-0 
84Mark Stoops1-2 
85Ken Niumatalolo2-0 
86Matt Campbell2-2 
87Bret Bielema3-1 
88Larry Fedora1-2 
89Paul Johnson3-0GT off to 2-0 start in ACC play.
90Gus Malzahn3-1 
91Justin Fuente1-2 
92Dave Doeren2-1 
93Steve Addazio2-1 
94Sonny Dykes1-2 
95Rich Rodriguez3-0 
96Todd Graham2-1 
97Jim Mora3-0 
98Will Muschamp3-1 
99Brian Kelly2-1 
100Tim DeRuyter3-0DeRuyter will be in mix for big jobs this December.
101Mike MacIntyre2-0 
102Paul Rhoads0-2 
103Todd Berry2-2 
104David Cutcliffe2-2 
105Larry Coker2-2UTSA quietly off to good start.
106Les Miles4-0 
107Pete Lembo3-1 
108Gary Andersen3-1 
109James Franklin2-2Sluggish performance against UMass.
110Hugh Freeze3-0 
111Mark Hudspeth2-2Ragin' Cajuns have won two in a row.
112Kevin Sumlin3-1 
113Kliff Kingsbury4-0 
114Mike Gundy3-0OSU still the favorite in Big 12?
115Gary Patterson1-2Can TCU find a spark on offense?
116Bill Snyder2-2 
117Chris Petersen2-2Boise not out of MWC title picture.
118Bill O'Brien3-1 
119Charlie Strong4-0Cardinals cruising to unbeaten season.
120Steve Spurrier2-1 
121Art Briles3-0 
122David Shaw3-0 
123Pat Fitzgerald4-0 
124Urban Meyer4-0 
125Nick Saban3-0 

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Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Virginia Tech Hokies
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-wear-hokie-stone-helmets-against-georgia-tech-2013

Alternate helmets and jerseys are popping up everywhere in college football, but Virginia Tech takes the award for one of the most interesting looks over the last few years.

On Thursday night against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech will unveil these “Hokie Stone” helmets.

So what exactly is this helmet symbolizing?

Here’s what coach Frank Beamer had to say in a release from the school:

“When you look at this helmet, it’s not flashy, but it means a tremendous amount to this University. The outside world may have to do a double-take, but the Hokie Nation will know exactly what it is: Hokie Stone! And it’s something we’re proud of. The reason I like it, is because it represents what this program and this University are built on. Each piece, in its place, serving its purpose, doing its job, and when it’s all working together, it’s rock solid and it’s something special. That Hokie Stone … represents what we’re all about, a foundation that we’re proud of, built on brotherhood, loyalty, leadership, Ut Prosim, sacrifice, service, honor, and duty. And I hope you saw all of that on display this past Saturday in our game with a very talented and determined Marshall team. Not just from the players, but from the fans as well, who withstood a driving rain and stuck in there with us through it all!
"So, on Thursday night, some may see it as stone on our helmets. We know it’s SO much more!"

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-4-power-rankings-2013

The top of the ACC power rankings hasn’t changed much this season. The top four teams in the conference seem to be Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Miami. However, Maryland has been impressive in its 4-0 start, and Virginia Tech has one of the conference’s best defenses.

The Terrapins and Yellow Jackets scored the ACC’s most-impressive wins of Week 4, as Maryland shutout West Virginia 37-0, while Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 28-20.

North Carolina is 1-2, but the Tar Heels have dropped games against South Carolina and Georgia Tech. Although coach Larry Fedora’s team is off to a slow start, North Carolina shouldn’t be counted out of the Coastal Division title picture.

Pittsburgh’s offense has been impressive in three games, but the Panthers rank last in the ACC in total defense.

Syracuse and Wake Forest picked up much-needed victories in Week 4.

