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All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-must-start-aj-green-and-other-wrte-startsit-fantasy-advice-week-6
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As always, I like to start my fantasy football start/sit articles by taking a look back at how I did the week before. So before we dive into Week 6, here’s how the Week 5 wide receiver/tight end advice did.

 

Good Calls:

 

Start DeAndre Hopkins (16.9 fantasy points) — Hopkins is a target machine and even though defenses know he’s getting the ball, they can’t stop him.

 

Start Allen Robinson (19.2 FP) — If Blake Bortles is going to air it out every game, Robinson is a must-start.

 

Sit Amari Cooper (4.9 FP) — He was blanketed all game by an excellent Broncos secondary.

 

Start Antonio Gates (21.2 FP) — Rivers loves throwing to Gates and it showed Monday night.

 

Start Tyler Eifert (21 FP) — Eifert is starting to look more and more like the best receiving threat on the Bengals.

 

Plus I warned you about starting Jason Witten. That was an ugly offensive performance by the Cowboys last Sunday.

 

Bad Calls:

 

Start Charles Clay (0.7 FP) — Clay was really the only receiving threat the Bills had, but their offense never really got going against the Titans because they never had the ball long enough.

 

Sit Gary Barnidge (19.9 FP) — If Josh McCown is going to throw the ball all over the place to keep the Browns in games, Barnidge is going to put up massive numbers every week.

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

Wide Receivers

 

START THESE WRs…

 

Willie Snead, NO (vs. ATL, Thurs.)

Do yourself a favor and go check the waiver wire right now to see if somehow Snead is still available and if he is, grab him. Drew Brees has a new favorite target and his name is Snead (not Brandon Coleman like everyone thought at the beginning of the year). Snead has seen his targets increase each week and he is coming off a monster game in a loss against the Eagles where he caught six of 11 targets for 141 yards. The Saints play host to the Falcons Thursday in a game where you know they are going to fall behind early. That means lots of Brees passes in the second half and look for Snead to be the main beneficiary and score his second touchdown of the season.

 

A.J. Green, CIN (at BUF)

Other than in Week 3 where Green scored 34.7 fantasy points after a 10-catch, 227-yard and two-touchdown performance, he has been rather pedestrian this season. Green wasn’t a major part of the Bengals’ game plan last week against the Seahawks and only scored seven fantasy points. That will change this week where Green will definitely be a major focal point in the Bengals’ offensive game plan. The Bills can’t defend the pass. Up until last week, the Bills had allowed a minimum of 22 points to WRs while also surrendering seven touchdowns to the position in their first four games. The Bills haven’t faced a WR as good as Green yet this season, so expect big numbers from him this week.

 

Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs. WAS)

Did you know that Marshall has put together three straight 100-yard receiving games and has already scored three touchdowns this season? If you did, you must bleed green. Marshall has been one of the most consistent wide receivers this year and coming off his bye week, he’ll look to continue his hot start against a pretty good Washington Redskins defense. Luckily for Marshall owners, Washington is much better against the run than the pass. The Redskins are 10th in the league in terms of fantasy points given up to WRs this season. No one has been able to stop the Ryan Fitzpatrick-to-Marshall train yet this season, and it won’t stop this week. Chalk Marshall up for another 100 yards and a touchdown.

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK…

 

Donte Moncrief, IND (vs. NE)

Moncrief has basically fallen off of everyone’s radar the last few weeks because he has been catching balls from Matt Hasselbeck instead of Andrew Luck. That will change this week when Luck returns to take on the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are going to do everything they can to destroy the Colts thanks to “Deflategate,” and the Colts don’t have the defense to stop them. This means that the only chance the Colts have of winning this game is for Luck to play like the Luck of 2014 and throw the ball downfield. Luck and Moncrief were establishing excellent chemistry before the QB got hurt and look for Moncrief to better his Week 2 numbers of 122 receiving yards and a touchdown.

 

SIT THESE WRs…

 

James Jones, GB (vs. SD)

Anyone who snagged Jones off the waiver wire in Week 1 probably thinks pretty highly of themselves and for good reason. Jones has scored five touchdowns in his first five games. But there are holes starting to show in Jones’ game, as opposing defenses are starting to shade his way and limit his opportunities. Last week is a great example where Jones did have a pretty good game with 77 yards and a touchdown, but he was targeted only three times. Ty Montgomery had more targets. It won’t help Jones’ cause that it looks like Davante Adams will be playing this week and the fact that the Packers are playing the San Diego Chargers, who just happen to be pretty good against the pass, giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season.

 

Travis Benjamin, CLE (vs. DEN)

Benjamin has come out of nowhere this season to put up 411 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his first five games and anyone who was smart enough to snag him early in the season off the waiver wire, has been riding him ever since. He’s played so well that he is now a consistent threat that opposing defenses must account for. This week however, it’s best to stay far, far away from Benjamin. The Denver Broncos and their impressive pass defense are coming to town. The Broncos are first in the NFL with only 11.8 fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs per game. They’ve shut down Steve Smith Sr., Jeremy Maclin, Calvin Johnson and Amari Cooper. All of those guys are better than Benjamin. Leave him on your bench.

 

Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. NYG, Mon.)

Matthews was the best player and the only offensive weapon the Eagles had in their first two games of the season, which was a great thing if you had him on your fantasy team. But now that Sam Bradford is no longer dinking and dunking the football down the field and the Eagles have opened things up, Matthews has been terrible the last three games. He’s scored a pathetic 14.3 fantasy points with zero touchdowns over that span. Matthews has watched as other Eagles have stepped up to play a bigger role (like Josh Huff) and now Matthews can no longer be counted on to produce quality fantasy points on a weekly basis.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…

 

Jarvis Landry, MIA (at TEN)

Like everyone on the Miami Dolphins, Landry has been a real disappointment so far this season. His only saving grace has been in PPR leagues, otherwise he’s been useless. That’s not going to change this week against a really tough Tennessee Titans defense. Believe it or not, the Titans have surrendered the second-fewest yards and the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs in 2015.

 

Tight Ends

 

START THESE TEs…

 

Antonio Gates, SD (at GB)

This is probably the last time you’ll see Gates in the start section because he’s going to become an automatic start each and every week. Gates sat out the first four games of the season due to suspension and he looked faster and fresher than we’ve seen in the last few years. It sure didn’t take long for him and Philip Rivers to pick up where they left off last season. He caught nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns on Monday night against Pittsburgh. The Rivers-to-Gates magic will continue this week in Green Bay against a Packers secondary that will be playing a bend-don’t-break style of defense because by the second half the home team will have a large lead. That means plenty of opportunities for Gates.

 

Martellus Bennett, CHI (at DET)

Bennett, much like the entire tight end position, has been widely inconsistent this season. It’s absolutely infuriating when you assume that a player of Bennett’s caliber should have a great game against a Kansas City defense that can’t defend the pass, and he only gets 3.2 fantasy points in Week 5. Stay the course if you have Bennett on your fantasy roster, there is good news. He’s had 24 targets in the last two games and that’s unlikely to change even if Alshon Jeffery plays this week. Plus, the Bears visit the Lions this week and the Lions are a train wreck. Currently the Lions are giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends and are allowing one touchdown to the position per game this season. Look for that trend to continue as Bennett hauls in at least one score this week.

 

Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs. DEN)

Other than Devonta Freeman, has there been a hotter player in the NFL than Barnidge? In the last three weeks he’s been targeted an incredible 32 times and is averaging 16.6 fantasy points in those three games. That crazy value for anyone, let alone a tight end who no one knew about four weeks ago. Of course starting Barnidge does come with some risk this week against the Denver Broncos, but Barnidge is simply too hot not to start and see what happens. How’s that for deep fantasy analysis and insight?

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK…

 

Julius Thomas, JAC (vs. HOU)

Thomas finally played last week after missing the first four games of the season due to a hand injury. He didn’t start, but he did play in obvious passing situations and ended up catching two balls for 20 yards. The Jaguars signed Thomas to a big time deal this offseason and you know they have been chomping at the bit to get him on the field and get their money’s worth. Now that Thomas appears ready to go, look for Blake Bortles to target Thomas a lot, especially when he’s on the run and of course in the red zone. Thomas made a name for himself in Denver because he was a red-zone touchdown machine. Houston’s defense isn’t very good and that means lots of opportunities for Thomas to get his first-ever touchdown as a Jacksonville Jaguar.

 

SIT THESE TEs…

 

Charles Clay, BUF (vs. CIN)

Clay has gone from a must-start last week to an absolute must-sit this week. It’s not because he scored only 0.3 fantasy points last week, after all, Clay is still the No. 5 TE in terms of fantasy points. No, you need to sit Clay this week because he’s most likely lost Tyrod Taylor (MCL sprain) as his starting quarterback, which means he will be catching passes instead from EJ Manuel, at least for this week against Cincinnati. To make things worse, the Bengals have allowed an average of fewer than five fantasy points per game to TEs. Stay away from Clay this week.

 

Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. KC)

Playing in a Norv Turner offense, many thought that Rudolph would have a breakout season and was on many experts’ sleeper lists to start the season. But so far, Rudolph has failed miserably to live up to those expectations. Get this – he’s only scored more than 5.5 fantasy points in one of his four games this season. That’s disgusting. His streak of horrible games will continue this week against a Chiefs defense that has surrendered only one touchdown and an average of 4.78 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs.

 

Larry Donnell, NYG (vs. PHI, Mon.)

Donnell has had an up-and-down start to the 2015 season, but has seen his targets increase since the Giants’ offense has been on the upswing lately. Last week Donnell owners were saved by his incredible touchdown catch, helping him post 9.5 fantasy points. He will most definitely need another touchdown this week if he is going to have any value going up against an Eagles pass defense that has been one of the most difficult for TEs to produce against. Philadelphia has allowed an average of fewer than four fantasy points per game to opposing TEs.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…

 

Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. CAR)

Unfortunately you probably don’t have much of an option to sit Graham this week unless you were savvy enough to pick up Antonio Gates or even Tyler Eifert at the beginning of the season. So far Graham has been a terrible fit in the Seahawks’ offense and a lot has to do with the fact that he’s been asked to block more than he has ever had to before because Seattle’s offensive line cannot protect Russell Wilson. Even though head coach Pete Carroll stated this week that he would like to get Graham more involved in the offense, it’s not likely to happen against a Carolina Panthers defense that has given up the fewest fantasy points to TEs.

