Articles By Steven Lassan

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/who-should-kentucky-hire-replace-joker-phillips

The first major domino in college football's coaching carousel fell on Sunday, as Kentucky's Joker Phillips was fired after a 12-23 mark through three seasons. Phillips led the Wildcats to a bowl game in his first year, but the team never showed major progress in his tenure. Athletic director Mitch Barnhart has a difficult coaching search to lead, especially with the pressure to get it right. 

Who Should Kentucky Hire to Replace Joker Phillips?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
Kentucky’s first calls should be to Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes and Western Kentucky’s Willie Taggart. Dykes is a former Kentucky assistant with direct connections to a successful era for the Wildcats under coach Hal Mumme and offensive coordinator Mike Leach. Between Kentucky’s success with Mumme and Tim Couch -- and now Texas A&M’s success with Johnny Manziel -- we can say this sort of spread offense can succeed in the SEC. And Taggart is simply a program builder, whose Western Kentucky program had had more success than the Wildcats the last two years. If I’m Kentucky, I’m glad to take a branch off the Jim Harbaugh coaching tree as well. If those routes fail because Dykes and Taggart are candidates for better jobs, Kentucky might look at the Vanderbilt route -- hiring a young energetic assistant like Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown or Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
If there is any coaching opening in any conference at any level for any amount of money, my answer will be Bobby Petrino. He is the only proven winner out there who is guaranteed to win the second he steps onto campus. He can be had for dirt cheap and with so many clauses in his contract, he won't be allowed out of the house after dark. I am not hiring someone to grow the leaders of tomorrow or compete in graduation rates. I am hiring someone to score more points than the other team and no one is better at that than Petrino. Tennessee, Cal, Purdue, Auburn and especially Kentucky would be foolish not to entertain the idea. Otherwise, I call one of the quality head coaches already doing good things in the Commonwealth and see what they say.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I think Kentucky made the right decision by pulling the plug on the Joker Phillips era after Saturday’s game. Even though the Wildcats were playing a lot of young players, the program wasn’t moving in the right direction and was just 4-19 in his three seasons in SEC play. Considering the SEC’s expansion to 14 teams, as well as Vanderbilt’s improvement under James Franklin, this is a crucial hire for Kentucky. The Wildcats cannot afford to fall further behind in the SEC pecking order and need to regain some of the fanbase after lagging attendance in Phillips’ last season. Kentucky needs to be targeting a young coach, especially with a background on offense. Bobby Petrino would be a home-run hire, but he’s not coming to Lexington. After Petrino, the next name on my list would be Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes. In three seasons with the Bulldogs, Dykes has a 21-13 record, and has helped to coordinate one of the top offenses in college football. He also has experience at Kentucky, working as an assistant under Hal Mumme in 1997 and 1999. If Dykes doesn’t want to come to Lexington, the Wildcats need to give a good look at Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
My first call would be to Sonny Dykes, a former Kentucky assistant (1997, ’99) who is currently the head coach at Louisiana Tech. In two-plus seasons at Tech, Dykes has an overall record of 21–13 and a 13–5 mark in the WAC. The Bulldogs have made steady improvement since Dykes took over for Derek Dooley — they went 5–7 overall (4–4 WAC) in 2010, 8–5 (6–1) in ’11 and are currently 8–1 overall with a 3–0 mark in league play. They are ranked No. 20 in the latest BCS standings and have wins over Houston, Illinois and Virginia, along with a two-point loss to Texas A&M. Dykes’ teams not only win, they play an exciting brand of football; Tech ranks third in the nation in total offense and second in scoring offense. Dykes would be an ideal fit at a school that has enjoyed pockets of success but has failed to remain consistently competitive. 

Mark Ross: 
Baggage aside, I think Bobby Petrino would be the type of hire that could not only re-energize the fan base, but also give a boost to recruiting efforts. Everyone who follows the SEC knows what Petrino did at Arkansas, especially in terms of the type of offense he ran and how productive and exciting it was. Likewise, everyone knows how things ended with the Hogs, and because of that and other factors, I'm just not sure Kentucky will pull the trigger or be able to pay enough to lure Petrino to Lexington in the first place. That said, I think Willie Taggart would be the next best option. He's done a remarkable job of rebuilding Western Kentucky's program, which includes this season's win over the Wildcats in Lexington. His existing ties in the state should only aid in recruiting, particularly in keeping the top prospects home. Taggart may not have the name recognition that Petrino does, and the SEC and the Sun Belt are two entirely different playing fields, but he's already shown what he can do at one Kentucky state school, so why not give him a shot at turning around the program at THE Kentucky state school?

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I see the No. 1 candidate being Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes. The former Kentucky assistant under Hal Mumme (a very underrated coaching tree) has proven he can cut it as a head coach with the Bulldogs, and Dykes’ high-octane offense is currently second in the nation with an average of 52.4 points per game. And for any Wildcats fan worried those are just WAC numbers, La. Tech scored 57 points against Texas A&M, 52 on Illinois and 44 versus Virginia. In 2011, the Bulldogs won by 20 at Ole Miss and lost in overtime at Mississippi State. Dykes will have several options this offseason, as multiple SEC schools should show some interest. Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart and Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown are also solid candidates, but UK should pursue Dykes as its next head coach.

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<p> Who Should Replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /college-football/should-miami-self-impose-bowl-ban-2012

With last week's win over Virginia Tech, Miami is now the frontrunner to win the ACC Coastal Division title. The Hurricanes were picked by many to finish fifth in the division in the preseason but have recorded a 4-2 record in ACC play so far and have two very winnable games remaining - at Virginia and at Duke. Although Miami has a chance to win a BCS bowl this year, the looming sanctions from the Nevin Shapiro investigation are hanging over this program. 

Should Miami Self-Impose a Bowl Ban for 2012?

Ryan Tice (@RyanTice),
Miami imposed a bowl ban on themselves last season, and there is absolutely no way they should do that to their players and coaches again this year. It had to be devastating for the players to sit out the postseason after getting to six wins in 2011, and the team promptly dropped their season finale to Boston College after the decision was announced.

This year, they are two conference wins away from clinching a berth in the school’s first ACC Championship game, and they are also on the verge of their first postseason trip under coach Al Golden. An appearance in the ACC Championship game and a big-time bowl, even if it eventually costs a postseason trip in the future — which is no guarantee — can be a boost for the entire program; nothing good can come from a second-straight year of watching the postseason from home.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
If there’s no deadline, Miami should let the season play out before making a decision. If the Hurricanes are eliminated from their first ACC championship game, go ahead and take the bowl ban, which would likely result in a second- or third-tier bowl anyway. That’s hollow and obvious and a public relations problem, but that’s not a horrible course of action. Impose the bowl ban now, and Miami may cost itself a trip to the Orange Bowl and critical momentum for Al Golden’s program. Don’t impose it at all, and Miami’s just prolonging the inevitable. Do you think Ohio State would have preferred to take a bowl ban last season if there was a chance the Buckeyes would be eligible for this postseason?

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
I am torn on this one. No, the kids out there fighting each and every Saturday to win the ACC Coastal had nothing to do with paying players to go to Miami over the last 10 years (or any of the other atrocities reported by Charles Robinson and Nevin Shapiro). However, the outlandish and garish style with which The U directly violated NCAA rules reeks of something much bigger than one diminutive hanger-on. How could powers that be inside and out of the University not have known about Shapiro? In that sense, watching Miami potentially play in a BCS bowl feels wrong. There isn't a good answer to this one and should the Hurricanes finish with the right to play in the ACC title game, the bowl ban punishment would fit the crime in my opinion.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With Miami on the doorstep of its first ACC Coastal title, the athletic department and administration have a huge decision to make. There’s no question the Hurricanes are going to get hit hard by NCAA sanctions. The penalties are expected to be announced sometime in the spring of 2013 and a bowl ban is likely to be included. Miami self-imposed a bowl ban last season and it has to be on the table for consideration at the end of this year. Although taking a bowl ban isn’t a bad idea to soften the blow from the NCAA, the Hurricanes should play in the postseason in 2012. If Miami does win its first Coastal title, the players and coaching staff deserve to reap the benefits and play for the ACC Championship in Charlotte. Also, even though most expect the sanctions will be harsh, what if they aren’t? Predicting the future with the NCAA is always difficult, which makes this a tricky situation for Miami. The Hurricanes have to be worried about what happens in the future, but there’s a little momentum building behind coach Al Golden and this year’s team. However, taking a bowl ban would only be another setback for a program that is just 18-16 over the last three years.

Mark Ross: 
If Miami beats Virginia and Duke, the Hurricanes will represent the Coastal in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., and they just need one more win over their last three games to become bowl eligible. Considering any bowl ban for this season would come from the university itself, and not the NCAA, I think the powers that be at "The U" would best be served by deciding against such a strategy. The chances are highly likely that the 'Canes will receive a number of NCAA sanctions and penalties, including some form of a postseason ban, stemming from the investigation into the alleged recruiting violations related to Nevin Shapiro. Even though a self-imposed bowl ban would be an attempt to mitigate the NCAA's pending punishment, I think in this case it would do more harm than good to the program and its fan and alumni base, considering the position the Hurricanes find themselves in. If Miami wins the Coastal, not only would it play in the ACC Championship Game, it would then have a chance to earn a spot in a BCS bowl, and the other benefits associated with that. Even should the 'Canes lose in the ACC title game, they will undoubtedly receive an invitation to one of the conference's better bowls based on their second-place finish. Look, at some point the hammer is going to fall on the football program once more. There's really no reason I see for the school to be the one to swing it first, especially considering how this season could play out.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I do not think so; unless the administration at Miami has a very solid indication from the NCAA (good luck getting a clear picture from them) of how much a self-imposed ban in 2012 would lessen sanctions in the future. The Hurricanes may have an uncertain future with the ongoing investigation, but their current standing is atop the Coastal Division with Virginia and Duke left on the league schedule. Miami has a chance to play in its first-ever ACC Championship Game, and an upset over Florida State or Clemson would equal a BCS/Orange Bowl berth. The Hurricanes imposed a bowl ban last year, and the administration should let Al Golden and his players have a shot at a big-time bowl this season.

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<p> Should Miami Self-Impose a Bowl Ban in 2012?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /college-football/nebraska-or-michigan-which-team-wins-legends-division-2012

It has been a difficult year for the Big Ten, especially with only two teams ranked after Week 10. The conference's best team (Ohio State) is ineligible to win the championship, while Penn State is also banned from postseason play. The battle to win the Leaders Division appears to be down to Wisconsin and Indiana, while the Legends Division is a tight race between Michigan and Nebraska. 

Nebraska or Michigan: Which Team Wins the Legends Division in 2012?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Nebraska already defeated Michigan, and the Cornhuskers finish up with Penn State and Minnesota at home and Iowa on the road. Michigan has Ohio State on the road and two other games. The schedule is immensely favorable to Nebraska, and even if the Cornhuskers get into trouble, they’ve shown they can respond with two Big Ten wins in which they’ve trailed in the fourth quarter and a third in which they’ve trailed in the third. Barring misstep, I’m taking Nebraska.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Each has one game that I feel is a loss. Michigan's is a sure thing at Ohio State as the Buckeyes will be playing their Super Bowl with a chance to completely ruin the Wolverines trip to Pasadena. Therefore, Nebraska would have to loss two games the rest of the way to miss out on the Big Ten championship game. So even if the Huskers slip-up against a very good Penn State team, it would have to lose again to either Minnesota (at home) or Iowa (road) in one of the final two games. Give me Big Red to match-up with...Big Red (either Wisconsin or, gasp, Indiana) in the Big Ten Championship game. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With essentially a one-game lead (thanks to a head-to-head win), Nebraska will win the Legends Division. The Cornhuskers and Wolverines are tied with one Big Ten loss, but Michigan lost 23-9 in Lincoln in late October. For the Wolverines to win the division, they need two losses by Nebraska. Finding two defeats on the schedule for the Cornhuskers isn’t easy, especially since they play Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa. Nebraska could easily lose to Iowa on the road or this Saturday against Penn State, but one loss really doesn’t help Michigan. The Wolverines still have to play at Ohio State in the season finale, which the Buckeyes figure to be favored to win. It’s not impossible, but I don’t see a scenario where Michigan is able to win the Legends Division title. Barring a complete collapse, Nebraska will play for the Big Ten title in December.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Nebraska basically clinched the Legends Division by beating Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State in the last three weeks. The Cornhuskers are tied with Michigan at 4–1 but have the tie-breaker due to their win in Lincoln on Oct. 27. The Huskers’ closing schedule is relatively soft, with home games against Penn State and Minnesota and a game at struggling Iowa. Michigan still has to play Northwestern and at Ohio State. This race is over!

Mark Ross: 
I give the edge to Nebraska because the Cornhuskers hold the tie-breaker over the Wolverines in the first place, and the uncertainty surrounding the health of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Both teams sit 4-1 in the Legends Division, but again Nebraska has a game in hand on Michigan thanks to its 23-9 head-to-head win on Oct. 27. Both teams could end up losing this week as the Cornhuskers host Penn State and the Wolverines take on Northwestern, potentially without Robinson. After Nebraska plays Penn State, it has Minnesota and Iowa left on its schedule, while Michigan still has a date in Columbus on Thanksgiving weekend to play Ohio State. Since the Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason, this will be their bowl game, and an undefeated season may also be on the line for Urban Meyer's team. Michigan already had a tougher road to the Big Ten title game than Nebraska to begin with, and now the questions about Robinson's playing status only increase the degree of difficulty. By virtue of that victory in Lincoln in late October, Nebraska will spend the first Saturday of December in Indianapolis playing for the Big Ten championship and a spot in a BCS bowl. 

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I think it’s clearly the Cornhuskers. Nebraska has the tiebreaker with its 23-9 victory over Michigan, and I believe the Wolverines still have a Big Ten loss awaiting them against Ohio State in the season finale. Additionally, NU should be favored by a touchdown or more in its three remaining games versus Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa. The Huskers have won three in a row, and it’s no coincidence that Ameer Abdullah has three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. The sophomore back has been solid during Rex Burkhead’s absence, and quarterback Taylor Martinez had an excellent rushing game in last week’s win over Michigan State. The defense still has some issues, but nothing that would prevent Nebraska from winning the Big Ten and playing in the Rose Bowl.

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<p> Nebraska or Michigan: Which team wins the Legends Division in 2012?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-10-bowl-projections

College football's bowl season is inching closer, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With nine weeks of results in the books, it's beginning to get easier to make long-term projections about teams. 

The post-Week 10 bowl projections are a mixture between how things would look if the season ended today, future schedules, and a dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks. 

2012-2013 Post-Week 10 College Football Bowl Projections

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

* Indicates an at-large team due to a conference unable to fill bowl slots according to Athlon's projections.

** UCF is appealing a postseason ban and for now, is eligible to compete in the 2012 postseason.

Bold indicates a team has accepted bowl bid.

by Steven Lassan

(published Nov. 4, 2012)

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<p> College Football Post-Week 10 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:11
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-10-rankings

Week 10 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and plenty of coaches saw the temperature on their seat increase by a few degrees. Kentucky's Joker Phillips was fired after losing 40-0 to Vanderbilt on Saturday. Phillips became the first BCS coach fired this season and the second after Idaho parted ways with Robb Akey. Boston College's Frank Spaziani now claims the top spot in the hot seat ranks. Auburn's Gene Chizik, Tennessee's Derek Dooley and California's Jeff Tedford remain in the top five, while Iowa's Kirk Ferentz rejoins the rankings after a loss to Indiana.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings

1. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Boston College: 22-26 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-7
If there was really any doubt about Spaziani’s future at Boston College, those questions were answered on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles lost 28-14 at Wake Forest, ending any hopes they had of getting bowl eligible this season. Since leading Boston College to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2009-10, Spaziani is just 6-15 and will likely finish 2012 with a 2-10 record.

2. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Record at Auburn: 32-17 (4th season)
2012 Record: 2-7
Chizik got a much-needed victory on Saturday, as Auburn easily dispatched New Mexico State 42-7. Even though the Tigers were heavily favored, this team needed a confidence boost before the final three games of the season. Auburn has a chance to play spoiler this week, as rival Georgia comes to town with a chance to clinch the SEC East title with a victory. Barring a win in either of the Tigers’ last two conference games, it’s hard to envision Chizik getting another year in Auburn. Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace is someone the Tigers can build their offense around, but it’s probably too late for Chizik and this coaching staff to save their jobs.

3. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at Tennessee: 15-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 4-5
Just like Gene Chizik, Dooley got a much-needed victory on Saturday. Of course, a 55-48 last-minute win over Troy didn’t exactly quiet the restlessness surrounding the program. Tennessee’s defense has been awful under new coordinator Sal Sunseri, ranking 112th nationally in yards allowed and 107th in scoring defense. With winnable games against Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, a 7-5 finish could be enough for Dooley to return for 2013. However, even if Dooley is brought back, the road to a winning season won’t be any easier. The defensive issues won’t be an easy fix, and quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson could leave early for the NFL.

4. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
Record at California: 82-55 (11th season)
2012 Record: 3-7
A bad season got even worse for Tedford last week. Star receiver Keenan Allen suffered a knee injury on an onside kick against Utah and will likely miss the rest of the season. Not having Allen in the lineup against Washington hurt the Golden Bears’ offense, as well as an injury to starting quarterback Zach Maynard. With Friday night’s loss to Washington, California dropped to 3-7 and will miss out on a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. There’s no question Tedford is in serious jeopardy of not returning for 2013 and there’s a good chance the Golden Bears finish 3-9 with Oregon and Oregon State remaining on the schedule.

5. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Record at Southern Miss: 0-9
2012 Record: 0-9
Johnson is the only first-year coach to crack the top five of the hot seat watch over the last two years. Southern Miss jumped out to a 16-0 lead against UAB, but the Blazers rallied for a 27-19 victory. The Golden Eagles are 0-9 and have already set the record for the most losses in school history. It’s rare to see a first-year coach in danger of losing his job, but Johnson has done very little to suggest he deserves a second season in Hattiesburg.

6. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Record at New Mexico State: 10-37 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-7
As expected, New Mexico State’s trip to Auburn wasn’t pretty. The Aggies were demolished 42-7 by the Tigers, which was the eighth consecutive defeat for New Mexico State. Walker has never won more than four games in his tenure in Las Cruces and could finish with a 1-11 record this year. Considering New Mexico State’s uncertain conference situation, it will be very difficult to attract coaching candidates. However, it’s clear Walker is struggling to make any progress after four years.

7. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Record at Central Michigan: 9-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The 2012 season has been one of missed opportunities for Enos and Central Michigan. The Chippewas beat Iowa on the road and had a chance to make a run at a bowl game if they could have won the final four contests. However, Central Michigan was defeated 42-31 by rival Western Michigan on Saturday, dropping the Chippewas' record to 3-6. The remaining schedule is favorable – Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and UMass – but it’s hard to count on any consistency from this team. Enos has recorded only three wins in each of his three years in Mount Pleasant and that’s simply not enough to keep his job for 2013.

8. Danny Hope, Purdue
Last Week’s Rank: 16
Record at Purdue: 19-27 (4th season)
2012 Record: 3-6
Barring a three-game winning streak to close out the 2012 season, Hope is unlikely to return to West Lafayette for 2013. The Boilermakers have failed to build on the momentum from the end of 2011 and have lost five consecutive games. Hope is just 10-19 in four years in Big Ten play and there are no guaranteed wins with Iowa, Illinois and Indiana remaining on the schedule. Hope recorded a 35-22 mark during his tenure at Eastern Kentucky, but has never been able to build a consistent winner at Purdue.

9. Mike Price, UTEP
Last Week’s Rank: 13
Record at UTEP: 47-59 (8 years)
2012 Record: 2-7
The Miners were off in Week 10 and return to action against UCF this Saturday. UTEP has managed only two victories this season (New Mexico State and Tulane) and has lost four conference games by at least 10 points. Price started off his tenure in El Paso with an 8-4 record in 2005 but has not won more than six games in season over the last seven. UTEP could be favored to beat Southern Miss and Rice at the end of the year but that's probably not enough for Price to return in 2013.

10. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Record at Buffalo: 7-26 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-7
Quinn drops three spots in the hot seat watch after a 27-24 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. The win over the RedHawks was Buffalo’s first conference victory this season and snapped a six-game losing streak. A key reason in the upset win was the play of running back Branden Oliver, who has returned from an early season knee injury to rush for 300 yards over the last two weeks. With winnable games against Western Michigan and UMass the next two weeks, Buffalo has a chance to surpass last season’s win total (3).

11. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Record at Rice: 27-44 (6th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
After a 1-5 start, Bailiff is making a late run to save his job for 2013. Rice has won three out of its last four games, including a 49-47 shootout victory at Tulane on Saturday. Although wins against UTSA, Southern Miss and Tulane are nothing special, the Owls have a chance to get bowl eligible if they can beat SMU and UTEP in their final two games. If Bailiff can go 5-7 or 6-6, he should be back for another year. However, if Rice loses both games, a new coach will likely be on the sidelines next season.

12. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Record at UNLV: 6-29 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-8
As the hot seat watch has mentioned throughout this year, UNLV is showing signs of improvement in Hauck’s third season. The Rebels took Minnesota to overtime in the opener and lost to Washington State by eight points. UNLV has conference wins over Air Force and New Mexico, along with a five-point loss to Nevada. The Rebels have never won more than two games under Hauck, so the next three games of the season are more opportunities to show the program is headed in the right direction. Matchups against Colorado State, Wyoming and Hawaii are winnable, which should be enough for Hauck to return for 2013.

13. Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Last Week’s Rank: 14
Record at Connecticut: 8-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
A promising start has quickly eroded into a disaster for Connecticut. The Huskies opened 2-1 with a solid road victory over Maryland. However, it’s been all downhill since. Connecticut has only one win in its last five games – a 24-17 victory over 2-7 Buffalo. Dating back to last season, the Huskies have lost five consecutive Big East games and still have to play Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati this season. Connecticut will probably give Pasqualoni one more season to turn things around. However, there’s very little to suggest the veteran coach deserves another year in Storrs.

14. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank: 17
Record at Colorado: 4-18 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-8
The season finale against Utah can’t get here soon enough for Colorado. The Buffaloes were soundly defeated by Stanford 48-0 on Saturday. The loss dropped Embree to 4-18 overall and the last three Pac-12 losses have come by at least 40 points. Although Colorado is committed to giving Embree more help next season, the second-year coach hasn’t shown much to suggest he deserves more time. The Buffaloes have been largely uncompetitive for two seasons and rank statistically as one of the worst teams in the nation.

15. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at South Florida: 16-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-6
The Bulls snapped a six-game losing streak in Big East play with a 13-6 win over Connecticut on Saturday. However, the victory was costly, as quarterback B.J. Daniels was lost for the year with a leg injury. Although the Bulls are just 3-6 and played a bad Connecticut team, beating the Huskies was a much-needed confidence-booster for this team. With Miami, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule, South Florida will need to play its best game to have a shot to win any of those three contests. Holtz’s huge contract extension may keep him around another year but finishing with a 3-9 record would only increase the calls for his job at the end of the season.

16. Tom O'Brien, NC State
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at NC State: 38-34 (6 years)
2012 Record: 5-4
Thanks to an inexplicable 33-6 loss to Virginia on Saturday, O’Brien makes his first appearance in the hot seat watch. Considering the talent O’Brien had coming back to Raleigh this year, there’s really no excuse for this team to lose to Virginia at home. And the grumblings within the fan base have only gotten louder over the last two weeks, especially after a loss to North Carolina on a late punt return for a touchdown. With Wake Forest, Clemson and Boston College the final three games on the NC State schedule, the Wolfpack should finish 7-5. If O’Brien can lead this team to that record, it would be the first time since 2000-02 that NC State had at least seven wins in three consecutive seasons. Although O’Brien’s record isn’t bad (38-34), there is plenty of doubt about his future.

17. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank: 15
Record at Western Michigan: 51-45 (8th season)
2012 Record: 4-6
The Broncos haven’t had much luck this season, but they scored a key win on Saturday, defeating rival Central Michigan 42-31. The victory over the Chippewas gave Western Michigan a two-game winning streak in the series, which is its first since 2002-03. The Broncos finish the year with Buffalo and Eastern Michigan, two games that are very winnable and could be enough to land another bowl appearance. Cubit’s teams at Western Michigan have underachieved but losing quarterback Alex Carder in late September was a difficult setback for this team.

18. Mack Brown, Texas
Last Week’s Rank: 18
Record at Texas: 148-41 (15th season)
2012 Record: 7-2
After a disappointing performance against Kansas, Saturday’s 31-22 victory over Texas Tech was a critical win for Brown. Although he’s not really in any danger of losing his job, Brown needed a solid victory to help bolster this team's hopes for a late run at 10 wins. The Longhorns take on Iowa State and TCU in Austin for their next two games, before finishing the season at Kansas State. Although Brown is taking a lot of heat for this team not contending for a Big 12 title, finishing with a 9-3 or 10-2 record is a step in the right direction.

19. June Jones, SMU
Last Week’s Rank: 20
Record at SMU: 28-33 (5th season)
2012 Record: 4-5
The Mustangs had their two-game winning streak snapped with a 42-17 loss against UCF in Week 10. SMU’s three wins in Conference USA play have come against UTEP, Houston and Memphis – not exactly the most difficult of opponents. However, the Mustangs could still get bowl eligible, especially with Southern Miss visiting Dallas this Saturday and a trip to Rice on Nov. 17. Jones has led SMU to three consecutive bowl games but he hasn’t improved the program to the level some expected. Don’t be surprised if the veteran coach takes a look at potential openings around the nation this offseason.

20. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank: Not ranked
Record at Iowa: 100-72 (14 seasons)
2012 Record: 4-5
Ferentz has done a lot of good things at Iowa, but the program seems to be trending in the wrong direction. The Hawkeyes have watched their win total decline since posting 11 victories in 2009 and could miss out on a bowl game this year. Iowa lost 24-21 to Indiana on Saturday, its first defeat to the Hoosiers since 2007. Ferentz received a huge contract extension after the 2009 season, which won’t make it easy for Iowa to make a coaching change. Even if the Hawkeyes lose their final three games of the season, Ferentz won’t be fired. However, 19-16 record over the last three years isn’t sitting well with the fan base.

by Steven Lassan

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College Football Week 10 Recap

<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 10 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:10
Path: /college-football/8-college-football-coaches-who-could-run-president

Election Day always brings out strong opinions across the United States, especially when it comes to choosing a president. College football coaches aren't going to run for the Oval Office anytime soon but what if they did? Athlon examined the coaching ranks in college football and found a handful of candidates that could make a run at the White House. And just like when it comes to choosing a president or any other representative, it's perfectly fine to disagree with our choices.

8 College Football Coaches Who Could Run for President

Al Golden, Miami

When it comes to appearing "presidential", no other college football coach can match Golden. The 43-year-old Miami coach was also born on July 4 – doesn’t that count for something?

Golden’s overall record at Miami isn’t great (11-10), but he didn’t exactly inherit a full cupboard in Coral Gables. The New Jersey native seems to have the Hurricanes going in the right direction, especially since the program could make its first appearance in the ACC title game this year. Also, Golden’s previous body of work at Temple is strong, resurrecting one of the worst college football programs into a winner during his last two years.  

And it’s never a bad idea to have a candidate from a swing state (Florida) on the board.

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

Any coach that downs Red Bull and coffee like its water automatically has our interest. Holgorsen’s penchant for chugging on a Red Bull before a game makes us confident he would have no trouble burning the midnight oil required in the Oval Office.

The Iowa native spent most of his time in the Midwest, but his stop at West Virginia has added some East Coast experience to his resume. Holgorsen’s high-scoring offense is innovative and exciting, which leads us to believe he can help deliver some fresh ideas on how to jumpstart the economy.

Holgorsen is a bit of a wild card and was reportedly escorted from a casino in May of 2011. However, it’s hard to ignore one of the top offensive minds in the nation. And let's be honest - there would probably never be a dull day with Holgorsen in charge.

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

Kelly has some political experience in his background, so making a run at the White House is a logical move. The Massachusetts native has gathered experience as a head coach at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame, with a solid record of 196-66-2.

In addition to his excellent overall record, Kelly has the personality to work with boosters or students, which would translate well to working with both sides of the political spectrum.

Kelly’s teams at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati thrived on offense. However, Notre Dame’s defense ranks as one of the best in college football this season. This clearly shows Kelly is willing to adapt to whatever is necessary to succeed.

Nick Saban, Alabama

College football’s No. 1 coach is really a no-brainer when it comes to this opportunity. Saban is 64-12 in six seasons with Alabama and has won two national championships during his time in Tuscaloosa. The West Virginia native’s success isn’t just limited to Alabama, as Saban went 48-16 in five years at LSU and was 34-24-1 during his time at Michigan State.

Considering Saban’s ability to coordinate some of the nation’s best defenses, there’s no question national defense would be a strength under his watch. Saban is demanding, but he’s also the best of the best.

Even if some people may have SEC fatigue, Saban is capable of producing instant results. That’s all that really matters right?

Bill Snyder, Kansas State

Considering everything Snyder touches seems to turn to gold, why not make a run at Washington, D.C.? In 21 seasons at Kansas State, Snyder has recorded an impressive 168-83-1 record. His winning mark is even more impressive when you consider how difficult it was for a coach to win at Kansas State before his arrival.

The only thing that works against Snyder? His age. At 73 years old, Snyder is the oldest candidate on this list. However, the Missouri native is known as a relentless worker and has a clear plan for how to govern: 16 goals for success. And that plan just happens to be more than most politicians propose throughout their career.

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

Sumlin is a rising star in the coaching ranks and could rank among the nation's best by 2016. The Alabama native has working experience in all parts of the country, making stops as an assistant at Washington State, Wyoming, Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Sumlin has worked for five years as a head coach (Houston, Texas A&M) and has compiled a 42-19 record.

If you are looking for something new and exciting, Sumlin is your man. He’s got experience from all parts of the nation and his offense would be entertaining, leading to a boost in the stands, which will only help the local economy. 

Urban Meyer, Ohio State

When it comes to producing results, it’s hard to find a coach with the track record of Urban Meyer. The Ohio native went 17-6 in two years at Bowling Green, 22-2 in two years at Utah, 65-15 in six years at Florida an 10-0 in his only season at Ohio State. Meyer also won a national title during his time with the Gators and has experience as an assistant at Notre Dame, Bowling Green and Illinois State.

Meyer’s offenses have been some of the best in college football, so if you are looking for a candidate with innovation and creativity, the Buckeyes’ coach is the right choice.

Considering Meyer got burned out during his time at Florida, he would need to surround himself with the best possible staff to help manage his tenure in the Oval Office.

