Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, News, Big East
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-2-upset-predictions

Week 2 of the 2012 college football season doesn’t feature many marquee matchups and with a handful of BCS teams heavily favored, there are few opportunities for upset picks. Athlon’s editors hit on Ohio’s win over Penn State last week but missed on Western Michigan beating Illinois and Indiana State knocking off Indiana.

College Football's Week 2 Upset Picks

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Nebraska (-5.5) at UCLA
If Florida (+1.5) beats Texas A&M or South Florida (+1.5) defeats Nevada, no one will be shocked, but most would be startled if UCLA starts the year 2-0 with an upset win over Nebraska. Jim Mora Jr., has instilled some toughness along both lines of scrimmage and quarterback Brett Hundley has added some much-needed balance to the Bruins offense. Yes, it was Rice, but it was on the road and UCLA's offense looked fantastic. If the Bruins can hold their ground at the point of attack, they have a great chance to pull the upset at home. Especially, if the Cornhuskers are without their offensive heart and soul in star tailback Rex Burkhead. He is questionable with a sprained MCL.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Florida (+1.5) at Texas A&M
With a spread of 1.5 points, this game is essentially a pick’em. Florida did not have a great showing in its Week 1 opener against Bowling Green, while Texas A&M’s game was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac. Although the Gators looked sluggish against the Falcons, their defense should create some problems for Aggies’ quarterback Johnny Manziel in his first start. If Florida can run the ball and keep quarterback Jeff Driskel out of third-and-long situations, I like the Gators to sneak out of College Station with a victory. Considering this is Texas A&M’s first SEC game, there should be a great crowd and a lot of momentum on the Aggies’ sideline. However, I think Florida finds a way to edge out Texas A&M for a 24-20 victory.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Iowa State (+4.5) at Iowa
Iowa State scored a total of 15 points en route to losing three straight to Iowa from 2008-10. Last year, however, the Cyclones erupted for 44 points in a three-point win in Ames. The ’12 season got off to good start offensively for Paul Rhoads’ club. The Clones, a surprising home underdog to Tulsa, rolled up 441 yards in a 38–23 win over the Golden Hurricane. Yards will be tougher to come by in Iowa City this weekend. Iowa gave up only 201 total yards (73 on one play) in an 18–17 win over Northern Illinois in Chicago. Take out that one big play — a run by NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch — and the Iowa defense gave up an average of 2.4 yards per play. Iowa State, however, has a few more weapons than Northern Illinois, which returned only three starters. Steel Jantz played well in the opener, and the Clones have some talented options at tailback.This rivalry game often doesn’t go as expected. This is just a hunch, but I like the Clones on the road. Iowa State 21, Iowa 20

Mark Ross: Louisiana-Lafayette (+3) over Troy
Both teams enter this Sun Belt clash 1-0 as Troy defeated C-USA representative UAB 39-29 on the road, while UL Lafayette shut out FCS member Lamar 40-0 at home last week. Even though the Trojans produced more total offense against seemingly tougher competition in its opener and will be the home team for this conference tilt, I think the Ragin' Cajuns are the more balanced team, which will be the difference in the end. Last season the Cajuns defeated the Trojans 31-17 even though Troy out-gained ULL in terms of total offense. This season's ULL offensive attack is even more potent with senior Blaine Gautier under center and it will be too much for Troy's defense to slow down.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Iowa State (+4.5) over Iowa
The Hawkeyes are coming off a fortuitous 18-17 win over Northern Illinois in Week 1, while the Cyclones had a solid 38-23 victory against Tulsa. ISU quarterback Steele Jantz threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, while running back Shontrelle Johnson rushed for 120 yards on just 18 carries. They will face a much tougher defense this week versus Iowa, but I like the offensive balance the Paul Rhoads’ club showed against Tulsa. The Hawkeyes will look for another solid performance from tailback Damon Bullock, who totaled 150 yards and a touchdown versus NIU. The key to winning his year’s Cy-Hawk Trophy will be taking advantage of red-zone opportunities. The Cyclones have shown a penchant for winning as an underdog under Rhoads, and I’ll take Iowa State to make it two in a row over the Hawkeyes by the score of 24-23.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Auburn (+3.5) at Mississippi State
This upset pick was too tantalizing given the recent history of the SEC West rivals: Auburn has won 10 of the last 11 meetings. Although Mississippi State has been within a touchdown or less in four of the last five seasons, Auburn hasn’t lost in Starkville since 2000. Auburn’s game last week wasn’t always pretty -- 528 yards allowed, two turnovers, 11 of 27 passing from Kiehl Frazier -- but Auburn led Clemson by a field goal in the fourth quarter. If Auburn can limit a Clemson offense to field goals for three quarters in a neutral site game, I can get on board with a road upset over Mississippi State. I realize Clemson was without Sammy Watkins, but do the Bulldogs have anyone to match Tajh Boyd or Andre Ellington? I doubt it.

Related College Football Content

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Big Ten Week 2 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 2 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 2 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 2 Previews and Predictions

Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat Post-Week 1 Rankings

Post-Week 1 Bowl Projections

<p> College Football Week 2 Upset Picks</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 05:05
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-2-plays

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 2

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

Fresno State at Oregon

Line:  Oregon -34(O/U-73.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 54-20

Best plays:

Fresno State (QB-Derek Carr, RB-Robbie Rouse, WRs-Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse)

Oregon (QB-Marcus Mariota, RBs-Kenjon Barner, DeAnthony Thomas)

Also consider:

Fresno St (WR-Rashad Evans)

Oregon (WR-Josh Huff, TE-Colt Lyerla)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 52-28


Oklahoma State at Arizona

Line:  Oklahoma St -13.5(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma St 42-28

Best plays:

Oklahoma St (QB-Wes Lunt, RB-Joseph Randle, WRs-Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore, K-Quinn Sharp)

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WRs-Dan Buckner, Austin Hill)

Also consider:

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith, WRs-Isaiah Anderson, Josh Stewart)

Arizona (WRs-Terrence Miller, Richard Morrison)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 48-24


Louisiana at Troy

Line:  Troy -3(O/U-64.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Troy 34-31

Best plays:

Louisiana (QB-Blaine Gautier, RB-Alonzo Harris, WR-Javone Lawson)

Troy (QB-Corey Robinson, RB-Shawn Southward, WR-Chip Reeves)

Also consider:

Louisiana (WR-Harry Peoples, TE-Jacob Maxwell, K-Brett Baer)

Troy (WR-Eric Thomas)

theCFFsite projects:  Louisiana 31-30

Toledo at Wyoming

Line:  Toledo -3.5(O/U-55.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Toledo 30-26

Best plays:

Toledo (RB-David Fluellen, WR-Bernard Reedy)

Wyoming (QB-Brett Smith, RB-Brandon Miller, WR-Robert Herron)

Also consider:

Toledo (RB-Cassius McDowell, WR-Alonzo Russell)

Wyoming (WR-Dominic Rufran)

theCFFsite projects:  Toledo 31-28

One-Sided Matchups(Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Western Kentucky at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -40(O/U-53.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 47-7

Stay away from:

Western Kentucky (RB-Antonio Andrews)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 48-10

LA-Monroe at Arkansas

Line:  Arkansas -30.5(O/U-57)

Projected score based on point spread:  Arkansas 44-14

Stay away from:

LA-Monroe (RB-Jyruss Edwards)

theCFFsite projects:  Arkansas 52-17


New Mexico at Texas

Line:  Texas -37.5(O/U-53.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Texas 46-8

Stay away from:

New Mexico (RB-Demarcus Rogers)

theCFFsite projects:  Texas 45-7


Michigan State at Central Michigan

Line:  Michigan State -23.5(O/U-48)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan State 36-12

Stay away from:

Central Michigan (QB-Ryan Radcliff, RB-Zurlon Tipton, WR-Cody Wilson)

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan State 30-10


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Georgia at Missouri

Line:  Georgia -3.5(O/U-55)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 29-26

Outlook:  After last week’s performance against Buffalo, we’re not sure that the Bulldogs are ready to visit a team looking to prove they belong in the SEC.     

theCFFsite projects:  Missouri 30-27


Florida at Texas A&M

Line:  Texas A&M -2.5(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Texas A&M 28-25

Outlook:  Florida’s advantage is that they have a game under their belt, but the fact that Bowling Green gave the Gators all they could handle makes this decision easy.

theCFFsite projects:  Texas A&M 37-24


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (4-0)  ATS: (3-1)

2011 Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)



The College Fantasy Football Site

By:  Joe DiSalvo

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 2 Plays</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 04:07
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-2-sit-or-start

Fantasy owners got burned last week when they decided to bench guys like Ryan Aplin, Jordan Lynch, Nathan Jeffery, and Branden Oliver.  Others got disappointing fantasy performances from preseason favorites like Cobi Hamilton, Cody Hoffman, Jeff Tuel, and David Piland.  Here’s your redemption:  Week 2. 

Week 2 College Fantasy Football Sit or Start


Colby Cameron, QB-LA Tech at Houston

Now that Boise State lost last week at Michigan State, the Bulldogs may have the best chance to bust the BCS, and Cameron has some weapons on the outside.

Derek Carr, QB-Fresno State at Oregon
If the Ducks race out to an early lead, expect Carr to put the ball in the air all night long.

Zac Dysert, QB-Miami, OH vs. Southern Illinois
Dysert put the ball in the air 53 times at Ohio St last week, but only threw for one score.  Expect fewer attempts this week, but the senior quarterback should account for at least two-to-three touchdowns.

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice at Kansas
South Dakota State ran up 411 yards against Kansas’ defense last week, so we’re confident McHargue will at least duplicate his numbers from a week ago against UCLA.

Matt Brown, RB-Temple vs Maryland
As long as Montel Harris remains on the sideline with a hamstring injury, Brown is a solid fantasy performer.

Brandin Byrd, RB-North Texas vs Texas Southern
Byrd led all Mean Green running backs in rush attempts at LSU and will have a much easier time this week against Texas Southern.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy vs Louisiana
Southward topped the 200-yard mark last week with 28 carries against UAB.  The Trojans will most likely call upon the junior running back to shoulder the load in what figures to be the biggest Sun Belt Conference matchup of the season.

Johnathan Franklin, RB-UCLA vs Nebraska
Franklin may not run for 200 yards again, but he should find some running room at home against the Huskers.

Ameer Abdullah, RB-Nebraska at UCLA
It is almost certain that Rex Burkhead will sit this one out, so look for the versatile sophomore to fill the void.

Tim Cornett, RB UNLV vs Northern Arizona
We have never recommended starting a UNLV running back in consecutive weeks, but Cornett should top the 100-yard mark again.

Tony Jones, RB-Colorado vs Sacramento State
The Buffaloes struggled to run the ball last week against Colorado State, but don’t give up on Jones just yet.

Nathan Jeffery, RB-UTEP at Ole Miss
After rushing for 177 yards against the Sooners last week, Jeffery could top 1,500 yards rushing this season if he stays healthy.

Noel Grigsby, WR-San Jose State vs UC-Davis
Grigsby’s inability to find the end zone last year kept him off of many fantasy rosters, so it was nice to see him score in Week 1 at Stanford.  We suggest rolling with the junior receiver in Week 2 vs UC-Davis.

Charlie Moore, WR-Oklahoma State @ Arizona
We did not learn anything about the Cowboys last week against Savannah State, but we still like Moore to emerge as a legitimate fantasy factor.

LaRod King, WR-Kentucky vs Kent State
King had 77 yards receiving on 8 catches against a solid Louisville defense in Week 1, so we’re looking for more against the Golden Flashes.


David Piland, QB-Houston vs LA Tech
The Cougars’ loss to Texas State was a shocker and we can promise things will not get any easier against Tech.

Kerwynn Williams, RB-Utah State vs Utah
Williams wasn’t even the leading rusher for the Aggies last week and they will face a stiff test when they host Utah Friday night.

Zurlon Tipton, RB-Central Michigan vs Michigan State
Tipton opened some eyes last week after running for 180 yards and three touchdowns against Southeast Missouri State, but the Chippewas step up in competition this week when they host Michigan State.

Storm Woods, RB-Oregon State vs Wisconsin
Woods may have been named the starter, but we should still see a lot of Malcolm Agnew against the Badgers.

Dominique Whaley, RB-Oklahoma vs Florida A&M
Whaley looked healthy last week, but Damien Williams was the more impressive Sooners running back and could steal more carries from the senior.  Plus, Whaley could exit early if the game gets out of hand against the Rattlers from Florida A&M.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington at LSU
Sankey assumed the role as full-time starter when fellow running back Jesse Callier was lost for the season with a torn ACL.  However, running room will be hard to find Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

Cameron Marshall, RB-Arizona State vs Illinois
We’re not quite sure Marshall is 100% and he’ll go against an Illinois defense that held Western Michigan to negative-6 yards rushing last week.

Rashad Greene vs Savannah State
We learned from the Oklahoma State-Savannah State game last week that Greene will be on the sidelines by halftime.  Can he generate a score or two before an early exit?


Joe DiSalvo

The College Fantasy Football Site

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 2 Sit or Start</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 04:05
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-1-bowl-projections

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 one week of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams. A team like Houston was expected to win Conference USA's West Division in the preseason but stumbled in the opener against Texas State. For now, the Cougars remain in our projections but that could change after Week 2.

With very little data to work with, the post-Week 1 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections 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 like Houston, UTEP, Miami (Fla.) and Texas Tech perform.

2012-2013 Post-Week 1 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl Date Tie-In Projected Matchup
New Mexico Dec. 15 MWC vs. Pac-12 Arizona vs. Colorado State
Famous Idaho Potato Dec. 15 MAC vs. WAC Louisiana Tech vs. W. Michigan
Poinsettia Dec. 20 BYU vs. MWC BYU vs. Nevada
Beef 'O'Brady's Dec. 21 Big East vs. C-USA East Carolina vs. Cincinnati
New Orleans Dec. 22 Sun Belt vs. C-USA UL Lafayette vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Dec. 22 MWC vs. Pac-12 UCLA vs. Boise State
Hawaii Dec. 24 C-USA vs. MWC Fresno State vs. SMU
Little Caesars Dec. 26 Big Ten vs. MAC Purdue vs. Northern Illinois
Military Dec. 27 ACC vs. Army Marshall* vs. Mississippi State*
Belk Dec. 27 ACC vs. Big East Virginia vs. Pittsburgh
Holiday Dec. 27 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Stanford vs. Baylor
Independence Dec. 28 ACC vs. SEC Miami vs. Texas A&M
Russell Athletic Dec. 28 ACC vs. Big East South Florida vs. Clemson
Meineke Car Care Dec. 28 Big Ten vs. Big 12 TCU vs. Northwestern
Armed Forces Dec. 29 C-USA vs. MWC Houston vs. Wyoming
Kraft Fight Hunger Dec. 29 Pac-12 vs. Navy Navy vs. California
Pinstripe Dec. 29 Big East vs. Big 12 Rutgers vs. Notre Dame
Alamo Dec. 29 Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Utah vs. Oklahoma State
Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29 Big Ten vs. Big 12 Kansas State vs. Illinois
Music City Dec. 31 SEC vs. ACC Auburn vs. Georgia Tech
Sun Dec. 31 ACC vs. Pac-12 NC State vs. Washington
Liberty Dec. 31 SEC vs. C-USA Tulsa vs. Missouri
Chick-fil-A Dec. 31 ACC vs. SEC Virginia Tech vs. Florida
TicketCity Jan. 1 Big Ten vs. C-USA Texas Tech* vs. UTEP Gator Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Tennessee vs. Iowa
Capital One Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten Georgia vs. Wisconsin
Outback Jan. 1 SEC vs. Big Ten South Carolina vs. Michigan State
Cotton Jan. 4 Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. Arkansas
BBVA Compass Jan. 5 SEC vs. Big East Vanderbilt vs. Connecticut Jan. 6 MAC vs. Sun Belt Arkansas State vs. Ohio
BCS Bowls      
Rose Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Michigan vs. Oregon
Orange Jan. 1 BCS vs. BCS Florida State vs. Louisville
Sugar Jan. 2 BCS vs. BCS LSU vs. Texas
Fiesta Jan. 3 BCS vs. BCS Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
National Title Jan. 7 BCS vs. BCS USC vs. Alabama

by Steven Lassan


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College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat Post-Week 1 Edition
ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
@athlonsteven</a></strong></span></p>" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> College Football Post-Week 1 Bowl Projections for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:35
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-1-rankings

Week 1 of the college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches are feeling the pressure to win. Kentucky showed some progress in the season opener against Louisville, but Joker Phillips passes Boston College's Frank Spaziani as the No. 1 coach on the hot seat. Some new names have joined the top 20, including Houston's Tony Levine and Colorado's Jon Embree. 

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 1 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week's Rank:
Record at Kentucky: 11-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Losing handily to a rival is enough for Phillips to claim the top spot after Week 1. The Wildcats showed some signs of life on offense, but the defense had no answer for Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Kentucky should get into the win column against Kent State this Saturday, but Phillips needs to pickup a few wins in SEC play this year.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week's Rank: 1
Record at Boston College: 20-20 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Spaziani moved down from the No. 1 to the No. 2 spot this week. Although Boston College lost to Miami, the team showed some progress on offense. Hiring Doug Martin as the coordinator seems to be the right answer to develop quarterback Chase Rettig, as he threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. Spaziani’s specialty is on defense, which is where the Eagles struggled on Saturday and must improve for Boston College to have any shot at a bowl.

3. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week's Rank:
Record at MTSU: 35-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Stockstill makes a huge jump in the rankings after a Week 1 debacle against McNeese State. The Blue Raiders trailed the Cowboys 24-6 going into the fourth quarter and lost 27-21. MTSU has lost six consecutive season openers under Stockstill and enters Week 2 action with a seven-game losing streak.

4. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week's Rank:
Record at Rice: 23-39 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Things never got on track for Rice in the season opener, as the Owls fell behind 19-0 to UCLA and did not score a point in the second half to lose 49-24. Rice’s defense did little to slow down the Bruins, allowing 646 yards and 49 points. Quarterback Taylor McHargue turned in a solid effort in a losing cause, but the Owls were simply overmatched. The road doesn’t get any easier for Rice, as they matchup against Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Marshall and Houston over the next few weeks.

5. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week: 7
Record at Central Michigan: 7-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
For a half, it appeared Central Michigan would fall victim to FCS foe Southeast Missouri State. However, the Chippewas rallied in the final two quarters to win 38-27 and remain unbeaten under Enos in season openers. Despite the victory, it was an overall lackluster showing for Central Michigan, and the schedule gets tougher in Week 2 against Michigan State.

6. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week: 15
Record at California: 79-49 (11th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Tedford makes a big jump in this week’s poll, climbing from No. 15 in the post-fall practice edition to No. 6 after Saturday’s loss to Nevada. Although the Wolf Pack are one of the top 50 teams in the nation, losing in the home debut after a major stadium renovation is a bad sign. Tedford has recorded a mediocre 12-14 record since 2010 and could be 1-3 after the first four weeks of the season. Tedford has had a successful run in Berkeley, but has the program gone stale?

7. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week:
Record at Idaho: 19-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Eastern Washington is one of the top FCS programs, so it’s really no surprise it won on the road at Idaho. However, it’s another black eye for the Vandals, a program struggling to stay on the FBS level. Idaho has lost 10 out of its last 11 games and it could be a while before it cracks the win column. With Bowling Green, LSU, Wyoming and North Carolina coming up, the Vandals’ best opportunity at a victory is on Oct. 6 against New Mexico State. Akey’s teams have regressed since winning eight contests in 2009, and it’s shaping up to be another long year in Idaho.

8. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week:
Record at Maryland: 3-10 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
Edsall’s 2012 opener nearly ended with disaster. The Terrapins squeaked out a lackluster 7-6 victory over FCS opponent William & Mary. Freshman quarterback Perry Hills turned in a so-so debut, completing 16 of 24 passes for 145 yards and three interceptions. While the defense was solid, the offense clearly has some work to do over the next couple of weeks. Maryland’s schedule doesn’t get any easier, as it travels to Philadelphia take on Temple this Saturday.

9. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week:
Record at Texas Tech: 14-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
Texas Tech had a successful season opener, easily defeating Northwestern State 44-6. The offense gained 500 yards, while a much-maligned defense allowed only 84 yards and held the Demons to just six points. With matchups against Texas State and New Mexico in the next two weeks, Tuberville should slide down this list. However, Tuberville’s long-term future in Lubbock will be determined on what happens in Big 12 play.

10. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week: Not ranked
Record at Houston: 1-1
2012 Record: 0-1
Disaster is the only word to describe Levine’s regular season debut at Houston. The Cougars high-powered offense was grounded, scoring only 13 points and managing 326 yards of total offense. The defense was shredded for 248 yards on the ground and forced only one turnover. Only adding to the uneasiness surrounding Levine was the departure of coordinator Mike Nesbitt on Monday. Athlon ranked Levine as one of the worst coaching hires this offseason, and he needs to get Houston pointed back in the right direction before Conference USA play begins. Levine isn't in danger of losing his job anytime during the season, but his tenure at Houston is off to an awful start. 

11. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week:
Record at UNLV: 4-22 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
After nearly beating Minnesota last Thursday, Hauck moves from No. 9 to No. 11 on this list. The Rebels gave the Golden Gophers all they can handle, giving hope that Hauck can surpass last season’s two wins. The Rebels should get into the win column against Northern Arizona this Saturday.

12. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week:
Record at Syracuse: 17-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Marrone has been on a steady climb in Athlon’s coach on the hot seat rankings since the end of last year. The Orange finished 2011 with a five-game losing streak and opened 2012 with a loss to Northwestern. With a move to the ACC on the horizon for 2013, Syracuse may not want to join a new conference with a coach on the hot seat. Marrone may need to make a bowl to save his job.

13. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Buffalo: 5-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Quinn opened the season with a loss to Georgia, but the Bulls had a good showing in defeat. Although five wins in just over two years isn’t impressive, Quinn seems to be moving the program in the right direction.

14. George O'Leary, UCF
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UCF: 51-51 (9th season)
2012 Record: 1-0
The Knights turned in one of the most dominating wins in Week 1, beating Akron 56-14. UCF has a tough road trip to Ohio State this Saturday but is a heavy favorite to win the Conference USA title. As long as the Knights reach a bowl game, O’Leary should be safe to return for 2013.

15. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at Colorado: 3-11 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Embree didn’t inherit a great situation at Colorado, but the Buffaloes haven’t showed a whole lot of improvement in his tenure. Colorado did win two out of the last three from last season but opened 2012 with a disappointing loss to in-state rival Colorado State. Embree isn’t in any danger of losing his job this year, but this program can’t afford many more years of just three wins.

16. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Tennessee: 12-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-0
Dooley is one of the biggest movers on this list, dropping from No. 3 to No. 16 after Friday’s win over NC State. The Volunteers were impressive against the Wolfpack and considering how Florida looked against Bowling Green, it’s not out of the question Tennessee could be 4-0 before playing at Georgia on Sept. 29. Dooley still has a lot to prove, but Friday night's win was a step in the right direction.

17. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Western Michigan: 47-40 (8th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
The Broncos were a trendy upset pick for Week 1 but fell 24-7 to Illinois. Western Michigan has two more shots at pulling off an upset against a BCS team, as it visits Minnesota on Sept. 15 and hosts Connecticut on Sept. 22. Despite the opening week disappointment, the Broncos are considered the favorites to win the MAC’s West Division.

18. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at UTEP: 45-53 (9th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Although it was a losing effort against Oklahoma, Price drops eight spots to No. 18 on the post-week 1 rankings. UTEP gave the Sooners all they could handle and has another shot at an upset against Ole Miss this Saturday. Considering Houston’s struggles against Texas State, the Miners have to be considered one of the favorites to win Conference USA’s West Division.

19. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at New Mexico State: 10-29 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-0
The Aggies opened their season with a convincing 49-19 victory over Sacramento State. New Mexico State is a tough job, and the program faces an uncertain future at the FBS level. It’s clear Walker is making progress and would be a surprise if he doesn’t return to Las Cruces for 2013.

20. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Bowling Green: 14-24 (4th season)
2012 Record: 0-1
Clawson probably doesn’t deserve be on this list, especially after nearly leading Bowling Green to a win over Florida in the season opener. However, there are few candidates for this No. 20 ranking, and Clawson’s overall record is 14-24. The Falcons were picked by many to finish in the top three of the MAC East and assuming this team builds off Saturday’s performance, Clawson won’t be moving any higher on this list in 2012.

by Steven Lassan


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Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
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" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 1 Rankings</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 06:30
All taxonomy terms: LSU Tigers, Washington Huskies, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /news/washington-brings-live-tiger-practice-prep-lsu

Washington has a huge test ahead this Saturday, as it travels to LSU for a night game in Baton Rouge. Winning at LSU hasn't been easy for opposing teams in recent years, so it's no surprise the Huskies are preparing with some unusual tactics.

To help prepare for Saturday night's hostile atmosphere, Washington had a live tiger at practice on Tuesday. Yes, that's right - a live tiger. 

These pictures tweeted by @RyanDivish and @Curtis_Crabtree show the tiger during practice, which is certainly an interesting motivational tactic for Washington. There's no question this will be a tough game for the Huskies but bringing in a live tiger to watch over practice is certainly among the most interesting practice tactics in recent years.

<p> Washington Brings Live Tiger to Practice to Prep for LSU</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 15:46
All taxonomy terms: Texas A&M Aggies, SEC, News
Path: /news/texas-am-slams-florida-your-face-billboard

Texas A&M opens SEC play against Florida this Saturday, but the Aggies aren’t waiting long to introduce themselves to the rest of the conference.

This billboard popped up in Gainesville recently, featuring the phrase “You’ve been annexed by Aggie Nation.”

Needless to say, it’s pretty brash talk from Texas A&M – a school that has yet to play its first SEC contest. The billboard also features the phrase “Real Football. Real Tradition.”

And this gem: “The Cleanest Program in the SEC.”

In the conference of secondary violations, it's a nice way to welcome yourself to your new SEC foes.

The billboard is all fun and games and probably means nothing for Saturday’s game. However, it’s definitely a welcome to the SEC moment for Texas A&M – and the Aggies aren’t backing down from anyone.

<p> Texas A&amp;M Slams Florida With In-Your-Face Billboard</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 10:53
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-1-power-rankings

The 2012 college football season kicked off with South Carolina beating Vanderbilt on Thursday night. The Gamecocks weren't particularly impressive but did just enough to knock off the Commodores. Derek Dooley's seat got a little cooler in Knoxville after beating NC State on Friday night. Alabama was the most impressive team in Week 1, thrashing Michigan 41-14.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina — Making his first appearance since injuring his knee last fall, Lattimore ran for 110 yards and two scores on 23 carries against a solid run defense at Vanderbilt.

2. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee — It was quite a debut for the junior college transfer. He combined for 165 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns — one on a 41-yard toss from Tyler Bray and one on a 67-yard run from scrimmage.

3. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee — The junior quarterback completed 27-of-41 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Vols’ win vs. NC State.


Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama — Milliner had four pass deflections and an interception to lead Alabama’s dominant defensive effort against Michigan.

2. Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina — The sophomore had four total tackles, including two for a loss (and one sack) in the Gamecocks’ 17-13 win at Vanderbilt.

3. Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt — Ladler shined in a losing effort for Vanderbilt, recording nine tackles, one interception and a sack as the Commodores held South Carolina to 272 total yards. 


Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Nick Saban, Alabama — The Crimson Tide completely dominated Michigan, a team that won 11 games in 2011.

2. Derek Dooley, Tennessee — His seat is a whole lot cooler after the Vols’ impressive win over NC State in Atlanta.

3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina — He’s the only coach in the league with a 1-0 record in the SEC.


Post-Week 1 SEC Power Rankings

1. Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Michigan 41-14
Alabama was perhaps the most impressive team in the nation in the opening week of the season. The Crimson Tide completely dominated both sides of the ball against a Michigan team ranked in the top 10 heading into the season. The Bama defense did a masterful job on Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who completed only 11-of-26 passes and rushed for 27 yards on 10 attempts. True freshman T.J. Yeldon was the star on offense for the Tide, rushing for 111 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. This was complete domination.
This Week: Western Kentucky

2. LSU (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat North Texas 41-14
The Tigers disposed of North Texas in predictable fashion, leaning on a rushing attack that churned out 316 yards on 46 carries for an impressive 6.9-yard average. Zach Mettenberger put up solid numbers in his debut at quarterback (19-of-26 for 192 yards with one TD and one INT), but he missed some throws that he will need to hit against better competition. Tailbacks Kenny Hilliard (141) and Alfred Blue (123) both went over the 100-yard mark, and Odell Beckham returned a punt 70 yards for a TD in the first quarter.
Next Game: Washington

3. Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Buffalo 45-23
The result was never in doubt, but Georgia didn’t exactly dominate Buffalo (3–9 last season) as thoroughly as most Bulldog fans would have liked. There was a lot to like on offense — especially the 100 yards on eight carries from freshman tailback Todd Gurley — but Georgia couldn’t have been thrilled about giving up 347 total yards (199 on the ground). Tavarres King caught six passes for 117 yards to lead the Dawgs’ receiving corps.
Next Game: at Missouri

4. South Carolina (1-0, 1-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Vanderbilt 17-13
South Carolina managed only 272 yards of offense, including just 67 through the air, but it was good enough to escape Nashville with a 17-13 win over Vanderbilt. Marcus Lattimore ran for 110 yards and two scores on 23 attempts in his return from a torn ACL. He might not be 100 percent just yet, but Lattimore is ready to carry to the load for the Gamecocks’ offense. And with Connor Shaw’s injury — the junior quarterback is questionable this week with a left shoulder bruise — South Carolina will lean on Lattimore quite a bit in the ensuing weeks. It was clear on Thursday night that Dylan Thomas, the No. 2 quarterback, isn’t ready to get the job done against a quality defense.
Next Game: East Carolina

5. Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Jacksonville State 49-24
After a sluggish start — Arkansas trailed 14-7 early in the second quarter — the Razorbacks surged past Jacksonville State to claim a comfortable win in Fayetteville. Playing for the first time since the Sugar Bowl two years ago, tailback Knile Davis carried the ball 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Mitchell, the No. 2 quarterback last year, caught four passes for 122 yards in his debut at wide receiver, and tight end Chris Gragg caught seven passes for 110 yards and two scores.
Next Game: UL Monroe

6. Tennessee (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat NC State 35-21
Derek Dooley’s third season began with an impressive win over a quality ACC opponent. The Volunteers were terrific in the passing games and just good enough on the ground —  UT’s three tailbacks combined for 128 yards on 33 attempts — to keep the Wolfpack defense off balance. Quarterback Tyler Bray was sharp (333 yards and two touchdowns), but junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson was the story at the Georgia Dome. With Da’Rick Rogers now at Tennessee Tech, the Vols needed Patterson to live up to expectations — and he delivered by catching six passes for 93 yards and a TD and adding a 67-yard touchdown run.
Next Game: Georgia State

7. Missouri (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat SE Louisiana 62-10
The Tigers raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 62-10 win in a tune-up for their SEC opener on Saturday vs. Georgia. James Franklin, who underwent major shoulder surgery in the spring, completed 13-of-21 for 131 yards and one touchdown. He will have to play better this week against a ferocious Georgia defense that will force him to prove his shoulder is 100 percent.
Next Game: Georgia

8. Texas A&M (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Game with Louisiana Tech was postponed.
Next Game: Florida

9. Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:

Week 1 Result: Beat Bowling Green 27-14
Florida fans hoping that the Gators’ offense, under new coordinator Brent Pease, would show dramatic improvement in Week 1 were sorely disappointed. The final numbers (365 yards and 27 points) weren’t terrible, but the Gators are going to struggle to move the ball once they get into league play. Jeff Driskel, who will start this week at Texas A&M, completed 10-of-16 for 114 yards and one touchdown. Florida had only one pass play that went for more than 18 yards.
Next Game: at Texas A&M

10. Auburn (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Lost to Clemson 26-19
Auburn’s defense remains a work in progress. The Tigers, who gave up an average 421.1 yards in 10 games vs. AQ conference opponents in 2011, struggled to stop Clemson — despite giving up only 26 points. The biggest issue was defending the run; Clemson’s Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards on an 8.9-yard average. Kiehl Frazier, making his first start at quarterback for Auburn, completed only 11-of-27 passes for 194 yards. The Tigers, however, did run the ball well. Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb combined for 188 yards on 26 carries.
Next Game: at Mississippi State

11. Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to South Carolina 17-13
The Commodores held a 13­-10 lead into the fourth quarterback but were unable to hold off South Carolina on Thursday night. Vanderbilt’s defense was strong, limiting the Gamecocks to 272 yards, but the offense didn’t make enough plays. The Dores came away with zero points on three drives that began in South Carolina territory, and they came away with a total of three points on two trips to the red zone.
Next Game: at Northwestern

12. Mississippi State (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Jackson State 56-9
The Bulldogs barely broke a sweat in a win over in-state “rival” Jackson State. Mississippi State’s offense showed nice balance, with 202 yards rushing and 193 yards passing. We will learn far more about this team when Auburn visits on Saturday.
Next Game: Auburn

13. Kentucky (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Louisville 32-14
Joker Phillips didn’t need to win this game, but he needed his team to be competitive. Didn’t happen. The Cats had no answer for a balanced Louisville offense that moved the ball at will for the first two-and-a-half quarters. There were some positive signs. Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith looked decent, completing 35-of-50 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Kentucky’s tailbacks also ran well, but the Cats were forced to abandon the running game after falling behind.
Next Game: Kent State

14. Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Central Arkansas 49-27
Ole Miss averted disaster by seizing control of the game with a 35-point second half. The Rebels trailed 20-14 until midway through the third quarter before scoring twice in a three-minute period. Bo Wallace, who beat out Barry Brunetti for the start, completed 20-of-24 passes for 264 yards with two TDs and one interception. 
Next Game: UTEP

by Mitch Light


Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:59
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-1-power-rankings

The first weekend of action in the ACC was a mixed bag of results. NC State missed an opportunity to earn the conference national respect in Friday night’s loss to Tennessee, but Clemson picked up a key win over Auburn on Saturday. Florida State dominated as expected in the matchup against Murray State. Miami and Virginia Tech earned the only two victories in conference play in Week 1.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – With a revamped offensive line, no one knew what to expect out of Clemson’s ground game in the opener. However, Ellington rushed for 228 yards on 25 attempts to lead the Tigers to a victory over Auburn.

2. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – A knee injury ended Bernard’s day a little early, but he scored three times and recorded 203 yards of total offense.

3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins, Tajh Boyd or Logan Thomas are all worthy of this spot. Hopkins shined in Clemson’s victory over Auburn, catching 13 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.


Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – With Brandon Jenkins sidelined for the rest of the year, Werner needs to take his play up another notch.

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – The Terrapins’ new 3-4 scheme didn’t slow down Vellano, as he recorded 11 tackles and one interception in the win over William & Mary.

3. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – There were few standout defensive performances in Week 1 in the ACC. Williams recorded two sacks in the Tar Heels’ victory over Elon.


Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles were the preseason favorite to win the ACC and handled their business with a 69-3 thrashing of Murray State.

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The defending ACC champs claimed a key non-conference victory with a 26-19 win over Auburn.

3. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech – Monday night’s win against Georgia Tech doesn’t guarantee a Coastal Division title, but it puts the Hokies in great shape after the first weekend of action.


Post-Week 1 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Murray State 69-3
The outcome of the Week 1 matchup against Murray State was never in doubt. Florida State cruised to a 69-3 victory and even though the game was a one-sided affair, the contest allowed the coaching staff to get a good look at the revamped offensive line. The front five did not allow a sack and led the way for rushers to record 285 yards on the ground. The biggest news coming out of the opener was the loss of end Brandon Jenkins to a season-ending foot injury. Florida State has one more tuneup before ACC play, taking on another FCS opponent (Savannah State) this Saturday.
This week: Savannah State

2. Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Auburn 26-19
The Tigers had the most impressive victory among ACC teams in Week 1. Behind 266 total yards and one passing touchdown from quarterback Tajh Boyd, Clemson knocked off Auburn 26-19. The victory was huge for Clemson, but also the ACC as it looks to earn national respect. With star receiver Sammy Watkins suspended, DeAndre Hopkins emerged as the No. 1 target, catching 13 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown. Running back Andre Ellington was stellar, gashing Auburn for 231 yards on 26 attempts. The offensive line needs to work on pass protection but upcoming games against Furman and Ball State should allow the front five to jell before playing Florida State on Sept. 22.
This week: Ball State

3. Virginia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 20-17
The Hokies took an early lead in the battle to win the Coastal Division, edging Georgia Tech 20-17 in overtime. Virginia Tech’s offense struggled to get on track most of the night, with quarterback Logan Thomas making a few key plays late to send the game into overtime. The debut of running back Michael Holmes was solid, earning 54 yards on 12 carries. The Hokies have some time to work out the kinks on offense, as their next ACC game is Oct. 6 against North Carolina.
This week: Austin Peay

4. North Carolina (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Elon 62-0
Larry Fedora’s debut in Chapel Hill was a success. The Tar Heels recorded 62 points (the most by a North Carolina team since 1995) and the first shutout since 1999. Running back Giovani Bernard left early due to a minor knee injury but finished with 93 yards on the ground and three overall scores. The defense held Elon to 170 yards and recorded two sacks. North Carolina opens ACC play this Saturday with a matchup against in-state rival Wake Forest.
This week: at Wake Forest

5. Georgia Tech (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Virginia Tech 20-17
The Yellow Jackets nearly escaped Blacksburg with a victory, but instead return home with a 0-1 record in ACC play. The Hokies kept Georgia Tech’s rushing attack in check for most of the night, but quarterback Tevin Washington made a few key plays through the air to give his team a chance to win. However, his interception in overtime ended any hopes the Yellow Jackets had of pulling off the upset. s also had some bright spots on defense but failed to stop Virginia Tech on the final drive in the fourth quarter. Although the season is far from over, this is a huge loss in the race to win the ACC Coastal.
This week: Presbyterian

6. Virginia (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Beat Richmond 43-19
The Cavaliers continue to build momentum under coach Mike London, opening the 2012 season with a convincing 43-19 victory over Richmond. Michael Rocco edged Phillip Sims for the No. 1 quarterback spot in the fall and tightened his grip on the job, throwing for 311 yards and one touchdown on 25 completions. Running backs Kevin Parks and Perry Jones had a light workload but combined for 101 yards and three scores. The schedule gets a little tougher for Virginia this Saturday, as it hosts Penn State in the first meeting between these schools since 2002.
This week: Penn State

7. NC State (0-1, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Tennessee 35-21
Even though the result wasn’t that one-sided, the Wolfpack had to be the biggest disappointment in the ACC for Week 1. Quarterback Mike Glennon had a bad performance, tossing four picks on 46 attempts, while the rushing attack never really got on track. The secondary was expected to be among the best in the ACC but allowed 333 yards and two touchdowns to Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray. NC State looks to get back on track in Week 2 against Connecticut.
This Week: at Connecticut

8. Miami (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Boston College 41-32
With a lot of youth and inexperience stepping into the starting lineup, Miami was a difficult team to get a read on in the preseason. The Hurricanes showed flashes of promise in the opener against Boston College, recording 415 yards and forcing three turnovers on defense. Quarterback Stephen Morris was a steady 28 of 45 for 207 yards, while freshman running back Duke Johnson was impressive, rushing for 135 yards on seven attempts. Miami’s defense struggled to stop the Eagles’ passing attack, which will be a concern against some of the teams in the ACC.
This week: at Kansas State

9. Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat FIU 46-26
The Blue Devils No. 1 goal for 2012 is to get to a bowl game, and the team took a step in the right direction with a 46-26 victory over FIU on Saturday. The Blue Devils allowed 513 yards to the Golden Panthers but made timely plays, including a blocked field goal return for a score at the end of the first half. The rushing attack still needs work, but quarterback Sean Renfree is off to a good start after throwing for 290 yards against FIU. Duke has a difficult test ahead in Week 2, as it travels west to take on Stanford.
This week: at Stanford

10. Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Liberty 20-17
There’s not much to say about the Demon Deacons’ Week 1 performance other than it was a victory. Squeaking by a FCS opponent is concerning, but Wake Forest’s Week 2 matchup against North Carolina will provide more insight into this team. Quarterback Tanner Price was steady in the opener, throwing for 195 yards and one score, while running back Josh Harris left early due to a concussion. The Demon Deacons allowed 363 yards to Liberty but recorded two sacks and generated two turnovers.
This week: North Carolina

11. Boston College (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Lost to Miami 41-32
There were positive signs for Boston College in the season opener against Miami but with a challenging schedule, the Eagles couldn’t afford to lose their first game. Quarterback Chase Rettig was missing two key players from the receiving corps but threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns. While Rettig’s play was a bright spot, Boston College’s defense had no answer for Miami. The Eagles allowed 41 points and 415 yards and gave up a few big plays to the Hurricanes’ offense. Boston College should get a victory in Week 2 against Maine, but the schedule doesn’t let up with Northwestern in Week 3 and Clemson in Week 5.
This week: Maine

12. Maryland (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat William & Mary 7-6
Ugly. That’s really the only way to describe the Terrapins’ opener against William & Mary. With quarterback C.J. Brown lost for the year with a torn ACL, true freshman Perry Hills took over as the starter. Hills completed 16 of 24 passes but tossed three picks. The offense managed only 236 yards but was bailed out by a defense that held the Tribe to just 229 yards and six points. With two new coordinators and a freshman quarterback, there will no doubt be growing pains for Maryland. However, the schedule only gets tougher from here, as the Terrapins visit Temple in Week 2.
This week: at Temple

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
@athlonsteven</a></strong></span></p>" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:57
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-1-power-rankings

Week 1 in the Big 12 was filled with non-conference games and some surprises. Oklahoma struggled in a 24-7 win at UTEP, while Texas Tech’s defense appears to be improved after a solid performance in the opener against Northwestern State. West Virginia was impressive against Marshall, while Baylor did not miss Robert Griffin against SMU.

Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Smith was nearly perfect in Saturday’s win over Marshall, as he threw only four incompletions and passed for 323 yards and four touchdowns.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State – Klein didn’t have to do much with Kansas State in control in the second half against Missouri State, finishing with 223 total yards and two touchdowns.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State – Randle barely broke a sweat in Saturday’s win over Savannah State, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts.

Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat didn’t have a spectacular debut, but he led the team with six tackles and recorded one quarterback hurry.

2. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State – The Cyclones have one of the best linebacking corps in the nation, and Knott picked up where he left off last year. He recorded 11 tackles and one forced fumble in the win over Tulsa.

3. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia – Bruce turned in an impressive performance in the first game of his West Virginia career, recording 16 tackles, one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery.

Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings

1. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia – The Mountaineers’ offense will be a handful for Big 12 defenses, but the defense has to get better if this team wants to win the conference championship.

2. Art Briles, Baylor – Robert Griffin will be missed, but Baylor has more depth than it has in years, and the defense showed improvement in Sunday’s win against SMU.

3. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State – Beating Savannah State won’t win Gundy any coach of the year honors, but he should be in the mix for this award if the Cowboys push for the Big 12 title once again.

Post-Week 1 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 1
Week 1 Result: Beat UTEP 24-7
It wasn’t pretty, but the Sooners left El Paso with a 24-7 victory over UTEP. The offseason concerns about the offense continued in Saturday’s win, as Landry Jones was sacked three times, and this unit never seemed to find its rhythm. Dominique Whaley returned to the lineup after missing the final five games of last season with a significant ankle injury and rushed for 54 yards on 11 attempts. The rush defense struggled to slow down the Miners, especially with Casey Walker and Stacy McGee missing the game. Week 1 was a less than perfect effort, but the Sooners still have plenty of time to find the right answers.
This week: Florida A&M

2. Texas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 2
Week 1 Result: Beat Wyoming 37-17
The Longhorns weren’t particularly impressive in the season opener but turned in an overall solid effort. The rushing attack generated 280 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback David Ash was an efficient 20 of 27 for 156 yards and one touchdown. Texas’ defense allowed Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith to throw for 276 yards but held the Cowboys’ offense to just eight points in the second half. The Longhorns will get another tuneup in Week 2 with New Mexico visiting Austin.
This week: New Mexico

3. West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Last Week’s Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat Marshall 69-34
The Mountaineers’ offense picked up where it left off in the Orange Bowl, scoring 69 points to easily defeat Marshall. Quarterback Geno Smith was unstoppable, throwing for 323 yards and four touchdowns on 32 completions. He added 65 yards and one score on the ground. The offense wasn’t just about the pass, as Shawne Alston added 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Mountaineers’ new 3-4 defense still needs some work, but the offense should score plenty of points in 2012.
Next Game: James Madison (9/15)

4. Oklahoma State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 4
Week 1 Result: Beat Savannah State 84-0
Savannah State was one of the worst FCS teams last season, so it’s hard to takeaway much for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys easily cruised to an 84-0 victory and was able to play a ton of players thanks to the blowout. True freshman quarterback Wes Lunt was perfect in his first start, completing all 11 of his passes for 129 yards. Running back Joseph Randle was also effective in limited work, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts. The road gets tougher for Oklahoma State this Saturday, as it travels to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Cowboys beat the Wildcats 37-14 last year, but this will be a huge test for Lunt in his first road start.
This week: at Arizona

5. TCU (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 5
Week 1 Result: Did not play
The Horned Frogs had the rare Week 1 bye, so they will have to wait until this Saturday to play their first game as a Big 12 member. TCU will open a newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium with FCS opponent Grambling, a team that lost 22-21 to Alcorn State in Week 1. The Horned Frogs should have no trouble opening up the 2012 season with a victory, but the coaching staff will be eager to see how much a revamped offensive line and linebacking corps will perform.
This week: Grambling

6. Kansas State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 6
Week 1 Result: Beat Missouri State 51-9
Bill Snyder kept things basic in the Wildcats’ 51-9 blowout win over Missouri State. Kansas State led only 9-6 at halftime but scored 42 points in the second half to cruise to the victory. Quarterback Collin Klein threw for 169 yards and two scores, while adding 54 yards on the ground. The Wildcats’ secondary was tested by FBS transfer quarterback Ashton Glaser, as he threw for 257 yards on 22 completions. Expect Kansas State to pickup the intensity in Week 2, as it hosts Miami this Saturday.
This week: Miami (Fla.)

7. Baylor (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank:
Week 1 Result: Beat SMU 59-24
Robert who? Nick Florence showed Baylor’s offense still has plenty of firepower, throwing for 342 yards and four touchdowns in the 59-24 rout over SMU. The senior quarterback also completed 70 percent of his throws and did not toss an interception. Florence had plenty of help from his receiving corps, and a rushing attack that was led by Jarred Salubi. Baylor’s defense allowed over 500 yards but showed signs of improvement after struggling in 2011. The Bears do not play in Week 2 and will return to action in Week 3 against Sam Houston State.
This week: Sam Houston State (9/15)

8. Iowa State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 9
Week 1 Result: Beat Tulsa 38-23
The Cyclones weren’t given much respect going into the Week 1 matchup against Tulsa, as the folks in Vegas listed Iowa State as a home underdog. However, the Cyclones rallied from a 16-7 deficit after the first quarter to win 38-23. Steele Jantz won a close competition with Jared Barnett for the starting quarterback spot, and he responded with 281 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Shontrelle Johnson showed no ill-effects from a neck injury that sidelined him most of last year, rushing for 120 yards and one score on 18 attempts. Beating Tulsa is just one victory, but with a difficult schedule, Iowa State needed this one to have any shot at making a bowl.
This week: at Iowa

9. Texas Tech (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat Northwestern State 44-6
Northwestern State wasn’t the toughest of Week 1 tests, but Texas Tech has to be pleased with its performance. The defense did not allow a touchdown and limited the Demons to just 84 yards. After struggling on defense the last two years, Saturday’s performance was a welcomed sight for coach Tommy Tuberville. The other good sign was the return of running back Eric Stephens. After suffering a significant knee injury last season, Stephens looked ready for Big 12 play by rushing for 58 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts.
This week: at Texas State

10. Kansas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Preseason Rank: 10
Week 1 Result: Beat South Dakota State 31-17
The Jayhawks opened up the Charlie Weis era with a much-needed 31-17 victory over South Dakota State. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak and should help this team build some confidence. Quarterback Dayne Crist completed 17 of 36 throws for 169 yards and one touchdown in his Kansas debut, while running back Tony Pierson chipped in 124 yards and two scores. The defense was awful last season, and there’s still plenty of work to be done after allowing 411 yards in the opener.
This week: Rice

by Steven Lassan


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ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
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SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
@athlonsteven</a></strong></span></p>" target="_blank">College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:49
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-1-waiver-wire-report

We’re not afraid to admit that we swing and miss on quite a few players leading up to Week 1.  The college game does not have a preseason, and as a result, many players slip under the radar and burst onto the scene during the opening weekend.  Take advantage of the players available because the waiver wire will become shorter and shorter as the season progresses.  If you do not have a lot of confidence in your roster after Week 1, this is the perfect time to start rebuilding.  If you feel great about you team right now, grab some depth and play keep-away from your league adversaries.  

College Fantasy Football's Best Pickups Post-Week 1

Taylor McHargue, QB-Rice

UCLA’s defense is a lot better than those in C-USA and McHargue threw two TD passes and ran for another score, while carrying the ball 22 times for 95 yards against the Bruins.

Jeremy Wright, RB-Louisville

Wright took advantage of teammate Dominique’s Brown pre-game injury by running for 105 yards and three scores against Kentucky.  If Brown does not return this week, Wright should do even more damage against Missouri State in Week 2.

Jarred Salubi, RB-Baylor

We rolled the dice with Seastrunk on draft day.  We were wrong.  Salubi got the nod in Week 1 and ran for 91 yards and a score on only 13 carries against SMU.

Ameer Abdullah, RB-Nebraska

Abdullah filled in nicely for starter Rex Burkhead, who sprained his MCL in the first half against Southern Miss.  If Burkhead cannot go in Week 2, Abdullah is more than capable of shouldering the load at UCLA.

Shawn Southward, RB-Troy

Southward was on our radar leading up to the season, but little did we know he was going to carry the ball 28 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns against UAB.

Beau Blankenship, RB-Ohio

Blankenship proved to be a workhorse against Penn State by toting the rock 31 times for 109 yards and the schedule should only get easier.

Trey Watts, RB-Tulsa

We liked Watts during the preseason because of his versatility, and he didn’t disappoint by running for 125 yards and adding another 31 yards on three receptions against Iowa State in Week 1.

Duke Johnson, RB-Miami

Some were wise to scoop up the freshman on draft day, but Johnson may have gone undrafted in some leagues.  Two scoring runs of 50-plus yards against Boston College in Week 1 only fueled the preseason hype.

Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa

We listed Bullock on our Emergency Starters list Friday and he responded by running for 150 yards and a score on 30 carries against Northern Illinois. 

Deandre Martin, RB-Wake Forest

Starting running back Josh Harris left in the first quarter with an injury, which seems to be a recurring theme.  Freshman Deandre Martin filled in nicely by running for 74 yards and a touchdown.  Maybe it’s time to move on from the oft-injured Harris.

Kenny Hilliard, RB-LSU

We had Hilliard rated the highest of all LSU running backs leading up to draft day.  The sophomore is making us look good after running for 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.

LaDarius Perkins, RB-Mississippi State

The fantasy potential is there in the Bulldogs’ spread attack.  Perkins has the ability to duplicate Vick Ballard’s numbers from a year ago.

David Oku, RB-Arkansas State

We jumped on Oku in every draft this season, especially after Auburn transfer Michael Dyer was denied immediate eligibility and was eventually booted from the program.  He looks to be the second-best fantasy back in the Sun Belt behind FIU’s Kendrick Rhodes.

Lanear Sampson, WR-Baylor

We debated Sampson or Tevin Reese as Baylor’s WR#2 in the preseason.  After Week 1, we think the speedy senior has more fantasy potential.

Jackie Williams, WR-UAB

Williams was one of our under-the-radar receivers in the preseason.  After catching 6 passes for 157 yards against Troy in Week 1, Williams should be owned in every league.

Demetrius Fields, WR-Northwestern

While all of the preseason attention was focused on quarterback Kain Colter, Fields has quietly emerged as Jeremy Ebert’s replacement at the inside receiver position.

Marcus Sales, WR-Syracuse

While fellow receiver Alec Lemon missed Week 1 with an injury, Sales caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, and showed why we were so high on him in 2011 before his season-long suspension.

Jaime Wilson, WR-Western Michigan

We were wondering who Alex Carder’s favorite target would be this season.  After Week 1, Wilson had as many catches as Eric Monette and Josh Schaffer combined. 