 

— 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:
Why You Must Start A.J. Green and Other WR/TE Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-should-start-eddie-lacy-and-other-rb-startsit-fantasy-advice-week-6
Body:

Before we get to Week 6, let’s take a quick peek back at what went right and what went wrong as far as the fantasy running back start/sit advice that was offered last week.

 

Good Calls:

 

Start Devonta Freeman (25.7 fantasy points) – Hopefully by now everyone has jumped on the Freeman bandwagon.

 

Start DeMarco Murray (18 FP) – The gutsiest call of the week and Murray finally proved himself.

 

Sit Jeremy Hill (2.5 FP) – It’s looking more and more like Hill is a bust this season and that the Bengals are going to continue giving Giovani Bernard more and more touches.

 

Sit C.J. Anderson (4 FP) – The Broncos are pathetic at running the football. I think you should sit all Denver RBs until they can proved they can gain more than two yards per carry.

 

Bad Calls:

 

Todd Gurley (15.9 FP) – While I thankfully didn’t tell you to sit Gurley, I warned you against playing him. Looks like Jeff Fisher and the Rams’ offense is going to go through Gurley from here out.

 

Here’s your start/sit for running backs in week 6.

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

START THESE RBs…

 

Eddie Lacy, GB (vs. SD)

Normally you wouldn’t ever find Lacy in a start/sit article because he’s always a must-start. But so far this season Lacy has been terrible and he’s scared many fantasy owners. Well, if you are a savvy fantasy player, Lacy is an excellent buy-low candidate. So far the 2015 season has been eerily similar to the way Lacy started last season. He really struggled at the beginning then picked up steam down the stretch and still finished with 1,139 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. This is the week that Lacy finally gets going because the Packers will make more of an effort to get their No. 1 ball carrier involved because of the matchup with San Diego. The Chargers have given up the second-most fantasy points to RBs this season. This has 150 rush yards and two touchdowns written all over it for Lacy.

 

Dion Lewis, NE (vs. IND)

Lewis is an absolute must-start this week, especially if you have him in a PPR league. In fact, if you have a bunch of Patriots on your roster, start them all this week against the Colts. Anyways, Lewis has become a vital part of the Patriots’ attack and not only does he appear to have the trust of head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots are specifically planning plays to get Lewis involved each and every week. While LeGarrette Blount will get the lion’s share of the carries, Lewis will be dynamic once again in the open field catching passes in the flat and making things happen. It also helps that the Colts currently rank 28th in the NFL in passing defense. Look for Lewis to score another 15-plus fantasy points this week thanks to his ability to make plays all over the field.

 

T.J. Yeldon, JAC (vs. HOU)

Yeldon scored the most fantasy points of his career last week against the Buccaneers, producing 12.3 thanks to 16 total touches and a touchdown. He did leave the game in the fourth quarter with a groin injury, but he should be good to go this week, which is good for the Jaguars since Blake Bortles is nursing a shoulder injury. Yeldon also has a great matchup this week against a Houston Texans defense that is giving up an average of 22.3 fantasy points to RBs so far this season. Look for Yeldon to have the best game of his young career with over 100 rushing yards and at least one touchdown.

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK…

 

Marshawn Lynch, SEA (vs. CAR)

Lynch should be back this week after missing the last two weeks thanks to various ailments (ankle, back, hamstring). While Lynch has been on the sidelines, he’s watched his replacement Thomas Rawls rack up 321 rushing yards. While Lynch shouldn’t be worried about losing his starting gig, he should be worried about losing touches to Rawls. That’s why this week against a Carolina Panthers defense that is eighth in the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs, Lynch should finally show that he still has it and gain over 100 yards and score at least one touchdown.

 

SIT THESE RBs…

 

All Buffalo Bills RBs (vs. CIN)

That’s right. Save your time and don’t waste it gambling on whether or not Karlos Williams will play if he is cleared due from the league’s concussion protocol. He had his chance in Week 4, and gained 40 yards on 18 carries (although he did get lucky and catch a touchdown pass). Don’t gamble on Boobie Dixon or Dan Herron. Dixon played last week and had 19 yards on seven carries, while Herron, who signed just a few days before the Bills played the Titans, had 28 yards on nine carries. The Bengals have a pretty good defense and Dixon and Herron will likely split carries anyways, so forget about them this week.

 

Chris Ivory, NYJ (vs. WAS)

The Jets are coming off a bye week and they last played two weeks ago in London so you might forget that in that game Ivory returned from injury and ran for 166 yards and one touchdown – scoring 22.6 fantasy points. So you probably want to start him this week just in case he puts up similar numbers. That might not be such a good idea. The Jets are home this week against a Washington Redskins defense that has been surprisingly stout against the run. This defense has surrendered just two rushing touchdowns all season while giving up the fewest fantasy points to RBs. If the Jets are going to win this game, it’s going to be on the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick and not on the ground with Ivory.

 

Alfred Morris, WAS (at NYJ)

If you drafted Morris in the second or third round of your fantasy draft, I feel for you. Heading into the season there was really no reason to doubt that Morris would once again get the majority of carries and rack up another 1,000-yard season. Now he’s barely a RB4. Last week he had eight carries for a whopping 15 yards – that’s 1.5 fantasy points. Each week Morris is losing touches to Matt Jones and now Chris Thompson. It doesn’t help that on Sunday Washington plays the Jets and their awesome run-stuffing defense that has given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs on the season. Leave Morris on your bench this week.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…

 

Charcandrick West, KC (at MIN)

I know it’s going to be really tempting to start West this week, especially if you own or owned Jamaal Charles. But remember that West isn’t even close to being Charles.  Charles is so good that he has been hiding the fact that the Chiefs’ offensive line is terrible. West will remind us of that fact this week. Plus, while it looks like West will at least get the first crack at replacing Charles, head coach Andy Reid stated this week that both he and Knile Davis are going to get touches and they are basically going to go with the hot hand. If you can, wait to see what West can do and don’t think that he is going to turn into this year’s C.J. Anderson.

 

— 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:
Why You Should Start Eddie Lacy and Other RB Start/Sit Fantasy Advice For Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 12:15
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-should-sit-cam-newton-and-other-qbdst-startsit-fantasy-advice-week-6
Body:

Before we get to start/sit quarterback and defense/special teams (DST) fantasy advice, I know you are really interested to see how last week’s tips fared.

 

Good Calls:

 

Start Drew Brees (16.3 fantasy points) — As long as the Saints can’t play defense Brees is going to put up huge fantasy numbers.

 

Start Philip Rivers (21.6 FP) — The Rivers-to-Antonio Gates combo was back in full effect Monday night and will probably keep on going.

 

Start Sam Bradford (19.62 FP) — Bradford is finally playing well and spreading the ball around.

 

Sit Matthew Stafford (8.72 FP) — Has there been a worse starting quarterback this season?

 

Bad Calls:

 

Sit Andy Dalton (28.04 FP) — Who knew Dalton could lead the Bengals back in the fourth quarter against the “Legion of Boom?”

 

So I had a pretty good week last week. Let’s keep it rolling.

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

Quarterbacks

 

START THESE QBS…

 

Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. NO, Thurs.)

Thursday night games are usually gigantic, terrible messes and normally should be avoided if possible. But when a quarterback as good as Ryan gets a shot at the New Orleans Saints’ defense, it changes things. It’s true that thanks to Devonta Freeman the Falcons are a more well-balanced offense than had envisioned four weeks ago, but the Saints have been terrible against the pass. New Orleans has given up nine touchdown passes already and four times this defense has allowed opposing QBs to score 17 or more fantasy points. Start Ryan and enjoy the jumpstart your fantasy team gets for Week 6.

 

Blake Bortles, JAC (vs. HOU)

Bortles is coming off perhaps his best-ever fantasy game in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay. He had an outstanding 29.22 fantasy points thanks to 303 yards passing and four touchdowns, although he did throw one interception. Bortles has really good receiving options in the double Allen’s (Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson) and tight end Julius Thomas is back, so that should open up more space in the passing game. The Jaguars travel to Houston this week to play a horrible Texans defense, which is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs this season. Bortles is dealing with a sprained shoulder, but he should be fine to start and continue to produce. He may even still be available on your waiver wire.

 

Philip Rivers, SD (at GB)

You might think that you should sit Rivers this week since so far this season he’s been terrible on the road. He scored 15.4 fantasy points in a Week 2 loss in Cincinnati and only 10.84 in a Week 3 loss in Cleveland. But Rivers now has his favorite weapon back in tight end Antonio Gates, which will revitalize the Chargers’ passing game on the road. The matchup isn’t great this week in Green Bay, but the Chargers’ defense is terrible, so the odds of Rivers playing from behind are very likely. Look for Rivers to have another 300-yard passing game with two TD tosses.

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK…

 

Eli Manning, NYG (at PHI, Mon.)

This all depends on whether or not Odell Beckham Jr. is good to go for the Monday night game in Philadelphia. If ODB is a go, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get Manning into your starting lineup. The Eagles currently rank 26th in the league against the pass and are middle of the road (15th) in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. The real reason to start Manning would be because this game should be a very high-scoring affair. The way the game script appears to play out, it should be an old-fashioned QB duel between Manning and Sam Bradford.

 

SIT THESE QBs…

 

Cam Newton, CAR (at SEA)

Last week I told you to sit Andy Dalton against the Seahawks and that wasn’t such a good idea. This week though, you should sit Newton and hear me out. So Newton has scored 27-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games before his bye week, but history does repeat itself and Newton has been historically awful against the Seahawks. He’s averaged just 145.6 passing yards with one touchdown in three career games against them. Plus, this game is in Seattle, and that’s never easy.

 

Josh McCown, CLE (vs. DEN)

You might be inclined to start McCown because he has put up some pretty good fantasy numbers so far this season. Like last week when he went off for 457 yards and two touchdowns – that’s good for 35.48 fantasy points. And the week before he scored 22.24 fantasy points thanks to 356 yards passing and two touchdowns. Don’t expect gaudy fantasy numbers this week though. The Browns play host to the Denver Broncos and the league’s best defense. How good are the Broncos? They’re allowing an average of just 7.86 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs in 2015.

