Articles By All

Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-5-predictions-ucla-hosts-arizona-state-oregon-colorado
Body:

It’s a slight slate of action in the Pac-12 for Week 5. This conference held the spotlight nationally last Saturday, as three league games had the nation’s attention with Utah’s victory over Oregon, USC’s easy win over Arizona State, and UCLA’s key South Division win over Arizona. The matchups in Week 5 aren’t as appealing, but there’s still plenty of intrigue. UCLA looks to remain unbeaten against Arizona State, while Stanford takes on Arizona. The Wildcats won’t have star linebacker Scooby Wright due to a foot injury, while the status of quarterback Anu Solomon is also up in the air. Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the Ducks look to get back on track after last week’s loss, and California hosts Washington State.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Pac-12 Week 5 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Pac-12 Week 5 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Arizona State at UCLA

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: UCLA -13.5

 

Predictions for Arizona State at UCLA

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-2438-1735-2135-28

 

2. Arizona at Stanford

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

Spread: Stanford -17.5

 

Predictions for Arizona at Stanford

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-2028-2442-2141-28

 

3. Oregon at Colorado

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Oregon -7.5

 

Predictions for Oregon at Colorado

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-2431-2042-2842-35

 

4. Washington State at California

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

Spread: California -19

 

Predictions for Washington State at California

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
45-3051-3852-4144-34

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 5 Predictions: UCLA Hosts Arizona State, Oregon Looks for Rebound Against Colorado
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-5-predictions-texas-tech-baylor-shootout-west-virginia-travels-oklahoma
Body:

The Big 12 generated plenty of conversation and intrigue across the nation last Saturday from the thrilling TCU-Texas Tech game, along with Oklahoma State’s last-minute win over Texas. But the Week 5 slate is even more appealing. West Virginia is a quiet 3-0, and the Mountaineers have their biggest test of the season against Oklahoma on Saturday. Conference play in the state of Texas is under the spotlight, as TCU hosts Texas and there should be no shortage of points in the Texas Tech-Baylor matchup in Arlington.

 

Related: College Football's Top 10 QBs from September

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big 12 Week 5 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Related: College Football's Top 10 RBs from September

 

Big 12 Week 5 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. West Virginia at Oklahoma

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Oklahoma -7

 

Predictions for West Virginia at Oklahoma

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-2737-2128-2137-34

 

2. Texas Tech vs. Baylor (Arlington)

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

Spread: Baylor -17

 

Predictions for Texas Tech at Baylor

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
55-4058-4152-4141-38

 

3. Texas at TCU

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC

Spread: TCU -15

 

Predictions for Texas at TCU

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
45-2444-2042-3141-28

 

4. Kansas State at Oklahoma State

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Oklahoma State -8

 

Predictions for Kansas State at Oklahoma State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
31-2033-2331-2130-24

 

5. Kansas at Iowa State

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: FSN

Spread: Iowa State -16

 

Predictions for Kansas at Iowa State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-1724-1427-1434-14

 

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 5 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/bill-simmons-takes-shots-espn-roger-goodell-podcast-nfl-deflategate
Body:

We all saw this coming. 

 

Bill Simmons' first post-ESPN podcasts are up and he spent a little time talking about his former employer and the way they covered the NFL and Roger Goodell. It's no secret the two entities have a lucrative relationship.

 

"Granted, I'm a little biased here," Simmons said. "The way everyone else was covering Roger Goodell in this whole story versus the way ESPN covered it, it was embarrassing. I couldn't believe nobody called out ESPN on it."

 

Simmons is always the one to call ESPN out, whether he's on payroll or not. Clearly he's mistaken because for a while it seemed like everyone was talking about ESPN's method of covering the situation, but maybe Simmons is one of those people who only listens to himself.

 

"You have Dan Wetzel at Yahoo, you had Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, you had all the people in Boston, you had different radio personalities, and people really going after how the NFL was handling this, how Goodell was handling this, all this stuff... When it came out that they had obviously leaked stuff and something really legitimately shady was going on, and yet if you went to ESPN you didn't see anything... It's hard to come away from that and not think that ESPN is in the bag for the NFL, because they were."

 

 

Former ESPN personalities seem more liberated and even more outspoken (if that's possible) after they leave the worldwide leader.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 10:16
Path: /college-football/nebraskas-demornay-pierson-el-priming-million-dollar-moves-return
Body:

I never had the opportunity to see Nebraska football legend Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers live. My only knowledge of his on-the-field exploits is limited to video, books and anecdotes. I’ve shook the man’s hand, seen the Heisman Trophy he won and heard the tales about how people used to say he was worth 14 points per game.

 

I don’t refer to people as “the next” anyone. I don’t think that’s fair as we all have the right to write our own legacies, especially in sports. I will say this, though: while De’Mornay Pierson-El is not “the next” Johnny Rodgers, he is incredibly electric and has a spark Nebraska could really use right now.

 

No. 15’s been out of action since fall practice with a foot injury and his absence has affected Husker football. With him, the Big Red may be 4-0 right now. He’s that good. You’ll have to pardon a fan base that’s a might miffed over a 2-2 start to the season for being jacked about his return.

 

Cleveland had LeBron James' “Return,” Nebraska has DPE’s.

 

While no one has any delusions of him running back punt returns for scores or catching one-handed touchdown passes, there are things he can do to not only help the Huskers defeat Illinois, but do so in a more convincing fashion than many Big Red fans may expect.

 

If you’re Tim Banks and Mike Phair (Illinois’ co-defensive coordinators for the uninitiated), you know Pierson-El isn’t 100 percent, but he’s still a danger that has to be acknowledged.

 

Could Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf be using him as a decoy? Is the personnel package tipping its hand for a fly sweep or a reverse? Have to be ready for both.

 

What if both are fakes and it’s a handoff to Andy Janovich up the gut or an out route to Jordan Westerkamp?

 

This is what Pierson-El brings to the table. He is the unknown, the X-Factor, the question mark.

 

Plenty of fans would rather he not even play versus Illinois and I understand their reasoning. Why run the risk of him re-injuring himself or what if he's no use on the field in his limited capacity?

 

Well, football being what it is, you can’t play scared. It’s not that Mike Riley and his band of merry men don’t have their focus on Illinois, but playing Pierson-El is part of the grand scheme of things.

 

The running game has to get the gunk out of its wheels, penalties have to be cleaned up (or played to if refs are going to call Illegal Formation like it’s going out of style) and everyone knows the score about Mark Banker’s defense such as it is.

 

DPE’s part of beating Illinois, but he also needs to knock the rust off because the Huskers are going to need every possible positive against the Wisconsin Badgers, let alone every opponent past them.

 

Despite Wisconsin losing running back Corey Clement (sports hernia surgery), that’s going to be a physical game and having a guy like Pierson-El on your side can break the back of an opponent in the blink of an eye.

 

If Nebraska’s going to win the Big Ten West, it needs to deck a mid-level team like Illinois and drop one of (if not the) division’s big boys in the Badgers.

 

That’s where Pierson-El and his "million dollar moves" come in.

 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and Periscope (eightlaces), and like his Facebook page.

Teaser:
Nebraska’s De’Mornay Pierson-El Priming "Million Dollar Moves" for Return
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-5-predictions-indiana-aims-ohio-state-upset-iowa-visits-wisconsin
Body:

Conference play in the Big Ten is set to begin in full force in Week 5. After just one league game was played in September, six conference matchups dot the slate this Saturday. Indiana is 4-0 and hosts Ohio State in a huge opportunity for coach Kevin Wilson’s team to score an upset. While the Hoosiers-Buckeyes is an intriguing matchup, the Iowa-Wisconsin contest is the top Big Ten game this Saturday. The Hawkeyes-Badgers game should play a huge role in determining the Big Ten West champion. Points could be at a premium between Minnesota-Northwestern, but a high-scoring affair is expected between Nebraska and Illinois.

 

Related: College Football Awards for September

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 5 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Related: College Football's Best QBs from September

 

Big Ten Week 5 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Iowa at Wisconsin

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Wisconsin -7

 

Predictions for Iowa at Wisconsin

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-2428-2328-2131-30

 

2. Ohio State at Indiana

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2/ABC

Spread: Ohio State -21

 

Predictions for Ohio State at Indiana

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
45-2440-2841-2741-31

 

3. Minnesota at Northwestern

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Spread: Northwestern -4

 

Predictions for Minnesota at Northwestern

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-2017-1321-1021-17

 

4. Nebraska at Illinois

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Spread: Nebraska -6.5

 

Predictions for Nebraska at Illinois

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-2731-2349-2134-30

 

5. Michigan at Maryland

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Spread: Michigan -16

 

Predictions for Michigan at Maryland

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-628-735-1030-0

 

6. Purdue at Michigan State

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Michigan State -22

 

Predictions for Purdue at Michigan State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-1331-1342-1434-14

 

7. Army at Penn State

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Penn State -24

 

Predictions for Army at Penn State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-1030-1035-1038-13
Teaser:
Big Ten Week 5 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/sec-week-5-predictions-georgia-hosts-alabama-florida-looks-upset-over-ole-miss
Body:

The SEC’s Week 5 slate features one of the marquee matchups in the nation, as Alabama travels to Georgia for a key conference showdown. The Crimson Tide has not played the Bulldogs in a regular season game since 2008, but there’s plenty at stake in this year’s meeting. Outside of Alabama-Georgia, Florida looks to remain unbeaten with an upset bid over Ole Miss, Texas A&M hosts Mississippi State, while Tennessee and Missouri look to score key SEC wins after losses in conference play last week. 

