Articles By Steven Lassan

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Week 5 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 and Boston College's Frank Spaziani continue to hold down the top two spots in the rankings. One new coach makes an appearance in this week's top 20 (Ellis Johnson), while Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville drops out after beating Iowa State to move to 4-0 this season.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 5 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank:
1
Record at Kentucky: 12-18 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-4
The Wildcats showed some signs of life in Saturday’s loss to South Carolina. Despite an injury to quarterback Maxwell Smith in the first quarter, Kentucky held a 17-7 lead at halftime. However, the Gamecocks were simply a better team in the second half and pulled away for a 38-17 victory. With Smith sidelined, true freshman Jalen Whitlow stepped in at quarterback and played relatively well considering the circumstances. However, Kentucky had an opportunity to score points at the end of the first half, but a disastrous sequence cost the team of at least a shot at a field goal. Although the Wildcats still would have lost the game with those points, it’s a coaching blunder that Phillips has to avoid.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Record at Boston College: 21-22 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
The Eagles put up a fight against Clemson, but the Tigers simply had too much firepower on offense and pulled away in the second half for a 45-31 victory. While the offense has made progress since last season, the defense ranks ninth in the ACC in yards allowed, pass defense and points allowed. Spaziani is still searching for his first win over a FBS team this season, and Boston College has a tricky road date at Army this Saturday.

3. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Record at California: 80-52 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-4
The Golden Bears’ disappointing start to 2012 continued with a 27-17 loss to Arizona State. For a coach that is known for his offensive background, it has been a surprise to see California struggle the last two seasons. The Golden Bears rank ninth in the Pac-12 in passing offense, while they are averaging 25.6 points a game (seventh in the conference). California’s only win of 2012 came against FCS opponent Southern Utah, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with UCLA, Washington State, Stanford and Utah coming up in October.

4. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Record at Rice: 24-42 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-4
It’s hard to penalize Bailiff much for Saturday’s 35-14 loss to rival Houston. The Owls were without quarterback Taylor McHargue, who is averaging 321.5 yards of total offense per game. Without McHargue, the offense struggled to move the ball, while the defense allowed over 600 yards for the third time this year. The good news for Bailiff is the next two games are very winnable, with a road date at Memphis and a home game against future C-USA foe UTSA.

5. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at Idaho: 19-48 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-5
As expected, Idaho’s trip to Chapel Hill was ugly. North Carolina blanked Idaho 66-0, and the Vandals managed only 189 yards of offense and committed five turnovers. Idaho is one of only eight teams without a win this season, but the schedule lightens over the next two months, as the Vandals host New Mexico State this Saturday and play at Texas State on Oct. 13. Considering Idaho’s uncertain conference future, it’s important for this team to finish the second half of the season on a high note.

6. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Record at Buffalo: 6-22 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
The Bulls gave Connecticut all it could handle but were stopped around midfield late in the fourth quarter for a potential game-tying touchdown. Buffalo has had an interesting 2012 season, as it played well against Georgia and Connecticut but lost to Kent State and gave up 34 points to Morgan State. The Bulls have back-to-back road games the next two weeks, as they travel to Ohio and Northern Illinois – two of the MAC’s best teams. Running back Branden Oliver could return for this Saturday’s game against the Bobcats, which would be a huge boost to a team averaging 199.5 rushing yards per game.

7. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at Central Michigan: 8-20 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-2
After a huge win against Iowa, the Chippewas came back to Earth with a 55-24 defeat at Northern Illinois. There’s no doubt Central Michigan would struggle to match last week’s intensity, but the loss to the Huskies drops Enos to 8-20 in his third season in Mount Pleasant. Although the win over the Hawkeyes was huge, Enos is still in a lot of trouble, especially with a trip to Toledo this Saturday, followed by games against Navy and Ball State. The Chippewas could still get to six wins, which might be the mark needed to save Enos’ job.

8. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
13
Record at UNLV: 5-25 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-4
A week after picking up their first win of 2012, the Rebels were soundly defeated 35-13 at Utah State. UNLV has showed progress this season but Saturday’s loss was the biggest margin of defeat for the Rebels in 2012. Although Hauck seems to have the program on the right track, wins could be difficult to come by in the next few weeks, as Louisiana Tech, Nevada and Boise State are UNLV’s next three opponents. The Rebels finish the year with New Mexico, Colorado State, Wyoming and Hawaii, which are all winnable games. Hauck didn’t inherit a full cupboard but needs to show a little more progress before guaranteeing himself a fourth season.

9. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Record at Tennessee: 14-16 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-2
In some ways, Saturday’s 51-44 loss to Georgia was a good sign for Tennessee. The Volunteers rallied from a 27-10 deficit in the first half and eventually held a 30-27 late in the second quarter. The Bulldogs pulled away in the second half, but Tennessee hung tough and had a chance to tie late in the game. While close losses are good for morale, it’s still another defeat for the Volunteers. At 0-2 in the SEC, Tennessee’s East title hopes are probably over. A challenging schedule awaits this team in October, as the Volunteers play at Mississippi State and South Carolina, while hosting Alabama on Oct. 20. It’s clear Tennessee is a better team in 2012. However, Dooley has to show more progress to guarantee his return in Knoxville for 2013.

10. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
16
Record at New Mexico State: 10-33 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-4
Although New Mexico State is a difficult place to win and Walker is in a tough position with an uncertain conference future, there’s really no excuse for the performance against UTSA on Saturday night. The Aggies were blown out 35-7 by a team playing only its second season of football. Ouch. The Roadrunners are a promising program, but that’s a game New Mexico State has to have. The Aggies are running out of chances for wins, with a date at Idaho on Oct. 6 as their best shot the rest of the way.

11. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at Iowa: 99-68 (14th season)
2012 Record: 3-2
A disappointing season in Iowa City got a little better with a 31-13 win over Minnesota. The victory over the Golden Gophers returned the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy to Iowa after a two-year absence. Ferentz is under a lot of pressure to win, but a schedule that features games against Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern in October will be difficult to navigate unbeaten. Considering he is closing in on his 100th win in his Iowa tenure, Ferentz has built up some goodwill, but the Hawkeyes are just 4-4 in their last eight games. Still, barring a complete disaster, Ferentz will be back in Iowa City in 2013.

12. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Record at Syracuse: 18-23 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
The Orange had their only bye week of 2012 in Week 5 and return to action against Pittsburgh this Saturday. Syracuse has lost seven consecutive games to Pittsburgh and has been defeated by 10 points or more in the last four matchups against the Panthers. Unless the Orange suffers a major collapse over the next eight games, Marrone is probably safe to return to Syracuse in 2013. However, the Orange need to avoid another one-win season in Big East play.

13. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Record at Maryland: 4-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-2
Some coaches may not like an early bye week, but this setup might work out best for Maryland. With true freshman quarterback Perry Hills starting, the off date should allow Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley some time to work out a few kinks before ACC play begins this Saturday. The Terrapins have matched their win total from last season but still need to show a lot of improvement to make a bowl game in 2012.

14. Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at Southern Miss: 0-4
2012 Record: 0-4
Johnson makes his first appearance in the hot seat rankings. The first-year coach is off to a horrible start, as Southern Miss is 0-4 with losses to Nebraska, East Carolina, Western Kentucky and Louisville. While the competition hasn’t been bad, it’s never a good sign when your athletic director has to release a video asking for people to show support for a team just four games into a coach’s tenure. With Boise State coming to Hattiesburg this Saturday and a trip to UCF on Oct. 13, the Golden Eagles are staring at an 0-6 start.

15. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
15
Record at Colorado: 4-14 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-4
A week after picking up a win against Washington State, the Buffaloes lost 42-14 against UCLA. The loss to the Bruins continued to highlight how much work Colorado needs on defense, as UCLA recorded 281 yards through the air and 211 on the ground. The Buffaloes have a bye this Saturday, which is a much-needed break considering Arizona State, USC and Oregon are the next three opponents.

16. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at Western Michigan: 49-42 (8th season)
2012 Record: 2-3
Last week was one to forget for Cubit and Western Michigan. Although the Broncos pulled off an upset over Connecticut in Week 4, they lost quarterback Alex Carder to hand surgery, and his absence was clearly felt in the loss to Toledo on Saturday night. Backup Tyler VanTubbergen threw for 232 yards but tossed three picks. With Carder sidelined, Western Michigan needs to regroup this week, but it catches a favorable match-up against UMass this Saturday.

17. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
17
Record at Auburn: 31-13 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
While you never want to enter a bye week off of a loss, Auburn had to be feeling better about itself after a 12-10 defeat to LSU on Sept. 22. While the offense is still a work in progress, the defense held LSU’s rushing attack to 182 yards and forced two turnovers. The next few weeks will be critical for this team, as Arkansas, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M are the next four opponents. All of those games are winnable but if the offense doesn't show any improvement, the Tigers could easily be staring at a 6-6 or 5-7 finish to the 2012 season.

18. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Record at Houston: 2-3 (1st full season)
2012 Record: 1-3
There’s no question Levine is breathing a little easier this week. Houston snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday, beating Rice 35-14 for its first win of the season. The Cougars have struggled at times on both sides of the ball, but Saturday’s performance was a step in the right direction. Houston has a good chance to be 3-3 after its next two games, as North Texas and UAB visit Robertson Stadium in the next two weeks.

19. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Record at MTSU: 38-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 3-1
It’s still early in the 2012 season, but Stockstill probably assured himself of another season at MTSU with a huge 49-28 win over Georgia Tech in Week 5. After losing to McNeese State in the season opener, the Blue Raiders have won three consecutive games and have already surpassed their win total from last season. MTSU looks to go 2-0 in Sun Belt play this week, as Louisiana-Monroe visits Murfreesboro this Saturday.

20. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank:
18
Record at South Florida: 15-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-3
Holtz drops two spots in this week’s hot seat watch, but he’s still feeling plenty of heat after five games. The Bulls have a three-game losing streak and have back-to-back upcoming road contests against Temple and Louisville. Although South Florida lost to Florida State, the Bulls hung around and trailed one of the best teams in college football 13-10 early in the third quarter. Holtz is in no real danger of getting fired, but the Bulls need to avoid a repeat of last season’s 5-7 record and just one win in Big East play.
 

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas:
1-4
2012 Record: 1-4
As we mention each week in the hot seat watch, Smith is essentially on a one-year contract, so he was never expected to return for 2013. Since he’s not going to be fired, we’ll keep Smith in his own space each week. Arkansas’ miserable 2012 season continued in Week 5, as the Razorbacks lost 58-10 to Texas A&M.


by Steven Lassan

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Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 06:00
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Week 5 provided plenty of excitement in the Big 12. West Virginia and Baylor met for a 70-63 shootout in Morgantown, while Texas and Oklahoma State matched up for a thriller in Stillwater. The Longhorns rank as Athlon's No. 1 team, but the top three aren't separated by much. 


Post-Week 5 Big 12 Power Rankings

1. Texas (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
1
Week 5 Result: Beat Oklahoma State 41-36
After throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns against Oklahoma State, David Ash appears to be one of the most-improved quarterbacks in the nation. The sophomore’s poise and timely throws were crucial to beating the Cowboys, as Texas remained unbeaten and rank as Athlon’s No. 1 Big 12 team for another week. The Longhorns’ defense gave up 576 yards to Oklahoma State, but the offense was able to match each score by the Cowboys, with the game-winning touchdown coming with less than 30 seconds left. Texas has a difficult two-game stretch coming up, as West Virginia visits Austin this Saturday, and the Longhorns meet Oklahoma in Dallas on Oct. 13. 
Next Game: West Virginia

2. Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
2
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
The Wildcats had a bye in Week 5 and return to action against Kansas on Saturday. Kansas State should be ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, especially after beating Oklahoma 24-19 in Norman. The Wildcats have won three in a row against their in-state rival and will be heavy favorites once again this week.
Next Week: Kansas

3. West Virginia (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
3
Week 5 Result: Beat Baylor 70-63
The first Big 12 game in West Virginia history was a success. The Mountaineers scored 70 points, while quarterback Geno Smith threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns to outlast Baylor. While the offense clicked on all cylinders on Saturday, the defense showed there is major work to be done. New co-coordinators Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson have their work cut out for them over the next few weeks. Although Baylor’s offense is one of the best in the Big 12, West Virginia’s secondary did not cover or tackle well, and the defense needs to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Next Week: at Texas

4. Oklahoma (2-1, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
4
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
An early bye week probably isn’t a coach’s favorite idea, but the off date came at a good time for Oklahoma. After a 24-19 loss to Kansas State, the Sooners needed to regroup and find the right answers to contend in the Big 12. Atop the priority list for Bob Stoops has to be getting quarterback Landry Jones comfortable, while stopping the run on defense. The offense clearly misses receiver Ryan Broyles, but Oklahoma has capable targets in Trey Metoyer, Kenny Stills and Sterling Shepard. The good news for the Sooners? It’s early, so there is plenty of time to rebound.
Next Week: at Texas Tech

5. TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
5
Week 5 Result: Beat SMU 24-16
Thanks to a 24-16 win over SMU, the Iron Skillet is headed back to Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs got revenge on the Mustangs for last season’s 40-33 win at TCU. Thanks to a downpour, the playing conditions on Saturday night were less than ideal. The Horned Frogs had only 156 yards of offense, but their defense limited SMU to just 12 first downs and forced six turnovers. Despite the victory, TCU coach Gary Patterson isn't happy, as his team has blown a few opportunities and ranks ninth in the Big 12 in penalties committed. The schedule will only get tougher over the next few weeks for the Horned Frogs, starting with a home date against Iowa State on Saturday.
Next Week: Iowa State

6. Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
6
Week 5 Result: Lost to Texas 41-36
Even though the Cowboys have a 2-2 record, it’s hard to place this team any lower in the Big 12 power rankings. Despite not having starting quarterback Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State gave Texas all it could handle last Saturday. Backup J.W. Walsh was solid in his first start, completing 18 of 27 passes for 301 yards and two scores, while adding 57 yards on the ground. Running back Joseph Randle gashed Texas for 199 yards and two scores, but the defense was unable to come up with a key stop late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys have a bye week in Week 6, before returning to action against Kansas on Oct. 13.
Next Game: Bye Week

7. Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Last Week:
9
Week 5 Result: Beat Iowa State 24-13
With a weak schedule to open the season, no one was quite sure how much Texas Tech had improved since last year. After beating Iowa State 24-13 in Week 5, it’s pretty clear the Red Raiders are significantly better on defense. Good enough to win the Big 12? We'll see about that, but new coordinator Art Kaufman has at least made this unit respectable. The Cyclones managed only 189 yards, while Texas Tech’s defense helped its offense by forcing four turnovers. Quarterback Seth Doege tossed two picks but threw for 331 yards and three scores. Just how high can the Red Raiders climb in the Big 12? With matchups against Oklahoma and West Virginia the next two weeks, Texas Tech has a chance to make a big statement in conference play.
Next Game: Oklahoma

8. Baylor (3-1, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
7
Week 5 Result: Lost to West Virginia 70-63
It’s not often a team scores 63 points and comes out on the losing end. However, that’s what happened to Baylor on Saturday afternoon, as the Bears dropped a 70-63 shootout in Morgantown against West Virginia. Quarterback Nick Florence set a school record with 581 passing yards, with receiver Terrance Williams as his favorite target (17 catches, 314 yards, two touchdowns). While the Bears moved the ball with ease, they struggled to get stops on defense. Allowing over 800 yards is never a good thing, regardless of the opponent. The bye week comes at a good time for Baylor, as the off date should allow coordinator Phil Bennett a chance to figure out what went wrong in Morgantown.
Next Game: Bye Week

9. Iowa State (3-1, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
8
Week 5 Result: Lost to Texas Tech 24-13
The Cyclones were dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 24-13 loss to Texas Tech in Ames. Iowa State’s defense did enough to win the game, as it limited the Red Raiders to 63 rushing yards and scored on an interception return in the first quarter. However, the offense was awful, starting with quarterback Steele Jantz. The senior threw for 73 yards and tossed three picks, while Iowa State’s ground attack managed only 116 yards. The Cyclones won’t have much time to think about this loss, as they travel to TCU in Week 6.
Next Game: at TCU

10. Kansas (1-3, 0-1 Big 12)
Last Week:
10
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
The Jayhawks had their first bye of the season in Week 5. Kansas is clearly the Big 12’s worst team and would be a shock if it gets bowl eligible. The Jayhawks have issues on both sides of the ball, as the passing offense ranks 100th nationally and the defense is giving up 439 yards per game. Kansas’ defense is doing a good job of forcing turnovers, but the offense needs to be more opportunistic when provided opportunities.
Next Game: at Kansas State


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Week 5 of ACC action didn't have a marquee game like Florida State-Clemson but still provided plenty of intrigue. Miami-NC State was one of the weekend's most entertaining games, while Florida State and Clemson took care of business on the road. On the downside, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech lost non-conference games. Duke improved to 4-1 with a victory over Wake Forest.

Offensive Player of the Year Standings

1. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – Manuel wasn’t flashy against South Florida but did enough to get the victory. The senior threw for 242 yards and one touchdown and has not thrown an interception since the season opener.

2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd has been steady all season and has back-to-back games of three touchdown tosses. The junior has improved significantly as a rusher, recording 161 yards and one touchdown through five games.

3. Stephen Morris, QB, Miami – Morris had a slow start to the season but has seven touchdowns and 1,002 passing yards over his last two games. The junior probably won’t continue this pace, but he’s deserving of a mention after the last two weeks.

Defensive Player of the Year Standings

1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner has been relatively quiet the last two weeks but leads the conference in tackles for a loss (9) and ranks second in sacks (6.5).

2. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State – Carradine has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks this year and led Florida State with nine tackles and two sacks against South Florida.

3. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland – The Terrapins were off in Week 5, but Vellano ranks fifth in the conference with 6.5 tackles for a loss.

Coach of the Year Standings

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles continue to hang in the national title picture with a 30-17 win over South Florida.

2. David Cutcliffe, Duke – Can the Blue Devils snap their bowl drought? Thanks to a win over Wake Forest, Duke needs two victories to get to bowl eligible.

3. Al Golden, Miami – The Hurricanes have been involved in a few shootouts this year, but it’s time to take this team seriously as an ACC Coastal contender.

Post-Week 5 ACC Power Rankings

1. Florida State (5-0, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week:
1
Week 5 Result: Beat South Florida 30-17
After a huge win over Clemson last week, the Seminoles were on letdown alert against South Florida in Week 5. Florida State didn’t have its best game of the season but finished with a comfortable 30-17 victory over the Bulls. Quarterback EJ Manuel finished with 242 passing yards, while Chris Thompson added 74 yards on the ground. The defense forced three turnovers, including a fumble return for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter. Florida State has another tricky road trip in Week 6, as it travels to Raleigh to take on NC State.
Next Game: at NC State

2. Clemson (4-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week:
2
Week 5 Result: Beat Boston College 45-31
When you suffer a tough defeat like Clemson experienced in Week 4, it’s easy to let a team beat you twice. However, the Tigers erased some of the disappointment from the loss to Florida State, beating Boston College 45-31. Despite Sammy Watkins missing the game due to a virus, quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Andre Ellington chipped in 132 on the ground. Clemson needs a few breaks to catch the Seminoles in the Atlantic but plays its next two games at home, before taking on Wake Forest and Duke on the road.
Next Game: Georgia Tech

3. Miami (4-1, 3-0 ACC)
Last Week:
4
Week 5 Result: Beat NC State 44-37
The Hurricanes have been involved in two of college football’s most bizarre games of the 2012 season over the last two weeks. Miami opened a 23-7 lead against NC State on Saturday, but watched the Wolfpack rally to a 37-37 tie with less than two minutes remaining. After Mike Glennon tossed an interception, Stephen Morris hit Phillip Dorsett on a 62-yard touchdown pass for the win. While the Hurricanes are giving up a lot of yards and points, they are simply finding ways to win. Miami sits atop the ACC Coastal with a 3-0 record and host North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech in its next three conference games. Considering where the Hurricanes were predicted to finish in the preseason, Al Golden deserves a ton of credit for leading this team to a 4-1 record.
Next Game: Notre Dame (Chicago)

4. Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week:
3
Week 5 Result: Lost to Cincinnati 27-24
Here’s one bit of good news for the Hokies: They have no more games against the Big East scheduled for 2012. Virginia Tech dropped its second game to a Big East team in 2012, losing 27-24 to Cincinnati at FedEx Field. Both teams struggled to find their footing on offense through the first three quarters but combined for 31 points in an exciting fourth quarter. Virginia Tech is a team still searching for a spark on offense, but redshirt freshman running back Michael Holmes seemed to take a step forward against the Bearcats. Despite the two losses this year, the Hokies are still in control of their destiny in the ACC Coastal.
Next Game: at North Carolina

5. NC State (3-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week:
6
Week 5 Result: Lost to Miami 44-37
Despite recording 664 total yards, the Wolfpack dropped their ACC opener to Miami. NC State’s offense moved the ball with ease, but 14 penalties and six turnovers are simply too much to overcome. Cornerback David Amerson appeared to be back on the right track after a rough performance against Tennessee, but he struggled against the Hurricanes’ receivers and did not record an interception. The Wolfpack return home to face Florida State in Week 6 and a loss would drop it to 3-3 at the halfway point of the season.
Next Game: Florida State

6. Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-2 ACC)
Last Week:
5
Week 5 Result: Lost 49-28 to MTSU
It’s fair to say the Yellow Jackets are deserving of a spot lower in the power rankings after losing to MTSU 49-28. However, Athlon’s power rankings are more of a season grade, so Georgia Tech deserves a little credit for overtime losses against Virginia Tech and Miami. However, after back-to-back defeats, the Yellow Jackets desperately need to turn things around against Clemson in Week 6. The defense has been the primary culprit for the struggles, but even though the offense doesn’t throw it much, not having playmakers at receiver is hurting this team. Paul Johnson may not be on the hot seat yet but a loss to Clemson would put this team at 2-4 halfway through the year.
Next Game: at Clemson

7. North Carolina (3-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week:
8
Week 5 Result: Beat Idaho 66-0
The Tar Heels cruised to an easy 66-0 win over Idaho in Week 5. Quarterback Bryn Renner threw only 19 passes, while running back Giovani Bernard recorded 70 yards on just two carries. North Carolina’s defense forced five turnovers against the Vandals and has allowed only six points over the last two weeks. The stakes get a little higher for the Tar Heels next Saturday, as Virginia Tech visits Chapel Hill. Even though North Carolina is ineligible to win the conference crown, there’s still plenty to play for against its ACC rivals.
Next Game: Virginia Tech

8. Duke (4-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week:
10
Week 5 Result: Beat Wake Forest 34-27
The Blue Devils moved one step closer to bowl eligibility, beating Wake Forest 34-27 for the first time since 1999. Quarterback Sean Renfree left Saturday’s game with an elbow injury, and his status is uncertain for the Week 6 matchup against Virginia. Renfree’s play has been crucial to Duke’s 4-1 record, while the rushing attack is showing signs of life behind freshman Jela Duncan. The Blue Devils have a tough schedule the rest of the way but could be looking at their first bowl appearance since 1994.
Next Game: Virginia

9. Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2 ACC)
Last Week:
7
Week 5 Result: Lost to Duke 34-27
The Demon Deacons dropped their second ACC game of the year, which was also their first loss to Duke since 1999. However, the on-field performance wasn’t the only setback, as receiver Michael Campanaro suffered a broken hand and is likely out for the next three games. Campanaro’s loss is huge, as he was one of the top receivers in the ACC and was averaging eight catches a game. Wake Forest has four road games over its next six contests.
Next Game: at Maryland

10. Virginia (2-3, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week:
9
Week 5 Result: Lost to Louisiana Tech 44-38
Allowing 24 unanswered points to Louisiana Tech was simply too much to overcome in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers. Virginia led 24-20 at halftime but was unable to hold onto that lead, largely due to two interceptions by quarterback Michael Rocco in the third quarter. Phillip Sims replaced Rocco late, finishing with 166 yards and two touchdowns. Sims may get the start in Week 6, but the key to Virginia’s offense will be establishing a rushing attack that has been stuck in neutral most of the year. The Cavaliers enter Week 6 action with a three-game losing streak.
Next Game: at Duke

11. Boston College (1-3, 0-2 ACC)
Last Week:
11
Week 5 Result: Lost to Clemson 45-31
The Eagles remained winless in ACC play with a 45-31 loss to Clemson. Quarterback Chase Rettig continued his solid start, completing 25 of 43 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns. However, Rettig tossed two interceptions, and the rushing attack never got on track against Clemson’s athletic front seven. New coordinator Doug Martin has made some solid adjustments to the offense, but the defense has allowed two teams to score over 40 points. The Eagles have a tough matchup in Week 6, as they travel to West Point to take on Army.
Next Game: at Army

12. Maryland (2-2, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week:
12
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
Some coaches aren’t in favor of an early bye week, but the off date came at a good time for Maryland. Coming off back-to-back losses and starting a true freshman quarterback, the time off will allow this team to regroup and make a few adjustments. The Terrapins have already matched their win total from last season but face an uphill battle to get bowl eligible. Maryland opens ACC play against Wake Forest this Saturday.
Next Game: Wake Forest

 

by Steven Lassan

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College Football Week 5 Recap
Big 12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

Big Ten Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

Pac-12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

SEC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

Teaser:
<p> ACC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings</p>
Post date: Monday, October 1, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-post-week-5-waiver-wire-report
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We’ve reached the midway point of most fantasy league regular season schedules.  Gone are the non-conference mismatches, as the weekly schedule shifts into conference play overload.  For those of you who loaded your rosters with non-BCS players, your time is finally here.

Terrance Broadway, QB-Louisiana

Starter quarterback Blaine Gautier will have surgery on his throwing hand this week and will miss a minimum of four weeks.  On Saturday, Broadway was excellent in relief throwing for 228 yards and a touchdown, while adding another 28 yards and two scores rushing.

Austin Brown, QB-UAB

The freshman quarterback was impressive in his first start of the season, throwing for 337 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-42 loss to Tulsa.  Given UAB’s remaining schedule, Brown becomes an intriguing fantasy option should he remain the starter the rest of the season.

Storm Woods, RB-Oregon St

We were waiting to see who would emerge as the workhorse back for the Beavers.  Woods rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown at Arizona and may have answered our question with a 29-carry outing.

Trayion Durham, RB-Kent St

Durham is the thunder and fellow running back Dri Archer is the lightning in the Kent State offense.  As long as Durham is toting the rock 20-plus times per game, the sophomore running back will be a fantasy factor in MAC games.

Jamaal Williams, RB-BYU

After Michael Alisa left Friday’s game with an injury, the 17-year-old freshman stepped in and ran for 155 yards and three touchdowns.  If Williams continues to improve, he’ll be extremely valuable at the end of the season when the Cougars play Idaho, San Jose State, and New Mexico State in the final three weeks.

Ben Cunningham, RB-Middle Tennessee

Anyone that scores seven touchdowns in two weeks definitely jumps onto our radar.  After the Blue Raiders opened the season with a loss to McNeese State, they have put together a nice three-game winning streak by averaging 212 rushing yards per game.

Phillip Dorsett, WR-Miami

In the last two games, Dorsett has caught 16 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns.  The sophomore receiver has hauled in at least 6 receptions the past three weeks.

Michael Edwards, WR-UTEP

Edwards landed on our Start list last week, but we never listed him on any previous Waiver Wire piece.  After 27 receptions for 455 yards and three touchdowns in the previous four games, we’re listing him as a formality.

Rashad Evans, WR-Fresno St

After missing the first four games of the season, Evans added his name to the list of receiving threats in a potent Fresno State offense by catching ten passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns against San Diego State.

Dawan Scott, WR-Miami (OH)

Over the past two weeks, Scott has caught 14 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 21.4 yards per reception.  As long as Nick Harwell remains absent, Scott and Andy Cruse remain the best receiving threats for quarterback Zac Dysert.

 

by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Email:  [email protected]

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Post-Week 5 Waiver Wire Report</p>
Post date: Monday, October 1, 2012 - 04:53
All taxonomy terms: West Virginia Mountaineers, Big 12, News
Path: /news/west-virginias-jd-woods-makes-ridiculous-one-handed-catch
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The 70-63 shootout between West Virginia and Baylor was one of college football's most exciting games from Week 5. Thanks to over 800 yards of offense, the Mountaineers edged the Bears, which only adds to Geno Smith's Heisman campaign.

Smith had three receivers cross the 100-yard mark on Saturday - Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and J.D Woods.

Although there were plenty of highlights during the game, Woods' one-handed grab in the fourth quarter might be the best play from Saturday's matchup.

Teaser:
<p> West Virginia's J.D. Woods Makes Ridiculous One-Handed Catch</p>
Post date: Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 20:25
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Miami Hurricanes, News
Path: /news/miami-hurricanes-have-pathetic-crowd-against-nc-state
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It's no secret Miami has had trouble drawing fans since its home games have moved to Sun Life Stadium. However, Saturday's game against NC State might have been a new low. 

This picture tweeted by @ByCasagrande shows a ridiculously sparse crowd just after the first quarter.

The school announced the attendance was 38,510, but the pictures clearly indicate a crowd less than that number.

Considering Miami was one of college football's premiere programs in the 1990s and early 2000s, the attendance numbers at Sun Life Stadium have to at least stir some discussion about building a venue that's closer to campus.  

Teaser:
<p> Where have Miami Hurricanes' fans gone?</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 11:20
Path: /college-football/texas-longhorns-vs-oklahoma-state-cowboys-preview-and-prediction
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Kansas State fired the first shot in the Big 12 title race last weekend, and the focus shifts to Oklahoma State and Texas this Saturday. As the Wildcats’ victory over Oklahoma showed last week, the race to win the Big 12 title is wide open. The Cowboys are the defending Big 12 champs, but winning the conference crown won’t be easy with a freshman quarterback. Texas is a team on the rise, but just like Oklahoma State, its title hopes rest on an unproven quarterback.

This will be the first Big 12 contest for both teams and even though it’s still the first month of the season, there’s plenty on the line in this matchup. The Cowboys lost to Arizona in non-conference play, while Texas is 3-0 with wins over Ole Miss, Wyoming and New Mexico.

Storylines to Watch in Texas vs. Oklahoma State

Who will start at quarterback for Oklahoma State?
True freshman Wes Lunt started all three of Oklahoma State’s games this season but suffered a knee injury in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cowboys did not release an injury report on Friday, so there’s not much clarity in his status. If Lunt can’t play, redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh will get the nod under center. Walsh threw for 347 yards on 21 completions against the Ragin’ Cajuns and added 73 yards and one score on the ground. Lunt is a better pocket passer, while Walsh is more capable of making plays with his legs. By not releasing an injury report, the Cowboys will keep everyone guessing until pregame warmups.

Is Texas' defense ready to dominate?
The Longhorns expected to have one of college football’s best defenses coming into 2012, but they are off to a slow start through the first three games of the season. Texas ranks 34th nationally in yards allowed and 28th in points allowed per game. The numbers aren’t terrible, but this unit is capable of playing at a higher level. The Longhorns suffered a huge blow on Friday night, as linebacker Jordan Hicks was ruled out of Saturday’s game with a hip injury. Considering the non-conference competition wasn’t all that tough, Texas’ coordinator Manny Diaz likely saved a few tricks for Big 12 play. Expect an aggressive gameplan from the Longhorns, while the defensive end combination of Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor will test Oklahoma State’s offensive line.

Can David Ash continue his strong start?
Quarterback play was Texas’ biggest unknown coming into 2012. However, the coaching staff has to feel pretty good about their situation going into Week 5. David Ash has thrown for 703 yards and seven touchdowns through the first three games, while adding 58 yards and one score on the ground. With the depth at running back and talent on defense, Texas doesn’t need Ash to be Colt McCoy. However, he needs to make a few big plays and most importantly, take care of the ball. Oklahoma State’s defense is allowing 27.7 points per game and gave up 320 passing yards to Arizona’s Matt Scott. With those numbers in mind, Ash will have opportunities to make plays through the air, and he may need to hit a few passes to help open up rushing lanes.

Final Analysis

It’s only the first Big 12 game for both teams, but this is a key contest in the conference title picture. This matchup is a good barometer of where both teams stand on a national level and provide a little clarity to a Big 12 title race that should be very competitive. Oklahoma State is still an unknown, largely due to the uncertain quarterback situation. With a win in Stillwater, Texas can stamp its place as a top-10 team and a national title contender.

Expect the Longhorns to turn up the intensity on defense, as they will key on stopping Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle. Stopping Randle is no easy task, but Texas wants Walsh or Lunt to prove they can win this game through the air. The Longhorns' offense won’t hit many big plays, but quarterback David Ash will do just enough to win. 

Prediction: Texas 31-24
 

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 5 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4

Teaser:
<p> Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 07:53
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-5-preview-match-ups-upset-picks-and-storylines-watch
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The final weekend of college football action in September certainly won't win many awards for the best slate of games. The Week 5 schedule features some intriguing games (Ohio State-Michigan State), but nothing like college football fans experienced last Saturday with Clemson-Florida State, Kansas State-Oklahoma and Notre Dame-Michigan. However, it's the weeks we least expect to be exciting that end up producing several upsets and close calls among teams ranked in the top 25.

Top Storylines to Watch in Week 5

1. Big Ten Showdown: Ohio State vs. Michigan State
It’s been a difficult first four weeks of the season for the Big Ten. With no marquee non-conference win and no team ranked inside of the top 10, the conference is desperately looking for some good news. Saturday’s Week 5 action should help erase some of the bad memories of non-conference play, especially due to the Ohio State-Michigan State match-up. The Buckeyes appear to be the Big Ten’s No. 1 team but struggled to beat UAB last week. Quarterback Braxton Miller is one of the Heisman frontrunners and takes on a Spartan defense ranked sixth nationally in yards allowed. The Buckeyes want to reduce the pressure on Miller, but the supporting cast needs to step up. Michigan State’s offense has been stuck in neutral for most of the year, with running back Le’Veon Bell averaging 152.5 yards per game despite a lackluster passing attack. Although Ohio State doesn’t want Miller to record 17-20 carries, it may be unavoidable against Michigan State. This one will be close because of the defenses, but Miller should be the difference in this game.

2. Is Texas the Big 12’s frontrunner?
Kansas State’s win over Oklahoma last Saturday shook up the Big 12 pecking order. The Sooners were thought to be the frontrunner, but the door is open for Texas, TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma State to win the conference title. The Longhorns are off to a solid 3-0 start, with their offense averaging 49.3 points a game. Of course, the competition hasn’t been spectacular, but quarterback David Ash is showing signs of progress. The Cowboys enter Saturday's contest with uncertainty under center. Starter Wes Lunt suffered a knee injury against Louisiana-Lafayette and may not be able to play against Texas. If he can’t go, redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh will get the start. Oklahoma State has won the last two games in this series, but the momentum seems to be shifting back to Texas – especially if Ash continues to take care of the ball, and the defense cuts down on the yards and points allowed.

