NCAA Football

Curtis Johnson Fired by Tulane: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

After four seasons as head football coach at Tulane, Curtis Johnson has reportedly been fired by the school following a 3-9 record in 2015. 

Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated first reported Johnson's firing. ESPN's Brett McMurphy confirmed the move by Tulane.

Johnson's firing isn't a surprise, as it has been a matter of when, not if, Tulane would opt to go in a different direction. Dan Wolken of USA Today reported Wednesday the school was "set to part ways" with the 54-year-old. 

Johnson took over a bad situation, as the Green Wave won two games the season before he arrived, and briefly turned the program around, with seven wins in 2013 and a bowl appearance. He won just six games combined the past two years, though, leading to his firing. 

Fletcher Mackel of NBC New Orleans reported that Tulane could look to hire former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan as its next head football coach if current deputy athletic director Barbara Burke becomes the full-time AD.

It would mark the second consecutive time Tulane has gone to the NFL for a head coach. Johnson came to the school in December 2011 after spending six seasons as a wide receiver coach with Sean Payton's staff with the Saints.  

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Best Signs from ESPN's 'College GameDay' from Week 13 in Oklahoma

It’s rivalry week, so it's a given that the signs at ESPN’s College GameDay would be strong. Saturday's show was hosted in Stillwater, Oklahoma, for Week 13’s showdown between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

As you would imagine, quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Baker Mayfield were the subject of some serious heat.

Let’s look at the best ones:

Last and probably least, we have these guys. Everything OK there, fellas?

[Twitter, Instagram]

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Ohio State vs. Michigan: Live Score and Highlights

Ohio State 0, Michigan 0 — Early 1st quarter

Game action is now underway between No. 8 Ohio State (10-1) and No. 10 Michigan (9-2). ABC is televising the matchup nationally from Michigan Stadium.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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Clemson vs. South Carolina: Live Score and Highlights from 2015 Palmetto Bowl

Clemson 0, South Carolina 0—Early 1st Quarter

These two in-state, cross-conference rivals will tangle in their annual grudge match for state bragging rights.  Clemson and South Carolina meet for the 113th time, and as usual, there's plenty on the line.

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Ohio State Players Locked Out of Hotel Rooms Before Michigan Game

Ohio State players hoping to get some rest before their rivalry clash with Michigan on Saturday had to wait longer than they expected. After arriving to the team hotel, they soon discovered the room keys didn't work.

Kyle Koster of The Big Lead passed along word of the ordeal, which saw a whole floor of players standing outside their rooms waiting for a solution. The report also included a brief YouTube video of the incident:

On Tuesday, first-year Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh added to the build-up surrounding "The Game" by smashing an actual buckeye in front of Bo Schembechler's grave. Schembechler was an assistant coach for the Buckeyes before becoming a head coach at Miami (Ohio) and later Michigan from 1969–1989.

Now the focus shifts toward the game. The Buckeyes' 17-14 loss to Michigan State last week means the Spartans are in control of the Big Ten East. But if they falter against Penn State, the winner of Saturday's clash between 10-1 Ohio State and 9-2 Michigan advances to the conference title game versus undefeated Iowa.

The stakes should create an electric atmosphere inside the Big House for the first meeting in the rivalry between Harbaugh and Urban Meyer. Overall, there have been 111 games between the two schools, with Michigan leading the all-time series 58–47–6.


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SEC Championship 2015: Predicting Teams for Title Game

The final regular-season weekend in SEC play is upon us, and the conference title game matchup has yet to be decided.

While the SEC East has been wrapped up by the Florida Gators, their opponent will not emerge until Saturday's SEC West contests unfold.

Here's a look at the details of the SEC Championship Game, followed by a breakdown of the contenders in each division and a prediction for the matchup:


SEC East: Florida

The last few weeks have been ugly for Florida, who narrowly escaped with victories over Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic. But the Gators are 10-1 and have wrapped up the SEC East, finishing two games ahead of second-place Georgia.

Florida will host in-state rival Florida State on Saturday with an opportunity to redeem itself and regain some credibility with the College Football Playoff selection committee.

The Gators will be making their league-high 12th appearance in the SEC Championship Game—but their first since 2009. Florida last won the SEC title in 2008, led by Tim Tebow, en route to its last national championship.

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee provided this quote from Florida head coach Jim McElwain:

McElwain: "That SEC Championship Game has more energy and more juice than that national championship game." (he's right, BTW)

— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 25, 2015

To have a shot this year, Florida will need more consistent play from quarterback Treon Harris. In his past three games, Harris has thrown four interceptions while accounting for just three touchdowns.

Against FAU, Harris completed only eight of 17 passes, a performance that he cannot repeat against an SEC opponent if the Gators hope to advance to the playoff.


SEC West: Alabama or Ole Miss

A heavy favorite to represent the SEC in the playoff, Alabama enters the weekend at No. 2 in the CFP rankings. However, the Crimson Tide have yet to clinch the SEC West.