Mack Brown, Texas
Age: 61

Is there really any doubt Brown is the perfect candidate to run for political office? The Tennessee native is the ultimate CEO of a college football program, knows how to lobby and never has a problem recruiting top-notch talent.

Brown has experience from all across the nation, as he has spent time as an assistant at Florida State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, LSU and Appalachian State.

Although Brown has had a few down years at Texas, he’s still capable of building a winner and would have no trouble winning the press conference or working the room with fellow politicians.

Others to Consider:

Bill O’Brien, head coach, Penn State – O’Brien inherited a difficult situation at Penn State and has quickly resurrected the Nittany Lions’ passing offense into one of the best in the Big Ten.

Pat Fitzgerald, head coach, Northwestern – Just like Bill O’Brien, Fitzgerald inherited a difficult situation at Northwestern. The Illinois native is 47-38 in his seven years with the Wildcats and has led Northwestern to four consecutive bowl games. Considering what Fitzgerald has done at Northwestern, he’s well-prepared for any opportunity on a bigger stage.

Chip Kelly, Oregon - Kelly's up-tempo offense is definitely innovative, so expect the former New Hampshire native to bring some fresh ideas to the nation.

Chris Petersen, head coach, Boise State – Considering his success at Boise State, imagine what Petersen could do on a larger scale with more resources.

by Steven Lassan

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College Football Week 10 Recap

<p> 8 College Football Coaches Who Could Run for President</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:09
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-10-waiver-wire-report

The fantasy playoffs are right around the corner and owners at the bottom of the standings have just about thrown in the towel.  As a result, there is not as much competition for waiver wire claims with the season drawing to a close.  Take a look at some late-season waiver gems as we head into Week 10.

Ryan Griffin, QB-Tulane

Since his return from injury, Griffin has passed for 1,100 yards and ten touchdowns in three games.  Fantasy owners should get solid production from the senior quarterback as the Green Wave play Rice, Memphis, East Carolina, and Houston to close the season.

Ray Holley, RB-Louisiana Tech

Holley isn’t a bad acquisition if you play in a deep league because the senior running back is averaging over 95 total yards from scrimmage, three receptions, and a touchdown per game 

Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa

Damon Bullock opened the season as the starter, but Mark Weisman took over when Bullock was lost for several weeks due to a head injury.  Now, Weisman is the one that is injured and the running back position in Ames may be Bullock’s once again.

Jalen Saunders, WR-Oklahoma

We are going to use the logic that we did a couple of weeks ago with Bronson Hill of Eastern Michigan when he ran for 283 yards against Toledo.  When a receiver catches 15 passes for 181 yards in a single game at this point of the season, you should claim him off of waivers and keep Saunders away from other owners. 

Eric Monette, WR-Western Michigan

Last week, we identified Josh Schaffer as the favorite target of quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen, but with fellow receiver Jamie Wilson sidelined with a groin injury, Monette has posted two consecutive eight-catch games. 

Bryan Underwood, WR-North Carolina St

Underwood only has 28 catches, but he has caught at least one touchdown in every game this season and has posted back-to-back 100-yard games. 

Myles White, WR-Louisiana Tech

White is the second-leading receiver for the Bulldogs behind Quinton Patton and has at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in back-to-back games.

Ryan Grant, WR-Tulane

Grant’s success has a lot to do with the return of Ryan Griffin at quarterback.  Over the past two weeks, the junior receiver has caught 12 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.

Did you miss last week’s waiver report?  See it here.

By Joe DiSalvo,

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email:  [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 10 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 03:28
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Kentucky Wildcats, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/25-coaches-replace-fired-joker-phillips-kentucky

The first domino in the college football coaching carousel fell on Sunday, as Joker Phillips was fired at Kentucky. Phillips led the Wildcats to a 6-7 mark in his first season but the program was never able to get back to the postseason. Kentucky was 5-7 last year and is 1-9 through 10 games in 2012. Although the Wildcats had some signs of life on offense in this season, Phillips was never able to show enough progress to save his job.

Although Kentucky is one of college basketball’s top jobs, the football program is one of the toughest in the SEC. In a division with Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, finding success isn’t easy.  The Wildcats have not won more than eight games since 1984 but had a streak of four seasons with at least seven wins from 2006-09.

What should Kentucky look for in the next coach? How about youth, energy and a background in offense? The Wildcats need to be creative on offense to fill the stands, as well as to compete in the SEC. 

25 Coaching Candidates to Replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky

Neal Brown, offensive coordinator, Texas Tech – Brown fits the profile of what Kentucky should be looking for in its next head coach. The Kentucky native has a background on offense and is only 32 years old, which should bring some much-needed energy to the fanbase. Brown played at Kentucky from 1998-2000 and has been Texas Tech’s offensive coordinator since 2010. The only drawback to Brown is a lack of head coaching experience.

David Cutcliffe, head coach, Duke – Cutcliffe isn’t a flashy or exciting hire, but he has won at Ole Miss and Duke. In seven seasons with the Rebels, he recorded a 44-29 record and went to five bowl appearances. Cutcliffe is 21-37 in five years at Duke but has the Blue Devils poised to make their first postseason game since 1994. Cutcliffe is not regarded as an elite recruiter but is considered one of college football’s top developers of quarterback talent.

Dave Doeren, head coach, Northern Illinois – Doeren is quietly flying under the radar this year but expect his name to get into the mix for BCS coaching jobs after the season. The Kansas native is 20-4 in two years with Northern Illinois and led the Huskies to a MAC title last season. Doeren has experience as an assistant at Montana, Kansas and Wisconsin but has never coached in the SEC. Although his background is on defense, Doeren’s offenses at Northern Illinois have each averaged over 38 points per game. 

Sonny Dykes, head coach, Louisiana Tech – Dykes has been on a steady climb through the coaching ranks and is expected to be one of the hottest names in the rumor mill this offseason. He coached at Kentucky in 1997 and 1999 under Hal Mumme and has stops at Texas Tech and Arizona as an offensive coordinator. Dykes was named Louisiana Tech’s head coach in 2010 and has led the Bulldogs to a 21-13 record. Dykes also runs a high-scoring offense, which should be one of the top attributes Kentucky is looking for with this hire. Unless he isn't interested in the job, Dykes should be one of the first phone calls from athletic director Mitch Barnhart.

Phil Fulmer, former Tennessee head coach – Fulmer has been relatively quiet since being forced out at Tennessee in 2008. During his career with the Volunteers, Fulmer recorded a 152-52 record and led Tennessee to 15 bowl games. Although it wouldn’t be a flashy hire, Fulmer would be a similar situation to when Kentucky brought in Rich Brooks. Fulmer is a longshot for the job, but his record and success at Tennessee is hard to ignore. 

Darrell Hazell, head coach, Kent State – Hazell has shined in his first head coaching gig and is in position for a quick rise in the coaching ranks. He served as an assistant at Western Michigan, Army, West Virginia, Rutgers and Ohio State from 1986-2010, before jumping at the opportunity to coach Kent State in 2011. Hazell is 13-8 in two years with the Golden Flashes and should lead this program to its first bowl appearance since 1972 in 2012.

Mark Helfrich, offensive coordinator, Oregon – If Kentucky is looking to make a splash and turn the offense into one of the SEC’s best, why not give Helfrich a call? The 39-year-old offensive coordinator is in his fourth season at Oregon and has stops as an assistant at Boise State and Arizona State. Helfrich has no head coaching experience, but his background on offense should be very attractive for Kentucky.

Mark Hudspeth, head coach, Louisiana-Lafayette – Hudspeth is a name familiar in coaching circles in the SEC. The Mississippi native spent time at Mississippi State under Dan Mullen and led North Alabama to a 66-21 mark during his tenure from 2002-08. Hudspeth is 14-7 through two years at Louisiana-Lafayette and should lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to back-to-back bowl appearances.

Kliff Kingsbury, offensive coordinator, Texas A&M – Kingsbury is only 33 years old, but he is one of the rising stars in college football. The former Texas Tech quarterback spent time in the NFL with the Patriots, Saints, Broncos, Jets and Bills, before getting into coaching. Kingsbury started his career at Houston in 2008 and was named co-offensive coordinator in 2010. He left Houston to join Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M in 2011 and has led the Aggies' offense to an average of 559.6 yards per game. The lack of head coaching experience is the only downside in Kingsbury’s resume, as his offense would help Kentucky recruit top quarterbacks and skill players to Lexington.

Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator, Atlanta Falcons – Koetter’s name has generated some early buzz in the rumor mill. He fits the bill as an offensive-minded head coach, but his previous tenures haven’t been particularly impressive. Koetter went 26-10 in two years at Boise State and 40-34 in six seasons at Arizona State. The Idaho native has NFL experience but has never coached in the SEC.

Pete Lembo, head coach, Ball State – Lembo is only 42 years old and has three stops as a head coach. He went 44-14 in five seasons at Lehigh and 35-22 in five years at Elon. Lembo is in his second year with Ball State and has a 12-9 record and should lead the Cardinals to a bowl appearance this season. Lembo doesn’t have experience in the SEC but he is a proven winner and his offense at Ball State is averaging over 470 yards per game. If Kentucky wants to hire an up-and-coming option, Lembo would be a good fit.

Mike MacIntyre, head coach, San Jose State – MacIntyre’s overall record at San Jose State (13-21) may not be impressive, but he has helped to turn the Spartans into a bowl team in a short amount of time. The Spartans went 1-12 in his first year but went 5-7 in 2011 and are off to a 7-2 start this season. MacIntyre played at Vanderbilt for two seasons and has experience as an assistant at Georgia, Temple, Ole Miss and Duke.

Gus Malzahn, head coach, Arkansas State – Malzahn nearly became the Vanderbilt head coach two years ago and is off to a 6-3 start in his first season at Arkansas State. The Texas native was one of the masterminds behind Auburn’s national championship and runs an exciting offense that would help to fill the stands in Lexington each Saturday. Even if Kentucky wants Malzahn, he could be more interested in what happens at Arkansas or Auburn.

Trent Miles, head coach, Indiana State – Miles is an under-the-radar candidate who should get a look for FBS jobs over the next few years. The Indiana native has stops as an assistant at Oklahoma, Northern Illinois, Hawaii, Fresno State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington and one year in the NFL with the Packers. Miles inherited an awful situation at Indiana State, as the Sycamores were just 1-32 in the three seasons prior to his arrival. During his five seasons at Indiana State, Miles has a 20-34 record, including three consecutive winning records.

Todd Monken, offensive coordinator, Oklahoma State – Monken has never been a head coach but has filled a solid resume with stops as an assistant at Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma State, LSU and in the NFL with the Jaguars. Monken helped to lead Oklahoma State’s offense to rank No. 3 overall nationally in yards per game last season (545.9 ypg) and despite playing three quarterbacks, has kept the Cowboys’ attack going this year. Monken’s lack of head coaching experience is a concern, but his offensive background has to be intriguing to Kentucky.

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson – Morris is another up-and-coming offensive mind in college football. The Texas native has no FBS head coaching experience but has engineered dynamic offenses at Tulsa and Clemson. The Tigers rank seventh nationally in scoring and are averaging 522.4 yards per game. Morris is making $1.3 million as Clemson’s offensive coordinator, so Kentucky will have to pay big to get him to Lexington.

Bobby Petrino, former Arkansas head coach – Before his firing in the spring, Petrino was one of college football’s best coaches. In four years at Louisville, Petrino went 41-9 and was 34-17 at Arkansas. Although he has been very successful and wants to get back into coaching, Petrino could aim higher than Kentucky’s vacancy. The early rumor mill suggests Petrino won’t be in the mix in Lexington, but Wildcats’ athletic director Mitch Barnhart should at least inquire.

Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers – Roman is a name starting to generate buzz in coaching circles. The New Jersey native has made stops as an assistant in the NFL with the Panthers, Texans, Ravens and 49ers, while spending two years at Stanford with Jim Harbaugh. Roman’s offensive background is a plus for Kentucky, but he has no experience as a head coach.

Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama – While Kentucky should be looking at offensive coaches, Smart is a candidate if it chooses to go with defense. Although Nick Saban plays a huge role in coordinating Alabama’s defense, Smart deserves a chance to run his own program. He played at Georgia and has experience from stops at Valdosta State, Florida State, LSU and in the NFL with the Dolphins. He also won the 2009 Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach.

Willie Taggart, head coach, Western Kentucky – Kentucky fans are certainly familiar with Taggart’s success, as Western Kentucky won in Lexington this season. Taggart has turned in the Hilltoppers into a Sun Belt contender and has an overall record of 15-18. While the overall mark isn’t particularly impressive, Taggart inherited a difficult situation and is 13-8 over the last two years. He also spent three seasons working under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. While Taggart would be a home-run hire for Kentucky, he’s a longshot to take the job. Not only is Taggart a Western Kentucky alum, but he can probably reach a little higher on the coaching ladder.

Five Other Names to Watch

Bryan Harsin, offensive coordinator, Texas – Harsin has made a quick rise through the coaching ranks. He worked as Boise State’s offensive coordinator from 2006-10 and jumped to Texas in 2011. The Longhorns’ offense hasn’t been as prolific as some may have expected, but Harsin is due for his chance to run a program in the near future.

June Jones, head coach, SMU – Jones has underachieved at SMU but is still one of college football’s top offensive minds.

Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State – Narduzzi has quickly emerged as one of the Big Ten’s brightest defensive minds. The Connecticut native started his coaching career at Rhode Island and worked as the defensive coordinator at Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati, before taking the job in East Lansing.

Mark Stoops, defensive coordinator, Florida State – Stoops has returned Florida State’s defense to among college football’s elite group. However, he has no head coaching experience.

Brent Venables, defensive coordinator, Clemson – Venables has spent most of his coaching career in the Midwest and played at Kansas State in the early 1990s. He worked as an assistant with the Wildcats under Bill Snyder and at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops, before leaving to work at Clemson for 2012. 

by Steven Lassan

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College Football Week 10 Recap

<p> 25 Coaches to Replace Fired Joker Phillips at Kentucky</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:43
Path: /college-football/acc-post-week-10-power-rankings

The Coastal Division has been one of college football’s most difficult races to figure out this season but there could be some clarity after Miami’s win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. The Hurricanes own a 4-2 record in ACC play and finish with matchups against Duke and Virginia. Florida State remains the conference’s No. 1 team, with Clemson a close second at 8-1 overall.

ACC Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard and North Carolina were off in Week 10, but the sophomore continues to maintain a commanding lead for the No. 1 spot. Bernard needs 70 rushing yards to reach 1,000 and has 15 total scores this year.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd has tossed 10 touchdowns over the last two weeks and ranks fourth nationally in pass efficiency.

3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins is having an outstanding season so far, catching 62 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 scores through nine contests.

ACC Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner had an off date in Week 10 but remains tied for the ACC lead in sacks and ranks second in tackles for a loss (12.5).

2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – Vellano recorded only one tackle in Saturday’s loss to Georgia Tech.

3. Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke – Cockrell and Duke’s defensive backs have struggled the last two weeks, allowing 48 points to Florida State and 56 to Clemson.

ACC Coach of the Year Standings

1. David Cutcliffe, Duke – The Blue Devils have lost back-to-back games but remains on track to make their first bowl appearance since 1994.

2. Al Golden, Miami – Even though Miami’s overall record (5-4) isn’t particularly impressive, the Hurricanes are in position to win their first Coastal title.