 

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (vs. TEN)

With four teams on their bye this week, you might be looking at different starting quarterback options this week. One of those options could be Tannehill. We’ll if so, move on. Tannehill has been a complete disappointment in real football and in fantasy football. However, because he is playing the historically awful Tennessee Titans, you might think that he’s worth a spot start. But the Titans are getting better. Last week the only allowed 8.36 fantasy points to Tyrod Taylor as a passer (the rest of Taylor’s 22.36 fantasy points were thanks to his running ability and Tannehill can’t run like Taylor). This is a winnable game for the Titans and they will stifle Tannehill all game.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…

 

Peyton Manning, DEN (at CLE)

There was a time, like last season, when you wouldn’t ever consider if you should or shouldn’t start Manning. He was easily a top-three, if not the top fantasy quarterback week in and week out. The winds of change have caught up to Manning and they are not good for his duck balls. Manning looked bad last week against a poor Raiders secondary and didn’t even throw a touchdown. This week however, Manning will get back on track. The Broncos travel to Cleveland to face a team that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs this season. The Broncos can’t run the ball and are going to need Manning to connect with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders if they are going to win this one.

 

Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)

 

START THESE DSTs…

 

New York Jets (vs. WAS)

The Jets are coming off their bye week have been one of the best fantasy defenses so far this season and should really be able to do some statistical damage to Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Washington offensive attack. The Jets have scored eight or more fantasy points in three of their first four games, which is excellent consistency for a DST. Oh and remember that Cousins is among the league leaders in interceptions with six in five games.

 

Minnesota Vikings (vs. KC)

If you are into streaming defenses, this is the defense that you want this week. The poor Chiefs are struggling mightily this year and they just lost their Jamaal Charles, their best offensive weapon, for the year thanks to a torn ACL. This makes the Chiefs a great matchup for the Vikings, as the Chiefs are going to have to rely on Alex Smith to keep the chains moving. That’s even more great news for Minnesota’s defense because the Chiefs’ offensive line is terrible, having allowed a whopping 22 sacks so far, which is tied for most in the league.

 

SIT THESE DSTs...

 

Buffalo Bills (vs. CIN)

Heading into the season the Bills were projected to have one of the best, if not the best, defense in all of football. So far this unit has been hot and cold. While the Bills do play opponents very tough at home, this week they match up against one the hottest offenses in all of football in the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals, thanks to Andy Dalton, have been averaging 29.6 points per game (fourth in the NFL) and 421.4 yards per game (second). The Bills won’t be able to stop the Bengals’ offense, they can only hope to slow them down.

 

Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG, Mon.)

The Eagles’ defense was very impressive last week against Drew Brees and the Saints, even though the score might lead you to think otherwise. Philadelphia’s DST produced an impressive 14 fantasy points in Week 5. But don’t get your hopes up and think a repeat performance is in store. The Giants have allowed just four sacks so far this year, that’s the second fewest in the NFL. This means Eli Manning has had plenty of time to operate, so it should be no surprise he is off to a great start and has thrown just two interceptions so far. The Giants’ offense will keep rolling this week, so keep the Eagles DST away from your starting lineup.

 

— 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:
Why You Should Sit Cam Newton and Other QB/DST Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/how-can-florida-gators-contain-lsus-leonard-fournette
Body:

The Florida Gators' defense has been among the best units in the country this season. Their defense is ranked 16th in the country and the Gators are only giving up 99.2 rushing yards per game (12th best in the nation). 

 

While those statistics are great, on Saturday, the Gators’ defense will face its biggest challenge of the season in the LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

 

In only five games this season, Fournette has 1,022 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. The sophomore also is averaging 8.6 yards per carry. Fournette’s lowest rushing total this season came last week against the South Carolina Gamecocks, and he still finished with 158 yards (7.9 ypc) and a touchdown. 

 

Related: 12 Amazing Stats About LSU RB Leonard Fournette After Five Games in 2015

 

So how can Florida slow down Fournette and the LSU rushing attack?

 

1. Get Multiple Defenders in the Backfield 

Florida has played against Fournette before. Last season, Fournette rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in LSU's 30-27 win in The Swamp. If the Gators don’t want that same performance to happen again, they will have to penetrate the Tigers' offensive line before Fournette can get to the second level of their defense. 

 

When Fournette can get past the defensive line untouched, he becomes nearly impossible to tackle in one-on-one situations. Fournette has already recorded multiple runs over 60 yards this season, which includes his 87-yard gain last week against South Carolina. 

 

Florida’s Jon Bullard and the rest of the defensive line will need to get past the LSU offensive line on early downs to force third-and-long situations. Florida is 12th in FBS in tackles for a loss, so these Gator defenders are capable of causing havoc in the Tigers’ backfield. 

 

2. Stay Disciplined

Last season against LSU and Fournette, the Gators were caught out of position, which led to big gains on the ground for the Tigers. Florida defenders have to stay in their assignments and make sure they don’t go for the big hit on Fournette. 

 

In their game against the Tennessee Volunteers earlier this season, the Gators gave up 254 yards on the ground. Florida had problems tackling Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd, who rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns. 

 

Since that game, the Gators have improved their tackling against Ole Miss and Missouri. Florida has to continue to use the same techniques they have used the last two weeks in order to contain Fournette. 

 

3. Rotate Defensive Players

The teams LSU have played so far haven’t had the luxury of having a deep defensive line and that has shown. As the game has gone on, opposing defensive linemen have gotten tired and that has led to poor tackling. Unlike LSU’s first five opponents, Florida does have the advantage of having a deep and talented defensive line. 

 

Unlike previous seasons, the Gators have been using a different rotation of defensive linemen. This will allow the Florida defense to remain fresh throughout the course of the game on Saturday night. 

 

Gators' defensive line coach Chris Rumph has done a great job of rotating the line for certain situations and against LSU, it shouldn’t be any different. 

 

— 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:
How Can the Florida Gators Contain LSU's Leonard Fournette?
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 11:45
All taxonomy terms: College Football, LSU Tigers, SEC
Path: /college-football/12-amazing-stats-about-lsu-rb-leonard-fournette-after-five-games-2015
Body:

The fever pitch on Leonard Fournette’s sophomore season may seem like it has hit a high but in fact the hype is far from its potential zenith. The LSU running back is the clear early leader in the clubhouse for the Heisman Trophy, but far more could be achieved if his current pace is carried out through the final six games of the season.

 

The question is how much can he accomplish and what all could he accomplish? Breaking down his season to date we took a look at what he has accomplished so far and what he could achieve given his current pace five games into the 2015 season. And don't forget that LSU has only played five games thus far because their season opener against McNeese state was canceled due to inclement weather. This means Fournette's regular season will consist of only 11 games.

 

Fournette’s Season Statistics Thus Far

Through five games, Fournette has carried the ball 119 times for 1,022 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns. That's an average of 8.6 yards per carry. He also has five receptions for 41 yards.

 

The next closest competitor for the 2015 FBS rushing title is San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin. The diminutive (5-10, 177) senior has 874 yards on 140 carries with 11 touchdowns in six games.

 

Conference Record-Setter

From mid-September into the first week of October, Fournette became the most prolific running back in SEC history over a three-game stretch. The dazzling sophomore posted 228 yards with three scores off 19 carries against Auburn, 244 yards (career high) and two touchdowns on 26 carries against Syracuse, and 233 more yards on 26 carries with another three scores against Eastern Michigan.

 

Fournette’s 244 yards rushing against Syracuse places him third on LSU’s single-game all-time list. Alley Broussard holds the top spot with 250 yards against Ole Miss in 2004 and Kevin Faulk is second with 246 yards in 1996.

 

School Record-Setter

When Fournette collected 158 yards, a season low, against South Carolina, he became the first LSU running back since the program started playing football in 1893 to pass the 1,000-yard rushing mark in just five games. He is the 10th Division I player to accomplish this feat. The previous quickest Tiger to 1,000 yards was Charles Alexander in 1977. Alexander hit the mark in seven games and needed 175 carries. Fournette reached the century mark on his 116th tote of the season.

 

More School Records

Fournette’s 12 rushing touchdowns over five games is another school record. He also is the quickest Tiger to 500, 600 and 700 yards rushing in a season. And last season, he set a school freshman record with 1,034 yards when he played in all 13 games but only started six of them.

 

Gentleman and a Scholar

After last week's LSU vs. South Carolina game, Fournette announced he would auction off his game-worn jersey to help benefit the flood victims in South Carolina. Unclear if it was the NCAA or LSU, but an initial ruling said Fournette could not do that, but he has since been allowed to after the determination was made he won't be collecting any of the proceeds.

 

Postseason Honors can Wait

Fournette has already earned several in-season honors including SEC Offensive Player of the Week after the Mississippi State, Auburn (co-Player of the Week,) and Syracuse games. For his efforts against Auburn he also was named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, AutoNation FWAA Offensive Player of the Week, and Maxwell Award Player of the Week.

 

Highly Decorated out of High School

No surprise to find out that Fournette’s skill set was greatly admired before he suited up for the Tigers. Once his high school career was finished he was named the No. 1 recruit in the nation regardless of position by 247Sports, was USA Today’s National Offensive Player of the Year and twice won Gatorade’s Louisiana Player of the Year honors (2013 and '14).

 

Chasing Tiger Greatness

Fournette is on pace to break LSU’s single-season rushing record held by Charles Alexander. Alexander holds the top spot rushing with 1,686 yards on 311 carries in 1977. Alexander also is seventh on LSU's all-time list with 1,172 yards in 281 attempts in 1978.

 

Call it a Career

Through 18 games, Fournette is already tied for 13th with Domanick Davis (1999-2002) on the LSU career rushing list with 2,056 yards. Kevin Faulk is the top Tiger with 4,557 yards (1995-98) followed by Dalton Hilliard at 4,050 yards (1982-85). Fournette is currently 2,501 yards behind Faulk, who played in a total of 41 games.

 

How Many Yards can he Gain?

Fournette is averaging 204.4 rushing yards per game over five contests with six regular season games left to play. At this rate he will add another 1,226 yards to his season total, giving him 2,248 in 11 games. Add the possibility of an SEC Championship Game and/or a bowl game to the mix, and he would finish with either 2,453 yards (bowl game only) or as many as 2,657 yards (bowl and SEC Championship Game) at his current pace.

 

And if LSU is chosen for a spot in the College Football Playoff, it's possible that Fournette and the Tigers would end up playing in as many as 14 games, should they advance to the national title game. At his current per game average, that scenario would put Fournette at 2,861 yards rushing for the season, again despite the fact that LSU's season opener was canceled.