With a victory over rival Auburn in Saturday's Iron Bowl, Alabama would wrap up the division with a 7-1 conference record.

If Alabama loses, however, Ole Miss would remain alive in the race. 

The Rebels are the only two-loss team in the SEC West, and they handed Alabama its only loss of the season back in September. As a result, if the two teams finish tied atop the standings, Ole Miss would represent the SEC West in the conference title game for the first time in school history.

Ole Miss will first have to get past its own rival, Mississippi State, in the Egg Bowl, which is no small task. The Rebels have lost five straight games in Starkville, Mississippi.

Play-by-play radio announcer David Kellum shared this tidbit:

Egg Bowl 1st note: This will be the 1st time in the series Ole Miss & State play in consecutive years w/both teams having at least 8 wins.

— David Kellum (@RebVoice) November 22, 2015

If both Alabama and Ole Miss lose, the Tide would maintain sole possession of the division lead and advance to face Florida.

Prediction: Alabama defeats Auburn and clinches SEC West to face Florida in the title game.

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Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: Live Score and Highlights

Georgia 7, Georgia Tech 0 — Early 1st Quarter

The Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have kicked things off at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The game is currently airing on ESPN2. 

The Bulldogs are on a hot streak, as they have won their last three games. The Yellow Jackets are looking to snap a three-game losing skid and win their fourth game of the year.

Be sure to keep the blog open all game long for the latest scoring updates and highlights.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Updated NCAA Week 13 Standings, Poll Review

It's NCAA football rivalry week, and the action has already started with multiple College Football Playoff Top 25 games prior to Saturday's traditional kickoffs.

Some teams cost themselves dearly with losses, while others improved their stock.

The Baylor Bears blew their outside chance at the CFP with a double-overtime loss to the TCU Horned Frogs on Friday.

The Iowa Hawkeyes, on the other hand, strengthened their case for a CFP spot by knocking off the Nebraska Cornhuskers to remain undefeated.

There are plenty more games to be played, so let's take a look at the latest CFP rankings with updated records and a sneak peek of what's ahead in Week 13.

It's Must-Win Time

Right now a loss would hurt any team's stock, but the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide could possibly weather the storm of a Week 13 defeat. Some other teams that still have a shot at the playoff don't have that luxury.

No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners: A two-loss team from the Big 12 Conference doesn't stand a chance, especially when one of the losses was to the 4-7 Texas Longhorns.

No. 5 Michigan State Spartans: A loss against the Penn State Nittany Lions would be their second against an unranked team. That won’t cut it.

No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: They dropped two spots this week after winning; imagine what a loss would do to them. Although, a win against the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal would go a long way toward Notre Dame moving back into the CFP rankings.

No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes: If Ohio State beats Michigan and then tops Iowa in the Big Ten Championship game—should Michigan State lose Saturday—a CFP spot is possible. However, a loss in Week 13 would mean it is just another Top 25 team.

Undefeated Season on the Line

The Clemson Tigers have not lost this season and have been the No. 1 team in the country the past four weeks. So why, then, would the South Carolina Gamecocks, who lost to The Citadel in Week 12, pose a threat to Clemson's first undefeated season since 1981?

In reality, they shouldn't. However, Clemson has had some close calls this season against lesser competition.

The Tigers skirted by an 0-2—at the time—Louisville Cardinals team, 20-17, and let the 3-8 Syracuse Orange hang around in a 37-27 victory two weeks ago.

There also is the "Clemsoning" label the Tigers have had to deal with, which is slang for a team always finding a way to lose in big games. Yet, they proved that wrong in their biggest test of the season, defeating Notre Dame, 24-22, earlier in the season.

While the 3-8 Gamecocks are bad, ranking toward the bottom of the SEC with the Missouri Tigers and Vanderbilt Commodores in nearly every offensive category, they did hand the No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels their only loss of the season and strange things can happen in rivalry games—especially when the favored team is on the road.

Despite the poor season, South Carolina isn't backing down from this tough challenge and showed how it felt about the Tigers, per this tweet from Sports Illustrated:

Quarterback Deshaun Watson—32 total touchdowns—and the Tigers rank toward the top of the ACC in nearly every offensive category, which won't bode well for South Carolina.

The Tigers will win this game, but with the pressure of the ACC and national championships on the line, look for it to be closer than the 15.5-point opening spread, per

Result: Clemson wins, 31-23

The Big 12 Title Belongs To...

The Bedlam Series matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys has now become the de facto Big 12 Championship game.

Oklahoma has dominated the series, leading 84-18-7, but the teams have split the past four matchups, and the game is old hat for the two veteran coaches, per ESPN Stats & Info:

That intensifies the game itself, but the fact both have a chance at the CFP makes this matchup even more intriguing.

The CFP committee showed last season that a one-loss Big 12 champion is not guaranteed to be in the CFP, and it wasn't until this week that the Sooners came in at No. 3 in the rankings.

The Bedlam Series loser will have two defeats, and has no chance at the national title.