3. A Big (12) Welcome in Morgantown
West Virginia officially joined the Big 12 on July 1, but reality will sink in on Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers kick off their first season in the Big 12 with a home date against Baylor. And if you like offense, this is definitely one of the weekend’s must-watch games. West Virginia is averaging 47.3 points a game, while Baylor ranks fifth nationally with an average of 51.3 points a game. Although the Mountaineers are stepping into a new conference and a schedule full of different opponents, this offense should feel right at home in the Big 12. Quarterback Geno Smith should have an opportunity to pad his Heisman resume against a Baylor secondary allowing 315 yards per game, while West Virginia’s new 3-4 scheme will get a test from the Bears’ offense. With a road date at Texas next week, this will provide the Mountaineers a barometer of just how their offense and defense stacks up in their new conference.

4. No letdown for Florida State
Let's go ahead and say it: The Seminoles are back. It’s early, so a lot can change in the national title race, but Florida State announced its presence as a BCS Championship contender with a convincing win over Clemson. Now comes the hard part for the Seminoles – avoiding a letdown. South Florida beat Florida State in its only previous match-up in 2009, but this is a case of programs headed in opposite directions. The Bulls are 19-19 since defeating the Seminoles and are off to a disappointing 2-2 start this season. Although Florida State is coming off of a huge victory, there’s not much to suggest South Florida can hang around in this game. The Bulls rank 64th nationally in total defense, and quarterback B.J. Daniels has been inconsistent. The Seminoles may have a sluggish start, but expect them to pull away from South Florida in the second half. 

5. Big Ten Championship Game Preview?
As mentioned previously with Ohio State-Michigan State, the race to win the Big Ten is wide open. With the Buckeyes banned from the postseason, Wisconsin appears to be the frontrunner to claim the Leaders Division title, but the Badgers haven’t looked like a championship team this year. Joel Stave replaced Danny O’Brien as Wisconsin’s starting quarterback and completed 12 of 17 passes for 210 yards against UTEP. Stave’s performance should give the Badgers some confidence on offense, especially as it appears running back Montee Ball will return from the concussion he suffered against the Miners. Nebraska’s defense has struggled to stop the run this year (177 yards per game), but its offense leads the Big Ten in scoring, total and rushing offense. The Badgers got the best of Nebraska last season, but beating the Cornhuskers in Lincoln won’t be easy. Considering both teams will be in the mix to win the Big Ten title, this could be an early preview of the conference title game in Indianapolis in early December.

6. Georgia on upset alert?
The Bulldogs passed their biggest test so far this year, beating Missouri 41-20 in Week 2. Georgia has the pieces to contend for a national title, but this team will be tested over the next couple of weeks with road games at South Carolina and a neutral site meeting with Florida. The Bulldogs are expected to have some reinforcements this week, as safety Baccari Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree are expected to return from a four-game suspension. Rambo’s return to the lineup is huge, especially against a Tennessee offense that leads the SEC in passing yards per game. Although the Volunteers might be able to hang around with their offense, the defense ranks near the bottom of the conference in points and yards allowed, which is bad news against Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and freshman running back Todd Gurley. This still doesn't mean the Volunteers aren't a dangerous opponent for the Bulldogs, especially with next week’s SEC East showdown against South Carolina looming large. 

Under the Radar Match-ups

Western Kentucky at Arkansas State – Louisiana-Lafayette and FIU should both be a factor, but Western Kentucky and Arkansas State are the favorites to win the Sun Belt title. The Red Wolves have been tested in road trips to Nebraska and Oregon, while the Hilltoppers have wins over Kentucky and Southern Miss. Even though this match-up may not have top 25 implications, these two teams are two of the best from the non-BCS ranks.

Louisiana Tech at Virginia – After demolishing Illinois last week, Louisiana Tech is favored to beat Virginia. The Bulldogs lost running back Tevin King with a knee injury in last week’s game, but this offense is loaded with weapons, including receiver Quinton Patton and quarterback Colby Cameron. The Cavaliers have struggled to find their rhythm on offense and can’t afford to fall behind against one of the nation’s top offenses.

Texas Tech at Iowa State – Oklahoma State at Texas and Baylor at West Virginia will draw more national interest, but this match-up could be one of the most intriguing games in Week 5. The Red Raiders lead the nation in total defense and rank second nationally in total offense. However, this will be Texas Tech’s toughest challenge this year, and the Cyclones have beat the Red Raiders two consecutive seasons.

Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech (Landover, Md.) – FedEx Field will host its second college football game this year, as the Hokies and Bearcats meet in Landover, Md. Virginia Tech’s offense ranks 10th in the ACC with 366.3 yards per game, while the Bearcats rank third nationally by allowing only 8.5 points per contest. Tech has struggled to get its rushing game on track, and Cincinnati’s active front seven won’t make it any easier for the Hokies to establish the ground game.

NC State at Miami – With Clemson-Florida State taking center stage in the ACC last week, the Hurricanes’ victory over Georgia Tech was overlooked. Miami is still a young team with a lot of personnel issues. However, if the Hurricanes knock off NC State, it might be time to consider this team as the biggest threat to Virginia Tech in the Coastal title race.
 

Are These Teams for Real?

Baylor (3-0) – The Bears will get a rude welcome to Morgantown, as West Virginia is ready for its Big 12 debut. Baylor needed strong second halves to put away Sam Houston State and Louisiana-Monroe, but there is still plenty of firepower on offense, led by senior quarterback Nick Florence.

Duke (3-1) – Is this the year the Blue Devils get back to a bowl game? Duke is off to a 3-1 start for the first time since 2008 and this appears to be David Cutcliffe’s best team since he arrived in Durham. A win over Wake Forest this Saturday would put Duke within two wins of getting to a bowl game.

Minnesota (4-0) – The Golden Gophers are off to a good start in coach Jerry Kill’s second season, but they are largely untested. A road trip to Iowa should give us a better gauge of where Minnesota fits into the Big Ten bowl picture.
 

Five Quarterbacks Under Pressure

David Ash, Texas – Ash is off to a solid start but Saturday’s match-up against Oklahoma State will be his toughest yet.

Tyler Bray, Tennessee – Saturday’s match-up against Georgia is a good barometer test for Tennessee. The Volunteers fell apart in the second half against Florida, but hanging tough against Georgia would be a good sign for Derek Dooley. Bray has thrown 12 touchdowns so far but had his worst game overall against the Gators.

Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State – If the Spartans want to have any shot at beating Ohio State, Maxwell has to play much better than he has through the first four games.

Zach Mettenberger, LSU – Towson won’t give LSU much of a struggle, but it’s important for Mettenberger to build some confidence with a road date at Florida next Saturday.

Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois – Scheelhaase has been dealing with an ankle injury since the season opener and left last week’s loss against Louisiana Tech early. If the Fighting Illini want to win the Leaders Division, Scheelhaase needs to stay healthy and be a difference maker on offense.
 

Teams Looking to Bounce Back

Arizona – It wasn’t a surprise Arizona lost to Oregon, but the Wildcats had several chances to score and came up empty-handed, losing 49-0 to the Ducks. Arizona hosts rising Oregon State this Saturday, with the Beavers coming off of an impressive win at UCLA in Week 4.

Clemson – The Tigers were unable to capitalize on their halftime lead against Florida State, eventually losing 49-37. If Clemson wants to have any shot at winning the ACC Atlantic, it needs some help in the form of a few losses from the Seminoles in ACC play, but also needs to take care of business on the road against Boston College. 

Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets’ blew a 36-19 lead last week against Miami, which dropped Georgia Tech’s ACC record to 1-2 and likely ends any hope it had of winning the Coastal. The Yellow Jackets should get back into the win column with MTSU visiting Atlanta this Saturday.

UCLA – The Bruins suffered their first defeat of 2012, losing 27-20 to Oregon State last Saturday. UCLA shouldn’t have much trouble getting back into the win column this week, as the Bruins will travel to Boulder to take on Colorado.
 

Desperate for a Victory

Arkansas – Can the Razorbacks stop the downward spiral? Arkansas is in the midst of a three-game losing streak and faces a tough road trip to Texas A&M. The Razorbacks have won the last three match-ups against the Aggies, but have not played in College Station since 1991.

California A 1-3 start with a lackluster win over Southern Utah has Jeff Tedford squarely on the hot seat. However, the Golden Bears can get things going back in the right direction with a win over Arizona State this Saturday.

Iowa – Last week’s loss to Central Michigan isn’t sitting well in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes already have a loss to rival Iowa State this season, and the offense ranks last in the Big Ten in scoring. If Iowa loses to Minnesota this Saturday, Kirk Ferentz’s seat is only going to approach scalding hot levels.

Kentucky – After last week’s performance against Florida, do the Wildcats have any fight left? The good news is quarterback Maxwell Smith should start, even though he is dealing with a separated shoulder. The bad news? Kentucky is a heavy underdog and is playing a top-10 team in South Carolina.

Missouri – The Tigers are in a different situation than most of the teams in this category, but Saturday’s game at UCF is a big one for Missouri. The Tigers were easily handled in a road loss against South Carolina last week and need to build some confidence before getting back into SEC play.
 

Five Upsets to Watch

Marshall (+17) at Purdue
Here’s a stat that may surprise you: Marshall leads the nation in passing offense with 383.5 yards per game. The Thundering Herd has struggled on defense, but their offense is capable of putting a scare into Purdue. The Boilermakers are 2-1, but the victories have been against Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Michigan.
Prediction: Purdue 31-27

Minnesota (+7) at Iowa
Even though the Golden Gophers are 4-0, there are some doubts about this team, especially with a schedule featuring games against UNLV, New Hampshire, Western Michigan and Syracuse. However, Iowa’s offense is struggling under new coordinator Greg Davis, and the Hawkeyes are coming off of a disappointing loss to Central Michigan. The Golden Gophers have beat Iowa two years in a row, but have not won in Iowa City since 1999.
Prediction: Iowa 27-24

Missouri (+3) at UCF
It’s a little surprising to see Missouri as an underdog, but UCF is a dangerous team. The Knights destroyed Boston College in Orlando last season and hung tough against Ohio State in Columbus earlier this year. The Tigers need to jumpstart their offense, as they managed just 10 points in a loss to South Carolina last week.
Prediction: Missouri 27-24

NC State (+3.5) at Miami
The Wolfpack have flown under the radar since losing to Tennessee in Week 1, and quarterback Mike Glennon will give a porous Miami defense all it can handle. The Hurricanes should score on NC State’s defense, but the edge goes to the team with the better quarterback (Glennon).
Prediction: NC State 27-24

Arizona State (+2) at California
The Sun Devils are a slight underdog for Saturday’s match-up against the Golden Bears, as they have not won at California since 1997. California’s offensive line is giving up four sacks a game, which is bad news against an aggressive Arizona State defense.
Prediction: Arizona State 31-27
 

Bye Week Regrouping

Auburn (1-3) – The Tigers played LSU tough, but moral victories won’t get it done for Auburn. Expect Gene Chizik and his staff to evaluate and tweak the offense, starting wtih quarterback Kiehl Frazier.

Florida (4-0) – So far, so good for the Gators. Florida has emerged as one of the teams to beat in the SEC East and host LSU on Oct 6.

Michigan (2-2) – Despite their lackluster performances against Alabama and Notre Dame, the Wolverines still remain one of the favorites to win the Big Ten title.

Oklahoma (2-1) – Last week’s loss to Kansas State likely knocks Oklahoma out of the national title race, but the Sooners are still in the mix for the Big 12 title.

Rutgers (4-0) – Starting 4-0 wasn’t an unrealistic expectation in the preseason, but not many predicted Rutgers would win at South Florida and Arkansas. The Scarlet Knights are one of the top contenders for the Big East crown and return to action against Connecticut on Oct. 6.

USC (3-1) – Although Lane Kiffin doesn’t say much about injuries, the off date comes at a good time for the Trojans. Center Khaled Holmes will have nearly two weeks to get healthy, while USC can use the practice time to work on its rushing game.

Utah (2-2) – The Utes are reeling after last week’s loss against Arizona State and host USC next Thursday night. The bye week comes at a good time, especially as Utah looks to get running back John White back to full strength from an ankle injury.

Vanderbilt (1-3) – The Commodores can still reach a bowl game, but the offense needs a spark from Jordan Rodgers or Austyn Carta-Samuels at quarterback.
 

Injuries to Monitor

Alex Carder, QB, Western Michigan – Carder is one of the MAC’s top quarterbacks, but he will be sidelined indefinitely with a hand injury. Western Michigan takes on Toledo in a critical MAC West game this Saturday.

MarQueis Gray, QB, Minnesota – A high ankle sprain sidelined Gray against Syracuse, and he’s unlikely to play this Saturday against Iowa. Backup Max Shortell fared well in his absence, so Minnesota’s offense should not suffer much of a drop in production.

Wes Lunt, QB, Oklahoma State – Lunt’s status has been up in the air since he left the Week 3 game against Louisiana-Lafayette with a knee injury. Although the injury isn’t as bad as initially feared, Lunt may not be able to start this week.

Maxwell Smith, QB, Kentucky – Smith was sorely missed in last week’s loss to Florida, but an injured throwing shoulder was simply too much to overcome. The sophomore is expected to return to the lineup against South Carolina this week. However, if he can’t start, Kentucky will have to lean on true freshman Jalen Whitlow under center. 

Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio – Tettleton sat out last week’s win over Norfolk State due to a hand injury. Although he won’t be needed much for Ohio to beat UMass, Tettleton is expected to return to the lineup.

Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss – Whether or not Ole Miss has Wallace under center really won’t matter against Alabama. However, the junior college recruit ranks 34th nationally in passing efficiency and averages 224 yards per game. Despite a shoulder injury, Wallace is expected to play.

Shawne Alston, RB, West Virginia – A thigh bruise limited Alston in last week’s game against Maryland, but he is expected to play in West Virginia’s Big 12 opener this Saturday.

Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin – Ball suffered a concussion in last week’s win over UTEP but is cleared to play for Saturday’s game against Nebraska.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - Watkins was ruled out for Saturday's game against Boston College due to an abdominal virus. 

Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas - The Razorbacks' 2012 season only got worse last week, as Gragg suffered a knee injury against Rutgers and did not return. He won't play in Saturday's game at Texas A&M.

Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas – The Longhorns could be without one of their top defensive players this Saturday, as Hicks is nursing a hip injury and is questionable to play.
 

Games to Avoid

Ole Miss at Alabama
The Rebels’ last victory in this series came in 2003 and the last three match-ups between these two teams haven’t been close. Alabama rolled 52-7 in Oxford last year, and it would be a surprise to see Ole Miss keep this one within 25 points. With a bye week coming up, expect Alabama coach Nick Saban to work out all of the kinks before emptying the bench in the fourth quarter.

Towson at LSU
Considering last week’s close call at Auburn, Towson is the perfect Week 5 opponent for LSU. The Tigers should be able to use this game as a tune-up, especially with match-ups against Florida and South Carolina coming up in the next two weeks.

South Carolina at Kentucky
This is a classic case of two programs headed in opposite directions. The Gamecocks could win the SEC title this year, while Kentucky will struggle just to win a game in SEC play. After last week’s dismal showing in the Swamp, the Wildcats need some early momentum in this one – or it could get really ugly.

UCLA at Colorado
Even though the Buffaloes cracked the win column with an upset win over Washington State, they are still one of the worst BCS teams. UCLA suffered its first defeat of the season against Oregon State but should have no trouble putting away Colorado early.

Oregon at Washington State
On paper, this matchup between two of college football’s brightest offensive minds – Washington State’s Mike Leach and Oregon’s Chip Kelly – would figure to provide some fireworks. However, those fireworks may only be from Oregon, as the Ducks pitched a shutout against Arizona last week, while the Cougars are coming off of a disappointing loss to Colorado. This Pac-12 North match-up should get better in the coming seasons, but Oregon simply has too much firepower for Washington State in 2012. 
 

by Steven Lassan

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Big 12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 5 Preview: Match-Ups, Upset Picks and Storylines to Watch</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 06:50
Path: /college-football/georgia-bulldogs-vs-tennessee-volunteers-preview-and-prediction
Body:

The SEC never disappoints for intriguing matchups. Even though Week 5 isn’t the best slate of games, Georgia-Tennessee is a contest with national title and SEC Championship implications. The Bulldogs can keep their national title hopes alive with a victory over the Volunteers, but they can’t afford to take Derek Dooley’s team lightly. Georgia has a road date against South Carolina next week, so there’s always a look-ahead factor. The Volunteers are 3-1, but Dooley still has plenty of work to do. Tennessee struggled against Akron last week, while the defense is far from a dominating unit.

The Bulldogs have won three out of the last four games in this series, including a 41-14 blowout victory in 2010. Tennessee has struggled to find success in the SEC recently, winning only one game in conference play last season and three contests in 2010. This matchup won’t make-or-break Dooley’s future, but the Volunteers need to show that the gap between this team and the rest of the SEC is closing.

Four Storylines to Watch in Georgia vs. Tennessee

Suspended players?
Georgia has allowed at least 20 points three times this season but held Vanderbilt to a field goal in last week’s victory. The Bulldogs should have one of college football’s top defenses, but this unit ranks 43rd nationally in yards allowed after four weeks. However, this defense should have a few reinforcements on the way, as linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo are expected to return after missing the first four games due to a suspension. The return of Rambo is especially important for the Bulldogs’ secondary, as it looks to slow down Tennessee’s passing attack, which is ranked No. 1 in the SEC.

Tennessee’s passing offense against Georgia’s defense
While getting Rambo back in the mix is a key part of Georgia’s defensive plan to stop Tennessee, the Bulldogs will need a little extra help. The Volunteers have two dynamic playmakers at receiver – Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson – and a dependable tight end in Mychal Rivera. Bray is completing 63.5 percent of his throws and has tossed only three picks this year. Georgia needs to counter with pressure, especially from All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones. The Bulldogs are averaging two sacks per game but need to get more pressure on Bray to throw off the timing of the offense. If the Volunteers can protect the junior quarterback, they will have opportunities to hit big plays. However, if Georgia gets to Bray, it should force a few sacks and turnovers.