3. Larry Fedora, North Carolina – Despite a bowl ban hanging over this team, Fedora has been able to keep the Tar Heels on track and should have the best record in the Coastal Division at the end of the year.

Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

1. Florida State (8-1, 5-1 ACC)
Last Week: 1
Week 10 Result: Bye Week
The Seminoles were off in Week 10 and return to action on Thursday night against Virginia Tech. Florida State still controls its destiny in the Atlantic Division but cannot afford another loss with Clemson also 5-1 in conference play. The Seminoles have to travel to Blacksburg this Thursday, a place they have not won at since 1989. Even though Virginia Tech is struggling, this is still a dangerous game for Florida State.
Next Game: at Virginia Tech (Thursday)

2. Clemson (8-1, 5-1 ACC)
Last Week: 2
Week 10 Result: Beat Duke 56-20
With 98 points in the last two weeks, it’s pretty clear the Tigers' offense is hitting on all cylinders. Clemson’s offense had its way against Duke, leading the team to a 56-20 win and improving its overall record to 8-1. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw three picks but tossed five touchdown passes. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins was Boyd’s favorite target, catching four passes for 129 yards and three scores. Clemson has scored at least 40 points four times in ACC play this season and has a shot to make a BCS bowl if it wins its final three games.
Next Game: Maryland

3. North Carolina (6-3, 3-2 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Bye Week
The Tar Heels were off in Week 10, allowing them a little more time to celebrate last week’s 43-35 win over rival NC State. North Carolina should be favored to win its last three games – Georgia Tech, at Virginia and Maryland. However, the Tar Heels are ineligible to play in a bowl game, which has put a damper on a promising first season by new coach Larry Fedora.
Next Game: Georgia Tech

4. Miami (5-4, 4-2 ACC)
Last Week: 7
Week 10 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 30-12
The Hurricanes moved one step closer to an ACC Coastal title with a 30-12 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. Miami struggled to move the ball at times, but the defense forced three turnovers and blocked a punt to setup a scoring drive. Freshman running back Duke Johnson had a huge performance, rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown, while adding an 81-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. The Hurricanes have two more conference games remaining – at Virginia and at Duke – and wins in both contests would send this team to its first appearance in the ACC Championship game.
Next Game: at Virginia

5. Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week: 5
Week 10 Result: Lost to Miami 30-12
A season that began with a lot of promise has quickly eroded into a battle just to get bowl eligible. The Hokies came off the bye week with a chance to gain control of the Coastal Division but lost 30-12 to Miami on Thursday night. Quarterback Logan Thomas had a few bright moments (a 73-yard touchdown run), but the junior also tossed two picks and completed only 19 of 37 throws. In addition to Thomas’ inconsistency, the Hokies didn’t get much production from their running backs. Virginia Tech needs two wins to get bowl eligible and should be able to beat Boston College and Virginia in the last two weeks of the season. However, a 6-6 record would be a major disappointment in Blacksburg.
Next Game: Florida State (Thursday)

6. Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Lost to Clemson 56-20
The last two weeks have taken a toll on Duke’s defense. The Blue Devils gave up 48 points in a loss to Florida State and was gashed for 56 points by Clemson in Week 10. Duke’s offense was able to hang with the Tigers early on, but the Blue Devils simply didn’t have enough firepower to close the gap in the second half. Although Duke dropped to 3-3 in ACC play, the next two matchups – at Georgia Tech and Miami – will decide if this team can win the Coastal Division.
Next Game: Bye Week

7. NC State (5-4, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Lost to Virginia 33-6
The Wolfpack’s 33-6 loss to Virginia has to be one of the year’s most puzzling scores. NC State was a double-digit favorite to the Cavaliers, yet suffered an embarrassing loss. The Wolfpack managed only 216 yards on offense and surrendered 446 on defense. The loss to Virginia essentially knocks NC State out of the mix for the ACC Atlantic title and casts doubt on the future of coach Tom O’Brien. Although the Wolfpack are 22-13 over the last three years, there’s plenty of unrest in the fanbase. NC State will likely finish 7-5 but Saturday’s loss to Virginia won’t sit well at the end of the season.
Next Game: Wake Forest

8. Georgia Tech (4-5, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Beat Maryland 33-13
After an awful showing in last week’s 41-17 loss to BYU, the Yellow Jackets bounced back into the win column with a 33-13 victory over Maryland. Georgia Tech’s defense has struggled all year and the Terrapins’ 13 points was the fewest allowed against a FBS opponent. Of course, Maryland’s quarterback issues had something to do with the defensive performance but this should help the Yellow Jackets build some momentum for the next few games. Georgia Tech could make a bowl game but needs to win two out of its last three contests – at North Carolina, Duke and at Georgia.
Next Game: at North Carolina

9. Maryland (4-5, 2-3 ACC)
Last Week: 9
Week 10 Result: Lost to Georgia Tech 33-13
The Terrapins dropped their third game in a row, losing 33-13 to Maryland on Saturday. With the injuries mounting at quarterback, converted linebacker Shawn Petty made his first start. The freshman completed 9 of 18 attempts for 115 yards and two touchdowns but struggled to get into a rhythm in the first half. Maryland’s defense has had a good season but allowed nearly 400 rushing yards to Georgia Tech. The Terrapins’ bowl hopes are slipping away, as this team needs two wins in matchups against Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina to get eligible for the postseason.
Next Game: at Clemson

10. Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4 ACC)
Last Week: 10
Week 10 Result: Beat Boston College 28-14
The Demon Deacons moved one step closer to bowl eligibility with a 28-14 win over Boston College. Wake Forest’s passing attack was the difference in the game, with quarterback Tanner Price completing 39 of 57 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Michael Campanaro tied an ACC record with 16 receptions, with three catches going for scores. Wake Forest’s defense had a solid effort against the Eagles’ offense, recording three sacks and four turnovers. The Demon Deacons conclude ACC play with a game at NC State next Saturday.
Next Game: at NC State

11. Virginia (3-6, 1-4 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Beat NC State 33-6
The Cavaliers have been one of the ACC’s most disappointing teams so far this season but got a little redemption in Week 10. Virginia manhandled NC State 33-6 to snap a six-game losing streak and claim its first win in ACC play this year. The Cavaliers’ offense has struggled to find their rhythm all year but recorded over 400 yards and finally found a spark on the ground. Kevin Parks rushed for 115 yards and Perry Jones chipped in 67 on 11 carries. The defense also did its part on Saturday, forcing five turnovers and picking up five sacks. Virginia still has slim bowl hopes and needs to win its final three games to get to six victories.
Next Game: Miami

12. Boston College (2-7, 1-5 ACC)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Lost to Wake Forest 28-14
With Saturday’s 28-14 loss to Wake Forest, Boston College clinched back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1997-98. The Eagles trailed 21-7 at halftime but pulled within seven in the third quarter. However, Boston College could never get closer, largely due to four turnovers and an inability to find an answer for Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro. The Eagles could be looking at a 2-10 final record, especially with matchups against Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State remaining.
Next Game: Notre Dame

by Steven Lassan

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<p> ACC Post-Week 10 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-10-power-rankings

Kansas State’s march to an undefeated season continued with a 44-30 win over Oklahoma State. The Wildcats climbed to 9-0 with the victory and remain squarely in the hunt for the national championship. Quarterback Collin Klein continued his Heisman run but suffered an injury against the Cowboys. Oklahoma bounced back after last week’s loss to Notre Dame, while TCU upset West Virginia in overtime. Baylor recorded its first win in Big 12 play, and Texas knocked off Texas Tech 31-22. 

Post-Week 10 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Kansas State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Beat Oklahoma State 44-30
The Wildcats inched closer to an undefeated season with a 44-30 victory over Oklahoma State. The Cowboys managed to record 504 yards, but Kansas State’s defense forced five turnovers and held Oklahoma State to just three third-down conversions on 12 attempts. Although the Wildcats moved to 9-0, the win came at a price with quarterback Collin Klein suffering an undisclosed injury. Klein’s availability for next week’s game against TCU is uncertain.
Next Game: at TCU

2. Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1 Big 12)
Last Week: 2
Week 10 Result: Beat Iowa State 35-20
The Sooners erased the bad feelings from last week’s loss to Notre Dame with a 35-20 win over Iowa State. Quarterback Landry Jones tossed two picks but threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma’s defense also did its part in the victory, holding the Cyclones to 99 rushing yards and only 191 yards through the air. The Sooners remain in the hunt for the Big 12 title but need two losses by Kansas State to claim an outright championship.
Next Game: Baylor

3. Texas (7-2, 4-2 Big 12)
Last Week: 5
Week 10 Result: Beat Texas Tech 31-22
After struggling to beat Kansas, the 31-22 victory over Texas Tech was a much-needed result for Mack Brown and the Longhorns. Quarterback David Ash bounced back after an awful performance against the Jayhawks, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to Ash’s solid performance, the offense had plenty of help on the ground, led by true freshman Johnathan Gray (106 yards, 20 carries). Texas’ defense has struggled in recent weeks but held the Red Raiders to 441 yards – the second-lowest total allowed by the Longhorns in Big 12 play this year.
Next Game: Iowa State

4. Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 3
Week 10 Result: Lost to Texas 31-22
The Red Raiders dropped their second consecutive game, losing 31-22 to Texas on Saturday. Since scoring 49 points against West Virginia and 56 against TCU, Texas Tech has managed only 46 over its last two contests. Quarterback Seth Doege has at least 300 passing yards in four consecutive Big 12 games, but the defense has tailed off during the two-game losing streak. Injuries have played a part in the defensive struggles, but the Red Raiders are also only generating 1.2 sacks per game. Texas Tech hosts Kansas this Saturday.
Next Game: Kansas

5. TCU (6-3, 3-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 8
Week 10 Result: Beat West Virginia 39-38
Thanks to the play of freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin late in the fourth quarter, and a well-timed trick play, the Horned Frogs evened their Big 12 record to 3-3 this season. Boykin hit Josh Boyce for a 94-yard score with less than two minutes remaining to tie the game, while receiver Brandon Carter hit Corey Fuller on a 25-yard scoring pass in the second overtime to setup the game-winning two-point conversion. The win over the Mountaineers was crucial for TCU’s bowl hopes, especially with an upcoming schedule that features games against Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma.
Next Game: Kansas State

6. Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12)
Last Week: 6
Week 10 Result: Lost to Kansas State 44-30
The Cowboys had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 44-30 loss at Kansas State. Oklahoma State outgained the Wildcats but committed five turnovers and was just 3 of 12 on third downs. Quarterback Wes Lunt left due to a concussion, which forced Clint Chelf into his first major action of the season. The Cowboys had a chance to climb into Big 12 title discussion with a win over the Wildcats but are tied for third after eight games. Oklahoma State hosts former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia this week, before closing out the year with Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Next Game: West Virginia

7. West Virginia (5-3, 2-3 Big 12)
Last Week: 4
Week 10 Result: Lost to TCU 39-38
Even though West Virginia’s defense showed some small signs of improvement, it wasn’t enough for the Mountaineers to get back into the win column. West Virginia dropped its third consecutive game with a 39-38 defeat to TCU in double overtime. Quarterback Geno Smith threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns, but the offense hasn’t been the same since Stedman Bailey injured an ankle against Texas Tech. The Mountaineers take on Oklahoma State and Oklahoma the next two weeks, before finishing the year with Iowa State and Kansas.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State

8. Iowa State (5-4, 2-4 Big 12)
Last Week: 7
Week 10 Result: Lost to Oklahoma 35-20
The Cyclones hung tough against Oklahoma but it wasn’t enough to earn the victory. Iowa State’s offense stalled out after recording 557 yards against Baylor, and the defense struggled to contain the Sooners’ passing attack. Cyclones’ quarterback Steele Jantz threw for only 191 yards, and the rushing attack had only 99 overall yards. Iowa State needs one more win to get bowl eligible and plays Texas, Kansas and West Virginia to close out the 2012 season.
Next Game: at Texas

9. Baylor (4-4, 1-4 Big 12)
Last Week: 9
Week 10 Result: Beat Kansas 41-14
The Bears earned their first victory in Big 12 play with a 41-14 win over Kansas on Saturday. Quarterback Nick Florence leads the nation in total offense per game and gashed the Jayhawks for 367 passing yards and three scores. Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk had his best performance at Baylor, rushing for 103 yards and adding 91 yards and one touchdown on five receptions. The Bears need two more wins to get bowl eligible, which won’t be easy with remaining games against Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
Next Game: at Oklahoma

10. Kansas (1-8, 0-6 Big 12)
Last Week:
Week 10 Result: Lost to Baylor 41-14
The Jayhawks remained winless in Big 12 play with a 41-14 loss to Baylor on Saturday. The lone bright spot for this team has been the play of running back James Sims, as he recorded his fifth consecutive 100-yard game. Although Sims has been able to find plenty of room on the ground, the passing attack has been stuck in neutral. With upcoming matchups against Texas Tech, Iowa State and West Virginia, the possibility of a winless Big 12 season for the second year in a row is very likely.
Next Game: at Texas Tech

by Steven Lassan

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Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 04:57
All taxonomy terms: Cincinnati Bearcats, Big East, News
Path: /news/cincinnati-uses-nifty-trick-play-beat-syracuse

Trailing 10-7 early in the second quarter, Cincinnati reached into its bag of tricks to score the go-ahead touchdown against Syracuse. 

Running back George Winn took the handoff and appeared as if he was ready to run for the first down. However, Winn stopped and threw a short jump pass to tight end Travis Kelce, which caught the Syracuse defense off guard. Kelce rumbled for a 37-yard score, giving Cincinnati a 14-10 lead. The Bearcats held on for a 35-24 victory.

<p> Cincinnati Uses Nifty Trick Play to Beat Syracuse</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 19:10
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, SEC, News
Path: /news/auburns-daren-bates-uses-stiff-arm-destroy-new-mexico-state-defender

Auburn hasn't had much to cheer about this season. The Tigers are having a miserable year, and coach Gene Chizik is likely to be fired after the Iron Bowl matchup against Alabama.

Saturday's victory over New Mexico State was one of the few highlights from this year, as Auburn claimed a 42-7 victory. The Tigers' defense had a few big plays, including linebacker Daren Bates' 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The runback was impressive but check out the stiff arm Bates puts on New Mexico State's defender around the 20-yard line.

<p> Auburn's Daren Bates Uses Stiff Arm to Destroy New Mexico State Defender</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 19:00
All taxonomy terms: Michigan State Spartans, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/michigan-states-johnny-adams-flops-draw-penalty-against-nebraska

Saturday's Michigan State-Nebraska matchup was a huge contest to establish the pecking order in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers - with a little help from a generous pass interference call - pulled out a 28-24 victory against the Spartans.

While the refs may have helped Nebraska with a generous call for the game-winning touchdown, Michigan State's Johnny Adams attempted to get a little help from the officials late in the first half. Adams was battling with receiver Kenny Bell and had an epic flop to try and draw a 15-yard penalty. The refs didn't fall for Adams' flop but it's quite a humorous moment from Saturday's game.

<p> Michigan State's Johnny Adams Flops To Draw Penalty Against Nebraska</p>
Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 18:52
Path: /college-football/alabama-crimson-tide-vs-lsu-tigers-preview-and-prediction

Although the annual meeting between Alabama and LSU has lost a little bit of appeal, this is still one of 2012’s most-anticipated games. The Tigers’ loss to Florida in early October prevented these two teams from meeting as No. 1 versus No. 2 once again. However, there’s no question this game will have a significant impact on the national title race and should decide the champion of the SEC West. With LSU already having one loss, another defeat would knock it out of the national title chase. If Alabama loses, the Crimson Tide’s championship hopes would take a huge hit but are unlikely to fall outside of the top five in the BCS standings.