More Post-Week 4 Power Rankings:  | | |

ACC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

11Clemson (3-0, 1-0): The Tigers started slow but eventually overpowered NC State for a solid 26-14 victory. Clemson’s trailed 7-6 late into the second quarter, but quarterback Tajh Boyd made some key plays, while the defense stepped up in the second half to limit the Wolfpack to just seven points in the final two quarters. Boyd didn’t have a huge performance but finished with 244 yards and three scores. Defensive end Vic Beasley wrecked havoc on NC State’s offensive line, recording five tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble. Clemson has a favorable schedule the next few weeks, with all eyes focused on the upcoming Oct. 19 showdown against Florida State. Next Week: Wake Forest
22Florida State (3-0, 1-0): As expected, the Seminoles had little trouble with Bethune-Cookman, cruising to a 54-6 victory. Florida State’s offense was efficient, averaging 8.1 yards per play and punted only three times. Running back Devonta Freeman topped 100 yards for the second consecutive game, but converted defensive back Karlos Williams continued to turn heads, rushing for 83 yards and two scores on nine attempts. Even with linebacker Christian Jones suspended, Florida State’s defense held Bethune-Cookman to 242 yards and recorded three sacks and seven tackles for a loss. The Seminoles have a few areas to patch during practice this week, but coach Jimbo Fisher should be feeling confident about his team. Next Week: at Boston College
33Miami (3-0, 0-0): Considering Savannah State is one of the worst FCS teams, it’s hard to learn too much about Miami. The Hurricanes thoroughly dominated the Tigers, recording 77 points, 637 yards and 27 first downs – and those numbers were largely done without quarterback Stephen Morris. The senior suffered an ankle injury but is expected to play next Saturday. Miami’s defense also feasted on an overmatched opponent, registering four sacks and six tackles for a loss. The Hurricanes have one more opportunity to fine-tune both sides of the ball before playing two huge ACC contests in early October. Next Week: at South Florida
44Georgia Tech (3-0, 2-0): The Yellow Jackets passed the first test in a difficult stretch of games, rallying to defeat North Carolina 28-20. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 20-7 lead, but Georgia Tech’s defense and rushing attack controlled the game in the second half. Coach Paul Johnson’s decision to hire Ted Roof as the defensive coordinator has already paid dividends, as the Yellow Jackets rank fourth in the ACC in yards allowed and are holding opponents to 11.3 points per game. Georgia Tech is the only 2-0 team in ACC play, but key Coastal games against Virginia Tech and Miami are up next. Next Week: Virginia Tech 
57Maryland (4-0, 0-0): West Virginia is in rebuild mode, but Maryland’s 37-0 victory over the Mountaineers was one of the most-impressive wins by an ACC team in Week 4. A rainy day in Baltimore prevented the Terrapins from reaching 500 total yards for a fourth consecutive game, but quarterback C.J. Brown finished with 243 overall yards and two scores. The defense held West Virginia to 175 total yards and recorded eight tackles for a loss. Maryland’s win over the Mountaineers on Saturday was its first in this series since the 2004 Gator Bowl. Next Week: Bye
65Virginia Tech (3-1, 0-0): Another week, another close call for the Hokies against a Conference USA team. A touchdown toss from quarterback Logan Thomas to receiver Willie Byrn tied the game at 21 with just over three minutes to play to send the game into overtime. Special teams had an up-and-down performance for coach Frank Beamer, as Virginia Tech blocked a field goal and punt. However, with kicker Cody Journell suspended, field goals were an issue, as Ethan Keyserling missed all three of his attempts. There’s no question the Hokies have a defense capable of winning the Coastal Division, but the offense is still a question mark. Virginia Tech went 2 of 16 on third-down attempts, and Thomas finished 18 of 34 for 181 yards and two picks. Next Week: at Georgia Tech (Thursday)
76North Carolina (1-2, 0-1): The Tar Heels did a better job defending Georgia Tech’s offense after giving up 68 points last season, but it wasn’t enough for North Carolina to earn the victory. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 20-7 lead before halftime, however, the offense had only one drive of longer than 10 yards in the second half. North Carolina’s defense was on the field for 40:38 and allowed 324 rushing yards to the Yellow Jackets. With a tight division race expected in the Coastal, losing to Georgia Tech is an early setback for North Carolina. However, upcoming games against Virginia Tech and Miami will give Larry Fedora’s team a chance to make a statement. Next Week: East Carolina
810Pittsburgh (2-1, 1-1): The Panthers earned their first victory in the ACC, outscoring Duke in a 58-55 shootout. Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled this year, but the offense ranks fourth in the conference in yards per game, averaging 7.7 yards per play. Quarterback Tom Savage tossed six touchdown passes against the Blue Devils, while true freshmen James Conner and Tyler Boyd combined for 327 yards and four scores. An oddity about Pittsburgh’s upcoming schedule: The next three opponents are all from Virginia. Next Week: Virginia 
99Virginia (2-1, 0-0): The Cavaliers easily handled VMI on Saturday, recording a 49-0 win over the Keydets. The shutout was the first for Virginia since 2008. The Cavaliers recorded 357 rushing yards, including 136 from walk-on freshman Daniel Hamm. Quarterback David Watford threw for two touchdowns, but the sophomore tossed two picks, giving him six interceptions in 2013. The victory over VMI was a good rebound for Virginia, especially after losing to Oregon in Week 2. The Cavaliers are on the road in two out of the next three weeks. Next Week: at Pittsburgh
108NC State (2-1, 0-1): The Wolfpack gave Clemson a battle, but coach Dave Doeren simply doesn’t have the offensive firepower with quarterback Brandon Mitchell sidelined. Pete Thomas threw for 213 yards against the Tigers, but NC State’s offense misses Mitchell’s dual-threat ability. One bright spot in the Thursday night loss was the play of the defensive line. The Wolfpack recorded 12 tackles for a loss and two sacks. NC State has a favorable schedule the next three weeks and could be 5-1 going into a road test against Florida State on Oct. 26. Next Week: Central Michigan
1111Boston College (2-1, 1-0): The Eagles were the only ACC team out of action in Week 4. But an early bye week for a team with a new coaching staff and schemes on both sides of the ball isn’t necessarily a bad thing with the heart of ACC play upcoming. How much has Boston College improved since last year? With matchups against Florida State and Clemson in two of the next three games, the Eagles should have a good idea if they have been able to close the gap with the best of the Atlantic. Next Week: Florida State
1213Syracuse (2-2, 0-0): The Orange had a rough start to the season, but Scott Shafer’s team has rebounded with back-to-back wins. The competition hasn’t been outstanding, but the offense has scored 106 points in the last two games. Quarterback Terrel Hunt has led the turnaround, throwing for seven touchdowns and zero picks during that span. The sophomore is clearly the No. 1 quarterback over Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen. Syracuse’s defense has work to do during the bye week, especially the secondary with a matchup against Clemson coming on Oct. 5. Next Week: Bye Week
1312Duke (2-2, 0-2): After starting 2-0, the Blue Devils have dropped back-to-back games. Duke scored 55 points against Pittsburgh, but the defense simply had no answer for Pittsburgh. The Panthers recorded 598 yards, averaging 7.6 yards per play, and quarterback Tom Savage torched the Blue Devils for 424 yards and six scores through the air. Duke’s offense recorded 532 overall yards, but four interceptions from quarterback Brandon Connette proved to be costly in a three-point game. Although it’s only Week 4, the Blue Devils’ bowl hopes took a hit with the loss to Pittsburgh, and there’s not much margin for error the rest of the way. Next Week: Troy 
1414Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1): After back-to-back losses, the Demon Deacons desperately needed a win against Army. Thanks to 96 yards from running back Josh Harris, Wake Forest showed a few signs of breaking out of an offensive funk, while earning a hard-fought 25-11 victory over the Black Knights. The Demon Deacons averaged a season-best 5.8 yards per play in Saturday’s win, and a struggling offensive line allowed only one sack. Coach Jim Grobe can’t be pleased with his offense, but Saturday’s performance was a step in the right direction. Next Week: at Clemson  

ACC Week 4 Awards and Recap

Offensive Player of the Week: Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
Through three games, Savage doesn’t look like a player who didn’t throw a pass on the FBS level from 2011-12. The senior turned in his best passing effort of 2013 against Duke on Saturday, completing 23 of 33 passes for 424 yards and six touchdowns. Savage’s six touchdown passes were the most by a Pittsburgh quarterback since Pete Gonzalez tossed seven against Rutgers in 1997, while also tying an ACC single-game record. After three games, Savage has thrown nine touchdown tosses to four interceptions and has topped 200 passing yards in each start.