Aaron Murray against Tennessee’s secondary
Murray is off to a fast start this season, throwing for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns through the first four weeks. The junior has been one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and Tennessee’s secondary will have its hands full trying to stop Georgia’s passing attack. The Volunteers rank 66th nationally against the pass, but Akron had some success moving the ball through the air last week. Not only will Tennessee’s secondary have to step up, the pass rush has to be more active. The Volunteers are averaging only 1.3 sacks per game, which won’t get it done on Saturday. If Murray has enough time, he will burn Tennessee’s secondary for 275-300 yards.

Can Tennessee establish its rushing attack?
In order to win games in the SEC, you have to be able to run the ball. So far, that’s been an issue for Tennessee. The Volunteers rank eighth nationally in passing offense but struggled to find any production on the ground against Florida. Putting up numbers against Akron and Georgia State is one thing, but it’s tough sledding to run the ball against Florida and Georgia in the SEC. Running back Rajion Neal is off to a good start, rushing for 356 yards on 80 carries. Neal doesn’t need 150 yards, but he has to help Tennessee’s offense find some balance. 

Final Analysis

With a huge game against South Carolina next week, Georgia has to be careful not to overlook Tennessee. However, all of the matchups in this game suggest the Bulldogs should win comfortably. Quarterback Aaron Murray is off to a great start, while freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall should pound away at the Volunteers’ defense. With Rambo and Ogletree likely returning for the defense, the Bulldogs should be able to cut their averages on points and yards allowed.

While Tennessee may be able to move the ball, the lack of a consistent running game and difference makers on defense will allow Georgia to pull away in the second half.

Prediction: Georgia 34, Tennessee 20 
 

by Steven Lassan


 

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Teaser:
<p> Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 06:25
Path: /college-football/nebraska-cornhuskers-vs-wisconsin-badgers-preview-and-prediction
Body:

With Ohio State ineligible to win the Big Ten title, it’s not crazy to think Saturday’s matchup between Wisconsin and Nebraska could be a preview of the conference’s title game in early December. The Badgers dominated last season’s matchup, winning 48-17 in Madison. In last year’s game, Russell Wilson threw for 255 yards, while Wisconsin gashed Nebraska for 231 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

There’s plenty of differences for both teams since last season’s meeting, and both have experienced some early turmoil. Wisconsin fired offensive line coach Mike Markuson after a slow start, while Nebraska coach Bo Pelini left the game against Arkansas State due to illness and its defense isn't playing at a high level. However, the Cornhuskers are in a more stable situation going into Big Ten play, especially since the Badgers are still adjusting to the changes on the coaching staff.

Four Storylines to Watch in Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

Can Wisconsin get its ground game on track?
Was last week’s performance against UTEP a sign of things to come for the Badgers’ rushing attack? Wisconsin recorded a season high of 213 yards against the Miners, with Melvin Gordon and James White leading the way with Montee Ball sidelined due to a concussion. Ball is expected to return this Saturday, and the senior should be able to find some rushing lanes against a Nebraska defense that ranks 86th nationally against the run. Although quarterback Joel Stave played well in his first start last week, Nebraska would like to load up the box and force the young quarterback to win. It will be important for Ball, Gordon and White to get yardage on the early downs to keep Stave out of third-and-long situations. Which brings us to the next question…

How much can the Badgers ask of Stave?
Wisconsin was looking for a spark when it decided to bench Danny O’Brien in favor of Stave. O’Brien never seemed to find his rhythm in the Badgers’ offense, which opened the door for Stave to start against UTEP. The redshirt freshman came to Madison as a walk-on but played well against the Miners and should give the coaching staff confidence for Saturday night’s game. Another good sign for Wisconsin’s offense was the return of Jared Abbrederis last week, who caught six passes against UTEP and is one of the Big Ten’s best receivers. Stave won’t be asked to throw for 300 yards, but he needs to get off to a good start. The Cornhuskers rank 20th nationally in pass defense but are averaging four sacks per game. Nebraska wants to force the Badgers to lean on Stave to win, which is why Wisconsin needs to establish balance will be critical on Saturday night.

Can Wisconsin slow down Taylor Martinez?
The competition hasn’t been overwhelmingly strong, but the Cornhuskers lead the Big Ten in total and scoring offense, while ranking in the top 10 nationally for both categories. Quarterback Taylor Martinez is off to a hot start, throwing for 878 yards and nine touchdowns, while adding 191 yards and two scores on the ground. The junior quarterback is a much-improved passer and should test a Wisconsin secondary that is allowing 245.3 yards per game. In last year’s matchup, Martinez threw three interceptions and completed 50 just percent of his throws. Big Ten teams considered Martinez more of a threat on the ground in recent years, but that’s no longer the case. Wisconsin hasn’t generated much of a pass rush this season, and if Martinez gets time, the junior will have a chance to pick apart this secondary.

The turnover battle
It seems cliché to say it, but the turnover battle will be crucial in this game. The Badgers have lost only five turnovers but have forced only one this year. Nebraska is tied for ninth in the Big Ten with nine turnovers lost but has forced seven on defense. Although Stave wasn’t bad in his first start last week, Nebraska’s defense will have chances to add to their turnover total.

Final Analysis

Expect revenge to be on Nebraska’s mind on Saturday night. The Cornhuskers were thoroughly embarrassed in last year’s game against Wisconsin, but the tables are turned in 2012. Nebraska is the better team, and running back Rex Burkhead showed no ill-effects in his return from a knee injury in last week’s game against Idaho State. The Badgers should be able to run the ball against the Cornhuskers’ front seven, but Stave will have to make plays in order to give his team a chance to win.

Wisconsin seems to have things going back in the right direction, but it’s a lot to ask Stave in his second career start to win in Lincoln.

Prediction: Nebraska 31, Wisconsin 20


by Steven Lassan


 

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Teaser:
<p> Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 06:15
Path: /college-football/west-virginia-mountaineers-vs-baylor-bears-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Saturday marks a new era in West Virginia football. The Mountaineers technically joined the Big 12 in July, but reality will sink in with Baylor visiting Morgantown. West Virginia is off to a hot 3-0 start, which includes wins over Marshall, James Madison and Maryland. Although the schedule hasn’t been that difficult, the Mountaineers’ offense looks to be in midseason form, and the defense is making progress under new co-coordinators Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson.

Replacing Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III was no easy task, but Baylor remains a threat to win the Big 12 title. New quarterback Nick Florence is off to a good start, and the talent level has been on the rise during Art Briles’ tenure. The Bears dodged a bullet the last two weeks, as they trailed FCS opponent Sam Houston State in Week 3 and held off a pesky Louisiana-Monroe team for a 47-42 victory in Week 4.

Five Storylines to Watch in Baylor vs. West Virginia

1. Can West Virginia establish its ground attack?
With quarterback Geno Smith and one of the nation’s top receiving corps, the rushing attack is almost an afterthought. However, with running back Shawne Alston dealing with a thigh injury against Maryland, the Mountaineers managed only 25 rushing yards on 25 attempts. Alston is expected to play, and Andrew Buie (144 yards, one touchdown) is having a nice season so far. Dustin Garrison suffered a significant knee injury in Orange Bowl workouts last year but had two carries in the win over Maryland. It’s not critical for West Virginia to rush for 200 yards, however, Baylor is allowing 177.7 yards per game on the ground, and the Mountaineers need to establish some balance to reduce the pressure on Smith.

2. Will Baylor be able to get stops on defense?
Veteran coordinator Phil Bennett is a well-respected defensive coach, but the numbers haven’t been pretty under his watch. Baylor ranked 116th nationally in total defense last season and allowed 37.2 points per game. So far this year, the Bears are allowing 492.7 yards and 29.7 points per game. West Virginia’s passing attack has been on fire through the first three games of the season, and it will be impossible for Baylor to completely slow down Geno Smith and his receivers. However, the Bears need to generate a pass rush, as well as force a few turnovers. Baylor ranks second in the Big 12 with 10 turnovers gained through three weeks, but the pass rush has been relatively quiet (1.7 sacks per game).

3. What should we expect from West Virginia’s defense?
As mentioned previously, the Mountaineers’ defense is still a work in progress. West Virginia has allowed more than 20 points twice this season, which will only climb now that the heart of the Big 12 schedule has arrived. The Mountaineers rank 103rd nationally against the pass and have yet to be tested against some of the top offenses in college football. Marshall’s Rakeem Cato threw for 413 yards in the opener, while Maryland freshman quarterback completed 20 of 29 throws for 305 yards in last week’s game. Baylor’s Nick Florence will be toughest test for West Virginia’s secondary, especially with two All-Big 12 candidates at receiver in Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese. Both players are averaging over 20 yards per catch, while Levi Norwood and Lanear Sampson shouldn’t be overlooked.

4. Will Baylor quarterback Nick Florence get off to a slow start once again?
Although the Bears won last week’s game against Louisiana-Monroe, Florence’s slow start has to be a concern for the coaching staff going into Saturday’s game. The senior threw two picks in the first quarter, and even though Baylor has a lot of firepower on its sideline, it cannot afford to fall too far behind West Virginia. Florence doesn’t have Griffin’s athleticism, but he’s not a statue either. In last week’s game, the senior rushed for 55 yards and has 159 on the season. Don’t be surprised if Baylor gets Florence into the game with a few runs, especially if the passing game stalls out early in the first quarter.

5. How many times will West Virginia WR Tavon Austin touch the ball?
In last week’s win over Maryland, Austin was the team’s top playmaker, catching 13 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns. He also recorded two carries for four yards and had four overall returns for 42 yards. There’s no question Austin is one of the nation’s most dynamic playmakers with the ball in its hands, and Baylor can expect a few reverses or handoffs to the senior. Austin is as dangerous as anyone in the nation with the ball in the open field, but junior Stedman Bailey shouldn’t be overlooked on the outside. The Bears need to find a way to keep Austin in check but also not allow Bailey to surpass the 13 catches for 173 yards and three scores he recorded against James Madison.

Final Analysis

Is this the start of a special season for West Virginia? The Mountaineers are a legitimate contender for the national championship, and their road to a potential spot in the BCS title game begins on Saturday against Baylor. West Virginia’s offense is deadly, but it won’t sneak up on any Big 12 teams this year, especially considering Oklahoma State and Texas Tech run similar variations.

If you like offense, this will be the game to watch this Saturday. Both teams should have no trouble moving the ball, but it’s hard to pick against West Virginia at home. The Mountaineers’ defense will give up a lot of yards but finds a way to force a turnover or key play late to seal the victory, while quarterback Geno Smith pads his Heisman stats with another game of 300+ passing yards.

Prediction: West Virginia 41, Baylor 31
 

by Steven Lassan


 

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Teaser:
<p> West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Baylor Bears Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 06:03
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-buckeyes-vs-michigan-state-spartans-game-preview-and-prediction
Body:

The Big Ten has an easy target for criticism through the first four weeks of the season. The conference doesn’t have a team ranked inside of the top 10 and the lack of a marquee win in non-conference play has been a black eye. However, Week 5 brings a much-needed change of scenery for all 12 teams. Conference play begins this Saturday and there are a few games that will draw national interest, which should help stop the bleeding from the awful start to the season.

Ohio State is the Big Ten’s only undefeated ranked team and is arguably the best team in the conference. Michigan State is off to a 3-1 start, with the only defeat coming to Notre dame. However, the Spartans looked sluggish in wins over Boise State and Eastern Michigan.

Five Things to Watch in Ohio State vs. Michigan State

1. Will Ohio State stop Le’Veon Bell?
Expect the Buckeyes to employ a simple gameplan on defense this Saturday. Ohio State will load the box to stop Bell, which will force Michigan State to lean on quarterback Andrew Maxwell. Bell rushed for 210 yards in the win over Boise State and 253 against Eastern Michigan but was held in check against Notre Dame (77 yards). The Buckeyes rank 33rd nationally against the run and only one opponent has managed more than 150 rushing yards against them this year (California, 224). Ohio State’s defensive line is one of the toughest in college football, especially with 322-pound tackle Johnathan Hankins in the middle. If the Buckeyes stop Bell, Michigan State will have a hard time moving the ball on Saturday afternoon. Which brings us to our next question…

2. Is this the game Andrew Maxwell steps up for Michigan State?
Replacing Kirk Cousins was no easy task, but most expected Maxwell would play better through the first four games of the season. The junior is completing 56.6 percent of his throws and has failed to eclipse more than 200 yards in each of his last two starts. Maxwell hasn’t thrown an interception since the season opener, but his performances have been uninspiring so far. He can’t be blamed for all of the woes in the passing game, especially with a revamped receiving corps that could feature two sophomore starters on Saturday. With the Buckeyes loading up to stop Bell, Maxwell will need to have the best game of 2012 in order to lead Michigan State to victory.

3. Can the Buckeyes take some of the workload off Braxton Miller?
As expected, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has been a perfect fit in Urban Meyer’s spread offense. The sophomore has rushed for 441 yards and seven touchdowns while throwing for 754 yards and seven scores this year. Despite his strong start, the Buckeyes want to reduce his workload. Miller is averaging 17 rushes a game and may not last a full season at this pace. The sophomore is still developing as a passer but has thrown for 754 yards and seven touchdowns. Michigan State’s defense leads the Big Ten in total, scoring and rush defense so far this year and ranks 13th nationally against the pass. Miller needs to make a few big plays with his legs, but he also has to have some help from the supporting cast. Running back Jordan Hall has been steady in his first two games back from a foot injury, recording 192 yards and two receptions. Hall’s emergence should be a huge positive for Ohio State’s offense, and Carlos Hyde could return from injury this week. With Michigan State’s defense looking to stop Miller, it’s up to Hyde and Hall to step up on the ground.

4. Who will win the battle in the trenches?
Although Braxton Miller needs his supporting cast to step up, and Le’Veon Bell has to have more help from Andrew Maxwell, neither player will have much of an opportunity to succeed if the offensive lines don’t perform. Ohio State’s line entered the year as a question mark and has allowed nearly two sacks a game. Michigan State’s front five is allowing just one a game, but four came against Notre Dame. Although senior Nathan Williams has been dealing with the effects from knee surgery, the Buckeyes still have plenty of talent up front, including Johnathan Hankins at tackle and John Simon at end. Both players will have opportunities to take over the game this Saturday. Michigan State’s defensive line is stocked with talent, including All-American candidate William Gholston. End Marcus Rush is another player to watch (three tackles for a loss), while there’s plenty of size on the interior. This will be the toughest challenge for Ohio State’s offensive line and could be the perfect opportunity for Gholston to get on track this year.

5. Special teams
With Saturday’s matchup is expected to be a close one, a play on special teams could decide the outcome. Michigan State kicker Dan Conroy has connected on 7 of 11 attempts but is just 3 of 7 from 30-49 yards. Ohio State kicker Drew Basil hit his only attempt of the season, while punter Ben Buchanan is averaging 41.3 yards per punt. In last week’s win over UAB, the Buckeyes had a punt that was blocked and returned for a score. Can Michigan State find something on tape that UAB was able to exploit? Considering this game probably won’t be decided until deep in the fourth quarter, one mistake on special teams could be very costly.

Final Analysis

With a light week of games this Saturday, Ohio State-Michigan State has a chance to be the best game on the slate. The Buckeyes have won seven out of the last eight contests in this series, with the Spartans winning 10-7 in Columbus last year. Points should be at a premium in this matchup, with Braxton Miller outdueling Anddrew Maxwell to earn a hard-fought win for Ohio State.

Ohio State 23, Michigan State 20


by Steven Lassan


 

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Teaser:
<p> Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Game Preview and Prediction</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/kansas-state-football-where-does-bill-snyder-rank-among-all-time-coaches
Body:

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has to be considered one of college football's best coaches. Snyder is credited with a "Miracle in Manhattan," turning the Wildcats into a consistent winner and a top-10 team in some seasons. After three years in retirement, Snyder has returned to the sidelines and has Kansas State back in contention for a Big 12 title. 

Where does Bill Snyder rank among all-time coaches? 

Coach Bobby Ross, former head coach of Maryland, Georgia Tech and Army and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
I got to know Bill some years back when I was an NFL head coach for the Chargers.  He brought his coaching staff to study what we were doing in San Diego and exchanged ideas with him and his staff.  I was very impressed by him and have followed his career since that time. Bill is a no-nonsense type of coach and a great communicator. He built the program from the bottom up.  They were at ground zero when he got there in Manhattan.  And not only did he do it once, he went back a few years ago and has Kansas State playing like a top ten team again. On our Legends Poll weekly conference call, R.C. Slocum said, "I think Bill Snyder ought to be Coach of the Century!"   I would rank him up near the top as well.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Snyder hasn’t had the national championship breakthrough. He doesn’t run the most exciting schemes. And he doesn’t have the public persona of a Steve Spurrier, Bobby Bowden or even Nick Saban. But the results warrant mentioning him among the greats. Maybe he’s in a second tier after Bear Bryant, Bowden and the like, but he needs to be mentioned among the top 10 or so. Snyder has swooped in to rescue the Kansas State program twice. Say what you want about the light non-conference schedules over the years, but given its history and perennial talent gap with Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska over the years, Kansas State doesn’t have a whole lot of business being consistently competitive against those schools. Yet it’s happened. I’m not a fan of the “they just find ways to win” cliche, but it’s true for Snyder’s teams and it’s been true over the course of two decades.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
It is virtually impossible to rank Bill Snyder all-time against coaches from 100 years worth of football. But against active coaches? He is easily top ten if not top five. Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer are likely the only coaches I would definitively rank ahead of Snyder. He would be on par with Frank Beamer, Chris Peterson, Chip Kelly and (gasp) Bobby Petrino. The Kansas State coach does more with less than possibly any other head coach in the nation, but at the end of the day, the resume isn't the same as those who have won national championships. Stoops has dominated the head-to-head record with Snyder and has seven Big 12 titles. Spurrier has seven conference championships. Meyer and Saban claim five of the last nine national titles. Snyder is a truly great football coach, and an extremely interesting man, who is entirely responsible for all that Kansas State football is today. But one conference championship in 21 seasons, despite the disadvantages at KSU, keeps him from the top tier of coaches in my opinion. 