So buckle up, and enjoy this one between two teams averaging more than 43 points per game in Big 12 play.

Last season, a 61-58 Baylor victory over TCU essentially cost the Horned Frogs—and the Big 12—a shot at the national title.

So for old time's sake, how about a shootout this year that determines the conference champion and possibly a spot in the CFP?

The Sooners have been scoring in bunches since the loss to Texas and will prove to be too much for a Cowboys defense that has allowed 94 more points than the Sooners' in conference play.

Result: Oklahoma wins, 55-52.

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Heisman Watch 2015: Ranking Top Favorites in the Race

December 12 looms for college football's greatest players as the 2015 Heisman watch continues.

It's been a wild ride to date, with LSU Tigers' Leonard Fournette slipping in the ranks only to be usurped by Alabama Crimson Tide's Derrick Henry. Florida State Seminoles' Dalvin Cook has had something to say in what looks like a year of the running back, though.

When it comes to unexpected breakout players, this race seems to offer more than usual. Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey continues to play out of his mind, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Keenan Reynolds also might earn himself an invitation to New York.

Below, let's look at rankings for the top players in the race based on performances, level of opposition and more before breaking down a few in detail.


2015 Heisman Watch Rankings 


Rankings Analysis

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

What more is there to say about Henry?

Henry's an absolute stat monster, which makes his sitting in first place a tad controversial. But his Crimson Tide continue to rack up the wins after the mid-September gaffe at the hands of Ole Miss, behind his gaudy 1,526 yards and 21 touchdowns on 249 attempts.

As the SEC Network illustrated, Henry's numbers compare quite well to a former member of the team, to say the least:

Critics will knock Henry down a peg for the level of the talent around him, which looks like a valid point. But keep in mind, he has run for more than 200 yards in three games this year in critical SEC encounters against Texas A&M, LSU and Mississippi State.

All that stands between Henry now and what looks like a sure thing is Auburn and the potential performances of others. It's hard to say which poses a bigger threat, but the talent creeping up behind him certainly deserves mention.


Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Observers shouldn't find it all too surprising if Cook makes a serious late surge and pushes Henry for the trophy. 

Cook isn't far off the FBS rushing lead with 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns, yet he's done the impressive damage on just 185 carries. To paint it even clearer, the sophomore missed a full game and carried it just two times against Wake Forest, thanks to injury.

Not impressed? Consider how Cook gets his yards, against who and how it compares to other Heisman contenders, as captured in graph form by ESPN's David Hale:

This year, Cook is the champion of those who boast that wins shouldn't mean quite as much as they do in the Heisman race. Despite the eye-popping numbers, the Seminoles are a two-loss team thanks to a road upset at the hands of three-win Georgia Tech before a 10-point loss to then-No. 1 Clemson a few weeks later.

The Cook-hype train will only continue to gain more speed as things inch closer to the trip to New York, especially if he can put on a show against No. 12 Florida to end the season.

The Cook-Henry battle might say much about future award outcomes, too.


Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Then again, an unexpected surprise could come if  McCaffrey has something to say about the competition.

McCaffrey plays late at night on the West Coast for Stanford, which might explain why he doesn't have more hype. He should. He's at 1,546 rushing yards and seven scores, his most recent performance a school-record, 389-yard outburst of all-purpose production to take down California and put his team in the Pac-12 title game.

Not only that, he's now looking at the record for all-purpose yards in a year, the gaudy number of 3,250, right in the face. Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer looked at his numbers in comparison to others:

For his part, McCaffrey would rather focus on the team than individual hardware.

"I'm not really focused on all the individual statistics right now or anything like that,'' McCaffrey said, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News. "If that does happen, great ... We're just focused on winning this next game."

While a great sentiment, McCaffrey might be well on his way to New York. If he breaks a few records along the way, voters might not have as easy a time with the decision as they once thought.


Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.

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Bowl Projections 2015: CFP Predictions Ahead of Saturday's Key Games

Although the race for the coveted College Football Playoff berths weeded out a few more hopefuls in recent weeks, there are plenty of questions left to answer. It's a situation where no team can afford a loss and expect to remain in the Top Four.

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight estimated coming into Week 13 that there were still 13 teams with various levels of hope to make the playoff field. Having that many programs in contention leaves very little margin for error regardless of a team's current standing.

With that in mind, let's check out predictions for how the final four will look when the dust finally settles in a couple of weeks. That's followed by a preview of the various impact games on Saturday's slate.


College Football Playoff Predictions


Preview of Saturday's Action

The Big 12 remains a point of focus after missing out on the inaugural College Football Playoff last year. Oklahoma gave the conference a boost by moving into the No. 3 position after the latest poll, but the situation could get murky once again if it falls to rival Oklahoma State.

The Sooners have risen up the rankings after back-to-back victories over Baylor and TCU. Beating the Cowboys would make for an outstanding trifecta of high-profile wins and should be enough to ensure them a spot in the Top Four.