 

Related: College Football Awards from September

 

Athlon Sports offers its SEC Week 5 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), David Fox (@DavidFox615), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch) and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Related: College Football's Top 10 QBs from September

 

SEC Week 5 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Alabama at Georgia

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Georgia -2.5

 

Predictions for Alabama at Georgia

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-2427-2428-2434-20

 

2. Ole Miss at Florida

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Ole Miss -7.5

 

Predictions for Ole Miss at Florida

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
31-1731-2035-1731-17

 

3. Mississippi State at Texas A&M

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Texas A&M -6.5

 

Predictions for Mississippi State at Texas A&M

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-2730-2035-2034-30

 

4. Arkansas at Tennessee

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Tennessee -6.5

 

Predictions for Arkansas at Tennessee

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-2427-2038-2830-27

 

5. South Carolina at Missouri

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Missouri -2.5

 

Predictions for South Carolina at Missouri

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
20-1724-1417-1421-20

 

6. Vanderbilt at MTSU

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: MTSU -1

 

Predictions for Vanderbilt at MTSU

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-2427-2321-1027-7

 

7. San Jose State at Auburn

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Auburn -20.5

 

Predictions for San Jose State at Auburn

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-1030-1728-1438-14

 

8. Eastern Michigan at LSU

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: LSU -44.5

 

Predictions for Eastern Michigan at LSU

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
52-748-035-745-0

 

9. Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: NL

 

Predictions for Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-1038-1331-1030-10
Teaser:
SEC Week 5 Predictions: Georgia Hosts Alabama, Ole Miss on Upset Alert at Florida
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/acc-week-5-predictions-clemson-notre-dame-showdown-nc-state-hosts-louisville
Body:

The ACC’s Week 5 schedule kicks off on Thursday night with a non-conference matchup between two offensive-minded teams in Cincinnati and Miami. While the midweek contest between the Hurricanes and Bearcats should draw plenty of attention, the marquee game for the ACC takes place on Saturday night when Notre Dame visits Death Valley for a matchup against Clemson. Conference play also takes center stage on Saturday with intriguing contests between NC State-Louisville, Georgia Tech-North Carolina and Pittsburgh-Virginia Tech.

 

Athlon Sports offers its ACC Week 5 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

ACC Week 5 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Notre Dame at Clemson

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

Spread: Clemson -2

 

Predictions for Notre Dame at Clemson

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-2427-2435-2130-27

 

2. Louisville at NC State

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: NC State -4.5

 

Predictions for Louisville at NC State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-2028-2028-2131-27

 

3. Miami at Cincinnati

Date and Kickoff Time: Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Miami -6.5

 

Predictions for Miami at Cincinnati

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
40-3044-3038-3140-31

 

4. North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Georgia Tech -7

 

Predictions for North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-2431-2835-2734-21

 

5. Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Virginia Tech -4.5

 

Predictions for Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-2021-2021-1730-24

 

6. Boston College at Duke

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Duke -6.5

 

Predictions for Boston College at Duke

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
17-1317-1024-1414-13

 

7. Florida State at Wake Forest

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Florida State -19

 

Predictions for Florida State at Wake Forest

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-1038-1031-1034-13
Teaser:
ACC Week 5 Predictions: Clemson-Notre Dame Showdown, NC State Hosts Louisville
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 09:15
Path: /college-football/miami-hurricanes-vs-cincinnati-bearcats-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

For the sixth time since 2001, the Miami Hurricanes have started their season 3-0. After having a bye week following their 36-33 overtime victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the Hurricanes are on the road to face the Cincinnati Bearcats on Thursday night.

 

Last Thursday, the Bearcats (2-2) lost a thriller on the road to the Memphis Tigers 53-46. After starting quarterback Gunner Kiel left with a neck injury in the first quarter, redshirt freshman Hayden Moore threw for 557 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort.

 

College Football Podcast: Week 5 Preview with Andy Staples



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Miami at Cincinnati

 

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Miami -5.5

 

Three Things to Watch For

 

1. Moore gets another start

After Kiel was injured for the second straight week, Moore came in and performed admirably against the Tigers. After expressing uncertainty about Kiel's status for this game ealrier in the week, Cincinnati ruled him out on Tuesday. 

 

“Hayden played good enough to start, but we’ll sit down with the doctors,” Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville said prior to making the decision to hold Kiel out. “We just don’t know Gunner’s situation where something might make it worse. He could be the starter next week, I don’t know.”

 

Moore played well against Memphis but was average the previous week against Miami (Ohio). He finished 7-of-14 for 118 yards and two interceptions against the RedHawks. Moore also threw the decisive interception against Memphis with 10 seconds left in the game.

 

2. Brad Kaaya

The Hurricanes' offense doesn’t have the roster of their glory years when Andre Johnson, Clinton Portis and Jeremy Shockey were inside their huddle, but this team still has a ton of talent. Kaaya has been the one player Miami has depended on each week.

 

Against Nebraska, Kaaya threw for 379 yards and two touchdowns. Against a Cincinnati defense that ranks 96th in the country, the sophomore could have a huge night.

 

In the Bearcats' last two games against Miami (Ohio) and Memphis, their defense gave up a combined total of 1,018 passing yards. With defensive backs Adrian Witty out for the season and Clemente Casseus suspended, look for Kaaya to throw the ball deep to wide receivers Rashawn Scott, Stacy Coley and Herb Waters throughout the game.

 

3. Hurricanes' defense   

Coming into the game against Nebraska, Miami was ranked eighth nationally in total defense, giving up 234 yards per game. The Cornhuskers put up 462 yards as quarterback Tommy Armstrong threw four touchdown passes.

 

This week, Miami will have to try and slow down the nation's No. 2-ranked passing offense in Cincinnati. The Bearcats come into this game averaging 412.5 yards per game through the air.

 

“You can’t let them have time to throw the ball and get vertical, they’re a good run-after-catch team," said Hurricanes head coach Al Golden. "So many receivers on their team have so much experience. Their catch resume is phenomenal. They have a lot of guys that can do a lot of things with the ball after the catch."

 

Even though its Moore at quarterback for Cincinnati, the Hurricanes' secondary will have a tough time covering the Bearcats' receivers. Both Hurricane safeties Deon Bush and Jamal Carter will miss the first half of Thursday night’s game per NCAA rules after each was ejected last week against Nebraska for targeting.

 

Final Analysis

 

Neither Miami nor Cincinnati has a great defense, so that should make for an entertaining contest. The game is going to come down to which team can protect the football and the advantage there goes to Miami.

 

The Hurricanes have a plus-eight turnover margin, which is the second-best in the NCAA. Cincinnati ranks last in the country in turnover margin at minus-10.

 

Kaaya and running backs Joseph Yearly and Mark Walton should be able to make a number of plays against a terrible Bearcats defense if they can eliminate the mistakes. Miami recorded 13 penalties for 114 yards against Nebraska. If Golden's team can cut down on the mental mistakes, the Hurricanes should defeat the Bearcats by double digits.

 

Prediction: Miami 38, Cincinnati 27

 

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

Teaser:
Miami Hurricanes vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-best-college-football-games-october-2015
Body:

Pro tip for college football fans: Clear the calendar for Oct. 17.

 

The Third Saturday in October is no longer home of the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry, but it doesn't need to be.

 

The Oct. 17 weekend — starting with the UCLA-Stanford tilt on Thursday night — is going to be a mammoth weekend in college football

 

USC-Notre Dame, Michigan State-Michigan, Alabama-Teaxs A&M and West Virginia-Baylor are all on that Saturday. Even Memphis is playing a meaningful college football game that day.

 

Finish chores early, cancel pee wee soccer games and, by all means, skip that ill-advised fall wedding and get on the couch.

 

College Football Podcast: Week 5 Preview with Andy Staples



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

 

 GameDateLocation
1.Oct. 3Athens, Ga.

The most important SEC East vs. West matchup features Nick Chubb vs. Derrick Henry, unproven quarterbacks and the possibility of Nick Saban starting 0-2 in the league.

2.Oct. 15Palo Alto, Calif.

The ridiculously good Oct. 17 weekend gets started with a potential Pac-12 championship game preview on Thursday night. UCLA will try to redeem itself from last year’s embarrassment that knocked the Bruins out of the league title game, this time with freshman Josh Rosen at QB.

3.Oct. 17South Bend, Ind.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Bush Push and perhaps the most important game in the series for both teams since then.
4.Oct. 17Ann Arbor, Mich.

Everyone is pointing to the new Jim Harbaugh-Urban Meyer rivalry, Harbaugh-Mark Dantonio could be just as tense. The physicality on the field and intensity on the sidelines will be set to 11.

5.Oct. 24Oxford, Miss.

Will both teams be undefeated by the end of the month? Doesn’t matter. This could be the best offensive showcase in the SEC and a matchup of two of the best defensive players in the league in Myles Garrett and Robert Nkemdiche. 

6.Oct. 3Clemson, S.C.

Notre Dame has had a slew of injuries. Clemson looked pedestrian against its only game against an opponent with a mild pulse. The winner of this game will shed some skepticism.

7.Oct. 17College Station, Texas

Let’s hope this game is more like the 2012 and 2013 editions and less like the 2014 matchup.

8.Oct. 17Waco, Texas

In what might be a matchup of the best defense in the Big 12 and the best offense, Baylor’s Seth Russell tries to atone for the loss that kept Bryce Petty and the Bears out of the playoff.

9.Oct. 29Fort Worth, Texas

In what might be a matchup of the best defense in the Big 12 and the best offense, TCU will hope it is working on a playoff résumé and not chasing opposing receivers all over the field.

10.Oct. 10Knoxville, Tenn.
This rivalry game could decide the SEC East or it could decide the tenor of the offseason for Mark Richt and Butch Jones.    
11.Oct. 24Los Angeles
If Utah can beat both Oregon and USC on the road, the Utes have to be considered one of the favorites in the Pac-12 South — with a game in Salt Lake against UCLA looming in late November.
12.Oct. 10Dallas
This Red River Rivalry was unpredictable before Oklahoma’s furious comeback at Tennessee and Texas’ special teams foibles this season. The fourth quarter will be interesting.
13.Oct. 24Atlanta
A rematch of the wild ACC championship game could be between a Georgia Tech team grasping for its conference title chances and Florida State still trying to prove it belongs in the Playoff race.
14.Oct. 3College Station, Texas
The Bulldogs embarrassed Texas A&M last season, and Dak Prescott is heading to the rematch without much backup.
15.Oct. 24Norman, Okla.

Will this game be a meeting between top Big 12 teams? Not necessarily, but it’s also Baker Mayfield against the school that tried to block him from transferring to OU.

16.Oct. 10Lincoln, Neb.
At one point Wisconsin and Nebraska seemed like the only legitimate contenders in the Big Ten West. Not anymore. This might be a must-win game for first-year coaches Mike Riley and Paul Chryst.
17.Oct. 17Memphis
The Liberty Bowl might be the site of a game between two ranked, unbeaten regional rivals. We’re not sure how this game came to be scheduled in mid-October, but we like it.
18.Oct. 3Madison, Wis.