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
There are few coaches who could do what Snyder has done at Kansas State. When he arrived in Manhattan, Kansas State was one of the worst programs in the nation. The Wildcats were coming off back-to-back winless seasons and had just three victories over the last four years. Since Snyder’s arrival at Kansas State, the program has become a consistent winner and nearly played for the national title in 1998. As if his first tenure wasn’t good enough, Snyder returned out of retirement and has Kansas State in the mix to win the Big 12 title this year. It’s always difficult to place where coaches rank among their counterparts, as each job presents different challenges. However, it’s clear Snyder is currently one of the best coaches in college football and has to rank among the best of all-time. I wouldn’t put Snyder in the same class as Bobby Bowden, Nick Saban or Bear Bryant, but he wouldn’t be far behind in the next group.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
He’s clearly an all-time great. He has to be considered one of the great program builders of all-time for what he did during his first stint at Kansas State. He inherited a program that was perceived by many to be the worst in the nation — and rightfully so. The Wildcats went winless in the two previous seasons prior to his arrival. They won one game in his first season, five the next and then broke through with a 7–4 record in Year 3. After a step back in 1992, K-State began a stretch in which it won at least nine games in 10 of 11 seasons. That, alone, is an incredible accomplishment. But Snyder rebuilt the program once again, returning to the sidelines in 2009 after a three-year retirement. Last season, the Cats won 10 games — for the first time since 2003 — with a roster that was probably middle of the pack (at best) in the Big 12. And he has the Cats off to a 4–0 start in ’12, highlighted by last week’s upset win at Oklahoma. As I Tweeted late Saturday night: “Kansas State is amazing. Never picking against the Cats again.”

Mark Ross: 
Snyder is without a doubt the greatest head coach in Kansas State's history. Not only is the football stadium named after him, but he also has more than 120 career wins than any other coach in the program's history. Snyder deserves a lot of credit and a great deal of respect for turning what was a moribund football program into a consistent winner, not once, but twice as he first retired following the 2005 season only to return three seasons later. Snyder has 163 wins and counting in his K-State tenure, which is now in its 21st season, and has a career winning percentage of nearly 66 percent. He has won only one conference title in his career, however, and is 6-7 in bowl games. Snyder is still several good years away from reaching the 200-victory milestone, and considering he will turn 73 in two weeks, you wonder how much longer he will keep going. I don't think he measures up to the all-time greats, but there's certainly no shame in leaving your lasting mark and legacy on a program and university, which is what he has done in Manhattan, Kan.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Before Coach Snyder arrived in Manhattan, Kansas State had played over 90 years of football and never won a bowl game. In fact, a 1982 loss in the Independence Bowl was the lone postseason appearance in the history of the Wildcats program. The job that Snyder and his staff did in building KSU in to a consistent winner has to rank as the best ever in taking a moribund program and making it relevant. It’s difficult for me to rank Snyder among the top 20 all-time coaches because of a lack of conference or national titles (one Big 12 crown in 2003), but he definitely belongs in the next tier of great coaches and in the College Football Hall of Fame. 

 

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Teaser:
<p> Kansas State Football: Where does Bill Snyder rank among all-time coaches?&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 05:51
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-5-emergency-starters
Body:

This piece is intended to assist those college fantasy loyalists who have stuck with us the entire week.  Whether you have an injury to a key player, a tough matchup at a particular position, or play in a deep league, this one is for you.  Good luck!  

Joe DiSalvo (@theCFFsite)

Quarterback

Taysom Hill, BYU vs Hawaii

Tyler Van Tubbergen, Western Michigan vs Toledo

Driphus Jackson, Rice vs Houston

Trent Steelman, Army v Stony Brook

Trey Miler, Navy vs San Jose St
 

Running Backs

Kenneth Dixon, LA Tech at Virginia

Jyruss Edwards, ULM at Tulane

DJ Foster, Arizona St at Colorado

Alonzo Harris, Louisiana vs FIU

Antoine Jimmerson, North Texas at FAU

Dri Archer, Kent St vs Ball St

Zach Laskey, GA Tech vs MTSU
 

Receivers

Willie Snead, Ball St at Kent St

Marcus Lucas, Missouri at Central Florida

Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa at UAB

Ty MacArthur, Air Force vs Colorado St

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

Steven Lassan(@AthlonSteven)

Quarterback

David Fales, San Jose St at Navy

Kawaun Jakes, Western Kentucky at Arkansas St

Tanner Price, Wake Forest vs Duke
 

Running Backs

Shawne Alston, West Virginia vs Baylor

Dri Archer, Kent St vs Ball St

JaTerian Douglas, Tulsa at UAB
 

Receivers

Brelan Chancellor, North Texas at FAU

Brandin Cooks, Oregon St at Arizona

Brent Leonard, UL-Monroe at Tulane

Martel Moore, Northern Illinois vs Central Michigan

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 5 Emergency Starters</p>
Post date: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 03:45
Path: /college-football/lsu-alabama%E2%80%99s-biggest-threat-national-title
Body:

The college football season is only four weeks old, but the general feeling from most of the nation is there is a clear No. 1 team - Alabama. A lot will happen and plenty can change between now and the end of the season, but is LSU the biggest obstacle to another title by the Crimson Tide?

Is LSU Alabama's Biggest Threat to a National Title?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Although LSU did not look great in a 12-10 win over Auburn on Saturday, the Tigers still appear to be the biggest threat to another Alabama national title. Any team that’s going to defeat Alabama needs to have an elite defense, and that’s still the Tigers. The road trip to LSU may be the only threat to Alabama during the regular season, but Georgia or South Carolina could be problematic as well in a potential SEC championship game. Either way, Alabama’s biggest threat would seem to come from the SEC rather than any potential foe in the title game -- assuming that opponent isn’t an SEC team again.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
A road trip to LSU on Nov. 3 is the toughest current game left on the schedule, but I am not ready to say that it will be the toughest challenge. Georgia, Florida and South Carolina all have defensive lines that match-up well Bama in a potential SEC title game with the Bulldogs also offering an offense that could put the Tide defense to the test as well. Florida State could provide an equally tricky match-ups should they all get to the national title game. But my pick for the national title game was Alabama and Oregon this summer, so the Ducks are in the mix as well. If I had to rank "biggest threats" to Alabama's third national title in four years: 1) Georgia in SEC title game 2) Oregon or Florida State in the BCS title game 3) LSU.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
LSU was unimpressive in a 12-10 win against Auburn, but I still believe the Tigers are Alabama’s toughest obstacle to a national championship. Outside of LSU, Florida State and Oregon seem to be the most likely candidates for the No. 2 spot in the polls. The Seminoles’ defense is one of the best in the nation, and quarterback EJ Manuel appears to be peaking at the right time. However, is the offensive line up to the task? Oregon has the offense to win a title, but how well would its defense matchup against a physical team like Alabama in the trenches? LSU gets a shot against Alabama in Baton Rouge, and it has defeated the Crimson Tide the last two times during the regular season.  The Tigers are a perfect match for Alabama in the trenches, and their offense should be better by early November. I still think the Crimson Tide wins the national championship, but LSU will be their toughest test in 2012.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
LSU hasn’t looked quite as dominant as we expected — though the Tigers are 4–0 with an average margin of victory of 29 points — but I’d still call the Tigers the biggest threat to Alabama’s quest for a second straight national title. The reason? Alabama must beat LSU in Baton Rouge to continue its perfect season. (And yes, I realize that Bama could lose this game and still play in the national title game). There might be some teams who have looked better to date — Oregon, Georgia and Florida State come to mind — but Alabama won’t have to play any of those teams on their home field. That’s a big difference. 

Mark Ross: 
Not if they play the same LSU team that eked out a two-point victory at Auburn last Saturday. That said, the Tigers are the biggest threat to Alabama's repeat national title hopes in that the two will meet on Nov. 3 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a game that will more than likely determine who wins the SEC West. It's still early, but I don't see a repeat of last season happening, meaning the best way for either the Crimson Tide or the Tigers to be in the best position to earn a berth in the BCS Championship Game is by winning the SEC Championship Game. So in my mind, that first Saturday in November is essentially an elimination game. Lose and your title dreams, both SEC and national, are pretty much dashed. But getting into the SEC title game is just the first step, winning it is the second. To that end, I think Alabama's biggest threat, assuming they win the West, to a national title is whoever makes it out of the East. Right now I give the edge to Georgia, but South Carolina is just as capable, and who knows, Florida could be there in the end if the offense continues to develop and can complement an already stout defense. It may not seem like it at this point, but I think that either the Bulldogs or the Gamecocks can match up pretty well against the Crimson Tide, provided they are healthy and clicking on all cylinders come Dec. 1. So while it does seem highly likely at this point that the SEC will be represented in the BCS title game for the seventh straight season, don't be surprised if the team that plays in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Jan. 13, 2013, comes from the East and not the West.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
Absolutely. I would not discount LSU chances of beating Alabama once again in the regular season just because the Tigers had to win a 12-10 slugfest at Auburn. Wild things happen in SEC night games, and coming into last Saturday the visitor in the LSU-Auburn series had gone 1-11 in the last 12 matchups. Plus, Les Miles’ crew has battled multiple injuries (Alfred Blue, Spencer Ware, P.J. Lonergan and Josh Dworaczyk) to key players. Alabama looks like the better team, but LSU has proven it can play in a defensive battle with the Tide. Additionally, this year’s much-anticipated contest is in Baton Rouge. If the Tide makes it to Atlanta, there will a tough and tested East opponent to beat. But a talented LSU bunch is still the biggest obstacle to the Tide repeating as national champions. 

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 5 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Teaser:
<p> Is LSU Alabama’s Biggest Threat to a National Title?&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 15:49
All taxonomy terms: Purdue Boilermakers, Big Ten, News
Path: /news/purdues-punter-cody-webster-throws-behind-back-touchdown-pass
Body:

Purdue has experienced some bad luck with quarterback injuries over the last couple of seasons, but the Boilermakers might have a secret weapon in punter Cody Webster.

Webster is one of the Big Ten's top punters but made quite an impression at quarterback during a flag football game at Purdue.

The punter tossed an impressive behind-the-back 30-yard touchdown pass, which was a key play in leading his team to a 30-7 victory. 

Who says punters can't be weapons on offense?

Teaser:
<p> Purdue's Punter Cody Webster Throws Behind-the-Back Touchdown Pass</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 07:24
Path: /college-football/acc-week-5-preview-and-predictions
Body:

The ACC was in the spotlight last week, as Florida State and Clemson squared off in Tallahassee for a meeting of top-10 teams. Week 5 doesn't have many marquee matchups in the ACC, but there are enough games to provide some intrigue. Miami hosts NC State in a critical conference game for both teams, while Virginia hopes to hold off an upset bid by Louisiana Tech, and Florida State travels to Tampa to take on South Florida. 

Other Week 5 Previews and Predictions

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

ACC's Top Storylines for Week 5

Which defense will make enough plays to win: NC State or Miami?
In two ACC games this year, Miami has scored a combined 83 points. NC State scored 21 in the opener against Tennessee and 10 against Connecticut in Week 2 but has recorded at least 31 points in each of its last two games. Both teams have momentum on their side this week, especially as both sport a 3-1 record after last Saturday’s action. The Hurricanes seem to be hitting on all cylinders on offense, as quarterback Stephen Morris threw for a career-high 436 yards against Georgia Tech, while freshman Duke Johnson is averaging eight yards per carry. NC State’s offense isn’t as flashy, but quarterback Mike Glennon is one of the best in the nation, and the rushing attack got a boost with freshman Shadrach Thornton rushing for 145 yards in the win over Citadel. With both offenses capable of scoring over 30 points, this game will be decided by a few stops on defense. The Hurricanes need to get pressure on Glennon, and the Wolfpack’s offensive line is allowing 3.5 sacks per game. If Miami is able to get to Glennon, NC State will have a hard time winning this game. When the Hurricanes have the ball, keep an eye on the matchup of Morris versus the Wolfpack’s secondary. NC State cornerback David Amerson is one of the best in the nation, and Morris has thrown one pick in three out of Miami’s four games this year.

Can Virginia Tech get its rushing game on track?
Throw out games against Austin Peay and Bowling Green, and the Hokies are averaging just 77.5 rushing yards per game and has yet to score a touchdown on the ground. Contributing to the struggles is a reworked offensive line and the lack of a standout running back. In last week’s game against Bowling Green, the running back rotation had a shakeup, with Tony Gregory leading the way with 11 carries. Redshirt freshman Michael Holmes was expected to be the team’s No. 1 back, but he has just 151 yards on 35 attempts so far this season. Saturday’s matchup against Cincinnati will be the final tune-up for Virginia Tech, as the schedule the rest of the way features just ACC matchups. Cincinnati’s defense is allowing 123.5 rushing yards per game but is averaging four sacks a contest. Even though the Bearcats had some key personnel depart from the line, this group isn’t a pushover. Virginia Tech can win this game without a big day from the running backs, but it’s crucial this group develops a pecking order among the running backs and finds some consistency from the offensive line with the rest of the ACC schedule approaching.

Will Florida State avoid a letdown against South Florida?
On paper, everything points to a blowout win by Florida State on Saturday night. The Seminoles clearly showed they are one of the best teams in the nation in last week’s win over Clemson, but there’s that pesky letdown word that always seems to circulate after a big victory. The Seminoles lost to South Florida in their only meeting, dropping a 17-7 game in Tallahassee in 2009. There’s no question the talent level has increased for Florida State since then, while the Bulls enter Saturday’s game with nine losses in their last 12 games. In his first career start, South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels totaled 341 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State, but he’s also failed to fully develop into one of the nation’s top 25 quarterbacks. Another problem for South Florida has been its defense, which is allowing 384.5 yards a game. Florida State is clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the ball right now, and unless the Seminoles turn in an uninspired, flat performance, the Bulls won’t pull off another upset over their in-state foe.

Does Boston College have any answer for Clemson’s offense?
After a 1-2 start and road games against Army, Florida State and Georgia Tech upcoming, Saturday’s game against Clemson is a big one for Boston College. The Eagles still have slim bowl hopes, but a loss to the Tigers would put them at 1-3 with five road games remaining and a late season home date against Notre Dame in mid-November. Boston College’s offense has shown improvement under coordinator Doug Martin, averaging 26.3 points and 412.7 yards per game. Quarterback Chase Rettig has not thrown an interception the last two weeks and ranks first in the ACC in total offense per game. But is that enough to beat Clemson? Probably not. The Tigers scored 37 points on one of the nation’s best defenses last week and face a Boston College defense allowing nearly 400 yards per game. The Eagles should be able to move the ball, but their defense will have a hard time slowing down Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (QB), Andre Ellington (RB) and DeAndre Hopkins (WR). The Tigers suffered a blow to their receiving corps on Thursday night, as receiver Sammy Watkins won't play due to abdominal virus.

Is it time for Virginia to switch quarterbacks?
Throw out the Cavaliers’ performance against FCS opponent Richmond and the statistics for Virginia’s offense are rather pedestrian. The Cavaliers rushed for just 32 yards against Penn State and have thrown just as many interceptions (4) as touchdowns (4) in their last two games. Quarterback Michael Rocco is completing 60.2 percent of his passes but has struggled in back-to-back games. Backup Phillip Sims has played in every game this year, throwing for 174 yards and three touchdowns on 18 completions. Although Rocco has struggled, the offensive line has failed to open rushing lanes for the running backs, and the Cavaliers rank 97th in rushing offense going into Week 5. Rocco will start this Saturday, but Mike London could have a quick hook if the offense is stuck in neutral early in the game. With a high-scoring Louisiana Tech team coming to Charlottesville, the Cavaliers can’t afford to fall behind 20-0 once again.

Can Duke move closer to bowl eligibility?
The Blue Devils are off to a 3-1 start for the first time since 2008 and making a bowl game isn’t too far out of reach. Duke needs to catch a few breaks the rest of the way, beginning this Saturday against Wake Forest. The Blue Devils have not defeated the Demon Deacons since 1999, but there have been close calls along the way, including last year’s 24-23 loss in Durham. Although the rushing attack still needs work, Duke’s defense is showing signs of improvement, ranking 19th nationally with three sacks per game and allowing 106.5 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Sean Renfree is also off to a good start, throwing for nine touchdowns and 1,078 yards. However, the biggest concern for the Blue Devils has to be a secondary that ranks 74th nationally and has yet to face a quarterback/receiver combination like Wake Forest’s Tanner Price and Michael Campanaro. This is David Cutcliffe’s best team in his tenure at Duke, and the pieces are in place to get six wins. However, if the Blue Devils want to go bowling, they have to snap a 12-game losing streak to the Demon Deacons, especially with the schedule only getting tougher the rest of the year.

Easy Wins for North Carolina, Georgia Tech
After back-to-back losses against Wake Forest and Louisville, North Carolina got back into the win column with a solid 27-6 victory over East Carolina. Even more important for the Tar Heels was the return of running back Giovani Bernard, who rushed for 50 yards and chipped in 52 yards on six receptions. North Carolina should have no trouble moving to 3-2 this Saturday, as 0-4 Idaho visits Chapel Hill. The Vandals are coming off a three-point loss to Wyoming in overtime but were handled 63-14 by LSU on Sept. 15. After blowing a 36-19 lead against Miami, MTSU should be the perfect Week 5 opponent for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets should be able to take out their frustrations against the Blue Raiders, while figuring out a few answers on defense. Georgia Tech allowed Miami to throw for 436 yards, while adding 173 on the ground last week. 