ESPN Stats & Info noted Oklahoma would be a serious threat if it did reach the playoff, too:

That said, if Oklahoma State emerges with the Bedlam Series win, the question will be whether any of the top Big 12 teams have a good enough resume to make the playoff. It could leave the committee in a difficult spot, especially with so many teams in the mix.

Elsewhere, the top two teams in the country, Clemson and Alabama, are both facing off with unranked opponents this week. Though that makes them sizable favorites, both games are on the road, which raises the level of difficulty.

That's particularly true for the Crimson Tide as they get ready for the latest edition of the Iron Bowl. This season hasn't gone according to plan for Auburn, but a victory over its chief rival would change the way the campaign is viewed.

Meanwhile, the Tigers will battle South Carolina. Head coach Dabo Swinney is confident his group isn't worried about anything that could happen beyond this week, per Fox Sports:

That seems to be the question I get every week. When we're getting ready to play … I don't know, whoever. Every week it's been a trap game. Every week it's the same rhetoric that I get.

At some point people are going to quit asking me that because we've shown up and played every single week, so I don't know why you would think we would not do that this week.

Then there's the teams just outside the Top Four looking to make a statement.

Michigan State got the victory it really needed last week against Ohio State. Now the Spartans must make sure to avoid an emotional letdown against Penn State. The Nittany Lions, like Auburn, are a marquee program still looking for that season-defining moment.

Notre Dame suffered a setback last week, as a narrow victory over Boston College wasn't enough to retain its position in the Top Four. It puts a major onus on the Irish to shine against Stanford if they want to have a strong case to leapfrog back up the rankings.

All told, it's been a waiting game to see which teams falter down the stretch. It just hasn't happened on the same scale as usual. There hasn't been the typical "Upset Saturday" where a large number of contenders go by the wayside all at once.

That's a good development for those fans who love drama, because there should be no shortage of that over the next few weeks. Yet, barring a change in the outlook through high-profile losses, the committee could be forced into some tricky choices in the end.


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Daily Fantasy CFB Week 13: DraftKings Last-Minute Picks and Advice

In a scramble for last-minute picks? 

Listed below are four players ready to fulfill your expedient fantasy needs for the rivalry games in Week 13. These players not only integral cogs in the offenses for their respective squads, but their teams are also involved in favorable matchups. 

This piece will ultimately speak to why these players are quality fantasy options. 


QB Jake Coker, Alabama: $5,500

Alabama's starting signal-caller is looking to take down Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl.

On the year, Jake Coker's been buoyed by a strong rushing attack (led by Derrick Henry). He hasn't been asked to do a whole lot in terms of passing the ball downfield, but that could change a bit on Saturday. 

Auburn features a below-average defense (ranked No. 84 nationally). As a result, Coker could see some favorable opportunities down the field in the passing game—particularly with explosive freshman receiver Calvin Ridley. 

Plus, Coker's paltry money total is worth taking into account. 


WR Allen Lazard, Iowa State: $5,000

Ironically enough, Allen Lazard's value comes as a byproduct of how bad the Cyclones are. 

The 6'5" receiver is the leading pass-catcher on the roster by a wide margin—in both catches (51) and receiving yards (734). With his combination of wingspan and height, he's a matchup-nightmare in any jump-ball situation. 

Lazard has caught three touchdowns in the past two games, and he is the top target for signal-caller Joel Lanning. West Virginia is likely to put up a good amount of points on an undermanned Cyclones defense. As a result, ISU will be forced to throw the ball a great deal to theoretically get back into the game. 

Couple that with the fact WVU is No. 72 nationally in passing yards allowed per game, and Lazard looks like a safe bet to accrue some production. 


WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State: $5,100

While De'Runnya Wilson garners much of the attention within the Bulldogs' wide receivers corps, Fred Ross is a very productive player in his own right. 

Ross leads Dan Mullen's team in both catches (69) and receiving yardage (816). He's had three-straight games of at least 114 yards receiving and has caught three touchdowns within this time frame. 

In what should be a very emotional Egg Bowl, look for MSU to rely upon quarterback Dak Prescott's ability to get the ball downfield. With this premise in mind, Ross will get plenty of opportunities to produce. 



RB Joe Williams, Utah: $5,300

With star running back Devontae Booker out for the year, Williams has assumed the role as the starting running back for the Utes. 

In his first start of the year last week against UCLA, he went for 121 yards on 26 carries. He got a healthy dose of touches, and displayed an immense burst. It's not a huge surprise considering Williams was a prolific track athlete in high school. 

Against a 4-8 Colorado squad this week, Williams should be able to put up another good game behind a solid offensive front. With signal-caller Travis Wilson struggling to throw the football in recent weeks, Williams will likely see a good deal of carries. 

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TCU Gets Revenge on Baylor in Eyesore of a Game Only Gary Patterson Could Love

FORT WORTH, Tex. — It was the worst of times, and it was the worst of times. It was a game of no wisdom in an age of offensive foolishness.

A season after combining for the game of the year in 2014, Baylor and TCU’s much anticipated rematch of epic proportions turned out to be for nothing more than an advertisement for The Weather Channel.