These two teams met twice last season, with LSU claiming a 9-6 victory in Tuscaloosa, and Alabama won the rematch 21-0 in the national title game. The Crimson Tide have won three out of the last five in this series, but the Tigers claimed back-to-back victories in 2010 and 2011. LSU holds an edge against Alabama in Baton Rouge recently, winning four of the last six matchups at Tiger Stadium.

In addition to the national title picture, there are plenty of other factors in play on Saturday night. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron could significantly improve his Heisman hopes with a strong performance against LSU, while the Tigers have revenge on their mind after a disappointing showing in the national title game last season.

Storylines to watch in Alabama vs. LSU

Which team can establish the run?
It’s a simple statement, yet will have a large impact on this game. LSU won the ground attack in last year’s first matchup, outgaining Alabama 148 to 96. And there’s not much separating these two teams in the stat column this year, as the Crimson Tide rank 22nd nationally in rushing offense (214.4 ypg) and the Tigers rank 25th (208.4 ypg). While both squads have been imposing their will with the ground attack, neither has allowed opposing teams to establish any rushing game. Alabama has not allowed an opponent to gain more than 100 yards on the ground this season, while LSU has allowed three – Towson, Florida and Texas A&M. Considering Alabama’s run defense ranks No. 1 nationally, and the Tigers have had to shuffle some personnel around their offensive line, the Crimson Tide should have an edge in the trenches. And the matchup between Alabama’s offensive line versus LSU’s defensive line is a must-see battle in terms of NFL talent. Expect a lot of three or four-yard gains early on, but both teams have to continue to run the ball to help set up the passing attacks.

AJ McCarron versus LSU’s secondary
The biggest advantage for Alabama in Saturday’s game is the play of quarterback AJ McCarron. The junior leads the nation in passing efficiency and has yet to throw an interception this season. McCarron threw for 199 yards and one interception in the first meeting between these two teams but exploited LSU’s secondary for 234 yards and 23 completions in the rematch. The Tigers don’t have Morris Claiborne or Tyrann Mathieu roaming in the secondary anymore but are allowing just 148.5 passing yards per game. Slowing McCarron and emerging star Amari Cooper at receiver isn’t just on LSU’s secondary, as the defensive line needs to get pressure to disrupt the passing attack. The Crimson Tide are allowing two sacks per game, while the Tigers are generating nearly three each contest (2.9). If McCarron has time to throw, he will have opportunities to take advantage of LSU’s youth at cornerback (freshmen Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins). The Tigers hope to counter with pressure to keep the junior quarterback from establishing a comfortable rhythm.

Can Zach Mettenberger get on track?
The biggest disappointment in LSU’s season has to be the play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The junior was expected to give the offense a much-needed boost, but the Tigers rank 12th in the SEC in passing offense. Mettenberger has been very average in SEC games, throwing for only 97 yards against Texas A&M and 158 in a loss to Florida. He hasn’t made many mistakes (four interceptions), however, Alabama will be his toughest test of the season. Mettenberger doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards every week, but he needs to step up and deliver strikes to the LSU receivers. Considering the Crimson Tide will load up the box to stop the run, the Tigers may need Mettenberger to connect on a few throws early on to loosen up the defense.

Special Teams
Special teams hurt Alabama in the first matchup last year. The Crimson Tide missed four field goals, while LSU kicker Drew Alleman connected on all three of his attempts. Punter Brad Wing also placed four punts inside of the 20 and hit a 73-yard bomb for the Tigers. Considering how much this area cost the Crimson Tide a shot at winning last November, it could play a huge role in deciding the outcome of this game. As they were last season, Alleman and Wing are performing at an All-SEC level for LSU. Alabama’s special teams are also having a strong season, as kicker Jeremy Shelley has connected on all nine of his attempts, and punter Cody Mandell is averaging 41.7 yards per punt. The Crimson Tide own a slight edge on kickoff returns, as Christion Jones has returned one touchdown for a score and is averaging 30.3 yards per return. Odell Beckham has a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown for LSU and is averaging 8.3 yards on 21 attempts. There’s not a huge advantage for either team in this department, but one error could prove very costly.

Turnover battle
As with any matchup between top-five teams, any mistake will play a huge factor in determining the outcome of this game. Both teams have been opportunistic in the turnover battle, with Alabama ranking second in turnover margin and LSU checking in ninth. The Crimson Tide has lost just six turnovers and has forced 23. Considering how difficult it will be move the ball against both defenses, a turnover and a short field for a score would be a huge opportunity.

Final Analysis

The Tigers should have some extra momentum with this game in Baton Rouge, but can they generate enough offense to win this game? Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has yet to prove he can hit key throws with the game on the line, and LSU won’t have an easy time establishing its rushing attack against the Crimson Tide defense. Alabama certainly won’t match its scoring average (40.6), but this offense has more balance than it did last season, especially as quarterback AJ McCarron continues to get more starts under his belt. Both defenses will play well and a low-scoring first half should be expected. However, thanks to McCarron’s steady play and the tough running of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, the Crimson Tide will pull away in the final two quarters to keep Alabama ranked No. 1 heading into next week.

Final Prediction: Alabama 27-13

by Steven Lassan

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<p> Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 07:18
Path: /college-football/nebraska-cornhuskers-vs-michigan-state-spartans-preview-and-prediction

With Nebraska’s 23-9 victory over Michigan last Saturday, the race to win the Big Ten Legends’ Division title is still a wide-open battle. The Cornhuskers own a slight lead in the division but a loss to Michigan State would bring Michigan back into the picture. The Spartans are 2-3 in Big Ten play, so they need some help to reclaim the top spot. However, if Michigan State can beat Nebraska, it should be favored to knock off Northwestern and Minnesota in its last two games.

These two teams have met only six times, but Nebraska has a commanding 6-0 lead in the series. The Cornhuskers won last season’s meeting 24-3 and claimed a 17-3 victory over the Spartans in the 2003 Alamo Bowl. This will only be the second meeting between Nebraska and Michigan State as Big Ten foes.

Storylines to Watch in Nebraska vs. Michigan State

Can Nebraska stop Le’Veon Bell?
Stopping the run has been the biggest problem for Nebraska’s defense this season. The Cornhuskers rank 82nd nationally against the run but that stat is slightly skewed by allowing 344 yards to UCLA and 371 yards to Ohio State. Against traditional running teams, Nebraska has fared much better in defending the run. The Cornhuskers held Wisconsin to 56 yards and Michigan to 95. This unit will face another tough test on Saturday, as Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell ranks 15th nationally with an average of 117.9 rushing yards per game. The junior has been held under 100 yards in the last two games but rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Boise State. Considering Michigan State has struggled to establish a consistent passing attack this year, expect Nebraska to load the box and try to takeaway Bell from the gameplan.

Taylor Martinez vs. Michigan State’s secondary
The matchup between Nebraska’s receiving corps and Michigan State’s secondary will be one of the most intriguing battles to watch in the Big Ten this Saturday. The Cornhuskers own the conference’s top receiving corps but will be facing a tough Michigan State secondary. Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard are two of the best cornerbacks in the Big Ten, but the Spartans could be without backup safeties RJ Williamson and Jairus Jones due to injury. Adding another element to this battle will be what happens in the trenches. Michigan State has surprisingly struggled to generate a pass this year, averaging just 1.2 sacks a game. The Cornhuskers are allowing two sacks per contest, which figures to be tested by ends William Gholston and Marcus Rush.

No Rex Burkhead?
Nebraska’s rushing attack has been without the services of Rex Burkhead for nearly all of the last two games and most of the season. The senior aggravated a knee injury against Northwestern and did not play against Michigan. Burkhead’s status for Saturday’s game is uncertain, but the Cornhuskers are in good shape if he is unable to play. Ameer Abdullah has thrived with more opportunities, rushing for 100 yards in back-to-back weeks and totaling 716 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Abdullah won’t have much running room available, especially considering Michigan State ranks seventh nationally against the run. Even if Burkhead can play, expect Abdullah to see the majority of carries, with quarterback Taylor Martinez also expected to have around 15 rushing attempts as well.

Andrew Maxwell…ready to emerge?
Was last week’s game a sign of things to come from Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell? The junior has struggled in his first season as a starter, throwing for 2,015 yards, nine touchdowns and completing just 55.9 percent of his throws. However, Maxwell led the offense on a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter and threw a 12-yard touchdown toss to Bennie Fowler to win in overtime. Nebraska has done a good job against the pass this season, allowing just 160.1 yards per game. If the Spartans want to get back into the Big Ten title picture, Maxwell has to pickup where he left off against Wisconsin and continue to build on that the rest of the year.

Final Analysis

While Nebraska-Michigan State may not register on the national radar like Alabama-LSU or USC-Oregon, this game should play a key role in deciding the Big Ten Legends’ Division. Michigan State has fought its way back into the race after beating Wisconsin last week, but the Spartans still have a lot of ground to make up. If the Cornhuskers can beat Michigan State, it’s hard to see a loss the rest of the way with Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa the remaining opponents. Expect this game to be decided on whichever team can establish its strength – Michigan State’s defense or Nebraska’s offense. Although the Spartans found some life on offense at the end of last week’s game, the Cornhuskers escape East Lansing with a victory.

Final Prediction: Nebraska 24-20  

by Steven Lassan

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<p> Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan State Spartans Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:10
Path: /college-football/oregon-ducks-vs-usc-trojans-preview-and-prediction

Before the season started, this Pac-12 matchup was targeted as a potential top-five showdown and a game that would have major national title implications. There’s still plenty on the line this Saturday but USC’s two losses have taken some of the appeal away from the matchup in Los Angeles.

The Trojans are out of the national championship picture but have an opportunity to play the role of spoiler. With matchups against Oregon and Notre Dame remaining, USC still has a chance to work itself into an at-large spot for a BCS bowl. Oregon ranked No. 4 in the latest release of the BCS standings and is only a few decimal points behind Notre Dame for third place. The Ducks have some work to do to catch Kansas State, but if they win out, Chip Kelly’s team should eventually take the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings. However, a loss to USC would knock Oregon out of the national title picture, especially with Kansas State likely to finish unbeaten.

Neither team has been able to gain a huge advantage in the overall series in recent years. USC snapped a two-game losing streak with a 38-35 victory in Eugene last season. The Ducks have lost two out of the last three games in Los Angeles, including a 44-10 defeat in 2008. USC owns a 38-18-2 edge in the overall series.

Storylines to watch in Oregon vs. USC

Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee vs. Oregon secondary
In last season’s matchup, Barkley torched the Ducks’ secondary for 323 yards and four touchdowns on 26 completions. And those numbers are even more impressive when you consider Robert Woods wasn’t 100 percent at the end of last year. With Woods back to full strength, and Marqise Lee coming off a huge performance against Arizona (16 catches, 345 yards), the Trojans will be the best passing attack Oregon has faced this year. The Ducks rank 45th nationally in pass defense and 13th in pass efficiency defense. Considering the style of play in the Pac-12, the numbers can be a bit deceiving. Oregon has allowed just 10 touchdown passes and held opponents to under 60 percent completion percentage. The Ducks have also intercepted 14 passes, taking four of those back for touchdowns. Cornerbacks Terrance Mitchell and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will have their hands full trying to slow down Woods and Lee, but they will also have plenty of help from the front seven. Oregon is averaging nearly three sacks a game (2.9) and faces a USC offensive line that has struggled at times. If the Ducks can get pressure on Barkley and not allow him to get comfortable in the pocket, the secondary should be able to prevent any big plays by the Trojans’ receivers.

USC’s run defense vs. Oregon’s rushing attack
Despite losing a couple of key contributors on the defensive line, USC’s rush defense has been solid this season. The Trojans have allowed only two teams to rush for more than 150 yards in a game and have given up just six touchdowns on the ground all year. Those statistics will be put to the test by Oregon’s offense, which is averaging 330.6 rushing yards per game. Kenjon Barner is the team’s workhorse, recording 974 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season. Sophomore De’Anthony Thomas is one of the nation’s most explosive players and is averaging 8.6 yards per carry. As if stopping those two players won’t be enough of a challenge for USC, quarterback Marcus Mariota has 378 yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2012. The Trojans did a good job of holding the Ducks’ rushing attack in check last season, allowing LaMichael James only 78 yards on 20 attempts, and De’Anthony Thomas had just three yards on three carries. It’s impossible to stop Oregon considering all of the weapons at its disposal. However, the Trojans have to limit the big plays by the Ducks’ trio, as well as hold them to field goals once they get into the redzone.

How will Marcus Mariota play on the road?
The Ducks’ redshirt freshman signal-caller has passed every test so far this year. Mariota has thrown for 1,483 yards and 18 touchdowns, while rushing for 378 yards and three scores. Although this is his first year as Oregon’s starter, he has thrown only five picks and has emerged as a team leader. Mariota’s road resume is limited, as the Ducks played Washington State at a neutral site (Seattle) and at Arizona State on Oct. 18. The redshirt freshman was off against the Cougars, completing 21 of 32 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown. He wasn’t needed for a big game against Arizona State and finished with just 46 passing yards and one score. Considering how easy Mariota has transitioned into the starting role, there’s little reason to believe he will struggle on Saturday night. Oregon’s receiving corps doesn’t have a true No. 1 standout, but there’s plenty of depth and options for the passing game to click. And if the redshirt freshman has an impressive performance, he should have a chance to vault himself into Heisman contention.

Penalties played a huge role in USC’s loss to Arizona last week and could factor into this game. The Trojans rank last in the nation with 10.3 penalties per game, while Oregon is committing 7.9 each contest. Although penalties aren't solely to blame for a loss, the yellow flags could stop a crucial drive or put one of these offenses in a third-and-long situation late in the game.

Can Silas Redd get on track for USC?
The passing offense is going to lead the way for the Trojans, but Lane Kiffin’s team needs to have more balance if it wants to win. After running for 155 yards against Washington and 158 yards versus California, Silas Redd has been a non-factor the last two weeks. Oregon ranks 39th nationally against the run and has allowed each of its last three opponents to record at least 150 yards. The Trojans won’t need Redd to have 175 yards, but the offense could benefit from more balance this week, especially as it looks to keep Oregon’s high-scoring offense off the field and give its defense some time to rest.

Final Analysis

There’s no question USC is disappointed to be 6-2. The Trojans expected to compete for a national championship and are instead just fighting to get into a BCS game. If Oregon can win on Saturday night, the road to an appearance in the national championship will likely hinge on the season finale against Oregon State. Expect this game to go back and forth and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team with the ball last pull out a close victory. Barkley, Lee and Woods will hit on a few big plays, but the Ducks eventually have too much firepower on offense and make a timely stop on defense to seal the victory.

Final Prediction: Oregon 45, USC 38

by Steven Lassan

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<p> Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:05
Path: /college-football/acc-week-10-preview-and-predictions

With only a couple of weeks of conference play remaining, it's crunch time for several teams in the ACC. Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and Duke are fighting it out for the Coastal Division title, while Florida State holds a one-game advantage over Clemson. Maryland and Wake Forest are trying to get bowl eligible, while NC State is trying to win eight games for the third consecutive season.