Davante Adams, WR-Fresno State

We all know that the Fresno State offense revolves around running back Robbie Rouse, but Adams emerged as the big-play receiver quarterback Derek Carr needs.

Austin Hill and Dan Buckner, WRs-Arizona

The Wildcats are going to put the ball in the air often, especially in Rich Rodriguez’s spread attack.  In Week 1, Buckner led the team in receptions (10), and Hill led the team in receiving yards (139).  Neither may be a WR#1 or WR#2, but either could be a legitimate fantasy WR#3.

by Joe DiSalvo,

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<p> College Fantasy Football Post-Week 1 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:17
Path: /college-football/florida-state-loses-brandon-jenkins-national-title-hopes-take-hit

Florida State cruised to an easy 69-3 victory over Murray State in Week 1, but the win came at a heavy price. Senior defensive end Brandon Jenkins suffered a season-ending foot injury, which is a huge blow to one of the nation’s best defenses.

In his first three seasons in Tallahassee, Jenkins recorded 21.5 sacks and 36.5 tackles for a loss. He also forced two fumbles and registered 116 tackles.

Even though Florida State has depth on the defensive line, losing a player of Jenkins’ caliber will hurt its chances of making a run at the national title. And it's the second departure on the Seminoles' defense, as Greg Reid was dismissed from the team in the preseason.

Junior Bjoern Werner is an underrated performer on one side of the line, and he will be forced to pickup more of the pass rush the rest of the season. Werner had five tackles for a loss and four sacks in Saturday’s victory over Murray State. With Jenkins out, look for Werner to see more attention from opposing offensive lines the rest of the year.

While losing Jenkins doesn’t eliminate or knock out Florida State from the national title picture, it definitely hurts its chances. The Seminoles still have one of college football’s top defenses, but with an offense that’s finding its footing, the defense needs to carry this team early in the year.

Werner is clearly locked into one spot, but the other end position will be watched closely the rest of the season. The Seminoles listed redshirt freshman Giorgio Newberry as Jenkins’ backup for the opener against Murray State, but senior Cornellius Carradine is expected to slide into the starting role. Newberry ranked as one of the top 100 prospects coming out of high school and recorded two tackles in the opener. Carradine was a huge junior college recruit and played in all 13 contests last year, registering 38 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Considering it usually takes a year for junior college recruits to adjust to FBS play, Carradine’s performance in 2011 was impressive. And he continued to build on that performance with nine tackles and one sack in the season opener against Murray State. Carradine could be an All-ACC player for Florida State this season, but the Seminoles should be concerned about the depth.

With Carradine sliding into a starting role, senior Toshmon Stevens and true freshman Mario Edwards Jr. will have to see a few more snaps each week. Edwards was one of the top recruits in the country and was expected to redshirt before Jenkins’ injury. Although Edwards is talented, it may take him a couple of weeks to get acclimated to FBS play.

Even though Florida State is equipped to handle the loss of Jenkins, an injury to Werner or Carradine would be devastating.

Jenkins has a redshirt season available, so he could return to the team in 2013. However, he was expected to be a top defensive prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft and may not decide to return to Tallahassee.

Jenkins was one of the nation’s top returning defenders, as he ranked as Athlon’s No. 9 defensive end for 2012 and the No. 6 overall player in the ACC. He was also a third-team Athlon Sports All-American for 2012 and a first-team All-ACC selection.

by Steven Lassan


Related College Football Content

ACC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 1 Power Rankings

College Football Week 1 Recap

<p> Brandon Jenkins: Star Florida State DE's Injury Hampers National Title Hopes</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 05:07
All taxonomy terms: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/nebraskas-rex-burkhead-suffers-knee-injury-against-southern-miss

Nebraska's offense suffered a huge loss during Saturday's game against Southern Miss. Running back Rex Burkhead suffered a sprained MCL in the first half against the Golden Eagles and was ruled out for the remainder of the opener.

During his limited work against Southern Miss, Burkhead rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown on three attempts.

Without Burkhead, Nebraska will have to lean on Ameer Abdullah and Mike Marrow to carry the workload on the ground. 

Burkhead is one of the nation's top running backs after rushing for 1,357 yards and 15 scores last season. He is expected to be one of the Big Ten's top performers in 2012 and his status will be something to watch over the next couple of days.

With a road trip to UCLA coming up in Week 2, Nebraska has to be concerned about Burkhead's health. If he can't go against the Bruins, quarterback Taylor Martinez will have to shoulder more of the load on offense.

And there's the possibility that Burkhead could be out even longer than Week 2 with a knee injury. However, Nebraska's first Big Ten game isn't until Sept. 29, which should give plenty of time for Burkhead to heal if the injury is one that could keep him out a few weeks.

<p> Nebraska's Rex Burkhead Suffers Knee Injury Against Southern Miss</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 17:03
Path: /news/ohio-states-devin-smith-makes-ridiculous-catch-against-miami-ohio

It's only Week 1 of the 2012 college football season, but Ohio State's Devin Smith might have made one of the best plays we will see all season. 

Smith grabbed this one-handed catch from quarterback Braxton Miller in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio). 

One of the biggest questions facing Ohio State's offense was the receiving corps, but Smith should become a bigger weapon if he continues to make catches like this one.

<p> Ohio State's Devin Smith Makes a Ridiculous Catch Against Miami (Ohio)</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - 13:29
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-1-preview-match-ups-upset-picks-and-storylines-watch

Week 1 of the college football season features several interesting matchups, storylines and new faces stepping into playing time. Athlon gets you ready for the opening Saturday of action with an in-depth look at Week 1.

Top Storylines to Watch for Week 1

1. Two of the weekend’s most intriguing games take place in Atlanta, starting with NC State-Tennessee on Friday night. The Wolfpack are a popular sleeper pick in the ACC, while the Volunteers look to get back on track after a disappointing 5-7 record last season. Even though receiver Da’Rick Rogers was a head case, his departure will impact Tennessee’s offense. Without Rogers, NC State can shift All-American cornerback David Amerson to Hunter, leaving talented, but unproven junior college recruit Cordarrelle Patterson as the Volunteers’ No. 2 receiver. Tennessee’s Tyler Bray and NC State’s Mike Glennon are two of the top 15 quarterbacks in the nation, but whichever offense can establish the run (and some balance) will likely come out on top. The ACC’s needs marquee non-conference wins, and NC State could give the conference one on Friday night.

2. Even with significant personnel losses, Boise State will be in the mix for a BCS bowl in 2012. However, the Broncos have a huge opening week test at Michigan State. The Spartans will be breaking in a new quarterback (Andrew Maxwell), but the defense could be the best in the Big Ten. Michigan State will test Boise State in the trenches, especially on defense where the Broncos are replacing all four starters from last year. The Broncos have never lost an opener under coach Chris Petersen. However, that record will be put to the test against a talented and deep Michigan State roster. Considering the new faces stepping into playing time, could we see Boise State pull out a few trick plays to keep the Spartans on their toes?

3. Saturday’s matchup between Ohio State and Miami (Ohio) should be a one-sided affair. However, it’s a big day in Columbus, as the Buckeyes open up play under new coach Urban Meyer. A postseason ban has left Ohio State with nothing to play for, but this team should contend for the Big Ten’s best overall record. This game will be the first opportunity to see how the Buckeyes’ new spread offense looks and how much quarterback Braxton Miller has improved over the offseason. In addition to Miller’s improvement, Ohio State has a core of young players expected to see significant snaps, while the offensive line was a question mark after spring practice. It’s a long ways away from thinking about 2013. However, if the Buckeyes improve as expected, this team could be in the top five when next year’s preseason polls are released.

4. The second of the ACC-SEC Week 1 clashes in Atlanta features a Clemson team hoping to rebound after a disappointing end to 2011, while Auburn looks to get back on track after an 8-5 record last year. Both teams will be without key players, as Clemson’s Sammy Watkins is facing a two-game suspension, while starting center Reese Dismukes is suspended for Auburn. Even with Watkins suspended, Clemson has plenty of firepower to win this game. However, the key battle to watch will be in the trenches, as Clemson’s offensive line is a question mark, and Auburn’s defensive line could be one of the best in the SEC. Getting pressure on quarterback Tajh Boyd is Auburn’s best chance to win, but Clemson will counter with a quick-strike passing attack. Just like NC State matching up against Tennessee, this game represents an opportunity for Clemson to earn a key win for the ACC.

5. Speaking of conferences and key victories, the Big Ten has an opportunity to earn a huge non-conference win against the SEC on Saturday night. Michigan faces an uphill battle to beat Alabama, but a win by the Wolverines would help bolster the Big Ten’s reputation and place them squarely in the mix as a national title contender. However, the Crimson Tide’s strengths (offensive and defensive lines) are also where Michigan has question marks. Winning the battle in the trenches will be crucial to the Wolverines’ chances at an upset bid.

6. It’s been a long offseason in Happy Valley, so Saturday’s game against Ohio can’t get here fast enough for Penn State. There’s some momentum with a new coaching staff, but the Nittany Lions need to find weapons on offense, while finding a way to slow down Bobcats’ quarterback Tyler Tettleton. New coach Bill O’Brien will have his work cut out for him over the next couple of years, and if the offense struggles to find its footing, Ohio will have a chance to exit Happy Valley with a victory.

7. With Texas being a heavy favorite against Wyoming, it’s hard to glean much from the Longhorns opener. However, this game will be a good opportunity for quarterback David Ash to show he’s clearly the No. 1 quarterback over Case McCoy. Ash doesn’t need to throw 30-40 times every game, but he has to stretch the field and give Texas some balance. If the sophomore can cut down on his mistakes, the Longhorns will push for the Big 12 title. If Ash struggles on Saturday, the door will be open for McCoy to steal snaps away for Week 2.

8. Quarterbacks Making Their First Start

Brett Hundley, UCLA – Hundley shined in his debut against Rice, recording over 300 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. The Owls weren’t exactly the toughest competition, but Hundley looked poised and in control.

Kiehl Frazier, Auburn – Frazier played in all 13 games last season but was recruited to run Gus Malzahn’s up-tempo offense. How will the sophomore transition to a pro-style offense? His first test won’t be easy, as Auburn takes on Clemson Saturday night in Atlanta.

Everett Golson, Notre Dame – Golson has yet to take a snap on the FBS level, but there’s a lot of confidence in him going into Saturday’s game against Navy. The dual-threat quarterback should thrive in Brian Kelly’s offense.

Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State – Repeating as Big 12 champs won’t be easy, but the Cowboys should be in good hands with Lunt under center.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon – The Hawaii native is a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s offense and should have a monster debut against Arkansas State.

Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State – Not only was Kirk Cousins one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks, but he was a valuable leader for this team. Maxwell has very little experience but can lean on a solid rushing attack and offensive line.

Zach Mettenberger, LSU – After watching Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee struggle to stretch the field last season, Mettenberger appears to be the missing piece for LSU’s passing attack.

Josh Nunes, Stanford – Nunes has some of the biggest shoes to fill in college football as he looks to replace Andrew Luck.

Joe Southwick, Boise State – There’s really no way Boise State can replace Kellen Moore in 2012. Southwick will be making his first start this season and drew a tough opener on the road against Michigan State.

David Piland, Houston – Case Keenum is gone, but Houston’s high-powered offense shouldn’t drop too far with Piland at the controls.

Perry Hills, Maryland – With C.J. Brown out for the year due to a torn ACL, Hills (a true freshman) will get the controls to Maryland’s offense. After a disappointing 2-10 season last year, there’s a lot of pressure on the Terrapins to turn things around in 2012.

Bo Wallace, Ole Miss – New Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze coached Wallace at Arkansas State, and the sophomore edged Barry Brunetti for the starting nod this fall.

9. 6 Potential Upsets

Ohio at Penn State
It’s a new era at Penn State, but the Nittany Lions lost a handful of key players after the NCAA sanctions were handed down. An offense that struggled to move the ball last season will have some trouble adjusting to a new scheme, especially with the departure of running back Silas Redd. The Bobcats won 10 games last year and bring back quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who threw for 3,302 yards and 28 scores last year.
My pick: Ohio 24-20

Western Michigan at Illinois
Another Big Ten-MAC matchup ranks high on the list of possible upsets for Week 1. The Broncos are led by senior quarterback Alex Carder, but the Fighting Illini will counter with a defense that led the Big Ten in pass defense last season. Keep a close watch on Illinois’ offense. There’s some talent returning, but a new scheme could provide for some headaches early.
My pick: Illinois 27-24

FIU at Duke
The Blue Devils are dealing with a handful of injuries, including a couple to key contributors on defense. FIU nearly knocked off Duke last season, losing 31-27 in early October. The Golden Panthers return 17 starters and should give the Blue Devils all they can handle.
My pick: Duke 31-28

Indiana State at Indiana
The Sycamores were one of the worst teams in FCS play from 2005-2008, winning just one game during that span. Indiana State has improved under coach Trent Miles and could give its in-state rivals trouble on Saturday. The Hoosiers struggled in their first season under coach Kevin Wilson but should be improved in 2012.
My pick: Indiana 34-20

Toledo at Arizona
Expect a lot of points in this Week 1 battle. The Rockets no longer have Eric Page catching passes, but the offense returns two proven quarterbacks and a breakout player at running back in David Fluellen. The Wildcats may need some time to adjust to their new schemes but should find a way to edge Toledo on Saturday.
My pick: Arizona 37-30

NC State vs. Tennessee (Atlanta)
No one would really be surprised if Tennessee lost this game, but the Volunteers are the favorite. Without Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee needs a big performance from receiver Justin Hunter, who is coming off a torn ACL.
My pick: NC State 31-27

10. Notable player absences

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – Watkins is the biggest absence for Week 1. The sophomore is suspended for the first two games of the season due to an offseason arrest, and there’s no question he will be missed. Clemson has depth at receiver, but it won’t be easy replacing an All-American.

Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh? – Graham hasn’t been officially ruled out, but all signs point to him sitting out the opener. The Panthers have capable backups in Isaac Bennett and Rushel Shell.

Tommy Rees, QB, Notre Dame – Rees is suspended for the first game of the year due to an off-the-field incident in early May. Barring a complete collapse by Everett Golson, Rees may not start again for Notre Dame this season.

Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame – Wood is suspended for the first two games, which leaves a gaping hole in the Notre Dame backfield. USC transfer Amir Carlisle is not ready to play, leaving Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III as the top two backs.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan? – Brady Hoke has not decided whether or not Toussaint will sit out Saturday night’s game against Alabama. If Toussaint does not play, look for Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith and Justice Hayes to carry the Wolverines’ ground attack.

Georgia suspensions – Cornerback Sanders Commings is suspended for the first two games, but the coaching staff has yet to announce any penalties for linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo for offseason incidents.

James Sims, RB, Kansas – Sims is suspended for the opener due to an off-the-field incident. Tony Pierson will fill in as Kansas’ No. 1 back.

Jeff Scott, RB, Ole Miss – One of the few offensive playmakers for the Rebels will miss the season opener against Central Arkansas due to a back injury.

Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami – Henderson has been a bust since coming to Miami and will sit out the opener after missing practices in August.

11. Three Mystery Teams to Watch in Week 1

1. Florida - Is it Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel at quarterback? Also, do the Gators have any playmakers at wide receiver or running back?

2. Iowa – The Hawkeyes have a new offensive coordinator (Greg Davis) and several new faces in the front four on defense.

3. Miami – The Hurricanes have a lot of youth stepping into key roles on both sides of the ball and there’s a NCAA investigation still hanging over the program. It’s not crazy to think the opener against Boston College could decide whether or not Miami gets to a bowl game.

12. First-year coaches who should start off with a bang

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State (vs. Miami (Ohio)
Buckeyes shouldn’t have much trouble with Miami (Ohio).

2. Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh (vs. Youngstown State)
Look for the Panthers to allow quarterback Tino Sunseri to build some confidence, as he should throw early and often against Youngstown State.

3. Larry Fedora, North Carolina (vs. Elon)
The Tar Heels are ineligible to play for the conference title or in a bowl game, but Fedora’s up-tempo offense should be fun to watch in Chapel Hill in 2012.

4. John L. Smith, Arkansas (vs. Jacksonville State)
After a tumultuous offseason, the Razorbacks will be glad to see the 2012 season begin.

5. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss (vs. Central Arkansas)
Victories will be tough for the Rebels to find this year, but Freeze should get his tenure in Oxford off to a good start with an easy win over Central Arkansas.

13. Familiar faces, new places

Dayne Crist, QB, Kansas (from Colorado) vs. South Dakota State
Crist is a key piece in the rebuilding efforts at Kansas. The senior knows Charlie Weis’ system and should give the Jayhawks a spark on offense. Kansas has lost 10 consecutive games, but that streak will end on Saturday night with Crist under center.

Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU (from Texas) vs. Baylor
Gilbert returns to the Big 12 with a non-conference matchup against Baylor. The Bears struggled on defense last season, but the Mustangs could struggle to exploit those question marks with a rebuilt offensive line.

Cody Green, QB, Tulsa (from Nebraska) vs. Iowa State
In a bit of a surprise, Tulsa is a slight favorite against Iowa State on Saturday. Green should be a good fit as G.J. Kinne’s replacement under center and certainly won’t be intimated after playing at Nebraska.

Montel Harris, RB, Temple (from Boston College) vs. Villanova
With Bernard Pierce moving onto the NFL, Harris is the perfect complement to Matt Brown in the backfield. Harris has battled knee injuries the last two seasons and will get a chance to show he is 100 percent on Friday night against the Wildcats.

Ryan Katz, QB, San Diego State (from Oregon State) vs. Washington
Katz struggled last year after a promising 2010 season. If he can get back on track, the Aztecs will test Washington’s defense and new coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Danny O’Brien, QB, Wisconsin (from Maryland) vs. Northern Iowa
The Badgers hope another transfer from the ACC is the answer under center. O’Brien won’t match Russell Wilson’s effectiveness, but he should be a solid option for Wisconsin this season. Expect O’Brien to get off to a good start in the opener against Northern Iowa.