There were a combined 8-of-39 on third downs. Seven turnovers. Four sacks. Two overtimes. One monsoon.

But at the end of a sloppy, slow, prodding game where the only thing of note for most of it was how hard it was raining, the Horned Frogs found a way to avenge last year’s only loss and topple the Bears 28-21.

“We both had to play in it. I had a heavy jacket on and I just got soaked. I was frozen,” a clearly exhausted Gary Patterson said. “It’s frustrating because it’s the end of the year and you have two really good football teams and you just want for everybody to see the best of everything.

“But today was a survival game. It was who was going to make less mistakes and who was going to finally make a couple of plays."

In contrast to last year’s fourth-quarter collapse against Baylor, Patterson’s squad did just that. Despite only 119 yards of offense after halftime, TCU found itself in a winnable game in extra frames and seized it.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin, playing at only 70 percent or so according to his head coach, did just enough to find a wide open KaVontae Turpin in the back of the end zone for what proved to be the deciding score. Combining with true freshman corner Julius Lewis, redshirt linebacker Ty Summers set a new record for tackles by a player under Patterson with his 23rd, which sealed the deal by tripping up Devin Chafin on 4th down.

That was all that was needed to send what was left of the rain-soaked crowd at Amon G. Carter Stadium over the walls and onto the field.

“I don’t think anybody likes the rain and the cold. I didn’t like it to be honest,” junior defensive end Josh Carraway said, before noting the Horned Frogs found something extra at the end thanks to last year’s 61-58 result. “When somebody was not hustling, we’d say, ‘Baylor is at the end of the season, get ready.'

“It was a little extra motivation that fueled us in the offseason.”

TCU scored on their first offensive possession of the game, and then didn’t find the end zone again until the first overtime. It was a minor miracle that the team tied a national record with a touchdown in the first quarter for a record 25th consecutive game.

The defense contributed with a fumble recovery that was scooped and scored by Carraway in one of the rare plays that injected life into a game that could have doubled as an encore of Weekend at Bernie’s given the blend of comedic elements interspersed with comatose drives. 

Baylor’s normally prolific offense was held back by the conditions even more than the home team. The Bears found the end zone twice before heading to overtime, the first time helped by two personal-foul penalties and the second on a seven-play march that showed signs of life.

Other than that, the star of the show was likely punter Drew Galitz with a 40.1 average on 10 kicks that kept field position mostly in their favor.

“I think the elements had a whole lot to do with our play,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “I thought (third-string quarterback Chris Johnson) played hard, I thought he played valiantly. It’s just hard to execute in those conditions.”

Indeed, given those elements, it was a game that only a defensive-minded head coach like Patterson could appreciate.

And while the win was no doubt sweeter because of last season’s loss and the ensuing back-and-forth war of words between Fort Worth and Waco, it also marked the culmination of perhaps the legendary Patterson’s best coaching job of his career. 

10-2 may not have been the record the Horned Frogs wanted when 2015 started, but it’s a minor miracle they finish up there given an injury list that wiped out nearly the entire defense and cost several star offensive players time.

“When you see how many injuries we have on our roster, to be able to come out with 10 wins like we did is really something you’ll remember better than last year because of what we’ve been through,” Boykin said. “We’re happy to be sitting where we’re at. We wish things could have been better and we have more guys, but you won’t hear us complain.”

While he didn’t place the win up there with such notables like the Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin or stopping Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma, the veteran head coach still marveled at finishing the journey like he did Friday night.

Rain-soaked and as exhausted as he’s looked all year, Patterson walked back to the locker room with a sly smile on his face.

It wasn’t just an expression of happiness, though. It was a sense of relief knowing that he came out a winner in a clunker like that one. 

They're not all pretty, but in this day and age, you take what you can get.


Bryan Fischer is a national college football columnist. You can follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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Baylor vs. TCU: Game Grades, Analysis for Bears and Horned Frogs

Revenge is a dish best served cold...and in a driving, frigid rain.

No. 19 TCU delivered that message to No. 7 Baylor Saturday night, avenging the only loss of its 2014 season in a 28-21 double-overtime victory in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Horned Frogs (10-2) used a stingy defense and some clutch play from Trevone Boykin in overtime to beat the Bears (9-2), who saw their playoff hopes wash away in the soggy Amon G. Carter Stadium turf.

Pass Offense

Chris Johnson stepped in and played well when Jarrett Stidham went down against Oklahoma State last week, but he struggled in the rain and against TCU's defense Saturday night. The sophomore signal-caller completed just seven of 24 passes for 62 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was particularly ineffective in the second half and the overtime periods, completing just one of his 11 passes for four yards.


Run Offense

Johnny Jefferson and Shock Linwood paced the most productive offensive attack of the game early as Baylor piled up 130 yards and both of its touchdowns on the ground in the first half. The Bears finished with 273 rushing yards with Devin Chafin leading the way with 119 yards and two touchdowns.