Other Week 10 Previews and Predictions

Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 10

Will the winner of Virginia Tech-Miami represent the Coastal in the ACC title game?
With North Carolina ineligible to win the Coastal Division, it’s essentially a three-team race between Duke, Virginia Tech and Miami. Georgia Tech can’t be counted out, but the Yellow Jackets have lost to the Hokies and Hurricanes and still have a trip to Chapel Hill in mid-November. Although the Blue Devils have been the best story in the ACC this year, they have to play Clemson this Saturday and close out the year with a home game against Miami. Considering the upcoming schedules for each team, it’s not out of the question the winner of Thursday night’s game will play for the Coastal title. Virginia Tech already has a win over Duke and even though it has to play Florida State next week, would be favored to beat Boston College and Virginia. If Miami wins on Thursday, it should be in good shape to win its last two ACC games – at Virginia and at Duke – while playing South Florida on Nov. 17. The balance of power clearly resides in the Atlantic with Florida State and Clemson. However, getting to the ACC Championship gives Miami or Virginia Tech at least a shot to make a BCS bowl, as well as erasing some of the memories from an average season.

Can Miami’s Stephen Morris exploit the Hokies’ secondary?
Virginia Tech’s defense has been a slight disappointment this season, ranking 48th nationally in points allowed and 49th with 370.5 yards allowed per game. While the defense hasn’t quite played up to preseason expectations, the secondary held North Carolina to only 194 passing and Clemson to 160. This unit will be tested on Thursday night, as Miami quarterback Stephen Morris ranks third in the ACC with an average of 276.8 passing yards per game. The Hurricanes don’t have a true No. 1 receiver, but there’s plenty of depth with Phillip Dorsett, Rashawn Scott, Davon Johnson and Allen Hurns all catching at least 20 passes this year. Morris suffered an ankle injury against North Carolina and had limited mobility against Florida State. However, all signs point to the junior being at full strength on Thursday night. With Miami’s defense struggling, the Hurricanes need to jump on Virginia Tech early, and Morris has to find ways to exploit the Hokies’ secondary. If Miami struggles to get its passing game on track, Virginia Tech will win this game and take command of the ACC Coastal.

Can Duke’s secondary slow down Clemson’s passing offense?
In last week’s win over Wake Forest, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had the best outing of his career, throwing for 428 yards and five scores. The Tigers have recorded at least 37 points in seven consecutive games and take on a Duke defense that allowed 48 points to Florida State last Saturday. The Blue Devils rank 81st nationally against the pass and has allowed each of their last three opponents to throw for two touchdown passes. After struggling to stop Florida State last week, Duke will have its hands full with Clemson’s offense, especially with receiver Sammy Watkins starting to find his rhythm after a slow start. Matching up against the Tigers’ receiving corps is no easy task but winning the battle in the secondary has to start in the trenches. Duke is averaging 2.1 sacks per game, while Clemson is surrendering 1.8 each contest. The Blue Devils need to disrupt Boyd’s timing, as well as win the turnover battle. Duke ranks second in the ACC with 19 forced turnovers, but the Tigers have lost just eight this season. It’s a tall task to keep Boyd, Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins in check. And the statistics suggest Duke will need a lot of breaks on Saturday night to knock off Clemson.

Is Tom O’Brien coaching for his job in the last four weeks of the season?
Last week’s 43-35 loss to North Carolina isn’t sitting well with the Wolfpack fanbase, and there are plenty of fans ready to send O’Brien packing at the end of the year. However, with a schedule that features Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College and Clemson, NC State should be able to finish 8-4. If the Wolfpack can get to that record, it will mark the third consecutive year they have finished with at least eight victories. O’Brien’s overall mark at NC State is 38-33 and has made three bowl appearances in his six years. Is it overly impressive? No. However, after going 16-21 through his first three years with the Wolfpack, this team has gone 22-12 from 2010 through the first eight games of the year. While O’Brien deserves heat for not elevating this program into ACC title contention, he shouldn’t be in any danger of losing his job if NC State finishes 8-4. The real test will come next season, as Mike Glennon departs and cornerback David Amerson is likely headed to the NFL Draft. An unexpected loss Boston College, Virginia or Wake Forest the rest of the way could change the direction of O’Brien’s future. But for now, it looks like he should be in no danger of losing his job after this year.

Is it time for Georgia Tech to switch quarterbacks?
Tevin Washington has made 25 consecutive starts for Georgia Tech but could be in danger of losing his job this week. Redshirt freshman Vad Lee has played well in limited action this season and led the Yellow Jackets to their only offensive points in last week’s game against BYU. Georgia Tech’s offense hasn’t been awful this season, as it ranks fourth nationally in rushing, 30th in total yardage and 28th in scoring offense. However, the Yellow Jackets are looking for a spark and giving Lee a chance to play more isn’t a bad idea. Washington hasn’t been awful throughout his career but has struggled to find consistency as a passer. The quarterback spot isn’t completely to blame for this offense, as the receiving corps doesn’t have any playmakers, and the defense has put a lot of pressure on the Yellow Jackets to score nearly every time they touch the ball. Georgia Tech needs three wins to get bowl eligible but will likely need to upset North Carolina or Georgia to get to 6-6. Considering all of the issues on the roster, inserting Lee into the lineup may not make a huge difference. However, the Yellow Jackets need a spark and giving the redshirt freshman a chance to play makes a lot of sense.

Can Maryland generate any offense with a new quarterback?
It seems like a broken record, but once again, Maryland will have a new starting quarterback this week. With Caleb Rowe suffering a torn ACL against Boston College, the Terrapins are down to converted linebacker Shawn Petty and former tight end Brian McMahon. This will be the third consecutive week Maryland will have a new quarterback under center, and it’s starting to take a toll on the offense. Considering Petty ran an option scheme in high school and has yet to throw a pass in live action this year, the Terrapins need to allow him to have a healthy dose of designed runs early and often in this game. Additionally, coordinator Mike Locksley has to find a way to get the ball in the hands of receiver Stefon Diggs. The true freshman is the team’s best playmaker and caught 11 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown in last week’s game. Although coach Randy Edsall doesn’t want to use Diggs at quarterback, he needs to touch the ball at least 20 times to give the Terrapins a chance to win. In addition to getting the ball to Diggs, the offense has to establish the run (115th nationally), as well as win the turnover battle. With a solid defense, being conservative in third-and-long situations and punting the ball away is not a bad formula for Maryland to use this week.

Must-win for Wake Forest?
The Demon Deacons are on the verge of making their sixth bowl game under coach Jim Grobe. However, if Wake Forest wants to return to the postseason, beating Boston College on Saturday is a must. The Demon Deacons don’t have much margin for error with NC State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt in the final three games of the year. With injuries taking its toll on the Wake Forest offensive line, a matchup against Boston College’s defense should be a relief. The Eagles are allowing 248 rushing yards per game and rank 11th in the ACC in scoring and total defense. Receiver Michael Campanaro returned to the lineup in last week’s loss against Clemson and caught six passes for 52 yards. The junior isn’t 100 percent in his recovery from a hand injury, but his presence will help open up the Wake Forest passing game. After struggling to matchup against Clemson’s receiving corps last week, the Demon Deacons should find Boston College’s offense easier to defend.

Can Virginia’s offense get on track?
A bye week late in the season is usually not a coach’s favorite decision, but it could pay dividends for Virginia. The Cavaliers have struggled to find the right mix on offense all season, averaging just 21.5 points a game. Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco have shared the quarterback duties, while the rushing attack has yet to get on track. With an off week to sort through some of the problems, the Cavaliers hope they have found some answers for the last four games of the season. Virginia still has bowl aspirations, but going 4-0 with a schedule that features games against NC State, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech is unlikely. While the Cavaliers will struggle to get to six wins, it’s more important for this team to find the right pieces on offense and build some momentum for 2013.

Can Boston College build off last week’s victory?
Last week’s 20-17 win over Maryland was a small glimmer of hope for a Boston College team that has struggled mightily this year. The Eagles are 2-6 and have just one win over a FBS team. With a schedule that features Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State, getting to six wins and a bowl is very unlikely. However, this team has a chance to build some momentum over the final few weeks, starting with a matchup against Wake Forest this Saturday. Boston College lost 27-19 to the Demon Deacons last season but won 23-13 in 2010. Wake Forest needs to win this game to keep its bowl hopes alive, making this matchup will be a crucial game for both teams in terms of positioning within the conference. Both teams rank near the bottom of the ACC in scoring offense, so points will be at a premium on Saturday afternoon.

Week 10 ACC Predictions

Week 10 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
Virginia Tech at Miami Miami 35-28 Va. Tech31-24 Va. Tech 31-27 Miami 24-21
Georgia Tech at Maryland Ga. Tech 38-14 Ga. Tech 27-24 Ga. Tech 27-17 GT 20-10
Virginia at NC State NC State 21-10 NC State 30-14 NC State 31-17 NC State 35-14
Boston College at Wake Forest Wake 24-17 Wake 24-20 Wake 24-20 Wake 21-20
Clemson at Duke Clemson 42-31 Clemson 42-20 Clemson 45-24 Clemson 34-21
Last Week: 4-1 3-2 2-3 4-1
Season Record: 56-14 54-16 51-19 58-12

by Steven Lassan

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<p> ACC Week 10 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:03
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-10-upset-predictions

The 2012 college football season is entering its final full month of action. There's plenty of twists and turns still to come in the road to the national championship and there could be a few top-25 teams that fall this Saturday. Check out Athlon's upset picks for Week 10:

College Football's Week 10 Upset Predictions

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Ole Miss (+14) at Georgia
Georgia is a two touchdown favorite against Ole Miss after defeating Florida by 12 on a neutral field. That’s fair. Yet I don’t have much reason to trust Georgia this season. Just look at the the last month or so: Georgia won a shootout with Tennessee, lost by 28 to South Carolina, squeaked by Kentucky, then overcame three Aaron Murray interceptions against Florida only because the Gators coughed up six turnovers of their own. Even after a 30-27 win over Arkansas last week, Ole Miss is going to need to overcome Jarvis Jones but this is a dangerous game for a far-from perfect Georgia team coming off the high of defeating Florida. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): Washington (+4) at California
The Huskies and Golden Bears have been two of the hardest teams to figure out in the Pac-12 this season. California deserves some slack for playing a difficult schedule, but this team has been inconsistent, as evidenced by the 49-27 loss to Utah last week. Washington has struggled away from Seattle, losing 41-3 to LSU, 52-21 to Oregon and 52-17 to Arizona. Both teams are fighting for bowl eligibility, with California in worse shape at 3-6. The Huskies could win their final four games, especially considering the schedule features matchups against California, Utah, Colorado and Washington State. Not only is this week’s matchup with the Golden Bears about bowl eligibility, there’s also plenty of familiarity between these two teams. Washington hired defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi and offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau away from California in the offseason. Even though the Huskies have struggled to win on the road, I think they get the victory on Friday night. California could be without receiver Keenan Allen, and you have to wonder about this team with the rumor mill churning about Jeff Tedford’s future uncertain. If Allen is out, it’s a huge loss for the Golden Bears and one that could be just enough to swing the balance of power in favor of the Huskies to take home a close victory. 

Mark Ross: UAB (+3) over Southern Miss
Let's not kid ourselves here, neither team is very good as UAB and Southern Miss have combined to win a grand total of one game. That lone victory by UAB came against Southeastern Louisiana, an FCS school. However, that will change this Saturday in Hattiesburg, Miss., as either the Blazers will double their win total or the Golden Eagles will finally get first-year head coach Ellis Johnson into the win column. Unfortunately for coach Johnson and the Eagles, I think the losing streak continues as the Blazers have too much offense for them to overcome. UAB is averaging 422 yards of offense per game, good for 51st in the nation, while Southern Miss comes in at No. 104 with only 322.6 yards per game. That's a difference of nearly 100 yards. Both defenses have struggled to stop opponents on offense, and even though the Golden Eagles have fared better in this category (431.5 ypg compared to 461.1 for UAB), I just don't think they will be able to solve their offensive issues in this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see Southern Miss score considerably more than the 19.3 points per game it is averaging, but likewise I also expect UAB to pile up the points since the Golden Eagles are allowing nearly 40 per contest. If you like offense, this game should feature plenty, just don't expect it to end in a Southern Miss victory.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Mississippi State (+6.5) vs. Texas A&M
The Bulldogs are coming off their first loss of the season, a 38-7 spanking at No. 1 Alabama. The Aggies had a drastically different result in the Yellowhammer State last week, crushing Auburn by a 63-21 mark. So will Johnny Manziel, the SEC’s newest sensation, lead Texas A&M’s offense to big points and a win at Mississippi State? I’m not so sure. Dan Mullen’s crew is pretty tough to beat in Starkville, and the Bulldogs should use a raucous home crowd and an advantage in turnover margin to their favor. MSU does not give the ball away very often, and the Aggies defense does not tend to take it away. And if the Bulldogs can ride LaDarius Perkins (5.4 YPC and eight TDs) and an efficient Tyler Russell (15 TD passes and two INTs) into winning the time of possession, they can keep “Johnny Football” and the high-octane Aggies off the field. In their first matchup since the 2000 Independence Bowl (a 43-41 Bulldogs victory during a rare Louisiana snowstorm), I’ll take the “Bell” over the “Yell” at Davis Wade Stadium.

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<p> College Football Week 10 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:50
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-10-start-or-sit-report

Depending on your league format, Week 10 is either the final week or second-to-last week in your regular season.  If you are still fighting for a playoff spot, each roster decision you make could determine your playoff fate.  Once again, we’ve tried to identify as many on-the-fence players as we could to help with some of the tougher roster decisions.  As always, if you have any start/bench questions or need additional insight on roster decisions, please reach out to us via emailor twitter.


James Sims, RB-Kansas at Baylor

Sims has carried the ball at least 27 times and rushed for over 100 yards in each of the past four games.  This week, that streak should continue when he faces a Baylor defense giving up 194.1 rushing yards per game.


Damon Bullock, RB-Iowa at Indiana

Fullback Mark Weisman is doubtful to play this week against Indiana, which leaves Bullock to carry the load against a defense giving up 222.5 rushing yards per game.


Alex Singleton, RB-Tulsa at Arkansas

The Razorbacks are ranked 31st in the nation against the run, giving up a respectable 123 rushing yards per game.  However, they are giving up 30.9 points per game and have given up more rushing touchdowns than any of the 35-best run defenses in the country.

Storm Woods, RB-Oregon St vs Arizona St

Look for Woods to get a lot of work against a defense giving up 173.6 rushing yards per game.  In fact, the Arizona State defense is allowing an average of 43.3 rushing attempts per game, the 16th-highest rate in the FBS.

Eric Monette, WR-Western Michigan at Central Michigan

Last week, we identified Josh Schaffer as the favorite target of quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen, but with fellow receiver Jamie Wilson sidelined with a groin injury, Monette has posted two consecutive eight-catch games. 

Justin Hunter, WR-Tennessee vs Troy

We’ve suggested benching Hunter the past two weeks against Alabama and South Carolina, but we are inserting him into a starters role this week against Troy, especially since all four of his touchdowns this season have been scored against non-BCS schools.

Jalen Saunders, WR-Oklahoma at Iowa St

It is nearly impossible to suggest sitting Saunders after he caught 15 passes last week, especially when his offense may be without its best running back (Damien Williams) against Iowa State.

Ryan Grant, WR-Tulane vs Rice

Grant’s success has a lot to do with the return of Ryan Griffin at quarterback.  Over the past two weeks, the junior receiver has caught 12 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.