Silas Redd, RB, USC (from Penn State) vs. Hawaii
Redd is the highest-profile name on the list and will play a key role in USC’s run at a national title. The Trojans are heavy favorites against Hawaii, so the junior probably won’t see a heavy workload. However, it will be interesting to see how Redd and Curtis McNeal share carries on Saturday.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (from Oregon) vs. SMU
Yes, Robert Griffin will be missed, but the cupboard isn’t bare in Waco. Seastrunk’s big-play ability will help Baylor’s offense overcome the absence of the Heisman Trophy winner. Seastrunk did not play at Oregon but was one of the nation’s top recruits in 2010. SMU’s run defense allowed 118.3 yards per game last season but that will be tested by the Texas native on Sunday.

Jordan Webb, QB, Colorado (from Kansas) vs. Colorado State
Webb edged Texas transfer Connor Wood for the starting job in the fall. In two years as Kansas’ quarterback, he threw for 3,079 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Week 1 Predictions

Alabama 31, Michigan 13
Arizona 37, Toledo 30
Arkansas 52, Jacksonville State 13
Baylor 38, SMU 24
California 31, Nevada 27
Clemson 27, Auburn 24
Colorado 27, Colorado State 20
Duke 31, FIU 28
Florida 37, Bowling Green 17
Florida State 48, Murray State 10
Georgia 49, Buffalo 13
Illinois 27, Western Michigan 24
Indiana 34, Indiana State 20
Iowa 27, Northern Illinois 20
Iowa State 30, Tulsa 27
Kansas 38, South Dakota State 13
Kansas State 45, Missouri State 7
Louisville 27, Kentucky 17
LSU 51, North Texas 10
Maryland 34, William & Mary 14
Miami 24, Boston College 20
Michigan State 27, Boise State 17
Mississippi State 40, Jackson State 10
Missouri 45, SE Louisiana 7
NC State 31, Tennessee 27
Nebraska 38, Southern Miss 13
North Carolina 45, Elon 10
Northwestern 31, Syracuse 27
Ohio 24, Penn State 20
Ohio State 45, Miami (Ohio) 13
Oklahoma 45, UTEP 10
Oklahoma State 55, Savannah State 3
Ole Miss 38, Central Arkansas 10
Oregon 51, Arkansas State 20
Pittsburgh 41, Youngstown State 13
Purdue 41, Eastern Kentucky 10
Rutgers 38, Tulane 13
South Florida 45, Chattanooga 7
Stanford 44, San Jose State 7
Temple 40, Villanova 10
Texas 38, Wyoming 10
Texas Tech 52, Northwestern State 7
USC 55, Hawaii 10
Virginia 38, Richmond 7
Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 24
Wake Forest 38, Liberty 13
Washington 40, San Diego State 17
West Virginia 44, Marshall 20
Wisconsin 45, Northern Iowa 7

by Steven Lassan



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ACC Week 1 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 1 Previews and Predictions

Big Ten Week 1 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 Week 1 Previews and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 1 Previews and Predictions

SEC Week 1 Previews and Predictions

College Football Week 1 Upset Picks

Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections

Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

<p> College Football Week 1 Preview: Match-Ups, Upset Picks and Storylines to Watch</p>
Post date: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 07:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /news/kent-states-andre-parker-pulls-jim-marshall-fumble-return-against-towson

Kent State linebacker Andre Parker made the news for all of the wrong reasons on Thursday night. In a game Kent State had clear control of, Parker picked up a muffed punt in the first half and returned it the wrong way. 

It's the first week of the season, so mistakes are going to be made. However, it's hard to understand why Parker never realized he was headed the wrong way.

The ball was technically dead after Parker touched it, but the referees did not blow the whistle, which allowed one of the strangest plays we might see all year to occur.

An underrated part of the video is Parker appears to get up after the run and talk trash to the Towson defenders. 

Needless to say, this is a play Parker would probably like to forget.

<p> Kent State's Andre Parker Pulls a Jim Marshall With Fumble Return Against Towson</p>
Post date: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/sec-week-1-preview-and-predictions-2012

The first week of action in the SEC features an interesting slate of games. South Carolina-Vanderbilt open conference play on Thursday night, while Auburn and Alabama have a chance to earn key non-conference victories on Saturday. Tennessee takes on NC State on Friday night, and Kentucky travels to in-state rival Louisville on Sunday. 

SEC's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 1

1. What can Alabama do to slow down Denard Robinson?
Robinson will be the most dangerous offensive player Alabama will face this season. But Michigan’s senior quarterback has struggled throwing the ball against elite defenses — he completed 9-of-24 against Michigan State and 9-of-21 against Virginia Tech last season — and Alabama will make the man called Shoelace prove that can he move the ball by throwing it downfield. I would expect Nick Saban, Kirby Smart & Co. will make it very difficult for Robinson to pick up large chunks of yards on ground. Sure, Robinson will make some plays scrambling out of the pocket, but I’d be surprised if he has much success on designed running plays.

2. Can Tennessee get its ground game going?
Recently, much has been made about the dismissal of All-SEC wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers, but the focus for Tennessee has to be on the running game. Last season, the Vols ranked last in the SEC in rushing and averaged an anemic 2.3 yards per carry vs. conference foes. That simply has to improve. It’s very difficult to beat good teams if you can’t run the ball — no matter how potent you might be in the passing game. There is talent on the offensive line, but the group has underachieved in recent years. New position coach Sam Pittman, formerly of North Carolina, must get his linemen to play with more physicality if the Vols are to show significant improvement in the running game.

3. Kiehl Frazier makes his first start for Auburn
Frazier was hand-picked by former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to run Malzahn’s no-huddle attack. Well, Malzahn is now the head coach at Arkansas State, and Scot Loefler — who runs a pro-style offense — is calling the plays at Auburn. Frazier played in every game last year but was used almost exclusively as a runner. He attempted only five passes (completing two) while running the ball 76 times for 327 yards. It will be interesting to see how much Frazier is asked to do Saturday night vs. Clemson at the Georgia Dome.

4. Florida’s quarterback derby
Will Muschamp announced earlier this week that both quarterbacks — Jacoby Brisett and Jeff Driskel — will play Saturday vs. Bowling Green. One will play the first quarter and the other will play in the second quarter. At the half, Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease will decide who plays the rest of the way. This doesn’t sound promising, but don’t forget that Alabama was in a similar situation last season. AJ McCarron and Philip Sims both played against Kent State in the opener, allowing the staff to get a look at each quarterback in game situations. McCarron was tabbed the starter for Week 2 and went on to enjoy an outstanding season. Could it happen in Gainesville?

5. James Franklin’s right shoulder
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has assured us that Franklin, his standout junior quarterback, will be completely recovered from surgery on his throwing shoulder in the spring. Franklin has looked good in preseason camp and is said to be making all the throws. Still, he needs to prove he can get it done in a real game, so it’s important that Franklin plays well Saturday night against Southeastern Louisiana. Missouri will no doubt win the game and roll up a ton of yards, but keep an eye on Franklin. If he is truly 100 percent, the Tigers will have an opportunity to knock off Georgia in the program’s first-ever SEC game in Week 2.

6. Kentucky’s rushing yards
How important is it for Kentucky to run the ball well vs. Louisville? Well consider the following: The team that has won the rushing battle has won the last 13 Kentucky-Louisville games. Also, the Wildcats are 8–0 under Joker Phillips when rushing for 200-plus yards. UK ranked 90th in the nation and 11th in the SEC in rushing last season, but the coaching staff believes the 2012 Cats will be much-improved on the ground thanks to the return of veterans CoShik Williams, Raymond Sanders and Jonathan George.

7. Zach Mettenberger’s first start
When he signed with Georgia as a 4-star recruit in 2009, Mettenberger probably didn’t think it would be four years before he would be starting his first game in the FBS ranks. But that is the reality for the 6-5, 230-pound fourth-year junior who arrived at LSU after a stop at Butler (Kan.) Community College. The strong-armed Mettenberger could be the missing link on an offense that struggled to throw the ball against quality competition last season. The Tigers boast one of the nation’s top offensive lines, are loaded at tailback, and feature some quality young weapons at wide receiver. If Mettenberger plays well, this offense will be very difficult to stop.  

8. Georgia starting a true freshman at right tackle
The Bulldogs are the popular pick to repeat in the SEC East, but this still a team with some issues heading into the 2012 season. The biggest concern could be on the offensive line, where Georgia must replace three seniors. This weekend, all eyes will be on John Theus, a true freshman who will get the start at right tackle. There will obviously be more difficult tests down the road, but Buffalo features some decent talent on defense, especially on its front seven. It’s a safe bet that UB defensive coordinator Lou Tepper — yes, the former Illinois head coach is still around — will try to confuse Theus and the Dawgs’ offensive line. 

Week 1 SEC Predictions

Week 1 SEC PredictionsDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
South Carolina (-8) at VanderbiltSouth Carolina 28-14South Carolina 31-21South Carolina 27-24South Carolina 28-24
Tennessee (-3) vs. NC State (Atlanta)NC State 17-14Tennessee 34-31NC State 31-27Tennessee 34-27
Buffalo at Georgia (-38)Georgia 42-7Georgia 49-10Georgia 49-13Georgia 41-10
Bowling Green at Florida (-29)Florida 28-7Florida 24-0Florida 37-17Florida 31-14
SE Louisiana at MissouriMissouri 42-3Missouri 41-13Missouri 45-7Missouri 51-6
Jacksonville State at ArkansasArkansas 35-7Arkansas 45-7Arkansas 52-13Arkansas 38-14
Clemson (-3) vs. Auburn (Atlanta)Clemson 31-24Clemson 31-27Clemson 27-24Clemson 30-20
North Texas at LSU (-43)LSU 42-10LSU 52-7LSU 51-10LSU 44-14
Central Arkansas at Ole MissOle Miss 24-13Ole Miss 24-7Ole Miss 38-10Ole Miss 30-7
Jackson State at Mississippi StateMississippi State 28-10Mississippi State 35-10Mississippi State 40-10Mississippi State 41-10
Michigan vs. Alabama (-13.5) (Arlington)Alabama 28-21Alabama 31-17Alabama 31-13Alabama 27-13
Kentucky at Louisville (-13)Louisville 31-14Louisville 24-13Louisville 27-17Louisville 30-20

by Mitch Light


Related College Football Content

ACC Week 1 Previews and Predictions
Big East Week 1 Previews and Predictions
Big Ten Week 1 Previews and Predictions
Big 12 Week 1 Previews and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 1 Previews and Predictions
College Football Week 1 Upset Picks
Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections
Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

<p> SEC Week 1 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/acc-week-1-preview-and-predictions-2012

Most of the 12 teams in the ACC will be playing easy non-conference openers, but two games stand out as marquee matchups. In Atlanta, NC State plays Tennessee, while Clemson matches up against Auburn on Saturday night. Although neither game means anything for the ACC Championship, it's an opportunity for both teams to earn a huge non-conference victory.

ACC's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 1:

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
After finishing 9-16 in games against BCS conference opponents last year, the ACC has a chance to earn some national respect with two huge non-conference games in Atlanta. NC State plays Tennessee on Friday night, while Clemson takes on Auburn on Saturday. Outside of these two games, there’s much in the way of marquee non-conference tests for the ACC in Week 1. Most consider the ACC the No. 5 conference in college football and for it to move up the pecking order, its teams need to win non-conference games such as the ones taking place this weekend in Atlanta.

2. ACC Coastal Championship on the line?
With Miami rebuilding and North Carolina ineligible for the Coastal title, the division is essentially a three-team battle between Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Virginia. Considering the Cavaliers have to play both teams on the road, the Hokies and Yellow Jackets have to be considered the favorites to win the Coastal. The winner of this matchup has went on to play for the ACC Championship every year since the conference split into two divisions. The Hokies have won four out of the last five, including a 37-26 contest in Atlanta last season. Having a full offseason to prepare for Georgia Tech’s option attack should give Virginia Tech an edge in this game.

3. Will Clemson’s offense struggle without Sammy Watkins?
An arrest in early May will force Watkins to miss the first two games of the season. As a freshman last year, Watkins was one of the conference’s top players, recording 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. The good news for Clemson? Quarterback Tajh Boyd is back, while the receiving corps still has plenty of weapons. Junior DeAndre Hopkins is an All-ACC candidate, and sophomore Charone Peak is capable of a breakout season. The biggest question mark for the Tigers’ offense is a line that must replace three starters, especially against a talented and deep Auburn defensive line. Clemson has plenty of skill players to makeup for the loss of Watkins. However, if Auburn’s defensive line spends most of the night in the backfield, Boyd will struggle to find his rhythm, and Clemson will start the year 0-1.

4. How much has Florida State’s offensive line improved?
The biggest question mark facing the Seminoles is an offensive line that struggled mightily last season. The line barely opened up any holes for the rushing attack, as Florida State rushers averaged only 3.3 yards per carry on 437 attempts. EJ Manuel and Clint Trickett were sacked 41 times last season, which ranked 110th nationally. Youth and injuries played a large role in the struggles, but this unit needs to make major strides for Florida State to contend for a national championship. Although Murray State won’t be the toughest challenge in the trenches, this will be an important game for the Seminoles to evaluate their new starting five. Left tackle Cameron Erving switched from defensive in the spring, while right tackle Menelik Watson has never played a snap on the FBS level. The other three starters (Josue Matias, Bryan Stork and Tre’ Jackson) have a combined 12 starts. With a huge ACC test against Clemson on the horizon, Florida State needs the game action against Murray State and Savannah State to find the right mix up front.

5. The first start for Maryland quarterback Perry Hills
After another spring filled with players leaving the team, things appeared to be headed in the right direction for Maryland. The Terrapins had a relatively quiet fall camp, until quarterback C.J. Brown suffered a torn ACL. Brown was the team’s only experienced quarterback, leaving freshmen Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe to battle for the No. 1 spot. Hills edged Rowe in fall camp and will make his first start on Saturday against William & Mary. The Tribe is coming off a losing season (5-6) but should not be taken lightly, especially with Maryland starting a true freshman. This will also be the Terrapins’ first look at how both sides of the ball will respond with new coordinators (Mike Locksley and Brian Stewart). While there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the freshmen quarterbacks, Locksley and his offensive staff are ready to unleash freshman receiver Stefon Diggs. With a young signal-caller, expect to see Diggs and the running backs lay a huge role in the offense. After a disappointing 2-10 season, there’s a lot of pressure on coach Randy Edsall to produce in 2012 – which won’t be easy with a true freshman starting at quarterback.

6. What to expect out of Boston College and Miami?
Considering these two teams played each other in the 2011 season finale, there should be plenty of familiarity on Saturday. The Hurricanes and Eagles are coming off disappointing 2011 campaigns, and it’s hard to get a read on both teams going into 2012. Boston College is looking for a spark on offense but has been hit hard by injuries in fall camp. The Hurricanes have some promising young talent, but there’s a NCAA investigation hanging over the program and a lot of inexperience on the depth chart. While it may seem crazy to be thinking about bowl eligibility in Week 1, both teams have a tough schedule this year, which makes this game even more important. It’s also important for both teams to get the year started off with a victory, especially after both teams did not finish above .500 in 2011.

7. Larry Fedora’s debut at North Carolina
With a ban on postseason play and a bowl game, the Tar Heels really have nothing to play for in 2012. It’s fair to wonder how motivated this team will be, but the offense could be one of the best in the ACC. New coach Larry Fedora will bring a new spread, up-tempo attack to Chapel Hill, which should score plenty of points. Quarterback Bryn Renner quietly had a good season last year, throwing for 3,086 yards and 26 scores. He will be joined by All-ACC running back Giovani Bernard and the conference’s best offensive line. Elon finished 5-6 last season, so the Tar Heels should have no trouble winning easily on Saturday night. Even though there’s nothing to play for in 2012, if North Carolina is motivated, this team could push for nine wins.

8. Injuries adding up at Duke - faces key non-conference test against FIU
If the Blue Devils want to end a bowl drought that has lasted 17 seasons, Saturday’s game against FIU is a must-win contest. Duke has a non-conference trip to Stanford in Week 2, while playing Florida State and Clemson in crossover games with the Atlantic Division. The Blue Devils will be without 11 scholarship players on Saturday against the Golden Panthers. Projected defensive starters Jamal Bruce (DT), Jordon Byas (S), and Kelby Brown (LB) are huge losses for a defense that allowed 31.2 points a game last year. Even without T.Y. Hilton at receiver, FIU is still a dangerous Week 1 opponent. It’s a long season, but a loss to the Golden Panthers in the opener would be a huge setback to Duke’s chances at a winning record and bowl appearance.

Week 1 ACC Predictions

Week 1 ACC GamesDavid FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Tennessee (-3) vs. NC State (Atlanta)NC State 17-14Tennessee 34-31NC State 31-27Tennessee 34-27
Elon at North CarolinaUNC 35-10UNC 41-13UNC 45-10UNC 33-14
William & Mary at MarylandMaryland 28-10Maryland 24-10Maryland 34-14Maryland 28-13
Richmond at VirginiaVirginia 35-14Virginia 27-13Virginia 38-7Virginia 28-10
Miami (Fla.) (-2) at Boston CollegeMiami 10-7Miami 17-10Miami 24-20Miami 24-20
Murray State at Florida StateFlorida State 42-7Florida State 38-3Florida State 48-10Florida State 44-10
Liberty at Wake ForestWake Forest 35-13Wake Forest 34-10Wake Forest 38-13Wake Forest 31-17
FIU at Duke (-3.5)Duke 28-21Duke 27-24Duke 31-28Duke 28-22
Clemson (-3) vs. Auburn (Atlanta)Clemson 31-24Clemson 31-27Clemson 27-24Clemson 30-20
Ga. Tech at Va. Tech (-7.5)Virginia Tech 28-14Virginia Tech 31-21Virginia Tech 31-24Virginia Tech 24-17

by Steven Lassan


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SEC Week 1 Previews and Predictions
College Football Week 1 Upset Picks
Athlon's 2012 Bowl Projections
Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

<p> ACC Week 1 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 06:01
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-1-preview-and-predictions

It's a relatively quiet opening week in the Big 12. Nine teams will play non-conference games, while TCU has a bye for Week 1. Although there are no conference games, there is some intrigue in Ames, where Tulsa is a road favorite against Iowa State, while Texas hopes to find an answer at quarterback against Wyoming.