Pass Defense

Boykin returned to the TCU offense after missing last week's game against Oklahoma, but the Bears defense did a good job of limiting his production. The Horned Frogs managed just 148 yards through the air, but the secondary broke down in overtime when KaVontae Turpin got open for the easy go-ahead touchdown catch. 


Run Defense

With Boykin still hobbled with an ankle injury, Baylor was expecting to see a heavy dose of the run. The Bears front seven held its ground well, especially in the first half when it allowed an average of just 2.6 yards on 20 carries. The Horned Frogs ground game found some momentum in the second half as Aaron Green accounted for 72 of TCU's 154 rushing yards.


Special Teams

Baylor's special teams had a huge blunder early in the game when Lynx Hawthorne muffed a punt that set TCU up in scoring position in the first quarter. The unit made up for it in the third quarter when it flipped the field effectively after the Horned Frogs had pinned the Bears deep, and it nearly made the game's defining play when Terrance Williams blocked an Ethan Perry punt. 



Baylor came in with a conservative game plan, which was a smart play with the attrition at quarterback and the horrendous conditions. The Bears ran on 13 of their first 16 plays, helping them build an early 14-7 lead in the first quarter. But Art Briles maintained his aggressiveness, dialing up fourth-down conversions in key spots in the first and fourth quarters. But it wasn't enough against the Horned Frogs because Johnson wasn't ready for this stage. 


Pass Offense

Much like Baylor's Johnson, Boykin struggled with the elements and a defense that was able to pin its ears back and attack the pocket. The Horned Frogs were missing Josh Doctson as Boykin threw for just 148 yards, but he did toss two touchdowns, one of which was the go-ahead score in double overtime.


Run Offense

With the passing attack struggling, TCU offensive coordinator Doug Meacham leaned heavily on a running game that struggled to gain traction. The Horned Frogs ran for just 51 yards on 20 first-half carries, but Green continued to hammer away in the second half, helping TCU get 101 rushing yards in the second half and overtime. 


Pass Defense

Baylor came into the game ranked ninth nationally in passing yards per game, averaging an incredible 350.7 yards per game. But with Seth Russell and Stidham out, Johnson couldn't maintain the momentum as he completed a miserable seven of 24 passes for 64 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 


Run Defense

The Horned Frogs got bulldozed by the Bears Saturday night, surrendering 273 rushing yards on 71 carries. Chafin, Jefferson and Linwood pounded away at the Horned Frogs front seven, combining for 77.3 percent of Baylor's total offense on the night. 


Special Teams

It looked like special teams were going to lose TCU the game in regulation when Shawn Oakman devoured TCU punter Ethan Perry late in the fourth quarter, resulting in an eight-yard punt that set Baylor up at midfield. But that was the lone blip in an otherwise solid outing from the special teams units in a game where field position could have swung the outcome either direction. 



Gary Patterson and Meacham did what they could with Boykin, who was clearly hobbled and unable to run the offense as effectively as he usually does. The best coaching of the game came in overtime as the Horned Frogs scored with ease on their two possessions, while the defensive staff deserves credit for holding the Bears to a season-low 21 points. 

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Winners and Losers from Rivalry Week of the 2015 College Football Season

Here at Winners and Losers, we are thankful for many things: Washington State coach Mike Leach, undefeated Iowa, rivalry games and the fact you've decided to join us and partake in college football this weekend. 

And Week 13 of the college football season is a great one. The playoff race is coming down to the final games, and several teams jockeying for a spot have to play one another. Remember when the playoff was supposed to kill the regular season?

Yeah, me too. 

From Iowa's perfect 12-0 regular season to Central Florida's polar-opposite winless season, we break down all that's happening this weekend in college football. 

Note: No, the Thanksgiving punch didn't get to our heads. (OK, it did a little bit.) Though Winners and Losers is normally published Saturday, we're giving you an extra day to enjoy it. It's our gift to you, which means we're in the clear for Christmas. But fear not. We'll continue to update this post throughout the weekend as events warrant.

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Baylor vs. TCU: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

In an ugly, rain-plagued, turnover-filled game between two of the Big 12's best teams, TCU came out on top in double overtime, defeating Baylor 28-21.  

Even if you didn't watch this game, just knowing how prolific these two offenses are, the final score should indicate how rough the conditions were. Things were so bad early at Amon G. Carter Stadium that kickoff was delayed by nearly an hour. 

The two teams didn't seem fazed by the bad weather right out of the gate, trading touchdowns on the first three drives with Baylor holding a 14-7 advantage. TCU would tie the game in the second quarter on a 56-yard fumble return touchdown by Josh Carraway. 

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Baylor's next 14 drives after opening with two touchdowns were beyond inept:

Neither team would score again until overtime, with ESPN Stats & Info noting Baylor had not gone scoreless in consecutive quarters since an Oct. 2011 loss to Oklahoma State. 

The overtime resembled the start of the game, as the Bears and Horned Frogs traded touchdowns on their first three drives. After TCU took a 28-21 lead, Baylor was stopped on a 4th-and-1 running play to end the game. 