Week 5 ACC Predictions

Week 5 ACC Games David Fox Braden Gall Steven Lassan Mitch Light
MTSU at Georgia Tech GT 42-10 GT 37-17 GT 45-13 GT 48-10
NC State at Miami Miami 21-17 NC State 24-21 NC State 27-24 Miami 27-10
Duke at Wake Forest Duke 28-21 Wake 34-31 Wake 30-27 Duke 21-20
Idaho at North Carolina UNC 35-7 UNC 37-14 UNC 48-13 UNC 41-3
Louisiana Tech at Virginia La. Tech 28-14 La. Tech 31-28 La. Tech 38-31 La. Tech 41-23
Clemson at Boston College Clemson 42-21 Clemson 42-20 Clemson 38-17 Clemson 31-14
Virginia Tech vs. Cincy (Landover) VT 28-21 VT 31-21 VT 30-20 VT 27-24
Florida State at South Florida FSU 38-14 FSU 34-14 FSU 38-13 FSU 31-13
Last Week: 8-1 8-1 8-1 8-1
Season Record: 35-5 36-4 35-5 35-5


by Steven Lassan

Teaser:
<p> ACC Week 5 Preview and Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:46
Path: /college-football/college-football-week-5-upset-predictions
Body:

College football's Week 5 schedule is relatively quiet in terms of top 25 matchups. Although there are few marquee games to watch this Saturday, it's weekends like this one that can spring a few upsets. Athlon's panel of editors is back, along with a guest contributor to give you the top upset predictions for Week 5. 

College Football's Week 5 Upset Picks

Dave Bartoo (@CFBMatrix), CFBMatrix.com, Missouri (+3) over Central Florida
This was the pick in my pre-season selections in March and there is no reason to change it (not that I ever do).  I about fell out of my chair when I saw Mizzou getting +3 to open the week.  In the last 6 years, the Tiger, when the Matrix picks them to win in on the road have just 2 losses.  Conversely, UCF under O’Leary is an underachieving train wreck.  Everything I see points to Mizzou.  They have a coaching advantage and a huge talent gap advantage.  Don’t let the last 2 weeks set a Gambler Fallacy into your mind.  Missouri was supposed to lose those two games against elite teams.  In essence, those are two losses they cashed in exchange for the SEC payday.  While I prefer the home dog, the Tigers roll into UCF and roll over the Knights.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): Iowa State (+2.5) over Texas Tech 
So we’re really making Iowa State and Paul Rhoads underdogs at home against Texas Tech. OK. If you insist. Texas Tech is second in the nation in total offense and first in total defense. No doubt, the Red Raiders are improved, but they’ve played Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico. Iowa State will be much tougher. The Cyclones’ most impressive win might not even be the 95 victory at Iowa. Maybe it’s 38-23 over Tulsa, which is a much closer gauge of what Iowa State will see against Texas Tech. In that game, Iowa State held Tulsa quarterback to 23-of-49 passing with two interceptions. Seth Doege is a veteran quarterback with better receivers, but I’ll put my trust in the Iowa State defense.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): Ohio State (+3) at Michigan State
These two teams are very well coached, are very physical along the line of scrimmage and have arguably the top two defenses ni the Big Ten. But the Buckeyes have one major advantage and you can bet Urban Meyer will take advantage of it. Braxton Miller will be the best player on the field and when the play breaks down, he has been brilliant. Meanwhile, Andrew Maxwell has yet to prove he can win a game with his arm. Expect Meyer to stack the box against Le'Veon Bell in an effort to force Maxwell into key third-down situations. Give me the Bucks to win a close one on the road.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): NC State (+3) at Miami
Is it time to buy into Miami? Only time will tell but last week’s win over Georgia Tech was impressive. The Hurricanes’ defense struggled to get stops, but the offense scored a season-high 42 points and recorded 609 yards. NC State has flown under the radar since losing to Tennessee in the season opener. The Wolfpack have picked up wins over Connecticut, South Alabama and Citadel the last three weeks, and cornerback David Amerson seems to have his confidence back after a disappointing performance in the opener. Although the Hurricanes have scored 38 or more points three times this season, the Wolfpack will present a tougher challenge on defense, especially in the trenches where they are averaging 3 sacks per game. Miami’s secondary has yet to face a quarterback of Mike Glennon’s caliber, which should test a unit that is allowing 226.3 yards per game. Expect a close matchup, but NC State’s edge on defense should be the difference.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): Rice (+5) over Houston
Houston has arguably been the most disappointing team in the nation. Yes, record-setting quarterback Case Keenum is gone, but the Cougars welcomed back 12 starters (including seven on defense) from a team that won 13 games last season. But the 2012 season, under the direction of first-year coach Tony Levine, has been a disaster. Houston has lost all three games, most notably a 30–13 decision at home in Week 1 to FBS upstart Texas State. Rice, meanwhile, has played relatively well. The Owls are 1–4 with a win at Kansas and losses to UCLA, Louisiana Tech and Marshall (in double-overtime). As expected, Rice has been horrible on defense, but the offense has been solid; the Owls have scored at least 24 points in all four games and are averaging over 220 yards rushing and passing. Houston has the more talented roster, but Rice might be the better team. Rice 41, Houston 37

Mark Ross: Rice (+5) over Houston
This Conference USA battle of in-state rivals features two of the worst defenses in the nation, statistically anyways, so expect lots of offense. Rice is second-to-last among the 120 FBS teams in total defense (546.8 ypg), while Houston is just one spot ahead of them at No. 118 (536.3 ypg). The Owls are dead last in scoring defense with the Cougars coming in at No. 117, as both teams are giving up more than 40 points per game. The difference here is with the offenses, which is surprising since Houston has more of a reputation on that side of the ball. Make no mistake, however, this is not the same Cougars' offense that we've seen in recent years, as they and the Owls are basically even when it comes to total offense numbers. The Owls' offense, which is scoring nearly 12 more points per game than the Cougars, is led by dual-threat quarterback Taylor McHargue, who is currently 13th in the nation in total offense (321 ypg). Cougars quarterback David Piland is fourth in the nation in this category, as he's averaging nearly 350 yards passing per game, but the offense has had all sorts of issues with ball security (No. 105 in turnover margin). In the end, Rice's more-balanced offense, led by McHargue, will out-gain and out-score Piland and the Cougars in what figures to be a high-scoring affair. In other words, I wouldn't hesitate to start any Owls or Cougars I have on my fantasy roster and may even have to check to see if any are available to pick up.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): Ohio State (+3) at Michigan State
This will be the Buckeyes first road contest under Urban Meyer, but I believe OSU’s quarterback advantage will be able to overcome the raucous atmosphere in East Lansing. Obviously these are two physical teams built around running the ball and solid defense, so expect a tight, low-scoring affair. The Ohio State defense has had some issues against the pass (104th in the nation) this season, but I do not see Spartans signal caller Andrew Maxwell being able to consistently move the ball through the air. The difference in this one will be Buckeyes dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller, who is electric in the open field and can make big plays at any time. Special teams will also play a critical role in a close game, and I’ll take Ohio State to prevail on the road and go to 5-0 on the season.

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 5 Preview and Predictions
Big East Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big Ten Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Big 12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

Pac-12 Week 5 Preview and Predictions

SEC Week 5 Preview and Predictions

 

Teaser:
<p> College Football Week 5 Upset Predictions</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:07
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-week-5-start-or-sit
Body:

Many readers have asked if we can expand our weekly rankings.  We could, but what we strive to do is use our Start/Bench and Emergency Starters lists to expand our ranking in a creative way.  What makes theCFFsite unique is that in articles such as the one you are about to read, we will never include the obvious selections.  Simply put, you will rarely see players ranked in our top ten listed on a Start/Bench or Emergency Starters list.  We want to help you make the tough decisions of deciding on a RB#2, WR#3, or FLEX.  You guys, the readers, have helped make pieces like this one and the Emergency Starters list extremely well received.  Your feedback has been tremendously helpful in growing theCFFsite.  Our goal is to be the most interactive college fantasy football resource.  Please, keep the emails and twitter interactions coming.                 

Start

Colby Cameron, QB-Louisiana Tech at Virginia

Cameron leads a Bulldogs attack that is third in the nation in scoring at 54.7 points per game.  In three games this season, the senior quarterback has thrown eleven touchdowns without an interception.

Charles Sims, RB-Houston at Rice

Now that Sims is back and participating at full speed, he should find plenty of running room against a Rice defense giving up over 300 yards rushing per game.

Todd Gurley, RB-Georgia vsTennessee

Gurley may not be getting more than 20 touches per game, but the freshman has topped the century mark three times and has scored in every game.

Mark Weisman, RB-Iowa vs Minnesota

Fellow running back Damon Bullock will most likely miss this week’s game against the Gophers, so expect the bruising sophomore to carry the ball another 20-25 times.

Alex Amidon, WR-Boston College vs Clemson

Amidon has at least six catches and 99 yards receiving in every game this season and should get a lot of opportunities this week, as the Eagles will try to keep pace with the Clemson offense.

Mike Evans, WR-Texas A&M vs Arkansas

We’re expecting the 6-5 freshman to have one of his biggest games of the season against an Arkansas defense giving up over 312 passing yards per game.

Josh Stewart, WR-Oklahoma St vs Texas

After back-to-back nine-catch games, Stewart is starting to become the most consistent receiving threat the Cowboys have.

Michael Edwards, WR-UTEP at East Carolina

Running back Nathan Jeffery received a lot of attention after his big game against Oklahoma to open the season, but receiver Michael Edwards is starting to become a legitimate fantasy factor.  This week, the Miners face an East Carolina defense giving up 312 yards passing per game.


Bench

Kain Colter, QB-Northwestern vs Indiana

Colter injured his wrist last game, but is expected to start this week against Indiana.  However, he has not thrown a touchdown pass since the first week of the season and the Wildcats’ offense goes through running back Venric Mark.

Taylor Martinez, QB-Nebraska vs Wisconsin

Even though Martinez has thrown for nine touchdowns and has improved his accuracy as a passer, we expect the Huskers to give Wisconsin a heavy dose of Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah.

Knile Davis, RB-Arkansas at Texas A&M

Davis’ best rushing performance this season was in Week One when he ran for 70 yards against Jacksonville State.  This week, Davis and the Razorbacks hit the road to face the nation’s 18th ranked rushing defense.

Jordan Hall, RB-Ohio St at Michigan St

We expect Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller to do most of his damage outside of the pocket, but the Spartans’ 11th ranked rushing defense should keep Hall bottled up between the tackles.

Cameron Marshall, RB-Arizona St at Cal

If Marshall wasn’t scoring touchdowns, he’d be dropped in almost every league format.  Expect freshman running back D.J. Foster to lead the Sun Devils in rushing at the end of the season.

Bishop Sankey, RB-Washington vs Stanford

Sankey had an impressive showing two weeks ago against Portland State when he ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, but this week he faces the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense.

Michael Holmes, RB-Virginia Tech vs Cincinnati

Holmes has been named the starter for this week’s game against the Bearcats, but Tony Gregory led the Hokies in rushing last weekend and may be on the field more than any other back this Saturday.

Devin Smith, WR-Ohio St at Michigan St

If quarterback Braxton Miller can create some opportunities outside the pocket, Smith could be in line for some big plays.  However, we expect those opportunities to be limited in East Lansing against the nation’s 13th ranked pass defense.

Alex Neutz, WR-Buffalo at Connecticut

Last week, Neutz only caught two passes against Kent State and one reception was a Hail Mary pass that went for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half.  This Saturday, the Bulls will be without running back Branden Oliver, which means the nation’s 11th ranked pass defense will zero in on the Bulls’ next-best playmaker. 

 

by Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

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

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Week 5 Start or Sit</p>
Post date: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 03:56
Path: /college-football/louisville-or-rutgers-which-team-best-big-east
Body:

Through the first four weeks of the season, it seems clear Louisville and Rutgers are the top two teams in the Big East. The Cardinals were picked by many to win the league in the preseason, but have opinions changed after watching Rutgers this year?

Louisville or Rutgers: Which team is the best in the Big East?

Coach Dick MacPherson, former head coach of the Syracuse Orange, and current voting member of the Legends Poll:
Rutgers is a big surprise. They had their coach leave for the NFL and brought in a new coaching staff there this year. They are playing really well and had a big win at Arkansas this past weekend. This is the best looking Rutgers team in a long time. That being said, I would still pick Louisville to be the team to win the Big East. I have the Cardinals ranked No. 16 in our Legends Poll. I really like Coach Strong and the staff he has put together.  They have a young kid at quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, who is playing outstanding football for them. They are the most complete football team in the Big East.

Mark Ennis, Manager of Big East Coast Bias (@Mengus22)
It's funny that this has even become a question after a month of the season, but it has, and for good reason. Louisville looked sharp in blowing out rival Kentucky, Missouri State, and in the first half against North Carolina. After that, six quarters of pretty unenthusiastic football (though they keep winning). Rutgers looked thoroughly bored in its opener at Tulane and home against Howard before going on the road to beat South Florida and Arkansas. At this point I still think Louisville is the better team because it has had its fair share of at least halves of football where it looked absolutely dominant. Louisville owned Kentucky from the opening kickoff and the 32-14 score could've been much worse had they not taken Teddy Bridgewater out midway through the third quarter. And yes, the team that nearly blew a 36-7 second half lead is still the team that also ran up a 36-7 halftime lead as well. Rutgers, is closing the gap, but, like some of Louisville's early wins, we still don't know how meaningful Rutgers' wins over USF and Arkansas are considering Arkansas already lost to Louisiana-Monroe and South Florida followed its loss to Rutgers up by losing at Ball State. Rutgers is improving weekly, Louisville is inconsistent, but has shown more of its upside through four games and for that reason is still the best team in the Big East.

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
Rutgers had two major questions coming into the season, at least for its on-the-field personnel: quarterback play and its offensive line. After four games, the Scarlet Knights have proven those two positions are no longer glaring weakness. Gary Nova has been a third-down whiz and he’s proven he can win on the road. Sophomore Kaleb Johnson has locked down the left tackle spot, and sophomore Betim Bujari has secured the problematic center spot. That’s led to four 100-yard games for Jawan Jamison and only two sacks allowed in four games. Even without Greg Schiano, the defense remains solid. I’m a little suspicious of Louisville as well. Teddy Bridgewater is the best offensive player in the league, but I’m concerned about the Cardinals’ defense. It’s been un-Charlie Strong like in the last two games. Ranking 91st in pass efficiency defense? Four sacks all season? That’s might be tough to overcome for a Big East title.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
I have been talking up the Scarlet Knights all summer long as the top Big East contender to Louisville. Rutgers had the best defense in the league last year and has shown vast improvement at quarterback and on offense as a whole. A balanced offense offense, stellar group of talented freshman (possibly the best in school history) and an easy early schedule makes the Knights a dangerous team. This squad could easily begin the season 9-0 before a nasty final three games will determine the Big East's BCS bowl bid: at Cincinnati, at Pitt and Louisville at home. It appears the league will crown a champ when the Cardinals visit Piscataway on the final Thursday night of the season. It this is how the league plays out, I will take the Knights to win on November 29 and clinch the program's first BCS bowl appearance.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
The biggest question mark surrounding Rutgers going into this year was how well it would handle the coaching transition from Greg Schiano to Kyle Flood. So far, the results have been positive, as the Scarlet Knights are 4-0 and have solid road victories against South Florida and Arkansas. Considering the upcoming schedule, it’s not crazy to think Rutgers could be 9-0 going into a Nov. 17 road date at Cincinnati. Despite how well the Scarlet Knights have performed, I have to stick with my preseason favorite: Louisville. The Cardinals had a sluggish performance against FIU in Week 4 but have the Big East’s best quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), and the defense is capable of playing much better than it has performed so far this year. Louisville’s schedule is just as favorable as Rutgers, so it’s not crazy to think both teams could be unbeaten for their Nov. 29 meeting.

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
Tough call. Right now, I’d still give the slight edge to Louisville. Rutgers, the only team in the nation with three road wins, is more battle-tested, but that doesn’t mean the Scarlet Knights are the better team. Through the first two-plus games of the season, Louisville looked like a top-10 team. The Cards, at that time, had convincing wins over Kentucky and Missouri State and led North Carolina 36–7 at the half. Since, however, the Cards haven’t been the same team. They almost blew that 29-point halftime lead vs. UNC and struggled to beat a disappointing FIU team this past Saturday night. Teddy Bridgewater, who was nearly flawless through three games, was not as sharp vs. FIU, completing 19-of-36 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Cards need him to be the best quarterback in the Big East. Rutgers was surprisingly offensive in its big win at Arkansas last weekend, with Gary Nova leading the way with nearly 400 yards passing and five touchdowns. If Nova continues to play well, Rutgers will remain in the Big East race all season long. And the Big East race might not be decided until Nov. 29, when Louisville visits Rutgers in the season-finale. We might need to wait until that Thursday night to answer this question.