Big 12's Top Storylines to Watch in Week 1

1. Can Texas find any clarity at quarterback?
Quarterback play has been an issue at Texas for the last two seasons, and the Longhorns enter 2012 with more uncertainty under center. David Ash finished 2011 as the starter but still needs to prove he can consistently beat teams through the air. He finished with eight picks last season, a number the coaching staff would like to see decrease this season. Ash finished fall practice atop the depth chart, but backup Case McCoy will play in Saturday’s game against Wyoming. With the Big 12’s best defense and a talented trio of running backs, the Longhorns won’t need to throw for 300 yards every game. However, Ash needs to show he can make some plays through the air, while eliminating some of the mistakes he made last year. With games against Wyoming, New Mexico and Ole Miss to start the season, it’s important for Ash to get off to a good start and clearly assume the No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

2. Upset alert at Iowa State?
Under Paul Rhoads, the Cyclones have pulled off their share of upsets, but this team should be on upset alert this Saturday. Iowa State hosts Tulsa, a team that returns 13 starters from an 8-5 season in 2011. The Golden Hurricane also has Nebraska transfer Cody Green starting at quarterback, and his experience will be valuable for a team that won’t be an easy out for Iowa State. Considering the Cyclones’ remaining schedule, it’s important to start the season 1-0. With a matchup against rival Iowa next week and a challenging Big 12 slate, it’s not unreasonable to think this game will have major bowl implications. Another factor for Iowa State to watch will be quarterback play. Steele Jantz edged Jared Barnett for the starting job, and it will be important for him to get off to a good start on Saturday. The Cyclones are a home underdog, which should certainly give Rhoads and this team plenty of motivation.

3. How will Wes Lunt perform in his first start at Oklahoma State?
The schedule couldn’t have worked out better for Oklahoma State. With true freshman Wes Lunt making his first start, the Cowboys should have no trouble scoring points against Savannah State. The Tigers were one of the worst FCS teams last season, ranking 120th in total offense and 117th in total defense. Although it’s tough to learn much from this lopsided affair, this matchup is a good opportunity for Lunt to acclimated to FBS play and get comfortable in game action with a trip to Arizona coming on Sept. 8. Expect an impressive debut for the freshman but the best judge of Lunt’s effectiveness will come on Sept. 29 against Texas.

4. Charlie Weis’ debut at Kansas
The Jayhawks enter Saturday night’s game against South Dakota State tied for the nation’s longest losing streak at 10 games. New coach Charlie Weis was one of the offseason’s most curious hires after struggling at Notre Dame, and he has plenty to prove this year. The Jayhawks can only go up after a disastrous 2011 season and should have plenty of help from a group of transfers, led by quarterback Dayne Crist. Kansas still has issues on defense, but the offense should be solid if Crist can stay healthy. Don’t expect a winning year, but the Jayhawks should get the Weis’ era off to a good start with a victory over the Jackrabbits on Saturday night.

5. Life without Robert Griffin at Baylor
There’s no question Robert Griffin will be missed at Baylor. However, the cupboard is far from bare on offense, especially with Nick Florence taking over under center. The senior started seven games for Griffin in 2009 and has thrown for 1,992 yards in his career. While Florence doesn’t have Griffin’s mobility, he should keep this offense among the best in the Big 12. The Bears are loaded at receiver, return three starters on the line and gain the services of Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk at running back. Baylor takes on SMU, who will be quarterbacked by former Texas passer Garrett Gilbert. The Bears' defense suffered a setback this week when defensive tackle Kaeron Johnson was lost for the year. Look for the Mustangs to exploit Baylor's rush defense with running back Zach Line. The Bears should win this one, but the defense will be tested.

6. Can Kansas State develop balance on offense?
Quarterback Collin Klein carried the Wildcats’ offense last season, accounting for 40 overall scores and 3,059 yards. Although Klein dealt with various injuries throughout the year, he started all 13 games and led Kansas State to a Cotton Bowl appearance. Keeping the senior quarterback healthy is the Wildcats’ best shot at getting to 10 wins once again. Klein doesn’t need to handle 300 carries in 2012, which is why the offense needs to establish balance and develop more weapons. Running back John Hubert returns after rushing for 970 yards last season, and he should threaten 1,000 once again in 2012. The coaching staff would like to see more big plays from the rushing attack, but Hubert is a reliable option. The Wildcats have a solid group of receivers, but this unit needs to be a bigger part of the offense. Sophomore Tyler Lockett’s 2011 season ended early due to injury, but he could be a breakout playmaker. With a matchup against Missouri State this Saturday, it’s a good time for Kansas State to work on the passing game and save some wear and tear on Klein.

7. Is Oklahoma running back Dominique Whaley 100 percent?
Dominique Whaley’s rise from Langston University to the starting running back at Oklahoma was one of the best storylines last season. However, an ankle injury ended his year early, as he was forced to sit out the final five games of 2011. Despite not playing during that stretch, Whaley finished as Oklahoma’s leading rusher with 627 yards. The Sooners’ offense sputtered without Whaley and receiver Ryan Broyles in the lineup over the final weeks of 2011, but Whaley is on track to play in Saturday’s opener against UTEP. The senior is listed on the top spot on the depth chart, but is he 100 percent? Whaley’s ankle injury was a significant one, and the Sooners brought in talented junior college recruit Damien Williams to compete for playing time. Oklahoma should have its way against the Miners, but the offense needs to get a good look at Whaley and see if he can handle 20-25 carries a week.

8. Will Texas Tech’s defense show signs of improvement?
It’s hard to have a dominating defense in the Big 12, but Texas Tech has to be better than it has the last two years. The Red Raiders have finished 114th nationally in total defense in 2010 and 2011 and enter 2012 with their fourth coordinator in four seasons. It will be hard to glean much from the opener against Northwestern State, especially since it averaged only 21.3 points a game last year. However, the opener will be a good test for Texas Tech’s defense, as it looks to work out the kinks in the new scheme. Junior college recruit Will Smith has shined at middle linebacker all offseason, and this will be his first opportunity to showcase his talent on the FBS level. With Texas State and New Mexico coming up, it’s important for the Red Raiders to build some confidence on defense before Big 12 play begins on Sept. 29.

9. West Virginia shouldn’t overlook Marshall
This is the final game in the scheduled Friends of the Coal Bowl series between West Virginia’s two FBS universities. With the Mountaineers moving to the Big 12 and playing nine conference games, these two teams aren’t scheduled to play anytime in the near future, and West Virginia’s non-conference schedule appears to be full until 2017. The Mountaineers have won all 11 meetings, including last season’s weather-shortened 34-13 game. Marshall is headed back in the right direction under coach Doc Holliday, and the Thundering Herd should not be taken lightly. Marshall’s secondary is a question mark, but the offense could have some success against a West Virginia defense that has a new scheme and must replace a handful of key contributors from last year. The Mountaineers should win this one, but the Thundering Herd will give them their best shot.  

Week 1 Big 12 Predictions

Big 12 Week 1 Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Marshall at West Virginia (-24) West Virginia 42-14 West Virginia 45-17 West Virginia 44-20 West Virginia 38-14
Tulsa (-1) at Iowa State Iowa State 28-21 Iowa State 21-20 Iowa State 30-27 Iowa State 33-28
Savannah State at Oklahoma State Oklahoma State 38-10 Oklahoma State 42-10 Oklahoma State 55-3 Oklahoma State 51-6
South Dakota State at Kansas Kansas 21-14 Kansas 21-14 Kansas 38-13 Kansas 37-10
Northwestern State at Texas Tech Texas Tech 31-17 Texas Tech 38-21 Texas Tech 52-7 Texas Tech 48-7
Missouri State at Kansas State Kansas State 35-10 Kansas State 45-10 Kansas State 45-7 Kansas State 41-0
Wyoming at Texas (-30.5) Texas 35-10 Texas 34-7 Texas 38-10 Texas 34-13
Oklahoma (-31) at UTEP Oklahoma 42-7 Oklahoma 49-14 Oklahoma 45-10 Oklahoma 41-14
SMU at Baylor (-10.5) Baylor 28-21 Baylor 28-21 Baylor 38-24 Baylor 38-20

by Steven Lassan


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SEC Week 1 Previews and Predictions

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Ranking All College Football Teams 1-124

<p> Big 12 Week 1 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 05:55
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Big Ten, Independents, MAC, Pac 12, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-1-upset-picks

Week 1 of the college football season officially kicks off on Thursday night, headlined by a SEC showdown between South Carolina and Vanderbilt, while BYU and Washington State close out the night with a shootout in Provo. The favorites can't win every game each week, so it's no surprise one of the most popular discussion points every Saturday is upset picks. Each week on, the editors will give an upset pick for the upcoming week of action.

College Football's Week 1 Upset Picks

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Indiana State (off) over Indiana
Indiana State of the Missouri Valley used to be one of the worst teams in Division I football, but the Sycamores have slowly become more competitive -- enough so that they’ve cracked the preseason FCS coaches’ top 25. The Sycamores also return FCS’ leading rusher from last season, Shakir Bell. It seems we see an FCS over a major conference program upset each opening week. This may be it. Indiana improved as last season went along, but the Hoosiers are still in bad shape.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Washington State (+13.5) at BYU
The best two (and only two quality) offenses BYU faced last fall, Utah and TCU, dropped a combined 92 points in two easy wins over the Cougars. Mike Leach, who graduated from BYU and studied offense under the great LaVell Edwards, is now leading the way for an offense that boasts all the necessary pieces for his Air Raid attack to instantly succeed. This was the nation's No. 9-rated passing attack last year and Leach could claim the best passing offense in the nation this fall. In primetime on national television in a game that could decide bowl eligibility, Leach will have his Cougs ready to compete against a solid, but not great BYU team. It would likely be the biggest upset of the weekend so it might be a long shot, but don't sleep on Wazzu.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Ohio (+6) at Penn State
2012 begins a new era in Happy Valley, as Bill O’Brien takes over as head coach and the Penn State uniforms will feature the names of the players. While there is some excitement around the new coaching staff and a new look on offense, the Nittany Lions can’t play in a bowl due to NCAA sanctions and lost a handful of players due to transfer. Ohio is a dangerous Week 1 opponent, as it won 10 games and played for the MAC title last season. The Bobcats gave Rutgers all it could handle last year and returns 12 starters from that team, including All-MAC quarterback Tyler Tettleton. Even though the Nittany Lions have a solid defense, there will be some growing pains on offense, which gives Ohio an excellent shot at an upset on Saturday.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Western Michigan (+9.5) over Illinois
Western Michigan went 1–3 outright vs. teams vs. BCS conferences in 2011, with a win at UConn, a lopsided loss at Michigan (34–10) and close losses at Illinois (23–20) and vs. Purdue (37–32) in the Little Caesers Pizza Bowl. This is a team with a senior quarterback (Alex Carder) and a veteran offensive line that will not be intimidated by playing on the road at a Big Ten school. The big key for Western is finding a way to stop the run; last year, Illinois rolled up 296 yards on the ground in its win over the Broncos. Western Michigan 30, Illinois 27

Mark Ross: NC State (+3) over Tennessee
No one needs an opening win more than embattled Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, but I just don’t think NC State will oblige him and the Volunteers on Saturday night in the Georgia Dome. On offense, the Vols will lean heavily on the duo of quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Justin Hunter, especially now that All-SEC wideout Da’Rick Rogers is no longer on the roster. However, this strategy plays right into the hands of NC State’s defensive strength. The Wolfpack have one of the best secondaries in the nation led by All-American David Amerson. On offense, NC State has a strong-armed quarterback of its own in senior Mike Glennon, who will lead an attack that’s not near as one-dimensional as UT’s.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Ohio (+6) over Penn State
This may seem like an anti-Penn State selection because of scandals and roster depletion, but Franks Solich’s Ohio Bobcats are a quality team with a good chance of repeating last season’s 10-win campaign. Despite winning its first bowl game in school history last December, Ohio will still be a hungry team after blowing a 20-point lead in the MAC Championship Game. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton (38 touchdowns accounted for in 2011) is a great fit for the no-huddle attack, and the Bobcats defense should be the best unit Ohio has had during Solich’s tenure. Penn State should still have a quality defense despite the offseason personnel attrition, but I just don’t see where the points are going to be produced. In a surreal setting in Happy Valley, I’ll take the Bobcats over the Nittany Lions, 16-13.


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<p> College Football Week 1 Upset Picks</p>
Post date: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 05:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-1-start-or-sit

The 2012 college football season is finally here!  Thanks to those of you who have returned for another season, and welcome to those of you who have finally found us.  If you are playing college fantasy football for the first time, we’re glad to have you in the fraternity.

Start/Bench—Week 1


Everett Golson, QB-Notre Dame vs Navy
Golson gets to start his career with the easiest opponent on the Irish’s schedule this season.

Derek Carr, QB-Fresno State vs Weber State
The Bulldogs will iron out the wrinkles in their new spread attack before travelling to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Ducks in Week 2.

Wes Lunt, QB-Oklahoma State vs. Savannah State
If Lunt is talented enough to win the starting job, then there shouldn’t be any hesitation starting him in his collegiate debut against Savannah State.

Tim Cornett, RB-UNLV vs Minnesota
Running behind an experienced offensive line, Cornett should shoulder the load while the Rebels break in a freshman quarterback.

Shawne Alston, RB-West Virginia vs Marshall
While questions surround Dustin Garrison’s return, Alston is more than capable of carrying the Mountaineers’ ground game.

Akeem Shavers, RB-Purdue vs Eastern Kentucky
Shavers proved in last year’s Little Ceasars Bowl that he is ready to become the Boilermakers’ primary running back.

John Hubert, RB-Kansas State vs Missouri State
Quarterback Collin Klein will get all of the attention, but Hubert will get more than enough touches in this matchup to be a fantasy factor.

Zach Line, RB-SMU at Baylor
Until the Bears’ defense proves they are vastly improved, owners shouldn’t shy away from this C-USA vs. Big XII matchup.

Onterio McCalebb, RB vs Clemson
We know that Clemson’s offense will put points on the board, but have they made enough improvements to a defense that gave up 176 yards rushing per game in 2011?

Stefon Diggs, WR-Maryland vs William & Mary
Diggs spurned offers from Florida and Ohio State.  Now, he gets to be Mr. Everything for a Terps team that needs him on the field as much as possible.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR-Missouri vs Southeastern Louisiana
After leading the team in receiving yards in two fall scrimmages, Green-Beckham is ready for his coming-out party.



Joe Southwick, QB-Boise State at Michigan State
This matchup will probably be the Broncos’ toughest test of the season.  Consider holding out Southwick until his Week 3 matchup against Miami, Ohio.

Jordan Lynch, QB-Northern Illinois at Iowa
We have heard that Lynch will prove to be a better runner than former Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish, but we have our doubts against a Big Ten opponent.

Brett Smith, QB-Wyoming at Texas
Smith is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, but playing on the road against a unit that ranked 11th in the nation in total defense in 2011 is way too risky.

Ryan Aplin, QB-Arkansas St at Oregon
Aplin and the offense should get a lot of possessions, but their inability to put the ball in the end zone makes him a risky fantasy play.

Branden Oliver, RB-Buffalo at Georgia
Fantasy owners will hope and pray that their prized fantasy possession survives this matchup without injury.

Anthon Samuel, RB-Bowling Green at Florida
See Branden Oliver above.

Ray Graham, RB-Pitt vs Youngstown St
It’s never easy to see one of your backs miss out on such a mismatch, but Graham is unlikely to play in what figures to be a tune up for their conference opener next Thursday at Cincinnati.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB-Michigan vs Alabama
It doesn’t seem likely that Toussaint will miss any game time following his suspension in July after a DUI arrest, but we’ll sit anyone who plays against the Bama D.

Orleans Darkwa, RB-Tulane vs Rutgers
Darkwa has been nursing an ankle injury and is questionable to play, so owners would be wise to look for a safer option this week.

Nathan Jeffery, RB-UTEP vs Oklahoma
Owners will not get a true gauge of Jeffery’s fantasy potential until the Miners start conference play.

Alec Lemon, WR-Syracuse vs Northwestern
The latest reports have Lemon listed as questionable with a leg injury.  Unless his status is upgraded, owners would be wise to find another option for Week 1.


The College Fantasy Football Site

by Joe DiSalvo

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football Week 1 Start or Sit</p>
Post date: Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 04:47
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-50-players-2012

The 2012 college football season kicks off on Thursday night, and it's time to rank the top 50 players for the upcoming year. USC's Matt Barkley made a surprising decision to return to USC for his senior season and should be the nation's No. 1 player. Barkley isn't the only quarterback in the top 10, as West Virginia's Geno Smith checks in at No. 5. The SEC owns the most players in the top 10 (four), including No. 2 overall Barrett Jones. 