While neither team is known for its defensive prowess, TCU linebacker Ty Summers was a monster on this night, per's Max Olson:

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports sent out a simple question that would have had a completely different answer on any other day:

SportsCenter sent out a Vine video of the five combined turnovers in the first half:

Baylor and TCU finished with a combined seven turnovers, and one played a big role in the fourth quarter. TCU punter Ethan Perry mishandled a snap and only got off an eight-yard kick, giving Baylor the ball at its own 47. But on the next play, Baylor running back Devin Chafin fumbled to give the ball right back to TCU. 

Even though the Bears defense forced a three-and-out after the turnover, that loss of field position proved to be critical and eventually led to overtime. 

TCU got star quarterback Trevone Boykin back this week after he missed the Oklahoma game with an ankle injury. The senior did not have great stats in his final home game, finishing 18-of-33 with 148 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

Boykin did come through in overtime, running for TCU's first touchdown and throwing an eight-yard score to KaVontae Turpin that proved to be the game-winner. 

Baylor relied heavily on the run, partly because of the weather and partly due to Chris Johnson making his first career start at quarterback. The sophomore struggled in the rain-soaked conditions, going 7-of-24 for 62 yards with one touchdown and one interception. 

However, before trying to evaluate Johnson's talent, Shehan Jeyarajah of the Dallas Morning News kept things in perspective:

It will be impossible to say which team is better this year because of the poor conditions. Last year's 61-58 matchup won by Baylor was an instant classic that led to the Bears winning the Big 12 championship. 

Baylor was down to its third-string quarterback because of injuries to Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham, so the Bears were at a disadvantage to start the game anyway. 

Meanwhile, TCU salvaged its season after injuries (that led to two losses) ended its dreams of winning a national title. The Horned Frogs aren't going to use this game tape on any highlight reel, but they literally weathered a storm to put away their conference rival. 

Style points may count for something when teams are fighting for a spot in the College Football Playoff, but TCU only had to worry about getting back on the right track to build momentum heading into its bowl game.


Postgame Reaction

There was a lot to say on both sides after a game like this. TCU head coach Gary Patterson was in a particularly jovial mood, even joking with the media about his team's first overtime possession, per Dan Wolken of USA Today:

Moving into more serious topics, per TCU 360 Sports, Patterson was appreciative of the players:

On the losing side, per Baylor's official Twitter account, head coach Art Briles noted the role turnovers played in the outcome:

Senior offensive tackle Spencer Drango was dejected about everything the Bears lost in this game, per Baylor's official Twitter account:

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Baylor's Shawn Oakman Absolutely Destroys TCU Punter Ethan Perry

Shawn Oakman is indiscriminate. He will destroy you, no matter who you are.

The Baylor defensive end absolutely lit up TCU's Ethan Perry when the punter bobbled the snap in the fourth quarter of Friday's game. Oakman decked him mid-punt with enough steam to make viewers cringe.

Here's another angle:


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Nick Rolovich Hired as Hawaii Head Coach: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors announced Friday that they hired familiar face Nick Rolovich as their football team's next head coach.

Rolovich was a Warriors assistant from 2003 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2011 before taking the offensive coordinator job for the Nevada Wolf Pack, his alma mater. He will replace Norm Chow, who was 10-36 during his tenure and was fired after a 2-7 start this year.

The Warriors will not only get someone they know in Rolovich, but they will also have a fresh start under a coach who was never part of the Chow era.

Hawaii was in the market for an offensive mind, given the ongoing struggles on that side of the ball under Chow, who oversaw three shutouts in 2015.

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Daily Fantasy CFB Week 13: DraftKings Value Guide and Top Sleepers

With Week 13 of the college football season already in full swing, there are plenty of potential sleepers out there for selection. 

What constitutes a sleeper? In the fantasy realm, a bargain-priced player surely constitutes a hidden gem—even if the player is from a high-profile conference or team. 

This week, there are plenty of bargain buys that make a ton of sense as we head into rivalry weekend.


QB Nick Stevens, Colorado State: $5,900

When making your selections at the quarterback position, Stevens may be someone to look into as a potential option.

The Colorado State signal-caller is not a big name by any stretch. However, his recent form has been impressive. The Rams have won three straight games, and Stevens has been both efficient and productive with the football.

On the season, he's accrued 20 touchdown tosses to only 11 interceptions. Stevens has thrown five touchdowns in the last two games and will be going up against a 3-8 Fresno State program. The Bulldogs rank No. 109 overall in total defense. As such, Stevens should outplay his somewhat low price. 


RB Tre Watson, Cal: $3,800

Watson is a deep sleeper this week for the Cal Golden Bears. If one were looking at his recent string of performances, he looks like a solid option. 

After being sparingly used throughout the year, Watson's had his two most productive games in back-to-back weeks—chocking up 110 and 87 rushing yards, respectively. 