Mark Ross: 
For now, I'll take Louisville mainly because of the emergence of Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore signal caller has to be considered the early frontrunner for Big East Offensive Player of the Year as he's entered himself into the Heisman Trophy discussion in some circles. Bridgewater has been efficient (23rd in the nation in passing efficiency) and productive (43rd in total offense) in leading the Cardinals to a 4-0 start and Top 20 national ranking. Both teams have been impressive on defense so far, but I give Louisville the edge over Rutgers on offense because of Bridgewater. The good news is, the Cardinals and Scarlet Knights will get the chance to size one another up on the field. The bad news is that everyone has to wait until the final game of the regular season as that's when Louisville makes the trip to Piscataway, N.J., for a game that could likely decide both the Big East conference race and a BCS bid.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
I’ll stick with preseason favorite Louisville for now, although Rutgers has the more impressive September resume with wins at USF and Arkansas. We knew that Khaseem Greene and the Scarlet Knights would play solid defense, but new coach Kyle Flood has also found an answer at quarterback in Gary Nova. The sophomore signal caller had a stellar 397-yard, five-touchdown performance versus the Razorbacks last week, and his play combined with runner Jawan Jamison (four 100-yard games) has Rutgers fans thinking about a league title. Meanwhile, Louisville is also undefeated but has looked sluggish in doing it. I’ll give the Cards a pass on almost blowing a 36-7 halftime lead against North Carolina, but the close decision at FIU last week was too close for Cardinal comfort. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a solid backfield tandem should give the UL offense enough punch, but Charlie Strong and staff must repair a talented but inconsistent defense to win the conference. The Cardinals have too much talent on the defensive unit to be giving up so many yards and third-down conversions. I see Louisville getting by Southern Miss this week, and then getting the defense repaired during the bye before league play begins. The good news for the Big East is that it has two ranked schools that could both win double-digit games this season.

Related College Football Content

Are Late Kickoffs Ruining College Football?
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4

Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 4 Heisman Voting

Teaser:
<p> Louisville or Rutgers: Which team is the best in the Big East?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/are-late-kickoffs-ruining-college-football
Body:

An interesting trend is starting to develop each Saturday during the college football season. The schedule has been stacked with quality late games, while the slate of matchups early in the day is rather ordinary. And this isn't going unnoticed, as college football fans are beginning to complain a little louder each week.

Are Late Kickoffs Ruining College Football?

David Fox (@DavidFox615): 
A college football Saturday should overload us. But the experience is at its best with a slow and consistent overload from noon Eastern to midnight or later. The Saturday viewing experience should be more like a Crock Pot than a microwave. That’s not what we got last week. Every nationally important game was crammed into the time slot from 7 p.m. Eastern and 10:30 p.m.: Florida State-Clemson, LSU-Auburn, Kansas State-Oklahoma, and Cal-USC, not to mention the upset watch games of Rutgers-Arkansas and Akron-Tennessee.  We’re not at a breaking point yet -- I believe last week’s late night-heavy schedule was the extreme -- but more weeks like that will damage the sport. Watching college football is at its best when it almost mirrors the first day of the NCAA Tournament. A day that has top games all day from beginning to end, but with enough space to allow a Louisiana-Monroe or other upset bid to take center stage for a few minutes. The networks, especially now that Fox is in the mix, all want a piece of the late-night pie. But if we have more weekends like we did last week, it’s going to hurt the sport as a whole. If all the games kickoff after 7 p.m., why should fans without a rooting interest bother to watch noon and 3:30 kickoffs? At least the SEC generally keeps its top game in the afternoon -- something for the other leagues to consider.

Braden Gall (@BradenGall): 
It is unfortunate that the three biggest games of Week 4 all took place at the same time last weekend. Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Florida State likely stretched the viewing audience rather thin, but that feels more coincidental and unlucky than worrisome long-term trend. Otherwise, call me crazy, but I love having one or two late night Pac-12 showdowns to check out on Saturday night. And in the case of this past weekend, we were, again, more unlucky than anything as Arizona State hammered Utah while Oregon shutout Arizona. My biggest issue with scheduling? November 3 when Alabama-LSU and Oregon-USC will take place at exactly the same time. Boo on you greedy TV executives.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven): 
The late kickoffs have been my biggest complaint about the college football season. It’s ridiculous there are so few games on during the early slots and 20-30 games on at night. Trying to watch Notre Dame-Michigan, Florida State-Clemson, Georgia-Vanderbilt, LSU-Auburn and Kansas State-Oklahoma at one time is simply impossible. I don’t understand the logic behind the scheduling of so many night games, but I hope it changes next year. With every conference having a big television contract, having top-notch primetime games are great exposure. However, I think conferences/teams/television networks are scheduling too many games at night and turning the college football Saturday’s into a four-hour block in the evening. 

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch): 
I wouldn’t say the abundance of late games is ruining college football, but it sure makes it difficult to watch all of the best games on any given Saturday. I don’t care how many TVs you have set up in your living room or Man Cave, it’s difficult to really pay close attention to more than two games at a time. This past Saturday night, there were simply too many good games on at the same time. It would have been much better had a couple of them — maybe Rutgers at Arkansas and Kansas State at Oklahoma — been played during the 3:30 EST window. I really hope this is something that is addressed next year.

Mark Ross: 
The late kickoffs are certainly ruining the amount of sleep I get on Saturday nights, but I don't think they are ruining college football. Let's face it college football has followed the path that the four major sports have in that the schedule is littered with prime-time match ups. Even more so than any of the professional sports, however, the west coast is full of teams whose home games, when played at night, are really only "late" if you live in the Eastern or Central time zones. That said, although I haven't checked the ratings, my guess is NBC's primetime game between Michigan and Notre Dame this past Saturday, which was played in South Bend, Ind., did fairly well, and it didn't kickoff until 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT. In the end, the key factor here is the product itself. Just as it is with sporting events like the MLB playoffs, Monday Night Football, the NBA Finals or the Stanley Cup, as long as it's something worth watching, people will tune in, no matter how late it gets started.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman): 
Primetime kickoffs are quite fun for many fans, but the television networks and conferences do need to make an effort to spread quality games throughout the day. I believe last week’s “overloaded with great matchups” night schedule was a little bit of an aberration and not a huge problem. Thankfully for college football, it’s good to have a product where there are “too many good options.” The powerful SEC usually has its best game in the 3:30pm EST slot, and big-brand schools like Notre Dame and Michigan have not traditionally played many night games like they did the last two seasons. As conference TV contracts get larger, there may be a desire to press too many games up against each other on the primetime schedule. However over time, it would be good to see the networks stagger start times a little more so that the best games are not directly competing.

Related College Football Content

Louisville or Rutgers: Which team is the best in the Big East?
College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat After Week 4

Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections

Post-Week 4 Heisman Voting

Teaser:
<p> Are Late Kickoffs Ruining College Football?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 05:44
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Fantasy, News
Path: /college-football/college-fantasy-football-using-vegas-odds-determine-best-week-5-plays
Body:

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 5

Best Fantasy Matchups (Games with the most fantasy potential)

Baylor at West Virginia

Line:  West Virginia – 12.5(O/U-79.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  West Virginia 46-34

Best plays:

Baylor (QB-Nick Florence, WR-Terrence Williams, Tevin Reese, K-Aaron Jones)

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

Also consider:

Baylor (RB-Glasco Martin, WR-Lanear Sampson)

West Virginia (RBs-Shawne Alston, Andrew Buie)

theCFFsite projects:  West Virginia 38-28

 

Houston at Rice

Line:  Houston -5 (O/U-74)

Best plays:

Houston (QB-David Piland, RB-Charles Sims, WRs-Dewayne Peace, Daniel Spencer)

Rice (QB-Taylor McHargue-inj, K-Chris Boswell)

Also consider:

Houston (K-Matt Hogan)

Rice (RB-Turner Petersen, WR-Jordan Taylor)

theCFFsite projects:  Houston 41-30

 

Fresno St at Tulsa

Line:  Tulsa -5.5(O/U-69.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Tulsa 38-32

Best plays:

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

Tulsa (QB-Cody Green, WR-Keyarris Garrett)

Also consider:

Fresno St (K-Quentin Breshears)

Tulsa (RBs-Trey Watts, JaTerian Douglas)

theCFFsite projects:  Fresno St 35-34

 

Oregon at Washington St

Line:  Oregon -28.5(O/U-70.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Oregon 50-21

Best plays:

Washington St (QB-Connor Halliday, WRs-Marquess Wilson, Gabe Marks)

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

Also consider:

Washington St (WR-Isaiah Myers, K-Andrew Furney)

Oregon (TE-Colt Lyerla)

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon 56-14

 

Marshall at Purdue

Line:  Purdue -15.5(O/U-64.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Purdue 40-25

Best plays:

Marshall (QB-Rakeem Cato, WRs-Aaron Dobson, Tommy Shuler)

Purdue (QB-Caleb TerBush, RB-Akeem Shavers, RB-Antavian Edison)

Also consider:

Marshall (RB-Kevin Grooms, K-Justin Haig)

Purdue (RB-Akeem Hunt, WR-OJ Ross)

theCFFsite projects:  Marshall 31-28

 

Texas at Oklahoma St

Line:  Texas -2.5(O/U-66)

Projected score based on point spread:  Texas 34-32

Best plays:

Texas (RB-Malcolm Brown, WR-Mike Davis)

Oklahoma St (QB-JW Walsh, RB-Joseph Randle, WRs-Tracy Moore, Josh Cooper, TE-Blake Jackson, K-Quinn Sharp)

Also consider:

Texas (QB-David Ash, WR-Jaxon Shipley)

Oklahoma St (RB-Jeremy Smith)

theCFFsite projects:  Oklahoma St 24-20

 

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

Ole Miss at Alabama

Line:  Alabama -31(O/U-54.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Alabama 43-12

Stay away from:

Ole Miss (QB-Bo Wallace, RB-Jeff Scott)

theCFFsite projects:  Alabama 49-14

 

Boise St at New Mexico

Line:  Boise St -26.5(O/U-51.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Boise St 39-12

Stay away from:

New Mexico (All players)

theCFFsite projects:  Boise St 38-7

 

Hawaii at BYU

Line:  BYU -27.5(O/U-50.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  BYU 39-11

Stay away from:

Hawaii (QB-Sean Schroeder)

theCFFsite projects:  BYU 31-7

 

Buffalo at Connecticut

Line:  Connecticut -17.5(O/U-42.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Connecticut 30-12

Stay away from:

Buffalo (RB-Branden Oliver)

theCFFsite projects:  Connecticut 28-7

 

South Carolina at Kentucky

Line:  South Carolina -21(O/U-47.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  South Carolina 35-13

Stay away from:

Kentucky (WR-La’Rod King)

theCFFsite projects:  South Carolina 30-6

 

Must Watch Games (The games with the biggest headlines)

Ohio St at Michigan St

Line:  Michigan St -3(O/U-43.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Michigan St 23-20

Outlook:  Even though the Buckeyes are not eligible to win the conference and play in a bowl game, they may be the best team in the Big Ten.  However, Braxton Miller’s game-winning drive will come up as the Spartans’ defense will save the day in East Lansing.

theCFFsite projects:  Michigan St 21-17

 

Tennessee at Georgia

Line:  Georgia -13.5(O/U-61.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Georgia 38-24

Outlook:  Two teams headed in opposite directions, the Bulldogs will eventually impose their will and pull away late with their ground attack.

theCFFsite projects:  Georgia 34-21

 

Oregon St at Arizona

Line:  Arizona -3(O/U-56.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Arizona 30-27

Outlook:  The Wildcats are looking to rebound after an abysmal loss in Eugene last week, but the Beavers’ defense looks as if they are in mid-season form.

theCFFsite projects:  Oregon St 31-24

 

Wisconsin at Nebraska

Line:  Nebraska -13.5(O/U-50.5)

Projected score based on point spread:  Nebraska 32-19

Outlook:  Week Five’s slate of games must be weak when we feature two Big Ten games on our ‘Must Watch’ list, but it should be interesting to watch Rex Burkhead and Montee Ball in the same game.

theCFFsite projects:  Nebraska 31-14

 

theCFFsite in Must Watch games:

2012 Season:  Straight Up (7-4)  ATS: (6-5)

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

 

By Joe DiSalvo, thecffsite.com

Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

Teaser:
<p> College Fantasy Football: Using Vegas Odds to Determine Best Week 5 Plays</p>
Post date: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 04:49
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NFL, MLB, Overtime, News
Path: /college-football/15-worst-officiating-moments-sports-history
Body:

Monday night's Green Bay-Seattle game featured one of the most controversial endings in sports history. However, the finish of the Packers-Seahawks game isn't the only moment in sports history that featured a questionable call. Here are 15 (and a few extra) moments that officials changed the course of the game.

15 Worst Officiating Moments in Sports History

2012: Green Bay vs. Seattle: Golden Tate’s Hail Mary "Catch"
Replacement officials made plenty of glaring errors through the first three weeks of the 2012 NFL season but none bigger than the one that occurred between the Seattle-Green Bay matchup on Monday night. With the Seahawks trailing 12-7 with seconds remaining, quarterback Russell Wilson heaved a pass to the corner of the endzone, which appeared to be intercepted by Green Bay defensive back M.D. Jennings. However, the officials ruled Seattle receiver Golden Tate wrestled away control and award the catch to the Seahawks. Making matters worse for Green Bay, Tate clearly pushed off on a defensive back, which allowed him to get into position for the catch. 


1972 Russia vs. United States Olympic Basketball Gold Medal Game
The United States Olympic basketball team entered the 1972 Games in Munich having never suffered a loss in the history of the Games, and it looked as if their streak would continue with a 50-49 win over the Soviets in the gold medal game. The officials had other ideas. In perhaps the most controversial sports ending ever, the Soviets got three attempts to score. After two questionable clock resettings, a length-of the floor pass was thrown to Alexander Belov, who made a layup at the buzzer for what remains in the record books a 51-50 win — even if the members of the U.S. team refuse to acknowledge it.


Tuck Rule – Oakland vs. New England in 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs
It’s not unusual for the rules to be changed, tweaked or adjusted from season to season, depending upon the circumstances. For the most part, the changes go largely unnoticed unless something happens to bring them into the spotlight. That was certainly the case in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs as the entire world was introduced to what would become known simply as the “Tuck Rule.” Playing in a driving snowstorm at home, New England trailed Oakland 13-10 in the fourth quarter with less than two minutes remaining. Still out of field goal range, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropped back to pass and dropped the football after being hit. The Raiders recovered and seemingly put an end to the Patriots’ hopes. However, upon further review, referee Walt Coleman reversed the call on the field of a fumble, according to the “Tuck Rule,” which was introduced in 1999. Coleman explained on national TV that Brady had started to throw a forward pass and then lost possession of the ball as he was trying to bring it back, tuck it, into his body. The overturned call made it an incomplete pass and Brady was able to put Adam Vinatieri into position to make a game-tying 45-yard field goal with 27 seconds left on the clock. The Patriots would go on to win in overtime and eventually capture the first of their three Super Bowl titles during the 2000s.

 

1999 Pittsburgh vs. Detroit: Thanksgiving Day Coin Toss
Normally, the refs’ eyesight is called into question, but on Thanksgiving Day 1999, an official’s hearing was the issue. As the Steelers-Lions game headed into overtime, Luckett conducted the coin toss. Steelers captain Jerome Bettis called “tails,” but somehow Luckett heard “heads,” awarding possession to the Lions, who took advantage and won the game. The blunder caused the league to change its coin toss procedure — too little, too late for the Steelers.

 

Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga’s Near-Perfect Game
Detroit starter Armando Galarraga was one out away from a perfect game on June 2, 2010 in Comerica Park against Cleveland when the Indians Jason Donald stepped up to the plate. Donald hit an easy grounder to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera who flipped the ball to Galaragga covering first, only to watch helplessly as first base umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly ruled Donald safe. Galaragga would retire the next batter for the one-hit shutout, but in the minds of the Tigers team and fans in attendance, the damage had already been done. After the game, Joyce willingly and profusely admitted his mistake and took it upon himself to personally apologize to Galaragga. Both men deserve credit for how each of them handled the situation, as they will be forever linked because of it.

Jerry Meals’ Bad Call at Home Ends 19-inning marathon between Braves and Pirates
No one wants to see any baseball game end on a bad call at home, let alone one that lasted 19 innings, but that’s what happened in Atlanta on July 26, 2011. Actually, the game didn’t officially end until July 27 as the Braves and Pirates started on Tuesday night and played into the early hours of Wednesday morning to settle this one. And in the end, the only reason it ended in the bottom of the 19th was because home plate umpire Jerry Meals egregiously called Julio Lugo safe at home although Pirates catcher Michael McKenry clearly applied the tag before Lugo’s foot crossed the plate. What exactly Meals saw only he can answer, but all you need to do is listen to the contrasting calls by the teams’ respective broadcasts and realize that there’s little doubt he missed this one.

 

The Fifth Down Game – 1990 – Colorado at Missouri
The Buffaloes claimed a share of the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech, but the season was overshadowed by a controversial finish against Missouri. Colorado was awarded a fifth down late in the game, which allowed it to score the game-winning touchdown. Quarterback Charles Johnson spiked the ball on first down, while running back Eric Bieniemy was stopped at the one-yard line on second down. On third down, Bieniemy was stopped at the goal-line, which forced Johnson to spike the ball on “fourth down”. However, Johnson’s spike on first down apparently went unnoticed, as the Buffaloes scored on a touchdown run on "fifth down" to seal the victory. The Buffaloes went on to finish the year with an 11-1 record and a 10-9 victory over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.


Mike Renfro Ruled out of Bounds in 1979 AFC Championship Game
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the NFL’s team of the 1970s winning four Super Bowls in a span of six seasons (1974-79). The team they defeated to get to the last two during this run was the Houston Oilers. While the Oilers put up little resistance in the 1978 AFC Championship Game, losing 34-5, it’s the one that took place the following season that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Oilers fans. Leading 17-10 in the third quarter, Houston wide receiver Mike Renfro appeared to put the Oilers in a position to tie the game, when he made an incredible catch in the back corner of the end zone. Television replays confirmed the catch, but the officials, who did not have the benefit of instant replay back then, ruled it an incompletion. The Oilers had to settle for a field goal and the Steelers would go on to a 27-13 victory.