College Football's Top 50 Players for 2012

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
After throwing 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions over his final four games in 2011, the consensus was Barkley was gone to the NFL. Instead, he surprised a lot of folks with his decision to return for one more shot at a national title and has USC poised to play for the championship in January. Barkley enters 2012 with 9,054 yards and 80 touchdowns and is Athlon’s first-team All-American quarterback for 2012. The senior ranks third in school history with 9,013 career yards, and his 80 touchdown passes are fifth in Pac-12 history. The only missing pieces on Barkley’s resume? A Pac-12 title, national championship and Heisman. All three are certainly within reach in 2012.

2. Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Three years, three different positions. That’s how valuable Jones has been to Alabama’s offensive line during his career in Tuscaloosa. The Tennessee native started the first 25 games of his career at right guard and shifted to left tackle last season. He earned first-team All-SEC honors in each of the last two years and will slide inside to man the center spot with the departure of William Vlachos. Jones is the nation’s most versatile offensive lineman and the defending Outland Trophy winner should be one of college football’s top performers in 2012.

3. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina 
It is hard to argue that any one player in the nation has more upside than this 6-foot-6, 260-pound freak of nature. As only a freshman, Clowney posted 8.0 sacks and forced five fumbles. He earned Defensive Freshman of the Year honors in the SEC and claimed a spot on the Freshman All-American team after his 36-tackle, 11.5-tackles for a loss debut season. The only thing keeping the star defensive end from being the top player in the league is his mental grasp of the game. He is still an underclassmen and still has some maturing to do before he becomes the most dominate defensive player in the nation. It may not take too long, however.

4. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Before his season ending knee injury on Oct. 15, Lattimore was a Heisman frontrunner. The week before the injury, Lattimore was sixth in the nation in rushing with 129.8 yards per game. Lattimore’s health will be one of the major storylines in the SEC. If he’s fully healthy, the Gamecocks could make a run at their first SEC championship. Although Montee Ball's production has outweighed Lattimore so far in his career, the South Carolina back is the nation's most talented all-around back.

5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
After throwing for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns in his first year working in Dana Holgorsen’s spread attack, Smith is primed for an even bigger 2012 season. He finished 2011 by throwing for 407 yards and six touchdowns in the 70-33 rout over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Smith tied or set 21 career, season or game school records last year and earned first-team All-Big East honors. With one of the nation’s top receiving corps returning, the senior quarterback should be in for an even bigger statistical season. The Big 12 is known for its offense, and West Virginia should fit in well in 2012, especially with Smith more comfortable in the second year of Holgorsen’s offense.

6. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
When the guys who are trying to block you officially vote you as the best defensive lineman in the league, it’s pretty hard to argue. Lotulelei earned such an honor last year when he was given the Morris Trophy, the award given to the best D-Lineman in the Pac-12 as voted on by starting offensive linemen. His 6-foot-4, 320-pound frame has NFL written all over it, as Utah hopes its Star in the middle can lead what was the league’s top scoring defense last year. The senior from South Jordan, Utah is a first-team All-American and looks to build on his 9.0 tackles for a loss and 44 total tackles.

7. Robert Woods, WR, USC
One half of USC’s impressive receiver duo, Woods was one of eight players in the country to catch more than 100 passes -- and he was the only one to do so in 12 games thanks to USC’s bowl ban. Woods will get his chance to play in the postseason after accounting for 176 catches for 2,084 yards and 21 touchdowns (15 last season) in his first two years at USC.

8. Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The powerful defensive end was named first-team All-SEC last season, and the junior will be one of the top players in the country this year. Montgomery made 49 tackles (with 13.5 for loss) in 2011 and led the Tigers with nine sacks. The South Carolina native is the latest in a long line of stellar LSU defensive lineman. He will combine with fellow pass rusher Barkevious Mingo to form one of the best defensive end tandems in the country in 2012.

9. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Ball emerged as one of the elite tailbacks in his junior season at Wisconsin, leading the nation with 1,923 rushing yards and an astounding 33 rushing touchdowns. His 39 total TDs last year tied the NCAA record originally set by Barry Sanders in 1988. Ball has rushed for at least 100 yards in 16 of the last 20 games dating back to November 2011. Don’t be surprised if Ball is on the podium in New York in early December accepting the Heisman Trophy.

10. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
In a bit of a surprise, Te’o turned down the NFL Draft for his senior year at Notre Dame. The Irish defensive staff certainly isn’t complaining, as Te’o’s play is deserving of the accolades and hype that is thrown his direction. He has posted back-to-back seasons of at least 100 tackles and has 28.5 career tackles for a loss. Te’o was a finalist for the Lott Trophy and Butkus Award last season and earned second-team All-American honors by the Associated Press. The senior is one of the top defensive players in the nation and should close out his career with another season of at least 100 tackles.

11. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
This pass-rushing outside linebacker was sensational in his first season with the Bulldogs. He led the SEC with 13.5 sacks on his way to consensus All-American honors. Jones totaled 70 tackles last season, with a conference-leading 19.5 of them behind the line of scrimmage. He also added two forced fumbles and two pass breakups for a Georgia defense that ranked No. 5 in the country a year ago. Look for Jones and the Bulldogs defense to wreak more havoc on opponents in 2012.

12. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Despite his two-game suspension to start 2012, Watkins checks in as Athlon’s No. 1 player in the ACC. High expectations surrounded Watkins from the moment he arrived on campus, and he quickly emerged as Clemson’s top target, catching 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 scores. The Florida native was also a dangerous weapon on special teams, averaging 25 yards per kickoff return and taking one back for a touchdown in the win over Maryland. Although Watkins could have trouble matching last season’s totals, expect the sophomore to finish as a first-team All-American.

13. Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Entering his third season in the starting lineup, Wagner will anchor what should be the best offensive line in the Big Ten from the all-important left tackle spot. A 6-6, 322-pound fifth-year senior from West Allis, Wis., Wagner arrived in Madison as a walk-on tight end but has made a successive transition to the offensive line. He started at right tackle in 2010 but made the move to the left side last fall to replace former All-American Gabe Carimi. 

14. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M 
Not too many players step into a BCS conference and start all 13 games as a true freshman. Joeckel did just that back in 2010 before earning first-team All-Big 12 honors last fall. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound bookend has played in all 26 possible career games and helped lead an O-Line that finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed per game last fall (0.69). The Aggies will experience growing pains shifting into the SEC, but the Joeckel-led offensive line shouldn’t be an issue.

15. John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Simon is the key player on a veteran Ohio State defensive line, ranked by Athlon as the best in the Big Ten. This wrecking ball is as difficult as anyone in the country to block from the outside. He’s improved each year, topping out at 16 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and three pass deflections last season. Urban Meyer’s background is on offense, but he has a knack for utilizing great pass rushers like Carlos Dunlap, Derrick Harvey and Jarvis Moss at Florida.

16. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Few players ever enter the college ranks ready to play like Jeffcoat was. Obviously, his long-standing NFL legacy helps, as his fundamental understanding of the game is superior to most players his age. His 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame helps too. Jeffcoat started all 13 games as a sophomore, earning second-team All-Big 12 honors after recording 54 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. With another stellar season on the 40 Acres, JJ-44 will likely take his talents to the next level.

17. David Amerson, CB, NC State
At 6-foot-3, 194 pounds, Amerson has uncommon size for a cornerback. He also put up uncommon results last season. His 13 interceptions last season were an ACC record and one short of the FBS record held by Washington’s Al Worley. Amerson had four multi-interception games last season and returned two picks for touchdowns. Hard to believe, but Amerson did not have any interceptions in his first season in 2010.

18. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
The man they call Shoelace has been one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football over the past two seasons. Robinson has struggled at times with consistency in the passing game, but he led the nation last year by averaging 15.3 yards per completion and ranked fourth in the Big Ten in passing efficiency. Robinson does his best work on the ground, however; he has rushed for 3,229 yards on a 5.9-yard average in his three years in Ann Arbor.

19. Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Burkhead thrived in his first full season as Nebraska’s No. 1 back, rushing for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns. He averaged 106 yards per game in Big Ten play and earned first-team all-conference honors last season. Although quarterback Taylor Martinez should get better as a passer in 2012, the Cornhuskers will lean heavily on Burkhead to win games. The senior is capable of recording 300 overall carries and will also be a factor in the passing game, as evidenced by his 21 receptions last year. Burkhead is a sleeper candidate to watch in the Heisman race and should be one of the Big Ten’s top offensive players this season.

20. Alex Hurst, OT, LSU
The 6-foot-6, 340-pound senior right tackle was a force last season in paving the way for the powerful LSU running game. Three different Tigers running backs reached the 500-yard mark last season, and LSU compiled 35 touchdowns on the ground. Hurst was recognized as first-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches in 2011, and he will be a top All-America candidate this season. Hurst and Chris Faulk should form the best tackle duo in the country in 2012.

21. Chris Faulk, OT, LSU 
After redshirting in 2009, the big left tackle from Slidell, La., worked his way into a starting spot by the end of his freshman season. Despite dealing with a severe ankle sprain against Mississippi State, Faulk still started 13 of the 14 games en route to the BCS national championship game. He earned second-team All-SEC honors while protecting the blindside of both Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. Behind Faulk and company, LSU finished second in the run-heavy SEC in rushing offense at 202.6 yards per game.

22. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
It’s a close call for the No. 1 quarterback spot in the SEC. Murray and Tyler Wilson are both deserving, but with Arkansas losing coach Bobby Petrino and receivers Joe Adams and Jarius Wright, the edge goes to the Bulldogs’ signal-caller. Through Murray’s first two years in Athens, he has thrown for 6,198 yards and 59 touchdowns. His interception total increased last year (8 as a freshman, 14 as a sophomore), which will be one area the coaching staff wants to see him improve in 2012. The Bulldogs have to replace a couple of key offensive line starters, and receiver Malcolm Mitchell may spend the majority of the first part of the year at cornerback. There are concerns about Murray, but we think he will end up with first-team All-SEC honors at the end of 2012.

23. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Wilson successfully stepped into Ryan Mallett’s shoes as Arkansas’ starting quarterback last season, carrying on the Razorbacks’ best run of passers in program history. Wilson’s 3,638 yards was the second-highest total in school history as he became the program’s first All-SEC first-team quarterback. After the sudden coaching change, Wilson also was a stabilizing presence on the roster. He and Mallett are the only two quarterbacks to pass for 3,000 yards in school history.

24. Keenan Allen, WR, California
Few players in the nation have as much raw physical talent and skill as Allen possesses. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound stud from Greensboro, N.C., flashed first-round NFL talent as only a sophomore last year by catching 82 passes for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns. He is the half-brother of quarterback Zach Maynard and clearly has an unspoken rapport with Cal signal caller. Look for this to be Allen’s final year in a Golden Bear uniform.

25. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
With Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon playing on Sundays now, Randle will have to carry the offense. He rushed for 1,216 yards and 24 scores, while catching 43 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns last year. Randle earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2011 and is an Athlon Sports first-team All-Big 12 selection for 2012. With freshman Wes Lunt taking over under center, defenses will be gearing up to stop Randle, but the junior back’s all-around ability makes him one of the top 10 players in the Big 12 for 2012.

26. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Even at Oregon, where speed and explosiveness runs aplenty, Thomas found a way to stand out as a freshman. The 5-foot-9, 173-pound running back from Los Angeles averaged a 16-yard gain every time he touched the ball. That was half a yard more than any other Ducks’ regular and twice as much as either LaMichael James or Kenjon Barner. Thomas scored 18 total touchdowns as a rookie (nine rushing, seven receiving, two on kickoff returns).

27. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
At 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, Austin isn’t your prototypical wide receiver. Don’t be fooled though, the Baltimore native is one of college football’s top playmakers and will give Big 12 defenses plenty of headaches in 2012. He led the team with 101 receptions, ranked second with 1,186 yards, while catching eight touchdowns and taking two returns for a score on special teams. Austin closed out 2011 on a high note, catching 12 passes for 123 yards and four touchdowns in the Orange Bowl victory over Clemson. The senior is one of college football’s top all-purpose threats and should top 100 receptions once again in 2012.

28. William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
Entering his junior season, Gholston appears to be only scratching the surface of his potential. The Michigan State coaching staff wasted no time in getting the Detroit native involved as a freshman, as Gholston played in 10 games and recorded 13 stops. In his first year as a starter in 2011, he recorded 70 tackles, five sacks and 16 tackles for a loss last season. Gholston earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season and should be in the mix to earn All-American honors in 2012. Without Jerel Worthy plugging the middle, opposing offensive lines will devote more attention to Gholston’s side. Despite a few more double teams coming in his direction, the junior is poised to have his best overall season, which could be his last in East Lansing with NFL scouts already raving about his potential.

29. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
Most Pac-12 fans are familiar with Wilson but expect to see him become a household name nationally after 2012. With Mike Leach’s pass-first attack coming to Pullman, the Cougars should be one of the top offenses in the nation. Wilson has recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and caught 18 touchdown passes over the last two years. His best performance came against San Diego State in 2011, grabbing six passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. With Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Keenan Allen returning, it will be a battle to get first-team all-conference honors. However, there’s no question Wilson will have the stats to get in the mix for first-team All-Pac-12 and All-American honors.

30. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
With Robert Woods posting a record-setting season on the other side, it was easy to overlook Lee’s performance in 2011. As a true freshman, he finished with 73 receptions for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Lee came on strong over the second half of the season, catching at least seven passes in each of the final five games. Woods is still USC’s No. 1 receiver, but Lee will see plenty of passes in his direction. Expect the sophomore to surpass last season’s totals, while pushing for All-American honors.

31. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
While LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu will grab headlines for being one of the nation’s top playmakers at cornerbacks, Banks is quietly the SEC’s No. 1 coverman. He started all 13 games last season and earned first-team All-SEC honors, while recording 71 tackles and three forced fumbles. Banks is already drawing significant interest from the NFL, especially with his 6-foot-2 frame. The Mississippi native is an Athlon Sports first-team All-American for 2012.

32. T.J. McDonald, S, USC
The USC legacy — his father Tim was a two-time All-American at USC from 1983-1986 — is a powerful hitter at the back end of the No. 1 team in the nation. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior has 23 career starts, 163 career tackles and six career interceptions. The Fresno (Calif.) Edison product is an Athlon Sports All-American and Thorpe Award candidate heading into his final season.

33. Eric Reid, S, LSU
The hard-hitting safety became a force during his sophomore season, tying for the team lead in tackles (76) with cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Reid also forced two fumbles, had two interceptions and recovered a fumble last season for John Chavis’ stellar defense. Reid was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week after an excellent performance in LSU’s 9-6 victory at Alabama during the regular season. His critical fourth-quarter interception in that game was a top play of the 2011 campaign.

34. Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
As only a sophomore, the former top 100 recruit realized his potential by leading the Tigers with 9.5 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound rush end finished his second season on The Plains with 47 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 15 QB hurries. He was the lone star on a defense that struggled mightily a year ago, but could emerge as an All-American superstar now that new coordinator Brian VanGorder is running the ship. Look for him to build around the future NFL draftee from Hialeah, Fla.

35. Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU 
As a sophomore on an undefeated team, Mingo finished second on the team in sacks (8.0) and led the team in tackles for a loss (15.0). While he may not be as complete a player as his defensive end counterpart Montgomery, Mingo might possess more explosiveness off the edge. He is long at 6-foot-5 and 240 pound and can get up the field with great quickness. He has first-round NFL potential and should only build upon his second-team All-SEC performance of 2011.

36. Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
Few players exhibit as much raw athletic ability as the 5-foot-11, 200-pound safety. After playing a hybrid safety position which required much more time in the box, Jefferson has moved to his natural position of free safety. He will be allowed to flow all over the field and make plays now that Mike Stoops and Tim Kish are calling the plays. Jefferson has loads of talent supporting him, so the Sooners should be vastly improved in the secondary this fall.

37. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Lewan, a 6-8, 302-pound junior, has started 22 games over the past two seasons at left tackle. A second-team All-Big Ten pick last season (by the coaches), Lewan will be asked to be the leader of the Wolverines’ offensive line following the graduation of Rimington Award-winning center David Molk.

38. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Klein emerged from obscurity last season to account for 40 total touchdowns, leading the Wildcats to 10-3 season and the Cotton Bowl. Kansas State’s emotional leader, Klein rushed for 27 touchdowns, tying the Division I record held by Navy’s Ricky Dobbs, and became the first Big 12 quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards since Missouri’s Brad Smith in 2005. The Wildcats also learned they could rely more on his arm as the season went along.

39. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Jackson Jeffcoat’s partner in crime hails from an Austin suburb called Pflugerville. “Big Oak” has played in 39 games in his Longhorn career and is coming off his best season. The 6-foot-4, 265 pound end set career highs in tackles (56), tackles for a loss (14.0) and sacks (7.0) to go with 14 quarterback hurries. He earned AFCA All-American honors and was a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection. Okafor and Jeffcoat might form the best defensive end duo in the nation this fall.

40. Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
The senior from Piedmont, Calif., has had an up and down career at Stanford. He has NFL potential, a savvy on-the-field toughness that has helped the Cardinal develop into a West Coast power. He has also dealt with major injuries on more than one occasion and an off-the-field issue. The DUI will cost him one game with a suspension this fall, but should he stay healthy, the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder could be an All-American this fall.

41. Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
Expectations are high for Davis to return to the lineup at full speed after missing the 2011 season with a broken ankle. In 2010, Davis emerged over the final seven games of the season to rush for 1,028 yards and 12 touchdowns during that span. The Hogs’ will look forward to his power, speed and vision to return to the lineup after Arkansas ranked ninth in the SEC in rushing last season.

42. Khaled Holmes, C, USC
With Matt Kalil moving onto the NFL, it’s up to Holmes to become the leader for USC’s offensive line. That shouldn’t be a problem for the California native, as he has started in each of the last two years and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors last season. Holmes made a seamless transition from guard to center in 2011 and should be one of the top linemen in college football this year. 

43. Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
After starting most of last season at left guard, Frederick slides over to center to replace Peter Konz, a second-round pick by the Falcons in the 2012 NFL Draft. Frederick is not entirely new to the position, however; he started two games at center in ’11 — vs. Penn State on Nov. 26 and the Big Ten Championship Game vs. Michigan State. A 6-4, 328-pound junior, Frederick earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last fall. 

44. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Fluker has started 21 games in his first two years in Tuscaloosa but is on the verge of a breakout year. The Alabama native was a key cog in the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack, allowing backs to average 5.5 yards per carry and record 34 scores on the ground. At 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, Fluker has the strength to dominate on the right side of the line and continues to improve as a pass blocker. Look for the junior tackle to push for first-team All-SEC honors this season.

45. Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
The exodus of quality players at Penn State has just begun, but so far the Nittany Lions’ star linebacker is staying put. An outside linebacker, Hodges led Penn State with 106 tackles last season as the defense ranked 20th nationally in yards allowed per game (323.9). When the dust settles with the roster at Penn State, Hodges, who also had 10 tackles for a loss last season, might be one of the few in contention for All-Big Ten honors or more.
46. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
A highly regarded recruit when he signed with Miami in 2008, he struggled to earn regular playing time before he transferred to Kansas State. Back in his home state, Brown anchored the Kansas State linebacker group. He finished with 101 tackles and 9.5 tackles for a loss, using his speed to help K-State finish 37th nationally in rush defense. 
47. Nickell Robey, CB, USC
An All-State second-team baseball player and district long jump champion, Robey faced no mystery of where he’d fit at USC. The junior has started every game in the secondary since he arrived on campus. Robey will make a bid at All-America status after recording 63 tackles, nine pass breakups and two interceptions last season (including one returned for a touchdown in the triple-overtime loss to Stanford).

48. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
With his combination of size and athleticism, Short is drawing attention from NFL scouts and is expected to be a first-round pick in 2013. The East Chicago native has started all three seasons at Purdue and is coming off his best year, recording 54 stops, 17 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. Improving the run defense is one of the top priorities for coach Danny Hope this season, but Short’s return to West Lafayette should help the Boilermakers improve on last year’s statistics (9th in the Big Ten in rushing defense). Short was named Purdue’s team defensive MVP last season and is an Athlon second-team All-American for 2012. 

49. Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Hankins is developing into the next great defensive lineman to come out of the Ohio State program. In his first year as a starter last fall, the Michigan native recorded 67 total tackles, including 14 for a loss and three sacks. The large but nimble Hankins has slimmed down to 317 pounds for his junior season. “Hank is now a little less of an immovable object and more of an unstoppable force,” says Ohio State center Corey Linsley. 

50. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
The outside linebacker from Marietta, Ga., became an instant playmaker on on the Stanford defense the last three seasons, recording 46 tackles for a loss during that span. He led the Pac-12 last season with 2.1 tackles behind the line last season while forcing five fumbles. With Shayne Skov back, he and Thomas could be one of the nation’s best linebacker tandems.


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<p> College Football's Top 50 Players for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 06:49
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-15-breakout-players-2012

Every year, college football fans are introduced to a handful of players that become household names by the end of the season. Predicting which players will breakout any year is never an easy task. 

Defining what is a breakout player is nearly impossible. Everyone has a different perspective on how players are viewed around the conference and nationally. Athlon's list of breakout players for 2012 tries to take into account which names will be known nationally by the end of season. 

College Football's Top 15 Breakout Players for 2012

Stephone Anthony, LB, ClemsonAnthony was a big-time recruit and didn’t disappoint for Clemson’s defense last season. As a true freshman, he played in all 13 games and recorded 32 tackles for a loss and two sacks. The Tigers suffered some key losses on the defensive line, which will force even more pressure on Anthony and the linebacking corps to stuff the run. The sophomore is having a solid fall camp and will start at middle linebacker in 2012. 

Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona – It’s a loaded year for running backs in the Pac-12, but Carey could finish near the top of the Pac-12 in rushing yards. Arizona returns all five starters on the offensive line, and new coach Rich Rodriguez is implementing his spread attack, which has produced big rushing totals at West Virginia and Michigan. Carey rushed for 425 yards and six touchdowns last season, while also catching 15 passes for 203 yards and two scores. With a full complement of carries (200 or more), look for Carey to easily surpass 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Blake Countess, CB, Michigan One of the biggest reasons for Michigan’s improvement on defense last season was the play of the secondary. The Wolverines allowed 261.9 passing yards per game in 2010 but gave up only 190.5 yards per contest in 2011. Countess was a key factor in the defense as a true freshman, starting the last six games and recording 44 tackles, one force fumble and six passes defended. With another offseason to learn under coordinator Greg Mattison, expect Countess to push for All-Big Ten honors and emerge as one of Michigan’s top defenders.

Trey DePriest/Adrian Hubbard/Xzavier Dickson, LB, Alabama – Rather than single out one of these three sophomores, we are highlighting the entire trio as breakout candidates. DePriest, Hubbard and Dickson will be part of Alabama’s rebuilding effort on defense, as the Crimson Tide must replace Donta Hightower, Courtney Upshaw and Jerrell Harris at linebacker. DePriest had the best statistical season last year, recording 25 tackles in 13 games. If Alabama’s defense wants to finish No. 1 in the nation once again, it needs a big year from this sophomore linebacking trio.

Steve Edmond, LB, Texas Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho were one of the best linebacker duos in college football last season, so there’s no question they will be missed. However, Texas is never short on talent, and Edmond looks like a future star in the Big 12. He played in 12 games and recorded 16 stops last season, while also forcing one fumble. Edmond ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in the 2011 signing class by most recruiting services and is slated to start at middle linebacker in 2012. At 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, the sophomore has the size and strength to help immediately against the run.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa With injuries taking its toll on the running backs and the return of quarterback James Vandenberg, the Hawkeyes will likely lean more on the pass in 2012. Keenan Davis is set as the team’s No. 1 receiver, but Fiedorowicz is expected to be featured prominently under new coordinator Greg Davis. In his first two years in Des Moines, Fiedorowicz has 16 receptions for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Considering the Hawkeyes plan to throw the ball more in 2012, it would not be a shock to see Fiedorowicz surpass 16 receptions after the first four games.

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State - If college football fans weren’t familiar with Jernigan after his standout freshman season, it might be time to get acquainted. He quickly emerged as Florida State’s top defensive tackle, recording 30 stops and six tackles for a loss. Jernigan is already garnering plenty of attention this preseason, as he was named to the Outland Trophy watchlist and is an Athlon Sports third-team All-ACC selection. With another offseason to work in the weight room and with coordinator Mark Stoops, look for Jernigan to build off his impressive debut season.  

Wes Lunt, QB, Oklahoma State Lunt has some of the biggest shoes to fill in the Big 12. Brandon Weeden led Oklahoma State to a Big 12 championship last season and threw for 9,260 yards and 75 touchdowns during his career in Stillwater. Lunt enrolled in time to participate in spring practice and impressed the coaching staff enough to earn the No. 1 spot over J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf. Asking Lunt to repeat Weeden’s success as a true freshman is nearly impossible, but Oklahoma State has a track record of developing good quarterbacks, and the offense can lean on running back Joseph Randle. Don’t expect Lunt to contend for All-American honors, but the Cowboys shouldn’t suffer much of a drop in production with the freshman at the controls.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon Even though Mariota has no game experience, he should keep Oregon’s offense among the nation’s best in 2012. The Hawaii native turned in a strong performance in the spring, finishing with 202 passing yards and 106 yards on the ground in the final scrimmage. Mariota held off Bryan Bennett once again in the fall and was named the team’s starter for the opener against Arkansas State. The Ducks have had a successful run of quarterbacks (Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas) and Mariota should continue that streak in 2012. 

Gabe Marks, WR, Washington State It’s no secret Mike Leach wants to throw the ball, and the Cougars are perfectly equipped to become one of college football’s top passing teams. Quarterback Jeff Tuel and receiver Marquess Wilson are two underrated players on a national level, while Marks has emerged as a solid No. 2 in fall practices. The true freshman is expected to join Marquess Wilson as a starter at one of the outside receiver spots. Even with Wilson expected to dominate the receptions, there should be plenty of passes coming in Marks’ direction. 

Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma Finding weapons for quarterback Landry Jones is the biggest fall priority for the Sooners’ offense. Kenny Stills is one of the Big 12’s top receivers, but after that is where the question marks begin. Metoyer did not qualify last season and attended Hargrave Academy in preparation for 2012. He was one of the top receivers in the 2011 recruiting class and did not disappoint in spring practice, catching six passes for 72 yards in the Red-White game. Although Ryan Broyles will be missed, Metoyer’s emergence should ease concerns about the Oklahoma receiving corps.

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri – Richardson’s path to Missouri took a slight detour, as he spent two years at the College of the Sequoias, before making his first appearance at Missouri last season. Richardson made a huge impact in his first year in Columbia, recording 37 stops, three sacks, eight tackles for a loss and one forced fumble. A shoulder injury sidelined him in the spring but all signs point to a return to full strength in the fall. With another offseason under his belt, look for Richardson to pickup his performance even more in 2012.

Shaq Thompson, S, Washington – If Washington wants to have any shot at competing for the Pac-12 North title, the defense has to show major improvement from 2011. Although the Huskies probably aren’t ready to lean on their defense to win games, this unit should be much better in 2012. New coordinator Justin Wilcox is an improvement over Nick Holt, and Thompson’s arrival gives Washington a difference maker in the secondary. He ranked as the No. 6 overall recruit in the 2012 Athlon Consensus 100 and will be expected to start from the opening snap.

Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame - With Aaron Lynch’s decision to transfer, Tuitt will have to take on a bigger role on the defensive line in 2012. As a freshman in 2011, Tuitt played in nine games and recorded 30 tackles and two sacks. He needed some time to transition from high school to college, but Tuitt was one of the defensive line’s top players at the end of the year, registering 26 of his 30 tackles over the final six games. The sophomore will is expected to start on the outside in 2012 and will be one of the team’s top pass-rush threats on the line. Notre Dame will miss Lynch, but Tuitt’s development could help the Irish own one of the nation’s top 10 defensive lines. 

George Uko, DT, USC – With the departures of Christian Tupou and DaJohn Harris at tackle, the interior of the line is a big concern for coordinator Monte Kiffin. Uko was a top 100 recruit coming out of high school and was a key member of the line rotation in 2011. He recorded 18 tackles and two starts, while also earning 1.5 sacks. Uko is expected to step in the starting lineup and will be a key cog in USC’s rush defense in 2012.

by Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)

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<p> College Football's Top 15 Breakout Players for 2012</p>
Post date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 06:33
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-1-emergency-starters

So, you drafted Ryan Aplin, Brett Smith, or Jordan Lynch, and didn’t realize they have unfavorable matchups in Week 1.  We understand.  You play in a 20-team league or a league that requires two starting quarterbacks, so you are probably searching the waiver wire looking for a last-minute addition to complete your starting roster.  Check back every week and take a look at our Emergency Starters, a list of players most likely available in your league worthy of a one-week addition.

Emergency Starters—Week 1

Joe DiSalvo: (@theCFFsite on Twitter)


Ryan Radcliff-Central Michigan vs SE Missouri State

MarQueis Gray-Minnesota at UNLV

Chris Coyer-Temple vs Villanova

Jonathan Perry-UAB vs Troy

Corey Robinson, Troy at UAB

Nathan Scheelhaase-Illinois vs Western Michigan


Running Backs

Johnathan Franklin-UCLA vs Rice

Storm Woods-Oregon St vs Nicholls State

Damon Bullock-Iowa vs Northern Illinois

Akeem Shavers-Purdue vs Eastern Kentucky

Isaac Bennett-Pitt vs Youngstown State

Kenny Hilliard-LSU vs North Texas

Kendial Lawrence-Missouri vs SE Louisiana

Alonzo Harris-Louisiana vs Lamar



DeVonte Christopher-Utah vs N. Colorado

Reese Wiggins-ECU vs Appalachian State

Alex Torres-Texas Tech vs Northwestern State

Brandon Coleman-Rutgers at Tulane

Josh Huff-Oregon vs Arkansas State              


Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)


Dayne Crist-Kansas vs. South Dakota State

Ryan Nassib-Syracuse vs. Northwestern

Tanner Price-Wake Forest vs. Liberty

Tre Roberson-Indiana vs. Indiana State

Running Backs

Shawne Alston-West Virginia vs. Marshall

Tony Jones-Colorado vs. Colorado State

Brandon Ross-Maryland vs. William & Mary

Wide Receivers

Dan Buckner-Arizona vs. Toledo

MeKale McKay-Arkansas vs. Jacksonville State

T.J Moe-Missouri vs. SE Louisiana

Devin Street-Pittsburgh vs. Youngstown State


For more college fantasy news and information, check out: The College Fantasy Football Site

Find us on facebook

Follow us on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email us:   [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 1 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 04:57
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-1-odds-vegas-play

In the world of fantasy football, some team owners are relentless in their search for information that will give them a competitive edge over their competition.  Others just simply rely on projections from so-called experts, who try to convince everyone they have devised a computer program that accurately projects player stats by using a scientific formula so complicated that it makes the Drake equation seem elementary.  Eventually, those computer-driven computations prove no more accurate than an old-fashioned gut feeling.  However, in a quest to find a formula for fantasy success, one should just ask the question, “What are the odds?”

Quite simply, Vegas odds could give you all of the necessary insight to make smart roster decisions on a week-to-week basis.  In this weekly article, theCFFsite considers the point spreads and totals(over/under) in order to give our readers a unique perspective into some of the week’s most interesting fantasy matchups.

Week 1 What are the odds?

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Toledo at Arizona

Line:  Arizona -10(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Arizona 40-30

Best plays:

Toledo (QB-Terrance Owens, RB-David Fluellen, WR-Bernard Reedy)

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WR-Dan Buckner)

theCFFsite projects:  Arizona 31-28


San Diego State at Washington

Line:  Washington -14.5(O/U-62)

Projected score based on point spread:  Washington 39-24

Best plays:

San Diego St (QB-Ryan Katz, WRs-Colin Lockett, TE-Gavin Escobar)

Washington (QB-Keith Price, WR-Kasen Williams, TE-Austin Seferian-Jenkins)

Also consider:

San Diego St (RBs-Adam Muema, Walter Kazee)

Washington (RBs-Jesse Callier, Bishop Sankey)

theCFFsite projects:  Washington 42-28

Troy at UAB

Line:  Troy -5.5 (O/U-60)

Projected score based on point spread:  Troy 33-27

Best plays:

Troy (QB-Corey Robinson, RB-Shawn Southward, WR-Eric Thomas)

UAB (QB-Jonathan Perry, WR-Jackie Williams)

Also consider:

Troy (WR-Chip Reeves)

UAB (RB-Greg Franklin, WR-Patrick Hearn)

theCFFsite projects:  Troy 31-28


One-Sided Matchups (Using the odds to find a dominating ‘D’)

Buffalo at Georgia

Line:  Georgia -37.5(O/U-53.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 45-8

Stay away from:

Buffalo (RB-Branden Oliver)

theCFFsite projects:  Georgia 45-9


Bowling Green at Florida

Line:  Florida -29(O/U-48)

Projected score based on point spread:  Florida 39-9

Stay away from:

Bowling Green (QB-Matt Schilz, RB-Anthon Samuel)

theCFFsite projects:  Florida 38-10


Central Florida at Akron

Line:  UCF -24(O/U-46.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  UCF 35-11

Stay away from:

Akron (RB-Jawon Chisholm)

theCFFsite projects:  UCF 35-14


Kentucky at Louisville

Line:  Louisville -14(O/U-41)

Projected score based on point spread:  Louisville 28-13

Stay away from:

Kentucky (WR-LaRod King)

theCFFsite projects:  Louisville 27-14


Hawaii at USC

Line:  USC -39.5(O/U-65)

Projected score based on point spread:  USC 52-13

Stay away from:

Hawaii (All players)

theCFFsite projects:  USC 59-15


Arkansas State at Oregon

Line:  Oregon -35.5(O/U-67.5)

Projected score based on point spread: Oregon 52-16

Stay away from:

Arkansas St (QB-Ryan Aplin, RB-David Oku)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 63-20


Oklahoma at UTEP

Line:  Oklahoma -31(O/U-62)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oklahoma 47-16

Stay away from:

UTEP (RB-Nathan Jeffery)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma 59-16

Must Watch Games

Clemson vs Auburn

Line:  Clemson -3(O/U-62)

Projected score based on point spread:  Clemson 33-30

The Tigers will undoubtedly miss the play-making ability of Sammy Watkins, who is serving a two-game suspension.  If Clemson improves on the defensive side of the ball this season, they will emerge as a dark horse title contender.

theCFFsite projects:  Clemson 34-24

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

Line:  South Carolina -7(O/U-46)

Projected score based on point spread:  South Carolina 27-20

The Commodores are looking to make a statement at home Thursday night, but the Gamecocks have too much depth and should grab an early lead in the SEC East standings.

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 31-21

Boise State at Michigan State

Line:  Michigan St -7(O/U-55)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan St 20-14

This may be a favorable matchup for the Broncos as the Spartans’ bruising style of play should shorten the game and allow Boise State a chance to hang around long enough to spring an upset. 

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan State 20-17

Michigan vs Alabama

Line:  Alabama -12.5(O/U-42.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 28-15

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is a special talent, but the Alabama defense will be ready for the challenge.  Expect the Tide to control the lines of scrimmage and wear down the Wolverines in the second half.

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 31-13


theCFFsite in Must Watch games (2011):

Season:  Straight Up (40-9) ATS: (35-14)


The College Fantasy Football Site

By:  Joe DiSalvo

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Odds to Determine Best Week 1 Matchups</p>
Post date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 03:26