Are we ready to buy Iowa as a contender in the Big Ten? Get back to us after this game.

19.Oct. 31Berkeley, Calif.

Cal might not have the defense to win the North, but all signs point to this as being a vintage Pac-12 shootout between the two best (veteran) quarterbacks in the league.

20.Oct. 10Ann Arbor, Mich.

These two teams played in a 10–9 game last year that was scoreless at halftime. We can guarantee this year’s game will be any prettier, but it will be more meaningful.

Teaser:
Ranking the Best College Football Games in October 2015
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:45
Path: /nfl/baltimore-ravens-vs-pittsburgh-steelers-prediction-and-preview-2015
Body:

It seems as if every game the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens play this season is "must win." Granted, nobody is getting mathematically eliminated from a playoff berth after this game, but the Ravens simply cannot begin 0-4 and think playoffs.

 

Meanwhile, the worst thing that could happen to the Steelers after this week is they would fall two games behind in the AFC North race with two games left against first-place Cincinnati to make up the gap.

 

But if the Steelers don't beat the Ravens, it will likely cast doubt on quarterback Michael Vick's ability to lead a team. After Ben Roethlisberger went down with a left knee sprain against St. Louis, Vick led five drives, not including the final kneel down. In these drives the Steelers gained just two first downs, and one came on a 23-yard run by Le'Veon Bell on first and 10.   

 

The Ravens vs. Steelers has been called the NFL's most physical rivalry. With the injuries both teams have suffered one gets the feeling both teams will reinforce their running game, making this contest even more hard-hitting.

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV: CBS, NFL Network

Spread: Baltimore -2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Vick

The talk is the Steelers will utilize a moving pocket. Though Vick showed little ability to scramble against St. Louis, he averaged 5.9 yards a rush last season with the Jets. The drawback is receivers often aren't quite sure where the ball is coming from when a quarterback is on the run, and rolling out limits a quarterback to just half the field.

 

That's important because Vick's yards per pass average (5.0) was actually lower than his yards per carry average last season. His six passes Sunday against St. Louis netted only 38 yards.

 

A quarterback cannot scramble to a championship. It simply becomes a question if Vick can throw the ball downfield during Roethlisberger's four-to-six-week absence.

 

Cincinnati's A.J. Green caught 10 passes for 227 yards against the Ravens last week in a 28-24 victory. If Vick can get the ball to Antonio Brown, the Steelers likely win. If he can't, the Steelers likely won't.

 

2. How will the secondaries do?

The Ravens' pass defense has been porous to date this year, ranking 29th in the league. Both Derek Carr and Andy Dalton have picked the Baltimore defense apart, each throwing for more than 350 yards against the Ravens.

 

The secret weapon for Baltimore in this game might be their quarterbacks coach, Marty Mornhinweg. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has asked Mornhinweg, Vick's offensive coordinator in Philadelphia and New York, to reveal some pointers on his tendencies.

 

Meanwhile, the Steelers' pass defense was a cause of concern at the beginning of the season. It's since shored up after not allowing a touchdown to the Rams and sacking Colin Kaepernick five times in Week 2.

 

But the Steelers have allowed 72 percent of passes thrown against them to be completed and Joe Flacco has only been sacked twice this season. He may have enough time to pick the Steelers apart.

 

3. Who is going to play, anyway?

The problem with Flacco's ability to pick the Steelers apart is that he may be without two of his primary targets and his left tackle. Breshad Perriman was listed as out with a knee injury in Monday's injury report and breakout tight end Crockett Gilmore, who has averaged more than 15 yards on 10 receptions this season, didn't practice after suffering a calf injury. Left tackle Eugene Monroe didn't play last Sunday after suffering a concussion, but Flacco was not sacked without Monroe protecting his blind side.

 

This means Steve Smith could be the only starting receiver Flacco will have to throw to. Smith was brilliant against Cincinnati, catching 13 passes for 186 yards, but Perriman's replacement, Kamar Aiken, was held without a catch.

 

On the Steelers' side, inside linebacker Ryan Shazier will miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury after registering a 15-tackle performance against San Francisco in Week Two. But after holding St. Louis to just 267 yards and six points how much did the Steelers really miss Shazier with former starter Sean Spence in his place?

 

Other Steelers who might miss the game are linebacker James Harrison and cornerback Cortez Allen. Though Harrison is a star, his role has been more of a part-time player this season, and most Steelers fans would prefer that Allen stayed on the sidelines.

 

Final Analysis

 

Look for Pittsburgh to continue to go for 2-point conversions after touchdowns with the mobile Vick under center. This strategy hasn't really affected the Steelers yet, but their failure to collect said conversion after scoring a touchdown against the Rams could very easily have meant defeat if St. Louis could have produced a touchdown on its final drive. Instead the Steelers were able to hold on for a 12-6 victory.

 

Modern offenses in the NFL don't remind anyone of Georgia Tech, but with the injuries both teams have suffered doesn't it seem likely a few more running plays than normal will be called in this game? If it comes down to Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams against Justin Forsett the Steelers win. You'd never think the Steelers would be in better shape injury-wise if Roethlisberger can't play, but it's likely the truth.

 

Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 21

 

— Written by Marky Billson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. An experienced beat reporter and sports writer, Billson began contributing to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2000. He has covered the Steelers, Pitt Panthers, MLB and more during his career. Follow him on Twitter @MarkyBillson.

 

(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction and Preview
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:30
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/ranking-top-50-college-basketball-coaches-2015-16
Body:

Not all decisions in these coach rankings are easy. If we wanted it to be easy, we’d simply put together a list of wins and go from there.

 

But not all wins are equal and not all coaching jobs are equal.

 

In determining our top 50 coaches, we attempted to look at a variety of factor: Past success, regular season records, conference records, NCAA Tournament results, head-to-head rankings, team trends and records relative to the history of the program.

 

Picking our No. 1 coach in this year’s rankings was easier than in most years. Our pick has the most wins of any major college basketball coach, the most NCAA championships of any living coach, and he shows no sign of slowing down.

 

 

The Athlon Sports College Basketball Preview magazine is available now.

 

Podcast: Who should be No. 1 in College Basketball in 2015-16?



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Ranking the Top 50 College Basketball Coaches for 2015-16

 

1. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

Record at Duke: 945-251, 378-152 ACC

NCAA Tournament: 88-26, 12 Final Fours, five championships

Number to note: Duke has produced six one-and-done players in the NBA Draft since 2011, second only to Kentucky’s 12.

Why he’s ranked here: At 68 years and 63 days, Krzyzewski became the second-oldest coach to win a national championship, and there’s no signs he’ll slow down. His team brings in four five-star prospects in 2015 to replace the three he lost from his fifth national championship team.

 

2. John Calipari, Kentucky

Record at Kentucky: 190–38, 82–20 SEC

NCAA record: 47–15, six Final Fours, one championship

Number to note: Calipari has reached the Final Four five times since 2008. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo (three times) is the only other coach to make it there more than twice in that span.

Why he’s ranked here: The newly inducted Naismith Hall of Fame coach is one of the most divisive figures in the sport, but he’s done arguably the best coaching job of his career in just the last year or so. Kentucky regrouped to reach the Final Four as a No. 8 seed in 2014. The following season, Calipari balanced NBA-bound egos for a balanced, defensive-minded team that started 38–0.

 

3. Tom Izzo, Michigan State

Record at Michigan State: 495-199, 233-107 Big Ten

NCAA record: 46-17, seven Final Fours, one championship

Number to note: Izzo’s first three Final Four teams were No. 1 seeds. His last four were seeded seventh (2015), fifth (2010, 2005) and second (2009).

Why he’s ranked here: Izzo is 15 years removed from his national championship, but he’s on one of the best runs of his career. Michigan State has won at least 27 games in seven of the last eight seasons.

 

4. Rick Pitino, Louisville

Record at Louisville: 368-126, 164-76 C-USA/Big East/AAC/ACC

NCAA Tournament: 53-18, seven Final Fours, two championships

Number to note: Pitino’s teams have ranked in the top five in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency in each of the last five seasons and seven of the last eight.

Why he’s ranked here: Last year’s team was not one of Pitino’s best, losing to most of the top squads in the ACC, save for narrow home wins over Carolina and Virginia. The Cards were still an OT loss to Michigan State away from reaching the Final Four.

 

5. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin

Record at Wisconsin: 357-125, 172-68 Big Ten

NCAA record: 25-14, two Final Fours

Number to note: Ryan is 42-24 against Tom Izzo, John Beilein and Thad Matta. He’s also the only one of the four with a winning record against each of the other three.

Why he’s ranked here: Will he retire or won’t he? Either way, Ryan just capped the best two-year span of what’s likely a Hall of Fame career. If Wisconsin slips back to pre-Kaminsky/Dekker levels, that’s still a top-four finish in the Big Ten and an NCAA appearance.

 

6. Bill Self, Kansas

Record at Kansas: 352-78, 164-36 Big 12

NCAA record: 37-16, two Final Fours, one championship

Number to note: Some perspective for Self’s 11 consecutive Big 12 championships: John Wooden holds the record of consecutive league titles with 13 from 1967-79.

Why he’s ranked here: Fred Hoiberg and Frank Martin have come and gone. Kevin Durant couldn’t do it. Neither could Blake Griffin. Missouri isn’t even in the conference anymore. Nearly every Big 12 program over the last decade has had a shot an unseating Kansas at the top and ultimately failed to unseat Self.

 

7. Sean Miller, Arizona

Record at Arizona: 163-52, 79-29 Pac-12

NCAA record: 17-8

Number to note: Not only has Miller been to either the Elite Eight or Sweet 16 in each of his last six trips to the NCAA Tournament, Miller has never been knocked out of the Tourney by a team seeded lower than third.

Why he’s ranked here: Miller is only 46 and on the short list of best coaches in the game. He’s seeking his first Final Four, but he’s already on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

 

8. Tony Bennett, Virginia

Record at Virginia: 136-64, 64-37 ACC

NCAA Tournament: 6-5

Number to note: Virginia’s record against the RPI top 50 has improved in each of the last five seasons from 0-6 to 2-6 to 4-3 to 5-4 to 8-3 in 2015.