 

Kent Hrbek’s “Hard Tag” on Ron Gant in 1991 World Series
Who says baseball is not a contact sport? In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series Minnesota first baseman Kent Hrbek and Atlanta outfielder Ron Gant were involved in a play that not only would have made a wreslter proud, but turned out to a be a pivotal play when all was said and done. Trailing by one run in the top of the third, Gant singled to left off of Twins starter Kevin Tapani to seemingly put runners on first and third with two outs and David Justice on deck. The throw from the outfield rolled away from the fielder briefly, however, resulting in Gant taking a fairly wide turn around first. After retrieving the ball, Tapani threw to Hrbek at first in hopes of catching Gant off base. Even though Gant made it safely back to the bag before Hrbek could apply the tag; the burly first baseman lifted Gant off of the first all the while keeping his glove on Gant. Umpire Drew Coble called Gant out, ending the Braves’ threat, and the Twins would go on to win Game 2 by one run, 3-2, and the World Series in seven. Tapani made the out possible by throwing back to first, with Hrbek receiving two points for a textbook takedown.

 

1998 – Seahawks vs. Jets – Vinny Testaverde’s "touchdown"
Although the Seahawks benefitted from a blown call on Monday night, they were the victim of poor officiating in 1998. In an early December matchup in New York, Seattle lost 32-31 on a phantom touchdown run by Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde. With no instant reply, the Seahawks were unable to challenge the call, even though it was clear Testaverde never crossed the goal-line.

 

1986 World Cup: Argentina vs. England
The 1986 World Cup Finals between Argentina and England was one of the most incredible soccer matches in the history of the sport, due in no small part to Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal. Maradona punched the ball with his left hand past the English keeper and into the goal during Argentina’s 2-1 win, and referee Ali Bin Nasser failed to see the infraction. Afterward, Maradona famously commented that his goal came “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” and the phrase entered the sports lexicon. 

 

Cardinals-Royals: 1985 World Series
The Cardinals were three outs away from winning the 1985 World Series, when umpire Don Denkinger infamously intervened. The Cardinals led the Royals three games to two and took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning of Game 6. The inning's leadoff batter, Jorge Orta, sent a chopper to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed the ball to pitcher Todd Worrell at first base, clearly beating Orta by a half-step. Clearly, that is, to everyone but Denkinger, who called Orta safe, leading to a two-run rally. The Royals went on to win Game 7 over the deflated Cards 11-0.

 

2006 Oregon vs. Oklahoma: Onside Kick Error
The Sooners suffered a huge blow to their national title hopes in 2006, as bad officiating cost Oklahoma a win in Eugene. The Sooners led 33-20 with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but Oregon scored on a 16-yard touchdown run by Dennis Dixon with just over a minute to go. The Ducks recovered the onside kick, but replay clearly showed the kick hit one of their players before going 10 yards. Although instant replay was used, Oregon kept the ball, and Dennis Dixon hit Brian Paysinger for a 23-yard touchdown pass to win the game. The officials from the Oklahoma-Oregon matchup were suspended one game due to the missed calls late in the fourth quarter.

 

1979 Rose Bowl – USC vs. Michigan: Charles White’s "touchdown"
The 1979 Rose Bowl matchup was a much-anticipated game between two top-five teams. USC entered the 1979 Rose Bowl at 11-1, while Michigan was 10-1. In the second quarter, Charles White appeared to score, which would give USC a 14-3 lead. However, a closer look revealed White fumbled before he reached the endzone and was incorrectly ruled a touchdown by the officiating crew. Considering the final score was 17-10, the “touchdown” proved to be the difference and propelled USC to a finish of No. 1 in the UPI poll.

 

Dallas vs. Buffalo Stanley Cup: Goal or No Goal?
Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars scored the Stanley Cup series-clinching goal in triple overtime of game six against the Buffalo Sabres. Too bad it was apparently illegal, even if the officials allowed it to stand. When Hull scored, his foot was in the crease, but the puck was not — a no-no, even though the NHL tried a semantics tap-dance around the issue by claiming they had issued a memo allowing goals when the scorer had control of the puck prior to his skate entering the crease. The Sabres' reply? "No goal," which became the franchise rallying cry. 

 

Honorable Mention

2005 – Florida vs. Vanderbilt – Earl Bennett’s “celebration penalty”
Winning at Florida is never easy for any team in the SEC, but Vanderbilt’s last win in Gainesville occurred in 1945. The Commodores were on the verge of an upset victory in 2005, as Jay Cutler hit receiver Earl Bennett on a six-yard touchdown pass with less than one minute to go to bring Vanderbilt within one point. The Commodores were prepared to go for two, however, the officials flagged Bennett for excessive celebration, which forced the Commodores to kick the extra point and play for overtime. Bennett’s penalty is one of the most egregious celebration flags in recent memory and prevented Vanderbilt from a two-point conversion that could have won and allowed the Commodores to get bowl eligible. 

 

Chuck Knoblauch’s Phantom Tag in 1999 ALCS
The Red Sox were trailing the Yankees by one when they batted in the bottom of the eighth in Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS. With one out, Jose Offerman singled off of Andy Pettitte to seemingly start a rally. It was quickly snuffed out, however, when John Valentin grounded into an inning-ending double play, one that was made possible by Knoblauch’s now-infamous “Phantom Tag” of Offerman at second, with an assist from second base umpire Tim Tschida. The Yankees would go on to score six more runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away and then put the Red Sox away in with a series-clinching win the next night in Fenway Park. The hated Yankees would break the hearts or Red Sox nation yet again in the 2003 ALCS, this time in seven games, before exacting some revenge the next year in a season that would finally put an end to the “Curse of the Bambino” after 86 years.

Teaser:
<p> 15 Worst Officiating Moments in Sports History</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-20-coaches-hot-seat-post-week-4-rankings
Body:

Week 4 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. Thanks to a lackluster showing at Florida, Kentucky's Joker Phillips holds down the No. 1 spot once again. With a surprising loss to Central Michigan, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz makes a big jump in the rankings. While UNLV's Bobby Hauck, Colorado's Jon Embree and Central Michigan's Dan Enos fall after important victories in Week 4.

College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 4 Rankings

1. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Record at Kentucky: 12-17 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Considering Florida is one of college football’s top 10-15 teams, there is no shame in losing in Gainesville. However, it’s a problem when a team looks disorganized and looks as bad as Kentucky played on Saturday. With quarterback Maxwell Smith sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Wildcats managed only 60 passing yards and tossed three interceptions. Kentucky’s offense was shut out for the first time since 2006 in SEC play, and the defense had no answer for Florida’s ground or passing attack. As each game passes, it becomes less and less likely Phillips will back in Lexington in 2012.

2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Last Week’s Rank:
2
Record at Boston College: 21-21 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-2
The Eagles had an off date in Week 4 and return to action this Saturday against Clemson. Boston College’s schedule isn’t going to get any easier, especially with road dates against Army, Florida State and Georgia Tech coming up after this week’s matchup against the Tigers. Spaziani needs to get this team into a bowl to save his job. Considering the upcoming schedule, that’s no sure thing.

3. Robb Akey, Idaho
Last Week’s Rank:
5
Record at Idaho: 19-47 (6th season)
2012 Record: 0-4
With victories by Dan Enos, Bobby Hauck and Jon Embree, Akey moves up to the No. 3 spot in the hot seat rankings. In fairness to Akey, the Vandals have played better in the last two games against non-BCS competition, including taking Wyoming to overtime in Week 4. Idaho has another tough road game at North Carolina this Saturday, before returning home for a winnable game against New Mexico State.

4. David Bailiff, Rice
Last Week’s Rank:
8
Record at Rice: 24-41 (6th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
An early season victory over Kansas was supposed to give Rice some momentum going into Conference USA play. However, the Owls have lost back-to-back games, including their C-USA opener against Marshall. Although the defense continues to be an issue, Rice is averaging 34.3 points a contest, and quarterback Taylor McHargue ranks 13th nationally in total offense per game. While the Owls would prefer to have a 4-0 record, they have been competitive in every game so far this year. Rice takes on rival Houston this Saturday, which is another opportunity for Bailiff to show the program is headed in the right direction.

5. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Last Week’s Rank:
15
Record at Iowa: 98-68 (14th season)
2012 Record: 2-2
There were plenty of grumblings about Ferentz among the Iowa fanbase before Saturday’s 32-31 defeat to Central Michigan. After losing to the Chippewas in Week 4, it’s fair to wonder if the program is in a slide and if Ferentz can pull out a winning season. Despite the return of quarterback James Vandenberg, Iowa ranks 91st nationally in passing offense and is averaging a pedestrian 20.5 points a game. The Hawkeyes are 3-5 in their last eight games, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with matchups against Minnesota, Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern. Ferentz has been a solid coach during his time in Iowa State, but it’s time to wonder whether the program has gone too stale.

6. Jeff Tedford, California
Last Week’s Rank:
10
Record at California: 80-51 (11th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Considering California has played one of the best non-BCS teams (Nevada) and two top 10-15 teams in Ohio State and USC, a 1-3 record isn’t a complete shock. However, the Golden Bears have not looked good at times and struggled to beat FCS opponent Southern Utah in Week 2. Since posting a 17-9 record from 2008-09, California is just 13-16 and has a tough back-to-back homestand against Arizona State and UCLA the next two weeks. Tedford is the winningest coach in school history. Will that be enough to buy him another year if the Golden Bears miss out on the postseason?

7. Rick Stockstill, MTSU
Last Week’s Rank:
7
Record at MTSU: 37-41 (7th season)
2012 Record: 2-1
The Blue Raiders had an off date in Week 4 and return to action at Georgia Tech this Saturday. MTSU’s loss to McNeese State in the season opener was a huge disappointment, but the team has rebounded to win back-to-back games. The Blue Raiders are overmatched against the Yellow Jackets but saving Stockstill’s job will likely rest on how well this team performs in Sun Belt play.

8. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Last Week’s Rank:
16
Record at Buffalo: 6-21 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-2
Quinn had a primetime opportunity in Week 4 to showcase this program is on the right track, but the Bulls were easily handled 23-7 by Kent State. Running back Branden Oliver was sidelined in the second half due to a leg injury, and Buffalo’s offense finished with just 265 yards against the Golden Flashes. The Bulls are just 3-10 in their last 13 games, which includes victories over a bad Akron team last season and Morgan State in Week 2 this year. With games coming up against Connecticut, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Pittsburgh and Toledo, Buffalo could be 1-7 heading into the final month of the season.

9. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Last Week’s Rank:
14
Record at Syracuse: 18-23 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Although Syracuse is 1-3, its schedule hasn’t been the easiest in college football, as evidenced by an 11-1 record by its BCS opponents. However, Saturday’s loss to Minnesota was discouraging for Marrone and the fanbase, especially after watching the team commit 10 penalties, and the offense give away four turnovers. The Orange has not beat a BCS opponent since a surprising 49-23 victory over West Virginia on Oct. 21, 2011. Considering Marrone is a Syracuse alum, he may have a little more job security than most coaches with an 18-23 record. However, the reality is the Orange have two losing seasons under Marrone and are on their way to No. 3.

10. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Last Week’s Rank:
12
Record at Tennessee: 14-15 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-1
Despite improving to 3-1, Dooley climbs a few spots in the hot seat watch. The Volunteers trailed Akron – one of the worst FBS teams last season – 23-20 late in the second quarter. Although Tennessee earned the victory, it was an uninspiring performance and there were plenty of empty seats in Neyland Stadium at kickoff. The Volunteers begin a tough stretch of SEC play this Saturday at Georgia, followed up by a road date at Mississippi State on Oct. 13. Dooley has Tennessee positioned to return to a bowl game but a 6-6 finish would raise plenty of doubts on whether or not he should return for 2013. 

11. Tony Levine, Houston
Last Week’s Rank:
9
Record at Houston: 1-3 (1st full season)
2012 Record: 0-3
Considering how the first three weeks of the season played out for Houston, the bye week came at a good time for Levine. The Cougars have two losses by at least 17 points and rank 118th nationally in total defense. The offense ranks sixth nationally with 346.7 passing yards per game but has 10 turnovers through three games. Levine’s first season has been a disappointment, and he could use a win over inter-city rival Rice this Saturday.

12. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Last Week’s Rank:
11
Record at Maryland: 4-12 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 2-2
As the hot seat watch has indicated throughout this year, there has been noticeable improvement for Edsall’s team through the first four games. The Terrapins played well against West Virginia, losing by only 10 points, while freshman quarterback Perry Hills threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the fact Maryland has already matched its win total from last year, its record is still 2-2 and the schedule won’t get any easier the rest of the way. A bowl game seems out of reach, but the Terrapins should be able to finish with four wins.

13. Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Last Week’s Rank:
6
Record at UNLV: 5-24 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
A week after giving Washington State all it could handle, the Rebels cracked the win column with a 38-35 victory over Air Force. The upset over the Falcons was UNLV’s first win since Oct. 29, 2011. Oddly enough, the Rebels have won all five games under Hauck at home, with their last road victory coming on Oct. 24, 2009. Hauck has a dismal record, but all three of the Rebels’ losses this season have been by eight points or less.

14. Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
4
Record at Central Michigan: 8-19 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-1
Could Saturday’s win over Iowa be enough to save Enos’ job? The Chippewas pulled off a huge upset in Iowa City, beating the Hawkeyes 32-31 and giving Enos his best win in his three-year tenure. While Central Michigan has to be riding high after the upset, it needs to quickly refocus with key MAC games against Northern Illinois and Toledo upcoming. Enos has the Chippewas positioned to make a run at a winning season after a 2-1 start but another losing record could spell the end of his tenure at Central Michigan. 

15. Jon Embree, Colorado
Last Week’s Rank:
3
Record at Colorado: 4-13 (2nd season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Even though Embree climbed to No. 3 in the hot seat rankings last week, he had enough job security to survive another season. And Saturday’s win over Colorado certainly gives Embree and the coaching staff enough of a boost to show the program is making some (albeit small) progress. The Buffaloes were big underdogs against Washington State but scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to claim a 35-34 victory. Oddly enough, three of Embree’s four career wins in Boulder have come in the Pac-12, including two on the road. Colorado still has a long way to go to be competitive every week in the conference, but Saturday’s win should give this team some confidence going into Week 5 against UCLA.

16. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Last Week’s Rank:
17
Record at New Mexico State: 10-32 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
The Aggies had their three-game winning streak against rival New Mexico snapped on Saturday, losing 27-14 in Las Cruces. Walker has one of college football’s most difficult jobs, so it’s hard to expect 7-5 or 8-4 seasons. Progress has been slow under Walker’s tenure, but the Aggies won four games last season and seem to be on the right track heading into 2012. Considering New Mexico State’s uncertain conference affiliation, it’s hard to see Walker getting fired, unless this team completely bombs in the second half of 2012.

17. Gene Chizik, Auburn
Last Week’s Rank:
13
Record at Auburn: 31-13 (4th season)
2012 Record: 1-3
Despite the loss to LSU, Auburn showed some signs of life in Week 4. The defense limited LSU to 182 yards on the ground and never allowed Zach Mettenberger to get comfortable in the pocket. While the offense continued to struggle, Auburn’s defense showed it can keep this team in plenty of games this year. The Tigers have a bye week this Saturday and continue SEC play with a home game against Arkansas on Oct. 6.

18. Skip Holtz, South Florida
Last Week’s Rank:
Not ranked
Record at South Florida: 15-14 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 2-2
Barring a complete collapse, Holtz is probably in no real danger of losing his job. However, South Florida was expected to be one of the frontrunners for the Big East title in 2012 and is off to a disappointing 2-2 start. The Bulls have a road loss at Ball State, a 10-point defeat to Rutgers and a narrow one-point win over Nevada. After losing seven out of its final eight games last year, combined with the slow start in 2012, the pressure is beginning to build on Holtz in South Florida.

19. Bill Cubit, Western Michigan
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at Western Michigan: 49-41 (8th season)
2012 Record: 2-2
After falling just short of beating their first two BCS opponents of 2012 (Illinois and Minnesota), the Broncos picked up a 30-24 victory over Connecticut in Week 4. Quarterback Alex Carder suffered a hand injury but still finished with 237 yards and one touchdown. The defense delivered late, as Desmond Bozeman returned a fumble 53 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. Western Michigan was expected to be the frontrunner for the MAC West title in 2012. So far, the Broncos have done nothing to lower those expectations.

20. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Last Week’s Rank:
19
Record at Texas Tech: 16-12 (3rd season)
2012 Record: 3-0
The Red Raiders are off to a solid 3-0 start and had an off date in Week 4 to prepare for their Big 12 opener against Iowa State. Texas Tech is riding a five-game losing streak in Big 12 games entering Saturday’s date against the Cyclones, with its last conference victory coming against Oklahoma on Oct. 22. After a dismal showing on defense last year, the Red Raiders’ coaching staff has to be pleased to be ranked No. 1 in the nation after four weeks. However, the real test for this unit begins on Saturday in Ames.

Honorable Mention

John L. Smith, Arkansas
Record at Arkansas:
1-3
2012 Record: 1-3
As we mention each week in the hot seat watch, Smith is essentially on a one-year contract, so he was never expected to return for 2013. However, he is worthy of a mention in this space, especially as Arkansas is off to a disappointing 1-3 start. Of course, not having quarterback Tyler Wilson for the second half against UL Monroe and for any snaps against Alabama hurts, but the Razorbacks were expected to challenge for the SEC title. 

by Steven Lassan

(published Sept. 25, 2012)
 

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College Football Week 4 Recap

Teaser:
<p> College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 4 Rankings</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 06:00
Path: /college-football/college-football-post-week-4-bowl-projections
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College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only three weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games. 

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

2012-2013 Post-Week 4 College Football Bowl Projections

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


by Steven Lassan

(published Sept. 25, 2012)

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College Football's Top 20 Coaches on the Hot Seat: Post-Week 4 Ranks
ACC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings

Big East Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
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Teaser:
<p> College Football Post-Week 4 Bowl Projections</p>
Post date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 05:59

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