Defensive Player of the Week: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
We need to give a tip of the cap to Maryland safety A.J. Hendy after he recorded one interception and recovered two fumbles against West Virginia, but Beasley earns our ACC Defensive Player of the Week honor. Beasley dominated NC State’s offensive line on Thursday night, recording five tackles (with three going for a loss) and three sacks. The junior also forced a fumble and broke up two passes. Clemson’s held NC State to 378 overall yards, with one of its two touchdowns coming when the game was out of reach. 

Coordinator of the Week: Ted Roof, Georgia Tech
The defense hasn’t been always strength for coach Paul Johnson during his tenure at Georgia Tech, but that could be changing in 2013. After giving up 20 points to North Carolina in the first 22 minutes, the Yellow Jackets held the Tar Heels without a score the rest of the way. North Carolina’s offense also went 0-4 on third-down attempts in the second half and only one Tar Heel drive in the final two quarters went longer than 10 yards. Georgia Tech’s defense allowed North Carolina to average six yards per play and registered only one sack, but the Yellow Jackets stepped up in the second half with the game on the line.

Team of the Week: Georgia Tech
After a 68-50 shootout between Georgia Tech and North Carolina last season, another high-scoring affair was expected on Saturday. However, weather and defense won out this year, as the Tar Heels and Yellow Jackets combined for 48 points. Georgia Tech fell behind 13-0 but rallied behind a solid defensive effort and quarterback Vad Lee. The Yellow Jackets did not allow a point in the second half, and Lee was responsible for two touchdowns and 159 overall yards. Georgia Tech is 2-0 in ACC play, but the schedule won’t get any easier the next two weeks, as a Thursday home date against Virginia Tech is up next, followed by a road game at Miami on Oct. 5. 

Freshmen of the Week: James Conner, RB/Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
We usually give this award to just one freshman each week, but it’s impossible to leave off Boyd or Conner after their performances against Duke. Conner gashed the Blue Devils’ defense for 173 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.7 per attempt on 26 carries. Boyd continued his hot start to the season, catching eight passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Boyd’s total could have been even higher, but he suffered a thigh injury in the fourth quarter and was forced to miss some action. With Boyd and Conner playing at a high level just three games into their career, the future looks bright for Pittsburgh in the ACC.

Fifth Down

• In his last two games, Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt has completed 31 of 39 passes for 446 yards and seven touchdowns.

• Duke receiver Jamison Crowder recorded 279 all-purpose yards in Saturday’s 58-55 loss to Pittsburgh.

• After recording back-to-back games of 100 receiving yards, Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs caught only two passes for 13 yards against West Virginia.

• Miami freshman running back Gus Edwards rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns on 12 attempts.

• Miami quarterback Stephen Morris left Saturday’s game against Savannah State with an ankle injury, but X-rays revealed only a sprain.

• Linebacker Stephone Anthony led all Clemson defenders with 14 stops on Thursday night against NC State.

Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 10:47
Path: /college-football/should-ohio-state-start-kenny-guiton-or-braxton-miller-2013

Ohio State is 4-0 and one of the top contenders to play for the national championship. However, do the Buckeyes have a quarterback battle on their hands?

Braxton Miller began 2013 as one of the frontrunners to win the Heisman, but he suffered a MCL injury against San Diego State and did not start against California and Florida A&M.

Prior to his injury, Miller threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns, along with rushing for 82 yards on 18 attempts.

When Miller went out, Kenny Guiton assumed the starting role and has played two nearly perfect games. Guiton has thrown for 664 yards and 13 touchdowns and two interceptions through the first four contests of 2013.

Even though Miller was the starter, has Guiton deserved an extended look?

Should Ohio State Start Kenny Guiton or Braxton Miller?

Steven Lassan ()
Even though Guiton has played well over the last two weeks, Ohio State has to go back to Miller. After all, Miller was one of the top quarterbacks in the nation last season and was off to a good start before his injury. The junior was completing 70.8 percent of his throws and was averaging a healthy 4.6 yards per carry through the first two weeks. Miller also has experience going through a full year of Big Ten action and should be better now that he had another offseason to work with coach Urban Meyer and coordinator Tom Herman. If anything, Guiton’s emergence has allowed Ohio State to be more aggressive with Miller. Surrounding the quarterback with a better, more explosive supporting cast was a priority for Meyer this offseason, and there’s no question the Buckeyes have a deeper group of weapons. Miller is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks when healthy, but Guiton has proved he is more than capable of leading this team if injury strikes again.

Mark Ross
Who knew that Ohio State's deepest position would end up being quarterback? That's what happens when Braxton Miller goes down early to injury and Kenny Guiton steps in and sets records. Guiton has thrown 13 touchdown passes with just two interceptions and is averaging better than seven yards per carry as the Buckeyes' offense hasn't missed a beat since he replaced Miller as the starter. While no one can certainly fault Urban Meyer for going back to Miller, believed by many to be the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy entering this season, at the same you can't help but ask if it isn't broke why fix it? Wisconsin is Ohio State's first true test of the season, so perhaps the better question would be this: if Miller struggles early against the Badgers will Meyer pull him and put Guiton back in? With expectations as high as they are in Columbus, it's not out of the question that the Buckeyes will have to deal with a budding quarterback controversy in addition to the rest of their Big Ten slate.

Braden Gall ()
If Braxton Miller is healthy, he should be the starter at Ohio State. Period, end of discussion. Kenny Guiton is a really nice player who has performed extremely well in his place but Miller is the star. He is more talented, more explosive and more dynamic. In fact, Guiton's play actually should give Urban Meyer more confidence in starting Miller. Should anything happen to No. 5, he knows he has an extremely productive and proven backup plan already in pace. The game with Wisconsin might be the biggest game of the year for Ohio State not named Michigan, and all hands will need to be on deck for the Buckeyes to win.