Why he’s ranked here: The early NCAA Tournament exits in the last two seasons — both to Michigan State — will haunt Bennett, but the Cavaliers are coming off back-to-back 30-win seasons and ACC regular season titles despite lesser talent compared to teams like Duke, North Carolina and Louisville.

 

9. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State

Record at Wichita State: 204–76, 101–43 Missouri Valley

NCAA Tournament: 8–11, one Final Four

Number to note: Seven coaches have won 30 or more games twice in the last three seasons. Marshall is the only one to do it each of the last three seasons.

Why he’s ranked here: In the last three seasons, Marshall has delivered a Final Four, a 35–0 start and a win over Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. What’s next in his final season with Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker?

 

10. Roy Williams, North Carolina

Record at North Carolina: 332-101, 141-57 ACC

NCAA Tournament: 65-23, seven Final Fours, two championships

Number to note: North Carolina is 23-1 against Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Florida State the last three seasons and 13-17 against the rest of the ACC.

Why he’s ranked here: Legacy. Williams’ two titles at two schools and Hall of Fame status can’t be denied, but the last three years (75-33) have been trying. With a veteran team, the Heels are built for a Final Four run in 2015-16. It would be their first since 2009 and perhaps their last for a while.

 

11. Jim Boehiem, Syracuse

Record at Syracuse: 966-333, 446-203 Big East/ACC

NCAA Tournament: 53-30, four Final Fours, one championship

Number to note: Boeheim’s 18 wins in 2014-15 — aided by a voluntary postseason ban — was his fewest since going 15-13 in 1981-82.

Why he’s ranked here: Boeheim will never get to 1,000 wins according to the NCAA record book (with vacated wins, he stands at 858). In the unofficial record book, Boeheim has two seasons to get 44 wins. Syracuse is 21-19 in its last 40 games after going 55-10 in the 65 prior.

 

12. John Beilein, Michigan

Record at Michigan: 166-110, 78-66 Big Ten

NCAA record: 16-9, one Final Four

Number to note: How about this for ball security: Nine of Beilein’s last 11 teams at Michigan and West Virginia have ranked in the top 25 in turnover rate.

Why he’s ranked here: Last year’s 16-16 debacle should be credited to injuries and bad luck. With Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton back, Michigan and Beilein should be back in the Big Ten title discussion.

 

13. Jay Wright, Villanova

Record at Villanova: 319-152, 140-81 Big East

NCAA record: 14-12, one Final Four

Number to note: Wright has had six of the top seven teams in Villanova history, according to sports-reference.com’s Simple Rating System. Last year’s 33-3 team was No. 1. Rollie Massimino’s national championship team in 1985 was ranked No. 20.

Why he’s ranked here: Wright’s recent tenure is worthy of some skepticism. The 29-win and 33-win seasons the last two years have coincided with a weaker Big East, and the Wildcats haven’t advanced to the Sweet 16 since the 2009 Final Four run.

 

14. Thad Matta, Ohio State

Record at Ohio State: 299-94, 132-60 Big Ten

NCAA record: 24-13, two Final Fours

Number to note: Ohio State is 5-12 against Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin the last two seasons.

Why he’s ranked here: In general, Matta is as steady as they come. He’s only missed the NCAA Tournament twice as a head coach. Ohio State was under NCAA sanctions in one of those; the Buckeyes won the NIT in the other. That said, the Buckeyes have taken a dip the last two seasons, finishing fifth and sixth in the Big Ten and failing to reach the Sweet 16.

 

15. Mark Few, Gonzaga

Record at Gonzaga: 438–103, 212–25 West Coast Conference

NCAA record: 19-16

Number to note: Few’s 95 wins during the last three seasons are the most in the country and the most of any three-year period during his career.

Why he’s ranked here: Gonzaga is arguably better than it’s ever been in the last three seasons under Few, advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1999 and earning a No. 1 ranking in 2013.

 

16. Shaka Smart, Texas

Record at Texas: First season

NCAA record: 7-5, one Final Four

Number to note: VCU led the nation in defensive turnover rate on KenPom from 2012-14 and still finished 11th last season despite losing defensive stopper Briante Weber midway through the year.

Why he’s ranked here: The 2011 Final Four and the Havoc defense are the lead items in Smart’s career, but it’s worth noting VCU remained consistent despite moving from the Colonial to the more competitive Atlantic 10.

 

Related: Athlon Sports preseason college basketball top 25

 

17. Kevin Ollie, UConn

Record at UConn: 72–33, 32–22 Big East/American

NCAA record: 6–0, one Final Four, one championship

Number to note: Under Ollie, UConn is 6–12 against KenPom top 100 teams in American Athletic Conference teams (10–14 including the league tournament).

Why he’s ranked here: The unlikely national championship run in 2014 vaulted Ollie to stardom. Apart from those three weeks, UConn has been mediocre. This should be a more typical season for a Huskies team wholly assembled under Ollie.

 

18. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma

Record at Oklahoma: 82-49, 40-32 Big 12

NCAA record: 16-16, one Final Four

Number to note: Oklahoma’s 36 Big 12 wins in the last three seasons under Kruger are the most for the Sooners since 2001-03.

Why he’s ranked here: Kruger cleaned up the mess left by Kelvin Sampson and Jeff Capel, leading the Sooners to their first Sweet 16 since 2009. There should be more to come.

 

19. Bob Huggins, West Virginia

Record at West Virginia: 175-101, 80-64 Big East/Big 12

NCAA record: 26-21, two Final Fours

Number to note: Huggins is seven wins short of 700 in Division I (his official career record includes 71 wins at Walsh University).

Why he’s ranked here: Huggins led West Virginia to its best season in five years by radically changing his approach — in his 33rd year as a head coach. The Mountaineers became a full-court pressing team that was the best in the country at forcing turnovers and steals.

 

20. Steve Fisher, San Diego State

Record at San Diego State: 339–185, 143–103 Mountain West

NCAA record: 26–14, three Final Fours, one championship

Number to note: Fisher is responsible for all of San Diego State’s six NCAA Tournament wins and all of the Aztecs’ 66 weeks ranked in the AP poll.

Why he’s ranked here: What Fisher has accomplished at San Diego State during the last six seasons is staggering — four Mountain West titles, two 30-win season and two Sweet 16 appearances. An NCAA investigation regarding potential rules violations, however, casts a shadow over the program.

 

21. Larry Brown, SMU

Record at SMU: 69–34, 32–20 Conference USA/American

NCAA record: 19–10, three Final Fours, one championship

Number to note: SMU’s 54 wins the last two seasons are the most in back-to-back years in school history. The next highest is 48 wins from 1986-88. th in adjusted tempo on KenPom, but eight of his 10 teams in Westwood ranked outside of the top 100 in tempo, including five outside of the top 200.

Why he’s ranked here: Brown’s coaching ledger is tough to beat. He’s a Hall of Famer with championships in the NBA and in college. His revival of the SMU basketball program, ending a 22-year NCAA Tournament drought and turning the Mustangs into one of the top teams in the American, is another chapter of a storied career. That said, it has come as at a price as SMU was hit for major NCAA violations, resulting in a postseason ban and a nine-game suspension for Brown.

 

22. Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

Record at Utah: 68-64, 30-42 Pac-12

NCAA record: 3-3

Number to note: In Krystkowiak’s four seasons, Utah has improved in KenPom’s ratings from No. 297 to No. 108 to No. 42 to No. 8.

Why he’s ranked here: By taking Utah to its second Sweet 16 since Rick Majerus left, Krystkowiak has resurrected the Utah program in an improving Pac-12. With Delon Wright gone, this is could be a critical season for Utah’s staying power.

 

23. Mike Brey, Notre Dame

Record at Notre Dame: 332-165, 157-100 Big East/ACC

NCAA Tournament: 9-12

Number to note: Scoring down? Not for Notre Dame. Of Brey’s 15 teams in South Bend, 11 have averaged 70 points per game in conference play.

Why he’s ranked here: Last year’s trip to the Elite Eight was Notre Dame’s first time reaching the second weekend of the Tournament since 2003. Brey generally can be counted on for about 25 wins a year and pushing 30 wins every now and then.

 

24. Ben Howland, Mississippi State

Record at Mississippi State: First season

NCAA record: 19–10, three Final Fours

Number to note: What kind of team will Howland have at Mississippi State? His last team at UCLA ranked 30th in adjusted tempo on KenPom, but eight of his 10 teams in Westwood ranked outside of the top 100 in tempo, including five outside of the top 200.

Why he’s ranked here: Howland will have a fresh start at Mississippi State after his tenure grew stale at UCLA. He already proved he could continue to recruit at a high level, landing legacy Malik Newman.

 

25. Bruce Pearl, Auburn

Record at Auburn: 15–20, 4–14 SEC

NCAA record: 10–8

Number to note: Auburn’s three SEC Tournament wins to cap Pearl’s first season were as many as the Tigers had from 2001-14. In that run, Auburn defeated NCAA Tournament hopefuls Texas A&M and LSU.

Why he’s ranked here: Last season was Pearl’s first losing campaign as a college basketball coach, including his years at Division II Southern Indiana. With the way he’s recruited at Auburn, it might be his last losing season for a while.

 

26. Archie Miller, Dayton

Record at Dayton: 90–47, 39–27 Atlantic 10

NCAA record: 5–2

Number to note: Miller’s five NCAA Tournament wins the last two years is as many as the Flyers had in total from 1975-2013.

Why he’s ranked here: Dayton reached the Elite Eight in 2014, but last season may have been the most impressive coaching job for Miller. A shorthanded roster with no post players went 13–5 in the A-10 and won two NCAA Tournament games. Soon, Miller will be the top candidate for a top program.

 

27. Mark Turgeon, Maryland

Record at Maryland: 87-50, 37-33 ACC/Big Ten

NCAA record: 6-6

Number to note: In eight seasons at Maryland and Texas A&M, Turgeon’s teams have ranked in the top 40 in defensive efficiency on KenPom six times.

Why he’s ranked here: Turgeon led Maryland to its best season since the 2003 national championship last year and will have a preseason top 10 team for the first time in his career.

 

28. Jim Larranaga, Miami

Record at Miami: 91-49, 41-29 ACC

NCAA Tournament: 7-6, one Final Four

Number to note: Miami is 7-2, 6-6 and 10-3 in the last three seasons on the road. The Hurricanes’ previous winning season on the road was in 1999-2000.