Taylor Martinez, QB-Nebraska at Michigan St

Martinez is having the best passing season of his three-year career in Lincoln, but his fantasy value is minimized if his ability to run the football is neutralized.  The Spartans have the seventh-best rushing defense in the country and we expect they will force Martinez to beat them with his arm instead of his legs.

Ray Graham, RB at Notre Dame

We were just about ready to write off Graham until he had his most productive week of the season last Saturday.  Not only does he lose carries to the freshman running back Rushel Shell, but he’ll go up against the nation’s eighth-best rushing defense in Week 10.

Adam Muema, RB-San Diego St at Boise St

After scoring a touchdown in each of the first seven weeks of the 2012 season, Muema faces the possibility of going scoreless for a third consecutive game.  The odds are certainly against him this week when he faces a Boise State defense that gives up less than 14 points per game.

Kendial Lawrence, RB-Missouri at Florida

In Missouri’s four wins this season, Lawrence has rushed for 395 yards and seven touchdowns.  In four losses, the senior running back has only mustered 237 yards and has been held out of the end zone.  Simple math tells us that we’re looking at a 60-yard day on the road in The Swamp this Saturday.

Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon, RBs-Alabama at LSU

Lacy and Yeldon will go up against a LSU defense that is giving up less than 100 yards per game.  Even if the two backs combine for 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns, they will most likely split that production.

Taylor Kelly, QB-Arizona St at Oregon St

Besides the game against Oregon a couple of weeks ago, Kelly has thrown for 15 touchdowns in his other four PAC-12 contests.  This week, the Sun Devils travel to Oregon State, a team that is allowing 260.7 passing yards per game.  However, the Beavers have only allowed seven passing touchdowns this season, tied for ninth-best in the FBS.

by Joe DiSalvo,

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to:  [email protected]

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 10 Start or Sit Report</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:42
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-10-emergency-starters

We have identified a few players that may be floating around in your league’s waiver pool that have favorable Week 10 matchups.  If a fantasy league playoff berth is at stake, take a look at a few alternative options in this week’s Emergency Starters.


Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)


Ryan Griffin, Tulane vs Rice

Matt McGloin, Penn St @ Purdue

Austin Brown, UAB at at Southern Miss

Trent Steelman, ARMY vs Air Force

Running Backs

Dareyon Chance, Western Michigan at Central Michigan

Wes Cobb, Air Force @ Army

Monterrell Washington, ULM vs Louisiana

Vantavious Cooper, ECU vs Houston

Theo Riddick, Notre Dame vs Pitt


LaDarius Brown, TCU @ West Virginia

William Dukes, FAU @ Navy

Lanear Sampson, BAY vs Kansas

Shaquelle Evans, UCLA vs Arizona


For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email to[email protected]


Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)


Shane Carden, ECU vs Houston

Ryan Griffin, Tulane vs Rice

Keenan Reynolds, Navy vs FAU

Running Backs

Damon Bullock, Iowa at Indiana

Latavius Murray, UCF vs SMU

Darrin Reaves, UAB at USM



Emory Blake, Auburn vs New Mexico St

Ryan Grant, Tulane vs Rice

Lanear Sampson, Baylor vs Kansas

<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 10 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 04:21
Path: /college-football/arizona-arizona-state-ucla-or-usc-which-team-wins-pac-12-south

The Pac-12 South was expected to be a one-team race in the preseason. USC was a heavy favorite in August but already has two losses in Pac-12 play. The Trojans, UCLA and Arizona State all have two losses within the conference and Arizona isn't far behind with a 2-3 record. 

Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA or USC: Which Team Wins the Pac-12 South?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
Shockingly, this may be Arizona’s to lose. USC’s third conference loss may come against Oregon this week, which would tie the Trojans with the Wildcats in the loss column. Arizona finishes with UCLA in the Rose Bowl, Colorado, Utah on the road and Arizona State. The Wildcats have proven then can defeat teams better than their final four opponents, even when their starting quarterback spent the final minutes being tested for a concussion. Arizona’s surge has been weeks in the making, starting with going toe-to-toe with Stanford in a wild 54-48 overtime loss on the road. Then, Arizona overwhelmed Washington’s improved defense 55-17 before completing the statement against USC last week. Certainly, Arizona is vulnerable against UCLA, Arizona State and perhaps Utah, particularly against the run. But I’m starting to believe more in Arizona than a USC team that may get trounced by Oregon this week. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
This race got a lot more interesting with Arizona's win over USC this weekend didn't it? The Trojans have to be considered the favorites still, however, as a 2-1 record the rest of the way likely gives them the Division Crown. UCLA hosts Arizona — whose margin for error is slim and none — this weekend, and a Bruins win over the Cats would give Rich Rodriguez a fourth Pac-12 loss. Meanwhile, Arizona State's schedule is clearly the toughest of the bunch with three nasty road trips in the final four games and a second straight upset over the Men of Troy is highly unlikely considering how ASU has played of late. That leaves USC's game UCLA left to determine who gets sacrificed to Oregon on December 1. The Trojans were 50 points better than the Bruins last fall and UCLA hasn't closed the gap enough. So while a 6-3 Pac-12 mark and potential 8-4 overall record isn't exactly what USC fans were hoping for this fall, it could still be could enough to give them a shot at the Rose Bowl.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
With USC’s loss to Arizona, the battle to win the Pac-12 South is wide open. The Trojans were a heavy favorite to win this conference in the preseason but have suffered two disappointing road losses. After looking at the remaining schedules, I believe this race won’t be settled until the final weekend. The Wildcats are at a bit of a disadvantage with three conference losses, while USC, Arizona State and UCLA each have two. The Trojans will likely lose to Oregon and should be favored to beat Arizona State and UCLA to close out the Pac-12 portion of their schedule. Arizona is in good shape, but the Wildcats have to go on the road to play UCLA and being one-game behind the rest of the pack could be too much to overcome. Arizona State seems to have the toughest path to the title, especially with road trips against Oregon State, USC and Arizona remaining. UCLA has a favorable schedule and will have opportunities to beat Arizona and USC in the Rose Bowl. Even though USC has been a major disappointment, I think the Trojans finish Pac-12 play at 6-3, which is just enough to edge UCLA and Arizona for first place in the South (and the right to lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game).

Mark Ross: 
I think it's pretty safe to remove Colorado and Utah from the discussion right away, so that leaves the two Los Angeles schools and the two Arizona schools. There are still plenty of games to be played, but I can't help but look at the Nov. 23 match up between Arizona State and Arizona and think this game will decide the Pac-12 South winner. Arizona already holds the tiebreaker over USC thanks to last week's win and still has the aforementioned Buffaloes and Utes on the schedule. If the Wildcats can beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, they are looking at a 5-3 mark headed into their game against the Sun Devils. Arizona State has to take on Oregon State and USC on the road these next two Saturdays, but as long as they split those games and beat Washington State, the Sun Devils will have an identical 5-3 conference mark entering that Thanksgiving Friday showdown in Tuscon. The Trojans and Bruins still have a say in this, but one is going to essentially take the other out of the running when they face off on Nov. 17. And don't forget that USC plays Oregon this Saturday, while UCLA ends its regular season against Stanford. Call me a sucker for symmetry, but I just like the way this appears to be shaping up for the two Arizona schools. Besides what better way to decide a division title than a head-to-head desert duel on the Friday after Thanksgiving? And if this match up does in fact occur under the circumstances I have outlined? I like Rich Rodriguez in his first season at Arizona to lead his Wildcats to the Pac-12 title game by beating their arch rivals in front of a raucous home crowd.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
While three South teams — USC, UCLA and Arizona State — only have two league losses, I’m going with the Arizona Wildcats despite a 2-3 Pac-12 record. Rich Rodriguez has rallied the team after three straight losses earlier this year, and I think Arizona wins out while also owning the tiebreaker over preseason favorite USC. As long as intrepid quarterback Matt Scott is healthy, the Wildcats should be able to win high-scoring contests against the Bruins and Sun Devils. The Trojans have to deal with undefeated Oregon this week, while UCLA and ASU still have to play USC as well as the Wildcats. It should be a fun race until the end, and I’ll go with the dynamic duo of Scott and Ka’Deem Carey to lead Arizona to the league title game.

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<p> Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA or USC: Which Team Wins the Pac-12 South?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/kansas-state-oregon-or-notre-dame-which-team-has-best-chance-beat-alabama

All signs point to Alabama cruising to another appearance in the national title game. The Crimson Tide have dominated all of their opponents so far this year but get their toughest test of 2012 against LSU this Saturday. While Alabama appears to be the clear No. 1 team, it's too early to guarantee another national title. Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Georgia and LSU are the top contenders but will any of those teams have enough to dethrone Alabama at No. 1 at the end of the year? 

Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame or another team from the SEC: Can anyone beat Alabama?

Coach Terry Donahue, former head coach of the UCLA Bruins, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I think that Oregon would have the best chance to beat Alabama. I have not seen a team in the last thirty years that can run offense like Oregon.  Also, Oregon's Coach Kelly has said this is the best defense that he has had while coaching in Eugene.

Coach Gene Stallings, former head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
If I had to pick one of those three teams (Notre Dame, Kansas State or Oregon) to beat Alabama, it would be Notre Dame.  I think they are the only one of those three teams that is physically strong enough to play against Alabama and beat them. I don't think Oregon could slow down Alabama when they have the ball.

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
The team with the best chance to knock off Alabama is a team the Crimson Tide may not face: Kansas State. The Wildcats are the only team that can match Nick Saban’s trademark preparation, intensity and attention to detail. The Wildcats won’t match Alabama in talent level, but Kansas State is sound in offense, defense and special teams. Now, I don’t know how Collin Klein would handle the physical Alabama defense, but I’d cast by lot with Klein against the Tide over a freshman quarterback at Oregon, the two-QB system at Notre Dame and Zach Mettenberger. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that Oregon is the second best team in the nation. Does that mean they are best constructed to defeat the Crimson Tide in a one-game situation with the championship on the line? No. Notre Dame, Kansas State and Florida are the three teams best built to defeat the massive front line and offensive balance that Alabama boasts. Notre Dame still has a question mark at QB that Nick Saban would exploit. Kansas State is a special story with two special leaders but isn't nearly talented enough anywhere on the roster to topple Bama. For my money, the Gators are the team best built to compete with the Tide in the trenches on defense and are physical enough along the offensive line to run the football. Unfortunately, there is a good shot the Gators and Tide won't face each other this fall. Oregon will get and deserves the right to play in the national title game but being equipped to slow down the massive Alabama running game is an entirely different issue.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I don’t see any team beating Alabama this year, but I think Oregon has the best chance to knock the Crimson Tide from the No. 1 spot in the national title game. Notre Dame’s defense would give Alabama’s offense fits, but I don’t think the Fighting Irish would be able to generate many points on the Crimson Tide defense. Kansas State doesn’t beat itself, but getting Collin Klein on track against Alabama seems unlikely. LSU and Georgia won’t be easy outs, but the Tigers have struggled to generate anything on offense all year, while the Bulldogs’ offensive line would be a mismatch against the Crimson Tide’s front seven. The Ducks seem to be in the best position to challenge Alabama this year, as Chip Kelly has assembled a team complete with depth, speed and talent. Oregon’s offense can beat you in many ways, and quarterback Marcus Mariota is only going to get better. Although the defense may not rank statistically as high as Alabama’s, the Ducks are allowing 4.5 yards per play – equal to Notre Dame and South Carolina. It’s going to be hard for any team to knock off the Crimson Tide, but with a dangerous offense and a defense that’s better than the stats might indicate, Oregon would be the best matchup. Chip Kelly vs. Nick Saban. De’Anthony Thomas vs. Alabama’s defense. Talk about a heck of a (potential) matchup in Miami for the national title. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
I think it still has to be LSU. The Tigers have been a bit underwhelming so far this season — their three SEC wins have come by a combined nine points — but we can’t forget this team still has an elite defense and an outstanding rushing game. Alabama has been extremely impressive and no doubt deserves its No. 1 ranking, but the Crimson Tide have yet to face a great defense in 2012. I have supreme confidence in AJ McCarron, Eddie Lacy and Co., but moving the ball and scoring points against teams like Michigan and Mississippi State is one thing. Doing it against LSU, at night in Tiger Stadium, is a different animal. My pick to win this game is still Alabama, but I believe LSU has to considered the biggest threat to knock off the defending champs.

Mark Ross: 
I'm guessing most of my colleagues are viewing this question in light of who Alabama will play in the BCS National Championship Game. I, however, am not convinced that the Crimson Tide won't fall before we get to that point. I'm not saying LSU will be the one to beat 'Bama this Saturday, but I'm not ready to crown Nick Saban's team as SEC champs just yet either. As it stands now, Alabama and Georgia appear to be on a collision course to play in Atlanta in December. Both still have business to attend to, but if this match up is the end result, I think the Bulldogs have the necessary ingredients - namely a physical, athletic defense that can make big plays and a veteran quarterback leading an offense that can run and pass - to beat the Crimson Tide. That said, it still will probably require a near-flawless effort on Georgia's part, and probably a lucky bounce here or there, to do so. Since discipline is not necessarily a hallmark of Mark Richt's teams, I will agree with my colleagues who say the toughest opponent Alabama will face will be in the title game in Miami Gardens in January. As good as Kansas State and Notre Dame have looked thus far, I think Oregon offers the best opponent for Alabama in that the Ducks have the same ingredients I outlined earlier and they are probably one of the few teams in the nation whose offense could provide a challenge for the Tide's defense. I for one would love to see Chip Kelly and Saban square off mano a mano to determine this season's national champion.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
The answer to this question is probably Oregon (if the Ducks make it) in the BCS Championship, but since we do not know if that game will happen, I’ll go with LSU in this weekend’s top matchup. The Tigers have the defense to lead LSU to another low-scoring victory like the one last year in Tuscaloosa, although the offense will needs its best effort by far just to even the time of possession. The Tigers offensive line has been rifled with key injuries this season, so it’s difficult to see LSU doing much on offense. However if Zach Mettenberger and the running game can make a few plays and keep it close until the fourth quarter, then the Death Valley crowd might work some of its famous voodoo. I’m not predicting Les Miles’ bunch to win this weekend, but the Tigers have the speed and physical potential to upset the Tide.

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<p> Kansas State, Oregon, LSU, Georgia or Notre Dame: Which Team Has the Best Chance to Beat Alabama?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:03
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Texas Longhorns, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/should-texas-replace-mack-brown-end-2012-season

Even though Texas won 21-17 in last Saturday's game against Kansas, the victory isn't sitting well with many folks in Austin. Struggling to beat the worst team in the conference is never a good sign, and the Longhorns don't seem to be much better from last season's 8-5 squad. Mack Brown has had a successful stint as Texas' head coach, but is it time for a coaching change?

Is it time for Texas to make a coaching change?

David Fox (@DavidFox615):
No question, Texas is not where it used to be. The Longhorns aren’t where they should be by any means, either. That said, it’s almost a surprise to look at the standings and see Texas at 6-2. Seems like the record should be much worse -- that’s because the Oklahoma rout felt like two losses, and a 21-17 win over Kansas may as well be a loss. But in the end, Texas is poised for a second consecutive eight-win season or better after going 5-7 two years ago. That three-year span gets coaches fired at Michigan and Florida, and perhaps it should at Texas under normal circumstances. But Mack Brown has too much credibility built up with nine consecutive 10-win seasons and two national title game appearances. And don’t forget: Parting ways with the coach is the easy part. Just ask Tennessee or Florida State. 

Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
Before last weekend I would have laughed at this question. But inching past Kansas in extremely unimpressive fashion has raised my eyebrows. Mack Brown has never burnt the midnight oil drawing up game plans to out-scheme the other guy. He has never been an ultra gameday motivator. His value lies in his Gubernatorial talents as CEO of the nation's largest football program and working the "rubber chicken circuit" — aka boosters, recruit’s homes, high school banquets, etc. Most football coaches should be able to win at a place like Texas, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Longhorns should never lose to Kansas. Brown has earned plenty of equity with two national title appearances since 2005. And with Texas Tech, Iowa State and TCU up next on the schedule, his team should be much closer to 9-2 than, say, Auburn's 1-7. I am okay with Brown getting another year in Austin (if he wants it)...unless Art Briles is interested in moving 100 miles down I-35 South.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
I don’t think Mack Brown is in any danger of losing his job this season, but there’s no question the pressure is starting to build. It’s never easy for any program to stay on top forever, but since recording nine consecutive seasons of at least 10 victories from 2001-09, the Longhorns are just 19-14 over the last three years. Revamping the staff gave Texas an initial bump last season, but the defense has regressed, and the quarterback position is still a question mark. Brown is the perfect CEO for this program and continues to reel in top-five recruiting classes. So where has Texas gone wrong? The Big 12 has gotten better, but the talent hasn’t developed as quickly as most expected. In the three seasons prior to his arrival, the Longhorns were 22-14 and struggled to find consistency in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Texas is college football’s premier job, so there should be high expectations every year. Considering what Brown has done, he deserves another year to get this team back in the mix for a BCS title. And it’s also hard to envision Brown getting fired at the end of 2012 or 2013. Maybe he steps down to take an athletic department position or retires, but I don’t see Mack Brown ever getting fired from Texas. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
I would hate to see Mack Brown fired — the man has done too many great things at Texas — but it might be time for a change at Texas. The Longhorns showed signs of progress in 2011 but have since reverted back to ’10 form. Their last four games have been especially alarming —  losses to West Virginia (48–45) in Oklahoma (63–21) and wins vs. Baylor (56–50) and Kansas (21–17). Brown has pointed to his team’s youth, but being “too young” should never be an acceptable excuse at a school like Texas. The roster should always be stocked with talent in every class. It might be unrealistic to expect Texas to compete for a national title every season, but it’s not asking too much for this program to be nationally relevant. And that has not been the case since Colt McCoy went down with an injury in the 2009 national title game.

Mark Ross: 
As they say, everything's bigger in Texas, especially when it comes to expectations surrounding the football team. As bad as the back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma have looked, especially the 63-21 beatdown by the Sooners, this Texas team will still probably finish with no fewer than eight wins, and has a chance to make some noise late and get back into the BCS conversation. The Longhorns will have to take care of business, but if they go 4-0 the rest of the way, which would include a win over Kansas State, who is currently undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS standings, that would bring their record to 10-2. However, considering the defense's consistent struggles this season, another loss or two before the bowl season seems a little more realistic. Still, an eight- or nine-win season is something most programs would gladly take, and even though this is Texas, where they eat, drink and breathe football, I see no reason to make a coaching change. That is, unless Mack Brown is the one making the decision to step down. I think he's at least earned that right having won more than 140 games in his 15 seasons in Austin. Do Longhorn fans really think there's someone out there, who would take the job if offered, that would be better for the program, as a whole, than Brown? I don't.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
I think the UT program has been inexcusably average for the last three seasons, but the Longhorns still have a shot at a double-digit win total this year. The Texas offense was horrid in 2010-11 but has improved this season; however, a talented defense has suddenly become a sieve under Manny Diaz in 2012. There were high hopes in Austin coming into this season, after the Longhorns totaled just 13 wins over the last two years. It has not been pretty — especially a 63-21 loss against Oklahoma — but Texas is still 6-2. If Mack Brown can get to 9-10 victories, he should be allowed to fix the recent slippage in a program that has every resource imaginable. If the Horns falter late by losing three or four more, a change may be needed.

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<p> Should Texas Replace Mack Brown at the end of the 2012 season?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-10-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 10

Best Fantasy Matchups(Games with the most fantasy potential)

Kansas at Baylor

Line:  Baylor -17(O/U-71)

Projected score based on point spread:  Baylor 44-27

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, WR-Terrance Williams)

Kansas (RB-James Sims)

Also consider:

Baylor (RB-Jared Salubi, WRs-Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson)

Kansas (RB-Tony Pierson)

theCFFsite projects:  Baylor 42-28


TCU at West Virginia

Line:  West Virginia -7(O/U-68)

Projected score based on point spread:  West Virginia 38-30

Best plays:

TCU (QB-Trevone Boykin*-inj, WRs-Josh Boyce, LaDarius Brown)

West Virginia (QB-Geno Smith, WRs-Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey)

Also consider:

TCU (RBs-BJ Catalon, Matthew Tucker, K-Jaden Oberkrom)

West Virginia (RB-Andrew Buie)

theCFFsite projects:  West Virginia 42-28


Houston at East Carolina

Line:  Houston -3.5(O/U-67)

Projected score based on point spread:  Houston 35-32

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims)

East Carolina (QB-Shane Carden,  WR-Justin Hardy)

Also consider:

Houston (WRs-Daniel Spencer, Larry McDuffey, Deontay Greenberry)

East Carolina (RB-Vintavious Cooper)

theCFFsite projects:  Houston 41-31


Arizona at UCLA

Line:  UCLA -3(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  UCLA 37-34

Best plays:

UCLA (QB-Brett Hundley, RB-Johnathan Franklin)

Arizona (QB-Matt Scott, RB-KaDeem Carey, WR-Austin Hill)

Also consider:

UCLA (WR-Shaquelle Evans)

Arizona (WR-Dan Buckner)

theCFFsite projects:  Arizona 31-30


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

Texas St at Utah St

Line:  Utah St -22(O/U-50.5)Utah St -26(O/U-53)

Projected score based on point spread:  Utah St 40-13

Stay away from:

Texas St (RB-Marcus Curry)

theCFFsite projects:  Utah St 42-14

Hawaii at Fresno St

Line:  Fresno St -33.5(O/U-47)

Projected score based on point spread:  Fresno St 47-13

Stay away from:

Hawaii (RB-Will Gregory)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 45-14


Stanford at Colorado

Line:  Stanford -28(O/U-51)

Projected score based on point spread:  Stanford 40-11

Stay away from:

Colorado (RB-Christian Powell)

theCFFsite projects:  Stanford 34-10


Massachusetts at Northern Illinois

Line:  NIU -35(O/U-56.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  46-10

Stay away from:

UMass (RB-Michael Cox)

theCFFsite projects:  Northern Illinois 45-13


Must Watch Games(The games with the biggest headlines)

Alabama at LSU

Line:  Alabama -9.5(O/U-42.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 26-16

Outlook:  Considering how well Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame are playing, a win by the Tigers could dampen the SEC’s chances of playing for another BCS Championship.  Death Valley will present the most hostile environment the Tide will play in all season, but the Tigers inconsistencies on offense will be their demise.

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 24-14


Oregon at USC

Line:  Oregon -7.5(O/U-70)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 39-31

Outlook:  It’s scary to think what the Oregon offense can do if they stay on the field an entire sixty minutes, but the Duck’s defense will make a statement of their own and prove why they are one of the two best teams in the nation.

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 63-24


theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (17-13)  ATS: (12-18)

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

By Joe DiSalvo,

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Follow us on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email us:   [email protected]

<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 10 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 04:29
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-15-scariest-players-2012

Goblins, zombies, witches and skeletons. Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Pinhead. Pick any combination of those and you have a recipe for nightmares and sleepless nights.

While those may bother some college football players and coaches, what about the actual on-field frights? Here’s a look at 15 players that have scared players and coaching staffs this season.

15 Scariest Players in College Football

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Vitals: 6-foot-6, 256 pounds
2012 stats: 40 tackles, 15 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 4 QBH
No player defines the physical freak category more than Clowney. The South Carolina defensive end has all of the physical attributes to start right now in the NFL, but he will have to make do with terrorizing SEC quarterbacks instead. At 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds, Clowney has the size to be one of the nation’s elite run stuffers, while possessing the necessary speed to blow offensive tackles right off the line of scrimmage. The sophomore is a headache for offensive coordinators to gameplan around and gives opposing quarterbacks’ nightmares throughout the season. Another scary thought for quarterbacks? Clowney is just a sophomore and will be back for South Carolina in 2013.

Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 255 pounds
2012 stats: 80 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack, 5 INT
There’s simply no defender playing at a higher level in college football this season. Te’o leads the Fighting Irish with 80 tackles and five interceptions and is a lock to earn first-team All-American honors at the end of the year. The senior is one of Notre Dame’s leaders and while he might be soft spoken, don’t let that fool you on the field. Te’o lets his play on the field do all of the talking and he is a player you have to account for at all times.

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 226 pounds
2012 stats: 1,630 pass yards, 12 TDs, 634 rush yards, 16 TDs
If Klein was planning on getting a Halloween costume, his decision was made easier when he gained the nickname “Optimus Klein” earlier this year. The senior is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy after eight weeks and is the heart and soul of Kansas State’s offense. He has 28 total touchdowns and improved passing skills have made him nearly impossible to stop. Do you load up and stop the run and allow Klein and receivers to have 1-on-1 matchups on the outside? Or do you take away the pass and allow Klein to grind away yards on the ground? Good luck defensive coordinators. Best wishes trying to get to sleep with visions of No. 7 haunting your dreams.

Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 320 pounds
2012 stats: 29 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 FF
There are few 6-foot-4, 320-pound linemen who can move like Lotulelei. The Utah native keeps plenty of Pac-12 offensive linemen up at night, as they try to keep Lotulelei from destroying their quarterback. The senior moves well for someone for his size and his quick feet allow him to blow linemen right off the ball – just ask USC.

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Vitals: 6-foot-8, 280 pounds
2012 stats: 18 tackles, 6 TFL, 5 sacks, 6 QBH, 3 blocked kicks
Hailing from Estonia, Hunt is one of college football’s hidden gems. The senior ranked as the No. 1 athletic freak by’s Bruce Feldman and has been a monster on defense and special teams. Hunt won gold medals in the shot put and discus throw at the 2006 World Junior Championships. Additionally, he blocked seven kicks as a freshman, three as a sophomore and four as a junior. Whether he’s on special teams on lining up across offensive linemen, Hunt is a true terror on the field and a nightmare to match up against.

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 255 pounds
2012 stats: 27 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 8 sacks, 5 QBH
The “Germanator” has lived in opposing backfields all year and has left ACC quarterbacks running for their lives this season. Werner has been the ACC’s top defensive player so far, recording 12.5 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. Whether it’s an offensive lineman or a quarterback, there’s no question Werner is not someone you want to see coming in your direction after the ball is snapped. And anytime a player has a nickname like the “Germanator,” you know he has to be a bad, bad man.

Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 320 pounds
2012 stats: 14 tackles, 2 PBU
Just take a look at Williams – doesn’t he look like someone who is ready to inflict pain on opposing offensive linemen? The native Australian started his career at Arizona Western College and immediately made an impact in his first season in Tuscaloosa in 2011. Williams isn’t asked to generate much in the way of stats but the 6-foot-4 lineman is a beast for any opposing offensive lineman to handle, especially after recording a 600-pound bench press in the offseason.

T.J. McDonald, S, USC
6-foot-3, 205 pounds
2012 stats: 66 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PD
Catching a pass over the middle is not necessarily high on a receiver's wish list, especially with a safety ready to deliver a blow lurking just a few yards behind. McDonald is the eptiome of this worst-case scenario for opposing wideouts, as he is one of college football’s biggest hitters and is a well-built safety at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. With McDonald ready to lower the boom after a catch, it’s enough to make any receiver think twice about catching a slant or curl route over the middle.

John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 263 pounds
2012 stats: 37 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4 sacks
At 6-foot-2 and 263 pounds, Simon isn’t necessarily the biggest defensive end in college football. However, don’t let that size fool you. Simon has been a terror off the edge throughout his career and has 16 sacks in four seasons. He is also one of college football’s biggest workout warriors and is relentless when it comes to spending time in the weight room.                                                                                                                                                                                              

Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds
2012 stats: 47 rec., 657 yds., 4 TDs
A torn ACL ended Hunter’s 2011 season after three games, but the Virginia native has shown no ill effects from the injury and remains one of the best receivers in the SEC. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Hunter has the size to be an elite red zone threat, while possessing the speed to outrun opposing defensive backs. The junior has 4.4 speed and posted a mark of 26 feet, 1.5 inches in the long jump during his freshman season.

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Vitals: 5-foot-9, 171 pounds
2012 stats: 74 rec., 788 yards, 9 TDs; 90 rush yards, 1 kickoff return for a TD
Austin is one player you do not want to encounter in the open field. The Baltimore native has 248 career receptions for 2,912 yards and 26 scores, while also adding 478 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In addition to his production, Austin’s speed and quick-change ability is a defensive back’s worst nightmare, especially if they don’t want to be embarrassed on highlight reels for the entire college season.

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Vitals: 6-foot-0, 197 pounds
2012 stats: 1,319 passing yards, 9 TDs, 946 rush yards, 6 TDs
Just like Tavon Austin, “Shoelace” is a player that opposing defenders hate to see in the open field. Robinson reportedly runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash and even though he can be inconsistent at times, the senior can also beat defenses with his arm. Anytime a defense gets ready to take the field, there’s always that thought Robinson could be ready to run by them all for a long touchdown or connect with a receiver for a big play.

De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Vitals: 5-foot-9, 176 pounds
2012 stats: 499 rush yards, 7 TDs, 24 rec., 218 yards, 1 TD
Anytime a running back has a nickname like “Black Mamba,” he already has the full attention of defenses. And when defensive coordinators put on the tape to watch Oregon, Thomas is exactly the type of player they spend countless hours trying to gameplan around. The sophomore averaged 10.8 yards per carry in 2011 and scored 18 overall touchdowns. Here’s the real problem for defenders and coaches facing Oregon: Blink and Thomas will run right by you. Talk about a scary thought.

Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
Vitals: 6-foot-8, 360 pounds
2012 Stats: 27 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 QBH
McCullers is in his first season at Tennessee but his sheer size and mere presecen on the filed is enough to cause  any offensive lineman or quarterback to panic. The junior checks in at a massive 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds. McCullers may not have Jadeveon Clowney’s speed, but he isn’t a statue around the line of scrimmage either. Can you imagine this beast running at you?

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds
2012 stats: 32 rec., 404 yards, 1 TD, 102 rush yards, 1 TD
Watkins got off to a slow start in 2012, but as evidenced in the win over Wake Forest, it appears he's coming alive. The sophomore caught eight passes for 202 yards and one touchdown against the Demon Deacons and is on his way to regaining the form that allowed him to catch 82 passes for 1,219 yards and 12 scores last season. Watkins isn’t just a weapon in the passing game, as he can hurt teams on the ground and on special teams. Try being a defensive coordinator attempting to stop Watkins, quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver DeAndre Hopkins. How do you slow down, let alone stop, this offense? Whether it’s athleticism or game-changing ability, Watkins is one of the nation’s most dangerous players with the ball in his hands and is constantly striking fear in opposing defensive backs.

by Steven Lassan

(published Oct. 30, 2012)

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<p> College Football's 15 Scariest Players for 2012</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 10:02