 

SEC Greatness Within Reach

The SEC single-season record for rushing yards is held by Fournette’s most widely used comparison, former Georgia Bulldog legend Herschel Walker. In 1981 Walker ran for 1,891 yards. Second on the list is former Arkansas Razorbacks and current Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden, who had 1,830 yards rushing in 2007.

 

To get into the conversation when it comes to putting together a historic season in the SEC, Fournette would have his sights set again on Walker, but this time it's the Hall of Famer's 1980 season when he rushed for 1,616 yards, good for 10th all-time in conference history. McFadden is ninth on this list with 1,647 yards in 2006. Fournette needs just 595 yards to take Walker's No. 10 spot, something he may be able to accomplish in three games if he maintains his current 200-plus yards per game pace.

 

NCAA All-Time Single-Season Greatness a Possibility

As the years fly by, many may not remember the 1988 season when another great running back, Barry Sanders, blew away the competition with an NCAA single-season record 2,628 yards rushing for Oklahoma State. Sanders truly took college football by storm, seemingly coming out of nowhere. In 1986 he played in eight games compiling 325 yards on 74 carries. The following year he played in 11 games carrying the ball 105 times for 603 yards.

 

If Fournette passes Sanders an asterisk might be in place depending on when the mark is reached. Sanders crushed the record in 11 games, while also leading the NCAA with 37 rushing touchdowns. Sanders averaged 239 yards rushing per game during his Heisman Trophy-winning season. As impressive as Fournette has been thus far, he hasn't been as good as Sanders was in 1988 on a game-by-game basis. 

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.

Teaser:
12 Amazing Stats About LSU RB Leonard Fournette After Five Games in 2015
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-7-predictions-michigan-michigan-state-rivalry-showdown-penn-state
Body:

The state of Michigan is the epicenter for college football’s Week 7 slate. The annual rivalry between Michigan State and Michigan is always a must-see matchup. However, the stakes are even higher in 2015. The Spartans and Wolverines are playoff contenders, and the winner of this game will position itself as Ohio State’s biggest threat in the Big Ten. Michigan State has won six out of the last seven in this series, but the Wolverines are favored at home. Outside of Ann Arbor, Ohio State hosts Penn State in another one of the Big Ten’s top matchups. There’s no shortage of defensive talent in this game, but will Penn State’s offense consistently move the ball against the Buckeyes? Elsewhere in the Big Ten this Saturday, Iowa hits the road to take on Northwestern, Minnesota hosts Nebraska, Wisconsin should have an easy win over Purdue, and Indiana meets Rutgers in a critical game for both team’s postseason hopes. 

 

Related: Coaching Candidates to Replace Randy Edsall at Maryland

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 7 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Big Ten Week 7 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Michigan State at Michigan

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Michigan -8

 

Predictions for Michigan State at Michigan

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-20-28-1027-24

 

Related: Predictions for Every Week 7 College Football Game

 

2. Penn State at Ohio State

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

Spread: Ohio State -17

 

Predictions for Penn State at Ohio State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-13-35-1434-17

 

3. Iowa at Northwestern

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

Spread: Iowa -2.5

 

Predictions for Iowa at Northwestern

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-20-21-1327-24

 

4. Nebraska at Minnesota

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Minnesota -2

 

Predictions for Nebraska at Minnesota

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-24-24-1730-28

 

5. Rutgers at Indiana

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Spread: NL

 

Predictions for Rutgers at Indiana

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-34-24-1738-31

 

6. Purdue at Wisconsin

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Spread: Wisconsin -23.5

 

Predictions for Purdue at Wisconsin

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-10-31-1040-17
Teaser:
Big Ten Week 7 Predictions: Michigan-Michigan State Rivalry Showdown, Penn State Visits Ohio State
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/acc-week-7-predictions-florida-state-louisville-miami-and-georgia-tech-look-rebound
Body:

Conference play is the theme for the ACC’s Week 7 schedule. After holding off Miami last Saturday, Florida State looks to remain unbeaten with Louisville visiting Tallahassee. The Cardinals were on bye last Saturday but have won two in a row after a 0-3 start. Georgia Tech looks to break into the win column in conference play after a 0-3 start in league action. The Yellow Jackets host Pittsburgh in a critical game for both teams in terms of positioning within the Coastal Division. Elsewhere in the ACC this weekend, Miami looks to rebound from a two-game losing streak in a home matchup against Virginia Tech. Boston College takes its struggling offense and stout defense to Death Valley to take on Clemson, North Carolina hosts Wake Forest and Syracuse travels to Virginia.

 

Related: Predictions for Every Week 7 Game

 

Athlon Sports offers its ACC Week 7 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

ACC Week 7 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Louisville at Florida State

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Florida State -7

 

Predictions for Louisville at Florida State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-20-35-2830-24

 

Related: 10 Coordinators on the Rise for 2015

 

2. Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Georgia Tech -3.5

 

Predictions for Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-24-28-2024-21

 

3. Virginia Tech at Miami

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Miami -6

 

Predictions for Virginia Tech at Miami

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-24-31-2428-21

 

4. Boston College at Clemson

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Clemson -15.5

 

Predictions for Boston College at Clemson

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-10-31-730-13

 

5. Wake Forest at North Carolina

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: North Carolina -17

 

Predictions for Wake Forest at North Carolina

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-17-35-1031-17

 

6. Syracuse at Virginia

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Virginia -7

 

Predictions for Syracuse at Virginia

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-20-20-1320-17
Teaser:
ACC Week 7 Predictions: Florida State-Louisville, Miami and Georgia Tech Look for Rebound Win
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-7-predictions-utah-hosts-arizona-state-ucla-and-usc-look-road-wins
Body:

The Pac-12’s Week 7 slate should be among the best from Power 5 conferences in college football this weekend. The action kicks off on Thursday night with UCLA visiting Stanford in a potential preview of the Pac-12 Championship. The Bruins lost to Arizona State in Week 5 and need a win against the Cardinal to keep pace with Utah in the South Division. Speaking of the Utes, coach Kyle Whittingham’s team has a chance to put some distance in the division race with a matchup against Arizona State this weekend. It was a busy week for news at USC, and interim coach Clay Helton faces a tough assignment with a trip to Notre Dame on Saturday night. Oregon travels to Washington in a critical game for both teams in reaching bowl eligibility, while Arizona visits Colorado and Washington State hosts Oregon State.

 

Related: Predictions for Every Game in Week 7

 

Athlon Sports offers its Pac-12 Week 7 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Pac-12 Week 7 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. UCLA at Stanford

Date: Thursday, Oct. 15 at 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Stanford -6.5

 

Predictions for UCLA at Stanford

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-27-42-3134-24

 

Related: 10 Coordinators on the Rise for 2015

 

2. USC at Notre Dame

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Notre Dame -6.5

 

Predictions for USC at Notre Dame

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
34-27-28-2140-34

 

Related: 10 Candidates to Replace Steve Sarkisian at USC

 

3. Arizona State at Utah

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 10 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Utah -6.5

 

Predictions for Arizona State at Utah

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-24-31-2730-24

 

4. Oregon at Washington

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Washington -2.5

 

Predictions for Oregon at Washington

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
31-27-35-2830-27

 

5. Arizona at Colorado

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Arizona -8

 

Predictions for Arizona at Colorado

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
45-20-38-2840-24

 

6. Oregon State at Washington State

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

Spread: Washington State -8

 

Predictions for Oregon State at Washington

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
41-30-54-2841-24
Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 7 Predictions: Utah Hosts Arizona State, UCLA and USC Look for Road Wins
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac-12, Overtime
Path: /college-football/modern-family-oregon-ty-burrell-phil-dunphy-duck
Body:

Ty Burrell probably knows just as much as anyone what it takes to be a Duck.

 

The "Modern Family" star demonstrates the difference between being a Duck fan and actually being a Duck. You have to go deep.

 

This is exactly what it takes to be a Duck. #GoDucks

Posted by Go Ducks on Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 09:58
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-7-predictions-west-virginia-visits-baylor-kansas-state-looks-upset-over
Body:

There’s a sharp divide in the Big 12’s Week 7 slate. Four games appear on the schedule this Saturday, but two matchups are predicted to be one-sided affairs, while Baylor-West Virginia and Oklahoma-Kansas State are the only two games drawing much in the way of national attention. The Mountaineers have lost two straight after a 3-0 start, but coach Dana Holgorsen’s team knocked off Baylor in Morgantown last season. Oklahoma was upset by Texas last weekend and has a tricky road trip to Kansas State this Saturday. The Wildcats came up short in its upset bid against TCU last weekend and enters Week 7 on a two-game losing streak.

 

Related: Predictions for Every Week 7 Game

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big 12 Week 7 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Big 12 Week 7 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Oklahoma at Kansas State

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Oklahoma -4.5

 

Predictions for Oklahoma at Kansas State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
31-24-35-2834-24

 

Related: 10 College Football Coordinators on the Rise

 

2. West Virginia at Baylor

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Baylor -21.5

 

Predictions for West Virginia at Baylor

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
48-24-41-2141-31
 
3. TCU at Iowa State

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

Spread: TCU -20

 

Predictions for TCU at Iowa State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
55-24-63-2145-24

 

4. Texas Tech at Kansas

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Texas Tech -31

 

Predictions for Texas Tech at Kansas

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
60-17-56-2050-24
Teaser:
Big 12 Week 7 Predictions: West Virginia Visits Baylor, Kansas State Looks for Upset Over Oklahoma
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/sec-week-7-predictions-alabama-texas-am-showdown-florida-visits-lsu
Body:

The SEC is home to two of college football’s biggest showdowns for Week 7. Alabama heads to College Station to take on Texas A&M in a must-win game for coach Nick Saban’s team. After a defeat against Ole Miss earlier this year, the Crimson Tide can’t afford two losses in the SEC West or playoff picture. The Aggies are 5-0, but Alabama is this team’s biggest test so far in 2015. The other huge matchup this weekend in the SEC takes place in Baton Rouge. LSU hosts Florida in a meeting between two unbeaten teams and a potential preview of the SEC Championship in December. How will the Gators respond without starting quarterback Will Grier? Elsewhere in the SEC for Week 7, Ole Miss steps out of conference for a trip to Memphis, Georgia hosts Missouri, South Carolina begins the post-Steve Spurrier era with a home game against Vanderbilt, and Kentucky takes on Auburn on Thursday night. Mississippi State finishes non-conference play with a visit from Louisiana Tech.