Why he’s ranked here: Larranaga might not match his banner year with Miami — a 29-win season and an ACC championship in 2013 — but last year’s 25 wins was still the second-most in school history. The ‘Canes will be in NCAA contention again this season.

 

29. Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech

Record at Virginia Tech: 11-22, 2-16 ACC

NCAA Tournament record: 8-5

Number to note: Williams’ Marquette teams were ranked in the top 30 of KenPom in five consecutive seasons — each one except for his last.

Why he’s ranked here: Virginia Tech has been ill-equipped to compete in the ACC, both before Williams arrived and during his first season. After gutting the roster, Williams is ready to begin anew.

 

30. Dana Altman, Oregon

Record at Oregon: 123-57, 55-35 Pac-12

NCAA record: 6-11

Number to note: Altman has won at least 10 conference games in 18 of his last 19 seasons, the exception being his first season at Oregon in 2010-11.

Why he’s ranked here: Altman is the first coach to lead Oregon to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, but scandal and faltering attendance have marred his program.

 

31. Chris Mack, Xavier

Record at Xavier: 134-71, 67-33 Atlantic 10/Big East

NCAA record: 6-5

Number to note: In the last two seasons, Mack is 0-6 against Villanova (including the conference tournament) and 22-13 against the rest of the Big East.

Why he’s ranked here: Although Mack may not be held in as high esteem as predecessor Sean Miller, Mack has reached the Sweet 16 three times in his six seasons at Xavier.

 

32. Bob McKillop, Davidson

Record at Davidson: 496–300, 304–108 Big South/Southern/Atlantic 10

NCAA record: 3–8

Number to note: Davidson has ranked in the top 40 in offensive efficiency in each of the last four seasons, topping out at eighth last year.

Why he’s ranked here: McKillop was a good coach before recruiting Stephen Curry and a good coach after Curry left. After moving up from the SoCon, the Wildcats won the A-10 in their first season in the league.

 

33. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

Record at Pittsburgh: 307-111, 134-74 Big East/ACC

NCAA Tournament record: 12-10

Number to note: Pitt is 19-17 as an ACC member, including 0-10 against Duke, Louisville, NC State and Virginia.

Why he’s ranked here: The last four seasons have been an enigma for Dixon, who once led one of the most steady programs in the country in his first eight seasons at Pitt. The Panthers have missed two of the last four NCAA Tournaments and last year alone beat North Carolina and Notre Dame but lost to lowly Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

 

34. John Thompson III, Georgetown

Record at Georgetown: 317-157, 119-68 Big East

NCAA record: 9-10, one Final Four

Number to note: Ten of Thompson’s 11 teams at Georgetown have ranked in the top 100 nationally in both offensive and defensive efficiency on KenPom. Four teams have been among the top 50 most efficient teams on both ends of the court.

Why he’s ranked here: Thompson went 6-2 in the NCAA Tournament in his first two trips with Georgetown and 3-6 since. The early NCAA Tournament exits to lower-seeded teams will haunt him, even if they came against Final-Four bound VCU in 2011 and Stephen Curry in 2008.

 

35. Ed Cooley, Providence

Record at Providence: 79-56, 34-38 Big East

NCAA record: 0-2

Number to note: Providence’s KenPom rating has improved from No. 112 to 70 to 51 to 30 during Cooley’s tenure. The conference record has improved each year to match. Cooley’s KenPom ranking improved each of his five seasons at Fairfield as well.

Why he’s ranked here: The ceiling at Providence is well-established and Cooley may break through it. Cooley is the first coach since Rick Barnes to take Providence to back-to-back NCAA Tourneys (1989-90) and first since Barnes to win 20 games in back-to-back seasons (1993-94).

 

36. Steve Alford, UCLA

Record at UCLA: 50-23, 23-13 Pac-12

NCAA record: 9-9

Number to note: All of Alford’s teams since 2006-07 at Iowa have been ranked in the top 100 of both offensive and defensive efficiency on KenPom.

Why he’s ranked here: UCLA has reached the Sweet 16 in each Alford’s first two seasons (with the assist of facing double-digit seeds UAB and Stephen F. Austin in the round of 32). With his deepest roster in Westwood, Alford will be expected to challenge for bigger prizes.

 

37. Scott Drew, Baylor

Record at Baylor: 230-160, 85-115 Big 12

NCAA record: 8-5

Number to note: Baylor has ranked in the top 20 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency in each of the last four seasons and seven of the last eight.

Why he’s ranked here: It’s not fashionable to talk about Drew as a great coach — especially after Baylor’s first-round loss to Georgia State last season — but Drew is responsible for seven of the 10 20-win seasons in Baylor history, including each of the last four.

 

38. Mark Gottfried, NC State

Record at NC State: 92-52, 39-31 ACC

NCAA Tournament: 10-11

Number to note: Gottfried’s five NCAA wins in four years (including two Sweet 16 appearances) is the most at NC State since the Jim Valvano heyday.

Why he’s ranked here: NC State is consistent (between 22-24 wins and 9-11 ACC wins every year) under Gottfried but also a bit of a roller coaster. This is a team good enough to reach the Sweet 16 and beat a top ACC team, but has never won more than three ACC games in a row during the regular season.

 

39. Fran McCaffery, Iowa

Record at Iowa: 96-75, 42-48 Big Ten

NCAA record: 3-7

Number to note: McCaffery’s 67 wins over the last three seasons in the most for Iowa in a three-year span since Tom Davis went 77-25 from 1986-89.

Why he’s ranked here: McCaffery has revived the Hawkeyes' program, but he still has work to do to get Iowa into the same stratosphere as Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.

 

40. Rick Byrd, Belmont

Record at Belmont: 711–369, 192–64 Atlantic Sun/Ohio Valley

NCAA record: 0–7

Number to note: Belmont has had either the best or second-best conference record each year since 2006 in both the Atlantic Sun and Ohio Valley

Why he’s ranked here: Byrd is tied with two others for the most NCAA Tournament appearances without a win. It’s a dubious record, but one that shouldn’t overshadow that Byrd is a campus institution who turned an NAIA also-ran into one of the flagship programs of the Ohio Valley Conference.

 

41. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati

Record at Cincinnati: 185–118, 85–75 Big East/American

NCAA record: 4–7

Number to note: Cincinnati has ranked in the top 25 in defensive efficiency in each of the last five seasons. .

Why he’s ranked here: The Bearcats might not be a consistent top-10 team again, but Cincinnati always will be respectable under Cronin. The Bearcats have made five consecutive NCAA Tournaments under Cronin.

 

42. Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin

Record at Stephen F. Austin: 61–8, 35–1 Southland

NCAA record: 1–2

Number to note: Stephen F. Austin has ranked fifth and seventh nationally in defensive turnover rate in two seasons under Underwood.

Why he’s ranked here: A decade ago, Underwood was a junior college coaches. By the end of his third season, he might find himself a candidate for major jobs.

 

43. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt

Record at Vanderbilt: 313–206, 127–135 SEC

NCAA record: 6–8

Number to note: A sign things are about to turn at Vanderbilt: The Commodores ranked 19th in offensive efficiency on KenPom last season. Stallings’ best teams at Vanderbilt from 2010-12 all ranked in the top 30. Vanderbilt returns all but two notable players from last year’s team.

Why he’s ranked here: Stallings doesn’t always get his due, and that’s understandable. His teams have reached only six NCAA Tournaments at Vanderbilt, and only two advanced to the Sweet 16. But he’s also the fourth-longest tenured coach in a power conference after Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo.

 

44. Tom Crean, Indiana

Record at Indiana: 121-111, 49-77 Big Ten

NCAA record: 9-8, one Final Four

Number to note: Three of Crean’s last four teams have shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range.

Why he’s ranked here: Perpetually on the hot seat, Crean is entering a critical season. The Hoosiers have had a winning Big Ten record twice since he was hired in 2008.

 

45. Matt Painter, Purdue

Record at Purdue: 212-125, 101-75 Big Ten

NCAA record: 8-8

Number to note: Purdue has lost seven in a row to Michigan State, four in a row to Wisconsin, seven of eight to Ohio State and four of the last five against Michigan.

Why he’s ranked here: Painter has pulled Purdue out of its two-year funk since the Robbie Hummel class left. The Boilermakers have a huge season ahead of them.

 

46. Tim Miles, Nebraska

Record at Nebraska: 47-79, 21-33 Big Ten

NCAA record: 0-2

Number to note: Nebraska hasn’t finished in the top 100 offensive efficiency since 2000-10 or the top 90 since 2003-04. Last year’s team was the worst offensive showing for Nebraska since 2002-03.

Why he’s ranked here: This time last year, Miles appeared to have Nebraska on the rise after the Cornhuskers’ first NCAA appearance since 1998. Last season showed how far his roster has to go.

 

47. Tommy Amaker, Harvard

Record at Harvard: 108–84, 78–34 Ivy

NCAA record: 4–5

Number to note: Amaker is 59–11 in the Ivy League in his last five seasons alone.

Why he's ranked here: Harvard had one NCAA Tournament appearance and no NCAA Tournament wins before Amaker was hired. The Crimson have had four consecutive trips to the tournament, including upsets of top-five seeds Cincinnati and New Mexico.

 

48. Rick Barnes, Tennessee

Record at Tennessee: First season

NCAA record: 21–22, one Final Four

Number to note: Barnes has missed the NCAA Tournament only once since 1996.

Why he’s ranked here: While it’s tough to go to the NCAA Tournament nearly every year for two decades, Texas didn’t reach its full potential under Barnes. In 17 seasons with all the resources at Texas, Barnes reached the Final Four once and never won the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns failed to reach the Sweet 16 or even claim a share of the Big 12 title in his last seven years. Could a change of scenery do him good?

 

49. Mike Anderson, Arkansas

Record at Arkansas: 86–48, 39–31 SEC

NCAA record: 8–7

Number to note: Anderson’s teams at UAB, Missouri and Arkansas have ranked in the top 40 in defensive turnover rate in all but one year of his career and in the top 20 11 times.

Why he’s ranked here: Arkansas steadily improved in each of Anderson’s four seasons before the Razorbacks lost to North Carolina in the round of 32 in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. He’s more or less starting from scratch this season.