David Fox ()
Braxton Miller should remain the starter at Ohio State. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Kenny Guiton has been fantastic, and there’s little reason yet to believe that Ohio State’s record could be any worse with him at quarterback. But we’ve only seen Guiton against Buffalo, Cal and Florida A&M. His only crunch time experience was against Purdue last season. That said, Urban Meyer surely recognizes what he has in both of them. Although he’s said there aren’t any plans to get both on the field, I can’t believe that’s true. This is the same guy who won a national championship with Tim Tebow spelling Chris Leak in 2006. Imagine putting both out there for a double pass or some other trick play? Or just a decoy? Meyer loves his trick plays, and he’ll use them. Just a question of when.

Stephen Schindler ()
If Braxton Miller is healthy, then he should be the starter. This isn’t exactly the no-brainer most people claim it to be, however, as Guiton has proven his superior pocket passing skills. Granted, Guiton played against very weak competition, yet the Ohio State passing game hasn’t looked this dangerous since the Heisman year of Troy Smith. Coach Urban Meyer must make sure he uses the fact that he has two reliable quarterbacks as an advantage and not a potential problem. We could see some of both signal callers during games throughout the season, but Miller finished fifth in the Heisman voting just a season ago and is still one of the most dynamic players in the entire country. He will be and should be the clear starter moving forward.

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Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Missouri Tigers, SEC
Path: /college-football/should-we-buy-missouris-3-0-start-2013

Missouri is the last unbeaten team in the SEC East. The Tigers haven’t played a tough schedule, but coach Gary Pinkel’s team has won all three of its games by at least 15 points.

Missouri has one more non-conference game remaining, which is a home date against Sun Belt foe Arkansas State.

After Saturday’s game, the Tigers have eight consecutive games of SEC play, starting with an Oct. 5 date at Vanderbilt.

Is Missouri improved after going 5-7 last year or are the Tigers a product of their easy schedule?

Should we buy into Missouri's 3-0 start?

Steven Lassan  ()
Yes, I am buying into Missouri’s 3-0 start. No, I’m not ready to anoint the Tigers as a contender in the SEC East, but I do think this team is improved from its 5-7 record last year. Missouri’s offense is averaging 6.6 yards per play and ranks third in the conference with 567 yards per game. The level of competition has played a role in the offensive numbers, but quarterback James Franklin looks sharper after a full offseason to recover from a shoulder injury, and the rushing attack has three players who can contribute significant carries. The Tigers may have to win a few shootouts this year, as the defense is a question mark. The secondary ranks last in the SEC in pass yards allowed, and Missouri has generated only three sacks. Do I think Missouri will win the East? No. But I do think this team will make a bowl and wouldn’t be shocked if the Tigers find a way to upset Florida or South Carolina this year.

Mark Ross
Give credit to head coach Gary Pinkel and quarterback James Franklin for turning things around. Missouri's offense is clicking on all cylinders as the Tigers are scoring points (47 ppg) in bunches. However, before anyone starts printing those SEC East champion T-shirts let's see how Mizzou fares against some, well, SEC-caliber competition shall we? Yes, offense was certainly an issue for this team last season (11th in SEC in both total and scoring offense), but it's not like the defense shut the opposition down either (10th total, 11th scoring). Missouri will face considerably tougher defenses in conference play, starting with Vanderbilt in two weeks, and I want to see how this Tigers team responds when the offense is unable to just march up and down the field. It clearly is a good start for Missouri, but don't forget the Tigers went 2-6 in the SEC in 2012 and the only difference between that SEC slate and this season's is that Alabama has been replaced by Ole Miss. With how well the Rebels have played thus far, there's very little drop-off there, if any. Welcome to life in the SEC Mizzou.

Braden Gall ()
I buy that Missouri will get back to a bowl game. I don't buy that Missouri is an SEC contender. James Franklin appears to be healthy again and churning out yards, trailing only Johnny Manziel in total offense per game in the SEC. But the Tigers haven't played a legitimate defense yet this season. Mizzou is obviously better on offense and improved from a year ago, but the defense lacks star power and it will need that side of the ball to pull an upset against, say, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, Ole Miss or South Carolina. Otherwise, there are winnable games with Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky that could provide a trip to the postseason. A trip to a bowl game should keep Gary Pinkel employed, right?

David Fox ()
I still need to see a little bit more to fully buy into Missouri. The Oct. 5 trip to Vanderbilt will be the key. The Tigers may need to win that game to salvage anything out of an SEC schedule that includes Ole Miss and Texas A&M from the West division. I was skeptical of how the Tigers’ defense would perform this season without Sheldon Richardson, a first-round draft pick. Missouri acquitted itself against Indiana on the road, especially with the way Kony Ealy was able to disrupt the passing game at the line. But what works against Indiana might not work against Georgia and Ole Miss on the road, or South Carolina’s physical game and certainly not Johnny Manziel.

Josh Ward, (), 
Yes, go ahead and buy into Missouri’s 3-0 start. The Tigers entered the season with low expectations, which was understandable following last year’s disappointing finish. But this team is improved, especially on offense. Quarterback James Franklin looks closer to his 2011 self, having already produced more than 1,000 yards of total offense in three games. The emergence of sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been huge. Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington make up a dangerous receiving corps.

Missouri still has to face its toughest part of the schedule – the SEC – but its start is promising. The Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the SEC East by the media. That could still happen, but games against Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt will all be winnable. Missouri isn’t close to winning the division, but its 3-0 start has shown the Tigers might be on their way to competing at a more respectable level in the conference.

Stephen Schindler ()
As happy as I am to see quarterback James Franklin regain his form from a promising 2011 season, Missouri is surely in for trouble once conference play starts. Franklin has been excellent in his first three games. In fact, he's averaging 291 passing yards and 60.7 rushing yards per contest. He has thrown six touchdown passes and has nearly 200 yards rushing yards with another score. To be fair, the Tigers have hardly been challenged with games against Murray State, Toledo and Indiana. This week they play host to an Arkansas State team that was held to just seven points by Memphis. Despite this offensive success, the Tigers real concerns are on the defensive side of the ball. In three games, Missouri is allowing an average of nearly 400 yards of total offense. Expect this to be even more against some of the excellent quarterbacks in the SEC right now. After they surely improve to 4-0 this week, the schedule becomes a veritable murderer’s row. The Tigers will have a month straight of four of the SEC’s toughest teams with road trips to Vanderbilt and Georgia, along with home games against Florida and South Carolina. The end of the season won’t be kind either, as they finish up with Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Don’t expect the Tigers’ defense to be able to stop the likes of Connor Shaw, Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray or even Bo Wallace. I have Gary Pinkel’s squad finishing 6-6 (2-6).