 

Related: Predictions for Every Week 7 Game

 

Athlon Sports offers its SEC Week 7 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), David Fox (@DavidFox615), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch) and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

SEC Week 7 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Alabama at Texas A&M

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Alabama -4

 

Predictions for Alabama at Texas A&M

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
31-27-31-2837-30

 

Related: 10 College Football Coordinators on the Rise for 2015

 

2. Florida at LSU

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: LSU -9.5

 

Predictions for Florida at LSU

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-20-20-1427-17

 

3. Ole Miss at Memphis

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

Spread: Ole Miss -10.5

 

Predictions for Ole Miss at Memphis

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
45-31-41-3141-24

 

4. Missouri at Georgia

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Georgia -16

 

Predictions for Missouri at Georgia

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
30-13-24-1431-21

 

5. Auburn at Kentucky

Date: Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Auburn -2.5

 

Predictions for Auburn at Kentucky

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
27-24-28-2130-24

 

6. Vanderbilt at South Carolina

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: South Carolina -3

 

Predictions for Vanderbilt at South Carolina

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
24-20-17-1327-24

 

Related: 10 Coaching Candidates to Replace Steve Spurrier at South Carolina

 

7. Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State

Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 at Noon ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Mississippi State -13.5

 

Predictions for Louisiana Tech at Mississippi State

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

@AthlonSteven@AthlonMitch@DavidFox615@BradenGall
38-24-35-2440-13
Teaser:
SEC Week 7 Predictions: Alabama-Texas A&M Showdown, Florida Visits LSU
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/betting-against-spread-nfl-picks-week-6
Body:

Hard to believe, but we are six weeks into the NFL season and there's still a lot to be determined. The Giants are atop the NFC East, but are they really the division's best team? The Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins could all make claims to that distinction. Elsewhere, Peyton Manning's demise continues to be discussed in a lackluster win over Oakland. One person's demise who has been exaggerated is mine as we continue to hand out winners like Halloween candy.

 

Record: 12-5-1 (2-2 last week)

 

Cincinnati Bengals (5-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)

This line has moved a ton because of the uncertainty of starting QB Tyrod Taylor (MCL sprain) for the Bills. Taylor has played well and is an upgrade over EJ Manuel, who would be the new starter. Buffalo's defense is clamping down against the run and has put up good numbers for the most part outside of giving up 40 points to the Patriots. The Bengals have been living on borrowed time, picking up close wins over San Diego, Baltimore and Seattle. Their defense has been leaky, allowing the Seahawks to run for 200 yards last week. Buffalo has covered in 10 of its last 15 games as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points. SELECTION: Buffalo +3.5

 

Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) at Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

The Vikings are coming off the bye, welcoming KC to town after the Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles for the season. Charcandrick West and Knile Davis will try to fill Charles’ shoes and run on a Vikings defense that has already slowed down the Lions and Chargers at home.  Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, is returning to his pre-suspension form, which is helping Teddy Bridgewater find some receivers. In three road games this season the Chiefs have allowed 20 points to Houston, 38 to Green Bay and 36 to Cincinnati. Minnesota is 22-14 ATS the last three seasons, including going 11-6 ATS at home. SELECTION: Vikings -3.5

 

Washington Redskins (2-3) at New York Jets (3-1)

Points will be at a premium in this one, as the Jets host the Redskins. In some respects these are the same teams – an offense that does just enough to help the defense win games. New York is coming off a bye week and has allowed just 55 points in four contests. The Jets have the secondary to make things difficult for Kirk Cousins.  These teams have combined for just one over in their nine games this season. SELECTION: Under 40.5

 

Miami Dolphins (1-3) at Tennessee Titans (1-3)

Miami also is coming off a bye and have a new head coach. The Dolphins limped into their off week with a pair of 14-point scoring efforts. The Fins are a talented team and have the pieces to make a run and I believe they going to do so starting Sunday. Tennessee has lost three straight and are putting up good defensive numbers. However, those good numbers have come against the Buccaneers, Browns and Bills, teams that aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts. Tennessee is 3-11 ATS the last three seasons at home. I'm buying the Dolphins. SELECTION: Miami +2.5

 

Carolina Panthers (4-0) at Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

The Seahawks are a banged-up bunch entering this one with Carolina. Marshawn Lynch figures to play, but he’s not completely over his hamstring issue. Russell Wilson has been under siege due to poor offensive line play and that won't improve with the pass rush Carolina has. The Panthers’ offense is not as good as the numbers they have put up. Carolina has gone under in 45 of its last 63 after a win against a division rival. SELECTION: Under 41

 

Notes:

 

— I wish I could trust the Saints as a home dog against the Falcons in the Thursday night game. It's a short week for both teams and Atlanta's wide receivers are banged up. Julio Jones has a hamstring issue while Leonard Hankerson also isn't 100 percent. The problem is that New Orleans has one of the worst defenses in the league and the Saints figure to struggle with this balanced offense. I'm not buying Atlanta's defense, which has allowed 366.4 yards per game. New Orleans has been a home underdog of three points or less just 24 times since 1992 with the Saints covering 10 of those games. The over seems like the right play, but not quite enough to become official.

 

— Your "too good to be true" line of the weekend is in Cleveland, as the Broncos are a short four-point favorite. The Broncos have won and covered four of their five contests so far this season and have a bye next week so there's no look-ahead factor involved here. The Browns’ passing attack has been greatly improved with Josh McCown under center, but his mediocre WRs will find tough sledding against this Denver defense. The Broncos have covered eight of their last nine against Cleveland, including four straight on the road. I'm not going to touch it, but it seems like Denver is an easy play.

 

— Once again I disclose to you the reader that I am an Eagles fan so my thoughts on them may be a bit clouded. There's some value with the Giants, which have won three straight and have split their last 24 games in Philly. Pardon me if I'm not buying this offense after a demolition of the awful Saints at home. This one on Monday night also depends on the status of Odell Beckham Jr., who is dealing with a hamstring injury.

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: NFL Picks For Week 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:45
Path: /nfl/atlanta-falcons-vs-new-orleans-saints-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Both teams have little time to prepare for this Thursday night game after playing on Sunday afternoon.  This is the first game within the NFC South for the Falcons. This is the Saints' third.

 

The Falcons hold an advantage of 49-43 in the all-time series history. In games played in New Orleans, the Falcons narrowly lead the head-to-head matches 23-22.  With Sean Payton on the sidelines, the Saints are 12-4 against the Falcons.

 

Atlanta at New Orleans

 

Kickoff: 8:25 PM ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Atlanta -3

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Matt Ryan and the Falcons' receivers versus the Saints' secondary

The Falcons have averaged 291.2 yards of receiving per game. They have scored six touchdowns through the air. Matt Ryan has thrown four passes to the wrong team so far this season.

 

The Saints have allowed an average of 281.6 yards per game along with nine touchdowns. They did not pick off a pass until last week at Philadelphia. However, both of those interceptions occurred in the end zone to halt Eagles' scoring threats.

 

The Saints' defensive numbers look as though they could possibly keep the game close. However, forcing a few turnovers would be essential to victory.

 

2. Saints' low offensive ceiling

Drew Brees and company have succeeded in scoring higher than in the teens only once in five games. That sole occasion was against Dallas, their only win. Even then, the Saints only managed to put 20 points on the board in regulation. They scored the winning touchdown on the second play from scrimmage in overtime.

 

Given this obvious trend, if the Saints cannot score in the twenties at a minimum, they have no realistic chance of winning. Can they do so against the Falcons? Considering that Atlanta's offense has averaged 28.6 points per game, the Saints will have to exceed their limits in order to win.

 

3. Short week hurts the Falcons?

Did the new coaching staff for Atlanta have enough time to formulate a game plan for an opponent that the group has not faced yet? Are three days between games enough for Julio Jones to rest his ailing hamstring and toe? His backup, Leonard Hankerson, is listed as questionable due to injured ribs. Jones, fellow wideout Roddy White and tight end Jacob Tamme all appear on the injury report as Probable, meaning they are expected to play, but it's clear Ryan's primary pass catchers aren't at 100 percent. Will this banged-up crew be able to exploit the weakest portion of a lackluster defense?

 

Final Analysis

 

Viewers should expect the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to be packed and boisterous. Despite the season on the downslide toward another losing record, the Who Dat Nation would love to slap the first defeat on their hated rivals. Given the time of kickoff, the atmosphere will radiate even more animosity and confidence. The Saints have won 18 of their last 20 home games in prime time.  

 

The contest will remain tight and tense deep into the fourth quarter. The offenses will trade equal scores throughout the night. Ryan will direct the Falcons to the game-clinching touchdown in the waning seconds of the game. Brees will not have enough time left on the clock to answer.

 

Prediction: Atlanta 34, New Orleans 27

 

— Written by John La Fleur, a contributor to AthlonSports.com, who focuses on the New Orleans Saints and Michigan State Spartans. He also frequently comments on other teams in the NFL and in NCAA football. Follow him on Twitter @FBConnoisseur.

Teaser:
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-wide-receiver-rankings-week-6
Body:

DeAndre Hopkins tops the Week 6 wide receiver rankings thanks to his volume of targets (NFL-best 75 through five games) and production in the Texans' offense. Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. are battling nagging injuries, which don't concern me very much but just enough to bump them out of the top spot.

 

Stay tuned all week for updates, and other great posts such as Patience or Panic, found each week at AthlonSports.com.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

 

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-flex-rankings-week-6
Body:

Week 6 is here already and this week Devonta Freeman looks to maintain his fantasy dominance at the running back position. DeAndre Hopkins and Le'Veon Bell follow closely behind in this week's Flex rankings due to volume of touches and stable production throughout the season so far.

 

Be sure to check in throughout the week as well as rankings are likely change all the way up until kickoff on Sunday because of injuries and other activity.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-6
Body:

After weeks at the top (or second) of the DST rankings, the Seahawks fall to third this week, even though they are home to Carolina. It's not that the Seahawks may struggle; rather, the Denver Broncos are unstoppable (on defense, that is).

 

Patrick Peterson and Cardinals have a great matchup against the Michael Vick-led Pittsburgh Steelers, so they earn the No. 2 spot in the Week 6 DST ranks.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

Here are all of the DST rankings for Week 6:

 

 

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-kicker-rankings-week-6
Body:

After the bye week, Stephen Gostkowski takes the top spot in the kicker rankings in what should be a high-scoring affair against Indianapolis on Sunday night.