 

50. Cuonzo Martin, Cal

Record at Cal: 18-15, 7-11 Pac-12

NCAA record: 3-1

Number to note: In 2015, Martin signed Cal’s first McDonald’s All-Americans since 2003.

Why he’s ranked here: Cal is expecting big things with Martin adding freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb to a veteran team. Martin likely will coach a ranked team for the first time in his career.

Teaser:
Ranking the Top 50 College Basketball Coaches for 2015-16
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:15
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-tight-end-rankings-week-4
Body:

Trying to predict what tight ends will do on a week-to-week basis in fantasy is much like playing the lottery. You are bound to get at least one number right (like ranking Rob Gronkowski as the No. 1 TE every week), but a lot of times you will strike out (like ranking Tyler Eifert as top-5 TE and he goes out and scores zero fantasy points).

 

Thankfully, also like the lottery, you get a new chance to prove yourself every week.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

So here are the Week 4 TE rankings. Remember no Gronk (or Delanie Walker) as the Patriots and Titans are on bye.

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Jimmy Graham SEA vs. DET (Mon.)
2Greg Olsen CAR at TB
3Martellus Bennett CHI vs. OAK
4Travis Kelce KC at CIN
5Jordan Reed WAS vs. PHI
6Tyler Eifert CIN vs. KC
7Charles Clay BUF vs. NYG
8Jason Witten DAL at NO
9Kyle Rudolph MIN at DEN
10Eric Ebron DET at SEA (Mon.)
11Jordan Cameron MIA vs. NYJ (London)
12Zach Ertz PHI at WAS
13Heath Miller PIT vs. BAL (Thurs.)
14Jared Cook STL at ARI
15Larry Donnell NYG at BUF
16Richard Rodgers GB at SF
17Ladarius Green SD vs. CLE
18Owen Daniels DEN vs. MIN
19Vernon Davis SF vs. GB
20Coby Fleener IND vs. JAC
21Gary Barnidge CLE at SD
22Ben Watson NO vs. DAL
23Maxx Williams BAL at PIT (Thurs.)
24Crockett Gillmore* BAL at PIT (Thurs.)
25Brandon Myers TB  vs. CAR
26Jacob Tamme ATL vs. HOU
27Lance Kendricks STL at ARI
28Daniel Fells NYG at BUF
29Darren Fells ARI vs. STL
30Marcedes Lewis JAC at IND

*May or may not play due to injury, monitor status

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Tight End Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-running-back-rankings-week-4
Body:

One trend that appears to be taking shape this fantasy season is that you cannot count on supposed stud running backs each week. First or early second-round picks like Marshawn Lynch, Jeremy Hill, C.J. Anderson and DeMarco Murray have been severely outplayed by guys who were late-round fliers or even went undrafted in many fantasy leagues (Karlos Williams, Matt Jones, Darren Sproles — to name a few) and the list could keep on going.

 

The important takeaway in all this is that you can't have enough depth in your backfield and need to try and identify those running backs that are seemingly well positioned to have a big week. That's why these running back rankings are so important.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Here are the Week 4 RB rankings:

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Matt Forte CHI vs. OAK
2Le'Veon Bell PIT vs. BAL (Thurs.)
3Jamal Charles KC at CIN
4Latavius Murray OAK at CHI
5Joseph Randle DAL at NO
6Adrian Peterson MIN vs. DEN
7Karlos Williams BUF vs. NYG
8Devonta Freeman ATL vs. HOU
9Carlos Hyde SF vs. GB
10Frank Gore IND vs. JAC
11Mark Ingram NO vs. DAL
12T.J. Yeldon JAC at IND
13Jonathan Stewart CAR at TB
14Melvin Gordon SD vs. CLE
15Chris Ivory NYJ at MIA (London)
16Marshawn Lynch* SEA vs. DET (Mon.)
17Jeremy Hill CIN vs. KC
18Lamar Miller MIA vs. NYJ (London)
19Arian Foster* HOU at ATL
20DeMarco Murray PHI at WAS
21Giovani Bernard CIN vs. KC
22Justin Forsett BAL at PIT (Thurs.)
23Isiah Crowell CLE at SD
24Danny Woodhead SD vs. CLE
25C.J. Anderson DEN vs. MIN
26Todd Gurley STL at ARI
27Alfred Morris WAS vs. PHI
28Rashad Jennings NYG at BUF
29Matt Jones WAS vs. PHI
30Andre Ellington ARI vs. STL
31Ameer Abdullah DET at SEA (Mon.)
32Ronnie Hillman DEN vs. MIN
33Shane Vereen NYG at BUF
34Doug Martin TB vs. CAR
35Duke Johnson CLE at SD
36Bilal Powell NYJ at MIA (London)
37Chris Johnson ARI vs. STL
38Charles Sims TB vs. CAR
39Darren Sproles PHI at WAS
40Lance Dunbar DAL at NO
41C.J. Spiller NO vs. DAL
42Ryan Matthews PHI at WAS
43Alfred Blue HOU at ATL
44Darren McFadden DAL at NO
45Thomas Rawls SEA vs. DET (Mon.)
46Lorenzo Taliaferro BAL at PIT (Thurs.)
47Mike Davis SF vs. GB
48Tre Mason STL at ARI
49Joique Bell DET at SEA (Mon.)
50Anthony Dixon BUF vs. NYG

*May or not play due to injury, monitor status this week

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Running Back Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-flex-rankings-week-4
Body:

Flex rankings are here for Week 4, and should be your best weapon for deciding who to plug in to your flex positions for the upcoming fantasy week. With bye weeks starting this week and a game in London very early on Sunday some decisions will need to be made a little sooner. They may also be more difficult as you may need to find replacements for Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman.

 

Week 4 is also the turning point for me in the young fantasy season where depending how you do will determine how you should handle the rest of the upcoming season. Should you sit tight or try and strengthen your starting lineup? Do you need to drop players, make trades, or blow up your roster? Maybe it is already over and you need to focus on DFS.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Look forward to more posts from myself and the AthlonSports.com team focusing on strategies, whether to panic or remain patient with certain players, other positional rankings, injury updates and Start/Sit posts. We are here to help you win, and if you are looking to win in DFS keep reading my posts too and we can try to win money together.

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

 

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Flex Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-wide-receiver-rankings-week-4
Body:

Week 4 is upon us and your AthlonSports.com fantasy team is back with the weekly positional rankings. As with every week these will likely be tweaked as the week goes on with injury updates and what not. These rankings should be able to help you with some Start or Sit questions or issues you may be having.

 

It is also the first week of byes and with New England and Tennessee not playing this week some bigger names will need to be replaced. Use all of our positional rankings to help determine who you should start, and the Flex rankings to help with multiple position issues you may be having for Week 4.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Most importantly, good luck this week! Here are the Week 4 WR rankings:

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-quarterback-rankings-week-4
Body:

After throwing five touchdowns on "Monday Night Football" in Week 3, it should be no surprise that Aaron Rodgers is the No. 1-ranked quarterback for Week 4. With 10 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season, he is in the running for the top quarterback overall. Carson Palmer, Derek Carr and Andy Dalton all make appearances in the top 10 this week as well, based on how well they've been playing — and how many other starting quarterbacks have gotten injured.

 

Related: 5 Quarterback Replacements for Fantasy Owners Who Lost Ben Roethlisberger

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

It's been a rough position so far this season, but the QB rankings are here to help you in Week 4:

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Quarterback Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-4
Body:

Surprising no one, the Seattle Seahawks DST was a great start in Week 3 against a Chicago Bears team that managed to put up zero points. The Seahawks are the top-rated DST again for Week 4, playing Detroit in Seattle. Matthew Stafford will turn the ball over, and the Seahawks play much better at home than on the road. The Bears face the Oakland Raiders, and if you are looking to stream defenses, Khalil Mack and the Raiders are a nice plug-and-play option this week, as the Bears' offense is struggling. Another interesting streamer is the Green Bay Packers DST, cracking the top 10. They face the also-struggling San Francisco 49ers.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Here are the rest of the Week 4 DST rankings:

 

 

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-kicker-rankings-week-4
Body:

As Week 4 is upon us in the NFL, it's time to look at the kicker rankings. With two teams on a bye, the kicker rankings don't change... all that much.

 

For Stephen Gostkowski owners, if you do have room on your roster to carry two kickers, we don't hold that against you. Gostkowski has been great this year and will continue to be a stud, so if you need two kickers to get through this week (or, just take a zero in the kicker spot), do it.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

If you are looking for a one-week replacement, look no further than the Week 4 kicker rankings:

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Kicker Rankings: Week 4
Post date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-cover-2-podcast-week-5-preview
Body:

Hosts Mitch Light and Braden Gall are joined by Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples to break down a huge weekend of college football.

 

The SEC and ACC have marquee showdowns topping the charts with great undercards as well. The Big 12's best teams will try avoid upsets while pecking order games in the Pac-12 South and Big Ten West highlight the rest of Week 5.

 

The guys pick every Top 25 game, offer locks of the week against the spread and cover THE LEAST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE WEEK!

 

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonMitch or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com/podcastiTunesStitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
College Football Cover 2 Podcast: Week 5 Preview
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 13:21
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/5-quarterback-replacements-fantasy-owners-lost-ben-roethlisberger
Body:

Another week, another injured quarterback that fantasy owners must deal with. It's been tough on quarterbacks this season: Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Jay Cutler, and now Ben Roethlisberger has been added to the injured list. While it first seemed that Big Ben would be done for the season with a knee injury, the news following his MRI was good. He has a bone bruise and a MCL sprain. The timeline for his return is four-to-six weeks, although early reports are saying that it will likely be closer to the six-week mark than the four-week one.

 

What does that mean? Fantasy owners need to scramble, again, trying to find a replacement quarterback. Here are some options:

 

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills (40 percent owned)

Taylor's ownership percentage keeps rising, and for good reason. He has seven touchdowns and three interceptions on the season. He has 96 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He's looked more than capable headlining an offense on what was supposed to be a run-first team. Taylor has been able to move the ball and use his receivers even with injuries to Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy. He is a QB1 in Week 4 vs. the New York Giants and is the best bet to add as an injury replacement.

 

Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders (27 percent owned)

With five touchdowns and one interception so far on the season, Carr is slowly making his way into fantasy relevance. He has leaned on rookie Amari Cooper and has posted back-to-back 300-plus yard games. Carr faces the not-even-a-little-bit-formidable Chicago Bears this week, and is a QB1 for that matchup. If he is available in your league, he's worth adding.