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Post date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/ole-miss-ready-challenge-alabama-and-lsu-sec-west-2013

Ole Miss is off to its first 3-0 start since 1989. Coach Hugh Freeze clearly has the program moving in the right direction, and the momentum continues to build after signing a top-10 recruiting class in February.

Beating Vanderbilt and Texas this year is another good sign for a program that went 6-18 in Houston Nutt’s final two seasons.

Ole Miss has a bye before playing Alabama on Sept. 28, which is the start of another difficult stretch on the schedule. After playing the Crimson Tide, the Rebels travel to Auburn on Oct. 5, then return home for matchups against Texas A&M (Oct. 12) and LSU (Oct. 19).

It’s only Week 3, but the Rebels have opened plenty of eyes around the SEC. Are the Rebels ready to challenge Alabama or LSU in the West? Or is Ole Miss still the fourth-best team in the division behind Texas A&M?

Is Ole Miss Ready to Challenge Alabama and LSU in the SEC West?

Coach Pat Dye, former head coach of East Carolina, Wyoming and Auburn, and current voting member of the :
It is too early to tell. Ole Miss had to come from behind to beat Vandy. The victory they had this past weekend was against a Texas team in total disarray. Although they were good wins, I think they are going to have to play some better competition before we would know how good this Ole Miss team is this year. One thing that has been a nice surprise for Ole Miss has been the play from their quarterback. He has been outstanding so far this season.

Alabama, I think has the edge on LSU early in the season. LSU beat TCU. However, TCU doesn't look to be nearly as good as they have been in the past several years. It is a long season in front of those teams in the SEC West. We are going to have to wait and see if Ole Miss is able to take the next step against the tougher teams.

Steven Lassan ()
I still think the SEC West is Alabama and LSU’s division to lose this year. But let’s not forget about Texas A&M or overlook Ole Miss. The Rebels are 3-0 for the first time since 1989, scoring solid road victories over Vanderbilt and Texas. The offense is one of the nation’s most-balanced attacks, averaging 250 yards per game on the ground and 240 yards a contest through the air. Ole Miss is also averaging 6.2 yards per play and is third in the SEC in total defense. The Rebels aren’t as deep as Alabama or LSU, but the talent from the top-10 recruiting class is making a big contribution this year. Ole Miss is closing the gap on the rest of the SEC West and has a chance to score some solid victories the rest of the season with a road contest against Alabama and home games against Texas A&M and LSU still to come. I think the Rebels lose to the Crimson Tide and beat the Tigers, with Texas A&M in the tossup category. Ole Miss is a year or two away from winning the West, but let’s give coach Hugh Freeze a lot of credit for getting this team in contention in just his second year in Oxford.

Braden Gall ()
What do we really know about Ole Miss? The Rebels won a hard-fought game on the road against a Vanderbilt team that is now 0-2 in the SEC. They toyed with Southeast Missouri State in a closer-than-expected 31-13 win in Week 2. And they crushed what could be the worst Texas team since 1956. Ole Miss is really talented and capable of winning eight or nine games, but the point is, what do we really know about Ole Miss? The next four weeks will tell us as the Rebels face Alabama and Auburn on the road before hosting Texas A&M and LSU. The Rebels haven't been close to the Crimson Tide of late but played well against both the Aggies and Bayou Bengals on the road last year. The issue is attrition and running the SEC West gaunlet. With key injuries already along the offensive line and at linebacker, a 2-2 split over the next four would have to be considered a huge success. So, I guess my answer is no, but they are getting closer.

Mark Ross
The cop-out answer would be we'll find out in two Saturdays when the Rebels travel to Alabama. As far as my current answer goes, I fall into the "wait and see" camp. First, let's give credit to Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who has done a masterful job of rebuilding this program rather quickly. It started last season with seven victories and a bowl win over Pittsburgh and the momentum carried over to National Signing Day. The Rebels have continued to win games — five in a row dating back to last season — and have looked pretty good in the process.

However, Ole Miss has already gotten a few breaks along the way too, starting with its last-second, come-from-behind win at Vanderbilt to open the season and then catching a downtrodden Texas team at the best time possible. Again, the Rebels deserve plenty of credit for taking care of business and doing what needed to be done to win those two road games, but the true test for this team is coming up with Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU the next four opponents. If Ole Miss can continue to run the ball like it has (250.0 ypg, 3rd in SEC) and limit the opposition's ground game (114.3 ypg allowed, 4th in SEC), then it will have a chance, even against the likes of Alabama and LSU. Because in the end, controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball is one of the keys to being successful in the nation's toughest conference.

David Fox ()
Ole Miss is having a much more successful start to the season than most of us imagined. In our preseason game picks for Ole Miss, four of the six on Athlon’s panel projected the Rebels to start 1-2, but here they are at 3-0. Granted, they needed heroics to beat Vanderbilt, and Texas is not nearly as good as we thought the Longhorns would be at the start of the season. Eight or nine wins is achievable this season, but the ability to challenge for the West may have to wait until 2014 or 2015. Alabama’s not going anywhere, neither are LSU and Texas A&M. This is still a young Ole Miss team that needs to be ready to compete with Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU consistently — and in the case of this season, in the span of less than a month. That’s a lot to ask at this point.

Josh Ward, (), 
Ole Miss is close, but I don’t see the Rebels challenging to win the SEC West this year. Ole Miss is off to a great start and is clearly on the rise under coach Hugh Freeze. Remember the preseason concern over Ole Miss’ daunting schedule? The Rebels have quieted that talk. Still, it’s difficult to believe Ole Miss will have a legitimate shot of winning its division this year with Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M all remaining on the schedule. I think third place in the West is Ole Miss’ best-case finish this season.