 

Matt Bryant at New Orleans ("Dome, Sweet Dome") is the second-best kicker for Week 6. While Bryant did have two misses on Sunday, prior to that he didn't have any misses this season. He's perfect on extra points as well, so while kicker is sometimes a gamble, you want someone that will score points for your team.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

Here are the Week 6 kicker ranks:

 

 

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-quarterback-rankings-week-6
Body:

Even though he had his worst showing of the season last week against the Cowboys (275-2-0), Tom Brady regains his status as the No. 1 quarterback in the Week 6 rankings. He's matchup-proof, and to make his owners even happier this week, his Week 6 opponent, Indianapolis, isn't formidable. Brady plays Sunday night, and he will likely come out strong since there's no love lost between these two teams.

 

Please note that Tyrod Taylor is not included in the ranks, as he is most likely out this week after suffering a MCL injury last week's win against the Titans. If Taylor can't go, EJ Manuel will get the start for the Bills against the Bengals. Other than that, the quarterback rankings are business as usual.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

Without further ado, here are the Week 6 quarterback ranks:

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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-tight-end-rankings-week-6
Body:

So believe it or not Rob Gronkowski wasn’t the No. 1 scoring fantasy tight end last week. I know, that sounds crazy. Does that mean that guys like Gary Barnidge and Tyler Eifert are going to be ranked ahead of Gronk this week? Um, no. Not with New England going into “deflategate” central in Indianapolis on Sunday. You just know Belichick is going to want to crush the Colts.

 

So if Gronk is No. 1 (again), then who is No. 2? And what about Antonio Gates, the trustworthy, reliable Chargers TE who finally made his season debut on "Monday Night Football" and promptly caught his 100th and 10st career touchdown passes? Where does Philip Rivers' favorite target check in for Week 6?

 

See for yourself below.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Rob GronkowskiNEat IND
2Greg OlsenCARvs. SEA
3Tyler EifertCINat BUF
4Antonio GatesSDat GB
5Gary BarnidgeCLEvs. DEN
6Martellus BennettCHIat DET
7Travis KelceKCat MIN
8Charles ClayBUFvs. CIN
9Delaine WalkerTENvs. MIA
10Larry DonnellNYGat PHI (Mon.)
11Jordan CameronMIAat TEN
12Richard RodgersGBvs. SD
13Zach ErtzPHIvs. NYG (Mon.)
14Jimmy GrahamSEAvs. CAR
15Jacob TammeATLat NO (Thurs.)
16Kyle RudolphMINvs. KC
17Jordan Reed*WASat NYJ
18Julius ThomasJACvs. HOU
19Owen DanielsDENat CLE
20Ben WatsonNOvs. ATL (Thurs.)
21Darren FellsARIat PIT
22Garrett CelekSFvs. BAL
23Heath MillerPITvs. ARI
24Crockett Gillmore*BALat SF
25Ed DicksonCARvs. SEA
26Coby FleenerINDvs. NE
27Ladarius GreenSDvs. GB
28Dwayne AllenINDvs. NE
29Derek CarrierWASat NYJ
30Maxx WilliamsBALat SF

*If they play. Monitor injury status and practice reports.

 

— 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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-running-back-rankings-week-6
Body:

Now that we are at Week 6 of the NFL season, ranking certain running backs for fantasy purposes is getting easier and easier. Grab a sharpie and write in Le'Veon Bell as the No. 1 running back (or No. 2 at worst) every week he plays, and as crazy as this might have sounded four weeks ago, you can follow him with Devonta Freeman.

 

But you already know those two are going to produce. But what about Eddie Lacy, what’s happened there? And Marshawn Lynch, if he plays this week (and he will), where does he rank? And where does Charcandrick West rank since he is taking over for the injured Jamaal Charles?

 

Oh and don’t forget that there’s this guy who's pretty good named Adrian Peterson back from his bye week? Where does "All Day" rank in Week 6?

 

All those answers can be found below. Enjoy.

 

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

 

Teams on bye: Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Devonta FreemanATLat NO (Thurs.)
2Le'Veon BellPITvs. ARI
3Adrian PetersonMINvs. KC
4Matt ForteCHIat DET
5Justin Forsett*BALat SF
6Arian FosterHOUat JAC
7DeMarco MurrayPHIvs. NYG (Mon.)
8Mark IngramNOvs. ATL (Thurs.)
9Carlos HydeSFVs. BAL
10Eddie Lacy GBvs. SD
11Chris IvoryNYJvs. WAS
12Frank GoreINDvs. NE
13Giovani BernardCINat BUF
14Dion LewisNEat IND
15T.J. YeldonJACvs. HOU
16Charcandrick WestKCat MIN
17Danny WoodheadSDat GB
18Marshawn Lynch*SEAvs. CAR
19LeGarrette BlountNEat IND
20Danny WoodheadSDat GB
21Ronnie HillmanDENat CLE
22Jonathan StewartCARvs. SEA
23Antonio AndrewsTENvs. MIA
24C.J. AndersonDENat CLE
25Duke JohnsonCLEvs. DEN
26Ameer AbdullahDETvs. CHI
27Jeremy HillCINat BUF
28Rashad JenningsNYGat PHI (Mon.)
29Knile DavisKCat MIN
30Isaiah CrowellCLEvs. DEN
31Shane VereenNYGat PHI (Mon.)
32Chris JohnsonARIat PIT
33Karlos Williams*BUFvs. CIN
34Bishop SankeyTENvs. MIA
35Lamar MillerMIAat TEN
36Matt JonesWASat NYJ
37Andre EllingtonARIat PIT
38James StarksGBvs. SD
39Alfred MorrisWASat NYJ
40Thomas RawlsSEAvs. CAR
41Ryan MathewsPHIvs. NYG (Mon.)
42Chris ThompsonWASat NYJ
43Khiry RobinsonNOvs. ATL (Thurs.)
44Theo RiddickDETvs. CHI
45Darren SprolesPHIvs. NYG (Mon.)
46Javorius AllenBALvs. SF
47Dan HerronBUFvs. CIN
48C.J. SpillerNOvs. ATL (Thurs.)
49Dexter McClusterTENvs. MIA
50Alfred BlueHOUat JAC

*If they play. Check injury status and monitor practice reports.

 

— 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 6
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/athlon-archive-steve-spurrier-not-darth-vader
Body:

When Steve Spurrier retired abruptly from college football coaching this week, the South Carolina coach was the subject of dozens of complimentary columns and retrospectives. Indeed, there has never been another like Spurrier, the all-time wins leader at Florida and South Carolina who redefined the SEC with his offensive brilliance.

 

At the same time, he was outspoken and — some would say — arrogant, needling rivals along the way. Even in 1995, even some Florida stalwarts were skeptical.

 

By the end of the 1994, he had won three SEC titles and reached four bowl games. The 1995 season would be his best at Florida despite humiliation in the Fiesta Bowl against national champion Nebraska. The 1996 season would bring Florida’s national title and a Heisman winner.

 

In this 1995 Athlon Sports feature, reporter Buddy Martin describes Spurrier’s ascent and why the coach continued to lock horns with rivals.

 

***

 

Trash Steve Spurrier if you must. Call him arrogant or insensitive or petulant. But give him credit for perhaps the quickest and most profound rehabilitation of a program in the history of intercollegiate athletics.

 

Rodney Dangerfield doesn’t live in Gainesville, Fla., anymore. Gator bashers better go looking for new booty because they don’t have Florida football to kick around anymore.

 

The greatest player in Florida history has now become the greatest football coach in Florida history: 49 wins, 12 losses and one tie (.798), three Southeastern Conference titles and four bowl games. And there is no letup in sight.

 

If you have that kind of success so quickly and defeat your opponents by such large margins as Spurrier, it doesn’t take long until they want to make you out to be Darth Vader.

 

How unlikely of a role for Florida’s football coach, once deemed the All-American boy, to become The Villain in some quarters. Suddenly, they want to start keeping score on some minor indiscretions when what they should be keeping score on is the meteoric ascent of Gator football under Spurrier.

 

Bedraggled and beaten down by so many lashes from the NCAA’s whip, Florida’s football program has come off probation with a vengeance since Spurrier took over in 1990. It is true, however, that Spurrier’s abrasive style alienates some of his own people on hi sway to the penthouse.

 

Though usually compliant and cooperative with the media, he has been known to call sports writers at home and challenge their facts or points of view. He carries on feuds with two columnists at major newspapers in Florida.

 

Yet Spurrier also is honest to a fault. Sometimes he says more than he should. Usually he can be counted on for at least a couple of juicy headlines a season. Sensitive alumni might call him mouthy. The press prefers to think of him as candidate.

 

For the most part, Gator fans are happy with Spurrier’s return. It’s his enemies, namely opposing coaches and hostile media, who like to take potshots at him. Just try to get somebody to say something critical about him for the record. Not many will do that.

 

The father of a starter on the 1994 Gator team told me: “You can’t say bad things about Steve Spurrier. He’s too big in the state. And he wins.” Behind Spurrier’s back, however, even some of his own faithful will rip him — off the record.

 

He slams his golf visor to the ground too much.

 

He’s always running his mouth.

 

He always blames somebody else when he loses.

 

He doesn’t sign enough autographs.

 

He’d better win, he’s so arrogant.

 

He keeps his quarterbacks on a short leash.

 

His players don’t like him.

 

He just cain’t beat them Bowden boys.

 

And so it goes – the bashing of Steve Spurrier, who, paradoxically, is one of the hottest coaching properties in all of football, college or pro.

 

As for those few disgruntled Florida fans: That only proves the critics right who say they don’t know prosperity when they see it.

 

For 50 years Gator fans have been trying to find a coach who could win an SEC title that the school would be allowed to keep. Along comes Spurrier and wins three in five years. They ought to build a statue of him on top of the Century Tower instead of harping at him for his volatile sideline demeanor.

 

“I wonder how the fans of Tennessee or Georgia or one of those SEC schools would feel if their school — somebody besides Alabama and Florida — played in the championship game,” Spurrier mused in an interview last spring. Good point. Since they started playing the SEC title game three years ago, only the Tide and the Gator have made it there. Florida has won two. Spoiled Gator fans now wonder what’s taking him so long to win a national championship. After all, Miami and Florida State have their trophies on the mantle already.