Watson is quick, fast and elusive. Not only can he make people miss in space, but he can also catch passes out of the backfield. 

With starting running back Daniel Lasco a question mark for this weekend against Arizona State, Watson could be in line for a breakout effort. His paltry money total is also potentially worth the risk. 


RB Jacobi Owens, Air Force: $5,000

Hailing from Air Force, Owens has had a fantastic season for the Falcons—rushing for 818 yards and six touchdowns on only 159 carries. 

On Saturday, Owens gets a potentially tasty matchup against an average 6-5 New Mexico squad. In recent weeks, Owens has picked up his play. He's rushed for at least 137 yards in three of the past five games—including a season-high 145 yards last week in a win over Boise State. 

New Mexico ranks No. 95 overall in total defense. As a result, look for Owens to continue his hot streak and have another productive day. 


WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan: $4,500

Yes, Chesson is only Michigan's third-leading receiver in head coach Jim Harbaugh's run-happy offense. While he's somewhat of a high-risk selection, Chesson also has the ability to produce at a high level. 

In the last four games, Chesson has accumulated 20 catches. Seven of those grabs have been touchdowns. He's the perfect selection for a fantasy player wanting to "hit" on a boom for a relative low money total. 

Chesson is going up against a staunch Ohio State defense this weekend. With that said, he's the big-play threat the Wolverines will need in order to upend the Buckeyes.


RB Ronald Jones II, Southern Cal: $4,900

Due to the injury to Tre Madden, Jones II has been getting a good chunk of the carries for the Trojans. 

The true freshman out of Texas has an incredible burst—as evidenced by a 6.8 yards-per-carry average on the season. Jones II has at least 14 carries in four of the past five games and also has registered four touchdowns in the same time span.

This weekend in a crosstown rivalry, he'll be going up against a UCLA run defense ranked No. 83 in the country.

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2015 Civil War: Game Grades, Analysis for Oregon State vs. Oregon

The No. 17 Oregon Ducks (9-3, 7-2) won the 119th installment of the Civil War rivalry with a 52-42 victory over the Oregon State Beavers (2-10, 0-9) on Friday evening in Eugene, Oregon.

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. passed for 366 yards and three touchdowns, while the Ducks rushed for 308 yards and four scores. Running back Royce Freeman led the Ducks with 167 yards on the ground.


Pass Offense: Oregon State quarterback Marcus McMaryion struggled in the first half and had just two completions heading into the locker room. However, in the second half he made some big throws. Backup quarterback Seth Collins operated from under center for several plays, but was used more in the running game.

Run Offense: Freshman running back Ryan Nall rushed for 174 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Collins rushed for three touchdowns, while McMaryion ran one in, too. Overall, the Beavers rushed for 228 yards and five touchdowns. 

Pass Defense: The Beavers struggled in pass defense all day. They couldn't force a turnover and rarely made Adams have to reset and throw. 

Run Defense: Whether it was inside runs, zone reads or the option, the Beavers were no match for Oregon's running game. Speed was the primary factor. 

Special Teams: Victor Bolden's punt return for a touchdown was impressive and came at an important time for the Beavers, as it cut the Oregon lead to three in the fourth quarter. Oregon State also blocked a first-quarter field goal. 

Coaching: Gary Andersen had his team prepared. The Beavers got down big but fought back and almost won. Oregon State's defense was overmatched and didn't try to shake things up by sending more blitzes at Adams. 


Pass Offense: Adams was terrific. He used his feet to make plays in the passing game and made several big throws moving to his left. He was accurate and took good care of the football, while still taking chances. Bralon Addison finished with 106 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

Run Offense: Freeman, the nation's No. 3 rusher, had another great game. Overall, the Ducks rushed for over 300 yards and four scores. Oregon dominated Oregon State's run defense for four quarters. 

Pass Defense: In the first half, Oregon State could not throw the football. The Ducks even forced a turnover. However, in the second half, the Ducks allowed a few big plays. Overall, it wasn't a bad effort though, as OSU passed for under 200 yards. 

Run Defense: The Ducks couldn't stop Nall or Collins in the red zone. After a strong defensive effort in the first half, Nall dominated Oregon throughout the second half. 

Special Teams: Oregon had a kick blocked and allowed a punt return for a touchdown. The punter had no hang time on his lone punt. The Ducks did have a pair of solid returns. Overall, Saturday was not Oregon's best effort on special teams.

Coaching: Mark Helfrich did an outstanding job of keeping the Ducks calm when Oregon State made it all the way back from a 31-7 deficit. The game plan was sound on offense. Defensively, Oregon needed to put more pressure on OSU's young quarterbacks. 


Bryan Manning is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report covering college football. You can follow him on Twitter @bdmanning4. 

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2015 Civil War: Game Grades, Analysis for Oregon State vs. Oregon

The No. 17 Oregon Ducks (9-3, 7-2) won the 119th installment of the Civil War rivalry with a 52-42 victory over the Oregon State Beavers (2-10, 0-9) on Friday evening in Eugene, Oregon...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...