Next year is the year to watch for Ole Miss. The Rebels’ talented freshmen will have a year of experience and quarterback Bo Wallace should be back for his senior year. Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M will all likely be breaking in new starting quarterbacks, which could help Ole Miss jump the Big Three while each school transitions. One thing is clear: Ole Miss fans have plenty to be excited about under Freeze.

Stephen Schindler ()
Not yet. Let the bandwagon keep chugging along because I’m not ready to jump on yet. Are the Rebels an improved team? Yes, absolutely. But we aren’t talking about the Pac-12 South here. This is the most challenging division in the most difficult conference in the nation. And quite simply, the Rebels aren’t ready. Let’s review their 3-0 start. A last-second win at Vanderbilt, who was without a major weapon in wide receiver Chris Boyd amidst the rape scandal. Followed by a win over an FCS opponent in SE Missouri State and a victory at Texas over a miserably disappointing Longhorns squad. The wins at Vandy and Texas are solid wins, but let’s not mistake the performances needed to win these games with those needs to take down the likes of Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M. Austyn Carta-Samuels and Case McCoy aren’t AJ McCarron, Johnny Manziel or even Zach Mettenberger. Add in road trips to Auburn and arch-rival Mississippi State and the tune on Ole Miss could change very quickly come November. 

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Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 16:01
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/it-time-nebraska-part-bo-pelini-2013

Is nine or ten wins a year enough for a coach to keep his job? That’s the big question facing Nebraska when it comes to coach Bo Pelini?

Under Pelini, the Cornhuskers are 51-21 and played in the Big Ten Championship last season.

However, Nebraska expects championships, and Pelini has failed to deliver. In last year’s Big Ten title game, the Cornhuskers were dominated by Wisconsin 70-31 and were defeated 45-31 by Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

The Cornhuskers have struggled on defense, and their recruiting hasn’t improved over the last five years. Nebraska has finished 40th or worse nationally in points allowed in three out of Pelini’s five seasons and ranked 90th against the run last year.

Although the audio tapes of Pelini’s rant are making the rounds this week, it’s not a huge factor in terms of job status. The embattled coach needs to be judged on the on-field results and trajectory of the program.

Is it Time for Nebraska to Part With Bo Pelini?

Steven Lassan ()
Nebraska has a difficult decision to make with Bo Pelini. And this has nothing to do with the audio tapes released this week, as the decision about his future needs to be about what happens on the field. The Cornhuskers have won at least nine games in each of his five full seasons and played for the Big Ten title in 2012. However, the defense – Pelini’s specialty – has struggled, and recruiting isn’t getting any better. Is Nebraska as good of a job as it was in the 1990s? That’s certainly debatable. However, there are high expectations in Lincoln, and Pelini does not have a conference title. Looking ahead to 2014, Nebraska will be in an easier division, but quarterback Taylor Martinez is gone. Even though Pelini hasn’t been hitting nine or ten wins every year, if Nebraska doesn’t win the division title, I think the Cornhuskers will have a new coach roaming the sidelines next year.

Braden Gall ()
This is a loaded question due to bad timing and the many different angles to consider. First, Bo Pelini has led his team to three division titles and three conference championship games in six years. But he is abrasive and has treated a lot of people with disrespect (not unlike most head coaches). But the release of this inappropriately recorded post-game rant — following a win, mind you — reeks of resentment and petty immaturity. So if you are basing your opinions on Pelini's long-term future on some two-minute sound bite that took place two years ago, you are no more mature and out-of-context than the jilted fan who leaked the tape. If you think Pelini shouldn't be the head coach at Nebraska because he team choked away a 21-3 home lead against UCLA, his defense is horrendous, and he's lost at least four games in every season, then I'm listening. He has done good things with the talent he is bringing in but he also needs to take the blame for not bringing in top-25 talent. An amicable divorce and fresh start for both might be what's best for all parties involved.

David Fox ()
If it’s Nebraska’s choice, the Cornhuskers shouldn’t make a coaching change. Bo Pelini isn’t the world’s biggest charmer during the season, but not many coaches are. Still, he’s been around long enough to know better than to be dismissive of Tommie Frazier, and the leaked audio from two years ago is ugly. But both should be non-factors. As for on the field, the knee-jerk reaction to the UCLA game is as hotheaded as anything Pelini has ever done. Only nine teams in the country have won more games since Pelini took over in 2008. Only 16 teams have a better win percentage. On both of those lists, Nebraska is ahead of Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The Cornhuskers have reached a conference championship game three times in five seasons. Nebraska hasn’t won any of them, and Pelini is short on statement wins. That’s reason to be disappointed, but hardly a reason to ditch a coach. Nebraska wasn’t satisfied with Frank Solich, either, and things so bad under Bill Callahan the Huskers needed to hire Pelini in the first place. However, if Pelini is really miserable at Nebraska, I wouldn’t blame him from trying his hand at a new stop. I’m sure a handful of programs would be glad to have him.

Mark Ross
Bo Pelini is 51-21 as Nebraska's head coach and despite winning consistently (at least nine wins in each of his first five seasons), he has seemed to worn out his welcome in Lincoln. While Pelini has certainly stuck his foot in his mouth or let his emotions get the best of him on more than one occasion, it's not like the bottom has dropped out for this Cornhuskers team either. Nebraska is 2-1 after three games, the exact same record it had at this point last season, with both losses coming to UCLA. The 2012 team went on to win 10 games and play for the Big Ten championship, goals that are still well within reach for this season. Pelini is 29-11 in Big Ten play in his tenure, so in my opinion now is not the time to consider a coaching change. Conference play opens for Big Red in October against Illinois. If the defense continues to struggle and the other issues persist into next month, then perhaps it's time to take a long look at where this program is headed.

Stephen Schindler ()
No. I know the UCLA loss and audio recording hurts Cornhusker fans, but be careful with this one. While I understand the expectations that come with coaching at Nebraska, a program that didn’t finish a single season out of the AP Top 25 from 1969-2001 and made 33 straight bowl appearances, I believe Pelini needs to be given a few more years as the program has been trending upward. Those calling for Pelini’s ouster are fair to point out his subpar recruiting classes, a lack of statement wins and disappointing defenses. While such points are valid, I would caution those at Nebraska charged with this decision to consider the simple truth that things could be much worse. Look at the slides experienced by other perennial top 25 powers like Texas, USC, Miami (Fla.), Auburn and Tennessee. Nebraska fans know better than anyone how quickly a program can go downhill. Pelini has brought the Cornhuskers out of the dark days of the Bill Callahan years, with five consecutive bowl appearances. While the past five years have been a far cry from the Osborne years, Nebraska has consistently been a top-20 program. Let’s see if he can win a quality bowl game this year and revisit the issue in January.