 

Bellyachers forget the fact that in five short years, Spurrier took a college football program out of the City Dump and put it on the front counter of Tiffany’s. On April 28, Florida’s ex-wonder boy turned 50. Friends hope age will mellow him some. Diehard Gator fans hope he will develop an even nastier side to his personality. His enemies hope he’ll retire.

 

To know Spurrier well is to now of his fierce competitive spirit at anything he does. And that his playful sense of humor is to poke fun at both friends and foes alike. Where he gets in trouble is when he mixes the high-spirited competition with the humor.

 

Example: At several Gator Club meetings in 1994, Spurrier suggested FSU was an acronym for “Free Shoes University.” That was after several Florida State football players had been charged with taking $6,000 shopping sprees at a Foot Locker store, courtesy of an unscrupulous agent.

 

Yet, Spurrier expresses respect for Florida State. Interestingly enough, during his press conference on the day he was hired, Dec. 31, 1989, Spurrier called Bobby Bowden “probably the best coach in college football today.”

 

And while he was not directly implicating Bowden with his remarks about “Free Shoes University,” he was certainly casting aspersions on Bowden’s Florida State program.

 

Trying to keep a sense of humor about to Bowden chortled, “The shoes may have been free, but we’ve paid dearly for everything else.”

 

There really was no grand plan for Spurrier to become a coach of any kind, let alone Florida’s savior. After almost a decade of knocking around the San Francisco 49ers as a reserve quarterback and punter, and eventually winding up as the starter for the ill-fated Tampa Bay Bucs in their inaugural season, Spurrier returned home to Gainesville to ponder his future in the late ‘70s.

 

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Spurrier says. “Maybe get into some kind of public relations job, play some golf.”

 

At that point, coaching was not paramount to him. Then one day he decided to start attending Florida games, sitting in the stands for the first time in his life. That’s where the idea first occurred to Spurrier that he might coach. Shortly thereafter, he was hired as then-coach Doug Dickey’s assistant to instruct the quarterbacks. From there, Spurrier went to Georgia Tech to work for his old coach, Pepper Rogers, and then on to Duke as Red Wilson’s offensive coordinator.

 

A few years later, Spurrier, at 37, would become the youngest head coach in college football as he took over the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League.

 

All the while, the fate of Gator football was riding a roller coaster in the 80s, from championships to NCAA probation. Spurrier told friends he didn’t think he’d ever be the head coach for the Gators because “I don’t think the job will ever be open while I’m coaching.” That’s what he told me one January night in 1985 in Mobile, Ala., The USFL had just lost its court battle with the National Football League, and Spurrier’s career was very much in doubt.

 

“I think Galen Hall will do a good job for them, and he’ll be there for a long time,” Spurrier said.

 

After losing his opener to Ole Miss, Hall’s ’89 team won four straight and it appeared as Spurrier had said, that Galen was solidified in that job. Two days later, hall resigned, and the hunt was on for the next Florida coach. All eyes turned to Durham, N.C., where Spurrier’s Blue Devils were about to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and go to their first bowl in two decades.

 

Unbelievably, however, there was an undercurrent of resistance about Spurrier, not least of which came from athletic director Bill Arnsparger, although he later denied it. Spurrier became the overwhelming choice.

 

As the 1994 season unfolded, I observed Spurrier up close on a regular weekly basis and was surprised to discover the intense pressure he faced on a daily basis. In today’s world of conflict between coach and athlete, Spurrier’s willingness to make swift and decisive measures in meting out punishment is down right admirable and refreshing.

 

I asked Spurrier about all that pressure. He told a story about a friend of his, a former player at Georgia now coaching at a small college, who was feeling overwhelmed.

 

Spurrier: “If you think you’ve got pressure at small school, what do you think it’s like for me at Florida?”

 

Friend: “The big difference is that when you go to the bank an deposit your check every week, the pressure is alleviated quite a bit.”

 

Spurrier makes in excess of $700,000 a year. The price of everything has gone up.

 

***

 

Auburn-Florida week in 1994: Perhaps the biggest game ever to be played at Florida Field. Both teams undefeated and nationally ranked, the Gators at No.1  and the Tigers at No. 6 in the Associated press poll. A heated rivalry. And Spurrier against Terry Bowden, son of Bobby, that hated Bowden clan.

 

A big weekend in the life of all gators, but none more than terry Dean, who was two weeks from his 23rd birthday and himself in position to reap more glory than he ever deemed possible in his football life.

 

Dean was now the starting quarterback on the nation’s No. 1 team, and with 18 touchdowns in five games, he was on track to perhaps being recognized as the greatest football player in the land. If he was feeling good about himself, little wonder.

 

Instead of strutting with confidence, however, Terry Dean was beginning to feel the heat more than ever now. Despite his torrid, seven-touchdown first half in the opener against New Mexico State and near-flawless game against Kentucky and first half against Tennessee, he was starting to leak oil: The interceptions mounted against Ole Miss and LSU as Florida continued unbeaten.

 

After Dean’s poor outing against LSU, Spurrier knew he had to change his coaching strategy. Thus, he would revert to a hardball role with Dean. It was not a language Dean would be able to translate into results on the field. Yet expectations of Terry Dean were never higher. Expectations of Florida football were never higher. The stress impacted everybody.

 

What was a coach to do? His team was ranked No. 1in the country, his 1uarterback was leading the Heisman race, and yet there was a problem with the offense, which he could only correct through Dean, either by eliminating interceptions or benching him.

 

On Monday morning after the LSU game, as Dean stepped off the elevator into the athletic office, Spurrier summoned his fifth-year senior quarterback to his office where he would deliver the bad news.

 

Dean knew the conversation was going to be serious when Spurrier closed the door. Dean says he got the worst chewing out of his career. “My knees were shaking,” he said. On the following Saturday, Dean went out and threw four interceptions to Auburn by early in the third period, was benched and never played another significant down at Florida.

 

Spurrier sees nothing wrong with benching a player, but many would call that more of a “burial” than a benching.

 

“Look, I’m not going to criticize Terry Dean,” Spurrier said. “I’ve said all along I did a lousy job of coaching him. If Terry goes on to have a great career in the BNFL, then I guess he’ll prove I was wrong. He said I was putting too much pressure on him, and I certainly don’t want to do that to any player. So I made a change.”

 

That’s now exactly how Dean said it, but clearly, in the press conference following the 36-33 loss to Auburn when Dean revealed he received two mandates from his coach that week to play better or face demotion, that was considered an act of treason. Dean played twice more in mop-up roles.

 

In the national press, Spurrier took the heat. In a season when a national championship was being talked about, winning your third SEC title seems a bit of a compromise to some. Spurrier says he understands that fans’ expectations of Florida football have been raised considerably.

 

Fact is, Spurrier only might have been two plays from his chance for a national championship trophy: 1) when Floidia failed to stop Auburn on fourth and 10 in the final minutes of the game, and 2) any one of a dozen plays to stop Florida state in the fourth period after taking a 31-3 lead with 13 minutes left to play in what Seminole fans called “The Choke at Doak.”

 

The best scenario: Florida beats Auburn, remains ranked No. 1, beats the Seminoles and doesn’t have to face them again, playing a team like Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. As it was, the season ended ignominiously with a 23-17 loss against the Gators’ bitterest rival. Florida State found a way to pressure quarterback Danny Wuerffel and put a crimp in Florida’s offense.

 

Spurrier’s nemesis, Bobby Bowden, thinks the Gator coach will improve with time. “I think you are more impatient when you’re young,” Bowden says, without mentioning Spurrier’s name. I know I certainly was. And I’m a lot more tolerant now than I was 10 years ago.”

 

However, Bowden is remembering less and less what it’s like to lose to Florida because the Seminoles have dominated the series the last nine years.

 

“We haven’t actually dominated,” says Bowden. “We‘ve won, but it’s been darn close in most cases. You get back to the bowls, and people ask us why we’ve won them: Probably because we’ve got better players than the people we’re playing. I’m not saying we’ve got better players than them (Florida), we’ve just got a few more better players. But that thing will roll the other way.”

 

Spurrier’s long-term future at Florida appears to be what he wants to make it. Despite rumors that he had conversations with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, Spurrier says he has no intentions of leaving his alma mater. With a contract through the year 20000, it would appear that only if and when he’s ready to leave will the Spurrier era end.

 

That may not happen until he can finally delver on that greatest moment ever for Gator fans, a national championship. First, though, Spurrier’s got to beat Bowden and win the state title.

Teaser:
Athlon Archive: Steve Spurrier is not Darth Vader
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 07:45
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/duke-blue-devils-2015-16-basketball-team-preview-and-prediction
Body:

By riding a group of star freshmen to the school’s fifth national title, Duke finally seems to have found a winning formula in the age of one-and-dones. With another crop of highly touted newcomers coming in to play alongside a group of solid-but-unspectacular veterans, the question becomes whether Duke can sustain it.

 

This time, the challenge might be steeper. While the Blue Devils’ recruiting class comes with the usual amount of accolades, it doesn’t appear to have the same kind of NBA-ready talent as the last one. And the foundation of established players isn’t quite as substantial as it was a year ago.

 

And much like last year, the window of time this Duke team has in which to figure itself out is a small one.

 

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



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Frontcourt

 

The heart of senior big men Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee has never been in doubt. If the situation called for someone to dive on a loose ball, get fiery in a huddle or follow a big play with a vein-bulging scream, they have always been eager to rise to the occasion. But the ability to be consistently effective ACC big men is something neither has yet demonstrated.

 

Jefferson’s exit from the starting lineup, clearing out the power forward spot for the smaller but more versatile Justise Winslow, was a major factor in last season’s title run. Meanwhile, despite having the same imposing body of his older brothers, Plumlee has yet to start a game at Duke.

 

That means freshman Chase Jeter will get as many minutes as he can handle. A spirited rebounder who’s comfortable with his back to the basket, Jeter will be Duke’s best option down low. After sitting out last season, transfer Sean Obi should figure into the equation as well.

 


No. 2 Duke Facts & Figures

Last season: 35-4, 15-3 ACC

Postseason: National champion

Consecutive NCAAs: 20

ACC Projection: First

Postseason projection: National runner-up

 


Backcourt

 

When Las Vegas point guard Derryck Thornton decided to reclassify and enroll at Duke a year early, the entire Blue Devils program likely breathed a sigh of relief. With the graduation of Quinn Cook and the early exit of NBA first-round pick and Final Four hero Tyus Jones, the Blue Devils simply had no other option at point guard. It’ll help that Thornton will have a daunting array of perimeter threats at his disposal.