 

Related: Fantasy Football 2015 Waiver Wire — Week 4 

 

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (25 percent owned)

While Smith isn't exactly lighting the fantasy world on fire, he does manage the game and he doesn't throw a ton of interceptions. He has four touchdowns and three interceptions on the year and he hasn't looked great since Week 1. He can get the ball to his receivers... as long as they aren't too far down the field. This offense belongs to Jamaal Charles, but if you are in desperate need of a quarterback, you could do worse.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets (12 percent owned)

Similar to Smith, Fitzpatrick is managing the offense. He has weapons — Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker — but he isn't always able to get them the ball. He's thrown two touchdowns in each of the first three games, but he also has five interceptions (three of which came in Week 3). He's been completing over 60 percent of his passes, and his schedule is favorable (vs. Miami in London in Week 4, followed by a bye, then games against Washington, New England, Oakland and Jacksonville).

 

Michael Vick, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (3 percent owned)

Roethlisberger owners looking for a replacement can look to his backup, Vick, who will be the Steelers' starter as long as he can stay healthy. Vick looked awful filling in for Roethlisberger in Week 3, but he was just coming off the bench and likely hadn't put in a lot of time with the first-string offense. After a week (albeit a short week) of practice, Vick should be better. He is capable of getting the ball to Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and that's what the Steelers will have him do. The benefit of owning Vick as well is as soon as Roethlisberger comes back, you can easily drop him (although you still might need a backup quarterback as the Steelers' bye isn't until Week 11, and Roethlisberger should be back before then).

 

Running Back Injuries

 

Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy and more are banged up… For fantasy owners looking for running back options, look for Karlos Williams (23 percent owned), Lance Dunbar (16 percent owned), Thomas Rawls (4 percent owned) and Antonio Andrews (1 percent owned) as some early waiver-wire adds.

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
5 Quarterback Replacements for Fantasy Owners Who Lost Ben Roethlisberger
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-football-conference-after-september-2015
Body:

A perennial topic of debate among college football fans has involved this question: Which conference is the strongest? Unfortunately, the answers are too often tainted by personal or regional biases. Local media focus on teams in their respective markets so they tend to underestimate or ignore teams located elsewhere. Even the talking heads covering college football at the national level cannot give an answer based on a thorough comparison of all inter-conference games played.

 

In hopes of trying to resolve this ever-present issue, I present the results of my formula for ranking conferences according to a series of objective factors. These factors are used to calculate scores for all 10 Football Subdivision (FBS) members. The criteria include:

*Wins by each member of every conference when facing non-conference foes.

*Games on the road are worth more than those at neutral sites or at home.

*Victories versus other conferences’ previous season (in this case, 2014) champions or second-place teams/divisional winners count for more points.

*Wins against FBS opponents have much more value than those against FCS members.

 

Below, is how the 10 conferences shake out with September now in the books. Each conference’s score is in parenthesis. For those curious about the scale of my formula, a perfect score for a conference is 3.188.

 

1. SEC (.726)

The SEC has done quite a lot to show its reputation as the strongest conference is deserved so far. The results include 3-0 versus the ACC, 2-0 versus the American Athletic, 1-0 versus the Big Ten and the Pac-12, respectively. 

 

2. Big Ten (.698)

The Big Ten prevented what looked like another horrible September after the first week of the season. The conference has held up its own reputation with respectable results: 4-3 versus the ACC, 2-2 against the Big 12 and 3-2 against the Pac-12.  Nine wins in 11 games against Mid-American Conference opponents have bolstered its score as well.

 

3. Big 12 (.567)

This conference is only 2-1 versus the MAC and 0-1 versus the Pac-12. Eight of the ten members played a team from the FCS; Kansas lost to one of those, South Dakota State. On the bright side, the Big 12 is 2-0 against the SEC.

 

4. Pac-12 (.550)

Washington State lost to Portland State. Two members each lost a game to the Mountain West.  Two games versus Notre Dame are the only chances of the Pac-12 improving upon its score before the end of the regular season.

 

5. ACC (.409)

Every member in the ACC has at least one opponent from the FCS on its schedule.  That is dragging down the conference's score. The ACC also has a losing tally against the other Power 5 conferences except for the Big 12, which it is not scheduled to play in the regular season.

 

6. American Athletic (.324)

The College Football Playoff committee excluded the AAC's champion from automatically receiving a bid to one of the New Year's Six bowls. The AAC has proved the committee was right to do so.

 

7. MAC (.302)

With the exception of Bowling Green, the members of the MAC remain the punching bags of the Big Ten.

 

8. Conference USA (.291)

CUSA has played 16 games so far versus Power 5 teams. The results (0-2 against the ACC, 1-5 versus the Big Ten, 0-5 versus the Big 12, 0-1 versus the Pac-12, 1-3 against the SEC) show how far below the Power 5 that CUSA truly is.

 

9. Sun Belt (.118)

The Sun Belt continues its role as rent-a-wins for the SEC (0-5) and ACC (0-4).

 

10. Mountain West (.073)

The Mountain West finished September 5-23 versus FBS opponents. Wyoming lost to FCS member North Dakota. This conference looks awful with few opportunities left to prove otherwise.

 

So this is just one person’s take on how the conferences stack up against each other. I do not claim to be the sole authority on settling this question. Nevertheless, my findings are based solely on results of inter-conference games. Perhaps the College Football Playoff selection committee can also decide on a means to rank conferences, which could be used in the process of setting the postseason pairings.

 

— Written by John La Fleur, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network. A graduate of Michigan State and LSU, La Fleur also has been a Saints fan since he was old enough to understand football. Follow him on Twitter @FBConnoisseur.

Teaser:
Ranking College Football Conferences After September
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-5
Body:

The college football season is about a third of the way complete, and most of us still aren't sure what to make of it. Personally, I prefer it that way. Part of what makes the game so fascinating is its unpredictability, thanks in large part to both the number of teams and parity.

 

As conference play kicks off for most of the teams in the country, now is normally the time we start seeing who the contenders and pretenders are. We start seeing statement wins, heartbreaking losses, surprises and upsets — each with their own element of outrageousness.

 

Here are the five outrageous predictions for Week 5.

 

Iowa defeats Wisconsin by two scores

Everything Wisconsin does on offense, the Hawkeyes are built to stop. The Iowa defensive line, led by Drew Ott, is going to get penetration on every play. This is going to cause chaos in the Wisconsin run game and throw off the timing of the suspect Badger passing attack. Even when Joel Stave gets a pass off, he'll be tossing the ball into a secondary where his receivers will be dominated and struggle to get open. On the other side of the ball, C.J. Beathard is going to challenge the Wisconsin defense with both his arm and legs like this unit hasn't been challenged all season. This is where Iowa solidifies itself as a serious Big Ten West contender.

 

Alabama routs Georgia between the hedges

Every time Alabama loses, everyone wants to write the Crimson Tide off for the rest of the season. Not me — not now. The fact of the matter is, Alabama is probably one of the top five teams in the country. They just happened to run into what might be the best team in the country (Ole Miss) two weeks ago. A fluke play was the difference in that game, and it's going to take a handful of them for Georgia to knock off the Tide. The Bulldogs — regardless of playing two SEC teams — cruised through a fairly soft September schedule. They're about to get a cold dose of Crimson reality on Saturday.

 

Texas Tech upsets Baylor

I called for a Texas Tech upset of TCU last week and it nearly happened. I'm going all in on the Red Raiders again this week. They hung over 50 points on the Horned Frogs, who might have a better defense than Baylor. Kliff Kingsbury's bunch is still motivated, as they know a win here keeps them alive in the Big 12 title hunt.

 

Illinois upsets Nebraska

It's not as if Nebraska is having a great year, but the Cornhuskers are touchdown favorites on the road in their conference opener. The problem is, nobody in the nation is worse than the Huskers at defending the pass so far (379.5 passing yards allowed per game). Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt is going to be chomping at the bit to put up video game numbers, both on downfield passes to Geronimo Allison and underneath routes to elite playmaker Josh Ferguson. Defensively, the Illini are just good enough to slow down the Huskers and give Lunt and Co. the advantage in a shootout.

 

The Big Ten and SEC will have an equal number of Top 25 teams one week from now

In the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan State aren't going anywhere. The winner of Northwestern and Minnesota will be ranked. Iowa will be ranked after knocking off Wisconsin. Michigan won't lose to Maryland. In the SEC, Ole Miss will knock Florida out, while LSU will stay put. Alabama will move up, while Georgia will move down. Texas A&M will knock Mississippi State from the rankings. That leaves each conference with five teams in the AP Top 25 next week.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 5
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/qb-injuries-help-make-nfl-season-even-more-unpredictable-ever
Body:

Even the biggest Cleveland fan had to feel some sympathy Sunday when Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was carted off the field in the third quarter of Sunday’s Pittsburgh win over the Rams in St. Louis. Roethlisberger went down with a sprained MCL and a bone bruise and will miss four-to-six weeks of action — maybe more.

 

The good news is that Big Ben didn’t tear his ACL, which would have ended his season. But since Pittsburgh doesn’t have its bye for another seven weeks, the Steelers will have to hope they can survive without their quarterback into the second half of the season. To do that, Michael Vick must reprise his 2010 performance with the Eagles, when he was outstanding for more than half the year. Unfortunately, he hasn’t approached that level since.

 

While Roethlisberger’s knee heals, and the Steelers hope Cincinnati doesn’t get too far out ahead in the AFC North, Tony Romo would like his busted clavicle to become sturdy before December. In New Orleans, Drew Brees is vowing to start Sunday, although he still considers himself “day-to-day” and said Monday that if he can’t go, the 0-3 Saints are “in good hands with Luke [McCown].” Isn’t he the guy who’s better known for his backup-QB-explains-a-cell-phone-network commercial than for his play?

 

Those three injuries are the most recent examples of why the NFL is doing everything it can to protect quarterbacks, short of assigning Secret Service agents to them. (There’s no way I’ll include the Bears’ Jay Cutler and his cranky hamstring in this equation, since Chicago isn’t any good, and neither is Cutler.) The Saints dropped a decision in Carolina Sunday, keeping them winless, it’s hard to imagine a healthy Brees couldn’t have reversed that decision. Atlanta stormed back from an early deficit to dump the Romo-less Cowboys. Though Pittsburgh held on to defeat St. Louis, the Steelers weren’t exactly an offensive force after Roethlisberger got hurt. Not that they were tearing it up with him in the lineup, either.