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Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 16:01
Path: /college-football/nebraskas-bo-pelini-breakdown-coaching-tenure

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has reached a defining point of his tenure in Lincoln.


After a bad performance against UCLA, audio tapes surfaced of Pelini calling out the Cornhuskers’ fans and media members after a 2011 victory against Ohio State. The tapes, which are filled with expletives, aren’t sitting well with the athletic department.

Although the audio tapes are a bad look for Pelini, they should have no impact on his job status. The real evaluation on Pelini needs to come on the field.

The Cornhuskers are 51-21 under Pelini, but is that enough to keep his job?

Nebraska is considered one of the top-20 coaching jobs and has a strong tradition of success. The facilities are also among the best nationally.

The only downside to coaching at Nebraska is the lack of a local recruiting base.

Expectations are always difficult to gauge for each program. But at Nebraska, you are expected to win big.

Analyzing Bo Pelini's Tenure at Nebraska

Win/Loss Record

YearRecordConf. RecordFinish
20089-45-3T-1st Big 12 North
200910-46-21st Big 12 North
201010-46-2T-1st Big 12 North
20119-45-33rd Big Ten Legends
201210-47-11st Big Ten Legends


Pelini has been pretty consistent in his tenure. Nebraska has won at least nine games in each of the last five seasons but has also lost two or three conference contests in four of those years. The Cornhuskers’ 10-4 mark (7-1 in Big Ten play) resulted in an appearance in the Big Ten title game. However, Nebraska was handled by Wisconsin and lost to Georgia 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl. It's fair to wonder if program expectations are too high, but the Cornhuskers are still searching for a breakthrough under Pelini. 

Although Pelini deserves credit for consistency, the program seems stagnant. Winning nine or ten games a year is good for some programs, but not at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers expect championships and BCS bowls. Pelini has not delivered. 

Recruiting Breakdown

* Ranks using

YearNational RankConference Rank5* Signed4* Signed
200829th6th in Big 1203
200939th4th in Big 1202
201026th5th in Big 1204
201117th2nd in Big Ten09
201231st3rd in Big Ten08
201322nd3rd in Big Ten07
201446th (as of Sept. 17)7th in Big Ten00


In the two classes prior to Pelini’s arrival, Nebraska’s signing class ranked No. 38 in 2006 and No. 43 in 2007. While there has been some slight improvement under Pelini, the recruiting hasn’t gotten significantly better. The Cornhuskers have not signed a five-star prospect under his watch, and the four-star recruits have decreased since signing nine in 2011. 

Performance on Defense



Pelini was regarded as one of the top defensive minds in the nation prior to his arrival at Nebraska. But his results on defense haven’t matched his pedigree. The above numbers are especially puzzling when you consider Nebraska’s move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. The Big 12 is a better overall conference when it comes to offense, so shouldn’t the numbers look better in the Big Ten?

There are some bright spots for Nebraska in these numbers, as the Cornhuskers finished fourth nationally in pass defense in 2012 and first in scoring defense in 2009. However, more was expected out of Pelini’s defenses, and Nebraska is clearly struggling on that side of the ball in 2013.

Performance Against Top 25 Teams



In order to get a better judge on Pelini’s performance against top 25 teams, we would need to look at all 125 coaches and compare. However, his tenure is trending down, as Nebraska is just 3-5 in its last eight games against top-25 teams. Nebraska also has some puzzling losses under Pelini’s watch, losing to unranked teams in 2009 (Texas Tech, 31-10), 2010 (Texas 20-13), 2011 (Northwestern 28-25) and 2012 (UCLA 36-30 and Wisconsin 70-31).

Final Verdict

Winning 51 games isn’t an awful tenure, but it’s easy to see why Pelini hasn’t taken this program to the next level. Nebraska’s recruiting isn’t getting better, and the defense has been inconsistent. The Cornhuskers 10-4 record with an appearance in the Big Ten title game was a step in the right direction, but the defense has been torched in four out of its last five games.

Forget the audio tapes. Pelini’s tenure should be judged on the data above. Is 51-21 good enough for Nebraska? It's fair to wonder if the expectations are too high in Lincoln, but the Cornhuskers are a top-20 program. Does Pelini deserve some credit for consistency? Sure. But is nine wins good enough at Nebraska? The answer here is pretty easy: No. 

Nebraska's Bo Pelini: A Detailed Breakdown of Coaching Tenure
Post date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-coach-hot-seat-rankings-post-week-3-edition-2013

If the past few weeks of the college football season are any indication, the coaching cycle could be one of the most active in recent memory. Texas, USC and Nebraska are among the best jobs in the nation, and all three could be open by December.

Texas is clearly on the wrong track after back-to-back losses to Ole Miss and BYU. The Longhorns still have a chance to win the Big 12, but finishing 9-3 or 8-4 certainly isn’t what most expect from Texas.

USC’s offense showed signs of life against Boston College. Quarterback Cody Kessler played well in the win over the Eagles, and the Trojans’ defense continued to suffocate opponents. USC will get a challenge from Utah State this Saturday, but last week’s performance was a step in the right direction.

Although Bo Pelini has won 51 games in his Nebraska tenure, the Ohio native may be running out of time in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers’ defense struggled at the end of last season and was torched in the second half by UCLA. And Pelini certainly didn’t make any friends in Lincoln after the release of audio tapes by Deadspin on Tuesday.

An important note when reading our coach on the hot seat rankings: Outside of the top 20-25 coaches, it’s all about the pressure on a program. While some coaches – like Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen – aren’t in any danger of being fired. However, both coaches need to bounce back after disappointing 2012 seasons.