 

As a freshman, whenever Grayson Allen had an opportunity to get on the floor he always seemed to make the most of it. That came in handy when his timely shooting and aggressive edge ignited a Duke charge in the title game that lifted the Devils past Wisconsin. Thanks to that performance, Allen will enter this season as the face of the program. A solid shooter with a fearless style and freakish athleticism, he will likely play that role well.

 

Opposing teams will have trouble figuring out how to deal with freshman wings Luke Kennard and Brandon Ingram. Kennard was a high-volume scorer in high school and will stretch defenses with his silky lefty jumper. Ingram, a four-time state champ in high school, is a wiry 6'8" small forward who has shown the ability to knock down outside shots. Ingram will likely need to get stronger in order to reach his immense potential. But his rare mix of size and perimeter savvy will make him hard to keep off of the floor.

 

Of course, all of these wing players will have to contend with junior Matt Jones for playing time. With his defense and hustle, Jones clawed his way into the starting lineup and became an indispensable part of the Blue Devils’ title run.

 


Key Losses: G Quinn Cook, G Tyus Jones, C Jahlil Okafor, F Justise Winslow

Top Players: G Derryck Thornton, G Grayson Allen, G Matt Jones, G/F Brandon Ingram, F/C Chase Jeter

 


Newcomers

 

Duke’s recruiting class isn’t merely good; it also fills areas of desperate need. Chase Jeter will be the Blue Devils’ most polished post player. Brandon Ingram, whose mix of length and athleticism will be trouble for opposing wings, likely will start. Luke Kennard will fit nicely into the guard rotation, while Derryck Thornton will be Duke’s only true point guard

 

Final Analysis

 

When Winslow, Tyus Jones and star center Jahlil Okafor bolted for the NBA after Duke’s NCAA Tournament triumph, the conventional wisdom was that Duke was headed toward a rebuilding year. There would simply be too many mismatched parts and too many unanswered questions for the Blue Devils to stay among the elite.

 

But when Ingram gave the Blue Devils’ recruiting class some star power by choosing Duke over North Carolina and Thornton’s reclassification solved the point guard problem, those doubts began to disappear. While they’re thin at spots — in the post and at point guard — the Blue Devils should have impact players everywhere. If they can create the uncommon chemistry of last year’s bunch, the Blue Devils’ ceiling should again be high.

 

Where before there were reasons why Duke wouldn’t contend in a loaded ACC, now it’s fair to ask: Why not Duke?

Teaser:
Duke Blue Devils 2015-16 Basketball Team Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 07:30
Path: /college-football/washington-huskies-have-new-kind-swagger
Body:

LOS ANGELES — Think of swagger in college football, and certain programs are bound to come to mind: Miami in the 1980s and early 2000s; Florida State through the 1990s; USC in the 2000s or many SEC teams of the last decade.

 

Swagger probably isn't the word one associates with Boise State during its rise under head coach Chris Petersen.

 

Petersen’s best Boise State teams embraced the role of underdog with a swagger that came out in defeats of traditional powerhouses like Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia. For Petersen’s Washington squad, it came out in a 17-12 upset of traditional power USC.

 

“We love being underdogs,” said wide receiver Marvin Hall. “At the end of the day, we’re going to fight. That’s all we know is to fight.”

 

The Huskies brought the fight to the Trojans with undeniable swagger. They talked the talk — wide receiver Jaydon Mickens could be seen woofing on almost every Washington offensive play — and they walked the walk with their tenacious defense on erstwhile Heisman contender, Cody Kessler.

 

“We went to bed last night with a comfort and confidence,” linebacker Travis Feeney said. Feeney was the catalyst of a stifling defensive effort, swarming on Kessler to force him into his worst game of the last two seasons.

 

For his seven-tackle, 3.5-tackle for a loss, 2.5-sack night, Feeney was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. He definitely embodied the swagger now shaping Washington football, looking to the Los Angeles sky on each big play, fists clenched at his sides in celebration.

 

That “comfort and confidence” of which Feeney spoke also was fueled by another motivating factor, one that drove Petersen's most successful teams of years past.

 

“Seeing how people said we were underdogs... we were going to lose,” Feeney said. “It wasn't a matter of if it was going to be a fight or not: They already had us down.”

 

It’s not the ubiquitous chip on the shoulder so commonly referred to in this sport. There’s no offense taken.

 

On the contrary. At Pac-12 media days in July, Feeney said he appreciated the conference’s voting media tabbing the Huskies near the bottom of the North division.

 

His stance hasn’t changed midway through the season.

 

“It goes back to what I said in the summer,” Feeney said. “Everybody has us down, that we’re not going to be that good, that we can’t beat these teams.”

 

Through Washington’s first two encounters against ranked opponents, the pontificators were right, albeit barely. A great defensive effort at Boise State in the opener was for naught in a 16-13 loss.

 

One bad quarter against Cal doomed Washington to a 30-24 loss in Week 4.

 

But the previous stumbles helped fuel the Huskies for their breakthrough at No. 17 USC, a particularly sweet win for a roster featuring a remarkable 32 players from Southern California.

 

Among them are Hall and tight end Joshua Perkins, heroes of Washington’s win. Hall and Perkins connected on a trick-play touchdown that harkened back to Petersen’s Boise State days, when the Broncos would unveil the unexpected against heavily favored Goliaths.

 

“All the Southern California boys were talking about this game for a while,” said Perkins, who caught Hall’s double-pass heave. Perkins attended Gahr High School in Cerritos.

 

“Any time we win is great,” Hall said, wearing a t-shirt with the phrase, “Just A Kid From Los Angeles” printed across it. “Just knowing my family’s here and watching me do what I have to do, it’s like playing in my backyard.”

 

When he called it his backyard, Hall’s hardly exaggerating. He went to high school at Dorsey, which sits in walking distance of USC’s campus off Exposition Boulevard.

 

Representation from family and friends for the many Southern Californians on Washington’s roster made last week’s contest as an underdog just a little bit more special.

 

This week, the Huskies stay on that emotional high against rival Oregon.

 

While the Ducks and Dawgs play in-state rivalry contests each Thanksgiving weekend against Oregon State and Washington State, the animus befitting a true rivalry is reserved more for this contest.

 

Unfortunately for Washington, however, the Oregon series has had about as much rivalry as Hammer vs. Nail in recent years. Oregon owns an 11-game win streak dating back to the 2004 season.

 

You know swagger when you see it. Washington’s heading into Saturday’s matchup with Oregon having swagger to spare.

 

— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Kensing is publisher of CFBHuddle.com. Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.

Teaser:
Washington Huskies Have A New Kind of Swagger
Post date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 16:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-cover-2-podcast-week-7-preview
Body:

Hosts Mitch Light and Braden Gall preview the biggest weekend of college football to date.

 

The SEC features two massive Playoff elimination games in Baton Rouge and College Station as well as a solid undercard. The Big Ten is highlighted by one of the best rivalries in college football in Michigan as well as two key West Division showdowns. The Pac-12 gets started on Thursday night with UCLA-Stanford and finishes with Arizona State-Utah and Oregon-Washington.

 

Oh yeah, and who could forget USC and Notre Dame?

 

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 7 Preview
Post date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 16:18
Path: /college-football/ucla-bruins-vs-stanford-cardinal-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The allure of this match has waned over the past two weeks. First, UCLA lost at home by 15 points to unranked Arizona State two Saturdays ago. Then, Stanford's sole loss at Northwestern to open the season looks much less forgivable after Michigan steamrolled the Wildcats 38-0 last Saturday.

 

Despite the lost glimmer of this game, both teams still remain in serious contention for their respective divisions within the Pac-12. They might even have an outside shot at advancing to the College Football Playoff if most of the undefeated teams drop a game over the next several weeks. However, a second loss would end all hope of sneaking into the final four.

 

UCLA leads the overall series 45-38-3. However, Stanford holds the advantage 23-19-2 in the games played in Palo Alto. The Cardinal have won the seven most recent matches between these programs.

 

College Football Podcast: Week 7 Preview



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UCLA at Stanford

 

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Stanford -6.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Stanford's running attack keeps steamrolling?

UCLA has allowed an average of 197 yards and a touchdown in rushing per game to opponents. Stanford's running game has gained 209.8 yards and 2.4 touchdowns on average. However, in Pac-12 contests, the Cardinal's rushing average jumped to 278 yards and 3.67 touchdowns. If that latter trend continues, the Cardinal could trample the Bruins en route to victory.

 

2. Can Bruins relocate their running game against a stout Cardinal run defense?

UCLA struggled on the ground in its most recent game, only gaining 62 yards and one touchdown. In the first four, the Bruins averaged 233.5 yards of rushing and 2.75 touchdowns per game. In contrast, Stanford has only allowed an average of 127.8 yards. Northwestern was the only team to have gained more than 155 yards. The question is whether UCLA's one-game struggle was an anomaly or Stanford's defense can continue to hold down foes' rushing attacks.

 

3. Urgency vs. Complacency

UCLA has little room for error. In the South Division, the Bruins trail Arizona State (against whom they have already lost) and Utah (whom they still have to play). A second defeat in-conference would cripple the Bruins' shot at winning the Pac-12. Plus, they would certainly want to redeem themselves for the embarrassing performance against Arizona State.

 

A loss to UCLA would not devastate the Cardinal's quest to win the Pac-12 North. Stanford would still control its path to Santa Clara for the conference championship game. The Cardinal have smashed the last two Pac-12 opponents by double-digit point totals. However, Oregon State and Arizona without Anu Solomon are not on par with UCLA.

 

Final Analysis

 

With longer than a week to prepare for this game for both teams, viewers should expect a few novelties on both sides of the ball. UCLA will try some new strategies to blunt the Cardinal's running assault. The Bruins' offense will also continue to hammer away on the ground. Those efforts will keep the score close through the third quarter. No team will lead by more than seven during the first three quarters as they will trade scores. However, Stanford's determined "ground and pound" will eventually bleed the game clock and put away the Bruins.

 

Prediction: Stanford 41, UCLA 30 

 

— 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:
UCLA Bruins vs. Stanford Cardinal Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 15:00

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