 

Romo’s injury has thrown the NFC East into turmoil. The Cowboys were expected to cruise after whipping the Eagles last week, largely because Philadelphia is stumbling, the 1-2 Giants don’t look special, and Washington appears to be settling into its usual spot in the division’s tar pits. It’s possible the winner of that division could be 8-8, hardly what the NFL wants from a group of its marquee teams.

 

Speaking of the Cowboys, they play New Orleans Sunday night, and how happy will NBC executives to have a QB matchup between Brandon Weeden and McCown? It doesn’t matter how sweet a ball Jerry Jones thinks Weeden throws, the backup remains completely overmatched. Expect an abundance of advertisements for ABC’s new prime time soap opera “Blood & Oil,” as the network tries to lure those casual viewers who aren’t entranced by a Weeden-McCown showdown.

 

The Saints couldn’t care less about TV ratings. At 0-3, they are three games behind surprising Atlanta in the NFC South and need some wins right now. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh needs Vick to come alive so that it can hang with the Bengals, or at least make a strong wild card push while Roethlisberger convalesces. It’s just another example of how important star QBs are in the NFL, and how few of them there are.

 

It’s no coincidence that the Patriots, Broncos, Falcons, Packers, Cardinals, Panthers and Bengals are 3-0. Each has a front-line NFL quarterback. Teams that are struggling have other problems, to be sure, but many of them are suffering from woes under center. Now, Dallas, New Orleans and Pittsburgh can join that club. Even though the Cowboys and Steelers are 2-1, it’s hard to imagine the good times will continue for them. They need their main men back under center.

 

Just like everybody else does.

 

— Written by Michael Bradley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bradley is a writer and broadcaster based in suburban Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @DailyHombre.

 

(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
QB Injuries Help Make This NFL Season Even More Unpredictable Than Ever
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/alabama-defense-makes-strong-statement-ahead-georgia-showdown
Body:

Oh yeah, that Alabama defense. A month ago, the preseason talk was that this 2015 Alabama defense was going to be downright nasty. Mostly because of the front seven. In fact, some were saying the Tide's front seven this year just may be the best front seven of the Nick Saban era. 

 

After the Ole Miss game on Sept. 19, the much-hyped Bama defense kind of got forgotten about a little bit. Maybe it shouldn't have. Of those 43 points the Rebels scored in their 43-37 upset win over the Crimson Tide, 24 came off turnovers. One Ole Miss TD was super fluky — a desperation heave that bounced off a guy's helmet. And another was colored with controversy regarding what appeared to be an ineligible offensive lineman downfield.


Well, for those who did forget about this Bama defense, consider what happened at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon a friendly reminder. Or, from ULM's perspective, one not-so-friendly reminder. For those offensive guys wearing maroon, gold and white Saturday it was three hours of unrelenting punishment.

 

Sure, it was Sun Belt-member ULM. But in this day and age of college football, it's difficult to classify any foe as a cupcake anymore. Not when the likes of Toledo and Jacksonville State are beating and nearly beating the likes of Arkansas and Auburn, respectively.

 

And just look at what this same ULM team was able to do against Georgia in week one this season. The Warhawks racked up 251 total yards and scored two touchdowns on the heavily favored Bulldogs. And plenty of Alabama fans no doubt still remember what happened the last time ULM came to Tuscaloosa prior to last Saturday. The Warhawks went home with a 21-14 upset victory. That was in 2007.

 

So how did the Alabama defense do against the Warhawks Saturday? Remember how dominating Alabama's defense was against LSU back in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans? Yeah, well, the Alabama defense looked a lot like that on Saturday.


In fact, Saturday marked the first time since that game four seasons ago that Alabama held an opponent under 100 yards of total offense for a game. ULM could muster just 92 total yards, including a measly nine rushing. The Alabama D turned in six sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, eight pass breakups, 10 quarterback hurries and two interceptions and also held ULM to a woeful 3-of-20 on third down. The Warhawks had more punts (12) than first downs (10).


As far as shutouts, it was Alabama's first since it ambushed Texas A&M, 59-0, last October.


"When you're getting guys three-in and three-out and you keep doing that consecutively, that's when you know you're in a rhythm on defense," Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland said after the game. "You get on the field, you get off the field, and you give your offense more shots at getting touchdowns and field goals. That's when you know you're doing your job on defense."

 

Even Saban, known for his ever-critiquing eye, wasn't able to find much fault in Alabama's defensive performance Saturday.

 

"90-some yards (allowed) is really good," the Bama head coach said. "I thought we tackled well in space, got a couple of turnovers. We did a good job on third down, especially in the first half. So that was really positive."

 

The scary part — for future Alabama foes — is that it looks like this Alabama defense, which currently checks in at No. 4 nationally in rushing defense and No. 12 in total defense, is only getting better. One reason is that several young guys are starting to grow up and emerge as playmakers. Safety Ronnie Harrison is Exhibit A. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound true freshman recorded a tackle and a pass breakup and had his first career interception against ULM.


"Oh yeah, I told him it's about time he stepped up and made some plays," Ragland said of his young teammate. "... For the most part he did a really good job, and I'm proud of him."

 

The one health concern for Alabama moving forward is the status of defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who left Saturday's game with an injury.

 

"He has a shoulder that every now and then gives him a problem," Saban said after the game. "We think he'll be OK and be able to practice and play in this next game, but it'll be day-to-day. He has hurt this before, had the same problem before, and he's been able to come back from it pretty quickly."

 

The Crimson Tide defense will certainly want — and probably need — Allen's services this coming Saturday. No. 13 Alabama (3-1 overall, 0-1 in SEC) will play at No. 8 Georgia (4-0, 2-0)

 

"We got a tough matchup against some good running backs and a good offense, so we gotta come out, bow our neck up and play hard against those cats," Ragland said.

 

Another defensive effort this Saturday like the one last Saturday, and the chatter surrounding this 2015 Alabama defense will really crank up.

 

— Written by Erik Stinnett, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Stinnett is an experienced college football beat writer who has been covering Alabama since 2009.

Teaser:
Alabama Defense Makes Strong Statement Ahead of Georgia Showdown
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/college-footballs-top-10-running-backs-september-2015
Body:

Ranking any player or team after one month of the college football season is tough. With one-sided matchups skewing the statistics, and conference play not yet underway for most teams, it's hard to say whether these players will carry that momentum throughout the season.

 

Still, September has been a great month for running backs. Here’s Athlon Sports’ take on the top 10 performers through the first month of the season. Note: This is not strictly based on stats. Opponent strength, injuries, snaps due to blowouts and preseason projection were all considered.

 

College Football's Top 10 RBs for September

 

1. Leonard Fournette, LSU

 

There’s no debate as to the No. 1 running back in college football from the month of September. Fournette is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner after rushing for 631 yards and eight scores in three games. The sophomore has recorded back-to-back 200-yard contests.

 

Related: College Football's Top 10 Quarterbacks from September

 

2. Nick Chubb, Georgia

 

While Fournette has been the best running back through September, Chubb isn’t too far behind on the stat sheet. The sophomore has rushed for 599 yards and six scores on just 71 carries. Chubb’s 8.4 yards per carry average ranks second in the SEC and enters Week 5 with 12 consecutive 100-yard games.

 

3. C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame

 

Injuries hit the Fighting Irish hard in September, including a season-ending ailment to starting running back Tarean Folston in the opener against Texas. But Notre Dame’s rushing attack hasn’t missed a beat behind Prosise. The junior has recorded three consecutive 100-yard games and averaged at least nine yards per carry during that span.

 

Related: College Football's Awards from September

 

4. Jordan Howard, Indiana

 

While the focus (and rightfully so) has been on Fournette this season, Howard quietly leads the nation with 675 rushing yards. The UAB transfer was expected to be a solid replacement for Tevin Coleman and has picked up where he left off with the Blazers in 2014 (1,587 yards). The competition will get tougher, but Howard should push for first-team All-Big Ten honors this season.

 

5. Dalvin Cook, Florida State

 

With new quarterback Everett Golson still settling into coach Jimbo Fisher's scheme, Cook has carried Florida State’s offense so far this year. Boston College's tough defense limited Cook to 54 yards, but the sophomore recorded 156 yards in the opener against Texas State and 266 against USF in Week 2.

 

Related: College Football's All-Injury Team for 2015

 

6. Paul Perkins, UCLA

 

Perkins might be the nation’s most underrated running back. Through four games, the junior has accumulated 514 rushing yards and six scores, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He also has eight receptions for 99 yards and leads all Pac-12 running backs with four rushes of 30 yards or more this season.

 

7. Derrick Henry, Alabama

 

Henry is one of the most physically impressive running backs in the nation. After working for two years as the 1b option to starter T.J. Yeldon, Henry is now the No. 1 back for Alabama and rushed for 422 yards and eight scores in September. Henry also has two 100-yard performances against Power 5 opponents in 2015.

 

8. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

 

Elliott was a little quiet in September, but the junior is still one of the top running backs in the nation. In four games this fall, Elliott has rushed for 455 yards and five scores and recorded a 100-yard performance in each contest. Expect to see Elliott’s numbers climb now the Buckeyes have reached Big Ten play.

 

9. Devontae Booker, Utah

 

Booker’s numbers may not be as prolific as some of the other names on this list, but he remains the centerpiece for an improving Utah offense and shouldn’t see as many stacked defensive fronts in the next two months as quarterback Travis Wilson is off to a good start. Booker faced a tough Michigan defense in the opener and managed only 69 yards in that game. However, he recorded back-to-back 100-yard games against Utah State and Fresno State, caught 15 passes through the first four games and threw a touchdown pass in the win over Oregon.

 

10. Justin Jackson, Northwestern

 

A couple of players could fit in this No. 10 spot, but let’s give a tip of the cap to Jackson. The sophomore leads the nation with 118 rushing attempts after four games and recorded 516 yards and a score in that span. Jackson was instrumental in the upset win over Stanford (134) and recorded 120 yards against Duke.

Teaser:
College Football's Top 10 Running Backs for September
Post date: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 10:00

Pages