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

RkCoachTeam2013 RecordAnalysis
1Mack Brown1-2Longhorns clearly in trouble.
2Paul Pasqualoni0-2Hard to find a guaranteed win on the schedule.
3Dan Enos1-2Outscored 24-0 in 2nd half against UNLV.
4Lane Kiffin2-1Can the offense show more progress?
5Don Treadwell0-2RedHawks allowing 633 yards per game in 2013.
6Bobby Hauck1-2Beat CMU in hot seat bowl in Week 3.
7Ron English1-2Can the Eagles show progress in MAC play?
8Ron Turner0-3Lost to Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. 
9Norm Chow0-2 
10Jim Grobe1-2Deacons not showing much improvement.
11Doc Holliday2-1Herd has a chance to beat Va. Tech this weekend.
12Jeff Quinn1-2 
13Bo Pelini2-1Cornhuskers still have time to right the ship.
14Charley Molnar0-3 
15Skip Holtz1-2Only win so far is against FCS opponent Lamar.
16Tony Levine2-0 
17Tim Beckman2-1Illini making progress in Beckman's second year.
18Gary Pinkel2-0 
19Kirk Ferentz2-1Win over Iowa State was huge for bowl hopes.
20Charlie Weis1-1Jayhawks have not won a road game since 2009.
21Rich Ellerson1-2 
22Dan Mullen1-2Is Mississippi State moving in wrong direction?
23Carl Pelini1-2Solid win for FAU over South Florida.
24Joey Jones2-1Jaguars have won two in a row. 
25Mike London1-1 
26Dana Holgorsen2-1Ford Childress looks like the right answer at QB.
27Rick Stockstill2-1 
28Randy Edsall3-0Impressive start so far.
29Dave Christensen2-1 
30Steve Sarkisian2-0 
31Matt Rhule0-3Bad loss for Temple against Fordham.
32P.J. Fleck0-3Recruiting well, but needs to produce on field.
33Kyle Whittingham2-1QB Travis Wilson emerging as breakout player.
34David Bailiff1-1 
35June Jones1-1 
36Kevin Wilson2-1 
37Rocky Long0-2 
38Dan McCarney2-1Solid win for Mean Green over Ball State.
39Larry Blakeney2-1 
40Kyle Flood2-1 
41George O'Leary3-0 
42Frank Beamer2-1 
43Garrick McGee0-2 
44Scott Shafer1-2Earned first career win with shutout over Wagner.
45Bobby Petrino1-2Bad loss for WKU against South Alabama.
46Tommy Tuberville2-1 
47Jim McElwain1-2 
48Bob Davie1-2 
49Sean Kugler1-1 
50Curtis Johnson2-1Tulane quietly improving under Johnson's watch.
51Rod Carey2-0 
52Paul Chryst1-1Freshmen making big impact for Panthers.
53Terry Bowden1-2Zips nearly pulled off huge upset against Michigan.
54Todd Monken0-3Unfair to blame Monken for all of USM's struggles.
55Mike Leach2-1Cougars clearly improved in Leach's second year.
56Mike Riley2-1 
57Ruffin McNeill2-1 
58Brian Polian1-2Wolf Pack dealing with a handful of injuries.
59Bill Blankenship1-2 
60Willie Taggart0-3USF and Taggart cleaning up from the Skip Holtz era.
61Dave Clawson2-1 
62Ron Caragher1-1 
63Paul Haynes1-2 
64Mark Helfrich3-0Offense continues to roll under Helfrich/Scott Frost.
65Bryan Harsin1-2 
66Dennis Franchoine2-0 
67Matt Wells2-1Chuckie Keeton is very underrated.
68Mark Richt1-1 
69Mark Dantonio3-0Did the Spartans finally find a QB?
70Bronco Mendenhall1-1 
71Dabo Swinney2-0 
72Brady Hoke3-0 
73Jimbo Fisher2-0 
74Frank Solich2-1 
75Jerry Kill3-0 
76Bob Stoops3-0 
77Al Golden2-0 
78Butch Jones2-1Volunteers still a year or two away.
79Doug Martin0-3 
80Mark Stoops1-2 
81Ken Niumatalolo2-0 
82Darrell Hazell0-3Boilermakers battled against Notre Dame.
83Trent Miles0-3Georgia State struggling in first FBS season.
84Troy Calhoun1-2 
85Paul Petrino0-3 
86Matt Campbell1-2 
87Paul Johnson2-0 
88Tim DeRuyter2-0 
89Gus Malzahn3-0 
90Bret Bielema3-0 
91Larry Fedora1-1 
92Justin Fuente0-2 
93Steve Addazio2-1 
94Dave Doeren2-0 
95Jim Mora2-0
96Sonny Dykes1-2 
97Rich Rodriguez3-0
98Todd Graham2-0
99Will Muschamp2-1
100Brian Kelly1-1
101Mike MacIntyre2-0
102Paul Rhoads0-2
103Larry Coker1-2
104Les Miles3-0
105Pete Lembo2-1
106Todd Berry2-1
107Gary Andersen2-1
108David Cutcliffe2-1
109James Franklin3-0
110Hugh Freeze3-0
111Mark Hudspeth3-0
112Kevin Sumlin2-1
113Kliff Kingsbury3-0
114Mike Gundy3-0
115Gary Patterson1-2
116Bill O'Brien2-1
117Bill Snyder2-1
118Charlie Strong3-0
119Steve Spurrier2-1 
120Chris Petersen2-1
121Art Briles2-0
122David Shaw2-0
123Pat Fitzgerald3-0
124Urban Meyer3-0
125Nick Saban2-0

Related College Football Content

Post date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 16:43
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/who-favorite-win-big-12-after-week-3-2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So this was Pelini's response on Monday:






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related College Football Content

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

Catching up after a busy weekend of games.

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

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Monday, September 9th

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

wants to see Seven Nation Army retired from college football.

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

Duke quarterback broke his collarbone against Memphis. 

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

were a reason why Georgia had no trouble establishing the run on Saturday afternoon.

remains cautious with defensive end Dee Ford.

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

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

Ole Miss cornerback was arrested over the weekend.

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

Maryland cornerback is out eight weeks with a toe injury.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Three Things to Watch

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

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

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

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

Final Analysis

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

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

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

Prediction: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:15